+61 3 9272 5644

Latest News in Israel – 10th June

The four Israelis who were murdered in Tel Aviv terror shooting

Police on Thursday released the names of the four Israelis murdered in a gruesome terrorist shooting in central Tel Aviv on Wednesday night.

The slain victims were: Ido Ben Ari, 42, from Ramat Gan; Michael Feige, 58, from Givatayim; Ilana Naveh, 39, from Tel Aviv; and Mila Mishaev, 32, from Ashkelon.

Ben Ari was sitting at the Benedict restaurant with his wife and two children at the city’s popular Sarona complex when the Palestinian terrorists opened fire, killing him and wounding his wife.

Ben Ari’s wife was evacuated with gunshot wounds to the nearby Ichilov Medical Center, where she underwent surgery. As of Thursday morning she was in moderate condition.

Ido Ben Ari[1]

Ido Ben Ari.

Ben Ari, an executive at Coca-Cola’s Israeli headquarters, lived in Ramat Gan and left behind two children, a wife, parents, and three siblings.

Ben Ari served in the elite Sayeret Matkal unit in the IDF and won a presidential award for his service in reserves.

Another victim, Dr. Michael Feige, was the head of the Israel Studies program at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

Feige, a sociologist and anthropologist won the annual Shapiro Prize for Best Book in Israel Studies in 2010 for his book Settling in the Hearts: Jewish Fundamentalism in the Occupied Territories.

Dr Michael Faige[1]

Dr. Michael Feige.

Prof. Oren Yiftachel, head of the Multidisciplinary Studies Department at Ben-Gurion University, said Feige “was an outstanding person, a charming person and a great researcher. He was not political, though he researched political subjects…He was a very important researcher that dealt with sensitive subjects and found interesting insights. He was one of the best, open and willing to listen…This is a great loss for our university.”

Feige leaves behind his wife, Nurit, and two daughters. His funeral was scheduled to take place at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Yavne Cemetery.

Shooting victim Ilana Naveh was at Sarona celebrating her friend’s birthday when terrorist gunfire stuck her in the chest.

Her funeral was scheduled for Thursday at 2 p.m. at the Yarkon Cemetery in central Tel Aviv. She is survived by her husband, lawyer Alon Naveh, and four children.

Mila Mishaev, 32, grew up in Rishon Lezion and most recently lived in Ashkelon. She left behind two parents and three siblings. Social services in Ashkelon came to her family to help them.

Ashkelon Mayor Itamar Shimoni said the municipality is in touch with the family and will help them in any way possible.            (Jerusalem Post)

Miracle among the tragedies: Tel Aviv terror victim shot twice in the head, and survives

Among all the tragic accounts that emanated from Wednesday night’s deadly terrorist shooting in central Tel Aviv, there was one that resulted in a miracle.

Asaf Bar, one of the wounded victims in the attack by two Palestinians at the upscale Sarona market, narrowly escaped the harrowing experience with his life in tact.

Bar and his girlfriend were sitting at the Max Brenner cafe when the nearby terrorists opened fire in their direction. Bar was shot in the head and wounded, but he miraculously survived and stayed conscious throughout the terrifying events.

Bar’s father, Avner, and his sister, Dana, spoke to Israeli media and recounted his ordeal.

“Asaf was sitting there with his girlfriend. They were there eating a breakfast meal, and the perpetrator, the first thing he did was to shoot two bullets at Asaf,” they said.

“I feel like [my] boy is here as a gift from God,” he father marveled.

“He spoke to us now, he can move all his body parts. One bullet remains in his head and the other was removed,” Bar’s father said, praising the medical staff who treated his son.

Avner Bar said that his son had been conscious the whole ride to the hospital, and that his girlfriend had called to notify his family, who then rushed from Haifa to be with Asaf.

“[Asaf] saw the two terrorists and they were laughing. In his description he said they were wearing suits – this was at the table next to them,” the father said of his son’s account. “In photographs [the terrorists] are seen getting up, taking a step, and aiming a gun half-a-meter away from Asaf.”

“It was a miracle that he came out of this,” Avner Bar underlined. “In our reality this can happen, and it is clear that the solution is a diplomatic one, but until a two-state solution happens we need to protect our children.

The family had already been recovering from another recent tragedy, when Asaf’s mother passed away in the last month. The family had just finished sitting shiva two weeks ago. “He (Asaf) was just starting to live his life again when something like this happens,” Avner conveyed.

