No Returns: Defense Minister Naftali Bennett instructed security authorities to halt any future release of the bodies of terrorists held by Israel, regardless of the terrorist organization the person was affiliated with. The new directive must now be approved by the security cabinet, which it should be shortly.
Israel currently holds the bodies of Hamas terrorists and of other terrorists who have perpetrated major terror attacks. The rest of the bodies are returned gradually to Palestinian hands, usually on Friday evenings, when public attention in Israel is not directed to it.
The family of Lt. Hadar Goldin, whose body is still being held by Hamas since 2014, praised the Defense Minister’s decision saying, “It is inconceivable to continue releasing dead or living terrorists while the soldiers are held in Hamas’s hands.”
More Rockets and Response: Two rockets were fired into Israel from Gaza yesterday. One was intercepted by the Iron Dome and the other fell into an open field. In response, IDF planes struck Hamas military targets in Gaza. DM Bennett warned Hamas of severe consequences if they continue attacking Israel.
Around 8,000 demonstrated in support of PM Netanyahu in Tel Aviv last night.
In what was most likely an accident, a tank shell fired from Egypt hit the dining hall of a yeshiva in Bnei Netzarim, a community located only a few kilometers west of Egypt and south of the Gaza Strip on Tuesday. The students were studying in a different part of the building, so there were no casualties. Rabbi Hillel Rothkoff, the head of the yeshiva, called it a great miracle.
IDF Central Command grounded all its Yas’ur-type Sikorsky helicopters until further notice, following a crash-landing earlier that day in the Negev desert. There were no casualties. The IDF is in the process of replacing the helicopters with newer models.
El Al will start testing direct flights between Israel and Australia. The flight will be made with the Dreamliner and take between 17 and 18 hours. Meanwhile, El Al reported a decline of 30% in gross income over the last quarter – from $42 million last quarter to $27 million – resulting in a 19% drop in the company’s stocks on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.