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Israel Update: 10 January 2018

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P.M. Netanyahu on Tuesday speaking to NATO member state ambassadors to Israel said that there are  “are important areas where Israel contributes to the security of every single NATO country.” adding that “We have, through our intelligence services, provided information that has stopped several dozen major terrorist attacks, many of them in European countries. Some of these could have been mass attacks, of the worst kind that you have experienced on the soil of Europe and even worse, because they involve civil aviation. Israel has prevented that, and thereby helped save many European lives,”




Rabbi Raziel Shevach, 35, an Israeli father of six, was murdered on Tuesday evening when his vehicle was targeted by terrorists in a passing car on Route 60, the main highway in the West Bank. Rabbi Shevach was a volunteer at Magen David Adom and at a chevra kadisha .


The US ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, launched a scathing attack on the Palestinians and their leadership on Wednesday, blaming them squarely for the lack of peace with Israel. He said: “An Israeli father of six was killed last night in cold blood by Palestinian terrorists. Hamas praises the killers and PA laws will provide them financial rewards,”


The Palestinian Authority spent $358 million on payments to terrorists and their families in 2017, an amount representing 7% of the PA’s total budget and an increase from the $322 million spent in 2016. Terrorists serving a life sentence receive a monthly stipend of $2,900. In comparison, the average monthly salary of Palestinians in the West Bank is $580.
Defence Minister Lieberman said:  “The P.A. pays terrorists and their families over a billion shekels a year, thus encouraging and perpetuating terrorism,”


Two Czech tourists were rescued by Israeli police after they took a wrong turn and drove into a West Bank Palestinian village on Tuesday. A number of Palestinians threw rocks, damaging the tourists’ car.



Two female Bedouin Israeli teenagers were indicted on Monday on charges they were planning to carry out a New Year’s eve attack on behalf of the Islamic State terrorist group. A 24-year-old East Jerusalem man was also charged on Monday of lesser counts in connection with the plot.


Border Police on Monday arrested a Palestinian woman who was found to be carrying a knife as she approached a checkpoint near the Cave of the Patriarchs holy site in the West Bank city of Hebron.




A team of Israeli specialists has arrived in Zambia to help deal with the cholera problem. Their main task is the deployment of technology to deal with water purification and treatment to eliminate the bacteria that causes cholera.



As Trump moved last month to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, an Egyptian intelligence officer Capt. Ashraf al-Kholi quietly placed phone calls to the hosts of several influential talk shows in Egypt, telling them that strife with Israel was not in Egypt’s national interest and that instead of condemning the decision, they should persuade their viewers to accept it…Palestinians, he suggested, should content themselves with Ramallah which currently houses the Palestinian Authority. “How is Jerusalem different from Ramallah, really?” Captain Kholi asked repeatedly in four audio recordings of his telephone calls obtained by The New York Times. “Exactly that,” agreed one host, who confirmed the authenticity of the recording.

In a recent speech at Tel Aviv University, Egyptian sociologist Saad Eddin Ibrahim, 79, Egypt’s foremost social scientist advocated further normalization with Israel, suggesting the country should be economically integrated into the Arab Middle East. He was participating in an academic conference about Egyptian society. A small group of Israeli Arabs tried to disrupt his speech, then stormed out.


Rami Aziz, an Egyptian researcher and political analyst, responded to the protestors (item above) saying: “Millions of students in the Arab world envy you, you should thank God that you live in Israel, you bunch of hypocrites and liars,” adding “Only in Israel can Arab students shout at an Egyptian lecturer that he is a traitor for coming to a Zionist university. And what exactly are they doing at a Zionist university? There is no limit to the hypocrisy, disgust and aggravation of Israeli Arabs. How much can you bite the hand that feeds you?”




A Hebrew University archaeology doctoral student described how Palestinian tractors and bulldozers arrived at an archaeological site where the ancient city of Archelaus once stood. They completely levelled the compound to locate hidden archaeological treasures to sell in the antiquities market. He compared the “deliberate and systematic destruction of an archaeological site” to ISIS activities in Iran & Syria.




A Tel Aviv University study that set out to find what makes some pancreatic cancer patients more likely to survive the deadly disease than others hopes to use the results to develop an effective cocktail of drugs to fight the aggressive cancer as well as other types.




SuperMeat, an Israeli startup developing lab-made chicken meat raised $3 million in seed funding and has formed a strategic partnership with a European poultry producer. SuperMeat say that their process puts an end to the industrial need to mass produce animals for slaughter, while eliminating exposure to animal waste and food-borne illnesses,”

The new funding would help bring its chicken products to market within three years at a price similar to conventional chicken products.



Swedish furniture giant Ikea will be opening its fourth store in Israel, in the southern city of Beersheba



The “drop tomato”, a new variety of cherry tomato,  is about the size of a blueberry and the Kedma company in the Arava desert says it is the smallest one ever cultivated in Israel, perhaps even in the world.




Israel intends to revive the Hejaz railway linking the Israeli port of Haifa to the Gulf states. Israeli Minister of Intelligence and Transportation Katz said, “We will extend the track that connects Haifa and Beit Shean to the King Hussein Bridge; the Jordanians will extend it to connect to the Saudi railways.”




Elias Zarina: Born and raised in the Christian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, I am certain that Israel is the only country in the region where Christians are thriving…The Christian exodus from Palestinian cities, including Bethlehem, is evidence of their maltreatment and their feelings of insecurity. However, in Israel, the Christian community continues to grow in numbers. Christians in Israel enjoy economic prosperity, independent educational systems with some of the country’s most successful schools, a great health system, and full civil rights. It is for this reason that a growing number of Christians choose to enlist in the Israel Defence Forces, study, and live here

Israel Update: 4 January 2018

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Multiple mortar shells were fired from Gaza on Wednesday (yesterday) towards southern Israel. In response the I.A.F. struck what it termed as “major terror infrastructure”


Israel’s Iron Dome system last Friday intercepted two missiles fired from Gaza at Israeli communities on the Gaza perimeter.,7340,L-5063639,00.html


Three rockets fired from the Gaza Strip at Israel last Friday appeared to have been launched to deliberately coincide with a ceremony marking what would have been the 24th birthday of an IDF soldier who was killed in 2014, and whose remains are held by Hamas.


In retaliation for the volley of rockets fired at Israel, the IDF carried out strikes against Hamas targets in Gaza.


Former Israeli Defence Minister Ya’alon said that the mortars fired at southern Israel on Friday show increased Iranian involvement in Gaza; Iran and Hizbullah feel more confident because of their success in Syria and have begun paying more attention to Israel.





The Israel Security Agency recently reported that …Hamas in the West Bank is eager to carry out mega-terror attacks against Israel with instructions to launch attacks, including suicide bombings in shopping malls, buses, and other crowded venues. A senior intelligence source said, “The fact that buses are not blowing up every day is not a result of a lack of desire, effort, orders or investment of Hamas’ resources. It is, rather, the result of interdiction..,7340,L-5065168,00.html

Israeli security forces broke up an alleged Hamas terrorist cell planning to carry out attacks in the West Bank, arresting five of its members in November, the Shin Bet security service revealed Monday.


Soldiers arrested a Palestinian who was holding a knife and walking toward their jeep in the West Bank on Monday evening. He dropped the knife on the ground and on searching him, the soldiers found a second knife in his possession.



There has been a significant improvement in the condition of Asher Elmaliach, 46, the security guard stabbed  in the heart by a Palestinian terrorist at the entrance to the Jerusalem Central Bus Station in early December, doctors said on Monday.


Protests rocking Iran that began as an outcry over economic issues have metastasized into demonstrations against a host of issues, including the regime’s support for Palestinian causes while ignoring problems at home… Iran has boasted of its support for the Palestinians, particularly Hamas. In August, Hamas in Gaza leader said Iran had become “the largest backer financially and militarily” of the terror group’s armed wing. Iran also openly supports armed movements in Syria and Iraq and is accused of backing the Houthi rebels in Yemen, including supplying them with missiles and other arms.



P.M. Netanyahu kept noticeably silent at Sunday’s cabinet meeting regarding internal developments in Iran, apparently not wanting to give the Iranians any excuse to blame the “Zionists” for the protests there. On Saturday night, Netanyahu reportedly instructed his cabinet ministers to minimize comments on the situation in Iran.




Israel’s Yam Pro Energy recently signed a $180 million MOU to build a wave energy power station in Ghana. According to the company, 3 billion people – half the world’s population – live within 200 km. of a coastline and can benefit from clean, renewable, ocean wave energy produced by its Sea Wave power plants.$180m-deal-to-build-wave-energy-power-station-in-ghana/


A well-preserved piece of fired clay (a seal) dating to the First Temple period, (6th to 7th centuries BCE) with the Hebrew inscription “belonging to the governor of the city,” was recently discovered during excavations in the Western Wall Plaza. Jerusalem Mayor Barkat said the find “shows that already 2,700 years ago, Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, was a strong and central city.. one of the most ancient capitals of the world.”



