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Israel Prime Minister Lapid Wishes the Jewish Nation a Happy New Year!

By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency / Jewish News Agency

Jerusalem, Israel — September 25, 2022 … Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid wishes the Jewish Nation a Shana Tova, Happy New Year!

“Regardless if you are Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, Hassidic, born in Israel, Europe or North and South America – we are one family.”

שנה טובה ומתוקה

Prime Minister Lapid speaks with President Biden On Iran Nuclear Agreement

By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency / Jewish News Agency

Jerusalem, Israel — September 1, 2022 … Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid spoke on Wednesday, August 31, 2022, with the President of the United States, Joseph R. Biden, Jr.

Prime Minister Lapid and President Biden spoke at length about the negotiations on a nuclear agreement, and their shared commitment to stopping Iran’s progress towards securing a nuclear weapon.

The leaders discussed recent events as well as Iran’s terrorist activity in the Middle East and beyond. In this context, the Prime Minister emphasized the importance of the strikes President Biden ordered against Iranian bases in Syria.

Israel has intensified strikes on Syrian airports to disrupt Tehran’s increasing use of aerial supply lines to deliver weapons to Islamic terror organizations in Syria and Lebanon including Hezbollah.

Russia has demanded that Iran and its proxies withdraw from positions across Syria, amid an increase in airstrikes by Israel in recent weeks, according to a Friday report.

A-Sharq Al-Awsat, a Saudi-owned daily published in London, cited Syrian officials as saying Russian officers called on their Iranian counterparts during a Wednesday meeting at the Hama Military Airport in central Syria, to leave several sites in the country.

The report said the three Russian officers demanded they evacuate the Iranian military headquarters in the western Hama province, which is situated next to the Syrian army’s Regiment 49 base.

The Prime Minister and President Biden discussed advancing relations between their two countries building on the Jerusalem Declaration.

President Biden emphasized his deep commitment to the security of the State of Israel, and to preserving Israel’s capability to deter its enemies and to defend itself by itself against any threat.

Israel Defense Minister Gantz Designates 3 PFLP Groups as Terror Organizations

By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency / Jewish News Agency

Jerusalem, Israel — August 22, 2022 … As part of Israel’s ongoing efforts to combat terrorism, particularly in relation to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Israeli Minister of Defense Benny Gantz ratified the designation made in October 2021 of the following organizations as terrorist organizations: “Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees”, “Bisan” and “ADDAMEER.” The designation was ratified by law in the State of Israel.

The three Islamic terror organizations, which serve as branches of The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), did not appeal against their designation as terrorist organizations in Israel.

Concurrently, the General of the Israel Defense Force’s Central Command denied the appeals filed in Judea and Samaria by the three organizations, as well as the appeals submitted by two additional organizations – “Al-Haq” and “Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCI-P),” against their designations as terrorist organizations.

All of the organizations in question operate under cover and in agency of the PFLP in Judea and Samaria, as well as abroad.

The organizations operate under the guise of performing humanitarian activities to further the goals of the PFLP terrorist organization, to strengthen the organization and to recruit operatives. They also assist in raising funds for the terrorist organization via a variety of methods that include forgery and fraud.

The five organizations are controlled by the PFLP, employ PFLP operatives in management and field positions and operate to conceal their affiliation to the terrorist organization, out of fear of the security agencies in Israel and in the countries in where they raise funds.

The designation of these organizations and their exposure as branches of the PFLP terrorist organization is part of the joint effort of the ISA, the Israel National Bureau for Counter Terror Financing (NBCTF) in the Israel Ministry of Defense and the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

Islamic Terrorists Attack Israel With Over 1,000 Rockets

By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency / Jewish News Agency

UPDATED: Jerusalem, Israel — August 7, 2022 … Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid is currently holding an assessment of the terror rocket attacks from Gaza ahead of the Security Cabinet meeting, at the Kirya in Tel Aviv. 

Alternate Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, ISA Director Ronen Bar, Mossad Director David Barnea, National Security Council Director Dr. Ron Hulata, Prime Minister’s Office Director General Naama Schultz, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Director General Alon Ushpiz, IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi, IDF Operations Branch Commander Maj.-Gen. Oded Basiuk and other senior security officials are participating.



