israel news

Israel News for 9-21-18

Terrorists Hit
Israeli aircraft attacked a terror cell in northern Gaza yesterday that was launching incendiary balloons into Israeli territory.

For further reading click here.

Demolition Order
The IDF has informed the family of terrorist Islam Yousef Abu Hamid, who killed Duvdevan soldier Staff Sgt. Ronen Lubarsky, that it plans to demolish their four-story house. According to the IDF Spokesman’s Office, the family already received notice about the intention to demolish two floors of the structure some three weeks ago. In recent weeks, the IDF has conducted further examination of the matter, at the conclusion of which it was decided to demolish the entire building.

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman praised the decision to demolish the entire house. He tweeted, “We’re fighting terrorism with determination! We’re going to demolish, down to the foundations, the entire four-story building that housed the despicable terrorist—may his name and memory be blotted out—who murdered IDF soldier Staff Sgt. Ronen Lubarsky. The demolition will be done as soon as possible.There are no compromises in the war against terror. Only an iron fist.”

For further reading click here.

Warning Violence
IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot warned the Security-Cabinet that there is a more than moderate chance that a violent conflagration could erupt in the West Bank, adding that the US decision to cut funding for the Palestinian Authority (PA) is counter productive for Israel and could inflame matters in the area.

Other security officials have made clear that maintaining the PA’s stability was in Israel’s best interest. They have also noted that the US’s $60 million in funding for the Palestinian security services was not affected, but all civilian aid budgets were stopped. The officials blamed Abbas for working to sabotage Israeli indirect negotiations with Hamas to put an end to the daily border violence in Gaza. According to the officials, Abbas is deliberately seeking to ensure an intensification of the humanitarian crisis gripping the strip.

The officials have accused Abbas of choking the Gaza residents in order to foment further conflict between Hamas and Israel, hoping that Israel will attack the Hamas-ruled coastal enclave and deal a fatal blow to the terror movement, which competes with Abbas for power. An Israeli offensive against Hamas would also give Abbas ammunition to attack Israel in international forums.

For further reading click here.

Report to Moscow
Israeli Air Force (IAF) chief Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin presented a 40 page report to military officials in Moscow detailing the events that resulted in the downing of a Russian military plane with 15 service members by Syrian anti-aircraft fire.

According to the report, the coordination system between the IDF and the Russian army prior to the attack operated according to procedure and fixed orders, as shown in more than 200 similar attacks in the last two years.

Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz said in a studio interview with Ynet Friday that “inside Syria itself, soldiers who targeted the Russian plane were arrested by the Russians or by Syrian officials with Russia’s cooperation. Obviously, Syria made a serious mistake here. It irresponsibly launched missiles. Israel acts according to the same rules that were agreed upon, and of course will continue to abide by these rules in the future us as well.”

Russia’s President Putin absolved Israel of any blame in the incident.

For further reading click here.

Trump Meeting
The White House announced Thursday that US President Trump will meet with PM Netanyahu next week during the UN General Assembly in New York.

For further reading click here.

The holiday of Sukkot begins on Sunday night, lasts 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, study and (some people) 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.


israel news

Israel News for 9-20-18

Terror Foiled
A 26-year-old terrorist from Qalandiya with a screwdriver charged at a Jewish man near the Old City on Tuesday night, just after the start of Yom Kippur. Police stationed along the route used by Jewish worshippers spotted the terrorist running towards his intended victim. Bypassers tripped him up, but then he continued to run at the police officers to stab them. Police shot him dead. No Jews were injured. The terrorist was in Israel illegally.

For further reading click here.

Gaza Report
Gaza’s Health Ministry claimed on Tuesday that two Palestinians were killed and at least 46 wounded by the IDF fire in the northern Gaza Strip during violent demonstrations which took place on Yom Kippur. The IDF said that it had no initial knowledge of any casualties or that live fire had been used.

The IDF said hundreds of Gazans participated in the riots, burning tires and throwing explosive devices and rocks at the soldiers. In one incident a grenade was thrown at the troops, prompting the forces to respond with crowd dispersal measures in accordance with IDF’s open-fire regulations.

For further reading click here.

Russian Plane
Israel expressed regret on Tuesday for the loss of 15 Russian lives that was caused the previous evening when Syrian air defense downed a Russian plane while trying to intercept an airstrike launched by Israel. Russian officials had initially blamed Israel for the downing of the blame, but Russian President Putin acknowledged that the incident was just an unfortunate accident that Israel had no part in.

