The top 8 headlines you might have missed / Haaretz Newsline, May 5
From a second alleged Israeli strike on weapons shipments headed for Hezbollah, to a proposal by Finance Minister Yair Lapid to remove the VAT exemption for tourists, Haaretz brings you the top headlines from Israel, the Middle East, and the Jewish World.
Western intelligence sources said a second Israeli strike took place in Syria on the night between Saturday and Sunday, following a strike that reportedly took place on the night between Thursday and Friday. Both strikes, according to the sources, targeted a shipment of Fateh-110 surface-to-surface missiles to Hezbollah. Haaretz is following the developing events with a live blog.
Despite the tension on the northern border, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided not to postpone his trip to China, but delayed his flight by two hours in order to meet with Israel's security cabinet before his departure. While Netanyahu is in China, Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon will serve as acting prime minister.
Over the weekend, Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef explained his decision to install Aryeh Deri as head of the ultra-Orthodox political party, ending a stalemate of tense, joint leadership.
Four Palestinians and two Israelis were wounded late Saturday in clashes near the West Bank city of Ramallah.
The Israeli citizen who crossed the border into Lebanon illegally earlier this week returned to Israel on Sunday, the Israel Defense Forces said. Simon Saadati, 34, was handed over to Israel Police after crossing back over the border accompanied by the International Committee of the Red Cross, according to the IDF.
A contractor cut down 536 pine trees in Jerusalem’s Har Homa neighborhood to make way for a new development despite resident protests and without a valid permit from the Agriculture Ministry. Although Jerusalem municipality officials say the contractor was issued a renewed permit, the residents say that no such permit was ever shown to them, nor does it appear at the construction site.
The Tourism Ministry has criticized a proposal of Finance Minister Yair Lapid to cancel the value added tax exemption currently in place for overseas visitors. The move would likely bring another NIS 300 million to NIS 500 million into state coffers annually, but, the Tourism Ministry warns, discourage tourism, and that Israel is already an expensive country for tourists.
Former Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, the central witness in the fraud trial against Avigdor Lieberman, told Channel 2 Saturday that an atmosphere of terror reigned in the Foreign Ministry for years, and that ministry officials were still reluctant to speak out against their ex-boss Lieberman, since he may yet return to his post, which is being held for him.