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15th October – Latest News in Israel

Terrorist stabs woman boarding bus at Jerusalem Central Bus Station

A terrorist stabbed and moderately-to-seriously wounded an approximately 60-year-old woman across the street from the Jerusalem Central Bus Station on Wednesday.

The terrorist was Ahmed Sha’aban, a 23-year-old resident of the Ras el-Amud neighborhood in Jerusalem. He was released from prison earlier this years after serving a three-year sentence for terror activity.

Magen David Adom paramedics treated the victim and transported her to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in the capital.

According to police, the terrorist stabbed the woman while she was attempting to board the number 15 bus on Yaffo Street.

The driver made sure the woman got on to the bus after she was stabbed, and then quickly closed the vehicle’s door before the terrorist could board.

The terrorist then fled from the bus and a special forces police officer who was near the scene of the attack saw him with the knife, shooting at him, hitting him and neutralizing him.

Dr. Yoni Elstein, an MDA volunteer who was at the scene, said that “on the bus, in a seat near the driver, a fully conscious woman in her 60s was sitting, suffering from a stab wound to her upper body.”

Paramedic Emanuel Stern said that the victim was aware of her surroundings and able to communicate in the ambulance en route to the hospital.

Medic Levi Levine of United Hatzalah said that he was on the other side of the street dropping off his cousin at the Central Bus Station when he heard “four or five shots” and immediately ran toward the noise just in time to see the terrorist being killed.

“There was a guy on his face with a knife in his hand” and several armed men were running toward him, Levine told the Jerusalem Post only minutes after the attack.

Levine said that he checked the attacker and that he had no pulse, adding that he appeared to be around thirty years old and that a search of his pockets uncovered a blue identity card, indicating that he either held Israeli citizenship or Jerusalem residency.

The terrorist’s body was removed in a black bag, said ZAKA head Yehuda Meshi Zahav.

As police pushed the large number of onlookers back from the scene rumors of another attack swirled through the crowd prompting police and onlookers to run confused through the surrounding streets. There were sporadic shouts of “Arabs out.”

MDA paramedics also treated a number of people suffering from shock and paramedics down the block from the attack were loading an ambulance with crying witnesses.

Terrorist shot dead at Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate in thwarted stabbing attack

A Palestinian terrorist was shot dead Wednesday afternoon outside of the Old City’s Damascus Gate in a failed stabbing attack, police said.

According to Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld, at approximately 4:30 p.m. Border Police in the area identified a suspicious looking Arab man, 19-year-old Hebron resident Bassel Sidar, wearing camouflaged clothing, sitting by the east Jerusalem gate’s entrance.

When police asked to search Sidar, for a weapon, he withdrew a knife from his pocket and charged the officers, Rosenfeld said.

“Police reacted immediately and fired at him,” Rosenfeld said, adding that the unidentified man died minutes later. Sidar did not have a criminal past before this incident.

The area of the attack has since been cordoned off. None of the officers were wounded, he said.

“Police continue to maintain heightened security in the area and throughout the city,” Rosenfeld said.

Wednesday’s attempted attack follows a relative lull in terrorist activity in the capital following multiple attacks on Tuesday morning.

Several metal detectors have been added throughout the Old City, including at the entrance to the Temple Mount, to prevent further attacks in the Arab Quarter, where several Jews have been stabbed since the beginning of the month.

‘I can’t live like this anymore’

A lone, blue sneaker rested on the pavement, next to shattered glass and a thick trail of fresh blood.

The blood led to a No. 78 Egged bus, which was riddled with bullet holes.

Inside, ZAKA rescue and recovery personnel soaked up more puddles of blood with paper towels to accompany the caskets of the two Jewish men who were slaughtered less than one hour earlier by two Arab terrorists who lived nearby.

The scene of the attack – at the Jerusalem intersection where the Jewish neighbourhood of Armon Hanatziv meets the Arab neighbourhood of Jebl Mukaber – was symbolic of the ongoing tension in the capital.

As hundreds of shaken residents gathered to take in the spectacle behind police lines, members of the international press repeatedly tried in vain to breach the closely guarded barrier to garner police interviews and close-ups of the bloodshed.

About 100 meters away, on the seemingly deserted Arab side of the border, a couple of young Palestinian men could be seen carefully observing the chaotic melee.

Still, despite the neighbourhoods’ close proximity, they remained worlds apart.

While Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat spoke with television crews from Israel, London and the US, a blonde, middle- aged woman could be heard screaming in anguish.

 Bus stabbing
Scene of stabbing and shooting attack aboard a bus in the capital’s Armon Hanatziv

She said her name is Shoshana Rafaeli, and that she was not injured, but rather has reached her breaking point following Tuesday morning’s latest barbaric attack.

After two weeks of unabated violence carried out by Arab youths from Jebl Mukaber, who throw firebombs, rocks and fireworks at Jewish homes and residents every night, Rafaeli said she has had enough.

Barkat, attempting to maintain focus for the interviews, could not help but pause to look at the woman screaming. Despite multiple attempts by police and bystanders to calm her, Shoshana could not be placated.

“Every day and every night the Muslims attack us – they scream and shout at us, and make problems – and I can’t live like this anymore!” she said. “I live on this street and all the time it’s firebombs, rocks and [explosives]!” The violence, she exclaimed, has nothing to do with false Arab claims that Israel intends to seize al-Aksa Mosque on the Temple Mount, but rather is the product of sheer, unmitigated hate.

“They don’t care about al-Aksa – they are not even religious!” she continued.

“This is about hatred!” Shoshana said she has lived in Armon Hanatziv for 10 years, and that Arab youths from Jebl Mukaber egregiously flout the law with impunity, all the while, looking for an excuse – any excuse – to attack or kill a Jew.

Indeed, during Rosh Hashana, a man from her neighbourhood named Alexander Levlovitz was killed nearby when an Arab youth threw a rock at his car’s windshield as he was driving home with his two daughters.

When they are not terrorizing Jewish homes and residents, she said the youths throw rocks at Israelis walking with their families at the otherwise picturesque neighbourhood promenade.

Still, Shoshanna said she does not hate Arabs.

She has many Arab friends, she repeated, and knows that most of them want to live in peace. But she could no longer live this way.

“I want this to stop!” Shoshanna screamed.

After Barkat concluded his brief press conference, during which he vowed that the city and country will fight and win the war against terrorism, the bus was finally towed away, and the crowd dispersed.

And as a forensics officer took the sole blue sneaker as evidence, a municipal crew used powerful hoses to wash the blood and shattered glass away.

