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December 20, 2014 / 28 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Ashdod’

Israel’s 2014 Cruise Ship Tourist Numbers Affected By… Operation Pillar of Defense

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

In 2014, cruise ship traffic to Israel decreased by almost two-thirds in comparison with the year before.

A cruise ship that docked in Ashdod during Operation Protective Edge was hit by shrapnel from a rocket. The AIDAdiva, a cruise ship with a capacity of 2,050 passengers and run by AIDA cruises in Germany (though the ship is owned by Carnival Cruise Lines in the United States) was hit by small pieces of shrapnel as it left the port of Ashdod towards Crete. There were no injuries, but AIDA did cancel the two following cruises stopover in Israel following the incident. Tazpit News Agency spoke with a spokesperson for AIDA, who confirmed “it is true that we cancelled the two remaining cruises in the 2014 season from docking in Ashdod, due to the shrapnel.”

AIDA’s website does have one seven day cruise available that will be returning to Ashdod in the 2015 season.

The overall trend of declining cruise ship traffic has its roots in a conflict between Israel and Hamas, but not the one of 2014. It was around the time of Operation Pillar of Defense in November 2013 that cruise operators began avoiding Israeli ports for their itineraries. Since cruises are generally planned six to twelve months in advance, the effects of that conflict are only becoming apparent now.

“The decline in cruise ship traffic isn’t just to Israel,” Director General of the Tourism Ministry Amir Halevy told Tazpit News Agency. “Since the Arab Spring, cruise operators have been avoiding the region, and now plan their routes elsewhere. Because they aren’t coming to the region, they aren’t coming here as well. But this is a long term trend, not a short term response to local situations.”

The Director General also pointed out that while the numbers seem to be large, the impact of cruise ship passengers in Israel’s economy is very small. “The average cruise ship passenger adds $200 to the economy in Israel, whereas the average tourist adds $1500,” he explained.

There is also a new trend that may be contributing to the drop in cruise ship entry numbers, and it is a positive one for Israel. Some people who come on a cruise are electing to stay overnight, such as in Jerusalem, and join up with the cruise later on. These people get counted as tourists instead of cruise passengers.

Estimates by the Israeli Ministry of Tourism show that 2014 is slated to end with a 7% decrease in entries into the country in comparison to 2013. According to statistical projections, there should be around 3.3 million visitors over 2014. There were 3.54 million visitors in 2013. The decrease is driven by the drastic drop off in tourism from July-October, which saw a 25% decrease in comparison with July-October 2013.

However, the number of actual tourists has so far increased by 2%. Tourists are defined as visitors staying for more than one night, as opposed to “visitors”, who stay less than one night. Considering the abject freefall in total entries from July until September, the Israeli tourism industry seems to be in a position of strength – 2014 was shaping up to be a record shattering year, tourist wise, until Operation Protective Edge; the numbers from January until July were so strong that the year will still close with an increase.

Police Capture Massive Shipment of Swords, Knives and Fireworks for Jerusalem Arabs

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

Authorities at the Port of Ashdod and police  last week uncovered two containers with more than 6,000 knives and swords, 18,000 fireworks rockets destined for eastern Jerusalem Arabs to maim and slaughter Jews.

Police have arrested three suspects. A gag order on the smuggling of the weapons was lifted Thursday.

Customs agents detected that the contraband wrapped as Christmas gifts. One container was full of 18,000 20mm diameter firework rockets and hundreds of blasting caps, and the other container included 5200 commando knives, 4300 high voltage shocker flashlights, 5000 electric shockers and 1000 swords.

The weapons and fireworks were lined with Christmas presents, lights and wrappings in the hope of slipping them past Customs.

Realizing the security threat, port officials contacted police.

Police with containers of knives and fireworks headed for eastern Jerusalem Arabs to murder Jews.

Police with containers of knives and fireworks headed for eastern Jerusalem Arabs to murder Jews.

Three Arabs from northern Israel arrived at the port 10 days to unload the cargo on two trucks. Police followed them to Afula, opened the containers and arrested the suspects.

The shipments originated in China and were destined for Beit Hanina in eastern Jerusalem.

Police said the smuggling attempt was intended to “significantly upgrade: violence by Arabs, who recently have turned firecrackers, which have become the latest fad for Arab rioters to injure or maim police officers trying to quell riots.

If the containers had slipped through, the organizers of violence in eastern Jerusalem would have had an opportunity to make Tuesday’s slaughter of Jews praying at a Jerusalem synagogue just a drop in a sea of Jewish blood.

The police investigation might help security officials track down a major source of the Arab riots and perhaps put a serious hole in the heart of what appears to be an organized war to take Jerusalem away from Israel.

