Monthly Archives: December 2016

Israel: Obama, Kerry Should Not Lecture About Peace While Ignoring Islamic Terrorism

By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency

Jerusalem, Israel — December 28, 2016 … The following was communicated by the Israel Prime Minister’s office to the Israel News Agency.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this evening, issued the following statement in response to US Secretary of State John Kerry’s speech:

“Before I explain why this speech was so disappointing to millions of Israelis, I want to say that Israel is deeply grateful to the United States of America, to successive American administrations, to the American Congress, to the American people. We’re grateful for the support Israel has received over many, many decades. Our alliance is based on shared values, shared interests, a sense of shared destiny and a partnership that has endured differences of opinions between our two governments over the best way to advance peace and stability in the Middle East. I have no doubt that our alliance will endure the profound disagreement we have had with the Obama Administration and will become even stronger in the future.”

Netanyahu continued: “But now I must express my deep disappointment with the speech today of John Kerry – a speech that was almost as unbalanced as the anti-Israel resolution passed at the UN last week. In a speech ostensibly about peace between Israelis and Palestinians, Secretary Kerry paid lip service to the unremitting campaign of terrorism that has been waged by the Palestinians against the Jewish state for nearly a century.

What he did was to spend most of his speech blaming Israel for the lack of peace by passionately condemning a policy of enabling Jews to live in their historic homeland and in their eternal capital, Jerusalem.

Hundreds of suicide bombings, thousand, tens of thousands of rockets, millions of Israelis in bomb shelters are not throwaway lines in a speech; they’re the realities that the people of Israel had to endure because of mistaken policies, policies that at the time won the thunderous applause of the world.

I don’t seek applause; I seek the security, and peace, and prosperity and the future of the Jewish state. The Jewish people have sought their place under the sun for 3,000 years, and we’re not about to be swayed by mistaken policies that have caused great, great damage.

Israelis do not need to be lectured about the importance of peace by foreign leaders. Israel’s hand has been extended in peace to its neighbors from day one, from its very first day. We’ve prayed for peace, we’ve worked for it every day since then. And thousands of Israeli families have made the ultimate sacrifice to defend our country and advance peace.

My family has been one of them; there are many, many others.

No one wants peace more than the people of Israel.

Israel remains committed to resolving the outstanding differences between us and the Palestinians through direct negotiations. This is how we made peace with Egypt; this is how we made peace with Jordan; it’s the only way we’ll make peace with the Palestinians. That has always been Israel’s policy; that has always been America’s policy.

Here’s what President Obama himself said at the UN in 2011. He said: ‘Peace is hard work. Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the United Nations. If it were that easy, it would have been accomplished by now.’

That’s what President Obama said, and he was right. And until last week this was repeated over and over again as American policy. Secretary Kerry said that the United States cannot vote against its own policy. But that’s exactly what it did at the UN, and that’s why Israel opposed last week’s Security Council resolution, because it effectively calls the Western Wall ‘occupied Palestinian Territory,’ because it encourages boycotts and sanctions against Israel – that’s what it effectively does, and because it reflects a radical shift in US policy towards the Palestinians on final status issues – those issues that we always agreed, the US and Israel, have to be negotiated directly, face to face without preconditions.

That shift happened despite the Palestinians walking away from peace and from peace offers time and time again, despite their refusal to even negotiate peace for the past eight years, and despite the Palestinian Authority inculcating a culture of hatred towards Israel in an entire generation of young Palestinians.

Israel looks forward to working with President-elect Trump and with the American Congress, Democrats and Republicans alike, to mitigate the damage that this resolution has done and ultimately, to repeal it.

Israel hopes that the outgoing Obama Administration will prevent any more damage being done to Israel at the UN in its waning days. I wish I could be comforted by the promise that the US says we will not bring any more resolutions to the UN. That’s what they said about the previous resolution. We have it on absolutely incontestable evidence that the United States organized, advanced and brought this resolution to the United Nations Security Council. We’ll share that information with the incoming administration. Some of it is sensitive, it’s all true. You saw some of it in the protocol released in an Egyptian paper. There’s plenty more; it’s the tip of the iceberg.