Over 1,000 rockets have been launched at Israel from Gaza with targets including Tel Aviv. Rocket sirens sounded in the southern part of Tel Aviv and the central cities of Rishon Lezion and Holon, for the first time since violence escalated between Israel and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group on Friday.

Some of the rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome air defense system, and others landed in open areas.
Shortly before, sirens also sounded in Ashkelon, Sderot, and other towns near the border with the Gaza Strip. Several of the rockets were intercepted.

Contrary to Palestinian reports regarding the rocket incident in Jabalya, it must be clarified:
 
The Israeli government has in their possession videos that prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that this incident was not the result of an Israel Defense Forces’ strike. Israeli security forces did not strike in Jabalya in the past few hours.
 
It has been irrefutably proven that this incident was the result of the misfiring of a rocket launched by Islamic Jihad in Gaza.
 
Following reports in Palestinian and international media, an investigation took place which unequivocally showed that this was not an Israeli strike but rather, a rocket launched from within the Gaza Strip which fell in the heart of Jabalya.

All fire by the Islamic Jihad terrorist organization is a double war crime: it is shooting at civilians, and using Gazan civilians as human shields.
 
This incident is an example of Islamic Jihad harming the residents of Gaza. All harm to innocent civilians is tragic.

Prime Minister Yair Lapid, today spoke with the heads of local authorities in the south and updated them on the progress of Operation Breaking Dawn and the assessments looking forward.
 
The Prime Minister emphasized the need to ensure that citizens adhere to the directives of the IDF Home Front Command and noted that these directives save lives.
 
The local authority heads expressed support for the goals of Operation Breaking Dawn, and said that the residents of the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip are strong and there is support for continuing the operation until security is restored in the area.

 

Prime Minister Lapid heard from the local authority heads about immediate and longer term needs in the area due to the operation. The Prime Minister also updated them that later today, the Ministry Director General Forums will convene under the leadership of the Director General of the Prime Minister’s Office, with the goal of mapping out, synchronizing, and streamlining services to residents in order to assist as much as possible.
 
Participating in the discussion were Sderot Mayor Alon Davidi, Ashkelon Mayor Tomer Glam, Eshkol Regional Council Head Gadi Yarkoni, Hof Ashkelon Regional Council Head Itamar Revivo, Sdot Negev Regional Council Head Tamir Idan, and Sha’ar HaNegev Regional Council Head Ofir Libstein. Also participating were PMO Dir.-Gen. Naama Schultz, Chief of Staff Dani Vesely, Cabinet Secretary Shalom Shlomo, the Prime Minister’s Military Secretary Maj.-Gen. Avi Gil, Deputy Head of the National Security Council Eitan Ben David, and Diplomatic Advisor Yair Zivan.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz today visited an Iron Dome Battery, together with the Commander of the IAF’s Air Defense Division, Brig. Gen. Gilad Biran, and soldiers stationed at the battery. Minister Gantz thanked the soldiers for their contribution to the security of the State of Israel and its citizens.
 
“This is the second day of operation ‘Breaking Dawn,’ which aims to remove the threat posed by the Islamic Jihad terrorist organization, and to restore peace and stability in Israel’s south,” said Minister Gantz.
“We have thwarted and will continue to thwart terror attacks, rocket and PGM launches from Gaza to Israel. We have hit dozens of terror facilities used by Islamic Jihad for the production and launch of rockets. The soldiers serving at the Iron Dome battery who are with us today, will continue to defend the home front – never removing their eyes from their targets.”
 
“Islamic Jihad leaders lounge abroad in restaurants and hotels in Tehran, Syria and Lebanon. They are disconnected from the Palestinian people and they seriously harm the lives of the Gazan people. They too will have to pay the price. The IRGC [which supports Islamic Jihad], will not pay the salaries of Gaza residents.”
 
Gantz added: “Our operational activities against the perpetrators of terrorism will continue and intensify.”

A ceasefire between Israel and the Islamic Jihad terror organization in Gaza was reached Sunday evening and is holding on Monday after a weekend of terror rocket attacks against Jewish civilians in Israel.

The escalation by Islamic Jihad was the most serious in nearly 15 months, when the Israeli military and Hamas fought an 11-day war in May 2021. A key difference this time was the decision by Hamas to stay out of the fighting.

