UN ARMS EMBARGO ON TEHRAN HAS ENDED: A longstanding UN embargo on arms sales to and from Iran expired early Sunday in line with a 2015 landmark nuclear deal, the Iranian foreign ministry said.
“As of today, all restrictions on the transfer of arms, related activities and financial services to and from the Islamic Republic of Iran are all automatically terminated,” the ministry said in a statement. The embargo on the sale of arms to Iran was due to start expiring progressively from Sunday, October 18, under the terms of the UN resolution that blessed the 2015 nuclear deal between the Islamic republic and world powers. “As of today, the Islamic Republic may procure any necessary arms and equipment from any source without any legal restrictions, and solely based on its defensive needs,” the ministry added in the statement sent out on Twitter. It insisted that under the terms of the deal, struck with the United States, China, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and the European Union, “the lifting of arms restrictions and the travel ban were designed to be automatic with no other action required.” (TOI / VFI News)
CORONAVIRUS CASES DECLINING: The number of newly diagnosed cases of the coronavirus in Israel continues to decline, along with the percentage of tests that are coming back positive, according to data released Friday morning by Israel’s Health Ministry.
A total of 1,608 new cases of the coronavirus were diagnosed across Israel on Thursday, the lowest number since Saturday. While the decline can be explained in part by the decrease in the number of tests – which fell from 38,831 on Wednesday to 35,466 on Thursday – the percentage of tests which returned positive also fell Thursday to its lowest level in weeks, falling to less than a third of the peak rate. Since the pandemic began, 301,289 cases of the virus have been reported in Israel, including 260,803 which ended in recovery. The death toll rose by 14 on Thursday, with an additional coronavirus-related fatality reported Friday morning, pushing the death toll to 2,128. (INN / VFI News)
ISRAEL, BAHRAIN SIGN PEACE STATEMENT IN MANAMA: Israel and Bahrain signed a “joint communique on establishing peaceful and diplomatic relations,” during a high-level Israeli government delegation’s visit to Manama on Sunday.
The countries signed seven memoranda of understanding, with the peace and normalization as the central document. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani before the signing, saying: “We are making giant steps to promote peace…This is the start of a breakthrough towards peace.” On Sunday morning, the first El Al flight to Manama took off from Ben-Gurion Airport with American and Israeli officials aboard. It was flight number 973, like Bahrain’s country code for phone calls. Pilot Bobby Lavi, addressed the passengers, saying: “We wish you a pleasant flight, and are looking forward for a new era of peace, salaam and shalom for the whole region. Thank you.” (JPost / VFI News)
NEARLY 80% OF SAUDIS FAVOR NORMALIZATION WITH ISRAEL: Nearly 80% of Saudis are in favor of working towards normalizing ties with Israel within the next five years, with 71% even thinking it likely that other Arab states will normalize ties without a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians, according to a new poll.
The study surveyed attitudes among Israelis and Arabs from five different countries (Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Palestine and Jordan) from the period spanning June 24 and July 5. This was over a month before the landmark peace deals between Israel, the UAE, and Bahrain were announced, which had resulted in the annexation of 30% of the West Bank being pulled off the table. As such, annexation remained a real possibility at the time. What is notable, however, is that the survey still showed that many Arabs were being in favor of normalizing ties with Israel at the time, provided steps were taken to achieve peace with the Palestinians. (JPost / VFI News)
PARIS ATTACKER MURDERS TEACHER FOR USING DRAWINGS OF PROPHET MUHAMMAD: A middle school history teacher in France was knifed to death near the school where earlier this month he had shown his pupils cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad, considered blasphemous by Muslims, French officials said on Friday.
The attacker was shot dead by a police patrol a few streets away from the scene of the attack late on Friday afternoon, in a residential suburb northwest of Paris. “One of our fellow citizens was assassinated today because he was teaching; he was teaching pupils about freedom of expression,” French President Emmanuel Macron told reporters at the scene of the attack. “Our compatriot was flagrantly attacked, was the victim of an Islamist terrorist attack,” Macron said. “They won’t win… We will act – firmly and quickly. You can count on my determination.” (JPost / VFI News)
HYDROGEN FUTURE SHOWS PROMISE FOR ISRAELI INNOVATORS: Around the world, the promise of hydrogen power, harvested by separating and reuniting the elements that make up water, is sparking the next revolution in clean energy.
The technology is still in its infancy, but both the government and private sector are pumping money into developing ways to make hydrogen use more powerful, efficient, and cost-effective. The Far East, Europe, and parts of the US are investing billions into creating a hydrogen infrastructure that will power trucking, heavy industry, and even homes. Tiny Israel neither builds vehicles nor has much heavy industry. Furthermore, the Energy Ministry is focused on replacing coal with less-polluting natural gas and on shoring up the infrastructure needed to reach its target of generating 30 percent of the nation’s energy through renewable sources, mainly solar, by 2030. (TOI / VFI News)
PLASTIC BAGS & CONTAINERS MAKE UP 70% OF ISRAEL’S MED, RED SEA TRASH: Nearly three-quarters of the trash found in Israeli waters in the Mediterranean and the Red Sea consists of bits of plastic bags and plastic containers, according to the National Marine Waste Monitoring Report for 2019, published Wednesday.
The survey was released just a day after the Knesset Interior Affairs and Environmental Protection committees heard that targets for plastic bag reduction in the coming years, which should have been embedded in Knesset regulations by 2018, have not advanced beyond the desk of two Environmental Protection ministers, in violation of the law. Despite pleas from ministry officials to step up activity, no public awareness campaigns to cut plastic bags have been run since 2016 because they were “not ministerial priorities.” (TOI / VFI News)
JEWISH FAMILY’S PAINTING RETURNED TO ITS HEIRS: A painting of two young, 19th-century skaters that was looted by Nazis from a Jewish family in 1933 and recently discovered at a small museum in upstate New York was returned Thursday after 87 years.
The painting “Winter,” by American artist Gari Melchers, was part of a cache of more than 1,000 pieces of art and artifacts seized from the Mosse family, prominent and well-off Jewish residents of Berlin who became early targets of the Nazi Party. Heirs have been tenaciously seeking to recover the lost pieces for the past decade. “The Mosse family lost nearly everything because they were Jews. But they did not lose hope,” acting US Attorney for the Northern District of New York Antoinette Bacon said at a repatriation ceremony at the Albany FBI office. “While this certainly does not take away the pain that the Mosses endured, I hope it provides the family with some measure of justice.” (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