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Today's News

Feb. 5, 2016



Two Israeli Arab Girls Stab Security Guard at Ramla Bus Station

 By DEBKAfile &


Two knife-wielding female terrorists, both 13-year-old Israeli Arabs, stabbed a security guard at the central bus station in the city of Ramla on Thursday morning. The security guard sustained minor injuries. The terrorists were subdued, arrested and taken in for questioning by the security forces. 


Under interrogation, one of the two 13-year-olds admitted: "We came to kill Jews." One of the two young terrorists hails from the Jawarish neighborhood of the mixed Jewish and Arab city of Ramle in the central coastal region southeast of Tel Aviv. The other is originally from the Bedouin Diaspora, apparently in the Negev, and recently moved to Ramle.


Together and while carrying school bags with two massive knives in them, the two arrived at around 10:40 a.m. at a metal detector at the entrance to the city's mall adjacent to the central station, where the 25-year-old guard was posted.


His suspicions were aroused by the two, and he asked to see their teudot zehut (ID cards), at which point one responded: "I'm 13-years-old, I don't have an ID card yet." Suddenly the two drew their knives and lunged at him, stabbing him in the leg and hand. As the wounded guard struggled to fend them off, other guards posted nearby rushed to subdue the two terrorists and succeeded in arresting them. The guard was evacuated to Assaf Harofe Hospital in Be'er Ya'akov to receive medical treatment, while the two teen terrorists were brought in for investigation at the Ramle police station.


An officer of the central district police noted on the enormous knives used in the attack, but then praised the guard for not drawing his weapon despite being assaulted with lethal weapons. "If you look at the knives, you understand their intentions and level of seriousness in harming citizens," said the officer.


He said the guard "acted in the best way. He understood that he could gain control of them and did so, and did not draw his weapon. During the struggle the guard was wounded. Other guards who were there hurried to aid their friend and helped him gain control over the two."


Just hours after Wednesday's deadly terrorist attack at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem in which Israeli border policewoman Hadar Cohen was murdered and four other Israelis were wounded, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmud Abbas met with the families of the terrorists, whom he called "martyrs," and vowed to help bring back their bodies and rebuild homes of terrorists that were demolished by the IDF.


Hadar Cohen, the 19-year-old Border Policewoman killed in a terror attack in Jerusalem on Wednesday, was laid to rest; her father eulogized her: 'I'm proud of you and salute you.' Hundreds on Thursday attended her funeral.


The funeral, held at the military cemetery of Yehud, was attended by her fellow Border Policewoman Ravit Mirilashvili, who was seriously wounded in the attack, as well as Police Chief Roni Alsheich, and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan.


Hadar’s father Ofer recited the Kaddish prayer and then eulogized her: “My beloved daughter, you were more beloved to me than anything. How I am I supposed to separate from you now? Everyone says you were a hero, a true heroine, and that you saved a lot of people with your body and soul, but no one really knows you my Hadari, your warmth. I have four words to say to you: I'm proud of you. Proud of you and I salute you. Rest in peace, May your soul be entwined in life."


Her sister Mor tearfully eulogized her: “My dear Hadari. Our dear, you have become cherished by the entire nation of Israel. I’m writing to you in tears of blood, of deep pain and shock. I can’t believe it, my beloved Hadar.”


Earlier Thursday morning, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu visited Border Policewoman Ravit Mirilashvili and the IDF soldier who was wounded in a terrorist attack in Beit El several days ago at Hadassah Mt. Scopus Hospital.


Netanyahu said that he “just visited with the Border Policewoman who – along with her comrades – acted with heroism and resourcefulness. Together with their commander, they prevented a much greater disaster. I was impressed by her courage, tenacity and steadfastness, and of her family. Of course, we all grieve over the death of Hadar Cohen, a genuine hero. We all embrace her family.


"We are in a very major effort against terrorism. Kabatiya is cordoned off. The IDF and the Shin Bet are carrying out widespread arrests. We have revoked very many permits to work in Israel and the Attorney General informed me yesterday that he has slated several more terrorists' homes to be sealed and demolished. This is only part of our efforts to fight this terrorism, and we will defeat it. It will take time; this is a protracted struggle. Islamic terrorism is inundating the world and inciting millions in many countries, from Jakarta to Africa to California. We are part of this turmoil, it is not skipping over us, and we are fighting it with great strength and will continue to do so."


Two Israeli Minors Who Murdered Abu Khdier in 2014 Receive Heavy Sentences

 By DEBKAfile &


Two Israeli minors who murdered Mohammed Abu Khdier in July 2014 were sentenced to heavy jail terms by the Jerusalem district court on Thursday. One of the defendants received a life sentence and the other received 21 years in prison. The sentence of the main defendant in the case, Yosef Ben David, has yet to be delivered.


The three were found guilty of kidnapping the victim, forcing him into their vehicle, beating him into unconsciousness and burning him alive in a forest in Jerusalem.  


The assailants burned 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir alive in Jerusalem; it was revenge for the abduction and murder of three Israeli teens by gunmen from the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas.  Six days later, war erupted between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip and lasted for 50 days.


