By: Melanie Phillips – Jewish News Syndicate; jns.org
British intelligence has much to answer for. But there’s also the question of how Malik Faisal Akram was allowed into America in the first place.
The attack on Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas, where the rabbi and three other Jews were taken hostage until they managed to escape unharmed, was shocking enough.
What has subsequently emerged, however, is even more disturbing.
The attacker, Malik Faisal Akram, was a British Muslim from the English town of Blackburn. It turns out that he was able to enter the United States two weeks earlier because of a major foul-up by Britain’s intelligence service, MI5 and the police.
In 2020, MI5 investigated Akram as a possible terrorist threat but concluded that he posed no risk and effectively closed his file.
Now Britain’s Jewish Chronicle reports that in May last year, at a meeting in Blackburn called to discuss “escalating tensions” between Israel and Gaza, Akram declared in a diatribe that Jews needed to be punished and should be “bombed.” A locally elected politician who attended the meeting was so concerned by this that he told the police. To his astonishment, he heard no more about it.
By: Anna Ahronheim – The Jerusalem Post; jpost.com
Defense Minister Benny Gantz said: We equip the State of Israel with the capabilities to defend itself against developing threats.
Amid ongoing tensions with Iran, Israel’s Defense Ministry, the IDF and the US Missile Defense Agency successfully conducted a planned interception test of the Arrow-3 missile-defense system on Tuesday morning.
The test, led by Israel Aerospace Industries in collaboration with the Israel Air Force, took place in central Israel.
During the test, the Arrow system’s radar detected the target and transferred the data to battle management controL, which analyzed the data, established a defense plan and launched two Arrow 3 interceptors toward the exo-atmospheric target, successfully destroying it.
“The success of this test is an important milestone for Israel’s operational capability to defend itself against existing and evolving threats in the region,” the Defense Ministry said, adding that it was part of the IDF’s multi-year development program.
IAI President and CEO Boaz Levy said the system was tested in a “challenging scenario” against “future threats” and that throughout the test, it gathered “essential information that will be used by the defense establishment and the company’s engineers for the development of future technology.”
By: Israel Kasnett – Jewish News Syndicate; jns.org
IDF Col. (ret.) Dr. Jacques Neriah, a special analyst for the Middle East at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, told JNS that Hezbollah and the Shi’ite Amal party “have done everything possible in order to paralyze the government and impose their rule.”
As Lebanon’s citizens deal with a collapsing economy and a paralyzed government, murmurings of dissatisfaction with Hezbollah, Iran’s terror proxy in Beirut, have begun to surface. But experts say it is unrealistic to believe Hezbollah’s iron grip on the country will loosen.
These simmering tensions were expressed even more publicly in a televised speech made by Lebanese President Michel Aoun on Dec. 27, when he called for a “national dialogue” to confront the country’s political and social issues. Aoun warned that Lebanon was “falling apart,” and urged swift action on financial reforms. He also made what could be considered a veiled demand of Hezbollah, seemingly urging the terror group to loosen its grip on Lebanese politics.
“The deliberate, systematic and unjustified disruption that leads to institutions dismantling and the dissolution of the state must stop,” Aoun said.
By: Lahav Harkov – The Jerusalem Post; jpost.com
There is a sense in Jerusalem that if Russia invades Ukraine, it could sharply change how the US deals with Iran.
The US wants to use “snapback sanctions” to deter Iran from enriching weapons-grade uranium – a mechanism that was meant to be used in response to any violation of the 2015 nuclear deal.
US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told Israelis that he saw snapback sanctions as a possible way to stop Iran from enriching uranium to 90% purity, an Israeli diplomatic source said, confirming a report in Walla News.
Snapback was a UN Security Council resolution passed in tandem with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal with Iran, which stated that any party to the deal can trigger UN Security Council sanctions – which are binding on all member states – if Tehran violates the agreement in any way. That agreement limited Iran’s uranium enrichment to 5%, but the Islamic Republic has enriched to 60% in the past year, among other JCPOA violations.
Jewish News Syndicate; jns.org
The MEPs said that on Nov. 9, which was also the anniversary of Kristallnacht, they tested Facebook’s “reactivity” to flagged anti-Semitic content by reporting posts that contained blood libels, conspiracy theories tying Jews to the COVID-19 pandemic and Holocaust denial.
Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) are calling on Facebook to take “immediate measures” to better combat the proliferation of anti-Semitic content on its platform.
In a letter sent on Dec. 16 to Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and co-founder of Facebook — which was recently rebranded as Meta — and Meta COO Sheryl Sandberg, eight MEPs expressed concern about Facebook’s “lack of improvement” in removing anti-Semitic posts.
