Israel News for August 25, 2016

Israel vs UK
Newly released archives by the British foreign ministry indicate that Israel supplied military aid to Argentina during the Falklands War between the UK and Argentina in 1982. Israel had been supplying fighter jets to Argentina in the years prior to the conflict and continued to provide them with spare parts for those planes during the war. When British diplomats asked Israel to stop, Israel denied supplying the weapons.

Sources claim that Menachem Begin, the Israeli Prime Minister at the time, chose to continue supplying Argentina as revenge against the British for their actions against the Jews during the British Mandate of Palestine.

Israeli sources have defended their actions saying that their weapons exports to Argentina during the war were simply part of an ongoing, long term, weapons supply agreement. They also point out that the UK has supplied Arab nations that have been at war with Israel.

In any case, many in the UK are not very happy with the news that Israel assisted Argentina in the Falklands War which claimed the lives of 255 British servicemen.

For further reading click here.

Cable Car
The Jerusalem municipality is developing plans to build a cable car that would ferry tourists to historical sites near the Old City. The cable car would make five stops: the First Station complex in southern Jerusalem; the Kedem Center, which belongs to the right-wing organization Elad, near Silwan; the Siloam Pool in Silwan, the 7 Arches Hotel on the Mount of Olives; the churches of Gethsemane, near the Old City’s Lions Gate.

The plan is controversial since most of the stops are within what is considered to be East Jerusalem. Mayor Nir Barkat considers the cable car to be the ideal solution for enabling tourists to easily reach these important sites while reducing traffic and pollution. He also feels that the cable car will highlight Israeli sovereignty over the entire city.

The project is estimated to cost around $33 million.

For further reading click here.

Worst Zoo
Where is the worst zoo in the world? Gaza. But that’s history now, because the last remaining animals have finally been evacuated (rescued) from the Khan Yunis Zoo into Israel. Some of them will remain in Israel while others will head to Jordan or South Africa.

At one point the privately owned zoo had over 100 animals, but as a result of all the conflicts, mismanagement and negligence, many of those animals died of starvation and disease. But that didn’t stop the owners from stuffing the animals to continue displaying them.

The 15 remaining animals, including a tiger, gazelle, pelicans, monkeys and porcupines are scheduled to crossed into Israel yesterday.

Anyone know if there’s an aquarium in Gaza?

For further reading click here.

Polish Gold Rush
The fact that Poland is attempting to pass a law that would imprison anyone who claims that the country played any role in the murder of its 3,000,000 Jews during the Holocaust hasn’t stopped it from searching for Jewish gold.

According to legend, as Nazi forces fled from the advancing Soviet army in 1945, they buried a train full of gold, jewelry and valuable artwork stolen from their Jewish victims near Wroclaw, in Western Poland. For the last year a team of Polish treasure hunters have been digging in the area, where they said that they had used radar to locate the train.

But no luck. So they’re filling in their holes and heading home empty handed. No Jewish gold for these Poles. But that’s ok, because Poland is the only country to not approve any restitution program for property lost in the Holocaust. So the property of 3 million Jews now belongs either to the state or to the Polish people who simply took it over. That’s worth a bit more than a trainload of gold.

Perhaps one day Poland will do the right thing and give back the property they stole. Or maybe they need a bit of encouragement from the US and their EU partners?

For further reading click here.

Israel News for May 3, 2016

Terror Roundup
An 18 year old Arab terrorist stabbed a 60 year old Jewish man leaving a yeshiva in the Muslim quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City last night. The man suffered wounds to his upper body but was able to run to a police post near the Lion’s Gate. The terrorist was captured.

The military court in Judea and Samaria has convicted a Palestinian of murdering Dafna Meir, who was stabbed in her Otniel home in January. The terrorist, who was a minor at the time, confessed to the murder.

IDF forces destroyed the home of the terrorist Zir Ziad Jamal Amar, who took part in murdering Eitam and Na’ama Henkin last October. The home of the other terrorist has already been destroyed.

For further reading click here.

PM Term Limit
The Zionist Union opposition party recently submitted a bill in the Knesset that calls for imposing a two term limit for the office of Prime Minister. The bill is to be called up for discussion and voting in the upcoming Knesset summer session.

