News Digest — 5/2/22
Security Forces On High-Alert Ahead Of Independence Day
The Israeli military will close all border crossings with the West Bank and the Gaza Strip from Tuesday (3rd) to Friday (6th), ahead of the Jewish state’s Memorial and Independence Days.
The crossing will be shut starting Tuesday afternoon (3rd) – Memorial Day for Israel’s Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism – through Thursday night (5th), after Independence day, the IDF said Sunday (1st).
The closure is expected to be lifted pending a security assessment. Exceptions will be made for medical and humanitarian cases, the office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories clarified.
The Israel Police announced Sunday (1st) that some 2,500 additional troops will deploy in Jerusalem during Memorial Day and Independence Day. Increased presence on the ground will focus on cemeteries, the Old City, the city center, and other known flashpoints in the capital.
The Jerusalem District Police are on high-alert especially near the Temple Mount and Al-Aqsa Mosque, as the end of the Muslim month of Ramadan ushers in the Eid-al-Fitr holiday, also considered especially volatile.
Also on Sunday (1st), the Israel Police earmarked 11,000 troops to secure this year’s Lag B’Omer Festival on Mount Meron as part of its redeployment for the event in the wake of last year’s tragedy.
Forty-five people were killed and over 150 were injured on April 29 in a stampede during a pilgrimage to the Tomb of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yohai, where tens of thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews gathered to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Lag B’Omer.
The police also plan to deploy drones to provide a special command and control center with an aerial view of the compound throughout the May 15th festival, which over 150,000 are expected to attend.
The military has placed Unit 669 – the Israel Air Force’s search-and-rescue unit – on alert ahead of the festival and will provide the police with any assistance necessary.
Meanwhile, senior police officials urged the government to make budgeting the department a national priority, citing a gross shortage in manpower.
“Police forces are “beyond stretched thin – and this is before Pope Francis and the US President Joe Biden arrive in June. These security details will require tens of thousands of people given their international sensitivity and security realities on the ground,” they said.
Hamas Hangs Huge Eid-Al-Fitr Sign In Temple Mount Compound
In a brazen move, Hamas operatives on Monday (2nd) hoisted up a massive sign in the Temple Mount compound, with an Eid-al-Fitr message to the Palestinian residents of east Jerusalem.
Against the backdrop of the image of an Izzadin al-Qassam Brigades terrorist carrying what appears to be a rocket launcher, Gaza’s ruler say, “Hamas offers the Arab and Islamic nation best Eid-al-Fitr wishes.”
“Over the last 10 days, Hamas has de facto occupied the Temple Mount compound, while the government refrains from any sovereign security action on the Temple Mount,” criticized Maor Zamach, head of the Lach Yerushalayim (“For You, Jerusalem”) advocacy group that seeks to safeguard Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem.
“It has been ten days of the oblivious government allowing these demonstrations, incitement and encouragement of terrorism against the State of Israel. As we all know incitement to terrorism leads to violence.”
The Temple Mount compound houses the al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia.
Eid-al-Fitr is a major Muslim holiday marking the end of the month-long dawn-to-sunset fasting of Ramadan.
Security Guard Killed In Ariel Terrorist Attack Laid To Rest
Vyacheslav Golev, the 23-year old security guard killed by two Palestinian terrorists in Ariel on Friday night (4/29), was buried Sunday (1st) at the Derech Chaim Cemetery in Beit Shemesh.
Golev was a Beit Shemesh resident from a haredi (ultra- Orthodox) family and a student at Ariel University. He was guarding the entrance of the settlement with his fiancee, Victoria Fiegelman. When the attackers began shooting, he shielded her with his body, saving her life.
Vyacheslav was mourned by hundreds of friends, family members and colleagues who attended his funeral.
Cousin Vladimir eulogized Golev, saying, “You served as an example of what a good person in this world is. You had such a big heart. We will all miss you very much.”
Beit Shemesh Mayor Aliza Bloch said, “You are a hero and you will be remembered as one. You died while protecting your fiancee and the people of Ariel.” Bloch added that the Golev family embodies the “Israeli story.”
In a statement released shortly after the killing, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said, “We will remember Vyacheslav along with all our heroes. He was murdered while protecting his fiancee, who secured the checkpoint of the settlement with him – with his body he saved her life. This lovely couple just started their life together. Our hearts are broken.”
