UNEMPLOYMENT DOWN TO 16.7% IN FEBRUARY AS ECONOMY REOPENS: The Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics said Monday that overall unemployment in Israel dropped in February from 18 percent to 16.7%. That reflected a drop of about 50,000 unemployed people in Israel, from around 748,000 to about 698,000.
Much of Israel’s unemployment is attributed to the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus. Israel started to reopen much of the economy during the past few weeks, as it vaccinated more and more of the population against COVID-19. Those reopenings, a major part of which started in late February, could account for the decline in jobless rates. (TOI / VFI News)
IAF STRIKES TARGETS IN GAZA AFTER ROCKET LANDS NEAR BEERSHEBA: The IDF struck targets belonging to terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday night in response to a rocket that was fired from the Strip towards Israel earlier in the evening and fell in an open area near Beersheba, according to the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit.
The strikes targeted sites near Gaza City in the northern Gaza Strip and near Deir Al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip, according to Palestinian reports. According to the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, the strikes targeted a site for manufacturing rockets and a military position. “The Hamas terrorist organization bears responsibility for what happens inside and outside of the Gaza Strip, and will bear the consequences of terrorist acts against Israeli citizens,” said the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit. (JPost / VFI News)
ISIS IN SINAI LEADER KILLED IN CLASH WITH EGYPTIAN FORCES: Leader of the ISIS terrorist organization in the Sinai Peninsula, Salim Salma Said Mahmoud al-Hamadin, was killed during clashes with Bedouin and Egyptian forces near Al-Barth, south of Rafah, and near the border with Israel, according to Arabic media. A bodyguard and escort were also detained.
Hamadin, referred to as the “most dangerous and oldest of the takfiri elements in the Sinai,” was responsible for the murder of hundreds of civilians and Egyptian soldiers, according to the reports. “Takfiri” is a word often used to refer to armed extremist groups, but originally referred to Muslim apostates or infidels. The targeting of the ISIS leader was conducted as a joint operation between the Egyptian military and the Sinai Tribal Union. (JPost / VFI News)
PALESTINIANS USING POSTAL BANK TO AVOID ISRAELI LAW: The Palestinian Authority (PA) will use the government’s postal bank to distribute “pay-for-slay” payments to Palestinian terrorists to avoid penalties by Israeli law that could be imposed on Palestinian banks that distribute the payments, Qadri Abu Bakr, the PLO’s Director for Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs, told the Turkish Anadolu Agency on Tuesday.
An Israeli law last year set a deadline of December 31, 2020, for banks to stop handling the payments and to permanently close the relevant accounts. The accounts were closed by the end of the year to avoid possible penalties. The PA paid terrorists three months’ worth of the monthly payments near the end of last year in preparation for the move. (JPost / VFI News)
FOUR ELECTIONS IN TWO YEARS COST ISRAEL $4.24 BILLION: The total cost to Israel’s economy of four national elections in the past two years is about NIS 14 billion (around $4.24b.), according to Dr. Roby Nathanson, CEO of the Macro Center for Political Economics.
Each election costs the economy about NIS 3.5 billion, according to the thinktank’s analysis compiled by economist Ohad Porat on behalf of Lahav, the Israel Chamber of Independent Organizations and Businesses. The cost of the day off from work for the election holiday is about NIS 2.6 billion, Nathanson said, due to lost productivity and sales for companies and wasted salary expenses. Because Election Day is a legal holiday, work that day is considered overtime and subject to 200% wages. Lahav and other organizations have long called for Israel to cancel the election holiday, claiming the cost to the economy is too great. (JPost / VFI News)
SUSPECT IN BOULDER SUPERMARKET MASSACRE WAS PARANOID, BROTHER SAYS: The 21-year-old man accused in the King Soopers grocery store massacre is a martial-arts buff with a history of violence whose own brother describes him as “very anti-social.”
Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa allegedly stalked through the Boulder supermarket on Monday afternoon with a rifle and a pistol, firing shot after shot, and stripping off his combat vest and clothing until surrendering to a SWAT team. He was charged with one count of first-degree murder for each of the 10 people killed: Denny Stong, 20; Neven Stanisic, 23; Rikki Olds, 25; Tralona Bartkowika, 49; Suzanne Fountain, 59; Teri Leiker, 51; Kevin Mahoney, 61; Lynn Murray, 62; Jody Waters, 65; and Boulder Police Officer Eric Talley, 51. Investigators said that after the wounded, bloodied suspect was hauled out of the crime scene, he asked for his mother. The motive for the nation’s second major mass shooting in a week remains unknown, but a family member said he believes the alleged shooter—a former high-school wrestler who was born in Syria but raised in Colorado—is mentally ill. Ali Aliwi Alissa, 34, told The Daily Beast in a phone interview that his brother was paranoid, adding that in high school he would talk about “being chased, someone is behind him, someone is looking for him.” (DB / VFI News)
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Blessings from Jerusalem,
Barry Segal with the Editorial Staff