News Digest — 5/5/21

Israeli Missile Strike Targeting Syrian Coast

Israel fired missiles toward northwest Syria early Wednesday (5th), killing one person and wounding six, Syrian state media reported.

It was the first Israeli attack on Syria since a missile fired by Damascus struck deep inside Israel two weeks ago.

The missiles struck locations in the northwestern towns of Haffey and Masyaf, state TV said.  Syrian air defense units responded to the missile attacks, the report said, without giving further details.

State media later quoted an unnamed military official as saying a plastics factory and other points were struck in Syria’s coastal region.  It added that Syrian air defense units shot down some of the Israeli missiles before they reached their targets. 

Israel has launched hundreds of strikes against Iran-linked military targets in Syria over the years but rarely acknowledges or discusses such operations.

Iranian entrenchment on Israel’s northern border remains a red line for the Jewish State, and it has repeatedly  struck Iran-linked facilities and weapons convoys destined for Lebanon’s Hezbollah terror group.

The missile attack at dawn Wednesday (5th) occurred nearly two weeks after a Syrian missile reached deep into Israeli territory and set off air raid sirens near the country’s top-secret nuclear reactor, which was the result of a misfire and not a deliberate attack.

The missile landed in southern Israel on April 22, prompting Israel to respond with airstrikes on the missile launcher and other Syrian targets.



Jordan: The Temple Mount Belongs To Muslims Only

The Jordanian Foreign Ministry on Monday (3rd) sent an official protest memorandum to Israel demanding that it stop what it defined as “the provocations in the Al-Aqsa Mosque” and respect the historical and legal status quo and authority of the Waqf.

The ministry condemned Israel for permitting “extremists to enter the mosque-area under Israeli security, for the last ten days of Ramadan.”

Dhaifallah Al-Fayez, spokesman for the Jordanian Foreign Ministry, called Israel’s actions in Jerusalem “a blatant violation of the historic and legal status quo, international law and the obligations of Israel, the occupying power, in East Jerusalem and the sanctity of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the sanctity of Ramadan.”

Al-Fayez emphasized that the Al-Aqsa Mosque and its entire area of almost 36 acres, is a place of worship for Muslims only, and that the Jordanian Waqf has the sole authority to manage all the affairs of the mosque and regulate entry in accordance with international law and the historical and legal situation.

The Temple Mount was left in the hands of the Waqf following Jerusalem’s reunification in 1967, a decision of then-Defense Minister Moshe Dayan.  The Waqf has taken advantage of this and removed every sign of ancient Jewish presence at the most holy Jewish site.

Police, in an attempt to please the Waqf, discriminate against Jews.  They limit the number of Jewish worshipers allowed on the Temple Mount at one time in order to prevent conflict with Muslim worshipers.  They often close the Mount to Jews in response to Muslim riots –  despite evidence that Muslim riots have been planned in advance for the specific purpose of forcing Jews out.



Khaled Mashaal: Countries Normalizing Relations With Israel Are Not Members Of The Islamic Nation

Hamas’ International Director Khaled Mashaal said in a recent interview that those who normalize relations with Israel are “worthless scum” and are no longer considered part of the Islamic nation.

In the interview, which aired on Hamas’ Al Aqsa TV on April 26, Mashaal said Hamas no longer looks to those nations that normalize relations with the Jewish state.

“We do not pin our hopes on getting our message across to those who normalize relations with Israel.  These people lost their conscience and their sensibility,” said Mashaal.

“These people congratulate the Zionist entity [Israel] on the occasion of its independence.  Forget them.  From whom did Israel gain its independence?  Who occupied whom?  We do not send a message to these people.  They are worthless scum.  We do not take these people into account anymore.  We do not consider them to be part of our Islamic nation,” he added.

Mashaal was the head of Hamas’ political bureau until 2017 when he was replaced by Ismail Haniyeh.  He currently resides in Qatar.



