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Latest Israel News – 11th July

How the UN Erases Jewish History and Legitimizes Terror

The UN’s denial of Jewish roots, even in the most clearly Jewish sites, legitimizes jihadist terror.

How do the UN and those who engineer its anti-Israel resolutions and campaigns justify promoting a twisted version of history that erases the Jewish tradition?

In the UN’s version of events, how do they justify the massacre of Jews at their holiest sites, such as the cave in Hebron purchased by the first Jew, Abraham, to bury his wife, the first Jewess, Sarah?

Watch this short video on the UN’s dangerous path, as this organization and its agencies throw the Bible and other history books into the garbage. (United with Israel)

PM Netanyahu condemns UN denial of Abraham as Jewish patriarch

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a strongly worded video and transferred $1 million from Israel’s UN membership fees to Jewish heritage projects in Hebron, after the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) declared Friday that the Tomb of the Jewish Patriarchs is a “Palestinian heritage” site.  (United with Israel)

Israeli soldier wounded in Gush Etzion terrorist ramming

A Palestinian terrorist rammed a vehicle into an Israeli observation post near the town of Tekoa in Gush Etzion on Monday, wounding a soldier. The Israeli troops stationed at the post shot and killed the attacker immediately.

The soldier reportedly sustained moderate injuries. He was taken to Jerusalem’s Shaarei Zedek Medical Center for treatment.

Around 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, the terrorist drove into an intersection in Gush Etzion and rammed his car into a so-called “pillbox,” an IDF observation post. The impact of the ramming caused a streetlight to collapse and wound the soldier.

After the ramming, the terrorist exited the car and tried to stab civilians at the intersection. Soldiers then fired at him and killed him.

According to one Magen David Adom emergency medical technician, “When we arrived at the scene we saw a young man, about 20, fully conscious. He had sustained injuries to his upper and lower extremities due to a car ramming. With the help of IDF medics at the scene we administered first aid and brought him into the intensive care ambulance, where he was transported to hospital in moderate, stable condition.”  (Israel Hayom)

Gabbay Says Labor under his rule will defeat Netanyahu

Former environmental protection minister Avi Gabbay, who joined Labor only six months ago, swept the party off its feet and emerged victorious in Monday’s close runoff race against veteran MK and former Labor chairman Amir Peretz.

Gabbay won 16,080 votes, which was 52% of the vote, while Peretz won 14,734 votes, or 47%.

Gabbay dedicated his victory to “those who have eulogized the party, those who have given up hope, and those who did not believe a positive campaign could win.”

In his victory speech, Gabbay promised that Labor was starting a path on the way to a new government in Israel.

He reached out in the speech to Peretz and said he needed him by his side.

Gabbay criticized Netanyahu, saying an honest leader should not represent a submarine company.

When the results were announced, Gabbay supporters in blue shirts hugged each other and screamed the standard chant, “Ooh, ah, look who’s coming, the next prime minister!” The few Peretz supporters in the room wearing red shirts emblazoned with Peretz-style mustaches gloomily left the assembly.

Peretz called Gabbay to congratulate him and Gabbay said Peretz was his central partner in his mission of toppling Netanyahu.

Former prime minister Ehud Barak posted a video to Facebook, in which he said that due Gabbay’s victory, Netanyahu and Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett were sweating.

“Avi Gabbay won because the public wanted victory and not just slogans,” Barak said.

Zionist Union MK Tzipi Livni congratulated Gabbay and urged him to maintain the Zionist Union bloc, which she said created the hope that inspired the 24 MKs in the 2015 election.

“The joint goal that stands before us now is to create real, renewed hope to replace the government and present a different, better path to Israel and its citizens,” Livni said. “Now that Labor has completed its internal democratic process, we must turn to the public, widen our ranks, and become the address for the masses in Israel who believe in our ideology and want to replace the government.”

Outgoing Labor chairman Isaac Herzog, who supported Peretz, said he spoke to Gabbay, congratulated him, and told him that he would help him strengthen Labor.

He said he also spoke to Peretz and praised him for running an impressive campaign.

The turnout of 58.8% was considered surprisingly high, considering the heat wave that was expected to keep many Labor members at home. Gabbay sent text messages to voters all day, posted a video, and called a press conference urging them to come out and vote.