The Israeli prime minister’s office thanked Egypt for its mediation efforts but warned that if the ceasefire was violated, “the State of Israel maintains the right to respond strongly.”

Israel Will Maintain Freedom of Navigation, Trade, Ensure Aerial Defense, Strengthen Cyber Defense

By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency / Jewish News Agency

Jerusalem, Israel — July 23, 2022 … Israel Defense Minister Benny Gantz at the Aspen Security Forum stated: “The State of Israel and her partners in the region have a common interest in maintaining freedom of navigation and trade, ensure aerial defense and strengthening our cyber defense. Since the signing of the Abraham Accords, Israel has participated in hundreds of meetings and discussions with regional partners and participated in at least 10 multinational exercises.”

Minister Gantz participated in the Aspen Security Forum, in a “fireside chat” moderated by editor of The Atlantic, Jeffrey Goldberg. The discussion focused on the impact of the Abraham Accords two years after their signing.

“The Abraham Accords enable us to expand our relations [with regional partners] in security aspects, in business to business [frameworks], organizations to organizations, and people to people. And of course we are creating a regional architecture for defense” said Minister Gantz.

Gantz added: “Israel was moved from EUCOM to CENTCOM – and we use it as a strategic umbrella. Since the signing of the peace accords, there have been hundreds of meetings and discussions with regional partners, and Israel has participated in at least 10 multinational exercises with regional partners. I am very happy that the U.S. has led this and that the region’s leaders have realized and taken this opportunity. We are creating a better Middle East.”

Addressing Iran, Minister Gantz said: “Iran is first a global challenge, then a regional challenge and only lastly it is a threat to the State of Israel. We can see it everywhere around the world – the Iranian impact in Venezuela, Algeria, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen. The Saudis and the Emiratis also suffer from Iranian attacks, Iran does not only pose a threat to the State of Israel.”

Gantz added: “The countries of the region understand that Israel is here to stay and that Israel is not a burden but rather an asset. Our excellent relations with the U.S. can be used as a bridge. Israel does not threaten the countries of the region, while Iran does. We can see Iran’s malign activity in the region without a nuclear canopy, without nuclear deterrence. Imagine what they would do with it. And that’s why we cannot let Iran become a nuclear [state].

At the same time, I do not know of another country that has another country, in this case Iran, threatening its existence and building the means to do so. The government and leadership of Israel has a historic responsibility to build our capabilities and to prevent Iran from becoming nuclear.”

Speaking about the Palestinian issue, Defense Minister Gantz said: “I believe that we can leverage the Abraham Accords and ties with regional partners in order to strengthen the Palestinian Authority and promote confidence-building measures. From a Jewish, Zionist, and democratic perspective, I would like to see a better future between us and the Palestinians and that includes separating from the Palestinians.”

KeepIsraelStrong.com

President Herzog, Prime Minister Lapid bid Farewell to US President Joe Biden; Saudi airspace now open to Israel.

By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency
/ Jewish News Agency

Jerusalem, Israel — July 15, 2022 … Israeli President Isaac Herzog and Prime Minister Yair Lapid, this afternoon wished US President Joe Biden the very best of warm wishes upon the conclusion of his successful visit to Israel and ahead of his departure for Saudi Arabia.

“Today is a historic day,” said Prime Minister Lapid.

“After intense behind the scenes diplomacy with Saudi Arabia and the United States, Saudi airspace will now be open to Israeli airlines.

I would like to thank President Biden, for his visit here in Israel and for his commitment to a strong Israel and a prosperous region. I wish him success in Jeddah.

“I would like to thank the President of the United States, Joe Biden, for a visit that moved our entire country and for his commitment to Israel’s military and diplomatic strength. I wish him success at the Jeddah Summit.

We woke up this morning to happy news. The Saudi aviation authorities have announced that they will be opening Saudi airspace to Israeli airlines. This is the first official step in normalization with Saudi Arabia.

The decision will allow Israeli airlines to fly on a direct route to Asia and Australia. This will save vast amounts of fuel, time and money. The savings will directly reach the pockets of Israeli citizens and lower the price of airline tickets.

