Breaking Israel News - Fri, 06/14/2019 - 06:02

In Sefer Devarim (11:10-12), the Torah describes how the Promised Land is different from Egypt. In Egypt, one could water his crops from the Nile by using his foot to easily direct water to his fields, but in the Land of Israel, the eyes of Hashem are on the land. It is only through His blessings, as our verse says, that the land enriches and provides its fruits. Modern Israel has compensated for its lack of natural water resources and limited rainfall through great technological breakthroughs such as water recycling and desalination. Nevertheless, we must always remember that even with great technology and innovation, “it is the blessing of Hashem that enriches.”

Bipartisan Resolution Condemning Anti-Semitism Unanimously Passes Senate

Breaking Israel News - Fri, 06/14/2019 - 05:45

The U.S. Senate unanimously passed on Thursday a bipartisan resolution, introduced by Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.), condemning anti-Semitism.

“‘In the United States, Jews have suffered from systematic discrimination in the form of exclusion from home ownership in certain neighborhoods, prohibition from staying in certain hotels, restrictions upon membership in private clubs and other associations, limitations upon admission to certain educational institutions, and other barriers to equal justice under the law,’” said Cruz. “This is a shameful legacy, and it makes it all the more incumbent that we as a Senate, speak in one voice and stand resolved that the United States condemns and commits to combating all forms of anti-Semitism.”

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“Right now, we are seeing an uptick in hate crimes against Jewish communities. We have to acknowledge that anti-Semitism is real, it’s dangerous, and it’s growing,” said Kaine. “Those of us in leadership positions need to stand up against it, and I’m grateful that Senator Cruz reached out to work together on this bipartisan effort. I’m proud the Senate came together to unanimously pass our resolution that shows we will do everything in our power to combat this rise in anti-Semitism.”

The resolution briefly mentions anti-Semitism’s history from The Protocols of the Elder of Zion to the Holocaust to the campaign to boycott Jewish businesses to the hatred Jews currently face.

It was co-sponsored by 46 other senators, most of them Republican.

Sens. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Catherine Cortez-Masto (D-Nev.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Tom Udall (D-N.M.) were the only non-Republicans to co-sponsor the resolution.

The Senate passage occurred more than three months after the U.S. House of Representatives was criticized for watering down and passing a resolution condemning anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.

It was in response to Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), who defended her remarks accusing her “Jewish colleagues” for attacking her and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) for labeling every criticism of theirs as anti-Israel because of the faith of the two congresswomen, in addition to slamming her critics regarding “the political influence in this country that says it is OK to push for allegiance to a foreign country.”

The House nor Senate resolution mentioned Omar by name.

House Democrats Sponsor Resolution Condemning Mideast Peace Plan That Excludes Two States

Breaking Israel News - Fri, 06/14/2019 - 05:37

More than half of the Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives are sponsoring a non-binding resolution, backed by J Street, condemning any Mideast peace plan that excludes two states.

There are 235 Democrats in the lower chamber.

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This comes ahead of the Trump administration releasing the first part of its peace proposal between the Israelis and the Palestinians through at economic summit later this month in Bahrain.

Introduced last month by Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.), the resolution calls for “a two-state solution that is consistent with the broadly held consensus positions for resolving the conflict’s final status issues as reflected in previous United States proposals.”

Two Rocket Attacks From Gaza in 24 Hours But “Miracle” Saves Men Studying Torah

Breaking Israel News - Fri, 06/14/2019 - 05:07

Red Alert sirens sounded in southern Israel just after 9:00 pm on Thursday night and seconds later, a rocket hit the Lev Ladaat Yeshiva (Torah school) complex in the city of Sderot. The building was damaged but no injuries were reported. The yeshiva was part of the Hesder program which integrates Torah study and service in the IDF. Most of the students had already left the yeshiva to go to their homes in other cities.

ההסלמה בדרום: תיעוד מהפגיעה בשדרות@Itsik_zuarets (צילום: מנדי ריזל)

— כאן חדשות (@kann_news) June 13, 2019

Due to its proximity to Gaza, Sderot residents have just 15 seconds or less to seek shelter when a rocket alarm sounds. It is believed that the rocket malfunctioned and did not explode. Had it detonated, the damage to the building would have been far greater. It is unclear why the Iron Dome system did not intercept the rocket.