Avner Bar expressed his disdain when asked about his thoughts on one of the terrorists who was being treated by an Israeli hospital, under Hippocratic oath.

“This is a joke. He needs to be taken care of, and not in this manner.”                     (Jerusalem Post)

In suits and ties, gunmen shatter Israelis’ hope terror wave had ended

In just a few minutes, two 21-year-old terrorists shattered the calm that Israelis were cautiously starting to enjoy after over half a year of regular terror attacks.

A little after 9:00 p.m., the two men — cousins, according to police; brothers, according to Palestinian media reports — were seated at an outdoor table in Max Brenner’s, a fashionable international restaurant chain known for its rich chocolate desserts, in Tel Aviv’s upscale Sarona Market.

The young Palestinian men wore black suits, white shirts and black ties. They looked “like lawyers,” Yousef Jabbarin, a bartender at the restaurant, told journalists after the attack.

Some initial reports claimed the two had dressed up as ultra-Orthodox Jews, but Jabbarin put that rumor to bed.

“One of the waitresses is also Arab. She said, ‘They’re Arab. They look attractive. I’ll take their orders,’ said Jabbarin, who is originally from the Arab city of Umm al-Fahm.

“I told her, they’re from the West Bank. You can see from how they are dressed,” he told reporters.

Barely five minutes after he made that claim — and hours after the attack — police confirmed what Jabbarin had realized the moment he saw the two gunmen. They two men were from Yatta, a small village in the hills near Hebron in the West Bank, police said.

The two men, whose identities have yet to be released, ordered “Milky Fudge Brownies,” the Max Brenner bartender said. The decadent dessert is made of “milk chocolate truffle cream, fudge brownies, white chocolate pieces and whipped cream, and is served with a hot fudge sauce.”

But the terrorists never ate their “Milky Fudge Brownies,” Jabbarin said. “They left it on the table for a few minutes and then they started the shooting.”

Approximately 15 minutes after they walked in, the two men took out Carl Gustav-style submachine guns and indiscriminately opened fire at the restaurant’s patrons.

In CCTV footage, one of the terrorists can be seen gunning down a diner at point-blank range.

“The restaurant was full,” Jabbarin said. “I don’t know how many people, but it was full.”

The shooting lasted for just about a minute, he said.

But that was enough. Panic broke out — not only in Max Brenner’s, but in the surrounding restaurants and shops as well.

Judy Grund, who was visiting Israel from Los Angeles, was eating next door in a restaurant called Arais. When she heard the gunshots, “I started running. Everyone was stumbling over everyone else,” Grund told The Times of Israel.

Grund, who is visiting with friends and family in Israel, got separated from her group, adding to her anxiety. She ran to take cover in the Sarona Market’s main building.

“I went into a cellphone store. We had them close the… what’s it called.. the shutter,” she said, still noticeably shaken by the experience.

Eventually she ran again, from the tiny mobile phone store to another restaurant, Claro. “There were more people there,” Grund said, which was reassuring. “But I was still frightened.”

During that time, police officers, private security guards and soldiers from the Israel Defense Forces’ headquarters across the street streamed into the Sarona Market complex.

When the two terrorists finished shooting — it wasn’t immediately clear whether this was from a weapon jam or if they ran out of bullets — they tried to flee the scene, police said.

In April, Israeli police moved to close down Sarona outdoor complex over fears that the commercial center was not sufficiently secure, but the site’s management said in the wake of the attack that it would stay open.

At the time, police asked the Tel Aviv municipality to revoke Sarona’s business license, arguing the lax security put the public at risk.

Max Brenner’s does not have its own security guard, Jabbarin said, and the Sarona Market’s security guards and the police were slow to arrive.

The two men fled in the direction of Ha’arba’ah Street, near the city’s Cinematheque movie theater, where they were caught by private security guards. One of the gunmen was taken in without the use of force, while the second was shot as he fled and was seriously injured.

Tel Aviv Police Chief Chico Edri, Israel Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich, Military Intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Herzl Levy all arrived at the scene to speak with investigators and assess the situation, and they were joined by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan and Likud Knesset member Amir Ohana, who lives nearby.

In the initial confusion, police believed a third man had also been involved in the attack and launched a large-scale manhunt to locate him.

