President of Israel Reuven Rivlin flew Wednesday night for his first official visit to Rome and the Vatican at the invitation Pope Francis.
Before leaving, he said:
I leave now to meet with a leader who is a true friend of the State of Israel, and of the Jewish people.
Pope Francis is an inspirational leader who believes in dialogue between different faiths and whose activities and statements are aimed at the promotion of this dialogue. He is an emissary of reconciliation and compassion in his endeavors for the sake of humanity.
The President will be received at an official welcoming ceremony on Thursday morning at the Vatican, after which he will hold a private meeting with the Pope.
The two will speak about the need for dialogue “between the peoples of the Middle East and between all those of different faiths.”
President Rivlin’s office added that he “will express to the Pope the importance that the State of Israel places on the preservation of freedom of religion for the different faiths in Israel, and will update the Pope on his visit to the Christian sites in the Jordan Valley last week.
The visits were aimed at developing and preserving the area around the traditional baptism site and to enable greater access for pilgrims and visitors.
Later on Thursday, the President will meet with the Prime Minister of the Vatican and the President of Italy before addressing a special meeting with members of the Jewish community in the Great Synagogue in Rome’s old Jewish quarter.
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.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon will not expel people deployed at the Oz VeGaon Memorial Park in Gush Etzion, contrary to fears expressed by Women in Green earlier this week.
The nationalist organization turned to Gush Etzion Regional Council leader Davidi Perl, who spoke with Ya’alon, leading to a deciding not only to keep the park intact but also to authorize it.
It was dedicated last year in memory of Eyal Yifrah, Naftali Fraenkel and Gilad Sha’ar, the three victims of Hamas kidnap-murderers from the Hebron area.
The park is located immediately east of the Gush Etzion junction and is populated by a family who protect it from Arab vandals.
There are no intentions of turning it into a full-fledged outpost, which the Defense Minister may have incorrectly assumed was the plan of nationalists. Buildings at the park are used for displays and hands-on activities for children.
“The minister of defense has once again proven that he is a friend of the settlement enterprise,” Perl said after Ya’alon’s decision.
Oz VeGaon announced on Wednesday that Selichot prayers will be held at the park Thursday at 12:30 a.m.
Sephardi Jews have been saying Selichot prayers since the first day of the Hebrew month of Elul. Ashkenazi Jews begin reciting Selichot this Saturday night. The prayers are concluded the eve of Yom Kippur.
(JNi.media) Israel once again accuses Hamas of using building materials intended for the rehabilitation of the Gaza Strip to dig offensive tunnels. Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) General Yoav Mordechai told the independent Palestinian news agency Ma’an that Hamas forcibly took control of warehouses of building materials and confiscated the contents to serve the needs of the organization.
Mordechai also denied that negotiations with Hamas are being conducted, directly or indirectly. Sources in Gaza on Wednesday morning told Arab newspaper “Al-Arabi Al-Jadid” that the talks that were being held by former International quartet envoy Tony Blair to stabilize the truce in the Gaza Strip are deadlocked.
In early July, a joint Shin Bet and Israeli police operation led to the arrest of Ibrahim A’adel Shahada Shaer, a senior Hamas member who was directly involved in plotting tunnel attacks on Israel from the Gaza Strip. He confessed to full involvement in the planning of the restored terror tunnel network in the Gaza Strip over the past months, specifically, a plan involving a terror tunnel leading from Rafah to the Kerem Shalom Crossing. He also acknowledged the construction of a road which is being paved by Hamas adjacent to the border, to be used in executing surprise attacks against Israel.
Meanwhile, the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) annual report says Socio-economic conditions in Gaza today are “at their lowest point since 1967,” when Israel captured the territory from Egypt in the Six-Day War. Unemployment in Gaza soared last year to 44 percent — the highest level on record — hitting young women especially hard, leaving more than eight out of 10 women out of work, according to the report. A full 72 percent of all households in Gaza are struggling with food insecurity, and the number of Palestinian refugees who rely entirely on food distribution from UN agency has ballooned from 72,000 in 2000 to 868,000 last May.
President Barack Obama’s State Dept. experts on the Middle East have once again proven how much they don’t know.
One would think that the experts at Foggy Bottom are aware of how many Americans live in Judea and Samaria, or what the administration likes to call the “occupied territories.”
