Israel trying to head off new wave of terror during holidays

In bid to ease tensions ahead of High Holidays, Netanyahu nixes National Security Minister’s plan to remove security prisoners’ privileges.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened a meeting Sunday with the heads of all the security bodies in Israel to discuss preparations for a possible wave of terrorist attacks during the High Holiday season that begins with Rosh Hashanah Friday night.

Among his decisions following the meeting was to reject the request of National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir to make conditions harsher for Palestinian security prisoners, at least until after the month-long holiday period is over. Ben-Gvir had wanted to reduce family visits from monthly to once every other month, but according to a Channel 13 report the security establishment passed on “serious and dramatic warnings” if his plan was approved.

The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), Maj. Gen. Ghasan Alian, said that if this issue was not pushed back, “the Tishrei holidays will not be the same for the citizens of Israel” in terms of safety.

Although there have been well over a thousand terrorist attacks since the beginning of the year, with 29 people murdered, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi talked of reducing the motivation of the Palestinian extremists during this period, saying, “There is a lot of gasoline on the floor, we have to take away the matches.”

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Ben-Gvir reacted angrily during the meeting, telling Defense Minister Yoav Gallant to stay out of the affairs of his ministry.

“I have the responsibility for the safety of Jewish lives,” he said. “Prisoners are not your affair. You always bring up the [threats of riots on the] Temple Mount and prisoners and unification of [terrorist] arenas. Every time it’s forbidden to touch prisoners because it can cause agitation…. They are holy cows. Mr. Prime Minister, they have better conditions than in the hotel you were in.”

Gallant answered that “Judea and Samaria are not your responsibility.”

The vast majority of Palestinian terrorism takes place in Judea and Samaria.

The IDF is still going on nightly raids in Judea and Samaria to arrest suspected terrorists and confiscate weaponry, including powerful explosive devices smuggled in from Iran.

The latest clash took place early Monday morning, with Palestinian media reporting that Israeli troops made a brief foray into the terror hotspot of the Jenin refugee camp and the village of Azun, and in both places they exchanged fire with Palestinian gunmen.

The general consensus in Israel is that Iran is currently fanning the flames of terrorism, not only from the Gaza Strip, which is run by its Hamas proxy, but also by funding and arming terror groups in Judea and Samaria.

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Iranian media have made clear that the mullahs sense Israeli weakness as the country is roiled by the judicial reform protests that have even reached into the army, with thousands of reservists declaring that they will not do their duty when called in as a sign of their opposition to the overhaul.

At a conference on Sunday, Mossad spy chief David Barnea said that Iran was also “relentless” in its efforts to attack Israelis and Jews around the world. Working with intelligence counterparts in Europe, Africa, the Far East, and South America, his agency foiled 27 attacks on specific targets this year alone, he said.

“It is now time to exact a different kind of toll on Iran,” he said. “Any harm to either an Israeli or a Jew, in any form, will result in a response far inside Iran, reaching even the core of Tehran, and will include everyone from executing officers to the policy makers.”