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Latest News In Israel – 11th October

Arab Village Chief: ‘We Want to Live Under Israel, Not the PA’

The head of a Palestinian village in Jerusalem says almost all of the city’s Arabs would prefer to live peacefully under Israeli administration.

Palestinian leaders often claim that they would like to take a less confrontational stance against Israel but are afraid of “losing” the “Palestinian street.”

A new interview with a local Palestinian politician in an eastern Jerusalem Arab neighborhood indicates the opposite to be true: The average Palestinian wants to come home from work and eat dinner with his or her family rather than hearing that their child has become a “martyr” in a violent attack against Israelis.

It is the Palestinian leaders who destroy the chances for peace with non-stop incitement of Palestinian youth, diversion of funds to terror and a resultant lack of economic growth in Palestinian-controlled areas.

Jerusalem village head Ramadan Dabbash goes as far as to say that living under Israeli rule is preferable to living under the Palestinian Authority. (United with Israel)

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An Arab Muslim Zionist??? You do not hear those 3 words together very often

Yahya Mahamed grew up in the 3rd largest Arab city in Israel. He wants to share the truth about Israel, despite what he grew up learning about the Jewish state. (Israel Video Network

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Sa’ar: No peace deal until all know we’re here to stay

Former minister Gideon Sa’ar advised US President Donald Trump that an agreement between Israel and its enemies can only be achieved by persuading adversaries of the Jewish state to stop their efforts to destroy it.

Sa’ar spoke on Monday to 26 parliamentarians from 15 countries worldwide at the Israel Allies Foundation’s annual Jerusalem Chairman’s Conference in Jerusalem, which was held in partnership with the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem and Bridges for Peace.

“Peace in the Middle East will be achieved when they are convinced they cannot move the Jewish people from their land and from their capital,” Sa’ar said. “If they still have a tiny hope [that] they can push us from our land, it will be harder to achieve peace in our homeland.

When it’s clear to them that we are here forever, then we can achieve the ultimate deal.”

Sa’ar joined other Likud politicians who have criticized Trump for saying on Sunday that he wants to try and make peace between Israel and the Palestinians before moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

“Trump promised to move the American embassy to Jerusalem, and he didn’t promise it to us but to his voters, who know what is written in the Bible and know they have an obligation to strengthen the Jewish nation, which has returned to its homeland after so many years,” Sa’ar said.

Social Equality Minister Gila Gamliel told parliament members that efforts to boycott, divest, and sanction Israel are the new antisemitism. She praised them for leading efforts in their countries against the BDS movement.

“You are on the right side of history,” Gamliel said. ”Enough [of being] politically correct. Let us be biblically correct.”

Gamliel was received on behalf of the Israeli government the chairman’s conference resolution, which calls on governments institutions and leaders around the world, as a matter of official policy, “to adopt the US State Department’s and the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism and thereby recognize that anti-Israel/ Zionist expression can be used as a means to convey anti-Jewish bigotry.”

Minister Ruperto Long of Uruguay said differences between borders and nations do not justify boycotts and sanctions of goods produced in Israel in general or Judea and Samaria in particular.

“If we boycott anywhere, it would have to be done everywhere,” Long said. “If done only in Israel or its disputed territories, the word for it would be anti-Semitism.”

Alan Clemmons, a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives who passed the first anti-BDS law in an American state legislature, said what unites the countries of all the conference participants is their support of Israel and the Jewish nation. His resolution has been a model for legislation passed across the US, and now is a model for governments across the world.   (Jerusalem Post)

PM Netanyahu: I’m ‘at the mercy of shifting tides of opinion’

In a wide-ranging interview on Fox News’s ‘OBJECTified,’ Netanyahu talks about his childhood, and having to tell his parents their son had been killed.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thinks that rather than being disconnected, politicians today are “overly connected” and at the mercy of the Internet and its power of “instant referendum.”

In an interview with Harvey Levin on Fox News’s OBJECTified that aired Sunday night, the prime minister said his sons keep him up to date on what people are saying about him online.

