ISRAEL UNDER ROCKET ATTACK—NETANYAHU CONVENES CABINET AMID ESCALATION: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has summoned his senior ministers for a meeting of the Diplomatic-Security Cabinet in the wake of the ongoing escalation in Jerusalem and the Gaza area, while Hamas issued an ultimatum to Israel to stop its efforts to quell the violence.
The Hamas ultimatum said that Israel has to release rioters arrested and to withdraw police officers from the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount, where most of the disturbances have taken place in recent days, as Israel celebrates Jerusalem Day and Muslim’s mark the peak of the holy month of Ramadan. The ultimatum was to expire at 6 p.m. Israel time. The recent tensions were also a result of ongoing disputes between Jewish and Arab residents of Sheikh Jarrah, over contested homes and ownership rights. The Hamas ultimatum said Israel must withdraw forces from that neighborhood as well. Shortly after the Hamas ultimatum expired at 6 p.m. Red Alert sirens were heard in multiple areas in Israel, indicating a likely rocket being fired toward population centers in the vicinity, including in Jerusalem. Israeli media reported multiple explosions in the capital shortly after those sirens were heard, although it is unclear if these were the actual rockets or their interception by the Iron Dome. The IDF tweeted that seven launches were detected from the Gaza Strip in the initial volley toward the Jerusalem area, one was intercepted by air defense forces.
More than 400 rockets have struck southern Israel since yesterday. (Israel Hayom/VFI News)
LAPID AND BENNETT HOLD TALKS AIMED AT ‘UNITY GOVERNMENT’: Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid, currently tasked with forming a government, and Yamina chair Naftali Bennett, held a series of meetings with political leaders on Friday aimed at establishing a unity government.
“The meetings were all held in good spirits and with a willingness to proceed,” a joint statement from the “change bloc” leaders said after the talks. A first meeting was held with New Hope leader Gideon Sa’ar. Yesh Atid said in a statement that the discussions, held at Lapid’s home in Tel Aviv, “advanced positively.” (TOI / VFI News)
‘MAJOR ATTACK’ IN ISRAEL FOILED—3 GUNMEN SHOT IN FIREFIGHT NEAR MILITARY BASE: Three Palestinians who opened fire at Border Police soldiers near a military base in the northern West Bank on Friday had initially planned to commit a “major attack” against civilians in central Israel, army and police officials said on Friday. Two of the gunmen were killed and the third was critically injured in a firefight with the Israeli troops.
The three attackers, all in their early 20s, were traveling on a bus with illegal Palestinian laborers en route to central Israel, and intended to commit the shooting there, a security official said. Forces had halted the bus near the border crossing between Israel and the West Bank as part of routine security efforts to stop illegal laborers from entering Israel. Shortly after, the three Palestinians got off the bus and opened fire at the soldiers. (TOI / VFI News)
IRAN’S KHAMENEI SAYS FIGHT AGAINST ISRAEL IS A PUBLIC DUTY: Iran’s Supreme Leader on Friday called on Muslim nations to keep fighting against Israel, which he said was not a state but a “terrorist garrison” against the Palestinians.
“The fight against this wretched regime is the fight against oppression and the fight against terrorism. And this is a public duty to fight against this regime,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a televised speech. Khamenei was speaking on Iran’s annual Quds Day, which uses the Arabic name for Jerusalem, held on the last Friday of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. (JPost / VFI News)
ISRAEL SAYS PALESTINIAN NGOS FUNNELED EU DONOR CASH TO MILITANTS: Israel accused a Spanish resident of the occupied West Bank on Thursday of being part of a network of NGOs that it suspects of diverting sums “in the eight figures” from European donations to a Palestinian faction that is on the EU’s terrorism blacklist.
Juana Ruiz Rishmawi, a 62-year-old fundraiser for the Health Work Committees (HWC), a Palestinian aid group, was indicted in an Israeli military court on charges that included activity in a proscribed organization, illicit money transfers, and fraud. Israel’s Shin Bet security agency named three Palestinian HWC staffers who, it said, had with Rishmawi “duped” European donors using financial records doctored to hide cash diversions to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). (RTS / VFI News)
EUROPEAN POWERS TELL ISRAEL TO STOP JEWISH BUILDING IN EAST JERUSALEM: France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Britain urged Israel on Thursday to halt the expansion of Jewish building in east Jerusalem.
The joint statement came as tensions mounted in east Jerusalem ahead of a hearing that could see Palestinian families evicted from Sheikh Jarrah, a neighborhood where Jewish residents backed by an Israeli court have taken over some homes. “We urge the government of Israel to reverse its decision to advance the construction of 540 settlement units in the Har Homa E area of the West Bank, and to cease its policy of settlement expansion across the Palestinian territories,” the European nations said. (JPost / VFI News)
HATE CRIMES UP 73% IN NYC, ASIANS AND JEWS MOST TARGETED: A dramatic rise in attacks on Asian-Americans has led to an overall increase in hate crimes in New York City during 2021, while the number of crimes targeting Jews decreased slightly.
Jews in New York were targeted in 54 hate crimes reported between Jan. 1 and May 2, down from 58 such crimes in the same period in 2020, according to New York Police Department figures released Monday. The NYPD’s Hate Crime Task Force said the city recorded 180 hate crimes through May 2, compared to 104 such crimes during the same period last year, a 73% increase. Asians were the most targeted group with 80 hate crimes through May 2 — soaring from 16 in the same period in 2020. Jews were the next most targeted. (JPost / VFI News)
44 ISRAELI EXPERIMENTS TO JOIN ISRAEL’S NEXT ASTRONAUT TO SPACE: The sky isn’t the limit for 44 Israeli research projects that are going to be carried out in outer space by Eytan Stibbe as part of the Rakia mission at the beginning of 2022.
Stibbe is set to be Israel’s second astronaut to be sent to outer space in a mission to the International Space Station, led by the Science and Technology Ministry and the Ramon Foundation. Stibbe is funding the $50 million cost of his participation on the Ax-1 mission himself on what will be the first fully private crew in history to live and work aboard the ISS, run by the American company Axiom Space. While in space for 10 days, Stibbe will run a series of experiments created by Israeli start-ups, universities, and hospitals. Most of the experiments are not for space-related technologies but will test conditions in space that may lead to technological, scientific, and medical breakthroughs that will influence human life on earth – and perhaps beyond. (JPost / VFI News)
The suggestions, opinions and scripture references made by VFI writers and editors are based on the best information received.
Blessings from Jerusalem,
Barry Segal with the Editorial Staff