IDF Tanks

Israel News for 10-31-17

Terror Tunnel
The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit confirmed yesterday that the Southern Command carried out a controlled detonation of a tunnel located near the border fence with Gaza. The terror tunnel penetrated deep into Israeli territory. IDF Spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis stated, “we now have possession of the tunnel, and it no longer constitutes a threat.”

At least 7 terrorists from Islamic Jihad and Hamas were killed and 7 wounded in the tunnel destruction, including senior commanders of both organizations. Some of those killed had rushed in to the tunnel to rescue those who were hit by the initial blast, but they were then killed by secondary explosions caused by ammunition and explosives stored in the tunnel.

The IDF claims that its intention was solely to destroy the tunnel and not to kill the terrorists. [Sometimes things just work out on their own.]

Education Minister Naftali Bennett scolded the IDF for its “apology” regarding killing the terrorists. He tweeted, ”We must not apologize for the successful elimination of terrorists. These were terrorists who were digging a tunnel into Israel that was intended to kill Israeli women and children.” He added, “The IDF’s goal is to defeat the enemy, and this is how we should continue.”

Israel was in contact with Egypt following the incident to assure the Egyptian government and military that the destruction of the tunnel was a purely defensive measure which was carried out entirely within Israeli territory.

An IDF official observed, “This is the first time we’ve seen a tunnel dug by Islamic Jihad, so it is something new.”

PA President Abbas’ Fatah party condemned the tunnel destruction, calling it, “the Israeli crime directed against our people in Gaza, which resulted in the deaths of eight civilians and the wounding of 14 others.” Hamas and Islamic Jihad also condemned the attack.

Anyone with half a brain and a hatred of terror praised the destruction of a tunnel whose sole purpose was to allow terrorists to enter Israel and murder innocent people.

Lechaim! (Cheers, To Life)

For further reading click here.

Peace Process
Despite the Israeli decision to not negotiate with the Palestinians, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon met Palestinian PM Rami Hamdallah in his Ramallah offices on Sunday. Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Maj.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai and Finance Ministry Director-General Shai Babad also attended. Head of Palestinian intelligence Majid Faraj and Minister for Civilian Affairs Hussein a-Shikeh attended for the Palestinians.

President Donald Trump’s envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt tweeted a photo from the encounter, writing, “Important progress last night between Israeli & Palestinian sides led by @RamiHamdalla & @KahlonMoshe & Gen Mordechai of @Cogat_Israel. Meaningful steps forward on key economic issues – revenues, customs, and investment – that help support the search for peace.”

Greenblatt recently traveled to Cairo, Amman, Jerusalem, and Ramallah and met with officials, and he will have further meetings in the coming weeks.

For further reading click here.

Rachel’s Tomb
Yesterday (the 11th day of the Hebrew month of Cheshvan) marked the traditional anniversary (Yarzeiht) of the death of our biblical matriarch Rachel, who is buried in Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem. Tens of thousands of Jews visited the tomb yesterday to pray.

Rachel is the only one of the matriarchs and patriarchs to not be buried in the Cave of Machpelah in Hebron. Tradition teaches that she was buried on the road leading to Jerusalem to comfort her children when they would be sent into exile and cary and pray for their triumphant return to their homeland.

The Prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 31:14) says,
A voice is heard on high,
Wailing, bitterly crying. Rachel weeps for her children. She refuses to be consoled for they are gone.

Then he tells God’s answer:

“Restrain your voice from weeping, hold back your eyes from their tears. For your work has its reward and your children shall return to their border.”

To read more about Rachel’s Tomb click here.

To listen to the words of Jeremiah in a beautiful song, click here.

Israel News for 10-30-17

Settlers Protest
Over 2,000 people protested outside the Prime Minister’s Residence on Sunday evening, demanding funding for new security measures and bypass roads for settlements in Judea and Samaria (West Bank).

