After TX Hostage crisis Rabbis are warning Jews to return to Israel

Important Takeaways:

  • AFTER COLLEYVILLE SYNAGOGUE HOSTAGE CRISIS, ISRAELI RABBIS UNITE IN WARNING TO U.S. JEWS: RETURN TO ISRAEL NOW
  • A gunman entered Congregation Beth Israel in the city of Colleyville, Texas as they were beginning their Shabbat prayer service
  • The gunman took four Jews (including the rabbi) hostage. One male hostage was released
  • After an 11-hour siege, police charged the site and freed all the hostages.
  • Rabbi Yosef Berger, the rabbi of King David’s Tomb on Mount Zion, saw the attack as a clear sign of imminent redemption.
  • “God wants all the Jews to come to Israel,’ Rabbi Berger said. “This could not be clearer.

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Unlimited in scope U.N. creates commission to investigate Israel

Luke 19:43 The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side.

Important Takeaways:

  • UN Creates Unprecedented, Open-Ended Probe Against Israel: ‘This Is Something to Empower Hamas’
  • The unprecedented UN decision puts Israel under almost perpetual investigation covering sovereign Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.
  • Hillel Neuer, executive director of the UN watchdog, says the idea for the commission started during Israel’s war with Hamas last May.
  • “You have the UN dedicating millions of dollars to targeting one single country – Israel. And keep in mind, this is not something to promote peace, human rights, or justice. This is something to empower Hamas. We’ve seen it before. Hamas is the first supporter of these commissions of inquiry,”
  • While the US voted against the resolution, the Biden administration has rejoined the Human Rights Council after the Trump administration pulled out. Neuer says the US has an opportunity.
  • “We hope that the United States will call out this absurdity of members on the council like Cuba, China, Russia, Venezuela. Libya just elected the vice president of the council. The United States needs to call this out… China, Iran, Russia, Cuba, Venezuela,” says Neuer.

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700,000 Birds have been culled due to Bird flu

Luke 21:11 There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.

Important Takeaways:

  • Avian flu killing birds in Israel could jump to humans, warns epidemiologist
  • SOME 700,000 BIRDS HAVE BEEN CULLED
  • Amnon Lahad, chairman of Israel’s National Council for Community Health said “The widespread nature of the avian flu is very concerning, especially given that it is infecting chickens and not just wild birds. It’s made the move from wildlife to stock animals, and I’m hoping it won’t make the next step to humans”
  • “it could be transmitted through contact with sick birds — not from touching or eating them, but rather through the same method we know from COVID, namely droplets passing into the respiratory system,” he said.

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Iranian and Russian officials strike positive tone on nuclear talks

(Reuters) – Iran and Russia both gave upbeat views on Tuesday about talks that kicked off this week to salvage Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with global powers, although Western nations have said the negotiations are going too slowly.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said a deal was possible in the near future if other parties showed “good faith” while Russian envoy Mikhail Ulyanov said a working group was making “indisputable progress” in the eighth round of talks.

Indirect talks between Iran and the United States resumed on Monday in Vienna, with Tehran focused on getting U.S. sanctions lifted again, as they were under the original bargain, despite scant progress on reining in its atomic activities.

The seventh round of talks, the first under Iran’s new hardline President Ebrahim Raisi, ended 11 days ago after some new Iranian demands were added to a working text.

Iran insists all U.S. sanctions must be lifted before steps are taken on the nuclear side, while Western negotiators say nuclear and sanctions steps must be balanced in the agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA).

“The Vienna talks are headed in a good direction,” Iranian Minister Amirabdollahian said in comments to reporters broadcast by state media. “We believe that if other parties continue the round of talks which just started with good faith, reaching a good agreement for all parties is possible.”

France, Germany and the United Kingdom said in a statement on Tuesday that technical progress had been made in the last round and the parties now needed to fully focus on the key outstanding issues, particularly nuclear and sanctions.

