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Netanyahu Meets with Arab Government Officials

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in Warsaw Wednesday and Thursday for a conference on the future of the Middle East attended by senior officials and diplomats from over 60 other countries, including Israel’s Arab neighbors who came despite demands for a boycott by the Palestinian Authority. “What is important about this meeting – and this meeting is not in secret, because there are many of those – is that this is an open meeting with representatives of leading Arab countries, that are sitting down together with Israel in order to advance the common interest of combating Iran.” Netanyahu said. "What we are doing is pushing and driving Iran from Syria. We are committed to doing this. It is cold in Warsaw right now but Israel's foreign relations are warming up, warming up for the better."

On Wednesday Netanyahu had a public meeting with Omani Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah and during the formal part of the meetings he sat next to Yemeni Foreign Minister.

Here is a video of Netanyahu’s meeting with Abdullah



The official name of the conference is the Ministerial to Promote a Future of Peace and Security in the Middle East, and is ostensibly aimed at addressing various regional issues, but Iran is at the top of the agenda and some observers have said that little else is even on the agenda.

Here are some other videos from the conference





"Today, the Iranian people see some European countries as cunning and untrustworthy along with the criminal America. The government of the Islamic Republic must carefully preserve its boundaries with them,” said a statement in response to the conference issued by Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. "Iran must not retreat a single step from national and revolutionary values.”

Here are some videos recently posted by Israel’s Foreign Ministry regarding Iran



Netanyahu in Warsaw for Multi-National Conference on Middle East

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu departed for Warsaw Tuesday evening to participate in a conference on the future of the Middle East co-sponsored by Poland and the US. Representatives from over 60 countries, including several Arab states, are scheduled to attend, despite a boycott of the event by the Palestinian Authority whose President Mahmoud Abbas described it as part of “a conspiracy to liquidate the Palestinian national cause.” Iranian leaders have also denounced it as a plot against them.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the meeting in January, saying it would “focus on Middle East stability and peace and freedom and security here in this region, and that includes an important element of making sure that Iran is not a destabilizing influence.”

Netanyahu said during the cabinet meeting on Sunday morning that “the first issue on the agenda is Iran – how to continue preventing it from entrenching in Syria, how to thwart its aggression in the region and, above all, how to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.”

However, it is widely expected that Jared Kushner, senior advisor to US President Donald Trump, will roll out elements of the so-called “deal of the century” during the conference as well.

Here is a video giving some analysis of current events surrounding Iran

Tension Increasing Between Israel and Northern Neighbors

Military units loyal to the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad deployed to positions in the Quneitra area bordering the Golan Heights this week, according to reports in Arab media outlets. The deployments come as the IDF conducted large-scale exercises in the north of the country. “This drill simulated what will need to be done during a war with Hezbollah,” Maj. Tsur Goldman of the 401st Armored Brigade told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday, referring to an exercise his unit took part in in the northern Jordan Valley.

Here is a video giving some analysis of the situation on Israel’s northern border



Israel Blesses the World
Scientists and engineers at the Weizmann Institute of science in Israel, along with their colleagues at the NYU School of Medicine, have developed Artificial Intelligence-based processes to perform echo-cardiograms in a fraction of the time and with far greater accuracy then previous processes. The new technology will allow far more effective treatments of various heart conditions. In related news, engineers at Israel’s Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) were part of a team which recently announced their development of new drip irrigation systems designed to drastically reduce the need for  chemical pesticides in agriculture.

The DripByDrip system, which was developed in partnership with Bayer, Netafim and BGN Technologies, combines several different computer systems and is adaptable for use in the cultivation of potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, citrus, and brassicas, with the potential for application in the production of various other crops.

Rivlin Honored Guest in Cyprus
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin was an honored guest of Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades on Tuesday, receiving a full honor guard at the Presidential Palace in Larnaca. “The Israel-Cyprus partnership is an island of friendship, democracy and creativity, in the often stormy Mediterranean Sea,” said Rivlin. He added that the two countries, along with Greece, are eager to move forward on a variety of joint projects, especially in relation to the development of natural gas fields in the region.

El Al Adding New Routes to Orlando
El Al Israel Airlines, the national carrier of the Jewish State, issued a statement on Tuesday that it is launching a new non-stop route this summer between Tel Aviv and Orlando, Florida. The roughly 13.5 hour routes are enabled by EL Al’s growing fleet of long-haul Boeing 787 and 777 aircraft.

