Yesterday, 2 rockets were fired into northern Israel from Lebanon. One of them was intercepted by the Iron Dome and other fell in an open area. The attack occurred just hours before Prime Minister Naftali Bennett was due to visit the city of Ma’alot-Tarshiha in the Galilee. In response, the IDF fired artillery shells into Lebanon.
Lebanon is currently in the midst of a severe economic depression that has led to the collapse of the government and the inability of the country to form a new government. The Lebanese army, which is considered to be a stabilizing influence in the country, is suffering from personnel defections and has warned that it could collapse if international aide to prop up the country is not provided. The IDF is closely monitoring the situation, fearing that Hezbollah could fill the vacuum and take control of the country or that Iran could gain a foothold in the country by providing aid.
On Monday, Israel launched airstrikes against Iranian related targets south of Aleppo in Syria. Syrian state media reported that Syrian air defenses shot down most of the missiles. Syrian military sources say Iran has a strong presence in the province in northern Syria, including elite Revolutionary Guard officers at the Kuweires military air base 30 kilometers east of the city. The airstrike is the first since Israel’s new government came into power last month.
Around 100,000 worshipers gathered at the Al Aqsa compound on the temple mount in Jerusalem to celebrate the Moslem holiday of Eid al-Adha. The holiday commemorates the binding of Isaac by Abraham, although the Koran substitutes Ishmael for Isaac. President Isaac Herzog and Defense Minister Benny Gantz both spoke with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and wished him a happy holiday. Gantz’s office released a statement saying, “the two had a positive conversation and raised the need to promote trust-building steps between Israel and the Palestinian Authority that will help the security and prosperity of the entire region.”
Israel warned consumer goods giant Unilever Plc on Tuesday of “severe consequences” from a decision by subsidiary Ben & Jerry’s to stop selling ice cream in Israeli-occupied territories, and urged U.S. states to invoke anti-boycott laws. Ben and Jerry’s said that it would not renew the license of its Israel franchisee because it refused to stop selling in Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria (West Bank). PM Naftali Bennett’s office said that he spoke with Unilever CEO Alan Jope about the “glaring anti-Israel measure” by the ice cream maker and told Jope that, “From Israel’s standpoint, this action has severe consequences, legal and otherwise, and it will move aggressively against any boycott measure targeting civilians.”
Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked today visited Ben & Jerry’s factory in Israel in a show of support for Ben & Jerry’s Israel CEO Avi Zinger. She said, “It’s not the Israeli Ben & Jerry’s that needs to be boycotted – the opposite, we need to buy Ben & Jerry’s Israel.” She added, “I call on Israeli citizens – keep buying Ben & Jerry’s Israel. This factory employs 160 workers and many dairy farms in the area. We have a year and a half to change this antisemitic decision.” Shaked said the government was working with Jewish groups, evangelical communities and Israel supporters in the United States to boycott the ice cream brand there, until it reverses its decision.
US Air Force troops and equipment landed in Israel last night to take part in joint exercises.
The Health Ministry reported that 1,400 people tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday. Ten percent of those cases were in travelers arriving from abroad. The infection rate currently stands at 1.76%.