News Digest — 11/8/22

Jewish Man Dies Two Weeks After Terrorist Stabbing Attack

An Israeli man wounded in a terrorist stabbing attack in Samaria two weeks ago, succumbed to his wounds and died Tuesday (8th).

The victim, Shalom Sofer, was a resident of the Israeli town of Kedumim, officials said in a statement Tuesday morning (8th).

Lidor Sofer, the victim’s son, said that his father had been on the road to recovery, before a sudden deterioration in his condition ended his life.

“My father was at home the past week and everyone thought he was getting better but suddenly one of his wounds reopened,” he said. 

“When he left the hospital last week, they told me it was a miracle that he had recovered and we were sure that within a few days, our father would be back to health.”

On October 25th, Sofer, the owner and operator of the grocery store in Kedumim, was attacked while shopping with his son at a store in the nearby Arab village of Al-Funduq.

An Arab terrorist stabbed Sofer in the stomach with a knife repeatedly before fleeing the scene.

“A report was received of a stabbing attack in the village of Al-Funduq in the area of the Ephraim regional division,” the army said at the time.  “A terrorist arrived at the location, stabbed an Israeli citizen and fled.”

“The IDF gave the citizen initial medical treatment on the spot and evacuated him to a hospital while he was still conscious.

The terrorist who committed the stabbing attack was arrested later that day by IDF and Shin Bet internal security agency forces.



First Israeli To Be Wounded By Gaza Rocket In Sderot To Become IDF Officer

Shila Naamat was just one year and eight months old when a rocket from the Gaza Strip hit his home in the southern city of Sderot back in March 2002.

Shrapnel from the rocket moderately wounded Naamat, who was playing on the balcony of his home when the projectile landed, and he was evacuated to a hospital in moderate condition.

Naamat was the first Israeli civilian in Sderot to be wounded by rockets from the Palestinian enclave.

The incident happened when there was no safe space and bomb shelters on every corner of the bombarded city, including private homes.  There were also no rocket alert sirens, and certainly no Iron Dome that could protect the civilians.

Every Qassem rocket that was fired from the Strip at Sderot in the first few years had fatal and destructive consequences.  Residents of the city and other communities near the Gaza border were forced to adapt to a new reality, which sadly continues to this day.

Naamat sustained a major wound to his leg and was fitted with platinum (in it) that will accompany him throughout his life.  But, he decided his injury will not hold him back.  On the contrary, the injury eventually provided him with the needed drive to achieve his life goal – becoming an IDF officer.

“The IDF officer’s training meant a lot to me, I learned many things about the IDF command, Israeli society, and of course the security system,” Naamat said.

“I have more ambitions and I won’t let my injury stop me, I want to reach senior commanding positions, and in the future do some public service, especially for the Israeli periphery.”

“My cousin, who is an Israeli Air Force officer, and I are working with the Sderot Youth Council to open up the young people of Sderot to important and commanding positions in the IDF.”

“There are great people in Sderot, and in the periphery, but not all of them have the knowledge and the tools to get on the right path,” Naamat added.

Naamat will finish the officers’ training course later this week, and immediately after will undergo leg surgery on one of his muscles in the injured leg.  After the operation he will return to his military service.

I hope to recover from the surgery quickly and begin my tenure as an officer.  I was able to overcome injuries when I was just a toddler, so I can definitely do it now,” he said.



Why Israel Must Not Provide The Iron Dome To Ukraine – Brig.-Gen. (res.) Prof. Jacob Nagel

→ Ukraine has not relented in its efforts to have Israel provide it with Iron Dome air defense technology.  But Jerusalem must not send Iron Dome or other weapon systems to Ukraine and it should not be expected to do so.

→ The most important reason is that it is almost certain that any system provided to Ukraine will ultimately fall into the hands of the Russians and subsequently be transferred intact to the Iranians.  Iran will then develop capabilities that would overcome Iron Dome’s defense and ultimately lower its effectiveness.  

→ This would result in a greater destructive potential from Hezbollah, Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) when they target Israel in future wars.  One cannot expect Israel to compromise the core (and secret) capabilities that it needs to defend itself.

