January 3, 2019
Netanyahu: Christians Are Israel’s Best Friends
Israel has no better friends than those in the global Evangelical Christian community. And the global Evangelical Christian community has no better friend than Israel.
That was the message conveyed on Sunday (12/30) by Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Brazil’s massive Evangelical Christian community.
Netanyahu was in Brazil with his wife, Sara, and their eldest son Yair, to attend the inauguration of President-elect Jair Bolsonaro.
Similar to the election of Donald Trump in the US, the controversial Bolsonaro is believed to have been swept into office by Brazil’s Evangelical Christians, who were fed up with long years of corrupt and ineffective governance by lawmakers.
Also like Trump, the brash Bolsonaro has ruffled feathers both at home and abroad with his unequivocal support for Israel and his promise to move Brazil’s embassy to Jerusalem.
In addressing a gathering of Brazilian Christians, Netanyahu called the relationship between local believers and the Jewish state “an alliance of brothers.”
Netanyahu was presented with a commemorative postal stamp issued by the Brazilian state of Amazonas in celebration of the modern State of Israel’s 70th anniversary. The stamp features the likeness of Netanyahu along with the words Mazel Tov in Hebrew.
IDF Looks Back On 2018: 865 Strikes, 20 Terror Tunnels Destroyed
The Israeli military on Sunday (12/30) issued its annual operational activity report, tallying up strikes and missions alongside security incidents.
According to the report, the IDF mounted a combined 865 air and ground strikes in the Gaza Strip in 2018, destroyed 15 terror tunnels breaching Israeli territory from Gaza and five tunnels snaking under the Israel-Lebanon border, and dealt with 87 high-profile terrorist attacks across Judea and Samaria.
Seven soldiers and nine civilians were killed in terrorist incidents over the past year.
The data further showed that overall, the Israel Air Force’s combat squadrons conducted some 2,000 sorties, of which 600 involved IAF helicopters. The various transport squadrons engaged in some 2,300 flights. Overall, manned aircraft logged 32,166 flight hours, with Alaska being the farthest destination.
The military did not release any official numbers on its strikes in Syria in 2018, but it is believed to have launched hundreds of sorties there since 2017.
According to IDF data,Gaza-based terrorists fired some 1,000 rockets and mortar shells at Israel’s south, 460 of them in a span of 36 hours during November’s flare-up on the border, which was the worst since 2014.
The Iron Dome defense system intercepted 250 projectiles, and an unspecified, low number of rockets hit urban areas.
Meanwhile, Israel’s population grew 2% in 2018, the Central Bureau of Statistics reports.
On December 31, 2018, the population of Israel was estimated at 8.972 million according to CBS. Of this number, 6.668 million are Jews (74.3%), 1.878 million are Arabs (20.9%) and 426,000 are classified as “others” (4.8%).
Also, 40,000 new immigrants arrived in Israel during 2018.
PA Sentences US Citizen To Life In Prison For Selling Land To Jews
“The Ramallah Grand Criminal Court sentenced a Palestinian identified only by his initials I.A. to life in prison with hard labor after it found him guilty of selling Palestinian land to a foreign country,” Palestinian news agency Wafa reported on Monday (12/31).
The unidentified Palestinian is, in fact, Issam Akel, an Arab who holds American citizenship and an Israeli identification card. He had been kidnapped by the Palestinian Authority after being charged with helping sell an Arab-owned house to Jews.
He was brought before the court on December 23, according to the Wafa report, and sentenced for “selling property in occupied Jerusalem to Jewish settlers.”
On November 28, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman demanded that the Palestinian Authority release Akel.
The sale of land to Jews in Palestinian society is considered a religious offense as well as treason and can be punishable by death.
The PA’s crackdown on Arabs selling land to Jews has reached the point that the Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi of Jerusalem Aryeh Stern, issued an unprecedented halachic (Jewish legal) ruling declaring that Israel has an obligation to help free Palestinians imprisoned on such charges.
IDF Chief Of Staff Bids Farewell At Emotional Knesset Meeting
Gadi Eizenkot bid farewell at his final meeting as IDF chief of staff with the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Tuesday (1st). “I found here a professional, practical, critical but very fair committee. I saw the role as a great privilege to command and influence the army,” he said.
Eizenkot will hand over command of the Israeli army in exactly two weeks to his successor, Aviv Kochavi. “I am doing so with great confidence in his ability to continue advancing the IDF,” Eizenkot said. “The same openness and attention that I have found here, I hope he will as well, with a sense of partnership for the security of the state.”
Prime MInister Benjamin Netanyahu had earlier granted Eizenkot’s request to extend his tenure for an additional two weeks in order to give Kochavi some on-the-job-training.
At the farewell meeting, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein praised Eizenkot for handling a difficult security situation during his tenure. “Over the past four years we have dealt with a complex security situation in the south and north, a campaign between wars in every sense of the word,” Edelstein said.
“On the public front, unfortunately, you have had to deal with all kinds of statements. With great sorrow, some of them have come out of this house and its surroundings,” Edelstein said. “You have never betrayed your values, and your way of dealing with them has always been a moral one.”
Iran’s Khamenei: Palestinians Will Soon Establish Government In Tel Aviv
Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei predicted on Monday (12/31) that the Palestinians would soon be able to “establish a government in Tel Aviv.”
Hosting the head of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Tehran, the Iranian supreme leader also hailed the Palestinian “resistance” against Israel, arguing that the most recent exchange of violence between Israel and terrorist groups in Gaza, which ended with a ceasefire, heralded Israel’s imminent demise.
“Palestine will strongly persist, and by the grace of God, the Palestinian nation’s ultimate victory will come true in the near future,” the ayatollah told Ziad al-Nakhala, who became PIJ’s leader in late September.
“As for recent years, the victory of the Palestinian people has not meant being able to establish a government in Tel Aviv – of course that will come true by God’s help,” Khamenei added.
“However the main victory has been the fact that the Zionist regime – which Arab armies failed to defeat – was brought to its knees by the Palestinian people and the resistance, and by God’s will, you will achieve greater victories.”
Khamenei chose to refer to Tel Aviv, when the seat of Israel’s government is Jerusalem. Many in the international community refuse to recognize the city as Israel’s capital, but expect it to become the shared capital of Israel and a future Palestinian state.
The Palestinian Authority has never expressed interest in establishing a government in Tel Aviv, which it acknowledges will remain part of the State of Israel. However, Iran and radical Palestinian groups, including PIJ and Hamas, refuse to recognize Israel in any borders, vowing to “liberate” all of historical Palestine.
“During the last two wars against the resistance groups, the Zionist regime begged for ceasefire after 22 days in one case and after 6 days in another. In the most recent conflict, the Zionist regime asked for ceasefire after only 48 hours,” Khamenei continued. “This means the Zionist regime has been brought to its knees.”
(timesofisrael.com; afp.com; jpost.com)