News Digest — 1/30/23

Knesset To Vote Today On Bill Nullifying Terrorists’ Citizenship

A bill which would make it easier for the state to nullify the citizenship of terrorists is set to be brought before the Knesset for a vote Monday (30th), making it the first in a series of proposed new laws the new government is drafting to be brought up for a vote.

The Knesset plenum is slated to vote on the first reading of the bill, following deliberations by a joint hearing of the Knesset’s Interior and House Committees.

Once a final draft has been agreed upon by the joint committee, the bill will proceed to the full Knesset Monday (30th), where it is expected to pass by a wide margin.

Previous iterations of the proposal have received broad support, while the current bill has been endorsed by 106 MKs.

If passed, the bill would grant the Interior Minister broad powers to nullify citizenship or residency status of convicted terrorists.

Under the proposed bill, any terrorist who was convicted and jailed can be stripped of Israeli citizenship or residency and deported to the Palestinian Authority if the terrorist received any funds from the PA.  The PA currently offers stipends to jailed terrorists and the families of slain terrorists.

The bill is just the first in a series of proposals pushed by members of the coalition government.

Following a spate of terror attacks Friday (27th) and Saturday (28th) – including a deadly synagogue shooting in Jerusalem – Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich called for the government to ramp up the use of home demolitions and deportations of the families of terrorists, as a deterrent against future attacks.

National Security Minister Ben-Gvir has reportedly demanded a curfew for the Shuafat neighborhood in eastern Jerusalem.  While he has proposed that movement, not all Arab neighborhoods will be affected.



US Officials Say Israel Behind Bombing Of Iranian Drone Factory

Israel was behind the bombing of an Iranian military facility Sunday (29th), a report released Sunday afternoon (29th) claimed, contradicting an earlier report by an Arabic media outlet.

Early Sunday morning (29th), a loud blast was reported at a military site in the city of Isfahan, Iran state media outlet IRIB reported.

Iran downplayed the incident, calling it an “unsuccessful” drone attack.

“The explosion took place in one of the munitions manufacturing centers of the Defense Ministry and according to an announcement by the political and security deputy head of Isfahan Governorate, there were no casualties,” IRIB reported.

“One of the drones was hit by the… air defense and the other two were caught in defense traps and blew up.  Fortunately, this unsuccessful attack did not cause any loss of life and caused minor damage to the workshop’s roof,” the ministry said in the downplay carried by the IRNA news outlet.

“The attack has not affected our installations and mission… and such blind measures will not have an impact on the continuation of the country’s progress,” the ministry stated.

A report by the Saudi news site Al Arabiya al Hadath claimed the drone attack was carried out by the US Air Force and the participation of another country, but emphasized that the Jewish state was not involved.

On Sunday afternoon (29th), however, The Wall Street Journal cited US officials and other unnamed sources who said that Israel’s Mossad was in fact responsible for the drone attack, which used three small unmanned helicopters or “quadcopters” for the strike.

While the IDF refused to confirm or deny the report, the officials cited in the report claimed the strike was Israel’s first attack on Iran since Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu returned to office.

The nature of the target also remains in dispute.

Though Tehran has claimed the building attack was merely an ammunition factory, analysts have suggested the building and the type of strike conducted indicate the target  was not a munitions factory.

Ronen Solomon, an intelligence analyst, argued that given the small size of the explosion and satellite imagery showing the target is adjacent to a unit of the Iran Space Research Center, the building was likely a lab for Iran’s ballistic missile program, or a military logistics site.

Israel’s Channel 12 reported Sunday night (29th) that the quadcopter drones used in the attack were launched from inside Iranian territory, and claimed that the target was an Iranian drone factory which produces the HESA Shahed 136 suicide drone.

According to the report Sunday (29th), the drones caused serious damage to the factory.



Police, Border Police Up Their Presence Throughout Jerusalem

There was an increased presence of deployed, active Jerusalem district police as well as Border Police officers throughout Jerusalem and Particularly in east Jerusalem on Sunday evening (29th) according to a statement from the Israel Police Spokesperson’s Unit.

The increased police presence is a direct response to the recent uptick in terror attacks in Jerusalem, specifically, the two most recent attacks which took place within 24 hours of each other on Friday (27th) and Saturday (28th).

The forces are working to disperse potential rioters and those already becoming violent in various locations throughout Jerusalem.

On Sunday evening (29th) a disturbance began in the Jabel Mukaber neighborhood in Jerusalem in which dozens of masked people threw rocks and shot firecrackers at the forces operating there, according to the Police Spokesperson’s Unit.

Border Police forces responded with riot dispersal measures and fired warning shots into the air.  No injuries were reported.

