Sunday, February 5, 2023

Franklin Graham Decries Church Capitulation on Homosexuality, Abortion

ROME — Prominent Evangelical pastor Franklin Graham has denounced the abandonment of biblical morality on human life and sexuality by many churches in recent times.

“Many churches today are being influenced by culture when it should be the other way around — the church should be influencing culture with the Word of God,” Rev. Graham noted Friday.

“There are denominations and many churches that have compromised on what God’s Word says about things such as homosexuality, marriage, and abortion,” he added.

As a counterexample, Graham praised the First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, which recently adopted a statement on biblical sexuality that has critics up in arms.

The statement, which church members are required to endorse, declares that “God creates people in his image as either male or female, and that this creation is a fixed matter of human biology, not individual choice.”

“I believe marriage is instituted by God, not government, is between one man and one woman, and is the only context for sexual desire and expression,” the statement continues. READ MORE

Tens of thousands rally against planned judicial overhaul for 5th straight week

Tens of thousands of Israelis rallied Saturday for a fifth week in a row to protest the government’s push to radically shakeup the judicial system.

Along with the main protests in Tel Aviv, smaller demonstrations were held in Jerusalem, Haifa and a number of other cities.

Opposition leader Yair Lapid attended the rally in Haifa, saying the protesters had come “to save the country.”

“We will fight here in the streets, we will fight in the Knesset, we will fight in the courts, we will save our country, because we refuse to live in an undemocratic country,” Lapid said.

In Tel Aviv, Mayor Ron Huldai told the crowd that “if words end, the actions will begin.” READ MORE

'PA slowly collapsing:' No end in sight to Judea and Samaria violence

The IDF is pessimistic that Operation Break the Wave, which began following a string of deadly terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians in March 2022, will end in the near future, Israel Hayom reported.

According to the report, although there have been significant achievements in the past year, chief among them the dismantling of the Lions Den terrorist infrastructure after the organization was responsible for many attacks in 2022, other actors in Judea and Samaria have arisen to encourage and carry out more terrorist attacks.

Despite the protests of the Palestinian Authority, the IDF continues its intensive counter-terrorism activity. In January, 35 Palestinian Arabs were killed in battle with the IDF, 95% of whom were terrorists. If this rate continues, 2023 will end with more deaths than last year, which saw the highest number of Arab fatalities since the second intifada.

While the IDF is currently not interested in expanding Operation Break the Wave, the military could be forced to do so if additional terrorist attacks are committed. No significant decrease in the desire of young Palestinian Arabs to attack and murder Jews has been observed as of yet. READ MORE

Putin warns Netanyahu: You will turn into a 'legitimate target'


Russia makes a stern warning to Israel's new government, which is reportedly considering supplying Ukraine with military aid. WATCH

Saturday, February 4, 2023

US, allies denounce Iran’s ‘inadequate’ response to IAEA report

The United States, France, the United Kingdom and Germany on Friday denounced Iran’s “inadequate” responses to a call to order from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on an undeclared technical modification in its nuclear program.

The UN body responsible for verifying the peaceful nature of nuclear activities called Tehran to order on Wednesday after noting a change in the operating mode for enriching uranium to 60% in the Fordo underground plant, which had not been previously reported.

Iran had referred to an error of “carelessness” by an IAEA inspector.

“Iran’s claims that these actions were the result of an error are inadequate,” Washington, Paris, London and Berlin responded in a joint statement.

“Iran’s actions are judged on the basis of objective and impartial reports by the IAEA, not on the basis of its presumed intentions,” they added.

The agency claims to have “detected during an unannounced visit on January 21 that two centrifuge cascades were interconnected in a significantly different way” to what had been declared by Tehran, according to a report.

Western countries said on Friday that this change was “inconsistent with Iran’s obligations” and that “this lack of prior notification compromises the Agency’s ability to maintain a rapid detection capability on Iranian nuclear facilities.

“We recall that the production of highly enriched uranium by Iran at the Fordo enrichment facility carries significant proliferation risks and has no credible civilian justification,” they insisted, judging Tehran’s actions “worrying.”

The Fordo site has been closely monitored since Iran began producing 60% enriched uranium there in November 2022, in addition to the Natanz site.

