IRAN RESPONDS TO ATTACK ON ISRAELI SHIP: Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabiee gave long and rambling responses to a series of questions on Tuesday. Among other topics, he addressed the Iran nuclear deal, the Israeli ship that was reportedly targeted by the Iranians, and the Islamic Republic seeking a 25-year economic agreement with China.
Tehran “does not allow Israeli invasions and monitors their behavior in the region,” he said. This would appear to mean that Iran is seeking to “secure the open seas,” as Rabiee said, suggesting a potential threat to Israeli ships. He did not admit Iran’s involvement in the attack on the MV Helios Ray, a cargo vessel bound for Singapore that was hit with an explosive device in the Gulf of Oman over the weekend. (JPost / VFI News)
IRAN REJECTS EUROPEAN OFFER FOR DIRECT TALKS WITH US: Iran on Sunday rejected an offer to negotiate directly with the United States, in an informal meeting proposed by Europe, to revive the 2015 nuclear deal.
A spokesman for Iran’s foreign ministry, Saeed Khatibzadeh, said recent actions taken by Washington and Europeans had led Iran to conclude that the “time was not right” to hold such talks. “There has been no change in America’s positions and actions,” Khatibzadeh said in a statement. “The Biden administration has not set aside Trump’s maximum pressure policy, nor has it announced its commitments” under the 2015 nuclear deal. (INN / VFI News)
MEDITERRANEAN OIL SPILL IS ‘ECO-TERRORISM’ BY IRAN, ISRAEL SAYS: Iran intentionally polluted the Mediterranean Sea and Israel’s shores in an act of ecological terrorism, causing the greatest environmental disaster in Israel’s history, Environmental Protection Minister Gila Gamliel said on Wednesday.
“This pollution has people who are responsible for it and have to pay the price. Our nature is damaged, our animals are harmed, thanks to merciless environmental criminals,” Gamliel said. Gamliel explained that, following a two-week investigation, the Environmental Protection Ministry found that the ship that leaked the crude oil, called the Emerald, was owned by a Libyan company and sailed from Iran to Syria. It departed Iran, turning off its automatic identification system (AIS) – which transmits its location to other ships in the area. It turned the AIS on as it went through the Suez Canal, and then off again as it approached Israel’s shores. (JPost / VFI News)
ISRAEL VOWS TO FIGHT ICC’S ‘PERVERSION OF JUSTICE’: Israel will fight against the International Criminal Court’s decision to investigate Israel for alleged war crimes, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said a day after the probe was announced.
“I think this is an outrageous decision,” Netanyahu said on Fox News. “It goes against the one democracy in the Middle East. They don’t put on [trial] Syria… or Iran. This is pure antisemitism… This is an affront for all democracies.” Netanyahu lamented that the ICC, established to “prevent the horrors of the Holocaust,” now says “if we build a house in Jerusalem, that’s a war crime. I’m going to fight for the truth, fight against this perversion of justice until it is null and void.” (JPost / VFI News)
NEARLY 90% OF ISRAELI ADULTS VACCINATED AGAINST CORONAVIRUS: Professor Eran Segal of the Weizmann Institute of Science on Thursday morning reported that 87% of Israelis over age 16 have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine.
A total of 349,000 (5.5%) in the general sector have recovered from coronavirus, and 2,653,000 (42%) are at least one week after the first dose of the vaccine, with 719,000 (11%) at least two weeks after the second dose and 430,000 (6.8%) up to two weeks after the second dose of the vaccine. Another 615,000 (10%) are neither recovered from nor vaccinated against coronavirus. There are 1,551,000 (25%) children under 16 among the general sector’s population. (INN / VFI News)
HEALTH MINISTRY SAID TO WEIGH ANKLE BRACELETS FOR THOSE RETURNING FROM ABROAD: The Health Ministry is reportedly considering recommending a policy that would require those returning from abroad to wear electronic monitoring bracelets so that law enforcement can track whether Israelis are violating quarantine.
However, the proposal is sure to receive backlash over privacy concerns and therefore is unlikely to be put in place. If it were to though, Israelis arriving from abroad would first be sent to quarantine hotels while waiting for the results of their coronavirus tests taken upon landing to return. Those who test negative would then be allowed to leave the hotel, but be required to wear the electronic monitor. The policy has been considered in places like China, Australia, and several states in the US. (TOI / VFI News)
BBC DEBATE ON WHETHER JEWS ARE AN ETHNIC MINORITY GROUP SPARKS OUTRAGE: The BBC has been accused of bias in its coverage of Israel for decades. Now the public broadcaster is taking flak from British Jews for coverage much closer to home.
What is causing their biggest dispute in years? It is the broadcast of a debate over whether Jews should be considered an ethnic minority — a panel discussion featuring four non-Jewish panelists and a Jewish commenter as a guest. Monday’s discussion touched raw nerves in the organized community, where many Jews feel marginalized by allegedly hostile media treatment and the rise of antisemitism both from the far right and at the heart of the Labour Party. (JPost / VFI News)
FRENCH POLICE PREVENT STABBING ATTACK AT JEWISH SCHOOL IN MARSEILLE: French police arrested a man who tried carrying out a stabbing attack at a Jewish school in Marseille, France on Friday morning, French media reported.
The attacker was turned away by the Yavne School security, made up of parents who serve as security on a volunteer basis, the Jewish Agency noted. The institution was immediately locked down with the students inside to ensure their safety. A police patrol car has been set up in front of the school building. French police forces were alerted immediately, and instructed Jewish sites throughout the city to tighten security in light of the attempted attack. After turned away from the school, the attacker tried to stab Jewish shoppers at a kosher supermarket in the city, where he was once again prevented from attacking anyone by the same security personnel. (JPost / VFI News)
Stories from VFI News except as noted. 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