NEW GOVERNMENT TO BE SWORN IN ON WEDNESDAY: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will leave office after 4,454 consecutive days on Wednesday when the new government of incoming Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is scheduled to be sworn in, a Likud source said on Thursday night.
While Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin would like to keep Netanyahu in office as long as possible, sources acknowledged that he does not intend to fight over a few extra days in deciding when the new government will be brought to a vote of confidence in the Knesset. “We don’t want to deal with a challenge to the Supreme Court, receive bad press and look like sore losers,” a Likud source said. “We fight the Supreme Court over more serious issues.” The following Monday, June 14, has also not been ruled out. (JPost / VFI News)
ISRAEL ARRESTS TOP HAMAS LEADER IN PREDAWN RAID: The Israel Defense Forces said they arrested a top Hamas leader during a raid in the West Bank early Wednesday. Sheikh Jamal Tawil is allegedly linked to a number of suicide bombings and has been arrested by Israel multiple times.
“Tawil is a senior figure in the Hamas terror group in the West Bank, who recently took an active part in organizing riots, inciting violence, and reforming Hamas’s headquarters in Ramallah,” the IDF said in a statement. Hamas responded to the arrest by saying it would not “silence” the group’s voice in the region. “The sons of Hamas and its commanders are all soldiers of the resistance, and they will continue the path of freedom and liberation whatever the sacrifices,” the statement said. Israel has cracked down on Hamas since the Israel-Gaza conflict last month, arresting 10 activists just on May 20. This week Hamas called for Palestinians to exhibit a “Day of rage” against Israeli treatment on Friday. This comes amid a ceasefire between the two sides. Hundreds of people, mostly Palestinian, died during the 11-day conflict last month. (Fox / VFI News)
IRAN, TURKEY AMONG TOP 10 NATIONS WITH MOST NEW COVID CASES: When the World Health Organization announced on June 2 that it had recorded 3.5 million new COVID-19 infections in the prior week (a 15 percent decline from the week before), two countries in the Middle East appeared among the top ten nations with the most new cases.
Iran had the sixth-largest number of cases worldwide with over 69,000, and Turkey had the ninth-largest number of new cases at over 57,000. Despite this, Turkey eased restrictions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus on June 1, including loosening weekend curfew rules and allowing small groups of people to be served in restaurants and cafés. Iranian authorities announced earlier this week that it hopes to begin its first state-sponsored COVID-19 vaccination drive in September. This comes as the death toll from the virus has passed 304,000 in the Islamic Republic. (JPost / VFI News)
REDUCED TO ‘BEGGING’ FOR FUNDS, 7 HOSPITALS TO BOYCOTT PANDEMIC VICTORY CEREMONY: Plans for a government event honoring the health system for COVID-fighting efforts have taken an embarrassing turn after seven hospitals announced they were boycotting the event because they feel the government has abandoned them financially since the pandemic.
Israel’s seven “public” hospitals — meaning institutions that are open to all patients and rely mostly on state funds, though they are privately owned — are taking the stand together, they announced on Thursday. In the statement, the institutions said it would be “ridiculous” for them to attend the Health Ministry-organized ceremony on Sunday, which is likely to involve Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (TOI / VFI News)
HONDURAS TO OPEN EMBASSY IN JERUSALEM THIS MONTH, PRESIDENT TO TRAVEL TO ISRAEL: Honduras will open an embassy in Jerusalem this month, the country’s president said Thursday, in a bid to build closer ties with Israel after decades of operating in Tel Aviv.
The Central American nation previously opened a commercial office in Jerusalem, breaking a decades-long policy of neutrality in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel is set to open a diplomatic office in Tegucigalpa, Honduras’s capital city, in response, after opening a temporary representative office in the Honduran capital last August. (TOI / VFI News)
ISRAELI SHARK & DOLPHIN EXPERT NAMED NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC EMERGING EXPLORER: University of Haifa researcher Dr. Aviad Scheinen has been named by National Geographic as one of the 15 Emerging Explorers of 2021, changing the world “one idea at a time.”
Scheinen is the head of the Marine Apex Predator Lab at the university’s Morris Kahn Marine Research Station. In this capacity, he has for decades been one of Israel’s leading researchers on sharks, rays, and coastal dolphins. He made waves in his recent long-term project, the first of its kind, that examined the behavior of coastal dolphins, and also made a significant splash by discovering gray whales and false killer whales in the eastern Mediterranean. Scheinen is also a co-founder of the nonprofit Delphis organization and led the establishment of the Dolphin and Sea Center, an Israeli conservationist institution. (JPost / VFI News)
GERMAN ARMY APPOINTS CHIEF RABBI FOR 1ST TIME IN A CENTURY: For the first time in 100 years and 76 years after the Holocaust ended, the German Army will appoint a chief rabbi and other rabbis to its military chaplaincy.
Rabbi Mordechai Eliezer (Zsolt) Balla’s appointment ceremony will take place in Leipzig in three weeks’ time, according to several reports said this week. At least ten other rabbis will also be appointed to various positions in the German army, the reports said. “It is a great responsibility. We need to help all Jews [in the army] live a Jewish life, if they are looking for Kosher food, if they are looking for the opportunity to pray,” Balla said on Thursday. (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