April 16, 2018
IDF to close West Bank and Gaza during Remembrance Day, Independence Day
The IDF announced Sunday (15th) that it will be imposing a general closure on the West Bank and Gaza Strip, closing all crossings during Remembrance Day and Independence Day.
The closure will begin at midnight Monday (16th) and will be lifted on Thursday (19th) at midnight. No crossings will be allowed except for humanitarian, medical or exceptional cases made with the approval of the IDF’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT).
The decision was made following a situational assessment by the IDF and in accordance with instructions given by the political edhelon.
Israel counts 23,645 fallen personnel and terror victims since 1860
After Israel united to remember the murder of six million Jews on Holocaust Memorial Day, the country is now preparing to mark Memorial Day for the thousands of IDF soldiers and security personnel who have fallen in the line of duty, along with victims of deadly terror attacks since the founding of Zionism.
Since last Memorial Day, 71 names of security personnel have been added to the list. Thirty IDF veterans disabled in attacks and who died as a result of their condition have also been added to the death toll.
In total, the number of Israel’s fallen in the line of duty since 1860 stands at 23,645.
Memorial Day ceremonies will begin Tuesday at 8 p.m., when a siren will be sounded throughout Israel as the country observes a one-minute silence.
Netanyahu lauds US-led Syria strikes, warns of Iran threat
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday (14th) praised the U.S.-led strikes on Syrian targets and warned that Iran’s presence there further endangers Syria’s future.
“Early this morning, under American leadership, the United States, France and the United Kingdom demonstrated that their commitment is not limited to proclamations of principle. It should be clear to Syrian President Bashar Assad that his reckless efforts to acquire and use weapons of mass destruction, his wanton disregard for international law and his provision of a forward base for Iran and its proxies endanger Syria,” Netanyahu said.
An Israeli official said Israel was notified of the strikes at least 12 hours ahead of the attacks.
Report: 4 more Syrian bases bombed – Iranian soldiers killed
Unidentified aircraft bombed Syrian military bases on Saturday night (14th), leaving several Iranian soldiers dead.
According to reports by the Syrian media, an arms depot in Jabal Azzan in the Aleppo region, said to be one of the largest in the country, was attacked from the air, causing a massive explosion. Witnesses cited in the reports described loud explosions and flames seen from the base. Iranian soldiers were among the casualties in the attack.
The reports also said that a second base near Deir ez-Zor in eastern Syria and two other Assad regime military sites were also targeted at the same time.
Syrian media blamed Israel for the attacks.
Israeli military destroys Hamas terror tunnel that was ‘ready for use’
IDF forces on Saturday (14th) exposed and destroyed a fifth Hamas terror tunnel running from Jabala, in northern Gaza, into southern Israel near the community of Nahal Oz.
The tunnel was exposed in what the IDF described as an “engineering operation” inside Israeli territory, conducted by combined Israeli forces.
An IDF spokesman said the tunnel was dug by the Hamas terror group and was connected to an intricate network of other tunnels running through Gaza.
The tunnel ran under the border in an area where Palestinian protesters have been clashing with Israeli forces, the IDF said.
PA official: Egypt asked Hamas to stop Gaza protests
Senior Egyptian intelligence officials who visited the Gaza Strip on Saturday (14th) reportedly asked Hamas leaders to halt the weekly mass demonstrations along the border with Israel.
A Palestinian Authority official in Ramallah said that the Egyptian officials demanded during their talks with Hamas leaders in Gaza City that the terror group end the protests, which began three weeks ago as part of the so-called “March of Return.”
The Egyptians are concerned that the clashes could move to the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt.
4 Palestinian terrorists killed in Gaza ‘work accident’
Four Palestinian terrorists were killed in Gaza on Saturday (14th) when the vehicle they were riding in exploded, the apparent result of a terror-related explosive charge that detonated prematurely.
The Islamic Jihad terror organization said four of its members were killed in a “work accident” in the Gaza Strip along the border with Israel.
IDF: Downed Iranian drone was armed to attack Israel
An Iranian drone that penetrated Israeli airspace on February 10, 2018 was armed with an explosive device and its operators had planned to carry out an attack inside Israel, the IDF said Friday night (13th).
After an intelligence-based investigation of the Iranian UAV, the IDF concluded that the Iranian drone was armed with explosives and was tasked to attack Israel.
Iron Dome voted greatest Israeli invention of all time
The Iron Dome missile defense system has been voted Israel’s all time top innovation in a competition organized by the Ministry of Economy in honor of Israel’s 70th Independence Day celebrations, which will kick off Wednesday evening (18th).
Iron Dome received 28% of the 115,000 votes cast in the online competition titled “70 Great Blue and White Inventions.”
The Waze mobile navigation app and the drip irrigation system came in at second and third respectively.
Israeli medical humanitarian work along Syrian border deserves UN recognition – Randy Hultgren and Aviv Ezra
On recent visits we each have taken to Israel, we witnessed both the horrors of war and the compassion of healers. Israel has implemented a good neighbor policy since 2013 that calls for medical treatment of all Syrian civilians seeking care. More than 4,000 Syrians have been treated in Israel, including 1,000 children. Israel has even opened up a maternity hospital on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights.
Syrian children are also receiving necessities to improve their quality of life, such as eyeglasses and hearing aids. Israel treats any Syrian who needs it, free of charge. In addition, the Israeli Army has an official program, Operation Good Neighbor that provides food, clothing, fuel, equipment and medical supplies to 250,000 Syrians.
We call upon the UN Human Rights Council to acknowledge that Israel has saved thousands of Syrian lives during one of the largest human rights atrocities in the world. Administering medical care to any injured person, regardless of who they are, is a standard Israelis and Americans live by – and is who we are as nations.
(Randy Hultgren is a U.S Congressman [R-Ill.]. Aviv Ezra is the Consul General of israel to the Midwest, based in Chicago)