December 15, 2017

In News Surrounding Israel by The Friends of Israel

State Hanukkah candle-lighting ceremony dedicated to Holocaust survivors

Holocaust survivors in Jerusalem, New York City, and Berlin attended Hanukkah candle-lighting ceremonies held in their honor on Thursday evening (14th).

In Jerusalem, the official state candle-lighting ceremony was, for the first time, dedicated to survivors and their reemergence from darkness into light..

Hundreds of survivors attended the event at the Western Wall along with their families.

Similar candle-lighting events were held in Berlin, hosted by the President of the Bundestag Dr. Wolfgang Schauble, and in New York City.


Hamas fires rocket at Israel but ends up damaging only a UN school

Palestinian terrorists operating out of  the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip fired four rockets at southern Israel on Wednesday evening (13th), but all they managed to damage was one of their own UN-run schools.

Two of the rockets, identified as genuine threats, were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile defense system. A third rocket landed in an open field. The fourth hit the UN-school in Gaza territory.



IDF strikes Hamas targets in Gaza

The Israeli Air Force late Wednesday night (13th) attacked three targets in Gaza belonging to the Hamas terrorist organization which serve as training and storage sites for weapons.

The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said that the airstrike was in retaliation for the rocket fire on communities in southern Israel Wednesday evening.

Israeli officials insist that if there is not quiet for the residents of southern Israel, there will be no quiet for the residents of Gaza.



IDF closes crossings over stepped-up rocket attacks

Israel announced the closure of its Gaza border crossings on Thursday (14th) in response to daily rocket fire from the coastal enclave over the past week.

The IDF said in a statement that “due to the security events and in accordance with security assessments” Kerem Shalom crossing – the main passage point for goods entering the Gaza Strip – and the Erez pedestrian crossing would be shut as of Thursday (14th).  It did not say how long the closure would last.



100,000 turn out to mark Hamas’ 30th anniversary

At least 100,000 Palestinians gathered in Gaza City to mark the 30th anniversary of the founding of Hamas, the Islamic terror group that rules the territory.

Buses brought in men, women, and children brandishing Hamas’ green flags or sporting green scarves to the al-Katiba Square for Thursday’s rally (14th).

The anniversary comes at a low point for Hamas, with the terror organization isolated by Egypt and being targeted by Israeli airstrikes launched in response to rocket attacks against Israel’s population.

A decade after seizing Gaza by force, it has been compelled to seek reconciliation with its Fatah rival, led by Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank.



COGAT to Arabic-language BBC: ‘Hamas invests in tunnels, why not in hospitals?’

Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Maj.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai said in an interview with Arabic-language BBC that “Hamas and the denizens of Gaza still remember the results of the war three years ago.  What has Hamas caused?  Hunger, poverty, devastation and war.”

“During the past three years, more than 150 million dollars were invested by Hamas in its terror tunnels.  Why have they not invested in hospitals and schools?” Mordechai questioned.



Turkey, Lebanon eye embassies to Palestine in east Jerusalem

The Turkish and Lebanese foreign ministers announced in statements on Thursday (14th) their respective governments’ intentions to open embassies for the Palestinians in east Jerusalem.

There statements came on the backdrop of US President Donald Trump’s recognition of the city as Israel’s capital.



Vice President Pence’s first stop: The Western Wall

US Vice President Mike Pence will visit the Western Wall in Jerusalem as his first stop during his upcoming visit to israel next week.

The full itinerary of the vice president’s trip was published Thursday evening (14th).

Pence’s first visit to Israel since assuming office in January was delayed by several days in order to allow him to participate in the Senate vote on a Republican tax bill on Sunday (17th).

He will arrive in Israel Wednesday Dec. 20th.



JPost Poll: Skyrocketing support for Trump among Israelis

US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and start the process of moving the US Embassy there, has significantly increased his support among Jewish Israelis, according to a Smith Research poll taken Wednesday (13th) for The Jerusalem Post.

When asked if the Trump administration was more pro-Israel, more Pro-Palestinian, or neutral, 76% of the respondents said it was more pro-Israel.

The poll was the fourth conducted since Trump was sworn in as president last January.  Due to his campaign promises, Jewish Israelis received him warmly, with 79% saying in January that they expected his administration to be more pro-Israel.



Trump awarded Friends of Zion prize for support of Jews, Israel

The Friends of Zion Museum presented US President Donald Trump with the Friends of Zion award at the White House on Monday (11th) for his unwavering support of Israel as demonstrated last week in his official recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Dr. Mike Evans, the founder of the Friends of Zion Museum in Jerusalem, presented him with the award at a ceremony attended by government officials, family, and friends.

The award was established by the late Israeli President Shimon Peres, the museum’s first international chairman, “to recognize a global leader with courage to stand with the nation of Israel and the Jewish people.”

“President Trump’s historic recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, will secure his place in history as the first American president to take that step since the founding of the State of Israel in 1948,” Evans said.