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Assistance to the Palestinians during the December storm

Israel, This past weekend an intense winter storm hit the region. Israel, Gaza and the West Bank all suffered from severe infrastructural problems, flooding and other severe, weather-related events. The IDF and COGAT have worked to provide assistance to civilians in need wherever possible.

The Gaza Strip

• Approximately 100 Palestinians have sustained injuries as a result of the weather, 4 of whom suffered serious injuries.
• Widespread power outages have been experienced throughout the Gaza Strip for more than 24 hours.
• Approximately 1,000 living structures have sustained serious damage.
• 760 families have been evacuated from their residences to 17 schools and other public structures throughout the Gaza Strip.
• 70 tunnels have collapsed as a result of the weather conditions.
• Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have expressed their gratitude regarding Israeli assistance.

The West Bank

• Widespread blockages of roads (including 60, 443, 35), mainly in Judea, Binyamin and Nablus.
• Power outages throughout Tulkarem, Qalqiliyah, Nablus, Bethlehem and Ramallah.
• The water supply to the Governmental Hospital in Ramallah has been cut off as a result of the power outages.
• Several buildings have collapsed in Hebron City and the Jerusalem Periphery as a result of the weather conditions, no injuries were sustained.

Assistance to the Palestinian Population

Kerem Shalom was opened specially on Friday (13 Dec) to allow 5 tankers containing 110 tons of cooking gas to enter the Gaza Strip.
• Also on Friday, four water pumps, belonging to Mekorot, the Israeli water company, entered the Gaza Strip and are currently being operated in Rafah, Sheikh Reduan and Khan Younis.
• On Sunday (15 Dec) Kerem Shalom commercial crossing was open for the first time ever for human passage. 16 people entered Gaza including international aid workers and medical patients returning from treatment in Israel. Two individuals also entered Israel through the crossing. Additionally, two ambulance transfers took place at the crossing.
• Also on Sunday, large volumes of fuel and supplies entered Gaza through Kerem Shalom including:
• * 241 tons of cooking gas.
* 223,000 liters of Benzene.
* 763,000 liters of diesel fuel.
* Two trucks of emergency supplies donated by the ICRC.
*148 trucks of consumer goods.
• UNRWA and the WFP have been distributing emergency supplies (including food rations) throughout the Gaza Strip. Mercy Corps is readying emergency supplies for displaced families throughout the Gaza Strip.
• UNRWA has supplied an additional 10,000 liters of diesel to ensure the continued operation of water pumps.

The West Bank

Measures taken by the IDF and Cogat to assist the civilian population and mitigate damages from the storm include:
• Assistance in fixing power outages around the West Bank in cooperation with the Israeli Electrical Company.
• On Friday (13 Dec), numerous Palestinians trapped in their cars around the Migdalim Intersection (Nablus) were rescued by the IDF.
• On Saturday (14 Dec), the IDF assisted in an extraction of an on-duty Palestinian ambulance trapped by weather conditions near Ofrah (Ramallah) by the IDF. Also on Saturday, the IDF provided aid in the evacuation of three pregnant Palestinian women stuck on Rd. 35 (Hebron), even offering a helicopter for the evacuation of one of the women who had entered into labor.
• On Sunday (15 Dec), the snow-covered access road to the Nebi-Samuel village was cleared by IDF Vehicles. Soldiers and officers from COGAT's Jerusalem Periphary District Coordination and Liaison unit distributed food rations and supplies to the residents.
• Assistance to many Palestinians stranded in their cars in the Ramallah district, as well as the opening of the Courthouse Crossing 24 hours a day in order to allow passage for humanitarian cases


IDF Soldier, Sergeant Shlomi Cohen, was killed in a shooting on the Lebanese border

Sergeant Shlomi Cohen from Afula was injued while driving in his car near his outpost on the border. He was evacuated to a hospital and died of his wounds. The attacker was a soldier in the Lebanese army.

IDF spokesman: The IDF continues to investigate the incident . The IDF will not tolerate any violation or attempt to harm Israeli citizens and reserves the right to respond when and where he sees fit.

As result of accident during training in the Golan Heights Four soldiers seriously wounded

Four soldiers were wounded today in a training accident that occurred during the 401 Brigade exercise in the Golan Heights. Condition of two of the injured are in serious and two others sustained light to moderate injuries. The tank crew injured with burns and smoke inhalation after a fire started.

Families have been notified. Following preliminary questioning, it was decided to renew the Armored Corps training which have been frozen. Event details are now being investigated fully.