A super-strong steel substitute, MP-1 invented in Israel that was sent into space by NASA is now being used in hip replacements, with knee replacements and even dental implants are now being planned. The advanced polymeric material is self-shielding, has high resistance to heat, is lightweight but very strong, and shows little wear and tear.




An all-time record 3.6 million tourists visited Israel in 2017, 25% more than in 2016, with 185,000 from the U.K. , 10% more than in 2016.




With Israel halfway through its fifth consecutive winter of depleted rainfall, thousands of Jews assembled last Thursday at the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem to pray together for rain. (Subsequently heavy rain has fallen on several days this past week with more forecast)


And see:



Legendary Beatles musician Sir Ringo Starr will perform in Tel Aviv in June.



David Farer:  The alarm in Sderot is not a siren, but rather the recording of a woman’s voice, repeating “Tzeva Adom (Color Red).” This is usually followed by an almost simultaneous “Whoosh” that sounds like a Boeing jet flying through our living room as a pair of Iron Dome rockets blast off and up to destroy a missile that might well have struck our home. Often, bits of flaming metal fall on Sderot, descending on parks and streets for children to collect the next morning..These rockets have been a part of Sderot childhood for 15 years. These steady rocket attacks on a civilian population have a cumulative effect over a period of years. At the moment when Iron Dome was destroying the Kassam with that stupendous blast overhead, parents tried to calm their children, many of whom cried themselves into hysteria and could not get to sleep that night. The percentage of people here who suffer from hearing disabilities is higher in my town than elsewhere in Israel; many folks have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); one often hears of bed-wetting children; the percentage of premature birth or miscarriage among Sderot women is higher than it is elsewhere. Let no one say “nothing happened” because that night’s rocket hit no home.


Dov Hikind  (a New York State Assemblyman (Democrat),Aid to the Palestinians — more than $5 billion since the mid-1990s — should not come without a commitment to peace from the Palestinians. But instead of making strides towards peace, the Palestinians continue to teach their school children to hate Israelis; continue to reward terrorists and glorify terrorism. What have they done with our money? Co-sponsored two intifadas — violent uprisings that destroyed the lives of numerous men, women and children on both sides of the conflict. The only people I can think of on the map who have been considered refugees for more than half a century are the Palestinians. This, despite foreign and US aid; despite the return of Gaza; despite every effort by neighboring Israel to help the Palestinians receive fresh water and vital electricity. The Palestinians remain “refugees” because it is politically expedient to play the victim card. If the Palestinians were to invest in social programs rather than terror tunnels, the refugee stigma would cease to exist.


Israel Update: 28 December 2017

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President Morales announced on December 24 that Guatemala will move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, becoming the first nation to follow the lead of the U.S.

At least 10 other countries are in talks to move their missions, with Israel’s Channel 10 reporting that the next country likely to announce an embassy move is Honduras.


A 2-day-old baby boy born in a refugee camp in Cyprus to a pair of Syrian refugees was airlifted to Israel early Saturday for emergency surgery to repair a life-threatening heart defect that the Cypriots were unable to treat. The Syrian father and son arrived at an Israeli hospital, where they were accompanied by an Arabic-speaking medical team, early Saturday morning and doctors began prepping the infant for surgery.




The Israel Foreign Ministry established contact with Bangladesh – a Muslim country without any diplomatic ties with Israel – to offer significant humanitarian aid for Muslim refugees from the Rohingya minority who fled from Myanmar. Bangladesh said that the aid could not be accepted due to the political ramifications that could ensue. The Israel Foreign Ministry is exploring other routes through which to provide humanitarian assistance to the Rohingya refugees.,7340,L-5060069,00.html



Compared to the populations of 21 Muslim and Arab countries, Arab Israelis have the highest life expectancy. The life expectancy of Arab Israelis at birth in 2015 was 79, higher than such wealthy countries as Qatar, the UAE, and Bahrain. It is also equal to that of the general U.S. population.


Israeli defence contractor Elbit Systems has won a $46 million contract to equip NATO’s Airbus A330 tankers with direct infrared countermeasures self-protection systems, along with infrared-based passive airborne warning systems which will allow the aircraft to operate more safely in hostile environments.



Israel foiled 400 major terror attacks in 2017, including 13 suicide attacks and 8 kidnappings. A further 1,100 lone wolf attacks were thwarted. There were 54 attacks in 2017, compared with 108 in 2016


Israeli police arrested an 18-year-old Palestinian woman who repeatedly attempted to cross into Israel on Wednesday, at one point using the documents of her 7-year-old sister. After attempting to resist the police officers, she confessed that she intended to carry out a terrorist attack in Jerusalem


Representatives from the (US) Secret Service, New England Homeland Security, the U.S. DEA, the state police, and police chiefs from five cities and two universities attended  attending a weeklong counterterrorism seminar in Israel sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League of New England. Worcester (Mass.) Police Chief Steven M. Sargent said that a major benefit of the seminar was meeting with other police chiefs and federal officials and that what they all heard and related to was an emphasis on understanding possible threats and being prepared for any emergency.




Open Sesame is an Israeli app that allows users to control a touch-screen smartphone or tablet hands-free. Instead of swiping with a finger, users control the device with small head movements or voice commands. The technology can help people who are paralyzed or have limited mobility due to diseases such as MS or ALS.


Deputy ambassador to South Africa Ayellet Black recently led a course on drip irrigation and crop management in Swaziland with two Israeli experts. A severe drought, caused by the effects of El Nino, almost crippled Swaziland last year and left hundreds of thousands without food. The Israelis trained 19 trainers in the agricultural field so they can train farmers on how to irrigate and manage crops correctly and increase yields.



Seven Israeli players were denied visas to participate in a speed chess championship hosted by Saudi Arabia on Dec. 26-30

The Israeli players are seeking compensation from the organizers, the World Chess Federation (FIDE plus assurances that in future “every country hosting an international event will commit to hosting Israeli chess players, even if it’s an Arab state.” The Israel Chess Federation is demanding that FIDE competitions set to take place in Saudi Arabia over the next two years “be immediately cancelled,


Ukrainian Grandmaster Anna Muzychuk lost the two World Champion titles she won last year by declining to go to Saudi Arabia citing concerns about the treatment of women there.

Hikaru Nakamura an American Grandmaster also declined to participate in the event stating: “To organize a chess tournament in a country where basic human rights aren’t valued is horrible “



New Jersey Governor Christie announced last week that the state has divested all of its investments from the Danish bank Danske due to its boycott of Israeli companies. New York State outlawed state business with Danske because of a violation of its anti-BDS law. In September, Colorado added Danske to a blacklist for its anti-Israel business activities.

The Norwegian government announced that as of 2018 it would stop supporting and funding organizations promoting a boycott against Israel, stating that it believes in dialogue and cooperation to create mutual trust as part of the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.,7340,L-5061828,00.html


U.N. VOTE – analysis

Raphael Ahren (Last week) , the UN General Assembly voted to reject U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and called on countries not to move their diplomatic missions to the city. Nine countries – the U.S., Israel, Togo, Guatemala, Honduras, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, and Marshall Islands – voted no. There were 35 abstentions and 21 countries absent.The fact that a total of 65 nations did not actively vote against the U.S. was “hugely significant,”  an Israel Foreign Ministry spokesperson said. On Nov. 30, 2017, 151 countries had voted in favour of a General Assembly resolution to disavow Israeli ties to Jerusalem that condemned Israel in much harsher terms

Herb Keinon: Of the 28 EU countries, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, and Romania abstained and Lithuania did not show up. 15 African states abstained, Togo voted for Israel, and Kenya and Zambia did not show up. In Latin America, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Panama and Paraguay abstained. Among the Caribbean countries, once reflexively voting against Israel, Antigua-Barbuda, the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, and Trinidad-Tobago abstained. With the exception of Syria and Yemen, no other Arab countries took the podium to slam Israel, a role instead played by Turkey, Venezuela, Pakistan, Indonesia, Cuba, Iran, Malaysia and North Korea



Ramy Aziz (Egyptian researcher and political analyst): The mishandling of the Palestinian issue by the Palestinians themselves, and the permitting of a number of different countries and groups to use their issue on the basis that it represents a religious war between Muslims and Jews, has not only damaged the issue but completely derailed it…As for those who try to exacerbate the situation by selling lies about religious sites and Al-Aqsa Mosque, the U.S. president’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has stressed the U.S.’ respect for the current situation in the Haram al-Sharif (Temple Mount) and P.M. Netanyahu has explicitly stressed that there would be no change to the status quo of the holy sites. For decades, since the return of Jewish control over Jerusalem, millions of Muslims have visited and prayed in Al-Aqsa Mosque freely without anyone stopping them.