Yossi Dagan, the head of the Samaria Regional Council addressed the PM saying, “The security of half a million residents in Judea and Samaria cannot be forfeited! We’re here because we’re done with promises and spins. Mr. Prime Minister, we demand actions. We’re here in our thousands to say: With promises, you can’t prevent attacks. With promises you can’t build the Land of Israel.”

Welfare and Labor Minister Haim Katz declared that “Bypass roads and preventative measures are not luxuries. We must provide them, the sooner the better. I call on the prime minister, who wants the security of the citizens, to gather the government and pass the necessary budget as soon as possible.”

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely told protesters that Netanyahu has committed to her to bolster security by allocating a budget for the measures the settlers are demanding.

Settler leaders have set up a protest tent outside the PM’s residence, which has been visited my several MK’s pleading their support.

For further reading click here.,7340,L-5035580,00.html

UN Follies
One of the main items on the agenda of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) meeting tomorrow in Geneva will be the discrimination against women in Israel. The Human Rights Council’s members currently include Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt. Enough said.

For further reading click here.

Border Fire
An IDF vehicle patrolling near the security fence along the Sinai border was fired upon from the Egyptian side of the fence. No soldiers were injured. The IDF said that the incident is believed to be a spillover of gunfire from Egypt. ISIS affiliated terror groups are active in the area.

For further reading click here.

UK for 2 States
British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson wrote an op-ed in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Balfour Declaration in which he praised Israel for its achievements and pledged Britain’s continued support.

He also expressed the need for a Palestinian state. He wrote, ”I see no contradiction in being a friend of Israel—and a believer in that country’s destiny—while also being deeply moved by the suffering of those affected and dislodged by its birth. The vital caveat in the Balfour Declaration—intended to safeguard other communities—has not been fully realised. I have no doubt that the only viable solution to the conflict resembles the one first set down on paper by another Briton, Lord Peel … and that is the division of two states for two people.”

Regarding the borders of that state he said, “The borders should be based on the lines they stood on June 4, 1967—the eve of the Six-Day War—with equal land swaps to reflect the national, security, and religious interests of the Jewish and Palestinian peoples.”

Johnson concluded with, “It is Israelis and Palestinians who must negotiate the details and write their own chapter in history. A century on, Britain will give whatever support we can in order to close the ring and complete the unfinished business of the Balfour Declaration.”

For further reading click here.

Judokas Return
The Israeli National Judo Team returned from the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam tournament with five medals including one gold and four bronze. The team was forced to hide its identity during the tournament and compete under the flag of the International Judo Federation. The Tal Flicker won the god medal in his weight category, he sang Hatikvah while the anthem of the International Judo Federation was played.

Minister of Sport Miri Regev greeted the team at the airport and they all sang Hatikvah together.

For further reading click here.

jewish divorce israel

Israel News for 10-26-17

Shabbat Ruling
In her final ruling as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Miriam Naor ruled today that Tel Aviv businesses may continue to operate on Shabbat. The court rejected a petition to prevent the Tel Aviv municipality from granting dispensations to supermarkets allowing them to operate on Shabbat.

Health Minister Yakov Litzman (UTJ) blasted the ruling saying, “The decision of outgoing Supreme Court Chief Justice Miriam Naor is in line with her traditional of anti-religious rulings. This is her ‘parting gift’ and a callous attempt on the part of the Supreme Court judges to harm Israel’s Jewish character, while causing moral injustice.”

He added, “This ruling tramples on the rights of thousands of workers, harms their livelihoods, and prevents them from enjoying their basic right to a day of rest with their families. All of the religious and haredi representatives agree that we must stop the anti-religious floodgates which the Supreme Court opened with this ruling. We will fight to fix the injustice in this ruling.”

Meanwhile, Defense Minster Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) praised the ruling saying, “This was a worthy decision. There is no reason the State of Israel should harm the character of Tel Aviv and force all its residents – and most of Israel’s citizens – to live a lifestyle which is not theirs and which they do not want.”

For further reading click here.

People Against Immunity
According to a recent poll conducted for Yedioth Ahronoth, 63% of Israelis are against the proposed Likud bill that would grant the PM total immunity from any police investigations. Only 31% support the bill. Within the Likud itself, the party membership is split down the middle regarding the bill. The Attorney General and State Prosecutor have both expressed their opposition to the bill.

