Archive for the ‘Israel’ Category

FROM ISRAEL TO NAPA VALLEY, TO ATELIER MELKA’S MAAYAN KOSCHITZKY {VIDEO} – HuffPost

This post was first published on TheWineSiren.com

Maayan Koschitzky in Atelier Phillipe Melka Napa Valley vineyards for harvest

When Vintners from one of the first wine interviews you did refers their winemaker for a sit-down you move.That brand is Brilliant Mistake, which produces a riveting small lot, ultra premium Cabernet Sauvignon. Stacy & John Reinert rely on their consulting winemaker, Maayan Koschitzky heavily to produce their Napa Valley brand. So I am heading up Napa Valley to the quaint and somewhat subdued town of St. Helena. Koschitzkys been in the valleyfor a little over five years and his impact has definitely been felt. First at Screaming Eagle, and the last three years at Atelier Phillipe Melka. He also has a number of clients he consults for.

Vineyards of St. Helena in Napa Valley

Koschitzky wasnt always going to be a winemaker.He comes from a family of farmers growing fruits and vegetables. Born and raised in Israel, he went to school and studied engineering. Disheartened by the prospect ofsitting at the computer all day he longed for the outdoors. Returning to farming would solve that problem. The correlation between engineering and winemaking was evident to Koschitzky. Engineering gave him the experience he needed working with machinery. Wineries required machinery to do the heavy lifting. Machinery use is pervasive in the wine industry. Its usedfor harvest, crush, fermentation, aging, and packaging. A change to winemaking would enable him to leverage his creative abilities and his technical skills while embracing his love for farming. The vineyardswould prove to be keygroundsto learn from and enable him to expand his knowledge base growing vines. He made the switch in 2005 to winemaking.

Israel entered the grape growing realm withvineyards planted in the late 1800s by Baron Edmond de Rothschild. The wineries started by making Kosher wine and tended to be sweet and the mono dimensional. Today, with over 20,000 acres and state-of-the-art irrigation which was created by Israeli farmers and engineers they have already learned a great deal about working in arid and climates with little water. The Israelis are the inventors of drip irrigation, a technology that has revolutionized vineyard farming and is widely used in California. Thriving in this area are many of the grapes popular in Napa Valley, which would one day become home to Koschitzky.

In 2008 Koschitzky went to work for a mentor who would help change his trajectory. Dr. Yair Margalit wasinterested in winemaking as a visiting research professor at U.C. Davis. He was later instrumental in creating Israels first seriousboutique winery. The Margalit Winery creates some of the best reds in Israel, from Bordeaux blends (Merlot, Petit Verdot, and Malbec) including Cabernet Sauvignon & Cabernet Franc. It was a perfect training ground for Koschitzky who remained with Margalit for three years.

Pondering the possibility of Napa Valley, he first discussed a move with his wife. Shortly after, a friend returned to Israel from Napa Valley the stage was set.He and his family would headto Napa for Harvest and to expand his wine education at U.C. Davis. In 2011 he applied for several internships in TheValley. The first call back wasfor an interview withnone other than Screaming Eagle. One of the severalrevered cult wines in The Valley. Koschitzky was unfamiliar with the brand at the time. The brand wieldsBottles of this cult winerange from $1995.00 to $2450.00 if youre not in the wine club. If you want to get in the Screaming Eagle wine club the wait list isapproximately 15 years. The magic in the bottle as Ive heard is ethereal.

He flew in for the interview and after it was over returned to his wife and told her Lets do this!. Taking a step back as an intern, gave him a unique perspective having already been a wine maker. He learned the ropes atScreaming Eagles state of the art winery. The winery wascompleted just before Koschitzky joinedthe 2011 Harvest. The philosophy of Screaming Eagle would change how Koschitzky thought about wine making. The philosophy was unique. No expense spared, thebest vineyard, and only exceptional fruit makes the cut.

Maayan Koschitzky is the director of winemaking at Atelier Phillipe Melka (a wine consulting venture) and Melka Wines. Atelier Melka is responsible for creating wine for close to 20 clients, with renowned winemaker & entrepreneur Phillipe Melka. Koschitzky says Melka is an authentic artist who loves what he does. With 25 years in the game, Melka and his wife Cherielaunch their own state of the art winery on the Silverado Trail. They will celebrate the opening with the first harvest of the year.

Melka Wines New Tasting Room on the Silverado Trail

Koschitzkys provides clients with design and implementation services of wineries. His next step is creating his own brand. Hes partnered with Silverado Farming Company to make his own line of wines called La Pelle (meaning shovel in French). Its coming full circle for him as he returns to his roots. He explains, In our story, we went to that name and the brand (La Pelle) because that is who we are. The farming side, were digging the soil and planting the vines. Once the tank is dry and we are ready to go to barrel, we drain the juice to the barrels. We dig the tank out with shovels. It felt like the right tool to close the cycle of the brand.

The first vintage for La Pelle will be bottled this year. A Sauvignon Blanc from old vines that have been dry farmed in St. Helena. This years Sauvignon Blanc looks really fantastic. The flavors are excellent as is the yield, says Koschitzky. At the time of this post the Chardonnay was just two weeks from harvest. The La Pelle Cabernet Sauvignon will be bottled in May of 2018.

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FROM ISRAEL TO NAPA VALLEY, TO ATELIER MELKA’S MAAYAN KOSCHITZKY {VIDEO} – HuffPost

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August 21, 2017   Posted in: Israel  Comments Closed

Anti-Israel Leaders Hosted at State Dept. Seeking to Drive Wedge in US-Israel Alliance – Washington Free Beacon

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson / Getty Images

BY: Adam Kredo August 21, 2017 1:29 pm

The State Department’s recent hosting of an American Muslim organization known for its anti-Israel stance and support of boycotts of the Jewish state has sparked concern from those close to the Trumpadministration thatthese advocacy groupsare seeking to drive a wedge into theUnited States’relationship with Israel, which has hit speed bumps since Rex Tillerson assumed control of America’s chief diplomatic agency, according to multiple sources who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon.

The State Department hosted this month leaders from the U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations, which represents a number of organizations including American Muslims for Palestine, or AMP, an organization that promotes “extreme anti-Israel views”and”anti-Zionist”propaganda,according to the Anti-Defamation League, which tracks anti-Israel hate groups.

Representatives from the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, Islamic Circle of North America, andMuslim Ummah of North America also attended the meeting.

AMP, which partnered with the terror group Hamas’s main U.S. propaganda arm until it was shuttered in 2004, and the other groups met with several State Department officials to discuss the ongoing violence on Israel’s holy Temple Mount area, which has been the site of several riots and attacks on Israelis.

The groups werethere to promote anti-Israel propaganda blaming Israel for the recent violence that began after Palestinian terrorists killed two Israeli security official stationed at the site, which is home to the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa mosques.

The meeting has prompted concern among pro-Israel leaders close to the Trump administration, who say the summit is part of larger effort by anti-Israel organizations to drive a wedge between the Trump administration and Israel at a critical juncture.

The Free Beacon first reported last month that the State Department under Secretary Rex Tillerson has been in “open war” with the White House over a range of key issues, including Israel.

Multiple sources who spoke to the Free Beacon confirmed these fears, pointing to a recent State Department-authored report that blamed Israel for terror attacks and roiled congressional leaders who accused Tillerson’s State Department of promoting anti-Israel propaganda.

The recent resignation of White House chief strategistSteve Bannon, who was viewed as one of the administration’s most pro-Israel voices, has further stoked these fears among pro-Israel leaders.

Multiple pro-Israel insiders who spoke to the Free Beacon expressed concerns about the State Department’s willingness to host an openly anti-Israel group during a time when tensions in the Middle East are running high.

Israeli officials are said to be concerned about the Trump administration’s stance on a range of issues, including its policy in Syria and other terror hotspots.

“Everyone knows this is the group funneling money from the Middle East to finance the [Boycott, Sanctions, and Divestment] movement,” said one prominent pro-Israel official who would only speak on background so as not to spark further tension with the White House. “They’re being investigated by the FBI and the state of Illinois for potential illicit financing activity. I really want to believe in Secretary Tillerson but between his reluctance to confront Iran and now this, it’s hard to justify his continuation as secretary of state.”

