News Digest — 8/3/20

IDF Eliminates Band Of Four Terrorists Planting Bomb On Northern Border

On Sunday night (2nd), IDF troops foiled an attempt to place improvised explosive devices (IEDs) along the Alpha Line between Syria and Israel.  The incident was reported early Monday morning (3rd).  

“IDF troops on the southern Golan Heights adjacent to an IDF post spotted a terror squad placing explosive devices next to the security fence.  IDF troops and an IDF aircraft fired simultaneously towards the squad of four terrorists, identifying a hit.  No IDF injuries were reported,” an army statement said.

“The Northern Command maintains elevated readiness for various scenarios.  The IDF holds the Syrian regime responsible for all events on Syrian soil and will not tolerate any violation of Israeli sovereignty,” according to the statement.

On Sunday night, (2nd) IDF observers first identified the suspicious movement of several shepherds around 8 p.m. and around 11 p.m. saw the four-man cell approach the same area and place explosives there.

The incident comes as tensions remain high on Israel’s northern border after a foiled Hezbollah infiltration attempt on July 27.

Hours after the incident, Hezbollah said its planned retaliation will “surely come,” for the killing of Ali Kamel Mohsen Jawad in a July 20 airstrike in Damascus attributed to Israel.

While Hezbollah used to act against IDF forces in the area of Mount Dov in the contested Sheba Farms, the group’s Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah has warned that it will act along “the entire Lebanese and Syrian border should Israel kill one of its fighters.”



Israel Sends Covid-19 Aid To 15 Countries In 3 Continents

Israel in recent months has extended aid to 15 countries around the world in an effort to assist the global battle against the spread of the Coronavirus.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry stated that the country’s efforts in assisting in the fight against Covid-19 “are diverse and far-reaching: Israel’s assistance has been sent to more than 15 countries in three continents, providing equipment and technology to help combat the pandemic.”

“We will continue to work with the world to defeat the disease,” the ministry added.

The aid includes tens of gallons of alcohol gel, sanitizers, personal protective gear, handwashing stations, medical equipment, advanced technologies, and essential food supplies.

The countries include Guatemala, India, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Nepal.

Most of the aid was sent through MASHAV, Israel’s agency for International Development Cooperation.

“In the fight against Corona, there is no politics and there are no borders,” stated Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi.

The novel Coronavirus Covid-19 is affecting 210 countries around the world.

The World Health Organization (WHO) updated Saturday (1st) that there have been 17,396,943 confirmed cases of Covid-19 around the world, including 675,060 deaths and 289,321 new cases.



Iraqi Activist: ‘Israel Will Liberate Tehran Before Iran Liberates Jerusalem’

An Iraqi opposition member leveled harsh criticism against Iranian intervention in his country, saying Iran is just like ISIS in trying to recruit Iraqi youngsters to its cause.

In a fiery debate aired recently on the Iraqi Kurdish television station Zagros TV, a former Iranian diplomat was assailed by Iraqi Sunni opposition activist Mustafa Al-Dulaimi, who said Iran’s presence in Iraq was “evil.”

“All I care about is my country.  Iran can go and take away its evil.  I don’t care about it.  I care about my country,” Al-Dulaimi said in the TV studio confrontation that was translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), an NGO that monitors media in the region and translates it into English to reveal what is not normally heard in the West.

The Sheikh slammed Iran over its attempts to recruit Iraqis in its longstanding goal of destroying Israel, including its annual “Al-Quds” (Arabic name for Jerusalem) march, saying Iran was no different than ISIS. 

“From 1979 and to this day, Iran has been giving us a headache about Israel, the Al-Quds Army, and about how they are going to liberate … but, Israel is going to liberate Tehran before you liberate [Palestine],” Al-Dulaimi said, referring to the Iranian army’s “Al-QudsForce” which Iran has said would lead the battle to destroy Israel and liberate Jerusalem.

“Go liberate Palestine!  Leave us alone for a while.  Enough.  Your nonsense is not working anymore,” Al-Dulaimi told former Iranian diplomat Amir Mousavi, who was arguing on behalf of Iran, claiming that it was Israel that invented Islamic terror.

