Israeli soldiers combined forces with members of the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) Friday night in Shechem to arrest Palestinian Arabs suspected of involvement in the terror attack that killed Rabbi Eitam Henkin and his wife Na’ama, and orphaned their six children.
The two parents were shot to death while driving in their car with four children Thursday night.
“The forces made significant progress in the investigation and operated in order to gather intelligence, identify and detain viable suspects,” the IDF said in a statement. Forces searched extensively in the area, hunting for the perpetrators of “the heinous terror attack,” which took place on a main route between the Samaria Jewish communities of Elon Moreh and Itamar.
The IDF immediately deployed four battalions in the Judea and Samaria region “in order to prevent an escalation of violence.” IDF Spokesperson Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said in his statement, “This murder’s barbaric nature is incomprehensible. The IDF is determined to find those responsible for this horrendous attack and bring them to justice.”
On Saturday evening, the Shin Bet added, “In the past 24 hours, there has been a significant development in the investigation. The investigation is continuing and a media ban is in place on all other details.”
The Israel Defense Forces have developed new radar technology that can identify the launch of a mortar when it is fired.
The new system, expected to be operational by mid-October, will improve the warning alert system significantly – by seven or eight seconds – according to an IDF announcement Sunday.
The system has already been deployed in the Gaza Belt region, according to the IDF, where communities till now have had only five seconds in which to find shelter from shelling.
The new systems stretches that window to 12-13 seconds in which to make it to safety.
During last summer’s Operation Protective Edge, dozens of soldiers and civilians died due to the lack of an adequate window in which to find shelter under shelling from Gaza. The state is also implementing several other measures along the southern border to increase defense in the area.
A “smart” fence is to be constructed along the border with Gaza, which is to become part of a sophisticated “obstacle program” around the enclave.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced the construction of a new security fence along the eastern border.
“In the first stage, we will build it from Timna to Eilat in order to protect the airport being built there, and we will continue the fence up to the Golan Heights, where we have already built a strong security fence,” Netanyahu said.
A Jordanian government official told reporters Monday the Hashemite Kingdom has no problem with this plan. “The security fence along the border will be built on the Israeli side, and will not harm Jordanian sovereignty,” the spokesperson said.
In addition, the IDF is developing a wartime evacuation plan for communities in the region, something that was missing last summer. Instead, the decision to leave was left to civilians to implement personally on their own; many were hurt and several died as a result.
Mobile warning systems to alert exposed soldiers of incoming danger will also be added, after five soldiers were killed by mortar fire in a staging area for troops along the Gaza border.
Israel is in the process of preparing the infrastructure and capabilities needed to start operating its first F-35 Adir (Heb = Great) stealth strike fighters by the end of 2017, Defense News reported. The first pair of Adirs will arrive by December 2016, and fly out of the IAF Nevatim Air Base in the Negev.
According to the IDF blog, the new squadron of 19 F-35 jets will be incorporated into the Israeli Air Force beginning in 2019. The newly engineered fighters are a step up from the F-16I, especially with the addition of new state-of-the-art stealth technology and avionics. Each F-35 unit costs around $110 million, according to the Israeli defense ministry.
Steve Over, Lockheed Martin director for F-35 International Business Development, said that even though Israel will have “plenty of capability to do light maintenance in-country,” heavy maintenance of the Adir airframes and engines will be done at Joint Program Office-managed, company-established facilities “just like we do with all our other partners.”
“When you tear an airplane down, you expose its magic,” Over said bluntly. “So that type of work must be performed in designated places.”
Perhaps betraying their reservations about what usually happens the American weapons after the Israelis lay their hands on them, Lockheed executives said Israel would be able to add specific capabilities or upgraded functions—which the Israelis love doing—as long as it did not affect the overall design or the aircraft software. As Over put it:
The Israelis have an ability to do some unique things. But anything wholesale that would impact the design or capabilities driving all the airplanes for all the countries would have to be done by consensual agreement.
The IAF is preparing to send its first group of pilots to train in Arizona next year, at the Luke Air Force Base. At the same time, the IAF will be sending dozens of maintenance professionals to train at US Air Force logistics bases at Eglin, Florida, according to Defense News.