The head of the yeshiva, Rabbi David Fendel, spoke to the media, calling the outcome of the rocket attack “a miracle.”

“A miracle happened to us. We thank the Creator for saving the young men who were sitting and engaged in Torah study,” Rabbi Fendel said to Israel National News. The rabbi explained that there were several men learning Torah just a few meters away from the point of impact.

The IDF released a statement saying that the IAF launched aerial attacks targeting “several terror targets, including terror infrastructure in military compounds.”

Last night, a rocket fired from Gaza struck a school and synagogue in Israel.

A short while ago, we struck Hamas terror targets in Gaza.

Terror targets civilians,
Israel targets terror.

— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) June 14, 2019

One target was described as belonging to the Hamas terror group’s naval commando unit.

This was the second attack against Israel on Thursday. Just after midnight on Thursday, the Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepted a rocket fired from Gaza towards southern Israel. Red alert air raid sirens went off, giving advance warning of the rocket attack. Israeli air-force jets responded by attacking military targets in the al-Rayyan neighborhood east of Rafah and another on in the al-Zaytoun neighborhood of Gaza City.

In the beginning of May, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad fired approximately 700 rockets at Israeli cities, killing four civilians and injuring close to 80.

US Blames Iran for Attack on Two Oil Tankers in Sea of Oman in Potentially Explosive Situation [WATCH]

Breaking Israel News - Fri, 06/14/2019 - 04:27

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iran for an attack against two oil tankers, the Norwegian-owned  Front Altair and the Singapore-owned ship Kokuka Courageous, in the Sea of Oman as part of their plan to cut off the vital oil shipping route through the Straits of Hormuz. No casualties were reported.

It is the assessment of the U.S. government that Iran is responsible for today’s attacks in the Gulf of Oman. These attacks are a threat to international peace and security, a blatant assault on the freedom of navigation, and an unacceptable escalation of tension by Iran.

— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) June 13, 2019

The Strait of Hormuz, a vital shipping route linking Middle East oil producers to markets in Asia, Europe, North America and beyond, has been at the heart of regional tensions for decades.

“This is only the latest in a series of attacks instigated by the Islamic Republic of Iran and its surrogates against American and allied interests,” Pompeo told reporters on Thursday. “On April 22, Iran promised the world it would interrupt the flow of the oil through the Strait of Hormuz. It is now working to execute on that promise.”

The Strait of Hormuz is a vital shipping route linking Middle East oil producers to markets in Asia, Europe, and North America. It has been the focus of regional tensions for decades. 21 miles wide at its narrowest point, the shipping lane is just two miles wide in either direction and is highly susceptible to attack. About one-fifth of the entire global consumption of oil passes through the Strait of Hormuz. It is also the route used for nearly all the liquefied natural gas (LNG) produced by the world’s biggest LNG exporter, Qatar. The U.S. Fifth Fleet, based in Bahrain, is tasked with protecting the commercial ships in the area.

#BREAKING: @US5thFleet official statement regarding shipping vessels in #GulfOfOman. #USNavy‘s #USSBainbridge rendering assistance –

— U.S. Navy (@USNavy) June 13, 2019

Iran claimed that it rescued the crews of the tankers after the attack but that claim has been debunked. A spokesman for the US Central Command said the 21 crew members from the Singapore oil tanker Kokuka Courageous, which was en route from Saudi Arabia to Singapore with a shipment of methanol when it was attacked, were on board the US Navy ship USS Bainbridge.

Another statement this evening from CENTCOM, this time w/ a timeline attached+pics of the Kokuka Courageous:

One key line: “Today’s attacks are a clear threat to int’l freedom of navigation & freedom of commerce.”@CENTCOM also sent a video, but my computer can’t/won’t load it

— Ben Watson (@natsecwatson) June 14, 2019

A U.S. defense official told CNN that sailors aboard a US naval destroyer spotted an unexploded mine on one of two tankers. A limpet mine is a type of naval mine attached to a target by magnets. The Pentagon released photos and a video taken from the USS Bainbridge that they claim shows Iranian forces removing the unexploded mine from the Kokuka Courageous.

Iran has been known to use Limpet mines against tankers in the past most notably during the “Tanker Wars” in the late 1980s.

