March 21, 2018

In News Surrounding Israel by The Friends of Israel

Ahead of Passover, prayer notes removed from Western Wall

Ahead of the Passover holiday, workers from the Western Wall Heritage Foundation removed the prayer notes that were hidden by visitors over the past year between the stones of the Western Wall.

The notes were removed in the presence of the rabbi of the Western Wall and the holy sites, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, and transferred to the Mount of Olives, where they will be buried together with worn-out holy books, as halacha mandates for writings containing God’s Name.

Each year millions of notes are placed among the stones by Jewish and non-Jewish worshipers from Israel and abroad, including notes sent via the website of the Western Wall, fax and mail.

Passover begins at sundown March 30 and will end at sundown April 7



Security forces gear up for mass Palestinian protest marches on Passover eve

Security forces are gearing up for a Palestinian “day of rage” on Passover eve, when thousands of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank are expected to try and storm fences marking the borders with Israel.

Palestinians are planning a “mass march of return” which they hope will see tens of thousands of participants surging toward border fences.

A similar protest event is planned for May 15, when Palestinians mark the Nakba (the catastrophe of Israel’s Independence in 1948).  This year, Nakba Day falls around the same time as the Muslim Holy month of Ramadan.



War of words heats up between Trump Administration, Palestinian leadership – Noga Tarnopolsky

Speaking at an Israel Foreign Ministry “Global Forum for Combating Anti-Semitism” on Monday (19th), U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said, “Three young Israelis were murdered over the weekend, in cold blood, by Palestinian terrorists, and the reaction from the Palestinian Authority was deafening.  No condemnation. I saw Abbas’ response on my iPhone. His response was to refer to me as ‘son of a dog.’ Is that anti-Semitism or political discourse? I leave that up to you.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also reacted to Abbas’ remarks.  “Abbas’ attack on U.S. Ambassador, David Friedman, says it all. For the first time in decades, the American administration has stopped pampering the Palestinian leaders and tells them,’That’s it.’  Apparently the shock of the truth has caused them to lose their cool.”



Greenblatt: Abbas must choose between “hateful rhetoric” and peace

After Palestinian Chairman Mahmoud Abbas described the U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman as the “son of a dog,” American Middle East peace negotiator Jason Greenblatt said Monday (19th), “The time has come for Mahmoud Abbas to choose between hateful rhetoric and concrete and practical efforts to improve the quality of life of his people and lead them to peace and prosperity.”

“Notwithstanding his highly inappropriate insults against members of the Trump administration, the latest iteration being his insult of my good friend and colleague Ambassador Friedman, we are committed to the Palestinian people and to the changes that must be implemented for peace.



Abbas blames Hamas for trying to kill Palestinian PM

Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas spoke out at a meeting Monday (19th) of the Palestinian leadership in Judea and Samaria, pointing definitely at Hamas as the perpetrators of an attempted assassination last week of PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah.

“We are fully aware that Hamas is the one who stands behind that incident and carried it out,” Abbas said.



PA pays terrorists to murder Jews – Tovah Lazaroff

Micah Lakin Avni’s father, Israeli-American Richard Lakin, was killed in a terror attack on a bus in Jerusalem in October 2015.  On Monday (19th), he told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva that those who killed his father and their families will be given $3 million over the course of their lives by the PA and its leader, Mahmoud Abbas.  “The Palestinian Authority actually has a pay-to-slay law. Palestinians systematically pay terrorists to murder Jews.”

“Your failure to report or condemn these crimes makes you an accessory to the murder of my father, and to the murder of many other Jewish fathers, mothers and children who the Palestinians pay-to-slay.  I call upon this council, and upon all UN members, to stop funding the Palestinian Authority until the Palestinians stop the murderous practice of rewarding terrorists for killing Jews.”



Trump blasts Iranian regime in Persian New Year message – Toluse Olorunnipa

President Trump used the annual Presidential Statement marking the Persian New Year to criticize Iran’s government.  “Today, the Iranian people face another challenge: rulers who serve themselves instead of serving the people….Twenty-five centuries ago, Darius the Great asked God to protect Iran from three dangers: hostile armies, drought and falsehood.  Today, the Iranian regime’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) represents all three.”



Iran’s role in the Boycott Israel Campaign – Benjamin Weinthal and Asaf Romirowsky

The Islamic Republic of Iran has increasingly become a key factor in stoking the BDS movement for economic warfare against Israel.  At Al-Quds Day rallies in European cities such as Berlin, London and Vienna, originally initiated in 1979 by Ayatollah Khomeini, individuals are urged to support the BDS movement and the destruction of Israel.



Germany presses Iran to recognize Israel’s right to exist

A German government spokesman on Monday (19th) demanded that Iran renounce its policy toward Israel and recognize its existence and halt its anti-Semitic and anti-Israel activities.  The demand was made just one hour after EU foreign ministers gathered in Brussels to discuss the imposition of new sanctions on Iran as a result of its activities in the various conflicts across the Middle East and the continuing development of its missile program.

While German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel had called on Iran to recognize Israel’s right to exist following the signing of the 2015 nuclear deal, there was never any explicit demand for Iran to do so.



More than 12,000 Jews visited Temple Mount since September

Jewish Temple Mount organizations published new data showing at least 12,125 Jews visited the holy site in the first half of the current Jewish year, compared to 8,229 in the same period last year – a 47% increase.  The number could be higher, since the report excluded Jews who visited independently.