The slain Palestinian teenager’s father, Hussein Abu Khdeir, said the 21-year sentence is too soft and both suspects should spend the rest of their lives in prison.  He pointed to a double standard. "I want the same law for Arabs as for Jews,” he told reporters.


Abu Khdeir said a Palestinian who kills an Israeli would be sentenced to life in prison and his family home would be destroyed.  Yet Israel, he said, is not demolishing the homes of the Jewish assailants.


Israeli State Prosecutor Ori Korb sees things differently. Korb said the punishment is fitting for a “barbaric” act of “moral depravity.”  He said the message is that in the State of Israel, such “shocking” crimes will not be tolerated.


Sinai is a Place Where U.S. Troops Are Very Close To ISIS

 By National Public Radio


 For decades, U.S. troops have been part of the multinational peacekeeping force in the Sinai Peninsula designed to ensure the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt. While the accord has held, extremists linked to ISIS now operate in the Sinai and are considered a threat to the Americans.


Some 700 American troops on a long-running deployment could be in danger of an attack by extremists affiliated with the Islamic State, the Pentagon worries, but it may not be able to get them out anytime soon. U.S. military commanders fear the soldiers deployed in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, and charged with keeping the peace between Egypt and Israel, are becoming an irresistible target for Islamist fighters concentrating nearby.


The Wilayat Sinai group has pledged allegiance to ISIS, attacked Egyptian troops and planted roadside bombs. They have called the peacekeepers a "crusader force." The group dramatically raised its profile last November when it claimed responsibility for downing a Russian civilian plane filled with tourists over the Sinai, killing all 224 on board.


In the Sinai, American soldiers are closer to ISIS than anywhere else in the world, one military official said. The official and others who talked with NPR asked not to be identified since the Defense Department hasn't decided officially whether to try to withdraw the troops from the Sinai.


The U.S. troops are posted to two desert camps, part of an observer force in the Sinai created by the 1979 Camp David Accord between Israel and Egypt, which was brokered by President Carter. The peace treaty has held and the international detachment has had relatively little to do over the years in their desert outposts.


There are just over 700 U.S. troops in the Sinai force, out of a total of more than 1,680 from 12 nations. The countries also include Australia, Canada, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Fiji, France, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, the United Kingdom and Uruguay. They rotate their troops in and out of Egypt for the mission.


Since September, six troops – including four Americans – have been wounded during patrols. That month, the command removed personnel from a remote checkpoint three miles from a main base, saying it could not "safely resupply" the site and continue to conduct the mission.


Over the past several months, the U.S. has beefed up security at the North Camp, which is squarely in the middle of the insurgency. Occasional rockets and mortars come into the camp, and there are fears the resupply aircraft could be under threat. Last fall, the Pentagon sent in more troops, armored vehicles, artillery and cameras mounted on aerostat balloons. Those are only defense measures, however. Outside the gate, in the Sinai itself, security is handled by the Egyptian military.


An Egyptian tank outside the North Camp gate occasionally fires a tank round in response to fire by militants, U.S. officials say. If the Egyptians do go after the militants, these officials say, it often involves punishing attacks. But the Egyptians lack programs, like jobs or assistance that could provide avenues to a better life and potentially blunt the insurgency.


Back in November, U.S. officials tried to downsize the force during a meeting in Rome, where the peacekeeping force is headquartered. The U.S. delegates wanted to reduce the force by 20% and replace it with a variety of surveillance equipment. Both Egypt and Israel balked.


For Israel, the U.S.-led force provides a certain comfort level, particularly at a time of rising tensions throughout the Middle East. The Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist group, was elected in Egypt in 2012, but was overthrown a year later by the current leader, President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi. The Egyptian president and Israel share a strong opposition to Islamist groups.


Daniel Byman, a professor of security studies at Georgetown University, said replacing U.S. troops with technology that could monitor the area is "eminently sensible" since it reduces risk. "You're able to sustain the mission better if there's less risk," he said.


This isn't the first time grumblings about the Sinai mission have bubbled up out of the Pentagon. Former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld twice tried to cut the deployments a decade ago, citing an overburdened military, but was rebuffed by both Egypt and Israel.


The peacekeeping force, officially known as the Multinational Force and Observers, is just one of the ways the U.S. provides security assistance to Egypt. The overall package comes to $1.3 billion annually. The camps for the peacekeepers, one located in northern Sinai and another in the south near the resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh, employ some 400 Sinai residents.


David M. Satterfield, who oversees the Multinational Force and Observers, is a retired career Foreign Service officer who served in Iraq and was U.S. ambassador to Lebanon. He was appointed as director general of the MFO by Egypt and Israel back in 2009.


Satterfield's spokesman, Brad Lynch, declined to address the possibility of reducing the U.S. troop presence. "It hasn't been our policy for a long time to make comments on our peacekeeping force," Lynch said, referring all questions to the MFO headquarters in Rome. Officials did not respond to a request for comment.


