Israel News

News Digest — 9/15/23

In News Surrounding Israel by The Friends of Israel

Jewish Population Rises To 15.7 Million Worldwide, Over 7.2 Million In Israel

On the eve of the Jewish New Year, the number of Jews worldwide stands at approximately 15.7 million compared to 15.6 million in the previous year, according to newly released statistics from the Jewish Agency for Israel.

According to the Jewish Agency, among the global Jewish population, the number of Jews in Israel is 7, 200.000, an increase from 7,080,000 last year.  Meanwhile,  8.5 million live outside Israel, with approximately 6.3 million of them living in the United States.  These figures come from renowned Jewish demographic expert  Professor Sergio  Dallapergola of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and will be published in the American Jewish Year Book 2023.  The figure for the United States was revised after an in-depth study of the data from the last Pew Research Center survey.

Adjustments were made to last year’s estimates that are in line with newly released data,  including the results of national censuses in several countries with significant Jewish populations.  For example, the estimates for Russia and Ukraine were revived according to the significant migration that followed the hostilities in the region.

The Jewish population numbers refer to persons who define themselves as Jews by religion or otherwise and who do not identify with another religion.  The total number of Jews and persons who would potentially be eligible for Israeli citizenship under the Law of Return from around the world rose to  25.5 million people, of which 7.2 million are in Israel and 18 million live outside Israel.  There are currently over 500,000 Israelis who became citizens under the Law of Return but are not registered as Jews with Israel’s Population Authority.

The proportion of Jews living in Israel stands at 46%, an increase of one-half percent over the previous year’s adjusted date.

The Jewish populations in the following 21 countries are as follows:

France: 400,000, Canada: 398,000, United Kingdom: 312,000, Argentina: 171,000, Germany: 125,000, Brazil: 90,000, South Africa: 50,000, Hungary: 46,000, Ukraine: 33,000, Mexico: 40,000, The Netherlands: 29,700, Belgium: 29,000, Italy: 26,900, Switzerland: 20,500, Uruguay: 16,200,  Chile: 15,700, Sweden: 14,900, Turkey: 14,200, Spain: 13,000,  Austria: 10,300, Panama: 10,000.

Another 80 countries have Jewish populations of more than 100 but less than 10,000.  About 27,000 Jews live in Arab and Muslim countries, of which 14,200 live in Turkey, 9,100 in Iran, 2,100 in Morocco, 1,000 in Tunisia, and 500 in the United Arab Emirates.     



Syrian Airstrikes: ‘Proof Thunder Of Israel’s Jets Is Loudest,’ Gallant Says

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant appeared on Thursday (14th) to reference alleged Israeli airstrikes which targeted sites in Syria on Wednesday (13th), stating “last night we received another proof that in the State of Israel, the thunder of the planes is louder than all the background noises.”

“In the end what matters is the performance, not the talk,” said Gallant at a pre-Rosh Hashanah toast with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the General Staff Forum.

Alleged Israeli airstrikes that hit the area near Hama in central Syria on Wednesday night (13th) appear to have targeted a precision ballistic missile project involving Iran, North Korea, and Hezbollah, the Alma Research and Education Center reported Thursday (14th).

The targeted project, known as Project 99, is located at a branch of the Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC) near Tal Qartel, south of Hama, according to Alma.  Satellite imagery from Thursday morning (14th) shared on social media showed a number of buildings destroyed at the SSRC site.

Syrian reports indicated that the Shayrat Airbase in the Homs region was also targeted during the strikes near Hama, with the Syrian Capital Voice news site reporting that the airbase was partially evacuated and a state of alert was activated.  The Shayrat airbase is frequently used by Russian forces stationed in the country.

According to the Capital Voice, the strikes targeted military sites where Iranian weapons and military equipment that had recently arrived in Syria were being stored.  According to the report, Syrian air defenses did not respond to the strike.

The strikes near Hama came just hours after an alleged Israeli airstrike targeted Syrian air defense bases near Tartus in a rare daytime strike.

The Capital Voice reported that the first strikes on Wednesday (13th) targeted a military site where an Iranian air defense and early warning system was located between Dier Alhajar and al-Jamasa near Tartus.

Alma also reported that an advanced Iranian defense system was believed to be located at the targeted site near Tartus.



Israel Intercepts 16 Tons Of Chemicals Used In Rocket Fuel  Headed to Gaza from Turkey

Israel foiled an attempt to smuggle 16 tons of chemicals that could be used to manufacture rocket fuel hidden in a shipment from Turkey headed to the Gaza Strip, customs authorities announced Thursday (14th).