Danielle Pletka: But Jerusalem actually is the capital of Israel. It is the seat of the Israeli prime minister, its parliament, its Supreme Court and its president. It is established practice for sovereign nations to choose their own capitals. The Palestinians are cross. Hamas and others promptly declared Days of Rage to do what they do on most days that end in “y,” terrorize civilians and destroy property. Moving a building is not a pretext for violence, and all who accept the notion that terrorism has a justification are part of the problem…Ultimately, it will not be the location of the U.S. embassy that will shape the fate of the region. Rather, it will be the birth of a partnership between the two sides in the belief that all will be better off at peace.


Daniel Siryoti: Jordan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia are displeased with the way the Palestinian Authority has reacted to U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital… Despite the lip service and the appearance of consensus on Jerusalem in the form of harsh condemnations, the Arab states have avoided taking concrete measures to counter the American declaration. Senior Arab officials have gone as far as to urge Abbas to scale back his rhetoric aimed at the international community. A senior Jordanian official said, “We are very worried that the Palestinians’ actions over Jerusalem, their efforts to shun the U.S. from the peace process, and their insistence on international intervention are a double-edged sword that…could bring about the exact opposite of the intended result.


Osita Ebiem (a rights activist, independent scholar and an advocate for Igbo self-determination and independence): As Igbo people, we state in no uncertain terms that the position assumed by Nigeria in the Jerusalem matter is merely the country’s official position which the Igbo nation does not in any way support or subscribe to. We condemn in strong terms this ridiculous attempt by the government of Nigeria to besmear and scandalize us as a people. Igbo people have always taken pride in standing and voting on the side of justice and truth. Therefore in this matter we stand with the United States, Israel and others who are courageous enough to stand on the right side of history, truth and justice.



Khaled Abu Toameh: The Iraqi government has approved a new law that effectively abolishes the rights given to Palestinians living there by changing the status of Palestinians from nationals to foreigners. It deprives Palestinians living in Iraq of their right to free education, healthcare and to travel documents, and denies them work in state institutions… Iraqi leaders, however, can afford to sit back and relax in the face of Palestinian appeals and condemnations. No one is going to pay any attention to the misery of the Palestinians in any Arab country… A Palestinian girl who punched an Israeli soldier in the face draws more media interest than Arab apartheid against the Palestinians. A protest of 35 Palestinians in the Old City of Jerusalem against Trump and Israel attracts more photographers and reporters than a story about endemic Arab apartheid and discrimination against the Palestinians. The hypocrisy of the Arab countries is in full swing. While they pretend to show solidarity with their Palestinian brothers, Arab governments work tirelessly to ethnically cleanse them. Palestinian leaders, meanwhile care nothing about the plight of their own people in Arab countries. They are much too busy inciting Palestinians against Israel and Trump to pay such a paltry issue any mind at all.


Israel Update: 21 December 2017

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A home in Israel suffered damage from a rocket fired Sunday night from Gaza. There were no casualties but the family’s car was destroyed by shrapnel. Maya, whose house was hit by the rocket, said that she and her family “returned from lighting Hanukkah candles when the siren caught us at the entrance to the house. We ran to the bomb shelter, me, my husband and my two sons, and then there was a huge explosion.”,7340,L-5058243,00.html


Following this attack, the Israel Air Force hit several Hamas targets in Gaza overnight Monday.

Following rocket & mortar fire targeting Israel in the past fortnight, the IDF has attacked 40 Hamas targets.,7340,L-5058954,00.html

Hamas in Gaza has in recent days arrested many Salafi militants responsible for the recent rocket launches at Israel…Since Dec.6, nearly 30 rockets have been fired at Israel, but around half fell short and landed in Gaza (see below)

A Gazan rocket fired at Israel last week struck a school in Gaza, destroying a classroom. The IDF Government Coordinator of Activities in the Territories (COGAT) said, “The terrorists in Gaza…are destroying their children’s future with their own hands.

A Gazan rocket fired at Israel on Friday fell short and hit the Beit Hanoun home of a top Hamas official, Palestinian media reported.


A Palestinian who stabbed an Israeli border police officer outside Ramallah last Friday was shot. The attacker, wearing what looked like a suicide belt, had been standing among journalists at the scene, pretending to be one before the attack, which allowed him to get closer to Israeli troops unnoticed.



At the time of writing (Thursday afternoon) the UN General Assembly is meeting for an emergency debate on the unilateral American recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.  A draft resolution against the recognition is expected to be approved. Although the vote is mainly symbolic, Israel’s ambassadors worldwide have been directed to urge countries to oppose the resolution emphasizing (inter alia) that Jerusalem was the de facto capital of Israel long before the U.S. recognized it as such.. they will also pledge to maintain freedom of religion and the status quo in the city.

Nikki Haley US Ambassador to the UN –made two speeches on December 18. Both are worth reading in full. Extracts below:

After the UN Security Council vote on the Jerusalem resolution on Monday, Ms Haley explained the US veto: “The fact that this veto is being done in defence of American sovereignty and in defence of America’s role in the Middle East peace process is not a source of embarrassment for us; it should be an embarrassment to the remainder of the Security Council.” “What we witnessed here today in the Security Council is an insult. It won’t be forgotten. It’s one more example of the United Nations doing more harm than good in addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

Also: “Given the chance to vote again on Resolution 2334, I can say with complete confidence that the United States would vote “no.”



The Israeli Navy was invited by the Greek Hellenic Navy to take part in a two-week NATO exercise in November, a symbol of a growing partnership between the Israeli Navy and NATO fleets Bilateral naval ties with France are also increasing. A naval source said:  “The French arrive in Israel a lot. They have kind of turned Haifa into their home port….Sometimes the French Navy is here more than the American Navy, which is our biggest partner.”


Groundbreaking surgery, the first of its kind in the world, to regrow part of a human bone was carried out on Tuesday at HaEmek Hospital, Afula. Doctors took fat cells from the patient, grew them in a lab and injected them back into his body to generate the missing parts of the bone using a procedure developed by Israeli biotechnology company Bonus BioGroup


Soroka University Medical Centre has a national training centre in the use of advanced ultrasound systems. Recently, a special course was held to include physicians from hospitals from all over the country, with participation from Palestinian doctors from the West Bank and Gaza. Tamer Abu Greis, an anesthesiology resident said “I welcome the cooperation between Palestinian doctors and Israeli doctors. I know many [Palestinian] interns who study in Israeli hospitals. There are many Palestinian patients who go to Israeli hospitals, because there is no doubt that medicine in Israel is strong and we can learn from them. I hope the cooperation will continue.” During the course, the instructors also travelled to hospitals in the West Bank to examine patients with the local staff.


A blueprint for U.S. national security presented on Monday notes: “For generations the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians has been understood as the prime irritant preventing peace and prosperity in the region. Today, the threats from jihadist terrorist organizations and the threat from Iran are creating the realization that Israel is not the cause of the region’s problems. States have increasingly found common interests with Israel in confronting common threats.”

Senior U.S. administration officials outlined their view last Friday that Jerusalem’s Western Wall ultimately will be declared a part of Israel stating: “We cannot envision any situation under which the Western Wall would not be part of Israel. But as the president said, the specific boundaries of sovereignty of Israel are going to be part of the final status agreement”.


A UK government White Paper has identified Israel as a trade priority for post-Brexit Britain. The number of Israeli companies setting up in the UK in the year after the referendum has increased by 28% – with a 34% increase in the level of investment and a 13% increase in jobs created in the UK.


25% of Turkey’s trade with Gulf countries passes through Haifa Port, and Turkish Airways is the busiest foreign carrier at Ben-Gurion Airport.
20% of Jordan’s exports also go through Haifa Port.


IDF Maj.-Gen. Kamil Abu-Rokun has been appointed to head the office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories. He will become the second Druse officer to head the unit, which is in charge of Israeli and Palestinian civilian life in Area C of the West Bank


Corporal Amir Rav’e, a 19-year-old Muslim, whose family was born in Hebron, moved to Lod and today lives in Beersheba, is one of hundreds of Arabs, Muslim and Christian, who have chosen to volunteer for the IDF—a slow, but steadily increasing trend.,7340,L-5057745,00.html



Most of King Herod’s Third Palace lies within Area A of the West Bank, where the Palestinian Authority has exclusive control. Recently, a visiting team from the Kfar Etzion Field School discovered that the Palestinians had built housing around it, with some of the homes constructed on the grounds of the palace itself.  Reportedly, the remains of the palace are being systematically demolished to construct a road. The historic edifice is being stripped of its stone, and the supporting pillars and arches have been defaced.



