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Israel: Gaza Airstrike Is Warning to Hamas

By Robert Berger VOA News, Israel Hayom & Reuters

Tensions are rising on the Israeli border with the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. Israel said its first airstrike on Gaza since the 50-day war months ago is a warning to the Islamic terrorist group Hamas, after Palestinians fired a rocket across the border.

The rocket did not cause any injuries or damage and it may have been fired by a renegade group. But Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said Hamas rules Gaza, and therefore, it is responsible. He warned Hamas firing even one rocket at Israel will not be tolerated. Hamas is defiant, even though it took a severe beating during the seven-week war. More than 2,000 Palestinians in Gaza were killed and more than 10,000 homes were destroyed.

Describing the Israeli airstrike as a dangerous escalation, Hamas threatened to retaliate. The group's spokesman, Sami Abu Zuhri, warned Israel against further air strikes and called for the international community to restrain Israel. The tit-for-tat attacks and intensifying rhetoric have raised fears of a new round of conflict.

Despite the escalation, tensions eased on Gaza's other border. Egypt opened the Rafah border crossing on Sunday for the first time in nearly two months. Rafah is the only crossing not controlled by Israel that provides a connection between Gaza's 1.8 million Palestinians and the outside world.

The border terminal will be opened for two days as a humanitarian gesture, but it does not signal a thaw in ties between Egypt and Hamas. Cairo shut the crossing in late October after Islamic militants in the Sinai Peninsula killed 33 Egyptian soldiers. Egypt believes the militants were assisted by Hamas in Gaza, a group with close ties to Egypt's outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.

In response to the Hamas rocket fired earlier in the day on Friday, the Israeli Air Force struck a Hamas terrorist site in the Gaza Strip on Friday night. The rocket attack marked the third time terrorists have fired a rocket into Israel since Operation Protective Edge ended in August.

The Qassam rocket exploded in the Eshkol region near the Gaza border. Remnants of the rocket were found by Israeli security forces several hours later. No injuries were reported in the incident.

At a Chanukah candle lighting ceremony with IDF soldiers at the Western Wall on Saturday night, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said, "Israel's security takes precedence over everything and I will not ignore the firing of even one rocket; therefore, the air force responded to this firing by destroying a cement factory that served to rebuild the tunnels that we hit in Operation Protective Edge. Hamas bears the responsibility for any escalation. We will safeguard Israel's security."

On Sunday morning, Ya'alon told Army Radio, "I hope we're not heading toward another escalation. This was a single rocket fired by a renegade group. Hamas pledged to take care of it and stop such incidents." He said Hamas was having difficulty rearming itself with weaponry from Iran and Libya, due to Israeli and Egyptian anti-weapons smuggling efforts.

Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. Ron Prosor called on the Security Council to "immediately and unequivocally" condemn Hamas for the rocket fire. "The New Year may be just around the corner, but terrorists in Gaza are persisting with their old habits," Prosor said.

Syria Claims It Shot Down an Israeli Drone

By IsraelNationalNews.com

Syria said on Sunday that an Israeli drone had been brought down in the province of Quneitra near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. State media said the drone was flying above the village of Hadar when it was downed. According to the report, which appeared on Hizbullah's Al-Manar television and on official Syrian TV, an "unmanned aircraft of the Zionist regime was downed over the skies of Quneitra, close to the border."

In response, the IDF said, according to Channel 2 News, that "the IDF does not respond to foreign reports." Later on Sunday, the IDF Spokesperson said it was "unaware of any unmanned aircraft that was shot down in the Golan."

The report comes two weeks after Syria accused Israel of carrying out airstrikes against two government-held areas in Damascus province. After the alleged Israeli airstrikes, Arab media outlets reported that the airstrikes targeted Syrian military sites that were being used to store arms destined for Hizbullah.

Shortly after the strikes, rumors circulated the sites - including Damascus International Airport and the Dimas airbase - were being used to store sophisticated weapons, including Russian-made S300 surface-to-air missiles.

Israeli officials have remained tight-lipped, as in previous apparently Israeli strikes against "game-changing" arms destined for Hizbullah. But speaking to Kol Yisrael radio a day after the alleged airstrikes, Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz appeared to allude to the strikes, and reiterated that Israel would prevent sophisticated arms from reaching the hands of terrorists.

Syria, for its part, demanded that the United Nations impose sanctions on Israel in response to what it termed "the Israeli aggression on the Syrian soil." In a letter addressed to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the UN Security Council, the Syrian Foreign Ministry said that Israel "has committed a heinous crime against the sovereignty of Syria as Israeli warplanes attacked two safe areas in al-Dimas and near Damascus International Airport in Damascus Countryside, causing material damage in a number of institutions there."

The letter claimed, as Syria has done in the past, that "the attack is in the framework of extending help and support to the armed terrorist groups in Syria, especially after the series of achievements made by the Syrian army in Deir Ezzor, Aleppo, Daraa and other areas."


