Israel News Updates

Israel Headlines (click on a headline that interests you to be taken to that article)
The Status Quo and Ramadan 03/21/2023
Protests Over A Judicial Overhaul and Terrorist Shooting in Tel Aviv 03/11/2023
Spasm Of Violence Following August 2022 Ceasefire 10/23/2022
Ceasefire Goes Into Effect Between IDF and PIJ 08/11/22
Israel and Palestinian Islamic Jihad Face Off In Gaza 08/05/2022
Israeli Firefighters Battle Large fire In Central Israel 07/30/2022
Alls Quiet On The Israel Front 07/23/2022
More Rockets, Casualties and Air Strikes 11/13/2018
300 Rockets Fired From Gaza Into Southern Israel 11/12/2018
IDF Lt. Colonel Killed In Battle With Hamas 11/11/2018
Palestinians and IDF Clash In Nablus at Joseph’s Tomb 11/08/2018
Gaza Militants and Israeli Forces Exchange Fire 10/28/2018
IDF Comes Under Fire From Moving Vehicle  10/23/2018
Palestinian Teen Killed in Clash With IDF Forces 10/23/2018
The Weather Did It! 10/22/2018
IDF Soldier Injured In Hebron Near Tomb Of Abraham 10/22/2018
To View 2017 News Articles Click Here
To View 2016 News Articles Click Here

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

The Status Quo and Ramadan

The protests over the Judicial Reforms continue to spread in Israel, even as Israeli security forces are preparing for and completing preparations for Ramadan, set to begin Wednesday, March 22nd and end Friday, April 20th, 2023.  Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai noted that the tensions of Ramadan could add to the unrest around the country.  Shabtai stressed on Sunday that they will work to ensure freedom of worship for Muslims, Jews and Christians during the Ramadan holidays and maintain the “Status Quo” so important to all sides.

If you have ever wondered about the “Status Quo,” the key elements that define this long standing policy for the Temple Mount are access and entry. With respect to access, since before 1967 to the present, the site is open to non-Muslims and Muslims alike for purposes of visits. The big difference about these visits is simple – only Muslims can worship on the site. While Israel has been responsible for the perimeter security of the site since 1967, which includes a “TSA” type of screening for everyone entering, the Waqf (the Islamic presence under Jordanian Authority) is responsible for security on the mount itself.  In addition, Israel has maintained a symbolic presence on the site, including a police station, and has always exercised its authority to deploy its security forces on the mount during disturbances, especially when tensions soar, such as during Ramadan.

Ramadan, a holy month of fasting, is the ninth and most significant month of the Islamic calendar. The observance of Ramadan commemorates the 610 AD year when Muhammad is said to have received the first revelation of the Quran.  The monthlong adherence to Ramadan consists of a time of self-restraint and self-reflection that is practiced through fasting and prayer; both of which are pillars of Islam and requirements for all Muslims, according to the Quran.  During the last 10 days of Ramadan, considered the most significant days of the month, Muslims traditionally sleep at the Al Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount.  Thus, in order to keep the flashpoint safe, Jews and non-Muslims are specifically prohibited from the Temple Mount during those days.

The status quo policy surrounding the Temple Mount is believed to be one of the most instrumental factors for maintaining peace in the Jewish-Arab world.  For religious Jews, the Temple Mount is the holiest site in Judaism. For Muslims, it is the third holiest site in Islam.  When the Ottoman Empire captured Jerusalem in 1517 and subsequently controlled the city for the next 400 years, right up to the British rule at the end of WWI, the Ottoman rulers overall mission was to prevent sectarian clashes in the city.  Those conflicts were not just between Jews and Muslims, but also among various Christian sects claiming authority over the holy sites, causing the Ottomans to issue a number of edicts setting out how control of the city would be preserved.

In 1757, Ottoman Sultan, Osman III, issued the decree that became known as the “Status Quo” that banned non-Muslims from entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque while affirming the right of Jews to pray at the Western Wall.  Two hundred years later during the 1967 war, Israel seized the Old City of Jerusalem from Jordan, including the Temple Mount.  But in an example of “no good deed goes unpunished,” and in an attempt for goodwill, the management of the site and thus the Status Quo, was left in the hands of the vanquished Jordanians and the WAQF.  Since then, there has been a growing movement calling for Jews to be allowed to pray on the Temple Mount.  But, in spite of the religious overtones of the nation, most Israeli leaders have been secular, if not outright atheist.  Therefore, the official stance of Israeli authorities has been to adhere to the Status Quo because preventing an explosion of anger across the Muslim world has generally been a greater priority for political leaders than attempting to change what happens on the Temple Mount. Go to the Top

Saturday, March 11, 2023 – Updated March 21, 2023

Protests Over A Judicial Overhaul and Terrorist Shooting in Tel Aviv

Or Eshkar
Or Eshkar

On Monday, March 20, 2023, Or Eshkar died from the wounds he received during the Tel Aviv attack carried out eleven days ago (see Article below).  His heartbroken family has chosen to donate his organs.  Please pray for his family, friends and Israel.

Thursday night, March 9th, 2023, three men were shot near a café on the corner of Dizengoff Street and Ben Gurion Street, a Tel Aviv neighborhood typically bustling with walkers, talkers, lovers, all  enjoying the evening after a day of work.  I have walked down Ben Gurion Street in Tel Aviv, during the day and the evening, it is dotted with cafes, shops, restaurants and homes.  At crosswalks are young parents with babies in strollers, elderly couples with arms intertwined, children racing ahead of parents, all taking in the familiarity of neighbors and local businesses. It was fun to be a part of that when I was there, nothing about it shouted terror!  So it makes me sad to write this news piece.

Three men, friends in their 30s, were shot and injured by a Palestinian attacker. Or Eshkar, 32, was hospitalized in critical condition, his friend, Rotem Mansano, 34, was also in serious condition and being treated in the emergency neurosurgery ward.  The third victim, Michael Osdon, 36, who suffered light to moderate wounds, told reporters that the three friends were on their way to a wedding when they were attacked.  “I was wounded relatively lightly,” he added, “Please pray for my friends.”

Speaking to reporters at the scene of a shooting in Tel Aviv on Dizengoff Street, Police Chief Kobi Shabtai said that “four armed individuals” helped take out the gunman who wounded the three men.  Those individuals included two police officers, one of them off duty, and two citizens, one a reserve IDF officer.

After the shootings, the mayor of Tel Aviv called for protestors to go home and stay home until this latest attack could be sorted out.  Protestors!  What is happening in Israel that terrorism and local protests could collide?

A new ultraright governing coalition, put together by Netanyahu in order to retain his prime ministership, is trying to sharply reduce the Israeli Supreme Court’s powers. The effort is at the heart of a deep ideological and cultural divide in Israel between those who want a more secular and pluralist state and those with a more religious and nationalist vision. The dispute has brought about waves of protests, which include the military and the all important Israeli tech sector, leading to fears of civil unrest.   By curbing the Supreme Court, the overhaul would weaken one of the few checks on the Israeli government.  A check that is considered a key protector of minorities and a rare, if limited, source of legal recourse for Palestinians living under Israeli occupation in the West Bank.

This coalition effort to overhaul the judiciary reflects how Israel has changed over the last three decades and highlights the rising influence of two groups that have long locked horns with the court: ultra-Orthodox Jews and West Bank settlers.

It also reflects Mr. Netanyahu’s shifting priorities. According to a former party colleague, Mr. Netanyahu once supported judicial independence.  He pointed to a 2012 statement by Netanyahu, “A strong and independent judicial system is what enables the existence of all the other institutions in a democracy.”

Galvanizing the Israeli right against establishment institutions like the Supreme Court and playing a major role in the march to judicial overhaul was Israel’s withdrawal in 2005 from the Gaza Strip after 38 years of occupation and the subsequent dismantling 21 Israeli settlements there.  Those who lost their homes and their supporters feel the expulsion was driven by an Israeli establishment that seemed callous and hypocritical.  A look at the decisions of the court reveal that, while the Supreme Court has not obstructed most settlement construction, it backed the government’s  2005 decision to withdraw from Gaza and destroy those Israeli settlements

Regarding the participation of ultra-Orthodox Jews, known in Hebrew as Haredim, in the unusual coalition, the court has struck down some privileges granted the Haredim at the birth of Israel in 1948.  Those benefits gave them autonomy over certain parts of their lives, such as managing their own education system and exempting them from mandatory military service. To date, the court rulings have never been enforced but the perception of intrusion became entrenched in the community and thus – the court must go!