“You [Iraqi opposition members] stand in our way… You are obstacles blocking the way to the liberation of Palestine.  Israel invented you for the purpose of safeguarding its security.  Israel invented you, ISIS, the Ba’ath party, and other obedient [servants] in order to ensure its security.  You are an obstacle blocking the path to the liberation of Palestine,” Mousavi said.

Al-Dulaimi fired back, saying Iran was waging a war of words against Israel to try and fool young Iraqis into following the ayatollahs in Tehran.

“Everything is clear now for everyone to see.  It has become clear that Iran was talking in slogans – only empty words without [any intention] to implement them – in order to recruit poor youngsters.  Iran does not differ from ISIS in its methods for recruiting youngsters,” Al-Dulaimi said.



White House Slams Twitter For Permitting Ayatollah’s Anti-Israel Tweets

The White House blasted Twitter on Friday (7/31) for not cracking down on anti-Israel tweets from Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei while at the same time labeling President Trump’s tweets with ‘content warnings.’

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters “I thought it was very eye opening and it tells you where these social media companies stand, where they’re not willing to assess Ayatollah Khamenei’s tweets but they are willing to assess President Trump’s tweets.”

“It’s really appalling and it just speaks to their overwhelming blinding bias against conservatives and against this president,” McEnany said.

Her comments came after an arresting conversation during a committee hearing in Israel’s parliament last Wednesday (7/29) on the topic of social media anti-Semitism.  The hearing took place at the end of a 48-hour boycott of Twitter by Jewish groups, prompted by the social media giant’s slow response to handling anti-Semitic tweets by a British rapper.

The head of Twitter Policy for the Nordics and Israel, Ylwa Petterson, was queried by Arsen Ostrovsky, an international human rights lawyer, as to why Twitter has recently started flagging President Trump’s tweets but not those of “Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei, who has literally called for the genocide of Israel and the Jewish people.”

Petterson said, “we have an approach to world leaders that presently says that direct interactions with fellow public figures, comments on political issues of the day, or foreign policy saber-rattling on military-economic issues are generally not in violation of our Twitter rules.”

Knesset member Michal Cotler-Wunsh of the Blue and White Party, who headed the discussion, said, “Calling for genocide on Twitter is okay, but commenting on politics is not?”

Cotler-Wunsh later tweeted, “Wow!  Twitter just admitted that tweets calling for genocide against Jews by Iranian leaders  DON’T violate its policy!”

Khamenei has repeatedly threatened Israel with annihilation on Twitter.  Toward the end of May, he tweeted a threat to implement a “Final Solution” against Israel.

Later that week, Khamenei said, “the Zionist virus will not last long and the Zionist regime will not survive – and will be destroyed.”

Israel’s Strategic Affairs Minister Orit Farkash-Hacohen sent an official letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey following those tweets, demanding Khamenei’s accounts be immediately suspended.



Austria To Allow Thousands Of Israelis To Receive Citizenship

Tens of thousands of Israelis, whose relatives fled Austria due to Nazi persecution, from next month on will now be able to obtain Austrian citizenship free of charge. 

Austrian Ambassador to Israel Hannah Liko, confirmed the news on Sunday (2nd), adding the service will be free of charge.

On September 19, 2019, the Austrian Parliament unanimously approved an amendment to the Citizenship Law, which allows Holocaust survivors and their descendants to obtain Austrian citizenship without relinquishing their current one.

The amendment is part of an effort by the Austrian government and Chancellor Sebastian Kurz to reconcile with those who had suffered under the country’s Nazi regime from 1938 until the end of World War II in 1945.

Previously, only the survivors themselves were entitled to receive citizenship.  Furthermore, citizenship was offered only to those who left Austria before 1945.

Now, the law applies to anyone who was a citizen of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, or lived in Austria before March 12, 1938, the date the Third Reich annexed the country.

Israelis interested in an Austrian citizenship can start the process by answering an online questionnaire on the website of the Austrian Embassy in Israel.

Applicants will receive detailed instructions for the documents they must submit to the Austrian Embassy in Israel starting September 1.  

Ambassador Liko stated that no legal consultation is required in order to complete the process.

There are currently about 8,000 Israeli citizens with Austrian passports.  The Austrian Embassy emphasized that there is no assessment of how many Israelis will take advantage of citizenship under the new amendment.

So far, at least 1,500 Israelis have contacted the embassy and expressed interest in filling out declarations in order to receive Austrian passports.