PM Netanyahu, who is currently serving his third term and will most likely continue into a fourth, is obviously against the bill and feels that it is directed at him personally. But sources in his own Likud party are saying that many party members are in favor of the term limits. The only Likud member who has openly endorsed the bill is MK Oren Hazan, who is considered a controversial figure in the party who routinely misses votes and was recently ordered to pay thousands of shekels worth of parking fines by a Tel Aviv court. He then pleaded with the court, claiming that he is broke. Oh well.

Even if the bill passes in its current form, Netanyahu will be allowed to serve six terms. Nevertheless, he is committed to defeating it. Democracy in action.

For further reading click here.

Bennett Threat
Yesterday we told you about the possibility of a unity government with the Zionist Union and that members of the party would probably be offered cabinet positions in the new government. Yesterday, Education Minister and head of the Bayit Yehudi party Naftali Bennett warned that his party would leave the government if the Justice Ministry was given to the Zionist Union.

Bennett was quote as saying, “If they take the justice portfolio away, we’re out. We see the justice portfolio as a significant issue that parallels changing the government guidelines, and not just a job. It’s not a personal issue. If they take justice away from us, we won’t sit in the coalition.”

Who said a unity government was going to be easy?

For further reading click here.

Rabbinic Court
Yesterday we reported that Israel’s Supreme Court ordered the Supreme Rabbinical Court to shutdown until seven permanent judges are appointed. Yesterday, the appointment committee succeeded in appointing one judge, Rabbi Eliezer Igra, who identifies with the National Religious movement. In other words, he is not haredi.

Although Igra was previously appointed as a temporary judge by Sephardic Chief Rabbi and head of the court R. Yitzhak Yosef, Rabbi Yosef opposed his current appointment to the permanent position. As the committee currently has a non haredi majority, it was able to push through the appointment, but only with the help of Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau, who voted for R.Igra. The committee suggested a number of additional candidates, which were all rejected.

Igra, the rabbi of Moshav Kfar Maimon in the Negev, ran for the office of Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi three years ago.

Don’t get your hopes up for a quick resolution to this issue. According to the Supreme Court ruling, the committee must appoint seven judges by Thursday in order for the rabbinical court to reopen. One down, six to go.

For further reading click here.

Gaza Crossing
Israel has announced that it will reopen the Erez crossing, which connects Gaza and Israel, to commercial traffic. There is currently only one crossing point, the Shalom crossing, into Gaza for trucks. The Erez crossing has been closed to commercial traffic since 2000. The reopening is meant to reduce the traffic at the Shalom crossing, which is currently at around 600 trucks per day. Whether it also means that Israel will allow more banned goods into Gaza, including building materials and cement, which is what the Gaza’s claim that they need for an economic recovery, is yet to be seen.

Stopping the use of those materials for tunnel construction would probably be a good start in convincing Israel to lift the ban.

For further reading click here.

Survivor Aid
In the lead up to Holocaust Remembrance Day (this Thursday), Finance Minister Moshe Kahalon has announced plans to increase annual financial support for Holocaust survivors and elderly welfare recipients by a half-billion shekels. The new plans will benefit 60,000 survivors living below the poverty line and will add NIS350 million earmarked for elderly welfare recipients.

The median age of Holocaust survivors in Israel is 82. One of the major problems in getting them the funds that they deserve is that many of them are simply unaware of the benefits they are entitled to and therefore do not collect them. An organization called Aviv for Holocaust Survivors has been established to keep survivors informed about changes that effect their benefits and to help them collect what they are entitled to.

For further reading click here.

New Photos
The Israeli Government Press Office has released hundreds of thousands of photos taken since the founding of the state and posted them on its website for all to view. Additional photographers contributed to the collection as well, some of which took pictures from before the founding of the state.

To give you an idea of the uniqueness of this amazing historical resource, you can find rare pictures of men and women praying together at the Western Wall in 1910; a rare photo of the Mosque of Omar on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem from 1920; and a picture of 13-year-old Shimon Peres before he immigrated to Israel.

