Israel News

News Digest — 8/15/22

In News Surrounding Israel by The Friends of Israel

3 Syrian Soldiers Killed In Alleged Israeli Airstrike Near Damascus, Tartus

Three Syrian soldiers were killed and three others were injured after alleged Israeli airstrikes targeted sites near Tartus on the coast of Syria and near Damascus on Sunday evening (14th) according to Syrian state news agency SANA.

The strikes on the Damascus area were reportedly carried out by Israeli jets from over Beirut, while the strikes on Tartus were carried out from over the Mediterranean Sea.  According to SANA the airstrikes sparked fires near Tartus.

The reported strikes come just days after Syrian media reported that Israeli tanks had targeted observation posts in Syria’s Quneitra region near the border with Israel, injuring three.  Opposition-affiliated media claimed that the posts belonged to Hezbollah.

Flyers warning the Syrian military against cooperating with Hezbollah and Iranian militias were also dropped in the area Friday (12th), according to Syrian reports.  Before the reported tank strikes in Quneitra, the last alleged Israeli strikes reported in Syria targeted sites near Damascus in late July, killing at least five Syrian soldiers and at least seven members of the Hezbollah and other Iran-backed militias.

The Sunday night (14th) strikes targeted a temporary warehouse containing electronic parts and ships used in missiles and drones on the outskirts of the Set Zaynab area, south of Damascus, as well as an air defense battery west of the capital, according to the Syrian Capital Voice news site.  The strike reportedly hit the warehouse as members of Hezbollah and another pro-Iran militia were meeting to receive the parts and transport them to their final destination.

The attacked areas were near the ancestral home region of Syrian President Bashar al Assad, and close to Russia’s main Syrian bases on the Mediterranean coast, regional intelligence and Syrian military sources said.



Jerusalem Terror Attack: Jewish World Stands “With Victims Of Heinous Act’ – WJC

In response to Saturday night’s (13th) terrorist attack in Jerusalem’s Old City that left eight injured, World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder said:
“Jerusalem’s Old City holds sacred significance to Jews, Muslims and Christians and, sadly, it has again been turned into a site of tragedy.”

“Saturday night’s (13th) attack is a stark reminder that rocket fire from Gaza isn’t the only threat that the people of Israel face.  They must constantly remain vigilant of the danger that might lurk around the next corner.”

“The thoughts of the Jewish world are with the victims of this heinous act.  We wish them the swiftest recovery possible,” he said.

At least eight people were wounded–two severely, and five mildly and moderately, including a baby delivered by emergency C-section who is in serious but stable condition–in a shooting attack targeting a bus near King David’s Tomb near the Western Wall Saturday night (13th).

One of the wounded was a pregnant woman in her 30s who was shot in the stomach and is in serious condition, (whose baby had been delivered by C-section).

A spokesperson for the US Embassy in Jerusalem confirmed that US citizens were among the victims of the shooting attack, but had no further comment on the matter.



Abbas’ Fatah Party Praises Jerusalem Attack That Wounded Americans, U.S. Silent

Palestinian Authority Head Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party praised the terrorist who shot eight people in Jerusalem Saturday night (13th).

“Praise to the one whose rifle only speaks against his enemy,” read a post from the official Fatah party Facebook page,translated from Arabic by Palestinian Media Watch.

“Long live our people’s unity and long live the free hero,” the post continued, referring to the attack’s perpetrator, 26-year-old Amir Sidawi, who surrendered to Israeli police on Sunday morning (14th).

“Praise to the rifle muzzles, our people will fight the occupation with every kind of resistance,” read a follow-up post by Fatah.  “Save your bullets and use them against the occupation–only the occupation!”

The Gaza-based Hamas terror group expressed similar sentiments about the terror attack, releasing a statement calling Sidawi “heroic and brave.”   

U.S. Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides said in a Twitter statement that he was “deeply saddened” to learn that U.S. citizens were among the victims, but he made no comment on the PA’s endorsement of the violence.

Fatah’s praise for the terrorist who attacked unarmed civilians, including a family of American tourists, is significant, as the Biden administration is in close contact with the PA.

Abbas pressed Biden in his July visit to Israel, to remove the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)  from the U.S.’ list of designated terrorist organizations.

“We are not terrorists,” he told Biden.

The Popular Front for the Liberation Of Palestine (PFLP), a member of the PLO, issued its own statement on Sunday morning (14th), praising the Jerusalem attack targeting unarmed Jewish civilians.

The “operation was a natural response by our people to the occupation’s escalating crimes,” a PFLP representative told Palestinian news agency Ma’an.



PA Failures Leading To Upsurge In Hamas, PIJ Recruitment, Says Fatah Official

A senior Fatah official has blamed his own party’s weaknesses and failures for an upsurge in the popularity of hardline terror groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) within the territory of the Palestinian Authority (PA), The Jerusalem Post reported Sunday (14th).

