September 2016, Jerusalem. At the funeral of former president and prime minister Shimon Peres, U.S. President Barack Obama offers a tissue to Peres’ son Chemi. (all photos from Ashernet)
In reviewing the Jewish year 5777, one name stands out – Binyamin Netanyahu. Despite having to fend off accusations of various wrongdoings at home, the Israeli prime minister has had a successful diplomatic year.
This year, Israel welcomed U.S. President Donald Trump and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Modi’s visit marked the first time since the foundation of the state of Israel that a sitting Indian prime minister had visited. Meanwhile, Netanyahu was warmly received by China in March and, a month prior to that, by Australia. Closer to home, he established good relations with Greece and Cyprus.
In September 2016, Israel bade a final farewell to former president and prime minister Shimon Peres. His funeral was attended by many sitting and former heads of state, including former U.S. presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.
Last December, the Israel Air Force received its first F-35 fighter plane from the United States. In January, settlers in the West Bank outpost of Amona fought with police following a court order that declared Amona an illegal Jewish settlement.
On Jan. 8, four people were killed when a released Arab prisoner ran a truck into a group of people on the Armon Hanatziv Promenade in Jerusalem. This act of murder was referred to as the “truck intifada.” In Gaza, Hamas activists handed out sweets in celebration. This method of terror was soon to be repeated many times in countries all over the world.
At regular intervals during the year, announcements were made concerning important archeological finds all over Israel. Israeli law states that the Israel Antiquities Authority must be notified as soon as there is indication of archeological remains and that, only after specialist examination and, if necessary, excavation, can the development proceed.
The year also saw the celebration of the 50th year since the reunification of Jerusalem in the Six Day War ( June 1967).
It has been an outstanding year for Israel’s high-tech sector. In particular, 2017 saw the largest business deal in Israel’s history when Mobileye was bought by Intel for some $15 billion.
The Jewish year ended with a bit of confusion, as the region once again became unsettled as Iran attempts to get a stronger foothold in Syria, along with their continued efforts to arm Hezbollah.