The Shin Bet and the police on Sunday afternoon (29th) announced that out of the dozens of Palestinians arrested in connection with the terror attack in Neve Yaakov on Friday (27th), five Palestinians are being held and questioned for a more extended period – at minimum until the middle of this coming week.

Among the five are two family members of the terrorist as well as three non-family members, including one Palestinian who was arrested on Sunday (29th).

Regarding the Saturday (28th) terror attack of the shooting of a father and his son by a  13-year-old terrorist – his detention has been extended until at least the end of the week, pending an overwhelmingly likely indictment – three of his family members have been arrested and their detentions are expected to be extended further into the week.

The IDF, Shin Bet and Border Police arrested three Palestinians suspected of terrorism in the West Bank on Saturday night (28th), according to the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit.  

“Israeli Police will continue to act with the other security forces both openly and covertly and online against those who incite, who support and identify with terrorists or terrorist organizations,” the police said in a statement over the weekend.



Shocking Anti-Israeli Incitement Found In Textbooks Of Teenage Jerusalem Attacker

After a string of Palestinian Terror attacks on Jews across Jerusalem over the weekend, researchers have found disturbing anti-Israeli and antisemitic incitement in textbooks used by the school that one of the teenage gunmen attended.

Muhammad Aliwat, 13, a resident of the predominantly Palestinian east Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, ambushed an IDF officer and his father on Saturday (28th) at the entrance to the capital’s historical City of David and opened fire at them with a pistol from short range before being neutralized by the Israeli soldier.

Before leaving for the attack, Aliwat left a note in a school notebook, in which he expressed his desire to die in a demonstration-attack against Jews.  In addition, he also apologized to his mother in the note and informed her that she was going to be proud of him.  “God, or victory or martyrdom,” the boy wrote in the note.

Researchers from the education monitor Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se) dove into textbooks used by the eighth-grader’s school and found some unsettling materials.

They found math and science books used by Al-Furqan School in east Jerusalem’s Shuafat neighborhood, which teaches a curriculum approved by the Palestinian Authority, that features glorification of violence and calls on students to sacrifice themselves.

The students learn reading comprehension through an Arabic textbook that glorifies violent descriptions of suicide attacks in which Palestinians “cut the throats of enemy soldiers” and “put on explosive belts.”  The graphic descriptions are accompanied by illustrations of Israeli soldiers shot dead by a Palestinian gunman.

A lesson in one Islamic education book, published last September by the Palestinian education ministry in Ramallah, devotes an entire chapter to teaching that martyrdom is a “must” for fighting enemies, and that it brings honor and glory, and guarantees entry to heaven.

The book asks students to write an essay about terrorist attacks carried out by Palestinians and states that those who do not sacrifice themselves are weak.



Israel’s Cabinet To Strengthen Settlements, Strip Terrorists’ Families Of Citizenship

Israel’s Security Cabinet announced late Saturday night (28th) a series of planned policy changes, following a wave of Arab terrorist attacks in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem.

At the end of the cabinet’s deliberation, the government press office released a statement detailing the six steps Israel’s government will pursue in response to the recent attacks.

The cabinet endorsed a proposal to encourage law abiding Israeli citizens to purchase and carry firearms, easing the process for obtaining gun licenses.

The government will also take “steps to strengthen settlement,” with specific moves to be put forward this week.

The cabinet also vowed to step up efforts to halt the smuggling of illegal weapons and to impose harsh sanctions on terror-supporting relatives of terrorists.

Below is a full list of the resolutions adopted by the security cabinet:

→ The home of the terrorist that carried out the terrorist attack in Jerusalem will be sealed immediately ahead of its demolition.

→ National insurance rights and additional benefits for the families of terrorists that support terrorism will be revoked.

→ Legislation of the revocation of Israeli identity cards of the families of terrorists that support terrorism will be discussed at a later meeting.

→ Firearm licensing will be expedited and expanded in order to enable thousands of additional citizens to carry weapons.

→ In response to the abhorrent attacks and the celebrations in their wake, Prime Minister Netanyahu has decided on steps to strengthen settlements that will be submitted this week.

→ The reinforcement of military and police units, expanded arrests and focused operations to collect illegal weapons will be carried out.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the emergency cabinet meeting Saturday night (28th), a day after a Jerusalem Arab terrorist shot and killed seven worshipers exiting a synagogue in the Neve Yaakov neighborhood of Jerusalem Friday evening (27th), leaving three more wounded. 

A second shooting in the capital over the weekend left an Israeli father and son seriously wounded south of the Old City of Jerusalem, on Saturday (28th).