News Digest — 7/22/19

Netanyahu Becomes The Longest-Serving PM In Israel’s History

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has become Israel’s longest-serving prime minister.

Netanyahu, 69, on Saturday (20th) surpassed the number of days as prime minister held by David Ben-Gurion, the country’s first leader.

Ben-Gurion served in the office for 4,875 days, from the establishment of the state in May 1948 until early 1954, and again from November 1955 to June 1963.

On Saturday, Netanyahu served 4,876 days from 1996 to 1999, and from March 2009 to the present.  He faces a new election on September 17.

His election in 1996 made him the country’s youngest-ever prime minister.  Twelve Israelis have served as prime minister since the founding of the state.

He is the 16th longest-serving elected leader of a country since World War II, according to statistics from the Israel Democracy Institute.  Among those leaders are Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who as of July 20 served 5,972 days and counting; Germany’s Helmut Kohl at 5,870 days, and Canada’s Pierre Trudeau at 5,642 days.



Jewish Fast begins Mourning Period For Temple’s Destruction

Jews marked the Fast of the 17th of Tammuz on Sunday (21st), associated primarily with the period immediately before the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem, but commemorating other tragic moments in Jewish history as well.

During the month of Tammuz, the walls of the ancient city of Jerusalem were breached, leading to the destruction of the Temple a few weeks later in the year 586 BCE by Nebuchadnezzar and his Babylon forces, and again after the Temple was rebuilt, in 70 CE by the Romans.

In fact, the 17th of Tammuz is the beginning of a three-week mourning period, commemorating the final stages of those two assaults against the Jews leading to the destruction of their holiest shrines.

The period concludes with another fast on the ninth day of the month of AV, when the destruction itself is mourned.

According to the Mishnah, the first major work of rabbinic literature, the 17th of Tammuz also marks the shattering by Moses of the Tablets upon descending from Mount Sinai and seeing the Jews worshiping the Golden calf, as recorded in the Bible.  

The Temple Mount is Judaism’s holiest site, but access is restricted and Jewish prayer is barred by the Waqf Islamic Trust.  The Western Wall, an outer remnant, has become the most popular prayer site for Jews around the world.



UN May Be Biased, But It Has A Weakness For Israeli Products

Israeli-made products are becoming more popular every year at the United Nations, the Israel Mission to the international body said over the weekend.

Despite the anti-Israel bias prevalent at the UN, it has spent a total of $256 million on goods and services produced in the Jewish state since 2016, and the trend appears to be moving upward, although the amount spent on Israeli products is a fraction of what the organization spends annually, worldwide.  The UN bought $66 million worth of blue and white products in 2018, up from $48 million three years ago.

The purchase of Israeli goods, from medicine to defense, water treatment to energy, includes giants of Israeli industry Teva, Paz, Mer and the Ministry of Defense getting UN business.

The deal with Paz, Israel’s leading energy corporation, is worth over a quarter of the total.  The company signed an $18 million contract with the UN Office for Project Services, which supplies international projects with their technical needs.

The Mer Group-Israel and the Defense Ministry are providing defense systems, and Teva is helping the UN’s Development Program, which works to eradicate poverty and promote sustainable development.

“For the organization to choose Israeli innovation to advance its global activities shows a vote of confidence in our capabilities and an economic lever for our local industry,” said Israeli UN Ambassador Danny Danon.

In an event last Thursday (18th), Israel’s UN Mission showcased Israeli innovation to diplomats and government reps as part of a week dedicated to the UN Sustainable Development Goals program.

Israel’s Environmental Protection Minister Ze’ev Elkin told the attendees that the participating companies “change reality from a social, technological, agricultural and environmental perspective.  This is Israel’s contribution to the advancement and implementation of narrowing gaps – both in Israel and around the world.”



The F-35 Has Already Changed Everything In The Middle East – Jake Novak

Standing in front of an F-35 jet parked at an Israeli Air Force base, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel can reach Iran, but Iran can not reach Israel.  He didn’t add the words “undetected by radar,” but it was surely implied. During the months leading up to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, reports in the Israeli news media surfaced about how Israelis working on F-35 prototypes had managed to double the jet’s flight and stealth capability.  The extension meant Israeli Air Force pilots could use the F-35 to fly from Israel to Tehran and back without detection.

Suddenly, U.S.-Israeli air superiority in the region had risen to a new level.  In July 2018, a Kuwaiti newspaper reported that Israel had flown a test-mission of at least three F-35 jets to Tehran and back from an airbase near Tel Aviv.  The same Kuwaiti newspaper said that Iran’s military leadership kept news of the stealth mission from reaching Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

When Khamenei found out about the mission, he reportedly moved to fire Iran’s air force chief and the powerful commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps.

That is major impact without even firing a shot.  

And since reports of the Israeli stealth enhancement first surfaced, Lockheed-Martin-shares are up more than 75%.



Survey: 40% Of Young European Jews Targets Of Anti-Semitism In Past Year

A new report relaying “the experiences and perceptions of Jewish Europeans between the ages of 16 and 34” has painted a picture that “provides reasons for concern,” says Michael O’Flaherty, director of the European Union (EU) Agency for Fundamental Rights.

The agency says that it commissioned the Institute for Jewish Policy Research to write the report following a request from the European Commission.

The London-based think tank refers to itself as “the only independent institute in Britain that specializes in researching the state of the contemporary Jewish communities in the UK and elsewhere in Europe.”

Among the over 2,700 young people who took part in the survey “on Jewish people’s experiences, 4 out of 10 say they have considered emigrating because they do not feel safe as Jews,” writes O’Flaherty.

“Just over 80% of the young Jews surveyed say that anti-Semitism is a problem in their country, and believe it has grown in the past five years,” he laments.  “They see the Internet and social media as particularly hostile environments – but face problems in public places too.”

“The young Jews surveyed indicated encountering harassment at higher rates than older generations: 44% say they were targeted at least once in the year before the survey,” conducted in December 2018, according to the director, who says he was startled to find that 80% of those experiencing such incidents opted not to report them.

“To protect themselves, many avoid wearing or carrying items that may identify them as Jewish,” the survey showed.

“Jewish life has been an intrinsic part of Europe for many centuries and, tragically, so has Jewish-hatred.  In recent years, anti-Semitism has been on the rise once again,” writes Vera Jourova, European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, in the study’s preface, adding that “when looking into how Jewish Europeans see their future in Europe in the current climate, the obvious people to ask are the young.”

Jourova acknowledges that “this report sheds light on the fact that young Jewish Europeans are more exposed to anti-Semitic incidents than their elders.”

She said “the European Commission is determined to respond to the rising challenge of anti-Semitism and mobilize the European Parliament and Member States to take action.”  

Jourova added that she wishes “to ensure that Jews in Europe can continue to express their identity freely and feel safe in their daily lives.”