Israel Briefs: Israel Teams with Jordan to Deal with Dead Sea Flooding and More

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Israel Appoints First Female Ambassador to Egypt

Israel’s Foreign Ministry appointed Amira Oron as its next ambassador to Egypt, the first time a woman has held the role, JNS.org reported.

Oron formerly served as Israel’s chargé d’affaires in Ankara, Turkey, and was the highest-ranking Israeli diplomat from 2010 until 2015. She also was the deputy spokesman and headed the Arab Media Department at the ministry. She succeeds David Govrin, the ambassador since 2016.


Three other women received ambassadorial appointments on Oct. 30: Rodica Radia-Gordan to Madrid, Spain; Orly Gil to Riga, Latvia; and Marina Rosenberg to Santiago, Chile.

Haifa Mayor Upset in Re-election Bid, Jerusalem Mayoral Candidates Set for Nov. 13 Runoff

Three-term Haifa Mayor Yona Yahav was defeated Oct. 30 by architect Einat Kalisch Rotem — the city’s first female mayor elect — who won 55 percent of the vote, JNS.org reported.

Meantime, voters in Jerusalem will return to the polls on Nov. 13 for a runoff mayoral election between secular candidate Ofer Berkovitch and haredi-backed candidate Moshe Lion. Lion, who is supported by Israeli ministers Avigdor Lieberman and Aryeh Deri, got 33 percent of the vote while Berkovitz, who heads the secular faction “Hitorerut,” received 29 percent. Neither candidate reached the 40 percent threshold in a four-candidate race, prompting the runoff.

In Tel Aviv, incumbent Mayor Ron Huldai was re-elected to a fifth term; he won 46 percent of the vote.

Israel Teams With Jordanian Rescuers Dealing with Deadly Flooding by the Dead Sea

The Israeli military worked with Jordanian rescue forces to assist victims of flash flooding that killed 18 and injured 35 people near the Dead Sea, JTA reported.

High school students visiting hot springs on the Jordanian side of the Dead Sea got caught in heavy rains, so, at the request of Jordan’s government, Israel sent out helicopters from its Air Force search-and-rescue Unit 669 on Oct. 25.

“At this time, the soldiers are assisting in the search and rescue efforts for the missing and are doing all they can, despite the weather conditions, to assist the survivors in the flood area,” The Times of Israel quoted an Israel Defense Forces official as saying.

The Israel Police also dispatched search-and-rescue and medical specialists; the civilian Megillot search-and-rescue unit did likewise.

Cancer Takes Life of David Azoulay, Israeli Minister for Religious Services

Israeli Minister for Religious Services David Azoulay died on Oct. 30 after fighting cancer for years, JTA reported. He was 64.

Azoulay was appointed to the position by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2015 and remained in the Cabinet despite giving up his Knesset seat in March. He was first elected to the Knesset in 1996.

Azoulay created controversy in July 2015 when he said Reform Jews are not Jewish.

“A Reform Jew, from the moment he stops following Jewish law, I cannot allow myself to say that he is a Jew,” he said. “These are Jews that have lost their way, and we must ensure that every Jew returns to the fold of Judaism, and accept everyone with love and joy.”

He later argued that his remarks were taken out of context, but didn’t apologize.

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