August 1, 2018

IDF Investigates Whether Same Gunman Carried Out 2 Sniper Attacks

Following the death on July 20 of Staff Sgt. Aviv Levi, who was killed in a sniper attack near the Gaza border, the Israeli military launched an inquiry seeking to tie the attack to a similar subsequent incident.

Specifically, the IDF is probing whether the same individual carried out both sniper attacks, the second of which resulted in moderate wounds to an Israeli soldier.

While both soldiers donned protective ceramic vests at the time of the attacks, Levi did not survive, representing the first Israeli fatality caused by an attack emanating from the coastal enclave since the 2014 Gaza war.

Based on information provided by a source within the IDF’s Southern Command, Walla reported that the attacks probably were not officially sanctioned by the Hamas terrorist group, which rules the strip with an iron fist but struggles to control rival extremist factions such as Islamic Jihad.

The Walla report did, however say that the culprit, or culprits, received some assistance from Hamas to carry out the attacks – likely distracting IDF troops while the attacks were being perpetrated.

A report soon after the deadly Levi attack indicated the gun used was a rifle developed by Iran from an Austrian model.

While the “March of Return” protests have been portrayed by Palestinian leadership as peaceful demonstrations, evidence has surfaced indicating that the entire operation was planned and coordinated by Hamas to provide cover for attacks on Israeli soldiers and civilians.



US Firefighters Volunteering To Protect Israel’s South

Anyone watching a team of firefighters extinguishing a blaze near Kibbutz Zikim this week would have noticed something odd.  Despite wearing the same uniform and using the same gear as Israel Fire and Rescue Services, many of those working to put out the fire caused by a Gazan incendiary kite were communicating entirely in English.

The team of firefighters were not Israeli, but a squad of American firefighters that had flown into Israel specifically to lend a hand in combating the plague of flaming kites that have devastated Israel’s south since the “kite terror” phenomenon began in April.

Using kites, balloons, and even birds to carry incendiary devices into Israeli territory, cells of Hamas-aligned terrorists have launched thousands of incendiary attacks on Israeli targets, causing millions of dollars of damage.

The firefighters are part of the Emergency Volunteers Project (EVP), an organization which brings in medical and rescue personnel from all over the world to assist Israel in times of need.  Since its founding in 2009, EVP’s volunteers have been present at virtually every natural disaster in Israel, ranging from the massive forest fires of 2010 and 2016 to its doctors and nurses assisting at Ashkelon’s Barzilai Hospital during Operation Protective Edge.



Palestinian Inmates Deliberately Wasting Water, Prison Service Says

The Israel Prison Service is reportedly exploring the possibility of limiting Palestinian security prisoners’ time in the shower, after learning that they are wasting water on purpose.

Israel is grappling with a five-year drought and the public has been asked to use the precious resource wisely, but according to religious news website Hakol Hayehudi, security prisoners are wasting hundreds of thousands of cubic feet of water on purpose to undercut Israel’s water supply.

According to the report, IPS data shows that security prisoners’ wards use up far more water than the criminal wards, whose inmates spend far less time in their cells.

The discrepancy between the wards’ water use is so great, that it led the IPS to believe that Palestinian inmates leave their showers running for hours on purpose, to waste water.

An analysis of the data shows that security prisoners use about 3.5 times more water a year than the average Israeli – 250 cubic meters compared to 70 cubic meters.

As there are currently 5,800 Palestinian security prisoners in Israeli jails, they seem to waste an average of 750,000 cubic meters of water a year, costing taxpayers some $1.5 million.

In an attempt to curb this phenomenon, the Israel Prison Service has begun plumbing work in various facilities, to separate the pipes feeding showers from those feeding sinks and lavatories.  The move seems to limit prisoners time in the shower without compromising their conditions overall.



Reasons To Affirm Israel’s Jewish Character – Shoshanna Keats Jaskoll

To fully understand the creation of Israel’s new nation-state law, one must go back to 2006-2007, when major Arab-Israeli NGOS released three significant publications: The Future Vision of the Arab Palestinians in Israel, the Democratic Constitution, and the Haifa Declaration.  They sought veto power on national issues, the right of return for Palestinian refugees, and, critically, the annulment of Israel’s Jewish character.  They recommended two states – not one Jewish and one Palestinian, but one, a secular bi-national state of Jews and Arabs, and one exclusively Palestinian.

These publications put Israel’s Jewish character at risk, since the nature of the Jewish state had no legal definition in court.  Israel does not have a constitution, but it does have 12 Basic Laws, ten of which deal with its democratic nature and civil liberties.  Not one affirms Israel’s Jewish character. Until last week.

The question is whether a democratic Jewish state is a legitimate thing, or whether a homeland for Jews where all Jews are welcome and all citizens are guaranteed rights, yet where Jewish tradition, holidays and symbols are celebrated nationally, and Jews are in charge of their destiny, should be replaced by a state of all its citizens devoid of Jewish majority, symbolism and authority and where Jewish people are not automatically welcomed home.



Minority Leaders Express Support For Nation-State Law

Despite some Druze leaders’ vocal opposition to the controversial nation-state law, some in the community, as well as within other minorities, are voicing support for the legislation.

The nation-state law defines Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.  The law’s provisions, including the downgrading of the Arabic language from an official language of Israel to one with a “special status,” and the assertion that only Jews have a right to self-determination, have angered Israel’s non-Jewish citizens, who view the law as discriminatory and offensive.

The Druze, a unique religious and ethnic minority among Israeli Arabs, were particularly outraged by the legislation, as most Druze men serve in the Israel Defense Forces and members of the community serve in top positions in Israeli politics and public service.

Chairman of the Druze Zionist Council for Israel Atta Farhat took to Facebook on Sunday (29th) to express his support for the law.

“No other Druze community has it better than the Druze community in Israel,” he said in a video.  “I implore all my brethren in the Druze community to avoid the trap set by the left and back the nation-state law as it is.”

Capt. Shadi Haloul, head of the Israeli Christian Aramaic Association, who also runs a pre-military preparatory program for Jews and Christian Arabs, said he was also in favor of the law, claiming that it actually cements the rights of minorities.

“Just look at what has happened to the Maronite Christians who are being persecuted in Lebanon, as well as other minorities there,” Haloul said.   “As soon as Israel stops being the state of the Jewish people, as some in the radical left and Arab parties want – we will no longer be able to enjoy the freedoms and security Israel provides us.”  

“I support the nation-state law and I am proud to be a citizen of Israel and a member of the Aramean Christian community, like tens of thousands of others,” Haloul added.