Israel Briefs: Arson Campaign Burns 8,000 Acres, ‘The Cakemaker’ Up for Academy Award, and More


Arson Campaign Burns 8,000 Acres in Israel

The four-month arson terrorism campaign orchestrated by the Hamas terrorist group has burned about 8,000 acres of Israeli fields, parks and other land, reported, citing an Israel Nature and Parks Authority (INPA) report.

The burned land includes nearly 3,000 acres of national parks and nature reserves, 2,440 acres of Jewish National Fund-owned land, more than 1,000 acres of agricultural fields and 1,500 acres of open land. In all, about 14 percent of all nature reserves bordering the Gaza Strip have burned.

Worst-hit areas include the Be’eri Crater Nature Reserve, the Kurkar Niram Nature Reserve, the Karmiya Nature Reserve, the Reches Gvaram Reserve, Nahal Grar Park and the Besor Nature Reserve.

The fires have caused about $4 million in damages to the nature reserves, the INPA said. The agency said it is concerned about invasive species taking root on the damaged land, as well as losses of birds and animals.

Israel’s Population Grows by 162,000 in Last Year

In the year since the prior Rosh Hashanah, Israel’s population has grown by 162,000 people, according to Central Bureau of Statistics data, reported.

There are now 8.91 million citizens. That includes a Jewish population of 6.623 million (74.4 percent of the population) and 1.86 million Arabs (20.9 percent).

Of the Jewish population, 10.2 percent classified themselves as ultra-Orthodox; 11.5 percent as religious; 12.3 percent as traditional characterized by religious practice; 21.4 percent as traditional; and 44.3 percent defined themselves as secular.

Other data collected showed that Israel’s fertility rate of 3.11 children per woman is the highest in Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries. There were 175,000 babies born in Israel, while 25,000 people made aliyah.

Tamar was the most popular baby name for girls, while Mohammad was the most popular name for boys.

‘The Cakemaker’ Up for Academy Award

Tim Kalkhof in The Cakemaker. Laila Films

Israel’s entry into the 2019 Academy Awards will be The Cakemaker, JTA reported.

The independent film about a gay and straight love triangle won six awards at Israel’s version of the Oscars — the Ophir Awards — on Sept. 6, including for best picture. It was written and directed by Ofir Raul Graizer.

Israel’s Oscar entry is always the best film winner at the Ophirs. Israeli films have never won an Oscar.

9/11 Memorial Ceremony Held in Israel

Victims of the 2001 9/11 attacks were recognized Sept. 6 in a memorial ceremony in Jerusalem, JTA reported.

Keren Kayemet LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund, Jewish National Fund-USA and the U.S. Embassy in Israel hosted the annual ceremony, which was held days early at the 9/11 Living Memorial Monument in the Ramot neighborhood because Sept. 11 fell on the second day of Rosh Hashanah.

The 30-foot-high bronze sculpture 9/11 Living Memorial Monument is the only one outside of the United States to include the names of all 9/11 victims. A metal shard from the Twin Towers is incorporated into the monument’s base. The sculpture shows the American flag folded into the shape of a memorial flame.


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