April 8, 2024
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Israel in on Future Negotiations

TIP—According to the Jerusalem Post, an Israeli team will travel to the United States to ‘work on a final status nuclear deal with Iran,’ amid growing criticism of moves by the Obama administration to lock Israel out of months of previous negotiations between Washington and Tehran. Netanyahu made the statements at a Likud party meeting Monday, also emphasizing that Israel’s position would be oriented toward promoting and securing a comprehensive agreement that “must bring about one outcome: the dismantling of Iran’s military nuclear capability.” The White House expects Netanyahu and the U.S. “to begin consultations immediately regarding [U.S.] efforts to negotiate a comprehensive solution.”

The Loopholes Are There

TIP—The Hill pointedly noted that the interim deal’s announcement had already boosted Iran’s economic position, “with the Iran’s currency, the rial, jumping three percent on Sunday and oil markets sagging in expectation of increased supply.” News also emerged today that the European Union may remove certain sanctions on Tehran within weeks. The sum of the developments may deepen worries that asymmetries built into the interim deal – the terms of which only require Iran to ‘freeze’ its nuclear program as-is, but provide irreversible concessions to Tehran—may allow the Islamic republic to pocket interim concessions and eventually walk away from further negotiations. Iran figures a healthy dose of capital and economic benefits of currency gains will give them the patience to wait for the disintegration of the international community’s sanctions regime.

Define Enrichment

TIP—A dispute over the meaning of the enrichment regulations in the Iran nuke deal have pitted Iran and Russia against the U.S. and Britain, and may seriously mess up talks aimed at achieving a comprehensive agreement after the six month waiting period. Iranian leaders boasted that the U.S. had caved on its long-standing position that Iran would not be permitted to enrich uranium under a final accord. The U.S. and Britain both flatly denied Iran’s interpretation. The interim language, however, describes a future comprehensive solution as involving “a mutually defined enrichment program with practical limits and transparency measures to ensure the peaceful nature of the program.” Observers noted that a plain reading of the language favors the Iranian interpretation. The U.S. will either have to compel Iran to change its position or the U.S. will have to concede Iran’s position, abrogating assurances made by the administration to U.S. lawmakers and allies, and giving up on half a dozen United Nations Security Council resolutions calling on Iran to suspend enrichment.

Ancient Evidence
of Israelite Center at Shiloh

(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org)—A stone altar dated to the Iron Age—the period of Israelite kings—was discovered during a dig conducted by an archaeological staff officer of the Civil Administration in Judea and Samaria. The altar was found amid the stones of a wall dated to the Byzantine period. Apparently, the Byzantines removed the altar from its original location in Tel Shiloh and used it to build a structure at the foot of the tel. The discovery is the first tangible evidence that Shiloh was a cultic center prior to and during the First Temple period. Previously, the only evidence for that theory were descriptions in the Bible about the Tabernacle at the time of Joshua and later in the time of Eli the high priest and the prophet Samuel.

Crossfire: Bennett vs. Amanpour

CNN—Israel’s Economy Minister Naftali Bennett objected when Christiane Amanpour constantly referred to the “occupied territories” while she was interviewing him on CNN. He challenged her by pulling out a gold coin and said it was from Jerusalem, holding it up to the camera. “It’s an international term, Mr. Bennett,” she countered. “I know, and I don’t accept it,” said Bennett. “Because this coin, which says in Hebrew, ‘Freedom of Zion,’ was used by Jews in Jerusalem 2,000 years ago in the State of Israel—in what you call ‘occupied’ [land]. One cannot occupy his own home.” Amanpour had no rebuttal.

Azerbaijan Arrests Iranian
Targeting Embassy

Israel’s Channel 10 reported that an Iranian national was arrested three weeks ago in Azerbaijan after authorities observed him walking through the Israeli embassy displaying “suspicious behavior,” and after a raid of his house revealed plans and photographs indicating he intended to attack the building. Hasan Faraji, 31, was planning to launch a terror attack against the Israeli installation. They report that some 11,000 Israelis use pot legally to treat everything recent terror plots have been linked to the Islamic republic in Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Thailand, Georgia, India, Nigeria, Singapore, Nepal, Turkey, and even Israel. The Channel 10 broadcast described Faraji as a member of the Iranian Quds Forces, the branch of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard responsible for conducting overseas terror operations.

Pollard Enters his 29th Year in Prison

It has been 29 years since Jonathan Pollard, a civilian U.S. Navy intelligence analyst, was jailed for selling secrets to an American ally. His second wife Esther appealed to President Obama for his release. Pollard is not well, and last year, Israeli president, Shimon Peres, asked Obama to commute his sentence, to no avail. Obama says that Pollard will get a fair hearing before the parole board in 2015. Despite a plea bargain, Pollard, who spied for Israel, was sentenced to life in prison in 1987.

Rx: Mary Jane Goes to Tel Aviv

JTA has an interesting report about cancer, glaucoma, and medical marijuana in Tel Aviv. There is a new shop on Ibn Gvriol, one of almost a dozen, that dispenses medical marijuana to some 11,000 Israelis who qualify. The name of the joint? Tikkun Olam. But it’s not so simple. Prospective patients are screened by committee.

