News Digest — 8/25/23

Netanyahu Meets With Prominent Rabbis Ahead Of Hungarian Embassy Move

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Rabbi Slomo Koves and Rabbi Shmuel Oirechman on Thursday (24th) ahead of a discussion on moving the Hungarian embassy to Jerusalem.

Rabbi Koves is head of the United Hungarian Israelite Community of Faith, which is one of the three major Jewish communities in Hungary, while Rabbi Oirechman is the director of Hungary’s Orthodox community.

The trio discussed several topics ranging from issues of Jewish communal life in Hungary to events that may accompany the move of the Hungarian Embassy to Jerusalem.

Rabbi Koves stressed the importance of the friendship between the two countries, and used the occasion to invite Netanyahu for a visit to Budapest, coinciding with the 35th anniversary of Chabad in Hungary.

Netanyahu’s bestselling book: “Bibi-My Story,” was translated into Hungarian to celebrate the historic moment, and the prime minister was presented with the first copy of the translation during Thursday’s (24th) meeting with the rabbis.

The book is set to be published in honor of the embassy move and Netanyahu’s upcoming visit to Budapest.

Rabbi Koves also presented Netanyahu with the new plans for the Holocaust museum in Budapest.

Moving the Hungarian Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem was first decided in late May this year after Foreign Minister Eli Cohen visited Budapest and spoke with his Hungarian counterpart Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto.

Once the move has gone forward, Hungary will be the first European Union (EU) nation to move its embassy to Israel’s capital Jerusalem.



Israeli Police Uncover Nazareth Tunnel Used to Hide Weapons, Criminals

Police uncovered a tunnel in Nazareth used by criminal organizations to hide weapons and members of the organizations, police said on Thursday (24th).

Intelligence operations by the police found that the criminal organizations would hide weapons and criminals in the tunnel during police raids.

The police discovered the tunnel opening in an abandoned house, finding ammunition and other evidence inside.

The tunnel was extended by dozens of meters from its original size into three rooms where suspects would hide during police raids.

“The North District of the police maintains extensive operations in its fight against the violent activity that is carried out on all possible levels, from preventing smuggling and weapons trafficking through covert intelligence activities, to preventing criminal activity before it is carried out, to a quick response to any violent event in the Arab towns, through a constant presence,” said police.

National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir welcomed the uncovering of the tunnel, stating “I congratulate and support the commanders and police officers of the northern district for uncovering the dozens of meters long tunnel of the Bakri criminal organization in Nazareth – which is suspected to have been used by the men of Samir Bakri, one of the most dangerous and wanted criminals in Israel, as a hiding place during police raids and pursuit of criminals.”

“The persistent struggle led by Israel police against the criminal organizations continues all the time.  The exposure of the tunnel, which has apparently been there for over two years, is a fatal blow to the organizations.”



‘Work Accident:’ 2 Killed In Gaza, Hamas Hiding Details

Two Palestinians were killed in a “work accident” explosion at a Hamas facility in a residential area of Deir Balah in the central Gaza Strip on Thursday morning (24th).

The Hamas-run Interior Ministry confirmed the explosion took place at a Hamas site.  Palestinian media identified the dead as Ashraf Hussein and Ali a-Darah, both Hamas operatives.  Civil defense forces came to the scene, and the Tazpit Press Service reported that Hamas was covering-up the details of the case.

Gaza terror groups have raised their alert level after Israel’s Security Cabinet on Tuesday (22nd) gave a green light to the Israeli Defense Forces to more proactively fight Palestinian terror groups.  Without elaborating, the Prime Minister’s Office announced on Tuesday (22nd) that the Security Cabinet, “made a series of decisions to target terrorists and those who dispatch them and authorized the prime and defense ministers to act on the matter.”

According to Arab reports, Hamas sent a message to international mediators that any targeted assassination would lead to an all-out war.

Israel launched a four-day military operation against Palestinian Islamic Jihad with the targeted killing of three of its senior commanders in May.  Those strikes were in response to rocket fire coming from the Strip.  Israel said the three commanders killed – Khalil Bahtini, Jehad Ghanam and Tareq Izzeldeen – were responsible for the launches.

Hamas did not participate in the fighting.

Tuesday’s (22nd) Security Cabinet meeting came amidst the backdrop of deadly shootings in Mount Hebron and Huwara, an aerial drone flying towards Israel that was shot down over Gaza, and the launching of a rocket at a Jewish community from the area of Jenin.



