Pence delays trip to Israel that was scheduled this week
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence has yet again postponed his trip to Israel and Egypt, this time until mid-January. He will stay in America for Tuesday’s expected vote on tax reform.
Israel had been eagerly expecting Pence this week, while Palestinians had called for “angry” demonstrations to protest President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on Dec. 6.
“We call for angry protests at the entrances to Jerusalem and in its Old City to coincide with the visit on Wednesday of U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and to protest against Trump’s decision,” Fatah said in a statement.
Pence was due to arrive Wednesday and stay until Friday. He also postponed his meeting with President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi in Egypt.
Teva announces drastic layoffs in Israel, worldwide
Israelis were highly focused on local news this week: the pending layoff of more than 1,700 workers at the Israel offices of Teva pharmaceuticals.
The company announced on Thursday that 14,000 employees would be laid off worldwide, 1,750 of them in Israel, according to Globes, an Israeli business news outlet. In solidarity with Teva workers in Israel, union workers staged half-day strikes on Sunday at government ministries, airports, banks and other places.
Since the announcement, politicians and labor unions have demanded Teva be forced to prevent layoffs, pay back tax benefits and that former CEOs pay back their bonuses.
The Times of Israel interviewed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s key economic adviser who warned that the government should not pressure the drug giant.
“If we put too much pressure on Teva, Teva can get up and leave Israel,” Prof. Avi Simhon, said. “Teva has paid, over the years, tens of billions of shekels in taxes. The company did not get a penny from the state.”
He noted that if Teva leaves, Israel would then get no taxes and another 5,000 workers would lose their jobs.
Teva is of the world’s largest drug makers and is one of Israel’s largest employers.
After photo with Miss Israel, Miss Iraq family flees their country
Miss Iraq and her family have been forced to flee their country after the beauty queen posted a picture of herself with Miss Israel last month at a competition in Las Vegas.
Iraq’s Sarah Idan and Israel’s Adar Gandelsman, representing their countries at the Miss Universe pageant in Las Vegas, took a selfie backstage which appeared on Idan’s Instagram page promoting “peace and love.” The pair sparked a social media backlash in Iraq.
“Your peace with Israel, which has burned the Arab world for its own interests, does not honor us…” read a comment by Isra al-Jabri.
Anger towards the image was so ardent that Idan’s family was forced to flee the country in fear, Gandelsman told Israeli TV. Idan said that “people made threats” against her and her family and that if she didn’t return home and take down the photos, they would remove her Miss Iraq title, that they would kill her.
“Out of fear, they left Iraq at least until the situation calms down,” she said, according to the Times of Israel. Idan now lives in the U.S.
Gandelsman said they “decided to post the picture to show that it’s possible to live together.” The photo also received more than 3,600 “likes.”
Such “controversies” are nothing new. In 2014 the Miss Israel contestant posted a photo of herself with Miss Lebanon, another country that does not have relations with Israel, provoking a similar uproar.
Israeli teen rewarded for discovering WhatsApp breach
An Israeli high schooler was rewarded for discovering a security breach in the instant messaging app WhatsApp, Ynet News reported.
Yuval Sprintz, 17, reported the breach to Facebook which owns WhatsApp. The social network fixed the breach and awarded Sprintz $1,250.
“I began showing an interest in information security at a very young age, and learned about it myself through the internet,” Sprintz said.
The teenager is in his last year of school while also working on a computer science degree at Haifa University. A few months ago, while preparing a software tool able to merge two WhatsApp groups he discovered a breach which allowed users to add fake and blocked phone numbers to groups.
“We’re grateful the matter was brought to our attention,” Facebook said. “We quickly fixed the breach and awarded the researcher with a prize through our Bug Bounty program. The vulnerability he found could have allowed users to add someone who was blocked to group chats. We took care of the matter and know of no previous attempts to exploit it.”
Sprintz said he would put the money toward a “powerful new computer” he recently purchased.