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Israel PM Bennett’s Rosh Hashanah Greetings to the Jewish Nation

By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency Staff

Jerusalem, Israel — September 5, 2021 … Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, today on the occasion of the Jewish New Year, sent his best wishes for a good year to the citizens of Israel and the Jewish nation:

“Citizens of Israel, we have many good reasons to be proud this Rosh Hashanah.

I am proud of our ability as a people to unite and join hands.

I am very proud of our new government – a government of much goodwill, a government that cooperates and is coordinated and balanced, that works only for the benefit of the people, and in which ministers do not bear grudges against each other.

I am proud that we fought for the livelihoods of the citizens of Israel and have reached the beginning of this year without lockdowns, in contrast to the previous waves in which the country was in lockdown. This was not easy, neither was it perfect, but with G-d’s help, we succeeded. You can go to work or relax at home, in a hotel or restaurant, or arrange to go out with friends according to the directives. The country is open and this was not a given. It is still too early to celebrate, we have a long campaign ahead of us, but we take each step and deal with it.

I am proud of the two million pupils who returned to school and preschool a few days ago. We insisted on it. We created the conditions for it. We will continue to safeguard our education system and cultivate the future generation of the State of Israel.

I am proud of our ability, after years without a budget, to formulate a state budget, set long-term priorities, especially strengthening and building up our security, strengthening the health system and enacting a series of reforms that will lower prices in Israel.

I am also proud that we have embarked on bringing the ultra-orthodox public into the labor cycle.

I am very pleased at our efforts in the diplomatic sphere. We are strengthening the link with the US and with the President, and the existing alliance, and are laying the foundations for new alliances.

I am proud of the soldiers of the IDF and the personnel of the security services who work near and far so that the miracle called ‘the State of Israel’ may continue to radiate strength, and will continue to defend and protect the citizens of our country.

And mainly, I am proud of you, citizens, for placing confidence in this government and giving it your backing. I have also seen you on the issue of vaccines, going to get vaccinated because you know that the third dose will give you health and protection, and will allow us to open the economy. I very much appreciate this.

I would like to wish all of you a good year, a good year for your families, for friends and – of course – for the soldiers of the IDF and the security forces.

May you have a good and sweet year.”

PM Bennett Arrives In U.S., Meets with Secretary of State Anthony Blinken

By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency

Washington — August 25, 2021 … Prime Minister Naftali Bennett made the following remarks today at the start of his meeting with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken:

“I appreciate you taking time in pretty hectic days here in the States. It means a lot.

Israel has no stronger and more reliable ally than the United States of America. From our inception and to this day, especially these days, you are always with us, you have our back and that matters a lot to us.

I can assure you that you’ll find no friend which is more reliable and appreciative than us.

I bring from Israel a new spirit, a spirit of folks who sometimes harbor different opinions but work together in cooperation, in good will, in a spirit of unity and we work hard to find common things that we do agree upon and move forward on it. It seems to be working.

This is the same spirit that I want to bring to our relationship of cooperation, of goodwill, of friendship.

We’re going to be talking about a bunch of issues, primarily how do we fend off and curtail Iran’s pursuit to dominate the region and its race to a nuclear weapon.

We will also talk about regional stability and climate change, which is an issue for all of us.

I’m looking forward to having a very good relationship with you.

I appreciate the time.”

Earlier in the day, Bennett met with US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. This was their first meeting.

Israel Prime Minister Bennett and Secretary of Defense Austin discussed a series of regional, diplomatic and security issues, especially the ways to block Iran’s regional aggression and the progress of its nuclear program.

Bennett thanked the Secretary of Defense for the close cooperation between Israel and the US in the security sphere and emphasized that he views the continued strengthening of the ties as a matter of utmost importance.

Prime Minister Bennett stressed that alongside the strategic alliance between the US and Israel, Israel will continue to insist on its right to maintain security supremacy in the Middle East and would continue to do everything necessary in this regard.

National Security Council head Dr. Eyal Hulata, the Prime Minister’s Military Secretary, Maj.-Gen. Avi Gil, Israeli Ambassador to the US and the UN Gilad Erdan, Cabinet Secretary Shalom Shlomo, the head of the Prime Minister’s staff, Tal Gan-Tzvi, and diplomatic adviser Shimrit Meir also participated in the meeting.

Israel Foreign Minister Lapid Inaugurates Liaison Office in Morocco

By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency

Rabat, Morocco — August 12, 2021 … Israel and Morocco have announced that they will open embassies in each other’s countries in two months. The announcement comes as Israel Foreign Minister Yair Lapid made an historic visit to Rabat today.

Lapid stated that he and Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita agreed to upgrade diplomatic relations, which they restored to the level of liaison offices in December.

