News Digest — 1/13/20

Netanyahu: Iran Lied About Downing Aircraft Just Like It Did On Its Nuclear Program

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed the regime in Tehran on Sunday (12th) at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting, expressing solidarity with the masses who have taken to the streets to protest the ayatollahs’ cover-up of the downing of a Ukrainian jetliner last week, which killed scores of Iranians.

“Just as they lied about their secret nuclear program – they lied about the downing of the Ukrainian aircraft,” Netanyahu said.  “They knew from the start that they had downed it. They knew that it was an unintentional downing, but they lied intentionally. They deceived the entire world.”

Iran’s admission over the weekend that it had, in fact, mistook the aircraft as a US cruise missile caused spontaneous demonstrations in Iran, with thousands of students chanting anti-regime slogans such as “Death to the dictator,” and, “The liar is here, not in Israel.”

According to Iran, the downing of the aircraft on January 8 happened because air defense units were on high alert that night and were anticipating an American strike in retaliation for Iran’s volley of missiles on a US base in Iraq.

The commanding officer shot the aircraft without being able to verify its identity.  Iran said it was heading toward a secret base and that there were only 10 seconds to spare, and that is why the decision was taken so quickly.

“This is completely contrary to how a civilized country should act and we send our condolences to the victims of Iran’s deception and negligence,” Netanyahu said.

“I note the courage of the Iranian people who are again demonstrating in the streets against this regime.  They deserve freedom, liberty and the ability to live in security and peace, all of which the regime denies them.”

“I commend President Trump for imposing new and very harsh sanctions against this regime.  I must say that this was also done close to the Iranian decision to accelerate uranium enrichment.  I call on Britain, France and Germany to join the American effort. They need to go to the Security Council, and there they need to activate the sanctions that have been decided upon.  I would like to reiterate: Israel will not allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons.”



Hezbollah Says Payback For US Killing Top Iranian General ‘Has Just Begun’

The leader of the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah said Sunday (12th) that Iran’s missile attacks on two bases in Iraq housing US forces was only the start of the retaliation for America’s killing a top Iranian general in a drone strike.

Hassan Nasrallah described Iran’s ballistic missile response as a “slap” to Washington, one that sent a message.  The limited strikes caused no casualties and appeared to be mainly a show of force.

The strikes were the “first steps down a long path” that will ensure US troops withdraw from the region, Nasrallah said.

“The Americans must remove their bases, soldiers, officers and ships from our region.  The alternative…to leaving vertically is leaving horizontally. This is a decisive and firm decision,” Nasrallah said.

“We are speaking about the start of a phase, about a new battle, about a new era in the region,” he added.

His 90-minute televised speech marked little more than a week since the killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani.

Nasralleh praised Soleimani for his steadfast support for Hezbollah.  Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has provided training, vast funds and extensive weapons for Hezbollah, which fought in the war in Syria alongside Iran-backed militias that Soleimani directed.

Nasrallah said that the world is a different place after Soleimani’s death and not a safer place as US officials have declared.

Iran had for days been promising to respond forcefully to Soleimani’s killing.  But after the ballistic missile strikes, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted that the country had “concluded proportionate measures in self-defense.”

Nasrallah also praised Iran’s leadership for admitting to accidentally shooting down a Ukrainian passenger plane on the night it launched the missile attacks.  He called the acknowledgement “transparency that is unparalleled in the world.”

The plane crash early Wednesday (8th) killed all 176 people on board – both Iranians and Iranian Canadians.  Iran had initially pointed to a technical failure and insisted the armed forces were not to blame.



Decade After 1st Interception, New Iron Dome Boasts 100% Success Rate In Trials

The Israel Missile Defense Organization (IMDO), a branch of the Defense Ministry’s Directorate of Defense Research and Development, has successfully completed a series of interception tests of the Iron Dome weapon system.

The campaign was led by defense company, RAFAEL Advanced Defense Systems, and conducted in a testing field in the southern region of Israel.  The new test was conducted ten years after the first test series of the Iron Dome, which was completed on January 6, 2010.

The tests demonstrated the capabilities of an advanced version of the Iron Dome system in a variety of scenarios that simulated future threats that the system may confront.

The Iron Dome is a weapon system with a very high success rate, proving its operational efficacy on a daily basis and securing the citizens of the State of Israel.  To date the system has performed over 2400 successful operational interceptions.

“The successful test series that we have completed took place exactly ten years after the first interception test of the Iron Dome system,” said IMDO chief Moshe Patael.

“Throughout the last decade, we have conducted tens of interceptions as part of a framework of tests and more than 2000 operational interceptions.  The system tested most recently is an upgraded and improved version of the Iron Dome. When we deliver it to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), the Air Force (IAF) will be equipped to confront evolving threats in the region.”

RAFAEL Executive Vice President and head of RAFAEL’s Air and Missile Defense Division, Pini Yungman said following the tests: “We have completed a series of tests with a success rate of 100%.  The system intercepted all threats, which were simulated in an area secured for the purposes of the experiment. Following the test series, we can confidently say that the State of Israel is highly defended.”



Erdogan’s “Quiet Jihad” In Jerusalem – Nadav Shragal

Last March, the Turkish government gave the Palestinian Authority 140,000 pages of microfilm of the Ottoman Archive, including thousands of documents of land registration from 1517-1917 in what is now Israel.  The Palestinians have already used the archive to challenge Israeli ownership of land and real estate in various parts of the country.

Turkish President Erdogan, a patron of the Muslim Brotherhood, seeks to restore Islam’s glory throughout “Palestine” with special emphasis on Jerusalem.  He is promoting a Turkish national awakening in the city through cultural events, Turkish flags, and especially dawa – charity, education, and social assistance to bring people closer to Islam.  This is known as the “quiet jihad.”  In Israel, dozens of dawa groups receive funding from Turkey, thus strengthening Turkey’s influence.

In the past two years, the Turks have funded a replacement for the gold crescent that tops the Dome of the Rock and the reconstruction of other Islamic monuments on the Temple Mount.  Turkish organizations are also funding the rebuilding of mosques in Jaffa and Haifa and pay the salaries of dozens of imams throughout Israel. In Jerusalem 130 buildings have been restored thus far thanks to Turkish money.



After Machete Attack, Pistol Permit Applications Rise In NY Jewish Community

The number of residents seeking to own handguns has risen sharply in a New York community shaken last month by an anti-Semitic machete attack during which an assailant injured five men.

The Journal News reports 73 pistol permit applications have been filed with the Rockland County Clerk’s Office since a December 28 anti-Semitic machete attack at a rabbi’s house in Monsey, a hamlet in the town of Ramapo northwest of New York City.

That compares to 51 applications the office received during the eight weeks prior to the stabbing, County Clerk Paul Piperato told the newspaper.

Sixty-eight of the new applications came from Ramapo residents, including 31 from Monsey. 

“It’s definitely because of this incident,” Piperato told the newspaper, referring to the attack.  “In some way, shape or form, they want to defend themselves.”

Applicants are required to be fingerprinted and undergo a background check and firearms training before the paperwork is submitted to a licensing officer.

An academy run by veterans of the Israel Defense Forces has been providing weapons training in Ramapo’s synagogues since the machete attack.

The goal is to be able to carry at synagogue and not to just possess at home and take to the range,” said Yonatan Stern, the academy’s director.