Israel News

News Digest — 7/5/24

In News Surrounding Israel by The Friends of Israel

Exclusive – PM Benjamin Netanyahu Sends 4th Of July Message To The American People

On this Fourth of July, I want to thank the American people for being true to their birthright, the Spirit of 1776, and wish them a happy and blessed Independence Day.

Through thick and thin, for the past nine months, Israel has deeply appreciated vital American support.

In these times of national crisis, as the people of Israel fight a seven-front war for our national survival against Iran and its terror proxies, it is heartening to know that far from standing alone, we have the support of the greatest democracy the world has ever known.

Character is revealed in a time of crisis.  In the face of Hamas’ savagery on Oct. 7, the people of Israel connected to the deepest foundations of our national being.  As one, we rose to fight our enemies with the heroism, determination, and resilience that characterized our heroes from the days of Joshua and the Maccabees, passed down across time to the warriors of the modern State of Israel.

America stands with Israel because Americans are similarly moved by the legacy of their forefathers.  At their base, Israel and America are guided by the same twin insights.  Freedom is the most precious gift humanity will ever know.  And freedom isn’t free – you have to be willing to fight for it.

Israelis saw on October 7 what it would mean if we ever lost our freedom.  We understood this is not a war of choice but a war for survival.

Americans saw the atrocities of Oct.7, and they understood the stakes as well, not just for Israel but for the free world as a whole.  Israel, a peace loving democracy and America’s closest ally in the Middle East, was invaded by an army of jihadists bent on annihilation and subjugation.  The same forces attacked America on September 11.  Standing with Israel came naturally and immediately for Americans.  They understood that for this march of murder and tyranny to end, Israel must win this war.

Tyrannical ayatollahs that rule Iran stand at the apex of the axis of jihad, murder, and war.  They and their henchmen view Israel and the United States as their mortal enemies.

The outcome of this war is not in question.  Israel will remain true to our ancient and modern legacy.  We will win this war.  We are strengthened with the sure knowledge that as we move forward toward victory we will be supported by our great friend, the United States of America.

The writer is the prime minister of the State of Israel – July 4, 2024.



Soldier Killed As Hezbollah Fires 200 Rockets, 20 Drones In Major Attack On North

An Israeli reservist officer was killed in the Golan Heights on Thursday (4th) as the Hezbollah terror group launched a major rocket and drone attack on northern Israel in response to the killing of a top commander a day earlier.

The Israel Defense Forces said it was carrying out waves of airstrikes in southern Lebanon in response to Hezbollah’s attack that comprised some 200 rockets and 20 explosive-laden drones.

The slain soldier, who was hit by one of the rockets that struck the Golan Heights, was named as Maj. (res.) Itay Galea, 38, a deputy company commander in the Yiftah Reserve Armored Brigade’s 8679th unit, from Ramat Gan.

Sirens had sounded across communities in Israel’s north throughout Thursday morning (4th) as Hezbollah launched its massive attack, one of the largest in the nine months of skirmishes.

The IDF said that some of the rockets were shot down by the Iron Dome, and most of the drones were intercepted by fighter jets and ground-based air defense systems.

Fires were sparked as a result of some of the rocket and drone impacts, the military said.  One fire was recorded at a mall in Acre, near Haifa, sparked by falling shrapnel from an interception.

The Magen David Adom ambulance service said that it also treated two people who were lightly hurt by falling while running to shelters.

Hezbollah said the attacks were launched as a response to the killing of its senior commander Muhammad Nasser in an Israeli airstrike on Wednesday (3rd) .  Nasser commanded one of Hezbollah’s three regional divisions in southern Lebanon.

Senior Hezbollah official Hashem Safieddine, speaking at an event in Beirut commemorating Nasser, indicated his group would widen its targeting.

“The series of responses continues in succession, and this series will continue to target new sites that the enemy did not imagine would be hit,” Safieddine said.

In response to the attack, Israeli fighter jets struck several Hezbollah rocket launchers in southern Lebanon, and additional targets in the town of Ramya and Houla, the army said.

Since October 8, Hezbollah-led forces have attacked Israeli communities and military posts along the border on a near-daily basis, with the group saying it is doing so to support Gaza amid the war there.

So far the skirmishes on the border have resulted in 10 civilian deaths on the Israeli side, as well as the deaths of 15 IDF soldiers and reservists.

Hezbollah has named 360 members who have been killed by Israel during the ongoing skirmishes, mostly in Lebanon but some also in Syria – another 65 operatives from other terror groups and a Lebanese soldier have also been killed. 



Why Isn’t The World Blasting Hezbollah For Its Unprovoked War Against Israel? – Herb Keinon

More than 60,000 Israelis were forced to flee their homes in northern Israel due to Hezbollah attacks.  According to a Yediot Ahronot report on Tuesday (2nd), 1,023 homes, public buildings and infrastructure facilities have been hit by rockets, drones and missiles from Lebanon.  The hardest hit communities are Yiryat Shmona (147 incidents), Menara (130), Metulla (121), Shlomi (115), and Arab al-Aramshe (88).  More than 130 communities have been affected.

Why isn’t the world blasting Hezbollah for this unprovoked act of war?  Why does the world accept as normal a situation where an attack of one UN country is taking place continuously from another?  Why isn’t this an issue in the world media?  Why isn’t the international community slapping economic sanctions on Hezbollah and its supporters – first and foremost Iran – to discourage attacks?

