Hawara terror

Israel News for December 31, 2015

Terror Updates
A Palestinian rammed his car into soldiers at the Hawara checkpoint south of Nablus today. One soldier was lightly injured. The terrorist was shot and killed.

Two Palestinian boys, aged 12 and 13, were seen wandering around downtown Jerusalem yesterday evening . Their behavior aroused suspicions of passersby and police who stopped them for questioning. The police officers noticed they had their hands in their pockets so they searched the boys and found knives in their possession. Under questioning the boys admitted that they were planning to carry out a terror attack in the area.

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Israeli ISIS
In a recording released this past weekend, ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi threatened to perpetrate attacks against “the Jews in Palestine”. He might have some resources in place inside Israel.

According to the Shin Bet, ISIS is making some inroads among Israeli Arab youths. Last week a 19 year old resident of the Bedouin town of Hura in Southern Israel was arrested in a raid on a Hamas cell in East Jerusalem that was planning suicide attacks. The man also admitted to be an ISIS supporter.

Two months ago, another Hura resident, Muhannad al-Okbi, carried out a shooting attack in Be’er Sheva’s central bus station in which an Israeli soldier was killed.

Over the past year, two other Hura residents were found to have ties to ISIS. Othman Abu Kian, a medical resident who worked at Ashkelon’s Barzilai Medical Center, traveled to Syria about a year ago to fight for ISIS and was killed in battle. In July, four teachers from Hura – also members of the Abu Kian clan – were arrested on suspicion of disseminating ISIS propaganda.

Israeli Arabs from the north have also been arrested on suspicion of involvement with ISIS in recent months. In October and November, five Nazareth residents were arrested on suspicion of undergoing weapons training in preparation for carrying out attacks inspired by ISIS.

In November a cell affiliated with ISIS was uncovered in Jaljulya after one member went to Syria to join the ISIS branch on the Syrian Golan Heights. And last week, two residents of villages near Nazareth were arrested for being in contact with ISIS. They had gone to Turkey in May to join the group’s fighters in Syria, but changed their minds at the last minute.

Security officials aren’t overly concerned about ISIS in Israel just yet, but if ISIS continues to make inroads into the Israeli Arab community, there could be much to fear.

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Arab Budget
Yesterday the government unanimously approved a 10 to 15 billion shekel budget to be used for Israeli Arab municipalities over the next five years. The money will be allocated primarily to education, transportation, housing, culture and sports.

Approval had been delayed when several Likud ministers, including Culture Minister Miri Regev and Science Minister Ofir Akunis, raised objections to the plan because it does not include benefits to municipalities with mixed Jewish and Arab populations. Despite the objections, cities with mixed populations such as Ramle, Lod, and Acre will not benefit from the initiative.

In a statement the PM said, “This is a significant addition meant to assist minority populations and to reduce gaps.” Arab legislators cautiously welcomed the initiative, but said it falls short of fully addressing the community’s needs.

Yousef Jabareen, an Arab Knesset member, said the plan was a step in “the right direction.” But he said, “it does not address all the socio-economic needs of the community and falls short of bridging the historical gaps between Jews and Arabs in Israel.” He also said that Arab lawmakers had lobbied for an investment twice as large as the amount reportedly approved.

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Empty Tax
Starting in 2016, Jerusalem’s municipal property tax rate for apartments remaining empty nine or more months of the year will be doubled to NIS 223.56 per sq.m. per year. That means that the tax on an empty 100-sq.m. apartment will be NIS 22,356 per year.

According to the municipality, there are 9,000 apartments in Jerusalem that are empty by the municipality’s definition: “an apartment that is unused at least nine months of the year.” The municipality determines that by examination the apartment’s electricity and/or water bills.

The extra high property tax is meant to encourage absentee owners to rent out their apartments, which would increase the housing supply available for young couples and families. The municipality says that it will use the tax revenue to promote cheap housing for young couple and families in the city.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said, “Doubling the municipal property tax on empty apartments is an important tool for adding thousands of apartments for young families in Jerusalem. Young people are the oxygen of Jerusalem. Adding thousands of empty apartments to the market will dramatically increase the supply of rental apartments for young people, and cause a decrease in rents in the city.”

