February 23, 2018

Netanyahu: Most Arab countries see Israel as their indispensable ally against Iran

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations in Jerusalem on Wednesday (21st): “Most Arab countries now see Israel not as their enemy, but as their indispensable ally in the battle against common challenges.  The greatest challenge that we face comes from the regime in Iran. They see it; we see it.”

“The nuclear deal emboldened Iran.  The nuclear deal enriched Iran….If this deal is not changed…Iran will have basically a free course to walk into a nuclear arsenal….It has a highway to a nuclear arsenal.  Not to a nuclear bomb, but to an arsenal of nuclear bombs.



Israel and American troops gear up for joint 12-day Juniper Cobra drill

Israel is gearing up for an extensive aerial drill with troops from the United States European Command set to begin in early March, the IDF announced Thursday evening (22nd).

The ninth annual Juniper Cobra drill scheduled to take place from March 4-15, will be the largest IDF and U.S. European Command joint exercise taking place this year with over 2,500 U.S. troops deployed in Europe participating alongside 2,000 Israeli Aerial Defense troops, logistics units, medical forces, and additional IDF units.

The country’s defense establishment has undertaken extensive preparations for the exercise in recent weeks, including the reception of American forces to Israel via both air and sea.

(jpost.com; reuters.com)


Israel to issue 20,000 more work permits to Palestinians

Israel has agreed to increase the number of work permits for Palestinians in its territory by 20,000, sources informed Globes.  The increase will bring the number of permits to 100,000.  The new agreement was unveiled at a meeting between Minister of Finance Moshe Kahlon and Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah.



Fatah denies rumors of deterioration in Abbas’ health

Fatah denied rumors Thursday evening (22nd) that Palestinian Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ health has deteriorated and that he was rushed to a hospital in the U.S.

The rumor started when it was reported that Abbas was hospitalized at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore after a short flight from New York, where he gave a speech to the UN Security Council earlier in the week.  During the speech, Abbas appeared to be unwell, further fueling the rumor.

Abbas is 83 years old.  Four months ago he underwent catheterization at a hospital in Ramallah after feeling ill.  He has been a heavy smoker for many years.



Hamas: Abbas’ UN speech does not reflect the Palestinian national consensus – Nour Mahd Ali Abu Aisha and Hacer Baser

Hamas on Wednesday (21st) criticized Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ Tuesday (20th) speech at the UN Security Council, saying it did not “reflect the Palestinian national consensus, which wants to terminate the Oslo agreements and rejects any negotiations with Israel.”



Hamas rules out Mohamed Dahlan as Abbas’ successor

Osama Hamdan, the Hamas official responsible for international relations, told Hamas-run Al-Aqsa radio on Wednesday (21st) that Mohamed Dahlan, Mahmoud Abbas’ main political rival who is supported by Egypt and the UAE, “was not and will never be Hamas’ choice to succeed Abbas as Palestinian leader.



The majestic Palestinian Parliament building in Abu Dis – Jonathan Ferziger and Fadwa Hodall

With its sky-lit lantern dome, tiered floors and speaker’s well, the majestic Palestinian Parliament building on the edge of east Jerusalem in Abu Dis needs only some lighting fixtures and a few truckloads of furniture. Last month, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas explained to senior Palestinian officials that Washington was preparing to propose Abu Dis the capital of Palestine.

When Abu Dis was first identified as a potential Palestinian capital at the turn of the millennium, the idea was to incorporate the village into Jerusalem’s expanded municipal borders.  The plan was co-authored by Abbas himself.  The idea was so seductive that the Palestinians spent millions of dollars to build a parliament there.



Grave of Joshua vandalized with swastikas

About a thousand Jewish worshipers visited the grave of the biblical leader Joshua in the village of Kifi Hahris on Wednesday night (21st) to mark the anniversary of the death of Moses, whose burial place is unknown.

Visitors were shocked to discover swastikas and writings spray-painted on the wall of the grave complex.

Samaria Regional Council head, Yossi Dagan called on security forces to capture the vandals as the grave of Joshua is a “holy place” he said.



Cape Town may dry up because of an aversion to Israel – Seth M. Siegel

Water taps in Cape Town, South Africa, are expected to go dry on July 9, due to drought, inept management, and a devotion to anti-Israel ideology.  Israel has trained water technicians in more than 100 countries, and in 2016, Israel’s Foreign Ministry offered to bring in desalination experts to help, but South African officials ignored or rebuffed the no-strings Israeli proposal.

If the South Africans are snubbing the Israelis out of solidarity with the Palestinians, they might want to consider that the Palestinian Authority has worked with Israel on a range of water projects since 1995.  Israel provides the PA with more than half the water for domestic consumption by Palestinians in the West Bank.  And it pipes more than 2.5 billion gallons of water into Hamas-controlled Gaza each year.



Half-shekel coin bears profile of Trump

Temple organizations have issued a half-shekel coin, the likes of which the Torah mandates every Jewish male must donate to the Temple, with a weight of 9.5 grams in real silver.

On the facade of the coin is a picture of the Temple with the inscription “Half Shekel.”  On the other side is a figure of U.S. President Donald Trump, alongside Cyrus, King of Persia, who made the building of the Second Temple possible.  Below them is the inscription, “Cyrus – Balfour – Trump – Declaration 2018.”

The producers of the coin say that it is in high demand.  Prof. Hillel Weiss, Chairman of the Organization “Temple in Zion” says the motivation for using the image of the President of the United states is to show gratitude for his support of Israel and for recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over Jerusalem.