A State Department official confirmed the meeting took place, but would not specify who the American Muslim leaders met with and what exactly was discussed.

“The Department regularly hosts groups representing different constituencies in America to explain USG policy and hear their perspective,” the official told the Free Beacon.”The group was interested in U.S. policy on Jerusalem given events on the Temple Mount/Haram al Sharif last month, and met a cross-section of working level officials from different offices in the Department.”

Asked if administration officials were aware of the group’s anti-Israel views and ties to Hamas, the official said that State Department views Hamas as a terror organization and opposes boycotts of the Jewish state.

Noah Pollak, a political consultant who works with a range of pro-Israel organizations, criticized the State Department for hosting what he described as extremists who reject Israel’s right to exist and openly endorse terrorist groups.

“AMP is a front for jihadists, and doesn’t try very hard to hide it. Some of its founders were involved with the Holy Land Foundation, a Hamas fundraising front that was the biggest terror finance case in U.S. history,” Pollak said. “Its founder called for an intifada’ here in America. Maybe next time there’s a flare-up of Palestinian violence the State Department can cut out the middle man and just meet directly with Hamas.”

Other pro-Israel insiders expressed concern over the meeting, but cautioned against putting too much stock in efforts by these Muslim American groups to drive a wedge into the U.S.-Israel relationship.

“Presidential administrations are going to meet with constituents,” said the source, a senior official at a large pro-Israel group. “That’s what they do. The question is if they believe what they hear, let alone act on it.”

“Judging by the public descriptions of the meeting, no one at the White House was buying whatever AMP was selling,” the source said. “That’s what we’d expect from the Trump administration, which has people who understand the value of the pro-Israel relationship like Victoria Coates in key positions to guide policy.”

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Anti-Israel Leaders Hosted at State Dept. Seeking to Drive Wedge in US-Israel Alliance – Washington Free Beacon

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August 21, 2017   Posted in: Israel  Comments Closed

Report: Israel ‘Gravely Concerned’ U.S. Will Fail to Ensure …

Ronen Bergman, investigative journalist and military analyst for Israels Yedioth Aharonot newspaper, reported the news follows a visit by a senior delegation of Israeli defense officials to Washington to meet with U.S. intelligence chiefs,National Security Council officials and President Donald Trumps special negotiator to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt.

The delegation, which includedMossad Director Yossi Cohen, Military Intelligence Directorate (MID) Chief Maj. Gen. Herzi Halevi and Israels Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer,presented sensitive, credible and highly disturbing intelligence information pertaining to Irans presence in Syria, intelligence officials said.

We rushed here to warn of the deployment of Hezbollah, Iranian and Syrian forces; to explain exactly whats going on there. Without a significant change in your position, if you dont become more involved, tougher and more aggressive, you will leave the Middle East to the Iranians, under Russian auspices, Bergman cited the Israelis as telling their American counterparts.

According to intelligence sources, a final status agreement brokered between Syria, Russia and the U.S. is on the horizon. American-Russian cooperation in the last few months has brought a steady decline in fighting in the embattled country, and even the influence of terror groups like the Islamic State has waned considerably.

However, despite what ostensibly seemed like a friendly visit, the Israelis could not persuade the Americans to demand the evacuation of Iranian and Hezbollah forces from Syria. Israel fears Iran will expand its presence including implementing missile systems to the Syrian side of the Golan. Iranian presence in the country currently includes some 500 soldiers, 5,000 Hezbollah militants and several thousand more from other Shiite proxies, all under the stewardship of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) elite Quds Force.

According to Bergman, the delegation said upon their return over the weekendthat while they were in the U.S. they had observeda kind of embarrassment and lack of a clear position in the American administration with regards to the nature of the future agreement and disagreements on what should and what should not be done in Syria to bring quiet to the entire region. As far as theyre concerned, the matter is still wide open.

Israels concern is compounded by President Donald Trumps domestic challenges as well as unfolding events withNorth Korea, leaving the Jewish state worried that Washington may choose not to go head to head with Russia and Syria on the Iranian question.

Israel intends to send another defense delegation to Moscow to present its case to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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August 21, 2017   Posted in: Israel  Comments Closed

Israel Advances Plans to Establish New Jewish Communities in Galillee – Haaretz

The initiative began with a declared effort to boost the Jewish presence in Israel’s northern region three years ago

Israel’s executive arm for settlement construction has begun advancing plans for new Jewish communities in the Galilee that clearly contradict national planning policy, which favors expanding existing communities. These plans began to take shape three years ago, in a declared effort to create a demographic balance between Jews and Arabs in the northern region.

The Settlement Division of the World Zionist Organization’s work plan was posted 10 days ago on the Agriculture Ministrys website. It includes feasibility studies for proposed new communities in two areas of the Galilee, northwest of Carmiel near the kibbutzim of Pelekh and Tuval; and south of Carmiel, near the community settlements of Eshhar and Yuvalim.

Both areas are near large Arab towns, including Majdal Krum and Sakhnin, which together have 45,000 residents. The Misgav Regional Council, the jurisdiction of the proposed new communities, has a population of 28,000. The settlement division wants to build 3,000 homes, but it isnt clear exactly where they will be located.

The Settlement Division has for many years been defined as the governments executive arm for settlement construction. It operates under the auspices of the Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry and is fully funded by the state. In recent years its annual budget has ranged from 100 million shekels to 300 million shekels ($27.6 million to $82.8 million).

The division does not have the authority to approve the establishment of new communities, but in many cases it has submitted proposals that were subsequently approved by the relevant government ministries. One of the most recent communities it was involved in planning was Hiran. This new community for Jews in southern Israel is to be built on the site of the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran, where a resident and a police officer died in January in the course of evictions there.

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Immediately after the plans were posted, the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel submitted reservations, most prominently the fact that building new communities in the Galilee contradicts national planning policy.

The development of new communities reduces the amount of open spaces with low-rise, low-density housing, the SPNI wrote. Beyond the environmental damage, the establishment of new communities is economically unjustified because of the high development costs, and also unjustified socially, because they attract people away from existing communities. The Environmental Protection Ministry takes a similar position.

In a statement, the Settlement Division said the work plan refers to new communities that were approved by cabinet resolution and have the approval of the National Planning and Building Council. According to the division, These towns will contribute to and strengthen the existing towns and the region.

The Planning Administration in the Finance Ministry said it wasnt familiar with the plans but added, Our position is that it is preferable to expand existing communities than to build new ones.

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August 21, 2017   Posted in: Israel  Comments Closed

How will the Netanyahu-Putin meeting affect the region? – The Jerusalem Post

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to go to Sochi on Wednesday for a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, his fourth visit to Russia in the last 16 months.

For reporters who cover Netanyahu, the drill is well known.

Following the premiers meeting with Putin, either he or one of his spokesmen will say that during the meeting he stressed Israels red lines in Syria: that Jerusalem will not tolerate an Iranian or Hezbollah presence on the Golan border; that Israel will not accept a permanent Iranian presence in Syria; and that Israel will act to ensure that game-changing weapons or capabilities are not transferred from Iran through Syria to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Netanyahu will be careful to praise the Russian-Israeli bilateral relations, and say that the deconfliction mechanism to prevent any accidental engagements between the Russian and Israeli air forces in Syrian skies which he set up with Moscow immediately after Russia became militarily involved in Syria in 2015 has proven itself very effective.

He will be careful not to say what the Russian leaders response to any of this was, beyond saying that the Israeli messages were understood.

But these meetings are by no means a Netanyahu monologue. The Russians also have their position regarding Syria and overall Iranian intentions, and based on a number of conversations with senior Russian diplomats it goes like this: Russia has genuine interest in Syria. Raqqa, the one-time Islamic State stronghold in northern Syria, is only 1,000 kilometers, or 620 miles, from Grozny, Chechnya, in southern Russia, the distance from New York to Knoxville, Tennessee.

When Moscow decided to become actively engaged in the fighting in Syria in the summer of 2015, there was a real danger that Islamic State and a collection of other rebels would overthrow the government in Damascus, and the country would fall under the sway of forces downright hostile to Russia someone like Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi who might then want to begin efforts through Chechnya to destabilize Russia.

