Nationalist politicians have risen to the defense of IDF Binyamin Brigade Commander Yisrael Shomer on Friday, after he was forced to shoot dead a Palestinian Arab terrorist hurling large rocks at the IDF vehicle he was in.
"Whoever rises to kill you, kill him first," Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) stated on Facebook Friday. "I fully support the commander of the Binyamin Brigade who operated against terrorists to protect the lives of his soldiers and his own life."
Science Minister Danny Danon (Likud) said, "I back Brigade Commander Col. Yisrael Shomer, who acted decisively and as needed when he defended himself and his soldiers from a terrorist who came to kill them. Against terror and violence we respond decisively."
"Israel is pursuing a life for itself and its neighbors; human ethics and Jewish ethics require the fulfillment of the words of our sages: 'whoever wants to kill you, kill him first," MK Motti Yogev (Jewish Home) said in echo of Bennett's comments, as quoted by Maariv.
"I strengthen the hands of the commander of the Binyamin Brigade, who found himself in danger and had to strike and kill his assailants."
"This policy of uncompromising response to a terrorist event should get support from the security-political-legal system, and of course the backing of military commanders," he added. "This support must be given to all Jewish residents in Judea and Samaria during terrorist events."
"Only a moral and just path will restore deterrence and strengthen our security in Judea-Samaria, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem."
Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben-Dahan (Jewish Home) added praise for Shomer as the commander of the very best of the IDF, and said he "has confidence" that he was operating according to IDF protocol.
"Let it be clear: rocks are weapons in every respect, and it has been shown in the past that they kill," MK Nissan Slomiansky (Jewish Home) stated. "I am confident that the brigade did well and that all understand the message to rock throwers: stop throwing them."
Describing the necessity to use lethal force, an IDF spokesperson told AFP that "the forces called the suspect to halt and shot warning shots in the air. Once he continued hurling rocks at close range and in response to the imminent danger the forces fired towards the suspect."
This is the latest attack in a wave of terror which has gripped Israel since the beginning of Ramadan last month.
Yukiya Amano, head of the UN nuclear watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), revealed on Friday after visiting Iran the day before that more work will be needed to achieve a nuclear deal.
“I believe that both sides have a better understanding on some ways forward, though more work will be needed,” Amano said in a statement, reports AFP.
He had gone to Tehran on Thursday to try and tackle the military aspects of Iran's nuclear program, as the clock ticks on an extended July 7 deadline next Tuesday to conclude negotiations and reach a deal.
Meanwhile Russia's chief negotiator said Thursday that a nuclear deal with Iran is "91% finished" and that a deal will be reached before the deadline.
Amano was trying to advance an IAEA probe on charges that before 2003, and likely since, Iran researched the development of nuclear weapons and not "peaceful" nuclear energy as it claims to be developing.
His statement that "work" remains would seem to indicate that his effort to clarify Iran's nuclear past was unsuccessful.
Suspicions have been raised by Iran's numerous covert nuclear facilities, such as the Parchin military base where Iran has already let slip that it tested exploding bridge wire nuclear detonation devices.
Iran has stated it will not allow inspections of its secretive nuclear facilities, which is one of the major sticking points in the upcoming deal.
Arab MK Jamal Zahalka (Joint Arab List) gave an interview in a Hamas magazine on Thursday, in which he attacked Israel's policies toward the Palestinian Arabs.
Zahalka accused Israel of silencing any voice which contradicts its import and export restrictions to Hamas - the terror group which has lobbed over 3,600 rockets at Israeli civilians in a one-year period alone - in comments to Hamas's Palestine magazine, the official news source for Gaza.
The MK defended MKs Basel Ghattas and Hanin Zoabi (Joint Arab List) for boarding anti-Israel flotillas as a means of protesting "suppression," and vowed that Arab MKs would continue working against the government in which they serve.
Their position on "achieving Palestinian independence and freedom" will not change, he said.
Zahalka then accused Israeli society of "racism" for various comments against Arab MKs' actions.