Strange Bedfellows

TIP—The Associated Press reports of the “burgeoning ‘strange alliance’ between Israel and Saudi Arabia, the latest development in what has become a cascade of regional adjustments by traditional U.S. allies, concerned that Washington is ceding its traditional role as a regional power. Jerusalem and Gulf nations have reportedly been shaken by the Obama administration’s decision-making in Egypt, where the White House vacillated and then eventually punished Cairo over the overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood-linked Mohammed Morsi government; in Syria, where the White House vacillated and then failed to attack after its “red line” against chemical weapons use was crossed; and Iran, where the White House is widely seen as vacillating on its pledge to only strike an interim deal with Iran that prevents Tehran from making progress in pursuing a nuclear weapons capability.”

Yemen Under Siege

A few weeks ago, Shiites in Yemen murdered Sunni scholars, women and children at prayer in their mosque in the mountains of Yemen, triggering a jihad that will ripple through the Middle East. Then an air strike there killed three suspected Al Qaeda-linked militants, according to tribal leaders in the area. For nearly two years, instability has rocked the region since dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh was deposed. Be prepared for more.

Refugees Flocking to Lebanon

TIP—A Hezbollah-backed Syrian army offensive in the country’s Qalamoun mountains threatens to generate a new refugee crisis, with French media outlets reporting that nearly 20,000 civilians may be driven into Lebanon. Forces loyal to the Bashar al-Assad regime have been attacking the strategically located town of Qara, which both lies on the road connecting Damascus to Syria’s largest city Aleppo and has served as a transit point for opposition fighters crossing the Syrian-Lebanese border. Elements in Lebanon traditionally aligned with the Iran-backed terror group have in recent weeks called for the organization to disentangle itself from the Syrian conflict lest Lebanon be dragged further into the two and a half year war.

C’est un peu trop, non?

TIP—Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the weekend offered a job to a U.N. Spanish-to-English translator who may face professional repercussions after a hot mic caught her making what she thought were private comments about the U.N.’s frentic condemnation of the Jewish state as contrasted with the near-total absence of criticism leveled at other countries. She made the comments when the U.N. General Assembly (UNGA) passed nine resolutions condemning Israel and exactly zero targeting other countries. Evaluating the situation, the still-unknown woman mused that “It’s a bit much, no?” and that “There’s other really bad shit happening, but no one says anything about the other stuff.”

No DNA Testing, No Weddings

Haaretz reports that Department of Community Genetics at the Israel Ministry of Health announced only two cases of Tay-Sachs in Israel in 2010. In the U.S. Tay-Sachs has dropped to ten cases from 100—and most of them are in non-Jewish families. This is because there has been an increase in pre-natal genetic testing and prenuptial genetic testing in the haredi and Hasidic communities. The testing for common genetic diseases takes place before a shidduch is put together. Those who carry the same mutation do follow not up with “tachlis” dates. Some haredim still object to the testing and say they are going to leave it all in God’s hands.

Dor Yeshorim (“Upright Generation”) founded in 1983, thinks otherwise. It is the organization in Israel and the U.S. that promotes and carries out testing. “They don’t close a shidduch without Dor Yeshorim,” said a spokesperson.

Tzohar Demands
List of Approved Rabbis from Abroad

The Jerusalem Post reported last week that Rabbi David Stav of Tzohar wants to see the list of rabbis from Chutz la’Aretz approved by the Chief Rabbinate in matters Jewish and marital status, because they have limited whose “testimonies” they will accept. The demand was made under Israel’s freedom of information act in mid-September, and the Chief Rabbinate’s office has yet to respond. The law requires the material to be made available within 30 days. A spokesperson for the Chief Rabbinate told reporters that the list doesn’t exist.

African Refugee
Stream to Israel Now a Trickle

NPR—The number of people illegally entering Israel from Africa has dropped from almost 10,000 in the first half of 2012 to just three dozen in the first six months of this year. Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, credit a new fence that stretches across the country’s southern border. Some 60,000 other migrants, almost all from Sudan or Eritrea, already live in Israel. New policies will separate asylum seekers from the rest of Israel; that’s because migrants from Sudan or Eritrea cannot be deported to their home countries because of continuing violence—and refugee advocates say the Israeli government has been slow to process applications for asylum. While people wait, social services normally offered to refugees are unavailable, and there is a new law that puts new migrants in detention for three years. Now Israel wants to reduce the time any new migrants spend in detention to a year or so, and move the tens of thousands of Eritreans and Sudanese already in the country to new so-called “open” detention centers while they wait for asylum claims to be processed. Food, health care and training would be provided. People could leave during the day, but would have to sleep in the centers. It’s not clear how many years they would stay. The United Nations refugee agency is advising Israel on its next steps. The Israeli government is also looking for a third country to take migrants, and offering $5,000 to asylum seekers who are willing to leave.

Jewish ID Administration Gets NIS14Mil

Haaretz reports that the Knesset’s Economic Affairs Committee approved NIS 14 million in funds for the Jewish Identity Administration, a new body established in the Religious Services Ministry, but they never got a programming plan or a transparent budget. MK Stav Shafir (Labor), objected strenuously to the application, and now the administration will have to present specific plans before the funds are actually transferred. The administration was established as part of the coalition agreement between Likud and Habayit Hayehudi. Shafir said that “…This is a route for hidden political deals worth billions of shekels, while the public is kept in the dark.”

 

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