So they say, but we didn’t bring it. And they could take John Kerry’s speech with the six points. It could be raised in the French international conference a few days from now and then brought to the UN. So France will bring it, or Sweden – not a noted friend of Israel – could bring it. And the United States could say, well, we can’t vote against our own policy, we’ve just annunciated it.

I think the United States, if it’s true to its word, or at least if it’s now true to its word, should now come out and say we will not allow any resolutions, any more resolutions in the Security Council on Israel. Period. Not we will bring or not bring – we will not allow any, and stop this game, the charades.

I think that the decisions that are vital to Israel’s interests and the future of its children, they won’t be made through speeches in Washington or votes in the United Nations or conferences in Paris. They’ll be made by the Government of Israel around the negotiating table, making them on behalf of the one and only Jewish state – a sovereign nation that is the master of its own fate.

And one final thought – I personally know the pain, the loss and the suffering of war. That’s why I’m so committed to peace. Because for anyone who’s experienced it, as I have, war and terror are horrible. I want young Palestinian children to be educated like our children, for peace. But they’re not educated for peace. The Palestinian Authority educates them to lionize terrorists and to murder Israelis.

My vision is that Israelis and Palestinians both have a future of mutual recognition, of dignity, mutual respect, co-existence. But the Palestinian Authority tells them that they will never accept, should never accept the existence of a Jewish state.

So, I ask you, how can you make peace with someone who rejects your very existence?

This conflict is not about houses, or communities in the West Bank, Judea and Samaria, the Gaza district or anywhere else. This conflict is and has always been about Israel’s very right to exist.

That’s why my hundreds of calls to sit with President Abbas for peace talks have gone unanswered. That’s why my invitation to him to come to the Knesset was never answered. That’s why the Palestinian government continues to pay anyone who murders Israelis a monthly salary.

The persistent Palestinian refusal to recognize a Jewish state remains the core of the conflict and its removal is the key to peace.”

Netanyahu concluded: “Palestinian rejection of Israel and support for terror are what the nations of the world should focus on if they truly want to advance peace, and I can only express my regret and say that it’s a shame that Secretary Kerry does not see this simple truth.”

Obama Allows UN To Declare Israel’s Western Wall “Occupied Territory”

By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency

Jerusalem, Israel — December 25, 2016 … Following an UN Security Council resolution that condemns Israeli settlements, a resolution that Barack Obama allowed to pass with 14 votes,  Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, US President Elect Donald Trump and  Jewish leaders responded with pure revulsion.

After an intense period of diplomacy that unfolded in the two days before the UNSC vote, a senior Israeli official accused the United States of abandoning the Jewish state with its refusal to block the resolution with a veto.

“Citizens of Israel, I would like to reassure you. The resolution that was adopted yesterday at the United Nations is distorted and shameful but we will overcome it, said Netanyahu.

“The resolution determines that the Jewish Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem is ‘occupied territory’. This is delusional. The resolution determines that the Western Wall is ‘occupied territory’. This too is delusional. There is nothing more absurd than calling the Western Wall and the Jewish Quarter occupied territory. There is also an attempt here, which will not succeed, to impose permanent settlement terms on Israel. You might recall that the last one who tried to do this was Carter, an extremely hostile president to Israel, and who just recently said that Hamas is not a terrorist organization. Carter passed sweeping decisions against us at the UN of a similar kind, and this was also unsuccessful. We opposed this and nothing happened.”

Israel’s UN ambassador, Danny Danon, reacted angrily to the vote.

“It was to be expected that Israel’s greatest ally would act in accordance with the values that we share and that they would have vetoed this disgraceful resolution. I have no doubt that the new US administration and the incoming UN Secretary General will usher in a new era in terms of the UN’s relationship with Israel,” he said.

Donald Trump, who has promised to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and has nominated an ambassador in David Friedman who is supportive of settlers, pledged that the Palestinians would no longer have a platform at the UN when he is inaugurated next month.

“As to the U.N., things will be different after Jan. 20th,” Trump posted on Twitter.
On Saturday, Trump tweeted, “The big loss yesterday for Israel in the United Nations will make it much harder to negotiate peace. Too bad, but we will get it done anyway!”

