US SUPREME COURT BLOCKS CUOMO’S BID TO LIMIT WORSHIP ATTENDANCE: The U.S. Supreme Court has blocked the decision of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to limit the number of worshipers and congregants in the state’s synagogues and churches.
The decision passed with a majority of just one (the court splitting 5 – 4), and was the first time that President Trump’s nomination to the court, Amy Coney Barrett, tipped the balance, adding her vote to those of the other conservative-leaning judges. In its ruling, the court wrote that “It is hard to believe that admitting more than 10 people to a 1,000–seat church or 400–seat synagogue would create a more serious health risk than the many other activities that the State allows.” (INN / VFI News)
IRANIAN DIPLOMAT ACCUSED OF TERROR PLOT ON PARIS MEETING: An Iranian diplomat has been accused of plotting to bomb a huge French political event attended by President Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani — but invoked immunity to avoid attending the start of his trial Friday.
Assadollah Assadi, 48, is accused of masterminding the attempted attack on a June 2018 meeting in Paris of one of Iran’s exiled opposition movements, which was attended by politicians from the UK and US, including Trump allies. It was only thwarted after Belgian police stopped a Mercedes allegedly on the way to France carrying 550 grams of the so-called “Mother of Satan” TATP explosive and a detonator. Lawyers for one of the alleged targets, the exiled Mujahedeen-e-Khalq opposition group, or MEK, insisted the plot was on “orders from Tehran,” which “authorized the death of thousands of people.” At least 25,000 people were in the French town of Villepinte, north of Paris, that day, officials said. (NYP / VFI News)
ISRAELI AIRSTRIKE IN SYRIA KILLS 19 PRO-IRAN FIGHTERS: Airstrikes likely carried out by Israel killed at least 19 pro-Iran militia fighters in war-torn eastern Syria, a war monitor said Thursday.
The early morning strikes hit positions of Iran-backed militias outside the town of Albu Kamal in Deir Ezzor province, killing mostly Pakistani fighters, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. Syrian state media did not report the attack and Israel rarely acknowledges individual strikes, but the Observatory has accused the Jewish state of launching at least two other aerial attacks against pro-Iran forces in Syria since Saturday. Early on Wednesday, at least eight Iran-backed fighters were killed in strikes near Damascus and in southern Syria, according to the war monitor, which is based in the UK but relies on a network of sources inside Syria. On Saturday night, airstrikes near Albu Kamal killed at least 14 pro-Iran militia fighters from Iraq and Afghanistan, the Observatory said. (INN / VFI News)
IRAN’S TOP NUCLEAR PROGRAM SCIENTIST ASSASSINATED NEAR TEHRAN: Dr. Mohsen Fakhrizadeh-Mahabadi, the scientist alleged to be in charge of Iran’s nuclear weapons program, was reportedly assassinated Friday morning outside of Iran.
In addition to serving as a professor of physics at Imam Hussein University in Tehran, Fakhrizadeh-Mahabadi was also a former brigadier general in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and held a senior Defense Ministry position at the time of his death. The assassination claim was originally made by Iranian state-run media and was shortly confirmed by Western news outlets, including the Associated Press. No country or group has yet taken credit for Fakhrizadeh-Mahabadi’s death, although Iranian media blamed Israel. (DK / VFI News)
NETANYAHU NOMINATED FOR THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE: Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was nominated Tuesday for the Nobel Peace Prize, for the recent string of peace deals between Israel and moderate Arab states.
The nomination was submitted by Lord David Trimble, a former North Irish lawmaker who was instrumental in the negotiations which led to the Good Friday Agreement of 1998, which effectively ended the conflict between Protestants and Catholics in North Ireland. Trimble is himself a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, receiving the prize in 1998. Because Netanyahu has been nominated by a prize laureate, the prize committee is required to convene to consider the nomination. (INN / VFI News)
ISRAELI OFFICIALS GRAPPLE WITH VACCINE INCENTIVES: Although Health Ministry Director Hezy Levy yesterday insisted to reporters that “we won’t force people to take a vaccine. Israeli law doesn’t allow for it,” speaking before the Special Knesset Coronavirus Committee chaired by MK Yifat Shasha-Biton, Sheba Medical Center Chief Medical Officer and Chief Innovation Officer Dr. Eyal Zimlichman listed measures that are being planned to “maneuver” the population into vaccinating as a way of regaining freedom of movement.
The issue of how to “motivate” vaccine compliance has generated increasing interest, with commentators such as Mike Cernovich writing: “Government won’t force you to take the vaccine. Amazon will. Airlines will. Banks will. You won’t be able to buy, sell, or trade without the vaccine.” As if underscoring Cernovich’s words, Dr. Zimlichman told the committee: “Another thing that will apparently come into our lives, starting in small numbers already in January which is soon, and that’s the vaccine. (INN / VFI News)
ISRAEL MAY CLOSE WEST BANK CROSSINGS TO PALESTINIAN AREAS AMID VIRUS SURGE: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that he was ordering the government to examine the possibility of closing the crossings to West Bank areas under Palestinian Authority control due to a surge in coronavirus cases among Palestinians.
“Because of the dramatic surge in infection in the Palestinian Authority, I have directed the government to immediately analyze the option of closing the crossings to Palestinian areas,” Netanyahu wrote on Twitter. Palestinians saw a record-shattering 1,811 new confirmed coronavirus infections between Monday and Tuesday as the pandemic worsened in both the West Bank and Gaza. Around 26 percent of tests came back positive among all Palestinians, indicating that the coronavirus was spreading even more widely while going largely undetected. (TOI / VFI News)
ISRAELI MOM-SON TEAM SET TO BECOME WORLD’S 1ST PRODUCER OF ORAL INSULIN: An Israeli company has started final-stage tests of its oral insulin, bidding to become the first to make the product available on the international market.
The product started phase three trials under the US Food and Drug Administration in California on Monday, after 14 years of development. If all goes well, Oramed Pharmaceuticals says it expects type 2 diabetics to start taking its pills in just over three years, followed by type 1 diabetics after further testing. “This has the potential to improve lives of hundreds of millions of diabetics worldwide,” Oramed CEO Nadav Kidron told The Times of Israel. “And by improving treatment it can reduce complications and, in turn, reduce the cost of treating diabetics.” (TOI / VFI News)
The suggestions, opinions and scripture references made byVFI writers and editors are based on the best information received.
Blessings from Jerusalem,
Barry Segal with the Editorial Staff