They said while they were not setting an artificial deadline, there were weeks not months left to strike a deal.

“We are clear that we are nearing the point where Iran’s escalation of its nuclear program will have completely hollowed out the JCPoA,” they said.

“The negotiation is urgent – and our teams are here to work swiftly and in good faith towards getting a deal.”

ISRAEL WANTS FIRMER POSITION

The original agreement lifted sanctions against Tehran in exchange for restrictions on its atomic activities but Donald Trump pulled Washington out of the deal in 2018, a year after he became U.S president. Iran later breached many of the deal’s nuclear restrictions and kept pushing well beyond them.

The parties to the deal besides the United States – Iran, Russia, China, France, Britain, Germany and the European Union – kicked off the new round of talks on Monday.

Iran refuses to meet U.S. officials directly, meaning other parties must shuttle between the two sides.

Mikhail Ulyanov, the Russian envoy, said on Tuesday that a working group was making progress. “Sanctions lifting is being actively discussed in informal settings,” he wrote on Twitter.

The 2015 deal extended the time Iran would need to obtain enough fissile material for a nuclear bomb – if it chose to – to at least a year from about two to three months. Most experts say that time is now less than before the deal, although Iran says it only wants to master nuclear technology for civil uses.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Israel would not automatically oppose a nuclear deal but world powers must take a firmer position.

Israel says it will never allow Iran to get nuclear weapons and that all options are on the table. Israeli leaders have said that a nuclear Iran would pose an existential threat to Israel.

“We are not the bear who said ‘No’,” Bennett said in an interview with Israel’s Army Radio, referring to a popular naysaying character from children’s literature.

“For sure there can be a good agreement. For sure. We know the parameters. Is that expected to happen now in the current dynamics? No. Because there needs to be a much firmer position.”

Bennett declined to comment on Israel’s military strike capabilities against Iran, saying he preferred the approach of “speak little and do a lot.”

(Reporting by Miranda Murray in Berlin, Jeffrey Heller, Dan Williams and Ari Rabinovitch in Jerusalem, and Dubai newsroom; Writing by Tom Perry; Editing by David Clarke)

Syria denounces Israeli plans to double number of Golan settlers

BEIRUT (Reuters) -Syria on Monday condemned Israeli plans to double within five years the number of Jewish settlers in the Golan Heights captured from Syria in 1967 as a “dangerous and unprecedented escalation,” Syrian state media reported.

Israel’s cabinet approved a blueprint on Sunday to build some 7,300 additional housing units on the strategic plateau in a move that could tighten its hold on the territory.

“Syria strongly condemns the dangerous and unprecedented escalation by the Israeli occupation authorities” in the Golan, the state-run SANA news agency said, adding Damascus would seek to use all legally available means to retake the territory.

Speaking to Syrian TV station al-Ekhbariya, foreign minister Faisal Mekdad called Israel’s actions against Syria “criminal” and said they violated the 1981 U.N. Resolution 497 declaring Israel’s effective annexation of the Golan as “null and void.”

Israel has mounted frequent attacks against what it describes as Iranian targets in Syria, where Tehran-backed forces including Lebanon’s Hezbollah have deployed over the last decade to support President Bashar al-Assad in Syria’s war.

Israel annexed the 1,200-square-kilometre (460-square-mile) Golan Heights in 1981, an action not recognized by the international community. Syria demands the return of the Golan, which also overlooks Lebanon and borders Jordan.

(Reporting by Omar FahmyAdditional reporting by Lilian Wagdy Writing by Ahmad Elhamy in Cairo and Timour Azhari in Beirut; Editing by Howard Goller)

Bird flu kills thousands of cranes in Israel, poultry also culled

JERUSALEM (Reuters) -An outbreak of avian flu has killed more than 5,000 migratory cranes in Israel, prompting authorities to declare a popular nature reserve off-limits to visitors and warn of a possible egg shortage as poultry birds are culled as a precaution.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met his national security adviser and other experts to discuss efforts to contain the outbreak and prevent it passing into humans. So far no human transmission has been reported, Bennett’s office said.

