News Digest — 7/1/19

In News Surrounding Israel by The Friends of Israel

15 Said Killed, As Israel Strikes Iranian Sites In Syria

At least 15 people were killed, during strikes on Iranian targets in Syria in the predawn hours of Monday morning (1st), according to a Syrian war monitor.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based group said it was not clear if the dead were killed by the strikes themselves or secondary explosions.

Nine of those killed were said to be members of pro-Iranian militias – some of them foreign nationals.

The Observatory said Israel launched strikes both from the air and sea, targeting Iranian-linked bases near Homs and at least 10 targets near Damascus, including a base where Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps forces are headquartered and a weapons research center.

Israel did not comment on the attack, one of the most extensive strikes in several months, coming less than a week after a trilateral summit in Jerusalem with Russia and the United States, concerning Tehran’s activities and military presence in the region. 

The reported strikes came just hours after an Israeli satellite imagery analysis company said Syria’s entire S-300 air defense system appeared to be operational, indicating a greater threat to Israel’s ability to conduct airstrikes against Iranian and pro-Iranian forces in the country.

Until now, only three of the country’s four surface-to-air-missile launchers had been seen as fully set up at the Masyaf base in northwestern Syria.

Israel has threatened to destroy the S-300 system if it is used against its fighter jets, regardless of the potential blowback from Russia, and has made it plain that it will not tolerate Iran’s presence in Syria.  Israel has conducted numerous attacks over the years to prevent Iran from entrenching on Syrian soil and transferring weapons to its proxy, Hezbollah in Lebanon.



Netanyahu: ‘Palestinians Determined To Continue Conflict At Any Price’

In the aftermath of last week’s U.S.-led “Peace to Prosperity” conference in Bahrain, which was boycotted by the Palestinian Authority (PA), Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his Sunday (6/30) cabinet meeting in Jerusalem that while the PA ignored the event, to the detriment of its own people, Israel continually works to enhance its relationship with the Arab world.

The Bahrain summit focused on the economic side of the Trump administration’s “deal of the century,” with a $50 billion initiative posted to the White House website two days ahead of the event.

“At a time when we are drawing closer to the Arab states and are gradually normalizing relations with them, and a time when we praised the Bahrain conference that was designed first and foremost to lead to economic prosperity for the Palestinians and the entire region, at the same time, the Palestinians repeatedly attacked the conference in contradiction of their own interests,” he said.

“Generations of Palestinians have lived under adversity and loss, but the next chapter could be defined by freedom and dignity,” the White House said, calling the plan “the most ambitious international effort for the Palestinian people to date.”

Nevertheless, the Palestinians slammed the event and even arrested a Palestinian businessman who attended, ignoring the PA boycott.  Under pressure from the U.S, they later released him.

“One thing is clear from all this,” Netanyahu stated on Sunday (6/30), “The Palestinians are determined to continue the conflict at any price, including that of the well-being of the Palestinians themselves.  This is not how those who want to advance peace should act. In contrast, we are continuing to advance ties with the Arab world, including today, and this serves everyone.”



Palestinians Condemn Arabs While Asking For Arab Money – Khaled Abu Toameh

The Palestinians are incensed with Saudi Arabia and other Arab states for agreeing to attend the U.S.-led conference in Bahrain to help the Palestinians build a prosperous and vibrant society.  Their strong condemnation of the Arab states that attended the conference is an indication of the disdain in which the Palestinians hold Arab leaders and governments. The largest Palestinian faction, Fatah, headed by Mahmoud Abbas, urged Arabs to stage demonstrations in front of Bahrain’s embassies in their capitals.  The Palestinian strategy was to incite the Arab masses against their leaders and governments.

As the Palestinians were condemning Arabs for agreeing to attend the conference, they were asking the Arabs to give them $100 million each month to help them “face political and financial pressure” from Israel and the U.S.  The Palestinians may soon discover that their Arab brothers have priorities that supersede the Palestinians’ everlasting financial self-immolation, priorities such as the Iran threat and their own new economic uncertainty.

The decision of six Arab states to attend the Bahrain conference despite the Palestinian boycott-call, shows that the Arabs have chosen to endorse a new direction – one that will leave the Palestinians to fend for themselves in a hell of their own making.



Hezbollah’s Secret, Grandiose Plan To Invade Israel In The Post-Tunnel Era

In his latest speech,last week, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah again boasted that his terror group can easily penetrate into Israeli territory.

Hezbollah’s cross-border tunnel network may have been destroyed, but even in its absence Nasrallah insists that his commandos will try to storm Israel in secret and raid communities and army bases in the north.  While Hezbollah knows it would pay a heavy price for such a step, the propaganda achievement would be crucial.

Like a broken record, in every speech Nasrallah delivers, he threatens a military operation in Israeli territory if a war breaks out.  Sometimes he calls it “conquering the Galilee,” sometimes just “penetrating it.”

The question now is how, now that the Israeli military has revealed and destroyed Hezbollah’s secret strategic weapon – the cross-border tunnels – the Lebanese organization plans to operate inside Israeli territory and take control of a town or piece of land. 

A land barrier built by Israel in recent years will make it difficult for such an operation to be carried out, but Hezbollah decision-makers nevertheless think that at least some of the attackers will manage to penetrate into Israeli territory.



Anti-Semitism Leads To Spike In Demand For Homes In Israel

Global anti-Semitism is rearing its head, and Jews in Europe are starting to be afraid to wear kippot in public.  Meanwhile, U.S. synagogues are turning into sites of bloodbaths. The sense of insecurity many diaspora Jews are feeling is prompting them to invest in homes in Israel, whether as part of a plan to make aliyah or out of a desire to have a safe-haven in place.

Currently there are some 14.5 million Jews worldwide, approximately 6.5 million of whom live in Israel.

The phenomenon is particularly prominent among French Jews, many of whom have made aliyah in the past few years out of fear they would be in danger if they remained in France.

According to David Refael, a real estate agent who founded the Refael Group, this means that demand for Israeli real estate will remain high.  Refael noted that the same process takes place with every wave of aliyah. Prior to the massive influx of Jews from the former Soviet Union in the early 1990s, the average price of an apartment in Israel was some 30,000 shekels.  The “Russian aliyah” caused home prices to triple, Refael said.

“Israeli developers should take advantage of the fact that the real estate market in Israel serves a lot more people than actually live in the country – there are opportunities in Israel for Jews living abroad who are facing anti-semitism, uncertainty and insecurity – to come and purchase homes here,” said Refael.

Moti ILoze of Re/Max in Netanya said,” We sold three homes this week alone to three diaspora families, one from Russia, one from France and another from Britain.