Israel news summary

Israel News for 2-15-19

Military Exercise

Yesterday, the IDF and the US European Command (USEUCOM) concluded a 10 day joint exercise, codenamed Juniper Falcon, which included a scenario in which an attack by Israel on Iranian interests in Syria or Lebanon elicits an Iranian retaliatory missile strike with the US coming to Israel’s aid.

Three IDF command structures, together with US air defense units, practiced a scenario in which tens of thousands of missiles and rockets are launched at Israel from Lebanon, Syria, Iran and even Iraq by pro-Iranian militias.US aircraft carriers were integrated into the exercise and used to locate, identify and neutralize threats.

The IDF issued a press release stating that “the exercise included reception of American heavy-lift aircraft, deployment of infrastructure and the employment of shared C4I systems. More than 300 US servicemen and women participated in the exercise alongside 400 IDF soldiers from many units, including the Air Defense Array, the Planning and Operations Directorate, the C4I and Cyber Defense Directorate, logistic units, and other forces.”

Meanwhile, Israeli tank forces, along with air force, engineering and intelligence units, staged a massive exercise in the north of the country simulating a conflict with Hezbollah.

For further reading click here.

Leaked Video

The PM’s Office released a 25 minute video, taken on a mobile device, of a closed panel discussion at the U.S. sponsored security conference in Warsaw.

In the video, Bahrain’s foreign minister says that the threat from Iran is much more important than the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. He also said that “toxic money, guns and foot soldiers of the Islamic Republic” have hindered progress in Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts. Saudi Arabia’s minister of state for foreign affairs, Adel al-Jubeir, also accused Iran of hurting the Palestinian cause by supporting militant groups battling Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

When asked about Israel’s military activity in Syria, the UAE’s Emirati Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, said, “Every nation has the right to defend itself when it’s challenged by another nation.”

While Netanyahu did not participate in the discussion, he was seen sitting in the audience. The video was removed shortly after it was posted, apparently upon the request of the Gulf nations. It’s unclear if the original release of the video was intentional or a mistake.

In any case the video shows that relations between Israel and the Gulf nations are changing for the better and might very soon become normalized.

For further reading click here.

Foreign Minister

PM Netanyahu will appoint a new foreign minister on Sunday. The PM currently serves as foreign minister as well as defense minister and health minister. The Supreme Court ruled that he must give up one of his posts. The new FM will only serve until the elections in April, after which a new government will be formed.

For further reading click here.

Election Update

The Jewish Home (Bayit Yehudi) and National Union parties have signed an agreement to run on a joint list in the upcoming elections. Both parties have their base of support in the national religious community.

For further reading click here.

PM Plane Mishap

On Thursday the PM’s plane, an El Al charter, was accidentally hit by a towing vehicle on the runway of the Warsaw airport. The plane was damaged and the PM and his delegation were forced to spend an extra night in Warsaw. Another El Al plane arrived from Israel to pick them up and bring them home today, before Shabbat. [This kind of stuff never happens to Air Force 1]

For further reading click here.

Warsaw Ghetto Visit

PM Netanyahu, US VP Pence and the PM of Poland visited the Warsaw Ghetto memorial in Warsaw yesterday. Jared Kushner was there too. To watch a video of the memorial visit click here.

New Podcast
I’ve launched a new podcast called Jewish Wisdom, as part of a larger project that will include a website and some books. The goal of the project is to share authentic Jewish teachings, insights and advice based on the Bible, Talmud and Kabbalah. To kick things off I’ll be publishing a weekly podcast on the Parshah (weekly Torah portion). You can find the podcast on iTunes or Google Play. Please subscribe and share!

To listen to the podcast in iTunes click here.