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Latest News in Israel – 3rd March

Manhunt for terrorists after 2 IDF soldiers stabbed in West Bank

The IDF surrounded the Palestinian village of Iraq Burin on Wednesday evening in their search for two Palestinian assailants who stabbed two IDF soldiers in a nearby settlement.

At around 7:00 p.m. the two IDF soldiers were injured in the stabbing attack at the Har Bracha settlement near Nablus in the northern West Bank.

During the attack it was reported that the soldiers’ weapons were taken from them but they were subsequently found near the gate to the settlement.

The two attackers absconded following the attack. Channel 2 reported that the terrorists were apprehended but they later retracted the report and said that the suspects were still at large.

One of the soldiers was stabbed in his shoulder and was lightly to moderately wounded. Magen David Adom evacuated the soldier to hospital. The other soldier was lightly wounded and was being treated by IDF medics at the scene.

The IDF said that the suspects attacked the soldiers at an IDF outpost west of Har Bracha.                 (Jerusalem Post)

Israeli lightly wounded in attack at West Bank home; 2 Palestinian assailants killed

Roi Harrell opened the door to his home early Wednesday morning to find two teenage Palestinian assailants waiting to attack him with wooden sticks and a knife.

“I opened the door with a satchel in my hand and I saw the two [teenagers] wearing dark clothing and wooden sticks in their hands. They jumped on me and pushed their way into the house,” said Harrell who lives in the West Bank settlement of Eli.

“I fought with them inside the house. They got close to a bedroom,” Harrell said as he described the 7 a.m. attack in which he was lightly wounded for Army Radio.

“After a few minutes I was able to push them back outside even as they were hitting me with sticks,” Harrell said.

Then he locked the door. Harrell told his children who had woken up to stay their room.

His wife called emergency services and tried to stop the bleeding from his head wound.

Security services arrived almost immediately, he said, adding that it took another half-an-hour for them to find the two assailants.

The two assailants had hidden in the yard of a ritual bath (mikvah) on that street.

When they say saw soldiers pass them, them came out and attempted to stab them.

The soldiers shot and killed them.

Magen David Adom paramedics evacuated Harrell to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem.

Harrell said that after the attack, he found a 20-centimeter knife stuck into the door of his home.

“We have to remember that I am not the only one fought for his home. We are all in the midst of a battle for our homes.”

According Palestinian sources, the two assailants were 17-year-old high school students Labib Khaldon Anwar Azzam and Mihmoud Hisham Ali Z’jalan from a village south of Hebron.

(Jerusalem Post)

IAF takes possession of David’s Sling air defense system

The Defense Ministry and US Missile Defense Agency on Tuesday began handing control of the David’s Sling air defense system over to the Israel Air Force following a series of successful trials that were completed in December.

The IAF’s Air Defense Branch has begun receiving the main components of the system in the handover, which the Defense Ministry said will take a number of weeks to complete.

“In the first stage, project managers from Homa [the administration in charge of developing missile defenses] together with military industries, headed by prime contractor, Rafael, will begin handing over the interception, command and control, and radar systems,” the Defense Ministry said.

David’s Sling can intercept short- to medium- range rockets and ballistic missiles, including guided projectiles, cruise missiles, aircraft and drones. Its range of coverage means it can destroy incoming threats over enemy territory, away from Israeli skies.

Last week, an Israeli security source said David’s Sling “will become operational this year,” and called it “an inseparable part” of Israeli air defenses.

The system will join the IAF’s multi-layered rocket and missile-defense systems, and allow Israel to cope with a wide-range of existing and future threats “more effectively,” the ministry said.

It is designed primarily to deal with precision- guided incoming projectiles, and will provide a back-up to the Arrow air-defense systems.

David’s Sling Multi Mission Radar was developed by IAI’s subsidiary, Elta, and Elbit Systems designed its command and control system, called Golden Almond.

