Monthly Archives: February 2023

Mother of Missing IDF Soldier Hadar Goldin Urges American Jewish Leaders To Aid In Return of Missing Israelis From Gaza

By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency / Jewish News Agency

Jerusalem, Israel — February 23, 2023 … On the last day of the Conference of Presidents’ annual National Leadership Mission to Israel, delegates from more than 50 American Jewish Organizations met with Leah Goldin, mother of IDF Lt. Hadar Goldin who was killed and kidnapped along with IDF First Sergeant Oron Shaul in combat with Iran backed Islamic terrorists in Gaza in 2014, during IDF Operation Protective Edge.

Goldin, an officer in the Givati Brigade, was part of a group of soldiers who had found a Hamas terror tunnel in a rural area near Rafah, and they were working on decommissioning it when they were attacked.

Speaking in conversation with Conference of Presidents CEO, William Daroff, Leah Goldin made an emotional plea to the United States Jewish delegates to make firm representation to the American and Israeli leadership, to work for the return of the bodies of the soldiers for burial in Israel, and to work for the release of Israeli citizens Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed who were also being held by Hamas in Gaza.

Asking the American Jewish leaders to call on the US policy makers to condition any aid to Gaza on the return of the Israelis held there, she said: “The kidnapping of Hadar was a violation of international law. We went to the UN, we went to the U.S. State Department. We have done all we can as a family. We need you approach the decision makers and make something happen.”

She added, “This is not a political issue. It is a humanitarian issue. We have four sons in Gaza. One Ashkenazi, one Sephardi, one Ethiopian, and one Bedouin.”

Leah Goldin meets with Conference of Presidents CEO, William Daroff

Thanking her for her bravery, CEO William Daroff said: “All of American Jewry stands with you in this deeply painful struggle. We will continue to do all we can to promote the issue, and pray we see the return of Hadar for proper burial in Israel.”

Recently, Israel Foreign Minister Eli Cohen discussed the growing Iranian threat and the importance of securing the release of the Gaza captives with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a one-day solidarity visit to the country stricken by a massive earthquake.

“I brought up the issue of the Israeli civilians and the bodies of the soldiers in the hands of the terrorist organization Hamas in Gaza, and we discussed the fight against the Iranian nuclear program,” Cohen said about his meeting with Erdogan.

Israel Defense Forces: Our Anti-Terror Operation In Nablus Saved Lives

Weapons captured from Islamic terrorists that were used to murder Jews in Israel.

By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency / Jewish News Agency

Jerusalem, Israel — February 22, 2023 … Israel Defense Forces SSGT Ido Baruch was murdered by Islamic Jihad Lion’s Den terrorists on October 11th, 2022. During an Israel counterterrorism response last week, two of the assailants were apprehended in Nablus. This week, three wanted suspects were identified by the Israel Security Agency in a hideout apartment in Nablus.

After surrounding the building, Israeli security forces asked the suspects to turn themselves in. They refused and opened fired at Israeli forces, so the security forces operated to thwart the terrorist squad.

During attempts to apprehend the terrorists, one of the wanted suspects who fled the building was neutralized by the forces. Two additional wanted suspects opened fire, initiating an exchange of fire with Israeli forces, during which the two suspects were neutralized.

Furthermore, suspects hurled rocks, explosive devices and Molotov cocktails at Israeli forces. In the building where the wanted suspects were located, the forces found and confiscated ammunition and two weapons. The IDF will continue to protect the lives of Jewish, Christian and Muslim civilians throughout Israel with operations to counter any terrorist threat.

The IDF will continue to protect the lives of Jewish, Christian and Muslim civilians throughout Israel with operations to counter any terrorist threat.

In Jerusalem, Prime Minister Netanyahu addressed the anti-semitism flowing out of the United Nations.

“The UN Human Rights Council is a biased and ineffectual body. Instead of condemning the repeated and recurrent violations of human rights in Iran, Syria, the Palestinian Authority and many other places around the world, there are those on the Council who decided today to criticize the State of Israel. What an absurdity.”

Israel President Herzog Speaks With Turkish President Erdoğan: “Help Is On Its Way”

Israel Defense Forces Search and Rescue At Work After Earthquake in Haiti

By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency / Jewish News Agency

Jerusalem, Israel — February 6, 2023 … Israel President Isaac Herzog spoke today with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of the Republic of Türkiye and asked to give him and the Turkish people encouragement following the tragic disaster of the earthquakes that struck Turkey and the region overnight.

The President expressed his condolences on behalf of the Israeli people to President Erdoğan and noted that on the instructions of the Prime Minister and the relevant authorities, a large and well-equipped Israel Defense Forces Search and Rescue mission on behalf of the State of Israel will depart tonight to the disaster zone. The President added that at an event he attended today, he spoke with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Opposition Leader Yair Lapid and they agreed that we in Israel are united in our desire to assist Turkey as is needed.

