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Sunday, Feb. 19 '17, כ"ג בשבט תשע"ז



HEADLINES:
1. NETANYAHU, TRUMP, AGREE TO CREATE JUDEA AND SAMARIA 'TEAM'
2. WATCH: RUSSIA MAY NOT BE AS STRONG AS YOU THINK
3. LAPID: STOP SUPPORTING THE EXTREME LEFT
4. 'BLIND SHEIKH' DIES IN US PRISON
5. NETANYAHU: ISRAEL'S ECONOMY IS GROWING
6. REFORM MOVEMENT DECLARES WAR ON DAVID FRIEDMAN
7. MEET THE NEW ITALIAN HAR HEVRON 'AMBASSADOR'
8. LIBERMAN: MY GOAL IS A PALESTINIAN STATE


1. NETANYAHU, TRUMP, AGREE TO CREATE JUDEA AND SAMARIA 'TEAM'
by Arutz Sheva Staff

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday morning at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting spoke about his visit to the US and his meetings with US President Donald Trump and US Vice President Mike Pence.

"On Friday I returned from a historic visit to Washington, from my meeting with US President Donald Trump," Netanyahu began. "The alliance between Israel and the US has always been steadfast but, I said, I told them there and also here in Jerusalem: This alliance has become even stronger. It has become stronger for two reasons.

"First of all, there is a personal connection of many years between President Trump and myself, and it is important. But it is even more important due to the second thing that has become stronger and this is the common view about the dangers and opportunities in the Middle East. The two of us see eye to eye on the main – and growing – threat from Iran and the need to stand against Iranian aggression in the various spheres.

"We also see the possibility of trying to provide a basis for the growing regional interests that are forming between Israel, the US and countries of the region both to rebuff Iran and to develop other opportunities and normalization. In the end we hope to achieve peace. This is a fundamental change and, I would say, has accompanied all of our discussions and has formed the infrastructure of all the agreements between us.

"We agreed to create joint teams to upgrade relations between Israel and the US in all of the main areas: Security, intelligence, cyber, technology, economics and many others. We also agreed to create a team in an area that we have not previously agreed on: I mean, of course, on settlement in Judea and Samaria. We will also discuss this.

"I also met with US Vice President Mike Pence, who is also a great friend of the State of Israel. I met for the first time with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and had a very good meeting. I also met with approximately 20 Senate and Congressional leaders, Republicans and Democrats alike, and again strengthened the bipartisan infrastructure of support for Israel, which, in the US, truly spans the entire country and population.

"I must point out that at the end of the meeting with the President, he shook my hand and defined relations between Israel and the US as 'a new day.' I must tell you that there is a new day here and it is a good day. There is also a new day here and there is no time for jet lag. After the Cabinet meeting I am leaving on an important visit to Singapore and Australia. I think that this is the first visit by a[n Israeli] prime minister to these important countries. We will strengthen security, economic and other ties with these countries," Netanyahu concluded.


2. WATCH: RUSSIA MAY NOT BE AS STRONG AS YOU THINK
by Arutz Sheva Staff

[twittervideo:2024791]


3. LAPID: STOP SUPPORTING THE EXTREME LEFT
by Hezki Baruch

Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid expressed surprised at Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel's meetings with leading figures in radical left anti-Zionist NGOs Breaking the Silence and B'tselem during Michel's recent visit to Israel.

In a letter to the Belgian ambassador, Lapid wrote, "My son serves in the army, he's in a tank unit. He's a good kid with strong morals - just like his friends and commanders. During the past few years, they've spent a good deal of time saving injured Syria children and bringing them to Israeli hospitals. They are patriots and they are law-abiding."

Lapid also called on the Belgian ambassador to stop Belgium's support for organizations which malign IDF soldiers.

"It's not a political issue, and it's not related to right or left. It's something much deeper and much more important. As the father of an IDF soldier, I will not allow anyone to spread lies about these amazing soldiers, or about any of our other brave fighters.

