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Israel Update 8.8.19


The body of  teenage yeshiva student Dvir Sorek who had been stabbed to death was discovered outside a West Bank community in the predawn hours of Thursday morning, prompting a massive manhunt for the killer. He was studying at the Machanayim religious seminary and had joined the IDF while continuing his studies. Though formally a soldier, he was unarmed and not in uniform at the time of the attack, nor had he undergone military training.  Read more here



On July 31, 2002, Palestinians detonated a bomb in the Hebrew University cafeteria in Jerusalem, murdering 9 people, and injuring over 80 others. The six terrorists convicted of the crime have so far been rewarded with payments of $1,257,259. Read more here



The Israel Security Agency thwarted a major Hamas terror attack in Jerusalem after a 3-kg. explosive device, ready for use, with metal attached to cause extensive damage, and a laboratory, were found in Hebron. The cell planning the attack was operating under the direction of Hamas in Gaza. Cell members were instructed to establish teams to carry out kidnapping, shooting and stabbing attacks, to purchase weapons and to recruit others to carry out attacks. Read more here


The IDF on Monday afternoon arrested two Palestinians who breached the security fence and crossed into central Israel carrying two handguns and ammunition. Read more here



A year ago, to keep an Iranian presence away from Israel’s border with Syria on the Golan Heights, the Russians spoke about a demilitarized zone of 70 or 80 km. Yet when Israel complained about the Hizbullah presence on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights, the Russians said that the promises concerned only the Iranians themselves and not their agents. Hizbullah is working hard to turn Golan villages into fortified military compounds, as it has done since 2006 in the Shi’ite villages in southern Lebanon.Read more here



Some 6,000 Gazans gathered near the Gaza border last Friday to take part in weekly riots near the fence, some breaking through Hamas checkpoints set up to prevent mass rushes of protesters toward the border. Rioters hurled rocks and explosive devices toward IDF troops stationed on the border. One of the flags waved by protesters was attached to a swastika. Read more here

A fire that broke out on Wednesday in the Gaza-adjacent Simhoni forest was the result of an arson balloon flown over the Gaza border fence, an arson investigator determined, the first fire in the area to be caused by such a device after a respite of about a month.      Read more here



P.A. security forces have launched a crackdown on residents suspected of involvement in criminal activities south of Hebron in coordination with the IDF. Most of the detainees are suspected of armed robberies, car thefts and physical assaults. Some Palestinians said they were worried that the PA security forces were being selective in their crackdown and not targeting Fatah members..        Read more here




Foreign Minister Israel Katz said that Israel was involved in a US-led naval mission to provide maritime security in the Strait of Hormuz, where Iran recently seized merchant ships. Read more here



Belgium joined The Netherlands and Switzerland in temporarily suspending its funding to UNRWA following reports of a UN investigation into misconduct among its senior staff. Read more here



Despite 25 years of formal peace, many in Jordan regard Israel as an illicit enemy state. The Jordanian government plays a double game: its public hostility toward Israel enables it to preserve its popularity while, behind the scenes, it maintains close ties with Israel…In an unusual and particularly outrageous declaration, Jordanian MP Tarek Khoury recently called on Jordanians to blow up pipelines bringing natural gas to Jordan from Israel. Read more here


The site where Aaron, Moses’ brother, is said to be buried near Petra was closed by Jordan after Israeli tourists were filmed performing “Jewish rituals” at the site. Tour guide RoniAyalon said that the group was subjected to humiliating treatment by Jordanian authorities. He also said the group was forbidden from praying while travelling in Jordan, even in their hotel rooms. Reportedly Jordanian police searched the Israelis’ hotel rooms and confiscated religious items. Read more here


An Israel Prison Service officer from Israel’s Druze community, has donated half of his liver to an eight-year-old boy from Jordan. Read more here



Researchers at Tel Aviv University may have developed a new way to treat and prevent melanoma, through the use of a “nano-vaccine.” The new approach to fighting the most aggressive type of skin cancer has so far been effective in mice in preventing the development of melanoma and in treating primary tumours and metastases resulting from melanoma. Read more here




