News Digest — 2/28/23

U.S.-Israeli Man Killed In Terror Shooting In Jordan Valley

 A US-Israeli dual-national was killed in a shooting attack near the Beit Arava Junction on Highway 90 in the Jordan Valley on Monday afternoon (27th).

Video from the scene showed the terrorists driving up to the junction and firing at passing cars.  One passing car was damaged although no injuries were caused. The terrorists then proceeded to the Mul Nevo area where they shot an Israeli man, critically injuring him.

The victim, about 26 years old was transferred to Hadassah Medical Center Mount Scopus in Jerusalem in critical condition as paramedics conducted resuscitation efforts.  He was pronounced dead at the hospital.

The terrorists proceeded to drive to the area of the Monastery of Saint George in Wadi Qelt, burned their vehicle and switched to a different vehicle before driving away from the area.  

The roads leading to Jericho were closed as Israeli forces searched for the terrorists.

Israel Police chief Kobi Shabtai spoke with M. an officer at the Maale Adumim police station who clashed with the terrorists who carried out the attack.

“I arrived on shift and while I was getting ready, we received a message about hearing gunshots in Beit Arava.  We went out there right away and while doing so we realized that there were three scenes,” said M.  “At a certain point we detected smoke and got closer and found a car on fire with yellow license plates, and we realized it was the vehicle of the terrorists.  One of the terrorists aimed a firearm at us and we immediately fired at them.”

The Palestinian Islamic JIhad (PIJ) terrorist movement welcomed the attack on Monday evening (27th), saying “Resistance operations are continuing, and the enemy will pay the price for all its crimes.”

The occupation and its fascist government bear full responsibility, and whoever lights the fire and sponsors aggression must bear the consequences of its terrorism and aggression,” said the movement.  “The Islamic Jihad movement warns the occupation against persisting in aggression and unleashing the hands of settlers, which will lead to more resistance operations that may reach the Zionist’s depth.  Settlement wherever it is found is a legitimate target for the resistance.”

A Palestinian attack took place near Jericho in January when a terrorist cell from Jericho attempted to carry out a shooting attack at a restaurant in Vered Veriho.  The restaurant was filled with customers but no one was hurt as the terrorists’ weapons jammed.

Earlier this month, five Palestinians, including members of the cell that tried to carry out the attack at Vered Veriho, including Hamas terrorists, were killed in an IDF raid in Aqabat Jaber near Jericho.

In January, a new terrorist cell affiliated with Hamas’ al-Qassam Brigades announced its establishment in Aqabat Jaber.  Members of the cell, which called itself the Aqabat Jaber Battalion,” were said to have conducted armed clashes with Israeli forces operating in the Jericho area.



Latest Victim Of Terrorism Identified As Elan Ganeles, American-Israeli Citizen

The victim of the terror shooting on Monday (27th) near the Dead Sea was identified as 26-year-old Elan Ganeles, a dual American-Israeli citizen who was visiting the country for a friend’s wedding.

Terrorists targeted Ganeles’ car as he drove on Route 90 near Jericho.  Ganeles was struck by gunfire and hospitalized at Hadassah Medical Center on Mount Scopus in Jerusalem, where he was pronounced dead hours later.

The terrorists who perpetrated the attack shot at least two other vehicles, and are currently at large.

From West Hartford, Connecticut, Ganeles had been an active member of Orthodox youth groups, eventually going to Israel and serving as a ‘lone soldier.’

After serving in the military and working on a kibbutz dairy farm for several months, Ganeles returned to the U.S, in order to attend Columbia University, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) reported.

According to Ganeles’ LinkedIn account, he graduated from Columbia in 2022 with a degree in sustainable development and neuroscience.

Ganeles had also worked as a computer programmer for systems used by the Knesset’s finance committee and the National Ministry of Finance.

“He was the kind of guy you could call, and you’d be sure he’d pick up and have a few minutes to talk if you needed something,” Rabbi Yehuda Drizin of Chabad at Columbia University told JTA.  For everyone who knew him, this is a kick in the gut.  This really hurts.”  He added that Ganeles was a “nice person” and a “very good friend, and really loyal.”

“I remember him as a sweet boy with a great sense of humor.  He played the saxophone and took part in the musicals during Hallel, Hanukkah, and other events.

Speaking to local outlet We-Ha, Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford President and Chief Executive Officer David Warren called Ganeles’ killing a “senseless and brutal murder at the hands of terrorists.”