"So no, we don't need you to provide international support or funds to extreme leftist groups so that they can 'watch over' my son and his friends. They do very well on their own. They know that their duty as IDF soldiers is to work in accordance with international law and to protect those who are innocent. If you have extra money and you are really worried about human rights, you're welcome to give it to someone who really needs it - such as those suffering in the humanitarian catastrophe in Syria, or the millions of Syrian refugees."

Lapid also said there is a lot of potential for productive cooperation between Israel and Belgium, but that Belgium's support of radical leftists was not part of that and insulted IDF soldiers.

"Your decision to become friendly with Israel's extreme left is not just an issue of improper diplomacy, it's an embarrassment to anyone who serves in the IDF, his family, and his friends.

"My dear ambassador, your Prime Minister owes the nation of Israel an apology, and as his representative in Israel, you need to rethink your government's priorities. There is great potential for cooperation between Israel and Belgium, but it cannot happen if you are connected to extremist marginal groups who distort reality and work to delegitimize Israel."


4. 'BLIND SHEIKH' DIES IN US PRISON
by Chana Roberts

Omar Abdel-Rahman, known as the "Blind Sheikh," died of natural causes on Saturday in a federal prison in North Carolina.

Abdel-Rahman, 78, was born in Egypt and served more than 20 years in prison after being handed a life sentence for his participation in the planning of the 2002 World Trade Center bombing, which killed six people and injured more than 1,000 others.

At the time of his death, he had diabetes and coronary artery disease. The diabetes, which he had since early childhood, left him blind at the age of 10 months.At the age of 11, Abdel-Rahman knew the Quran by heart and was sent to an Islamist boarding school.

"Allah has taken the soul of Sheikh Omar," tweeted his daughter Asmaa Abdel-Rahman.

Abdel-Rahman's son Ammar said he had been phoned by a US representative to say his father had died in prison in South Carolina.

Abdel-Rahman was known as an extremist Muslim cleric who besides for planning the 1993 bombing also planned further attacks as part of a "war of urban terrorism" in the US.

Highlighting faults in the US immigration system, Abdel-Rahman was granted a tourist visa in 1990 despite the fact that he was listed as a person with ties to terror groups. In 1991, Abdel-Rahman was granted a Green Card and permanent resident status. This status was revoked in 1992.

Abdel-Rahman and his followers were also linked to the murder of Rabbi Meir Kahane in 1990, as well as attacks on tourists visiting Egypt in 1992. He also plotted to kill Egypt's President, then Hosni Mubarak, on one of Mubarak's visits to the US.

His followers are suspected to be behind the 1997 massacre which killed 62 people in Luxor, Egypt. Abdel-Rahman also plotted to blow up New York landmarks and crucial sites, such as the Holland/Lincoln tunnels, the UN headquarters, and the New York FBI headquarters.

In 1990, Abdel-Rahman pleaded "not guilty" to accusations of conspiring to wage "a war of urban terrorism against the US." During his trial, Abdel-Rahman said, "I have not committed any crime except telling people about Islam."

However, at his sentencing he gave a statement that lasted over an hour and encouraged his followers to stand up to "infidel" America.

"America will go and be withered and this civilization will be destroyed," Abdel-Rahman said. "Nothing will remain. We will not kneel."

"The prosecution wants that we should kneel and be subservient to America and obey America," he added, "but we do not kneel to anyone, except to God."


5. NETANYAHU: ISRAEL'S ECONOMY IS GROWING
by Arutz Sheva Staff

During the government's weekly Cabinet meeting, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke about his upcoming trip to Australia and the growth of the Israeli economy.

"In Australia I will, together with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, hold a meeting with businesspeople from both countries in order to increase trade between Israel and Australia," Netanyahu said. "What we are doing to strengthen Israel's standing in the world.

"This was apparent during my visit in Washington, as it was during my previous visits to the Islamic world and now to Australia and other major powers in Asia, and it is clear that there is also an economic aspect here – is to open new markets. This is one of the things that contribute to strengthening Israel's economy.

"But what contributes to strengthening the economy is first and foremost the right economic policy, and I would like to congratulate the Finance Minister, and the other ministers, on our joint effort and the results.