For further reading click here.

Israeli Arms
Israeli defense electronics company Elbit Systems Ltd. announced today that it has been awarded a $173 million contract to provide Naval Remote Controlled Weapon Stations (RCWS) to the Navy and Coast Guard of an Asia-Pacific country. The contract will be performed over a five-year period.

For further reading click here.

Fast Train
After countless delays, the Jerusalem fast rail link began operations today. The first train left Jerusalem’s Navon station (opposite Binyanei Ha’Uma) at 12.30 pm on what was billed as a special test run rather than the official launch. The train didn’t make it as far as Tel Aviv’s Haganah Station as planned but only as far as Ben Gurion airport because electrification on the section between the airport and Tel Aviv has not been completed. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Minister of Transport Yisrael Katz attended the ceremony in Jerusalem before the first train left the station.

Optimistic estimates say it will take another 3-6 months before the line is fully operational. In the first stage there will be only one train per hour between Jerusalem and Ben Gurion airport station where passengers will change to a diesel train. When fully operational there will be one train every 15 minutes.

The cost of the high-speed train to Jerusalem, the Ministry of Transport’s largest-ever project, is estimated at NIS 7 billion. The line is designed to connect Israel’s capital to the Greater Tel Aviv metropolitan area and the central region and relieve traffic congestion. Travel time from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the last stop on the line, is meant to be 28 minutes.

For further reading click here.

israel news

Israel News for 9-17-18

Terror Attack
Yesterday morning, a 17 year old Palestinian terrorist stabbed to death Ari Fuld, a father of 4 from Efrat. Fuld was outside the Harim Mall at the Etzion junction (Judea) when the terrorist stabbed him in the back. Fuld managed to chase and shoot at his attacker before succumbing to his fatal wounds. Another passerby also shot the terrorist, who was moderately wounded and taken to Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem. Fuld was rushed to Jerusalem’s Shaare Tzedek Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. The Harim shooping mall, where the attack occurred, is used by both Jews and Arabs from the surrounding area.

The terrorist’s mother reportedly warned security forces that she thought her son was planning an attack. But the warning was too late. Hamas praised the attack, while Palestinian Authority President Abbas apparently condemned all violence by Palestinians against Israel. Last night the IDF mapped the terrorist’s house for demolition. The house is in the the village of Yatta, near Hebron, which is a hotbed of terror activity and the home of many past terrorists.

Ari Fuld, 45, was a US citizen who immigrated to Israel and served in a combat unit in the IDF during the Second Lebanon War. He worked for Standing Together, a non-governmental organization that provides support to Israeli soldiers. He was known as a staunch advocate defender of Israel on social media and via speaking engagements throughout the world. He also recorded and distributed weekly videos with Torah thoughts and ideas. For the intro paragraph on his Facebook page he wrote, “Living the dream! I have a love for the Nation of Israel, Land of Israel and Torah of Israel.”

Fuld was buried in Gush Etzion late last night. Thousands of mourners attended the funeral. PM Netanyahu paid a visit to the house of mourning. Afterwards he said, “This evening I met the parents and siblings of the Israeli hero Ari Fuld. I embraced them in the name of the whole nation of Israel during this terrible time for them. We owe our lives to heroes like Ari. We will always remember him.”

Fuld’s sister-in-law said that Ari, “believed in the people of Israel, in the Land of Israel, according to the Torah of Israel. He loved the country, was an educator, a teacher, and persistently fought for the truth … The people of Israel and the Land of Israel lost a true knight today whose entire soul and actions were for the sanctity of God and the people of Israel.”

Fuld’s brother Hillel said, “My brother lived his life as a hero and died as a hero, he was a hero until the last moment.”

May his memory serve as a blessing. And may God bless Israel with peace.

To watch a full video of the emotional funeral click here.

Soldiers Wounded
Two IDF soldiers and a female officer from the mixed Karakal combat battalion were lightly wounded Sunday in the Qalandiya refugee camp by Palestinian stone throwers, when their bus accidentally entered the camp. The officer sustained injuries to her face and limbs caused by broken glass shards.