The trials, which were completed December 21, took place in southern Israel. They were led by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, which is developing David’s Sling, together with the US defense company Raytheon.                     (Jerusalem Post)

Israel’s Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz met last week with the Woodside CEO and the Australian Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg

Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy, and Water Resources Yuval Steinitz hopes that Australian company Woodside will come back to Israel. Steinitz met last week with Woodside CEO Peter Coleman and Australian Minister for Resources and Energy Joshua Frydenberg. At an energy conference they attended in Houston, the parties agreed to consider the inclusion of the Australian company in the Israeli natural gas sector. Company representatives are considering coming to Israel before new offshore gas exploration licenses are granted.

Woodside is the largest energy company in Australia, and a global leader in developing gas liquefaction facilities and selling liquefied gas. Woodside negotiated for years with the Leviathan partners to buy 25% of that gas reservoir for $2.7 billion. On the contract signing day, however, Woodside decided to abandon it, some say on a hostile note.

Steinitz is now trying to persuade company executives to invest in new gas exploration licenses. The Ministry of National Infrastructure, Energy, and Water Resources’ 2016 work plan states that new offshore licenses will be granted. No new licenses have been issued since 2012, which meant that no company could invest in Israeli gas exploration, even if it very much wanted to.

Steinitz also met with the energy ministers from the US, Canada, Mexico, and Norway, and with gas companies, including BHP Billiton Petroleum, BP, and L1 Energy. He presented new studies to the companies of the gas potential in Israel’s economic waters and the gas plan, which he said had arranged regulatory matters.

The Israel High Court of Justice has yet to issue a ruling on the gas plan. If the judges decide that the stability clause in it requires legislation, implementation of the plan will be delayed or simply not occur.          (Globes)

EU approves $274 million in aid for Palestinians

The European Commission announced Tuesday that it has approved a new assistance package for the Palestinian Authority worth $274.1 million.

In a press release, the Commission said the aid was the first part of a 2016 package, $184 million of which is set to be funneled directly to the PA, with a focus on education and health services, support for hospitals in East Jerusalem, and assistance to poor families.

The remaining $89 million will go to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency in the Near East (UNRWA).

The statement said a second package will be announced later in the year.

“The European Union renews its concrete commitment to the Palestinians,” Federica Mogherini, the EU high representative for foreign affairs, said in a statement. “Through this package, the EU supports the daily lives of Palestinians in the fields of education and health, protecting the poorest families and also providing the Palestinian refugees with access to essential services. These are tangible steps on the ground that can improve the lives of Palestinian people.”

Mogherini called on the PA to “become more transparent, more accountable and more democratic” and uphold human rights, which she said is a prerequisite for the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state “living side by side, in peace and security, with the State of Israel and other neighbors.”

While the press release refers to the Palestinian Authority as Palestine, it notes that the designation “shall not be construed as recognition of a State of Palestine and is without prejudice to the individual positions of the Member States on this issue.”                     (The Times of Israel)

Near miss in the skies of Israel

Two F-16 fighter jets got dangerously close to a Ryanair Boeing 737 plane on its approach into Ovdah airport near Eilat on Tuesday afternoon.

The jets took off on a routine training mission and got within three miles of the Ryanair aircraft. The Air Force jets, which were taking off for training, continued as planned while an investigation was opened.

The flight crew of the plane, which came from Krakow in Poland, reported that two Israeli fighter jets – out of a formation of four – got dangerously close to the aircraft, which was carrying 162 passengers.

However, Ryanair disputes the claims, saying in an official statement that “this flight from Krakow to Eilat’s Ovdah Airport was cruising at 27,000 ft in Israeli airspace when two military aircraft (over three miles away) were noticed by the crew ascending towards the Ryanair aircraft flight path. The crew notified local ATC and the military aircraft descended away from the Ryanair jet, which continued on to Eilat Ovdah and landed without incident.”                     (Ynet News)

Israeli mobile water purification unit for Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea, suffering from severe draught, will receive the Israeli mobile desalination unit which will provide clean drinking water in remote rural locations, reflecting Israel’s commitment to extending aid to friends around the globe.


