כ' בתמוז תשע"ו / Tuesday, Jul. 26 '16

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  1. Knifemen take hostages in French church, 'slit priest's throat'
  2. Nurse inspired by Dafna Meir makes aliyah
  3. Erdogan threatens EU: Pay up, or take the migrants
  4. Baby saved after being left in closed car in Ashdod
  5. EU builds illegal Palestinian homes - next to Israeli town
  6. Trial drama continues as Elor Azariya cross-examined
  7. Congressman issues weak apology for calling 'settlers' termites
  8. Flashback: Congressman Johnson afraid island will capsize

1. Knifemen take hostages in French church, 'slit priest's throat'

by Ari Soffer

Two men armed with knives took a number of hostages in a church located near Rouen in northern France, murdering one victim before they were eliminated by armed police.

The identities of the knifemen and their motives are not known at this stage, but the course of the investigation thus far indicates the incident was likely an Islamist terror attack.

According to Reuters, police said that five people were held hostage at the Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray church in Normandy.

France 3 news network identified a priest, two nuns and at least two worshipers as among those held captive.

France's Le Figaro reports that the attackers murdered the 83-year-old priest by slitting his throat as he conducted mass. Le Point cites witnesses saying they heard the men shout "Daesh" - Arabic for ISIS - as they launched their attack. This report has been questioned, as pro-ISIS people don't usually refer to the Islamic State as "Daesh."

The murdered priest has been named locally as Jacques Hamel. He was 84 years old.

A police SWAT team arrived at the scene shortly after and shot the two attackers dead.

Police confirmed to Reuters that one hostage was killed "with a blade", though they did not give any further details. One other person is reportedly "hovering between life and death".

Police sniffer dogs were then sent in to the church in search of possible explosive devices planted by the knifemen. The French Interior Ministry then confirmed that the church grounds are being swept for additional explosive devices.

It is the latest violent attack in Europe in recent weeks, after a series of stabbing incidents, a deadly shooting and a suicide bombing in nearby Germany.

Most of those incidents were carried out by Muslim terrorists inspired by ISIS. There is no word as yet on the identity of the latest attackers, but French authorities have handed the case to the anti-terrorism prosecutor, indicating they were indeed Islamist terrorists.

It also comes just a few weeks after a deadly terror attack in the French city of Nice, in which a jihadist terrorist plowed a truck into a crowd of people, killing more than 80. A state of emergency is still in place after that attack.

Unlike in that incident, as well as recent attacks in Germany, this latest attack appears to have been more organized, given that two assailants were involved.

France has been rocked by a string of Islamist terror attacks of late, and pressure is building on the embattled government of Francois Hollande to take effective action to curb the attacks.

President Hollande has arrived at the scene of the attack in Normandy.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls expressed his "horror" at the "barbaric attack on a church."

The Vatican has released a statement condemning the "barbarous killing" of a priest in a church.

2. Nurse inspired by Dafna Meir makes aliyah

by Shai Landesman


Dafna Meir was a tremendously admired nurse, working in the Soroka Medical Center in Be'er Sheva. Half a year ago, she was murdered by a terrorist, stabbed to death outside her family home in Otniel, where she lived with her husband, Natan, and her six children.

Yet the legacy of her life's work lives on.

Ally Schiff, a young American who completed her nursing studies at Johns Hopkins University around the time of Meir's murder, decided to make aliyah so as to follow in Dafna Meir's footsteps, and work in Israel as a nurse.

As featured on Channel 2 News, Schiff got to meet Natan Meir, Dafna's husband, at the Western Wall, five days after making aliyah with Nefesh B'nefesh around two weeks ago. She expressed how much Dafna had inspired her in making her life-altering decision.

Natan responded by telling Ally how exciting and emotional it was for him to meet her. "With this amazing thing you're doing, and in this emotional place... the words run out when describing it."

Schiff then read out a personal prayer written by Dafna, the "Nurse's Prayer", in which the desire is expressed to be able to see God's hand in the healing process.

