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Majority Recommends Netanyahu as Next Prime Minister of Israel

April 16, 2019 News

President Rivlin with United Right faction. Photo courtesy of Mark Neiman (Israeli GPO)

It’s official. Barring an unexpected breakdown in political negotiations to form a new governing coalition, Benjamin Netanyahu will once again be prime minister of Israel. Tuesday was day two of the Israeli political parties informing President Reuven Rivlin of their recommendations for the next prime minister of Israel, and a majority of legislators in the Israeli Knesset (parliament) nominated Netanyahu.

Appropriately, it was the politically right-leaning United Right party whose support pushed Netanyahu past the 60 legislator threshold to form a majority ruling group in the 120-member Knesset. Rivlin, in comments published in an Israeli press release, highlighted this honor when United Right recommended Netanyahu.

“With your recommendation, you have formed a majority of the people in favor of the candidate,” said Rivlin. “Your recommendation is of great significance to the discussions we are holding here.” … Continue Reading

Israel Calls International Criminal Court Dismissal of Trial of US Forces ‘Very Important’

April 14, 2019 News

Israel believes they benefit from the US court victory. PM Netanyahu meets with VPOTUS Pence. Illustrative. Photo courtesy of Amos Ben-Gershom (Israeli GPO)

The Israeli military won a victory on Friday, not on the battlefield but in the courtroom. The International Criminal Court (ICC) at the Hague rejected the request of the prosecutor to bring war crimes charges against US forces involved in the Afghanistan conflict. The decision, according to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is far-reaching and sets a precedent for dealing with soldiers from Israel—who like the US has a robust judicial system and is not party to the ICC treaty.

However, while Israel and the US responded to the decision as though it is broad in scope, the ICC decision itself did not appear to exclude the US or other parties from war crimes cases in the future and dismissed this prosecution mostly due to circumstantial reasons, according to the ICC website.

Nonetheless, Netanyahu called the ICC decision “very important” in comments released by his office on Sunday. “This blocked a move that would have upended the original goal of establishing the international court,” said Netanyahu, who said the court emerged after crimes such as genocide intending “to deal with countries and regions that have no true legal system.” Israel and the US, he noted, are not in that category. … Continue Reading

Trump Congratulates Netanyahu on Re-election as Prime Minister

April 10, 2019 News

PM Netanyahu and President Trump. Photo courtesy of Amos Ben-Gershom (GPO)

While Benjamin Netanyahu has not been officially named prime minister of Israel for the fifth time yet, United States President Donald Trump and his Vice President, Mike Pence both personally called Netanyahu on Wednesday to congratulate him on his victory. Top rival Benny Gantz, of the Blue and White party, conceded to Netanyahu on Wednesday, according to Ha’aretz. With final votes still being tallied, Netanyahu’s Likud party was set to receive 35 seats in the 120-member Israeli parliament, also known as the Knesset. While Blue and White were set to receive the same, Ha’aretz reported that right-leaning political parties had pledged support for Netanyahu, with his bloc expected to reach a 65-55 seat majority.

Trump took to Twitter to highlight his support for Israel and his congrats to Netanyahu: “Spoke to Bibi @ Netanyahu to congratulate him on a great and hard-fought win. The United States is with him and the People of Israel all the way!”

Over the phone, Trump “warmly congratulated” Netanyahu and Israel, according to a press release from Netanyahu’s office. The statement said Netanyahu in turn “thanked US President Trump for his great support of Israel,” listing out the recognition of Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, as well as Trump’s “strong stand against the Iranian regime.” In particular, Netanyahu noted Trump recently designated he Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps of Iran a foreign terrorist designation. … Continue Reading

US, in ‘Historic Step’, Designates Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Terrorists

April 9, 2019 News

PM Netanyahu and US Secy. of State Mike Pompeo. Illustrative. Photo courtesy of Avi Ohayon (Israeli GPO)

For the first time in American history, the United States is designating part of a foreign government a foreign terrorist organization, as the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps of Iran will carry that label effective April 15. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo noted that the unique move to so classify the IRGC—which is part of the Iranian military and has deep ties inside the Iranian economy—is well deserved given the unique range of aggression carried out by the group.

“We’re doing [this] because the Iranian regime’s use of terrorism as a tool of statecraft makes it fundamentally different from any other government,” said Pompeo on Monday in comments released by the State Department. “This historic step will deprive the world’s leading state sponsor of terror the financial means to spread misery and death around the world.”

Pompeo listed out a litany of crimes done by the IRGC: from responsibility for the Khobar Towers bombing that killed 19 American service members in Saudi Arabia to attempted terror attacks in the US, Turkey and Kenya. A separate press release from the State Department noted the IRGC has supported Hezbollah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and terror groups in Iraq, Bahrain and Syria. … Continue Reading

Putin Said He’d ‘Act Personally’ to Recover Missing Israeli Soldier Remains

April 4, 2019 News

PM Netanyahu and Russian Pres. Vladimir Putin.
Photo courtesy of Kobi Gideon / Israeli GPO

The involvement of the Russians in assisting Israel in recovering the remains of a soldier lost in action for 37 years was unveiled on Thursday, including help from President Vladimir Putin himself. “Two years ago I turned to you with a personal request—that you help us in finding the remains of the soldiers, including Zachary Baumel, out of the great shared values of comrades-in-arms and fellowship of soldiers,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Putin during a visit to Moscow.

“You responded immediately. You said that you would act personally. You called on your people who did exceptional work and several days ago, you brought us the late Zachary Baumel, to Israel.”

Baumel was lost during the First Lebanon War in 1982. Baumel went missing in a battle with the Syrians in Lebanon, two of Israel’s most hardened enemies. However, in recent years the Syrian civil war has opened that country to a wide range of other nations battling terrorism or taking sides in the Syrian conflict, including the Russians.

Netanyahu, in the comments released by his office, was effusive in his gratefulness to Moscow for their assistance. “You have just now expressed the supreme value that you and the Russian people ascribe to finding the missing and bringing soldiers to burial. This is our common value,” the Israeli leader told Putin. … Continue Reading

Netanyahu Hopes New Brazilian Trade Office in Jerusalem ‘First Step’ towards Embassy

March 31, 2019 News

PM Netanyahu & Brazilian Pres. Bolsonaro. Photo courtesy of Kobi Gideon / Israeli GPO

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came away from a visit to Brazil a few months ago with promises from Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to open an embassy to Israel in Jerusalem. On Sunday, that promise was not fulfilled by Bolsonaro during a visit to Israel, but other actions left Netanyahu hopeful. “I welcome your decision to open a trade, technology and innovation office, an official office of the Government of Brazil, in Jerusalem. I hope that this is a first step toward the opening in time of the Brazilian Embassy in Jerusalem,” said Netanyahu to the Brazilian leader, according to an Israeli press release.

In prior comments, Netanyahu noted that Bolsonaro is making his first visit out of South America by coming to Israel, bringing with him the “largest Brazilian delegation” to ever visit the Jewish State. “You have come to Israel in order to bring relations between us to a new height,” said Netanyahu.

As part of the visit, the two leaders on Sunday signed agreements in security, public security, aviation, and science and technology, as well as memorandums of understanding in health and cyber. During the time with the leader of Brazil, Netanyahu noted that Israeli delegations in a variety of fields have visited Brazil since Netanyahu’s trip to the South American country. He said that the agreements with Brazil were “in wake of these contacts, and this is only the beginning.” … Continue Reading

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