Thank you for all your prayer for Israel and for wisdom for PM Netanyahu and protection for Israel’s security forces. PM Netanyahu told the visiting Colombian president that Israel has foiled five suicide bombings since the start of the year along with 30 attempted kidnappings of soldiers. We praise God for these answers to prayer.
Enclose the News Update – some of the key points – possibility of cheap flights from Ireland to Israel and Tony Blair finally seeing into the heart of Islam.
Ryanair and Israel: Michael Cawley. Deputy CEO of Ryanair, said the low-cost European airline has boosted the number of tourists in 28 countries in Europe and the world, and we intend to this in Israel too.”
Islam at its heart: Special Envoy to the Middle East, Tony Blair There is a problem within Islam that goes beyond the existence of religious extremists, Islam has at its heart a view about the interaction between religion and politics that is not compatible with pluralistic, liberal, open-minded societies”
President Peres had a 90th Birthday celebration in Jerusalem this week – even Ireland’s Bono sent greetings.
JERUSALEM-ON-THE-LINENews Update June 19th 2013
MANY GLOBAL STARS BRIGHTEN PRESIDENT’S BIRTHDAY FESTIVITIES: The gala birthday celebration for Israel’s President Shimon Peres on Tuesday night included a performance by Barbara Streisand and Eyal Golan and was attended by Bill Clinton, Tony Blair and - of course - PM Binyamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara, along with Robert De Niro, Prince Albert of Monaco and other heads of state from around the world. The organizers had clearly worked hard to create an impressive spectacle for the president. A warm and admiring opening speech by Tony Blair was followed by a swarm of children taking to the stage to wish Peres happy birthday in song. "We in Britain have our queen, and you have your Shimon," the former British prime minister said. "Tonight we do not celebrate Peres' age, we celebrate his character," Blair continued. "To the youngest 90-year-old I know, yom huledet sameach (happy birthday)." A series of video greetings included messages from Mikhail Gorbachev, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and even U2 lead singer Bono, who praised Peres as an inspiration. US President Barack Obama, in his video message, said his Israeli counterpart is "quite simply a living legend." Barbra Streisand sang for the president and said that Peres knows how to swim against the current for what is right. She was followed by Peres himself, who took the stage to much fanfare. (Ynet/J.Post)
PERES: ‘MY LIFE’S JOURNEY HAS BEEN A ROAD THAT RUNS BETWEEN VISHNIEVA AND ISRAEL’: Taking to the stage at the end of a night of celebration, a visibly moved Shimon Peres thanked those who had contributed to the evening, and reflected on his life's journey, which, he said, "is a road that runs between Vishnieva, where I was born, to Israel, where I lived as a youngster, full of dreams. It is the road between my grandfather and David Ben Gurion, the two figures who have left the deepest imprint on my life to this very day. He spoke of his love for Israel and his dedication to the pursuit of peace. "I believe that Israel can go higher and higher, if we make the necessary decisions," he declared. (J.Post)
JERUSALEM-ON-THE-LINE News Update June 17th 2013
IRAN’S NEW PRESIDENT: Moderate cleric Hassan Rowhani won Iran's presidential election on Saturday, scoring a surprising victory over conservative hardliners. Rowhani secured just over 50% of the ballot based on a 72% turnout of 50 million voters. The outcome will not soon transform Iran's long tense relations with the West, call into question its disputed pursuit of nuclear power or lessen its support of Syria's president in the civil war there - matters of national security that remain the domain of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. But Rowhani's rise could offer latitude for a thaw in Iran's foreign relations and more social freedoms at home after eight years of repression under hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Meanwhile, Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon has called for tougher sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program, regardless of its new president. (Ha’aretz/INN)
IRAN SENDING 4,000 TROOPS TO AID ASSAD: Iran will send 4,000 Revolutionary Guard troops to Syria to fight alongside Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces, according to press reports Sunday. The decision to send soldiers to Syria was made last week prior to Friday's Iranian presidential election. Pro-Iranian sources were quoted as saying that Iran has proposed to open up a front against Israel on the Golan Heights as part of efforts to preserve Assad's regime in Syria. The report comes after the US announced on Thursday it will begin to arm the Syrian opposition in the face of evidence that Assad used chemical weapons against rebels on multiple occasions. (J.Post)
