News Digest — 10/6/22

Netanyahu Hospitalized After Feeling Unwell During Yom Kippur Synagogue Service, Released Thursday

Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu was kept in the hospital overnight Wednesday-Thursday (5th-6th) for observation, having fainted and feeling unwell during a Yom Kippur service Wednesday evening (5th).

After tests at the synagogue where he was praying appeared to be normal, he was driven to Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center.  The hospital said late Wednesday (5th) that it carried out a series of tests on Netanyahu which also seemed normal, and that he felt better, but that it had been decided to keep him overnight for observation.

“Immediately on his arrival, he underwent an assessment and a wide-ranging series of tests all of which came out normal,” the hospital said.  “Former prime minister Netanyahu  is feeling well, and after consultations, it was decided that he should stay in the hospital overnight for observation.”

His doctor, Zvi Herman Berkowitz, was quoted in Hebrew media saying he looked “excellent.”

According to a statement on behalf of the Likud party, Netanyahu, 72, began to feel unwell during the fast day’s final Neila prayer service, at Jerusalem’s Great Synagogue.

According to a report from the Kan public broadcaster, Netanyahu had fainted and suffered chest pains.  He was driven to the hospital by his driver.

Prime Minister Yair Lapid said in a statement that he wished Netanyahu a speedy recovery.

The former prime minister was released from Shaare Zedek Medical center Thursday morning (6th) after all tests performed on him were good.

Netanyahu thanked all the dedicated medical hospital staff for their faithful and hard work. 

Israel goes to its fifth election in less than four years on November 1.  Netanyahu is bidding to oust Lapid, having been prime minister for 12 consecutive years from 2009-21.

Yom Kippur began Tuesday (4th) at sundown and ended Wednesday night (5th).  Also known as the Day of Atonement, the holiday is marked by a 25-hour fast.



IDF Captures Palestinian Suspect During Yom Kippur Raid In West Bank

Israeli security forces arrested a Hamas-affiliated terrorist, during raids conducted during Yom Kippur, suspected of carrying out an attack on a Jewish school bus and a cab for special needs pupils in the West Bank.

35-year-old Salman Imran, a Palestinian resident of Deir al-Hatab, was identified as an ex-prisoner connected to a group of Hamas terrorists planning attacks against Israelis.

IDF troops surrounded Imran’s house in the West Bank village on Wednesday morning (5th) following intelligence gathered by the Shin Bet.  The suspect’s brother was injured during the Israeli forces’ attempt to capture him. 

The Israeli forces were met with gunfire from several directions as they entered the suspect’s village.  In an audio message circulating on social media, Imran said he was engaged in a gunfight with Israeli soldiers and called on other men to join.  IDF soldiers responded with fire, injuring several armed militants, killing one.

Following the exchange of fire, the suspect turned himself in and was detained by Israeli forces.  He will be interrogated by the Shin Bet.

Imran’s early Sunday attack (2nd) began a day of violence near Nablus, in which Palestinians fired volleys of shots at a settler rally, injuring an IDF soldier in the leg.

“These clashes are part of an escalation in our resistance in the West Bank and are our people’s response to what is happening in the blessed Al-Aqsa mosque,” Hamas spokesperson Hazem Qassem told Reuters.



Nablus Governor Advises Gunmen To Surrender To Palestinian Security Forces

The Palestinian Authority has offered members of the Lions’ Den to hand themselves over to the Palestinian security forces and dismantle their armed group, which has been responsible for a spate of shooting attacks on IDF soldiers and Jewish settlers in the Nablus area.

In return, the PA would try to convince Israel to stop pursuing the gunmen.

In the past few days, PA security forces summoned family members of some of the gunmen and advised them to talk to their sons about laying down their weapons, Palestinian sources revealed on Wednesday (5th).  “The goal is to end the phenomenon of the Lion’s Den in order to avoid a disaster in Nablus,” the sources said. 

Earlier this week, the sources told The Jerusalem Post that the PA was considering the possibility of calling on the gunmen to surrender to Palestinian security forces.

A senior Palestinian official told the Post that the PA leadership will not allow a small group of gunmen to drag the Palestinians into a major confrontation with Israel.

“The family members were warned that the activities of their sons could give Israel an excuse to launch a large-scale military operation in Nablus, where many people will be killed or injured,” the sources said.

Ibrahim Ramadan, the PA governor of Nablus, revealed on Wednesday (5th) that he held a number of meetings with members of the Lions’ Den in an attempt to persuade them to surrender to Palestinian security forces.

Ramadan, in an interview with a local Palestinian radio station, said he told the gunmen that the Palestinian security forces would protect them once they complied.