Swords, knives and fireworks destined for Jerusalem Arabs were found hidden inside Christmas presents in 2 Ashdod shipping containers.

Swords, knives and fireworks destined for Jerusalem Arabs were found hidden inside Christmas presents in 2 Ashdod shipping containers.

Ashdod Joins Ashkelon to Impose Racism to Stop Terrorism

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

Ashdod and at least one moshav farming community joined Ashkelon Thursday to declare that Arabs will not be allowed to work in the area of kindergartens despite widespread condemnation from political leaders.

Ashkelon Mayor Itamar Shimoni got the ball rolling with his public announcement Wednesday that no Arabs are welcome, as reported here. He not only refused to back down on Thursday but also stood his ground that his decision is legal because of the need for security.

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni said she has asked the Attorney General to enforce the law against discrimination and stop Shimoni in his tracks. Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid called Mayor Shimoni’s policy a surrender to terror and a denial of co-existence.

Jewish Home party Naftali Bennett took the opportunity to show a liberal face of the national religious community and went off the edge to declare that “99.9 percent of Israeli Arabs are loyal to the country.”

Everyone is racing, no pun intended, to show he is the most democratic politician since ancient Greece, even if it was not so democratic.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said, “There can be no discrimination against Israeli Arabs. We must not generalize about an entire public due to a small and violent minority. The vast majority of Israel’s Arab citizens are law-abiding and whoever breaks the law – we will take determined and vigorous action against him.”

Lest anyone think Netanyahu is flying on a left wing, he added that “in the framework of the draft nationality law that I will submit to the Cabinet on Sunday, we will enshrine the full equality before the law of every citizen regardless of religion, race or sex alongside ensuring Israel’s identity as the national state of the Jewish People.”

Mayor Shimoni’s declaration brought out the gut feeling of Israelis who reacted to Tuesday’s massacre of Jews praying in a Jerusalem synagogue exactly the way future murderers want – fear.

His ban on Arab workers in the vicinity of kindergartens comes on the background of trauma in the city from more than a decade of rocket and missile attacks on the port cities of Ashdod and Ashkelon.

It took the mayor’s statements to arouse Israel’s yellow journalist media to take a break from its own racism the past week that has tried to demonstrate that Israeli Arabs as a whole are at war against Israel.

Bennett grossly exaggerated to say that 99.9 percent of Israeli Arabs are loyal to the country. Netanyahu was more on the mark when he said a majority, without measuring it, are “law-abiding.”

Mayor Shimoni hit a raw nerve

Placing all Arabs in one basket of terror is racist, illegal and immoral.

It also expresses a frustration that the police must heed so that Israelis can be safe.

The Old Man and the Sea

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

I couldn’t help myself after I saw the photo above.

The context is that on Tuesday, PM Netanyahu and Yair Lapid were in Southern Ashdod laying a cornerstone for a new seaport.

Netanyahu and Lapid in Ashdod Laying cornerstone

Travel Terror Attack Foiled on Ashdod Road

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

A travel terror attack was foiled Tuesday afternoon on a road near Ashdod thanks to the alert eyes of the Israeli public and Israeli police.

An explosive device was discovered on a road in southern Israel just a day before the start of the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish new year.

A dragnet was thrown around the area and all entrances and exits were shut down. As of 4:45 pm the area was still cordoned off, according to Israel Police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld.

The bomb squad was summoned to the scene and a sapper was at work trying to defuse the explosive.

Sleepless in Rishon Lezion, IDF Attacks in Gaza Continue

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

On the eve of the 22nd day of Operation Protective Edge, residents in the central Israeli coastal city of Rishon Lezion spent a sleepless night Monday, awakened suddenly at three in the morning by the wail of a Code Red rocket alert siren.

It had been a really tough day, with the loss of ten Israeli soldiers in Gaza operations, and the country was bone-tired. Israelis were tired.

Even though many homes are equipped with a ‘safe room’, it still required an effort to drag one’s self out of bed, and to rouse the children – or carry them sleeping – into the shelter, to safety, in 90 seconds or less.

Both of the M75 missiles fired from Gaza exploded on the outskirts of the city. Having presented no immediate threat to the population, neither was intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system. As a result, much of the city heard the resulting ‘booms!’

The third missile attack, aimed at Ashdod, was in fact aimed directly at the port city’s residential neighborhoods. That one was intercepted by the Iron Dome system, and shrapnel from the resulting explosion high above the city fell from skies a few seconds later.

Since nearly everyone was in bed or in their shelters at that hour, the risk of curious Israelis racing to examine or even take pieces of the shrapnel as a souvenir of the war, was thankfully minimized.