To see the site for yourself, click here.

israel terror attacks

Israel News for December 24, 2015

Breaking News
Early this morning a Palestinian stabbed and wounded a male and female security guard, both in their mid 20’s, near the entrance to Ariel in Samaria. One of the guards shot and killed the terrorist.

At a checkpoint near Hebron today, a Palestinian tried to stab soldiers with a screwdriver. He was shot and killed before he could cause any harm.

Shortly before noon today, a Palestinian rammed his car into a soldier near Geva Binyamin, not far from the Qalandiya refugee camp. The soldier was very lightly wounded and did not require evacuation to hospital. The attacker, identified as Sam Abu Guelleh, 20, from Qalandiya, was shot and killed by soldiers at the scene.

For further reading click here.

Jerusalem Terror
At around 1:00pm yesterday, two Arab terrorists arrived at the Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City and began stabbing Jews. Two female Border Police officers (Mishmar Hagvul) noticed people running from the scene and understood that there was a terror attack in progress. They ran to the scene and shot both terrorists, killing one and wounding the other. In a tragic accident, one innocent Israeli civilian was also shot in the gunfire and died shortly after.

Two Israelis were stabbed in the attack. Rabbi Reuven Biermacher, 45, from Kiryat Yearim was killed. He left behind a wife and seven children. Rabbi Biermacher was returning home from his job as a rabbi at the Aish Hatorah Spanish Program when he was murdered. The other man was seriously wounded. The man accidentally killed by the police gunfire was Ofer Ben-Ari, 46, a married father of two from Jerusalem.

The Police Commander of the Jerusalem District stated that the police officers acted bravely and professionally, according to their training, and they prevented a much larger attack.

The terrorists, were both 20 yrs old and from the Qalandia refugee camp near Jerusalem. They had previously served time in Israeli prisons before being released.

For further reading click here.

Hamas Busted
Security forces uncovered a Hamas terror cell in the West Bank that was planning a string of large-scale suicide terrorist attacks against Israeli targets. The joint Shin Bet, IDF and Israel Police operation has so far led to the arrest of 25 people, mostly students from the University of Abu Dis in East Jerusalem.

Interrogation of the suspects revealed that the cell was run by 24 year old Ahmad Jamal Musa Azam from Qalqilya, who was recruited a few months ago by Hamas in the Gaza strip to set up a militant infrastructure to carry out bombing attacks.

Azam was in constant contact with his handlers in Gaza, who trained him to make explosive belts and other explosive devices. He recruited several other activists who studied with him at the University of Abu Dis to buy raw material to make explosives, rent apartments, enlist suicide bombers and smuggle them into Israel. Among the recruits was a 19 year old Bedouin-Israeli citizen and a 22 year old resident of the Old City of Jerusalem.

This is the most significant terrorist cell that has emerged during the recent wave of terror attacks, most of which have been carried out by lone-wolf terrorists.

For further reading click here.

PLO in Washington
Did you know that there’s a PLO office in Washington, DC? Well, there’s been one there since 1994, when a waiver was created to allow it to remain open.

In a letter dated Dec. 18, 32 members of Congress including Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz, called on Secretary of State John Kerry to revoke the waiver and close down the office, because Palestinian leaders are encouraging and inciting violence against Israelis.

The letter said, “The United States government has an obligation to publicly denounce the PLO’s actions and should immediately revoke its waiver. Allowing the PLO to maintain an office in Washington, DC provides no benefit to the United States or the peace process.”

The State Department spokesperson confirmed receiving the letter and said that Kerry would respond to it.

Can you guess what his answer will be?

For further reading click here.

Disturbing Video
A very disturbing video was shown on Israel’s TV Channel 10 that was taken at a wedding in Jerusalem of far right extremists of the religious settler community. The video shows dozens of wedding guests singing and dancing while holding up knives and rifles, while one of them stabs a photo of Ali Dawabsha, the Palestinian child killed in the Duma arson attack.

MK Bezalel Smotrich of Bayit Yehudi, one of the more far right members of Knesset and supporter of the settler community, condemned the video saying, ““That kind of twisted dancing with pictures of a baby who was murdered in his sleep reflects a dangerous ideology that has lost all traces of humanity. Such an ideology, he added has no place in the world of religious Zionism and is not a legitimate part of the dialogue in the democratic state of Israel.”

