News Digest — 12/21/22

Mission Accomplished: Netanyahu To Proclaim Success In Forming A Government Wednesday

As his mandate to form a government expires, Likud party head Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to notify President Isaac Herzog by telephone on Wednesday (21st) that he has succeeded in crafting a coalition.

According to a report on Kan News, the Likud plans to sign at least one agreement detailing the incoming government’s principles with the other coalition parties at some point during the day.

For the time being, the Likud and haredi party representatives have decided to postpone their signing of an agreement on the specifics of the Draft Law until after the establishment of the government.  As such, the principles underlying the law will not be specified in the coalition agreement, instead, a few sentences will be included, highlighting the importance of Torah study and the need to ensure that Torah scholars can continue to study.  The agreement will also include a commitment to legislate a Basic Law: Torah study, parallel to the Draft Law.

During the next few days, prior to the swearing in of the new government, Prime Minister-designate Netanyahu will be attending to the distribution of portfolios to the members of his own party.

According to the Maariv newspaper, Netanyahu is considering creative solutions in order to solve the thorny question of how to satisfy the demands and expectations of numerous veteran Likud politicians with only a few significant portfolios available.  According to sources within the Likud, several days ago MK Yisrael Katz received an unofficial offer to serve as Foreign Minister in a rotation with MK Amir Ohana, with Katz serving in the position for the first two years of the term.

The sources say that the “rotation solution” is likely to be extensively used in the incoming government, given the large number of experienced Likud politicians expecting to be granted a seat around the cabinet table.



3rd Night Of Hanukkah: Benny Gantz Lights Candles At The Western Wall Plaza

Thousands of people attended the lighting of the Hanukkah candles on Tuesday night (20th), the third night of Hanukkah at the Western Wall Plaza.  The festive event for the third night was designed to highlight unity between all Jews, not only in Israel, but all around the world, with a special focus on the tens of thousands of Holocaust survivors who are a living testimony to the eternal nature of the Jewish people.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz, who lit the third candle, spoke on the occasion, saying, “In this holy place, and especially in the presence of Holocaust survivors whose victory is not only one of might but also of spirit, we must remember the spiritual and moral strength they embody in equal measure.”

“If we have only a spiritual shield with no ability to defend ourselves, we have achieved nothing,” Gantz continued.  “And if we do have the ability to defend ourselves, but lack morality and faith, we will lose our way.  That is why only a combination of might and spirit, strength on the one hand and unity on the other, will equip the Jewish people with everything we need for years to come.”

As Gantz left the Plaza, he was accompanied by the rabbi of Migdal Ha’emek, David Grossman, who escorted him to his vehicle.

Also speaking at the event was the Rabbi of the Western Wall and Holy Sites, Shmuel Rabinowitz who said, “From here, on this third night of Hanukkah we deliver a message of unity for all the Jewish people.  The Western Wall is the home of every Jew both in Israel and abroad.  There’s no other place that so exemplifies the great price paid for baseless hatred and civil war.”

“Every single Jew has a connection to this holy place and how much more so is this true of our public servants, and I take advantage of this occasion to express my gratitude to the Defense Minister and the Culture Minister for everything they do for the country; and to the multitudes of IDF soldiers who visit the Western Wall throughout the year and who make a huge contribution to the security of the nation.”

Also attending the event alongside the Ministers of Defense and Culture was the head of the Jewish Agency, Gen. Doron Almog, the chairman of the World Zionist Organization Yaakov Hagoel, the director of the Western Wall Heritage Fund Solly Eliav, and other officials.

Some hundred Holocaust survivors were also present, their transportation having been arranged by the Claims Committee and other organizations.

Among the thousands of others present were Jews from at least 15 different countries.



IDF Shoots Down Hezbollah Drone Near Border With Lebanon

An unmanned aircraft was shot down in northern Israel Tuesday afternoon (20th), after it made an unauthorized crossing into Israeli airspace.

An IDF spokesperson said Tuesday (20th) that the drone aircraft penetrated Israeli airspace from Lebanese territory before being shot down by Israeli forces. An IDF spokesperson said in a statement; “A short while ago, IDF soldiers identified and downed a drone crossing from Lebanese territory towards the town of Zar’it.  The drone was monitored by the IDF throughout the incident.”