Richard Pollock: How exactly did Arab Muslims treat Christians and Jews when they ruled over eastern Jerusalem for 19 years from 1948 until 1967? The Jewish Quarter of the Old City and many of the most sacred Jewish sites were located in the eastern half of the city ruled by Jordan. Even though the armistice promised “free access to the holy sites and cultural institutions and use of the cemeteries on the Mount of Olives,” Jews were banished entirely from the holy city. From 1948 onward, there were no Jewish homes, synagogues or businesses in ancient Jerusalem. Some 17,000 Jews had to leave the area, their homes taken over and occupied by Arabs. When the Israelis entered the eastern part of Jerusalem after the Six-Day War in 1967, they found 56 synagogues desecrated or totally destroyed by the Jordanian army or local Arabs.
The Arab governing bodies also persecuted the Christian church and its followers during the same period. Edicts prohibited Christians and later Christian churches from buying land and houses in the Old City of Jerusalem…They further imposed strict rules on Christian schools, including mandatory teaching of the Muslim Koran. Between 1948 and 1967, two-thirds of the Christians left areas of Arab control in Jerusalem.


Emmanuel Navon: Jerusalem is commonly designated in Islamic sources as Bayit al-Maqdis,which is the Arabic transliteration of the Hebrew Beit Hamikdash (which means “temple”). A travel guide published by the Supreme Muslim Council in 1924 described the Temple Mount as the ancient site of Solomon’s Temple. The Palestinians’ “Temple denial” is therefore a new phenomenon that contradicts Muslim tradition. It flies in the face of historical evidence… and it is deeply offensive to the Jewish faith. The Palestinians’ historical denials remain a major obstacle to an agreement on the final status of Jerusalem. Disrespect for other faiths leads to the desecration of their holy places…Only Israeli sovereignty has guaranteed religious freedom and the preservation of the holy places for all.


Marc D Angel: The Muslim Ottoman Empire, which controlled the Land of Israel for hundreds of years, could very easily have established a Muslim country there with Jerusalem as its capital city. The thought never occurred to them. Jerusalem was an old, decrepit city that no one (except Jews) cared very much about. There was no call for a Palestinian state, and no claim that Jerusalem should be the capital of a Muslim country. Between 1948 and 1967, when Jordan controlled the West Bank and the Old City of Jerusalem, it did not cede one inch of territory to Palestinian Arab rule and did not declare Jerusalem the capital city of the Palestinians.


Shlomo Avineri : President Trump said explicitly that recognizing Jerusalem and moving the embassy do not in any way determine the borders and the U.S. supports the two-state solution – if it is acceptable to both sides. The Palestinian response ignored these two statements, which in practice say that as far as the final agreement is concerned, the Trump administration’s stance is not significantly different than the position of previous American administrations…The roots of this response, which joined a long list of historic missed Palestinian opportunities, can be found in the inability to live with compromise, which characterizes the Arab political discourse in general.

Israel Update: 13 December 2017

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Wishing my readers Chanukah Sameach. HRG



A Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance has been filmed dropping off several rioters at a demonstration in Ramallah on Monday. The IDF’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, wrote to the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross: “A Red Crescent ambulance was documented aiding Palestinian rioters in Ramallah, under the guise of providing medical treatment. I view this with the utmost severity and demand the incident be investigated.”




The condition of the security guard stabbed in the chest by a Palestinian terrorist at the entrance to the Jerusalem Central Bus Station on Sunday, stabilized Monday morning. Asher Elmaliach, 46, sustained serious injuries when he was stabbed in the heart. The terrorist was chased by a police officer and civilians, tackled to the ground and taken into custody.



A Hamas plot to kidnap Israelis in the West Bank during the Hannukah holiday was thwarted by Israeli security forces. Three Hamas cell members were arrested.,7340,L-5056292,00.html




The IDF last weekend destroyed a kilometre-long attack tunnel, constructed by the Hamas terrorist group, coming from the Gaza Strip that extended hundreds of metres inside Israeli territory and ending approximately one kilometre (0.6 miles) from the nearest Israeli community. It was destroyed using a different method from the one discovered in October, which was blown up with explosives.




Last Thursday, three rockets were fired from Gaza at Israel, with one reaching Israeli territory. In response, I.D.F. tank and aircraft carried out strikes on two Hamas positions.


Last Friday night, three rockets were fired from Gaza at Israel. One landed in the courtyard of a kindergarten in Sderot, damaging the building. Another hit a Sderot street, damaging cars and a house.  A third incoming rocket was intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome missile defence battery. There were no serious injuries caused by the rockets, but some Israelis suffered anxiety attacks requiring medical treatment. Israel retaliated with a series of air strikes on Hamas targets.


Israel’s Iron Dome system intercepted a rocket fired from Gaza at Ashkelon on Monday. Iron  Dome identified more rockets launched from the strip, leading to Code Red sirens being sounded over a large area.In retaliation, Israeli tanks and planes attacked Hamas military positions in northern Gaza.,7340,L-5055540,00.html


Since last Thursday, Code Red rocket alert sirens have been going off in the south of Israel on an almost daily basis. The Israel Air Force attacked a Hamas military complex in the southern Gaza Strip overnight Tuesday In response to rocket fire at the Ashkelon area,, the Israel Air Force attacked a Hamas military complex overnight Tuesday.,7340,L-5056191,00.html




The Palestinian health ministry and local news media blamed the deaths of two Gazans on Tuesday on an Israeli air raid. The I.D.F. denied the reports stating that it did not carry out any attack in the Gaza Strip that day. Islamic Jihad later confirmed that the explosion was an accident caused by the men mishandling explosives. Dozens of passers-by were also injured.




The IDF  (Israel Defence Forces) has facilitated the opening of a maternity hospital on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights – part of a significant expansion of Operation Good Neighbour, which provides Israeli assistance to war-ravaged Syrian villages near the Israeli border. The hospital opened two weeks ago and is staffed entirely by Syrian doctors, while the incubators, beds, and ultrasound equipment come from Israel. The operation is expanding and reaching villages as far as 20 km. from the border in an area with 200,000 people… In preparation for winter, the IDF has provided 30 tons of warm clothing and a mass supply of diesel fuel so villagers can heat their houses. IDF supplies of flour have brought the price of bread down by at least half in the assisted villages.




U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said last Thursday: “There’s a 1995 law in the United States that requires the United States to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to relocate our embassy…After many, many reaffirmations by our Senate, including as recently as this past summer – the vote, I think, was 90 to none with 10 abstentions – the President is simply carrying out the will of the American people…It is just an acknowledgment of what is the reality on the ground….So the reality is… there’s nothing that’s different other than that  the President has now implemented the 1995 law.


The Knesset Lobby for the Protection of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem was launched last week with members from every party except the Arab Joint List. The Mount of Olives cemetery is 3,000 years old, and contains the graves of 150,000 Jews, including leaders and rabbis from throughout Jewish history. The site has been plagued by vandalism and rock-throwing by east Jerusalem Arabs



Despite some fiery rhetoric, Palestinian demonstrations against Trump’s declaration on Jerusalem have been nowhere near the scale of the two intifadas. All in all, it has involved a few thousand people in the West Bank and Gaza. The recent confrontations are not the result of a spontaneous, popular outburst, but the fruit of an almost unprecedented propaganda effort by the Palestinian Authority.


Less than a week after President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Palestinian protests have largely fizzled out. On Monday, fewer than 20 demonstrators gathered outside the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem and chanted pro-Palestinian slogans, but they were outnumbered by journalists.




President of the Czech Republic Milos Zeman said last Thursday that, as he proclaimed during his visit to Israel four years ago, he “would appreciate the transfer of the Czech Embassy to Jerusalem, and had it happened, we would have been the first to do so. Now we may sooner or later follow the United States “Every country has the right to decide upon the location of its embassy.” The Czech Republic’s Foreign Ministry announced Thursday that it recognized West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Last May, the Czech parliament voted to recognize Jerusalem, along the 1967 lines, as the capital of Israel.


Czech President Zeman on Saturday accused EU states of being “cowards” in their response to his US counterpart Donald Trump recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.




An interfaith group from Bahrain which is paying an unprecedented public visit to Israel this week has received a warm welcome in the Jewish state, but is generating uproar across the Arab world. The 25 participants include Sunni and Shiite Muslims, as well as Buddhists, Christians, Hindus and Sikhs


A delegation of Israeli business leaders is due to visit Bahrain next month in a follow up to the current interfaith group visit.



The Jerusalem Municipality will continue its annual tradition of distributing complimentary Christmas trees to Jerusalem’s residents in  celebration of the holiday, part of the city’s comprehensive Christmas preparations… Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael (Jewish National Fund) invites members of the Christian community in Israel to its annual Christmas tree distribution at locations in Northern Israel at a minimal cost.