When Levin, the founder of celebrity gossip site TMZ, asked him if his life can leave him feeling disconnected, he gave a resounding no.

“There’s no chance of that,” he said in the interview, which was filmed in Jerusalem in May. “I have two men, my sons at home, and they follow the Internet, they tell me what young people think, they tell me what their friends think, and sometimes I wish that they wouldn’t, because I’d like to be disconnected from what is happening now in our world.”

When Levin pressed him to elaborate, Netanyahu said: “What you have is the Internet has created this thing of instant referendum. What happens is you have political leaders who are constantly bombarded by polarized opinions, and I don’t think that’s a good thing.”

Rather, he added, “I like the idea of representative government – you’re elected, you’re given a period to exercise that power, and then they can throw you out.” Netanyahu is currently serving his fourth – and third consecutive – term in office.

“The problem today for politicians is not being disconnected,” he said. “They’re overly connected and they’re completely at the mercy of these shifting tides of opinion.”

The hour-long program, the fourth in the first-ever season of Levin’s new show, covered every chapter of Netanyahu’s life, from his childhood, first in Jerusalem and then in Philadelphia, through his time living in the US and on to his political career. He was candid and forthcoming, telling stories from throughout his life, though he shared mostly well-trodden material. The show tried to ramp up the drama with intense, theatrical music playing throughout the interview, but it felt silly when the focus was two men sitting on a couch. The interview was punctuated by a wealth of archival videos and photos, though the transition back and forth often felt choppy.

Netanyahu, always articulate and eloquent, brought out some of his favorite tropes, including his pride in the Israeli-bred cherry tomato.

Levin asked Netanyahu about meeting Obama and the former US president’s visit to Jerusalem amid their prickly relationship.

“It was great, great,” Netanyahu said. “We disagreed on a few things – Iran, Palestinians, small things,” he said, tongue in cheek. “But we also found areas of agreement and I think of mutual respect, and I didn’t mind when I disagreed – I made it clear.”

While the show included footage of Netanyahu meeting with US President Donald Trump, the prime minister didn’t discuss that visit, which occurred more than a week after the episode was filmed.

The prime minister told Levin that he had a “wonderful childhood” and “never spoke politics at home” – something he laments he can’t say for his own children.

Early on, he told Levin that he and his brothers didn’t “have the faintest idea” growing up that the country was surrounded by enemy nations, though later he said it was in his “consciousness at three” that Israel was “completely defenseless.”

The show was at its most emotional when Netanyahu described the moment he had to tell his parents that his brother Yoni had been killed during the 1976 raid on Entebbe.

“I didn’t want the news to reach them through the news,” he said. “So I drove for seven hours, in this horror.

I parked the car not far from my parents’ home and walked up the path that led to their house.”

“There was a big window in their living room and I could see my father pacing back and forth with his hands behind his back,” he continued. “And all of a sudden, he turned his gaze and he saw me and he had this… ‘Bibi, what are you doing?’ and then immediately understood, because he had heard about the news of the rescue,” Netanyahu recounted.

“There was this horrible shriek that he gave, then I heard my mother shriek, and so… it was like a second death.

It was actually worse.”

While the show had its heavy moments, there were certainly also lighter ones, particularly when Levin asked Netanyahu about his role in rescuing the passengers of the Sabena hijacking in 1972. At the time, Netanyahu was an IDF commando in the General Staff Reconnaissance Unit, serving under Ehud Barak.

“You want the true story?” he asked Levin. “This guy taps me on the soldier, this guy who was a security guy, and he said ‘Bibi, you gotta stop the operation,’ and I said ‘What’s the problem?’” Bottom line, the guy told him: “I thought the minute I’d get to Tel Aviv I’d go to the toilets, and I landed and you grabbed me. So I have to go.”

Netanyahu, ever pragmatic, asked him: “Big or small?” and he said “Big.” Then, Netanyahu said, he jumped off the plane and told Barak what was going on. “He said, ‘Now!?’ He said ‘Big or small?’ ‘Big.’ “So he jumped off the plane, got under the airplane, did whatever he needed to do,” said Netanyahu, “and then we resumed this thing and then we broke into the plane.”

