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Netanyahu To Name Golan Town After US President

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the Golan Heights on Tuesday with his family and used the occasion to post a video proclaiming his desire to build a new community on the strategic plateau to be named after US President Donald Trump, following his recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the territory. He explained that there “is a need to express our appreciation by calling a community or neighborhood on the Golan Heights after Donald Trump. I will bring that to the government [for approval] soon.”

Here is a video of Netanyahu's public statement



Elsewhere, US Senator Bernie Sanders declared his belief that the Netanyahu government was “racist”, leading to a sharp backlash in Israel and among US Jewish groups. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) posted a statement declaring that “The U.S.-Israel alliance serves America’s interests. We benefit from the close bonds between the governments and peoples. Name-calling by political leaders against the democratically elected government of Israel is counterproductive to maintaining close ties and advancing peace.”

In Israel, senior Likud MK Tzachi Hanegbi told Reshet 13 TV that "We condemn statements like that made by [US Senator Bernie] Sanders, which was really strange. The Israeli government is not a racist government, nor does it include a single racist minister. To be right wing is not illegitimate and it is odd that the Democratic Party allows one of its senior members to not respect the democratic choice of the State of Israel."

Iran Rattles Sabre Against US, Strengthens Ties with China
Iran’s Majles parliament passed legislation Tuesday that “authorizes the government to take firm and retaliatory measures against terrorist activities of American forces that endangers Iran's interests," according to state-run Iranian media outlets. The move came a day after Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi told his Chinese counterpart during a visit to Beijing that his forces would like to cooperate with China in the Indian Ocean as a substitute for US naval forces which he asserted would soon be retreating from the region.

BDS Movement Suffers More Defeats
The effort to Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) Israel suffered several more defeats this week, with Grammy-nominated vocal artist Tyga holding a concert in Rishon Lezion Tuesday evening despite intense pressure on him to cancel and the Los Angeles Times naming an Israeli-owned restaurant as the best eatery in the mega-city for 2019. Bavel, opened last year by the husband-and-wife team Ori Menashe and Genevieve Gergis, was declared to be “a restaurant that wonderfully encapsulates the all-things-Middle-Eastern movement sweeping Los Angeles,” by Times food writer Jenn Harris.

Israel Blesses the World
US-based hi-tech giant Intel Corp announced on Tuesday that it was offering it “most powerful generation” of laptop processors ever, adding that they were designed in Israel at Intel’s Haifa-based development center. The 9th Gen Intel Core mobile H-series processors offer a 33% upgrade in video graphics and related services over computers built as little as 3 years ago.

“Our new 9th Gen platform is designed to delight gamers, creators and performance users by giving them more of what they want,” said Fredrik Hamberger, general manager of the Premium and Gaming Laptop Segments at Intel. “We are bringing desktop-caliber performance with up to 5 Ghz and 8 cores in a range of thinner systems and new level of connectivity with Wi-Fi 6 (Gig+) so users can game or create where they want.”

BeerSheeba Hospital Expanding Trauma Ward
Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba laid the cornerstone this week for a new trauma center and emergency department which will include 43 new beds by the time it is scheduled to be completed in 2021. Eric S. Goldstein, CEO, UJA-Federation of New York, which provided large donations to the project, said "the expanded emergency department will provide best-in-class care to all citizens of Israel’s south, and will help strengthen the infrastructure of Beersheba."

Today's video gives some in-depth analysis of recent events in Turkey

Political Factions Submit Demands for Joining Government

With the clock ticking on negotiations to form a new government, the Right-wing parties incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will need to build his coalition were already beginning to list their demands on Monday. Union of Right-Wing Party MK Bezalel Smotrich has let it be known that he wants to be Minister of Justice, making a speech on Monday in which he said that he would like to infuse large numbers of Jewish residents into West Bank communities such as Hebron. “Hebron is a large city. There is a lot of space here for many Jews to redeem this city, which will allow us to draw strength from the strong connection to the city of our forefathers,” Smotrich said.

