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Latest News in Israel – 20th November

5 killed, including American tourist, in terrorist shooting near Gush Etzion in the West Bank

A Palestinian terrorist killed an American, an Israeli and a Palestinian on Thursday afternoon when he shot at cars stuck in a traffic jam near the Gush Etzion junction in the West Bank.

Seven others were lightly wounded in the attack, two Israeli women and five American yeshiva students. They were all evacuated to the Sha’are Tzedek Medical Center. The Americans are due to be released. while the two Israeli women will be hospitalized overnight.

The United States said it considered the attack to be an act of terrorism.

“We condemn these terrorist attacks against innocent civilians in the strongest possible terms,” Edgar Vasquez, a spokesperson for the State Department, said.

“As we’ve made clear, we remain deeply concerned about the situation,” he said, “and continue to urge all sides to take affirmative steps to restore calm and prevent actions that would further escalate tensions.”

Initial reports suggest that the terrorist fired at the cars as he drove by them and was even able to reload this gun. He then sped in the direction of the Alon Shvut settlement, but slammed into a car.

The terrorist exited the vehicle and attempted to fire off further shots. Security forces shot at the terrorist and then arrested him. Video footage from the scene show the terrorist lying on the ground as soldiers surround him.

The Israeli victim, Yaakov Don, 51, from the Alon Shvut settlement, who is a father to four children.  He was evacuated from the scene by a Magen David Adom ambulance and was pronounced dead upon his arrival at the Haddassah Medical Center in Ein Karem.

The Palestinian victim and the unidentified American victim, presumed to be 18, were pronounced death at the scene.

The Gush Etzion area has been the scene of numerous terror attacks over the past two months.

The incident followed shortly after a fatal terrorist attack that occurred in Tel Aviv earlier in the day.

A Palestinian terrorist stabbed three people in south Tel Aviv on Thursday, killing two of them and wounding another.

In that attack, police said that the terrorist attempted to flee the scene, but was apprehended by civilians who subdued him until police forces arrived on the scene. The suspect was arrested and taken in for questioning.

The Shin Bet stated that the attacker was a 36-year-old Palestinian from the village of Dura near Hebron. He did not have a previous security record. According to initial reports, the suspect had a permit to work in Israel and was employed at a nearby restaurant.                 (Jerusalem Post)

Palestinian terrorist kills two in south Tel Aviv stabbing attack

A Palestinian terrorist stabbed three people in south Tel Aviv on Thursday, killing two of them and wounding another.

Police said that the terrorist attempted to flee the scene, but was apprehended by civilians who subdued him until police forces arrived on the scene. The suspect was arrested and taken in for questioning.

The Shin Bet stated that the attacker was a 36-year-old Palestinian from the village of Dura near Hebron. He did not have a previous security record. According to initial reports, the suspect had a permit to work in Israel and was employed at a nearby restaurant.

Police searched the area to ensure that the terrorist did not have an accomplice.

The stabbing took place at the Panarama Building on Ben Tzvi Street, outside of a Judaica store where prayer services were being held.

Eyewitness Shimon Vaknin said the prayer service had just started when a man covered in blood fell on a number of worshipers. Vaknin said he and the rest of the worshipers – around 15 to 20 – pushed the attacker outside and barricaded the door while he shouted in Arabic and continued to try to force his way back in. Others tried to treat the wounded man until paramedics arrived.

Vaknin said they looked outside the window and saw another critically wounded man on the pavement.

Sigal Pinchas, another eyewitness, said she was almost a victim of the attack and was struggling to keep her composure.

She had walked back to her office to grab her car keys and head to her vehicle which was parked next to the Judaica store. She walked in and heard screaming and looked out of the blinds of the office window to see the attacker stabbing a victim repeatedly.

“I was supposed to be right next to the car,” she said.

One man,  Aharon Yasiev, 32, was pronounced dead on the scene after efforts to resuscitate him failed. MDA paramedics transported two wounded people, one in critical condition and one moderately wounded, to Sourasky Medical Center in the city.  The critically wounded man was later pronounced dead at the hospital, bringing the death toll in the attack to two.