Bourita is expected to dedicate the Moroccan Embassy in Israel in October or November, depending on the Covid pandemic. His visit to Israel will be on the first direct Royal Morocco flight to Israel.

“Strategically, what we are creating here and what we are creating in recent months is a diplomatic access,” Lapid explained. “Think of it as a kind of a circle of Israel and Morocco and Egypt and Jordan and in some ways you can say Cyprus and Greece, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates. All of the countries that are religiously moderate with truly infinite economic potential. This creates a pragmatic alternative to religious extremism and builds a constant diplomatic dialogue.”

During his meeting with Bourita on Wednesday, Lapid relayed an invitation from Israel President Isaac Herzog to Moroccan King Muhammad VI to Israel.

“Allow me to express my sincere appreciation for Your Majesty’s decision to establish full diplomatic, peaceful and friendly relations between the Kingdom of Morocco and the State of Israel,” Herzog wrote.

“We are committed to deepening the strength of our relations and hope that they further expand and flourish over time.”

Herzog expressed admiration for the king’s “groundbreaking contribution to Arab-Israeli reconciliation in many countries across our region,” and appreciation for the royal family’s “commitment to guarantee the safety and security of the Jews in your country throughout the years a cherished symbol of solidarity.”

Bourita said that Lapid’s visit “reflects the commitment of our two countries to strengthen our bilateral relations and give them concrete impetus through the establishment of effective cooperation mechanisms.

Israel Prime Minister Bennett Responds to Ben & Jerry’s Anti-Semitism

By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency

Jerusalem, Israel — July 20, 2021 … Israel Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, in response to the decision by Ben & Jerry’s: “There are many ice cream brands, but only one Jewish state. Ben & Jerry’s has decided to brand itself as the anti-Israel ice cream. This decision is morally wrong and I believe that it will become clear that it is also commercially wrong.”

Bennett added: “The boycott against Israel – a democracy surrounded by islands of terrorism – reflects a total loss of way. The boycott does not work and will not work, and we will fight it with full force.”

Israel’s Ambassador to the United States Gilad Erdan stated:
“In coordination with Israel Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, I have sent a letters to 35 Governors of US states that have legislation against the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement targeting Israel. I urged them to act against Ben and Jerry’s decision to not sell its products in the eastern part of Jerusalem and Israel’s biblical, legal, cultural and ancient Jewish, religious land of Judea and Samaria.”

Erdan concluded: “We will make clear to Ben & Jerry’s that its anti-semitic decision will have consequences.”

Former Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had fewer words: “Now the Jews know which ice cream NOT to buy.”

Ben & Jerry’s Independent Board of Directors wanted to boycott all of Israel, but was stopped from doing so by the ice-cream maker’s CEO and the British-based parent company Unilever.

“The statement released by Ben & Jerry’s regarding its operation in Israel and the Occupied Palestine Territory does not reflect the position of the Independent Board nor was it approved by the Independent Board,” read a statement by Ben & Jerry’s Independent Board of Directors. 

Hundreds of food retailers in the United States are responding. In New York, the Morton Williams Supermarket chain decided to reduce its sales of Ben & Jerry by 70 percent, while in New Jersey, Glatt Express Supermarket and Cedar Market halted sales all together.

“Our supermarkets have taken action against Ben & Jerry’s, which is boycotting Jewish communities that are at the center of a territorial dispute in Israel, including the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem – inhabited by Jews for over 3,000 years,” tweeted supermarket co-owner Avi Kaner. 

Israel Defense Forces Sends Rescue,
Humanitarian Aid Team To Miami

Israel Defense Forces In Haiti, Saving Lives After An Earthquake

By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency

Jerusalem, Israel — June 26, 2021 … The Israel Defense Forces and the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs are sending a rescue and humanitarian aid team to Florida.

The Israel Defense Forces, which has extensive domestic and international experience with search and rescue efforts, is sending a delegation headed by the Commander of the National Rescue Unit in the IDF Home Front Command, Col. (res.) Golan Vach, and will include a representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Guy Giladi, the former Deputy Consul General in Miami.

In addition, the delegation consists of approximately 10 Israel Defense reserve officers from the Home Front Command, all top experts in engineering and social care efforts.

On Saturday evening a joint IDF and Ministry of Foreign Affairs aid delegation departed to assist at the destruction site in Miami, Florida, after the collapse of a residential building.

The delegation’s mission is to assist in the life-saving efforts by mapping out the destruction site, assisting the Jewish community in identifying victims and survivors, and supporting the local rescue forces generally. Preparations for the delegation were led by the Head of the Home Front Command, Brig. Gen. Itzik Bar.

