November 8, 2018

Security Agency Chief Warns Of Deceptive Calm: We Foiled 480 Major Terror Attacks This Year

The Shin Bet Security Agency has thwarted 480 Palestinian terrorist attacks so far in 2018, agency Director Nadav Argaman told the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Tuesday (6th).

The Shin Bet’s efforts were a major factor in the defense establishment’s ability to maintain the fragile calm between Israel and the Palestinians, especially in Judea and Samaria, Argaman said.

“The situation in the Palestinian arena has been very unstable this year.  In the Gaza Strip, we are somewhere between a potential military campaign and efforts to stabilize the humanitarian situation,” he told the committee.

“In Judea and Samaria the situation is very complex as well.  Things on the ground are relatively calm, but this calm is deceptive.  The situation is actually highly combustible,” Argaman continued. “Hamas is constantly trying to launch terrorist attacks in and from Judea and Samaria.

“We were able to prevent 480 major terrorist attacks, stop 590 lone-wolf terrorists and arrest 219 Hamas cells.  This indicates that there is a large, clandestine terrorist infrastructure there.”

“Hamas leaders in Gaza and Turkey are sparing no effort to mastermind terrorist attacks in Judea and Samaria, and similar efforts are being made from Lebanon by the Hizbullah terrorist group,” Argaman said.

The agency “has also been able to foil multiple cyberattacks and espionage plots against Israel.  The current reality is the result of intensive efforts by all branches of the defense establishment – the IDF, Shin Bet and the Israel Police – that enables Israelis to live their daily lives peacefully,” he added.  



Minister: Israel Might Destroy Syrian S-300s, Even If Manned By Russians

An Israeli Cabinet Minister has warned that if the Syrians use their recently supplied advanced Russian air defense missiles to bring down Israeli planes over Israeli territory, the launchers would be targeted – even if that means endangering Russian military specialists at the launch sites.

Environmental Protection Minister Ze’ev Elkin, who is also co-chair of the Russia-Israel Intergovernmental Commission, told Russian media Monday (5th) that it was a “big mistake” for Moscow to supply its ally Syria with the S-300 missile system, because the advanced missiles, which are considered a significant threat  to Israeli air power in the area, “might lead to destabilization of the situation.”

Elkin cautioned that “considering the mess” that the Syrian army was in, the Syrians cannot be trusted to operate the equipment correctly and may end up shooting down an “Israeli military or commercial plane over Israeli territory.”

Israel, he noted, reacts to attacks on its territory and aircraft with “practical actions” which would “undoubtedly take place” against the launches should Israeli aircraft be hit in Israeli airspace.

“I greatly hope that there would be no Russian military specialists at the missile launch sites.” he said, stressing that in the past Israel has taken pains to ensure that Russian military personnel were not hurt through its actions in Syria.

The Israeli Air Force has carried out hundreds of strikes in Syria in recent years against targets linked to Iran and its Lebanese proxy, Hizbullah, which Israel says are working to establish a military presence there that could threaten the Jewish state.



New Threat Against Arabs Who Sell Land To Jews

The National and Islamic Forces, the supreme coordinating body of the Palestinian Arab organizations in the Ramallah region, on Monday (5th) openly threatened those Palestinian Arabs who sell land or other assets to Jews.

A statement issued by the organization stressed the need to “persecute those who transfer lands and houses to Israel and punish those who sell land ‘with an iron fist.’

In addition, the organization condemned Israel’s attempts to “establish facts on the ground in Jerusalem.”

Under Palestinian Authority (PA) law, selling of land to Jews is illegal and punishable by death.  However, such sentences must be approved by the PA chairman, and current chairman Mahmoud Abbas has preferred to authorize life sentences for such offenses possibly due to fear of an international backlash.

In 2014, Abbas toughened the PA law against selling property to Israeli Jews, so that any Palestinian Arabs involved in renting, selling or facilitating real estate transactions with citizens of “hostile countries” in any way would receive life imprisonment and hard-labor.

The National Popular Council of Al-Quds also described the sale of real estate to “Jews” as “a despicable crime against Al-Quds, Palestine and the homeland.”

Later, the Council of Sages and Preachers in Al-Quds (Arabic name for Jerusalem) made clear that the transfer of real estate in Jerusalem to non-Muslims is considered one of the gravest crimes in terms of religion and nationality.



Zionist Organization Of America Gives John Bolton ‘Defender Of Israel’ Award

U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton was presented with the Defender of Israel Award at the Zionist Organization of America’s annual Brandeis Award dinner, held Sunday night (4th) in New York.

President Donald Trump was lavishly praised at the dinner for moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.

Many speakers at the dinner made note of the shooting attack at a Pittsburgh synagogue that left 11 worshipers dead.  Danny Danon, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, called the shooting ‘barbaric’ and compared it to Kristallnacht.  

Alan Dershowitz introduced ZOA President Morton Klein at the dinner.

“By introducing him (Klein), I am making an important point, not only to the Jewish community but for the U.S during this time of partisan and ideological division,” said Dershowitz.  

“As many of you know , Mort and I do not agree about every aspect of Israeli policies.  We have fundamental disagreements, but we are both ardent Zionists. It is not an easy thing, but Mort and I continue to engage in civil dialogue, in constructive engagement, and mutual education,” he added.



October 2018 Was Best Ever Month For Israel’s Tourism Industry

The month of October might have just ended, but it was certainly an impressive month for Israel’s Tourism Ministry.

The Tourism Ministry released a report in which it said that more tourists had visited Israel in October than ever before, with a total of about 486,000 registered entries to the country.  This represents a 19% increase over April 2018 numbers, which held the previous record for tourists entrances, and a 14% increase from October last year.

Tourists spent an impressive 2.5 billion shekels in October alone, adding to a total of 18 billion shekels that foreigners have spent in Israel since the beginning of the year.

Tourism Minister Yariv Levin spoke of his elation over the record statistics.

“The month of October broke a historic record with unprecedented numbers of almost half a million tourists that visited Israel in just one month,” Levin said.  “We are registering this excellent data month after month for two years already, and they are a direct result of the strenuous efforts we make at the Tourism Ministry.”

A direct correlation can be identified between countries from which tourism increased and where the Tourism Ministry invested most in marketing over the past two years.  In a year-over-year comparison, 65% more Hungarians and 50% more Italians visited Israel in October, and the country saw a 40% increase in visitors from Poland, the Netherlands and Romania.  The ministry spent an average of 47% more on marketing in these countries.

A total of 3.4 million visitors stayed for an average of eight days in Israel in 2018 so far.