Israel and the Gaza-based terrorist organization Hamas may have reached a truce ending Operation Protective Edge late last August, but that didn't stop Hamas on Monday from firing rockets into the sea as part of tests to improve its ballistic capabilities and prepare for its next war against Israel.
Channel 2 reports that a full ten rockets were fired from the ruins of the Jewish community of Gush Katif into the Mediterranean Sea during the test, and that it was meant to expand the range of Hamas's rockets which have already reached Hadera outside of Haifa in the north.
Hamas has been busily developing its own domestically produced rockets, including the M-75 long range missile, given that Israel has been earnestly working to prevent outside arms from Hamas backers including Qatar, Turkey and Iran from reaching the terrorist group.
This is far from the first missile test Hamas has conducted since its last rocket war on the Jewish state, with the most recent being held late last month when two rockets were fired into the sea.
Hamas has not only been conducting tests; since the truce terrorists in Gaza have breached the ceasefire at least three times in rocket barrages on Israel, which Hamas has denied responsibility for despite being in control of the coastal enclave.
The most recent attack occurred last month, just days before the last rocket test, and one day after Hamas held its largest military exercise since Operation Protective Edge on the ruins of two former Israeli villages - Dugit and Nissanit - in Gaza which were evacuated in the 2005 Disengagement plan, allowing Hamas to take over.
In response to the rocket attack, the IAF struck Gaza concrete factories used to rebuild the terror tunnels leading into Israel to attack Israeli civilians. During the operation, the IDF destroyed over 30 such tunnels, but since it ended Hamas has been busily rebuilding them.
Several young Arab assailants armed with rubber straps, sticks and rocks entered the Hadar neighborhood in Haifa on Sunday, where they began beating passersby with the sticks and shouting "slaughter the Jew" in Arabic.
According to one of the testimonies from the attack, at around 11 p.m. the Arab youths arrived at Michael Street in the neighborhood and started threatening haredi residents on the street, with the sticks in their hands.
The haredi passersby fled from the threat of the Arab assailants, taking shelter in a Talmud Torah religious school, and from there they called up police forces who quickly arrived on the scene.
However, one of the residents who was coming home from a synagogue was less fortunate, as the Arab attackers began raining blows on him with the sticks and rocks.
Within minutes, police had arrested the attackers, and it became clear that they were minors. Police investigators from the Coastal District have opened an investigation into the circumstances of the attack.
Much of the Arab-on-Jew violence in Israel is carried out by minors, who cannot be prosecuted with the full force of the law. Legislation proposed by MK Danny Danon (Likud) and others calls for Arab minors who conduct rock throwing and other attacks to be penalized by having their parents lose state-funded child stipends.
"Parents must know that if they do not educate their children, they will receive fines and will not receive state funding. They need to understand that we are taking off the gloves," explained Danon.
A Farsi-language Iranian news site affiliated with the Islamic regime's Revolutionary Guards suggested that the sons of Israeli leaders are being targeted as a response to the Israeli airstrike in Syria last week, in which Iran's General Mohammad Ali Allahdadi was killed.
The news site, Mashregh News, detailed that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's sons Yair and Avner may be targeted, and likewise listed the sons of former prime ministers, including Ehud Olmert's son Shaul and Ariel Sharon's sons Gilad and Omri.
The article included an altered image of Netanyahu's sons behind crosshairs, seen from a sniper's scope perspective. It also included general background information on Yair and Avner that is readily available from the internet.
In the airstrike, six Iran-proxy Hezbollah terrorists were killed, including Jihad Mughniyeh who was the son of the late Hezbollah commander Imad Mughniyeh. Six Iranian soldiers were also killed, including Allahdadi.
Reportedly the 12 were engaged in a surveillance mission planning an attack on Israel from the Syrian side of the Golan Heights when they were taken out by a missile fired from an IDF helicopter.