PM Netanyahu wrote on his Facebook page, “The shocking photographs which aired this evening show the true face of a group that poses a danger to Israeli society and Israel’s security. We are not ready to accept people who disavow the state’s laws and do not see themselves as subordinate to those laws.These pictures attest to just how important a strong Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) is to the security of all of us.”

Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid had this to say, “These people are not Jews. They have lost all semblance of humanity. These people are a danger to the State of Israel and we must fight them just as we do Hamas or Hezbollah. But in order to win we must understand that these people did not evolve in a vacuum. They have behind them rabbis, ideology and politics.”

Israel’s Chief Rabbi David Lau said, “These kind of acts are not the Jewish way. They are a rejection and repudiation of the values of the Jewish people, the Torah of Israel and the uniqueness of the Jewish people. Parents and educators must take on the mission, together with the law enforcement agencies, to do everything to prevent identification with such appalling acts of terror and murder.”

The Judea and Samaria Police said that an investigation was launched several days ago “into the many serious offenses displayed in the wedding video.” The police apparently had several undercover officers at the wedding, who saw a lot more than was on the video.

For further reading click here and here.

Abbas Greetings
Palestinian Authority President Abbas released an official Christmas message yesterday in which he called Israel an apartheid regime not interested in a two state solution.

He went on to accuse Israel and Israelis of all sorts of crimes and illegal activities and stressed that there can be no Palestinian state without Jerusalem as its capital. He asked the international community to intervene to protect the Palestinian people.

On the bright side, Abbas condemned ISIS and supported action against them.

Abbas also said, “Jesus is a symbol for all Palestinians. Palestine and its people take pride in being the birthplace of Christianity and having the oldest Christian community in the world.”

I’m pretty sure Jesus would not have condoned terror attacks. But in any case, a question for our Christian readers: who would you rather have in control of your holy places — Israel or the Palestinians?

Wishing all of our Christian readers a very happy and peaceful Christmas holiday.

For further reading click here.

terrorist shot at Shechem Gate Jerusalem

Terrorist tries to stab but is shot by Israeli security guard

This security camera video records how an Arab terrorist brandishing a knife charges at two Israelis near the Shechem Gate outside of the Old City, Jerusalem. The two Israelis were security guards who worked at the Yeshiva Ateret Cohanim in the old city. One of them managed to draw his weapon and shoot the terrorist before he could stab him.

Israel News for October 21, 2015

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New Terror Attacks
A Palestinian driving a car with Israeli license plates rammed into a police officer at a checkpoint near the settlement of Ofra in the West Bank. The officer was lightly wounded and the assailant fled on foot to the nearby village of Silwad.

Earlier this morning a Palestinian woman approaching the settlement of Yitzhar wielding a knife was shot and wounded by IDF troops.

Two Palestinian terrorists, aged 15 and 17, stabbed an IDF soldier near Beit Hashalom in Hebron last night, lightly wounding him, before a fellow soldier managed to shoot and kill both of the assailants.

Earlier yesterday, a terrorist tried to ram his car into Israelis waiting at a bus stop at the Gush Etzion junction in the West Bank, but was stopped by the concrete blocks placed there for just that purpose. He was, however, able to lightly wound a 20-year-old IDF soldier and a 21-year-old Israeli civilian. The terrorist then left his car with a knife drawn and tried to stab the injured Israelis. Thankfully, an IDF soldier stationed in the area shot and killed him.

Near the Gaza border fence, dozens of Gazans clashed with IDF forces, who fired tear gas and live ammunition. One Palestinian was killed and 14 wounded.

According to a high ranking IDF officer, the man killed was part of a sniper cell that was preparing to fire on IDF forces. The cell was responsible for several recent shootings at Israeli vehicles.

Meanwhile, in Tel Aviv special anti terror police squads are raiding building sites in search of illegal Palestinian workers. The raids are meant to calm the fears of the Israeli public and scare the hell out of Arab workers to dissuade inciters and potential trouble makers. We’ll see how well this strategy works.

For further reading click here.