Washington has approved 75 F-35s for export to Israel, of which the IDF has contracted for 33, hoping to be able to absorb another 17 planes by 2020, according to Defense News.
According to the IDF blog, The stealth technology allows the aircraft to fly practically unnoticed by any enemy. For many years, these systems were too expensive to be deployed on small aircraft; therefore they could only be used on larger and more expensive bombers such as the B-2 or the F-117. The newly developed F-35 allows the incorporation of these features at a low maintenance price.
The F-35 is also manufactured with improved electronic systems onboard. Sensors including various radars, infrared systems, and active electronic warfare systems are all mounted on the aircraft during production. They serve as an integral part of the plane and not as “add-ons” which is common in other aircraft.
With these improvements, the IAF pilots will receive a more precise and complete picture of the battlefield in real-time. It will allow them to better position themselves and give them the advantage to come out on top of every mission they must face.
More than 5,000 soldiers were treated to a “Fun Day” at Israel’s largest water park Thursday through the cooperation and funding of the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) and the military.
There are 6,073 Lone Soldiers serving in the IDF today, and about 800 of them are American.
Native-born Israelis usually enlist in the IDF at the age of 18, but there are approximately 200 Lone Soldiers from around the world who decided to enlist at the age of 26 and above.
FIDF supports lone soldiers financially, socially, and emotionally and sponsors flights for them to visit their families and friends in their countries of origin.
The Fun Day at the Shefayim Water Park north of Tel Aviv benefited Lone Soldiers from all IDF units and featured a pool party with leading Israeli DJ Eran Barnea, gift care packages, an all-day smorgasbord of barbeque and desserts and a concert by the band Hatikvah 6.
High-ranking officers also attended the festivities.
“FIDF supporters have made it their goal to serve as the adoptive family for all Lone Soldiers serving in the IDF. This special day saluted them – and offered a brief respite,” said FIDF National Director and CEO Maj. Gen. (Res.) Meir Klifi-Amir.
The army soon may be allowed to act like an army and actually fire at terrorists even if soldiers might only be liable to be wounded and not killed.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the Security Cabinet Wednesday morning that there will be a re-examination of a recent decision to prohibit soldiers from shooting at rock-throwing and firebombing terrorists unless their lives are in immediate danger.
Since the legal system is finding it difficult to deal with stone-throwing by minors, changing open-fire orders regarding the throwing of stones and firebombs will be examined, as will be the imposition – by law – of minimum sentences for those who throw stones and firebombs.
Stiffer sentences, including several years in prison, for rock-throwers already are on the agenda following an imitative by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked.
The issue of minors throwing rocks, intended to kill Israeli drivers either with a direct hit in the face or by causing them to lose control of their vehicles and crash, was highlighted around the world earlier this week with the video of a Palestinian Authority family whose children are “stars” in rock-throwing attacks on soldiers, whose reactions are filmed and edited to portray the children as innocent victims of a big bad army.
The video showed the children and adults punching and beating the soldier, who sat helpless and without even aiming his semi-automatic rifle at them.
Prime Minister Netanyahu did not refer to the most recent “Pallywood” video and instead focused on the increasing number of attacks on Highway 443, the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway that is an alternate to Highway 1 and which also connects the capital with the suburban city of Modi’in.
He told the Security Cabinet:
The policy is zero tolerance for stone-throwing and zero tolerance for terrorism.
That has been said over and over, but the government and military actually have shown 100% tolerance by tying the hands of soldiers trying to defend themselves and civilians.
One young woman told TheJewishPress.com she still is traumatized by an ambush on a vehicle in which she was riding on Highway 60 between Jerusalem and Gush Etzion.
“S. B.” said”
Arabs smashed the back windshield and ambushed our car. An IDF officer at the scene communicated with his superior, who told him not shoot. The officer replied, ‘How am I supposed to defend civilians if I can’t shoot?’
The IDF’s answer earlier this month was not encouraging and was so cowardly that even international media such as Newsweek reported:
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has tightened its rules of engagement for soldiers based in the West Bank in a move one analyst says could embolden would-be Palestinian attackers.
