News Digest — 11/28/22

Likud, Religious Zionist Party Reportedly Made Headway As Coalition Deadline Nears

Israel’s Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu met for several hours with Bezalel Smotrich’s far-right Religious Zionist Party on Sunday (27th), with his Likud Party reporting “progress in all matters.”

Efforts between the two parties to strike a coalition deal will continue on Monday (28th), according to a Likud statement.

Netanyahu spent the day meeting with the heads of the likely coalition parties, forming deals to create the country’s next government, before meeting with Smotrich.

Netanyahu confirmed an agreement with the one-man Noam faction, which will see far-right lawmaker Avi Maoz becoming a deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Office.

On Friday (25th) Netanyahu reached a preliminary agreement with the far-right Otzma Yehudit Party, led by MK Itamar Ben-Gvir.  As part of the agreement, Ben-Gvir will assume the role of national security minister – an expanded version of the existing public security portfolio.

Netanyahu received the presidential nod to form a government two weeks ago, yet political disagreements between the parties have delayed the likely incoming right-wing government from being sworn in.  Netanyahu has just over a week to present his government for a Knesset confidence vote, but the president may extend that deadline.

The recent agreements bring Israel one step closer to preventing another round of elections, after Israelis went to their fifth election in four years on November 1.



PA Security Forces Thwart Attacks Planned By Palestinian Islamic Jihad

A series of large bomb attacks by the Islamic Jihad was thwarted in the Jenin area, Kan 11 News reported on Sunday (27th). 

According to the report, a large and unusual number of explosive devices and explosives intended to be used to carry out a series of attacks against Israel was seized on Thursday (24th) in a special operation by Palestinian Arab security forces.

Two jihadists who planned this series of attacks were arrested during the operation. The forces seized five explosive devices, six pipe bombs and a large number of explosives.  The equipment was seized in Islamic Jihad explosives laboratories located in the vicinity of Jenin and Tubas.

The operation taking place in the Jenin area is significant, as the Palestinian Authority has shown difficulty in obtaining governance in the region in recent months.

The counterterrorism operation is intended, among other things, to signal the PA’s insistence of trying to restore order.  It follows last week’s double-bombing in Jerusalem in which two Israelis were killed.  In addition, the body of Druze teen, Tiran Fero, was snatched in Jenin, after he was taken to a hospital in the city following a car accident.



2nd Victim Of Jerusalem Twin Terror Bombings Succumbed To Injuries, Laid To Rest

A man wounded in Wednesday’s (23rd) twin terror bombings in Jerusalem succumbed to his wounds Saturday (26th).

Fifty-year-old Tadasa Tashume Ben Ma’ada immigrated from Ethiopia more than two decades ago and was the father of six children.

“The trauma and intensive care teams at Shaare Zedek fought for his life, but unfortunately his injuries were critical,” said a statement from the city’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center.  “We share in the family’s deep sorrow and send our condolences” it added. 

Israeli Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu also offered condolences on Twitter: “On behalf of all the citizens of Israel, I send my heartfelt condolences to the family of Tadasa Tashume Ben Ma’ada…Last week, I visited his devoted family who surrounded him with love, and the doctors who fought valiantly to save his life,  I embrace the family at this difficult time.  May his memory be a blessing.”

Tadasa Tashume Ben Ma’ada’s funeral was held on Sunday (27th) with hundreds of mourners in attendance

Outgoing Aliyeh and Integration Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata spoke at the funeral as a representative of the government.

“Our consolation is that Tadasa, together with his family, got to make aliyah to the Land of Israel, which he loved so much and prayed so fervently to reach,” said Tamano-Shata.  “The bitter enemy will not defeat us.  “We will not let terrorists break our people’s spirit.  The State of Israel will hunt down every terrorist until full justice is served.”

She concluded by saying, “Together we are strong.  In the name of the Israeli government, I share in your grief.  May Tadasa Tashume’s memory be a blessing.”

Tadasa Tashume Ben Ma’ada is the second victim to have been killed in the double terrorist bombing, the first being 16-year-old Arye Shechopek, who was buried Wednesday evening (23rd).



Hamas Lauds Child Ping-Pong Player Who Refused To Compete Against Israeli

The Gaza-based Hamas terror group praised an 11-year-old girl for forfeiting a match at an international table tennis tournament, rather than face an Israeli opponent.

Lebanese national Bissan Chiri withdrew from the World Table Tennis (WTT) Youth Star Contender Vila Nova de Gaia 2022 in Portugal because she was slated to compete against an Israeli player, 15-year-old Eleanor Davidov.

On Saturday (26th), an Hamas spokesperson hailed Chiri’s move as an “honorable Arab position that reflects the Lebanese people’s genuine sense of belonging” to the Palestinian cause.

