News Digest — 4/1/22

Heroic Police Officer Laid To Rest As Thousands Pay Respects

Amir Khoury, the police officer killed in Tuesday’s (3/29) terror attack in Bnei Brak was laid to rest in his hometown of Nof HaGalil on Thursday (3/31).  Thousands of Israelis came, including busloads of Bnei Brak residents.

Khoury, a 32-year-old Christian Arab who was part of a motorcycle unit, charged at the terrorist, Dia’a  Hamarshi and killed him.  Khoury was also shot at point blank range.  He was rushed to the Beilinson Medical Center but doctors could not save him.

Bodycam footage widely shared on social media showed Khoury and his unidentified partner charging the terrorist.

Khoury’s father Jeries was overwhelmed by the national turnout for the burial.  Speaking beside his son’s body, he said, “Your virtue is spoken of throughout the country,” and later stated that, “People came from Acre, Beit Shemesh, Rechovot, and Bnei Brak.  Everyone told me they came to embrace us and to pay respects.”

A message of condolence and gratitude written by Bnei Brak’s chief rabbi was also read.

On Wednesday (3/30), Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai told the Khoury family their son was a “hero” who “saved the lives of many civilians.”

Khoury planned to marry his long-time girlfriend, Shani Yashar.  He is survived by his parents and two sisters.

Also killed in the attack were Yaakov Shalom, 36, Rabbi Avishai Yehezkel, 30, and Ukrainian nationals, Victor Sorokopot, 32, and Dimitri Mitrik, 24.

Shalon and Yehezkel were buried in Bnei Brak on Wednesday (3/30).

The families of Sorokopot and Mitrik want to repatriate their bodies to Ukraine, but it isn’t clear how that will happen with the Russian invasion.



Victim Of Gush Etzion Stabbing Attack Regains Consciousness

An Israeli man seriously wounded in a terrorist stabbing attack south of Jerusalem Thursday morning (3/31) regained consciousness Friday (1st), hospital officials announced.

The victim, a 28-year-old man was wounded when a 34-year-old terrorist from the Palestinian Authority-controlled town of Tarqumiyah, near Hebron, stabbed him with a screwdriver onboard a 364 line bus in the Gush Etzion area south of Jerusalem.

Officials at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem announced Friday morning (1st) that the victim wounded in the attack had shown signs of improvement, and has regained consciousness.

“The condition of the victim who was seriously wounded in yesterday’s stabbing in Gush Etzion has improved significantly.  The victim has regained consciousness, and is breathing on his own.  He is still hospitalized in the intensive care unit,” said Dr. Alon Schwartz, Director of the Trauma Unit at Shaare Zedek Medical Center.



IDF Chief Says Raids To Go Forth “As Long As It Takes” As Operation Breakwater Continues

Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi held a special meeting on Thursday (3/31) to discuss the ongoing heightened tensions in Judea and Samaria in the wake of the recent terrorist atacks, as Israeli forces arrested more than 30 Palestinians in various counterterrorism operations.

Members of the IDF top brass and senior Shin Bet security officials were in attendance to discuss the special measures that were introduced in recent days and prepare for upcoming Jewish and Muslim holidays, which often coincide with increased clashes.

During the overnight raids in the Palestinian city of Jenin in northern Samaria, three were arrested for helping carry out the recent attack at Bnei Brak, in which five were killed.  Three terrorists who shot at the troops were killed.  The troops also confiscated illegal arms, including an M-16 assault rifle, in a nearby village.  Meanwhile, special forces conducted raids across Judea and Samaria, which culminated with additional arrests, including an Islamic State-affiliated terrorist.  At the end of the meeting, Kochavi told the commanders that they “have the ability and duty to prevent terrorist attacks.  You can crack down on what led to this recent spate of attacks and frustrate additional attempts.”

He added that he has full faith in their abilities.  “Today’s raids in Jenin comprise part of the overall offensive measures we are going to pursue in order to prevent terrorism.  We will continue with the raids and arrests as long as it takes in order to stop terrorism and allow Israelis to lead normal lives,” Kochavi concluded.



