Israel News

News Digest — 8/11/22

In News Surrounding Israel by The Friends of Israel

Chief Of Staff Speaks In Ariel, Thanks Judea And Samaria Residents

IDF Chief of Staff Major General Aviv Kochavi spoke on Wednesday evening (10th) at a conference in the city of Ariel, and delivered a message to the residents of Judea and Samaria in which he stressed that the IDF is aware of the rock-throwing terror on the roads and is working to eradicate it.

Kochavi said, “I would also like to thank the residents of the area.  I know that life here often poses difficult challenges.  I know that there are many, many incidents of terrorism, starting with rock-throwing incidents, and sometimes you think we are not aware of them, but, we are very aware.  A rock can be just as deadly and murderous as a bullet.”

“I greatly appreciate the participation and the peace and resilience you give us throughout the entire process and we will stay here until we see the last of the attacks,” the Chief of Staff promised.

Meanwhile, Palestinian Arabs reported on Wednesday (10th) that the military court in the Ofer camp will discuss on Thursday (11th) the issue of Israel continuing the administrative detention of Khalil Awawada, a terrorist who has been on a hunger strike for 149 days.

The Islamic Jihad organization claims that, as part of the ceasefire agreement reached earlier this week, Israel agreed to discuss the release of Awawada as well as Sheki Bassam al-Saadi, the organization’s leader in Samaria.  However Israel denied that any releases were part of the ceasefire negotiated by Egypt last week.



Hamas Attempts To Muzzle Foreign Journalists Coverings Latest Gaza Conflict

Hamas, the terrorist group controlling the Gaza Strip, issued sweeping new instructions on journalists after the recent conflict there, but then rescinded them, a group representing foreign media in Israel said Tuesday (9th).

Palestinians who work with foreign journalists were first informed of the new rules earlier this week in messages sent by the Hamas-run Interior Ministry.  They were ordered not to report on Gazans killed by misfired Palestinian rockets or the military capabilities of Palestinian terrorist groups and were told to blame Israel for the recent escalation.

The Foreign Press Association media, including The Associated Press, said the guidelines were rescinded after discussions with authorities in Gaza.

“Such a move would have constituted a severe, unacceptable and unjustifiable restriction on the freedom of the press, as well as the safety of our colleagues in Gaza,” Salama Marouf, director of the government media office in Gaza, said as he confirmed the reversal.  “There are no restrictions,” he said.  “We welcome all foreign journalists and media into Gaza and we call on them to come.”

The rules would have gone much further than existing Hamas restrictions.  They appeared aimed at imposing the Islamic Jihad terrorist group’s narrative on media coverage of the conflict by implicitly threatening Palestinian reporters and translators who live under its heavy-handed rule. 

Even if the rules have been officially withdrawn, Hamas has still signaled its expectations, which could have a chilling effect on critical coverage.

Hamas’ attempt this week to muzzle the foreign media came after it sat-out Operation Breaking Dawn – the latest conflict with Israel.  The decision to stay on the sidelines likely reflects Hamas’ desire to preserve economic understandings with Israel that have somewhat eased a 15-year blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt after the Hamas takeover.

Hamas, which seized power in Gaza in a military coup in 2007 from rival Palestinian forces, requires all visiting reporters to have a local sponsor – usually a Palestinian journalist or translator hired by the news outlet.

Under the now rescinded restrictions, sponsors were told they must accompany the journalists during their reporting and will be held responsible for what they produce.  The sponsors were warned that they must “demonstrate national spirit, defend the Palestinian narrative and reject the foreigner’s bias to the Israeli narrative.”

They would also be required to inform Hamas of “any suspicious behavior or illogical questions” outside the scope of journalistic work, and to submit a full report to Hamas of what the journalists did in Gaza, in addition to links to all published works.    

In recent years, Hamas has required journalists to apply for advance approval to film in certain locations, such as the Gaza fishing port, the beach and the gold market.  Hamas has also barred Palestinians from working for Israeli media or providing services to them.  Palestinians are also barred from giving interviews to Israeli outlets.



