News Digest — 6/15/21

IDF Upped Alert, Added Iron Dome Batteries Ahead Of Jerusalem Flag March

Israel’s defense establishment is bracing for potential violence in the West Bank as Palestinian groups warned against the controversial Jerusalem Flag March set to take place Tuesday (15th) in the Old City of the capital.

Border Police troops have been reinforced in Jerusalem’s Old City and the IDF carried out ongoing situational assessments with other security bodies ahead of the planned march.  

According to a security source quoted by Walla News, the IDF has beefed up troops near known areas of friction in the West Bank for fear of potential terror attacks and has also increased the level of alert for Iron Dome batteries due to Hamas’ threats to respond to the “flag march” in Jerusalem.

Incoming Public Security Minister Omer Barlev met on Monday morning (14th) with Police Commissioner Kobi Shabati and received an overview of police preparations for the march.  He said that it would go on as planned.

“In a democracy it is allowed and important to demonstrate within the confines of the law,” Barlev said.  “We will, with the police, keep assessing concerning the events and will operate according to police recommendations.”

Also on Monday – Prime Minister Naftali Bennett spoke with  Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Barlev regarding the march, Walla News reported.

The Flag March, postponed from Jerusalem Day in May, is set to be held in the capital Tuesday evening (15th) beginning at 6:30 p.m.  Security personnel are set to be deployed along the entire length of the march route, with undercover police patrolling the area as well.  Security will be especially tight around the Old City’s Damascus Gate.  Over 2,000 police officers will be deployed to secure the event.



Pence: Netanyahu Was The Most Successful PM In Israel’s History

Former Vice President Mike Pence lauded former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday (14th), celebrating his 15 years as prime minister, 12 years consecutively.

In a tweet Monday night, Pence offered his congratulations to Netanyahu for his “extraordinary tenure,” adding that millions of Americans were “grateful” for his work as premier.

“Congratulations Benjamin Netanyahu on your extraordinary tenure as the most successful Prime Minister in the history of the Jewish state,” Pence tweeted.  “Millions of Americans are grateful for your leadership in Israel & your dedication to strengthening the cherished Alliance between our two Nations.”

At the same time, Pence welcomed the new Israeli government under Naftali Bennett, writing: “Like every American, I welcome the new Israeli Government led by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and look forward to working together to make the strong bond between our two great nations even stronger.  America Stands With Israel.”



Nikki Haley Warns US Administration Of Iran ‘Death Wish’ For Israel

Reentering the Iran nuclear deal is a “death wish” for Israel and the world, former US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley warned Monday (14th).

“The idea right now that you have multiple countries around the world, including the United States, looking to figure out how to redo this Iran deal is nothing more than a death wish for the world,” she said during a conversation with a select group of reporters from her Jerusalem hotel.

Haley was in the country on a solidarity mission organized by Christians United for Israel.  She spent Sunday (13th) touring the rocket-tattered South and Monday (14th) in meetings with top Israeli officials, including Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. 

Although she was in touch with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s office, she was unable to meet with him, she said.

Haley lashed out at the US administration’s recent efforts to engage with the Islamic Republic, saying that Biden is “falling all over himself to get back into the Iran deal and that is pretty disgusting.”

“Iran is never going to change its ways,” she said.  “It is never going to stop saying death to Israel.  It is never going to stop saying death to America.  And the only way that we can effect change is to pull the money back and pull the purse strings back.”

Iran directly funds Israel’s enemies, including Hamas and Hezbollah, Haley said.

“If you fund Iran, you are funding terrorists that want to kill Israel,” she said.

Haley spent time on the Lebanese-Israel border during her tenure as UN ambassador from 2017-2018.  “What happened last month during the 11-day conflict with Hamas pales in comparison to the threat posed by Hezbollah,” she said.

Twelve Israelis were killed during Operation Guardian of the Walls, including two children, and several hundred were wounded.

“You have Hezbollah waiting in the wings, and Hezbollah makes Hamas look like child’s play,” Haley said.  “Hezbollah is going to be the next issue” for Israel.