Some 4,500 Russian citizens are fighting against the Islamists in Syria, and have not concealed their desire to fight the infidels at home meaning in Russia once victory is achieved in Syria and Iraq.

Unlike the US forces that invaded Iraq in 2003, or the international coalition that launched airstrikes against Libya in 2011, Russia was invited into Syria by the recognized government of Bashar Assad. Therefore, Russia unlike the US and the international coalition is in accordance with international law by acting inside Syria at the invitation of the legitimate government.

If there is a mess in the Middle East, it is not because Russia moved into Syria, but rather because the US moved into Iraq, and then the West took action in Libya unleashing all kinds of destabilizing forces throughout the region. The US says that the aerial campaign against Libya was a great success, ousting a brutal dictator in Muammar Gaddafi but what kind of success?

Huge amounts of military hardware was pillaged, and vast amounts of weaponry and even chemical substances have spilled over into neighboring African countries as well as into the hands of Jihadi groups. Niger and Mali were destabilized because of what happened in Libya.

Russia listens to Israels concerns about Iran, but views them as overstated. Iran will not attack Israel, because it knows that to do so would be suicidal.

Israel and the Saudis say that Iran is trying to encircle them with proxies stretching from Yemen through Bahrain, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, but the truth is that the Iranians feel threatened and encircled by Israel, the Saudis and the US.

True, Israel does not threaten to wipe Iran off the map, but why has it bought a fleet of F-35 stealth bombers? Whom is that intended for, if not Iran?

Moreover, the US talks openly about Iranian regime change. Even the nuclear deal the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action reached in 2015 is seen by the Americans as a way of empowering the moderates to slowly edge out the ayatollahs.

Irans actions in Syria are not designed to destabilize the region but rather to protect themselves, to push back and take the battle to the enemy, rather than waiting to become encircled themselves.

We, the Russians, understand Israels concerns about game-changing weaponry being transferred from Syria to Hezbollah, and we acknowledge Israels right to defend itself. But Israel cannot unilaterally take it upon itself to regulate relations between other sovereign states it is not the regional sheriff.

We, the Russians, also understand Israels concerns regarding Iran establishing a permanent presence in Syria, but we cannot prevent it. Iran is a sovereign state; we cant tell Tehran what to do or how to behave. We might counsel against it, but they will not necessarily listen to us. We dont make the decisions for Iran.

Iran is inside Syria because Assad invited them in. The same is true of Hezbollah. The Iranians and Hezbollah came in when Assads back was against the wall. It is now in Israels interest for Assad to retain strong control of his country, so then there will be no need for the Syrians to invite in outside forces. The best thing for Israel would be a strong government in Damascus that will not need Iranian or Hezbollah help. Israel should be working with the forces to empower Assad.

To Israeli ears, much of the above sounds almost delusional. Nevertheless, that is the Russian message, one that their diplomats espouse consistently in private conversations, and one that Netanyahu has heard in various forms more than once. He will also likely hear a variation on this theme again from Putin when they meet Wednesday in Sochi.

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August 21, 2017   Posted in: Israel  Comments Closed

ABC hits back at claims it ‘wiped Israel off the map’ – NEWS.com.au

The ABC graphic related to marry your rapist laws in the region.

THE ABC has angrily hit back at claims it wiped Israel off the map in a news graphic, describing the allegations as incorrect and offensive.

Avi Yemini, prominent Israeli activist and founder of Krav Maga company IDF Training, posted a photo to Facebook on Friday showing a clip from ABC news with Palestine in the place of Israel.

Last night ABC News wiped Israel off their map, he wrote. Theyre literally doing the Islamists dirty work for them. We must DEFUND these traitors immediately.

The ABC has slammed the comments, saying the graphic was part of a segment about Lebanon abolishing so-called marry your rapist laws.

This story was about the repealing of a law in Lebanon that allowed rapists to escape punishment if they married their victims, a spokeswoman said.

The accompanying graphic showed countries where this law had already been repealed (in blue) and countries where campaigners were actively trying to have it repealed (in yellow). This law does not exist in Israel, and never has, so it was not shown in the graphic.

Last year, Cotton On was forced to pull a world globe from its Typo stationery stores after a similar error caused anger in the Jewish community.

frank.chung@news.com.au

Just over 1 in 10 girls worldwide have experienced forced intercourse or other forced sexual acts at some point in their lives. These are the horrific recorded statistics of rape and sexual assault around the world.

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August 21, 2017   Posted in: Israel  Comments Closed

Pro-Israel group urges RI lawmakers to back anti-boycott bill – The Providence Journal

The Rhode Island Coalition for Israel is advocating for legislation known as the Anti-Israel Boycott Act which would expand a federal law against supporting foreign government boycotts to include those supported by organizations including the United Nations.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. A newlyorganized pro-Israel group is gathering at the State House Monday to pressureRhodeIsland’s all-Democratic Congressional delegation to support a billintended toquashboycotts of Israel.

The Rhode Island Coalition for Israel, which describes itself as a”partnership between evangelical Christians and politically conservative Jews,” isadvocating forlegislation known as theAnti-Israel BoycottAct, which would expand afederal law against supporting foreign government boycotts to includethose supported by organizations including the United Nations.

The act,which carries potential $1-million fines and up to 20 years in prison for those convicted of breaking it,seeks to counter the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement against Israel’s occupation of Palestine.

In an era of heavy partisanship, the bills have drawn rare support across the aisle, with 35 RepublicanSenate cosponsors,including SenatorsTed Cruz of Texasand MarcoRubio of Florida;and 13 Democrats, including Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York and Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut.

The House bill has 186 Republican cosponsors and 66 Democrats.

But the bills have raised alarmamong civil liberties groups, whosay they infringe on the First Amendment’s protection of free speech and couldcriminalize political expression.

The American Civil Liberties Union wrote a letter to Congress in opposition to the bills, stating thatthey seek to “punish individuals for no reason other than their political belief.”

No members of the Rhode Island delegation are among the cosponsors, although they havebeen cautious aboutcriticizing it.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse “has not taken aposition on the bill,” spokeswoman Meaghan McCabe stated in an email.

One of Whitehouse’s potential Republican campaign opponents, Republican state Rep. Bobby Nardolillo of Coventry, issued a statement this year saying he was “completely in favor” of the legislation and likening it to a state bill passedin 2016.

The Rhode Island bill, introduced by Rep. Mia Ackerman, requires companies to promise not to support boycotts of countriesthat are members of the WorldTrade Organization,which includes Israel.

Sen. Jack Reed’s office did not respond to requests for comment on the current federal boycott bill.

Responding to questions from members of the Rhode Island Coalition for Israel at a recent town hall, Rep. David Cicilline said he did not sign on to the bill because of the ACLU’s concerns about criminalizing political speech, but would consider supporting the bill if it were amended.

“I strongly oppose the BDS movement. … But one of the things I am very concerned about … is it criminalizes the behavior of someoneand also criminalizes the behavior of someonewho furnishes information from an inquiry,” Cicilline said at the town hall.”That is a very concerning thing to me.”

Rep. Jim Langevinhas a similar position.

He “strongly opposes the BDS movement,” spokeswoman Anita Baffoni stated in an email.”However, he has concerns with the potential consequences this legislation could have on free speech. He also believes we must be very careful in how we define territorial boundaries in absence of a peace deal.”

Since the free-speech concerns about the legislation were raised, many Democratic members of Congress who signed on to the bill have said they are reviewing the First Amendment concerns and considering amendments.

Howard Brown, a retired North Kingstown resident who is the executive director of the new Rhode Island Coalition for Israel, said the organization was founded”in response to overwhelming liberal attitudes in the state in terms of the Middle East conflict and blame mostly has been aimed at Israel.”

The organization also has opposed the Iran nuclear deal made under President Barack Obama’s administration.

Brown called free-speech concerns about the boycott bill political “talking points” that carried little legal weight.

“The law as introduced was a no-brainer until someone discovered there was a talking point against it,” Brown said.

The coalition intends to holda news conference at 1 p.m. Monday at the State House.

On the other side of the issue, critics of the recent round of anti-boycott laws, including last year’s Rhode Island contracting bill, say they are really about clamping down dissent against the policies of the current conservative Israeli government.

