October 25, 2017

In News Surrounding Israel by The Friends of Israel

Report: Israeli airstrikes kill 10 ISIS-linked fighters in southern Syria

At least 10 fighters from the Jaish Khaled Bin Walid group were killed on Monday (23rd) by suspected Israeli airstrikes in the town of Sahm al-Jolan in southern Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Several months ago 16 fighters from the group were killed in suspected Israeli strikes in the same area.

The group is estimated to have 1,200 fighters and controls territory in western Daraa province along the border with the Golan Heights.



IDF arrests 2 Palestinians for trying to attack Israeli farmer

The Israeli Defense Forces arrested two Palestinians in the West Bank on Tuesday (24th) for trying to attack a settler, the army said.

The owner of Talia Farm, an outpost located in the Hebron Hills, shot his gun in the air to deter the would-be attackers before IDF soldiers arrived and arrested the two Palestinians, according to the army.

A spokesperson for the Har Regional Council said the Palestinians attacked the farmer with rocks and a pole.



Netanyahu: World must take care of Kurds’ future

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday (24th) said Israel had “great sympathy” for Kurdish aspirations and that the world should concern itself with their well-being.

Netanyahu was speaking at a memorial ceremony for far-right Israeli tourism minister, Rehavam Ze’evi, assassinated by Palestinian terrorists in Jerusalem in 2001.

“We have great sympathy for the Kurds and their desires, and the world needs to concern itself with their safety and with their future.”

Israel has been the only country to openly support Kurdish independence, with Netanyahu last month backing “the legitimate efforts of the Kurdish people to attain a state of their own.”



Palestinians erect memorial to Saddam Hussein

The city of Kalkilya in the West Bank unveiled a memorial to Saddam Hussein on October 18, along with naming a street for him.

The monument bears the slogan, “Arab Palestine from the River to the Sea,” referring to the territory between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

Kalkilya District Governor Rafi Rawajba said: “Saddam was an emblem of heroism, honor, originality and defiance.”



U.S. Mideast envoy Greenblatt: Hamas “begging Iran” for help

Jason Greenblatt, the U.S. special representative for international negotiations, wrote on Facebook and Twitter Monday (23rd): “Hamas, which has only brought ruin and misery to the Palestinians, now begs Iran for help and again vows to destroy Israel.  Palestinians deserve so much better than this.  We must find a better path forward toward peace and prosperity.”



Hamas sees reconciliation with Fatah as step toward destroying Israel – Yoni Ben Menachem

Recent statements by Yahye Sinwar, leader of Hamas in Gaza, and Salah al-Aruri, deputy chairman of Hamas’ Political Bureau, made clear that the goal of the reconciliation agreement with Fatah is not to take a softer line toward Israel on the path to some sort of diplomatic settlement but, rather, to pave the way for Hamas to “destroy the Zionist entity.”

Their words contradict the way in which Egypt has been portraying the reconciliation agreement to the Trump administration.  The Hamas leadership, now that it has been taken over by the movement’s military wing, sees the reconciliation process as an opportunity to synchronize with Iran and gain strength for the ongoing anti-Israeli struggle.



Iran to execute scholar accused of assisting Israel

While Iranian officials attempted to maintain secrecy with regard to a scientist who recently was handed a death sentence for being a “Mossad agent,” international organizations are releasing the man’s identity, naming him as Ahmadreza Djalali.  He was arrested in April 2016 in Tehran during an academic visit.

While visiting the Islamic Republic, Djalali was accused of “collaboration with a hostile government (Israel)” as prosecutors attempted to pin on him the deaths of several Iranian scientists associated with the nation’s nuclear weapons program.

Djalali is being held in Evin Prison where he wrote that he believes he was arrested because he refused to spy for the Iranian intelligence service.



Arab-Israeli Muslim woman proud to live in Israel

Dema Taya, an Arab-Israeli Muslim woman, told the Israeli Arabic news channel: “I hope and wish for all the Arab countries, citizens, and societies to have a democratic state like the State of Israel.”

“I define myself as an Arab, a Muslim with Israeli citizenship, proud of my religion, proud of myself, and that I’m living in a country that respects my will and my rights.”

“I’m proud to stand up and speak for Israel and that I am an integrated part of it….More than 90% of the citizens of Gaza and the West Bank wish they were living under such a government.”



Maryland bars state business with companies that boycott Israel – Ovetta Wiggins

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan signed an executive order on Monday (23rd) that prohibits the state from doing business with companies engaged in a boycott of Israel.  “Boycotts based on religion, national origin, place of residence or ethnicity are discriminatory,” Hogan said.  “Contracting with businesses that practice discrimination would make the state a passive participant in private-sector commercial discrimination.”



49 North Americans move to Israel

As immigrants and public officials celebrated Aliya Day at the Knesset on Tuesday (24th), 49 new immigrants from the U.S. and Canada arrived in Israel.

The immigrants hail from 13 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces.

Aliya Day acknowledges immigration as a core value of the country and celebrates the contributions of olim to society.  It was celebrated for the first time last year.