News Digest — 8/1/19

Hamas Terrorist Breaches Gaza Border, Shoots IDF Officer, Two Infantrymen In Pre-Dawn Attack

An IDF officer and two soldiers were wounded early Thursday morning (1st) after a terrorist from the Gaza Strip breached the security fence into Israel and fired at the forces.  The troops responded by shooting and killing the terrorist.

The officer of the Golani Brigade, sustained moderate injuries, and the other troops were lightly injured.  They were evacuated by helicopter to Soroka Hospital in Beersheba.

Responding to the severe incident, the IDF targeted a Hamas military post near the Gaza border.

IDF Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis stated that the dead terrorist belonged to the Hamas terror organization and was wearing a uniform during the attack.  He added that the terrorist was carrying several hand grenades and used one of them before he was killed by IDF fire.

Gaza sources identified the terrorist as Hanny Abu Saleh, a member of the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ military wing, as well as a Hamas policeman.  

The incident occurred just hours after the IDF completed a large-scale exercise, improving its readiness to combat threats posed by Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza, the largest such drill since Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014.

“We have strengthened our preparedness for a possible campaign in Gaza…which could break out any day,” said IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi late Wednesday (7/31) at the conclusion of the exercise.



“It’s Never Too Late To Fulfill Your Dreams”

Nefesh B’Nefesh, in cooperation with the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration, The Jewish Agency, KKL-JNF and Jewish National Fund-USA, welcomed 95 new Olim (immigrants to Israel) on Wednesday morning (7/31).

The Aliyah flight, which was comprised of 35 families and singles ranged in age from one year to 80 years old, and came from a variety of states, including Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Georgia, Texas, and Quebec, Canada.

“Summer is always the busiest season for Aliyah, and this year is no exception with over 2,000 Olim choosing to make Israel their home in these eight weeks alone,” said Co-Founder and Executive Director of Nefesh B’Nefesh, Rabbi Yehoshua Fass.

Wednesday’s Olim will be moving to cities all across Israel such as Givat Shmuel, Modi’in, Tel Aviv, Beit Shemesh and Ma’alot in the north of the country.  Nearly one-third of the group, or 28 individuals, will be making Jerusalem their home in Israel. This group-flight precedes this summer’s Nefesh B’Nefesh charter Aliyah flight expected to land on August 14th at Ben Gurion Airport as well as several more group flights scheduled over the upcoming weeks of summer.

Among the Olim who landed on Wednesday morning (7/31) was 80-year-old Ray Negari, who emigrated with his wife in the 1960s from Iran to the United States.  He said excitedly after landing, “Since my childhood in Iran, my father used to tell me and my seven brothers and sisters stories about the Land of Israel. A few years ago at the age of 77, I found myself deciding that the time had finally come to fulfill my dream and create a home for myself in the Jewish State.  It’s never too late to live out your dreams. I am proud and happy to know that despite the years that have gone by, I am going to be setting up my home in Israel and be able to enjoy living with my brothers and sisters in Israel as we have always dreamed.”

A few of Wednesday’s Olim plan on joining the IDF as Lone Soldiers.  Omer Doar, 18, from New Jersey said, “Since I was young, I heard stories about my mother’s uncle, Alberto, who served in the IDF’s 890 Paratroopers Battalion and was killed in the Yom Kippur War.  I feel it is my familial and Zionist duty to step up and protect the country and continue in his path. I hope I will also be able to serve in the Paratroopers Brigade and in time be able to proudly wear my uncle’s red beret.”

Doar’s sister May also made Aliyah a few years ago and served in the IDF.  She is now studying Special Education in Jerusalem. Another Olim, Gal Gur Lavi, 18, also from New Jersey, has two parents who served in the Israeli Air Force.  When asked why she made Aliyah and is planning on joining the IDF, she responded simply and confidently, “Israel is my home.”



PA Has Paid Terrorists Of Hebrew University Attack Millions

17 years ago, on July 31, 2002, a bomb was detonated in the Hebrew University cafeteria in Jerusalem murdering 9 people, including five American citizens, and injuring over 80 others.  This attack was one of many terror attacks carried out by the same terrorist cell.

