US Defense Chief Says No Iran Nukes
US DEFENSE SECRETARY VOWS TO KEEP NUKES OUT OF IRAN’S HANDS: U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin vowed Saturday, November 20, to both block Iran from securing nuclear weapons and counter its “dangerous use” of suicide drones throughout the Mideast.
“The United States remains committed to preventing Iran from gaining a nuclear weapon, and we remain committed to a diplomatic outcome of the nuclear issue,” said Austin during the annual Manama Dialogue in Bahrain. “But if Iran isn’t willing to engage seriously, then we will look at all of the options necessary.” Austin’s pledge to America’s Gulf Arab allies came as the Biden administration is scrambling to revive Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal, which limited Iran’s enrichment of uranium in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions. Donald Trump pulled out of the deal during his presidency, leaving many countries in vulnerable positions, according to critics. Austin also sought to reassure Middle East allies about America’s commitment to the region’s security, following the US’s withdrawal from Afghanistan and amid rising tensions with China. Iran has long claimed its nuclear program is peaceful, but U.S. intelligence agencies and the International Atomic Energy Agency say Tehran had an organized weapons program until 2003. Iran’s mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Associated Press on Saturday. After then-President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew America from the Iran nuclear deal in 2018, a number of escalating incidents have struck the wider Mideast. That includes drone and mine attacks targeting vessels at sea, as well as assaults blamed on Iran and its proxies in Iraq and Syria. Under President Biden, U.S. military officials are seeking a wider reshuffling of forces from the Mideast to other areas, but America still maintains a large presence at bases across the region. (NYPost / VFI News)
UK’S BAN ON HAMAS A SIGNIFICANT BLOW TO FUNDING FOR TERROR GROUP: The United Kingdom’s decision Friday, November 19, to designate the entirety of Hamas as a terror organization and outlaw support for the group is a major blow for the Islamist group, which carries out significant fundraising there.
The UK proscribed the terror group’s military wing — the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades — in 2001. But the Hamas political leadership remained technically in the clear until now. This enabled Hamas to raise funds that were channeled to institutions including Gaza’s Islamic University, the leading facility for advancing the technology used in Hamas missile and other weapons development. Hamas reacted angrily to the decision, with spokesperson Hazim Qasim calling it “a new crime committed by Britain against our Palestinian people.” In a separate statement, Hamas condemned the move as one of a long line of British “sins” against the Palestinian people. The terror group singled out the 1917 Balfour Declaration, which affirmed British support for establishing a Jewish state. UK Home Secretary Priti Patel, who is in charge of domestic security, said on Friday on Twitter that she had “acted to proscribe Hamas in its entirety.” The ban, which must be approved by Parliament, would make it illegal in Britain to be a member of Hamas or to express support for the group, with a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison. (TOI / VFI News)
SHIN BET CATCHES LARGE HAMAS TERRORIST NETWORK IN WEST BANK: Just a day after a Hamas operative killed an Israeli and injured four others in a terrorist attack in Jerusalem, the Shin Bet revealed on Monday, November 22, that it had thwarted a massive Hamas terror network planning terror attacks in Israel and the West Bank.
The network, led by senior Hamas officials living abroad, operated throughout the West Bank and aimed to carry out attacks including suicide bombings in both the West Bank and Israel proper. Some 50 cell members were arrested in the joint Shin Bet, IDF and Israel Police operation. According to a statement released by the Shin Bet, the cell members arrested were involved in establishing the cell and raising funds to buy weapons. During the arrest operation, weapons and enough explosive materials to make three or four suicide belts were seized. The cell members were drafted from around the West Bank, including Ramallah, Hebron and Jenin. One of the main individuals involved in the formation of the network was Hijazi Qawasmi 37, a known Hamas operative from Hebron. Qawasmi had been arrested multiple times due to his work for Hamas and planning for terror attacks. The network was funded and led by Deputy Hamas Political Bureau Chairman Saleh al-Arouri who lives in Turkey. Arouri is one of the founders of Hamas’s military wing the Izzedin al-Qassam Brigades and is responsible for several bloody terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians. (JPost / VFI News)
BRAZILIAN JOURNALIST SAYS BRAZIL WOULD NEED TO KILL JEWS TO GROW ECONOMY: A journalist working for one of Brazil’s largest broadcasters apologized for saying on TV on Wednesday, November 17, that the only way his country could match Germany’s wealth is by killing its Jews.
Jose Carlos Bernardi, a pundit for Jovem Pan, a right-leaning radio and television station, made the comments in a discussion Tuesday about a visit by former Brazilian president Luis Inácio Lula da Silva to Germany. Asked by journalist Amanda Klein how Brazil could attain the economic development enjoyed by Germany, Bernardi replied: “Only by attacking Jews will we get there. If we kill a gazillion Jews and appropriate their economic power, then Brazil will get rich. That’s what happened with Germany after the war.” Bernardi’s remarks provoked an outcry by critics who accused him of inciting violence and repeating anti-Semitic stereotypes about Jews and wealth. A prosecutor in Sao Paulo is looking into charging Bernardi with incitement to hatred, according to the Brazilian newspaper Jornal do Commercio. In a statement, Bernardi said he “apologized for the unfortunate remarks” he had made, saying his intention was to address and highlight the injustice done to Jews by Germany rather than recommend it as a course of action. Jovem Pan also apologized for the remarks. The network has not responded to calls to fire Bernardi. A right-wing lawmaker in the parliament of the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo, Antônio Campos Machado, said that his office has pulled out of a contract with Bernardi, who had provided consulting services to Campos Machado. “There are no longer the conditions necessary” for employing Bernardi, Campos Machado wrote. CONIB, the umbrella group of Brazilian Jewish communities, in a statement said Bernardi’s remarks caused “distress and pain” to many Jews and reiterated its position against comparing contemporary political issues to the Holocaust.
