January 28, 2019

Iran to Remain in Syria

Iran’s top general recently said the Islamic Republic of Iran will keep its military advisors, revolutionary forces, and its weapons in Syria. This statement was made in response to Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu’s call for Iran to get out of Syria, or else Israel will continue its strike against Iranian targets in the area.

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard in Syria puts Iran right at Israel’s doorstep. And I think it’s important to remember, Iran is by far one of Israel’s greatest threats in the region. They regularly call for Israel’s destruction and their footing in Syria definitely helps them inch closer to accomplishing that goal. I think Iran, should take Netanyahu’s advice. They should retreat and then they should take that money that they’re investing in Syria to stir up conflict and they should invest it in their own people who are currently facing an economic crisis.

(Chris Katulka, The Friends of Israel Staff Writer)


Yad Vashem Teams With Facebook to Remember Holocaust Victims

On January 27, 1945 Russian troops liberated the Nazi death camp of Auschwitz, bringing an end to the horrible nightmare for its occupants. Sixty-one years later the United Nations commemorated that event with the resolution initiating the International Holocaust Remembrance Day on the anniversary of the Auschwitz liberation, January 27.

This year Yad Vashem, the world Holocaust Remembrance center, has teamed with FacebookIsrael to create a personal connection to the Holocaust called IRemember Wall. This allows Facebook users to memorialize people who were victims of the Holocaust, and allow their identities to be restored. Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev explains, “The new joint project will allow the broader public who wish to express their commitment to do so in a simple and timely way.” This will last from Thursday, January 24 to Sunday, January 27.

A second phase, “Unto Each Person There is a Story,” will allow users to share a personal story from the data base of Yad Vashem online. This launches in May in time for the Israel commemoration of the Holocaust, Yom HaShoah.

This is a timely release as in Canada nearly 50% of Canadian respondents to a survey on the Holocaust had not heard of it. On Holocaust Remembrance Day, it’s vital for the lesson of the Holocaust be embraced: Never Again!

(Tim Munger, The Friends of Israel Staff Writer, source: Jerusalem Post)


Ahead Of Holocaust Remembrance Day, Israel Is Home To Some 200,000 Survivors

Israel is home to some 200,000 individuals whose lives were impacted by the Nazi regime, with some one-third of them hailing from the Muslim world, according to official figures published Thursday (24th) ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which falls on Sunday (27th).

Nearly two-thirds of those, or 65%, hail from Europe, while 35% are from the Muslim world.

The figures are taken from 2017, the last year for which figures are available.  Israeli state agencies define as survivors anyone “exposed” to the Nazi regime, including those who lived in countries conquered by Nazi Germany or were under direct Nazi influence in 1933-1945, as well as refugees who fled those areas due to the Nazis.

The figures published Thursday (24th) show an aging population of survivors that is dying off quickly.  The Holocaust Survivors Benefits Authority in the Finance Ministry recognized 220,800 people as eligible for survivor benefits at the end of 2016.  One year later, at the end of 2017, the figure had dropped by some 8,500 people, to 212,300 survivors.

Today’s survivors are all over 73 – World war II ended 73 years ago – the median age for men (as of the end of 2017) is 81.6 years and for women 82.4.

As women generally outlive men, they make up 60% of the survivor population, while men make up 40%.

Over a third, 38%, of the survivors came to Israel in the first three years after the state’s founding, between 1948 and 1951.  These included most of the Jews leaving Poland, Bulgaria and Hungary, as well as Iraq and Libya.

Those from the Muslim world fled Nazi-inspired pogroms, such as the 1941 Farhoud in Iraq, or Nazi-controlled or Nazi-allied territories where they faced restrictions in daily life such as in Vichy-ruled Morocco and Tunisia.



Iron Dome Deployed Near Tel Aviv, IDF Forces Fired On From Syria

The IDF deployed an Iron-Dome anti-missile system in central Israel as a precautionary measure Wednesday night (23rd) in light of Syrian threats to target Ben Gurion Airport.

Syrian Ambassador to the UN, Bashar Ja’afari warned on Tuesday (22nd) that his country would hit Israel’s major international gateway if the Security Council does not stop Israel’s airstrikes.

However, there is little chance of Syria following through on its threat, according to Major General (res.) Yaakov Amidror, a former national security advisor.