IDF soldiers have been instructed not to shoot at Palestinian suspects unless they pose an immediate threat to life in an updated directive issued by Major General Roni Numa, who is in charge of IDF Central Command….
The new directive clarifies existing IDF rules on opening fire against Palestinians. The rules stipulate that soldiers can only shoot when their lives are threatened—so if an attacker throws a firebomb at soldiers before running away, for example, the soldiers can only shoot in the air, as the attacker no longer poses a threat to forces.
Asaf Day, an Israeli security analyst with Tel Aviv-based consultancy Max Security…said, ‘I think [these measures] will encourage Palestinians to carry out more attacks and I think it has been proven in the past.”
That is exactly what has happened, and the Prime Minister gave clear signs today he will rectify the situation.
He also ordered the examination of several defensive measures, such as increasing lighting and the number of security cameras on Highway 443. In addition, two more Border Police companies and approximately 400 more police officers will be stationed in Jerusalem.
That does not solve the problem in Judea and Samaria, where rock-throwing attacks are so common that they no longer are reported by most media, unless someone is seriously injured or killed. That is similar to the rocket attacks from Gaza. If they “land,” meaning “explode,” in “open areas,” the liberal media might consider it important enough for two paragraphs.
The “turn the other cheek for the sake of ‘peace'” mentality that successive U.S. governments and the European Union have imposed on Israel still prevails in many quarters.
As usual, it takes more violence and injures before the government and the IDF begins to think that maybe, just maybe, soldiers should be allowed to shoot at terrorists, whether they are shooting bullets or throwing rocks.
Netanyahu took the first step today by suggesting that perhaps solders can shoot, even if rocks and firebombs might cause them injuries and not death.
Below the photo, a video shows Palestinian children, starring Shirley Temper.
The IDF has released a video showing Palestinian Authority medics and Israeli soldiers working together to carry a victim of the arson-murder Friday morning to a military helicopter.
The aircraft flew to Tel HaShomer Hospital.
An 18-month-old baby dies in the “price-tag” arson, and the mother and another child are un critical condition.
The Jewish terrorists threw a Molotov cocktail into the window of the victims’ small home in the village of Duma, near Shechem. Four Jews fled the scene, according to eyewitnesses.
The IDF and police are combing Judea and Samaria to search and arrest the attackers.
The funeral for the baby will take place after Muslim prayers Friday morning. The major of Duma said he is sure Israeli authorities will do everything they can to catch the criminals, but added he cannot do anything to prevent villagers from expressing their rage.
In one of the largest military drills ever held, the IDF has launched a three-day exercise to check on the army’s ability to switch from a daily routine to a wartime footing.
Hundreds of thousands of reservists have already received — or will receive — mock telephone messages from the IDF, beginning on Monday (July 27.)
Thousands are being told to report to their bases at very short notice – those messages will not be “mock” messages at all – and others are being asked to confirm that the call-up system works.
The call-ups are part of the planned set of military exercises for the year, a senior officer stressed. “This is not an actual call-up. We are not at war. This is part of the activities we are carrying out to ensure our readiness.”
Home Front Command was drilling its search and rescue battalions at a mock disaster site in Holon on Monday as well as in other locations.
Military traffic may be heavier for the next couple of days around the Tel Aviv Central Bus Station and city hall as well as around schools and shopping malls in various other cities, including Beit Shemesh and Herzliya.
Northern and Southern Commands are drilling their troops on responding to attacks from Lebanon, Syria and Gaza, IDF sources said. Israel Air Force air bases are also switching to emergency status and drill the teams on rapidly translating intelligence data into air strikes. The Israel Navy is testing its infrastructure, and the IDF Cyber Defense Unit is also testing its readiness for the first time.
The IDF Operations unit is drilling its soldiers on coordinating emergency functions in various locations throughout the country.
In the south, special exercises are being held using the information gleaned from operations carried out during last summer’s counter terror Operation Protective Edge in Gaza. Scenarios in those drills include responding to multiple rocket attacks from the terrorist-controlled enclave.
The military drills are expected to continue through Wednesday.