In response, Gen. Hossein Salami, deputy commander of the Revolutionary Guards, threatened a missile attack on Israel, indicating it would come from Judea and Samaria and not from Lebanon.
Going further, Revolutionary Guards Minister Mohsen Rafighdoost said last Wednesday that the strike would pave the way for a war against Israel.
According to Kuwaiti sources, Israel ordered a specific assassination hit on Allahdadi as the general moved between Syrian outposts, through information gained via wiretapping.
A week after the Chief Rabbi of Iran sharply blamed the victims of the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris for causing their deaths by "insulting" Mohammed, the founder of Islam, members of the Iranian Jewish community have revealed he made the statements "under the pressure of the authorities."
In the rare statement to Iranian media, Rabbi Mashallah Golestan Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying those who "violat(e) God's prophets" are liable to the death penalty under Jewish law - despite the fact that Judaism in no way recognizes Mohammed as a prophet, insulting a prophet does not per sa carry a death penalty, and the death penalty can only be issued by the currently non-existent Sanhedrin supreme religious court.
But members of the Islamic regime's small Jewish community this week distanced themselves from the statements, and clarified that he was likely pressured into making them.
At the same time, members of the community said "there's no place for harming religion."
The rabbi was quoted as saying France should shut down the satirical magazine, claiming "to harm any religion is an offense to God, and violation of God's prophets is forbidden."
He added that those who violate this "are subject to one of the four forms of capital punishment - burning, stoning, strangling, and decapitation," according to "Jewish customs" which "of course have nothing to do with contemporary Zionism."
Rabbi Ahmadinejad replaced Iran's former chief rabbi, Rabbi Yosef Hamadani Cohen, after his death last year.
Iran had between 80,000 and 100,000 Jews before the revolution in 1979 but most have since fled, mainly to the United States, Israel and Europe; there are now only about 8,500, mostly in Tehran but also in Isfahan and Shiraz, major cities south of the capital.
Iranian Jews who have left the country have revealed that while Tehran outwardly presents a tolerant face regarding its Jewish community, Iranian Jews still face forms of persecution - including a functional ban on speaking about or supporting Israel, the Islamic Republic's sworn enemy.
They add that the regime often coerces or otherwise pressurizes the country's remaining Jews to exhibit their "support" for Tehran's stances, including enmity towards Israel.
Last March it was revealed that eight Iranian Jews between 1994 and 1997 were murdered on their way to Israel; more recently, an Iranian Jewish community member told AFP that a glass ceiling still exists in Iran for Jews in various fields and that murderers convicted of killing Jews receive light sentences.
The head of BBC Arabic has instructed editors not to use the word "terrorist" to describe the Islamist gunmen who murdered 12 people at the Paris offices of the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine.
Tarik Kafala told the UK's Independent newspaper that the term "terrorist" is too "loaded," and said the decision was in-line with the BBC's overall policy on reporting such attacks.
"We try to avoid describing anyone as a terrorist or an act as being terrorist. What we try to do is to say that 'two men killed 12 people in an attack on the office of a satirical magazine'. That’s enough, we know what that means and what it is," said Kafala.
"Terrorism is such a loaded word," he added. "The UN has been struggling for more than a decade to define the word and they can’t. It is very difficult to. We know what political violence is, we know what murder, bombings and shootings are and we describe them. That’s much more revealing, we believe, than using a word like terrorist which people will see as value-laden."
He also explained why the BBC, like other mainstream British media outlets, was censoring any images of the founder of Islam Mohammed, with the only exception being its inclusion of the front cover of the post-attack Charlie Hebdo "Survivors" edition.
But while "the cover has appeared… on a banner or on a newsstand, on our screens," he emphasized that "we haven’t shown it in full frame or real detail."
"We’re trying to minimize the insult while telling the story. We considered in great detail the risks to staff. We have people in Somalia, Yemen, Beirut and Libya. There were very strong editorial reasons for the BBC to show the cover because it was right at the centre of a huge international story," he explained.
