From Israel: “Great Alertness and a Full Heart Required!!”

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I have been sending out some very heavy material, sending it because it is important to let my readers know what’s going on, straight-on, no-frills.  Sometimes there is so much to report that I struggle with what to write about first.

Today is no different. I begin with news about a terror attack that took place in the Old City of Jerusalem on Sunday morning, when a terrorist affiliated with Hamas opened fire.   

Eliyahu (Eli) Kay (HY”D), a 26-year-old Western Wall (Kotel) guide from Modi’in, was walking to work when he was fatally wounded near the Kotel.  

He raised the spirits of everyone. He did his holy work with dedication and loyalty,” the Western Wall Heritage Foundation said in a statement later in the day.

Kay, who was engaged to be married, had made aliyah from South Africa; he served as a lone soldier in the Paratroopers Brigade until 2019.  He also volunteered with HaShomer HaChadash  (The New Guardians) — an organization established to help safeguard the land, assisting farmers and ranchers, as well as to strengthen Zionist connections.

It was so contagious the way he loved the country, and he really fought for Israel so much,” said one friend.  While another reported, “It is hard to find people like Eli, he was unique, one of the righteous people of this world, it’s impossible to describe him in words.”

Instagram/HaShomer HaChadash

Four others were wounded in the attack: Rabbi Zeev Katzenelnbogen, a 46-year-old father of eight, who was released from the hospital today; Rabbi Aaron Yehuda, who is in serious condition; and two lightly-wounded border guards who were treated and released from the hospital.



In Gaza, candies were passed out to celebrate the killing of a Jew.

Mark well, this business about passing out candies, my friends – for it is done routinely by the Palestinian Arabs when Jews are attacked.  Compare this behavior to what Eli Kay’s brother Kasriel said regarding family plans to build something in his memory, “so we will truly remember him eternally.” No whisper of calls for revenge – it is not our way.  HY”D, which I wrote above, means HaShem Yikom Damo, may the Almighty avenge his death.


The terrorist, Fadi Abu Shkhaywho, was shot dead; he lived in eastern Jerusalem and held an Israeli residency card. The news broke this morning that he preached at the Al Aksa Mosque on the Temple Mount and led tours there.  He also taught Islamic Studies at a school in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City, which means his salary was paid by the Ministry of Education. The Ministry has issued a statement saying the matter is still under investigation by the security forces; they will issue an official response at the conclusion of the investigation.  


Khaled Abu Toameh, writing in the JPost today shared a great deal more about abu Shkahywho, whom, Abu Toameh says, is referred to by some as a “a senior Hamas official in Jerusalem.” His friends referred to him as mourabit, or “defender of the faith” for his efforts to keep Jews from praying on the Temple Mount.

Abu Toameh elaborated (emphasis added):

It is believed that more than 1,000 men and women have been recruited by various Islamic groups to ‘defend’ al-Aqsa Mosque against alleged attempts by Israel to ‘change the status quo’ by allocating prayer space for Jews at the Temple Mount.

“In 2015, Israel outlawed the mourabitoun (plural for male mourabit) and mourabitat (plural for female mourabita).

“Despite the ban, dozens of men and women, including Abu Shkhaydam, continued to arrive at the Temple Mount almost every day to harass and shout at Jews who enter the area under police protection.”

Called alternately a sheikh and an Islamic scholar, he taught Sharia law. He also urged Muslims to fight their oppression – which means he incited.


A lot for us to wrap our heads around, a great many questions to be asked.


Before Eli Kay was killed, I had planned to make this a “good news” posting because I am committed to providing a balance – a badly needed balance – by also sharing good stuff.  It was past due. And I will carry on with that below.  I don’t think switching the tone from the painful information above to good news is disrespectful to Eli Kay.  Quite the contrary: He so deeply loved Israel that he would have delighted in the good stuff.


“Israeli scientists from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology have developed an artificial molecule that could inhibit the development of Alzheimer’s disease, conceivably paving the way for better treatment of the disease.”

The study was led by Professor Galia Maayan, worked in cooperation with The French National Centre for Scientific Research.



“A Tel Aviv lab has equipped good bacteria with ‘poisoned arrows,’ which they fire at bad bacteria, dealing them a fatal blow.”

Said Dr. Dor Salomon, lead researcher of the project at the Department of Clinical Biology and Immunology Tel Aviv University:  “We have built an antibacterial weapon that enables ‘good’ bacteria to attack bad bacteria with toxins and neutralize them.”



Courtesy: Dr. Dor Salomon


The Israeli NGO IsraAID, which offers immediate assistance in times of disaster in places such as Haiti, has been helping refugees from many places around the world for years.  In early October, this group facilitated an operation to rescue “125 Afghans at risk from Taliban retribution in a complex and hush hush operation.”  Those who were rescued included “judges, human rights activities, journalists, TV presenters, scientist, artists, diplomats, artists and even cyclists.”