Geoffrey Aronson, an analyst with the Middle East Institute in Washington, wrote about the growing dangers in the Sinai on the institute's website last month. "The (Multinational Force and Observers) and in particular the United States, must now confront the unwelcome prospect of a kinetic engagement with ISIS in Sinai," he wrote. "The Obama administration, thus, finds its options narrowed by the demands of its allies, increasing rather than reducing the number of boots on the ground, and hoping it will not be drawn into another open front with ISIS."



IDF Puppy Love: Nahal Soldiers Save Puppy and Find it a Home



Soldiers from the 931st Nahal Brigade found an abandoned puppy next to their base and saved the dog's life during the winter. The soldiers knew they could not take the dog, which they named Toby, to their next assignment and so they began a Facebook campaign to find the dog a warm and loving family that would adopt it.


The puppy was starving and on the verge of freezing to death near an army outpost located in Beit Lid, just outside of Netanya. The puppy began to yelp and cry without pause and the two soldiers on duty gathered that the puppy's situation was dire and brought it food and a blanket. At the end of their shift they brought the dog with them to their room so that the dog would not freeze to death.


Channel 2's military news site PZM reported how attached the soldiers became to the dog. "She was a very small puppy, only three months old. Some of us have pets at home, so we were very sensitive to this situation," said one of the soldiers to a family member. "Once we saw her we immediately took pity on her," he added. "We couldn't leave her outside in the cold with no food or warmth. So we decided that she would stay with us in our room."


Toby became the central focus of the battalion. The soldiers spoiled her with lots of warmth, love as well as treats and snacks. However, they realized that they could not take her with them to their next assignment which was located on the border of Lebanon. The soldiers decided to begin a campaign on social media in order to get the dog adopted rather than simply leave her on the base. They posted on the Facebook page hayalim mtzaytzim (soldier chatter) and asked those on the page to help find a caring home for their new friend.


Without too much of a delay tens of people offered to adopt Toby. The post received over 1,600 likes and over 240 shares before a family from the Ben Shemen kibbutz drove up to the base and received the dog happily.


"We were very sad when we had to let her go" said one of the soldiers. "We all loved her. She was a part of us, even if it was for only a week. However, we are all very happy that she found a warm and loving home with people who will love her and care for her. It was important for us that she not remain alone on the base once we left."









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By Frances Bernay-Cohen

I can't speak for you, but my grandparents came to the United States to find a refuge from "change." They came to The United States where their basic freedoms were guaranteed by the Constitution; where they could build a future on this solid ground.

Whether our forefathers and forI'm sure you will find some truth in this song.






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Air France flew from the U.S. to Israel during the early 1950s. They flew Lockheed Constellations and the flying time was 20 hours.

This promotional film - in English for an American audience - shows Israel as it was three years after the War of Independence .

Please click photo





 Paradise Regained, Paradise Lost

By Don Canaan (Commentary)

This year marked the 34th anniversary of the return of the Sinai by Israel to Egypt--a day of mourning by many of the 2,000 settlers who settled and later were forcibly evacuated by Israeli authorities under the command of Ariel Sharon, from the seaside city of Yamit on the Mediterranean.

Yamit was former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan's dream--a projected seaport and city of 250,000 founded on the Sinai sand dunes overlooking date palm trees and the blue Mediterranean--a populated buffer between the Gaza Strip and Egypt on the other side of the Suez Canal.

Some alternate historians say Moses and the children of Israel passed near the site of Yamit 3,500 years ago as they wandered for 40 years through the Sinai Desert on their way to the proverbial land of milk and honey.

Since April 25, 1982 only the whine of the desert wind weaves its currents through the crevices of destroyed homes, businesses and monument--a memorial to the young men who died during the 1967 Six Day war.

Christians, Jews and Muslims died during three Arab-Israeli wars and battles that took place in the Sinai in 1956, 1967 and 1973--Egyptian and Israeli--young people who fought and died in that desolate, forsaken desert wasteland.

The modern-day chariot carrying Egyptian President Mohammed Anwar al-Sadat hugged the intermittently green coastline of Sinai on its historic mission to Jerusalem. Israelis glancing upward into the clear night sky saw merely a jet banking gently to the northwest.

Official Israeli government policy was that the settlers had to be removed and the army came and forcibly removed the remaining diehard residents. The Jerusalem Post described the scene: Apocalypse had arrived in Yamit and in the dust and noise and destruction one could wander freely. Dozens of bulldozers and giant mobile air hammers were loose in the city like a pack of predatory beasts."

April 25, 20011 marked the 29th anniversary of Israel's withdrawal from Yamit and Sinai and a cold peace between long-term enemies.

That gift of peace silently glided overhead as the Sabbath disappeared and the stars appeared. At 8:01 p.m. Sadat's jetliner landed at Ben-Gurion Airport and the first minutes of a then potential peace came to the Middle East.

Old enemies became new friends. The crowds roared its approval when Sadat shook hands with Moshe Dayan. A person standing nearby, according to the Jerusalem Post, said Sadat told Dayan, "Don't worry Moshe, it will be all right."

The peace treaty between the two nations was signed on March 26, 1979 and on April 25, 1982; the events that had started on a November day at Camp David came to fruition. Sinai was returned to Egypt. Yamit was bulldozed to the ground. But Anwar Sadat did not live to see that day. He had been assassinated seven months before.



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