News Digest—8/29/22

Firefight Breaks Out Near Jenin As IDF Arrests Islamic Jihad Officer

On Sunday night (28th), IDF security forces arrested a total of nine Palestinians suspected of involvement in terrorist activity.

On the same night, terrorists fired at a pillbox post north of the Israeli settlement Ofra in the northern part of the West Bank.

No casualties were reported.

On Monday morning (29th), Palestinian gunmen opened fire on IDF soldiers in Qabatiya, near Jenin, after Israeli forces surrounded a house and called for an Islamic Jihad leader to surrender, according to the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit.

Palestinian media later reported that the IDF had arrested al-Quds Brigades leader Alaa Zakarneh and that seven Palestinians had been injured in the fight.

The al-Quds Brigades is the military wing of Islamic Jihad.  The recent arrest of PIJ leader Bassam al-Saadi in Jenin was one of the major factors leading to the three-day Operation Breaking Dawn.

Nearly an hour later, shots were fired at a military position at the Palestinian town Silwad, located northeast of Ramallah, Hebrew media reported.

The IDF also stated that a shooting was carried out at a military position near Nablus.  The IDF returned fire and began searching for the suspects in both areas.  There were no casualties among Israeli forces.



Israel’s President, Guest Of Honor At 125th Anniversary Of First Zionist Congress

Israeli President Isaac Herzog and his wife Michal, will be the guests of honor at the quasquicentennial of the First Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland on Monday (29th).

Herzog will deliver the keynote address at the special gala marking the watershed event organized by Theodor Herzl, the father of modern political Zionism.

The First Zionist Congress took place August 29-31, 1897 at the Stadtcasino Hall, in the northwestern Swiss city of Basel, which dates back to medieval times.

While in the country for an official state visit that includes a meeting with Swiss President Ignazio Cassis, centering around topics including “important diplomatic security and economic issues,” Herzog said that the upcoming Basel speech will be the most important part of his trip.

“The heart of this visit is a historic milestone,” Herzog said.  “The 125th anniversary of the First Zionist Congress in Basel, was a fromative event for the Jewish People and for humanity at large.”

“Zionism is the ideal combination of Judaism’s deepest roots with groundbreaking innovation and entrepreneurial spirit.  As the President of the nation-state of the Jewish People, I am astonished and filled with pride every new day at the sight of Herzl’s vision coming to life in front of our eyes, and I feel the heavy duty and responsibility for the future of the State of Israel and the Jewish people.”

The three-day conference that began on Sunday (28th) is the celebration of the gathering of 208 Jewish delegates from all over the world to establish the Zionist organization.  The attendees approved the Basel Program, which formulated Zionism’s goal as “establishing for the Jewish people a publicly and legally assured home in Palestine.” 

Three days after the delegates went home, Herzl famously wrote in his diary, “Were I to sum up the Basel Congress in a word – which I shall guard against pronouncing publicly – it would be this: At Basel I founded the Jewish State.  If I said this out loud today I would be greeted by universal laughter.  In five years perhaps, and certainly in 50 years, everyone will perceive it.”

Fifty years later, on November 29, 1947, the United Nations voted to partition what was then, British-ruled Palestine into two states, one Jewish and one Arab.  While the Arabs rejected the proposal, the decision set off celebrations in Jewish communities in Palestine and around the world, and the Jewish State of Israel was declared on May 14, 1948.  

Some 1,400 people are slated to attend the current gala, which will have two parts: the Herzl Leadership Conference focusing on modern Zionism, and the Impact Conference for Social and Economic Entrepreneurship, with the participation of 125 invited leaders in high-tech fields.

There will be tight security, as the Swiss government has received warnings that pro-Palestinian and pro-BDS protests are being planned to take place near the hall.  Although the Rhine River which adjoins Basel is a vital transport route for cargo, it will be closed for ship traffic for the duration, as will the airspace above the city.

The conference was organized by the World Zionist Organization in cooperation with the Swiss Federation of Jewish Communities and the government of the Canton of Basel.



Hezbollah Chief Meets Hamas Officials After Sit-Down With Islamic Jihad Leaders

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah met with a delegation of Hamas officials in Beirut Sunday (28th), according to the Lebanese-based Akhbar Al-Yawm news agency.

Nasrallah met with notable decision-makers from the Gaza-based terror organization including Sheikh Saleh al-Arouri, deputy head of the group’s political bureau, and senior officials Khalil al-Hayya and Osama Hamdan, the report said.

Hamdan is based in Lebanon and serves as the senior Hamas representative in the country.  He served as the group’s official representative in Iran between 1994 and 1998.

During their meeting, Nasrallah and the Hamas officials reviewed “the latest political and field developments in ‘Palestine,’ Lebanon and the region, especially the recent confrontations in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and Jerusalem,” according to a Hezbollah statement issued after the meeting.

The meeting also focused on “the possible outcome of the situation in the region, in light of recent developments.”

The Meeting comes days after Nasrallah discussed regional developments with Palestinian Islamic JIhad (PIJ) chief Ziyad Nakhaleh.

A report by the Hezbollah-affiliated Lebanese news outlet Al Mayadeen suggested that potential future cooperation between Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad was brought up during the meeting, saying the pair discussed “the expected roles of the various parties in the axis of resistance in the next stage.”  The report did not elaborate on what that “next stage” could entail.

Both meetings come amid heightened tensions between Israel and Hezbollah – a Lebanese proxy of Iran – over offshore fields thought to hold natural gas deposits, and repeated threats by Nasrallah that have raised concerns in Israel over a potential flare-up on its northern border.



SOHR: Israeli Strike Destroyed 1,000 Iran-Made Missiles In Syria

An airstrike Thursday (25th) on the Syrian city of Masyaf, attributed to Israel, hit a missile warehouse containing more than 1,000 Iranian-made missiles, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported on Saturday (27th).

The warehouse, in the city’s Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC) complex, stored thousands of medium-range, surface-to-surface missiles assembled under the supervision of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps “expert officers,” the report said.

Syrian air-defense systems were activated in northwestern Syria on Thursday (25th), with Syria’s state news agency SANA reporting that local forces were “confronting hostile targets” above Masyaf.  Later, the agency said the airstrike was an Israeli attack.

According to the SOHR report, casualties were sustained among officials of the Iranian-backe militias guarding the SSRC.



Kentucky Struggles With Shocking Increase In Anti-Semitism

A significant increase in anti-Semitism in Kentucky has a state agency, tasked with monitoring human rights, concerned.

The Kentucky Commission on Human Rights warned that a dramatic increase in anti-Semitic incidents in the state indicated that leaders needed to step up and condemn anti-Semitism more forcefully.

The number of incidents in Kentucky increased from only two in 2019 to hundreds this year according to LEX18 News.

The commission urged civil and elected officials to speak up on the issue.

“Whether it was the shocking comments and deliberate actions during this legislative session in Frankfort, or the disturbing and hateful anti-Semitic mailer in a house of representatives primary race, this has become a statewide and dangerous issue,” the commission said in a statement.

The commission said that there was a zero-tolerance policy for hate in Kentucky and pledged to combat all forms of anti-Semitism.

“Words have consequences, and unfortunately these hateful words and actions have resulted in numerous incidents of threatening and targeting individuals and leaders in our Jewish community,” said the commission.