News Digest — 5/25/22

Terrorist Killed While Attacking Israeli Worshipers At Joseph’s Tomb

Thousands of Israeli worshipers, secured by IDF forces, prayed at Joseph’s Tomb in the city of Shechem (Nablus) on Tuesday night (24th), during which a terrorist who attacked them was shot and killed.

The IDF stated that during the coordinated entry of worshipers to the site, hundreds of Arabs began rioting violently, throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails and shooting at the forces.  The troops responded by firing at a suspect who threw a Molotov cocktail.  The terrorist was killed.  There were no Israeli injuries.

The Palestinian Authority’s (PA) Ministry of Health identified the terrorist as Ghaith Rafiq Yamin.  It further claimed that 88 rioters were injured in the clashes.

The entry into Shechem, which is under PA control, occurs several times a year.  The prayers take place only during the night and under heavy security provided by the IDF.

In related news, on Tuesday evening (24th), Israeli forces carried out counter-terrorism operations throughout Judea and Samaria, including in the village of Hussan, Beit Kahil, and the city of Qalqilya.

In Beit Kahil, the soldiers arrested a terror suspect and seized tens of thousands of shekels intended for terrorist operations.  In Qalqilya, they arrested three wanted individuals suspected of involvement in terrorist activities.

A total of six terror suspects were arrested in the operations.

The arrests were made as part of Operation Wave Breaker, Israel’s counter-terrorism operation following several deadly terror attacks that the country has experienced in the last few weeks.



Record Number of Jews Visit Temple Mount Since Last Jerusalem Day, NGO Says

Over 40,000 Jews have visited the Temple Mount since last Jerusalem Day, which coincided with May 2021’s Operation Guardian of the Walls, setting a new record for such visits, data by the Temple Mount Movement NGO stated.

The figure refers to the number of religious visitors to the mountain, who usually ascend the site in small groups.  Secular Jews and tourists also visited the Temple Mount over the past year, in lower numbers.

The Temple Mount Movement estimates that by the end of 2022, about 43,000 will have visited the site – a projected increase of some 5,000 from the previous record set in 2019, which saw nearly 38,000 Jews visit there.

In 2020 and 2021, when the Temple Mount was temporarily closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, fewer Jews visited the site.

This figure is very pleasing to the NGO, as it reflects a 1,000% increase in the number of Jews visiting the Temple Mount since the beginning of the previous decade.      

The Israeli Police are on high alert ahead of this year’s Jerusalem Day (begins Saturday 28th at sundown through Sunday evening, 29th), the country’s 55th, as the traditional flag march has been cleared to go through the Damascus Gate – a high-profile flashpoint in the capital.

The march, set for Sunday (29th), is expected to go through the Old City’s Muslim Quarter as those who support it argue it is an expression of Israel’s sovereignty over Jerusalem.

The Border Police will be sending three reserve companies to assist thousands of police officers that will be deployed along the route of the march.

Police are gearing up for potential clashes between marchers and the Palestinian residents of east Jerusalem, especially given that Gaza Strip-based terrorist groups have called on them to riot.

Also on Tuesday (24th), the police limited the number of marchers to 16,000 citing public safety concerns.

Organizers and the police have hammered out a compromise by which 8,000 participants will arrive at the Western Wall through the Damascus Gate and the remainder through the Jaffa Gate.

With tens of thousands of others expected to arrive as well, the police said they would allow them to stage festivities near the Jaffa Gate and the city walls.

The organizers of the flag dance stated that the “march seeks to express the unification of Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty forever.   Those who oppose it have only one goal – to divide Jerusalem.”



Gaza Terror Groups Said To Be Readying For Jerusalem Day Attack

Terror factions in the Gaza Strip are preparing for the possibility of an escalation with Israel, including launching rockets, if Israel’s Jerusalem Day flag march planned for Sunday, May 29 proceeds through the Muslim Quarter of the Old City as planned, Israel media reported on Monday (23rd).

