by: Ilse Strauss
Wednesday, 28 September 2022 | Clashes. Confrontation. The echo of rams’ horns. And warm wishes for a sweet new year. This summed up the situation over the past festive yet tense long weekend in the Promised Land.
Israel is currently in the midst of a season known as the High Holy Days, a three-week period that starts with Rosh HaShanah (Jewish New Year), runs through Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) and concludes with Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles). It is a time unlike any other, as an atmosphere of expectation and awe settles over the Jewish state. Yet it can also be a tense time, with Israel’s enemies attempting to turn the solemn, joyous time into one of bloodshed and violence.
Sadly, this year has so far been no different. Rosh HaShanah started at sunset on Sunday, marking the beginning of the High Holy Days, and as Jews spent the time in repentance prayers or gathered with family, unrest roiled in parts of Judea and Samaria.
Last night, security forces clashed with Palestinian protesters in eastern Jerusalem for the third consecutive night. According to the Israeli police, the latest confrontation amid the days of unrest in the capital saw protesters setting dumpsters on fire and hurling boulders and shooting fireworks at security forces, who responded with non-lethal crowd dispersion methods.
Also last night, Palestinian terrorists opened fire from a passing vehicle on Israeli troops conducting “routine activity” in northern Samaria. According to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), the soldiers returned fire, causing the terrorists to flee. No troops were hurt in the incident.
Then, this morning, three Palestinian terrorists were killed in an Israeli military raid in Jenin, a Palestinian city in northern Samaria that has been a hotbed of terrorist activity over the past few months.
The clashes, confrontations and attacks were not unexpected though. They come as Israel continues to step up counterterrorism efforts in Judea and Samaria. The IDF launched Operation Break the Wave in late March to curb a deadly terror wave that saw 19 people murdered in six separate attacks across Israel in a matter of weeks. The operation entails security forces undertaking near nightly military forages into the Palestinian towns and villages to apprehend would-be terrorists before they can strike. These anti-terror raids routinely escalate into violent clashes, with protestors hurling rocks and fireworks as well as heavily armed Palestinian gunmen engaging the IDF forces in fierce firefights.
In the five months since Operation Break the Wave was launched, more than 2,050 counterterrorism operations have been carried out, during which over 1,500 wanted individuals were apprehended and hundreds of weapons confiscated. More importantly, the operation brought an end to the deadly wave of terror, with countless terror attacks averted.
Yet there is also a price to pay. Simmering tensions in Judea and Samaria have reached near boiling point. There has been a sharp rise in shooting attacks against IDF targets as well as civilian vehicles in the region, with 130 attacks this year so far, compared to just 98 last year and 19 in 2020, the Times of Israel reports. Attempted stabbings and stone-throwing incidents have also increased.
The rest of the country is simmering too—especially over the holidays. In fact, two weeks ago, Israel went on record terror alert ahead of the High Holy Days after defense officials presented Prime Minister Yair Lapid with some 70 concrete warnings about imminent attacks during the holiday season.
“This is a symbolic period during which terrorist organizations are naturally looking to carry out showcase attacks,” an anonymous senior police official told Ynetnews.
Israel prepared to answer these threats with a record deployment of about 20,000 police officers stationed around the country, with a focus on Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria.
Their efforts have born fruit. While clashes and confrontations rage, the first of the High Holy Days came and went without any terror attacks.
As we look ahead to the two remaining feasts of Yom Kippur and Sukkot over the next two weeks, we invite Christians around the world to join us in prayer for the peace of Jerusalem (Ps. 122:6).
Posted on September 28, 2022
Source: (Bridges for Peace, September 28, 2022)
Photo Credit: Israel Police/commons.wikimedia.org
Photo License: Wikimedia
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