News Digest — 7/12/23

Gallant Heads To Azerbaijan To Strengthen Strategic Ties

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant will leave for an official visit to Azerbaijan’s capital of Baku on Wednesday evening (12th), the Defense Ministry said.  During the visit, which will last till Friday (14th), Gallant will meet with the country’s President Ilham Aliyev, his Azeri counterpart General Zakir Hasanov, the Commander of the National Border Guard, General Elchin Guliyev as well as other senior security officials.

Gallant is expected to be received with an honor guard at the Defense Ministry headquarters in Baku, including the local band playing Israel’s national anthem.

“The purpose of the visit to Azerbaijan is to strengthen the strategic relations between the countries, tighten the political cooperation and expand the security-technological ties between the two countries.  In his meetings, Defense Minister Gallant is expected to discuss with his colleagues the ways to strengthen regional stability,” the defense ministry said in a statement.

Gallant’s visit comes against the background of tightening relations between Israel and Azerbaijan.  Last week, an Afghani man was arrested by Azerbaijan’s State Security Service for his suspected involvement in planning a terror attack on the Israeli embassy in Baku.

Early in May, President Isaac Herzog visited the Shiite Muslim country and discussed the expansion of cooperation and Iranian threats with President Aliyev.



Washington Post Erases Palestinian Terrorists, Strips Context From IDF’s Jenin Operation

Washington Post’s “What is Happening in Jenin in the Occupied West Bank, and Why Now?” only ensures readers don’t know what’s happening or why Israel launched its recent military operation in Jenin.

According to journalists Niha Masih and Miriam Berger: “The military incursion on July 3 and 4 into the Jenin camp left 12 Palestinians and one Israeli soldier dead and hundreds of residents injured, displaced thousands more, and destroyed roads and infrastructure throughout the urban slum.”

Who were these 12 Palestinians?  The Post fails to mention that all of them were combatants.  Despite the IDF’s statement to that effect and Palestinian terror organizations claiming all of the 12, this relevant information does not appear in what is meant to be a backgrounder.

As for the “destroyed roads and infrastructure,” the article fails to note that the destruction resulted from the IDF having to use heavy bulldozers to address the roadside bombs and other ordinances planted by Palestinian terrorists, who deliberately turned civilian areas into military infrastructure, such as a weapons storage facility in a mosque.

The Washington Post, does, however note that “UN experts described the Jenin operation as ‘collective punishment’ for the Palestinian people, amounting to egregious violations of international law.”

Who are these so-called UN “experts?”  They happen to be led by none other than Special Rapporteur for the Palestinian territories, Francesca Albanese, who has been widely condemned for anti-Semitism, sympathizing with terror organizations, dismissing Israeli security concerns, and comparing Israelis to Nazis.

The Post fails to mention that the overwhelming majority of the “more than 150 Palestinians killed by Israelis this year” were either combatants or members of terrorist organizations.  It then states: “Palestinian fighters say they need arms to defend themselves against the Israeli occupation and military incursions into the camp, during which Palestinian civilians, including children, have been killed.”

But Palestinian terrorists in Jenin have used their arms not “to defend themselves against the Israeli occupation,” but to launch more than 50 attacks on Israelis, both in the West Bank and inside Israel, aimed mainly at civilians.

The Post also fails to mention the 27 Israelis murdered by Palestinians since the beginning of 2023, nearly all of whom have been civilians.

The “military incursions into the camp” are the direct result of these terror attacks, prompting the IDF to root out the nest of terrorism.  Tragically, children have been killed but the Post fails to mention that some of these minors were 16 and 17-year-old combatants, sent by terrorist organizations to be used as child soldiers.

Instead, without the context of the Palestinian wave of terror that necessitated military action, the Post simply says that “Since last spring, the Israeli military has been launching near-daily raids on Palestinian villages and towns: its operations in Jenin have been among the most brazen and deadly.”   

Indeed, Palestinian terrorism is remarkably absent from the Washington Post’s historical overview.  Jenin is, according to the Post, “known as a hub of armed Palestinian resistance.”

The sad reality is that Jenin is known as a hub of terrorism, dominated by terror organizations such as Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, proscribed by most Western states.  Their stated aims to murder Israelis and Jews and destroy Israel in its entirety are not simply “resistance” as the Post claims.



Netanyahu: ‘We Want To Narrow The Gap For Arab Society’

The Ministerial Committee on Arab Society Affairs, chaired by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met on Tuesday (11th).

The committee decided on the establishment of a subcommittee, also chaired by the Prime Minister, to promote the fight against crime in the Arab society in Israel, which was authorized, among other things, to decide on the ISA’s assistance to the Israel Police in dealing with crime in Arab society.

Also, the committee discussed various issues, among them: solving the problem of housing mortgages in Arab society, learning the Hebrew language among the Arab population, budgeting for economic projects in employment areas, and more.  Prime Minister Netanyahu instructed the various ministries to submit within  30-45 days proposals for a decision on these issues to the Committee of Ministers.

The Prime Minister said at the end of the meeting: “We are interested in narrowing the gaps and bringing about the full integration of the Arab society into Israel.  We discussed credit, education, Hebrew, welfare, legislation and many more issues here.”

