News Digest — 11/10/22

IDF Arrest Jenin Terrorist Responsible For Death Of Police Commando

A member of the terrorist squad responsible for the death of IDF soldier Noam Raz earlier this year was arrested in Jenin by IDF troops on Wednesday morning (9th).

Following intelligence information from the Shin Bet, IDF troops entered Jenin in a rare daytime raid on Wednesday (9th), arresting 23-year-old Tzedki Ahmed Ali Marai.

According to the IDF, Marai has been involved in a number of other shooting attacks against IDF soldiers in the past, in addition to the shooting in which Raz was killed.

During the arrest, Palestinian gunmen exchanged fire with the IDF soldiers on the scene, resulting in the death of one Palestinian who threw an explosive device in the direction of the soldiers.

A number of illegally acquired weapons were seized by the IDF, and no injuries were sustained by Israeli forces.

47-year-old YAMAM officer Noam Raz was killed during clashes in Jenin in May 2022.

IDF troops, the Shin Bet and Israel Border Police units, continuing Operation Break the Wave, operated across the West Bank on Wednesday night (9th), arresting five people wanted on suspicion of terrorism and confiscating illegal weapons.

In Ayda and Al’Aza outside of Bethlehem, Israel’s security forces arrested two people suspected of terrorist involvement, and in the village of Burka near Ramallah, another wanted person was arrested and an illegally acquired Carlo submachine gun was confiscated.

There were also arrests made in Dura, near Hebron, and additional weapons were seized.

The arrested individuals were transferred for further questioning.  No casualties were sustained by Israeli forces.



Airstrikes On Iranian Militias In Eastern Syria Blamed On Israel

Unidentified aircraft targeted sites belonging to Iranian militias along the border between Iraq and Syria on Tuesday night (8th), according to Syrian, Iraqi and pro-Iranian media, with Iran-backed militias placing the blame on Israel.

The strikes were first reported by the Iraqi Sabareen news channel which is affiliated with militias backed by Iran.  The channel initially blamed the US for carrying out the strikes near the Al-Qaim border crossing and claimed that 25 people were killed, although no official source has confirmed this report.

Sabareen and additional news sites reported that fuel tankers carrying Iranian gasoline for Lebanon were hit.

The Hezbollah-affiliated Al-Mayadeen  news blamed Israel for the airstrikes, adding that two oil tankers were hit in the strike, but denying that any casualties were reported.

The local Deir Ezzor 24 newsite reported that unidentified aircraft targeted a site belonging to Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Forces near Al-Bukamal in the Deir Ezzor region of eastern Syria, injuring two members of the militia and causing severe material damage.

Jabbar al-Maamouri, a leader in the pro-Iran Iraqi Coordination Framework, told the news outlet Baghdad Today that Israeli drones targeted an Iranian fuel shipment headed towards Lebanon.  According to Maamouri, the strikes caused casualties and material damage.

People familiar with the attack told The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday (9th) that the airstrikes targeted vehicles suspected of smuggling Iranian weapons, destroying several vehicles, and killing at least 10 people.

The vehicles are believed to have been transporting munitions and missiles, alongside oil, according to the report.

BBC reporter Nafiseh Kohnavard reported that a senior US official had confirmed that airstrikes were conducted by an unidentified party in the area and not the US.



President Herzog Begins Process Of Choosing Next Prime Minister

President Isaac Herzog received the results of last week’s elections for the 25th Knesset on Wednesday (9th) and began his consultations with representatives of the parties which were elected to the Knesset.

The party representatives will make their recommendations for who should be given the task of forming a government, a process which will continue until Friday (11th).

Likud Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to receive the recommendation of 64 MKs and therefore be given the task of forming a government.

Likud MK Yariv Levin said in a meeting with President Herzog, “We recommend Benjamin Netanyahu as the one to accept the task of forming a government.  It was an election campaign in which the question at the center was clear – who wanted a government headed by Netanyahu and who wanted a different government.”

MK Miri Regev added that “the main issue we will deal with is the Jewish identity of the state because there was a prime minister here who did not visit the Western Wall even once during his tenure.”

