US, ISRAEL WORK TO BLOCK UNILATERAL PALESTINIAN STATEHOOD DRIVE AT UN: The United States and Israel are working to block a renewed Palestinian Authority drive to become a member state of the United Nations. “We are preparing to stop the initiative,” said Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon. The move would effectively hand the Palestinians unilateral statehood recognition outside the context of any final status agreement with Israel. Under past peace initiatives, including the Oslo Accord, Palestinian statehood recognition was expected to be granted at the conclusion of a peace process with Israel. For the last decade the Palestinians have attempted to separate the process and attain unilateral statehood recognition, particularly through acceptance as a member state of the UN.
The US, which has veto power at the UNSC, has historically opposed any Palestinian UN membership drives and would be expected to veto this latest initiative. Israel’s Mission to the UN said it believes that the UNSC will debate the matter at its 15 Jan. 2019 quarterly open meeting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It added that the US and Israel were working to halt the initiative. “Even as it continues to pay salaries to terrorists every month, encourage violence and lead an unrelenting campaign of incitement against Israel, the Palestinian Authority has the audacity to ask the Security Council to recognize it as a full member state of the United Nations,” Danon said. “Instead of focusing on building a better and more hopeful future for the Palestinians and helping to ensure stability in the region, the Palestinian leadership is continuing its destructive policies that have encouraged recent terror attacks, including the murder of the four-day-old baby,” he said. (J.Post) Intercede that the Palestinian Authority will be thwarted in its methods to achieve statehood while refusing to negotiate with Israel.
UN YEAR IN REVIEW: 21 CONDEMNATIONS FOR ISRAEL, NONE FOR HAMAS OR CHINA: Over the course of 2018, the United Nations has voted to adopt some 27 condemnations – the vast majority of which were directed at the nation of Israel. According to Hillel Neuer, executive director of United Nations Watch, 21 of the 27 condemnations were aimed at Israel. Iran, Syria, North Korea, Russia, Myanmar and the United States each received one. What is perhaps more striking is the fact that totalitarian China had none – and neither did the terrorist organization Hamas. A number of Trump administration officials -including the out-going Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley – have been harsh critics of the double standard the international body has regarding Israel. (Daily Caller)
IDF: 1,000 ROCKETS AND MORTARS FIRED AT ISRAEL FROM GAZA IN 2018: 1,000 rockets and mortars were fired from Gaza into Israel over the past year, a dramatic rise from the past three years when there were 71 in total. 250 were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system and 45 fell in urban areas. The IDF destroyed 15 terror tunnels which infiltrated into Israeli territory from Gaza last year, and completed 27 km. of an underground barrier designed to block tunnels. 7 soldiers and 9 civilians were killed and 199 injured in 87 terror attacks in 2018, compared to 20 killed and 169 injured in 97 terror attacks in 2017. (J. Post)
NETANYAHU: IF HEZBOLLAH PROVOKES US – IT WILL GET HIT HARD: PM Netanyahu on Sunday 30 Dec. 2018 gave an interview to Israel’s Russian-language Channel 9. On the issue of the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terrorist group and its relations with Iran, Netanyahu said, “Iran is the biggest problem, Hezbollah is the second biggest problem. Iran wanted to arm itself with nuclear weapons, and I fought against them all over the world. We are conducting the campaign against Hezbollah so that when we are tested, we will not only have the upper hand, but we will be able to respond with a crushing response. Hezbollah will make a terrible mistake if it tries to attack us. Action against us on their part will cause us to hit them hard,” the prime minister added. He also discussed the Trump administration’s peace plan for Israel and the Palestinian Arabs, which has been dubbed “the Deal of the Century”. “Only when I see the plan will I be able to respond to it. I am hearing all kinds of things, but I can say that Jerusalem will not be divided. I do not divide Jerusalem nor do I uproot communities,” stressed Netanyahu. (Arutz-7)
NETANYAHU MEETS WITH CHRISTIAN FRIENDS OF ISRAEL IN BRAZIL: PM Benjamin Netanyahu and Sara Netanyahu met with Christian Friends of Israel in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Sunday 30 Dec. 2018. During the event the post office of the Brazilian state of Amazonas launched a stamp that had been prepared by Christian Friends of Israel in honor of 70 years of Israel’s independence. Netanyahu and his wife were on the third day of a six-day visit to Brazil to attend the inauguration of Brazilian president-elect Jair Bolsonaro. Netanyahu spoke at the event, “We have no better friends in the world than the Evangelical community, and the Evangelical community has no better friend in the world than the State of Israel. In other countries in the Middle East, Christians must either be very careful or leave the country, but not in Israel. You are our brothers and sisters, and we defend Christian rights just like we defend the rights of all religions. It is not solely a matter of justice or values, it is a matter of deep recognition of our common ancient customs and our common heritage.