She also condemned the US administration for failing to thank the Arab countries, such as the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, which normalized ties with Israel as part of the Abraham Accords under former US President Donald Trump.  She said that Biden is “slapping them in the face” by engaging in talks with Iran.

“You cannot be friends with Israel, and you can not say thank you to the people who want to be friends with Israel, by getting back into the Iran deal,” she said. 

“Israel did a great job in May showing what happens when you mess with them,” Haley said, adding that she believes Israel will survive because “you cannot destroy what God has blessed, and God blessed Israel.”

“However, I don’t want Israel standing alone,” Haley concluded.



EU Lawmakers Urge UN Chief To Investigate UNRWA Over Hate-Teaching

A cross-party group of Members of the European Parliament sent a letter Monday (14th) to the UN Secretary General and EU Commission president demanding an investigation into the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) over the revelations of anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in its educational materials.

The 26 MEPs, who represent all the major parties in the European Parliament, initiated by MEP David Lega (Sweden) and MEP Miriam Lexmann (Slovakia), raised significant concerns about the kinds of materials that UNRWA uses.

The letter expressed “alarm about UNRWA’s continued use of hateful school materials that encourage violence, reject peace, and demonizes both Israel and the Jewish people.  We deeply deplore the agency’s lack of oversight, transparency and accountability with regard to the repeated revelations of teaching hate and incitement to Palestinian children under UNRWA’s care.”

Crucially, the letter condemns the use of EU taxpayers’ money to fund hate teaching and anti-Semitic provocation, which the authors maintained was a “grave misuse in violation of our values.”

They added that the revelations were particularly “disturbing” given that UNRWA’s Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini addressed the European Parliament just last November, and personally guaranteed that in UNRWA schools “there is absolutely no room for any teaching which would encourage violence, discrimination, racism or anti-Semitism.”

“The EU condemned UNRWA in May for teaching hate and these members of the European Parliament are absolutely right in turning to Secretary-General Guterres for answers that they have not been able to receive from UNRWA itself, including who authored the hateful UNRWA-produced teaching material,” maintained IMPACT-se CEO Marcus Sheff.



Health Care Data Disproves Israeli “War Against Palestinian Health” – Jonah Cohen

The New Republic on May 24 branded Israel as a “settler colonial” state engaged in a “never-ending war against Palestinian health.”  But if that were true, wouldn’t these crimes be reflected in the standard health indexes used worldwide to measure overall physical well-being?

In 1967, the year Israel took over the West Bank and Gaza, the average Palestinian could expect to live only 49 years, according to the UN.  Today it is 75 years, higher than the global average and higher than in Iran, Pakistan, and many Arab countries including Egypt.

Palestinian infant mortality in 1967 was 152-162 per 1,000 births.  Today it is 15.6 per 1000, making Palestinian babies safer than those in many other countries.

When Jordan occupied the West Bank, just four out of 708 Palestinian towns and villages had modern water supply systems and running water.  By 2004, 96% of the West Bank population enjoyed running water.

Given the extensive media coverage, one might assume that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is among the bloodiest disputes on earth.  Yet of the 5 million lives lost in the last 70 years of wars in the Middle East and North Africa, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict encompasses less than 1% of the total.  The death toll in Syria’s civil war over the last 10 years has been ten times worse than the entire history of Israeli-Palestinian fighting.

(The writer is communications director for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis (



Miami To Invest $1 Million In Israel Bonds In Gesture Of Solidarity

The city of Miami will invest $1 million in Israel Government Bonds in a move approved unanimously by city commissioners on Thursday (10th).  Commissioner Joe Carollo said the investment will serve as a “small token of our support for Israel and our appreciation for the warm friendship and support that we have had from so many Israelis and their contributions to our community.”

Carollo told Maor Elbaz-Starinsky, Israel’s new consul general in Miami, “We want you to bring back to Israel a little bit of gratitude from the city of Miami.”

”Elbaz-Starinsky said, “I really don’t have enough words to express my gratitude….Just three weeks ago I was sitting in a shelter with my five children.”

Carollo responded, “We’re very privileged and blessed that…we don’t have to worry day-to-day that we’re going to be attacked with missiles.  The State of Israel recently went through something that we in America cannot even begin to imagine.”