Netanyahu won’t ask U.S. to exempt aid to Israel in defense cuts


Israel will not object to a planned five-percent cut in the annual military aid package from the United States, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly said.

Under the sequester, the across-the-board cuts mandated by 2011 legislation, Washington is set to cut more than $150 million from the annual $3.1 billion package to Israel.

According to the Maariv daily, Netanyahu instructed Israeli officials in Washington not to ask the U.S. government for an exception from cuts.

“Israel did not seek an exception,” Maariv quoted Michael Oren, Israel’s ambassador to Washington, as saying. “We are willing to share in the burden.”

The planned cuts will likely affect Israel’s ability to purchase advanced F-35 stealth fighters, according to the report, 19 of which were supposed to be delivered in 2016.

Because of budgetary cuts in Washington, the Pentagon has slashed production of the F-35s, from 2,500 to 1,200 planes, thereby making each fighter more expensive.

The cuts are also expected to affect future joint military exercises between the two countries, Maariv reported.

Apparently unaffected is some $220 million President Obama has budgeted for the short-range Iron Dome missile defense system, which Israel claims successfully repelled more than 90 percent of rockets launched by Hamas in last November’s Gaza Strip war.

Appropriators in the U.S. House of Representatives have approved that sum, as well as an increase to $270 million of Obama’s $173 million request for missile defense cooperation programs separate from Iron Dome.

Israeli doctor euthanizes daughter, takes own life


A doctor in Israel euthanized his daughter and committed suicide.

Relatives of the 60-year-old physician found him dead on Thursday in his garage and his daughter, who had terminal cancer, in her bed at their house in Nir Yisrael, a moshav in Israel’s south, according to a report in NRG, the news site of the daily Ma’ariv.

NRG quoted a police source as saying the physician gave his daughter, who was 31, a lethal dose of an unspecified barbiturate and then hung himself in the garage.

He reportedly called his brother and told him he was going to put an end to his daughter’s life and his own and asked his brother’s forgiveness before hanging up.

The man’s chest showed stabbing wounds. Police believe he tried to stab himself to death but hung himself instead.

The mayor of Hof Ashkelon Regional Council, Yair Farajun, told NRG the daughter’s mother was a teacher.

“This family is made up of good, hard-working moshavniks,” Farajun said. “It’s very difficult to comprehend this tragedy.”

Protests over Gaza violence disrupt Israeli campuses


Arab and Jewish students at three Israeli universities faced off in campus demonstrations related to the latest outbreak of violence on the Gaza-Israel border.

At Haifa University, dozens of Arab students held a vigil in memory of Ahmed Jabari, the Hamas military commander who was killed in the first few minutes of operation Pillar of Defense which Israel launched in Gaza on Wednesday.

Haifa Mayor Yonah Yahav asked Amos Shapira, the president of the University of Haifa, to  ban such “provocations.”

“I expect the university to condemn this disgusting ceremony for a murderer,” Yahav wrote in a letter, “held at a time when the country weeps for three people killed by rocket fire, and make sure radical forces cannot spread their malicious propaganda within the institution.”

Missile exchanges have killed 19 Palestinians, including two children and Jabari, and three Israelis, since Israel launched its operation on Wednesday in retaliation for an intensification of rocket attacks from Gaza in recent days.

The University of Haifa’s management said the students did not ask for a permit to hold the event. A group of Israeli students present started singing the national anthem, Hatikvah, next to the Arab students, according to NRG, the news site of the daily Ma’ariv.

Similar demonstrations and spontaneous counter-demonstrations occurred at Jerusalem's Hebrew University and Tel Aviv University, the news site reported.

Separately in Tel Aviv, a few dozen people convened on King George Street to protest Israel’s strikes on Gaza, and a similarly sized crowd protested the protesters, NRG reported.

Police had to break up clashes between the groups, NRG said.

Court to striking Maariv employees: Start the presses!


A Tel Aviv court ordered striking employees of the Israeli daily newspaper Maariv back to work.

A district court judge on Wednesday called the first work stoppage in the newspaper's 64-year history a “wildcat” strike and told the employees to file a complaint against the new management instead of making “their own rules.”

The Hebrew-language paper was not printed Wednesday and its website NRG also was not updated.

The lead story on the NRG website on Wednesday reported on the employee strike. There was no mention of the U.S. presidential election.

The action comes following the newspaper's sale to Shlomo Ben Zvi, who the strikers say has violated the collective agreement he signed with them.

Ben Zvi said Tuesday that a percentage of the current employees would be absorbed into the new ownership's operation, but at a lower salary to be determined.

The workers said they would file a complaint in labor court.

Israeli navy cadet killed after threatening girlfriend


An 18-year-old Israeli navy cadet was killed by police volunteers after he pointed a weapon at his girlfriend and fired on them.

The 18-year-old, identified by Maariv as Raz Attias, drove with his 17-year-old girlfriend to a wooded area near Beit Shemesh near Jerusalem on Friday, according to media reports.

Israel Channel 2 News reported that Attias had emailed the television station to let them know that he and his girlfriend would commit suicide. The station contacted police, which located Attias by monitoring his cell phone.

When two police volunteers found the two in a car, Attias pointed a gun at his girlfriend and threatened to shoot her. He then turned his gun on the officers, lightly injuring one. The second returned fire, according to media reports. Attias reportedly used a firearm he took without permission from his father, a major in the Israel Defense Forces.

A few weeks ago the couple learned the girl was pregnant, according to Channel 2.

Attias was a cadet in Israel Navy's academy, a boarding school, and was scheduled to begin active duty in the coming months.