January 30, 2019

Russian-Iranian Tension Offers Unique Opening For Israel

Russia recently denied that Iran is an ally.  In addition, the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov stated that Israel’s security is one of Moscow’s “top priorities” in the Middle East.  This as Iran directs unprecedented criticism towards Russia for not activating the Russian S-300 anti-missile system against the Israel Air Force.

What does the growing tension between Iran and Russia in Syria mean for Israel?

Simply put, Russia seeks stability in Syria in order to properly defend its strategic military bases.  By contrast, Iran seeks to build a Shiite military imperial corridor between Tehran and Beirut at the Mediterranean.  Since this constitutes a direct military threat against the Jewish state, Israel has increasingly sent its air force to hit Iranian and Hizbullah military targets in Syria.  As a result, Syria’s stability is in jeopardy, which greatly displeases Russia.

Following Israel’s large recent strike on Iranian military targets in Syria, Tehran publicly vented its growing frustration with Moscow.  The chairman of the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, did not mince words in his criticism of Russia: “If the Russian air defense worked properly Israel would not be able to easily launch strikes over Syria.”

The senior Iranian lawmaker even insinuated that there is tacit cooperation between Russia and Israel: “There seems to be some form of cooperation between the Zionist regime’s strikes and Russia’s air defense system in Syria.”

Israel does not feel threatened by a Russian presence in Syria.  For its part, Moscow increasingly sees Tehran as a troublemaker in the region that undermines Russian interests by picking a fight with Israel.

This presents Israel with a unique opportunity to increase the convergence of Russian and Israeli interests in Syria.

(israelhayom.com; worldisraelnews.com)


Knesset Cancels Delegation To Ireland Over Anti-Settlement Boycott Bill

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein canceled a Knesset delegation trip to Dublin on Monday (28th), in light of an Irish bill criminalizing business with Israelis over the Green Line.

“It’s not surprising that Ireland is once again looking to hurt and boycott Israel,” Edelstein said.  “The law to boycott Judea and Samaria has serious repercussions for relations between the countries. Therefore, I instructed to cancel the MK delegation to Ireland that was meant to take place in March.”

Edelstein said many countries seek to visit the Knesset and invite Israeli lawmakers to their legislatures.

“We are happy to take the time to go to a country that wants to cooperate with all of Israel and not just parts of it, instead of wasting our time in a country that obsessively looks for ways to hurt us,” he stated.

If the Irish bill becomes law, merchants in Ireland could be fined for selling products from the West Bank, Golan Heights or east Jerusalem up to 250,000 euros, or sentenced up to five years in jail.

Edelstein’s decision came after the Foreign Ministry rebuked Irish Ambassador to Israel Alison Kelly over the bill’s advancement in Ireland’s lower house of parliament last week.  The ministry called the legislation “hypocritical and anti-Semitic,” calling on Ireland’s minority government, which said it must follow EU trade policies, as a member of its single market.

It is not clear what retaliatory action Israel would take if the bill passes, but one idea that has been discussed in the past is closing the embassy in Dublin and using that money to open an embassy in a country more favorably inclined toward Israel.



Fatah Calls For New Palestinian Unity Government, Leaving Hamas Out In The Cold

The Fatah Central Committee called Sunday (27th) for the Palestinian Authority (PA) to replace the current Palestinian Unity Government with a new executive body that will pointedly not include Hamas.

PA Leader Mahmoud Abbas, who is also the chairman of Fatah, has been facing pressure from his party to carry out the move.

Hamas slammed the decision, calling it the “grave” of the Palestinian reconciliation, a spokesperson said in an interview on Gaza’s Al-Aqsa TV.

Palestinian officials offered two reasons for forming a government solely out of Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) factions, to which Hamas does not belong.

One is that the current body was a national unity government created as a result of the Hamas-Fatah reconciliation agreement, brokered by Egypt in 2014, but Hamas has not upheld its part of the agreement.

