Israel News for January 31, 2017

Jordan in DC
Yesterday Jordan’s King Abdullah held private meeting with US VP Pence followed by a meeting with US Defense Secretary James Mattis at the Pentagon. Among other issues, like the fight against ISIS and the war in Syria, the King discussed the Israeli Palestinian conflict and the proposal to move the US embassy to Jerusalem. Trump is expected to greet Abdullah at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington on Thursday.

Abdullah is the first Arab leader to meet with the new US administration. He will apparently not be meeting with the president. PM Netanyahu is due to meet with Trump on February 15th.

When announcing Netanyahu’s upcoming visit, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters,
“I think that with respect to Israel and the Jewish people specifically, there’s been no better friend than Donald Trump when it comes to protecting Israel, building a better friendship with Israel. You look at what Prime Minister Netanyahu’s talked about: He welcomes this administration. He appreciates the friendship and respect that he has shown to Israel and the Jewish people.”
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Embassy Move
President Trump discussed the issue of moving the US embassy to Jerusalem in a recent interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network. He said, “We’re studying it very long and hard. You know it’s a very big decision because every president for the last number of presidents, large number, they’ve come in and they were going to do it and then all of a sudden they decide they don’t want to get involved. I’ve always liked the concept of doing it, I will tell you that.”

He also said, “We are doing very detailed studies on that, and we’ll come out very soon. I hate to do that because that’s not usually me — studies — usually I do what’s right. But this has two sides to it; it’s not easy, and I will make a decision over the not-too-distant future.”

Do you think Trump will move the US embassy to Jerusalem?

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Pathetic Reaction
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer called the reaction of Jewish groups to the omission of Jews from the Presidents Holocaust Remembrance Day statement, which was apparently written by Jewish aide Boris Epshteyn, “pathetic”. We’ve already said our piece regarding this in yesterday’s issue, so if you want to read more about Spicer’s statement click here.

Bus Crash Heroes
Last week’s tragic bus crash that killed two passengers and injured seven also produced some unlikely heroes. Moments after the Egged bus broke through the barrier and tumbled down a thousand foot cliff, the twelve members of the Azzeh family, a Palestinian family living in a nearby village were rushing down the hill in their pajamas to help.

After calling authorities to report the crash the family members did what they could to help the wounded until rescue teams arrived. Then they worked together with the rescue workers throughout the night.

Jamal, Samih, and other members of the Azzeh family said they didn’t think about the broader political context around them when they went to aid the bus crash victims. “We acted because the victims of the bus crash are people. Our lord does not allow us not to help them. It did not matter that they were Jews – we would have helped anyone.”

Jamal added that he and his wife believe it is important to consider other people’s humanity before anything else. “We grew up with the values of love, tolerance and peace, and we teach our kids these values as well. We gain nothing from despising and hating others.”

The Azzeh family have received numerous phone calls of thanks along with visits from IDF and security officials. The army coordinator’s office also presented them with certificates of appreciation for their heroic actions.

Most of their neighbors have praised their actions, while a small number criticized them for helping Jews.

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Israel Books
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