Iran Deals Won’t Limit Israel
ISRAEL NOT BOUND BY ANY NUCLEAR DEAL WITH IRAN, BENNETT SAYS: Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Monday, January 10, that Israel would not be bound by any nuclear deal with Iran and would continue to consider itself free to act “with no constraints” against its arch-foe if necessary.
Indirect talks between Iran and the United States on salvaging the 2015 Iran nuclear deal resumed a week ago in Vienna. France’s foreign minister said on Friday, January 7, that progress had been made, although time is running out. “In regard to the nuclear talks in Vienna, we are definitely concerned … Israel is not a party to the agreements,” Bennett said in public remarks, in a briefing to a parliamentary committee. “Israel is not bound by what will be written in the agreements if they are signed, and Israel will continue to maintain full freedom of action anywhere any time, with no constraints,” he said. Israel has called on world powers to maintain a credible military option against Iran while they pursue an agreement. Some experts have questioned whether Israel, on its own, has the military capabilities to halt what it says is an Iranian quest for nuclear weapons. Iran denies that it seeks atomic arms. (Reuters / VFI News)
HEZBOLLAH DRONE DOWNED BY IDF MISTAKENLY REVEALS OPERATIVES’ PICTURES: A Hezbollah drone downed by the Israeli military had a memory card with clear pictures of operatives belonging to one of the Lebanese terror group’s elite units.
The drone, shot down by the IDF on Wednesday, January 5, after it infiltrated Israeli airspace, had images of its operators belonging to the elite Radwan unit that uses unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to gather intelligence on Israeli troops. The pictures were likely taken by mistake by the UAV, but they revealed their faces and vehicles – complete with license plates – as well as the operatives flying another drone that had also been downed a few months ago by the IDF. According to a recent report by the ALMA Research Center, Hezbollah has some 2,000 UAVs, many of them advanced ones from Iran, and others manufactured independently by the Lebanese terror group. Others used by Hezbollah are civilian drones, similar to the one downed on Wednesday. The group was said to have 200 Iranian-made UAVs in 2013 and, with the help from the Islamic Republic, it has significantly increased its fleet, some of which is set to be used for kamikaze attacks on strategic national assets in Israel as well as in reconnaissance against IDF troops and bases. (JPost / VFI News)
IDF CANCELS RESERVE DRILLS FOR JANUARY AS TROOPS INFECTED WITH OMICRON PASSES 6,000: With the number of people diagnosed with the coronavirus Omicron variant continuing to soar across the country, the Israeli military has canceled all reserve drills for January. There will be specific drills that can be approved by commanders according to operational needs.
According to senior military officers, more than 6,380 troops were diagnosed with the coronavirus on Tuesday, January 11, with another 6,928 self-isolating at home. There have been several outbreaks of the virus on various IDF bases. “We are not surprised, and we have been preparing for this increase in infection rate,” said one senior officer, explaining that there have been more than 1,000 new cases diagnosed in the past 24 hours. As the number of confirmed cases in the Israeli military continues to skyrocket, the officer said the IDF expects them to rise even further in the coming two weeks, when the fifth wave of the virus is expected to peak. IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi visited the Home Front Command’s Alon Headquarters along with the head of the Home Front Command, Maj.-Gen. Uri Gordin, and headquarters commander Brig.-Gen. Shlomi Ben Mocha, and was presented with the challenges that it’s facing in the current wave as well as its action plan to deal with the Omicron variant. According to the military, the headquarters is focusing on tests, samplings, and contact tracing as well as additional efforts to help the Health Ministry, Magen David Adom, and healthcare providers in the vaccination campaign for senior citizens. While the military will not at this time keep troops on base in an attempt to keep the virus at bay, several battalions of combat troops will not be allowed furloughs for the next week and a half to maintain operational competency. Troops serving in closed units, meaning that they sleep on base, will have to quarantine at a military facility if they come into contact with an infected person, instead of self-isolating at home. “We are holding situational awareness meetings daily,” he said. (JPost / VFI News)
CATHOLIC, JEWISH LEADERS CONDEMN USE OF NAZI FLAG OUTSIDE CHURCH FUNERAL: Italian Catholic and Jewish leaders on Tuesday, January 11, condemned as outrageous an episode in which right-wing extremists put a flag with a swastika on a coffin outside a church after a religious funeral and gave Nazi salutes.
