News Digest — 2/20/19

In News Surrounding Israel by The Friends of Israel

IDF Soldier Injured In Bomb Attack – American Immigrant From LA

The IDF soldier who was injured by a bomb thrown by Arab rioters in the Gaza Strip Sunday night (17th) has been identified as Yoad Zaguri, an American immigrant and lone soldier.

Hundreds of Arab rioters gathered on the Gaza-Israel border Sunday evening (17th), hurling rocks and explosive devices at Israeli soldiers while rolling burning tires at the security fence.

An explosive device thrown at soldiers, exploded near Zaguri, injuring him.

Doctors said Zaguri suffered a shrapnel wound to the esophagus, and had to undergo surgery.  

Hezi Levy, director at the Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon, said the surgery was successful.

“The soldier underwent a long surgery, and we treated injuries to his esophagus.  Thankfully, his trachea and surrounding blood vessels were not harmed,” said Levy.

Zaguri, who grew up in Los Angeles, immigrated to Israel to serve in the IDF.  He currently lives in the northern coastal city of Haifa.



Netanyahu Pledges Funds For Museum For Jewish WWII Vets

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged Sunday (17th) that his government would allocate the necessary funds to complete a long-promised museum honoring Jewish World War II veterans.

The project has been bogged down in a stalemate for more than a decade as donor money dried up and the government has wavered on its degree of support.  The museum appeared doomed, but a recent private donation seems to have convinced Netanyahu to provide the remaining resources.

A designated 24,000-square-foot structure had already been built in Latrun, in central Israel, near the site of one of the most significant battles in Israel’s 1948 War of Independence. But it has remained empty for years.

“Today we are keeping another promise that we made a few years ago to our cherished veterans,” Netanyahu said at his weekly cabinet meeting.

“This memorial site will now also include a display of the Jewish fighters who fought in World War II.  I have the greatest admiration for them – they deserve this.”

The story of the 1.5 million Jews who fought the Nazis – and the 260,000 who died in battle – has long been lost in Israel amid the larger tragedy of the Holocaust.  The 550,000 Jewish American soldiers who fought with the Allies, for instance, have been overlooked, including those who were among the first to liberate the Nazi concentration camps, where they comforted the prisoners in Yiddish.

The museum aims to rectify that oversight while some of the few remaining fighters are still alive.

Once the money starts flowing, it will take about 18 months to complete the work and inaugurate the museum, said Zvi Kan-Tor, a retired IDF general who has been leading efforts to establish the Museum of the Jewish Soldiers in World War II.

“We are very happy about the government’s decision and look forward to its quick implementation,” he told the media.



Hizbullah Terror Chief Fumes Over Israel’s ‘Open’ Ties With Arab States

Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of the Lebanese Islamic terror group Hizbullah, reacted on Saturday (16th) to last week’s Mideast summit in Warsaw, Poland at which Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu joined counterparts from several Arab nations, the EU and the US.

The conference focused on the growing threat posed by Hizbullah’s biggest benefactor, Iran, which bank-rolls a number of terror groups throughout the region, including Hamas in the Gaza Strip.  Both Hizbullah and Hamas are sworn to Israel’s destruction.

At the summit in Warsaw, Gulf states such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) expressed opinions in alignment with Israel’s position on the Iranian threat to regional stability to peace.

Several representatives of Arab states also expressed support for Israel’s right to defend itself.

On Saturday, (16th) Nasrallah spoke at an annual event honoring the terror group’s “martyrs,” admitting that the Warsaw summit “brought out into the open Israel’s relations with the Gulf states,” Times of Israel reported.

The Hizbullah chief not only attacked Yemen’s foreign minister for sitting next to Netanyahu at the summit, positing that Iran’s proxy war in Yemen “is an Israeli-American war carried out by Saudi Arabia and the UAE,” he also accused the Arab nations at the summit of being “tools in the hands of Israel and the US,” reported the Times.  



BDS Fail: Muslim Congresswoman Used Israeli Technology

The Israel Advocacy Movement has uncovered an ironic fact about newly elected US Democratic Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), who has endorsed the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

In a video published on Sunday (17th), the organization revealed that the Tlaib website was built using Wix, an Israeli company that provides a free platform for web development.

The video exposes several other activists and organizations that have used Wix to build their websites.  These include, among others, Washington University Students Against Apartheid, Students Against Apartheid at the University of Utah, Football for Palestine and Boycott Divest and Sanction Israel.

Tlaib and the others mentioned in the Israel Advocacy Movement video are not the first anti-Israel activists discovered to have used Wix for their websites.

In 2015, the University of Denver’s branch of Students for Justice in Palestine was discovered to have used Wix to build its website meant to disseminate its call for a boycott of Israel.

Two years earlier, the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland discovered that “pro-Palestinian” activists who promote the BDS movement against Israel had similarly used Wix to create their websites.



Genesis: First Ever Israel Lunar Mission Launches This Week

An Israel nonprofit says it’ll launch what it hopes will be the first private spacecraft to land on the moon this week.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin kicked off the week’s countdown in Jerusalem on Sunday (17th) where he was presented with a copy of a time capsule that will travel to the moon aboard the first Israeli spacecraft.

The time capsule consists of three discs, each containing hundreds of digital files, including Israeli national symbols like Israel’s Declaration of Independence, the Bible, Israel’s national anthem “Hatikvah” and the Israeli flag.

“Until now, only the superpowers – the United States, the former Soviet Union, and China – have landed on the moon.  If all goes well, the small and young state of Israel will be the fourth country in history to land a spacecraft on the moon,” Rivlin said.

SpaceIL and state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries told reporters on Monday (18th) that the landing craft, dubbed Beresheet (Genesis), will launch from Florida where, propelled by a SpaceX Falcon rocket launch, it will commence its months-long voyage to the moon.

The launch is due late Thursday (21st) in the US, early Friday (22nd) in Israel.

The small craft, roughly the size of a washing machine, will have to make several orbits before landing.

The spacecraft will remain on the Moon indefinitely.