Netanyahu spoke often of his family and his wish to give them a normal life and to dissuade them from entering politics. The tradition at home, he said, is “we have Friday night dinner and then Shabbat lunch, and before that I always read a portion of the Bible.” There’s one rule at these meals, he told Levin.

“No politics?” Levin asked.

“No phones.”

The prime minister called his wife, Sara, “the pillar of the family,” and said “it hurts me a lot more when they attack her than when they attack me.”

It’s clear Levin did his homework on Netanyahu, reading up on the leader and his impressive background, though it’s unclear if he even knew the prime minister had a daughter, asking at one point if “either” of his children had shown interest in entering politics. Netanyahu himself speaks very little of his daughter, Noa, from his first marriage, who lives in Mea She’arim and is often described as estranged from her father.

The prime minister said that when he was voted out of office in 1999, he took his family to Disneyland in California, “then we went to Australia, and we were lost on a beach for, I don’t know, two weeks – no politics, no phones, different time zones – it was absolutely magnificent.”  (Jerusalem Post)

Thousands visit President Rivlin’s Sukka

More than 6,000 people were in attendance on Monday as President Reuven and First Lady Nechama Rivlin held the traditional Open Sukkah at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem.

This year the Sukkah was themed “Celebrating 70 years in the President’s Sukkah with our brothers and sisters of the Diaspora”, in cooperation with the Diaspora Ministry. The President made special welcome of the members of Israel’s public with disabilities, saying, “I give a special welcome to our important guests, our dear guests with disabilities. Together we are all one. We are responsible for each other.”

“This year we celebrate our relationship with the Jews of the Diaspora,” added Rivlin.

“This is the only state that is defined as a state for the Jewish people and therefore belongs to the entire Jewish people. Today, half of the Jewish people are in all the Diaspora, they are connected to their love of the State of Israel and the Land of Israel and we are connected to them.”

During the day, the President and his wife met with guests who had arrived from all over the world, shaking hands and asking visitors where they had arrived from. president and his wife shook their hands, heard from them about the places they had come from. Rivlin thanked all the visitors for coming, saying that they warmed his heart with all the letter they brought him. “Happy holidays, happy New Year, to us and to all of the Jewish people,” he told them.

Rivlin also blessed Israel’s first rains which fell on Sunday, telling visitors that “it is especially wonderful that we received rain even before we said the traditional prayer for rain.”

Rivlin has made a point of underlying Israel’s relationship with Diaspora Jewry. In late September, Rivlin told leaders of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations that “we will never let go of you. We will never turn away from our family outside of Israel. It is time we listen and learn. It is time we learn to really understand each other better. It is time to face not only what ties us together, but also what makes us different.”  (Arutz Sheva)

Collecting intelligence – and in ways no female soldier has done before

On a hill overlooking the small community of Yahel in the Arava, a unit of female combat intelligence soldiers are using their newest advanced tactical reconnaissance vehicle to see into the darkness and thwart possible terrorist attacks.

“There is no one else collecting intelligence in the area except us,” company commander Capt. Guy Ribenfeld of Field Intelligence Battalion 727, known as Eitam, said as The Jerusalem Post joined his soldiers late at night recently near the Israeli-Jordanian border.

Female combat intelligence-gathering soldiers use the ‘Granit’ tactical reconnaissance vehicle

Using the “Granit” since August, Ribenfeld’s soldiers are the first female combat intelligence soldiers in the IDF to use the tactical intelligence collection vehicle once used only by male soldiers.

His soldiers, who trained for one week on the system before being deployed to the field with the vehicle, have a unique role, combining their combat capabilities as infantry soldiers with their advanced intelligence-gathering skills.

Built by Israel Aircraft Industries’ Elta Group, the “Granit” has been integrated onto the Ford 550 Ram model, which has full armor protection and a concealed telescopic mast that can be raised at the press of a button when the vehicle stops.