The IDF and MFA delegation will be received by the staff of the Israeli Consulate General in Miami and the Consul General, Maor Elbaz-Starinsky, who have maintained a regular presence at the site since the tragic collapse and have provided assistance with clothing, medicine, food, emergency lighting and more. The consulate will connect the staff with the Miami District Emergency Services and the State of Florida.

Israel Defense Minister Benny Gantz said the move was approved in coordination with the Foreign Ministry.

Rescue workers search in the rubble at the Champlain Towers South condominium, Saturday, June 26, 2021, in the Surfside area of Miami. The building partially collapsed on Thursday. (Photo: AP)

“As with any national mission, the IDF and the defense establishment are ready to respond, act and assist. Every effort will be made to save lives, support the Jewish community and our friend the United States,” Gantz said.

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said the sending of the delegation demonstrated the depth of friendship between the two nations.

“The State of Israel has no better friend than the United States, and the United States has no better friend than Israel. In such difficult moments, we stand with our American friends and the Jewish community in Florida,” Lapid said.

Israel Prime Minister Naftali Bennett spoke with Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis this evening to express his condolences, and said Israel would assist in any way needed.

“The United States is our greatest friend, and we stand by your side during this difficult time. We all pray for the safety of the wounded. I instructed all authorities in the Israeli government to assist in any way that may be required,” Bennett told DeSantis.

Bennett Sworn In As Prime Minister, Israel Thanks Netanyahu For His Service, Warns Iran

Israel’s parliament approves a new, unity coalition government including Islamic Arab Party.
Ends Netanyahu’s 12 years in power.

By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency

Jerusalem, Israel — June 14, 2021 … Democracy in the Middle East was on full view as Israel’s new unity coalition government defeated Netanyahu’s Likud Party by a thin vote. The 36th government will serve under Naftali Bennett with Yair Lapid, who will serve as Foreign Minister, expected to take over as Prime Minister in August 2023.

Bennett addressed the Israeli Knesset with the following: “H.E. President Reuven Rivlin; President-elect Isaac Herzog; Mr. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; President of the Supreme Court, Justice Esther Hayut; Speaker of the Knesset Yariv Levin; my partner in forming the Unity Government, Member of Knesset Yair Lapid, and his wife Lihi; Ministers of the outgoing government; Ministers of the incoming government; Members of Knesset; honored guests.

I want to begin my words by saying, on my own behalf, and in the name of the members of the designated government, in the name of this House, and in the name of all the citizens of Israel – thank you. Thank you to the outgoing Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, for your many years of service, replete with achievements, for the sake of the State of Israel. As Prime Minister you acted throughout many years to embolden Israel’s political, security, and economic strength. I saw you from up-close, in extensive security deliberations, late into the night, investigating, making inquiries and considerations out of a sense of grave responsibility.

Benjamin and Sara Netanyahu, over the years, we have not always agreed, but we have both sacrificed much on a personal level in order to serve our people, the people of Israel. Expressing gratitude is a fundamental principle in Judaism. This is the time for the people to say to you, thank you.

I also want to take this opportunity to express my deep appreciation to the Tenth President of the State of Israel, Reuven Rivlin, for his years as President, as Speaker of the Knesset, and as a public servant. And to congratulate President-elect, Isaac Herzog, and wish him much success. God willing, we will work together very well.

Honored ladies and gentlemen, this is a special moment. The moment in which the baton of leading the people and the country passes – as in a relay race – to the next generation. It a sacred endowment.

The State of Israel is not ‘just another country’. It is the dream of generations of Jews – from Marrakesh to Budapest, from Bagdad to San Francisco – a dream we merited to see realized every day before our very eyes. Each generation has its own challenges, and out of each generation comes the leaders that can overcome them.

The external challenges we face are great: the Iranian nuclear project, which is moving towards a crucial point; the ongoing war on terror; Israel’s image in the world and the unfair treatment it receives in international institutions – these are all sizable and complex tasks.

Dear friends, in the guests gallery today, sits Maya Moreno, widow of my friend, Lieutenant Colonel Emmanuel Moreno, of blessed memory. At every important juncture of my life, I think of Emmanuel. The intensity of his devotion and sense of mission guides us.

Friends, as the Jewish people tend to be people with opinions… and as we see here, the Parliament of the Jewish state, is a parliament of opinions, and anyone who has ever seen a pair of students studying Talmud together, or a heated debate about a product in the office corridors of an Israeli start-up, understands the force for good of “disputes for the sake of Heaven”. But there are points in Jewish history in which the disagreements between us have gone out of control, in which they were no longer “disputes for the sake of Heaven”, times in which they threatened us, and all that we have built with our sweat and blood.