By: Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman – The Jerusalem Post; jpost.com
Prof. Ami Schattner: “Initial results are promising to say the least.”
An ancient Greek drug derived from the saffron plant could improve the treatment of people with severe COVID-19 and reduce the COVID mortality rate by as much as 50%, according to a report published earlier this month in the European Journal of Internal Medicine by an Israeli researcher from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Hadassah Medical School.
The drug, colchicine, dates back thousands of years to ancient Egypt, where it was known for its special healing properties. It is one of a few medicines that survived until modern times. Most recently, it has been used to treat and prevent inflammation caused by gout that can lead to painful arthritis and Familial Mediterranean Fever (FMF), which is common among Jewish people of North African descent.
Prof. Ami Schattner researched and analyzed all patients treated in controlled trials of this ancient drug for the past 20 years. He found that among its uses and potential uses, colchicine also appears effective in treating COVID-19.
By: Yaakov Lappin – Jewish News Syndicate; jns.org
“India is interested in a multilateral world, in which [it] is an important country. Israel fits in with this vision,” said Professor Efraim Inbar of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security.
Israel and India are set to expand their cooperation further just weeks after a historic visit by India’s Chief of Army Staff Gen. Manoj Mukund Naravane.
Navarne met with senior Israel Defense Forces officials, including Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, and IDF Ground Forces Commander Maj. Gen. Tamir Yadai. He heard multiple briefings on Israel’s military capabilities, and the visit is perceived by Israeli defense officials as having enriched and strengthened both the personal and professional connection between the two militaries.
Naravane also toured sites that hold historical significance to both countries, including the Indian cemetery in Jerusalem and the Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Center. The visit is seen as the latest signal of the deep military and diplomatic connection between Israel and India.
Looking ahead, both countries seek to expand their collaboration in several areas, including the strengthening of their militaries.
By: Chris Mitchell – CBN News; cbn.com
JERUSALEM, Israel – The war of words between Israel and Iran is intensifying. The rhetoric comes at a time when the nuclear talks in Vienna to stop Iran’s nuclear program seem stalled.
When Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz met with US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin last week, he reportedly presented a timeline for an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear program and told Lloyd Israel is “preparing for the Iranian challenge at the operational level.”
This week the state-affiliated Tehran Times boasted in an article called “Just One Wrong Move!” That Iran can hit Israel anywhere. To drive home the point, they included a map showing targets Iran had already selected throughout Israel.
By: Faygie Holt – Jewish News Syndicate; jns.org
“We would bring stuff to one person and they would say, ‘I’m sure there’s someone who needs it more than me,’ ” relates Rabbi Shlomo Litvin. “Even as they were taking stock of their homes and everything they lost, they were saying their neighbor two doors down needs the water.”
The last time Rabbi Shlomo Litvin, co-director of Chabad of the Bluegrass, had been in Hopkinsville, Ky., he was joined by thousands of other people to see a total eclipse.
He returned to the area on Monday to find a much-changed landscape after a massive tornado ripped through the western part of the state on Dec. 10, rendering much of it temporarily uninhabitable. The tornado was one of a series of others that struck six Midwestern states on Dec. 10.
“The kindness they had shown to tourists during the eclipse was overwhelming, and to come back now and see the devastation was heartbreaking,” said Litvin, who went to the region with his brother, Rabbi Chaim Litvin of Project Friendship, a social-service arm of Chabad of Kentucky, to deliver 10 pallets of bottled water along with boxes of winter clothing and shoes to the survivors of the tornado.
Jewish News Syndicate – jns.org
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and Ernst & Young Global Limited will no longer audit the Union of Agricultural Work Committees or Defense for Children International Palestine.
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and Ernst & Young Global Limited (EY), two of the Big Four accounting firms, have confirmed that they will no longer audit two Palestinian NGOs recently designated as terrorist organizations by Israel.
EY is no longer auditing the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), and PwC confirmed it no longer audits accounts for Defense for Children International Palestine (DCI-P), reported UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI) in a statement.
The NGOs are among the six listed by Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz as terror organizations on Oct. 22 for their close ties with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
“Those organizations were active under the cover of civil society organizations, but in practice belong and constitute an arm of the [PFLP] leadership, the main activity of which is the liberation of Palestine and destruction of Israel,” said Gantz.
EY ceased auditing UAWC, even though it only took over the contract in May 2019. PricewaterhouseCoopers had audited DCI-P since 2014, according to UKLFI.