The collaborative effort included assistance from the governments of the United Arab Emirates and Albania, as well as activists and donors.

“IsraAID’s CEO, Yotam Polizer, who took part in the mission said the last few weeks of negotiations were intense and difficult, and the situation was constantly changing.”  Ultimately, the refugees were brought to Albania.  

This was the second time IsraAID had been involved in evacuating vulnerable people from Afghanistan: on September 6, 42 women, girls and family members (pictured) were spirited out of the country to the United Arab Emirates.

“We are delighted to be able to say that our main focus now is on ensuring the evacuees have everything they need while they begin the process of building new lives for themselves. We are committed to supporting both of these groups for the long-term,” said Polizer. Ultimately they will be settled in western countries.

Credit: Boaz Arad/IsraAID


As has been the case in past years, once again Israel is high on the UN‘s World Happiness Report list. The just released Report for 2021 – which draws upon a compilation of an aggregate of data – places Israel in the 12th spot for happiness out of 149 countries.  

This is fairly amazing when we consider the factors Israel must deal with – such as the terror attack of Sunday.  The other 11 countries higher on the list are all living in peace with their neighbors.

I want to quote Mark Regev (picture below), who wrote an article about this list (emphasis added):

“By comparison with other western countries, in Israel, the family unit remains strong, as does the sense of community and peoplehood, providing a sense of identity and belonging. While being more and more entrepreneurial, Israel, with all our internal fissions, still maintains a high degree of social solidarity, at the same time displaying a progressive tolerance and acceptance of diversity. And despite embracing dynamism, technology, innovation and globalism, Israelis tend to be grounded in their unique cultural and historical heritage.

All this not only creates healthy familial and social support mechanisms but assists in avoiding the alienation and atomization often associated with developed urban societies.

“Emblematic of all this is the way Israelis engage over Shabbat dinner. Even the most secular Israelis are known to get together with family…”


Twitter @Mark Regev

Commitment to family and community, and a strong sense of our historical heritage.

For this, I say Bravo!!


As I pondered what items to include here, it became clear to me that many times – probably most of the time – on the political/diplomatic/security front it’s not a matter of clear-cut situations that present as “good.”  Rather, it’s seeing a process that heartens us because it is moving in the right direction, even if it’s not “there” yet, or a situation that provides evidence of Israel’s strength.  How we receive this information is very much a matter of perspective.


Israel’s changing relationship with a number of mid-East and African nations is major “good news.”   Israel has not only forged formal agreements with some, there is a new tone of respect accorded our nation, which is seen as a leader in a number of areas.

Attorney Eric Levine, a board member of the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC), was a member of a delegation to Saudi Arabia. Josh Hasten, writing in JNS, cites him: “the Saudis have come to the conclusion that it is in their national interests to make peace with the Israelis...everything we were hearing was not ‘if,’ but ‘when’ peace will happen with the Israelis. That’s clearly the message I took away.”

Phil Rosen (pictured), another board member of the RJC who participated in the trip, had been in Saudi Arabia before.  He observed what strides had been made in westernization of the country.  Back in 1993, he had concluded that peace wouldn’t come for centuries.  “But today,” he reported, “I have a strong feeling that we are on the verge of something big happening. It’s definitely viable. (Emphasis added here and above.)

Credit: Courtesy

This is big.



So Saudi Arabia has not yet joined the Abraham Accords.  But when we look at the accomplishments of the Accords after 14 months, there is much to celebrate. Israel21 has offered a description of the 22 most interesting Israel-UAE agreements that have come to fruition so far – with many more surely on the way.

A few examples:

 [] “This summer, top brass from world-famous Israeli hospital Sheba Medical Center flew to Abu Dhabi, where they signed an MoU allowing for the formation of a cooperation framework focused on research and development in telemedicine and the use of artificial intelligence in medicine, as well as the exchange of knowledge and best medical practices.”

[] “The Abba Eban Institute for International Diplomacy at the IDC Herzliya and the Derasat Institute – The Bahrain Center for Strategic, International and Energy Studies signed an MoU this summer to collaborate on the fields of regional security and multilateral relations in the Middle East.” 

[] “The Abba Eban Institute for International Diplomacy at the IDC Herzliya and the Derasat Institute – The Bahrain Center for Strategic, International and Energy Studies signed an MoU this summer to collaborate on the fields of regional security and multilateral relations in the Middle East.” 



Lastly here, I want to recommend an article in Friday’s JPost Magazine – “How Israel built the world’s most accurate military machine,” by Yaakov Katz.  Too complex to be dealt with in the space I have here, it provides a great deal of reassurance with regard to the sophistication of how the IDF operates.  

Katz focuses on Gaza.  Many people see Israelis as sitting ducks with regard to Hamas – just passively waiting for the next attack that will come at the whim of the leaders of this terrorist group. Read this, and you will never feel this way again.  



© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by independent journalist Arlene Kushner. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.