June 20, 2018

In News Surrounding Israel by The Friends of Israel

U.S. Approves $500M For Missile Defense Aid To Israel

The United States Senate approved its version of the annual defense spending bill Monday (18th) that included the $500 million promised to Israel each year for missile defense.

The money will go to help fund all levels of anti-missile production, from short- and medium-range (David’s Sling, Iron Dome) to intercontinental missiles (Arrow 2 and Arrow 3).

In addition, Globes reported, $50 million was allocated for a joint program to combat the threat of terror tunnels that Hamas and other terror groups have been building in order to smuggle arms and infiltrate Israel.

(worldisraelnews.com; globes.co.il)


U.S. Official: Israel Behind Mysterious Syrian Airstrike That Killed Dozens

An airstrike that killed more than 50 pro-regime fighters in eastern Syria, most of them foreign, was carried out by Israel, not the United States, a U.S. official said on CNN Monday (18th).

A U.S. source also told AFP: “We have reasons to believe that it was an Israeli strike.”

Damascus accused the United States-led coalition of carrying out the late night June 17 strike on Al-Hari, a town near the Iraqi border.

(timesofisrael.com; afp.com)


Terrorist Sentenced To 22 Years In Jail For Stabbing Supermarket Employee

The Lod District Court on Tuesday (19th) sentenced Ismail Abu Aram to 22 years in prison for stabbing Niv Nehamia at a supermarket in the city of Yavne and seriously wounding him in August 2017.

Nineteen-year-old Abu Aram from the town of Yatta near Hebron, who stabbed the 43-year-old Nehamia in the chest, neck and head, was inspired to commit an act of “jihad against the Jewish-Israeli occupation,” according to the indictment, out of a sense of religious conviction.



The Western Wall In Jerusalem Is Holy Only To Jews – Nadav Shragai

The Western Wall of the Temple Mount became the central place for Jewish prayer in Jerusalem following the earthquake that shook the city in 1546.  The earthquake brought down the buildings that had stood flush up against the Western Wall, in what today is the well-known prayer plaza, and allowed the Turks to allot the Jews a narrow passageway for their prayers.

From the moment the Muslims allowed the Jews back into Jerusalem, over 1,000 years ago, they would pray along the length of the Western Wall.  The Western Wall became the preferred choice for prayer because it was closer to where the Jewish Temple was believed to have stood than any other walls of the Temple Mount.

The identification of the Western Wall as the place where the Prophet Muhammad tied up his winged horse in his dream of a night journey from Mecca gained traction in the 1920s in response to the strengthening Jewish presence in the Holy Land.  At the same time, Muslims went to great lengths to desecrate the place by intentionally throwing out animal waste there.

Today, the Muslims are claiming that the Western Wall is holy to them, but they erected homes and outhouses in front of it and ran sewer pipes along it.  A section of the wall which lies in the heart of the Muslim Quarter is frequently defaced with graffiti and public urination and used as a trash heap. This is not how a religion treats a place it claims is holy.  

(The writer is a journalist and commentator who has documented the dispute over Jerusalem for 30 years)


Palestinian ‘Moderates’: Indonesians Who Met With Israelis ‘Sold Their Souls To The Devil’

A spokesman for the “supposedly moderate” Fatah faction harshly condemned an Indonesian delegation of Muslim scholars who came to israel to participate in a conference of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) in Jerusalem earlier this month, calling it “a crime against the city, the members of our people and Muslims throughout the world.”

Fatah is the largest faction in the PLO and is headed by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.  Compared to Hamas, Fatah is considered a more moderate political leadership.

Fatah defined the visit of the Indonesians to Israel as “selling their souls to the devil.”



PA Names Plaza After Terrorist Murderer

The PA has named a plaza in the Palestinian Authority town of Tulkarem after Israeli Arab terrorist prisoner Maher Younes who, together with his cousin, Karim Younes, kidnapped and murdered Israeli soldier Avraham Bromberg in 1980.  Both murderers were sentenced to life imprisonment, which was commuted by former Israeli President Shimon Peres to 40 years.

“The Maher Younes Plaza” was inaugurated in Tulkarem in April at a ceremony that included scouts marching, music playing, and speeches by PA officials.  The terrorist’s mother cut the ribbon to the plaza and his sister gave a speech. PA officials hailed Maher Younes as “a great man” and “hero.”

(israelnn.com; palwatch.org)


U.S Wants Gulf States To Invest $1B In Gaza Economy – Amir Tibon and Amos Harel

The U.S. is trying to convince Arab monarchies in the Gulf to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in economic projects for Gaza, in an attempt to calm the situation there and generate momentum before the White House presents its Middle East peace plan.  Presidential aides Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt are heading to the Middle East this week for talks with the leaders of Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and Israel.

One option being discussed is a solar energy project to be built near the Egyptian town of El-Arish in northern Sinai that would serve some of Gaza’s energy needs.  Other projects could include the construction of a port in northern Sinai and the building of a power plant and water desalination plant.



Abbas Rejects U.S. Plan To Help Rehabilitate Gaza – Jack Khoury and Amit Tibon

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas’ spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, said Monday (18th): “The Palestinian leadership warns the countries of the region against cooperating with a move whose goal is to perpetuate the separation between Gaza and the West Bank.”  The Palestinian leadership sent similar messages to Saudi Arabia and Qatar.



Israel Company Invents Plastic Packaging That Decomposes – Ruth Schuster

Israel-based TIPA makes packaging film that is 100% compostable.  TIPA packaging disintegrates into water, carbon dioxide and organic matter that bacteria can then degrade.



Israel First-Quarter GDP Growth Revised Up To 4.5 Percent

Israel’s economy grew an annualized 4.5% in the first quarter of 2018, faster than previously thought, the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics said on Sunday (17th).