News Digest — 4/3/24

Ramming Attack Injures Four Police Officers In Central Israel

A ramming attack injured four police officers, one seriously on Wednesday morning (3rd), near Kochav Yair located in central Israel.  Following the attack, the terrorist, Wahhab Shbita, a 26-year-old Arab-Israeli from Tira, arrived at a checkpoint armed with a knife and attempted to stab security forces stationed there – and was neutralized.

Magen David Adom (MDA) emergency services teams evacuated one officer to the Rabin Medical Center in serious condition.  Three other officers, one of whom was moderately injured, were taken to the Meir Medical Center.

MDA dispatch center received a report on the attack  at 01:39 a.m.  According to the report a number of persons were injured by a vehicle near Tira.  MDA paramedics arrived at the scene and provided medical attention to four officers.  “One was a 23-year-old man in serious condition with head trauma, a 46-year-old man suffering from head and limb injuries, and two others who received minor injuries,” MDA reported.

MDA paramedics Amir Dahari and Eval Davidzon, who arrived at the scene, said, “We arrived at the scene and saw four individuals lying on the roadside and sidewalk, about 3 feet apart from each other.  One was semi-conscious, while the others were fully conscious.  We gave them medical attention and evacuated them to the hospital,” they added.

After the terrorist was killed, another one who was in the car fled the scene.  A manhunt is now occurring in the area of the attack, by IDF forces.. 



Israel’s Killing Of Zahedi:  Taking The Fight To The Iranian Head Of The Octopus, Analysis

“The Iranians don’t love dying, but it is very easy for them to send others to die,” then education minister Naftali Bennett said at the Herzliya conference in 2018.

“While we’re shedding blood fighting their tentacles, the octopus’ head is lounging in its chair enjoying life,” Bennett continued.  The time has come, he declared, for Israel “to aim at the head of the octopus and not its tentacles.”

Israel, according to foreign reports and Iranian accusations, did just that on Monday (1st), killing Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) commander Mohammed Reza Zahedi in Damascus.  Zahedi was the most senior Iranian official killed since the American strike on IRGC Quds force commander Qassem Soleimani in 2020.

The Wall Street Journal termed the killing of Zahedi “the first real price” that Iran has paid “for its proxy warfare in the Middle East.

Along with Zahedi –who was in charge of Iran’s operations in Syria and Lebanon, as well as coordinating with its militias in Iraq – his deputy commander, his chief of staff, and four other IRGC officers were killed in the brazen strike on a building adjacent to the Iranian embassy located in Damascus’ diplomatic center.

Iran, involved in the bombing of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires in 1992 that killed 29 and injured 242, said Monday’s (1st) attack in Damascus was on its “consulate” and was a breach of international conventions and norms.  The Iranian UN mission said the attack was a violation of “the foundational principle of the inviolability of diplomatic and consular premises.”

Zahedi, along with being the most senior Iranian officer in Syria and Lebanon, was also in charge of Iranian efforts to smuggle arms to Palestinian terrorists in the West Bank, via Syria and Jordan.  Just last week the IDF and Shin Bet announced that Israel had broken up an IRGC-linked network to smuggle advanced weaponry into the West Bank.

While Israel did not take responsibility for Monday’s (1st) attack, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant hinted broadly at it during a meeting with the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Tuesday (2nd).

“We are currently in a multi-front war – we see evidence of this everyday, including over the last few days,” he said.  “We operate everywhere, everyday, in order to prevent our enemies from gaining strength and in order to make it clear to anyone who threatens us – all over the Middle East – that the price for such action will be a big one.”

This is not the first time that an Iranian officer has been targeted since the beginning of the war, but it is the highest-ranking Iranian officer, and his assassination sends a message to Iran and Hezbollah, both of Israel’s intent and capabilities.