The Tel Aviv municipality is planning to follow Jerusalem’s lead by doubling their “empty nest” tax rate too.

Given that most of the empty apartments tend to be owned by foreign owners as vacation destinations, a few thousand bucks a year in tax probably won’t compel them to rent them out. But it’s a good idea in theory, and you never know.

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Banned Novel
Israel’s Education Ministry has banned a novel that describes a love story between an Israeli woman and a Palestinian man from use by high schools around the country. The move comes even though the official responsible for literature instruction in secular state schools recommended the book for use in advanced literature classes, as did a professional committee of academics and educators, at the request of a number of teachers.

The book, “Gader Haya” (translated as “Borderline”) by Dorit Rabinyan, published in Hebrew year and a half ago, tells the story of Liat, an Israeli translator, and Hilmi, a Palestinian artist, who meet and fall in love in New York, until they part ways for her to return to Tel Aviv and he to the West Bank city of Ramallah. The book was among this year’s winners of the Bernstein Prize for young writers.

The Education Ministry said, “Professionals discussed the topic of including the work in the curriculum. After carefully examining all the considerations, and after weighting the advantages and disadvantages, the professionals decided to not include the work in the curriculum for five-unit literature studies,” referring to advanced literature classes.

For further reading click here.

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Terror attack thwarted

Two minors aged 12 and 13 from a Palestinian village north of Jerusalem were caught today in downtown Jerusalem carrying knives. According to the police investigation the two were planning to carry out a stabbing attack in the area.

The two boys were seen wandering around downtown Jerusalem at around 6pm this evening Israel time. Their behavior aroused suspicions of passersby and police who stopped them for questioning. The police officers noticed they had their hands in their pockets so they searched the boys and found knives in their possession. The two suspects were taken away for questioning.

The Riot Police commander in charge of the officers who caught the boys said “the professionalism of the police officers probably prevented a terror attack and innocent people from getting hurt”.

For further reading click here

Watch: PM Netanyahu vows never to leave Hebron

PM Netanyahu made a statement at a cabinet meeting today in response to the death of Genady Kofman who succumbed to his wounds yesterday after being stabbed by a Palestinian in Hebron on December 7.

In his statement the Prime Minister sent his condolences to the family and said “to all those who would uproot us from the Tomb of the Patriarchs – except for a few years in the previous century, we have been there for almost 4,000 years and we will stay there forever. You cannot defeat us.”

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Hebron terror victim dies

Genady Kofman, 41, a maintenance worker at the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron, was stabbed by a Palestinian as he left work on December 7.  He has been been fighting for his life ever since the attack but yesterday he succumbed to his wounds.

“Despite the difficult and stubborn struggle of various teams for three and a half weeks, he did not survive his serious wounds,” the hospital said in a statement.

Kofman, who made aliyah from the Ukraine 21 years ago, lived in Kiryat Arba and was a married father of two.

The terrorist, a 21 year old from Hebron, arrived at a bus stop where Kofman was standing and stabbed  him. Border Policemen stationed there saw the attack and shot the terrorist dead.

Malachi Levinger,  head of the Kiryat Arba Council,  spent the night at Kofman’s bedside. He said that “the family is in great pain. In recent days we prayed deeply for the recovery of our friend. We ask people to strengthen the family and the community in these difficult days.”

 

PM Netanyahu made a statement at a cabinet meeting today in response to Kofman’s death in which he sent condolences to the Kofman family and said, “I say to all those who would uproot us from the Tomb of the Patriarchs – except for a few years in the previous century, we have been there for almost 4,000 years and we will stay there forever. You cannot defeat us.”

Court permits lifting hands on Temple Mount

Jerusalem District Court judge Ram Vinograd reversed the decision of a lower court to ban activist Yehudi Etzion from visiting the Temple Mount for 15 days after he was arrested for lifting up his hands in the Temple Mount compound. The court ruled that lifting up the hands was a gesture of prayer, which is prohibited on the Temple Mount for non Muslims.

Judge Vinograd called the lower court’s ruling a “slippery slope”, claiming that if lifting the hands is prohibited then wearing a head covering or gazing upwards might also be prohibited, since they can also be considered acts relating to prayer. The judge said that the gesture was not sanctioned in the past, and that if police wanted to change the instructions on proper behavior at the site, it should have done so explicitly.