Among the containers that arrived at Ashdod port in July were some containing 54 tons of plaster for construction in Gaza.

In those containers, inspectors found 16 tons of ammonium chloride, a dual-use chemical that Israel bars from Gaza due to its potential to be used to construct rockets, the Customs Directorate said.

Terror groups in the Hamas-ruled Strip have fired tens of thousands of rockets at Israel in recent years.

Earlier this month, Israel temporarily halted Gaza exports following what it said was an attempt to smuggle explosives from the coastal enclave.

“The defense establishment will not allow terror elements to take advantage of the civilian and humanitarian channel in the Gaza Strip for the needs of military force buildup and acts of terror,” the ministry and the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories said.

The Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli-led blockade since the Hamas terror group seized power from the Palestinian Authority in a bloody coup in 2007.  Israel says the blockade, which is also enforced by neighboring Egypt, is needed to prevent the terror group, which openly seeks Israel’s destruction, from arming.



One Can Only Make Peace With An Enemy That Truly Wants Peace – Jeff Jacoby

• An Iconic photo shows Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and a grinning PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat shaking hands on the South Lawn of the White House on September 13, 1993.  Arafat had good reason to grin.  Oslo was his ticket out of exile and oblivion.  Twelve years earlier he and the PLO, having been expelled from Lebanon, had decamped to Tunisia, which inhibited its ability to wreak havoc in Israel.  But with the Oslo Accords, he was back in the spotlight.  The agreement allowed him to pose on the international stage as a peacemaker despite his lifelong career as a terrorist; soon it would enrich him with land, money, weapons, and political power.

• Four days earlier, Arafat and Rabin had signed letters of “mutual recognition.”  “The PLO recognizes the right of the State of Israel to exist in peace and security,” Arafat wrote.  “The PLO commits itself to the Middle East peace process, and to a peaceful resolution of the conflict between the two sides and declares that all outstanding issues relating to permanent status will be resolved through negotiations.  The PLO…renounces the use of terrorism and other acts of violence and will assume responsibility over all PLO elements and personnel in order to assure their compliance, prevent violations, and discipline violators.”

• Arafat’s pledge was a sham from the outset.  He said so explicitly in a message to the Palestinian people, broadcast in Arabic by Jordan television on the very day of the White House ceremony.  “This is the moment of return, the moment of gaining a foothold on the first liberated Palestinian land,” he announced.

• Arafat declared that the “Phased Plan” adopted by the PLO in 1974 remained in force.  That plan was a strategy to establish political control over any territory it could acquire from Israel, then use that territory as a base of operations to continue the “armed struggle” until all of Israel was conquered.  i,675  Israeli women, men, children, and babies would lose their lives to Palestinian terror in the years following Arafat’s renunciation of violence.

• As the late great Charles Krauthammer wrote in the Washington Post, “Underlying Israeli-Palestinian negotiations is the cliche that one can only make peace with one’s enemy.  It is equally true however, that one can only make peace with an enemy who truly wants peace.  If the enemy is intent on remaining an enemy, if his objective is not peace but victory, if he believes your very existence is a stain on his honor and his God, then peace is not possible.  With such an enemy, negotiations are futile.”

The writer has been a columnist for the Boston Globe since 1994.



MSNBC Invents Facts To Bash Israel – David Litman

On September 3, NBC News correspondent Ali Velshi wove a narrative of an evil Jewish state, threading together outright lies with material omissions to tell his tale of a brutal, undemocratic apartheid state, leaving the network’s audience not just uninformed but misinformed.  Velshi described the 2023 fatalities in Israel as such: “According to the UN, nearly 200 Palestinians have been killed in Israel and the West Bank since the start of this year.  That is the highest number since 2005.  Apparently, some 30 Israelis have also been killed in these clashes.”

In fact, almost none of the Israelis were killed in “clashes.”  Rather, almost all of them were civilians going about their business who were murdered by Palestinian terrorists.  For example, when Lucy Dee and her two daughters were gunned down on the road in a family trip to Tiberias, they were not engaged in “clashes.”  On the other hand, the vast majority of the Palestinians were killed either in armed clashes or while carrying out terror attacks.

In another example of a disinterest in accuracy, Velshi claimed that Israel has approved construction of “thousands of new settlements.”  In fact, Israel approved the construction of new houses in already existing communities.