October 5, 2023
A project of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Israel's Global Embassy for National Security and Applied Diplomacy

In-Depth Issues:

Video: Thousands of Christians Participate in Annual Jerusalem March (Euronews-France)
    Thousands of Christian worshipers from around the world participated on Wednesday in the annual Jerusalem March during the Jewish Sukkot holiday.
    The marchers beat drums, blew shofar horns, sang songs, and handed out candy.
    Many Christians profess a strong affinity for the Jewish faith and consider modern Israeli history a fulfillment of biblical prophecy.
    See also Photos: 1000s of Christians Join March of the Nations in Jerusalem (Jerusalem Post)

Iran Official Admits Country's Role in Beirut Bombing that Killed 241 American Troops (MEMRI)
    The Iranian news agency IRNA published an interview on Sept. 13, 2023, with Issa Tabatabai, the representative of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in Lebanon.
    Tabatabai had previously served as the representative in Lebanon of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, founder of Iran's Islamic Republic. Tabatabai recounted that his home served as military headquarters for Hizbullah.
    He acknowledged receiving, directly from Khomeini, a fatwa ordering suicide operations to be carried out against the Americans and Israelis in Lebanon.
    "I quickly went to Lebanon and provided what was needed in order to [carry out] martyrdom operations in the place where the Americans and Israelis were."
    No official Iranian representative had ever said that Iran had any involvement in the bombings of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut in April 1983 in which 63 people, including 17 Americans, were killed, and the barracks of American and French members of the Multinational Force in Lebanon in October 1983, in which 241 U.S. service personnel and 58 French troops were killed.

New Iranian Satellite Reaches Orbit - Jo Gambrell (AP)
    Iran's Revolutionary Guard successfully put a Noor-3 imaging satellite into orbit last week.
    The U.S. says Iran's satellite launches defy a UN Security Council resolution.
    The U.S. intelligence community's 2023 worldwide threat assessment says the development of satellite launch vehicles "shortens the timeline" for Iran to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile because it uses similar technology.

Second Israeli Minister "Received Warmly" in Saudi Arabia - Rina Bassist (Al-Monitor)
    Israeli Minister of Communications Shlomo Karhi and Likud lawmaker David Bitan, the head of the Knesset's Economic Affairs Committee, landed in the Saudi capital Riyadh on Monday to participate in the 2023 congress of the Universal Postal Union.
    Last week, Israeli Tourism Minister Haim Katz visited the kingdom.
    Karhi's office told Al-Monitor that the minister was "received warmly" and that the Saudis were helpful in planning the visit.

Photos: Palestinian Islamic Jihad Unveils New Weapons in Gaza Military Parade (Palestine Chronicle)
    Hundreds of fighters marched under the movement's banners in Gaza on Wednesday to mark the 36th anniversary of the establishment of Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
    New long-range missiles, such as the Jaafar, were on display, as well as the Badr 3, with an explosive warhead weighing 400 kg.
    Three types of drones manufactured in Gaza were also presented.

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Video: 50,000 Jewish Worshippers Participate in Priestly Blessing at Western Wall in Jerusalem (Ynet News)
    Over 50,000 Jewish worshippers participated in the Priestly Blessing (Birkat Kohanim) ceremony during the Sukkot festival at the Western Wall Plaza in Jerusalem on Monday morning for the 53rd year.
    In keeping with tradition, hundreds of Kohanim (Jewish priests descended from High Priest Aaron) blessed the large congregation.
    The event took place in the presence of Israel's chief rabbis.
    See also Video: 800 Levites Sing Ancient Prayers from Psalms near Western Wall (Ynet News)
    800 Levites (descendants of the tribe of Levi, who were assistants to the priests in the Jewish Temple) gathered on Monday at the Southern Wall adjacent to the Western Wall in Jerusalem to sing selected chapters from the book of Psalms that were traditionally sung during Sukkot, at the time of the Second Temple.
    Participants stood on the steps which served as the entrance to the Temple Mount 2,000 years ago, located in the Jerusalem Archaeological Park.

