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January 17, 2017 / 19 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘officers’

Thousands Accompany IDF Soldiers to Final Resting Places in Jerusalem, Kfar Etzion, Haifa

Monday, January 9th, 2017

Thousands of people came to stand in solidarity at graveside with the families and friends of four Israeli officers who were killed Sunday in a truck ramming attack in Jerusalem. Shira Tzur, Shir Hajaj, Yael Yekutiel, and dual Israeli-American citizen Erez Orbach each were accompanied on their final journeys by hundreds of people.

Israel Chief Sephardic Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, and Jerusalem Chief Rabbi Shlomo Moshe Amar, plus several Knesset members were present at Mount Herzl cemetery in Jerusalem to support the family of Shir Hajaj.

Her sister Bar spoke to her, saying, “I’m sorry you didn’t get your life… From now on, all your beauty will be robbed in the sadness of your song.” (The word “shir” in Hebrew means “song.”)

IDF personnel gathered with family and friends at the military section of the Givat Shaul cemetery in Jerusalem to support the parents of Yael Yekutiel. Her father eulogized her as “a teacher, a soldier.”

Israeli-American officer Erez Orbach was accompanied to his final resting place at the Kfar Etzion cemetery by his family, and one of the rabbis at the yeshiva where he had studied.

Despite a health problem that initially excluded him from service, the soldier had fought until he was accepted, telling the IDF it was his “duty to serve.”

Hundreds also accompanied the family of Shira Tzur, from the city of Haifa, as she was taken to her final resting place in the city. Like her fellow officers, Second Lieutenant Tzur had been posthumously promoted. The 20-year-old officer began her military career in a pilots’ course before transferring to the unit in which she ended her life. She was known for always trying to make her environment “a better place,” her aunt told Ynet.

Hana Levi Julian

Terrorist Relatives Arrested, Israel Security Cabinet Approves Additional Measures

Monday, January 9th, 2017

Israel Police have arrested nine suspects in connection with Sunday’s truck ramming attack in the Armon HaNatziv neighborhood in Jerusalem, which left four IDF soldiers dead and 17 other soldiers and civilians injured.

Five of those who were arrested are relatives of the terrorist who carried out the attack.

The nearby Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabel Mukabar in which the terrorist lived, was sealed off by Sunday evening as security forces continued operations within the area.

Israel’s security cabinet voted to demolish the family home of the terrorist who carried out the attack as quickly as possible. The cabinet also voted to reject the family’s request to be reunited with family and friends in the Palestinian Authority and Gaza.

In addition, it was decided that the terrorist’s body would not be returned to the family for burial.

Moreover, the cabinet approved administrative detention for anyone who henceforth expresses admiration, approval or support for the Islamic State terrorist organization or its actions.

Further, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered security services to investigate who at the time and place of the attack had been applauding or otherwise expressing glee at the demise of IDF soldiers and other Israelis. Those who were tracked down and identified are to be brought to justice.

There were eyewitness accounts that alleged that Arab bystanders were actually applauding as the terrorist was plowing his truck into the group of soldiers, backing up the vehicle and then ramming the truck into them a second time.

Hana Levi Julian

Confirmed: 3 IDF Cadets, 1 Officer Killed, 17 Injured in Jerusalem Terror Ramming Attack [video]

Sunday, January 8th, 2017

The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit has confirmed that three cadets (male and female) and an officer (female) were killed in the truck ramming attack that took place early Sunday afternoon near the promenade in Jerusalem’s Armon HaNatziv neighborhood, also known as East Talpiot. The families have been notified, according to the IDF.

“Seventeen other IDF officers and cadets were injured and evacuated to hospitals for medical treatment,” the IDF spokesperson’s office said in its statement.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman both went to the site of the attack early Sunday evening, where they received a briefing by Jerusalem District Police Commander Yoram Halevy.

Mr. Netanyahu told reporters at the site that it is believed Sunday’s attack was similar to those inspired by the Islamic State terrorist organization (Da’esh / ISIS), such as those “we saw first in France, then in Germany and now in Jerusalem,” and that Israel must fight the “same ongoing battle against this global scourge of the new terrorism” along with the rest of the world.

Israel Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh told reporters earlier in the day at a separate news conference that because there had been no intelligence alert and no prior security warning of the attack, there had been no way to prevent it. Police have placed the city of Jerusalem on heightened security alert in response to the attack.