UN in Jerusalem
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon paid a surprise visit to Jerusalem yesterday to meet with Israeli and Palestinian leaders in an attempt to end the wave of violence. In a press conference with PM Netanyahu, Ban said that he deplored the terror attacks against civilians and hoped to find a way to end the violence. Was he referring to attacks against Israeli or Palestinian civilians? Anything is possible at the UN.

The PM told Ban that PA President Abbas “has joined ISIS and Hamas in claiming that Israel threatens the al-Aqsa mosque,” which he said was a blatant lie. He said that Abbas has incited the violence by saying that he, “welcomes every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem” and that he has not condemned a single one of the attacks.

The PM also reiterated that Israel has always protected the holy sites of all religions and is maintaining the “status quo” on the Temple Mount, whereas the Arabs are breaking it by bringing in explosives and preventing Jews and Christians from visiting.

For its part, the executive board of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is set to vote on a resolution proclaiming the Western Wall as part of the Al Aqsa mosque compound in the Old City of Jerusalem. The Unesco director general, Irina Bokova, reportedly appealed to the UN agency’s organizing committee to postpone the vote after meeting with Israeli and Palestinian UNESCO envoys. The vote was meant to take place yesterday but was postponed until today. Several countries are attempting to postpone the vote further. But the fact that this resolution is even on the table says it all.

What’s next, the Vatican? No, they probably wouldn’t go that far.

For further reading click here.

Silwan Synagogue
Enforcing a ruling by the High Court of Justice, police evicted Arab squatters from the historic Yemenite Great Synagogue in the predominantly Arab neighborhood of Silwan, which is adjacent to the Old City of Jerusalem near the Temple Mount. Silwan is located above the ancient City of David, which is where Jerusalem was in the time of King David. The area now includes an archeological site.

The Yemenite synagogue was built in 1885, three years after 144 Yemenite Jewish families established a village in the area. The Jews were forced to leave in the late 1930’s due to Arab riots and violence. In 2004, Jews began to purchase property in the old Yemenite village from the Arab inhabitants and move back in.

The case to evict the Arab squatters from the legally purchased synagogue lasted for seven years until the High Court’s ruling in February and the final forcible eviction.

The synagogue will be renovated and its main sanctuary will be called Heichal Yonatan, in honor of Jonathan Pollard.

For further reading click here.

No Vigilantes
A Tel Aviv judge ordered police to arrest a man who kicked an Arab woman who was subdued and held on the ground by several people who saw her assault a man and thought that she was a terrorist.

A video of the incident taken by a witness shows one man kicking her in the head as she lay on the ground, her hands held behind her back. The woman wasn’t carrying a weapon and was sent for psychiatric evaluation. The judge said, “Even if the accused were a terrorist, it is unacceptable for Israeli citizens to kick in the head persons who pose no threat.”

Police released a statement saying, “We wish to emphasize to the public, required to be more vigilant these days, that when a danger is over and the suspect is disarmed or incapacitated, there is a strict prohibition on using violence — citizens are expected to refrain from taking the law into their hands.”

For further reading click here.

Christian Victim
One of the victims of the stabbing attack on bus #78 last week was a Dutch Christian woman, Marike Veldman. She left her home in Holland 37 years ago to volunteer in Israel, and never left. A few years after settling in Israel she opened a foster home for Arab children in East Jerusalem where, over the years, she raised 20 children.

Recounting the terror attack, Veldman said that she saw two men, “laughing, exchanging maybe a joke or something, and then all of sudden they got up and started screaming ‘Allahu Akbar,’ and then one of them started stabbing me and he stabbed me several times, I yelled ‘Jesus help me!’”

Feldman was moderately wounded in the attack. She says that although she pities the attackers and understands their frustrations, she feels that their actions were pure evil.

Regarding Arabs she said, “Right now I’m afraid of them. I have a lot of Arab friends, but it will take me some time to trust them, and I need to heal.”

Feldman said that we will not leave Israel. “The terror must not control my life.”

For further reading click here.

PM Blunders
Talk about rewriting history. In a speech to the World Zionist Congress in Jerusalem yesterday, PM Netanyahu made a statement that’s caused just about everyone to say WTF. He basically said that it was the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini who, in late 1941, gave Hitler the idea to exterminate the Jews. Before that, Hitler just wanted to expel them.