Meet The Real Winners From The IDF’s Latest Operation: Rafael And IAI

The Israeli government companies Rafael and Elta, a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), are the main beneficiaries of the extraordinary success of the Iron Dome interception system after Operation Breaking Dawn.

Rafael developed the interception technique and Elta developed the radar system.

Amit Peretz, who as defense minister gave an extraordinary boost to the development of the system, is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Israel Aerospace Industries.

According to the data published as part of the recent Operation Breaking Dawn, the Iron Dome managed to intercept 96% of the rockets launched at Israel by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ). 

This number doesn’t include the rockets that, according to radar data, were known in advance to fall in uninhabited areas.

This extraordinary interception rate is well known to other armies which are interested in equipping themselves with the system, which is effective mainly against rockets, but also against low-altitude aircraft.

According to estimates, this success rate will accelerate negotiations that are already underway with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and several European countries.

The cost of one battery, not including the interceptor missiles, is estimated at 100 million dollars.  It’s mainly used by the IDF.  Part of the funding for developing the system was provided by the Americans, but the American army actually purchased a small number of batteries.



Senior Delegation From India Coming To Acquire Israeli Agriculture

A large delegation of 25 senior officials from the Indian Ministry of Agriculture, which is trying to strengthen cooperation with companies from Israel, will arrive in the Jewish state in September for the AgroMashov 2022 Agri-business exhibition in Jerusalem.

Israeli agriculture is considered a strong, leading brand and one that causes interest to delegations from around the world.  The senior officials will arrive for a two-week visit and will participate in the largest international agricultural exhibit in Israel.

The delegation includes department managers and R&D officers who are already working with Israeli technologies and intend to strengthen cooperation with Israeli companies and farmers.

Israel has a long history of providing aid to Indian farmers.  For instance, in November 2020 Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Aban celebrated the launch of a new initiative to build an agricultural research institute in Chennai, India.

In October 2017, thanks to Israeli drip irrigation, 15,000 farmers in Karnataka, southwestern India, harvested their first monsoon season crop in years.  Israeli biotech company, BioFeed, developed a “no-spray” solution to kill the fruit flies that have devastated mango plantations in India.

In 2016, the Indian state of Haryana initiated micro-irrigation projects based on Israeli expertise at 14 sites.  In December 2015, The Indo-Israel vegetable center of excellence in Haryana boosted the annual number of seedlings grown by state farmers from half a million in 2011 to six million in 2015.

The Indian group is the second international delegation that has secured its place at the exhibition, after the one from Poland.

The giant Polish company, PRONAR, known for the production of heavy agricultural machinery, will present for the first time its new tractors and equipment, which includes trailers, bale loaders, fodder combinations and related accessories.

Part of the AgroMashov 2022 international exhibition, which this year marks 31 years of activity, features a variety of advanced and innovative technologies for the world of agriculture and for the farmer.

Professional conferences with hundreds of exhibitors and thousands of farmers and entrepreneurs in the field of agriculture will be part of the event.



World Cup 2022 Booking Site Replaces Israel With ‘Occupied Palestinian Territories’

Israelis who want to reserve their tickets for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar didn’t find Israel on the list of countries but were offered to select “Occupied Palestinian Territories” as their location instead.

Israelis are allowed to travel to Qatar to attend football matches from November 21 to December 18, 2022, despite Doha not having diplomatic ties with the Jewish state.

However, Israel was noticeably omitted from the FIFA site reservation page, although there is no other way to buy tickets other than through this intermediary.

The incident lasted for several hours, according to Israeli media, and was not resolved until Wednesday morning (10th), when the reservation site stopped working due to overbooking.

Under the terms of a settlement reached with FIFA, after purchasing tickets for the match, Israelis will have to apply online for a supporter’s identity card, the approval of which will allow its holder to enter Qatar and book accommodations.

During this much-awaited sporting competition and under an agreement reached in June with the Jordanian and European aviation authorities to shorten flight times, Israel will open its air space to international flights to and from Qatar for the duration of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

This way European and American football fans on their way to Qatar will be able to fly over the Jewish state, Cyprus and Jordan, on the way there and back.