Beyond urging Israel to refrain from launching a full-scale military action against Hezbollah, the Biden administration does not seem to have any other plans or strategies to help Israel deal with the issue and regain its sovereignty in the northern part of its own country.  The slow-walking of weapons shipments to Israel – weapons that will be needed if a major operation is to take place in Lebanon – only hampers Israel if it takes the decision to restore its lost sovereignty through military means.  



88-Year-Old Grandmother Of Israeli MK Beaten In France, Called ‘Dirty Jew’

The 88-year-old grandmother of MK Sharren Haskel (New Hope) was physically and verbally assaulted last month in France in what the Israeli lawmaker said was an anti-Semitic attack that should serve as a wake-up call to the French people about the threat posed by radical Islam.

French media reported on Wednesday (3rd) that the elderly woman had filed a complaint with police about the June 24 assault.  She said she was beaten to the ground as her two assailants called her a “dirty Jew.”

Haskel panned the French government for not doing enough to curb anti-Semitism, saying it “ignores and allows the spread of blood libels against israel,” in particular following Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel that set off the ongoing war in the Gaza Strip

In her complaint to police, the woman, who was not named in media reports or by Haskel, described leaving her home in Val-d’Oise, north of Paris, for a medical appointment when two men assaulted her, reports said.  One of them, she said, punched her in the face, breaking her tooth and causing her to fall to the ground.  She was kicked in the back as one of the men shouted  “dirty Jew” and called her “a dirty old woman.”

The two assailants also shouted at her: “This is what you deserve.”

 In her complaint, the woman noted that she was wearing a Star of David necklace and that the two men may have noticed, “otherwise they wouldn’t have known” that she was Jewish, according to reports.

She was left with pain in her back, her knees, her shoulder, and her right wrist, and required medical treatment.

In a statement to Hebrew media outlets, Haskel said that the two men  who attacked her grandmother were “Arab thugs.”

“Anti-Semitism in France has been on the rise for a long time.  Since October 7, it has become intolerable and the government in France is ignoring and allowing the spread of blood libels against Israel.  As a result the Jewish community is suffering from violence, rape and murder.”

Adding that she does not have any hope that French authorities will deal with the assault, the lawmaker called on the Israeli government to “wake up and lead the fight against exploding anti-Semitism.”

The Jewish communities in the world are an inseparable part of us and we have a great responsibility toward them,” Haskel said.  She urged Jews living in the Diaspora to move to Israel.    

Haskel also published an opinion piece in the Causeur, a French news magazine, in which she called for an end to “state-run anti-Israel propaganda” that she claimed is led by Agence France Presse (AFP) news service and French public media, and that according to her is feeding anti-Semitism.

“France, a country renowned for its values of liberty, equality and fraternity, is failing to protect its Jewish citizens,” she wrote.  “The violent attack on my grandmother is not an isolated incident but part of a pervasive and growing trend of anti-Semitic violence that has gripped the country.”

She said that ongoing aggression stems from “the rise of radical Islamist ideologies that have taken root in parts of Europe, particularly in France.”

Noting that she too faced anti-semitism growing up in France, Haskel said the massive October 7 attack on Israel by Hamas that killed 1,200 people “is a wake up call for every French citizen.”

“These heinous acts are part of a broader agenda of radical Islamism led by Iran, aiming for global domination,” Haskel said. 

“Jews are often the first targets, but they are never the last.  If France cannot protect its Jewish population, the broader French community is now at risk.  Let this serve as a warning: when the Jews are gone, native French will be the next to have to leave, or submit.”

France has the largest Jewish community of any country outside Israel and the United States.



Germany’s Largest Opposition Party Calls To Designate IRGC As Terror group

A current front runner in German polls, the Christian Democratic Union is pushing for a tougher stance against Iran.

The largest opposition party in Germany has called for a dramatic overhaul of the country’s approach to Iran.  A current frontrunner in polls, the Chriatian Democratic Union is pushing for a tougher stance, including measures to weaken the Iranian regime and advocating for the European Union to designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization.

The Iranian regime’s long-standing record of funding global terrorism, destabilizing the Middle East, and threatening Israel’s existence with support from Hamas and Hezbollah has been met with a policy of appeasement during the tenure of Angela Merkel, who led the CDU.  Now her own party appears poised for a significant policy shift.

A position paper on Iran, drafted by CDU lawmakers, advocates for a fundamental change in Berlin’s approach to Tehran, asserting that under its Islamist leadership, the Islamic Republic has become an unequivocal enemy of Germany across all domains.  The time has come for Germany to act decisively and radically alter its stance toward Iran.

The paper outlines a strategy to weaken and isolate the regime to end its brutal oppression of its own people and mitigate threats to regional and global stability.  Key proposals include pushing for the EU to designate the IRGC as a terror group and forming an anti-iran coalition with moderate Arab states, including signatories of the Abraham Accords and Saudi Arabia.

Addressing Iran’s nuclear ambitions, the CDU lawmakers call for a halt to the program.  They propose that Germany, France,Britain, and the United States, in collaboration with other partners, develop a coherent and actionable strategy to prevent Iran’s nuclear armament.  The document advocates for imposing additional sanctions on Tehran and more rigorously enforcing existing commercial sanctions against countries that aid in their circumvention.

The policy paper also recommends taking action against clerics who persecute women in Iran and proposes banning any institution in Germany that serves as an information source or influence channel for the Iranian regime.  As an immediate step, it calls for the closure of the Islamic Center in Hamburg.

The IRGC is currently designated as a terrorist group by Israel, the United States, Bahrain, Canada, Saudi Arabia and Sweden.