Israel to Legalize Nine West Bank Communities
ISRAEL TO LEGALIZE NINE COMMUNITIES IN JUDEA AND SAMARIA IN RESPONSE TO JERUSALEM TERROR ATTACK: Israel’s Security Cabinet on Sunday, February 12, unanimously decided to legalize nine communities in Judea and Samaria, in response to the deadly terrorist attack that happened in Jerusalem two days earlier.
The communities to be authorized are Avigil, Bet Hogla, Givat Harel/Haroeh, Givat Arnon, Mitzpe Yehuda, Malachei Hashalom, Ashael, Sde Boaz and Shaharit. To fully legalize the outposts, the government will have to prove that they were established on state land, and the High Court of Justice is liable to object to the move, resulting in a legal process that could take years. The Security Cabinet also said that the Civil Administration Higher Planning Committee, the Defense Ministry body responsible for authorizing new construction in Judea and Samaria, would be convened in the coming days to approve new residential units in other existing communities beyond the Green Line. For his part, Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who also holds the post of minister in the Defense Ministry and has been tasked by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with overseeing the Civil Administration, announced on Sunday that he would soon advance plans to construct some additional 10,000 homes in Judea and Samaria. The Security Cabinet furthermore approved a series of additional counter-terrorism measures, including reinforcing Israel Police and Border Police units in Jerusalem, and expanding operations against inciters and supporters of terrorism. (I365N / VFI News)
ISRAELI AMB. DEMANDS UN SECURITY COUNCIL CONDEMN SPATE OF DEADLY TERROR ATTACKS: Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan sent an urgent letter Tuesday morning, February 14, to the members of the UN Security Council, ahead of the meeting that the Council will hold on Monday, February 20 on the Middle East.
In the letter, Ambassador Erdan called on the international community to condemn the recent Palestinian terror attacks that left 11 Israelis murdered, including children. The Ambassador also rebuked the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for his refusal to condemn the attacks and for the incitement that led to them. In his letter, Erdan wrote: “I write to you with immense sorrow and distress to report on the latest wave of terrorist attacks that Israel has been facing over the past 19 days. These include: the shooting attack at the entrance to a synagogue in Jerusalem on January 27th, in which seven civilians were murdered including a 14 year old, and three injured; the shooting attack in Jerusalem on January 28th, in which two civilians were injured by a thirteen-year-old terrorist; the ramming attack in Jerusalem on February 10th, in which three civilians were murdered, among them two children aged six and eight; the stabbing attack in Jerusalem yesterday, on February 13th, in which a civilian was injured; and the latest stabbing attack in Shuafat yesterday, in which a soldier was murdered.”
“I call on the international community to condemn the latest terror attacks against Israeli civilians in the strongest and unequivocal terms. Those abhorrent crimes are being encouraged and applauded by the Palestinian Authority and Palestinian terror groups such as Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and PFLP among others.” In one of the latest attacks, a 17-year-old boy was stabbed at the Chain Gate of the Old City of Jerusalem. The police have determined that it was a terrorist stabbing attack and that the attacker has been arrested. The suspect has been identified as a 14-year-old resident of the Shuafat neighborhood of Jerusalem. (INN / VFI News)
FOLLOWING TERROR WAVE, ISRAELI FIREARM LICENSE REQUESTS SPIKE BY 400%: In the wake of the recent terrorist attacks, requests to get firearms licenses have spiked by 400%, as revealed Tuesday, February 14, in a National Security Committee discussion on the National Security Ministry’s Firearm Licensing Division.
The head of the division stated that “Until 2021, there were approximately 10,000 requests submitted annually. But in 2021, 20,000 applications were submitted following Operation Guardian of the Walls.” In addition: “42,000 applications were submitted following the March 2022 wave of terrorist attacks.” In response, committee chairman MK Zvika Fogel (Otzma Yehudit) said: “Give guns to those who live where the risk and danger are high. Don’t give guns to anyone who asks.” Furthermore, a subcommittee for confidential and classified issues was also established. Members of this subcommittee include Fogel, Likud MK Moshe Saada and Yesh Atid MK Merav Ben-Ari. (JPost / VFI News)
US MILITARY SHOOTS DOWN IRANIAN-MADE DRONE OVER OIL SITE IN SYRIA: The U.S. military announced Tuesday, February 14, that it shot down a drone believed to have been manufactured by Iran, as it was allegedly conducting surveillance over an oil site in northeastern Syria.
