News Digest — 8/2/23

Nasrallah: Iran-Backed Militias Will ‘Prevent Attacks’ On Al-Aqsa

Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah warned that armed groups in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, and the Palestinian territories would “prevent attacks” on Al-Aqsa Mosque during a speech on Tuesday afternoon (1st).

Nasrallah referenced recent incidents of Qurans being burned in Sweden, complaining that the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation did not react strongly enough.  The Hezbollah leader additionally repeated a claim that the person burning the Quran was “a Mossad spy.”

“If the rulers of the countries of the Islamic world do not have the zeal and courage to defend their sanctities and their Quran, will they have the courage to defend us, you, our land, our country, Lebanon, and even Al-Aqsa Mosque?” asked the Hezbollah leader, calling on Muslim youth to respond on their own initiative to the burning of the Quran.

“We say to the Palestinian people, if they behave like this with the Quran, then how about if an attack on the Al-Aqsa Mosque happened?  You will only hear statements of disapproval from them,” added Nasrallah.  “Bet on yourselves, on your fists and blood, and with those who stand with you in the axis of resistance (a term used to refer to the various armed groups backed by Iran throughout the region).”

“When we waited for states, our peoples failed, but when the people rose up, they reached victories, so we bet on our people,” continued Nasrallah.  “Ones who will protect Al-Aqsa Mosque are the guns of the believers and their readiness in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, Palestine, and Iraq to defend this holy place, which we will not allow thieves to harm from near or afar.”

Nasrallah additionally referred to ongoing clashes taking place between Fatah and an Islamic group in the Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp in southern Lebanon, calling the situation “painful, sad, and unfortunate” and calling on anyone who can, to work to stop the fighting as quickly as possible.

Nasrallah did not reference ongoing tensions with Israel along the Lebanese-Israeli border in his speech on Tuesday (1st).

Nasrallah’s speech came shortly after a Palestinian terrorist shot and wounded six Israelis in the city of Ma’ale Adumim, east of Jerusalem on Tuesday afternoon (1st).

Palestinian terrorist groups linked the attack to escalating tensions surrounding the Temple Mount and Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Nearly 2,000 Jews peacefully visited the Temple Mount on Tisha B’Av this year.



Israel Will Address Latest Hezbollah Provocation, Officials Stress

Political officials stressed this week that contrary to recent media reports, they will address the latest incident with Hezbollah, namely the terror group setting up a tent in Israeli territory north of the Blue Line.

In a recent confidential meeting, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant told members of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that the move by Hezbollah – led by Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah – did not pose a security risk that would require immediate action.

“These are provocations and a violation of sovereignty, so we will deal with it at a time of our choosing,” Gallant said.

According to defense officials, the current policy is to refrain from being dragged into a confrontation with the terror group and respond to events case-by-case.

Similarly, National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi said in an interview on Monday (7/31) that the development did not endanger Israel’s security, and called the move “childish.”  Nevertheless, he stressed that the tent and a series of other recent Hezbollah provocations in Israel pointed to a “weakening in the policy of self-restraint” that the terror group adopted after the 2006 war with Israel.  Most recently it published footage of IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi and other military officials, on the northern border without protective gear.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also addressed the matter in a Cabinet meeting Sunday (7/30), saying, “On a day of decision, Nasrallah will find us standing shoulder to shoulder.  He also knows that he and Lebanon should not test us.”



Six Israelis Wounded In Attack Outside Of Jerusalem, 2 Seriously – Terrorist Killed

Six Israelis were wounded Tuesday (1st) in a terrorist attack near a mall in Ma’ale Adumim, located 4.3 miles east of Jerusalem in Judea.

The Palestinian assailant, reportedly armed with an M-16 rifle, was shot by an off-duty Border Policeman, and died.  He reportedly had been working on a nearby construction site before perpetrating the attack.

“The terrorist was a Palestinian who was here with a work permit,” Benny Kashriel, Mayor of Ma’ale Adumim, told Channel 14: “He has been working in Israel for several years.  We are checking with the police on how he obtained his weapon.”

According to MDA EMT David Turjeman, “When we arrived on scene we saw two males near the mall, fully conscious with gunshot wounds to their bodies.  We provided initial medical treatment, including stopping the bleeding and they were evacuated to the hospital in moderate but stable condition.”

“We received further reports of another two victims at a nearby location.  Further MDA teams also on scene provided treatment to a 40-year-old male in serious condition and a 28-year-old male in moderate condition.”  All wound victims were transported to the hospital. 

“We commend the heroic commando operation that was carried out by a heroic Palestinian resistance fighter in the Ma’ale Adumim settlement built on our occupied land, east of Jerusalem,” the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group said in a statement.

