News Digest — 6/12/19

Syria Accuses Israel Of Firing Missiles At Border Town In Its South

Syria is accusing Israel of launching a missile attack early Wednesday morning (12th) into Syrian territory and says that Syrian air defenses “downed a number of missiles.”

The missile-firing took place at 2: a.m. “on Tal al-Harra in the southern region” of Syria according to SANA, Syrian state news agency, which added that the attack “only caused material damage, and no fatalities were reported.”

The Syrian agency said that after the missile attack, “the Israeli enemy started an electronic war” and “jammed Syrian radar.”

The IDF has not issued a reaction.

According to the Israeli Ynet news outlet, the apparent specific target was an “anti-Israel intelligence base” located at the highest point on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights.

“It could be that recently Iranians and Hezbollah members have taken up positions there,” said Ynet.

Interviewed on KAN public radio on Wednesday morning (12th), MK Avi Dichter chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, avoided confirming an Israeli connection to the overnight attack, but repeated the Israeli warning that it would continue acting against Iranian entrenchment in Syria.

Hezbollah is based in Lebanon but is also involved in fighting in Syria.

On Tuesday (11th), IDF Major General Amir Baram, head of the Israeli northern command, charged that “Hezbollah’s allegiance is, and always has been, to the Supreme Leader of Iran and not to the Lebanese people.  

“It continues to establish its forces in southern Lebanon and is building terror and rocket infrastructure inside villages there, in violation of UN Resolution 1701,” he said, referring to a resolution that ended the 2006 Second Lebanon War between Israel and Hezbollah.



Egypt, Jordan, Morocco To Attend U.S.-Led Palestinian Conference

Egypt, Jordan and Morocco have informed the Trump administration they plan to attend a U.S.-led conference in Bahrain in late June on proposals for boosting the Palestinian economy as part of a coming U.S. peace plan, a White House official said on Tuesday (11th).

Egypt and Jordan’s participation is considered especially important since they have historically been key players in Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts.  However, Palestinian leaders have vowed to boycott the June 25-26 conference and lashed out at members of the international community who have agreed to attend it..

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar have publicly declared that they will attend, along with Bahraini hosts.  The U.S. has also sent invitations to finance ministers from other Arab and non-Arab countries. The so-called workshop is scheduled to be held in the city of Manama.

Global financial bodies including the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank also plan to be present.

U.S. officials have been vague about the timing of the second phase of their initiative, which would be the release of proposals for resolving the thorny political issues at the core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

With Israel heading to new elections, delay of the full release of the plan is expected.

Saeb Erekat, executive secretary of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), told a number of Arab news outlets he expects the summit to fail.



Moldova’s Filip Government Announces Transfer Of Embassy To Jerusalem

The Moldovan Filip Government approved the transfer of the Moldovan embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on Tuesday (11th).

Moreover, the Cabinet of Ministers adopted a decision that approves the agreement of acquiring land for the construction of the headquarters of the US Embassy in Moldova.

“We are in a situation in which we have to approve these decisions in an urgent manner, given the political instability and uncertainty in the country, as one of the political parties has always been blocking these two important decisions while trying to take over power illegally,” said Prime Minister Pavel Filip.

Both decisions have been assumed by the Government of the Republic of Moldova, which ensures that these are protected long-term from any political crisis in the country.

Two rival Moldovan governments held simultaneous cabinet meetings and accused each other of trying to usurp powers on Monday (10th), deepening a crisis brought on by an inconclusive parliamentary election in February.

The crisis threatens more instability in one of Europe’s smallest and poorest countries, where the West and Russia both vie for influence.



In First At UN, India Votes With Israel Against Group With Terror Ties

For the first time ever, India voted last week with Israel at the United Nations against granting observer status to a Palestinian human-rights organization.

The motion at the UN Economic and Social Council was rejected by a 29-14 tally.

“Thank you #India for standing with @IsraelUN and rejecting the request of a terrorist organization ‘Shahed’ to obtain the status of an observer in #UN.  Together we will continue to act against terrorist organizations that intend to harm,” Maya Kadosh, deputy chief of mission at the Israeli Embassy in India, wrote on Twitter.

Kadosh told Indian news site ThePrint that Shahed is connected to terror groups Hezbollah and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

“This is a good sign. … India was the first country to support us among the Asia group, so we are very happy,” she said.

“This is a truly historic vote.  By taking a principled stand at the United Nations, India has finally broken a voting pattern reminiscent of the Cold War era,” Vijeta Uniyal, founder of Indians for Israel said.

“In my opinion, the position taken today by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government finally reflects the long-held wishes and attitudes of the Indian people.”



U.S. Military Cadets Learn About Israel – Anna Ahronheim

Nearly 40 cadets and officers from West Point, the U.S. Air Force Academy and Virginia Military Institute completed a two-week visit to Poland and Israel on Monday (10th) to learn about Israel’s security situation in a trip organized by “Our Soldiers Speak.”

Stephen Marn from VMI noted, “Israel has so many enemies knocking on their back door, yet the people in Jerusalem were happy, enjoying life….It was an amount of true patriotism that I don‘t see in America today.”

U.S. Air Force Academy cadet Kaitlyn Benton said, “The Gaza Strip is right there, we stood at the border.  The same with Syria. These people who are trying to destroy the way of life here are right in the backyard and that’s not a problem we face in the U.S., and that makes the situation a lot more real because you can’t deny that there are threats that need to be taken care of…. We got to see exactly what Israeli soldiers are fighting for, it’s not an elusive war zone, they are protecting their families.”

West Point cadet Travis Afuso said, “There are constant threats to Israel but people continue to live their lives.  That’s really inspiring…. Every soldier we spoke to had a deep need to serve. They understand that there will be no Israel unless people are willing to die for Israel.”



Jews Threatened In France And Belgium Over Shavuot Holiday

Several incidents in which Jews in Antwerp, Belgium were threatened were recorded over the Shavuot holiday weekend, according to the “Shmira” Jewish patrol group in Antwerp, as cited by Arutz-7 website.

The most serious incident involved a man armed with three knives who pretended to be Jewish.  He reportedly tried to enter a synagogue in the Belgian city during the holiday before being apprehended.

“A suspicious person with Iraqi roots tried to enter the Van den Nest Synagogue on Monday morning (3rd) walking next to his bike and carrying a bag.  The suspect wore a kippah on his head and pretended to be Jewish,” said a report.

Shmira volunteers stopped him, and police checked and found in his bag, three knives.  He was arrested for carrying forbidden weapons.

In another incident, Shmira volunteers noticed a “Middle Eastern Male” who was following and threatening Jewish people on the street.

“He was stopped by the volunteers patrolling the area and was later arrested by police.  Police identified the suspect as the same man who, a few weeks earlier verbally assaulted Jewish community members in the area.

Meanwhile, during the same time period, French police “smashed a neo-Nazi cell accused of plotting attacks on Jewish places of worship.  Six people who were planning attacks against several targets, including the annual dinner of the Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions (CRIF), were arrested, according to French news sites.