The capabilities are clear.  The ability to hit this building in a precision strike in full daylight in the middle of Damascus when Iran’s chief officer in charge of operations in Lebanon and Syria is meeting with his deputy and top officers shows that Israel’s intelligence services – if Israel did indeed carry out the attack – remain razor sharp.

That is something important for Israelis to see, as well as Israel’s enemies, who both may have concluded following the colossal intelligence failure that preceded October 7 that the country’s intelligence capabilities are no longer what they once were..  This type of attack shows that conclusion to be false.  For Israelis this helps to restore their confidence, while for Israel’s enemies, this reinforces deterrence.

The attack also sends a clear signal of intent that Israel is willing to do what Bennett called for some six years ago: to take the fight directly to the Iranians, to the head of the octopus,

Monday’s (1st) strike on Zahedi sends the message that no one – even the most significant Iranian military official in the region – is immune, and that Israel’s policy now is to extract a heavy price from Iran itself, and not only from its proxies, for continued attacks on Israel.



Arabs Attack Jewish Shepherd Whose Mother Was Murdered On Oct. 7

A number of Arabs on Tuesday (2nd) attacked Yedidya Talia, a Jewish shepherd from the Talia farm on Mount Hebron, near the town of Yatir.

The Arab attackers hurled rocks, hitting his head and shoulder.  Talia managed to call security forces to the scene as he protected his body and attempted to protect his flock of sheep.

The forces arriving at the scene succeeded in arresting four of the attackers.

Paramedics arriving at the scene provided Talia with initial medical treatment and evacuated him to the hospital in moderate condition.

A statement by the Mount Hebron Council read: “The violent attack in the pastures took place as Bezalel, Yedidya’s brother and the manager of the farm is serving in the Judea Brigade, as he has been since the beginning of the war.  The Arabs, who apparently noticed this, used his absence to attack the shepherd.”

Talia noted,” Some of the Arab attackers even worked in the nearby town of Yatir before the war broke out –  something which really brings home how dangerous it is to bring Arab workers into Jewish towns.”

During the massacre on October 7, Bezalel Talia attempted to rescue his mother, Marseille, founder of the farm, after she went to visit her grandchildren in Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha near the Gaza border.  During her visit Marseille found herself caught in the terrorists’ attack on the kibbutz.  Immediately upon receiving a phone call from her, Bezalel set out to rescue his mother, but by the time he arrived, it was too late.  His mother was found shot dead on one of the Kibbutz roads.

The Talia farm responded: “Today, Arab rioters from a nearby village attempted once again to undermine our possession of this strip of land, and attacked Yedidya with rocks as he pastured the farm’s flock of sheep on our land.  But no terror attacks – as violent as they may be – will weaken our fight to keep the soil of our homeland in Jewish hands.  We will only come out of this event even stronger, and the farm will, G-d willing flourish and grow.”



President Of Austrian Parliament To Visit Yad Vashem

On Wednesday (3rd) Mr. Wolfgang Sobotka, President of the Parliament of the Federal Republic of Austria, will visit the Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem.

Sobotka will be accompanied by Yad Vashem Chairman Dani Dayan.

During his visit,President Sobotka will tour the Collections Center where he will have the unique opportunity to see finished artifacts and archival documentation housed in the world’s largest Holocaust-related archives.

At the conclusion of the visit, Sobotka will participate in a memorial ceremony to take place in the Hall of Remembrance, after which he will sign the Yad Vashem guest book.

Last month, reported that the number of anti-Semitic incidents recorded in Austria rose sharply in 2023.  According to the report, before Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel, an average of one or two cases of anti-Semitism were reported per day in Austria.  However, according to the President of the Jewish Community of Vienna (IKG), Oskar Deutsch, in the months following the Hamas attack, there have been an average of eight to nine incidents per day.

Deutsch added that he assumes there is a higher number of unreported cases.

The total number of reported incidents in 2023 reached a negative record of 1,147, an increase of 60 percent compared to the previous year, according to



Drone Explodes In Jordan Near Southern Israel’s  Ramon Airport

A suspected explosive-laden drone of unknown origin struck an open area in Jordan close to Israel’s Ramon Airport, which is near the border, the military and authorities said Tuesday (2nd).