Security cabinet approves new measures to fight terror after marathon session

The security cabinet met in a marathon session on Tuesday night to approve measures that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised the Knesset would convince the enemy that “terrorism does not pay.”

In the midst of another day of attacks around the country that left three Israelis dead and more than 20 wounded, Netanyahu convened his 10-person security cabinet to draw up additional measures in an effort to stop the wave of violence.

The cabinet convened at 3:30 in the afternoon, broke briefly so Netanyahu could address the Knesset to mark 14 years since the assassination of tourism minister Rehavam Ze’evi, and then re-convened at 7 p.m. for a meeting that continued until early Wednesday morning.

A number of measures were approved, including sending IDF soldiers to city centre’s and highways throughout the country to re-enforce the police forces.

Some of the other measures passed included:

– the authority for police to close or surround areas in Jerusalem where there is friction or incitement;

– in addition to destroying terrorists’ homes, it will now not be permitted to rebuild at the site of the demolitions;

– the seizure of terrorists’ assets;

– the revoking of the permanent resident status of east Jerusalem Arabs involved in attacks.

The cabinet also decided to increase the police’s operational forces. Another measure taken was the decision to hire 300 security guards for public transportation in the capital at a cost of 80 million shekels per month.

The prime minister’s office said that the security cabinet would reconvene on Wednesday afternoon to deal with other issues including incitement of the violence.

Steps will be implemented immediately to “restore quiet to Israel’s cities,” Netanyahu told the Knesset before any decisions were made or announced.

The premier pledged that Israel would settle its account with “murderers and those who want to kill, and anyone who helps them. Not only will they not enjoy their privileges, but we will exact from them the full price. Anyone who raises a hand to harm us will pay dearly. We will not hesitate to use all means at our disposal to restore peace to the cities of Israel.”

Israel is strong, Netanyahu said, and despite the desire of the terrorists, we “will be here forever.”

Addressing Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, the prime minister said, “Stop lying, stop inciting.”

Abbas must stop, not only the lies coming from the PA regarding the Temple Mount, but also the falsehoods regarding the events of the last few days, he said.

“You must fight the extremists who are causing civilians to pay the highest price,” the premier said.

“The wild and deceitful indictment against us continues,” he added, citing the Monday attack in Jerusalem’s Pisgat Ze’ev neighborhood in which a 13-year-old Palestinian youth knifed a Jewish boy his age. Netanyahu explained that an Arab youth critically wounded a Jewish youth, but when the security services stopped the attacker from continuing his stabbing rampage, “he was turned into a ‘martyr’ who was supposedly executed for no reason.”

“First of all,” Netanyahu clarified, “he did not die, he is alive. Secondly, he was not executed, he wanted to execute others; to murder and kill.

But your spokesman is presenting this in a distorted and outrageous manner.”

“Don’t turn murderers into heroes,” Netanyahu entreated Abbas, calling on him to fulfill his responsibility as a leader and work to restore calm.

Netanyahu also turned to Israel’s Arab population, entreating them not to be “misled” by inciters “who want to engulf the country in flames.”

“We live together, we believe in co-existence,” he said. “It is very easy to unravel the cords that tie us together. Do not be enticed to do so. I know there is a large public as well as community leaders among the Arab citizens of Israel who understand exactly what I’m saying.

Leaders must find the courage to say these things and to stand up to oppose the extremists and the fanatics.”

Netanyahu also called on a jittery nation not to carry out any revenge attacks. Israel is a nation of laws, he said, “and people who takes the law into their own hands will pay the price.”

Meanwhile, the IDF deployed two additional battalions to its Judea and Samaria Division; three companies to the Jerusalem-West Bank perimeter area; and two reinforcement battalions to the Gaza border to deal with disturbances along the security fence.

The Golani infantry brigade will send its Battalion 12 and Reconnaissance Battalion to the Gaza border.

The IDF has yet to name the other units being deployed.

Earlier this month, the IDF deployed four battalions to the West Bank to take part in terror cell searches and respond to the deteriorating security situation.

Netanyahu: Israel will settle scores with those killing civilians

Israel will immediately implement a number of steps on the ground that will impress upon the terrorists and those who incite them that “terror does not pay,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in the Knesset on Tuesday.

Netanyahu’s comments came at a special session in the Knesset to mark 14 years to the assassination of Rehavam Ze’evi. His comments came as a special security cabinet meeting – which he adjourned briefly to address the Knesset – was discussing what steps to take in light of the continuing violence.

Without spelling out yet what those steps will be, Netanyahu said they will be implemented immediately and “restore quiet to Israel’s cities.”

Netanyahu said that Israel would settle its account with “murderers and those who want to kill, and anyone who helps them. Not only won’t they have any rights, but we will extract the full price from them.”

The prime minister said that he was sure that the actions Israel will take will bring about a realization on the other side that “terror does not pay.”

Israel is strong, Netanyahu said, and despite the desire of the terrorists, “will be here forever.”

Netanyahu turned to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and said, “stop lying, stop inciting.” He said that Abbas must stop not only the lies coming from the PA regarding the Temple Mount, but also the falsehoods regarding the events of the last few days.

“You must fight the extremists who are causing civilians to pay the highest price,” the premier said. “The wild and deceitful indictment against us continues.”

Referring to the attack in Pisgat Ze’ev on Monday where a 13-year old Palestinian youth knifed a Jewish boy his age, Netanyahu said that an Arab youth critically wounded a Jewish youth, and when the security services stopped the attacker from continuing his stabbing rampage, “he is turned into a holy martyr who was executed for no reason.”

“First of all,” Netanyahu said, “he did not die, he is alive. Secondly, he was not executed, he wanted to execute others, to murder and kill. But your spokesman is presenting this in a completely different fashion.”

“Don’t turn murderers into heroes,” Netanyahu entreated Abbas, calling on him to fulfill his responsibility as a leader and work to restore calm.

Netanyahu also turned to Israel’s Arab population, entreating them not to be “misled” by inciters “who want to ignite a fire in the country.”

“We live together, we believe in co-existence,” he said. “It is very easy to unravel the cords that tie us together. Don’t go there. I know that a large part of the [Arab] population – and leaders among the Israeli Arabs –  know exactly what I am saying. The leaders need to find the courage to say these things and stand up against the fanatics and extremists.”

Netanyahu also called on a jittery nation not to carry out any vigilante attacks. Israel is a nation of laws, he said, “and anyone who takes the law into their own hands will pay the price.”

Police begin sealing off flashpoint Arab neighbourhoods in Jerusalem

Hours after receiving approval during an emergency Security Cabinet meeting, police on Wednesday morning began sealing off violent Arab neighbourhoods in east Jerusalem in an effort to quell the ongoing wave of terrorist attacks.