On May 12, four oil tankers — two Saudi, one Norwegian and one Emirati — were damaged in still unexplained attacks in the Gulf of Oman off the United Arab Emirates (UAE). U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton said Iranian naval mines were almost certainly behind those attacks but declined to provide specific evidence that Tehran was involved.  A UAE investigation into the incident concluded that the explosions were mostly caused by Limpet mines attached by highly-trained divers deployed by small, fast boats.

UK backs U.S., China calls for restraint after Gulf tanker attack

Jerusalem Post - Middle East News - Fri, 06/14/2019 - 04:14

Earlier on Friday Britain's Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said there was no reason not to believe the United States' assessment that Iran was responsible for the attacks.

Iran says responsible of Strait of Hormuz after video shows mine removal

Jerusalem Post - Middle East News - Fri, 06/14/2019 - 01:45

"We are in charge of maintaining security of the Strait and we rescued the crew of those attacked tankers in the shortest possible time," Iranian official said.

Left Behind by War: Unexploded Ordnance Keeps Killing Displaced Iraqis

Jerusalem Post - Middle East News - Thu, 06/13/2019 - 23:11

Some 70% of explosive hazards still lie beneath the rubble left by years of battle.

Saudis, UK agree that Iran behind attacks, Iran denies involvement

Jerusalem Post - Middle East News - Thu, 06/13/2019 - 19:20

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Thursday the attack on two oil tankers on June 13 was one in a list of Iranian and Iranian-backed attacks over the last month.

Intelligence Report: The Israel-Abu Dhabi connection

Jerusalem Post - Middle East News - Thu, 06/13/2019 - 18:29

Why MBZ has become a close ally of the Jewish state.

Middle Israel: Erdogan bids Ataturk farewell

Jerusalem Post - Middle East News - Thu, 06/13/2019 - 12:45

Fascinated by European technology, education and government, Ataturk saw the Middle East as socially reactionary, economically stagnant and culturally ignorant.

Twitter deletes thousands of accounts tied to Iran, seeks to end false info campaigns

Jerusalem Post - Middle East News - Thu, 06/13/2019 - 12:09

In the latest purge of information, the company said it believes 4,779 accounts were associated or backed by Iran.

Tanker attacks in Gulf of Oman stoke security and oil fears

Jerusalem Post - Middle East News - Thu, 06/13/2019 - 11:17

The Marshall Islands-flagged Front Altair carrying naphtha and the Panama-flagged Kokuka Courageous carrying methanol have been evacuated and the crews are safe.

U.S. diplomat Satterfield visits to finalize date for Israel-Lebanon talks

Jerusalem Post - Middle East News - Thu, 06/13/2019 - 11:05

Satterfield arrived from Lebanon and met with National Security Advisor Meir Ben-Shabbat. This is his second visit here in just over two weeks.

Flavors of Israel- Israeli breakfast with Debbie

Breaking Israel News - Thu, 06/13/2019 - 10:12

We all love Israeli breakfast and ILTV’s Adi Caspi went to see how to make the most important meal of the day the best one at the lovely Debbie’s house!

Feeding a Nation: Body and Soul

Breaking Israel News - Thu, 06/13/2019 - 09:18

Last Saturday night, Jews stayed up all night for the holiday of Shavuot, studying Torah in what is called in Israel a “layla lavan” or “white night.” Displaying a hunger for God’s word, synagogues fill up with the sounds of learning and in Jerusalem, tens of thousands of Jews crowd the plaza of the Kotel (Western Wall), praying throughout the night.

But when dawn arrives and the sleepy, but spiritually sated, pilgrims finish their devotions, they are in desperate need of physical sustenance.

But not everyone in Israel has the means to answer even the most basic needs. For those people, Colel Chabad is there. Their volunteers eagerly meet the hungry pilgrims and give them special individual food kits filled with dairy baked goods and a cool beverage to fill their empty stomachs.

Feeding and nurturing the people of Israel is second nature to Colel Chabad, an organization founded with the goal of doing precisely that. Since its establishment 230 years ago, the organization has sent volunteers to help people living in the region.

Even in the early years, when living in Israel was practically impossible, Colel Chabad helped ease the burden by providing the people with food and economic assistance.

