Israel News

News Digest — 9/12/23

In News Surrounding Israel by The Friends of Israel

Netanyahu Remembers 9/11: ‘We Stand With The US Against Terrorism’

Monday (11th) marked the 22nd anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks when terrorists flew hijacked planes into the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon, including one that crashed in Pennsylvania.

Israel officials paid tribute to the victims of the attacks, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commenting: “Today we remember the victims of 9/11 and their families.  We stand with the United States and the free world in the global fight against terrorism.  We will never forget.”

Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said: “On this day we remember the victims of the September 11 attacks and their families.  We stand shoulder to shoulder with our greatest ally, the United States of America, in the fight against terrorism and our shared commitment to peace and security.”

The US Embassy in Jerusalem stated: “On the 22nd remembrance day of the 9/11 attacks, we solemnly honor the nearly 3,000 souls, including 5 lost Israelis, and honor the bravery and memory of the first responders who served that day and since.”

A memorial service was held by the embassy at the Emek Ha Arazim 9/11 memorial, the only memorial outside the USA to include the names of all the victims of the attack.



US Said To Transfer Armored Vehicles, Weapons To PA To Clamp Down On West Bank Terror

The Palestinian Authority reportedly received a shipment of armored vehicles and weapons from the United States, as the Biden administration and Israel look to assist Ramallah in regaining control over West Bank areas that have become hotbeds for terrorist activity.

Citing informed Palestinian sources, the Jerusalem-based Palestinian daily Al Quds said Monday (11th) that the shipment was facilitated by Jordan and will be used by several branches of the PA security forces.

Notably, the shipment was approved by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s hardline government, which includes representatives who have long criticized the transfer of weapons to the PA.

Netanyahu and the security establishment maintain a different approach, viewing PA leader Mahmoud Abbas and his security forces as an important ally in combating terror in the West Bank.

However, as the PA faces a legitimacy crisis over its failures to deliver Palestinian statehood or even hold elections, its popularity has waned significantly, particularly in the north West Bank where rivals have taken up weapons and challenged its authority.

Armed groups in Jenin and Nablus have carried out regular shooting attacks against Israeli soldiers and civilians.  Israel said the weakening of the PA has left it with no choice but to send its own soldiers into cities in the northern West Bank to arrest those responsible for attacks and confiscate the growing amounts of weapons that are being stockpiled there.

The PA argues that such raids hamper its legitimacy further, and insists that Israel let it deal with the problem on its own.

After a two-day operation in Jenin in July, Israel appeared to acquiesce, shrinking the frequency of such raids in order to give the PA space to operate.

A senior officer in the PA security forces confided later that month that Ramallah faces an uphill battle in curbing terror in the West Bank, where Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad have been recruiting impoverished youth to carry out attacks, a source with direct knowledge of the matter told The Times Of Israel.

Nonetheless, Abbas directed his security chiefs in recent meetings to strike terror cells “with an iron fist,” Al Quds reported.

Dozens, if not hundreds, of members of armed groups in Jenin, Nablus and Tulkarem have reportedly been arrested by the PA security forces this year.

Israel, itself, has also made an even larger number of arrests of Palestinian terror suspects.

The State Department and Prime Minister’s Office did not immediately reply to requests for comment on the Al Quds report.



Defense Minister Reveals: Iran Building Airport For Terrorist-Use In Southern Lebanon

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant revealed Monday evening (11th) that Iran is building an airport for terrorist purposes in Lebanon.

In his speech at the conference of the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism  at Reichman University, he said that “Iran is currently the most significant threat to the State of Israel, to regional stability and to world order.  It strives to reach a military nuclear capability and is closer than ever.”

“Taking advantage of the changes in the Middle East, Iran is conducting  a process of geographical and ideological takeover of the countries of the region, is promoting worldwide terrorist attacks, and is trying to disintegrate  existing countries.  The Iranian goal is to create a war of attrition against Israel on all its borders, and at the same time continue to develop and equip itself with nuclear weapons,” Gallant said.

“These efforts reach  each of the countries around us: in Lebanon – the repeated provocations by Hezbollah.  On the northern border, they are expressed in the arrogant and dangerous actions taken by Hezbollah, with Iranian encouragement.  Nasrallah has apparently forgotten what the real power is, in relations between Israel and Hezbollah.  He wants to portray himself as a ‘protector of Lebanon,’ but in fact, he holds Lebanon and its citizens hostage to advance Iranian and Shiite interests.  If he makes a mistake, he will become a destroyer of Lebanon,” he added.

 Gallant presented photographs of the Iranian airport being constructed in Lebanon.  “I am revealing here for the first time photos of an airport for terrorist purposes that Iran is building in southern Lebanon – 12.4 miles from the Israeli border.  You can see in the photos the Iranian flag flying over the flight paths from which the Ayatollah’s regime plans to operate against the citizens of Israel.  In other words: the land is Lebanese, the control is Iranian and the target is Israel,” he emphasized.



