How Gantz Could Build A Government, Without A Majority

Israel’s second round of elections have been a complex but ultimately straightforward math problem: the ruling Likud party plus their allies equals less than a majority. The opposition Blue and White party plus their allies equals less than a majority. Neither side is willing to make the compromises needed to …

Arab Village Electrician Uncovers Ancient Artifacts, Helps Israel Preserve Them

Arabs can face opposition from their own people for helping Israel, but one Arab villager recently chose to do the right thing in spite of critique and in the process helped Israel preserve history. The resident of the village of Araba in northern Israel, Ahmed Nassar Yassin, is an electrician …

Israel Holding Hamas Responsible as Gaza Attacks Continue

Following more rocket attacks from Gaza against Israel, the IDF hit back at Hamas in a counterstrike last Friday. Based on comments from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday, expect that Israeli response to Gaza violence to continue as needed. “We are acting against Islamic Jihad, as it is …

Iraqi Protestors Challenging Iranian Influence Have ‘Clearly Made Iran Nervous’

Protests are making an impact in Iraq, and it’s not just the leaders in Baghdad that are feeling the pressure. Leaders in Iraq’s next-door neighbor and general bad influence Iran are taking notice too, as Iraqi protestors have opposed Tehran’s entanglement in their country. “Iraqis increasingly view Iran as having …

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Netanyahu, Putin Talk of Friendly Ties ahead of Syrian Discussion

February 27, 2019 Peace and Conflict

PM Netanyahu and Russian President Putin at the Kremlin. Photo courtesy of Haim Zach / Israeli GPO

As the Israeli and Russian leaders found one commonality after another between their countries in their meeting on Wednesday, it certainly didn’t look like Israel and Russia had tense relations just months ago. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu highlighted that he and Russian President Vladimir Putin had met 11 times in the last three-and-a-half-years, even as this was just the second face-to-face meeting—and the first in Moscow—since Russia accused Israel of negligence that led to a Russian plane being shot down last September by Syrian air defenses, according to a report at the time by Sputnik International.

While Israel denied the claims, Russia moved forward anyway with arming the Syrians with an advanced air defense system in response to the event, per a twitter post last week from ImageSat International. Yet just five months after the incident, and there was Putin accepting an invitation to visit Israel for the dedication ceremony for a memorial in Jerusalem to those who fell during the siege of Leningrad during World War II.

The warm signals sent by Putin are key, as Netanyahu’s primary goal during the visit was battling Iran in Syria—a sensitive topic given that Russia is a major player in Syria, has ties to Iran and backs their joint ally in the Assad regime. … 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

Israel Rebuts Iranian Claims of ‘90%’ Success in Syria as Tehran Warns of Upgrade in Deterrence

February 24, 2019 Peace and Conflict

PM Netanyahu with Russia President Putin. Photo Courtesy of Israeli GPO.

A senior official in Iran warned that the approach in 2019 to Israeli attacks on the “Axis of Resistance”—presumably Iran, Syria and terror groups such as Hezbollah—would be “significantly different from the combat methods in the past.” Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani made the comments in an interview with the Tasnim News Agency published on Saturday, where he also claimed that the Axis achieved “more than 90 percent” of their goals in Syria, a claim that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denied a day alter.

“This is incorrect,” said Netanyahu of the Iranian assertion, according to comments published by his office on Sunday. “It is correct that they are trying and it is correct that we are blocking them. Last month another Iranian official said that they are only ‘advising’ Syria. The world hears very many Iranian lies.

“I have a clear message to the Iranian regime that wants to destroy Israel: Israel will continue to act as necessary in order to block Iranian military entrenchment in Syria.” … 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

Netanyahu Tells Arabs that Iran Is Main Threat, To Talk with Putin to ‘Ensure Freedom of Action’ against Iran

February 17, 2019 Peace and Conflict

PM Netanyahu meets with VPOTUS Pence. Illustrative. Photo courtesy of Amos Ben-Gershom (Israeli GPO)

It’s a busy season of diplomacy for Israel against Iran, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in Poland last week for a conference with Arab and Western nations discussing the threat from Tehran, and this week he will be in Poland’s neighbor Russia to discuss how to keep combatting that threat. Netanyahu, in comments on Sunday released by his office, said he would be in Moscow on Thursday to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin and converse on “the continued strengthening of the coordination mechanism in order to prevent friction between the IDF and the Russian military” in Syria.

Israel has repeatedly bombed targets in Syria in an effort to keep Iran and it’s terror ally Hezbollah from expanding their threat against Israel in the north. Russia is also militarily involved in Russia acting on behalf of the Syrian regime in the civil war there, making coordination key to avoid direct conflict between Israeli and Russian forces.

Said Netanyahu, “These talks are very important and are part of our continuing effort to ensure freedom of action for the State of Israel against Iran and its proxies, which declare their intention of using Syria as a front in their war to destroy Israel.” … Continue Reading

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