Granted the Mufti was an evil fellow who absolutely was in favor of wiping out the Jewish people, but have you read Mein Kampf? Hitler’s war against the Jewish people was one of the foundations of his ideology, if not the primary one. Netanyahu must know that. Everyone does. So why did he say what he said?

We’ll probably hear some sort of apology later today. I doubt he’ll try to explain his way out of this one. He better not.

For further reading click here.

Rabbi Stav

Rabbis Differ on Treatment of Neutralized Terrorists

The recent terror attacks by Palestinians have spurred debate among Israelis about how to treat terrorists who have already been subdued. Is deadly force against a terrorist permitted if he or she is no longer a threat? How about non deadly violence, like beating?

Three major Israeli Zionist rabbinic leaders have offered rulings on the issue.

Rabbi David Stav (pictured above), the Chief Rabbi of Shoham and head of the Tzohar rabbinic organization, has ruled that it is NOT permitted to harm a terrorist who is subdued and poses no further threat. R. Stav said that the primary reason for his decision is so that Jews do not damage their moral compass and sink to the level of the terrorists. He also thinks that photos of Jews beating subdued terrorists will damage Israel’s standing in the world community. R. Stav said, “even though the terrorists deserve it, it is not our way.”

Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, the head of the Ateret Cohanim yeshiva in the Old City of Jerusalem, agreed that civilians must not take action against subdued terrorist who are no longer a threat. He is, however, in favor of the death penalty for terrorists, as long as it is administered by the court. He believes that prison is not a sufficient deterrent.

Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu

Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu

On the other side of the debate Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, the Chief Rabbi of Safed, ruled last week that “it is forbidden to leave a terrorist alive after he has committed a terror attack. If he’s left alive there’s a possibility that he will go free and kill more people.” He said that only in special situations where shooting the terrorist could cause explosives to detonate or if they need to interrogate him can he be taken alive.

R. Eliyahu went so far as to demand a special investigation into the circumstances which lead to terrorists being taken alive to determine if the security forces had been negligent in their duties.

For further reading:

[bctt tweet=”Rabbis Differ on Treatment of Neutralized Terrorists”]


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terror in israel

Terror Attacks Continue in Israel. Rockets fired from Gaza.

This morning a terrorist stabbed a border policeman in his flack jacket at the Lion’s Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem. The terrorist was killed. The border policeman was not injured.

Last night a 22 year old Israeli-Arab rammed his car into people waiting at a bus stop and then jumped out his car and proceeded to stab them. The attack occurred near Kibbutz Gan Shmuel north of Hadera. A 19 year old female soldier was seriously wounded, a fifteen year old girl was moderately wounded and two others were lightly wounded. It was the fifteen year old girl’s birthday. The terrorist tried to escape but was apprehended shortly after. Shin Bet identified him as Alaa Raed Ahmad Ziwad of the Israeli-Arab town of Umm al-Fahm. he was originally from near Jenin in the West Bank, but received Israeli citizenship through his father’s family unification.

Israeli Arab Knesset members condemned the attack saying the terrorist was not the norm and that Israeli Arabs support a non violent struggle. “Violence is not our path and it never has been,” said Aiman Uda, chairman of the Joint Arab list. He then blamed Netanyahu and the government for the violence.

Yesterday morning a Palestinian woman detonated an explosive device in her car while being stopped for driving violations at the A-Zaim checkpoint near Ma’aleh Adumim, just outside of Jerusalem. The 45-year-old male police officer who stopped her was lightly wounded as a result of the explosion. The terrorist suffered moderate wounds.

Early Sunday morning the IAF struck Hamas weapons manufacturing sites in Gaza. This was in response to rocket fire from Gaza after two Palestinians were killed in a demonstration near the border fence. The rocket was intercepted by the Iron Dome over the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council. More rockets were fired late last night from Gaza. There were no injuries or damages caused by any of the rockets. A pregnant woman and her two year old baby died after their house collapsed as a result of the Israeli airstrike.