“The Syrians have missiles that can reach Ben Gurion Airport,” the current senior fellow at the Jerusalem Institute for Strategic Studies said on Radio 103FM  Thursday (24th).  “They have anti-aircraft missiles that can damage planes coming out of Ben-Gurion Airport.  But the relationship between us and Syria is such that a Syrian attempt would give us permission to strike them so hard that the Syrian regime would be over, so I don’t see the Syrians risking such an incident.”

Despite the fact that Iranians shot a surface-to-surface missile Sunday (20th) at Israel from Syrian territory that was intercepted successfully by the Iron-Dome, Amidror does not believe that Tehran would escalate the situation.

Meanwhile, IDF troops operating clandestinely near the northern border came under small arms fire from the Syrian side on Wednesday night (23rd).  According to Ynet, the attackers had been setting up an ambush near Quneitra.  The IDF returned fire, and no casualties were reported.

(worldisraelnews.com; ynetnews.com)


Rivlin in France: Tells Macron Lebanon will Be Held Accountable For Hizbullah’s Actions

“Lebanon will be held accountable for all activity carried out on its soil, including that of Iranian-backed terror group Hizbullah,” Israeli President Reuven Rivlin told his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron during a meeting in Paris on Wednesday (23rd).

“If we are threatened from Lebanon, we will not standby.  Lebanon bears sovereign responsibility for all Hizbullah actions,” Rivlin told Macron, who is expected to visit Lebanon soon, during their meeting at the Elysee Palace.

The two met for talks that touched on the Iranian presence in Lebanon and the Islamic Republic’s attempts to operate against Israel through Hizbullah.

PoInting the finger at Lebanon for the Shiite terror organization’s actions, Rivlin said, “The Lebanese president cannot wash his hands of it if Iranian missiles are fired from his country into Israel.”

Furthermore, Rivlin stressed that Tehran’s ballistic missile program, in addition to its nuclear program, poses a great threat to the Jewish state.



The Price Of Terror: New Data Shows Scope Of PA’s Funding Of Terrorists

For the Palestinians, terrorism is one sure way to make a living – and it seems that the worse the crime the better the pay.

According to a new report released by the Palestinian Authority Treasury on Wednesday (23rd), the PA paid upwards of $137 million to living terrorists – either in Israeli prisons or released – in 2018.

This was the first time since 2015 that the PA Prisoner Affairs Ministry has revealed such details of its budget.  Between 2015 and 2018 it kept these figures under wraps, with the payments transferred to terrorists appearing in different reports and documents.

At the end of this month, Prime Minister and acting Defense Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to present the diplomatic-security cabinet with a report on these payments so the government can deduct the amount paid to terrorists from the taxes it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority and turns over to the PA.

Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) indicated that terrorists incarcerated in Israel received at least $55 million in 2018.

The longest-serving Palestinian terrorists – Maher and Karim Younis, who murdered IDF soldier Abraham Brumberg in 1980 and have been in jail since 1983 – each receive a monthly salary of $3,266.

(palwatch.org; israelhayom.org)


Israel Jumps To No.5 On Bloomberg Innovation Index

Israel’s standing in this year’s Bloomberg Innovation Index drastically improved, compared to 2018, with Israel moving up five spots to be ranked the world’s fifth-most innovative economy, the financial news network said this week.

South Korea continues to lead in innovation, followed by Germany and Finland.  Switzerland ranks fourth.

According to Bloomberg, Israel made remarkable gains compared to 2018, and can be considered “the big winner.”  Bloomberg said that Israel’s jump in the rankings is attributable to increased patent activity.

“The Middle Eastern country surpassed Singapore, Sweden and Japan in the process,” Bloomberg said.  Sweden, which was second place in 2018, fell to seventh place. The United States is now back among the top 10 most innovative economies, ranking No.8, a year after dropping to the 11th spot.

The index was released as global elites gather at the annual World Economic Forum in Switzerland this week.

Israeli Economy and Industry Minister Eli Cohen, who is attending the forum, touted Israeli innovation on Wednesday (23rd).  He noted that the forum had included eight Israeli startups in its 2018 technology Pioneers list.

Among the Israeli companies in the list are Vayyar, which develops 3D imaging sensors for medical use and water conservation; XM Cyber, which helps target cyber attacks; Innoviz Technologies, which provides remote sensing solutions for autonomous vehicles; three energy companies (Watergen, Raycatch Utilis, and Aqua Security); and Preconize, a company that produces predictive maintenance software for the processing industry.

(israelhayom.com; jpost.com)