News Digest — 10/10/22

3 Suspects Arrested In Deadly Jerusalem Shooting As Searches Continue

Israeli security personnel arrested three suspects linked to Saturday’s (8th) deadly terrorist shooting attack, as searches continue for other terrorists involved in the attack.

Military Police officer Noa Lazar, 18, was shot and killed when Arab terrorists opened fire at a checkpoint on the outskirts of the Shuafat neighborhood in northern Jerusalem Saturday (8th).

A 30-year old guard was seriously wounded in the attack, while a third Israeli suffered light injuries from shrapnel.

Israel security forces, including Border Police units, were deployed to the Shuafat neighborhood to search for the perpetrators of the attack.

Doron Turgeman, Israel Police Jerusalem District Commander Superintendent, said late Saturday night (8th) that one terrorist tied to the shooting attack was arrested during raids in Shuafat.

By early Sunday morning (9th), two more tied to the attack had been taken into custody, though police say the fourth terrorist, who is believed to have fired the deadly shots, remains at large.  Helicopters were also deployed to the area to aid in the searches, with Turgeman vowing that police would find the killer.

Public Security Minister Omer Bar Lev said police would bring the terrorist  in “dead or alive.”

The Israel police and security forces are now conducting a search for the terrorist, and they will catch him dead or alive, they affirmed.

The Palestinian Authority outlet WAFA reported that the security searches extended to the town of Anata, on the outskirts of Jerusalem.

Clashes broke out between Arab rioters and Israel police in Anata and Shuafat, prompting officers to fire rubber-coated bullets, tear gas and stun grenades.

Meanwhile funeral arrangements for Sgt. Lazar will be held on Monday (10th) at 4 p.m. at the cemetery in Kfar Yona, according to the IDF Spokesperson’s unit.  The IDF also acknowledged the family’s wishes to avoid media coverage of the funeral.



As Terrorism Rears Its Ugly Head, Israel Has To Make Key Decisions

The shooting attack in Jerusalem on Saturday (8th) did not come as a surprise.  For quite some time now, security officials have sounded the alarm that motivation to engage in terrorism has reached new highs and that the volume of intelligence on potential attacks was off the charts.

In response to this, Israel has massively beefed up its troop level in the capital, including in the city environs and the main entry points.  It simultaneously picked up the operational tempo in Palestinian cities nearby.  This has been complemented by additional IDF operations in northern Samaria with a goal of containing the hotbed of terrorism there, so that there is no spillover effect to Judea and Jerusalem (only recently a senior terrorist was detained in the Jenin refugee camp).

As a result, there have been two developments in recent days.  The first has seen the Palestinian Authority pick up its pace of operations, mainly in Nablus, having realized that it was on the verge of losing control of northern Samaria to the point that it could be toppled.  The second has had the terrorist organizations drive up their terrorist posture – either through leadership figures in Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas making clear statements on likely attacks or in the form of local initiatives by individuals and cells,.  Many of the plots are designed to stage revenge for IDF operations in Judea and Samaria where some 100 Palestinians have died in raids since the beginning of the year, the vast majority of whom were wanted terrorists.

It is unclear if the perpetrators in Saturday’s (8th) attack wanted to hurt security forces or just targeted the first available victims.  It is likely that copycat attacks will follow, meaning that the next few weeks will be marked by high tensions.

As far as Israel’s national security decision-makers are concerned, this requires several quick decisions.  First, should Israel seal off Judea and Samaria for a longer period that extends beyond the Sukkot holiday (which is already in effect)?  Second, should Israel intensify its operations in Palestinian cities in order to bolster deterrence even if this could inflame tensions even further?  Third, should IDF forces be reinforced in Jerusalem with the view – however painful – that it would be better to have them be in the line of fire rather than have civilians killed by terrorists?



Karish Gas Rig Began Pipeline Tests Amid Rising Fears Of War With Hezbollah

Israel began testing the gas rig at the Karish field near the disputed waters with Lebanon on Sunday (9th) in a move that could escalate tensions between the countries.

Over the weekend, Defense Minister Benny Gantz threatened to destroy Lebanon if Hezbollah attacked Israel, but struck an optimistic note about the pending maritime gas deal between Israel and Lebanon, saying it was still on the table and could be concluded “within days.”

