January 25, 2018

Netanyahu and Merkel discuss Iran deal in Davos

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland Wednesday (24th).

After one of the meetings, the prime minister said the two discussed the Iran nuclear deal and Israel’s security, among other topics.

Netanyahu said Merkel understood Israel’s concerns about the nuclear agreement, but did not necessarily agree with the way Israel wants to deal with it.

Netanyahu will meet with at least ten world leaders before the Forum ends on Friday (26th).

(ynetnews.com; jpost.com)


Hamas slams U.S. VP for ‘desecrating’ Al-Aqsa during Western Wall visit

Hamas on Tuesday (23rd) denounced U.S. Vice President Mike Pence’s visit to the Western Wall in Jerusalem, saying his prayer there “desecrated” a Muslim place of worship.

The Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray, is part of the Temple Mount compound, which also houses Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia.

Pence visited the site on the last leg of his Middle East tour.  He stood solemnly with his hand on the wall, as people who pray there traditionally do.  In response, the Gaza Strip-based terrorist group said that by praying at the Wall, Pence “defiled Al-Aqsa with a Jewish ritual.”



Israel compensates victims of Palestinian torture with PA’s funds – Ramallah fumes

The Palestinian Authority (PA) viciously brutalized Palestinians suspected of collaborating with Israel, and an Israeli court ruled last summer that the PA must compensate these victims for physical and emotional distress.

The Jerusalem District Court in July ruled in favor of 51 Palestinians who filed suits against the PA, and hundreds of millions of shekels are expected to be awarded in damages.  To partially cover the required compensation, Israel recently cut half a million Israeli shekels ($145 million) from taxes it collects on behalf of the PA.

The PA expressed rage over the Israeli move.

“This amount is the first installment in a series of payments that could reach millions of shekels the Israeli government intends to seize for this dubious allegation” the Palestinian Cabinet stated on Tuesday (23rd).



Hamas calls on PA to host confab to plan response to Trump’s peace plan

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh called for a Palestinian conference in which a national strategy would be formulated to deal with what he called the “American Israeli plans aimed at eliminating the Palestinian problem.”

According to Haniyeh, the new Palestinian strategy should be based on three pillars: national reconciliation, an agreement on a new strategy of struggle based on the intifada, and internal reforms within the Palestinian Authority.



Kerry coaches Abbas: ‘Stay strong, don’t yield to Trump’

According to a report in Israel’s Maariv newspaper, John Kerry, Secretary of State under former President Barack Obama, held a meeting with a confidante of Mahmoud Abbas named Hussein Agha, in which he encouraged the Palestinian leader to defy President Trump and his efforts to make peace in the region.  “Abbas,” Kerry said, “should stay strong in his spirit and play for time.”  Kerry warned Abbas “not to break or yield to President Trump’s demands.”



Number of Israeli Arabs in higher education jumped 79% in seven years – Lior Dattel

The number of Israeli Arabs studying at Israeli universities and colleges climbed 78.5% in the past seven years, the Israel Council for Higher Education reported.  At the University of Haifa, 41% of the students are Israeli Arab, followed by 22% at the Technion Israel Institute of Technology.



U.S. surveys rank Israel among ‘most powerful, innovative countries’

US News and World Report named Israel as the 8th most powerful nation in the world.  Bloomberg News listed Israel as the 10th most innovative country in the world.



Philippines to deport Hamas ‘rocket scientist’

The Philippines said Monday (22nd) it would deport an Iraqi man described as a scientist for Hamas, accusing him of helping the Palestinian terror group lob missiles at Israel.

Iraq tipped off the Philippines about the presence of Taja Mohammad Al Jabori, who was arrested Sunday (21st), national police chief Ronald Dela Rosa told reporters.

“He’s an illegal alien, his visa is expired so he has to be deported right away,” Dela Rosa said.



Half of European Jews hide their religion, survey shows

Much of world Jewry is afraid of being the target of anti-Semitism, a new survey conducted by the World Zionist Organization ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day reveals.

According to the survey, whose findings were presented to the Knesset Aliyah and Absorption Committee on Tuesday (23nd), 27% of European Jews said they felt unsafe as Jews where they lived compared to 11% of Jews in North America.

When asked how safe they felt wearing clothing or symbols that identified them as Jewish, or using their Jewish names, 51% of Jews living in Europe said they felt unsafe doing so.

Nearly three-quarters (70%) of all respondents said they had experienced or witnessed anti-Semitic insults or remarks, and 29% of Jews in Europe said they had experienced or witnessed anti-Semitic vandalism.



China is Israel’s fastest growing source of tourists

Over 113,000 Chinese travelled to Israel in 2017, up 41% over 2016, said Bora Shnitman, China director of the Israel Government Tourism Office.  He attributed the surge to more targeted promotion campaigns, streamlined visa applications, and more direct flights.