The most current polling of the nation shows that a majority of Israelis do not support such a drastic judicial overhaul.  In fact, the seriousness of the nation’s divide can be seen in the protests across the land and across the population.  All of which came to a bustling, historic street in central Tel Aviv on Thursday night.

Go to the Top

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Spasm Of Violence Following August 2022 Ceasefire

Most Israel news today is about attacks in the West Bank and East Jerusalem rather than a struggle between Gaza militants and the Israeli Army.  On October 22nd, newspapers reported on three situations between Palestinians and the IDF, checkpoint security guards and an Orthodox man who was a stabbing victim.

According to authorities, the 20 year old ultra-Orthodox man was stabbed in the back while walking in an East Jerusalem park. After a search, the alleged attacker was shot by police when he reached into his pocket for what was assumed to be the knife.  In another incident, the West Bank checkpoint at Jenin was rammed by a Palestinian who was injured and apprehended at the scene.  This checkpoint was on high alert after an earlier attack on October 9th, which left an Israeli soldier dead and a security guard severely injured.  In the third incident, three suspects in a vehicle fled from IDF troops near the city of Qalqilya, a west bank city secured by the Israeli military.  One soldier was hit but not seriously injured by the vehicle and the IDF unit responded by opening fire on the vehicle. The incident is being investigated and security forces are searching for additional suspects.

The latest newsworthy attacks are part of a spasm of violence that has followed the August 7th ceasefire brokered after several days of fighting in the Gaza Strip between Israel and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ).  The PIJ, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, is the second largest terror group in Gaza after Hamas and its primary sponsor is Iran which has provided millions of dollars in funding as well as training and weapons.  Since the ceasefire, the PIJ has increased its presence and activities in the West Bank, stepping up attacks on Israeli settlers, IDF soldiers, installations and check-points.  All this comes as the Palestinian Authority (PA), which coordinates with Israel regarding law enforcement in the West Bank, has increasingly lost control of the security situation as public discontent with the PA and its leader Mahmoud Abbas has grown.  This loss of control has given terror groups and those advocating the destruction of the state of Israel greater opportunities to pursue these violent attacks. Go to the Top

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Ceasefire Goes Into Effect Between IDF and PIJ

The ceasefire brokered on Sunday night, August 7th, by Egypt and the UN, has quieted the 3 day conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Preliminary numbers, which have yet to be confirmed, indicate that, from August 5th through the 7th, the Israel Defense Forces launched 147 air strikes against targets in Gaza, while Palestinian Islamic Jihad  militants launched 1,100 rockets and mortars into Israel. The Israeli Iron Dome intercepted 380 of those 1,100 rockets while 200 misfired and landed in Gaza itself.  The misfired rockets killed innocent Palestinian civilians, including children.   All told, forty-six Palestinians were killed, 24 of them militants of the PIJ, and 360 Palestinians were injured in the IDF airstrikes, while In Israel, 70 Israelis were injured due to the PIJ rockets that landed in Israeli territory.

On Monday, August 8th, the military liaison to the Palestinians announced that crossings between Israel and Gaza would reopen for humanitarian purposes after a security assessment. The reopening allowed fuel shipments to once again be trucked into Gaza.  During the conflict, Gaza residents were faced with intermittent electricity as the conflict led Gaza’s sole power plant to drastically reduce operations because of a lack of fuel. Later Monday, the local electricity company announced the power plant was again generating electricity and supplying Gaza residents with this necessity.

Security sources also reported that the Erez terminal between Israel and Gaza could be reopened to Palestinian laborers as soon as Tuesday if calm is maintained. Erez, which serves as the sole pedestrian crossing for Palestinians in the coastal enclave, was struck Sunday by mortars launched from within Gaza, according to the Defense Ministry.

The terminal, which is usually used by thousands of Palestinians to enter Israel each day for work, was shuttered last week amid the threat of a PIJ attack on the border and remained closed amid the fighting.

In this current conflict the IDF focused all its airstrikes on the PIJ as Hamas sat on the sidelines, neither joining or preventing the PIJ from engaging the Israeli Defense Forces.  This latest Israeli/Gaza conflict with the PIJ was the deadliest since the seven days of fighting with Hamas in May 2021. Go to the Top

Friday, August 5, 2022

Israel and Militants of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad Face Off In Gaza

A small militant faction, called the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) is at the center of Friday’s flare-up between Israel and the Gaza Strip.  The PIJ, is a Damascus-based Palestinian Islamist organization formed in 1979 and sponsored by Iran and Syria.  It is a rival militant group of Hamas and both vie for the support of Palestinians. However, unlike Hamas, the PIJ offers no social services, nor does it intend to engage in any form of diplomatic dialogue with Israel. Hamas regularly sits on the sidelines as PIJ wages terrorist battles with Israel; neither joining or stopping the organization.

The PIJ’s founder believed that a war to liberate Palestine would unite the Arab and Muslim world into a single great Islamic state.  Since the 1980’s that belief has been difficult to sustain as the Arab world continues to fight among themselves, is unable to resolve conflicts among the different sects of Islam (i.e. Shiite and Sunni) and as several Arab nations have made treaties and pacts with Israel.

The current tensions began on Monday when the IDF arrested the PIJ’s West Bank leader in Jenin.  After the West Bank arrest, the PIJ began issuing threats against Israel which led the Israeli government to shut down major highways around Gaza and locking down the territory.

Following the week of rising tensions, the IDF announced the death of a senior PIJ commander in Gaza airstrikes on Friday night. The senior PIJ figure was among 10 casualties of the IDF Gaza airstrikes. In addition, the IDF says it hit a rocket material manufacturing site, weapons production site, rocket launching position and military site.  “The attack on the sites causes significant damage to the terror organization’s ability to develop military capabilities,” per the IDF.  The Israeli military uses the “knock on the roof” strategy to warn civilians of an imminent airstrike, as it is common knowledge that terrorist organizations conceal themselves and weapons in civilian areas.  The PIJ militant organization responded with a volley of rockets into Israel, most of which were intercepted by the Israeli Iron Dome.

One rocket exploded in the border town of Sderot and there were no injuries reported.  The only known Israeli casualties were five people taken to the hospital, including four who were injured while making their way to a shelter and one who suffered from anxiety.  In addition, three additional people received treatment from paramedics due to similar injuries.

The rockets and airstrikes followed a lull in the region’s violence.  Gaza had been significantly quiet since May 2021, with most of the 2022 bloodshed coming from West Bank terrorist groups.  Israel has responded to the West Bank violence with nightly raids and arrests, including razing known terrorist homes.

Egypt is currently mediating between Israel and the PIJ in an effort to bring an end to the current round of violence in Gaza.  It is interesting to note that the UN has condemned Israel for the death of the PIJ commander, yet there has been no such condemnation of the US after killing the Al Qaeda chief, al-Zawahri.  Just a thought.  Go to the Top

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Israeli Firefighters Battle Large fire In Central Israel

There were 21 firefighting teams from the fire services along with four airplanes, a helicopter and the Jewish National Fund battling a large fire raging near the central city of Modiin on Saturday, July 30th.  According to fire and rescue services, the blaze was threatening a nearby national park and most of the efforts were focused on preventing the blaze from reaching the park, which houses the Biblical Landscape Reserve.

The fire started near an IDF military base about 11 kilometers from Modiin and strong winds were helping the fire spread toward the nature reserve. It was not immediately clear what caused the fire, but Israel is grappling with a difficult heatwave.

Modiin, the ancient home of the Macabees, is located between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, about 30 kilometers from each city.  Just to give you an idea of how every situation in the Holyland, even a fire in a city with a name that you don’t recognize, has Biblical ramifications, in the area surrounding Modiin are two important Biblical sites, Gezer, about 11 kilometers west of Modiin and Abu Ghosh, where the remains of ancient Kiriath Jearim have been excavated, is approximately 23 kilometers northwest of Modiin.  What is so important about these ancient sites?

