Israel news summary

Israel News for 2-27-2023

News Update

On Sunday, 2 brothers from the settlement of Har Bracha were murdered by a terrorist who shot them as they were sitting in traffic while driving through the village of Hurawa on highway 60. Hillel (22) and Yagel (20) Yaniv were laid to rest earlier today, escorted by thousands of mourners. Both of the men were yeshiva students. Hillel had completed his IDF service in the navy and Yagel was training to join  an elite IDF combat unit.

After the terror attack, hundreds of settlers converged on the village of Hurawa and burned down 35 houses and close to 100 cars. Palestinian sources say that around 75 homes in total were damaged. One Palestinian man was killed and close to 100 injured, most from smoke inhalation. Hundreds of IDF troops entered Hurawa to stop the violence and help rescue residents from their burning homes. Internal Security Minister Ben Gvir visited the scene and said that while he understands the settler’s anger, citizens must not take the law into their own hands. Only the government can deal with terrorism. Finance Minister Smotrich echoed Ben Gvir’s words. The IDF added several additional combat battalions to existing forces in Judea and Samaria.

The Ministerial Committee for Legislation approved a bill yesterday that would allow courts to impose the death penalty on terrorists. The bill will now head to the Knesset. Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara opposed the bill, claiming it contained serious constitutional problems.

Officials from Israel, Jordan, Egypt, the Palestinian Authority and the U.S. met in the Jordanian city of Aqaba yesterday to discuss ways to reduce tensions. The Jordanians claim that Israel agreed to halt new settlement approvals in the West Bank for four to six months and that both sides agreed to support “confidence-building steps” and to meet again next month in Egypt. But Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich and Internal Security Minister Ben Gvir denied that Israel agreed to any settlement freeze. National Security Advisor Tzachi Hanegbi, the prime minister’s envoy to the meeting, also said that Israel had not agreed to any policy changes regarding settlements.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 2-24-2023

News Update

On Wednesday, hundreds of IDF troops entered the Old City city of Nablus (Shechem) in a raid to arrest 3 terrorists suspected in participating in shooting attacks against Israelis. The troops came under attack and returned fire. The 3 terrorists were killed along with at least 8 other Palestinians. Over 100 Palestinians were reportedly wounded. No IDF casualties were reported. Saudi Arabia and Egypt and Jordan issued statements condemning the raid. The US State Departed expressed concern while recognizing Israel’s security needs. Thousands of Palestinian demonstrators held marches late last night, including in east Jerusalem, in protest over the raid.

On Thursday, terrorists in Gaza launched 6 rockets at Israel. The Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted five of the rockets and one fell in open fields. The IDF responded with strikes against Hamas military targets in Gaza.

Prime Minister Netanyahu, Defense Minister Gallant and Finance Minister Smotrich signed a memorandum of understanding agreeing to Smotrich being responsible for the civil administration over Judea and Samaria within the defense ministry. Smotrich had threatened to not support the new budget if he did not get the powers that he was promised in the coalition agreement.

Last night, President Herzog met with a delegation of Democratic US Senators, headed by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). Also taking part in the meeting were Senator Peter Welch (D-VT), Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), and US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides.

Israel voted for a UN non-binding resolution calling for Russia to end hostilities in Ukraine and withdraw its forces. The vote was 141-7, with 32 abstentions. Israel’s UN Ambassador Erdan said that Israel will help Ukraine develop an early warning missile system and will expand humanitarian for the country.

Israeli Foreign Ministry Deputy Director General for Africa Sharon Bar-Li, representing the Israeli delegation to the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, was expelled from the session hall despite Israel having observer status at the African Union and having proper credentials. The Foreign Ministry said that the Israeli government “takes seriously the incident in which the Israeli representative was removed from the debate at the African Union summit.” A ministry spokesperson added that, “it is sad to see that the African Union has been taken hostage by a small number of extremist countries such as Algeria and South Africa, driven by hatred and controlled by Iran.”

Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced today that it had received approval from Oman to allow Israeli carriers to use its airspace.

