Israel Still Aiding Wounded Syrians, Turning Them from ‘Enemies to Friends’

Israel and Syria have been mortal enemies since Syria attacked the newly reborn State of Israel almost 70 years ago. But that hasn’t impacted Israel’s ongoing work to help Syrians wounded in that nation’s civil war—and it may even offer hope for peace. It certainly isn’t stopping, even as violence …

Israel—An Ancient King of Making Glass

Centuries before the Land of Israel was a hub for the high-tech industry, the region was among the world leaders in another profession involving science, skill, and specialized knowledge: glass making. The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) announced in a press release on Monday that they have discovered 1,600-year-old kilns used …

‘Ways to Advance Peace’ on Agenda for ‘Historic’ Trump Visit to Israel

United States President Donald Trump’s first presidential trip outside the U.S. will continue from Saudi Arabia to Israel on Monday, and the Middle East peace process is fully expected to be on his agenda. Trump is set to visit Jerusalem and meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who called …

Israel Hosts United Nations to Boost Doctor Participation in Global Efforts

The United Nations hasn’t been particularly friendly towards Israel in recent years, but that doesn’t mean the international organization doesn’t still want and need Israeli assistance. Toward that end, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) hosted last week a seminar with the U.N. Medical Services Division and Human Resources, …

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Israel Hosts United Nations to Boost Doctor Participation in Global Efforts

May 23, 2017 News

United Nations Flag at Headquarters in New York. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

The United Nations hasn’t been particularly friendly towards Israel in recent years, but that doesn’t mean the international organization doesn’t still want and need Israeli assistance. Toward that end, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) hosted last week a seminar with the U.N. Medical Services Division and Human Resources, and more than 100 Israeli medical professionals, to discuss U.N. medical services and employment opportunities.

A press statement on the seminar posted to the MFA website said the event, which was done with the participation of the Israeli Ministry of Health, was “aimed at encouraging the participation of Israeli doctors in U.N. medical activities.” Dr. Jillian Farmer, Head of the U.N. Medical Services Division, and Steve Damond-Fagota, a senior officer of the U.N. Human Resources Department, made the presentation. Said the MFA press release, “This is another expression of Israel’s integration into the positive global agenda and the interest shown by the U.N. in recruiting Israelis into its ranks.” … Continue Reading

‘Ways to Advance Peace’ on Agenda for ‘Historic’ Trump Visit to Israel

May 21, 2017 Peace and Conflict

Historic visit this week as U.S. President Donald Trump (left) meets Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right). Illustrative. Photo courtesy of Kobi Gideon (GPO)

United States President Donald Trump’s first presidential trip outside the U.S. will continue from Saudi Arabia to Israel on Monday, and the Middle East peace process is fully expected to be on his agenda. Trump is set to visit Jerusalem and meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who called the trip “historic” in comments from his office on Sunday. “This is President Trump’s first visit outside the U.S., and the honor is ours that he has chosen to come to Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, and—of course—to the State of Israel,” said Netanyahu.

“I will discuss with President Trump ways to strengthen even further the first and strongest alliance with the US. We will strengthen security ties, which are strengthening daily, and we will also discuss ways to advance peace.” That last point has gotten a lot of attention in recent months as Trump has met with Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the U.S. and discussed the dormant peace process between the sides. Trump’s last host on his journey—the Saudi government—is willing to work with the American leader on this goal. … Continue Reading

Saudis Want ‘Deeds, not Words’ after President Rouhani Reelected in Iran

May 21, 2017 News

Will Iranian President Rouhani moderate Iran, or is he just for show? Rouhani visiting medical facility. Illustrative. FEMA/Marty Bahamonde.

Hassan Rouhani, the technically more moderate candidate running for president in Iran, was reelected last week in Iran—but at this point there is more hope than expectation that Rouhani will coax Iran into the good graces of the global community. Given that the dictatorial Ayatollah leadership holds the real power in Iran and Rouhani’s first term was marred by sponsored terrorism, troubling missile tests, and ongoing military interference in Yemen and Syria, the rival Saudi Arabian government was quick to say they will judge Rouhani by what Iran does—not what is said.