Officials from the Yangling Agricultural Hi-Tech Industries Demonstration Zone, China’s leading agritech innovation centre, are aiming for a dedicated facility in Israel where rotating groups of Chinese specialists would come to study with Israeli researchers about Israeli technology. At the Israeli-Chinese Agricultural Technology Cooperation Park in Yangling, the star attraction is a device from the Israeli company Mottech that uses automation to calibrate the filtering of water and channeling of fertilizer into the soil. Trade between the two countries, that established diplomatic relations only in 1992, grew to $14 billion in 2018. Read more here




Israel’s Interior Ministry has awarded Israeli residency to a Palestinian man who saved a rabbi’s children in the aftermath of a deadly terror attack. He and his wife helped the surviving members of the family escape their overturned vehicle and administered first aid. Subsequently the man received death threats in his home town. Read more here



Around 57.000 fans enjoyed the show last Thursday. Read more here




From Honest Reporting: The SundayTimes (UK) published a feature on Aug. 4 by advocacy journalist Sarah Helm focussing on Bilal Masoud, 29, who sustained crippling injuries after being shot during violence at the Gaza border fence and who eventually committed suicide. The accompanying photo showed Masoud armed only with a slingshot. But a researcher has revealed photos of Masoud cradling an AK-47 automatic rifle. Honest Reporting says that The Sunday Times feature is advocacy journalism – whitewashing Palestinian violence, and turning all Palestinians into victims of Israel, no matter the circumstances. Read more here




Avi BenloloIt’s the only UN agency (UNWRA) specifically set up in 1949 and internationally funded for a designated group of people – to keep them under refugee status for eternity or as long as Israel exists. Since the Second World War, millions of refugees have successfully resettled around the world, including over 860,000 Jews fleeing Arab countries, but UNRWA has kept Palestinians reliant on aid and as pawns in the Middle East conflict. Read more here


Tawfik Hamid: The cause of the problem is NOT the land. After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, several Arab nations were created by fiat. The Arab world accepted this without any problem, as these were Muslim-majority countries. Rejecting the state of Israel was related to the fact that it is a Jewish rather than a Muslim country…The European Union is currently funding a study into Palestinians textbooks, brought about by the findings of the non-governmental organization IMPACT-se, which found in May that “the new Palestinian school [material] for the 2018–19 academic year… was ‘more radical than those previously published.'” …Meanwhile, no one is being educated for peace….When we add onto all that the sad reality that Palestinian politicians are using the conflict to get billions of dollars in donations, we can understand why this conflict has so far not been solved. Read more here


Yoni Ben Menachem: Palestinian Prime Minister Shtayyeh has announced that the P.A. no longer accepts the division of the West Bank into three areas as stipulated by the Oslo Accords and that the entire territory belongs to the Palestinian state. Palestinian Minister of Local Government said the PA would issue building permits throughout the West Bank “without connection to the Israeli classifications [of the territory].” With these decisions, the PA is trying to unilaterally take over parts of the West Bank and establish facts on the ground – not through negotiations and in blatant violation of the Oslo Accords. Read more here


Matthew J. Aiesi: News reports on incendiary balloon attacks on Israel that have destroyed more than 4,300 acres of land often fail to identify the balloons for what they are – a war crime. Traveling in Israel recently with a group of national security lawyers, I witnessed and documented some of these attacks firsthand. The constant breeze off the Mediterranean Sea, which blows from Gaza to Israel, carries these incendiary devices into civilian communities in Israel, some just a few hundred meters from the border with Gaza. The attacks I saw amount to war crimes under international humanitarian law (IHL). As Hamas has been using them, these incendiary balloon attacks violate numerous rules and customs of warfare – principally concerning the targeting of civilians and the use of indiscriminate weapons. The attacks also likely violate the prohibition on the use of incendiary weapons. (The author is is a Major in the United States Army and an Associate Professor in the (US) National Security Law Department)  Read more here