Border Police and Karakal forces—assisted by Palestinian policemen—extricated the bus from Qalandiya shortly after the Palestinian defense establishment and the IDF activated their rescue protocols.Border Police officers detained three Palestinian in their 20s and 30s suspected of attacking the bus. During the rioting, a Border Policemen suffered a head injury and evacuated to the hospital.

For further reading click here.

Frozen Funds
The US has decided to freeze all bank accounts belonging to the PLO in the US. The Palestinian envoy to the US Husam Zomlot also said on Sunday that his permit to stay in the US has been annulled, his families’ bank accounts have been closed and that he and his family have been requested by authorities to immediately leave the country.  This follows last week’s decision by the US administration to close the PLO mission in Washington.

For further reading click here.

Yom Kippur
Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, begins this Tuesday at sunset and lasts until nightfall on Wednesday. It is a day on which the Torah mandates that we “afflict” ourselves. We accomplish “affliction” by refraining from eating, drinking, wearing leather shoes, bathing for pleasure or engaging in marital relations. We spend then day asking God for forgiveness, but not nearly enough time asking the same from our fellow man. Let’s focus a bit more this year on treating our fellow man with the respect and dignity that every person deserves. In that merit, may we all be granted forgiveness and be inscribed and sealed in the Book of Life.
Wishing you all an easy fast and a Gmar Chatima Tova.

israel news

Israel News for 9-13-18

Bomb Neutralized
The IDF neutralized an explosive device located near the security fence in the southern Gaza Strip today. In a statement the IDF spokesperson said, “The terror squad that planted the bomb had plans to attack IDF soldiers and disrupt the activity of the forces operating in the area.The planting of the explosive device, conducted under a disguise of violent riots along the border, is another confirmation that Hamas terror organization is working to preserve the confrontation in the border area and to harm IDF soldiers while using civilians in the Gaza Strip as human and as a cover for terrorist activity. The IDF is ready to act against terror that seeks to harm its forces and defense infrastructures.”

For further reading click here.

Massive Fire
A huge fire destroyed hundreds of dunks of the Ein Tzukim Nature Reserve near the Dead Sea. Between 300 and 400 dunams of the reserve’s unique vegetation were destroyed and many animals perished as well. According to the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, the rehabilitation of the Ein Tzukim Nature Reserve will take years. Police arrested 2 Arab residents of East Jerusalem and 1 resident nearby village of Azaria for allegedly starting the fire. The suspects deny the allegations.

For further reading click here.

PLO Office
PM Netanyahu praised the US decision taken earlier this week to close down the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Washington in reaction to the Palestinian refusal to enter into peace negotiations with Israel. He said, “The US made the correct decision when it decided to close the PLO offices in Washington. The Palestinians refuse to enter negotiations with Israel even as they attack Israel with false claims in international forums.”

For further reading click here.

Defense Agreements
Defense Minister Lieberman traveled to the country of Georgia on Wednesday to sign counterterrorism and cybersecurity cooperation. He said, “On the issue of defense cooperation, we have set out four main objectives: cybersecurity, help in establishing a military reserves system, fighting terror and defending the homeland.” Lieberman and Georgian Defense Minister Levan Izoria also discussed Iran and the current situation in the Middle East. The two politicians signed an official cooperation agreement between their two ministries.

Over the years, Israel has sold a number of weapons systems to the eastern European nation and has also trained members of the Georgian armed forces in Israeli military tactics and strategy.

For further reading click here.

Czech Embassy
Czech leaders on Wednesday endorsed moving the country’s embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. In a joint statement, the Czech president, prime minister, parliament speaker and the foreign and defense ministers said the opening of a “Czech House” there in November would be “the first step in the plan to move the Czech embassy to Jerusalem.”

For further reading click here.

Judo Identity
The International Judo Federation (IJF) announced that it will bring back the Grand Slam competition tour to the capital of the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi, after the state pledged to allow Israeli athletes to participate with the Israeli flag and play the national anthem during medal ceremonies. The IJF published a statement saying the UAE had succumbed to the many pressures exerted on it and will permit the Israeli delegation to compete with the country’s national symbols.

According to an IJF statement, “The historic decision will allow all nations, including Israel, to be accompanied by their national symbols and anthem. The IJF salutes the efforts of the UAE for taking a major step toward promoting peaceful relations between all countries of the world. The UAE, along with our partners, remains committed to the struggle against all discrimination in sports, which should be used as a tool for reconciliation and promotion of peace in the world.”