“We welcome an Iran that’s open to the world. We welcome an Iran that lives at peace with its neighbors. We welcome an Iran that doesn’t interfere in the affairs of other countries. But this is not the Iran we see,” said Saudi Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir in a Saturday press briefing with United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that was published by the U.S. State Department.

“So when you come back to your question of what do we think about the reelection of Rouhani, we want to see deeds, not words. And we will continue to judge Iran based on its deeds, and we will continue to base our policy vis-a-vis Iran based on Iran’s deeds.”­ For his part, Tillerson expressed hope that Iran would change, but refused to comment on his expectations. … Continue Reading

US Says Iran Enables Syrian Crimes as Hardline Iranian Presidential Candidate Gets Boost

May 15, 2017 News

Could Iranian President Rouhani be beaten out by a hardliner in Iran’s elections? Illustrative. FEMA/Marty Bahamonde.

Iranians are partly to blame for the atrocities happening in Syria, United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said on Monday. That same day, Iran reminded the world why that is the case as one conservative presidential candidate stepped aside to promote the candidacy of another, who’s perhaps best known around the world as a judge presiding over mass executions.

Tehran mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, one of five candidates attempting to unset supposed reformist Hassan Rouhani in Friday’s election, dropped out on Monday. According to PressTV, Qalibaf backed principlist candidate Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi while railing against “opportunists” who are “at odds with the intellectual fundaments of original revolutionaries” in Iran. The Iranian revolution in 1979 turned the nation into an Islamic nation that hates America and Israel. That also set the stage for Raeisi’s role as one of four Sharia judges for political executions in 1988, according to The Guardian, who identified him as a hardliner. And Iran’s cruelty isn’t just historical. Today, Haley sees a viciousness in Syria made possible by Iran. … Continue Reading

Israeli Cybersecurity Stands Out as Attack Strikes Globe

May 14, 2017 News

Israel is a shining example of cybersecurity. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

With a recent global cyberattack impacting hundreds of thousands of victims—which per a report from the BBC include the Russian Interior Ministry, German rail network Deutsche Bahn and British hospitals—Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave Israel’s a clean bill of cyber health. As of Sunday morning, he said that “there have not been any attacks against our vital infrastructures. The other attacks have been minor so far, but everything could change.”

Noting the number of different nations impacted by the attack, which BBC has since updated to 150 countries, Netanyahu said that “several years ago we established a defense network against cyberattacks. We also had the foresight to establish the National Cyberdefense Authority based on the understanding that we yet face a new threat.” The Israeli example in the midst of the attack comes just days after Israeli representatives met with Germany to discuss cybersecurity. … Continue Reading

Trump Reviewing Impact of Jerusalem Embassy Move on Peace Process

May 14, 2017 Peace and Conflict

Will peace process delay or block Jerusalem embassy move? U.S. Secretary of State Tillerson with Palestinian President Abbas. Illustrative. Photo Courtesy of U.S. State Department

After making a definitive-sounding promise to move the United States Embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to the Israeli capital of Jerusalem, U.S. President Donald Trump is now sounding cautious and putting such a move into the context of a potential Israel-Palestinian peace process. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, speaking on NBC’s Meet the Press, told host Chuck Todd that Trump “has recently expressed his view that he wants to put a lot of effort into seeing if we cannot advance a peace initiative between Israel and Palestine, and so I think in large measure the President is being very careful to understand how such a decision [on the embassy] would impact a peace process.”

Tillerson also noted that Trump’s decision would be “informed again by the parties that are involved in those talks and most certainly Israel’s view, on whether Israel views it as being helpful to a peace initiative or perhaps a distraction.” Israel responded to Tillerson’s comments, which aired on Sunday, within hours: They still want the move. And it will benefit the peace process. … Continue Reading

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