Gezer in the Bible

The strategic city state of Gezer was mentioned several times in the Old Testament:

  • As the Israelites took possession of the Promised Land, Joshua defeated the king of Gezer. (Joshua 10: 33)
  • The nation of Israel did not fully control Gezer until the time of King Solomon when Pharaoh, king of Egypt, attacked and set it on fire, thus capturing the city state.  The Canaanite inhabitants were slaughtered and the city given to Pharaoh’s daughter who had just become one of Solomon’s wives in a political marriage of convenience.  Solomon then fortified Gezer as one of his three chariot cities which included Megiddo and Hazor. (1 Kings 9:16).
Kiriath Jearim in the Bible

In 2nd Samuel, chapter 6 we read about the biblical city of Kiriath Jearim, best known for the dwelling place of Abinadab. Abinadab’s abode was home to the Ark of the Covenant for approximately 120 years, from the time of Samuel until the time of David. Kiriath Jearim was originally a Gibeonite city that fell within the tribal territory of Judah near the borders of Benjamin and Dan. After defeating the Philistines, David determined it was time to bring the Ark to Jerusalem, but he made this decision without consulting God.  His rash decision caused a terrible event to unfold.  David and his men did not follow the Lord’s instructions about how to transport the Ark, instead they put it on a cart pulled by oxen, the Ark began to wobble and a man named Uzzah put out his hand to steady the Ark. For this act, he was instantly killed.  Later, after 3 months, David returned with the Lord’s blessing and safely brought the Ark to Jerusalem.

Suffice it to say, even natural events, situations and catastrophes have ramifications in the Holyland.  Fires, earthquakes and floods can ruin ruins!  Israel needs our prayers in every situation.  God will bless those that keep His nation in their prayers. Go to the Top

Sunday, July 23, 2022

Alls Quiet On The Israel Front

Israel has apparently clamped down, successfully, on terrorist attacks and clashes in Israel as the nation anticipated President Biden’s Middle East Visit.

The last two attacks to make headlines include a deadly Palestinian and Jewish clash that occurred on Thursday, May 22nd, in an Orthodox suburb of Tel Aviv and  a May 29th clash between demonstrators in the Old City of Jerusalem.

In the Tel Aviv attack, a pair of Palestinian attackers went on a stabbing rampage, killing at least three people and wounding four others before fleeing.

Then on May 29th in East Jerusalem, around 70,000 Israeli and settler demonstrators clashed with Palestinian counter-demonstrators in the Old City area. The demonstrators were marching through the Old City in celebration of Jerusalem Day, an Israeli holiday commemorating the country’s victory in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war and the annexation of East Jerusalem (Times of Israel, 29 May 2022).

In the same celebration, the Israeli government also allowed around 2,600 Jews, including prominent right-wing extremists, to visit the Al Aqsa Mosque and Temple Mount complex in the Old City for the holiday, further stoking tensions with Palestinians (Times of Israel, 29 May 2022).

Multiple clashes occurred throughout the day, erupting after some Israeli demonstrators began chanting anti-Arab slogans. At least 23 Palestinians were injured during the clashes and required hospitalization (AP News, 29 May 2022).

Nineteen people, mostly Israeli civilians — including 18 inside Israel and a Jewish settler — have been killed in attacks by Palestinians and Israeli Arabs since late March.  These attacks culminated in Israeli security forces stepping up their operations in the West Bank, carrying out almost daily raids to arrest suspects. These types of Israeli security raids have drastically reduced the type of weapons available for attackers to use, which means fewer casualties.  However, even one death is one too many.

Israel regularly destroys the homes of individuals it blames for attacks on Israelis.  The practice, which often fuels tensions, has been condemned by critics as a form of collective punishment; however Israel insists it deters further attacks.

On the Gaza front, in June 2022 Palestinian militants fired a rocket into southern Israel, shattering a two-month lull in violence at the Gaza-Israel border.

The Israeli military said aerial defense systems intercepted the projectile, which activated warning sirens in the southern coastal city of Ashkelon and there were no reports of casualties.

Hours later, Israeli aircraft carried out a series of airstrikes on four military sites for Hamas, the militant group that rules Gaza. Go to the Top

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

More Rockets, Casualties and Air Strikes

The number of rockets fired into Israel from the Gaza Strip has risen to 400 plus since Monday night. Earlier on Tuesday, a rocket struck a four story building in Ashkelon, killing a Palestinian man from Hebron and injuring two women. Two other homes in Israeli border communities also suffered direct hits by rockets, however those strikes did not result in any casualties.

The Israeli military reports that over 100 of those rockets fired from Gaza were intercepted by the Iron Dome.

In response to the rocket fire, Israeli aircraft have attacked over 150 targets inside the Gaza Strip. All those targets were connected in some way with Hamas Militants.  In each case the Israelis used a procedure called “knock on the roof,” in which the Israeli Air Force fires warning shots over targets,  allowing the militants time to evacuate. For example, the Israeli targeted the Hamas affiliated TV station in Gaza, the Al Aqsa station.  After warning shots were fired, the TV station replaced the broadcast with its logo and went off the air, then minutes later the air strike flattened the three story building that housed the station.

There were no casualties in any of the attacks on high rise buildings in Gaza because the Israeli air force gave Hamas enough time to evacuate the buildings prior to firing on the targets.

This escalation of attacks between Hamas and Israel appears to be in conjunction with a Sunday night Israeli Special Forces mission into Gaza that was discovered by Gazan Palestinians. The ensuing firefight, in the aftermath of the discovery, resulted in the death of an Israeli Lt. Colonel and a Hamas official. Most observers say these hostilities are the longest and deadliest exchange between the parties since Operation Protective Edge in 2014, which lasted from July 8th to August 26th during the summer of 2014. Go to the Top

Monday, November 12, 2018

300 Rockets Fired From Gaza Into Southern Israel

In an escalation of the fire fight that killed an IDF Lt. Colonel, Hamas militants fired 300 rockets into Southern Israel over a span of five hours on Monday. 60 of those rockets, which were deemed a danger to Israeli citizens, were intercepted by the Israeli Iron Dome. Rocket strikes were reported in the areas surrounding Askelon, Be’er Sheva and Sderot, all in Southern Israel, and the citizens of those cities were warned to stay close to shelters. Area schools cancelled classes and other community centers were closed.

A 19 year old IDF soldier was injured when a missile struck a bus next to him. The bus, from which troops had just disembarked, was completely destroyed. At least 19 civilians from Askelon, Be’er Sheva and other areas hit by rocket fire were injured and taken to hospitals. Several other civilians were treated for shock in area hospitals and clinics.
In response to the rocket barrage, the Israeli Air Force struck 70 Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip including the Hamas affiliated Al Aqsa TV station. Two Palestinian militants were killed in the air strikes and many more injured.

Israel and Egypt have maintained a blockade on Gaza since the Hamas takeover in 2007. The blockade has devastated Gaza’s economy. Unemployment is over 50 percent, the territory suffers from chronic power outages and most residents are unable to travel abroad. However, in recent months, at least until Monday, Egyptian and UN mediators had appeared to make progress in brokering informal understandings aimed at quieting the situation.

Last week, Israel allowed Qatar to deliver $15 million to Gaza to allow cash-strapped Hamas to pay the salaries of thousands of government workers.  At the same time, Hamas pledged to lower the intensity of the border protests in recent weeks. Apparently, after getting an infusion of cash, Hamas decided use the resources on rockets rather than help their citizens, continuing to prove that they do not care about the people of Gaza. The violence is preventing true assistance to the people of Gaza. Go to the Top

Sunday, November 11, 2018

IDF Lt. Colonel Killed In Battle With Hamas

During an IDF Special Forces mission in the Gaza Strip, a Lt. Colonel with the Special Forces unit tasked with security in the Southern Gaza region, was killed. Hamas and the IDF exchanged gunfire after Palestinians discovered the IDF security force. During the exchange, the officer was killed and another IDF officer wounded. Six Hamas militants were also killed in the battle.Israeli air units were called into action to extract the IDF unit and in the aftermath, 17 rockets were fired from the Gaza region into Southern Israel. Three rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome and the others landed harmlessly into uninhabited areas adjacent to the Gaza Strip.

The IDF launches such missions only after serious deliberations and these missions often remain classified. “We have been preparing for this mission for a long time,” per an army spokesperson. This IDF also said that the uncovered mission is only the ip of the iceberg of activities meant to establish Israeli superiority. The purpose of the operation was not to kill or abduct, and lessons will be learned from the incident.

Following the fire exchanges, landing paths were altered at Ben Gurion Airport, and it was announced school would be canceled on Monday in the Gaza border communities.