The Galmobile – an Israeli mobile desalination unit

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, together with G.A.L. Water Technologies Ltd., held a ceremony on 29 February at which a mobile desalination unit developed in Israel was donated to Papua New Guinea, which is suffering from severe draught.

Papua New Guinea was severely affected by El Niño, a tropical phenomenon that disrupts rainfall, and the island’s two million residents are suffering from a shortage of water as well as the destruction of crops. The Galmobile has the capability to provide clean drinking water in remote rural locations. It is a self-contained independent and automatic unit which can connect to any water source (rivers, lakes, oceans, brackish water, wells, highly turbidity water) and produce drinking water that meets WHO standards.

In light of the country’s distress, and Israel’s commitment to aid and cooperate with Papua New Guinea, as well as the excellent personal relations between the two countries’ leaders, it was agreed, at Prime Minister Netanyahu’s personal request, that the mobile desalination unit be donated to Papua New Guinea.

In addition to humanitarian aid, Israel, via MASHAV (Israel’s Agency for Development Cooperation), is providing consultation services to PNG in seed production as well as establishing a professional training system for teens and young adults.

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotoveli spoke at the event held at the Ministry in Jerusalem, stressing Israel’s commitment to extending aid to friends such as Papua New Guinea around the globe.

Israel and Papua New Guinea (PNG) have maintained diplomatic relations since 1978, three years after the island country became independent. A cooperation agreement between the two states was signed in 1989. In 2013, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill visited Israel with a delegation of senior officials at the invitation of PM Benjamin Netanyahu. The population in PNG, which is in the main Christian, strongly supports Israel. Israel also enjoys staunch support from the regime in international fora, particularly at the UN.   (MFA)

What Israel is giving me: The voice of an Arab doctor

by  Gheula Canarutto Nemni       The Times of Israel Blogs


Gheula Canarutto Nemni is a professor and novelist living in Milan, Italy.

Her name is Faiza. She works for a major private hospital in Israel.

We met a week ago, while I was there assisting a relative of mine.

Faiza is at the head of the intensive care unit, she runs from one patient to the other offering always a sweet smile together with very professional care.

Faiza lives in Shuafat, an Arab neighborhood in Jerusalem where there are frequent disturbances.

She comes from a family of eleven, most of them graduates of Israeli universities. Between one patient and another, we share our visions about life.

“I love my life. I love living in Israel. I thank Allah every day for having given me the opportunity to grow up here,” she says. “I know that if it was not for this country, I would never be what I am.”

“Here you can choose,” she says while she is finishing her coffee during her break. She turns her head toward the Arab doctors and nurses. “Israel gives you the opportunity to express your human potential,” she adds.

I find out that in all Israeli universities and job sites, there are guaranteed places for Arab Israeli citizens.

There is something special in her eyes. You can feel her love for humanity.

“I learnt it here, in Israel. That every human being has his own dignity besides his faith or credo,” she adds.

“Have you seen how Israeli soldiers are helping Syrians? Have you seen how they are putting their own lives in danger crossing the border in order to take the wounded Syrians to Israeli hospitals?

When I go home, when I meet with my family, I have to shut up. My mother told me I am defending Israel too much in front of my brothers and their families. I don’t want to put my children in a risky situation. “


“Would you like to hear a funny story?” She asks me while throwing out the paper cup and going back to the intensive unit.

She used to travel a lot when she was young. She had a year of university exchange and found herself in London.

“I could have gone to live in an Arab neighborhood. But I chose to rent a small apartment in the Jewish one. There, between the kippoth and the silence during Shabbat, I felt protected. I know that if somebody tries to harm me, every Jew would stand up to defend me.”

“I would never raise my children in a different place. Here, I can teach them to believe in themselves and in their dreams. My son is eleven and he dreams of becoming an engineer. My daughter is sixteen and she wants to be a lawyer.”

“And don’t think I stopped dreaming. I divorced my husband and now I am getting my PhD.”

I go back to my chair and the images of what the media are trying to transmit worldwide about Israel hit me fiercely. BDS in London, boycotts on university campuses.