Moshe Danonberg and Yonit Ninio, MDA paramedics who arrived on the scene, said that “it was a difficult sight. At the entrance to one of the businesses in the building a 32-year-old man lay unconscious, without a pulse and not breathing, suffering from stab wounds to his upper body. Next to him, a man in his 30s lay with stab wounds to his upper body.”

The paramedics said that one floor down in the building they found Rueven Aviram, 51, an additional victim who was conscious.

While no terrorist organization claimed responsibility for the stabbing attack, Hamas spokesman Husam Badran described it as “heroic” and called for more such attacks against Israel.

Badran expressed hope that such attacks would convince Israel to return the bodies of Palestinian “martyrs”killed while carrying out terror attacks in Israel.

The attack marked the first such incident in Tel Aviv in over a month, when a young Palestinian man armed with a screwdriver stabbed a female soldier and wounded four more bystanders before he was shot and killed by an Air Force officer who happened to be on the scene.

That attack, which occured on October 8, happened at one of the busiest places in the city –  Menachem Begin St and Mozes St, across from the Israel Defense Forces headquarters and Azrieli mall.                (Jerusalem Post)

Jewish teacher stabbed in Marseilles by purported ISIS supporters

A teacher at a Jewish school in the southern French city of Marseilles was stabbed on Wednesday by three people professing support for Islamic State, but his life was not in danger, prosecutors said.

The victim was identified as Tziyon Saadon who is in his fifties.

The three men who attacked the teacher uttered anti-Semitic remarks during the incident, AFP reported.

Three people on two scooters, one of them wearing an Islamic State t-shirt, approached the teacher in the street, Marseilles prosecutor Brice Robin told Reuters.

During the incident, one of the attackers showed a picture on his mobile telephone of Mohamed Merah, a homegrown Islamist militant who killed seven people in a series of attacks in southern France in 2012 including an attack in which three children were killed at a Jewish school in Toulouse.

“The three people insulted, threatened and then stabbed their victim in the arm and leg. They were interrupted by the arrival of a car and fled,” Robin said of the Thursday evening attack.

Emergency workers evacuated the wounded educator to a hospital, and authorities were searching for the perpetrators of the incident.

The UEJF Jewish students’ union condemned the attack in a statement and urged police to use all means to catch the assailants.

It said that the victim, a history and geography teacher, had received three knife wounds.

The attack came several weeks after a knife attack on a rabbi in the city, France’s second biggest.

The Anti-Defamation League said it was “alarmed and saddened” by the stabbing.

“Anti-Semitism is a core tenet of Islamic extremist ideology, attacks on Jews by ISIS sympathizers should come as no surprise,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a press release.

The teacher, a bearded, observant Jew, was wearing a kippah, Michele Teboul, the president of the local branch of the CRIF umbrella of French Jews, told JTA.

France has been in a state of emergency since gunmen and suicide bombers killed 129 people in a series of attacks, claimed by Islamic State, in Paris last Friday. (Jerusalem Post/JTA)

Police raid east Jerusalem Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance office

Less than one week after Palestinian Red Crescent paramedics allegedly refused to treat Rabbi Ya’akov Litman and his teenage son Netanel after they were gunned down in the West Bank, police on Tuesday night raided the east Jerusalem office of the emergency medical service.

Last Friday afternoon, while driving in a van with his wife, three daughters, ages 5, 9, and 11, and two sons, ages 16 and 18, to a pre-wedding celebration for a fourth daughter outside of Otniel, south of Hebron, Palestinian terrorists opened fire on the vehicle.

Litman, 40, and Netanel, 18, died on the side of the road waiting for Magen David Adom paramedics to arrive when the Palestinian ambulance passed the scene, deciding not to aid the dying father and son, his wife, Noa, said.

Noa and her four other children were lightly wounded by shrapnel and the resulting crash, but were not shot.

PRC denied the claim in a message on its website.

While Police spokeswoman Luba Samri acknowledged that the raid took place at the Silwan office, she did not provide further details. It remains unclear if any arrests were made, and if so, what the suspects are being charged for.