“High turnout will bring us to victory and a new start for Labor Party,” Gabbay said as he voted in Jerusalem. “A low turnout will lead us to what has been. Statistics can be beaten. It depends on all of us.

Don’t let the weather decide instead of you.”

Voting near his home in Sderot, Peretz said: “Tonight, when we know the results, we will begin the journey to replace Netanyahu and implement a new vision of social justice and peace.”

At the Knesset, rival party leaders presented an atmosphere of business as usual, and claimed that the Labor race did not matter to them.

“I don’t really care who will win in Labor,” Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid told The Jerusalem Post. “For two-and-a-half years, the real political rivalry has been me against Netanyahu, Yesh Atid against Likud. The problems of Labor are not our problems.”

Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman said he had no opinion on the race and wished well to all sides. (Jerusalem Post)

Liberman: Israel will retain freedom of action in Syria

Israel is not bound by the US-Russian brokered cease-fire in Syria and will act when and where necessary to protect its security interests, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said on Sunday.

Liberman, on a tour of Ashkelon, said that Jerusalem is studying the understandings reached between US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin regarding the cease-fire.

“Israel reserves its complete freedom of action, regardless of any understandings or developments,” Liberman said. “We retain exclusive responsibility for the security of Israeli citizens, and therefore our freedom of action is absolute. We will do everything that is needed.”

On another matter, Liberman – addressing reports in a Lebanese newspaper about a possible deal involving the release of the bodies of two slain IDF soldiers held by Hamas and two Israeli civilians being held by the group in Gaza – said there were continuous efforts underway to gain their release.

However, he said, “There is no significant breakthrough, the efforts are continuing all the time.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the Syrian issue at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting, saying Israel will welcome a genuine cease-fire in Syria, but that it must not “enable the establishment of a military presence by Iran and its proxies in Syria in general and in southern Syria in particular.”

Netanyahu has long told the Russians that in any order that will emerge in a post-civil war Syria, Israel will not countenance either an Iranian or Hezbollah presence on the Golan Heights. The premier said that he discussed matter last week with both Putin and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. “Both told me that they understand Israel’s position and will take our demands into account,” he said.

Netanyahu said Israel will carefully monitor the developments in Syria, “while strongly upholding our red lines.”

He defined those red lines as preventing the transfer of precision weapons from Iran to Hezbollah, via Syria; preventing Hezbollah or Iranian forces from establishing a ground presence along the border with Israel; and preventing the establishment of a permanent Iranian military presence in Syria.

Meanwhile, a monitor and two rebel officials said that the US-Russian brokered cease-fire in southwest Syria was holding, in the latest international attempt at peacemaking in the six-year war.

The United States, Russia and Jordan reached a cease-fire and “de-escalation agreement” this week with the aim of paving the way for a broader, more robust truce.

The announcement came after a meeting between Trump and Putin at the G20 meeting of major economies in Germany.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitoring group, said “calm was prevailing” with no air strikes or clashes in the southwest since the truce began at noon on Sunday.

“The situation is relatively calm,” said Suhaib al-Ruhail, a spokesman for the Alwiya al-Furqan rebel group in the Quneitra area.

In Deraa city, another rebel official said there had been no significant fighting. It was quiet on the main Manshiya front near the border with Jordan, which he said had been the site of some of the heaviest army bombing in recent weeks.

A Syrian official indicated that Damascus approved of the cease-fire deal, describing the government’s silence over it as a “sign of satisfaction.”

“We negotiated a cease-fire in parts of Syria which will save lives,” Trump said on Twitter on Sunday. “Now it is time to move forward in working constructively with Russia!” The deal marks the first peace-making effort in the Syrian war by the US government under Trump, appearing to give him a diplomatic achievement at his first meeting with Putin. (Jerusalem Post)

Netanyahu warns against Iranian move-in amid ceasefire in southwest Syria

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned on Sunday that a ceasefire plan that took effect at noon in southwestern Syria should not allow for a vacuum to be filled by Iran and its proxies in the area near the border with Israel.

Netanyahu added that Israel would welcome a genuine ceasefire in Syria, but heeded caution in addressing the latest international attempt at peacemaking in the Syrian conflict.

