Israel News

News Digest — 9/22/23

In News Surrounding Israel by The Friends of Israel

IDF Chief of Staff Commemorates 50th Anniversary Of Yom Kippur War In Staff Letter

IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi penned a letter addressed to IDF service members in which he commemorates the 50th anniversary of the 1973 Yom Kippur War, which saw nearly 3,000 Israeli soldiers lose their lives.

Halevi described the war and the impact it had on the growing nation of Israel, which had been founded just 25 years before the start of the Yom Kippur War and was just six years removed from the Six-Day War that saw the Jewish state nearly double its sovereign territory.

The early afternoon of Yom Kippur in 1973, the militaries of Egypt and Syria launched a coordinated attack on Israel on two fronts.

“Within a short period of time, the Egyptian forces established themselves on the eastern shore of the Suez Canal, and the Syrians were overlooking the Kinnerrt (Sea Of Galilee),” Halevi wrote.

“At the end of about three weeks of bloody battles, the IDF managed to stop the larger enemy forces, transfer the fighting to the enemy’s territory, and defeat them.”

“The war which started by surprise, ended when the IDF threatened the capitals of Egypt and Syria and imposed a ceasefire on them.”

The eponymously named war broke out on the morning of Yom Kippur in 1973 when much of the country was celebrating the Jewish Day of Atonement.  Shockingly, there was no prior warning until alarms went off across Israel notifying civilians that the country was under attack.

“The failure of warning on the eve of the war is the worst failure in the history of the State of Israel,” explained Halevi.  Its roots were in arrogance, lack of understanding of the abundant intelligence information, and disregard for the enemy.  The lesson we took from the war reminded us of our obligation to be modest – be ready and strengthen and update the concept of operating and training the mandatory and reserve soldiers.”

Halevi also celebrated the courage of Israeli soldiers who heroically led the country out of this struggle even after an unexpected start to the war.

“The many acts of heroism during the war, in the face of enemy fire, are a source of inspiration for us.  Adherence to the mission of the soldiers of the IDF and its commanders, their courage, and their dedication, are what won the war.  The reserve soldiers who left the synagogues and rushed to report for service during the war proved that the unity of the military is the key to overcoming the difficulties in situations,” Halevi said.

“The effort to hold our defenses resulted in heavy losses among IDF soldiers, who were few in number, fighting against larger forces,” Halevi said regarding the 2,689 fallen soldiers of the IDF before sending regards to the families of Israel’s fallen heroes.

Halevi ended on a positive note, highlighting Israel’s military advancements and achievements since the end of the Yom Kippur War.

“Fifty years have passed. Today’s IDF is a strong military with advanced capabilities, operating successfully in all arenas against a variety of enemies and threats.  Our strength comes from the combination of land, air, and naval forces with intelligence efforts… as well as professionalism, dedication and courage,” Halevi continued.

“Our enemies should know that the spirit of the IDF soldiers and the unity of its ranks do not fall short of those of the soldiers who fought in the Yom Kippur War, and that the IDF is ready as ever for a multi-arena military conflict if it is required,” declared Halevi.  



Netanyahu To Present Object From Ancient Jericho To UN After UNESCO Vote

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took with him to the UN General Assembly an archeological find from the Tel Jericho site,  which was declared a “Palestinian heritage site” by the UNESCO organization last week.

It is still unclear whether Netanyahu will use it during his speech Friday (22nd) at the General Assembly but Israel national News has learned that at the last cabinet meeting Netanyahu requested – in light of a heated discussion with several ministers on the issue – to receive a position paper representing the Israeli position which considers the UNESCO decision to be an injustice which ignores the facts on the ground and the history of ancient Jericho.  He also requested an ancient artifact that demonstrates the Jewish people’s historical connection to the site.

Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahu handed over to the Prime Minister a detailed position paper to which he attached an ancient historical artifact that testifies to the connection between the people of Israel and its land.

Minister Eliyahu stated that he intends to meet with UNESCO officials in order to prevent the destruction of the Jewish people’s heritage throughout Jericho.  This is alongside the decision to invest hundreds of millions of shekels for the development and preservation of the heritage sites in the area and all over Judea and Samaria.

“Our heritage is our national strength and we have no intention of giving it up – the attempt to invent a legacy for an invented nation will not succeed,” the minister said.

The Prime Minister’s Office did not provide answers to the question of whether the issue of the UNESCO decision was part of the conversation between Netanyahu and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at their meeting Wednesday night (20th).  During the meeting, Netanyahu criticized the unilateralism of the United Nations in many cases – but the announcement published by his office did not mention the UNESCO decision.