In a statement, the Israel Defense Forces said that the “suspicious aerial target” – believed by the army to be a drone –  struck an area “outside of Israeli territory northeast of the city of Eilat.”

According to a spokesperson for the Eilat municipality, the drone impacted around 656 feet from the Israel-Jordan border, just north of the airport.  The Israel Airports Authority also said there was no strike at the airport itself.

Images from the scene showed a fire at the location where the drone hit.

Ramon Airport is located some 11 miles from Eilat, Israel’s southernmost city, and is adjacent to the border with Jordan.

The incident came following several drone attacks on Israel by the Islamic Resistance of Iraq, a coalition of Iran-backed paramilitary groups.

Early Monday (1st), a drone launched by the Iraqi militia struck an Israeli Navy base in Eilat, causing slight damage to a hangar.

On Sunday (3/31), the IDF said a fighter jet had intercepted “a suspicious aerial target” – also thought to be a drone – that was making its way toward Israel from the direction of Syria.

Most of the drones launched by the Islamic Resistance of Iraq have failed to cross Israel’s border or were downed by air defenses.

Eilat has come under attack by other Iran-backed groups amid the war in the Gaza Strip, including Yemen’s Houthis and a group in Syria linked to Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

In November, a school in Eilat was hit by a drone launched from Syria, and last month, a cruise missile fired from Yemen struck an open area north of the city of Eilat.



“Israel Alone” – Jeff Jacoby

The cover of the current issue of the Economist is titled: “Israel Alone.”  Israel retains plenty of defenders.  Grass-roots support for the Jewish state in the U.S. remains solid.  Foreign leaders, such as British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, have been at pains to emphasize that their endorsement of a Gaza ceasefire does not lessen their solidarity with Israel as it fights a ruthless enemy.  Israel has loyal friends of inestimable value.

But ultimately the Jewish state stands alone because ultimately the Jewish people stand alone.  For more than 3,000 years, almost everywhere Jews lived, they sooner or later found themselves isolated, demonized, ghettoized, dispossessed, or exterminated.  Again and again they were expelled en masse from countries where they had lived for generations.  The pioneers of modern Zionism were convinced that only in a country of their own could Jews finally achieve the normality other peoples take for granted.

But they were wrong.  Israel has never been regarded as a “normal” country.  Alone among the 193 members of the UN, it is the only one whose very right to exist is under constant assault.  Jerusalem is the only capital city in the world where the vast majority of governments refuse to locate their embassies.  In territory and population, the Jewish state is tiny, yet the passions it arouses are of an intensity worthy of a superpower.  The same has always been true of the Jewish people.  (Boston Globe)



Israel’s Orwellian Nightmare – Melanie Phillips

For the Jewish world, these are nightmarish, hallucinatory times.  Instead of being supported in its attempt to prevent a second holocaust of the Jews, Israel now finds itself demonized.  Its overwhelmingly just war of self-defense has been turned into a war crime.  The victims of pure evil are themselves depicted as evil and turned into the pariahs of the world.

Untold numbers in the West now believe the demonstrable lies being pumped out by Hamas.  Millions now believe that the Israelis are deliberately starving Gaza’s people by preventing aid from coming in; that they have wantonly killed more than 30,000 civilians who are mostly women and children; and that they are attacking hospitals and causing helpless patients to die.  All of this is not only false but the very opposite of the truth.

Israel’s current Orwellian treatment at Western hands should be no surprise because this treatment has been Orwellian for decades.  America and the West have feted Palestinian leaders as statesmen even while those leaders brainwash generations into believing it’s their highest duty to kill every Jew.  The Americans have armed and trained Palestinian police officers who have subsequently mounted terrorist attacks on Israelis.   

The writer is a columnist for The Times (UK)