Iranian General Threatens to ‘Raze Tel Aviv and Haifa’

Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) General Yadollah Javani made a speech Monday to mark the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in which he said, among other things, that his forces would “raze Haifa and Tel Aviv to the ground” in response to an attack by the US or any other country. “I do not ignore the Iranian regime’s threats, but I’m not impressed by them either,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in response. “If this regime makes the terrible mistake and tries to destroy Tel Aviv and Haifa, it will not succeed, but it will be the last Revolution Day that they will celebrate. They should take this into account.”

Elsewhere, US National Security Adviser John Bolton tweeted on Monday that on its 40th anniversary, the regime birthed by the 1979 Islamic Revolution “has failed to fulfill its promises to uphold and safeguard the rights of its citizens.”

Here is a video which gives some analysis of the current situation in Iran



Labor Holds Primaries Ahead of Elections
Israel’s storied Labor Party held primaries Monday ahead of the general elections scheduled for 9 April, anointing two individuals who were a key part of socioeconomic protests in 2011 to the top of their electoral slate. Longtime party activists filled out the rest of the top ten names on the list, while many analysts have openly wondered if the faction, which has been a fixture of Israeli politics for decades, will manage to earn enough support from voters to seat more than a handful of MKs in the next Knesset.

In other political developments, a representative of the ultra-Orthodox Shas Party declared before the High Court of Justice on Monday that his faction had no specific regulation forbidding women to join and theoretically even run for election on its list.

Israeli Tank Fires at Targets in Syria
The simmering border between Israel’s Golan Heights and Syria saw a flare-up late Monday as an Israeli tank fired at an unspecified target in the city of Quneitra, inside territory controlled by forces loyal to the Assad regime. The incident was reported by Syrian state news agency SANA.

Venezuelan President Looking to Mend Ties with Israel
Juan Guaido, who has been recognized by dozens of governments around the world as the legitimate leader of Venezuela despite the refusal of socialist President Nicolas Maduro, who is supported by Russia and China, to step aside, said on Monday that he would work to re-establish good diplomatic relations with Israel. "I am very happy to report that the process of stabilizing relations with Israel is at its height," Guaido told Israel Hayom. "This (Jewish) community is very active and prosperous, one which has contributed greatly to our society."

Virgin Atlantic to Launch Daily London to Tel Aviv Route
In the latest defeat for the movement to Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) Israel, British airliner Virgin Atlantic announced this week that it will soon begin a new daily route between London’s Heathrow and Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion airports. “Tel Aviv represents a fantastic opportunity for us – Israel’s economy is booming. And as one of the world’s leading tech hubs, we’re anticipating many business travelers and entrepreneurs flying between Tel Aviv and the UK,” said Virgin Atlantic CEO Shai Weiss.

“The entry of one of the world’s leading airlines into Israel is another expression of confidence in the Israel tourism product,” said Tourism Minister Yariv Levin. “The new flights will be integrated with the marketing campaign in Europe, which highlights Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. I am convinced that, with the entry of Virgin Atlantic into Israel, we will see continued growth in incoming tourism from the UK.”

Today's video is a celebration Israel’s Women and Girls in Science

Iran Marks Revolution Anniversary by Making Threats

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani gave a fiery speech broadcast live on State TV Monday, saying among other things that "We have not asked and will not ask for permission to develop different types of ... missiles and will continue our path and our military power…the Iranian people have and will have some economic difficulties (due to the sanctions) but we will overcome the problems by helping each other.” The speech was part of celebrations marking the 40th anniversary of the violent coup which occurred in 1979 and became known to history as Iran’s Islamic Revolution.

In related news, Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, declared on Sunday that the Islamic Republic is preparing to boost uranium enrichment at several facilities which together employ nearly 200,000 centrifuges, despite the JCPOA nuclear deal. “Some European governments expect the Iranian nation to both put up with sanctions and give up its nuclear activities,” he said.

Russia Putting Pressure on Israeli Actions in Syria
Deputy Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin said in an interview posted on the Russian Foreign Ministry website over the weekend that the Kremlin has told Israel that “arbitrary attacks on sovereign Syrian territory should be stopped,” adding that it has not moved on from the downing of Russian intelligence aircraft last September that Russia blamed on Israel even though it was Assad regime loyalists who shot it down. He also said that Russia does not consider Hezbollah a terrorist organization and did not recognize the legitimacy of Israeli strikes on it.

Here is a video giving some analysis of the situation in Syria



HRW Official Says Israel Interfering in UK Politics
Sarah Leah Winston, executive director of the Middle East and North Africa division at the self-described “human rights group” HRW, sent out a tweet over the weekend accusing Israel of entering into a conspiracy to unfairly malign UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. In response, Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon tweeted that HRW “has lost all legitimacy when it comes to Israel. Obsessive hatred and conspiracy theories worthy of the worst antisemites.”