Yehuda Etzion raises hands on the Temple MountYehuda Etzion raises his hands on the Temple Mount

 

Etzion and other activists visited the Temple Mount on the fast of Tevet, which marks the day that the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem began in 588 BCE and led to the destruction of the first temple two years later. At a certain point they began to walk with their hands raised. A police officer told them to lower their hands but they refused and were than detained for questioning.

In the 1980s Etzion was sentenced to seven years in prison for his involvement in a plot to blow up the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount. Since his release he has been working to allow Jews to pray on the Temple Mount and has had repeated confrontations with the police.

During court proceedings the police claimed that Etzion posed a threat to public security. They explained that the situation on the Temple Mount is explosive yet they succeeded in extracting the Temple Mount from the current wave of terror.

Etzion said, after the ruling, ”From the start it was clear to me that even under the shameful status quo which bans prayer at the Temple Mount, there’s nothing wrong with lifting the hands upwards,”

Honenu, the group which filed the appeal on Etzion’s behalf, praised the ruling and said it “hopes police will learn from the judge’s statements and stop harassing Jews coming to the Temple Mount.

For further reading click here

Israel News for December 30, 2015

Victim Dies
Genady Kofman, 41, a maintenance worker at the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron, was stabbed by a Palestinian as he left work on December 7. Yesterday he died of his wounds. Kofman, who made aliyah from the Ukraine 21 yrs. ago, lived in Kiryat Arba and was a married father of two.

PM Netanyahu made a statement at a cabinet meeting today in response to Kofman’s death saying, “I say to all those who would uproot us from the Tomb of the Patriarchs – except for a few years in the previous century, we have been there for almost 4,000 years and we will stay there forever. You cannot defeat us.”

For further reading click here.

Supermarket Attack
A Jewish worker at a supermarket in Beit Shemesh was arrested yesterday for attacking and injuring an Arab co-worker. The Jewish worker was recorded on a security camera as he punched, kicked and attacked the Arab with a knife. The attack is suspected by police to be nationalistically motivated.

For further reading click here.

Election Moves
The primary for the leadership of the PM Netanyahu’s Likud party will be moved ahead to February, as requested by the PM. The early primary will most probably cement Netanyahu’s position as party leader, since no other candidate will have sufficient time to mount a competitive campaign. Nice move.

For further reading click here.

Uplifted Hands
Jerusalem District Court judge Ram Vinograd reversed the decision of a lower court to ban activist Yehudi Etzion from visiting the Temple Mount for 15 days after he was arrested for lifting up his hands in the Temple Mount compound. The lower court ruled that lifting up the hands was a gesture of prayer, which is prohibited on the Temple Mount for non Muslims.

Judge Vinograd called the lower court’s ruling a “slippery slope”, claiming that if lifting the hands is prohibited then wearing a head covering or gazing upwards might also be prohibited, since they can also be considered acts relating to prayer. The judge said that the gesture was not sanctioned in the past, and that if police wanted to change the instructions on proper behavior at the site, it should have done so explicitly.

Etzion said, after the ruling, ”From the start it was clear to me that even under the shameful status quo which bans prayer at the Temple Mount, there’s nothing wrong with lifting the hands upwards,”

Honenu, the group which filed the appeal on Etzion’s behalf, praised the ruling and said it “hopes police will learn from the judge’s statements and stop harassing Jews coming to the Temple Mount.”

Upshot
This case just highlights the absurdity of the “status quo” regulations which prohibit non Muslim prayer on the Temple Mount in any form. Besides being clearly discriminatory, the rules are just impossible to enforce, since the police are supposed to decide what is and isn’t considered to be prayer.

Even though the idea of Jews barring Jews (and other non Muslims) from praying at their holiest site is reprehensible, if the government feels that there are valid security and political reasons for doing so, the regulations should only apply to organized prayer. But preventing an individual from whispering a prayer, without using a prayerbook, is just beyond reason. Where does it end? The judge in the Etzioni case has at least set some boundaries.

For further reading click here.