Many lies have been told about Jews during history. Blood libels, poisoning the wells. Forgetting that Jews are not allowed to eat even an egg if there is a tiny spot of blood inside. Ignoring the fact that the angels were stopped from singing G-d’s praise in front of the Red Sea, because the Egyptians, the Nazis of that time, were dead.

Despite all the lies we never stopped fighting for a better life, for the whole world. BDS members and antisemitic inhabitants of our planet should be forced to live for a whole month in Israel.

Here coexistence exists.

Here Arab people are the happiest Arabs in Middle East.

Jamal, Faiza’s helper in the intensive unit care, smiles at us.

‘She is special’, he says.

‘We are all special,’ she answers. Because we live in a special place.

We embrace each other. ‘Where else a Muslim could be talking like this with an Orthodox Jew?’

Rivlin’s regrettable cancellation of Australian state visit


by Isi Leibler       J Wire

Israel today has few genuine friends willing to stand up and defend the Jewish state and counter the many nations that apply bias and double standards in ongoing harassment.

Australia, an important Western middle power, has a track record of friendship dating back to the State of Israel’s birth that, with the exception of a few minor blips, would place it among the Jewish state’s most consistent and loyal friends.

Australian governments not only befriended Israel but played important and, to a large extent, unknown roles in other Jewish issues. These included the struggle for Soviet Jewry, the campaign to rescind the infamous U.N. “Zionism is racism” resolution and discreet initiatives that helped to pave the way for diplomatic relations between Israel and India and China.

The current government, headed by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, occupies a similar position of genuine friendship toward Israel as that held by Canada until recently, under former Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Last month, President Reuven Rivlin announced a five-day state visit to Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney scheduled to commence on March 13. It was to have been the first visit to Australia by an Israeli president in over a decade.

Despite the short notice and the fact that requests from other foreign leaders had been postponed, the Australians went out of their way to lay out the red carpet for the visit. The Australian Governor General Peter Cosgrove canceled an overseas trip in order to host Rivlin, and Turnbull not only committed to hosting the president at a state dinner but also organized a luncheon in Canberra to which several hundred people were invited, including all federal parliamentarians.

Two weeks before the event, Rivlin informed the Australians that he was obliged to cancel the trip in order to fly to Moscow to see President Vladimir Putin.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported that, not surprisingly, Australian government officials were offended and infuriated at the cancellation as a large amount of effort was invested into organizing events and dates were rescheduled to accommodate the president, only for Rivlin to cancel “for a better offer. … People feel angry and taken for granted. … The ABC understands Australian officials were left wondering whether their efforts as one of Israel’s closest allies were appreciated by Tel Aviv.”

Rivlin deflected much of the criticism by suggesting that the decision was taken only after consultations with the Foreign Ministry and the Prime Minister’s Office. These government offices purportedly decided that, in consideration of sensitive developments in the region, Rivlin’s meeting with Putin had important defense implications that demanded priority over what was to be primarily a ceremonial visit to Australia.

I am not privy to the background of Rivlin’s scheduled visit to Moscow and time may well demonstrate that the meeting with Putin was critical. But I am dubious. Surely the meeting could have been postponed for a week. Had this been Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, it would have made sense. But Rivlin is a ceremonial figure, a head of state with no executive authority. And I am not demeaning our president when I suggest that his political sophistication is surely unlikely to make a great impact on a tough leader like Putin.

Israel has undoubtedly offended one of its closest allies. Rivlin has announced that his visit was “postponed,” not canceled, but with impending elections, it is highly unlikely that the Australians will be able or inclined to reschedule a visit during the coming calendar year.

Australia must not be taken for granted. Its longstanding friendship with Israel dates back to troops serving in Palestine in both world wars. Since 1948, when Australian Labor Party leader Dr. H. V. Evatt served as U.N. General Assembly president at the time the Jewish state was created, with only two brief exceptions, a bipartisan policy of friendship toward Israel has applied irrespective of which government was in office.

