News Digest — 6/5/19

Man Wounded In Stabbing, Police Hunting Attacker

One person was hurt Wednesday morning (5th) in a stabbing attack in the central Israeli city of Ramat Hasharon.  The 46-year-old victim sustained wounds to his upper body and was taken to Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva.

Police launched a manhunt for the attacker who fled the scene, setting up roadblocks and dispatching large numbers of officers to search the area.  A police helicopter was also deployed.

According to initial reports the victim was walking along the street when he was attacked.

Police said the attacker came out of a nearby building and spoke Arabic, according to witnesses.

Guy Guliansky, a paramedic from the Magen David Adom rescue service who arrived at the scene on a motorbike, said he found the victim lying in the street.

“When we got there, he was conscious with multiple stab wounds to his body,” he said.”We administered life-saving treatment, and once the bleeding stopped, we evacuated him to the hospital for further treatment.”



Teams Who Exposed Hezbollah Tunnels Awarded Israel Defense Prize

The 2019 Israel Defense Prize will be awarded to the intelligence and engineering teams that uncovered and neutralized a grid of Hezbollah tunnels in northern Israel, the Defense Ministry announced Monday (3rd).

The decision was made by a special ministerial committee and approved by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is also the acting defense minister.

This award is the defense establishment’s highest honor.  Created in 1958, it recognizes projects and activities that have made significant operational and technological contributions to national security and the defense of the State of Israel.

The four-year intelligence-technological-operational effort culminated in Operation Northern Shield in December 2019, during which six terror tunnels dug by the Shiite terrorist group under the Israel-Lebanon security fence were destroyed.

During the course of the operation, Military Intelligence revealed that Hezbollah had been secretly working on its tunnel project since the 2006 Second Lebanon War, investing tens of millions of dollars in an effort to exact a heavy price from Israel in any future war.

The ambitious project was kept secret even within Hezbollah, only a handful of senior officials were involved in the scheme, which enjoyed the support of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

The counter-tunnel operation is one of four projects awarded the Israel Defense Prize.  The Mossad intelligence agency team that broke into the Iranian nuclear archive and successfully transferred the information to Israel was also honored, as were two other teams, whose work is highly classified.



Report: Hezbollah Members Rise To 1,050 In Germany Amid Growing Jew-Hatred

A new German intelligence report asserts that the number of Hezbollah members and supporters has climbed from 950 in 2017 to 1,050 in 2018 amid rising Jew-hatred in the federal republic.

The Jerusalem Post reviewed the hair-raising new numbers from the intelligence document of the German state of Lower Saxony.  The 192-page intelligence report authored by the intelligence agents from the state’s security service note 150 Hezbollah operatives are situated in Lower Saxony.  The report covers 2018 and was released on May 22, 2019.

“Hezbollah denies the right of existence of the State of Israel and fights it with terrorist means,” the intelligence report wrote.  “In Germany, the followers of Hezbollah maintain organizational and ideological and cohesion in local mosque associations that are financed primarily by donations.”

“Hezbollah is against the idea of international understanding and the peaceful coexistence of peoples,” the report noted.  “The party of Hezbollah was founded under the authority of the Islamic Republic of Iran, representing the most radical party of the Lebanese Shiite community.”

The report said the model for Hezbollah is the Iranian regime’s revolutionary system and the “teaching of the Iranian revolutionary leader Ruhollah Khomeini.”

The intelligence report cited Hezbollah 30 times and said the group’s supporters are active in the following German cities and towns in Lower Saxony: Hannover, Osnabruck and Uelzen.  The report noted Hezbollah supporters are also present in the region of south Lower Saxony.

While the UK, the U.S., Canada, the Netherlands, the Arab League and Israel all classify Hezbollah a terrorist entity, Germany and the EU does not.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her interior minister, Horst Seehofer, ignored an urgent plea from the country’s nearly 1,000-member Jewish community to outlaw Hezbollah.

When repeatedly asked last week by The Jerusalem Post if the German government – in response to a demand by the Central Council of Jews – plans to ban Hezbollah, Merkel and Seehofer refused to answer.



WSJ Report: Gaza Terrorist Groups Replenish Rocket Arsenal

Hamas and Islamic Jihad have been able to replenish their rocket supplies to levels reached just before the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict, The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday (4th).

The last ceasefire between the Gaza Strip-based terrorist groups and Israel was reached in May.

According to the report, rocket supplies in Gaza are now back up to roughly 10,000 and consist mostly of short- and mid-range projectiles.

Quoting Israeli military and intelligence officials, the report said the stockpile was replenished through a combination of smuggling supplies into Gaza and local production by Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

Both Hamas, which rules the coastal enclave, and Islamic Jihad seek to pressure Israel into lifting the maritime blockade that was placed on Gaza in 2007 after Hamas seized control of it from the Palestinian Authority in a military coup.

“Hamas and Islamic Jihad continue to cause misery and suffering to the Palestinians in Gaza,” U.S. Special Representative for International Negotiations, Jason Greenblatt said Tuesday (4th) in response to the report.

One Palestinian official said that the dire economic situation in Gaza is “pushing Hamas to the brink.”

An Israeli military official was quoted as saying that while Hamas “is weak internally, politically and economically,” it has the ability “to create many problems for Israel.”

On Monday (3rd), Hamas military leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar thanked Iran for maintaining the group’s arsenal.

“Iran provided us with rockets and we surprised the world when our resistance targeted Beersheba,” he told local media, referring to May’s violent flare-up during which Gaza terrorists fired nearly 700 rockets at Israel.

“If not for Iran, the resistance in Palestine would not have possessed its current capabilities,” he stressed.

Israeli intelligence believes the Hamas rocket stockpile includes over 20,000 projectiles, meaning that the terrorist groups could fire rockets at Israel for weeks.



Tourism To Israel Shatters Records In 2019

In May 2019 alone, the Israel tourism industry generated revenues of 2.1 billion shekels, welcoming 440,000 visitors to the Jewish state.

These numbers reflect a multi-year spike in tourism to Israel, with visitors from the United States and Europe joined by a new crop of tourists from China.

The May 2019 tourism statistics continue the consistent upward momentum and record-breaking trend in incoming tourism to Israel,” commented Minister of Tourism Yariv Levin on Tuesday (4th).

While Israel’s tourism industry is largely driven by the nation’s wide-range of historic attractions, Israel increasingly hosts high-profile events that attract additional visitors.

For example, Israel hosted the popular Eurovision Song Contest in May, which drew performers, fans and media from around the world.  Similarly, events like the Jerusalem Marathon have succeeded in bringing in new demographics to the Jewish state.

“As a continuation of the growth-trend, we are developing new infrastructures,” explained Levin, adding, “I am pleased that the National Infrastructure Committee today approved the cable-car project in Jerusalem that will greatly enhance the tourist experience.”

Levin’s mention of the cable car project was a reference to a $55 million initiative to build a gondola-like tram that will transport visitors to and from a popular Jerusalem dining and shopping complex built in a historic train station in the Old City, which is home to Jerusalem’s holiest sites.

While the project has met resistance on several fronts, the government approval on Tuesday (4th) cleared the way for the plan to proceed.