JOINT US-ISRAELI CONTINGENCY PLAN: ‘18 CHEMICAL TARGETS IN SYRIA’: While the US prepares to arm rebels and after its confirmation the Syrian army has used chemical weapons, a detailed account has been published of how and when the US and Israel plan to destroy President Bashar Assad's chemical weapons stockpile. The two countries have reportedly formed a number of contingency plans in case Assad's regime falls or rebels near the weapon caches, mandating a speedy Western response, in an attempt to prevent Syria's weapons of mass destruction from falling into the wrong hands. If Assad's regime should collapse, the two states would consider launching a targeted attack on 18 different weapon stockpiles where chemical weapons are known to be stored. In addition, search operations would also be enacted to locate and destroy any such arms which might have already reached radical al-Qaeda affiliated rebels. Israeli official stressed it has yet to be decided whether Israel or the US would conduct the assault. What is clear is the US plans called for deploying forces on the ground as well as waves of airstrikes, to assure the chemical and biological components are neutralized, according to Israeli officials.” (Ynet/INN)
ABDULLAH: JORDAN READY TO FIGHT THREATS FROM SYRIA: Jordan's King Abdullah said Sunday the kingdom was ready to fight to protect itself against any threat to its security from the escalating civil war in neighboring Syria. He was speaking as Jordanian and US forces proceeded with joint military exercises with the participation of 17 other countries. Diplomats say the exercises, which entered their second week, aim to send a strong message to Syrian President Assad. "If the world does not help as it should, and if the matter becomes a danger to our country, we are able at any moment to take the measures to protect the country and the interest of our people," King Abdullah told military cadets in southern Jordan. He also saluted members of his country's armed forces who helped over the last year undertake a massive humanitarian relief operation to bring across the border hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees fleeing bombardment in their communities and seeking a safe haven. (J.Post)
MORSI CUTS EGYPT’S SYRIA TIES, CONDEMNS HIZBULLAH: Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi said he had cut all diplomatic ties with Damascus on Saturday and demanded Hizbullah leave Syria, pitching the most populous Arab state more firmly against President Assad. Addressing a gathering of Muslim clerics, the Islamist head of state said: "We decided today to entirely break off relations with Syria and with the current Syrian regime." He also warned Assad's allies in the Iranian-backed, Lebanese terrorist organization to pull back from fighting in Syria: "We stand against Hizbullah in its aggression against the Syrian people," Morsi said. "Hizbullah must leave Syria - these are serious words.” He further urged world powers not to hesitate to enforce a no-fly zone over Syria. On Sunday, Syria harshly criticized Cairo's decision to sever diplomatic relations with Damascus, accusing Egypt's Morsi of joining a US and Israel-led conspiracy against Syria. (Ynet/J.Post)
OVER 70 SYRIAN OFFICERS DEFECT TO TURKEY: As many as 73 Syrian military officers defected from the Syrian army and have crossed the border into Turkey with their families, news sources reported Friday. The 73 officers included seven generals and 20 colonels. They were part of a group totaling 202 Syrians who arrived in the border town of Reyhanli. They were taken to a Turkish refugee camp that houses military officers who have defected from the Syrian army. This is one of the largest, if not the largest, defections from Assad’s army since the start of the popular uprising against him in March 2011, which has turned into a civil war that has killed more than 90,000 people. (INN)
ERDOGAN STRUGGLES TO RECOVER FROM CRACKDOWN: Facing a backlash over his government’s attempt to brutally put down protests that began two weeks ago over the development of a park in Istanbul, Turkish PM Recep Erdogan is now trying to negotiate a settlement with anti-government demonstrators. Reaching an agreement with the protesters will be difficult, however, since it is clear from their demands for Erdogan’s resignation the protests go beyond plans to pave over a park and represent a deep-seated opposition to the prime minister and his harsh policies. (Lignet)
