Israel News for August 23, 2016

Josef’s Tomb Mayhem
A busload of Breslov Hassidim attempted to visit Joseph’s Tomb last night. The tomb is located in Shechem, which is under Palestinian Authority (PA) control and illegal for Israeli citizens to enter without special permission. Israelis also need a military escort to visit the tomb. The Hassidim didn’t have either.

The bus was stopped at the PA checkpoint, where it came under attack by rock throwers. The 32 passengers escaped on foot towards the tomb. Other Hassidim also managed to reach the tomb on foot (there are apparently other less conventional ways of reaching the tomb as opposed to by bus). In total around 60 Hassidim reached the tomb. Some of them started throwing stones at the local Arabs. Basically, it was a balagan (Jewish chaos — which is much worse than the Gentile variety).

IDF forces entered the area, extracted the Hassidim and took them in for questioning. Two Hassidim were lightly wounded by rocks.

Bottom line: Jews need special permission and military protection to pray at the tomb of Joseph. Does anything about that sound off??

By the way, the story of Joseph is also found in the Koran, where he is referred to as a prophet. So apparently the tomb is actually a Moslem shrine. Many Moslems also claim that the tomb is really the burial place of a Moslem cleric who died two centuries ago, and that the actual tomb of Joseph is located near the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron.

For further reading click here.

Expanding Hebron
Israeli authorities confirmed yesterday that permission has been granted for expanding the Jewish enclave in Hebron. There are currently 1,000 Jews living in several enclaves in the city, which has an overall population of over 200,000 Arabs. This would be the first time in a decade that any expansion of the Jewish presence in Hebron would be undertaken.

Yishai Fleisher, a spokesman for the Jewish community of Hebron, welcomed the expansion, saying it “would be good news for the Jewish community here.” However, another community spokesman, Noam Arnon, said he is skeptical that the government would risk international ire and grant such approvals. He said, “This is a government that caves under pressure. As a result, the chance for success here is very low.” Kamel Hmeid, the Palestinian governor of Hebron, called it “one of the most dangerous decisions” by Israel saying, ”What is happening is a cooperation and collusion between the government and the settlers.” The Palestinian Authority vowed to turn to the Israeli Supreme Court, United Nations and international courts to stop the plan.

Hebron was King David’s first capital city, where he reigned for seven years before moving to Jerusalem. More significantly, it is the location of the Cave of the Patriarchs — the burial tomb of Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebecca, Jacob and Leah. The burial place of Rachel is located in Bethlehem (Rachel’s Tomb).

The expansion is meant to be a 28 unit apartment building located in a small compound near the yeshiva. Six families currently live in caravans in the compound, which is also used by the army.

The compound is owned by the State and had been leased to the Hebron Municipality, which had used the compound as a bus station at one time. When the lease expired, the planning for the residential project began.

The property was originally owned by Jewish residents of the city who fled after the 1929 massacre.

For further reading click here.

Israel Attacks Syria
Israeli aircraft attacked a Syrian mortar position in the Golan Heights in response to a mortal shell that fell on the Israeli side of the Heights. The mortal shell was apparently an accident, but the IDF was clear in its statement saying, “it holds the Syrian regime as responsible for any action originating from within its borders, and will not tolerate any attempt to undermine Israel’s sovereignty or the security of it citizens.”

For further reading click here.

Turkey Condemns Israel
In the wake of the Turkish Parliament’s ratification of the rapprochement with Israel, Turkey condemned Israel’s bombardment of Gaza as “disproportionate”. The IDF launched a powerful attack Sunday night in response to a rocket fired from Gaza that landed in Sderot.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry said, “The fact that our ties with Israel have normalized does not mean that we will remain silent in the face of such attacks that target the Palestinian people. On the contrary, we will continue to (defend) the Palestinian cause,” it said, calling Israel’s actions “against international laws and especially against consciences.”

For further reading click here.

African Visit
Israel’s Foreign Ministry Director General Dore Gold, along with a small Israeli delegation, visited the capital of the West African, Moslem majority, country of Guinea and met with its president and cabinet ministers. Israel established formal relations with Guinea in July, after PM Netanyahu visited the region.

The Foreign Ministry Director General also visited two other African countries this week, but the names of those countries have been kept secret.

For further reading click here.

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