Foreign Minister Yair Lapid met yesterday with Jordan’s King Abdullah II at his palace in Amman. The two met to discuss growing tension in Jerusalem and on the Temple Mount in the lead up to the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Lapid’s office reported that the two also discussed regional and international policy issues, the progress of normalization and peace, as well as joint projects pertaining to renewable energy and trade.
FM Lapid with travel to Romania and Slovakia this weekend for talks with their respective leaders.
The Knesset a controversial bill, known as the citizenship law, denying naturalization (Israeli citizenship) to Palestinians from the West Bank or Gaza married to Israeli citizens. The law, which would force thousands of Palestinian families to either emigrate or live apart, passed just before the Knesset disbanded for a holiday recess by a 45-15 majority vote that crossed party lines. The only parties that opposed the bill were the left-wing Meretz party and the Islamist Ra’am faction. The law is based on a temporary order that first passed during the height of a Palestinian uprising in 2003 and was renewed annually until it expired last July.
The U.S. House of Representatives approved $1 billion in funding for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system. The funding is part of a larger $1.5 trillion spending bill for the fiscal year 2022 to fund the federal government through the end of September. The Iron Dome funding will come in addition to the annual $3.8 billion defense assistance package for Israel. Some progressive Democrats offered stiff opposition to the Israel aid package. PM Bennett tweeted, “Thank you to the U.S. Congress for your overwhelming commitment to Israel’s security & for passing the critical security package — including the replenishment of the life-saving Iron Dome. Thank you [President Biden] for your leadership & friendship. Together, we are stronger.”
Ukraine President Zelensky will address the Knesset via zoom in the near future. Zelensky has already spoken with PM Bennett 4 times since the Russian invasion of his country. Bennett has been trying to mediate between the 2 countries.
Turkey has agreed to return to Israel an ancient inscription from Jerusalem, currently housed in the Istanbul Archaeology Museum. The Siloam Inscription, a 2,700-year-old ancient Hebrew text that provides concrete historical support for the biblical account of the construction of a tunnel which brought water from the Pool of Siloam to the City of David, below the southern edge of the Temple Mount, during the reign of King Hezekiah.
The six-line inscription in paleo-Hebrew found etched into the wall of the tunnel describes the excavators, working from opposite ends, calling to one another near the completion of the project. The construction of the tunnel is recounted in the biblical books of Kings and Chronicles.
The inscription reads: “… this is the story of the tunnel, while [the hewers lifted] their axes toward their counterparts, and while three cubits more were to (be hewn?), was heard the voice of a man calling to his counterpart, (for) there was [a crack?] in the rock, on the right and on the left. And on the day of [the final barrier’s] piercing, the stonecutters struck each man towards his counterpart, ax against ax and water flowed from the source to the pool for 1,200 cubits and 100 cubits was the height of the rock, over the head of the stonecutters …”
Our thoughts are prayers are with the Ukrainian people in these dark and dangerous times they are going through.