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Monday, Mar. 02 '15, Adar 11, 5775



HEADLINES:
1. THREE ISRAELIS INDICTED FOR HELPING HAMAS BUILD TERROR TUNNELS
2. BENNETT: IRAN DEAL WILL GO DOWN IN INFAMY 100 YEARS FROM NOW
3. OBAMA OFFICIAL: IAF SHOOT-DOWN THREAT STORY 'TOTALLY FALSE'
4. GANTZ: WE WERE NEVER ORDERED TO STRIKE IRAN
5. GALLUP POLL: AMERICANS' SUPPORT FOR NETANYAHU SOARING
6. WHITE HOUSE RELEASES LIST OF WHAT OBAMA'S DONE FOR ISRAEL
7. RABBI BOTEACH: JEWS MUST RISE AS A LION
8. WATCH: SON OF HAMAS FOUNDER ADDRESSES AIPAC POLICY CONFERENCE


1. THREE ISRAELIS INDICTED FOR HELPING HAMAS BUILD TERROR TUNNELS
by Shlomo Pitrikovsky, Cynthia Blank


The State Attorney's Office filed indictments Monday, as well as remand requests, against three Israeli businessmen accused of aiding in Hamas' quest to build terror tunnels into israel. 

The defendants have been named as Micha Peretz, a resident of a community in the Eshkol Regional Council; the other two defendants, Yehoram Alon and Naji Zoarov, reside in the center of the country. 

In addition to being charged with the sale and transfer of goods which have dual use, and are prohibited from entering Gaza, the three are also accused of aggravated fraud, money laundering, and various tax offenses. 

The defendants have also been indicted on various security offenses such as aiding the enemy during war and the prohibition against financing terror. 

The smuggling of the goods into Gaza was performed through the Kerem Shalom border crossing, which continued to work regularly even during last summer's Operation Protective Edge. 

Through Palestinian merchants entering and exiting the crossing, and with the authority of Hamas, an extensive amount of raw materials and resources were brought into Gaza. 

The materials were made by Israeli suppliers, foreign suppliers, or those from Palestinian Authority controlled areas in Judea and Samaria. 

Stored in Israel, and then transferred to Gaza, the materials were under the management of Israeli officials, who should have known that materials transferred into Gaza require special permission, or who knew and appreciated they were designated for terrorist entities. 

In this manner, materials purchased in Israel were smuggled into Gaza systematically and over time. These materials then made their way into the ranks of Hamas' military for use in building terror tunnels and manufacturing weapons. 

Southern District Police Commander, Major General Yoram Halevy, noted the seriousness of the affair, adding that there is a "widespread and alarming phenomenon of Israeli business owners seriously infringing Israel's security in exchange for money."

"The cooperation and integration of all of the security branches - Israel Police, Shin Bet, the IDF, the Defense Ministry, and the Tax Authority - is the right way to deal with this dangerous phenomenon," he added. 



2. BENNETT: IRAN DEAL WILL GO DOWN IN INFAMY 100 YEARS FROM NOW
by Yoni Kempinski and Ari Soffer

[youtube:2002213]

Jewish Home party leader and Economy Minister Naftali Bennett has warned that world powers were on the verge of a deal with Iran that "will be remembered one hundred years from now" - for all the wrong reasons; and Israel, he pledged, would do everything in its power to stop that from happening.

"We're looking at a very bad deal indeed. A disastrous deal that we have to do everything in our power to prevent," Bennett told Arutz Sheva after addressing the AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington Monday.

Despite heading a grueling election campaign, Bennett chose to join Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in the US, in order to advocate Israel's stance on solving the Iranian nuclear crisis to American audiences.

Under the deal currently on the table between Iran and the so-called P5+1 powers, "Iran will legally be able to acquire a nuclear weapon," Bennett warned.

"It gets a definitive path to the weapon."

Bennett noted that not only was Iran's nuclear program clearly aimed at developing nuclear weapons, but that Tehran has also been actively developing long-range missiles to target western countries at the very same time as it is engaged in negotiations with those same countries.

As such, he insisted, "this deal risks America's interests as well as Israel's."

"Iran right now is developing Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles. They don't need them to hit Israel - their existing missiles do that job," he explained.

"The reason they're developing these Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles is to hit New York, London and Paris, and the free world has to do everything now to prevent them from acquiring (nuclear weapons)," he urged.

