News Digest — 12/20/22

Syria Reports Israeli Strike Near Damascus Airport

Syrian air defenses were activated against a strike on the area of Damascus early on Tuesday (20th), according to local television reports, claiming it was carried out by Israel.

The UK-based Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition group, said that two soldiers were killed just south of the capital in an area housing pro-Iranian militia forces, including Lebanese-based Hezbollah troops.  The targets at the strike were linked to Iran and included a weapons storage facility.

At least four missiles were fired from fighter jets, targeting the area around the Damascus International Airport.

Syrian SANA news agency said two people were injured and there were material losses due to the attack.

The Saudi Arabian Al Arabiya channel reported that one of the targets was an anti-aircraft battery that was recently positioned near the airport and that the strike occurred soon after an Iranian plane landed there.

The last reported Israeli attack in Syria was on November 13 and killed two Syrian soldiers and wounded three others when airstrikes hit an airbase in the province of Homs.

Israel has carried out hundreds of strikes on targets inside government-controlled parts of Syria in recent years, but it rarely acknowledges or discusses specific operations.

Israeli leaders have in the past acknowledged striking targets in Syria and elsewhere in what it says is a campaign to thwart Iranian attempts to smuggle weapons to proxies such as Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant group or to destroy weapons caches.

Last week, Israel’s military chief strongly suggested that Israel was behind a November 8 strike on a truck convoy in Syria carrying Iranian weapons meant for Iranian proxies.. 



‘I’ll Continue To Ignore Your Advice,’ Netanyahu Tells The New York Times

Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu slammed The New York Times in a series of tweets on Sunday (18th) after the outlet published a scathing op-ed claiming that the long-time Likud leader was endangering Israel’s foundations of democracy.

“After burying the Holocaust for years on its back pages and demonizing Israel for decades on its front pages, The New York Times now shamefully calls for undermining Israel’s elected incoming government,” Netanyahu wrote.

“While the NYT continues to delegitimize the one true democracy in the Middle East and America’s best ally in the region, I will continue to ignore its ill-founded advice and instead focus on building a stronger and more prosperous country, strengthening ties with America, expanding peace with our neighbors, and securing the future of the one and only Jewish state,” he added.

On Saturday (17th) the Times ran an editorial titled “The Ideal of Democracy in a Jewish State is in Jeopardy,” which suggested that Netanyahu’s expected new government, comprised of solely right-wing parties, is a “significant threat to the future of Israel – its direction, its security and even the idea of a Jewish homeland.”

The outlet did acknowledge that Netanyahu “clearly has the support of the Israeli electorate,” but urged the Biden administration to actively intervene in the implementation of the right-wing policies and laws, such as legalizing settlements in Judea and Samaria or permitting Jewish freedom of worship on the Temple Mount.

The Times has a long history of blatant anti-Israel bias, including a recent article about the plight of Gaza fishermen which the outlet later admitted was almost entirely fabricated.

The paper also came under fire last week from Orthodox Jewish leaders, after the outlet published some 12 articles in less than three months which all depicted the Hasidic community as backwards and ignorant.

Netanyahu’s victory in the recent election, after losing office in June 2021, is due in large part to the support of the right-wing Religious Zionism party, which won an unprecedented 14 Knesset seats, and the ultra-Orthodox Shas and United Torah Judaism parties.



Terror Victim And Her Baby Leave Hospital Months After Jerusalem Shooting Attack

Four months after nearly being killed in a Palestinian Arab terror attack near King David’s Tomb in Jerusalem, Liva Ahuva Schreiber and her prematurely-born son David were released from a Jerusalem hospital.

In August, during the third trimester of her pregnancy, the 37-year-old Schreiber was shot in the stomach by a Palestinian terrorist on Mount Zion, outside Jerusalem’s Old City.

The terrorist, Amir Sidawi, opened fire on a bus stop, wounding six people, then walked over to the Schreiber family’s car and shot the mother in front of her husband and children.

Sidawi turned himself in to police the next morning.

Schreiber, a resident of Beitar Illit, was evacuated to the Shaare Zedek Medical Center, where doctors delivered the baby by ceasarean section.

The mother and baby face continued follow-up care.  The family requests the public pray for the recovery of Liva Ahuva and little David Ben Ahuva.



Palestinian To Be Charged With Terror Over Tel Aviv Ramming Of Motorcyclist

Police prosecutors on Monday (19th) said they plan to file terror charges against a Palestinian man who rammed a vehicle into a motorcyclist in Tel Aviv earlier this month, after an investigation found the motive for the incident was nationalistic.

Police and the Shin Bet security agency said in a joint statement that Ali Hamad, 31, who had entered Israel illegally, confessed to the attack on December 8, saying he had committed it as revenge after his cousin was killed in an exchange of fire with Israeli troops in the West Bank a day before the attack.

Hamad’s cousin, Mojahed al-Najjar, opened fire at an Israeli military post near the settlement of Ofra before being chased and shot dead by troops.

