"Comfort, comfort my people says your God" Isaiah 40
  1. Israelis reacted with sadness and anger Wednesday evening as Yom Kippur ended and they checked the news to see reports of an attack on a synagogue in Halle, in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt. The attacker, who killed two bystanders but failed to penetrate the synagogue, live-streamed his actions on an online video game platform after broadcasting a short statement in which he blamed Jews for many of the social, economic and political problems facing Germany. “We saw via the camera system at our synagogue that a heavily armed perpetrator with a steel helmet and a gun tried to shoot open our doors,” Max Privorozki, Halle’s Jewish community chairman told the Stuttgarter Zeitung newspaper. “But our doors held. We barricaded the doors from inside and waited for the police.”

    He added that at the time of the attack there were around 80 people inside the synagogue observing Yom Kippur.

    “That on the Day of Atonement a synagogue was shot at hits us in the heart,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas wrote on Twitter. “We must all act against antisemitism in our country.”|

    “I call on the leaders of Germany and the Free World to bring the full force of law against antisemitism and its results,” Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said. “We will continue to campaign for education and remembrance in the fight on antisemitism, which raises its head again and again in Europe and across the world, based on a the clear understanding that it is not a problem of the Jews alone, but threatens to destroy us all.”

    "We stand in solidarity with the Jewish community in Germany and worldwide in the face of this depraved assault on a sacred place on this most sacred of days for our Jewish friends,” said ICEJ President Dr. Jürgen Bühler. “It is past time for European and other world leaders to truly confront the rising tide of antisemitism in our midst. We also offer our sincere condolences to the families of the victims in today’s violent hate crime.”

    Here is a video in which IDF Soldiers sing Kol Nidre for Yom Kippur

    BDS Movement Suffers Another Defeat
    The movement to Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) Israel suffered another defeat this week when Israeli fashion designer, Hed Mayner, won the Karl Lagerfeld Prize from the LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designers, beating out over 1,700 competitors from 100 different countries. “I am so proud to be the first Israeli designer to ever enter this competition, let alone win this prize,” said Mayner. “I spend a lot of my time in Paris, but Israel is always part of who I am, there is a sense of freedom here that cannot be felt anywhere else in the world.”
  2. Military forces around the Middle East were on high alert Thursday morning following a large-scale attack on northeastern Syria by Turkish forces. Iranian troops held unscheduled drills on their side of the Iran-Turkey border in an apparent warning to Ankara while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday that current events indicated Israel must be prepared for the possibility of fighting another major war without the assistance of allies. Addressing a ceremony on Mount Herzl Thursday morning to honor the memory of Israeli soldiers who fell in the 1973 Yom Kippur War, he said “We do not aspire to be 'a nation that dwells alone,' but that is how we were forced to stand at the beginning of the Yom Kippur War. As in 1973, also we very much appreciate the United States' important support, which has greatly increased over the years, and also the United States' enormous economic pressure it is exerting on Iran.” But, he added, “we always remember and apply the basic principle that guides us: Israel will defend itself, by itself, against any threat.”

    “Time after time Iran tries to attack us,” he said, “and therefore we must stand ready to protect ourselves against this danger.”

    Meanwhile, reports indicated that Kurdish fighters had blunted the Turkish advance despite being highly outgunned and outnumbered. However, dozens of border villages are reportedly under heavy Turkish bombardment and many analysts predicted that they would soon be overwhelmed. "They will pay for this,” a Kurdish fighter told Reuters. “Ultimately we may lose (that) area, which seems like it will be the case, but that doesn't mean we will just give up and retreat."
    Elsewhere, Turkish Ambassador to the UN Feridun Sinirlioglu wrote a letter to the Security Council in which he declared that “As has been the case in its previous counter-terrorism operations, Turkey’s response will be proportionate, measured and responsible. The operation will only target terrorists and their hideouts, shelters, emplacements, weapons vehicles and equipment. All precautions are taken to avoid collateral damage to the civilian population."
    Here is a podcast which gives some insight into the current situation in Syria and Turkey

    In related news, reports surfaced throughout the week that Iran is mobilizing large numbers of paramilitary police to deploy into neighboring Iraq for the purpose of assisting the Baghdad regime to suppress an unprecedented wave of violent street protests. Although protests had largely diminished by Wednesday, the Iranian forces remained mobilized and some units were reportedly moving into position to cross the border should the clerical regime in Teheran order them to do so.

    Here is a short podcast giving some more insight into this story

    Over 100 people were killed in clashes between protesters and security forces in several Iraqi cities in recent days. The violence was publicly denounced by several world governments while rights groups lamented the fact that although a fragile calm has returned to Iraqi cities internet access has not and so the possibility exists that suppression tactics by Iraqi security forces and/or Iranian proxy militias might be continuing with little hope for holding those responsible accountable.
  3. A poll conducted in recent days by the Guttman Center at the Israel Democracy Institute think tank indicated that nearly two thirds of Israeli Jews are preparing to abstain from food (fast) on Yom Kippur, the Biblical festival which begins Tuesday evening at sunset and ends Wednesday evening at sunset. A smaller but still substantial percentage of Israeli Jews plan on attending prayer services in a synagogue on Yom Kippur, while millions of children plan on taking advantage of the traditional lack of cars on the roads during the holiday to ride their bikes and otherwise play in the streets.

