He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide disputes for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. —Isaiah 2:4
AT LEAST NINE PRO-IRANIAN FIGHTERS KILLED IN ALLEGED ISRAELI AIRSTRIKE: At least nine pro-Iranian militia members were killed in an alleged Israeli airstrike targeting military positions in Syria’s al-Bukamal on Saturday night, just hours after the commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps’ Quds Force, Esmail Ghaani had reportedly been at the site.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said nine members of pro-Iranian militias, including four Syrian nationals, were killed in the airstrikes “targeting positions of regime forces and Iranian militias in the village of Al-Abbas in the countryside of Al-Bukamal city, east of Deir ez-Zor.” The strikes, blamed on Israel, came hours after Iran’s Tasnim news agency reported that Ghaani had traveled to al-Bukamal to visit troops. The Syrian town near the Iraqi border is known as a key weapons conduit and where Iran has a network of pro-Iranian militias. The report was quickly deleted by Tasnim but photographs of Ghaani were published and shared online. During the visit, he also gave a speech accusing Israel and the United States of establishing ISIS and describing them as “two criminal regimes whose conspiracies have not yet ended.” (JPost / VFI News)
HOUSE DEMOCRATS LETTER TO POMPEO: CUT AID TO ISRAEL IF IT APPLIES SOVEREIGNTY: Four House Democrats have written to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo calling on the United States to cut assistance to Israel should it proceed to apply sovereignty over Judea and Samaria.
The letter was initiated by Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Pramila Jayapal of Washington, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, and Betty McCollum of Minnesota. The letter to Pompeo is circulating among Democrats in a bid to add signatures. “Should the Israeli government move forward with the planned annexation with this administration’s acquiescence, we will work to ensure non-recognition as well as pursue conditions on the $3.8 billion in U.S. military funding to Israel, including human rights conditions and withholding funds for the off-shore procurement of Israeli weapons equal to or exceeding the amount the Israeli government spends annually to fund settlements, as well as the policies and practices that sustain and enable them,” it says, according to a copy obtained by Jewish Insider. In response to the letter, AIPAC has launched a campaign against it, saying on Twitter on Monday that it “explicitly threatens the US-Israel relationship in ways that would damage American interests, risk the security of Israel & make a two-state solution less likely.” (INN / VFI News)
IRANIAN ECONOMY COLLAPSING DUE TO US SANCTIONS AND CORONAVIRUS: The US sanctions, together with the coronavirus outbreak, have caused Iran’s economy to tank.
According to estimates by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Iran’s profits for this year will be $2 billion – thirty times less than during the period before the US sanctions were implemented. Currently, Iran sells less than 200,000 barrels of crude oil per day, and possibly less than 100,000, down from nearly 4 million per day in 2017. At least 40% of Iran’s budget is based on the country’s crude oil sales, and an additional and significant portion of its profits are dependent on the oil. Iranian Finance Minister Farhad Dejpasand, admits “we don’t have any profits from crude oil.” Even if the sanctions are removed, he said, the country “will not be able to cover its losses. We need to find new sources of income.” Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, Iran’s deficit reached 70% of its budget. On Sunday, Iran reported that 125 people had been confirmed to have died of coronavirus. Meanwhile, Iran’s currency, the rial, dropped after its central bank reported 41.3% inflation. Iran currently has 10 million people unemployed, for a nearly 20% unemployment rate. (INN / VFI News)
GERMAN INTEL: IRAN ‘MASSIVELY PROMOTES ANTISEMITISM, ISRAEL HATRED’: Iran’s clerical regime is a leading sponsor of Jew-hatred, the domestic intelligence agency for the city-state of Berlin disclosed June 25 in a report on antisemitism.
“Antisemitism and hatred of Israel were also massively promoted by the Islamic Republic of Iran,” the intelligence officials wrote. “The leader of the Iranian Revolution Ayatollah Khomeini already described Israel as the ‘little Satan’ and openly called for the destruction of Israel. Antisemitism has been part of Iran’s state ideology ever since [the founding of the Islamic Republic] and is regularly fueled by statements by state representatives.” US administrations under both President Barack Obama and President Donald Trump have classified Iran’s regime as the world’s worst state sponsor of terrorism. (JPost / VFI News)
CHINA FORCES 1,000S OF MUSLIMS TO UNDERGO STERILIZATIONS AND ABORTIONS: Surgical sterilizations, abortions, and other birth control measures are being forced upon Muslim women in China to make minorities “disappear”, says a horrifying report.
