News Digest — 1/6/23

Security Cabinet Debates Sanctioning PA

The newly installed Israeli security cabinet held its first meeting on Thursday (5th) to debate sanctioning the PA over its push for the International Court of Justice to issue an advisory opinion on the legality of Israel’s “occupation” of Palestinian territory.

The topic of such meetings is often kept secret and the Prime Minister’s Office did not release any conclusions from the meeting.

It did, however, announce that a meeting was held, sending photographs and even a short video to the media.  Among the participants at the meeting was Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Maj.-Gen. Ghassan Alyan and IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi.

In one of the photos it was possible to see a presentation on the issue by Alyan.  The PMO subsequently re-sent a photograph that was carefully blurred.

The debate came just one week after the UN General Assembly voted 87-26, with 53 abstentions, to seek a non-binding advisory opinion from the ICJ.

Among the sanction ideas that have been publicly floated is visa restrictions for Palestinian Authority officials and the possible withholding of tax fees that Israel collects on behalf of the PA.



31 Israelis Murdered By Terrorists In 2022

31 Israelis were murdered and 734 injured in terrorist attacks in 2022, according to data released by the Rescuers Without Borders organization.

In total, 7,386 terrorist attacks were committed in 2022, including 1,153 cases of rock throwing, 1,036 Molotov cocktails thrown, 559 cases of tires set on fire and 84 explosives thrown.

44 car bombs were set off during the year and Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria encountered 53 cases of stone barriers on the roads.

96 shooting attacks were recorded in the past year, as well as nine stabbing attacks which resulted in casualties, and six ramming attacks. 

The organization noted that those murdered by terrorists in 2022 left 18 widows and widowers and 67 orphans, and that two victims of attacks from previous years died from their wounds during the year.

The organization further noted that its statistics do not include the hundreds of attacks on security forces during counterterror operations in the field, which include the throwing of rocks and explosives, including shooting attacks.



Hamas Warns Terror Group Headed For Another Round Of Conflict With Israel

A senior Hamas official said the terror group was “headed toward another round of resistance and conflict” with Israel on Thursday (5th) during an event marking the 27th anniversary of the killing of its chief bombmaker.

Saleh Arouri, deputy head of Hamas’ politburo who is currently based in Lebanon, boasted that Hamas was readying itself for another victory.

“We are going through a phase in which the acts of resistance are escalating.  We are headed toward another round of resistance and conflict with the occupier; we are headed toward a new victory,” Arouri was cited as saying by The Jerusalem Post.

He added that Hamas would do everything in its power to secure the release of all the Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails.

The event included a book launch of a Hamas-published work titled, “The Buses are Burning.” referencing Israeli buses targeted by suicide bombers.  The book was authored by Hassan Salameh, who is serving 46 consecutive life sentences for orchestrating three large-scale terror attacks in Israel.

The memoir recounts how Salameh and his accomplices planned the attacks.

Its launch, which was organized by Hamas’ armed wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, coincided with the anniversary of the killing of Yahya Ayyash, who was known as “The Engineer” because of his expertise in bomb-making.  Ayyash was killed by the Shin Bet security agency with a cellphone that exploded during a phone call with his father in 1996.

Thereafter, Salameh was entrusted by the terror group to carry out terrorist attacks in Israel to avenge Ayyash’s death, according to the report.

Salameh said in a message from his prison cell that the terror attacks he was behind “will remain immortal in history and tell Palestinian generations the story of a will that transcended the impossible, performed miracles and exposed the Zionist entity’s fragility to the whole world.”

“We set out on a path fraught with dangers,” Salameh added.  “We only had a few explosives and a few thousand dollars.”



Trailblazing Female Muslim Arab Is IDF Major – Etgar Lefkovits

Ella Waweya, 33, the first Muslim Arab woman to become a major in the IDF, is its deputy spokesperson for the Arabic media.  She is from the Israeli Arab city of Qalansawe and, from a young age, felt that she wanted to be part of Israeli society.  She enrolled in an Israeli college to study communications and volunteered to perform a year of national service, concomitant to her studies, in the emergency room of an Israeli hospital at night.  A hospital security guard from the Bedouin minority, who had been in the army, led her to realize that IDF service was a possibility.

At a media conference in Eilat, she spoke with then-IDF Spokesperson Brig.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai and the late veteran military correspondent Roni Daniel, who heard her say she wished she could join the IDF.  Two days later, Waweya was summoned to an interview at the IDF Spokesperson’s office in Tel Aviv and was accepted to work in the military’s press office at age 24.

A year and a half later, she enrolled in officer’s training and was selected as an outstanding soldier who would be honored by the president.  Several dozen people from her city were inspired by her to either enlist or perform national service.  Nearly 400 Muslim Arabs including Bedouin enlisted in the IDF last year.



Ambassador Erdan At UNSC: ‘This Is A Show About Nothing’

The UN Security Council (UNSC) convened on Thursday (5th) for an emergency session following Israel’s National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir’s visit to the Temple Mount earlier this week.

