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July 23, 2014 / 25 Tammuz, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Ashkelon’

As Egypt Nears Civil War, Israel on High Alert

Monday, August 19th, 2013

Originally published at Gatestone Institute.

The dramatic escalation in Egypt’s domestic conflict between the Muslim Brotherhood and the military is being accompanied by an upsurge in the activities of jihadi organizations in the Sinai Peninsula.

Since Morsi’s ouster, extremist Salafi and jihadi organizations have launched waves of attacks on Egyptian security forces, and provoked this week’s extensive counter-terrorism operation by the Egyptian army.

These Al-Qaeda-affiliated forces are also seeking to strike Israel — both to satisfy their ideological demand for jihad against Israelis, and to try and force Israel and Egypt into a confrontation, thereby undermining the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty.

The Israel Defense Forces are therefore on high alert in the event of further attacks by terrorists in Egypt, while also facing the dilemma of how to safeguard its own national security without infringing on Egyptian sovereignty at this most sensitive time.

Two unprecedented incidents on the southern border in just the last few days, however, served as markers for the rapidly changing situation.

First, according to international media reports, an Israeli drone struck an Al-Qaeda-affiliated organization in Sinai, as it was making final preparations to fire rockets at Israel.

While Israeli defense officials have not confirmed or denied the reports, if true, they represent the first preemptive counter-terrorism strike on Egyptian soil.

If Israeli intelligence receives word of an imminent attack taking shape in Sinai, with little time to coordinate a response with Egyptian military forces, such action might be expected.

Islamists across Egypt were quick to seize on the incident to accuse the Egyptian military of being complicit in an Israeli breach of Egyptian sovereignty.

Although this incident was quickly forgotten by Egyptians as both Egypt proper and Sinai descended into turmoil, there is evidence that further attacks by Sinai terrorists against both Egyptian security forces and Israel are being planned.

An additional signal of the deteriorating security situation in Sinai was the rocket fired by a terrorist organization at the Red Sea tourist resort city of Eilat over the weekend.

Anticipating the attack, the IDF stationed an Iron Dome anti-rocket battery in the city. The prior preparation paid off: the system fired an interceptor that successfully stopped the rocket from hitting the city.

The rocket failed to hurt anyone, but it did trigger an air-raid siren and frighten tourists, sending them scatting for cover. Unlike the cities of Ashdod and Ashkelon, which are used to Palestinian rocket terrorism, Eilat, a resort town, is not used to living under rocket fire.

Today, a shadow of uncertainty hangs over the future of the city’s tourist industry. For now, Israeli visitors to the city are displaying trademark resilience, and are continuing to pack the city’s hotels and beaches.

Nearby, however, the IDF continues on high alert, watching every suspicious movement in the desert sands near the Egyptian border for signs of the next attack.

Rare 1,500-Year-Old Wine Press and Church Model found in Israel

Monday, April 8th, 2013

Archaeologists from the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) have unearthed a huge wine press and a ceramic model of a church dating back to the 5th and 6th centuries, the early-Byzantine period.

The huge wine press, the size of a football field, consists of three components, IAA archaeologist Dr. Rina Avner explained.

“A large treading floor paved with ceramic tiles was discovered in the center in which there is a press bed of a screw used to press grapes. Three vats into which the must flowed were revealed along the western side of the treading floor. The collecting vats were carefully designed with slots in their sides that allowed the liquid to flow in a controlled manner and they were treated with hydraulic plaster so as to prevent the must from seeping into the ground.”

The wine was fermented and made into quality wine through the use of compartments around the treading floor. In the second stage the grape remnants were pressed a second time by means of the screw situated in the center of the treading floor, from which plain wine was prepared that was referred to in rabbinic sources as paupers’ wine, she added.

The ceramic model of a church was a rare archaeological discovery and was unearthed near the wine press.

“This object is a kind of clay box that has an accentuated and decorated opening in its broad side,” said Dr. Avner.

“Floral decorations and crosses appear on the other three sides. The roof of the model is fashioned in the shape of a sloped tile roof, and in its four corners are four decorative knobs meant to accentuate the corners. On the top of the roof a large loop handle, also flanked by crosses, was attached for holding or suspending the object. The variety of decorations and building-like features of the object suggest this is a miniature model of a church.”

The model is one of several objects that were used as ritual objects that were hung or placed inside buildings. An oil lamp inserted into it through the decorated opening illuminated the inside of the model.

“Since the crosses also served as narrow openings, the light was disseminated via them and shadows of crosses were projected onto the walls of the building where the object was placed,” she said.

