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July 24, 2014 / 26 Tammuz, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘hostages’

Hunt for Kidnapped Teens, Night 7: IDF Nabs 30 Hamas Men, 2 ‘Shalitniks’

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

It’s the seventh night of desperate searching after an Israeli teen whispered to a police dispatcher, “We’re being kidnapped,” before his cell phone was cut off.

Dual Israeli-American citizen Naftali Frenkel, age 16, and his two friends, Gilad Sha’ar, 16 and Eyal Yifrach, 19, were kidnapped by terrorists last Thursday night as they hitchhiked home for the Sabbath from Gush Etzion.

Thousands of IDF soldiers were fanned out across Judea and Samaria, hunting for them and the terrorists who abducted them. There’s still been no news of their location or condition, and no clear idea of who took them. Constant prayer vigils by millions of Jews around the world continue at all hours of the day and night.

On Wednesday night, IDF troops ‘visited’ some 100 private homes and public institutions linked to the Hamas terrorist organization, mostly in the Hevron area, Israel public radio reported.

While looking for the missing boys, they were also out hunting for the terrorists who kidnapped them – and the rest of the Hamas members who may have assisted in some way.

And while they’re at it, they’re also hauling in those who were released early from Israeli jails in exchange for the freedom of former IDF soldier Gilad Shalit. The former hostage was kidnapped in a cross-border raid near the Gaza border by a consortium of Hamas and other allied terrorists in 2006. Shalit was held captive by Hamas for five years — until Israel agreed to swap more than a thousand terrorist prisoners for his freedom.

Those who were released signed pledges agreeing to certain conditions before they were freed. Under the circumstances, however, Israel is now determined to re-incarcerate the many who intelligence services know have violated their agreements.

Within the past seven days, 53 of the ‘Shalit terrorists’ have been picked up so far. They will appear before a military judge, unless their sentence was handed down by a civilian court. If the violation is found to be valid, the terrorist will return to jail to serve the remainder of the original sentence. In many cases, that is life in prison.

These cases are included in some 300 Palestinian Authority unity government terrorists that were rounded up by IDF troops, nearly all of whom are members of Hamas. A few were Islamic Jihad terrorists as well.

Accomplishing “Operation Brother’s Keeper” is not easy; Israeli soldiers encounter “resistance” at each location. Rocks, bottles… and last night even two firebombs (Molotov cocktails) were hurled straight at them in Jenin when they entered the area to search and make arrests. There were similar clashes in Bethlehem and Birzeit. In one case Arabs attempted to run over IDF soldiers with a car; other troops returned fire and hit the vehicle before it fled the scene.

But the soldiers are clear about their mission and they are firm in their resolve, as are the Israeli Air Force pilots who fly their missions in retaliation for the rocket attacks fired at Israeli civilian populations.

Last night (Wednesday) pilots carried out air strikes against five Hamas terror targets in Gaza, including a concealed rocket launcher and two terrorist bases. Direct hits were confirmed and all personnel returned safely to base.

The strikes came in response to a missile attack on Ashkelon by Gaza terrorists earlier in the evening. One of the rockets hit a house (no one was home at the time) and damaged it. The second exploded in an open area, causing no damage. No injuries were reported in either attack.

Progress in Tracking Terror Kidnappers, Slow But Sure

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

Progress is being made in hunting down the terrorists responsible for kidnapping three Israeli teens in Gush Etzion last Thursday night.

Israeli authorities now know which Hamas wing was involved in the operation to abduct the boys, who were hitchhiking home for the Sabbath from the renowned Mekor Chaim Yeshiva in Kfar Etzion, where they learn during the week.

Communications Minister Gilad Erdan told an interviewer on Israeli public radio Wednesday morning that the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) is aware of which Hamas cell is responsible for kidnapping the teens.

An Egyptian official also has told international media on condition of anonymity that Cairo officials are also helping Israel to gather information about the whereabouts of the abducted yeshiva students.