Young Boy Calls Jews 'Barbaric Apes' on Hamas TV

By IsraelNationalNews.com

In a recent children's television show (The show aired on Al-Aqsa TV on Dec. 5, 2014) sponsored by the terrorist organization Hamas, a young boy was asked to a send a message to the enemy. He responded by reciting a poem titled "I Do Not Fear The Gun." See http://youtu.be/ehbXqaih2n0

The poem begins: "I do not fear the gun! / I do not fear the gun! /You are nothing but herds of deluded idiots / Jerusalem is my land, Jerusalem is my honor." Later in the poem can be found the lines, "oh sons of Zion, oh the most evil of creatures, oh barbaric apes, Jerusalem rejects you and vomits your filth."

Medics: Beware 'Killer' Jelly Donuts

By IsraelNationalNews.com

In two separate incidents Sunday, Israelis who indulged in one of Chanukah's tastiest treats – the sufganiya, or jelly donut – got more than they bargained for. A nine year old girl and a 60 year old woman were both in the hospital Sunday night after they ate donuts that proved to be a bit more than they could chew.

In Rishon Lezion, the nine year old was taken to the hospital after eating a donut, despite her allergy to gluten products. It is not clear why she ate the donut, but after realizing that she did, adults at the Chanukah party she was attending called police and medical rescue staff. The girl was taken to Assaf Harofeh Hospital, where she was in serious condition.

Meanwhile, a 60 year old woman was in the hospital in Tel Aviv after nearly choking on a donut. Paramedics arrived on the scene after just a few minutes and began administering the Heimlich Maneuver, Magen David Adom officials said Sunday. They were finally able to remove the offending piece of donut, and took their patient to the hospital where she, too was being held in serious condition.

Two weeks ago, an 86 year old died a day after being brought into the hospital after choking due to trying to swallow too large a piece of donut. Last week, a 75 year old choked on a piece of donut as well, and she, too, was taken to a Hadera hospital in serious condition.

Paramedics urged parents, children, and caregivers to carefully supervise very old or very young people to ensure they did not take too large a bite of donut, and to ensure that they chewed their donuts well. Donuts, they said, tend to solidify when saliva is added to the dough as a result of chewing – which is why there are so many relative cases of choking on them.

Lead Dreidels Discovered Buried Underneath Vilna Ghetto

By IsraelNationalNews.com

Recent construction work at the site of the former Vilna Ghetto in Lithuania has unearthed four cast lead dreidels, silent and touching proof that the Vilna Jewish community observed the Chanukah holiday even during the darkest days of Nazi rule.

Members of the Mimaamakim (From the Depths) project, which works to bring Jewish youth and Holocaust survivors together, received an intriguing telephone call from a Lithuanian building contractor recently. The builder had heard about Mimaamakim and told them that while carrying out work in the area that used to be the Vilna Ghetto he had discovered Jewish objects he could not identify. He sent a picture of the dreidels to group founder Johnny Daniels.

Daniels, 28, who locates items from the Holocaust and tells the story behind them to young Jews throughout the world, was astonished by the picture and quickly set out from his home in Warsaw for the nine-hour trip to Vilna. "I explained to him, excitedly, that they were dreidels, and he decided to donate them. … It was an amazing, very moving moment. It's really our own little Chanukah miracle," he said.

Daniels explained that the dreidels were stamped, as was traditional in the Diaspora, with the Hebrew letters nun, gimmel, hey, and shin, which stand for the phrase "ness gadol haya sham" ("a great miracle happened there"). "I sat down and spun them. I was excited, and the man who gave them to me was also very moved, and shocked by my response," he said.

Daniels, a father to two daughters, said that the elder one, Michal Sheyndel, had been named after his wife's grandmother, a Holocaust survivor. "When I play with these dreidels with my daughter, it will be my biggest victory," he said.


New Dreidel Record Set in Tel Aviv

By IsraelNationalNews.com

More than 1,000 people gathered Sunday in Tel Aviv to set a new world's record for "dreidel-spinning" - the largest number of Chanukah tops spun in tandem ever recorded by the Guinness organization. The previous record saw 377 people succeed in spinning their dreidels for at least 10 seconds all at the same time. Sunday's new record nearly doubled that, with 754 people succeeding at that feat.

Contestants from 8 through 80 (actually, some were younger and even older) stood around a 200 meter long table set up specifically for the occasion. At the sound of a horn, 1,000 spinners let lose, and 10 seconds later, more than three quarters were still spinning strong – enough to set the record, with Guinness officials on hand to record it all.

The event was held in conjunction with the "Sevivon House," an interesting store/museum located in Sarona Market, which has as its mission the distribution of unique and memorable dreidels of all kinds. The establishment is owned by renowned ceramic artist Eran Grebler, who built the largest dreidel in the world, located in the Caesarea train station.













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