According to police, the entrances to Jabel Mukaber – the scene of Tuesday’s most deadly attack, when two men from the village killed two Jews and wounded several others on an Egged bus in neighbouring Armon Hanatziv – have already been blocked by concrete barriers.

A total of three terrorists responsible for Tuesday’s attacks resided in the flashpoint neighborhood, including Ala Abu Jamal, 33, who rammed his car into a group of pedestrians and then hacked an ultra-Orthodox man to death before being shot dead.

Several more Palestinian neighbourhoods will be closed off by the end of the day, police said, adding that 300 combat soldiers have been deployed to assist the over 4,500 police officers presently patrolling the city.

Police have not state which other neighbourhoods are being sealed off as of mid-morning Wednesday.

In response to the Israeli Cabinet decision approving a ban on rebuilding after home demolitions and closing off Palestinian neighbourhoods, Sari Bashi, Israel/Palestine country director at Human Rights Watch, “The recent spate of attacks on Israeli civilians would present a challenge for any police force.” “But exacerbating the punitive policy of home demolitions is an unlawful and ill-considered response,” she added.

Further, Bashi said, “Locking down east Jerusalem neighbourhoods will infringe upon the freedom of movement of all Palestinian residents rather than being a narrowly tailored response to a specific concern.  The checkpoints are a recipe for harassment and abuse.”

Israel eases gun laws in bid to cope with Palestinian ‘lone wolf’ attacks

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan on Wednesday approved a number of measures to ease the requirements for firearm permits, as Israel copes with a wave of “lone wolf” terror attacks.

“In recent weeks many citizens have helped the Israel Police subdue terrorists who carried out attacks. Citizens with firearms training are a multiplying force for the police in their fight against terror and therefore I will take measures to ease the restrictions at this time,” Erdan said Wednesday.

The new measures will allow local municipal authorities in “high priority” areas to give approval to carry weapons in certain instances, as opposed to previously when only the firearms licensing branch of the Public Security Ministry could do so. The ministry on Wednesday used the example of allowing the Jerusalem Municipality to give firearms permits to school teachers in the Haredi sector, which it referred to as one of the most vulnerable communities.

The new regulations will make officers with the rank of Lieutenant or higher and non-commissioned officers with the rank of First Sergeant or higher eligible for firearms permits. Previously an officer had to have the rank of Captain or higher. The new regulations also remove the requirement that the applicant serve in the rank for at least two years before applying.

The ministry also said that people who have served in certain special units in the IDF and security services will now be eligible, though they did not specify which ones. In addition, people who have passed the Shin Bet’s security guards course and those who have completed the Israel Aviation Authority security guard course can be eligible for a permit.

The ministry said they also want to take steps to increase the readiness of permit holders, saying that Erdan had instructed ministry officials to find ways to encourage permit holders to train at a shooting range at least once a year, instead of only every three years as current regulations require.

This isn’t the first time terrorism had to changes in firearms policy in Israel. Last November, following a series of terror attacks, new regulations were put into effect.

This included adding Jerusalem and 41 other cities, towns and local councils, to the list of “high risk” or “high priority” areas where residents can receive a permit easier.

The regulations also stipulated that security firms can let guards take their firearms home at the end of their shifts and allowed for people to receive military grade firearms on a case by case basis, among other changes.

In Israel firearms licenses are typically only given if one can prove they have reason to carry a gun – for instance if they work in security or law enforcement or live in a dangerous area like the West Bank. They must also be over 21 years old, a resident of Israel for over three years, and pass a mental and physical exam, a shooting test, and background checks by the Public Security Ministry. They are then allowed to order a gun through a gun store with approval of the ministry and given a one-time supply of 50 bullets to take home.

Kerry links wave of terrorism in Israel to settlement activity

A “massive increase in settlements” built by Israel in recent years has led to the “frustration” and “violence” now stoking its decades-old conflict with the Palestinians, US Secretary of State John Kerry said at Harvard University on Tuesday night.

In his most extensive comments yet on the terror wave– which has claimed the lives of dozens in the last two weeks– Kerry said a permanent resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was becoming increasingly elusive, thus aggravating tensions on the ground.

“What’s happening is that, unless we get going, a two-state solution could conceivably be stolen from everybody,” Kerry said. “You have this violence because there’s a frustration that is growing and a frustration among Israelis who don’t see any movement.

He therefore plans on visiting Israel, he added. Without announcing a date, the secretary said he would travel to the country “as appropriate” in the near future.

“We’re working on trying to calm things down,” Kerry added. He held phone calls with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas over the weekend.

Twin attacks in Jerusalem on Tuesday morning took the lives of three Israelis, and wounded over 20 others. Three Palestinians were also killed in clashes throughout the day.

Since October 1, seven Israelis have been killed and dozens more have been injured in 26 separate attacks across Israel and the Palestinian territories. According to Palestinian reports, 27 Palestinians– including nine alleged attackers– have also died.

​The White House and State Department condemned the killings on Tuesday and both called for a restoration of calm.

Regev calls on Justice Ministry to drop public defender representation of terrorists

Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev has called for the state to stop paying for public defense lawyers for terrorists in the trials against them.

Regev sent a letter on Monday to Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked recommending a change in the law to eliminate government financing for legal representation for defendants accused of terrorism-related crimes.

The culture and sport minister portrayed the proposed change as “another step” in tightening laws to fight and deter the current wave of terrorism across the country, along with prior measures such as “invalidating citizenship, eliminating financial benefits and house demolitions.”

Some terrorists have the funds or are provided funds by their terrorist groups to hire a private defense lawyer to defend them in court.

But many others, especially those not connected to a specific group, do not have the funds to finance their defense.

In such cases, the state, as in most democratic countries, steps in and provides a public defender lawyer to defend the accused, whether for a minor crime or terrorism.

Regev said she “understands the importance of legal representation in a state of democratic rule, but terrorists should have to finance this with their private funds and not from the funds of the citizens of Israel who they themselves are trying to murder – this paradox must end.”

IDF hits Syrian army posts after shells land on Golan

The IDF fired artillery and anti-tank rockets at two Syrian military posts in the central Golan Heights Tuesday morning after three mortar shells exploded in Israeli territory on the northern end of the plateau hours earlier.

The fire on Israel had been ruled to be spill over from fighting between Syrian regime forces and rebels on the Syrian side of the Golan.

“The IDF holds the Syrian army responsible and accountable for this blatant breach of Israeli sovereignty, and will not tolerate any attacks emanating from Syria, intentional or not,” the army said.

There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties from the Israeli attack. No damage or casualties was reported from the mortar shells.

