Adar 19, 5777
March 17, 2017
THE NEWS ON THE STREET IN ISRAEL
Palestinian terror yesterday . . .
Aside from a missile attack on the northern Negev, a vicious “rock” attack near Hizma, a Molotov firebomb assault near Aboud, there were “only” 27 other terror attacks reported yesterday.
An archaeological correction . . .
This is not really news on the street in Israel today, but it is news in my home in Ashdod.
You recall that last week, a huge head was unearthed by accident in a Cairo suburb. At the time, Egyptians authorities speculated that the head belonged to a statue of Ramses II–and therefore was dated to about 3000 years ago.
This morning, the same authorities announced that they were mistaken. An inscription found on the head indicates that is actually that of Psamtek I, the pharoah who ruled Egypt between 664 and 610 BCE. That inscription was the royal name Neb Aa symbolized by a vulture and a cobra.
You may wonder, dear reader, why this newest identification was big news in my house? Simply because Psamtek I figures prominently on an Ashdod historical timeline I made many years ago and put up on a wall in my study.
According to the famed Greek historian Herodotus, Psamtek I carried out the longest siege of ancient times–29 years around the city of Ashdod. During that gruesome siege, most of the inhabitants of Ashdod were either killed or starved to death.
The Small Dangerous Region We Live In
The events of last night demonstrate the small and complex tinderbox that Israel inhabits. We sometimes forget just how close Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan are.
Even though the events remain somewhat confusing more than 12 hours later, here’s what seems to have happened.
1. Israeli jets attacked targets in Syria at about 2:45 am this morning. The primary target was a convoy of vehicles delivering advanced weapons to Hezbollah.
2. Syrian anti-aircraft missile batteries (probably operated by Hezbollah) fired three missiles at the aircraft. None of the aircraft were hit.
3. Incoming missile sirens sounded in Israel’s Jordan Valley.
4. Two of the missiles exploded in (or over) Israel: one in the Jordan Valley, one in Mitzpe Yericho. The explosions were heard as far away as Modi’in, throughout Samaria, and in Jerusalem. A third missile exploded in Irbid, Jordan.
5. At least one of the missiles which exploded in or over Israel was intercepted by the Chetz (Arrow) missile system. There are unconfirmed reports the Arrow was fired from the Ashdod area. This was the first time in 17 years that the Arrow anti-ballistic missile defense system had ever been used operationally.
According to the IDF spokesman:
“IAF jets struck and destroyed several targets in Syria. The Israeli aircraft were detected and sustained anti-aircraft missile fire. One missile breached Israeli airspace and was intercepted. All Israeli jets returned to base safely.”
Then the IDF spokesman added this nonsense:
“At no time were Israeli civilians in danger.”
What unmitigated hokum. A missile was shot down over Israel. What would have happened if the Arrow had missed–and the missile had scored a direct hit on Mitzpe Yericho or some other place?
In sum think about this series of events:
Syrian missiles probably fired by a Lebanese terror group exploded in Israel and in Jordan.
It is a small dangerous region that we live in. It wouldn’t take much to start a major conflagration.