This threshold greatly exceeds that of 3.67% set by the 2015 agreement between Tehran and the major powers and is approaching the 90% necessary to produce an atomic bomb.

Ahead of weekend rallies, Lapid and ex-defense officials warn against ‘regime change’

Ahead of the latest in a line of mass protests against the government’s plans for sweeping changes to the judiciary, opposition leader Yair Lapid said Friday he would not hold negotiations with the coalition, since the government was not seeking reform but “regime change.” The Yesh Atid party leader repeated his call for President Isaac Herzog to form an independent commission that would propose a framework for judicial reform, saying this would be a more trustworthy format.

Saturday night was to see the latest in a line of weekly protests against the scheme across the country amid inclement weather, with the largest rally once again planned for central Tel Aviv and other demonstrations planned in Jerusalem, Haifa, Beersheba and numerous other towns.

Speakers at the Tel Aviv demonstration were to include former police chief Roni Alsheich, Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai, and Hila Peer, chairwoman of Aguda-The Association for LGBTQ Equality in Israel.

Speaking to Channel 12, Lapid said if the currently proposed overhaul is passed, “we won’t be a democracy anymore,” characterizing the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as “a group of criminals here who are passing laws to save themselves from [legal] trouble.

“People are looking at this and wondering, where is the Declaration of Independence? Where are the values we grew up on? Our ability to live together under common laws? It’s dangerous, it’s dire and it’s taking us to very bad places. I’ve never been as worried as I am today,” he said. READ MORE

'Best meeting ever with Macron'

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, today (Friday, 3 February 2023), in Paris, met with French Jewish community leaders. The Prime Minister updated them on his excellent meeting last night with French President Emmanuel Macron and said that it was their best meeting ever. He added that they had discussed Iran, Saudi Arabia and Africa and said that while their positions were not identical, they were getting closer.

Prime Minister Netanyahu noted that earlier today he had met with French businesspeople, who had expressed their confidence in the Israeli economy. He added that Israel was very strong on the global economic map.

The Jewish community leaders thanked Prime Minister Netanyahu for his leadership of Israel.

At the conclusion of the meeting, the Prime Minister told the Jewish community leaders that while every Jewish man and woman in the world was entitled to decide their own future, it needed to be known that if they want to make aliyah to the State of Israel, they would be welcomed with open arms and a red carpet.

Friday, February 3, 2023

Turkey summons ambassadors of nine countries over security alerts

Turkey summoned ambassadors of nine countries on Thursday to demand an explanation after countries temporarily shut diplomatic missions and issued security alerts citing a heightened threat following Koran-burning incidents in Europe.

Far-right activists burned Korans in Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands last week, acts that led to a halt in negotiations for Turkey to lift objections to Sweden and Finland joining NATO.

The European countries have denounced the incidents but some say they cannot prevent them because of free speech rules.

Countries including France, Germany, Italy and the United States have warned their citizens of an increased risk of attacks in Turkey, particularly against diplomatic missions and non-Muslim places of worship. Germany, France and the Netherlands were among the countries that temporarily closed diplomatic missions for security reasons this week.

Turkey's warning

Turkey, for its part, warned its citizens over the weekend against "possible Islamophobic, xenophobic and racist attacks" in the United States and Europe. READ MORE

Israel says peace deal with Sudan to be signed by year’s end

Israel and Sudan committed on Thursday to completing a normalization agreement in the near future following what Foreign Minister Eli Cohen described as his “historic diplomatic visit” to the Sudanese capital Khartoum.

Cohen said upon landing back in Israel that the plan was for a full agreement to be signed by the end of the year — though only once Sudan’s current military leadership has transferred power to a civilian government, a process that is still unfolding.

“Today’s visit to Sudan lays the foundations for a historic peace agreement with a strategic Arab and Muslim country,” Cohen said after he landed at Ben Gurion Airport.

“The peace agreement between Israel and Sudan will promote regional stability and contribute to the national security of the State of Israel,” he continued. READ MORE

Satellite photos show damage at Iran military workshop allegedly struck by Israel

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Satellite photos analyzed by The Associated Press on Friday showed damage done to what Iran describes as a military workshop attacked by Israeli drones, the latest such assault amid a shadow war between the two countries.

