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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Israeli, German Leadership Agree More Needed to Battle Anti-Semitism

October 10, 2019 News

PM Netanyahu with German Chancelor Merkel. Illustrative. Photo Courtesy of Israeli GPO.

Following the horrific shooting attack at a synagogue in Halle, Germany on Yom Kippur, Israeli leadership spoke with their Germany counterparts on Thursday to discuss doing more to address anti-Semitism. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke by phone with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and “expressed his appreciation for her vigorous stand against anti-Semitism,” according to a recap of the call published by Netanyahu’s office.

According to the call summary, Netanyahu also said that it was “important to step up efforts against manifestations of anti-Semitism” to which Merkel agreed. For her part, Chancellor Merkel noted that she also “intended to increase efforts to provide for the security of the Jewish community.”

The discussion comes one day after a shooter attacked a German synagogue on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in Judaism. NBC reported that the shooter was unable to break into the synagogue—where the persons inside had barricaded the door—and instead he murdered two other persons, one of whom was at a kebab shop. Others were injured. … Continue Reading

Ancient City Discovered in Israel: ‘Early Bronze Age New York of Our Region’

October 6, 2019 News

Aerial photograph of the excavation site. Photo courtesy of Assaf Peretz, Israel Antiquities
Authority.

A 5,000-year-old city—considered massive for its timeframe—has been discovered as part of a road construction project in north-central Israel. The city, which could have accommodated around 6,000 inhabitants and was more than a quarter square mile in size, displays ancient city planning, societal hierarchy and more. “This is the Early Bronze Age New York of our region; a cosmopolitan and planned city where thousands of inhabitants lived,” excavation directors on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) were quoted in an IAA press release as saying.

An “unusual” idolatrous temple was discovered as part of the ancient city, noted the press release, as well as a fortification wall, residential and public areas and streets and alleyways.

“There is no doubt that this site dramatically changes what we know about the character of the period and the beginning of urbanization in Israel,” Itai Elad, Dr. Yitzhak Paz and Dr. Dina Shalem, directors of the excavation on behalf of the IAA, were quoted as saying.

“…This is a huge city—a megalopolis in relation to the Early Bronze Age, where thousands of inhabitants, who made their living from agriculture, lived and traded with different regions and even with different cultures and kingdoms in the area.” … Continue Reading

Israel Proposes ‘Historic’ Non-Aggression Pacts, Cooperation with Arab Nations

October 6, 2019 Peace and Conflict

PM Netanyahu & FM Israel Katz. Illustrative. Photo courtesy of Amos Ben-Gershom (Israeli GPO)

Israel and the Arab Gulf states may face a common enemy in Iran and may not be in open conflict—but technically, they are still at war. Now Israel is talking with those countries about changing that technicality by signing non-aggression pacts with those Arab nations. Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz posted to Twitter that he has recently been promoting, with the support of the United States, a “political initiative to sign ‘non-war agreements’ with the Arab Gulf states. The historic move will put an end to the conflict and allow civilian cooperation until peace agreements are signed.”

In his tweet, which included a news report from Israel’s Channel 12, Katz further said that he presented the connect to multiple Arab foreign ministers and outgoing US Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt during his recent visit to the United Nations. “I will continue to work to strengthen the status of Israel in the region and around the world,” said Katz in the tweet, which was translated from Hebrew by Google.

The tweet from Katz follows a report on the initiative by Channel 12 news. The Times of Israel recapped the Hebrew-language Channel 12 report by noting that Katz and the Arab contacts agreed to launch working groups to proceed towards the non-aggression pact plan. The report further clarified that the discussions come against the backdrop of the Iran threat and that fighting terror and economic cooperation are in the draft proposal. … Continue Reading

Germany Condemns Iran for Saying Wiping Israel Off the Map Is ‘Achievable’

October 2, 2019 Peace and Conflict

Radiation Warning Symbol. Public Domain.

It’s not new that an Iranian leader has openly discussed wiping Israel off the map, but the leader of Iran’s powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) on Monday said it’s no longer just an idea, but “an achievable goal.” The Tasnim News Agency quoted Maj. Gen. Hossein Salami as saying Israel “must be wiped off from the world geography in the second step (of the Islamic Revolution), and this is not an aspiration or dream anymore, but an achievable goal.”

Salami’s comments to a conference of IRGC commanders were condemned the next day by Germany, a nation who knows all too well the dangers of Holocaust rhetoric. “We condemn the recent threats by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps against Israel in the strongest possible terms,” a Federal Foreign Office Spokesman said in a press release on Tuesday.

“Such anti-Israel rhetoric is completely unacceptable. Israel’s right to exist is not negotiable. We urge Iran to commit to maintaining peaceful relations with all states in the region and to take practical steps to de-escalate tensions.”

Yet rather than back down from the violent comments, Iran doubled down on Wednesday, responding to Germany’s comments with yet another threat. … Continue Reading

Israeli UN Speech Calls for Global Recognition of Jerusalem and Pressure on Iran

October 1, 2019 News

Flags at the UN headquarters in New York. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz had a message for the world, and what better venue to deliver it than at the United Nations General Assembly last week. From recognizing Jerusalem to pressuring Hamas to countering Iran, Katz repeatedly called for all nations to unite in common causes in a speech delivered last Thursday.

“I call on the international community to unite in order to stop Iran,” said Katz, according to a transcript of his speech posted to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs website. “The world cannot allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons. The world cannot allow Iran to develop ballistic missiles, and the world must stop Iran from supporting terror organizations in the region.”

Israel’s top diplomat went on to specifically call for the UN to label Hezbollah and the Iran’s powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as terror organizations. “They promote terror in the Middle East, Europe, Latin America, and all over the world,” said Katz. “And the world must stop them.” … Continue Reading

Europe Threatens to Begin Withdraw from Nuclear Deal If Iran Continues to Advance Nuke Program

Germany one of multiple EU nations wanting new nuclear deal with Iran. German, EU flags in Square of the Republic in Berlin. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

The European Union last week threatened Iran that they may withdraw from the international nuclear deal and resume global sanctions on Iran if Tehran takes another sizable enough step in their nuclear program. The Guardian reported last Thursday that the message comes as Iran—having already withdrawn from certain components of the deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)—have threatened a fourth move in November if economic relief is not granted them. Before re-engaging sanctions, Europe would need to engage the JCPOA’s dispute mechanism to arbitrate the disagreement between the sides.

The response from Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman on Monday, according to the Fars News Agency, was to call a move by Europe to trigger the dispute mechanism “illegal” and “already dead”. Seyed Abbas Mousavi was quoted by Fars as saying that if Europe does not make a significant enough economic move for Iran, the Islamic Republic would carry out their threat to continue its withdrawal from the nuclear deal.

With that in the background, the United States believes the recent Iranian drone and missile attack on the Saudi oil industry has changed the calculus for Europe and that a number of European allies believe the JCPOA needs to be amended—something the Trump Administration has been demanding for years. … Continue Reading

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