News Digest — 7/5/22

Stabbed In The Head On Way To Pray: Israeli Wounded In Terror Attack

An Israeli man was stabbed in Central Israel on Tuesday morning (5th) in what authorities believe was a terror attack.  Police have launched a manhunt for the terrorist.

The victim, 46, told medics he was stabbed in the head repeatedly on the pedestrian bridge linking the Tel Aviv suburbs of Bnei Brak and Givet Shmuel shortly after 5 a.m.

“We saw a man sitting on the bridge conscious and suffering from penetrating bleeding injuries,” Magen David Adom first responders Shimi Zilberschlag and paramedic Elhanan Alon said in a statement.

“We provided him with lifesaving medical care and urgently evacuated him to the hospital.” 

Yael Dahan, the victim’s wife told Kan News that her husband was on the way to prayers at Givat Shmuel when he was targeted in an unprovoked, brutal assault.

“He said that when he got onto the bridge, a man who looked Arab stepped in front of him, grabbed something out of a bag, and gave him strong cutting blows to the head.  He has three fractures.”

The man, a father of six who is listed in serious but stable condition at Tel Aviv’s Tel HaShomer Medical Center, is expected to survive.

His son-in-law told Channel 12 News that the stabbing should serve as a wakeup call to all of us to clamp down on terror.

“I’m asking the Israeli government to take hold of this,” he said.

“All the people in the government and the Knesset, get a grip and start dealing properly with terror.  This type of attack should never happen here.”  

The attack also comes just a week before U.S. President Joe Biden is slated to visit Israel.

The Israeli police are bracing for possible terror attacks intended to disrupt the presidential trip.



6 Dead, 36 Wounded In Highland Park; Two Jews Among The Victims

At least six people died, including two Jews, and 36 were wounded in a shooting at a July Fourth parade in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park.

Highland Park Police Commander on scene urged people to shelter in place as authorities searched for the suspect, described as a white male wearing a white or blue T-shirt.

Lake County Major Crime Task Force spokesman Christopher Cavelli said at a news conference that the gunman apparently opened fire on parade-goers from a rooftop using a rifle that was recovered at the scene.

Covelli said police believe there was only one shooter and warned that he should still be considered armed and dangerous.  He described the shooting as random.

Highland Park has a sizable Jewish community.  A klezmer band was playing when the shooting began.

This morning at 10:14 (Monday (4th), our community was terrorized by an act of violence that has shaken us to the core,” Mayor Nancy Rotering said at a news conference.  “Our hearts go out to the families of the victims at this devastating time.  On a day that we came together to celebrate community and freedom, we are instead mourning the tragic loss of life and struggling with the terror that was brought upon us.”

Hundreds of parade-goers – some visibly bloodied – fled the parade route after shots rang out, leaving their belongings behind.  As of early afternoon, ominous signs of a joyous event suddenly turned to horror filled both sides of Central Street where the shooting occurred.  Dozens of baby carriages, some bearing American flags, abandoned children’s bikes, a helmet bedecked with images of Cinderella were left behind in their haste.  Blankets, lawn chairs, coffee and water bottles were knocked over as people fled.

The Midwest Israeli Consulate is in contact with authorities and the Jewish community.

“A day of celebration has turned into a day of tragedy. Our thoughts are with the families of the victims and all the American people.  Today as always, Israel stands with our American friends,” the Consulate said in a statement. 

Later on Monday (4th), police announced they had captured a suspect in the shooting, identified as 22-year-old Robert E. Crimo III, who was from the area.  Police could be seen surrounding a car and Crimo exiting the vehicle with his hands raised, according to a video by the Chicago affiliate of ABC News.  Crimp was seen lying flat on the ground as police took him into custody.

Charges will be filed, Highland Police said.



‘Categorically Unacceptable:’ Moscow Slams Israeli Airstrike In Syria

Moscow strongly condemned Israeli airstrikes carried out Saturday (2nd) at targets in Syria, Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova stated.

“Once again we stress that ongoing Israeli strikes on Syrian territory are categorically unacceptable.  We strongly condemn such irresponsible actions, which violates Syria’s sovereignty and the basic norms of international law, and demand their unconditional cessation.” Zakharova said on Monday (4th), Tass Russian News Agency reported.

According to Syrian state media, Israel carried out an airstrike on a coastal Syrian village near the Lebanon border Saturday morning (2nd).

State news agency SANA said Israeli warplanes flying over northern Lebanon fired missiles towards Hamidiyeh south of the coastal city of Tartus.

The attack happened a few miles north of the border with Lebanon.

SANA said two people were wounded and in addition, there was material damage.

Israel has staged hundreds of strikes against targets in Syria over the years, aiming particularly at Iranian bases and terror proxies, but rarely acknowledges or discusses such operational events.

Until recently, Moscow has mostly been turning a blind eye to the Israeli strikes.