“There is a flow of information but we are still short, so there is no negotiation,” the official told Reuters. He added that Egyptian officials are in contact with Hamas and other Palestinian Authority unity government factions.

Netanyahu Praises Soldiers for Rounding Up Terrorists He Released

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

IDF soldiers spent the dark hours of Tuesday night tramping around the hills of Judea and Samaria and bashing in reinforced metal doors to homes in Arab villages, rounding up some 50 terrorists who had been released from Israeli prisons in exchange for kidnapped former Israeli hostage Gilad Shalit. Another 15 Hamas members were arrested as well and taken for interrogation.

They also shut down the Fatah-controlled Al-Aqsa radio station in the Palestinian Authority capital of Ramallah, as well as its transmitter in Hevron. In addition, the IDF raided a number of charity organization centers operated by the ‘Dawa’ social services division of Hamas in Judea and Samaria.

By the wee hours of Wednesday morning, soldiers from the Kefir and Nachal Brigades had stormed selected homes in a host of PUG towns across the region, backed up by a paratroopers combat unit. Among the locations targeted were Jenin, Kabatiya, Tzufrir and Beit Awa, and others.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu praised the troops for their tenacity in tracking down the recidivists in what undoubtedly was a frustrating and difficult mission — a fact he acknowledged.

“I wish to extend my congratulations to the troops and commanders of the IDF and the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) for the complex operations they carried out overnight,” the prime minister wrote in a tweet posted on the Twitter social networking site.

“The operation overnight in which Hamas terrorists were arrested, including those released in the prisoner swap for Gilad Shalit, is an element that carries with it an important message,” he tweeted on his Twitter account. “This is all part of a series of many operations that will continue, and their goal is to retrieve the kidnapped youngsters and strike a blow to Hamas in Judea and Samaria.”

All of those who were arrested were members of Hamas and were selected by the Shin Bet as targets for capture by the IDF. As part of their early release from prison in the swap deal that brought Shalit home to his parents after five years of captivity in Gaza, the fugitives had signed a pledge – which they violated – not to return to terrorist lifestyles.

Also on Tuesday night, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Ron Prosor, noted that although PA unity government leader Mahmoud Abbas had signed a document for membership in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, clearly his people hadn’t read it.

Prosor pointed out than in less than 10 days since the new PA unity government officially was formed, the international community raced to offer congratulations on the new ‘marriage.’ He recommended that those who offered the congratulations likewise now race to look into the eyes of the parents of the kidnapped teens.

Israel Not Likely to Negotiate with Kidnappers

Monday, June 16th, 2014

It is not likely that Israel will negotiate with the terrorists who kidnapped the three yeshiva boys last Thursday, according to a report broadcast on Israel’s Channel 2 TV.

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzachi Hanegbi told the interviewer on Sunday that such a scenario would be unlikely, “from all indications” thus far. A prisoner swap would not be negotiated at this time, Hanegbi said.

Likewise, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman has said that negotiating a prisoner swap to free terrorists in an early release scenario would not be under consideration at this point, especially in light of the recent legislation approved in a first reading in the Knesset that bars such a move.

Judea, Samaria Hamas Leadership in IDF Custody, 1 PUG Arab Dead

Monday, June 16th, 2014

Nearly all of the Hamas leadership in Judea and Samaria is now in the hands of the IDF. In the process, a Palestinian Authority unity government Arab died at dawn in clashes at Jelazoun, north of Ramallah, but it is not clear whose bullet ended his life.

The Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency reported the 20-year-old man was taken to hospital with “a bullet in his chest” but failed to mention whether the bullet was from a terrorist’s gun or that of the IDF. Two other rioters were also wounded, according to the report. The man had been one of the rioters trying to prevent IDF soldiers from their house to house search for three teenage yeshiva boys kidnapped by the terrorist group last Thursday night. The soldiers were also arresting Hamas members during the operation, which took place overnight throughout Judea and Samaria.

