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US Senator Vows Plan to Recognize Golan as Israel’s ‘Now and Forever’

March 11, 2019 News

PM Netanyahu, US Sen. Lindsey Graham & US Amb. to Israel David Friedman on the Golan Heights. Photo courtesy of Amos Ben-Gershom (Israeli GPO)

In a significant diplomatic win for Israel, US Senator Lindsay Graham—a former candidate for president and a key member of US President Donald Trump’s Republican political party—on Monday openly endorsed Israeli sovereignty over the strategic Golan Heights that border Syria. “I’ve got a simple message. I will go back to the United States Senate. Working with Senator [Ted] Cruz, I will start an effort to recognize the Golan as part of the State of Israel now and forever,” said Graham during a visit to the Golan with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in comments published by Netanyahu’s office.

Graham didn’t stop there, continuing by highlighting that the history behind the territory Israel captured from Syria during the 1967 war is further evidence that Israel should keep it. “Israel occupied this territory by fighting for its survival. This territory was taken by military force because it was used as a launching point to attack the State of Israel. This territory has a rich Jewish history,” said Graham.

Perhaps even more important than Graham’s endorsement, US Ambassador David Friedman—the American representative of President Trump to Israel—was not only present with Graham on the Golan, he sounded moved by the senator’s comments. … Continue Reading

Israel Battles the Behind-the-Scenes Side of Terrorism

March 6, 2019 News

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

The same week that the IDF has had to confront Hamas terrorism from the Gaza Strip, Israel made multiple quieter headlines in their fight against the side of terrorism that isn’t quite as obvious, but ultimately just as dangerous. Fundraising and recruiting—those indirect elements that fuel terrorist organizations—received Israel’s focus as Hamas’ television station was designated a terrorist organization in its own right and Israeli diplomacy sought to cut off more terror dollars.

On Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signed an order that deems “Al Aqsa” television as a terrorist entity, following an investigation by the Israel Security Agency (ISA) that found the station was being used by Hamas to recruit militants. A press release from Netanyahu’s office said that the move was recommended by the ISA and the Israeli Defense Ministry national anti-economic terrorism unit.

The move comes just days after Israeli Minister of Public Security and Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan spoke with officials from multiple Western nations to encourage them to stop financial support of organizations calling to boycott Israel that also have ties to terrorism. … Continue Reading

Britain Declares All of Hezbollah A Terrorist Organization

March 3, 2019 News

British Flag. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

The United Kingdom last week decided to define all of the Hezbollah group in Lebanon as a terrorist organization, with penalties for being a member of the entity, and thereby ceased differentiating between the so-called “political” and “military” wings of Hezbollah. On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu called his British counterpart Theresa May and thanked her for the move, and added that “he expects additional countries to follow suit,” according to a press release from his office.

The decision, summarized in a news report on the UK government website, said that the order would make membership in or support of Hezbollah a criminal offense. While the “military” wing of Hezbollah has been proscribed as a terror group in the past, the latest decision includes the “political” side of Hezbollah as well.

The British report quoted Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt as saying, “We are staunch supporters of a stable and prosperous Lebanon. We cannot however be complacent when it comes to terrorism—it is clear the distinction between Hezbollah’s military and political wings does not exist, and by proscribing Hezbollah in all its forms, the government is sending a clear signal that its destabilizing activities in the region are totally unacceptable and detrimental to the UK’s national security.” … Continue Reading

Pittsburgh Mayor Visits Synagogue Shooting Memorial in Israel, Contrasts Response to Anti-Semitism with WWII

February 24, 2019 News

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto III speaking at the KKL-JNF event on Sunday. Photo courtesy of Rafi Ben Hakun, KKL-JNF

After the shooting attack at the Tree of Life – Or L’Simcha Synagogue in Pittsburgh last year, a key Israeli organization wanted to show that the Jewish State felt connected to the victims in the United States by setting up a memorial. On Sunday, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto returned the sentiment by visiting the memorial during his time in Israel for the International Mayor’s Conference.

While there, Peduto contrasted the response to the anti-Semitic attack with the ambivalence around the beginning of World War II. “Unlike 80 years ago, when Jews were murdered, when synagogues were destroyed and businesses were shattered, when the community called this time, the police didn’t turn their back, they ran in to help. Politicians didn’t look the other way or try to hide, they stood up and said never again. And business leaders and community leaders gathered as one and said ‘an attack against one is an attack against us all,’” Puduto was quoted by an Israeli press release as saying on Sunday. … Continue Reading

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

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