LAPID INFORMS PRESIDENT HE CAN FORM GOVERNMENT, REMOVING NETANYAHU FROM POWER: Thirty-five minutes before a midnight deadline, Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid on Wednesday night informed President Reuven Rivlin he is able to form a government in which he and Yamina chief Naftali Bennett will switch off as prime minister, positioning themselves to replace Israel’s longest-serving leader Benjamin Netanyahu as premier.
Under the terms of the new coalition, Bennett is to serve as prime minister until September 2023, when Lapid will take over from him until the end of the Knesset term in November 2025. The agreement came together after Ra’am leader Mansour Abbas threw his support behind the would-be government late on Wednesday night, setting up his Islamist party to be the first majority Arab party in decades to be part of a ruling coalition. Despite Lapid’s declaration, it remained unclear that the prospective “change government” will make it past the finish line. It is set to include 61 of the 120 MKs — the narrowest possible majority. And an MK from Bennett’s Yamina, Nir Orbach, earlier on Wednesday night announced he could vote against the new coalition, a move that could potentially doom the prospective razor-thin government of right-wing, centrist, left-wing parties and the Islamist Ra’am. (JPost / VFI News)
ISAAC HERZOG ELECTED 11TH PRESIDENT OF THE STATE OF ISRAEL BY WIDE MARGIN: Jewish Agency chairman Isaac Herzog will be the 11th president of the State of Israel after he received 87 votes from MKs in a secret ballot vote in the Knesset plenum.
Herzog’s opponent, Israel Prize-winning educator Miriam Peretz, received 27 votes and three MKs abstained. Had she been elected, Peretz would have become Israel’s first woman president. It was the largest victory in any presidential election in Israel’s history. Herzog will take over for President Reuven Rivlin when his term ends on July 9. (JPost / VFI News)
DISASTER FOR IRAN AS ITS LARGEST NAVAL SHIP SINKS: Iran suffered another humiliating disaster after its largest naval ship, which it calls a naval training support vessel, was destroyed in a fire.
The fire happened near the port of Jask, as rumors circulated throughout the night. The disaster was confirmed in the morning by Iran’s Tasnim News, and other sources reported the same. Iran says that “measures were taken to extinguish the fire; the trained personnel disembarked and were taken to shore.” It is not clear whether the fire was accidental, but tensions have loomed over the region for the last year amid reports of various attacks on vessels of Iran and Israel as well as Iranian harassment of US ships. Iranian ships swarmed a US Coast Guard vessel in April, and the US seized an Iranian shipment of weapons on a Dhow in May. (JPost / VFI News)
GANTZ SLAMS NETANYAHU OVER THREAT THAT ISRAEL WILL IGNORE US ON IRAN: Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz clashed on Tuesday after the prime minister issued a veiled threat against the Biden administration’s continued effort to return to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.
“Our greatest threat is the existential threat posed by Iran’s efforts to arm itself with nuclear weapons, whether to threaten us directly with atomic weapons, with the destruction of a small state or to threaten us with tens of thousands of missiles or a great many missiles backed by a nuclear umbrella,” Netanyahu said at a ceremony for incoming Mossad Director David Barnea. “This is a threat against the continuation of the Zionist enterprise, and we must fight this threat relentlessly.” Addressing the Mossad agents seated in front, he said: “All of you do this. We spoke yesterday about the actions that have been taken, and these actions must continue. I have said these things to my friend of 40 years, [US President] Joe Biden, and I told him, ‘With or without an agreement, we will continue to do everything in our power to prevent Iran from arming itself with nuclear weapons.’” Following Netanyahu’s veiled threat against the Biden administration’s policy of seeking to return to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, Gantz said differences should be resolved quietly and without unnecessarily “defiant rhetoric.” (JPost / VFI News)
UK RECORDS RECORD NUMBER OF ANTI-SEMITIC INCIDENTS IN MAY: A record number of anti-Semitic incidents in May was recorded by the Community Security Trust (CST), the main organization that provides security and assistance to the UK Jewish community, reported the Jewish Chronicle.
The CST recorded 325 incidents between May 8 and May 27. The number surpassed the high of 317 incidents recorded during Operation Protective Edge in 2014. There was a 392 percent increase in reported anti-Semitic incidents from the number reported 20 days before the start of the 11-day conflict between Israel and Hamas. Of the recorded incidents, 116 took place online while 209 took place in person. (INN / VFI News)
ISRAEL SUMMONS ARGENTINA’S AMB OVER VOTE TO INVESTIGATE ALLEGED WAR CRIMES: The Foreign Ministry summoned Argentine Ambassador to Israel Sergio Urribarri for clarification about his country’s vote at the UN Human Rights Council last week in favor of creating a permanent investigatory panel into alleged Israeli war crimes.
Modi Ephraim, head of the Foreign Ministry’s Latin America and Caribbean division, said on Tuesday that Argentina’s vote is unacceptable to Israel as it ignores Hamas terrorism and the firing of close to 4,500 rockets at Israeli citizens. Ephraim noted that it is inconceivable that Argentina, whose country has suffered from terrorist attacks on Argentinian soil organized by both Iran and Hezbollah – with the bombing of the Israeli embassy in 1992 and the subsequent bombing of the AMIA building in 1994 – would shy away from condemning Hamas terrorism and support the UN commission instead. (JPost / VFI News)
ISRAEL SIGNS $200 MILLION DEAL TO SELL DRONES TO ASIAN COUNTRY: The Israel Aerospace Industry said Tuesday it has signed a $200 million deal to supply drone technology and services to an unspecified Asian country.
The deal is for the sale of the IAI’s Heron drone, including the more advanced MK II version. “The signing of this deal clearly expresses the satisfaction of our customers around the world, with the operational and technical performance of the Heron UAV system,” said IAI director-general Boaz Levi. (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