Home » News » Recent Articles:

Rating Agency Upgrades Puts Israel ‘Among Strongest Economies in the World’

August 5, 2018 News

Israeli flags. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

The latest credit rating from Standard & Poor’s for the State of Israel saw the country upgraded from “strong” to “very strong” according to the S&P website, and that something for which Israel’s leadership sees as vindication for their economic approach. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that the rating upgrade from A+ to AA- “positions Israel among the strongest economies in the world.”

Said Netanyahu in comments released by his office, “This attests to the responsible economic policy that we in the government have been conducting—the Finance Minister and fellow ministers. This policy has led to continuous growth in the Israeli economy.”

The Times of Israel reported that the improved credit rating is the highest Israel has ever received from the prestigious rating organization. In general, the S&P ratings go up to AAA, but Israel’s lower mark still represents a “stable” outlook according to a press release on the S&P website. The explanation on the website describing what the ratings mean terms anything in the “A” range to be “investment grade” and AA to indicate a “very strong capacity to meet financial commitments.” Netanyahu believes that it’s not just the wealthy who are benefitting from the growth. … Continue Reading

No US Plans to Strike Iran, But Trump Open to Meeting Them ‘Anytime They Want’

July 30, 2018 News

US President Donald Trump open to meeting with Iran. Illustrative photo, edited for size. Official White House photo by Shealah Craighead. CC 3.0  LICENSE.

United States President Donald Trump on Monday offered to meet with the Iranians with no preconditions, less than a week after he issued an all-caps Twitter warning to the Islamic Republic not to threaten the US and just days after CNN reported the US is discussing military options to defend oil shipping from a potential Iranian attack. “I believe in meeting,” Trump told reporters on Monday in comments published on the White House website. “I would certainly meet with Iran if they wanted to meet. I don’t know that they’re ready yet… No preconditions. If they want to meet, I’ll meet.”

Trump wasn’t the only one sounding a slightly softer tone towards Iran. Last Friday, US Secretary of Defense James Mattis made it clear the Americans are not preparing for a military strike against Iran. “I’m confident it is not something that’s being considered right now,” Mattis told the media in comments posted to the Defense Department website. Those comments contrasted with a news report from CNN saying that the US was considering military options to defend vital oil shipping waterways from Iranian attack, an approach that Mattis himself seemed to support.

Following threats from Iran to close the strategic Strait of Hormuz—a narrow water passage that links Middle East oil producers with Europe and the West—Mattis told reporters last Friday in separate comments that such a blockade would need to be countered with “whatever that took.” … Continue Reading


July 23, 2018 News


US President Donald Trump has strong words for Iran. Illustrative photo, edited for size. Official White House photo by Shealah Craighead. CC 3.0  license.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday warned the United States they would “regret” fighting with the Islamic Republic and implying that Iran could shut down a critical oil gateway from the Middle East to the world. In response, US president Donald Trump literally responded with all-caps warning of his own on Twitter.


The American retaliatory warning followed comments from Rouhani to the heads of Iranian diplomatic missions abroad in which the Iranian President referenced the Strait of Hormuz—a critical waterway that is used by Middle Eastern oil tankers to reach Europe and the US—before stating that his country is “guarantor of security of the waterway of the region.” In the talk, which was published to the Iranian President’s website, Rouhani then hinted at taking action to shut down the Strait of Hormuz when he warned the US, “Don’t play with the lion’s tail; you will regret it.” Trump’s fiery tweet came hours later.

That same day, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blasted the Iranian regime for abuses against their own people and sponsoring terrorism around the world. Following the rhetoric exchange, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his appreciation for “strong position” by the US leaders vis-à-vis Iran. … Continue Reading

Israel Evacuates Hundreds of Syrian Search and Rescue Volunteers and Families from Syria

July 22, 2018 News

Israeli flags. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

The Israelis have provided tons of humanitarian aid to Syrians civilian refugees near their border and transferred wounded Syrians to receive medical attention in Israel. On Sunday, the Israelis announced they had also helped rescue and evacuate hundreds of Syrians—volunteers with the Syria Civil Defense search and rescue group known as The White Helmets and their families. The IDF Spokesperson’s Twitter feed noted that the civilian group “faced an immediate threat to their lives in Syria,” and had “passed through Israel and are now out of harm’s way.”

The White Helmets, according to their website, are a civilian volunteer organization that specifically declares their impartiality in that country’s civil war. According to their Twitter feed, they have saved over 100,000 lives. Despite their neutrality and their positive work, a number of their members were at risk and they needed to escape the country.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that United States President Donald Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and others asked Israel to get involved. “These are people who have saved lives and whose lives were in danger. Therefore, I approved their passage through Israel to additional countries, as an important humanitarian gesture,” said Netanyahu in comments released by his office, who noted that Israel has military as well as humanitarian concerns in Syria. … Continue Reading

Israel Applauds after Putin Endorses Renewed Syria-Israel Ceasefire

July 16, 2018 News

PM Netanyahu & Russian Pres. Putin working together on Syria. Illustrative photo, courtesy of Amos Ben-Gershom (Israel GPO)

The superpower with the most influence in Syria right now is Russia, a key ally to the Syrian Bashar al-Assad regime, so the Israelis were heartened when Moscow stated publicly on Monday that they want a return to the ceasefire terms between Israel and Syria that ended their last full-scale war in 1974. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said that “after the terrorists are routed in southwest Syria” the situation in the Israel-Syria border region known as the Golan Heights region “should be brought into full conformity with the 1974 agreement on the disengagement of Israeli and Syrian forces.”

Putin, speaking during a press conference with US President Donald Trump published to the Kremlin website, said that situation “will make it possible to bring tranquility to the Golan Heights and restore the ceasefire between the Syrian Arab Republic and the State of Israel… I would like to emphasize that Russia has a stake in this course of events and will adhere to exactly this position.”

That was good news for Israel, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office released a statement saying he “very much appreciates the security coordination between Israel and Russia and the clear position expressed by President Putin regarding the need to uphold the 1974 Separation of Forces Agreement between Israel and Syria.” … Continue Reading

Israel Named 8th Most Powerful Nation in International Survey

July 9, 2018 News

Israeli flags. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

They may be small, but thousands of people around the world apparently believe the State of Israel has a lot of power. The Jewish state been named the 8th most powerful nation in the world—and the most powerful nation in the Middle East—by US News and World Report as part of their 2018 “Best Countries” rankings. The United States and Russia were the top two, ahead of China and several European nations. Israel followed right after Japan, placing ahead of Saudi Arabia.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu contrasted his nation’s size with those superpowers ranked right before them. “Even though we are barely one percent of some of these countries, and have a smaller population than all of them, we are there thanks to the citizens of Israel, thanks to the statesmanship,” said Netanyahu on Monday in comments from his office.

The rankings by US News and World Report—done in conjunction with Y&R’s BAV Group and The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania—included a global survey of more than 21,000 people according to the news group’s website. The “Power” category considered attributes such as alliances, military strength and political influence. Israel’s top scoring “Power” category was its military. … Continue Reading

Know the News and how it impacts You

Stay informed! Enter your email address to receive notifications of new posts by email.

Follow The Mideast Update on Twitter

Like The Mideast Update on Facebook