News Digest — 3/7/24

Terrorists Planning To Hit Israelis Abroad During Ramadan, Warns National Security Council

Islamic terror groups are likely to target Israelis both in Israel and abroad during the upcoming Islamic holy month of Ramadan, Israel’s National Security Council warned on Wednesday (6th).

The National Security Council issued a Ramadan travel warning, noting that the first Islamic holy month since the October 7th invasion is set to commence on Sunday (10th), stating that Israelis faced elevated terror threats both at home and abroad, citing calls both from international terror groups like ISIS and Al-Qaeda, and Palestinian terror groups like Islamic Jihad and Hamas.

“Islamic terrorist organizations see Ramadan as an opportunity to perpetrate attacks and violent acts,” the National Security Council said.  “During this period, there will be increased incitement and calls by radical Islamic elements (especially global jihad organizations such as ISIS and Al-Qaeda) to carry out attacks.”

The National Security Council said that along with Israeli tourists abroad “Western targets” could also face terror attacks.

“Terrorist organizations are expected to utilize the Swords of Iron War and tension surrounding the Temple Mount and the Al-Aqsa Mosque to spur militants and supporters to attack Israeli and Western targets.  Hamas and Islamic Jihad have already called for attacks on Israelis during Ramadan, including overseas.”

Therefore, the NSC reiterates its recommendation for the Israeli public to be responsible while traveling abroad and to act in accordance with the NSC travel warnings.”

No specific travel warnings for any countries abroad were issued with the general Ramadan travel warning.

The Hamas terrorist organization has called on rioters to barricade themselves inside the al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan should Israel impose any limits on Palestinian visitation of the holy site.



Defense Minister To Eli Mechina: ‘Without Physical Existence, There Is No Spiritual Existence’

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, on Wednesday (6th) visited the Bnei David Mechina (pre-military leadership academy) in Eli, where he met with Rabbis Eli Sadan and Yigal Levinstein, and head of the Binyamin Regional Council, Israel Gantz.

Gallant heard about the mechina graduates who fell in the war and spoke with the rabbis about the importance of enlisting in the IDF, and the ability to combine Torah study with meaningful military service.

Gallant told the students: “I meet mechina students repeatedly in Gaza and Khan Yunis, in the north, in Judea and Samaria and other places in Israel’s most secret operations.  I think there is a special spirit here, but this spirit also involves paying a heavy price.  On the one hand it makes us proud, and on the other hand, conveys an extraordinary dimension of pain and suffering for the families and students, and certainly for the rabbis.”

Referring to the fighting itself, Gallant said that “Hamas cannot continue to exist as a governmental body, nor as a military body.  We will pursue them everywhere, all over Judea and Samaria, in the Middle East – everywhere, it doesn’t matter if they are terrorists wearing uniforms and carrying weapons, or they are wearing suits and pretending to be statesmen – everyone.  This murderous body called Hamas will be pursued by the State of Israel – its militants, everywhere, in every way.  We are at the end of an era and the beginning of an era – the path we lay these days will be the one that will lead us many years ahead – and will define the way we will live in the Middle East.”

“There is something else in this place – we are in the Beit Midrash (house of study), and I think that faith and Torah study are of the most important foundations of the Jewish people.  And when I see that they exist alongside similar excellence on the battlefield, I want to tell you that I, as defense minister, am proud that there are soldiers like you in the IDF, who hold a weapon in one hand and a book in the other.  I think it reflects a very deep sense of connection of faith and ability.”

Learning and fighting are two areas that ensure our future, and there is mutual responsibility in both.  The ability to continue learning. while, on the other hand, being able to defend our country and everything within it, is proof that without physical existence there is no spiritual existence, this is true both at an individual  and a national level,” Gallant concluded.

After the visit to Eli, Binyamin Regional Council Chairman Israel Gantz, accompanied  the Defense Minister by helicopter to the ceremony of expanding the Rantis crossing, and thanked Gallant for his important contribution to the region and for his dedication to the people of Israel during the war: “We have a mission to connect Jewish settlement to the heart of Israel.  We will continue to consolidate our hold on our land and prosperously develop the heart of the country here in the Binyamin region.”



Manhunt In Jerusalem Terror Stabbing, Palestinian Attacker, 14, Caught

An Israeli man was stabbed and moderately hurt in a terror attack carried out by a Palestinian teenager in East Jerusalem on Wednesday (6th), police and medics said.

The 64-year-old was waiting at a bus station in north east Jerusalem’s Neve Yaakov neighborhood when a 14-year-old Palestinian from East Jerusalem attacked him.

The Magen David Adom ambulance service said its medics took the victim to Hadassah Hospital Mount Scopus in the capital.  The medical center said he was listed in moderate condition.

The teenager, a resident of the Kafr Aqab neighborhood, had initially fled the scene after stabbing the man but was caught a short while later in the area.

Law enforcement officials described the stabbing as a terror attack.

“I was waiting at the station for my bus and suddenly I felt someone slap me on the back,” Tzvi Tal, the stabbing victim, told reporters from his hospital bed.  “I turned around and saw that he was running away, and I felt like something had been left in my back and realized there was a knife there.”

As he was alone at the bus stop at the time, Tal said he resorted to trying to flag down cabs and other vehicles in the street to seek help, although many passed by without stopping as the knife was not visible to them and they did not realize he had been stabbed.

He said the assailant was at the bus station with him and that he assumed the teenager was also waiting for the bus, but in the end “he was waiting for me.”

