14 Days: Ariel attack

Israeli news highlights from the past two weeks.

 Vyacheslav (Vladi) Golev (photo credit: GOLEV FAMILY)
Vyacheslav (Vladi) Golev
(photo credit: GOLEV FAMILY)

Jerusalem Report logo small (credit: JPOST STAFF)Jerusalem Report logo small (credit: JPOST STAFF)


Security guard Vyacheslav (Vladi) Golev, 23, was killed while shielding his fiancée, Victoria Fligelman, in a terrorist shooting at the entrance to Ariel on the night of April 29. The two gunmen were apprehended in a nearby Palestinian village. Golev was the 15th victim of the wave of terror since March 22. Meanwhile, clashes continued throughout April between Palestinian rioters and police on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, where the Red Crescent reported that dozens of Palestinians were wounded. Police said they did all in their power to enable Muslims to worship freely during their holy month of Ramadan, limiting Jews from entering the Temple Mount and diverting a nationalist flag march into the Old City led by Itamar Ben-Gvir to avert further violence.


The Israeli Air Force struck targets in the Gaza Strip and southern Lebanon in the second half of April in response to rocket fire launched at southern and northern Israel. The Iron Dome intercepted a rocket on April 19 in the first attack from Gaza in four months. “Fighter planes attacked a number of targets and destroyed a Hamas weapons production facility,” the IDF said. “Israel regards Hamas as responsible for all events in and from the Strip.” As tensions mounted and more rockets were fired, Israel closed the Erez Crossing to Gaza on April 24. A rocket launched from Lebanon on April 25 fell in an open area near Kibbutz Matzuva, after which the IDF fired at an “infrastructure target... to make it clear to those on the other side that we do not intend to accept any violation of Israeli sovereignty,” the army said.

 Former US ambassador to Israel David Friedman is seen receiving the Guardian of Zion Award. (credit: SHLOMI AMSALEM) Former US ambassador to Israel David Friedman is seen receiving the Guardian of Zion Award. (credit: SHLOMI AMSALEM)

Israel’s Defense Ministry revealed that a laser air defense system it is developing successfully shot down drones, rockets, mortars and anti-tank missiles in a series of tests in the Negev in March. The ground-based laser, dubbed Iron Beam, is being developed by the Rafael weapons manufacturer to supplement the Iron Dome, shooting down smaller projectiles and leaving larger ones for the more robust missile-based batteries. According to the head of the ministry’s research and development team, Brig. Gen. (res.) Yaniv Rotem, the laser “is a game changer and the technology is simple to operate and economically viable.”


The Foreign Ministry summoned Russian Ambassador to Israel Anatoly Viktorov on May 2 to protest a comment by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov that Hitler had Jewish origins. In an interview with an Italian TV news program the day before, Lavrov said of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that “the fact that he is a Jew does not negate the Nazi elements in his country. I believe that Adolf Hitler also had Jewish blood.” Foreign Minister Yair Lapid demanded an apology from Lavrov, saying his remarks, which came days after Holocaust Remembrance Day, are “unforgivable and outrageous.”


Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s office announced that Israel’s indoor mask mandate, one of the few remaining corona restrictions still in place, was lifted after Shabbat on the night of April 23. Citing the decline in infection rates and morbidity, a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office said Bennett and Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz agreed that the widely flouted masking requirement would be scrapped, but that masks would still be required “at places with high contagion potential” such as hospitals, senior living facilities, airports and planes. 


Israel’s Timna Nelson-Levy, 27, won a gold medal at the European Judo Championships in Bulgaria on April 29. Nelson-Levy beat Olympic silver medalist Sara-Leonie Cysique in the final of the women’s under 57 kg contest. A native Jerusalemite born to American parents who made aliyah, Nelson-Levy is the first Israeli woman to strike gold at the European Championships since Yael Arad in 1993.


Former US Ambassador to Israel David M. Friedman was presented with the Guardian of Zion Award on April 19 by Ingerborg Rennert, who together with her husband, Ira, sponsors Bar-Ilan University’s Ingeborg Rennert Center for Jerusalem Studies, as the center’s director Prof. Aren Maeir applauded. “Support for Israel is a quintessential American value,” Friedman said in his lecture entitled, “America’s Biblical Roots.” “Indeed, the Bible – so much of which is predicated upon God’s covenant to our forefathers to install and then later to restore the Jewish people to the Land of Israel – is foundational to the principles upon which America was founded.” Friedman is the founder of The Friedman Center for Peace through Strength, which works to advance his achievements as ambassador from 2017-21 in strengthening the US-Israel relationship.