Israel Briefs: Edward Snowden Speaks to Israelis and More


To Help Olympics Bid, American Baseball Players to Become Dual Israeli Citizens

To help Israel’s baseball team make the 2020 Olympics, 10 Jewish-Americans will obtain dual Israeli citizenship, JTA reported.

Five of those players represented Israel in 2017’s World Baseball Classic. Team Israel unexpectedly made the quarterfinals of that event.

The Olympics have more stringent citizenship requirements than the World Baseball Classic. To be eligible, athletes must be citizens for a year before pre-Olympic competition. The European Championship B Pool begins in the summer of 2019.

The players will not have to serve in the Israeli army after making aliyah because of their ages.

The Olympic baseball tournament will include only six teams. The sport will be included in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo — the first time since the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Whistleblower to Speak to Israelis Via Video on Nov. 6

Edward Snowden, who leaked classified National Security Agency (NSA) information in 2013, will speak to an Israeli audience via video conference at a closed event on Nov. 6, the Jerusalem Post reported.

Snowden will discuss Israel-related issues from his Russian hideaway at an event sponsored by Israeli media consultancy firm OH! Orenstein Hoshen. He is expected to answer questions as well.

Snowden remains a fugitive and is speaking via video for fears the Israeli government would turn him over to U.S. authorities.

Israeli Prison Overcrowding May Prompt Release of 1,000 Convicts in December

A bill in the Knesset would reduce prison overcrowding by prompting the release of 1,000 convicts on Dec. 20, reported.

A High Court of Justice ruling determined that prisoners should be afforded a 50 percent increase in personal space.

The Israel Prisons Service (IPS) has suggested trimming two to seven months off sentences of up to 20 years in jail. The IPS said the court ruling to increase prisoner space will require an additional 6,200 cells. If passed, the legislation will automatically cut six-month sentences by two weeks, one-year sentences by a month and 20-year sentences by seven months.

Damage Count from Incendiary Balloons and Kites Tops 7K Acres of Forest and Agricultural Land

More than 7,000 acres of forest and farmland have been damaged in the six months since Gaza Palestinians have sent incendiary balloons and kites over the Israeli border, Keren Kayemeth L’Yisrael-Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF) reported on Oct. 10, according to JTA.

That includes 3,279 acres of forests and 4,000 farming acres.

Most of the damage has occurred in the Beeri and Kisufim forests in the western Negev, and forests near Sderot and Kibbutz Lahav in the northern Negev.

The KKL-JNF board of directors allocated about $27.5 million on Oct. 8 for projects to help the Gaza border area communities. KKL-JNF firefighting teams are on call at all hours to detect and respond to the fires.

The use of incendiary devices may be increasing to other areas of Israel: West Bank copycats have begun sending arson balloons toward Jerusalem and central Israel. At least three incidents have been recorded in the past week.


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