Security Guard Lightly Hurt In Stabbing Attack At Jerusalem Light Rail Stop

An Israeli security guard was lightly wounded in a terror stabbing attack at the Givat Hamivtar light rail station in Jerusalem on Thursday night (21st), police and medics said.

The alleged stabber, a 19-year-old Palestinian from east Jerusalem, was shot by another security guard at the scene, police said.  The assailant was listed in serious condition and taken to the hospital in the capital for treatment.

The Magen David Adom ambulance service said its medics took the 26-year-old security guard to the Hadassah Mount Scopus hospital for further treatment.  

The guard was stabbed in his hand as he fought with the assailant.  Another security officer immediately opened fire at the suspect, police said.

Earlier Thursday (21st) another Israeli security guard was slightly injured in a suspected car-ramming attack at a checkpoint north of Jerusalem. 

Police said the driver who rammed into the civilian guard at Qalandiya Crossing, a 38-year-old Palestinian from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Kafr Aqab, was detained at the scene by security forces.

Violence has surged across the region over the past year and a half, with a rise in Palestinian shooting attacks against Israeli civilians and troops in the West Bank.

Palestinian terror attacks in Israel and the West Bank since the beginning of the year have left 27 civilians and three soldiers dead, and many seriously wounded.



IDF Tanks Hit Syrian Army Buildings Constructed To Violate Disengagement Deal

Israel Defense Forces tanks struck two Syrian military structures that it said were built in an area between Israel and Syria in violation of the 1974 Agreement of Disengagement, the IDF Spokesperson said on Thursday (21st).

The IDF said the strike came after a second structure was identified by surveillance teams in the Golan Heights on Wednesday (20th).

“The IDF considers the Syrian regime responsible for everything that happens in its territory and will not allow attempts to violate the Agreement of Disengagement,”said the IDF in a statement.

The 1974 agreement established a ceasefire between Israel and Syria and a separation zone between the two countries.  In the areas between Israel Line A and Syrian Line B, military forces are not permitted to operate.  The United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNOF) was tasked to maintain the ceasefire’s observation.

The tank strike comes a week after a series of reported airstrikes in Syria.  A military research facility and airbase near Hama and Tartous were reportedly hit by airstrikes last Wednesday (13th) according to Syrian media and the Alma Research and Education Center.  The Syrian state news agency SANA reported two soldiers killed in the alleged Tartous strike,



How Israel’s Missile Defense System Is Being Used To Defend Europe – Dr. Uzi Rubin

• The Arrow 3 missile defense system is the most powerful and longest-range member of the Arrow Weapon System family.  It is built to defend Israel against the most lethal Iranian ballistic missiles while still deep in outer space.

• Israel’s Arrow 2 system can intercept ballistic missiles fired from Iran but its interception altitudes were inside the Earth’s atmosphere, where the blast and radiation from a nuclear explosion could still cause severe damage on the ground.

• The Arrow 3 addresses this by destroying nuclear missiles on their way to Israel when they are still in outer space.  Arrow 3’s first successful interception test took place in 2015 and the first production missiles were delivered to the Israeli Air Force in 2017.

• With the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, Germany became practically disarmed.  But the country’s largely complacent worldview was shattered by Putin’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, resulting in a veritable U-turn in German national security policy, with missile defense high on Germany’s rearmament priority list.  Germany selected Arrow 3 over the US-made Lockheed Martin THAAD.

• In response to the perception of the growing threat from Russia, in July 2022 Germany announced the European Sky Shield Initiative (ESSI) to create a European air and missile defense system.  19 European nations have joined the initiative.

• The three-layer system will be based on the German-made Iris T short-range system, the mid-range U.S.-supplied Patriot system, and the Israel-supplied Arrow 3 system providing the upper layer.

The writer was founding director of the Israel Missile Defense Organization, which managed the Arrow program.



Why I Continue To Invest In Israel – Lorne Abony

As the founder and CEO of several companies that went from startup to IPO, I’ve raised more than $1.7 billion through public and private debt and equity markets.  The lessons of this experience have driven me to make increasingly significant investments in Israel over the past decade.  The cold-hearted business case for investing in Israel has never been clearer.

Israeli start-ups have the best track record of success.  Israel now has 41 unicorns, the most per capita in the world.  I’ve been involved with a large number of these unicorns and witnessed their explosive growth.  You just can’t argue with Israel’s success in penetrating new areas of technology, and the financial benefit it brings.

In fields from AI to blockchain to water and sustainable energy to cultured meat, Israelis bring together a density of expertise, a bold attitude that allows for risk-taking and experimentation, and a unique pipeline connecting world-renowned academic institutions with business.  I am confident that the economic miracle that has been the Startup Nation over the past two decades is just getting started.  (Los Angeles Jewish Journal)