GERMAN INTEL: IRAN SEEKS TECH FOR WMDS: The domestic intelligence agency for the German state of Saarland added new weight to intelligence reports from its sister states, which previously confirmed the Islamic Republic of Iran has sought technology for weapons of mass destruction and missile carrier systems.
The intelligence report released last week was titled “Overview of the situation,” and addressed security threats faced last year by the small west-German state Saarland. “Iran, Pakistan, and to a lesser extent Syria, made efforts to procure goods and know-how for the further development of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems,” wrote the intelligence officials for the Saarland. “Delivery system” is typically defined as the capability to launch missiles. Israel, the United States and many Gulf nations believe Iran’s regime seeks to develop nuclear weapons. (JPost / VFI News)
IS TURKEY MOVING INTO NORTHERN LEBANON?: According to a report on the pro-Saudi Al Arabiya website, officials in Lebanon are concerned at increased indications of Turkish efforts to build strength and influence in the country. The report quoted two sources in Lebanese intelligence, who mentioned recent Turkish efforts to bring weapons into northern Lebanon.
“We are pretty worried about what’s going on. The Turks are sending an incredible amount of weapons into the north,” the website quoted its source as saying. These reports await confirmation, and Al Arabiya is of course a media source linked to Saudi Arabia—a state rival of Turkey’s. But the evidence for a broader Turkish effort to build influence and allies in Lebanon in recent months is considerable, and solid—as are the indications of a Turkish-controlled infrastructure emerging in Sunni northern Lebanon. Both fit with the broader pattern both of Turkish behavior and of broader regional realities. (JPost / VFI News)
IDF ON HIGH ALERT AMID FEARS OF HEZBOLLAH ATTACK: The IDF remained on high alert along the northern border with Lebanon over the weekend amid expectations that Hezbollah will continue trying to attack Israeli soldiers deployed nearby.
On Wednesday, Israeli attack helicopters and fighter jets struck posts belonging to Hezbollah along the border in response to sniper fire against IDF troops near Kibbutz Menara in the Upper Galilee. It was the third failed attack by Hezbollah since the group’s leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah vowed to avenge the death of one of his operatives, killed in an alleged Israeli airstrike in Syria in July. The high alert continues as the UN Security Council (UNSC) decided Friday to extend the mandate of the UNIFIL peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon for another year, while slightly reducing its number of troops. The council added several demands from the Lebanese government to allow UNIFIL to operate more efficiently due to American and Israeli efforts to strengthen the force’s authority in the face of Hezbollah activity. (JPost / VFI News)
ISRAEL, UAE START TALKS TO OPEN EMBASSIES DURING HISTORIC FIRST VISIT: Israel and the United Arab Emirates have started discussions to open embassies in each other’s countries, during a high-level government meeting in Abu Dhabi on Monday.
The countries’ foreign ministries, along with American representatives, worked on the details of the normalization deal and other bilateral agreements between the countries. Foreign Ministry Director-General Alon Ushpiz said: “We are starting a historic process and we plan to promote the institution of full relations and opening embassies in the two countries as soon as possible to strengthen the cooperation between Israel and the UAE. “Movement of people, goods and finance is the central key to realizing the great potential in the relations,” Ushpiz added. Israeli and Emirati officials in other areas like science and space, civil aviation, foreign policy and diplomacy, tourism, finance, health and more met for round-table discussions of possible opportunities for cooperation, often with an American facilitator. (JPost / VFI News)
‘SHALOM’ ON THE FRONT PAGE OF UAE NEWSPAPER: The front page of Tuesday’s Khaleej Times, the UAE’s longest-running English daily newspaper, features a photo of Monday’s historic meeting in Abu Dhabi between Israeli National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat, UAE National Security Advisor Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed and US Senior Presidential Advisor Jared Kushner.
