CUFI Talking Points: Israel Steadfast Amid “Wave of Terror”


Jewish communities in Israel are now facing what has been described as the “Third Intifada,” and the hourly escalation in attacks all over Israel has residents simultaneously on edge and resolute. On Thursday, October 1, a Hamas terror cell was dispatched from Nablus, and five armed men shot and killed Eitam Henkin and his wife, Naama, while the couple’s four children sat in the car their parents were driving in Samaria.

Since the murder of the Henkins, stabbings in Jerusalem’s Old City were followed by further attempts to kill Israelis by knife and gun-wielding terrorists, vowing to avenge alleged “attacks” on the Al-Aksa Mosque.

A tightly coordinated effort by the IDF, the Shin Bet, and Israeli police is underway, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pledged that Israel will prevail. Scores of terror suspects have been detained by Israeli forces.

In the face of such terror aimed at innocents, let us resolve to pray unceasingly for our beloved Israeli friends, as they continue their heroic efforts on the frontlines of radical Islam’s war on Judeo-Christian civilization. Let us match their inspiring resolve.

America Yawns as Jews Die

President Obama and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas

President Barak Obama and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas

By Jonathan S. Tobin

With each passing day, it becomes a clear that Israel is experiencing a wave of terror unseen since the dark days of the second intifada over a decade ago. There have been stabbing incidents on the streets of Jerusalem and even now in other parts of the country. Snipers, gasoline bombs, and gangs armed with lethal rocks are assaulting Jews driving on the roads in the West Bank. But as the toll of casualties rises, the reaction from the U.S. government and the international media is cool, detached indifference. The best the State Department can do in reaction to the attacks is to issue a lukewarm denial that it will abandon Israel at the United Nations. Meanwhile, the New York Times publishes a feature on the possibility of a third intifada treating the number of casualties on both sides as equal even though one total is of the victims of terror and the other includes slain terrorists.

But as the Palestinians seem to be succumbing to a form of mass madness in which much of the population seems to be joining in a mass game of “kill the Jew,” onlookers would do well to ponder to what extent their lack of a response is responsible for the escalation of the violence.

Let’s concede that the prime responsibility for bloodshed by both Jews and Arabs in the past weeks belongs to the Palestinian leadership. Over the past year, Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas has been guilty of cynically attempting to feed Muslim paranoia about the fate of the mosques on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount. The Israeli government has sought to preserve the current status quo on the sacred plateau and forbade Jewish prayer while also continuing to allow the Muslim Wakf to run the area even if that meant turning a blind eye to its massive vandalism with respect to ancient artifacts, especially those that illustrate the Jewish ties to the site. It is true that some Jews wish for Jewish prayer to be allowed in what is, after all, the holiest spot in Judaism, but they are not getting their way and their only activity is to ask more Jews to visit the Temple Mount, even as they are required to avoid prayer and subjected to abuse from Muslims.

But Abbas has seized on the Temple Mount issue in much the same way as some of his predecessors over the last century have done and the result has been similar: an upsurge in anti-Jewish violence. If Palestinians are now seeking out Jews to stab, stone, shoot, or incinerate as part of what is being called an “Al-Aqsa intifada,” it is largely because their leaders and PA-controlled media have told them that their mosques are in danger. Indeed, Abbas repeated this canard from the podium of the United Nations General Assembly last week.

Just as bad, Palestinians are also buying into the notion that peaceful resistance to Israel has failed and that violence might prod the Jewish state into giving them what they want. This notion is based in another lie since the PA leadership has repeatedly refused Israeli offers of peace and statehood.

It may be true that Abbas hopes to control the violence rather than let the territories sink into the chaos that marked the second intifada as the Palestinian economy tanked. But once unleashed, this wave of religious hatred is not so easily reined in, either by Israeli security forces or those who have fomented the violence.

But in assessing the blame for the current state of affairs, President Obama’s role should not be ignored.

Obama has at times, especially when seeking re-election or trying to blunt American Jewish opposition to the Iran nuclear deal, attempted to portray himself as a friend of Israel. But even when doing so he has tried to pose as a defender of a mythical lost Israel of the past that wanted peace and a critic of the actual Israel of the present that he implies is not willing to make sacrifices to end the conflict. Like Abbas’s lies, these assertions are based on lies. But though Americans have viewed the debate about Obama’s pro-Israel bona fides as essentially a political question, the impact of his statements has not been limited to votes in Congress.

