Haredi MK: ‘LGBT movement more dangerous to the country than ISIS’

MK Yitzhak Pindrus (United Torah Judaism) believes that the LGBT movement is more dangerous to Israel than ISIS.

Speaking in an interview with Keshet 12, Pindrus said,

  • “From my perspective, the most dangerous thing for the State of Israel – the most dangerous, more than ISIS, more than Hezbollah, more than Hamas – is the permissiveness of promiscuity, because that is what the Torah writes.”
  • “So forget the economy, this is more dangerous than it would be without the IDF. This is the most dangerous thing there is for the State of Israel, because it is written, ‘The Land will spit you out,’ (Leviticus 18:25) they will chase you out of here and everything.”

“And so, from my perspective, I need not only to prevent the pride parade but to prevent this movement in general.'”

  • Earlier this month, a poll showed that a majority of Jerusalem residents do not want the “pride” parade to take place in their city;

70% of Jerusalem residents believe that the municipality should not support the parade or hang “pride” flags throughout the city.

In addition, over 55% of respondents say that the parade was forced upon the city’s residents, and 60% say that the Supreme Court should not have been allowed to force the parade to be held by means of emotional and ethics manipulations.

Source: Arutz Sheva

Intel to invest $25 billion in Israel enterprise – PM

US chipmaking multinational Intel will pump $25 billion into a new factory in Israel, according to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said that the undertaking marks the country’s largest-ever international investment.

The new production line in the Israeli city of Kiryat Gat is expected to open in 2027, to operate at least through 2035 and to provide jobs for thousands of people, the Finance Ministry said, adding that, under the deal, Intel will pay a 7.5% tax rate, up from the current 5%.

  • According to Intel, the company has become Israel’s biggest privately held employer and exporter over its nearly five decades of operations in the country. The corporation is reportedly the leader of the local electronics and information sector.
  1. Intel acquired Israel-based Mobileye Global, which is focused on developing and deploying advanced driver-assistance systems, for $15 billion in 2017. Last year, the US tech giant took Mobileye public.
  • According to Netanyahu, the deal for the facility in Kiryat Gat is “a tremendous achievement for the Israeli economy – 90 billion shekels – the largest investment ever by an international company in Israel.”

Its Israel operations had “played a crucial role” in the company’s global success, Intel said in a statement.

  1. “Our intention to expand manufacturing capacity in Israel is driven by our commitment to meeting future manufacturing needs,” the company added. “And we appreciate the continued support of the Israeli government.”

Source: RT

Knesset votes to end passport on arrival policy for new immigrants

Starting July 10, immigrants who gain their Israeli citizenship through the Law of Return will have to prove their center of life is in the Jewish state before receiving their passports, ending the practice of passport on arrival.

Following a multi-hour filibuster staged by opposition parties, the Knesset passed a law that ends a legislative agreement the government made with the Yisrael Beytenu party in 2017 to allow immediate passports for new citizens who immigrate to Israel by claiming legally-recognized Jewish heritage.

The Interior Ministry-sponsored change is expected to reinstate a one-year residency requirement to prove that Israel is the center of a new citizen’s life. Until then, new arrivals can receive temporary travel documents.

The law comes after Israel saw an influx of Russian and Ukrainian immigrants following Russia’s February 2022 invasion of its western neighbor.

An earlier version of the law was proposed by MK Yosef Taieb, whose ultra-Orthodox Shas party has been locked in bitter political battle with secularist Yisrael Beytenu, which opposes Haredi attempts to place religious curbs on public life in Israel and has railed against government handouts for the community.

Touching on an issue close to Yisrael Beytenu’s base of former Soviet state immigrants, Taieb has pushed to close the Law of Return’s so-called “grandchild clause,” which allows anyone with at least one Jewish grandparents to qualify for Israeli citizenship, provided they are not actively practicing another religion.

The religious parties — the ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism and Shas parties, and the national-religious Otzma Yehudit, Noam and Religious Zionism — argue that since many of the people immigrating to Israel under this clause are not Jewish according to most interpretations of Jewish law, it weakens the “Jewish character” of the state.

Eliminating the grandchild clause would primarily affect would-be immigrants from the former Soviet Union, largely due to cultural norms in those countries in which ethnicity is patrilineal, despite the fact that, under Jewish law, Jewishness is passed down from the mother.

In January, Taieb told the Hebrew religious news site TOV that “the change is required” and that “it will be done.”

“We need to preserve the state as a Jewish state, both on a demographic level and on a values level,” he added.

Last November, the Knesset released data that 72% of immigrants from former Soviet states between 1990 and 2020 were not considered Jewish by strict religious standards of descent. The report caused an uproar, with religious lawmakers across the political spectrum renewing calls to tighten Jewish immigration standards.

The Interior Ministry has said that the policy change will help crack down on abuses to the system, whereby immigrants take on Israeli citizenship to obtain a more favorable passport, but never actually settle in the country.

Last week, Gil Bringer, the deputy director general of the Interior Ministry’s Population and Immigration Authority, testified to a Knesset committee that he believed people took on Israeli citizenship to take advantage of expanded visa-free travel, which hurt the integrity of the passport.

“The strength of the Israeli passport erodes alongside the erosion of the connection between having an Israeli passport and the connection to State of Israel,” he said.

Bringer also said that his department found a correlation between immigrants remaining longer in Israel and longer waits for passport times, but did not provide a timeframe for his data or additional details.