Israeli media said children who had visited the reserve may have touched a stricken crane and thus contributed to the spread of the flu.

“This is the worst blow to wildlife in the country’s history,” Environment Minister Tamar Zandberg tweeted as rangers in hazardous material suits collected carcasses of the cranes from the lake at the Hula Nature Reserve and outlying marshes.

Hundreds of thousands of chickens had been culled, she said.

Authorities were looking to ease import quotas and bring in eggs from abroad to head off an egg shortage due to the cull.

(Writing by Dan Williams; Editing by Kirsten Donovan and Aliosn Williams)

Biden aide says nuclear talks with Iran could be exhausted in ‘weeks’

By Dan Williams

JERUSALEM (Reuters) -The United States and its partners are discussing time frames for nuclear diplomacy with Iran, U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Wednesday, adding that current talks with Tehran may be exhausted within weeks.

“We’re not circling a date on the calendar in public, but I can tell you that behind closed doors we are talking about time frames and they are not long,” he told reporters during a visit to Israel.

Asked to elaborate on the timeline, Sullivan said: “Weeks.”

Israel has long hinted that if it thinks diplomacy, now focused on slow-moving talks between Iran and world powers in Vienna on reviving a 2015 nuclear deal, has hit a dead end, it could resort to pre-emptive strikes against its sworn enemy.

But there have been doubts among security experts whether Israel has the military capability to effectively halt Iran’s program on its own, or if Washington would back its moves.

Sullivan said the United States continues to believe that “diplomacy, deterrence and pressure” remain the best way to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

Sullivan said that in his meeting with Israeli leaders in Jerusalem, “we discussed means of ensuring that we are holding the international community together to maintain the pressure on Iran to live up to its obligations and to come back into compliance” with the 2015 pact.

“And in terms of operational matters, I think those are best left for private diplomatic discussions between the United States and Israel,” he added.

Earlier, Sullivan told Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett that the United States and Israel are at a “critical juncture” for forging a shared security strategy.

In public remarks after his own talks with Sullivan, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz called on world powers not to allow Iran to play for time at the nuclear negotiations, in recess at Iran’s request and expected to resume next week.

Iran denies seeking nuclear weapons, saying it only wants to master nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

Washington has been spearheading efforts to revive the 2015 deal in which Iran agreed to curb its nuclear program in return for the lifting of sanctions.

Israel bitterly opposed the deal and former U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew the United States in 2018.

Sullivan, sent by President Joe Biden on a 30-hour visit to Jerusalem and the occupied Palestinian territories, updated Israel on developments in the Vienna talks and the two sides exchanged views on the way forward, the White House said.

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said he and Sullivan discussed “the strategy for combating Iran’s nuclear program and the way in which the U.S. and Israel cooperate on this issue.”

Since Trump pulled out of the agreement, Iran has breached the pact with advances in sensitive areas such as uranium enrichment. Sullivan called the U.S. withdrawal “catastrophic.”

(Writing by Dan Williams and Jeffrey Heller; Additional reporting by Stephen Farrell and Jeffrey Heller; Editing by Howard Goller, Alison Williams and Grant McCool)

U.S. and Israel ramp up pressure on Iran as diplomacy stalls

By Phil Stewart

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The United States and Israel increased pressure on Iran on Thursday as nuclear talks stalled, with Israel’s visiting defense chief calling for discussions on joint military readiness to be able to halt Iran’s nuclear aspirations.

Reuters exclusively reported that Thursday’s U.S.-Israeli agenda was expected to include discussions about possible military exercises that would prepare for a worst-case scenario to destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities should diplomacy fail and if their nations’ leaders request it.

