News Digest — 4/20/22

Bennett Shutters Temple Mount To Jews

The government led by Naftali Bennett has announced that it will block the entry of Jews to the Temple Mount for two weeks until the conclusion of the Muslim month of Ramadan, apparently from the pressure of Islamist coalition members and Arab countries, including violence from Muslim rioters at the holy site.

Following threats from the Islamist Ra’am party to topple the government, condemnation of Israel’s presence on the Temple Mount from Arab countries and attacks by Gaza-based terrorist groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad, Bennett announced that Jews are banned from entering the Temple Mount for two weeks, starting this weekend.

While the Temple Mount is usually closed to Jews during the last few days of Ramadan, closing the holy site for two weeks is apparently unprecedented.

Responding to the seeming infringement of Jews’ basic rights of freedom of worship, Member of Knesset Bezalel Smotrich, head of the Religious Zionism party, stated Tuesday night (19th) that “against the backdrop of Arab violence and the false incitement of the Jordanians and Turks, Bennett’s decision to close the Temple Mount to Jews until the end of Ramadan is security and political nonsense that actually acknowledges the Arab lie, as if the Jews were to blame for the current escalation.”

MK Itamar Ben Gvir (Religious Zionism) said that “the closure of the Temple Mount to the Jews, the holiest place for the people of Israel, is a victory for Hamas, for terrorism, and for the riots conducted by our enemies.  This hallucinatory decision will cost us blood – surrendering to the enemy only increases terrorism.”

Jewish visits to the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site, are limited in time, space, and the number of visitors at any given time.  While Jews’ rights to worship at the site have improved in recent years, much remains wanting, and full freedom of worship has yet to be granted by the State of Israel to Jews visiting the holy site.

While Muslims enter the Mount freely, Jews are screened by metal detectors, undergo security searches, and are banned from bringing Jewish religious objects to the site.



Gantz Warns Palestinians They Will Suffer If ‘Hamas Leadership’ Continues Provocations

Israel warned on Tuesday (19th) that it would not let the recent riots and cross-border attacks by Palestinians go unchallenged, saying the responsibility for restoring calm and easing the tension lay squarely on them.

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke by phone on Tuesday (19th) amid heightened tensions between Israel and the Palestinians.

Lapid updated Blinken on the efforts undertaken by Israel to allow freedom of worship in Jerusalem during the Holy Month of Ramadan and Passover even as Palestinian rioters continue to stage provocations in the city, led by radical clerics who have spread false information on Israel’s supposed desire to damage the Islamic shrines on the mountain.  “Israel will not tolerate calls for violence,” Lapid said, stressing the need for international support for the restoration of calm in the capital.

Blinken also spoke with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, who accused Israel of “brutal attacks by radical settlers who invade the Al-Aqsa Mosque every day, by blatantly violating the status quo.”

Meanwhile, Defense Minister Benny Gantz reacted on Tuesday (19th) to the rocket fire from the Gaza Strip a day earlier, warning that Israel would not shy away from confrontation to remove the threat to its citizens if it came to that.  

“Yesterday the Israeli Defense Forces hit the Gaza Strip due to the targeting of Israeli territory,” Gantz said in a video message, laying blame on “Hamas’ leadership.”  He added, “The IDF has at its disposal a whole host of means and targets and it is prepared for this contingency as a means of ensuring that calm and stability continue.”  He then warned that “if the incitement and rocket fire continues, the terrorist organizations will be dealt a heavy blow, as will the people of Gaza, who currently enjoy the Israeli efforts to improve their welfare and economic well being.”  He said that “Israel will increase these efforts if there is continued stability, but they will be rolled back if Hamas’ leaders decide to hurt it.”



How Palestinians Desecrate Everyone’s Holy Sites, Including Their Own – Bassam Tawil

Palestinians have once again been caught lying to the world by claiming that Jews are “desecrating” the Islamic holy sites, in particular the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

In 2002, Palestinian terrorists stormed into the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, but the global Christian response was muted.  The terrorists stayed inside the church for 39 days and left behind dirty blankets and mattresses, lighters and cigarette butts, including “the reek of fecal matter.”  One priest complained that the terrorists had also desecrated the church by smoking and drinking alcohol.

On Friday, April 15, 2022, hundreds of Palestinian “worshipers” barricaded themselves inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque and clashed with Israeli police officers.

