News Digest — 6/11/19

Netanyahu: Iran’s Zarif Lying, Tehran Is The One Threatening Destruction

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fired back at Iran on Monday (10th) after its foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif claimed the Israeli leader had threatened to destroy his country and warned that the Islamic Republic would respond to such threats.

“Zarif is once again lying,” Netanyahu said in a statement.  “Iran is the one openly threatening destruction. The regime officials threaten Israel’s destruction on a daily basis.”

He said Iran was “attempting to establish itself militarily in Syria, and just today it was publicized that it is accelerating its nuclear program.”

“I’ll say it again: We won’t allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons that will endanger us and the entire world,” he said.

At a press conference in Tehran alongside visiting German minister Heiko Mass, Zarif had said “Netanyahu stands next to the Dimona [reactor], a nuclear weapons site, and says Iran should be destroyed…Of course, no one can act against our people without receiving a decisive response.”

Israel has long maintained an official position of ambiguity with regards to its nuclear capabilities.

According to Iran’s Tasnim News Agency,  which provided an English translation of his remarks, Zarif was referring to comments Netanyahu made in August 2018 during a visit to Israel’s secret nuclear site in Dimona.

At the time, Netanyahu warned that those who seek to destroy Israel put themselves in danger of suffering the same fate instead.

The Iranian regime routinely threatens and anticipates the destruction of Israel, and funds and arms anti-Israel terrorist groups in Gaza, the West Bank, and Lebanon.  Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, frequently refers to Israel as a cancer that must be eradicated, and has set out detailed plans for its elimination.

Israel has repeatedly warned that Iran is seeking a nuclear arsenal to destroy it, and Netanyahu has vowed that he will never allow that to happen.  



Weekly Gaza Protests To Focus On US Ambassador Friedman

After a one-week respite, sources in Gaza announced that the weekly Friday protests at the border will be renewed this Friday (14th) and will focus on protesting a statement made by US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman that Israel has a right to annex sections of the West Bank.

Those behind the weekly border protests announced that the slogan for this week’s protests will be “No annexing the West Bank, Friedman shut up.”  Last Friday, (7th) when Muslims celebrated Eid al-Fitr marking the end of Ramadan, there were no protests at the border.

Meanwhile, the balloon terror continues.  On Monday (19th), JNF officials and park rangers said that there were several fires assumed to be the result of incendiary balloons launched from Gaza in the Kissufim, Magen and Simchoni woodlands, as well as a wheat field near Kibbutz Kfar Azza, where more than 100 dunams of wheat were destroyed.

In an interview with Ynet News on Monday (10th), senior Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi said that the PA might submit a complaint to the UN regarding ambassador Friedman’s statements.

Regarding the upcoming economic conference in Bahrain, Ashrawi said that it is a method to avoid the real issues, to buy time, to strengthen Israel in the region and justify the occupation.



Japanese PM To Meet Iran’s Khamenei, Rouhani

Japanese Prime Minister Ahinzo Abe is set to meet with Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani this week, in a visit aimed at easing regional tensions.

Abe’s trip, scheduled to take place Wednesday (12th) to Friday (14th), is the first by an incumbent Japanese premier to Iran in 41 years, although Tokyo and Tehran have friendly ties and are set to mark the 90th anniversary of diplomatic relations this year.

“Amid rising tensions in the Middle East, we plan to encourage Iran, a regional power, to move toward easing tensions at the top leaders’ meetings,” said Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, who announced the trip on Tuesday (11th).

Abe had spoken to US President Donald Trump by telephone to discuss Iran, Suga told a news conference.

On a four-day visit to Japan last month, Trump welcomed Abe’s help in dealing with Iran after public broadcaster NHK said Japan’s leader was considering a trip to Tehran.

Abe is in a unique position, thanks to his close ties to Trump, cultivated since the US leader took office, and Tokyo’s friendly relations with Iran, diplomatic experts said.

“Abe is trying to play the role of messenger and ease the tensions,” said Toshihiro Nakayama, a Japanese Fellow at the Wilson Center in Washington.  “It’s a bold move. I think it comes from the confidence of his personal relations with Trump.”

Japan is keen for stability in the Middle East because it imports the bulk of its oil from the region, although it stopped buying Iranian oil this year because of US sanctions.

The most Abe can probably achieve is to persuade Iran and the United States to resume direct talks, experts said, adding that both sides may be seeking a way to avoid confrontation while still saving face.

While Trump has urged Iran’s leaders to talk with him about giving up their nuclear program, he has also made clear he could not rule out a military confrontation with the Islamic Republic.



Rabbi Attacked In Northeast Argentina

A rabbi in Rosario, the third most populous city in Argentina, was verbally and physically attacked by violence that has been characterized as anti-Semitic.

Rabbi Shlomo Tawil, of the local Chabad-Lubavitch organization, was attacked Sunday night (9th) by three men in the city center of Rosario, located in the northeast of the country.  The men shouted anti-Semitic epithets before removing the rabbi’s hat and trampling it on the ground, and then beating the rabbi, who was walking alone.

The attack which was stopped by the intervention of passersby, has been characterized as anti-Semitic, since the attackers meant specifically to hurt the rabbi and did not steal from him.

The local representative of the DAIA Jewish political umbrella in Argentina, Gabriel Dobkin told local media Monday (10th) that the organization would file a complaint with the police.  He said the violence against the rabbi was “a fierce and cowardly anti-Semitic attack.”

The DAIA and the Jewish community of Rosario said in a joint statement, “We hope that these violent people will definitely be eradicated from the Argentine society that has chosen the path of coexistence, peace and justice.”

Meanwhile the rabbi is recovering at home surrounded by family.  Originally from Buenos Aires, he has served as the Chabad emissary in Rosario since 1987, and is married with eight children and two grandchildren.

The attack on Tawil is the third physical anti-semitic attack in the region over the last two months.  The other two took place in Buenos Aires in April and May.



The ‘Iron Dome’ For Mosquitoes

Israeli technology start-up company, Bzigo has developed a machine that scans a room for mosquitoes and once it detects that one has landed, the device points a laser beam at it, while sending a message to a phone app, allowing the recipient to easily locate the pest and kill it.

The device was developed over three years and looks like a box the size of a compact smartphone that can be connected to the wall or stand-alone on a flat surface.  Although the current model only helps locate the mosquito, according to Bzigo CEO Nadav Benedek, work is being done on a future model that will be able to eliminate the mosquito on its own.

“In reality, killing a mosquito is the easy part – the real challenge is in detecting them.  Mosquitoes are adept at avoiding human vision, attacking us when we don’t notice them. But once you know a mosquito is in the room and know where it landed, killing it is simple,” the company’s website explains.

The technology is based on an algorithm that can detect the movements of a mosquito with a wide-angle high-resolution camera that constantly photographs the walls and ceiling of a room to locate the pest, before sending a Wi-Fi to the homeowner’s smartphone.  The device also works while not connected to the Internet.

The product is the brainchild of Saar Wilf, 45, and Nadav Benedek, 38 former engineers who were persistent in trying to find a technological solution to this world-wide annoying problem.

Benedek described how growing up in central Israel, his home was surrounded by mosquito netting.  He said he remembers his father checking his room for mosquitoes every night before bedtime.

Bzigo is safe to use near children, food and in hospitals.  Although the initial model is made for home use, the company plans to produce a model suitable for industrial use that can be used on farms and in hothouses.

The device will be available on the market in 2021, and will cost approximately $170