Grim. Police in Philadelphia found about 100 toppled headstones at a Jewish cemetery Sunday, news which comes after a similar incident less than one week ago in St. Louis. The report comes at the same time as a new round of bomb threats on Monday targeted 16 Jewish community centers (JCC’s) and schools.
“We are doing all we can to find the perpetrators who desecrated this final resting place, and they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Mayor Jim Kenney said in a statement. “Hate is not permissible in Philadelphia.” There are an estimated 220,000 members of the Jewish community in the Philadelphia area.
The bomb threats are the latest in a series, although this is the first time this year Jewish schools have had to be evacuated. Jewish children were evacuated Monday from the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School in Rockville, Maryland, and the Gesher Jewish Day School in Fairfax, Virginia.
As listed by The Times of Israel, “A total of 48 JCCs in 26 states and one Canadian province received nearly 60 bomb threats during January. On Jan 31, some 17 JCCs across the United States were targeted with bomb threats. On Jan. 18, some 30 Jewish institutions in at least 17 states received bomb threats. On Jan. 9, such threats were called into 16 JCCs across the Northwest and South, forcing the evacuation of hundreds.”
“America is a nation built on the principle of religious tolerance. We must protect our houses of worship & religious centers. #JCC,” tweeted Ivanka Trump, a convert to Judaism and daughter of the president.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said the following on Monday: “I wanted to note the president continues to be deeply disappointed and…concerned by the reports of further vandalism at Jewish…cemeteries…The cowardly destruction in Philadelphia this weekend comes on top of similar accounts from Missouri and threats made to Jewish community centers around the country. The president continues to condemn these and any other form of anti-Semitic and hateful acts in the strongest terms.”
Fifteen reasons to cringe. At least 15 Hamas terror tunnels reach into Israel from the Gaza Strip, according to a report from Israel’s Channel 2 released Sunday.
A senior IDF official recently told Channel 2 that Hamas had rebuilt its tunnel infrastructure and rocket arsenal to the levels it maintained before its 2014 war against Israel. Palestinian affairs correspondent Khaled Abu Toameh pointed out last year that Hamas has prioritized building up its terror infrastructure over rebuilding Gazan homes, writing that “the last thing Hamas cares about is the welfare of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.”
Hamas spends some $40 million of its $100 million military budget on tunnel construction, according to Israeli and Palestinian sources. An Israeli official estimated in July that Hamas digs some six miles of tunnels every month.
The Israeli military explained during 2014’s Operation Protective Edge that Hamas intended to use the tunnels “to carry out attacks such as abductions of Israeli civilians and soldiers alike; infiltrations into Israeli communities, mass murders and hostage-taking scenarios.
Israeli tanks and planes carried out strikes against five Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip on Monday after a rocket was fired from the Hamas-controlled territory into southern Israel.
Iran puffs its chest. In its latest example of aggressive posturing, Iran test fired two missiles on Monday as part of a naval exercise it is carrying out in the Strait of Hormuz. The missiles included the anti-ship Dehlaviyeh missile and the Nasir, a cruise missile.
Earlier this month, German newspaper Die Welt reported that German intelligence believes that Iran tested a nuclear-capable cruise missile, with a possible range of 2,000-3,000 kilometers (1,250-1,875 miles). In its test, the missile successfully traveled 600 kilometers (375 miles), a little less than half the distance to Israel.
In addition to the reported cruise missile test, Iran carried out a ballistic missile test late last month, in violation of a United Nations resolution on Sunday.
Cruise missiles can travel at a lower altitude than ballistic missiles and also have radar evading capabilities, making them harder to counter. Iran may be pursuing this course because unlike with ballistic missiles, Iran is not explicitly banned by the United Nations Security Council from developing cruise missiles, a security expert explained to Die Welt.