While Iran has offered no explanation yet of what the workshop manufactured, the drone attack threatened to again raise tensions in the region. Already, worries have grown over Tehran enriching uranium closer than ever to weapons-grade levels, with a top United Nations nuclear official warning the Islamic Republic had enough fuel to build “several” atomic bombs if it chooses.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose earlier tenure as premier saw escalating attacks targeting Iran, has returned to office and reiterated that he views Tehran as his country’s top security threat.

With State Department spokesperson Ned Price now declaring Iran has “killed” the opportunity to return to its nuclear deal with world powers, it remains unclear what diplomacy immediately could ease tensions between Tehran and the West. READ MORE

Biden to Jordanian King: We support the legal status quo of Al-Aqsa Mosque

US President Joe Biden on Thursday underlined his support for the legal "status quo" of Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in a meeting at the White House with Jordanian King Abdullah II, AFP reported.

Biden, the king and Crown Prince Hussein had a private lunch in which the US President "reaffirmed the close, enduring nature of the friendship between the United States and Jordan," the White House said.

Referring to tensions around the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Biden reaffirmed "the critical need to preserve the historic status quo", said the statement.

Biden also recognized Jordan's "crucial role as the custodian of Muslim holy places in Jerusalem," the White House said, according to AFP.

On the Israeli-Palestinian Arab conflict, Biden reiterated the US position of "strong support for a two-state solution," also thanking King Abdullah "for his close partnership and the role he and Jordan play as a force for stability in the Middle East." READ MORE

Netanyahu to Macron: Deterrence against Iran and its proxies must be strengthened

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and French President Emmanuel Macron met in Paris on Thursday evening. The meeting lasted about three hours.

The Prime Minister's Office stated, “The two leaders discussed at length ways to confront the Iranian nuclear threat. Prime Minister Netanyahu stressed that deterrence with Iran and its proxies in the Middle East needs to be strengthened.”

The statement also said that Prime Minister Netanyahu also called for imposing significant sanctions on the Iranian regime and for the Revolutionary Guards to be included on the EU terrorism list.

Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Macron also discussed the regional arena and the need to maintain regional stability, especially in Lebanon, and opportunities to expand the circle of peace.

Prior to taking off for Paris on Thursday afternoon, Netanyahu told reporters, "I am now departing for a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron. The main topic of our talk will be Iran, of course, and the joint efforts to fight its aggression and its aspiration to obtain nuclear weapons."

"I will also meet with French Jewish community representatives and representatives of the business community in France, who are interested in investing in the State of Israel," he added.

Israel challenges US handover of First Temple-era artifacts to Palestinian Authority

Israel’s new government is challenging the transfer by American authorities of a rare artifact from ancient Israel to the Palestinian Authority, after the item was seized from the collection of a prominent American Jewish philanthropist.

In 2017, a multinational investigation was launched into the collection of billionaire hedge funder and Birthright Israel cofounder Michael Steinhardt, amid allegations he had illegally acquired numerous artifacts and works of art.

Authorities in New York began seizing items from Steinhardt’s collection in January, 2018.

In December 2021, Steinhardt reached an agreement with prosecutors to relinquish control of 187 artifacts out of his collection of over 1,000 items.

The artifacts, which Steinhardt is said to have acquired illegally – including from sites in Israel – were returned to their respective countries of origin.

One item’s return, however, has sparked a dispute between American officials and the new Netanyahu government. READ MORE

Thursday, February 2, 2023

Iran is showing off its ‘Saqr’ missile - analysis

Iranian pro-government media reported extensively on Wednesday about the Saqr missile, noting that it had been used in Yemen by the Iran-backed Houthi group, as well as in Iraq, to target US forces and also in Syria. This links Iran to all these attacks, without explicitly taking credit for them.

The missile

The Tasnim report noted that this “mysterious” missile has been used in many places, all of them linked to pro-Iran forces around the Middle East. It explains how the missile behaves like a cruise missile and a “loitering” munition, that it can detect targets with optical and thermal systems.

Additionally, according to the report, it “patrols” the sky as it looks for the target to destroy and is packed with explosives and a proximity fuse which are activated when the target is close enough for the 10kg warhead to be detonated.

