IRAN PRESIDENT VOWS TO HELP SYRIA CONFRONT ISRAEL ‘UNTIL GOLAN LIBERATED’: Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday that Tehran and Damascus share a common goal of confronting Israel and will continue on that path until the Golan Heights has been returned to Syria.
Rouhani’s website said the remarks came during a meeting with visiting Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad. “The Islamic Republic of Iran will continue its support to the Syrian government and people as our strategic ally and we will stand by Syria until its final victory,” Rouhani said, adding that confronting “Zionist occupiers and terrorism” is the joint goal of both nations. IDF chief Aviv Kohavi said last week that Israel would not let up its campaign aimed at keeping Iran-backed fighters from gaining a foothold in Syria. The IDF has launched hundreds of strikes in Syria since the start of the civil war in 2011 against moves by Iran to establish a permanent military presence in the country and efforts to transport advanced, game-changing weapons to terrorist groups in the region, principally Hezbollah. (TOI / VFI News)
SATELLITE IMAGERY INDICATES IRAN MOVING NUCLEAR SITE UNDERGROUND: Satellite imagery shows that Iran is moving its key Natanz nuclear site underground.
Following the mysterious July explosion, which started a fire at the Natanz facility damaging key centrifuges, a Visual Investigations team began tracking construction and repairs at the site. On December 9, it was reported that “tunnel entrances for underground construction are [now] visible under a ridge in the mountain foothills south of the Natanz facility, about 140 miles south of Tehran.” (JPost / VFI News)
RUSSIA’S AMB. TO ISRAEL SUMMONED TO FOREIGN MINISTRY FOR REPRIMAND: Russia’s ambassador to Israel has been summoned to the Foreign Ministry following an interview, in which the ambassador said that “Israel is a major problem in the Middle East.”
Foreign Ministry political-strategic desk head Ambassador Alon Bar rebuked Ambassador Anatoly Viktorov, saying that his remarks were inconsistent with the reality in the Middle East that was presented to the ambassador more than once, and discussed in political talks and diplomatic channels between the two countries. The leader clarified to the ambassador Israel’s position and expectation that the discourse, including on regional issues, especially the Iranian threat and Iran’s proxy organizations, especially Hezbollah, will take place via diplomatic channels, with reference to the reality and threats facing Israel, and not to “outrageous and dangerous false visions, as is customary and as has been the practice so far between the two countries.” (INN / VFI News)
ISRAEL TO BEGIN GIVING CORONAVIRUS VACCINES DEC. 27: Speaking at a news conference on the day that the first several thousand Pfizer vaccines landed in Israel, he said the aim would be to administer jabs to 60,000 people per day, mainly through the local health funds.
Every person who is vaccinated will receive a green passport and will be able to move freely, he added, though he and Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said the details of the program would be coming soon. “The more you get vaccinated, the more the economy will be able to open up,” Edelstein said Wednesday night. The health minister also announced that going forward, subject to two negative coronavirus tests, it will be possible to be released from isolation after 10 days. “In the coming days we will announce when it will start,” Edelstein said. “This is good news for the economy and citizens.” (JPost / VFI News)
THOUSANDS OF ISRAELIS PUSHED INTO POVERTY AMID PANDEMIC: Some 268,000 new families have found themselves in a situation of “extreme poverty” this year amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, according to a report by the ERI Institute.
It reports that almost three in 10 Israelis (29.3%) live in poverty (850,000 households) – 9.3% of the population – a number clearly exacerbated by the pandemic. The report also found that Israel’s middle class dwindled during the pandemic, shrinking by a total of 15.5%. More than half (50.7%) reported “significant economic damage,” and only 23% of households report their financial situation to be “standard or above standard,” compared to the 45% who said so prior to the pandemic. (JPost / VFI News)
WEST BANK WORKERS ENTERING ISRAEL WILL BE REQUIRED TO TEST FOR COVID-19: Due to the rapid spread of coronavirus throughout the West Bank and the increasing morbidity rates in the area and in Israel as a whole, the Defense Ministry has decided to start imposing mandatory coronavirus tests in border crossings for work permit holders entering Israel from the West Bank, COGAT spokesperson’s office announced on Wednesday.
Workers entering Israel who refuse to be tested would be prohibited from entering the country. The Home Front Command’s “Alon” coronavirus HQ and the Civil Administration in COGAT will be tasked with managing the tests. Authorities have had trouble grasping the entire scope of morbidity rates in the West Bank for several reasons—the main issues being the lack of enforcement in the area and the phenomenon of fake medical documents becoming more popular and reaching Israel. (JPost / VFI News)
EU MEMBERS SLAM IRAN’S PLAN TO BOOST ENRICHMENT: Plans by Iran to install advanced centrifuges at its main nuclear enrichment plant in Natanz are “deeply worrying,” France, Germany, and the UK said on Monday.
The three governments, dubbed the E3, said the plans were contrary to the 2015 agreement between Tehran and world powers that aimed to restrain Iran’s nuclear program by barring sophisticated centrifuges. The E3 also warned Iran not to move ahead with a law that would see it boot UN inspectors and increase uranium enrichment. The development came days after Iran informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that it planned to install several cascades, or clusters, of advanced uranium-enriching centrifuges at the Natanz plant in violation of its commitments under the nuclear deal. (TOI / VFI News)
ISRAELI MASK MAKER SONOVIA COMPLETES IPO: Ramat Gan-based Israeli fabric maker and developer Sonovia has completed its initial public offering (IPO) following its success in developing the SonoMask, which has been lab-tested to neutralize the novel coronavirus at an effective rate of 99.34%.
Sonovia’s offering was oversubscribed, attracting a total of NIS 55.9 million ($18.5 m.), of which NIS 35 million ($10.7 m.) will be liquidated in stocks to public investors to represent 25.9% of the company at NIS 9.15 a share. Sonovia raised an additional NIS 12 million ($3.7 m.) through a private offering. The company was valued at NIS 94 million ($29 m.) before going public, with a NIS 141 million ($43.4 m.) post-money valuation. The textile and chemical solvent manufacturer will now be listed on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. Since the decision to go public centered around the development of its patented bacteria eliminating technology, which is thought to be where Sonovia will earn the bulk of its future capital, it will be traded as a technology company. (JPost / 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