While no group has yet claimed responsibility, the IDF spokesperson said the unmanned aircraft likely was launched by Hezbollah, and “most likely belongs to the Hezbollah terrorist organization.”

Recent months and years have seen an increase in attempts by Hezbollah, Hamas and Iran to send spy or attack drones into Israel from a variety of directions.

No drones have hit any significant Israeli target to date.

The IDF said it would continue to act relentlessly to protect Israel’s sovereign borders.



Lions’ Den Terrorists Claim Responsibility For Three Separate Shooting Attacks

Palestinian Arab terrorists perpetrated three separate shooting attacks on Tuesday evening (20th), targeting IDF forces.

One of the attacks occurred in the vicinity of Shechem in Samaria – another was at Tel A-Ras where a military post was targeted.  In the third incident, an IDF tracker was shot at while he was conducting a search of the nearby area.

No injuries were reported.

The Lions’ Den terrorist group has claimed responsibility for all three shootings.  According to expert assessments within the security system, the attacks represent an attempt to revitalize this particular terrorist gang.

The Lions’ Den group disseminated a short video clip of one of the attacks.

Earlier on Tuesday (20th), a 22-year-old female police officer was struck by a vehicle in a suspected terrorist ramming attack in southern Israel.

The vehicle aroused the officer’s suspicions and she ordered the driver to stop.  As she and another officer were about to inspect the vehicle, the driver suddenly accelerated, striking her before fleeing the scene.

The officer was moderately injured.  MDA teams provided her with medical treatment at the scene and evacuated her to Soroka Medical Center.

MDA medics Roman Bai and Ismail Abu Abli said: “The injured woman was lying on the road fully conscious and suffering from bruises on her back and limbs.  We gave her initial medical treatment that included using splints and evacuated her for further treatment to the hospital, in stable condition.”

Police conducted a large-scale manhunt for the driver, including the use of helicopters.



Tensions Rise After Notorious Palestinian Terrorist Dies Of Cancer In Israeli Custody

Notorious Palestinian terrorist Nasser Abu Hmeid died of cancer at Shamir Medical Center Tuesday morning (20th) while in Israeli custody.

He was a founding member of the Nablus-based Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade terrorist group and was serving multiple life sentences for involvement in terrorist attacks in Israel and the killing of seven Israelis and five Palestinian collaborators.

The prison service said in a statement that Hmeid received regular medical appointments, while the Palestinians accused Israel of medical negligence and deliberately killing him.

The senior terrorist was imprisoned in April 2002, at the end of the second intifada, his fourth imprisonment by Israel.  He was charged with 13 different counts, including several murder charges, and sentenced to seven counts of life and another 50 years in prison.

Abu Hmeid suffered a rapid decline in his health in October, losing his ability to eat and losing a significant amount of weight, which prompted the PA Prison Authority to demand his release and threatened retaliation should the request not be met.

“There will be no peace, the occupation must prepare for an unprecedented phase,” it threatened.



Nazi Symbols Carved Into Menorah In Beverly Hills – Man Held

A man was arrested after Nazi symbols were carved into a menorah in Beverly Hills on the first night of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, police said.

Officers responded Sunday night (18th) to reports that a menorah on private property was being vandalized, police said in a statement.

“A despicable act such as this will never be tolerated in our city,” said Police Chief Mark G. Stainbrook.

Use of surveillance video led to the arrest of Eric Brian King, of Dallas, Texas, for investigation of felony vandalism and a hate crime, police said.

It was not immediately known if King had an attorney.  Online Los Angeles County jail information showed that King, 47, was scheduled for a court appearance on Tuesday (20th).

Amid the significant increase in antisemitic incidents in the U.S., in recent years, Beverly Hills and Los Angeles in general have had their share.

Last year, for example, flyers accusing the Jews of being behind the Covid-19 pandemic were left on several front lawns in the upscale Los Angeles suburb.

In May, members of the antisemitic ‘Goyim Defense League’ dressed in Nazi-like uniforms, harassed guests of the Beverly Hilton, screaming “The Nazis are coming.”

More recently, amid the outcry over Kanye West’s antisemitic rants and professed love for Adolf Hitler, the Goyim Defense League hung banners over a Los Angeles highway reading, “Honk if you know Kanye is right about the Jews.”