Israel News for April 19, 2016

Terror on Bus
A bomb exploded at the back of a bus in Jerusalem yesterday injuring at least 20 passengers. Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat was the first to confirm that it was a terror attack. The police and Shin Bet are trying to identify the terrorist and are investigating the possibility that he was one of the passengers, who was the most severely wounded.

The Bus driver, Moshe Levi, said that he recognized the wounded man as the terrorist after the blast. Levi said, “The [bus] ride was normal; I saw the terrorist get on the bus at one of the stations. The terrorist boarded and paid just like everyone else. He didn’t look suspicious to me, and he wasn’t carrying a strange bag or something. No, I didn’t suspect him.” Levi added, “I saw lots of people bleeding and screaming. I ran out of the bus and opened the [emergency] doors. Outside there were people who had been thrown out of the bus [by the blast]. I saw the terrorist lying on the ground, with severed hands and feet. I told the MDA people to treat him. When I got to the hospital I saw this man lying on the ground in the emergency treatment ward, I understood from the security people there that this was the terrorist. And I had asked them [the MDA medics] to help him.”

The police have not yet confirmed that the man was the terrorist.

Reactions from Palestinian groups were as expected. Hamas called it a “natural response to the crimes of occupation,” but did not claim responsibility. Islamic Jihad, meanwhile, also welcomed the attack as “proof of the failure of security coordination” between Israel and the Palestinian Authority,” and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine said it “welcomes the operation as a positive and important development of the intifada.”

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Biden on J Street
In a speech to J Street yesterday, US Vice President Joe Biden acknowledged “overwhelming frustration” with Israel’s government, saying, “I firmly believe that the actions that Israel’s government has taken over the past the past several years — the steady and systematic expansion of settlements, the legalization of outposts, land seizures — they’re moving us and more importantly they’re moving Israel in the wrong direction.“ He added that it was the America’s obligation to guarantee Israel’s security and to “push them as hard as we can” toward a two-state solution despite “our sometimes overwhelming frustration with the Israeli government,” but that, “there is at the moment no political will that I observed from either Israelis or Palestinians to go forward with serious negotiations,”

Biden also blasted Palestinian leaders for not condemning terror saying, “No matter what legitimate disagreements the Palestinian people have with Israel, there is never justification for terrorism. No leader should fail to condemn as terrorists those who commit such brutalities.”

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No Cameras
The idea seemed brilliant. If you want to prove once and for all whether Israel is really violating the status quo and harassing Muslims on the Temple Mount, just install video cameras to record everything happening up there. After months of negotiations, Israel and Jordan agreed to the details of implementing the project. But wait, it was too good to be true. Guess who blocked the plan? You got it: the Palestinians.

Apparently, the Palestinians aren’t anxious to document what really happens on the Temple Mount. As part of their anti-camera campaign, banners were hung all over the Temple Mount calling for Palestinians to smash the security cameras. One guard from the Waqf (Islamic Religious Endowments Organization) summed it up by saying,“We don’t need any cameras here. Only Allah sees all.”

The Palestinians launched a second banner campaign called “The picture is clear – so no cameras are needed,” bearing pictures showing Israeli policemen attacking and dragging Palestinians from the Mount.

I wonder why they wouldn’t want cameras up there?

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Court Convicts
The Jerusalem District Court today convicted Yishai Schlissel of murdering 16 year old Shira Banki at the Gay Pride Parade in Jerusalem last July. The judge scolded police for negligence in allowing the attacker to get to the parade. Just two months before the parade, Schlissel had finished serving a ten year sentence for stabbing someone at the gay pride parade in 2005. He also expressed his opposition to the parade both in the media and in ads published in synagogues in Jerusalem and Kiryat Sefer, prior to the parade. A the judge said, “the writing was on the wall.”

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Rivlin is Blessed
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin visited Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, one of the great sages of Israel, at his home in Bnei Brak last night to receive his blessing before Passover.

To see photos of the visit, click here.