IRANIAN DEFENSE MINISTER THREATENS TO RAZE TEL AVIV AND HAIFA: Iran’s Defense Minister Amir Hatami threatened on Sunday to “raze” the cities of Tel Aviv and Haifa “to the ground” if Israel launches a preemptive attack against the Islamic Republic.
At the same time, Hatami also played down the chances of direct hostilities breaking out between the two countries, saying Israel is well aware of the potential consequences of such actions. “Sometimes, the Zionist regime [Israel] out of desperation makes big claims against the Islamic Republic of Iran to allegedly threaten it,” said the Iranian Defense Minister. “It must know that if it does a damn thing, we will raze Tel Aviv and Haifa to the ground,” he warned. Hatami added that Iran has enough resources to “maintain the stability of the country” and boasted of its regional power via “resistance groups.” (INN / VFI News)
ISRAELI JETS ESCORT AMERICAN B-52S DURING FLYBY, IN SHOW OF FORCE TO IRAN: Israeli F-15 fighter jets escorted two American B-52 bombers through Israeli airspace on Sunday in a new show of force by the United States against Iran — with an Israeli element — amid rising tensions in the region.
Recent weeks have seen multiple attacks on American military bases in Iraq by Iran-linked militias, including one last week that resulted in the death of an American contractor, as well as an attack on an Israeli-owned ship in the Gulf of Oman that Israel has blamed on Tehran. Late last month, the US responded to the rocket attacks on its bases with an airstrike on an Iran-linked militia in Syria, killing at least one member. Sunday’s flyby through the region by the B-52 heavy bombers was at least the seventh such maneuver in the past six months. It marked the first time that Israeli planes were photographed accompanying the US bomber, however. (TOI / VFI News)
JORDANIAN PRINCE REFUSED ENTRY TO ISRAEL FOR VIOLATING AGREEMENT: Jordanian Prince Hussein canceled his visit for a coordinated visit to the Temple Mount following an incident at the Allenby Crossing.
The visit had been closely coordinated between Jordanian and Israeli officials, including security arrangements and the number of armed security guards to enter Israel with the prince. However, when the prince arrived with his entourage, it became clear that the Jordanians had not complied with the earlier agreement and had brought significantly greater security. Israel did not agree to the entry of additional security guards, and the entourage and prince returned to Amman. (INN / VFI News)
‘MBS READY TO MEET NETANYAHU IN ABU DHABI,’ EMIRATI SOURCE SAYS: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) may meet in Abu Dhabi on Thursday, a well-placed Emirati source said on Wednesday.
“MBS is ready to meet Bibi,” the source said, confirming that talks are ongoing in the three countries to arrange the meeting. Israel and Saudi Arabia do not have diplomatic relations, but ties between the countries have been warming, especially in cooperation against their shared adversary Iran. Netanyahu and MBS, as the Saudi crown prince is known, met in November of last year in the Saudi town of Neom, though neither has officially confirmed it. (JPost / VFI News)
ISRAEL, CYPRUS, AND GREECE AGREE TO LINK POWER GRIDS VIA SUBSEA CABLE: Cyprus, Greece, and Israel, on Monday, signed an initial agreement to build the world’s longest and deepest underwater power cable that will traverse the Mediterranean seabed at a cost of about $900 million and link their electricity grids.
The project, called the Euro-Asia interconnector, will provide a back-up power source in times of emergency, said Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, who was in Nicosia to sign a memorandum of understanding with his counterparts. Cypriot Energy Minister Natasa Pilides said it marked “a decisive step towards ending the island’s energy isolation, and consequently, our dependence on heavy fuels.” The cable will have a capacity of 1,000-2,000 megawatts (MW) and is expected to be completed by 2024, according to Israel’s energy ministry. (JPost / VFI News)
CHIEF RABBI: REFORM CONVERSIONS ‘AREN’T JEWISH’: The comments, made by the Sephardic Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef and published by Israeli media, come after Israel’s Supreme Court recognized Reform and Conservative conversions that take place in Israel in a decision last week.
“What is Reform conversion? It isn’t Jewish,” Rabbi Yosef said, in a video. The court ruling enables those who convert to Judaism under Reform or Conservative auspices in Israel to become citizens under Israel’s Law of Return, which allows any Jew who wishes to live in the country to become a citizen. While the decision became a lightning rod in a long-standing debate over the Orthodox rabbinate’s control over matters of religion in Israel, the scope of the decision is relatively narrow as it deals exclusively with conversions taking place in Israel. (INN / VFI News)
ISRAELIS CREATE CANCER DRUG WITHOUT ANIMAL TESTS, BY USING HUMAN-SIMULATING CHIP: Israeli scientists have developed a cancer drug without testing it on animals by using a chip that simulates the human body.
Hebrew University researchers created a chip containing human tissue with microscopic sensors to precisely monitor the response of the human body — kidney, liver, and heart — to specific drug treatments. The idea of organ-on-chip technology is 30 years old, but the Israeli team is believed to be the first to successfully create a new treatment using a chip’s capabilities in order to completely eliminate animal testing. They are so confident in their research, which paired two existing drugs in order to solve a problem of excess liver fat experienced by some cancer patients, that they are submitting the combination for a patent, for clinical trials, and for approval by the US Food and Drug Administration — all while skipping the normal animal testing. (TOI / VFI News)
ISRAEL ALLOCATES $60 MILLION TO BUILD FIRST QUANTUM COMPUTER: Israel is joining the global race in producing some of the world’s most advanced technologies, as the nation is looking to build its very first quantum computer, according to a report.
To fund the project, the Innovation Authority and the Defense Ministry are taking bids from multinational companies, Israeli businesses, and universities for a 198 million NIS ($60 million) project to build the computer, said Aviv Zeevi, Vice President at the Authority’s Technological Infrastructure Division. “We want to be in the game,” Zeevi said. “We need to be at least at a reasonable level to be able to develop” hardware and software associated with quantum computers. Israel is investing 1.25 billion NIS in a national initiative to build up quantum proficiency, and this project in particular is part of that initiative. (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