I thank the Saudi leadership for the opening of Saudi airspace. This is only the first step. We will continue working with necessary caution, for the sake of Israel’s economy, security and the good of our citizens.”

Lapid concluded: “This decision was preceded by the signing of the ‘Jerusalem Declaration’, deepening America’s commitment to Israel’s security, the fight against the Iranian nuclear program and the advancing of normalization initiatives of the Abraham Accords and the Negev Summit.

The visit has had additional achievements but it will be years before they can be discussed.”

US President Joe Biden Arrives in Israel

By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency / Jewish News Agency

Jerusalem, Israel — July 13, 2022 … Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid welcomed US President Joe Biden in a state ceremony at Ben-Gurion International Airport today in the presence of Israeli President Isaac Herzog, Alternate Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Ministers, and additional dignitaries. 

Prime Minister Lapid greeted President Biden at the foot of Air Force One together with President Herzog and Alternate Prime Minister Bennett. 

Following are Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s comments at the state welcoming ceremony: 

“Mr. President, this is both a historic visit, and a deeply personal one.

It is historic because it expresses the unbreakable bond between our two countries. Our commitment to shared values: democracy, freedom, and the right of the Jewish people to a state of their own.

It is also a personal visit, because your relationship with Israel has always been personal. You once defined yourself as a Zionist. You said that you don’t have to be a Jew to be a Zionist.

You were right, and in your case: A great Zionist and one of the best friends Israel has ever known.

President Biden visits Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial.

You have not been here for a few years, so in the next couple of days, you will see how Israel has grown and developed. You will see the strength and smartness of the Israeli army, the creativity of the start-up nation, the diversity of Israeli society.”

Lapid continued: “Israel is a country that brings together the past, present, and future. Just moments ago, your plane flew over where King Saul searched for his father’s donkeys, above King David’s rooftop, above the palm tree that Deborah the prophet sat under.

You also flew over world-leading hi-tech industries, over agriculture that is helping improve food security around the globe, above universities and research institutes where Israeli scientists — including Nobel Prize winners — are leading groundbreaking research.

During your visit, we will discuss matters of national security.”

Prime Minister Lapid concluded: “We will discuss building a new security and economy architecture with the nations of the Middle East, following the Abraham Accords and the achievements of the Negev Summit. And we will discuss the need to renew a strong global coalition that will stop the Iranian nuclear program.

There will be time for all of that. Right now, we are simply happy to see you, Mr. President. The simple, genuine joy brought by seeing a good friend once again.

Mr. President, Welcome to Israel.”

Israel Bonds – Strengthening Peace in The Middle East

Israel Bonds President Dani Naveh In Bahrain with H.E. Ambassador Dr. Shaikh Abdulla bin Ahmed Al Khalifa

By Israel Bonds President, CEO Dani Naveh

Jerusalem, Israel — July 11, 2022 … “Upon receiving the Nobel Prize for reaching peace with Egypt, the legendary Menachem Begin declared, “Reborn Israel always strove for peace, yearned for it, and made endless endeavors to achieve it.” 

After Begin spoke those words, it would be another 16 years before Israel signed its second peace treaty, this time with Jordan. Nearly three more decades would pass before Israel signed the Abraham Accords.

As a former government negotiator tasked with reaching agreement with the Palestinians, it sometimes seemed as though real, tangible peace was an elusive dream. Yet, years later, just five months into my term as president & CEO, I was leading, together with Bonds National and International Chairman of the Board Howard L. Goldstein and National Campaign Advisory Council Chair Chuck Berk, a delegation to the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

May’s Footsteps of the Abraham Accords delegation, 80 members strong, was a 10-day exploration of the true meaning of peace. The warmth with which we were greeted in the UAE and Bahrain was emotionally overwhelming. The sight of guest speakers standing behind an Israel Bonds podium, and taking selfies with delegates, were highlights we will always cherish.
 
Especially gratifying was the impressive New Leadership representation on the trip. Witnessing the delegation through their eyes was among my most memorable moments thus far as president & CEO.

At each meeting, I underscored the legacy of Israel Bonds, emphasizing the fact that the organization has been at the forefront of strengthening ties between the Jewish state and the Jewish people everywhere. Our guests were deeply impressed to learn worldwide Israel bond sales have surpassed $47 billion for Israel’s economic development.
 
