Prime Minister Naftali Bennett flew to Sharm e-Sheikh on September 13 to meet Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. “Israel is increasingly opening up to the countries of the region, and the basis of this longstanding recognition is the peace between Israel and Egypt,” said Bennett, the first Israeli leader to pay an official visit to Egypt since his predecessor, Benjamin Netanyahu, met former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak in 2011 in the same Sinai resort. Meanwhile, Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli announced that the Taba Crossing between the borders of Egypt and Israel was returning to full operation – with no limit on entry permits. EgyptAir, the national airline of Egypt, was set to begin direct flights between Cairo and Tel Aviv from October.
In an address to the UN General Assembly on September 21, US President Joe Biden urged Iran to return to the 2015 nuclear deal, voiced support for Israel’s security and said that a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the best way to ensure that Israel remains a democratic Jewish state. “We’re a long way from this goal at the moment, but we should never allow ourselves to give up on the possibility of progress,” Biden said. Meanwhile, the US House of Representatives passed a bill in a 420-9 vote to provide a billion dollars in funding for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system on September 24 after a delay caused by the so-called Squad of progressives in the Democratic Party caused alarm in Israel.
Israeli security forces on September 19 captured the last two of the six Palestinian security prisoners who escaped from the Gilboa Prison almost two weeks before. The IDF said that Islamic Jihad members Munadil Nafayat and Eham Kamamji were apprehended in the West Bank city of Jenin in an early-morning operation conducted jointly with the police counter-terrorism unit and the Shin Bet. Prime Minister Bennett praised the heads of security services, saying, “The event started with a major mishap but you mobilized with joint forces until the mission was completed.”
An apartment building in Holon collapsed on September 12, a day after Fire and Rescue Services evacuated 36 families. Firemen were called to the building a day before after residents reported hearing the sound of a blast, and the decision to evacuate was made by firefighter Yoni Bochkovski in coordination with professional engineers, 30 hours before the structure collapsed. Fire chief Dedi Simchi decided to award Bochkovski a certificate of merit for the decision, which prevented a tragedy similar to the one at Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Florida, in which 98 people lost their lives.
Rabbi Ephraim Ferdinand Einhorn, who served as the spiritual leader of the Taiwan Jewish Community, died on September 15 in National Taiwan University Hospital after a long illness, just three days after his 103rd birthday. Einhorn, who lived in Taiwan since 1975, was born in Vienna in 1918 and trained as a rabbi in London. Besides officiating at religious services in Taiwan, he also ran a business, World Patent Trading Co., which developed innovative products for use as corporate promotional giveaways. He is survived by two daughters, grandchildren and great-grandchildren living in the US.
Ida Nudel, the diminutive Prisoner of Zion who made aliyah with her collie, Pizer, in 1987 after winning her battle to leave the Soviet Union, died on September 14 at the age of 90 and was buried at the Yarkon Cemetery in Tel Aviv. Known as the “Guardian Angel” for the campaign she led to provide humanitarian items for Prisoners of Zion in Soviet jails, Nudel – who was just 4’11” (under 1.5m.) – was the most famous female refusenik. She famously won the support of Jane Fonda, who visited her during her four years of exile in Siberia, and Liv Ullman, who played her in an award-winning Italian film based on her autobiography.