The speech came as Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben-Dahan from the defunct Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) party made a speech Monday at the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron in which he said “We are praying that we will create a new government, a government that will declare sovereignty on Judea and Samaria…with God’s help we will declare that Judea and Samaria is an inseparable  part of Israel.”

In related news, a senior White House official told the Jewish Telegraph Agency on Monday that “The two-state solution term means different things to different people. There is no point in using a phrase that never achieved peace. Our plan provides a clear, realistic and detailed vision of what peace could actually look like.”

Here is a video which gives some analysis of the political situation in Israel following the recent election, including the effect of US-proposed plans for advancing US-Palestinian relations



Over 160,000 Israelis Visit National Parks on Earth Day
Israel’s Nature and Parks Authority reported on Monday evening that over 160,000 people had taken advantage of Earth Day and the Passover holidays that many employers are giving to visit the countries nature reserves, despite lingering cool weather and rain in some areas. Officials noted that the weather didn’t seem to deter people from enjoying the many wide open spaces in the Jewish State while some visitors added that the winter’s heavy rains have brought many dry areas back to life.

Hezbollah Leader Denies War Rumors
Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, leader of the Iranian-backed Lebenese Shi’ite terror militia Hezbollah, issued a statement on Monday denying earlier reports in the Arab media that he had predicted a war between his organization and Israel this summer, saying Israel wouldn’t dare fight. “Although the Resistance always prepares for the worst possibilities, I personally tend to rule out the possibility of witnessing an Israeli war on Lebanon because the enemy’s ‘home’ front is not ready for that,” he said.

“Neither the air force nor the ground forces can settle the battle in favor of the Israeli enemy,” Nasrallah continued, adding that “the Zionists themselves acknowledge that their infantry troops are unable to wage any war.”

PA Threatens to Halt Cooperation with Israel
The PLO Central Council (PCC) announced this week that it is preparing to discuss a suspension of all relations, including security coordination with Israel, at its upcoming meetings on 15 May, which will follow a series of consultative meetings between PA President Mahmoud Abbas and leaders from European and Moslem countries in the coming weeks. The announcement was one of many made in recent days ahead of the expected rollout of US President Donald Trump’s so-called “deal of the century” later this summer.

During the meetings, Abbas is expected to ask for support for his refusal to accept the plan, which neither he nor any other PA official has yet seen.

In related news, Israeli police and security units have stepped up operations in the West Bank in recent days, arresting several suspects and rolling up an illegal weapons manufacturing operation in the village of Jaba overnight Monday.

Today's Media is the Resurection Sunday Sunrise Service message from Christchurch, Jerusalem

US Moving to Aggressively Confront Iran

US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook gave an interview with Saudi Arabia’s Al Arabiya English network on Monday, saying among other things that the US is seeking to come to a new agreement with Iran regarding its renegade nuclear program, ballistic missiles, support for regional terrorism and its detention of foreign nationals. He also explained the meaning of a decision to end the program of waivers for some governments which allowed them to avoid sanctions on oil imports from the Islamic Republic, saying that from now on countries “can either work with the United States, or you can work with Iran, but you can’t do both.”

“So, there’s a convergence of interest, especially with Arab nations, Israel, the United States, many of our European allies,” he added. “We want a more peaceful Iran, and that’s up to Iran. They can either start behaving more peacefully or they can watch their economy crumble.” He also said the new sanctions are designed to increase pressure on the Iranian-backed Lebanese Shi’ite terror militia Hezbollah, which he said receives the overwhelming majority of its funding from Teheran.

The new sanctions have been dismissed by Iranian officials as “irrelevant” despite the visible damage they’re already doing to Iran’s fragile economy and they’ve also been criticized by some US allies, including Turkey, which is growing increasingly distant from Washington on a variety of issues.