BDS Movement Threatens to Derail Large Deal with South Africa
South African members of the movement to Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) Israel are putting heavy pressure on dairy conglomerate Clover to cancel a massive deal with Israel’s Central Bottling Company (CBC) to allow Milco, a business consortium in which CBC holds a majority, to buy 59.5% of Clover. The pressure is coming despite the boost the deal could give to South Africa’s struggling economy.

Israel Arrests Murderer of 19-Year Old Woman

Israeli security officials reported over the weekend that Arafat Irfaiya, a 29-year-old Palestinian man from Hebron, had confessed to murdering 19-year-old Ori Ansbacher in Jerusalem last Thursday. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara paid a condolence visit to Ansbacher’s family home in Tekoa, south of Jerusalem, where he told them it had been officially confirmed that the murder was an act of terrorism. The PA issued a statement blasting Israeli security forces for entering a mosque where Irfaiya was believed to be hiding, but not mentioning the crime he committed or expressing any sympathy for his victim.

In a related development, a PA official told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday that “claims in the Israeli media to the effect that the family of Irfaiya would receive a monthly salary are part of the campaign of incitement against the Palestinian leadership and President Mahmoud Abbas…at this stage, we still don’t know anything about this specific case. It’s not even clear whether this was a nationalistically motivated attack.”

“Arafat did not belong to any Palestinian group,” the suspect’s brother, Suleiman, said. “We were surprised when he heard his name in the news. Our family is not affiliated with Fatah or Hamas or any other faction. He was never involved in such things. I know my brother very well, and I don’t believe he’s capable of doing such a thing.”

In related news, PA officials issued statements on Monday warning that if Israel goes ahead with a plan to deduct monies from tax and duties collected on behalf of the PA to coincide with amounts the PA pays to the families of terrorists than it could result in anarchy in the West Bank. PA President Mahmoud Abbas went so far as to declare that would not accept reduced amounts. A spokesman for Abbas added that the PA will “not allow any act of piracy against our money under the pretext of implementing Israeli law. We affirm that if we have one dollar, we will spend it on the families of our martyrs and prisoners.”

Here is a video which gives some analysis of the internal Palestinian political scene

Iran Building Rockets for Hezbollah in Syria

Reports emerged in the Israeli media Thursday evening that Iran is sponsoring the construction of a factory for producing precision missiles in Syria, near the town of Safita. The missiles are meant to augment the already massive arsenal of missiles possessed by the Lebanese Shi’ite terror militia Hezbollah. In related news, Iranian officials announced on Thursday that they have deployed a new surface-to-surface ballistic missile with a range of 1,000 km (621 miles) in defiance of international demands that it cease its development of such missiles.

The US State Department said in a statement on Thursday that "the Iranian regime has continued to exploit the goodwill of nations and defied multiple [UN] Security Council resolutions in its quest for a robust ballistic missile force." Tehran "continues to increase its investment in missile testing and missile proliferation even as its economy crumbles and its people suffer. We must bring back tougher international restrictions to deter Iran’s missile program. The United States will continue to be relentless in building support around the world to confront the Iranian regime's reckless ballistic missile activity."

In related news, the Paris-based NGO Reporters Without Borders posted a report on Thursday including a section on Iran which showed that the Islamic Republic imprisoned, or executed at least 860 journalists in the three decades between the 1979 revolution and 2009. The report added that the journalists had been arrested on"spurious charges" such as “collaborating with an enemy foreign state,” “activity against domestic security,” “antigovernment propaganda,” and “spying” as well as “insulting what is sacred and Islam” and “insulting the supreme leader.”

Here are some videos of a recent think tank event devoted to discussing Iran's Imperial Foreign Policy and Domestic Challenges



US and Israel Set to Launch Juniper Falcon War Games

The US and Israel were set to kick of the Juniper Falco 2019 joint training exercises next week, with thousands of soldiers from both countries participating. Military observers from dozens of allied nations will also be on hand to benefit from the exercise, which will include tests of equipment, tactics and training. Although the IDF spokesperson’s office stressed that the exercise was merely the latest in a series of long-planned and routine drills not aimed at any specific threat, observers noted the timing of the wars games following several weeks of escalating tensions on Israel’s northern border.

USGCA Report Reveals Hateful Curriculum in PA Schools
A report by the United States Government Accountability Office detailing the hateful and anti-Israel curriculum being taught to Palestinian children by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA)  in PA administered cities in the West Bank was declassified this week. "It is unacceptable that the textbooks that are used delegitimize Israel and demonize the Jewish people, it is unacceptable that this program attempts to engrain this hatred in the hearts of children," declared Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY). "American’s hard earned money went towards its funding and it is unacceptable that the State Department lied to Congress about these very realities."

