Israel news summary

Israel News for 5-31-2021

News Update

Yamina leader Naftali Bennett announced on Sunday that he would be joining Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid in his effort to form a unity government. In response, PM Netanyahu said that Bennett defrauded his constituents and was on his way to joining a dangerous left-wing government. Bennett and Yamina second Ayelet Shaked have received thousands of threats via texts and social media. Hundreds demonstrated in front of their homes.

A terrorist who entered from Gaza stabbed a community security officer near the border area last night. According to preliminary details from the incident, a local spotted a suspicious-looking person walking along the highway and reported him to the security personnel. A security officer arrived at the scene and questioned the suspect, who then pulled out a knife and stabbed him. The officer, who was lightly wounded, shot the terrorist and neutralized him.

The United Arab Emirates officially opened its embassy in Tel Aviv yesterday. It is located in the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange building. Today, Israel and the UAE signed a tax treaty that avoids double taxation and includes other incentives to stimulate business.

Egypt’s intelligence chief met Hamas leaders in Gaza today in an effort to bolster the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. It was the first visit by an Egyptian intelligence chief in 20 years.

Firefighters are fighting multiple wildfires throughout the country today, as a result of extreme hot and dry weather.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 5-28-2021

News Update

A delegation of senior Egyptian intelligence officials entered Gaza today to continue negotiations with Hamas regarding the conditions of the truce with Israel. The Egyptian delegation will also visit Tel Aviv and Ramallah. Qatar has pledged $500 million for Gaza reconstruction.

Three firebombs were thrown at a Jewish apartment in Lod last night. The residents managed to extinguish the fire.

The United Nations Human Rights Council has agreed to launch an international investigation into crimes committed during the 11-day conflict between Israel and Hamas. By a vote of 24 states in favor, 9 against, with 14 abstentions, the 47-member forum adopted a resolution brought by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the Palestinian delegation to the UN. Those who voted in favor were: Argentina, Armenia, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Burkino Faso, China, Cote D’Ivoire, Cuba, Eritrea, Gabon, Indonesia, Libya, Mauritania, Mexico, Namibia, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Senegal, Somalia, Uzbekistan and Venezuela. Those opposed: Austria, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Czech Republic, Germany, Malawi, Marshal Islands, the United Kingdom and Uruguay.
Those who abstained were: Bahamas, Brazil, Denmark, Fiji, France, India, Italy, Japan, Nepal, Netherlands, Poland, Republic of Korean, Togo, and Ukraine.

Yair Lapid met with Naftali Bennett for the first time since the Gaza conflict, in an attempt to persuade Bennett to join the coalition government he is trying to form.

The electric vehicle market in Israel is heating up with fierce competition between Tesla and a slew of Chinese companies. To read more click here.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 5-26-2021

News Update

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken wrapped up talks today in Israel before headed to Egypt, where he will meet with President el-Sissi and other top officials.

Yesterday Blinked met with PA President Abbas. He announced plans to reopen the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem, which has historically handled diplomatic outreach to the Palestinians. President Trump downgraded the consulate and placed its operations under his ambassador to Israel when he moved the American Embassy to Jerusalem. Blinken also announced nearly $40 million in additional aid to the Palestinians, which brings the total aid promised by the Biden administration to $360 million.

In his meeting with Abbas in Ramallah, Blinken committed to “rebuilding the relationship with the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian people, a relationship built on mutual respect and also a shared conviction that Palestinians and Israelis alike deserve equal measures of security, freedom opportunity and dignity.”

During his meeting with PM Netanyahu, Blinken repeatedly affirmed what he said was Israel’s right to defend itself and said the U.S. would assist Israel in replenishing its Iron Dome rocket-interception system.

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab will meet with PM Netanyahu and DM Gantz in Jerusalem, and with Palestinian leaders in Ramallah today, on a one-day visit to Israel.

Israel has reported that it killed 225 terrorists, including 25 senior commanders, during the recent 11 days of fighting. It also destroyed over 100km of tunnels. It tried twice to kill Hamas military leader Mohammed Deif, but did not succeed. To watch an interview with an Israeli air force pilot, click here.

During an interview with Israeli TV, the director of the Gazan branch of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) called the IDF strikes in Gaza “precise”. He said, “I have the impression that there is a huge sophistication in the way the Israeli military struck over the last 11 days, so that’s not my issue.” After calls for his resignation, he backtracked…but the truth is out.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah delivered a speech Tuesday on the anniversary of the IDF’s withdrawal from south Lebanon 21 years ago, during which he looked ill and weak, coughing throughout the 90 minute event. He called for a regional war against Israel and claimed that “the latest battle revived historic Palestine from the sea to the river and reflected a rise of faith in the choice of resistance.”