In a Cabinet meeting held in Jerusalem today, Netanyahu said: “I share ministers’ feelings, anger and frustration vis-à-vis the unbalanced resolution that is very hostile to the State of Israel, and which the UN Security Council passed in an unworthy manner. From the information that we have, we have no doubt that the Obama administration initiated it, stood behind it, coordinated on the wording and demanded that it be passed. This is, of course, in complete contradiction of the traditional American policy that was committed to not trying to dictate terms for a permanent agreement, like any issue related to them in the Security Council, and, of course, the explicit commitment of President Obama himself, in 2011, to refrain from such steps.”

Netanyahu continued: “We will do whatever is necessary so that Israel will not be damaged by this shameful resolution and I also tell the ministers here, we must act prudently, responsibly and calmly, in both actions and words. I ask ministers to act responsibly as per the directives that will be given today at the Security Cabinet meeting immediately following this meeting. I have also asked the Foreign Ministry to prepare an action plan regarding the UN and other international elements, which will be submitted to the Security Cabinet within one month. Until then, of course, we will consider our steps.”

“Over decades, American administrations and Israeli governments had disagreed about settlements, but we agreed that the Security Council was not the place to resolve this issue. We knew that going there would make negotiations harder and drive peace further away.

And, as I told John Kerry on Thursday, friends don’t take friends to the Security Council. I’m encouraged by the statements of our friends in the United States, Republicans and Democrats alike. They understand how reckless and destructive this UN resolution was, they understand that the Western Wall isn’t occupied territory.

I look forward to working with those friends and with the new administration when it takes office next month. And I take this opportunity to wish Israel’s Christian citizens and our Christian friends around the world a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.”

A few hours ago, Netanyahu made an unexpected visit to the Western Wall.

“I did not plan to be here this evening but in light of the UN resolution I thought that there was no better place to light the second Chanukah candle than the Western Wall. According to the UN resolution, the Maccabees did not liberate Jerusalem, they occupied Palestinian territory. According to the UN resolution, the villages that they started out from in the Modi’in area, those villages and that area were ‘occupied Palestinian territory’.

Of course the Palestinians arrived much later. We were in these places. We will return to these places and I ask those same countries that wish us a Happy Hanukkah how they could vote for a UN resolution which says that this place, in which we are now celebrating Hanukkah, is occupied territory.

The Western Wall is not occupied. The Jewish Quarter is not occupied. Other land and places are not occupied either. Therefore, we do not accept, nor can we accept, this resolution. We are certain of our future just as we are certain of our past. And here I would like to light Chanukah candles on behalf of the Glory of Israel. Happy Chanukah.”

Netanyahu has instructed members of his cabinet to refrain from traveling to countries that voted for the UN resolution.

Following the UN vote, Netanyahu recalled Israel’s ambassadors to New Zealand and Senegal and canceled scheduled trips to Israel by the Senegalese foreign minister and Ukraine’s prime minister.

He also said that Israeli aid to Senegal will be canceled and that contributions Israel makes to five U.N. agencies will be halted.

Ten envoys were called in on Christmas morning for meetings with directors of the Foreign Ministry’s respective regional departments, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Emmanuel Nahshon said.

In regards to Great Britain and Spain, the deputy ambassadors were summoned because their respective bosses are currently not in the country. The ambassadors of China, Russia, France, Angola, Egypt, Japan, Ukraine and Uruguay were expected to arrive in Jerusalem later on Sunday. Senegal and New Zealand do not have embassies in Israel. Venezuela and Malaysia do not have diplomatic relations with Israel.

US Texas Senator Ted Cruz called on Congress to stop all funding to the United Nations until Friday’s vote at the UN Security Council to end Israeli settlement building is reversed.

The Republican leader and former US Presidential candidate took to Twitter, saying he had spoken to Netanyahu to send him Hanukka greetings along with the assurance of “strong support in Congress.”

