News Digest — 2/13/23

Prime Minister Vows Crackdown On Terrorists With ‘Full Force’ Following Deadly Jerusalem Ramming

Days after a deadly ramming attack in Jerusalem, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his ministers in the weekly Cabinet meeting on Sunday (12th) that he would soon convene the Diplomatic-Security Cabinet to discuss measures that would crackdown on terrorists with “our full force.”

Among the measures being considered are seizing assets belonging to the families of terrorists, erecting barriers at bus stops and additional security checkpoints between predominantly Arab and Jewish neighborhoods in the capital, as well as a general crackdown on online incitement, according to media reports.

Following Friday’s (10th) attack, National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir called for a major operation in eastern Jerusalem in the likeness of the IDF’s 2002 “Operation Defensive Shield,” which was launched during the Second Intifada to uproot terrorist infrastructure in Palestinian urban areas across Judea and Samaria.

However, a senior government official told Hebrew-language media that Ben-Gvir lacked the authority to approve such a decision, which would need to be made by the Diplomatic-Security Cabinet.

Six-year-old Yaakov Israel Paley and 20-year-old Alter Shlomo Lederman were killed instantly on Friday (10th) when they were run over by an Arab Israeli driver in Jerusalem’s Ramot neighborhood.  Eight-year-old Asher Menahem Paley, Yaakov’s brother, died over Shabbat from wounds sustained in the attack.  Three others were injured and are currently being treated at hospitals.

Terrorist Hussein Karaka, 31, a resident of the Issawiya neighborhood in eastern Jerusalem, was shot dead during the attack.  His social media accounts included posts hailing terrorism against Israelis, such as a Facebook post last August praising Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Ziad Nakhaleh.

Police on Sunday morning (12th) sealed the home of Karaka’s parents in eastern Jerusalem’s Abu Tor, in which he had rented an apartment.

Netanyahu has ordered the reinforcement of security forces in Jerusalem.  “Our answer to terrorism is to strike it with all our might and further deepen our hold on our country,” he said.



‘Indescribable Grief And Agony’: Victims Of Jerusalem Ramming Attack Laid To Rest

Family and friends bid farewell to the victims of the Friday (10th) ramming attack in Jerusalem, who were laid to rest Saturday evening (11th).

Twenty-year-old Alter Shlomo Lederman, who had gotten married just two months earlier, 8-year-old Asher Menahem Paley and younger brother, 6-year-old Yaakov Israel Paley, all three killed in the attack a day earlier, were laid to rest at Har HaMenuchot cemetery.

The boys’ father, who was injured in the attack, was hospitalized at the Hadassah Medical Center and was not able to attend his sons’ funerals.

“What a terrible tragedy,” the grandfather of the Paley boys on their mother’s side, said, adding that they were “pure and holy” souls.

Their uncle told Israel Hayom, “The grief and agony are indescribable.”  Referring to the terrorists, he said, “They are murderers who sanctify bloodshed, not life.  I hope we come out of this united.”

The ramming attack occurred on Friday afternoon (10th) at a bus stop of Jerusalem’s Ramot neighborhood that was packed ahead of Shabbat.  The perpetrator, terrorist Hussein Karaka was killed by police on the scene.

Late Saturday evening (11th), several of Karaka’s relatives were detained on suspicion of involvement in the ramming, by Israeli security forces.



Response To Terror: Israel Authorizes 9 Communities In Judea And Samaria

In response to the murderous attacks in Jerusalem, the Security Cabinet decided unanimously to authorize nine communities in Judea and Samaria.

They are: Avigil, Bet Hogla, Givat Harel/Haroeh, Givat Arnon, Mitzpe Yehuda, Malachei, Hashalom, Ashasl, Ade Boaz and Shaharit.

The Civil Administration Higher Planning Committee will also be convened in the coming days to approve the construction of new residential units in existing communities in Judea and Samaria.

The Security Cabinet made a series of additional decisions in the framework of the determined fight against terrorism, including reinforcing Police and Border Police units in the capital, and expanded police operations against inciters and supporters of terrorism.

The decisions were made following consultations by the prime minister, defense minister, finance minister, national security minister, and strategic affairs minister.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu emphasized that the security forces will make focused attention against terrorists, and that there will be no collective punishment.



IDF To Conclude Operation Olive Branch After Saving 19 Lives In Turkey

Israel’s Operation Olive Branch delegation will conclude its rescue operations in Turkey and return to Israel in the coming days, according to a statement From the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit.

