February 1: Israel remembers Ilan Ramon, the first Israeli Astronaut. In 1997, Ramon was selected to be the only Payload Specialist during NASA Mission STS-107 aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia. He and his crewmates perished tragically in 2003 when the infamous Columbia shuttle exploded while re-entering Earth’s atmosphere–only 16 minutes before its scheduled landing time.
February 7: The IDF marks International Safer Internet Day and sent 90 officers and soldiers from the Teleprocessing Corps to schools all over the country to teach the basics of online safety to students.
February 8: To celebrate the annual Jewish celebration of Tu Bishvat, or festival of trees, IDF soldiers planted trees all around the country and used only recycled materials to help the environment. To assist the soldiers, a ‘Taglit’ Birthright group joined in on the fun.
February 20: An exercise simulating an earthquake was held in all kindergartens and schools in Israel; its purpose was to test the Israeli education system’s readiness in case of an emergency.
February 26: Israel Highway 12 was re-opened to traffic following a temporary closure due to a deadly terror attack in August 2011. During the closure, the IDF worked intensively to achieve optimal safety conditions to re-open the road.
Judea and Samaria:
February 25: More than 1,200 violent Palestinian protesters participated in illegal riots in the Judea & Samaria regions. Rioters set fire to tires, blocked streets, and hurled rocks and firebombs at IDF forces, who responded with riot dispersal means. Five Palestinians were arrested in Hebron and given over to the custody of the Israeli Police.
Israel’s Southern Border:
For the second time this month, an explosive device was found along the Israeli-Egyptian border on February 23, 2012. Terrorists attempt to smuggle the explosives into Israel to carry-out terror attacks. A previous attempt was thwarted during a joint IDF-Israel Police action on Monday, February 20, 2012.