News Update May 10th 2012
JNN NEWS, P.O. Box 7411, Jerusalem 91073, Israel
“I am bringing My righteousness near, it is not far away; and My salvation
shall not be delayed. I will grant salvation to Zion, my splendor to Israel.” Isa 46:13
ELECTIONS CANCELLED IN ISRAEL, UNITY GOVERNMENT FORMED: In a dramatic turn of events, Israel’s PM Benjamin Netanyahu announced Tuesday morning that early general elections tentatively scheduled for September 4 were cancelled, and that he had forged a unity government with the opposition Kadima Party. The move took the entire country by complete surprise. The deal requires Kadima to support government policies until the end of its term in October 2013. In return, Netanyahu will back Kadima’s proposal to replace Israel’s Tal Law, which until now had allowed Orthodox Jewish men to indefinitely defer military service. A growing number of Israelis have been protesting the Tal Law, insisting it allows a large segment of society to get out of national service, even while that same segment enjoys the benefit of so much government welfare. The deal tremendously benefits Netanyahu, who is now head of one of the largest governing coalitions in Israel’s history, granting him unprecedented stability for the next 18 months. There is much speculation the sudden unity deal was as much about Iran as anything else. If Israel is going to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities, and experts agree a strike would have to happen this year, it is desirable that Israel be led by a unity government at a time of such crisis. According to the three-page agreement signed after midnight, Mr. Mofaz will become a deputy prime minister, standing in for Mr. Netanyahu when he is abroad and joining all closed sessions of the cabinet that “deal with security, diplomatic, economic and social issues.” (Israel Today/Ryan Jones)
ISRAELIS PROTEST AGAINST NEW UNITY GOVERNMENT: Several protests were held on Tuesday evening against the newly formed unity government, which brought the Kadima party headed by Shaul Mofaz into PM Binyamin Netanyahu’s coalition. Demonstrations were held in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Be’er Sheva. In Tel Aviv, the protesters demonstrated under the heading “All the People are Opposition.” The event was attended by social activists and MKs from Meretz and Labor. Most of the fury was directed at Mofaz - brought about because of his political zigzagging. Mofaz has said more than once that he would not join Mr. Netanyahu’s coalition. “I intend to replace Netanyahu,” he told the New York Times in an interview last month. “I will not join his government,” he declared. In the same interview Mofaz vowed he would “respond to 100% of the territorial demands of the Palestinians” if elected Prime Minister. Mofaz, who was born in Iran, immigrated with his family to Israel in 1957 and rose through the army ranks to become its top general. He oversaw the tragic withdrawal of troops and Jewish settlements from the Gaza Strip in 2005. There may be short term benefits in this strange coalition including a united government in the event of an attack on Iran and relief from the crippling stronghold of Ultra Orthodox religious parties in the government. Pray however that Shaul Mofaz will not in any way be able to pressure Mr. Netanyahu into making land for peace deals with Israel’s proven foes. As of Tuesday morning, he is now the prime minister’s right hand man.
CONGRESS ALLOCATES $1 BILLION FOR ISRAEL’S IRON DOME SYSTEM: A US House panel has voted to allocate $1 billion for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system. Each of the intercepting missiles launched to knock out an incoming Grad Katusha rockets fired at civilians in southern Israel by Palestinian Authority Arab terrorists in Gaza costs $50,000. The House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee appropriated $947 million for the Iron Dome, David’s Sling and Arrow on Monday. US Representative Steve Rothman said it was the highest ever appropriation in a single year for the military programs. The appropriation must still be approved by the Senate before being sent on to the White House for President Barack Obama’s signature. (Arutz 7) Pray this much needed allotment for Israel’s Iron Dome defense system will be approved by the Senate and the US President.
