Settlement Evacuated Again
Last night, hours after the demolition of the 2 buildings in Beit El, security forces began evacuating the Samaria Settlement of Sa-Nur, for the second time in 10 years. Most of the 250 people in the community peacefully boarded the evacuation buses. But about 100 youths and other activists refused to leave and were forcibly removed.
Ten years ago, when the Gush Katif settlements in Gaza were evacuated as part of the 2005 Disengagement plan, 4 additional towns in Samaria were included in the evacuation, including Sa-Nur.
In commemoration of the 10th year anniversary of the evacuation, a group of about 20 families of original Sa-Nut residents, along with other activists and protesters, returned to the town late Monday night to try and resettle it. On Tuesday morning the families sent a letter to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon (Likud), urging them not to have IDF soldiers expel them from their homes again.
“IDF soldiers are our beloved brothers, flesh of our flesh. We demand not to repeat the trauma of the expulsion, and not to force IDF soldiers to expel us again from our homes,” they wrote.
Demolition is Done
Security forces late last night completed the demolition of the 2 Dreinoff buildings in Beit El, as per the decision of the High Court. Protesters, mostly youth, initially clashed with police but returned to their homes as the operation progressed. Eight hours later, the demolition was completed.
Several religious border policemen were reported to have refused to take part in the demolition and were arrested. The Border Police denied that any soldiers were arrested for disobeying orders.
Shortly after the demolition, the Yesha Council representing the communities of Judea and Samaria issued a statement inviting people to attend a cornerstone laying ceremony at the demolition site to mark the rebuilding of the homes. Shai Alon, the head of the Beit El council, stated that, “now Beit El will be busy with building, not destroying.” He was referring to the 300 additional units approved by the Prime Minister.
Education Minister Naftali Bennet, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and other Bayit Yehudi ministers and Knesset members praised PM Netanyahu’s approval for the construction of 300 housing units in Beit El and 500 in East Jerusalem.
Report Against IDF
Amnesty International said Wednesday that the Israeli military may have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity during last summer’s Gaza war when it carried out four days of intense bombardment in retaliation for an attack by Hamas militants in which an Israeli soldier was captured. At least 135 civilians were killed over those four days. It says the military failed to independently probe the incident and called on the International Criminal Court to investigate.
Hamas praised the report. Israel’s Foreign Ministry spokesman denounced it as “fundamentally flawed,” since “there is almost no mention of the military actions of Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist organizations.”
He added that the report made no mention of the Hamas strategy to embed civilians among combatants, using them as human shields. And that the claim that the 4 days of bombardment were in response to the killing of one IDF soldier ignores the fact that there was an ongoing conflict during which the IDF was trying to stop rocket fire and neutralize assault tunnels.
Israel Strikes in Syria
Syrian and Lebanese sources reported that an Israel drone strike in the Syrian Golan Heights on Wednesday killed 2 Hezbollah members and 3 members of the pro-Assad People’s Committees militia led by Lebanese Druse terrorist Samir Kuntar.
Israeli military sources claim that Kuntar commanded several terrorist attacks against Israeli soldiers in the area in the past few months.
The IDF has refused to confirm or deny the attack. Syrian state media didn’t mention the attack.
Jerusalem Kosher Crisis
The Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem, Rabbi Aryeh Stern, has made it his mission to assure the reliability of kosher supervision in the city. His staff is examining the reliability and efficacy of the more than 300 kashrut supervisors appointed by the Jerusalem Religious Council who are supposed to provide daily supervision to some 1,500 kosher restaurants and businesses in the city. Unfortunately, they’ve found some problems, like supervisors who don’t show up at the establishments under their supervision and serious kashrut issues at some restaurants and businesses with kashrut certificates from the Jerusalem rabbinate.
Yehoshua Yishai, the chairman of the Jerusalem Religious Council hit back against the chief rabbinate by threatening to fire R. Stern’s chief of staff Avinoam Kutscher. The State Comptroller told Yishai to back down. Yishai also instructed his inspectors not to cooperate with the Chief Rabbi’s investigation.
The dispute was brought before the Knesset’s Internal Affairs Committee on Wednesday and the Police Fraud Office is deciding whether to open it’s own investigation into the Jerusalem kosher situation.
As if keeping Kosher wasn’t hard enough already.
Shas Radicalized Position
In support of the campaign by some members of the Charedi community against Charedim who enlist in the IDF, Rabbi Moshe Cohen, the head of the council of sages of Shas and the successor to Rav Ovadia Yosef, wrote a letter prohibiting all Charred youth from enlisting. The letter includes all young men, regardless of their level of engagement in Torah study. It also condemns all those who assist Charedim in their efforts to serve in the IDF.
The traditional position of Shas has been to be against enlistment only for men engaged in formal Torah studies. Rabbi Cohen’s letter seems to be broadening this position to include even those not engaged in formal Torah studies.
Church Arsonists Nabbed
Prosecutors on Wednesday indicted two men believed to have set fire to a historic Church, on the shores of the Kinneret, in an act of religious and racial hatred.
The men, named as 20-year-old Yinon Reuveni of Ofakim and 19-year-old Yehuda Asraf of Elad, face charges of aggravated arson, destruction of property motivated by hostility toward the public and conspiracy to commit a crime, and Asraf was indicted on charges of aiding and abetting a crime and conspiracy.
The Shin Bet Israel Security Agency named two other suspects who have yet to be indicted as Mordechai Meir, 18, from Maaleh Adumim, and Moshe Urbach, 24, from Bnei Brak. The fifth suspect arrested in the case is an unnamed minor from Ramle.
The Shin Bet said that the suspects were driven by the ideology held by the so-called “Hilltop Youth”, a loosely-organized group of ultra-nationalists known for establishing illegal outposts in the West Bank.
Norway Law Passes
The Knesset today passed the Norwegian Law, which allows a minister or deputy minister from each coalition party to quit the Knesset and return if they leave the cabinet. Several ministers will likely be resigning their Knesset seats to allow other members of their part to take their place. They’ll also be able to focus all of their energy on their ministerial responsibilities.
Have an amazing day, and we’ll see you bright and early tomorrow with more Israel news!
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