→ The second reason is that Israel still doesn’t have enough interceptors for its own operational needs (especially when it comes to countering the threat on the northern border).  It is going to take years to bolster our production capacity.  Moreover, Ukraine would need many more interceptors than Israel can provide, because of its massive size.

→ The US has been adamant in its refusal to provide Kyiv with advanced air defense systems such as the THAAD or Patriot.  The US doesn’t even have enough air defense systems to cover its own deployed forces.

→ Those who have been critical of Israel for not sending the Iron Dome or other sophisticated systems to Ukraine should take a look in the mirror and ask why they have not held the US to the same standard.

The writer is a former national security adviser to the prime minister and head of Israel’s national Security Council.



London Jews Facing Spree Of Antisemitic Attacks

An antisemitic “hate crimes pandemic” has been breaking out in the Stamford Hill and Hackney sections of London since October 29, according to information released by the area’s Jewish community watch group, Shomrim.

“The racism pandemic continues,” the group tweeted on Thursday (3rd), reporting on an incident – one of eight that have occurred in just several days – in which a known local assaulted a Jewish resident of Stamford Hill while yelling “You Jews, you think you run the world,”

In another, a man broke into a synagogue’s school, stealing $340 worth of salmon and Shomrim said, “leaving the children without a proper lunch.”

A previous wave of antisemitic assaults over the summer put the London Jewish community on high alert.

In July, a woman wielding a wooden stick approached a Jewish woman near the Seven Sisters area and declared, “I am doing this because you are a Jew,” while striking her over the head and pouring liquid on her.  The next day, the same woman, described by an eyewitness as a serial racist, chased a mother and her baby with a wooden stick after spraying liquid on the baby.

In other separate episodes reported by Shomrim, a woman threatened Jewish congregants leaving Shabbat services on Friday night, shouting “you Jews – I will kill you,” while another account described “hundreds of Jewish men and boys” being similarly harassed as they returned from Synagogue.  

In August, the United Kingdom’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) began a criminal trial against Abdullah Qureshi, who trekked 200 miles from West Yorkshire to Stamford Hill to assault members of the Jewish community.

The incidents all took place that month.  In the first Qureshi struck a 30-year-old man on the head with a bottle.  A second victim was a 14-year-old boy whom he physically assaulted.  The third was a 64-year-old man whom he brutally punched in the face, causing him to fall and break his foot.

Not all assailants face criminal charges, however.  In February, Dave Rich, head of policy at Community Security Trust (CST), argued that “too few cases reach court” despite the fact that nearly a quarter of religiously motivated hate crimes in London target the Jewish community.

“The wheels of justice seem to be stuck,” he wrote.

This year, Metropolitan Police have so far recorded 466 anti-Semitic hate crimes in London.  CPS does not provide data showing how many suspects it has charged and tried.



US Postal Service Issues New Hanukkah Forever Postage Stamp

The US Postal Service (USPS) has issued a new postage stamp for Hanukkah.

The Hanukkah Forever stamp continues the USPS’ tradition of issuing stamps for the Jewish holiday.  A dedication ceremony for the stamp was held at Temple Emanu EL in Chagrin Falls, Ohio.

“I remember looking forward to Hanukkah as a child, especially the traditional foods, gifts, and games,” said Lori Dym, US Postal Service managing counsel for procurement and property law, who served as the dedicating official.  “And now, on behalf of the 655,000 men and women of the United States Postal Service, I am honored to participate in the unveiling of our new stamp celebrating this joyous Jewish holiday.”

The stamp is being shared on social media under the hashtag #HanukkahStamp.

The stamp was designed by artist Jeanette Kuvin Oren.  It features art from an original wall hanging, which was fiber art, hand-dyed and quilted to form an abstract Hanukkah image.

According to the artist, the blue and purple colors represent the sky, the greens and browns represent the earth.  The bright yellows and oranges represent Hanukkah as the Festival of Lights.

At the bottom of the stamp are the words Hanukkah, Forever and USA in white capital letters.