"While I was in Washington, we received very impressive results. According to Central Bureau of Statistics' estimates, and these are estimates, growth in the second half of 2016 reached and surpassed 5% on an annualized basis. The Israeli economy in 2016 grew by 4%. Note the two separate halves; the first half of 2016, 3.8%, and the second half of 2016, 5.2%.

"We are on a very clear growth trend. When looking at the OECD countries, we are towards the top of the list, almost at the head, and this is very important. This creates jobs, raises wages and is good for the citizens of Israel.

"Lastly, we just read, in the weekly Torah portion 'Yitro', 'Honor your father and your mother that your days may be long.' In our Jewish heritage, we know other quotes: 'Do not cast me aside in old age' and 'Respect the elderly.'

"Therefore, I was outraged to see these things, this abuse of the elderly. This goes against our Jewish values and the basic values of the State of Israel; therefore, I expect the Health Ministry and the law enforcement authorities to deal with the abusers to the fullest extent of the law and to ensure that these events do not recur."

During the meeting, Netanyahu also spoke about his visit with US President Donald Trump and their plans to create a new team to manage issues in Judea and Samaria.


6. REFORM MOVEMENT DECLARES WAR ON DAVID FRIEDMAN
by Uzi Baruch, JTA

The Reform movement in the US publicized a statement on Friday stating that they oppose David Friedman's appointment as US Ambassador to Israel.

One day after the launch of Senate hearings to confirm Friedman, Union for Reform Judaism President Rabbi Rick Jacobs released the statement saying Friedman is "the wrong person for this essential job at this critical time."

"There is no doubt that Friedman loves Israel and has a close relationship with US President Donald Trump, but these are not the necessary qualifications for a US ambassador to Israel. Friedman's background and temperament are liable to cause a rift instead of unity," they wrote.

The statement also says Friedman lacks the qualifications for the position, noting he has never been involved in professional foreign policy issues "other than as a zealous partisan and financial supporter of settlement activity."

"Mr. Friedman’s views on key issues suggest he will not be able to play a constructive role," said the URJ statement. "The U.S. Ambassador to Israel has the important responsibility of advising, shaping, and helping implement the President’s foreign policy goals.

"Indeed, it appears that Mr. Friedman’s extreme views on key issues related to the two-state solution, Israel’s borders, settlements, and the location of the U.S. Embassy are already reflected in the White House. Such positions are detrimental to peace and a strong U.S.-Israel relationship."

The statement also made note of Thursday's confirmation hearing, during which Friedman said there was "no excuse" for his past rhetoric targeting liberal Jews, and which was interrupted at least three times by leftist protesters.

"Just as we are critical of Mr. Friedman’s lack of diplomatic temperament, we wish to distance ourselves from the protesters who repeatedly interrupted his hearing," the URJ statement said.

Despite the URJ statement, Arutz Sheva learned that the Reform movement's sentiments are not shared by all Jews who identify with the movement.

Meretz MK Issawi Frej told Israeli President Reuven Rivlin to reject David Friedman as US ambassador over his "connections" to "illegal building" in Beit El.

"If the Senate approves David Friedman's appointment, I will demand President Reuven Rivlin reject Friedman until he agrees to stop supporting illegal settlements build on Palestinian land," Frej said. "It cannot be that Israel will accept a foreign ambassador who was involved in illegal activities in Israel. This is a clear conflict of interests and we cannot allow it. Friedman must choose between supporting criminals and representing the friendship between the US and Israel."

[youtube:2024726]

Friedman, a bankruptcy lawyer and long-time Trump confidant, has been noted for his staunch support of the State of Israel and the Jewish population in Judea and Samaria.

Friedman is the President of "Beit El Yeshiva Institutions" in America and has written op-eds for Arutz Sheva. He is a close friend of former National Union head MK Yaakov Katz.


7. MEET THE NEW ITALIAN HAR HEVRON 'AMBASSADOR'
by Eliran Aharon

He lives in Italy, has strong ties to the Italian parliament and has recently started functioning as ambassador of the Har Hevron Regional Council in Italy.

