News Digest — 5/3/19

In News Surrounding Israel by The Friends of Israel

IDF: 56 Soldiers Died Since Last Memorial Day, Bringing The Total To 23,741

The number of Israeli casualties of war stand at 23,741 as of May 2019, according to figures published by the Defense Ministry on Friday (3rd) ahead of Memorial Day next week.

Since last Memorial Day, 96 new names were added to the roster of those who died defending the country since 1860.  Fifty-six were IDF soldiers and police, and 40 were disabled veterans who passed away due to complications from injuries sustained during their service.

The figures include all soldiers and police who died during their service over the past year.

Nine names were also added to the list of civilian Israeli terror victims who perished in attacks this past year, the National Insurance Institute said on Friday (3rd), bringing the total to 3,146.

Israel’s Memorial Day will commence Tuesday evening (7th) with a ceremony at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, when a one-minute siren will ring out across the country.

The Defense Ministry said around 1.5 million Israelis are expected to visit various military ceremonies or memorials next Tuesday (7th) and Wednesday (8th).



Hezbollah Chief: IDF Forces That Enter Lebanon Will Be ‘Destroyed On Live TV’

Hezbollah Leader Hassan Nasrallah vowed Thursday (3rd) that his Iran-backed terror group would “annihilate and destroy” the Israeli military if the latter entered Lebanon in a future war.

“Let Israel go to war.  The Israeli units and brigades that dare to enter southern Lebanon will be annihilated and destroyed on live television before the whole world,” he said, according to multiple media reports in Israel and Lebanon.

The taunts are typical of the Lebanese terror group leader, whose organization faced its last war with Israel in 2006.

In a speech on April 22, Nasrallah claimed Israel’s ground forces were unprepared for a ground offensive in Lebanon and the Jewish state could no longer win battles solely from the air.

“The Israelis say the home front is not ready.  Any theoretical Israeli war needs a ground operation to achieve its desired goal.  The era in which the air force decides the battle, is over,” he said.

The latest comments on Thursday (2nd) were at an event commemorating three years since the death of Mustafa Badreddine, Hezbollah’s former military chief who, according to reports in Arab media and statements by the IDF chief at the time, was killed by his own men, possibly on orders from Iran and Nasrallah himself.

After issuing his threat to a purportedly war-hungry Israel on Thursday (2nd), Nasrallah then assured his audience that Israel did not, in fact, want war, since it was deterred by Hezbollah’s military prowess.



California Rabbi Wounded In Synagogue Attack Calls For A Moment Of Silence In Schools

Five days after an anti-semitic gunman shot and wounded him, Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein of Chabad of Poway stood side-by-side with President Donald Trump on Thursday (2nd), thanking him for his support.

“I should have been dead by now” Rabbi Goldstein said at a prayer service held at the White House.  “I was in the line of fire, bullets flying all the way.”

President Trump greeted the rabbi, who noticeably had both hands bandaged after the shooting.  The rabbi’s fingers were badly injured, including the loss of an index finger.

“We will fight with all our strength and everything we have in our bodies to defeat anti-Semitism,” the president said.  “As we unite on the Day of Prayer, we renew our resolve to protect communities of faith and ensure that all people and all of our people can live, pray and worship in peace.”

The rabbi, who was delivering a sermon on the final day of Passover at the time of the shooting, said, “We can’t control situations.  However, we can control our reactions and respond to darkness with light.”

“My fingers got blown off, but I did not stop.  My life has changed forever. But it changed so I can make change,” Rabbi Goldstein said, calling for a moment of silence in public schools as a first step.

“Many have asked me, ‘Where do we go from here?  How do we prevent this?’ My response is what my Rebbe told me when President Ronald Reagen was shot, that we need to go back to the basics and introduce a moment of silence in all public schools,” he suggested.

“Mr. President, when you called me, I was at home weeping,” he continued.  “You were the first person who began my healing. You heal people in the worst of times and I’m so grateful for that.”



Iran: US Supports ‘Terrorist’ Israel

Iran on Wednesday (1st) criticized a US plan to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization.

“The US is not in a position to start naming others as terror organizations and we reject any attempt by the US in this regard,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told reporters on the side-line of a conference in Doha, Qatar, according to Reuters.

The US is supporting the biggest terrorist in the region, that is Israel,” charged Zarif.

On Wednesday, (1st)  White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders confirmed that the Trump administration is planning to designate the Muslim Brotherhood a foreign terrorist organization.

The move would impose “wide-ranging economic and travel sanctions” on entities that do business with the group.

The Muslim Brotherhood was outlawed and designated a terrorist group in Egypt in December 2013, several months after the army, led by Sisi, ousted Islamist president and senior Brotherhood member Mohammed Morsi.

The organization has also been named a terrorist group by the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

The move to blacklist the Muslim Brotherhood comes after Trump officially designated the Iranian Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organization.

The decision effectively means that anyone who deals with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps could face prison in the United States.

Shortly after the US announced its move, Iran countered by declaring the United States a “state sponsor of terrorism” and US forces in the region “terrorist groups.”



Philadelphia Schoolchildren Sing Anti-Israel Songs

Muslim schoolchildren in Philadelphia sang anti-Israel songs promising to liberate the Temple Mount from “Zionists” and to “crush the traitor,” The Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) reported.

Israel controls security on the Temple Mount, but while Muslims have full and constant access to the Mount, Jews are rarely allowed to ascend and banned from praying at the site.  The Jordan Waqf manages it.

The performances were organized by the Muslim American Society’s (MAS) Philadelphia chapter, in honor of “Ummah Day,” which occurred in April.

“The event was advertised as focusing on the Golden Age of Islamic Science,” IPT noted.

Two twitter videos show a boys’ performance and a girls’ performance, both embracing terrorism and promoting anti-Semitism.  Both songs featured in the performances were produced by the Jordanian “Birds of Paradise” children’s group.

In the boys’ song, lyrics include: “The blood of the martyrs is calling us” and “Sword and text, oh free men/ until we liberate our lands/ until we reach our anchorages/ and we crush the traitor” as well as “Oh rivers of the martyrs, lads.”

In the girls’ song, students sang: “They were attacked by the army of darkness, and they occupied our Aqsa for years/ but Saladin came to us, an army committed to our religion/ God with clear victory/ he achieved a dream and returned al-Aqsa/ and the Zionists today returned/ they occupied al-Aqsa/ But we are not to blame/ and our Masra will be restored.”



Massive 82% Spike In Anti-Semitic Hate Crimes In New York City, NYPD Finds

The New York Police Department has reported a massive increase in anti-Semitic hate crimes in the city, with the data showing an 82% increase in such incidents in the first three months of 2019.

The statistics released on Thursday (2nd), also showed a 67% increase in overall hate crimes in New York City over the same period.

The Anti-Defamation League’s 2018 audit of anti-Semitic incidents published earlier this week found that there was an even bigger rise of anti-Semitic hate crime in New York State – an increase of 170% from the third to the fourth quarter of 2018.

In the latest in the ongoing series of incidents of harassment and assault against Jews in New York, a passerby spat at and cursed a Jewish man in Brooklyn on Wednesday (1st), an incident which was captured on video and published on social media.

“The data released by the NYPD on Thursday (2nd) is deeply disturbing and should serve as an important reminder to all of us that we must continue to be vigilant in the face of hate,” said Evan R. Bernstein, ADL NY/NJ Regional Director.