The United States, Russia and Jordan reached the ceasefire and “de-escalation agreement” last week with the aim of paving the way for a broader, more robust truce.

“Last week I discussed the matter in in-depth discussions with US Secretary of State [Rex] Tillerson and Russian President Vladimir Putin,” Netanyahu said at the weekly cabinet meeting shortly before the planned ceasefire took effect. “They both told me that they understand the positions of Israel and that they would honor our demands.”

The premier on Sunday underlined that Israel would continued to monitor the fighting over the border in the civil war in Syria that has been raging for more than six years.

He added that Israel would stand firm in its “red lines” on preventing the conflict from spilling over the border. Such efforts, he said, included “preventing Hezbollah from gaining force in Syria by means of acquiring advanced precision weapons, preventing Hezbollah from establishing a ground force presence near our [Israel’s] border and preventing the establishment of an Iranian military presence throughout Syria.”

Israeli officials were consulted on the ceasefire plan, negotiated over several months by Russia, the United States and Jordan with Amman’s security topping concerns. At the Israeli government’s request, Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke of the matter by phone on Thursday, “in the context of joint efforts against international terrorism ,” the Kremlin said.

Several ceasefires have crumbled since the onset of the conflict and it was not clear how much the combatants – Syrian government forces and the main rebels in the southwest – were committed to this latest effort.

With the help of Russian air power and Iranian-backed militias, Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government has put rebels on the back foot over the last year. The wide array of mostly Sunni rebels include jihadist factions and other groups supported by Turkey, the United States and Gulf monarchies.

Earlier talks between the US and Russia about a “de-escalation zone” in southwest Syria covered Deraa province on the border with Jordan and Quneitra, which borders the Israel’s Golan Heights.

A senior State Department official involved in the talks said further discussions would be necessary to decide crucial aspects of the agreement, including who will monitor its enforcement.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the deal includes “securing humanitarian access and setting up contacts between the opposition in the region and a monitoring center that is being established in Jordan’s capital.”

The multi-sided Syrian conflict, which grew out of popular protests against Assad’s rule in 2011, has killed hundreds of thousands of people and created the world’s worst refugee crisis. (Jerusalem Post)

Israel to complete east Jerusalem center after controversial UNESCO vote

Israel plans to complete construction of the Kedem Center for tourists in east Jerusalem’s Silwan neighborhood just outside the Old City’s Dung Gate, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said before the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday.

“Today I have instructed that procedures be completed for the construction of the Kedem Center for displaying the historical and archaeological findings for the City of David,” Netanyahu said. “This will be an impressive structure with extensive displays.”

The prime minister spoke in the aftermath of two votes taken by World Heritage Committee last week in Krakow, Poland. The first disavowed Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem; the second inscribed the Tomb of the Patriarchs on the World Heritage in Danger list, under the “State of Palestine.”

Kedem Center

Model of Kedem Center

To underscore Israel’s connection to Hebron, Netanyahu opened the weekly meeting by donning a black skullcap and reading the Biblical passage from Genesis that recounts Abraham’s purchase of the Tomb of the Patriarchs.

He also spoke of completing the new visitor center that will be located on 16,000 square meters of land by the City of David as part of a larger project that will include a cable car and new access routes to the Western Wall.

According to the right-wing NGO Ir David Foundation, or Elad, which is building the center together with the Tourism Ministry, the project has remained stalled as it waits for Netanyahu to approve the plans.

Its spokeswoman said she presumed that in the aftermath of Netanyahu’s statement, he will sign the necessary approvals.

After that, Elad must still submit plans to the Jerusalem Municipality to receive a building permit, a move that could still take some time, she said.

The Left-wing NGO Ir Amim, which has opposed the project, said it would destroy the fabric of the Silwan community and undermine any efforts to find a diplomatic solution to Israeli and Palestinian claims to the city.

The projects paints new facts on the ground in advance of negotiations, said Ir Amim’s director of international advocacy Betty Herschman.

Netanyahu, on the other hand, has said the center will better highlight the Jewish connection to Jerusalem.

“The entire world will see the truth and the first visitors whom I will invite there will be UNESCO and UN delegations,” he said.

With respect to Hebron, “The connection between the Jewish People and Hebron and the Tomb of the Patriarchs is one of purchase and of history which may be without parallel in the history of peoples,” Netanyahu said.