Likud Chairman Netanyahu wants to swear in a new government this coming Wednesday (16th), at the same time as the swearing in of the Knesset.



Report: Iran Claims To Have Built A Hypersonic Ballistic Missile

Iran has built a hypersonic ballistic missile, the semi-official Tasnim news agency quoted the Revolutionary Guards’ aerospace commander as saying, in remarks likely to heighten concerns about Iranian missile capabilities.

“This missile has a high speed and can maneuver in and out of the atmosphere.  It will target the enemy’s advanced anti-missile systems and is a big generational leap in the field of missiles,” Commander Ali Hajizadeh was quoted as saying.

Hypersonic missiles can fly at least five times faster than the speed of sound and on a complex trajectory, which makes them difficult to intercept.

However, there have been no reports of such a missile being tested by Iran and, while the Islamic Republic has developed a large domestic arms industry in the face of international sanctions and embargoes, Western military analysts say Iran sometimes exaggerates its weapons capabilities.

Concerns about Iran’s ballistic missiles did however contribute to a US decision in 2018 under then-President Donald Trump to pull out of the nuclear pact that Tehran signed with world powers in 2015.

Last week, Iran said it tested the Ghaem-100, its first three-stage space launch vehicle, which would be able to place satellites weighing 180 pounds into an orbit 300 miles from the earth’s surface, according to state media.

The United States has called such actions “destabilizing” as it believes space launch vehicles could be used to transport a nuclear warhead.

Iran denies wanting to develop a nuclear weapon.



Lights On In Synagogues Worldwide In Memory Of Kristallnacht

Hundreds of synagogues in Israel and around the world turned on their lights on Wednesday (9th) to commemorate the 84th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the night between November 9th and 10th, 1938, when the Nazis carried out pogroms against Jews all over Germany and Austria.

Synagogues and Jewish-owned businesses were burned down and their windows smashed; hundreds of Jews were murdered, and thousands were arrested and sent to concentration camps.

This is the 15th year in which the project is being led by the Kibbutz HaDati (The Religious Kibbutz Movement) and has been adopted by the Chief Rabbinate, Tzohar Rabbinic Organization, World Bnei Akiva, the World Union of Synagogues and other organizations.

The custom of turning on synagogue lights throughout the night has been adopted by hundreds of synagogues in Israel, Europe, the United States, South America and Australia.

Two synagogues in Kyiv and Kharkiv also left their lights on, despite Ukraine’s war with Russia.

Dalia Yohanan, one of the project’s initiators recalled that her father, who was in Germany on Kristallnacht in 1938, was very moved that synagogues were being lit up in remembrance of that terrible dark night years ago.

Lighting up synagogues on the same night that the lights went out in November 1938, “is meant to tell the Kristallnacht story, and remember that terrible and dark night” Yohanan said.



Oldest Inscription In Canaanite Language Found In Israel

A joint team of Israeli and US archaeologists have found an ancient comb dating back some 3,700 years ago and bearing what is likely the oldest known full sentence in Canaanite alphabetical script, according to an article published Wednesday (9th).

The ivory comb found at the Tel Lachish archaeological site in southern Israel bears the inscription “May this [ivory] tusk root out the lice of the hair and the beard.”

A team from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Southern Adventist University in the United States made the discovery, under the direction of Professors Yosef Garfinkel, Michael Hasel and Martin Klingbeil.

Their findings were published in the Jerusalem Journal of Archaeology.

“This is the first sentence ever found in the ancient Canaanite language in Israel,” Garfinkel said.  “There are Canaanites in Ugarit in Syria, but they (the ancient Canaanites) wrote in a different script, not the alphabet that is used today.  The ancient Canaanite cities are mentioned in Egyptian documents, the Amarna letters that were written in Akkadian, and in the Hebrew Bible.  The comb inscription is direct evidence for the use of the alphabet in daily activities some 3,700 years ago.  This is a landmark in the history of the human ability to write.”    

The elephant ivory for the ancient comb with the 17 Canaanite letters was likely imported from neighboring Egypt, a sign that even the elites of the time suffered from lice.