January 5, 2018

In News Surrounding Israel by The Friends of Israel

Poll: 72% of Israeli Jews want Jerusalem to remain united and the capital of Israel – Profs. Ephraim Yaar and Tamar Hermann

65% of Israeli Jews believe President Trump’s declaration  that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel contributed to Israel’s interests, according to a Peace Index poll conducted on Dec. 26-27, 2017, and released Wednesday (3rd).  64% said the UN resolution rejecting Trump’s declaration on Jerusalem was just words with no practical significance.  72% said Jerusalem should remain united and the capital of Israel.



Haley holds ‘thank you’ reception for countries that backed U.S. at UN

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley on Wednesday (3rd) hosted an event to honor the 64 countries that supported President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital at the UN General Assembly.

Haley invited the countries that voted no, abstained from voting or were absent from the vote to a reception thanking them for their friendship to the United States.

“It’s easy for friends to be with you in the good times, but it’s the friends who are with you during the challenging times that will never be forgotten.  Thank you to the 64,” Haley tweeted after the event.



Guatemala offers to help countries move their embassies to Jerusalem

Guatemala hopes other countries will move their embassies to Jerusalem, the country’s foreign minister said this week, indicating her government’s readiness to help in this matter.

“I believe that it’s a sovereign decision that each country needs to make for itself based on its position.  Nevertheless, we as a country are willing to support other countries who want to follow Guatemala’s example,” Sandra Lovel told the Times of Israel in a telephone interview.



Syria violates U.S.-Russia buffer zone deal in Golan Heights – Prof. Eyal Zisser

Last week, Syrian regime forces, led by Hizbullah fighters and an Iranian Revolutionary Guard contingent, conquered considerable swathes of the Syrian Golan Heights in a precursor to what will likely happen all along the Israeli-Syrian border.  The Syrian campaign to retake the Golan Heights sector is a violation of the understandings reached by the U.S. and Russia just a month ago, which focused on establishing a buffer zone and promised relative protection and immunity for the rebel groups.

Moscow has no compunction signing a deal and the next day violating or simply ignoring it.



IDF: Hizbullah has capability to strike Israel’s offshore gas platforms – Yaniv Kubovich

Hizbullah has the capability of attacking Israel’s offshore natural gas platforms with missiles, senior Israel Defense Forces officers said Monday (1st).  However, “The other side also understands that hitting the gas platforms is the declaration of a third Lebanon war,” one officer told Ha’Aretz.  Last month, the IDF announced that an Iron Dome -anti-missile system had been installed on a Sa’ar-5 navy corvette to defend the gas platforms.  The IDF says Hamas is also trying to acquire the capability of hitting the gas platforms, one of which is about 25 miles from Gaza.



Iran deploys Revolutionary Guards to quell protests – Bozorgmehr Sharafedin

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have deployed forces to three provinces to put down anti-government unrest after six days of protests that have rattled the clerical leadership and left 21 people dead.  Revolutionary Guards commander Maj.-Gen.Mohammad Ali Jafari said he had dispatched forces to Hamadan, Isfahan and Lorestan provinces.

In Washington, a senior administration official said the U.S. aimed to collect “actionable information” that could allow it to pursue sanctions against Iranian individuals and organizations involved in the crackdown.



Nasrallah sees end to Syrian war, says Israel did not block weapons transfers

The leader of Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hizbullah group said on Wednesday (3rd) that the Syrian war, now in its seventh year, will be finished in one or two years at most.

In an interview with Lebanon’s pro-Iran al-Mayadeen channel, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah also said Israeli strikes on Hizbullah positions in Syria did not, and will not, prevent supplies of weapons from reaching the group.

Hizbullah and other Iran-backed groups have backed Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad during the conflict which erupted in 2011.

(ynetnews.com; reuters.com)


Israel hits ‘key infrastructure’ in Gaza after rocket attacks

The Israeli military hit what it described as “key terror infrastructure” in Gaza early Thursday (4th) in response to three rockets fired from Gaza at Israel on Wednesday (3rd).

Unlike in previous retaliatory strikes, the IDF did not detail the specifics of the terrorist targets.  Instead, the IDF issued a vague statement saying that “the IDF will continue to use all available means above and below ground to thwart efforts to harm the citizens of israel.”

This anomaly prompted speculation that the infrastructure targeted by Israel was an attack tunnel dug from Gaza into Israel’s territory.

(jpost.com; israelhayom.com)


Swastikas painted on two Paris-area kosher shops

Swastikas were painted on the facades of two kosher shops near Paris.  The incidents in the Parisian suburb of Creteil were discovered Wednesday (3rd).  There are no suspects.

A total of five swastikas were painted with red paint on the shuttered blinds of the Promo Stock and the local branch of the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket chain.

French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said in a statement that he “firmly condemns” the incidents and said they were attacks against the entire Jewish community of France.

(israelnn.com; jta.org)


Israel on high-alert as winter storm approaches

Israel on Thursday (4th) prepared to weather an approaching storm with police, rescue services, and local authorities dusting off their emergency equipment and advising residents to take extra precautions against the high winds, hail, rain and thunder expected to lash the country over the coming two days.

Snow began falling again at the Mount Hermon Ski site Thursday morning (4th) where temperatures have plummeted to freezing.

Drivers were warned to watch for flooding of roads and downed trees from the high winds.