israel air force

Israel News for December 7, 2016

Israel Bombs Damascus
A Syrian military officials claimed that Israel attacked the Almaza Air Base in western Damascus earlier today, causing several explosions. No injuries were reported. The official told the official Syrian government new agency, “The Israeli enemy launched at 3am several surface-to-surface missiles from Lebanese territory towards western Tel Abu Al Nada. The missiles fell in the area of the Almaza Air Base. As a result, fires broke out at the base with no injuries.”

The Hezbollah media outlet reported that Israeli warplanes attacked the base from Lebanese airspace. Other Arab media outlets including Al Jazeera and AL Arabia reported the explosions but did not confirm the cause.

The Almaza Air Base is considered one of the most secure regime-held areas of the Syrian capital and houses several arms and ammunition depots.

The IDF neither denied nor confirmed the reports saying, “We do not respond to foreign reports.”

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Insufficient Defense
Israel’s State Comptroller has just released a report that claims that over two million Israelis lack adequate shelters in the event of rocket attacks from the north or south. The report stated that, “Although the military has envisaged a scenario in which Israel would be the target of thousands, or even tens of thousands of rockets and missiles, it is doubtful whether it has adequate capacity to defend the country properly.”

The IDF responded to the report as well, saying, “The IDF welcomes the comptroller’s report, will study its main points and will generate the necessary lessons. The Home Front Command will continue to work with state institutions to prepare the citizens of Israel for a variety of emergency situations.”

For further reading click here.

French Invite
French President Francois Hollande invited Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Paris. The meeting would take place in two weeks, immediately following a Paris foreign ministers’ summit on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israel informed France several weeks ago that it opposes the foreign ministers’ summit and it will not participate if it occurs. It has not yet responded to the French invitation, although Netanyahu has stated on numerous occasions that he would be happy to meet directly with Abbas.

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Cult Uncovered
A twenty year old women came before the Tel Aviv rabbinical court begging for help to get out of her marriage. After investigating the case the court discovered that the woman had been drawn into a cult that believes in reinstating polygamy, which is technically permitted by Jewish law but was banned by Ashkenazic rabbis over 1,000 years ago and by Sephardic leaders at the time of the founding of the State of Israel.

The young woman had become religious and was studying at a seminary and living with a religious family. After several months the husband and wife began trying to convince the woman to become the husband’s second wife. The couple, which has 10 children, revealed that they were part of a secret cult-like religious group calling itself “Complete Jewish Home” that believes that polygamy is essential to the ultimate redemption of Israel.

In September the woman finally married the husband in a secret ceremony. Soon afterwards, before she actually lived with the man, she regretted her decision and told her relatives, who urged her to get a divorce. The rabbinic court summoned the husband and wife and witnesses to the marriage. The judges issued a restraining order on the husband as well as orders on him and his wife to prevent them from fleeing the country. The husband agreed to grant the divorce.

In the aftermath of the case, Sephardic Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef made a statement denouncing the cult and unequivocally prohibiting polygamy.

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Galid Shalit
Remember Gilad Shalit? He was the soldier kidnapped and held by Hamas for several years until he was finally released in exchange for over 1,000 terrorists 5 years ago. Well, he just got his first job. Shalit will be working at Israel Discount Bank. Best of luck!

[ It’s not really “news”, but we thought you’d want to know. ]

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Israel News for June 2, 2016

Peace Summit
The long awaited French sponsored peace summit kicked off in Paris today with representatives from 30 countries, the UN and the Arab League. Of course neither Israel nor the Palestinians were invited. Makes sense, right?

Meanwhile the PM is heading to Moscow on Monday to meet with Russian President Putin, in commemoration of 25 years since the resumption of diplomatic relations between the two countries. The PM has also been reaching out to China, India and Japan.

For further reading click here.

Unity Back
Sources in the government have revealed that negotiations to bring the Zionist Union party into the coalition have begun again. The main road block to the party’s entrance is co-party leader Tzipi Livni, the former foreign and justice minister. Sources close to the Prime Minister are working on convincing Livini to change her position. Party leader Isaac Herzog has previously indicting his willingness to join the coalition under certain conditions.

