Netanyahu to increase “investment” in both Druze and Circassian communities in Israel

PM announces agenda to increase funding for both communities; meets with Druze leadership last week; Gives condolences on Druze fallen heroes, Police Master Sergeant Zidan Saif & Israeli Border Police officer Jedan Assad killed in terror attacks

Netanyahu with Druze leader Sheikh Muwafaq Tarif

Netanyahu with Druze leader Sheikh Muwafaq Tarif

Prime Minister Netanyahu met with Druze and Circassians community leaders last week, announcing over the weekend that he plans to seek government approval allocating increased funds and “investment” in the communities.

There are close to 4,000 Israeli Circassians, a community of Sunni Muslims who were expelled from their homeland in Caucasus settled in the Middle East, many in the Galilee region during the Ottoman Empire.

Circassians helped Jewish immigrants during the first aliyah (immigration) to Israel and fought on Israel’s side during the War of Independence.

There are approximately 130,000 Druze living in Israel.

Both communities are strongly Zionist and support the state of Israel, their religious beliefs centered on separation of faith and homeland. Leaders of both communities require males to serve in the IDF.

Netanyahu took time during his meeting Wednesday to give his personal condolences for the deaths of Police Master Sergeant Zidan Saif who died in Jerusalem’s terror attack during the operation to kill the terrorists and Border Police Chief Inspector Jedan Assad who was killed when a terrorist drove into a crowd of Israelis in Jerusalem at the light rail.

Funeral of Police Master Sergeant Zidan Saif (AFP)

Funeral of Police Master Sergeant Zidan Saif (AFP)

Funeral of Israeli Border Police officer Jedan Assad (Flash90)

Funeral of Israeli Border Police officer Jedan Assad (Flash90)

The prime minister intends to allocate more funds for the communities to “ order to close the gaps and advance the towns” specifically in education and infrastructure.

Speaking to Druze leaders on tight relations between the communities and both Druze and Circassians support for the State of Israel and the Jewish people, Netanyahu stated, “You are our very flesh. You are an organic part of Israeli society. Your heroic policemen and soldiers have fallen in order to defend the state and all its citizens, but we will defend your rights and your security” in reference to Saif and Assad.

He added that the Druze community specifically aids in the fight against radical Islam, stating, “We are in a major fight against Islamist extremist fanatics. This is not simple. This is a dangerous threat. This is a struggle that we must fight. From our perspective every citizen has the right to life, security and freedom of religion. Freedom of religion and freedom of conscience – this is our battle. From my point-of-view, your battle is my battle and my battle is your battle.”

Egyptian courts drops case against Mubarak

Following his ousted in 2013, Mubarak has been cleared of all charges and his case dropped Saturday

Muburak led to sentencing (AFP)

Muburak led to sentencing (AFP)

Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has been cleared of all charges. The president, who was removed from office on charges in connection to the deaths of hundreds of prisoners, was found not guilty of corruption.

Mubarak was ousted from his role as president of Egypt in 2013 following charges he was responsible for ordering quell when the country’s citizens phased massive protests. Over 1,400 were killed in the nation’s crackdown on protests ordered by Mubarak.

Current Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has worked hard since the formation of Egypt’s new government to out the country of extremists, mainly the Muslim Brotherhood. He won elections in a landslide against Islamic factions running.

Sisi’s military campaign in the Sinai has been successful, with the destruction of smuggling tunnels into Gaza, illegalization of Hamas and crackdown of Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic Jihad factions through out Egypt.

Over the weekend, Islamic groups, ahead of Mubarak’s sentencing announced their intentions to hold massive anti-government demonstrations through out Egypt. The main movement of the protests is know as the “Muslim Youth Intifada”.

Egypt’s military centered government has been strict since demonstrations and high casualties, issuing curfews and arrests for those who disturb the stability of Egypt.