Hundreds of police were deployed in Jaffa, as part of a nationwide crackdown on civilians suspected of having taken part in the recent riots around the country.

In my opinion:
The biggest problem that Israel faces today is not Hamas or the Palestinians. It is Israel’s 2 million Arab citizens. I believe that the primary reason that Hamas decided to attack Israel now was to unleash the growing unrest within Israel’s Arab community and to cause them to unite with the Palestinians. I also think that the main reason Israel agreed to a ceasefire, before it could inflict more damage on Hamas, was not as a result of international pressure, which actually wasn’t that great at this time, but because it felt that more fighting in Gaza would cause greater unrest by Israel’s Arabs. To read more, click here.

israeli arabs

Israel’s Arabs: the Powder Keg Waiting to Explode

The biggest problem that Israel faces today is not Hamas or the Palestinians. It is Israel’s 2 million Arab citizens.

I believe that the primary reason that Hamas decided to attack Israel now was to unleash the growing unrest within Israel’s Arab community and to cause them to unite with the Palestinians.

I also think that the main reason Israel agreed to a ceasefire, before it could inflict more damage on Hamas, was not as a result of international pressure, which actually wasn’t that great at this time, but because it felt that more fighting in Gaza would cause greater unrest by Israel’s Arabs.

Israel can protect itself from the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank by building walls and barriers. But Israel’s Arabs live throughout the country. In some places, like the Triangle in the Galilee, they are the overwhelming majority. Israeli Arabs play an integral role in Israel’s economy, particularly in jobs that many Jewish Israelis shun. They also run businesses, staff schools and hospitals, and work for the government. While many live in exclusively Arab cities, towns and communities, there are tens of thousands who live alongside Jews in cities like Acco, Lod, Ramle, Haifa, Jaffa and others.

The Arabs in Israel, especially the younger generation, are identifying more closely with the Palestinians. This became clear during the recent riots and unrest in mixed Jewish-Arab areas. And if 2 million Arabs in Israel decide to side with the Palestinians and create unrest, it could be disastrous for Israel. Having to deal with a united front of Palestinians and Israeli Arabs will create an untenable situation. It will be an internal and external war with unthinkable consequences for both Jews and Arabs.

There is really only one civilized solution to this problem. While Israeli Arabs have the same legal rights as any Jewish citizen of the country (No Apartheid), Israel needs to provide its Arab citizens with better opportunities to succeed financially, professionally and socially. It needs to provide more funding to improve social services, infrastructure, education and policing in Arab communities. When people are happy and secure and working, they are much less likely to revolt or cause unrest.

I hope it’s not to late to save the Israeli-Arab community from being pushed into unifying with the Palestinians and Hamas.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 5-24-2021

News Update

Two men in their 20’s, one of them a soldier, were wounded in a stabbing attack by a terrorist today in the Ammunition Hill area of Jerusalem, near the main police headquarters compound. The terrorist was shot and killed by a border police officer.

The ceasefire between Hamas and Israel is holding. The UAE has offered to help Egypt, which was instrumental in brokering the ceasefire, to try and expand the ceasefire into a more permanent peace agreement.

As Gaza begins to rebuild, with the help of massive amounts of international aide, it will be impossible to prevent Hamas from using basic building materials such as water pipes to build new rockets. To read more about this, click here.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken reaffirmed US support for a two-state solution, ahead of a trip to the Middle East this week. Blinken admitted that a two-state solution was not “necessarily for today.”

PM Netanyahu’s Likud party has once again offered Naftali Bennett top government portfolios in order to ensure his support for a right-wing and religious coalition. Bennett has not yet responded to the offer. Meanwhile, Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid is also reported to have resumed negotiations with Bennett on his possible return to his coalition for change. Lapid has nine days left to try and form a coalition before his mandate to form a government expires.

Families of the victims of the Mount Meron disaster sent a letter to PM Netanyahu on Sunday calling for an official commission of inquiry, led by a Supreme Court Justice, to be established to find those responsible for the tragedy in which 45 were killed and 150 injured. Ultra-Orthodox ministers prefer to establish a panel to conduct a more limited probe into the event, most likely because some of them might bear responsibility for allowing the Mt. Meron event despite safety concerns.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 5-21-2021

News Update

A ceasefire between Israel and Hamas took effect at 2am today, after 11 days of fighting. The Egyptians brokered the truce, and two Egyptian security delegations will be sent to monitor the ceasefire deal. Rocket fire and IDF strikes continued in the hours before the ceasefire took effect.