 Haisam Hassanein (Egyptian-American commentator): It is time to settle the status of Jerusalem forever. Successive U.S. administrations have delayed such a move in the hope that Palestinians and Israelis will someday compromise on this issue. This was a grave mistake. First, Palestinian leaders have never compromised freely without pressure…Acknowledging Jerusalem as Israel’s capital just may be the necessary breath of fresh air we need: It will settle this issue, and if they want and need a state, Palestinians will have to move on to issues that truly deserve and demand negotiations.


New York Post editorial : Since Jerusalem actually is Israel’s capital, and has been for seven decades, the Palestinians and the rest of the world are going to have to get over it eventually. The move shouldn’t be controversial: Jewish ties to Jerusalem go back millennia. The holy city is the site of the First and Second Temples; it’s been Jews’ spiritual capital for millennia, even in times of exile. The Palestinians don’t want to recognize those basic facts, but that denial is their problem, and one the rest of the world shouldn’t keep enabling.


Tom Gross: The Arab governments in particular have had enough of Palestinian intransigence…Speak to them in private as I do, and you will hear this time and again. The Sunni Arab states want and need cooperation with Israel and are tired of the Palestinians’ refusal to even negotiate with Israel.


Jeff Jaccoby: During the centuries when various Islamic dynasties controlled Jerusalem, none established Jerusalem as its capital. After 1948 when east Jerusalem and the Temple Mount were under Muslim rule, they were ignored by the Arab and Muslim powers. No foreign Arab leader ever paid a visit, not even to pray at the al-Aqsa mosque. Palestinians placed so low a priority on Jerusalem that the Palestinian National Covenant of 1964, the PLO’s founding charter, makes no reference to it. Only when the Jews returned after the Six-Day War did the Arabs grow passionate about Jerusalem.



Nikki Haley, US Ambassador to the UN: It’s important to be clear about exactly what the President’s decision does. The President has announced that the United States recognizes the obvious – that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. He has also instructed the State Department to begin the process of relocating the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. That is what the President has done.

And this is what he has not done: The United States has not taken a position on boundaries or borders. The specific dimensions of sovereignty over Jerusalem are still to be decided by the Israelis and the Palestinians in negotiations. The United States has not advocated changing any of the arrangements at the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif. The President specifically called for maintaining the status quo at the holy sites.

Finally, and critically, the United States is not predetermining final status issues. We remain committed to achieving a lasting peace agreement. We support a two-state solution if agreed to by the parties.


Israel Update: 7 December 2017

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President Trump on Wednesday formally recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, calling it “a recognition of reality” and setting in motion a plan to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv.


Transcript & video of Trump’s speech:


Hours after recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital Wednesday, and saying he had instructed the State Department to begin preparation to relocate the US embassy there, US President Donald Trump signed the waiver putting off any such move by another six months.


In April, Russia recognised (West) Jerusalem as Israel’s capital ( ) and the Russian Ambassador to Israel reiterated in a statement today Thursday that Russia considers west Jerusalem to be Israel’s capital, and suggested the possibility that Russia, too, could move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem once a peace deal is reached between Israel and the Palestinians.


The Czech Parliament voted to recognise (west) Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in May & the Czech Republic confirmed that decision yesterday a few hours after Trump’s speech:


Palestinians rioted across the West Bank & Gaza



The New York Times: Declaring Jerusalem to be Israel’s capital would not itself mark a change in American law. In 1995, President Clinton signed the Jerusalem Embassy Act which declares “Since 1950, the city of Jerusalem has been the capital of the State of Israel.”  Until Wednesday, the Act remained unimplemented by U.S. presidents.


The U.S. already treats Jerusalem as the headquarters of the Israeli government, holding meetings there, and has a large consulate in Jerusalem.


The Senate’s top Democrat, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, said Tuesday he had …called on Trump to move the U.S. Embassy and “show the world that the U.S. definitively acknowledges Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.” Maryland Senator Ben Cardin, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, reiterated his support for recognizing Jerusalem: “I believe that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, so to me, that’s not news


David Horovitz: (Trump) declared America’s recognition of Jerusalem while subtly but clearly indicating that, for now, he was speaking about the ostensibly non-disputed Israeli areas of the city…far from ruling out a Palestinian state, he potentially ruled it in, saying that the US would accept a two-state solution if the Israelis and Palestinians agreed on it…But if Abbas did truly want to come to the negotiating table, there was nothing in Trump’s Jerusalem address on Wednesday that closed the door on any of his ostensible goals


Alan Dershowitz: President Trump’s decision to officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital helps to restore the appropriate balance… President Trump was right to undo the damage wrought by his predecessor.


Elliott Abrams: Lies and evasions make peace impossible. Telling the truth brings it closer. Trump is not destroying his own peace efforts but grounding them in reality…This decision advances peace because it tells Palestinians and Arab governments to respect reality.


According to Col. (res.) Dr. Eran Lerman, former deputy for foreign policy and international affairs at Israel’s National Security Council, U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would send a strong message to the Palestinians that their dream of rewriting history so that it does not include any Jewish historical ties to Jerusalem is simply not going to work. Such recognition would correct a historical anomaly that denies Israel the right to say where its capital is.


Jonathan Halevi:Palestinian reactions to Trump’s speech demonstrate again that the “spontaneous popular protests” are pre-planned actions by the senior echelon of the Palestinian leadership.



Security forces on Friday arrested two Israeli Bedouin on suspicion of involvement in the fatal stabbing of Sgt. Ron Kokia in Arad last Thursday while waiting for a bus outside a shopping mall.,7340,L-5051739,00.html


Following the arrests, mayors of Bedouin communities met with the mayor of Arad to reaffirm their commitment to coexistence after the One  said that the Bedouin wanted to live in peace with their Jewish neighbours. Another urged greater oversight of the material that young Bedouin are exposed to.


Israeli planes reportedly struck an Iranian military base 13 km. south of Damascus, overnight Friday


The Iranian opposition has reported in detail on the location of Iranian bases in Syria and the deployment of Iranian forces and its proxies, numbering 70,000, in that country.


The military facility near Damascus which was reportedly attacked by Israel on Monday is known to Western intelligence services as one of the main development and production centres of the Syrian government’s Scientific Studies and Research Centre where sophisticated weapons  are developed for the Syrian regime. The big balls of fire that rose over the area after the strike indicate that the target was weapons, perhaps missiles, which were ready for delivery. Israel’s mostly covert “war between wars” has so far prevented the transfer of large quantities of precision-guided missiles to Hizbullah.,7340,L-5052290,00.html



The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the Taylor Force Act on Tuesday. The bill would reduce U.S. funding for the Palestinians unless their official bodies stop subsidizing families of killers of Israelis. It would leave in place funding for Palestinian security forces and a handful of humanitarian enterprises. The Senate is considering an identical bill.




The head of Britain’s armed forces, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, arrived for an official visit to Israel last week as a guest of the IDF Chief of Staff.

The British helicopter carrier HMS Ocean, the flagship of the Royal Navy, docked in Haifa, Israel, last Thursday.


Caesarea-based startup Cnoga Medical Ltd. says it has come up with a way to track blood glucose levels in diabetes patients without pricking or pain.


The Israeli army’s first female combat tank operators completed their training on Tuesday as part of a pilot programme to assess fuller gender integration in the Armoured Corps.



Zambia is set to host the first ever Africa-Israel Summit slated for 2018




Greece, Cyprus, Italy and Israel have signed a memorandum of understanding for constructing an underwater gas pipeline from the Eastern Mediterranean region to Greece and Italy, which will allow the transportation of newly discovered Cypriot and Israeli gas reserves to mainland Europe


Ron Ben Yishai: The attack on an Iranian base in Syria was meant to validate the red lines Israel set to the Russians, the Americans, Assad’s regime, Hizbullah and the Iranians. Permanent Iranian military presence in Syria is a red line that will not be accepted, even in its initial stages.,7340,L-5050804,00.html


Ron Prosor: Last week the UN Security Council debated a report recently published by UNIFIL, the UN Interim Force in Lebanon, which ignored Hizbullah’s 150,000 short- and medium-range missiles directed towards Israeli cities and threatening the entire Middle East. Instead of detailing the locations of weapon stockpiles and asking the UN Security Council to strengthen its mandate so they are able to raid them, the report goes into detail about the 420 Lebanese shepherds spotted near the border area.
Hizbullah’s ability to roam freely in southern Lebanon emboldens it everywhere else. It grows stronger by the day and wealthier through Iranian funding.