At least two helicopters buzzed overhead, and scores of police officers and volunteers rushed to the area to aid in the search. Approximately 45 minutes later, the police called off the search.

At least four people were killed in the terror attack and many more were injured to varying degrees, including three in serious condition and two who were lightly wounded. They were treated in Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital, along with the terrorist who had been shot.

In cellphone video footage from the scene, bystanders can be heard encouraging the security guards who shot and captured the terrorist to “confirm the kill” and “shoot him in the head.” Meanwhile, a photograph circulating on social media allegedly showed the injured gunmen surrounded by a team of doctors and nurses working to save him.

Neither Hamas nor any other terrorist organizations have taken credit for the devastating attack, though many have expressed solidarity and support for the two terrorists.

Israelis comfort each other  following a shooting attack at a shopping complex in the Mediterranean coastal city of Tel Aviv[1]

Israelis comfort each other  following a shooting attack at a shopping complex in the Mediterranean coastal city of Tel Aviv

The past three months have seen a marked drop in the number of terror attacks that have struck Israel and the West Bank. The last multi-casualty event took place in mid-April when a Palestinian teenager detonated an explosive device on a Jerusalem city bus, injuring nearly two dozen people.

Though few have been so bold as to declare the “terror wave” of the past year finished, many people — including former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon — have pointed to statistics showing the violent period trailing off.

However, the month-long Ramadan holiday, which began on Sunday night, has often been a time of increased conflict between Muslim Palestinians and Israel.

Hamas has latched onto this idea and prmised this attack was only “the first of the surprises that await the Zionist enemy during the month of Ramadan,” the organization said in a statement.

This attack not only called into question the notion that the previous 10 months of terror had come to an end, but it also represents the first serious security incident since Avigdor Liberman took over as defense minister from Ya’alon last month.

After a meeting with the heads of Israel’s security forces in the army’s headquarters in Tel Aviv, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — not Defense Minister Liberman — spoke to reporters early Thursday morning about the incident and Israel’s response.

“We’re in the middle of a complex period,” he said, referring to both the month of Ramadan and the upcoming Jewish holiday of Shavuot.

“We will act decisively and intelligently,” Netanyahu said, vowing “determined action by the police, IDF and security agencies to locate all collaborators who took part in this murder, and to prevent future attacks.”

A number of questions still linger about the terror attack. As the terrorists did not have valid work permits, how did they enter Israel from the West Bank? Was the attack directed by a terror group?

And most importantly — is this the beginning of a bloody Ramadan?                  (The Times of Israel)

Netanyahu receives briefing at scene of Tel Aviv shooting, ensures ‘we will respond’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman arrived early Thursday at the scene of Wednesday night’s shooting attack at Tel Aviv’s Sarona market, during which four civilians were killed and several others wounded.

Netanyahu and Liberman were briefed on details of the incident by the district commander of the police force.

Netanyahu was also introduced to a security guard, responsible for shooting and neutralizing one of the terrorists, who recounted the night’s turn-of-events.

“A very tragic event took place here – a cold-blooded murder by ruthless terrorists,” Netanyahu said at the scene.

“First of all, I would like to send my condolences to the families whose worlds have been turned upside down,” he said. “And wishes for a fast recovery to those that have been injured.”

He praised the bravery and quick-action of a civilian and security guard on site who, through their individual actions, saved quite a few lives. He also praised the police officer who captured and neutralized one of the terrorists.

Netanyahu landed in Israel hours earlier from his brief trip to Moscow, to news of the terror attack. He headed straight to the Defense Ministry’s Kirya compound – located across the street from Sarona – for security consultations along with Defense Minister Avigdor Liberian and Shin Bet head Nadav Argaman.

“We gathered to discuss a number of steps, both defensive and offensive, that we will take in order to act against this very severe phenomenon of shooting attacks,” Netanyahu said following the consultations. “It definitely poses a challenge to us, but we will respond.”

In light of recent events, he said civilians should show increased awareness, and ensured that security, IDF, and police forces would work ceaselessly to both capture collaborators involved in Wednesday’s shooting attack, and to prevent future attacks from coming to fruition.