One day after the attack, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu demanded that the International Committee of the Red Cross, which is affiliated with PRC, explain why the Palestinian medics refused to help the family.

In a statement, a PRC official claimed that the paramedics intended to treat the Litman’s, but that an IDF ambulance that arrived at the scene held them at gunpoint, although the IDF patently denies this account.

According to an unidentified MDA eyewitness, the PRC personnel did not exit their vehicle and drove past the dying men without stopping.

Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas refused to condemn the double homicide when asked about the incident during a Ramallah press conference hours after the attack.

Instead, Abbas deflected the question by blaming Israel for “obstinateness” and “a lack of a diplomatic horizon.”

“Our people are living under difficult conditions which have become intolerable,” he said. “The continued Israeli occupation of our country and the escalating violence by settlers who are harming our property is filling us with despair.”                      (Jerusalem Post)

US ambassador to Israel warns against ‘bi-national outcome’

US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro addressed the Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference on Wednesday, warning that inaction on the Israeli-Palestinian diplomatic front could potentially lead to a “bi-national outcome” that threatens Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state.

Shapiro said that the prospects of a two-state solution were discussed in the meeting earlier this month between US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington.

“We’re realistic to recognize that a two-state solution won’t occur during the remainder of the Obama administration,” Shapiro said. “We may not even get to a situation where we have negotiations. But there is a great risk that we will slide toward a bi-national outcome that threatens Israel’s Jewish and democratic nature.”

Shapiro said that leaders who wish to avoid such a future must be proactive and think creatively. “They must find the steps to take to avoid escalation, even absent negotiations.”

The US ambassador said that the US continues to discourage unilateral actions that damage the two-state solution, such as Palestinian appeals to the International Criminal Court and Israeli settlement expansion.

Addressing the recent wave of terrorist attacks plaguing Israel, Shapiro said that there is no acceptable excuse or justification for terrorism. “We condemn it in the strongest terms, period. We forcefully engage the PA to stop the incitement that often stands behind it.”

“With Israel, just as with France, America’s condemnation and total rejection of terror is unequivocal and rooted in the kinship of our open and democratic societies,” he said.  (Jerusalem Post)

Netanyahu Tells Hollande: Terrorism Is a Global Problem

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to French President Francois Hollande on Wednesday evening about the attack in Paris. The two leaders will meet at the upcoming UN Climate Summit in Paris.

During the phone conversation, Netanyahu expressed solidarity with the French struggle against terrorism, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement. Netanyahu told Holland that he sees terrorism as a global problem, and therefore an international solution must be found, it added.

Netanyahu and Hollande agreed to meet during the UN Climate Summit in Paris, which will take place 10 days from now.

Earlier on Wednesday, Netanyahu spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin. According to the Prime Minister’s Office, Netanyahu conveyed his condolences to Putin over the recent Sinai plane crash.

Netanyahu and Putin talked about the Palestinian issue and the Syria conflict, and agreed to hold further discussions regarding Syria during their meeting on the sidelines of the UN climate summit in Paris.                  (Ha’aretz)

Knesset expected to pass budget after all-night slog through objections

Knesset members began voting Wednesday evening on some 700 amendments to the 2015-2016 budget, a process that is expected to last all night, as lawmakers race to pass the fiscal plan before a Thursday deadline that would force the government to call new elections.

The amendments, whittled down from some 32,000 submitted by the opposition in a bid to filibuster the budget and fell the government, must all be voted on before the budget — which consists of four separate bills — is voted on.

While less than two months remaining until the end of the year, the two-year budget officially covers 2015 and 2016.

Due to the break up of Netanyahu’s previous government at the end of 2014 and the subsequent March elections, the government has been functioning on a month-to-month budget based on the previous year’s spending.

The new budget proposal totals NIS 383.8 billion ($98.2 billion) in 2015 spending and NIS 424.8 billion ($108.6 billion) in 2016.

NIS 395 billion ($101 billion) was earmarked for the fiscal year 2013 and NIS 406.2 billion ($104 billion) for 2014.