For further reading click here.

More Flights
Irish low-cost airline Ryanair is launching a new route between Tel Aviv and Memmingen, Germany on October 29. There will be two weekly flights on Mondays and Fridays with outward bound fares starting from €30 and inward bound fares from Memmingen to Tel Aviv starting from €25. Fares include only hand baggage. Memmingen is located in Bavaria, 110 kilometers west of Munich.

This will bring to 24 the number of routes Ryanair operates from Israel – 9 from Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv and 15 from Eilat. Ryanair will receive a grant of €150,000 from Israel’s Ministry of Tourism for launching a route to a city as yet unserved by any other carrier.

For further reading click here.

Portuguese national carrier TAP Air Portugal is to launch daily Tel Aviv – Lisbon flights starting April 1, 2019. Round trip ticket fares currently being advertised on TAP’s website start from €236 for Tel Aviv – Lisbon – Tel Aviv (hand luggage only).

For further reading click here.

israel news

Israel News for 9-6-18

Embassy Closure
PM Netanyahu, who also serves as Israel’s foreign minister, ordered the closure of Israel’s embassy in Paraguay on Wednesday, hours after the Latin American nation said it had decided to return its embassy from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv. A brief statement from the Prime Minister’s office said, ”Israel views with great severity the unusual decision by Paraguay that will strain the ties between the countries.”

The Paraguayan embassy in Jerusalem was inaugurated by then President Horacia Cartes in May. Cartes was replaced last month by Mario Abdo. Explaining the new Paraguayan move, foreign minister Luis Alberto Castiglioni said: “Paraguay wants to contribute to an intensification of regional diplomatic efforts to achieve a broad, fair and lasting peace in the Middle East.”

According to the Palestinian foreign ministry, the Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki was responsible for Paraguay’s decision to move back the embassy to Tel Aviv. Al-Maliki said that he had already received an official promise from new President of Paraguay, Mario Abdo Benítez, and the new foreign Minister, Luis Alberto Castiglioni that the move would take place quietly in early September.

Israeli officials estimate that pressure from Arab countries, and possibly a promise of future investment in the country, are the reasons behind Paraguay’s decision.

But there seems to be more to this story, behind the scenes.

For further reading click here.

Golan Future
US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said “it’s possible”, that the US might recognize the Golan Heights in the future,” in an interview with Israeli daily Israel Hayom. He said, “I personally can not imagine a situation in which the Golan Heights will be returned to Syria. And giving up the territory of the Golan Heights may put Israel in a great security disadvantage.”

For further reading click here.

Syrian Strikes
Israeli satellite company ImageSat International published Wednesday satellite footage documenting the widespread damage caused by the airstrikes on the center for scientific research in the Masayaf area in Syria on Tuesday, which Syria attributed to Israel. According to Syrian opposition sources, the targets included a center for scientific research in the Masayaf area, a storage warehouse for scientific research, and other security-related facilities. Syrian state news agency SANA said Syrian air defenses confronted and downed several rockets fired by Israeli planes near the city of Hama on Tuesday.

According to Israeli military officials, the IDF has launched 200 attacks against Syrian targets in the past year and a half. the strikes targeted mainly advanced weapon systems and infrastructure sites belonging to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards located in Syrian territory. In total, some 800 missiles and bombs were launched at targets on Syrian soil, the majority by IAF fighter jets.

For further reading click here.

Population Stats
Israel’s population has surpassed 8.9 million on the eve of Jewish New Year 5779, the Central Bureau of Statistics reports. In addition, there are an estimated 166,000 foreign non-residents living in Israel. 6,625,000 Israelis are Jewish (74.4%), 1,864,000 are Arabs (20.9%), while 418,000 (4.7%) belong other religions and communities. The Central Bureau of Statistics projects that Israel’s population will reach 10 million by 2024, 15 million by 2048 and 20 million by 2065.

For further reading click here.

Uman Journey
Around 30,000 Jews, mostly from Israel, will spend Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year) in the Ukrainian town of Uman, 130 miles south of Kiev. The town is the location of the tomb of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, an 18th century Hasidic master and grandson of the Ba’al Shem Tov (the founder of the Hasdic movement). Rabbi Nachman spent the last 5 years of his life in Uman and requested to be buried there. He also promised to intercede on behalf of anyone who would come to pray at his grave on Rosh Hashana – – hence, the annual pilgrimage.