"Dafna wrote that when she was studying about medications," Natan reminisced, "I found it in her locker, and publicized it. I heard that it's been translated to lots of different languages, and has even reached the Christian world."

Speaking about what Dafna might think if she heard Ally's story, Natan added: "She would be so happy to hear about this amazing thing. I know it's so difficult, leaving everything in America behind to come here, especially when that includes your family. It's another building block for the country, people like this coming here."

The meeting at the Wall was the first between Schiff and Natan Meir, but not the last. A few days later, Ally Schiff was the guest of honor at the Bat Mitzva of Na'ama Meir, Natan and Dafna's daughter.

3. Erdogan threatens EU: Pay up, or take the migrants

by Rachel Kaplan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened to open his border with Europe to migrants, if the EU doesn't hold up its end of the bargain.

In a deal struck in March, the EU promised to deliver 3 billion euros ($3.3 billion) to Turkey, in exchange for Ankara controlling the influx of Syrian refugees through its porous border.

Last night, in an interview with German radio ARD, an angry Erdogan asserted that the EU has only paid up 2 million euros ($2.2 million) out of the package deal.

“Ask them [the EU]. Did you pay? But Turkey still hosts 3 million people. What would Europe do if we let these people go to Europe?” he asked, according to EU Observer.

“The [European] governments are not honest,” he added.

4. Baby saved after being left in closed car in Ashdod

by Uzi Baruch

A 3-week-old baby was left in a closed car this afternoon in Ashdod for several minutes, and escaped in light condition.

MDA paramedics arriving at the scene administered first aid to the infant, who is suffering from heat stroke. It was decided that an evacuation to the hospital was unnecessary.

Last Friday, Hannah Rina Feldman, a year and three months old, was forgotten in a closed car in Beitar Ilit.

The tragedy occurred in the afternoon hours, as the child's father went out to run some errands with his daughter in the car. When he returned home he forgot that his daughter was in the car.

When over an hour elapsed, his wife asked him where Hanna was, and he immediately ran ought and got his daughter out of the car while she was already unconscious. The parents called MDA, and the paramedics evacuated her to the hospital, where Doctors had no choice but to declare her dead.

5. EU builds illegal Palestinian homes - next to Israeli town

by Ido Ben Porat and Rachel Kaplan

The European Union has expanded its illegal building activities - to the southern Har Hevron area.

Until now, the EU has sponsored illegal construction mostly in the Adumim region, east of Jerusalem.

However, last Shabbat, residents of the town of Carmel were shocked to discover two new, large, EU-sponsored trailer homes, placed over Shabbat, only ten meters away from the town.

The trailers, mostly provided for Palestinian citizens, break international law and are a security threat for Israelis.

Recently, the Palestinian Authority have invested massive funds and resources in the Har Hevron region. Last week, the PA planted groves right up to the fence of Carmel, in an effort to steal sovereign Israeli land.

Several weeks ago, the Prime Minister of the PA, Rami Hamdallah, visited the Palestinian outpost next to the town. A video clip posted on the internet shows his security standing next to the town, armed with handguns - even though that's illegal in Area C.

"We're talking about a significant uptick in the illegal construction activities of the EU," explains Oved Arad, director of local activities for the Regavim Movement.

"In the last four years, they placed around a thousand houses like these in the Adumim area," Arad adds. "We're not just talking about a major infraction on the rule of law by foreign counties, rather about a dangerous, clearly strategic phenomenon.

"If we don't want to see similar number in Har Hevron, we need to deal with the problem while it is still small."

בנייה לא חוקית במימון אירופאי
צילום: תנועת רגבים
The Palestinian outpost next to the town of Carmel (Credit: Regavim Movement)

6. Trial drama continues as Elor Azariya cross-examined

by Yoni Kempinski

The trial of Elor Azariya, the soldier who shot and killed a wounded terrorist in Hevron continued today (Tuesday), with Azriya continuing his testimony. Today is expected to be the last day on which Azariya himself testifies.

