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Another Late Winter Storm Soaks Israel

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6 Feb 2019 (All day)
Another Late Winter Storm Soaks Israel
After nearly two weeks of spring-like weather, winter returned to Israel with a vengeance overnight Tuesday and into Wednesday morning with low temperatures and rain. The Sea of Galilee (Lake Kinneret) rose noticeably while several smaller streams and tributaries throughout the country also saw their levels rise. Faith leaders in Israel were quick to offer thanks but also to implore supporters of Israel to continue praying for additional rainfall before the end of winter.

US President Trump Harshly Denounces Iran
Israelis found much to cheer about in US President Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech Tuesday evening, including a very harsh condemnation of Iran. “My administration has acted decisively to confront the world's leading state sponsor of terror: the radical regime in Iran,” Trump said. However, remarks a bit later in the speech hinting at further withdrawals of US ground forces from Syria and the wider Middle East region also prompted expressions of concern from Israeli defence and security circles.

Here is a video showing a segment of Trump’s speech in which he spoke about Iran



In related news, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh complained during an interview with a domestic media outlet Tuesday that "No European country is buying oil from Iran except Turkey,” despite public statements by the EU and certain European governments that they would not be complying with US sanctions on the Islamic Republic. Mentioning former clients in Italy and Greece he continued to complain that "We have called them many times, but they do not return our calls."

PA Vows to Continue Stipends to Families of Terrorists
The Palestinian Authority issued a statement on Tuesday that they will continue to pay stipends to the families of Palestinian terrorists killed or captured and imprisoned during attacks against Israelis despite a plan recently announced by Israel to withhold tax receipts and duties collected on the PA’s behalf if the practice continues. The PA added that it would “go to international courts and institutions and to take all legal and diplomatic measures” in order to dissuade Israel from following through with the plan.

“Any deduction from these revenues is nothing but a continuation of Israeli piracy against billions of dollars that Israel has stolen,” the PA cabinet said in a statement following its weekly meeting. “This is also a clear and blatant violation of Israeli obligations in accordance with signed agreements, especially the Paris Economic Protocol.”

Shalva Band Withdraws from Eurovision Competition
The Shalva Band, a musical group made up of young Israelis with physical disabilities, has announced that it is withdrawing from the competition to represent Israel at the upcoming Eurovision competition due to their refusal to violate the Sabbath. The international competition to be held in Tel Aviv this year, will include recordings and broadcasts on Friday evening and Saturday. Efforts to accommodate observant Jewish contestants have been made at the highest levels of the Israeli government but the international organizing committee has not agreed to these efforts.

Israel Keeping a Close Watch on Northern Border
The S-300 air defence systems sent to Syria by Russia are nearly operational according to ImageSat, a commercial operator of surveillance satellites. If the reports are confirmed, it could complicate Israeli efforts to strike Iranian and Hezbollah targets in Syria. In related news, the IDF’s Givati reconnaissance battalion held the latest in a series of exercises this week designed to improve readiness for war with Hezbollah on the northern border.

Maj. Alon Peiser, deputy commander of Givati’s Gadsar reconnaissance battalion, told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday that “In war, our troops will march toward the enemy and when they meet him, they will kill him. We will defeat the enemy in the minimum amount of time and with the minimum amount of collateral damage. I hope, for the sake of Israeli civilians, I hope there won’t be a war,” (but) “the Lebanese shouldn’t try us. But if they try something, they will pay a price. We are ready for war now, we were ready yesterday. We are prepared. You can count on us in the next war.”

Today's video shows a recent panel discussion on issues between Israel and Jewish communities in the US

 

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