UPDATES 7 pm Israel time, Thursday, January 2 2014:
*Huge explosions have rocked Damascus and Beirut this afternoon.
It remains unclear at this moment who was targeted in either blast though the Lebanese explosion occurred in a Hezbollah neighborhood in southern Beirut. The latest reports are that the Lebanese blast was caused by a car bomb that has killed at least 10 and wounded another 30.
Meanwhile, over in Cairo, the Egyptian government has identified Hamas as the perpetrators of the attack on the Egyptian police station last week. In response, General Al-Sisi has ordered further tightening of the screws into and out of Gaza.
*Former PM Ariel Sharon’s condition continues to deteriorate, and his death is expected within hours. Though Sharon is still being treated with antibiotics for multiple infections, his family has decided not to treat his kidney failure with dialysis.
*The continuing efforts by virulently anti-Israel forces to employ the use of Jews to further their efforts has reached a new low in the Netherlands. The BDS movement in Amsterdam published this appalling picture on Twitter yesterday:
By the way, this technique of using Jews is one that your humble servant encounters continuously–though never quite as egregiously as the above.
Your humble servant is taking a break from the depressing Kerry-Netanyahu-Abbas circus this morning to report on a few non-political news stories that emanated out of Israel today.
*The speaker of the Knesset, Yuli Edelstein, launched his project to make the Knesset the “greenest Parliament in the world” yesterday.
Having cobbled together an extraordinary group of lawmakers from left to right (Hadash, Meretz, and Jewish Home), Edelstein outlined a plan to construct a 4500 square meter solar field to produce electricity for the Knesset, replace all light bulbs with LED bulbs, replace air conditioning systems with an energy center, and use desalinated water for all water uses inside and outside of the Knesset.
*Major Oshrat Bachar has been chosen as the first Israeli woman to lead a combat battalion in the IDF. Married to a career IDF officer and the mother of a seven year old daughter, Barchar will take command of the Eitam field intelligence battalion which operates along the Egyptian-Israeli Sinai border.
Your humble servant would like to say “Kol akovod!” to Major Bachar for her achievement.
*An interesting survey from the Israeli Globes organization shows that a change in diet is taking place among Israelis.
Some of the findings:
—25% of all Israelis indicate that they have reduced their consumption of meat
–10% of all Israelis have become vegetarians
—5% of all Israelis are now vegans
—13% of all Israelis who eat meat indicate they are seriously thinking thinking of becoming vegetarian or vegan
Your humble servant is no vegetarian, but four in his immediate family are. The simple fact is that the image of the heavy meat-eating Israeli is beginning to change as people become more aware of what they eat.