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Palestinian Opens Fire in Israeli Market, Injuring Six

By DEBKAfile, & VOA News

A shooting Thursday afternoon on Baron Hirsch St. in the Petach Tikva market in central Israel was followed by a screwdriver stabbing on the nearby Hovevei Zion St. Six people were injured. A Palestinian resident of Nablus, 18-year-old Sadeq Abu Mazen, was neutralized and detained for questioning. The local police confirmed that the motive for the combined attack was terrorism. See

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the man from the West Bank opened fire with an automatic weapon in the city of Petah Tikva, 10 km (six miles) east of Tel Aviv. He shot two people in the legs and two others were also injured. "The terrorist was captured," he said. "We're trying to understand how he arrived in the area."

A wave of Palestinian street attacks, including vehicle rammings, shootings and stabbings, began in October 2015 and has slowed but not stopped completely. Israel blames the violence on incitement by the Palestinian leadership. The Palestinian Authority, which exercises limited self-rule in the West Bank, denies that and says assailants have acted out of frustration over Israeli administration of some of the land sought by Palestinians in peace talks that have been stalled since 2014.

Roi Cohen, a 36-year old resident of Petah Tikvah who participated in the subduing and capture of the terrorist spoke with Arutz Sheva about the attack. "I went out to pray. Suddenly I saw a lot of women and children shouting 'terrorist!' I saw the terrorist and someone I knew chasing him. I managed to catch up with him. We entered the barber shop and disabled his gun and its magazine," Cohen said.

He said that the terrorist "received a good beating" before the police arrived on the scene. "He had an improvised weapon like that. I went out and I saw [the terrorist's alleged] accomplice. He tried to escape, but I punched him twice and he fell to the floor. The policeman said 'he's mine' because civilians wanted to lynch [the terrorist]."

'Eilat Back to Normal' Following ISIS Rocket Attack


The deputy mayor of Eilat Eli Lankri said Thursday that he hoped Wednesday evening's rocket attack on the Israeli city of Eilat was a one-time event. The ISIS terrorist organization was reportedly responsible for the firing of three rockets at Eilat from the Sinai Peninsula. The Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted the rockets, preventing any damage or injuries.

"The atmosphere is great. The city went back to normal. There is a jazz festival, which thankfully does not have any cancellations, not from ticket buyers or from the artists who came from outside of Israel. There were four flights which came straight from Europe to Eilat, and another 60 flights from Ben Gurion Airport and Sde Dov Airport, full of Israeli and non-Israeli tourists, so the city is bustling with life," Lankri said.

He stressed: "We trust the army and security forces. We are grateful to the soldiers operating the Iron Dome battery. The evil forces will not be able to disrupt the tranquility of the leading resort and vacation city in Israel. Our residents are exemplary, and the tourists are proving that it is impossible for anyone to beat us, and [there is] hope that the quiet will continue here. We know what activity is done here [by the IDF] over the border and we are counting on that."

Hamas Canine Unit Revealed, Israeli Expert Skeptical


In a recent Hamas parade in Gaza, a yet-unseen capability was displayed: attack dogs, apparently styled after the IDF's Oketz canine unit. Hamas' canine unit is a part of the Nohba ("elect") tunnel unit of the organization, and has been used so far for patrolling the new paved patrol road that runs along the border with Israel - 250 meters running inside PA territory. Other tasks have included distancing Arab protesters confronting Israeli soldiers, throwing stones, and damaging the fence.

Not all canine experts are impressed with reports of this new capability, however. Mike ben Yaakov, Commander of the civilian Israel Dog Unit that deals with security, search, and rescue dogs dismisses the reports as a "Hamas PR stunt."

According to ben Yaakov, the reports resemble "typical Hamas/Hizbullah psychological warfare to intimidate Jews and the IDF. Anybody can take a picture of themselves with a dog; naturally the Hamas, who tries to pretend that they're a real army - they can't have F16's and they can't have perhaps Merkava tanks, but they can find a dog and take a picture of it and pretend to have such a unit. In my humble opinion, they do not have a unit with any great capabilities, because that's what Hamas does: They engage in disinformation and until otherwise proven, I'll assume it doesn't exist or that it's not a very serious unit.

"It takes a very long time to create a serious unit with serious canine capabilities. We at the Israel Dog Unit, which is a civilian unit, have been working with preparing dogs with Israeli and international experts for the last 17 years. So I can safely state that this is not something that you put together a few dogs in a few months and you take some pictures and you have a dog unit. Even if they have some dogs, I think it's a little early to call it a Dog Unit."

Just last week, a senior security official warned that Hamas has restored their pre-Operation Defensive Shield capabilities, both in terms of tunnels and its rocket arsenal: In the prevailing Gaza quiet, Hamas is working energetically to renew its capabilities.

A large part of the arsenal is the result of Hamas's Gaza weapons industry, comprised largely of improvised materials. Negotiations between Hamas and Egyptian authorities for opening of the Rafiah crossing prompted concern among IDF officials, lest the new channel allow for authentic weapon smuggling, further improving Hamas' capabilities. It is estimated that Hamas is not heading towards an imminent conflict but continues preparing for one.

Last week, a Hamas military wing spokesman referred to the State Comptroller's report on the tunnel threat and said that it provides proof of Hamas' victory in Operation Defensive Shield. "In the near future the scope of the failure will become more evident", he declared. "The report shows the size of the Zionist enemy's loss and the failure - it proves that Hamas won Defensive Shield," said the spokesman, Abu Obeida. "In the near future there will be more evidence of the scope of failure."