Israelis Call to Protect Jewish Archaeological Sites in Judea and Samaria (Jerusalem Post)
    10,000 people marched to Joshua's Altar on Mt. Ebal on Monday to demand protection for Jewish archaeological sites in Judea and Samaria.
    Mt. Ebal is believed to be the site where an altar was built by the Israelites shortly after they entered the Land of Israel after the Exodus. According to Deuteronomy, Moses instructed the tribes to gather on Mt. Ebal.
    In the past year, groups have repeatedly warned of attempts by the Palestinian Authority to damage the site, including plans to build a new neighborhood on the mountain and to pave over the ancient altar at the site.
    In January, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said the PA had been informed that harm to archaeological sites in the West Bank would not be accepted.

Ancient Aqueduct Discovered in Jerusalem (Heritage Daily)
    Archaeological excavations in Jerusalem's new Givat Hamatos neighborhood uncovered a 300-meter section of an ancient aqueduct that was built by King Herod some 2,000 years ago.
    During Herod's reign, the city population saw a large period of growth, meaning that the water flowing in springs and stored in cisterns was no longer sufficient to support the city inhabitants.
    "Due to this situation, the Hasmoneans and King Herod built two complex aqueducts to transport water to Jerusalem (from springs in the Bethlehem region), constituting one of the grandest and most sophisticated water projects in the country, and indeed, the ancient world," said Dr. Ofer Sion of the Israel Antiquities Authorities.

Amid Severe Economic Crisis, Egypt Continues to Battle Dizzying Rate of Population Growth - B. Chernitsky (MEMRI)
    Egypt's population growth rate is one of the highest in the world. The population is currently 105 million, a rise of 10 million since 2017.
    Reducing the population growth rate is one of the goals set by the Egyptian government in its Vision 2030 plan, and the rate has indeed dropped in recent years from 2.11% in 2016 to 1.6% in 2022.
    Yet the country has not yet achieved a balance between the size of the population and the available resources.