BBC Arabic is the largest of the corporation's growing number of non-English outlets, with some 36 million viewers tuning in each week.
Although Kafala's statement came as a surprise to some, the refusal by the BBC to use the word "terrorist" has long been a point of contention, particularly in its coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
The BBC's own guidelines make it clear that, in its view, "the value judgements frequently implicit in the use of the words 'terrorist' or 'terrorist group' can create inconsistency in their use or, to audiences, raise doubts about our impartiality." The guidelines further suggest that "it may be better to talk about an apparent act of terror or terrorism than label individuals or a group."
Alternatives include "bomber", "gunman" or "militant".
However, while consistently reticent about referring to individuals as "terrorists," some have noted that while some attacks - including those against Charlie Hebdo - are often referred to as "terror attacks" or "terrorist attacks", equally brutal attacks against Israeli targets are simply referred to using the the more "neutral" term "militant attacks."
In a shocking breach of security, an electronic device described as a small drone was recovered on the grounds of the White House on Monday.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest confirmed the incident in a press briefing in New Delhi, India, reports the Los Angeles Times.
Earnest was asked about initial reports of a possible drone being found at the White House and said he wasn't familiar with them.
Then at the end of the news conference, after checking his BlackBerry, he said a small drone was indeed discovered on the grounds but "doesn't pose any ongoing threat" to US President Barack Obama's family.
He added that the Secret Service is investigating the incident, adding "that's my understanding." Reportedly a security perimeter has been set up around the White House grounds limiting access.
Obama and his wife Michelle are currently traveling in India for a three-day trip, which will conclude with a stop in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday. Their daughters Malia and Sasha are in the White House with their grandmother.
This is not the first recent security breach in the White House; last November a woman was arrested for carrying a gun outside the White House during a protest, just days after a man was arrested outside the building with a hunting rifle, dozens of rounds of ammunition and a knife in his car.
A similar set of back-to-back incidents occurred last September, when two men broke into the White House within a 24-hour period. One managed to get far into the building, leading the White House to be evacuated.
Leftist Israeli filmmakers are known for negatively portraying IDF soldiers, as recently exemplified by "5 Broken Cameras," but a new documentary is seeking to push the envelope and go back in time to the 1967 Six Day War.
The film, "Censored Voices," premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on Saturday, reports the New York Times. It takes snippets from interviews conducted after the war with soldiers from Israel's socialist kibbutz movement, using them in an apparent attempt to portray the IDF as immoral, even though the war has always been in the Israeli consensus as a justified and miraculous victory.
Even the Times recognizes the slant of the film, calling it "the latest in a series of movies by leftist Israeli filmmakers who have won awards abroad by presenting harsh looks at their own society."
Director Mor Loushy (32), who created the movie, was quoted as saying that her motivation was to change the perception of the 1967 war as a victory - a perception that exists given the remarkable nature in which the nascent modern Jewish state, faced with near-certain destruction, recorded a stunning victory over numerous professional armies on all fronts in less than a week.
Her film has been criticized for removing that context from the war, even as it briefly presents the threats facing Israel.
"People abroad who don't remember the circumstances of the Six Day War the way we do will turn this into one more indictment of Israel," said Yossi Klein Halevi, author of the book "Like Dreamers" from 2013, which traces the lives of veterans of the war.
"If there were isolated acts of abuse by our soldiers, that should not become the narrative about what the Six Day War was about," Halevi told the Times. "Many of us here are, frankly, sick and tired of the blame-Israel-first narrative."
In fact, this is not the first time Loushy has criticized Israel via the medium of film, having worked most recently on "Israel Ltd.," which negatively portrays "Zionist propaganda tours."
"Came back as conquerors"
The film runs 84 minutes and had a budget of just under $1 million, provided by Israeli and European broadcasters as well as Impact Partners, an American documentary producer.
