January 2, 2018

In News Surrounding Israel by The Friends of Israel

Netanyahu wishes Iranians ‘success in noble quest for freedom’

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wished Iranian protesters “success” fighting for their freedom, in a video released on Monday (1st).  The English language YouTube video was released with both Farsi and Arabic subtitles.

Netanyahu began the video addressing Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s claims that Israel is behind the protests, calling them “laughable,”

He went on to commend the “brave Iranians pouring into the streets,” who are fighting for freedom, justice and their basic rights.

“Iran’s cruel regime wastes tens of billions of dollars spreading hate,” said Netanyahu.  “No wonder mothers and fathers are marching in the streets.”

Netanyahu said that when the current regime falls, “Iranians and Israelis will be great friends once again.”

“I wish the Iranian people success in their noble quest for freedom,” concluded the prime minister.

Netanyahu’s video came on the fifth day of widespread protests throughout Iran.



New protests in Iran – Editorial

A durable truth about dictatorships is that their surface stability disguises discontent that needs only a spark to ignite.  The demonstrations have grown into a broad display of discontent with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani’s repressive regime.

One notable theme are denunciations of the Islamic Republic’s foreign adventurism.  Iranians are frustrated that the mullahs are spending so much of their national wealth to build a Shiite version of the Persian Empire to dominate the Middle East.  Religious imperialism is expensive, as is the ballistic-missile development the regime continues despite the nuclear deal.

Iranians need to know that the world supports their demands for freedom.



Gaza rocket fire shows more Iranian involvement – Anna Ahronheim

The rockets fired at south Israel Friday (12/29) show increased Iranian involvement in Gaza, former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon told Army Radio on Sunday (12/31).  “There is a rise in Iranian involvement in Gaza in support of Hamas and Islamic Jihad…and to blame Iran was correct.”  According to Ya’alon, Iran and Hizbullah feel more confident because of their success in Syria and have begun paying more attention to Israel.

“Iran is the only one lending us military support,” Hamas Politburo deputy chairman Saleh al-Arouri said Saturday (12/30), adding, “Our relations with Hizbullah are wonderful and there is a readiness on their part to supply everything we need for a military campaign against Israel.”



Israel bombs Hamas targets in response to rocket attack

Israel’s Air Force (IAF) on Saturday night (12/30) targeted a Hamas observation post in southern Gaza in response to rockets launched on Friday (12/29) at the Sha’ar HaNegev and Sdot Negev regional councils in southern Israel.

No one was injured in the attack Friday, but a structure was directly hit and damaged.  The IDF identified three launches from Gaza, and the Iron Dome aerial defense system intercepted two of the rockets.



Shin Bet: Hamas terror attack foiled, 5 members of terror group arrested

Five Palestinians were arrested in the West Bank on suspicion of promoting terrorist attacks, led by Hamas activist Abdullah Arar, who was released from Israeli prison in the Gilad Shalit swap deal.

Shin Bet said Arar instructed Alaa Salim, a resident of Jaba’ in Binyamin, to create a terrorist cell and purchase M16 rifles in order to carry out an attack, and transferred funds to him for that purpose.

“Hamas headquarters in the Gaza Strip has shown increased motivation recently to promote terrorist attacks through the organization’s activists in the West Bank,” a source within the domestic security service said.



Pence visit to Israel indefinitely postponed

A planned trip to Israel by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence will not take place in January and has been indefinitely postponed.

A visit to Israel by Pence, that had been delayed from last month to mid-January, did not appear on a list of visiting foreign officials for this month published Monday (1st) by Foreign Ministry, the Times of Israel said.

No new date has yet been set for the vice president’s visit.

(timesofisrael.com; jta.org)


Torrential downpour leads to floods in multiple regions

Israel saw heavy rainfall Monday morning (1st) in the northern and central regions accompanied by thunderstorms, with flood warnings in the coastal plain communities.  The rain spread to the Negev later in the day with warnings of floods in the streams of the Judean Desert, Dead Sea and Negev.

In the first night of 2018, the Israel Meteorological Service measured more than 30 millimeters of rain in the Western Galilee.  The same amount was measured in the Golan Heights and Haifa.

Also, beginning in the morning, 15 centimeters (six inches) of snow accumulated on Mount Hermon’s upper slopes and continued throughout the afternoon.



Israeli child whose parents were killed in Mumbai terror attack to return to Chabad House

The son of the Chabad emissaries killed in a 2008 terror attack in Mumbai will join Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on a trip to India.

Moshe Holtzberg, 11, was three years old when his parents Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg were killed at the Nariman Chabad House in Mumbai when four terrorists entered and began shooting.  Four other Jewish visitors were killed.  Moshe was rescued during the attack by his nanny, Sandra Samuel, who ran out of the Chabad house carrying him.  She later accompanied him to Israel where he lives with his grandparents.

Netanyahu will visit India on January 14 for an official visit –  Moshe Holtzberg is scheduled to accompany him.



Israel gave tiny island nation sewage treatment plant for support at UN – Itamar Eichner

Israel purchased a sewage treatment system for Nauru, a tiny island nation in the Pacific Ocean (pop. 11,359), two weeks before the country voted against a UN General Assembly resolution criticizing the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.  

The Israeli Foreign Ministry also approved the purchase of a mobile desalination system to be given as a gift to India ahead of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit there on January 14.



As New Year begins, Israel’s population reaches 8.79 million

Israel’s population reached 8.793 million on the last day of 2017, the Central Bureau of Statistics said on Sunday (12/31)

The bureau said Israel’s population increased by 165,000 people – 1.9% – in 2017, similar to the annual increase over the past decade.  Most of the increase, 82%, was the result of natural growth (births over deaths), while the rest came from immigration.