News Digest — 8/23/19

One Dead, Two Wounded From Explosive Device At West Bank Spring

A 17-year-old woman was killed and her father and brother were seriously injured on Friday (23rd) after a grenade was thrown at them from a car near the spring of Ein Bubin near the Israeli town of Dolev in the West Bank, in what the military is calling a serious terror attack.

The funeral for Rina Schenrav has been scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Friday (23rd) in the Lod cemetery.

The Schenrav family was going to the spring, named for Dani Gonen to hike. Gonen was murdered there, by Arab terrorists in 2015.

According to reports, the father, Eitan Schenrav was a rabbi in the military and was seriously injured in the attack.  His 20-year-old son was seriously injured also. The two men were evacuated to Hadassah Ein Kerem for medical treatment by helicopter while Rina was treated on the spot.

IDF Spokesperson Brig-Gen. Ronen Manelis called the attack “a serious terror attack” and said that the military is still not sure if the grenade was thrown at the family or if the device had been planted in the stream and set off.

Large numbers of security forces were deployed to the area as reinforcements, including the Head of the Central Command Maj.-Gen. Nadav Padan and other senior commanders.  Blockades were also placed in the area as troops searched for the terrorist who is believed to have fled the scene in a white car.

According to Manelis, the reinforcement of troops were also deployed in a defensive maneuver to prevent additional attacks.

MDA paramedic Shlomo Pearl was quoted as saying that the scene was “horrifying” and that the 46-year-old man suffered wounds to his upper body, the 20-year-old son suffered injuries to his torso and the 17-year-old daughter had multi system trauma.

Following the attack residents of Dolev were asked to remain in their homes.

While no group has claimed responsibility for the attack, Hamas praised the attackers saying that “today’s operation is proof of the vitality of our people and their bravery and their failure to surrender to the crimes and terrorism of the occupation.”



Palestinian Man Shot After Throwing Grenades At IDF Soldiers On Gaza Border

A Palestinian man attacked IDF soldiers with grenades on the northern Gaza border Thursday night (22nd) and was wounded in a following exchange of fire.

The armed attacker was spotted approaching the border fence and threw explosives at Israel Defense Forces who arrived at the scene, the IDF said in a statement.

“A short time ago IDF lookouts identified an armed terrorist approaching the border fence in the northern Gaza Strip.  The terrorist threw a number of grenades toward IDF soldiers. The soldiers, who had come to the area when the man was spotted, charged the attacker and wounded him.  There were no injuries to our forces,” the IDF said.

The incident comes amid an uptick in violence on the border.  Rockets were fired at Israel from the enclave late Wednesday (21st) and early Thursday (22nd), prompting Israeli reprisal attacks.

Earlier on Thursday (22nd), Avichay Adraee, head of the Arab media division of the IDF’s Spokesperson’s Unit, warned Gazans that rocket attacks and terrorist attacks will result in disruption of normal life in Gaza.

An army statement read, “The IDF will continue to oppose attempts to harm Israeli civilians and considers the Hamas terrorist organization responsible for whatever happens in and out of the Gaza Strip.”



Palestinians Claim Israel Is Transferring Taxes Withheld Over Terror Stipends

Israel began this year withholding part of some $200 million in monthly tax transfers because the Palestinian Authority (PA) uses the funds to pay terrorists and the famiies of criminals killed committing acts of terror.

Israel passed a law sanctioning the practice to stop the PA from financially incentivizing violent crimes against Israeli civilians.  After Israel enforced the law, deducting funds equal to the amount the PA used to pay terrorists and their families, the PA refused to accept the balance of revenues.

Under Thursday’s (22nd) agreement, the Palestinians say Israel will stop collecting about $60 million in monthly fuel taxes and allow the PA to collect the funds directly.

Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayeh says the additional revenue will ease a financial crisis and allow him to slightly  increase civil servants’ partial salary payments.

The announcement concerning the tax funds arrives just days after PA Leader Mahmoud Abbas fired all of his advisers over massive illegal pay increases and disguised bonuses that outraged the Palestinian public.  

The U.S. enacted similar anti-terror legislation called the Taylor Force Act, under which a significant amount of American aid can be cut if the PA refuses to stop paying salaries to terrorist prisoners and their families.

In the past, the PA has used both subterfuge and open payments to reward imprisoned terrorists and the families of those eliminated while committing their crimes.

Following the Taylor Force Act enactment, the PA announced it would make the payments directly, thereby conforming to Israel’s criteria for designation as a terror organization.



U.S. Air Force Tests Israeli-Made SMASH System For Firing Accuracy

The U.S. Air Force has showcased a cutting edge Israeli-made firing control system at Beale Air Force Base in California.

According to a statement by the USAF on its website, Chief Master Sgt. Dustin Hall and Col. Andrew Clark, the 9th Reconnaissance Wing’s command chief and commander, tested the SMASH 2000 fire control system developed by Smart Shooter last week.

“The 9th Security Force Squadron Airmen have been using off-the-shelf commercial technology to help train and improve how their missions are conducted to protect the installation,” the USAF said.

The SMASH 2000 fire control system has been using innovative technologies to help militaries and other security or law enforcement agencies accurately neutralize moving targets.  It has a built-in storage system allowing for videos and images to be recorded for training and debriefings.

The SMASH 2000 sighting device attaches to a weapon and has built-in targeting algorithms that can track and accurately hit targets, including moving and aerial ones, at ranges up to 395 feet, with the first shot.

With the system, the user selects and locks onto the target.  As soon as the trigger is squeezed, the system calculates the target’s movement and predicts its next location using advanced image processing and algorithms.  SMASH 2000 prevents the bullet from being fired until the target is precisely in its crosshairs.

“Smart Shooter’s Fire Control solutions are designed to give soldiers and law enforcement officers a decisive tactical edge in almost every operational scenario, maximizing force lethality and effectiveness throughout an engagement,” the company said, adding that “repurposed and occasionally armed civilian drones have become common, turning the concept of unmanned warfare back on national forces.”

The system has been in use by the IDF for several months along the Gaza border.  The main international customer of the system is the U.S. Special Forces.



South Korean Minister: Israel Is An Inspiration

South Korea’s Trade Minister, Yoo Myung-hee, recently visited Israel and participated in a ceremony in which the conclusion of the negotiations to establish a free-trade agreement between the countries was announced. 

“Israel is not a small country but a powerful startup nation and an inspiration for innovation around the world,” Myung-hee said in an interview with the Israel Hayom newspaper.

“There are a lot of similarities between South Korea and Israel,” the minister added.  “We are the winning couple of innovation in the world.”

She said that young people in Korea “know your Talmud, and through it you are portrayed as a nation blessed with original, creative and entrepreneurial thinking.  Thanks to the new agreement, I foresee highly productive collaborations in the fields of artificial intelligence, big data, biotechnology and more.”

“We Koreans are known for our high production capabilities, and you Israelis are known for your innovative inventions.  There is a huge potential for collaboration here,” continued Myung-hee.

The volume of trade between Israel and South Korea in the past year amounted to about $2.5 billion, an increase of more than 15% compared to 2017.

“Our goal is to double the volume of trade and set it to $5 billion within five years ,” said the South Korean Minister.