An internal Population Authority presentation obtained by The Times of Israel shows that there is no meaningful difference in the percentage of immigrants remaining in Israel today, after having emigrated in 2015 — before the agreement granting passports on arrival — and 2017, when that agreement was implemented.

According to the data, some 63% of immigrants who arrived in 2015 and 66% of those who moved in 2016 still make their center of life in Israel today. Since 2017, it has oscillated between 61% and 69%.

The Population Authority determined center of life as spending at least 75% of one’s time in Israel since immigrating.

The Law of Return was first passed in 1950, saying simply that any Jew had a right to immigrate to Israel, but deliberately leaving the definition of who is a Jew open to interpretation. In 1970, in light of pressure from religious Zionists, the law was amended to define a Jew as anyone born to a Jewish mother or who converted. However, as a compromise, it left the nature of those conversions vague, not requiring them to be Orthodox, and it also allowed the children and grandchildren of Jews — as well as their spouses and children — to immigrate to Israel.

  • Judah Ari Gross contributed to this report.

Source: TOI

IDF investigation: Multiple failures led to murder of 3 soldiers by Egyptian policeman

The IDF Chief of Staff’s office will release the initial results of the investigation into the terrorist attack at the Egyptian border in which IDF soldiers Lia Bin-Nun, Ori Yitzhak Illouz, and Ohad Dahan were murdered by an Egyptian police officer a week ago.

The investigation has found a series of failures at all levels, including the command and operational levels.

  • Another pair of soldiers were 200 meters from the spot where Bin-Nun and Illouz were killed but did not report the gunshots because the sound of gunshots is common in the area and because they apparently thought it was the wind.

It was also found that the soldiers in the guardpost which was attacked did not realize that the opening through which the terrorist shot them was sealed with only a piece of nylon. It is unclear who approved a 12-hour watch in the guardpost.

The findings will be presented to the Chief of Staff who will have to determine how severe the punishments for the failures will be and whether they will be limited to the junior ranks or rise to the ranks of division commander and above.

On Friday, IDF soldiers foiled an attempt to smuggle millions of shekels worth of drugs from Egypt into Israeli territory.

IDF and Israel Border Police forces were dispatched to the scene and pursued the smugglers. The soldiers apprehended two suspects.

During the pursuit, the soldiers located and confiscated bags containing 21 kg of drugs believed to be marijuana, worth approximately 2.35 million NIS, and 26 kg of drugs suspected as hashish worth approximately 2.35 million NIS.

Source: Arutz Sheva

Israeli fighters jets escort US bombers in message to Iran

The Israeli Defense Forces said in a statement that the flight took place “as part of the close cooperation with the United States Armed Forces, which is a significant component in maintaining the aerial security of the State of Israel and the Middle East.”

From its side, the U.S. Central Command said that the bomber flight was carried out to build “agility and interoperability” with allies in the Middle East.

B-1 bombers dropped multiple munition types on ranges in Saudi Arabia and Jordan during the flight, according to the command.

Israeli fighter jets escorted U.S. bombers on joint flights on several occasions in the last two years. Such flights are usually carried out as a warning to Iran, especially when nuclear talks are on halt.

As the last flight was taking place, the White House denied a report that Washington and Tehran were making progress on a new nuclear deal.

The Middle East Eye report said that the U.S. and Iran were moving closer to a deal that would alleviate sanctions on Tehran in return for it limiting its enrichment of uranium and that negotiations have taken place on US soil.

In its report, the London-based cited two sources “with direct knowledge of the talks.”


However, a White House National Security Council spokesperson told Reuters that the report is “false and misleading,” adding that “any reports of an interim deal are false.”

Israel remains skeptical of the talks. During a phone call with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Israeli Netanyahu reiterated his position that Iran will not stop advancing its nuclear program, even if it agrees to revive the nuclear deal with Washington.

  • “Israel will not be bound by any deal with Iran and will do everything to defend itself,” Netanyahu said, according to a readout of the call that was held on June 8.

According to the readout, Netanyahu also expressed his appreciation for the military and intelligence cooperation Israel has with the US “which is at an all-time high”.


US urges IDF to re-evaluate use of deadly force after Palestinian toddler killed

State Department’s Office of Palestinian Affairs offers condolences to family of Mohammed Tamimi, calls on Israelis, Palestinians

  • ‘The US on Tuesday urged Israel to probe its use of deadly force during military operations among civilians, a day after a two-year-old Palestinian boy died as a result of being mistakenly shot by Israeli troops during a West Bank gunfire exchange last week.
  • “We express our condolences to the family of Mohammed Tamimi. We urge Israel to evaluate all use of deadly force that involves civilian casualties and we call on Israeli and Palestinian leadership to take responsible actions to end the conflict,” the US Office of Palestinian Affairs said in a statement.

Last Thursday, two-and-a-half-year-old Tamimi and his father were hit by gunshots as Israeli soldiers returned fire at Palestinian gunmen who had shot toward them at the settlement of Neve Tzuf.

The father, Haitham Tamimi, was taken by Palestinian medics to a hospital in Ramallah, and the toddler was rushed to Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan by a military helicopter in critical condition. He died of his wounds on Monday.to take responsible actions to end conflict’.

  • The Israel Defense Forces said the killing was an accident and that the incident was being investigated.

In a press briefing on Tuesday, State Department spokesman Vedant Patel said: “It’s our understanding that the IDF is investigating the incident, and broadly speaking, we urge investigations into any operations that result in civilian casualties.”