“Such a missile, which is actually an innovation in air defense systems, is a suitable weapon for targeting drones and helicopters at low altitude; a large number of targets are used by the Americans and Saudis in the skies of Iraq and Yemen, and the Saqr missile has so far succeeded in destroying at least three Saudi drones in the sky of Yemen,” the Tasnim report reads.

Iran’s media says the missile has a special design and “includes three parts: propulsion, guidance and control, and the missile warhead.” It has a “microjet engine” the article says, noting that most air defense missiles are propelled by “solid fuel.” READ MORE

Nuclear monitor says Iran made furtive changes to Fordo centrifuges

VIENNA, Austria — The UN nuclear watchdog said Wednesday that Iran had substantially modified an interconnection between two centrifuge clusters enriching uranium to up to 60 percent at its Fordo Fuel Enrichment Plant (FFEP), without declaring it to the agency.

During an unannounced inspection at the Fordo plant on January 21, the International Atomic Energy Agency detected that “two IR-6 centrifuge cascades… were interconnected in a way that was substantially different from the mode of operation declared by Iran to the agency”, according to a confidential report seen by AFP.

Since late last year, the two centrifuge cascades have been used to produce uranium enriched to up to 60 percent, the report to member states added.

After the IAEA carried out the inspection at Fordo, Iran “subsequently informed the Agency that it had switched to this mode of operation on 16 January.”

The agency did not specify what kind of changes were made to the interconnection between the centrifuge cascades. READ MORE

Do the Palestinian Arabs have a future?


Former senior officer in the IDF says PA Arabs need to get the message that 'their families will be in trouble' if they murder Jews. WATCH

Ukraine war: Half a million Russian soldiers massed on Ukrainian border

Russia is planning a major offensive to coincide with the first anniversary of the war in Ukraine, according to the Ukrainian Defense Minister, Oleksii Reznikov. Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022.

Reznikov noted that Russia mobilized 300 thousand conscripted soldiers last September, but said that assessments of the number of troops massed at the border indicate that up to half a million soldiers are being readied for battle.

“We do not underestimate our enemy,” Reznikov told French media. “Officially, they announced 300,000, but when we see the troops at the borders, according to our assessments it is much more.”

Last week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said that Russian forces were trying to make gains in order to showcase their progress by the war's first anniversay, adding that the situation in the Donetsk province was dire.

“A definite increase has been noted in the offensive operations of the occupiers on the front in the east of our country. The situation has become tougher,” Zelenskiy said in a video address.

Reznikov said the coming offensive, one which is widely predicted to be the fiercest to date in the war, would probably be concentrated in the east and the south of Ukraine. READ MORE

Ben-Gvir: 'I am not satisfied with the IDF's response in Gaza'

National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir is not satisfied with the IDF attack in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday night, billed as a response to Hamas rocket fire into Israel, and believes Israel should instead be eliminating the terrorist organization's leaders in targeted assassinations.

In an interview on the sidelines of a conference for directors of religious institutions in Eilat, Ben-Gvir told Israel National News editor-in-chief Uzi Baruch: "I am not satisfied with the IDF's response in Gaza tonight. I think that our response needs to be totally different. Hamas needs to know that the new government is changing the equation. For every rocket fired, there will be targeted assassinations. I'm in the cabinet, and I could bring down the government, but of course we need to see how to achieve the most."

On Wednesday night, IDF fighter jets struck a storage site holding raw chemicals used by Hamas to produce rockets, and also hit a weapons manufacturing site, both located in the central Gaza Strip.

The strike was carried out in response to a rocket that was intercepted by the IDF Aerial Defense Array (Iron Dome) on Wednesday afternoon. Sirens were sounded in Sderot, Ibim, and Nir Am, following the launch.

Residents reported hearing several explosions following the siren. A 50-year-old woman slipped and was lightly injured while attempting to flee to a bomb shelter in Sderot. Magen Adom Adom personnel treated her at the scene and evacuated her to hospital.

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Russia WARNS Israel & U.S. Over Iran Drone Strike; Bible Prophecy Unfolding?

Isfahan drone attack linked to Iraqi Kurdistan, Iran state media reveals

The explosive materials used to attack the Islamic Republic's Isfahan facility on Sunday entered Iran via Iraqi Kurdistan by order of a foreign agency, Iranian state-affiliated site NourNews reported on Wednesday.