Because of the classified nature of the mission, the deceased Lt. Colonel was only identified as Lt. Col. M. The Lt. Colonel, who leaves behind his wife and two children, will be laid to rest on Monday, November 12, 2018 in his hometown at 3:00 p.m. with no media coverage permitted. Go to the Top

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Palestinians and IDF Clash in Nablus At Joseph’s Tomb

Late Wednesday night, Israeli forces, escorting Jewish worshippers to Joseph’s Tomb, came under attack by Palestinians throwing rocks, fire bombs and shooting the occasional bullet. The troops, using tear gas and live fire drove the attackers back and the Jewish worshippers, who numbered about 1000, continued their pilgrimage to the tomb of Joseph without another incident. One Palestinian was detained and arrested, but the clash did not result in casualties on either side.

Joseph’s Tomb, located in Nablus or ancient Shechem, is in the West Bank, specifically area A of the West Bank. That area is under control of the Palestinian Authority, and Israelis are not allowed to enter except with IDF escorts. The IDF regularly patrols and curtails Palestinian terrorist activities in the area, especially in Nablus. Throughout the years, the Tomb has been the scene of several clashes and disturbances between Jews and Palestinians.

After the Six Day War in 1967, Shechem and the surrounding areas came under Israeli control. While tourism in the area was encouraged, sadly, Jews were not permitted to live there, although they could worship at the Tomb. Later in 1996 the area reverted to Palestinian control with the understanding that Joseph’s Tomb was to remain under Israeli supervision. That understanding was short-lived and after a fire fight the Tomb came under Palestinian control and has remained that way. Jews are not allowed to visit the area without prior authorization and generally a visit to the Tomb happens monthly, but only escorted by armed IDF forces. Go to the Top

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Gaza Militants and Israeli Forces Exchange Fire

After observing three Palestinians carrying a suspicious device and crawling towards the security fence between Gaza and Southern Israel, the IDF opened fire, killing all three. Afterwards and in response, the IDF launched an airstrike against a known terrorist cell in Gaza. The IDF was following instructions from the Security Cabinet “to gradually exacerbate its retaliatory actions to violence along the security fence and to demonstrate a zero-tolerance approach.”    The area where the Palestinians were observed is near Khan Yunis, a city in southern Gaza.
Earlier on Friday night, four Gaza Palestinians were shot during the continuing Hamas-led riots at the security fence. This incident occurred despite the Egyptian brokered ceasefire that had been reached between Israel and Hamas after the IDF responded to  39 rockets being launched into Israel. That understanding would have lifted the Gaza blockade in exchange for a complete stop of the border violence.
That launching of 39 rockets resulted in Israel striking  87 targets across Gaza early Saturday morning, the heaviest exchange of fire since August 2018. After the exchange of fire, another ceasefire between Gaza militants, including Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, was reached with Egyptian assistance. We will see if that holds until the next weekly Hamas incited riot begins again.
According to sources, of the 39 rockets launched from Gaza into Israel, 17 were intercepted by the Iron Dome, with the others falling harmlessly into open areas of Southern Israel. However, the seriousness of the rocket fire does not depend upon how much destruction they wreak, but simply the fact that the rocket fire goes on and on. If you read about the violent incidents between Israel and Palestinian militants, you will find that the Palestinians weapons, even Hamas and Islamic Jihad weapons, are limited to ineffective rockets, scissors, knives, cars and other rudimentary weapons. Israel has been very effective in limiting what can be used against them in these skirmishes. Go to the Top

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

IDF Comes Under Fire From Moving Vehicle

An attempted attack on IDF forces took place on Tuesday at a checkpoint near Halhul in the southern West Bank. Palestinians fired upon the Israeli forces from a moving vehicle prompting Israeli security forces to put up roadblocks in the area as part of a manhunt for the perpetrators. No injuries were reported among the Israeli forces.
Halhul is located about 3 miles from Hebron in the West Bank. According to Jewish and Christian traditions the graves of two important Biblical prophets, Gad and Nathan, are buried at Halhul. Gad was a person prophet to King David and the one to whom David confessed his sin of taking a census of the people of Israel.
Nathan had the unenviable task of calling David’s attention to his sin with Bathsheba. Both men were used by God to intervene in the life of the man God called “a man after my own heart.” No matter where you are in Israel or what news you read about Israel, Biblical references to a great God abound! Go to the Top

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Palestinian Teen Killed in Clash With IDF Forces

Using stones and fireworks, a group of Palestinians attacked IDF forces entering the city of Tammun. Tammun is situated between Nablus and Jenin in the northern part of the West Bank. During the clash, a young Palestinian was killed and five others were wounded. Israeli officials are looking into the claim that the Palestinian man was killed by IDF fire.
The IDF entered the area to carry out arrests of men suspected of involvement in terrorist activities. In the aftermath, 16 men were arrested and taken for questioning. The IDF also seized locally produced illegal weapons. While searching the area, the IDF discovered and seized locally produced illegal weapons. Go to the Top

Monday, October 22, 2018

The Weather Did It!

After trying to determine a response to rocket fire from Gaza last week, overnight on Tuesday and Wednesday, October 16th and 17th, the Israeli government decided against launching a military attack because Israeli intelligence determined that a lightning storm was the actual culprit, not Hamas or the Islamic Jihad. In fact those two entities were highly embarrassed by the incident, accusing each other before realizing that the weather had actually set off the rockets.
The rockets fire was directed at Beer Sheva and central Israel during the night, one home in Beer Sheva sustained damaged, but the incident did not result in any casualties.
According to one Israeli minister, “We acted very responsibly, it wasn’t right to go to war because of the weather.” Go to the Top

Monday, October 22, 2018

IDF Soldier Injured In Hebron Near Tomb Of Abraham

An IDF Corporal, who serves in the Israeli military as a driver, was injured when a Palestinian, armed with scissors, stabbed him in the hand and chest. As the Palestinian tried to stab him again in the stomach, the soldier shot and neutralized the man.
Hebron, the largest city in the West Bank, is located about 19 miles from Jerusalem. The city, nestled in the Judean Hills, is home to the Cave of the Patriarchs, where Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob and Leah are buried. Genesis 23 relates how Abraham bought the cave from Ephron the Hittite after Sarah had died in order to have a place for family burials.
Over the years there have been numerous clashes between Muslims and Jews at the site of Abraham’s burial. It is interesting to note that Isaac, a forefather of the Jews, and Ishmael, a forefather of the Arabs, came together in grief to bury their father Abraham at the Cave of Machpelah….would that it were so today. Go to the Top

2017 News Articles
2017 News Articles  (click on a headline that interests you to be taken to that article)
Palestinian Kills Three Israeli Security Guards At Checkpoint 09/26/2017
Israel Attacks Two Hamas Positions After Rocket Fire From Gaza 08/09/2017
Tensions Abate On The Temple Mount In Jerusalem 07/30/2017
Metal Detectors Removed Amid Tension On Both Sides 07/26/2017
Tourism Up By 26% In First Half Of 2017 07/22/2017
Tensions Remain High and Status Quo Unchanged 07/21/2017
Temple Mount Reopens With New Security Measures 07/18/2017
Netanyahu and Abbas Work Together After The Temple Mount Attack 07/14/2017
Post Passover Week of Incidents 04/27/2017
Israel’s Iron Dome Intercepts Rockets Fired From Sinai Peninsula 02/09/2017
Hamas Outpost Destroyed In Response To Rocket Fire From Gaza 02/06/2017
Palestinian Rams Car Into Settlement Gate Injuring Police and Security Guards 02/03/2017
Trump Launches Reality Check At Israel 02/03/2017
Hamas, Jordan, PA and Other Arab Allies Warn About Embassy Move 01/24/2017
IDF Responds To Gunshots Near Southern and Northern Borders 01/24/2017
Syria Accuses Israel Of Missile Strike 01/13/2017
Mass Demonstrations Against Hamas In Gaza Strip 01/13/2017
Israeli Soldiers Killed and 17 Wounded In Truck Ramming Attack 01/08/2017
To View 2016 News Articles Click Here

September 26, 2017

Palestinian Kills Three Israeli Security Guards At Checkpoint

A 37 year old Palestinian man shot and killed three Israeli Security Guards, all in their 20s and 30s, at the Har Adar checkpoint, an area where hundreds of Palestinian day laborers gather to find work in the area. Har Adar is an Israeli settlement located on the West Bank border about 15 kilometers west of Jerusalem. Residents of Har Adar say the other Palestinian laborers were incensed by the man’s actions, saying “What has he done to us? How will we find work now?”

The man aroused the suspicions of the security forces as they opened the gate to allow the day laborers to enter. When he realized he was to be arrested, he opened fire, killing the three Israelis and wounding another. The youngest of the three killed, 20 year old Solomon Gavriya, had been injured in another attack a year ago, but had insisted on rejoining his unit to “defend his country” just 2 months ago. In the previous attack he had been stabbed by a terrorist after throwing himself on the man who was attacking people with a knife.