Here is a video about relations between the US and Turkey



Israeli officials, on the other hand, were among the first to congratulate and praise the Trump Administration for its decision to end the waiver program for China, India, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, Italy and Greece, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issuing a statement saying “We stand by the determination of the United States against Iranian aggression and this is the right way to stop it. This is the way to confront Iranian aggression, this is the way to prevent it.”

Jerusalem Observes Passover, Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday

Several thousand Christians, mostly Arab Catholics and Greek Orthodox but also tourists from around the world and a variety of denominations, marched through the Old City to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre on Sunday to mark Resurrection Sunday, while Israeli Jews were in the midst of the Passover Week holiday. On Monday, an estimated 100,000 Jewish worshippers braved the unseasonably cold and wet weather to crowd into the Western Wall plaza for the Priestly Blessing prayer service.
The holiday weekend was also marked by unexpected heavy rains, hail and snow on Mount Hermon. Meteorologists reported that Israel has had the most severe winter-style weather in many years, with the Sea of Galilee rising another 1.5 cm on Saturday, bringing the level to 211.47 meters below Sea Level. 

Israel Offers Assistance to Sri Lanka
Israeli officials were among the first to offer assistance to Sri Lanka following the terrorist bombings of two churches packed with Easter worshippers and several Colombo-area hotels on Sunday. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed “deep shock” at the attacks and offered to help the authorities in Sri Lanka, adding “The entire world must unite in the struggle against the plague of terrorism.”

Iranian IRGC Replaces Commander
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) appointed a new commander on Sunday, replacing Major-General Mohammed Ali Jafari with General Hossein Salami, long known for his fiery speeches condemning Israel, the US and Europe and boasting of Iran’s ability to destroy its enemies whenever it sees fit to do so. In related news, internet giant Google announced over the weekend that it is blocking accounts linked to Iran’s Spanish-language “news” outlet Hispan TV which recently posted a story accusing Israel of performing medical experiments on Palestinian security prisoners.
 
UNDOF Commander Dies Unexpectedly in Israel
Maj.-Gen. Francis Vib-Sanziri, the Ghananian-born commander of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force in the Golan Heights (UNDOF), died unexpectedly of an apparent heart attack on Friday while on a visit to the Israeli Red Sea resort city of Eilat. The Israeli military issued a statement saying that “IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi, IDF officers, and soldiers are deeply saddened by the sudden loss of the UNDOF head Major General Francis Vib-Sanziri. His hard work and unwavering commitment to regional stability were truly appreciated. He will be sorely missed.”

ICEJ Aid- Comforting the Nation of Israel
ICEJ Aid responds to pressing needs in every sector of society by supporting a variety of humanitarian programs. Today's overwhelming social needs give us an opportunity to comfort and bless the people of Israel in the name of Christians around the world, as an act of reconciliation and love. Join us in making a difference in Israel, today.
 
Today's video shows how Israel is celebrating Earth Day

Israel Prepares for Passover and Good Friday

Israelis on Thursday were making last-minute preparations to celebrate the Biblical Feast of Pesach (Passover) which begins on Friday evening with the traditional Seder meal and continues for a week during which only unleavened bread (matza) is eaten. Israel’s Christian communities were also preparing to mark “Good Friday” the traditional day on which Jesus was crucified, followed by “Resurrection Sunday” to commemorate His rising from the dead.

Today's Videos give a look at the Biblical Festival of Passover in Israel





Netanyahu Formally Invited to Form Government
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin issued the formal invitation to incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to form a governing coalition for the 21st Knesset at a ceremony at the President’s residence Wednesday evening, starting a process of negotiations which has a time limit of six weeks. “There is no bigger honor in a democracy,” Netanyahu said. “I am just as excited as the first time, if not more.” Rivlin said he hopes Netanyahu will form a “large and stable government that will reflect the will of the nation as much as possible.”

Also on Wednesday, TIME magazine published an article naming Netanyahu as one of the world’s 100 most influential people.