If the negotiations succeed, the main loser will likely be the Bayit Yehudi party. Netanyahu has consistently been at odds with party leader Naftali Bennett, and the party’s three cabinet seats could be needed as bargaining chips to be given to the Zionist Union. Bennet has indicated that he might pull out of the government if the Zionist Union is allowed to join.

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Weapons Theft
A bag full of sophisticated hitech equipment was stolen from an IDF reserve unit training in the western Negev. The thief pulled up in an All Terrain Vehicle while the soldiers were unloading their equipment and waited until they had their backs turned before swiping the bag and taking off, in broad daylight. The soldiers gave chase but could not catch the thief. IDF regulations prohibit soldiers from implementing standard rules of engagement against thieves.

Apparently, thefts like this happen on a daily basis in the Negev. The weapons are usually smuggled into Egypt. Neither the IDF nor the police has figured out an effective way to deal with the thefts.

For further reading click here.

Gay Pride Parade
The annual Tel Aviv Gay Pride parade is making its way through the streets of the city today. There are an estimated 50,000 people participating in the march and around 200,000 expected to take part in parade related events. The parade will culminate in a huge beach party.

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Celebrate Israel
The annual Celebrate Israel Parade will be marching down Fifth Avenue in NYC this Sunday. The parade will feature over 30,000 marchers and hundreds of thousands of spectators. There will also be an Israel related concert in Central Park after the parade. Show your support by attending.

For more information about the parade click here.

This Sunday is also Yom Yerushalayim, celebrating the reunification of Jerusalem in 1967. We’ve got a lot to celebrate and be thankful for!

Israel News for February 16, 2016

Deadly Accident
A tragic road accident claimed the lives of six passengers when an Egged bus, traveling from Jerusalem to Bnei Brak,  hit a truck parked on the shoulder of Highway 1. According to a passenger on the bus, “The truck driver was standing on the side of the road with the emergency lights blinking. We came at the truck at an absurd speed, the bus driver drove like a maniac in my opinion.” Just moments before the crash two of the passengers, sisters, called their sister and said that the driver was driving like a maniac and was on his cell phone.” Screams were heard before the call was disconnected.

The Egged driver was involved in a similar accident three years ago, when he hit a stationary truck on the same highway. Eighteen passengers were injured in that incident. He is currently under investigation by police.

The bus is part of the “Mehadrin line”, which caters to Ultra Orthodox passengers traveling between Jerusalem and Bnei Brak. Many of those killed were prominent members of the community, including the daughter of the Biala (Hassidic) Rebbe. Several passengers were injured, some severely, including a woman slated to be married in three months.

May all the injured have a speedy recovery.

For further reading click here.

PA Rejection
During a visit to Japan yesterday, Palestinian Authority (PA) Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki pledged to never again engage with Israel in direct negotiations towards a final settlement saying,“We will never go back and sit again in direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.”

He rejected the idea of an invitation to return to the negotiating table by Israeli President Rivlin, and suggested that ISIS may be poised to take over Judea and Samaria. Malki also sympathized with Palestinian terrorists, explaining that they are trying to improve the lives of the Palestinian people.

So much for diplomacy.

For further reading click here.

French Plan
France’s Ambassador to Israel officially presented France’s plan to hold an international summit in Paris to advance Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.

The French initiative to convene an international peace summit was presented on January 29 in a speech by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius at the foreign ministry in Paris. Fabius also said that France will recognize the State of Palestine if the initiative fails.

Fabius has since resigned, but his plan has become part of French foreign policy and has already been presented to more than twenty governments including the U.S., England, Germany and Russia. The French presented the plan to the Palestinians, who they say responded very positively.

Israel has responded negatively to the plan, insisting that only direct negotiations with the Palestinians, without any preconditions, can lead to peace. The Palestinians have stated on numerous occasions their refusal to hold direct peace talks with Israel.