The military prosecution is conducting its cross-examination, with the defense expected to question Azariya again afterwards. Additional witnesses for the defense are expected to begin testifying in two weeks.

Prosecutor Nadav Weisman confronted Azariya with his testimony in the original internal army investigation, in which the soldier had said that he'd made the decision to shoot the terrorist a few seconds after he'd heard someone yell that the terrorist had an explosive device on him. The prosecutor put to Azariya "you decided to shoot him two minutes before you actually shot," implying that the shooting was premeditated rather than done in an impulsive, defensive manner, as the defense has been claiming.

Azariya rejected the prosecutors claim: "That not true. If it was I would have shot him at the moment I made that decision. I didn't stand there with a timer. You're trying to catch me out with word games.

"You react to these thing as they happen. You connect the dots, apprehend the danger and then fire," the soldier explained.

The prosecutor responded: "If there really was a clear and present danger, you would have been able to pinpoint what it was and convince all of us. You didn't shoot because of danger, but because of other reasons."

Azariya retorted: "I'm sorry if this is insulting to you, but you speak as if you have experience in these matters. I'm telling you in the field it's different."

7. Congressman issues weak apology for calling 'settlers' termites

by JTA

A Georgia Democratic congressman apologized for calling Jewish "settlers" who live in Judea and Samaria "termites" at an anti-Israel event near the Democratic national convention.

“There has been a steady [stream], almost like termites can get into a residence and eat before you know that you’ve been eaten up and you fall in on yourself, there has been settlement activity that has marched forward with impunity and at an ever increasing rate to the point where it has become alarming,” Rep. Hank Johnson said Monday at a Philadelphia event organized by the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.

The Washington Free Beacon, a news website, first reported the remarks. Special interest groups traditionally run events in and around both parties’ conventions. The Democrats’ convention runs through Thursday.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution picked up the report, and the Anti-Defamation League called on Twitter on Johnson to apologize.

“Poor choice of words – apologies for offense,” Johnson said. “Point is settlement activity continues slowly undermine 2-state solution.”

The ADL replied that it “appreciated” the clarification, but the National Jewish democratic Council said the apology fell short.

“@RepHankJohnson, To refer to Jews as “termites” is deeply offensive and dehumanizing,” NJDC said on Twitter. “Not just a ‘poor choice of words.’ It’s dangerous.”

Arutz Sheva Staff contributed to this report.

8. Flashback: Congressman Johnson afraid island will capsize

by Shai Landesman


Hank Johnson is the U.S. Representative for Georgia's 4th congressional district, and has served in that capacity continually since 2007. He is a member of the Democrat party.

Congressman Johnson spoke at an event organized by an anti-Israel group last night (Monday), and took the opportunity to compare Jews going to live in Judea and Samaria to termites, in the sense that they supposedly "eat up" Palestinian homes.

Though Representative Johnson, Democrat of Georgia's 4th congressional district, later apologized for the comments, the vitriol with which he made them and the anti-Semitic undertones remain.

This is certainly not the first time that Representative Johnson has made headlines with interesting comments.

In a House Armed Services Committee hearing in 2010 discussing the possibility of expanding the US military presence on the Pacific island of Guam, Johnson had some questions for Admiral Robert F. Willard, Commander of U.S. Pacific Command.

After a lengthy preamble establishing the elusive fact that Guam is, indeed, a small island, Representative Johnson, Democrat, of the 4th congressional district of Georgia, uttered the following sentence:

"My fear is that the whole island will become so overly populated that it will tip over and uh... capsize."

Admiral Willard's performance at this moment can only be described as sublimely professional. After only the smallest of awkward pauses, Willard directly addressed Johnson's heartfelt concern: "We don't anticipate that."

Only the faintest of smirks is visible on Admiral Willard's face.

Perhaps the words of Representative Johnson, Democrat, of Georgia's 4th congressional district, should not be taken overly seriously. The unfortunate thing is that the people of the repeatedly aforementioned district take him seriously enough to continually elect him to Congress.

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