“Of course this did not prevent the UNESCO World Heritage Committee last Friday from passing yet another delusional resolution which determined that the Tomb of the Patriarchs, the same Cave of Machpelah, is a Palestinian heritage site,” he said.

“In the wake of this resolution I decided to cut an additional one million dollars from Israel’s UN membership dues and transfer the funds to the establishment of The Museum of the Heritage of the Jewish People in Kiryat Arba and Hebron,” Netanyahu said.

“The money will also serve additional heritage initiatives related to Hebron. I trust you, Ze’ev, to submit a proper proposal on this matter,” Netanyahu added, referring to Jerusalem and Heritage Minister Ze’ev Elkin.   (Jerusalem Post)

Goldin family releases video calling for change in approach to Hamas

The family of Lt. Hadar Goldin, IDF officer killed in 2014’s Protective Edge and whose body is held captive by Hamas, came out with a video as part of their campaign, “Project Oz” on Sunday, calling to change the way Israel deals with Hamas and terrorist organizations.

The animated video explained the situation of Hamas holding their son’s remains captive while criticizing the Israeli government and their approach to dealing with the terrorist organization.

The video explains that Goldin’s body is an asset and a playing card for Hamas to receive a terrorist prisoner exchange, similar to what happened with Gilad Schalit in 2011.

The Goldin family claims that in order for their son’s body to stop being an asset to Hamas, Israel needs to stop “giving Hamas candies.”

The treats referred to in the video include the good conditions of Hamas terrorists in Israeli prisons, such as the allowance of family visits from Gaza and canteen purchases.

They also criticized Israel’s purchase of produce from the Gaza Strip instead of from Israeli farmers and the allowance of supply trucks, including concrete trucks, into Gaza. The video stated that “we all know what [the concrete trucks] are used for,” hinting to the Hamas tunnels which a key component of Protective Edge’s mission was to destroy them.

The video referenced Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s book Terrorism: How the West Can Win, written in 1987, and criticized Netanyahu’s softness to Hamas in light of his writing.

The Goldins claim that Western countries will follow Israel if they toughen up on Hamas and other terrorist organizations, and that this would be a strategic move to decrease the motivation of terror organizations to kidnap soldiers.

The video also criticized the Israeli cabinet for not implementing their decision in January 2017 to apply pressures on Hamas.

At the end of the video Zur Goldin, Hadar’s brother, asks for the public’s engagement to help change Israel’s approach to terror and kidnapping of Israeli soldiers. (Jerusalem Post)

(this is in Hebrew)

IDF unveils autonomous armored vehicles

The Logistics Technology Division of the IDF unveils its latest projects: A maneuverable armored Humvee, transport trucks and an armored personnel carrier with anti-missile capabilities—all of which are

At the military base in southern Rishon Lezion, experiments is currently underway to test the viability of a remotely driven Humvee, as part of the initial development of vehicles intended to carry operational equipment for forces in enemy territory.


Remotely driven Humvee

The tests have so far proven the Humvee to be relatively successful on the road and in maneuvering in open areas and on side slopes.

The Humvee is equipped with a camera that transmits a video feed to the operator, who receives the informatio at a distance of up to three kilometers. This range is expected to be extended in the future.

In September there will be an experiment in which the autonomous operating system will also be installed on transport trucks traveling in a convoy, following the autonomous Humvee.

In addition, the Division of Technology and Logistics presented another autonomous vehicle, the Infantry Corps Carrier, which can carry equipment for fighters in maneuver and is also operated safely from a distance.

The IDF also demonstrated a ride inside the new an armored personnel carrier (APC) Eitan (steadfast), which is on the verge of entering operational activity in the infantry brigades.

The Eitan will have active defense capabilities against anti-tank missiles and the ability to travel faster when carrying fighters in a comfortable, air-conditioned cabin connected to outside-facing cameras. (Ynet News)

Israel to purchase NIS 1.5 billion in weapons systems to defend gas rigs

The Defense Ministry’s Procurement and Production Directorate is set to purchase weapons systems from the Israeli defense industry to protect the offshore natural gas rigs in Israel’s territorial waters to the tune of NIS 1.5 billion, the ministry said Sunday.

