Israeli border police prevent suicide bombing

Terrorist found with pipe bomb belt attempted to detonate himself at a West Bank checkpoint; terrorist in custody and border police investigating

The pipe bomb found by border police on the terrorist

The pipe bomb found by border police on the terrorist

Israeli border police thwarted an attempted suicide bombing attack on Friday close to the Tapuach Junction in the West Bank.

A Palestinian terrorist , aged 20 who has not been identified to the public was stopped by border police for wearing suspicious clothing. The border police searched the man to find 12 pipe bombs connected with wires around his waist.

A bomb disposal team rushed to the site and dismantled the bomb belt.

The man has been arrested and is currently being interrogated. The terrorist arrive to Tapuach Junction from Nablus in what security forces believe was an attempt to detonate himself at a checkpoint targeting IDF soldiers.

The junction was closed for several hours while security forces searched the area for any possible additionally planned attacks.

Public Security Minister Yitzcha Aharonovitch praised the border police for protecting its citizens, stating, “Your vigilance and professionalism led to the capture of a terrorist with an explosive belt. You prevented an attack and saved lives, and I’m proud of you and your professional excellence.”

The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit made the following statement on the prevented terrorist attack: The safety of Israeli civilians has been under constant threat, whether by way of rocket attacks, suicide bombings and even the slaughtering of children in their sleep. The IDF and Israeli security forces will remain vigilant against the threat of terror.

Jerusalem Day commemorated, riots on Temple Mount

47 years of unity celebrated in Jerusalem Day; Small riots break out on Temple Mount

Prime Minister Netanyahu at the Western Wall on Jerusalem Day

Prime Minister Netanyahu at the Western Wall on Jerusalem Day

Tuesday night into Wednesday marked “Jerusalem Day”, a national holiday commemorating the reunification of Jerusalem in 1967 during the Six Day Way and the establishment of Jerusalem’s Old City Quarter.  Residents of Jerusalem and from all across Israel gathered in the nation’s capitol to celebrate the city’s 47 years of unity.

The national holiday is celebrated with parties, festivals and parades. Memorial services are also held for the fallen during the Six Day War and fight for a united Jerusalem.

Speaking at the Merkaz Harav Yeshiva where a terrorist attack was carried out in 2008 killing eight and injuring eighteen, Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke of Jerusalem Day, and the promise that Israel’s capitol city will never be divided.

The prime minister stated in his speech, “47 years ago Jerusalem was united. That is how it always was. And this is how it will always be…We are safeguarding our heart, the nation’s heart, and we will never divide our heart. Never! Because it is the nation’s heart it must be connected to Israel’s eternal future.”

He referred to Rabbi Kook, the first Chief Rabbi of Jewish State (Palestine), stating, “Rabbi Kook believed that Zionism can not be disconnected from Judaism. He believed that nationalism alone, without a connection to the eternal wells of Judaism, would not allow for the justification Israel’s existence or foster the unity needed for its existence.Without spirit there is no material, without Torah there is no salt.

Amidst celebrations for Jerusalem Day, riots broke out on the Temple Mount when masked Arab youth began throwing stones at Israeli security forces. The youth hid inside of the Al-Aqsa Mosque to avoid arrest. Small riots and protests occurred in protest through out Jerusalem, mainly in the Old City. No injuries were reported.

Fatah-Hamas agree on ministers for unity-government

Abbas expected to announce ministers later this week following choice of religious affairs minister

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas head Khaled Meshaal (REUTERS)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas head Khaled Meshaal (REUTERS)

Palestinian leadership has officially announced the formation of a unity-government Tuesday. The Fatah-Hamas unity government closes a seven-year rival between the two parties since 2007 and is the main reason for the fall out of peace talks with Israel. Hamas and Fatah announced on April 23 that the parties with create a unity-government towards the deadline for peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Spokesmen for Hamas and Fatah reported that a list of “independent technocrat ministers” who will run for government have been jointly decided upon and should be published this week. Current Prime Minister Ram al-Hamdalllah will lead the government’s new cabinet and reports claim that he will also assume the role of interior minister.