In light of recent opposition from coalition partners Kulanu and Bayit Yehudi, discussion of the bill in the Ministerial Committee for Legislation has been postponed for a month. Many Kulanu MKs have indicated that they will vote against the bill.

Since it is an amendment to Basic Law: The Government, the bill requires a majority of 61 MKs to pass. Without the votes of all the members of Kulanu, the legislation is unlikely to pass.

For further reading click here.

Haredim Hit Back
Mainstream Haredi activists have launched a massive PR and social media campaign against the radical anti-draft activists of the Jerusalem Faction. The objective of the campaign is to shame the leaders of the faction, and calls on the public to boycott their businesses. Haredi leaders believe that the often violent Jerusalem Faction demonstrations and disruptive acts are tarnishing the reputation of the Haredi community.

For further reading click here.

Temple Mount Visit
PM Netanyahu gave special permission to MK Yehuda Glick (Likud) to visit the Temple Mount with his son on the occasion of the son’s wedding. It is the second time that Glick has received permission to visit the Temple Mount since the PM forbade MKs from visiting the holy site in October of 2015. Glick congratulated the PM on the rare approval, describing it as “the best gift I could have received on the occasion of my son’s wedding.”

To view images click here.

Mnuchin in Israel
US Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin landed in Israel today for a two day visit during which he will meet with the PM and the Minister of Finance and will tour Yad Vashem. He is accompanied by Undersecretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Sigal Mandelker and senior Treasury Department staff specializing in financing of terrorism. Mnuchim met with Arab finance ministers in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday.

For further reading click here.

Judo Discrimination
The International Judo Federation has called on the United Arab Emirates to treat Israeli athletes equally during this week’s Grand Slam tournament. The request comes after news that the team will be prevented from wearing the Israeli flag or any other national emblems on their uniform, including the designation ISR for Israel. If they win a place on the podium they will not hear their national anthem, “Hatikvah.” Instead, they will be identified as competing as part of the International Judo Federation.

Tournament organizers claim that security issues make it dangerous to publicly identify the Israeli team.

For further reading click here.

Einstein Note
A note to a Japanese courier in Tokyo written by Albert Einstein was sold at auction in Jerusalem for $1.56 million. The note was part of a collection belonging to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The note, on Imperial Hotel Tokyo stationery, says in German, “a quiet and modest life brings more joy than a pursuit of success bound with constant unrest.” It is thought that Einstein did not have money to tip the courier and gave him the note instead.

In the same auction, another note saying, “Where there’s a will there’s a way,” was bought for $250,000, while two other letters written by Einstein fetched a combined $43,200.

For further reading click here.

Israel News for 10-24-17

Hezbollah to Blame
Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman claimed yesterday that the five rockets fired into Israel by Syrian artillery on Saturday were not the result of errant fire, but rather a direct order from Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah.

He said, “The fire was carried out by a local cell operated by Hezbollah. Hezbollah did this in isolation of the Assad regime. There was a personal instruction by Nasrallah to compartmentalize Assad and his regime from the execution of this shooting … with the goal of dragging us into the Syrian mire. Therefore I call here both on the Assad regime … and also on the Russian forces that are present there, to restrain Hezbollah. And this is another example of why they should be kicked out of Syria as fast as possible.”

While the IDF acknowledged that the shelling was not accidental, it did not place the blame on any particular party. A defense official noted that “Lieberman’s comments on Nasrallah and the rocket fire on the Golan did not come from the army, but are instead based on his understanding, judgment and perspective.”

For further reading click here.

German Subs
The German government has approved the sale of three Thyssenkrupp submarines to Israel and will provide financing for the purchase. The estimated $2 billion deal is under police investigation in Israel over suspected corruption and several public officials and private citizens have been questioned in the case.

The German government spokesman said that Germany would make a contribution of up to 540 million euros to help finance Israel’s purchase, noting Berlin’s “historical responsibility toward the state of Israel.”

