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Latest News in Israel – 23rd July

Israel and the Jewish World

Compiled by Dr Ron Wiseman

Israel says it will this week host Iraqi and Saudi journalists, in first

The Foreign Ministry said Sunday that later this week, it will be hosting a group of six journalists from Arab countries including, for the first time, Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

The visit comes as Israel seeks to improve ties with Gulf Arab countries, with which it has no formal diplomatic relations.

Those states have resisted offering Israel formal recognition, absent the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state, but their relations have warmed of late, largely due to common concerns over Iran.

The journalists will visit Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, the Knesset and holy sites, among others, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

It said it had “the aim of exposing the journalists –- some of whom come from countries that do not have diplomatic relations with Israel -– to Israeli positions on diplomatic and geopolitical issues.”

Jordan is also participating, the ministry said.

Foreign Ministry Director General Yuval Rotem tweeted, “no doubt this visit will allow our guests to get to know the Israeli society in all its diversity from up close.”

Jordan is one of only two Arab countries, along with Egypt, that have diplomatic relations with Israel.

In another recent sign of a thaw, a group of Israeli journalists attended the US-led economic workshop on Israeli-Palestinian peace in the Gulf state of Bahrain, in late June.

The Palestinian leadership boycotted the conference, citing a series of moves against them by US President Donald Trump’s administration.

On Thursday, Foreign Minister Israel Katz said that he had met his Bahraini counterpart publicly for the first time during a visit to Washington last week.

Katz also recently visited Abu Dhabi for a UN climate conference, where he met United Nations chief Antonio Guterres and an unnamed “high ranking UAE official.” (the Times of Israel)

Israel demolishing Palestinian structures in eastern Jerusalem considered security risk

Israeli work crews on Monday started tearing down dozens of illegally built Palestinian Arab homes in an eastern Jerusalem neighborhood, in one of the largest operations of its kind in years.

At dawn, hundreds of IDF soldiers, Border Police and regular police entered the area and began preparing the buildings for demolition, including the laying of explosives in an 8-story structure, activists say according to Ha’aretz.

Israel’s Supreme Court approved the request from the Ministry of Defense to demolish 13 structures in June. They include a total of 100 apartments, 20 of which have residents.

The demolition is a sensitive issue as the buildings sit in Area A, over which the Palestinian Authority is supposed to have control over civilian and security matters, Ynet reports.

However, the buildings are close to the separation barrier, which Israel credits with reducing terrorist attacks. Ha’aretz reports that seven years ago the IDF banned construction of buildings within 250 meters of the separation barrier.

Israel’s Minister of Strategic Affairs and Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan said on Monday, “The demolition of the illegal and mostly uninhabited buildings … was approved by the Israeli High Court of Justice, which ruled that the illegal construction constitutes a severe security threat and can provide cover to suicide bombers and other terrorists hiding among civilian population and endanger the lives of civilians and security forces alike.”

“The court also ruled unequivocally that those who built houses in the area of the security fence, knew that building in that area was prohibited, and took the law into their own hands.” Erdan said.

The Palestinian Liberation Organization issued a statement criticizing the Supreme Court as intending “to set a precedent to enable the Israeli occupying forces to demolish numerous Palestinian buildings located in close proximity” to the separation barrier.

The European Union also criticized the Israeli move.  (WIN) Staff

Israel expects to encounter urban warfare and terror tunnels in a possible future conflict in Syria

Israel expects to encounter urban warfare and terror tunnels in a future conflict in Syria, a senior IDF officer said on Monday.

“We are looking towards future challenges in the next war-tunnels and urban combat-which could be in Gaza, Lebanon or Syria,” a senior IDF officer told reporters on Monday during a visit to the Lotar Counter-Terror School’s base at Mitkan Adam outside of Modiin.

While the military is still perfecting underground warfare techniques, the LOTAR school is “a wealth of knowledge in all aspects of tunnel warfare,” the senior officer said, explaining that after Operation Protective Edge in 2014 the IDF understood the need for troops to fight in tunnels after Hamas surprised the military with their cross-border attack tunnels dug from the densely populated Gaza Strip into Southern Israel.

Israel’s military has been investing extensive efforts in locating cross-border tunnels from Gaza and a total of 18 cross-border tunnels have been discovered and destroyed since the end of Operation Protective Edge in 2014.

But while the army says that most of the cross-border tunnels have been destroyed and no longer pose a threat, the IDF knows that any tunnel opening found inside the Strip is connected to a network of tunnels, full of weapons and fighters.