Yesterday evening there were demonstrations in Israeli-Arab towns across northern Israel. There were also several demonstrations in the West Bank and near the border fence in Gaza. Shots fired from Gaza hit a vehicle near a kibbutz in the Eshkol Regional Council in the afternoon.

For further reading:,7340,L-4709573,00.html

abbas and terror

More Terror as Abbas Speaks of Calm

After weeks of Palestinian violence and terror attacks against Israeli targets, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas finally called for calm yesterday.

Speaking to senior officials of the Palestine Liberation Organization in Ramallah, Abbas said that he has told the Israelis that the Palestinians don’t want “military and security escalations.” He said the message had been delivered to Palestinian security forces and activists but added that, “at the same time, we will protect ourselves.”

Abbas also said he was ready to renew dialogue with Israel.

While it still might be too early to tell if his words will make a difference, they certainly didn’t have any immediate effect.

A Palestinian female stabbed a 36 year old Israeli man in the back near the Lion’s Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem last night. After being stabbed, the man was able to draw his weapon and shoot the terrorist, seriously wounding her. Both were taken to Hadassah Hospital.

An eighteen month old Israeli baby and her mother were injured when stones were thrown at their car near the settlement of Eli in Samaria yesterday.

Meanwhile, in Qalandia, on the outskirts of Jerusalem, demonstrators hurled burning tires, rocks and a firebomb at Israeli forces, injuring one police officer. Security forces opened fire with rubber bullets and small .22-caliber rounds, shooting demonstrators in the legs. Clashes also erupted in the West Bank cities of Bethlehem, Nablus, Ramallah, Jenin and Hebron.

The real question is, does Abbas really have the power to stop Palestinian attacks against Israeli targets? If the attackers are “lone wolves” acting independently, then it’s unlikely that anything he says will stop them. If they are motivated by religious fervor, he’s also not the man they’ll be looking to for direction.

However, he does control the Palestinian security forces which probably do have the power and the informants to crack down on likely terror sources and arrest them before they have a chance to act. Let’s see if this most recent statement of “calm” will have the desired effect (at least the effect that Israel desires).

For further reading:

Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef

Rabbinic Leadership Split Regarding Visiting Kotel

In the wake of the brutal attack yesterday on a Jewish family on their way to visit the Kotel (Western Wall) by an Arab terrorist who murdered Aharon Banita-Bennett, 21, and Rabbi Nehemia Lavi, 41, and seriously wounded Bennett’s wife and two year old son, senior rabbinic leaders in Israel have issued pronouncements instructing their followers regarding whether or not they should visit the kotel.

Rav Yitzchak Yosef, the Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel, emphatically urged everyone possible to visit the Kotel on the final day of Sukkot and Simchat Torah to pray for the wounded and to fulfill the commandments of the holiday. He added that it is inconceivable for there to be a situation where Jews are afraid to visit the Kotel. His views were echoed by the Rabbi of the Kotel, Rav Shmuel Rabinovits and by the minister of religious affairs MK David Azulai.

Most of the prominent Chassidic Rebbes instructed their followers to refrain from visiting the Kotel.

The Gerrer Rebbe, the leader of the largest Chassidic sect in Israel, instructed his followers not to visit the Kotel until further notice. Other Chassidic Rebbes, including the Boyaner Rebbe and Vishnitzer Rebbe, did the same.

Rav Chaim Kanievsky, considered to be the leader of the Lithuanian (non Chassidic) community, advised that, “One may visit Yerushalayim during Yomtov but one must not come near to the Old City until the situation calms down”.

There was no statement from Rabbi David Lau, the Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi of Israel, but one would assume that he would agree with his Sephardic counterpart Rav Yosef in encouraging Jews to visit the Kotel.

Thousands of Jews flocked to the Kotel today for Hashana Rabbah prayers. The main routes to the Kotel are heavily protected and deemed extremely secure.

The rabbis who are telling their followers not to visit the Kotel are obviously basing their decisions on their assumption that doing so would be placing your live in danger. But there are certain things that a citizen of a sovereign nation must do to protect the independence and integrity of that nation even if it means risking life to do so. Serving in the army is a primary example of something that “endangers one’s life” but is an obvious requirement in a sovereign state. Well, maybe not so obvious to the rabbis who prohibit their followers from serving.