Included in the final bill is Minister for the Development of the Negev and the Galil Aryeh Deri’s controversial proposal to cut the 17% sales tax on public transportation. He had pledged to cut the tax on basic food products during the election campaign but was forced to drop the proposal following opposition from the Finance Ministry. Instead, he demanded the cut be introduced on public transport.

Another point of contention was the allocation for defense needs with officials from the Finance and Defense Ministries going head to head.

The final agreement, a compromise between the NIS 54 billion ($13.8 billion) offered by Finance Ministry officials and the NIS 62 billion ($15.8 billion) requested by the military, includes provisions for beginning the implementation of structural changes in the IDF, in exchange for an additional NIS 3 billion ($770 million) to be transferred during the year. A further NIS 1 billion ($260 million) is to be transferred to the defense budget to account for price increases and inflation, bringing the total potential sum to NIS 60.1 billion ($15.47 billion).

Netanyahu praised the final proposal in Sunday’s cabinet meeting saying it “maintains a proper, responsible macroeconomic framework for Israel, but also adds billions to education, welfare and health, and is accompanied by very important reforms to lower the cost of living, streamline our bureaucracy and advance the Israeli economy.”

In a delaying tactic, the opposition had proposed 32,000 objections to be individually considered before the Knesset can vote on the budget itself. The mandated minimum time for debate on each motion would have generated at least 266 hours of debate, filibustering the vote past the deadline.

But the committee in charge of Knesset procedure ruled on Tuesday that the unprecedented number of reservations submitted on the two-year budget would be consolidated to several hundred, lumping together the objections by topic.

The voting got off to a bumpy start with apparent technical difficulties, and a number of lawmakers voting the wrong way, a costly issue considering the coalition’s razor-thin 61-59 majority.

Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel at one point voted the wrong way on an amendment, causing a tie, which forced the Knesset Finance Committee to call a meeting to discuss the amendment, resulting in a delay in Knesset activity.

After Committee chair Moshe Gafni tried to nix any discussion in the meeting, opposition whip Merav Michaeli wrote a letter to Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, though she accidentally signed her title as coalition whip.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was another lawmaker caught snoozing during a vote, casting a ballot the wrong way before quickly reversing it.

Edelstein earlier ordered a new vote after an early amendment by Zionist Union MK Stav Shaffir passed 47-43. The Knesset speaker instructed the Knesset’s tech team to examine the system since the number of votes did not add up to 120.

Edelstein then ordered a new vote, prompting fierce criticism from the opposition who insisted the system was working fine.

“You can’t just have another vote because you don’t like the result,” said Zionist Union MK Shelly Yachimovich.

Voting is expected to go on until 5 a.m. Thursday morning. In the rare chance the budget fails to gain support from a majority of Knesset Members, new elections must be held within three months.                  (The Times of Israel)

Israel said to mull downgrading ties with Europeans over labeling

Israel has reportedly decided upon punitive measures against 16 European countries that pushed the European Union’s foreign policy chief to promote an initiative to label products made in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.

The measures against the countries are expected to include reprimanding ambassadors of all 16 countries and limiting their contact with Israeli officials to meetings with low-level staffers, according to a Wednesday report in Hebrew-language daily Yedioth Ahronoth.

Jerusalem may also minimize the amount of expertise it shares with Europe on issues like fighting terror and dealing with migrants.

The countries are Britain, France, Denmark, Spain, Ireland, Croatia, Malta, Holland, Sweden, Portugal, Slovenia, Italy, Luxembourg, Austria, Belgium and Finland.

The EU last week published guidelines on labeling Israeli products from the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Golan Heights, drawing harsh condemnation from politicians, including some who said the measure was akin to anti-Semitism.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu again lashed out at the decision, calling it “heinous” — a term usually reserved in diplomatic speech for violent crimes or terror attacks.

“This is absolutely absurd. It’s morally abhorrent because on the soil of Europe, within living memory, Jewish products were labeled. Jewish stores were labeled. And I’d expect, with all the frustration, for Europe not to adapt this heinous act which has such horrible historic overtones,” he said.

The EU ambassador in Israel has defended the move as a technical decision meant to standardize guidelines across the bloc’s 28 countries.