The timing of this slight could not have been worse. Over the past year, former Labor Party Foreign Minister Bob Carr, who virtually overnight became rabidly anti-Israeli in the previous government, led a concerted drive to persuade his party to reverse its even-handed policy on Israel. At the annual Labor conference last month, his efforts were overwhelmingly defeated.

Why is it that a country so geographically distant has maintained such a longstanding warm relationship with Israel?

Although possibly biased by having served for many years as the head of the Australian Jewish community, I feel confident in asserting that much of the credit for the supportive government and even handed opposition approach to Israel can be credited to the passionately Zionist Jewish community which is deeply embarrassed by the last-minute Rivlin cancellation.

The genesis of the Jewish community dates from the end of the 18th century, when Jews were among the first convicts deported from England to Australia. It was a declining and rapidly assimilating community until World War II, when it was reinvigorated by Jews fleeing Nazi persecution and survivors from the concentration camps. Indeed, Australia’s Jewish community absorbed proportionately more Holocaust survivors than any other Jewish community aside from Israel.

Jewish cultural and religious life developed dramatically. The immigrants created an impressive network of Jewish day schools, ranging from secular Zionist to Chabad, from Reform to Modern Orthodox and even a Bundist school, which catered for most Jewish youngsters.

Since the 1980s, the Jewish community has been augmented by Russians and large numbers of South Africans, the latter financially independent and rapidly assuming important communal leadership roles.

Since the late 1940s, Jewish leaders invested enormous efforts toward promoting the case for Israel at the political level, not hesitating to confront governments they considered were displaying bias or double standards. This all-encompassing Jewish passion for Israel was the critical factor leading to the current bipartisan pro-Israel orientation of the mainstream political parties.

Today there is unfortunately a discernible change beyond the parliamentary framework. Australian trade unions, traditionally bastions of support for Israel, now endorse anti-Israeli boycotts. Anti-Israeli activity at universities is escalating and encouraged by the Green movement and a number of Jewish academics. Anti-Zionist Jewish splinter groups have emerged, although in contrast to the U.S., they are marginalized from the mainstream.

Notwithstanding these emerging challenges, if there were more Jewish communities like Australia, the future of Diaspora Jewry would be far more secure.

The Jewish community is united under the umbrella of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry. The Australia-Israel and Jewish Affairs Council, the community’s Israel advocacy organization, the counterpart of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, operates at an extraordinarily high professional level and could serve as a model for other Jewish communities to emulate. The Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce is the most popular and efficient chamber in the country.

But Israel cannot afford to take its few genuine friends for granted and irrespective of the circumstances, Rivlin’s last minute cancellation of his state visit casts a blemish on Israel’s relationship with Australia. Our government must bend over backward to compensate for the insult. Despite the massive pressures facing Netanyahu, he would do well to commit himself to a visit Down Under after the Australian elections.

(President Rivlin’s office maintains that the visit has not been cancelled but postponed and he will reschedule later in the year          RW)

Terror by any other name

There is no justification for Palestinian attacks on Israelis

By Jason Katz and Justin Amler                      The Washington Times


There are those who believe that contemporary terrorism commenced on Sept. 11, 2001, when radical Islamic terrorists murdered nearly 3,000 Americans. However, that horrific day can be more precisely described as another milestone in an ongoing reign of terrorism.

Terrorism existed long before that terrible day, and although it is often ignored by American leaders to our peril and their own, terrorism is increasingly pervasive. Nowhere is this clearer than in the state of Israel.

In Israel, there are terror attacks each and every day. These attacks are perpetrated by radical Islamic terrorists who are incited to act by their own Palestinian leadership and subsequently lauded by the Palestinian Authority and its president, Mahmoud Abbas. Iran, the most pervasive of the purveyors of terrorism, even announced cash rewards to Palestinian terrorists and their families for killing Israelis.

