Israel News for February 21, 2017

Tough Talk
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah is talking tough about Israel, again. In an interview with Iranian television, Nasrallah warned that Hezbollah will have “no red lines in the next war with Israel.” He said, “Israel should think a million times before it goes to war with Lebanon. Hezbollah is ready for any threat.” He added that Hezbollah was ready and willing to attack Israel’s nuclear facilities in Dimona.

Regarding his view on peace between Israel and the Palestinians saying, “Even if there is a peace deal with Israel, it won’t remove the terror label and the occupation from it [Israel],” and that, “Israel is lying when it comes to the two-state solution, and will be deceiving the Palestinians if they agree to it.”

Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman responded to Nasrallah’s threats saying, “a dog that barks doesn’t bite,” and that, “I advise him to continue sitting there in his bunker, making these small cameos. I don’t intend to have any kind of public argument with him.”

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Rocket Attack
Yesterday morning two rockets fired from Sinai landed in an open area in Israel near the Gaza border causing no damage. The rocket attack came the day after Islamic State-linked media claimed that an unmanned Israeli drone had bombed and killed five members of ISIS in Egypt in the northern Sinai. There was no comment or response from the IDF.

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Soldier Sentenced
Sgt. Elon Azaria, the soldier convicted of manslaughter for shooting a neutralized terrorist in the head in Hebron, was sentenced by a military court to to a year and a half in prison. The prosecution had originally asked for a sentence of between three and five years, while the defense demanded that Azaria not spend a single day behind bars.

In reading the sentence the presiding judge, Col. Maya Heller, said, “The defendant shot a terrorist without any justification. The only value that was harmed by the defendant’s actions was the value of life. Azaria also defiled the purity of arms which is upheld by the IDF.”
The defense is planning on filing an appeal, based on information that one of the trial’s central witnesses has recanted their testimony. In addition, the defense is also filing a request for a postponement of incarceration until such a time as the appeal is ruled upon.

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IDF Rabbi
The new IDF Chief Rabbi, Col. Eyal Karim, declared his allegiance at the President’s Residence on Sunday, thus joining the Chief Rabbinate Council, which examines Jewish law and modern-day halachic decrees.

In his address Karim said, “In Israel, there’s a freedom of speech. The problem is that only few are willing to hear and listen,” adding, “As I join the Chief Rabbinate Council as a member, I wish that we all be wise enough to know not just how to talk, but also how to listen, understand, and learn so we can fix what needs to be fixed.”

President Rivlin told the new IDF chief rabbi that his job is “the mission of your life—to serve as a link between the Torah and the army; between the places of Torah study and the training bases; between the desire in the IDF and among many in the Israeli society to integrate as many different sectors in the military in an appropriate manner.”

After the ceremony Rivlin said that, “The job of unification is no less complicated than that of Moses. This is because Moses didn’t have to contend with the IDF chief of staff, the government, chief rabbis and the heads of yeshivas and counselors. Nor did he have the media waiting to shine a light on every chasm and crevice.”

Rivlin added that, on the other hand, “Moses also didn’t have the IDF chief of staff on his side, or the chief rabbis for any problem, the heads of yeshivas and counselors to ask for advice and the media to communicate messages of true dialogue and a desire to listen to each and every soldier, male of female. You have all of these tools.”

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Singapore Visit
PM Netanyahu visited Singapore yesterday where he held talks with government officials. It is the first visit of an Israeli Prime Minister to Singapore in 30 years. The PM also visited and addressed the Jewish community in the Magen Avot Synagogue.

To watch a video of Netanyahu visiting the synagogue click here.