News Digest — 1/12/22

Terrorist Is Shot While Attacking Troops Near Hebron

An Arab terrorist was shot and wounded by IDF forces in the Hebron area on Tuesday night (11th) while throwing firebombs at an IDF post.

The IDF stated that during initiated operational activity near the Halhul Bridge, the troops identified three suspects who got out of a vehicle and threw Molotov cocktails at a military post in the area.

The force opened fire at the suspects, and one of them was injured in the shooting.  He received medical treatment and was evacuated to the hospital.

There were no Israeli casualties.  The IDF are searching for the other two suspects.



Israeli Soldier Moderately Wounded In Car-Ramming Attack

An Israeli soldier was moderately wounded on Tuesday (11th) when an accelerating vehicle struck him in the northern West Bank in a suspected terrorist attack.

According to the military, a car accelerated toward several troops stationed near the settlement of Halamish, hitting a 19-year-old soldier.  He was taken by helicopter to a hospital in moderate condition.

The suspect – identified as 30-year-old Muhammad Yassine from the Palestinian town of Bil’in – was apprehended by troops at the scene and transferred to security forces for further questioning.

Israel Gantz, the head of the Binyamin Regional Council which governs Halamish, lambasted the government over the rapprochement between some of its members  and Palestinian Leader Mahmoud Abbas amid a spate of nationalist-driven Palestinian terrorist attacks against Israelis.

“Arab terrorism has been on the rise for some time and the Israeli government has thus far done nothing,” he said.

“The government has turned a terrorism advocate [Abbas] into a viable partner and initiated a dialogue with the Palestinian Authority, both of which only serve to incentivize any would-be terrorists and the enemy as a whole.”

This most recent attack comes less than a month after an IDF force managed to thwart a shooting attack near the settlement of Psagot, also in Binyamin Regional Council.

In 2017, a Palestinian assailant affiliated with the terrorist group Hamas stabbed a Jewish family to death in the settlement, in an event dubbed the Halamish Massacre.



Hamas Accuses Israel Of Deploying Killer Zionist Dolphins

Does Israel operate dolphins as spies?  The Hamas terrorist organization alleges it managed to capture one after it had attacked them.

Israeli journalist Khaled Abu Toameh tweeted on January 10 that Hamas claimed that “Israel is using  dolphins to spy on us and chase our navy commandos off the coast of the Gaza Strip.”  Toameh also attached a link to the Arabic paper Al Quds, which quoted a spokesperson from Hamas’ military wing, stating they found a dolphin with an unspecified device, meant for “assassination.”

Joe Truzman, a research analyst for  Long War Journal and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) think tank, tweeted that “Killer Zionist dolphins exist, according to a Hamas publication.”  He added that the spokesperson explained that “a member of Hamas’ Frogman unit who was killed by Israel during the May conflict (Guardian of the Walls Operation) found the killer dolphin.  The device the alleged killer dolphin was wearing was shown in the publication.”  Truzman linked a video of the Hamas spokesperson making the dolphin allegation.

While the State of Israel has yet to respond to Hamas’ allegation, it has not gone without reaction on social media.

Human rights lawyer and International Legal Forum head Arsen Ostrovsky linked Abu Toameh’s twitter statement and wrote: “In other words, the supposedly much-vaunted Hamas heroes are scared by a few cute dolphins!”

Another person to mock the dolphin spy-claims was Shai Deluca, a retired Israeli Defense Force Sergeant and TV personality, who tweeted “2021 was the year of the Jewish space lasers, 2022 is the year of the Mossad dolphins.  Can’t wait to see what 2023 brings.”

Despite the unusual nature of the allegation by the terrorist organization, this is actually not the first time it has made it.  Over six years ago, on August 20, 2015, Hamas claimed the exact same thing; that it had “seized an Israeli spy dolphin” off the coast of Gaza.

The same Al Quds newspaper as mentioned above, reported the claims at the time, but no photographs or other evidence of the alleged Israeli marine spy were released.  Back in 2015, like today, Israeli authorities have not commented on the matter.



Slain Iranian General Soleimani Armed Gaza Terror Groups To Fight Israel

A senior official from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) praised late Iranian General Qassem Soleimani for his efforts in smuggling weapons to terror groups in the Gaza Strip during an interview with Tasnim News.