ISRAEL WARNS HIZBULLAH OVER IRAN: Any Hizbullah retaliation to an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities would prompt Israel to launch a war in Lebanon so ferocious that it would take a decade to rebuild, a senior Israeli military officer has warned. “I hope Iran will not push them into a war that Iran will not pay the price for but that Lebanon will,” said the officer, a senior commander on Israel’s northern border. He suggested Israel had taken too cautious an approach in the 2006 conflict with Hizbullah, leading to the deaths of dozens of Israeli soldiers. No such mistake would be made in the next conflict, he said, especially as the terrorist group has built military sites in the center of many villages and towns in southern Lebanon. Hizbullah has acquired a stockpile of 50,000 rockets of greater sophistication and range than it had before and is capable of striking at Tel Aviv, more than 70 miles away, according to Israeli intelligence assessments. (Telegraph-UK) “Rescue me, O Lord, from evil men; protect me from men of violence, who devise evil plans in their hearts and stir up war every day.” Ps 140:1
SYRIA MOVING SCUDS TOWARDS ISRAEL: Jordanian news site Ahbar Baladna reports that western spy satellites have recently spotted movements of Syrian heavy missile launchers northward and southward, toward Syria’s borders with Turkey and Israel. The site says hundreds of high-caliber launchers are being moved and that these could only be long range Scud missile launchers. Syria has threatened in the past that in the event of foreign military intervention on its soil, it will not hesitate to fire missiles at Israel and Turkey in order to ignite a large scale regional war. Turkish and French officials said days ago they were mulling a potential military intervention in Syria, where civil war has been raging for 14 months. (INN)
SYRIA’S LAST CHANCE TO AVOID CIVIL WAR: Special envoy Kofi Annan and the UN peacekeeping chief on Tuesday told the Security Council the Syrian army remains deployed in towns around the country as fighting and mass arrests continue. According to diplomats fewer heavy weapons are being used, but doubts are strong about the Syrian government’s commitment to a UN-brokered ceasefire agreement aimed at ending 14-months of bloodshed. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has waged a bloody campaign of oppression aimed at silencing protesters calling for his ouster that has left at least 9,100 dead. Annan told the Security Council via video link from Geneva that his six-point peace plan is not an “open ended commitment,” but rather, “a possible last chance to avoid civil war.” (INN)
MUSLIMS IN INDIA DEMAND BREAKING TIES WITH ISRAEL: Hundreds of prominent Muslim clerics in India have demanded that India break off diplomatic ties with Israel, the Indo-Asian News Service (IANS) reported this week. Defense trade between Israel and India has developed rapidly and is valued in billions of dollars. Shi’ite Muslim clerics also called for shutting down Indian’s embassy in the US. Relations with Israel are not expected to be immediately affected, but the demand by the growing Muslim population in India serves as an early warning signal because of that growth. The clerics accused Israel and the US of being the “biggest sponsors” of international terrorism and said India should focus on improving relations with the Palestinian Authority, Iran and Syria. (INN)
KNESSET PANEL BACKS PLAN TO SNUFF OUT TOBACCO ADVERTISING: The Ministerial Committee for Legislation this week approved the Health Ministry’s proposal to prohibit advertising tobacco products in newspapers and on the Internet.The bill also forbids cigarette companies to sponsor various events as they do today, such as financing student days. The proposal stipulates that the dimensions of the warning regarding tobacco products will be 30% of the advertisement’s size, in contrast to the five percent required today. The production and marketing of food products or toys resembling tobacco products will also be banned, among other things because of their influence on the image of smoking among teens. It will be forbidden to sell tobacco products to minors, and more responsibility will be placed on all-night kiosk vendors to prevent them from selling tobacco to Israel’s youth. (Ha’aretz) Bravo to the Health Ministry for its proposed bill and to Israel’s legislative members who passed it. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death, and it is estimated that smoking is the principle cause of about 90% of lung cancer in men and almost 80% in women.
BASIL BY THE TREE-FUL: With a long list of medicinal properties, basil is an herb Americans usually like tossed into spaghetti sauce or on top of pizza. Like most herbs, basil tastes best when it’s fresh. The Israeli company Hishtil (“seedling” in Hebrew) revolutionized the market for fresh herbs and spices around the world, and now it has developed a new strain of basil for discerning taste buds. Normally basil has a short shelf life, and the plant rarely lives longer than a year. Using patented techniques, Hishtil grafted two types of basil plants together and developed a hardy “secret” strain that grows a sturdy trunk, and a leafy aromatic Greek variety with tasty leaves. Together they form the world’s first basil tree. While the tree still may be sensitive to lower temperatures come winter, bring it inside where it’s warm, says Menny Shadmi, the head of marketing for the company, and it will live a long time. The new basil tree can also be grown as a bonsai - perfect for city-dwellers looking to grow their own herbs and spices, and also for suburban vegetable gardeners. (Israel 21C)