Meanwhile, Israel Defense Forces redoubled their attacks in Gaza overnight and into Tuesday morning, focusing heavy artillery fire and air strikes on the northern part of the region.

But reports by the IDF that 150 targets in Gaza were attacked over the past 24 hours are being challenged by retired IDF officials and analysts questioning their value. IAF fighter pilots bombed the home of Hamas Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, but it was empty at the time, with Haniyeh and his family safely tucked away elsewhere, far from the battle zone.

Retired National Security Council chief Maj.-Gen. (Res) Giora Eiland warned the Hebrew-language newspaper Yediot Acharonot on Tuesday the IDF needs to advance deeper into Gaza. “It is not going to be possible to reach a true cease fire within the coming days,” he said. “It is unwise to remain only in the areas we are in at the moment; in order to get significant achievements we need to go deeper in our operations,” he explained. “Attacking Haniyeh’s home is not important,” he added. “He could not care less.” Haniyeh told reporters in response to the report: “My house is not more valuable than the houses of other people. Destroying stones will not break our determination,” he said.

Overnight IAF fighter pilots attacked 10 terror operatives in central Gaza, confirming hits each time.

The IDF targeted more than 70 terror sites overnight throughout Gaza, including two sites used as command and control centers belonging to Hamas, four weapon storage sites concealed within mosques, a concealed rocket launcher located near a mosque and an offensive tunnel.

In the early hours of the morning, IDF demolished a full terror tunnel route and also struck the Gaza City office of the Hamas treasury — used to fund and manage Hamas’ terror activities.

In addition, the IDF struck the Al-Aqsa television station used to incite Palestinians against Israel. The station is also used to transmit orders and messages to Hamas operatives and instruct Gaza residents to ignore IDF warnings about upcoming military activity in specific areas, the IDF said. But despite the bombing, Hamas reported the channel has continued its broadcasts – an indication that its primary transmitters and studios remained unscathed.

Ashdod Miracle in Massive Rocket Barrage; Peres Warns ‘Hamas Planned Massacre’

Monday, July 21st, 2014

Hamas terrorists unleashed a fierce missile barrage on central and southern Israel at midday Monday, but the hand of God nevertheless intervened to protect Israelis from physical harm.

No physical injuries were reported but at least one home was damaged in the attack in Ashdod where an open miracle occurred. An M75 missile slammed into a home, crashing through the ceiling and landing on the floor of a balcony (see photo, courtesy of ashdod.net) — but it did not explode, greatly limiting the damage to the home. Family members remained safe in the apartment’s internal bomb shelter room, meanwhile; although they were traumatized by the incident, they were physically unharmed.

Despite the terrorists’ efforts to remind the IDF that Gaza’s ability to wage war has yet to be impaired, the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system intercepted two M75 missiles over metro Tel Aviv and two others over the port city of Ashdod. The attack sent more than one million Israelis racing for bomb shelters across the southern and central regions. Heavy barrages were aimed at greater Ashkelon, Rehovot, Ashdod, the Gush Dan region including metro Tel Aviv, Bnei Brak and Ramat Gan, Rishon Lezion and Beit Shemesh, among other major population centers.

Barrages continued through the afternoon. A missile exploded in an open area on the outskirts of Rishon Lezion shortly before 1:00pm, igniting a fire but physically hurting no one. Three missiles intercepted over the coastal city of Ashkelon at approximately 1:30 pm. Five minutes later, three shorter-range Qassam rockets exploded in open areas in the Sdot Negev Regional Council district. No property damage was reported, and no one was physically injured.

On every radio talk show program, Israelis called in to express their firm resolve to endure, to get through the war and wait it out in their bomb shelters for however long it might take, as long as the IDF continued to persevere in its goal to “silence the rocket fire permanently this time and eliminate the tunnels.”

Meanwhile, outgoing President Shimon Peres told reporters Monday morning that it is essential that Israel continue Operation Protective Edge until the conflict is decisively won.

“We must win this war,” Peres said. “Hamas planned a massacre in Israel.”

The president’s remarks came in the wake of a foiled infiltration early Monday morning in which two massive squads of terrorists were spotted emerging from two separate tunnels between two kibbutzim along the Gaza border.

Residents in Nir Am and Erez were quickly ordered to remain in their homes and lock their doors, as Israeli air force pilots targeted one terror cell, and ground forces engaged the other. All of the terrorists were eliminated in the fierce fire fight that followed.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/massive-missile-barrage-fired-at-central-israel-peres-warns-hamas-planned-massacre/2014/07/21/

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