“We also have a special focus on the fight against crime in Arab society, which makes the lives of the Arab citizens of Israel miserable.  It is already a national problem.  For this purpose, we have established a subcommittee, in which many issues have already begun to be addressed, and we intend to delve into this in the coming days.  This is the commitment of the government ministries and ministers to reduce these gaps for the benefit of the Arab citizens of Israel.  They deserve, and we deserve to address all these issues,” Netanyahu said.



Mahmoud Abbas To Make Rare Visit To Jenin

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is scheduled to visit the city of Jenin and its “refugee” camp on Wednesday (12th), more than one week after the large-scale Israeli military operation there, PA Chairman spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudaineh announced on Tuesday (11th).

Abbas will meet with local residents and officials and receive a briefing about efforts to “rebuild” the city in the aftermath of the military operation.

This will be Abbas’ first visit to Jenin since 2012, when he briefly visited the city to offer condolences over the death of former governor Kadoura Musa.

It will be his first visit to the Jenin “Refugee” Camp since he was elected head of the Palestinian Authority in 2005.

Abbas will be accompanied by PLO Executive Committee Secretary-General Hussein al-Sheik and General Intelligence Service chief Majed Fara.

Palestinian sources said a Jordanian military helicopter will take Abbas and the senior officials from Ramallah to Jenin.

PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh and members of his cabinet, as well as senior Fatah officials, will receive Abbas upon his arrival in Jenin, the sources said.

On the eve of the visit, hundreds of Palestinian security officers were deployed in the city and its refugee camp in a show of force designed to send a message that the PA has not lost control of the area.

The rare visit comes amid growing criticism  of the PA and its security forces for failing to protect the Palestinians during the Israeli military operation.  PA security forces stayed in their bases during the raids and made no attempt to engage the Israeli troops.

The visit also comes amid reports that the PA security forces have lost control of the city, where Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad have a strong presence.

Additionally, the PA has been denounced by several Palestinians for its continued crackdown on members of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the West Bank.

The two groups said on Tuesday (11th) that the PA security crackdown on their members could sabotage efforts to hold a meeting of leaders of all the Palestinian factions in the Egyptian capital of Cairo at the end of this month.  Abbas said the purpose of the meeting was to reach agreement on “a comprehensive national vision and achieve Palestinian Unity.”



In First, Scientists Induce Cancer Cells To Kill Themselves

In a first, Israeli researchers managed to encode a toxin produced by bacteria into mRNA molecules and to deliver it directly to cancer cells, causing them to produce the toxin that proceeded to kill them.

The study, led by PhD student Yasmin Granot–Matok and Prof. Dan Peer from Tel Aviv University and recently published in Theranostics, showed that a single injection into the tumor bed in animal models with melanoma skin cancer led to the disappearance of 44 to 60% of cancer cells.

“Many bacteria secrete toxins,” Peer explains.  “The most famous of these is probably the botulinum toxin injected in Botox treatments.  Another classic treatment technique is chemotherapy, involving the delivery of small molecules through the bloodstream to effectively kill cancer cells.  However, chemotherapy has a major downside: it is not selective, and also kills healthy cells.”

“Our idea was to deliver safe mRNA molecules encoded for a bacterial toxin directly to the cancer cells – inducing these cells to actually produce the toxic protein that would later kill them.  It’s like placing a Trojan horse inside the cancer cell.

The researchers encoded the genetic information of a toxic protein produced by bacteria of the pseudomonas family into mRNA molecules – similar to the way genetic information of Covid-19’s spike protein was encoded into mRNA molecules to create the vaccine.

Then the mRNA molecules were packaged in lipid nanoparticles and coated with antibodies.  The particles were then injected into animal models with melanoma.

“In our study, the cancer cells produced the toxic protein that eventually killed them,” Peer said.  Many anaerobic bacteria, especially those that live in the ground, secrete toxins, and most of these toxins can probably be used with our method.”

He said that delivering the bacteria directly to the target cells with nanoparticles is like a recipe.

“When the cancer cell reads the ‘recipe’ at the other end, it starts to produce the toxin as if it were the bacteria itself, and this self-produced toxin eventually kills it.

Thus, with a simple injection to the tumor bed, we can cause cancer cells to ‘commit suicide’ without damaging healthy cells.  Moreover, cancer cells cannot develop resistance to our technology as often happens with chemotherapy, because we can always use a different natural toxin.”



Foreign Ministry Says Around 200 Israelis Still Unreachable As Monsoons Lash India

After heavy monsoon rains caused deadly floods in northern India, friends and families of a number of Israelis have reported to the Foreign Ministry that they are unable to reach their loved ones.

Around 200 are currently unreachable, the Foreign Ministry said Tuesday (11th).

According to Israel’s consulate in New Delhi, the problem comes primarily from damaged communications infrastructure and lack of reception.

There are currently no indications that any Israelis have been hurt in the floods.

Ynet reported that hundreds more Israelis are known to be stuck in northern areas where roads have become blocked and the Internet is down.

Landslides and flash floods in India’s north have killed at least 15 people.

Schools in New Delhi were closed on Monday (10th) after heavy monsoon rains battered the Indian capital.

India’s weather agency has forecast more heavy rains in the north in the coming days.  It said monsoon rains across the country have already brought way more rain than normal.

India regularly witnesses severe floods during the monsoon season, which runs between June and September and brings most of South Asia’s rainfall.

Meanwhile, the Israeli Foreign Ministry, along with other actors on the ground are continuing efforts to reach the Israeli travelers  that may be trapped there.