Both Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas head Khaled Meshaal will announce the government in the following days as reported by a Fatah official. A separate Fatah official stated that, “The viewpoints of the Hamas and Fatah movements will be presented to President Abbas to give his final decision on the government line-up.”

Abbas is reportedly waiting to make the announcement until he decides on a religious affairs minister.

Pope Francis arrives in Israel

Pope meets with Peres, Netanyahu and Abbas; Tours and gives mass in Bethlehem, scheduled to visit holy sites in Jerusalem Monday

Pope Francis welcomed by President Shimon Peres and PM Netanyahu

Pope Francis welcomed by President Shimon Peres and PM Netanyahu

Pope Francis arrived in on Sunday after his day visit in Jordan. He was welcomed in a ceremony by both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres.

The Pope began his visit in Bethlehem, where he held mass and met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. In a press conference, Mahmud Abbas thanked the Pope for visiting the Palestinian territories before Israel, stating, “The Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas thanks Pope Francis for his efforts to help the Palestinian people live in an occupation-free Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.” He additionally took the opportunity to criticize Israel’s security fence between Israel and Palestinian territory referring to the fence as “this disgusting wall you see with your own eyes.”

Pope Francis responded urging a two-state solution stating that, “The time has come to put an end to this situation which has become increasingly unacceptable,” emphasizing that both sides must makes concessions for any change to occur.

The Pope in Bethlehem

The Pope in Bethlehem

On his arrival to Israel, President Shimon Peres stated, “Welcome to the Land of the Lord…On behalf of the Jewish people and in the name of all the people of Israel, I welcome you with the age old words from the Book of Psalms: ‘Welcome in the name of the Lord.’ Welcome at the gates of Jerusalem.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu additionally welcomed the Pope to Israel stating, “In the heart of the Mideast, a turbulent and violent Mideast, in which Christians are persecuted, Israel is an island of safety, committed to religious freedoms and preserving the status quo in the holy sites” stating that he is “committed to maintaining the status quo at the holy sites of Muslims, Christians and Jews…. Our hand is outstretched for peace to anyone who will take it.”

The Pope spoke of his desire to see a two-state solution and peace with the Palestinians, stating, “The Palestinians have the right to a sovereign homeland, to live with respect and enjoy freedom of movement. We hope that a two-state solution will become reality and not remain merely a dream.”

He will meet with both Jewish and Muslim leaders, as well as visit holy sites in Jerusalem. The Pope invited Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and President Shimon Peres to visit his home, stating, “Even if peace calls for sacrifices, the sacrifices of peace are preferable to the threat of war. You bring with you great tidings and hope for all. You carry a message of brotherhood among peoples, and friendship for all. Nothing enriches more than love of humanity.”

Both Peres and Abbas confirmed they would visit the Pope in Rome next month.

The Pope is scheduled to meet with Christina officials and heads of church Sunday evening and to visit Israel’s National Holocaust Museum, Yad VaShem tomorrow, as well as various holy sites through out Jerusalem.

Three killed in shooting outside Jewish Museum in Brussels

Victims identified as couple from Tel Aviv, leaving two daughters behind; Police search for shooter; all evidence points to anti-Semitic attack

Emanuel and Miriam Riva murdered in Brussels outside of a Jewish Museum

Emanuel and Miriam Riva murdered in Brussels outside of a Jewish Museum

Three were murdered in a shooting outside of a Jewish Museum in Brussels on Saturday night, a fourth victim in critical condition. Belgium’s Foreign Minister Didier Reynders stated, “it is likely that this is an anti-Semitic attack.”

Two Israeli tourists, Emanuel and Miriam Riva, were the murdered in the attacks. The couple leaves behind two daughters aged 15 and 16. The third victim was a 60 year- old French volunteer at the museum. The fourth, a 24 year old, is in critical condition.

Reynders additionally stated on the shooting that, “you cannot help to think that when we see a Jewish museum, you think of an anti-Semitic act. But the investigation will have to show the causes.” Brussels is home to over 42,000 Jewish citizens.