A similar call was issued by the US last year following the killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh during an IDF raid of the West Bank in May 2022. Then, the State Department called on Israel to consider reforming its rules of engagement as a way of providing accountability for her death. But the comments sparked a furious Israeli backlash, including from then-prime minister Yair Lapid, who fumed over the attempt to “dictate” Israel’s policies.

Following the pushback, the State Department appeared to backtrack from its initial demand and resorted to more vague demands about the need for accountability.

Following the shooting last week, the IDF said in a statement that the father and son were likely hit by mistake, adding that it “regrets harm to [noncombatants] and works to prevent such incidents.”

“The incident is being investigated in depth,” the military told the Times of Israel in response to a query on Monday. “At the end of the inquiry and taking into account its findings, a decision will be made regarding the opening of a probe.”

Tamimi’s mother, Marwa, 32, told AFP during the funeral that soldiers had fired on her husband while he was in the car with their son. She said he had gone out to move his car because he feared it would be damaged by nearby Israeli soldiers.

  • “My husband started the car and my son was next to him, and the shots were fired at him when he turned on the car’s lights,” she said. “They [Israeli soldiers] fired at them for a while, and they could not get out of the car… so I hid inside [the house].”

The army’s preliminary investigation into the incident has not yet been completed.

  • An inquiry into troops’ conduct has not yet been submitted to the Military Prosecutor’s Office for review, though prosecution of soldiers for targeting Palestinians is rare, particularly when the incident takes place during an operation.
  • Marwa Tamimi said she had no faith in the Israeli army’s investigation. “I want an international trial. Enough is enough. Every time we hear of a child who is martyred, a whole family is martyred,” she said.

Senior Palestinian official Hussein al-Sheikh on Monday night expressed anger in a tweet. “He [Tamimi] died by the bullets of Israeli occupation soldiers!!! What will the occupation authorities say about him? Are they going to call him a terrorist?? Is he endangering the lives of their soldiers?”

Additional condemnations were issued by the United Nations and the European Union.

After Tamimi’s funeral on Tuesday, clashes erupted with Israeli soldiers in which several Palestinians were reportedly injured.

Tensions between Israel and the Palestinians have been elevated for the past year, with the military carrying out near-nightly raids in the West Bank in the wake of a series of deadly Palestinian terror attacks.

  • Palestinian gunmen have repeatedly targeted troops carrying out arrest raids, military posts, Israeli settlements and civilians on roads.

The string of Palestinian attacks in Israel and the West Bank has killed 20 people since the start of this year and left several more seriously hurt.

At least 115 West Bank Palestinians have been killed since the beginning of the year — most of them during clashes with security forces, but some were uninvolved civilians or were killed under more questionable circumstances.

Emanuel Fabian and Agencies contributed to this report.

Source: Jacob Magid – TOI

Israel declassifies file on Nazi who enlisted in the IDF and spied for Egypt

Even by the standards of the Cold War espionage world, Ulrich Schnaft had a rare talent for infiltration.

A former Nazi and Waffen-SS fighter, in 1947 Schnaft posed as a Jewish refugee and tried to immigrate to pre-state Israel, ending up in a British internment camp for illegal immigrants. Establishing Zionist credentials there and studying Hebrew, he joined the Israeli army to become an officer — only to then become a spy for Egypt.

Decades later, it is still unclear how deep this mole had managed to dig: the file on him, which the Israeli counterintelligence apparatus only recently declassified, contains redacted parts that suggest that his actions 65 years ago are still viewed as sensitive today.

Even by the standards of the Cold War espionage world, Ulrich Schnaft had a rare talent for infiltration.

A former Nazi and Waffen-SS fighter, in 1947 Schnaft posed as a Jewish refugee and tried to immigrate to pre-state Israel, ending up in a British internment camp for illegal immigrants. Establishing Zionist credentials there and studying Hebrew, he joined the Israeli army to become an officer — only to then become a spy for Egypt.

  • Decades later, it is still unclear how deep this mole had managed to dig: the file on him, which the Israeli counterintelligence apparatus only recently declassified, contains redacted parts that suggest that his actions 65 years ago are still viewed as sensitive today.

Schnaft lived in Israel for six years until 1954 under a false identity, according to Friday’s report in Haaretz about the declassification.

A former fighter for the Waffen-SS, a Nazi elite unit, in the Eastern Front, he was wounded in battle and transferred to the Western one, where American troops captured him as a prisoner of war in 1944. After his release, he moved to war-ravaged Munich, where he decided to leave Germany by posing as a Jew, to benefit from aid provided to Jewish refugees by American international organizations.

In 1947, Schnaft boarded a ship of Jewish illegal immigrants in Marseille, France bound for what would soon be Israel, but which was still governed by the United Kingdom and subject to its ban on immigration.

The ship was intercepted by the British navy and its passengers were imprisoned in an internment camp in Cyprus. Schnaft, who was born in 1923 in what is now Kaliningrad, participated in several escape attempts organized by fellow prisoners with ties to the Haganah, the paramilitary Jewish group that served as the kernel for the Israel Defense Forces.

  • He enlisted in the IDF and served during Israel’s Independence War. He lived in Kiryat Anavim near Jerusalem and became a member and activist for Mapai, the party of Prime Minister David Ben Gurion. Schnaft became an officer during his reserve service in the artillery corps.
  • But his request to become a career officer was blocked. The Shin Bet vetoed it, pending further inquiry into the religious background of Schnaft, who had blonde hair and a typical German appearance. “Please answer questions about this person’s religion,” reads one memo about Schaft to agents.

