News Digest — 11/23/21

Lapid To Turkey: ‘Shut Down Hamas Offices On Your Soil’

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid on Monday evening (22nd) responded to the recent discovery of a Hamas terrorist network in Judea and Samaria, including east Jerusalem by delivering a message to Turkey.

“Hamas’ offices in Istanbul need to be shut down,” he said.  “We need to prevent these despicable terrorist activities against Israeli civilians anywhere and always.”

Last year, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government bolstered its already close relationship with Hamas by granting Turkish citizenship to senior Hamas members.  The move allowed them to travel freely and enabled them to plot terrorist attacks against Israel and Jewish targets across the globe.

Seven of 12 Hamas operatives who use Turkey as their base of operations have received Turkish citizenship, as well as passports, while another five are in the process of receiving them.  In some cases, the Hamas terrorists are living under Turkish aliases.

“It isn’t just Israel’s duty to act against Hamas terror; it’s the duty of the entire international community.  The countries of the world need to act just as Great Britain did and outlaw Hamas.  I also wish to send a message of appreciation to the Israeli security forces for their decisive action to prevent Hamas terror” the Israeli foreign minister said.

His comments referred to several operations since early September, in which Israel security forces have captured many would-be terrorists in the Hamas organization, including arms and explosives dealers who were in the process of perpetrating terrorist attacks against Israel and Israeli civilians.



Palestinian Who Shot Eli Kay In Jerusalem Calls Family To Follow His Footsteps In His Will

In his last will and testament, terrorist Fadi Abu Shkhaydam called on his family to carry on his legacy.

The 42-year-old teacher, who on Sunday (21st) opened fire on passersby and police in the Old City of Jerusalem, murdered Eliyahu Kay and wounded three others.

Abu Shkhaydam wrote that he had been planning his terrorist attack for a long time.  “I write these words with great joy,” he wrote.  “I end years of hard work with a meeting with God.”

The four-page handwritten document laid out the terrorist’s extreme beliefs.  He also called on his colleagues in the Islamic movement and his students to follow in his footsteps.

“Be patient,” he wrote, “Know that I have chosen this path to please God and to reach heaven.  Anyone who is able to sacrifice life for God – is triumphant.”

Security forces are concerned that Sunday’s (21st) attack could inspire others, claiming religious extremism is hard to monitor and control.  However, the forces are aware of clear signs, and that copycat actors and lone attackers inspired by Abu Shkhaydam’s actions are possible. 

“He was well-off financially, married and a father of children who held two jobs and was not on the radar of intelligence agencies,” sources said.  “He was a terrorist motivated by his faith.”

According to media reports, Abu Shkhaydam traveled to Turkey several times recently.  His son is studying there, and he owns property in that country, however, security officials will be investigating whether he was enlisted to commit his act of terror by Hamas operatives based there and if he had received any training in his visits.

Close associates of Abu Shkhaydam said he had recently been outraged by the fact that Jews were allowed to enter the Temple Mount.

In his will he called on residents of Jerusalem to “protect Al Aqsa Mosque and prepare for Jihad – a holy war.”



Report: IDF Nabs Wife Of Old City Terrorist Who Murdered South Africa Oleh

The wife of terrorist Fadi Abu Shkhaydam who opened fire on Sunday (21st) in Jerusalem has been nabbed by the IDF, Hamas TV reported, according to News 12.

Shkhaydam, 42, from the Arab village of Shuafat, killed South African immigrant Eliyahu David Kay, 26, on Sunday morning (21st) near the Western Wall and injured four other people – including one seriously.

According to the Hamas report, his wife was spotted at the Allenby crossing by soldiers and taken for questioning in the Russian Compound in Jerusalem.  His daughter, according to the report , is still being questioned.

Kay was laid to rest on Monday (22nd) in Jerusalem.  Rabbi Aharon Emergreen was seriously wounded and is currently hospitalized at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem in critical condition.  Three others were moderately to lightly injured in the attack.

Shkhaydam was acting alone, Israeli Police determined, when he arrived in the Old City disguised as an ultra-Orthodox Jew and opened fire.  Security forces quickly responded and neutralized the terrorist.