Video Arrest
Police yesterday arrested the groom from the wedding where the infamous video was filmed which showed religious settlers dancing and singing while brandishing knives and guns and stabbing a photo of the child killed in the Duma arson attack. Police also arrested a 50 year old guest seen dancing with a weapon in the video and four other guests, including two minors.

A judge today decided to release all of those arrested on bail, despite protests by police.

For further reading click here.

Netanyahu Bugged
According to a Wall Street Journal report, the U.S maintained National Security Agency surveillance on Israeli officials, including PM Netanyahu, during nuclear negotiations with Iran.

The report also reveals how Israel’s military intelligence Unit 8200 and the NSA shared information and technology, but also spied on one another, in what the report said stoked mutual suspicions and fostered what a U.S. official described as “the most combustible mixture of intimacy and caution that we have.”

Bottom line: Israel and the US spy on each other. Now let’s move on.

For further reading click here.

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Ehud Olmert

Israel News for December 29, 2015

Court Appeals
In March of 2014, Tel Aviv District Court Judge David Rozen convicted former Jerusalem mayor and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of accepting bribes when he served as mayor of Jerusalem in exchange for helping the developers of the Holyland Park residential project in the city. Thirteen other government officials and businessmen were also convicted, including former Jerusalem mayor Uri Lupolianski.

Rozen found Olmert guilty of two bribery charges and said he accepted 560,000 shekels ($160,000) from developers of the Holyland project. Prosecutors had alleged he received more than 800,000 shekels, but he was acquitted on two other corruption charges.

Olmert was sentenced to six years in prison, and fined 1 million shekels. The amount of the bribes he was said to have received, 560,000 shekels, was also ordered to be confiscated from him. Lupolianski was convicted of seven counts of accepting bribes for donations given to the nonprofit organization he founded and had run, Yad Sarah. Lupolianski was sentenced to six years in prison.

Today the High Court of Justice accepted an appeal by Olmert, acquitted him on the main bribery charge and reduced his prison sentence to 18 months instead of 6 years. Uri Lupolianski sentence was reduced from 6 years to 6 months of community service due to health reasons. Many of the other convicted men’s sentences were also reduced by the court.

After the decision on his appeal, Olmert said: “A great weight was lifted from my heart when the Supreme Court ruled in its decision that I was acquitted on the central charge that was the Holyland affair, and ruled that I am innocent in this affair.”

Unfortunately for him, he was still convicted on a lesser bribery charge and sent to prison for a year and a half. Nothing to be proud of. On the bright side, Olmert is expected to ask President Rivlin for a pardon.

For further reading click here.

Northern Tensions
Tensions are escalating on Israel’s northern border in the aftermath of the killing of Samir Kuntar last week, and following Hassan Nasrallah’s speech on Sunday in which he promised to retaliate against Israel for the killing. “The response for the assassination of Kuntar is coming, there’s no doubt” he said in a ceremony marking a week since Kuntar was killed.

Farmers on Israel’s northern border say they have not experienced this level of security tensions since the second Lebanon War in 2006. For the first time in nearly ten years they are not allowed to work their lands situated close to the border, the rear gates of their settlements have been locked, roads have been closed and there is a massive increase in military and police presence.

For further reading click here.

Suspect Released
A Petach Tikva court yesterday released one of the suspects in the Duma arson case to house arrest. The suspect, an 18 year old Israeli, was arrested a month ago by the Shin Bet and was blocked from meeting with his lawyer for 18 days. After a month long interrogation, the police could not find enough evidence to make a case against him. But they did discover that he might have taken part in beating a Palestinian man two years ago, which is why he’ll remain under house arrest for the time being.

The Honenu organization, which is representing the released youth, said:

“This is a scandal. After 29 days of harsh interrogation by the Shin Bet, shaking, sleep deprivation, and physical and emotional abuse, it turns out that the only claim against this teenager is that he was involved in a brawl with Bedouin nearly two years ago. We hope that an investigative committee will be established to examine the conduct of the Shin Bet and the State of Israel’s other enforcement authorities in this case.”

The youth’s family said: “After 30 days in which our son suffered brutal abuse that included humiliation and harsh violence it turns out that he is accused of involvement in a brawl from two years ago. All the Shin Bet justifications for abusing our son as if he was a suspect in the Duma murder proves our claims that the Shin Bet has been lying and deceiving the legal system and the public.”

