US Ambassador Slams Iran for Religious Rights Abuses against Christians, Other Minorities

The Islamic Republic of Iran is not known for being open to religious minorities, and United States Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback highlighted some of the egregious Iranian offenses in a recent speech. Christians, Baha’is and even Sunni Muslims have faced religious persecution from Iranian authorities. …

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 …

Iran Will Exceed Fuel Limits in Nuclear Deal Later This Month

Following the Iranian decision to withdraw from some of the limitations under their nuclear deal with world powers, the Islamic Republic’s nuclear fuel supply has increased to the point that they will exceed the limits on nuclear fuel storage under the atomic agreement on June 27. Iran’s Fars News Agency …

Israel Approves Town of ‘Trump Heights’ in Golan in Honor of US President

United States President Donald Trump made history earlier this year by recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the strategic Golan Heights region at Israel’s northern border, and on Sunday, Israel made history in return by naming a town for a US President for the first time in 70 years. Ramat Trump, or …

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Iran Partly Pulls Out of Landmark Nuclear Deal, Will Increase Nuclear Fuel Stockpile

May 8, 2019 Peace and Conflict

Radiation Warning Symbol. Public Domain.

The Iranians on Wednesday announced that they were suspending some of their commitments under the nuclear deal with the major world powers in response to what they considered a failure by Europe to compensate Iran for the renewed sanctions by the United States, according a report by Iran’s PressTV. The US withdrew from the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), last year, reinstituted sanctions and recently ramped up sanctions on Iranian oil exports even further in an effort to curb malignant Iranian behavior.

In response, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani informed via letter the remaining partners to the JCPOA—the United Kingdom, France, Germany, China and Russia—that they were backing off their agreement to limit the size of their low-enriched nuclear fuel and heavy water stockpiles. This came in response to what Rouhani said was a failure by Europe to fulfill their promises to take practical steps to uphold Iran’s economic benefits under the JCPOA in the face of American sanctions.

The US warned Iran’s steps move it closer to a nuclear weapon capability. … Continue Reading

Four Israelis Killed, Hamas Moneyman Assassinated as Gaza Terrorists Fire Hundreds of Rockets

May 5, 2019 Peace and Conflict

Illustrative results of past Gaza attack. Photo Courtesy of IDF Spokesperson.

Four Israeli civilians had been killed as of Sunday afternoon and dozens more wounded as terrorists in the Gaza Strip launched hundreds of rockets at Israel over the weekend, including more than 600 rockets in 36 hours according to an IDF Twitter post. Included among the Israeli dead was one civilian murdered when terrorists fired an anti-tank missile at his civilian car. Israeli Prime Minister’s Officer spokesman Ofir Gendelman said of the attack on Twitter, that
this “is what Palestinian terrorists do: murdering innocent civilians.”

The Times of Israeli reported that the other three civilians were killed as a result of the rocket attacks, while the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs posted to Twitter that more than 90 injuries had been caused by the attacks as of Sunday afternoon.

In response, the Israeli military struck Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) targets in Gaza—including the assassination of a terrorist who transferred funds from Iran to the terror groups. An IDF Twitter post said that 280 terror targets had been “destroyed” in Gaza as of Sunday afternoon, and furthermore, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu implied a ground operation in the Strip could be on the table by referencing troop buildup. … Continue Reading

ADL: 1,879 Antisemitic Attacks in US in 2019, Including Spike in Assaults

May 1, 2019 News

Even in the US, antisemitism has disturbing trends. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

The number of antisemitic assaults in the United States in 2019 more than doubled the number of incidents in the year before, part of 1,879 antisemitic attacks in the US last year according to data released by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). That total, while 5 percent less than 2017, still ranks as the third most attacks in one year since the ADL first began tracking the numbers in 1970.

While the overall numbers are deeply disturbing, the outright violence skyrocketed year-over-year—from 19 antisemitic assaults in 2017 to 39 in 2018, including the murder of 11 people at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life – Or L’Simcha Congregation in October. The violence impacted 59 victims, almost triple the 21 victims in 2017, noted an ADL press release posted to their website.

