News Digest — 2/5/21

Esther Horgan’s Killer Indicted: ‘Struck Her In The Head Till She Stopped Moving’

The terrorist killer of Esther Horgan, a mother of six, was indicted by IDF prosecutors in a military court on Thursday (4th).

Muhammad Cabha, 40, from an Arab town near Jenin, admitted to killing Horgan, 52, while she was out for a morning jog in the Reihan Forest near her home in the settlement of Tal Menashe on Sunday, December 20.

Her body was found in the early hours of Monday morning (21st) after her family reported her missing.  Cabha had smashed her skull with a rock.

According to the indictment, the terrorist was in the forest to collect mushrooms.  When Horgan came across him, she was startled and ran away.  After about 50 feet, he caught up with her, grabbed her hands while she shouted, threw her on a pile of rocks, picked up a rock and hit her on the head till her body stopped moving and her voice fell silent.

Cabha then returned to his home, showered, changed clothes and fled to the mountains where friends and relatives hid him until he was captured by security forces.  Several arrests have been made of those who assisted him.

According to an earlier statement, Cabha said he had planned for six weeks to kill a Jew after a friend of his died in prison.  Cabha himself has served time for terror-related activities.

Cabha originally wanted to carry out a shooting attack on IDF security forces but abandoned the plan due to the high cost of obtaining a firearm.  After scouting out a suitable area for an attack, he settled on the spot where he eventually killed Horgan, noting a nearby breach in the security fence and the fact that Israelis occasionally passed by the relatively secluded locale.



US Senate Approves Amendment To Keep Embassy In Jerusalem

The United States Senate voted 97-3 late Thursday (4th) to support an amendment to the COVID-19 budget resolution that affirmed the country’s intention to keep its embassy in Jerusalem.

It was put forward by Republican Senators Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma and Bill Hagerty of Tennessee.

Inhofe tweeted that the amendment “would make the US Embassy in Jerusalem permanent, effectively preserving it from being downgraded or moved.  It’s an important message that we acknowledge Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.”

On the Senate floor Inhofe said that the “amendment should not be controversial to anyone.  It has been our position in the US Senate for 25 years.  Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, and we should have our embassy there.”

He referenced past Senate votes to place the US Embassy in Jerusalem.  “In 1995, the same amendment was 93-5.  In 2017 it was 90-0.”

Hagerty said that Jerusalem was “the eternal and indivisible capital of the Jewish state of Israel.”  He added that, “establishing this embassy is paving the way for peace across the region and should be preserved.  Now our allies there know we will stand with them.”

The three opposing votes were Democratic Senators Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Tom Carper of Delaware.

The vote is largely viewed as symbolic, since the Biden administration has already stated that it has no intention of relocating the embassy.

When Biden was in the Senate, he supported the Congressional 1995 US Embassy Act, which mandated that the American Embassy be relocated from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Former Presidents Bill Clinton, George Bush and Barack Obama all made use of a waiver option to delay implementation of the act.



Iran Seeks To Encircle Israel With Rocket-Launching Platforms – Brig, Gen, (Ret.) Dr. Ephraim Sneh

Israel’s acceptance of a renegotiated Iran deal should be conditioned on the Biden administration legitimizing Israelis’ fears, rather than ignoring them. Our concerns are based on our distant and recent history, in living memory of our grandparents and parents who experienced unimaginable calamity.  More than half a century later, in 2006, thousands of rockets were launched from Lebanon at Israel’s towns and villages, and dozens of Israelis were killed.  This was done at Iran’s behest.  And the thousands of rockets fired into Israel from Gaza, since the Islamist takeover in 2007 were also supplied by Iran, directly or indirectly.

In his book Palestine, Ali Khamenei, the Iranian spiritual leader, explains how Israel will be wiped out, “It will be encircled by territories that will serve as mega-launching pads of rockets aimed at civilian population centers.”  

In Lebanon, Hezbollah has 150,000 rockets ready to fire. From Gaza, Hamas and Islamic Jihad have more than 10,000.  Many can reach Tel Aviv.  And Iran is now seriously at work cultivating its third launching platform in Syria.   

To understand Israel’s fears, Americans should imagine that four million rockets are aimed at New York and Los Angeles from bases in Canada and Mexico.

We Israelis don’t want a single American soldier to risk his or her life for us.  Instead, we require US diplomatic backing for the measures any responsible Israeli government will be forced to take, on its own, to remove the threat in order to defend ourselves by ourselves.

(The writer, a former Israeli deputy defense minister, is chairman of the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Strategic Dialogue at Netanya Academic College)



UAE Official: Israel Could Easily Take Out Iran’s Nuclear Facilities

In unusual remarks, United Arab Emirates’ former Deputy Police Chief Dhahi Khalfan Tamim asserted Wednesday (3rd) that Israel was capable of destroying Iran’s nuclear project with one single attack.

Tamim, who previously served as the UAE’s chief of police, notably led the investigation into the 2010 assassination of top Hamas operative Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in a Dubai hotel room by Mossad intelligence agency officers.

On Twitter, Tamim wrote, “Israel can attack the nuclear facilities in Iran.  And it would be easier than you think.  One covert attack in the middle of the night and everything would be over the next morning.”

In a humorous follow-up tweet, he wrote, “The Jews have a custom embedded in them, first they get attention from all over the world, and then they act.”

As one of the heads of the country’s ostentatious police force, Tamim has become something of a symbol of the UAE.

However, the tweet-happy official has gotten in trouble more than once for comments he has made online in the past.



Israeli Company With Military-Grade Surveillance, Aims To Defend Jewish Communities Abroad – Yaakov Lappin

Concerned by the threat of anti-Semitism, IDF Col. (res.) Oded Halevy, CEO of the Israeli company Gotrack HLS, is seeking to make military-grade video surveillance services available for Jewish communities abroad.  His approach to surveillance is playing an increasingly growing role in securing multiple sectors in Israel, from city councils to factories.  It may now keep a watchful, remote eye over synagogues and community centers around the world as they face rising threats.

Halevy pioneered the concept of centralized control centers that receive camera and radar feeds from multiple locations.  “We replicated the Gaza border-control centers for civilian needs,” he said.  Gotrack HLS formulated an activation concept called “Hunter,” designed to create prevention.  That means proactively and systematically scanning environments for suspicious activities, knowing how to identify unusual movements and finding activity that does not belong.

While almost all Jewish community centers and synagogues employ CCTV cameras, the familiar problem of not using them in real-time to prevent attacks arises.  The anti-Semitic shooting attack at Halle, Germany, in 2019 was caught on video, “but no one was looking at the site in real time,” said Halevy.  The remote control room also employs video analytics that automatically detects firearms and alerts operators to their presence.

In 2018, Gotrack set up an initiative called SEEU, which provides outsourcing of camera control-room services.  Halevy is currently in touch with Jewish communities in North America and Europe, offering to take over the video feeds of their surveillance cameras to provide active protection.