60 FIDF leaders from across the U.S. visit Israel to show gratitude for IDF soldiers

Jerusalem, Israel, Over 60 prominent Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) leaders from across the United States embarked on a unique seven-day journey to Israel as part of the FIDF National Leadership Mission to Israel to show their appreciation and support for Israel’s soldiers.

The special Leadership Mission, led by National Chairman, Nily Falic, National President, Julian Josephson, and National Director and CEO, Maj. Gen. (Res.) Yitzhak (Jerry) Gershon, brought national and local community leaders from FIDF’s chapters across the U.S. together with the brave men and women of the IDF. The group met with soldiers and commanders on various military bases across Israel, including the Gaza Division’s headquarters of Re’im, the Intelligence Corps training base, the Regional Division 36 on the Golan Heights, and the Tel-Nof Air Force base, where participants learned from F-15 pilots about the advanced technologies used in Israeli Air Force (IAF) operations. The group also participated in briefings by officers of both the Southern Command and Northern Command of the IDF.

Mission participants had the opportunity to meet with several top-level government and IDF officials, including the President of the State of Israel, Shimon Peres, Head of Military Intelligence, Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, Chief of the IDF Education Corps, Brig. Gen. Avner Paz Tzuk, the former Minister of Internal Security and former Head of Shabak (Shin Bet), the Internal General Security Service of Israel, Avi Dicter, and former Israeli Senior Official on Arab Affairs, Avi Melamed.

This extraordinary journey throughout Israel culminated with a special FIDF ceremony at the Smolarz Auditorium in Tel Aviv University on November 6, 2013. Hundreds of soldiers and commanders, FIDF IMPACT! scholarship recipients, FIDF supporters, and members of the IDF general staff came together for an evening of celebration of and gratitude for Israel's soldiers and the hard work they endure to protect the Jewish homeland and its people around the world.

“The Friends of the IDF delegation which has embarked on this important journey to Israel signifies the deeply rooted connection between the Jewish people, the State of Israel, and the brave soldiers who serve to protect it,” said FIDF National Director and CEO, Maj. Gen. (Res.) Yitzhak (Jerry) Gershon.


Soldier's body was found in Judea and Samaria

The soldier is Sergeant Tomer Chazan, 20, from Bat Yam.
ISA: "Man arrested confessed to the murder. His goal was to 'trade' the soldier's body for the release of his brother. Investigation is still in progress and more arrests are expected."

The body of Sergeant Tomer Chazan, 20, of Bat Yam, was in Judea and Samaria, his family was notified.

Shin Bet said that following actions taken and intelligence it was turned out that the murderer is a resident of Qalqiliya that worked with the soldier met him and convinced him to come to his home. IDF, Shin Bet and SWAT raided the house and arrested the suspect. During interrogation he confessed that he led the soldier and killed him so that he could bargain for the release of his brother with the soldier's body to his brother, a Tanzim activist imprisoned for committing terrorist attacks.

Shin Bet noted that "the investigation is still in progress. More arrests are expected".

Ephraim Brigade commander, Col. Ran Kahane, said regarding the incident that "during the night, following reports that a soldier is absent, numerous forces at Ephraim Territorial Brigade, along with the defense forces and the police operated to locate the soldier unfortunately we discovered the soldier's body".

IDF soldier killed in the shooting attack in Hebron

The victim is Sgt Gal (Gabriel) Kobe from Tirat Hacarmel. Investigation of the incident revealed that he was shot by a Palestinian sniper near the Tomb of the Patriarchs.

Sergeant Gal (Gabriel) Kobi was killed by one bullet that hit his neck near the checkpoint "pharmacy "in Hebron city. Gal Kobe was taken to Shaarey Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem where he died on the operating table.

Dr. Daniel Fink, a heart surgeon - at Shaarey Zedek Hospital, said that "the soldier was in fact dead when he arived. His injuries were so severe that he lost so much blood that he had no chance. He came to the emergency room with a pulse, no blood pressure,it was already too late".

IDF operates on an operational level - operational intelligence to capture the shooters. Numerous of forces are now conducting a search operation in the Hebron city.

Following event blockade was imposed on the city of Hebron and the IDF carried out extensive searches, while intelligence effort to locate the terrorist or terrorists responsible for the attack.


The Yom Kippur War, October 6, 1973, 40th Anniversary

The war, which started on the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, the Day of Atonement, was the fiercest Arab-Israeli war since the 1948 War of Independence. Egypt and Syria attacked Israel, catching Israel off guard. 

