St.-Sgt. David Yehuda Yitzhak, 23, from Beit El, was fatally shot in the West Bank city of Jenin on the evening of July 4 as Israeli forces began to withdraw from the area after a counter-terrorism operation dubbed Home and Garden. During the operation, the IDF’s largest in Jenin in two decades, at least a dozen Palestinian fighters were killed and dozens wounded. Security forces destroyed several arms factories and a munitions pit under a mosque containing hundreds of explosives and weapons. The operation came after two rockets were fired at Israel from the Jenin area on June 26, landing inside PA territory and causing no casualties.
St.-Sgt. Shilo Yosef Amir, 22, from Meirav, was killed in a terrorist shooting near Kedumim in the northern West Bank on July 6. The IDF said the Palestinian gunman was killed by security forces. On July 4, nine people were wounded, one critically, in a combined car ramming and stabbing by a Palestinian terrorist on Pinchas Rosen Street in Tel Aviv before a civilian shot the assailant. Hamas claimed responsibility for both attacks, saying they were a response to the Israeli military operation in Jenin.
Two rockets were fired from southern Lebanon toward Israel on July 6, prompting IDF artillery to shell the area from which they were launched. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the rockets, one of which landed in Lebanese territory, and the second near the border. On July 2, Israeli fighter jets struck a Syrian air defense battery in response to an anti-aircraft missile launched from the site. Shrapnel from the Syrian missile landed in the southern Israeli city of Rahat, causing damage to a building, but no casualties. Syria’s state news agency, SANA, said the IAF targeted a number of sites, causing “material losses.”
The Mossad revealed in a rare statement at the end of June that in a special operation on Iranian territory, it had abducted an Iranian terrorist sent to lead a terrorist attack against Israeli targets in Cyprus. It identified him as Yousef Shahbazi Abbasalilo and published a video of his interrogation by its agents, in which he confessed to the plot and gave details about it. According to the Mossad, Abbasalilo was given weapons for the attack from senior officials in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps; the plan was to target Israeli businessmen in Cyprus.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told The Wall Street Journal in an interview published at the end of June that the override clause, one of the most contentious elements of the government’s judicial overhaul plan, would be scrapped... “I’m attentive to the public pulse and to what I think will pass muster.” Nationwide protests against the judicial overhaul that began in January and subsided in March resumed in July before the Knesset was scheduled to hold a preliminary vote on July 10 on a bill that would prevent Israel’s courts from scrutinizing the “reasonableness” of decisions made by elected officials. The “reasonability standard” was used by the Supreme Court earlier this year to strike down the ministerial appointment of Arye Deri due to his past convictions. Critics say removing that standard would grant the government too much power.
Israeli-Russian researcher Elizabeth Tsurkov, who went missing in Iraq in March, is being held captive by the Shi’ite militia, Kataib Hezbollah, according to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office on July 5. “Elizabeth Tsurkov is still alive, and we hold Iraq responsible for her safety and well-being,” it said, adding that the situation is being handled by the relevant bodies in Israel.
The 35 athletes on the Israeli team fared well at the Special Olympics World Games in Berlin from June 17 to 25, winning 25 medals – nine gold, eight silver and eight bronze – the most in Israel’s 30 years of participation. Ron Beck, 16, won the 3,000-meter men’s race, earned a silver in the 5,000 meters and – together with Adi Madmon, Saar Buchbinder and Pele Abudy – a bronze in the mixed 4x400m relay. Israel took home three swimming medals: gold for Sapir Bar Yoel in the men’s 50m freestyle; gold for Meir Segal in the men’s 100m freestyle; and silver for Aran Bar-Peled in the women’s 800m freestyle.
Israel was knocked out by England 3-0 in a semi-final of the Under-21 European Championship in Batumi, Georgia, on July 5, after beating Georgia on penalties in the quarter-final. That victory qualified Israel for the 2024 Paris Olympics – the first time an Israeli soccer team will compete in the Games since Montreal in 1976. “Happy, excited, can’t wait to get there,” said Israeli coach Guy Luzon. Israel Football Association chairman Moshe Shino Zuares added, “I am proud of each and every one of our players, our professional staff, and the whole delegation for smashing every possible ceiling and restoring confidence in Israeli soccer.”