Jerusalem, Israel — April 11, 2019 … Was the SpaceIL Beresheet moon mission a success?
On a scale of 1-10 – we would give it an 8.
The purpose of this mission was to have a successful launch and reach the moon. Beresheet successfully reached and held an Earth orbit. Beresheet successfully entered and held a lunar orbit. Beresheet was on target as it made a hard landing. It reached the moon after traveling over 3.4 million miles in its orbits around the earth and another 1 million around the moon.
Beresheet reached it’s target. Disappointing that the main engine and communications cut out on descent, and we will fix these and other bugs with Beresheet 2.0.
Have no doubt about Israel’s space industry. Israel has produced some of the world’s finest, most sophisticated satellites – for both weather and defense purposes.
All created by the government with an adequate budget.
Beresheet’s last photo, taken moments before the crash – a selfie of herself – was a message for us all – keep dreaming, keep doing.
The greatest success illustrated by Beresheet is the respected Israeli asset of making a dream come true. Having vision and not letting go of it.
On a shoestring budget, we produced a spacecraft that reached the moon. Granted, not in one piece, but perhaps hundreds of which one day we can look back and hold one of those pieces, smile and say with pride – this is where our space journey started.
I was in uniform at the IDF Spokesperson’s office when Israel’s first astronaut Ilan Ramon perished. It was truly a tragic day. Nothing can equate the loss of life. But this was different. Beresheet was a scientific experiment, a romantic dream that went mostly to plan, an experiment for which we will learn from and grow as we create Beresheet 2.0.
There was no loss of life. There was real achievement, sweat, limited success, much education and inspiration designed for every Jewish child to look up and say: “Yes I can, never give up.”
In the IDF we have one word to describe today’s Beresheet mission. That word is Kadeema.
To move forward with all that we have learned and prepare ourselves for the next mission.
As Israelis, we do not fail. We may hit bumps, but we get right back up and move forward – with a Beresheet smile. And we say Kadeema! – Joel Leyden, Publisher, IsraelMoon.com.
Jerusalem, Israel — April 6, 2019 … Beresheet (Hebrew for Genesis) – Israel’s first spacecraft to land on the moon, has entered lunar orbit and is on an “excellent” track, according to data from the SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) engineering teams at their control room in Yehud, Israel.
During its lunar orbit, Beresheet will be at its nearest point to the moon (perilune) at 470 km (292 miles) from the lunar surface, and the farthest from the moon (apolune) at 10,400 km (6,462 miles).
Beresheet is scheduled to land on the moon at about 11 p.m. Israel time on April 11.
A more definite time will be announced in the next few days. During the coming week, SpaceIL and IAI will conduct a series of intense maneuvers with the spacecraft in preparation for the landing.
During the critical Lunar Capture maneuver, when the spacecraft entered the moon’s orbit from the Earth’s orbit, Beresheet provided dramatic pictures of the moon while activating its engines.
Beresheet, built by SpaceIL, a nonprofit in Israel, is the first privately funded venture to send a spacecraft into orbit from Earth. SpaceIL was originally aiming to win a $20 million Google Lunar X Prize as the first private robotic craft to set down on the moon, but the deadline passed last year. SpaceIL pushed on even without the monetary incentive.
“Our luck is still holding, and we’re going to make it,” said Morris Kahn, an Israeli telecommunications billionaire who provided financial backing to the mission.
“After six weeks in space, we have succeeded in overcoming another critical stage by entering the moon’s gravity,” said SpaceIL CEO Ido Anteby. “We still have a long way until the lunar landing, but I’m convinced our team will land the first Israeli spacecraft on the moon, making us all proud.”
Beresheet is equipped with a high-resolution camera to capture panoramic views of the landing site to help scientists better understand the area. The Israeli spacecraft also carries a small “time capsule” loaded with photos and cultural artifacts, including a copy of the Bible engraved on a coin-size disk.
If all is successful, SpaceIL will join just NASA, the former Soviet Union and China in successfully landing a spacecraft on the moon.
Jerusalem, Israel — March 31 … Why is Ariel Gold banned from entering Israel?
One can easily find the answer on Twitter or Facebook. Just look for someone yelling that Israel is a criminal, Apartheid state responsible for dozens of massacres, torturing sweet, Palestinian babies and creating dark sandstorms.
Ariel Gold, national co-director of US extreme left-wing activist group Code Pink and an advocate of the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement, holds a Masters degree in Social Work.
She knows how to professionally manipulate public opinion. Gold knows how to incite Palestinians to violence and terrorism.
The official reason given by Israeli security is that she supports the BDS movement.
The BDS movement was founded in 2005 by Omar Barghouti and asserts that it “works to end international support for Israel’s oppression of Palestinians and pressure Israel to comply with international law.”
Fact: BDS was designed to destroy Israel. They do not propose a two state solution. They do not propose a peace plan. Rather, they are known for chanting “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” In other words, kill the Jews.
Major Jewish organizations, including the ADL, condemn the BDS movement for an anti-Zionist position which masquerades for anti-semitism.
Ariel Gold, claims to be Jewish. She even posts a photo of herself at her son’s Bar-Mitzvah.
But not to far from that photo is another of Gold standing next to the Western Wall.