The net tightens

  • Israeli counterintelligence first flagged Schnaft in 1952, the file shows, when they began suspecting he was not Jewish. As the Shin Bet made its inquiries, the organization began unearthing the reckless aspects of Schnaff’s boldness.

One report said he had shown a picture of himself in “SS uniform or German army uniform” while drunk. When asked about this later, Schnaft said it was just a costume. Shin Bet describes him as a “loner” who was seen in the company of “sketchy individuals.” He was also suspected of stealing ammunition from an army base and, according to the file on him, ammo was also found in his room during a police search of it.

  • Sensing, perhaps, that the net was closing around him, Schnaft left Israel in 1954.
  • It later emerged that he went to Egypt to offer to share with the Egyptian intelligence the information he had on the Israel Defense Forces. Counterintelligence operatives defined the information as valuable and “a major contribution to the enemy’s familiarity” with the IDF.

In 1955, the Mossad located Schnaft, who was working as a pharmacist in Frankfurt, and launched an operation designed to lure him back to Israel. A female agent posing as a journalist seduced him and offered to introduce him to Arab intelligence operatives who would be interested in the information he had on Israel.

  • She introduced Schnaft to Mossad agents posing as Arab intelligence ones, who gave him a fake espionage assignment in Israel and a fake passport with which to enter the country.

Schnaft was arrested upon his arrival in Israel and sentenced to seven years in jail. He left Israel after his release. Attempts by several journalists to track him down in Germany and beyond did not succeed.

  • Following the publication in Haaretz, one reader, Asaf Yanai, added to the public record of Schnaft an unverified claim that was not in the declassified file.
  • Schnaft singlehandedly killed six infiltrators from Egypt while on patrol with Yanai’s father near Ashkelon, he wrote.
  • Yanai claimed his father froze up as the infiltrators sought shelter in an abandoned structure where the two Israeli soldiers had stopped to rest. Schnaft rushed down from the top floor to the ground one, killing the infiltrators swiftly and likely saving the life of his father, he wrote.

Source: TOI

Header: A copy of the file on Ulrich Schnaft that Israel’s General Security Agency recently declassified shows a picture of the Nazi soldier turned Israeli army officer. (Israel State Archives via Haaretz)

Average salary in Israel rises 5.1%

The average monthly salary of employees in Israel rose by 5.1% in April 2023 to NIS 12,669, compared with April 2022, the Central Bureau of Statistics reports. Almost the entire rise was eroded by inflation, which was 5% over the 12 month period.

In the tech sector, the average salary in March 2023 was NIS 31,685, up 5.8% from March 2022.

However, due to inflation tech sector salaries were also eroded. The number of salaried positions in the tech sector in March 2023 was up 3.3% from March 2022.

Between April 2022 and April 2023, the number of salaried jobs in the Israeli economy grew by 0.9%, lower than the 2% by which the population grew over that period.

The number of jobs fell by 1% between April 2023 and March 2023, reflecting the slowdown in the economy.

  • Published by Globes, Israel business news – en.globes.co.il – on June 4, 2023.
  • © Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd., 2023.

Source: GLOBES

Note:1 Shekel= 0.27 USD

Israel, Egypt investigate deadly border incident

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant spoke with his Egyptian counterpart, Mohamed Ahmed Zaki, over the phone on Saturday, discussing the firefight at the border earlier that day, which claimed the lives of three Israeli soldiers and one Egyptian security official.

The defense chiefs agreed to take measures in order to “prevent the recurrence of such incidents in the future,” according to the statement from the Egyptian Armed Forces.

  • The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said that “an investigation is being conducted in full cooperation with the Egyptian army.”

Both sides provided different versions of the skirmish.

The IDF initially reported that around 2:30 am local time on Saturday its soldiers busted a cross-border smuggling operation.

The Israeli army later said that two of its soldiers, one of whom was a female sergeant, were gunned down at a border outpost. It added that a third IDF service member was later killed by “an Egyptian policeman” who had crossed into Israeli territory. The intruder was killed in the ensuing firefight, and a fourth IDF soldier received light injuries, the Israeli army said.

The Egyptian Armed Forces said in a statement that the country’s border security personnel were “chasing drug smuggling elements” when one of Egypt’s security officials crossed the border and “exchanged fire” with the Israelis.

  • Cairo did not explain how its official had entered Israeli territory.
  • The Egyptian-Israeli border has remained relatively calm since the countries signed a peace treaty in 1979.

An IDF spokesperson was quoted by the media as saying that the last known incursion that ended in casualties occurred around 10 years ago.

Source: RT

Header: Staff Sgt. Ohad Dahan, 20, (left) Sgt. Lia Ben Nun, 19, and Staff Sgt. Ori Yitzhak Iluz (center) combat soldiers in the Bardelas Battalion, who were shot dead on the Egyptian border on June 3, 2023 (Israel Defense Forces)

Netanyahu vows to probe deadly shooting of troops by Egyptian policeman ‘to the end’

2023. (Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to fully investigate the killing of three soldiers in southern Israel by an Egyptian policeman on Saturday, as the nation’s leaders offered condolences to the families and questions lingered over the irregular shootings on the border.

The three soldiers were named as Staff Sgt. Ori Yitzhak Iluz, Staff Sgt. Ohad Dahan and Sgt. Lia Ben Nun, all combat soldiers in the Bardelas Battalion tasked with guarding the border.