Twice in history, we have lost our national home precisely because the leaders of the generation were not able to sit with one and another and compromise. Each was right, yet with all their being right, they burnt the house down on top of us. I am proud of the ability to sit together with people with very different views from my own.

This time, at the decisive moment, we have taken responsibility. We understood that we have to safeguard our home. To continue on in this way – more elections, more hatred, more vitriolic posts on Facebook – is just not an option. Therefore, we stopped the train, a moment before it barreled into the abyss. And I want to thank my friend, Foreign Minister-designate, MK Yair Lapid, who showed national responsibility, political generosity, and without whom we would not be here today.

The time has come for different leaders, from all parts of the people, to stop, to stop this madness.

The government that will be formed represents many of Israel’s citizens: from Ofra to Tel Aviv, from Rahat to Kiryat Shmona. Precisely here lies the opportunity. Our principle is, we will sit together, and we will forge forward on that which we agree – and there is much we agree on, transport, education and so on, and what separates us we will leave to the side.

To the citizens of Israel I say: this is a sensitive moment, of political change. I call on all, to demonstrate maturity and restraint.

The new government will be a government which strives for real, practical solutions, to the problems faced by the country and its citizens. The work-plan which we are presenting today is the most detailed in years. We have come to work. To remove the barriers, to free up the jams, and to turn our country into what it can be.

From here, I turn to the ultra-Orthodox community. Although the ultra-Orthodox parties chose not to join the coalition, that does not mean you are not represented – I will represent you, we will represent you. The new government will respect the study of Torah, the Torah which kept us safe for so many years in exile, and at the same time will work to remove the barriers which prevent the ultra-Orthodox community’s integration into the employment market, and Israeli society. Instead of perpetuating the same methods, we will have the opportunity to address the deep problems which burden ultra-Orthodox society: key amongst them the housing crisis. The pace of construction of apartments, neighborhoods, and cities simply does not keep up with natural growth, and there is room for the establishment of new ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods and even a new city in Israel.

I was asked by the father of Eliyahu Shmuel, of blessed memory – a 16 year old ultra-Orthodox boy, who was killed in the Meron Disaster – to remember him in my swearing in address. Eli was a sweet child. He always helped his friends, and saw the good in everyone. We will not forget Eli, and we will not ignore his death. A State Commission of Inquiry will be set up.

Honored ladies and gentlemen. The government is setting out on its path, as the greatest threat to Israel, the Iranian nuclear project, is reaching a critical point. The Middle East is still yet to recover from the effects of the first nuclear deal, which emboldened Iran to the tune of billions of dollars, and with international legitimacy.

Iran, through its Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guard, has established terrorist outposts – from Syria, through Gaza and Lebanon, and to Yemen. Renewing the nuclear deal with Iran is a mistake that will once again lend legitimacy to one of the most discriminatory and violent regimes in the world.

Israel will not allow Iran to be equipped with nuclear weapons. Israel is not party to the agreement, and will maintain full freedom to act.

Last month, we received a reminder that the conflict with the Palestinians is still here. We must remember, and remind the world, that our enemies deny our very existence in the Land of Israel, and that this is not a dispute over territory.

We need military strength, civil resilience, and a belief in the justness of our path at times when the conflict raises its head.

I hope the ceasefire in the south is maintained. But if Hamas again chooses the path of violence against Israeli civilians, it will encounter a wall of iron.

Violence and terrorism are not a natural phenomenon or destiny with which we are supposed to just come to terms. The Palestinians must take responsibility for their actions, and understand that violence will be met with a firm response.

That said, security calm will lead to economic moves, which will lead to reducing friction and the conflict.

To the Goldin, Shaul, Mengistu, and Sayed families. The government led by me will work to bring home the IDF’s fallen, and the Israeli citizens held in Gaza by Hamas. We see in their return a sacred duty, which should be undertaken out of responsibility.

The government will work to establish and expand peace agreements with the Arab states, to increase regional economic, entrepreneurial, and cultural cooperation, and to deepen the direct connection between the peoples of the region, such as the connection between the citizens of Israel and the citizens of the United Arab Emirates.

Dear friends, on behalf of us all, I want to thank the President of the United States of America, Joe Biden, for standing alongside Israel during the last operation in Gaza, “Guardian of the Walls”, and for his longstanding commitment to the security of Israel.

President Biden said during the operation, “Until the region says, unequivocally, they acknowledge the right of Israel to exist as an independent Jewish state, there will be no peace”.

With God’s help, we will do and we will succeed. Amen.”

On his first day as Prime Minister on Monday, Naftali Bennett met with his predecessor, Benjamin Netanyahu, in their transition meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office. They dealt with security and diplomatic issues, which were later supplemented by Bennett’s meeting with National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat.
Photo: Marc Israel Sellem

Prime Minister Bennett and US President Joe Biden spoke by telephone following the swearing in ceremony.