“We’ve worked hard to push back against antisemitism, and succeeded in improving hate crime laws, and yet we continue to experience an alarmingly high number of antisemitic acts,” Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL CEO and National Director, was quoted in the press release as saying. … Continue Reading

Israel Condemns Passover Synagogue Shooting, Praises Victim as Hero

April 28, 2019 Special Feature

New shooting ahead of Holocaust Memorial Day highlights deadly dangers of antisemitism. Sculpture at Yad Vashem depicting Polish-Jewish doctor and author Janusz Korczak, and children from his orphanage, who all perished in the Holocaust. By Joshua Spurlock.

Another shocking synagogue shooting in the United States occurred on the last day of the festival of Passover at a Sabbath service on Saturday, killing Lori Gilbert-Kaye and wounding three others. The incident was met with a strong response by Israeli leaders and institutions and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is planning a special meeting this week to discuss the global increase in antisemitic attacks, according to a press release from his office published Sunday.

“I condemn the abhorrent attack on a synagogue in California; this is an attack on the heart of the Jewish people,” Netanyahu was quoted by the statement as saying. “We send condolences to the family of Lori Gilbert-Kaye and our best wishes for a quick recovery to the wounded. The international community must step up the struggle against antisemitism.”

The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that an antisemitic online manifesto has been attributed to the 19-year-old shooter who attacked the Chabad of Poway Synagogue in California. The shooter’s gun reportedly jammed during the attack and he was arrested after fleeing via car.

The woman killed in the attack, Gilbert-Kaye, was more than a victim according to Israeli Minister of Diaspora Affairs Naftali Bennett, who called her a “Jewish Hero.” … Continue Reading

Israel Foiled Suicide-Bombing Attack Planned on or around Election Day

April 28, 2019 Peace and Conflict

Home in Ma’ale Adummim Settlement in Judea and Samaria region. Illustrative. Photo by Joshua Spurlock.

A Hamas suicide-bombing recruit who had scouted out targets and purchased a vehicle for an attack planned for or around Election Day in Israel was arrested last month thanks to efforts by the Israel Security Agency (ISA) and the IDF. The terrorist—23-year-old Yehiye Abu Dia—was recruited by senior Hamas operatives from Gaza via the internet and was told to target the Ma’ale Adumim community near Jerusalem in Judea and Samaria, also known as the West Bank. An ISA press release noted that Hamas told Abu Dia to “monitor the best site for the attack” where “there would be a high concentration of buses, civilians and soldiers.”

While Hamas is based in Gaza, an ISA official noted the plot shows the terror group’s ongoing effort to launch terror attacks in the Biblical heartland of Israel.

“The Hamas terrorist infrastructure in the Gaza Strip is constantly working to recruit Hamas operatives from the Judea and Samaria to carry out murderous terror attacks in order to undermine the security and stability of the area,” a senior ISA official said in the press release. … Continue Reading

US Removes All Sanctions Waivers on Iran Oil to Get Imports ‘to Zero’

April 24, 2019 News

PM Netanyahu & US Secy. of State Pompeo. Illustrative. Photo courtesy of: Haim Zach / Israeli GPO

The United States says they are exerting a “maximum pressure” campaign on Iran and this week took their oil sanctions to the maximum by eliminating all waivers on imports of Iranian oil. The oil sanctions that took place last November initially had a set of waivers for seven countries and Taiwan, but as of May 2 no such waivers will be granted, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Monday. Any country importing Iranian oil will be at risk of US sanctions.

“Almost one year ago, after withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal, President Trump implemented the strongest pressure campaign in history against the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Pompeo said in comments published by the State Department. “The goal remains simple: to deprive the outlaw regime of the funds it has used to destabilize the Middle East for four decades, and incentivize Iran to behave like a normal country.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the US for the significant step aiming to cut off Iran’s oil exports. “The decision of President Trump and the American administration to increase the sanctions against Iran is a decision of very great importance,” said Netanyahu on Monday in comments released by his office. “This is how to deal with Iran’s aggression and this is how to block it.” … Continue Reading

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