A rocket launched by Hamas in Gaza struck a Yeshiva building, housing both a synagogue and school, in the southern Israeli town of Sderot late on Thursday, causing damage but no injuries. The attack was the second of the day at southern Israel from Gaza after the Iron Dome air-defense system intercepted a missile just after midnight. In response, Israeli planes carried out multiple airstrikes in the Gaza Strip early Friday. Israel’s incoming rocket alert systems will now sound in specific communities where a threat is identified rather than the current array of sirens, which are triggered throughout larger regions, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) has announced.
In an interview at his Jerusalem residence last week, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said Israel has rights to territories in the West Bank, commonly known in Israel as Judea and Samaria. “Under certain circumstances,” Friedman told The New York Times on Saturday, “I think Israel has the right to retain some, but unlikely all, of the West Bank.” The salient word here is “retain” – that Israel has the right to “retain” some of the territory. In the words quoted in the Times article, Friedman never uttered the word “annex,” which is significant, because annex has different, more far-reaching implications. There has been a debate over whether Friedman’s comments are a departure from existing US policy. Some believe, for Friedman to say that Israel will retain an unspecified amount of territory is, therefore, not a fundamental break from US policy. Palestinians fumed, Jewish settlers rejoiced, and the punditocracy predicted gloom and doom.
A handful of protesters carrying Jewish Pride flags, a rainbow-striped flag with a Star of David in the middle, were allowed into the DC Dyke March despite a ban on the flags. “You are creating a binary in which the only way to be a dyke is to explicitly denounce the existence of the Jewish state, which is an important thing for most Jews, the vast majority of Jews in the world” said Amanda Berman, the founder of Zioness.
Jordan, Egypt, and Morocco will join Saudi Arabia and Gulf States at a US-sponsored Bahrain summit in late June aimed at supporting the Palestinian economy. Jordan is attending so as not to be left out of the discussions, although it has been consistently opposed to any change in the peace process, as it supports the creation of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital. Lebanon rejected summit, hours after Jordan, Egypt, and Morocco informed US President Donald Trump’s administration that they would participate. Iraq has also declined. Palestinian officials urged Egypt and Jordan to reconsider their attendance, voicing concern that it would weaken Arab opposition to Washington's coming peace plan.
Israel’s Strategic Affairs Ministry released a report revealing that a previously undisclosed two-year ministry campaign to dry up the funds of pro-Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement organizations with ties to terrorist organizations has resulted in the closure of 30 financial accounts in Western countries. The accounts—20 in Europe and 10 in the United States—were closed largely as a result of the ministry revealing direct ties shared between the organizations and terrorist groups or operatives.
Labor leader MK Avi Gabbay, who has faced pressure to resign ever since he led the party in April to its worst-ever election showing, announced that he would leave political life after stepping down as party leader. In related news, Labor MK Itzik Shmuli announced that he is running for leader of his party in the July 2 leadership race. Shmuli won the most votes in the last primary for Labor’s Knesset list, making him a leading candidate in the contest to replace Gabbay.
On Wednesday, a balloon-borne explosive device launched from the Gaza Strip detonated over a community in southern Israel, as tensions along the border rose. The explosion caused neither injury nor damage, but came as Gazans have stepped up launches of balloon-borne incendiary devices into Israel, with many of them causing wildfires. Israel launched a retaliatory strike against “underground terror infrastructure” in a Hamas compound in Gaza early Thursday morning, after a rocket from Gaza was intercepted by the Iron Dome aerial defense system just after midnight on Wednesday.
Jackie Congedo, Director, JCRC
Shep Englander, CEO, Jewish Federation of Cincinnati
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