News Digest — 9/20/22
Lapid En Route To UN: Israel Has A Right To Security But Desires Peace
“Israel has a right to security, but desires peace,” Prime Minister Yair Lapid said prior to departing early Tuesday (20th) morning for the United Nations, where he plans to meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other world leaders.
“I am leaving today for a diplomatic visit that will include meetings with heads of state and Jewish leaders,” Lapid said.
He heads out to the high-level opening session of the UN General Assembly, amid increasing tensions with Iran and Lebanon as well as with Palestinians in the West Bank, to a forum in New York where world leaders meet and mingle.
On Thursday (22nd), Lapid is scheduled to deliver a speech in the UN General Assembly plenum. It will be his first such address and his most significant diplomatic public moment to date.
“Israel’s voice will be heard on that platform,” he said, adding that he plans to speak of “our right to security and our desire for peace, as well as Israel’s contribution to regional stability and international cooperation.”
Chief Of Staff: ‘Anyone Who Lies About The Holocaust Can’t Be Allowed Lethal Weapons’
On Monday (19th) Chief of the General Staff, LTG Aviv Kochavi began his first official visit to the Republic of Poland. Kochavi visited the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp alongside a delegation of combat commanders from the operational level of all branches in the IDF. As part of the tour the Chief of the General Staff visited Block 27, the Jewish Pavilion. There, Kochavi located the names of his relatives who were murdered during the Holocaust. Following the tour, the Chief of the General Staff participated in a ceremony held by the delegation dedicated to the human spirit and Jewish heroism in Birkenau.
LTG Kochavi said “You do not need to be a historian or a researcher in order to understand the atrocities of the Holocaust. You need to be a human being. The pits full of skeletons and corpses and the crematoria cry out from the forests and the extermination camps. Any person who lies and denies the truth of this devastating and agonizing history, is a person who will continue to do so in the future, without hesitation. This is an additional reminder that such people must not be allowed to possess any sort of capability to develop lethal weapons. The reason we came here is to empathize with the pain and try to decipher meaning from the incomprehensible.”
“If you, the victims of the Holocaust, were given the opportunity to make one final wish before being at the threshold of the pit you had just finished digging, if you were given a split second to contemplate, after whispering ‘Shema Israel,’ you would likely have wished that the Jewish nation had had its own shielding force, to avert and deflect any enemy on its own. You could not have imagined back then that your grandchildren, and your neighbor’s grandchildren, would wear the uniforms of the Hebrew Army, and that we, sixteen unit and battalion commanders, would stand here today as this generation’s representatives of that army.”
“We stand here over your graves, with the humility and courage to honor you and tell you that on our uniforms, in place of the yellow star, there are now IDF symbols and campaign medals signifying wars and operations in which we defended the civilians of the State of Israel and averted our enemies.”
“We stand here today, sixteen battalion and unit commanders, each commanding over a unit that represents unique capabilities and military strength, that enables us to defend the State of Israel and its civilians. We stand here, on this soil of human remains, with the soil from the State of Israel on the soles of our boots.”
“Even my family,” said Kochavi, “who resided 31 miles from this camp, and also met their fate in this place, could not have imagined that their descendant would stand here, and have the ability to say to them and to the remaining six million, that I was given the privilege of command over the Israel Defense Forces, a professional and moral military and one of the most prominent and advanced militaries in the world, which is a military of the people, that defends the nation.”
“We will return and commit to continuing our contribution to building the State of Israel and its people, as well as its security and its spirit – a spirit of morality, ethics and tolerance. One by one we will return to our routines, striving to improve as humans. We will extend one hand and salute you, the victims, and we will grip the other hand and grasp our hope,” LTG Aviv Kochavi concluded.
Suspect Shot By Israeli Troops At Syrian Border, Threw Mines, Military Said
The IDF said Monday evening (19th) that a Syrian national who was shot by Israeli troops at the Syrian border threw land mines at them, along with three other suspects.
An IDF Spokesperson’s Unit statement said that the suspects threw the explosives directly at the forces an labeled the incident an “attempted terrorist attack.”
