News Digest — 12/21/21

New Lod Police Presence: ‘Every Citizen Will Live In Security’

A police station was opened on Sunday (19th) in Lod in the Neve Shalom neighborhood.  Police patrol forces, investigations, intelligence, and community policing will operate from it.

Their reopening is part of the government’s overall plan for fighting violence in Israel’s Arab communities.  Lod is a mixed city where both Arabs and Jews live.  It was also the scene of violent attacks committed by Arabs against Jews during Operation Guardian of the Walls in May.

The police say that the reopening of the station is another significant step in the ongoing process of strengthening and deepening police services in Arab society.

In recent years the Israel Police, with the support of the Ministry of Internal Security, has inaugurated many new police stations in Arab areas throughout the country, and at the same time strengthened the existing stations and points.

The police station in the Neve Shalom neighborhood under the command of inspector Elad Benaim will appoint 23 police officers from the patrol, investigations and intelligence sectors and community policing.  It will work to increase enforcement and deterrence activities, and make police services accessible and will include strengthening community ties for the safety and security of neighborhood residents.

“Recently, the Israel Police have been focusing its activities on Arab society,” said the Police Commissioner.  “We are establishing stations and units, allocating resources and increasing organizational attention in manpower and technological means.”



Storm Carmel: 9 Inches Of Snow On Mt. Hermon, Kinneret Rises Three-Quarters Of An Inch

9 inches of snow has accumulated on Mt. Hermon, and the Kinneret has risen by three-quarters of an inch, as winter storm Carmel continues to hit northern and central Israel on Tuesday (21st).

The nine inches of snow accumulated in the lower part of the Hermon ski resort, which is closed to visitors until further notice.

Storm Carmel brought heavy rainfall to central and northern Israel on Monday (20th), with 1.4 inches of rainfall in Jerusalem, .97 falling in Tel Aviv, 2.4 inches falling in Haifa, and 2.9 in Safed.  The highest amount of rainfall was recorded in Amikam, with 3,7 inches recorded on Monday (20th).

Further rain is expected in northern Israel and along the coast Tuesday (21st), with concerns of flooding, and more snowfall is expected at Mt. Hermon

 The high winds brought by the storm should gradually weaken throughout the day. However, it will be colder than usual for this time of year.

The storm is the third named storm in the Eastern Mediterranean Group of EUMETNET, which includes the meteorological services of Israel, Greece and Cyprus.  Other Hebrew names for the storm-list include: Irit, Joel, Lavi, Ora and Raphael.



Following Iranian Threats, Revolutionary Guards Stage Military Drill

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corp staged a major military exercise across the country’s south on Monday (20th) amid heightened tensions over Tehran’s nuclear program, state TV reported.

The IRGC aerospace division, ground troops and naval forces joined in the five-day drill, the report said, with maritime forces set to maneuver in the strategic Strait of Hormuz, the narrow gateway for 20% of the world’s traded oil.

The exercise comes days after talks to revive Tehran’s tattered nuclear deal with world powers broke up in Vienna.  Iran has accelerated its nuclear advances as negotiations to return to the accords struggle to make headway, alarming Israel and other regional rivals.  Israel has repeatedly threatened unilateral action against Iran’s nuclear program.

Gen. Gholamali Rashid, a top IRGC commander, vowed a harsh response to any Israeli military action against Iran.

Iran forces will launch “a crushing attack on all bases, centers, paths and space used to carry out the aggression without delay.” the semi-official Mehr news agency quoted him as saying. 

“Any threat to Iran’s nuclear and military bases by the Zionist regime is not possible without the green light support of the United States,” he said.

Earlier on Monday (20th), residents in Bushehr, some 440 miles south of Iran’s capital, Tehran, reported seeing a light in the sky and hearing a loud explosion near the Bushehr nuclear power plant.

It was the second time this month that sudden anti-aircraft firing erupted in the middle of the night near an Iranian nuclear facility, which Iranian forces later described as a drill for its surface-to-air missile defense system.



Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad Agrees To Step Up Terror Attacks Against Israel

The Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terrorist groups agreed on a plan to increase cooperation and ramp up terrorist attacks particularly in Judea and Samaria, during “a lengthy leadership meeting on Saturday (18th),” according to the Palestine Information Center.

