November 6, 2017

In News Surrounding Israel by The Friends of Israel

Netanyahu meets with UK Jewish leaders

In London to mark the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with British Jewish leaders.

Accompanied by his wife Sara Netanyahu, Culture Minister Miri Regev, and Israel’s Ambassador to the UK Mark Regev, the Prime Minister met with British Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and the head of the Board of deputies of British Jews Jonathan Arkush, among others.

Netanyahu praised the British prime minister’s speech on Thursday night, (2nd), during which Theresa May said she would “absolutely not” apologize for the landmark November 2, 1917 document seen as a key milestone in the establishment of the State of israel.

“I thought Theresa May gave a tremendous speech,” said Netanyahu, noting the “intertwined” histories of Israel and Britain.  

Netanyahu and wife Sara returned to Israel on Sunday (5th).



Palestinians threaten UK court action on Balfour Declaration – Jonathan Ferzinger

Palestinians plan to sue the UK in pursuit of an apology and compensation for its promotion of a “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine 100 years ago through the Balfour Declaration, PA Foreign Minister Riad Malki said Thursday (2nd).  The PA will hire a British law firm to lodge its claim and explore similar actions in European and other international courts.



Israeli Druze hit by Syrian gunfire

Israel has in recent years carried out numerous targeted strikes against Hizbullah targets in the context of Syria’s ongoing civil war.  But the Jewish state has been careful to avoid actually being pulled into the conflagration.  Until now.

Israeli military leaders on Friday (3rd) vowed to intervene in defense of the Syrian Druze village of Hader, which lies a short distance over the border in the Golan Heights.

Earlier in the day, Hader was attacked by a suicide bomber from the jihadist group Al Nusra, killing nine people and wounding 23.

IDF Brigadier General Ronen Manelis announced that the Israeli army was prepared to “prevent Hader from being harmed or occupied as part of our commitment to the Druze population.”

The decision came just hours after a Druze resident of northern Israel was hit by stray gunfire from Syria.  He is in stable condition.

Such a commitment could very quickly bring Israeli forces into direct conflict with Al-Nusra and other rebel groups.



IDF holds bodies of 5 missing Palestinian Islamic Jihad militants

It was cleared for publication Sunday evening (5th) that the bodies of the five missing Palestinian Islamic Jihad militants killed in the terror tunnel that the IDF blew up last Monday (10/30) are being held by the IDF.

The IDF Spokesman stated the bodies were located during supplementary operations to expose and thwart the terror tunnel and the operatives inside it.

In response to the IDF’s announcement, Islamic Jihad alluded to future kidnappings to force exchange deals for the bodies of their deceased militants.

“The bodies of the five martyrs will not remain for long in Israel’s hands.  We know how to recover the bodies of our people,” an PIJ statement read.



Palestinian Islamic Jihad: ‘We have more tunnels, will continue fighting Israel’

Palestinian Islamic Jihad officials vow to continue to fight Israel and say they have additional attack tunnels.

“Our battle is open and shall never end.  The ‘freedom tunnel’ was not the only tunnel owned by Islamic Jihad.  It has many tunnels and many options,” Palestinian Islamic Jihad senior official Ahmad al-Mudalal told the Hamas-linked website al-Shehab.

An unnamed Islamic Jihad member said  that “the occupation will not be able to bargain over our fighters.”



Despite reconciliation, Fatah continues arresting Hamas operatives

Intra-Palestinian reconciliation between the rival Hamas and Fatah movements may be technically underway in the Gaza Strip – with the Palestinian Authority assuming civilian control over the area – but it has not stopped Palestinian security forces from arresting dozens of Hamas operatives, some of them senior officials.

During the month of October, the Palestinian Authority’s General Intelligence and Preventive Security arrested more than 50 Hamas operatives in the West Bank.  In addition further operatives belonging to other factions such as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) were also arrested.



‘Death to Israel’ at Iranian anniversary of embassy takeover

Iran on Saturday (4th) displayed a surface-to-surface missile as part of events marking the anniversary of the 1979 US Embassy takeover and hostage crisis, amid uncertainty about its nuclear deal with world powers.

Thousands gathered at the former US embassy in downtown Tehran where a missile, believed to be a 1,243- mile range solid-fuel Sejjil was on display.  It was the first time Iran displayed a missile during the annual gathering.

A crowd chanted “Down with the US” and “Death to Israel” during the anniversary celebration.

Some demonstrators marched with a mock scaffold on which were hanging effigies of US President Donald Trump, Israeli Prime MInister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Saudi King Salman.



Netanyahu: When Israelis and Arabs agree on Iran, the world should listen

Iran has taken over Lebanon, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday morning (5th), issuing a warning about Tehran’s growing regional dominance before ending a five-day trip to London.

Netanyahu was in Britain to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, but made use of the trip to persuade the British government to take steps to halt Iranian aggression.

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri’s Saturday (4th) resignation – during which he said he feared an assassination attempt – and his warning about Iran’s interference  in his country appeared to underscore the message Netanyahu delivered in meetings he held with British Prime Minister Theresa May and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.

“You just heard the resigning prime minister of Lebanon, Hariri, say Hizbullah took over, which means that Iran took over,” Netanyahu said in an interview with the BBC Sunday morning (5th).

“This is a wake up call for everyone.  When Israelis and Arabs agree on one thing, people should pay attention.  We should stop this Iranian takeover,” said Netanyahu.



Anti-Semitic posters stuck to synagogue near Sacramento

Anti-Semitic posters were pasted to a synagogue in suburban Sacramento, California.

Members of Temple Or Rishon on Saturday morning (4th) discovered about 10-15 of the hateful posters stuck to the building.

The vandalism attack was reported to the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department and the FBI.  

Rabbi Alan Rabishaw told the Sacramento Bee that he has received messages of support from community leaders.  He said this is the first time the temple, which serves 275 families, has been targeted..



Israel completes training course for Chinese tour leaders – Mu Xuequan

The Israel Ministry of Tourism presented certificates on Monday (10/30) to more than 40 Chinese tour leaders after a training course – the first of its kind.

Amir Halevi, director general of the ministry, said the course aims to solve the shortage of Chinese-speaking israeli tour guides.

In the first eight months of 2017, the number of Chinese tourists to Israel totaled 71,300, up 60% from a year ago.

The number of Chinese tourists to Israel will exceed 100,000 in 2017 and is expected to reach 200,000 within two to three years.