Israel, The war was so called because it started on the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, the Day of Atonement (October 6, 1973). It came almost as a complete surprise and warning notice was given too late for an orderly call-up of the reserves before zero hour.
kipur suez_crosing
The Egyptians and the Syrians made some significant initial gains: the former crossed the Suez Canal and established themselves along its entire length on the east bank; the latter overran the Golan Heights and came within sight of the Sea of Galilee. However, the wheel turned very quickly. Counterattacking swiftly, sometimes even foolhardily, within a few days the IDF was on the west bank of the Suez Canal, at a distance of 100 kms from the Egyptian capital, Cairo, and within artillery range of the airfields around the Syrian capital, Damascus.
Egypt, which at first had refused a cease-fire, now accepted it avidly, as did Syria. Considering the adverse initial circumstances, the speed and the thoroughness with which the IDF had been able to reverse its fortunes was remarkable. Yet the Yom Kippur War went down in Israel's history as a qualified failure. The surprise rankled; and the cost was heavy: 2,688 soldiers fell.
Intelligence was faulted for failing to sound the alarm in time - the Chief of Staff, David (Dado) Elazar and his Chief of Intelligence had to resign. Too many airplanes were lost to Russian-made SAM-missiles. Some experts reached the sweeping conclusion that the tank had seen its day, in view of its vulnerability to Sagger missiles and infantry-operated RPGs. Of 265 Israeli tanks in the first echelon, only 100 survived.
The branch that distinguished itself during the Yom Kippur War was the Navy, which only now came of age: without a single loss of its own, it had sunk 34 enemy vessels; had secured the coasts of the country; and had succeeded in restricting the enemy to his bases. This was indeed the Navy's War.
The IDF deterrent capacity had been weakened as a result of the war. It was, however, partially restored in a spectacular and successful operation: the Entebbe Raid of 1976 - renamed Operation Jonathan, after the young commander of the ground forces who was its only military casualty. The Jewish and Israeli passengers of a hijacked Air France liner - carefully selected by the hijackers - were rescued from the hands of a German group of terrorists, in far-away Uganda. The resourcefulness and daring of the operation - down to transportation by plane of a black Mercedes of the sort used by Uganda's dictator, to confuse the enemy - aroused the imagination of the world.
kipur golda_sharon
The Yom Kippur War was followed by a series of Separation-of-Forces Agreements with Egypt and Syria. These envisaged a strip of territory in which no troops would be allowed, backed by another strip, where the presence of troops was carefully restricted.
The agreement with Syria is still in force and UNDOF, the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force, is still there to supervise its implementation. The agreement with Egypt has been replaced - after lengthy negotiations which began with the dramatic visit to Jerusalem of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat (November 1977) - by the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty of 1979, the first to be signed between Israel and one, the most important, of its Arab neighbors. It was based on the withdrawal of Israel from the whole of the Sinai peninsula and its demilitarization in return for full recognition of Israel by Egypt and establishment of embassies and full trade and tourist relations.
The Palestinian terrorist organisations again came to the fore. They were able to establish their bases in Lebanon. Not that Lebanon was more hostile to Israel than other Arab countries, on the contrary; but the central government of Lebanon was too weak to prevent the establishment of "a state within a state". After a particularly bloody terrorist raid on two civilian passenger buses travelling on the coastal road near Tel Aviv, which resulted in 37 killed and 76 wounded (March 1978), the IDF undertook a swift operation: Operation Litani (March 1978) against terrorist bases in Lebanon. Its impact, however, did not last very long.


Hamas Holiday Terror Attack Planned For Jerusalem Thwarted by IDF

Israel Security Agency has reported that a Hamas cell from Ramallah planned a terror attack that was to take place in Jerusalem over the Rosh Hashanah/Yom Kippur holidays in September. The attack was thwarted by a Givati Brigade soldiers. The Hamas cell had also been producing rockets.

A joint effort between the Israel Police, Border Police, IDF and the ISA resulted in the arrest last month of several members of Hamas’ military infrastructure. The terrorists were from the Jerusalem and Ramallah branches of Hamas’ military wing. They were apprehended during advanced stages of planning a bomb attack in Jerusalem, which they intended to carry out during the Rosh Hashanah/Yom Kippur Holidays.

The leader of the group was Hamdi Hasneen Hamdi Romana, born in 1991, whose father, Hasneen Romana, was one of the leaders of Hamas’ military wing in Ramallah.

