Israel News

News Digest — 9/22/22

In News Surrounding Israel by The Friends of Israel

UK Weighing Relocating Embassy To Jerusalem, Truss Tells Lapid

The United Kingdom is considering locating its embassy to Jerusalem, British Prime Minister Liz Truss told her Israeli counterpart when the two leaders met on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

The matter was confirmed by a Downing Street spokesperson who said that Truss spoke with Lapid about her “review of the current location of the British Embassy in Israel,” according to a report in The Telegraph.

Israel has not commented on the report.  Prior to their meeting, a senior Israeli official said that Lapid had been hopeful that Truss would indeed move forward on the matter and that he planned to raise the issue with her.

Truss, who became Prime Minister only this month, told the Conservative Friends of Israel in August that she would consider such a move if she entered Downing Street.

The move would mark a sea change in British foreign policy with regard to Jerusalem. The international community has been loath to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital until such a time as there is a two-state resolution to the conflict.  Most foreign embassies to Israel are located in Tel Aviv.

Former US President Donald Trump moved to strengthen Israel’s connection to its capital city of Jerusalem when he relocated his country’s embassy there.  Only Guatemala, Honduras, and Kosovo have followed suit.

The British relocation of its embassy would be particularly significant because Great Britain is a world power.

Lapid also spoke with Truss about Iran.  He urged her to abandon the defunct Iran deal and to begin talks with Tehran for a better agreement that would preserve the Islamic Republic from becoming a nuclear state.



Iran’s Raisi At UN: Israel Is A ‘Savage’ Country That Kills Women And Children

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on Wednesday (21st) told the UN General Assembly that Israel is a “savage power” that “kills children” and added that Iran is the protector of Palestinians.

“The region has not seen previously such an occupying savage power as the Zionist regime in its midst, in the past.  The killing of children and women are present in the dark report card of the Zionist regime,” Raisi said.

“The killing of Palestinian women and children and new generations show everyone that the seven decades of Israeli occupation and savagery is still with us,” he said.

Raisi accused the West of “running away and evading solutions proposed by Iran to solve the Palestinian crisis” and called for the establishment of one state for all peoples, “Muslims, Christians and Jews.”

Addressing Iran’s nuclear program, Raisi said it was for “peaceful and humane purposes,” and that the US had “trampled” on the nuclear accord.  He called for former President Donald Trump, who withdrew from the deal in 2018, to “face justice” at the UN.

“Iran is not seeking to obtain nuclear weapons.  Such weapons have no place in our doctrine,” he said.

He added that Iran will not sign on to a new deal unless the US provides guarantees that it would remain a part of it.

“Can we really trust the US without guarantees and assurances that it will live up to the agreement this time?” he asked.

“We have managed to neutralize US sanctions in many cases.  The maximum pressure-policy suffered an embarrassing defeat.  We found our path, independent of any agreement, and will continue steadfastly.”

Meanwhile Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan walked out in protest before Raisi’s speech, for many reasons, one being his comments this week on “60 Minutes,” on CBS television, denying the Holocaust.

“This is a new moral-low for the UN,” Erdan said.  “A mass murderer who denies the Holocaust, gets the UN platform to spread his despicable hatred.  Any ambassador who stayed in the hall and listened to him, should be ashamed.”

“While the ayatollah regime in Iran oppresses its citizens, murders women who do not cover their heads and finances terrorist attacks around the world, here at the United Nations, which was established to prevent such atrocities, the President of Iran, the murderer and Holocaust denier Raisi, is given a platform to spread his hatred,” Erdan added.  



Israel Successfully Tests Gabriel 5 Anti-Ship Missile

The Israeli Defense Forces on Wednesday (21st) announced the successful completion of testing on the Gabriel 5 anti-ship naval missile system.

Testing took place in August, with the participation of the Israeli Navy and the Defense Ministry’s Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure.

Israel’s Aerospace Industries manufactures the Gabriel family of advanced sea-skimming missiles capable of detecting and destroying a wide range of targets.

Made in Germany and acquired by Israel, the Sa’ar 6-class corvette was used for the testing.  The missiles were placed on board the INS Oz, the second ship in her class launched in 2019 at German Naval Yards and ThyssenKrupp in Kiel and handed over to the Israel Navy in 2021.