Along with its telescopic mast and radar system, the “Granit” combines several field intelligence-collection systems and strengthens the IDF’s means of intelligence gathering.

“Intelligence collection has become more effective, faster and precise” Ribenfeld said, explaining that the system’s architecture and easy user interface allows for clearer intelligence on a target spotted by radar.

“Without this system, you would have to use a map to figure out where the target is and would lose time trying to figure out what the target is,” he said, adding that the system quickly closes the circle from spotting a target to getting all the relevant intelligence on it.

“It’s automatic and almost instant. I see something and I press a button and get all the information I need on the target.”

The mobility of the system also allows increased flexibility for the operators if they are needed in a different area, such as deeper in the Negev desert where there is no surveillance or IDF presence.

The combat intelligence corps is the youngest of the corps in the land forces of the IDF responsible for intelligence collection in the field and the transfer of that information to other field units such as the co-ed Bardalas battalion.

The Eitam battalion is instrumental in the IDF Southern Command, responsible for the entire Negev and key to keeping up with the security situation in Sinai, especially regarding the ongoing Egyptian military operation against Islamic State terrorists who continue to carry out attacks in the restive peninsula.

According to Ribenfeld, holidays are particularly sensitive times because there is a significant increase in the number of tourists in the area. And, although he doesn’t believe there will be a terrorist attack, troops are “always at the ready.”

In January 2014, Lt.-Col. Oshrat Bachar, a member of Caracal, became the first woman in Israel to command a combat brigade, taking the head of Field Intelligence Battalion 727 stationed on the Israel-Egypt border.

According to IDF figures, there has been a significant increase in the numbers of female recruits asking to be evaluated for combat service, and while the most popular units for female combat soldiers are Home Front Command and Border Police, many also join the artillery corps, the infantry’s co-ed battalions and combat-intelligence units such as Ribenfeld’s.

“Working with female fighters is amazing. Everyday I am getting to know my fighters better and realizing they have great skills. There’s never been a time that they couldn’t complete what I gave them,” Ribenfeld told the Post. “As someone who commanded men before, I can say their level is higher than that of the male fighters.”  (Jerusalem Post)

Israel Contributes to the Defeat of ISIS – Interview with IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot (Ynet News)

Viewing the threat of Hizbullah in the north, Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, the IDF Chief of Staff, said, “I can’t guarantee there wouldn’t be an infiltration into Israel’s territory and into a community. I can guarantee high efficiency in defense; I can guarantee that if anyone infiltrates the State of Israel, we would kill them. We would prevent (Hizbullah) from having any significant achievements. Both Hizbullah and Hamas understand the unbearable price they would have to pay for infiltrating an Israeli community and harming civilians.”

Eisenkot has become identified with the Dahiya doctrine: The use of disproportionate force to destroy Hizbullah’s Dahiya stronghold in Beirut. “We tried to get [Hizbullah leader] Nasrallah at the beginning of the [2006] war. We attacked the building he was living in and the one that served as his bunker….He’s been living in a bunker for 11 years. He doesn’t dare go outside.”

During Eisenkot’s tenure, the IDF has stepped up “operations between wars” – missions designed to thwart Hizbullah and Harmas’ efforts to arm themselves with advanced weaponry. “Our forces operate overtly and covertly every night to complete their missions….Our ‘operations between wars’ have not led to escalation because our enemies understand we’re hitting the capabilities that need to be targeted. We carry out many types of operations, some of them violent, and only a small portion becomes known.”

Iran’s “long-term strategic goal is to obtain nuclear capabilities. There is no doubt about it. The IDF’s challenge of preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear capabilities has been at the top of our list of priorities over the past decade. This mission will continue being a top priority, since we understand this is a threat on a different scale.”

“Since our intelligence capabilities are the best in the area, and certainly in Israel’s close vicinity, we contribute to the effort to defeat ISIS and the Nusra Front….We pass on information to countries when we know something is in the works (in those countries). The (Israeli) intelligence community contributes greatly to thwarting terror attacks in the Middle East and elsewhere around the globe.”