“This bill is framed as regulating economic activity but its primary goal is to stifle criticism of Israel. It was written by the [American Israel Public Affairs Commitee], a hawkish pro-Israel lobby that aligns with the Netanyahu government,” said Nina Tannenwald,director of the international relations programat Brown University’s Watson Institute.”It is a very complex but also misguided piece of legislation that will be difficult to enforce.”

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August 20, 2017   Posted in: Israel  Comments Closed

Revealed: Why God is focused on Israel

Christians throughout the world preach the message of salvation. But few are very specific about what precisely God has planned for the world andfor humanity.

After all, how could people know exactly what God is going to do in the future?

They could read the Bible, contends WND founder Joseph Farah, who says all the answers are there.

And the Gospel, the good news, he asserts, is more remarkable and far more specific than many Christians are aware.

Farah recently talked about his new book, The Restitution of All Things: Israel, Christians and the End of the Age, in an interview with Jan Markell of Olive Tree Ministries.

Farah said he was won to faith through studying prophecy and by observing how the events foretold in the Bible were being fulfilled. And he learned from arguably the most influentialeschatologist ofthe last half century, Hal Lindsey, author of The Late Great Planet Earth.

Early in my journalism career, I had an opportunity to meet Hal Lindsey and really get to know him and work with him for 10 years, basically sitting at his knee and collaborating on books and TV shows, Farah recalled. It was a great opportunity God gave me, and that was kind of the kickoff. I had read his book in the 1970s, The Late Great Planet Earth, and it was the key to my understanding the salvation message.

The experience gave Farah the critical insight thathas guided his approach to understanding Christianity: The Bible is true and God means exactly what He says.

I start with the premise that whats in the Bible is absolutely true, Farah told Markell. No equivocation. And if you dont believe that, my book is not for you. Period, end of story.

I go to the Bible every day to learn something about truth. Its the ultimate test of truth. Its the ultimate test of what is right and what is wrong. And if we deviate from that, whos going to tell us whats true and whats right and whats wrong? I dont think its possible.

And the Bible has several things to say thatmany Christians may find surprising. Both Markell and Farah observed Scripture tells an unfinished story focused on Israel and the Middle East, not Europe or North America.

Jesus doesnt come back to be the president of the United States, Markell said. He doesnt come back to be the secretary general of the United Nations. He doesnt come to rule the European Union or sit in the Vatican. He comes to rule and reign from Jerusalem as King of the Jews. But he will also rule the entire world from there.

Its the book that gives you tomorrows news today! Get your autographed copy of The Restitution of All Things: Israel, Christians and the End of the Age.

Were headed into a very Israel-centric world, Farah said, expanding on the point. One of my concerns when I was writing the book was, Wow, I dont think many Christians fully understand this; I dont think theyre looking at those passages at what the Kingdom is about and understanding.

Yeah, theyre excited about what their destiny is, but they dont fully understand it, he continued. And that reminded me of the first time that Yeshua-Jesus came; there were a lot of people in Israel who werent expecting the Messiah to look like this, to act like this, to be so meek. They were expecting a conqueror who would free them from Rome.

I think its dangerous when we dont fully understand whats being revealed to us in Scripture, very clearly I think, about what the future is going to be like, he said.

People had the Scriptures back in Israel, yet they didnt recognize their Messiah. And it makes me think, well, arent there so many Christians who dont understand what were headed to in the next world? Arent we in the same boat as some of the Pharisees and Sadducees who werent really anticipating an accurate picture of the Messiah? Farah said.

We think we know Jesus, but do we really know the Jesus of the Bible or do we see him through some kind of a caricature thats been portrayed to us by our own tradition? Thats one of the other things I try to tackle in this book.

Markell raised the question that arises from Farahs conclusions: Why isGod so Israel-centric?

Farah answers that the Jews have been given a special mission, but their mission is important for the whole world.

[God] tells us in His words that the Israeli people have a very special mission, Farah said. They were chosen. We say they were chosen well, what were they chosen to do? They were chosen to carry the Scriptures to the whole world. And the knowledge of the one true God of the universe. That was their mission! They were to be a light to the Gentiles, meaning all the other nations.

The question is, have they succeeded? And you know, there have been some shortcomings along the way, which has caused them to be judged at various times in their history by God. But you know what? There are people all over the world that because of that mission now know who the true Messiah is, who now know who the God of the universe is. We owe that to God and to Israel, because to some extent or another, they carried out the mission.

Christians, Farah argues, are incorporated into this tradition and mission through Jesus Christ.

The question that should come to any Christian is, was Jesuss intent to start a new religion? asked Farah. And my answer to that is no, not really. What Jesus came to do is to save the world. He came as Messiah to the Jews and to the rest of the nations as well, to enlighten the whole world as to the truth. Thats why He came. And Hes the Messiah to the Jews and Hes our Messiah. Were grafted into the promises of the nation of Israel, as Paul explained.

Farah will teach some of what he learned in the research and writing of the book next month on a cruise to Alaska, at a conference in October and on a tour of Israel in November.

And he says Christians should be excited about the world that is coming, the Millennial Kingdom on Earth.

Thats the good news, he said. Thats what the Gospel is all about. And the Gospel is about the fulfillment of all of this in the [Millennial] Kingdom. And if you dont believe in the Kingdom, you dont really believe in the Gospel! All of the prophets since Creation thats what Peter says, and I put it to the test in this book in every single one of those books, [they talk about] the restoration of all things, the Garden of Eden-type restoration that takes place at the end of the age as part of the Gospel story. Jesus talked about the Kingdom more than anything else in all four gospels!

Perhaps more importantly, as Farah argues, todays Christians are often focused on eschatology and the end times.The Tribulation will only last a few years, he points out, and Christians are largely ignoring all the wonderful things that willhappen on Earth immediately afterward.

Theres not a very long period of time that the world goes through this Tribulation, he said. But we have a thousand years after that! Of glory! And paradise! And the Garden of Eden! Why dont we dwell on that? Because thats something I think young people will be happy about as much as old people. Its all good news!

Its the book that gives you tomorrows news today! Get your autographed copy of The Restitution of All Things: Israel, Christians and the End of the Age.

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Revealed: Why God is focused on Israel

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Israeli opposition says Abbas tried to resume security ties with Israel – Reuters

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told Israeli opposition lawmakers on Sunday that he had proposed rolling back his month-old suspension of security coordination with Israel, but that it did not respond to the overture, the delegation said.

Abbas suspended ties on July 21, demanding that Israel remove metal detectors it had installed outside a Jerusalem compound housing the Al-Aqsa mosque in response to the killing of two of its police guards by gunmen who had holed up there.

Amid Palestinian and Jordanian unrest, and U.S. mediation efforts, Israel dismantled the walk-through gates on July 25 and said it would install less obtrusive security measures.

“We recently communicated with them(Israeli security officials) in an attempt to resume some kind of cooperation,” Abbas told a visiting delegation from Israel’s left-wing Meretz party, according to a statement issued by the lawmakers.

“But they have not returned an answer, something that has prevented progress in thawing ties,” he was quoted as saying.

Abbas aides were not immediately available for comment. His administration’s relations with Israel are resented by many Palestinians, such as those from rival Islamist movement Hamas.

A Netanyahu aide, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said: “These reported remarks are simply incorrect.” The aide declined to elaborate, citing policy of not publishing details on security contacts with the Palestinians.

Despite their impasse in peace negotiations, both sides view the coordination as a means of tamping down violence in the occupied West Bank, where Palestinians have limited self-rule.

Al-Aqsa, Islam’s third-holiest shrine, is among areas Israel captured from Jordan in a 1967 war, and where Palestinians want statehood. Jews revere the site as vestige of their two ancient temples. Israel, the Palestinians and Jordan have tried to stave off religious tensions there with delicate access arrangements.

Palestinians deemed the metal detectors a breach of this decades-old status quo. As violent protests surged, Israeli forces killed four Palestinians. A Palestinian also knifed three Israelis to death in a Jewish settlement in the West Bank.

According to the Meretz statement, Abbas said on Sunday that his administration had doubled monitoring of the area since the killing of the two police guards by three Israeli Arab gunmen.