The procurement deals will be finalized by the end of 2017 and include a variety of systems for interception, cyber warfare, control and command, communications, navigations, and more. These systems will be installed on the four patrol ships purchased from Germany.

The Defense Ministry said the goal is to have all of the systems ready for installation by the time the first ships are delivered to Israel in 2019.

This acquisition constitutes half of the budget approved by the government for the defense of Israel’s economic zone.

Two initial tenders for this project have recently concluded.

The Petah Tikva-based Astronautics won a bid to develop and supply a navigation data distribution system for the Sa’ar 6-class corvettes. The system will gather the different navigational data using sensors installed on the ship and provide the best data to the different units aboard the ship using advanced and unique sensor fusion software.

Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, meanwhile, won a bid to develop an internal and external communication system for the ships.

Commenting on the deal, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that the deal would see vast sums of money pour into the coffers of both the state and families.

“The Defense Ministry and the defense industries are among the main engines of growth in Israel. These procurement transactions are for the good of the economic water project—the project in which the IDF will protect the gas rigs, and it is extremely significant for the state’s defense and security,” Lieberman said.

“That’s why there is tremendous importance in continuing investment in defense industries, which provides a living for tens of thousands of families and brings in billions of dollars for the state’s economy every year.” (Ynet News)

Earliest mosaic of Jonah and the whale found in Galilee synagogue

Unprecedented depictions of the biblical Jonah and the whale have been found at a fifth-century Roman synagogue in Israel’s lower Galilee. In the recently discovered mosaic, Jonah’s legs are shown dangling from the mouth of a large fish, which is being swallowed by a larger fish, which is being consumed by a third, even larger fish.

According to the team of specialists and students led by University of North Carolina, this is the first known depiction of the story of Jonah in an ancient synagogue in Israel.

This is the team’s seventh season at the ancient Jewish village of Huqoq. Beginning in 2012, a series of other prominent biblical scenes, including Noah’s ark and the splitting of the Red Sea, in which Pharaoh’s soldiers are swallowed by large fish similar to the fish swallowing Jonah in the mosaic uncovered this summer, were previously found at the archaeological dig.

In addition to the Roman synagogue, the site also houses remains of what is possibly a Medieval synagogue as well.

According to UNC Prof. Jodi Magness, “The Huqoq mosaics are unusually rich and diverse. In addition, they display variations on biblical stories which must represent oral traditions that circulated among the local Jewish population.”

“These scenes are very rare in ancient synagogues,” said Magness. The director of the excavations continued, “The only other examples that have been found are at Gerasa/Jerash in Jordan and Mopsuestia/Misis in Turkey, and at Khirbet Wadi Hamam in Israel and Dura Europos in Syria.”

The excavation is co-directed by Shua Kisilevitz of the Israel Antiquities Authority and sponsored by UNC-Chapel Hill, Baylor University, Brigham Young University, the University of Toronto and others. There are plans to continue work in 2018.

Jonah & the whale

Among the other rich mosaic finds this season was a detailed scene of men at work constructing a stone tower, which the team hypothesizes is a depiction of the building of the Tower of Babel. Also, a mosaic medallion shows the Greco-Roman sun god Helios in a four-horse chariot. He is surrounded by personifications of the months, the signs of the zodiac, and personifications of the four seasons.

Other notable mosaic scenes found at the Huqoq site include the story of Samson and the foxes (Judges 15:4), which was found in the synagogue in 2012. In 2013, a nearby mosaic was found which depicts Samson carrying the gate of Gaza on his shoulders (Judges 16:3).

Interestingly, the synagogue also housed a mosaic without a biblical tie. The 2013 and 2014 dig seasons uncovered what could be the legendary meeting between Alexander the Great and the Jewish high priest.

“One of the distinguishing features of the Huqoq mosaics is the incorporation of numerous classical [Greco-Roman] elements such as putti, winged personifications of the seasons, and — in the Jonah scene — harpies [large birds with female heads and torsos] representing storm winds,” said Magness.

In addition to their artistic value, the mosaics are a window into the lifestyles and craft techniques used some 1,500 years ago.