The IDF also discovered and destroyed six cross-border tunnels dug by the Lebanese Hezbollah group who had planned to have dozens of armed militants attack the nearby communities in the next war between Hezbollah and Israel.

While the military insists all cross-border tunnels have been destroyed, they have warned of other Hezbollah tunnels which have not crossed the border but can still be used by the Shiite terror group.

Instructors in the underground warfare unit go through a grueling seven week course where they gain in-depth knowledge of tunnel warfare and train their soldiers to think outside the box and to respond quickly to the unexpected.

But underground warfare is just one of the many specializations that the IDF’s Lotar Counter-Terror School teaches troops for the next war against Israel’s enemies.  The school is divided into different sections according to specialization, including high-altitude “monkeys”, sniping, robotics, and climbing, rappelling and rescue.

“We don’t see the school as only training for typical terror attacks like stabbing or vehicular ramming attacks, but for advance fighting and future warfare,” said Lt.-Col. Dudu Abu, commander of the LOTAR Counter-Terror School. “If in the past there was one specific thing we trained for here, we now train troops to be versatile and to respond to a wide range of incidents and situations.”

According to the military, over 10,000 IDF troops have gone through training at LOTAR in 2018 and troops from the school have taken part in 23 drills overseas. LOTAR troops, who also take part in operational activities, have taken part in 100 operational missions over the past year.

The instructors at the school are all combat soldiers and are responsible for training all IDF units in counter-terrorism and, if needed, take part in operational activities. In the past year Lt.-Col. Abu has also taken the training of urban combat to all frontline soldiers who will enter enemy territory.

IDF’s LOTAR Counter-Terror School training troops for future warfare (Credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH 90)

“We have great synergy with all units in the IDF,” he said, explaining that LOTAR partners with the newly opened Commando School and that troops from other elite units come to Mitkan Adam for several weeks to train.

LOTAR’s counter-terror unit (CTU) specializes in teaching troops counter-terror tactics and high-altitude warfare where troops known as “monkeys”  rappel from rooftops or helicopters in order to neutralize threats and rescue hostages.

Troops in the IDF’s Oketz (Hebrew for “sting”) unit also train in LOTAR. The unit was established in 1974 and is considered part of the army’s elite special forces, with the dogs and their handlers attached to all of the army’s combat units filling several important tasks such as detecting explosives and weapons, chasing and attacking wanted suspects, as well as taking part in search and rescue missions.

“Armies from across the world knock on our door to learn about Oketz,” the senior commander said. “We train all year, in Israel and abroad, with our troops and our dogs.”

While Israel has not gone to war since Operation Protective Edge, the men and women of the Oketz unit have not stopped, acting as “contractors” for other units in the IDF, participating in arrests of Palestinian suspects in the West Bank and with female Oketz soldiers deployed at the various checkpoints assisting troops in searching vehicles and Palestinians who cross into Israel.

All IDF snipers spend ten weeks at LOTAR, learning how to precisely hit targets from long distances and provide cover for troops. According to the senior commander, snipers are trained to maintain extreme focus under pressure, such as the weekly border protests along the Gaza Strip or for urban combat situations where the enemy is able to disappear within seconds.

“Every soldier will take part in the next war and we must make sure that they will be where they need to be and professional in order to win that next war,” the senior officer said.  (Jerusalem Post)

Syrian Opposition: Israel killed senior Hezbollah officer in Damascus

A senior Hezbollah official and a supporter of Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria, Mashur Zidan, was killed on Sunday in a car explosion on the outskirts of the al-Kaliya bridge in the southwest of the Damascus suburbs, according to Syrian sources.

Zidan was among those close to Samir Kuntar, who was assassinated by Israel and the blame in Syria is placed on the Mossad, who they claim was responsible for the assassination of Zidan.

Zidan was travelling with another person when an Israeli drone fired a missile at him, according to a Syrian opposition website.

Hezbollah began to deploy forces in Lebanon and Syria close to the Israeli border, according to reports on Saturday.

The Daily Beast posted an interview with a number of commanders in the terror organization that claimed the organization was harmed directly by the financial sanctions the US imposed on Iran and that therefore, it intends to take hostile action against Israel if Iran decides it is time to do so.

One of the commanders noted that there is a chance that a war will break out between Hezbollah and Israel, the kind “that would not be like its predecessors,” stressing that “this time, we will be the first to shoot.”

The commander emphasized that the sanctions have a negative effect on the Iranian economy in a way that affects its support for the terrorist organization.

