October 29, 2018

Protecting Jewish Identity Is Our Most Important Task – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) General Assembly in Jerusalem on Wednesday (24th), saying, in part:

→“What I’m concerned with when it comes to the Jewish people is the loss of identity.  It’s not the question of the Western Wall or the question of conversion; we’ll overcome that.  It’s the loss of identity.”

→“Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch wrote recently: ‘Those who are not concerned with Jewish survival will not survive as Jews.’  There’s some basic truth to that.”

→“Jewish survival is guaranteed in the Jewish state if we defend our state, but we have to also work at the continuity of Jewish communities in the world by developing Jewish education, the study of Hebrew, and having the contact of young Jews coming to Israel.”

→“We need an approach in the internet age to young Jewish men and women, to Jewish children around the world, so that they understand that their own future as Jews depends on continuous identity.”

→“It’s protecting Jewish identity and developing Jewish consciousness that is the most important thing.  It transcends politics; it touches on the foundations of history. So I hope that we do this.”

→“This is why I think we are here.  We are one people – let’s make sure that every Jewish child in the world knows how proud they should be to be Jews.”



IDF: Iron Dome Wasn’t Meant To Intercept Gaza Rocket Heading For Open Field

The Iron Dome missile fired on Wednesday night (24th) to intercept an incoming rocket from the Gaza Strip was redirected after it became apparent the projectile was headed for an open field and did not represent a threat to human life, the army said.

Shortly after 11: p.m. on Wednesday, a rocket was launched at southern Israel from Gaza, triggering sirens in a number of communities in the Eshkol region, ending a week-long stretch of relative calm in the coastal enclave.

An interceptor missile was launched from a nearby Iron Dome air defense battery.  However, it was called off after air defense units calculated that the incoming rocket was heading toward an open field.

“The Iron Dome wasn’t meant to intercept the rocket that landed last night in Eshkol.  It was heading toward open land,” said IDF Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis, Thursday (25th) on Army Radio.

“The Iron Dome system is only meant to intercept incoming projectiles when they present a threat to life or property.  A successful interception can rain down bits of debris on a populated area and potentially cause more harm than a rocket bound for an empty patch of land outside a town,” he added.

Manelis said the recent uptick in violence in the Strip was due to the Hamas terror group’s desperation.

“Hamas has failed time after time in the attempts at terror – with the tunnels, with the rockets, with the terror attacks, and it will pay a heavy price in dead and wounded,” the spokesperson said.

In response to the late-night rocket attack, Israeli aircraft bombed eight Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip in the early hours of Thursday (25th).

The IDF said it hit eight targets at three sites, including Hamas training bases and weapons production facilities.



IDF Helps Rescue Jordanian Children Trapped By Flood

The IDF on Thursday (25th) assisted in rescue efforts after a Jordanian children’s bus was swept away by flood waters near the Dead Sea.

The IDF Spokesperson stated that in light of the request from the Jordanian government, a number of Israel Air Force helicopters from the 669 elite search and rescue unit departed under the command of the unit commander.  The soldiers assisting in the operations, did everything in their power, despite the weather conditions, to assist the survivors in the flood zone. In addition, several Israeli police rescue units were also dispatched to assist in rescue efforts.

Relations between Israel and Jordan have deteriorated recently.  On Sunday (21st), King Abdullah II of Jordan announced that he had decided not to extend the part of the 1994 Jordanian-Israeli peace treaty which leases regions of the Arava and Naharayim to Israel.

The stormy weather in Israel Thursday also produced flooding in southern Israel, which turned deadly when a four-year-old boy drowned and was carried away by flood waters after the Nahal Arad River flooded during a rainstorm.

The incident occurred near the Bedouin town of Kuseife, east of Beersheba.

Further weather reports anticipate rainfall of between 2-7 inches, and winds of 64 MPH, for Israel, through Friday (26th).



Liberman Rejects Russian ‘Restrictions’ On Israeli Strikes In Syria

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Thursday (25th) rejected reported demands by Moscow that Israel give the Russian military additional warning before carrying out airstrikes in Syria.

“We will not accept any restrictions on our freedom of operation, and when it comes to national security, we will take action,” Lieberman told Army Radio in an interview.

He indicated that Israel has carried out more airstrikes in Syria than have been attributed to it by foreign media.

“Just because the media did not report on Syrian strikes does not mean there were none,” Lieberman said.  “I don’t think it’s our duty to report what the army must do. An army needs to act.”

On Wednesday (24th), Hadashot TV reported that Russia was seeking to reset the terms of Israeli military operations in Syria and overhaul the existing Jerusalem-Moscow coordination system.

A senior Israeli diplomatic source quoted in the report said the demands were unacceptable operationally and that Israel must not acquiesce to them.



‘We Will Not Cooperate With Those Who Try To Rewrite History’

An Israeli Holocaust education institute is responding to Poland’s controversial Holocaust law by offering Holocaust education trips to Ukraine instead of Poland.  Some 20 guides have been trained to accompany tour groups to Ukraine thus far.

The Shem Olam Faith & Holocaust Institute for Education and Research prepares students in Israel’s education system for the annual high school trips to Poland.  The institute hopes that from now on, these trips will be made to Ukraine instead of Poland.

Assuming there is an interest in these Ukraine tours, guides who have completed their training will soon begin to accompany individuals and later government ministers on tours to that country.  Visitors will tour Kiev’s synagogues and Babi Yar, the ravines where German forces, with the help of Ukrainian collaborators, massacred over 45,000 Jews. Tour groups will also fly to Lviv to see the city’s Holocaust memorial and Jewish cemeteries.

After Poland watered down its Holocaust law, so that it no longer criminalized public assertions that Poland or Poles were complicit in Nazi crimes against the Jews during World War II,  Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial and Museum criticized the statement as historically inaccurate and highly problematic. At that time Education Minister Naftali Bennett announced any school trips to Poland would include curricula devoted to Poland’s role in the Holocaust.

Shem Olam head Rabbi Avraham Krieger asked Bennett to begin gradually diverting the dozens of memorial trips from Poland to Ukraine.

“We will continue to teach the next generation history, only without cooperating and contributing to those who try to rewrite it, “ he said.