Per Israeli policies, the house of the man’s family was demolished with members of his family being detained and their work permits revoked. According to the investigating officers, the man was embroiled in several personal problems, including the fact that his wife had fled to Jordan after being physically assaulted by him.

The Chief of Police and other authorities were evaluating the situation, saying: “We’re talking about the passage of laborers and Israeli society has needs of its own. Laborers are working with permits and the IDF itself considers it the chance of a normal life for Palestinians. We need to be sure no rash judgments are made.”    Of course, Hamas praised the attack while the Israeli government urged the Palestinian Authority and PM Abbas to denounce the attack. Go to the Top or Go to 2017 News Articles

August 9, 2017

Israel Attacks Two Hamas Positions After Rocket Fire From Gaza

Israeli jets attacked two Hamas positions inside the Gaza Strip in response to a rocket fired from Gaza that landed in open territory near Askelon.  Israel holds Hamas responsible for any and all attacks that come from the Gaza Strip even if another militant group, there are several in Gaza challenging Hamas authority, claims responsibility.

There were no casualties on the Israeli side, however, a Gaza hospital said three Palestinians were wounded in the attack.

Hamas and Israel have fought three wars since the Islamic terror group took control of Gaza a decade ago, most recently in 2014. A cease-fire has largely held since then. Go to the Top or Go to 2017 News Articles

July 30, 2017

Tensions Abate On The Temple Mount In Jerusalem

Tensions are quieting down on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem after 15 days of unrest after two Druze security guards were killed by three terrorist who fled across the Temple Mount before being shot.

Friday, the day of Muslim prayers, happened at the Al Aqsa Mosque without incident.  The authorities were prepared for more trouble, but the people assembled left the area peacefully after praying.

This coming week is important in Jewish history, and the authorities continue to stay on high alert.  The Fast of the Ninth of Av happens this Tuesday, a day that commemorates the destruction of the 1st and 2nd Temples, the exile of Jews from the Land of Israel and other catastrophes.  Many Jews are expected to visit the Old City, the Western Wall and some hope to actually be able to stand on the Temple Mount itself. They can pray at the Western Wall but not on the Temple Mount. We all need to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, not just during times of unrest but continually. Go to the Top or Go to 2017 News Articles

July 26, 2017

Metal Detectors Removed Amid Tension On Both Sides

Israel moved to diffuse tension surrounding the Temple Mount by removing the catalyst, the metal detectors that were installed at all gates the Muslims use to enter the Jerusalem compound that contains the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa Mosque.  Israel is said to be looking into more technical security measures, however, the WAQF (the Jordanian Trust that administers the Temple Mount) have rejected ANY security measures for Muslims, continuing to order Muslim worshippers to not enter the Temple Mount for prayers.

Not all Israelis or Israeli security officials agree with the decisions, 1) to install the metal detectors or 2) remove them, that have angered the Arab world.   Once put in place many view the decision to remove the security measures as a capitulation to terrorism.  Others are unhappy with the decision in the first place….obviously this is a complicated and emotionally charged situation.  The Temple Mount is and has always been a powder keg in Israeli-Arab relations….it will remain so even after this situation has run it’s course.

For tourists and pilgrims to the Holy Land, this episode surrounding the Temple Mount and Jerusalem is troubling.  While tensions are still high in the Old City, there have been photos of tourists still visiting sites.  You must always be aware of your surroundings and your guide’s first responsibility is to know where to take you and when to take you there!  It would not help either side, both economically and in world opinion, if tourists or pilgrims to the Holy Land were caught in the middle of this current stand-off. Go to the Top or Go to 2017 News Articles

July 22, 2017

Tourism Up By 26% In First Half Of 2017

Tourism Minister Yariv Levin stated:

“The June tourism statistics bring us to record levels for incoming tourism in the first six months of the year. Our policy continues to prove itself and to bear fruit, and we can see that the right marketing strategy can bring Israel to new heights.

According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, some 1.74 million tourists entered Israel between January-June of this year. That’s an increase of 26 percent over 2016 and 24 percent over 2015. Go to the Top or Go to 2017 News Articles

July 21, 2017

Tensions Remain High and Status Quo Unchanged

No, Jews still can’t pray at Judaism’s holiest site, but that status quo was briefly abrogated on Thursday, July 20.  For the first time since the Second Temple stood in all its glory, Jews were able to walk the Temple Mount freely when the Muslim authority (WAQF) boycotted their administrative duties in the wake of Israeli installed metal detectors.

The Islamic WAQF, a Jordanian trust which controls the Temple Mount, immediately and furiously rejected the use of the detectors, calling the security measure “Israeli aggression”. The WAQF called for a Muslim boycott of the site and scuffles between Arabs (NOT Arabs and Israelis) broke out as WAQF security prevented Muslims from entering through the metal detectors and ascending the Temple Mount.

The sudden lack of WAQF guards on the Temple Mount led to an unusual situation. For the first time in decades, Jews were not followed by WAQF guards preventing them from praying.  This lack of WAQF security, who also follow Christian tourists as they visit the Temple Mount, also allowed Christians the privilege, however short-lived, to pray on this holy site.

Israel is partially exercising its sovereignty by refusing to remove newly reinstalled metal detectors at the entrances to the Temple Mount and that decision has resulted in violence as Muslims enter the Old City and the Temple Mount for Friday prayers.

Many think that it was Israel’s acquiescence months ago to Muslim demands that it remove metal detectors that facilitated last Friday’s deadly terrorist shooting that took the lives of two Israeli Druze police officers guarding the holy site.  Metal detectors have always been used to check Jewish visitors and tourists as they entered through the Mughrabi Bridge, the only access allowed for non-Muslim visitors.  However until this recent terrorist attack, Muslims accessed the Temple Mount without undergoing any security checks through eleven gates open to only Muslims.

After the deadly attack, Israel promptly put the metal detectors back in place.  Due to Israel’s refusal to remove the metal detectors, PA President Abbas froze all contacts with Israel, despite previously joining with Prime Minister Netanyahu in calling for cooperation and prevention of further violence immediately after the terrorist attack.

As of late Friday, 3 Palestinians and 3 Israelis had been killed in the violence.  On Saturday, the situation remained tense in Jerusalem’s Old City and especially near and on the Temple Mount Go to the Top or Go to 2017 News Articles

July 18, 2017

Temple Mount Reopens With New Security Measures

After the attack in which three terrorists shot two Israeli Policemen, the Temple Mount was closed to all visitors.  It opened on Sunday, July 18th with new security measures in place, metal detectors and security cameras, were installed at three gates used by the Muslim public.  Jews, Christians and Tourists still will use the Mughrabi Gate to enter the Temple Mount, that gate has always had much stricter security measures than the gates used by the Muslim public.

The new security measures have been widely condemned, just as the closure, by the Jordanian WAQF Trust that administers the Temple Mount and others in the Muslim world.  While the WAQF administers access and other aspects of the Temple Mount, Israel has maintained the security of the area since 1967.

For more information on the attack and other aspects of the Temple Mount, read the story below from July 14th. Go to the Top or Go to 2017 News Articles

July 14, 2017

Netanyahu and Abbas Work Together After The Temple Mount Attack

Three terrorists, Israeli Arab cousins, shot two Israeli policemen near the Lion’s Gate, just adjacent to the Temple Mount on Friday, July 14th.  Both policemen were Druze, an secretive Islamic sect that peacefully lives in Israel and supports the nation.  Druze soldiers, policemen and security guards are an integral part of Israel’s defense forces and are highly thought of in the military.  This maybe why they were targeted by the terrorists.

After shooting the two Druze policemen, the terrorists ran down a alleyway and back onto the Temple Mount.  Apparently they had hidden themselves and their weapons on the Temple Mount overnight.  The security for Muslim worshippers and visitors is not as stringent as the security for Tourists, Christians and Jews to enter the Temple Mount.  In fact, the entry places are not the same, Tourists, Christians and Jews can only enter from the Mughrabi Bridge near the Western Wall, while the Muslim public are able to use eleven gates to access the Temple Mount.

Israel closed the Temple Mount to any visitors until Sunday the 16th in order to search for more weapons and investigate the incident.  The closure has caused Muslim nations and groups to publicly lash out at Israel, even though their condemnations of Israel did not contain any mention of the terrorist act.

