Gantz Urges International Action on Iran
GANTZ URGES INTERNATIONAL ACTION ON IRAN: Iran has conducted at least 16 separate attacks on international vessels in the Gulf and Red Sea in the past five years, and can reach a significant quantity of enriched uranium for one nuclear bomb (SQ1) at 90% in only two weeks, Defense Minister Benny Gantz said Thursday, December 1.
“Just this month we saw an attack on a commercial vessel using a Shahed 136 UAV, which was launched from the Chabahar region of southern Iran,” Gantz said. This is the same area I discussed a year ago with your ambassadors, as a hotspot of terrorism. In fact, in the last five years, Iran has conducted at least 16 separate attacks on civilian international vessels in the Gulf and the Red Sea.” Gantz, who made the comments during a security briefing for defense attaches of over 30 countries, stressed that the Islamic Republic is not only a threat to Israel, but poses a challenge to the region and the world.
“Iran continues to build, expand and fortify its capabilities. Today, should Iran decide to do so, it may reach SQ1 at 90% enriched Uranium in only two weeks. The international community must take action – strengthening alliances, increasing intelligence cooperation, projecting power and responding forcefully to Iranian attacks and aggression.” (JPost / VFI News)
MAJOR UNIVERSITY WEIGHS ANTI-SEMITISM CHARGES AGAINST PRO-PALESTINE STUDENT GROUP: George Washington University (GWU) held two hearings regarding the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapter and its president, after several Jewish student group meetings were disrupted by the organization.
GWU’s SJP chapter reportedly disrupted multiple Jewish events on campus, going so far as to call for an “intifada revolution,” according to Jewish media, and protested an event featuring a former Israeli official. The university responded by scheduling two hearings to determine if the chapter had violated any university policies, and charged both the president and group itself with student conduct violations, according to GWU’s student newspaper.
StopAntisemitism’s Executive Director Liora Rez said that in early October, the SJP chapter stood outside the building of GW Hillel, a Jewish campus group, chanting and screaming, “Israel is a terrorist state.” Later in the month, the chapter disrupted a Hillel event featuring former senior commander in the Israel Defense Forces Doron Tenne, claiming Tenne had committed war crimes, according to Rez. “I want to say a dozen, a little bit more than a dozen or so students, GWU students, with Students for Justice in Palestine were protesting the events” she said. “And they weren’t just simply protesting. We have the video on Twitter and those other videos, but they were screaming Israel is a terrorist state.” (DC / VFI News)
125 LAWMAKERS URGE BIDEN TO FORM ANTI-SEMITISM TASK FORCE: A bipartisan slate of 125 lawmakers from both chambers are calling on the Biden administration to adopt a “whole of government” policy to combating anti-Semitism.
A letter sent Tuesday, December 6, to President Joe Biden, spearheaded by the chairmen of congressional task forces for combating anti-Semitism, called for action from officials from an array of agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, the FBI, the State Department, the White House, the Department of Education, and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. The letter pushes for the creation of “an interagency task force led by an official at the Assistant Secretary rank or higher,” and it cites an FBI report saying there was a 6% rise in anti-Semitic hate crimes in 2020. “Because many individual agencies play a critical role in combating anti-Semitism, closer coordination is needed to share best practices, data, and intelligence; identify gaps in efforts; streamline overlapping activities and roles; and execute a unified national strategy,” the letter said. The letter comes a day ahead of a roundtable on anti-Semitism to be convened at the White House bringing together top administration officials with Jewish organizational leaders, and a week after the Department of Homeland Security issued a terrorism advisory bulletin. (INN / VFI News)
SAUDI ARABIA WANTS TO NORMALIZE TIES WITH ISRAEL – REPORT: Saudi Arabia is looking to normalize ties with Israel, although it will be a while before this ever properly manifests, Israeli news outlet reported Tuesday, December 6.
The article cited Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Abdel al-Jubeir, who recently spoke to senior American Jewish leaders. There, he guaranteed that Israeli-Saudi normalization will happen eventually, but stressed that it will take time. In addition, in a meeting with US officials visiting Riyadh, courtesy of the Washington Institute, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman listed three main demands that must be met for Saudi Arabia to join the Abraham Accords and normalize ties with Israel. According to the report, these demands did not include anything about the Palestinian conflict or requests for Israel. Rather, they hinged entirely on the US, specifically affirming a US-Saudi alliance, proper weapons supplies to the kingdom as if it were a NATO country, and allowing Riyadh to have a restricted civil nuclear program. These requests by Saudi Arabia for the US come amid strained ties between Washington and Riyadh. While the Biden administration had always been less warm towards the Saudis compared to their predecessors, relations suffered after OPEC decided to cut oil production by two million barrels per day in early October. (JPost / VFI News)
NINE FACE DEATH IN IRAN FOR ‘COLLUDING WITH ISRAEL’ TO KILL TOP NUCLEAR SCIENTIST: Nine people will face the death penalty in Iran over the assassination of one of the country’s top nuclear scientists, the judiciary said Tuesday, December 6.
Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was killed when his car was ambushed on a highway outside Tehran in November 2020, in an attack Iran blamed on its regional arch-foe Israel. The nine defendants were charged with “corruption on earth” and collusion with Israel, both capital offenses in the Islamic Republic, judiciary spokesman Massoud Setayeshi said. “Fakhrizadeh’s case has 15 defendants,” Setayeshi told a news conference. Along with those facing the death penalty, a further six people had “other accusations” leveled against them, he said. In 2018, the Israeli government accused Fakhrizadeh of leading Iran’s efforts to build an atomic bomb, a claim Iran has always vehemently denied. Fakhrizadeh had been under US sanctions for his role in Iran’s nuclear program when he was killed. (TOI / VFI News)
IRAN DESTROYS FAMILY HOME OF IRANIAN ROCK CLIMBER WHO COMPETED WITHOUT HEADSCARF: Iran has destroyed a villa owned by a family member of an Iranian rock climber, who competed in an overseas competition without her headscarf, a video appears to show.
In the undated video, the brother of Iranian rock climber Elnaz Rekabi, an athlete himself, is seen sobbing by the ruins of a home with medals on the ground. Ms Rekabi, 33, and her brother Davoud were both reportedly arrested after Ms Rekabi’s return to Iran, following the tournament in South Korea in October, in which she competed without a headscarf. According to local media, the villa was not demolished as an act of retaliation against Ms Rekabi’s appearance in South Korea. Iranian media said the house was razed by authorities before Ms Rekabi took part in the competition, adding Mr Rekabi did not hold the correct permit for its construction. Earlier, Ms Rekabi posted a suspicious apology video on her Instagram Stories saying the hijab dropped by mistake and she was returning home, with the athlete and her brother both allegedly detained shortly afterwards. The Iranian government routinely pressures activists at home and abroad, often airing what rights groups describe as coerced confessions on state television. (DM / VFI News)
BLINKEN: US WILL JUDGE THE NEXT ISRAELI GOVERNMENT ON POLICIES, NOT PERSONALITIES: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday, December 4, that the Biden administration will judge with the incoming hardline Israeli government, based on the policies that it implements and not by the individuals slated to fill senior roles in the next coalition.
“We will gauge the government by the policies and procedures, rather than individual personalities” said Blinken in the keynote address at the annual conference of the dovish J Street conference in Washington.
“We will hold to the… standards we’ve established in our relationship over the past several decades. And we will speak honestly and respectfully with our Israeli friends, as partners always should.” Blinken took the opportunity to again congratulate presumptive prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu — eliciting an audible hiss from a handful among the 1,000-plus conference attendees — and welcomed his commitment to lead a government “that in his words, will work for the benefit of all residents in the State of Israel without exception.” The remarks come amid speculation that Biden officials will not engage with some of the most far-right members of Israel’s emerging government, such as Religious Zionism chairman Bezalel Smotrich, who is slated to become finance minister, and Otzma Yehudit chairman Itamar Ben Gvir, who is set to become national security minister. (TOI / VFI News)
HERZOG ARRIVES IN THE UAE AFTER WRAPPING UP VISIT TO BAHRAIN: President Isaac Herzog left Bahrain on Monday morning, December 5, and landed in the United Arab Emirates for the second leg of his trip to meet with Israel’s allies in the Gulf.
Herzog was greeted at the airport in Abu Dhabi by UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah Bin Zayed. The Israeli president was set to meet with Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the ruler of Abu Dhabi, later on Monday. He was also set to attend the Abu Dhabi Space Debate, a forum on space exploration policy that also features Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. As president, Herzog already visited the UAE earlier this year to participate in the Expo 2020 Dubai.
The president’s trip to Bahrain, the first by an Israeli head of state to the island kingdom, centered on the unrealized business potential between the two nations. Iran, a threat that occupies the minds of Israeli and Bahraini officials, was not mentioned by Herzog, Bahrain’s King Hamad, or Foreign Minister Abdul Latef Al-Zayani in their public statements. Instead, they hammered home the importance of upgrading the economic ties between the nations, which signed the Abraham Accords in 2020. (TOI / VFI News)
The suggestions, opinions and scripture references made by VFI writers and editors are based on the best information received.
Blessings from Jerusalem,
Barry Segal with the Editorial Staff