Obama has demonstrated over the past seven years that no matter what the Palestinians do to sink peace hopes or provoke a response from the Israelis, he will blame Netanyahu. If Abbas thinks he will gain some advantage from refusing to negotiate with Israel and by promoting violence, it is because Obama has signaled that he approves of more pressure being put on the Netanyahu government. When, as it did this past spring, the State Department announces that it is “reassessing” its stance in defense of Israel at the UN, can it really surprise anyone when the Palestinians seek to test how far they can go in pushing the envelope on violence? Moreover, although the supposedly “hard-line” Netanyahu government is being blasted by both the left and right inside Israel for what is seen as a passive approach to the crisis, Abbas is also counting on a fiercely critical international response to any measures that Israel uses to quell the violence.

Abbas and his Hamas rivals wish each other dead and the only thing separating the PA leader from eternity is Israel’s determination that keeping him in power in the West Bank is better than the alternative. But both sides share the goal of isolating Israel. The point is, the more the U.S. equivocates about this wave of Palestinian terror, the less reason Palestinian terror groups will have to rein in their members or the population that they have whipped into a state of mass insanity rooted in religious hatred. More U.S. statements that see the deaths of terror victims and those of the terrorists as morally equivalent will only encourage more such fatalities. Read more at Commentary Magazine.

Courage in the Face of Terror: Israeli Women Fight off Terrorists

Liat Ohana Photo credit: Ynet/Screen Capture: Times of Israel

Liat Ohana Photo credit: Ynet/Screen Capture: Times of Israel

Liat Ohana struggled with an armed terrorist who barged into her home and attacked her and her mother • Rivi Lev-Ohayon was driving to work in Jerusalem when terrorists jumped on her car and tried to pull her out • Both women fought off their attackers.

“I came home with all my shopping and just as I was about to shut the door behind me I felt a blow. The terrorist opened the door with a thrust of his gun. He grabbed me by the shirt and I thought my life was over,” Liat Ohana, a resident of Kiryat Gat in southern Israel, recalled.

On Wednesday afternoon, Amjad al-Jundi, a 20-year-old terrorist from the Hebron-adjacent village of Yatta, broke into Ohana’s apartment carrying an M16 rifle. The terrorist had snatched the gun from a soldier on a bus, whom he stabbed in the head. The soldier sustained light injuries. The rifle was not loaded.

Police officers called to the scene ultimately shot and killed the terrorist as he was exiting Ohana’s apartment.

Fortunately, Ohana’s children, aged 9 and 10, were not at home during the attack. “I immediately knew that the man was a terrorist. After he entered the house, he went to the kitchen to get a knife. I was so frightened that I didn’t see what he grabbed — apparently he couldn’t find a good knife. At that moment I screamed to high heaven and ran from the house along with my mother,” Ohana recounted.

“I’m sure that he didn’t want to shoot my mother and me, because I think that he did not have any ammunition or a magazine in the gun, and that is why he was looking for a knife to stab us with. I realized that he was an Arab when he said some words in Arabic, but I was so scared that I didn’t understand what he was saying or what he wanted,” she said.

“When the terrorist realized that there was no magazine in the rifle I yelled to my mother to run from the house. He began fighting me and tried to stab me. I didn’t let up at all. I said to myself ‘if he hurts me, my mother will be hurt too.’ During the struggle I grabbed his gun because I was very worried that he would shoot us. I fought like a lioness. I didn’t let him stab me or physically hurt me, and I fought back. When he realized that he didn’t get me, he let go and went into the house. It was at that moment that my mother and I were able to flee. We ran for our lives.”

Ohana’s husband Yaron added that “suddenly I got a call from my wife telling me that there was a terrorist in the house. I panicked, because my wife and my mother in law were alone in the house — two women facing an armed terrorist is a truly unpleasant situation. Luckily, the terrorist’s gun was not loaded.”

“It is very fortunate that this did not happen during the holiday break. Frankly, this incident could have ended very differently and we feel very upset. When my wife called I thought that the worst had happened, but thank god the police acted professionally and neutralized the terrorist.”

A child living in the Ohanas’ apartment building witnessed the incident and recounted that “we were home. At around 1:30 p.m. we heard yelling outside and we saw people running out of a bus. My brother, who saw the terrorist run into our building with a gun, told my dad. We immediately locked our door. We even saw the terrorist on our floor — my dad saw him through the peep hole in the door. He was holding a weapon.”

