News Digest — 1/14/22

Israel Is Warned To ‘Batten Down’ Hatches As Winter Storm Hits Country

According to the Israel Meteorological Service forecast, a winter storm that began Thursday afternoon (13th) will continue to batter Israel over the weekend and will peak on Monday (17th).

The storm is bringing with it significant rainfall and deluges which could cause floods including in urban areas along the coast.

As such, the Israeli Police said that it is preparing to provide emergency services to travelers on the country’s roads, in order to preserve the lives and safety of all citizens.

Rescue and aerial units of the police will be activated in the various hotspots on an as-needed basis, the police said.

People were advised to forgo unnecessary travel or hikes to streams and areas that may flood.

There have been some tragedies in Israel over the years, caused by floods, and events where people were killed while hiking in the low areas near the Dead Sea or to the south of the Judean Hills during such a storm.  While it was dry where they were, a deluge of water caused by heavy rains higher up, came down like flash floods and swept over them.

The police also advised the public not to park cars underground.  People were caught in underground areas in the past during storms and were unable to get out.  There is also a chance of electrocution from exposed power lines when caught in a flooded basement or any underground area.

Israelis have also been warned not to swim in the ocean or engage in any water activities until the storm passes.  Strong and high waves are expected that could also be a threat to anyone standing outside near the beach.

Strong winds can also lead to the collapse of trees, pillars, and so on, as well as various objects flying around that could cause harm.

Police are stressing that any hazard must be reported to the authorities as soon as possible.  People are also asked to tie down or bring indoors any objects on balconies or in gardens that could be blown away by the storm and cause injuries to passers-by.



Bennett Discusses Iran Nuclear Talks With Putin

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett spoke by phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin and discussed the ongoing talks between Iran and world powers on reviving the nuclear deal, his office said on Thursday (13th).

According to a statement, the Israeli premier stressed the importance of presenting a “strong and determined stance” against the progress of Tehran’s nuclear program.

The nuclear pact, dubbed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was agreed upon in 2015 between Tehran and world powers.  Then-US president Donald Trump withdrew from the deal in 2018 and imposed stringent US sanctions on Iran, telling the Islamic Republic he wanted a new broader deal on nuclear and other issues. 

The two also discussed a variety of different issues, particularly regional security, and agreed to continue bilateral cooperation in the region.  The phone call follows the two leaders’ reported amicable meeting in Sochi last October, during which Bennett invited Putin to visit Jerusalem, to which, the Russian leader reciprocated by inviting the premier and his wife to visit St. Petersburg.

Earlier this week, Bennett told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that Israel does not consider itself bound by any agreement between Tehran and world powers  and reserves “unrestricted freedom” to act against its nuclear program.

“Regarding the nuclear talks in Vienna, we are certainly concerned.  It is important for me to say here clearly and unequivocally: Israel is not a party to the agreements,” Bennett said.

“Israel will maintain unlimited and unrestricted freedom of action, everywhere and at all times.”



Arabs Voice Growing Concern Over Iran’s Malicious Intentions – Khaled Abu Toameh

Syrian-born TV host Faisal Al-Kasim recently asked his 5.9 million followers on Twitter: “Which is better, Israel’s reputation or Iran’s reputation in the region?”  75% viewed Israel as having a better reputation as opposed to 25% in favor of Iran.

The next day, Al-Kasim, who hosts a popular debate show on Al-Jazeera, asked his followers: “Do you support the Israeli bombing of Iran and its militias in Syria?”  78% said they supported the Israeli military strikes, while only 22% voiced opposition.  His findings did not come as a surprise to many Arabs, especially those living in the Gulf states, who express deep concern over Iran’s ongoing meddling in their internal affairs.

Many Arabs are worried about the Europeans’ and Biden administration’s perceived appeasement of the mullahs in Tehran.  On Dec. 23, the Saudi newspaper Al-Yaum questioned “the seriousness of American efforts to save the world from Iranian threats.”  On Jan. 6, Saudi political analyst Abdel Aziz Khamis noted that Iran has boasted that it occupies four Arab capitals: Baghdad, Beirut, Sana’a and Damascus – and that he does not understand the silence and indifference of the international community.

Former Jordanian Minister of Information Saleh Al-Qallab warned on Jan. 6: “What Iran is doing is tantamount to an open war against the Arabs.”  Former Kuwaiti Minister of Information and Culture Saad Bin Tefla Al-Ajami said on Dec. 31 that “Iran is interfering in the region with the aim of dominating it,” and expressed disappointment over the failure of the international community to “deter the Iranian intrusion.”



Why People Love Accusing Jews Of Genocide – Yair Rosenberg

Last week David Bateman, a prominent Utah entrepreneur and political donor, sent an email to his state business and political leaders.  The subject line?  “Genocide.”  The topic: Jews.  Referring to the Covid-19 pandemic and its vaccines, Bateman wrote, “I believe there is a sadistic effort underway to euthanize the American people….I believe the Jews are behind this.” 

The libel that Jews are committing genocide has exploded in popularity across anti-Jewish discourse.  It crosses ideological lines and is increasingly expressed in polite company.

People just love accusing Jews of genocide.  “The Jews will use the vaccine to change DNA, making the person susceptible to designer viruses the Jews will create,” said one poster on the neo-Nazi forum Stormfront in December 2020.  Ishmael Muhammad, a student minister in Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam, referenced the “Synagogue of Satan” (an anti-Semitic reference to Jews) for allegedly promoting vaccines to sterilize Black people, in a live sermon from the organization’s headquarters in Chicago.

False charges of Jewish genocide weaponize the greatest Jewish trauma (when two out of three European Jews were killed) against Jewish people.  There is no better way to hurt a people [the Jews] than to fashion their own most painful experience into a club with which to beat them.  Moreover, casting Jews as the  perpetrators of a new, fictitious Holocaust, frees non-Jews from the obligation to learn the lessons of the actual Holocaust.  Fundamentally, the impulse to hang the Holocaust on the Jews is an attempt to return humanity to where it was before the Holocaust – which enables such things to happen again.   



Islamic State Carries Out Over 2,700 Terrorist Attacks In 2021

The Islamic State (ISIS) terror organization conducted 2,705 attacks worldwide in 2021, roughly the same number it conducted in 2020 (2,781), according to a new report by an Israeli research center.

The Meir Amit Terrorism and Intelligence Information Center said that the role of ISIS in Afghanistan increased substantially in 2021 following America’s withdrawal last August.

The report noted that “no prominent attacks inspired by ISIS occurred in the West this year,” noting that the absence of major attacks has been taking place for a number of years.

Preventative actions exacted prices on ISIS in almost every one of its areas of activity, “particularly in the Sinai Peninsula,” noted the report.

It also noted a minor drop in the number of attacks in the past year, describing the overall numbers still high.

In 2021, 8,147 people were killed and wounded in ISIS attacks around the world, compared to 9,068 in 2020.

The highest number of incidents occurred in Afghanistan, Iraq and West Africa.