“We are at the peak of a difficult period,” Netanyahu said.  “We will act with resoluteness and with intelligence.”                (Jerusalem Post)

The terrorists who slipped through the net

By Yaacov Lappin              The Jerusalem Post

http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Analysis-The-terrorists-who-slipped-through-the-net-456312

Away from the spotlight, security forces have, in recent months, succeeded in foiling an increasing number of attempts by Palestinian terrorist organizations to carry out bombings and shootings in Israeli cities. But there is no such thing as hermetic defense and while the majority of these plots have been thwarted, security forces are not able to stop every killer before he or she attacks.

The security quiet that Israelis have felt recently – in the longest lull since violence erupted last October – has been the result of steady operations by the IDF and Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) against terrorist infrastructure in the West Bank, and the terror funders, often from the Gaza Strip.

The fact that police have two live terrorist gunmen in custody means the investigation into Wednesday night’s attack can advance quickly. The Shin Bet and police will want to know who – if anyone – sent these gunmen, and whether more cells like this are planning additional shootings. It is too soon to be able to answer such questions, but reports that the gunmen came from the Hebron area – a known Hamas stronghold – might mean that they received support and guidance from the group.

In April, security sources revealed that they had foiled a large number of mass-casualty terror plots by Hamas, stopping them right before they planned to execute their attacks.

Despite the success, the efforts have not stopped. Sources in the IDF’s Judea and Samaria Division, together with the Shin Bet, have reported an ongoing series of attempted attacks orchestrated by Hamas, though the intelligence “noise” made by the cells has enabled security forces to pounce in time.

Lone attackers, or even cells made up of two terrorists like in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, who are not backed by a larger organization, are far harder to detect in time. As a result, Israeli-Arab Nashat Milhem was able to shoot dead two Israelis at a Tel Aviv bar in January, before being shot dead in a raid by security forces a week later in his home town, where he was hiding.

More recently, a Bethlehem-based Hamas cell made up of several members was able to send a bomber into Jerusalem, where he boarded a bus and detonated an explosive device in April, wounding 19 passengers

Tel Aviv shooting attack strongly condemned by US, UN

Both the United States and the United Nations strongly condemned the coordinated terrorist assault on Tel Aviv’s Sarona Market Wednesday evening, during which four people were killed and multiple others wounded.

The statements of condemnation came promptly following the attack, and shared a common harsh tone against the act of terror inflicted upon Israelis by terrorists.

The United States condemned the attack and referred to it as a “cowardly” and “horrific” act of terror.

A statement issued by the State Department said that US officials are in touch with Israeli authorities to express “support and concern.”

“The United States condemns today’s horrific terrorist attack in Tel Aviv in the strongest possible terms,” the statement reads. “We extend our deepest condolences to the families of those killed and our hopes for a quick recovery for those wounded. These cowardly attacks against innocent civilians can never be justified.”

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton referred to Wednesdays events as a “heinous terrorist attack,” reaffirming Israel’s right to defend itself as authorities confirm that the perpetrators were Palestinian.

“I condemn the heinous terrorist attack in Tel Aviv today,” the candidate said in a prepared statement. “I send my deepest condolences to the families of those killed and I will continue to pray for the wounded.”

In a reference to comments from her campaign rival, Republican Donald J. Trump, who argues for a “neutral” approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Clinton added: “Israel’s security must remain non-negotiable.”

In past remarks, Clinton has questioned Trump’s commitment to the US-Israel alliance.

“I stand in solidarity with the Israeli people in the face of these ongoing threats, and in unwavering support of the country’s right to defend itself,” she said.

The attack was further condemned by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon. He conveyed his condolences to the families of the victims and the Government of Israel and reiterated that there is no justification for terrorism “nor for the glorification of those who commit such heinous acts.”

The Secretary-General added he is “shocked that the leaders of Hamas have chosen to welcome this attack and some have chosen to celebrate it” and called upon the Palestinian leadership to “live up to their responsibility to stand firmly against violence and the incitement that fuels it.”                         (Jerusalem Post)

Palestinians celebrate terror attack in Tel Aviv, Saudis strongly condemn

Palestinians in the West Bank and east Jerusalem took to the streets to celebrate the deadly terrorist shooting in Tel Aviv on Wednesday night that left four people dead and several others wounded.

Upon hearing the reports of the shooting, dozens of Palestinians gathered at Damascus Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem, singing out loud and cheering the gunmen.

In the West Bank city of Tulkarm, many young men took to the streets and distributed candies to the local drivers, while in the Dheisheh Refugee Camp in Bethlehem dozens of Palestinians participated in a march praising the terror attack.

