The top 8 headlines you might have missed / Haaretz Newsline, December 23
From an assessment of the accessibility of illegal firearms in Israel to PM Netanyahu's new Arabic Twitter account, Haaretz brings you the top headlines you might have missed.
Could anything resembling the Sandy Hook school massacre in the United States happen in Israel? Some commentators maintain that Israel's relatively strict gun laws render it unlikely, but Israel Police statistics show that in 2011 there were 1,060 reported shootings involving the use of illegal weapons - and it is assumed that the actual number is even higher. The number for 2012, they say, will be even greater than that.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that Israel is getting ready for the downfall of President Bashar Assad's regime in Syria, and the implications this will have for the regime's chemical weapons cache.
A Palestinian taxi driver was shot on Sunday after attempting to run over an Israeli policeman in East Jerusalem. Both the Palestinian and the policeman suffered light wounds.
The second phase of Egypt's referendum on a draft constitution ended on Saturday with a majority voting in favor, unofficial reports said on Sunday. The Muslim Brotherhood, which propelled President Mohammed Morsi to power in a June election, said 64 percent of voters backed the charter after two rounds of voting that ended with a final ballot on Saturday. It cited an unofficial tally.
The Kinneret is expected to have risen 25 centimeters since heavy rains began on Thursday, its sharpest December rise in 20 years. The winter storm which hit the country over the past few days weakened on Saturday, but the rainfall has resulted in a monthly precipitation level far above the average for December.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu launched a Twitter account in Arabic last week. "Greetings from the holy city of Jerusalem," he tweeted his followers in Beirut, Baghdad and Cairo. "The aim of this account is to deepen the dialogue with you."
It has been a week and a half since regulations went into effect requiring customer service call centers in a number of industries to answer consumers' calls within three minutes. The new rule seems to have had a major effect, although some major businesses were found not to be complying when TheMarker placed some test calls.
The senior editor of a daily ultra-Orthodox newspaper was assaulted late Thursday night outside his Jerusalem home in what is thought to be a politically motivated attack. Witnesses said two men - one who appeared to be Haredi and a second whose face was covered - ambushed Hapeles editor in chief Nati Grossman. at the entrance of his home, in the capital's Bayit Vegan neighborhood.
Benjamin Netanyahu is considering merging the energy and environment ministries immediately after the January 22 election if he remains prime minister as expected, sources say. The Prime Minister's Office declined to comment, but the idea of combining the two ministries was raised by none other than the ministers themselves: Gilad Erdan at the Environmental Protection Ministry and Uzi Landau at Energy and Water Resources.