ivanka kotel

Israel News for May 23, 2017

Terror and Protests
A Palestinian with a knife charged at Border Police near Abu Dis, a Palestinian town on the outskirts of Jerusalem. Police shot and killed the terrorist before he could cause any harm.

Meanwhile, dozens of Palestinian youths clashed with Israeli troops, and Palestinian shopkeepers shuttered their stores across the West Bank and east Jerusalem yesterday in solidarity with hundreds of hunger striking prisoners held in Israeli jails. The hunger strike is in its 36th day. Palestinian Authority government offices along with public transportation also closed down. Organizers of the protest hope to draw the attention of President Trump to their cause.

At the Qalandiya checkpoint on the outskirts of Jerusalem, Palestinian youth through rocks and bottles at soldiers and set tires on fire. Troops responded with tear gas and rubber bullets.

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Terror Attack
A 45 year old Palestinian attacked and stabbed a Border Policeman in Netanya today. The policeman managed to shoot and neutralize the terrorist. The policeman was in light condition, while the attacker, a 45-year-old Palestinian, was in moderate condition. Another civilian who was at the scene was lightly injured from shrapnel. The terrorist reportedly called out “Allahu Akbar” before attacking the police officer.

In an unrelated development, a rocket was fired from Sinai at Israel today. There were no injuries or damage, and it’s not clear if the rocket actually landed in Israel or exploded midair.

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Trump and Abbas
President Trump met with Palestinian Authority President Abbas in Bethlehem today. At a press conference after the meeting Trump said, “peace can never take root in an environment where violence is tolerated, funded and even rewarded.” He also vowed to do everything possible to help broker a peace agreement and said that an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal would bring peace to the entire Middle East. He said, “In the spirit of hope we come to Bethlehem asking God for a more peaceful, safe and far more tolerant world for all of us.”

Abbas reiterated the Palestinian position of accepting the two-state solution in the 1967 borders with east Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state and called on Israel to recognize the state of Palestine. He said, “the conflict is not between religions. Respecting religions is an integral part of our faith. We want to get along with our Israeli neighbors.”

Abbas also brought up the issue of the Palestinian prisoner hunger strike, calling on the Israeli government to “meet their humane and legitimate demands.” He said, “We want to build bridges instead of walls inside our lands.”

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Kotel Visit
President Trump, Melania, Ivanka and Jared visited the Kotel yesterday. It was the first time that a sitting American President has done so. They were accompanied by The Chief Rabbi of the Kotel Shmuel Rabinowitz and the Western Wall Heritage Foundation director Mordechai Eliav. No Israel government officials were present. The entire Western Wall plaza was closed off during the visit.

After reciting two psalms with the Chief Rabbi, Trump, wearing a black kippa, approached the Kotel alone and touched the stones while he recited a prayer. Melania and Ivanka prayed in the women’s area of the Kotel.

After the President was done, many American officials proceeded to pray at the Wall. They included Jared Kushner, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and chief economic advisor Gary Cohn.

After the visit Trump changed his Twitter header to a photo of him touching the Western Wall. Quite a statement to his 30 million followers.

Ivanka tweeted, “It was deeply meaningful to visit the holiest site of my faith and to leave a note of prayer.” She included a photo of her praying with her hand touching the Wall.

To see a gallery of photos and video of the visit, click here.

Yad Vashem
President Trump and Melania visited Yad Vashem today, where they laid a wreath on a stone slab under which ashes from some of those killed in concentration camps are buried.  They were accompanied by Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev, PM Netanyahu and Sara, and Chairman of the Yad Vashem Council Rabbi Israel Meir Lau. Ivanka and Jared also joined.

Trump signed the Yad Vashem guest book and received a token of remembrance; an exact replica of the original Holocaust-era personal album that belonged to Ester Goldstein who was murdered during the Holocaust at the age of 16.

Trump called on the world never to forget “history’s darkest hour” and said, “This place is a testament to the unbreakable spirit of the Jewish people.”

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