Israel news summary

Israel News for 5-25-2023

News Update

Security forces last night arrested a fugitive terrorist involved in a September 2022 shooting and firebomb attack on a bus carrying IDF soldiers in the Jordan Valley, in which 6 soldiers and a bus drive were wounded. Maher al-Said Turkman, a 50-year-old farmer from the village of al-Jiftlik in the heart of the Jordan Valley, carried out the attack together with his son Mohammad Turkman and nephew Walid Turkman, using a vehicle with an Israeli license plate which was registered in the name of his wife, who is an Israeli citizen. Mohammad and Walid were arrested shortly after the attack. For more, click here.

Yesterday, shot were fired from Syria towards an IDF drone conducting routine surveillance. The IDF responded with machine gun fire towards the location of the shot source. The drone was not damaged.

The IDF conducted a raid in the Aqabat Jabr refugee camp near Jericho on Wednesday. The IDF says that arrested 2 terror suspects. Palestinian sources say that 14 people were detained. The troops came under attack and returned fire. Eight Palestinians were reportedly wounded in the operation.

The Knesset passed Israel’s Budget Bill for the years 2023 and 2024 yesterday by a clear majority of 64 to 56 votes. The budget for 2023 stands at 484 billion shekel and in 2024 it will be 514 billion shekel, the largest in the country’s history. 14 billion were allotted to meet commitments made in the coalition agreements. As a result of new funding, MK Avi Maoz will be reappointed to his role as deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Office in charge of a “Jewish identity”. For more, click here.

The shekel continues to weaken against the US dollar. One dollar is now worth 3.73 shekels.

The Festival of Shavuot begins tonight and extends for one day in Israel and two days outside of Israel. The holiday literally means weeks, and is the culmination of the counting of 7 weeks (49 days) from the second day of Passover. Shavuot is described in the Torah as the harvest festival during which farmers bring their first produce to the Temple in Jerusalem. Shavuot is also the anniversary of the giving of the Ten Commandments and Torah at Mount Sinai. The Book of Ruth is read in the synagogue, and dairy meals are traditionally eaten. It is also customary to stay up all night (first night) to study Torah.

Happy Shavuot!!

Israel news summary

Israel News for 5-22-2023

News Update

IDF forces operating overnight in Nablus’ Balata refugee camp came under attack and returned fire, killing 3 terrorists and wounding 3 others. Troops reportedly raided 25 homes and arrested 5 terror suspects. Around 200 soldiers and 70 military vehicles reportedly took part in the operation.

The Defense Ministry will be significantly raising the budget allocation for reserve troops and implement various incentives such as tax deductions. IDF Reserve units reported a drop in the number of troops willing to come when called, citing the economic burden of a rising cost of living and the need to work more to support their families.

Talks between Israeli and Saudi Arabian officials are proceeding to allow direct flights from Israel to Jeddah for pilgrims traveling to Mecca for the annual Haj, set to begin in June. Israeli Muslims have, in the past, had to travel via Jordan to reach Saudi Arabia. The Jordanian airlines stand to lose a lot of money if directs flights from Israeli are opened, so Jordan might be playing a role in opposing the flights.

National Security Minister Ben Gvir visited the Temple Mount yesterday saying, “We are in charge here.” The US State Department commented, “We are concerned by today’s provocative visit to the Temple Mount/Haram al Sharif in Jerusalem and the accompanying inflammatory rhetoric. This holy space should not be used for political purposes, and we call on all parties to respect its sanctity.”

The Jerusalem District Planning and Building Committee last week approved plans to build 400 homes for Jews in the town of Abu Dis, which is partly within the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem and partly outside of the municipality. Abu Dis, with a population of 15,000, has often been suggested as a potential capital of a Palestinian state and is the home to a Palestinian university, an Islamic college and Palestinian Authority offices. To read more about this, click here.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 5-19-2023

News Update

Security forces arrested 7 terror suspects in overnight raids throughout the West Bank.

Yesterday, tens of thousands of Jews danced and marched with Israeli flags through Jerusalem and the Old City, converging at the Western Wall, in commemoration and celebration of the liberation and unification of Jerusalem during the Six Day War. There were no major issues.

Thankfully, that’s all the news for today.

As a wise person once said, “No news is good news.”

