IDF Tanks

Israel News for 6-26-17

IDF Strikes
The IDF yesterday attacked a series of targets belonging to the Syrian military after several projectiles from Syria landed in the Israeli Golan. The IDF said it targeted two Syrian artillery positions and an ammunitions truck. There were no immediate reports of casualties. As a precaution, the IDF instructed Israeli civilians from gathering in open areas in the border area. It was the second day in a row that the IDF struck targets in Syria. On Saturday Israeli aircraft struck various positions, destroying two tanks, in response to more than 10 projectiles that landed in Israel.

PM Netanyahu said, “Our policy is clear: We will not tolerate any spillover or trickle whatsoever—neither mortars nor rockets, from any front. We will respond strongly to any attack on our territory or our citizens.”

The Syrian army released a statement saying, “the Syrian army general command warns against the dangers of these aggressive activities and lays the responsibility for the dangerous repercussions of these old actions on the Israeli enemy, whatever its excuses may be. The general command stresses that it is determined to defeat the terrorist organizations, the Israeli enemy’s emissaries in the region.”

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No Deal
The Cabinet last night agreed to suspend the agreement approved by the government to create a non-Orthodox run egalitarian prayer area at the southern end of the Kotel. The decision came as a result of massive pressure from the Ultra-Orthodox parties along with members of the Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) party. Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz (Likud) and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman were the only two ministers to vote against the decision. Lieberman warned that cancelling the plans would only harm the unity of the coalition and the state and would also jeopardize relations between Israeli Jews and International Jewry.

Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky, who was at the meeting in which Netanyahu announced his decision, said in a statement:

“As chairman of The Jewish Agency for Israel, and on behalf of our partners, I must express my deep disappointment at today’s decision by the Government of Israel to suspend the implementation of its own decision to establish a dignified space for egalitarian prayer at the Western Wall. After four years of intensive negotiations, we reached a solution that was accepted by all major denominations and was then adopted by the government and embraced by the world’s Jewish communities.

Today’s decision signifies a retreat from that agreement and will make our work to bring Israel and the Jewish world closer together increasingly more difficult. The Jewish Agency nevertheless remains staunchly committed to that work and to the principle of one wall for one people.”

The government’s decision was slammed by leaders of the Reform, Conservative and other progressive Jewish denominations.

Israel’s Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau praised the prime minister’s decision to temporarily nullify the plan. “The decision of the government that will divide the Western Wall—which is the heart of the Jewish people—was fundamentally wrong and it is a good thing that it was stopped.”

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IDF Funerals
The IDF has changed its standing orders to allow families of fallen soldiers to choose between conducting a religious or secular (civil) funeral. The previous order required all funerals to be led by an IDF rabbi according to Orthodox Jewish law. The civil funerals will be held in civil cemeteries and will not be able to contain military ceremonies including an honor guard or gun salute. However, the unit’s commander will be able to speak in memory of the fallen soldier. The Defense Ministry will also provide the family with full logistical assistance in preparing for the funeral, such as organizing shuttles to the cemetery, publishing death notices, and helping digging the grave.

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