Balloon Terror Returns As Hamas Turns Up The Heat

Terrorists from the Gaza Strip launched two balloons attached to incendiary devices at southern Israel Monday evening (3rd).  Fortunately, neither of them exploded.

Shaar HaNegev Regional Council spokeswoman Adi Meiri said they were found in the agricultural fields of Kfar Aza, just a few kilometers from the Hamas-run coastal enclave.  A police sapper was called to remove the dangerous canisters.

In addition, Meiri said that a man reported to police that he heard something explode above his car while driving in the area.  Other residents said they had seen balloons in the area as well.  A large force arrived and began combing the area for them.

Over the last few years, it has become a regular sign of the approach of summer’s dry heat for incendiary kites and balloons to be sent into the sky from Gaza, to land wherever the wind takes them.  As a result, thousands of acres of Israeli forestland and crops have been destroyed by fire.  Thankfully, very few have come down in populated communities, and when they have, they have been safely defused before causing a mass casualty event.

These first sightings of 2021 come as Palestinian attacks are on the rise again after over a year of relative quiet, a combination of Covid and preparations for the Palestinian elections, which have since been “indefinitely delayed.”

Kan News’ Palestinian affairs reporter Gal Berger says that with the elections off the table, all signs point to Hamas turning back to terrorism.  It blames Israel for the election decision, which was in fact made by the Palestinian Authority.

Hamas fired 45 rockets at Israel over the last weekend in April, a message of “support” for their “brothers” – Arabs rioting in Jerusalem since mid-April, the start of Ramadan.

However, Hamas is more interested in focusing its attention on igniting terrorism in Judea and Samaria, away from its home base, Berger says.

The Israeli army is on heightened alert, and is beefing up its forces, as several days next week are historically marked by Arab violence.  The Ramadan holy days of Laylat al-Qadr and Eid al-Fitr coincide with Israel’s Jerusalem Day, marking the liberation of the capital in 1967, and Nakba Day (the catastrophe) of May 15, when Israel declared its independence and beat back five invading Arab armies.

Jerusalem Day begins on Sunday evening (9th) and ends Monday evening (10th)



Pittsburgh: Tree Of Life Synagogue To Be Renovated By Famous Jewish Architect

Daniel Libeskind – whose portfolio includes the master plans for the post-9/11 World Trade Center site in New York as well as Jewish museums in Europe, Israel and the United States – has been announced as the lead architect in the rebuilding of the Tree of Life/Or L’Simcha Congregation in Pittsburgh, the site of the worst anti-Semitic atrocity in American history on October 27, 2018.

The son of Holocaust survivors from Poland, Libeskind issued a solemn statement on Tuesday (4th) confirming his involvement.

“It is with a great sense of urgency and meaning that I join the Tree of Life to create a new center in Pittsburgh,” Libeskind said.  “Our team is committed to creating a powerful and memorable space that addresses the worst anti-Semitic attack in United States history.”

Eleven worshipers were killed and six were wounded when gunman Robert Bowers, an avowed white supremacist, attacked Shabbat morning services at the synagogue in the city’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood.

Among his victims were a 97-year-old woman, two brothers in their 50s and a married couple in their eighties.  Bowers is presently on trial facing 63 criminal charges related to the massacre.

According to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, the synagogue’s rebuilding plans include modernizing its main sanctuary space, which was vacant on the day of the attack.  Other parts of the campus, including a smaller chapel and other rooms where the attack took place, are planned for demolition.  The stained-glass windows from both the chapel and the sanctuary, which depict biblical and historical Jewish themes, are being preserved.

The daughter of one of the victims of the massacre said she would look forward to entering the synagogue following its transformation.

“This is an exciting next step in this long process of rebuilding.  I am looking forward to entering a new Tree of Life building without fear or hesitation,” Andrea Wedner – the daughter of Rose Mallinger, Bowers’ 97-year-old victim – told local news outlet TribLive on Tuesday (4th).