Israel Aerospace Sells Two Satellites to Azerbaijan for $120 Million - Dean Shmuel Elmas (Globes)
    Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) on Tuesday signed an agreement to sell two long-life OptSat500 satellites with high imaging capabilities to Azerbaijan space agency Azercosmos for $120 million.
    Relations between the two countries are based not only on the export of Azerbaijani oil to Israel and the import of weapons from Israel, but also on significant cooperation against Tehran.
    Azerbaijan, like Iran, is a Shiite country but secular. Therefore, Tehran is trying to undermine it and develop pro-Iranian militias in its territory without success, partly due to Israeli assistance in monitoring and countermeasures.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S. Sends Seized Iranian Ammunition to Ukraine - Michael R. Gordon
    The U.S. sent Ukraine 1.1 million rounds of seized AK-47 ammunition on Monday that Iran had sought to ship to fighters it supports in Yemen, the U.S. Central Command said on Wednesday. The munitions sent by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in violation of a UN Security Council resolution were intercepted on Dec. 9 by U.S.-led naval forces. The U.S. obtained legal ownership of the ammunition in July after the Justice Department filed a civil forfeiture claim against the Iranian Guard forces. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Saudi-Iran Asian Champions League Game Canceled in Row over Soleimani Statue
    A soccer match between Saudi and Iranian teams in the Asian Champions League has been called off due to the presence of a statue of former Iranian Maj.-Gen. Qassem Soleimani at the entrance to the field. The game Monday between Saudi Arabia's Al Ittihad and Iran's Sepahan was postponed after the Saudi team refused to leave the dressing room at the stadium in the Iranian city of Isfahan.
        Soleimani - who commanded the foreign operations arm of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps - played a central role in directing Iran's activities across the Middle East for several decades before being assassinated by a U.S. air strike in January 2020. A bust of Soleimani was placed at the entrance of the soccer pitch, prominently displayed before players who would have exited the tunnel onto the field. (Al Jazeera)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Five Israeli Border Police Injured by Grenade in Clash with Palestinian Gunmen - Emanuel Fabian
    Five Israeli Border Police were injured by shrapnel from a hand grenade in the Tulkarem Palestinian refugee camp on Thursday morning, three of them seriously. Soldiers exchanged fire with armed Palestinians while carrying out an arrest raid. (Times of Israel)
  • Israeli on Scooter Evades Terrorist Gunfire, IDF Stops Palestinian Gunmen - Michael Starr
    An Israeli civilian on a scooter was ambushed by terrorists who shot at him at the Shufa junction near Tulkarem on Thursday morning. He reported the attack and Israeli forces soon identified a suspicious vehicle. Soldiers exchanged fire with the terrorists and neutralized both of them.
        Hamas identified them as Abdul Rahman Fares Muhammad Atta, 23, and Hudhayfah Adnan Muhammad Fares, 27. The scooter rider's report led to the neutralization of the terrorists before they could "harm other Israelis," said Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan. "We had a miracle this morning."  (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Palestinian Gunman Opens Fire at Israeli Vehicles, 1 Injured - Emanuel Fabian
    A Palestinian gunman opened fire at Israeli vehicles driving near the community of Avnei Hefetz on Tuesday, injuring an Israeli man. The gunman exited a vehicle at the Shufa Junction and fired toward three vehicles leaving the community. Two vehicles were damaged in the attack. (Times of Israel)
  • Palestinian Assailants Ambush Israeli Family at Road Barricade - Sam Halpern
    An Israeli family was driving in the Binyamin region shortly after midnight on Thursday when they encountered a large stone barricade in the road, forcing the vehicle to stop. The car was then pelted with rocks by a number of Palestinian assailants. An Israeli man fired at the rock throwers to protect his wife and four children who were under serious threat of injury, wounding a Palestinian. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Israeli 3-Year-Old Girl Wounded by Palestinian Rock Throwers near Huwara
    An Israeli three-year-old girl was wounded on Wednesday by Palestinians throwing rocks, while traveling in a car near the West Bank city of Huwara. (i24News)
  • Palestinian Rock-Throwing Spikes on Busy Highways - Hanan Greenwood
    Rafael Cohen-Yigudaiev, a bus driver on the Kedumim-Kfar Saba line, told Israel Hayom that a large stone was hurled at his bus, narrowly missing his wife. "If I hadn't swerved in the nick of time, the stone would have struck the windshield, possibly injuring or even killing her. The shattered glass reached the back seats....I urge people not to sit near specific windows; it's only a matter of time until someone gets hurt."
        In the past year, 24 buses operated by the Tnufa public transit company, which serves Jerusalem and the Samaria region, have come under attack. Some sustained such severe damage that they had to be taken off the road. As of early September, four drivers injured in these attacks had been granted medical leave.
        Hannanal Dorani, the mayor of Kedumim, said, "There is hardly a day that goes by without a car or a bus being targeted." He stressed that major intersections on Route 55 have become security hazards because they force vehicles to slow down, making them easy targets. (Israel Hayom)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:

    Saudi Arabia

  • Former U.S. Middle East Envoy Jason Greenblatt Upbeat on Saudi Deal - Ariel Kahana
    Jason Greenblatt, who served as President Trump's special envoy to the Middle East, lived and breathed the historic shift in the region for almost three years. He has kept in touch with senior figures in the Saudi kingdom and has a good feel for their thinking. He notes that Saudi Arabia is undergoing an "unbelievable transformation" as part of an overall effort to sideline the radicals.
        "They have to put Saudi Arabia before anything else. So, by no means will they abandon the Palestinians. But I think they also realized that they can help the Palestinians while taking care of their own country first."
        "Is all of Saudi Arabia ready to have a million Israelis [visiting] the way the UAE has? I don't know if they're ready today....There are decades of a certain type of education that was given to the Saudis, about Israel, and about others - including Jews - that there's a transformation period that needs to happen....But I would say that over time - and not a particularly long period of time - I think it will work."
        "By all accounts, President Biden is serious and dedicated to doing this [normalization]....The one error I think President Biden is making is constantly bringing the Palestinian issue into the equation. It'll be enough for the Saudis to press the Israelis as to what they want to do with the Palestinians. It's the right of the Saudis to do that. I don't think the United States needs to put their finger on the scale when it comes to the Palestinians." If he makes demands to "go beyond what the Saudis want, or the Saudis need, I think he's jeopardizing the deal."  (Israel Hayom)
  • Israel-Saudi Normalization Has Nothing to Do with Biden - Jonathan S. Tobin
    The Biden administration has taken up the cause of promoting a normalization agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia. But if those two countries are moving ever closer to each other, it has little to do with the efforts of President Joe Biden. Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman (MBS) and the Saudis may be perfectly happy to grow ever closer to Israel as a strategic military ally against Iran and a potential business partner without going all the way to a peace treaty.
        The administration's insistence on including Israeli concessions to the Palestinians, coupled with reviving the dead-in-the-water peace process and the quest for a two-state solution to the conflict, indicate that they fail to understand why normalization is even possible in the first place. The Arab states - and MBS, in particular - comprehend, as many in the U.S. foreign-policy establishment and media still do not, that the Palestinians have no interest in peace with Israel. As such, they are tired of having their security and national interests being held hostage by a Palestinian political culture that cannot let go of its century-old war on Zionism.
        As both Netanyahu and MBS have made clear, they don't need Washington to hold their hands in order for the two countries to grow closer. They were brought together by Obama's pivot to Iran and the nuclear dilemma, as well as their national interests. That will continue to bind them in an informal alliance that can thrive even without a signed treaty. (JNS)

  • Palestinian Arabs

  • The Palestinian Olive Tree Litmus Test - Ron Jager
    The Palestinian Arabs have created a narrative based on a falsehood: that they are the indigenous people of "Palestine." One of the many proofs of this is the olive tree. Olive trees play a major role in Palestinian Arab society and culture. They are a constant presence near any Palestinian Arab home. Thus, the "Palestinian olive tree litmus test" can be used to accurately assess how long a Palestinian Arab has been living in their home or on the plot of land they claim has been in their possession for hundreds of years.
        Olive trees are very long-lived. In the Galilee, there are olive trees that are over 1,000 years old. Yet botanists and biologists have told me that the vast majority, if not all, of the olive trees in Judea and Samaria are less than 80-90 years old. If the Palestinian Arabs have populated Judea and Samaria for centuries, why is this the case?
        The answer is that, prior to 1948, the vast majority of Arabs in Palestine were foreign workers who migrated to the area seeking employment. They were motivated by the economic opportunities presented by Zionist development of the land.
        The writer served for 25 years as an IDF mental health field officer, including as commander of the Central Psychiatric Clinic for Reserve Solders. (JNS)
  • Where Are the Palestinian Concessions for Peace? - Bassam Tawil
    During the past three decades, Israel has made countless concessions to the Palestinians to advance peace and coexistence. In 1993-95, Israel signed the Oslo Accords, giving the Palestinians full security and civilian control over large parts of the West Bank and Gaza. Thousands of PLO members stationed in Arab countries were allowed to move to the West Bank and Gaza. Israel released thousands of Palestinian security prisoners, including many involved in terrorist attacks against Israelis.
        The Palestinians, however, were never asked by the U.S. and other international parties to make concessions to Israel. The Israeli concessions did not advance the peace process. Instead, they were seen by the Palestinians as a sign of weakness.
        In recent weeks, talk about a need for Israel to offer new concessions to the Palestinians has resurfaced, as the U.S. pursues its effort to achieve a normalization agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia. Yet the experiences of the past have proved that concessions to the Palestinians do not bring peace. The assumption that the more land you give to the Palestinians, the more peace you get, has proven to be false.
        The idea of transferring more land to the Palestinians sends a message to the Palestinian Authority that, after it failed to combat terrorism in land under its control, it will be rewarded with even more land. Palestinians would correctly conclude that "terrorism works," providing a further disincentive for the Palestinian Authority to rein in the terror groups. The U.S. should demand that the Palestinians, not Israel, make concessions for peace. (Gatestone Institute)