    Israel Closely Watching Events in Syria
    In light of the announcement Monday evening by US President Donald Trump that he is pulling all remaining US military forces out of north-eastern Syria while warning Turkey that he is prepared to act against its economy if a threatened military invasion includes war crimes, Israeli officials hinted that they will seek closer cooperation with Russia. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke on Monday about his recent phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying “We have great challenges around us, but we enjoy important cooperation and coordination with Russia, something that is critical for us, and which we will continue to deal with.”

    Here are some media which give insights into the current situation in Syria and Turkey

  4. Residents of central Israel were astonished and delighted on Saturday afternoon to feel early rain showers, with some Jerusalem suburbs receiving as much as 3 millimeters of precipitation. Despite the rain though, forecasts called for rising temperatures throughout the week.

    Iranian Threat Highlighted in Cabinet Meeting
    In light of the recent missile and drone attack by Iran on Saudi Arabia’s oil production infrastructure, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu put forward a proposal at Sunday’s cabinet meeting to build a large, interconnected air defense system to defend the Jewish State from similar attacks. “Today, we are facing a huge security challenge, which has grown with each passing week and has intensified over the last two months,” Netanyahu said. “Anyone with eyes in his head can see that Iran is getting stronger.”

    However, in a sign that Iran’s position in the international arena may be weakening, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh announced over the weekend that the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) has backed out of a $5 billion deal to help develop Iran's giant South Pars natural gas field in the Persian Gulf. The move followed similar action by European energy companies and is believed to be a reaction to US pressure, as well as worries over Iran’s increasing internal instability and clashes with its neighbors as well as Western powers and Israel.

    Israel Hosts International Tackle Football Game
    The movement to Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) Israel suffered another defeat on Sunday evening when Israel’s national tackle football team hosted their counterparts from Belgium in the first ever European League contest on Israeli soil, specifically at Jerusalem’s Kraft Family Sports Campus. The Israeli team came back from an early deficit to finish the first half up 17-14 but the game ended with Belgium on top 32-23. “This was a momentous event,” said American Football in Israel President Steve Leibowitz. “The result is somewhat disappointing because it was a very evenly matched game that could have gone either way. Still, we will take a lot of positives out of our first game on home soil.”

    Israel Blesses the World
    Dr. Yaron Carmi of Tel Aviv University’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine and his team recently published a study in the prestigious medical publication Journal of Clinical Investigation giving details of their research into expanded applications for the Israeli-developed CAR-T cancer treatment, which has already proven effective against leukaemia and which shows promise for treating other cancers. The treatments might soon make chemotherapy, which has many difficult side effects, unnecessary.
    Report: PA Textbooks Encouraging Violence Against Israel
    Reports have emerged in the Israeli media that the Palestinian Authority has revised the textbooks for schoolchildren by removing references to agreements made over the decades with Israel, other than the 1993 Oslo Accords. The new textbooks also omit documents such as a letter written by Yasser Arafat to Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1993, which spoke about the value of peaceful coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians while some sections actually encourage violence.

    IMPACT-se CEO Marcus Scheff said: "Another school year began with 1.3 million Palestinian school students being radicalized daily by the Palestinian Ministry of Education. It is difficult to understand how education for this hatred is funded by foreign donor countries without content oversight…just last month, the United Nations called on the Palestinian Authority to remove antisemitic content from textbooks."

    Today's video gives some in-depth analysis of Israel's relationship with the US

  5. Protests continued to rock Iraqi cities on Monday following a bloody weekend which saw reports of over 100 deaths and many more injuries amidst clashes between protesters and security forces intensified. The Iranian regime is, according to many reports, taking an active role in the violence by dispatching agents to murder protest leaders, sometimes in their own homes, while at the same time using regime-linked media outlets to encourage protesters to violently attack Western troops and interests in Iraq, including the US Embassy in Baghdad. Meanwhile, Iranian interference in Iraq has been one of the main points of outrage expressed by protesters along with deteriorating living conditions and government corruption.

    "There is no work, you come to protest, they fire at you. Live gunfire," said one unnamed protester to Reuters."They are all Iranian-speaking in Farsi. You want to speak to them; they answer in Farsi. The Iraqis would not fire at you."

    Here is a podcast giving some analysis of the situation

    While the protests in Iraq have intensified, the drama next door in Syria has also deepened as Turkey has openly threatened to invade the Kurdish controlled northeast with the apparent blessing of the US.

    Here is a video giving some analysis of the US position in Syria

    Here is a video giving some more analysis of the situation in the Arab Middle East