“The relationship between the Palestinian people and the PA has been severely undermined,” said Jamal Tirawi in an interview with the Post.  Fatah is the ruling party of the Palestinian Authority.

Tiwari, who is closely linked to Fatah’s armed wing, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, is a former member of the Palestinian Legisislative Council (PLC), the parliament that has been largely stripped of its powers over the years by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.  He has been a critic of the Authority’s leadership for years, and in 2016 Abbas removed Tiwari’s parliamentary immunity due to his verbal attacks.

Israel’s successful counter-terrorism operations, especially in the Jenin area, have “weakened the Palestinian Authority,” Tirawi said.  “The people no longer respect it.  The Palestinian security forces stay in their headquarters when the Israeli army enters Palestinian areas…”

Hamas and PIJ are growing as a result of the “vacuum,” he told the Post, especially in the southern and northern parts of the West Bank [Judea and Samaria].”

Tirawi said the young men are joining the other groups rather than Fatah not because they have become Islamist but because they receive aid from them.

The PA is busy with infighting as well, as various figures jockey for the position to replace 87-year-old Mahmoud Abbas, when he either dies in office or retires.

Abbas indicated his favored successor by appointing confidant Hussein al-Sheik as secretary-general of the PLO’s Executive Committee in June, making him in effect his No. 2.  Al-Sheik also heads the official committee that coordinates all civil affairs with Israel.

However, he and other appointees are slammed on the Palestinian street as being corrupt, and there are other senior Fatah officials who would vie with them for the leadership.

They include Marwan Barghouti, who has been serving five life sentences in Israeli prison since 2002 for directing terrorist attacks and is extremely popular among ordinary Palestinians.

Another power rival is Mohammed Dahlan, a former senior Fatah leader who butted heads with Abbas in 2011 and took up a senior advisory role to the crown prince of Abu Dhabi.

According to the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA), he has been buying influence from the safety of the UAE in order to build up power bases throughout Judea and Samaria.

(;;; jcpa,org) 


Salman Rushdie ‘On The Road To Recovery’ Agent Says

Salman Rushdie is “on the road to recovery,” his agent confirmed Sunday (14th), two days after the author of “The Satanic Verses” suffered serious injuries in a stabbing at a lecture in upstate New York.

The announcement followed news that the lauded writer was removed from a ventilator Saturday (13th) and able to talk and joke.  Literary agent Andrew Wylie cautioned that although Rushdie’s “condition is headed in the right direction,” his recovery would be a long process.  Rushdie, 75, suffered a damaged liver and severed nerves in an arm and an eye, Wylie had previously said, and was likely to lose the injured eye.

“Though his life-changing injuries are severe, his usual feisty and defiant sense of humor  remains intact,” Rushdie’s son Zafar Rushdie said in a Sunday (14th) statement which stressed that the author remained in critical condition.  The statement on behalf of the family also expressed gratitude for the  “audience members who bravely leapt to his defense,” as well as the police, doctors, and “the outpouring of love and support from around the world.”

Hadi Matar, 24, of Fairview, New Jersey, pleaded not guilty Saturday (13th) to attempted murder and assault charges in what a prosecutor called “a targeted, unpronoked, preplanned attack” at the Chautauqua Institution, a nonprofit education, and retreat center.  Matar is believed to have had direct contact with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards on social media, Vice World News reported on Sunday (14th).  The attack came more than 30 years after Iran’s late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini called for his death in response to Rushdie’s book “The Satanic Verses” (a critical view of Islam) causing Rushdie to require round-the-clock security at various points in his life

The attack was met with global shock and outrage, along with praise for the man who, for more than three decades, has weathered death threats and a $3 million bounty on his head for “his blasphemous writings.”  Rushdie even spent nine years in hiding under a British government protection program.

Author’s, activists, and government officials cited Rushdie’s bravery and longtime championing of free speech in the face of such intimidation.  Writer and longtime friend Ian McEwan labeled Rushdie “an inspirational defender of persecuted writers and journalists.”

Rushie, who was born in India to a Muslim family and has lived in Britain and the U.S. is known for his surreal and satirical prose.

Infused with magical realism, 1988’s “The Satanic Verses” drew ire from Muslims who regarded elements of this novel as blasphemy.

They believed Rushdie insulted the prophet Muhammad by naming a character Mahound, a medieval corruption of “Muhammad.”  The character was a prophet in a city called Jhaila, which in Arabic refers to the time before the advent of Islam on the Arabian peninsula.  The novel also implies that Muhammad, not Allah, may have been the Quran’s real author.

The book had already been banned and burned in India, Pakistan, and elsewhere when Iran’s grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa, or edict, calling for Rushdie’s death in 1989.  Khomeini died that same year, but the fatwa remains in effect.

Iran’s state-run newspaper, Iran Daily, praised the attack as an “implementation of divine decree” on Sunday (14th).  Another hardline newspaper, Kayhan, termed it “divine revenge” that would partially calm the anger of Muslims concerning the “blasphemous book.”