So, in addition to strengthening Israel’s economy, the delegation demonstrated to our hosts that Israel Bonds can also help strengthen the bonds of peace.

Appropriately, the delegation ended in Jerusalem, the biblical City of Peace. When meeting with President Herzog, Finance Minister Lieberman and Defense Minister Gantz, together with Israelis from across the spectrum, we felt a profound connection with the nation and people of Israel.

Every delegate has returned home proud, inspired and honored to be brand ambassadors for Israel Bonds. As we look to the future, we take pride in positioning the Bonds enterprise as a foundation on which to build for the limitless possibilities of peace.”

State of Israel Bonds refers both to securities issued by the government of Israel and to the commonly-used name of the company that is the exclusive underwriter for Israel bonds in the United States. The formal name of the company is the Development Corporation for Israel (DCI), and it is headquartered in New York City.

The idea of having an overseas bond issue was conceived by Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion in 1950 and was endorsed by Finance Minister Eliezer Kaplan and Labor Minister Golda Meir. Following the 1948 War of Independence, Israel was mired in a sever economic crisis and was in desperate need of an infusion of financial resources to help build, develop, strengthen or modernize nearly every sector of the economy. Worldwide Israel bond sales have surpassed $47 billion for Israel’s economic development.

Edited by Joel Leyden

Yair Lapid Becomes Prime Minister of Israel

By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency / Jewish News Agency


Jerusalem, Israel — June 30, 2022 … Outgoing Israel Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and incoming Prime Minister of Israel Yair Lapid held a modest handover ceremony at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem, today (Thursday, 30 June 2022).

Senior Israeli officials from their bureaus and members of the Bennett and Lapid families also attended the ceremony. An orderly and in-depth transition meeting was then held between outgoing Prime Minister Bennett and incoming Prime Minister Lapid in which the former outlined the main security and diplomatic issues of the State of Israel. 

Outgoing Prime Minister Bennett: “This very special position, and this country, does not belong to any one person.” Bennett continued: “This Jewish nation belongs to the entire people of Israel. I hand over to you the responsibility for the State of Israel.”

“I wish that you guard it well and may G-d watch over you. Lihi, I want to say that it is not easy to be the Prime Minister’s wife. But the stability is at home, the warmth is at home, the place that you are familiar with. Everyone will be there for you, without outside interests, without anything. This is the cornerstone for Yair’s success. Gilat, you are amazing, you are something special. The children, I know that it was not an easy year but what I told you at the outset, we are all together for the country. Together, you have paid a price for the country.” 

“Yair, every Shabbat we bless the children: ‘May G-d make you like Efraim and Menashe. May the Lord bless you and keep you. May he make his face to shine on you and be gracious to you. May He lift up his face to you and grant you peace.’ Good luck my brother!” 

Incoming Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said: “Amazingly, my mother said the same blessing to me 25 minutes ago. I will yet say what I have to say. I have worked under prime ministers. I am familiar with prime ministers. You are a good man and an excellent prime minister. You are also a good friend. This is not a farewell ceremony because there is no intention to take leave of you.” 

Following is a list of incoming Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s senior staff.
 
Chief of Staff – Dani Vesely
Senior Special Advisor – Gili Haushner
Director General of the Prime Minister’s Office – Naama Schultz
Diplomatic Adviser – Yair Zivan
Director of Communications – Yael Bar
Spokesperson – Roei Konkol
Senior Adviser – Tami Nassee
Director of Government-Knesset Relations – Dana Pitelis Kaduri
Head of the Digital Department – Noy Alroy Schnitzer
Head of Bureau – Heli Sinai

Israeli President Isaac Herzog met today with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem. The President thanked the Prime Minister for their close cooperation for the sake of Israel’s security and added that their work together has always taken place in a positive atmosphere of friendship and mutual respect.
President Herzog thanked Prime Minister Bennett and noted that he has always worked with his sights set on the good of the public and of the State of Israel.
Prime Minister Bennett thanked President Herzog for their friendship, his wise counsel, and his love of the State of Israel. The Prime Minister also thanked the President for his consistent work to bring together all parts of the nation. The two also discussed the diplomatic and security picture, U.S. President Joseph R. Biden Jr’s. expected visit, and the resumption of the nuclear talks.