During the investigation, the ISA uncovered a weapons laboratory at the home of Romana, with chemicals used to make explosives, and educational materials with instructions on explosives production. The ISA said that during their search they were in contact with a laboratory worker and two residents of Ramallah who provided him with chemicals in order to produce explosives. The three were detained for questioning and pleaded guilty to the charges.
The investigation also found that the terrorist cell had been planning other attacks, including: An attempt to harm IDF soldiers in Ramallah through a booby-trapped house; intention to produce rockets and launch them at Israeli communities near Ramallah; and an attempt to procure guns to fire at IDF soldiers at the Himza checkpoint in North-East Jerusalem.

The ISA emphasized that the newly-exposed terrorist cell demonstrates the high motivation of terrorists in the West Bank, lead by Hamas, to carry out attacks in Israel.

Increase in terrorism
Members of the terrorist cell were arrested by soldiers of the Givati ​​Brigade. “The infrastructure was very extensive and it took about two weeks to catch all of the members”, said the Tzabar battalion commander, Lt. Col. Liran Hajbi. “We carried out the raid of the house of the head of the cell in the heart of Ramallah and arrested two members, and through them we found the other members. The material we found there was advanced.”

During the raid, residents of the neighborhood rioted in order to prevent the arrest. “We faced resistance even within the house,” said Lt. Col. Hajbi. “But the soldiers came prepared, and ready. We arrived with a reserve force and an extraction force, and we entered under maximum security. We isolated the operating space, and prevented public disturbances. The extraction had to be done swiftly.”

The Tzabar Battalion began operating in the Ramallah area in recent months. According to Lt. Col. Hajbi, last month saw a significant increase in terrorism in the area. “Arrests and raids were carried out every night to reduce the chance of terrorist attacks,” he added. “About a week and a half ago we carried out a similar raid. The battalion’s spirits are high and we will continue to work hard during the upcoming nights.”

IDF Forces Uncover Illegal Weapons During Operational Activity

IDF forces arrested seven terror suspects in Nablus where soldiers also uncovered illegal weapons including a large explosive device and gas and shock grenades in the course of operational activity.

Soldiers from the Givati Brigade’s Shaked Battalion seized a cache of illegal weapons Sunday night during the course of operational activity in Nablus. Among the weapons were a large explosive device, a hunting rifle and gas and shock grenades.

The explosive device was discovered after one of the arrested terror suspects confessed to its existence and location. “In the course of an arrest, we received information that there was an explosive device hidden near our location,” said Shaked Company Commander Major Cohen.

“We received a change in mission and navigated to a storehouse which led off from one of the alleys – there we found the device. Bomb disposal soldiers came to detonate the device. My assessment is that it was a large explosive. Though [finding the explosive] was not the original mission that we were sent on, the force was able to adopt the necessary flexibility required of us in a dynamic area such as this.”

The remaining weapons were found in the home of a terror suspect from the Tanzim terrorist organization. The man was found in possession of a hunting rifle, gas and shock grenades, gunpowder and ammunition.
Lieutenant Raviv, whose reconnaissance company soldiers discovered the weapons said: “In the search that we conducted in the home we found additional weapons, hidden in cupboards and under mattresses. It was a relatively large quantity of weapons.”

PM Netanyahu Meets with IDF General Staff Forum: "Today, the IDF is stronger than ever"

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with the IDF General Staff forum, including Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz and General Staff officers.
At a toast for Rosh Hashanah, Prime Minister Netanyahu said, "Today, the IDF is stronger than ever. I rely on you, we rely on you and the Israeli people rely on you. I am certain that you are capable of carrying out any mission that we charge you with. We will see to it that the Jewish People have a good year." Defense Minister Yaalon said, "Those here know that the relative quiet on the borders stem from the work of this group, led by the Chief-of-Staff and the General Staff. May we have a year of security and prosperity." IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Gantz said, "This is an opportunity to thank all of the people for the continuous work throughout the year. There is no arena in which something is not happening. There is no field in which the IDF is not active along with its partners in the security establishment who are not here, and along with the Defense Ministry of course. At a quick glance, the southern border has been closed. We had Operation Pillar of Defense. We learned the lessons and carried out many operations in Judea and Samaria. The Golan Heights is not as it was one year ago. There have been many operations which we cannot expand on in front of the cameras, of course, and preparations for what may come. All in all, Mr. Defense Minister and Mr. Prime Minister, we feel that we have someone to take orders from and with whom we can work. And we thank you wish you a happy new year."
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