PM Netanyahu praised the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the two countries saying, “The MOU is strategically important to the security of Israel. Its signing reflects the commitment of Germany and Chancellor Angela Merkel to the security of Israel and the deep cooperation between the two countries.”

The three new submarines are expected to go into service from 2027.

For further reading click here.

Binary Options Ban
Yesterday, the Knesset passed a law banning trading in binary options. The vote was 51 in favor and zero against. The bill outlaws gambling on securities even when those gambling (buyers of binary options) are not resident in Israel.

The bill was promoted by the chairman of the Israel Securities Authority Shmuel Hauser and the Israel Police, who pointed out in Knesset committee hearings that the use of Israel as a base for trading in binary options harmed the country’s global reputation, to the point of provoking anti-Semitic outbursts.

For further reading click here.

Fourth Tower
The three iconic Azrieli towers that dominate the Tel Aviv skyline will soon be joined by a fourth tower. The new tower was granted final approval by the Tel Aviv planning board yesterday. It will contain 90 floors, 40 of which will be allocated to commercial use. The tower will also contain 200 protected housing units, 60 apartments with up to 65 square meters each, and 240 housing units with an average of 100 square meters each will be built.

For further reading click here.

Israel News for 10-23-17

Carrot and Stick
In a move to both clamp down on terror activity and improve living conditions in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Isawiya, last night Israeli police and Border Police forces arrested 51 terror suspects in the neighborhood while municipal employees find and installed lighting in public spaces, cleared garbage dumps and safety hazards, removed and repaired street signs, erased graffiti and checked safety standards in local businesses. Isawiya residents didn’t know whether to praise or curse the Israelis! Most probably did just the former.

For further reading click here.

No Immunity
Israel’s Attorney General (AG) and State Prosecutor have united in their opposition to a proposed Likud bill that would provide the Prime Minister with total immunity from investigation for illegal behavior.

State Prosecutor Shay Nitzan said, “There are those who maintain that because of the ‘dignity’ of kings and leaders, we should not investigate too much if suspicion is raised against them so that the public’s confidence in them is not compromised, and that is a total mistake.”

He added, “Allowing a sitting president or any other leader to continue his term while ignoring real criminal suspicions that have arisen against him is what harms the state, its respect and stature and it also damages respect for public officials.”

AG Mandelblit agreed with Nitzan. Supporters of the bill dismissed the criticism and vowed to push the bill forward through the Knesset.

Reality Check
Imagine for a moment that supporters of President Trump would try to pass a bill in Congress to prohibit any investigations relating to the President. How do you think that would go over? Well, that’s exactly what Netanyahu supporters are trying to do in Israel. How does that sound to you?

For further reading click here.

Police Mistake
In a seemingly insensitive and thoughtless move, police branded Haredi protesters that were arrested at an anti-draft demonstration on Thursday by writing numbers on their arms. The imagery of Nazi concentration camp number tattoos was obvious to just about everyone except for the police officers that implemented the crude accounting system.

Police have also been accused of using excessive and brutal force against Haredi demonstrators. The Police internal investigations unit is investigating the allegations and Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh responded to videos of police violence saying, “I felt bad watching the videos. I’m not condoning what they did. If an officer lost control, they’ll pay for it and some officers may face charges.”

For further reading click here.

Haredi vs Haredi
Haredi Rabbinic leader and sage Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky from Bnei Brak castigated Haredi anti-draft extremists, part of the Jerusalem Faction, who organized mass demonstrations last week during which 120 were arrested for violence.

In a letter published in the Haredi paper Yatid Ne’eman, Rabbi Kanievsky wrote, “I have been sick to my stomach over recent harm to the sanctity of the Torah, which has been degraded to the very depths of hell by some empty and reckless (youths—ed). Kanievsky wrote. “Woe to us that this is the case today.”

For further reading click here.