“The rockets were errant fire as a result of the internal fighting in Syria. Forces are searching the area,” the IDF said in a statement following the mortar shells’ fall

The Syrian Golan has been the site of intense fighting in recent years between Assad regime forces and the Nusra Front, an al-Qaeda affiliate. More recently, the area has seen burgeoning activity by Hezbollah and Iran’s al-Quds Force aimed at opening a new potential front against Israel in any future conflict.

A previous Israeli strike on Syrian positions following spillover fighting last month reportedly drew condemnation from Russian President Vladimir Putin, who recently sent forces to Syria to bolster President Bashar Assad.

A number of mortars have landed in Israeli territory as a result of spillover fighting over the last several years, raising fears among residents near the border.

Israel maintains a policy of holding Damascus responsible for all fire from Syria into Israel regardless of the source of the fire.

Israeli and Russian officials are currently in the midst of a series of meetings designed to assure their forces don’t accidentally tangle up in Syria.

Jewish academic assaulted near Paris following anti-Semitic threats

A French-Jewish university director who has been subjected to an anti-Semitic campaign of intimidation was assaulted outside his suburban Paris home.

Samuel Mayol, the director of the Technical University Institution, or IUT, was attacked on the evening of Oct. 9 while walking his dog in Saint-Denis, the Tribune Juive weekly reported. His assailant fled the scene and has not been identified.

The assailant bashed Mayol’s head against a wall three times, causing a concussion and multiple lacerations. He said his attacker told him: “We are going to bump you,” which in French slang means to kill.

Mayol, who was speaking to a friend on his cellphone when the attack occurred, filed a criminal complaint for assault. Police are investigating the attack as a possible hate crime.

According to the French daily Le Figaro, the anti-Semitic intimidation against Mayol began at his workplace in February when he received anonymous threats on his life. In May, a Star of David was painted on the doors of the office of a member of the IUT faculty, and five of Mayol’s colleagues received text massages reading “You too will fall. You work for Jews.”

Separately, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo last week became the first European mayor to sign the American Jewish Committee’s “Statement on Anti-Semitism by Mayor and Municipal Leaders,” in which she pledged to pursue a zero-tolerance policy on anti-Semitism and make the physical security of Jewish communities a priority.

Hidalgo is the only European mayor to have signed the statement, which has dozens of cosignatories in the United States including New York Mayor Bill De Blasio and his Los Angeles counterpart, Eric Garcetti, who is Jewish.

State indicts former Chief Rabbi Metzger in NIS 10m bribery case

The Jerusalem District Attorney’s Office on Tuesday filed an indictment against former Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yonah Metzger for allegedly accepting NIS 10 million in bribes.

The charges also include fraud, breach of public trust, fraudulent receipt of a benefit under aggravated circumstances, theft, money-laundering, tax violations and conspiracy to commit a felony, all while using his position as chief rabbi. The indictment ushers in a new stage in the latest legal drama of a major public figure to grab the country’s attention.

The indictment, filed with the Jerusalem District Court, was filed after Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein rejected arguments by Metzger’s lawyer against the charges at a pre-indictment hearing.

Weinstein emphasized that his decision was in keeping with the recommendation of State Attorney Shai Nitzan and other prosecution officials on the case. Such pre-indictment hearings do not usually cause the attorney-general to change his decision.

Previously, Metzger’s defense team said in response to the attorney-general’s prior announcements that he would likely indict Metzger that “we received from the attorney-general the allegations against Rabbi Yona Metzger and the summons to a hearing. Rabbi Metzger denies the allegations made against him. According to the rabbi, he did not receive bribes, not through the state’s witness and not through anyone else, and did not launder money. We will address the allegations against the rabbi at the hearing he has been summoned to after we receive and review the investigative material.”

The indictment said that of the NIS 10m., NIS 7m. had gone directly to Metzger (the numbers are according to exchange rates at the time of the crimes – at current rates the amounts would drop to around NIS 8m. and NIS 5m., respectively.) According to the indictment, in most of the suspected criminal actions, Chaim Eisenstadt, Metzger’s driver, acted as his representative for his receiving bribes.

Due to Metzger and Eisenstadt’s closeness and the driver’s involvement in Metzger’s alleged scheme, Eisenstadt would be accused of having received double digits of the overall percentage of the bribes.

In the “Conversion Affair,” Metzger allegedly received large bribes from foreigners who wished to convert or to clarify whether they were Jewish under standards acceptable to the Chief Rabbinate.

The indictment said that Metzger and Rabbi Gavriel Cohen, the former head of the Beit Din rabbinical court of Los Angeles, split funds paid to Cohen regarding the issues in question.

It added that sometimes Metzger received the money, but made sure that at least in initial stages that checks were not made payable to him, such that he could better hide his involvement.

In 2011, the indictment said that Metzger and Cohen helped convert the children of a Russian businessman who had made aliya, at a price of $360,000, of which Metzger received $180,000.

Next, the indictment said that Metzger received 30-40 percent of donations slated for charitable organizations in exchange for his support and activities on behalf of those organizations.

One donation for $28,000 which was slated for a yeshiva in Metzger’s synagogue with connections to the Aish Hatorah yeshiva, found its way to Metzger and Eisenstadt instead, said the indictment.

Another donation of NIS 105,000 earmarked for the organization Beit Hatavshil, which helps provide food for the poor, was split between the charity and Metzger, who received around NIS 31,500 of the donation, without the donor’s knowledge, according to the indictment.

Another specific allegation involved Metzger receiving bribes under the guise of gifts, including for his son’s wedding in 2010.

In one case, Metzger allegedly received $500,000 in bribes under the guise of gifts in 10 separate cash payments.

At another ceremony for nominating a rabbi to receive an official position, one of that rabbi’s relatives gave Metzger $70,000, said the indictment.

The rabbi is also accused of not reporting all income he received to tax authorities, including failing to report the income to his accountant who filed his tax returns.

There are also money-laundering charges that Metzger used various middlemen to launder his funds, including using fictitious names to further throw the authorities off his trail.

The indictment also said that Metzger had instructed Eisenstadt to lie to police when questioned in order to protect Metzger.

To recover some of the money, the state filed a request to seize various assets under Metzger and his family members’ names which are connected to the unlawfully obtained funds per the indictment.

Metzger voluntarily suspended himself from a number of major duties in June 2013 amid the investigation while he was still in office.

He maintained his innocence but stepped down from serving on the Rabbinical High Court, the Chief Rabbinical Council and the Appointments Committee for Rabbinical Judges.