“The mosaics also provide a great deal of information about ancient daily life, such as the construction techniques shown in the Tower of Babel scene uncovered this summer,” said Magness. (the Times of Israel)

Israel Tells U.S. It Doesn’t Want Russia Policing Safe Zones in Southern Syria

Israel opposes Tehran and Ankara’s involvement in shaping the de-escalation zones. While it hopes such zones would keep Iran and Hezbollah away from its border, it isn’t seeking an active role for itself

by Barak Ravid            Ha’aretz


An American envoy came to Israel two weeks ago and held talks with senior Israeli officials about establishing de-escalation zones, otherwise known as safe zones, in southern Syria near the Israeli and Jordanian borders as part of an effort to end Syria’s civil war.

Israel told Washington that it opposes having Russian forces supervise what happens in these zones, senior Israeli officials said.

The idea of establishing de-escalation zones arose after U.S. President Donald Trump took office in January. Both the White House and the Kremlin have pushed this idea as a way to end the civil war. In early April, Haaretz reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed receptiveness to the idea to both Washington and Moscow, viewing it as a way to keep Iran and Hezbollah away from Israel’s border.

Three senior Israeli officials involved in the issue, who asked to remain anonymous, said the talks about establishing de-escalation zones became more serious and intense last month, due to quiet discussions among America, Russia and Jordan on the issue. Israel isn’t actively involved in these talks, but has been briefed on them, they added.

Israel’s main interlocutor on this issue is the U.S. administration. The Defense Ministry and the Israel Defense Forces are in charge of the talks, but the Foreign Ministry is also involved.

A senior Israeli official said the talks are taking place in great secrecy and very intensively, including in the last few days. He said Washington is coordinating its positions with Jerusalem and presenting Israel’s views in its talks with Russia and other international players.

Two weeks ago, Brett McGurk, America’s special envoy for the global coalition to counter Islamic State, came to Israel to speak at the annual Herzliya Conference and used the opportunity to meet with senior Defense Ministry, Foreign Ministry and IDF officials about the de-escalation zones.

A few weeks earlier, Michael Ratney, America’s special envoy for Syria, came to Israel for similar meetings on this topic. The issue also arose during Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s meeting in Munich last week with U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis.

In talks with McGurk and others, Israel raised three main demands.

First, it wants talks on de-escalation zones along the Israeli and Jordanian borders to be completely separate from the current negotiations in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, in which Iran and Turkey are heavily involved. It also opposes any Iranian or Turkish involvement in determining the nature of the de-escalation zones in southern Syria. Washington has accepted this position and is essentially holding separate talks with Moscow and Amman over the zones in southern Syria.

Second, Israel wants the de-escalation zones in southern Syria to keep Iran, Hezbollah and other Shi’ite militias away from the Israeli and Jordanian borders.

Finally, staying out of Syria’s civil war is one of Israel’s red lines, so Israel doesn’t want any active role in operating or policing the de-escalation zones near its border.

One of Israel’s main concerns is how the cease-fire would be enforced in areas near the Israeli and Jordanian borders and who would be responsible for enforcing it. A senior Israeli official said Russia has proposed that its army handle the job in southern Syria. But Israel vehemently opposes this idea and has made that clear to the Americans, he said.

Israel would prefer to have American troops enforce the cease-fire in southern Syria. The Trump Administration is considering this idea, but hasn’t yet decided.

Trump will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Hamburg on Friday. On Thursday, in advance of this meeting, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson issued a statement indicating that America might consider sending troops to the de-escalation zones.

“The United States is prepared to explore the possibility of establishing with Russia joint mechanisms for ensuring stability, including no-fly zones, on the ground cease-fire observers, and coordinated delivery of humanitarian assistance,” he said.

Israel believes the outcome of the Trump-Putin meeting will determine whether the idea of de-escalation zones is seriously pursued. Netanyahu discussed the idea with Putin by telephone on Thursday.

“There are a lot of talks on this issue, but nothing has come to fruition yet,” a senior Israeli official said. “The information we’ve received to date was general, and in this case, too, the devil is in the details, so we’ll want to see exactly what commitments we’re getting.

“We’re in close contact with the Americans and they understand our positions and our concerns very well,” he added. “We made it clear to the Americans and other parties that we want to see the entire package relating to the de-escalation zones, not just a few details, and then we can decide what our position is.”