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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:

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.

Israel Under Attack – Netanyahu Holds Assessment at IDF HQ

By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency

Jerusalem, Israel — May 11, 2021 … Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, today, at Israel Defense Forces Southern Command headquarters, held an assessment of the situation with the Israel Defense Minister, the IDF Chief-of-Staff, the head of the National Security Council, GOC Southern Command and other senior officials.

“I have just finished – at IDF Southern Command – an assessment of the situation with the Israel Defense Minister, the IDF Chief-of-Staff and GOC Southern Command,” said Netanyahu.

“We are in the midst of a campaign. Since yesterday, the IDF has made hundreds of defensive attacks against Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza. We have targeted commanders. We have hit very many quality targets. The conclusion of the meeting is to further increase the force and pace of the attacks.

Hamas will receive blows here that it did not expect. I know that this also entails patience and a certain sacrifice on your part, citizens of Israel.

A damaged home at a targeted residential neighborhood in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon after rockets were fired by Iran backed Hamas terror organization in Gaza.
(Photo by JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images)

Unfortunately, two of our people have been killed. I ask all of you to listen to instructions and strictly follow the directives of IDF Home Front Command. It saves lives.”

Netanyahu concludes: “We still have a way to go and we will do so together with responsibility and full backing for the attacks that the IDF is making and will make.

I would also like to say something to Israeli Arabs. There were wild disturbances here yesterday, which we cannot tolerate, by young hotheads. Our directive is to do everything to maintain law and order. I expect all public leaders, especially leaders of the Arab public, to stand up and condemn these disturbances and do everything to restore the quiet.

We have given instructions that police units be reinforced with additional Border Police battalions. We will reinforce them as necessary in order to maintain law and order in the State of Israel. Here as well, the cooperation of all Israeli citizens is needed.”

Every red dot marks air raid sirens in Israel over the last hour: Israel is under attack.

The Israeli city of Tel Aviv is under fire from a barrage of over 130 terror rockets launched by Hamas from the Gaza Strip.
In Holon, a southern suburb outside of Tel Aviv, a Hamas rocket struck a passenger bus. 

In a tweet in the immediate aftermath of the Hamas terror rocket attacks, the IDF warned: “One of the 100s of rockets that were just fired from Gaza toward Tel Aviv and central Israel exploded on a civilian bus.”

“Hamas’ intentions are clear: kill Jewish civilians. We won’t stand by and let this happen.”

Israel Defense Forces Message To The Citizens of Gaza:

The IDF is striking Hamas weapons stores hidden inside civilian buildings in Gaza. Although Hamas wants to put you in harm’s way, we urge you to stay away from Hamas’ weapons sites and get to safety.
Our goal is only to strike terror.

Europe Paying Terrorists For Jerusalem Violence

Israel Security Agency: European Funds Intended for Humanitarian Activity Diverted to Financing Popular Front Terrorism in Jerusalem

By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency

EDITOR’S NOTE: Jerusalem has been the capital of the Jewish people for thousands of years. In 1,000 B.C., King David conquered Jerusalem and made it the capital of the Jewish kingdom. His son, Solomon, built the first holy Temple about 40 years later. Israel recaptured East Jerusalem, where the Western Walls stands, from Jordan during the 1967 Six-Day War, thus under international law, creating one, unified Jerusalem. There is no East Jerusalem. There is no occupation. Any mention of an East Jerusalem is part of a Jihadist propaganda campaign that also states Jesus was a Palestinian. Under the Israeli democratic government there is freedom of religion for all Jews, Christians and Muslims.

Jerusalem, Israel — May 7, 2021 … As violent clashes break out at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem today, the last day of Ramadan, it is now being disclosed by Israeli Intelligence that a financing network for the Popular Front terror organization has been funded by assistance agencies and NGOs operating in Europe.

Clashes broke out between worshipers and Israeli security forces at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem where tens of thousands of Muslim worshipers gathered for Friday prayers of the Ramadan. 

Recent reports indicate several injuries, including at least 12 Israeli police officers, and 35 Palestinians, including two in serious condition, during the riots, according to the Red Cross.
The incitement to violence continues as the leader of the Jihadist terror organization Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh sent a direct message to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu telling him “not to play with fire. 

Who pays for terrorism in Israel?

It was revealed by the Israel Security Agency that financing was transferred to Palestinian institutions and organizations in Judea and Samaria that are affiliated with the Popular Front and which operate under the guise of humanitarian assistance centered on the ‘Health Committees’.

In the ISA investigation of those involved, it became clear that these organizations operated using fraud and deception in many European countries in order to receive large-scale financing worth millions of Euros.

It was also learned that a considerable portion of the financing was used to fund the terrorist activities of the Popular Front.