No, Ariel Gold is not praying. Gold and a fellow Code Pink member unfurled a boycott Israel banner at Judaism’s ancient, most holy site, to declare that the Western Wall and all of Jerusalem is occupied.
Rules and laws don’t seem to apply to this Master’s of Social Work.
In November 2015, Gold was arrested while participating in a Palestinian riot. In March 2015 and 2016, Gold was arrested for blocking the entrance to the American Israel Political Action Committee (AIPAC) annual conference. In June 2015 Gold was arrested again and charged with trespassing during a protest.
In 2015, Gold coordinated a 5-week U.S. speaking tour for Palestinian propagandist and provocateur Bassem Tamimi, whose U.S. visa has since been revoked. The tour was organized by Jewish Voice for Peace, FOSNA, and IFPB.
Gold brought Tamimi to a third-grade classroom in Ithaca, New York, where he encouraged grade-school children to become “freedom fighters for Palestine.” An investigation by the Ithaca City School District determined Tamimi’s anti-Israel presentation to the 8 and 9-year olds to be “politically skewed” and “inflammatory.”
Bassem Tamimi has exploited young children as political props in staged confrontations with Israeli soldiers. In 2011, he was jailed for organizing violent rallies and inciting minors to commit violent crimes such as rock-throwing.
When interviewed following the public outcry over Tamimi’s presentation, Ariel Gold compared Tamimi to Martin Luther King and called the public’s response “an attempt to silence Palestinian voices.”
Her blood libels know no limit, no borders.
She quotes Prime Minister Netanyahu for saying: Israel is a state for Jews only when in fact Netanyahu stated: “Israel shares a love of freedom and democracy. We cherish individual rights and the rule of law. We don’t judge people by the color of their skin, their religion, or their sexual orientation.”
But the one thing that really gets to thousands of Israelis, Jews and Christians worldwide is Gold calling Israel an Apartheid state. One South African who lived through Apartheid had an immediate response on Twitter:
Replying to @ArielElyseGold I live in South Africa, you do not know what Apartheid is, You are a Disgrace to Black South Africans and an Instant to them that suffered under Apartheid! Left is not Liberal
8:11 AM – 31 Mar 2019
Gold does not respond. She throws rocks, talking points and soundbytes and disappears.
The Israel News Agency asked her for comment. She refused.
So what is it that attracts hundreds of Jews online – from the Israeli government to global citizens to subject themselves to her verbal abuse and lies?
Ariel Gold is an attractive women. She has a soft smile. And she says she is Jewish.
Using the fact that she was born Jewish and has a Jewish sounding name, she is the classic wolf wearing sheep’s clothing.
So as family, many try to reason with her, debate her and even curse her.
Most psychologists would suggest – ignore her.
In fact, many believe that she suffers from narcissistic personality disorder.
She talks, she lies, she posts dozens of photos and videos of herself but never listens and rarely responds.
You can ask her if the Western Wall is occupied, describe the massacres and criminal acts that Israel is responsible for, illustrate examples of Apartheid, what borders does she suggest and all one receives is: “End the occupation, end the suffering, end the criminal acts.”
For us at the Israel News Agency, we witness hundreds of online attacks on Jews and the Jewish state.
We know Israel is not perfect, but then again we do not practice Apartheid, we do not gun down innocent civilians attacking the Israel Gaza border security fence, we cherish life, we don’t use our children as human shields.
What sets Ariel Gold and the Jewish Voice for Peace apart from Israel and the global Jewish community are the words: “Jewish”and “Peace”.
Ariel Gold, Code Pink, BDS, Jewish Voice for Peace and IfNotNow extreme Left wing groups are neither Jewish nor advocate peace. They want Israel to remove all security barriers and allow Hamas, Islamic Jihad, ISIS and Hezbollah to fulfill their open declarations of removing the hearts of all the Jews and to create a Palestine for Muslims only. That is true Apartheid.
These are the words of Jihad. Holy war against Jews and Christians.
Gold recently attacked a person who responded to one of her many blood libels on Twitter.
The person she targeted turned out to be a terror victim. She had been walking with a Christian friend in a forest in Israel when an Islamic terrorist repeatedly stabbed them both. Her Christian friend was thought to be Jewish and a fair target and bled to death in that forest.
Kay Wilson, who survived being stabbed 13 times, had the following response for Ariel Gold.
I believe her response represents thousands of Jews around the world who are proud of the only democracy in the Middle East and ashamed of those who call themselves Jews as they incite anti-semitism and terrorism:
“Massacres in Gaza”? You should be ashamed of yourself for spreading heinous lies. Grow up, stop seeking attention like a 5-year old. It’s very unbecoming. Oh, go ahead and block me too.”
Ariel Gold poses with the extreme Jewish organization
Neturei Karta, which advocates the death of all Jews in Israel.
Ariel Gold who spits on the Western Wall, supports Iran and her terror proxies Hamas and Hezbollah, threatens the Jewish state with BDS and ignores Jewish victims of terrorism, needs to be blocked by us all. She is a Jihadist. There is no debating with her. Only the block button on Twitter and Facebook. As several, global news media channels practice not to mention the name of a terrorist to provide them with fame and glory, we must do the same here.