One good thing to come out of this is that Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel and Palestinian President Abbas did talk on the phone.   According to Haarretz Newspaper, The two leaders decided over the weekend to diverge from their usual habit; instead of clashing and avoiding dialogue, they cooperated to resolve the crisis and prevent the volcano from erupting.Go to the Top or Go to 2017 News Articles

May 7, 2017

Damascus Gate Scene of Palestinian Knife Attack

A knife-wielding, sixteen year old Palestinian female rushed Israeli policemen patrolling near the Damascus Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem Sunday evening. She was shot as she attempted to stab the officers and, although treated by paramedics at the scene, died of her wounds.  She was identified as a resident of a town near Ramallah in the West Bank and a farewell note to her family with a verse from the Quran was found near her.  No one else was injured in the attack.  The Damascus Gate is on the north side of the old city and is the main entrance to the Muslim Quarter or eastern section of Old Jerusalem. Go to the Top or Go to 2017 News Articles

April 27, 2017

A Post Passover Week of Incidents

Three Palestinians, one on Tuesday, April 25th and two on Wednesday, April 26th, attacked Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) of the Golani Brigade’s 51st Battalion stationed in the West Bank near Nablus. The area is near Biblical Shechem, where Abraham first pitched his tent in Canaan, the land God promised to him and his descendants. Apparently the three attackers were cousins and assaulted the soldiers with knives. No soldiers were hurt in the attack, however, the Palestinians, all neutralized with IDF gun fire, were taken to area hospitals for treatment.

Earlier in the week, on Sunday, April 23rd (Easter), a Palestinian from the same area near Nablus attacked four Israelis in Tel Aviv. The assault occurred on the coastal promenade near Herod’s Hotel. The Palestinian man was overpowered within seconds by hotel security and Tel Aviv police. The four people attacked were slightly wounded and treated in area hospitals.

On Tuesday, April 21st the Israeli Defense Forces had retaliated in response to three mortars fired from Syrian positions into the Golan Heights area. The mortars were apparently a spillover from the internal civil war wreaking havoc in Syria. However, Israeli Defense Forces have consistently held the Syrian regime responsible for any armaments that fly into and land on Israeli territory whether an accident or not. Later, on Tuesday April 25th, the IDF reported that the retaliation fire in response to the Syrian mortars had destroyed 100 missiles destined for Hezbollah in Lebanon. Good news for Israel, as any Hezbollah missile would be directed right at Israel! Go to the Top or Go to 2017 News Articles

February 9, 2017

Israel’s Iron Dome Intercepts Rockets Fired From Sinai Peninsula

Three rockets fired from the Sinai Peninsula into southern Israel were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome Defense System, while a fourth rocket landed in open ground short of the Israeli resort city of Eilat, late  Wednesday evening, February 8th.  According to the International Institute on Counter Terrorism, this was the first time since 2015 that southern Israel had been attacked from the Sinai.  The Israeli army said the evening rocket attack did not cause any injuries or property damage in the city of Eilat.

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for this rocket attack and the 2015 attack. While the terrorists are waging deadly battles against Egyptian forces in the Sinai Peninsula, such attacks against Israel are rare.  Egypt has been battling militants, many linked to ISIS, in the restive Sinai.  With the agreement of the international community, Egyptian military troops and security forces have poured into the Sinai in an effort to stem extremist attacks.  Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, has long been accused by Egypt and Israel of providing support to the terrorists in the Sinai, building a labyrinth of tunnels from Gaza into the area in order to smuggle weapons and goods.

The incident in southern Israel came just hours after a mortar reportedly fell on the northern border of Israel in the Golan Heights, near the Syria border fence. As in the south, this missile did not cause any known causalities or damage and the IDF retaliated by striking a target in the Syrian area of Golan. Go to the Top or Go to 2017 News Articles

February 6, 2017

Destroyed Hamas Outpost (Courtesy of Ynetnews)

Hamas Outpost Destroyed In Response To Rocket Fire From Gaza

An Israeli Defense Force (IDF) tank fired on and destroyed a Hamas lookout post on the Israeli-Gaza border on Monday (February 6th).  The destruction was in response to double acts of aggression, a Hamas rocket fired from the Gaza strip that landed in Southern Israel near Askelon and small arms fire directed at IDF soldiers working near the border fence.  No injuries were reported in connection with the rocket, small arms or IDF response.

In addition, Israeli aircraft attacked three additional Hamas armed positions.  A spokes person confirmed the strikes, saying they were not only carried out in retaliation for Monday’s rocket and small arms fire, but also in response for aggressive acts by Hamas over the course of the last month.  The IDF Spokesperson unit commented, The IDF considers the Hamas terrorist organization solely responsible for goings-on in the Gaza Strip.”  Go to the Top or Go to 2017 News Articles

February 3, 2017

Palestinian Rams Car Into Settlement Gate Injuring Police and Security Guards

In an area rarely included in tours to Israel, a female Palestinian deliberately rammed her car into a police car at the entrance of the settlement of Adam.  Three guards were slightly injured, according to Israeli EMTs called to the scene, as was the Palestinian woman who was immediately arrested.  The Adam settlement, with a population of 5000, is located on a mountaintop north of Jerusalem overlooking the Jordan Valley.    It was founded in 1984 and is about a seven minute drive from Jerusalem.  Go to the Top

Trump Launches Reality Check At Israel

The White House released a statement aimed at Israel’s newest settlement expansion plans, (5000 new units in Judea and Samaria settlements) saying that the plans “may not be helpful” to future peace negotiations, and added “the Trump administration had not taken an official position on settlement activity.”  According to the State Department, newly installed Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, spoke with PM Netanyahu on Thursday but gave no details of the conversation.  Also, Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, responded to the statement by saying “it was too early to tell how the newest Trump statement will affect construction of settlements.”

While the statement did not condemn settlement expansion outright, it clearly was a warning for Israel to wait for Trump to figure out what his Israel policy actually will end up looking like.  This may be a step back from his campaign rhetoric regarding 1) the two state solution where he implied he did not support that position and 2) his statement declaring he would move the US Embassy to Jerusalem. Go to the Top or Go to 2017 News Articles

January 24, 2017

Hamas, Jordan, PA and Other Arab Allies Warn About Embassy Move

Once committed to quickly moving America’s embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the Trump administration is now expressing caution, promising only to review the matter extensively and in consultation with “stakeholders” in the conflict.  This comes after Jordan, the Palestinian Authority, other Arab allies and even Hamas warned of severe repercussions should the new administration proceed with it’s embassy move  campaign promise.

That deliberative process tracks closely with the policy evolutions of two prior presidents, Barack Obama and George W. Bush, who also campaigned on a pledge to move the embassy. Both ultimately reversed course while in their first terms office.  Most countries, including the US, maintain consular offices in Jerusalem (most in West Jerusalem) today. Go to the Top or Go to 2017 News Articles

January 24, 2017

IDF Responds To Gunshots Near Southern and Northern Borders

An IDF tank destroyed a Hamas position in the Gaza Strip late Tuesday night.  The action was in response to gunshots fired at IDF soldiers from the southern part of the Gaza strip.   The IDF also scrambled forces after gunshots were heard near the Lebanon border in Northern Israel. The situation was under investigation as it was unknown if the shots were fired intentionally at IDF forces.

In another security situation, Israel issued a Travel Alert to tourists visiting the Sinai Peninsula after an assessment by the Counter-Terrorism Bureau identified an imminent danger of terror attacks on tourist sites in the region.  The Sinai is always under an on-going warning, however this alert stressed January 25 in particular, which marks six years since the 2011 revolution in Egypt, a date that has witnessed terror attacks in previous years.
The Israeli bureau advised Israelis in Sinai is to return to Israel immediately and families were asked to contact family members traveling in the Sinai and alert them to the situation. Go to the Top or Go to 2017 News Articles

January 13, 2017

Syria Accuses Israel Of Missile Strike

Syria has accused Israel of launching a missile attack against a military airport west of Damascus early Friday morning, January 13th.  The official news agency of Syria, SANA, said that several missiles were launched from the Sea of Galilee region but did not say if there were any casualties.  It was the third such attack in recent months, according to the Syrian government, however Israel declined to comment on the accusations.

In the past, Israel has carried out sporadic attacks in Syria, designed to eradicate ammunition and armament stockpiles, specifically to prevent the transfer of such weapons to the Lebanese Hezbollah terror organization.  Also, it is widely believed that Israel has carried out a number of airstrikes in Syria solely targeting advanced weapons systems, including Russian anti-aircraft missiles and Iranian missiles, as well as the Lebanese Hezbollah military positions in Syria.

