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Israel Update 4.5.23




Gazan terrorists used the (self-induced) death in Israeli custody of a hunger-striking member of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) as an excuse to fire 104 rockets towards Israel on Tuesday and Wednesday. Israel countered with 16 airstrikes, mostly on Hamas positions. A ceasefire was announced Wednesday morning.
An IDF Spokesman said Hamas had fired surface-to-air missiles at Israeli aircraft…but had mostly left the fighting to PIJ. Of the rockets fired at Israel, 11 fell in the sea, 14 fell in Gaza, 24 were shot down by Iron Dome, and 48 fell in open areas. Three people were injured directly by rocket fire in Sderot, including a foreign worker from China.  Read more here



At 10.30 pm Tuesday night the IDF tweeted:


In a barrage of rockets fired by terrorists in Gaza towards Israel earlier today, 2 rockets misfired and landed in Bet Hanoun inside Gaza. 5 Gazan civilians were injured, including children. Once again, terrorist attacks aimed at Israel end up harming innocent people in Gaza. View tweet here







Hamas terrorists Hassan Katnani and Ma’ad Masri, who (allegedly) murdered Lucy Dee and her daughters Maia and Rina in a shooting attack in the Jordan Valley on April 7, were killed by Israeli troops Thursday morning in Nablus along with a third gunman, Ibrahim Hura, who had aided them in hiding.
A senior IDF Central Command officer said the operation was carried out with “precision and professionalism,” with no injuries to Israeli soldiers. “It is important for us to make it clear to the other side that there are no cities of refuge anywhere in [the West Bank]. Even places that they apparently think are safe – are not”. Read more here







In a message for Israel’s 75th Independence Day, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, wrote in a very long congratulatory note: (EXTRACT) “Seventy-five years ago, a dream was realized with Israel’s Independence Day. After the greatest tragedy in human history, the Jewish People could finally build a home in the Promised Land… “Today, we celebrate 75 years of vibrant democracy in the heart of the Middle East. Seventy-five years of dynamism, ingenuity, and groundbreaking innovations. You have literally made the desert bloom, as I could see during my visit to the Negev last year.” Read more here



The Palestinian Authority denounced the remarks as “racist” and demanded that the European Commission president apologize to both European citizens and the Palestinian people. Read more here

(and see COMMENT article below)



Foreign Minister Eli Cohen and the European Union’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell met in Brussels on Tuesday. After the meeting, Borrell tweeted: “EU-Israel cooperation is strong, and we want to further deepen our relationship and dialogue on various bilateral and regional topics.” Read more here View tweet here






Hundreds of ambassadors and diplomats from all over the world cheered  for the Shalva Band, which performed at the United Nations in Geneva in honour of Israel’s 75th Independence Day.  The Band leads an agenda of inclusion and integration of people with disabilities in society. Read more here









Israel’s President Herzog will depart Israel today Thursday, and the following day attend a reception at Buckingham Palace for visiting heads of state. He will walk to the coronation ceremony at Westminster Abbey on Shabbat. On May 6, oil consecrated in Jerusalem will be used to anoint the royal couple. Read more here







Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Kevin McCarthy landed in Israel on Sunday at the head of a bipartisan delegation of House members. They opened their trip with a visit to the Kotel (Western Wall) in Jerusalem. Read more here




Gen. Michael Erik Kurilla, head of the United States Central Command (CENTCOM), arrived in Israel last week for a trip focused on strengthening relations between the militaries, especially naval operations. He began his trip with a visit to the Israeli Navy’s elite Shayetet 13 commando unit. Read more here




Sheba Medical Centre has honoured Dr. Anthony Fauci, the former director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), with a special award for Covid co-operation at a ceremony held Sunday in Washington, DC.   Fauci said: “Israel did as much for the US as the US did for Israel during COVID. The collaboration that we developed was beneficial to Israel and highly beneficial to the United States. During the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic, what we desperately needed was data in real-time as to the evolution of the virus, the variants that were there, the impact or not of vaccinations including boosters, the impact of immunity, and how long it lasts…” Read more here







Chinese billionaire and Alibaba founder Jack Ma has been appointed a visiting professor at Tel Aviv University. He will focus on the institution’s research efforts in sustainable agriculture and food. Read more here







Teralight, an Israeli  renewable energy company along with the Environmental Protection Ministry, and the Moshavim movement launches Israel’s largest solar power project at the Jezreel Valley. The “Ta’anakh project” is a large-scale electricity generation system that will provide power to around a quarter million Israelis in over 600,000 homes by the first half of next year. Read more here




Israeli thermal energy storage company Brenmiller Energy has opened its first production plant in Dimona. The factory, built with the help of EU funds, aims to produce storage systems capable of holding four gigawatts of energy by the end of the year. Brenmiller’s technology, already in use in Israel, the US, Romania, Italy and Brazil, seeks to help industry wean itself off fossil fuels. The transition to renewable sources will depend on the ability to store energy for release during periods when the sun isn’t shining or the wind doesn’t blow. Read more here







Israel’s national cycling team, Israel Premier Tech has raised funds to build the first-of-its-kind Field of Dreams Cycling Centre in Bugesera, Rwanda. Read more here






French supermarket chain Carrefour has announced  that it will open its first 50 stores across Israel next week, aiming to increase competitiveness in the Israeli market, including 9 branches in Tel Aviv, four in Herzlia and Netanya and three in Beersheba, Ashdod and Haifa. Read more here







Israeli scientists have published a study on goldfish navigation finding (inter alia) that the fish know left from right.(Paywall)Read more here Study here







Matan Tzuri: My family lives in the Gaza border area. During each round of cross-border violence, we experience the sprint for the bomb shelter, the whistling of falling rockets, the tears, panic, and terror, the questions the children ask without answers, the sleepless nights and restless sleep.
This is the reality around these parts. It is difficult for anyone who doesn’t live here to understand.
In every home in the Gaza border area, sirens and explosions jolt the soul. We have experienced more than 20 years of rocket fire, with our lives swinging between routine and emergency.
From Tuesday afternoon until the next morning, residents living throughout the entire region halted their lives and entered bomb shelters because Islamic Jihad decided so.
It means everything is cancelled in an instant: classes, transportation, concerts, hangouts. Complete shutdown. This transition from routine to emergency happens within seconds.Read more here



Zina Rakhamilova:”You [Israel] have literally made the desert bloom,” President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen stated in a message addressed to Israeli President Herzog on the occasion of Israel’s 75th Independence Day. She said she saw it with her own eyes when she visited Israel’s Negev. The Palestinian Authority Foreign Ministry responded by describing the phrase as a “racist trope” and calling for an apology.
The fact that early Jewish immigrants took a desert wasteland that was sparsely populated, with few natural resources and limited water supply, and turned it into the flourishing and thriving place we see today is irrefutable. In 1866, American author Mark Twain visited the region and described it as “a desolate country whose soil is rich enough but is given over wholly to weeds….We never saw a human being on the whole route….There was hardly a tree or a shrub anywhere.”
Jewish immigrants began to cultivate the land using modern agricultural techniques and expanded trade and tourism. They transformed the countryside with communities of Jewish farmers. Under the British Mandate, the Jewish population continued to develop the land, building roads, schools, and hospitals and establishing a thriving economy. The Jewish people transformed this region of the Middle East into a prosperous country and saying so is a fact, not a “racist” remark against Palestinians. Read more here