News Digest — 6/3/19

In News Surrounding Israel by The Friends of Israel

Tens Of Thousands Of New Yorkers March To Celebrate Israel – Haley Cohen

Tens of thousands of Israel supporters gathered in Manhattan on Sunday (2nd) for the 55th annual Celebrate Israel Parade – the largest celebration of Israel in the world.

Beginning on Fifth Avenue and 57th Street and making their way up to 75th Street, marchers embraced this year’s theme of “Only in Israel” from the renewed Hebrew song “Rak B’Yisrael.”

The parade, which began in 1965, has been organized by the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of New York.

“Celebrate Israel brings the Jewish community together in support of Israel.  From center right to center left, we set aside our differences and truly celebrate Israel, as a democratic state,” Michael Miller, CEO and Executive Director of JCRC told The Jerusalem Post.

Around 40,000 participants took part in this year’s event, from organizations including Birthright Israel, UJA-Federation of New York, El Al, Maimonides Medical Center to many Jewish youth movements and schools.  Thirty of the participating organizations designed a float with colorful banners and costumes. There were six Grand Marshals in the parade.

“It was an immediate yes for me to take part this year as a Grand Marshal,” said Elizabeth Savetsky, who has attended the parade for the past seven years.  

“The best way to combat anti-Semitism is by showing pride in Israel. Supporting the magic of Israel is the best way to fight it, she said”



Syrian Regime: Five Killed In Another Israeli Attack On T-4 Airbase Sunday Night

At least five Syrians, including a soldier in the Syrian army, were killed in an alleged Israeli attack on the T-4 airbase in the eastern Homs province on Sunday night (2nd), one day after limited clashes between the two foes, Kan news reported.

An unnamed military source was quoted by Sana news as saying that regime air defenses “confronted an Israeli aggression and destroyed two rockets targeting the T-4 airport,” adding that other Israeli rockets caused the death of one soldier and injured two others.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights later reported that at least five Syrians were killed, including a soldier in the Syrian army, and that the number of fatalities may rise.

An ammunition depot was destroyed in the strike and there was material damage to other buildings.

According to reports, multiple explosions were heard inside the airbase during the strike.

Israel also allegedly struck back pre-dawn Sunday morning (2nd) in retaliation for two rockets launched at the Golan Heights on Saturday (1st).



Netanyahu Threatens Iran, Citing pre-dawn Israeli Strikes In Syria

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday (2nd) warned Iran that Israel’s airstrikes on Syria earlier in the day showed that, when assaulted, the Jewish state hits back hard.

Speaking at a ceremony for Jerusalem Day, when Israel marks the unification of Jerusalem during the 1967 Six-Day War, Netanyahu said that in the decades since that conflict many moderate Arab states have “sobered up” regarding their attitudes toward Israel, which they now see as an ally against Iran.

“While we do not make light of Iran’s threats, neither are we deterred by them because anyone who tries to hurt us will be hurt far worse,” Netanyahu said at a ceremony at Ammunition Hill in Jerusalem, the location of a key battle during the war.  “We have proven this many times in the history of our state – we proved it just pre-dawn this morning.”

The ceremony was also attended by President Reuven Rivlin, Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff, Aviv Kohavi and other senior officials.  

“Since 1967, a large number of Arab and Muslim countries have sobered up and today, thanks to our strength, they cooperate with us in an unprecedented manner,” Netanyahu said.

The IDF carried out airstrikes on several military targets in Syria in the predawn hours of Sunday morning (2nd) in response to two rockets that were fired from the country at the Golan Heights the night before, the army said in a statement earlier.

“Every year Iran transfers to its protege Hezbollah $700 million,” Netanyahu said Sunday evening (2nd).  “These enormous amounts are used to fuel the endless aggression by Iran and its satellites in our region.  Our neighbors know this, all the Arab states know it, and this is one of the things bringing them to a renewed closeness with us.”

The Israeli airstrikes early Sunday morning (2nd) targeted weapons caches and a military training facility.  Seven “foreign fighters” were among the 10 killed, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group.

Two rockets fired from Syria Saturday night (1st) appeared to be of a relatively long-range variety, reportedly fired from the Damascus area, (22-miles away), similar to an attack earlier this year aimed at Mount Hermon.

Mount Hermon is located in the northern tip of Israel’s Golan Heights.  In addition to a popular ski resort, the area is also home to a number of Israeli military installations.



Condition Improves Of Critically Wounded Jerusalem Stabbing Victim

An improvement is reported in the condition of Gavriel Lavi, 50, who was stabbed several times in his upper body in a terror attack on Friday (5/31) in Jerusalem, said Shaare Zedek Hospital.

An 18-year-old Palestinian stabbed Lavi near Damascus gate, wounding him seriously, then ran off, and stabbed 16-year-old Yisrael Meir Nachumberg, who was lightly hurt.

Lavi is still sedated and on a respirator, after undergoing surgery.

From his bed in Hadassah-Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem, Nachumberg said he was “scared to death” when the attacker jumped on him.  He said he had been riding his bicycle toward the Jaffa Gate, but got off to fix something when he was attacked.

The teen added that after the attack, the assailant ran in pursuit of his brother, but police shot and killed the terrorist before his brother could be harmed.

The attack took place during a weekend that marked the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and Israel’s Jerusalem Day, which celebrates the 1967 IDF capture of the Old City in the Six-Day War, after Arab armies had surrounded the Jewish state in an effort to destroy it.



Iranians Demand Israel’s Destruction At Annual “Quds Day” Riots

Thousands of Iranians rallied Friday (5/31) to mark Quds (Jerusalem) Day, which saw demonstrations and rioting across the Mideast as the Trump administration prepares to offer an Israel-Palestinian peace plan.

The annual protests which called for the destruction of the State of Israel, were also held in Iraq, Lebanon and elsewhere, since this was the last Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Iran has marked Quds Day since the start of its 1979 Islamic Revolution initiated by the late Ruhollah Khomeini.

Al-Quds is the Arabic name for Jerusalem, and the Iranian regime uses the day as an annual opportunity to gather crowds for massive “death to Israel” and “death to America” chants.

As rallies began across the Iranian capital, demonstrators set fire to American and Israeli flags, and also burned effigies of President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.  The rallies then headed to Tehran University where the activities ended at noonday prayers. Similar rallies took place in 950 cities and towns across the country.

Iran regularly threatens Israel and props up terror groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah with hundreds of millions of dollars in arms and other support so that they can launch attacks on the Jewish state.

Many high-ranking Iranian officials attended the rally in Tehran, including Iran President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.