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely gives a press conference on November 3, 2015, in the Lipski plastic factory at the Barkan Industrial Park near the Israeli settlement of Ariel in the West Bank, on the European Union’s (EU) decision to label goods made in Jewish settlements. (Menahem Kahana/AFP)

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely gives a press conference on November 3, 2015, in the Lipski plastic factory at the Barkan Industrial Park near the Israeli settlement of Ariel in the West Bank, on the European Union’s (EU) decision to label goods made in Jewish settlements. (Menahem Kahana/AFP)

The steps the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem is considering may not be equal in severity for all countries involved, according to the report. Italy and Holland are considered closer to Israel than Ireland or Sweden, and may get off easier.

“We will decide for each state separately,” an unnamed diplomatic official told the tabloid. “This is not math but diplomacy — and obviously we will not harm our own interests. It would be foolish to make moves which will end harming us. We walk a thin line here between sending a clear message but on the other hand avoiding harming our own interests.”

The Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem declined to comment to the Times of Israel on the report.

According to Yedioth, ambassadors who could until now meet the prime minister or government ministers will now be downgraded to meeting department heads and other professional staff at the ministries.

This would minimize the ambassadors’ influence and effectively limit the amount of influence the European countries thus penalized can have on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In addition, Israel will consider on a one-by-one basis whether to allow or ban European dignitaries from entering the Gaza Strip or the West Bank, the diplomatic official told the paper.

Israel, the report said, will also more stringently monitor EU support of projects in the West Bank or in Gaza. The projects, intended to ease the lives of Palestinians, also give their European sponsors influence over decisions in the area.

The Europeans “are leading many projects and they seek our support, but you cannot take steps against us and hope that everything will be business as usual,” the unnamed official said. “Whoever has taken hostile actions against us will pay a price.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu sent EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini a letter warning that the decision to label products may harm Israel-EU relations just before the union announced the move.

The EU has been mulling the decision since April but it was only decided upon last week.

Israel, in response, complained of a double standard, citing other other unresolved territorial disputes in which the EU has no special designation for areas considered occupied.

In a document regarding the decision, the 28-member union defined it as a recommendation, not an obligatory step. Hungary announced this week it would not label products.                  (The Times of Israel)

German intelligence: We need to deal with terror like Israel does

Germany needs to respond to terror like Israel and the United States do, the head of Germany’s internal intelligence service (BfV), Hans-Georg Maassen, said Wednesday morning.

Maassen said Germany must not surrender to ISIS’s terrorism. He noted that in Israel, soccer matches and concerts go on despite threats of terrorism. Maassen spoke a day after a soccer match between Germany and the Netherlands was cancelled due to a suspected bomb.

Massen told German television that if ISIS will attack Germany if it can, and that’s his agency’s main concern, but that Germany has to avoid cancelling large public events in the face of these concerns. He said that a very serious tip that German intelligence received caused the cancellation of the match on Tuesday. He did not reveal what that tip was or comment on the reports that said it came from France.

The game, which was set to be played in Hanover, was cancelled an hour an a half before it was supposed to begin and the stadium was evacuated. Fearing that terrorists will attempt attacking other parts of the city, people were instructed by to stay in their homes. Another stadium and a train station were also closed.

German police suspect that over 750 Islamists travelled from Germany to the Middle East in the past few years. Authorities said they know of about 70 of them who came back to Germany after going through training in military camps.                           (Ynet News)

Pollard will need US gov’t permission to travel for as long as 5 years

Jonathan Pollard may not leave his area of residence for up to five years after his release without advance permission of his probation officer, the U.S. Justice Department said.

The Justice Department on Wednesday published the terms of parole for Pollard, the spy for Israel sentenced to life in 1987. He will be released on Friday from a federal prison in Butner, North Carolina.

Under the terms, the Justice Department said in emails to JTA, Pollard must serve the remainder of his term – effectively five years — in a “district of release” that a department spokesman declined to define. Pollard’s lawyers have said that he will live and work in New York City.

Pollard’s probation officer must approve any travel outside the district in advance, the Justice Department spokesman said. Foreign travel requires the additional approval of the U.S. Parole Commission.

