News Update May 22nd 2013
JNN NEWS, P.O. Box 7411, Jerusalem 91073, Israel
“O Lord, be gracious to us; we have waited for You. Be our arm every morning, our salvation also in the time of trouble.” Isa 33:2
ISRAEL EXTENDS CONDOLENCES TO THE USA OVER OKLAHOMA TORNADO: PM Binyamin Netanyahu sent a letter of condolence to President Barack Obama and the American people on Tuesday, following the disastrous Oklahoma tornado. “On behalf of the Government and people of Israel, I offer our heartfelt condolences to you and to the people of the United States on the massive tornado that struck in Oklahoma and exacted such a horrific toll in human life,” the letter reads. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of this tragedy and their families at this difficult time.” Dozens of people, including nine children, were killed and at least 237 were injured when a massive tornado struck an area outside Oklahoma City on Monday afternoon. (Arutz-7) Vision for Israel staff members also extend deepest sympathy to those who have lost loved ones and homes in this terrible tragedy.
CHABAD ISSUES OKLAHOMA RELIEF APPEAL TO JEWS WORLDWIDE: The Chabad Center of Oklahoma City has issued an appeal to the worldwide Jewish community to contribute “as generously as possible” to their preferred relief organizations. “The situation is heart-wrenching, to be so close to such devastation yet so distant in circumstance. However, to witness the tremendous outpouring of support is comforting and heartwarming,” writes Rabbi Ovadia Goldman of Oklahoma’s Chabad Center for Jewish Life and Learning. In addition to raising money and collecting supplies for victims of the tornado the Oklahoma Chabad Center has opened its facility as a shelter for individuals displaced by the storm. (J.Post/Arutz-7) Photos of the devastating aftermath and wreckage of this massive tornado are hard to believe. Pray for comfort to be given and generous provision to all victims of this catastrophe. Pray for the healing of those who are wounded and for shelter to be given to the thousands who have been left homeless.
GANTZ: IF ASSAD ESCALATES ATTACKS, HE’LL BEAR CONSEQUENCES: In blunt language marking a turn away from diplomatic caution, Israel warned the Syrian government Tuesday that it “would suffer the consequences” if it continued to press attacks, hours after Syrian and Israeli troops exchanged fire along the cease-fire line in Israel’s Golan Heights. After an Israel Defense Forces jeep was reportedly hit by machine-gun fire from a Syrian military post on the cease-fire line, a potential flash point for spillover from Syria’s civil war, Israel “returned pinpoint fire at the source,” and the position was destroyed. “We will not allow the area of the Golan Heights to turn into an easy target for Syrian attacks,” said IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz. “Last night, Syrian positions fired three times while we were patrolling along the border fence. We’ve had enough,” said Gantz. “We are seeing things happening in Syria - the transfer of military equipment, Assad issuing warnings, talking, leading and encouraging the expansion of actions against the state of Israel at various levels, including the Golan Heights. If he deteriorates the situation on the Golan Heights, he will have to bear the consequences.” (J.Post) “You are My battle-ax and weapons of war: For with you I will break the nation in pieces; With you I will destroy kingdoms.” Jer 51:20
IDF TO LAUNCH NATIONWIDE DRILL AS OFFICIALS RAMP UP WAR RHETORIC: “There is no longer a question whether missiles will be launched at Israel’s major population centers, only when it would happen,” Home Front Defense Minister Gilad Erdan said Tuesday ahead of a nationwide drill. The civil war raging in Syria and ominous Israeli promises to prevent advanced weapons from landing in the hands of terrorist organizations are only part of the background for the national emergency exercise set to be held next week. The drill, held jointly by the IDF Home Front Command and emergency services, aims to prepare the Israeli population for the undesired event of thousands of missiles and rockets hitting population centers and strategic installations across the country, including unconventional weapons from Syria, Lebanon and the Gaza Strip. The simulation will commence Sunday morning. From Monday until Wednesday the drill will focus on the civilian population, in particular practicing a speedy retreat to protected spaces. This will be the first time the entire early warning system will be put to a test as, besides sirens, civilians will receive alerts via different media including mobile devices, social networks and television broadcasts. (Ynet)
RIVLIN: US CRITICISM IS OUT OF LINE: US Secretary of State John Kerry was wrong to condemn Israel for legalizing Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, former Knesset Speaker MK Reuven Rivlin said Tuesday. Kerry called Israel’s ambassador to the US, Michael Oren, last week, to protest the planned legalization of four outposts. “Kerry’s protest is out of line,” Rivlin said. “It contains a measure of antagonism to Israel.” The US administration has criticized Israeli construction in Judea and Samaria as an obstacle to peace talks. The Palestinian Authority has stated it will not negotiate for peace unless Israel first stops all construction east of the 1949 armistice line. “Israel’s traditional willingness to hold negotiations with no preconditions has not changed, and has even received support abroad,” Rivlin said. “It’s been proven in the past that meeting preconditions has not brought the Palestinians to the negotiating table. The ball is in the Palestinians’ court, not ours,” he added. “The American State Department’s protest aims to create a new diplomatic reality, and indirectly – and unjustly – to force Israel to change its approach regarding negotiations without preconditions,” he said. (INN) Israel has made countless gestures and concessions over the years in an effort to keep peace negotiations proceeding with the Palestinians. PA leaders have yet to respond with even the smallest token of good will. Rather, they have made impossible demands of the Jewish state in return for a peace deal which they have no desire or intention of honoring. Ultimately, the Palestinians want Israel to give over hugely populated areas of its land, including East Jerusalem, and to allow Arab refugees and their prodigy, now numbering in the millions, to return to Israel, which would render it an Arab rather than a Jewish state. PA leaders know such unfeasible stipulations cannot and will not be met by Israel’s government. Pray Israel’s leaders will remain resolute in refusing to yield to PA manipulation and to US pressure.