For further reading click here.

First Lady
Sara Netanyahu is scheduled to be questioned by police on Thursday over her involvement in what has become known as the Prime Minister’s residences affair.

The affair mainly consists of the suspicion that the Netanyahus presented payments to service providers at their private home in Caesarea as though they related to their official residence in Jerusalem, and thus obtained state funding for their private expenses. In one instance, garden furniture reportedly purchased for the official residence was used at the Caesarea private home. Another incident being investigated concerns work done by an electrician at the Caesarea home.

The Netanyahus claim that they had no knowledge of the wrongdoings and that the residence manager made all of the purchasing decisions. That seems reasonable enough.

And if they did use the garden furniture at their private home, does anyone here really care?

For further reading click here.

Billions Lost
Since the start of the recent wave of terror the Palestinian economy has has lost five billion shekels according to Azami Abd A-Rahman, the official responsible for economic policy in the Palestinian Ministry of Economy.

He said the hardest hit areas include East Jerusalem, Hebron, Ramallah and Nablus. He added that the tourist industry lost hundreds of millions of shekels because thousands of foreign tourists cancelled their trips to East Jerusalem and Bethlehem for Christmas and the New Years.

A-Rahman also claimed that due to the increased violence in the West Bank over 6,000 Palestinians were hospitalized, which cost the Palestinian Authority a quarter of a million shekels. In addition the increase in checkpoints in the West Banks and the block on trade with Gaza cost an additional two million shekels. He also said that the security situation led to a decrease in investments and loans available in the Palestinian Authority.

Perhaps it’s time to curb the violence?

For further reading click here.

ISIS Fears
According to a German reporter who spent 10 days with ISIS last year in Iraq and Syria, while the Islamic State doesn’t think much of the US and Russian military, they’re pretty darn scared of the IDF.

Jürgen Todenhöfer, 75 and a former member of the German Parliament, spent time with ISIS doing research for his recently published book, “My 10 Days in the Islamic State.” Regarding the ISIS view of Israel he said, “They think they can defeat U.S. and U.K. ground troops, who they say they have no experience in city guerrilla or terrorist strategies. But they know the Israelis are very tough as far as fighting against guerrillas and terrorists”

“They are not scared of the British and the Americans, they are scared of the Israelis and told me the Israeli army is the real danger. We can’t defeat them with our current strategy. These people [the IDF] can fight a guerrilla war.”

Todenhöfer described the stages of ISIS’ plan for world domination: First to conquer all the Middle East, except for Israel. Then to conquer the West and the rest of the world.

So it looks like Israel might not have to get directly involved in fighting ISIS for a while. Hopefully never.

For further reading click here.

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ayelet shaked

Israel News for December 28, 2015

Terror Attacks
Yesterday, two Palestinians approached IDF soldiers at the Huwwarah checkpoint, south of Nablus in the West Bank, and began stabbing a soldier in the face. The other soldiers shot and killed both terrorists. The soldier was lightly wounded and another soldier was accidentally wounded in the shooting.

For further reading click here.

Brazil Crisis
Back in August the PM appointed former settlement leader Dani Dayan as ambassador to Brazil. But Brazil has refused to accept his appointment, a necessary diplomatic requirement, because Dayan lives in Ma’aleh Shomron, which is beyond the Green line, and because he was the former head of the Yesha Council, the umbrella organization of the Jewish Communities of Judea and Samaria.

In an interview Dayan compared Brazil’s refusal to accept his appointment with the EU’s discriminatory labeling regulations. He said, “I think that just as Israel reacted sharply about labeling products, it has to react to labeling people. Labeling people is worse than labeling goods.”

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely sharply reprimanded Brazil, warning that not approving the ambassador would lead to a diplomatic crisis between the countries. The former Israeli Ambassador returned to Israel last week, so there is currently no Israeli Ambassador in Brazil. Hotovely said that Israel has no intention of replacing Dayan and that Israel will simply be represented by its number two diplomat in the country.

One unlikely supporter of Dayan’s appointment is the Brazilian military. A Brazilian newspaper quoted a senior Brazilian army official as saying that continuing to hold up the appointment showed a “lack of geopolitical vision and objectivity of action. For the armed forces, it is a very sensitive situation, since our partnership with Israeli hi-tech firms is huge.”

