What exactly is the Israeli government's official position regarding the "two state solution," which posits creating a state for the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the Biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria?
Answers to the question have been murky at best, with numerous statements by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu giving conflicting sentiments on the issue. In his infamous 2009 Bar Ilan speech he committed to the two state solution.
And this Wednesday in a meeting with the EU's foreign policy chief Federica Moghreini, Netanyahu said, "I don’t support a one state solution – I don't believe that’s a solution at all. I support the vision of two states for two peoples – a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes the Jewish state."
But just before elections on March 16, Netanyahu said, "I think that anyone who is going to establish a Palestinian state and open up territory is giving radical Islam a space to attack the State of Israel. The Left...buries its head in the sand time and time again. We are realistic."
And yet Netanyahu quickly flip-flopped after elections, saying "I don't want a one-state solution. I want a sustainable, peaceful two-state solution. I haven't changed my policy."
Which is it?
In order to try and make sense of the official policy given the apparently contradictory statements, Arutz Sheva on Thursday morning contacted the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) to try and probe the official policy.
In the query, the PMO was asked if a change has occurred in the Israeli position regarding the two state solution; what the official Israeli policy is on the issue given Netanyahu's comments in March; and whether Netanyahu will attempt to restart peace talks with the PA despite its unilateral moves to sue Israel at the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Despite repeated attempts, PMO has yet to respond to Arutz Sheva's requests to receive an answer to the questions. The inability to provide an answer is all the more surprising given the fact that one would expect official policy to be clear on such a central issue guiding national policy.
Several Likud ministers and deputy ministers considered to be knowledgeable of Netanyahu's policy similarly refused to answer Arutz Sheva's queries on the subject.
However, the Likud spokesperson department was alone in quickly responding to the questions on Thursday, stating "Prime Minister and Likud chairperson Binyamin Netanyahu did not change his policy on the issue. What he said to the (European) Union commissioner expresses his consistent policy on the topic."
Arutz Sheva also contacted Likud's coalition partner Jewish Home, which responded that it is "the only party in the Knesset which opposes the foundation of Palestine, both before and after the elections. 'The land of Israel belongs to the nation of Israel' isn't a slogan, it's our faith and we'll struggle for it."
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) told Israeli envoys on Thursday to reference the Torah in presenting the historical rights of the Jewish people to the entire land of Israel while representing the state.
In a video seen by AFP on Friday, Hotovely is seen addressing the foreign ministry staff in Jerusalem on Thursday. The speech reportedly was beamed to 106 Israeli missions overseas.
"It is important to say that this land is ours, all of it is ours. We didn't come here to apologize for this," she said.
Hotovely has supported Jewish sovereignty in the Biblical heartland of the ancient Jewish state located in Judea and Samaria.
"The international community deals with considerations of morality and justice. Facing this, we have to return to the basic truth of our right to this land," Hotovely emphasized.
Hotovely also quoted the commentary of the famous Jewish scholar Rashi on the book of Genesis, in which he wrote that the Torah begins with describing the creation of the world so that if the nations of the world accuse the Jews of stealing the land of Israel, they can respond that the entire world belongs to G-d and He chose to give Israel to them.
A participant at the event told AFP that a few of the diplomats were surprised to hear Hotovely referencing the Torah to support Israel's right to the land, evidently indicating how such arguments have not been commonplace in the foreign ministry.
Iran has threatened Israel once again on Friday - this time, due an Iranian news agency's mistranslation of a comment by Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon (Likud).
Semi-official Iranian news agency Fars claimed Ya'alon threatened civilians in Lebanon outright during a series of comments over Israel's security situation earlier this month, wherein the minister discussed the possibility of civilian casualties being likely during the next war with Iran's terror proxy Hezbollah.
As a result, Iran scrambled to threaten Israel with retaliation.
“Iran, with the help of Hezbollah and its friends, is capable of destroying Tel Aviv and Haifa in case of military aggression on the part of the Zionists,” General Yahya Rahim Safavi, military adviser to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, stated on state television. He was quoted by Al-Arabiya.