According to the report, Hamas’ military wing is now on high alert and is recruiting members, checking communication systems and preparing outposts.

“This is not an idle threat,” the report quoted a Gaza source as saying.

On Monday (23rd), a senior Hamas figure threatened the terror group would launch missiles at the Jewish state during the march.

Mushir al-Masri, a member of the Hamas parliament in Gaza, said “our missiles” will “take down the Israeli flags” traditionally flown on Jerusalem Day, Kan News reported.  

Al-Masri’s threat joins a previous threat issued by Hamas political bureau chief Ismail Haniyeh who stated, “I warn the enemy against committing these crimes and marches.  The Palestinian people will not allow the passage of these ‘Jewish Talmudic Fools’.”



Erdan Leading Delegation Of UN Ambassadors From Around The World To Israel

On Tuesday (24th), 13 United Nations Ambassadors and their spouses arrived in Israel to begin a special delegation led by Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan, together with the UJA Federation of New York.

Ambassadors from Benin, Burundi, the Czech Republic, El Salvador, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Malawi, Mexico, Panama, Poland, Slovakia, Tanzania and Uzbekistan will take part.  The participants represent a broad range of countries, from Mexico, a member of the Security Council, to El Salvador, Panama and Tanzania, where Israel is deepening bilateral cooperation.

Ambassador Erdan said, “While our enemies at the UN try to discredit Israel and sever the historic connection with our capital Jerusalem, we are bringing the Ambassadors to see up close the historical and eternal connection to our capital and the strenuous activities Israel undertakes to preserve freedom for all religions.  After the trip, I’m sure the Ambassadors will have a deeper understanding of the Israeli reality and the many capabilities we have that can help many people around the world.”

During their week in Israel, the Ambassadors will tour historical sites such as the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and Yad Vashem, high-tech and innovation centers such as Startup Nation Central and the Sorek Seawater Desalination Plant, including cultural centers.

The delegation will also tour sites such as the Northern and Southern Commands and a Hezbollah terror tunnel.  Meetings with President Isaac Herzog, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, the Foreign Minister, military and security officials and heads of local authorities living on the borders of Lebanon and Gaza where residents are subject to the threat of rocket fire from terror groups are also on the schedule.

Eric S. Goldstein, CEO of UJA Federation of New York, said, “UJA is proud to support this important delegation of UN Ambassadors to Israel.  We’ve long understood the value of bringing leaders and influencers to Israel.  Seeing firsthand the State of Israel, visiting the sites of its rich history, and meeting the citizens who represent its cultural and religious diversity is the best form of education of the beauty and complexity of the Jewish State.  In addition to showcasing the miracle that is Israel, trips like these forge longstanding bonds that better our global community – very much needed in our time.  We look forward to welcoming this delegation of world leaders as they travel through our great country of Israel.”



Treasury Dept.: U.S. Sanctions Hamas Officials And Financial Network

The United States on Tuesday (24th) imposed sanctions on a Hamas finance official and a network of financial facilitators and companies that have generated revenue for the Palestinian militant group, the Treasury Department said.

The sanctions target Hamas’ Investment Office which holds assets estimated to be worth more than $500 million, including companies operating in Sudan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Algeria and the United Arab Emirates, the department said in a statement.

“Hamas has generated vast sums of revenue through its secret investment portfolio while destabilizing Gaza, which is facing harsh living and economic conditions,” said Elizabeth Rosenberg, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes.

The companies sanctioned included Sudan-based Aggregate Holding, Algeria-based Sidar Company, UAE-based Itqan Real Estate JSC, Turkey-based GYO and Saudi Arabia-based Anda Company, the department added.

There was no immediate comment from Hamas which rules the Gaza Strip and is deemed a terrorist group in the West.

The Hamas official sanctioned is Abdallah Yusuf Faisal Sabri, a Kuwait-based Jordanian national and accountant who has worked in Hamas’ finance ministry for several years, the Treasury Department said.