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  • U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price briefs reporters during a press briefing in Washington, D.C., on May 11, 2021. Credit: U.S. State Department Photo by Ron Przysucha.

    (December 7, 2022 / JNS) U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price on Tuesday failed to push back on a reporter’s accusation that Israel was perpetrating “war crimes” against the Palestinians.

    “I mean, what we have seen in the past couple weeks is really an uptick of Israeli aggression against the Palestinians. We see war crimes being committed on—in front of everybody. So that would not bother the United States of America, despite the fact that these guys [Religious Zionism Party head Bezalel Smotrich and Otzma Yehudit leader Itamar Ben-Gvir] have such a long rap sheet?” a reporter asked Price during the daily press briefing.

  • Likud leader MK Benjamin Netanyahu, center, with Shas leader MK Aryeh Deri, left, and Religious Zionism head MK Bezalel Smotrich at a swearing-in ceremony of the 25th Knesset, at the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem, November 15, 2022.(Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

    Details were emerging Wednesday about presumed incoming prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s planned legislative blitz before his government is sworn in.

    Hebrew media reported that Netanyahu’s Likud party plans to form two committees, each headed by a party lawmaker.

    One of the committees, to be headed by MK Shlomo Karhi, will oversee a law change aimed at enabling Shas party leader Aryeh Deri to serve as a minister despite his recent conviction on tax charges, as well as legislation enabling far-right Religious Zionism party leader Bezalel Smotrich to gain control of civil bodies with sweeping powers over the West Bank.

  • United Torah Judaism MKs Moshe Gafni (left) and Yitzhak Goldknopf (right) sign an interim coalition deal with Likud negotiator Yariv Levin on December 6, 2022. (photo: Courtesy)

    With prime minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu’s deadline to form a coalition fast approaching, his Likud party signed an interim coalition deal with United Torah Judaism on Tuesday night.

    According to UTJ, the party signed a document stating that it had agreed to the allocation of roles in the next government, “since an extension needs to be requested from the president.”

    The ultra-Orthodox party said that it will hold another meeting on Wednesday to hammer out “fundamental issues” before signing a final coalition agreement.

    With a December 11 deadline approaching, Netanyahu’s Likud party has yet to reach coalition deals with all the parties in the right-religious bloc that he led to victory in the November 1 election.

  • The Arrow-3 missile-defense system is tested in Alaska on July 28, 2019. Credit: Israeli Defense Ministry.

    (December 6, 2022 / JNS) Senior Israeli and German defense officials met in Berlin, Germany, on Monday for the two countries’ annual bilateral strategic dialogue, the Israeli Defense Ministry said on Tuesday.

    The discussions touched on developments in Israel’s proposal to supplyGermany with the Israel Aerospace Industry-made Arrow 3 air defense system, among other topics.

  • A Russian Tu-95MS strategic bomber and an Ilyushin Il-78 aerial refueling tanker fly over the Kremlin and Red Square in Moscow on May 7, 2021. (photo: Alexander Menenov, AFP via Getty Images)

    Two explosions carried out by Ukraine hit two military airports in the country, reportedly destroying two Russian nuclear bombers and causing three deaths and six injuries, media reports claimed on Monday. According to estimates, the explosions were caused by tankers loaded with gasoline.

    One of the bombed airports contained a training center for military aircraft and tanks. At the second airport, two Tu-95 nuclear bombers were hit by a drone.

  • Russian air defences intercepted Ukrainian drones over two military airfields in Russia, hundreds of kilometres from the border between the two countries, Russia said on Monday.

    Falling debris from the unmanned vehicles lightly damaged two aircraft, a defence ministry statement said.

    Three Russian servicemen were killed and four injured in the incidents in the Ryazan and Saratov regions.

    Long-range strategic bombers are believed to be based at the airfields.

    Earlier, large explosions were reported at the Engels airbase in Saratov and the Dyagilevo airbase in Ryazan, but there had been no official comment on their cause.

  • US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks at the J Street National Conference at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, December 4, 2022. (photo: Carolyn Kaster, AP)

    US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday that the Biden administration will judge with the incoming hardline Israeli government based on the policies that it implements and not by the individuals slated to fill senior roles in the next coalition.

    “We will gauge the government by the policies and procedures, rather than individual personalities,” said Blinken in the keynote address at the annual conference of the dovish J Street conference in Washington. “We will hold to the… standards we’ve established in our relationship over the past several decades. And we will speak honestly and respectfully with our Israeli friends as partners always should.”

    The remarks come amid speculation that Biden officials will not engage with some of the most far-right members of Israel’s emerging government...

  • Maj. Gen. Hossein Salami, commander of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, June 8, 2018. Source: MEMRI.

    (December 4, 2022 / JNS) Maj. Gen. Hossein Salami, the commander-in-chief of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), predicted that Israel would soon fall and Iran will use the impending “world war” as a “graveyard” for the policies of the United States, Israel, Saudi Arabia and their allies.