Israel To Expand Humanitarian Aid To Syria

By John Hill
Israel News Agency

Jerusalem, Israel — December 20, 2016 … More than five years after it began, the Syrian civil war has killed a reported 470,000 people. Bombings are destroying crowded cities and horrific human rights violations are widespread. Basic necessities like food and medical care are sparse.

The U.N. estimates that 6.1 million people are internally displaced.  Over half of Syria’s pre-war population of 22 million is in need of urgent humanitarian assistance, whether they still remain in the country or have escaped across the border to Jordan, Iraq or Turkey.

Israel wasted no time in establishing field hospitals on the Israel Syrian border. To date, Israel has treated thousands of Syrians but now feels the need to provide even greater assistance.

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the following statement today:

“We see the tragedy, the terrible suffering of civilians, and I’ve asked the Israel Foreign Ministry to seek ways to expand our medical assistance to the civilian casualties of the Syrian tragedy, specifically in Aleppo where we’re prepared to take in wounded women and children and also men if they’re not combatants.”

Netanyahu added: “We’d like to do that, bring them to Israel, take care of them in our hospitals, as we’ve done with thousands of Syrian civilians. We’re looking into the ways of doing this, but it’s being explored as we speak.”

Israel has and will continue to provide food and clean water, shelters and provide families with clothing, mattresses and other household essentials. The Jewish nation will help children cope with extreme stress and lead constructive activities to nurture their healthy development.

One such Israeli-run, IDF field hospital on the border, the Ziv Medical Center, has treated more than 2,500 Syrians since 2013, when the civil war began, according to Dr. Salman Zarka, the hospital’s director.

Netanyahu’s announcement today marks the first time Israel has offered to take Syrians wounded on distant battlefields into Israel itself. The Syrian city of Aleppo, which has been the bloody epicenter of the fight for control of Syria for the past year, is located over 400 miles away from the Israeli border.

All Syrians allowed into Israel will go through an extensive vetting process which will assure that only Syrian civilians who never served as combatants will be provided with shelter and medical treatment. The State of Israel takes great pride that it welcomes all religions into her cities and towns.

Hundreds of Muslims and Christians serve proudly in the IDF and enjoy the only free and secure democracy in the Middle East.

IDF, Finest Jewish University, Reduces Mandatory Service

idf-marching

By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency

Jerusalem, Israel — December 6, 2016 … The Israel Defense Forces (IDF), respected for providing the best education for young Jews, plans to reduce mandatory military service of male soldiers by two months, from 32 to 30.

The initiative was approved Monday by the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

If the bill becomes law, it will go into effect in July 2020. The reduction in service would follow the change in mandatory service time from 36 months to 32 months passed two years ago.

The IDF has become an extremely popular program for Jews living in Israel and abroad.
In addition to providing an effective military presence, many join the IDF to learn specialized skills in computer science, engineering, aviation, communications, management, logistics and even film making.

Israelis supporting a shorter military service say that not only would it double the salaries of conscripts, but “the security needs of Israel will not be hurt, as combat troops and special forces soldiers will have the possibility to extend their service.”

A shorter military service would be excellent news for the Israeli economy. Knesset Committee member Rachel Azaria stated: “An early release to the workforce will strengthen the economy and will help with economic challenges faced by the State of Israel.”

idf_cyber_warfare

The Israel Finance Ministry stated that the move would be “a step that will improve the conditions for combat soldiers and increase motivation for all soldiers.”

Ofer Margalit of the Israel Finance Ministry said that “the IDF agreed that shorter mandatory services periods would not hurt or weaken Israel’s security, because of the expected rise in recruitment numbers, regardless of the positive economic outcome such a move will have. The legislation now will provide certainty of process, but also enough time to properly prepare the army.”

Young Jews can even have a say as to where to serve.

Some choose combat units in the ground forces such as Handasa Kravit (combat engineers), Paratroopers, Givati (marines), Golani, Sherion (tanks)  while others select the Air Force, Navy, Medical or Intelligence.

idf_3_babies_nepal

Many Anglo Saxons find themselves serving in elite units which utilizes their native born English.
Hundreds serving in the IDF Spokesperson’s Office, Liaison to the United Nations, Humanitarian Aid Missions or Intelligence decide to prolong their stay in the IDF as career soldiers or remain active in the reserves.