The new Prime Minister thanked President Biden for his warm wishes on the inauguration of the new government, and for his long-standing commitment to the State of Israel and its security.

Bennett noted his appreciation for the President, and for his support for Israel during the recent operation in Gaza (Guardian of the Walls), and noted that he considers him a great friend of the State of Israel.

In their conversation, the leaders emphasized the importance of the alliance between Israel and the United States, as well as their commitment to strengthening relations between the two countries, and maintaining the security of the State of Israel.

Wasting no time, Bennett this morning took up office at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem. He toured the various wings of the office, met with the employees and inquired after their wellbeing, and wished everyone continued productivity.

The Prime Minister’s Military Secretary and the head of the Israel National Security Council also briefed Prime Minister Bennett on security matters.

Israel Is In Danger. We Need To Be Vigilant

Will history repeat itself?
This poster was part of a campaign against Israeli Prime Minster Yitzhak Rabin after signing the Oslo agreements. The campaign ended a year later, with his assassination. Netanyahu used this poster attached to his podium as he gave election speeches.

By Yaakov Katz
The Jerusalem Post

A peaceful transition of power is one of the hallmarks of democracies.

It is a sign of stability in the system of government, and trust in that government’s institutions. What happened on January 6 with the storming of the US Capitol was an attempt to stop Joe Biden from becoming president; and what Benjamin Netanyahu did on Sunday was his attempt to stop Naftali Bennett from becoming prime minister.

Listening to Netanyahu speak on Sunday to his Likud faction should raise concern among all Israelis. While he did not openly call for people to storm the Knesset, he did everything he could to delegitimize the government that Bennett and Yair Lapid plan to form this week. This new government, he said, is a case of the “biggest election fraud in the history of the country”; that people “feel cheated”; and it is everyone’s right to take action and protest against the formation of the government.

“We are talking about parties that talk Right and act Left and cheated their voters,” Netanyahu told his fellow Likud members. “I want to say the simple truth that everyone understands: you don’t need to be afraid to attack the media commentators and TV studios and the propaganda machine that is working for them. This is part of the deception. Don’t be afraid to tell the truth.

”On its own this talk might not sound incendiary, but it comes as almost every member of the Yamina Party is under 24/7 security detail due to the surge in threats against them and their families. Bennett is being protected by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), Ayelet Shaked by the Knesset Guard, and as of Sunday, MKs Idit Silman and Nir Orbach are also flanked with armed guards.

Netanyahu’s comments came less than a day after the head of the Shin Bet issued a rare public warning, sounding the alarm that the level of incitement in Israel today could end in bloodshed. Did that stop Netanyahu from delegitimizing the new government, or calling on his followers to attack (in a legal way, he stressed) the media and members of Knesset? Sadly, no.

It is true that Netanyahu paid lip service to the Shin Bet chief’s call to denounce incitement, but he quickly went on the attack, adding fuel to the fire. For his followers, there was one takeaway from his speech, and that was to continue to fight, to attack, and to resist the establishment of the so-called change coalition. If, God forbid, violence should occur, Netanyahu will do what he does best: wash his hands of any responsibility and replay his call for the resistance to be within the boundaries of the law. While that might be what he said, there is also the music in the way he said it. Calling something a fraud, and for people to stand up and resist can be interpreted in many different ways.

When your head of internal security warns of bloodshed and you ignore that call and speak the way Netanyahu spoke, you are responsible for what happens next. Sometimes, it is that simple. This is dangerous territory for Israel, reminiscent of the way Donald Trump fought to overturn and delegitimize the November 4 election.

Will this end in the storming of the Knesset, of Bennett’s home, or a physical attack against a Knesset member? We do not know. Netanyahu doesn’t want his followers to be upset; he wants them to feel cheated. That way he can keep them on his side if and when the Bennett-Lapid government is formed. He will play the victim card, and he wants his followers to feel like victims as well. He doesn’t want to give even a single moment of grace to the new government to succeed where he has failed. He wants everyone on edge all the time.

There is an alternative: recognizing that a new government has been established and conceding gracefully. It would mean inviting Bennett and Lapid for a meeting, having top staff meet with top staff on the other side, and ensuring that the transition is done in the smoothest and most responsible way possible. That is not what Netanyahu is doing. He wants to go down fighting since holding a meeting like that would be giving the new government legitimacy – and that is something Netanyahu will refuse to do.

Israelis need to remain vigilant, because what we heard on Sunday is not simply the talk of a politician who lost an election. It is the talk of someone determined to do everything he can to stop the transfer of power to another prime minister and a new government meant to replace him. If that means further weakening state institutions and democratic values, then so be it.