Islamic Jihad Terrorist Sues Over Denied ‘Right’ To Videogames In Jail

A Palestinian terrorist convicted of kidnapping and Killing an Israeli teenager has petitioned a judge after the Israel Prison Services (IPS) denied him the “right” to play videogames, a spokesperson for the IPS confirmed on Wednesday (23rd).

Iham Kamamji, a Palestinian Jihad member serving two life sentences for his role in the 2006 kidnapping and murder of 18-year-old Eliyahu Asheri, said the prison administration had previously allowed him to have a Sony PlayStation 2 in his cell.

Kamamji was one of six Palestinian terrorists who in September 2021 broke out of Israel’s maximum-security Gilboa Prison.  Following their recapture, Kamamji was moved to the isolation wing of Ashkelon’s Shikma Prison.

In the petition, the terrorist complained about alleged “discrimination and harassment” at the hands of the Prison Service in the wake of his attempted escape.  “I do not commit crimes and respect the law and the administration,” Kamamji claimed.

“The recreational rights of prisoners in segregation are examined and given on a case-by-case basis, in accordance with the prisoner’s behavior,” the IPS stated in response.

“After the request was denied, the prisoner filed a petition, which has not yet been scheduled for a hearing.  We will bring our full arguments to the court as is customary,” added Kamamji’s  spokesperson.

Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir reportedly demanded stricter measures against Palestinian security prisoners during Tuesday’s (22nd) Securing Cabinet meeting, which was held amid a wave of deadly attacks on Israelis.

Among other proposals, Ben-Givr was said to have asked that the organizational affiliation of prison wings be canceled, meaning that inmates from specific terrorist groups would no longer be incarcerated together.

Since entering office in December 2022, Ben-Gvir has repeatedly urged the IPS to crack down on security prisoners, a term generally referred to Palestinians held for nationalistic motivated attacks or membership in terrorist groups.



Excerpts From “Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps In Jenin, Psychological Warfare, And The West’s Perceptual failure” By – Aviram Balleishe

• Foreign media coverage of the events in Jenin have erroneously reported that the Iranian regime’s recent terror and influence operations in the city were a “Palestinian-Israeli clash.”

• Yet statements by Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, senior IRGC officials, and the regime’s official news agencies – documented here – present the broader strategic implementation of the IRGC’s West Bank operations.  Statements from Palestinian officials also support the IRGC;s operations program.

• There is a clear need to change the false narrative of young Palestinian freedom fighters struggling against the “Zionist occupier” to a more accurate narrative that reflects a carefully planned, Iranian regime-backed initiative that supports and directs Palestinian terror activity from the West Bank against Israeli civilians.

• The battle in the West Bank, and Jenin specifically, is not an Israeli-Palestinian conflict per se but part of a more significant Iranian-Israeli conflict, part of Iran’s plans to support and build up terror capabilities along Israel’s borders and in Gaza and the West Bank.

• This document underscores the need for Israel to wage a soft-power war of perception alongside its counter-terror operations in Jenin to eliminate the IRGC-supported Palestinian nests there.

• Simultaneously, Israel must provide the Palestinians with the evidence that what matters to the present Iranian regime is not Palestinian welfare, but the Shiite revolution.  

Aviram Balleishe, Senior Director, Security, Diplomacy, and Communications at the Jerusalem Center, has served in senior government positions for over 25 years as a business intelligence and Middle East specialist, negotiation expert and international cooperation manager.



Cowardly Antisemitism Hides Behind Criticism of Israel – Con Coughlin

In his new book, “Israelophobia: The Newest Version of the Oldest Hatred & What to Do About It,” Wallis Simons reveals that in 2022, when tens of thousands of Ukrainians perished in the conflict with Russia, and the Yemeni violence claimed 3,000 lives, it was the deaths of 180 Palestinians that attracted the most comment from the so-called neutral human rights activists at Amnesty International.  A study of its Twitter feed between January and April 2023 showed that while the organization posted just two critical comments on the Ukraine conflict, and none at all about Yemen, it published 26 comments about supposed Israel crimes.

The age-old curse of anti-Semitism, which is not content with slandering the Jewish people, now focuses on denouncing the State of Israel.  The term “Israelophobia,” Simons explains, was originally coined by the Italian-Israeli journalist Fiamma Nirenstein to describe the surge in anti-Israeli sentiment in recent years.  According to Simons’ definition of “Israelophobia,” there are three defining characteristics: demonizing Israel, weaponizing activists to condemn the Jews and their national home, and using Soviet-and Nazi-era propaganda to falsify the stated aims of the Zionist enterprise. (Telegraph – UK)