    According to a report by MEMRI, Salami, in a speech that was broadcast on Ofogh TV (Iran) on Nov. 27, said, “Rest assured that we will witness the collapse of the Zionist regime, but we will never witness any serious damage to our revolution.” 

  • Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu with Shas leader Aryeh Deri, Religious Zionist Party head Bezalel Smotrich and other party leaders at a swearing-in ceremony of the 25th Knesset in Jerusalem, Nov. 15, 2022. Photo: Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90

    (December 4, 2022 / JNS) Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu attempted on Sunday to assuage critics of his emerging right-wing government by vowing to uphold Israel’s liberal democracy, pointing to his lengthy track record of guiding the nation and emphasizing that the buck on devising policy stops with him.

    “I’m going to safeguard Israeli democracy, I’m going to bring peace…and I’m going to stop Iran. That’s what I’m back for, and that’s what I’m committing to,” Netanyahu said in an interview with NBC‘s “Meet the Press.”

  • GETTING READY for US President Joe Biden’s visit to the President’s Residence in Jerusalem in July. Will US-Israel relations be able to recalibrate when the new government takes over? (photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

    US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is scheduled to address the left-wing J Street’s annual conference in Washington on Sunday. If former US ambassador Dan Kurtzer and former Mideast negotiator Aaron Miller had their way, Blinken would announce that the US is suspending the sale of offensive weapons to Israel.

    That’s right, Kurtzer and Miller – longtime “peace processors” during the 1990s and 2000s, who are critical of presumptive prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu for mainstreaming extremist parties in Israel by bringing Bezalel Smotrich, Itamar Ben-Gvir and Avi Maoz into his coalition – are themselves mainstreaming the blockage of arms deals to Israel, once the purview of the extreme anti-Israel wing of the Democratic Party.

  • Smoke and flames rise during an Israeli air strike in the Gaza Strip, December 4, 2022 (photo credit: IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA/REUTERS)

    The IDF struck targets in the Gaza Strip on Saturday night after a rocket was fired from the Strip into southern Israel earlier in the night, according to the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit.

    A rocket was fired into Israeli territory north of the Gaza Strip on Saturday night, but no interceptors were fired from the Israeli side. The rocket reportedly fell in an open area.

    he strikes targeted a workshop for producing weapons belonging to Hamas. The workshop serves as a central production site for much of the rockets belonging to the terrorist organization. A terrorist tunnel belonging to Hamas in the southern Gaza Strip was hit as well.

  • Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz conducts a security briefing for the defense attaches of over 30 countries, Dec. 1, 2022. Credit: Ariel Hermoni/Israeli Ministry of Defense.

    (December 2, 2022 / JNS) Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Thursday told the defense attaches of over 30 countries that Iran had conducted at least 16 attacks on civilian vessels in the region over the past five years.

    “Iran is a global and regional challenge and also a threat to the State of Israel. Just this month, we saw an [Iranian] attack on a commercial vessel using a Shahed 136 [unmanned aerial vehicle], which was launched from the Chabahar region of southern Iran,” Gantz said, adding: “This is the same area I discussed one year ago with your ambassadors as a hotspot of terrorism. In fact, in the last 5 years, Iran has conducted at least 16 separate attacks on civilian international vessels in the Gulf and the Red Sea.”

     

  • A composite image of incoming prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right) and outgoing prime minister Yair Lapid leading their respective Likud and Yesh Atid faction meetings at the Knesset, on November 8, 2021. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

    Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday censured outgoing prime minister Yair Lapid for “attempting to incite rebellion among military officers and local authorities against the elected government.”

    His comments came after Lapid urged local authority leaders not to cooperate with an extremist far-right member of the incoming government on educational issues, and after he was reported to warn a military general earlier this week against allowing the far-right “to gain control over the military.”

    “Lapid’s conduct is dangerous and hurts democracy,” Netanyahu said in a statement. “We must leave the IDF out of any political debate. Senior officers certainly must not be incited to rebellion against a government that was elected by the people. It crosses a red line.”

  • Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu with Shas leader Aryeh Deri, Religious Zionist Party head Bezalel Smotrich and other party leaders at a swearing-in ceremony of the 25th Knesset in Jerusalem, Nov. 15, 2022. Photo: Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90

    (December 1, 2022 / JNS) The Likud and Religious Zionist parties reached a coalition agreement on Thursday evening that clears the way for Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu to form a government backed by 64 members of Israel’s Knesset.

    Under the accord, Religious Zionist Chairman Bezalel Smotrich will become finance minister for two years under a rotation deal with Shas Party head Aryeh Deri. 

    The Religious Zionist Party, which has seven members of Knesset, will also get a post in the Defense Ministry that will be responsible for District Coordination and Liaison Offices (DCL) and the Civil Administration in Judea and Samaria, as well as the Settlement Division of the World Zionist Organization, Sherut Leumi (National Service) and pre-military academies (mechinot). The official will act with the coordination and agreement of the prime minister.

