October 22, 2018

‘Game Change’ Coming In Israeli Response To Gaza Terror

After concluding a five-hour meeting, the Israeli Security Council decided Thursday (18th) to change its handling of the rampant violence at the Gaza border fence including incendiary balloon and kite terrorism, implying that the rules of the game have changed.

The Cabinet – which convened following a rocket attack launched from Gaza that destroyed a Beersheba home – instructed the IDF to gradually exacerbate its retaliatory actions to violence along the security fence and to demonstrate a zero-tolerance approach.

The new policy will come into effect on Friday (19th), during which Hamas-led mass riots are expected on the border.

Hamas denied responsibility for the rocket attack on Tuesday (16th) that completely destroyed a home in Beersheba, but Brig.-Gen Ronen Manelis said that “Only Hamas and Islamic Jihad have these types of rockets.”

Following Israel’s threats to step up its response to violence in the Gaza Strip, Hamas published a threatening video of its own warning Jerusalem against making a “mistake.”

The video appears to show masked Hamas members preparing to launch advanced rockets, followed by a message in broken Hebrew meaning “You’d better read us correctly, a mistake won’t do any good.”

(jpost.com; timesofisrael.com)


IDF Amasses Large Forces On Gaza Border

The IDF started amassing large forces on the Gaza border Thursday (18th) following a Security Council decision to escalate retaliation for any violent incidents originating in the Strip.

Among the forces arriving at the border were dozens of tanks, artillery, infantry APCs and engineering vehicles.

Israelis living in communities near the border fence say they have not seen such a significant concentration of IDF forces in the area in years.

“It only looked like this during Operation Protective Edge or several years ago when there were tensions.  It feels like something is about to happen, or they want to send a message to Hamas to beware,” one resident said.

Among the troops were also soldiers from the IDF Spokesman’s Unit, which another resident said may be there to help send a message ahead of Friday (19th), when thousands of Palestinians regularly riot on the border.

“It’s possible that the fact these vehicles are close to the road and everyone can see them is meant to serve as a deterrent,” said Samuel who lives in Kibbutz Yad Mordechai.  “I hope there’s quiet on the other side, after they realize they have a lot more to lose than gain when they attack us.”

GOC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Herzl Halevi warned on Thursday (18th) that “the rampant violence at the fence is only exacerbating the situation of Gaza’s residents.”

“The IDF is prepared for all future scenarios and has the know-how to respond with greater power to any and all of them,” he added



Hamas Attack Tunnels Are Still A Serious Danger – Yoni Ben Menachem

The cross-border attack tunnel that the IDF revealed and destroyed on October 16 used certain materials and new building techniques in an attempt to mask it from being found.

Sources in Gaza reckon that Hamas has 30 attack tunnels and several dozen more that are defensive, used to conceal armaments, such as rockets, mortars and anti-tank missiles.

According to Hamas sources, despite a noticeable improvement in the IDF’s technological capability to locate the tunnels, Hamas is continuing to invest millions of dollars into their construction.

There are still some attack tunnels that the IDF has not yet discovered, as well as new tunnels under construction using new methods and materials, and Hamas assumes that the IDF will not find all of them.

Thus, Hamas has not given up on its plan to make a painful “preemptive strike” on Israel via the invasion tunnels, seeking to abduct civilians or soldiers from the Gaza border.

The writer, a veteran diplomatic commentator for Israel Radio and Television, is a senior Middle East analyst for the Jerusalem Center.



Suspected Hate Crime In Sweden

After receiving anti-Semitic threats – such as “We are following you,” and “you dirty Jewish cow” – the home of a Jewish politician was set on fire Tuesday (16th) in southern Sweden, prompting the Swedish-Jewish community to fear for their future.

This is the second such event in Lund – a famous university city located 12 miles from Malmo, Sweden’s third largest city, which has the highest rate of anti-Semitic incidents.

“The arson attack happened between Monday (15th) and Tuesday (16th).  Around 2 am, unknown assailants threw flammable material into the politician’s home, which completely burned it down.

The woman is a known politician in the region, but chose to remain anonymous.  She was not home at the time of the incident. Firefighters were able to keep the fire from spreading to other houses.

Earlier this year, another Jewish political activist in Lund suffered from harassments as feces was thrown at his house and garbage scattered on his doorstep.  His home was partially burned in another arson attack.

Swedish police are investigating these two cases as hate- crimes, under the assumption that the crimes were committed by neo-Nazis or possibly Islamists.

The local Jewish community believes the incidents are connected and that both cases should be dealt with as anti-Semitic hate-crimes.  

Aron Verstandig, chairman of The Official Council of Swedish Jewish Communities said, “Today many Jews are already wondering if they have a future in Sweden.”

Fredrik Sieradzki, spokesperson for the Jewish community in Malmo said, “I want to be frank.  We are always on high alert that something might happen. We have seen a rise of anti-semitic incidents in Sweden in the past decade.  Burning the homes of Jews is something new that we haven’t seen before, and we are very concerned. It definitely causes a stir in our community.”  

(jta.org; ynetnews.com)


Israel and US Postal Services Issue Joint Hanukkah Stamp

JERUSALEM – Israel Post and the US Postal Service have issued a joint stamp for Hanukkah.

The stamp is also meant to celebrate 70 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Israel and the United States, Israel Post said in a statement.

The new stamp design was launched simultaneously in the Touro Synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island, the oldest synagogue in the United States, and at the American Center in Jerusalem.

“Today’s joint stamp issue is a symbol of the shared values and the cultural affinity between the United States and Israel,” US Ambassador David Friedman said at a Jerusalem ceremony.

Postal Service Judicial Officer Gary Shapiro said in Rhode Island: “Starting today, this work of art celebrating the Jewish Festival of Lights will travel on millions of letters and packages, throughout America and around the world.”

The stamp features a Hanukkah menorah created using the technique of papercutting, a Jewish folk art, by artist Tamar Fishman.  Behind the menorah is a shape that resembles an ancient oil jug representing the miracle of the oil that burned in the candelabra in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem after its cleansing.  Additional design elements include dreidels and a pomegranate plant with fruit and flowers.

Hanukkah begins at sundown on December 2.

(israelnn.com; jta.org)