“Our histories, our beliefs and our values are intertwined. Every time we dig in our land we uncover ancient synagogues or ancient churches. When you come to Israel today, you see a country that accepts you as brothers and sisters, you see a country that values freedom of religion, you see a country that is proud of our past and carries our values into the future. We now have the opportunity to create the future in Brazil together. President Bolsonaro said we were brothers. We are brothers and we will grasp the future together. I invite all of you to come to Israel in 2019. We will welcome you with all the love and warmth reserved for family members. I look forward to seeing you in Jerusalem”. (J.Post/Arutz-7)
ISRAEL SAW RECORD-BREAKING 4 MILLION TOURISTS IN 2018: Israel welcomed some four million tourists over the course of 2018, breaking a new record, the Tourism Ministry reported last week. 2018 saw an increase in tourist arrivals of 13 percent over 2017, and 38% compared to 2016, while tourism revenue exceeded $6.3 billion, according to the ministry. “This historical record, of more than 4 million tourists in a year, is the realization of a decades-old dream of all those involved in the Israel tourism industry,” said Tourism Minister Yariv Levin. Levin said the growth a “result of a significant revolution in marketing Israel includes the opening of dozens of new air routes and creating unprecedented collaborations with the largest travel agents in the world. Today tourism makes a huge contribution to Israel’s economy and employment and the many tourists who come here serve as ambassadors of good will.” The ministry said 40% of tourists who arrived in Israel last year were returning visitors, “proof that Israel is a desirable destination in the world.” Last month, UK-based market research firm EuroMonitor named Jerusalem as the fastest-growing tourism destination in the world, more than any other city globally. (Times of Israel)
INCREASE IN ALIYAH IN 2018: The Jewish Agency for Israel on Sunday, 30 Dec. 2018, published its official year-end data on Aliyah. According to the figures, more than 29,600 people immigrated to Israel from around the world last year, compared with 28,220 new immigrants in 2017, a 5-percent increase over the previous year. The country with the largest number of olim (immigrants to Israel) in 2018 was Russia, with more than 10,500 immigrants, representing a 45% increase from 2017. Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog said, “Every Jew who comes to Israel and establishes a home here completes another piece of the wonderful mosaic of the Jewish people in their historic homeland. After 70 years of the state’s independence and the tremendous number of olim who have already made it to Israel, the potential for even greater Aliyah remains significant, and The Jewish Agency will continue to work to achieve that goal.” (J.Post) “For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land.” Ezek. 36:24
SUCCESSES IN THE FIGHT AGAINST ANTI-SEMITISM: In 2018, there were a variety of important actions against anti-Semitism. One is the expanding acceptance of the definition of anti-Semitism of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. Another is success in the fight against the BDS movement which aims to delegitimize the State of Israel. In Nov. 2018, Kentucky became the 26th American state to pass legislation to ban awarding state contracts to companies that endorse the BDS movement. The governors of all 50 states have signed a declaration condemning the BDS movement as antithetical to American values. In Germany, anti-Semitism commissioners have been appointed in a variety of federal states. A French manifesto against Muslim anti-Semitism was signed by 250 Jewish and non-Jewish personalities. The Council of the European Union (EU) approved the first declaration of its kind to fight anti-Semitism and strengthen the security of Jewish communities in Europe. British media have exposed the substantial anti-Semitism in the British Labour Party. (J.Post)
The suggestions, opinions and scripture references made by JNN writers and editors are based on the best information received.
Blessings from Jerusalem,
Barry Segal with the Editorial Staff