Earlier this week the UAE and Israel announced a jointly created unmanned naval reconnaissance vessel, which will be used to monitor and protect against Iranian military activity.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 2-22-2023

News Update

The Knesset voted passed the first reading of the controversial judicial reform bill by a vote of 63 to 47. The bill would limit the Supreme Court ruling on Basic Laws (similar to the Constitution), requiring the court to be unanimously on rulings related to the Basic Laws. It would also give the government the power to selects judges. Opposition leader Lapid met with Prime Minister Netanyahu to try to work out a compromise. President Herzog has called for the freezing of the bill and for the government and opposition to work out a compromise agreement. Protests against the bill continue throughout the country.

On Monday the UN Security Council met to criticize Israel’s decision to expand settlement building. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said, “These unilateral measures exacerbate tensions. They harm trust between the parties. They undermine the prospects for a negotiated two-state solution. The United States does not support these actions full stop.” Israel’s UN Ambassador rebuked the council for castigating Israel while ignoring Palestinian terror against Israel. Prime Minister Netanyahu said, “The UN Security Council has released a one-sided statement that disregards the Jewish people’s right to live in their ancestral homeland, ignores Palestinian terrorist attacks, turns a blind eye to the Palestinians funding terrorism and downplays the antisemitism that led to the Holocaust.”

Deputy Governor of the Bank of Israel Andrew Abir told “Bloomberg” that “political uncertainty” has affected the shekel exchange rate and equity markets but the Bank of Israel has yet to see any direct impact on capital flows. The shekel is at its weakest against the US dollar since March, 2020. For more, click here.

Security officials in the Queen Alia International Airport in Amman, Jordan cut the leather straps of the Tefillin belonging to Dubai’s Chief Rabbi, Moshe Haliwa, as he was attempting to board a connecting flight to Abu Dhabi. The rabbi spent an hour trying to explain that the straps were just part of a ritual object, but the Jordanians insisted that the straps could be used to strangle someone on the plane.

A 4.2 magnitude earthquake struck about 70 km west of Beirut, Lebanon and was felt in Israel this morning.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 2-17-2023

News Update

The IDF, Shin Bet and Border Police arrested 5 suspected terrorists in overnight raids. Also, guards at a checkpoint stopped 2 suspects attempting to smuggle weapons into the Palestinian Authority.

Israel’s Foreign Minister Eli Cohen arrived in Kyiv on Thursday to meet with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba and President Volodymyr Zelensky. Cohen also visited the Kyiv suburb of Bucha, where Russian forces are accused of committing atrocities and mass killings of civilians. He then visited Babi Yar, where the Nazis and their accomplices murdered over 30,000 Jews in 2 days during WWII. Cohen prayed with the local Jewish community and placed a wreath at the memorial to the Holocaust victims. To read more about Cohen’s visit, click here.

The White House issued a statement yesterday saying that it was “deeply dismayed” at an Israeli Cabinet decision to expand Jewish settlements in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria).

Israel and China are close to completing negotiations on a free trade agreement, which could be signed this year. For more, click here.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 2-15-2023

News Update

The IDF, Shin Bet and Border Police arrested 20 suspected terrorists in overnight raids.

Security forces attempted to uproot some trees planted by a Jewish settler on a plot of land allegedly owned by a Palestinian near the settlement of Shiloh in the northern West Bank. Two Knesset members from Religious Zionism and Otzma Yehudit attempted to block the operation. Finance Minister Smotrich, leader of Religious Zionism, demanded that the operation be halted and that he be given control over civil administration matters in Judea and Samaria, as was promised in the coalition agreement. He accused Defense Minister Gallant of ignoring his order not to uproot the trees. Prime Minister Netanyahu finally ordered the operation to be stopped. Smotrich has threatened a coalition crisis if he is not given the authority promised to him. For more, click here.

Prime Minister Netanyahu’s office and the Jerusalem Municipality announced a plan yesterday to bolster security in Jerusalem. The plan consists of deploying more security and police forces, focusing intelligence and operative efforts, and improving “civilian reinforcements” — which includes installing security barriers at all bus stops to prevent ramming attacks.