Israeli Air Force Practicing Missile Defence
Israel’s Defence Forces (IDF) released a statement on Wednesday declaring that the Air Force had sucesfully carried out a series of tests of the air defense systems, which had included a large number of interceptions of live rockets fired at test ranges in the Negev. “Nowhere else in the world do you fire so many live missiles in one night during a drill,” the senior officer said. “We are challenging ourselves. Our enemy is learning, and is definitely getting better and is getting more challenging… but so are we.”

Iranian President Attempts to Reassure Regional Neighbors
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced Thursday that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, recently designated as a terrorist organization by the US State Department, will never be used against Iran’s Sunni neighbours but only against "Zionists" and "American imperialists" insisting that "I want to tell the regional countries that the armed forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran are not against you and your national interests. They stand against invaders." Initial reactions from regional governments indicated they weren’t taking Rouhani’s words very seriously.

Israel Blesses the World
Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported on Wednesday that a 3D printing facility utilizing Israeli technology has been built in the West African country of Cameroon, with the assistance of the Israel-based company SELA Educational Initiatives Limited. The new facility was built at the Polytechnic National Advanced School of Engineering in Cameroon’s capital Yaoundé, and is the first of it’s kind on the African continent. Cameroon's Education Minister Jacques Fame Ndongo thanked Israel and praised "the product of its ingenuity known since ancient times."

Here is a video about the wine industry in Israel

IDF Requests NIS 10 Billion Budget Supplement

The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) submitted a request to the government for a NIS 10 billion budget supplement this week, according to Army Radio. Reasons for the request included unexpected costs from what is called the “war-between-wars” referring to air-strikes on Iranian targets in Syria and a variety of covert operations designed to prevent full-blown conflicts, as well as non-routine security-related expenses such as confronting rioters along the Gaza border. Other reasons cited was the need to beef up the IDF’s Order of Battle to counter increasingly sophisticated weapons and equipment provided to regional adversaries by Russia.

In related news, US Envoy for Middle East negotiations Jason Greenblatt posted a Tweet Tuesday including a map of Israel which shows the Golan Heights as an integral part of Israeli territory, making the first time an official US document of any kind has included such a map. “Welcome to the newest addition of our international maps system,” wrote Greenblatt.

Here is a video giving some analysis of recent developments between Israel and Syria



Honey Production Bounces Back Following Wet Winter
The Council of Production and Marketing of Honey in Israel published a report this week including statistics which paint a hopeful picture for production of the sweet substance in the coming year due to unusually large volumes of rain this past winter, leading to a bumper crop of pollen-producing flowers which the bees who produce honey need. "Last year, the production of honey was about 3,000 tons, and this year we expect a 25% increase in output, an additional 800 tons of honey. For the last five years, there has been never been such an increase in honey production," said Zeev Meidan, the director general of the council.

Gal Gadot Spending Passover in Israel
Israeli-born acrtress Gal Gadot, best known for portraying the superhero “Wonder Woman” landed in her homeland Monday with her husband and children to spend the Passover holiday with her extended family. There are also rumors she will be doing some work to prepare for the upcoming Eurovision song contest in Tel Aviv.

Joint Venture Announced Between Israel and Finland
The movement to Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) Israel suffered another defeat on Tuesday when a joint venture was announced between Israeli and Finnish companies working in the area of digital health management. The announcement was made by the Israel Innovation Authority (IIA) and the Israel-Europe Research & Innovation Directorate (ISERD). "We are thrilled to provide this bridge between the pioneering innovation ecosystems of Israel and Finland in a field that impacts us all: digital health," said Aharon Aharon, CEO of the Israel Innovation Authority.

Finnish Ambassador-designate to Israel Kirsikka Lehto-Asikainen said: "It is an important and exciting leap forward for the cooperation between Finland and Israel as leading innovative countries. We are truly happy to be part of that partnership and will continue promoting similar initiatives in the future – we can certainly see a great potential for that."