PALESTINIAN SCHOOL MAGAZINE CALLS FOR ‘ARMED STRUGGLE’ AGAINST ‘ISRAELI MONSTER’: Demonization of Israel and incitement to violence are rampant in Waed, a magazine published by Fatah’s youth movement and distributed in Palestinian Authority schools, a new study by Palestinian Media Watch found.
Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) reviewed 17 issues of Waed published in December 2014-September 2021, and found that the magazine glorifies terrorists who murdered Israelis as heroes and anticipates a Palestinian state that will replace all of Israel, including the removal of Israelis from the land. PMW distributed its report to Norwegian lawmakers on Wednesday, November 17, as the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee for funding to the PA met in Oslo. The magazines include references to “the giant Israeli murder machine” and “the Israeli monster,” and accuses Israel of behaving like Nazis. Waed claims Palestinians have a “right to wage an armed struggle to take back its stolen homeland,” and “the liberation of Palestine will only be achieved through armed struggle.” Waed is a publication of Lion Cubs and Flowers, the youth movement of the PA’s ruling party Fatah. The movement is for Palestinian children aged 6-15, and its magazine is distributed at summer camps, schools and activities. (JPost / VFI News)
IDF TO INVEST NIS 1 BILLION AS IT PREPARES FOR WAR IN LEBANON AND SYRIA: The IDF is set to invest NIS 1 billion in combat training drills and exercises for reserves units in 2022, as it began preparations this month toward an operation against Hezbollah and pro-Iranian terrorist militias based in Lebanon and Syria.
According to foreign reports, Israel has stepped up its military involvement in Syria. Syrian reports consistently attribute airstrikes over the country to Israel, with the latest coming on Monday, November 15, when the IDF allegedly struck an empty building in Damascus. The latest strike came a little over a week after two Syrian soldiers were injured and material damage was caused by an alleged Israeli airstrike targeting sites along the coast of Syria and in the center of the country. The latest attacks in Syria targeted pro-Iranian militias and IRGC infrastructure scattered across the country, as well as Midhat al-Saleh, a Syrian man who spent time in prison for terrorist activities and was killed by an Israeli sniper in October, according to foreign reports. Al-Saleh was involved in the planning of a future terror attack targeting Israel, according to Israeli sources. (JPost / VFI News)
AT LEAST 85,000 JEWISH INTERMARRIED COUPLES IN ISRAEL: There are some 85,000 intermarried couples in Israel in which one spouse is Jewish and one is not, according to data from the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS).
The information was obtained recently by Dr. Netanel Fisher, head of the School of Public Administration, Governance and Law, at Sha’arei Mishpat, Academic College of Law and Science. According to the data, there are in total 1.3 million married couples in Israel in which at least one spouse is Jewish, of whom 85,000 include just one Jewish spouse, meaning that intermarried couples constitute roughly 7% of all married couples. These figures do not include couples of different religious identities who cohabit without marrying, or Israelis living with or married to foreign workers without permanent residency, for whom the CBS does not have figures. The vast majority of intermarried couples in Israel, some 90%, involve a Jew and a citizen defined as “without religious classification,” the large majority of whom are Israeli citizens born in the former Soviet Union or their descendants. There are today some 465,000 Israeli citizens “without religious classification,” most of whom are immigrants from the countries of the former Soviet Union or their descendants who are not Jewish according to Jewish law but have a Jewish parent or grandparent. In recent years, the number of such mixed marriages has been increasing. CBS figures show that in 2011, there were at least 1,527 couples who married abroad that year, or registered their foreign civil marriage that year, in which one of the spouses was Jewish and the other non-Jewish. Seven years later, in 2018, at least 2,460 such intermarried couples wed or registered their marriages that year, an increase of 38% in the rate of intermarriage. A lack of clarity in the religious identity of another group of people included in the CBS statistics means that intermarriages could be almost twice this number. (JPost / VFI News)
PRINCE CHARLES MEETS PRESIDENT OF ISRAEL AT HIGHGROVE: Charles welcomed Isaac Herzog to his country retreat in Tetbury, Gloucestershire, on Monday morning, November 22. Mr. Herzog, who took office in the summer, arrived in the UK on Sunday, November 21, for a three-day official visit.
The president has warned the West to stop “wasting time” on Iran’s “games,” and called on the UK to work with Israel to stop Tehran from exploiting the world’s willingness to negotiate over a nuclear deal. Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, Mr Herzog said: “Iran does not want dialogue. It is exploiting the world’s willingness to negotiate to buy time. Israel cannot allow the fundamentalists of Tehran to acquire a nuclear bomb.” Mr Herzog said on Twitter that he would be meeting Prime Minister Boris Johnson during his trip, as well as Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and Jewish community leaders. He will also pay tribute to former Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, who died last year. (MSN / VFI News)
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Blessings from Jerusalem,
Barry Segal with the Editorial Staff