Israel, Poland Resume Previous Diplomatic Ties, Will Restore Ambassadors

After almost a year in which there has been no Polish ambassador in Israel and no Israeli ambassador in Poland, ambassadors will be restored to both countries, following a conversation on Monday (4th) between Israeli President Isaac Herzog and Polish President Andrzej Duda.

The conversation was initiated by Prime Minister Yaid Lapid and Alternate Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.  Yacov Livne, ambassador designate to Poland, is due to present his credentials in a few days, and a new Polish ambassador to Israel will soon be appointed, according to Duda.

Part of the diplomatic rift resulted from Poland’s new Restitution Law, which would make it much more difficult for heirs of Holocaust survivors to claim property in the Central European country.

During the Second World War, a great deal of Jewish property was confiscated by the Germans and then by the Soviets.  The issue is so legally complicated that it leaves little room for restitution after so long a period of time.

Both presidents expressed hope that future disputes between the two countries will be resolved through sincere and open dialogue in a spirit of mutual respect.



Lebanon PM Chides Hezbollah Over Drone Provocation Against Israel

Lebanon’s caretaker prime minister on Monday (4th) criticized the militant group Hezbollah for sending three unmanned aircraft over an Israeli gas installation last week, saying it was an unnecessarily risky action.

Najib Mikati’s comment came two days after Hezbollah launched three drones over the Karish gas field in the Mediterranean Sea.

The Israeli military said on Saturday (2nd) that it shot down three drones, before Hezbollah issued a statement saying they were unarmed and were sent on a reconnaissance mission.  “The mission was accomplished and the message was received,” Hezbollah said.

Lebanon claims the Karish gas field is disputed territory undergoing maritime border negotiations, whereas Israel says it lies within its internationally recognized economic waters.

“Lebanon believes that any actions outside the state’s framework and diplomatic context while negotiations are taking place is unacceptable and exposes it to unnecessary risks,” Foreign Minister Abdallah Bouhabib said, citing Mikati’s statement.

Israel and Hezbollah are bitter enemies that fought a month-long war in the summer of 2006.  Israel considers the group its most serious immediate threat, estimating it has some 150,000 rockets and missiles aimed at Israel.

The incident in the Karish gas field took place soon after U.S. mediator Amos Hochstein recently visited Lebanese and Israeli officials, as talks were advancing.

Mikati on Saturday (2nd) told reporters that Lebanon had received “encouraging information” regarding the border dispute, but refused to comment until after he received a “written official response to the suggestions by the Lebanese side.”

Negotiations between Lebanon and Israel to determine their maritime borders commenced October 2020, when the two sides held indirect U.S.-mediated talks in southern Lebanon.  Since taking over the mediation in late 2021, Hochstein has resorted to shuttle diplomacy with visits to both Beirut and Jerusalem.

The two countries, which have been officially at war since Israel’s creation in 1948, both claim some 330 square miles of the Mediterranean Sea.  Lebanon hopes to exploit offshore gas reserves as it grapples with the worst economic crisis in its modern history.



Graduating Arab-Israeli Students Refuse To Stand For Israeli Anthem

Arab-Israeli college students refused to stand while Israel’s national anthem was played during a graduation ceremony in northern Israel on Sunday (3rd), sparking criticism.

The incident occurred at a graduation ceremony for undergraduate students at Haifa University.

Towards the end of the graduation ceremony “Hatikva,” Israel’s national anthem, was played.

Many graduating Arab students refused to rise, despite being asked to stand in honor of the song.

One female student present at the graduation ceremony lambasted the students  who refused to sing the anthem or even stand out of respect, telling Israel National News: “The situation was upsetting and inappropriate.  They are Israeli citizens.  Even if they don’t identify with its ideals, they should at least stand to honor the singing of the national anthem of the state of which they are a part.”

Former Transportation Minister and religious Zionist Party chairman MK Bezalel Smotrich tweeted Monday (4th) that the incident was part of a larger trend of anti-Israel hostility among young Israeli Arabs.

“This is critical for our future.  The audacity, the impudence, and the gall of many Israeli Arabs has reached new heights and is turning into an existential threat to Israel and is a security threat to all of us.”

“You cannot eat from the state’s hand and at the same time, spit on it.  Can’t identify with the country and its anthem?  So you get a college degree at the country’s expense?  Go learn in Gaza.  We’ll fix this,” said Smotrich.



Dutch Airline: ‘Israel Not On The List’ 

Passengers traveling from France to Israel were shocked to discover this week that Dutch Airline Transavia did not have Israel on its list of countries, but did include Palestine.

The Israeli passengers, who were traveling back home, said they made several attempts to find Israel on the list, but to no avail.

“We tried to find Israel and complete the check-in in advance, but we just couldn’t find it,” the passengers told Israel Hayom.  “We didn’t really understand why, and we checked a few times more and Israel wasn’t on the list, but Palestine was, which is crazy.”

Unable to find Israel on the list, the passengers had to arrive at the airport without prior check-in.