Hamas spokesman Abd al-Latif al-Qanou stated: “The strikes of the revolutionaries and resistance fighters will not stop in defense of our land and sanctities, and will thwart the settler government’s plan to build the alleged Temple on the ruins of Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Israeli Prime MInister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant were briefed on the incident.

Palestinian terror attacks are at an all-time high.  In the first six months of 2023, the emergency service recorded 3,640 acts of terror throughout Israel, including 2,118 cases of rock-throwing, 799 attacks with Molotov cocktails, 18 attempted stabbings and six car-rammings.  Many Israelis were killed in terror attacks so far in 2023, including both adults and children. 



Thousands Pray For Terror Attacks Victims At Joseph’s Tomb

Thousands of people on Tuesday night (1st) visited Joseph’s Tomb in Shechem (Nablus), praying for the recovery of those wounded in the Ma’ale Adumim shooting attack.

Among those at the site were Samaria Regional Head Yossi Dagen, Deputy Samaria Regional Head Davidi Ben-Zion, rabbis and other officials.

The Ungar Rebbe, Rabbi David Shlomo Klein led prayers at the site and recited a chapter of Psalms together with the others present, in prayers for the recovery of those injured in Tuesday’s (1st) shooting attack in Ma’ale Adumim, one of whom is a resident of Samaria.

Dagan called to return the yeshiva which had been at the site of Joseph’s Tomb: “Joseph was the one who divided and reunited.  Especially in these days we should learn to add brotherliness and love in the nation of Israel, as was the way of Joseph.  We call on the Israeli government to return the Od Yosef Chai Yeshiva to this place, fully.  The return to Joseph’s Tomb will bring security to the State of Israel, and will send a message to Israel’s enemies that the nation of Israel is a strong nation, and a nation which will not break.

“The fact that we need to come at night is shameful and an embarrassment.  We are moved that we are touching the holiest places in our heritage and we expect that the IDF will return here fully, and that the yeshiva will be returned here.  Only a hold here, on Joseph’s Tomb, will be able to bring security.”

The visit took place as part of the scheduled visits organized by the Samaria Regional Council and accompanied by IDF soldiers.

Dagan thanked the security forces and Israel Police for securing the visit, as well as the volunteers of the site’s management for their help in organizing it.



Israeli Archaeologists Unearth Building Destroyed During Babylonian Siege Of Jerusalem

Israeli archaeologists have uncovered a building that was decimated by fire during the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem in 586 BCE, according to a report published on July 22.

The findings were published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Archaeological Science.

The charred building’s remains, dubbed ‘Building 100’ by the researchers, underwent a variety of analyses to understand how the fire had started and how it had progressed through the structure.  While researchers can only make an educated guess that the building was burned during the siege of Jerusalem, the intense damage caused to the massive structure supports their hypotheses.

Building 100 was once a large two-story home belonging to a member of Jerusalem’s elite, however, it was lost to time until it was discovered under a parking lot in the southeastern part of the ancient city.

“Evidence in the debris of the building left no doubt regarding the presence of fire,” the archaeologists wrote.

“There was no visible indication as to whether it was intentional or accidental, and if intentional, where the fire started and how it spread.

To try to decipher whether the fire had been deliberate, the researchers employed FITR spectrometry tests and archaeomagnetic analysis.

“The goal is to identify the intensity, direction, and origin of the fire that destroyed Building 100 in order to trace the destruction process in detail, to determine whether the fire was intentional as part of the events of the Babylonian destruction, and to learn about the measures taken by the agents of this destruction in their treatment of this elite building,” the researchers explained.

The researchers explored the building for an ignition point, which would allow them to trace the spread of the fire through the building.  They did this by measuring the magnetic signatures of pottery shards and broken floor panels.  Through this line of study, the researchers discovered that the fire started on the top floor of the building, as the bottom floor had rooms that the fire had not reached.  This meant the fire was likely intense, but burned out quickly.

“The widespread presence of charred remains suggests a deliberate destruction by fire, which was ignited at several locations in the top and bottom floors, with heat rising to burn the ceiling of the bottom floor,” the archaeologists explained.  “The spread of the fire and the rapid collapse of the building indicate that the destroyers invested great effort to completely demolish the building and take it out of use.”

As previously mentioned, the size of the building suggests it once belonged to an elite member of society.  The researchers suggest it was highly likely that this building was targeted in an arson as a punitive measure for disobedience, which was common in the 30-month siege of the city.  The Kingdom of Judah had attempted a rebellion against the Babylonian invaders, and so the King of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar II had ordered that Jerusalem be destroyed as a result.

The information this study has gathered is also felt to have significant value to followers of the Torah and the Old Testament, as it is a landmark from the period of the destruction of Jerusalem and the First Temple.