Some immigrants to Israel are not required to serve the full two and half years, but rather serve a shortened period of a few weeks or months in basic training, taught Hebrew and then released into the reserves.

Rivlin At Jewish Media Summit: Help Us Fight Anti-Semitism

rivlin-jerusalem-jewish-media-summit
Photo: Mark Neiman

By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency

Jerusalem, Israel — December 5, 2016 … Israeli President Reuven Rivlin addressed a summit of publishers and writers of Jewish media outlets from around the world. His first and foremost words were for the Jewish media to be the eyes and ears of the Jewish community. Rivlin asked the international Jewish media to encourage their readers to report any acts of anti-semitism and provide wide and detailed coverage of these hate crimes.

“You are like a window,” said Rivlin.

“Many outside the community look at you to learn about the Jewish community. And the Jewish community want you to make their voice heard. Many Jewish newspapers, have the motto: “the voice of the Jewish community.” However, today perhaps more than ever, you have another job to do. You must also be the eyes and ears of the community. Together, we must stand up and fight anti-Semitism, whenever and wherever we find it. And we must do it together.”

The President stressed that as an Israeli and a Zionist: “I do believe that Aliya (immigration to Israel) is still the best way to express your Zionism. But I also believe that wherever you choose to live – in Europe, in America in Australia, Asia or Africa – you have the right to live as a proud Jew.”

Rivlin reiterated: “If you face anti-Semitism – it is the duty of the State of Israel to stand by you. And when we face anti-Zionism – which is also anti-Semitism – you have a duty to stand with us.”

The President continued by noting he was, “proud of the great achievements of the State of Israel.”

“Israeli society is facing many changes, and no longer has a secular majority and small religious minorities. It is a society which has four tribes; Haredi, Secular, National Religious, and Arab: all nearly the same size, with different identities. living in different cities, in different schools, and reading different newspapers.”

“The President’s Office is now organizing projects in education, academia, in employment, in sport, and in local government, across the country. In these projects we work to bridge the gaps, between religious and secular, between Arabs and Jews, and teach them; to build a shared hope.”

Rivlin stated: “As President, I am working to ‘shine a light’ on all forms of hatred and extremism, which want to tear apart our shared lives here in this land. And I see the Jewish community around the world as important partners in building this shared hope.”

The President speaking directly to the journalists said: “I have not been shy to speak out, when I see a challenge to Israel: as a Jewish or as a democratic state. And when I have, the media in Israel and around the world was quick to report it. There are many who are quick to write headlines and articles about the problems we face. But they are much slower to report the good news: the solutions to the problems. They are much slower to write about all we are doing to build a shared hope, for all Israelis.”

Rivlin concluded: “I understand the golden rule, “if it bleeds, it leads”, but friends, as the voice, eyes, and ears of the Jewish community, I urge you all: be sure you give a voice to those working for a better future. Because the world and the community looks to you.”

AIPAC: Senate Joins House in Passing Iran Sanctions Extension Act

epa03293474 The upgrade version of medium range missile Shahab-1, is launched during the second day of military exercises, codenamed Great Prophet, by Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards at the Lut desert in southeastern Iran, 03 July 2012. Report said that on the second day of a military manoeuvre in the Lut desert in southeastern Iran, several missiles were successfully tested, without giving further details.  The IRGC plans to test all of its short-, medium- and long-range missiles in the ongoing manoeuvre which took place one day after the European Union's latest oil sanctions against Tehran went into effect.  EPA/Mojtaba Heydari

The upgrade version of medium range missile Shahab-1, is launched from Iran.

By Herb Brandon
Israel News Agency

Washington — December 2, 2016 … The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) states that it applauds the U.S. Senate for unanimously passing the Iran Sanctions Extension Act today.

The House previously adopted this critical measure on November 15.

AIPAC says that when enacted into law: “it would preserve the basic architecture of U.S. sanctions on Iran’s dangerous nuclear program and other problematic activities, including support of terrorism, illegal arms trade and illicit ballistic missile program.”