Pollard had hoped to immigrate to Israel, which is highly unlikely in the near term under these conditions.

His life sentence technically has another 15 years, but the law requires that the period of parole lapse after five years unless the commission determines that the parolee is likely to commit a crime. That’s unlikely in Pollard’s case, considering he has not had access to any secrets for 30 years.

The Parole Commission must review the terms of parole after two years and every year after that, although it has the discretion to lift the terms of parole at any time.

Despite high-profile pleas to release Pollard from his parole, most recently from two New York members of Congress that seems unlikely for now. The Justice Department “always maintained that Jonathan Pollard should serve his full sentence for the serious crimes he committed,” its statement said.

Pollard, who was arrested and jailed in 1985, is being released under terms in place then mandating parole after 30 years for prisoners serving a life sentence.              (JTA)

Israel warns against curtailing US-led peacekeeping forces in Sinai

Israel issued an unusually blunt warning on Wednesday against proposals to restructure the US-led peacekeeping force in the insurgency-wracked Egyptian Sinai next door, saying any drawdown of the foreign troops would “reward terrorism”.

Installed to monitor the demilitarization of the Sinai under the 1979 Israeli-Egyptian peace accord, the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) and some of its 12 contributor countries have been quietly mulling reviews of the deployment and mandate.

They worry for the safety of the almost 1,900 peacekeepers after six were wounded in September by a roadside bomb, and argue dismantling more remote and vulnerable posts would not significantly set back the mission.

With the review proposals on the agenda for MFO talks that opened with Israel, Egypt and the United States in Rome on Wednesday, a senior IDF officer played down the danger to the peacekeepers from the insurgents – including “Sinai Province”, the Egyptian affiliate of Islamic State.

“They are not interested in attacking the MFO. If they were interested, they could be killing them every day,” the officer told Reuters on condition of anonymity, echoing MFO staff who believe the roadside bomb was intended for the Egyptian army.

But any dismantling of MFO positions, the Israeli officer said, would risk emboldening harder-line insurgent elements.

“It would reward terrorism,” the officer said. “The fact that they would look and see that the ‘Crusaders’ there are afraid – this would be powerful for the terrorists. (It) can encourage them to be more jihadi.”

The officer said the MFO had removed peacekeepers from two Sinai observation outposts after the roadside bombing and had yet to return to them – something Israel would raise objections to at the Rome talks, which conclude on Thursday.

An MFO official confirmed the two positions had been vacated, and declined to comment further on the Rome meeting except to say: “We will, as always, hear out our partners in Israel, Egypt and the United States.”

An Egyptian diplomat said Cairo, like Israel, regarded the MFO as “essential” and opposed any reduction of peacekeepers.    (Jerusalem Post)

The global jihadist onslaught and European Jews

The threat emanates from the broad stream of Islamic fundamentalism and cannot be restricted to Sunnis or Shi’ites, despite the fact that they kill one another.

by Isi Leibler       The Jerusalem Post


That a massacre of at least 129 civilians in Paris, in the heart of Europe, could be engineered by half a dozen militarily trained killers is an indicator of what we can expect in the future unless ruthless measures are taken to confront the terrorists in their home base and reverse the tide. This will require more than bombing sorties – it will require the deployment of ground forces, which US President Barack Obama still bitterly resists.

Let us not understate the challenge. We face a brutal, no-holds-barred conflict of civilizations in which evil forces motivated by a death cult would take us back to the Dark Ages. The barbarians have already penetrated our gates and we have just been given another preview of the frightening horrors that human beings have the capacity of inflicting upon themselves.

What is amazing is that even after this last manifestation, many European leaders remain in denial and fail to recognize that we are not confronted by mindless nihilistic terrorists but by fanatically inspired Islamic extremists committed to the destruction of Western civilization and democracy.

The threat emanates from the broad stream of Islamic fundamentalism and cannot be restricted to Sunnis or Shi’ites, despite the fact that they kill one another.

The reality is that Shi’ite no less than Sunni are both totally opposed to democracy and freedom of expression and seek to impose Shariah law.

