February 21, 2024
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US Supreme Court Rejects Law to Allow ‘Jerusalem, Israel’ on Passports

(ynetnews.com) The US Supreme Court has struck down a disputed law that would have allowed Americans born in Jerusalem to list their birthplace as Israel on their US passports. It is an important ruling that underscores the president’s authority in foreign affairs.

An American passport can now only express ‘Jerusalem’ as a birthplace, not ‘Jerusalem, Israel’. The policy is part of the government’s refusal to recognize any nation’s sovereignty over Jerusalem, until Israelis and Palestinians resolve its status through negotiations.

Negotiations over the status of Jerusalem have long been seen as key to any potential peace settlement. The United States has been neutral on the question ever since Israel was founded in 1948.

Palestinians Advertise Soccer Game With Photos of Slain Israeli Soldiers

(JNS.org) Promoters of a Palestinian soccer match in Gaza used the images of two Israeli soldiers killed during Operation Protective Edge in an advertisement to draw spectators to a tournament. Photographs of Lt. Hadar Goldin and Staff Sgt. Oron Shaul, both of whose remains are believed to be in Hamas hands, were printed on ads for a game between Khadamat Rafah and Itehad Shujaiyya, the cities where they were killed. The writing alongside the soldiers’ pictures reads, “The two teams of kidnapping soldiers compete in the Gaza Cup final.” Shaul was one of seven soldiers killed when an armored personnel carrier was struck by an anti-tank missile in the Shujaiyya neighborhood of Gaza last summer. His body was never found. Goldin was killed and his body taken after an explosion inside a Hamas terror tunnel near Rafah.

A relative of Shaul told Israel Hayom, “We do not want to know how our enemies are capable of being so insensitive and disrespectful toward soldiers killed in battle.”

Israeli Government to Budget Nearly $26 Million to Fight BDS Movement

(JNS.org) Israel’s strategic affairs minister, Gilad Erdan, is due in the next few weeks to introduce an official Israeli government plan with a budget of $25.9 million to combat the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, Israel Hayom reported Sunday. “The motive behind boycotts isn’t Israel’s policies in Judea and Samaria, but an unwillingness to accept our existence here as a Jewish state and our historic right [to the land],” Erdan said.

Hezbollah Repels ISIS Attack on Lebanon-Syria Border

(Ha’aretz and combined sources) Hezbollah gunmen said they repelled an attack by Islamic State group fighters in an area on the Lebanon-Syria border. Al-Manar TV said that ISIS’s Tuesday attack targeted several Hezbollah positions outside the northeastern Lebanese border village of Ras Baalbek and left several Islamic State fighters dead or wounded and three vehicles, including a bulldozer, destroyed. The report did not mention whether there were casualties among Hezbollah fighters.

Hezbollah has been on the offensive in Syria’s Qalamoun mountains for weeks and has captured territory from Al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria, the Nusra Front. With the Nusra Front almost defeated in the area, a major battle is expected between Hezbollah and ISIS. The total area of the Qalamoun mountains that was being contested is about 386 square miles, of which 131 square miles lie in Lebanon and are under the control of ISIS militants and the Nusra Front, according to Hezbollah. On Monday, Al-Manar said that Hezbollah fighters and Syrian troops have so far captured half the area.

Iran Rejects Even Limited Inspector Access to Military Sites

(JNS.org) An Iranian general has declared that his country will not allow even limited access to military sites under any final nuclear agreement. “Any kind of inspection of Iran’s military sites, including managed and restricted access, is unacceptable,” Brigadier General Massoud Jazayeri was quoted by the Tasnim news agency as saying, Reuters reported. Jazayeri’s statement echoes other Iranian leaders’ stated stances on access for international inspectors to nuclear sites, including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has said that “absolutely” no permission will be given for inspections. The tough stance on military sites comes as a June 30 deadline approaches for Iran and world powers to reach a final nuclear deal. Access to Iranian military sites is one of a number of key sticking points in the negotiations.

IDF Deploys Iron Dome Near Gaza as Rocket Threat Increases

(JNS.org) The Israel Defense Forces said it is deploying two new Iron Dome missile defense system batteries in southern Israel amid an increased threat of rocket attacks from Gaza.

The move comes as Salafi terrorists in Gaza who have aligned with the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the June 3 launching of two rockets at Israel and vowed more attacks. The Islamic State supporters are also in the midst of fighting Gaza-ruling Hamas.

Ironically, Hamas is attempting to prevent the rocket fire in order to avoid igniting another costly war with Israel while the Palestinian terrorist group attempts to rebuild its terror infrastructure.

Meanwhile, a Hamas terrorist was killed on Friday when a “resistance tunnel” collapsed on him, according to Hamas’s Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, AFP reported. The tunnel was located in Gaza’s Shejaiya neighborhood, which saw heavy fighting during last year’s war between Israel and Hamas.

One of Israel’s main objectives during the war was dismantling Hamas’s vast network of terror tunnels, many of which extended into Israel. But soon after the conflict, Hamas resumed rebuilding the tunnels.

Israeli President Awards Unity Prize in Honor of Three Slain Jewish Teens

(JNS.org) Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and his wife Nechama hosted the inaugural Jerusalem Unity Prize award ceremony on Wednesday at the President’s Residence in honor of kidnapped and murdered Jewish teens Gilad Shaar, Eyal Yifrach, and Naftali Frenkel.