Aviation Training School Launched in Eilat
Israel Air Force veteran and El Al pilot Yochanan Shemer is leading an aviation academy named CAA in Israel’s Red Sea resort city of Eilat to address the looming shortage of pilots, mechanics and technicians in Israel’s small but growing aviation industry. “In Israel, the aviation world is particularly limited, with three main companies operational here,” he told the Jerusalem Post. “There is currently a very severe shortage of pilots in the world, and that shortage will also increase in Israel. The number of pilots that come from the air force to Israeli airlines is decreasing every year, and the number of pilots arriving from civilian studies is increasing.”

Palestinian Factions Preparing for Civil War
In the latest indication that factions within the Palestinian Authority are preparing for civil war following the demise of ailing President Mahmoud Abbas, Israeli security forces recently intercepted a shipment of assault rifles, pistols and other weapons from a Jordanian smuggling group meant for sale to senior Fatah officials. In related news, a Palestinian resident of eastern Jerusalem was arrested Thursday by Israeli police following a raid on his home which turned up weapons and explosives.

Today's video shows yet another way Israel is blessing the world

Rockets Fired at Israel From Gaza

A barrage of rockets was fired at Israel from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip Wednesday evening, prompting retaliatory strikes on Hamas infrastructure by the IDF. In related news, the US Army confirmed on Wednesday that it is purchasing two batteries of the Iron Dome air defense system which has been proven in battle by the IDF. The Pentagon will evaluate the system to see if it is practical for use by US forces and if so, future development and unit costs for the IDF could be significantly reduced.

Here is a video about the Iron Dome recently posted by the IDF


Former J’lem Mayor a Big Winner in Likud primary
Former Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat claimed the ninth spot on the Likud party’s list for the upcoming elections in party primaries on Wednesday, placing him in a good political position in the unofficial contest to eventually replace incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “It makes me emotional and shocked to see the force and the extent of the support and trust that I received from Likud members,” Barkat said. “From now on, I will serve all citizens of Israel and give them my all for the good of our dear state.”

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, as expected, took the first spot on the list followed by Transportation Minister Israel Katz, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, former MK Gideon Sa’ar and Culture Minister Miri Regev to complete the top five. Netanyahu, who will lead the list, declared himself to be “very very satisfied because Likud members precisely and democratically voted in a strong and impressive list that is good for Israel.”

Israel Increasing Outreach to the Arab World
In another sign of warming relations between Israel and the Sunni Arab governments in the Persian Gulf region, Israel’s Foreign Ministry re-activated an Arab language Twitter account this week, with the goal of speaking directly to the citizens of those countries. “We hope that this virtual embassy will contribute to deepening understanding between the peoples of the Gulf States and the people of Israel in various fields,” said the opening tweet posted on Tuesday.

Jews in Europe Living Under A Shadow of Anti-Semitism
The Community Security Trust, an umbrella organization representing the Jewish community in the UK, posted its annual review this week showing, among other things, that 2018 saw a record number of anti-Semitic incidents in the UK, continuing a years-long upward trend. Across the English Channel in France, an agreement was reached between the government and the US State Department to increase the stipend of Holocaust Survivors who were deported by the Vichy French regime during WWII.

"The administration of this claims program was a thorough process to the benefit of those long-denied justice. We applaud the willingness of the French government to address this injustice," lauded the State Department in a released statement.

Today’s video shows yet another way Israel is blessing the world

Iran Loses Another Satellite, Continues Threatening Israel

Reports emerged Thursday morning that an attempt by Iran’s space agency to launch a satellite into orbit around the earth failed, with the rocket carrying the satellite likely exploding on the launch pad at the Imam Khomeini Space Center in Iran's Semnan province. Meanwhile, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah continued making threats against Israel in a speech on Wednesday which was filmed at an undisclosed location and broadcast on Hezbollah’s TV station. During the speech, he said, among other things, that he was “a friend of Iran and I'm willing to bring the Lebanese Army air defense systems from Iran to confront Israel…whatever the Lebanese Army needs to become the strongest regional army, I am willing to go to Iran and bring it.”

“Why does America oppose Iran? Because Iran...supports Palestine. Even if the entire world gives up on Palestine, Iran will never give up on Palestine or its holy sites,” he added. “If America launches war on Iran, it will not be alone in the confrontation at all. The resistance axis is stronger than ever and the U.S. will further withdraw from the region and Israel is heading towards more fear and panic.”

Amidst sharp rhetoric by Iranian and Hezbollah officials the IDF has increased its readiness and issued frequent statements to reassure the Israeli public it is ready to defend the Jewish State against any threat.

Here is a video about the Iron Dome recently posted by the IDF

 

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