GOVT: UNESCO LIED, SO PLANNED JERUSALEM VISIT CANCELED: The government on Monday informed UNESCO, the UN organization responsible for educational, scientific, and cultural matters, that a delegation that planned to visit Jerusalem was not welcome. The UNESCO group will not be given visas to enter the country, the government said. The UN group claimed it wanted to visit Jerusalem to catalog the sites, and that the trip was to be professional in nature and would not have a political character. On that basis, the government agreed to allow the group into Israel. But in reality, the source said, UNESCO officials had set up several meetings with Arab activists, Palestinian Authority figures, and terrorists, giving the visit a political, not professional, character. As such, UNESCO lied, the source said, violating the agreement with Israel – and thus the entire visit would be cancelled. (J.Post)
NAZI FLAG FLIES SOUTH OF JERUSALEM: Residents of the Arab town of Beit Omar between Jerusalem and Hebron strung up a large Nazi flag adjacent to their local mosque on Monday in a clear message to the Jews living in close proximity. A resident of the nearby Jewish Etzion Bloc said the incident was very jarring. “I felt we were going back 75 years, losing our hold on the land. The Arabs no longer feel the need to hide their murderous intentions, announcing out loud that they wish to annihilate us.” The Nazis and Adolf Hitler have long been idolized in much of Palestinian society. Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” remains one of the 10 bestselling books in the PA-controlled territories today, and has a local distributor. During World War II, the Palestinian leader in the Middle East, Haj Amin al-Husseini, was a close confidante of Hitler, and actively recruited fellow Muslims to the Nazi cause. (Israel Today)
STATE DEPARTMENT REPORTS CONTINUED RISE IN ANTISEMITISM: The US State Department’s religious freedoms report describes a continued global increase in antisemitism during 2012. “Of great concern were expressions of antisemitism by government officials, by religious leaders, and by the media, particularly in Venezuela, Egypt, and Iran,” the report released Monday said. “At times, such statements led to desecration and violence.” It noted the continued “flourishing” of the Passover blood libel as well as Holocaust denial. (Ha’aretz)
ISRAEL IS WORLD’S LARGEST EXPORTER OF DRONES: Israel is the world’s largest exporter of unmanned aircraft, in terms of the number of systems sold. Over the last eight years Israel has exported $4.6 billion worth of unmanned aerial vehicles. Over half of Israel’s UAV exports from 2005 through 2012 were to Europe, with a large number of aircraft supplied to Britain. Drones were also sold to Germany, Poland, the Netherlands and Spain. One-third of Israeli exports went to the Asia-Pacific region, including India, a major buyer of Israeli defense systems, and Azerbaijan. (Ha’aretz)
PAPUA NEW GUINEA SEEKS ISRAELI MEDICAL KNOW-HOW: The government of Papua New Guinea is looking to learn about the Israeli health system, Health Minister Yael German said on Monday. She met in Jerusalem with the governor of the western province of Papua New Guinea, a small country in Oceania that occupies the eastern half of the island of New Guinea. The two discussed cooperation between the countries and the possibility of sending an Israeli delegation to advise medical teams, mostly on telemedicine. The governor told German that local medicine lacks advanced technologies and that his visit to Israel was meant to connect between Israeli experts and their counterparts in Oceania. (J.Post)