“If a missile hits Iran, it will be treated as though Israel fired it,” he threatened. The commander also said that “even before the civil war in Syria, we wanted to open a front against Israel in the Golan Heights, but the Syrian government drew a red line. Now there are no more red lines.”  (Jerusalem Post) Anna Ahronheim

Cops shoot, injure Palestinian man who tries to stab them in Hadera

Police officers shot and injured a 21-year-old Palestinian man who tried to stab them overnight Monday-Tuesday in the city of Hadera.

The officers noticed the man behaving suspiciously and asked him to identify himself, at which point he pulled out a knife and attempted to attack them, police said in a statement.

One of the officers responded by shooting the suspect in the lower body. Police sappers then searched him for explosive devices before turning him over to medical personnel for treatment.

Police did not report any other injuries in the incident. Channel 13 news said the suspect was a resident of the West Bank town of Tulkarem and in Israel illegally. He was being treated for his injuries in Hadera’s Hillel Yaffe Medical Center and was in moderate condition.

The suspect’s motives were unclear and police were investigating the incident. (the Times of Israel)

Saudi blogger visiting Israel attacked by Palestinians at Temple Mount

A Saudi blogger who is in Israel at the invitation of the Foreign Ministry was attacked and cursed at Monday, during a visit to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City.

Video of the incident shows a child spitting on Mohammed Saud as he visited the holy site, while others yell at him to leave.

In another clip, chairs and other objects are thrown at Saud as he walks through one of the Old City’s alleys.

One man is heard shouting at Saud, “Go to a synagogue.” Others are heard calling him an “animal” and “Zionist trash.”

A Foreign Ministry spokesman condemned Saud’s harassment.

“We strongly condemn the cruel and immoral behavior of some Palestinians near the Al-Aqsa Mosque toward a Saudi media personality who came to Jerusalem to be a bridge to peace and understanding between peoples,” Nizar Amer wrote on Twitter.

Saud is one of six Arab journalists and bloggers, including representatives from Jordan and Iraq, brought to Israel by Israel’s Foreign Ministry, which has sought to highlight growing ties between Israel and the Arab world.

The blogger, who speaks Hebrew, is an unabashed partisan of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; his Twitter feed is loaded with messages of support for Israel, Netanyahu and the Likud party. His username on the micro-blogging platform is written in Hebrew as well as in Arabic, and his description includes an Israeli flag emoji and the words “Only Bibi!” using Netanyahu’s nickname.

The group of journalists and bloggers were slated to visit Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, the Knesset, holy sites, and to meet with members of Israeli academia during the trip.

Saud is also reportedly expected to meet Netanyahu on Tuesday.

The ministry has said the visit has “the aim of exposing the journalists –- some of whom come from countries that do not have diplomatic relations with Israel -– to Israeli positions on diplomatic and geopolitical issues.”               (the Times of Israel) Staff

Watch the video:

Ayelet Shaked to head New Right party ahead of Israeli elections in September

Israeli right-wing politician and former justice minister Ayelet Shaked will head the New Right party and once again run with former education minister Naftali Bennett.

Shaked made the announcement during press conference Sunday night, marking her return to politics after resigning in the wake of the last election as the New Right failed to reach the threshold to make it into parliament.

Shaked will head the New Right party this time around, with Bennett serving as joint chairman.

Ahead of the press conference Bennett wrote on Twitter, “the country is more important than a personal advancement. The country needs a unified right.”

The New Right has expressed interest in teaming up with the more extreme Union of Right Wing Parties (URWP), composed of the Jewish Home and National Union parties, respectively.

Shaked announced herself in position to lead this bloc and ensure all right of Likud votes are counted and none are lost.

The URWP is led by the Jewish Home Chairman and Minister of Education Rabbi Rafi Peretz who has not agreed to take a back seat to Shaked should the parties unite.

But while the smaller right-wing parties continue to deliberate over their approach to the upcoming September elections, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is reportedly trying to wedge his own priorities into the negotiations.

It was also reported in Hebrew media that Netanyahu’s wife Sara met with Peretz’s wife on Friday and urged her to tell her husband not to cede first place of the unified parties of the right.

Sara Netanyahu denied the report, saying it is “fictional.”

Amid local reports on Netanyahu’s objections over Shaked taking Peretz’s top spot, the Prime Minister on Sunday summoned Peretz to an urgent meeting.

