News Digest — 8/26/20

Hezbollah Terror Cell Fires On IDF Troops From Lebanon

Hezbollah terrorists fired at Israeli Army troops on Tuesday evening (25th) at 10:40 p.m., the IDF reported.

In response, IDF forces deployed dozens of illumination rounds and smoke shells.  IDF attack helicopters and aircraft then struck Hezbollah terror organization targets.

“As part of the attack, the terror organization’s observation posts located in the border area were attacked.  There were no casualties for our forces,” the IDF said.

“The IDF holds the Lebanese government responsible for all events emanating from Lebanon,” the army said in a statement, adding it “views this incident with great severity…  The IDF will maintain a high-level of readiness to protect Israeli sovereignty and citizens as necessary.”

The IDF asked several Israeli communities along the border to remain in their homes.  It removed the restrictions by morning.

“Complex and tense days are ahead of us, as we continue to work to defend the sector,” IDF Spokesman Hedi Zilberman said in late July following an unsuccessful Hezbollah infiltration attempt.

“I do not suggest that anybody try the IDF or the State of Israel.  We are determined to defend ourselves,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the time.

“I am impressed that the IDF is well prepared for every possible scenario.  We will continue to take action to thwart Iran’s military entrenchment in our region.  We will do whatever is necessary to defend ourselves, and I suggest that Hezbollah consider this simple fact.  Israel is ready for any scenario,” he said.

“The July operation was important, it prevented intrusion into our territory.  Everything that is happening right now is a result of an attempt to establish a military base in our region by Iran and its metastases in Lebanon,” the prime minister said, adding Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah “is serving Iranian interests at Lebanon’s expense.”

Tensions have been high since Hezbollah promised to avenge the killing of Ali Kamel Mohsen Jawad in a July 20 airstrike in Damascus attributed to Israel.

Israel subsequently increased its forces at the border, although it has reduced the number since.



Hamas Signals Qatari Cash Not Enough To Stop Balloon Attacks

Hamas has made it clear that an increase in Qatari funds will not be enough to stop its incendiary attacks against Israel.

The terror group’s balloon unit published a statement directed at Israel and the mediators attempting to broker a solution, saying “the problem isn’t money” and “the launching of explosive balloons will continue until Israel removes its blockade of the Gaza Strip.”

Israel’s blockade, also imposed by Egypt, began when Hamas took over the Strip in 2007.

Qatar’s official envoy to the Gaza Strip, Dr. Mohammed al-Emadi, arrived Tuesday (25th) at the coastal enclave.  He will try to mediate an agreement between Israel and Hamas.  Qatar provided $150 million in cash to Hamas over six months beginning in March.  One of the reasons for the resumption of terror attacks is that the grant is about to end.

However, Hamas has a long list of demands.

Israel has responded forcefully against Hamas attacks, retaliating daily with air and artillery strikes against terror targets in the Gaza Strip.  It also shrunk and then closed Gaza’s fishing zone.  

Gaza is also in lockdown for 48 hours which started Monday (24th) after coronavirus cases were reported.  However this didn’t stop masses from gathering for a funeral for four Islamic Jihad members who were killed while preparing explosives to launch into Israel.

Israel has so far been unable to counter the low-tech explosive balloons, one of which landed in a soccer court on Tuesday (25th), with no injuries reported.  39 fires broke out in Israel’s south on Tuesday (25th) and 36 broke out on Monday (24th).

Israel recently put in place its advanced weapons system – a new laser weapon – the “Lightblade,” that shoots down incendiary balloons.  It only has one such device, which covers a narrow area, but it has enjoyed nearly 100 percent success.  On Tuesday (25th), it shot down 150 balloons, a new record.



US Planning Mideast Peace Summit In September

The United States is working to convene a Middle East peace summit in the next few weeks, a senior Emirati diplomat told Israel Hayom Monday (24th).

The Emirati official said that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s five-day visit to the Middle East and Africa, which began in Jerusalem, is a part of Washington’s effort to lay the groundwork for the peace summit.

Sources familiar with the issue said that the summit is to take place in one of the Persian Gulf sheikdoms, adding that the United States is trying to secure the participation of  Bahrain, Oman, Morocco, Sudan, and Chad, alongside Israel and the UAE.

Other states, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan – the latter two already have peace treaties with Israel – have yet to confirm their participation in the summit.

The diplomat added that prior to and during Pompeo’s visit to Israel, Palestinian officials were invited to the summit.  The message was also conveyed to the PA that Pompeo is willing to visit PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah to personally invite him to the summit.

Abbas and other PA officials dismissed the offer, snubbing the American diplomat “and even sent the message that Pompeo is not wanted in Ramallah,” the UAE official said.

“The Palestinian position is very saddening.  They were given an opportunity to de-escalate the situation with a respectful invitation to take part in a regional peace conference, and they rejected it out of hand with no reasonable explanation,” he noted.

“The Palestinians have to come to grips with the fact that the wheels of peace have started to turn, and peace and normalization will come with or without the Palestinians even if they continue to be defiant.”



Ban On Non-Israelis Entering The Country Extended Through Oct. 1

Non-Israeli passport holders who do not come from countries with low coronavirus infection rates will be banned from entering Israel until at least October 1.

The United States is among those not on the so-called green list of countries with low rates.

Among non-citizens who can enter the country are nuclear family members of Israelis having lifecycle events such as births and weddings.  In addition, thousands of yeshiva and university students have entered Israel in recent days for the start of the school year.

All Israelis and non-citizens entering the country must go into a two-week isolation, except those that arrive from countries on the so-called green list.  That list includes the United Kingdom, Canada, Italy and Germany.

The Israel Airport Authority made the announcement on extending the ban on Sunday (23rd).

Israel has banned entry for non-citizens since early March, though a plan is set to be introduced by the end of the month that would allow the entry of foreign tourists.

In recent months, Israel has worked to loosen some restrictions while preserving others, creating a patchwork of policies that have left Jews worldwide confused about whether they can visit Israel and what is required to enter the country.



Anti-Semitic Doctor Who Threatened To Give Jews ‘Wrong Meds’ Loses License

An Ohio doctor has been forced to surrender her medical license after threatening to give Jewish patients the “wrong medications.”

Lara Kollab, a graduate of Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine, was fired in 2019 from her position as an internal medicine resident at the Cleveland Clinic, “after it emerged that she had been fanning anti-Semitic sentiment on Twitter for at least six years.”

She repeatedly called on followers to “destroy the homes of the Jews” and urged Arab nations to unite to “destroy the terrorist Nazi State of Israel.”

In one of the most disturbing tweets, Kollab joked about intentionally giving her Jewish patients the wrong medication, writing, “I’ll purposely give all the yahood [Jews] the wrong meds.”

On Monday (24th), Kollab was forced to hand over her license after it was revoked by the State Medical Board of Ohio.

Kollab has apologized for her comments and wrote a message to the Ohio Medical Board in which she stated that “The things I wrote do not represent who I am.”  Her license was still revoked.