Framing the liberation of Israel's Biblical heartland as "conquest," Loushy said: "This is the story of men who went out to war feeling like they had to defend their life, and they were right, of course, but they went out in one position and came back as conquerors."
She got the idea for the film while researching a history paper, during which she read Avraham Shapira's "A Conversation With Warriors," entitled "The Seventh Day" in the English-language version. She then convinced Shapira, who also is a member of the socialist kibbutz movement, to give her original audiotaped interviews.
Shapira claimed the kibbutz soldiers featured in the film "anticipated what can happen if we'll not work immediately for peace, practically to return back all the occupied territories."
In the film, as described by the Times, the aging kibbutz movement IDF soldiers sit next to Shapira's original tape recorder and listen to their interviews, in which statements are heard such as "the brigade commander said to kill as many as possible."
Regarding Arab residents on rooftops, a location from which the IDF often came under sniper fire, one soldier is heard saying "they're civilians - should I kill them or not? i didn't even think about it. Just kill!" Another claims, "in the war we all became murderers."
"I was very naive"
Yet another recording has a kibbutz soldier saying the "Arabs' hatred towards us will be much more serious" in the next round, apparently blaming the war for survival of "not solv(ing) the state's problems."
At the very end of the film, in its final minutes, several of the now elderly soldiers speak, with one saying he has become "less Zionist, less patriotic, less of a believer."
However, another says "I'm much more right wing than before."
One soldier, Pinchas Leviatan (73), admits, "I was convinced that the peace is coming, and maybe after the Six Day War I was hoping that it's going to happen. I was very naive."
"I participated in another five wars as a commanding officer. The fact is that during the years, I lost my belief in the possibility of getting any solution in the area," added Leviatan.
IDF Spokesperson Unit's Lt. Col. Peter Lerner was asked by the American paper to respond to the film, and said it shows Israel's "vibrant democracy, where everything can be and is openly discussed."
At the same time, he stressed that today's circumstances are completely different, in that Israel does not face sovereign armies but rather terrorists "dispersed within the civilian arena."
"Any attempt to draw similarities between the two is weak and nonrepresentative of how warfare has developed, how the battlefield has evolved and how today, terrorism takes precedence over traditional warfare," said Lerner.
A person whose identity is not known succeeded in approaching Hamza Mohammad Hassan Matrouk – the terrorist who stabbed 12 people in Tel Aviv last week – as he lay in a hospital bed at Wolfson Hospital.
"Smile for the camera, you %&@#... okay... yes... that's it,” says the man as he records a 6-second video segment. The terrorist scowls.
The fact that someone who presumably is not a member of the security forces was able to approach Matrouk is seen as an embarrassing security breach.
Police blamed the Military Police for the snafu, saying they were in charge of securing the terrorist.
The stabbing rampage took place Wednesday morning inside the #40 line bus. The terrorist stabbed the driver first, and this prevented the driver from opening the bus's doors to let the passengers escape. He then stabbed passengers and when they succeeded in opening the doors, got off the bus with them and stabbed at least one more woman from behind.
According to police, a team from the Israel Prisons Service's elite Nachshon unit happened to be driving behind the bus when the attack took place. The officers got off the car and gave chase to the terrorist, shot him in the leg and arrested him. He is 23 years old and a resident of Tulkarem in Samaria, who was in Israel illegally.
Late last year, Minister of Public Security Yitzhak Aharonovich recommended that security forces shoot dead terrorists on the scene of attacks. While this statement was received warmly by many nationalists, Arab MKs and leftists pounced on Aharonovich for allegedly sanctioning extrajudicial executions, and since then, security forces' policy appears to have changed, with soldiers and police loath to kill terrorists, even when their own lives are in danger.
Some security experts say it is better to catch terrorists alive and interrogate them, because this often leads security forces to their accomplices and handlers. However, terrorists like Matrouk are not part of an organization. Matrouk said he was spurred to action by television reports about Operation Protective Edge.