A civilian Israeli contractor working on the security fence along the Gaza border was shot and lightly wounded today. The shooting occurred while terror groups in Gaza were holding a massive military drill. IDF tanks fired at several Hamas outposts in response to the shooting. Gaza media reported that three Palestinians were wounded.
Last night Defense Minister Gantz hosted PA President Abbas at his personal residence in Rosh Haayin. It was Abbas’s first meeting in Israel since 2010. Gantz approved a string of trust-building concessions including the addition of hundreds of entry permits for Palestinian businessmen and vehicles, additional VIP permits for dozens of PA officials, and the advancement of tax payments to the PA worth NIS 100 million. Gantz said that there would be more economic related measure implemented in the near future. For more details, click here.
The primary Syrian port of Latakia was attacked again early yesterday, allegedly by Israel. The port was previously attacked on Dec. 7. A Syrian military official said Israeli missiles were fired from the sea, west of Latakia, hitting the terminal and igniting fires that caused major damage. Syria’s state-run Al-Ikhbariyah TV ran footage showing flames and smoke rising from the terminal. Maj. Mohannad Jafaar, head of the Latakia fire department, said 12 fire trucks worked for hours to contain the fire. Port manager Amjad Suleiman told Al-Ikhbariyah the damage was much larger than that caused by the Dec. 7 attack and required a major effort to move in-tact containers away from the flames.
In a year-end statement issued by the IDF, chief of staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kohavi boasted of success in disrupting weapons shipments to Israel’s enemies in the region. He said, “The increase in the scope of operations over the past year has led to a significant disruption of the movement of weapons into the various arenas by our enemies.” In its year-end assessment, the IDF confirmed carrying out strikes on dozens of targets in Syria in what it called “the campaign between the wars.” Three targets also were struck in Lebanon, it said. It gave no further details. It also reported about 100 operations by the Israeli Navy, including dozens of “special operations.”
The Biden administration announced today that it is examining the possibility of reopening the offices of the Palestine Liberation Organization in Washington. One hurdle facing the move is the law which exposes all Palestinian representatives affiliated with the reopened PLO offices in Washington to personal lawsuits whenever there is a terrorist attack against Israel. The Palestinians want a guarantee from Washington that their representatives will receive immunity from such lawsuits if the PLO offices reopen. The Biden administration is also examining the possibility of increasing financial support for the Palestinian Authority. Israel supports that, but only on the condition that the PA stops monthly payments to terrorists and their families.
Israel’s Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau told the PM that he will not approve any future conversions to Judaism as long as the government continues to advance a plan to reform the process and dilute the Chief Rabbinate’s control over it. Religious Affairs Minister Matan Kahana is pushing legislation that would allow for conversions outside the auspices of the Chief Rabbinate, authorizing municipal rabbis to supervise the process. There are currently 100 Ethiopian immigrants whose conversions the Chief Rabbi is refusing to approve. To read more, click here.
Former SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum and a company employee Ayala Cohen were indicted for insider trading. Birnbaum told Cohen inside information regarding two major events and told her to buy shares ahead of those events, which she did. To read more, click here.
The Health Ministry today reported 2,967 new Covid cases, resulting in a 2.48% infection rate. There are only 88 Covid patients hospitalized in serious condition.