Palestinian security forces do not have a formal presence in Jerusalem, all of which Israel claims as its capital – a status not recognised internationally.

Writing by Dan Williams; Editing by Jon Boyle

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Israeli opposition says Abbas tried to resume security ties with Israel – Reuters

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FROM ISRAEL TO NAPA VALLEY, TO ATELIER MELKA’S MAAYAN KOSCHITZKY {VIDEO} – HuffPost

This post was first published on TheWineSiren.com Maayan Koschitzky in Atelier Phillipe Melka Napa Valley vineyards for harvest When Vintners from one of the first wine interviews you did refers their winemaker for a sit-down you move.That brand is Brilliant Mistake, which produces a riveting small lot, ultra premium Cabernet Sauvignon. Stacy & John Reinert rely on their consulting winemaker, Maayan Koschitzky heavily to produce their Napa Valley brand. So I am heading up Napa Valley to the quaint and somewhat subdued town of St. Helena. Koschitzkys been in the valleyfor a little over five years and his impact has definitely been felt. First at Screaming Eagle, and the last three years at Atelier Phillipe Melka. He also has a number of clients he consults for. Vineyards of St. Helena in Napa Valley Koschitzky wasnt always going to be a winemaker.He comes from a family of farmers growing fruits and vegetables. Born and raised in Israel, he went to school and studied engineering. Disheartened by the prospect ofsitting at the computer all day he longed for the outdoors. Returning to farming would solve that problem. The correlation between engineering and winemaking was evident to Koschitzky. Engineering gave him the experience he needed working with machinery. Wineries required machinery to do the heavy lifting. Machinery use is pervasive in the wine industry. Its usedfor harvest, crush, fermentation, aging, and packaging. A change to winemaking would enable him to leverage his creative abilities and his technical skills while embracing his love for farming. The vineyardswould prove to be keygroundsto learn from and enable him to expand his knowledge base growing vines. He made the switch in 2005 to winemaking. Israel entered the grape growing realm withvineyards planted in the late 1800s by Baron Edmond de Rothschild. The wineries started by making Kosher wine and tended to be sweet and the mono dimensional. Today, with over 20,000 acres and state-of-the-art irrigation which was created by Israeli farmers and engineers they have already learned a great deal about working in arid and climates with little water. The Israelis are the inventors of drip irrigation, a technology that has revolutionized vineyard farming and is widely used in California. Thriving in this area are many of the grapes popular in Napa Valley, which would one day become home to Koschitzky. In 2008 Koschitzky went to work for a mentor who would help change his trajectory. Dr. Yair Margalit wasinterested in winemaking as a visiting research professor at U.C. Davis. He was later instrumental in creating Israels first seriousboutique winery. The Margalit Winery creates some of the best reds in Israel, from Bordeaux blends (Merlot, Petit Verdot, and Malbec) including Cabernet Sauvignon & Cabernet Franc. It was a perfect training ground for Koschitzky who remained with Margalit for three years. Pondering the possibility of Napa Valley, he first discussed a move with his wife. Shortly after, a friend returned to Israel from Napa Valley the stage was set.He and his family would headto Napa for Harvest and to expand his wine education at U.C. Davis. In 2011 he applied for several internships in TheValley. The first call back wasfor an interview withnone other than Screaming Eagle. One of the severalrevered cult wines in The Valley. Koschitzky was unfamiliar with the brand at the time. The brand wieldsBottles of this cult winerange from $1995.00 to $2450.00 if youre not in the wine club. If you want to get in the Screaming Eagle wine club the wait list isapproximately 15 years. The magic in the bottle as Ive heard is ethereal. He flew in for the interview and after it was over returned to his wife and told her Lets do this!. Taking a step back as an intern, gave him a unique perspective having already been a wine maker. He learned the ropes atScreaming Eagles state of the art winery. The winery wascompleted just before Koschitzky joinedthe 2011 Harvest. The philosophy of Screaming Eagle would change how Koschitzky thought about wine making. The philosophy was unique. No expense spared, thebest vineyard, and only exceptional fruit makes the cut. Maayan Koschitzky is the director of winemaking at Atelier Phillipe Melka (a wine consulting venture) and Melka Wines. Atelier Melka is responsible for creating wine for close to 20 clients, with renowned winemaker & entrepreneur Phillipe Melka. Koschitzky says Melka is an authentic artist who loves what he does. With 25 years in the game, Melka and his wife Cherielaunch their own state of the art winery on the Silverado Trail. They will celebrate the opening with the first harvest of the year. Melka Wines New Tasting Room on the Silverado Trail Koschitzkys provides clients with design and implementation services of wineries. His next step is creating his own brand. Hes partnered with Silverado Farming Company to make his own line of wines called La Pelle (meaning shovel in French). Its coming full circle for him as he returns to his roots. He explains, In our story, we went to that name and the brand (La Pelle) because that is who we are. The farming side, were digging the soil and planting the vines. Once the tank is dry and we are ready to go to barrel, we drain the juice to the barrels. We dig the tank out with shovels. It felt like the right tool to close the cycle of the brand. The first vintage for La Pelle will be bottled this year. A Sauvignon Blanc from old vines that have been dry farmed in St. Helena. This years Sauvignon Blanc looks really fantastic. The flavors are excellent as is the yield, says Koschitzky. At the time of this post the Chardonnay was just two weeks from harvest. The La Pelle Cabernet Sauvignon will be bottled in May of 2018. The Morning Email Wake up to the day’s most important news.

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Anti-Israel Leaders Hosted at State Dept. Seeking to Drive Wedge in US-Israel Alliance – Washington Free Beacon

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson / Getty Images BY: Adam Kredo August 21, 2017 1:29 pm The State Department’s recent hosting of an American Muslim organization known for its anti-Israel stance and support of boycotts of the Jewish state has sparked concern from those close to the Trumpadministration thatthese advocacy groupsare seeking to drive a wedge into theUnited States’relationship with Israel, which has hit speed bumps since Rex Tillerson assumed control of America’s chief diplomatic agency, according to multiple sources who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon. The State Department hosted this month leaders from the U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations, which represents a number of organizations including American Muslims for Palestine, or AMP, an organization that promotes “extreme anti-Israel views”and”anti-Zionist”propaganda,according to the Anti-Defamation League, which tracks anti-Israel hate groups. Representatives from the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, Islamic Circle of North America, andMuslim Ummah of North America also attended the meeting. AMP, which partnered with the terror group Hamas’s main U.S. propaganda arm until it was shuttered in 2004, and the other groups met with several State Department officials to discuss the ongoing violence on Israel’s holy Temple Mount area, which has been the site of several riots and attacks on Israelis. The groups werethere to promote anti-Israel propaganda blaming Israel for the recent violence that began after Palestinian terrorists killed two Israeli security official stationed at the site, which is home to the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa mosques. The meeting has prompted concern among pro-Israel leaders close to the Trump administration, who say the summit is part of larger effort by anti-Israel organizations to drive a wedge between the Trump administration and Israel at a critical juncture. The Free Beacon first reported last month that the State Department under Secretary Rex Tillerson has been in “open war” with the White House over a range of key issues, including Israel. Multiple sources who spoke to the Free Beacon confirmed these fears, pointing to a recent State Department-authored report that blamed Israel for terror attacks and roiled congressional leaders who accused Tillerson’s State Department of promoting anti-Israel propaganda. The recent resignation of White House chief strategistSteve Bannon, who was viewed as one of the administration’s most pro-Israel voices, has further stoked these fears among pro-Israel leaders. Multiple pro-Israel insiders who spoke to the Free Beacon expressed concerns about the State Department’s willingness to host an openly anti-Israel group during a time when tensions in the Middle East are running high. Israeli officials are said to be concerned about the Trump administration’s stance on a range of issues, including its policy in Syria and other terror hotspots. “Everyone knows this is the group funneling money from the Middle East to finance the [Boycott, Sanctions, and Divestment] movement,” said one prominent pro-Israel official who would only speak on background so as not to spark further tension with the White House. “They’re being investigated by the FBI and the state of Illinois for potential illicit financing activity. I really want to believe in Secretary Tillerson but between his reluctance to confront Iran and now this, it’s hard to justify his continuation as secretary of state.” A State Department official confirmed the meeting took place, but would not specify who the American Muslim leaders met with and what exactly was discussed. “The Department regularly hosts groups representing different constituencies in America to explain USG policy and hear their perspective,” the official told the Free Beacon.”The group was interested in U.S. policy on Jerusalem given events on the Temple Mount/Haram al Sharif last month, and met a cross-section of working level officials from different offices in the Department.” Asked if administration officials were aware of the group’s anti-Israel views and ties to Hamas, the official said that State Department views Hamas as a terror organization and opposes boycotts of the Jewish state. Noah Pollak, a political consultant who works with a range of pro-Israel organizations, criticized the State Department for hosting what he described as extremists who reject Israel’s right to exist and openly endorse terrorist groups. “AMP is a front for jihadists, and doesn’t try very hard to hide it. Some of its founders were involved with the Holy Land Foundation, a Hamas fundraising front that was the biggest terror finance case in U.S. history,” Pollak said. “Its founder called for an intifada’ here in America. Maybe next time there’s a flare-up of Palestinian violence the State Department can cut out the middle man and just meet directly with Hamas.” Other pro-Israel insiders expressed concern over the meeting, but cautioned against putting too much stock in efforts by these Muslim American groups to drive a wedge into the U.S.-Israel relationship. “Presidential administrations are going to meet with constituents,” said the source, a senior official at a large pro-Israel group. “That’s what they do. The question is if they believe what they hear, let alone act on it.” “Judging by the public descriptions of the meeting, no one at the White House was buying whatever AMP was selling,” the source said. “That’s what we’d expect from the Trump administration, which has people who understand the value of the pro-Israel relationship like Victoria Coates in key positions to guide policy.”