As a matter of professional practice I always suggest to engage.
Engage with respect in a polite manner. Attack the issues, not the person.
When you come across Jihadists such as Gold, Jewish Voice for Peace and IfNotNow and there is no room for dialogue – move on. Do not give them the attention, the public relations they so badly beg for.
Jerusalem, Israel — March 11, 2019 … The AIPAC Policy Conference is the largest gathering of America’s pro-Israel community, and will be held this year March 24-26 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.
Through demonstrations of groundbreaking Israeli innovations, keynote speeches by American and Israeli leaders, inspiring moments on stage and intimate educational sessions, AIPAC Policy conference delegates will experience the full scale of pro-Israel activism in three days. The conference culminates with the delegates’ lobbying their members of Congress in support of legislation that enhances the relationship between the US and Israel.
“This is the biggest and best pro-Israel event this year,” said Joel Leyden, publisher of the Israel News Agency.
“Attendees have the opportunity to hear from legislators from both parties about the bipartisan legislation they support. Learn about the threats facing Israel and how they are being addressed and interact socially with others in the pro-Israel community.”
In what Israel proudly maintains as a historic first and a sign of the settlement movement’s growing acceptance among US Jewry, AIPAC has invited a representative of the YESHA Council to speak at its annual foreign policy forum in Washington DC later this month.
The bi-partisan organization is flying YESHA Council foreign envoy and Efrat Council head Oded Revivi to Washington to participate in a side panel at the conference called “Catch 67: The Left, The Right, and the Legacy of the 6-Day War.”
“AIPAC has finally realized that they cannot ignore half-a-million people living in Israel’s biblical Judea and Samaria, who are becoming more and more attractive to the audience of AIPAC,” Revivi said.
Prime Minister Netanyahu will address the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference two weeks before the Israeli elections, and will likely use the opportunity to meet with President Donald Trump, who is expected to release his peace plan for the Middle East shortly after the elections.
Netanyahu arrives at AIPAC after a rare comment on internal Israeli politics, as AIPAC and the AJC, condemned the recent merger deal between the Jewish Home party with the extremist Otzma Yehudit party.
The deal could see the entrance of at least one lawmaker from the party of Meir Kahane’s disciples into the 21st Knesset after the April elections.
In a statement last week the American Jewish Committee said the “views of Otzma Yehudit are reprehensible. They do not reflect the core values that are the very foundation of the State of Israel.”
Those who understand the Israeli electoral process and know Netanyahu are aware that this merger was created for votes to assure that no Left wing threat emerges against Israel’s security. Netanyahu has assured Israeli Arabs that the status quo will remain and that the extreme right wing votes will not translate into policy.
AIPAC stressed the importance of the relationship between the United States and Israel in a statement on Twitter.
“America’s partnership with Israel is a pillar of our foreign policy. A strong US-Israel relationship advances American values, safety, security and economic prosperity. Israeli innovations keep our troops safer and our environment cleaner,” said AIPAC.
“In Israel we have a reliable, pro-American ally in an unstable Middle East. We have a partner who promotes our values of freedom, democracy, equality, civil rights and human rights. We have a partner for peace, who wants a better future for its children and those of its neighbors.”
“Those who work to promote the US-Israel relationship do so because it is in America’s best interest. And because an America that is engaged in the world – promoting our values, standing by our friends, and partnering to confront threats – is essential for a brighter future,” said the organization.
“At AIPAC, we proudly bring together pro-Israel Americans of all ages, races, religions, cultures, experiences, opinions and political affiliations. We celebrate the diversity of our movement and champion our collective engagement in the political process.”
In two weeks, more than 18,000 Americans from 50 states will gather in D.C. to celebrate and promote the US-Israel alliance. They will come together determined, motivated and passionate about AIPAC’s critical mission and bipartisan advocacy.
The Conference takes place after Iran has inaugurated a new domestically-built submarine armed with cruise missiles.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani presided over the launch, which was broadcast live on state television. The Iranian government recently attacked US Vice President Mike Pence’s speech in Munich, in which he stated that “the Iranian regime openly advocates another Holocaust and it seeks the means to achieve it.”
Pence also stated: “The Islamic Republic of Iran is the leading state sponsor of terrorism in the world. Iran has supported terrorist proxies and militias, Hezbollah and Hamas; exported missiles; fueled conflicts in Syria and Yemen; plotted terrorist attacks on European soil; and openly advocated the destruction of the State of Israel.”
“Antisemitism is not just wrong; it’s evil,” Pence added.
Iran has developed a large domestic arms industry. Last year, Iran’s navy launched a domestically-built destroyer, which state media said has radar-evading stealth properties.
Iran says it has missiles with a range of up to 2,000 km. (1,250 miles), which puts Israel and US military bases in the region within its reach.
The Convention Center is located between 7th and 9th Streets and N Street and New York Avenue. Phone: 202-249-3000. Register at https://sforce.co/2DTkvcl
Jerusalem, Israel — February 19, 2019 … After a night of drinks in the small town of Holon, just south of Tel Aviv, came a fascinating, romantic idea by three young Israelis: launch a spacecraft and land it on the moon.