Following weeks of tension, Temple Mount prayers resume with no incidents or violence

Police and Israeli security forces lift restrictions on Temple Mount (Dome of Rock) as over 40,000 Muslim worshippers participate in prayer services and ceremonies with no security breaches or incidences

The Temple Mount, Dome of the Rock (Haaretz)

The Temple Mount, Dome of the Rock (Haaretz)

Following close to three weeks of tension and clashes in Jerusalem’s Temple Mount (Dome of the Rock), Muslim prayers resumed with over 40,000 attending ceremonies and prayer services with no violence or riots.

Israeli security forces have been on high alert, many restrictions placed on the holy site to avoid clashes between Arab and Palestinians worshippers. On Friday police forces were lower in number and roadblocks taken down.

Israel placed age restrictions on Muslim worshippers mainly on men following weeks of violence and clashes. The age restriction has been revoked and Old City of Jerusalem calm.

The decision to lift the age restriction of entrance and security barriers comes after diplomatic talks between Israelis diplomats as well as American officials with Jordan following meetings held in Amman over the past two weeks.

The Temple Mount is under Jordanian custodianship through the Israel-Jordan peace treaty (also known as the Treaty of Peace Between the State of Israel and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan) established in 1994. Under Article 9, Jordan plays a significant role in Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem, dealing with matters of negotiations and peace.

Both Jordan and Egypt are Arab states with ongoing peaceful relations and treaties with Israel.

Shin Bet thwart numerous attacks by Hamas terror cell in West Bank

Terror cell planned several attacks on Israel, including on Jerusalem soccer stadium; Arrests were made in September; Netanyahu states several missions kept secret

Members of the terror cell (Shin Bet)

Members of the terror cell (Shin Bet)

Israel’s Intelligence Agency, the Shin Bet, thwarted several organized terror plots by a Hamas terror cell operating in the West Bank in September. The announcement of the operation was released only Thursday due to an ongoing investigation.

Over 30 Hamas operatives were arrested in September in the West Bank. The terrorists were run through Hamas headquarters in Turkey where they received funding and orders.

Among those arrested, two were Jordanian and one from Kuwait. Majority were Palestinians from the West Bank.

The terrorists were reportedly trained by a supervisor of Hamas’s military wing from the Gaza Strip, Saleh al-Arouri, who was deported from the West Bank to Gaza in 2012. The terrorists reportedly participated in trainings in the Gaza Strip, their entrance possible through Hamas’s tunnel network.

Israel destroyed Hamas’s tunnel network during this summer’s Operation Protective Edge.

The operation was conducted in coordination with the IDF and Israeli police forces. Security forces found and confiscated M16 rifles, explosive devices and ammunition.

The terror cell was responsible for attack on emergency personnel in the West Bank where explosives were detonated with a delayed timer. No one was injured and the attack deemed a failure.

According to the Shin Bet, the terror cell were given orders to carry out attacks in the West Bank and Jerusalem, attacks on Jerusalem’s light rail, kidnapping attacks, car bombings and infiltration attacks. The terrorists were reportedly planning a major attack on the Teddy Soccer Stadium in Jerusalem.

The terrorists were also instructed and were actively recruiting to the cell.

Prime Minister Netanyahu praised the Shin Bet’s operation and stated on Thursday afternoon “This is one operation that has been published but there are many more that remain secret. These foiling activities are against terrorists and against Hamas, which challenges the existence of a Jewish nation-state and the existence of Jews in general.”

Palestinians postpone draft resolution to UN

Amidst tensions in West Bank and Jerusalem, as well as pressure from the US, Palestinians postpone draft resolution; Turkish media reports Abbas willing to accept Palestinian state on 22% of land allocated for “Palestine”

UN Security Council (Reuters)

UN Security Council (Reuters)

The Palestinian Authority announced it has decided to postpone its draft resolution to the United Nations Security Council calling for Israel to withdraw from the West Bank as per 1967 borders. The draft resolution also calls for East Jerusalem to be the capitol of a future Palestinian state.