The rioters, armed with rocks, iron bars and fireworks, arrived at the mosque early in the morning and were seen bringing rocks into the mosque and blocking its main gate with wooden and metal barriers.

The “worshipers” arrived at the mosque because their leaders –  who had lied to them – told them, incorrectly, that Jews were planning to “storm” the mosque and “defile” its courtyards.

As soon as the rioters entered the mosque compound on the Temple Mount and before clashing with the police, they raised flags and banners of Hamas, a Palestinian group designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S., European Union, Canada, Australia, Japan and other countries.

Apparently, Palestinians do not consider bringing rocks, iron bars and other weapons into a mosque as an act of desecration.  

Apparently, Palestinians do not consider hoisting the flags and banners of a terrorist organization at a holy site an act of desecration.

Apparently, Palestinians do not consider hurling rocks and glass bottles at people at the nearby Western Wall, the sacred site used by the Jewish people for prayer, an act of desecration.

Apparently, Palestinians do not consider throwing rocks and shooting fireworks at police officers at the mosque compound as acts of desecration.

The riots that were initiated by the Palestinians at the Temple Mount on April 15th were completely unprovoked.  The violence erupted after Palestinian leaders and groups falsely claimed that “Jewish extremists” would conduct a ritual or animal sacrifice at the site to celebrate the Passover holiday.

Israel denied the allegations and sent messages to the Palestinians assuring them that Jews would not be permitted to carry out any “provocations” on the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site.

Even senior Hamas official Saleh al-Arouri admitted, hours before the violence broke out, that his group did receive such assurances.  According to Al-Arouri, the Israeli message was relayed to Hamas through unnamed “mediators.”

Bassam Tawil is a Muslim Arab based in the Middle East



Ukrainian Girl Wounded In Russian Shelling To Receive Care In Israel

As part of Israel’s humanitarian efforts in Ukraine amid the ongoing war in the country, a child hurt in a Russian shelling will be flown to Israel in the coming days to receive treatment for her injuries.

Darina, 9, was injured from shrapnel in a Russian bombing in the Ukrainian city of Chernihiv in late March and requires surgery to save her legs.

In the coming days, Darina will fly to Israel for further treatment at Sheba Medical Center, together with her mother and the accompanying medical staff.

Darina was transferred over the weekend with the help of Israeli volunteers from a hospital in Kviv for further medical treatment at the Israeli field hospital Kochav Meir, which has been operating for a month in the city of Mostyska in western Ukraine.

Israeli Ambassador to Ukraine Michael Brodsky visited Darina and her mother at the field hospital.  He said that the two went through trauma when their home was hit in the bombing on March 30, and they told him that other family members were also hurt in the bombing.

“Darina’s arrival in Israel is the essence of our mission as part of the humanitarian expedition to the Israeli hospital in Mostyska,” Prof. Asaf Vivante, director of the pediatric ward at Safra Children’s Hospital at Sheba Medical Center and a member of the Israeli humanitarian delegation to Ukraine, told Ynet.

“On a personal note, it’s hard to describe the great privilege of reaching out to people whose world came crashing down, and showing them that there is hope within this great chaos,” Vivante said.

Prof Vivante noted that Darina’s transfer to Israel was made possible thanks to cooperation between different individuals and groups that facilitated the complex operation.

Upon her arrival in Israel, Darina will be admitted to the surgical unit at Safra and will be treated there by specialists in pediatric orthopedics, “then we will continue to accompany her throughout the rehabilitation process, until she recovers,” Vivante concluded.



Islamic Scholar: Goal Of Jihad? To Make People Convert To Islam

Abd Al-Hamid Dabbous, an Islamic scholar in the Gaza Strip, pronounced that jihad is the “pinnacle of Islam” and makes Islam “glamorous, strong and lovable.”

According to a report by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), a program on April 10 on Al-Quds Al-Youm TV about Islamic Jihad, featured Dabbous saying that Jihad is how Muslims defend their lands and spread Islam to the entire world.

“Through jihad, Allah conquers lands as well as hearts and minds,” said Dabbous.  “Jihad is the means by which the Muslims, first of all, defend their lands, their lives, their honor and their religion.  It is a means to spread this religion because the bottom line is that Allah sent down this religion so it would spread throughout the world until all the people become Muslims.”

The show featured footage of fighters from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s Al-Quds Brigades in military exercises, praying and launching rockets, as well as footage from Israeli infantry training and an Israeli military funeral.