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Report: Israel ‘Gravely Concerned’ U.S. Will Fail to Ensure …

Ronen Bergman, investigative journalist and military analyst for Israels Yedioth Aharonot newspaper, reported the news follows a visit by a senior delegation of Israeli defense officials to Washington to meet with U.S. intelligence chiefs,National Security Council officials and President Donald Trumps special negotiator to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt. The delegation, which includedMossad Director Yossi Cohen, Military Intelligence Directorate (MID) Chief Maj. Gen. Herzi Halevi and Israels Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer,presented sensitive, credible and highly disturbing intelligence information pertaining to Irans presence in Syria, intelligence officials said. We rushed here to warn of the deployment of Hezbollah, Iranian and Syrian forces; to explain exactly whats going on there. Without a significant change in your position, if you dont become more involved, tougher and more aggressive, you will leave the Middle East to the Iranians, under Russian auspices, Bergman cited the Israelis as telling their American counterparts. According to intelligence sources, a final status agreement brokered between Syria, Russia and the U.S. is on the horizon. American-Russian cooperation in the last few months has brought a steady decline in fighting in the embattled country, and even the influence of terror groups like the Islamic State has waned considerably. However, despite what ostensibly seemed like a friendly visit, the Israelis could not persuade the Americans to demand the evacuation of Iranian and Hezbollah forces from Syria. Israel fears Iran will expand its presence including implementing missile systems to the Syrian side of the Golan. Iranian presence in the country currently includes some 500 soldiers, 5,000 Hezbollah militants and several thousand more from other Shiite proxies, all under the stewardship of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) elite Quds Force. According to Bergman, the delegation said upon their return over the weekendthat while they were in the U.S. they had observeda kind of embarrassment and lack of a clear position in the American administration with regards to the nature of the future agreement and disagreements on what should and what should not be done in Syria to bring quiet to the entire region. As far as theyre concerned, the matter is still wide open. Israels concern is compounded by President Donald Trumps domestic challenges as well as unfolding events withNorth Korea, leaving the Jewish state worried that Washington may choose not to go head to head with Russia and Syria on the Iranian question. Israel intends to send another defense delegation to Moscow to present its case to Russian President Vladimir Putin. P.S. DO YOU WANT MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS ONE DELIVERED RIGHT TO YOUR INBOX?SIGN UP FOR THE DAILY BREITBART NEWSLETTER.

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Israel Advances Plans to Establish New Jewish Communities in Galillee – Haaretz

The initiative began with a declared effort to boost the Jewish presence in Israel’s northern region three years ago Israel’s executive arm for settlement construction has begun advancing plans for new Jewish communities in the Galilee that clearly contradict national planning policy, which favors expanding existing communities. These plans began to take shape three years ago, in a declared effort to create a demographic balance between Jews and Arabs in the northern region. The Settlement Division of the World Zionist Organization’s work plan was posted 10 days ago on the Agriculture Ministrys website. It includes feasibility studies for proposed new communities in two areas of the Galilee, northwest of Carmiel near the kibbutzim of Pelekh and Tuval; and south of Carmiel, near the community settlements of Eshhar and Yuvalim. Both areas are near large Arab towns, including Majdal Krum and Sakhnin, which together have 45,000 residents. The Misgav Regional Council, the jurisdiction of the proposed new communities, has a population of 28,000. The settlement division wants to build 3,000 homes, but it isnt clear exactly where they will be located. The Settlement Division has for many years been defined as the governments executive arm for settlement construction. It operates under the auspices of the Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry and is fully funded by the state. In recent years its annual budget has ranged from 100 million shekels to 300 million shekels ($27.6 million to $82.8 million). The division does not have the authority to approve the establishment of new communities, but in many cases it has submitted proposals that were subsequently approved by the relevant government ministries. One of the most recent communities it was involved in planning was Hiran. This new community for Jews in southern Israel is to be built on the site of the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran, where a resident and a police officer died in January in the course of evictions there. We’ve got more newsletters we think you’ll find interesting. Please try again later. This email address has already registered for this newsletter. Immediately after the plans were posted, the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel submitted reservations, most prominently the fact that building new communities in the Galilee contradicts national planning policy. The development of new communities reduces the amount of open spaces with low-rise, low-density housing, the SPNI wrote. Beyond the environmental damage, the establishment of new communities is economically unjustified because of the high development costs, and also unjustified socially, because they attract people away from existing communities. The Environmental Protection Ministry takes a similar position. In a statement, the Settlement Division said the work plan refers to new communities that were approved by cabinet resolution and have the approval of the National Planning and Building Council. According to the division, These towns will contribute to and strengthen the existing towns and the region. The Planning Administration in the Finance Ministry said it wasnt familiar with the plans but added, Our position is that it is preferable to expand existing communities than to build new ones. Want to enjoy ‘Zen’ reading – with no ads and just the article? Subscribe today

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How will the Netanyahu-Putin meeting affect the region? – The Jerusalem Post