For further reading click here.

Full disclosure
Israel’s cabinet gave preliminary approval to a bill proposed by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked that requires nonprofit organizations that receive more than half of their funding from foreign governments or entities to disclose the sources of their funds in reports and in parliamentary discussions. In addition, their activists will be required to wear special tags when working in the Knesset.

The bill will primarily affect left leaning organizations, which tend to get significant funding from European governments or government funded organizations. In contrast, right wing groups tend to rely on wealthy private donors, who are exempt from the measures under the bill.

Critics of the bill say that besides harming the left wing groups, the bill will also further strain relations with the EU, that have already suffered as a result of the new EU labeling regulation.

Israel’s Army Radio said Sunday that it had obtained an internal European Union document quoting the EU ambassador as telling Shaked that her bill would undermine Israel’s image as a democratic and pluralistic country. The ambassador was reported as saying the bill is better suited for despotic regimes since it aims to discriminate against government critics.

Peace Now, a left wing antI-settlement group, said,”If the Minister of Justice is truly interested in transparency, she must first and foremost promote legislation requiring right wing organizations to expose the millions they receive from private donors abroad and from the state budget.”

Proponents of the bill say that foreign governments that fund Israeli nonprofit groups are basically trying to meddle in Israeli affairs. Matan Peleg, director of the right wing Im Tirtzu group, said European organizations “give small organizations in Israel super power.”

The bill is expected to pass in the Knesset.

For further reading click here.

Security Breach
Yair Ramati, the head of the Defense Ministry’s Homa Directorate and responsible for high profile projects such as the Iron Dome and the Arrow missile defense system, has been fired for storing classified materials on his personal computer. The Defense Ministry is investigating whether any damage was caused to national security as a result of the security breach.

The decision to fire Ramati came as a shock to many in the Defense Ministry, mostly due to his reputation as a world-renowned expert in the field of rocket engineering and for his long-standing service in developing the field of Israeli aerial security. The timing of the firing is also sensitive: Ramati just led successful testing of the Arrow 3 and of the David’s sling missile defense system.

Sailing Slam
Last year Israelis won gold medals in both the boys and girls World Sailing competition. This year they will not. That’s because they won’t be attending the competition being held in Malaysia.

It seems that the Malaysians have placed conditions on the Israeli team that are clearly unacceptable. They stipulated that Israeli competitors would not be allowed to compete under the Israeli flag and wouldn’t be allowed to use or wear any symbol identifiable with Israel. In addition, the Malaysians haven’t yet approved visas for the Israeli team.

Israel filed a complaint with the World Sailing association. The organization is investigating. In a statement their spokesman said:

“World Sailing is committed to ensuring participation in our sport by competitors from all nations, and is taking this issue seriously. A member of the World Sailing Executive is on route to Malaysia to investigate this issue and is seeking clarification from the Malaysian Organizing Authority. World Sailing expects the organizing authority of its events to allow sailors from all nations to compete on an equal basis. This expectation is made clear in the bid process and is set out in the contractual documentation governing our events.”

Are the Malaysians going to get away with depriving Israel of the gold they deserve? Probably.

For further reading click here.

Name Game
Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics has released its first ever report on baby names. According to the report, “The most common name among those born in 2014 was Mohammed.This name was very common among the population because it is given to one out of every seven Muslim boys. In comparison, the most common names among Jews and Muslim girls were given to one out of 40 children.”

There were 2,650 Mohammeds born 2014 vs. 2,000 Noams, 400 of which were girls. Other popular Jewish names were Ori, David, Yosef, Eitan, Ariel, Daniel, Yonatan and Moshe. Some of the names are not gender specific, for example, 1,300 boys and 500 girls were named Ariel. Ori and Daniel (or Danielle – in Hebrew they’re spelled the same) were also names given to both boys and girls.

For the fifteenth year in a row the top Jewish female name was Noa. Tamar came in a close second, followed by Shira, Maya, Yael, Adel, Talia, Avigail, Ayala and Sarah.

