March 14, 2018

Israel thwarts two terror smuggling attempts into Gaza

Israeli authorities this week exposed and seized two shipments of terror-related items bound for the Gaza Strip, presumably to be used by one of the terror organizations that operate there.

In the first incident, Israeli Defense Ministry Crossings Authority security inspectors at the Kerem Shalom crossing into Gaza, thwarted the smuggling of IDF uniforms, found inside a truck headed to Gaza.

In the second incident, inspectors seized a quantity of mercury, which can be used for terrorist activity.  



Palestinian PM’s convoy bombed in Gaza assassination attempt

Palestinian Authority (PA) Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and head of the PA General Intelligence Service, Majid Faraj were the targets of an assassination attempt in Gaza on Tuesday (13th) when the convoy they were riding in was bombed.

The two senior Palestinian officials were traveling to the Gaza Strip to inaugurate a new sewage purification treatment plant, and to discuss the defunct reconciliation process between the PA and Hamas.  

The two officials escaped injury, but there were reports that seven members of their security detail were hit.  



Who tried to attack PA leader?

Following an assassination attempt Tuesday morning (13th), in Gaza on PA leader Rami Hamdallah and his convoy, the Palestinian Authority immediately blamed Hamas as solely responsible for the attack, and demanded answers from the organization over the incident.  

Fatah quickly fingered Hamas rulers and called the bombing attempt “a cowardly act.”



Hundreds of U.S. Marines, IDF troops train in southern Israel

Hundreds of Israeli soldiers and U.S. marines trained shoulder-to-shoulder Monday (12th) in southern Israel as part of Juniper Cobra 2018, drilling on close urban combat and tunnel warfare.

While the two-week-long Israeli/American military exercise drills on various scenarios adapted to Israel’s operational reality such as missile threats in various sectors simultaneously, the Marines have not directly participated in the missile drills which comprised the majority of Juniper Cobra.

Instead the 650 Marines trained with Israeli troops at the Tzehelim army base in several operational scenarios, including live fire and artillery drills, in order to enhance interoperability and cooperation between the two allies.



Palestinian Authority to sue U.S. at International Criminal Court over Jerusalem recognition – Qais Abu Samra

PA Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki will fly to The Hague soon to sue the U.S. administration at the International Criminal Court (ICC) over President Donald Trump‘s official recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Saleh Rafat, an executive committee member of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), told the official  Voice of Palestine radio.

Al-Maliki will file another ICC complaint against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman for “their involvement in crimes against the Palestinian people,” Rafat said.  The PA became an official member of the ICC in 2015. (Anadolu – Turkey)



Palestinians caught trying to bomb military court for the sixth time

Two Palestinians from Jenin, were detained by Border Guards at the entrance to the Samaria Military Court on Sunday (11th) while carrying hidden pipe bombs.  The court has been targeted in the past few months by Palestinians carrying pipe bombs and this was the sixth incident.



In Syria and Lebanon, Iran and its proxies threaten Israel, Sunni Arabs and the U.S – Sen. Lindsey Graham

When Israel withdrew from southern Lebanon in 2000, the UN promised to provide a buffer via the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), to ensure that southern Lebanon would not continue to be a threat to Israel.  On a recent visit to the region, we were stunned by how pervasive sophisticated rockets have become in the area. The Israel Defense Forces informed us that Hizbullah – with Iran’s help – is manufacturing precision-guided weapons there.  Under the nose of UNIFIL, there are thousands of intermediate-range rockets and missiles pointed at Israel.

Soon Israel will have to attack these rocket sites, which Hizbullah has integrated into civilian infrastructures such as apartment buildings, schools and hospitals.  Israeli leaders are concerned that this will lead to high civilian casualties. I will hold hearings about the military buildup in southern Lebanon, the failures of UNIFIL, and the need for more missile-defense funding for Israel.



Hero pilot returns to Israel 69 years after daring rescue of Yemenite Jews

Elgen Marion Long is a world renowned pilot.  In 1949, as Israel’s War of Independence was still raging, the Alaska Airlines pilot decided to volunteer his service to the newly formed, but under-equipped, Israeli Air Force.  Long became a member of the Mahal (foreign volunteers in the IDF) and was given a top secret assignment that required him to fly 12 missions, one after the other, bringing desperate Jewish refugees from Yemen to Israel.

Those were the early days of the migration of the 50,000 strong Jewish community, under the code name “On Eagles Wings.”   Now 91. Long visited Israel for the first time in 69 years. The trip was arranged by the Stand With Us organization and the Israeli Association for the Preservation of Yemenite Jewish Heritage.



Work begins on new Jerusalem light rail extension to serve Jews and Arabs – Nadav Shragai

Work has begun on the infrastructure for the Jerusalem light rail’s second line, the “Green Line,” which will run from Hebrew University on Mount Scopus in the north to Gilo in the south.  Like its predecessor, the line will serve both the Jewish and Arab populations. At the same time, the “Red Line,” which opened in 2011, will be extended to Neve Yaakov in the north and Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center in the south.

The Jerusalem light rail has become a symbol of coexistence and 200,000 Jews and Arabs ride it each day.  In 2014-2016, the railway became a target for firebombs and stone throwers, but the Israeli authorities insisted on continuing to run the train through the Arab neighborhoods of Shuafat and Beit Hanina.



Israeli backpackers volunteer in Rio’s slums

25 Israeli backpackers volunteered during their post-army travels in Rio de Janeiro’s poor neighborhoods as emissaries of the non-profit Heroes for Life.  For two weeks they renovated elementary schools and taught math and English to disadvantaged children. Heroes for Life, founded in 2014, has dispatched teams to India, Nepal, South Africa, Guatemala, Mexico, Argentina, and Ethiopia.