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to go to Sochi on Wednesday for a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, his fourth visit to Russia in the last 16 months. For reporters who cover Netanyahu, the drill is well known. Following the premiers meeting with Putin, either he or one of his spokesmen will say that during the meeting he stressed Israels red lines in Syria: that Jerusalem will not tolerate an Iranian or Hezbollah presence on the Golan border; that Israel will not accept a permanent Iranian presence in Syria; and that Israel will act to ensure that game-changing weapons or capabilities are not transferred from Iran through Syria to Hezbollah in Lebanon. Netanyahu will be careful to praise the Russian-Israeli bilateral relations, and say that the deconfliction mechanism to prevent any accidental engagements between the Russian and Israeli air forces in Syrian skies which he set up with Moscow immediately after Russia became militarily involved in Syria in 2015 has proven itself very effective. He will be careful not to say what the Russian leaders response to any of this was, beyond saying that the Israeli messages were understood. But these meetings are by no means a Netanyahu monologue. The Russians also have their position regarding Syria and overall Iranian intentions, and based on a number of conversations with senior Russian diplomats it goes like this: Russia has genuine interest in Syria. Raqqa, the one-time Islamic State stronghold in northern Syria, is only 1,000 kilometers, or 620 miles, from Grozny, Chechnya, in southern Russia, the distance from New York to Knoxville, Tennessee. When Moscow decided to become actively engaged in the fighting in Syria in the summer of 2015, there was a real danger that Islamic State and a collection of other rebels would overthrow the government in Damascus, and the country would fall under the sway of forces downright hostile to Russia someone like Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi who might then want to begin efforts through Chechnya to destabilize Russia. Some 4,500 Russian citizens are fighting against the Islamists in Syria, and have not concealed their desire to fight the infidels at home meaning in Russia once victory is achieved in Syria and Iraq. Unlike the US forces that invaded Iraq in 2003, or the international coalition that launched airstrikes against Libya in 2011, Russia was invited into Syria by the recognized government of Bashar Assad. Therefore, Russia unlike the US and the international coalition is in accordance with international law by acting inside Syria at the invitation of the legitimate government. If there is a mess in the Middle East, it is not because Russia moved into Syria, but rather because the US moved into Iraq, and then the West took action in Libya unleashing all kinds of destabilizing forces throughout the region. The US says that the aerial campaign against Libya was a great success, ousting a brutal dictator in Muammar Gaddafi but what kind of success? Huge amounts of military hardware was pillaged, and vast amounts of weaponry and even chemical substances have spilled over into neighboring African countries as well as into the hands of Jihadi groups. Niger and Mali were destabilized because of what happened in Libya. Russia listens to Israels concerns about Iran, but views them as overstated. Iran will not attack Israel, because it knows that to do so would be suicidal. Israel and the Saudis say that Iran is trying to encircle them with proxies stretching from Yemen through Bahrain, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, but the truth is that the Iranians feel threatened and encircled by Israel, the Saudis and the US. True, Israel does not threaten to wipe Iran off the map, but why has it bought a fleet of F-35 stealth bombers? Whom is that intended for, if not Iran? Moreover, the US talks openly about Iranian regime change. Even the nuclear deal the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action reached in 2015 is seen by the Americans as a way of empowering the moderates to slowly edge out the ayatollahs. Irans actions in Syria are not designed to destabilize the region but rather to protect themselves, to push back and take the battle to the enemy, rather than waiting to become encircled themselves. We, the Russians, understand Israels concerns about game-changing weaponry being transferred from Syria to Hezbollah, and we acknowledge Israels right to defend itself. But Israel cannot unilaterally take it upon itself to regulate relations between other sovereign states it is not the regional sheriff. We, the Russians, also understand Israels concerns regarding Iran establishing a permanent presence in Syria, but we cannot prevent it. Iran is a sovereign state; we cant tell Tehran what to do or how to behave. We might counsel against it, but they will not necessarily listen to us. We dont make the decisions for Iran. Iran is inside Syria because Assad invited them in. The same is true of Hezbollah. The Iranians and Hezbollah came in when Assads back was against the wall. It is now in Israels interest for Assad to retain strong control of his country, so then there will be no need for the Syrians to invite in outside forces. The best thing for Israel would be a strong government in Damascus that will not need Iranian or Hezbollah help. Israel should be working with the forces to empower Assad. To Israeli ears, much of the above sounds almost delusional. Nevertheless, that is the Russian message, one that their diplomats espouse consistently in private conversations, and one that Netanyahu has heard in various forms more than once. He will also likely hear a variation on this theme again from Putin when they meet Wednesday in Sochi. Share on facebook

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ABC hits back at claims it ‘wiped Israel off the map’ – NEWS.com.au

The ABC graphic related to marry your rapist laws in the region. THE ABC has angrily hit back at claims it wiped Israel off the map in a news graphic, describing the allegations as incorrect and offensive. Avi Yemini, prominent Israeli activist and founder of Krav Maga company IDF Training, posted a photo to Facebook on Friday showing a clip from ABC news with Palestine in the place of Israel. Last night ABC News wiped Israel off their map, he wrote. Theyre literally doing the Islamists dirty work for them. We must DEFUND these traitors immediately. The ABC has slammed the comments, saying the graphic was part of a segment about Lebanon abolishing so-called marry your rapist laws. This story was about the repealing of a law in Lebanon that allowed rapists to escape punishment if they married their victims, a spokeswoman said. The accompanying graphic showed countries where this law had already been repealed (in blue) and countries where campaigners were actively trying to have it repealed (in yellow). This law does not exist in Israel, and never has, so it was not shown in the graphic. Last year, Cotton On was forced to pull a world globe from its Typo stationery stores after a similar error caused anger in the Jewish community. frank.chung@news.com.au Just over 1 in 10 girls worldwide have experienced forced intercourse or other forced sexual acts at some point in their lives. These are the horrific recorded statistics of rape and sexual assault around the world.

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August 21, 2017   Posted in: Israel  Comments Closed

Pro-Israel group urges RI lawmakers to back anti-boycott bill – The Providence Journal

The Rhode Island Coalition for Israel is advocating for legislation known as the Anti-Israel Boycott Act which would expand a federal law against supporting foreign government boycotts to include those supported by organizations including the United Nations. PROVIDENCE, R.I. A newlyorganized pro-Israel group is gathering at the State House Monday to pressureRhodeIsland’s all-Democratic Congressional delegation to support a billintended toquashboycotts of Israel. The Rhode Island Coalition for Israel, which describes itself as a”partnership between evangelical Christians and politically conservative Jews,” isadvocating forlegislation known as theAnti-Israel BoycottAct, which would expand afederal law against supporting foreign government boycotts to includethose supported by organizations including the United Nations. The act,which carries potential $1-million fines and up to 20 years in prison for those convicted of breaking it,seeks to counter the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement against Israel’s occupation of Palestine. In an era of heavy partisanship, the bills have drawn rare support across the aisle, with 35 RepublicanSenate cosponsors,including SenatorsTed Cruz of Texasand MarcoRubio of Florida;and 13 Democrats, including Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York and Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut. The House bill has 186 Republican cosponsors and 66 Democrats. But the bills have raised alarmamong civil liberties groups, whosay they infringe on the First Amendment’s protection of free speech and couldcriminalize political expression. The American Civil Liberties Union wrote a letter to Congress in opposition to the bills, stating thatthey seek to “punish individuals for no reason other than their political belief.” No members of the Rhode Island delegation are among the cosponsors, although they havebeen cautious aboutcriticizing it. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse “has not taken aposition on the bill,” spokeswoman Meaghan McCabe stated in an email. One of Whitehouse’s potential Republican campaign opponents, Republican state Rep. Bobby Nardolillo of Coventry, issued a statement this year saying he was “completely in favor” of the legislation and likening it to a state bill passedin 2016. The Rhode Island bill, introduced by Rep. Mia Ackerman, requires companies to promise not to support boycotts of countriesthat are members of the WorldTrade Organization,which includes Israel. Sen. Jack Reed’s office did not respond to requests for comment on the current federal boycott bill. Responding to questions from members of the Rhode Island Coalition for Israel at a recent town hall, Rep. David Cicilline said he did not sign on to the bill because of the ACLU’s concerns about criminalizing political speech, but would consider supporting the bill if it were amended. “I strongly oppose the BDS movement. … But one of the things I am very concerned about … is it criminalizes the behavior of someoneand also criminalizes the behavior of someonewho furnishes information from an inquiry,” Cicilline said at the town hall.”That is a very concerning thing to me.” Rep. Jim Langevinhas a similar position. He “strongly opposes the BDS movement,” spokeswoman Anita Baffoni stated in an email.”However, he has concerns with the potential consequences this legislation could have on free speech. He also believes we must be very careful in how we define territorial boundaries in absence of a peace deal.” Since the free-speech concerns about the legislation were raised, many Democratic members of Congress who signed on to the bill have said they are reviewing the First Amendment concerns and considering amendments. Howard Brown, a retired North Kingstown resident who is the executive director of the new Rhode Island Coalition for Israel, said the organization was founded”in response to overwhelming liberal attitudes in the state in terms of the Middle East conflict and blame mostly has been aimed at Israel.” The organization also has opposed the Iran nuclear deal made under President Barack Obama’s administration. Brown called free-speech concerns about the boycott bill political “talking points” that carried little legal weight. “The law as introduced was a no-brainer until someone discovered there was a talking point against it,” Brown said. The coalition intends to holda news conference at 1 p.m. Monday at the State House. On the other side of the issue, critics of the recent round of anti-boycott laws, including last year’s Rhode Island contracting bill, say they are really about clamping down dissent against the policies of the current conservative Israeli government. “This bill is framed as regulating economic activity but its primary goal is to stifle criticism of Israel. It was written by the [American Israel Public Affairs Commitee], a hawkish pro-Israel lobby that aligns with the Netanyahu government,” said Nina Tannenwald,director of the international relations programat Brown University’s Watson Institute.”It is a very complex but also misguided piece of legislation that will be difficult to enforce.” panderson@providencejournal.com (401) 277-7384 On Twitter: @PatrickAnderso_

