April 3, 2018

Passover: Tens of thousands flock to Western Wall for ‘priestly blessing’

Tens of thousands of Jewish pilgrims made their way to the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City on Monday (2nd) for a twice-annual mass blessing ceremony, held under heavy police guard.

The blessing was recited twice on Monday morning (2nd), one of the immediate days of the Passover festival, with crowds of men and women spilling out from the Wall’s plaza to surrounding areas.

The ceremony sees hundreds of male descendants of the Kohanim priestly caste gather to bestow the blessing wrapped in prayer shawls.

U.S Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, himself of the priestly caste, along with his son and grandson, all participated.



Over 200,000 tour the country during Passover

Many Israelis take advantage of the nice weather during the immediate days of Passover to visit nature reserves and national parks across the country.

About 220,000 Israelis visited nature sites and parks so far this Passover.

Among the popular sites were Yarkon National Park, Qumran National Park, Caesarea Maritima National Park and the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve.

The Golan alone saw 20,000 visitors on Sunday (1st).  



Stabbing attack in Samaria foiled

A Palestinian Arab attempted to stab a security guard at the Te’enim crossing near the Jewish community of Avnei Hefetz in Samaria Monday afternoon (2nd).

The security guard shot and neutralized the attacker.

Security guards at the crossing saw the terrorist running towards them and issued warnings to him.  When he failed to comply the guard shot and wounded the terrorist.



Hamas warns new protests will go farther and surprise Israel

Defiant Hamas leaders warned Sunday (1st) that Palestinians would continue their protests along the Gaza fence, vowing to go beyond the barrier next time and promising fresh surprises for Israel.

“The Palestinians will not give up, former Hamas leader Khaled Mashael said during a visit to Turkey.  “We will not recognize the legitimacy of the occupation and we will not surrender in the face of the siege on the Gaza Strip.”

(afp.com; timesofisrael.com)


IDF braces for escalation as Hamas says ‘won’t hold protesters back’

Israeli military officials on Sunday (1st) predicted an escalation of the violent protests on the Israel-Gaza Strip border after Hamas leaders said that the group would not try to prevent Palestinian demonstrators from rioting or approaching the security fence in future border protests.

The IDF has increased its deployment near the southern security fence in the wake of the violence seen during Friday’s (3/30) Hamas-orchestrated march on the border.



Hamas disappointed by low turnout for Gaza border protest – Daniel Siryoti

Senior Hamas members are reportedly disappointed with the comparatively low number of 30,000 who participated in this weekend’s protests in Gaza.  “There is some disappointment at the low turnout…we expected at least three times as many participants,” a Hamas official told local media. Gaza’s rulers were also said to be disappointed by the fact that a day after Friday’s (3/30) march, only a few hundred remained at the meeting points.



Israel’s Defense Minister: 90% of Palestinian protesters were paid Hamas activists and their families

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman warned Sunday (1st) that Israel would act with a far stronger hand if Palestinians in Gaza resumed violent protests on the border with Israel.  He claimed that 90% of the Palestinian protests were officials and activists paid by Hamas, together with their families. Lieberman also pledged that there would be no international inquiry into the clashes.

The defense minister praised the army for having “carried out its work in the best possible way” and that “no soldiers were hurt.”  He said the army “can respond much more harshly next time” and that it would not “hesitate to use everything we have,” though he expressed doubt that the Palestinians would seek to replicate Friday’s events “in light of the results.”  “Any state whose borders people tried to crash would act in an even more severe way than we did,” he added.



Israel: Events on Gaza border are not about ‘freedom of expression’

The border fence between Israel and Gaza separates a sovereign state and a terrorist organization.  It separates a state that protects its citizens from murderers who send their countrymen into danger.

The fence separates an army that uses force in self-defense and in a focused and proportionate manner, and Hamas, an organization that sanctifies murder and death, that for years has been intent on harming millions of Israelis.  Anyone who mistakenly views in this murderous spectacle even an iota of freedom of expression is blind to the threats the State of Israel faces.



Water crisis spurring protests in Iran

A lack of water has been spurring protests in Iran against the regime since the beginning of the year, Reuters reported last week.

Gathering information from online videos, Reuters reported that the protests over the water crisis have taken place mostly in Isfahan, located in central Iran, and the Khuzestan province in the west, which is largely inhabited by non-Persian Arabs who call the region Ahwaz.

At one of the demonstrations, protesters were seen carrying signs with the tongue-in-cheek message, “Death to farmers,” “long live oppressors!”

“Towns around Isfahan have been hit so hard by drought and water diversion that people who live there are having to move.  One journalist said it isn’t only the drought, it is the “mismanagement of water.”

Last year The New York Times ran an op-ed piece that said Iran was facing “the worst water future of any industrialized nation” due to “bad governance and corruption.”



Mesmerizing Jerusalem light show brings biblical story of King David to life

The citadel walls of the Tower of David Museum in Jerusalem’s Old City were illuminated with a spectacular projected light show on Sunday (1st), with animations bringing to life the story of King David.

Animated figures, artwork and text danced across the walls as the show told the story of the biblical hero, famous for slaying Goliath with a single stone from his slingshot.

The $2.1 million multimedia production is powered by 18 high-definition laser projectors that light up the citadel with 250,000 lumens and 35,000.000 pixels, 20 speakers and 6 miles of cable.

One audience member said “the show was nothing less than spectacular, and I loved the new perspective on King David’s life and Jerusalem.”