Today, May 9, Israel is celebrating its 71st birthday.
However, the initial focus of this longer-than-usual Update is to review the massive attack on Israel last weekend. HRG
Between Saturday and Sunday, May 4-5, Islamic Jihad and Hamas launched over 690 rockets and mortars indiscriminately at Israelis from Gaza. Four Israeli civilians were killed in the barrages, dozens have been wounded, and the lives of many more have been shattered. The terrorists deliberately aimed their rocket attacks at civilian centres and struck homes, a factory, and even a kindergarten and a hospital in the city of Ashkelon. One Israeli civilian died when a Hamas tank missile deliberately targeted his car. Hamas is committing a crime against humanity, indiscriminately attacking Israeli civilians while operating from within Gaza’s civilian population – using Gazans as human shields. Defending Israel’s citizens, the Israeli Air Force bombed carefully chosen targets. 25 Palestinians were reportedly killed, most of them were Hamas and Islamic Jihad fighters.
Read more here
In Britain the BBC, Sky News, ITV, the Independent, and the Daily Mail all headlined Hamas claims that a Gazan woman and baby were killed by an Israeli airstrike, despite the IDF’s denial of responsibility; the IDF had stated that the deaths were due to the misfiring of a Gazan rocket, as was subsequently shown to be the case.
Hamas’ Al Risala News reported on Sunday that the deaths were caused by the premature explosion of an Islamic Jihad rocket inside the family’s home due to a technical failure. “There is no doubt that the baby’s death has nothing to do with the enemy’s [Israel’s] planes.”It was reported that Islamic Jihad representatives met with the victim’s family on Sunday to offer them compensation and to qualify the baby as a “martyr” in exchange for their silence on the circumstances of her death.
But fake news has consequences, for example, the lie was tweeted by Tommy Corbyn (son of the Labour leader) and (at least one) offensive poster appeared in London.
In Ashkelon, Moshe Agadi, 58, a greengrocer in the market and father of four, died after being struck by shrapnel from rocket fire and Ziad Alhamada, 49, was killed after a rocket hit a factory where he worked. Moshe Feder, 67, died after his car was targeted and hit by an anti-tank missile as he was driving near the Gaza border. American-Israeli Pinchas Menachem Prezuazman, 21, was killed by rocket shrapnel in Ashdod.
Among those injured were two workers at the Ashkelon factory where Alhamada died, a 30-year-old Thai national, a 45-year-old man in the Bedouin town of Laqiya, and a 50-year-old man and an 80-year-old woman whose homes were hit by rockets in Ashkelon and Kiryat Gat.
As at Monday, since the start of Saturday’s rocket fire from Gaza, 234 patients were treated at hospitals in Ashkelon and Beersheba with 28 people remaining hospitalized.
Also, two IDF soldiers were wounded by shrapnel from a rocket which exploded near the Gaza border.
A rocket exploded outside a kindergarten in Sderot, sending rocket fragments smashing through walls, windows and furniture inside. Rocket shrapnel hit the oncology wing at Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon after Iron Dome intercepted a rocket over Israeli territory. Ashkelon Hospital came under fire & premature babies were moved to a bomb shelter.
In this 50 second video, a live TV broadcast is interrupted by rocket fire and the journalist runs for cover. Shows missile interceptions. Watch here
During a red alert siren, residents of the area near Ofakim 19 miles from Gaza, have 45 seconds to reach a protected area. It’s a short time window for anyone to dash to safety, but even more challenging for the 120 residents of the ALEH Negev-Nahalat Eran home for people with severe physical and mental disabilities, most of whom have limited to nomobility.Read more here
The story of one family whose home was destroyed. “It was hard to breathe, dust was everywhere and a lot was broken. We left the house and haven’t returned,” The homes of dozens of Israeli families suffered damage from rocket fire from Gaza. Also,in Rehovot on Saturday morning, a group of children aged 10 and 11 were playing soccer when sirens blared a warning of an incoming rocket attack. The children were caught on camera lying down in the centre of a soccer field.
Buildings in Israel sustained $14 million in damage from the recent rocket fire.
President Rivlin on Monday paid condolence visits to the families of three of the people who were killed Sunday by rocket fire from Gaza, including the family of Ziad Alhamada, “I came to you, our Bedouin brethren, to express my condolences and the condolences of all the residents of the State of Israel,” he said.
‘We are the tribe of Israel together,’
Hamas had launched hundreds of incendiary balloons at Israel last Wednesday 1stMay, causing fires. In response, the Israeli Air Force carried out a series of strikes in Gaza on Wednesday night. In retaliation, Gazans launched two rockets at Israel.
Last Friday afternoon, a Gazan sniper fired at IDF soldiers at the Gaza border during the weekly March of Return riots, injuring two soldiers. The target of the attack may have been the commander of the southern Gaza division, Col. Liron Batito. The IDF retaliated by bombing a Hamas compound killing two terrorists and injuring several others.
Israel killed a Hamas terrorist in Gaza on Sunday in a targeted airstrike on his car, the first such action since the 2014 war.He was responsible for transferring funds from Iran to armed factions in Gaza.
Israelis paid tribute to the country’s fallen soldiers and terror victims on Yom Hazikaron starting at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, bowing their heads for a minute of silence as sirens sounded around the country. 23,741 soldiers were remembered and 16 names were added to the list of terror victims who perished in attacks, bringing the total to 3,150. Four of them were killed on Sunday.