Several Iranian officials and Western intelligence officials have already named Israel and the Mossad as being behind the attack, which the Jerusalem Post was the first to report as being a “phenomenal success,” but the latest details, if true, would provide more background as to how the attack was pulled off.

According to the NourNews report, “the parts of small-scale UAVs that were used in a sabotage action against the Ministry of Defense workshop complex in Isfahan a few days ago, along with explosive materials, have entered Iran with the participation and guidance of Kurdish opposition groups based in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. READ MORE

Why Netanyahu’s conspiracy-minded government is treating every issue like a war

In 2017, an Israeli right-wing activist published a book that became an overnight mainstay of the conservative Israeli bookshelf. It was a fierce and effective polemic with a title as blunt as its argument: “Why do you vote right and get left?”

Since the late 1970s, explained author Erez Tadmor, voters have usually sent right-wing majorities to the Knesset, yet government policy remained, he argued, “leftist.” The reason was simple. At every turn, a narrow leftist elite stymied the will of the people, and especially in three key domains: the media, the legal system and the universities.

The right won’t truly govern or realize its vision for the country, Tadmor warned, until this elite is sidelined.

He offered three proposals for achieving that end, mostly framed in language borrowed from American conservatism: Competition must be imposed in the media, the judiciary and government legal bureaucracy must be restrained through legal reforms, and universities and colleges must be pressured to adopt a more conservative bent in research and teaching. READ MORE

Report: 1,000 soldiers forced to attend LGBTQ lecture

Soldiers from Unit 8200, an IDF Intelligence Corps unit, were ordered today (Monday) to listen to a lecture by one of the unit's soldiers who told the story of his coming out of the closet as an LGBTQ person as part of a program to combat sexual harassment.

About a thousand soldiers were invited to a conference held by The Gender Advisor to the Chief of Defense Staff, when it was explained to them that attendance at the conference was mandatory. Commanders stood at the entrance to the conference with lists to verify the soldiers' attendance.

The conference did at the start deal with the topic of preventing sexual harassment, which included IDF soldiers who are obliged to learn content on the topic at least once every six months

However, later the conference took a surprising turn. A gay soldier from the unit took the stage and told the soldiers the story of his coming out of the closet and the experiences of his LGBTQ friends. Some of the soldiers were surprised to find themselves obliged to sit in on a lecture on LGBTQ issues. READ MORE

Netanyahu to CNN: We've been taking action against certain Iranian weapons development

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told CNN in an interview on Tuesday that Israel has acted against Iranian threats but would not go into details.

In the interview with Jake Tapper, Netanyahu explained his position on Iran and said, “If you have rogue regimes that are (intending to get) nuclear weapons, you can sign 100 agreements with them, it doesn’t help.”

“I think the only way that you can stop or abstain from getting nuclear weapons is a combination of crippling economic sanctions, but the most important thing, is a credible military threat,” he added.

Netanyahu told Tapper that Israel has been “taking action against certain weapons development” in Iran. However, he refused to confirm or deny whether Israel was behind drone attacks at a military plant in Isfahan over the weekend.

“I never talk about specific operations… and every time some explosion takes place in the Middle East, Israel is blamed or given responsibility – sometimes we are sometimes we’re not,” he said. READ MORE

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Iran drone attack: The picture is reshuffled and gloves are off - analysis

It will probably be years before anyone will take public credit for the weekend drone attack on Iran’s facilities at Isfahan, but already in a matter of days, the attack may have reshuffled the entire picture regarding Iran.

The most important outcome: The US has lost patience with the Islamic Republic and is willing in one way or another to flex its muscles and, according to foreign sources, give more support to Israel to do so.

Until this past week, there had been a number of US and Israeli joint drills which could have been veiled threats to Tehran to at least freeze the progress of its nuclear program. However, these drills took place often at the same time as Washington was sounding hopeful messages about a return to diplomacy, or at least not messages that diplomacy was dead.

In May 2022, the US provided refueling platforms for the Israel Air Force to hold one of its largest-ever drills for carrying out “deep” attacks far away from Israel’s borders – often a metaphor for Iran.