  • “The deadly incident on the Egyptian border during Shabbat is severe and abnormal and will be investigated to the end,” Netanyahu said in a statement.
  • “Together with all the people of Israel, I share in the sorrow of the families.”

“I want to praise our forces who strove for contact and killed the terrorist,” Netanyahu said.

  • President Isaac Herzog said, “There are no words to describe the pain and loss.”
  • “We will preserve their memories and continue to determinedly defend our borders,” he said.

“The heart breaks. Lia Ben Nun, Ohad Dahan, Ori Yitzhak Iluz. May their memories be a blessing,” said Opposition Leader Yair Lapid.

The three soldiers will be laid to rest in military cemeteries in their hometowns on Sunday.

Iluz, who was 20, will be buried in Safed at 5 p.m. The funeral for Ben Nun, 19, will take place in Rishon Lezion at 4:30 p.m. And Dahan, 20, will be buried in Ofakim at 5 p.m., the IDF said.

  • There are five mixed-gender infantry units within the IDF’s Border Defense Corps, which is responsible for defending Israel’s borders with Jordan, Egypt, as well as the West Bank security barrier.

The circumstances of the killings, which occurred between Mount Sagi and Mount Harif in the Negev desert, remained murky as the military investigated. Deadly incidents on the Israel-Egypt border are rare.

According to IDF spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, Ben Nun and Iluz began a 12-hour shift together at 9 p.m. on Friday night at a military post on the Egyptian border.

After the soldiers did not answer calls on the radio on Saturday morning, an officer reached the scene and discovered the pair dead in separate areas of the post. Hagari said the IDF believed they were killed at around 6 or 7 a.m.

Several hours later, shortly before noon, the Egyptian policeman attacked troops who were scanning the area. During the clash, Dahan was killed and a non-commissioned officer was lightly wounded. The gunman was shot dead several minutes later by another group of soldiers, according to the military.

Only after the bodies were discovered at around 9 a.m., military officials declared a terror incident in the area and began searches. Shortly before noon, an army drone identified the attacker some 1.5 kilometers (1 mile) from the border, which led to the deadly clash, Hagari said.

The IDF was investigating how and when the Egyptian attacker infiltrated Israel, how he was not detected for several hours, and what the military could have done to prevent the deaths of the three soldiers.

  • Egypt has sought to distance itself from the policeman, with Egyptian officials saying they were unaware of his intentions, the Kan public broadcaster reported, citing an Israeli source.

Netanyahu’s office briefed ministers to say how irregular the incident was and stress that it did not reflect Israeli-Egyptian ties, the report said.

The Israeli military said it believed the shooter infiltrated the border using an emergency gate, and that the two soldiers killed in an initial attack did not fire back.

  • Hagari said the attacker likely entered alone through the gate in the early hours of Saturday morning, following drug smuggling nearby.
  • The small gate is used by the IDF to cross the border when necessary, in coordination with the Egyptian military. The Egyptian army has claimed the officer crossed the border to chase after suspects involved in the drug smuggling incident.

Military officials said IDF troops foiled the smuggling attempt at around 2:30 a.m., seizing contraband with an estimated value of NIS 1.5 million ($400,000).

There are frequent attempts to smuggle drugs from Egypt into Israel.

  • Egyptian smugglers generally operate by tossing contraband over the border to Bedouin Israelis, who then sell the drugs in Israel. The smugglers mostly traffic in marijuana from grow houses in the Sinai Peninsula, but sometimes harder drugs like heroin are smuggled in as well.
  • At 3 a.m., the smuggling incident — some 3 kilometers (1.5 miles) from the attack location — was wrapped up. At 4:15 a.m., troops radioed in to the guard post where Ben Nun and Iluzi were located, “and everything was fine,” Hagari said.

The Egyptian army said in a statement that an officer in charge of border security chased after suspects involved in alleged drug smuggling.

  • “During the pursuit, he crossed the security barrier and an exchange of fire began, in which three Israeli security personnel were killed,” it said, adding that it wished to convey “sincere condolences” to the families of the victims.

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant spoke with his Egyptian counterpart Gen. Mohamed Ahmed Zaki following the attack.

“The cooperation in the investigation of the serious attack is of great importance for the relationship between the countries,” Gallant was quoted as saying in a readout.

Gallant’s office said he “expressed his appreciation for the Egyptian defense minister’s commitment to a joint investigation of the details of the serious incident, and emphasized the importance of cooperation in the investigation of the attack to prevent further incidents in the future.”

The Israel-Egypt border has been largely peaceful since the two countries signed a peace agreement in 1979, Israel’s first with an Arab state. In the past decade,

Israel built a large barrier along the border, largely aimed at keeping out African migrants and Islamic terrorists who operate in Egypt’s Sinai.

  • In recent years, there have been several incidents of gunfire between smugglers and IDF soldiers. The Egyptian army also frequently shoots at drug smugglers, as well as jihadist groups in the northern Sinai desert, sometimes resulting in accidental cross-border fire.
  • Sinai-based terrorists carried out multiple attacks against Israel in 2011 and 2012. In one multi-staged attack in August 2011, six Israeli civilians, an IDF soldier, and a counter-terrorism police officer were killed, as well as five Egyptian soldiers.

Source: TOI

New poll shows majority of Jerusalemites don’t want ‘pride parade’

A new poll conducted by Miskar and initiated by the Bechira Foundation has revealed what Jerusalem residents think of the “Pride Parade” scheduled to take place on Thursday.