The IDF delegation has thus far been able to rescue a total of 19 people trapped in the rubble in the aftermath of Turkey’s recent devastating earthquake that has already claimed, as of Sunday, (12th) over 33,000 lives.

Earlier on Sunday (12th), Israel’s Foreign Ministry evaded mention that the United Hatzalah team sent to provide disaster relief to Turkey following the earthquake left early after a verified security threat in the country.

The disputed decision to evacuate the rescue forces was taken following a joint situational assessment with the heads of the IDF Home Front Command and Search and Rescue Units on Saturday (11th).

“We knew there was a certain level of risk in sending our team to this area of Turkey, which is close to the Syrian border, but we took the necessary steps in order to mitigate the threat for the sake of our lifesaving mission,” United Hatzalah vice president of operations Dov Maisel explained.

“Unfortunately, we have just received intelligence of a concrete, and immediate threat to our Israeli delegation and we have to put the security of our personnel first.  We are extremely proud of what our team has accomplished in just a few days, assisting in the rescue of 19 individuals in cooperation with the IDF Home Front Command, Israel’s Search and Rescue units, local rescue forces, and the Turkish Red Cross.”

The details surrounding the verified security threat remain unknown.

However, this is not the first time that there have been verified security threats against Israelis in Turkey.  In the past, many of these threats have been attributed to Iran.



Following Saturday Night Rocket Attack:  IDF Strikes Hamas Targets In Gaza

IDF fighter jets struck overnight Sunday (12th) an underground complex containing raw materials used for the manufacturing of rockets belonging to the Hamas terrorist organization in the central Gaza Strip.

The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said the strikes were in response to the rocket launch from the Gaza Strip into Israel on Saturday (11th), which was intercepted by the IDF’s Ariel Defense Array.

“This strike will significantly impede Hamas’ intensification and armament efforts.  The IDF holds the Hamas terror organization responsible for all terrorist activity emanating from the Gaza Strip and it will face the consequences of the security violations against Israel,” it said in a statement.

Moments after the IDF strike, sirens were sounded in the city of Sderot and the area surrounding the Gaza Strip.  Sirens also sounded in Kibbutz Ruhama.

The IDF later reported that four other surface-to-air rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip.  Three of the rockets exploded in the air and one rocket fell in an open area. 

In response, the IDF struck military posts belonging to the Hamas terrorist organization, along the Gaza Strip.



IDF And US Militaries Launch Joint Exercise

The IDF and US Central Command (CENTCOM) launched the Juniper Falcon joint exercise Sunday (12th).

The exercise is part of a series conducted with CENTCOM and was planned as part of the IDF’s training program for 2023.

The exercise will focus on aerial defense, cyber and spectrum, intelligence, and logistical scenarios, including testing joint US-Israeli readiness for potential security events.  The exercise will also strengthen the interoperability between the two militaries.

This will be the second joint exercise conducted with CENTCOM in 2023, following the Juniper Oak exercise.



Jonathan Pollard: ‘Government Should Commemorate Israelite Conquest Of The Land’

Former Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard and his wife toured the Jordan Valley Sunday (12th) with the Sovereignty Movement and Israel Forever.  Israel National News caught up with the Pollards near the site known by its Arabic name Qaser Al-Yahud, traditionally considered the spot where the Israelites crossed the Jordan River and entered the Land of Israel led by Joshua.  The Book of Joshua describes the events in detail and gives the date as the tenth of the month of Nisan.

“I find myself very angry; we’re missing something here.  There should be a huge monument to the crossing of the Jordan River by Joshua and our people, just as the conquest of the land began.  But instead, there’s nothing, there’s another building here,” Pollard lamented.

He maintains that there should be a national holiday celebrating the Israelites’ conquest of the land and that there should be a large monument commemorating the event at the site where it began “so people will understand exactly what happened so long ago and why it’s still relevant to this day,” he explained.

Pollard spoke about the government: “I find it shocking that a government that we consider right-wing doesn’t even consider something like this, but I hope that maybe they’ll change their mind and we’ll have an event dedicated to the conquest of the land, starting here in this Jordan River area.”

He suggested remembering this when we speak with politicians.  “It’s time.  We’ve been here for a long time, so we should build a center dedicated to the crossing of the Jordan River and the conquest of the land along with a national holiday.” he concluded.