Whether this flows from al-Qaida, Islamic State (IS), the Iranian regime, Hezbollah, Hamas and even the Palestinian Authority, which condemns murders in Paris but blesses the shedding of Jewish blood, they all share an underlying hatred of Western civilization, Christianity and Judaism.

Our first major confrontation with Islamic terrorism beyond the Middle East was the 9/11 World Trade Center atrocity. But since the targeted assassination of Osama bin Laden, there has been a determined effort to convince us that the threat of Islamic extremism has essentially been vanquished.

The United States made concerted efforts to woo and at times even counterproductively groveled to appease Islamic fundamentalists such as the Muslim Brotherhood and the Iranian regime.

It was Obama who insisted on erasing any reference to “Islamic terrorism” or any possible nexus between fundamentalist Islam and terrorism. This, despite the fact that aside from a few individual white supremacist outbursts, every recent case of organized terrorism was inspired by Islamic religious frenzy.

The organization currently occupying the spotlight is IS, made up of Sunnis, but the Shi’ite Hezbollah, like the Sunni Hamas, are birds of a feather.

Despite the murderous cries of “Allahu akbar” by the killers, the French government and the media are even now still burying their heads in the sand when it comes to identifying the enemy. The term “Islamic terrorism” has simply been deleted from the political lexicon.

Until political correctness is set aside and there is a recognition that we face a worldwide threat to our existence and quality of life emanating from organized Islamic extremists, we will not be able to rally and unite to crush these elements.

The Islamic extremists understand that with minimal effort, they can orchestrate attacks in leading Western cities at marginal cost. As was evidenced now in Paris and earlier in Mumbai, half a dozen suicidal armed fanatics planted or resident in communities are able to inflict immense damage.

The situation in Europe is catastrophic. Most countries, in particular France, now host large Muslim communities, a substantial proportion of which are radicalized, anti-democratic and sympathetic to terrorist acts. Independent opinion polls show that the law-abiding moderate Muslims are in a minority and intimidated. What is frightening is the emergence of highly educated, homegrown second-generation European-born Muslims brainwashed in their local communities into becoming fanatical Islamists. A significant number volunteered for military service in Syria and returned to their homelands committed to becoming martyrs at a later stage.

The last straw is the massive flow of “refugees” which threatens to completely change the demography of Europe. Unable to integrate its existing Muslim minorities, there is little doubt that the new flow, which inevitably includes large numbers of xenophobic, anti-democratic and pathologically anti-Semitic radicals, will only strengthen the existing extremist Islamic elements. These “refugees” undoubtedly also incorporate considerable numbers of jihadists who will act immediately or remain sleepers until such time as a new terrorist operation is initiated.

In the midst of this turbulent, massive migration and ongoing fears of new terror attacks, the future for European Jews appears bleaker than ever.

Jews in most of Europe were considered pariahs for many years. Today, the level of anti-Israelism has reached record levels. The majority of Europeans believe Israel represents a greater threat to global security than Iran and North Korea. Most are convinced that Israelis have genocidal intentions in relation to the Arabs, make no distinction between Palestinian terrorists and Jewish victims of terrorism and frequently condemn Israelis for defending themselves against knife-wielding religious fanatics who are convinced that they will achieve paradise if they die in the course of murdering Jews.

While millions of Syrians have been displaced and butchered, European leaders seem more concerned about labeling products produced by Israelis over the Green Line than identifying terrorists. Ironically, the EU does not consider the political wing (sic) of Hezbollah to be a terrorist body. There remains a refusal to recognize that the frenzied killers of Israeli Jews and IS terrorists murdering civilians in Paris, are all components of the same global Islamic terrorist enterprise.

Despite the greater concern about Islamic terrorism in the wake of the shocking attacks in Paris, even now it is highly unlikely that the negative French attitudes toward Israel, designed to appease the Arabs, will be diminished.

Although many Western parliamentarians and heads of state pay lip service to the contrary, popular anti-Semitism appears to be washing over the continent like a tsunami with increasing incitement and violence in most European cities.

