January 4, 2019

‘Netanyahu Got Almost Everything He Wanted From Trump Administration’

“Israel got almost everything it asked for” when US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo granted “seven out of eight” requests made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during their meeting in Brasilia on Tuesday (1st), according to a senior source in Jerusalem.

The prime minister told the press ahead of the meeting – held in Brazil’s capital after the inauguration of the country’s new president Jair Bolsonaro – the main topics of discussion would be concerning the withdrawal of US troops from Syria and Iranian attempts to establish a military presence in the war-torn country.

The source added that Netanyahu came out of the meeting with Pompeo feeling that Israel has the ability to influence certain aspects of US policy, and the two countries are now working on plans to make the American troop pull-out as non-disruptive for Israel security as possible.

The only issue which the secretary of state did not sign off on is the sale of Israel’s F-16 fighter jets to Croatia which irritated the Trump administration due to Israel’s decision to add its own native technology to the aging aircraft.

Netanyahu also met with Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez in Brazil, who according to the source promised to follow in Donald Trump’s footsteps and relocate the country’s Israel embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in the coming months.  The Central American state is reportedly looking for ways to better its relations with the Trump administration, and sees improving diplomatic ties with Israel as a step in achieving that goal.

“Israel wants to help South American countries solve some of their financial and security problems,” the source said.

(ynetnews.com; israelhayom.com)


Israel’s Public Security Minister Gets Tough With “Terrorist Prisoners”

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan says the number of jail cells holding security prisoners (terrorists) will be consolidated.

Speaking at a news conference on Wednesday (3rd), he was reacting to the conclusions of a public committee to reduce the number of cells in jail wings where security prisoners are held.

Erdan had announced the establishment of the committee in June, stating that the objective was to recommend ways to impose stricter incarceration conditions on security prisoners, leaving them with the minimum required by law.

The minister indicated that he will be adopting moves to restrict the ability of security prisoners to establish social settings, live with any sign of luxury or, most important, maintain terror ties.

“I have decided that the Prisons Service will stop holding the prisoners in the wings according to terror organizational affiliation,” said Erdan.

“No more cooking,” the minister added.  “Every so often, infuriating pictures appear of cooking in the terrorist wings.  This celebration is coming to an end,” he told the news conference, adding: “The way I see it, the Prisons Service should be the ones providing the food to the prisoners and in a manner which suits the minimal dietary requirements under law.”

Erdan said that in the current situation,” despicable security prisoners have access, to a certain degree, to better food than regular criminals in Israeli jails “who we believe we can rehabilitate and return to Israeli society, as opposed to the terrorists.”

Erdan also accused security prisoners of purposely using excessively large amounts of water, “five times the amount of the average Israeli citizen,” in order to cause harm to the country amid the water shortage.

He vowed that water usage would be restricted, the hours of usage would be limited and, ultimately, the showers would be moved out of the prison wings in order to better supervise and limit water usage.



Islamic Jihad Tells Iran: ‘We Will Create Second Front In Any Israel-Lebanon War’

The Iranian-backed Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad has committed to spark an escalation on the southern front if Israel enters a military conflict with Lebanon’s Hizbullah on the north, said the Palestinian group’s leader Ziad Nakhala, in an interview with the state-owned Iranian channel Al Alam.

Islamic Jihad is the second largest military organization in Gaza.  Although the group normally works in coordination with Hamas, it has recently subjugated itself almost completely to Iran, despite being a Sunni organization, and was the one that initiated a round of fighting on the southern border last October.

“In the next confrontation with the occupation, the axis of resistance will operate from the north in Lebanon to the south in Gaza,” said Nakhala.

The interview was conducted Saturday (12/29) following a series of meetings between Nakhala and the Islamic Republic’s top officials, including Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.  Nakhala arrived in Tehran accompanied by the terror group’s two senior officials, Khaled Al-Batsh and Mohammed al-Hindi.



The “Princes” Of Iran Speak Out As Regime Fears Collapse – Iran Desk

→Hassan Khomeini, grandson of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the architect of the Islamic revolution in Iran, has warned that the political system used in Iran is about to collapse.  Khomeini’s words joined other statements heard among the religious establishment, according to which there has been considerable erosion of legitimacy of the Islamic regime as it approaches its fortieth year.

→Hassan Khomeini stated that there is no guarantee that the Islamic regime will continue to exist if it does not take into account several basic problems that require urgent attention.  Khomeini specifically pointed to the issues of tolerance, meritocracy, easing repression, and hypocrisy as matters that the regime must take care of and repair its ways before it is too late.

→He added, “Anyone who does not adhere to human rights has no guarantee that he can remain in government, and in the end he will lose the confidence of the people.”  Some of Iran’s newspapers published his statements under prominent headlines such as, “No Guarantee We Will Remain.”

→Several days earlier, Faezeh Hashemi, a former member of parliament and daughter of former President Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, told Mostaghel that the ideology of the Islamic Republic has totally collapsed.  Even though the regime is still strong, the only reason it remains in power is the lack of a suitable alternative that could gain the support of the nation.

→“Wherever we look, there is a definite lack of efficiency and a lack of leadership and logic.  Everything is neglected, and no attempt has been made to find a solution to the problems. Worst of all – the situation is only getting worse and there is no sign of any improvement.”

→The severity of the criticism of the regime and the Islamic system of government is unusual, and it is increasing as the economic crisis in Iran deepens.  The criticism from the grandson of Ayatollah Khomeini and the daughter of Rafsanjani indicates that some of the impediments that existed in the past to anything related to criticism of the Islamic system of government have been removed.



Israel Saw A Record-Breaking 4 Million Tourists In 2018, Says Tourism Ministry

Israel welcomed some 4,000,000 tourists over the course of 2018, breaking a new record, the Tourism Ministry reported this week.

This year saw an increase in tourist arrivals of 13% compared to 2017, and 38% compared to 2016, while tourism revenue exceeded $6.3 billion, according to the ministry.

The ministry said the increase is due in part to a $93 million marketing campaign in many countries promoting Israel as a travel destination around the world, including the US, Germany, Russia, Italy, England, China, Ukraine, Brazil and the Philippines.

“This historical record, of more than 4 million tourists in a year, is the realization of a decades-old dream of all those involved in the Israel tourism industry,” said Tourism Minister Yariv Levin in a statement.

The ministry said that 40% of tourists who arrived in Israel this year were returning visitors, “proof that Israel is a desirable destination in the world.”

Some 61% of all tourists in Israel this year were Christian, 22% were Jews, 12.1% were not affiliated, 1.8% were Muslim, 0.6% were Buddhists, 0.5% were Hindus, and 0.1% were Bahais, the ministry indicated.

Earlier in December, UK-based market research firm EuroMonitor named Jerusalem as the fastest growing tourism destination in the world – more than any other city globally.