Palestinians also expressed their joy on social media networks, where they created the hashtags “#Carlo Bullet,” after the name of the improvised submachine gun used in the attack, and “#Ramadan Operation” to laud the horrendous terror shooting.

Another popular hashtag on Palestinian social media networks was “#We broke the fast killing them,” referring to the fact that the two gunmen broke their Ramadan fast in the restaurant where they later shot people.

Following the shooting, Salma al-Jamal, a Palestinian news anchor working at Al-Jazeera TV, wrote on her Twitter page: “The Ramadan operation that took place today is the best answer to stories we have been hearing about ‘peace process’ that some people are trying in vain to revive.”

In a striking contrast to the Palestinian reaction, the official Saudi media strongly denounced the Tel Aviv terror attack.

Reporting about the shooting on its Facebook page, the well-known Saudi TV channel al-Arabiya referred to the people injured in the attack as “victims,” and not as “settlers” as most of the Arab outlets usually refer to Israelis. This remark aroused cynical reactions among users on social media, who claimed that the channel distorted the report to defend Israel, because the victims are Palestinians, not Israelis.

Dahham al-Enazi, a member of the Saudi Journalists Association, also condemned the shooting in a series of remarks on his Twitter page.

“The Tel Aviv attack is terror and thuggery. Our solidarity and support for the Palestinian people does not mean that we accept the killing of innocents and civilians. We would like to extend our condolences to the families of the victims,” Enazi said.

“I will keep saying that killing civilians and innocents in the streets as happened in the Tel Aviv attack is terror. Even if it happened in the streets of Tehran or Isfahan it would be terror,” he concluded.                                              (Jerusalem Post)

Outrage at CNN for biased Tel Aviv terror attack title; Fox news anchor comes to Israel’s defense

Following Wednesday night’s terror attack in Tel Aviv’s Sarona market that left four people dead and 16 wounded CNN inspired outrage with its headline when it put the word “terrorists” in quotations on its Facebook page.

Additionally, the news agency failed to mention terrorism even once in the article reporting the ordeal.

Similarly, the British news network SKY also neglected to use the word “terror” or “terrorism” in their report of the attack at Sarona.

The BBC’s headline “Tel Aviv shooting: Three killed in attack in shopping centre attack” was also markedly void of the keywords.

The Telegraph as well as the Guardian also labeled the terror attack as “shooting” incidences in their headlines.

In contrast to the dismay generated by the news agencies’ misrepresentation of the terror attack, Fox news anchor Greta Van Susteren personally came to Israel’s defense when she posted a video “off the record” on her private Facebook page.

In the video, Van Susteren shared her condolences with the “innocent Israeli victims” who were at Sarona market last night “just out on a nice summer eve in Tel Aviv.”

The news anchor added that she hoped that representatives around the world also convey their sorrow and reminded them of Israel’s immediate response to help in international crises                    . (Jerusalem Post)

Putin hails talks with Israeli PM, wants to strengthen ties

Russian President Vladimir Putin has called open and constructive his talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier in the day.

“We discussed the whole range of bilateral cooperation issues,” the president told reporters after the talks.

He said the current visit of the Israeli prime minister was timed to mark 25 years since the two countries restored diplomatic relations, adding that the Soviet Union was the first country to recognize Israel.

Cooperation between the two countries has been developing productively and dynamically over the past 25 years, he said.

“Planning for the future, we can base ourselves upon a strong foundation of trust and understanding,” the Russian president added.

Energy cooperation

Moscow is ready to develop energy cooperation with Israel, Putin said.

Speaking to journalists after the talks, the Russian leader reminded about a project of Russian gas supplies to Israel. “But after our Israeli friends found their own gas on the shelf, this project vanished, which is only natural,” he said.

However, in his words, “cooperation in the energy sector is possible.” He cited as an example a small project of equipping Israel’s social transport with liquefied gas. “Such cooperation will be useful for us with an eye of adopting such technologies here,” Putin said.

“We can and we are looking at possible cooperation in other areas,” he added.

Netanyahu in his turn stated absence of legal restrictions for participation of Russian companies in energy projects in Israel.

“There aren’t any legal restrictions for participation of Russian companies in development of gas projects in Israel. Our problem was to approve the decision that would enable us to expand and develop our fields by no matter what companies. We have managed to solve it. Our doors are open for all companies including Russia,” he said.