Have a Shabbat Shalom and an amazing weekend!

Israel news summary

Israel News for 5-17-2023

News Update

Foreign Minister Eli Cohen became the first Israeli foreign minister to visit Sweden in 22 years, when he met with Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billström in Stockholm on Monday. The two spoke about ways for their two countries to cooperate on a wide array of issues. Cohen also met with Swedish Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Industry, Energy and Environment Ebba Busch, who is a passionate supporter of Israel and was even once photographed wearing an IDF shirt.

State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman released a special report listing a slew of cybersecurity shortfalls that put numerous state institutions, including the airport and hospitals, at risk of being hacked. The report also found that Israel’s National Insurance Institute (Bituach Leumi) is targeted by millions of cyberattacks on a daily basis. For more, click here.

Anatoly Chubais, formerly the deputy prime minister of Russia and the Kremlin’s climate envoy, who fled Russia in March of last year due to his opposition to the war in Ukraine, was spotted on Tuesday at an immigration office in northern Israel to obtain his permanent citizenship documents. His mother is Jewish.

Minister of Economy and Industry Nir Barkat, Minister of Innovation, Science and Technology Nir Akunis, Minister of Intelligence Gila Gamliel, Labor Minister Yoav Ben-Tzur, Minister of Diaspora Affairs and Social Equality Amichai Chikli, Minister of Information Galit Distel Atbaryan, Minister of Immigration and Absorption Ofir Sofer, Minister of Heritage Amihai Eliyahu and Minister of Jerusalem Affairs and Jewish Tradition Meir Parush will all be participating in the Salute to Israel Parade in New York City on June 4th. 

Tomorrow afternoon, tens of thousands of Israelis are expected to march to the Kotel through the Muslim quarter of the Old City carrying Israeli flags, in what has become known as the Flag March, to commemorate the liberation of Jerusalem in the Six Day War. Thousands of police will be securing the route. National Security Minister Ben Gvir is planning to attend. Hamas has called on Arabs to converge on the Al Aqsa Mosque tomorrow morning to protest the march. [Also, we will be celebrated my son’s Bar Mitzvah at the Kotel tomorrow morning at 9am.]

Israel news summary

Israel News for 5-15-2023

News Update

After 5 days of fighting, Israel agreed to a truce with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) early Sunday morning. In total, 1,139 rockets were fired into Israel and over 430 were intercepted. Most of the rest fell in open areas. The Iron Dome had a 95% success rate. The IDF struck 422 PIJ targets and eliminated at least 4 high ranking PIJ commanders. One Israeli woman and one Palestinian laborer were killed by the rocket fire. Over a dozen Israelis were injured. [Can you imagine the US agreeing to a truce with Al Qaida or ISIS?]

On Sunday evening a rocket was fired into Israel and fell in an open area. The IDF responded by destroying 3 Hamas military posts. Israel holds Hamas responsible for terror attacks emanating from Gaza.

IDF troops mapping the home of the terrorist involved in murdering brothers Hallel and Yagel Yaniv in Huwara in February came under fire. Rioters in the village of Askar, near Nablus, threw rocks and firebombs and fired shots at the troops. Troops returned fire, killing one gunman. No soldiers were hurt.

Thousands of police will be deployed in Jerusalem on Thursday to secure the Flag March, which will go through the Muslim area of the Old City in commemoration of the anniversary of the liberation of Jerusalem during the Six Day War.  National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir with participate in the march. The Arabs view the march as a provocation and an insult to the Arab population, and terrorist groups use it as an excuse to launch terror attacks.

Judicial reform talks will resume on Tuesday, as the June 15 deadline for appointing judges nears. Justice Minister Levin has threatened to quit the government if no part of the judicial reform bill is passed before the Knesset dissolves for summer break at the end of July. For more, click here. 

Municipal governments of Tel Aviv, Givatayim, Haifa, Shoham, Ashdod, Hod HaSharon, Rishon LeZion, Modi’in, Yavne, Beit She’an, Tiberias, Kfar Saba, Herzliya, Ra’anana, and Ramat HaSharon are striking today to protest legislation drafted by Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, which says that cities and towns will be required to contribute varying amounts, depending on a community’s wealth, to a central fund which would subsidize poorer towns. For more, click here.

