Many countries have become concerned with Russia’s recent military growth in Syria, including Israel.
On Monday, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Russian President Putin in Moscow to discuss the global terrorist threat and a plan on peace for the Middle East. The meeting ended with Israel and Russia agreeing to coordinate their military actions to avoid trading fire, according to Netanyahu.
Netanyahu did not elaborate to the media on the agreement, but did say he wanted to achieve the goal of “prevent(ing) misunderstandings between IDF (Israel Defense Force) units and Russian forces” in Syria, where Putin’s ally, Assad, is fighting a civil war with Islamist-dominated insurgents.
Putin stated that Russia would continue to provide military support to Assad in Syria’s fight against the spread of the Islamic State influence. He added that the assistance that has been provided so far is within international law.
Prime Minister Netanyahu informed reporters that he would be sharing the details of his visit with the United States. Currently the U.S. has stopped flying missions against the Islamic State insurgents in Syria until U.S. and Russian leaders meet.
A former adviser to Netanyahu reported that Israel was concerned that Russia’s help to Assad could strengthen Russia’s relationship with Iran, Assad’s other financial backer and Hezbollah patron. This could possibly create an alliance between Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah, resulting in Russia’s technology being given to the terrorist organization.
Netanyahu warned Putin that keeping weapons from Hezbollah was his top priority, and informed Putin of Israel’s policy to strike at guerrillas suspected to attack from the northern frontier of Syria.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in London visiting with British Prime Minister David Cameron and is asking him to bring the weight of the British military to the Middle East to stop ISIS.
“The Middle East is disintegrating under the twin forces of militant Islam: The militant Sunnis led by ISIS and the militant Shiites led by Iran,” said Netanyahu.
“And I believe that we can cooperate in practical ways to roll back the tide of militant Islam both in the Middle East and in Africa altogether.”
Cameron told reporters after the meeting that Britain “remains staunch in our defense of Israel’s right to exist and to defend itself.”
Netanyahu spoke with leaders of Britain’s Jewish community and told them despite any anti-Semitic comments or actions that may come against them, they should never apologize for defending Israel.
“This is an important struggle for public opinion and it has to be done with determination while saying in a clear voice that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, and is standing at the front in the struggle against radical Islam,” he said.
The meetings came as anti-Israeli protesters tracked Netanyahu’s every move and presented the British government with a petition demanding Netanyahu be arrested as a war criminal.
An Israeli official has told reporters that the United States will release Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard on November 20th.
Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked confirmed the spy’s release on Twitter.
The likelihood of the release of Pollard was exposed Friday by the Wall Street Journal but the comment from Shaked is the first official confirmation of Pollard’s release. The Journal said the release of Pollard is an attempt to appease Israel over the Iran nuclear deal. The Obama administration denied the Journal’s claims.
“The Department of Justice has always and continues to maintain that Jonathan Pollard should serve his full sentence for the serious crimes he committed, which in this case is a 30-year sentence as mandated by statute,” said Department of Justice spokesman Marc Raimondi.
Pollard was arrested in 1985, convicted and sentenced to life in prison for his actions. He is the only American to be sentenced to life in prison for passing secrets to an American ally.
Supporters of Pollard had called for his release for years, saying the information provided to Israel caused no damage to the U.S. and was information that Israel could already access; he also is suffering from health issues such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
Defense Secretary Ashton Carter met with Israeli military leadership on a hilltop overlooking Lebanon and said that the United States will help Israel counter Hezbollah terrorists funded by Iran following the nuclear deal.
Carter said it was just “one example” of how the U.S. could support Israel after the agreement with Iran over nuclear materials.
“Hezbollah is sponsored of course by Iran, which is why the United States will continue to help Israel counter Iranian malign influence in the region,” Carter told reporters after receiving an Israeli security briefing in the area.
Israeli defence minister Moshe Ya’alon was complimentary of Carter and America’s support of Israel in the past while not being supportive of the nuclear deal.
“We greatly disagree when it comes to the agreement with Iran and fear for the future in the aftermath of its signing,” Ya’alon said. “Yet we discuss this issue in a fully open manner, alongside many other issues of great importance.”
Carter agreed that they can disagree over the deal but see common ground while making a second statement that Iran is funding terrorists.
“Friends can disagree about whether it will work,” he said, “and we will be watching Iran very closely to see. But there’s no disagreement about the ultimate objective. We cannot let Iran have nuclear weapons. And there’s no disagreement about the threats Israel sees every day from Iran’s destabilizing activities, from terrorists like Hezbollah and Hamas and [the Islamic State group.]”
Carter is scheduled to meet Tuesday with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
A leading British student group has voted to join the anti-Semitic boycott of Israel spurred by the Palestinian authority.
The UK’s National Union of Students voted 19-12 to join the “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Campaign” started by the Palestinians as a way to attack Israel on the world stage. The NUS is the umbrella student organization for the nation with over 7 million students represented in 600 schools.
The motion also calls on the British government to stop arms sales to Israel.
The Jewish Chronicle reports that the vote was taken by secret ballot, so it’s impossible to know which members of the group voted in favor of the anti-Semitic action.
A spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry said the vote is really insignificant given the group’s previous anti-Semitic leanings.
“Instead of expressing hatred, British students would benefit from studying history and understanding that the distance between conveying hate language and prejudice to committing despicable crimes is not that great,” the spokesperson said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed a boycott campaign by Palestinians that he says is an “international campaign to blacken” Israel.