Israel needs to be careful.

Anti-Semitism – When Staying Silent Isn’t An Option

Register Here: https://adl.zoom.us/webinar/register/3216218869376/WN_8lDKOKe1TUuLPPq3KZaBeQ

By Tamar Schwarzbard
Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Jerusalem, Israel — May 27, 2021 … Goebbels. Baby killer. Genocide collaborator.  Murderer. Pig.

Dirty Jew.

These are just some of the names I’ve been called this past week. 

As the person behind some of Israel’s official social media accounts, I’m used to reading hundreds of comments critical of Israel on a daily basis. But the amount of hateful comments, of users calling for violence and attacks on Israelis, of tweets and posts that disguise antisemitism as anti-zionism, have made my job during normal times look like paradise in comparison. 

The last ten days have been overwhelming in many senses, as our Digital Diplomacy Department at the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs works around the clock to share Israel’s reality with the world. The most difficult part has not been the long hours, but the curtain that’s been lifted from my eyes as I read some of the most dangerous rhetoric online regarding Jews and Israel- the same rhetoric that was once taboo but has now become mainstream and even praiseworthy, thanks to social media, misinformation and extremists. 

Celebrities like Bella Hadid march alongside Palestinians chanting “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” a phrase used by terrorist organizations as a call to arms for the annihilation of Israel.  Instead of being criticized for advocating to cleanse Israel of its Jews, they are lauded as human rights activists, applauded with heart emojis and comments from ignorant people thanking them for supporting Palestine. 

Commentators like John Oliver and Trevor Noah accuse Israel of war crimes, almost expressing disappointment that there were fewer Israeli casualties thanks to the Iron Dome, all while sitting in their comfortable studios thousands of miles from Israel or the Gaza Strip. 

Celebrities like Chance the Rapper retweeted messages from the official State of Israel account showing data on rockets fired at Israelis, while accusing Israel of genocide. I am sure these people think they are saving lives, but their misinformation ends up endangering innocent lives on both sides. 

Let me be clear, what Hamas has done to Gazans and to Israelis is awful. No Israeli with any moral compass wants to see innocent Palestinian children being killed or being used as human shields for terrorists. The pictures coming out of Gaza are heartbreaking. 

Watching so many so-called “human rights activists” on social media calling out Israel for protecting the more than 70% of its population currently under rocket fire, while ignoring the human rights abuses that Hamas inflicts on the Palestinian people this week and every day is a distortion of reality. 

Where were the human rights activists when Hamas decided to launch a rocket from a preschool this week? Where were the human rights activists when Hamas (twice) bombed a humanitarian convoy from Israel facilitating the transfer of humanitarian aid to Palestinians in Gaza? Where were the human rights activists when Palestinian activists terrorized innocent Jewish civilians in LA, New York, London and Toronto this week? 

Where were the human rights activists when three teenage Israeli boys were kidnapped and murdered by Hamas terrorists in 2015, one of them an American citizen? 

People keep talking about the lack of symmetry in this conflict and they are absolutely right. There is no symmetry between a terrorist organization like Hamas whose charter calls for the “annihilation of the Jewish State,” and a democratic government protecting its people from ongoing rocket-fire for the past two decades. 

Apparently, there is also no symmetry when it comes to Hamas’ attempts to murder innocent Israelis to the Palestinian deaths in Gaza, because not enough Israelis have died.

It’s easy to retweet empty messages from celebrities who call for “freeing Palestine” and shame Israel without having any context of the complexities of the Arab-Israeli conflict. It’s easy to question the legitimacy of a Jewish State without studying the 3,000-year long history of the Jewish people in the land of Israel. 

Today, everyone with more than 5,000 followers on social media deems themselves an expert, using their keyboards to provide solutions to a conflict which has cost thousands of innocent lives and has yet to be solved by some of the brightest minds and most experienced leaders in the world. It’s easy to use buzzwords like genocide without ever having even experienced war, belittling the murder of millions of Jews, Rwandans and others who were sent to their deaths in concerted and organized extermination efforts. 

But you know who is calling for genocide? Hamas- whose charter says  “The Day of Judgement will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews, when the Jews will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say, ‘O Muslim, O servant of God, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.”  Thanks to social media, Hamas has been rebranded as a resistance group that is simply protecting the Palestinian people. Online activists may not be aware of Hamas’ true face because there was no Twitter when Hamas was carrying out suicide bombs in restaurants, buses and community centers. 

And where are all of these so-called experts on genocide when it comes to the history of the Jewish people and the Holocaust? On clubhouse, denying the Holocaust and exploiting Jewish suffering to promote Hamas’ narrative. 