On Temple Mount, Ben Gvir Says, ‘Israel Must Not Surrender To Terror’   

Otzma Yehudit MK Itamar Ben-Gvir ascended the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City, Thursday morning (3/31).  While making his way to the holy site, He said, “All night, Hamas people threatened me, told me I was in their sights, and suggested I not ascend the mount.  My visit sends a simple message: I am not surrendering and folding to terror.  The State of Israel must not surrender and fold to terrorists who want to kill us.”

He added: “With the hours already limited to begin with, during Ramadan, there will be limited hours for Jews to arrive at the Temple Mount.  I call on the Israeli government to stop this.  Capitulation invites terrorism and those who control the mount control all of Israel.  Even the enemy understands this.”

Police authorized Ben-Gvir’s request to visit the site after he threatened to go to the Temple Mount regardless of their response.  “I will not surrender to terrorism,” he asserted.

Given security concerns over a string of recent terrorist attacks, some 3,000 officers will be sent to reinforce the capital to contend with the upcoming Ramadan, Passover, and Easter holidays, as well as Memorial and Independence Day.

The Jerusalem Police have demanded Muslim men aged 45 and under be temporarily banned from the site.

Meanwhile, Hamas spokesman Fazi Barhoum said that in light of Israel’s decision to allow Ben-Gvir to “invade the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque, we warn Ben-Gvir not to approach the mosque.  Likewise we hold Israel responsible  for the consequences of this dangerous step.”



New Synagogue Guidelines Call For Weapons, Cell Phones On Shabbat Following Deadly Attacks

The World Organization of Orthodox Communities and Synagogues on Wednesday (3/30) has called for synagogues to prepare for the possibility of an attack.  Among its recommendations: Worshipers should arrive at services armed, and a cell phone should be left on in the building during Shabbat prayers.

In guidelines issued Wednesday (3/30) following a string of deadly attacks in Israel, the organizations called on leaders, who assist in running the synagogue; community leaders; and worshipers to remain vigilant at prayer time and for gun owners to carry their weapons with them when arriving at the synagogue for prayer, including Shabbat.

“Synagogue leaders must ensure a first-aid kit is permanently stationed in the building.  LIkewise, community heads must locate trained professionals to provide first aid so that they are on alert and able to handle provision of care to victims when necessary.  Leaders must ensure the synagogue has emergency exits and inform worshipers of exit routes of escape in emergency,” the organization said.

“These guidelines are the endeavors we are committed to in accordance with halacha and together with prayers to our Father in Heaven.  We call on synagogues to petition in prayers and supplications to the Holy One, Blessed is He, to say enough to our troubles.  Additionally, there should be prayers for the victims and the wounded of the recent attacks, and for the welfare of IDF soldiers and members of the security forces who are on the frontlines for all of Israel’s citizens,” the organization said.



20 Years Later, PA Still Glorifies Perpetrators Of Passover Seder Massacre – Lt. Col. (res.) Maurice Hirsch

March 27th marked the 20th anniversary of the Passover Massacre at the Park Hotel in Netanya in 2002, when a Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself up, murdering 30 people and injuring another 160.  Every month since then, the Palestinian Authority spends thousands of dollars to reward the family of the bomber and pay salaries to the terrorists who were arrested for their part in the massacre.

Four of the terrorists arrested for the attack – Abbas Al-Sayid, the main planner; Fathi Hatib, who transported the bomber; Muhannad Shreim, who financed the attack; Muamar Al-Sheikh, Al-Sayid’s deputy – have by now each been paid over one million shekels by the PA as a reward for their participation in the murders.  The PA has also paid hundreds of thousands of shekels to the families of Kais Adwan, one of the main planners of the attack, and to the family of the bomber, Abd Al-Basset Odeh.  

The PA has repeatedly honored Al-Sayid, calling him a “heroic fighter” and “the lion of the prison cells.”  The PA has also repeatedly glorified the bomber, Odeh.  

People who praise and reward terrorist murderers, simply because they murdered Jews, are not and will never be partners for peace.

The writer, director of legal strategies for Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), served for 19 years in the IDF Military Advocate General Corps.