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Israeli Spacecraft Launching for the Moon This Week

February 18, 2019 News

President Rivlin at SpaceIL event with a model of the “Beresheet” spacecraft. Illustrative. Photo courtesy of Amos Ben-Gershom (Israeli GPO)

Israel is set to become just the fourth country to land a spacecraft on the moon, as the satellite “Beresheet”—Hebrew for “Beginning”—is scheduled to launch atop a SpaceX rocket around the end of this week with its destination being the lunar surface. The spacecraft will carry a time capsule to be left on the moon—which includes a digital Bible, Israeli national symbols and Israeli songs—as well as conduct an experiment to measure and map the moon’s magnetic field, per Israeli press releases. The lander is scheduled to touch down on the moon in April.

“The spacecraft project will enable every Israeli, but especially future generations, to understand that even the citizens of a small country may and should dream big,” Israeli Science and Technology Minister Ofir Akunis was quoted by one of the press releases as saying. “The fact that Israel will be the fourth country in the world, alongside the US, Russia and China, to land a spacecraft on the moon is cogent proof that we are an international science and technology power.” … Continue Reading

Israel Freezes $139 Million for Palestinians over Terror Payments

February 17, 2019 News

Attacking Israelis won’t pay as easily now. Illegal gun seized by Israel. Illustrative. Photo courtesy of ISA.

Financially supporting terrorists is going to cost double for the Palestinians, as Israel on Sunday froze over 500 million shekels (roughly $139 million) in tax monies owed to the Palestinian Authority (PA)—which mirrored the exact amount the PA paid to terrorists and their families in 2018. The move follows passage of a law by Israel’s government in July 2018 authorizing the financial seizure, according to a press release from the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office.

“Security officials presented data to the effect that in 2018, the Palestinian Authority transferred the aforesaid amount to terrorists imprisoned in Israel and their families and to released prisoners,” said the press release. “Therefore, it was decided to freeze the same amount of funds from the tax revenues that Israel collects for the Palestinian Authority.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered increased checks on Palestinian Authority payments “linked to terrorism”—which includes the so-called “pay-for-slay” program of paying money to terrorists and their families. The press release noted that total amount of funding due the PA that will be frozen could be updated as more information on the terror payments is uncovered. … Continue Reading

Palestinians Reject US Middle East Conference as Israel Prepares

February 10, 2019 News

PM Netanyahu with US President Trump. Illustrative. Photo courtesy of Israeli GPO

The Palestinians are boycotting a conference on peace and security in the Middle East set to be co-hosted by United States and Poland this week, while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu already has plans for his focus at the event. But the key official’s agenda for the conference is White House advisor Jared Kushner, who reportedly plans to talk about US President Donald Trump’s too-be-announced Middle East peace plan.

According to a report form The Jerusalem Post, a senior official at the White House confirmed that Kushner, a key figure in the peace plan efforts and also Trump’s son-in-law, would participate in a discussion on the Israel-Palestinian peace process with leaders from other nations. The Palestinians, who have repeatedly rejected Trump’s anticipated peace proposal despite not having seen the final version, called the Warsaw conference an “American conspiracy” intended to pressure others on the Palestinian situation. The comments released by the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates, and included in a report by the Ma’an News Agency, claimed the Trump government had “declared war” on the Palestinian front and they would ignore any results from the Warsaw conference. … Continue Reading

US Forces Train with Israelis as Americans Formalize Plans to Buy Iron Dome Defense System

February 7, 2019 News

Israel and the US working together on missile defense. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

The United States and Israel conduct joint training exercises every year that involve missile defense. It’s only fitting that the day before US and Israeli troops began the latest round of exercises, the American Army announced formal plans to buy Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system. Discussions surrounding the purchase have been going on for months, according to The Times of Israel, but were made official on Wednesday in a statement from the US Army.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was very pleased with the news. A Twitter post by spokesman Ofir Gendelman quoted Netanyahu as saying, “This is a great achievement & another expression of our strong alliance w/ the US. Israel has ‘Iron Dome’ & an iron fist. Our systems can deal w/ any threat, in defense & offense. I advise our enemies not to test us.”

US Army Col. Patrick Seiber, according to a statement published by CNN, said that the Iron Dome would be “assessed” as an option to protect US armed forces, amongst other options. He said no decision had been made on a specific location for assigning the Iron Dome batteries. … Continue Reading

Netanyahu Reminds Foreign Officials Israel Protecting the World from Terror

February 6, 2019 News

Israel is protecting Europe from terror. PM Netanyahu and EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini. Illustrative. Photo courtesy of: Avi Ohayon (GPO).

Israel is often at the forefront of the voices concerned about Islamic terrorism and the nuclear and non-nuclear threats from Iran. But Israel is also at the forefront of fighting back against those dangers, and it’s not just Israel that’s being protected by those efforts. Europe and the rest of the world benefit as well. On Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu highlighted the risk posed by radicals such as ISIS and Iran and what that means for friendly foreign powers.

“We are committed to blocking [radicals’] advance and in so doing, we are defending not only ourselves, but in many ways, defending Europe,” Netanyahu said in comments released by his office during a meeting with Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen.

“Israel is the great fortress, here at the edge of Asia, at the edge of the Mediterranean, that is preventing the forces of militant Islam from sweeping the region and sending millions and millions and millions of people into homeless wandering throughout the continents, especially the continent of Europe,” he continued. “The best way to deal with this is to deal with it here, to defeat these forces here. And Israel is doing more than its fair share in that regard.” … Continue Reading

Israel Announces Conclusion of Operation Northern Shield as Sixth Hezbollah Tunnel Uncovered

January 13, 2019 News

PM Netanyahu in the north.
Photo courtesy of Haim Zach / Israeli GPO.

Israel on Sunday announced the end of Operation Northern Shield, in connection with their uncovering of a sixth cross-border tunnel linking Israel and Lebanon. The terror tunnels, built by Hezbollah in violation of United Nations Resolution 1701, are believed to have been intended as a method to send terrorists into Israeli territory to launch attacks.

On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reported the “successful close” to the operation aimed at neutralizing the tunnels in comments released by his office, while also noting the danger that had been posed by the underground structures.

“I think that everyone understands that a very serious threat was averted here. Hezbollah’s operational plan was to use the tunnels weapon to infiltrate many fighters, between 1,000-2,000 terrorists, into the Galilee, to seize communities here,” said Netanyahu. “Everyone understands how the war would look if Hezbollah battalions were in the Galilee, and with the Iranian army opposite the Golan Heights. We have prevented this—and will continue to prevent it.” … Continue Reading

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