JERUSALEM-ON-THE-LINE News Update June 15th 2013
WHITE HOUSE: CHEMICAL ARMS USED IN SYRIA, US TO ARM REBELS: Evidence is clear that chemical weapons were used against rebel forces in Syria, the White House acknowledged Thursday. As a result, US President Barack Obama has decided to directly arm the rebels "to strengthen their effectiveness," the White House said. The new aid will be "military" in nature, but was not detailed. Sources within the administration point to the president's growing interest in a limited no-fly zone based out of Jordan that would protect part of the country for rebel training and refugee assistance. Assad has made dramatic gains against opposition forces in recent weeks with the help of thousands of Hizbullah fighters, and is preparing a significant offensive against the rebel stronghold of Aleppo. Almost 93,000 people have been killed thus far in the Syrian civil war, according to a report presented Thursday by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pllay. “The true number of those killed is potentially much higher,” said Pillay. (J.Post/INN)
NETANYAHU AT AUSCHWITZ: THIS WON’T HAPPEN AGAIN: Israeli PM Netanyahu on Thursday opened a new Holocaust exhibition at the former Auschwitz death camp, vowing Israel would do everything to prevent another genocide of the Jewish people. Sixty-five years on, "the only thing that has truly changed is our ability and our determination to operate in order to defend ourselves and to prevent another Holocaust," he said. Netanyahu's comments came a day after he accused Tehran of planning another Holocaust by developing nuclear weapons with the aim of destroying Israel. "This is a regime that is building nuclear weapons to annihilate Israel's six million Jews," he said following talks with Polish counterpart Donald Tusk in Warsaw. Israel "will not allow this to happen." While saying that Israel should be eliminated, Tehran insists its nuclear facilities are for peaceful purposes. Netanyahu further said the world knew about the Holocaust and did nothing. “The Allied leaders knew about the Holocaust as it was happening. They understood perfectly what was taking place in the death camps. They were asked to act, they could have acted, and they did not,” said Netanyahu. “For us Jews, the lesson is clear. We must not stand idle before the threats of annihilation. We must not bury our heads in the sand, or let others do our work. From here, the place that provides testimony for the will to eradicate us, I, the prime minister of Israel, tell all the nations of the world: The State of Israel will do whatever is necessary to prevent a second Holocaust.” (INN)
PUTIN: IRAN THREATS AGAINST ISRAEL UNACCEPTABLE: Russian President Vladimir Putin said this week that Iran had a right to a peaceful nuclear program but slammed as "unacceptable" its threats against its regional nemesis Israel. "Iran is in a very difficult region," Putin told a televised question-and-answer session. "And when we hear threats from Iran against its neighbors, particularly Israel, when we hear from Iran that Israel must be destroyed - I think this is completely unacceptable." (AFP)
PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY COMPLAINS OF WORSENING FINANCIAL CRISIS: The Palestinian Authority deputy prime minister for economic affairs said this week that the financial crisis is getting worse. "There is a major financial crisis and the PA is $4.2 billion in internal and external debt," Muhammad Mustafa said during a news conference. The PA official also warned of a growing job crisis, with over 250,000 Palestinians currently unemployed, young people particularly affected. The PA owes $600 million to banks and $1 billion to international financial institutions, Mustafa said. (Ma'an News)
BURT: OBEY KERRY OR FACE INTERNATIONAL ISOLATION: British Deputy FM Alistair Burt, on Wednesday, urged Israel to adhere to the peace agenda proposal of Secretary John Kerry, "This is an opportunity Israel and the PA must seize. The consequences of the failure of Kerry's peace initiative will be the international isolation of Israel. The United Kingdom is very concerned about such a possibility." (Arutz-7)
JERUSALEM-ON-THE-LINE News Update June 12th 2013
IRAN UPS CYBER ATTACKS ON ISRAELI COMPUTERS: PM Netanyahu accused Iran and its Palestinian and Lebanese allies this week of carrying out "non-stop" cyber attacks on major computer systems in his country. He gave no details on the number of attacks but said "vital national systems" had been targeted. Water, power and banking sites were also under threat, he added. (Reuters) Pray these attacks will be swiftly disrupted and Israeli targets rendered immune.