“My offer is still standing if they hear me now,” Ramadan said.  “If they come, we will protect them.  We have no problem with that.  We can reach a solution with the other side [Israel].”

Asked whether the gunmen accepted or rejected the offer, the governor said, “Some of them said they want to think it over, while others said ‘no.’  These are young men who do not realize the true value of their blood.  I’m prepared to go now and bring them from the Old City [of Nablus].”

Ramadan expressed opposition to armed attacks against Israel, saying they were “useless.”

He also criticized Palestinian mothers who sent or encouraged their sons to carry out suicide bombings against Israelis.  “There are abnormal mothers who did send their sons,” Ramadan noted.  “These are not mothers.  No mother sends her son to his death.”

The governor’s criticism of Palestinian mothers drew condemnation from several Palestinians who accused him of “insulting” the mothers of Palestinian “martyrs,” while others called on him to resign.

The Lions’ Den group, which consists of dozens of gunmen affiliated with various factions, including Fatah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, did not comment on Ramadan’s offer that they turn themselves over to the PA security forces.

The group however accused the governor of offending the mothers of “martyrs” and urged him to submit his resignation.

“Our message to the mothers of martyrs: We kiss your hands, feet and heads.  You are the leaders and we are the soldiers,” the Lions’ Den said in a statement.



Morocco Textbooks Emphasize The Country’s Jewish History

School textbooks in the Kingdom of Morocco promote appreciation of Jews and educate students about their contributions to the country, according to an analysis by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

Morocco became in 2020 the first Arab country to include Jewish history in its school curriculum.  The decision was announced after the Abraham Accords normalized relations with Israel.  The ADL’s review of the new curriculum is the first since Israel and Morocco’s rapprochement opened what many hope is a new era in the Middle East.

“The country’s elementary school textbooks depict Jews as an integral part of Moroccan society whose heritage and societal contributions are national assets,” the ADL said last week.  “This poses a contrast to textbooks in other countries in the Middle East and North Africa, where Jews are routinely demonized and positive descriptions of Jews are scarce.”

One example from the curriculum that the ADL cited shared a story titled “Hosted by Sami” about a friendship among three Jewish and Muslim Moroccan youth, Sami, Ibrahim, and Idris.  It continued with Sami’s mother serving the three friends “a mouthwatering dish” called Skinha on the Sabbath.  Ibrahim then invited Sami and Idris to his house the following Friday for another delicious meal from his Moroccan cuisine, as the story continued.

Others textbooks emphasized the Kingdom’s constitutional commitment to anti-discrimination, highlighting its antecedent in the long history of coexistence and cultural exchange between its Christians, Muslims, Jews, and various ethnic groups.

“Moroccan Jews had a strong presence in the countryside and cities,” said a textbook titled “A Thousand Years of Moroccan Jewish History.”  “This facilitated their ability to live in peace with their Muslim compatriots, with whom they shared common interests.”

The ADL also pointed to the curriculum’s commentaries on Jewish blacksmiths, farmers, and scientists, and the addition of Holocaust studies to the curriculum.

“The philo-Semitism expressed in the textbooks is a reflection of the centuries-long existence of Jews in Morocco, the relative security and comforts the Jewish community has enjoyed over the years, as well as the kingdom’s principled stance against any form of discrimination and religious fanaticism, including that which could lead to violence,” the ADL concluded.

Other nations in the Middle East are “slowly making progress towards eradicating anti-Semitism from its curriculum and acknowledging Jewish contributions to culture and civic society,” Israel education watchdog Impact-se – which has issued reports on Israeli, Palestinian, Iranian, Turkish, and a range of other curricula across the Middle East – reported in July.   



Antisemitism On Yom Kippur: Rock Thrown At Synagogue In Germany

A rock was thrown at the women’s section at the Orthodox synagogue in the German city of Hanover during Yom Kippur prayers on Wednesday (5th), Channel 12 reported.  The rock shattered one of the windows of the building, but there were no reports of injuries.

The local police confirmed the details and launched an investigation.

Members of the Jewish community said that about 150 worshipers were at the synagogue during Yom Kippur.  Towards the end of the prayer service, a loud sound was heard that startled those present, and after a search, it was discovered that a window had been broken in the back of the synagogue.

The Channel 12 report stated that unlike other synagogues throughout the country, the synagogue in Hanover does not have Israeli security guards.

Last year, four people were arrested in Germany on suspicion of planning an attack during Yom Kippur on the synagogue in the city of Hagen.

Three years ago, a gunman shot dead two people outside a synagogue in the city of Halle during Yom Kippur prayers.