  • Other Issues

  • How to Support the Druze Revolt in Syria - Ehud Yaari
    On Aug. 20, a majority of the previously quiescent Druze minority in Syria moved to open revolt, chanting slogans to topple the government, demolishing statues of Bashar al-Assad, and tearing down his billboard portraits. At 3% of the pre-civil war Syrian population, the Druze are concentrated in Sweida province in the country's southwest.
        The Druze of Syria were traditionally loyal to the Syrian ruling Baath Party, fearing the fall of the Baathist regime meant facing a radical Islamist government. The disillusionment of the Druze with Assad, their suspicion of militias backed by Iran and Hizbullah on the outskirts of their region, and growing economic hardships are fanning the flames of revolt. In September, a spiritual head of the Druze in Syria, Sheikh Hikmat al-Hijri, proclaimed in a video a "jihad" against Iran's and Hizbullah's militias whom he defined as "occupiers." He also attacked the ruling Ba'ath party and denounced the killing of three demonstrators in front of the Baath offices in Sweida city.
        The Druze have been quietly seeking a corridor in order to relieve them from dependence on Damascus for food and fuel. The Jordanians could open a short humanitarian corridor through the village of al-Anat, the southernmost point of the Druze community, less than three km. from the Syrian-Jordanian border. The current foreign minister of Jordan is a member of the Druze community in that country. But King Abdullah II of Jordan is reluctant to intervene on his own in the internal struggle in Syria. Setting up a corridor to the Druze would require a broad consensus among Western and Gulf Arab states.
        The writer, a fellow with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, is a veteran commentator for Israeli television. (Jerusalem Strategic Tribune)
  • In Baalbek, Hizbullah's Heartland - Stefan Tarnowski
    For as long as I can remember, Baalbek has been hung with Hizbullah flags and pictures of party leaders, martyrs and militia commanders. Last month, when I went to visit the newly opened Hizbullah museum, many of those flags and posters had been taken down and replaced with Syrian Baath Party flags and portraits of Hafez and Bashar al-Assad.
        The Hizbullah museum is the latest addition to a portfolio of sites that produce an "Islamic milieu." The most famous and best funded is the Resistance Museum in Mleeta, which opened in 2010. Visitors trek up to the crest of a hill and into a complex of bunkers and tunnels, where they learn about the hardship and discipline required to be a member of Hizbullah.
        Since 2014, I've done fieldwork with Syrians who live in the Beqaa Valley, forcibly displaced by Assad's forces and their allies. When they describe their experiences at the hands of Hizbullah, it's as brutal as anything committed by an invading army waging a war of aggression: siege, bombardment, massacre, rape.
        The Lebanese parliament is preparing a law to deport Syrian refugees. But many Syrians, still forcibly displaced after more than a decade, are unable to return to their homes while Assad remains in office, propped up by foreign allies. (London Review of Books)

  • The 50th Anniversary of the Yom Kippur War

  • The Nuclear Secrets of the Yom Kippur War - Ronen Bergman
    In 1973, American intelligence confirmed, through Blackbird reconnaissance and satellite imagery, that Egypt had deployed several Scud missiles in the Nile Delta that could reach deep into Israel. American analysts concluded that the Soviet vehicles used to deploy the missiles were the same kind used for launching nuclear-tipped missiles. "The Americans told us, 'What you're seeing here is essentially a Scud unit with nuclear warheads'," recounted Prof. Yuval Ne'eman, a special advisor to the IDF chief of staff.
        In response, IDF Chief of Staff David Elazar "ordered the deployment of the Jericho missiles" to create the impression that they are nuclear-tipped, Ne'eman wrote, "and requested that they be positioned so that they could be clearly seen in satellite images" by the Russians.
        However, instead of becoming alarmed and advising the Egyptians not to use their Scud missiles, the Soviets interpreted the Israeli maneuvers as preparations for an attack. American intelligence intercepted Red Army orders to the commander of a strategic missile brigade near Kyiv to prepare to launch 12 missiles targeted at Israel's Ramat David airbase, the nuclear reactor in Dimona, and the oil refineries in Haifa. (Ynet News)
  • The Hidden Calculation behind the Yom Kippur War - Michael Doran
    On Oct. 6, 1973, five Syrian divisions with 1,400 tanks and 1,000 pieces of artillery attacked the two Israeli brigades stationed on the Golan, who had only 177 tanks and 50 artillery pieces. In the south, five Egyptian infantry divisions with nearly 100,000 soldiers, 1,300 tanks, and 2,000 artillery pieces launched themselves across the Suez Canal against some 450 Israeli reservists. Egypt's mobile SAM-6 surface-to-air missiles destroyed 10-30% of Israel's operational aircraft in the first 24 hours of the conflict.
        U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said President Nixon "has no particular love for Jews. He does not give a damn for Israel in the abstract. It interests him only within the strategic context of the Middle East" and he did not want to hand Moscow a victory.
        By the end of the first week of the war, Nixon realized that Moscow was exploiting American restraint beyond what he could tolerate and he had no choice but to match any weapons system that the Soviets might introduce into the Middle East. Nixon called Kissinger on Oct. 14 to emphasize that the resupply must not only be effective, but massive. A total of 550 U.S. transport planes flew to Israel over the next few weeks. At its peak, one plane landed every fifteen minutes.
        In return for Jerusalem's cooperation, Nixon and Kissinger provided it with the arms necessary to win the war, a security commitment that endures to this day, and a strategic alliance.
        The writer is a senior fellow and director of the Center for Peace and Security in the Middle East at the Hudson Institute. (Mosaic)

