News Digest — 11/30/22

IDF Soldier Seriously Wounded In West Bank Terrorist Car-Ramming Attack

A female IDF soldier in her 20s was struck by a car at the Migron-Kochav Yaakov intersection in the West Bank in a terror attack on Tuesday morning (29th).

The soldier was seriously wounded with head injuries and evacuated in stable condition to Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center by Magen David Adom medical services personnel in order to receive further medical treatment.

The alleged attacker was shot and killed by police officers who were at the scene following a short chase.

He was identified as 45-year-old Rani Mamoun Faiz Abu Ali from Beitounia.  Married and the father of five children, he had an Israeli work permit and was employed at the Rami Levy Supermarket in the Sha’ar Binyamin industrial zone.

Police and military forces were at the scene scanning for possible accomplices.

Video of the attack showed a black SUV backing up before turning around as the soldier walked from a parking lot onto a sidewalk.  Abu Ali then accelerated onto the sidewalk before hitting the soldier and fled the scene on the highway.  The IDF said that the injured soldier’s family was notified of the attack right away.

The attack comes as senior commanders in the IDF have said they are not optimistic about all the recent violence, and fear a further escalation in the West Bank.  The past year has seen a marked increase in terrorism, with 281 serious terror attacks by Palestinians–239 against soldiers and 42 against Israeli civilians.



Last Person Wounded In Double Bombing Released From Hospital

The last person who was wounded in the double bombing in Jerusalem last Wednesday (23rd) was released from the hospital Tuesday (29th), nearly a week after the deadly terrorist attack in which two people were murdered.

The 62-year-old patient, who was seriously wounded in the bombing, is in good condition after being released to his home from Shaare Zedek Medical Center.  He underwent a series of surgeries for removal of shrapnel from his body.

On Friday (25th), during a visit by the Deputy Director General of the hospital, Prof. Ofer Merin and Rabbi Osher Weiss, the patient presented to them the Book of Psalms that he had with him at the time of the attack which stopped a piece of shrapnel that penetrated through the back cover of the book and stopped inside a page in chapter 124 at the words: “Our soul has escaped like a bird evading the grasp of its captors.  The grasp is broken and we have escaped.”

Aryeh Shechopek, a 16-year-old Canadian/Israeli student, and Tadesa Tshuma, an Ethiopian/Jewish citizen, were killed in the bombings.



Poll: Israeli Jews Support Death Penalty For Terrorists

An annual survey of Israeli Jews’ opinion of the IDF, published Monday (28th), shows that a majority of Israelis believe a harsher stance must be taken against terrorists.

In comparison to previous years, fewer care about what international law would have to say about it.

The poll, taken mid-month by the Israel Democracy Institute (IDI), compared respondents’ views from 2018-2022 on the issue.  In that intervening period, Israel was plummeted by thousands of rockets launched from the Gaza Strip and suffered through several months-long rounds of terror attacks, where Palestinians had knifed, gunned down, or rammed cars into random Israeli civilians on the street.

Jews in mixed cities also experienced severe rioting by their Arab neighbors during last year’s Operation Guardian of the Walls which left three dead, dozens injured, and massive damage to their personal property. 

The majority, 55%, now support killing a terrorist even after he poses no further threat, when only 37% agreed with the idea four years ago.

In addition, the majority jumped from 63% to 71% in the public’s support for the death penalty for terrorists convicted of killing Israelis.

At the same time, the percentage of those who said that the IDF should ensure it was obeying international law on war when planning military operations plummeted from 80% to 63%.  A large majority (77%) held steady that the army acts morally during war.

The IDI poll was conducted online and by phone among 805 men and women above age 18.



Israel’s Ambassador To The UN Launches First Exhibit Showing Jewish Expulsion From Iran, Arab Countries

Israel’s mission to the United Nations in New York, led by Ambassador Gilad Erdan, on Tuesday (29th) launched a novel exhibition at the Manhattan UN on the “Jewish Nakba,” the expulsion of the Jews from Arab countries and Iran.  The opening comes one day ahead of the Day to Mark the Departure and Expulsion of Jews from Arab Countries and Iran, marked on Wednesday (30th).

Erdan said he launched the exhibit as an attempt “to fight in every way the false narrative that the Palestinians spread at the UN.”

The showcase features historical documentation that illustrates the lives of the Jews in Arab countries and Iran and their history, which was cut short following the UN Partition Plan in which a Jewish and an Arab state were voted upon.