“The two movements agreed on a number of steps that would strengthen the resistance and raise the level of coordination between the two military wings,” The Hamas affiliated Arabic news site reported.

The two Gaza-based terror groups also warned Israel that its actions in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria and the “occupied interior” would be met with a “strong reaction by the resistance and the Palestinian masses.”

“They reportedly agreed on the need to strengthen and develop the resistance in all forms,” Israeli journalist Khaled Abu Toameh, who first reported on the story, told JNS.

Palestinian political analysts told Toameh that the agreement is also a way to undermine the Palestinian Authority.

The agreement’s announcement came shortly after Israel announced the capture of the terrorists who killed Yehuda Dimentman on Dec. 16.  PIJ claimed responsibility for that attack.

Senior Hamas and PIJ leaders also met in Beirut Friday (17th), Hamas’ English-language website reported.

“Reaffirming the necessity to bolster resistance, particularly in the occupied West Bank, both delegations affirmed their commitment to resistance as the only option to confront the Israeli occupation, liberate Palestine, and restore Palestinian rights and holy sites,” the report stated.



Israel Threatens Targeted Killings Following Attacks

Israel threatened to use targeted killings in the Gaza Strip as well as abroad in response to a recent wave of terrorist attacks in the West Bank, Lebanese newspaper Al Akhbar reported.

According to the source, the suspected warnings were relayed to the Hamas terrorist organization ruling Gaza by Egyptian security officials currently visiting the Palestinian territory.

The leaders of the Islamist group made no comment.

Two Egyptian delegations of intelligence officers and civilian engineers traveled to Gaza to talk with Hamas officials on ways to preserve the ceasefire with Israel and to advance plans to rebuild the territory  following the war in May.

Hamas, meanwhile, expressed to the Egyptians its dissatisfaction with Cairo’s failure to keep its promises to ease travel restrictions on Gazans, Al-Akhbar said.

Hamas also pleaded for a “legitimate struggle until Israel is expelled from all Palestinian lands and settlers are evicted.”

Israel’s warning follows the shooting attack near the West Bank outpost of Homesh last Thursday (16th) in which 25-year-old Jewish yeshiva student Yehudah Dimentman was killed by a Palestinian terrorist.

This latest attack follows several others in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem – which prompted the UN’s envoy for the Middle East, Tor Wennesland, to express alarm at the “escalation of violence” between the two longtime foes.

“These tragic incidents underscore the volatility of the situation and the urgency for political, religious and community leaders to talk to each other and reject violence,” said Wennesland.



Beersheba’s Population Set To Expand To 400,000

The District Planning and Building Committee-Southern District – has announced the approval of a general outline plan for Beersheba.

The plan proposes adding over 34,000 housing units to the Negev city, which will enable the population of the city to double in population to 400,000.

In addition to housing, the plan includes some four million additional square meters of office and commercial space, three million square meters of industrial space, 2.7 million square meters for public buildings, and 370,000 square meters for tourism.

The plan’s point of departure is that the city is insufficiently densely populated.  “Urban Outline Plan 35” set a minimum density of eight housing units per quarter acre.

The large reserves of land within its jurisdiction enable any quantitative development goal to be reached, but the plan proposes strengthening the city’s advantage in its environment because it is a regional capital for many settlements, and the only one with urban characteristics.

One of the plan’s most important goals is to bridge the disconnections created by the city’s modernist planning.

Beershaba is currently made up of a collection of isolated neighborhoods.  The plan proposes a continuous network of shaded streets, adapted to the climate, with preference given to public transport over pedestrians with private vehicles.  The center of the city  is described in the plan documents as “the jewel in the crown.”

The idea is to boost construction in the area, which already has the municipality, the District Court, the government offices complex, and the transport hub.  Rager Boulevard, which for years was the northern route into the city, is described by the plan as the city’s main avenue.

The plan proposes changing the profile of the street and turning it from a multi-lane road to an urban avenue, and expanding and renewing the residential areas along it.

The plan was drafted by a team of planners headed by architects Ami Shinar, Miron Cohen, and Lenore Lankin.  Work on the plan began in 2013.  It was accepted by the District Planning and Building Committee in 2015, the hearing on depositing the plan took place in 2017, and it was published for deposit in 2019.