Nearly all of the Hamas leadership in Judea and Samaria is now in Israel’s custody, with some 150 arrests having been made over the past 48 hours. The IDF allegedly used explosives to blow open the door at one house in Hevron; two arrests were made in that incident.

Arabs also attacked Jews as they were walking back from a mass prayer rally at the Western Wall Sunday evening, singing songs of faith as they passed through the alleys of the Old City of Jerusalem. The mob of Arabs hurled rocks and chairs at the Jews, screaming and cursing at them, attempting to block them from moving forward until police arrived to break up the confrontation. A video of the attack can be seen on the Arutz Sheva website.

Arab attacks on Jews in and around the Old City and on routes to and from the Western Wall are becoming increasingly more common: an American tourist who asked not to be identified told The Jewish Press that her visit to the sacred site on Friday night was marred by a what she called a similar “unpleasant incident.”

The woman, accompanied by an Israeli friend, was on her way to the Western Wall when a group of Arab teenage boys “bumped into us, deliberately getting between us, smoking cigarettes and looking very insolent. They went out of their way to get into our way,” she said, “and then looking to see what we would do about it, if anything. I am a New Yorker so I just kept walking. But it was not pleasant and it’s never happened before. I thought it was very odd.”

On Sunday night, PUG Arabs also opened fire in a drive-by shooting at an IDF checkpoint protecting the entrance to Jerusalem on the Gush Etzion tunnel road. No one was injured in the shooting, which took place on Highway 60 near the Arab village of Walleja. Five bullet casings were later found near the site of the incident.

Two of the kidnapped yeshiva boys — Gilad Sha’ar and U.S.-born Naftali Frenkel are age 16, and Eyal Yifrach is 19 years old. All three learn at the Mekor Chaim Yeshiva in the Judean community of Kfar Etzion in Gush Etzion. They were traveling to their homes for the Sabbath when they were kidnapped. One managed to call police at 10:25 p.m. to let them know they had been grabbed by terrorists before their cell phones were cut off, police said Sunday night.

By early Sunday, some 80 Hamas members and more than a dozen Islamic Jihad terror suspects had been rounded up for questioning in the search for the missing teens. Overnight Sunday night, another 50 Hamas and Islamic Jihad members were taken into custody.

Their Heroes and Ours…

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

I know I have said this before, but I have to say it now. This morning. Now. Last night, we released 26 murderers – cowards, terrorists. The most pathetic of “men.” Really, to call them men is to insult 50% of the world. These are not men by any stretch of the imagination.

The government of Israel understands how sickening, how disgusting it is, how painful it is for Israelis to watch the Palestinians celebrate the return of these sniveling things and so it arranged to release them at night. How pathetic, how stupid. Did you really think the Palestinians wouldn’t come out to celebrate because it was at night? Seriously?

Let me tell you about the heroes of Israel. We have many…

Natan Sharansky has always been one of my heroes. He’s a quiet man, brilliant. He’s short…really short…and yet he is one of the tallest of men because unlike many (including most of the ministers in the government), he stands straight and tall. He risked imprisonment in the Soviet Union to be who and what he was…

His application to marry Avital was refused by Soviet authorities. He married her in a Jewish ceremony which was not recognized by the government. Today, the Soviet Union is no more; their marriage remains and they are now grandparents. Within 24 hours of that wedding, Avital had to leave the Soviet Union.

Three years later, Natan was arrested and convicted for his ongoing activities…mostly centered around maintaining his Jewish identity and trying to leave the Soviet Union to join Avital in Israel (and to get that right for millions of other Soviet Jews). For 13 years, Avital fought for Natan… and Natan fought for Avital and their life together. In 1986, Sharansky was finally freed. They came home to Israel, where they were greeted by thousands.

On July 4, 1976, Israeli soldiers flew to Entebbe and rescued more than 100 hostages. For days, the drama of the kidnapping of an Air France flight had held the world’s attention – but nowhere more than in Israel. The hijackers – German and Palestinian – separated Jew and non-Jew, releasing the non-Jews and holding the Israeli/Jewish passengers. The crew of the jet, though not Jewish, refused to leave their passengers and remained hostages as well.