IDF Says Fireproof Uniform Saves The Lives Of Troops In West Bank Raids

The military on Monday (11th) revealed new fireproof uniforms for its elite forces and said their use had already saved lives.  According to the IDF, special forces suffered only mild injuries when an explosive device was detonated during a raid in the city of Nablus.

These fireproof uniforms were integrated into the reconnaissance and special forces units in the IDF over the past two years, replacing the standard uniform and containing special fibers and threads to prevent flare ups.

The uniform was able to absorb flames from an explosive charge detonated when Religious Jews were escorted by the IDF to a holy shrine in Nablus last week.  The soldiers were also provided with protective goggles that kept shrapnel from wounding their eyes.

“As soon as sparks or live fire come into contact with the fabric, the fire retardant mechanism within the fabric absorbs and extinguishes the fire, creating small holes in the uniform in a way that prevents direct contact with the skin,” said Marina Hitrik, an engineer from the technology division of the IDF.  She is the driving force behind the development of the uniforms.  “I felt an immense sense of pride knowing I helped avert a disaster.  For me, every soldier is like my own child,” she said.

“The project began eight years ago and was primarily designed for combat soldiers who requested new and more comfortable uniforms, ones that would dry sweat and provide increased safety.  We conducted a global market survey and selected materials for the uniforms that contained a special substance within the fibers to retard fire.  We also added extra elements for the soldiers’ well-being.  The shirt and pants are made of different fabrics for various parts of the body, for instance,  where they sweat more or where they wear the vest, we use a flexible and comfortable knit to avoid pressure points from heavyweight gear and stronger fabric in the sleeves and collar.”

Hitrik also said that the uniform was comfortable and lightweight, with no buttons and featured ventilation mesh in key areas.  She said that “the uniform pants have convenient pockets for complex situations, such as crawling.” 



Deceitful Palestinian Supporters Fuel Violence  – Nancy Sher

I am a Jews living in Jerusalem.  While we live in constant interaction with our Arab neighbors who enjoy full rights here, we know that a Jew daring to live in our ancient homeland can be murdered on any day, at any moment – stabbed in the drugstore directly below by daughter’s apartment, mangled in a car ramming while waiting for a bus, or shattered by a bomb on the main street of my walk home: all true near-misses in my recent life.

The author of an article on Aug. 15 claims that Israel is guilty of stealing Palestine from a Palestinian people and that violence against Israelis is justified.  But when we began to return to our ancient homeland in the mid-1800s, there was no state of Palestine, no Palestinian national identity, no Palestinian history and borders.  Until British occupation during World War I, the Land of Israel was nothing more than part of Greater Syria, controlled by the Ottoman Empire.

In the article on Aug. 15, the author tells us there were 1 million Palestinians here “before Israelis immigrated,” but the entire area held only a half-million people by the 1876 Ottoman census, including Jews and Christians.  The Mandate period saw the Arab population double, reaching a million by 1948, driven by immigration of Egyptian Muslims, Bedouin Arabs and Bosnian Muslims.

Palestinian terror is not justified revenge for the theft of a state that never existed.  Jews had been massacred by Arabs long before Jews had any power here, for example, in Hebron in 1517, again in 1834, and yet again in 1929.  These massacres were not a reprisal for an as-yet nonexistent “Israel.” (Albany Democrat-Herald)



The Evolution Of Israeli Intelligence: 1973 To 2023 – Yaakov Lappin

The 1973 Yom Kippur War, its casualties, and the ability of Israel’s adversaries at the time to surprise the Jewish state have left a multi-generational scar on the Israeli national psyche.  In the years since, Israel has embarked on an unparalleled intelligence revolution.

Today, the IDF is informed by a network of state-of-the-art sensors, with vast information-gathering capabilities in space, air, on land and at sea.  The IDF employs artificial intelligence and big-data analysis to detect anomalies and shifts in enemy movements and behavior, and receives automatic alerts when these appear.

The Aug. 28th announcement by the Israel Defense Ministry regarding the progress of the Oron intelligence-gathering aircraft – the most advanced of its kind – is a case in point.  Fueled by artificial intelligence, the Oron can gather intelligence on thousands of enemy targets, spanning thousands of kilometers, in a matter of seconds.  Nevertheless, the potential for surprises has not been eliminated, and one of the key lessons of the 1973 war is to never assume that all of the threats are known, and never to fall victim to complacency.

Adversaries evolve, and their ability to develop new ways to threaten Israel should never be trivialized.  At the same time, Israel’s own evolving intelligence capabilities, when mixed with its ability to deliver mass, precise firepower based on that intelligence, represents a major leap forward and reduces the chances of a catastrophic strategic surprise.

The writer is a military affairs analyst at the Miryam Institute, a research associate at the Alma research and Education center, and a research associate at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University.