Combat Boots
The IDF has decided to provide all of its soldiers with the new and improved boot currently reserved for combat infantry and special forces units. The boots have been in use since 2006, and were being sold on the “black market”. So now all IDF soldiers, regardless of job, will be able to walk in comfort. A “step” in the right direction for the IDF?

For further reading click here.

Free Course
If you have, or would like to, lead Shabbat services at your synagogue but need some guidance or pointers on how to do so successfully, the this free course is for you. I developed this course after almost two decades (and counting) of leading the “davening” (prayers) at several Orthodox synagogues. The lessons, examples and tips will help you be a better “ba’al tefillah” (prayer leader).

To view the free course click here.

london israel

Israel News for 10-20-17

Palestinians Fail in UK
In preparation for the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Balfour Declaration on November 2, 1917, which recognized the right of the Jewish People to a state in the Land of Israel, the Palestinians have been trying hard to discredit the event.

They initially demanded that British Prime Minister Theresa May offer an apology for the declaration, but she refused. Then they tried to launch a viciously anti-Israel poster campaign that depicts the idyllic life of the Palestinians before the declaration contrasted to their status after the establishment of Israel. They planned to hang the posters at London Underground stations, where hundreds of thousands of people pass every day.

But Transport for London (TfL), the authority responsible for the transport system in Greater London, refused to allow the hanging of the posters on the grounds that the ads “did not comply fully with our guidelines” which prohibit “images or messages which relate to matters of public controversy or sensitivity.”

Now what?

For further reading click here.

IDF Hits Syria
In response to a rocket that strayed over the border and exploded in an open area of the Golan, the IDF attacked a Syrian army outpost near the town of Quneitra yesterday. The rocket caused no damage or injuries, and the IDF attacked caused no injuries. But the point was made.

The IDF spokesman said, “The IDF will not tolerate any attempt to undermine the sovereignty of the State of Israel and the security of its citizens. The IDF views the Syrian regime as responsible to what is happening on the ground.” PM Netanyahu echoed the statement saying, “Whoever tries to hurt us, we will hurt them. We will not tolerate ‘trickles’ and if they attack us, we return fire…”

For further reading click here.

US on Hamas
Jason Greenblatt, President Trump’s special Mideast envoy, backed Israel’s recent decision to refuse to negotiate with a Palestinian unity government that includes Hamas unless Hamas accepts several conditions including disarming and recognizing Israel.

Greenblatt said, “The United States reiterates the importance of adherence to the Quartet principles: any Palestinian government must unambiguously and explicitly commit to nonviolence, recognize the State of Israel, accept previous agreements and obligations between the parties—including to disarm terrorists—and commit to peaceful negotiations. If Hamas is to play any role in a Palestinian government, it must accept these basic requirements.”

Hamas accused the US of bowing to Israeli pressure. Hamas leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, said, “Gone is the time in which Hamas discussed recognition of Israel. The discussion now is about when we will wipe out Israel.” He also stressed that Hamas would never disarm.

For further reading click here.

Water from Air
David Efron, Israel’s honorary consul in Puerto Rico, announced that Israel will provide Puerto Rico with technology to produce drinking water out of air to help alleviate the crisis on the island in the aftermath of hurricane Maria.

The Israeli made machine, which weighs between 1 to 2 tons, uses filters to purify the air and can produce up to 5,000 gallons of water a day.

For further reading click here.

Putin Joke
At a recent press conference Russian President Putin decided to divert some attention by cracking a joke about the IDF.

To hear the joke click here.

Israel News for 10-18-17

Breaking News
A terrorist with knife attacked soldiers near Gush Etzion junction. The terrorist was shot and injured by the soldiers and was arrested and taken to hospital. No soldiers were injured.

Security Raids
Last night, IDF and Shin Bet forces raided eight media and production companies providing services to Palestinian television channels affiliated with Hamas and Islamic Jihad. The IDF shut down several companies, impounded equipment and arrested two suspects. The actual TV channels are located in Lebanon and Gaza, so they continue to operate.

In other operations, security forces arrested 18 Palestinian terror suspects.

For further reading click here.