Yonatan Winetraub, Yariv Bash and Kfir Damari – were at a bar enjoying a few hours of friendly chat. They made for an interesting and enlightened mix: a space engineer, a cyber security expert and a drone maker.
One decade later, their dreams of space flight – of a spacecraft being launched from the earth to the moon bearing the Israeli flag is becoming a reality.
Their spacecraft, Beresheet (Hebrew for Genesis) will aim for the moon on February 22 as it lifts off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The star trek adventure will make Israel only the fourth country to ever successfully land on the moon – after the U.S, Russia and China. In addition, it will mark the first-ever privately funded trip (not paid for by a government) to land on the lunar surface.
Here are some fast facts on this historic space mission:
Beresheet is the first spacecraft to land on the moon as a result of a private initiative, rather than a government.
Beresheet is the smallest spacecraft by weight.
It was developed and constructed at a cost of only $100 million, compared to billions of dollars in similar projects.
It will make the longest journey until landing on the moon, 6.5 million kilometers.
Israel will join the advanced world powers who successfully soft-landed a spacecraft on the moon Russia (1966), USA (1969), and China (2013).
“Eight years ago we ventured on this journey that is now nearing completion in about two months when we land on the moon,” said Morris Kahn, president of SpaceIL.
“We are making history and are proud to be part of a group that dreamed and
realized the vision that many countries in the world share, but so far only three have
realized. We presented the Beresheet; project as a gift to the President of Israel, where it was declared a national project. I couldn’t be prouder than to give this gift to the people of Israel and make it part of the Israeli ethos of technology, daring and a generous dose of nerve.”
Ido Antebi, CEO of the SpaceIL NGO said “Our journey to the moon is full of challenges, which makes our task extremely complex. Every step we take successfully outlines the way to the next successful one until the landing on the moon. For many months, our teams and IAI’s were engaged in testing the spacecraft and its systems,
conducting complex experiments and preparing for every possible scenario of the
mission, whose success will make Israel an extremely proud nation.”
Nimrod Sheffer, CEO, Israel Aerospace Industries added: “The cooperation with SpaceIL is an example of the amazing achievements that can be attained by the State of Israel and a symbol for the path Israel has walked since its establishment. Most
importantly, it illustrates the loftier achievements that can still be achieved – the
know-how, the capabilities and the human capital are all here. The journey to the
moon is fraught with challenges, but thanks to the professionalism, determination
and faith of all the partners in the project, an Israeli spacecraft will be launched to the moon in the coming days. IAI together with our partners at SpaceIL will continue
to do everything necessary to ensure the success of this mission.”
The SpaceIL and IAI partnership said that the launch of the Israeli spacecraft “Beresheet” will take place on February 22, 2019. The night between Thursday and Friday at around 03:45 a.m Israel time. (US East coast time 21/2/19 around 20:45).
The Launch Process:
Once launched, the spacecraft will begin a long and complex orbit. The launch is
expected to take place at about 03:45 a.m. Israel time, when the Falcon 9 rocket is
launched out of the atmosphere from the Cape Canaveral launch site. About 32
minutes later, the spacecraft will separate from the launcher. A few minutes after
this critical point, assuming it takes place as planned, we expect to receive
preliminary indications from the spacecraft to the control room located in Yehud,
Israel. This will let us know the spacecraft is on its way. A few minutes later, the
spacecraft’s landing legs will open and we will then begin a series of tests of all the
spacecraft’s systems to ensure they have successfully survived the launch and are
working well in space.
The main challenges in the journey to the moon:
There are five major challenges of the spacecraft’s journey to the moon:
First, the launch is fraught with risks in and of itself.
Second, locating the spacecraft and contacting it over the vast distance to the moon is very intricate.
Third, the spacecraft’s durability under extreme conditions in space, complex navigation (without a GPS) etc.
Fourth, the Moon Capture Point, where the spacecraft must switch from Earth’s orbits to orbit the moon. To perform this switch, the spacecraft must reach the right location at the right time and at the right speed and direction so that a braking maneuver will enable the moon’s gravitation to capture it.
The final challenge is the most difficult – the landing on the moon.
The spacecraft’s journey to the moon – the longest ever:
The spacecraft will orbit the Earth in elliptical orbits and will travel 6.5 million
kilometers – the longest distance ever traveled to the moon. During these orbits, the
spacecraft will raise its orbit around Earth until it reaches the proximity of the moon.
When the spacecraft is in lunar orbit, about 10 days before landing, it will orbit it
until the appropriate time and an autonomous landing process will begin.
The route will take about two months until the expected landing on April 11, 2019.
The adventure started to mature a few years ago as the young entrepreneurs Yariv Bash, Kfir Damari and Yehonatan Weintraub enrolled in Google Lunar XPRIZE Challenge. The competition ended without a winner in March 2018. However SpaceIL, announced that it would continue working on its mission.
Israeli President Rivlin at a ceremony with the Israeli spacecraft
that will be sent to the moon. (Photo: AMOS BEN-GERSHOM/GPO)
The significance of the project for the State of Israel
Landing a spacecraft on the moon will bring an extraordinary achievement to the
small State of Israel. The project expresses Israel’s technological capabilities and
opens many opportunities for it.
