Netanyahu visits Hebron; IDF exposes missile factory: Israel Update

September 6, 2019

On Tuesday, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) exposed a new guided missile production factory in eastern Lebanon. This development came a few days after Hezbollah took responsibility for an attack on Sunday in which they fired anti-aircraft missiles at IDF military vehicles and an IDF base. They hit a military ambulance and a military post, narrowly missing an armored car with five soldiers. The decision to expose the facility is another step in the IDF’s attempt to reduce Hezbollah’s firepower and stockpiles. Additionally, Israel offered Hezbollah an end to the recent escalations in violence, which was ultimately rejected. Moreover, the US has blocked a UN Security Council statement on tensions between Israel and Hezbollah, rejecting any criticism of Israel and forcing the text to be scrapped.


Jason Greenblatt, US special envoy to the Middle East and architect behind the “Deal of the Century,” is leaving the administration, the White House announced. He will stay in his role over the next few weeks until President Donald Trump unveils his peace plan, expected sometime after the election on September 17. An administration official said that Greenblatt originally intended to join the administration for two years to analyze the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and to draft “a realistic and implementable vision to help solve the conflict.” Jewish and pro-Israel groups reacted to his departure


Despite warnings from the Palestinian Authority, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took part in a ceremony in Hebron marking the 90th anniversary of the 1929 Hebron Massacre in which 133 Jews and 110 Arabs were killed. The ceremony took place in the plaza outside of the Tomb of the Patriarchs, a holy site for Jews and Muslims. In January, Netanyahu decided not to renew the mandate for international monitoring forces that served in in Hebron since the 1994 massacre at Ibrahimi Mosque, a choice most viewed as a statement on Israeli sovereignty over Hebron. It was in the shadow of that decision that Netanyahu claimed that the city “will never be empty of Jews.”


Israel Police arrested 170 Druze men at the border with Jordan as they tried to reach Syria via Jordan, allegedly to meet with Syrian government officials. The convoy of buses and cars set out from the northern Galilee and Mount Carmel regions, and was supposedly traveling for religious purposes. Israel Police notified the group before they departed that travel to Syria was illegal, though the arrests came after months of investigation. Israel Police said they would continue working with the Shin Bet internal security service “to prevent terrorist-related activity and terror organizations from recruiting Israeli civilians."


Early voting in the September 17 election for Israeli diplomats and emissaries around the world ended Friday morning, with a relatively low turnout compared to the last national vote in April. The drop in vote participation could be a harbinger of trends in the national vote. Potential low turnout in the second election of the year — a result of voter fatigue as well as holiday season travel — could be a deciding factor in the results. Our colleagues at Jewish Federations of North America are hosting a webinar on September 10 at 2 PM Eastern, to explain Israel’s upcoming elections; you can register here.


Israeli government planners gave the green light to Israel’s first-ever master plan for energy infrastructure, which earmarks up to 10,000 acres of land for the construction of renewable energy plants by 2050. Previously, Israel dealt with plans for various natural resources separately. Under this new master plan, short- and long-term energy goals will be made in tandem to streamline how Israel achieves sustainability.



Shabbat Shalom,


Jackie Congedo, Director, JCRC

Shep Englander, CEO, Jewish Federation of Cincinnati 


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Yossi Klein Halevi, Ambassador Dennis Ross and Unorthodox Podcast coming to Cincinnati

As part of a drive to promote robust dialogue locally about Israel, the We Need to Talk initiative is hosting Yossi Klein Halevi, former US Ambassador Dennis Ross and Tablet Magazine's Unorthodox Podcast in the coming months at the Mayerson JCC. RSVP for one, two or all three here.


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