Meanwhile, young Arab men were handing out sweets and pastries to passing motorists and passengers on the streets of Gaza and Palestinian Authority-controlled cities in Judea and Samaria, as photographers made sure to snap photos of the scene to post on the internet. Pictures of smiling Arabs with tasty treats made the rounds of social media, celebrating the bloody results of the vicious attack.

Three of the victims had to be extracted from under the truck with the assistance of a heavy crane.

An eyewitness to the attack said Arab passersby who were present at the time of the attack stood and applauded as the terrorist — 28-year-old Fadi Ahmad Hamdan al-Qunbar, a resident of the Jerusalem Arab neighborhood of Jabel Mukabar who carried a blue Israeli ID card and an Israeli drivers license — reversed his vehicle and ran over the victims a second time.

The Izz a-Din al-Qassam military wing of the Gaza-based Hamas terrorist organization issued a statement shortly after the attack, saying Qubar was a released security prisoner who had served time in an Israeli prison. The group referred to the terrorist as a “mujaheed” — a jihadi fighter.

Hana Levi Julian

The Gratitude We Owe Police Officers

Sunday, December 18th, 2016

Editor’s Note: Rebbetzin Jungreis, a”h, is no longer with us in a physical sense, but her message is eternal and The Jewish Press will continue to present the columns that for more than half a century have inspired countless readers around the world.

 * * * * *

As most of you know, I am a child of the Holocaust. After the war we were taken to a displaced person’s camp in Switzerland. For more than two years we waited for documents that would grant us the right to go to Eretz Yisrael.

The British were in control of our Holy Land and anxious to please the Muslims who opposed Jewish immigration. Anyone who arrived without proper papers would be deported to a displaced person’s camp built by the British in Cypress.

My parents did not want to subject their children to any more trauma and decided we would go to the United States. My mother had a sister living in Brooklyn and they had invited us many times to join them but my father’s wish was always to go to Eretz Yisrael. Conditions in Switzerland, however, had become unbearable.

So we embarked on a rough sea voyage to America. After two horrendous weeks, our ship docked in Norfolk, Virginia. We had no idea where we were.

We wandered around, not knowing where to go. Soon someone called the police. Talk about culture shock – here were uniformed men with guns who treated Jews with such kindness and compassion. It was something I never would have believed possible.

The police called the president of the local synagogue and the community took charge of us. Patiently they explained where we were and how we could get to New York. They bought us train tickets and soon we arrived at Grand Central Station in Manhattan.

My father in his black rabbinic hat and long black coat, my mother wearing something on her head that was supposed to pass for a sheitel, and we children dressed in ski outfits provided by the Jewish charity organization in Switzerland attracted much attention. We didn’t speak a word of English. Where to go? What to do?

So once again the police were called. New York’s Finest were just as eager as the Norfolk police had been to reassure and help us – and a Yiddish-speaking officer personally delivered us to the home of my uncle and aunt, Rabbi and Rebbetzin Kohn, in the East Flatbush section of Brooklyn.

Actually, culture shock was not an adequate expression to describe our feelings. We had just come from Europe where police were identified with the torture and killing of Jews and now we were meeting policemen who were sympathetic and helpful – and one of them was even Jewish and spoke Yiddish!

Were we dreaming? No, it wasn’t a dream; it was all so gloriously true.

My mom had a flair for the dramatic and told my older brother to knock on the door of my aunt and uncle’s home while we hid under the staircase. My mother instructed my brother to simply say, “I bring you regards from the Jungreis family that survived Bergen Belsen.”

Somehow my aunt figured out who my brother was and fainted. She quickly recovered and with joyous prayers and thanksgiving we celebrated our miraculous survival. We invited the policeman to celebrate with us. To this day I regret we did not have cameras to record that incredible moment of exaltation.

I relate this story so that you can understand what we experienced when we came America and met policemen in Norfolk and then in New York – men in blue who served with compassion, devotion, and commitment.

Soon after my family arrived in America my saintly father built a yeshiva. One night, hoodlums set the Holy Ark in the yeshiva on fire. Quickly we rushed to the scene. The police were there waiting for us, ready to lend a helping hand.

A neighbor had saved the Torah scrolls but my father kept sifting through the ashes. Tears were running down his cheeks. It was a cold winter night but he would not give up. He kept looking, the police standing by his side. Suddenly we heard my father cry out in Yiddish, “I found it!”