Syria has promised that there will be consequences without specifying how or when they would retaliate – so stay tuned! Go to the Top or Go to 2017 News Articles

Mass Demonstrations Against Hamas In Gaza Strip

Mass demonstrations occurred in the Gaza strip against the Islamic Hamas regime that currently holds power in Gaza. An electricity crisis prompted thousands to take to the streets in the northern part of Gaza which Hamas countered with arrests and firing live rounds into the air.  In the background of the electrical crisis is a feud between Hamas and the current regime in the West Bank that includes money or lack of money, politics, an aging power plant and power network in need of rehabilitation.  A rehabilitation that cannot occur because any raw materials arriving in the Gaza area destined for the power network are transformed into weapons to use against Israel causing Egypt and Israel maintain a tight blockade.

Gaza residents are living under extreme conditions that allows residents only 3 to 4 hours of electricity a day.  The cause of the shortage is, on one hand simple and the other complicated, with most citizens blaming Hamas for the crisis and Hamas blaming the rival Palestinian Authority in the West Bank for using the crisis to damage Hamas’ image.  Israel provides the bulk of electricity that arrives in the Gaza strip and could supply more but has not been paid for all the electricity it has supplied in the past, while looking for financial guarantees before delivering more.

On a positive note, due to the relative quiet on the Gaza front, Israel is increasing humanitarian aid to the area.  An additional border crossing has been opened to convey shipments of fuel, building materials and vehicles into Gaza and allowing more workers to enter Israel.  However, the Defense Ministry declared that if the situation changes, those areas will be closed immediately. Go to the Top or Go to 2017 News Articles

January 8, 2017

4 Israeli Soldiers Killed and 17 Wounded In Truck Ramming Attack

In an attack, similar to those in Nice, France and Berlin, Germany, 4 Israeli soldiers were killed and 17 wounded as a flat-bed truck rammed a group of cadets from an officers’ course as they were disembarking from buses.  The soldiers, ages 18 to 22, were on a routine educational tour of Jerusalem, which included the Armon Hanatziv Promenade, a popular sightseeing spot in southeastern Jerusalem.  The promenade offers spectacular views of Jerusalem including sweeping views of the Old City with its walls and towers, the Temple Mount, the Kidron Valley, the Mount of Olives and the City of David.

Eye witnesses said the driver not only rammed the group but also backed over them in order to cause greater damage.  The driver, a Palestinian from the nearby neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber, was killed at the scene.  Three female soldiers – 20-year-old Lt. Yael Yekutiel of Givatayim, 22-year-old Lt. Shir Hajaj of Ma’aleh Adumim, and 20-year-old Sec.-Lt. Shira Tzur of Haifa – and one male soldier, 20-yearold Sec.-Lt. Erez Orbach of Alon Shvut, were declared dead at the scene.

Prime Minister Netanyahu reportedly said that Israel has blockaded Jabel Mukaber, the east Jerusalem neighborhood of the attacker, a continual source of incitement and attackers, and is planning other measures to prevent similar attacks.  In the past the Israeli government has taken strong deterring actions such demolishing the home of attackers and not handing over the bodies of terrorists to families for burial.  Five others, including the father and brother of the attacker, have been arrested.

Today’s (Sunday, January 8th) incident marks the first Israeli deaths in three months.  Since September 2015, clashes between Palestinians and Israelis have killed 40 Israelis, 2 tourists, and 230 Palestinian attackers. The Palestinians and rights groups have accused Israel of using excessive force in some confrontations, however some witnesses of this incident wonder if there was some hesitation to fire on the truck driver in light of last week’s guilty finding in the trial of an Israeli soldier accused of killing a wounded Palestinian. However, cadets did fire weapons at the attacker and later said that it was fear of friendly fire accidents (there were 300 cadets at the site) that kept neutralizing fire to a minimum. One cadet wanted to assure everyone that “we fought for our friends.”

Update January 10th:  For the first time, Israel has revoked the permanent residency status of 13 members of the terrorist’s family, including his mother, which will result in the loss of all social benefits that come with residency status.  One of the benefits that is lost to them is appealing this decision to the Israeli Supreme Court.  This appears to be a signal of zero tolerance for those involved in acts of terrorism against Israel.

Please join us as we pray for those young people who were injured and the families of the four who were killed as they prepared to protect their country. Go to the Top or Go to 2017 News Articles

2016 News Articles
Another Knife Incident at Qalandiya Checkpoint 12/30/2016
IDF Responds to Rockets Fired From Gaza Strip 12/19/2016
Weather, Not “Arson Intifada” Prime Cause of Israel’s Blazes 11/26/2016
Palestinian Shot As He Attempted To Stab an Israeli Security Guard 11/22/2016
Belgium Gathers Airport Security Tips From Israel 11/22/2016
Noise Abatement in Israel 11/14/2016
Right Wing Ministers on a Collision Course With Obama in Twilight of His Presidency 11/14/2016
Violence at Joseph’s Tomb A Microcosm of Israeli-Palestinian Conflict 11/13/2016
Israeli Defense Forces Kill Knife Wielding Assailant 11/3/2016
Western Wall Clashes 11/2/2016
Beer Sheva Assault 10/18/2015
3rd Intifada? 10/2015
December 30, 2016

Another Knife Incident at Qalandiya Checkpoint

On Friday, December 30th, a Palestinian woman was wounded and arrested as she approached security forces at the Qalandiya checkpoint in the West Bank.  The checkpoint, a major crossing between Jerusalem and the West Bank, has been the scene of several attacks in 2016.  For more information on the checkpoint see the Palestinian Shot As He Attempted To Stab an Israeli Security Guard article below. FYI: According to the Shin Bet (Israel’s equivalent of the American FBI), over 400 major terror attacks were thwarted in Israel during 2016. This does not include what are considered low level attacks such as the Qalandiya attack above, most of the terror attacks thwarted do not even make the news. Go to the Top or Go to 2016 News Articles

December 19, 2016

IDF Responds to Rockets Fired From Gaza Strip

Early Monday morning, December 19th, shots were fired at Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) stationed in Southern Israel near the Gaza Strip.  The soldiers were guarding a civilian engineering crew working near the border fence.

The IDF quickly retaliated by firing three tank shells into a Hamas military post, demolishing it.  There were no injuries to Israeli civilians or IDF personnel, however area farmers were advised to leave their fields and stay inside.

The incident was preceded by the assassination of a Hamas operative in Tunisia for which the organization holds Israel responsible.  There was no official indication that the two events were related and Tunisia has arrested eight nationals in connection with the death.  Israel remains firm in its position that any aggression from the militants holding the Gaza Strip will be answered with force, and this is another example of that response. Go to the Top or Go to 2016 News Articles

November 26, 2016

Weather, Not “Arson Intifada” Prime Cause of Israel’s Blazes

Amid signs that the wave of wildfires that have ravaged Israel since Tuesday were being brought under control, Israeli officials on Saturday night gave preliminary indications that weather was the prime cause of the initial blazes.  Arsonists appear to have jumped on the bandwagon and began to set fires on Wednesday.  Thirty arson suspects were still in custody as of Saturday, with security personnel pointing to arsonists as being to blame for some of the fire outbreaks in Haifa.  More than 60,000 people were forced to evacuate from the Haifa fires on Thursday which had rendered 400 homes unlivable.

Other fires, deemed arson, destroyed some West Bank settlements overnight Friday and even though Palestinian suspects were being held, officials said it would be an exaggeration to consider this as some kind of “arson Intifada.”

Just like California, Israel is currently in a drought and fires this time of year are not uncommon.  The weather in Israel has been dry, hot and windy….definitely conditions conducive to eruptions of wild fires.  Many countries have sent firefighters and equipment to Israel, including the US, which reported that the US “SuperTanker” firefighter was expected late on Friday.

As of Saturday, amid heartbreaking damage to homes and forests, no Israelis had been killed in the wave of fires, however 133 have been injured. Israel’s Nature and Parks Authority reported that 32,124 acres of territory had burned, including acres in the Judean Hills National Park and Kfir Nature Reserve.  By late Saturday the fires were reported under control.  Even though rain was not in the forecast for several more days, relief was coming, as the dry windy weather is set to change by Tuesday.