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said at the start of the meeting with his Israeli counterpart, Benny Gantz, that Iran had failed to offer constructive diplomatic engagement in talks that President Joe Biden had hoped would revive a 2015 nuclear deal abandoned by his predecessor, Donald Trump.

Austin said Biden was “prepared to turn to other options” if the current American policy on Iran fails.

“We are completely aligned in our commitment to preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. This is a national security interest of the United States and Israel and the world,” Austin said.

Gantz described Iran, Israel’s arch foe, as “the biggest threat to the global and regional peace and stability.”

Iran denies seeking nuclear weapons, saying it wants to master nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. But sweeping demands by Iran’s new, hardline government in talks have heightening suspicions in the West that Iran is playing for time while advancing its nuclear program.

With the 2015 deal’s nuclear benefits now badly compromised, some Western officials say there is little time left before the foundation of the deal is damaged beyond repair. Under the accord, Iran curbed its nuclear program in return for relief from economic sanctions.

DETERRENCE

The Pentagon declined comment on the Reuters report, which also disclosed an Oct. 25 briefing by Defense Department officials to U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan on the full range of military options to ensure that Iran would not be able to produce a nuclear weapon.

“I know there’s interest in a certain Reuters report,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told a news briefing.

“I will tell you this: We routinely conduct exercises and training with our Israeli counterparts and I have nothing to announce to or speak to or point to or speculate about today.”

Drills by the United States and Israel could address calls by Dennis Ross, a former senior U.S. official and Middle East expert, and others to signal openly to Tehran that the United States and Israel remain serious about preventing it from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

“Biden needs to disabuse Iran of the notion that Washington will not act militarily and will stop Israel from doing so,” Ross wrote last month.

Ross also suggested the United States could signal a willingness to give the Israelis the U.S. military’s bunker-busting Massive Ordnance Penetrator, a 30,000-pound (13,600-kg)bomb.

Central Intelligence Agency Director Bill Burns said on Monday that the CIA does not believe Iran’s supreme leader has decided to take steps to weaponize a nuclear device but noted advances in its ability to enrich uranium, one pathway to the fissile material for a bomb.

Burns cautioned that, even if Iran decided to go ahead, it would still require a lot of work to weaponize that fissile material before attaching a nuclear weapon to a missile or other delivery system.

“But they’re further along in their mastery of the nuclear fuel cycle and that’s the kind of knowledge that is very difficult to sanction away or make disappear,” he said.

U.S. officials have also long worried about America’s ability to detect and destroy dispersed components of Iran’s nuclear weaponization program once enough fissile material for a bomb were produced.

(Additional reporting by Idrees Ali; Editing by Mary Milliken and Daniel Wallis)

Israel announces completion of underground Gaza border barrier

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel on Tuesday announced the completion of a sensor-equipped underground wall on its side of the Gaza border, a counter-measure developed after Hamas militants used tunnels to blindside its troops in a 2014 war.

Israel went public with the project, which also includes an above-ground fence, a naval barrier, radar systems and command and control rooms, in 2016.

“The barrier, which is an innovative and technologically advanced project, deprives Hamas of one of the capabilities it tried to develop,” Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said, according to a defense ministry statement.

“(It) places an ‘iron wall,’ sensors and concrete between the terror organization and the residents of Israel’s south,” he said of the project, which beefs up an existing border fence.

The ministry said the barrier, which includes hundreds of cameras, radars and other sensors, spans 65 kilometers (40 miles) and that 140,000 tonnes of iron and steel were used in its construction, which took 3.5 years to complete.

It said the project’s “smart fence” is more than 6 meters (20 feet) high and its maritime barrier includes means to detect infiltration by sea and a remote-controlled weapons system. The ministry did not disclose the depth of the underground wall.

Gaza also has a 14-kilometre-(8.7-mile)-long border with Egypt, which has also clamped down on crossings, citing security concerns. Since 2013, Egyptian forces have demolished smuggling tunnels while Hamas, on its side, has stepped up patrols.