There in his trembling hands he held the sacred tefillin that had belonged to grandfathers and great-grandfathers and great-great-grandfathers stretching back many generations.

Those tefillin made it through Bergen Belsen and now they had survived a fire set by hoodlums in New York. And throughout my father’s painstakingly long search, the benevolent officers of the NYPD never abandoned him.

Many years later my beloved husband became the chaplain of the Nassau County Police Department. This allowed me to get know the members of the force personally. In honor of my husband the annual police dinner was held in a glatt kosher place. The officers loved and revered him.

When tragedy struck us and my husband fell gravely ill, the police commissioner came to visit him at Sloan Kettering. He was a pious Catholic, a very kind and gentle man. When it was time for him to leave I accompanied him to the elevator and tears began streaming down his face.

“Rebbetzin,” he said, “I always wondered what the meaning of G-d was but since I met your husband I know. G-d comes from the word ‘goodness’ and your husband walks with that goodness reflected in his eyes, in his words, in his loving, warm ways. I will be forever grateful for having had the privilege to know him.”

When my husband was called to the Next World, a spectacular police procession was arranged for the funeral with helicopters overhead. All this for a Jewish chaplain.

Some years ago I was invited to address American troops at Fort Hood, the country’s largest military installation. Following my talk, some of the officers approached me and asked if I would deliver the same message to members of their families. They wanted their children to know about the Holocaust. I readily agreed. It would be my honor, I told them.

And so a short while later I was back at Fort Hood, speaking not only to the soldiers but to their beautiful families as well. An eight-year-old girl stood up, saluted, and in the sweetest voice said, “Rebbetzin, Ma’am, may I ask a question?”

“Of course, dear,” I responded.

“Why didn’t you call the police to help you?”

“What an American question!” I exclaimed. “How can I explain to you, my sweet child, that at that time and in that place the police were as brutal as the Nazi murderers? Many, in fact, were Nazis themselves. So there was no one for us to call.

“But I do understand where you are coming from. You’re an American child, a daughter of a country we Jewish people call ‘medina shel chesed’ – the country of loving kindness.’ A country where not only societal and cultural values are a reflection of chesed but where law enforcement authorities, who in many parts of the world are associated with meanness and cruelty, are kind and compassionate and ever ready to help and protect.”

I could share with you a thousand stories about our wonderful police. How, I ask, can it be that intelligent people abuse the police, trash them, and, G-d forbid, hold them up as targets for killing? Don’t people understand that if our courageous police were to disappear from the scene our society would in the blink of an eye become a lawless jungle?

Shouldn’t we Jews, who have seen and lived in the jungles of many societies, speak up on behalf of the police? Shouldn’t we in the New York City area show our support for the men and women of the NYPD – especially at a time when political opportunists are working so hard to tear them down?

Should we not honor New York’s Finest, who are prepared to risk their lives for us, who make our streets safe, who stand ready to come to our aid night and day?

Some may ask, “What can I do?” How about a few simple words we can express whenever we have any interaction with a police officer: “Thank you for protecting us. Thank you for being there.”

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

IDF Special Force Unit to Require Officer’s Rank of All Fighters

Sunday, November 27th, 2016

The IDF Sayeret Matkal (General Staff Reconnaissance) special forces unit is about to become revolutionized as all its future warriors will be expected to attain an officer’s rank and sign up for an extra three years of service, on top of the current compulsory service time, Israel’s Channel 2 News reported Saturday. It will turn Sayeret Matkal into an officers-only force.

The IDF Intelligence HR departments are in the process of completing the work required to carry out this significant change in the unit. The main reason for the move has to do with the fact that the equipment and technological facility required of the unit’s fighters are exceptionally high, making their initial training time longer. The military does not want to lose its investment in these men when they are discharged after three or four years.

Fighters who are already part of the unit will be offered a shortened officers’ course, and would be obligated to sign for extended service which is a prerequisite of their new rank.

Sayeret Matkal was created to fill the void left in 1954, after Israel’s first special operations force Unit 101 was disbanded as a result of the Qibya massacre of October 1953. In 1957 Avraham Arnan, a former yeshiva student and Palmach fighter, was authorized by the IDF General Staff to create a unit that could be dispatched to enemy-held territory to carry out top secret intelligence-gathering missions. Modeled after the British Special Air Service, the unit was trained, among others, by Bedouin trackers. It also took advantage of the IDF new fleet of helicopters for longer and deeper missions in Arab territory.