Gulf states looking to buy Israel-developed defense systems in massive deal

Bahrain and several other Gulf states are in negotiations to buy the Iron Dome defense system and possibly other Israeli-developed weapons for protection from “a growing arsenal of Iranian missiles,” Sky News reported on Tuesday.

Bahrain’s foreign minister, Khalid bin Mohammed, told Sky News that the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait, are interested in purchasing the Israeli weapon for the entire council.

“The Israelis have their small Iron Dome. We’ll have a much bigger one in the GCC,” Mohammed said on Tuesday in London.

Mohammed said that interest in the Iron Dome has increased as a result of the Iran nuclear deal, which will loosen sanctions on Iran. The Bahraini foreign minister said the agreement will allow Iran to “stockpile enough missiles to overwhelm any defense system we build in the Gulf.”

The jointly developed US-Israeli systems would be purchased via the US, according to Sky News.

“Iran has been trying to undermine and topple government in our region for years,” he said.

The Bahraini foreign minister met in London on Tuesday with British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond.

A deal involving several Gulf states could potentially cost hundreds of billions of dollars, Sky News reported.

Aside from the Iron Dome system, the deal would also include longer range interceptor missiles such as David’s Sling, and the Arrow I and Arrow II, capable of intercepting supersonic intercontinental ballistic missiles, according to the report.

In May, Arabic-language newspaper Rai al-Youm reported that Israel offered Saudi Arabia to use its Iron Dome anti-rocket technology. The offer was made to the Kingdom to defend its border with Yemen that has come under numerous rocket attacks. Saudi Arabia reportedly rejected the offer, according to the London based newspaper.

Jews are being killed simply for being Jews

The murders of Israelis on a bus yesterday continue decades of violence by Arabs against the innocent

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/israel/11929445/Jews-are-being-killed-simply-for-being-Jews.html

By Eitan Na’eh            The Daily Telegraph  (UK)

On Tuesday, several Israelis were shot and stabbed on a bus in Jerusalem, with three confirmed dead. Many others were left in a critical condition. When such horrific events occur, it is natural to try to make sense of them, and to ask: “Why did this happen?”

My family has been asking this question for generations. I think back to the burning of my great-great grandparents’ house in 1929, during anti-Jewish riots in Hebron: 133 Jews were killed in one week by Arab rioters, as students were massacred in a yeshiva. These attacks did not take place in a vacuum. Local Arab media at the time published inflammatory articles, raging against the rights of Jews to pray at the site of the Western Wall in Jerusalem. A flier by the “Committee of Holy Warriors in Palestine” was distributed, claiming that Jews had violated the honour of Islam. The British government-backed Palestine Inquiry Commission concluded that there was “no excuse” for the spate of murders.

“The reality is that, be it 1921, 1929, 1936 or 2015, Jews are being murdered simply for being Jews.”

I think back to 1936, when the house of my great-grandparents in Jaffa was burned down by Arab rioters, forcing them to flee to Tel Aviv. I think back to 1939, when my father’s cousin was murdered, when he was aged just eight. Zalman Naeh was shot in his stomach by Arab terrorists while travelling on a bus from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem: he was the last Jewish victim of terror in British Mandate Palestine before the outbreak of the Second World War.

Why was he shot? What prompted all these acts of terror? Was it the Israeli “occupation” – which did not exist at the time? Was it the policies of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, even though he was not yet born? Was it frustration about the peace process?

Or was it because little Zalman was a Jew, and how dare he sit on a bus? So tell me again, why were the people on the bus murdered yesterday morning?

Palestinian students hold up axes during an anti-Israel protest in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah   Photo: Said Khatib/AFP

The common factor in all these attacks down the decades is the presence of Jews in the land of Israel and their right of self-determination. That is at the root of the killings. Yet through all the years, this simple reason has been curiously overlooked. Even on November 29 1947, the very day that the United Nations voted in favour of the Partition Plan to create neighbouring Jewish and Arab states in British Mandate Palestine, shots were fired at an ambulance carrying my aunt – a Holocaust survivor – on her way to give birth to my cousin. Then, as now, the very presence of Jews in the land of Israel appeared to be the root cause of terrorist violence against them.

One myth in particular has shown itself evergreen: the idea that Jews are trying to undermine Islam and its holy sites in Jerusalem. We have heard the lie that “Al Aqsa is in danger” since the 1920s, when the Palestinian leader Haj Amin Al-Husseini tried to stir up local rioters against Jews, inciting them to murder. Husseini would distribute pamphlets saying: “O Arabs! Do not forget that the Jew is your worst enemy and has been the enemy of your forefathers.”

Last month, President Abbas called on Jews not to put their “filthy feet” on the Temple Mount, again inciting anti-Jewish violence. Yet when Palestinian activists use this revered holy site as a temporary base from which to attack Israelis – piling up rocks, fireworks and explosives – it is they who desecrate the place.

Those making libellous claims about Israel and Al Aqsa today ignore the fact that 3.5 million Muslims visited the site last year, compared to 200,000 Christians and just 12,500 Jews. Indeed, Israel has maintained a delicate status quo since 1967, when it regained control of the Old City of Jerusalem, and handed back the administration of the Muslim holy sites to Islamic administrators known as the Waqf. Israel is determined not to let the status quo change, and has recently banned politicians from any visits to the site, in order to calm tensions.

But ultimately, what we are seeing is not about religious rights or land. It is about the same old issue. This is the issue that people least want to discuss but which most needs to be discussed. The excuse may change with the passing years. But the reality is that, be it 1921, 1929, 1936 or 2015, Jews are being murdered simply for being Jews.

Eitan Na’eh is Israel’s Acting Ambassador to Great Britain

The terror war from East Jerusalem

In the flammable Arab neighbourhoods, the purported threat to al-Aqsa lit the flames; it’s hard to say what can douse them. Closures and curfews won’t

By Avi Issacharoff                The Times of israel

http://www.timesofisrael.com/the-terror-war-from-east-jerusalem/

Today, 12 days after the West Bank terror attack that killed Eitam and Naama Henkin, we can officially declare this to be the “Al-Quds Intifada” — the Jerusalem uprising.

It is different from the two previous intifadas inasmuch as it lacks the popular element that characterized the uprisings that began in September 2000 and December 1987. Even so, this sequence of terror attacks and violence can no longer be defined as a passing wave.

Day after day, more and more attacks are being perpetrated, overwhelmingly by youths from East Jerusalem – children, teens, students and even one employee of Israel’s Bezeq phone company (Alaa Abu Jamal, who murdered Yeshayahu Kirshavski in Monday’s car-ramming/stabbing attack).

