Israel News

News Digest — 11/18/19

In News Surrounding Israel by The Friends of Israel

Rivlin Does Not Discount The Possibility Of Third Election

Regardless of the intensive efforts made to form a unity government and prevent a third election, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, in the forefront of such efforts, does not discount the possibility of a third election within the context of the democratic process.

“Sometimes Israel has too much democracy,” he told a visiting group of ambassadors on Monday (18th).  Members of the delegation who came to Israel under the auspices of the B’nai Brith World Center are envoys to Geneva-based United Nations Institutions.  They included ambassadors from the Czech Republic, Italy, Japan, Slovakia,Togo, Burkina Faso, Guatemala and Cameroon.

Rivlin was responding to a question about Israel’s internal political situation, regarding the formation of a government.

“We must find a way for the two major parties to join forces,” he said, “but it seems that their leaders want another election.  This is already too much democracy. Two elections in one year is enough.”

The president conceded that there is a problem-situation and that “we may face another election,” which he said would bring great changes in Israeli society and additional problems.  He underscored that most Israelis do not want a third election.

“The real sovereignty of Israel is the people of Israel,” he said, “and the rule of law is the only law that counts.”

Rivlin was also asked about the possibility of some diplomatic solution aimed at containing Iran on lines similar to the Iran deal.

Rivlin acknowledged that he had discussed such a possibility with presidents of other countries who tried to convince Iran that Israel is part of the free world.

Iran’s negative response to such overtures makes Iran “a very dangerous enemy” from Israel’s point of view,” said Rivlin.  “We know the Iranians are against us, and they mean what they say.” 

He pointed out that Iran does not hesitate to declare, even from the podium of the United Nations, that it wants to destroy Israel.

He reminded his visitors that next week Israel will celebrate the 72nd anniversary of the UN resolution for the partition of Palestine, which led to the establishment of the State of Israel.



Faroe Islands To Recognize Jerusalem As Israel’s Capital

The Faroe Islands plans to open an office for diplomatic representation in Jerusalem and intends to recognize the city as the capital of Israel despite objections from Denmark, according to the Danish language newspaper Politiken.

The Faroe Islands, a self-governing archipelago of islands in the Atlantic Ocean, is a part of Denmark.  Copenhagen has expressed no desire to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Faroese Foreign Minister Jenis av Rana told the newspaper that he is working to implement the plan and that the funding for the Jerusalem office would be allocated by an upcoming finance act.

“We have requested money to open the office in September or October 2020,” Rana told the newspaper.  “It is, in fact, a recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.”

According to the report, Rana justified the move by saying that Christianity is very strong on the archipelago and “the Faroe Islands love Israel.”

In addition, the new office and recognition could be a litmus test for Denmark’s stated desire to give the Faroe Islands (and Greenland) more freedom on foreign policy.



Israel: Hamas Behind Rockets On Beer Sheva

 Following Hamas’ launch of two rockets at Beer Sheva in the early hours of Saturday morning (16th), Israel security sources said that it is only “a matter of time” before another operation will have to be launched against Gaza to protect Israel’s citizens.

Hamas rulers of the Gaza Strip sat out last week’s violent confrontation between the smaller Palestinian Islamic JIhad (PIJ) and Israel, during which over 450 rockets were launched at the Jewish state.

Security sources appear to differ as to the reason Hamas fired on Israel.  According to Israel Hayom, sources said Hamas decided to act after it saw that PIJ had “scored points” on the Arab street due to the attacks on Israel.  However Israel’s Channel 13 cites Israeli security officials who say that Hamas was against the rocket fire, which was carried out by rogue Hamas terrorists unhappy with the ceasefire.

Regardless of the motive behind the attack, Hamas and Islamic Jihad are clearly moving toward a rapprochement after a tense period.

Hamas released a statement saying that its head, Ismail Haniyeh, had called PIJ Secretary-General Ziyad Nakhleh and agreed to “strengthen cooperation, coordination and consultations” between the two organizations given their shared purpose in wiping out the Jewish state.

Several PIJ officials made peaceful overtures as well after their organization had fiercely criticized Hamas last week for not joining in the rocket fire.

“This is a temporary crisis… No one can harm the relation between the brothers in blood and weapons.  We share the same goal,” said one senior terrorist, Ahmed al-Mudalal.  

In another side of warming relations between the two groups, members of the family of assassinated terrorist Baha Abu al-Ata, along with other PIJ members apologized to a senior Hamas official who was threatened by PIJ gunmen when he came to pay a condolence call to the family.

Israel’s security assessment of all these gestures is that “The situation is fluid, another round is a matter of time, and can be seen on the horizon.” 



Hamas Leader: ‘We Make Rockets From Leftover Israeli Irrigation Pipes’

In a speech broadcast in November on Gaza’s Al-Aqsa TV, a founder of Hamas’ military wing revealed how the terror organization has been able to continue producing rockets to launch against israel, reports Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

Yahya Sinwar began his speech by saying that the terrorist organization ran out of raw material to produce rockets.

“One day, some leaders of the Al-Qassam Brigades came.  They were responsible for missile production. They said: “There are no pipes with which we can produce missiles.  We are out of pipes. There is a ban on bringing iron in from outside, and we cannot bring them through the tunnels – these are long pipes.  We will cease production within a month,” Yahya said.

“I said that Allah will help us find a way,” he reminisced.

The terrorist leader then revealed what happened next.

“A simple farmer approached one of the men from the Brigades.  He said: ‘I heard that you’re having a problem with pipes for missile production.’  The young man told him this was true. The farmer said : ‘I will give you the solution for this.’  [The young man said:] What is it?’ He answered: ‘Come with me,’ Sinwar said.

He recalled how the farmer took him to Gush Katif and showed him the abandoned irrigation lines left by Israeli farmers during the 2005 Gaza withdrawal.

“The brothers started digging and removed from the ground the pipes Israel left behind when it left the Gaza Strip.  These would be enough for the Al-Qassam Brigades to manufacture missiles for the next 10 years,” Sinwar said.

During the 2005 unilateral disengagement from Gaza, Israel evicted a bloc of 17 communities in the Gaza Strip and four communities in northern Samaria.

The Gaza Strip communities, collectively known as Gush Katif, were highly successful, producing a variety of fruits, vegetables and flowers for export.

Many Israelis believe that the disengagement, in which 8,000 Israelis lost their homes, was a mistake because it further enabled Hamas’ aggression towards Israel and led to an immediate deterioration in the security situation.



Australian Jews Break World Record For Longest Challah

A kosher bakery in Sydney, Australia, has broken the Guinness world record for longest challah.

Grandma Moses Bakery, in partnership with the Jewish National Fund chapter in New South Wales, broke the record on Thursday (14th), according to a Facebook post from the group.

The record-setting challah clocked in at more than 32 feet long and required over 150 pounds of dough and ten hours to bake.

  The previous record, set in Brooklyn in 2015, was a 20-foot challah.

The Challah was made by Sydney’s Jewish community as part of a Shabbat Project.