Another week of ups and downs has gone past, and thank goodness it’s Friday, time to relax with a Good News Friday post before Shabbat comes in.
Firstly some good news on the often cool British front. Here is the British Ambassador to Israel’s tweet this week:
On the Palestinian front, where one would hardly expect to hear any good news at all, earlier this week we read that Hamas claimed to have built its own tank. That would be terrifying news indeed – if it were true. It turns out the tank is as fake as the Palestinian “nationality”:
At a funeral-rally last Saturday for seven Hamas terrorists, who died when the tunnel they were working in collapsed on top of them, Gaza’s Islamist rulers proudly paraded what they claimed was a captured, rebuilt Israeli Merkava tank.
The rally was organized by the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s “military wing,” whose members were killed in the accident, and was meant to be a show of force replete with the usual threats against Israel.
At one point, Al-Qassam Brigade spokesman Abu Obeida delivered a speech from the tank’s turret, flanked by several masked gunmen.
But as Israeli PM Netanyahu’s Arabic-language spokesman pointed out, there was just one problem: the “tank” was clearly a fake.
One wag on Twitter had some more terrifying illustrations of Hamas’ military capabilities:
Even more good news from the same direction: There are reports that the entire Gaza tunnel network might be collapsing!
Two Hamas terrorists were killed in a tunnel collapse in the southern Gaza Strip on Tuesday night, one week after seven other terrorists were killed in a tunnel collapse in northern Gaza. In a statement, Hamas’ military wing Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades identified the fighters as 35-year-old Fouad Ashor al-Etewi and 23-year-old Ahmad Haidar al-Zahhar from al-Nusirat refugee camp, Ma’an reported. The statement added that the tunnel “belonged to the resistance,” but did not offer any other details.
The rain and the massive flooding of the tunnel network by the Egyptian army has led to a vast chain reaction of collapsing tunnels, NRG reported Wednesday. On Tuesday last week, seven Hamas terrorists were killed when a tunnel they were rebuilding in the northern Gaza Strip reportedly collapsed due to heavy rain.
According to Reuters, Egypt has been pumping salt water from the nearby Mediterranean into the tunnels for more than a year, creating a huge mess as the water rises to the surface. Hamas officials are saying the flooding contaminates water supplies, destroys farmland and spreads disease.
Hamas’s disingenuousness is breath-taking. If they weren’t building terror tunnels, Egypt wouldn’t be flooding them with seawater and their water supply wouldn’t become contaminated.
As for the terrorists and tunnels themselves, what can I say? It couldn’t happen to nicer people. Long may it continue, Ad 120,000!
On a more serious and more positive note, after having been passed over last year, the UN has now granted consultative status to the Israeli emergency response and rescue organization ZAKA:
ZAKA’s bid to join the UN body was unanimously approved by a 19-member committee that includes Iran, China, Cuba, Venezuela, Sudan and Pakistan. Three previous attempts by Zaka to join the UN — in 2015, 2014 and 2013 — were unsuccessful.
The status at the UN gives the volunteer organization the right to take part in official UN discussions and conferences that are open for such organizations.
The effort was backed by the Israeli and American ambassadors to the UN, Danny Danon and Samantha Power.
Danon called ZAKA’s new status “a significant victory for Israeli diplomacy.”
“ZAKA is an organization that reflects Israel’s moral values and its acceptance by the UN represents conclusive proof to the world of this fact. ZAKA received the status it deserves,” he said.
ZAKA founder and chairman Yehuda Meshi Zahav praised the move, calling it a “great honor for the State of Israel in general and the ZAKA organization and its volunteers in particular that the UN recognizes and appreciates the unique sacred mission that we do, regardless of religion, race or creed.”
Indeed, ZAKA does holy work in its rescue missions around the world and in its first response teams in Israel, and through this work it also creates a wonderful Kiddush Hashem (sanctification of G-d’s name). Kol hakavod and Mazal Tov to ZAKA on achieving this important status. Since they often do miracles in their rescue work, maybe they will also be able to create another miracle and have a positive influence on the UN.
