News Digest — 10/29/19

Netanyahu: Iran’s Precision Missiles In Yemen meant To Attack Israel

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Monday (28th) that Iran is deploying precision missiles in Yemen in order to attack Israel.

In his meeting with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Netanyahu said Iran hopes to be able to use such missiles capability, targeting anywhere in the Mideast.

Netanyahu noted these efforts by Iran have been ongoing but the introduction of missiles to Yemen is for the purpose of targeting Israel.

According to the prime minister, Iran intends to deploy precision missiles in Syria and Iraq as well as upgrading the 130,000 missile arsenal in Lebanon.

Ynet security analyst Ron Ben Yishai said that Iranian missiles fired inside Iran are also capable of hitting targets in Israel but the deployment of such weapons around the Middle East including now Yemen, requires a more extensive use of missile detection technology on the part of Israel including on its south.

“We regard Iran as the biggest threat to peace, stability and security,” said Yishai. 

“Iran has attacked Saudi Arabia, disrupted international maritime routes, and over the past decade, has attacked and killed Americans in Afghanistan and elsewhere.”

Steve Mnuchin told Netanyahu that the administration plans to continue to ramp up efforts to curtail Iran’s aggressive ambitions.

At the meeting, Netanyahu told Mnuchin relations between Israel and the U.S. has never been stronger.

Also in attendance with Mnuchin and Netanyahu were, U.S. Special Representative for Iran, Brian Hook, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman Berkowitz, National Security Council Director Meir Ben-Shabbat, and Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer.



Turkey Is “A Regional Hub For Terrorism,” Israeli Envoy Tells UNSC

Turkey is a “regional hub for terrorists,” Israel’s envoy told the United Nations Security Council on Monday (28th), as he exchanged barbs with Ankara’s envoy, Feridun Sinirlioglu.

“For years now Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been destabilizing the region through violence and supporting terror organizations,” Israel Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon told the 15-member UNSC in New York.

Sinirlioglu in turn charged that Israel’s government had been “hijacked by a terrorist state of mind.”

Danon who initially took the floor stated that, “Erdogan is dragging Turkey down a dangerous, neo-Ottoman, imperialist path,” and added “Erdogan has turned Turkey into a regional hub for terrorism.”

The Israeli envoy condemned Turkey’s military incursion into northeast Syria and its attacks on the Kurds and charged that Turkey’s actions have strengthened ISIS.

“It was not enough for Erdogan to persecute the Kurdish citizens of his own country.  He now sends his troops to massacre Kurdish people in Syria as well. He is responsible for the deaths of many innocent people, and for the displacement of tens of thousands,” Danon said.

“While he was busy murdering those who have helped keep the world safe from the threat of ISIS, he allowed ISIS members to break out of prison and subject the world to future attacks.  This, too, should come as no surprise, as Erdogan has a long history of supporting terror,” Danon said.

Similarly, he said, Erdogan has provided political and financial support for the terrorist organization Hamas.

“He has turned Turkey into a safe haven for Hamas terrorists and a financial center for funneling money to subsidize terror attacks,” Danon added.  He spoke also of the Iranian roles in advancing and promoting terror, including its support for Hezbollah.

The Israeli envoy called on the UNSC to publicly label terror organizations and halt funding to them.  Host countries must oust terror groups and if all else fails, military action must be taken against them, Danon said.



Likud MK Causes Storm: Young People Will Leave Israel If Netanyahu Doesn’t Lead It

Mai Golan, a former Knesset member in the last parliament, caused a social media storm when she posted a video saying that young people will abandon Israel if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu doesn’t continue to lead it.

The video was shot on a cellphone during the prime minister’s 70th birthday.  Golan stood beside Netanyahu, who sat at his desk with a paper plate and some food, and told him that the young people she represents tell her they will leave Israel if Netanyahu doesn’t stand at the head of the government. 

“I wanted to tell you, as someone who represents the young and goes around a lot in Israel and in the world meeting many young Jews, and given the present situation, I wanted very much to tell you now: Young people say to me that they don’t see their future in this state and they don’t see a future for their children in this state if you don’t continue to lead the country,” she said.

“I say this in the name of all the young that I represent that love and admire you.  You don’t have any idea how many we’re talking about around the world. We hope with God’s help that you’ll continue to lead and that this birthday will be a blessing not only for you but for the whole nation of Israel and the young,” she added.

Yediot Ahronot said the prime minister looked embarrassed but shook Golan’s hand, and thanked her.

Yediot reported that Golan’s video led to criticism from some quarters, but Golan brushed off the negative comments.

“Not Twitter, not Facebook, nor any kind of ‘talkback’ – only the citizens of the State of Israel that stop me on every street corner and thank me with tears, those are the ones that matter to me.  I’m proud of every single word that I said to Prime Minister Netanyahu,” Golan added.



Jewish Unity Required To Combat Anti-Semitism – Isaac Herzog

→ A neo-Nazi gunman’s attack in Halle, Germany, on Yom Kippur, the Jewish people’s holiest day, made the mounting security threat we face that much clearer.  For American Jews , the wake-up call came exactly one year ago in Pittsburgh, when the worst anti-Semitic attack in U.S. history struck the Tree of Life building housing three synagogues.  Six months later, another synagogue attack occurred in Poway, California, on the final day of Passover.

→ The physical attacks are unmistakable signs of a long-brewing worldwide epidemic of anti-Semitism.  Each day brings another harrowing headline. From cyber abuse to street insults, from vandalism of synagogues and cemeteries, to intimidation and threats in public, Jews around the world are living in a constant state of fear due  to the simple fact that they are Jews.

→ Anti-Semites do not discriminate when it comes to their victims.  Those looking to harm us could care less whether we wear a Kippah or to which synagogue we belong, if at all.  In the face of this shared threat, the Jewish people must stand united in purpose and action.

→ Protecting Jewish life from hatred and bigotry is a central component of the Jewish Agency’s DNA.  We are combating this surge in anti-Semitism by working closely with leaders across the globe to coordinate combating hate crimes against Jews, investing in education for tolerance and understanding, and increasing security for Jewish communities in need.

→ Ultimately, counteracting this scourge of hate goes far beyond bolstered security.  It starts within our own hearts and minds, through an uncompromised commitment to Jewish unity.

The writer is executive chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel, served in the Knesset between 2003 and 2018 and held several ministerial posts.



Winter Time Blows In, Turning Clocks Back An Hour

Israel’s winter officially began early Sunday (27th) as clocks turned back one hour, marking the end of daylight saving time.  Daylight saving time will return officially on March 27, 2020.

The time change in Israel coincides with the EU and the Palestinian Authority, but not the U.S. which will gain an hour on November 3.

In 2013, the Knesset passed legislation extending daylight saving time from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October.

Before that, standard time would begin the Saturday night before Yom Kippur, so that the 25-hour fast, which begins at nightfall, would begin and end an hour earlier.

Because the Hebrew calendar is lunar, Yom Kippur can fall between mid-September and mid-October, which used to mean that Israelis returned to standard time as much as a month and a half before most other countries.

As a result, the issue of the seasonal time transition became contentious, and was caught up in political tensions between religious and secular political parties before the 2013 change was implemented.