President Erdoğan thanked President Herzog for his condolences and for the critical search and rescue mission, and he underscored that this assistance will greatly aid the many forces that have been operating on the ground for many hours already. He also emphasized his gratitude for Israel’s stand alongside its friend, Türkiye, at this difficult hour. In their conversation, President Erdoğan updated President Herzog on the latest figures about the scale of the disaster, noting that this was the biggest earthquake in the history of the Republic of Türkiye.

At the end of their conversation, President Erdoğan expressed his deepest condolences to the Israeli people for last week’s terror attack at a synagogue in Neve Yaakov in Jerusalem.

Tonight, the “Olive Branches” humanitarian aid delegation of the IDF, Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Israel Ministry of Defense left Israel for Turkey to assist in the earthquake-stricken area.
The delegation, led by the IDF Home Front Command, is expected to begin its search & rescue mission immediately.

Israel Prepares For Earthquakes

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Directs NSC Director Tzachi Hanegbi to Hold Assessment of Israel’s Readiness for Earthquakes

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this evening (February 6, 2023), directed Israel National Security Adviser and Director of the National Security (NSC) Council Tzachi Hanegbi to hold an assessment of the readiness of the State of Israel for earthquakes.

NSC Director Hanegbi will convene the discussion at the earliest opportunity with the participation of all government ministries.

Remembering IDF Col., Astronaut Ilan Ramon

By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency
/ Jewish News Agency

Tel Aviv, Israel — February 2023 … The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and civilians of Israel remember the passing of Ilan Ramon, a former Israeli Air Force fighter pilot and the first Israeli astronaut. Ramon lost his life, along with six other crew members, during the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster on February 1, 2003.

Ilan Ramon’s life and legacy will always be remembered as an inspiration for future generations. He represented the strength and resilience of the Jewish people and will continue to be a source of pride for the State of Israel. The IDF and civilians of Israel extend their heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Ilan Ramon and the other crew members of the Space Shuttle Columbia.

Ramon’s pioneering spirit, bravery and dedication to his country will continue to be a source of inspiration for Israelis and people around the world. We honor his memory and the sacrifices he made for the pursuit of knowledge and the betterment of humanity.

IDF Captain Joel Leyden was working at the Israel Defense Forces Spokesperson’s Office and was called to the Situation Room. Leyden was asked by his commander to write a statement announcing Ramon’s death. He responded: “What do I say?” Leyden said: “I had bought candy to hand out to all staff members as we were monitoring his re-entry on several TV networks. We were all devastated as we witnessed the explosion. The radio silence between the Space Shuttle and Ground Control. There was no candy, only tears. He was one of us. He wore the uniform. But transcending all, he was a Jew who provided inspiration to the State of Israel and nations throughout the world. His was an act of peace that none of us will ever forget.”

Ilan was survived by his wife Rona and their four children (Assaf, Tal, Yiftah, and Noa), who were in Florida at the time of the accident.

Israel President Isaac Herzog attended the 18th Ilan Ramon International Space Conference this morning, held as part of Israel Space Week 2023.

Yesterday, the President met Eytan Stibbe and his fellow astronauts from the Ax-1 Mission to the International Space Station, the first-ever private mission to the ISS, which launched in April 2022. Astronauts Eytan Stibbe, Michael López-Alegría, Larry Connor, and Mark Pathy told the President about the Israeli space experiments they participated in, about their work together as a space crew, and about their personal experiences onboard the ISS.

The President asked the astronauts about their mission, training, and return to Planet Earth. Eytan Stibbe gave President Herzog back the glass cube that the President gave him to take to the International Space Station, inscribed with the Prayer to the State of Israel in the handwriting of its author, the President’s grandfather, Israel’s first chief rabbi, Rabbi Yitzhak Isaac HaLevi Herzog.

The President said this morning at the Ilan Ramon International Space Conference: “All of this seemingly infinite possibility isn’t only about reaching beyond ourselves to new planets. It is also about using our new capabilities to preserve and protect this fragile and beautiful planet we call home. In fact, when Ilan was aboard the Columbia spacecraft, he talked about how beautiful Planet Earth appears from all the way up in space, but also about how unspeakably fragile it is. Earth, he said, must be protected. And just as hundreds of kilometers above land borders disappear and are replaced by an intense awareness that we all share one Earth, I believe we must work together across borders and divides, to help make life on this planet better for everyone.”

The President said in summary: “The last great era of space exploration was driven by the competition of the Cold War. I believe that the new era of space exploration can be driven by the goodwill of our Warm Peace. Let us walk in the footsteps, or rather soar in the flight paths, of Ilan Ramon and his fellow astronauts, and move upward and onward, harnessing the power of space, for the promise of Earth. Together, we can take space exploration—and our capacity for human collaboration—to new heights and save our planet from new and terrifying depths.”

At the start of the conference, NASA Associate Administrator Robert D. Cabana and NASA Associate Administrator for Exploration Systems Development James Free gave the President a special present: a patch from the Artemis-1 mission, which recently returned to Earth from its journey to lunar orbit.