As reported here earlier this week, a British professor disclosed in a new book, to be published later this year, what almost every American in Israel knows – that there are disproportional number of Americans living in Judea and Samaria.
There are approximately 60,000 former American “settlers,” according to Oxford University Prof. Sara Yael Hirschhorn.
On Monday, Palestinian Authority propagandist Sayeed Erikat, who covers the State Dept. for the Al-Quds newspaper, asked deputy spokesman Mark Toner if he was aware that “there are 60,000 American Jewish settlers in the West Bank.”
Sixty thousand? I don’t.
Erikat said, for Toner’s information, there are indeed so many Americans running around there, and he used his podium to ask how the United States government, which considers all settlers to be illegal and even illegitimate, can tolerate Americans living in what they call Judea and Samaria..
“Do you have any leverage with these American citizens?” Erikat asked.
We, through our embassy, offer support for American citizens throughout the world. But what – we’re very clear on our policy on this issue.
Erikat suggested what could be the next hammer hold the Obama administration can exercise on Israel. If the United States opposes settlements, why should it offer services to Americans whom they consider to be illegal?
Should the United States or would the United States have some sort of a program – an incentive program – to sort of encourage settlers to perhaps dismantle these settlements?
Toner didn’t answer directly, and Erikat let him get away with stating “that’s really a question for the Israeli Government to look at.”
Hirschhorn’s study pointed out that the Americans in Judea and Samaria by and large educated academics. She did not describe them as Wild West cowboys.
But Erikat gave Toner an “education” about the “true” identity of many of those Americans, to wit:
Many elements among these settlers are extremists. They carry guns, they enforce their own sort of rules and regulations on roads and hamlets and so on – Palestinian hamlets. Do you have any kind of program, perhaps, to rehabilitate these settlers, bring them back somehow, as opposed to the settlements?
Toner, reflecting State Dept. knowledge, so to speak, actually patronized Erikat instead of contradicting him outright, which he couldn’t do because his experts only know what they want to imagine.
We’ve also spoken about the uptick in violence, in extremist violence in Israel. And in fact, the government and the prime minister have also spoken about some of the recent attacks that we view as abhorrent. And we call on, frankly, all sides to stop this kind of violence.
There is no indication that the attacks were carried out by Americans, In fact, it still is open to question whether Jews or an Arab gang carried out the most infamous attack – the firebombing of an Arab home in which an 18-month-old baby and his father were killed.
So far, the Obama administration has not suggested how to “rehabilitate” settlers, of whom I am one.
I didn’t know I need rehabilitation.
By the way, I do not carry a gun. I might get arrested for defending myself.
Any SanDisk employee who can successfully headhunt and bring another worker to the company will receive a bonus of nearly $2,000 (20,000 shekels), the flash memory developer’s Israeli division said.
The demand for high-techs employees in Israel far outstrips the supply, and SanDisk is looking for 90 new engineers and R & D departments in Kfar Saba, near Tel Aviv, the Omer Industrial Park near Be’er Sheva and Tefen in northern Israel.
A Foreign Ministry statement Tuesday that an Israeli Jew has been returned home after trying to join the Islamic State (ISIS) leaves too many questions unanswered.
The facts that are known are simple: Turkish officials, despite far from loving relations with Israel, helped nab the 21-year-old man and return him home.
The family of the unidentified youth called the Foreign Ministry last week after their son flew to Crete as a stopover before traveling to Syria, where he would have violated Israeli law by setting foot in the territory of a declared enemy state.
That’s it. Happy ending, except perhaps for the youth.
As for Turkey, it is not surprising that it cooperated because it hates the ISIS much more than it hates Israel.
And now for the unanswered questions:
Is this young man a psychiatric case? Or does he simply live in a movie, albeit a horror film?
Did the ISIS have contact with him? Did the man promise to convert to Islam? Or has he? Did the ISIS plan to show him off as a Jew having found Allah?
Did he want to chop off peoples’ heads? Was he looking for sex slaves?
Did the 21-year-old man serve in the IDF? Is he angry at Israel as an “occupier?
Foreign Ministry spokesman told The Jewish Press Tuesday:
There is nothing to add to what we already have stated.
Our heartfelt concern goes out to the youth’s family, and may no other Jewish family know such sorrow.