The way to fight this "incitement," he said, was for Arabs to unite under similar measures such as the various Arab parties did during the previous elections under the Joint List, and to strengthen connections with NGOs and other groups outside of the Knesset framework.
Daniella Weiss, co-founder of the Nachala Land of Israel movement and a longtime leader of the effort to settle and develop Judea and Samaria, told Arutz Sheva on Friday that the government still needs to comprehend the importance of the Jewish presence in the region.
Relating to the recent streak of terrorist attacks during Ramadan, she noted, "we've gone through an horrific week, and they're talking about increasing the movement of Arabs on the roads, but there's something else - for years in the framework of Gush Emunim and now in Nachala we talk as much as possible about the need to establish new communities."
"The Zionist enterprise needs to continue because in a place where there are no Jews, there's murder and seizing control by Arabs on state land."
Weiss said that in recent days she has received requests from political sources to establish new communities. The government has been implementing a covert freeze on Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria since late 2013.
"After the shocking incidents they started to contact me: 'so Daniella, when are you going up to a new community?' Finally they're understanding that the other side is raising its head because we aren't acting. Different people from different parties contacted me, including MKs, even ministers but I won't give names."
She announced in that in her Nachala movement, "there are many hundreds of families who are ready at any moment to establish a community. We don't need a minister or a deputy minister to contact me, I'm telling you that in a few hours we can establish ten communities."
Noting on how the politicians only now contacted her with the request to develop new towns after the recent wave of terror, she added, "there are hundreds of families ready to go up now to the land and there's no need to wait for a bloodbath here."
Weiss revealed that the movement has held tours to find suitable locations on state land that Arab squatters have illegally built on, in the Jordan Valley, western and northern Samaria, the "Gav Hahar" region near Shechem (Nablus) in Samaria, as well as the Judean mountains.
The locations include areas "that were given permits to establish communities and all that's waiting it to give it a green light. I very much hope that the government of Israel won't need more shaking like these (terror attacks) to understand that the Zionist enterprise isn't dependent on (US President Barack) Obama or Europe but rather on the will of the state of Israel to continue the Zionist enterprise."
Dr. Mordechai Kedar on Friday explained why the Muslim fast month of Ramadan has sparked a worldwide terrorism spike, in a special interview with Arutz Sheva.
Kedar noted that during Ramadan, the rituals of fasting and prayer bring many Muslims to feel closer to Allah.
This is in stark contrast, he said, to how many rulers of Islamic countries took power, conducted themselves, or treated their people - and the leadership's lack of adherence to religious law or lack of merciful rule often led to a sense of righteous indignation during Ramadan.
As a result, he said, there have been tensions between Muslims and leaders of Arab countries during the month-long holiday in many different periods of history.
"This is why, by the way, the Ottoman Empire in many places and at many times would announce the start of Ramadan in the morning, or at dawn, by the shot of a cannon," Kedar noted.
Not only was it to notify the people of the beginning of the fast, he said, but "also to remind the people who is behind the cannon - and that they should be very careful not to say something against the ruler or especially to do something against the ruler."
Kedar added that, today, Ramadan "adds to the religious adrenaline" of Muslim holy wars in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East, as well as the fervor of terror groups who vow to increase attacks on the West - and this "definitely motivates people to launch more attacks against the infidels and all those who are viewed as enemies of the Islamic world."
He also related to recent tensions in the Sinai, where Islamic State (ISIS) launched a coordinated attack on the Egyptian Army earlier this week which left at least 50 soldiers dead.
"In Sinai there is a war, there is an all-out war," he reflected, noting "this is not a new thing."
"Sinai became a vacuum of lawlessness, and many jihadists came from Egypt and from other parts of the world into Sinai, found there a safe haven, and they are acting against the regime big-time," he said. "The regime tried to ignore this for a long time - but when you ignore small problems, they become big problems."
The Israel Police has reported that Arab residents of Judea and Samaria are taking advantage of the unprecedented concessions for the Muslim month of Ramadan to sexually abuse Jewish women on Tel Aviv beaches, in a state of affairs that repeats itself every year.