The Iranian news agency, which is owned by the Islamic Ideology Dissemination Organization, hosted the head of the PFLP’s military wing, Khaled Jibril, who repeatedly referred to Soleimani as a martyr.  Soleimani was assassinated in a drone strike ordered by then -US president Donald Trump in January 2020.

Jibril had enthusiastic praise for Soleimani, whom he credited with “creating a balance of military power between the Palestinians and the Zionist enemy,” meaning Israel.

“This great martyr chose a process in his life that transformed him from a simple builder to an international commander who was able to completely change the geography of the region,” the Jerusalem Post quoted Jibril as saying of Soleimani in the Arabic language video.

Jibril insinuated during the interview that Gaza terror groups’ rocket stockpiles were bolstered by Iran, crediting the Islamic Republic with providing much of the weaponry used during the May 2021 Israel-Gaza clash.

“We were in the rocket arsenals of the Palestinian resistance.  We all know that the martyr Qassem Soleimani played a pivotal role in bringing the Palestinian resistance to a state of self-sufficiency at this level of missile arsenal,” he said.

“Hajj Qassem [Soleimani] made a great effort to support the Palestinian resistance groups.  We and you know that the Gaza Strip is a narrow geographical area that has been surrounded by the Zionist regime from land, sea and air, but despite this, the last battle….witnessed a qualitative and significant change.”

Jibril appeared to be referencing the rocket barrages on Tel Aviv, which were previously unseen in earlier conflicts.

Notably, much of Jibril’s comments implied that Iran had a heavy hand in shaping violent Palestinian attacks and campaigns against Israel.

“What martyr Qassem Soleimani did is over, and we are now in another generation and we must continue his path,” the Jerusalem Post translated Jibril as saying.

“Soleimani completed all the strategic projects he had built,” he said, which included “the ‘strategic project’ of 2000 [the Second Intifada] and 2006, the defeat of the Zionist regime in Lebanon [the 2006 Israel/Lebanon war].”



Israel Donates $500,000 To Afghan Refugees As Part Of UN-Led Effort

Israel has donated $500,000 to the United Nations for food, medical aid and other assistance for Afghan refugees in Tajikistan, the Foreign Ministry said Tuesday (11th).

Ministry chief Alon Ushpiz said, “Israel is proud to be part of the international effort to help Afghans who fled from the Taliban takeover of the country in August.” Ushpiz said the aid is part of Israel’s commitment to the international community.

The donation came the same day the UN made what it called a record $5 billion appeal to help Afghanistan and its neighboring countries.

The appeal seeks $4.4 billion for the UN’s Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and its partners, plus $623 million for the UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR, to help more than 6 million Afghans who have fled, about 15% of Afghanistan’s total population.

Others continue to trickle across the border, UNHCR said, while noting that an estimated 175,000 have returned to the country since the Taliban takeover.



Texas Steps Up Holocaust Education Efforts

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has appointed five people to the state’s new Holocaust, Genocide and Anti-Semitism Advisory Commission.

The commission, which was created in September, “shall conduct a study on anti-Semitism in the state, provide assistance to schools, and meet with appropriate representatives of public and private organizations to provide information in addition to various educational duties around the state,” according to Abbott’s announcement on January 6.

Abbott appointed Dallas residents Jeffery Beck, a national board member for the Jewish Federation of greater Dallas, and Kenneth Goldberg, former president of the Dallas Jewish Community Center, for terms that will expire on February 1, 2023.

For a term set to expire on February 1, 2025, the governor appointed Austin resident and Holocaust survivor Lucy Taus Katz, a member of the Steering Committee of Descendants of Holocaust survivors, and Providence Umugwaneza from San Antonio.

Umugwaneza survived the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi minority ethnic group in Rwanda, where she lost her parents, five siblings and other family members.  She now leads educational programs to raise awareness about genocide.

Abbot additionally appointed Congregation Beth Israel Rabbi Ilan Emanuel of Corpus Christi for a term set to expire on February 1, 2027.  Emanuel is a former board member of the South West Association of Reform Rabbis, the Lincoln Jewish Community School Board and the Lincoln Jewish Federation.  He currently serves as a member of the Central Conference of American Rabbis.