PALESTINIANS CALL FOR RIGHT OF RETURN AT UNHRC: The PLO called for the right of return for Palestinian refugees to Israel during a debate on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday. Israel must “recognize the right of return of refugees to their homeland, without selectivity or conditionality, including to the cities they were ejected from,” said Imad Zuhairi, a PLO official. He spoke during Agenda Item 7, in which the UNHRC is mandated at every session to debate Israeli actions against the Palestinians over the pre-1967 lines. Monday’s debate comes in the midst of a renewed effort by US Secretary of State John Kerry to re-kindle direct Israeli-Palestinian talks, which have been largely frozen since 2008. (J.Post)
THE BASICS FACTS OF THE “RIGHT OF RETURN”: When Israel was created in 1948, Arab states and Arab Palestinians attacked the Jewish community in Palestine and the Jewish state, vowing to “drive the Jews into the sea.” They lost the war however, and some 725,000 Arab Palestinians at the behest of Arab leaders voluntarily fled from the area that became Israel. Palestinian Arabs claim any peace agreement with Israel must allow the descendants and families of these refugees, now numbering approximately four and a half million, to return to Israel. If Israel were to agree to this Jews would became a minority in their own state. Return of the refugees would put an end to the Jewish homeland. Meanwhile, from the onset of the 1948 Arab–Israeli War until the early 1970s, 800,000–1,000,000 Jews left, fled, or were expelled from their homes in Arab countries. Although much is heard about the plight of the Palestinian refugees from the aftermath of the 1948 Israeli War of Independence and the 1967 Six Day War, little is said about the hundreds of thousands of Jews who were forced to flee from Arab states before and after the creation of Israel. In fact, these refugees were largely forgotten because they were assimilated into their new homes, most in Israel, and neither the UN nor any other international agency took up their cause or demanded restitution for the property and money taken from them. (Compiled by VFI Staff)
PERES HOSTS COLOMBIAN PRESIDENT CALDERON: President Shimon Peres hosted Colombian President Juan Calderon at the Presidential Residence in Jerusalem on Monday. Peres thanked him for Colombian friendship and financial cooperation with the Jewish state, as well as for standing beside Israel against the UN Security Council. The Colombian President was deeply moved, "Israel is an inspiration to us. I have come here to learn." On Tuesday, PM Netanyahu told the visiting Colombian president that Israel has foiled five suicide bombings since the start of the year. He said that Shin Bet, the domestic security service, and the army had prevented the attacks and 30 attempted kidnappings of soldiers. "We are happy to share our experience in the fight against terrorism with Colombia," Netanyahu said. On Monday, President Peres and the Colombian leader signed a free trade agreement as well as deals on aviation and technological innovation. Colombia was one of a minority of states to abstain in November’s vote on upgrading the Palestinians Authority’s status at the UN. (INN) Pray for continued good relations between Israel and Colombia and for Colombian leaders to actively resist the growing infiltration of Iranian- backed terrorist cells in their country.
JERUSALEM-ON-THE-LINE News Update June 10th 2013
NETANYAHU: ISRAEL CAN’T RELY ON INT’L FORCES FOR SECURITY: The disintegration of the UN peacekeeping forces in the Golan shows why Israel cannot rely on international forces for its security, PM Binyamin Netanyahu said Sunday. Netanyahu was referring to Austria's decision last week to pull out its 380 troops from the 1,000-strong UN Observer Force on the Israel-Syria border. While international forces can be part of agreements, they cannot be what Israel relies upon for its security, Netanyahu said. He added that he will raise this in his talks this week with US Secretary of State John Kerry. Kerry's recent efforts to restart Israeli-Palestinian diplomatic talks has revived the idea international forces may be able to replace withdrawing IDF forces in the Jordan Valley as part of a peace agreement. Netanyahu said any agreement will be based on a de-militarized Palestinian state that will recognize Israel as the national home of the Jewish people, and on "concrete" security arrangements based on an IDF presence. Netanyahu said he spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin again on Friday, the third time in a month, about the situation in Syria that Netanyahu said was getting more complicated by the day. (J.Post)
IRAN SCOFFS AT ARGENTINA’S TERROR CHARGES: Iran has scoffed at charges leveled by the Argentine prosecutor investigating an anti-Jewish attack that killed 85 people in Buenos Aires in 1994. Days ago, Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman accused Iran of infiltrating several South American countries "to install espionage bases - destined to commit, encourage and sponsor terror attacks like the one that took place against AMIA." He was referring to the bombing of the Argentine Jewish Charities Federation building in Buenos Aires in 1994, the worst attack of its kind ever in Argentina. Nisman, who is in charge of investigating the bombing, also accused Iran of "making dual use of diplomatic agencies as well as cultural and charitable associations to conceal terrorist activities." However, an Iranian foreign ministry official dismissed Nisman's charges. Argentine courts have charged eight current and former senior Iranian officials over the bombing, including Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi and ex-Revolutionary Guards chief Mohsen Rezai - both candidates in the June 14 presidential elections - along with former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. (AFP)
