April 18, 2018
Israel commemorates fallen IDF soldiers and terror victims
Israel came to a standstill on Tuesday night (17th) to mark its national Memorial Day, and to commemorate the 23,646 fallen IDF soldiers and 3,134 victims of terrorist attacks who have died in the last 150 years.
It is one of the most somber dates on the Israeli calendar. Places of entertainment shut down and documentaries were aired on radio and TV about the fallen soldiers and terror victims.
Sirens wailed on Tuesday night (17th), and a two-minute siren will wail on Wednesday morning (18th) at 11 a.m. marking the beginning of memorial ceremonies at military cemeteries throughout the nation.
More than 1.5 million Israelis are expected to visit Israel’s 52 military and other cemeteries throughout Memorial Day.
Netanyahu: ‘We bow our heads in memory of our loved ones’
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday evening (17th) that people of Israel “bow our heads in memory of our loved ones, whose blood has seeped into the soil of our homeland,” as the nation began marking the annual ceremony commemorating Israel’s Memorial Day for fallen soldiers and victims of terrorism.
Hundreds of bereaved families and senior Israeli officials attended the event held at the Yad LaBanim memorial in Jerusalem, solemnly sharing their stories and expressing appreciation for those who sacrificed their lives and loved ones for the nation.
Israeli leaders then laid wreaths in memory of the fallen soldiers.
IDF chief hails ‘powerful’ IDF as Israel mourns fallen soldiers
IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot warned Tuesday evening (17th) at the official ceremony in Jerusalem to mark Memorial Day, that Israel’s enemies are seeking to entrench their forces beyond the country’s frontiers and violate Israel’s sovereignty.
“Against every threat, our soldiers stand firm on the frontline, and together with technology, prove that on the fortress around the country there is a powerful army, an army that holds unprecedented capabilities for a reality of security and prosperity,” Eisenkot said at the ceremony held at the Western Wall, honoring Israel’s thousands of fallen soldiers and victims of terror.
Lieberman to bereaved families: ‘We’ll always remember your loved ones, the loved ones of the entire nation’
On Tuesday (17th) in an open missive to bereaved families, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman wrote, “Thanks to the fallen’s courage, heroism and sacrifice – and thanks to you, who continue seeing the great light – we march towards the coming challenges with our heads held high.”
“Even when we get to days of happiness and light, we will lower our flag in the memory of our loved ones but we will not bow down or cower. We will always remember your loved ones – our loved ones, the loved ones of the entire nation,” Lieberman wrote.
Syria blames Israel for 2 new air strikes, then denies they occurred
Syrian military sites were again the target of missile attacks when several rockets struck two sites on Monday night (16th).
Arab media reported that the Shayrat air base in Homs province was struck by six missiles, while the Dumair military airport near Damascus was targeted by three missiles.
A Syrian military official was quoted as saying, by the Al Nashra news, that Israel was behind the bombings, and that all the incoming missiles except one were intercepted.
Later, Syria’s state-run television claimed that it was a false alarm, and not an airstrike that set off Syrian air defenses.
Israel sets red-line for Russia amid rising fear of war
Israel media on Monday (16th) reported that the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had sent a clear message to Russia that it must not sell its advanced S-300 air defense system to the Syrian regime.
This after Moscow had reportedly been reconsidering its decision not to sell the S-300 to Damascus following a joint U.S-British-French air raid on Syria over last weekend.
Israel’s warning to Russia, and the possibility that Russia will supply Syria with advanced air defenses anyway, has heightened concerns that the region, and perhaps the world, is on the brink of a major all-out war.
Senior Hizbullah official: Israel’s elimination of Iranians will be met with response
A senior Hizbullah official has threatened retaliatory action by Iran against Israel in response to an attack attributed to Israel in Syria in which several Iranian soldiers were killed.
Sheikh Naim Qassem, deputy leader of Hizbullah, warned Monday (16th) that Iran would respond to last week’s airstrike on the Tiyas Airbase which left seven Iranian soldiers dead.
“The elimination of the Iranians by Israel will be met with a response,” Qassem told Hizbullah-affiliated Al-Mayadeen TV.
Gaza gunmen fire at Israeli troops, army tank hits Hamas post in response
The Israeli military on Tuesday evening (17th) said it had fired tank shells at a Hamas post in the southern Gaza Strip, after gunmen opened fire at Israeli troops operating near the border.
There were no Israeli casualties.
Israel struggles to handle latest threat from Gaza: Fire-starting kites
The Israeli Defense Forces has learned how to protect the country from rockets, attack tunnels and stealthy Iranian drones, but since Friday (13th) the military has been stymied by fire-starting kites.
For the past five days, Palestinians in Gaza have made attempts to fly kites carrying cans of fuel into Israeli territory. The first attempt on Friday (13th) failed and the kite landed inside Gaza, but the rest have sparked fires inside southern Israel.
On Tuesday (17th), one such kite started a fire in a grassy grove outside Kibbutz Be’eri, and another set a wheat field on fire.
Israeli radiation vest to be used on NASA’s moon mission
A radiation protection vest developed by an Israeli company will be tested by NASA on its Orion EM-1 Mission around the Moon.
Nasa and the Israel Space Agency have signed an agreement for the use of the AstroRad radiation protection vest, produced by the Israeli company StemRad.
NASA will launch the vest into space as part of its latest test flight of the Orion spacecraft, before manned missions are launched.