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ISRAEL NEWS 6th January 2018

Sent: Saturday 6/Jan/2018 Topic: Israel


Source: Times of Israel

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has demanded his country's immigrants reject anti-Semitism, characterizing it as a "non-negotiable" condition for living in Germany. "There are things which are part of Germany. And one of these is our responsibility for our past: the lessons of two World Wars, the lessons from the Holocaust, the responsibility for Israel's security, the rejection of any form of racism and anti-Semitism," said the German president at a recent Hanukkah event at the Israeli embassy in Berlin. "For this responsibility, no line can be drawn under the past for later generations, and no exceptions can be made for immigrants. It is non-negotiable, for all who live in Germany and want to live here!" he added. A study published earlier found that anti-Semitism among Muslim refugees in Germany is rampant and requires urgent attention.


In his address, the German president also referred to recent demonstrations in Berlin against the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Thousands of protesters burned homemade Israeli flags and crowded city subway stations chanting anti-Israel and anti-American slogans on their way to rallies. The numbers of refugees among the demonstrators was unknown. "The very week that our fellow Jewish citizens lit the candles of their menorah, Israeli flags were on fire on German squares. I am horrified and ashamed," he said. "Anti-Semitism has not been overcome, also not in our country, and it raises its evil head in many different guises: In extreme actions such as the burning of the Israeli flag and ignorant slogans of hatred and violence; But also in habits which are less obvious and the spreading of prejudices against 'all things Jewish.'" he added.


The survey, commissioned by the American Jewish Committee's Ramer Institute for German-Jewish Relations in Berlin, found that while many refugees interviewed had positive impressions of Germany, they also tended to believe in conspiracy theories, such as Jews or Israel controlling the world. "Anti-Semitic thinking and stereotyping are very common,  even among those who emphasize that they 'respect' Judaism or that there is no problem living together between Muslims, Christians and Jews in their countries of origin and in Germany," sociologist Gunther Jikeli of Indiana University and the University of Potsdam, Germany said in a statement. It also found that refugees from persecuted minority communities are more likely to take a stand against anti-Semitism and for Israel. The report was based on interviews with 68 refugees, and came amid heightened anti-Israeli sentiments at the Berlin rallies.


At the same time, in a show of solidarity with Jewish communities in Germany, local imams joined with Christian and Jewish leaders in public celebrations of Hanukkah, including the annual candle-lighting ceremony at the Brandenburg Gate, where Rabbi Yehuda Teichtal of Berlin was joined by Mayor Michael Mueller. Security was tightened at Jewish venues across  Germany. Steinmeier's speech came two days after the local Bild Zeitung newspaper reported that official Hanukkah celebrations in the city of Mulheim had been cancelled due to security concerns. A city spokesperson told Bild Zeitung that the decision was made at the behest of the Central Council of Jews, who said the city hall would be difficult to secure for the scheduled candle-lighting ceremony. Because the concerns over the building were voiced last minute, the organizers were unable to find a more secure location in time for the event.



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Source: CBN News

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on a group of Christian journalists to put a spotlight on the persecution of Christians under Iran's Islamic regime. Speaking at a Christian Media Summit in Jerusalem, Netanyahu said it's time to speak out for suffering Christians in Iran. He cited pastors who are jailed for no other reason than being a Christian leader and Believers who have been brutally tortured and lashed, just for practicing their faith, for sipping wine during prayer services," he said. Netanyahu has been warning the world about Iran's terrorist activities and nuclear ambitions, but he said on this night that he wanted to turn his attention to the persecuted. "Some world leaders are willing to ignore this repression and seek to appease Iran, but I am not one of them. I think that how a country treats religious minorities is a very good indicator of how it will treat its fellow citizens and its neighbours."


He then encouraged the Christian journalists to highlight Iran's suffering Believers. "Dedicate this Summit to outlining the plight of the countless Christians suffering in Iran. Profile the brave Christian leaders jailed for practicing their faith. Sit with the families, the schoolteachers jailed for years merely for converting to Christianity. Call out the lies of President Rouhani, who promised in 2013 that all religions would, quote, "feel justice" in Iran while so many Christians live there in constant terror," he said. Sponsored by the Government Press Office, the Foreign Ministry and the Prime Minister's Office, the summit has brought more than 100 Christian journalists and speakers together from around the world to learn about Israel's Biblical and modern history, and its security challenges. Netanyahu's address at the Israel Museum kicked off the summit.