Name popularity depended on geographic location too. In Jerusalem and Bnei Brak, cities with huge Haredi populations, the most popular Jewish girls’ names were Sarah and Esther, with Noa not even cracking the top ten. Adel was number one in Ashdod, Bat Yam, Netanya, Be’er Sheva and Ashkelon for girls. Maya was first for girls in Tel Aviv, Haifa, Rishon Letzion and Ramat Gan. The most popular Arab girl’s name was Maryam.

Yosef was the most common in Jerusalem and Bnei Brak, while Noam was first in Ashkelon, Bat Yam, Holon and Be’er Sheva and Ori was the winner in Tel Aviv and Modi’in.

For further reading click here.

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israel terror attacks

Israel News for December 24, 2015

Breaking News
Early this morning a Palestinian stabbed and wounded a male and female security guard, both in their mid 20’s, near the entrance to Ariel in Samaria. One of the guards shot and killed the terrorist.

At a checkpoint near Hebron today, a Palestinian tried to stab soldiers with a screwdriver. He was shot and killed before he could cause any harm.

Shortly before noon today, a Palestinian rammed his car into a soldier near Geva Binyamin, not far from the Qalandiya refugee camp. The soldier was very lightly wounded and did not require evacuation to hospital. The attacker, identified as Sam Abu Guelleh, 20, from Qalandiya, was shot and killed by soldiers at the scene.

For further reading click here.

Jerusalem Terror
At around 1:00pm yesterday, two Arab terrorists arrived at the Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City and began stabbing Jews. Two female Border Police officers (Mishmar Hagvul) noticed people running from the scene and understood that there was a terror attack in progress. They ran to the scene and shot both terrorists, killing one and wounding the other. In a tragic accident, one innocent Israeli civilian was also shot in the gunfire and died shortly after.

Two Israelis were stabbed in the attack. Rabbi Reuven Biermacher, 45, from Kiryat Yearim was killed. He left behind a wife and seven children. Rabbi Biermacher was returning home from his job as a rabbi at the Aish Hatorah Spanish Program when he was murdered. The other man was seriously wounded. The man accidentally killed by the police gunfire was Ofer Ben-Ari, 46, a married father of two from Jerusalem.

The Police Commander of the Jerusalem District stated that the police officers acted bravely and professionally, according to their training, and they prevented a much larger attack.

The terrorists, were both 20 yrs old and from the Qalandia refugee camp near Jerusalem. They had previously served time in Israeli prisons before being released.

For further reading click here.

Hamas Busted
Security forces uncovered a Hamas terror cell in the West Bank that was planning a string of large-scale suicide terrorist attacks against Israeli targets. The joint Shin Bet, IDF and Israel Police operation has so far led to the arrest of 25 people, mostly students from the University of Abu Dis in East Jerusalem.

Interrogation of the suspects revealed that the cell was run by 24 year old Ahmad Jamal Musa Azam from Qalqilya, who was recruited a few months ago by Hamas in the Gaza strip to set up a militant infrastructure to carry out bombing attacks.

Azam was in constant contact with his handlers in Gaza, who trained him to make explosive belts and other explosive devices. He recruited several other activists who studied with him at the University of Abu Dis to buy raw material to make explosives, rent apartments, enlist suicide bombers and smuggle them into Israel. Among the recruits was a 19 year old Bedouin-Israeli citizen and a 22 year old resident of the Old City of Jerusalem.

This is the most significant terrorist cell that has emerged during the recent wave of terror attacks, most of which have been carried out by lone-wolf terrorists.

For further reading click here.

PLO in Washington
Did you know that there’s a PLO office in Washington, DC? Well, there’s been one there since 1994, when a waiver was created to allow it to remain open.

In a letter dated Dec. 18, 32 members of Congress including Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz, called on Secretary of State John Kerry to revoke the waiver and close down the office, because Palestinian leaders are encouraging and inciting violence against Israelis.

The letter said, “The United States government has an obligation to publicly denounce the PLO’s actions and should immediately revoke its waiver. Allowing the PLO to maintain an office in Washington, DC provides no benefit to the United States or the peace process.”

The State Department spokesperson confirmed receiving the letter and said that Kerry would respond to it.

Can you guess what his answer will be?

For further reading click here.