In his statement, the Hamas spokesman emphasized that such a move “confirms that all Arab and Muslim generations refuse all forms of normalization with the Israeli occupation.”

He said that, “Lebanon has some of the strictest laws in the world against ‘normalization’ with Israel which carries heavy penalties, though sometimes enforcement of the law is inconsistent.”

Lebanese nationals who speak to Israelis while abroad could be prosecuted and charged with sedition or spying.  The consequences for such a conviction could include a lengthy prison term or even the death penalty, though capital punishment has not been carried out by the Lebanese government since 2004.

It is unclear if 11-year-old Chiri’s decision was based on opposition to the Jewish State or because of concern for her and her family’s safety in Lebanon.

While athletes refusing to compete against Israelis have often been praised by terror groups, there are typically serious consequences for these moves.

Algerian judoka Fethi Nourine and his coach were banned for 10 years from competing internationally due to his refusal to face an Israeli opponent at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

“It is evident that the two Algerian judoka, with malicious intent, have used the Olympic Games as a platform for protest and promotion of political and religious propaganda, which is a clear and serious breach of the IJF Statutes, the IJF Code of Ethics and the Olympic Charter,” the International Judo Federation said in a statement at the time.

“Therefore, no other penalty than a severe suspension can be imposed in this case.”



Candidate For Prime Minister Of Canada Pledges: I Will Move Our Embassy To Jerusalem

The head of the Conservative Party of Canada, Pierre Poilievre, announced that if he wins the elections for Prime Minister, he will move the Canadian embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Poilievre, who is serving as the head of the opposition in Canada, made the remarks at a meeting that was held in the Canadian Parliament in the capital city of Ottawa.  Among those present at the meeting were Chaim Silberstein and Ran Ishay, two members of the “Keep Jerusalem” organization, which aims to promote research and policy regarding the preservation of Jerusalem as the united capital of Israel.

Pierre Poilievre said at the briefing that “during the election campaign I said that I recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and today as the leader of the opposition, the Conservative Party and a sitting member of parliament, I once again say clearly and unequivocally – Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and when I am elected Prime Minister of Canada, I will see to it that the embassy is moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.”

The head of “Keep Jerusalem,” Chaim Silberstein, expressed great satisfaction with the Conservative Party leader’s position and said that “the purpose of his visit was to hear a clear official statement from the leader of the opposition, and this goal was fully achieved.”

Ran Ishay, who previously served as the Director General of the Jerusalem Ministry and a diplomatic advisor at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, added, “I believe that this is another step of many when it comes to changing policy in the international arena in relation to a united Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.”

The meeting was held as part of the efforts of “Keep Jerusalem” to influence various countries to create a positive policy towards the new government in Jerusalem through the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the need to relocate their embassies to it as a confidence-building measure.



Khamenei’s Niece Slams Iran’s ‘Child-Killing Regime’ In Video

The niece of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei described authorities led by her uncle as a “murderous and child-killing regime,” in an online video uploaded by her brother on Saturday (26th) after her apparent arrest on unclear charges.

Farideh Moradkhani comes from a branch of the family that has a record of opposition to Iran’s clerical leadership and has herself been jailed previously in the country.

Her brother Mahmoud Moradkhani wrote on Twitter that she was arrested on Wednesday (23rd) after going to the office of the prosecutor following a summons.

Then on Saturday (26th), her brother posted a video on YouTube, with the link shared on Twitter, in which she condemned the “clear and obvious oppression” Iranians have been subjected to, and criticized the international community’s inaction.

“Free people, be with us!  Tell your governments to stop supporting this murderous and child-killing regime,” she said.  “This regime is not loyal to any of its religious principles and does not know any law or rule except force and maintaining its power in any way possible.”

She compared her uncle to Hitler and Mussolini.  She said Iranians will overthrow the Islamic Republic.  Her uncle has had her arrested in the past.

It was not clear when the video had been recorded.

She complained that the sanctions imposed against the regime over its crackdown were “laughable” and said Iranians had been left “alone” in their fight for freedom.

Moradkhani is the daughter of Khamenei’s sister Badri, who fell out with her family in the 1980s and fled to Iraq at the peak of the war with Iran’s neighbor.  She joined her husband the dissident cleric Ali Tehrani.

Moradkhani has gained prominence as an anti-death penalty activist and was last arrested in January this year.

That arrest came after an October 2021 video conference in which she lavishly praised Farah Diba, the widow of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, who was ousted by the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) said she was released on bail in April and her arrest last Wednesday (23rd) was to begin serving an existing 15-year sentence.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, around 14,000 people have been arrested over the protests that began after the death of Mahsa Amini, following her arrest by so-called morality police.

At least 416 people, including children have been killed in the crackdown, according to Norway-based Iran Human Rights (IHR).