It will promote scientific education of the next generation: since its foundation, the NGO met with over one million students throughout the country. It will advance and promote science and research. It would open a new horizon for the Israeli economy thanks to its engineering knowledge and advanced development capabilities.
The success of Beresheet is a symbol of Israel’s success in these and other fields.
What does Beresheet look like?
The planning and development process of the spacecraft included intensive work by
dozens of engineers, scientists and staff. The development by SpaceIL and IAI started
in 2015 and lasted until 2018. The spacecraft, which weighs only 600 kilograms, is
considered the smallest to land on the moon. The height of “Beresheet” is 1.5
meters, it is about two meters wide and it carries fuel which is approximately 75
percent of its weight. Its maximum speed will reach 10 km per second (36,000 km /
The Israeli flag on the moon, the selfie and a scientific mission in conjunction with NASA via Israel Space Agency
Once landed on the moon, the spacecraft carrying the Israeli flag will begin taking
photographs of the landing site and a selfie to prove we have indeed landed on the
The spacecraft has an important scientific mission to complete: measure the
moon’s magnetic field as part of an experiment carried out in collaboration with the
Weizmann Institute. NASA is also participating in the mission under an agreement entered with Israel Space Agency. NASA has installed a laser retroreflector on the
spacecraft, and will assist in communicating the spacecraft on the moon.
The time capsule
The spacecraft carries a “time capsule” – a huge database of hundreds of digital files
ranging from details about the NGO, the spacecraft and the crew of the project,
national symbols, cultural items and materials collected from the general public over
the years to be placed on the moon by the spacecraft.
The time capsule will remain on the Moon even after the mission is completed.
Since the spacecraft is not expected to return to Earth, the information it carries is
destined to remain on the moon for an indefinite period, and may be found and
distributed by future generations.
Over the years, additional partners have been added from the private sector, government and academia. The most prominent of them are the Weizmann Institute of Science, the Israeli Space Agency, the Ministry of Science and Technology, Bezeq and others.
Among the main contributors to the project are Miri and Sheldon Adelson, Sammy
Sagol, Lynn Schusterman, Sylvan Adams, Stephen Grand and others. Philanthropist
and businessman Morris Kahn took the lead in completing the mission in funding $40
million of the project and in his role as president of SpaceIL.
Jerusalem, Israel — January 4, 2019 … The Israel News Agency, one of the first English news sites on the Internet (1995), is proud to list those Jews who have the greatest, most far reaching and positive impact on Israel’s online image. Of all the media channels, Twitter is by far the most powerful media outlet as it directly reaches global business and political leaders, the media and the public.
Israel News Agency’s List of Jewish Cyber Warriors On Twitter:
@Ostrov_A – Arsen Ostrovsky – International Lawyer and Political Analyst – among the most knowledgeable and aggressive. Not afraid to confront, correct – from the UN, Iran, PA, Hamas, IfNotNow, Jewish Voice for Peace to the many fake accounts created in Iran.
@Daroff – William Daroff – Senior Vice President for Public Policy and Director of the Washington office of The Jewish Federations of North America. Creates and RT more Jewish content than most Jewish Twitter cyber warriors. Daroff’s news feed makes the AP and Reuters appear small.
@IsraelMFA – Official channel of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA). Maintained by the Digital Diplomacy Team.
@IDF – Israel Defense Forces – If it affects Israel’s security – you will find it here – unless the operation remains secret or classified.
@EmmanuelNahshon – Emmanuel Nahshon – Israel’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman.
Gets Israel’s message out and provides powerful digital cover for many Jewish cyber warriors.
@LTCJonathan – Jonathan Conricus – Head of International Media Branch at IDF.
Knowledge of Israel and the United Nations almost unmatched.
@IsraeliPM – PM of Israel – The official Twitter account of the Office of the Prime Minister of Israel
@LTCPeterLerner – LTC (R) Peter Lerner – Consultant, crisis, communications, speaker and tweeter. Retired IDF spokesperson and head of social media. Excellent analysis on current events.
@sfrantzman – Seth Frantzman – Oped Editor – Jerusalem Post, researcher, photog., Phd, MidEast, Dir. MidEast_Center. Has bylines at TheNatlInterest, NRO, spectator – Perhaps one of the most knowledgeable, Jewish journalists reporting on the Middle East. He has the details.
@joelleyden – Joel Leyden – Entrepreneur, Journalist, Intl Media, Crisis Comm, Social Media Pioneer, Public Affairs, Branding, Web Marketing, SEO, Reputation PR, IDF Vet. Co-Created Israel’s first commercial Website, co-created the IDF cyber unit, publisher of the Israel News Agency, Jewish News Agency. Consults IDF and MFA.
@michaeldickson – Michael Dickson – One of Israel’s most experienced advocacy professionals. Executive Director – StandWithUs. Michael represents the future of online digital PR for Israel. Has the facts, soundbytes – tireless Jewish PR advocate from whom many can learn from.
@dannydanon – Ambassador Danny Danon – Israel’s Permanent Representative to the UN – Not afraid to call it as it is. Fearless diplomat both on and off line.
@IAFsite – Israeli Air Force – The Israeli Air Force’s Official Twitter Account: exclusive, live updates and real-time information about the IAF.