The solution is not to let up on the sanctions regime currently imposed on Iran, Bennett continued, while hinting that Israel would do whatever it takes to prevent Tehran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

To that end, the Minister issued a stark warning to world leaders.

"If this deal is signed it will go down in infamy," Bennett warned.

"It's one of those events that will be remembered one hundred years from now: How could the world knowingly go down a path that legalizes Iranian uranium enrichment? It just doesnt make sense - and we have to do everything in our power to stop it."

Echoing sentiments aired by members of Congress supportive of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's upcoming speech before Congress, Bennett dismissed talk of lasting damage to Israel's relationship with the US over related tension with the White House.

"It's no secret that relations are tense, but our friendship with America goes way deeper than the two leaders," he assured.

"The majpority of Americans support Israel; they understand that Israel is a beacon of freedom, of democracy, in the toughestr area in the world, and I think that this bond is unshakable."

For the full interview, see the video above.


3. OBAMA OFFICIAL: IAF SHOOT-DOWN THREAT STORY 'TOTALLY FALSE'
by Mark Langfan

In a statement to The Washington Times early Sunday evening, a senior Obama administration official said that a Kuwaiti report, cited by Arutz Sheva, that President Obama threatened to shoot down a possible IAF attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities are "totally false."


On Sunday, Arutz Sheva quoted the Bethlehem-based Palestinian news service Ma’an, which quoted a Kuwaiti newspaper – Al-Jarida – as saying that President Obama threatened, last year, to use the US military to shoot down Israeli fighter jets if they attempted to destroy Iranian nuclear facilities.
The Obama Administration, according to the Washington Times, "denounced" the Al-Jarida story later Sunday as "flatly untrue."
Obama’s alleged threat reportedly deterred Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu from dispatching warplanes into Iranian airspace, after Israel discovered that the US had entered into secret talks with Tehran and that the two countries had signed an agreement, according to the Kuwaiti paper.
Last August, Obama Administration officials, in response to a Wall Street Journal report that the White House was holding up the sale of Hellfire air-to-surface missiles to Israel, claimed that the White House’s July 2014 order to halt the Pentagon’s delivery of Hellfire missiles were "a mischaracterization of inter-agency procedure, and of a policy unchanged."


4. GANTZ: WE WERE NEVER ORDERED TO STRIKE IRAN
by Gil Ronen

Newly retired chief of staff Lt.-Gen. (res.) Benny Gantz has hinted to Channel 2 that he opposed an Israeli strike on Iran, and that his objections influenced the political echelon to rethink plans to deal a military blow to the Islamic country's nuclear weapons program.
Investigative journalist Ilana Dayan asked Gantz: "Were there junctions at which you stood in recent years, [about] which you can say – 'had I not been there, it would have turned out differently?"
"I think so," he answered.
Dayan asked: "Can an Israeli prime minister launch a strike in Iran even if his chief of staff opposes it?"
"Yes," he answered.

The dialogue proceeded:
Dayan: "Even if you thought it is dangerous to Israel?"
Gantz: "If I go into the room and they hear it in the sharpest, clearest, most meaningful way."

Dayan: "Did they hear it in the sharpest, clearest, most meaningful way?"
Gantz: "What do you mean? Ask them. This thing never reached the stage of 'take off and fly'. It never reached there."
Dayan: "Because of what they heard from you, among other things?"
Gantz: "I want to believe and think that they listened and took what I said into consideration."
Israeli media has reported that in 2012, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and then-Defense Minister Ehud Barak were about to order a strike on Iran. The plan was ditched in the face of strong opposition by then-Mossad Head Meir Dagan and the-Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi.
Reportedly, at one point, Netanyahu and Barak ordered the military placed on war footing, but stpped short of issuing an actual order to launch the strike.


5. GALLUP POLL: AMERICANS' SUPPORT FOR NETANYAHU SOARING
by Hillel Fendel

A Gallup poll has found that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's "favorable" rating among Americans has risen 10 points in the past three years. The poll was taken on Feb. 8-11, just as the controversy over Netanyahu's speech in Congress was heating up.

The poll shows that 45% of the public see Netanyahu favorably, a statistical tie with his highest Gallup rating, back in 1998. Just over half that amount, 24%, view him unfavorably. Approval for him among Republicans, and in general, improved by 10 percentage points since 2012.

While Netanyahu's favorable score has varied slightly over the years, his unfavorable score has been relatively stable, ranging from 20% to 28%.