Six Palestinian Arabs were convicted of the crime and sentenced to multiple life sentences.  Since their arrests, the Palestinian Authority has rewarded the imprisoned terrorists, paying them no less than $1,257,259.

Among the convicted terrorists for this and other attacks were Abdallah Barghouti – serving 67 life sentences, one for each of the victims he murdered – and Ibrahim Hamed – serving 54 life sentences, one for each of the victims he murdered.  Through June 2019, the PA cumulatively paid them $339,862 and continues to pay them thousands of shekels per month.

The four other terrorists – Wael Qassem, Wassim Abbasi, Alla Aldin Abbasi and Muhammed Odeh – were residents of Jerusalem, entitling them to a salary supplement per month.  Each of them has been paid over $220,733 since their arrest in August 2002. Each of them is currently receiving $1,951 per month.

Despite its self-inflicted financial crisis, since the beginning of 2019 alone, the PA has cumulatively paid these terrorists almost $86,000. 

The PA obligated itself to pay monthly salaries to imprisoned terrorists when it passed the Law of Prisoners and Released Prisoners in 2004.  The exact amount paid is set in regulations passed by the PA government. Mahmoud Abbas has twice raised the salaries the PA pays to the imprisoned terrorists.

Top PA leaders have explained that the PA is “obligated” to pay salaries to the Palestinian terrorists in prisons and the families of suicide bombers and other so-called “martyrs,” because they were “soldiers” of the PA, who were “sent” by the PA and who acted out of “national interest and not for personal reasons.”  Most significantly, they “received orders” from the PA.



‘Iran Trying To Take Over Gaza,’ IDF official Warns Palestinians

The IDF’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Maj. Gen. Kamil Abu Rokon on Tuesday (7/30) told the residents of Gaza in a video recorded message that the Hamas terrorist organization, which rules the coastal enclave, was strengthening relations with Iran at their expense.

According to Rokon, last week senior Hamas terrorist Saleh al-Arouri said that “Hamas is on Iran’s front line of defense,” and on Tuesday (7/30), Iranian diplomat Amir Mousavi declared the “establishment of a united military front stretching from Tehran to Gaza.”

“This is just the beginning – and only you will decide the ending,” Rokon told the Gazans in his video message.  

In May, the IDF confirmed it had killed Hamad Hudri, a high-ranking official in Hamas’ Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades who was responsible for transferring money from Iran to the various terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip.

The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit reported that Hudri, 34, a resident of Gaza, would bring large disbursements of Iranian cash into Gaza and distribute it among the various groups that enjoy Iranian backing: Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other smaller groups.  He used money-changing businesses he owned, other money-changers, and tradesmen abroad to help launder the Iranian funds.



By 2050, Half Of The World’s Population Will Be Nearsighted – Ofer Livnat

Freedom these days, perhaps allows many children too much time in front of a screen.  It is now becoming apparent that there is a frightening proportion of parents who are completely unaware of the negative consequences this has on children’s vision.

An international study by the Copper Vision Development Company recently examined more than a thousand parents of children under 18 in Australia and New Zealand, due to an increase in the proportion of children diagnosed with myopia, or nearsightedness.

The study found that half the parents (49%) were unaware of the causes of myopia, and 91% were unaware of the effects of prolonged screen time.  According to the data, about half of the population will suffer from shortsightedness by 2050. The authors noted that the high numbers were due, among other things, to inactivity outside of the home, low sunlight exposure and increased use of cellular devices.

“We are seeing an ever increasing rate of myopia worldwide.  In about 30 years, as many as five billion people are expected to suffer from myopia,” warned Ortal Sabag, senior optometrist and director of research at the Copper Vision company.

“Myopia is a risk factor for eye disease that can lead to vision loss.  There will be more cases of eye disease, and this trend is increasing in children.  In the past, there were fewer cases of myopia in children, because they spent many hours in daylight outside the home and they didn’t stay on their phones like they do today.  As myopia appears earlier it will become more common and with it the risk of eye disease grows as well,” she said.