A full 87% of residents do not intend to take part in the parade or watch it, and 79% of Jerusalem residents oppose or are indifferent to the parade. Only about one-fifth (21%) of Jerusalemites said that they support holding the parade in their city.

The poll also showed that at least 87% of those who said they will not participate in the parade or watch it feel, among other things, severe hurt, shame, and sadness that the parade is taking place. Approximately 70% of Jerusalem residents believe that the municipality should not support the parade or hang “pride” flags throughout the city.

Over 55% of respondents say that the parade was forced upon the city’s residents and that it harms the sanctity of Jerusalem; about 60% say that the Supreme Court should not have been allowed to force the parade to be held by means of emotional and ethics manipulations.

  • Rabbi Dror Arye, founder of the Bechira Foundation, said, “This poll is encouraging and brings joy. Jerusalem says a definite ‘no’ to the anti-normal attempts at coercion. Jerusalem residents see importance in preserving the city’s special character; holding the pride parade greatly hurts the feelings of Jerusalem’s residents, Jews and Arabs alike.”

He continued, “The parade in Jerusalem does not bring benefit to LGBTs – it does the opposite. It hurts those who want to manage their tendencies and build a normal family, and even increases the rift and the alienation between the various populations which are hurt as a result of the secular coercion done in the name of enlightenment.”

  • “I hope that Mayor Moshe Lion will see the pain of the city’s residents and act differently during his next term as Jerusalem mayor.”

Source: Arutz Sheva

Israeli Health Ministry takes aim at Elon Musk’s COVID claims

Billionaire tech mogul and Twitter owner Elon Musk drew criticism from Israel’s Health Ministry Monday, after he cited a recent letter by the ministry stating that there were no known COVID-related deaths of healthy Israelis under 50.

Last week, the ministry responded to a freedom of information request from attorney Ori Shabi, who inquired, among other things, regarding the number of people under 50 without preexisting medical conditions who died with COVID.

In their response, the ministry noted that it had already responded to a similar question regarding COVID deaths among healthy children ages 0 to 17, acknowledging that there were no reported cases of healthy minors dying of COVID.

  • The ministry added that there were similarly no reported cases of healthy adults under 50 who died with COVID, adding the caveat that the ministry’s database on preexisting conditions is incomplete, and is based on information shared by patients or their families.
  • Nonetheless, the ministry confirmed in its letter that it had no knowledge of healthy people under 50 dying of COVID.

On Monday, Musk tweeted in response to an article by the libertarian “Zero Hedge” blog which cited the Ministry of Health’s letter.

In his comment, Musk simply wrote: “Zero.”

  • Shortly afterwards, however, the Israeli Health Ministry pushed back on Musk’s tweet, apparently contradicting its own letter and accusing Musk of spreading “fake news.”

Despite its own letter confirming that its data shows no cases of healthy people under 50 dying from COVID, the ministry’s Twitter account suggested it does know of such cases, citing “clinicians,” without elaborating on the nature of the evidence.

  • “Elon, unfortunately this is not what the whole data shows. fake news is dangerous. Israel Ministry of Health was asked on chronic disease data and explained that we don’t have access to clinical records.”

“We provided the limited data available if something was shared during epidemiological investigation – this data was available for only 27 people -7.5% of the 356 young people who died of COVID In Israel.”

“We know from clinicians that young healthy people did die from COVID and hopefully data on that will be available on the near future from our HMOs.”

However, critics of the ministry’s handling of the pandemic pointed to previously released documents and freedom of information requests indicating that in addition to the 27 epidemiological investigations of COVID fatalities under 50, the ministry had been receiving data on patients with COVID who died, including information regarding preexisting conditions.

The data reportedly included information from both hospitals and healthcare providers (kupot holim).

Arnon Grossman released one such document; which included instructions from the Health Ministry to hospitals to include information on preexisting conditions for any patient who is suspected of dying while infected with COVID.

  • “It is requested that in every case where a COVID patient dies…a death notification and report regarding illness/death must be sent to the Health Ministry.”

“Example 1: A fatality suspected of being infected with COVID-19 with preexisting conditions.”

Source: Arutz Sheva

Header: Health care worker takes swab samples from Israelis at a COVID-19 Clalit testing sample center, June 28, 2022. Photo by Yossi Aloni/Flash90 *** Local Caption **

Foreign Minister Cohen: Hungary to be first EU state to move embassy to Jerusalem

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen declared during a visit to Budapest on Wednesday that Hungary will announce that it will move its embassy to Jerusalem within a few weeks.

In a video released by Chabad Online, the minister, who is currently on a trip to four European Union nations, could be heard telling congregants at a local synagogue that “in a few weeks, Hungary will be the first EU state to announce the move of its embassy to Jerusalem.”

  • This is the first official mention of such a move after the Hungarians in recent months denied that such a move is a possibility.

Cohen is currently on a special tour of Europe; on Tuesday, he attended the Slavkov Summit in Bratislava, which includes Austria, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia. This is the first time an Israeli foreign minister has participated in this forum, in which some of Israel’s closest allies in the European Union participate.

The ministers discussed strengthening relations with Israel and their countries as well as a joint fight against the Iranian threat.

In addition, the foreign ministers discussed the Abraham Accords and their effect on strengthening stability in the Middle East.

Cohen invited his counterparts to actively participate in the projects and forums founded as a result of the Abraham Accords.

Earlier this month, the Foreign Minister hosted ambassadors from the four countries that moved their embassies to Jerusalem in a special ceremony celebrating Jerusalem Day and 75 years of independence.

