News Digest — 8/12/19

Islamic Jihad, Hamas Threaten Israel After Jews Ascend Temple Mount

Islamic Jihad and Hamas threatened increased violence on Sunday (11th) after a day of riots on the Temple Mount left four police officers and several Muslims and Jews injured.

Police were forced to storm the Temple Mount, firing stun grenades in an attempt to disperse crowds of Muslim worshipers who were protesting against the gathering of Jews at the entrance to the mount who wanted to enter to mark Tisha B’Av, the day of commemorating the destruction of the First and Second Temples.

According to police figures, 1,729 Jewish worshipers ascended the Temple Mount Sunday (11th).  Tens of thousands of Muslims were on the site celebrating Eid al-Adha, their “Festival of Sacrifice.”

Police first barred Jews from entering to prevent friction but later reversed the order.  PM Benjamin Netanyahu said he decided on Thursday (8th), after consulting security officials, to allow Jews to visit the Mount even though it coincided with a Muslim holiday. 

Police said, “Our question was not if they (Jews) could go up, but rather how to manage it in the best way possible to ensure public safety, and that is what we did.”

Meanwhile Islamic Jihad official Fuad A-Razim said that “Israel is trying to impose a new reality in the Al-Aqsa Mosque and there will be repercussions for it.’

Hamas Spokesman Hazem Qasem congratulated Muslim worshipers who participated in “fending off the settlers at the Temple Mount, and called on every Palestinian who can, to come to Jerusalem and defend the al-Aqsa Mosque.” 

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said , “We are tracking Israel’s steps – this is a violation of the rights of millions of Muslims.”

Jordan’s Foreign Minister, Ayman Safadi was quick to blast Israel for the incident.  “We condemn Israel’s violations of Al-Aqsa. It’s attempts to change the status quo in occupied Jerusalem & its holy sites will only lead to more violence.  The international community cannot remain silent on these violations.”

However, one Israeli government official said that outside of Jordan, the reactions from the rest of the Arab world was muted, and that Jordan – because of its special status in Jerusalem – always feels it needs to comment on any incidents on the Temple Mount.



IDF Arrests Dvir Sorek’s Murderers

The Israeli military arrested two Palestinians suspected of the murder of Cpl. Dvir Sorek over the weekend, the IDF announced Saturday evening (10th).

The two terrorists were identified as 24-year-old Nazir Saleh Khalil Atafra – a Hamas activist – and 30-year-old Qasem Araf Khalil Atafra.  Both are from the Palestinian village of Beit Kahil, north of Hebron in the West Bank.

Earlier on Saturday (10th), four other suspects were arrested in a raid in Beit Kahil, according to the Wafa Palestinian News Agency.

According to a report, troops arrested four members of the Asafrah family, including 26-year old Enas Asafrah.

During the arrest, Qasem’s car – in which the attack was carried out – was also confiscated.

A large riot of 100 Palestinians broke out during the arrests, leading troops to resort to riot-dispersal means against the demonstrators.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “I praise the ISA and the security forces for apprehending the murderers of Dvir Sorek within 48 hours.”

“In recent years, our forces have laid hands on all of the Palestinian murderers who have attacked Israelis, and today they have done it again,” Netanyahu said.  “We will continue to fight terrorism on all fronts,” he added.

Large numbers of troops from the IDF, Israeli Police and Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) had been conducting searches of Sorek’s killers since his body was discovered with multiple stab wounds on Thursday morning (8th) near Migdal Oz, south of Jerusalem.



IDF Stops ‘Significant Attack’ By Gazans, 4 Terrorists Killed

Israeli troops killed four Palestinian terrorists who attempted to cross through the security barrier from the Gaza Strip on Saturday (10th).

Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, an Israeli military spokesman called it a “very significant attempt to attack Israel.”

The four terrorists were armed with automatic rifles, hand grenades and rocket-propelled grenade launchers.  Israeli soldiers opened fire when the terrorists tried to climb the fence. They returned fire before being killed.  No Israeli soldiers were hurt.

“We hold Hamas responsible and accountable for any acts of violence emanating from the Gaza Strip whether they were Hamas operatives or not,” Conricus said at a briefing with reporters.

No Palestinian group claimed responsibility.

Meanwhile on Sunday (11th) another terrorist opened fire at Israeli soldiers on the Gaza border.  He was shot and killed by IDF soldiers who returned fire.

Again, the terrorist was attempting to cross the border near an IDF lookout point.  When he opened fire, soldiers from the Golani’s 13th Battalion eliminated him.

He was later identified as Marwan Nasser, a member of Hamas’ elite Nuhba forces.

IDF tanks also opened fire at Hamas positions in the area, Sunday (11th).  No soldiers were injured in the incidents

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the IDF that “acted quickly and efficiently on both Saturday (10th) and Sunday (11th) on the border with Gaza and prevented terror-infiltration of our territory.”



NYPD Arrests Suspect In Violent Anti-Semitic Attack

A 39-year-old Brooklyn man identified as Kenya Dean was arrested over the weekend for an anti-Semitic attack that took place Friday evening (9th) in the borough’s Crown Heights neighborhood immediately prior to the beginning of the Jewish Sabbath.

Dean allegedly sprayed a Jewish man with a substance identified as mace according to New York Jewish website, ColLive.

At the beginning of the attack, Dean accosted the victim, hollering, “You Jews, Hitler should have finished you off,” ColLive reported.  He also used a stick to strike a 62-year-old bystander.

NBC New York reported that Dean was arrested and charged with hate-crime assault, harassment and criminal possession of a weapon.

In response to news of Dean’s arrest, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) issued a statement expressing “deep appreciation to the NYPD for swiftly apprehending the suspect.”

In 2018, the ADL recorded a 55% spike in anti-Semitic assaults in New York, in comparison to 2017.



Israeli Researchers Find DNA Vaccine That May Prevent Brain Metastases – Leon Sverdlov

Researchers at Tel Aviv University found that immunotherapy with vaccines based on synthetic DNA may be an effective means of preventing brain metastases.

A new Tel Aviv University study has found that a known adjuvant – an ingredient used in vaccines, enhancing immune response – containing synthetic DNA, may be an effective treatment in preventing brain metastases in patients whose primary tumors have been excised.

The study was led jointly by Dr. Amit Benbenishty, Dr. Pablo Blinder, and Prof. Shmagar Ben-Eliyahu, and was published on March 28 in PLoS Biology.

According to Dr. Blinder, “Some 20-40% of lung, breast and melanoma cancer patients develop brain metastases, and current treatment for brain metastases are ineffective.”

“Surgery for removing primary tumors is usually essential, but the period immediately before and after surgery requires that all chemotherapy and radiotherapy be stopped,” he added.

“This,” he explained, “creates a high potential for the initiation and rapid progression of deadly brain metastases.”

According to Dr. Blinder, the study showed that CpG-C, an adjuvant of synthetic DNA material, reduces the development of brain metastases when injected intravenously during that time frame.

“When the drug is administered systemically, it crosses the blood-brain barrier and works by activating microglia, the brain’s primary immune cells, to kill invading tumor cells,” he said.  

Currently, patients are given preventative whole-brain radiotherapy to reduce brain metastases – which has multiple negative side effects.

According to Dr. Blinder, CpG-C could be administered to cancer patients several days before a primary tumor removal, and continuing a few weeks after the surgery.

“We are now testing the potential simultaneous use of these anti-stress inflammatory drugs,” according to Prof. Ben-Eliyahu, “and if the tests are successful we plan to conduct initial studies in cancer patients.”