On top of this, long-standing quiescent Muslim minorities are being radicalized by terrorists incubated in their midst. This will be intensified by support from European Muslims returning home from Syria and Iraq, promoting their jihadi world outlook.

These negative trends are being dramatically reinforced by what may represent the greatest migratory movement of the century. After Islam failed for centuries to conquer Europe militarily, if the flood of “refugees” is not stemmed, it may yet triumph by demographic means.

In a democracy, politicians ultimately tend to respond to public opinion. In this climate of snowballing anti-Semitic Muslim voters, combined with increasing popular and leftist anti-Semitism, the political future for Jews is bleak.

What makes it worse is that in virtually all European countries, the major beneficiaries of these upheavals will be radical right-wing political parties, some of which are still in the process of purging themselves of the anti-Semitic relics of the past and others of which, particularly in Greece and Hungary, are outright neo-Nazi parties.

Under these circumstances, from every conceivable vantage point European Jews can expect more difficult times. Their pariah-like existence will sink to lower depths and their security will inevitably be further undermined.

For those who seek to maintain Jewish continuity, Europe is beginning to look like a cemetery. Jewish communities will undoubtedly linger on the continent.

But what sort of life will these Jewish enclaves endure with such anti-Semitism, violence and feral hostility to Israel? Can Jewish values and pride be instilled among young Jewish people in such a climate? Many Jews have been contemplating leaving for many years. Events in Paris over the past year and the massive wave of Muslim migration, including jihadist and anti-Semitic elements, only reinforce these legitimate fears. Every committed Jew should now be contemplating aliya. Those unable to uproot themselves for economic or social reasons should at least encourage their children to move to Israel.

Yes, there is terrorism in Israel. But Jews can feel infinitely safer here than in European countries. In Israel, they will unite with their kinsmen and participate in their own Jewish homeland in which their own army, rather than foreign forces, will defend them against anti-Semites and jihadists.

This is surely a final wake-up call for European Jewry to consider making aliya and participating in this great Jewish enterprise.

From Jerusalem to Paris: Sharing Lessons of Hope and Resilience – Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (Times of Israel)

As the people of France grapple with the aftermath of the Paris attacks and attempt to comprehend their new reality moving forward, I would like to humbly share some advice based on our own experiences in Jerusalem:

Routine, routine, routine.

Immediately following terror attacks in Jerusalem, we reinstate routine in the city as quickly as possible. By restoring routine, we demonstrate the resilience of our residents and send a strong message: we will not succumb.

Empower your residents.

Many terror attacks in Jerusalem have been thwarted or neutralized by alert and responsible residents who took initiative and alerted security forces. Jerusalem is a large city, yet when necessary, we know how to function as an embracing community that takes responsibility for one another. Cities must encourage residents to be alert and on guard; teach citizens how to act quickly and proactively in the face of threats or attacks.

Be good with the good guys and bad with the bad guys.

Sharp moral clarity is critical to ensuring the safety and security of our citizens. Make a very clear distinction between residents peacefully going about their day-to-day lives and coexisting alongside the diverse populations in the city and those who aim to wreak havoc and bloodshed. The peaceful residents are our partners; we work closely with community leaders to build bridges for opportunity and advancement. However, those who cause destruction and harm, fomenting hatred and breeding incitement, will be punished with the full force of the law.

Swift engagement to decrease the human toll.

In Jerusalem, we have set a goal of enabling security forces to arrive at any location in the city within two minutes. This ability dramatically decreases the human toll in emergency situations. We also work to build an offensive strategy with smart solutions for combating terrorism.

Terrorism is not just a Paris or Jerusalem problem.

Terrorism in Paris, Jerusalem and around the globe is fueled by the same murderous hatred and extremist ideology that aims to abolish our civilization and our values. Our fight is a global one and we must stand united in this battle.

Jerusalemites and Parisians share the same spirit of resilience. We mourn and feel the pain of the families who lost their loved ones, care for and support our wounded, stand tall and move forward. This must always be our answer to terrorism. Our thoughts and prayers are with you, the French nation, as you navigate these difficult waters. When we stand united and strong, we are invincible.