In a Clubhouse discussion on the topic of the Israel-Arab conflict with a group of Americans and Iranians, someone accused me of genocide as an Israeli, moments after one of their friends in the group denied the Holocaust. 

As a Jew whose grandparents survived the Auschwitz death camps and experienced genocide first hand, I was disgusted by the flippant use of the term used to validate the Palestinian narrative, while denying the Jewish one. 

Over the past week, I’ve read comment after comment by individuals claiming to be allies of Jews, but posting statements like “it’s so sad to see Jews who experienced the Holocaust doing the same thing to the Palestinians today. What would their ancestors think?” Well, I can tell you, because my grandmother discussed her views with me over and over again. If she were still alive today, she would say that if her experiences during the Holocaust had taught her anything, it was that the Jewish people should do everything in their power to defend themselves from those who would rather see them gone, before it’s too late. 

There are many people who speak out against the millions of people who did not take action and stand by Jews in the years leading up to and during the Holocaust. Many of them are the very same people that stay silent on social media today, while Israelis and Jews around the world are attacked for their religious and national identity. 

I won’t be one of them. 

Netanyahu Meeting With Israel Security Cabinet Over Hamas

The Star Of David protecting the people of Israel.

By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency

Tel Aviv, Israel — May 17, 2021 … Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is now holding a security consultation at the Kirya in Tel Aviv with the Israel Defense Minister, the IDF Chief-of-Staff, the head of the National Security Council, the head of the ISA, the head of the Mossad and the security leadership.

Earlier, Netanyahu spoke by telephone with German Chancellor Angela Merkel who reiterated her unreserved support for Israel’s right to defend itself. The Prime Minister thanked her for the action of her government against anti-semitic elements in Germany and emphasized that Hamas is committing a double war crime by firing missiles from inside civilian populations and by using civilians in Gaza as human shields.

Last night, Netanyahu spoke with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and thanked him for his country’s support of Israel’s right to self-defense in light of the terrorist organizations’ firing missiles at Israel’s cities. The Prime Minister noted that Israel would continue to strike at Hamas and Islamic Jihad in order to restore the quiet and security to the citizens of Israel.

On Friday, Netanyahu met with the Israel Defense Minister and the IDF Chief-of-Staff, at the Kirya in Tel Aviv.

“Citizens of Israel, our campaign against the terrorist organizations is continuing with full force,” said Netanyahu.

“We are exacting very heavy prices from Hamas for its intolerable aggression. The IDF has carried out extensive attacks on over 1,500 targets in recent days. We have struck very hard at Hamas’s underground activity. Hamas invested an entire decade and vast capital in the excavation of tunnels; most of it, not all, but a considerable part, is gone.

Hamas’s ‘metro’ – their subway, their underground tunnels – has been transformed from a strategic asset into a deathtrap for terrorists. I said it yesterday and I will say it again today: No terrorist is immune.

Additionally, we struck at Hamas’s UAVs and drones, as well as at their naval capability. We have destroyed massive stockpiles of missiles and rockets. We have wrecked terrorist buildings, command centers and infrastructures throughout the Gaza Strip. We are doing this while making a dedicated and humanitarian effort to minimize injury to uninvolved persons.

I salute the IDF, the ISA, the soldiers and fighters – they are all doing excellent work and we are very proud of them. I request that you, Israel Defense Minister and IDF Chief-of-Staff, convey my congratulations, our congratulations, the congratulations of the entire nation, to the brave, dedicated soldiers of the IDF and to the fighters of the ISA as well, and to the other men and women of the Israel security services who are doing extraordinary work.

With stratagems we make war [see Proverbs 24:6] and with daring we will be victorious. We are continuing to take action, even at this hour, as long as necessary to restore quiet and security to you, citizens of Israel. It will yet take time.

There is talk about international pressure. There is always pressure but all in all we are receiving very serious backing, first of all from the US.

Again, I would like to thank our good friend, President Joe Biden, and also the many other countries that have truly taken incredible steps such as flying the Israeli flag over their government buildings. We very much appreciate this. There is a reason for this support because after the reprehensible attacks, such as those in Jerusalem, against Israel’s cities, in the attempt to kill innocent Jewish citizens – we have international backing and we are using it, in our natural right to self-defense as well. This is what we did in Gaza and this is also what we are doing inside the country.

I welcome the trend of calm that we see among the Arab public; it is not absolute. We just had a car ramming attack in Jerusalem. However, all in all, we have seen a decline in this trend of violence by the Arab public and this is very important among the Arab public. I have always said that it is not the entire public and not a majority of the public but it is a significant minority, which we must deal with.

We want to exact a price from the aggressor as in all types of terrorism. To restore the quiet and security and to rebuild deterrence and governance, will take time.