Gaza Terrorists Trying to Destroy Power Plant That Supplies Them

Monday, March 4th, 2013

Turns out that GRAD rocket about which we reported this past Tuesday morning was intended to hit the Israel Electric Corp.’s power plant in Ashkelon on Israel’s southern coast. And as happens frequently there are competing claims of ‘credit’ for the failed attack:

The al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade initially claimed responsibility for firing the rocket, saying it was retaliation for Palestinian prisoner Arafat Jaradat’s death in an Israeli prison on Saturday. The terrorist group, associated with Fatah, had published a leaflet on Monday urging a harsh response against Israel for Jaradat’s death. On Thursday, though, Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack — a claim Israeli officials said was more credible. [IDF Chief of Staff Benny] Gantz, speaking Thursday with high school students in Rosh Haayin, said that Israel knew who was behind the shooting. He added that the IDF was working tirelessly to prevent further such attacks. “More information about our deterrence methods exists, but cannot be revealed,” he said. He said there was a possibility of more clashes with Gaza in the future, but rejected suggestions that Israel was facing a third Intifada. “I do not think we see such a thing unfolding before our eyes,” he said, referring to the recent upsurge of violence in the West Bank. “But the conflict level may rise, so we are prepared and we are convinced that we will know how to contain such events properly.” [Source: Times of Israel]

November 2012 report said Israel was supplying 125 megawatts of electricity to the Gaza Strip from that same power station in Ashkelon, the one that has come under repeated rocket fire over the past six years. There is a power shortfall in Gaza, chiefly because the Hamas regime which rules Gaza has, as a matter of deliberate and very cynical policy, refused to allow the import of fuel from Israel, resulting in its one and only power station operating at 20% capacity.

Visit This Ongoing War.

Facing IDF ‘Restraint’ Hamas Rocket a Show of Force and a Threat

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

Israel’s security apparatus at this point is calling the single missile drop that damaged a road outside Ashkelon “a local event,” but makes clear that the IDF will respond forcefully if more launches happen, the Walla website reports. Which means that the other side gets one freebee. If the reader is in tremendous hurry, we should reveal that the above bit of information is the most crucial, outshining anything else we could possibly report next. Because in societies where maintaining law and order is considered the most elementary part of a government’s duty to its citizens the criminals don’t get a freebee.

You see, on the eve of the “disengagement,” as the transfer buses and the bulk of Israel’s internal security forces were moving in on the Jews of Gaza, then prime minister Ariel Sharon swore an oath, that should a single rocket be fired out of Gaza following the disengagement, “we will react with greater force than ever before.”

Since that promise, Israel has stood twice with its boot on the neck of Hamas and its minions, and twice it let go, each time bragging that walking away from the festering wound that Ariel Sharon had cut open was, somehow, the mature, responsible, even brave thing to do.

Well, here we go again. Eager to show that they’re just as angry as their brethren in the PA over the death in jail of an Arab youngster arrested for stone throwing, Hamas ordered its subordinate gang of thugs, the Islamic Jihad (which is just another name for Hamas, in the end) to shoot a trial missile over the line. A shot across the bow.

Israel is determined to react only to the second one. Which means we should alter Sharon’s famous threat to “should two rockets be fired out of Gaza.” Must keep up with the changing realities.

And IDF sources are saying today that they’re not surprised, that they’d been expecting something like that, it only makes sense, what with all the clashes between a smattering of Arab youths (the PLO is only able to raise a couple dozen rock throwers in each location because its funds have been dwindling—but now, that Israel has renewed the flow of money, they’ll be financing much larger groups).

Here’s a question: If the IDF was well aware that this was coming, how come the sirens didn’t go off in Ashkelon? And how come that glorious expression of the Jewish genius, the Iron Dome, didn’t stop the rocket?

American slang uses the metaphor of a male bovine’s droppings to suggest that a particular statement is entirely unrelated to the truth. In the case of the following disclosure from our brave spokespersons in uniform, the heaps of bovine refuse are high enough to bury the entire bovine:

“This is an isolated incident and not a system-wide decision to return to rocket firing against Israel. It’s merely a few rogue activists who decided on their own to express solidarity with what is happening in Judea and Samaria regarding mostly the issue of the prisoners, which is sensitive not only in Judea and Samaria. We must not forget that there are security prisoners released into Gaza in the Gilad Shalit deal, instead of to their Judea and Samaria homes, and they are engaged in terrorism from morning to night.”

Moo…

Now here’s something a bit closer to reality, another statement, same IDF sources, this time with facts:

A senior security official told Walla this morning that “It doesn’t make sense that while Hamas is negotiating with Israel through the Egyptian, it would be trying to bend Israel’s arm. The launch this morning is against its own strategy. And so, the new reality will be examined over time. If there are additional launches, the IDF will respond with force. There is no intention to allow a return to the time of missile trickles.”

Now the picture is clearer: Hamas, which looks to open up the border passages and increase the flow of incoming goods, including cement (to fortify new rocket launchers replacing the ones destroyed last November), orders its subordinate organization, the Islamic Jihad, to shoot one. The message has nothing to do with prisoners. The message is: we’ll keep the rockets quiet as long as you adhere to our demands. We are in complete control of the rocket fire, no one shoots anything unless we say so – now, do you want quiet or a new war on your border?