The founder of Colel Chabad, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, issued a clear plea to aid the people of Israel: “(I call upon you,) to bestir the alert and to strengthen weak hands, to contribute monies for the Land of Israel every week, or at least every month, of the amount assigned as the year’s apportionment, as well as all the “dedicated money” that one was inspired to donate annually, without a vow, for the support of our brethren who live in the Holy Land,” he wrote in a letter.

Today, feeding hungry worshipers on the holy holiday of Shavuot – which celebrates God giving the Torah to the Jewish people – is just one of the myriad of ways Colel Chabad assists Israel’s needy. The organization makes sure that the country’s most vulnerable have what to eat. Widows, orphans, and the elderly rely on Colel Chabad to make sure they can put food on their table.

With a $40 million annual budget and 75 programs throughout the country, Colel Chabad offers various options to those in need of food security.

“Thousands receive meals delivered to their homes. We also run daycare centers and provide financial planning for families,” Rabbi Shmuel Lipsker, a Colel Chabad representative, explained saying that the organization is prepared to help the needy through every stage of their lives.

Perhaps one of their most innovative initiatives is their non-profit supermarkets. To an observer, these supermarkets look no different from any of the major supermarket chains throughout Israel. But, to a family struggling to cope with the escalating cost of food, a trip to one of Colel Chabad’s five supermarkets nationwide can make all the difference.

“It’s a very simple concept,” Rabbi Lipsker explained. “We own the supermarket and they are run by us.”

The stores carry everything you’d find at a regular supermarket, except the generic brands on the shelves offer consumers savings of up to 60%.

“It’s an easy project to run in a way, we buy our quantities in bulk. So while we don’t make a profit, we don’t lose money,” he said. “It’s an unbelievable idea that nobody else has done. It’s not done to make a profit, it’s done to save money.”

Large families often travel long distances in order to buy enough food to get them through a few weeks at a time. And with such big savings, even families who are not below the poverty line visit the stores to enjoy the significant savings. For those who are not mobile or are too embarrassed to visit the stores, they can make their purchases online and the food will be at their doorstep within hours.

Having these non-profit food stores may seem like a strange concept to those in the United States who are familiar with the food stamp system. But with no real food security safety net available for families in need, they rely on these food relief programs in order to make sure nobody in their family goes to bed hungry.

“It’s hard to make it in Israel. For a large family, where a parent works full time and the other works part-time, the income earned is simply not enough to sustain a sizeable household. There isn’t enough to go around,” Rabbi Lipsker said. “In Israel, there’s little middle class; you’re either well off or struggling.”

Despite all the good Colel Chabad is able to do, there’s always more that can be done. In the coming years, the organization plans to open more non-profit supermarkets in impoverished neighborhoods, build additional soup kitchens, expand its distribution of monthly groceries and expand its holiday food distribution program.

But, as Jews celebrate the greatest gift they received from God – the Torah – Colel Chabad strives to ensure each family experiences joy, whether it be on holy or regular weekdays.

Written in collaboration with Colel Chabad.

Nikki Haley: Trump’s Peace Plan Puts Israel’s Security First

Breaking Israel News - Thu, 06/13/2019 - 09:09

Nikki Haley may no longer be the United States’ permanent representative to the United Nations, but her passion for defending Israel is as strong as ever.

The Jewish community in the United States and Israelis by and large treated Haley as the superstar of the Trump administration because she relentlessly took the United Nations to task and put a mirror in front of the international organization, revealing just how biased it was toward Israel.”

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Now, as a private citizen, she takes pains to assure Israelis they have nothing to fear regarding the administration’s peace efforts, just weeks before the rollout of the economic component of its peace plan. She says U.S. President Donald Trump’s peace team considers Israel’s security paramount.

Haley sat down for an interview with Israel Hayom Editor-in-Chief Boaz Bismuth on Thursday in New York. The following are excerpts from the interview.

Q: Later this month, the administration will roll out the economic component of its peace plan. Some in Israel are worried that the U.S. would want something from Israel in return for recognizing Jerusalem as its capital and recognizing its sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Should Israel be worried about the plan? 

