Israel Still Aiding Wounded Syrians, Turning Them from ‘Enemies to Friends’

Israel and Syria have been mortal enemies since Syria attacked the newly reborn State of Israel almost 70 years ago. But that hasn’t impacted Israel’s ongoing work to help Syrians wounded in that nation’s civil war—and it may even offer hope for peace. It certainly isn’t stopping, even as violence …

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 …

Israel Strikes Syrian Military in Response to ‘Spillover’ Fire, Twice

Multiple Syrian projectiles hit Israeli territory on Saturday and the Israelis were very clear that such “spillover” from the Syrian civil war is unacceptable, as the Israeli military took the strong response of publicly targeting the Syrian military directly. Then it happened again the next day. The IDF Spokesperson’s Twitter …

Israeli Security Forces Arrest Citizen Muhammad Azzam for Planning to Join ISIS

The resident of an Israeli Arab town was arrested earlier this month for contact with ISIS, also known as the Islamic State (IS), and for making plans to join the brutal terrorist organization. Muhammad Azzam, an Israeli citizen from Kfar Manda, was arrested on June 6 in a joint operation …

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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

Peace Partner? Hamas Arrests Fatah Leaders to Stop Pro-Abbas March

May 6, 2017 Peace and Conflict

Who is really in charge of the Palestinians? President Mahmoud Abbas. Illustrative. Photo Courtesy of UN Photo/Marco Castro

One day before Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was talking peace with Israel with United States President Donald Trump last Wednesday, his own people were highlighting how much farther peace has to go—for Palestinians and Palestinians. Security forces under the authority of Hamas—the rival political faction to Abbas’ Fatah movement and the leaders of the Gaza Strip—arrested Fatah leaders last Tuesday to prevent a march planned to support Abbas.

According to the Palestinian Ma’an News Agency, citing a May 3 report from the al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, several leaders were arrested and others were summoned over the previous 24 hours. The report cited Fatah secretaries who said that phone calls allegedly from the Hamas security forces let them know Fatah activities were forbidden, one day after Hamas canceled school so Gazans could rally against Abbas. … Continue Reading

Netanyahu—Israeli National ‘Story of Hope’ for ‘All Humanity’, Not Just Jews

May 1, 2017 News

Israel turns 69-years-old and offers hope to all. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

Nearly seven decades ago, Israel was formed in a precarious situation and was quickly embroiled in wars for its very survival. But today, they are a world leader in agriculture, technology, and military might. In honor of Israeli Independence Day celebrating 69 years of the renewed nation of Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu believes that the Jewish State’s rising from humble origins to greatness isn’t just for Jews, but for the whole world.

“Our story is a story of hope, not just for the Jewish people, but for all of humanity,” said Netanyahu in comments released by his office. “We persevered through adversity against all odds. Anyone fighting for a just cause, fighting against seemingly insurmountable odds, could draw inspiration from our story.” … Continue Reading

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