News Digest — 11/15/22

6 People Injured, 2 Dead In Ariel Stabbing Attack – 2 Attackers Suspected

Six Israelis were injured, five of them seriously, in a stabbing attack in the West Bank city of Ariel on Tuesday (15th).  Two died of their wounds, according to reports. 

According to Magen David Adom emergency services, a Palestinian man stabbed a security guard near the entrance of the Ariel Industrial Park.  The 35-year-old guard was moderately wounded and the attacker was shot by security forces.

In another location, another Palestinian man stabbed three people at the ‘Ten’ gas station before fleeing in a vehicle and crashed into several cars on Highway 5 near the city.  He then got out of the car and stabbed another man before he was shot.

According to MDA, EMTs and paramedics were providing medical treatment to three people with stab wounds at the ‘Ten’ gas station, one man in his 40s in critical condition and one man in his 40s in serious condition.

MDA also treated two injured people on Highway 5, one man in his 50s who was injured in the crash and another 35-year-old who was stabbed – both were critically wounded.

IDF troops are scanning the area to make certain that no additional attackers fled the scene.

Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan said “The person who stands behind this wave of terror is the terrorist in the suit, Mahmoud Abbas.  The Israeli government must mark him as a security target.  The Palestinian Authority is behind this wave of terror.”

Far-right Otzma Yehudit leader Ben Gvir, who wants to be appointed Public Security Minister, said that the incoming government “will do everything to eradicate terrorism and restore security to the citizens of Israel.”

The attack comes as the military continues with its Operation Break the Wave against Palestinian terrorism.  It began in April after 20 people were killed in Israel during terror attacks.  Since then, another 10 civilians have been killed, along with four security forces.  Numerous others have been injured.

The focus of the military has been in the northern West Bank, where 70-75% of warnings regarding future attacks originate.  Though several attacks have occurred in the south, they remain few.

Over 2,000 Palestinians have been arrested by security forces during nightly raids and over 130 Palestinians have been killed in clashes with Israeli troops or while carrying out terrorist attacks against Israelis.



25th Knesset To Be Sworn In Tuesday

Israel’s twenty-fifth Knesset will be sworn in on Tuesday (15th), featuring 23 new lawmakers elected for the first time in the general election two weeks ago.

The swearing-in ceremony is set to begin at 4:00 p.m. Tuesday afternoon in the Knesset building, during which all 120 MKs-elect will take the oath of office.

The newly sworn-in MKs are then scheduled to gather for a toast, with faction leaders meeting with President Isaac Herzog and Supreme Court Chief Justice Esther Hayut for the traditional inauguration group photograph.

Opposition Leader Benjamin Netanyahu had hoped to bring his new coalition government to the Knesset for approval Tuesday (15th) immediately following the swearing-in ceremony but must first resolve lingering questions regarding the allocation of key ministerial positions, chief among them, Religious Zionist Party MK Bezalel Smotrich’s demand to be appointed Defense Minister.

Netanyahu, according to a report Monday night (14th) by Channel 12 – is opposed to appointing Smotrich – whose only experience in the Cabinet was during a brief tenure as Transportation Minister – as Defense Minister, and is seeking to convince Shas chairman Aryeh Deri to take the Defense Ministry portfolio rather than the Finance Ministry, allowing Smotrich to be appointed Finance Minister.

Netanyahu who was formally tasked by President Herzog on Sunday (13th) with forming a new government, has until December 11th to reach coalition agreements with Shas, United Torah Judaism, The Religious Zionist Party, Otzma Yehudit, and Noam.



Leaders Of Jordan, Sudan Congratulate Netanyahu

The leaders of Jordan and Sudan congratulated Israeli Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu on his November 1st election victory.

Jordanian King Abdullah II and Netanyahu spoke by phone Monday (14th), in which King Abdullah congratulated the prime minister-designate on his winning the Nov. 1 elections, although no further details of the conversation were released.  The two men had an up-and-down relationship during Netanyahu’s previous 12-year tenure as premier, with Amman regularly publicly slamming alleged Israeli violations of the religious status quo in Jerusalem, foremost as they relate to the Temple Mount, where the Al-Aqsa Mosque is located.

The countries’ 1994 peace treaty recognized the king of Jordan as custodian of the Muslim holy places atop the compound, which is Judaism’s holiest site.

Abdullah has also regularly criticized Israeli policies vis-a-vis the Palestinians.

Sudanese military ruler Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan sent a letter to Netanyahu also congratulating him and  expressing a desire to “continue the cooperation between us to advance ties in all fields for the benefit of citizens in both countries,” according to the prospective Israeli prime minister’s office.