The other motivation is that Fatah leaders want to replace Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah.  Though a member of Fatah, Hamdallah has no source of power within the faction. Before becoming prime minister, Hamdallah was president of An-Najah University in Nablus.

Hamdallah, who offered to resign, could be replaced with PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat.

(aqsatv.ps; timesofisrael.com)


‘Remember Those Who Saved Jews’

The White House released the following statement on International Holocaust Remembrance Day – 1/27/19:

On April 27, 1945, a young soldier of the 12th Armored Division of the United State Army wrote these astonishing words to his wife in the United States: “Although I may never talk about what I have witnessed today, I will never forget what I have seen.”  Aaron A. Eiferman’s division was moving to a new position near Dachau when they “came across a prison camp.” His historic account, like all subsequent descriptions, lacked the words to adequately convey the horror and the suffering that occurred at Dachau and in the other concentration and death camps of the Holocaust.

The Third Reich, and its collaborators, pursued the complete elimination of the entire Jewish people.  Six million Jews were systematically slaughtered in horrific ways. The Nazis also enslaved and murdered Slavs, Roma, gays, people with disabilities, religious leaders, and others who courageously opposed their cruel regime.  The brutality of the Holocaust was a crime against men, women and children. It was a crime against humanity. It was a crime against God.

On International Holocaust remembrance Day, we hold in our hearts the memory of every man, woman and child who was abused, tortured, or murdered during the Holocaust.  To remember these men and women – those who perished and those who survived – is to strive to prevent such suffering from happening again. Any denial or indifference to the horror of this chapter in the history of humankind diminishes all men and women everywhere and invites repetition of this great evil.  We remain committed to the post-Holocaust imperative, “Never Again.” “Never again” means not only remembering – in a profound and lasting way – the evils of the Holocaust, but it also means remembering the individual men and women in this Nation, and throughout the world, who have devoted their lives to the preservation and security of the Jewish people and to the betterment of all mankind.



2018 Sees Spike In Anti-Semitic Attacks

Thirteen Jews were murdered in anti-Semitic attacks in 2018, the most since the Jewish community center bombing in Buenos Aires in 1994, the Diaspora Affairs Ministry said in a report Sunday (27th).

The report also cited record-levels of anti-Semitism on the streets and online, which saw a significant uptick after the US Embassy was moved to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, and the Hamas-orchestrated March of Return protests along the Israel-Gaza border.

Iran was still the world’s worst offender in terms of anti-Semitic expressions and is the main perpetrator of spreading incitement and Holocaust denial.

Europe and the United States also saw an increase in the hatred of Jews, and unlike previous years, anti-Semitic violence was mostly perpetrated by neo-Nazis and white supremacists.

In Western Europe, right-wing parties continued to amass public support amid the immigration and refugee crisis.  In these countries, the report said, “anti-Semitism went up a level and became more prevalent and trivial.”

In France, a two-year trend of decreasing anti-Semitic incidents saw a disconcerting reversal, with a 69% increase in the number of incidents.  Germany also recorded an increase of anti-Semitic incidents, as did Great Britain. In the United States, as well, there has been more anti-Semitism.  In January 2018, Jewish university student Blaze Bernstein was murdered, followed by a consistent rise in anti-semitic attacks, including hate crimes on college campuses, and culminating in the horrific Tree of Life synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh.

Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett presented the report at the Israeli weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday (27th).

“It is Israel’s responsibility to help our millions of brothers and sisters in the Diaspora against the rise of anti-semitic crimes,” he said.  “2018 was a record year for anti-Semitism in the streets, online and in the political arena across the globe.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told CNN on Sunday (27th) that there was a “new anti-Semitism in Europe, which comes from the extreme left and pockets of Islam on the continent.”  According to the prime minister, these groups “disseminate lies and slander about Israel.”

“The idea that Jews don’t have a right to their own country is the most fundamental form of anti-Semitism,” Netanyahu said.

(israelhayom.com; ap.com)