At the meeting, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan presented the facts regarding the history of the Temple Mount and the Palestinian violations of the status quo through the opening of more mosques on the Temple Mount, by trying to prevent Jews from visiting, and by using the mosques to store weapons and rocks for attacks.

Erdan criticized the very existence of the debate, noting that there are many conflicts going on across the world and “yet here we are, discussing the peaceful, 13-minute visit of a Jewish minister to the holiest Jewish site under the sovereignty of the liberal democracy of Israel.”

“I’m sure that at least some of you see the absurdity of this situation.  Sadly, this meeting which creates a sense of emergency over a non-event, reminds me of the words of the famous comedian Jerry Seinfeld, who described his show as ‘a show about nothing,’” said Erdan.

“Nevertheless, if this council wishes to waste its resources on shows about nothing, we may as well utilize this meeting for the best.  This is the ideal opportunity to share the truth and facts regarding the Temple Mount.  Have any of you heard of the Western Wall?  Do you know what this ‘Wall’ was west of –  and why it is the most focal point of Jewish prayer?  I’ll tell you. The Western Wall is the only surviving structure from the Second Jewish Temple, which was the holiest place to the Jewish people, but it was destroyed by others and we were left with the Western Wall.  Many don’t know this and I’m not surprised.  After all, for years now, the Palestinians have orchestrated and advanced a poisonous campaign to obliterate any trace or connection between the Jewish people and the Temple Mount.  They exploit every means, both in words and actions, to promote these lies.”

“Here at the UN, they advance libelous resolutions, just like the one adopted in the General Assembly last week, deliberately erasing the Jewish name of the compound, by referring to it only by its Muslim name, Haram al Sharif.  And tragically, many Member States submit to these lies, despite the indisputable proof and archeological evidence proving the Temple Mount’s true history,” he added.

Ambassador Erdan also quoted a past statement from Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas, who said, “The Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher are ours.  They are all ours, and the Jews have no right to defile them with their filthy feet.”

“Is this the way to uphold the status quo?  This is blatant incitement and the rewriting of history.  Was there an emergency Security Council meeting when these toxic words were uttered?” asked the Ambassador.

“Minister Ben-Gvir’s recent visit to the Temple Mount was not an incursion into Al-Aqsa or any other fabrication that the Palestinians branded his visit as.  Minister Ben-Gvir’s visit was in line with the status quo and whoever claims otherwise is only inflaming the situation.  Jews are allowed to visit the Temple Mount.  Every Jew.”

Ambassador Erdan clarified who is really violating the status quo, “Rather than protecting the sanctity of the site, the Palestinians have turned the Temple Mount into a battleground.  Time and again, the mosques are used as arsenals, where terrorists keep rocks and explosives to attack Jewish visitors and security forces.”

“Just listen to what really happens on the Mount each year: On average, only thirty to forty thousand Jews visit the Mount throughout the year.  They are permitted to do so from only one specific entrance, on specific days, at limited hours, in small groups, and under heavy security detail.  Meanwhile, every year, millions upon millions of Muslims come to visit and pray at the site, while Israel ensures their safety and protection.”

Ambassador Erdan added, “When this council dedicates its valuable time to ‘shows about nothing’ it legitimizes the poisonous lies of the Palestinians, and as a result, empowers terrorists to continue in their murderous ways.”

Ambassador Erdan concluded, “According to Jewish tradition, we believe that the Temple Mount will one day be a place of peace and coexistence.  As Isaiah prophesied, in the name of God: “I will bring them to my sacred mount and let them rejoice in My house of prayer.  Their burnt offerings and sacrifices shall be welcome on My altar; for My House shall be a house of prayer for all nations.”

“While the Temple Mount is sadly not yet a house of prayer for all nations, it is still the right of every Jew – no matter what title is held –  to at least, at least visit this ‘holiest of holy’ spot.  Jews will continue visiting the Temple Mount and whoever believes in tolerance and coexistence should support that.”



Jews Should Be Allowed To Visit The Temple Mount In Jerusalem – Yaakov Katz

Before Israeli Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir visited the Temple Mount on Tuesday (3rd) Hamas threatened Israel and some condemned the move as a provocation.  If the Temple Mount is under Israeli sovereignty, then there should be no issue with any Israeli, especially an elected official, visiting the site.  On the other hand, there is a true fear of Arab violence, which Israel always wants to avoid.

If anyone thinks that violence will erupt because Ben-Gvir visits the Temple Mount, then it is important to keep in mind that the Palestinian terrorist groups do not need an excuse to launch attacks against Israel.  They can use the Ben-Gvir visit this week, and next week, they will find another reason.  The bottom line is that these are just excuses.

The questions we should be asking are different: Why is Israel under threat from a terrorist group for allowing Jews to pray at Judaism’s holiest site?  Why is it okay for everyone else to pray there and not for Jews?  And why do these Palestinian groups get away with making such threats? 

The writer is editor-in-chief of the Jerusalem Post.