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August 20, 2017   Posted in: Israel  Comments Closed

Revealed: Why God is focused on Israel

Christians throughout the world preach the message of salvation. But few are very specific about what precisely God has planned for the world andfor humanity. After all, how could people know exactly what God is going to do in the future? They could read the Bible, contends WND founder Joseph Farah, who says all the answers are there. And the Gospel, the good news, he asserts, is more remarkable and far more specific than many Christians are aware. Farah recently talked about his new book, The Restitution of All Things: Israel, Christians and the End of the Age, in an interview with Jan Markell of Olive Tree Ministries. Farah said he was won to faith through studying prophecy and by observing how the events foretold in the Bible were being fulfilled. And he learned from arguably the most influentialeschatologist ofthe last half century, Hal Lindsey, author of The Late Great Planet Earth. Early in my journalism career, I had an opportunity to meet Hal Lindsey and really get to know him and work with him for 10 years, basically sitting at his knee and collaborating on books and TV shows, Farah recalled. It was a great opportunity God gave me, and that was kind of the kickoff. I had read his book in the 1970s, The Late Great Planet Earth, and it was the key to my understanding the salvation message. The experience gave Farah the critical insight thathas guided his approach to understanding Christianity: The Bible is true and God means exactly what He says. I start with the premise that whats in the Bible is absolutely true, Farah told Markell. No equivocation. And if you dont believe that, my book is not for you. Period, end of story. I go to the Bible every day to learn something about truth. Its the ultimate test of truth. Its the ultimate test of what is right and what is wrong. And if we deviate from that, whos going to tell us whats true and whats right and whats wrong? I dont think its possible. And the Bible has several things to say thatmany Christians may find surprising. Both Markell and Farah observed Scripture tells an unfinished story focused on Israel and the Middle East, not Europe or North America. Jesus doesnt come back to be the president of the United States, Markell said. He doesnt come back to be the secretary general of the United Nations. He doesnt come to rule the European Union or sit in the Vatican. He comes to rule and reign from Jerusalem as King of the Jews. But he will also rule the entire world from there. Its the book that gives you tomorrows news today! Get your autographed copy of The Restitution of All Things: Israel, Christians and the End of the Age. Were headed into a very Israel-centric world, Farah said, expanding on the point. One of my concerns when I was writing the book was, Wow, I dont think many Christians fully understand this; I dont think theyre looking at those passages at what the Kingdom is about and understanding. Yeah, theyre excited about what their destiny is, but they dont fully understand it, he continued. And that reminded me of the first time that Yeshua-Jesus came; there were a lot of people in Israel who werent expecting the Messiah to look like this, to act like this, to be so meek. They were expecting a conqueror who would free them from Rome. I think its dangerous when we dont fully understand whats being revealed to us in Scripture, very clearly I think, about what the future is going to be like, he said. People had the Scriptures back in Israel, yet they didnt recognize their Messiah. And it makes me think, well, arent there so many Christians who dont understand what were headed to in the next world? Arent we in the same boat as some of the Pharisees and Sadducees who werent really anticipating an accurate picture of the Messiah? Farah said. We think we know Jesus, but do we really know the Jesus of the Bible or do we see him through some kind of a caricature thats been portrayed to us by our own tradition? Thats one of the other things I try to tackle in this book. Markell raised the question that arises from Farahs conclusions: Why isGod so Israel-centric? Farah answers that the Jews have been given a special mission, but their mission is important for the whole world. [God] tells us in His words that the Israeli people have a very special mission, Farah said. They were chosen. We say they were chosen well, what were they chosen to do? They were chosen to carry the Scriptures to the whole world. And the knowledge of the one true God of the universe. That was their mission! They were to be a light to the Gentiles, meaning all the other nations. The question is, have they succeeded? And you know, there have been some shortcomings along the way, which has caused them to be judged at various times in their history by God. But you know what? There are people all over the world that because of that mission now know who the true Messiah is, who now know who the God of the universe is. We owe that to God and to Israel, because to some extent or another, they carried out the mission. Christians, Farah argues, are incorporated into this tradition and mission through Jesus Christ. The question that should come to any Christian is, was Jesuss intent to start a new religion? asked Farah. And my answer to that is no, not really. What Jesus came to do is to save the world. He came as Messiah to the Jews and to the rest of the nations as well, to enlighten the whole world as to the truth. Thats why He came. And Hes the Messiah to the Jews and Hes our Messiah. Were grafted into the promises of the nation of Israel, as Paul explained. Farah will teach some of what he learned in the research and writing of the book next month on a cruise to Alaska, at a conference in October and on a tour of Israel in November. And he says Christians should be excited about the world that is coming, the Millennial Kingdom on Earth. Thats the good news, he said. Thats what the Gospel is all about. And the Gospel is about the fulfillment of all of this in the [Millennial] Kingdom. And if you dont believe in the Kingdom, you dont really believe in the Gospel! All of the prophets since Creation thats what Peter says, and I put it to the test in this book in every single one of those books, [they talk about] the restoration of all things, the Garden of Eden-type restoration that takes place at the end of the age as part of the Gospel story. Jesus talked about the Kingdom more than anything else in all four gospels! Perhaps more importantly, as Farah argues, todays Christians are often focused on eschatology and the end times.The Tribulation will only last a few years, he points out, and Christians are largely ignoring all the wonderful things that willhappen on Earth immediately afterward. Theres not a very long period of time that the world goes through this Tribulation, he said. But we have a thousand years after that! Of glory! And paradise! And the Garden of Eden! Why dont we dwell on that? Because thats something I think young people will be happy about as much as old people. Its all good news! Its the book that gives you tomorrows news today! Get your autographed copy of The Restitution of All Things: Israel, Christians and the End of the Age.

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August 20, 2017   Posted in: Israel  Comments Closed

Israeli opposition says Abbas tried to resume security ties with Israel – Reuters

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told Israeli opposition lawmakers on Sunday that he had proposed rolling back his month-old suspension of security coordination with Israel, but that it did not respond to the overture, the delegation said. Abbas suspended ties on July 21, demanding that Israel remove metal detectors it had installed outside a Jerusalem compound housing the Al-Aqsa mosque in response to the killing of two of its police guards by gunmen who had holed up there. Amid Palestinian and Jordanian unrest, and U.S. mediation efforts, Israel dismantled the walk-through gates on July 25 and said it would install less obtrusive security measures. “We recently communicated with them(Israeli security officials) in an attempt to resume some kind of cooperation,” Abbas told a visiting delegation from Israel’s left-wing Meretz party, according to a statement issued by the lawmakers. “But they have not returned an answer, something that has prevented progress in thawing ties,” he was quoted as saying. Abbas aides were not immediately available for comment. His administration’s relations with Israel are resented by many Palestinians, such as those from rival Islamist movement Hamas. A Netanyahu aide, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said: “These reported remarks are simply incorrect.” The aide declined to elaborate, citing policy of not publishing details on security contacts with the Palestinians. Despite their impasse in peace negotiations, both sides view the coordination as a means of tamping down violence in the occupied West Bank, where Palestinians have limited self-rule. Al-Aqsa, Islam’s third-holiest shrine, is among areas Israel captured from Jordan in a 1967 war, and where Palestinians want statehood. Jews revere the site as vestige of their two ancient temples. Israel, the Palestinians and Jordan have tried to stave off religious tensions there with delicate access arrangements. Palestinians deemed the metal detectors a breach of this decades-old status quo. As violent protests surged, Israeli forces killed four Palestinians. A Palestinian also knifed three Israelis to death in a Jewish settlement in the West Bank. According to the Meretz statement, Abbas said on Sunday that his administration had doubled monitoring of the area since the killing of the two police guards by three Israeli Arab gunmen. Palestinian security forces do not have a formal presence in Jerusalem, all of which Israel claims as its capital – a status not recognised internationally. Writing by Dan Williams; Editing by Jon Boyle

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