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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Palestinians, Iranians Battle Israel in the Sports World… By Not Playing

August 13, 2017 News

Palestinian teen shows nationalistic pride, by refusing to play sports against Israelis? Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

Israel’s enemies often sound and act very open to confrontation, but in the world of sports they aren’t even competing or are told not to do so. In August alone, two Iranians were banned for life from the national soccer team for just playing against an Israeli team while a teenage Palestinian kickboxer refused to spar against an Israeli. According to The Jerusalem Post, the Palestinian withdrawal allowed the Israeli to advance to eventually win a bronze medal in the IFMA Youth muaythai World Championships.

The Palestinian Ma’an News Agency quoted Palestinian Association of Kickboxing and Muaythai Muhammad Ahmad Zeidani as saying the Palestinian teen refused to compete with the Israeli because the Palestinians haven’t made an official decision “over whether to face Israeli athletes in any sporting event.” Israeli Prime Minister’s Office Spokesman Ofir Gendelman slammed the Palestinian withdrawal on Twitter. He tweeted that the Palestinian Authority “abuses sports&incites against peace: A Palestinian kickboxer refused to fight his opponent b/c he was Israeli.” Meanwhile, the Iranian penalty for playing against Israelis drew criticism even inside Iran. … Continue Reading

US Calls for Tougher Enforcement against Hezbollah ahead of UN Mission Renewal

August 8, 2017 Peace and Conflict

UN headquarters. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

The United Nations peacekeeping force in Lebanon may be overseeing over a decade of general calm, but the United States isn’t content with the effort to truly keep the peace. In particular, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley highlighted Hezbollah’s arms buildup, which is in violation of the U.N. Resolution that ended the 2006 Israel-Lebanon war. She said she agreed with U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres that they want the efforts of the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) to be enhanced to “prevent the spread of illegal arms in southern Lebanon.”

Said Ambassador Haley in comments released by her office, “These arms—which are almost entirely in the hands of Hezbollah terrorists—threaten the security and stability of the region. UNIFIL must increase its capacity and commitment to investigating and reporting these violations. The United States will continue to raise the threat posed by Hezbollah as we seek significant improvements to UNIFIL when the Security Council renews its mandate this month.” … Continue Reading

Israeli Police Meet with Arab Authorities to Discuss Cooperation Despite Low Turnout

August 7, 2017 Peace and Conflict

Israeli President Rivlin hosts meeting between Israeli Police and Arab leaders. Photo courtesy of Mark Neiman (GPO).

If Arabs and the Israeli Police don’t communicate effectively, it’s certainly not due to Israel not trying. Recently, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin hosted a meeting between Israeli Chief of Police Roni Alsheikh and Arab local leadership to discuss cooperation between the Police and Arabs and “to examine ways to advance the common issues and concerns,” according to a press release from Rivlin’s office.

However, the number of Arab leaders who attended fell short of Rivlin’s hopes. “I am very sorry that many of the council heads who wished to arrive did not come due to various pressures,” said Rivlin. “It is a shame, because we are destined to live together and we have to find a way to promote this understanding inside all of us.”

The meeting comes against the backdrop of tensions between Israel and the broader Arab community following a terror shooting committed by Arabs in the Temple Mount area that killed two Israeli policemen. In response, Israel set up metal detectors at the main entrance to the Temple Mount complex, but later removed them after outraged Arabs protested and the greater Arab world turned it into an international incident. And much as the recent police meeting was under-attended by Arab leaders, so too were condemnations of violence lacking from Arab leadership, lamented Rivlin. … Continue Reading

Israel Foils Hamas Money Laundering Ring Linking Turkey to Hebron

August 6, 2017 News

Hamas’ complicated money-laundering scheme. Photo courtesy of the ISA.

A terrorist money-laundering plot involving a cast of Hamas militants and their affiliates in two different countries had managed to get almost $200,000 into the heart of Israel’s Judea and Samaria region (also known as the West Bank). That is, until Israeli security forces recently busted the ring.

Hamas used couriers who went to Turkey to obtain funding “under the guise of business trips,” said a press release last week from the Israel Security Agency (ISA). Once in Turkey, the couriers met up with a Hamas command center militant who provided the couriers with tens of thousands of dollars. These monies were then used to purchase goods in Turkey, which in turn were shipped to the Israeli city of Hebron. There, the goods would be sold and “the funds given to Hamas militants in Hebron, minus fees,” according to the ISA.

Noted the press release, “The uncovering of the infrastructure indicates the unrelenting motivation of Hamas militants in Turkey and the Gaza Strip to the increase of Hamas terrorism in Judea and Samaria.” With the investigation complete, the IDF military prosecutor was set to file indictments on the guilty partners soon. … Continue Reading

Israeli Cyber Defense Center Has Blocked ‘Dozens of National-Level’ Attacks

July 30, 2017 News

Prime Minister Netanyahu at cyber center. Photo courtesy of Kobi Gideon / GPO

With cyber attacks targeting governments, businesses and other groups around the global regularly, Israel set up a national cyber event response center in September 2016. Since then, the center has been involved in blocking “dozens of national-level cyber-attacks” along with addressing “hundreds of cyber events,” according to an Israeli press release.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently toured the National Cyber Defense Authority (NCDA) facility that houses the center. He emphasized the importance of the center’s work. “The cyber threat is one of the biggest threats against both developing countries and our country,” Netanyahu was quoted by the press release as saying. “There are very many elements in the world that can disrupt our lives, steal bank accounts, obstruct our energy supply and cause accidents and sabotage in field after field. The threat here is very great.” … Continue Reading

Top European Court Upholds Terrorist Designation for Hamas

July 30, 2017 Peace and Conflict

Hamas has fired thousands of rockets at Israel over the years, among other acts of terror. Illustrative photo of spent Rockets fired from Gaza. By Joshua Spurlock.

Europe’s most powerful court last week overturned a decision to annul the European Union’s designation of Hamas as a terrorist organization. The Independent reported that the European Court of Justice dismissed a decision from a lower court that argued the designation needed to be the result of an independent European investigation and had strictly been based on news reports and the internet.

The ECJ instead noted that simply an “ongoing risk” of terrorist activities was required to be on the terror list and that the EU did not need to do it’s own investigation. Not that that would have been too difficult. Hamas has launched thousands of rockets at Israel, claimed credit for suicide bombings and kidnappings in a period spanning multiple decades. The United States—which also designates Hamas as a terrorist organization—applauded the European court’s decision.

A statement from the U.S. State Department on the court action noted that Hamas “remains engaged in terrorist activity.” Despite a change in leadership at Hamas, the U.S. not only remains troubled by the organization, but the new leader only underscores those concerns given that he too has been designated as a terrorist by the U.S. The State Department statement said, “Hamas’s election of Yehya Sinwar as their political leader in Gaza earlier this year illustrates that the organization remains a terrorist threat. Sinwar is a hardline military commander.” … Continue Reading

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