“We extend our deepest condolences to the Ganeles family and affirm our solidarity with the people of Israel at this time of escalating violence,” Warren added.

“May Elan’s memory be a blessing for his family and our entire community.”

Ganeles is survived by his parents, who are both physicians, and two younger brothers.

He will be buried in Israel.  After the funeral, his family will sit shiva (Jewish mourning period) in Connecticut.



Israeli Brothers Killed In Terror Attack Sunday Laid To Rest

Family members of two Israeli brothers killed in the terror attack in the town of Huwara, attended their funeral on Monday (27th), in what was an emotion-filled ceremony.

Hillel and Yagel were killed Sunday (26th) after a Palestinian terrorist approached their vehicle which was stuck in a traffic jam, and shot the two from point-blank range.

The mother of the two brothers, Esti Yariv, eulogized them in tears: “Instead of accompanying my children to their weddings we have to bury them.”

Their father Shalom, also eulogized: “I’m begging you, let this be the last such incident.  Let our children get married, have children of their own and build homes.”

“I told my children we will stay a united family – as well as the people of Israel, thanks to God’s will.  I just hope the people will be united, we are all brothers,” the mother added.

“In our yard, there are teenagers who sing songs in memory of the friends they lost,” said the father.  “Their friends Hillel and Yagel could be here with us right now.  I really wish that all these children could live happily in peace in the land of their ancestors.”

Rabbi Shmuel Yaniv and his wife Yona, the grandparents of the brothers, told Ynet their “grandchildren were pure, loyal to Israel, and to Torah.”

“One of them finished his IDF service in the Israeli Navy, while the other made tremendous efforts to be accepted to trials for an elite military unit, and he was to undergo the trial soon,” said the grandfather.

On Sunday evening (26th), the family members of the brothers arrived at the scene of the attack and prayed for the memory of the brothers.

“My grandchildren Hillel and Yagel ascended to heaven, we need to continue the life of sanctification, as God will avenge their deaths,” said Rabbi Yaniv.

On Monday (27th), the brothers’ funeral procession began at the home of the Yaniv family in the Har Bracha settlement and proceeded to Jerusalem where they were laid to rest at the Mount Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem in the presence of thousands of mourners.



Israel Was Hit By 5,000 Palestinian Terror Attacks In 2022.  It Has To Defend Itself – Orly Goldschmidt

→ An article published in The Guardian days after a Palestinian terrorist murdered seven innocent people near a synagogue in Jerusalem on Holocaust Memorial Day subordinates the value of Israeli lives.  The article illustrates a problem in the wider discourse – the denial of, and refusal to accept, Israeli suffering.

→ In 2022, Israelis suffered from over 5,000 Palestinian terror attacks, including car-rammings, shootings, stabbings and bombings targeting innocent men , women and children on the streets of Israel.  This is the reality on the ground.

→ On February 10, for example, a Palestinian drove his car into a crowded bus stop, killing three people, including two brothers six and eight.  Just imagine you or your loved ones falling victim to such abhorrent terror on your way to work.

→ This is precisely why Israel’s counter-terrorism apparatus exists, because without it I dread to think how many more zeros would be added to that 5,000 total.

→ Israel has shown its desire for peace with the Palestinians throughout the years, including several attempts to sign peace agreements in 1993, 2000, 2008 and 2014, and we continue to reach out for peace.

→ For peace to happen, there must be recognition from the Palestinian leadership that incitement and violence must end.

The writer is Spokesperson of the Embassy of Israel to the UK.



What Would A Third Intifada Mean For Palestinians? – Jonathan Schanzer

The word “Intifada” refers to the recurring effort by Palestinians to expel Israel.  The First Intifada erupted in 1987.  The Second Intifada began in 2000.  There also was the Arab revolt of the 1930s that can be described as an Intifada.  Yet few Palestinians remember that all three uprisings were disasters for their people.

The violence of the Arab revolt in the 1930s left 5,000 Palestinians dead and 15,000 wounded.  During the First Intifada, an estimated 1,376 Palestinians died and at least three times as many were wounded, with Palestinians killing at least 800 of their own.  The Second Intifada led to 2,700 Palestinian deaths and thousands more Palestinians were injured.

Undeniably, the Intifadas have harmed Israel.  But Israel has not only endured – it has thrived.

The same cannot be said for the Palestinians.  Those warning of another Intifada are right to sound the alarm.  Those advocating for another Intifada do not know their history, or choose to ignore it.

The writer is senior vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.