News Digest — 9/26/19

Reuven Rivlin Gives Netanyahu Mandate To Form Government

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was given the chance to form a government for the sixth time on Wednesday (25th), after succeeding in his five terms in office. However, he was not able to do so following the April election.

President Reuven Rivlin formally gave Netanyahu four weeks to form the government, after a meeting at the President’s Residence with Blue and White leader Benny Gantz failed to bring about a breakthrough.  The deadline will be October 24.

“Netanyahu has the best chance to form a government,” Rivlin said in a speech alongside the prime minister.

Rivlin said he gave the mandate to Netanyahu because he received 55 recommendations from MKs, compared to Gantz’s 54.

Netanyahu’s bloc of 55 MKs come from his Likud Party and his allies in Yamina, Shas and United Torah Judaism.

If Netanyahu fails, Rivlin could give the mandate to Gantz or to another candidate in Likud.  He could also tell Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein that there is no candidate. If that were to happen, there would be 21 days in which any candidate could try to get 61 MKs together and form a government.

In his address, Rivlin noted that by law, after a candidate with a mandate fails to form a government, instead of giving the mandate to another candidate, the Knesset can choose a candidate with the support of 61 MKs.

“The people do not want additional elections,” Rivlin said.



Israeli Woman Stabbed Near Modiin: 14-Year-Old  Palestinian Arrested

An Israeli woman was stabbed and lightly injured Wednesday (25th) in what police said was a terrorist attack near the central city of Modiin.  

Police arrested a 14-year-old Palestinian male from the West Bank on suspicion of committing the stabbing at the Maccabim Junction on Route 443.

The woman was treated for a stab wound in her upper body, and was taken to Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer.  

According to security officials, Border Police officers driving on Route 443 spotted the suspect trying to flee and chased after him on foot.  One Border Police officer was wounded while restraining the suspect just feet from the scene of the initial stabbing. 

Earlier this month, two Israelis were injured in a stabbing attack in the West Bank village of Azun, after they had come from the dentist.

In August, a teenage girl was killed, and her father and brother were injured in a terrorist bombing at a natural spring outside the central West Bank settlement of Dolev.

Also last month, a Palestinian terrorist rammed his car into two Israeli teenage siblings, critically injuring one of them, outside the Elazar settlement south of Jerusalem.

Prior to that, an Israeli religious seminary student, Dvir Sorek, was found stabbed to death outside the settlement of Migdal Oz.



How Israel Achieved The Impossible At The UN – Amb. Danny Danon

For years, we in Israel thought that the hostile reality at the UN was something unalterable.  We became impervious to automatic condemnations and stopped getting upset when Palestinian incitement was met with open arms.

To clear the air, in response to the anti-Semitism that pervaded the corridors of the organization, we launched a long but justified battle, possibly the most justified one ever waged in the UN.

In the past few years, we have spearheaded a number of precedent-setting initiatives that helped us throw off the hostile atmosphere and strengthen our status in the organization.

It started on the day I was appointed chairman of the Justice Committee, an unprecedented occurrence that proved Israel can win, even in the UN.  The new balance of power stood out especially when ambassadors from the countries hostile to Israel were forced, for the first time, to face a senior committee head who was also Israel’s ambassador to the UN, and ask for the right to speak.

In every fight, we assembled the moral majority, led by our friend the US.  Together we have led proposals for resolutions that were voted on in the General Assembly and designed to isolate nations that support terrorism and block anti-Israel declarations.

Eighty-seven countries stood alongside Israel and the US when we brought to the vote a resolution to condemn Hamas in the General Assembly.  A broad coalition of nations openly stated that the loathsome terrorist group was an international problem.

We are proudly making Jewish culture and legacy part of the organization.  For the first time, Yom Kippur was recognized as an official UN holiday, kosher food was made available in the cafeteria, and Jewish holidays are marked by official events.