Israeli Security Captures Shechem Cell of Arms Manufacturers and Dealers that Includes PA Officers

Monday, July 11th, 2016

A collaborative effort of the Shabak, IDF special forces unit Duvdevan and Israel Samaria police on Sunday night captured a cell of manufacturers and dealers of improvised weapons in Oreef Village near Shechem. The operation netted various types of improvised weapons, and four Lathes that were used to make the weapons.

The home-made weapons made in the Oreef facility were being sold in other parts of Judea and Samaria, and included Carlo (a simplified version of the Swedish Carl Gustav submachine-gun), the originally US-made M-16 rifles, and Uzis.

Four Lathes were captured

Four Lathes were captured

Security forces believe the four cell members, ages 24 to 46, collaborated with Israeli weapons dealers. Two of the arrested cell members, Assam Najam Sharif Safadi, 39, and Ali Najah Sharif Safadi, 41, are also members of the Palestinian Authority Intelligence Services.

Al Monitor columnist Shlomi Eldar cited a PA Arab source who told him, “You don’t need a lot of imagination, professional skill or resources to manufacture the Carlo. All you need is a piece of pipe. With a lathe, you can convert it into the barrel, chamber and firing pin of a rifle.”

Home-made handgun

Home-made handgun

There are two prototypes of the Carlo, one with a short barrel, the other with a long barrel, selling for between $770 and $4,400, depending on the reputation of the gun maker. Eldar cited another Arab source who told him that “a few hundred of these rifles are making the rounds in the territories,” and “can be found in quite a few homes, mainly for self-defense, but also just to boost people’s egos. In our society, if you don’t have a gun, you don’t count, and that’s especially true in the refugee camps. Even an old, unreliable Carlo is better than nothing.”

David Israel

Netanyahu Confronts Ya’alon Over Call to IDF Officers to ‘Speak their Minds’

Monday, May 16th, 2016

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon on Sunday night got on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s wrong side when he urged IDF leaders to speak their mind in public and not fear reprisal. At this point it appears that some reprisal may be coming Ya’alon’s way from the Prime Minister, who summoned him to what the Israeli media described as a “rebuke meeting” Monday morning. Neither side in the meeting has issued a statement yet, which suggests that the meeting may not have ended in a compromise.

Ya’alon spoke at an event in Tel Aviv Sunday night and referred to the public storm around the speech by Deputy IDF Chief of Staff Gen. Yair Golan, which in turn had alluded to the episode of the IDF soldier who shot a neutralized terrorist on the ground in Hebron last Purim day. Golan, speaking at a Holocaust Remembrance Day event, compared episodes such as the Hebron shooting to the events in 1930s Germany which later resulted in the European Holocaust. At the time, Netanyahu was critical of Golan, and demanded that he apologize, since it sounded as if he was saying the IDF was a proto-Nazi army. Golan came close to saying just that, as many on the right suggested, while the IDF denied any such allegation.

An examination of the speech text reveals that the overall subject of Golan’s message was the concept of “purity of the weapon,” meaning that he was indeed criticizing phenomena inside the IDF when he made the Nazi Germany comparison.

Instead of an apology, the IDF Spokesperson’s office issued a denial, which Netanyahu probably did not love, but decided to let it go. With the narrowest possible majority in the Knesset, a puny 61 MKs, at least three of whom can be classified as Netanyahu’s enemies inside his own Likud party, the PM did not need another internal battle, certainly not with a national figure such as Ya’alon. But then, instead of the industrial peace Netanyahu needed so badly, on Sunday night his defense minister upped the ante with a new challenge to the boss, under the guise of protecting the freedom of expression of IDF officers.

“Tonight, too, I again demand of you and of your subordinates: continue to say what’s in your hearts. Do it even if your ideas are not part of the mainstream, and even if they challenge the ideas and positions adopted by the high command or the political echelon.”

Was the defense minister calling on his officer to rebel against the political class? Probably not, although he sounded dangerously close to saying just that. In his own mind, Ya’alon was probably hailing the old IDF tradition of encouraging questions from soldiers and officers, which may make the army a little harder to organize, but also encourages it to keep thinking outside the box, at least in some of its units. It should be noted that this tradition of rejecting iron clad “conceptions” dates back to the early, abysmal failure of the political and military leadership in the 1973 Yom Kippur War. The accepted dogma was that the Egyptian and Syrian armies were too fearful of Israel after 1967 and the string of local victories by the IDF that followed, to dare launch another all out war against the Jewish State. A subsequent investigating committee discovered that the intelligence pointing to an imminent attack was all there — it was just discarded by the decision makers.