Peretz responded saying he “is pleased to see that the new rightists are reaching an agreement. Now is the time for true unification on the right. Ayelet and Naftali are already invited tonight for negotiations on the right’s unification.”

The Israeli public took to the streets recently calling for the resignation of Peretz from his newly assumed post after he made comments in favor of therapy to “convert” gay individuals into heterosexuals, adding that he has facilitated those undergoing the process.

He has since walked back from his comments, stating the he is “strongly opposed” to gay conversion therapy and never referred anyone for such treatment. (Ynet News) Staff

Israel will allow BDS-backing congresswomen Omar, Tlaib to enter country

Israel’s Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer said on Friday that Israel will not prevent two BDS-supporting members of Congress from entering Israel next month.

Earlier this week, Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Democrat from Minnesota, said that she would visit Israel and the West Bank with Palestinian-American Rep. Rashida Tlaib, a Democrat from Michigan, in August. Omar and Tlaib are the first female Muslim congresswomen. Both back the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.

“Out of respect for the US Congress and the great alliance between Israel and America, we would not deny entry to any member of Congress into Israel,” Dermer told The Times of Israel in a statement.

Under a controversial law that Israel enacted in 2017, the state can prohibit any foreigner from entering the country who “knowingly issues a public call for boycotting Israel.”

Since then, the Interior and Strategic Affairs ministries have used the statute to deny visas to a handful of students, activists and artists upon their arrival to Israel.

The Foreign Ministry, however, can recommend the law be waived for visiting politicians or government officials out of diplomatic concerns.

Due to the sensitive nature and timing of Omar and Tlaib’s visit, Haaretz had reported on Wednesday that the final decision would be made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The two lawmakers’ visit comes after US President Donald Trump targeted them in recent tweets, saying they — and two other freshmen liberal congresswomen, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts — hated America and Israel and should  “go back” to the “crime-infested places from which they came.” Those remarks were condemned as racist in a House resolution passed this week, largely along partisan lines.

Omar on Tuesday introduced a resolution, co-sponsored by Tlaib, ostensibly aimed at pushing back against laws seeking to clamp down on boycotts of Israel. The resolution, which does not explicitly mention Israel or the Palestinians, affirms the right of Americans to participate in boycotts as an expression of free speech under the First Amendment, citing boycott movements against Nazi Germany, the USSR and apartheid South Africa.

It currently has three sponsors — Omar, Tlaib and Democratic Georgia Rep. John Lewis, an icon of the Civil Rights movement who marched on Selma.

Omar, Tlaib and other BDS supporters say that in urging businesses, artists and universities to sever ties with Israel, they are using nonviolent means to oppose unjust policies toward Palestinians. Israel counters that the movement masks its motivation to delegitimize or destroy the Jewish state.

Both Omar and Tlaib have been frequent sources of controversy since their ascension to Capitol Hill earlier this year.

Omar was accused of anti-Semitism in February after she said that American support for Israel was driven by money from the powerful pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC. In May, Tlaib sparked a similar firestorm after she claimed her Palestinian ancestors “had to suffer” for the Jews to have a safe haven in the wake of the Holocaust.

Omar has said she supports a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; Tlaib, however, has advocated for a single-state outcome. (the Times of Israel) Eric Cortellessa

The Hamas-Iran Plan to Eliminate Israel

by Bassam Tawil                 The Gatestone Institute


  • “There are Jews everywhere. We must attack every Jew on planet Earth! We must slaughter and kill them, with Allah’s help. We will lacerate and tear them to pieces.” — Fathi Hammad, Hamas senior leader, at a rally near the Gaza-Israel border, July 14, 2019.
  • Haniyeh’s statements coincided with a visit to Iran by a senior Hamas delegation. Headed by the Palestinian arch-terrorist Saleh Arouri, the delegation will spend a few days in Tehran for talks with Iranian leaders on ways of strengthening relations between the two sides.
  • If the Hamas arch-terrorist succeeds in his mission to secure more funding from Iran, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terror groups in the Gaza Strip will most likely ratchet up their terror activities against Israel. The most effective way to stop Hamas from carrying out its plan to “slaughter” every Jew is by increasing international Has Hamas, the Palestinian terror group that rules the Gaza Strip, finally accepted the two-state solution and abandoned its objective to destroy Israel?

The headlines in some Arab media outlets on July 20 created the impression that Hamas has changed its policy and is no longer seeking the annihilation of Israel. More remarkably, the headlines made it seem as if Hamas were presenting a new plan for peace with Israel.