The annual pilgrimage to Uman has been a huge boon for the local economy. The area around the tomb, where around 500 Jews live, has become a vibrant neighborhood with Hebrew signage, 20 kosher restaurants and 25 hotels (mostly operating in apartment buildings). In addition to the Rosh Hashana pilgrimage, thousands of Jewish pilgrims visit Oman throughout the year. Some of the new businesses are owned by Israelis who settled in Uman while others are owned by Ukrainians or are joint Israeli-Ukrainian ventures. A good deal of the commercial growth in town is due to secular Jewish visitors as opposed to the Hasidim.

Unfortunately, the Uman pilgrimages have also spawned anti semitic attacks, drug use, prostitution, disorderly conduct and a powerful organized crime presence.

For further reading click here.

To hear a song about the Uman pilgrimage click here.

To watch a video about the beginning of the journey click here.

New Year
Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year of 5779, will begin this Sunday night and last until Tuesday night. May we all be inscribed in the Book of Life and be blessed with a year of health, happiness, success and peace.

israel news

Israel News for 9-4-18

Terror Attack
At about 6 pm on Sunday night, a terrorist from Hebron with a knife charged at a group of soldiers that were standing at the entrance to the Geva Haavot neighborhood, located between Kiryat Arba and Hebron. The soldiers opened fire on the terrorist, killing him. None of the soldiers were injured.

For further reading click here.

War Crimes
A group of Israeli farmers is filing a war crimes complaint at the International Criminal Court in The Hague on Monday against the Hamas leadership over the torching of thousands of acres of farmland in recent months.

For further reading click here.

New Ambassador
Amir Weissbrod presented his credentials in Amman as Israel’s new ambassador to Jordan, bringing to a close a crisis between the two states after an Israeli embassy security guard shot dead two Jordanians, one of which he claimed attempted to stab him. Diplomatic sources say relations between Israel and Jordan have been repaired and are now stronger than ever with more and more attempts being made to promote joint economic ventures.

For further reading click here.

Philippines President
Rodrigo Duterte, the President of the Philippines, arrived in Israel this week for a 4 day visit. Sales of Israeli weapons to his government are high on the agenda, according to Israeli media. Filipino officials have said the Philippines has recently acquired Israeli-made arms such as Galil assault rifles and pistols for its 120,000-strong police force, which is at the frontline of Duterte’s battle against illegal drugs and other crimes.

Duarte met with PM Netanyahu and thanked Israel for providing “critical help” to his country when “we needed it most,” an apparent reference to unspecified assistance Jerusalem provided Manila last year in freeing Marawi City in the south of the country from terrorists affiliated with Islamic State after a five-month siege. Duterte, who did not go into detail, said this “very substantial and critical” assistance was “an important help to preserve the republic.”

Netanyahu welcomed Duterte by recalling that the country opened its doors to some 1,300 refugees from Germany and Austria during the Holocaust and that it was the only Asian country to vote for the Partition Plan in 1947.

Duarte met with a gathering of hundreds of Filipino workers. An estimated 28,000 Filipinos live in Israel. Most of them work as health aides.

For further reading click here.

Colombian Recognition
Colombia’s new president Ivan Duque said yesterday that the previous president’s decision to recognize the “State of Palestine” is irreversible.

For further reading click here.

Water Plan
According to anonymous sources, Israel’s Water Authority and its Ministry of Energy have sketched a plan to build a tunnel that will annually pump between 300 million and 500 million cubic meters of desalinated water to the receding Kinneret (Sea of Galilee). To finance the plan, estimated to cost NIS 5 billion (approximately $1.3 billion), Israel has approached the European Union and the German government.

Israel is currently in it’s 5th drought year. As of Monday, the water level of the Sea of Galilee, responsible for 25% of Israel’s freshwater supply, is at 214.23 meters below sea level, 1.23 meters under the levels defined by the Israeli government as a minimum required to supply the country’s water needs.

In May, the Israeli government relaunched a television, radio and billboard campaign encouraging Israelis to save water by reducing their shower time by two minutes, watering their gardens in the evening and fixing leaking pipes.

Existing desalination facilities in Israel produce around 660 million cubic meters a year, according to statements by the Water Authority. Two additional desalination facilities planned to launch by 2023, are estimated to bring this number up to around 1 billion cubic meters a year.

For further reading click here.