First passed by Congress in 1996, the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) is set to expire on December 31 unless this extension becomes law. Congress’ decisive action signals American determination to enforce the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran and re-impose currently waived sanctions if Iran violates the deal.

“Unfortunately, Tehran has only stepped up its malign behavior since the JCPOA was implemented in January,” AIPAC said in a statement released online.

“Iran has harassed American military forces, procured prohibited technology, tested nuclear-capable ballistic missiles, and stoked regional conflicts. The United States must push back against Iran’s behavior, and respond to violations of the JCPOA, U.S. law or United Nations Security Council resolutions with certain, swift and severe penalties.”

ADL: Ellison’s Racist Comments Disqualifies Him To Lead DNC

keith-ellison-islamic-state-terrorists
Ellison was responsible for defending 12 Muslims
from
Minneapolis who wanted to join ISIS.

By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency

New York, NY — December 1, 2016 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which only last month defended and described Rep. Keith Ellison as “a man of good character”, has now decided to expose Ellison for racist comments he has made against Jews.

In 2010, Ellison stated that US foreign policy was directed by Israel. By making this comment Ellison reinforced age-old racist stereotypes about Jewish control of the US government.

Ellison, a past member of the radical Nation of Islam and supporter of anti-semite advocate Louis Farrakhan, received substantial campaign contributions from groups tied to the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood is the “parent” organization of Hamas, al Qaeda and other terrorist entities. Egypt, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, Russia, the UAE and Kuwait have all designated the Muslim Brotherhood to be a terrorist organization.

In 2014, Ellison was one of only eight members of Congress who voted against the bipartisan bill to provide $225 million to Israel’s “Iron dome” missile system. Ellison was supporting the ability of Islamic terror organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah to launch missiles against cities and towns in Israel – the murder of Jewish civilians.

ADL CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt,  issued the following statement today denouncing Ellison.

“When Rep. Ellison’s candidacy to be chair of the Democratic National Committee was first reported, ADL did not rush to judgment.  Instead, we took a hard look at the totality of his record on key issues on our agenda. We spoke to numerous leaders in the community and to Mr. Ellison himself. ADL’s subsequent statement on his candidacy appreciated his contrition on some matters, acknowledged areas of commonality but clearly expressed real concern where Rep. Ellison held divergent policy views, particularly related to Israel’s security.

New information recently has come to light that raises serious concerns about whether Rep. Ellison faithfully could represent the Democratic Party’s traditional support for a strong and secure Israel. In a speech recorded in 2010 to a group of supporters, Rep. Ellison is heard suggesting that American foreign policy in the Middle East is driven by Israel, saying: “The United States foreign policy in the Middle East is governed by what is good or bad through a country of 7 million people. A region of 350 million all turns on a country of 7 million. Does that make sense? Is that logic? Right? When the Americans who trace their roots back to those 350 million get involved, everything changes.”

Rep. Ellison’s remarks are both deeply disturbing and disqualifying.  His words imply that U.S. foreign policy is based on religiously or national origin-based special interests rather than simply on America’s best interests. Additionally, whether intentional or not, his words raise the specter of age-old stereotypes about Jewish control of our government, a poisonous myth that may persist in parts of the world where intolerance thrives, but that has no place in open societies like the U.S. These comments sharply contrast with the Democratic National Committee platform position, which states: “A strong and secure Israel is vital to the United States because we share overarching strategic interests and the common values of democracy, equality, tolerance, and pluralism.”

ADL is a non-partisan organization and does not support any political party; however, we deeply believe in the importance of bipartisan support for Israel.  Such support is crucial to ensure continued engagement with our most important ally in the region, a democracy whose emphasis on equality and commitment to the rule of law stands in stark contrast to the anarchy and authoritarian regimes that prevail in much of the Middle East. These shared values are the bedrock for the long-standing relationship between the U.S. and Israel.

Whoever it may be, we would hope that the next head of the Democratic Party would have fidelity to these timeless ideals at all times.”

Two weeks ago, Morton A. Klein, the President of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) urged that Ellison not be appointed to head the DNC. The ZOA clearly illustrated Ellison’s dangerous positions, involvements and anti-Israel congressional initiatives.