Post-Ceasefire, Outraged Citizens Take to Streets

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

Outraged residents of the beleaguered cities of Sderot, Ashkelon, and Kiryat Malachi took to the streets, decrying the government’s decision to enter into a ceasefire with Hamas.

Many of whom had been holed up in bunkers for eight straight days of rocket lobbies and emergency alerts in their cities, the residents demanded protection from the government and urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to conduct a ground war in Gaza.

A Generation of Children Growing in the Shadow of Gaza’s Terror Rockets

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

Almost half of Sderot’s preteens suffer from signs of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to a study that was published this November in the Journal of Adolescent Health. Based on a questionnaire answered by 154 seventh and eighth grade students, it was found that 43.5 percent of the children demonstrated clinical signs of PTSD.

The survey, which was conducted in 2007-2008 during a time period when thousands of rockets had been fired towards Sderot, was directed by a team led by Dr. Rony Berger, a clinical psychologist at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Dr. Berger is also the community services director of NATAL, the Israel Trauma Center for Victims of Terror and War, which released a report in 2011 that 70% of all Sderot children suffer from at least one symptom of post-traumatic stress, and that 50% continue to relive rocket trauma.

Idan Bitton, a 25-year-old student at Sapir college, spoke with Tazpit News Agency this week, relating how life had changed for him when the rockets from Gaza began striking Sderot 10 years ago. “Suddenly, in the middle of class, we would hear a rocket explosion,” he explained. “There was no Code Red [rocket alarm system] then, so we had no idea when the rockets would land in our city.”

Fifteen-year-old Odaya of Sderot after rocket attack on her neighbor's home, Sunday, November 18.

Fifteen-year-old Odaya of Sderot after rocket attack on her neighbor’s home, Sunday, November 18. Photo: Anav Silverman, Tazpit News Agency.

“I remember as a student in school, hearing an explosion, and then continuing on in class as if nothing happened. This was a mistake,” emphasized Bitton. “In a way, our passive reaction gave legitimacy that those rocket attacks against us were OK, even acceptable.” Bitton says that the rockets attack dramatically affected his friends. “Most of my friends from high school didn’t stay in Sderot or the south– they moved to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. It was a kind of ‘flight’ reaction to the rockets,” he explains.

But Biton says that he learned in the army how to respond, and take on the ‘fight’ approach. “In the army when I trained to become an officer, I learned how to respond effectively in an emergency situation, and how to take on bad situations and turn them around.”

“It all begins with your attitude and approach,” he said.

But for Idan’s 12-year-old brother, the fear still remains. “My brother was born into the rockets, he doesn’t know anything else. He associates the color red with the rocket warning system.”

“Last week, when I brought my brother to school, he was trembling,” recalls Idan. “He was simply too scared to leave the car because of the rockets.”

“I feel lucky because I still got to enjoy my childhood until I was a teenager when the rocket strikes began—my brother never had one,” he said.

For 15-year-old Odaya of Sderot, the rocket attacks on her city hit very close to home, literally, this past Sunday, November 18, when Gaza rocket struck Odaya’s neighbor’s home. The soft-spoken teenager told Tazpit News Agency, that the rocket attack was “scary” and had left her in shock.

“I went into our family’s bomb shelter as soon as the Code Red siren went off,” she said. “And then as I was standing there, I heard the shriek of the rocket as it flew over our house, followed by a deafening explosion. I thought the rocket had fallen on our home.”

The rocket, which slammed into the roof of Odaya’s neighbors’ house, sent pieces of shrapnel and glass everywhere, reaching also Odaya’s home. The neighboring family was away at the time of the attack, but for Odaya, the experience was scarring.

Elsewhere in southern Israel, children continue to remain targets of Gaza rocket attacks.

In Ashkelon on Sunday, November 18, a group of Ethiopian children experienced a rocket attack on their apartment building, which left two residents wounded and a gaping hole in the ceiling and floor of two apartments.

“The roof exploded open,” six-year-old Eli triesto explain. “We all heard the rocket boom.” Eli and his teenage cousins, Eden and Stav, have been living in the public bomb shelter of their run-down apartment building for five days, since Wednesday, November 14. Beds, blankets, and canned foods pack their shelter. Their mothers’ faces are lined with worry.

Grad Hits Ashkelon School

Monday, November 19th, 2012

Reports indicate that a Grad rocket has hit a children’s school in Ashkelon.  No injuries were reported.

The population of Ashkelon is estimated around 110,000 people.

The 122 mm Grad rockets used in Gaza have a range of about 25 miles, and can reach the cities of Ashdod, Beer-Sheva, Ashkelon, Gedera, Rehovot, Ofakim, Kiryat Gat, Sderot, Kiryat Malachi and Gan Yavne.  Most of the rockets are made in Iran, but some are made in China.  They are believed to be smuggled in through Egypt.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/89774/2012/11/19/

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