The method:

Popular Front organizations deceived assistance organizations in Europe using various methods – reporting fictitious projects, transferring false documents, forging and inflating invoices, diverting tenders, forging bank documents and signatures, reporting inflated salaries, etc.

The considerable financing that was received was transferred – inter alia – to payments for the families of Popular Front ‘martyrs’, salaries for terrorists, recruiting new members, advancing and strengthening terrorist activity, funding Popular Front terrorists in Jerusalem and the dissemination of Popular Front messages and ideology.

During the ISA investigation, the suspects turned in considerable material that demonstrated the scope of the fraud carried out by Popular Front institutions regarding European countries. The information indicates the large-scale diversion of funds from the official political institutions in Europe to Popular Front terrorist, military and organizational activities in Judea and Samaria.

Indictments are due to be filed soon in the Judea Military Court.

A senior ISA official said: “The ramified financial activity advanced by the Popular Front joins a long series of terrorist activities foiled by the ISA in recent years. The Popular Front is a murderous terrorist organization that was responsible for – inter alia – the 23 August 2019 murder of Rina Shnerb. The ISA will continue its timely actions against the terrorist and financial operations of the Popular Front, an organization that is unceasing in its efforts to undermine stability and security in Judea and Samaria and to promote terrorist activity against Israel.”

Today, Israeli Police reported that “police troops began using riot control measures in Jerusalem in an attempt to restore order after violent riots broke out at the Temple Mount, during which hundreds of suspects started throwing rocks, bottles and other items towards our forces.”

“We will not allow the disruption of order, any form of violence and attempts to harm officers while taking advantage of the freedom of religion and using it to promote a violent incident that includes hundreds of worshipers starting to riot and hurting police officers,” Israeli police stated after the police regained control at the Temple Mount. 

Netanyahu Visits Injured From Mt. Meron Disaster

By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency

Jerusalem, Israel — May 3, 2021 … Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, at Rambam Hospital in Haifa, visited the injured in the Mt. Meron disaster.

“I have just finished visiting patients who were injured in the Mt. Meron disaster,” said Netanyahu. “I was impressed by the marvelous care that they are receiving from the medical staff here just as I was impressed by the rescue operation, which undoubtedly saved lives including those of several patients here.”

“We are praying for their well-being. One of the parents told me the sentence that summarizes everything: ‘Here one reveals that the people of Israel has one heart.’ Our heart is with the injured and all of us hope and pray for their full recovery.”

Israel State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman said today that he will launch a special investigation of Friday’s Mount Meron disaster in which 45 people were killed and more than 150 were injured.

“This was a disaster that could have been prevented. Now it is incumbent upon us to evaluate and probe how to prevent another incident like this,” Engelman said at a news conference.

Netanyahu declared this past Sunday “as a day of national mourning” and asked people to “come together for the sake of the families and pray for the well-being of the wounded.

The Israeli authorities had advised participants not to make the annual pilgrimage to the northern town of Meron this year due to Covid-19 risks.

The prime minister commended the efforts of the “very fast police rescue and operation” adding that we “owe them great thanks for preventing a much bigger disaster.”

Israel, Morocco Discuss Trade, Tourism, Technology

By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency

Israeli Regional Cooperation Minister Ofir Akunis Meets with the Head of the Moroccan Liaison Office in Israel Abd Al Rahim Byoud

Jerusalem, Israel — April 21, 2021 … Israel Regional Cooperation Minister Ofir Akunis, yesterday, met with Abd Al Rahim Byoud, Moroccan Ambassador-designate and head of the Moroccan Liaison Office in Israel.

The two discussed the historic Morocco Israel peace agreement and its anticipated approval by the Knesset, as well as bilateral cooperation.

“The agreement between the two countries has great potential in trade, the economy, tourism, technology and innovation,” said Akunis.

“The agreement substantially changes the diplomatic situation in our region and creates a completely new atmosphere in the Middle East. The Israel Regional Cooperation Ministry under my leadership will work to advance bilateral initiatives. All Israeli citizens, without exception and including the many immigrants from Morocco, are happy and moved by the network of relations being forged between the two countries.”

Moroccan representative Byoud responded: “I am pleased to be the guest of the Regional Cooperation Ministry. The historic peace agreement between the two countries greatly pleased the Moroccan people who love Israel. Jewish tradition is an inseparable part of Moroccan culture. I look forward to increased bilateral cooperation. We must find expression for the warming of relations in many fields. Right after Ramadan, we will act to tighten tourist relations between our countries via the operation of direct flights. I look forward to working with the Regional Cooperation Ministry on joint projects that will benefit both peoples.”

The Israel–Morocco normalization agreement was announced by the United States on December 10, 2020, in which Israel and Morocco agreed to normalize relations. On December 22, 2020, a joint declaration was signed pledging to quickly begin direct flights, promote economic cooperation, reopen liaison offices and move toward “full diplomatic, peaceful and friendly relations.”