Since we’re on the subject of medical miracles, here is another amazing new development from Israeli researchers – a personalized medicine to treat lymphomas:
With a median survival rate of just five to seven years, Mantle Cell Lymphoma (MCL) is considered the most aggressive blood cancer, and despite the progress in genetic-based cancer treatments, researchers have yet to develop an effective method for treating this rare form of lymphoma.
However, a novel method developed in Israel successfully locates and blocks the reproduction of a cancer-related protein in white blood cells, suggesting that a cure for MCL, as well as other blood cancers, may be within reach. The study was led by Tel Aviv University’s Prof. Dan Peer.
The drug developed in Peer’s lab points to the potential of personalized medicine in the treatment of cancers, which display wide genetic variety even within the same pathology. “MCL is a disease with a specific genetic hallmark, so you can sequence the patient to identify the mutation(s), and design RNA blockers to be placed inside a nano-vehicle,” according to Peer. “However, the delivery system can be used to accommodate any disease with a [known] genetic profile. This could be the future. We are seeing it happen before our very eyes.”
This is an incredible development with enormous positive implications for other illnesses. Kol hakavod to Prof. Dan Peer and his research team on their novel discovery. May they go on to save countless lives cancer sufferers.
On a completely different theme now, I turn to two tragic events which have had an emotional, bittersweet and ultimately positive response.
First, here is the initiative of Rinel Saif, the widow of the heroic Druze policeman who was killed at the Har Nof Synagogue massacre:
If you can’t see the Facebook post, the text reads:
BIG LIKE: Rinel Saif is the widow of the Druze police officer killed in Jerusalem’s Har Nof massacre; Zidan Saif was murdered by Arab terrorists while defending Jews who were praying at the Synagogue. Rinel is now enterprising a new, blessed project: Jewish families hosting Druze families for Shabbat. “Instead of a blood alliance, we need a life alliance” she said.
What a wonderful courageous woman and what a wonderful initiative. Her husband and her community are surely very proud of her, and we Jewish Israelis can count ourselves lucky on having such extraordinary and brave citizens who, despite the enormous sacrifice they paid, show no bitterness. Kol hakavod to Rinel! I wish her project enormous success.
And here is a story guaranteed to bring tears to your eyes: the widower of Dafna Meir Hy’d, murdered by a terrorist in Otniel just a couple of weeks ago, turned to social media to support his daughters when they won an award:
Natan Meir, a father of six, whose wife Dafna was murdered in her home in the Otniel in the Judea portion of the West Bank last month is asking for help on social media. This week, two of their children won medals for their performance in gymnastics but they were unable to revel in their win because their victory was tainted with the knowledge that their mother would not be able to celebrate with them.
When they arrived home the children started crying knowing they could not share their joy with their mother.
Natan shared this photo of the 10 and 11 year olds to social media to ask that people show some love and support for his daughters in this challenging time.
Leave a kind comment and congratulate the girls on their achievements!
“My wonderful daughters, Noa (age 10) and Ahava (age 11) took part in a gymnastics competition today in Otniel. They won the silver and bronze medals. Two local mothers, neighbors of ours, accompanied them, and gave them a great time.
That evening though, the tears came – their mother had not seen their victory. Why did they not have their mother’s hug? Why is she not here to watch them?
I suggested to them that I would share their photo with their medals on Facebook, so they can receive a warm hug of love from the entire Jewish people.”
The Jewish People – and many others – did not disappoint! There are tens of thousands of likes and comments as you can see from the Facebook post below.
Again, as with Rinel Saif, here is someone who has been terribly bereaved and has been left with the burden of raising his family alone. And yet he shows no bitterness, only resourcefulness and deep love for his children.
May Natan Meir find comfort in his beautiful and talented children, and find solace and strength in the love that is pouring out from the Jewish people and our supporters everywhere.
And with this I wish you all Shabbat Shalom.