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Iran Tops Agenda on Netanyahu’s European Trip

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4 Jun 2018 (All day)
Iran Tops Agenda on Netanyahu’s European Trip
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu boarded a flight to Europe on Monday morning, telling reporters that he will visit the leaders of Germany, France and the UK in an effort to convince them of the urgent need to confront Iran’s efforts to set up military infrastructure in Syria and its renegade nuclear program. “I will stress the unchanging truth: Israel will not let Iran acquire nuclear weapons,” he said. Meanwhile, Iranian officials made fiery speeches over the weekend, threatening the Jewish State with imminent attack and annihilation.

“Unlike the American military forces and the regional reactionaries, the Iranian advisors are present in Syria at the request of the Syrian government and people,” Brig.-Gen. Masoud Jazayeri, an advisor to the Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces was quoted by Tasnim news agency on Sunday. “Iran and Syria enjoy deep relations that would not be influenced by the propaganda measures of anyone…the Zionist regime's greatest fear is the proximity of Muslim fighters near its border. It has come to pass. Now that this has come true, the US and Israel are making desperate efforts to change the situation. But they should know that this condition is not going to change. We are waiting to see a day when Syria and the other regional countries would witness an era without the annoying and troublemaking aliens.”

Meanwhile, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told German newsmagazine Der Spiegel over the weekend that the alliance will not send military assistance to Israel should Iran attack it. Israeli officials and analysts expressed puzzlement over this statement, pointing out that Israel had never asked for or expected NATO to assist in the defense of the Jewish State. Dore Gold, chief of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs think tank, nevertheless said that the comments were “unhelpful” since they “feed into Israel’s suspicion that you cannot rely on the outside world in any way. In any event, we never thought that we could, which is why we always thought that we have to have the ability to defend ourselves by ourselves.”

Catholic Friar Stabbed in Bethlehem
Franciscan friar Fadi Shallufi, administrator of Bethlehem’s Milk Grotto, was stabbed on Friday by a man who had been harassing a group of Catholic visitors to the site. Video of the incident was widely circulated on social media, prompting the Palestinian Authority police to take two suspects into custody. Bishop Atallah Hannah issued a statement saying “We thank God that the injury was minor, but this action is a criminal act that is far from our human, moral and national values. We reject attacks against clerics.”

Knesset Bill on Armenian Genocide Recognition Delayed
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu implemented a parliamentary procedure Sunday to block a ministerial vote on a bill to recognize the Armenian Genocide which took place in the Ottoman Empire during the First World War. The Foreign Ministry said it “recommended that the prime minister postpone the discussion of the bill to recognize the Armenian Genocide until after the elections in Turkey, because this discussion could would help [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan in the elections. The prime minister accepted the Foreign Ministry’s recommendation.” Sponsors of the legislation vowed to continue pushing for its passage.

Israeli Soccer Program Recognized for Positive Impact on Youth
The Equalizer program, which combines soccer and activities to promote positive social values and interactions between children from different demographic groups in hundreds of schools around Israel, was recognized over the weekend received the 2018 UEFA Foundation for Children Award over the weekend. “We are incredibly proud to see that our program, which is so successful in Israel, is recognized by such a prominent international organization as UEFA,” said Liran Gerassi, Founder and CEO of The Equalizer. “This is an excellent opportunity to thank the Israel Football Association again for the partnership between our organizations, in the hope that it will continue for many years to benefit the children of Israel.”

IDF Invited to Multi-National Exercises
Despite deeply ambivalent diplomatic and political relations with many governments in Western Europe, Israel has been invited to participate in a number of military and security exercises on the Continent in recent years. This week, the IDF announced that it will dispatch troops and equipment to two more such exercises in June. Meanwhile, the IDF Navy was invited to take part in the massive US-led multi-national RIMPAC (Rim of the Pacific) drill off the coast of Hawaii later this month.

Speaking of the participation of IDF Paratroopers in the “Swift Response” exercise taking place in Germany, Poland and the Baltic states this week, the IDF spokesperson’s office issued a statement saying that “This is the first time the IDF has participated in a international exercise of the European Command. The objective of the exercise is to improve the ability for mutual cooperation between the participating armies.”

The EUCOM’s annual “Saber Strike” exercise also taking place this week will also feature IDF troops. This activity follows the docking of NATO ships in Haifa port last month as part of a regional exercise.

Today’s video shows the celebrations surrounding the US Embassy opening in Jerusalem


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