IRAN SAYS ARAK REACTOR ONE STEP CLOSER TO COMPLETION: A heavy water reactor in Arak, Iran came one step closer to completion after it installed the "upper container," according to a report by a news site associated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. Fereidoun Abbasi, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran said the Arak heavy water reactor will receive virtual fuel by March 2014. US diplomat Joseph Macmanus, who serves as the ambassador to the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), called the creation of the Arak reactor "deeply troubling." He questioned Iran's refusal to disclose the requisite design information, which the IAEA said Iran must provide in order to properly monitor the site. In response, Iran's ambassador told reporters that Tehran had every determination to continue with plans to build the reactor regardless of international pressure to delay further building. "We will not yield to pressure, sanctions, threats of attack," Ambassador Ali Asghar Soltanieh said. Israel sees Iran as a major threat. "Without a direct military threat, Iran will not stop," Netanyahu said, referring to the Islamic Republic’s growing nuclear achievements. "Israel's right to defend its existence is not subject to a traffic light." (J.Post)
LOW COST AIRLINE WILL BRING MILLIONS OF TOURISTS TO ISRAEL: Deputy CEO of Ryanair said the low-cost European airline will succeed in bringing millions of tourists to Israel. “Ryanair has boosted the number of tourists in 28 countries in Europe and the world, and we intend to this in Israel too,” said Ryanair deputy CEO Michael Cawley. Israel's Minister of Tourism Uzi Landau told Ryanair reps he supported the entry of low-cost carriers like Ryanair to Israel. “I will do everything I can to promote this. Low-cost carriers will make Israel much more accessible for Europeans and will greatly increase the number of incoming tourists from Europe and the world,” he said. (INN/Globes)
JERUSALEM-ON-THE-LINE News Update June 8th 2013
FRANCE AND ENGLAND ASSERT SARIN DEPLOYED IN SYRIA: The British Foreign Office has said tests reveal the deadly nerve agent sarin has been used during the Syrian civil war. France’s foreign minister also claimed he is certain the chemical weapon had been used by the Assad regime. “These tests show the presence of sarin in various samples in our possession,” Laurent Fabius said. He added that the test results had been passed to the UN. “It would be unacceptable that those guilty of these crimes remain unpunished,” Fabius added. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed revulsion on Tuesday over atrocities in Syria's two-year civil war as detailed in a document prepared by UN human rights investigators. "He has seen this report," Ban's spokesman told reporters. "Frankly he finds the catalog of atrocities in that report to be both sickening and staggering." Syria began in earnest to build a covert chemical weapons program three decades ago, aided by its allies and European chemical wholesalers. Since, it has amassed what is believed to be one of the deadliest stockpiles of nerve agent in the world, according to Western military experts. (J.Post/INN)
YA’ALON: NO REAL PEACE WITHOUT END TO PALESTINIAN INCITEMENT: "If I open a PA textbook and see that Israel doesn't appear on the map, or that Tel Aviv is designated as a settlement, and when a 3-year-old boy is brought up to admire suicide bombers - you can sign any agreement and in the end it will blow up in your face," Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said this week. Speaking about prospects for peace with the Palestinians, Ya'alon said, "We're ready to begin the process immediately without preconditions, and discuss all the issues. We're ready to advance the diplomatic process, which Abbas is avoiding by setting preconditions. We are unwilling to pay a price just for them to come to the table." Ya'alon added, "We are being attacked over the issue of settlements. If we're talking about peace and coexistence, why are the Palestinians demanding territory free of Jews?" (Israel Hayom)
BLAIR: THERE IS A PROBLEM WITHIN ISLAM: There is a problem within Islam that goes beyond the existence of religious extremists, former British PM Tony Blair said this week, in what seems like a change in perception. “There is a problem within Islam – from the adherents of an ideology that is a strain within Islam. We have to put it on the table and be honest about it,” wrote Blair, who currently serves as Special Envoy to the Middle East. “I am afraid this strain is not the province of a few Islamic extremists. It has at its heart a view about religion and about the interaction between religion and politics that is not compatible with pluralistic, liberal, open-minded societies,” he continued. “At the extreme end of the spectrum are terrorists, but the world view goes deeper and wider than it is comfortable for us to admit. So by and large we don’t admit it,” he added. His comments were made in wake of the murder of British soldier Lee Rigby, who was beheaded by Muslim extremists in an unprovoked attack on a London street in broad daylight. (INN) Pray for more world leaders to wake up to the facts regarding the ever- increasing danger of Islam’s world views and goals - and the Muslim extremists who carry them out. May there be systems and strategies put into place to avert terrorists and their ideologies flooding Western countries.
WORLD’S THINNEST CORNEA TRANSPLANT AT TEL AVIV HOSPITAL: Two "thin" cornea transplants were recently performed for the first time at the Ichilov Medical Center in Tel Aviv. Sometime, such operations are the only way to restore vision to blind eyes. The DMEK procedure takes the back layer of the cornea 10-to-20 thousandths of a millimeter thick. Doctor David Versano said the new procedure is different in that it does not require stitches to keep the implant in the right place, giving the eye more stability and less exposure to dangers. An important advantage is the small amount of tissue which is exchanged, resulting in a smaller chance of rejection and a bigger chance the implant will function well over the years. (INN)