Israel News for February 23, 2016

Carry Weapons
IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot has instructed the IDF to change regulations that require soldiers to leave their weapons at base before leaving for at least a three day vacation. The regulation was meant to prevent the possibility of weapons being stolen. Now, all soldiers will be required to take their weapons with them and carry them at all times.

Eisenkot’s order comes in the wake of the murder of 1st-Sgt. Tuvia Yanai Weissman last week by terrorists. Weissman was on a week long vacation from the army when he was shopping in a supermarket and heard the screams of someone being stabbed by terrorists. Although he did not have his weapon with him (as per regulations), he still rushed to help and was stabbed to death. The two terrorists were finally shot by an armed civilian.

Had Weissman been carrying his weapon, the situation would probably have turned out much differently. Let’s hope that this new IDF policy regarding weapons will help prevent more bloodshed by terrorists.

For further reading click here.

IDF Raids
Last night the IDF conducted raids in several Palestinian villages in Samaria in search of weapons. Soldiers seized M-16 assault rifles, pistols, bullets, magazines, night-vision goggles, binoculars and other military equipment used in terror attacks. The IDF also demolished the homes of two terrorists west of Hebron.

To watch a video of the raids, click here.

Canada vs BDS
Canada’s Parliament passed a motion yesterday formally condemning the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. The motion passed with support from both the Conservative and Liberal parties and calls on the Canadian government to “condemn any and all attempts by Canadian organizations, groups or individuals to promote the BDS movement, both here at home and abroad.”

Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion said, “the world will win nothing for boycotting Israel but depriving itself of the talents of its inventiveness.”

On the flip side, the National Council on Canada Arab Relations said the anti-BDS motion goes “against the spirit of the Freedom of Speech, a right enshrined in Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms.” You can’t please everyone.

Go Canada!

For further reading click here.

Last Treblinka Survivor
Samuel Willenberg, the last survivor of the Treblinka death camp, was buried yesterday in Israel. Willenberg was one of only 67 people to survive the notorious camp where 850,000 Jews were murdered in the 13 months of its existence.

Willenberg was a leading member of the underground resistance group formed in the camp, which carried out a revolt in August 1943 that burned down most of the camp and killed many guards. Hundreds of prisoners were shot trying to flee to the forest. Most of those who succeeded were later captured and killed by the Germans or local Poles. Willenberg managed to reach Warsaw where he joined his father who was hiding there as a Christian. He then joined the Polish underground and fought in the Warsaw (Polish Underground) Uprising in 1944. After the war Willenberg moved to Israel where he worked as an artist and sculptor, and wrote several books about his incredible story of survival.

President Reuven Rivlin eulogized Willenberg saying,“Samuel, I came here today to tell you – you are a hero. And what a hero, Samuel. You are a symbol of heroism. A symbol for an entire generation of Holocaust Survivors. Heroes. Strong and courageous people. Invincible. Optimistic. Who survived the destruction and could grow once again. Who experienced the horror and choose life.”

He concluded by saying, “We must do everything possible to help the survivors live out the rest of their lives with dignity. This is our duty. It is a moral imperative for the victims, for the survivors. For ourselves, and in order to fulfill the will of Samuel, we must remember and never forget. May his memory be blessed.”

For further reading click here.


Syrians Thank Israel
Aboud Dandachi, a 39 year old Sunni Muslim from the city of Homs now living in Istanbul, has created a website dedicated to the Israeli and Jewish organizations and people helping Syrian refugees.

The website, Thank You Am Israel, highlights the humanitarian aid being given to displaced Syrians and also refutes any reasons why Israelis and Syrians should be enemies.
The site includes news stories and opinion pieces on the global humanitarian aid being offered by Israeli and Jewish people to the Syrian people. (Am Yisrael is Hebrew for “Nation of Israel.”)

“There are new stories of Israelis helping Syrians every day. As far as I’m concerned, because we as Syrians cannot give back to Jews what they give to us, so we should at least thank them,” Dandachi told Ynet news.

Dandachi said, “By chronicling and acknowledging the numerous acts of compassion and generosity shown by the Jewish people to my own people, I can try to ensure that Syrians, Arabs and the world at large never be allowed to forget what you have offered and provided to Syrian refugees, at a time when you had every historical and practical reason not to. Thank you Am Israel, and may you always be safe and blessed.”

For further reading click here.