News Digest — 10/14/19

Happy Sukkot! Ancient Festival Commemorates Journey Of Jews To The Holy Land

Sukkot is one of the three pilgrimage festivals where Jews are enjoined in the Bible to come to Jerusalem.  It commemorates the journey of the people of Israel from Egypt to the Land of Israel.

The holiday memorializes how God protected the Jewish people for 40 years as they wandered the desert after they left Egypt.  During that time, they lived in temporary shelters known as sukkot, which literally means “booths.”

It is also a harvest festival, which is why it is also referred to in the Bible as Chag HaAsif or “Festival of Ingathering” in addition to Chag HaSukkot.

Sukkot lasts seven days in Israel and eight days in the Diaspora.

On each day of the holiday, it is required to perform a wave ceremony with the Four Species, or four plants mentioned in the Bible: citron, palm, myrtle and willow.

As written in Leviticus 23:40: “And you shall take on the first day the fruit of splendid trees, branches of palm trees and boughs of leafy trees and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days.”

Sukkot is the only holiday during which Gentiles were invited to celebrate with the Jews by coming to the Temple.

In a nod to this tradition, the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem has brought thousands of Christians from around the world to Israel’s capital for the past 39 years for an annual Feast of Tabernacles celebration that includes a Jerusalem March to the Old City in support of Israel.

The celebration of Sukkot began Sunday night (13th) at sundown and will end on Sunday evening the 20th.



Netanyahu Hosts IDF Lone Soldiers In His Sukkah

Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday (13th) hosted a group of IDF lone soldiers in his sukkah at the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem, and spoke with the lone soldiers’ parents by video.

Speaking at the event, just hours before the Sukkot festival began Sunday evening (13th), Prime Minister Netanyahu told the lone soldiers, who came to Israel from Italy, the Ukraine, and Australia, that Israel needed the kind of unity symbolized by the four species of Sukkot.

“There are three soldiers here who immigrated to Israel from Australia, Ukraine, and Italy to serve in the IDF and I told them that the four species symbolize the unity of the Jewish people – and the unity that we need so much in the country,” Netanyahu said

“I would like to take this opportunity to again, wish a good year to all citizens of Israel and to the soldiers – men and women – who are serving and defending our state around the clock, not just on holidays.  A good year and a happy Sukkot to you.”

The Prime Minister spoke with the lone soldiers, combat engineer Sgt, Eddie Laufer, Jordan Valley Brigade 37th Battalion Cpl. Aleksandra Vodenskov and Givati Brigade Sgt. Alexander Sachs, and heard their personal stories about their connection with their families and about their service in the IDF.  The Prime Minister also told them about his military service. 

The Prime Minister also telephoned the soldiers’ parents and offered New Year and holiday greetings.



Iran’s New Crop Of Revolutionary Guards Insult Israel In Graduation Ceremony

Cadets at a graduation ceremony of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards in Tehran on Sunday (13th), painted Israeli flags on the soles of their boots in a gesture of contempt toward the State of Israel, Iran’s Tasnim News Agency reported.

The graduation ceremony of “student officers and guards trainees” took place in Imam Ali Officers’ Academy.  Iran’s Supreme Leader and commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces – Ayatollah Khamenei – was in attendance.

Iran has repeatedly threatened Israel with annihilation.  It has sent its proxies, Hezbollah in Lebanon and Islamic Jihad in Gaza, against Israel.  

In his speech at the military academy, Khamenei said, “The Guards should have advanced and modern weapons…  They should be developed at home. You need to develop and produce your own weapons.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has promised that Israel will not allow Iran to obtain nuclear weapons.

Most recently, on October 10, at a memorial for the fallen of the Yom Kippur War, Netanyahu said, “Iran threatens to wipe us off the map and says it explicitly: ‘Israel will disappear.’ Time and time again, it threatens us and tries to attack us, so we must stand ready to defend ourselves in the face of danger.”

“Israel will defend itself, on its own, in the face of every threat.  We have the overwhelming power of arms and spirit to repel any Iranian threat,” he said.

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, has been described as a state-within-a-state. It controls a large percentage of the Iranian economy and answers directly to the Supreme Leader.  It was formed in the aftermath of Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, which brought the ayatollahs to power, and was created to ensure their rule.



 Gen. Amidror: U.S. Pullout In Syria Will Not Change Much For Israel – Raphael Ahren

→ In the wake of the U.S. withdrawal from northeast Syria, former Israeli national security advisor Maj. Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror believes not much will change, in practical terms, for Israel’s security.  “I don’t think Israel needs to be worried,” he said in an interview Thursday (10th).

→ “There are regional groups like the Kurds that need the U.S. to protect them.  Israel, when it was founded, made the decision that it should never depend on anyone for its security.”

→ This is not always easy to implement; it requires a universal draft and enormous financial resources, noted Amidror.  On the other hand, it puts Israel in a different league than many European states, Saudi Arabia, and the Kurds, who all depend on America for their safety.

→ “We understand that the Middle East from now on will have to manage without influence, or with less influence, from the Americans.”  The U.S. will continue to exert economic pressure on Iran, he stressed.

→ “According to foreign reports, we struck in Syria more than 200 times.  The U.S. didn’t strike the Iranians even once. Therefore, it is on us, not on them.  The job of fighting the Iranians and their influence was always done by us. Our ability to continue to do that will not be limited once the Americans are out.”

→ “We dealt with the Iranian aggression until now without the Americans, when they still were in the Middle East.  We were alone in this ‘war between wars,’ as we call it. The fact that they are pulling out does not mean any significant change.  It’s more about psychology.”



PA Rebuilds Home Of Terrorist Family – Maurice Hirsch

Making good on promises made by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, the PA has financed the rebuilding of the home of a terrorist who also has five terrorist brothers – all of whom murdered Jews.  The mother of the terrorists – Um Nasser Abu Hmeid – is the focus of constant PA attention, simply because she is the mother of multiple murderers.

The Palestinian news network Raya reported on September 2: “The rebuilding of the four-story house [immediately after it was demolished in January] is being conducted with full vigor, and the construction of the first floor is already finished.  It is being funded by the PA Leader’s Office… Um Nasser thanked PA Leader Abbas for his support for her family.”

Official PA radio said, “We are always proud of Um Nasser Abu Hmeid and her fighting children.”

The Nasser Abu Hmeid family is responsible for at least 10 murders.  Since five members of the family are in prison serving life sentences and another was killed, the PA pays the family $10,800 a month.  Over the years, the PA has paid the family over $1 million.