Disturbing Video
A very disturbing video was shown on Israel’s TV Channel 10 that was taken at a wedding in Jerusalem of far right extremists of the religious settler community. The video shows dozens of wedding guests singing and dancing while holding up knives and rifles, while one of them stabs a photo of Ali Dawabsha, the Palestinian child killed in the Duma arson attack.

MK Bezalel Smotrich of Bayit Yehudi, one of the more far right members of Knesset and supporter of the settler community, condemned the video saying, ““That kind of twisted dancing with pictures of a baby who was murdered in his sleep reflects a dangerous ideology that has lost all traces of humanity. Such an ideology, he added has no place in the world of religious Zionism and is not a legitimate part of the dialogue in the democratic state of Israel.”

PM Netanyahu wrote on his Facebook page, “The shocking photographs which aired this evening show the true face of a group that poses a danger to Israeli society and Israel’s security. We are not ready to accept people who disavow the state’s laws and do not see themselves as subordinate to those laws.These pictures attest to just how important a strong Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) is to the security of all of us.”

Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid had this to say, “These people are not Jews. They have lost all semblance of humanity. These people are a danger to the State of Israel and we must fight them just as we do Hamas or Hezbollah. But in order to win we must understand that these people did not evolve in a vacuum. They have behind them rabbis, ideology and politics.”

Israel’s Chief Rabbi David Lau said, “These kind of acts are not the Jewish way. They are a rejection and repudiation of the values of the Jewish people, the Torah of Israel and the uniqueness of the Jewish people. Parents and educators must take on the mission, together with the law enforcement agencies, to do everything to prevent identification with such appalling acts of terror and murder.”

The Judea and Samaria Police said that an investigation was launched several days ago “into the many serious offenses displayed in the wedding video.” The police apparently had several undercover officers at the wedding, who saw a lot more than was on the video.

For further reading click here and here.

Abbas Greetings
Palestinian Authority President Abbas released an official Christmas message yesterday in which he called Israel an apartheid regime not interested in a two state solution.

He went on to accuse Israel and Israelis of all sorts of crimes and illegal activities and stressed that there can be no Palestinian state without Jerusalem as its capital. He asked the international community to intervene to protect the Palestinian people.

On the bright side, Abbas condemned ISIS and supported action against them.

Abbas also said, “Jesus is a symbol for all Palestinians. Palestine and its people take pride in being the birthplace of Christianity and having the oldest Christian community in the world.”

I’m pretty sure Jesus would not have condoned terror attacks. But in any case, a question for our Christian readers: who would you rather have in control of your holy places — Israel or the Palestinians?

Wishing all of our Christian readers a very happy and peaceful Christmas holiday.

For further reading click here.

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Hamas terror cell busted

Security forces uncovered a Hamas terror cell in the West Bank that was planning a string of large-scale suicide terrorist attacks against Israeli targets. The joint Shin Bet, IDF and Israel Police operation has so far led to the arrest of 25 people, mostly students from the University of Abu Dis in East Jerusalem.

 

Interrogation of the suspects revealed that the cell was run by 24 year old Ahmad Jamal Musa Azam from Qalqilya, who was recruited a few months ago by Hamas in the Gaza strip to set up a militant infrastructure to carry out bombing attacks.

 

Azam was in constant contact with his handlers in Gaza, who trained him to make explosive belts and other explosive devices. He recruited several other activists who studied with him at the University of Abu Dis to buy raw material to make explosives, rent apartments, enlist suicide bombers and smuggle them into Israel. Among the recruits was a 19 year old Bedouin-Israeli citizen and a 22 year old resident of the Old City of Jerusalem.

 

 

explosives

Explosives confiscated during the investigation

About a month ago Givati forces uncovered an explosives laboratory in Abu Dis and in a Ramallah store. They found mostly raw chemical materials but the security forces said they have not seen explosives of this scope and quality in the West Bank in a long time. Consequently Duvdevan special forces and the Border Police’s counter-terrorism unit raided the homes of cell members who were arrested and interrogated by Shin Bet.

This is the most significant terrorist cell that has emerged during the recent wave of terror attacks, most of which were carried out by lone terrorists. without organizational affiliation. Some of the 25 detainees are known to security authorities and more arrests are expected.