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Bnei Akiva Gondar
Bnei Akiva, the popular religious zionist youth organization, has set up a chapter in a camp in Gondar, Ethiopia, where over 6,000 Jews are waiting to immigrate to Israel. The organization’s goal is to run programs to teach children about Jewish and Israeli customs and traditions, in order to ease their eventual absorption into Israeli society. At the same time, Bnei Akiva in Israel is preparing their chapters and participants for an influx of Ethiopian immigrants.

The immigration of the remaining Ethiopian Jews is currently awaiting Israeli government approval, which is expected to take some time due to questions about the Jewish lineage of the Ethiopians.

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Wedding Dance
The Chief Rabbi of the IDF, Rafi Peretz, has run into some potentially serious trouble for dancing at a wedding. In a video taken at the wedding of the son of a former IDF rabbi in Jerusalem, Peretz is seen dancing with Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira, who is the head of the Od Yosef Chai yeshiva in the Israeli settlement of Yatzhar and the author of the controversial book “The King’s Torah”, which has been severely criticized for containing content viewed as inciting violence. In the video Peretz, who is wearing his IDF uniform, is wearing Shapira’s hat while Shapira is wearing Peretz’s military beret.

MK Bar Lev of the Zionist Union and a member of the defense committee has requested that IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot take immediate action against Peretz. Bar Lev wrote, “The IDF Chief Rabbi arrived at a wedding in uniform. Therefore, he represents the IDF and ceases to be a private individual.”

The IDF has responded that it will speak with Rabbi Peretz regarding how an officer in uniform is expected to act at public events.

Lesson: You never know who might be videoing you, so beware of your actions, especially when dancing at weddings.

For further reading click here.

Israel News for January 13, 2016

Gaza Airstrike
According to an IDF spokesperson, the Israel Air Force launched an airstrike today against a terror cell that was planting a bomb and preparing to attack Israeli troops near Gaza border fence. The operation was carried out in coordination with the Shin Bet. Officials in Gaza reported that one person was killed and three were wounded in the attack. Hamas has threatened to retaliate for the attack.

For further reading click here.

Methodist Divestment
The United Methodist Church, the largest Protestant denomination in the US with 13 million members, has banned five Israeli banks from its pension fund in what it claims is a broad review meant to weed out companies that profit from abuse of human rights.

According to its website the fund, called the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits, excluded Bank Hapoalim, Bank Leumi, First International Bank of Israel, Israel Discount Bank, and Mizrahi Tefahot Bank.

The pension board identified Israel and the Palestinian territories among more than a dozen “high risk” countries or regions with “a prolonged and systematic pattern of human rights abuses.” Other countries on the list include Saudi Arabia, the Central African Republic and North Korea.

The banks had been among several companies targeted by United Methodist Kairos Response, a coalition of church members who advocate for divestment from companies with business in what they consider to be the Israeli occupied territories.

The pension board’s decision came at a time when divestment is gaining momentum among liberal Protestants as a tool to pressure Israel over its policies toward Palestinians. Last year, the United Church of Christ voted to divest from companies with business in the Israeli-occupied territories. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.) took a similar vote in 2014.

On the “bright side”, the fund remains invested in 18 Israeli companies, and the total divestment from the banks equals only a few million dollars in a fund worth over 20 billion. But it’s the thought that counts, and the direction the Methodists are taking is not a positive one for Israel.

Senior officials in Israel’s Foreign Ministry said they are still examining the decision, but added that Israel will make quiet efforts to convince the leaders of the church to change or soften the measure ahead of the Methodist General Conference in May.

For further reading click here.

Swedes Again
Looks like the Swedes are at it again. Yesterday, Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom called for an investigation to determine if Israel was guilty of unlawful killings of Palestinians during recent violence there.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry called the statements “irresponsible and delusional,” adding that Wallstrom is, “giving support to terror and thus encouraging violence.”

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog also blasted the Swedish foreign minister, accusing her of supporting terror. He wrote on his Facebook page, “It’s interesting that Sweden didn’t respond likely when Paris police killed the terrorists as needed. And it would be interesting to know if she would respond likely when the terrorists commit appalling attacks in her country. Would she demand, even then, to pet them on the head because they had a difficult childhood?”