No Negotiations
The Security Cabinet has voted to halt all negotiations with the Palestinians until Hamas disarms and meets several other preconditions.

The Prime Ministers Office issued a statement explaining the decision saying:

“Pursuant to previous decisions, the Israeli government will not politically negotiate with a Palestinian government in which Hamas, a terrorist organization calling for the annihilation of Israel, takes part, so long as the following conditions are not met:

1. Hamas must recognize Israel and cease terrorism as per the Quartet’s terms.
2. Hamas must disarm.
3. Bodies of IDF soldiers and living Israeli civilians must be returned from Gaza.
4. The Palestinian Authority must exert full security control over Gaza, including in border crossings and smuggling prevention, and must continue foiling Hamas’s terror plots in the West Bank.
5. Hamas must disengage from Iran
6. and, finally, only finances and humanitarian equipment from the Palestinian Authority will be allowed to enter Gaza.”

The cabinet decision comes after the Palestinian Authority and Hamas signed a reconciliation agreement to form a unity government that will take control over Gaza on December first.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who was a driving factor behind the decision, stressed that security cooperation between Israel and the PA will continue.

For further reading click here.

Iran in Syria
In the aftermath of the destruction of a Syrian anti-aircraft missile battery by Israeli fighter jets this week, Iranian military chief of staff General Mohammad Baqeri visited Damascus to meet with the Syrian Defense Minister.

Baqeri said, “We are in Damascus to assert and coordinate and cooperate to confront our common enemies, the Zionists and terrorists,. We drew up the broad lines for this cooperation.” He added, “It is not acceptable for the Zionist regime to violate Syria anytime it wants.”

PM Netanyahu had reacted to the Israeli attack saying, “Whoever strikes at us, we strike at them. Today they tried to harm our planes—unacceptable.The air force acted precisely and swiftly, destroying what needed to be destroyed. We will continue to act in the space as much as necessary to defend Israel’s security.”

For further reading click here.

Jewish Work
The Jerusalem Magistrates Court found the Jewish only employment site Avoda Ivrit (Hebrew Work) guilty of discriminatory practices and fined it NIS 40,000 plus legal fees. The lawsuit was filed by the Israel Religious Action Center and the Mossawa Center Arab Citizen Rights in Israel and was later joined by Welfare and Social Services Ministry’s Equal Employment Opportunities Department.

Judge Einat Abram Muller stated, “The service provided in the ‘Avoda Ivrit Job Board’ constitutes religion-or-nationality-based discrimination.” She added, ”Service given in the public sphere to Jews alone while being withheld from non-Jews constitutes discrimination.”

The lawsuit requested that the website also be removed from the internet, but the court explained that doing so is not within its jurisdiction.

The term Avoda Ivrit was used by Zionist leaders during the early 1900’s when Israel (then Palestine) was still under Ottoman and British control, in order to encourage Jewish farms and businesses to employ Jews instead of Arabs, in order to help build a Jewish workforce in Israel.

For further reading click here.

Israel in UN
Despite heavy opposition from Palestinian diplomats and several Arab states, an Israeli representative has been elected by the UN General Assembly to sit on the UN’s “Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space” (COPUOS). Israel will join Mexico, Brazil, Poland, South Africa and Indonesia in leading the 84 member organization.

COPUOS is charged by the UN charter with “governing the exploration and use of space for the benefit of all humanity, reviewing international cooperation in peaceful uses of outer space, encouraging space research, and studying legal problems arising from the exploration of outer space.”

For further reading click here.

Israel News for 10-17-17

Breaking News
The Israeli navy destroyed a suspicious unmanned boat that was entering Israeli waters off of Gaza.

PM Meets Russian DM
PM Netanyahu and DM Avigdor Lieberman met with Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu in Jerusalem today, a day after Israel fighter jets destroyed a Syrian army anti-aircraft missile battery that fired at them.

The PM stressed that Israel will not allow Iran to entrench its military forces in Syria. They also discussed the Iran nuclear deal, which Netanyahu warned would allow the Iranians to build nuclear weapons within 8 to 10 years.