The IDF claims that half of the Gaza Strip terrorist organizations’ stockpile of rockets has been fired or destroyed and about 160 terrorists have been killed, many of them of senior ranks in Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Most of Hamas’ rocket production capability has been destroyed, as has most of its tunnel network and underground facilities and special weaponry such as drone submarines.

Speaking from the White House hours before the ceasefire, President Biden pledged humanitarian aide to rebuild Gaza. The aide would be administered by the Palestinian Authority “in a manner that does not permit Hamas to simply restock its military arsenal.” He also committed to replenishing Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system.

Hamas declared victory and Palestinians celebrated throughout Gaza, the West Bank and east Jerusalem. On the Temple Mount, thousands of Palestinians launched fireworks and waved Palestinian flags. To see videos, click here.

To read an interesting article about the mixed Arab-Jewish neighborhood of Abu Tor in Jerusalem, click here.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 5-20-2021

News Update

An IDF soldier was lightly hurt from shrapnel after Hamas fired an anti-tank missile at an empty bus he was standing by, near the Gaza border today.

Hamas continued firing rockets into Israel last night and this morning. Shortly before 3pm yesterday, a heavy barrage of rockets targeted the southern cities of Ashkelon, Ashdod and Be’er Sheva as well as the central city of Rehovot. A rocket hit a residential area in Ashdod, while a large chunk of a projectile, following an interception, landed in Be’er Sheva. No injuries were reported.

Overnight, the IDF continued attacks on the Hamas “Metro” tunnel network and other military and infrastructure targets in Gaza.

Last night, US President Biden spoke with PM Netanyahu about the need to de-escalate the situation, but the PM indicated that Israel would not stop its military operations against Hamas yet. Netanyahu thanked Biden for his support of Israel’s right to self-defense and said he was “determined to continue the campaign until it achieves its goal of bringing back peace and security to the citizens of Israel.” It was the fourth call between Biden and Netanyahu in the past week.

A Hamas senior official said Wednesday night that Hamas is holding advanced negotiations with Israel through mediators and that the parties could agree on a truce over the next two days.

Also on Wednesday, four rockets were launched at northern Israel from Lebanon. The IDF opened fire on several targets in southern Lebanon in response. According to the IDF, one rocket was intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system, two fell at sea and another crashed in an open field in the Arab northern city of Shfar’am. Lebanese sources say that Hezbollah was not involved in the attack.

The Foreign Ministers of Germany, Slovakia and the Czech Republic arrived in Israel to show their support for Israel. Ahead of his departure for Israel, German FM Maas stated that, “Germany is unconditionally behind its friendship with Israel that is forced to defend itself against Hamas’ missile terrorism. And even in the most difficult times, our humanitarian aid to the Palestinians can always be relied on.”

Let us all pray for peace and security in the holy land. 

Israel news summary

Israel News for 5-19-2021

News Update

Israel is continuing to launch massive airstrikes aimed at destroying the intricate network of Hamas terror tunnels and bunkers in Gaza. Overnight strikes were concentrated in Khan Yunis and Raffa, from where rockets were fired at Be’er Sheva and other southern cities and communities. Tunnels in the vicinity of Gaza City have already been destroyed.

Yesterday Hamas fired rockets at south-central Israel, including the cities of Rehovot and Ness Ziona. Hamas claims it was aiming its fire at six air force bases from where Israeli jets take off to strike Gaza. Early today, Hamas continued rocket attacks at communities in southern Israel. Two workers at a packaging plant in the south were killed and 8 wounded. All were foreign workers from Thailand.

Egypt has reportedly brokered a proposed ceasefire that would be set to take effect at 6am on Thursday. Initial reports said that Hamas had accepted the ceasefire terms, but subsequent reports from Arab and Israeli sources deny that the agreement is close to being accepted by either party.

Israel is trying to destroy as much Hamas military capability before it will inevitably have to cease fire as a result of international pressure that is mounting. Although the European Union has called for a cease fire, many of its member states including Hungary, Austria and the Czech Republic have shown support for Israel. Germany is reluctant to implement any sort of sanctions against Israel, and Poland, Greece and Cyprus are also inclined to support Israel.

US President Biden spoke to PM Netanyahu on Monday and told him that while he supports a ceasefire, he is not demanding one. The US has vetoed several UN Security Council resolutions aimed at discussing the ongoing violence between Israel and Gaza. But Biden is facing increasing pressure from the progressive forces in the Democratic party to force Israel to accept an immediate cease fire.