“Israel should not be worried. Because through the Middle East plan, one of the main goals that [Senior Adviser to the President] Jared Kushner and [U.S. Special Representative for International Negotiations] Jason Greenblatt focused on was to not hurt the national security interests of Israel. They understand the importance of security, they understand the importance of keeping Israel safe. I think everybody needs to go into it with an open mind, everybody should want a peace plan. Everybody should want to make way for a better situation in Israel and I think it can happen. So rather than pushing back against what we don’t know, I hope everybody would lean in on what the possibilities […] of the peace plan could look like and think of a better life for everyone.”

Knowing the two sides and all the actors in the Middle East, does it have a chance? 

“I am an optimist. It’s not going to be easy. Both sides won’t love it. And both sides won’t hate it. But both sides have to want peace. And if they do, they will be deciding the details. Not the U.S. And I think it is worth taking that chance. It is worth trying for. At this point, it is hard to see an opportunity in which Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is even going to come to the table, and I think that … it shows Abbas’s true colors. It shows the Arab community’s true colors, that they [the Arab states] don’t really care about the Palestinians, because if the Palestinians were that much of a priority, everybody would be holding Abbas’s hand and leading him to the table. Everybody and Abbas himself would want better.”

Are you familiar with some of the details of the peace plan? 

“I have read the plan, yes.”

So you shared your opinion and advice on it? 

“I read the plan and think it is very thoughtful, and very well done and it very much takes into account both sides’ vulnerabilities and both sides’ wants.”

How is life outside the United Nations? 

“It is nice to be a private citizen for the first time in eight years. That has been really nice, to bring the stress level down. But the issues I care about didn’t go away, and the issues that I fought for are still very strong.”

Is the U.N. an important institution? 

“I think the question is, does the U.N. want to be an important institution. Right now it is very wasteful and very bureaucratic, it can be strongly anti-U.S. and clearly anti-Israel. So what I said to the secretary general and what I said to the ambassadors when I left was, ‘The sustainability of the U.N. depends on those elements.’ If they change with the times, the U.N. will be relevant. If they start talking about things that are uncomfortable, to talk instead of the decades-old problems that we have always talked about, they can possibly move, but if they continue going down the path they are on, it’s very hard to see how they’ll continue with effect.”

This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.

Volunteers for Israel Offers Work on IDF Base With Tours, Archaeological Digs

Breaking Israel News - Thu, 06/13/2019 - 08:50

To support Israel in a hands-on way, North Americans can volunteer on an Israel Defense Forces’ base, participate on a premier archaeological dig and experience private touring to places off the usual tourist grid.

VFI-PLUS ARCHAEOLOGY (Sept. 8-21) brings volunteers to a defense base and an active archaeological dig site staffed by an international team and supervised by Tel Aviv University. The program begins with one-week volunteer service on a defense base followed by two days of private guided touring, then five days of volunteering, learning and working at the biblical City of David archaeological site in Old Jerusalem, and two more days of guided touring. The 14-day all-inclusive program is designed for both new and veteran volunteers.

Adjacent to Old City Jerusalem, the City of David area is a world-class archaeological wonderland with biblical connections. Since 2007, this excavation has been uncovering different layers of the city’s life from the Middle Ages back to ancient times.

VFI-PLUS (Oct. 25-Nov. 11) is designed for first-time volunteers and includes two weeks of service on an IDF base, working alongside active-duty soldiers and experiencing an inside look at life in the Israeli army. It also includes eight days of private tours across Israel. The 17-day, all-inclusive program also welcomes veteran volunteers.

VFI-PLUS ADVANCED (Dec. 6-22) is designed for repeat travelers to Israel and offers two weeks of volunteer service on an IDF base and eight days of guided touring to places overlooked by many tours. The 17-day, all-inclusive program is designed for first-time as well as veteran volunteers.

To learn more about VFI’s volunteer service programs, or to apply, visit

Tanker attack puts Trump in a bind on Iran - analysis

Jerusalem Post - Middle East News - Thu, 06/13/2019 - 08:20

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo flew to Iraq where he reportedly showed the Iraqis intelligence on the threats.

Book review: Shadow Strike

Jerusalem Post - Middle East News - Thu, 06/13/2019 - 08:18

Yaakov Katz’s new book tells the fascinating story behind Israel’s covert operation against Syria’s nuclear reactor.