  • Representatives from the United States, Guatemala, Honduras, and Kosovo were at the event.

Speaking to i24NEWS at that event, Cohen said that he is “optimistic” that three more moves are on the way.

Source: Arutz Sheva

NO HEALTHY young adults died of COVID-19 in Israel – data

Not a single healthy person under age 50 died of COVID-19 in Israel, according to data released by the country’s ministry of health in response to a freedom of information request from lawyer Ori Xabi.

“Why were all the extreme measures of school closures, vaccination of children, and lockdowns needed?” internal medicine specialist Yoav Yehezkelli, a prominent critic of Israel’s Covid-19 policies, asked the Epoch Times.

  • In addition to requesting the number of COVID-19 deaths that had occurred in patients under 50 with no underlying health conditions, Xabi also asked the ministry to provide the average age of patients who died of the disease, segmented by vaccination status, as well as the annual number of cardiac arrest cases between 2018 and 2022.
  • The average age of fatalities among those vaccinated against COVID-19 was 80.2 years, while the average for the unvaccinated was 77.4, according to the ministry.

However, the MoH claimed to be unable to provide cardiac arrest information for the years 2021 and 2022, explaining that the information had not yet been transferred to them.

A study published last year analyzing data from the Israel National Emergency Medical Services found a shocking 25% spike in emergency services calls due to cardiac arrests for patients aged 16 to 39 taking place from January to May 2021.

Studies and other data, including a study led by Stanford epidemiologist John Ioannidis, show that COVID-19 mortality, even with the original variant, was largely age-dependent.

  • However, ShaOver the age of 60, mortality doubled every 5 years while under that age mortality was negligible, and “now we really see that it was zero under the age of 50, at least.”ron Elroy-Pries, head of Public Health Services for the Ministry of Health, condemned efforts to draw a connection to the start of the COVID-19 vaccination program in December 2020 and denied that there had been an increase in cardiac arrests during that time, or any increase in deaths of young people.
  • There may not have been many young people who got seriously ill, yet the MOH had emphasized cases of pregnant women hospitalized in critical condition and young healthy people who died because of COVID-19. It was not the true situation, he said.
  • “They created a false presentation of a very severe epidemic that affects the entire population and therefore the entire population should also be vaccinated, regardless of age”.
  • If we are talking about people under the age of 50 that means that no pregnant women actually died of COVID-19, he said.

    The justification given for vaccinating pregnant women, young people, and children was that they too are affected by COVID-19.

Cardiologist Retsef Levi, one of the authors of the study, pointed out that the ministry had claimed not to have information on cardiac arrests for 2021 and 2022, meaning one of the two claims had to be false.

While the MoH insisted the data it provided to Xabi regarding patients aged 18 to 49 was limited to cases in which an epidemiological investigation had been completed, it is known to have access to a database that includes extensive data on all patients, including underlying conditions, irrespective of whether an epidemiological investigation was performed.

Yehezkelli called the MoH’s response “a bit naive,” questioning why it had withheld the full data, but pointed out that the statistics vindicated government critics.

  • “It was definitely a disease that actually only endangered the elderly,” he said, pointing out that the MoH’s numbers showed the average age of death from COVID-19 was 80.

The MoH has promised to supply all-cause mortality data segmented by vaccination status and age by the end of the month, following more than two years of stonewalling in response to Xabi’s freedom of information requests.

Source: RT

Header: Israelis wait to recieve a COVID-19 vaccine, at a vaccination center operated by the Tel Aviv Municipality with Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center (Ichilov), at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv, December 31, 2020. Photo by Miriam ALster/Flash90 *** Local Caption ***


Israel: Successful but scrappy: Air Force marks 75 years since its 1st-ever strike mission

The Israeli military on Monday marked 75 years since the Air Force conducted its first-ever strike mission, during the War of Independence in 1948.

A memorial plaque for the operation and for one of the pilots who was killed in the mission was also unveiled.

The daring airstrike at the Ad Halom site, close to the modern coastal city of Ashdod, is thought to have prevented the Egyptian army from marching on Tel Aviv just two weeks after Israel declared itself a state, changing the course of the war.

  • The four Avia S-199 aircraft — a bastardized Czech variant of the German Messerschmitt Bf 109G fighter — had been shipped over to Israel in dozens of parts in cargo planes owned by Al Schwimmer, a Jewish New Yorker and World War II pilot, violating a US arms embargo on the newly founded state.

While the aircraft were being secretly and hastily assembled in a hangar at what is known today as the Tel Nof base, an Egyptian division was marching up Israel’s coast, believed to have been aiming to capture Tel Aviv.

  • The four fighter planes were hand-painted with the Air Force roundel for the first time, but before they were even tested properly, Israel decided to gamble its entire air force on targeting the Egyptian convoy at the Palestinian village of Isdud, near the Ad Halom bridge, just 30 kilometers (18 miles) south of Tel Aviv.
  • While the strike did not cause significant damage to the Egyptian division, it stunned them, as they had believed Israel had no air force. The Egyptian army halted its advance, a move thought to have changed the course of the war, which ended in Israeli victory nearly a year later.

The mission was led by Lou Lenart, an American fighter pilot who helped smuggle the plane parts into Israel and later helped establish the Air Force’s 101st Squadron.

  • His number two in the mission was Ezer Weizman, who later became the chief of the Air Force, defense minister, and president.
  • The third pilot was Modi Alon, an Israeli-born pilot who had volunteered for the Royal Air Force during the British Mandate of Palestine.
  • And the fourth was Eddie Cohen, a South African fighter pilot in World War II who then moved to Israel.

