News Digest — 1/12/21

Netanyahu Orders 600 Homes Built In Judea and Samaria, Including 100 In Town Where Jewish Woman Was Murdered

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu directed the construction of approximately 600 housing units in Judea and Samaria on Monday (11th).

Included among the units are 100 in Tal Menashe the home community of the late Esther Horgan, who was killed by a Palestinian terrorist on December 20.

Her husband, Benjamin Horgan, told Israel Hayom after the killing: “All of us in the locality, in the town council, all the people of Israel, must give the appropriate and Zionist answer to acts of destruction and killing by more light, more life, more construction, more creation, more reaction on the ground – for our children and all the people of Israel.” 

Jewish relatives who have seen their loved ones murdered often show remarkable discipline and resilience, expressing the sentiment that no revenge should be taken but only more building on Jewish land.

US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman repeated Benjamin Horgan’s desire in a condolence visit to the Horgan family on December 29.  He said that the only proper response to the Palestinian terrorist who murdered Esther was to expand her community of Tal Menashe.

Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) drew a direct line between Horgan’s death and Palestinian Authority incitement.

Muhammad Cabha, the terrorist who murdered Horgan by smashing her head with a rock, told Shin Bet interrogators that he “decided to carry out a terrorist attack after he was influenced – by the death of a security prisoner he knew who died in prison from cancer.”  The prisoner, Abu Wa’er was serving six life sentences for involvement in the murder of at least four Israelis.

During his illness, the PA and Fatah launched an incitement campaign against Israel saying that his death was caused by “deliberate medical neglect.”

Approximately 400 housing units are also to be built in Beit El, Evyatar, Shavei Shomron, Oranit the Barkan Industrial Zone, Karnei Shomron and Givat Zeev.

Over 200 units are also slated for Rehalim and in Nofei Nehemia, pursuant to providing regular status for the community.



Palestinians, Jordan Accuse Israel Of ‘Judaizing’ The Western Wall Plaza

The Palestinians and Jordan have accused Israel of seeking to “Judaize” the Western Wall Plaza because of renovation work that is being carried out there.

Referring to the renovations as “excavations,” the Palestinians and Jordan called for an immediate cessation of the work at the site.

The Jordanian-controlled Wakf Department in east Jerusalem, which oversees Muslim and Christian holy sites, said that the “excavations” were “part of the Israeli project to complete the Judaization of al-Buraq Plaza, southwest of the al-Aqsa Mosque.”

The Waqf claimed that the renovations contradicted international humanitarian law and decisions on the matter by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Al-Buraq is the name Muslims use to refer to the Western Wall. They believe it is the site where the Prophet Mohammed tied his winged steed, al Buraq, in Jerusalem before ascending to paradise.  However the Prophet Mohammed supposedly was never in Jerusalem, but visited it in a vision, not physically.

The Palestinian Authority Ministry of Foreign Affairs called on the United Nations Security Council to “halt the crimes of the Israeli occupation forces against al-Aqsa Mosque.

The ministry condemned Israeli “excavations” at the Western Wall, referring to it as the “western wall of the al-Aqsa Mosque.” 

Sheikh Omar Kiswani, director of al-Aqsa Mosque, claimed that Israel was seeking to expand the Western Wall Plaza “so that it could receive the largest number of Jewish settlers who would storm al-Aqsa Mosque”

Kiswani said that the work was part of an Israeli scheme to turn the Western Wall Plaza into an exclusively Jewish area.

Sheikh Ikrima Sabri, chairman of the Supreme Islamic Council and former PA mufti of Jerusalem, denounced the renovations as “an assault on Muslims with the aim of changing the identity of Jerusalem and tampering with Islamic heritage and antiquities.”

Sabri said that what was happening at the Western Wall Plaza was in the context of Israel’s attempt to “create a fake Jewish identity.”

Jordan, meanwhile, called on Israel to immediately stop the “ongoing excavations and abide by its obligations as an occupying power in occupied east Jerusalem, and to stop violating or changing the identity of the Old City.”

A spokesman for the PA Foreign Affairs Ministry reiterated Jordan’s “rejection and denouncement of all unilateral Israeli measures,” saying they were in violation of international law.



A First: Samaria Goods Shipped To UAE

The first delivery of goods from Samaria was shipped to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Sunday (10th), as the region began to market its wine to businesspeople and non-Muslims in Dubai.

The oil and honey in the shipment came from Yura Winery in Rechelim and Paradise Honey in Hermesh.

Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan hailed what he called “an historic day for Samaria and the entire State of Israel.”

Dagan was behind the move to sign an export deal with Samarian companies and those in Dubai.  He was also the first local authority head in Israel to initiate the signing of regional agreements.

“We are finally bringing out the first pallets of olive oil and honey in a direct export from Samaria to the UAE and, God willing, other Arab states in the future.”

He said, “Samaria is becoming an economic power … Our path to a million citizens is a construction boom, with available land, new roads, education, community, and the economic sphere should be at the forefront.  Samaria will continue to export the best produce in the world.”

Matan Paradise, who owns Paradise Honey, said “We are happy to be exporting to people in Dubai, happy for the partnership, and hope there will be many more partnerships in the future.”



New Bee Species Discovered In Israel

A new species of bee unique to the sand dunes of Israel’s coastal plains has been identified and described by Alain Pauly, a taxonomist from the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences in Brussels.

According to Israel21c, the species was named Lasioglossum Dorchini in tribute to the Israeli bee researcher Achik Dorchin of the Steinhardt Museum of Natural History at Tel Aviv University.

This new type of bee is especially exciting because decline in the world bee population is putting crop pollination in danger.

Crop pollination relies mainly on managed colonies of the domesticated honeybee.

However, wild, unmanaged bees are also highly effective in pollinating natural and agricultural systems.

Native bees are the most important wild pollinator group.  This is why researchers have been trying to conserve native bee habitats in Israel’s coastal region, where large-scale eucalyptus plantings caused dramatic changes in habitat characteristics and decreased local biodiversity.

Israeli and Belgian researchers led by Prof. Yael Mandelik and PhD candidate Karmit Levy from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem spent the past five years studying the effect of restoration activities and specifically how they are benefiting the local bee population.    

It was during their studies at Alexander River National Park that they found the new wild bee species.

The discovery was recently published in the Belgian Journal of Entomology.

“Beyond just the professional excitement of discovering a new species that was previously unknown to science, this finding has broader applicative value in helping us better understand bee communities, their habitat requirements and the pollination services they may provide,” Mandelik said.



Swastika Painted At Jewish Cemetery Near Auschwitz

An unidentified individual scrawled a swastika and the Nazi SS symbol on the wall of a Jewish cemetery in the city of Oswiecim, Poland, near the site of the former Auschwitz concentration camp.

The Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum posted a picture of the graffiti on its Twitter account Sunday (10th), noting it was near the former death camp that the Nazis built there in 1940, and where they murdered more than a million Jews.

The incident is “painful” and a reminder that “we need to keep fighting against all forms of hatred,” the museum wrote.  The images were removed shortly after they were discovered.

The Nazis murdered three million non-Jews in Poland, in addition to three million Jewish Poles – half of all the Jews that had been murdered throughout Europe.

Poland has seen a resurgence in right-wing nationalist sentiment in recent years.  However, the glorification of Nazi ideology and symbols, which is common throughout much of Eastern Europe and beyond, is relatively rare in Poland.