In the face of these violent events, we have used the Israel Security Agency (ISA). We deployed reinforced units throughout the country and we have carried out hundreds of arrests. We are taking action against those who used violence and disturbed the peace – they will be punished.

Our goal is, first, to halt the violence. I hope that we are achieving this. Afterwards, to rehabilitate the relations between Jews and Arabs. We live together in this state and we need to get back on the track of coexistence, cooperation and partnership in the great success called ‘the State of Israel’.

I would like to say an additional word, to you, citizens of Israel. What Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Iran want to achieve is, first of all, as many dead Israelis as possible. The achievement that I would like to achieve, that we would all like to achieve, is, first of all, to save your lives.

Therefore, I would like to remind you that for an entire year, we changed our behavior because of the coronavirus, Covid19; we changed our routine. Thanks to our behavior, thanks to the actions we took together, we saved many lives. Therefore, I ask you all – minimize outdoor activity. Follow the directives. I am proud of your endurance.

This evening we will celebrate the Jewish holiday ofShavuot, the festival of the giving of the Torah. When the Torah was given, when we received the Ten Commandments, the people of Israel stood together, as Rashi writes, ‘As one person, with one heart.’

Thus we stand today – as one person, with one heart, with one heart in the fight for our state, one heart behind our soldiers, and one heart for our security and our future.”

Operation Guardian of the Walls – Israel Attacks Hundreds of Hamas, Islamic Jihad Targets

By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency

UPDATED: Jerusalem, Israel — May 12, 2021 … Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, addressed the Israeli public with statements also made by the Israel Defense Minister, the IDF Chief-of-Staff and the head of the ISA.

“We are in the midst of a major campaign – Operation Guardian of the Walls,” said Netanyahu. “Yesterday and today, the IDF attacked hundreds of Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip. We have eliminated dozens of terrorists, including senior commanders. We have bombed Hamas command centers and toppled buildings that serve the terrorist organizations. We will continue to attack with all force.”

“We have just finished a consultation and assessment of the situation with the heads of the security establishment and we made decisions. Hamas and Islamic Jihad have paid and – I tell you here – will pay a very heavy price for their aggression. I say here this evening – their blood is on their heads.”

A 13-story building in Gaza, the largest in the area, which held Hamas offices and was used to fire rockets at Israel, collapsed after Israeli airstrikes.
The Hanadi tower was evacuated ahead of the IDF strikes. No casualties were reported.


“Citizens of Israel, we stand united against a reprehensible enemy. We all grieve for those who have been killed. We all pray for the wellbeing of the wounded. We all stand behind the IDF and the security forces.”

Netanyahu concluded: “I ask everyone, without exception, to strictly follow the directives of Israel Defense Forces Home Front Command and enter protected spaces, this saves lives. I tell you something else this evening. This campaign will take time. With determination, unity and strength, we will restore security to the citizens of Israel.”

Netanyahu Comments on Joint IDF-ISA Operation that Targeted Four Senior Hamas Commanders

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated: “I congratulate the Israel Security Agency, the Air Force, Southern Command and the Israel Defense Forces for the operation that targeted senior Hamas commanders.
Whoever attacks us – his blood is on his head.”

ISA: Four Senior Hamas Commanders Targeted in Joint ISA-IDF Operation

(Communicated by the Israeli Security Agency)

A joint ISA-IDF operation targeted senior members of the Hamas “General Staff Forum” including the Gaza City Brigade commander, the head of the cyber command and improving Hamas’s missiles and the head of its production network.

Following are the four senior commanders who were targeted in the attack:

1. Bassem Issa – Gaza City Brigade commander since 2017 and senior military official in the city. Over the years he had been involved in many terrorist attacks and also served as a leader in the organization’s production network. He led previous rounds of fighting with Israel. Targeting him will significantly affect the functioning of the brigade and of Hamas’s military arm.

2. Jamaa Tahla – Head of Hamas’s cyber command, leader of its missile improvement project and head of its R&D department. He was Muhammad Deif’s right-hand man a main leader of the effort to build up the organization’s strength; targeting him is a significant blow to that effort.

3. Jamal Zebeda – Head of projects and development for Hamas’s production network, was a main force behind the organization’s rocket production network. He held a Ph.D in mechanical engineering with a specialty in aerodynamics. He had various technological skills, was one of Hamas’s leading R&D experts and was also engaged in advancing projects to build up the organization’s strength.

4. Hazzem Hatib – Chief engineer and deputy head of Hamas’s production network.

Other senior figures who were killed in the attack during which Hamas’s main R&D facility, including much equipment, was destroyed:

Sami Radwan – Head of the military intelligence technical department

Walid Smali – Head of the production network industrial equipment department

Approximately ten additional terrorists from the Hamas production and R&D networks were also killed.