The agreement followed Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Sudan also signing normalization agreements with Israel in September and October 2020. Along with Egypt and Jordan, Morocco became the sixth Arab League country to normalize relations with Israel. 

Israel President Rivlin Selects Netanyahu To Form A New Government

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, right, shakes hands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency

Jerusalem, Israel — April 6, 2021 … President of Israel Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin today nominated Prime Minister and leader of the Likud party, Member of Knesset Benjamin Netanyahu with forming a new government.

Rivlin signed a letter of appointment, giving Netanyahu 28 days to form a government. 

“My fellow citizens, this past Sunday, to mark Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day, I listened here, at Beit HaNasi, to the shocking testimony of former President of the Supreme Court Judge Aharon Barak as a young child in the Kovno Ghetto. As he told his story, even when he described the most terrible and dreadful moments of the selection of children in the ghetto, of living behind a wall in the house of a Lithuanian farmer, Aharon Barak maintained his composure. But his voice wavered when he described meeting soldiers of the Jewish Brigade on whose sleeves was the badge of the blue and white flag.

The State of Israel is not to be taken for granted. It was certainly not to be taken for granted during the history of the Jewish people and not even 75 years ago. We hold, you the citizens of Israel hold, the greatest treasure of the Jewish people. Your decision, your vote, is what determines the nature of this country, what its future will be. On election day, voters’ day, the people, the public entrusts its representatives with the power to determine a wide range of issues.

But there are things that even 12 Knesset Members cannot change. 120 Knesset Members cannot undermine the democratic foundations of the State of Israel. And 120 Knesset Members cannot undermine the State of Israel’s Jewish nature. It is in that tension, in the hyphen between Jewish and democratic, that our discourse is held and will continue to be held. Sometimes, it will veer to the right, and sometimes to the left. But it will always connect the margins.

I was elected President of the State of Israel by a majority of members of the 19th Knesset. Since then, over the period of seven years, there have been five further Knesset elections, four of them in less than two years. I did not imagine and I did not expect that, time after time, five times, I would be faced with the difficult task of deciding who to entrust with forming a government. I would also like for Beit HaNasi not to be so directly involved in the political system. But that is my role, and as part of that role I undertake this task. Basic Law: The Government obliges me as President of the State of Israel to entrust the role of forming a government to a Knesset Member who agrees to do so.

Israel’s democracy is nourished entirely by the will of the voter. The role of the president in selecting a candidate to entrust with forming a government is primarily one of giving expression to the will of the voter. Therefore, as I have said repeatedly in previous election campaigns, and again in recent days, the principal consideration that Israeli presidents must bear in mind when deciding who to entrust with the task of forming a government is which candidate has the best chance of forming a government that will have the confidence of the new Knesset.

The results of the consultations, that were open to all, lead me to believe that no candidate has a realistic chance of forming a government that will have the confidence of the Knesset. In fact, if the law would allow me to do so, I would give the decision back to the representatives of the people, to the Knesset. But as I have said, I cannot do so according to law. In the position in which we find ourselves today, the law obliges me to entrust one of the candidates with forming a government.  

After consulting with the representatives of all the factions in the Knesset, the following picture has emerged: 52 MKs requested that I entrust MK Benjamin Netanyahu with forming a government. 45 MKs requested that I entrust MK Yair Lapid with forming a government. 7 MKs requested that I entrust MK Naftali Bennett with forming a government. 16 MKs did not make any recommendation to me.  

Given this state of affairs, when there is no majority of 61 Knesset Members supporting a particular candidate, and without additional considerations indicating the chances of the candidates to form a government, I have come to a decision based on the numbers of recommendations, which indicates that MK Benjamin Netanyahu has a slightly higher chance of forming a government. Accordingly, I have decided to entrust him with the task of doing so.

This is not an easy decision on a moral and ethical basis, in my mind. As I said at the beginning of my remarks, the State of Israel is not to be taken for granted. And I fear for my country. But I am doing what is required of me as President of the State of Israel, according to the law and to the ruling of the court, and realizing the will of the sovereign – the Israeli people.

My fellow Israelis, allow me to conclude my remarks by quoting President Abraham Lincoln of the United States as my teacher and guide Menachem Begin did in his victory speech in 1977: ‘With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, … let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds.’ Bless you.”

Netanyahu will begin meeting with right-wing leaders on Wednesday in an effort to form what he called a “strong and homogeneous government.”

Netanyahu vowed to stop the political paralysis. He said he will be “the prime minister of everyone” and in a reference to New Hope leader Gideon Sa’ar, called for an end to political boycotts.

Netanyahu is credited for addressing and controlling the Coronavirus pandemic as well as signing peace agreements with the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan.