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Israeli President ‘Proud’ that Israel the One Place in Middle East Where the Christian Community Growing

June 4, 2019 News

President Rivlin with Christian leaders. Photo courtesy of Mark Neiman (Israeli GPO)

Israel is home to three major world religions—Judaism, Christianity and Islam—and Israeli President Reuven Rivlin is not only glad to see Israel’s commitment to freedom of religion, but also the status of the Christian community in the Jewish State. “These are difficult and painful times for Christians in the Middle East. I am proud that Israel is the only country in our region where the Christian community is not shrinking, but in fact is growing,” said Rivlin on Monday in comments published by Israel.

Rivlin was speaking to leaders of the Christian community in honor of Ascension Day—the day the Catholic Church marks the ascension of Jesus into heaven as recounted in the Biblical Book of Acts.

“The State of Israel, as guardian of this city, is deeply committed to the religious rights of worship and activity of all communities of faith in Jerusalem and Israel,” said Rivlin. “Christians, Muslims and Jews will always be free to worship here. Israeli sovereignty will never compromise religious freedom.” … Continue Reading

Egyptian Help Symbolizes Peace as Nations Assist Israel in Battling Wildfires

May 26, 2019 News

Israel and Egypt worked together on battling the wildfires. Illustrative photo of Israeli PM Netanyahu and Egyptian FM Shoukry. Photo courtesy of by Haim Zach / GPO

Multiple nations assisted Israel in battling the latest outbreak of wildfires that raged in the Jewish state, and Israeli officials made a point of expressing their thanks over the weekend to the foreign countries that helped—including one particular act of support that shows the potential for Middle East peace. “Israeli fire fighters and an Egyptian helicopter were working together yesterday in order to put out a huge fire that broke out in southern Israel. This is what peace is all about,” tweeted Israeli Prime Minister’s Office spokesman Ofir Gendelman on Saturday.

Egypt and Israel were once open enemies engaged in multiple conflicts until a US-brokered peace treaty took effect 40 years ago. Gendelman’s comments come after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi “my friend” in his thanks for Egypt sending a pair of helicopters to fight the fires, according to a press release from Israel’s office.

Even the Palestinian Authority—which has repeatedly rejected peace talks with Israel—reached out to Israel during the crisis, according to Netanyahu, whose comments were published by his office on Friday. Two days later, the Israeli Premier not only took time to thank the countries who helped, but noted their aid says something about Israel too. … Continue Reading

Palestinian Government Senior Official Arrested for Shooting Attacks

May 20, 2019 News

A Palestinian government official was arrested for shooting attacks on busses. M-16 used in the attacks. Photo courtesy of the ISA.

A senior official in the Palestinian Authority Prisoners Ministry was arrested by Israel earlier this year along with a partner for “a series of shooting attacks,” and he even used a vehicle given to him by the Palestinian government to carry out the terrorism, according to the Israel Security Agency (ISA). An ISA press release on Monday said the official, Zakariya Zbeidi, worked with an Arab partner who not only holds an Israeli ID card, but was an Israeli attorney and member of the Bar Association. The partner, Tarek Barghut, also worked with the PA Prisoners Ministry as an attorney.

“That a senior Palestinian Authority Prisoners Ministry official and an Israeli attorney who worked for the Prisoners Ministry carried out severe terrorist attacks while using an official PA vehicle is very grave,” a senior ISA official was quoted in the press release as saying.

The ISA press release said the two were arrested in February following the foiling of another attack. … Continue Reading

German Parliament Calls Anti-Israel Boycott Movement ‘Anti-Semitic’

May 19, 2019 News

Germany stands with Israel. German, EU flags in Square of the Republic in Berlin. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

The German Bundestag (parliament) condemned the anti-Israel “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions” (BDS) movement in a non-binding resolution on Friday and called the “pattern of argument and methods” of the BDS movement “anti-Semitic”, according to a report by The New York Times. The article said the resolution—backed by multiple German political parties, including the ruling Christian Democratic Union party, compared the boycott of Israeli goods to Nazi boycotts against Jews.

A press release posted to the German parliament website further argued that organizations questioning Israel’s right to exist or projects backing the BDS movement should not be financially supported, according to a translation from German by Google Translate.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the German decision “important” in comments posted to Twitter by spokesman Ofir Gendelman. “I congratulate the German Bundestag on the important decision branding the boycott movement (BDS) as an anti-semitic movement and announcing that it is forbidden to fund it,” said a post to Gendelman’s Twitter feed. A follow-up tweet expressed the hope from Netanyahu that “this decision will bring about concrete steps and I call upon other countries to adopt similar legislation.” … Continue Reading

Germany Decries ‘Painful’ anti-Israel Bias at United Nations

May 12, 2019 News

Germany stands with Israel at the UN. German, EU flags in Square of the Republic in Berlin. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Saturday marked the 70th anniversary of the admittance of Israel to the United Nations by offering his nation’s ongoing support for the Jewish state and by criticizing the UN for continuing to act in a biased manner against Israel. “Germany stands, also in the UN, shoulder to shoulder with Israel, whose security and right to exist must never be called into question by anyone anywhere,” said Maas in a press release from the Federal Foreign Office.

“Nevertheless, Israel is still being denounced, treated in a biased manner and marginalized inappropriately in UN bodies to this day. This state of affairs is painful and unsatisfactory, and especially since the UN is at the heart of the multilateral, rules-based order and vital to international security and peace.”

The European nation currently holds a special place of honor at the UN as a member of the highly powerful Security Council, a role they intend to wield with Israel’s interests in mind. “We will continue, including as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, to support Israel’s legitimate interests, to help strengthen its representation in the UN and to do our utmost to oppose any attempt to isolate or delegitimize Israel,” said Maas. … Continue Reading

US Declares Completion of Steps Under Jerusalem Embassy Act

May 9, 2019 News

PM Netanyahu addresses ceremony marking opening of US Embassy in Jerusalem. Illustrative.
Photo courtesy of Kobi Gideon / GPO

One year after the United States made history by opening their embassy to Israel in the capital city of Jerusalem, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Wednesday they had completed the other steps required under the Congressional act calling for the move. The original Jerusalem Embassy Act called for the US to open an embassy in the Israeli capital and also a chief of mission residence for the US ambassador to Israel, which the US did in March of this year.

While the Trump Administration has wrapped up the Congressional requirements relatively quickly from start to finish that stands in strong contrast to the decades it took the US to finally fulfill the wishes of Congress, as the Jerusalem Embassy Act was passed in 1995. The Act allowed for Presidential waivers to delay the move, which were repeatedly used since the Act went into law more than two decades ago.

“On May 14, 2018, the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem officially opened for business. Now, as we near the first anniversary of that momentous event, I am pleased to report that I have provided my determination to Congress that the relevant elements of the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 have been addressed,” Pompeo said in a State Department press release. “Accordingly, no further Presidential waiver of the funding restriction under the Act is necessary.”

Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs Director-General Yuval Rotem thanked the US on Twitter and welcomed Ambassador David Friedman. … Continue Reading

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