Israel and Hamas have fought four wars since the Islamist group seized control the coastal Gaza Strip in 2007 from forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

In the latest conflict, last May, Hamas and other militant groups fired more than 4,300 rockets at Israel, which deployed Iron Dome interceptors against them and carried out extensive air strikes in Gaza.

(Reporting by Jeffrey Heller and Dan Williams, editing by Mark Heinrich)

Iran nuclear talks break, Europe dismayed by Tehran demands

By Parisa Hafezi, Francois Murphy and John Irish

VIENNA (Reuters) – Indirect U.S.-Iranian talks on saving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal broke off until next week as European officials voiced dismay on Friday at the demands of Iran’s new, hardline administration.

The seventh round of talks in Vienna is the first with delegates sent by Iran’s anti-Western President Ebrahim Raisi on how to resuscitate the agreement under which Iran limited its nuclear program in return for relief from economic sanctions.

Raisi’s election in June caused a five-month hiatus in the talks, heightening suspicions among U.S. and European officials that Iran is playing for time while advancing its nuclear program.

Diplomats said the Iranian delegation had proposed sweeping changes to a text that was painstakingly negotiated in previous rounds and that European officials had said was 70-80% finished.

“Over five months ago, Iran interrupted negotiations. Since then, Iran has fast-forwarded its nuclear program. This week, it has back-tracked on diplomatic progress made,” senior officials from France, Britain and Germany said in a statement, adding that Iran was demanding “major changes” to the text.

It is “unclear how these new gaps can be closed in a realistic time frame”, they added.

The three European powers expressed “disappointment and concern” at Iran’s demands, some of which they said were incompatible with the deal’s terms or went beyond them.

The 2015 agreement imposed strict limits on Iran’s uranium enrichment activities, extending the time it would need to produce enough fissile material for a nuclear bomb, if it chose to, to at least a year from around two to three months. Most experts say that period is now shorter than before the deal.

Iran denies seeking nuclear weapons, saying it only wants to master nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

In exchange for the nuclear restrictions, the deal lifted U.S., European Union and U.N. sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

After more than two years of Iranian adherence to the core curbs, however, then-President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the deal in 2018, calling it too soft on Tehran, and reimposed painful U.S. economic sanctions on Tehran.

Tehran retaliated from 2019 by breaching many of the deal’s limits on enrichment and other restrictions, and advancing well beyond them. With the deal’s nuclear benefits now badly eroded, some Western officials say there is little time left before the foundation of the deal is damaged beyond repair.

French President Emmanuel Macron said he thought it likely the current round of talks would not succeed and appeared to look beyond them, hinting at involving more nations, such as Gulf Arab states, in a wider discussion if the Vienna talks fail.

“I think it’s very difficult to find an agreement if the Gulf countries, Israel, all those whose security is directly affected, don’t take part,” he told reporters in Dubai.

FIRM STANCE

Iranian nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani’s uncompromising stance is that since Washington left the deal, it should make the first move by lifting all sanctions imposed on Tehran since then, even those unrelated to Tehran’s nuclear activities.

Bagheri Kani told Reuters on Monday the United States and its Western allies also should offer guarantees to Iran that no new sanctions would be imposed on it in future.

However, he left the door ajar for more talks by saying European nations could propose their own drafts for discussion, Iranian state media reported.

Western negotiators take a return to the original deal as their base line, meaning if Iran wants sanctions relief beyond it, Tehran should accept more nuclear restrictions.

This week’s talks ended with a meeting of the remaining parties to the deal: Iran, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany. Officials said the talks, in which others shuttle between U.S. and Iranian diplomats because Iran refuses to meet directly with U.S. officials, will resume mid-week.

(Reporting by Parisa Hafezi and Francois Murphy in Vienna and John Irish in Dubai; Writing by Francois Murphy, Parisa Hafezi and Arshad Mohammed; Editing by Mark Heinrich and Daniel Wallis)