  • A drone is launched during a military exercise in an undisclosed location in Iran, in this handout image obtained on August 25, 2022. (photo credit: Iranian Army / West Asia News Agency / Handout via Reuters)

    Iran has conducted at least 16 separate attacks on international vessels in the Gulf and Red Sea in the past five years and can reach a significant quantity of enriched uranium for one nuclear bomb (SQ1) at 90% in only two weeks, Defense Minister Benny Gantz said Thursday.

    “Just this month we saw an attack on a commercial vessel using a Shahed 136 UAV, which was launched from the Chabahar region of southern Iran,” Gantz said. This is the same area I discussed a year ago with your ambassadors, as a hotspot of terrorism. In fact, in the last five years, Iran has conducted at least 16 separate attacks on civilian international vessels in the Gulf and the Red Sea.”

    Gantz, who made the comments during a security briefing for defense attaches of over 30 countries, stressed that the Islamic Republic is not only a threat to Israel, but poses a challenge to the region and the world.

  • Likud head and prime minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu is seen with RZP chief Bezalel Smotrich on December 1, 2022. (photo: Likud Spokesperson)

    Prime minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud reached a partial coalition agreement with the Religious Zionists Party (RZP) on Thursday evening, following three weeks of intense negotiations, the factions confirmed. 

    As part of the agreement, announced in a joint statement, RZP chief MK Bezalel Smotrich will become finance minister in a rotation. RZP will also receive the Aliyah and Integration Ministry and a new ministry dubbed the National Tasks Ministry.

    One of these will also serve as a minister in the Defense Ministry responsible for the settlements in the West Bank, which will act "in accordance and agreement with the prime minister," the joint statement reads

  • The UN General Assembly voted Wednesday afternoon in favor of holding a commemorative event in honor of the 75th “Nakba Day,” the Palestinian name for Israel’s establishment, which translates to “catastrophe.”

    The vote was 90-30, with 47 abstentions. The United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom were among those who opposed the move. Most of the European Union also rejected the, save for Cyprus which supported the measure.

    Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan called in his address ahead of the vote for the UN to “stop ignoring the Jewish Nakba,” referring to the 750,000 Jews expelled from Arab and Muslim countries in the aftermath of Israel’s establishment.

  • Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas receives U.S. envoy Hady Amr and his delegation in Ramallah, Oct. 4, 2021. Credit: Thayer Ghanayem/WAFA Images.

    (November 30, 2022 / JNS) The Biden administration is committed to the two-state solution and there is still a possibility of reopening the shuttered Jerusalem consulate to the Palestinians, Hady Amr, who was recently appointed the State Department’s special representative for Palestinian affairs, said on Wednesday.

    “It’s a real honor to serve as the U.S. government’s first [special] representative to the Palestinian people and leadership. The creation of this role is unprecedented and elevates Palestinian issues and our engagement on it,” Amr, previously the deputy assistant secretary of State for Israeli and Palestinian affairs, told reporters.

  • An American KC-135 aerial refueling aircraft refuels IAF F-16i fighter jets during an exercise over Israel, November 30, 2022. (Israel Defense Forces)

    The Israel Defense Forces on Wednesday published footage and details of a series of joint aerial exercises it held with the US military this week, simulating strikes against Iran and its regional terror proxies.

    In a statement, the IDF said that during drills, which took place over Israel and the Mediterranean Sea, four IAF F-35i fighter jets, accompanied four American F-15 aircraft and an American KC-135 aerial refueling aircraft, refueled several IAF F-16i fighter jets.

    The IDF said the drills also “simulated an operational scenario and long-distance flights.”

  • A Ukrainian tanker in the east of the country Monday. Ukraine will not join NATO any time soon despite Stoltenberg's comments. (photo: Yevhen Titov, AFP - Getty Images)

    NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg reaffirmed the military alliance’s commitment to Ukraine on Tuesday, saying that the war-torn nation will one day become a member of the world’s largest security organization.

    Stoltenberg’s remarks came as Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his NATO counterparts gathered in Romania to drum up urgently needed support for Ukraine aimed at ensuring that Moscow fails to defeat Ukraine as it bombards energy infrastructure.

  • U.S. Army MIM-104 Patriots, surface-to-air missile (SAM) system launchers, are pictured at Rzeszow-Jasionka Airport, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Poland March 24, 2022. (photo: Reuters / Stringer)

    Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev warned NATO on Tuesday against providing Ukraine with Patriot missile defence systems, denouncing the alliance as a "criminal entity" for delivering arms to what he called "extremist regimes".

    "If, as (NATO Secretary-General Jens) Stoltenberg hinted, NATO were to supply the Ukrainian fanatics with Patriot systems along with NATO personnel, they would immediately become a legitimate target of our armed forces," Medvedev wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

    It was not clear from his message whether he was referring to Patriot systems, Ukrainian forces or NATO personnel becoming a target.

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“The men who have done the most for God in this world have been early on their knees. He who fritters away the early morning, its opportunity and freshness, in other pursuits than seeking God will make poor headway seeking Him the rest of the day. If God is not first in our thoughts and efforts in the morning, He will be in the last place the remainder of the day.” 
― E.M. Bounds

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