“I don’t think the Zionists would be so unintelligent as to create a military problem with Iran,” the general said. “They know the strength of Iran and Hezbollah.”
Fars quoted Ya'alon as saying, "we are going to hurt Lebanese civilians to include kids of the family [sic] ... we are going to do it in any round of hostilities in the future."
However, what he actually stated is that Hezbollah has hidden more than 100,000 rockets among its civilian population, and that Israel may "have" to hit civilians in order to destroy the arsenal.
"If we don’t intercept the rocket-launchers in advance, civilians will be hurt, if not killed," he said, according to the Daily Mail. "If we hit the launchers, it will hurt or kill Lebanese civilians."
The IDF and local Regional Councils are already preparing residents of the Gaza Belt area for another war, and have prepared an evacuation plan following the mass exodus from the area during Operation Protective Edge, according to a report released Friday.
The Gaza Belt was hit hardest by Hamas rocket and mortar fire, sparking thousands to flee their homes. At the height of the war, up to 80% of Gaza Belt community families had fled inland due to the ongoing barrage, sparking concerns over the region's future.
To solve this, the IDF has prepared an evacuation plan, code-named as "Safe Distance," according to Maariv. The plan covers all communities within 7 km (4.3 miles) of the Gaza border.
The plan includes evacuating communities to areas agreed upon in advance, which means that each locality would know in advance where to go and who will be hosting them. Preparatory communication between communities will take place after the distribution of evacuation maps, which are currently underway.
The IDF's upper military echelon will be tasked with announcing the implementation of "Safe Distance" in the event of an emergency.
The purpose of the program is to prevent uncertainty about the date of commencement of the evacuation, as well as how that evacuation is portrayed in the media.
The program will save the Israeli public from photo after photo of residents fleeing their homes to live in tent cities in the North or South, military officials added, and provide the security system and the cabinet stamina for a longer conflict without casualties on the home front.
There is a core program of the division of responsibility between the IDF, the local authority and the National Emergency Authority (NEA). The army will be responsible for the actual evacuation of residents to safely remove them from danger zone. The goal is to prevent the looting of houses and report to residents whose homes were damaged from shelling in real-time.
The local authority will be responsible for tracking who to contact. If a family refuses to leave, the local Regional Council will be responsible for their welfare.
The NEA will be responsible for coordination between the authorities, funding and relationship with communities; the Israeli government is providing sole funding of the program.
The IDF has a new tool to prepare for the apparently inevitable next round of fighting against Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists in Gaza - a miniature training model precisely rendering the terrain of the terror stronghold.
The three dimensional model was recently built at the IDF Southern Command's training base, and exposes all of the topographical structure of Gaza, its cities and towns, as well as the security barrier and Jewish communities in the adjacent Gaza Belt region.
A wide variety of drills meant to prepare for various combat realities in the area will be made possible thanks to the model, which will give IDF trainees an in-depth level of knowledge regarding the lay of the land.
The model, which is 50 square meters in size, "creates training of a higher level than looking at a map or aerial photographs," said the base's commander, Lt. Col. Yaron Buskila.
"The installation allows officers to learn the scope of the land before arrival at the front and starting continuous security (activities)," said Buskila.
Soldiers will use the model to prepare for operations in Gaza, Buskila added, noting that "the model will help many officers and soldiers to familiarize with the Gaza Strip and the communities adjacent to it."
"The region is very crowded and complicated in terms of communities and buildings, both within the Strip and also in terms of the communities surrounding it. Thanks to this unique model we will be able to get a feel of the territory and give a wide picture of the front with ease," he concluded.
Tourism Minister Yariv Levin (Likud) responded sharply after US President Barack Obama continued his condemnation of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's pre-election comments, in which he said a Palestinian state would not be established on his watch and warned of massive Arab voter turnout.
Striking back at Obama's criticism of Netanyahu's remarks, Levin said, "we have much appreciation and respect for the president of the United States, but there's no place for statements which constitute interfering in the internal affairs of Israel."