Not visiting the Kotel because of terror threats is an act of surrender to the enemies of Israel seeking to destroy the Jewish people. Perhaps Jews should stick to the main, secure, routes when walking to the kotel to avoid danger, but staying away out of fear shouldn’t be an option for a free people in an independent state. Staying away out of fear is what Jews would have done (and still do) in the diaspora.

Are some rabbinic leaders still living in exile even in their own sovereign state?

It sure looks that way.

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Israel News for August 27, 2015

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More Terror in Jerusalem
A 56 year old Arab resident of Hebron arrived in Jerusalem’s Old City yesterday carrying an axe and a knife. His intent was to kill police officers. At around 7pm he confronted two border policemen and swung his axe at them but missed. When they chased him down and attempted to restrain him he stabbed one of them. The officer was lightly wounded. Hamas claimed credit for the attack.

The assailant was imprisoned in 1989 for murdering Israel Prize winner Menachem Stern. He was released in 2013 with hundreds of other prisoners in the Gilad Shalit deal.

Late last night, molotov cocktails were thrown at a border police jeep in the mixed Arab-Jewish Jerusalem neighborhood of Abu Tor. No one in the jeep was injured. The Arabs continued throwing rocks at firemen who arrived to put out the fire and prevent it from spreading to nearby homes.

In an unrelated development, the IDF and police have decided to beef up security on highway 443, one of only two major highways that connect Jerusalem to the center of the country. This is in response to several terror attacks along the route including the stabbing of a motorist at a gas station and multiple Molotov Cocktail attacks.

Rockets from Gaza
A rocket fired from Gaza landed in an open area in the Eshkol Regional Council near the Israel-Gaza border causing no injuries or damage. Last week the IDF moved Iron Dome batteries into the area, but there was no alert sounded. Two other rockets were fired a couple of days ago from different areas of Gaza, but both fell within Palestinian territory.

While Hamas is still actively supporting and promoting terrorism in Israel, it does not want to start a war with Israel by firing rockets. So it seems like there are other, even more extreme elements running around Gaza trying to start trouble by goading Israel into another war. Ironically, Hamas is working hard to prevent them from doing that.

Good Times in Ramallah
Times are good in the Palestinian Authority. Well, maybe just for President Mahmoud Abbas. He’s building a $13 million mansion on a hilltop in Ramallah, his capital city, according to an announcement by the Palestinian Economic Council for Development and Reconstruction (PECDAR).

The mansion, which will be over 15,000 square feet in size and include two helipads and a separate 13,000 square foot mansion for administrative personnel, is being financed by the PLO budget, which in turn is largely funded by US donations.

Over the past two decades it’s estimated that the US and Europe have donated over $25 billion dollars to the Palestinian Authority. It doesn’t look like that money has gone to help improve the conditions of the people living there. So where did all the money go? Hmm.

Bennet and Allergies
Dozens of parents of children with life threatening allergies protested outside an education conference in Holon where Education Minister Naftali Bennet was speaking, to protest government budget cuts which eliminate shadows for their children in school.

The parents say the shadows prevent their children from being exposed to foods which could put them at risk. They’re threatening not to send their children to school for the new academic year if they do not have shadows to protect them. They say that sending their kids to school would be putting their lives at risk.

Shabbat Fines Dropped
In yesterday’s issue we reported on the kosher restaurant in Tel Aviv that was being fined by the owners of the Sharona shopping center for closing on Shabbat in alleged violation of their lease agreement. Well, the center owners have decided to drop the fines (it had nothing to do with our reporting!) in a show of what they call “communal responsibility”.

But it doesn’t end there. The Sharona owners say that they will pursue their breach of contract case in the courts. The restaurant owners, a couple in their 40’s, say that even though they are personally not religiously observant, they firmly believe that keeping their shop closed on Shabbat is the right thing to do and under no circumstances will they work on Shabbat. They say they would rather close their business, which is what they might have to do if the Sharona owners press their case.

Bottom Line
The shop owners signed an agreement pledging to keep their store open 7 days a week. Even though their agreement with God is more important in the grand scheme of things, in a court of law, a contract is a contract.