August 17, 2018

No Deal With Hamas Without Return Of Captives

An Israeli source made it clear after a cabinet meeting on Wednesday (15th) that any future arrangement with Hamas would include the return of the fallen soldiers and civilians held in the Gaza Strip.

“There will be no real arrangement with Hamas without the return of our boys and citizens, to Israel, and the promise of quiet for a long time.  The current calm is the result of aggressive IDF activity that will continue as necessary. In light of “the calm”, the Kerem Shalom operation was renewed and the fishing area was opened,” the source said.

The Ministry of Defense announced that according to the decision of Minister Avigdor Lieberman, 700 trucks entered the Kerem Shalom crossing today and transferred merchandise to the Gaza Strip, including food, cement, textiles, wheat, fruits and vegetables, electrical appliances, diesel fuel and gas, and hygiene products.

Meanwhile, Wednesday morning (15th), firefighters worked to extinguish a blaze near Kibbutz Alumim, caused by an incendiary balloon launched from Gaza.  The balloon appears to be the first airborne device to spark a fire since restrictions were lifted earlier Wednesday (15th) on the entry of goods through the Kerem Shalom Crossing.  



Nasrallah Says Hizbullah Stronger Than IDF

Hizbullah’s Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah said that the terror group he leads “is more powerful than the Israeli army” and that both the U.S. and the Zionist entity are “too weak to stage wars like those launched before.”

Speaking from his bunker via video link during a ceremony held at the Ashura Square in Beirut on Tuesday (14th), marking the 12th anniversary of the Second Lebanon War in 2006, Nasrallah claimed that Hizbullah is “stronger than at any time since it was launched.”

Nasrallah congratulated the crowd celebrating what he termed as the “historic victory” in 2006.

“We insist on marking the occasion on August 14 in order to consolidate this victory in our culture and memory and to give hope in face of desperation which prevails among our nation,” he stated.

The Zionist entity has been deterred, Nasrallah continued, saying that Tel Aviv has been trying to build up its military capabilities “in view of its defeat in 2006.”

Hizbullah, “with its capabilities, experience, faith, will and bravery is stronger than ever before,” Nasrallah stated.  “We are not the most powerful army in the region, but surely we are stronger than the Israeli army, for the issue is not a matter of capabilities but a matter of faith.”

He then accused Israel of repeatedly attempting to topple the Syrian government.

Nasrallah admitted in 2016 that “we are open about the fact that Hizbullah’s budget, its income, its expenses, everything it eats and drinks, its weapons and rockets, are from the Islamic Republic of Iran.”  

Iran has been transferring $1 billion annually to Hizbullah until this past year, when because of budget difficulties, the figure was reduced to $800 million.



Time For Palestinians To Stop Fighting Lost Battles – Daniel J. Arbess

Palestinian Arabs need to realize it’s time to stop fighting lost battles and accept reality.  Israel is the ancestral and legal homeland of the Jewish people. Its capital is Jerusalem, as the U.S. has belatedly recognized, with other countries following.

Israel’s enemies lost the Six-Day War more than 50 years ago and relinquished the West Bank and the ancient city of Jerusalem.  The 1967-borders-and-land-swaps formula of the 1993 Oslo Accords is an artifact of history, overtaken by developments on the ground, and the Palestinians rejected it.

A broad alignment is coalescing among Israel and its treaty partners, Egypt and Jordan, and the consensus now informally includes Saudi Arabia and the UAE, among others.  With this Israeli-Arab detente, the Palestinians are finding that they are the last holdouts of an Arab world that has accepted Israel and will make peace with it. Arab leaders who truly want to help their people know the path is through creativity, negotiation and compromise, not violent “resistance” – a euphemism for terrorism – and war.

Polls show the Israeli public wants a dignified outcome that integrates the Palestinian people into Israel’s thriving economy and culture of innovation.  But security comes first. How could Israel ease security restrictions while Palestinian leaders are indoctrinating and inciting new generations to violence?

The writer is CEO of Xerion Investments and a co-founder of No Labels.



Vandals Deface Petah Tikva Synagogue With Nazi Symbols

During the entire Hebrew month of Elul, which leads up to the Jewish New Year, Sephardic Jews observe the custom of reciting special penitential prayers very early in the morning.  On Tuesday (14th), congregants of the Ohel Moshe synagogue in Petah Tikva arrived before dawn and discovered a disturbing sight: a large swastika and lightning symbol of the German SS units sprayed on the facade of the building in black paint.

“Of course, a complaint was immediately filed with the police, with the hope that it would be dealt with seriously and expeditiously,” said Rami Greenberg, a city council member who exposed the criminal act on his Facebook page.

“It was a shocking sight,” he wrote.  “The worshipers were stunned, as were we all, that in the State of Israel, in 2018, there are such harsh expressions of anti-Semitism.”

He vowed that “we will not allow anti-Semitism to raise its head in our city.”

As recently as last June, however, the Nazi symbol was daubed on two other synagogues in the city.  In April one had to be removed from an outer wall of a grade school and others from a bus stop and nearby map of the city.

Petah Tikva also suffered from a wave of anti-Semitism vandalism in 2006, 2011 and 2015.



Technion, Hebrew University Rank Among World’s Top 100 Universities

After a year of decline, Israeli universities made a strong comeback in 2018 as both the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology and Hebrew University of Jerusalem made the list of leading 100 universities in the world.

The Academic Ranking of World Universities was released Tuesday (14th) by the Shanghai Ranking Consultancy Firm.

The Technion climbed the Shanghai rankings to 77th place after being 93rd in 2017.  Hebrew University ranked in 95th place – a significant improvement to 2017 when it finished in the 100-150 range.

Since 2003, when the Shanghai index was launched, Hebrew University had ranked in the top 100 every year until 2017.

“The Technion’s presence among the 100 leading universities in the world, for the past seven years in a row, is the result of hard work and dedication by the Technion’s administration, senior staff and employees,” said Technion President Professor Peretz Lavie.

The Weizmann Institute of Science ranked in the 100-150 range, similar to last year, while Tel Aviv University was in the 151-200 grouping of leading universities.

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Bar-Ilan University ranked in the 401-500 grouping.

Among the criteria the Shanghai index takes into account are the number of Nobel Prize and other prestigious award winners, and the number of publications in top-tier journals.

Meanwhile American universities dominated the top 10.

Harvard University ranked first, followed in order by Stanford; Cambridge; the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; the University of California, Berkeley; Princeton; Oxford; Columbia; the California Institute of Technology and the University of Chicago.