PM Threatens More Operations, Says Hizbullah Will Pay ‘Heavy Price’
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday (4th) vowed to take additional steps, including clandestine operations to protect Israel against Hizbullah’s efforts to attack the Jewish state, hours after the IDF started a large-scale operation to destroy cross-border attack tunnels constructed by the Shiite terrorist organization.
“Anyone who tries to harm the state of Israel will pay a heavy price,” he said in a statement, his first public comment on Operation Northern Shield.
“We act with determination and responsibility in all areas simultaneously. We will continue with other actions, overt and covert, in order to ensure Israel’s security,” he said, adding that there had been early “successes” in the operation.
Netanyahu, who also serves as defense minister, returned to Israel from Brussels early on Tuesday (4th), after a snap meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, during which the two discussed the operation.
The prime minister told the US diplomat Monday (3rd) that the tunnels were “a flagrant violation of Israeli sovereignty and UN Security Council Resolution 1701,” according to a readout provided by Netanyahu’s office.
Netanyahu further told Pompeo that Tehran’s aggression also needed to be confronted in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and elsewhere.
The Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem said on Tuesday (4th) that Israel was not seeking war, and blamed the 2015 Iran nuclear deal for providing the Islamic Republic with cash that was used to help Hizbullah build its terror tunnels.
“Hizbullah is digging tunnels for terror purposes from Lebanon into Israel,” the ministry said in a statement, saying these acts constitute “a severe attack on Israel’s sovereignty” and violate UN Resolution 1701, which ended the 2006 war with Hizbullah, and 1559, which called on Hizbullah to cease militant activity in 2004.
“Israel is conducting defensive actions within its sovereign territory, Israel has the right to defend itself and is not interested in escalation,” the ministry statement read.
Security Cabinet Minister Charges Lebanon With Responsibility For Hizbullah Tunnels
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan set his sights on the Lebanese government as the IDF launched Operation Northern Shield to destroy Hizbullah attack tunnels into Israel on Sunday (2nd)
“It is clear to all that this is not only a major security event, but a major diplomatic one, because from today, the Lebanese government can no longer say Hizbullah is just an armed organization working in its territory,” Erdan said, in an interview with the Knesset Channel. “Today, the use of Lebanese infrastructure is clearer than ever, and is being used by a terror organization controlled by Iran to endanger Israel.”
Erdan said “the Lebanese government needs to understand that whatever happens in the future can endanger them, and all the results are their responsibility.”
The Security Cabinet minister vowed to show the world examples of Lebanon violating international law and Israeli sovereignty in Hizbullah building cross-border tunnels.
Asked whether Operation Northern Shield can lead to an escalation in the north, Erdan said: “We are working in Israeli sovereign territory. The one who needs to answer for violating international law is Hizbullah.”
Hizbullah has 15 seats in Lebanon’s parliament and is thought to be an extremely powerful political force in Lebanon.
Jerusalem’s New Mayor Sworn Into Office
Moshe Lion was sworn in as Jerusalem’s newest mayor Tuesday morning (4th), at an inauguration at city hall at Safra Square.
During the ceremony, Lion met his predecessor, the outgoing Mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat.
“It really begins 83 years ago in 1935, when my grandfather, Moshe, disembarked at Jaffa Port from a ship which had brought him there from Thessaloniki. He had in his arms a one-and-a-half-year-old son, my father, Shalom Lion. The first thing he did was make his way quickly to Jerusalem. Events during my grandfather’s life later brought him – and us – for parts of his life to Tel Aviv and Givatayim. But the journey to Jerusalem never ceased, and was always a part of our home, in prayer, in song, in our hearts, and in every moment of joy and sorrow,” said the new mayor.
“Dear father, look – the journey is over. Our feet are standing in the Gate of Jerusalem,” Lion added.
Lion, 57, became the 10th mayor of Israel’s capital since the establishment of the state in 1948, and the first mayor of Sephardic descent, along with the capital’s first mayor from the National-Religious sector.
Synagogue Vandalized In Basel While Congregants Were Inside
In yet another incident of apparent anti-Semitism, a window of a synagogue in Basel, Switzerland was smashed with a hammer on Saturday morning (1st) with congregants still inside.
The damage was discovered Saturday morning as worshipers gathered for the Shabbat morning service at the Chabad Lubavitch synagogue.
There are still no suspects, local authorities said.
“I’ve been living in Basel for 16 years. It’s the first time that I have been worried about myself and my family,” Rabbi Zalmen Wishedski of the Chabad Lubavitch synagogue told a local media outlet.
“The attackers want to intimidate us, but they will not succeed,” he said.
The incident comes after a kosher butcher shop in Basel was vandalized four times in October, in what local Jews have called an anti-Semitic campaign of intimidation.
Still Wishedski did not cancel the public Hanukkah candle-lighting ceremony held Tuesday evening (4th) in the market square.
Yaakov Haguel, acting director of the World Zionist Organization has called on the Swiss government to take action to “eliminate anti-semitism” in the country.
Novel Israeli ‘Gel’ propulsion To Slash Rocket-Launching Costs
Watching a live event happening half a world away, or chatting with someone in another country, would not be possible without the hundreds of communications satellites orbiting Earth to relay telecommunications signals electromagnetically.
Propelling the largest of those satellites requires costly and highly toxic jet fuel, while launching smaller satellites requires other liquid fuels that could benefit from improvement.
Israel startup NewRocket is developing ‘gel’ propulsion – a cheaper, more environmentally friendly rocket-engine technology offering the same level of performance and control as toxic “legacy fuel” and a better solution for smaller satellites, too.
The new head of this ambitious project is former Israeli fighter pilot Eran Privman, until recently the CEO of the equally ambitious SpacelL startup that’s developing the first Israeli unmanned spacecraft, intended to land on the moon early next year.
SpacelL, aims to accomplish, on a relatively shoestring budget, a private space mission previously possible only for superpower governments with big pockets. But the price tag is high and fuel is a factor in that cost.
“SpacelL uses legacy fuel for the strong propulsion system it needs to land on the moon, so after five years managing SpacelL I know the problems and costs well,” Privman told ISRAEL21c.
“From Day 1 the cost of space vehicles has been very expensive, almost prohibiting private people from getting into the industry. NewRocket is trying to bring down the cost of propulsion to much cheaper numbers than in the past 50 years,” he says.
“We do that with a technology developed by Prof. Benny Natan at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology over the last two decades.
Privman, who has a doctorate in neuroscience, explains that Natan’s gel technology fits between the two existing propulsion alternatives: solid fuel, which burns for a single burst to launch rocket ships, and liquid fuel such as hydrazine, typically used to position satellites.
The fast-growing international private communications satellite market is the main focus for NewRocket.