Tal an ultra-Orthodox Jew, warned “we’re sitting on a powder keg” in Jerusalem, and attributed his escape with relatively minor injuries to a higher power.  “The reason things like this don’t happen every other second is because someone is watching over us, making sure that it doesn’t,” he said.

The attack came less than a day after a Palestinian teenager stabbed and seriously wounded a soldier in the northern West Bank.  Earlier Wednesday (6th), hospital officials said the soldier’s condition had improved.

Tensions between Israelis and Palestinians have risen in the West Bank and East Jerusalem since the outbreak of the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza following the October 7 massacre, which saw Hamas terrorists kill 1,200 people and kidnap 253. 



Hamas Family Members Are Being Smuggled Into Egypt

Although Egypt has insisted it won’t accept Palestinian refugees from Gaza, a few have been able to make the passage, namely, the relatives of Hamas leaders.

When the IDF began discussing plans to operate in Rafah, Egypt warned that a massive influx of Gazans into Egypt to escape the war could threaten the peace between Egypt and Israel.

In early February, an Egyptian official told Israel Hayom that “even one Palestinian refugee”across its border may end or suspend Egypt’s decades-old peace treaty with Israel.

However, some Gazans are finding their way into Egypt either by being smuggled into the country or having enough money to pay for the passage.

The cost for a Palestinian to find refuge in Egypt is six to seven thousand dollars per person, and the relatives of the Hamas leaders, unlike Gazan civilians, have ample funds to cover this cost.

However, some don’t need to pay as they have been smuggled into the country.

According to News12 , the nephews and nieces of October 7th mastermind Yahya Sinwar have been led across the border.

Also, the two children of Hamas police spokesman, Ayman al-Batanji escaped into Egypt and some speculate that al-Batanji himself may have made the journey.

The four children of Hamas political bureau member Sameh Elsraj are reportedly in Egypt, although Elsraj hasn’t been accounted for since the beginning of the war and is believed to have been killed.

Senior Hamas official Akil Alhindi and the daughter of the Hamas health minister were also mentioned.

There was speculation that Yahya Sinwar himself had escaped through the Gaza tunnels into Egypt using hostages as human shields.

However, that rumor was debunked when the IDF entered a Gaza tunnel that Sinwar had apparently vacated shortly before the troops arrived.

In late February the IDF presented Egypt with a plan outlining the procedure for evacuating Gazan civilians prior to their Rafah operation to prevent a spillover of Palestinian refugees into Egypt.



Chile Cancels Israeli Participation In Latin America’s Largest Aerospace Fair

SANTIAGO, Chile – Chile said Tuesday (5th) it will exclude Israeli firms from Latin America’s biggest aerospace fair, to be held in Santiago in April.

“By decision of the Government of Chile, the 2024 version of the International Air and Space Fair (FIDAE), to be held between 9 and 14 April, will not have the participation of Israeli companies,” a defense ministry statement said.

It did not give a reason, but the government of Leftist President Gabriel Boric has been critical of what he has called Israel’s “disproportionate” response to the October 7 attack by Hamas, which saw thousands of terrorists storm southern Israel to kill nearly 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and take over 250 hostages.

Israel’s offensive has claimed the lives of 30,000 people, according to the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry.  The figure, which cannot be independently verified, includes some 13,000 Hamas terrorists Israel says it has killed in battle.  Israel also said it killed some 1,000 gunmen inside Israel on October7.

Chile, which has the largest Palestinian population outside the Arab world, recalled its ambassador to Israel in late October to protest Israel’s ”unacceptable violations of humanitarian law” in Gaza.

Mexico and Chile in January joined calls for an investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC) into possible war crimes in the Israel-Hamas war.

Israel’s ambassador to Chile Gil Artzyeli told AFP on Tuesday (5th) he had not been contacted by the government with the FIDAE news.

“We cannot say we are surprised taking into account the Chilean government’s doctrine towards Israel,” he said.



Disgruntled Palestinian Laborers Turn Against Hamas – Khaled Abu Toameh

• Public opinion polls may indicate an increase in Hamas’ popularity among Palestinians in the West Bank after the October 7, 2023 massacre, but a growing number of Palestinians living there have begun speaking out against the Iran-backed Palestinian terror group.  Most of those are Palestinian laborers who used to work inside Israel before the carnage.

• More than 140,000 Palestinians from the West Bank used to cross into Israel every day to work in a variety of jobs, including construction and agriculture.  They have not been able to return to their workplaces since the Hamas attack.  Many fear they may never return to work in Israel and that they will be replaced with foreign workers.  A Palestinian earns much more in Israel than with Palestinian employers in the West Bank.

• Four months after the start of the Israel-Hamas war, most of the laborers remain unemployed.  The PA is not able to provide them with work, and they are beginning to vent their anger and frustration at both the PA and Hamas.

• “Many laborers have been forced to work as vendors in their cities and villages,” said a construction worker from Nablus.  “Some sell vegetables and fruit, while others sell clothes and sandwiches…. They used to make a lot of money working in Israel.  Some built themselves new houses with the money they made in Israel, while others bought new cars.  Now, these laborers are complaining that they can’t feed their children.”

• A shopkeeper from Tulkarem, whose son also used to work in Israel before Oct. 7, said even people who were previously known as Hamas sympathizers have begun criticizing the group.  “I meet many people every day who are complaining that Hamas has brought a new nakba (catastrophe) on the Palestinians in both Gaza and the West Bank,” he said.

The writer, a fellow of the Jerusalem Center, is a veteran Israeli journalist.