News Digest — 4/28/21

After Day Of Quiet, Gaza Terrorists Fire Two Rockets Toward Israel

Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip fired two rockets toward Israel early Wednesday morning (28th), with both projectiles falling inside the coastal enclave, IDF forces said.

There were no reports of injuries or damages.  The launches triggered warning sirens in Israeli communities near Kissufim and came after a one-day lull in attacks.

The latest violence began late Friday night (23rd), when terrorists in the Strip launched at least 36 rockets and mortar shells at southern Israel, causing light damage in a number of Israeli communities near the border.  The attacks resumed on Saturday night (24th), when more than four rockets were fired toward Israel, some of them failing to clear the border and landing inside Gaza, and again late Sunday night (25th) when five more projectiles were fired from the Strip at southern Israel.

From a security council meeting on Monday evening (26th), Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Defense Minister Benny Gantz were authorized to determine what steps to take, should the violence persist, according to Israeli officials.  However defense officials warned that a large strike on the Hamas terror group could lead to an outbreak of further violence not only in Gaza, but also in Jerusalem and the West Bank.

The terror groups that conducted the launches – the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Fatah – said in statements that they were a response to ongoing unrest in Jerusalem, which has seen violence between Jews and Arabs, as well as clashes between Arab youths and Israeli police recently since Ramadan began.



Hamas’ Goal Is A Temple Mount Cleansed Of Jews – Nadav Shragai

Hamas’ demand that Israel start prohibiting Jews from visiting the Temple Mount “in exchange” for quiet in the Gaza sector, can only come from a terrorist organization that feels immune to repercussions for its untamed behavior – whether this includes firing rockets at southern Israel or carrying out a terrorist attack in Jerusalem, Lod or Judea and Samaria.  Hamas is presenting an opposite reality: Instead of Israel deterring the terrorist group – Hamas is looking  to deter Israel.  It has succeeded in doing so in the past.

The organization that has leveraged the modern-day libel of “al-Aqsa is in danger” and turned it into an assembly line for producing terrorist attacks to “save,” “liberate” or “redeem” al-Aqsa from the Jews and Israel who “defile its Muslimhood,” is now taking it one step further.

Hamas is no longer content with libeling the State of Israel, which it accuses of wanting to destroy the Temple Mount mosques; it is no longer satisfied with knife and car-ramming attacks across Israel “on behalf of al-Aqsa” and its “liberation.”  Neither is it placated anymore by lone-wolf stabbers who boasted in their interrogations of trying to commit knife attacks at the Temple Mount entrance to disrupt and prevent Jews from visiting the site.

Now, Hamas is allowing itself to go one step further and put things on the table: No more Jewish visits to the Temple Mount.  Essentially, it wants to return to the time when Jews were banned from visiting their own most holy sites.

We need to hope that no one in any of the Zionist political parties, defense establishment, or Israel Police is even remotely entertaining this impertinent demand.  The ability to visit the Temple Mount for Jews became off-limits, and they stopped coming after former Defense Minister Moshe Dayan decided in 1967 to prohibit Jewish prayer at the site.

Israeli governments throughout the years have since adhered to this “status quo,” even though the Muslims have violated the “sacred status quo” on the Temple Mount on numerous occasions since Dayan’s decree.  They built two additional mosques at the site,  They also turned the Gate of Mercy area into a place of worship, destroyed and desecrated Jewish antiquities on the Temple Mount, and greatly expanded Jordan’s influence at the site, to the point that it became an equal partner with Israel in the site’s management.  They have also established a foothold in the “Mount’s environs” and occasionally influence or veto concerning changes at the Temple Mount’s walls (eastern, southern and western).

In recent years, Jews have been murdered and wounded by terrorists with ties to Hamas, which desired these attacks to “block” or “disrupt” Jews from visiting the Temple Mount or to “harm it.”

Each of the hundreds of attack and many Jews murdered in recent years “for the sake of al-Aqsa” and to “block the Jews”  from going to the “Mount” has never helped Hamas, which is now trying to write a new equation: quiet in the south in exchange for a Temple Mount cleansed of Jews.  We must understand and internalize this.  Israel must respond with a resounding and public “NO,” if nothing else than to rehabilitate its deterrence with Hamas.



Israel Jumps To Slot No. 4 In Bloomberg’s COVID-19 Resilience Ranking

Israel has moved to another slot on the Bloomberg COVID Resilience Ranking to No. 4.

