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THE WEEK AHEAD: Israeli PM Lapid to address UN, Israeli President Herzog to attend Queen Elizabeth’s funeral, and Israel on high alert for potential terrorism

Here are the stories we are watching...

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid departs for a diplomatic visit to Berlin, Sept. 11, 2022 (Photo: Koby Gideon/GPO)
  • Israel on high security alert

  • Lapid addresses the UN General Assembly

  • Suburban march to the Knesset

  • Herzog attends the queen’s funeral

  • Red heifers in the Holy Land

ISRAEL ON HIGH SECURITY ALERT

Israel has shifted into high alert, elevating its security readiness ahead of the Jewish high holidays, which begin next week. Terrorist activity has increased in recent months in Palestinian cities in Judea and Samaria, in particular in Jenin. The Israel Police will deploy around 20,000 officers across the country – a record high for Israel – to prevent or counter terrorist threats.

In separate incidents last week, two Palestinian gunmen (including a member of the P.A. security services) shot and killed an Israeli solider, Major Bar Falah, while another gunman – still on the lam – shot an 18-year-old man through the window of a yeshiva on Mount Hebron.

An unnamed senior defense official told Ynet that Israeli security forces will continue to arrest terror suspects pre-emptively, despite the potential tensions that could arise thereby, since Israel “cannot afford itself the privilege of growing complacent vis-à-vis counterterrorist activity.”

LAPID ADDRESSES THE UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid will travel to the United States on Monday night to address the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Thursday, Sept. 22, at around 2 p.m. EST. The day before, the international body will hear from Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas. Lapid will meet with several world leaders on the sidelines of the annual gathering, reportedly including Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Lapid’s trip to the U.N. comes a week after Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz met with U.N. Sec.-Gen. António Guterres and U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield. At the time, Gantz revealed that “Iran is producing more and more advanced centrifuges – including at underground facilities where activities are prohibited.”

Israel’s Ambassador to the U.N. Gilad Erdan serves as the vice president of the U.N. General Assembly. Erdan was elected to the high position in June, despite objections by Iran and Syria.

SUBURBAN MARCH TO THE KNESSET

Dozens of Israeli civilian organizations representing residents of the periphery are planning to march to the Knesset in Jerusalem throughout the week to raise lawmakers’ awareness of issues that concern those who live outside the center of the country. 

According to the march organizers, major pay gaps and educational disparities exist between Israelis living in the center of the country – such as the metropolitans centers such as Jerusalem and Tel Aviv – compared to residents of communities in the North and South. The protestors wish to grab the attention of political parties competing for seats in the upcoming November election.

HERZOG ATTENDS THE QUEEN’S FUNERAL

London-bound this Sunday, Israeli President Isaac Herzog and First Lady Michal Herzog will represent Israel at the United Kingdom’s state funeral for Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey on Monday.

The Herzogs will “express condolences to His Majesty King Charles III, the Royal Family and the British people,” according to a statement from the president’s office. Following a public procession for Her Majesty, the coffin will be transferred to Windsor, where it will be buried at St. George’s Chapel.

The Kumkum Tea House in Jerusalem will stream a live feed of the procession. The shop became a makeshift memorial for Israelis to assemble and pay their respects to the late monarch; it has come to feature a sprawling visual tribute to the Queen.

Though the royal family has considerable history in the Holy Land, Queen Elizabeth never visited Israel despite visiting other Middle Eastern countries, including Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, and receiving many invitations from Israel over the course of her 70-year reign. Israelis believe that the queen’s rejection of their invitations resulted from Britain’s fear of a potential Arab boycott.

RED HEIFERS IN THE HOLY LAND

Five red heifers, born on from cattle ranches in Texas, received the green light from the Israeli rabbinate to enter to the Holy Land.

The “red heifer” is a female bovine, which must never have been pregnant, milked or yoked, and is free of all physical defects. When sacrificed, the red heifer’s ashes can be used to bestow the “highest level of biblical purity” on both kohanim, or priests (the descendants of Aaron), and ordinary Jews, who then may stand on the areas of the Temple Mount where the inner courtyards and sanctuary of the Temple of the Lord once stood.

Currently, the cows are being quarantined for 10 days. Their presence in Israel has touched off speculation about their role in the rebuilding of the temple and the end times in general.

This week we are also keeping an eye on these developing stories:

  • ... Is war with Hezbollah heating up on Israel’s northern border?

  • ... Why might Orthodox Jewish students end up paying the price for pre-election political maneuvering?

  • ... As Christians flock to their spiritual home, is Israel on the cusp of its biggest tourism wave yet?

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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