With the red alert sirens triggered by Gaza rocket fire over the weekend still fresh in their ears, bereaved families in Ashkelon slowly filed into the southern coastal city’s military cemetery Wednesday morning to visit the graves of their lost loved ones on Memorial Day…Just days earlier, two more people in the city had been added to the rolls of those killed in war or terror attacks.
Israel abruptly crossed over from grief to jubilation at nightfall Wednesday, as Memorial Day for the country’s fallen soldiers and terror victims came to a close and its 71st Independence Day began. The juxtaposition of Memorial Day and Independence Day is a key element of Israelis’ experience of their country’s anniversary, ensuring that no commemoration completely excludes the sacrifice of the fallen and their families, and that the elation of independence is never far removed from an awareness of its cost. Read more here
20 aerial photos of Israel taken during the past year. Read more here
A fun and fascinating by-the-numbers statistical picture of Israel at 71. Read more here
Ashraf Jabari, 45, a Palestinian businessman from Hebron has announced the establishment of a new party, the Reform and Development Party which calls for focusing on economic prosperity for Palestinians.Asked about charges by some Palestinians that he’s engaging in promoting normalization with Israel, Jabari said: “Nearly 100% of the Palestinians are already doing business with Israel in all fields… Read more here
The IDF now takes part in an array of training programmes and exercises with foreign armies. Recently hundreds of IDF soldiers from the paratroops reconnaissance battalion participated in manoeuvres held in Germany lasting three weeks which were conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Army, the German Army and other European armies affiliated with NATO.
There are 539 multinational corporations MNCs from 35 countries operating in Israel’s tech ecosystem. 55% of these MNCs are headquartered in the U.S., 27% in Europe, and 15% in the Asia-Pacific, including China.There are more than 6,600 startups in Israel, 14 times the concentration of startups per capita in Europe.While Israel has just 1% of the world’s population, it attracts 19% of global investment in cybersecurity, ranks number one in R&D expenditures per GDP, and attracts the highest rate of venture capital funding per capita in the world.
Blitz Motors develops fast electric motorbikesthat reach a speed of some 120 kph and can drive more than 100,000 kilometres — more than a regular gasoline-based motorbike which has a life of some 60,000 kilometres.There there are some 1,600 on the road in Israel used mainly for food and package deliveries. The company hopes to set up its European HQ in Belgium in June, and in Bangalore, India, later this year. Read more here
Israeli startup Insightec uses ultrasound waves to reduce Parkinson’s tremors The non-invasive technology that helps alleviate these symptoms is being used in over 50 medical centres around the world, with over 2,000 neuro-patients treated.
David Horowitz:: The root of this round of violence, as of those that have preceded it in the 12 years since Hamas violently seized control of Gaza from the Palestinian Authority’s Fatah faction, is that Hamas, Islamic Jihad and their sponsors have no tolerance for the presence of the Jewish state. Israel left Gaza in 2005, forcibly evicting 7,000-8,000 Israeli Jews from some 20 settlements, moving out the entire military, and withdrawing to the pre-1967 lines. In other words, Israel has no presence in Gaza, no quarrel with Gaza, and would like nothing more than to see Gaza thrive. But Hamas has other ideas. Thus while Gaza’s citizens suffer in poverty, it subverts any and all potential resources to its terror machine. It sends Gazans to the border in endless riots under the banner of a “return” to today’s Israel. And the “concessions” that it seeks to leverage from Israel, in this and all previous rounds of violence and full-scale conflict, are the same: to loosen Israel’s security grip on Gaza in order to bring in the money and the weaponry to cause greater and greater harm to Israel down the line. Read more here
Ron Ben-Yishai :The current flare-up in Gaza is characterized by new methods of warfare used by both sides. Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other smaller terror groups have introduced a new locally-produced rocket which can reach only a few kilometres into Israel but is tipped with a uniquely heavy warhead. These rockets – called Burkan – were first developed in Syria and their warheads usually contain dozens of kilograms of explosives. The terror groups thought the rocket would surprise the residents of Israeli communities near the Gaza border, but due to the rockets’ lack of precision, most of them landed in open spaces or failed to make it into Israeli territory altogether.
The IDF has attacked almost exclusively what are labelled “power targets.” These include multi-storey buildings with military installations, buildings serving as headquarters for the terror groups, and even private homes of the factions’ leaders, leaving them without a roof over their heads on the eve of the Ramadan holiday.
The IDF also struck terror cells launching rockets and has killed at least eight terror operatives.
Judah Ari Gross: While Hamas and Islamic Jihad attempted to overwhelm Israel’s Iron Dome by firing numerous rockets at a specific location, comparatively few rockets actually succeeded in penetrating the system, according to the IDF.
In one case, over the course of one hour on Sunday evening, at least 117 rockets were fired at the city of Ashdod, but only one made it past Israel’s air defenscs.
While Iron Dome is not impenetrable, in the latest round the system had an 86% success rate – similar to previous rounds of intensive rocket fire.
Iron Dome’s radars successfully spotted every rocket and mortar launch, which ensured that Israelis were warned of incoming projectiles ahead of time by sirens.
Amos Harel: The IDF operated somewhat differently than in previous rounds of fighting. It responded with greater force, resumed targeted killings after a nearly five-year-long hiatus, struck a large number of targets, including some high-rise buildings, and managed to thwart several Palestinian attempts at surprise attacks – including bombings via drone aircraft.
The Palestinians showed their ability to produce intensive and continuous fire. In addition to the 700 rockets that flew over the border fence into Israel, about 200 more apparently fell inside Gaza. This attests to a poor level of maintenance, but also to a nearly endless supply of rockets. Both Islamic Jihad and Hamas operate underground production lines, which can replenish the stock in a short time.