The spark that set it alight may have been a visit to the Temple Mount by Housing Minister Uri Ariel or by Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely, in a climate in which many Palestinian and Israeli Muslim groups had been peddling false allegations about nefarious Israeli plans for Al-Aqsa, though there were warning signs long before the two made their trips: the murder of Arab teenager Muhammad Abu Khdeir and the mini-intifada that took place last summer, ongoing altercations between security forces and Palestinian youths, and more.

But to fully understand the context in which this new intifada has flared, we need to go back many more years — to the ongoing neglect of Palestinian neighbourhoods of East Jerusalem by Israeli governments over the past 48 years, despite the dire economic situation of the residents of these areas; the state of lawlessness; and the fact that a twilight zone has evolved in some of the villages on the periphery of Jerusalem since the construction of the security barrier. Entire neighbourhoods and villages whose residents have blue ID cards, who are citizens of Israel, are not given any attention by either Israel or the Palestinian Authority.

This is the intifada of the young, this is the internet intifada, but first and foremost this is the Jerusalem intifada. True, there are protest marches in the West Bank every day, but the number of participants is relatively small. The Palestinian public outcry is weak and of limited scope compared to the rate at which East Jerusalem youths are joining the circle of terrorism and violence, with no planning or organization, with social media as the catalyst and main engine.

Ironically, among the factors driving more attacks are the clips shot by Israelis from the scenes of terror attacks: a video of the female terrorist from Nazareth, the man who stabbed a Border Police officer at the Damascus Gate, and — of course — Ahmad Manasra, the 13-year-old who went on a killing spree in Pisgat Ze’ev. The image of Manasra, wounded and beaten after attempting to murder a Jewish boy, was widely disseminated among Palestinians, and quickly became a symbol of Israeli cruelty.

Palestinian social media chose to ignore the fact that this was a terrorist who set out to murder Israelis, and focused on the fact that several of the Israelis who were there in the aftermath of the attack wanted to lynch him. These video clips create more and more terrorists.

The genie is out of the bottle, and it’s hard to see how to put it back. If only a few days ago one could contemplate diplomatic moves or gestures to restore the calm, such steps are now irrelevant. The youths of East Jerusalem don’t care about the status of diplomacy between the Palestinian Authority and Israel. The purported threat to al-Aqsa Mosque was the main catalyst in igniting the flames, but it’s hard to say what could help to douse them.

Abbas has sometimes been keeping his mouth shout, and other times accusing Israel of “executing” Hassan Manasra, the second terrorist from Pisgat Ze’ev. But even if he made an effort to condemn each and every attack, it wouldn’t help on the ground: the youths of East Jerusalem don’t listen to him.

Hamas, of course, is delighted with the vicious turn of events. It worked to inflame the situation on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, and it stands to gain most from the current violence.

Israel has no real tools to counter these attacks. Sending more troops to East Jerusalem will not help at all. A closure or curfew on villages in East Jerusalem could slightly reduce the number of attacks, but won’t bring them to an end. Furthermore, such a step would have dramatic political and diplomatic implications regarding the division of Jerusalem, and would probably draw more Palestinians from the eastern part of the city into the cycle of violence, as they won’t be able to go to work. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s opponents would doubtless have a field day, claiming that “Bibi divided Jerusalem.”

We are now in the middle of a war against terror, but with almost no possibility of confronting tomorrow’s terrorists, who are near invisible until they act.

BICOM Analysis: Latest trends in the violence and political implications

http://www.bicom.org.uk/analysis-article/27131/

Key Points

Violence, whilst frequent, is still largely spontaneous, decentralised, and involving relatively small numbers, distinguishing it from the First and Second Intifadas and making its trajectory hard to predict.

Both the Israeli and Palestinian Authority leadership have taken steps to restore calm, but Abbas’s authority is seriously diminished, and with Islamist groups stoking the flames, the risk of further escalation is ever present, including from Gaza.

Prime Minister Netanyahu is trying to contain the situation amid growing public concern and political pressure from the right of his coalition to take a tougher response.

What are the latest trends?

The attempted denotation of a car bomb by a Palestinian woman outside Jerusalem on Sunday 11 October and increasing tensions on the Gaza border are the newest elements in the situation. Meanwhile, attacks by individuals using knives and stone as well as Molotov cocktail attacks are continuing and spread in recent days to include more Arab-Israeli perpetrators inside Israel.

Whilst much of the Palestinian incitement is coming from organisations, especially by Islamist groups, and amplified by social media, actual attacks appears still to be spontaneous, decentralised, and involving relatively small numbers. These are among the factors which distinguish this escalation from the First and Second Intifadas. It also makes it very difficult for either Israeli or Palestinian authorities to prevent attacks or to predict whether violence will escalate or die down.

Both the Israeli and Palestinian Authority leadership have taken steps to restore calm. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu banned all Knesset members – Jewish and Arab – from the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif in a decision taken late last week. The last week also saw PA President Mahmoud Abbas somewhat cool his rhetoric, speak out against the escalation of violence and instruct his security forces to prevent clashes. International pressure on both sides is increasing, with US Secretary of State John Kerry speaking with both leaders. A Quartet delegation is due to arrive in Israel on 15 October, though at official rather than ministerial level.

Israeli security officials assess that Abbas now seeks to calm rather than inflame the situation, having earlier engaged in incendiary rhetoric. However, Abbas’s authority is seriously diminished, and the risk of further escalation ever present. A shift to greater use of fire arms or explosives by Palestinian attackers or a mass casualty event on either side could change the picture suddenly.

The claim that Israel intends to change the status quo on the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif – which is promoted by those wanting to stoke violence and helped trigger this escalation – continues to fuel anger especially among young people, despite Netanyahu’s repeated denials.

Arab Israeli Knesset members suspended a plan to visit the Temple Mount on Sunday, but, to varying degrees, continue to play to populist Arab sentiment. Radical Arab-Israel Knesset Member Haneen Zoabi went so far as to publish an article in a Hamas website calling for mass participation in a full blown Intifada. However, it appears most Israeli-Arabs are not interested in joining the violence. Participation in demonstrations in Israel is relatively low. Remarkably, Joint Arab List leader Ayman Odeh was publicly accosted by the mayor of the Arab-Israeli town of Nazareth on Sunday, who accused him of fueling tensions by joining demonstrations.

