SACRED AWE Israel’s 22nd chief of staff, Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi, places a note in the Western Wall after a changing-of-the-guard ceremony at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv on January 15. Kochavi, 54, took over from Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, for whom he served as deputy for four years. Accepting the position with what he called “sacred awe,” Kochavi said he is committed to preparing the IDF for any threats by keeping it “potent, efficient and modern.” SYRIA STRIKES At least 21 people were killed, including 12 members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and six Syrian soldiers, in Israeli air strikes on Iranian targets in Syria on January 20, the UK-based NGO Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported. Israel’s military issued a rare statement claiming responsibility on Twitter after Israel’s Iron Dome intercepted a Syrian missile targeting a crowded Mount Hermon ski resort in northern Israel. TUNNEL MISSION The IDF announced the end of Operation Northern Shield on January 13, saying it had uncovered the last of six cross-border attack tunnels constructed by Hezbollah from southern Lebanon into northern Israel. The IDF launched the operation to find and destroy the Iranian-backed terror group’s tunnels on December 4, 2018.CHAD CHUMS Israel and Chad on January 20 renewed diplomatic ties that were severed in 1972. The historic move was announced at a news conference in the African country by its president, Idriss Deby, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who hailed it as a historic breakthrough. “It’s significant for us that Chad is a country with a Muslim majority that seeks the friendship of Israel,” Netanyahu said.JUDICIAL SCANDAL Israel Police arrested Israel Bar Association President Effi Naveh, a magistrate’s court judge and the wife of a magistrate’s court judge on January 16 over an alleged scheme of sexual favors in exchange for judicial appointments. Naveh and three senior members of the IBA resigned, and a female judge took a leave of absence. State Attorney Shai Nitzan is overseeing the probe.MINOR CHARGED A 16-year-old Jewish youth was indicted for manslaughter in the Lod District Court on January 24 following a rock-throwing incident at the Tapuach Junction, on October 12, 2018, that killed Aysha Rabi, a Palestinian mother of eight. Rabi was struck on the head by a rock while being driven in a car by her husband. The prosecution requested that the minor, whose identity is protected by a gag order, be kept in custody until the end of the trial. WOLF PRIZES One of the laureates of the prestigious Wolf Prize announced on January 16 is renowned architect Moshe Safdie, who appeared on the cover of The Jerusalem Report on December 24, 2018. The other four prizes, each worth 100,000 dollars, will be awarded at a May ceremony in the Knesset to Prof. Jeffrey Friedman (Medicine), Prof. David Zilberman (Agriculture), Prof. Stephen L. Buchwald and Prof. John F. Hartwig (Chemistry) and Prof. Gregory Lawler and Prof. Jean Francois le Gall (Mathematics.)BOOK AWARD American author Joyce Carol Oates was announced on January 20 as winner of the prestigious 2019 Jerusalem Prize. Oates will receive the prize on May 12, 2019 from Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion at the opening ceremony of the Jerusalem International Book Forum in Mishkenot Sha’ananim. “I am deeply honored to be a recipient of this distinguished international literary award made to writers whose work deals with the freedom of the individual in society,” Oates said.KRAFT KUDOS Robert Kraft, a prominent American Jewish philanthropist who owns the New England Patriots football team, was named on January 9 as the 2019 Genesis Prize Laureate, for dedicating “significant time and resources to fight antisemitism and other forms of bigotry and hate.” Kraft said he would donate his million-dollar award to global initiatives combating antisemitism and attempts to delegitimize Israel, including BDS. He will accept the award, dubbed the Jewish Nobel, at a gala ceremony in Jerusalem on June 20.