Quoting statements by Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, several Arab media organizations ran headlines implying that the terror group now favors the two-state solution. “Hamas does not oppose the establishment of a [Palestinian] state on the 1967 borders,” the headlines shouted.

Haniyeh reportedly made his statements during a video conference interview with Turkish journalists in Istanbul. The interview was organized by a group called the Palestinian Forum for Communication and Media, which describes itself as an “independent media organization aiming to enhance coordination between Arab and international media organizations to support the Palestinian cause.”

Although the initial impression created by Haniyeh’s statements suggest a dramatic shift in Hamas’s policy – from seeking the destruction of Israel to accepting the two-state solution – it quickly becomes clear from reading the rest of his remarks that there is no change in the terror group’s strategy or ideology.

Haniyeh carefully clarified that accepting a Palestinian state on the pre-1967 “borders” does not mean that Hamas would recognize Israel’s right to exist. “Hamas is not opposed to the establishment of a state on the 1967 borders, but insists on not recognizing the Israeli occupation of the rest of the Palestinian territories,” the Hamas leader is quoted as telling the Turkish journalists.

Haniyeh, to his credit, was more honest that the editors who chose the misleading headlines suggesting that Hamas has accepted the two-state solution.

Listen closely to what Haniyeh was really saying: “If we are offered a Palestinian state next to Israel, we will not say no. While we will take whatever Israel gives us, we will never recognize its right to exist. We will use the state as a launching pad to liberate all Palestine, from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River.”

Haniyeh’s remarks are nothing but a smokescreen, intended, it seems, to deceive the world into thinking that his terror group has softened its position towards Israel and Jews.

Yet, the Hamas leader was quite clear about the terror group’s stance. He even went as far as assuring the Turkish journalists that his movement will never abandon the “armed struggle” against Israel. “We often resort to peaceful and popular resistance [against Israel],” Haniyeh said. “This does not mean, however, that we have given up our armed resistance against Israel.”

For Haniyeh, the weekly demonstrations along the Gaza-Israel border, which are being held in the context of the Hamas-sponsored “Great March of Return,” as “peaceful” and “popular” acts of “resistance.” The protests, which began in March 2018, are anything but “peaceful” and “popular.”

In the Hamas lexicon, launching rocks and arson kites at Israeli farms and villages near the border with the Gaza Strip is defined as “peaceful resistance.”

Although the organizers of the protests have been publicly calling on participants to preserve the “peacefulness” of their weekly demonstrations, Palestinians have repeatedly attempted to infiltrate into Israel by knocking down the security fence along the border or hurling firebombs and explosive devices at Israeli soldiers. They are probably doing that because they do not listen to what their leaders tell them, or because they have lost faith in their leaders and believe that violence is the only way to extract concessions from Israel.

Last Friday, the protests were held under the banner of “The Friday of burning the Zionist flag.” The demonstrators not only burned Israeli flags; they also clashed with Israeli soldiers. Reports from the Gaza Strip said that more than 70 Palestinians were injured during the clashes.

In addition, since the beginning of the protests in March 2018, more than 260 Palestinians have been killed, and thousands injured. The number of Palestinians taking part in the Friday protests finally appears to be declining: many Gazans have apparently reached the conclusion that their leaders are using them to advance their own interests. Since the marches started, Palestinians have seen no improvement in their living conditions.

If you follow Hamas’s logic, it is only a matter of time before the organization declares that firing rockets again and kidnapping Israeli villagers are also “peaceful” and “popular” means of “resistance.” The mainstream media in the West will doubtless continue dutifully to rewrite its definitions.

Hamas’s true intentions were expressed by one of its senior leaders, Fathi Hammad. During a rally near the Gaza-Israel border, he recently said: “There are Jews everywhere. We must attack every Jew on planet Earth! We must slaughter and kill them, with Allah’s help. We will lacerate and tear them to pieces.” He also urged Palestinians to purchase “five-shekel knives” and “cut the necks of Jews.”

Haniyeh’s statements coincided with a visit to Iran by a senior Hamas delegation. Headed by the Palestinian arch-terrorist Saleh Arouri, the delegation will spend a few days in Tehran for talks with Iranian leaders on ways of strengthening relations between the two sides.

In November 2018, the US Department of State offered a five million dollar reward for information about Arouri, who serves as deputy head of Hamas’s “political bureau.”

Saleh Arouri’s covert operational activities, including the handling of Hamas terrorist squads, are mainly carried out in Lebanon and Turkey,” according to the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center. “In Lebanon, where he lives today, he operates under the sponsorship of Hezbollah with no interference from the Lebanese government, while in Turkey the authorities ignore his activities and those of Hamas.”