Netanyahu called on Russian companies to take active part “in all competitions” for energy projects.

Under current law, the government of Israel can redirect gas volumes that were already contracted by foreign customers to the domestic market. The prices on domestic market are regulated by the state.

Earlier, Vedomosti daily reported that Gazprom is no longer interested in participating in the project on development of the Leviathan field, offshore Israel. A few years ago, the company was in talks to buy 30% of the project from a consortium that includes the Israeli Delek Drilling (22.67%), Avner Oil & Gas (22.67%) and Ratio (15%), as well as the American Noble Energy (39.66%). The Leviathan field was discovered in 2010 and is located not far from the Tamar field which is already being developed by the consortium. The reserves of Leviathan are estimated at 620 billion cubic meters of gas.

Anti-terrorism efforts

Russia will strengthen cooperation with Israel in anti-terrorism fight, Putin added.

“We spoke about the necessity to pool efforts to counter international terrorism,” Putin told journalists. “Israel knows only too well what it means and it is fighting against terrorism. In this sense, we are unconditional allies.”.

The Palestino-Israeli conflict

Putin said Moscow will contribute to the settlement of the Palestino-Israeli conflict.

“We speak for overwhelming and just settlement of the Palestino-Israeli conflict,” Putin told journalists after talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

He said “active joint efforts, including in the framework of the Middle East Quartet, are in demand now.”

“Russia is ready to take part in that work,” Putin underscored.

He said different international problems were discussed at the talks, including “the difficult situation in the Middle East region, including Syria.”

“We also confirmed our principled position on the issue of solid peace in the Middle East, including the Palestinian track,” Putin said.

Israel-EAEU free trade zone

Substantive talks on establishing a zone of free trade between Israel and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) will start this year, Putin said.

Trade and economic ties of the two countries have seen an influence of unfavorable factors, but setting up a zone of free trade between the EAEU and Israel could be an incentive for development, Putin said.

“Substantive talks on this will be launched this year,” the Russian leader said, adding that he had discussed the issue at a recent summit of the EAEU, an economic union bringing together Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan.

Turkish-Israeli talks

Putin said that Russia had a positive attitude towards Turkish-Israeli negotiations on restoration of diplomatic.

“Our attitude is exclusively positive,” Putin said after the Russian-Israeli talks.

“We believe that any movement of countries and peoples towards each other will ultimately produce a positive impact on the international situation in general,” the Russian leader stressed. “The fewer problems there are among states, the better. We welcome this process,” Putin concluded.

Tourism sphere

Putin believes the number of Russian tourists travelling to Israel will grow in the years to come.

“Israel is one of the most popular tourist destinations for the Russians. I think the number of our tourists in Israel will grow,” the Russian head of state told journalists after talks with Netanyahu.

Putin said that humanitarian ties would remain a priority area of interaction for both countries given that 1.5 million former citizens of Russia and the ex-Soviet republics reside in Israel. “We will step up cooperation in education,” the Russian leader said. He added that 440 Israeli nationals are currently studying in Russia, including 110 students who do not pay for their tuition – the money comes from the Russian state budget. Exchange programs for students and teachers are under way.

Cooperation in the agricultural sphere

Israeli agrarians may boost their presence on the Russian market, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday after talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Putin said Russia and Israel are in for “good prospects” for interaction in the sphere of agriculture.

“Israeli producers may substantially boost their presence on the Russian market,” he said.

WWII history

Russia and Israel will pool efforts to counter attempts to revise the history of World War II, Putin said.

“We are speaking about a very sensitive subject – the memory of World War II,” Putin told journalists.

“Our peoples fought together against Nazism and paid a huge prize for the victory,” Putin stressed. “That is why we must and will keep the memory of the heroes and victims of that war, we will counter attempts to revise its results, to forget the tragedy of Holocaust.”        (Tass Newsagency)

After ‘historic’ Russia visit, Netanyahu says US remains top ally

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stressed on Wednesday that he was not seeking to replace Washington as Israel’s closest ally, as he wrapped up his fourth visit to Moscow in a year, which had touted the increasingly warm ties between Israel and Russia.

“There is no alternative to the United States [and] I am not looking for one,” he told reporters as he boarded the plane after the two-day trip. “But my policy is to look for other partnerships with great powers such as China, India and Russia and other countries.”

He mentioned an upcoming trip to Africa as another example of this strategy. “Israel is opening up to the world,” he said.

