News Digest—3/24/22

Victims of Beersheba Terror Attack Brought To Burial

Doris Yahbas, Laura Yitzhak, Menachem Yechezkel and Rabbi Moshe Kravitsky, the four people killed in Tuesday evening’s (22nd) terror attack in Beersheba were buried Wednesday (23rd).

Yahbas’ funeral was held at the cemetery in Moshav Gilat and Yehezkel’s funeral was held at the new Beersheba cemetery, both at 4 p.m.  Laura Yitzhak’s funeral was at 5 p.m.  The funeral of Kravitzky took place at 7 p.m.

The terrorist, Muhammad Alab Ahmed abu Alkiya, ran over a man riding on a bicycle before driving to a gas station, exiting the vehicle and stabbing a woman.

He then returned to the car, drove to a nearby shopping center, exited the car and stabbed another man and woman.  After returning to the vehicle, he drove away and crashed into another vehicle, exited it and stabbed another person before being shot and killed by two civilians,

One of the victims was Doris Yahbas, a resident of Moshav Gilat, who leaves behind her husband and three children.

The second victim to be identified was Rabbi Moshe Kravitsky who was a Chabad emissary in the Nachal Beka neighborhood of Beersheba and for ten years had run a local soup kitchen for the poor.

The third victim, Lora Yitzhak, was the sister of a police officer who was on his way to the scene of the attack.

The fourth victim, Menachem Yehezkel, 67, was a resident of Beersheba.  His nephew Natti Cohen told news reporters, “he was a good man, this is a terrible tragedy.” 

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett convened the Ministerial Committee to Fight Crime and Violence in Arab Society on Wednesday (23rd), in light of the attack.

“Security Forces are acting to reach anyone who had a direct or indirect connection to the terrorist,” Bennett said.  Any one who helped, inspired, incited, cooperated – we will reach.”

The prime minister also sent his condolences to the families of the victims.



Israel’s ‘Sky Dew’ Defense System In North Becomes Operational

The Israel Missile Defense Organization (IMDO) transferred on Tuesday (22nd) to the Israel Air Force the Tal Shamayim (Sky Dew in Hebrew), a high altitude balloon providing detection and early warning capabilities for threats emerging from the north, such as missiles and drones.

The tethered balloons affixed with advanced radar and other sensors will augment the IDF’s ability to detect threats.

The Sky Dew system, one of the largest of its kind in the world, is composed of a High Availability Aerostat-borne System and advanced radar.  The unit is complementary to a similar balloon stationed in the south of the country.

The unit is a significant component in strengthening the protection of the state’s borders, and will allow the Air Force to continue to carry out its first mission – the protection of the country’s skies,” the IDF stated Wednesday (23rd).

The radar system was developed under a cooperative program between IMDO and the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA).

The advantages of tethered aerial systems include the ability to elevate in a matter of seconds and stay in the air for an unlimited period of time since the electric power supply remains on the ground.  The logistical footprint is reduced dramatically, and the output provided is achieved in a simple way.

The new unit is “a leap forward in the intensification of the air control system, and will enable the creation of a more accurate picture of the sky, make the Air Force more prepared and help further the Air Force’s mission – maintaining the security of the State of Israel,” IAF Commander General Amikam Norkin stated.

Israel over the years has developed a multi-layered defense system to contend with the ever-evolving ballistic projectile threat from Iran, the Gaza Strip and Hezbollah in Lebanon, which includes the Iron Dome system for close-range threats, the Magic Wand for mid-range threats, and the Arrow 2 and Arrow 3 systems for long-range threats.

Iran tried to attack Israel with kamikaze drones in February.



IRGC Chief Threatens Israel, US With Iranian Missiles

Iran’s enemies, such as Israel and the United States, have an “expiration date” as a new world order is upon us, Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commander-in-chief Hossein Salami threatened on Wednesday (23rd), Iranian news outlet Tasnim reported.

Speaking in front of IRGC soldiers in Dezful, southwestern Iran, Salami issued a warning to the Jewish state and shared insight on the Iranian approach to negotiations or sanctions imposed by the US.

In a direct threat, Salami said Israel will have to “endure the bitter taste of missiles if it is not careful.”

Salami claimed that America’s “strategy of strong aggressive sanctions” has strengthened the IRGC “in every way.”

“The enemies are gradually retreating and their policies are no longer effective,” he said.  It was reported last week that the US is considering removing the IRGC from its foreign terrorist organization blacklist in return for Iranian assurances on de-escalation in the Middle East.