“We are in the midst of a great struggle being waged against the state of Israel, an international campaign to blacken its name. It is not connected to our actions; it is connected to our very existence. It does not matter what we do; it matters what we symbolize and what we are,” Netanyahu said.”I think that it is important to understand that these things do not stem from the fact that if only we were nicer or a little more generous — we are very generous, we have made many offers, we have made many concessions — that anything would change because this campaign to delegitimize Israel entails something much deeper that is being directed at us and seeks to deny our very right to live here.”
The focus of Netanyahu was a Palestinian attempt to get Israel thrown out of the world’s international soccer federation because of Israeli treatment of Palestinians.
“It is important to understand that these things do not stem from the fact that if only we were a little nicer or a little more generous that anything would change,” the prime minister said, according to a statement released by his office, “because this campaign to delegitimize Israel entails something much deeper that is being directed at us and seeks to deny our very right to live here.”
Netanyahu pointed out that the Palestinians in their push used historically invalid complaints used to smear the Jewish people.
“Now, this is a phenomenon that we have known in the history of our people. What hasn’t been said about the Jewish people? They said that we are the focus of all evil in the world. All of these things are being said about us today as well. It was not true then and it is not true today. This does not have a shred of truth,” Netanyahu said.
Several key leaders in FIFA were furious about the Palestinians’ actions, saying that they were attempting to politicize the world soccer body when the group notoriously has remained neutral in all political matters.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy and said that while ISIS needs to be fought, Iran needs to be stopped in their nuclear program.
“We shouldn’t give Iran a path to nuclear weapons and billions of dollars to pursue aggression because of ISIS. ISIS should be fought; Iran should be stopped,” Netanyahu said.
“As horrific as ISIS is, once Iran acquires nuclear weapons, it will be a hundred times more dangerous and more destructive than ISIS,” Netanyahu said.
Netanyahu spoke to the Senator about the nuclear negotiations that have resumed with Iran.
“I see no reason to rush to a deal, and certainly not a bad deal that paves Iran’s path to the bomb, but also fills Iran’s coffers with tens of billions of dollars to pursue its aggression throughout the Middle East and around Israel’s borders,” Netanyahu said.
Cassidy, who defeated incumbent Mary Landrieu in a runoff election last year, has been a staunch supporter of Israel during his time in the U.S. House of Representatives.
President Obama gave an interview to the New York Times that was published Sunday saying that he would consider it a failure if the nation of Israel was more vulnerable because of his actions as president.
“Look, Israel is a robust, rowdy democracy. … We share so much. We share blood, family. … And part of what has always made the U.S.-Israeli relationship so special is that it has transcended party, and I think that has to be preserved,” the President told the Times’ Thomas Friedman. “There has to be the ability for me to disagree with a policy on settlements, for example, without being viewed as … opposing Israel. There has to be a way for Prime Minister Netanyahu to disagree with me on policy without being viewed as anti-Democrat, and I think the right way to do it is to recognize that as many commonalities as we have, there are going to be strategic differences. And I think that it is important for each side to respect the debate that takes place in the other country and not try to work just with one side. … But this has been as hard as anything I do because of the deep affinities that I feel for the Israeli people and for the Jewish people. It’s been a hard period.”
The President even said he took things personally when people would comment he and his administration were trying to undermine Israel.
“It has been personally difficult for me to hear … expressions that somehow … this administration has not done everything it could to look out for Israel’s interest — and the suggestion that when we have very serious policy differences, that that’s not in the context of a deep and abiding friendship and concern and understanding of the threats that the Jewish people have faced historically and continue to face,” the President said.
The agreement has been met with scathing criticism from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who says the deal paves the way for Iran to have a nuclear bomb. Netanyahu also alluded to the idea that the deal was not done with Israel’s interested in mind.
President Obama acknowledged that Netanyahu and the Israeli people “have every right to be concerned about Iran. This is a regime that at the highest levels has expressed the desire to destroy Israel, that has denied the Holocaust, that has expressed venomous anti-Semitic ideas and is a big country with a big population and has a sophisticated military. So Israel is right to be concerned about Iran, and they should be absolutely concerned that Iran doesn’t get a nuclear weapon.”
The President continued to say the United States’ interest in the region is not oil but rather that all nations in the area live together in peace.
When Lori and I stepped off the plane in Israel this past September there was a feeling which swept over us that is difficult to describe. I felt a familiar feeling of home, sincere awe and excitement! Lori had never been to Israel before and it had been her heart’s desire for many years. She too felt this indescribable emotion of being home. The scriptures clung to our hearts as we both took in a deep breath of air. We both knew that this visit was God’s doing and absolutely His timing. Continue reading
In what some observers are calling petty acts of revenge against Israel for Prime Minister Netanyahu’s planned speech to Congress, the Obama administration admitted they have been withholding information about negotiations with Iran from Israeli leaders.
Not only did the administration admit the withholding of information, they also attacked Israeli officials for what they called “cherry picking” of information for complaints about U.S. actions.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said “not everything you’re hearing from the Israeli government is an accurate depiction of the talks.” Critics say, however, that if Israel’s descriptions are not accurate, why the administration is hiding the details of the negotiations.
Meanwhile, the State Department lashed out at Israel by issuing a travel warning to Americans advising them against travel to that nation. The announcement puts Israel on the same level as Iran, Yemen and Nigeria in the eyes of the state department.
The report from the State Department even admits that while conditions in major cities are the same as metro areas around the world, they are still issuing a travel warning.