Globe Briefs December 16

Globe Briefs December 16

Cut out traditional Chanukah doughnuts, health minister tells Israelis

Israel’s health minister called on the public to refrain from eating the traditional Chanukah treat sufganiyot.

“I call on the public to avoid eating sufganiyot, which are rich in fats,” Yaakov Litzman of the haredi Orthodox United Torah Judaism party said Sunday during a conference to promote healthy eating, Ynet reported. “You can find alternatives for everything nowadays and there is no need for us to fatten our children with sufganiyot, which are not in line with the principles of health and proper nutrition.”

Sufganiyot, or traditional jelly doughnuts, are deep fried and covered with powdered sugar, although variations include other fillings and toppings. They are ubiquitous in the weeks leading up to the holiday, with bakeries frying them on the street and selling them fresh to passers-by.

“If I had to say this today, I’d say sufganiyot out,” Litzman said. “You can eat them, of course, because it is part of the holiday’s customs, but there are alternatives.”

Netanyahu says he will pitch Trump at least 5 ways to undo Iran deal

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel said he would present to President-elect Donald Trump multiple options to dismantle the Iran nuclear deal.

“There are ways, various ways of undoing it,” Netanyahu said in an interview on CBS’ “60 Minutes” broadcast Sunday. “I have about five things in my mind.” He said he would not reveal the options until he speaks with Trump once he assumes office after Jan. 20.

Netanyahu vigorously opposed the pact exchanging sanctions relief for nuclear rollback reached last year between Iran and six major powers led by the United States, saying it paved the way to an Iranian nuclear weapon. President Barack Obama pressed the deal, calling it the only viable way to keep Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

Trump has said the deal is “bad” but has not committed to dismantling it. His pick for defense secretary, James Mattis, also opposed the agreement, but has said since its implementation a year ago that it should be enforced and not dismantled.

One of the challenges of dismantling the deal would be to persuade the international community to re-impose sanctions without showing that Iran is substantially violating its terms.

Congress authorizes anti-missile programs for Israel worth $600 million

Missile defense programs for Israel worth $600 million are included in a defense policy act approved by Congress.

The Senate approved the $619 billion National Defense Authorization Act on Thursday, a week after the U.S. House of Representatives passed the bill. It awaits President Barack Obama’s signature.

The bill approves joint U.S.-Israeli research and development, as well as procurements for Israel’s Iron Dome, David’s Sling and Arrow-3 anti-missile programs, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee said in a release praising the approval.

Other provisions for U.S.-Israel cooperation include combating tunnel warfare, which has emerged in recent years as a favored measure of the Hamas militants controlling the Gaza Strip.

Congress must separately approve the funding, which AIPAC urged it to do “as Israel faces increased security challenges.”

Missile defense funding is separate from the approximately $3 billion Israel receives annually from the United States, according to a 10-year agreement the U.S. and Israel signed in 2007. The agreement reached over the summer by the Obama administration and the Netanyahu government rolls missile defense funding into the next 10-year package, which will average $3.8 billion a year.

As part of the new agreement, Israel agreed for the next two years not to ask Congress to appropriate additional funds beyond the $3.8 billion.