Today's Video gives a look at the Biblical Festival of Passover in Israel

Labor Party Reportedly Having Robust Internal Discussions

Labor leader Avi Gabbay convened the party’s executive committee at the party’s Tel Aviv headquarters on Wednesday. Conflicting reports in recent days regarding the future of the Party, which once dominated Israel but fell to just five seats in the most recent elections, have included plans to sack Gabbay. But he is also reported to be planning on holding on to his job as long as possible.

“Avi Gabbay will not go until he completes the destruction of the Labor Party,” outgoing MK Eitan Cabel said.

In other political news, Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit denied media reports which surfaced this week that he and police officials have moved closer to recommending that incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Case 3000, the so-called “Submarine Affair” surrounding possible improprieties in the purchase of German-built submarines for the Israeli Navy.

Here is a video giving some analysis of the recent elections in Israel

Netanyahu Receives Majority Recommendation to Form Next Gov’t

Incumbent Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received a recommendation to form the next governing coalition from a majority of elected MKs in a series of meetings Monday and Tuesday with President Reuven Rivlin. Delegations from six of the parties which crossed the electoral threshold to enter the 21st Knesset visited the official residence of the President on Monday and the other six had their meetings Tuesday. The predominantly Arab Hadash-Ta’al faction used its time during their meeting with Rivlin on Monday to announce that they are not making a recommendation and also aired a long list of grievances including the lack of funding for schools and other infrastructure in Arab villages.

Massive New Natural Gas Discovery Off Israeli Coast
Greek energy producer Energean announced on Monday that it has found yet another large reserve of natural gas in the Karish North exploration field in the seabed off Israel’s coast, with preliminary estimates that it contains between 28 to 42 billion cubic meters (bcm). “I congratulate Energean on the large amount of natural gas that has appeared in Karish North,” said Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz. “This is a prelude, which I am sure will herald further discoveries in the future. If you will it, it is no dream, and Israel will become a regional energy power.”

Schoolchildren Find Rare Byzantine Coin in the Galilee
The Israel Antiquities Authority announced on Monday that they have determined that a gold coin found by a group of ninth-graders on a school trip to Nahal Zippori in the Galilee in February is a 1,600-year-old relic of the Byzantine Empire. "This type of coin is known as a solidus, a gold coin minted in Constantinople, today's Istanbul, by Theodosius II, around 423-420 CE,” said Gabi Bichovsky, a coin expert at the Antiquities Authority. “This is the first time a coin of this kind has been discovered in the Land of Israel."

British COS In Israel for Meetings with IDF Chiefs
The movement to Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) Israel and isolate it diplomatically suffered another defeat recently when British Armed Forces Chief of the Defense Staff Gen. Sir Nick Carter arrived in the Jewish State for a series of meeting with colleagues from the IDF. In related news, US Coordinator for Counterrorism Nathan Sales was scheduled to arrive in Israel Tuesday, along with officials from various law enforcement agencies, for the annual meeting of the US-Israel Joint Counterterrorism Group.

TAU Researchers Make Dramatic Medical Breakthrough
A team of medical researchers from Tel Aviv University made the dramatic announcement Monday that they had successfully utilized 3-D printing technology to construct a human heart out of biological material provided by a patient in need of a transplant. “This is the first time anyone anywhere has successfully engineered and printed an entire heart replete with cells, blood vessels, ventricles and chambers,” said Prof. Tal Dvir of TAU’s School of Molecular Cell Biology and Biotechnology. The new technique has the potential to massively simplify medical treatments for countless patients worldwide, saving lives and money.

“This heart is made from human cells and patient-specific biological materials. In our process, these materials serve as the bio-inks, substances made of sugars and proteins that can be used for 3-D printing of complex tissue models,” Dvir explained. “People have managed to 3D-print the structure of a heart in the past, but not with cells or with blood vessels. Our results demonstrate the potential of our approach for engineering personalized tissue and organ replacement in the future.”