The Palestinians were to submit the proposal this week and have threatened to submit the proposal for months.

The decision to postpone the statehood bill is reportedly a result of pressure from the Obama Administration to continue to work towards resumption of peace talks as well as failure by Palestinian factions in the UN to gain support from nine member states of the Security Council.

The United States has been clear it would use veto power to avoid such a proposal passing through the UN Security Council, pressing for diplomatic relations and peace talks for a two-state solution.

Both Israeli and American leaders and diplomats have consistently called for a unilateral effort for a two-state solution.

As a result of weeks of riots, violence and tension between Palestinian and Israeli security officials, the Palestinian Authority is also reportedly not pressing the proposal.

Additionally Turkish media announced that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas would accept a deal for a Palestinian state for 22% of what he believes “Palestine” to be.

However, Riyad Mansour, the observer to the United Nations under the “State of Palestine” stated on Wednesday, “the time has come to find the political will in order to work seriously for achieving the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including the independence of the Palestinian state on the bases of 1967 [borders].”

Highest rise in Sea of Galilee as heavy storms continue through out Israel

With major rainstorms and heavy winds through out Israel, Sea of Galilee and major water sources in Israel increase dramatically

The Sea of Galilee (Travers)

The Sea of Galilee (Travers)

Rainstorms have swept all of Israel, levels of the Sea of Galilee raising over 1.75 inches, the highest increase in the Galilee’s water level this season. The high rise occurred just over few hours on Wednesday, the Sea now at over 212.83 meters, rainstorms expected to continue through rest of the week.

The rainstorms and floods have caused flooding, power outages and major traffic through out all of Israel. Police warned of major storms and heavy winds Tuesday night, winds reported as high as 62 miles per hour in the center and south of Israel. Southern and eastern Israel is under high alert due to the possibility of flash floods.

The high rise in rainfall has increased Israel’s major water sources, the main of which is the Sea of Galilee. The country has been in dire need of rainfall, following Israel’s dry summer and periods of draught.

The Galilee region received over 30 millimeters of rain, the Golan Heights received over 50 millimeters of rain. Israel’s Sharon (center) saw over 38 millimeters and Tel Aviv close to 100 millimeters. The Jewish State’s capitol Jerusalem received over 42 millimeters of rainfall.

Rainstorms and heavy winds are expected to continue through tomorrow, temperatures to drop on Friday morning as Israel enters its winter season.

Two Israelis stabbed in Jerusalem in believed terror attack

Police investigating and searching area for suspects, following group of Arabs who surrounded and stabbed two Israelis

Police arrest Arab suspect in Jerusalem  (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Police arrest Arab suspect in Jerusalem (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Two Israelis were stabbed on Monday night near Jerusalem’s Old City in what is believed to have been another terror attack in Israel’s capitol. Police have currently made three arrests and are currently conducting an investigation and search in the region.

The two Israelis were reportedly surrounded by a group of Arabs as they were leaving Yeshiva (religious school), the first victim, aged 45, in moderate condition after he was stabbed in the abdomen. The second victim, aged 32, was lightly stabbed in the neck as well as a broken leg.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld stated that, “The victims were surrounded by a group of Arab men, and one was stabbed and the other was lightly injured, although it is not clear if he was stabbed as well” adding that police “strongly believe the stabbing was a terrorist attack.” He added that, “Police continue to search the Old City for the other suspects and hope to make arrests soon.”

Israeli security forces have been on high alert following instances of terror attacks and riots and violence.

On Sunday night, the terrorist (responsible for stabbing IDF soldier, Almog Shiloni, 20, two weeks ago in Tel Aviv. The terrorist reportedly entered Israeli illegally the day before the attack, stabbing Shiloni in attempt to steal his weapon. The terrorist, Abu Hashiya, confessed to the attack and his intent.