Regarding Shoygu’s visit, Lieberman said, “This is his first visit, and as his first visit as defense minister, it is of extraordinary importance. “We greatly appreciate our relationship with Russia, especially the openness and frankness. We don’t always agree but we always speak frankly and openly. We believe that the moment there is open and frank dialogue, any problems can be overcome.”

Prior to the meeting, Shoygu, as part of his two-day trip, was escorted by Lieberman around the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Lieberman will head to Washington later this week to meet with US Defense Secretary James Mattis to discuss the Iranian issue.
For further reading click here.

Sinai Retaliation
According to an London based Arab newspaper, Israeli jets bombed targets in the Sinai Peninsula Sunday evening in retaliation for two rockets launched at Israel from there hours before. According to the unverified report, Israeli jets appeared only once the Egyptian air force completed its own strikes in the areas of Rafah and Sheikh Zuweid in northern Sinai. ISIS claimed responsibility for the rocket attack.

For further reading click here.

No Evacuation
Israel’s Labor Party Chairman Avi Gabbay drew harsh criticism from many members of his own party for comments that he made in a TV interview relating to settlements.

When asked whether he felt that the West Bank settlements of Ofra and Eli should be evacuated in a future peace agreement, Gabbay replied, “If we make a peace agreement, why should we evacuate? I think that the dynamics or terminology we have become accustomed to here, where ‘if you make peace—you evacuate,’ are not necessarily true. If you make a peace agreement, you can find solutions that do not require evacuation.”

Gabbay also said, “I believe that the Land of Israel belongs to the Jews. God promised Abraham the entire Land of Israel, but I also believe that since there are 4.5 million Arabs here, we have to compromise in order to create a situation in which we live in our country with a Jewish majority”.

Despite the attacks from many party members, Maj. Gen. (res.) Amiram Levin, also a member of the Labor Party, expressed support for Gabbay’s remarks saying, “In negotiations one should not concede in advance, Gabbay’s starting point is correct. Thanks to the settlers, we will be able to conduct tough negotiations with the aim of leaving the majority of our settlements without sacrificing security, but we must rid ourselves of our reign over more than 2.5 million Palestinians.”

For further reading click here.

Hebron Building
According to a report by left wing watchdog group Peace Now, the Israeli government has approved the construction of 31 housing units in the Jewish area of Hebron. If the report is true, it will be the first time that Jewish homes are built in the city in almost 15 years. There are currently 1,000 Jews living in the heart of Hebron, with its 216,000 Arab residents.

For further reading click here.

Yeshivah Blast
In a scene reminiscent of a Hassidic gathering, the famous Lithuanian style Yeshivah Ponevich, in Bnei Brak, celebrated the day after Simchat Torah with a massive, song filled, event.

To watch the event click here.

israel air force

Israel News for 10-16-17

IAF Strikes
Israeli Airforce (IAF) fighter jets filching over Lebanese airspace today were fired upon by a Syrian army surface-to-air missile battery. The missile missed and the Israeli jets destroyed the missile battery and returned home safely. IDF Spokesman Ronen Manelis said, “We’re prepared for any possibility. This was a Syrian provocation, and we will not allow it. On the other hand, we have no intention of escalating.”

The incident occurred shortly before an expected visit by Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu to Israel. The Russians were updated about the attack as it occurred.

For further reading click here.

Rockets from Sinai
Two rockets were fired into Israel (near Gaza) from Sinai yesterday. There were no casualties or damage. ISSI claimed responsibility for the attack, claiming that they were targeting Israeli aircraft in the area.

Earlier in the day, suspected ISIS terrorists attacked six checkpoints in the northern Sinai peninsula, killing six Egyptian soldiers and wounding 37.

For further reading click here.

Terrorist Arrested
Security forces arrested a 19 year old Palestinian as he was trying to enter the military court in Samaria with a pipe bomb concealed in his underwear. The suspect, from Jenin, aroused the suspicion of the checkpoint guards when he refused to undergo a body search, which included the use of metal detectors.

For further reading click here.