“My father called the police and they arrived. We saw a lot of police cars. After a few seconds we saw the police enter the building and then we heard a few shots. It was really scary,” he said.

Omer Ohayon, a passenger on the bus that the terrorist took to Kiryat Gat, said that “the soldier and the terrorist yelled at each other. The terrorist spoke Arabic. The passengers started yelling out of panic, ‘Terrorist, terrorist!’ and others called for the driver to stop. The driver stopped and opened all the doors and everyone fled. The soldier continued struggling with the terrorist until he managed to wrestle it from him.”

According to eyewitness accounts, the terrorist also confronted the driver, who kicked the terrorist in the chest prompting him to flee into the apartment building.

“I saw death before my eyes”

Just like every other morning, attorney Rivi Lev-Ohayon drove from her home in Tekoa to her office in Jerusalem on Wednesday. But this time, this routine drive was life threatening.

Rivi, together with seven other drivers, came under attack in a terrorist ambush in near Beit Sahour. Her car was pelted with rocks and an angry mob almost succeeded in yanking her out of her vehicle and lynching her. Luckily she managed to get away, sustaining only light injuries. Another person was lightly hurt in the face.

“I arrived at the Beit Sahour area and about 50 meters (160 feet) from the Border Police checkpoint I saw a group of masked assailants. I told myself that my number had come up,” Rivi recounted the terror from her hospital bed in Jerusalem on Wednesday.

“I took a U-turn to get away from them and then about ten of them jumped on my car and threw rocks. One of them opened the car door and I thought they were going to lynch me. It was a miracle that I was spared,” she said.

“He kicked me in the arm, the legs and the thighs. After he backed off I managed to lock the doors and fled. I hit the gas pedal and went back to Tekoa. I was hysterical.”

In fact, Lev-Ohayon had imagined the worst. “I saw death right before my eyes. My head was bleeding. They had murder in their eyes and only one of them yelled out, ‘Halas!’ [Stop!].”

“It was a miracle that I wasn’t lynched,” she went on to say. “The moment they attacked me I said to myself ‘that’s it. I’m dead. My daughters will not have a mother.’ I have three little girls. I felt that I have to live, for my family. My head was split open from the assault and I have a bruise on my arm, swelling and internal bleeding and my jaw is swollen.”

Luckily, Lev-Ohayon managed to flee her attackers. “I sped away from there and made my way to the Tekoa checkpoint. On the way a Border Police vehicle passed by me and I honked to get their attention but they didn’t notice so I kept driving to Tekoa. I received initial medical care at the Tekoa gates.”

Lev-Ohayon remarked that she didn’t know how she will get to her office in Jerusalem from now on. “It is a difficult feeling. My home is in Tekoa and my work is in Jerusalem. How am I supposed to get to Jerusalem? The situation is unbearable.”

“They attacked me from every direction. From now on I will only drive with armored windows and I will always remember to lock the car doors. I will not drive in a car that is not armored. I am terrified of driving home from the hospital. If this happened right under the noses of the Border Police, it could easily happen again. This is life and death.”

Several hours after the incident, Palestinians reported that two Palestinians had been seriously hurt by settler fire near Beit Sahour. They later changed their story to two Palestinians lightly hurt. A closer investigation revealed that an Israeli driver who was also pelted with rocks had gotten out of his car and fired into the air, then immediately driving to the checkpoint and reporting the events. Read more at Israel Hayom.

Soldier Lightly Injured in Stabbing Attack in Central Tel Aviv

Two Stabbing Attacks 10-8-2015

Female soldier wounded by screwdriver-wielding attacker near Defense Ministry headquarters, second in day; attacker said shot after chase


Rescuers: Soldier suffers light injuries from stab wound in head
A spokesperson for the MDA rescue service says the soldier was stabbed in the head, but only suffered light injuries in the attack.

Tel Aviv attacker shot after chase
The stabber in the Tel Aviv attack has been shot and “neutralized,” after a chase, officials report.

According to Channel 2, four people were injured in the attack.

The soldier’s condition after being knifed is unclear.

Attacker escapes after stabbing near Defense Ministry HQ
The soldier was stabbed near Defense Ministry headquarters on Begin Avenue in the center of Tel Aviv.

The attacker escaped from the scene after grabbing her gun, and forces are searching for him or her, Channel 2 reports. Read more at the Times of Israel.