January 9, 2018

Security cabinet holds ‘extremely significant’ meetings about the northern border

Israel’s security cabinet has convened several times in recent days, holding ‘extremely significant’ meetings to discuss developments on the northern border and Iran’s presence in Syria.

According to a report by Channel 10, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has held telephone conversations with world leaders and warned them of the danger posed by Iran establishing itself in Lebanon and Syria through its proxies Hizbullah and other Shiite militias.

Israeli officials have repeatedly voiced concerns over the growing Iranian presence on its borders and the smuggling of sophisticated weapons to Hizbullah from Tehran to Lebanon via Syria, stressing that both are red- lines for the Jewish state.

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman in October stated that the next conflict in the north will not be confined to one front but will involve conflicts with both Syria and Lebanon.



Mike Pence’s Middle East visit rescheduled

Vice President Mike Pence will visit Israel later this month his office announced.

Pence will travel to the Middle East January 19-23, with stops in Egypt and Jordan to meet with other leaders.

In Israel on the last two days of the trip, the vice president is scheduled to meet jointly with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin.  He will also address the Knesset, visit the Western Wall and visit Yad Vashem.

He will not meet with Palestinian leaders.

(jta.org; reuters.com)


Bedouin-Israeli women, 19 charged with planning attack with ISIS

Two Bedouin citizens of Israel were arrested for allegedly planning to carry out an attack for the Islamic State terrorist group.

The 19-year-old residents of Lakiya in the Negev in southern Israel were indicted Monday (8th) in a Beersheba court on charges of being in contact with Islamic State terrorists.  The charges included planning a deadly terror attack and joining an illegal organization.

The teens were arrested Dec.18 before they could carry out a terror attack planned for New Years Eve.

(worldisraelnews.com; jpost.com)


Islamic State video shows execution of Hamas “collaborator” in Sinai

Islamic State in Sinai has released a video calling on its followers to attack Hamas and showing the execution of a man accused of collaborating with Hamas.  The video cited Hamas’ crackdown on jihadist groups in Gaza in its attempt to repair relations with Egypt.



Palestinian ambulance driver caught serving as terror courier

A Palestinian ambulance driver has been exposed as a messenger for terror elements within Gaza, the IDF said Sunday (7th).

Marwan Abu Rida, the driver for the Red Crescent, has been using his position to exploit patients seeking medical treatment in Israel for terrorist organizations, the IDF’s Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) charged.

According to COGAT, Abu Rida illegally transferred equipment and funds from the Gaza Srtrip to various terror groups in Judea and Samaria multiple times over the past year.

This was done while risking the lives of patients he was transferring from the Gaza Strip COGAT said.



German politician files criminal complaint against Iranian Ayatollah for mass murder

BERLIN – Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, considered to be successor to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, faces protests and possible criminal prosecutions in Germany for his widespread executions of Iranians, which took place when he was the country’s justice minister.

German Green Party politician Volker Beck filed a criminal complaint on Sunday (7th) against Shahroudi, who is residing in a neurological treatment center in Hanover, where 200 demonstrators showed up Saturday (6th) to protest his presence.  Beck said that Shahroudi’s mass murder activity could be prosecuted under German law covering crimes against humanity.

“I filed a criminal complaint,” Beck said.  “Germany should not be a sanctuary for such people, who in their own country persecute people for political or religious reasons and threaten them with death.”



Mosques in Iran are empty – Reuel Marc Gerecht

Is Islam in Iran losing its appeal as a unifying political force?  There is no great Iranian cleric, philosopher or writer who can attract large crowds with a brilliant defense of clerical rule.  But plenty of thinkers could fill a stadium with withering critiques of religious dictatorship – if they were permitted.  If all dissident political action in Iran can be labeled as moharebeh, or warning against God, then what room exists for healthy political debate?

The mullahs’ system is stuck: it can’t evolve into a real democracy, and it can’t resuscitate the religious militancy that once sustained the theocracy.  Iran’s seminaries have seen plummeting enrollments.  Mosques all over Iran are empty at prayer times.

In 2015, a revolutionary Guard commander, Ziaeddin Hozni, revealed that only about 3,000 of the country’s 57,000 Shiite mosques were fully operational.  And of the 3,000, some were functioning only during the religious months of Ramadan and Muharram.  The lack of attendance is striking in a state run by mullahs.



Jordan foiled Islamic State plot to ‘sow chaos’ in kingdom, state media says

Jordan’s security forces have foiled an Islamic State plot to carry out a series of coordinated and large-scale attacks aimed at sowing chaos in the Hashemite Kingdom, Jordan’s official news outlet Petra reported Monday (8th).

The kingdom’s security forces arrested 17 men suspected of being Islamic State members who were planning a number of “coordinated attacks with the aim of shaking the country’s security and sowing fear in its citizens,” the report said.  The arrests took place at the end of 2017.

(petra.gov.jo; timesofisrael.com)


Muslims to outnumber Jews in the U.S. by 2040, new research shows

Muslims are projected to outnumber Jews as the second-largest religious group in the U.S. by 2040, a recent Pew survey shows.

Pew Research Center estimates that there were about 3,45 million Muslims of all ages living in the U.S. in 2017, and that Muslims made up about 1.1 percent of the total U.S. population.

Pew projects that the Muslim population will grow faster than the country’s Jewish population, and by 2040, Muslims will replace Jews as the second-largest religious group in the U.S., after Christians.

By 2050, the U.S. Muslim population is projected to reach 8.1 million, nearly twice their size today.



Egypt announces March dates for presidential election

The chairman of Egypt’s election commission says the presidential election will be held March 26-28, with a runoff in April.

President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has yet to formally announce his bid for re-election, but is widely expected to run and win a second four-year term.