A FOURTH ELECTION WITHIN TWO YEARS IS NOW A CERTAINTY: Sometimes it’s important to state the obvious: The 35th Government of the State of Israel was a halting, limping mess.
It couldn’t pass a state budget, struggled to craft coherent coronavirus restrictions, often failed to enforce those it managed to approve, and couldn’t fill vital posts in the public service — from top cop to key public health officials. It couldn’t even coordinate among its bickering partners basic steps to streamline the new regional normalization moves as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted on keeping his Blue and White partners far from any limelight or credit. It was that compartmentalization that left the Defense Ministry scrambling to sign a new agreement with the Pentagon ensuring Israel’s “qualitative military edge” after the surprise discovery that the UAE peace deal included, unofficially, a fleet of F-35s for Abu Dhabi. (TOI / VFI News)
AMERICAN JEWS FIND WAYS TO GIVE THANKS, DESPITE COVID-19: Traditionally, Thanksgiving was an action-packed day for the Chelst family in Washington, DC, beginning with an afternoon of football and extending into a night of socializing.
As the COVID-19 pandemic rages across the country, they, like most Americans, experienced a different kind of holiday. “This year it’s dinner and leaving, that was the compromise,” said Michael Chelst. He plans to eat with his wife, two daughters, and at the opposite end of an eight-foot table, his 90-year-old mother-in-law. “Because she is a fragile age, we planned everything out in advance. She sits down first, one person brings her food, and the rest of us stay at the other end of the long table. We had to weigh the risk of having people together or her not being able to have Thanksgiving. We consulted with doctors and decided it was the right choice as long as we did so carefully,” Chelst said. (JPost / VFI News)
SYRIA REPORTS ISRAELI AIR STRIKES: Syrian media reported Israeli airstrikes on several targets in the country on Tuesday night.
The attacks reportedly took place in the southern Quneitra area and in Jabal Mana’, southeast of the capital Damascus. Syrian television reported that the country’s air defense systems were activated and intercepted targets. A military source in Syria said there were no casualties in the attack and that only damage was caused. Last week, IDF fighter jets attacked military targets in Syria belonging to the Iranian Quds Force and the Syrian army. The attack was carried out in response to the placement of explosives near the border fence with Syria in Israeli territory, by a Syrian squad operating under Iranian guidance. (INN / VFI News)
KNESSET TO CRACK DOWN ON VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: The Knesset gave an initial go-ahead to two bills aimed at providing support for victims of domestic violence Wednesday, as the world marked the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
One bill would protect women living in shelters from losing their jobs, and the other would remove guardianship rights for fathers convicted of domestic homicide. They both passed a preliminary reading, but must still go through three more readings and committee markup before becoming law. The parliament vote came after the Ministerial Committee for Legislation overcame coalition tensions to convene and approve the bills. The panel, which determines whether the government will back legislative measures, had been prevented from meeting by increasingly frayed ties between the Likud and Blue and White parties, which have threatened to bring down the government. (TOI / VFI News)
IDF PREPARING IN CASE TRUMP LAUNCHES PARTING STRIKE ON IRAN: A report Wednesday claimed that the Israeli army has been preparing for the possibility that US President Donald Trump will order a strike on Iran before leaving office in January.
Citing senior Israeli officials, it said there is no specific information that such an attack is imminent, but Israeli leaders believe the US president’s final weeks in the job will be “a very sensitive period.” The officials said Washington would likely update Israel before carrying out military action against the Islamic Republic. Still, there were concerns it would not give the Israel Defense Forces enough time to prepare for possible retaliation targeting Israel, including from Iran’s proxies in Lebanon and Syria, according to the report. (TOI / VFI News)
REPORT: 22% OF EUROPEAN HATE CRIMES AGAINST JEWS: Anti-Semitic incidents accounted for 22% of hate crimes recorded last year in the pan-European region, though Jews comprise less than 1% of the population there.
The data on hate crimes comes from a report about 5,954 incidents recorded in Europe, Russia, and Central Asia by the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, or ODIHR, of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, or OSCE, ODHIR said in its annual report published last week. The report is based on data transmitted by governments and watchdog groups. Of the total incidents, 1,311 were anti-Semitic, according to the report titled “2019 Hate Crime Data.” Anti-Semitism was the category with the second-largest number of incidents after the 2,371 incidents in the more general Racism and Xenophobia category. Those targeted for their gender or sexual orientation (1,277 cases) made up the third-highest group, followed by Christians (573) and Muslims (507). (INN / VFI News)
ISRAEL COMMITS TO REGULATING JUDEA AND SAMARIA: Settlement Affairs Minister Tzachi Hanegbi announced Wednesday evening at the Knesset plenum that he will promote a move to regulate ‘outposts’ in Judea and Samaria in agreement with Prime Minister Netanyahu and Minister Michael Biton.
“We have jointly agreed to formulate a resolution to the government to promote all legal moves that will lead to the regulation of young settlements. I am convinced that the government will take the issue very seriously and examine it with in-depth consideration,” Hanegbi said. “I thank the Knesset members who raised the issue on the agenda. The mobilization of many forces to finally regulate the young settlement is to be welcomed. After 20 years of these pioneers working for us, it is time for us to work for them,” he added. (INN / VFI News)
WATER AUTHORITY PREPARES TO OPEN DEGANIA DAM AMID HIGH HOPES FOR KINNERET: The Water Authority is preparing for the possibility that it may need to open the Degania Dam for the first time in 25 years as the Kinneret remains high after two years of especially rainy winters.
If the rainfall in the coming winter exceeds 90% of the perennial average, then the dam will need to be opened. The hydrological service’s forecasts predict that the coming winter will have slightly lower rainfall than the perennial average, but the Kinneret is already just a little less than 1.2 meters below the upper red line which marks a full lake, due to the last two rainy winters. The Water Authority, therefore, believes that there is a likelihood that the Kinneret will fill up this winter and that the Degania Dam will need to be opened. The opening of the dam will likely take place around April 2021 if the water level rises high enough. (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