International ratings agency S&P has announced that Israel’s credit rating and rating outlook will remain unchanged at AA-/A-1+ and stable, respectively.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 5-12-2023

News Update

Over 700 rockets have been fired into Israel over the last couple of days. Most of the rockets have been intercepted by the Iron Dome or have fallen in open areas. One rocket hit an apartment in the city Rehovot yesterday. A 70 year old woman was killed and at least 15 other people were moderately or lightly injured. Homes and public buildings were also hit in the southern city of Sderot, but no injuries were reported.

Israel eliminated the second in command of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad rocket force, in a targeted strike yesterday. Israel has indicated that it will not carry out more targeted killings if the rocket fire ceases. Cease fire talks are ongoing, brokered by Egypt and the US, but the PIJ is refusing to stop their rocket barrages.

The rocket barrages are continuing (as of midday Friday) and Israel continues to strike terror targets in Gaza. Since the start of Operation Shield and Arrow, Israel has hit 215 PIJ targets. Over 150 rockets launched from Gaza have fallen short and landed in Gaza, wounding several civilians.

The threat of rocket barrages didn’t stop over 40,000 people from attending an outdoor concert by Israeli rock star Aviv Geffen in Tel Aviv last night.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 5-10-2023

News Update

Yesterday the IDF launched Operation Shield and Arrow, directed against the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ). Air strikes assassinated 3 PIJ leaders in Gaza: Khalil Bahitini, who was responsible for launching the rockets into the Gaza Envelope last week; Jehad Ghanam, a long-time operative in the organization; and Tarek Az Aldin, who was responsible for the group’s terrorism activity in the West Bank. The Palestinian Ministry of Health reported that a total of 13 people were killed in the Tuesday morning attacks, including four children and four women. One of the dead was a Russian citizen. Russia’s ambassador to Israel called for an end to the violence. The strikes were condemned by Egypt, Jordan, the UAE and the UN representative in Gaza.

All roads near the Gaza border have been closed and communities placed on high alert. Some IDF reserves have been mobilized. Following the initial strikes, the IDF struck military targets in Gaza including rocket manufacturing facilities. More strikes have occurred today, wounding numerous terrorists.

The IDF is currently conducting strikes against PIJ rocket launching infrastructure in Gaza.

The PIJ has threatened to retaliate against Israel. They have not done so as of noon on Wednesday. The country is tense, braced for the retaliation.

Israel has warned Hamas not to get involved in the fight, which is currently directed directed solely against the PIJ. Iran is reportedly pressuring Hamas to join the fight. PM Netanyahu said that “no terrorist is immune” and that any escalation by the PIJ will be “answered with a decisive response.” Defense Minister Gallant warned Israeli citizens to not grow complacent as the threat of rocket fire still looms, and added that IDF forces might soon be called up to additional offensive actions both in Gaza and the West Bank.

Security forces shot and killed two Palestinian terror suspects in an exchange of fire during a raid on the village of Qabatiya near Jenin early today.

An Israeli bus driver who mistakenly drove his bus into a Palestinian neighborhood in east Jerusalem last night was lightly injured from smoke inhalation when his bus was attacked with Molotov Cocktails and stones.

Two Jews, including 1 Israeli, were killed in a terror attack against a 2500 year old synagogue on the Tunisian island of Djerba, where hundreds of Jews come every year on Lag B’omer (yesterday). The synagogue area was heavily guarded with three rings of security personnel. The terrorist was a naval guard who fist killed another guard and then fired on other security personnel who were protecting the synagogue. Several other visitors and security personnel were injured. There are about 1,000 Jews currently living in Djerba.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 5-8-2023

News Update

Speaking at the Washington Institute for Near East Policies last week, U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said, “We have the interest and bandwidth to promote normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia, and in fact, it’s this administration that has produced the first tangible step of these two countries coming close together with the opening of the airspace over Saudi Arabia for civilian flights from Israel.” He added, “As a sign of my seriousness about how much we are focused on this and how seriously we are taking this, I’m not going to say anything further lest I upset the efforts we are undertaking on this issue.” Israeli officials are hopeful that relations with Saudi Arabia can be forged this year.

Israel yesterday released a Jordanian parliamentarian who was arrested last month at the King Hussein border crossing for weapons smuggling. The Shin Bet said that the Jordanian had, since February, smuggled goods across the border 12 times before he was caught. National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir criticized the decision to release the Jordanian MP a “strategic and moral mistake.”

