Shevat 25, 5777
February 21, 2017
The talk of the Israeli street today
Widespread Palestinian terrorism . . .
Widespread Palestinian terrorism took place over the last 48 hours. Israelis have been wounded and traumatized.
Two rockets were fired into the Eshkol region from the Sinai. Who fired the missiles? Most likely, Palestinians who have moved their base of operations out of Gaza and affiliated with Islamic State.
Israeli citizens were assaulted with “rocks” and Molotovs at Ali, Jabel Juara, Beit El, Kiryat Arba, Ofra, Qalandiya, Ras Al-Amud, Anata (wounded Israeli was rushed to a hospital), the Tapuach Junction, Hizma (bus passengers wounded), Ateret, Mt. Hevron, Al Khader, Beit Horon, and Auja.
Israeli security personnel were assaulted with “rocks” and Molotovs at Am’ari, A-Ram, Doha, Rachel’s Tomb, Al-Fawwar, and Doha.
All told, more than 50 attacks occurred during the last 48 hours.
Please note that the information above is gleaned from Israeli civilians on the ground as reported at rotter.net and other civilian reportage of attacks reported at kolhayehudi.co.il.
“Trouble” in the neighborhood . . .
Where is there not trouble.
In the last day, Hezbollah leader Nasrallah has threatened again (twice in two days) to use his vast missile arsenal to destroy Israel’s nuclear facility at Dimona.
Meanwhile, Houthis in Yemen fired three missiles at a military base in Saudi Arabia.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia declared that it has sufficient missiles to destroy Tehran.
Meanwhile, an Egyptian frigate fired warning shots at a Iranian missile boat in the Gulf of Aden.
Meanwhile, Reuters is reporting that the U.S. has decided to end its support for the Syrian rebels thereby implicitly indicating that it wants Assad to stay in power.
The value of the shekel continues to climb . . .
And the dollar in Israel continues to drop like a rock–as does the Euro. As of this afternoon $1 = 3.7 shekels–the lowest it has been in two and a half years. 1 Euro now equals 3.9 shekels–the lowest the Euro has been in 15 years.
The Absurd Trial of Elor Azariya Comes To An Absurd End
It was a trial that should have never happened.
Elor Azariya, an Israeli soldier acting in defense of other soldiers and bystanders, shot and killed a terrorist whom he thought was attempting to detonate a suicide bomb belt. The terrorist, who lay wounded on the ground, had already gruesomely stabbed another Israeli soldier.
From the moment the shooting took place, the entire situation was egregiously prejudiced against the soldier by the Defense Minister*, the IDF General Command, the IDF Military Prosecutor’s Office, and the media. Azariya was instantly found guilty long before the trial started.
After the interminably long trial finally began, the prejudicial conduct of all of the above continued unabated–even to the point that the trial judge and others aligned against Azariya received promotions based on the IDF General Command’s “assumption” that Azariya would be found guilty.
For months, Azariya was dragged through the mud, but this besmirching had the unintended effect of arousing public opinion even more in his favor. In the end, it was the IDF itself that was besmirched and wounded by its demeaning behavior toward Azariya.
Today, the sentence was read: 18 months in prison with 12 more months of probation.
In delivering the verdict, the chief judge, Maya Heller–the same judge who was promoted during the trial–began by dissembling in the extreme:
“The act of punishment is difficult and complex. We will do what is appropriate for the accused.”
In fact, as we all know, there simply should have been no punishment. The idea that the kangaroo court would do “what is appropriate” for Azariya is laughable.
Then, Heller disingenuously “explained” that Azariya was being punished for “not maintaining the values of the IDF.”
However, at this point, Heller amazingly launched into a defense of Azariya whom she said was an outstanding soldier. She criticized his superiors for not speaking to him following the incident adding:
“We could also take into consideration the period in which Azaria sat in confinement and acted positively. It would have behooved the military commanders of the Kfir brigade to visit him during this period.”
It is absolutely outrageous for Heller to criticize Azariya’s commanders after the entire military establishment was called upon to testify against Azariya.
In summing up, Heller agreed with Azariya that “the threat of the terrorists was real.” And still the Court sentenced him to prison.
So ends a trial that will always be remembered for being a black stain on the General Command of the Israel Defense Forces.
In the coming months, the verdict of the Court will be appealed and an application for Azariya’s pardon will be considered by Israel President Reuven Rivlin. We sincerely hope that the outcome of that appeal and application for pardon will be successful.
The then-Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon has been attacking Azariya at every possible venue for the last year. Today he suddenly proclaimed that he was recommending leniency for our soldier. In your humble servant’s opinion, Ya’alon is nothing more than the most disgusting form of slime.