But, in the end, Ya’alon on Sunday night was not engaged in an educational effort to breed more independently thinking soldiers and officers. He was, in fact, declaring a culture war against rightwing Israel. He described the issue at hand as a struggle “against an extremist minority which is active on the ground and in social media. Some of it has infiltrated the social mainstream, too. Under cover and concealment it is trying to influence the character and values of the IDF. This is a hugely significant fight, perhaps the most vital and important in many years. Not only over the image of the IDF, but the image of Israeli society as well.”

Since the appointment of the new Chief of Staff, Maj. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, the IDF has been engaged in a persistent effort to “de-Jewify” itself. Jewish education was removed from the military chief rabbinate and handed to HR, which in turn made it the purview of the Education corp, guaranteeing that it take on a secular bend. And there were several minor assaults on the traditional Jewish elements in the army, such as when soldiers were ordered to shave their beards. So that when Ya’alon reviles extremism he is not concerned with leftwing NGOs who turn in to the PA for imprisonment and a possible execution Arab land brokers. He is after the Jews.



At this point we must pause to relate the story of Givati Brigade Commander Colonel Ofer Winter, who, on July 9, 2014, during the Gaza War, issued a daily “commander’s note” to his soldiers, in which he stated: “History has chosen us to serve at the forefront of the fighting against the terrorist enemy in Gaza, which is taunting, cursing and blaspheming against the God of the Armies of Israel. … I raise my eyes up to the heavens and say along with you, ‘Shema Israel, God is our Lord, God Is one.’ The God of Israel, please make successful the path we take as we prepare to fight for your nation Israel and against an enemy which blaspheme Your Name.”

Needless to say, the text, which refrenced Psalms 44 and Samuel I 17, as well as the She’ma Israel, was not received well by the Israeli largely secular media. It should be noted that Reform rabbi Uri Regev was among the first in Israel to attack the Colonel for mixing his private religious sentiments and the military. Many others continued to target Winter for the six months that followed.

It should be noted that Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon led the attacks on his subordinate. “I didn’t love it,” he told a forum of the heads of pre-military preparatory institutions. He said the Brigade Commander should have stuck with language that is common to all his recruits, presumably not language that cites from Jewish sources. He also questioned how a Druz soldier might have responded to the Jewish text, as if non-Jews should be naturally offended by the concept of a Jewish State and a Jewish army.



Netanyahu has had a rough relationship with the military leadership for most of his terms as prime minister. It began in his first term in the late 1990s, with overt confrontations with then Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Amnon Lipkin-Shahak and head of Shabak Ami Ayalon, as well as Netanyahu’s defense minister at the time, Yitzhak Mordechai. Netanyahu dismissed Mordechai before he had a chance to resign, in 1999, and Mordechai left Likud along with several other members to establish a new Center party, which failed miserably and ended up joining Ehud Barak’s new Labor-led government.

If their meeting on Monday did not reach a working compromise, both leaders must be thinking back to the Yitzhak Mordechai episode and wondering how soon before Ya’alon would jump ship to Labor.

Ya’alon’s colleagues in the Likud went after him with a vengeance Monday morning. Culture Minister Miri Regev, who served as the IDF Spokesperson at one time, told Channel 2 News that “It is inconceivable that a serving officer would grab the reigns from the political echelon and conduct himself as if this is an army that also has a state.” She continued: “The defense minister is confused. Military officers should speak what’s in their hearts in the appropriate forum and regarding the issues under their care.”

Infrastructure Minister Yuval Steinitz told Army Radio, “I do not understand what’s driving the defense minister in these statements. His job is to instill discipline in the IDF. There must be a red line between army and state and between army and politics. I think his words were a miserable mistake. Ben Gurion would never have allowed for such a thing to happen.”

And Likud MK Oren Hazan, who often opposes Netanyahu, stood squarely behind the PM in a tweet that went: “Someone should remind Bogy (Ya’alon’s nickname) that we are a democracy and not under martial law. The IDF is not a junta, his job is to carry out the decisions of the political echelon and not oppose it and set a different policy.”


Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/netanyahu-confronts-yaalon-over-call-to-idf-officers-to-speak-their-minds/2016/05/16/

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