Israel Sends Rescue Teams to Mexico after Quake

Groups of Israelis decided to spend their New Year’s holiday traveling to Mexico—but it wasn’t for a vacation. Search and rescue teams from the Israeli military and the iAID organization went to assist Mexico in recovering from last week’s devastating earthquake—and chose to help out during last week’s Rosh HaShannah …

Israel—An Ancient King of Making Glass

Centuries before the Land of Israel was a hub for the high-tech industry, the region was among the world leaders in another profession involving science, skill, and specialized knowledge: glass making. The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) announced in a press release on Monday that they have discovered 1,600-year-old kilns used …

Netanyahu Slams Iranian Aggression; Tehran Threatens Nuclear Response to Deal Collapse

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday had a litany of accusations to share about Iranian misdeeds in the Middle East, from religious persecution to attempting a regional takeover. Earlier that same day, Iran reminded everyone of their ultimate threat by openly warning they would halt additional nuclear inspections if …

Israel Joins US in Leaving UNESCO, Netanyahu Says UN Body ‘Platform for anti-Semitic Decisions’

The Americans withdrew their full member status at the United Nations cultural body in part due to an anti-Israel bias, so it’s not surprising that the Israelis have joined the United States in leaving the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu …

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Saudis Want ‘Deeds, not Words’ after President Rouhani Reelected in Iran

May 21, 2017 News

Will Iranian President Rouhani moderate Iran, or is he just for show? Rouhani visiting medical facility. Illustrative. FEMA/Marty Bahamonde.

Hassan Rouhani, the technically more moderate candidate running for president in Iran, was reelected last week in Iran—but at this point there is more hope than expectation that Rouhani will coax Iran into the good graces of the global community. Given that the dictatorial Ayatollah leadership holds the real power in Iran and Rouhani’s first term was marred by sponsored terrorism, troubling missile tests, and ongoing military interference in Yemen and Syria, the rival Saudi Arabian government was quick to say they will judge Rouhani by what Iran does—not what is said.

“We welcome an Iran that’s open to the world. We welcome an Iran that lives at peace with its neighbors. We welcome an Iran that doesn’t interfere in the affairs of other countries. But this is not the Iran we see,” said Saudi Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir in a Saturday press briefing with United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that was published by the U.S. State Department.

“So when you come back to your question of what do we think about the reelection of Rouhani, we want to see deeds, not words. And we will continue to judge Iran based on its deeds, and we will continue to base our policy vis-a-vis Iran based on Iran’s deeds.”­ For his part, Tillerson expressed hope that Iran would change, but refused to comment on his expectations. … Continue Reading

US Says Iran Enables Syrian Crimes as Hardline Iranian Presidential Candidate Gets Boost

May 15, 2017 News

Could Iranian President Rouhani be beaten out by a hardliner in Iran’s elections? Illustrative. FEMA/Marty Bahamonde.

Iranians are partly to blame for the atrocities happening in Syria, United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said on Monday. That same day, Iran reminded the world why that is the case as one conservative presidential candidate stepped aside to promote the candidacy of another, who’s perhaps best known around the world as a judge presiding over mass executions.

Tehran mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, one of five candidates attempting to unset supposed reformist Hassan Rouhani in Friday’s election, dropped out on Monday. According to PressTV, Qalibaf backed principlist candidate Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi while railing against “opportunists” who are “at odds with the intellectual fundaments of original revolutionaries” in Iran. The Iranian revolution in 1979 turned the nation into an Islamic nation that hates America and Israel. That also set the stage for Raeisi’s role as one of four Sharia judges for political executions in 1988, according to The Guardian, who identified him as a hardliner. And Iran’s cruelty isn’t just historical. Today, Haley sees a viciousness in Syria made possible by Iran. … Continue Reading

Israeli Cybersecurity Stands Out as Attack Strikes Globe

May 14, 2017 News

Israel is a shining example of cybersecurity. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

With a recent global cyberattack impacting hundreds of thousands of victims—which per a report from the BBC include the Russian Interior Ministry, German rail network Deutsche Bahn and British hospitals—Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave Israel’s a clean bill of cyber health. As of Sunday morning, he said that “there have not been any attacks against our vital infrastructures. The other attacks have been minor so far, but everything could change.”