The prize is the joint initiative of the boys’ families, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, and Gesher, a non-profit organization dedicated to bridging the gaps between different segments of Israeli society. Its purpose is to recognize individuals and organizations who contribute to unity among Jewish communities and Israeli society, and it was distributed on the newly declared Unity Day, also created in memory of the teenage boys killed by Hamas last year.

The Unity Prize is awarded in three categories: Israel-Diaspora, Social Initiative, and Individual. The Chabad House in Bangkok, Thailand, under the leadership of Rabbi Nechemya Wilhelm, won in the Israel-Diaspora, category; “Nifgashim Beshvil Israel” (“Meeting for Israel – on the Israel Trail”), an annual hike of the Israel National Trail initiated by Raya and Yossi Epner in memory of their son Avi, who died in the 1997 military helicopter tragedy, won in Social Initiative; and the Meetchabrim (“Connecting”) organization’s founder IDF Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Ram Shmueli as well as musician Rabbi David Menachem won in the third category.

“Different as we may be, we have a bright future here together,” said Rachel Frenkel, Naftali’s mother, at the ceremony. Rivlin said that “thanks to the prize winners, we are reminded that mutual responsibility, unity, and solidarity are important challenges during difficult times and even during mundane times.”

Netanyahu to Czech FM: Palestinians Set ‘Perfect Trap’ on Peace Talks

(JNS.org) The Palestinian Authority rejects peace talks with Israel and then tries to get boycotts imposed on the Jewish state over the absence of peace talks, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told visiting Czech Republic Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek in Jerusalem on Monday, calling the situation a “perfect trap.”

“We want two states for two peoples: a Jewish state, a Jewish nation state—Israel, living in peace with a demilitarized Palestinian state,” Netanyahu said. “Unfortunately, the Palestinians don’t negotiate. They ran away from negotiations. They ran away from [Ehud] Barak, they ran away from [Ariel] Sharon, they ran away from [Ehud] Olmert, they ran away from me…. What they do is they refuse to negotiate… run to Hamas, which calls for our destruction, go to the U.N. and try to get sanctions on Israel. They refuse to negotiate and then try to get boycotts on Israel for there not being negotiations which they refuse to enter. Catch-22.”

Hezbollah Repels ISIS Attack on Lebanon-Syrian Border

(Ha’aretz and combined sources) Hezbollah gunmen say that they have repelled an attack by Islamic State group fighters in an area on the Lebanon-Syria border. Al-Manar TV says that ISIS’s Tuesday attack targeted several Hezbollah positions outside the northeastern Lebanese border village of Ras Baalbek and left several Islamic State fighters dead or wounded and three vehicles, including a bulldozer, destroyed. The report did not mention whether there were casualties among Hezbollah fighters.

Hezbollah has been on the offensive in Syria’s Qalamoun mountains for weeks and has captured territory from Al-Qaida’s branch in Syria, the Nusra Front. With the Nusra Front almost defeated in the area, a major battle is expected between Hezbollah and ISIS.

The total area of the Qalamoun mountains that was being contested is about 386 square miles, of which 131 square miles lie in Lebanon and are under the control of ISIS militants and the Nusra Front, according to Hezbollah.

On Monday, Al-Manar said that Hezbollah fighters and Syrian troops have so far captured half the area.

ISIS Attacks Government Office in Western Baghdad

(Combined sources) Three militants disguised in military uniform killed at least eight people in a local government office in Amiriyat al-Falluja in western Iraq on Tuesday, in an attack claimed by Islamic State.

One of the attackers blew himself up inside the building, but the other two were still at large, according to deputy district council chairman Falih al-Issawi, who said he could still hear gunfire.

A further 17 people were wounded in the attack, including the head of the council, Shakir al-Issawi, who leapt from the window of his office after the explosion, a police source said. In a statement, Islamic State said the three attackers had killed “dozens of apostates”.

Israel’s Technion Gets Gates Foundation Grant for Tuberculosis Breakthrough

(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) The Haifa-based Technion-Israel Institute of Technology has been awarded a grant for a tuberculosis detection breakthrough as part of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Grand Challenges Exploration program.

The foundation has committed $100 million to encourage scientists worldwide to expand the pipeline of ideas to fight the world’s greatest health challenges through the Grand Challenges Explorations program, which was launched in 2008 to foster innovation in global health research. More than 1,140 Grand Challenge Explorations grants have been awarded to innovative, early-stage projects in more than 60 countries.

The Technion grant, whose specific amount was not announced, will go to Professor Hossam Haick of the Chemical Engineering Department and Russell Berrie Nanotechnology Institute, who is developing cutting-edge biomedical technology, including a self-administered electronic patch for the detection of tuberculosis via skin.

“With the help of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, we are developing an accurate, fast and inexpensive adhesive electronic patch that can diagnose tuberculosis. In this way, we wish to increase the survival rate among tuberculosis sufferers and to stave off the spread of the disease. We hope that these steps will improve the democratization and accessibility of health services around the world,” Haick said.

More than two billion people around the world are estimated to have tuberculosis, and 10 percent of them experience active symptoms in their lifetimes. Some 95 percent of tuberculosis sufferers live in developing countries where inhabitants subsist on incomes of $1 per day.

The goal of Haick’s project is to develop a self-administered diagnostic method based on the adhesive patch. The diagnosis, which uses a skin sample, would take up to five minutes, and it would be less expensive and more accessible than the current diagnostic tools.

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