@netanyahu – Benjamin Netanyahu – Prime Minister of Israel, Chairman of the Likud Party. Is there an Israeli Prime Minister who has more experience? Bibi provides for Israel’s security from both the heart and the mind. A Jewish leader that makes us proud.
@AviMayer – Avi Mayer – Assistant Executive Director, AJC Global. Previously: Jewish Agency for Israel, IDF Spokesperson.
@DavidHarrisAJC – David Harris – CEO, American Jewish Committee (AJC) – An American Jewish leader who places Jewish life above politics. A man who has stood and stands with the Jewish nation in the most courageous, intelligent manner.
@SachaDratwa – Sacha Rojtman Dratwa – Digital Advocacy at World Jewish Congress. Former Head of the digital media unit for the Israeli army. One of the most professional, potent digital PR assets in the global Jewish community.
@HonestReporting – HonestReporting – Defending Israel from media bias. Promoting fairness and accuracy, effecting change in media coverage of Israel. RT, follows do not constitute endorsement.
@canarymission – Canary Mission – Exposing hatred and anti-Semitism on college campuses and beyond. If you’re racist, the world should know.
@HananyaNaftali – Hananya Naftali – One of the most powerful Israeli voices on Twitter reaching the global Christian community. A proud, diligent IDF reservist who fights hard online for Israel. Addresses the Middle East conflict 24/7.
@HillelNeuer – Hillel Neuer – Intelligent, dedicated – taking on anti-Israel propaganda, anti-semitism and global racism both off and online. Fights dictatorships and double standards. Human rights activist, international lawyer, writer. Executive Director of United Nations Watch.
@AvitalLeibovich – Avital Leibovich – Director of AJC Israel Office. Former IDF Spokesperson and Social Media expert,served 22 yrs, Lt Col (res.). One of Israel’s most powerful assets.
@Yair_Rosenberg – Yair Rosenberg – Senior writer, @tabletmag. Teller of stories, troller of Nazis. Politics, religion, culture. One of most intelligent, articulate cyber warriors defending the Jewish nation. He spits out Neo-Nazis like watermellon seeds.
Brussels — December 7, 2018 … The American Jewish Committee (AJC) praised the Council of the European Union unanimous adoption of a statement on combating anti-Semitism across Europe. It is the first time the Council’s 28-member states have passed a comprehensive measure aimed at coordinating counter anti-Semitism actions and to assure the safety of European Jews.
In its declaration, the EU Council acknowledges that Jewish communities in some European Union countries feel particularly vulnerable to lethal terrorist attacks, following an increase in violent attacks in recent years. It notes that anti-Semitic hatred remains widespread, as confirmed by the E.U.’s 2018 Fundamental Rights Agency report on anti-Semitism.
“The EU has taken a historic step toward fighting all forms of hatred targeting Jews,” said Daniel Schwammenthal, Director of the AJC Transatlantic Institute, the Brussels-based arm of AJC, the global Jewish advocacy organization.
“Significantly, the 28 EU member states have jointly recognized the severity of continuing threats to Jews, the need to protect Jewish institutions and communities, and the value of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Anti-Semitism.”
Schwammenthal praised Austrian Chancellor Kurz, who currently holds the EU presidency, for initiating the Council Declaration. “Chancellor Kurz has admirably made anti-Semitism an EU priority.”
The Council Declaration asks member states “to adopt and implement a holistic strategy to prevent and fight all forms of anti-Semitism.” It expresses EU determination to “ensure a future for Jewish people to live with the same sense of security and freedom as all other citizens in the European Union.” And it calls on EU member nations that have not yet adopted the IHRA working definition to endorse it.
The World Jewish Congress said in a statement that it worked for several months with the Austrian government and European institutions, as well as the EJC, to draft the declaration. It applauded the council for passing the declaration and called on the EU to appoint a Coordinator on Combating Anti-Semitism.
WJC President Ronald S. Lauder said: “I strongly welcome the decision by the Council of the European Union to adopt this important declaration on the fight against antisemitism and the protection of Jewish communities. Just days after polling revealed that antisemitism continues to haunt Europe, and with the memory of the Holocaust fading, this declaration is a clear recognition by the governments of all EU Member States that serious action, both politically and practically, is needed to deal with the clear and specific challenges posed by this ancient hatred. We look forward to continuing to engage with both the EU institutions and the governments of the EU Member States to inform this serious work going forward.”
In 2015, AJC convened in Brussels “A Defining Moment for Europe,” a strategy conference on combating anti-Semitism. The Call to Action adopted at the groundbreaking conference was updated in June 2018.
Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu had requested that the EU adopt the working definition of anti-Semitism issued by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, an intergovernmental organization that was founded 20 years ago.
This definition states that some criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic, such as: “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor,” or by applying double standards to Israel not demanded of any other nation.
Some EU countries were concerned that this definition could prevent criticism of Israel’s residential and commercial activities in the Jewish state’s biblical and historical land in Judea and Samaria (West Bank). A compromise was therefore reached and the final statement calls on member states to use the IHRA definition as a “guidance tool,” without making it obligatory.
By Eran Lerman Jerusalem Institute for Strategic Studies
Jerusalem, Israel — December 5, 2018 … Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Oman, and Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev’s visit to the United Arab Emirates, which occurred within days of each other last month, were not isolated events.