“Soldiers identified suspects crossing the border in violation of Israel’s sovereignty while throwing suspicious objects at the IDF forces near the perimeter fence,” the statement read.
“An inspection of the findings on the ground indicated that the objects thrown were anti-personnel mines.”
According to the military, troops dispatched to the scene cornered the suspects and moved to arrest them. During the arrest, one of the suspects was shot by the force.
The troops later transported the injured suspect to a local hospital to receive medical treatment and undergo questioning. The three remaining suspects fled the scene.
No injuries were reported among Israeli troops.
The IDF bolstered its presence along the Syrian border in the Golan Heights in 2022 as the Syrian regime seeks to show more military-muscle along the border in the aftermath of the country’s bloody civil war, as well as attempts by Hezbollah and other Iranian proxies to entrench themselves near the border area.
PA Not Interested In Military Showdown With IDF – Khaled Abu Toameh
Palestinian Authority security forces are not headed toward an armed confrontation with the IDF, despite the involvement of some PA officers in recent attacks in the West Bank, Fahmi Shabaneh, former PA General Intelligence Force commander of the Hebron area, said Sunday (18th). “The Palestinian Authority and its security forces are not interested in a military showdown with Israel,” Shabaneh said. “The Palestinian leadership considers the security coordination to be sacred. That’s why they won’t stop the security coordination with Israel.”
Shabaneh pointed out that most of PA head Mahmoud Abbas’ senior aides support the continuation of security coordination. “The recent attacks were carried out by individuals who don’t represent the policies of the Palestinian leadership and the security forces.” Shabaneh added that the PA has already lost control of the situation in most parts of the West Bank. “The Palestinian Authority is strong only against an individual here and an individual there. But when it comes to the general situation, the Palestinian Authority has undoubtedly lost control.” For example, “There are many areas in Hebron where the Palestinian security forces have no presence at all. The clans have more power than the Palestinian security forces.”
The battle to succeed PA Leader Mahmoud Abbas, 87, has resulted in the division of the West Bank into three regions that are controlled by competing parties. Shabaneh said he expects armed clashes to erupt between supporters of rival Fatah leaders the day after Abbas departs the scene. “Each one of the Fatah leaders has prepared his own armed men. They are ready for the fight. There won’t be a civil war, but there will be armed clashes between groups belonging to rival Fatah leaders, each one of whom considers himself the natural successor to Abbas.”
In Quest For Biblical Traditions, Red Heifers Arrive In Israel
A crowd of 300 people arrived at Ben Gurion Airport over the weekend to witness an unusual sight – the unloading of a crate housing five red heifers.
The carmine bovines were donated by evangelical farmers from Texas and were flown to the Holy Land from New York on an American Airlines passenger flight after a long journey by truck from Dallas.
According to Jewish tradition, a kosher red heifer has a reddish-brown tone with no discoloration, and its ashes are used for ritual purification of Tumat HaMet, that is, an Israelite who had come in contact with a corpse. The ritual purity obtained through the ashes of a red heifer was a necessary prerequisite for participating in services at the ancient Jewish Temples.
Jewish Tradition also suggests that the birth of a kosher red heifer signals the arrival of the Messiah and the forthcoming construction of a new Temple.
Upon their arrival in Israel, the cows were transferred to a farm near Beit Shean under veterinary supervision in the hope that stock breeders will be able to preserve and cultivate the breed and even turn the farm into a pilgrimage center for evangelical tourists coming from all over the world to see the unique bovines.
The breeders claim this is the first time that red “kosher” live heifers were brought to Israel.
Bonei Israel, the group that helped facilitate the entire operation, described a highly complicated procedure owing to Israel’s ban on livestock imports from the United States.
Bonei Israel said, “This is very rare. There hasn’t been a red cow here for 2,000 years, and we managed to find several. It’s a very special thing. The farm will be opened to the public within a couple of months.”
The group noted that they see education on the topic of the red heifer as one of several steps toward the construction of a new Temple.
The Red Heifer ritual is described in the biblical book of Numbers.