Israel News

News Digest — 7/21/21

In News Surrounding Israel by The Friends of Israel

100,000 Muslims Promise To Give Lives For Al Aqsa

Nearly 100,000 Muslims arrived Tuesday morning (20th) at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem to pray at Al Aqsa Mosque.

Tuesday (20th) marked the first day of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.

Some of the worshipers chanted calls against Israel,  adding, “We will sacrifice our lives for the sake of Al Aqsa.”

In addition, Hamas supporters raised the terror group’s flag along with Palestinian flags, and signs were hung near the mosques expressing support for the Hamas terror organization, with the words, “We are the men of Mohammed Deif,” and “The sword of Jerusalem will free the prisoners.”

Israeli Police increased its presence on the Temple Mount and in Jerusalem’s Old City, due to concerns of violent riots.

Meanwhile, in the western Galilee, Israel Police conducted an operation to locate dangerous toys in Arab towns, confiscating dozens of explosives and firecrackers, some of which were transferred from the Palestinian Authority.

Israeli President Yitzhak Herzog and Defense Minister Benny Gantz spoke Monday night (19th) with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, wishing him well ahead of the holiday.  In a statement, the Defense Ministry said that, “The two spoke in a positive atmosphere and raised the need to promote trust-building measures between Israel and the Palestinian Authority that will help the security and economy of the entire region.”



‘Anyone Who Tries To Hurt Us Will Pay A Painful Price’

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Israel would respond with force to any attacks on its sovereignty, following rocket attacks from southern Lebanon into northern Israel.

Speaking Tuesday morning (20th) in Ma’alot near the northern border in response to the firing of two rockets from Lebanon into the western Galilee, Bennett cited Israeli artillery fire on southern Lebanon, while vowing to preserve Israel’s deterrence against terrorism following any future attacks.

“Last night, two rockets were fired from Lebanon towards Israel.  The IDF hit back.  I want to say this as clearly as possible: We won’t allow any attack on Israel’s sovereignty or security.  Anyone who tries to harm us will pay a heavy price in return.  We are working around the clock, day and night, on every scene, and we will continue to do so.”

“Lebanon is on the verge of collapse, like every other state Iran has established itself in.  Its citizens have been taken captive by Khamenei and Nasrallah for Iranian interests.  This is unfortunate, but we won’t let the situation in Lebanon spill over into Israel.  Like I said, anyone who tries to hurt us will pay a painful price in return.”

Overnight, two rockets were fired from southern Lebanon towards northern Israel, with warning sirens sounding across the western galilee.  Residents reported hearing explosions, though no damage or injuries were reported.

“The State of Lebanon is responsible for the rocket fire, as it allows terrorists to operate within its territory,” Gantz said Tuesday morning (20th).

“Israel will act against any threat to its sovereignty and its citizens, and will respond in accordance to its interests – at the relevant time and place.  We will not allow the social, political and economic crisis in Lebanon to turn into a security threat for Israel.  I call on the international community to take action to restore stability in Lebanon.”



Sources: Settlement Activity Under De Facto Freeze Due To US Pressure

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has apparently slowed the approval process for construction projects in Judea and Samaria because of American pressure, Israel Hayom has learned.

According to reports, Bennett has refused to let the Civil Administration Zoning Committee schedule a routine meeting for the approval of construction plans.

This has gone on for over a month, sources affiliated with the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria alleged, saying that this amounts to a de facto construction moratorium because no new plans can go forward without the committee’s approval.  “This is tantamount to complete capitulation to US dictates,” the sources claimed.

The committee which is under the auspices of the Defense Ministry and is tasked with overseeing construction beyond the Green Line, normally reviews new construction plans every three months including various infrastructure projects.

These plans are essential for the overall development of the communities, as they pertain to access roads and big projects as well.

The previous government, under then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was supposed to set a date for a meeting of the committee, but Defense Minister Benny Gantz prevented it, insisting the new government would do so.

Though Bennett has been in power for over a month, no date has been set, this time due to American pressure.



IDF Paratroopers Recreate WWII Jump In Honor Of Poet-Soldier Hannah Senesh

Some 100 Israeli soldiers participated in a parachute jump in central Europe as part of a weeklong educational trip in honor of the 100th birthday of Hungarian-born soldier and poet Hannah Senesh, who was captured and killed by the Nazis after she parachuted into Hungary during World War II.

The IDF-organized jump in Slovenia was staged a short distance from the original site.

A number of soldiers from the Hungarian, Slovenian, Croatian and British militaries also took part in the jump.

The Hungarian-born Senesh immigrated to Mandatory Palestine in 1939 and quickly joined the Haganah, the forebear of the IDF.  During WWII, she joined a Jewish contingent of the British military and parachuted into then-Yugoslavia, continuing on foot to Hungary to meet up with partisans there.  

She was captured at the border, interrogated and sentenced to death.  Her remains were later moved to Israel and reinterred in the Mount Herzl National Cemetery.

Her diary and poetry are still read in Israel today, most famously the poem “Eli, Eli,” or “My God, my God.”

The Israeli participants included current and former paratroopers, brigade soldiers and officers, including a number of children and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors.

Following the jump on Tuesday (20th), the participants were all awarded a special commemorative pin to mark the occasion, in the shape of wings marked with a cloud and a lightning bolt – a reference to the lyrics of “Eli, Eli.”

On Wednesday (21st), the delegation travelled to Croatia where they inaugurated a memorial to Senesh in the city of Cakovec, where she was imprisoned.

On Thursday (22nd), the soldiers will spend time in Hungary, meeting with members of the local Jewish community before holding a ceremony at the grave of Senesh in Kozma, Hungary – where she was first buried, before her remains were transferred to Israel.



New York Supermarket Chains Pull Ben And Jerry’s Over Israel Boycott

Several supermarket chains in the New York area announced Monday (19th) that they are pulling Ben and Jerry’s ice cream from their shelves in immediate response to the company’s decision to stop selling their products in the “occupied Palestinian territories” as soon as their local franchise license runs out in December 2022.

Seasons, a kosher, upscale chain with stores in New York and New Jersey, sent out a message to its customers Monday evening (19th), saying, “Seasons has removed all Ben and Jerry’s products from all its stores as a result of the ice cream maker’s decision to cease sales in parts of Israel.  We will always stand with Israel.”

The board of directors of Morton Williams Supermarkets also quickly met and decided that their 15 stores in the city that never sleeps (and one in New Jersey) would cut 70% of its B&J products, the New York Post reported Tuesday (20th).  Co-owner Avi Kaner told the daily that his shops would also stop promoting the brand in its circulars and put what was left in “the least desirable locations” of the freezer section.

While unwilling to alienate certain customers by a complete ban, Kaner said he would work to create a domino effect to send a “strong  message to B&J.”

“Of all the places in the world to boycott, Ben & Jerry’s has chosen to target the one Jewish nation in the world,” he said.  “Our company,” he added, is “reaching out to other major retailers and distributors in the hope that they will follow suit.”

Meanwhile, taking to his personal online account, he tweeted out, “Please try Haagen-Dazs ice cream – you’ll love it!”

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said, “Ben and Jerry’s decision is a shameful surrender to anti-Semitism, to BDS, to all the evil in the anti-Israel and anti-Jewish discourse.”

“We will not keep quiet.  More than 30 states in the United States have laws against surrendering to BDS that have passed in recent years.  I plan to go one by one and demand that they enforce these laws against Ben and Jerry’s because they will not treat us in this way without encountering a response.”