A pattern of improved relations with almost all the Gulf states is emerging, backed by occasional statements by senior officials and a much livelier debate than ever in the local media about the legitimacy of Israel’s presence as a player in the region. The detractors are still numerous and vociferous: Gulf countries presumed to be friendly still walk out on Israeli speakers at international fora (as happened recently in Rome), and some, like the Kuwaiti leadership, have stayed largely out of the new game altogether. But still, as Sherlock Holmes would have said, the game is afoot, and it is driven by several factors.
Above all, the almost universal fear and loathing in the face of Iranian ambitions is steadily building a common ground between Israel and the GCC countries. Even Qatar, which shares a vast natural gas field with Iran, is far from being an Iranian proxy. The common dismay of both the Gulf leaders and Israel with the JCPOA and Obama’s policies towards Tehran further enhanced this bond, and so does the sense of now having a firm American commitment to reverse these policies. Iranian arrogance and the growing ferocity of the Yemeni war (with Iranian rockets falling on the capital of Saudi Arabia, among other targets), have added to the urgency.
A contributing factor is the possible utility of the Gulf states – and in this case, Qatar takes the lead – in supporting conflict-management aspects of Israeli policy, specifically with regard to Hamas in Gaza. The scene of 15 million dollars in well-upholstered suitcases being brought into Gaza by the Qataris with Israeli permission must have seemed to be taken from a strange hybrid of a spy film and a mafia thriller, but given the obstructions placed by Abbas and the PA, this was the only way to procure greater calm in the restive Strip.
Saudi and Gulf involvement with the “Deal of the Century” – President Trump’s pending peace initiative – may also be in the works, although just when and how this may come about remains highly uncertain. It is safe to say, however, that the existential nature of the Iranian challenge as well as the deep-set frustration of many Arab leaders toward Palestinian obstinacy and internal bickering suggest that the traditional commitment to the “cause” no longer impedes Gulf players in their pursuit of more practical relations with Israel.
In any case, the signals are there almost across the board. True, the only overt sign of real change in the Saudi Arabian position has been the permission given to Air India to fly to Israel over Saudi airspace – a minor but symbolically significant step. Behind the scenes, however, rumors abound about anything from personal meetings between Netanyahu and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MBS) to the direct supply of Israeli weapons. It will be years, if ever, before the full details are known, but surely the U.A.E. and Bahrain – the Saudis’ closest allies in the GCC – would not have gone ahead without a nod from Riyadh.
Both Netanyahu and Trump have openly referred to the importance of Saudi Arabia to Israel’s security in the region: specifically, in the context of the fallout from the Khashoggi affair, they acknowledged the horror of the act and yet suggested that Iran should not be allowed to reap the fruit of this bitter affair. Indeed, unless internal dynamics now lead to MBS being pushed out, the ultimate outcome may be that he would be more cautious and less impetuous in the future, and possibly cognizant of the role Israel plays and will continue to play on the Hill in restraining the U.S. from taking irreversible decisions.
Meanwhile, relations with the United Arab Emirates are growing apace. Two Israeli ministers – both fierce Netanyahu loyalists – visited the U.A.E. recently, Miri Regev for the Judo Grand Slam and Ayoub Kara for an International Telecommunications Union conference. Israelis do roaring business there, and the country is officially represented (with an officially limited mandate) in the Abu Dhabi-based International Renewable Energy Agency. On issues of substance ranging from Iran to the Muslim Brotherhood there is practically no daylight between the positions of Israel and those of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, the U.A.E.’s effective ruler, who is often described as his Saudi counterpart’s mentor.
The visits to Oman by Prime Minister Netanyahu and Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz (who, incidentally, also holds the Intelligence portfolio, another subject on which Israel and Oman have reportedly been close for some time) are the most salient events of this new thaw in Israeli-Gulf relations. What makes them even more striking is Oman’s recent history as a go-between at the early stages of Obama’s bid to reach a strategic understanding with Iran, a supposedly secret mission at the time, which Israel quickly discovered and to which it reacted furiously. On the other hand, Oman has long been in touch with the Israeli defense establishment, and Israel contributed significantly to the defeat of the pro-Soviet rebellion in the Dhofar region.
The last “relic” of the post-Madrid multilateral Middle East peace talks – the Middle East Desalination Research Center – has continued to operate from Oman even after all else has collapsed. In the past, there was an Israeli diplomatic office in Muscat, and two prime ministers, Rabin and Peres, visited in the ’90s. Geopolitical, cultural, and economic conditions have made Oman a highly flexible diplomatic player.
Bahrain has now been semi-officially mentioned as the next Gulf destination for Prime Minister Netanyahu, albeit without an indication of when this may happen; and in April 2019 (if the Israeli coalition does not break up by then…) the Minister of the Economy – i.e., Trade and Industry – is scheduled to attend a conference there.
Bahraini officials have occasionally expressed themselves quite openly in support of Israel’s posture toward Iran: after the skirmishes of May 2018, Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmad tweeted that Israel has the right to defend itself, a highly unusual message from a senior Arab official.