As always, we need to pray for Israel, for her peace and for her safety. Go to the Top or Go to 2016 News Articles

November 22, 2016

Palestinian Shot As He Attempted To Stab an Israeli Security Guard

As a Palestinian attempted to stab him, an Israeli Security Guard shot and killed his attacker.  The clash happened in the West Bank at the Qalandiya checkpoint near Ramallah.  Ramallah is located about 6 miles north of Jerusalem and many Palestinians leave their West Bank homes to work at Jerusalem construction sites and businesses.

The Qalandiya checkpoint is the largest, most frequented passageway that Palestinian laborers use to enter the Jerusalem area and head to their work places.  The checkpoint, manned by four different forces, Israeli Police, Israel Defense Forces, IDF Civil Administration and private Israeli security forces hired by the Defense Ministry, has been the scene of several clashes, assaults and riots this year. Go to the Top or Go to 2016 News Articles

November 22, 2016

Belgium Gathers Airport Security Tips From Israel

Belgium is putting new security into place at the Brussels Airport, the scene of a terrorist suicide bombing in March 2016, after reviewing security controls at the Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel.  Several layers of security at Ben Gurion, from manned checkpoints that use armed guards to question and give passengers the “once over,” cameras that capture license plates and largely unnoticeable monitoring all the way to terminals and the tarmac, ensure the safety of passengers at Ben Gurion, considered one of the most heavily protected airports in the world.

Belgium Deputy Prime Minister and Security Minister Jan Jambon was impressed, especially by how some of the measures were non-intrusive for passengers. “There, security measures are present but not visible all the time.”  He went on to say, “This is not profiling on the basis of age, skin color or gender, it’s about detecting behavior.”

Entering the Ben Gurion airport after a recent tour, our bus was stopped and taken aside in order to question our guide….so not even tourist buses are exempt from their tight security.  Instead of feeling put out, we all felt confident that our safety was important to Israelis.  Israeli security as you travel there and back is legendary….they definitely take great care in making your trip as safe as possible. Go to the Top or Go to 2016 News Articles

November 14th

Two Short News Items

Noise Abatement in Israel

The Knesset moves to mute the mosques in Israel. Most mosques employ loudspeakers to call worshippers to prayer during the day.  Apparently it is the early morning call, usually at dawn, that is causing the most uproar.  Muslims consider this a direct assault on their religious freedoms, the Israelis wonder if another process could be put in place, especially in our technologically advanced time. Go to the Top

Right Wing Ministers on a Collision Course With Obama in Twilight of His Presidency

Throwing diplomatic caution to the wind, the Ministerial Legislative Committee gave their initial approval to legislation to retroactively legalize over 2,000 settler homes, many of which are built on private Palestinian property.  Effectively, should this pass, it could transform dozens of West Bank outposts into new legal settlements.  The timing of Sunday’s vote had to do with a last ditch effort to save the unauthorized West Bank outpost of Amona, home to 40 families, which the High Court of Justice has mandated must be demolished by December 25th. Go to the Top or Go to 2016 News Articles

November 13th, 2016

Violence at Joseph’s Tomb A Microcosm of Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Four Ultra-Orthodox Israelis were arrested overnight Saturday by Palestinian police after entering Joseph’s Tomb in the West Bank, near Nablus, without a permit. The four, all Breslau Hasidim, were handed over to the Israeli army.

The Ultra-Orthodox, who comprise about 9% of Israel’s population of 8 Million, consider Joseph’s Tomb one of the five holiest spots in Judaism, after the Temple Mount, the Western Wall, the Tomb of the Patriarchs, and Rachel’s Tomb. The tomb’s isolated geographic location has meant few Jews pray there, and those that do must receive a permit to do so from the IDF (Israel Defense Force). When permits are obtain, the visits generally take place in the middle of the night to avoid any conflict with the Palestinian Authority and population.

Joseph’s Tomb, located in Nablus near the Biblical city of Shechem and long considered the burial place of Biblical Joseph, one of the 12 sons of Isaac who was sold into slavery by his brothers (Genesis 37), lies in the northern part of the West Bank, approximately 30 miles north of Jerusalem. The site of Joseph’s Tomb is one of three real estate deals found in the Torah and the Bible. The two other sites are the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron and the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

The tomb site is holy to Muslims, Jews and Christians, although few Christians visit the site due to its location in the West Bank. The site has been fought over for years and even though the IDF provides security, just like the Temple Mount, the Palestinian Authority maintains the site and though required to allow Jewish visits, determining when and how is left to their whims. Go to the Top or Go to 2016 News Articles

November 3rd, 2016

Israeli Defense Forces Kill Knife Wielding Assailant

Ofra, a 40 year old settlement in the West Bank, about 20 kilometers (12 miles) north of Jerusalem, was the site of an attack on Israeli soldiers.  The soldiers, standing guard at a settlement bus stop, were not injured in the incident.  However, the knife wielding assailant was shot and killed in the assault.

One thing you do notice on a tour to Israel is soldiers, Israeli soldiers. Their presence is everywhere, bus stops, shops, highways and city streets.  They are young and they have rifles slung over their shoulders.  Military service is mandatory for Israeli citizens, four years for men, two years for women.  If you are privileged to talk with them or with Israelis who have completed their service, you will find them extremely proud  of their country and military.

Several Israelis (36) and people of various other nationalities have been the victims of Palestinian terrorism and violence in the last year and the Palestinians themselves have sustained numerous injuries and deaths in these attacks. While this is nothing to take lightly, to put it in perspective, the same day the IDF soldiers were attacked in Ofra, two policemen were gunned down in Des Moines, Iowa. This year has been a difficult year for law enforcement in the United States and Israel. Israel is not any different in this respect than any other nation, it is just a smaller country that makes large news. Violence can make you fearful or it can bring you to your knees in prayer. We should all continue to pray for peace in Israel and Jerusalem. Go to the Top

As always, any problem in Israel MAKES NEWS.  Stay tuned for more Israel News Updates. Regardless of the news, Israel remains a safe place for travelers and those on faith based tours.


November 2nd, 2016

Western Wall Clashes

Usually the news coverage we get from Israel is about clashes between Palestinians and Israelis, Arabs and Jews….Today the struggle highlights the differences between Orthodox, non-Orthodox and Reformed groups. Israel’s population of 8 million is divided into four groups, Ultra Orthodox or Haredi (9%), Religious or Dati (12%), Traditional or Masorti (30%), and Secular or Hiloni (49%).  The pandemonium at the Kotel or Western Wall was between the first three groups as leaders from the Reform and Conservative groups broke through security barriers with Torah Scrolls in their arms in defiance of the Ultra Orthodox authorities who administer the holy site and oppose granting formal recognition to the Reform and Conservative movements, which they regard as illegitimate, at the Kotel or Western Wall.

A little background…..First,  the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, administered by the Ultra Orthodox and who operates the site, prohibits worshippers from bringing Torah scrolls into the site. It keeps several dozen scrolls at the site for use in the men’s prayer area but has never allowed women access to them. Second, last January, the government voted to create a new section at the southern part of the Western Wall – near the area known as Robinson’s Arch – where members of the non-Orthodox movements could hold egalitarian prayer services, open to men and women worshipping and praying together as one. The deal was struck following three years of negotiations. However, under pressure from his ultra-Orthodox coalition partners, Netanyahu has refrained from implementing it.

As always, any problem in Israel MAKES NEWS. This struggle is an internal problem and hopefully the parties involved will begin to solve their differences in less news making ways.  Stay tuned for more Israel News Updates. Regardless of the news, Israel remains a safe place for travelers and those on faith based tours. Go to the Top or Go to 2016 News Articles

October 2015

3rd Intifada?

Most Middle East authorities, including the Israelis are not blaming these attacks on militant groups or unified factions such as Hamas.  Even though Hamas has praised the Palestinian attackers, they are not claiming responsibility for any of the violence, a direct difference from past confrontations.  The previous “intifadas” required an infrastructure to provide attackers with resources, materials, and transportation to get them into place to carry out attacks, which is not the case in these current assaults. Go to the Top

Beer Sheva Assault

Although the attack in Beer Sheva on Sunday, October 18th, 2015 was reported by the media as another act of violence in the continuing saga of “Israel versus Palestine,” it was not clear if the attacker was motivated by those tensions.  The person responsible was an Arab Bedouin citizen of Israel and although some Bedouins identify as Palestinian, they are their own ethnic group within Israel and other Arab nations.  Bedouin groups have been at odds with authorities throughout the Middle East over issues of their own, and as such the police have not been able to determine a motive for the Beer Sheva assault.
Go to the Top or Go to 2016 News Articles