IDF Thwarts Imminent Hamas Terror Attacks – Arrests 14

The elite Duvdevan IDF unit together with the Shin Bet General Security Service revealed on Monday (22nd) that they nabbed 14 Hamas terrorists in September who were trading weapons and planning terrorist attacks against Israel in the immediate future.

Two soldiers were seriously injured in the operations.

The arrests were carried out with a high-level of professionalism and based on the extraction of quality intelligence.  Some 170 soldiers were involved in the mission.

The fighters first raided an Arab village in Judea and Samaria on September 13 where terrorists had weapons ready to carry out an immediate and lethal attack.  Eight Hamas members were arrested that evening.

Then on September 26, another operation was carried out near a gas station in Jenin where IDF soldiers arrested one wanted Hamas terrorist who was recruited to organize an attack in the immediate future.  That same day, they also entered three other Arab towns in Judea and Samaria and it was in these final operations that two soldiers were seriously injured.

The Duvdevan unit specializes in carrying out targeted operations with flexibility, creativity, professionalism and courage.

Earlier on Monday (22nd), Israeli officials confirmed that recently security forces arrested 50 more Hamas operatives in Judea and Samaria who were in the advanced stages of planning terror attacks.  Weapons and money were seized as well as materials to produce four suicide bomb belts, the IDF said. 



Qatar Eyes ‘Fuel-To-Cash Scheme’ As Part Of Gaza Aid Package

A Hamas official said on Monday (22nd) that Qatar will start sending Gaza up to $10 million worth of Egyptian fuel a month under a plan to fund civil service pay in the impoverished Palestinian enclave ruled by the Islamist terror group.

Qatar, a major Hamas backer, has pledged some $360 million for Gaza’s reconstruction following the Islamist terror groups’ last conflict with Israel in May.

The Gulf energy-rich state has funneled some $1 billion into Gaza since 2012.  Since 2018, it has been providing Hamas with monthly payments averaging $20 million, essentially covering Hamas salaries for its civil servants and providing a monthly $100 stipends to scores of impoverished families.

Last week Qatar announced that it signed agreements with Egypt to supply fuel and building materials to Gaza.

A source familiar with the deal said the agreement would see Hamas sell the fuel to Gaza petrol stations and use the proceeds to pay civil servants, including doctors and teachers.

The initiative would help bypass Israeli curbs on Qatari aid to the enclave which harbors, alongside Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and other terror groups.

Israel used to permit the Gulf state to send millions of dollars into Gaza through Israeli border crossings to support Hamas’ cash-strapped government.  However, Israeli authorities halted the aid in May, because there were no checks on how the money was used.

The Israeli Prime Minister’s Office and Defense Ministry declined to comment on the issue.



Out Of COVID Darkness, Jewish World To Celebrate Festival Of Lights With Global Event

As humanity begins to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic eager for communal experiences, hundreds of Jewish communities and organizations across the globe are planning to hold gatherings this Hanukkah to mark a worldwide rededication of relational communities.

The eight-day holiday starts on the evening of Sunday, Nov. 28, and lasts through the evening of Monday, Dec. 6.

Under the banner, “Hanukkah Homecoming Weekend,” events around the world will be held onsite and online from Dec. 3-5, inviting those engaged and those not-yet-engaged to connect with the community and each other.

“This Hanukkah is such a unique moment as Jewish communities begin returning to a sense of normalcy right at this festive, communal and family-oriented holiday,” said Ron Wolfson, Fingerhut Professor of Education at American Jewish University, which is leading the initiative.

“The events are an opportunity to be part of something greater and special, an exciting opportunity to celebrate not simply the holiday, but what we have all missed so much – our relationships with each other.”

Activities include services, rituals, meals, festivals, community art projects, concerts and candle lightings.

“What an awesome equation to bring together the Jewish community from all over into our synagogues and organizational homes for a grand homecoming after all this time,” said Rabbi Elaine Zecher, senior rabbi of Temple Israel in Boston, a participant in Hanukkah Homecoming Weekend.  “The opportunity to do this together, across the world, truly adds up to a beautiful experience of holiness wherever we find ourselves.”

Added Wolfson: “The message is ‘reunite around the light’ and ‘come home.’”

Organizations are invited to join the Hanukkah Homecoming network and register online.