Newly Found Dead Sea Scrolls Cave was Plundered in 1950s

By Israel Hayom

An archaeological excavation at a cave near Qumran, in the Dead Sea region, in January has turned up the first evidence of a store of Second Temple-era scrolls that were cached in the cave and apparently stolen by local Bedouin at some point in the 1950s. The findings make the cave the 12th such cache of Dead Sea scrolls.

The dig unearthed a large clay scroll jar from the time of the Second Temple that contained a piece of parchment that had been turned about three times. The discovery made waves as the first new evidence of scrolls found in clay jars to be unearthed in some 60 years. In a niche near the jug that contained the scroll, archaeologists found two pickaxe heads that had been used to steal the rest of the scrolls from the jugs six decades ago.

"Although at the end of the day no scroll was found, and instead we 'only' found a piece of parchment rolled up in a jug that was being processed for writing, the findings indicate beyond any doubt that the cave contained scrolls that were stolen. The findings include the jars in which the scrolls and their covering were hidden, a leather strap for binding the scroll, a cloth that wrapped the scrolls, tendons and pieces of skin connecting fragments, and more," said Dr. Oren Gutfeld.

The parchment scroll was taken to the restoration and conservation laboratory at the Institute of Archaeology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, from where it was transferred to the Israel Antiquities Authority's scroll preservation laboratory. The IAA examination of the scroll revealed that it was blank, and researchers think the parchment had been in the process of being prepared to be used as a writing surface.

Gutfeld and Ahiad Ovadia from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem directed the excavation with the help of Dr. Randall Price and students from Liberty University in Virginia; Hanania Hizmi, head of the Judea and Samaria archaeology branch of the Civil Administration; the IAA; and the Israel Nature and Parks Authority.

Gutfeld said that "this exciting excavation is the closest we've come to discovering new Dead Sea scrolls in 60 years. Until now, it was accepted that Dead Sea scrolls were found only in 11 caves at Qumran, but now there is no doubt that this is the 12th cave." Other findings included organic matter that had been well-preserved thanks to the area's dry climate conditions, such as olive pits, dates, and nuts of different varieties.

Israel Hasson, director general of the IAA, said, "The important discovery of another scroll cave attests to the fact that a lot of work remains to be done in the Judean Desert and finds of huge importance are still waiting to be discovered. "We are in a race against time as antiquities thieves steal heritage assets worldwide for financial gain. The State of Israel needs to mobilize and allocate the necessary resources in order to launch a historic operation, together with the public, to carry out a systematic excavation of all the caves of the Judean Desert."

Secret Israeli Operation Delivers Coats to Refugees in Syria


Refugees in Syria will soon be receiving donated winter supplies — but they won't know that the coats and boots keeping them warm came from Israel, an enemy state. Any logos or tags featuring Hebrew writing has been removed from the more than 100 tons of supplies collected by three Israeli groups, in order "to protect the effort and the recipients," according to a statement.

The organizers — the Zionist youth movement HaNoar HaOved VeHaLomed, its alumni group Dror Israel and the Combat Genocide Association — collected about 3,000 boxes of blankets, coats, sleeping bags, gloves, boots and other winter supplies as part of an initiative dubbed "Operation Human Warmth."

The items have been taken to a collection point, a representative confirmed to JTA. From there, a partner aid organization is facilitating the delivery of the goods to the refugees, who won't know their country of origin. The representative said the delivery date and method could not be revealed due to the sensitive nature of the situation.

"I thought people would be reluctant to support an effort they would not get credit for," Gilad Perry, Dror Israel's international collaborations director, said in a statement. "I was amazed to see how wrong I was. The generosity of people just caring for those who suffer from the cold winter on the other side of the border, in an `enemy country,' overwhelmed me."

This year the initiative, which began in 2014, saw a record number of donations, with supplies collected from Jewish, Arab and Druze neighborhoods across Israel. "The most moving part of the operation for me is to see thousands of Israelis from different religions join forces in a humanistic effort, emphasizing the similarities in the core values of all of us who simply try to make good on this planet, no matter what our backgrounds may be," Perry said.

HaNoar HaOved VeHaLomed (Youth Who Work and Learn) is a sister movement of Habonim Dror, long affiliated with the Labor Zionist movement.

Make Aliyah a Success, Defense Minister Tells Birthright Participants

By Israel Hayom

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman attended a Birthright Israel event in Jerusalem on Tuesday and told around 1,000 young Jewish adults from the former Soviet Union that his successful integration in Israeli life can be replicated many times over.

"Just as I arrived here as a young student from Kishinev and went on to assume some of the most prominent positions in the State of Israel, you too have the possibility of achieving anything you choose and accomplish, anything you set your mind to," he told the participants, who are on Birthright's 10-day educational tour of Israel.

Lieberman made aliyah in 1978 and joined the Knesset two decades later after founding Yisrael Beytenu. His past ministerial positions include deputy prime minister, foreign minister, and strategic affairs minister, in multiple governments.

Other speakers at the event included Gidi Mark, international CEO of Birthright Israel, and Dorit Golender, vice president of Genesis Philanthropy Group. "I believe each and every Jew should be exposed to modern Israel and its culture in addition to the country's ancient history and heritage, and we are particularly excited for this unique event, celebrating the Russian speaking participants, who get to explore Israel for themselves," Mark told the audience.

Golender noted that "for the past eight years of our collaboration with Birthright Israel we have developed a unique program, specifically tailored to meet the needs and interests of Russian-speaking young Jews. We view the 10-day trip as an opportunity for you to begin a much greater journey, a Jewish journey that will last a lifetime."

According to a statement released by Birthright Israel, the event was "part of a comprehensive partnership between Birthright Israel and Genesis Philanthropy Group, intended to provide Russian-speaking participants with various enrichment experiences while they are in Israel."

According to Birthright Israel, more than 500,000 Jews from over 66 countries have taken part in the program since its inception in 1999.

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