Israel Sends Rescue Teams to Mexico after Quake

Groups of Israelis decided to spend their New Year’s holiday traveling to Mexico—but it wasn’t for a vacation. Search and rescue teams from the Israeli military and the iAID organization went to assist Mexico in recovering from last week’s devastating earthquake—and chose to help out during last week’s Rosh HaShannah …

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 …

Netanyahu Slams Iranian Aggression; Tehran Threatens Nuclear Response to Deal Collapse

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday had a litany of accusations to share about Iranian misdeeds in the Middle East, from religious persecution to attempting a regional takeover. Earlier that same day, Iran reminded everyone of their ultimate threat by openly warning they would halt additional nuclear inspections if …

Israel Joins US in Leaving UNESCO, Netanyahu Says UN Body ‘Platform for anti-Semitic Decisions’

The Americans withdrew their full member status at the United Nations cultural body in part due to an anti-Israel bias, so it’s not surprising that the Israelis have joined the United States in leaving the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu …

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Netanyahu Slams Iranian Aggression; Tehran Threatens Nuclear Response to Deal Collapse

PM Netanyahu addresses Christian Media Summit in Jerusalem. Photo courtesy of Amos Ben-Gershom (GPO)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday had a litany of accusations to share about Iranian misdeeds in the Middle East, from religious persecution to attempting a regional takeover. Earlier that same day, Iran reminded everyone of their ultimate threat by openly warning they would halt additional nuclear inspections if the nuclear deal between them and the major powers were to be annulled. “If the nuclear deal is annulled, we will stop implementation of the Additional Protocol,” said Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi according to a report by the Fars News Agency.

That “Additional Protocol” refers to expanded access to Iranian sites and information for the United Nations nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), according to the agency’s website. But even if the deal is kept as is, Salehi said Iran still isn’t letting international inspectors see everything, specifically emphasizing that Iran won’t permit inspections of their military sites.

Refusing access to those sites was one complaint from United States President Donald Trump, which he noted in last week’s speech are suspected of having played a role in Iran’s secret nuclear weapons program, per the White House website. Netanyahu, for his part, reemphasized the danger posed if the nuclear deal with Iran remains as is, while also detailing what else Iran has been doing in the region. He again applauded Trump for saying that too. … Continue Reading

Israel Joins US in Leaving UNESCO, Netanyahu Says UN Body ‘Platform for anti-Semitic Decisions’

October 15, 2017 News

Israel agrees with the US on UNESCO. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

The Americans withdrew their full member status at the United Nations cultural body in part due to an anti-Israel bias, so it’s not surprising that the Israelis have joined the United States in leaving the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed the Israeli Foreign Ministry to pull out of UNESCO “in parallel” with the decision by U.S. President Donald Trump, which Netanyahu called “courageous and ethical” in comments released by his office. The Israeli leader accused UNESCO of having become “a theater of the absurd and instead of preserving history, distorts it.”

Among other acts, UNESCO has designated Hebron and its Tomb of the Patriarchs as Palestinian and challenged Israel’s connections to Jerusalem. On Sunday, Netanyahu escalated his complaint against UNESCO, saying it “has become a platform for delusional, anti-Israeli and—in effect—anti-Semitic decisions.” … Continue Reading

Israel, Regional Allies Applaud Trump Call to Better or Bust Iran Nuke Deal

President Donald Trump delivers remarks on the Iran Strategy. (Official White House Photo by D. Myles Cullen)

United States President Donald Trump on Friday delivered a message that American allies in the Middle East have been waiting to hear: either improve the Iran nuclear deal, or cancel it altogether. “I am directing my administration to work closely with Congress and our allies to address the deal’s many serious flaws so that the Iranian regime can never threaten the world with nuclear weapons,” said Trump in comments posted to the White House website. “…However, in the event we are not able to reach a solution working with Congress and our allies, then the agreement will be terminated. It is under continuous review, and our participation can be cancelled by me, as President, at any time.”

