News Digest — 4/15/19

Netanyahu: We Will Continue To Act On All Fronts, Including In North

“We will continue to act on all fronts, including on the northern front, because we are not prepared to allow someone to establish power and endanger the State of Israel,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday (14th).

“Power is the guarantee of our existence, and it is the essential and fundamental condition for achieving peace with our neighbors,” he said.

The comments came a day after Syrian media and foreign accounts reported that Israel attacked Syrian targets near Hama on Saturday (13th), killing two Iranians and destroying several buildings.

The outlets said the Israel Air Force carried out the assault from Lebanese airspace.  The jets reportedly targeted an Iranian-controlled military base, which has been attacked several times.

Netanyahu made the comments while participating in a salute to the bereaved families of fallen soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces at the International Convention Center in Jerusalem.

“Only if we stand as a wall in the face of the evil of wickedness, willing to act when we need self-risk, will we ensure, with God’s help, the eternity of Israel,” he said.  “We are determined to defend our country – even against the bitter and the great enemies, who have championed our destruction. We are not deterred by the struggle, knowing that we are fighting against those who seek our souls.  Our spirits are strong, our strength is strong.”

“We are not rushing to battle.  Who like us knows that the price of war is terrible, but let no one fool us – when Israel’s security is at stake, we act in full force.  Those who endanger us are far more in danger,” he said.

President Reuven Rivlin also attended and spoke at the event.



Mothers Of 3 Murdered Teens To Light Independence Day Torch

The mothers of three Israeli youths who were kidnapped and murdered by Palestinian Arab terrorists in 2014, will take part in this year’s torch-lighting ceremony marking Israel’s Independence Day which begins at sundown May 8.

Rachelle Fraenkel, the mother of Naftali Fraenkel, Iris Yifrach, mother of Eyal Yifrach, and Bat Galim Sha’ar, the mother of Gilad Sha’ar have been invited by Israeli Culture Minister Miri Regev to be among the honored guests lighting torches as part of the state’s main Independence Day ceremony this year.

The three received the joint invitation in recognition of their work for a number of social causes after the murder of their sons, including aiding support groups for the bereaved victims of terrorism.

All three of the bereaved mothers will light a single torch – an honor usually extended only to a single guest.

On June 12, 2014, the three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped by a cell of Hamas terrorists operating out of Hebron.  The teens were kidnapped at a popular hitch-hiking place, south of Jerusalem.

Eighteen days later, the teens remains were found just north of Hebron.

The killings touched off a major escalation between Israel and the Hamas terror organization, culminating in the August 2014 conflict between Israel and Gaza known as Operation Protective Edge.



How Palestinians Could Become “Collateral Damage” Of Iranian Extremism – Dr. David L. Charney

Recently, Maj.-Gen. Abdolrahim Mousavi, commander of the Iranian Army, stated that Iranian forces were working to “annihilate Israel” and “raze Tel Aviv…to the ground.”  Iran’s drive to develop nuclear weapons poses a number of problems.

There is abundant research and evidence that the after-effects of a nuclear detonation, depending on how many kilotons, will produce total devastation within a radius of 10 miles. Added to that are lesser but also extreme destructive effects that will widen the radius of impact to 25-50 miles.  Because Palestinian population centers are so close to Israeli population centers, even with perfectly accurate targeting, a nuclear bomb is highly likely to annihilate nearby Palestinian civilian populations, too.

Virtually all Palestinians, whether living in the West Bank, Gaza, or even in Jordan, would become “collateral damage” of Iran’s master plan to put an end to Israel’s existence.  Aiming at Tel Aviv but actually hitting the West Bank would represent only a 3% targeting error. How much confidence should Palestinians place in Iranian science to feel safe that they would be spared?  Not to mention the risk that Islam’s third holiest site, the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, would also likely cease to exist. And since Gaza is only 45 miles away from Tel Aviv, similar concerns would apply.

Adopting stern policies removing Iran’s option of deploying a nuclear bomb against Israel, simultaneously saves the entire Palestinian population from becoming collateral damage of Iranian extremism.



Abbas’ New Palestinian Cabinet Sends Defiant Message To Hamas

Palestinian Leader Mahmoud Abbas has sworn in a new cabinet led by a longtime ally who is critical of Gaza’s brutal Hamas rulers and does not categorically oppose continuing negotiations with Israel.

Abbas, who heads the Palestinian Authority, accepted the oath of office on Saturday (13th) from the new cabinet headed by Prime Minister Mohammed Ishtayeh.

While the Palestinians have not held elections in over 13 years, Abbas’ four-year-term appears poised to continue until his death.

The appointment of Ishtayeh is likely to deepen the rift between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, the Islamic terror group that rules the Gaza Strip with an iron fist. Gazans who dare speak out against Hamas face beatings, extra-judicial executions, and torture.

Hamas systematically diverts humanitarian aid from projects serving Gaza residents’ basic needs to terror campaigns, using funds to build cross-border attack tunnels and purchase weapons.  Hamas also enjoys massive amounts of military aid from Iran, serving as a terror proxy to attack Israel.

Outgoing Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah oversaw a unity government formed nearly five years ago with the goal of reaching a conciliation deal with Hamas which made little to no progress.

Ishtayeh’s appointment reflects the failure of years of efforts to reconcile with Hamas.



One Third Of Americans Do Not Believe Six MIllion Jews Were Murdered In Holocaust – Itamar Eichner

One third of Americans believe only 2 million Jews were murdered during the Holocaust and 66% of millennials have never heard of Auschwitz, according to a comprehensive national survey of Holocaust awareness and knowledge among adults in the United States, released by the Claims Conference founded to deal with restitution for Holocaust survivors.

Over 45% asked, could not name any of the 40 ghettos or concentration camps present in Europe during the Second World War.  That number increases among people born in the 80s and 90s of the 20th century.

The study reveals 68% of Americans believe there is anti-Semitism in the U.S. and 37% say neo-Nazis exist in large numbers.  Seven out of ten say fewer people care about the Holocaust than in the past. A majority (58%) believe a similar event could take place again.

According to the study, Americans are not educated enough about the Holocaust and reports agree that schools must do more.

However, not all results were negative.  Nine out of ten surveyed (93%) believe all students should learn about the Holocaust and eight out of ten say it is important to keep teaching about the Holocaust so it does not happen again.



Thousands of Christian Pilgrims Marked Palm Sunday In Jerusalem

As one of the few cities in the Middle East where religious freedom exists, Jerusalem hosted massive Palm Sunday celebrations for Christian pilgrims over the weekend.

Worshipers carried palm fronds and olive branches and marched from the top of the Mount of Olives to the Old City of Jerusalem.  Jerusalem officials reported an estimated 15,000 people took part in the procession.

Israel remains one of the only places in the Middle East in which Christians worship freely without fear of persecution.

Palm Sunday (14th) represented the start of the church’s most solemn week, representing a key day before Good Friday (19th) and  Easter celebration (21st).

The Palm Sunday procession made its way from the Mount of Olives past the Garden of Gethsemane and into the alleyways of the Old City.