“We have entered a new era,” the IRGC chief said.  “The sun has set on the evil powers,” he stated, referencing Israel, the US and other Western nations.  “The Islamic revolution has accelerated the erosion and decay of western civilizations,” he added.

“The previous century was written by the enemies and the westerners.  It was the century of captivity and slavery of Muslims, of modern ignorence, of a bipolar world in which the West was advanced and we were backward and dependent on others.”

“We do not only hold funerals for our martyrs but also exact immediate revenge for them,” the IRGC chief stated, possibly referencing the American assassination of Quds force commander Qassem.Soleimani.



Palestinian Authority Officials Confirms Freeze In Millions In European Aid Over Textbook Concerns

Palestinian Authority (PA) officials have confirmed that the European Union (EU) has delayed hundreds of millions of euros in aid because of concerns over hateful materials in PA textbooks.

PA Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki told the radio station Palestinian Voice on Monday (21st) that there has been “no breakthrough” on the restoration of over 200 million euros, which have been frozen since 2021.

A January report by Israeli education watchdog IMPACT-se found that the PA had failed to deliver on promises made to European partners to purge its curriculum of anti-Semitic and violent themes.  In one example of study cards for eleventh graders, IMPACT-se found, Jews are accused of being “in control of global events through financial power” and leveraging “Zionist influence” to trigger wars between major powers.

The report’s findings troubled Brussels, according to a recent Haaretz report, prompting  Oliver Varhelyi, EU Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement, to propose withholding 10 million euros from a Palestinian aid package unless the Palestinian Authority agreed to reform its curriculum to meet the standards of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Varhelyi’s proposal now awaits a final decision by the European Commission, delaying full disbursement of the 250 million euros the PA was due to receive until a ruling is rendered.

“There is a problem with conditionality which we are working to address,” the PA’s Al-Maliki said Monday (21st), in remarks translated by IMPACT-se.

“We will make it clear to Commissioner Varhelyi that we reject the idea of conditionality in return for restoring aid to Palestine and that he must reconsider his position and cancel this conditionality.  This is the message he will hear when he visits Palestine.”

Marcus Sheff – CEO of the Israeli NGO, which analyzes curricula across the Middle East – commented that the Palestinian Authority is forcing the EU’s hand.

“Following years of discussion and legislation in Brussels, there is now too much opposition from the European Parliament, the Commission, and the Council itself to transfer massive sums of money to the PA while it brazenly continues to produce anti-Semitic and violent textbooks, written and taught by EU-financed Palestinian civil servants,” Sheff said in a Tuesday (22nd) statement.  “Clearly the EU does not want to stop funding altogether, but the PA point-blank refuses to make any changes at all to the textbooks as per the examples we have provided EU policymakers.  The PA does not seem inclined to offer the EU a way out.”



Palestinians Prefer Working In Israel

Many Palestinian Authority (PA) Arabs prefer to work in Israel rather than in the PA, hoping to improve their income and living standards, the PA’s official daily reported.

They do so because of the higher salaries in Israel, the more orderly conditions, and the benefits.  Moreover, being paid in the PA after the job has been done also proves difficult at times, the report said.

Musa Suleiman, 49, from the town of Dir Balut, a construction worker, told the PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida earlier this month that three years ago, he decided to leave to work in the Israeli market.

“The low salary here among us [PA] and the high salary in Israel caused me to leave to work there, with the hope that I will be able to improve my income… The salary here is low, and collecting it is liable to last months or years after the work has been completed, following foot-dragging and splitting into payments,” he told the newspaper.

Many workers work in the market of the State of Israel, where the work hours are fixed, the rights are clear, and there are payments to which we are eligible, he added.

Acting Director of the General Administration to regulate Work Outside of PA areas in the PA Ministry of Labor, Abd Al-Karim Merdawi stressed the different rights workers enjoy in Israel as additional reasons for workers to change job location.

“The central factor that is making the Israeli job market attractive for Palestinian workers is the high salary in the Israeli market, which causes workers among us to stream to work there,” he told the PA newspaper.

“The social insurance, rights, and savings deposits that a ‘regularized’ Palestinian worker (one who has an Israeli work license) receives, also constitutes an attractive factor,” he said.

According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), the average salary of Palestinian workers in the construction sector in Israel is more than double the salary they are paid inthe PA.

According to the PCBS, in 2021 the average monthly salary of workers in the construction sector in the PA was NIS 3,193, as opposed to NIS 7,627 for a worker in the construction sector in the Israeli market.

Palestinian Media Watch (PMW),  which translated this report, noted that it has documented similar statements about why Palestinians prefer to work for Israeli employers.