Now the only countries ranking above the Jewish state are Singapore, New Zealand and Australia, countries that acted early to stop the spread of the virus and managed to keep it in check over the last year, allowing for a higher quality of life for its citizens.

Bloomberg looks at which countries have the lowest mortality rates and the highest testing and vaccination rates, as well as the lowest level of economic and social disruptions.

Also in the top 10 are Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, the United Arab Emirates, Finland and Hong Kong.

However, regarding the index, Bloomberg warned: “If there’s one lesson from April, it’s that vaccination alone isn’t ending the pandemic.”

The report continues: “Though some places like Israel have seen marked reductions in their outbreaks thanks to early and widespread vaccination, experts caution against complacency that could still undo their progress.”

In Israel, life has largely returned to normal, with the government regularly reducing restrictions on the public and allowing more people to gather in open and closed spaces.  Earlier this month, the Health Ministry lifted the ban on mask-wearing outdoors.  It is stated to open its airports to small groups of vaccinated tourists by this time next month.

However on Tuesday (27th), the Health Ministry called on the government to roll out a set of new rules for travel to and from highly infected countries such as India and Brazil.

India dropped 10 places to No. 30 while Brazil plummeted to No. 53.

On the other hand, Singapore moved up to slot No. 1, overtaking New Zealand for the first time since the Resilience Ranking began.

“The tiny city-state has gotten locally-transmitted cases down to near zero thanks to border curbs and a strict quarantine program, allowing citizens to largely go about their everyday lives, even attending concerts and going on cruises,” Bloomberg reported.  “At the same time, Singapore has already administered vaccines equivalent to cover a fifth of its population, an aspect of pandemic control that other virus eliminators like New Zealand, Australia and Taiwan are lagging on.”



Iran’s Coronavirus Crisis Mounts As Death Toll Passes 70,000

Iran on Monday (26th) registered its highest single-day death toll from COVID-19, state TV reported, bringing the total number of fatalities to over 70,000 in the country hardest hit by the coronavirus in the region.

The report said 496 new deaths were tallied since Sunday (25th), surpassing Iran’s previous most deadly day in mid-November when 486 were counted.

The report said officials counted 21,026 more confirmed cases over the same 24-hour period that put the total confirmed cases at about 2,417,230 since the outbreak in February 2020.

Also on Monday (26th), Iranian Health Minister Saeed Namiki warned the death toll may rise in the coming weeks.  “We will have two to three bitter weeks ahead that should be managed in a proper way,” the official IRNA news agency quoted him as saying.

Iranian officials say the Indian variant of the disease is spreading in the country on the heels of the UK variant that arrived in Iran from Iraq in March.

On April 10, Iran began a partial lockdown in the capital Tehran and other major cities amid a fourth wave of infections, a worrisome trend after more than a year of the country battling the Middle East’s worst outbreak.

Authorities blame the increasing death toll on a disregard of health measures in public transportation and family gatherings.

Iran has administered only 820,000 doses of vaccine in a country of 84 million, according to the Health Ministry.

COVAX, an international collaboration to deliver vaccines equitably across the world, delivered its first shipment to Iran from the Netherlands containing 700,000 Oxford-AstraZeneca doses earlier this month.



Synagogue Vandal In The Bronx Strikes Again

The suspect in a string of attacks on synagogues in the Bronx, New York struck again, smashing windows at the Riverdale Jewish Center early Monday morning (26th).

The New York Police Department and its Hate Crimes Task Force are looking for who they believe is a lone suspect after rocks were thrown and windows smashed at four synagogues, including the RJC, over the weekend.  The latest attack came despite a beefed-up police presence WABC-7 reports.

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea visited the crime scenes on Monday (26th), tweeting, “There is no place for hate in NYC – @NYPDHateCrimes detectives are relentlessly investigating every one of these crimes.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted that law enforcement not only has “a solid lead on the vile acts of anti-Semitism in the Bronx,” but will also “take swift action against the perpetrators.”

The vandalism in the Bronx neighborhood, which has a large Jewish population, occurred overnight on Saturday (24th).  In addition to the RJC, the vandalized synagogues are the Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel of Riverdale, Young Israel of Riverdale and Chabad of Riverdale.

According to security footage reviewed by the Community Security Service, a volunteer synagogue security group, the same suspect also vandalized two of the synagogues earlier in the week.