While relations between Jerusalem and the White House have increasingly soured in recent years, and as echoes of Cold War tensions once again permeate Washington’s dialogue with Moscow, Netanyahu sought to present Israel’s ties with Russia as very positive.

He said his “historic” visit to Russia to celebrate 25 years of diplomatic ties was intended to strengthen the bond between the two countries — a relationship that he said went from enmity and confrontation to friendship and cooperation. This included military cooperation in Syria, he noted.

Diplomatic ties between the Russian Federation and the State of Israel were renewed in 1991, some 24 years after the Soviet Union severed them in the wake of the Six Day War.

Netanyahu said the positive relations between the nations was not only at the national level but on a personal one as well. He pointed to his and Putin’s joint attendance at a Bolshoi Theater performance Tuesday as further evidence of this. On Tuesday, Putin also gave Netanyahu a private tour of the Kremlin and explained the history of its halls.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with his wife, Sara, and Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow, Russia, on June 7, 2016 (Haim Zach/GPO)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with his wife, Sara, and Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow, Russia, on June 7, 2016 (Haim Zach/GPO)

Also Wednesday, the prime minister reiterated a denial by his office earlier that he had in any way endorsed the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative — unrevised — as a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The initiative had not come up during his conversations with Putin at all, he said.

The PMO had rejected a claim by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Wednesday that Netanyahu had called the plan “‘universally acceptable.”

Like Netanyahu, Putin has described Tuesday’s meeting as warm and constructive and said the nations were “partners in the struggle against terrorism.”

The two leaders discussed a range of bilateral issues, chief among them the so-called deconfliction mechanism set in place last year to ensure Israeli and Russian aircraft do not clash over Syria. The two are also believed to have discussed Russia’s reported delivery of advanced weaponry to Iran, including the S-300 air defense systems.

Asked by reporters whether Israel and Russia disagreed on the matter, the premier would not acknowledge any tensions. He simply noted that Russia had pushed off the delivery of the missile defense system for many years and said that what was delivered earlier this year was only a partial installation. Israel fears the S-300 system could thwart any future Israeli strike on Iran.

“There is not one visit to Moscow in which I don’t bring up the topic to Putin,” Netanyahu said.                  (The Times of Israel)

Netanyahu thanks NY Governor Cuomo for fighting anti-Israel boycotts

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has sent a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo to express “‘my deep personal appreciation” for his executive order barring state agencies from doing business with companies that support a boycott of Israel.

Cuomo announced the first-in-the-nation edict at Sunday’s Celebrate Israel Parade.

“The Jewish State is facing a systematic global campaign aimed at delegitimizing it and negating its very right to exist.

“The libelous allegations used by BDS organizations as justification for their boycotts betray the blatantly anti-Semitic nature of this campaign, whose stated purpose is to isolate and ultimately destroy the State of Israel,” Netanyahu said in the “Dear Andrew” letter.

BDS stands for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel.

“An executive order by the governor of one of America’s most important and influential states demonstrates to the world and to Israel that we do not stand alone and that our American friends are behind us,” the Israeli leader added.

He praised Cuomo and New York for showing “exceptional moral leadership” against BDS and bolstering the “strong American front against this hateful campaign.”

“I thank you and the great people of New York for this important contribution to the fight for truth and justice,” Netanyahu said, signing the letter with his nickname, “Bibi.”

Supporters of BDS say their goal is to end Israel’s “occupation and colonization” of Palestinian territories, full equality for Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel and “respect for the right of return of Palestinian refugees.”                 (New York Post)

Likud MK: UN funds Hamas regime in Gaza

“A clear majority” of U.S. and EU money earmarked for U.N. activities in Gaza ends up in pockets of Hamas, says new Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee head Avi Dichter

The Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip receives United Nations funding, new Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Chairman Avi Dichter (Likud) said on Tuesday at an Institute of Certified Public Accountants in Israel conference in Eilat.

Speaking of the funding sources for U.N. activities in Gaza, Dichter said, “Every year, the U.S. gives $350 million and the EU gives $450 million. A clear majority of this money ends up in the pockets of Hamas.”

He also said, “In our area, there are Israel, the Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas, and the Hamas regime. Abbas has not visited Gaza in nine years. And unfortunately, PA leaders do not have the courage to take steps toward peace.”