In the last quarter of 2015, rock attacks against Israel were prevalent. A terrorist act of throwing rocks (rocks being a euphemism for large pieces of building material, often weighing 50 lbs. or more) at cars and individuals is without doubt an act of murder. While some in the media might scoff at rock attacks as a form of terrorism, the smashing of heavy rocks into cars while children scream from the back seat is terrorism by any sane appraisal.

These are not harmless attacks without consequences. Just one of many examples, on the eve of Rosh Hashanah last year, a rock was thrown at Alexander Levlovitz’s car, causing him to lose control and crash, fatally injuring him. And since that day, Palestinian attacks on Israelis have included 31 murders (including a Palestinian man mistaken for a Jew), 357 injuries, 187 stabbings and attempted stabbings, 75 shootings, and 39 attacks using vehicles.

Beyond the deaths, the gunshot and stab wounds, there is also a hidden psychological effect of constant terror. Reportedly, 8,000 Israelis have developed post-traumatic stress disorder due to the current wave of terror. What is more, the number of people who have witnessed traumatic events firsthand and the effect this has on them and their families is incalculable.

The tentacles of terror extend far beyond the boundaries of the attacks themselves. They reach into every crevice of society and affect everyone — directly or indirectly. No responsible government of any country in the world would allow this to continue, yet Israel’s pain is largely ignored, dismissed as inconsequential by many in the world, who sympathize with the proponents, sponsors and perpetrators of terror rather than with its victims.

But it is exactly this dismissive attitude that has led to the increased terror we witness today. Terrorism does not begin in a vacuum, and contrary to what we’re led to believe, it also doesn’t begin with hopelessness, poverty or desperation, as the secretary-general of the United Nations would have you believe. The perpetrators of the Sept. 11 attacks were largely wealthy Arab men from Saudi Arabia — just as the Palestinian leadership has become wealthy by reaping the cash flow earmarked for development of Palestinian society.

Terrorism begins with incitement and a constant brainwashing of people into a doctrine of hatred and murder, calculated to see their “enemy” not as individuals or people, but as a dehumanized, false entity that must be eliminated. Every day we see examples of this on Palestinian television, where children’s shows talk of killing Jews, and sermons by religious authorities tell their faithful to raise up their knives. Yet these are not shows run by individuals with an illegal transmitter. These are shows that are commissioned and run on official Palestinian government channels. It is a carefully orchestrated campaign to launch an intifada against Israel by the highest authority.

No one is born hating. However, Palestinian hatred toward the Jews is taught and carefully cultivated until it becomes the sole reason for existence. This is the legacy of the Palestinian leadership and the Palestinian Authority.

Last November, as the Palestinian wave of terror was rolling on, instead of trying to prompt an atmosphere of calm as any responsible leader would do, Mahmoud Abbas, said, “This is a peaceful uprising.” Peaceful? Quite clearly, the Palestinian idea of peace looks very different Israelis.

And yet, the money continues to flow into the coffers of terror by a world that simply doesn’t get it. Those who continue to fund this terror machine, and those who prefer to label tomatoes and wine rather than identify those who are inciting the violence are contributing not to a peaceful and prosperous future, but to one wrought in violence and despair.

Jason Katz is the principal of TSG, LLC, and is former head of public affairs and public relations for the American Jewish Committee. Justin Amler is a Australia-based writer and commentator on international issues.

Jerusalem’s Winter Noise Festival

Every Monday during the month of February, a different part of the city hosts an array of music concerts, dance shows, art exhibitions, film screenings, poetry readings and wine tasting classes.

Things slow down a bit in Jerusalem during the winter, as the sun sets earlier, the temperature drops and outdoor activities become a little less practical.

That doesn’t mean, however, that we can’t enjoy a good outdoor activity. That’s why they invented the Winter Noise Festival – Shaon Horef, now in its fifth year.

Every Monday during the month of February, a different part of the city hosts an array of music concerts, dance shows, art exhibitions, film screenings, poetry readings and wine tasting classes. The festival lights up the city and warms up the souls of its inhabitants in various magical and undiscovered bars, bookshops, cafes, clothes shops and grocery stores.



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