January 31, 2019

Vandals Ransack Jerusalem Synagogue In ‘Anti-Semitic Pogrom’

Vandals ransacked a Jerusalem synagogue Monday night (28th) in an attack labeled an “anti-Semitic pogrom,” the second time in a week a synagogue was vandalized.

The Siah Yisrael synagogue located in the Kiryat Yovel neighborhood, was broken into and its ritual objects – including a Torah scroll and prayer books – were destroyed.  Photos from the scene showed Torah scrolls strewn across a floor full of dirt and dust with a hole cut into the side of the ark, from which the vandals extracted the scroll.

“I am shocked at the desecration of a synagogue in Jerusalem,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement.  “The police must immediately find those responsible in order to bring them to justice,” he said.

President Reuven Rivlin wrote on Twitter that he “bemoaned the difficult and shocking pictures that came out of the synagogue.”

“This morning we were shown a shocking case of the desecration of a synagogue and desecration of Torah scrolls in Kiryat Yovel,” Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion said in a statement.  “This was a serious incident that is reminiscent of dark times of the Jewish people – we will not allow crimes like this to occur in our time.”

Interior Minister Arye Deri called the vandalism “a shocking display of violence reminiscent of the anti-Semitic pogroms carried out in the Nazi era.  It’s hard to believe how such an outrageous pogrom takes place in a synagogue here in Israel,” he said.

Many other politicians and religious leaders decried the vandalism, calling on the police to do everything in their power to find those who carried out the act.

Monday night’s (28th) vandalism was the second-such incident in a synagogue this week.

Several days ago, vandals broke into the New Synagogue in Netanya and burned prayer books and sprayed graffiti on the walls, writing “Hail Satan.”

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein said,”Two synagogues were vandalized in one week, the first in Netanya, and the second, in Jerusalem, our capital.  And it happened here, in the Jewish state. This recalls the dark days in the history of the Jewish people.”



Gaza Violence Cost Israel additional $10.9m in 2018

Israel spent some $10.9m on grappling with riots and protests along the Gaza border in 2018, the Defense Ministry said Monday (28th).  The additional expenses became necessary on the heels of the Hamas calls for weekly “March of Return” protests at the Gazan border with Israel.

Though clashes took place every Friday since March 2018, the deadliest encounter happened on Monday (5/14), when the US Embassy in Jerusalem was dedicated.  On that day, over 60 Palestinians were killed as some 40,000 Gazans descended upon the border. Later Hamas acknowledged that 50 of the dead were Hamas members and several others were from the Islamic Jihad terror organization.

Gazans have been regularly burning tires and hurling stones as well as grenades and explosives towards Israeli soldiers at the weekly protests, said the IDF.

The past year also brought a wave of incendiary kite and balloon attacks across the border, setting Israeli fields on fire and creating extensive economic damage.

The Defense Ministry said that the $10.9m came from a special fund that was set up beyond the IDF’s annual operating budget.  It did not include compensation payments to the residents of the area around Gaza whose farmlands were burned in the arson attacks by Palestinians.

According to the ministry, most of the additional funds were spent on riot-control weapons and drones



Arabic Daily: Iran Creeping Toward Israel’s Golan Border

Iranian and Hizbullah forces are looking to establish themselves in Syria’s south, close to Israel’s Golan border, reports the London-based daily Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.

Iran’s strategy is to set its forces close to the Golan Heights among Druze villages in order to complicate Israeli airstrikes, the news outlet reported on Monday (28th).

According to Al-Araby, sources in As-Suwayda, a mainly Druze city located in southwestern Syria, said that Hizbullah and Iranian militias had recently arrived from an area near Damascus that was bombed by Israel.

“There is also information about the presence of Hizbullah forces in several military posts in the district, especially in the airport area and in the vicinity of Lajat, in southern Syria,” the sources said, adding that “the Iranians and Hizbullah have tried in the past to establish a presence in As-Suwayda.”  They opened up recruitment offices and offered money, but enjoyed little success, the sources said.

According to the Arabic daily, in 2014-2015, Shiite vehicles showed up in the province playing propaganda songs from loudspeakers.  After they were warned by locals that their vehicles would be attacked if they continued, they withdrew.

The movement of military forces in southern Syria is contrary to international consensus and an Israeli-Russian agreement that the area 50-62 miles north of the Golan Heights should be free of Iranian and Hizbullah forces.

(alaraby.co.uk; worldisraelnews.com)


Preparing For Peace, The Palestinian Way – Khaled Abu Toameh

While the Palestinian Authority (PA) continues to arrest and intimidate Palestinian journalists in the West Bank, its loyalists are also waging a campaign against Arab journalists who dare to visit Israel.  This month alone, PA security forces have arrested nine Palestinian journalists, while Hamas detained three more. Palestinian leaders seem emboldened by the fact that the international community and media are oblivious to the plight of Palestinian journalists.

When a group of Arab journalists from Egypt, Lebanon, Algeria and Morocco recently visited Israel, the PA Ministry of Information said normalization with Israel is “an unacceptable crime under all circumstances.”   The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, dominated by Abbas loyalists, said it is preparing a blacklist of Arab journalists suspected of engaging in normalization with Israel.

If, in the eyes of the PA leadership, normalization with Israel is an act of “treason” and a “big political and national sin.” the Trump administration may be wasting its time on a peace plan at this time.  To achieve peace with Israel, Palestinian leaders need to prepare their people – and all Arabs and Muslims – for peace and compromise with Israel, and not the exact opposite, as they are now doing.



Intel To Invest $11B In Israel Over Next 5 Years

Tech giant Intel Corp will invest $11b over the next five years on a new semiconductor fabrication plant in Israel.

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon secured the deal in a meeting Monday night (28th) with Intel Israel production plant CEO Daniel Benatar and Yaniv Garty, general manager of Intel Israel.

“Intel’s global management has informed us about its decision to invest another $11b in Israel, an unprecedented decision that is expected to bring thousands of jobs to the south of Israel,” Kahlon said on Twitter.

The news follows a commitment by Intel in May last year to invest about $4.9b to upgrade its existing factory in the southern Israeli city of Kiryat Gat between 2018 and 2020.  The new plant will also be located in Kiryat Gat. Israel agreed to allot some 91 acres to the new plant.

Economy and Industry Minister Eli Cohen said, “Intel’s decision to continue investing significantly in Israel is an important vote of confidence in Israel and the Israeli economy.  The company’s activities in Israel in the fields of research and development and advanced production support the policies of the Economy and Industry Ministry to increase exportation and create quality jobs in general; in the periphery in particular.”

“We view Intel as a partner on this path, and its repeated decision to invest in Israel strengthens the economy and employment in Israel and we expect this cooperation to continue into the future.  More than 320 foreign companies operate in Israel and they contribute to its growth, innovation, exportation and employment,” Cohen said.

(israelhayom. reuters.com)