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Sea of Galilee Level Rises Amidst Late-Winter Storm

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14 Mar 2019
Sea of Galilee Level Rises Amidst Late-Winter Storm
A late-season storm hit the eastern Mediterranean region Wednesday evening bringing low temperatures, wind and rain to many parts of Israel, including the north where the Sea of Galilee reportedly rose 2 cm, bringing it 49 centimeters above the lower red line. The Water Authority announced that the ancient body of water still needs to rise another 3.71 meters to reach the top red line after a multi-year drought has vastly depleted it. Rain continued to fall in much of the country, including Jerusalem, throughout the day on Thursday.

US Signals Possible Shift in Longstanding Policy
The US State Department published its annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices Wednesday, including a section on Israel which, for the first time, described the Golan Heights, West Bank, Gaza Strip and eastern neighborhoods of Jerusalem without saying they were “occupied” by Israel but rather being under Israeli “control”. However, Michael Kozak of the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor told reporters Wednesday that “My understanding is that there is no change in our outlook or our policy vis-à-vis the territories and the need for a negotiated settlement there.”

“We decided not to use the term in the reports because it is not a human rights term and it was distracting,” he added. “What we’re trying to do is report on the human rights situation in those territories.... You’re just trying to find a way of describing the place that you are reporting on. ‘Occupied territory’ has a legal meaning to it. What they tried to do was shift more to just a geographic description. So we said Israel, Golan, West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem.”

However, several Israeli political leaders immediately issued statements thanking the Trump Administration for agreeing with Israel’s position that it will retain the Golan Heights indefinitely and to work towards annexation of the West Bank.

Iranian Human Rights Lawyer Sentenced to Prison, Lashes
In a move roundly condemned by Human Rights groups and governments around the world, the clerical regime which rules Iran has sentenced human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh to 38 years in prison and 148 lashes with a whip. The US State Department declared the sentence to be “beyond barbaric” while her husband, Reza Khandan has appealed to the United Nations to help his wife, who was convicted of charges including “'encouraging corruption and debauchery,” "colluding [and] propaganda against the system,” and “disrupting public order," as well as making statements that insulted the dignity of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Report Indicates High Levels of Poverty in Israel
The Adva Institute, a private Israeli think tank, issued a report Wednesday providing statistics on poverty in Israel, including an estimate that as many as 1 in 4 Israelis live at or just above the poverty line. “We found that the distance between those that are not poor but are near the poverty line is very small,” Dr. Shlomo Swirski, academic director of the Adva Center and author of the report, told The Jerusalem Post.

Today’s video shows the opening of a recent conference on anti-Semitism at the Institute for National Security Studies think tank at Tel Aviv University


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