Above the photo is the caption “Salam, Shalom.” The first-ever direct commercial flight between Israel and the Arab Gulf touched down at the United Arab Emirates Abu Dhabi International Airport on Monday afternoon. The plane, El Al Flight LY 971, landed in Abu Dhabi at 2:38 p.m. Israel time (3:38 local time), bringing the US and Israeli delegation to the UAE capital city for high-level talks with the UAE towards the finalization of a peace treaty between Israel and the UAE. The flight also made history as the first time an El Al plane is known to have flown through Saudi airspace, after Saudi Arabia permitted Israel, despite not having formal relations with the Jewish state. (INN / VFI News)
PALESTINIANS OUTRAGED BY ISRAELI DELEGATION’S VISIT TO UAE: Palestinians from across the political spectrum on Monday reacted with fury to the first official visit of an Israeli delegation to the United Arab Emirates and again accused the Gulf state of “stabbing the Palestinian people in the back.”
The Palestinians were “deeply pained” to see an Israeli aircraft land in the UAE, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said. The aircraft carried the name of the “colony of Kiryat Gat, which was built on the lands of the village of Faluja, where Gamal Abdel Nasser was besieged,” he said. Shtayyeh was referring to the military confrontation between the IDF and the Egyptian army during the 1948 War of Independence. Palestinians say Kiryat Gat was built on land that belonged to the villages of Faluja and Iraq al-Manshiya. The Egyptian army occupied the area in May 1948, but was defeated by the IDF in a counteroffensive. The Egyptian troops included a young officer, Gamal Abdel Nasser, who later became president of Egypt. (JPost / VFI News)
IRAN’S LEADER: ISRAEL-UAE DEAL WILL ALWAYS BE REMEMBERED AS A BETRAYAL: Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a speech Tuesday that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) betrayed the Islamic world and Palestine by normalizing relations with Israel.
“Of course, the UAE’s betrayal will not last long, but this stigma will always be remembered. They allowed the Zionist regime to have a foothold in the region and forgot Palestine,” Khamenei said, according to Reuters. “The Emiratis will be disgraced forever for this treachery against the Islamic world, Arab nations and Palestine.” The two countries announced a plan for integrating their economies and the UAE formally ended its boycott on Israeli goods Saturday. Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, joined U.S. and Israeli officials Monday on the first official Israeli flight to the UAE, according to NPR. The delegation is set to advance the Aug. 13 deal and fully normalize diplomatic relations between the two countries. Khamenei condemned the meeting between the three countries. “The UAE along with Israelis and evil Americans like the Jewish member of Trump’s family are working together against the interests of the Islamic world,” Khamenei said. (DC / VFI News)
IDF SUMS-UP: 100 TERROR TARGETS IN 19 NIGHTS: The IDF has attacked about 100 targets of the Hamas Islamic organization for 19 nights, the IDF concluded today.
The attacks were carried out in response to rocket launches, disturbances on the fence, and explosive and incendiary balloons launched from the Gaza Strip to Israeli territory. As part of the attacks, military complexes in key structures, underground infrastructure, and military positions of Hamas were attacked. “These attacks constitute significant damage to the infrastructure and military build-up of the terrorist organization Hamas. The IDF is ready for action as far as is needed to protect the residents adjacent to Gaza and the south,” the IDF Spokesman said. (INN / VFI News)
Amid the Profound Impact of COVID—What Lies Ahead for US Jewry?: HUNDREDS of synagogues have been shuttered for months. Jewish organizations are slashing budgets and staff. Jewish community centers, saddled with empty gyms and child care centers, have laid off masses of employees.
Jewish camps closed this summer, Jewish day schools will hold only virtual sessions in the new term and kosher restaurants are going out of business. Trips to Israel are suspended, Birthright is on hold until further notice and AIPAC, whose annual conference every March typically draws more 15,000 Israel supporters to Washington, D.C., canceled its 2021 conference. This is what American Jewry looks like six months into a global pandemic that has killed nearly 200,000 Americans and set in motion an economic crisis of unknown scope whose impact likely will last for years. With so much in flux and no end to the crisis in sight, what lies ahead for the world’s largest Jewish community? Ira Sheskin, a demographer of American Jewry at the University of Miami had this to say: “While some individual institutions undoubtedly will not survive an economic crisis that seems likely to dwarf the 2008 recession, the basic building blocks of American Jewish life will weather this storm.” (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