News Digest — 5/13/19

In News Surrounding Israel by The Friends of Israel

Southern Israel Residents Increasingly Traumatized By Gaza Rockets, Group Says

A new report has found that Israelis are increasingly suffering from symptoms of traumatic stress, particularly in the south, which is frequently targeted with rockets by Palestinian terrorists.

According to NATAL – Israel Trauma and Resiliency Center, which released the details Sunday (12th), Israelis made more than 4,000 calls to its helpline during 2018, a 25% increase from the previous year.  In addition, the helpline received more than 1,000 calls during the two-day flareup in Gaza last week, in which 700 rockets were launched. Kids and teenagers from the southern area account for roughly a quarter of all those seeking help.

A major factor in the increase, according to the report, has been the weekly March of Return protests and the often- violent Palestinian riots on the Israel-Gaza border, which began on March 30, 2018, and have at times seen the participation of tens of thousands of Palestinians.

More than 1,000 rockets have been fired at Israeli communities over the past year – more than 20,000 have been launched since 2001 – and many incendiary balloons carrying arson devices have been launched into Israel that have started fires destroying large swaths of land.

“We need to bravely recognize and address the phenomenon whereby entire generations are living and growing up in the country under continuous security threat,” said NATAL executive director Orly Gal.  “The dramatic increase in the number of calls to our helpline reflects the mindset and mental state of Israel’s citizens.”



Number Of Prisoners In Shalit Deal Who Returned to Terror, Now Stands at 100

Former terrorists freed by Israel in a 2011 deal in exchange for the release of an abducted Israeli soldier, continue to return to anti-Israel activity.

Israel released more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners, including hundreds serving life sentences for attacks on Israelis, in order to gain freedom for Gilad Shalit who had been captured by Hamas in 2006.

Though the released prisoners supposedly renounced terror activity, dozens have not lived up to that commitment, including some who have been involved in subsequent attacks in which Israelis have been murdered.

They have been imprisoned by Israel again, prompting Hamas to demand their release in prisoner exchanges.

According to a Sunday (12th) media report, citing IDF figures, 56 additional Palestinians have recently broken the terms of their release and 53 of them are back in jail serving the rest of their term which had been deducted as a result of the prisoner swap.

In all, said the report, some 100 of the released prisoners have acted against Israeli state security, have stood trial in Israeli military courts on new charges, and were also forced to serve the remainder of their previous prison sentence.

On June 25, 2006, Palestinians attacked Shalit’s tank that was defending  the security fence near the southern Gaza Strip. The terrorists had crossed the border using an underground tunnel dug near the Kerem Shalom crossing.

During the attack, the tank commander, First Lieutenant Hanan Barak, and another soldier in the tank, Staff Sgt. Pavel Slotzker, were killed.  Four of the soldiers at the post were injured. The terrorists abducted Shalit into Gaza, using the same tunnel through which they had entered Israel.

After the abduction, the Shalit family and a strong core of supporters launched a campaign to gain Shalit’s release.  More than five years later, the deal was completed.



Why Doesn’t The UN Condemn Hamas Attacks On Israelis? – Jason Greenblatt

U.S. Special Representative for International Negotiations, Jason Greenblatt told a UN Security Council meeting on May 9, 2019:

→“It is baffling and disappointing to see the obvious, continual anti-Israel bias here…. It is truly shameful that in these halls there have been nearly 700 resolutions condemning actions of Israel – the region’s only real democracy – yet not one condemning Hamas’ attacks on Israelis or its abuse and neglect of the very people it purports to govern.”

→“Forgive me for pointing out the elephant in the room, which is that Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad – not Israel – are the problem here.  The Israelis, as they celebrate their Independence Day, are reeling from 36 hours of unprovoked attacks on them, their families, and their homes by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.”

→“Where is the urgent condemnation from this room for that unconscionable, sustained attack?  Where is the sympathy and solidarity for the people of Israel? All I hear is silence…. I did not hear anyone – not one of you – mention the 10 Israelis who were murdered or the hundreds injured by Palestinians in the past year in terror attacks.”

→“Another critical issue that many ignore as an obstacle to peace is the Palestinian Authority’s practice of rewarding terrorists…. What would you do if a neighboring government offered lifelong bounties for the killing of your citizens?”

→Let’s stop pretending that settlements are what is keeping the sides from a negotiated peaceful solution.  This farce and obsessive focus on one aspect of this complicated conflict helps no one.”

→“We will continue to speak the truth, even when it is not welcome.  The truth is that Israel, just days ago, came under a vicious, cynical, unprovoked attack that was intended to terrify, kill, and maim Israelis.  The truth is that there has been no effort in the halls of the United Nations to hold the terrorists who perpetrated that attack accountable.”



Germany Vows To Back Israel At The U N, And Break From Past Record

Germany on Saturday (11th) said it was deeply troubled by anti-Israel bias at the United Nations and vowed to oppose “any unfair treatment” of the Jewish state in international fora.

A statement, issued on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of Israel’s accession to the UN, was welcomed by Jerusalem’s envoy to Germany, Jeremy Issacharoff, who said he hoped it signals a change in Berlin’s voting pattern vis-a-vis the Middle East.  Germany’s voting record on Middle East issues has been criticized by Israel and its supporters, as the country often joins other European nations in voting against Israel’s interest at the UN.

“Seventy years ago today – 24 years before the Federal Republic of Germany’s admission to the United Nations – Israel was admitted to the UN as a full member.  The Federal Government would like to take this 70th anniversary as an opportunity to reiterate the fact that Germany stands at Israel’s side in the UN,” the English-language statement by Germany’s Foreign Officer said.

“Germany’s historic responsibility for the Jewish and democratic State of Israel and its security is part of our raison d’etre.  Germany will always work, including in the UN, to ensure that Israel’s right to exist is never called into question.”

Berlin is “most concerned about the fact that, to this day, Israel continues to be criticized inappropriately, treated in a biased manner and marginalized in the bodies of the UN,” the statement went on.

Ambassador Issacharoff said Sunday (12th) that he welcomed the statement, expressing the hope that it is a “clear signal of determination in the context of ongoing efforts to improve Germany’s voting record and also enhance Israel’s standing and representation in UN fora.”



Anti-Israel Imam Who Praised ‘Martyrs’ Leads Prayer In U.S. Congress

A controversial imam who has been linked to anti-Israel rhetoric, gave the opening invocation at the U.S. House of representatives on Thursday (9th).

Omar Suleiman, founder and president of the Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research in Texas, was invited by Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas).

“We pray for peace, not war, said Suleiman. Love, not hate.  Benevolence, not greed. Unity, not division. And we commit ourselves to not betraying our prayers with actions that contradict them.  Let us be for truth, no matter who is against it.”

Despite his prayers for peace and unity, Suleiman has not shown such sentiment when it comes to Israel.

As the 2014 war in Gaza broke out, he posted on social media: “How befitting that the 3rd Intifada starts on the 27th night of Ramadan as worshippers are denied prayer in Al Aqsa. … God willing on this blessed night as the 3rd Intifada begins, the beginning of the end of Zionism is here.  May Allah help us overcome this monster, protect the innocent of the world, and accept the murdered as martyrs. Amen.”

Also on his social media page, He likened Israeli troops to “Nazis” and called Zionists “enemies of God.”  He currently supports the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) against Israel.