Netanyahu Rejects Trump Comments on Muslims (Prime Minister's Office)
"Prime Minister Netanyahu rejects Donald Trump's recent remarks about Muslims," the Prime Minister's Office said in a statement Wednesday.
"The State of Israel respects all religions and strictly guarantees the rights of all its citizens. At the same time, Israel is fighting against militant Islam that targets Muslims, Christians and Jews alike and threatens the entire world."
"As for the meeting with Mr. Trump that was set some two weeks ago, the Prime Minister decided earlier this year on a uniform policy to agree to meet with all presidential candidates from either party who visit Israel and ask for a meeting."
"This policy does not represent an endorsement of any candidate or his or her views. Rather, it is an expression of the importance that Prime Minister Netanyahu attributes to the strong alliance between Israel and the United States."
Hamas Oversees Border Attacks on Israel (Middle East Newsline-IMRA)
The IDF said that Hamas was allowing snipers to reach the Gaza
border with Israel, where they were ambushing Israel Army patrols.
"There have been multiple shooting attacks targeting
security forces in the southern Gaza Strip," the military said.
Dec. 6, snipers struck a military vehicle next to the Gaza border
fence. Two days earlier, Gazan attackers opened fire at an army vehicle.
Deepening Cooperation between Hamas and Islamic State in Egypt - Avi Issacharoff (Times of Israel)
High-ranking members of Hamas' military wing bring injured IS fighters from Sinai into Gaza for medical treatment, while the Islamic State in Egypt helps Hamas smuggle weaponry and vast sums of money into the Strip.
Is Russia Displacing Iran in Syria? - Zvi Bar'el (Ha'aretz)
Opposition websites in Syria report that the nature of Russian operations in Syria has caused anger and disappointment in Iran. Russia's aerial attacks have made it the most important military force in Syria.
The Russians have taken control of Al-Shayrat airfield east of Homs, which was previously held by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and Hizbullah.
UK-Israel Trade Thriving Despite Talk of Boycotts - Herb Keinon (Jerusalem Post)
Britain, which has emerged as a center of BDS activity against Israel, was in 2014 the third largest market for Israeli exports in the world, following the U.S. and Hong Kong.
According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics, the two countries conducted $6.3b. worth of trade in 2014, with almost $4b. in Israeli exports to the UK.
"We have seen roughly a doubling of imports of Israeli goods" since 2009, British Ambassador to Israel David Quarrey said on Wednesday.
He added that in 2014 more Israeli companies were listed on the London Stock Exchange than any other foreign country.
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
- President Obama and President Rivlin of Israel Meet at White House
At a meeting at the White House on Wednesday, President Obama told President Rivlin of Israel this was "an opportunity to reaffirm the unbreakable bonds between our two countries and our two peoples....We consider our commitment to Israel's security to be one of the most important principles of American foreign policy. It's one that is shared by Democrats and Republicans alike."
"I've been clear in condemning the violence that is recurring inside of Israel; the need for leaders like President Abbas to unequivocally condemn the violence that's been taking place, the need to end incitement, but also the need for Israelis and Palestinians to find mechanisms in which to dialogue and arrive at peace....And I know that President Rivlin has made it one of his hallmarks to improve dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians."
President Rivlin responded, "Israel has no greater friend than the United States of America....And we would like, at the same time, to really thank you...for the finance, for the diplomatic and for the military help that you are giving us. You are making us able to stand against threats of today and of tomorrow."
"We have no war with Islam. We have war against those who are using ideas in order to create extremism and threats to the whole innocent people in the world."
- U.S. to Use Attack Helicopters to Help Iraqis Fight ISIS - Helene Cooper
The U.S. is prepared to deploy Apache attack helicopters and additional advisers to help Iraqi forces retake the city of Ramadi from the Islamic State, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said Wednesday. But officials said they did not envision using the American helicopters until the effort to retake Ramadi reached a critical point and such a move would be necessary to finish the job. (New York Times)
See also Iraqi Forces Repel Islamic State Counterattacks in Ramadi - Ben Kesling and Ghassan Adnan
Islamic State counterattacks in Ramadi on Wednesday nearly overwhelmed Iraqi troops that had gained an important foothold in the city. But airstrikes by the U.S.-led military coalition turned back several of those assaults. (Wall Street Journal)
See also ISIS Holds Ramadi with 300-400 Militants - Michael Weiss
ISIS is still hugely successful as a regional guerrilla insurgency. As I speak, ISIS has a mere 300 to 400 militants holding the provincial capital of Ramadi. They are facing off against 10,000 pro-Iraqi government forces preparing to retake the city, on the back of U.S. air power and what may yet prove to be the quiet insertion of U.S. Special Forces. This is from the writer's testimony to the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs on December 2, 2015. He is the co-author of ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror.
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Arrow 3 Missile Interceptor Downs Target in Successful Test - Judah Ari Gross
Israel's Arrow 3 missile interceptor successfully shot down a target missile on Thursday in what the Defense Ministry called "a major milestone" in Israel's missile defense system capabilities. "The missile successfully tracked the target and killed it," said Yair Ramati, director of the Israel Missile Defense Organization. The Arrow 3 is designed to shoot down intercontinental ballistic missiles outside the atmosphere, intercepting nuclear, biological or chemical warheads closer to their launch sites.
(Times of Israel)
- Israeli Soldier, Civilian Wounded in Hebron Stabbing Attack - Yaakov Lappin
A Palestinian terrorist wounded an IDF soldier and a civilian Wednesday in a stabbing attack at the entrance to Beit Hadassah in the West Bank city of Hebron. The terrorist was shot and killed.