Israel Update: 30 November 2017

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Israel will join the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Power Africa programme, connecting millions of people to electricity with renewable energy projects. Israeli companies will be able to negotiate contracts in countries where there is no official Israeli presence, advancing major clean-energy projects and counterbalancing Chinese solar companies. Two out of three people in sub-Saharan Africa lack reliable electricity.
While P.M. Netanyahu was in Kenya for meetings with a dozen African heads of state, Israel announced the opening of a new embassy in Kigali, Rwanda,
A delegation of over 35 British investors, led by the deputy chairman of the Bank of England, made a three-day visit to Israel. It was the largest delegation to date organized by the chamber of commerce UK Israel Business (UKIB), which aims to connect businesses in the two nations.
Britain is buying Israel’s Iron Dome short range missile defence system to protect the Falkland Islands The system is produced by  Rafael Advanced Defence Systems using software developed by Israeli startup mPrest. A British Defence Ministry spokesman said, “Following an open competition we selected Rafael for a £78 million contract to provide the main computer system and boost our defence of the Falkland Islands.
60 members of the European Parliament called on EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini to stop EU funding and isolate the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Among the signatories were representatives from Romania, Lithuania, Germany, Poland, Czech Republic & Spain.
The EU Foreign Policy Chief announced Tuesday that she has invited Israel’s PM
to address EU foreign ministers in Brussels on Dec. 11. A senior diplomatic official said Netanyahu will tell European leaders that their obsessive focus on the settlements is “ridiculous,” remind them that the Arab-Israeli conflict predated the settlements by 50 years, and say that 85% of the settlements are in settlement blocs that “everyone knows will be part of Israel.”In addition, Netanyahu will point out that “we in Israel are the future, we will bring you water, technology and security against terrorists – we have blocked 30 to 40 major attacks in Europe
Israel, reportedly has assisted Egypt throughout its fight against the Islamic State insurgency in the northern Sinai Peninsula, including intelligence sharing and even allegedly carrying out drone strikes against the terrorists. More publicly, since 2013, Israel has also allowed additional Egyptian forces into the peninsula, beyond the level permitted under the 1979 peace accord between the two countries. Heavy weapons, like tanks, artillery and attack helicopters, have been brought into Sinai to fight the Islamists, a sign that Jerusalem is not concerned that the weaponry could be turned against it.
The Egyptian flag lit up the facade of the Tel Aviv municipality building Friday evening, hours after terrorists attacked a crowded mosque in the Sinai Peninsula, killing over 300 people.
Israeli officials briefed a number of ambassadors from states contributing to UNIFIL on Monday before a discussion on UNIFIL in the Security Council. Israel does not expect UNIFIL to confront Hizbullah militarily, but it wants there to be a better record of violations. Jerusalem has complained in recent months that it has provided information to UNIFIL about Hizbullah establishing outposts along the border with Israel, but that these complaints were dismissed without serious investigation or inspection.
At least 10 mortar shells were fired from the Gaza Strip at nearby Israeli troops, and in response Israeli tanks and aircraft targeted two Hamas and two Islamic Jihad positions on Thursday. The exchange came exactly one month after Israeli forces destroyed an Islamic Jihad cross-border attack tunnel. At least 14 terrorists were killed, including two top commanders.
MedyMatch Technology, an Israeli startup that has developed an artificial intelligence based software to help clinicians assess head trauma or stroke, has entered a partnership with GE Healthcare to integrate its products with the US conglomerate’s imaging solutions.
Israeli startup Raziel Therapeutics has developed a medical treatment that melts away fat cells upon delivery of a new synthetic small chemical molecule via subcutaneous injection. Clinical trials conducted on 24 patients in the US showed a 30 to 50 percent reduction in fat around the site of a single, subcutaneous injection.
A virtual reality camera, produced by Human Eyes, an Israel-based company, has
been sent into space to take part in a National Geographic documentary.
Twice a year, for the past five years, doctors from Haifa’s Rambam Medical Centre have travelled to Tbilisi to perform operations on local youngsters with serious congenital defects. The delegation consists of pediatric surgeons, anesthesiologists and intensive care specialists.
The IDF last Thursday arrested five members of a terror group who threw a number of bombs at Israeli traffic on the tunnel road leading to Jerusalem from Gush Etzion. When questioned, the five admitted to the incidents.
NOVEMBER 30th has been dedicated by the government of Israel as a day marking those “Jews who were forced to flee Arab countries”.
Tzahi Gavrieli: Seventy years after the United Nations established a Jewish state in the Land of Israel, hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees from Arab countries and Iran are living in Israel… But they decided to build again, to give up their refugee narrative, to understand that the years following World War II created a new reality for not only themselves, but tens of millions of others as well. On the other hand, the preservation of the seven decade old narrative of Palestinian refugees is still in full force. It continues to serve political goals and is used as a tool to delegitimize Israel and not recognize it as the homeland of the Jewish people. The call for the return of millions of Palestinian refugees to Israel is just another means in the quest to destroy the Jewish state.
Haisam Hassanein:  It came as a shock when during my first visit to Israel in 2014, I met a man who spoke to me in perfect Iraqi Arabic. For more than a thousand years, Mizrahi Jews from eastern lands lived and thrived from Morocco to India and Central Asia. This story came to a crushing end for most Jews in 1948, when Arab states responded to the creation of Israel by forcing out their Jewish populations. Today, as Israeli society becomes more inclusive, eastern Jewish culture is honoured…As a Muslim, I am acutely aware of the hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees who have been left to languish in camps for decades, unwelcome in the lands of their Arab and Muslim neighbours. The successful absorption of Jews from eastern countries in Israel is a modern-day success story that deserves to be remembered, celebrated and emulated.
In a tweet on Friday, Hamza al-Salem, assistant professor at the College of Business Administration at Prince Sultan University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, said, “I expect that if peace were made with Israel and the visa and entering and exiting process were made easy, it [Israel] would become the top tourist destination for Saudis. It is one of God’s most beautiful countries in terms of its nature and development. It has combined the spirit of the beauty of the east and west, old and new civilizations. When we have made peace with Israel, exploitation of it will become nonexistent. The government will not accept inciting against it.” Saud Fozan, a journalist for, tweeted in October, “I am not here to defend the Jews, i.e., the Israelis, but truth be told…show me one Israeli who killed a single Saudi, and in return I can list 1,000 Saudis who murdered their own kin with explosive belts by joining al-Qaeda and ISIS

Israel Update: 23 November 2017

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In unprecedented footage, the IDF allowed an Israeli TV crew to film it opening the border gates to Syria, and allowing in a group of mothers and their children, who were then transported to an Israeli hospital for medical treatment. Israel, which also maintains a field hospital on the border and has sent humanitarian aid to Syria, has treated 3,000 Syrians since it began offering medical assistance in the course of the civil war across the border, of whom almost 1,000 were children with chronic conditions. Several Syrian mothers were interviewed and expressed profound appreciation to Israel for the medical assistance. “I wish we could stay here for good,” said another of the interviewees. If the border to Israel was open, “I’d be the first to cross,” she said, adding  “All of Syria would follow me… All the civilians left in Syria would come.”


Three Syrian rebels wounded last week in a chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime are being treated in Israel. Helicopters belonging to the Assad regime threw explosive drums containing toxic gases believed to be chlorine on a rebel position


For the second time in two days, an IDF tank on Sunday fired a warning shot at Syrian forces operating in the demilitarized zone between the two countries. The IDF said the warning shot came because Syrian forces were constructing a fortified position in the demilitarized zone that runs along the border, in violation of the 1974 truce agreement between Israel and Syria which “prohibits the entry of heavy construction tools or military vehicles into the demilitarized zone,



An attempt to smuggle tons of explosive material into Gaza was thwarted by Israel thanks to an advanced chemistry laboratory set up in recent weeks at Israel’s Kerem Shalom crossing. Advanced technology permits experts to precisely identify gases, liquids, powders, metals and other substances before they enter Gaza. A truck transporting motor oil was found to actually be carrying a dangerous substance destined to assist in the production of large quantities of explosive material by terror groups in Gaza. Israel said it foiled 1,226 smuggling attempts through the Kerem Shalom crossing in 2016, an increase of 165% from the previous year.

(NOTE: the author of this article is Eytan Halon whose parents & older siblings were members of KS&DS some years ago)


At the end of 2016, a new branch of St John’s Eye Hospital was opened in Hamas-controlled Gaza and, corneal transplant surgeries are now being performed in the  Gaza strip by Palestinian doctors who have undergone training in Israel…. Since the beginning of 2017, approximately 60 corneal transplant surgeries have been performed by doctors in Gaza. Israel regularly offers its medical services, know-how and expertise to Palestinian medical services and patients, in many cases free of charge



A Palestinian terrorist rammed his car into two people, seriously injuring one of them last Friday. The first victim, a 70-year-old man, sustained a light head wound. . The second victim, 35, was seriously wounded with a brain injury.  The driver then got out of his car with a knife and tried to stab soldiers who responded by firing at him.