Golev’s fiancee Victoria, was physically unharmed in the attack but was hospitalized for treatment of post-traumatic stress syndrome.
On Saturday night (4/30) security forces caught the two terrorists who killed Golev, in Qarawat Bani Hassan, a short distance from Ariel. Forces also carried out raids in the West Bank overnight on Sunday (1st), arresting suspects and mapping the homes of the captured terrorists for demolition.
10 Days And Counting – Palestinian Flag On Temple Mount Still Flying
A Palestinian flag has been hanging on the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism for at least 10 days, spurring questions about Israel’s sovereignty over the compound.
In 2000, a Palestinian flag was hoisted on the Temple Mount for a total of three days – the longest ever, until now – and was taken down by the Israeli authorities, just before the outbreak of the Second Intifada.
So why hasn’t the Israeli government taken steps to remove the flag considering that the Temple Mount is the holiest Jewish site and is under Israeli jurisdiction and is located in Israel’s capital city?
Tom Nisani, CEO of the Temple Mount advocacy organization, said the lack of response stems from a policy of appeasement to terror, originating in the upper echelons of the Israeli government.
“Never before has the PLO flag waved over the Dome of the Rock for 10 days without a police response, so this is apparently due to orders from high up in the political establishment,” Nisani told World Israel News.
“When entering the Old City, the first eye-catching sight is the PLO flag hoisted above the Temple Mount. These are disturbing optics and signal that Israel has given up Jerusalem and that the flag placement could become permanent.”
Nisani added that the flag serves as a highly-visible “symbol of victory” for terrorists over Israel, as incitement against Jews and Israelis continues “at a frenzied pace.”
Maor Zamach, CEO of the Zionist NGO Your Jerusalem, linked the flag’s presence to an overall policy of Israeli appeasement to Islamist terror on the Temple Mount.
“Unfortunately, the Israeli government is not taking appropriate steps towards mitigating the presence of terror supporters and widespread incitement in the compound,” he told WIN.
Israel authorities seem to believe that a strong or forceful response from them will stoke the flames, but in reality, the lack of response is emboldening terrorists.
“Even on Holocaust Remembrance Day, we heard chants like ‘Khybar, Khybar ya Yahud’ [a reference to a mass slaughter of Jews in ancient Saudi Arabia], and calls for [Gaza-based Hamas terrorist] Mohammed Deif to fire rockets at Tel Aviv,” said Zamach.
“Allowing the display of the Palestinian flag, along with the flags of Hamas and other terror groups, and widespread calls to murder Jews to occur without an Israeli response “hurts our sovereignty, and calls into question Israel’s authority on the Temple Mount – and that’s unacceptable,” he added.
Speaking to Israel National News on Sunday (1st), Communications Minister Yoaz Hendal said that while he was concerned about the presence of the flag on the Temple Mount, removing it wasn’t his primary focus.
“We fight terror not flags,” he said. “There are much more serious occurrences of lack of governance and [loss of] sovereignty in the Negev, the Galilee, and [on] the Temple Mount that must be addressed.”
38,000 New Immigrants To Israel In A Single Year
Immigration to Israel rose to the highest level in two decades over the past twelve months, according to data collected by the Jewish Agency.
A report by the Jewish Agency released Sunday (1st) found that a total of roughly 38,000 new immigrants from around the world made aliyah to Israel since its Independence Day in 2021.
The spike in Israel’s immigration resulted in part from the wave of immigration from Ukraine this year, following the Russian invasion which began in February.
The coronavirus pandemic also fueled greater interest in immigration to Israel with thousands of additional immigrants from dozens of countries moving to Israel over the past year.
According to the data collected by the Jewish Agency, approximately half of 38,000 new immigrants who arrived in Israel since last Independence Day came from Ukraine or Russia, with an additional 4,000 immigrants coming from the US, and 3,700 from France.
More than 1,000 immigrants moved from Belarus to Israel, with over a thousand additional immigrants from Argentina. Some 700 immigrants moved to Israel from the UK, with approximately 600 immigrants making aliyah from South Africa, 500 from Brazil, and 400 from Canada, with hundreds more from Australia, Germany, Belgium, Chile, Italy, and other countries.
Israel also received immigrants from Ethiopia as part of Operation Tzur Yisrael, which is expected to be resumed in the near future.