“The Navy continues to develop and change in the face of a variety of increasing operational challenges and regional changes,” said the Naval Arm’s Chief of Staff, Lieutenant Colonel Guy Goldfarb.

“The Gabriel naval missile system will strengthen the navy’s operational and defensive capabilities in maritime space, in a variety of areas and in a variety of tasks.”

First deployed by Israel in 1970, the initial variant of the missile was developed in the 1960s.



Israel’s Prime Minister Meets Turkish President After 14-Year Hiatus

Prime Minister Yair Lapid has become the first Israeli head of government to meet Turkey’s president in 14 years, the latest sign of warming ties between the two regional powers after a long and bitter rift.  The Prime Minister’s Office said he met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday (19th), on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, the largest annual gathering of world leaders now underway in New York.

In his meeting with Erdogan, Lapid said he “commended” the recent restoration of full diplomatic ties between the countries and the appointment this week of a new Israeli ambassador to Turkey.

The scene of Lapid, the Israeli caretaker prime minister until new elections in November, warmly greeting Erdogan, could serve to bolster his diplomatic credentials.

Erdogan has shown a willingness for warmer ties after years of strained relations.  He has been an outspoken critic of Israeli policy toward the Palestinians.  Israel, in turn, has objected to Turkey’s embrace of the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip.

During their meeting in New York, Lapid thanked Erdogan for intelligence cooperation against Iranian attempts to carry out attacks in Turkey, and brought up the issue of missing and captive Israelis, his office said.  The leaders also discussed energy cooperation, the statement added.  Also, Erdogan expressed an interest in Turkey tapping into Israel’s offshore natural gas fields in the Mediterranean.



Russian Jews Fearful Over Ban On Military-Aged Men Leaving The Country

After Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a partial mobilization and call-up Wednesday (21st) of some 300,000 reserve soldiers and those with previous combat experience, alongside a blanket ban on men aged 18 to 65 from leaving the country, Russian Jewry is experiencing a “new stage in panic,” according to a local rabbi.

Moscow-based Rabbi Boruch Gordin told the Jerusalem Post that “many Jews actually have the opportunity to leave Russia because they have an Israeli passport or visa.  Other people don’t have such a privilege”

Now that the ability to flee Israel appears to have been seriously hampered, “I’m afraid that the Iron Curtain is coming down again,” a local Russian Jew told the Post.

“Where has the Jewish Agency been until now?  Where is the Israeli government and Prime Minister Yair Lapid?  Why won’t he make difficult decisions and help tens of thousands of Russian Jews get out of Russia?”

Russian Jewry has faced a number of crises in recent months, since the onset of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, including a Jewish politician critical of the war being jailed and declared a “foreign agent” due to his Israeli citizenship, as well as the Russian government launching a legal battle to curb the activities of the Jewish Agency within the country.

A Jewish community source told the Post that the long-term implications of the call-up are still unclear.  For now, with the call-up limited to reservists and military veterans, it seems like a widespread draft of civilian men is still not on the horizon.

“If many Jews will be requested to join the army or if the gates of the country will be closed – this will definitely be a situation we will need to address differently,” the source said.



Austria Introduces Measures To Combat Antisemitism In Schools

Austria is introducing measures to combat antisemitism in the school system, including furthering Holocaust education.

A package of measures to address discrimination against Jewish students was announced by Austrian Education Minister Martin Polaschek, with the Ministry of Education alongside the Austrian Agency for Education and Internationalization (OeAD) crafting a strategy paper that will in part be used for training teachers to deal with antisemitism at teacher’s colleges and in training sessions, Der Standard reported.

“Teachers should be made aware of antisemitic incidents.  Recommendations should be given on how to react against them,” Polaschek told the Council of Ministers.

Textbooks and curricula will be reviewed by the Ministry of Education, which will also appoint contact people in departments of education.

Polaschek added that “education makes young people resistant to false information.”

The education minister urged teachers to promote learning that encourages combating antisemitism and to “anchor it in the education system in the long term,” according to the report.

“Antisemitism must always be fought effectively, whether at the dinner table, in the football stadium, on social media or at school, regardless of how it is articulated,” Oskar Deutsch, the President of the Jewish Community of Vienna (IKG) said.

“Antisemitism is directed against the foundations of Austria and Europe and thus against us all,” he added.