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Israel Calls for More Iran Sanctions as Protests Rock Tehran over Downed Airliner

January 12, 2020 News

Protestors in the region are taking on Iran’s leaders and malign influence.
Illustrative official meeting in Iran. Photo Courtesy of UN Photo/Evan Schneider

The Iran crisis took another twist over the weekend, as protests erupted in the Iranian capital of Tehran and elsewhere against the regime after it was confirmed Iran accidentally shot down a civilian airliner in Iran, killing all 176 passengers on board. Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed solidarity with the protestors, while calling for more sanctions on Iran due to the regime’s malignant activity, including advancing their nuclear program.

The latest protests in Iran came after the General Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces announced in a statement that they accidentally shot down a Ukrainian Boeing 737 carrying mostly Iranian passengers, thinking it was a hostile object, according to the Fars News Agency. The report noted Iran at the time was concerned about a counterstrike from the United States after Iran launched missiles at US military bases in retaliation for the US killing Iranian General Qassem Soleimani. The death of Soleimani—the leader of the Iranian Qods Force that was behind attacks around the world—followed months of escalating tensions and multiple Iranian attacks against the US and its allies.

After Iran’s belated admission of guilt, BBC reporter Hadi Nili posted to Twitter on Saturday that protests were happening in multiple cities, and at least one slogan wasn’t friendly to the regime or Soleimani. Nili tweeted, “chants heard on Tehran streets: ‘Soleimani was a murderer, his Leader is too.’” … Continue Reading

Hanukkah Horror: Israeli Leaders Express Outrage at Antisemitic NY Stabbing

December 29, 2019 News

More terror in New York. Illustrative photo of 9-11 memorial and skyline in New York City. Photo by Joshua Spurlock.

Five people were wounded in a stabbing attack at a Hanukkah party on Saturday in the home of a New York Rabbi, in what is being described by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo as an act of “domestic terrorism.” Israeli leaders were quick to express their own horror at the attack. Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said on Sunday he was “shocked and outraged by the terrible attack in New York. We are praying for the rapid recovery of those injured.”

USA Today reported that one person was still in critical condition as of Sunday from the knife assault, which took place at the home of Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg next door to Congregation Netzach Yisroel. Cuomo, in a transcript of comments posted to the Governor’s website, said that the State of New York has had 13 antisemitic incidents since December 8.

“It is domestic terrorism. These are people who intend to create mass harm, mass violence, generate fear based on race, color, creed. That is the definition of terrorism,” said Cuomo. Rivlin, in his comments published in an Israeli press release, said that anti-Semitism is a global concern. … Continue Reading

Arab Nation Joins Chorus Wishing Jews Happy Hanukkah

December 29, 2019 News

PM Netanyahu lights 1st Chanukah candle with US Ambassador David Friedman. Photo courtesy of Koby Gideon (Israeli GPO)

Every year, world leaders and various nations wish Jews a Happy Hanukkah, and this year it wasn’t just the sentiments themselves that stood out: Who was making the wishes in one case made a broader impact than their kind words. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) Embassy to the United Kingdom, representing a Muslim nation not at peace with Israel, took to Twitter on December 22 to express their Hanukkah greetings, tweeting, “Our warmest wishes to our friends of the Jewish faith on the occasion of the first day of the Festival of Lights. Wishing you a joyful #Hanukkah.”

Other embassies for the UAE expressed similar thoughts on Twitter, leading the Director General of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to repost four of the global greetings on his Twitter page. “Among the many heartwarming #Hanukkah wishes from world leaders & Foreign Ministries, we were delighted to also receive greetings from embassies of the #UAE,” tweeted Yuval Rotem. He went on to say that they “appreciate these warm messages” and hope to see relations between Israel and the UAE “further grow in 2020!”

The UAE wishes marked the second time in a week that the UAE made Middle East peace news. One day before the UAE’s UK Embassy tweet on Hanukkah, the UAE Foreign Minister reposted on Twitter an article calling for an alliance between Arabs and Jews. … Continue Reading

Netanyahu Celebrates Christian Support of Israel as New Report Shows Christian Population Growing

December 26, 2019 News

Netanyahu is grateful to Christian friends for their support of Israel. Illustrative. Israel supporters at a rally in the US. By Joshua Spurlock

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in his Christmas greetings to Christians, highlighted the historical and present support of Israel by Christians on Tuesday while saying that his country is “proud of our Christian friends.” One day earlier, a new report on statistics in Israel showed that the number of Christians in Israel is growing—a contrast to the rest of the Middle East.

“The State of Israel would not have come into being if it weren’t for the avid support of Christians in the 19th century, in the 20th century as well and in the 21st century,” said Netanyahu on December 24 in comments released by his office. “We know that we have no better friends around the world than our Christian friends. So thank you. Thank you all for standing up with Israel, standing up for the truth.”

In his greeting, Netanyahu highlighted the commonalities between Christianity and the Jewish faith and tradition. “The State of Israel is the culmination of so many prophecies and our deepest held values. We share the common civilization, the Judeo-Christian civilization, that has given the world the values of freedom, individual liberty, the sanctity of life and the belief in one G-d.”

Meanwhile, the 2019 numbers on Christians in Israel, published on December 23 by Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics, show that their population numbers approximately 177,000 people, or roughly 2% of Israel’s total population. In 2018—the most recent year provided in the report—the population grew by 1.5%. … Continue Reading

Israel Decries International Court Plan to Investigate Alleged ‘War Crimes’ as Antisemitic

December 22, 2019 News

PM Netanyahu & US Secy. of State Pompeo both oppose the ICC’s investigation of Israel. Illustrative. Photo courtesy of: Haim Zach / Israeli GPO

Israel and the United States strongly denounced the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) decision on Friday to investigate alleged war crimes committed by Israel in relation to the conflict with the Palestinians, with the Jewish State’s leader decrying the denial of Jewish rights to live in Judea and Samaria as “antisemitic.”

“They say the Jews do not have a right to settle in the Jewish homeland. They say the Jews do not have a right to live in the land of the Jews, in the Land of Israel,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in comments published by his office on Sunday. “Well, we say, shame on you. The light of truth lights here and we will overcome you, just as we overcame other antisemites in history. Pure antisemitism, that’s what the ICC has done, and we will not bow our heads.”

The United States also challenged the ICC’s move. “We firmly oppose this and any other action that seeks to target Israel unfairly,” said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a statement published by the State Department. “…The United States remains deeply, firmly, and consistently committed to achieving a comprehensive and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians. The only realistic path forward to end this conflict is through direct negotiations.” … Continue Reading

Israel, US Talk Better Cooperation to Counter Iran as Rouhani Boasts of Advanced Centrifuges

December 18, 2019 Iran Nuclear Program, News

Israel and the US are sticking together to push back against Iran. PM Netanyahu and US President Trump. Illustrative. Photo courtesy of Avi Ohayon (GPO)

Iranian President Hasan Rouhani announced on Wednesday that Iran is testing their next round of advanced centrifuges—the IR-9, which are used for the enrichment of nuclear fuel—and the same day Israel and the United States discussed enhanced cooperation to push back against Iran. Rouhani, according to the Iranian Presidency’s website, was quoted as telling Iranians living in Malaysia, “Today, our new IR6 centrifuges are working and the newer IR9’s are being tested”.

In the Russian news agency Sputnik’s report on Rouhani’s comments, it was noted that the IR-9 is 50-times faster than the original IR-1 centrifuges according to the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Ali Akbar Salehi. The announcement comes as Iran has repeatedly stepped away from commitments under the tottering Iran nuclear deal with the world powers, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Iran’s withdrawal from restrictions under the JCPOA are intended to pressure Europe into making economic concessions for Iran.

Meanwhile, the same day Rouhani made his announcement, the national security advisors for Israel and the US met to discuss their joint work against Iran. … Continue Reading

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