Hodaya Asulin was 14 when a bomb hidden in a backpack exploded at a bus stop in Jerusalem in 2011. Since then, she has been unconscious, receiving round-the-clock care from family, friends and volunteers. She died on Wednesday. The terror bombing killed British national Mary Jean Gardner and injured dozens of passersby.



US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson refused to certify last Friday that the Palestinians are complying with a 2015 Congressional mandate, which induces penalties if the Palestinian Authority pursues the prosecution of Israelis at the International Criminal Court. The specific penalization, according to a provision in a US law passed in December 2015, is the closure of the PLO’s mission to the US, located in Washington, DC.

The Palestinians have frozen all contacts with the United States after it decided to close their representative office in Washington, officials said on Tuesday. Over the weekend the US State Department stated that the PLO office in DC would be closed because the Palestinians had violated a 2015 US Congressional mandate.




About half the employed Arab residents of east Jerusalem, some 35,000 people, work in the Jewish sector, according to a new study by the Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research. Arabs comprise 71% of workers in the construction sector, 57% in public transportation, 40% in the hotel and restaurant industries, and 20% in municipal health care and welfare. The study shows a complex picture of formal and informal ties between Jews and Arabs in Jerusalem workplaces, both in periods of quiet and during waves of terrorist attacks


In 2007, there were 300 Israeli Arab engineers working in hi-tech. Today, there are 5,000 Arab computer programmers and software engineers employed across Israel.




The European Parliament has endorsed a proposal of its president to systematically deny access to all persons, groups, or entities involved in terrorist acts. The decision followed a complaint by several MEPs after Palestinian terrorist Leila Khaled, a member of the  PFLP was invited in September to speak in the European Parliament. Khaled was involved in the hijacking of an American airplane in 1969 and a failed hijacking attempt on an El Al flight the following year.



Representatives from 12 NATO countries visited Israel recently for the first-of-its-kind conference on urban warfare and combat in populated areas, a field in which Israel has amassed significant experience.” During the conference, analysts, policy planners and military attaches from the U.S., Germany, France, Italy, Canada, Belgium, the Czech Republic, the U.K., Hungary and other states shared their experiences.




Israel has made disproportionately large contributions to the fight against cancer. A breakthrough in the 1980s by Israeli scientist Eli Canaani was critical to the development of Gleevec, a drug that has saved the lives of millions diagnosed with leukemia. Velcade, a drug used to treat bone marrow cancer, was based on the research of Israeli professors Avram Hershko and Aaron Ciechanover, and their collaborator Irwin Rose. 
Israeli scientists discovered the role that mutations in the p53 gene play in causing cancerous tumors, and how a minor mutation in the RAD51 gene increases the risk of breast cancer in women with the BRCA2 gene mutation. Scientists at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Hadassah Medical Centre contributed to the platform science that resulted in the development of Doxil, the first drug encapsulated in a microscopic fat bubble for direct delivery to a tumor site.




In 2017, a record 2,700 women were recruited into the IDF’s four mixed-gender battalions and to the Home Front Command’s Rescue Division, up from 600 in 2012.,7340,L-5043945,00.html


All Israelis are drafted into the military at age 18, with a few exceptions. Religiously observant Israeli women, traditionally have opted to enroll in national service, volunteering in schools or the community for a year or two, instead of the military. But since 2010, the number of religious women who want to serve has jumped from 935 in 2010 to 2,499 in 2016.




The UN is to announce that Israel will head efforts to assist agriculture worldwide through the analysis of satellite images derived from its Venus vegetation and environment monitoring microsatellite, launched into space in July




Kuwaiti columnist Abdullah Al-Hadlaq told Alrai TV on Sunday, “… Israel is an independent and sovereign state. It exists, and it has a seat at the United Nations, and most peace-loving and democratic countries recognize it.” The countries that don’t recognize Israel are “the countries of tyranny and oppression.” “When the State of Israel was established in 1948, there was no state called ‘Palestine’,” he said. “There is no occupation. There is a  people returning to its promised land. “The Land of Israel was promised to the Jews by Allah, he said.


Former Saudi Justice Minister Muhammad Bin abdel-Kareem Aleissa said Tuesday, “Any act of violence or terrorism that tries to hide behind religion has no justification whatsoever, not even in Israel,” the Israeli newspaper Maariv reported. Aleissa was appointed last year as the secretary-general of the Muslim World League, and is reportedly close to Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman




The 70th Anniversary of the “Partitiion Plan” 29.11.47

Dore Gold: It is often incorrectly asserted that the United Nations created the State of Israel by means of UN General Assembly Resolution 181, what is also known as the Partition Plan, which was adopted on November 29, 1947, 70 years ago. UN Resolution 181 called explicitly for an independent Jewish state alongside of an Arab state and provided international legitimacy for the Jewish claim to statehood. It was a morally significant action, but like all UN General Assembly resolutions, it was not legally binding.

What established Israel was not the action of the UN. What actually established Israel was the Declaration of Independence by Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, on May 15,1948.

When Arab armies converged on the nascent State of Israel, put Jerusalem under siege, and bombarded the Old City with artillery, the UN did nothing. As Ben-Gurion told the Israeli Knesset in December 1949, “The UN didn’t lift a finger.”

Ben-Gurion declared, “We cannot regard the decision of the 29th of November 1947 as being possessed of any further moral force since the UN did not succeed in implementing its own decisions.”



Israel Update: 16 November 2017

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Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu offered humanitarian assistance, through the Red Cross, to the victims of the devastating earthquake that has killed hundreds in Iran and Iraq, but the offer was immediately rejected.  The assistance was meant to show Israel’s commitment to friendship with the people of Iran and Iraq, despite the activities of their governments. In 2003, Iran similarly rebuffed an Israeli offer of assistance after an earthquake.


The magnitude 7.2 earthquake caused tremors in parts of central Israel. The compiler of this update visiting a 21st floor apartment in Netanya, experienced the building swaying, light fittings rattling, furniture moving etc.


Iran is building a permanent military base in Syria just south of Damascus, and only 30 miles from the Israeli border the BBC reported Friday, citing a Western intelligence official. The BBC showed a series of satellite pictures indicating widespread construction at the site. Israel has long warned that Iran is trying to establish a permanent presence in Syria as part of its efforts to control a land corridor from Iran through to the Mediterranean Sea as it attempts to expand its influence across the Middle East.

The I.D.F.’s Patriot missile defence system shot down a drone above the Golan Heights Saturday after the unmanned aircraft approached the Israeli border from Syria. Israeli security officials said the drone’s operators had deliberately attempted to fly the aircraft across the Israeli border, later concluding that the aircraft belonged to Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime.




British Airways chairman and CEO Alex Cruz recently visited Israel marking the 85th anniversary of flights from the UK. In 1932, Imperial Airways (later BOAC, then B.A.) operated flying boats that landed on the Sea of Galilee 72 hours after leaving the UK, carrying 16 passengers. After landing, the passengers were transported by boat to land. Cruz said that B.A. would consider operating flights to Eilat through a new brand  “Level”, being launched in response to growth by low cost airlines.




A Palestinian man was arrested outside a settlement last Thursday, after a search of his backpack yielded a meat cleaver, a knife, and a copy of the Quran.


The recent 11-day Blue Flag aerial exercise in southern Israel included over 1,000 people, five different types of fighter jets, dozens of aircraft and hundreds of sorties in the IAF’s largest aerial exercise to date and the largest in the world in 2017, according to the Israeli military. For the first time Germany’s Luftwaffe took part alongside planes from India, France, Greece, Poland, Italy, the US and Israel

Blue Flag is not only a military exercise; it is a demonstration by Israel that more countries than ever are willing to engage with it publicly as strategic allies.



Israel’s Fluence Corp. has been awarded a 1.5 million euro contract to supply three NIROBOX reverse-osmosis seawater desalination units for the French island of Mayotte in the Indian Ocean. This follows the company’s recent contract to supply a desalination plant in South Africa.



In an unprecedented interview to a Saudi news outlet, the I.D.F. Chief of Staff said Thursday that Israel is prepared to share intelligence with the Gulf kingdom in their joint efforts to curb Iranian influence in the region. Israel and Saudi Arabia do not have official diplomatic relations.




In an interview just before the 40th anniversary of former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat’s historic visit to Israel in 1977, Egypt’s ambassador to Israel said his country’s 1979 peace agreement with Israel should serve as a blueprint for Israel to forge comprehensive peace with the Arab world. On November 20, 1977, Sadat made history when he became the first Arab leader to address the Knesset and call for peace with Israel. However, reports in Hebrew-language media this week said that not a single Egyptian official had accepted an Israeli invitation to next week’s ceremony marking the 40th anniversary of Sadat’s visit.



