Source: The Times of Israel
5 injured by barrages in Ashkelon, Ashdod; IDF sees fastest call-up of reservists in its history; IDF claims control of all border towns, but says terrorists may remain
By EMANUEL FABIAN and TOI STAFF
Today, 2:05 pm
Five people were wounded on Monday, two of them seriously, as heavy barrages of rockets were fired by terrorists in the Gaza Strip at towns in southern and central Israel, including one that exploded near Ben Gurion International Airport.
The Magen David Adom ambulance service said it treated four people wounded in Ashkelon by rocket impacts, including a 75-year-old man in serious condition, two men aged 55 and 30 in moderate condition, and one person who was lightly hurt.
Sirens were heard in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Raanana and as far north as Baqa al-Gharbiyye.
It was the first time sirens were heard in many of the locations since Saturday.
Read more: https://www.timesofisrael.com/heavy-rocket-fire-on-central-southern-israel-300000-reservists-mobilized-in-48-hours/
As the war in southern Israel rages on, and the death toll already reaching 700 and counting, Israeli officials have obtained information about at least dozens more Israeli citizens who have been kidnapped and are being held captive in Gaza. Among the captives are dozens of American citizens, Thai workers employed in greenhouses in Gaza border towns, as well as citizens of Great Britain, Germany and Russia.
Three of the captives are 34-year-old Adi Koplon - a Canadian citizen and a resident of Holit; Liri Elbag an IDF observer in Nahal Oz and Yafa Adar - an 85-year-old woman who was filmed being taken into the Gaza Strip by armed terrorists.
Yafa's granddaughter, Adva Adar, wrote a post on Facebook and included a photo of her kidnapped grandmother next to armed terrorists. "This is my grandmother! She was captured and transferred to Gaza. Her name is Yafa Adar, she is 85 years old! My grandmother, who founded the kibbutz with her own bare hands, who believed in Zionism, who loved this country that abandoned her, is kidnapped, probably thrown out somewhere, suffering from severe pain, without medication, without food and water. Scared to death, alone."
Adva also wrote that "no one talks to us, no one knows a thing. We obtained the information through videos that have been circulated online. I want this picture to be engraved in the minds of all members of this disgraceful government. Let them understand that there are people here, elderly and children, women and men, with names and families. I want them not to sleep at night and do whatever is necessary until these people return home."
Adi kidnapped to Gaza, her kids left at the border
Adi Koplon was also abducted by terrorists from her home on Saturday alongside her two children, one is four years old and the other is only six months old. However, the toddlers were found abandoned at the border.
Her father-in-law, Yondav Koplon, said that "Adi was at home alone with her children, because her husband, Benny, was with his brother at a party in Nirim. My two sons were besieged after the party. The partner of one of them was murdered and Adi was kidnapped by Hamas, along with my two grandchildren, from their home. At the border, they separated the mother from her children and Adi was taken into Gaza, while for unknown reasons they abandoned the children at the border in the dead of night."
By TOI STAFF
13 August 2023
A former IDF general argued that Israels control of the West Bank has similarities to discriminatory policies under Nazi Germany, and expressed fear that soldiers will not be motivated to defend the country if the coalition succeeds in shackling the judiciary.
Amiram Levin, who headed the IDF Northern Command, commanded the elite Sayeret Matkal unit and served as deputy director of the Mossad spy agency, told Kan radio on Sunday morning that the military is not only suffering harm to its preparedness because of reservists threats and refusals to serve amid the governments judicial overhaul, but is also rotten to its core due to Iaraels ongoing presence in the West Bank.
It stands on the side, looks at the rioting settlers, and begins to be a partner in war crimes, Levin told the public broadcaster. Its 10 times worse than the issue of [military] readiness and I say honestly, I am not angry at the Palestinians, I am angry at us. We are killing ourselves from the inside.
Recent months have seen a rise in settler violence, with the United Nations earlier this month reporting close to 600 attacks on Palestinians and their property over the past six months. The Israeli defense establishment recorded similar numbers during that period.
According to official data provided to The Times of Israel, there were 680 incidents of stone-throwing or assault of Palestinians by settlers in the first six months of 2023, compared to 950 in all of 2022.
The interviewer asked Levin if he agreed with a May 2016 speech by former Meretz MK Yair Golan, who was IDF deputy chief of staff at the time, in which he said that processes in Israel were similar to some in Europe in the years leading up to the Holocaust.
Levin also assailed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahus appointment of draft dodger cabinet members such as National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, who was not accepted for mandatory military service by the IDF because of his extremist activities.
The prime minister is being exploited by a messianic group of criminals, former hilltop youth, people who dont even know what democracy is, he charged, referring to extremist settler activists.
They come from areas where there is no democracy, from the West Bank, where for 56 years there hasnt been democracy there, said Levin. There is absolute apartheid
Continued @ :
The Peace Now organization says Israel has approved more settlement construction and development in the seven months since the start of 2023 than in any other previous year.
Under the hardline right-wing government, authorities have advanced the approval of 12,855 homes, passing the previous record of 12,000 in 2020, the organization says.
It has also retroactively legalized 22 illegal outposts, another unprecedented number, the group notes.