The lives of the passengers were threatened and in a daring raid, Israeli fighters flew over 1,000 miles to rescue them. In the battle that followed, Yoni Netanyahu, the leader of the operation, was killed. The only casualty. He had given orders that wounded among the forces were not to be treated until the hostages were rescued – that all focus must be on saving the Jews in that terminal. Yoni was in the front, running towards the terminal where they were held, when he was hit.

Within hours, the planes were loaded and flying back to Israel. Thousands met them at the airport and celebrated their return. These are our heroes – Natan Sharansky, Yoni Netanyahu, the passengers of the plane who held on, knowing Israel would never abandon them.

For these, thousands come out to welcome them home.

The obvious connection here is to compare what Gaza and Ramallah came to welcome last night. I can’t make the comparison – or maybe I have already. For me, I am filled with gratitude that my heroes are men who lived with honor, not cowards who stabbed women and axed men to death.

I know the so-called peace talks will continue – personally, I couldn’t even look at these negotiators or be in the same room with them. They sicken me; their culture of death sickens me. There is inside of me a part that thinks our greatest victory, even if the world does not recognize it, is simply that we are not like them. That when we come out in the thousands to welcome someone home – it is for a man who has fought for freedom; a man who has died for others…not killed for his religion.

At the end of the day, I would rather belong to a people who mourn the death of Yoni Netanyahu, than one that celebrates the life of Samir Kuntar or the 26 miserable murderers we released last night.

An Only in Israel Story from India

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

We’re hosting the 7th Annual MEGAComm conference this week (www.megacomm.org) and it’s shaping up to be an amazing event. A little over a week ago, we got word that we’d have an honored guest from India, sent by Adobe. This is an incredible recognition of the value Adobe places on our community.

I’ve been working hard to finalize so many details – the conference bag, the magazine (with help from an amazing editor and designer, proofreaders, writers who have offered articles, etc.), fliers that need to be printed, and so much more. And, in the midst of all of this, I wanted to pick up our guest at the airport to ensure his entry to the country was smooth and more, to begin a dialog that has taken place for many months, even years, over email and telephone alone.

Elie knew that I was tired and so offered to drive, leaving me free to go into the terminal to welcome our guest. As we drove back to Jerusalem, I began pointing out some of the sights – how the land is relatively flat but soon we’d be climbing up to Jerusalem (and explained how we mean this in both a physical and spiritual sense). Of the battle of 1948, and the military vehicles that remain, to this day, to a monument to those who died in the war of our independence. Of the open areas that stretch out between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, and the cities and towns along the way. Of the train passing, the lake that isn’t really there – except now because of the massive amounts of rain we’ve had recently.

And finally, we pointed to the tank museum to the right. Latrun. Our guest seemed interested and so we took a small detour to drive up and show him a few tanks that are part of the museum. A large part of Elie’s life remains the army and this became part of the discussion on Israel and life here as we drove.

And then our guest shared a story that has had me smiling since. He has family members in the Indian army and some have served in Kashmir an area known for the strife that plagues it. Apparently, there was an attack and hostages were taken – among them, four Israelis. The Indian army prepared to move in and when they got there, they found that the Israelis were so annoyed at having been kidnapped, they overpowered their kidnappers, tied them up and handed them over to the army.

I explained how so many Israelis after the army take off for foreign lands for a few months to see a world beyond our small borders. They leave behind family, friends and country – and take with them so much of who they have become. No, Israelis wouldn’t sit around and wait to be rescued if the opportunity arises.

I told this story to my son-in-law, who just finished the army, and to a soldier we needed a lift into Jerusalem this morning. When I got to the end of the story, about the Israelis rescuing themselves, they both laughed and smiled.

Even from India, there are “only in Israel” stories!

Visit A Soldier’s Mother.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/a-soldiers-mother/an-only-in-israel-story-from-india/2013/02/05/

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