This isn’t the first time Wallstrom has castigated Israel. After the Paris terror attack she told a TV interviewer that Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians was to blame for Islamic radicalization.

With all the refugees pouring into Sweden, perhaps she’ll get some first hand insight into the true causes of Islamic radicalization and terror, real soon.

For further reading click here.

Terrorist Buried
The body of Tel Aviv terrorist Nashat Milhelm was finally released by police to his family, who pledged to hold a quiet funeral. Forty people attended his funeral last night in his hometown of Arara. May he receive the Divine punishment he deserves.

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Suspects Indicted
In October an Eritrean migrant worker was mistaken for a terrorist and lynched in the Beersheba central bus station, during a terror attack. Yesterday, four men were indicted on charges of aggravated assault, an offense punishable by up to 20 years in prison. The men are: IDF soldlier Yaakov Shamba, Israel Prison Service officer Ronen Cohen, Eviatar Damari and David Moyal.

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Gaza Suit
Three U.S. citizens and one Belgian national filed suit against Israel in U.S. federal court in Washington on Monday. The plaintiffs are seeking compensation from Israel for injuries they sustained during the Israeli commando raid on the “Gaza Flotilla”. The flotilla unsuccessfully attempted to break Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza in May of 2010. Nine Turks and one American of Turkish descent were killed in the raid.

The plaintiffs were aboard the U.S.-flagged Challenger 1, which was carrying media equipment and 17 passengers and crew members. According to their attorneys, American plaintiffs David Schermerhorn, Mary Ann Wright, Huwaida Arraf, a dual U.S.-
Israeli citizen, and Belgian national Margriet Deknopper suffered injuries that included partial loss of sight when a stun grenade exploded inches from one of them and a broken nose when another was hit by a rubber bullet.

The lawsuit is unlikely to turn out successfully for the plaintiffs. Under U.S. law, the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act generally bars lawsuits against foreign governments, except for certain circumstances, including terrorist acts against Americans by U.S.-designated state sponsors of terrorism. The plaintiffs are claiming that Israel breached US territory, and therefore is liable.

For further reading click here.

Jewish Apple
Israelis just got another reason to own an iPhone, and her name is Siri. Despite the Hebrew sounding name, Apple’s iPhone female voice assistant couldn’t speak Hebrew. But that’s gonna change. Siri will soon be fluent in the holy tongue. She probably won’t be considered Jewish by the rabbinical courts, but she’ll be able to help you through those tough, hands-free moments…in Hebrew. Maybe she’ll convert?

Israel News for November 17, 2015

More Homes
PM Netanyahu yesterday approved the construction of 436 new homes in the neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo, which is located in the northern part of East Jerusalem near the Arab neighborhood of Shuafat. The homes had initially been approved in 2008, but were frozen due to negative fallout from the US. Something must have happened during Netanyahu’s recent visit with Obama to change that. The Jerusalem municipality is seeking approval for an additional 1,000 housing units. Perhaps the US president is busy with more pressing matters, like ISIS and upcoming elections?

For further reading click here.

Islamic Movement
The PM’s office announced today an order by the security cabinet outlawing the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel. That means any organization or individual belonging to the northern branch or found assisting the organization in any way will be committing a criminal offense and is liable for imprisonment. The government also has the right to confiscate all property belonging to the organization.

Police and Shin Bet forces confiscated Islamic Movement property, shut down its offices and 17 non-profit organizations and movements that operate on behalf of the group, and froze all of their bank accounts.

In a statement the PM said, “The northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel undermines the state. It incites violence against innocent civilians, it has close ties with the Hamas terrorist organization, and is undermining the country in order to establish an Islamic caliphate in its place. As someone who is responsible for security of the state, I will not allow it.”

For further reading click here.

Swedish Blunder
The Swedish ambassador to Israel was called into the Ministry of Foreign Affairs by Director General Dr. Dore Gold to clarify a statement made by Sweden’s Foreign Minister that seemed to partially blame Israel for ISIS terror.