  • Weekend Features

  • My First Encounter with Jews Changed My Life - Rawan Osman
    In 2011, I moved from Damascus to Strasbourg, France. I found accommodation in the Jewish quarter. I had never seen a Jew in real life, although the Jews were always in the center of my existence; they were in the school history books, in Egyptian films as spies, in reports about the Palestinians, in the news as the aggressor. They were the antagonists with whom we are never to speak. As I grew older and Hizbullah stronger, the term "Jew" became, in my world, synonymous with "enemy," or even "monster."
        Yet those Jews I watched from my window in Strasbourg seemed nice. Meeting Israelis left me under the impression: they are just like us, normal people. And just like us, they too would love to live in peace with us. Our reality in the Middle East does indeed include war-mongering monsters, and they are those who vowed to rid the region of Jews.
        Israel did not kill half a million Syrians. The Syrian regime did, with the help of the Iranian regime and Hizbullah. Even Palestinian life doesn't matter; the Syrian regime imposed a siege on the Yarmouk Camp for many years after 2011, causing more than 200 Palestinians to die of starvation. Many of those who survived the siege were eating grass.
        The people of the Middle East realized in the past years that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was a pretext for the Axis of Resistance to gain power. It is time for them to learn that what they know about Israel and the Jews is wrong, and that peace can reign and replace the senseless suffering.
        The writer is a Syrian-Lebanese peace activist, studying Jewish and Islamic Studies at Heidelberg University, Germany. (Times of Israel)
  • Victims of Terror Need to Know They're Not Alone - Sarri Singer
    20 years have passed since I survived one of the worst bus bombings in Jerusalem's history. On June 11, 2003, I was traveling on bus #14, when a Palestinian terrorist strapped with explosives detonated them. The explosion left 100 of us injured and took the lives of 17 innocent people, including everyone seated and standing around me. I had moved to Israel only a year-and-a-half before and, ironically, had been volunteering with organizations assisting victims of terrorism.
        I can still vividly recall the sound of crushing metal and the blast tearing through the bus. Though I was burned and bleeding, I was alive, and someone helped me escape, pulling me through the torn frame to safety. I was rushed to Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital with shoulder and shrapnel wounds, burns, and cuts on my legs and face.
        Currently residing in the U.S., I recently flew to Israel to mark the 20th anniversary of the attack and to sponsor a luncheon honoring the doctors, nurses and Hadassah staff members who cared for me. We invited other survivors of terrorist attacks who had been nursed back to health by Hadassah's exceptional medical team.
        Those able to come included Moshe Frej, a volunteer medic in 2002 when he was shot in the back while caring for ambushed soldiers in Hebron. Gabby Elbaz Greener was a student when her bus was blown up in 1995 (she is now a Hadassah cardiologist). Aluma Mekaitan Guertzenstein, a high school senior in 2002 who lost the use of an arm due to shrapnel damage after a terrorist detonated a bomb on her school bus. Dvir Musai, who was 12 when, on a cherry-picking trip at a farm in 2002, he stepped on a landmine intended for the farm owner. Gila Halili Weiss, injured by a bomb in Jerusalem's Machane Yehudah market while buying pastries for Shabbat in 2002.
        The writer is founding director of Strength to Strength, which assists victims of terrorism globally with long-term peer-to-peer support. (JNS)
  • The Complicity of Lithuanians in the Holocaust - Dr. Efraim Zuroff
    212,000 Lithuanian Jews, as well as thousands of foreign Jews, were killed in Lithuania by local Nazi collaborators. In neighboring Belarus, a Lithuanian unit murdered at least 20,000 Belarussian Jews. Dani Dayan, the chairman of Yad Vashem, addressed the Lithuanian Parliament on September 23:
        "Hundreds of thousands of Lithuanian Jews were murdered in this country by the Germans and their Lithuanian collaborators. Almost the entire Jewish community became extinct. The totality of the destruction of such a...remarkably vibrant Jewish community, almost like none other, annihilated so cruelly, so systematically during the Holocaust - and to a significant extent by the local population. Insane, poisonous antisemitic hatred eradicated an entire civilization - my civilization - here in your homeland."
        Dayan then mentioned three specific Lithuanian Holocaust perpetrators who have been glorified and elevated to the status of national heroes, despite their role in the murder of Jews. "Such names as Noreika, Skirpa, and Krikstaponis do not add to the honor of your nation."
        The writer is the chief Nazi hunter of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the director of its Israel Office. (Times of Israel)