Noting the number of different nations impacted by the attack, which BBC has since updated to 150 countries, Netanyahu said that “several years ago we established a defense network against cyberattacks. We also had the foresight to establish the National Cyberdefense Authority based on the understanding that we yet face a new threat.” The Israeli example in the midst of the attack comes just days after Israeli representatives met with Germany to discuss cybersecurity. … Continue Reading

Trump Reviewing Impact of Jerusalem Embassy Move on Peace Process

May 14, 2017 Peace and Conflict

Will peace process delay or block Jerusalem embassy move? U.S. Secretary of State Tillerson with Palestinian President Abbas. Illustrative. Photo Courtesy of U.S. State Department

After making a definitive-sounding promise to move the United States Embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to the Israeli capital of Jerusalem, U.S. President Donald Trump is now sounding cautious and putting such a move into the context of a potential Israel-Palestinian peace process. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, speaking on NBC’s Meet the Press, told host Chuck Todd that Trump “has recently expressed his view that he wants to put a lot of effort into seeing if we cannot advance a peace initiative between Israel and Palestine, and so I think in large measure the President is being very careful to understand how such a decision [on the embassy] would impact a peace process.”

Tillerson also noted that Trump’s decision would be “informed again by the parties that are involved in those talks and most certainly Israel’s view, on whether Israel views it as being helpful to a peace initiative or perhaps a distraction.” Israel responded to Tillerson’s comments, which aired on Sunday, within hours: They still want the move. And it will benefit the peace process. … Continue Reading

Israel Reaches Out: Netanyahu Calls for Embassies to Move to Jerusalem

May 9, 2017 News

PM Netanyahu addresses foreign diplomatic corps at Independence Day reception. Photo courtesy of Amos Ben-Gershom (GPO)

Israel was recently called a role model for the world by the Austrian Chancellor, Asia and Latin America are interested in growing economic ties with the Jewish State and Western nations appreciate Israeli counterterrorism intelligence. And that’s not the most impressive feat as the modern State of Israel recently turned 69-years-old according to the country’s leader.

“Perhaps most remarkably, from Arab leaders I hear an increasing recognition that Israel is not an enemy but an indispensable ally in the common battle against terror and the common effort to secure a different future, a better future for all the peoples of the Middle East,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to a group of foreign diplomats last week at an Israeli Independence Day reception.

And in view of all that, Israel has an invitation to those diplomats. “I want you to cut your travel time… Move your embassies to Jerusalem, the eternal capital of Israel for 3,000 years,” said Netanyahu in comments published by his office. … Continue Reading

Former Execution Judge Gaining Support in Iran Presidential Election

May 7, 2017 News

Could Iranian President Rouhani be beaten out by a hardliner in Iran’s elections? Illustrative. FEMA/Marty Bahamonde.

In less than two weeks, Iran will elect a new president—and one candidate gaining momentum ahead of the vote was a judge during mass executions of opposition members and leftists. Seyed Ebrahim Raeisi, according to the Guardian, was one of four sharia law judges who served during the mass judicial killings in 1988. The Guardian further quoted an expert who said Raeisi is linked to the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps and even Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei himself.

And according to the Fars News Agency, Raeisi’s chances of becoming the next Iranian president are looking up. A report last week said he was gaining in polls and pointed to speculation that the Principalist movement could consolidate around him. The Los Angeles Times reported in mid-April that some analysts viewed Raeisi as the preferred candidate by the clerics and military in Iran. Raeisi is one of multiple candidates running against Hassan Rouhani, a purported moderate by Iran’s standards, and the president who was in power for the signing of the Iran nuclear deal with the major world powers. … Continue Reading

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