Police have revealed that the Ramadan "gestures" granting Arabs entry permits and direct buses to pray at the Temple Mount - where the Jordanian Waqf forbids Jews from praying - have been manipulated by many to stay on in Israel and visit the coastal beaches. There, many of the Arab visitors have reportedly been harassing Jewish women.
Take the case of Ahmed Hadid, a 19-year-old resident of Hevron in Judea who was arrested on suspicion of sexually abusing two women on the Tel Aviv coast this Tuesday after having received an entry permit for Ramadan, according to the Hebrew news site Walla!.
At a discussion on extending Hadid's detainment on Thursday, senior police investigator Sgt. Maj. Yona Hirschhorn said, "every year on the month of Ramadan we are confronted by this phenomenon."
"Ramadan tourists who receive permits to pray work in a trip to Tel Aviv. They arrive at the Tel Aviv beaches and some of them can't resist the sight of the female bathers, and then we get reports of sexual abuse and sexual assault," revealed Hirschhorn.
Despite the sexual abuse and the repeating nature of the phenomenon, Judge Yaron Gat ordered to release Hadid on bail.
An officer in the Tel Aviv district police was quoted by Walla! as saying: "we are prepared with large police forces in the beach areas during this period to give a response to any incident that could develop due to the increased presence of those groups" of Arab residents of Judea and Samaria.
Speaking about the case of Hadid, he added, "the moment the girls complained about the suspect, there were officers on the beach who identified the suspect and arrested him immediately."
Nasser Assi, an Arab resident of Shechem (Nablus) in Samaria, told the paper that "we receive the entry permit for the whole month of Ramadan. The permit is daily and we come in the morning and have to leave in the evening. Everyone goes in and exits several days during the month. It's definitely an experience to travel in Tel Aviv and different areas."
ISIS's escalating campaign against the Egyptian government - culminating in the assassination of the country's chief prosecutor and yesterday's bloody attacks in the Sinai Peninsula - have raised a great deal of questions vis-a-vis the extent and nature of the jihadist group's presence in the Arab world's most populous country.
Is ISIS's Egyptian branch - the so-called "Sinai Province" of its "Islamic State" - cooperating with Hamas, or trying to overthrow it? How has ISIS in Sinai managed to withstand a prolonged military assault by the Egyptian army to emerge apparently as strong as ever? How much of a threat does it pose to Israel? Could ISIS really be in a position to carve out a de-facto state in Egypt, as it has in parts of neighboring Libya?
In answering these questions Professor Efraim Inbar, Director of the Begin-Sadat Center For Strategic Studies (BESA), cautions that ISIS's battle with Egypt is far more complicated than its operations in other countries.
For a start, the Egyptian army and government present a far tougher foe than any other targeted directly by an official ISIS affiliate.
"It's all very well taking over parts of Syria or Iraq," both failed states without effective central government, "but in Egypt they are fighting against a functioning state," albeit a somewhat embattled one.
In Libya too, where ISIS has set up a mini statelet, the jihadists are operating amid a total power vacuum, in a country split among numerous warring militias.
To do the same in Egypt - even in the relatively lawless Sinai Peninsula - would be far more difficult, Inbar asserts.
"Egypt is determined to enforce its sovereignty over the Sinai," says Inbar.
However, Egypt is hamstrung by a number of factors, which have enabled ISIS to withstand and even push back against army offensives.
Firstly, there is the fact that Egypt's ability to deploy in the Sinai Peninsula is somewhat limited by the terms of its peace treaty with Israel, which prevents any large-scale deployments without prior consent from Jerusalem.
In practice, however, this has not been much of an issue. The close cooperation and clear mutual interest shared by the two countries in dealing with the jihadist threat has meant that Israel is giving the green light to any Egyptian army offensives or airstrikes against jihadists in the Sinai.
More significantly then is the fact that in a general sense, the Egyptian central government simply has not invested enough - militarily, economically or administratively - in what is essentially a peripheral province, at a time when it is still consolidating its control over the rest of the country.
