September 25, 2018

Jews Erect Sukkot For Week-Long Holiday

Israeli Jews began preparations on Thursday (20th) for the festival of Sukkot by putting up temporary huts covered with leafy branches a day after the end of the holy Yom Kippur fast day.

Sukkot is the third part in the autumn holiday period that began earlier this month with the Jewish new year, Rosh Hashanah, followed by Yom Kippur.

Throughout Israel, Jews from all walks of life, but predominantly from the devout population, began building a sukkah on apartment balconies, in gardens or in streets and parking lots next to their homes, to celebrate the seven-day festival which began at dusk on Sunday (23rd).

During the time of Jerusalem’s ancient Jewish temples, Sukkot was one of three annual pilgrimage festivals, with the others being Passover and Shavuot.

Jews believe that the sukkah symbolizes the temporary dwellings used by the Israelites who were led by Moses on their 40-year exodus through the desert from ancient Egypt to the Land of Israel.

Sukkot celebrants eat in their “tabernacles” and some even sleep in them. Children decorate them with streamers and drawings and hang fruit from the branch coverings.

Part of the festival includes a daily blessing by men, of the “four species:” the “etrog” or citron lemon, a date-palm frond (lulav), sprigs of myrtle, and willow branches.

In preparation for the holiday, vendors sell the four species, especially in Jerusalem’s ultra-Orthodox Mea-Shearim neighborhood.

Sukkot which began on Sunday evening (23rd) will end Sunday (30th) at sundown.



Gaza Arson Balloons Spark 7 Fires In Southern Israel

Seven fires broke out in Israel on Sunday (23rd) sparked by incendiary balloons launched over the border from the Gaza Strip, Israel fire and rescue services said.

Fires were reported near the border-adjacent communities of Be’eri and Re’im as well as the nearby Kissufim Forest.

Firefighters with the assistance of the Jewish National Fund and Parks and Nature Authority put out the fires by Sunday evening, officials said.

Over the weekend, more than a dozen fires were sparked in southern Israel as a result of incendiary balloons from Gaza, after a several-week lull in the cross-border arson attacks.

In response, IDF aircraft on Friday (21st) and Saturday (22nd) fired at cells of Gazans in the northern part of the Strip as they launched the devices towards Israel.

Over the last six months, more than 7,000 acres of land in southern Israel has been burned by fires sparked by the balloons, causing millions of shekels in damages.

Israel says its actions – and in particular the use of live ammunition – are necessary to defend the border and stop mass infiltrations from the territory.



Israel To Deduct Palestinians’ Payment To Ari Fuld’s Killer From PA Funds

Ari Fuld, a dual Israeli-US citizen, was stabbed in the back in the parking lot of a shopping center in the area of Gush Etzion near Jerusalem last week.

He survived long enough to pursue his attacker and shoot him, preventing further casualties.

At the end of the week, the Palestinian Authority (PA) announced it would pay a salary to Fuld’s murderer, Yousef Ali Jabarin.

The Palestinian Authority regularly pays salaries to imprisoned terrorists and their families, as well as the families of terrorists killed while committing attacks.  In its 2018 budget, the PA earmarked $355 million for such “pay to slay” payments.

According to Israel’s Channel 2, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon responded on Friday (21st) to the PA’s statement regarding compensating Fuld’s killer by confirming that Israel would withhold funds from the PA.

“Every shekel the Palestinian Authority transfers to the depraved terrorist and family will be deducted immediately from the tax dividends Israel transfers to Ramallah,” said Kahlon.

The US Congress passed a bill in early 2018 that cut American funding to the PA in the amount spent on payments to terrorists.  The law was named the Taylor Force Act in memory of the former US Army officer who was murdered by a Palestinian terrorist in Tel Aviv in 2016.

In July 2018, the Israeli Knesset passed a similar law, which its sponsor said would force the PA to “gradually understand that terrorism doesn’t pay off.”



IDF Rejects Moscow’s Claim Of ‘Criminal Negligence,’ Vows To Keep Targeting Iran

The Israeli military on Sunday (23rd) rejected the Russian defense ministry’s claim that it was entirely to blame for the downing of a Russian spy plane by Syrian air defenses during an Israeli strike last week, reiterating that Syria was at fault.

In a statement, the Israel Defense Forces maintained its version – that the Russian reconnaissance plane was shot down as a result of indiscriminate Syrian anti-aircraft fire – and said it would continue to act to prevent terrorist groups from obtaining advanced weapons.

“The full, accurate and factual details are known to the Russian military professionals involved in the matter, and from them it is clear that the deconfliction mechanism worked and did so in a timely manner (as it has for the past two and a half years),” the IDF said Sunday evening (23rd), referring to a hotline between the two militaries meant to avoid such inadvertent clashes and casualties.

Israeli fighter jets conducted the airstrike last Monday night (17th) on a weapons facility in the coastal city of Latakia that the IDF said was going to provide weapons to the Hizbullah terror group and other Iranian proxies.  During a Syrian air defense counterattack, the Russian spy plane was shot down by a S-200 anti-aircraft missile, and its 15 crew members were killed.



Iran Blames Israel, US, Saudis For Deadly Terrorist Attack On Military Parade

Iranian President  Hassan Rouhani on Saturday (22nd) blamed Israel, the United States and regional archenemy Saudi Arabia for the deadly terrorist attack that left at least 29 dead and 60 wounded in the southwestern city of Ahvaz in Khuzestan, a province bordering Iraq, and vowed a “crushing” response to the shooting.

The attack, which took place during a military parade marking the 30th anniversary of the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war, saw four gunmen disguised as soldiers open fire on a crowd of marching Revolutionary Guard soldiers, bystanders and government officials watching from a nearby riser.

Among the dead and wounded were a journalist, civilians – including women and children – and military personnel, the state-run IRNA news agency reported, as the chaos was captured live on state television.

Two groups-the Islamic State group and the anti-government Al-Ahvaziya, or the Arab Struggle Movement to Liberate Ahvaz group – claimed responsibility for the shooting.

Iranian Armed Forces spokesman Brig. Gen. Abolfazl Shekarchi said the four gunmen had hidden their weapons near the parade route several days in advance.

“All four were quickly neutralized by security forces,” he said.

The General said the gunmen were trained by the US and Israel’s Mossad.