Sudan previously moved to normalize ties with Israel, although the thaw in relations was largely frozen after last year’s military coup in Khartoum upended a power-sharing agreement meant to pave the way to civilian rule.

Netanyahu met with Burham in February 2020 in Uganda.

Netanyahu received the mandate to form Israel’s next government from President Isaac Herzog on Sunday (13th).

In his subsequent speech, he promised to work to bring about more peace agreements between Israel and Arab countries, which would be based on “peace through strength – peace in exchange for peace.”



AJC Praises Nations For Backing UN Session Addressing Iranian Abuse Of Protesters

The American Jewish Committee (AJC) applauded Germany and Iceland for being leading voices calling for a special session of the UN Human Rights Council to address Iran’s abuse of peaceful protesters.

The meeting in Geneva on November 24 will discuss “the deteriorating human rights situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran, especially with respect to women and children.”  It will be the first time Iran is the subject of a Human Rights Council special session, the AJC noted.

“The Human Rights Council has a responsibility to hold the Iranian regime accountable for its brazen, violent crackdown on its own citizens.  The international community’s credibility is on the line,” AJC CEO Ted Deutch said.  “We salute Germany and Iceland for mobilizing 44 countries, including the 17 Council members required to ask Council President Federico Villegas to convene the special session on Iran.”

More than 300 people, including 41 children, have been killed by iranian forces since the September 16 death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini at the hands of the “morality police.”  As many as 14,000 have been arrested, according to the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Iran.

As the Iranian regime continued its deadly crackdown on protests, AJC lobbied nations to urgently address iranian human rights abuses, including holding a series of diplomatic meetings in the US and Europe, as well as an online campaign.

The AJC’s Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights recommended that the Council adopt a resolution at the special session creating a new independent international mechanism on Iran, to investigate, report publicly, and ensure accountability for extensive human rights violations by the Islamic Republic and strengthen the capacity of the Special Rapporteur on human rights in Iran.



Huge 100-Year-Old Jewish Mass Grave Discovered In Moldova

An enormous mass grave dating back to the Russian Revolution has been discovered in the Transnistria region of Moldova – most of the dead bodies belonged to Jews who were accused of opposing the communist regime.

Moldova’s Chief Rabbi Pinchas Salzman, who has launched an initiative to disinter the dead bodies and give them a proper Jewish burial, said the discovery was “shocking.”

The grave was uncovered during construction at an old military base near Tiraspol, the capital of Transnistria, after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.  Transnistria is a separatist state under Russian military control whose independence from Moldova is not recognized internationally.

The grave, which is the third grave of its kind in the region, contains the remains of thousands of bodies of people killed between 1917-1930 – most of whom were shot – under the bloody rules of Vladimir Lenin and his successor Joseph Stalin.  According to estimates, there are six or seven more mass graves with the numbers of Jews buried in them reaching into the tens of thousands.

Excavators also discovered thousands of documents recording the names and details of those killed, including women and children, in each of the mass graves and the crime for which they were sentenced to death.  The documents also describe the lives of Jewish people under communist rule, the Jewish schools that were active underground, the effort they made to contact Jewish organizations in the world, and the local organizations which carried out Jewish activities in hiding.

The President of the Republic, Vadim Krasnoselski, reached out to Salzman, and asked that the perished victims finally receive the respect they deserve with a proper burial and a monument erected in their memory.

“The earth is soaked in the blood of innocent Jews and non-Jews – during that time terrible acts were committed on our land that deserve all condemnation, and our job is to make sure that such acts do not happen again, God forbid,” Krasnoselski said.

Together with Yuriy Kreichman, chairman of the Jewish community in Tiraspol, and volunteers from all over the world, Salzman has begun a process of mapping the mass graves for proper burial, taking care not to “disturb the rest of the murdered, according to Jewish law,” he said.

“It’s incomprehensible to the human mind, to think of how the communist government treated people just because of their religion and beliefs,” he added.



Jewish Woman And Her Son Shot At With Pellet Gun In Brooklyn

A Jewish woman and her son were attacked by three men in Brooklyn last week who fired a gel gun at them, police sources said.

The pellet gun attack is being investigated as a hate crime, the New York Post reported.

The three assailants fired the plastic water-filled pellets from a white Infiniti sedan at the 47-year-old woman and her 23-year-old son as they walked down the street in the Kent and Park avenues area of Brooklyn, police said.

The woman and her son called 911 and the NYPD was able to stop the vehicle near the area.

According to police sources, the driver was Jacob Hernandez, 38, who was charged with assault – assault as a hate crime, aggravated assault, criminal possession of a weapon, along with a motor vehicle violation.

The two passengers in the car received similar charges.

Hernandez was held on bail on Thursday (10th), but the other two suspects were let go on supervised release.