In July 2022, the US and Israel held a joint exercise to help protect Israel from Iranian ballistic-missile threats. There were also assorted US-Israel naval and other drills. READ MORE

Israel must refuse Jordan's request to build on the Temple Mount

The State of Israel must not agree to additional Jordanian construction on the Temple Mount, and certainly not a significant construction like the fifth minaret, as King Abdullah requested in the meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week.

The Palestinian Arabs will see this as weakness and increase the pressure and violence. This will be seen in their eyes as such a symbolic victory that it will inspire them with a sense of victory for many years to come. The Jordanian leadership, will of course, not miss an opportunity to make hay out of it and inflate their stature in the eyes of the Jordanians and Palestinian Arabs.

This will also harm Israel's relations with other Sunni Arab countries, which will see weakness in this agreement. This will damage relations with Morocco and Turkey, who have interests on the Temple Mount, and of course will distance normalization with Saudi Arabia, which is interested in the status on the Temple Mount, and has negotiated on the issue with Israel in the past and continues to raise the issue. Giving into Jordan would weaken the possibility that Israel would be able to grant the Saudis rights on the Temple Mount, something that if done, could strengthen the chance of normalization with them. READ MORE

Iran threatens Israel after drone attack


Iranian officials have no doubt Israel was behind the attack, but Mossad says it can strike anywhere within Iranian territory. WATCH

Former Navy commander: Israel needs to strike Iran this year


The former commander of the Israeli navy Vice Admiral Eliezer Marom says the Jewish State has run out of options. WATCH

Blinken says America's commitment to Israel's security is ironclad

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered joint statements to the media in Jerusalem following Blinken's arrival in Israel for an official visit Monday afternoon.

Upon landing in Israel Monday afternoon, Secretary Blinken condemned the massacre at a Jerusalem synagogue on Friday night.

“It’s the responsibility of everyone to take steps to calm tensions rather than inflame them,” Blinken said. “That is the only way to halt the rising tide of violence that has taken too many lives, too many Israelis, too many Palestinians.”

In their joint statement, Prime Minister Netanyahu thanked Blinken, and said the US and Israel were working together to thwart a nuclear Iran.

Netanyahu also hinted he would be pursuing a peace deal with Saudi Arabia by "expanding the circle of peace" with other countries beyond the Abraham Accords.

Secretary Blinken expressed his condolences to Netanyahu and the Israeli people over Friday night's terrorist attack. "In the context of this attack and escalating violence, it's important that the government and people of Israel know: America's commitment to their security remains ironclad."

He hinted that Israel should work together with the US to provide aid to Ukraine in the face of Russia's invasion of the eastern European nation.

"Just as we know that Iran supports terrorism against Israel, Iran has been providing drones to Russia targeting innocent civilians," Blinken said. "Russia's ongoing atrocities underscore the importance of providing support for all of Ukraine's needs: humanitarian, economic, and security as it bravely defends its people and its right to exist."

"America's commitment has never wavered, it never will," he added.

Terrorist Expulsion bill passes first reading in the Knesset

The Knesset voted late Monday night to back legislation which would allow for the expanded use of deportation and loss of citizenship against convicted Arab terrorists.

The bill, endorsed by 106 MKs across the political spectrum, passed its first reading in the Knesset plenum after a joint session of the Knesset’s Interior and House committees deliberated on the proposal.

Under the proposed law, the Interior Minister will have expanded powers to strip convicted terrorists of their Israeli citizenship or residency status, if they receive funding from the Palestinian Authority.

The PA has for years offered stipends to jailed Arab terrorists and the families of slain terrorists, in what Israel has dubbed the “pay-to-slay” policy.

During a hearing on the bill Monday, defense officials said that approximately 70% of jailed terrorists who receive pensions from the PA have either Israeli citizenship or residency, and could thus be eligible for deportation and loss of legal status in Israel under the new law.

If passed, the Interior Minister will be able to nullify the residency status of non-citizen terrorists within two weeks of their release from prison.

For terrorists who carry Israeli citizenship, the Justice Minister will also be required to back the nullification of citizenship, followed by a court review to uphold the move.

Terrorists who have lost their citizenship or residency status will be then expelled either to Judea and Samaria, or the Gaza Strip.