Arab MK vs IDF
Ayman Odeh, the leader of the Arab Joint List Knesset faction, said yesterday that attacks on Israeli soldiers in the West Bank fall under the category of legitimate struggle against “occupation.” He said, “Israeli soldiers shouldn’t be in Judea and Samaria (West Bank) and people under occupation have the right to fight.” He added, “A people under occupation has the right to struggle. The red line for me is harming civilians.” The Joint List holds 13 sets in the Knesset.

For further reading click here.

PM vs. Police
PM Netanyahu lashed out against the Israel police for what he claims is a “tsunami” of leaks relating to investigations against him. This was in response to reports that the police what continue the investigations into several bribery and corruption investigations against the PM, following a hiatus during the High Holidays. Opposition leaders attacked the PM and defended the police.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu, along with several Likud lawmakers, are trying to pass a new law in the Knesset that would grant a sitting Prime Minister complete immunity from any investigations.

For further reading click here.

Ancient Commentary
Synagogues throughout the world, this past Shabbat, began reading the Torah from the “beginning” again, after completing the annual Torah reading cycle on Simchat Torah last week.

In the very first verse, the famous biblical commentator Rashi provides an insight that should resonate particularly in today’s world. He asks, given that the Torah is a book of laws and ethical teachings (and not a history book), why does the Torah begin with the story of creation instead of with the first commandment (mitzvah) or ethical lesson?

Rashi cites an answer from an earlier source explaining that the reason is that when the nations of the world will accuse the Jewish People of stealing the Land of Israel from the nations, we will be able to show them that God created the world and can allocate it to whomever He sees fit.

This commentary (Rashi) was written in the 11th century, and still holds as true today as ever.

To read more Torah thoughts get my book Deep Waters: Insights into the Torah and the Jewish Holidays.


Sukkot – 2017

Sukkot 2017
The holiday of Sukkot begins tonight, last for 7 days and is followed by the holiday of Shmini Atzeret – Simchat Torah (which share one day in Israel and are 2 days everywhere else). During Sukkot Jews live (eat and sleep) in a hut-like structure called a Sukkah.

The Talmud states two reasons for the mitzvah of living in the Sukkah for seven days.

The first is to commemorate that our ancestors dwelled in Sukkahs in the wilderness. The second is to remember the “clouds of glory” that surrounded and protected the Jews in the desert. The Talmud seems to lean towards the second explanation. If this is the case, then why do we use a hut to represent the clouds? Wouldn’t it make more sense for us to live out in the open air, under the clouds? Wouldn’t that give us more of a feeling of complete dependence on the protection given us by God?

Although, in truth, living out “under the clouds” does starkly represent total dependence on God, real life isn’t as clear cut. We all try to build structures to provide us with security and protection. We live in these structures and feel safe and in control. We view these structures as permanent and without them we could not function. The reality, however, is that our structures are really just flimsy huts that create for us the illusion of permanence and security. They fall apart when we least expect them too.

The Sukkah that we live in for seven days reminds us that our own structures of security – our houses, careers, social status – are just temporary. They last for a week, a month, a year, several years, but are then taken down. The Sukkah reminds us that our real security and protection comes not from the walls that we build but from the graces of God.

May we all be blessed with the wisdom to differentiate between the security that is true and comes only from God and the false security of the hut that just looks real, but is only an illusion.

Taken from Deep Waters.

On Simchat Torah, in a little over a week, we will complete the reading of the Torah and begin again from Genesis. Then we’ll read one parsha (Torah portion) each week. In a book called Deep Waters: Insights into the Torah and the Jewish Holidays, I’ve included original insights and lessons on each of the 52 Torah portions and on all of the Jewish holidays. Each lesson is usually no longer than a page or two, so you can absorb it minutes. The book is for people of all levels of Jewish knowledge, from beginner to advanced. And the book is available on Amazon Prime, so you can get it quickly and return it if you don’t like it (but you will like it).

To get your copy of Deep Waters click here.

We will be on break for the entire holiday of Sukkot until Monday October 16th.