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.