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Police Award Posthumous Honor to Rabbi Slain Trying to Prevent Attack

Outrage Builds Over Czech Bus Advertising Auschwitz Vacation Tour

Shin Bet Uncovers Hezbollah Attempts to Recruit Palestinians on Facebook

(JNS.org) Several Palestinian terror cells in the Judea and Samaria region were recruited through Facebook by the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah to carry out attacks against Israelis, Israel’s security agency (Shin Bet) announced on Tuesday.

One of the groups in the Palestinian city, Qalqilya, was specifically instructed to carry out an attack on the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), the Shin Bet discovered in cooperation with the IDF and Israeli police.

The leader of that terror cell, Mustafa Kamel Hindi, was recruited by Hezbollah via Facebook. He recruited four other men from Qalqilya and trained them in shooting and using explosives.

Additionally, other Palestinians in the Gaza Strip were also recruited by Hezbollah through Facebook to carry out suicide attacks. These cell members were arrested in June and indicted at the Military Court in Judea before the planned terror attack could be carried out.

Hezbollah also tried to recruit Arab Israelis through pro-Palestinian Facebook profiles, according to the Shin Bet.

Following Shin Bet’s announcement, Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon on Tuesday urged the UN Security Council to officially designate Hezbollah a terrorist organization, Arutz Sheva reported.

“Hezbollah terrorists are working as representatives of the Iranian regime, threatening not only Israel, but stability in Syria, Lebanon and the entire region,” Danon said, adding that Hezbollah must know there are “serious repercussion” for any attack against Israelis.

 

Report: Students for Justice in Palestine Allegedly Collects Lists of Jewish College Students

(JNS.org) The pro-Palestinian college campus group Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) has allegedly been collecting lists of Jewish students and their dorm addresses on North American campuses, an Israeli news outlet reported.

The SJP activity was revealed Tuesday in the Knesset in a report to the Israeli Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, raising fears that Jewish students in North America might be targeted for their religion or pro-Israel views, according to Army Radio.

The committee head, Likud MK Avi Dichter, said that Israel “has a commitment [to protect] every Jew when they are attacked for being a Jew.”

SJP denied the allegation, telling the Forward it has “never heard of such cases.” And while each chapter runs independently, as a national organization the group is “firmly against all forms of bigotry, including anti-Semitism.”

 

Russia Launches Planes From Iran to Bomb Syria

(JNS.org) In an unprecedented move, Russia dispatched warplanes to bomb targets in Syria on Tuesday via an Iranian air base.

The move shows growing cooperation between Russia and Iran, two nations that are both trying to maintain the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the civil war-torn country.

The Russian long-range bombers were dispatched from a base near Hamedan, a city in Iran about 175 miles southwest of Tehran. The planes dropped the bombs across three provinces in Syria before returning to Russia, according to an anonymous U.S. official, Reuters reported.

Fawaz Gerges, professor of international relations at the London School of Economics, called the Putin government’s use of an Iranian base “a turning point in Russia’s relations in the Middle East,” adding that it “sends a powerful message to the United States and regional powers that Russia is here to stay.”

Israeli sources don’t believe this deployment of Russian planes from Iran will currently have a major impact on Israeli interests in the region, the Jerusalem Post reported. But given the contentious relationship between Israel and Iran, this could have future negative implications.

 

Police Award Posthumous Honor to Rabbi Slain Trying to Prevent Attack

(Yael Freidson/ynetnews.com) Israel Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh has approved posthumously awarding a special commendation from the police to Rabbi Nechemya Lavi, who died in a stabbing attack last October in Jerusalem’s Old City.

During the attack, a terrorist armed with a knife attacked Aharon Banita-Bennett and his wife, stabbing them repeatedly. Lavi, who was at his home at the time, rushed to assist and was murdered. Border police troops who arrived at the scene shot and killed the terrorist.

Alsheikh telephoned the rabbi’s widow, Neta, and informed her of the award. She said, commenting on the recognition of her husband’s heroic act to provide aid, “It’s good to see that the state doesn’t forget, and that there’s appreciation from the Israel Police.”

Lavi, who lived in the capital for 23 years, was 41 years old at his death. He served in the IDF as a combat soldier and joined the military rabbinate as part of an initiative to draw rabbis with experience in combat. He left behind his wife and seven children.

 

Outrage Builds Over Czech Bus Advertising Auschwitz Vacation Tour

(JNS.org) Jewish groups and Holocaust survivors are outraged over a bus in the Czech Republic advertising a satirical holiday tour of the Auschwitz death camp.

The double-decker tour bus is emblazoned with the camp’s notorious sign “Arbeit Macht Frei” along with a Star of David and images of Jewish holocaust victims. Text along the side of the vehicle suggests visitors should “Come to Auschwitz—A journey through emotions. Our guides speak Czech!”

The bus was used as a prop in an old satirical film by Czech director Vit Klusak, who looked at Eastern Europe’s emerging Holocaust industry, according to the Times of Israel. After the film wrapped production, the bus was sold to a local tour company that refused to remove the images.

Prague Jewish Museum Director Leo Pavlat has asked that the images be removed, but the owner of the bus, Svatopluk Xaver, said he couldn’t afford the cost of repainting the bus and removing the decorations.

Holocaust survivor Erika Bezdickova, whose entire family was murdered at Auschwitz, told the Daily Mail she was “appalled” at the site of the bus.

“I think that only a person with no moral decency could make a business out of the Auschwitz catastrophe,” she said.

 

Three Hundred Israeli Elementary Schools to Introduce Robotics Program

(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) Some 300 elementary schools in Israel will be adding robotics to their curricula for the 2016-2017 school year under a new initiative by the Education Ministry.

Students will learn how to code and will receive hands-on experience in operating robots of various types. Administrators say the goal of the program is to enhance problem-solving skills by focusing on algorithms, analysis and creativity. The program is already part of the curriculum in some Israeli high schools, and 30 elementary schools have tested a pilot version for younger students.

Roni Dayan, who is in charge of information and communications technology at the Education Ministry, says the new program puts cooperation and teamwork front and center.

“The schools will have work stations that will include laptops and mobile robots that can be moved between classrooms,” Dayan told Israel Hayom. “While one group of students studies coding, another one learns how to operate the robot, and then they swap. The program will comprise two hours in the weekly curriculum and teachers will receive continuous assistance from professionals.”

Education Minister Naftali Bennett praised the decision to expand the program.

“Robotics is a key part of who we are as humans, and coding helps develop our minds,” he said. “After the stellar success of the Israeli Cyber Championship [the ‘Cyber Olympics’], we are now adding elementary schools to our technology education program.”

 

IDF Chief: Over 50,000 Palestinians Cross Illegally Into Israel Every Day

(JNS.org) Tens of thousands of illegal Palestinians enter Israel every day, and more effective policies and penalties are needed to stem the flow, said Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot.

According to Eizenkot, over 50,000 Palestinians enter Israel illegally every day though gaps in the security barrier. In total, only 4,300 are arrested every year, but only 1,500 are indicted.

“The front in Judea and Samaria is a challenge to the IDF in recent months… the Palestinians see terror as a political and religious tool,” Eizenkot told Israeli lawmakers at a special hearing, Haaretz reported.

Israel needs to invest in improvements in procedures for granting work permits to Palestinians as well as harsher penalties for employers who provide sleeping quarters and transportation for illegal workers, he said.

“A balance must be created between the needs of the Palestinian economy and security requirements,” Eizenkot said. “Permit holders were not terrorists in the latest wave and it seems to me not even over the past decade. We are making great effort to close the gaps but there are still about 100 kilometers without a security fence.”

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