In particular, Trump wants changes to the so-called “sunset clauses” that cut back on restrictions on Iran’s nuclear activities in coming years. The Iran nuclear accord is a controversial multilateral agreement between the major world powers and Iran that was put in place during the administration of Trump’s predecessor, former-President Barack Obama. The deal offered sanctions relief to Iran in exchange for concessions by Iran limiting their nuclear activities.

In addition to Trump’s ultimatum to fix the nuclear deal or else, he also announced plans to place “tough sanctions” on Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the powerful government-sponsored paramilitary group that has been involved in terrorism around the world. Israel, Saudi Arabia and others in the region expressed their support for Trump’s new approach to Iran. … Continue Reading

Iran May Ban Traffic App Waze (Again) Because Israelis Invented It

October 9, 2017 News

Waze logo. Image courtesy of Waze.

For second time this year, an Iranian government body is urging a ban on the traffic mobile application Waze—because it was invented in Israel. The Iranian government’s ‎Committee for Determining Criminal Web Content is calling upon the country’s Information and Communications Technology Ministry to block the app, according to the Trend News Agency out of Azerbaijain, citing Iranian media outlets.

Abdolsamad Khorramabadi, secretary for the Committee, reportedly said that work has been designated to block Waze in Iran, but that that process is complicated and takes time.

The Trend report further cited a previous report from the Iranian Fars News Agency saying there are concerns about Waze’s Israeli background. The app was originally invented by Israeli company Waze Mobile before being sold to Google for more than $1 billion in 2013. Iran has previously tried to ban Waze—in March of this year—but later rescinded the restriction. Former United States Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro highlighted the impact of banning Waze in Iran on Twitter in responding to the report. “Considering the reputation of Tehran traffic, that is real dedication to a (sick) cause. Enjoy sitting in those jams!” tweeted Shapiro. … Continue Reading

Hamas Refuses to Give Up Weapons; Gaza Rocket Fired at Israel

October 8, 2017 Peace and Conflict

Hamas has fired thousands of rockets at Israel over the years, among other acts of terror. Illustrative photo of spent Rockets fired from Gaza. By Joshua Spurlock.

The reconciliation efforts between the Hamas terror group and the Palestinian Authority (PA) may be moving along, but Hamas has made it clear what’s not changing: their weapons. Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem was quoted by the Ma’an News Agency as arguing on Saturday that their weapons “are legal” and are intended to defend Palestinians and take land they claim from Israel—“therefore, this should not be an issue to discuss.”

One day later, a rocket was fired from the Hamas-dominated Gaza Strip at Israel. According to the IDF Spokesperson’s Twitter feed, no injuries were reported and the rocket ultimately landed inside of Gaza. Nonetheless, the Tweet noted that “this rocket fire endangered Israelis & violated Israeli sovereignty.” The IDF Spokesperson said that they responded with tank fire that destroyed a Hamas outpost.

“The IDF holds Hamas responsible for any terror activity perpetrated against Israel from the Gaza Strip,” tweeted the IDF Spokesperson. … Continue Reading

Iran Threatens to Missile Strike US Bases, Treat American Troops like ISIS

October 8, 2017 News

The Americans are stepping up pressure on Iran. American flag. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

The leader of the Iranian Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) on Sunday effectively threatened to launch missiles at American military bases in the Middle East and treat United States troops like ISIS if the US escalates sanctions on Iran and labels the IRGC a terrorist group. Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari said that new US sanctions on Iran would be viewed as an American withdrawal from the nuclear deal, according to a report by the Fars News Agency.

As a result, “If the US new sanctions act comes into action, the country (the US) should transfer its regional bases to 2,000km away, that is as far as the range of Iranian missiles,” Fars quoted the IRGC commander as saying.

He wasn’t done there. Following a report from Politico that the Trump Administration plans to label the IRGC a terrorist organization, Jafari unleashed. “If reports prove to be true that the stupid US administration intends to designate the IRGC as a terrorist organization, then the IRGC will also specify the US army as a group (and target) like ISIL [a.k.a. ISIS] in all parts of the world, specially the Middle-East,” Fars quoted him as saying. … Continue Reading

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