Israel Briefs: Right Promoting Settlements and More

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Increased Settlements in Judea and Samaria Promoted

Right-wing lawmakers in Israel are promoting a settlement plan calling for 2 million Jews to settle in Judea and Samaria, JNS.org reported.

Israel Hayom reported that numerous lawmakers from the Likud and other right-wing parties have signed a Nahala movement petition calling for the settlements. The plan was originally introduced during the administration of the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir.

Government policies would shift significantly under the plan, with increased construction in existing settlements and new settlements throughout the territory.

Nahala activists have protested in recent weeks outside the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem. They are calling for the government to settle throughout Judea and Samaria and end thoughts of a two-state solution.

First of 1,000 Ethiopian Immigrants Arrive in Israel

More than 80 Ethiopian immigrants arrived in Israel on Feb. 4 as part of a plan to bring 1,000 Ethiopians who already have children there to the country, JTA reported.

The 82 arrivals are part of the Falash Mura community. It claims linkage to Jewish descendants who converted under duress to Christianity generations ago and now want to return to Judaism. About 8,000 Falash Mura seek permission to immigrate to Israel.

The plan to bring in 1,000 immigrants was approved by Israel’s Cabinet in October; the immigrants must have first-degree relatives already in Israel who entered through prior government decisions about the Falash Mura. Parents may bring partners and unmarried children without children of their own.

Surveys: Israelis Tops in Social Media Usage

Israelis ranked first worldwide in social media usage, with 77 percent of adults using social platforms, according to a Pew Research Center reported released Feb. 5, The Times of Israel reported.

South Korea came in second, with 76 percent of respondents using social networks, followed by Sweden, the Netherlands, Australia and the United States, where 70 percent of adults are social media users.

In addition, Israelis ranked second in smartphone ownership at 88 percent, with 98 percent owning a mobile phone. South Korea was first, with 95 percent of its adults owning a smartphone.

In advanced economies worldwide, 76 percent of adults own a smartphone, compared to 45 percent in emerging economies.

More than 5 billion of the 7.5 billion people worldwide own mobile devices, according to the survey.

Shacking Up Without Marriage Increasingly Popular, Up 6 Percent Since 2016

The number of couples cohabiting instead of getting married is on the rise in Israel, according to Central Bureau of Statistics data, The Jerusalem Post reported on Feb. 5.

The statistics bureau said 88,000 couples — including 83,000 couples with at least one Jewish partner — are living together without being married.

That’s a 6 percent increase from 2016, when there were 83,000 cohabiting couples.

And despite annual 2 percent increases in the general population, the number of couples registered for marriage in 2018 dropped 6.6 percent from 2016 — just 35,163 couples last year, compared to 37,675 couples two years earlier.

The Religious Services Ministry attributed some of the declines to a growing increase in the average age of marriage. l

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I hold 31 years of experience in communications, mostly in journalism, with a decade in public relations, too. The first 17 years were spent in print journalism, where I covered, at various times, business, politics, crime and government, among other beats. The final 2.5 years in that stretch was an editor at the Philadelphia Business Journal, where my responsibilities included complete control over a weekly section and working with both staff writers and freelancers. In late 2005, I switched gears and began working in public relations for the next decade. I learned the ins and outs of public relations -- including being on the other side of the media-PR equation -- and made numerous contacts. I rejoined the ranks of journalism in March 2016, starting as the managing editor of the Jewish Exponent.

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