The Israeli leader praised President Trump for his action in seeking to impose changes to tighten the nuclear deal with Iran signed by the Obama administration. It made a big impression on America's allies here. And it made a big impression on Iran. They should be worried, justly so," he said. He noted that the Iranian threat is two-fold: the possibility of gaining a "vast arsenal" of nuclear weapons and its aim to create a "Shiite Arc" of influence in the Middle East. "It wants to build the Shiite Arc, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and it's working. They want a Shiite arc to colonize and control. It is an act of unadulterated aggression," he said. At the end of his speech, the prime minister took questions from some members of the press.


CBN News Middle East Bureau Chief Chris Mitchell cited Israel's relief efforts to victims of natural disasters around world and asked Netanyahu why, with all the dangers and struggles the tiny Jewish state faces, it rushes to help others. "Because we're a light unto the nations, that's the fulfilment of that great prophecy. That's what Israel is doing," he said. During the past 12 months, Israel has sent relief goods and rescue teams to victims of the hurricanes in the Caribbean and the U.S. and the Mexican earthquakes. "People say, 'Well what are you doing? What is it that you get out of it?' And the answer is we're not getting out of it anything. We're fulfilling our deepest values. Israel is a light unto the nations."

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Source: Israel Today

The Trump Administration has exercised its first veto in the UN Security Council, to defend Israel's claim to Jerusalem. The Security Council was voting on a resolution condemning the U.S. for publicly recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The document expressed "deep regret at recent decisions concerning the status of Jerusalem," a clear reference to US President Donald Trump's declaration that Washington now officially considers the Holy City to be the capital of the Jewish state. The 14 other members of the Security Council all voted in favour of the resolution. US Ambassador Nikki Haley's "no" vote then sent it to the trash bin. Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immediately published a video message thanking Trump and Haley for taking such a bold stand. Haley told the council that America will continue to defend Israel "without reluctance." She also put the world body on notice, that America "will not be told, by any country, where we will put our embassy. What happened at the Security Council is an insult. It won't be forgotten."

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Source: Israel Today

As was expected, the UN General Assembly voted overwhelmingly in favour of a resolution condemning the U.S. for daring to recognize the obvious, that Jerusalem is the capital city of Israel. Nevertheless, Israeli officials however were able to find more than a silver lining. As former Israel Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor explained, it wasn't about actually defeating the General Assembly motion: "There are those who might see the vote tally and conclude it was a loss for Israel and the US, but that would be a mistake. "The automatic majority against Israel passes 22 resolutions a year by a wide margin and will continue to do so. The fight in the General Assembly isn't over whether a resolution will pass or not. That's a lost battle. The fight is over how much it will be by and on the quality of the side standing with truth, morality and justice, and on this vote, that side was significant."


Indeed, the vote was much less of an "overwhelming" condemnation of a pro-Israel move that similar votes in the past have been. Nine nations, including Israel and the US, obviously opposed the resolution. Most of the other friendly votes came from Pacific island nations. What marked a major shift were the 35 nations that chose to abstain, whether because their views are shifting, or because US President Donald Trump threatened to cut their financial aid if they didn't. Either way, it is something of a victory for Israel. If these nations are changing their tune regarding Jerusalem, that's a clear win for the Jewish state and its historical claims. But even if the abstentions were primarily out of fear of Trump, that's still a very positive outcome for Israel.


All the belly-aching over Trump and his brashness aside, the simple reality is that there can never be a true final status agreement to this conflict unless the world's sole superpower, the United States, supports it, if not sponsors it. And that superpower has now signalled loud and clear that it won't back any agreement that fails to fully take into account Israel's claims and concerns. That was the conclusion reached by columnist Noah Kliger in Israel's best-selling daily newspaper, Yediot Ahronot: "Victory pronouncements won't help the non-state of Palestine or its leader, even Mahmoud Abbas understands that he has absorbed a harsh blow, and if he ever wants a sovereign Palestinian state, he will have no choice but to accept Israel's conditions."


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Source: CBN News

The Trump administration has negotiated big cuts in the United Nations budget reducing spending more than $285 million in 2018 and 2019. There's no word on how big the overall budget is for those years and what, if any, impact this will have on the US contribution to the U.N. US ambassador Nikki Haley cited the organization's " inefficiency and overspending" in announcing the funding cuts and she would not let "the generosity of the American people be taken advantage of." She also said that while the US Mission to the U.N. was pleased with the results of budget negotiations, it would continue to "look at ways to increase the U.N.'s efficiency while protecting our interests." Recently, the U.N. General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to condemn the US for acknowledging Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.


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