Here is a video about the new procedure



Here is another video about other ways Israel is blessing the world


Iranian Petrochemical Exports Drop Amidst Sanctions

Reports over the weekend indicated that sanctions imposed on Iran to deter it from pursuing its renegade nuclear program are having a notable effect on the Islamic Republic’s ability to export petrochemical products, one of the regime’s main sources of revenue. Official statistics released by the National Iranian Petrochemical Company indicates that exports decreased by over 2 million tons in fiscal year 2018, resulting in a drop in state revenues of $10.645 billion. Also over the weekend, officials announced that the death toll from floods which have effected 26 of Iran’s 31 provinces has reached 76, with many more injured and approximately $2.6 billion in damage to roads, bridges, buildings and other infrastructure.

The damage has been so bad that reports indicate large numbers of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and Shi’ite militias from Iraq and other countries which the Guards had organized to fight in Iraq and Syria have instead been deployed inside Iran to help the regime manage the effects of the flooding.

Here are some videos which give a closer look at what’s going on in Iran and its effects on the wider Middle East region





Israel Allegedly Destroys Iranian Missile Factory in Syria

Satellite images were released by a private Israeli security firm on Sunday showing the apparent destruction of a facility believed to be an Iranian surface-to-surface missile factory in Syria’s Masyaf District, while Israeli Defence officials were declining to respond to reports that Israeli aircraft hit the site Saturday evening. However, incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke at an event Sunday evening in which he said that the Jewish State would “continue to act” on the northern border to guarantee security for Israel and its citizens.

“When Israel’s security is at stake, we are operating at full force, and whoever puts us at risk is in a much greater danger,” he declared. “We will continue to act on all fronts, including on the northern front, because we are not prepared to allow someone to establish power and endanger the State of Israel. Power is the guarantee of our existence, and it is the essential and fundamental condition for achieving peace with our neighbours.”

Here is a video which give a closer look at Iran's malign activities in the wider Middle East



Israel blesses the world
Israel sent a team to assist the Ethiopian government fight a large wildfire in the Simien Mountains National Park in Gondor Province over the weekend. Also over the weekend, the Swedish Transport Administration announced that it has selected wireless vehicle charging technology developed by Israel-based Electreon Wireless as part of a project to build the world’s first dynamic electric road system connecting Visby Airport to the city of Visby on the Baltic Sea island of Gotland.

“We are excited that we have been selected to take part in the Swedish government’s ambitious program to examine and implement electric road technology as a solution to electrify heavy trucks on highways,” said Electreon CEO Oren Ezer. “The selection of Electreon by the Swedish government after careful filtration testifies to the recognition of the potential of the technology to bring the global electrification revolution to the next critical stage of full implementation.”

Collaboration Launched Between MIT and Israeli Universities
The movement to Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) Israel suffered another defeat over the weekend when the US-based Aerospace industrial conglomerate Lockheed Martin and MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTI) announced on Sunday that they are jointly launching the MIT-Lockheed Martin Seed Fund to promote collaborative projects between the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Israeli institutions of higher learning and research.

IDF Preparing for Passover
The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) is gearing up for Passover, which begins on Friday evening, issuing a statement over the weekend that it has purchased and is preparing 12,000 kg. of various kinds of kosher flour, 2,400 kg. of matza flour, 13,000 kg. of fish,  50,000 kg. of beef, 45,000 kg. of turkey, and 130,000 kg. of chicken to feed its troops over the week-long holiday. Additionally, 65,000 kg. of matzah, 230,000 kosher-for-Passover rolls, and 13,000 charoset units have been purchased, along with various other treats.

Israeli Space Program Bouncing Back After Lunar Crash
Following last Thursday evenings unsuccessful attempt to land the SpaceIL Beresheet spacecraft on the Moon, Morris Kahn, the primary sponsor of the project, announced on Saturday evening that there will be another attempt. "We are going to build a new [spacecraft], we're going to put it on the moon, and we are going to complete the mission," he said. The team reportedly began work on “Beresheet 2.0” Sunday morning.

Today’s video shows some of the defenders of Israel in action

 

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