“Negotiations are continuing,” Gantz said in interviews he gave on Friday (7th).

Energean, the Greek company that has the license to pump the gas from Karish, was given the green light from Israel to start testing the pipeline and initiated the tests on Sunday morning (9th).  The gas will be pumped from the land station to the sea-based rig to see that the pipe is operational.

Those tests are expected to last a month and if everything works right, the rig could begin pumping gas from beneath the seabed within a few weeks.

Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed terror group which operates in Lebanon, has warned Israel against putting the Karish gas field into service, and the IDF is prepared to respond harshly in such an instance.

“Israel is prepared to reach a deal, but it is also determined to preserve its security and economic interests.  In light of this, I have instructed the IDF to be prepared for an escalation that does not necessarily need to occur,” Gantz said in interviews which were published on Saturday night (8th).

Gantz said he had placed the IDF on high readiness in terms of intelligence, offensive, and defensive operations in the north.

“If Hezbollah makes this mistake and attacks Israel, in any way – by land, sea, or air – Israel will protect itself and attack them, and if it turns into something wider, we will destroy Lebanon,” he warned.



In Complex Logistical Operation: Four Species Distributed To Jews Of Ukraine

Every year, the transfer of the four species to Jews in Ukraine for the holiday of Sukkot involves complex logistics, and this year it was much more complicated due to the lack of flights to the country and the difficulty of reaching the bombed cities.

Despite the difficulties, the Federation of Jewish Communities of Ukraine did not give up and prepared for this ahead of time. The four species (etrog, lulav, hadass and aravah) left Israel for Austria a few weeks ago.  They were then transferred to Hungary, where they underwent a process of sorting and were combined into sets and from there, in a refrigerated vehicle, were sent to the distribution center in the city of Uzhhorod in Ukraine, with the assistance of the city’s chief rabbi and Chabad emissary Rabbi Shlomo Wilhelm.  From Uzhhorod, the sets were delivered all over Ukraine – to the rabbis of the cities and Chabad emissaries and even to small communities where there is no permanent rabbi or emissary – in order to assist Ukrainian Jews in observing the Mitzvot of the Sukkot holiday.

Sets were also sent by the Federation of Jewish Communities of Ukraine to Jewish soldiers in the Donbas region, at their request.

“Not even a war will stop us from continuing to provide religious services to every Jew in Ukraine wherever they may be.  It was challenging, but I’m glad we succeeded, with God’s help,” said the chairman of the organization, Rabbi Meir Stambler. 

The Jewish Holiday of Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) began Sunday evening (9th) and will continue through sundown Sunday (16th).  



Newsboxes Vandalized In Queens, NY With Swastikas

Newspaper racks that contained Jewish publications were vandalized with swastikas over Yom Kippur in Queens, New York.

Assembly Member Daniel Rosenthal took to Twitter to respond to the vandalism saying, “We must be able to feel safe in our neighborhoods.  We must do more.  The continued rise of anti-Semitism is unsustainable and unacceptable.”

“No one was physically harmed, but people are really emotionally upset,” Rosenthal told the Queens Chronicle in an interview.  “At this point, they’re fed up and they want to see just more action and more responsiveness.”

Deputy Inspector Kevin Chan, commanding officer of the 107th Precinct told the Chronicle that “On an average Wednesday, public areas are crowded.  Whoever did this knew that people would be in synagogues that day and the Jewish businesses wouldn’t be open.”

Several Queens elected officials condemned the incident.

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards tweeted as well about the incident saying, “Your act of hate and weakness will do nothing to intimidate our borough.  You fail.  All it will do is bring us closer together as we uplift and support Queens’ proud Jewish community, especially after the holy holidays.”

“I am shocked and outraged over this disgusting vandalism and I condemn it,” Congresswoman Grace Meng, Co-Chair of the House Bipartisan Task Force for Combating Anti-Semitism, said in a statement.  “This anti-Semitism is completely unacceptable, especially during Yom Kippur, which is the holiest day of the year in the Jewish faith.”   

“Hate will never be tolerated in Queens.  There is no place for it in our borough or anywhere in our society and we must all denounce these despicable acts whenever and wherever they occur.”

The local police are investigating the incident and the NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force has been notified, according to multiple sources.