News Digest — 11/3/22

Police Officers Stabbed In Terror Attack Near Jerusalem Temple Mount

At least two police officers were wounded in a terrorist stabbing attack at an entrance to the Temple Mount Thursday morning (3rd).

The attack occurred adjacent to the Iron Gate, near the Muslim Quarter on the western side of the holy site.

According to initial reports, an Israeli police officer, roughly 40 years of age, was wounded in the attack.  He is currently listed in moderate condition.  A second officer, about 25 years of age, was also treated for injuries after the attack.

Police shot the terrorist, although his condition has not been reported.  

MDA and United Hatzalah emergency first responders, who were called to the scene, treated the victims before evacuating them to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in the capital.

“I provided assistance to two wounded people who were conscious,” said Yechiel Stern, a paramedic from United Hatzalah.

“After that, they were directed to continue receiving medical treatment at the hospital.”

Following the attack, police evacuated Jewish visitors from the Temple Mount.

“A short time ago, a report was filed with the police regarding a terrorist who stabbed police officers in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem,” a police spokesperson said Thursday morning (3rd).

“The terrorist was shot and neutralized and police forces were dispatched to the scene.”

“The twilight of the Gantz-Lapid government is coming to an end with yet another terrorist stabbing attack” said MK Itamar Ben-Gvir, chairman of the Otzma Yehudit faction in the Religious Zionist Party.

“The time has come to restore order.  The time has come for there to be a “landlord” here; the time has come for terrorists to be eliminated when they go out to carry out attacks!  I wish a full recovery to the victims.”

The stabbings come a day after a car ramming attack in Beit Horon on Wednesday (2nd), in which an IDF officer was injured.  The officer fired back at the Palestinian, killing him.



Israeli President Isaac Herzog Preparing To Assign Task Of Forming Government Next Week

Next week, after receiving the official and final election results from the Chairman of the Central Election Commission, Judge Yitzhak Amit and President Isaac Herzog will hold consultations at the President’s Residence with the various political parties elected to the 25th Knesset on the subject of who should be given the task of forming the next government.

The results of the official elections will be published in the records and delivered to the President of the State at the end of eight days from the day of the elections in accordance with the provisions of the law.  According to the schedule, the chairman of the Central Election Committee will submit the result to the President on Wednesday, November 9, 2022.

According to standard practice, the director of the President’s Residence will invite the representatives of the factions that were elected to the Knesset to consultations with the President.  At the end of the round of consultations, the President will assign the task of forming the government to the MK with the most recommendations from other MKs.

According to the law, the president has seven days to hold the consultations, make a decision and assign the task of forming the government to one of the MKs, no later than November 16, 2022.  It is possible that the assignment of the task will take place even before the seven days are up.

From the moment the president assigns the task of forming the government, that candidate will have 28 days to form a new government, according to “Basic Law: The Government.”  In a situation where an extension of the process is required, the President has the authority to grant an extension of up to 14 additional days according to law.

Likud Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to receive the mandate to form a government in light of the victory of the parties of the right-wing bloc in Tuesday’s (1st) elections.  Current results show the right-wing bloc winning 65 Knesset seats, though this could change if either the Meretz or Balad party is able to clear the electoral threshold before the final counting ends.



105th Anniversary Of The Balfour Declaration

On November 2, 1917, Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour wrote a letter to a well-known Zionist and friend Chaim Weizmann and Baron Lionel Walter Rothschild, saying that the British government will support the Jewish people in returning to their homeland.  The letter became known as the Balfour Declaration, marking a major milestone in Israel’s history.

Britain’s support for the Zionist movement came after the First World War caused concern about which way the world was heading.  Britain hoped that supporting the Zionism movement would help gain Jewish support for the Allies, according to History.

“His Majesty’s Government views with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object,” Balfour wrote.

A month after the declaration was issued, Britain put an end to the Ottoman control over the Holy Land and took control itself.

International recognition of the Jewish people’s right to go back to their homeland quickly followed after the Balfour Declaration.  The League of Nations recognized these rights and appointed Great Britain to be responsible for putting the Balfour Declaration into effect.  The League of Nations’ Mandate acknowledged the Jewish people’s right to the area known as the Land of Israel.  The approval transformed the declaration from the policy position of one major power to an international obligation.

Who was Balfour?  Arthur James Balfour, First Earl of Balfour of Whittingehame, Discount Traprain, was a British statesman who maintained a powerful position in the British Conservative party for 50 years.

He was prime minister from 1902-1905 and then was the foreign secretary from 1916-1919.



9 Hours At An Iranian Airport: IDF Soldier Faced Unnerving Flight Diversion

An Israeli soldier aboard a plane from Uzbekistan, landed in Iran last week and spent nine hours on the ground before safely departing, the military cleared for publication Wednesday (2nd).

According to the Israel Defense Forces, the 19-year-old Russian-speaking soldier, who serves in a non-sensitive position in the IDF’s Northern Command, had been on vacation visiting family in Uzbekistan.

The civilian flight from the Uzbek capital Tashkent to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates last Thursday (10/27) was diverted due to a medical condition of one of the passengers.  It landed at Shiraz International Airport.

The plane spent around nine hours in Iran before taking off again without incident, the IDF said.

Hebrew-language media reports said passengers disembarked and were sent to wait in the terminal.  While on the ground the soldier called her parents, who then notified her commanders.  The details were eventually passed on to senior defense officials, who notified Prime Minister Yair Lapid, as the Israeli cabinet was holding a meeting on signing a maritime border agreement with Lebanon.

The Mossad spy agency then sprung into action and made contact with the soldier, instructing her to conceal her Israeli identity and not speak Hebrew, the reports said.

While in Iran the soldier presented airport workers with her foreign passport, which had reportedly been issued in Israel, without arousing any suspicion.  According to some reports, the soldier was traveling on a Russian passport.

After around nine hours of waiting at the airport with the other passengers, the soldier boarded the flight again and flew to the UAE, before catching another flight back to Israel.

Iran is thought to have been unaware an Israeli soldier had landed in its territory.  Channel 12 news reported that Iran may have realized an Israeli was on the plane after it took off again.  It did not cite a source.

Israel is a sworn enemy of Iran, and the two countries have been engaged in a years-long shadow war.  Tensions ratcheted up earlier this year following a string of high-profile incidents that Tehran blamed on Israel.  Jerusalem, as is common practice, neither confirms nor denies its involvement in most of the incidents.   

There have been several cases in the past where Israeli travelers over Asia have been diverted to Iran due to emergencies – though all were civilians.  In all cases, the passengers departed without incident.  International aviation agreements forbid a country from arresting or detaining a person in such a situation.



ZOA To Honor Trump, Calling Him ‘Best Friend Israel Ever Had In The White House.’

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) announced that it will honor former President Donald Trump with its Theodor Herzl Medallion.

Trump will receive the honor, which the ZOA said it “rarely gives,” at the organization’s national award dinner in New York City on November 13.

The ZOA stated in an email that it is honoring Trump “for being the best friend Israel ever had in the White House.”

It listed a number of items in the context of Trump’s pro-Israel and pro-Jewish record, including brokering the Abraham Accords, relocating the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, and an executive order strengthening Title VI of the Civil Rights Act to protect Jewish students.

The email also cited Trump recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, pulling the U.S. out of the Iran deal, halting U.S. funding of the Palestinian Authority and UNRWA, recognizing the legality of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria – and he was the first president to pray at the Western wall, and more.

It isn’t known if Trump will address the Gala.

At the same time, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) will receive the ZOA Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Defender of Israel Award.  Miriam Adelson will present both Trump and McCarthy’s awards.