The totalitarian regime is trying to slash its Muslim population, while encouraging some of the country’s Han majority to have more kids, the agency adds. Its investigative report on the brutal treatment of women of child-bearing age has been released alongside disturbing new research by China scholar Adrian Zenz. He has warned, “By 2019, Xinjiang planned to subject at least 80 percent of women of childbearing age to intrusive birth prevention surgeries – IUDs or sterilizations. “Draconian measures that impose surgical birth control methods enable the state to increase or decrease minority population growth at will, akin to opening or closing a faucet.” The Chinese government has long struggled with its 11-million-strong Uighur population, an ethnic Turkic minority native to the northwestern region of Xinjiang. In recent years the regime has detained more than one million Uighurs and other minorities in its so-called “re-education” camps. Having too many children is a major reason people are sent to detention camps, with the parents of three or more ripped away from their families unless they can pay huge fines. (Sun / VFI News)
ISRAEL PULLS PLUG ON CHRISTIAN TV CHANNEL: Israel is pulling the plug on a new GOD TV channel for failing to disclose its evangelical missionary agenda, local regulators announced Sunday.
The Hebrew-speaking “Shelanu” channel, which began airing at the end of April on GOD TV as part of a seven-year deal, will stop broadcasting this week, according to an announcement by Asher Biton, chairman of Israel’s Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Council. “The channel appeals to Jews with Christian content,” he wrote. “Its original request,” he added, was a “station targeting the Christian population.” Shelanu, part of one of the largest Christian broadcasting networks in the world, with presence in at least 200 countries, said it was “disappointed” by the council’s “unprofessional decision” and plans to reapply for a license. Proselytizing is not against Israeli law, as long as it is not directed at minors and does not involve economic coercion. (Fox / VFI News)
CYBERATTACK DISRUPTS ISRAEL PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA’S ONLINE GALA: A suspected cyber attack disrupted a live virtual gala held by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, making it impossible to view for most of the 13,000 people worldwide who had registered.
The Sunday afternoon attack on the fundraiser, which was trying to help the orchestra overcome losses due to COVID-19, crashed the websites of the orchestra and its gala partner, Medici.TV. Shortly after the attack, the orchestra was able to share a replay of the event on its YouTube channel. The full gala is available to view now on YouTube. Oscar-winner Helen Mirren hosted a program that included short performances by the orchestra’s new conductor, Lahav Shani, and its musicians, as well as friends of the orchestra including Pinchas Zukerman and Amanda Forsyth, Yefim Bronfman, Itzhak Perlman, Evgeny Kissin, András Schiff, Gil Shaham, Chen Reiss, and Martin Frost. “It seems that hackers were determined to silence our message and stamp out our voice, but they will not succeed,” said Danielle Ames Spivak, executive director of American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, which collaborated with the orchestra and the IPO Foundation on the event. “More than ever, we are determined to spread the Israel Philharmonic’s message of hope, peace, and beauty around the world.” (INN / VFI News)
ISRAEL AMONG TOP 10 GLOBAL STARTUP-FRIENDLY LOCATIONS: The Israeli technology ecosystem maintains its global leadership position. A comprehensive global survey held by Startup Genome maps the global startup industry in over 150 cities worldwide, has ranked Tel Aviv and Jerusalem together as the sixth most attractive ecosystem for startups and innovation.
The Startup Genome Ecosystem report, which is published annually since 2012, is the most comprehensive research of the global startup scene. This year’s report was issued as 40% of the startups across the globe report disruptions to their operations due to the COVID-19 spread. In addition to reviews and ratings of the global cities, the report provides insights and tools to leaders of publicly-traded companies who seek to nurture a thriving urban ecosystem, as well as leveraging the existing resources for the day after COVID-19. For the first time, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem have been ranked together due to their geographical proximity. However, the report provides separate reviews of the specific advantages and strengths of each. California’s Silicon Valley ranks first in this year’s report, followed by New York City and London in the 2nd and 3rd places. Beijing and Boston rank fourth and fifth, respectively. The top ten list concludes with Los Angeles, Shanghai, Seattle, and Stockholm. (INN / 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