News Digest — 4/2/19

Terrorist Killed In Monday Night Riots In North Jerusalem Reports Arab Media

A Palestinian terrorist was shot and killed by Israel Defense Forces during riots on Monday night (1st) in northern Jerusalem, according to Arab media reports.

The terrorist was identified as Mohammed Adwan, 23, from Qalandia.

The alleged incident happened as IDF and Border Policemen were conducting searches during which a violent riot broke out.  Rioters threw rocks and explosives at Israeli forces, who responded with live fire, according to the report.

However, the IDF Spokesman’s Office did report that Israeli forces, Monday night, (1st) conducted a search in a village near Hebron and arrested 12 wanted individuals suspected of terrorist activities in Judea and Samaria, who were then turned over to the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal intelligence service.



Brazilian President First to Visit Western Wall With An Israeli Premier

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro Visited the Western Wall alongside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday (1st), becoming the first head of state to do so with an Israeli premier.

Such visits can be seen as granting tacit approval to Israeli sovereignty over the site.

The two men approached the wall and placed their hands on its stones during the brief visit in rainy weather.

Bolsonaro’s visit follows a similar one by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on March 21, when he became the first high-ranking American official to visit the Western Wall with an Israeli prime minister.

Bolsonaro has expressed his strong support for Israel and spoke of being moved by a Christian pilgrimage to the Jordan River which he undertook a couple years ago.

Trump became the first sitting American president to visit the wall, the holiest site where Jews are allowed to pray, in May 2017, but he was not accompanied by any Israeli leader.

The visits have provided Netanyahu with an opportunity to further his argument that he is Israel’s irreplaceable statesman, a key part of his campaign ahead of Israel’s April 9 elections.



Islamic Jihad Readying For Attack On Gaza Border, Israeli Intelligence Says

Islamic Jihad is preparing to carry out an attack or a series of attacks against Israel in the coming hours or days, according to the Israel Defense Forces, in an apparent bid to damage the significant progress of the Egyptian mediation efforts between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Israeli security officials have identified unusual activity by members of the Islamic Jihad’s military wing in several locations along the Israel-Gaza border fence.  This activity could be an attempt to fire a missile such as a Kornet at an Israeli target, place explosive charges along the fence or even attempt to break through the fence to carry out a significant attack inside Israeli territory.

These preparations are being carried out under the nose of the Egyptian mediators, and as far as is known, Hamas is not even aware of the activity.  It appears that the instructions for carrying out the attack were given to the group’s military by the Beirut office of Islamic Jihad.leader Ziad Nahala.

It is still not entirely clear why Islamic Jihad is interested in bringing about the total collapse of the arrangement currently being brokered by Egypt.  It is possible that this is the organization’s way of expressing dissatisfaction at what they are receiving as part of the agreement, or could be a directive from Iran, which funds them, aimed at destroying the arrangement.  Islamic Jihad is also responsible for the six rockets fired at the Gaza border communities on Sunday morning (3/31).

Two senior Islamic Jihad figures – Daud Shihab and Khaled Al-Batsh – are members of the extended committee in the Gaza Strip that receives updates from Egyptian intelligence about the progress of the negotiations.  It is unclear whether they too are a part of the plan to scupper the arrangement via a major attack.

Palestinian Islamic Jihad is the second largest group in the Gaza Strip after Hamas.



Report: Hezbollah Established New Missile Factory In Beirut

Hezbollah has built a new missile factory in Beirut with the help of Iran, a Channel 13 report revealed on Monday night (1st).

Israeli intelligence allegedly shared the new intel with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who warned Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri of the secret facility on his State visit in March and expressed his concern about the threat the terror-organization poses for the country.

The missile factory could include the capability of manufacturing precision-guided missiles, according to an anonymous American source the report quoted.

“We have made it clear to the Lebanese government that Hizbullah is doing something inside Lebanon and that the danger of an escalation with Israel as a result is real,” the source said, adding that “we made sure that all the information we have in this context is also in the hands of the Lebanese government.”

In his address to the United Nations General Assembly in September, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Hezbollah of shielding its massive stockpiles behind civilian buildings, including Beirut’s main airport.

According to Netanyahu, one of the sites is located inside a football stadium, a second site is located near Rafic Hariri International Airport, and a third site sits 500 meters from the airport’s landing strip near residential neighborhoods.  The location of the new secret missile site was not made public.



A Disturbing Vote At Brown University – Editorial

It’s odd and alarming that of all the world’s states – China, with its massive human rights violations and internment of tens of thousands of Muslims; Syria, where the ruling dictator Bashar al-Assad murdered hundreds of thousands; or Vladimir Putin’s Russia, which is occupying parts of Ukraine – there is one that draws particular ire.  What’s odder still is that country is a stalwart US ally and a beacon of freedom and democracy in an unfriendly neighborhood. We refer to the State of Israel, the world’s only Jewish-majority state.

Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island is the latest to target Israel.  Last week, the campus held a referendum on whether to support the “Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.  Students passed the measure overwhelmingly. President Christian Paxson said, “Brown’s endowment is not a political instrument to be used to express views on complex social and political issues.”  Good. But the mere act of the vote seems troubling.

Israel, like any advanced democracy, is far from perfect. But it’s an obscenity to suggest it in any way resembles apartheid-era South Africa.  Israel is surrounded by countries that wish its destruction, yet it carries on, remarkably successfully. We’re deeply troubled, too, at the double-standard at play.  Where are the calls for divestment from other countries, which manifestly abuse human rights vastly more than Israel does?

It’s telling, and not in a good way, that Israel, the world’s only Jewish state, is the object of such disproportionate criticism.  It is chilling that this group of people is so frequently singled out. And it is wrong.



Israel Opens Embassy In Rwanda, 11th On African Continent

Israel opened an embassy in the Rwandan capital of Kigali on Monday (1st).

The embassy “symbolizes the policy of Israel’s return to Africa,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement, noting that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had visited the continent four times in the past three years.

“Rwanda is a true friend of Israel and is one of the mainstays of Israel’s long-standing friendship with the continent,” the Foreign Ministry added.  “Like Israel Rwanda is a small country with great capabilities and aspirations. The opening of the embassy reflects the continued strengthening of relations between the two countries and will enable the expansion of cooperation in many fields, including education, women’s empowerment, science and technology, innovation and agriculture.”

Ambassador Ron Adam will serve as Israel’s first permanent envoy in Kigali.

The inauguration ceremony of the embassy – the Jewish state’s 11th in Africa – was attended by Foreign Ministry Director-General Yuval Rotem.

“I am certain that over the course of the next few years, the establishment of an Israeli embassy in Rwanda will advance our relations with Africa in general and Rwanda in particular to a much higher level,” Rotem said.

According to the Foreign Ministry, Rwanda’s flag carrier, RwandAir, will begin direct flights to Israel in the near future.