On the Palestinian refugee issue, Dichter said, “It is no less the PA’s problem than it is ours. Half of the residents of the PA are refugees.”

Dichter took over as chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee last week, replacing fellow Likud MK Tzachi Hanegbi, who was appointed a minister without a portfolio in the Prime Minister’s Office.                    (Israel Hayom)

IAI’s answer to enemy drones

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) announced Wednesday that demand for its “Drone Guard” detection and disruption counter UAV system has been steadily increasing in sales over the past year, attributed to both its military and civilian applications.

According to IAI, the Drone Guard possess advanced external hardware which enables it to “detect low signature, low-level and low-speed airborne targets” using 3D radars which include the ELM-2026D, ELM-2026B and ELM-2026BF for short (10km), medium (15km) and long (20 km) ranges, respectively.

In addition, the new “disruption drone system” is fitted with advanced internal software technology capable of “jamming” enemy aircraft or UAVs, which can be used in concert with its detection and identification sensors made by ELTA Systems Ltd., an IAI subsidiary.

“We have managed to pack high grade military radar and jamming capabilities into a compact, effective and affordable drone protection system,” IAI Executive VP and ELTA President Nissim Hadas said in statement.

“Since unveiling the Drone Guard system earlier this year we are experiencing steadily growing sales and demand of the system for military, HLS and civilian protection tasks,” he added.            (Jerusalem Post)

Israeli mobile water purification and desalination unit arrives in Papua New Guinea

A Galmobile water purification unit has been sent to Papua New Guinea to help the country fight the severe drought it is facing.

The official presentation ceremony of the Israeli-designed mobile unit to the government of Papua New Guinea took place on Sunday, 29 May 2016 in Pangia, the birthplace of Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.

Present at the ceremony were the Ministry of Foreign Affairs representative, Ambassador Michael Ronen, Papua New Guinea government ministers, the chief secretary of the government, the district governor, members of parliament and other senior officials.

The Galmobile water purification unit, which was developed by  G.A.L. Water Technologies Ltd. http://gal-water.com/ , was sent to Papua New Guinea to help the country fight the severe drought it is facing.  Ambassador Ronen, who came from Jerusalem especially for the occasion, addressed the event, and spoke of the MFA’s humanitarian work, emphasizing Israel’s commitment to assist its friends around the world, such as Papua New Guinea.

Chief Secretary to Government Isaac Lupari praised the friendship between the peoples of Papua New Guinea and Israel, and his government’s support of Israel. The Chief Secretary thanked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for what he defined as “the special gift,” that will supply water to thousands of people. Later, in a meeting with Ambassador Ronen, PM O’Neil expressed his heartfelt gratitude to Israel for the humanitarian aid to his people.

Galmobile[1]

Background:

Israel and Papua New Guinea established iplomatic relations in 1978, about 3 years after Papua New Guinea was granted independence. An agreement of technical cooperation between the two countries was signed in 1989.

The Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Peter O’Neill led a delegation of senior officials to Israel in October 2013, as the guest of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The people of Papua New Guinea are widely supportive towards Israel and the Jewish people on the background of their Christian faith. This is also reflected also in the attitude of the country’s leaders and their courageous support of in Israel in the international arena in general and at the United Nations in Particular.

As a result of El Niño, a tropical phenomenon that disrupts rainfall in tropical countries, the island’s two million residents are suffering from a shortage of water as well as the destruction of crops. Because of the country’s difficult humanitarian circumstances and in light of Israel’s political commitment to humanitarian aid and cooperation with Papua New Guinea, resulting from the latter’s favorable attitude towards Israel in the international arena and in consideration of the good personal relationship between the two prime ministers, it was decided to accede to PM O’Neill’s personal request to receive the mobile desalination system from Israel.

The Galmobile mobile desalination system, which Israel donated to Papua New Guinea, is able to supply drinking water to populations in rural areas with access difficulties, thus easing the consequences of the drought. Beyond humanitarian aid, MASHAV – Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation provides various services in agriculture and education, such as agricultural consultation and instruction and guidance in establishing professional training for youth and young people.                 (MFA)

Police spokeswoman discusses Tel Aviv terror attack

Israel Police spokeswoman Merav Lapidot summarizes shooting attack in the Sarona Market.         (Arutz Sheva)

https://youtu.be/3snM5NzWKoE

Jerusalem of Gold sung in English with stunning vistas of Jerusalem