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Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
January 12, 2023
U.S.: Return to Iran Deal "Not on the Agenda" because "Iranians Reneged on Commitments" (U.S. State Department)
State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said Monday: "The Iranians killed the prospect for a swift return to compliance with the JCPOA. A return to compliance with the JCPOA isn't on the agenda."
"It's not on the agenda for primarily one reason; that's because the Iranians turned their back on it, the Iranians reneged on commitments they had made."
U.S. Navy Intercepts 2,000 Assault Rifles Headed from Iran to Yemen - Courtney Kube (NBC News)
The U.S. Navy seized more than 2,000 assault rifles bound for Iranian-backed rebels in Yemen from a fishing boat Friday in the Gulf of Oman, U.S. Central Command said.
"This shipment is part of a continued pattern of destabilizing activity from Iran," said Vice Adm. Brad Cooper.
On Dec. 1, the U.S. seized more than 50 tons of ammunition, fuses and rocket propellant from a fishing vessel in the Gulf of Oman.
A month earlier, the Navy intercepted an enormous Iranian shipment of explosive materials headed to Yemen.
Iran's Economic Woes Add Fuel to Protests - Babak Dehghanpisheh (Washington Post)
The value of the Iranian rial hit record lows in December. Inflation topped 48% in December, the highest since 1995.
Moreover, the government restricted internet access to prevent protesters from communicating, driving hundreds of thousands out of the job market. A driver who works for a popular ride-hailing app said his income was severely reduced after the internet was cut.
For many Iranians, there is only one solution left. "After 44 years, people are seeing that there's not even the smallest amount of rationality in the authorities, and there's not the smallest hope for reform," said a programmer. "Now the only discussion is about overthrowing the government."
Muslim Worship at Rachel's Tomb - Nadav Shragai (Israel Hayom)
Two weeks ago, a tour bus parked opposite Rachel's Tomb with dozens of Sufi Muslims from India, who entered the site and prayed alongside the Jewish worshipers. This sight has been repeated on several occasions at Rachel's Tomb recently.
Shachar Fireman, the manager of the Rachel's Tomb site on behalf of Israel's National Center for the Development of Holy Sites, says, "These groups come here 12-13 times a year, they do not come to provoke or harm anyone....It's true, they are Muslims, but they do not incite or cause any harm."
Prof. Yitzhak Reiter, from Reichman University, explains, "There are numerous biblical figures whom the Muslims honor and respect, attributing to them the status of prophets....Rachel's Tomb is not the only tomb of a biblical figure visited by the Muslims. They also come to David's Tomb, Samuel's Tomb (Nebi Samuel), Reuven's Tomb near Palmachim, and the Cave of Elijah."
Veteran researcher of the Arab world Pinhas Inbari reminds us that for many years Rachel's Tomb has been identified with Rabia al-Adawiyya al-Qaysiyya, a medieval female Sufi saint.
However, in recent decades, Yasser Arafat connected the site to Bilal ibn Rabah, a servant in the house of the prophet Muhammad who served as the first-ever mu'azzin.
A decade ago, UNESCO succumbed to pressure from the Palestinians and the Arab states and registered Rachel's Tomb as the Bilal ibn Rabah Mosque, even though ibn Rabah is buried in Damascus.
Rachel's Tomb, located just south of Jerusalem's municipal boundary, has been identified as a holy Jewish site for more than 1,700 years.
Rabbi of the Western Wall and the Holy Places Shmuel Rabinovitch noted that "Judaism does not prevent anybody genuinely seeking to visit Jewish holy sites from doing so. We have never closed off the Western Wall to any other religion."
"If a Muslim, from anywhere in the world, feels an authentic connection to the figure of the matriarch Rachel and comes to visit Rachel's Tomb, without disturbing or coming to incite, take over the site or harm the Jews there, or to engage in customs that are contrary to the holy nature of the site, then Judaism as a religion has no problem at all with this."
"This is completely in contrast to how the Muslims treat Jews on the Temple Mount."
India's Adani Group Purchases Haifa Port (Reuters-Ha'aretz)
A consortium led by India's Adani Group has completed the purchase of Haifa Port for $1.15 billion, Israel's Finance Ministry said Tuesday. Adani operates 13 sea terminals in India.
When Gautam Adani's group won the tender for privatizing the port in July, he tweeted that the purchase holds "immense strategic and historical significance for both nations! Proud to be in Haifa, where Indians led, in 1918, one of the greatest cavalry charges in military history!"
Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan Rank among the "World's Angriest Countries" - Rawan Radwan (Arab News-Saudi Arabia)
Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan ranked among the world's angriest countries in Gallup's latest annual Global Emotions Report.
Lebanon topped the list, with 49% reporting feelings of anger the previous day. Since 2019, Lebanon has been in the throes of a financial crisis which has wiped 95% off the value of its currency and left much of the population below the poverty line.
Michael Young, a senior editor at Carnegie Middle East in Beirut, noted, "The system simply does not work, at any level. People feel constantly robbed."
Julie Ray, managing director of Gallup World Poll News, reported that a record 63% of Lebanese adults said "they would leave if they could."
Iraq came fourth with 46%. Jordan came sixth at 35%.
Videos Claiming Israel Police Killed Palestinian Boy Were from Incident in Sweden - Hazel Gandhi (Boom-India)
Several videos claiming to show an Israeli police officer suffocating a Palestinian boy to death have gone viral on Facebook.
A reverse image search found the incident occurred in 2015 in Sweden, where a security guard assaulted a boy for traveling in a train without a ticket.
Women from Israeli Undercover Unit Share Their Experiences - Shosh Mula (Ynet News)
In the early 2000s, during the Second Intifada, women were incorporated into the undercover Yamas unit in Israel's Border Police.
Sunny, Shir and Gali were among the few who completed the grueling training in counter-terrorism, fighting in built-up areas, and undercover training.
Sunny: "A woman raises less suspicion. In their culture, a woman doesn't constitute a threat."
Gali: "A man can't embed himself in a crowd of women, in a clothes shop, public restrooms....I've disguised myself as a teenage girl, a student and sometimes as an adult woman. In Arab culture, a man isn't supposed to look at a woman directly in the eyes. You'll go into a shop, and the man won't actually look at you. That's an advantage."
Gali: "I've arrested a lot of wanted women and carried out body-searches on suspected women. Before women were in the unit, Arab women took advantage of the situation and thought they were being clever by concealing things in their clothing, even in their underwear - because men wouldn't search there. But, as a woman, I can't be tricked."
Tourism Surged in Israel in 2022 Post-Covid (Xinhua-China)
The number of foreign tourists visiting Israel in 2022 reached 2.7 million, compared to 396,500 in 2021, Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics said Sunday.
810,500 were from the U.S., 235,500 were from France, and 177,900 were from Britain.
In 2019, before the pandemic, 4.6 million tourists traveled to Israel.
Israel Posts Fiscal Surplus in 2022 - Oren Dori (Globes)
Israel reported a fiscal surplus of NIS9.8 billion in the 12 months ending December 31, 2022, the Ministry of Finance Accountant General reported. This was the first time since 1987 that Israel recorded more revenue than expenditures.
Revenues amounted to NIS468 billion, up 13.6% from 2021, reflecting growth after the Covid pandemic.
Meanwhile, expenditures declined in 2022 to NIS458.8 billion from NIS481 billion in 2021, due to the end of state assistance for businesses and the unemployed during the pandemic.
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