The day following the UN decision, Arab countries began to expel the Jews with violence and brutality, and hundreds of thousands were forced to flee, leaving their lives behind.

“For 75 years now here in the UN, a completely false story has been told about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” Erdan said.  “Since the Partition Plan, which the Arabs rejected and the State of Israel accepted, the story of the Palestinian Nakba has been told here at the UN, a story that erases  the ‘real Nakba’ that occurred immediately after the announcement of the Partition Plan: the story of the Nakba of Arab Jewry.”

The ambassador continued: “A day after the decision, the Jews were violently and cruelly expelled from Arab countries and Iran.  This year, after a long struggle, we managed to place an exhibition with photos that document the story of the real Nakba.  I will continue to fight for the truth and against the false narrative that the Palestinians and their supporters spread.”

The exhibition is slated to run for one week.

Erdan, who has served as Israel’s UN ambassador since 2020, frequently hosts events and makes statements to confront what he calls “immense bias at the United Nations against Israel.”

In May, he invited scores of fellow UN ambassadors from around the world to taste Israeli innovations in the food-tech sector- cream cheese made without cow’s milk, chickpea-based meat, vegan eggs, and macadamia milk – while urging his colleagues to etch the delectable event into their memories.

“There is immense bias at the United Nations,” Erdan told approximately 150 ambassadors, officials and Jewish leaders.

“As representatives of your states, that sometimes vote ‘singling out Israel,’” he urged them to remember this event.

“Beyond being a refuge for a people still suffering from prejudice and violence, Israel is a hub of innovation with the goal of contributing to solving the world’s problems.  Israel should be singled out, but only for the immense good it is bringing to the world.”

To illustrate his disdain for the UN’s bias against Israel, Erdan dramatically tore up a report by the organization’s UN Human Rights Council during an address at the UN General Assembly in October.

“It’s always an open session on Israel at the Human Rights Council,” he told the General Assembly in New York.



Israeli Firm Making New York City Crosswalks Voice-Accessible To Blind

A subsidiary of Israeli infrastructure construction company Electra won a $62 million tender to make hundreds of crosswalk signals in Manhattan and Staten Island accessible to pedestrians with visual impairment.

Electra President and CEO Itamar Deutscher said the Ramat Gan-based company is expanding its activities in the United States through its majority-owned New York subsidiaries, Hellman Electric and Gilton Electrical.

He said that he anticipates bidding on many additional voice-accessibility projects at intersections throughout the five boroughs of New York City.

The current project’s implementation period will last about three years.

Electra Group subsidiaries currently operate in five sectors: projects for buildings and infrastructure in Israel; projects for buildings and infrastructure abroad; operations, service and maintenance; development and construction of real estate; and the franchising sector.

The group ended the year 2021 with a revenue growth of about 16%.



Census: England, Wales Home To 271,000 Jewish Citizens

A total of 271,000 people living in England and Wales identified as Jewish in 2021 according to a national UK Census.

The Jewish community consists of 0.5% of England and Wales, according to the census.  In 2011, 265,000 citizens identified as Jewish – so there is currently a small increase in Jewish population.

The areas with the highest proportions of people describing their religion as “Jewish” were Hertsmere (17.0%) and Barnet (14.5%) in London.  The religious question in the census was voluntary; 94.0% (56.0 million) of usual residents answered the question in 2021, an increase from 92.9% (52.1 million) in 2011.

The Institute for Jewish Policy Research (JPR) also released a new report on Tuesday (29th) titled “Jews in Britain in 2021: First results From the Census of England and Wales.”

Key findings in the report specified that:

Jews were the sixth largest religious group in England and Wales in 2021, after Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists.  They were the fifth largest religious group in 2001 and 2011.  London accounted for 53.6% of the total Jewish population of England and Wales in 2021, with 145,466 Jews living there, compared to 149,789 in 2001 and 150,329 in 2011.

“Today’s Census release provides invaluable information on the Jewish population in England and Wales,” the Board of Deputies of British Jews said in a press release.  “These census results also raise the question of whether the continued narrow focus of the Census recognizing Jewish status as a religion, with the exclusion of considering Jewish ethnicity, explicitly is appropriate for a 21st-century Jewish community.  We are concerned that until this situation is rectified, many Jewish citizens will not feel fully counted.”