Vincenzo Saladino is an Italian businessman and supporter of Israel who recently decided to turn his pro-Israel sentiments into action. He attributes his change of mindset to the popular European boycott of Israeli products, an initiative that motivated him to invest his personal time and effort to countering the phenomenon, which has spread to Italy as well.

His connection to the efforts which he now leads on behalf of Israel started from his business relationship-turned-friendship with Israel, a resident of Har Hevron and owner of a company that provides security services to individuals and businesses worldwide. Over the past year, Israel has divided his time between his international business and his new position as head of the Foreign Affairs Desk at the Har Hevron Regional Council.

This is a position that he assumed by request of the Council, who sought to utilize the experience and connections that Israel has accumulated over the years during his business dealings with senior entities throughout the world.

Regarding the relationship between them, Israel relates, "About a year ago, my longtime friend Vincenzo contacted me and asked how he could utilize his connections and business dealings to counter the European boycott. I was not surprised by his request; I knew that he was a supporter of Israel, and the first thing I did was ask him to join me on a tour of Har Hevron, the gorgeous region where I live."

Vincenzo obliged and went on a tour of Har Hevron, during which he visited the heritage site at Sussia, the Tomb of the Patriarchs, Three Angels Outlook and Beit Hagai. He also met with the Head of the Regional Council, Yochai Damari. During their meeting, Damari explained the strategic importance of Har Hevron to the State of Israel’s security, and the subversive efforts of European governments and organizations to undermine the Israeli presence in the region.

Vincenzo was surprised to hear of the connections that already exist with the Arab neighbors and the economic collaboration that is taking place between them as a result of the leadership crisis between the Arabs and the Palestinian Authority.

After the tour, which left a strong impression on Vincenzo, the Council decided to appoint Vincenzo as its official ambassador to Italy, for the purpose of leading PR efforts to raise support for Har Hevron.

As part of this position, Vincenzo utilizes his many connections in Italy to bring delegations and tourists to Har Hevron, with the objective of exposing them to what he witnessed firsthand on his tour of the region. Vincenzo also assists in finding supporters for projects underway in the settlements.

Yochai Damari, head of the Regional Council, said, "I have no doubt that the tour had a serious impact on Vincenzo and caused him to take part in the efforts on behalf of Har Hevron. The reality here is surprising, as it shows the utter falsity of the lies being spread by those who hate Israel.

"I am very happy that we have him as our ambassador to bring the true voice of Har Hevron to Italy, as well as being active in his community and encouraging others to come see for themselves and support the Zionist endeavors here in Har Hevron. Until now, we have met many Europeans who support the Palestinian story here in Har Hevron. The time has come to turn the tables."

Vincenzo Saladino at Hebron
Har Hevron Regional Council



8. LIBERMAN: MY GOAL IS A PALESTINIAN STATE
by Arutz Sheva Staff

[youtube:2024802]

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) spoke on Sunday at the Munich Security Conference about the Israeli-Arab conflict.

"My vision and goal is, without a doubt, the two-state solution," Liberman said. "I believe that we must ensure Israel remains a Jewish state. The basic solution must include a land swap, and a population swap.

"There are a lot of misunderstandings. The biggest problem is that we are willing for them to have a Palestinian state without a single Jew in it, but in Israel, 20% of our population will be Arabs. We cannot create two states this way.

"We have a right-wing country right now. The problem is that we are all looking at the past: We had Ehud Barak, Ariel Sharon, Ehud Olmert, and Tzipi Livni - they all met with Abbas and were willing to sign on a two-state solution in the White House - but at the last minute, Abbas refused to sign," Liberman explained.

MK Tzipi Livni (Zionist Union) also participated in the conference and said, "It's absurd that Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif Khonsari is funding Hezbollah's terror attacks on Europe - but he is legitimized and honored in a European security conference.

"Every Jew, everywhere in the world, needs to feel safe and be able to walk with a kipa without fear. Hiding is not a solution. We've been there. A Jewish state means that the Jewish nation has responsibility for the safety of Jewish communities around the world.

"It saddens me to hear about the rise of neo-Nazis in Munich. The local leadership and authorities need to take responsibility - because anti-Semitism rises as a result of the local community."




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