Rome’s Catholic archdiocese said in a statement that priests at the parish of St. Lucy in a central Rome neighborhood, including the one who presided at the funeral rite, had no idea of what would happen outside the church on Monday, January 10. Pictures on the internet showed the coffin bearing the body of Alessia Augello, a former member of the right-wing extremist group Forza Nuova, covered by the flag. The diocese statement called the flag “a horrendous symbol that cannot be reconciled with Christianity” and said the episode was an offensive example of “ideological exploitation” of a religious service. Police said they were investigating the incident as a possible hate crime. (JPost / VFI News)
ISRAEL LAUNCHES SITE TO KEEP TOURISTS UPDATED ON COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS: Israel’s Tourism Ministry launched a new website on Sunday, January 9, dedicated to keeping tourists updated with the latest COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions set by the Israeli government.
On Friday, January 7, Israel removed every country from its ‘red’ list, reopening the skies and allowing Israelis to travel anywhere in the world. Two days later, restrictions on foreign nationals from non-red countries were also removed, meaning tourists are now able to enter Israel without the need for special permission, provided that they are fully vaccinated. Following the reopening of Israel’s skies, the Tourism Ministry took the initiative to launch a regularly-updated landing page, incorporating all necessary and useful information for tourists visiting Israel as the Omicron wave sweeps through the country. The guide is divided into three sections with the aim of making navigation through all the different restrictions and requirements simple and providing ease of access to all relevant information. (JPost / VFI News)
ISRAELI CLEANTECH COMPANY AIMS MIRIAM’S WELL WATER PURIFIER AT DEVELOPING WORLD: An Israeli water tech company has designed an off-grid household water purification system that it says is sustainable, cheap, easy to use, and could provide millions of households in developing countries with clean drinking water.
Throughout the developing world, family members — usually women and children — commonly walk long distances to natural water sources to fill up bottles and jerrycans. These water bodies can be contaminated by anything from feces to chemicals, and cause diseases ranging from cholera, diarrhea, and dysentery to hepatitis A, typhoid, and polio. To help address this, the Alumor company has developed an appliance that it calls Miriam’s Well, after the miracle source that, according to Jewish tradition, provided water to the Israelites throughout their 40 years in the wilderness. Powered by solar energy, the modern Miriam’s Well requires no electric socket. It is fitted with advanced ultraviolet technology that kills viruses and bacteria to US National Sanitation Foundation standards, and it contains a filter that needs rinsing just a few times a year. Alumor’s business development director, David Waimann, a cleantech entrepreneur and trained engineer originally from the UK told The Times of Israel that household members will simply connect the device to a jerrycan or other container via a pipe, and press a button. The device is lightweight, uses just four watts of electricity, and purifies each liter of water for less than half a cent, he said. According to World Health Organization figures (from 2017), 144 million people collect untreated surface water from lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams, with 435 million people taking their water from unprotected wells and springs. (TOI / VFI News)
AURA HERZOG, WIFE TO ONE ISRAELI PRESIDENT AND MOTHER TO A SECOND, DIES AT 97: Aura Herzog, the mother of President Isaac Herzog and widow of Israel’s sixth president, Chaim Herzog, died Sunday night, January 9, at the age of 97.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett eulogized Herzog as “a public figure and social activist who loved her people and country. She lived humbly and raised a family to be proud of, while constantly working for the public and Israeli society.” He sent his “deepest condolences” to her family. Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu said Herzog “devoted her life to public and social activity for the people of Israel… May her memory be a blessing.” Defense Minister Benny Gantz called her “a pioneering woman…who worked for Israeli society and was a part of the generation that built the nation and to whom we are all grateful.” (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