Israel Aerospace Industries has developed two new unmanned ground vehicles: a D9 Panda bulldozer and Robattle, an engineering vehicle-robot hybrid. A company official said: “These systems will provide commanders an edge when trying to promulgate their strategy to outsmart the enemy, thereby carrying out missions more effectively and precisely without sending a plant or battalion of soldiers out in harm’s way…and could change the rules of engagement.,7340,L-5040230,00.html



The UN on Monday authorized Israel to expand its observation systems supporting the U.N.’s peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic to help improve security in the country. Since 2015, Israel has contributed both static and mobile observation systems to the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA). These capacities have proven highly successful in increasing situational awareness and preventing outbreaks of violence, including during the visit of Pope Francis, the election process in Bangui (CAR’s capital) and many other events associated with potential security threats.The Department of Field Support thanked the Government of Israel for its continued support to UN peacekeeping.


The Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Bangalore has inaugurated a dedicated Israel Centre which aims to serve as a focal point of academic cooperation between the two nations.




11,000 Israeli teenagers are working voluntary shifts as emergency medical technicians on MDA ambulances throughout Israel, making up a remarkable 60 percent of the volunteer staff, thought to be the biggest youth corps by percentage in the world. Dina Abu Toameh of Jerusalem, a 17-year-old Muslim, says the calls she finds most gratifying are those where her Arabic translation abilities are critical.



As a result of unrelenting Palestinian efforts to have Israel sanctioned by FIFA over Israeli soccer clubs in the West Bank, FIFA President Gianni Infantino sent a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, saying his organization was tired of being pulled into internal political matters.”We are not the playground of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” he wrote.




Facing criticism at home, an Iraqi beauty queen on Wednesday defended her decision to pose for a photo with her Israeli counterpart and to post the joint selfie online, saying it was an expression of a desire for peace


Aftermath of Priti Patel affair:

J.Post Editorial 12/11/17. Extract: the British press, in a tendentious attempt to sensationalize what was in reality nothing more than a breach of protocol, presented one leg of the trip as though Patel was seeking to transfer hard-earned British taxpayers’ money to the Israeli military. In reality, however, Patel was looking into the possibility that Britain would help defray some of the costs for maintaining an Israeli field hospital on the Golan Heights that treats wounded Syrian refugees…But Patel’s treatment is not just the collateral effect of May’s crisis-ridden government. Rather, the Patel scandal is an uncomfortable reminder of the toxic atmosphere of anti-Israel sentiment both in British society and in the Foreign Office

Simon Plosker: As with so much media coverage involving Israel today, nuance is not part of the conversation. Surely it should be possible to acknowledge both that Patel may have ignored ministerial protocol, and that Israel is a close ally of the UK.

Balfour Centenary articles


Einat Wilf: Israel is the outcome of deliberate Jewish action – not of foreign hand-outs. Israel is a country attained – not a land given. Without collective Jewish mobilization in the name of self-determination and liberation, this (Balfour) declaration would have come to naught. The idea of Jews as active players in history – as masters of their fate – still grates on the consciousness of peoples and civilizations that were structured on the presumption that the Jews should have headed to the dustbin of history. For too many, the story that Jews could attain something for themselves by operating, as all peoples do, on multiple fronts – diplomatically, economically, militarily – is still so fanciful that to some, the story of Israel only makes sense if presented as a series of handouts by foreign powers with shady motivations. To the chagrin of those who want to put the Jews back “in their proper place,” the State of Israel came into being 31 years after the Balfour Declaration precisely because Zionist Jews were done entrusting their fate to others. Through their actions, from 1917 on, the Zionist Jews simply said to Britain, and the world: “Thank you very much Lord Balfour. We’ll take it from here.”

Colonel Richard Kemp: The Jews of Palestine were a strategic asset to Britain in WW2 and Israel’s strategic value to Great Britain and the world has increased dramatically from the early days of 1917 to the very present.


Adam Levick (UK Media Watch): The Guardian published an op-ed by PA President Mahmoud Abbas that included nearly every distortion and lie within what’s known as the ‘Palestinian narrative’…  While Abbas claims that 2.9 million Palestinians live in the West Bank under a draconian military occupation, in fact, over 95% of the Palestinian population in the West Bank live under Palestinian Authority control …Abbas’ op-ed is an illustration of the Palestinians’ refusal to acknowledge and learn from past mistakes and come to terms with the true “obstacles to peace”: endemic anti-Semitism, the glorification of violence, and the failure to promote tolerance, pluralism and other liberal democratic values.


Israel Update: 8 November 2017

Flag of Israel

At the time of writing, the situation regarding the UK’s Secretary of State for Overseas Development remains unresolved, and is therefore outside the remit of this Update. HRG



The Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs along with Magen David Adom (Israel’s national emergency medical service) have put together an aid package for Madagascar following the devastating outbreak of the “Black Death Plague” in October.



On Tuesday evening, more than 3,000 Christian and Jewish supporters of Israel, including several KS&DS members,  gathered at the Royal Albert Hall  in Central London at the biggest celebration marking the Balfour centenary.



The Palestinian Authority fully restored security coordination with Israel two weeks ago, PA Police chief Hazem Atallah confirmed on Wednesday.


In a highly unusual move, Israel last Friday said it would defend the Syrian Druze village Hader, hours after a terrorist killed nine people in a suicide bombing just across the border that then sparked clashes between Syrian government forces and rebels…Spillover fire from the Friday morning clashes also lightly injured a resident of the Israeli Druze town of Majdal Shams who was hit by small arms fire from across the border and  treated by paramedics at the scene.



Israeli soldiers on Sunday arrested a Palestinian man who was approaching the Jewish community of Mevo Dotan with a knife in his hand.

Border police on Wednesday found a knife hidden in the sock of Palestinian teenager who tried to enter the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron without going through a metal detector.

Israel Prison Service officers foiled an attempt to smuggle SIM cards and cell phones to a jailed terrorist, using the prisoner’s five-year-old son as an intermediary, A search of the child revealed that he held ten small, homemade cell phones and three SIM cards in his underwear.

The prisoner is serving a 12 year sentence for plotting to manufacture explosives and murder innocents.



For the first time, a female pilot Capt. Y, 27, an F-15 navigator has been appointed deputy commander of an Israel Air Force combat squadron. Two other female officers were appointed as deputy commanders in a drone squadron.



At least 87 multinational corporations from 18 countries have opened up R&D or innovation centres in Israel over the past three years, a majority after acquiring an Israeli startup. This is according to a new study showing the scale of foreign interest in Israeli technology and talent by Start-up Nation Central, an Israel-based non-profit that tracks the Israeli innovation ecosystem.



The Israeli startup Zebra Medical Vision, which uses artificial intelligence to read medical scans in order to automatically detect anomalies, has partnered with multinational tech giant Google to provide its sophisticated algorithms on Google Cloud, where hospitals and medical professionals can access the service for $1 per scan.




In a nostalgic yet soulful return, 80s music icon Boy George and his band Culture Club kicked off their world tour in Tel Aviv Tuesday night, their first show in Israel in 30 years.



Israel’s P.M Netanyahu was interviewed by Andrew Marr ( length:16.37)


From Palestinian Media Watch: Mahmoud Abbas, Chairman of the Palestinian Authority, published an op-ed in the Guardian on Nov. 1 describing the Palestinian people as “a proud nation with a rich heritage of ancient civilizations.” On the same day, official PA TV broadcast an interview with historian Abd Al-Ghani Salameh, who explained that in 1917 there was no Palestinian people. “Before the Balfour Promise [Declaration] when the Ottoman rule ended, Palestine’s political borders as we know them today did not exist, and there was nothing called a Palestinian people with a political identity as we know today.”

Efraim Karsh: The Israeli-Palestinian conflict evolved in spite of the Balfour Declaration, not because of it. The Balfour Declaration was quickly endorsed by the contemporary international community, including the leaders of the nascent pan-Arab movement….

Moreover, it was not the Balfour Declaration that paved the road to the displacement of many Palestinians but its rejection by the extremist Palestinian Arab leadership headed by the Jerusalem mufti Hajj Amin Husseini – this against the wishes of ordinary Palestinian Arabs who preferred to coexist with their Jewish neighbours and take advantage of opportunities created by the evolving Jewish national enterprise…

On Jan. 3, 1919,  (Hasmemite) Emir Faisal signed an agreement with Weizmann supporting the creation of a Jewish national home in Palestine in accordance with the Balfour Declaration and pledging the adoption of all necessary measures “to encourage and stimulate immigration of Jews into Palestine on a large scale.”