Monday, January 30, 2023

Blinken reaffirms two-state solution ahead of Israeli-Palestinian visit

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he would urge Israelis and Palestinians to calm tensions as he visits on Monday during the worst violence in years, and reaffirmed a long-stalled peace vision as the "only path" forward.

Blinken discussed ongoing efforts to de-escalate tensions between Israelis and Palestinians in a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Cairo on Monday, US State Department spokesman Ned Price said.

Blinken also "noted the importance of unified international support for holding elections in Libya, and underscored the importance of the Framework Political Agreement to the democratic aspirations of the Sudanese people," Price said in a statement.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken held talks with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Monday during a three-day visit to the Middle East that comes during a flare-up of violence between Israel and the Palestinians. READ MORE

Advocates for Netanyahu’s judicial overhaul reach out to English-speaking audience

JTA — The video gives a “Schoolhouse Rock” vibe: Cartoon figures climb the names of the three branches of the US government — “legislature” at the base, “judiciary” at the top and “executive” sandwiched in the middle — as part of a lesson on governance.

But while the video is in English, the government it refers to is not American but Israeli. And the video was produced not by an educational television company but by the Kohelet Policy Forum, a think tank that is widely understood to have influenced the rightward shift within Israeli politics.

The video’s release on Twitter Wednesday appears to be part of a wave of efforts to sell one particularly controversial aspect of that shift — proposed reforms to Israel’s judiciary — to skeptical English speakers. While the many critics of the proposed changes say they would bring Israel out of line with other democracies, all of the English-language efforts press the case that the opposite is true. READ MORE

Aircraft said to strike convoy of Iranian militia trucks on Syria-Iraq border

Unidentified aircraft struck a convoy of Iranian trucks at the al-Qaim crossing on the Syria-Iraq border, where frequent Iranian military activity has been reported, Syrian and other Arab media said Sunday night.

The Saudi-funded al-Arabiya network, citing unidentified sources, said 25 trucks had crossed the border from Iraq to Syria before the strike. According to Syria’s Sham FM radio station and other local media reports, six refrigerator trucks were hit.

Al-Arabiya said the unidentified aircraft first fired a warning shot to allow the truck drivers to leave before bombing them. The network said the al-Qaim crossing is controlled, practically speaking, by Iranian militias.

Europe-based Syrian expert Omar Abu Layla, whose news organization DeirEzzor24 maintains researchers on the ground in Syria, reported that the trucks belonged to Iranian militias, and that the strikes also targeted a meeting of Iranian commanders in the Abu Kamal area.

Unverified footage circulating online purported to show a large fire burning in the area. READ MORE

50 ex-ministry heads, treasury chiefs join financial warnings over judicial overhaul

Fifty former ministry directors have joined the warnings against the government’s plan to overhaul the judiciary, saying it would lead to “long-term” damage to the country’s economic growth and quality of life.

In a letter published Monday, former senior officials — including former treasury directors and some who worked under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for years — said the planned overhaul “will cause unprecedented damage to Israel’s economy.”

Signatories include former Finance Ministry directors general David Brodet, Yaacov Lifshitz, Ohad Marani, Yarom Ariav, Aharon Fogel, Haim Shani, Shalom Singer and Keren Terner Eyal, as well as former budget director at the Finance Ministry Shaul Meridor, former Prime Minister’s Office director general Raanan Dinur, former Energy Ministry director general Udi Adiri, and former Competition Authority director general Michal Halperin. READ MORE

Former top security official: If Abbas’s PA won’t fight terror, why should it exist?

Israel’s former national security adviser charged that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s failure to fight terrorism was a deliberate and risky gamble, but argued that Israel should not let the weekend terror attacks dictate the agenda of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s visit this week.

“It’s a dangerous game,” Meir Ben-Shabbat, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s top security aide from 2017 to 2021, told The Times of Israel on Sunday. “If it’s intended as a lever to pressure Israel, it’s dangerous for Abu Mazen [Abbas’s nom de guerre] first and foremost.”

On Friday night, a Palestinian gunman from East Jerusalem killed seven people and injured three more in the Neve Yaakov neighborhood of Jerusalem, and the next morning, a 13-year-old Palestinian shot and wounded two Israeli men near the Old City. READ MORE