Prime Minister Netanyahu condemned the attacks Saturday, stating, “Slander and lies against the State of Israel continue to be heard on European soil even as the crimes against humanity and acts of murder being perpetrated in our region are systematically ignored. Our response to this hypocrisy is to constantly state the truth, continue a relentless fight against terrorism and build up our strength.”

Netanyahu reiterated his comments from the night before, stating, “Last’s night’s murder in Brussels is the result of constant incitement against the State of Israel by various elements in the Middle East and in Europe itself… There are elements in Europe that rush to condemn the construction of a flat in Jerusalem but do not rush to condemn – or offer only weak condemnations of – the murder of Jews here or in Europe itself and, even worse, welcome unity with a terrorist element such as Hamas, which calls for the destruction of the State of Israel.”

Yuval Steinitz of Israel’s Ministry of Affairs spoke of the shooting, stating that, “The hatred towards the Jews and the State of Israel is the same hatred and the same thing in a different guise. Anti-Semitism in Europe is often disguised as anti-Israel sentiments, but it is still anti-Semitism and, unfortunately, we’re not surprised of yesterday’s attack.”

Police continue to investigate the crime believed to have been a lone suspect. Jewish sites have been placed under high surveillance and security.

Pope Francis arrives in Jordan for Middle East tour

Pope arrives in Jordan, will visit Israel and PA territories; His visit is to focus on meeting with Muslim, Christian and Jewish leaders as well as address issues of Christian persecution and Syrian refugees

The Pope with Jordanian Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad Saturday (Reuters)

The Pope with Jordanian Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad Saturday (Reuters)

Pope Francis arrived in Jordan Saturday for a visit in the Middle East reported to boost ties between Jews and Muslims and a “pilgrimage of prayer” as stated by the Vatican. He will visit Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian territories.

The Pope stated in St. Peters Square ahead of his visit that his visit to the region is “a purely religious trip” and “to pray for peace in that land, which has suffered so much.” The Pope additionally stated his reasons for visiting are to meet with the Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I.

The Pope will meet with King Abdullah II in Jordan and hold mass in Amman where he has stated his visit will be centered on meeting Syrian refugees. The Pope is expected to address concerns of the Vatican of the persecution of Christians. There are approximately 600,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan. He is additionally expected to tour religious sites in Jordan, specifically the Jordan River.

In Israel, the Pope will hold a ceremony of special joint prayer with Bartholomew I on Sunday at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre which will be telecasted live to the Vatican. He will additionally visit Bethlehem where he will speak at Manger Square.

He will meet with both Jewish and Muslim leaders, as well as visit holy sites in Jerusalem.

Israeli President Shimon Peres referred to Pope Francis as “a man of noble humility” stating on his coming visit that, “I don’t think the visit is going to bring the signing of a peace deal tomorrow, or even the organization of a conference, but I am sure that it will make a substantial contribution because the pope respects all cultures and all religions.”

 

Israel to display advanced tactical-range artillery rocket next week

EXTRA development completed; IMI to present rocket on Tuesday; Several international militaries reportedly have already purchased the advanced rocket

Israel Military Industries’ “EXTRA” rocket (IMI)

Israel Military Industries’ “EXTRA” rocket (IMI)

Israel Military Industries Ltd. will present the Extended Range Artillery rocket, also known as EXTRA. The refined rocket will be presented next Tuesday in a security conference.

EXTRA is a long-range rocket with a range between 20-150 kilometers with tested accuracy of 10 m CEP. It is an extension of the previously designed “Magic Spear” rocket developed three years ago. The rocket has a warhead of 125 kilograms and is being reported as Israel’s most cost-effective and tactical-range artillery rocket.

The rocket is equipped and guided with a built-in GPS. It additionally is designed to hit underground targets and can reach targets as far as Beirut reportedly.

Several foreign militaries have already purchased the advanced rockets, and Israel Military Industries Ltd. expects to sell even more following Tuesday’s display. The rocket has been through extensive testing and is one of Israel’s newest and most developed defensive weapons.