Meanwhile the IDF’s assessments remain that Hamas does not want to confront Israel directly in a new Gaza conflict, but welcomes violence which undermines security for both Israel and the PA in the West Bank, and is calling for more attacks. However, other groups in the Gaza Strip are interested in confronting Israel from Gaza. The Iranian aligned Palestinian Islamic Jihad organised violent demonstrations on the Gaza-Israel border during the weekend which led to Palestinians being shot and killed by Israeli forces, with Hamas choosing not to stop them. Meanwhile Jihadist factions continue to fire a trickle of rockets. Gazan authorities reported that an Israeli retaliatory strike killed a mother and daughter over the weekend. Further such fatalities would escalate tensions, raising the chances that Hamas’s military wing could start firing, as it did last summer.

What is the Israeli government’s approach to the problem and what could change it?

Prime Minister Netanyahu is seeking the quickest route to restore calm, trying to balance between showing a firm hand which establishes deterrence and avoiding actions which might provoke more violence or invite international pressure. The latest practical step has been drafting up more than a thousand border police reserves, part of a policy to flood Jerusalem and other potential flash points with security forces to deter and prevent attacks and reassure the public. This follows measures to deter violence, including tough minimum sentences for stone throwers, and destruction of terrorist’s homes.

The longer the violence continues, the more public confidence in Netanyahu’s leadership is under threat. The right flank of his coalition openly challenges him by calling for more aggressive responses to restore order, especially in the Old City of Jerusalem and for the outlawing the radical northern branch of the Islamic Movement which has been actively fermenting unrest – a move the Cabinet is now considering. The right wing Jewish Home party is also taking the opportunity to demand new settlement construction, with settlement planning having been effectively frozen for some time.

At a major press conference on Thursday evening, Netanyahu was flanked by key ministers from his own Likud party – Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon and Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan – as well as the chiefs of the IDF and police, projecting the image that they were the ones running the show, as opposed to their more hawkish coalition partners. At the press conference Netanyahu defended his decision not to allow new settlement announcements as “common sense” in order to maintain international support in the circumstances. The US has told both sides to avoid “inflammatory rhetoric and actions”.

During the same press conference, Netanyahu reissued a call for a broad government of national unity, reflecting a constant veiled threat to the Jewish Home party that he could seek to build an alternative coalition with the centre-left Zionist Union opposition party. However, according to reports, Netanyahu is not currently willing to meet Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog’s demands for joining the government.

Conclusion

In sum, though Israeli and PA leaders seek to contain the situation, it has its own momentum. The best hope is that the Palestinian violence, lacking mass participation, will lose momentum over time and decline to more manageable levels. However, with so many potential flash points and agitators involved, and with tensions so high, the risk of further escalation is ever present.

A stabbing war born of hysterical intolerance

http://www.timesofisrael.com/a-stabbing-war-born-of-hysterical-intolerance/

Moshe Dayan’s historic decision in 1967 to ban Jewish prayer from Temple Mount has evidently hardened Palestinian intransigence rather than encouraged reciprocal imperative for understanding

by David Horovitz        The Times of Israel

Nobody knows whether this unprecedented spate of Palestinian “suicide stabbings,” combined with a dismally familiar upsurge in West Bank clashes, Gaza rocket fire, Israeli counterstrikes, Israeli Arab demonstrations, right-wing extremist violence, and more such grisly stuff constitutes the start of another protracted round of conflict.

But the portents are not good. This is a stabbing war born of insistent, hysterical intolerance. And the proven futility of spilling more blood — the sheer sickening, depressing futility of it all — is all too evidently no deterrent.

This flareup stems from the energetic dissemination of the false claim that Israel is about to permit Jews to pray on the Temple Mount, and/or otherwise change the policies that Israel has maintained at arguably the world’s most incendiary holy site. The lie has been assiduously spread by enemies like Hamas, Fatah, and the extremist Northern Branch of Israel’s Islamic Movement, widely peddled in mosques and on social media, and bolstered too by spectacularly irresponsible Israeli Arab politicians, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (who used the UN General Assembly platform to accuse Israel of sending “extremists” into Al-Aqsa Mosque) and those Israeli Jewish right-wing leaders who have misleadingly and pyromaniacally asserted that the Netanyahu government is weighing new policies.

Netanyahu himself should have acted more speedily than he did to ban MKs from deliberately provocative visits to the Mount, and to distance himself and his government more decisively from the right-wing talk of possible changes to a half-century’s “status quo.” When an Israeli minister breaches the prohibition on Jewish prayer during a filmed visit to the Mount — step forward Jewish Home’s Uri Ariel — the entire Muslim world is watching.

As we are now witnessing — every few hours in recent days — impressionable young Palestinians have been persuaded that their God requires them to kill, and if necessary be killed, to “protect Al-Aqsa.” Words are fueling murderous deeds in this latest iteration of the conflict; urgently needed now are different words — honest, wise and sensitive words, by responsible leaders — to help begin the process of trying to de-escalate it.

It’s not that often that I feel moved to praise the pronouncements of Secretary of State John Kerry, but he hit the nail on the head this weekend in stressing the importance of upholding the status quo at the al-Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount “in word and deed.”

Constant fear

The situation is not yet irreversible, but we’re certainly on a slippery slope. The fragile mosaic of our daily lives in these parts is starting to crack. We Jews and Muslims live in constant contact. And banal contact, these days, is a source of fear.

My journey to work begins not far from two Palestinian villages that sit within Jerusalem’s municipal boundaries and from where Molotov cocktail and stone-throwing attacks have become frequent of late. It takes me past Abu Tor, a mixed neighborhood currently overflowing with tension, where a Palestinian youth was shot at the weekend as he threw a firebomb at troops during a demonstration. Nearby is the Sultan’s Pool, where the fact that an outdoor concert by ex-Haredi rapper Matisyahu passed without terror incident on Saturday was cause for relieved celebration. A ten-minute walk from our office is the Old City, where the threat of stabbings has now reached such heights that police have deployed metal detectors at various entrances to provide psychological comfort; practically, of course, they are of negligent value: Jews are being attacked with knives, screwdrivers and scissors, all of which are as plentiful in the Old City’s shops and homes — on the supposedly “safe” side of the metal detectors — as in any other neighborhood. Similarly, security guards at shopping malls are checking everybody’s bags and clothes more carefully now — which is admirable in theory, except that Israelis waiting in line for security checks make for a particularly vulnerable target.

In the stabbing-wary Israel of October 2015, Jews are crossing the road to avoid Arabs and so, too, are Arabs crossing the road to avoid Jews. Here’s an irony: the safest pedestrian combination these days may well be a Jew and Arab side by side.

Abbas’s last chance

At the root of this already bitter, potentially dire new lurch into bloodshed, as ever, is the clash of narratives — and it is to that battlefield that responsible leaders are now urgently called.