The drone was taken down at around 2:30 p.m. local time, according to U.S. Central Command. “US forces in Syria engaged and shot down an Iranian-manufactured UAV attempting to conduct reconnaissance of Mission Support Site Conoco, a patrol base in northeast Syria,” U.S. Central Command said in a statement. The U.S. and Iran both carry out counterterrorism missions in Syria, although the two countries support different groups. The U.S. backs a Kurdish-led group known as the Syrian Democratic Forces, which leads an autonomous government in northeastern Syria, and Iran supports the central government in Damascus. Iran, the Syrian government and Russia have accused the U.S. of exploiting Syria’s natural resources through a military presence the three countries say is illegitimate. And the U.S. says Iran has sought to expand its influence in Syria through support for militias that have targeted U.S. forces in the past. (FN / VFI News)
ISRAELI FUTURE LASERS CAN SHOOT DOWN IRANIAN DRONES, LIKE IN UKRAINE: Senior Defense Ministry official Brig.-Gen. (res.) Danny Gold on Tuesday, February 14, said Israel’s air defense lasers, when fully deployed in the future, could shoot down the drones Iran has been sending against Ukraine. Speaking at the Artificial Intelligence (AI) conference at Tel Aviv University, the Director of MAFAT [Directorate of Defense Research & Development] said his ministry is working on developing “the next generation of using lasers.”
He talked about multiple successful tests destroying rockets “with a very sophisticated laser weapons system… We have done the same for mortars, rockets and UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles), like the Iranian UAVs they are sending to Ukraine. The same concept of UAV, we can shoot them down.” In February 2022, then prime minister Naftali Bennett proclaimed that Israel’s ability to use lasers had jumped forward and could be operational much sooner than people had expected. Last month, Aviv Kohavi told Israeli media in an outgoing interview as IDF chief, “The laser defense system is truly great news. It will be both land- and air-based. I do want to be cautious regarding time frames. In another two years, we expect to deploy systems along the Gaza Strip border to test this tool’s effectiveness.” (JPost / VFI News)
MORE THAN FOUR IN TEN U.S. JEWS SAY THEY FELT LESS SAFE THAN LAST YEAR: Forty-one percent of American Jews feel their status in America is less secure than it was a year earlier, according to a new survey by the American Jewish Committee.
According to the AJC survey, released Monday, that number grew from 31 percent the year before. A full 55 percent said their status was the same. Only four percent thought it was more secure. Last year saw several high profile cases of anti-Semitism, including a hostage-taking at a Texas synagogue and anti-Jewish hatred shared by celebrities, chief among them rapper Kanye West. Former President Donald Trump dined with two openly anti-Semitic guests, drawing criticism from his own Jewish supporters. Eighty-five percent of American Jews, ages 18-29, have experienced anti-Semitism online. More than a quarter of those – 26 percent – said they feel physically threatened by these incidents. Four in five Jews said in the 2022 survey that anti-Semitism has grown in the past five years; nearly half said it’s taken less seriously than other forms of bigotry or hate. A quarter of the respondents said they were directly targeted by anti-Semitic expressions, either in person or on social media, with three percent reporting a physical attack. Nearly four in 10 changed their behavior to lower risks to their safety. Similarly, nearly four in ten reported avoiding visible expressions of Jewishness in public, such as wearing a skullcap. Smaller percentages reported taking similar steps on campus or at work. (BB / VFI News)
MORE DAMAGE REPORTED AT THE MUSLIM STRUCTURES ON THE TEMPLE MOUNT: For the second time in one week, structural damage was reported at a Muslim structure on the Temple Mount. Though the damage seems minor and its cause is undetermined, the Muslim structures standing on Judaism’s holiest site have a long history of collapse due to the earthquakes that are common to the region.
The damage took place on Thursday, February 9, and the Arab officials blamed Israel: “Sheikh Najeh Bakirat, deputy head of the Islamic Awqaf Administration in Occupied Jerusalem, warned that the Israeli occupation authority’s (IOA) refusal to allow the Islamic Awqaf to carry out renovations to the Aqsa Mosque’s prayer buildings and premises constitutes a great danger to its existence,” media reported. The reference points described in the articles were a bit confusing, as the Marwani Mosque and the al-Aqsa Mosque are separate locations. Al Aqsa, also known as the Qibli Mosque, is the prayer hall with a dark gray dome located at the southern end of the Temple Mount. The al-Marwani Mosque is a different location, constructed under the Temple Mount Plaza in an underground vaulted space referred to as Solomon’s stables. While the term ‘al-Aqsa Mosque’ (the further mosque) refers to a specific structure, the Palestinian media have, in recent years, begun to use it to refer to the entire Temple Mount (al-Ḥaram al-Sharīf in Arabic). According to Dr. Mordechai Kedar, an expert Arabist, this is an intentional lie intended to allow the Palestinians to claim the entire Temple Mount. He suggested that the term will continue to be subverted with the intention of claiming the entire city of Jerusalem for Islam. (I365N / 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