Israel’s jewelry industry has been on an upsurge since the Covid-19 pandemic. Worldwide sales totaled $873 million in 2022, which compares with $791 million in 2021 and just $552 million in 2020. For more, click here.

Israel has begun exporting crude oil from the Karish offshore gas and oil field. The oil will be sold in Europe. For more, click here.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 2-13-2023

News Update

IDF jets and tanks struck a Hamas underground rocket factory in Gaza early this morning in response to rockets fired from Gaza at Israel over the weekend. One rocket was shot down by the Iron Dome. Another 3 fell in open areas. No damage was caused.

The security cabinet voted yesterday to legalize 9 “illegal” outposts in Judea and Samaria. National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir produced a list of 77 illegal outposts but nine were chosen because they have been on the ground for years and are not built on private Palestinian land. Plans are to approve 10,000 housing units in existing settlements as well. The US has reiterated its opposition to settlement expansion. The security cabinet also decided to increase Jerusalem police anti-terror operations in the capital. Prime Minister Netanyahu said the police would pinpoint specific targets and that there would be no action taken that would constitute collective punishment on the Palestinian population in the city.

Security forces arrested 2 terrorists responsible for killing an IDF soldier 6 months ago. The arrests were made overnight in Nablus. A shootout erupted, in which both terrorists were wounded. Three other terrorists were also arrested.

Over 60,000 people protested outside of the Knesset against the advancement of legislation that would allow the Knesset to pass legislation that override the country’s 12 basic laws (like the US Constitution), unless the Supreme Court unanimously voted against the legislation. The new legislation would also allow the government to play a significant role in selecting the judges. Israel’s President Herzog called for the government, opposition and judges to meet at his residence to work out a compromise agreement.

The death toll in Friday afternoons terror attack at a bus stop in Jerusalem rose to 3, including 6 and 8 year old brothers and a 20 year old. The father of the 2 boys is hospitalized in serious condition.

The 12 member United Hatzalah rescue team sent to Turkey to help in the rescue operations left the country after being informed of a credible threat against them. The team had successfully rescued 15 people. The IDF rescue team will be leaving in the next few days.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 2-10-2023

News Update

Egyptian officials are trying to mediate between Israel and the Palestinian terror groups in an attempt to avert more violence in Jerusalem, Gaza and the territories (West Bank). Talks with Israeli representatives were held recently in Cairo. This week, representatives of Hamas and other terror groups met with the Egyptians in Cairo. The Moslem holy month of Ramadan begins in March, which could serve as a catalyst for a major flareup.

According to Bahraini news site Akhbar Al Khaleej, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Herzi Halevi paid a secret visit to Bahrain on Thursday. Israel and Bahrain share extensive security cooperation, and the Israeli Navy has an attaché based in the Bahraini capital Manama.

Saudi newspaper Elaph published an interview with an IDF official who said that Israel “will not hesitate to resolutely attack any Iranian arms shipment that arrives in Syria under the disguise of humanitarian aid” after the devastating earthquake that hit the country. He added that “we have intelligence about an Iranian intention to take advantage of the tragic situation in Syria and send Hezbollah weapons under the disguise of humanitarian aid.”

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Barbara Leaf reportedly told National Security Council Director Tzachi Hanegbi that Washington was “deeply concerned” over the recent Israeli-Palestinian escalation, and that empowering a supporter of the settlement project such as Smotrich would be seen as something akin to the annexation of the West Bank.

The mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, announced Thursday that the Spanish city will be severing ties with Israel due to its “apartheid policy” towards Palestinians. Colau sent a letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu saying, “I have decided to temporarily sever relations with Israel and its institutions, including the twin city agreement with Tel Aviv, until Israeli authorities stop the systematic violation of human rights of the Palestinian people.”

Israel news summary

Israel News for 2-6-2023

News Update

Security forces killed at least five terrorists during an operation to arrest members of a Hamas terror cell in the Aqabat Jabr refugee camp near Jericho today. The terrorists opened fire at security forces, who then returned fire. At least 2 other terrorists were wounded. Six terror suspects were arrested.

