14 Days: Gaza operation

Israeli news highlights from the past two weeks.

 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seen holding a security assessment amid the IDF's Operation Shield and Arrow against Gaza-based Palestinian Islamic Jihad. (photo credit: Avi Ohayon/GPO)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seen holding a security assessment amid the IDF's Operation Shield and Arrow against Gaza-based Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
(photo credit: Avi Ohayon/GPO)


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu consulted with security officials on May 9, hours after three Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip killed three commanders of the Iran-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) – Khalil Bahtini, Tareq Izzadin and Jihad Ghannam (who the IDF said was responsible for the murder of Tali Hatuel and her four daughters in 2004) – and 10 civilians. Israel said it launched Operation Shield and Arrow on Lag Ba’omer against top terrorists responsible for recent rocket fire who were planning fresh attacks. In response, PIJ fired almost 1,500 rockets at Israel, killing Inga Avramian, 80, in Rehovot and Abdullah Abu Gaba, 35, a Gazan father of six working in an open field on the Israeli border, wounding a dozen others and causing extensive damage. The IDF struck more than 400 targets in Gaza, killing three more PIJ commanders and 33 others. It reported a 95% interception rate by Iron Dome and successfully employed David’s Sling in battle for the first time. Israel thanked Egypt for mediating a ceasefire that went into effect at 10 p.m. on May 13.


The two Palestinian terrorists who murdered Lucy Dee and her daughters Maia and Rina on Passover were shot dead by IDF troops on May 4. In a joint statement, the Shin Bet, Israel Police, and IDF said soldiers entered Nablus’s Old City to arrest Hassan Qatnani and Moaz al-Masri, the Hamas terrorists who carried out the shooting attack on April 7. The statement added that during armed clashes that ensued, the two terrorists were eliminated, along with another gunman, Ibrahim Jabr, who had aided them in hiding in an apartment in Nablus.


Seven people were wounded, including an elderly man who was hospitalized in serious condition, in a terrorist car-ramming attack near the Mahaneh Yehuda market in Jerusalem on April 24. The terrorist was identified by police as Hatem Abu Nijmeh, 39, a father of five from Beit Safafa who suffered from mental illness. He was shot dead by a civilian at the scene. 


Two Jewish worshipers and three security guards were killed and nine others wounded in a shooting attack by a Tunisian naval officer outside the Djerba Synagogue on May 9 as hundreds of Jews held a Hilula of Ghriba pilgrimage for Lag Ba’omer. The two worshipers were identified as Aviel Hadad, 30, a dual citizen of Tunisia and Israel from Netivot who lived in Djerba; and his cousin Benjamin Hadad, 42, a Jewish businessman who lived in France. The assailant was killed by Tunisian security forces.


US House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Knesset Speaker Amir Ohana signed a joint pledge to establish mutual parliamentary friendship groups in the Knesset on May 1. McCarthy, a Republican, led a bipartisan delegation of 20 members of Congress who met Israeli leaders as part of a solidarity visit to celebrate Israel’s 75th anniversary. In an address to the Knesset at the opening of its summer session, McCarthy urged Israel to do more to ensure that China does not steal its technology. “Our innovation is at risk from a new threat: the Chinese Communist Party,” he said.

 Rabbi Harold Kushner (credit: ARIEL KUSHNER HABER) Rabbi Harold Kushner (credit: ARIEL KUSHNER HABER)


Baraa Massaroa, 26, and her sons Amir (six months old) and Adam (two) were stabbed to death in the northern Arab Israeli town of Taibe on the night of April 30, Israel Police reported, adding that Baraa’s husband, Mohammed Massaroa, had been arrested on suspicion of the murders. President Isaac Herzog and MKs from across the political spectrum urged the government to take action to stem the violence in the Arab sector, which has caused more than 70 deaths since the beginning of the year.


Barbra Streisand was named on May 2 as the 10th anniversary Genesis Prize laureate by the million-dollar Genesis Prize. “I am very proud of my Jewish heritage and have always been moved by the Jewish tradition of tikkun olam – to repair the world.” The renowned singer will be honored at a ceremony in Los Angeles in October.


Israel’s Noa Kirel, 22, came in third place in the Eurovision song contest held in Liverpool on May 13, behind Sweden and Finland. Kirel said she was “so proud to complete this incredible journey in the top three,” adding that she was also thankful “for the privilege to carry the flag of Israel on the largest musical stage in the world.”  It was Israel’s best performance since Netta Barzilai won the competition in 2018.


Israel’s Inbar Lanir, 23, won a gold medal on May 12 at the World Judo Championships in Doha, Qatar. She defeated France’s Audrey Tcheumeo in the final of the 78-kilogram (172-pound) weight class after beating four others on her way to the gold medal, including number-one ranked Italian, Alice Bellandi.


Rabbi Harold Kushner, one of the most influential rabbis of the 20th century who wrote 14 bestsellers including When Bad Things Happen to Good People, died on April 28 at the age of 88 in Canton, Massachusetts, not far from his synagogue, Temple Israel of Natick. His most famous book, published in 1981 and written after the death of his son, Aaron, from the premature aging disease progeria,  argued that God may not prevent suffering, but provides solace to the afflicted.