Cohen’s plane was thought to have been hit by Egyptian anti-aircraft fire during the mission, causing it to crash close to the Ad Halom bridge. Cohen was killed and the Avia S-199 he was flying was destroyed.

Despite losing 25 percent of its air force and causing minimal damage, the first-ever Israeli strike was thought to have shocked the Egyptians into halting their advance on Tel Aviv.

Troops from the Givati Brigade later attempted to push forward during what is known as Operation Pleshet, though it suffered heavy losses.

During the ceremony on Monday, Air Force chief Maj. Gen. Tomer Bar noted the surprise action.

“[It is] exactly 75 years since the quartet of Messerschmitt planes of the 101st Squadron went out to attack the Egyptian armored column — an action that threw the enemy off balance, surprised them and stopped them,” said Bar, shortly after unveiling a ceramic plaque with an art piece depicting the airstrike.

“The story of the first attack quartet is significant in shaping the ethos of the Air Force that we are so proud of. We arose thanks to Jewish volunteers and lovers of Israel, volunteers from abroad,” Bar said, referring to Lenart, Cohen and the Mahal volunteer unit.

“Like them, many more took part in the establishment of the Air Force, and for that, we owe them so much. The monument established here in their memory today is a symbol and example of their heroic actions,” Bar continued.

“I vow today that we will continue to cross this path, any path, however difficult it may be. With companionship, even risking our lives, we will protect our country, because we have no other country,” he added.

  • Families of the pilots, former Air Force chiefs, and others who were involved in the Air Force’s early missions were present at the ceremony on Monday evening, at the site where the first-ever strike took place.

Four Air Force F-16C fighter jets from the modern 101st Squadron flew over the site during the event, with one separating from the other three, commemorating the death of Cohen during the mission 75 years ago.

Lenart died in 2015; Weizman died in 2005; and Alon died on October 16, 1948, while attempting to land his Avia S-199 after carrying out a fresh wave of strikes against Egyptian forces at Isdud with Weizman.

Source: TOI

Header: “Strange Encounter” Israeli Messerschmitt Me-109 (Avia S-199) fighter piloted by the American ace Rudy Augarten vs an Egyptian Spitfire, Oct 1948, painted by Roy Grinnell (1995)

Youngest Israeli to climb Everest, whose teammate died on descent, may lose finger

A man who last month became the youngest Israeli to reach the summit of Mount Everest during an expedition that saw an Australian teammate die during the descent said Monday that he might lose a finger to frostbite.

Aviad Sido, 26, was part of an international team that scaled the 8,849-meter (29,032-foot) peak earlier this month.

  • Sido told the Ynet news site that even before he reached the summit, he realized he had a problem with his right hand.
  • He said he was forced to descend the mountain using only his left hand, noting that it was already dangerous as “80 percent of accidents happen on the way down because the adrenaline drops.”

The Israeli told of the circumstances surrounding the death of Jason Kennison, 40, who had climbed Everest after learning to walk again following a devastating car crash in 2006 that left him with spinal cord injuries.

“On the way back we were all exhausted,” he said. “Our Australian friend Jason was a little more exhausted than all of us, and at this point we split up and each of us went down with their own guide. At that point my right palm, my weak hand, was not functioning.”

“I arrived first at Camp 4, and we were supposed to rest there and get the strength needed to descend further to a point where there is a doctor or a helicopter that can rescue you,” he said, noting that he had initially assumed he had injured his hand on a rock.

  • “Jason was my tent partner. Two hours after I arrived at Camp 4, [team members] Zlatko and Marius arrived and they told me that Jason was behind us and that he would arrive in a few hours,” he said.

“There was a snowstorm and a lot of uncertainty about Jason. He didn’t come back all night and we didn’t know what was going on with him. I thought maybe he had continued down [the mountain],” Sido said.

  • “In the morning we found out that his guide tried to save him but he died on the way back. He was suffering from a lack of oxygen to his brain, and the guides tried to bring him medicine and oxygen, but it didn’t help. He ended up dying there on the mountain,” Sido said.

He said his friend’s body, like many others, remained on the mountain.

Sido said that when he reached a doctor, it was clear that he had extensive damage to his hand.

He quickly flew back to Israel and went to Jerusalem’s Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital, where he is undergoing treatment in the burns unit.

“I can move them a bit,” he said. “There is concern that one of the fingers might need to be amputated.”

Sido said he took a photo of his mother, who died last year, to the summit of the mountain.

“I’m sure she would have been very proud of me,” he said. “She would have wanted me to go through with this journey.”

In the past seven decades, more than 6,000 climbers have climbed the world’s highest mountain, according to the Himalayan Database.

It remains dangerous, with more than 300 losing their lives in the same period, including 12 this year.

Five more are missing, putting 2023 on course to be a record deadly year.

On average, five climbers die every spring climbing season on Everest. But in 2019, 11 people died, with four of the deaths blamed on overcrowding on the mountain.

In 2012, Nadav Ben Yehuda was lauded after he halted his ascent of Mount Everest 300 meters from the peak to save an unconscious Turkish climber.

At the time, Ben Yehuda was 24 years old and would have become the youngest Israeli to summit the world’s highest mountain.

In 2021, Danielle Wolfson became the first Israeli woman to summit Mount Everest.

On Monday, celebrations were held in Nepal to mark the 70th anniversary of the historic first ascent of Everest.

  • AFP contributed to this report.

Source: TOI