Globe Briefs

Globe Briefs

Damage from Gaza rocket cuts power to 70,000

A rocket fired from Gaza damaged power lines in Israel that resulted in the loss of power to 70,000 Palestinians in the coastal strip.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Infrastructure Minister Silvan Shalom instructed the Israel Electric Company not to endanger its employees by repairing the lines from Sunday night’s outage while the threat of rocket attacks from Gaza remains. The lines were knocked down at Kissufim, near the Gaza border.

“The power company plans to remedy the problem,” Israel Electric said in a statement late Sunday night. “However, in view of the security situation and the great danger faced by employees by making the repair under fire, the error will be corrected as soon as we possibly can in terms of security.”

Also Sunday, a rocket fired from Syria hit Israel on the Golan Heights. The rocket fell in an open area and caused no casualties.

The Israel Defense Forces said it believes the rocket fire was intentional and not a byproduct of the more than three-year civil war in Syria. The IDF responded with artillery fire in the direction of the rocket launch and confirmed hits on its targets.

Earlier in the evening, the Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted a rocket over the West Bank city of Ariel — the first time a rocket has reached the northern West Bank, some 52 miles away. A rocket fired at Jerusalem also was intercepted.

Meanwhile, some 17,000 Palestinian residents of Beit Lahiya left their homes — against the wishes of Hamas — after Israeli leaflets encouraging them to leave ahead of a military operation were dropped on the area, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency told Israel Radio.

On Sunday, the Gaza Ministry of Health said that over 166 Palestinians have been killed and at least 1,000 injured since Israel started its Operation Protective Edge early last Tuesday, the Palestinian Maan news agency reported.

Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday reportedly called Netanyahu and offered help from the United States in brokering a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas. Netanyahu appeared Sunday morning on “Fox News Sunday,” NBC’s “Meet the Press” and CNN’s “State of the Union” to defend Israel’s military operation in Gaza.

The IDF said that 130 rockets fired from Gaza hit Israel on Sunday and 22 more were intercepted by Iron Dome. Since the start of Protective Edge, more than 700 rockets have hit Israel, according to the IDF.

The Israeli Cabinet on Sunday approved a $121.8 million aid package for residents and communities of southern Israel, who have been hard hit by Gaza rockets. About half the aid will be given to the town of Sderot.

The government said it also will establish five mental wellness centers offering psychological and social work services, mainly for children affected by the conflict. The aid package includes an income tax credit and property tax breaks for residents and businesses.

Rabbi of Casablanca assaulted in response to Israel’s Gaza operation

The rabbi of the Jewish community in Casablanca, Morocco, was beaten allegedly because of Israel’s Gaza operation.

Rabbi Moshe Ohayon was attacked last Friday night as he walked to synagogue for Sabbath services, according to local and Israeli reports.

Ohayon suffered a broken nose and broken ribs and was beaten on the head in the attack, according to the French-language The rabbi reportedly asked passers-by for help but was ignored.

The alleged attacker, a local Muslim man in his 20s, reportedly told the rabbi during the attack that it was in retribution for Israeli airstrikes on Gaza. The assailant is known to local police, according to the report, and officers were searching for him.

Following the attack, Casablanca Jews called on local authorities to increase security around synagogues and other Jewish institutions.

Anti-Israel protesters besiege Paris synagogue

Dozens of young men protesting Israel’s actions in Gaza briefly surrounded a Paris synagogue and clashed with security.

At least three Jews were taken to the hospital as a result of the clashes that erupted Sunday between the protesters and young Jewish men who guarded the Don Isaac Abravanel Synagogue in Paris, a witness said.

“The attackers splintered off an anti-Israel demonstration and advanced toward the synagogue when it was full,” Alain Azria, a French Jewish journalist who covered the event, said.

Azria said that when the demonstrators arrived at the central Paris synagogue, the five police officers on guard blocked the entrance as the protesters chanted anti-Semitic slogans and hurled objects at the synagogue and the guards. He said nearly 200 congregants were inside.

“They were determined to enter, and the police did not have enough forces,” he said.

Azria said the mob was kept away by men from the SPCJ Jewish security unit and the Jewish Defense League, which engaged the attackers in what turned into a street brawl.

“Thank God they were there because the protesters had murder on their minds and it took awhile before police reinforcements arrived,” he added.

The synagogue attack followed several anti-Semitic incidents that coincided with Israel’s offensive in Gaza, which began on July 8.

In one attack in Belleville north of the French capital, a firebomb was hurled at a synagogue, causing minor damage. In another attack, a man pepper-sprayed the face of a 17-year-old girl.

Berlin protest against Israel’s Gaza operation turns violent

Rocks were thrown at police in Berlin during a protest by some 1,000 demonstrators — most of them Palestinians — against Israel’s military campaign in Gaza.

As many as 10 demonstrators were arrested for breach of the peace and trying to forcibly free others already arrested in Saturday’s protest, a police spokesman said. One police officer was struck by a rock but was not injured.

The march was unregistered; demonstrations in Berlin require a police permit.

The demonstrators, who the police spokesman said were aggressive and chanting, tried unsuccessfully to enter the “Fan Mile,” where tens of thousands of soccer fans have been gathering to watch World Cup games on big screens over the past few weeks. Pushed back by police, the protesters proceeded up one of Berlin’s main avenues near Potsdamer Platz.

Facing a major police response, the demonstrators — at that point led by someone who was trying to calm them, the spokesman said — gradually broke up.

By some estimates, Berlin is home to 35,000 Arabs of Palestinian origin.

Last Friday, several hundred pro-Israel demonstrators gathered at Wittenberg Platz in Berlin under the banner “Fight Terror, Support Israel” organized by the Mideast Freedom Forum Berlin, a nondenominational NGO.

U.S. bill would offer $5M reward for capture of Fraenkel’s murderers

Legislation introduced in Congress would post a $5 million reward for information leading to the capture of Naftali Fraenkel, the Israeli-American teen abducted with two others and murdered last month in the West Bank.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Co.) authored the legislation concerning Fraenkel, who was abducted on June 12 along with Israelis Eyal Yifrach and Gilad Shaar. Their bodies were found June 30.

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) co-sponsored the legislation in the House.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that Hamas is behind the kidnappings and killings, which were an element leading to the bombing campaign Israel launched this week against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

“The Israeli government’s recent action against Hamas is a just and appropriate mission to both bring the terrorists responsible to justice, and to degrade their capability to launch further attacks,” Cruz said. “No one doubts Israel’s ability to carry out this mission, but given Naftali’s citizenship, I believe the United States should demonstrate our clear support for Israel by offering a reward as we traditionally have in terrorist attacks involving Americans.”

The bill would require Secretary of State John Kerry to use the Rewards for Justice program to offer a $5 million reward.