Somewhat paradoxically, another factor which counts in ISIS's favor in Egypt is its very inability to overthrow the central government. That reality has forced it to pursue more limited, low-cost objectives: perpetuating and expanding the state of lawlessness, and its own foothold, in Sinai, while continuing to carry out individual, high-profile terrorist attacks.
This means that, relatively-speaking, "Daesh (ISIS) operations in Sinai are not an expensive effort," says Inbar, using the Arabic acronym for ISIS. Moreover, the fact that "ISIS Sinai Province" - formerly the Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis terror group - is an official "Wilayat" or "Province" of the so-called Islamic State, means it has at least some access to the swollen coffers of the world's richest terrorist group to fund the costs it does incur.
Finally, the group - both in its current incarnation and previous ones - "has been smuggling weapons for years," giving it time to build up an extensive arsenal.
But Inbar also speculates that other regional actors could be helping to fuel the ISIS insurgency in Egypt to further their own agendas.
He points to evidence of cooperation between ISIS and Hamas, which is itself at odds with the Sisi regime - though he acknowledges that with the inroads made by ISIS in Gaza this cooperation may well have broken down, as the Hamas regime now sees ISIS as a threat to its own power.
"There is some kind of sense of Islamic brotherhood - but at the same time remember they are competitors," both strategically and ideologically, says Inbar, explaining the complicated relationship between the two Islamist groups.
For a start, "Hamas is more of a nationalist-Islamic radical group, whereas ISIS is transnational."
But beyond the alleged Hamas connection - highlighted by both Israel and Egypt, even as Hamas denies such links exist - Inbar also suggests another of Cairo's regional foes may be playing a role behind the scenes.
"I wouldn't be surprised if there is Turkish input in trying to destabilize the Sisi regime," Inbar posits, pointing to the evidence of Turkish collusion and possibly even support for ISIS in Syria and Iraq, where Ankara has seen the jihadists as a convenient tool to block Kurdish autonomy.
Turkey's Islamist government - which has strong links to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas - similarly has an interest in weakening the anti-Islamist military government in Cairo.
So how should Israel deal with an ISIS presence along its southern border?
Cautiously, and with restraint, says Inbar.
Despite being the only ISIS affiliate bordering Israel, "Sinai Province" has had its hands full fighting the Egyptian army, and has not carried out any major attacks against Israel in the past few years.
Close cooperation between Israel and Egypt to contain ISIS means that situation is likely to continue, he says.
"Certainly it is a threat for Israel, but it's much more of a threat for Egypt and the Egyptian army right now."
For that reason, while Israel cannot afford to sit on its laurels, it must also continue to allow Egypt to play the lead roll.
"There is a great deal of cooperation to contain Daesh - they are trying and we are trying to prevent it (from attacking us).
"But everything Israel does should be coordinated with Egypt. Sometimes it's better to stay on the sidelines."
Eden Har'el, an Israeli actress and television host, became a host on MTV Europe when she was only 18 years old. She later went to India for a year, where she lived in a Buddhist monastery. These days she has rediscovered her Judaism and has become more observant.
Arutz Sheva caught up with Har’el at the fourth “With All Your Heart” conference on worshipping G-d which took place in Tel Aviv.
The conference brings together Israelis from across the spectrum who share the common desire to worship G-d. In addition to Har’el, speakers include Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu of Tzfat, Adva Biton, mother of Adelle Biton, and journalist Sivan Rahav-Meir.
The most important message, according to Har’el, is that “worshipping G-d should be done with love. Every time people do something - whether they are saying a blessing, preparing for Shabbat, whatever they do - they should do it with meaning, with love and with the fire of wanting to do it.”
“I’ve always said that I’ve been a seeker all my life. Even when I was at MTV Europe, I was looking for other things - to bring meaning into life,” she said.
Working for MTV, said Har’el, “was great. It was great money and great fame, but I felt that there was no meaning. I felt that I was doing things like a soldier. I went on a journey to look for a meaning.”