IDF Soldiers Who Silenced Terror - Elisha Ben Kimon (Ynet News)
  • Here are the stories of four soldiers who acted under fire, saving lives with their precision, vigilance and rapid response.
  • On August 1, Corporal S., 20, from the Judea Brigade, was driving with another soldier near Eshtemoa and identified a suspicious person sitting at the bus stop usually used only by Israelis. "We approached him, initially speaking from inside the vehicle, as part of a routine check. We noticed he wasn't responding to our queries, so I decided to step out of the car....In a split second, he drew a knife and tried to stab me. I immediately took a few steps back, readied my weapon as he continued charging at me with the knife. I fired a warning shot into the air, but he continued running onto the road towards the Israeli community, intending to stab people there. I fired at him until he was neutralized....We prevented a potential attack on civilians. It could have ended entirely differently."
  • On July 25, Y., 19, a combat engineering soldier in the Samaria Brigade, together with his commander and another soldier, was attacked at the Tel al-Ras checkpoint by three armed terrorists. They managed to neutralize them and emerged from the incident unharmed. "In those moments, it was clear to me, it was either us or them, no other option. I felt I had to do everything to neutralize them because I knew what would happen if they managed to get past us....They had three M16 rifles and a pistol....They had planned a massacre."
  • On July 10, A., 20, a soldier in the Duchifat Battalion, went with three of his comrades for guard duty. A car stopped at a bend about 150 meters from their position. The driver said in Arabic, "'I'm waiting for a friend,' and then he suddenly opened the door and hurled a grenade at us - it passed right above me because he threw it too hard. I opened fire and yelled 'terrorist,' shooting at him alongside the soldier with me. He was hit, but during the shootout, he managed to reach back into the car and grabbed a Carlo gun that was on one of the seats. He fired several shots at us before he fell....Upon inspecting the vehicle, we discovered that he had three more grenades and additional ammunition."
  • On April 1, Staff Sergeant Y., 21, a soldier in the Givati Brigade, was with four other soldiers on Highway 60 near the Gush Etzion area, close to Karmei Tzur. Just after sunset, "we suddenly noticed a car speeding toward us with high beams on. It was evident that the driver intended to crash into us. When he was several feet away, traveling at high speed, he swerved right and crashed into our jeep. As a result, three of my comrades were injured, some of them seriously. I was a short distance from the Hummer and was thus unharmed. I immediately fired at the attacker, along with another soldier who was unharmed, and we neutralized him."
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