See also Two Israelis Injured in Drive-By Terror Shooting in West Bank - Yaakov Lappin
An Israeli couple sustained gunshot wounds when a Palestinian showered their vehicle with bullets as they drove near Tulkarm in the West Bank on Wednesday evening.
- The U.S. Needs an Anti-IS Playbook - Harold Rhode and Joseph Raskas
It would appear that the Islamic State (IS) has set its sights on the U.S. From an Islamist perspective, waging war to end the sovereignty and supremacy of the unbelievers is ultimately necessary and just. Drawing swords is not religious fanaticism; it is, rather, a mode of faith believed to hasten the demise of infidels. Western civilization is viewed as a collective affront, targeted for extinction by radical Islam.
The "strong horse" principle [Bin Laden taught that people follow the strong horse over the weak horse] is the predominant governing philosophy of Middle Eastern culture. The same principle must be applied to reshape the fight against IS. Rapid and overwhelming defeat is necessary to liquidate IS' capacity to effectively govern, as well as to prevent it from recruiting more foreign fighters. Half-measures are self-defeating, as they will only highlight American weakness and leave the door open for wider insurrection.
Harold Rhode served for 28 years as an analyst covering Middle Eastern affairs at the Office of the U.S. Secretary of Defense. Joseph Raskas is a combat veteran of the IDF.
- Artificial Wound of Palestinian Refugees Has Festered Too Long - Danny Danon
For over 2,000 years, places like Algiers and Aleppo, Tunis and Cairo, Aden and Tripoli and so many others across the Arab world were vibrant centers of Jewish life. They gave us great works of scholarship and contributed immensely to the broader Arab society in the fields of art and literature, medicine, government and commerce.
When Israel was established in 1948, the Arab governments not only fought the new state, they also turned against their Jewish communities that had lived in peace with their neighbors for generations. Facing murderous anti-Jewish riots and government confiscation of wealth, nearly 1 million Jews were forced to flee the places their families had called home for generations, leaving behind everything they had. Yet these hundreds of thousands did not end up in refugee camps. Unlike the Arab countries that refused to absorb the Palestinian refugees, the State of Israel opened its doors to fellow Jews.
When nations act responsibly, there is absolutely no reason for a refugee crisis to last more than a few years. Now is the time for the community of nations to put an end to the artificial wound of Palestinian refugees that has festered for way too long.
The writer is Israel's Ambassador to the UN.
- The EU's Targeting of Israel Awakens a Tragic Anti-Semitic Past - Michael Oren
European shoppers will not see Tibetan products labeled "Made in Chinese-Occupied Tibet" or certain Cypriot goods marked "Made in Turkish-Occupied Cyprus." Nor will they see tags on items imported from the more than 200 disputed territories worldwide.
Only one country will be branded on European grocery shelves: Israel. Israelis know that the marking of Israeli products from the West Bank means they will be boycotted - what market will even stock them? - and opens the door to the embargo of anything made-in-Israel.
The decision of the EU to mark all Israeli products from Judea and Samaria - the West Bank - and the Golan Heights represents a return to the darkest chapters in the continent's history. The move hurts most the very people it is intended to help - the Palestinians. And it will cost the EU the key diplomatic role long sought by its leaders.
Tellingly, the EU resolution relates also to the Golan Heights, where there are no Palestinians and which can no longer be traded to Syria for peace. Syria no longer exists. Does the EU want Israel to return the Golan to the Islamic State? The writer is a former Israeli ambassador to the U.S.
Moderate Islam's Real Litmus Test? Israel - Liel Leibovitz (Tablet)
- How did the "moderate" father of San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook respond when his son ranted about Israel? In a recent interview with the Italian newspaper La Stampa, Syed Farook told his interviewer:
- "I told him he had to stay calm and be patient, because in two years Israel will not exist anymore. Geopolitics is changing: Russia, China and America don't want Jews there anymore. They are going to bring the Jews back to Ukraine. What is the point of fighting? We have already done it and we lost. Israel is not to be fought with weapons, but with politics. But he did not listen to me, he was obsessed."
- Imagine a so-called moderate white guy saying that while white Americans have tried and failed to keep blacks down by means of violence, there's nothing to worry about because sooner or later the blacks will all be stacked into boats and shipped back to Africa. If you heard this, you would likely be appalled, and then declare that while you can think of quite a few adjectives to describe the person in question, "moderate" is certainly not one of them.
- When it comes to moderate Muslims, we view Jew-hating as understandable, even acceptable. In Bedfordshire, England, for example, the local police launched a social media campaign to promote tolerance and diversity, featuring an officer standing side-by-side in solidarity with Qadeer Baskh, the chairman of the local Luton Islamic Center.
- Yet as that institution's website makes clear, Jews are the "brethren of swine and pigs," who "strive their utmost to corrupt the beliefs, morals, and manners of Muslims" and must therefore be vanquished. You can hear similar opinions from celebrated moderates in Amman, Cairo, and Brooklyn.
- It's time, then, for a new litmus test. No moderate Muslim should ever reject the State of Israel's right to exist. Criticism is fair and welcome; fantasies about huddled Jewish masses banished to the Ukraine aren't. if you fail to pass this simple test, it's only a matter of time before you or someone you love picks up a gun and goes gunning for the Jews, the Christians, and all the others who do not share your hateful worldview.
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