Israel News for February 27, 2017

Rockets Strike
A rocket apparently fired from Gaza exploded in an open area in southern Israel last night. There were no physical injuries or damages. No one claimed responsibility for the attack yet.

Today the IDF attacked five Hamas military outposts and infrastructure targets, including a concrete factory, in Gaza in response to the attack.

Hamas said in response that it “won’t stand by in the face of continued Israeli aggression against the forces of the resistance and the intentional escalation on Israel’s part.”

Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activity in the Territories, Major-General Yoav Mordechai, said in a Facebook post that “Israel isn’t interested in escalation, but cannot ignore rockets fired toward its sovereign territory. This is why the IDF retaliated.”

Also over the weekend, Egyptian forces detonated a Hamas tunnel under the Rafah border killing three and injuring five. In its condemnation of Saturday’s anti-tunneling operation, Hamas renewed its call to permanently open the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt, portraying Cairo as complicit with “Israel’s unfair siege on Gaza Strip.” The Egyptians are looking to Hamas for help in dealing with the Islamist terror groups in the Sinai Peninsula.

Israeli government sources have reported that there are currently at least 15 Hamas terror tunnels that cross the Gaza border into Israel.

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Ofra Evictions
Security forces have begun evicting residents from nine homes in Ofra (Samaria – West Bank). The Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that the homes were built without the proper construction permits, on privately owned Palestinian land.

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Israeli Stabber
A Jewish Israeli, Shlomo Pinto, was convicted for attempted murder and sentenced to 11 years for stabbing a Jewish supermarket worker who he thought was an Arab.

The attack took place in October 2015 during the height of a wave of stabbing terror attacks that swept the country. Pinto entered a supermarket in Kiryat Ata armed with two knives. After observing Uri Rizken, a worker at the supermarket, Pinto concluded he was Arab and stabbed him several times in the back and waist before chasing him through the store and seriously wounding him.

In their ruling, the Haifa District Court judges said that the perpetrator, Shlomo Pinto, “acted out of a sense of revenge and ideology in order to inspire people to act like he did, when the only goal is to kill an Arab victim.” The 11 year sentence was in line with that given to terrorists convicted of attempted murder.

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IDF Integration
The IDF is integrating women into many IDF units and making certain bases “egalitarian”. Not everyone is happy about that. A group of senior religious Zionist rabbinic leaders have criticized IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot over the policy, claiming that it changes the spirit of the IDF, which agreed to conditions for the service of religious soldiers (that includes separation of the genders).

A senior religious Zionist rabbi told Arutz Sheva: “Eizenkot has been deceiving the IDF chaplains and the religious Zionist rabbis for a long time. In closed discussions, Eizenkot has said that he is very afraid that religious soldiers seek to change the spirit of the IDF, and he has therefore decided to respond to this phenomenon and try to put a stop to it now.”

The rabbi added: “The Chief of Staff has declared war on the world of Torah. We will sit together and decide how to deal with this new conduct of Eizenkot, which threatens to harm thousands of religious and traditional soldiers.”

An IDF Spokesperson replied: “These are fake arguments which seek to divide the army and belittle women who serve in it. The quotes attributed to the Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, are without any foundation.”

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Knesset Unit
The elite Knesset security unit conducted an anti terror training exercise yesterday.To see photos click here.