Israel Logs Record Month for Tourism
Nearly 500,000 tourists visited Israel in October, adding $676.3 million to the economy — the best ever for a single month, the country’s Tourism Ministry reported.
“Incoming tourism contributes significantly to both Israel’s economy and, no less importantly, to its image,” Minister of Tourism Yariv Levin told JNS.org. “I am convinced that we will continue to see the sharp rise in the number of tourists arriving in Israel, and we will end the year with another record.”
Tourism from the United States increased 13 percent, while the number of Hungarian tourists climbed 65 percent. There was a 50 percent increase in Italian tourists, while Poland, Romania and Holland had 40 percent increases.
About 3.4 million people have visited Israel thus far in 2018, with the average stay being eight days.
Holiday for Ethiopian Jews Marked in Israel
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said during Sigd — a state holiday marking the Ethiopians’ desire to return to Jerusalem and Zion — that the country won’t discriminate based on skin color, JTA reported.
“We are brothers and sisters, and anyone who tries to undermine that has no place amongst the tribes of Israel,” Rivlin said in his Nov. 7 address. “You brought a spirit of heroism and nobility that was sorely tested on the difficult journey you undertook, and over the long years of expectation and yearning. And you brought with you an ancient and passionate love for Zion, a love without bounds.”
A mass prayer was held at Sherover Promenade in the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood of Jerusalem. The promenade showcases the Temple Mount, a central place for the holiday when the first immigrants arrived in Israel.
Sigd was first observed in Ethiopia and has been a state holiday in Israel since 2008.
Disloyal Cultural Groups in Israel Could Lose Funding if New Bill Passes Knesset
A cultural loyalty bill that would allow money to be withheld from organizations deemed disloyal to Israel passed on its first vote, JTA reported.
Two more readings must be passed before the bill proposed by Culture Minister Miri Regev becomes law. The first reading passed 55 to 44.
Under the bill, funding could be withheld from cultural institutions that deny Israel is a Jewish and democratic state; incite racism or violence; support terror against Israel; mark Israel’s Independence day as the Nakba — an Arab day of mourning; or desecrate the Israeli flag or other state symbols.
Nearly 500 Attacks Prevented, ISA Says
About 480 terror attacks in Israel have been prevented in the last year, according to Israel Security Agency Director Nadav Argaman, JTA reported.
Argaman told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that aside from the terror attacks, 219 Hamas cells directed by Gaza, Turkey and Lebanon, were arrested. And 590 lone attackers were stopped, too.
“Hamas is trying very hard to carry out terror attacks in and from Judea and Samaria,” Argaman said. “On the surface it appears as if there’s relative calm, but this quiet is deceptive, because beneath the surface tensions are increasingly simmering.”