September 4, 2018

Hamas Claims It Has Enough Rockets To Barrage Central Israel For 6 Months If Talks Fail

Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar on Wednesday (29th) said there was no concrete ceasefire agreement with Israel, but warned that if hostilities resume the terror group could launch hundreds of rockets deep into the Jewish state.

“Until now, there is no final text for a ceasefire.  What is being circulated is proposals and ideas,” Sinwar told Palestinian writers and analysts in Gaza, according to the Hamas-linked Shehab news agency.  “We decided to end the siege on our people, who have a right to live a dignified life.”

Sinwar warned that if talks broke down Hamas would fire hundreds of rockets into Israel.

“What the resistance launched in 51 days in the last war, it can launch in five minutes during any future Israeli aggression,” he said referring to the 2014 conflict.

He also reportedly told Israeli officials that the terror organization has “the capability of causing six months of rising and falling air raid sirens in Tel Aviv.”

Indirect negotiations between Hamas and Israel have reportedly included discussion on easing the blockade, but by no means a complete lifting of it.  Hamas holds the bodies of two Israeli soldiers and two civilians. Israel has said in the past it would not ease the blockade until they are released.

Meanwhile intra-Palestinian reconciliation talks between Fatah and Hamas have continued to stall.  Disagreements between the two factions are mounting so any deal “never looked more distant,” said a Fatah member.

Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas has said if any ceasefire agreement is signed between Hamas and Israel without the PA’s permission, “it would be illegal and constitute treason.”



Liberman: In Syria, Israel Obligated By Its Security Interests Only

As far as Israel is concerned, all ongoing talks about the future of Syria, once the civil war in that country has ended, are irrelevant, and the only thing that matters from Jerusalem’s perspective are Israel’s security interests, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said Thursday (30th), while on a tour of northern border towns.

“We are seeing different kinds of gatherings all over the place, also in Ankara, Tehran, Geneva and in other places.  They are talking about the reshaping of Syria after the battle for Idlib,” said Liberman.

“As far as Israel is concerned, and with all due respect and appreciation for all of the agreements and understandings – they do not obligate us.  What obligates us are the security interests of the State of Israel.  All other agreements and understandings reached all over the place are simply irrelevant to us.  We will work unfailingly to protect all existing agreements and Israel’s security interests.”

Speaking about the Iran-Syria deal signed this week, Israel’s Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said, “Nobody’s stupid, and everyone understands that this agreement shows that they are taking us seriously.  They are trying to establish some sort of back channel – not military entrenchment in Syria, but assistance in helping the Syrian army rehabilitate itself, and that is how they will bring their weapons’ systems into Syria. “

“But we will not let this happen,” he affirmed.

“Assad needs to know that he and his regime are putting themselves at risk, if they allow Iran to turn Syria into a military base against Israel,” he added.



American Students Go Back To School With Israeli Bulletproof Backpacks

As American students head back to school, many parents have stocked up on the usual pens and notebooks for their children.  Hundreds of others, though, have bought their children something different for the classroom: a made-in-Israel bulletproof backpack.

With at least 28 school shootings in the United States in 2018 alone, a recent poll by PDK POll of the Public Attitudes Toward the Public Schools, found that 34% of parents fear for their children’s physical safety at school.

While it is not a significantly high number, it is almost triple the number of parents from 2013, when only 12% of parents said they were fearful.

Schools across the United States have introduced new safety protocols and protective technology which can be bought at Walmart and Home depot,  

But one Israeli company has already sold hundreds of its Switchblade backpacks during its first two weeks on the market.

“As soon as it hit the market it started selling like crazy.  We already have so many orders for adults and by parents who buy for their kids,” the company spokesperson said of the bag which sells in America for $497 USD by The Self Defense Company and Israel Catalogue.

Designed like an ordinary backpack, the Switchblade provides the wearer with protection for the back, and a rip cord releases a protective bulletproof vest to slide over the wearer’s head for frontal protection.  It weighs 5.7 pounds and is currently designed for teens and adults.

The product will soon be available for younger children.  



Headstones Toppled At NJ Jewish Cemetery

Four headstones were toppled in a Jewish cemetery in New Jersey this week.

The damaged stones were discovered on Sunday (26th) at the Congregation Agudath Achim Cemetery in Freehold Township in New Jersey.  The damage was done sometime on Saturday (25th) or early Sunday morning, according to local reports.

No other acts of vandalism were discovered at the cemetery according to the Asbury Park Press.

One of the headstones belonged to a World War II veteran, according to Michael Berman, executive director of the Freehold Jewish Center, which operates the cemetery.

“This desecration took place in a holy space,” Berman told the news media.  “Being Jewish, we are all connected to our history.”

“Our history unfortunately, has had some difficult times in the past with memories that go back to World War II – and much farther than that,” he added.



Egypt’s Sadat One Step Away From Posthumous U.S. Congressional Gold Medal

The United States Senate unanimously passed a bill this week to posthumously honor Egyptian President Anwar Sadat with the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian award bestowed by the U.S. Congress.

The bipartisan bill, entitled S.266 and co-sponsored by 71 senators, was introduced by Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah and Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland.

“President Anwar Sadat broke the tension between Israel and its neighbors in the region by delivering an address to  the Israeli Knesset in 1977, and later, entering into a peace accord with Prime Minister Menachem Begin. This courageous decision changed the course of the Middle East even as it cost Sadat his life,” Hatch said.

Senator Ben Cardin added that awarding Sadat the Congressional Gold Medal “honors his legacy and underscores the enduring commitment of the United States to upholding the Peace Treaty between Israel and Egypt.”

Sadat was the first Arab leader to visit Israel and address the Knesset.  He led the peace initiative between Egypt and Israel, which earned him acclaim as a visionary and champion of peace, but also criticism.  In 1981, he was assassinated.

Next month will mark the 40th anniversary of the Camp David Accords negotiated by Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister at that time, Menachem Begin, which directly led to the 1979 peace treaty between Israel and Egypt.  

This year also marks Sadat’s centennial.