Arouri is one of the founders of Hamas’s armed wing, Izaddin al-Qassam Brigades, and is responsible for several bloody terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians and soldiers, including the 2014 kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank.

Notably, Arouri is not travelling to Tehran to discuss with Iranian leaders ways to improve the living conditions of Palestinians in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. He is wholly preoccupied with how to acquire more weapons and money for killing Jews. It is no coincidence that Hamas chose a commander of its armed wing to head the delegation to Iran. He is going to Tehran to request weapons and funding for terror activities, his special expertise.

The Iranian leaders, for their part, are not about to offer Arouri and his friends cash to construct hospitals and schools in the Gaza Strip. Iran will ensure that its money is earmarked for building more terror tunnels along the Gaza-Israel border and manufacturing rockets that will be used to attack Israel.

Iran’s leaders never tire of reminding everyone of their desire to annihilate Israel. The most recent threat came from a senior Iranian lawmaker, Mojtaba Zolnour, chairman of the Iranian parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission. “If the US attacks us, only half an hour will remain of Israel’s lifespan,” he said.

In another threat earlier this year, the second-in-command of the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said that Iran will obliterate Israel if it starts a war, and the Israelis will not even be able to bury their dead. “Our strategy is [to wipe] Israel [off] the world’s political geography and Israel seems to be approaching this reality by its mischiefs,” Brigadier General Hossein Salami told reporters in Tehran. If Israel “does anything that leads to a new war, certainly it will be [the kind of war] that will result in their elimination, and the occupied territories will be retaken. Israelis won’t even have a cemetery in Palestine to bury their corpses.”

In welcoming the Hamas delegation, the leaders of Iran seem to know something that is hidden by misleading headlines: that Hamas remains committed to its goal of destroying Israel.

The Iranian leaders know that Arouri, with his proven record of terrorism and his hands dripping with Jewish blood, is someone Tehran can do business with. Hamas is desperate for cash and weapons. It needs these resources not because it is ready to accept the two-state solution, but in order to prepare for the next war with Israel.

It seems that Arouri is seeking to affirm to his Tehran cash-cow that Hamas is still very much on the same page as they are: eliminating Israel and replacing it with an Iranian-backed terror state.

If the Hamas arch-terrorist succeeds in his mission to secure more funding from Iran, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terror groups in the Gaza Strip will most likely ratchet up their terror activities against Israel. The most effective way to stop Hamas from carrying out its plan to “slaughter” every Jew is by increasing international sanctions and other means of pressure on Iran — before it is too late.

Israel Is the One Stabilizing Element in the Middle East – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu interviewed by Boaz Bismuth and Amnon Lord (Israel Hayom)

Asked about how he views the period since he first became prime minister in 1996, Benjamin Netanyahu said, “We discovered that we can leverage the basic characteristics of this people into exceptional strength in economics, defense and security, and diplomacy. We’ve proved that it is possible to turn Israel from a small country in a corner of the Middle East into a central world power.”

“It’s obvious that the lack of stability here [in the Middle East] is the result of the struggle between the Dark Ages and modernism – between the tyranny of radical Islam and the forces of freedom. That’s the most important battle. That is what is destabilizing everything.”

“Standing up to the fundamentalist Islam that wants to take over first the Middle East and then the entire world [is important]. If there’s one element that is stabilizing the Middle East and fighting radical Islam here, it’s Israel.”

“[I told Russian President Vladimir Putin] that I would have to take action in Syria, that I wasn’t willing to allow Iran to bring its army to our borders. They [Iran] announce their intention of annihilating us. ‘What would you do?’ I asked him. I told him that I was sure he would do the same as me.”

“The [2015] nuclear deal…wasn’t conditional on any change in [Iran’s] behavior. The argument was that if Iran received millions as a result of the sanctions being lifted, it would become a moderate state. Today, we can judge….Right now, their policy is to quietly pursue nuclear weapons while also conquering the Middle East with the money that the eased sanctions sent flooding into Iran’s coffers.”

“You need to increase power, not maintain it. My outlook is built on bolstering our strengths. Without strength, we won’t survive. The weak don’t survive. A strong people forges alliances. So from the first moment, the main question about Israel’s existence was whether we would be able to develop the strengths to not only confront our enemies but also be accepted by the rest of the world. The simple fact is that what makes the world accept you is, first and foremost, your strength.”