January 9, 2019

Iron Dome Intercepts Gaza Rocket: IAF Attacks Targets In Retaliation

The Israel Air Force attacked several terror targets at a Hamas military base in northern Gaza in retaliation for a rocket fired from the Strip early Monday (7th).

The Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted the rocket, which was launched around 3 a.m. toward Ashkelon and the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council, prompting the Code Red rocket alert.

There were no reports of injuries.

The IDF said it holds Hamas responsible for all rockets emanating from its territory.

On Sunday (6th), IAF helicopters struct two Hamas positions in Gaza in response to an explosive device sent from the Strip carried by a model airplane which was using a cluster of balloons to remain airborne.

The plane landed in a field in Sdot Negev Regional Council, near the Gaza border, and was neutralized by police sappers.  The bomb, on which was written the name of a Gaza engineering college, exploded when a bomb disposal robot handled it.

About 10 days ago, an IAF attack helicopter attacked a Hamas position in the southern Gaza Strip in response to a rocket launch toward Israel.  The rocket fell in an open area in the Sdot Negev Regional Council, and no one was hurt.

(ynetnews.com; ap.com)


Moshe Arens, Netanyahu Mentor, Dies At 93

Moshe Arens, former Israeli defense minister, passed away at 93 at his home in Savion near Tel Aviv on Monday morning (7th).  He was surrounded by family according to a statement released by former Knesset Member and colleague Nahman Shai.

Arens, who served three times as Israel’s defense minister and once as minister of foreign affairs, was instrumental in bringing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu into the Likud fold.

In 1982, when Arens was appointed ambassador to the United States, he brought along Benjamin Netanyahu, then 32, as his protege.  Similarly, in 1988, when Arens was appointed minister of foreign affairs, he brought Netanyahu along as his deputy.

On Monday (7th), Prime MInister Benjamin Netanyahu released a statement describing Arens as “my teacher and mentor” and saying he’d visited Arens only a few weeks ago.

“He was lucid as always, sharp as a razor, marvelous in the splendor and nobility of his soul, an exemplar.  There was no greater patriot. Moshe Arens great contribution to our people and our state will be remembered forever.”

Arens was born in 1925 in Latvia.

He was a mechanical-engineer who studied at MIT and went on to teach at Israel’s prestigious Technion.  He later became chief engineer of Israel Aerospace Industries.

Arens wrote several books, including a memoir “In Defense of Israel,” published in 2018.

His funeral arrangements have not yet been released.

(worldisraelnews.com; jpost.com)


Israel Says It Stopped Full Palestinian Membership At UN

Israel announced Sunday (6th) that it had blocked an upcoming bid by the Palestinians to gain full membership at the United Nations.  Last month, Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki said that he would seek full membership.

Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said he started lobbying member states, including several Security Council members, in recent weeks to prevent the move.  Danon’s argument was that the Palestinians did not meet the conditions of the full UN membership, in part due to its payments to terrorists.

“We exposed the hypocrisy of the Palestinians,” said Danon in a statement.  “They continue to pay terrorists every month and to encourage violence and incitement against Israel, therefore, they are very far from meeting the definition of a peace-loving state,” trying instead, according to the Israeli envoy, “to establish facts on the ground through unilateral moves while it has not abandoned the path of terror.”

The Israeli mission says that Danon’s persuasive efforts with other countries have saved the U.S. from having to veto such a resolution if it reached the Security Council.

In the meantime, Israel says that the Palestinians now understand that the chances of their proposal for a full upgrade making any progress, have disappeared.



Hamas Reclaims Egypt-Gaza Border As PA Withdraws

Hamas members retook control of the border crossing between Gaza and Egypt on Monday (7th) after the Palestinian Authority withdrew its own staff, an AFP journalist and Hamas officials said.

The PA’s civil affairs authority had on Sunday (6th) accused Hamas of “summoning, arresting and abusing our employees,” leading it to conclude that their presence was futile, according to official Palestinian news agency WAFA.

The PA said that, until further notice, it will withdraw its staff from the Rafah border terminal, which is used by travelers moving to and from Egypt, raising the possibility the crossing will be shut.

Rafah – the only way for Gazans to leave their enclave that bypasses Israel – was closed Monday (7th) due to the Orthodox Christmas holiday but it was not clear whether it would reopen as scheduled on Tuesday (8th).

The Hamas terror group, committed to Israel’s destruction, seized control of Gaza in 2007 in a civil war with Palestinian Authority Leader Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party.

But the PA took control of Rafah in November 2017, as part of a deal for Egypt to reopen a border that had been entirely shut from August that year and largely sealed for years before that.

(afp.com; wafa.ps)


Snow Blankets Northern Israel As Temperatures Plummet

Heavy snow fell Monday (7th) in the Hermon and northern Golan Heights regions, with some 13.8 inches measured at the mountain’s lower levels.  The snowfall is expected to last through Wednesday (9th).

The Hermon ski site was shut to all visitors and roads were blocked in the northern Golan area.

The Golan regional council warned everyone to avoid using any blocked roads.  

Forecasters say Sunday’s (6th) winds were as strong as 56 miles per hour particularly in the northern and central regions.  Rains in the north totaled almost an inch.

The storm system will continue on Tuesday (8th) with rain and flood warnings in the north.  Heavy snow will continue on Mount Hermon, but the center of the country will experience strong winds as well as dust storms and local rains.  Even in the south it will be humid and colder than usual.

On Wednesday (9th), rain is expected in the north and central regions with snow continuing on Mount Hermon.  The storms should exit by Thursday (10th) with temperatures rising to an average level for the season.

(ims.gov.il; haaretz.com)