The unrest and violence between Arabs and Jews within Israel has died down. But violent protests continue in the Palestinian Authority areas. During a violent demonstration of 5,000 Palestinians outside of Ramallah, shots were fired at IDF troops and 2 soldiers were wounded. One Palestinian was shot dead by an IDF sniper — most likely the one who shot at the troops.

The Knesset will vote to elect Israel’s next president in a secret ballot on June 2. The deadline for candidates to submit their candidacy is tonight. The candidates thus far include Jewish Agency chairman and former Labor Party chief Isaac Herzog, former Labor minister and judicial expert Prof. Shimon Shetreet, former Labor MK Michael Bar-Zohar, former Likud MK Yehudah Glick, and Miriam Peretz, a recipient of the 2018 Israel Prize who lost two of her sons during their IDF combat services.

Let us all pray for peace and security in the holy land. 

Israel news summary

Israel News for 5-14-2021

News Update

Early today, 160 Israeli aircraft along with artillery and tank forces mounted a massive operation against an elaborate system of Hamas terror tunnels in Gaza, referred to as the “Metro”.  No Israeli ground forces crossed into Gaza. Yesterday the IDF destroyed 4 high-rise buildings in Gaza used by Hamas. Civilians were given warning to evacuate, prior to the attacks. The IDF estimates that it has killed between 80 and 90 terrorists. The IDF has called up 7000 reservists.

Hamas continues to fire rocket barrages into Israel. Over 1,400 rockets have thus far been fired. The death toll in Israel has risen to 8.

Violence continued overnight in mixed communities of Arabs and Jews. Over 750 people have been arrest this week. Last night, a 19-year-old IDF soldier was brutally attacked by an Arab mob in Jaffa, and is in critical condition. To read more about the violence, click here.

Yamina leader Naftali Bennett has announced that he will not join a unity government with Yair Lapid. Instead Bennett will join PM Netanyahu and become Defense Minister, and Ayelet Shaked (the number 2 in Yamina) will become Foreign Minister.

Bennett said that the Lapid led unity government would be unable to deal with the ongoing violent clashes between Jews and Arabs and would also be unable to rely on support from Islamist Ra’am party leader Mansour Abbas, whose 4 seats would be critical to maintaining the government majority. Even with Bennett’s support, Netanyahu still does not have the 61 seats required to form a new government. That means another round of elections, unless Netanyahu can convince Knesset members from other parties to join his coalition.

Let us all pray for peace and security in the holy land. 

Israel news summary

Israel News for 5-13-2021

News Update

Since Monday, Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists have fired over 1,500 rockets into Israel.

A massive rocket barrage overnight targeted central and southern Israel. A home in Petah Tikvah suffered a direct hit, wounding 5 people. A home in Rishon Letzion was hit by shrapnel from a rocket intercepted by the Iron Dome. The Iron Dome has destroyed 90% of the missiles projected to fall in populated areas. While that it a phenomenal success rate, it means that some rockets will make it through.

Seven Israelis have been killed in the rocket attacks from Gaza this week. They include a 7 year boy, an IDF soldier, 2 elderly women, an Israeli-Arab father and daughter, and an Indian caregiver. To read more about them, click here.

The IDF continues to strike Hamas and Islamic Jihad targets in Gaza, as part of “Operation Guardian of the Walls.” Some of the recent targets destroyed include the Hamas internal security headquarters and the Hamas central bank. Over 67 have been killed in Gaza, according to Palestinian sources.

The Security Cabinet approved a plan last night to intensify attacks against terror targets in Gaza. Israel dismissed the offer of a truce made earlier in the day via the Russian foreign ministry, which quoted a senior Hamas official as saying that Hamas was ready to halt attacks on a “mutual basis.”

Foreign airlines, including Delta, American Airlines, United and British Air have cancelled flights to Tel Aviv because of the conflict. El Al will continue to fly.

Riots and mob violence, both Arab and Jewish, continued yesterday in Jerusalem, Haifa, Lod, Tiberias, Acre, Umm al-Fahm, Bat Yam, Jaffa, Jisr a-Zarqa, Wadi Ara, Hadera and Be’er Sheva. The police said at least 374 people were arrested over the nighttime riots, during which 36 police officers were lightly hurt. The police said many of the detained are teens aged as young as 13. Defense Minister Benny Gantz ordered the emergency call-up of 10 companies of Border Police to be deployed throughout the country. To read more about this, click here.

Let us all pray for peace and security in the holy land.