In an interview with Swedish TV following the Paris terror attack, Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström was asked if she is concerned about the radicalization of Swedish youth who fight with Islamic State. Wallström replied, “Of course we have cause for concern, not just in Sweden but throughout the world, because there are so many being radicalized. And again, it reminds us of the situation in the Middle East, where the Palestinians see that there is no future for them and have to either accept a desperate situation or resort to violence.”

Foreign Ministry spokesman Emanuel Nahshon blasted the statement.
“Anyone who engages in a foolish attempt to connect attacks by extremist Islam with the difficulties between Israel and the Palestinians is misleading himself, his people and international public opinion.The words of the Swedish foreign minister are shocking in their chutzpah. The Swedish foreign minister is systematically and unilaterally biased against Israel and is exhibiting genuine hostility when she points to any connection between the attacks in Paris and the problems between Israel and the Palestinians.”

The Swedish Foreign Ministry responded to Israel’s protest by tweeting that the foreign minister “has not said that Israeli Palestinian conflict is linked to tragic events in Paris. Sweden condemns all acts of terrorism.”

A spokesman for the Swedish Foreign Ministry said that the interview “did not imply that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict had anything to do with the tragic events in Paris. We condemn all acts of terrorism. As democracies, we now must unite and fight on our shared values.”

While it doesn’t seem as though the Swedish foreign minister did directly connect Israel as the cause of ISIS terror, by mentioning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the context of the ISIS attack, she put the idea in people’s minds. Guilt by association. Was it a stupid mistake, or did she intend to create the association?

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Father Denies Snitching
Yesterday we told you about how the father of the terrorist who murdered Rabbi Yaakov and Netanel Litman on Friday told authorities that his son was guilty in order to save his home from demolition. That’s what the Shin Bet says.

Now the family of the terrorist is denying the story, claiming that the father did not snitch on his son. They admit that the father was detained at an IDF checkpoint, but deny that he willingly gave security forces any information.

I guess it was just a coincidence.

For further reading click here.

Soybean Oil
Israeli inspectors stopped a truck carrying soybean oil from Hebron to the Gaza Strip for a routine inspection. When they tested the oil, they discovered hundreds of gallons of a chemical used to make rocket fuel. Well, what do you know!

It appears that this wasn’t an isolated incident. Israeli authorities have thwarted more than 500 attempts to smuggle illicit goods from Israel into the Gaza Strip since the beginning of 2015. In addition, more than 280 trucks have been confiscated since 2014.

No rocket fuel = no rockets fired into Israel.

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French Aliyah
New immigrants who arrived in Israel from France yesterday said that although they planned their Aliyah long before the murderous terror attacks on Friday, the current situation makes life impossible there for Jews. “There are police and soldiers next to the synagogues. It’s an abnormal situation” one immigrant said. Another explained that life in France is “very dangerous for the Jews. Everything is closed. People don’t go out.”

The number of Jewish immigrants from France has risen by 10% in the past year with a sharp rise following the Kosher supermarket terrorist attack in January. According to the Jewish Agency the reaction to Friday’s attacks appears different, and there has not been a significant increase in the number of Aliya related calls, but it is still early.

There are currently around a half a million Jews in France.

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Hadassah Funds
Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, raises a heck of a lot of money for Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem. For the past few decades they’ve taken 7% of the money raised to cover their overhead expenses. Now they’ve announced that they’ll be doubling that overhead charge to 14%, despite the tough economic state the hospital is currently in.

Sources close to Hadassah insist that the extra money will not be used for increasing executive salaries, stressing that the National President and the rest of the leadership carry out their work on a completely voluntary basis. The sources claim that fundraising is a specialist job requiring highly skilled professionals. Fundraising also includes flying Israeli doctors and researchers from Hadassah to the US and putting them up in hotels, hiring halls for fundraising events and conferences, and catering. It’s an expensive process. But the huge sums that Hadassah raises for the hospital seem to justify the added costs.

For further reading click here.