Hamad committed the attack with a car that had been taken off the road by police-order due to damage from a crash, and was then illegally put back into use.  According to the Kan public broadcaster, he managed to drive into Israel from the West Bank with the unauthorized car, which had Israeli license plates.

Police said prosecutors would file an indictment against Hamad in the next few days.

Hamad was arrested shortly after the incident, and police initially described it as a traffic accident.  But several days later, the Shin Bet said it suspected the ramming was intentional.

The Israeli man on the motorcycle, Gilad Tanami, was moderately hurt, according to medical officials.

Last week, from his hospital bed, Tanami told the Kan public broadcaster he “knew it was a terror attack.”

“I looked up and saw the car accelerating in my direction,” he told the network, describing how he was thrown up into the air.

“He continued driving with my motorcycle under the vehicle for about 40 meters and then got stuck on a pole,” he added.

The incident came amid heightened tensions in the region, with the Israeli army conducting an ongoing major anti-terror offensive in the West Bank to deal with a series of Palestinian attacks that left 31 people dead since the start of the year.



For The Media, Even The World Cup Is About The Palestinians – Mitchell Bard

Given the media’s obsession with the Palestinian cause and need to cover it out of all proportion to its importance in world affairs, it was not surprising The New York Times and The Washington Post would find a way to make the World Cup about the Palestinians, even though it wasn’t.  But if you’re going to report it, shouldn’t journalists at least place the activities in context and admit that examples of support for the Palestinian cause were pre-planned and supported by the Qatari government?

It is all but impossible for a building in Doha to be lit with a Palestinian flag alongside a sign reading “Gaza is in our hearts” without it being planned long in advance.  In addition, shopkeepers in Qatar were selling Palestinian flags and armbands, which could not have happened without the government’s tacit approval.  Qatar is also behind the most popular media source in the region, Al Jazeera, which is an anti-Israel propaganda arm of the government.

It is nothing new for the media to cheer the Palestinians or ignore their incitement, terrorism, abuse of human rights and corruption.  Such virtue-signaling during the World Cup gives Palestinians a warm and fuzzy feeling without changing their circumstances.  They are still under the thumb of the Abbas and Hamas regimes, whose commitment to Israel’s destruction guarantees that their flag may be unfurled at a soccer match in Qatar, but not over a capital in Jerusalem.



Israeli Organizations To Provide South Sudanese Children With Life-Saving Heart Surgery

Leading Israeli humanitarian aid organizations Save a Child’s Heart and IsraAID announced that they will provide life-saving surgeries to four children from South Sudan in Israel on Wednesday (21st).

The children – Gai, 8; Habiba, 6; Phillip, 5; and Joel,5 – are already in the care of programs provided by IsraAID.  They were diagnosed during a medical mission to South Sudan by Save a Child’s Heart in March 2019, when Save a Child’s Heart pediatric cardiologist Dr. Akiva Tamir and Israeli Ambassador to South Sudan Hanan Goder traveled to Al Sabah Children’s Hospital to screen and diagnose children with heart disease.

Once the children arrive in Israel, they will undergo heart surgery by the Save A Child’s Heart medical team at Wolfson Medical Center in Holon.  The children and their guardians will stay at the Save a Child’s Heart Children’s Home for several months as they recover from surgery.

South Sudan, the world’s youngest country, was formed in 2011.  Two years later the country entered a brutal civil war.  Due to environmental disasters and armed conflict, there are over 2 million internally displaced people in South Sudan and another 10.2 million South Sudanese refugees worldwide.

“When I first spoke to the President of South Sudan about the initiative to bring children to Israel for life-saving heart surgery, he was very enthusiastic, but I was not sure if it would actually come about.  But through the excellent cooperation of Save a Child’s Heart and IsraAID working together with the Ministry of Health in South Sudan, it is happening,” Israel’s Ambassador to Southern Sudan, Gershon Kedar, said.

Founded in 2001, IsraAID has developed into Israel’s leading non-profit humanitarian relief organization.  IsraAID originally launched its mission to the country in 2011, where its local team of South Sudanese humanitarian experts focus on child protection, preventing and responding to gender-based violence, and promoting reproductive health.

“I hope and trust that this will be the first group of many that will come to Israel.  This initiative complements the Ministry of Foreign Affairs work in the health sector in South Sudan, including the building and outfitting of the first modern emergency unit at the Juba Teaching Hospital, and the recent training course for doctors and nurses,” Kedar added.

Save a Child’s Heart works internationally to save the lives of children from countries where access to pediatric cardiac care is limited or nonexistent.  To date, the organization has saved more than 6,000 children from 65 countries – South Sudan will become the 66th country in which the organization has operated.

“We are very excited to see these children arrive in Israel after such a long wait.  IsraAID’s offer to help has been a true game changer and we look forward to finding more joint projects for our organizations to work together around Africa,” Save A Child’s Heart Executive Director Simon Fisher said.