We have not allowed the rise of modern anti-Semitism to be ignored.  The General Assembly was summoned for a special session to discuss the fight against anti-Semitism, and a proposed resolution to condemn hate crimes and anti-Semitic crimes passed.

This past year, we have also fought against the Palestinians’ culture of lies, along with a true friend of Israel – former US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley.  The time when the US remained silent while the world condemned Israel is over. Together, we are fighting a just war that is strengthening Israel as well as the US.

I’m proud to say that the UN is no longer a home court for those who oppose Israel.  In 2019 many countries are supporting Israeli initiatives in international forums, and multilateral cooperation is rising.

Israel innovation strengthens not only Israel but the rest of the nations of the world, as well.  “Israel’s superpower cyber capabilities,” as Singapore’s UN ambassador put it, “are used to defend other countries, too.”  The UN is being exposed to Israeli technology and this past year invested $300 million in acquiring Israeli goods and services.

All these achievements are just the beginning.  We will continue to represent Israel at the 74th General Assembly with our heads held high, and build more bridges thanks to Israel’s amazing technology and spirit. 



Soldier Orphaned In 2002 Terror Attack Gets Certificate Of Excellence

When he was three years old, T. was seriously injured by Palestinian terrorists who ambushed his family’s car and murdered his parents in a shooting attack.  On Wednesday (25th) 17 years later, he received a certificate of excellence for his intelligence work in the army from IDF southern Commander Gen. Herzl Halevy.

Since the work is classified, his family did not know exactly why he was being honored, but it made no difference in terms of the pride which his maternal grandmother, who raised him and his younger brother, felt.

When she got the invitation to the ceremony, “I patted myself on the shoulder,” the grandmother told Ynet, “and I told myself – we won.  He’s a shy child, modest and humble, and it’s no coincidence that he’s in intelligence.  His commander also said that he is very talented and has a future in the IDF.”

A group linked to the Fatah movement of then-Palestinian Authority leader Yasser Arafat took credit for the terror attack that took Y.’s young parents’ lives on a Samarian road and left the small children hospitalized.  The ambush took place during a 24-hour period in August 2002 in which nine Israelis were killed in a suicide bombing on a bus in the northern part of the country, and two others died in a shooting at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem, with almost 70 people wounded altogether.

The grandmother said she left her job after the attack and became a full-time mother again.  It had not been easy helping her grandsons deal with the loss of their parents, she recalled.

Dedicated IDF service seems to run deep in Y.’s family.  His paternal grandfather received the Chief of Staff certificate of Excellence ten years ago for completing 45 consecutive years of reserve duty.



Grounds Of Boston-Area Synagogue Vandalized

BOSTON – The grounds of a suburban Boston synagogue were vandalized at the start of last weekend.

Congregants of Temple Sinai in Sharon, 25 miles south of Boston, discovered graffiti of unidentifiable defacing symbols over the large Star of David in the pavement near the synagogue’s front entryway as they arrived for Friday night (20th) Shabbat services.  The Sharon Police department is investigating.

Two similar markings were also discovered in mulch beds on either side of the building, according to police, who put pictures of the vandalism on the police department’s Facebook page.

Sharon has a sizable Jewish population and is home to several synagogues.

“While these markings are now removed, we imagine that their presence may remain in your minds, hearts and spirits,” synagogue president Cindi Crutchfield wrote in an email to congregants.

In an earlier email, Rabbi Joseph Meszler encouraged congregants to attend religious services and synagogue programs planned for the upcoming weekend.

“We will share in prayer for strength when faced with adversity: ‘Am Yisrael Chai’ – ‘The Jewish people live,’” the rabbi wrote.  “This is not only a chant of defiance but also a statement that we should continue to lead our lives fully and without fear.”

Speaking to the Jewish Telegraph Agency, Robert Trestan, regional director of the New England Anti-Defamation League, said, “Synagogues are increasingly becoming ground zero, as anti-Semites continue to send messages of hatred to Jews.”