Despite pressure from the US administration, the Palestinian Authority is refusing to resume security cooperation with Israel, which it severed after the Israeli raid in Jenin in which nine armed terrorists were killed during a fire fight.

In a recent interview, former Prime Minister Naftali Bennett talked about his mediation efforts between Russia and Ukraine at the start of the war there. He revealed that he had extracted a promise from Putin not to kill Zelensky. To read more, click here.

Police arrested a 22 year old Bedouin suspected of raping a woman in from of her 4 year old son in an apartment in the southern town of Gadera. Six members of the suspect’s family were also arrested. National Security Minister Ben Gvir visited the scene of the crime and said that the police must be given more power to act. For more, click here.

Prime Minister Netanyahu announced the establishment of a new town called Hanun, around 2 miles from the border with Gaza. The town is projected to have 500 families.

The IDF Home Front Command is preparing to send a search and rescue team to Turkey, in the wake of a 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck southern Turkey and northern Syria early today. Several hundred people were killed and hundreds more injured. Tremors were felt in Israel.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 2-3-2023

News Update

Prime Minister Netanyahu met with French President Macron in Paris yesterday. They reportedly discussed the international effort to stop the Iranian nuclear program. The prime minister has also said Israel is considering sending military aid to Ukraine. Macron reportedly expressed concern over the government’s plan to implement judicial reform.

Foreign Minister Eli Cohen was in Sudan’s capital Khartoum yesterday to discuss the normalization of ties between the two countries.

Prime Minister Netanyahu attended the opening ceremony of the Chad embassy in Ramat Gan yesterday.

The Shin Bet revealed that it had a foiled a plot by a “Lebanese entity” (Hezbollah) to recruit residents of east Jerusalem, using TikTok, to carry out terrorist attacks against Israeli targets. Two east Jerusalem residents were arrested and accused of spying.

Undercover Border Police forces arrested a 22 year old suspected of planning a terror attack in Israel. In total, 12 terror suspects were arrested in overnight operations.

Nine months after the Independence Day terror attack in the city of Elad, in which 3 Israelis were murdered, a fourth victim succumbed to his wounds and died yesterday. Shimon Ma’atuf, 75, from the small community of Bareket, was working as an armed security guard at an Independence Day event held in a park adjacent to the scene of the attack. A father of six and grandfather of 13, Ma’atuf managed to fire one round at one of the assailants before being struck with the axe, sustaining critical wounds to his skull and jaw.

According to the latest official statistics, there are now over 500,000 Jews living in Judea and Samaria. For a free copy of the report, click here. (you will be required to sign up to their email list to get the report)

Finance Minister Smotrich has decided to continue the cancelation of tariffs on a wide variety of imported products.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 2-1-2023

News Update

Two IDF soldiers crossing the road at the Tapuah Junction were hit by a van that accelerated towards them. An IDF force nearby opened fire but the vehicle fled. The wounded men were evacuated to the hospital. The driver of the vehicle later turned himself in to authorities. The incident is being investigated. Also, security forces arrested 4 terror suspects in overnight raids.

Director General of Israel National Cyber Directorate Gaby Portnoy said that, over the past year, Israel’s cyber defense authority foiled over a thousand major attacks that had the potential of seriously crippling the country’s economy.

Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said that the U.S. opposes any move that is in opposition to the two-state solution, including settlement expansion, demolishing houses, and compromising the status quo at the holy sites revered by both Jews and Muslims. He also said Israel and the United States have a shared commitment to prevent a nuclear Iran and to stand together to prevent Iran’s destabilizing actions in the region, including supplying drones to Russia. Blinken announced a Palestinian support package of $50 million to expand 4G internet support throughout Palestinian territories in the West Bank.

Tom Livne, the founder of multi-billion dollar software giant Verbit, said that he intends to leave Israel due to the judicial reform proposed by Prime Minister Netanyahu and Justice Minister Yariv Levin.

US businessman and El Al Israel Airlines Ltd. controlling shareholder Kenny Rozenberg has increased his stake in the airline from 39% to 45%, by converting warrants to shares.