For more info see :
US President Joe Biden said that Israels leaders need to slow down their divisive overhaul of the judiciary and instead strive to achieve a broad consensus with opposition parties on the issue, reportedly warning that the special relationship between the two countries could sustain irreparable damage.
Biden made the comments to New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, whom he sat down with in the White House Tuesday after meeting earlier in the day with President Isaac Herzog, who is visiting Washington.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahus Likud and its allied far-right and ultra-Orthodox parties have been barreling ahead with their overhaul plan, which has been met with months of mass protests from critics who say it will weaken the courts power to act as a check and balance against the Knesset, and dangerously erode Israels democratic foundations.
By TOI STAFF
New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman penned a column Tuesday warning that the Biden administration is reassessing its ties with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahus government, amid growing American alarm over the actions of the hard-right Israeli coalition.
Friedman said US President Joe Biden believes the government is using its judicial overhaul push as a smokescreen to engage in unprecedented radical behavior that is undermining our shared interests with Israel, our shared values and the vitally important shared fiction about the status of the West Bank that has kept peace hopes there just barely alive.
Continued : https://www.timesofisrael.com/ny-timess-friedman-netanyahu-coalition-making-rethink-of-us-israel-ties-inevitable/
BEN GVIR: ISRAEL NO LONGER ANOTHER STAR IN AMERICAN FLAG
US president says Jerusalem shares blame for recent violence due to cabinet ministers who push settlement expansion while rejecting Palestinian rights
By JACOB MAGID
US President Joe Biden said Sunday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahus coalition government has some of the most extreme members hes seen in Israel, and that cabinet ministers who back settling anywhere they want in the West Bank are part of the problem in the conflict.
In addition to offering rare comments during a CNN interview on his thoughts about the Israeli government, he provided an update on his administrations effort to broker a normalization deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia, saying, Were a long way from there.
Biden was pressed on what it would take for him to extend an invitation to Netanyahu to visit the White House, but he dodged the question, noting that Israeli President Isaac Herzog will be coming to Washington next week.
Source : https://www.timesofisrael.com/biden-current-government-one-of-most-extreme-ive-seen-in-israel-saudi-deal-far-off/
By TOI STAFF
26 June 2023
A group of hundreds of Shin Bet veterans called on Monday for the government to immediately halt its freshly revived push to overhaul the judiciary, citing the critical damage it will cause to the countrys security.
The protest came a day after the coalition renewed its plan to advance the contentious legislation, whereupon reservists in elite IDF units said they would stop volunteering for duty if it was passed, in the latest revolt by members of the defense establishment.
Continuing with the legislation will tear an irreparable rift in Israeli society and will critically damage national resilience and the Israeli security system, read the letter from the Shin Bet veterans, according to Channel 13 news.
Reservists from the Special Operations Division, Unit 8200 and military doctors have announced an end to volunteering for the reserves if the government does not immediately stop the coup détat legislation, the group wrote, referring to elite combat units, the secretive cyberwarfare unit, and the medical corps. We are hearing about additional reservists from other units who are going to join [the protest].
Without democracy, there will be no army, there will be no security, and this will be the end of the State of Israel, the reservists said. We will defend with our bodies and souls in a nonviolent way democracy and the gatekeepers of Israel.
Source : https://www.timesofisrael.com/ex-shin-bet-agents-call-for-halt-to-overhaul-as-military-reservists-renew-rebellion/
By TOI STAFF
23 May 2023.
Most Americans think that Washington should reassess its ties with Israel if Jerusalem passes a controversial, drastic overhaul of the judiciary, according to a survey that examined opinions in both counties on the ties between them.
According to the poll, presented at the Herzliya conference by Amnon Cavari of The Institute for Liberty and Responsibility at Reichman University on Monday, 60 percent of Americans back a reevaluation of the bilateral relationship if the overhaul is legislated.
A similar number said the US should critique Israel over the plan, though there were sharp divisions between Republicans and Democrats on the issue.
The Gallup poll found that while most Israelis accept that Jerusalem should take into consideration Washingtons opinion on some matters, that does not extend to all issues, including military operations.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahus government is pushing the overhaul plan, which it says is needed to rein in an over-intrusive High Court of Justice. Critics say the reforms will sap the court of its ability to act as a check and balance to the executive and legislative branches, dangerously damaging Israels democratic character.
Continued @ https://www.timesofisrael.com/60-of-americans-back-reevaluating-ties-with-israel-if-judicial-reform-passes-poll/
By Eitay Mack May 22, 2023
Earlier this month, the European Unions embassy in Israel announced that it was canceling its Europe Day reception, scheduled for May 9, over far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvirs insistence on speaking at the event. Far from proving the strength of the human rights values of the European countries, as stated by the EU delegations spokesperson, the decision is just another illustration of these countries hypocrisy in their engagement with Israel-Palestine.
The announcement came after a week of media reports suggesting that the EU delegation was hoping the Netanyahu government would send another minister to the reception instead. If they would have been fine with another minister from the most extreme-right government in Israels history speaking at the event, the EU diplomats may as well have gone ahead with Ben Gvirs participation and just covered their heads with blankets while he spoke.
Continued @ : https://www.972mag.com/european-union-ben-gvir-human-rights/
Eitay Mack is an Israeli human rights lawyer working to stop Israeli military aid to regimes that commit war crimes and crimes against humanity.