The minister continued, "the time has come for leaders of the West to open their eyes and take care of the true problems threatening world peace, with radical Islam at the forefront, and stop the incessant preoccupation with the state of Israel, which is the only democracy in the region and is struggling practically alone for the future of the free world."
In Obama's statements, made in an interview with journalist Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic, he said that Netanyahu's warning that large Arab turnout might harm the Likud's chances of forming a nationalist government was "contrary to the very language of the Israeli Declaration of Independence."
Netanyahu's warning added that the Arab voters were being bused to polling stations by V15 and other foreign funded leftist NGOs, with accusations indicating that Obama's hand may have been partially behind the effort to oust Netanyahu.
Obama said that Netanyahu's statements regarding a Palestinian state and Arab voters have "foreign-policy consequences" regarding the US's support for Israel, even despite the fact that Netanyahu later apologized and distanced from both statements.
The Ministry of Health has issued a warning advisory on Friday, calling for anyone who visited between May 3-17 to Meron's Idra-Raba Cave and came into contact with a mixed-breed, brown and white dog of medium size to visit the Health Ministry offices in their area immediately.
Dr. Chaim Rothbart, who is based at the Ministry of Health in branch in Tzfat (Safed), told Arutz Sheva on Friday that the dog had rabies and may have come into contact with thousands of people.
He warned specifically that the dog was sighted at the hillulla bonfire for the Rashbi, Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, being held at that cave, which was mostly attended by students from the Kabbalah Center in Tel Aviv.
"I ask all who touched or may have touched the dog - we've released pictures of it - to go immediately to the Ministry of Healthy offices near their homes so doctors can determine whether to begin preventative treatment," he said.
"We will decide whether to give preventative care - this is a set of 4 to 5 shots over two weeks, which ensures that [an affected] person will not get sick," he added. "Whoever is sick with the disease has a high probability of dying from it. I ask people not to make their own judgments, but instead to come to us if there's any doubt, and we'll decide."
Dr. Rothbart concluded by warning that there is a rabies epidemic among wild animals in the Galilee at the moment, and to be careful not to touch unfamiliar animals.
When an Israeli journalist secretly filmed himself walking through Paris dressed as a religious Jew - and recorded the abuse he received at the hands of mostly Muslim residents - the video went viral as a shocking illustration of the levels of anti-Semitism faced by European Jews.
That expose inspired a similar project by a British Jewish journalist, who filmed himself and other subjects walking around several major European cities, in some cases also resulting in hostile responses including verbal abuse, threats and spitting.
But how would they fare in the capital of the Arab world's most populous country?
A group of Egyptian activists found that out while carrying out a social experiment of their own in Cairo, which involved donning a fake beard and peyot (sidelocks) and stereotypical Jewish garb, while wandering through the streets of the Egyptian capital.
The results, unsurprisingly, were fairly unpleasant to say the least.
Almost immediately upon walking outside, the "Jew" attracted wide-eyed stares from visibly shocked passersby.
But worse was to come. Upon stopping people to ask for directions, the activist was treated to nearly universally aggressive - in some cases violent - responses.
The video was first posted to an Egyptian social media site, and received mixed responses, with some commentators expressing sympathy for the anti-Semitism displayed but many decrying the "barbarism" and blaming "the mullahs" for "brainwashing" young Arabs.
Once home to a thriving Jewish community, Egypt today is home to just a handful of mainly elderly Jews - less than two dozen according to some estimates.
The country was home to around 80,000 Jews in 1948, but expelled most of them and seized their property as part of a wider campaign of ethnic-cleansing carried out by Arab states in "revenge" for the defeat of Arab armies by the nascent State of Israel in 1948.
Many Egyptian Jews were also murdered or executed by the government during anti-Semitic pogroms and purges.
Roughly one million Jews were expelled or driven from their homes due to violence and extreme persecution in Arab states in the decades following Israel's War of Independence.