National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir will speak at the EU’s “Europe Day” event on Tuesday. The Foreign Ministry had requested that Ben Gvir be replaced by another minister because European ambassadors have not agreed to meet with Ben Gvir because of his political views.

At his coronation ceremony on Saturday, King Charles III of England asked to speak with President Herzog and Mrs. Herzog, and spoke with them about the situation in Israel and the region. The king encouraged Herzog for his efforts to bring about a compromise on judicial reform. The President and First Lady also spoke with other world leaders during the coronation. They walked to the event from their lodgings in the area, in order to not desecrate the Sabbath. For more, click here.

Over 100,000 Jews are expected to visit Meron to celebrate the festive night and day of Lag B’Omer (tonight and tomorrow), which is the Yahrzeit (anniversary of the passing) of the holy Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, the second century sage credited with authoring the Zohar, the cornerstone text of the Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism). Bonfires will also be lit throughout the country.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 5-3-2023

News Update

Israeli undercover special forces killed the 2 terrorists who murdered the 3 members of the Dee family last month. Around 200 personnel took part in the raid yesterday morning in the center of Nablus. Another terrorist was also killed in the gunfight.  Rabbi Dee, the father of the girls murdered, said, “The world will be able to sleep better when these terrorists are no longer alive. I am very happy to hear that no soldier or civilian was hurt or affected in the event. It is a mission that only the IDF and the Shin Bet can do. We are proud to live in a country where security forces are so precise and skilled, and we are very grateful to the army and forces for assassinating the terrorists.”

The Israeli Air Force (IAF) published the initial investigation report of the Iron Dome system’s recent activity, which found that there was a technical problem with the system on the day it failed to intercept 2 rockets that landed in Sderot, wounded 3 Chinese workers and causing material damage. The report found that the problem was immediately addressed and did not reoccur when dozens of additional rockets were fired from Gaza.

A new poll conducted by Panels Politics for Maariv’s weekend paper shows that the National Unity party led by former Defense Minister Benny Gantz would win 31 seats if elections were held today, with Likud coming in second with 25 seats, and Yesh Atid with 17 seats.

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has unveiled the BlueWhale Large Autonomous Underwater Vehicle. The unmanned submarine has already successfully undergone thousands of autonomous operation hours, including intelligence-gathering for both maritime and coastal targets, acoustic intelligence, and identifying the presence of naval mines. The autonomous submarine can perform a significant portion of the operations of a manned submarine, for periods of several weeks, at minimal cost and maintenance, without the need for operators on board. For more, click here.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 5-3-2023

News Update

Yesterday, Islamic Jihad terrorist Khader Adnan died after being on an 86 day hunger in an Israeli prison. In response to his death, Islamic Jihad terrorists fired barrages of rockets at Israel in the afternoon and evening. In total, 102 rockets were fired from Gaza. Three people were wounded in Sderot and some property was damaged there when 2 rockets managed to hit. The IDF responded with strikes on Hamas targets in Gaza, including weapon production and storage sites, underground tunnels, military bases and positions and training facilities. Early this morning a ceasefire, brokered by Egyptian, Qatari and UN officials, went into effect.

The IDF has launched an investigation into why the Iron Dome missile defense system missed 2 rockets that ended up landing in Sderot, wounding 3 and causing material damage. The Iron Dome success rate in the latest rocket barrages from Gaza was only 67%. During the last major round of rocket attacks, last summer, the Iron Dome had a 96% accuracy rate. For more, click here.

Terrorist fired at Israeli Defense Ministry personnel who were working on the separation fence in the West Bank yesterday. No one was hurt and IDF troops returned fire. This morning, IDF troops demolished the homes of 2 terrorists who murdered Israelis this year.

Members of National Security Minister Ben Gvir’s Otzma Yehudit party announced this morning that they would boycott Knesset votes taking place throughout the day to protest what they consider to be a weak response by the government to the rocket attacks from Gaza. Yesterday, Haredi ministers threatened to block the passage of a state budget because the government is not moving forward to pass a draft exemption law for Haredi yeshiva students.

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has won a contract, worth 100 million Euros, to provide Estonia with advanced long-range loitering munitions.