In the recent past, Bahrain also made itself notable by appointing a Jewish woman, Houda Ezra Ebrahim Nonoo, as Ambassador to the United States (and Canada), a post she held from 2008 to 2013. The close relationship between the small island kingdom and the Saudis – who came to the rescue of the monarchy there back in 2011 – suggests that all such gestures are getting the tacit support of the Saudi leadership.
On the other hand, Kuwait remains largely outside this flow of events. Kuwaiti parliamentarians assaulted and insulted Israeli colleagues in an international forum last year, and the political discourse in Kuwait remains largely hostile (with occasional exceptions). Historically, Kuwait gave whole-hearted support to the Palestinians until the breach caused by Arafat’s support for Saddam Hussein’s invasion and annexation of the country; later, efforts were made to restore relations, some 80,000 Palestinians have returned to Kuwait, and the line toward Israel remains unchanged.
Last on the list – and politically, in a category all its own – Qatar is still officially under siege by some of its neighbors and much of the Arab world. Islamist ideological imperatives play a role in Qatari foreign policy, as does the urge to assert the country’s provocative independence. A close alignment with Turkey (but not, despite Saudi assertions, with Iran – although both Turkey and Qatar tend to take an intermediate position towards Iran on some key questions) adds to the complexity.
All this does not prevent Israel from working closely with Qatari envoys on the relief of economic miseries in Gaza (salaries, fuel supply) so long as it is fully understood that the Qatari role can at best be that of the CFO (chief financial officer), while Egypt must retain political hegemony there as “CEO” of the attempts to restore calm. Within these limits, the interaction between Israel and Qatar has been effective and beneficial, but no one expects it to be translated into an Omani-style event.
Amidst all this, the firm backing of the United States has played a major role in enabling and encouraging the Gulf openings toward Israel, and hence the importance of containing the damage and properly managing the fallout from the Khashoggi affair. Over the years, AJC has played an important role as a favored interlocutor of Gulf countries eager to understand (and affect) the mood in both Washington and Jerusalem. Personal aspects of the Trump administration’s outreach to the region probably reinforce this perception.
Eran Lerman is the former deputy for foreign policy and international affairs at the National Security Council in the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office. Prior to that, he served as director of AJC Jerusalem.
Jerusalem, Israel — December 4, 2018 … Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the following announcement today:
“This morning the IDF began Operation Northern Shield, the goal of which is to uncover and neutralize terrorist tunnels from Lebanon.
We are proud of the fighters and commanders of the IDF for the complex actions and operational successes already in the early stages of the operation.
Whoever tries to attack the State of Israel – will pay a heavy price.
We are taking determined and responsible action in all sectors simultaneously. We will continue with additional actions – open and covert – in order to ensure the security of Israel.”
Netanyahu just returned from a diplomatic-security meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Brussels.
The Prime Minister updated the US Secy. of State on Operation Northern Shield and said that the intrusive tunnels built by Hezbollah are a gross violation of Israeli sovereignty and of UN Security Resolution #1701.
Netanyahu also said that Iranian aggression had to be thwarted in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and elsewhere.
The IDF on Tuesday uncovered the first cross-border Hezbollah tunnel from a home in the south Lebanese village of Kfar Kila some 40 meters into Israeli territory outside the town of Metulla.
It was the first tunnel that the IDF said it had discovered as part of Operation Northern Shield.
Jerusalem, Israel — November 25, 2018 … Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara, welcomed the President of Chad Idriss Debyat at the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem this evening. It marked an historic, unprecedented trip for the leader of the Muslim-majority nation in Central Africa, which does not have diplomatic relations with the Jewish state.
“President Déby and I had the opportunity to discuss the relations between our two countries and the way we can cooperate for the benefit of our peoples and for peace and for security,” said Prime Minister Netanyahu at the start of their first meeting.
“And I’m delighted that my wife Sara and I can welcome you to our home and your delegation. We will continue our discussions and I think they are going to be very fruitful. I think the historic visit of President Déby to Israel marks a new era, a new era for security, for cooperation and for peace. I welcome you in this spirit to our home here in Jerusalem. Welcome.”
During his time in Israel Deby is expected to meet with Israel President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Netanyahu for further talks.
Last year WJC CEO Robert Singer held talks with Chadian Ambassadors in Geneva and Paris, at the time urging the reinstatement of diplomatic relations between Chad and Israel.
Commenting on the official visit, Robert Singer said: “I warmly welcome this promising development of improved ties between the Republic of Chad and Israel. This is further evidence of the positive role Israel is playing in Africa, including with Muslim-majority countries – with cooperation possible in a number of areas from technology to security. We look forward to continuing to promote and assist in the development of this important bilateral relationship as part of our intensified collaborations with African nations.”
The Republic of Chad cut diplomatic ties with Jerusalem in 1972. Some 13.5 million people live in Chad today, 55 percent of whom are Muslim. About 40 percent are Christian.
Netanyahu has traveled three times to Africa in the last two years, visiting Kenya, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Uganda and Liberia. Netanyahu constantly vows to expand ties with all countries on the continent, including those that do not have diplomatic relations with Israel.
Israel is working to establish diplomatic ties with a number of central African nations, including Sudan.
A senior Israeli official told the Israel News Agency that Déby’s visit was laying the groundwork for normalizing ties with Muslim-majority countries Sudan, Mali and Niger.