A Gallup.com article summarizes: "Even if Netanyahu has seen his relationship with the White House deteriorate [in the wake of the speech controversy], it appears to have had no impact on his standing with the American people." However, there are sharp differences between the two parties. While 60% of Republicans view the prime minister with favor, compared to 18% who feel the opposite, the Democrats are split down the middle, 31-31. Independents' favorable ratings of Netanyahu are twice as high as their unfavorable ratings, and are 13 points higher than three years ago.

Another Gallup finding from the same poll shows that Americans in all age groups have grown more partial to Israel in the Israel-Arab conflict over the past 15 years, but those aged 50 and older have grown particularly likely to sympathize with the Jewish state. Support for Israel among Americans aged 18-29 has grown only from 50% to 56%, while support among the over-50 group has soared from some 50% to nearly 70%.


6. WHITE HOUSE RELEASES LIST OF WHAT OBAMA'S DONE FOR ISRAEL
by Cynthia Blank


After weeks of tension between the United States and Israel over Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's upcoming address to Congress, the White House released a guide to the US-Israel relationship on Sunday. 

The document, titled "5 Things You Need to Know About the US-Israel Relationship Under President Obama," was posted to the National Security Council's website by spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan. 

The White House, whose initial reaction to Netanyahu's speech was frosty, before becoming downright hostile, may be looking to smooth things over, or more likely refute claims of an anti-Israel bias. 

The first fact the list states is that "President Obama has strengthened Israel's defense in concrete and unprecedented ways," outlining more specifically the foreign military financing Israel has received from the US as well as joint military exercises between the two countries.

Next, the document asserts that under Obama "the US has led global efforts to defend Israel's legitimacy on the world stage."

According to Meehan, such efforts include opposing 18 resolutions in the United Nations General Assembly "that were biased against Israel" as well voting against five anti-Israel measure in the UN's Human Rights Council. 

The list also touts Obama for supporting "Israel in its quest for peace with its neighbors" noting his belief in a two-state solution and the failed peace negotiations under the auspices of Secretary of State John Kerry. 

Finally, the document refers to the flourishing economic relationship between the US and Israel, as well as Obama's investment of millions of dollars to help Israeli immigrants. 
The list, posted just two days before Prime Minister Netanyahu is scheduled to speak before a joint session of Congress, may not have much of an effect as more and more Jewish organizations express support for the speech. 


7. RABBI BOTEACH: JEWS MUST RISE AS A LION
by Uzi Baruch, Washington

[youtube:2002220]

In an exclusive Arutz Sheva interview, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach defended the New York Times advertisement that he put out, in which he accused US National Security Advisor Susan Rice of turning a blind eye to genocide, and highlighting Rice's politicization of the slaughter in Rwanda.
"Our principles are what they are," he declared, noting that he has traveled to Rwanda three times to visit the site of the terrible slaughter, and exhibiting his personal knowledge of the details of the massacre there.
Rabbi Boteach said that he has seen "too many Jews dying" – whether it is in Copenhagen, Brussels, Jerusalem or Kansas City. The Jewish nation "must rise as a lion to fight back," he said, against enemies who cannot be changed into friends through dialogue.
Iran, he noted, needs a nuclear program "like I need a ham sandwich."
Appearing in Saturday's New York Times, the controversial ad says: "Susan Rice has a blind spot: Genocide." It also features skulls in the background. 

The ad appears to be a reaction to comments Rice made on a recent interview with Charlie Rose, where she argued Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's speech before Congress could be disastrous to US-Israel relations. 

After Shabbat ended, Jewish groups were quick to denounce the ad. The American Jewish Committee called it "revolting," while the Anti-Defamation League labeled the ad "spurious and perverse."

Other organizations condemning the ad were the Orthodox Union, J Street, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, and the Rabbinical Assembly of the Conservative movement. 


8. WATCH: SON OF HAMAS FOUNDER ADDRESSES AIPAC POLICY CONFERENCE
by Arutz Sheva Staff

[youtube:2002212]

Among the prominent speakers at the opening day of AIPAC's 2015 Policy Conference in Washington Monday was Mosab Hassan Yousef, son of one of the founders of the Hamas terrorist group whose work as a spy for Israel's intelligence agency earned him the codename "Green Prince."

Speaking to veteran Israeli journalist Avi Issacharov, Yousef explained his journey from a committed Islamist extremist to an equally committed supporter of Israel and convert to Christianity.

"I started to realize that we are living a lie, and people are dying because of this lie," he said in a brief introductory video to his speech.





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