The most disappointing personality, in this context, and the man who could do the most to help lower the flames is Abbas. While not directly fostering terrorism, Abbas seems to be morphing increasingly into his late, unlamented predecessor. Where Yasser Arafat assured his people that there were no Jewish temples in Jerusalem and thus no historical legitimacy for modern Jewish statehood, Abbas now derides the notion of a Jewish connection to the Temple Mount and vows that the Palestinian flag will fly “over all the walls of Jerusalem.” Even as he asserts his opposition to violence, he has helped parlay the lie about threats to Al-Aqsa; for months, he has allowed his Fatah loyalists to encourage car-ramming and other terror attacks to ostensibly safeguard the mosque; he continually sends feelers for unity arrangements with the Islamist murderers of Hamas; he turns a willful blind eye to the desecration of Al-Aqsa by the Palestinian agitators who take weapons into it and use it as a military base for violent confrontation with Israeli forces.

His defenders say we’ll miss him when he’s gone, and his successor will indeed almost certainly be more extreme. But as things stand, Abbas’s will be a legacy of failure — for his people and ours: Israel, no matter that it must separate from the Palestinians to maintain its Jewish character, its democracy and its soul, dare not entrust sovereign legitimacy to a Palestinian nation that is not truly prepared to live alongside what it acknowledges is a rooted, legitimate, revived Jewish state. And Abbas, in his effort for statehood, has self-defeatingly chosen to ignore that awkward fact. Until the Palestinians internalize Israel’s right to be here — here, of all places — their quest for independence is doomed.

There is an almost surreal aspect to this particular eruption of conflict: Israel has been plunged into a terror war because of a false assertion that it intends to allow Jewish prayer at the holiest place in Judaism. This rather begs the question of why Israel would not allow Jewish prayer at the holiest place in Judaism, which it captured and liberated, to a great outpouring of Jewish emotion in the 1967 war.

The answer? Utilizing the rabbinical halachic consensus that forbids Jews from setting foot on the Temple Mount for fear of desecrating the site of the Holy of Holies, Israel’s defense minister 48 years ago, Moshe Dayan, took the pragmatic decision not to fully realize renewed Jewish sovereignty at the Temple Mount, and therefore not to risk a religious confrontation with the Muslim world. Instead, Israel opted to bar Jewish prayer there and to permit the Jordanian-run Waqf authority to continue to administer the Muslim holy places. That Israeli forbearance has all too evidently been misunderstood and misrepresented among many Palestinians as evidence that the Jewish state has no genuine attachment to the Mount. That Israeli forbearance is now rewarded with violence.

Just as Israel must acknowledge and respect the Muslim attachment to the Haram al-Sharif — as its policies since 1967 have done — so, too, the Palestinians must acknowledge and respect the Jewish attachment to the Temple Mount. Arafat emphatically failed to do so. Abbas now has what may be one last chance.

Not everybody will heed him, but he remains a relatively credible, relatively moderate figure. And de-escalating this round of conflict is as important for Palestinians’ interests as it is for Israelis’.

There will be no Palestinian state unless or until Israelis can begin to believe that the Palestinians genuinely seek co-existence. The particular nature of this phase of violence, the specific ostensible cause, is bloodily indicating to Israelis the absolute opposite: It suggests that the Palestinians have a knife-wielding, even suicidal intolerance for the Jewish state’s connection to Judaism’s holiest place, and that Moshe Dayan’s historic decision in 1967 has hardened intransigence rather than encouraged the reciprocal imperative for understanding and compromise.

IDF strategy for the Third Intifada

Military simulates incidents spinning out of control and sparking a wider conflagration, and has established a number of principles in the event of an all-out uprising.

by Yoav Zitun                     Ynet News

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4710824,00.html

Widespread talk of a Third Intifada becoming reality is a fairly recent phenomenon on the Israeli street, but the IDF has spent years coming up with scenarios and contingency plans in the event of an escalation of terror.

In late July, a senior officer in the IDF Central Command said Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had a clear agenda against violence and was a stabilizing factor. Since the current wave of terrorism began, the defense establishment again said that Abbas is not an agitator.

Even so, the IDF’s Judea and Samaria Division has for two years been preparing for a series of worst-case scenarios in case of a “true Intifada”.

Despite the disturbances of the past two weeks, which were much more violent than similar disturbances in recent years, great masses of Palestinians have yet to go out to the streets.

Almost all new regional brigade commanders in the IDF start their tenure with a regimental exercise lasting about a week.

At the beginning of the year, the Judea and Samaria Division carried out a widespread General Staff exercise that simulated an all-out escalation.

Since 2011, the IDF has prepared for a third intifada more or less once a year, but every year the Palestinian street remained largely indifferent or stable, except in periods of violence such as during Operation Pillar of Defense and Operation Protective Edge.

The IDF’s response to extreme scenarios does not come only in the form of dozens of military exercises. There are also some key principles unerlying the contingency plans in the event of the outbreak of an all-out uprising:

  • Instant deployment of thousands of regular fighters from training camps to regional divisions within 12 to 24 hours.
  • Preserving the policy of containment during disturbances and minimizing Palestinan casualties, with a focus on using non-lethal means such as tear gas and rubber bullets.
  • Junior and mid-level officers, rather than soldiers, should be at the front and make decisions in dealing with the demonstrations.
  • Proportionate use of curfews as needed and according to operational considerations only, while separating the Palestinian population from the terrorists.
  • Widespread deployment of checkpoints during an alert of a terrorist attack or an escape of a terrorist.
  • Prioritizing training and operational exercises for reserve battalion’s brigades, which will be quickly deployed during a significant escalation.
  • Not tolerating, especially in the case of officers, incidents of violence by right-wing activists against Palestinians or soldiers, and arresting them until the police arrive.

Exercises simulate scenarios such as a car bomb detonating next to a bus full of Jewish schoolchildren, and a minibus full of European tourists accidentally encountering a violent protest in Bethlehem.

One exercise simulated 400 Palestinian rioters trying to attack the Jewish settlement in Hebron, while a terrorist shoots at Border Police as a diversionary ractic. In this simulation, forces had to surround Hebron in order to prevent the escape of the attack’s mastermind.

Another scenario dealt with the entrenchment of four terrorists with hostages in one of the Jewish settlements’ yeshivas.

In these exercises, the soldiers who trained were those who have faced riots, an phenomenon that is currently a daily occurrence.

PLEASE NOTE: THIS NEWS IS COMPILED FROM VARIOUS WORLDWIDE MEDIA SOURCES AND ALL ATTEMPTS TO ACCURATELY ATTRIBUTE CONTENT HAVE BEEN MADE.

This information is compiled by Dr Ron Wiseman, Board Member of the Zionist Council of NSW