Archive for the ‘Israel’ Category

Israel Once Tried To Turn North Korea Into A Friend The Forward

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More than two decades ago, as Israel sought peace with Palestinians and Arab states, it also sought to thaw its relationship with North Korea an effort that diplomats claim might have succeeded had the Mossad, Israels spy agency, not intervened.

According to the Times of Israel, five Israeli diplomats traveled to Pyongyang in 1992 in a bid to convince the North Koreans to stop sharing nuclear technology and know-how with Israels neighbors in the Middle East. They saw possible business and economic development deals between the two countries as a way to sweeten the arrangement for the totalitarian regime.

We were flown around by the helicopter of the leader [Kim Il-sung] and met with his deputy. We were accompanied by a high-ranking general from the North Korean army all throughout our visit, and they entertained us with a huge spectacle, recalled Eytan Bentsur, then the deputy director general of the Israeli Foreign Affairs Ministry.

But Bentsur and his colleagues said that their outreach was scuttled by the Mossads machinations, allegedly on the orders of then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who may himself have been pressured by the United States.

Those diplomats think that stopping negotiations was a grave mistake. At that particular moment in time it was possible to change an aggressive and dangerous regime into one that focused on developing its own economy, Bentsur told the Times of Israel. Theres no doubt that it would have been a different North Korea.

Contact Daniel J. Solomon at solomon@forward.com or on Twitter, @DanielJSolomon

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Israel Once Tried To Turn North Korea Into A Friend The Forward

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Israel targets Al Jazeera in latest attack on press freedoms – VICE News

Israels communications minister declared war on Al Jazeera Sunday, pledging to shut down its local broadcasts, revoke its press credentials, and close its Jerusalem office, a brazen broadside aimed at the popular Arab media outlet.

Ayoob Kara, the communications official, said barring the state-owned Qatari outlet was necessary because it supports terrorism, a likely reference to its broadcasts of interviews with groups like the Palestinian militant group Hamas, which Israel considers a terrorist organization.Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu celebrated the proposal, accusing Al Jazeera of incitement against Israel. Last month, Netanyahu accused Al Jazeera of encouraging Palestinian violence against Israel in response to Israeli security measures outside the Al Aqsa Mosque.

Press freedom advocates denounced the proposal as a step toward censorship and the latest sign of deterioration in press freedom throughout Israel, whose security forces allegedly beat journalists covering July protests in Jerusalem and have launched frequent raids on Palestinian media outlets in the West Bank.

I dont think Israel can continue to boast an image of being the sole democratic country in the region at the same time they are following authoritarian governments in banning Al Jazeera or using Al Jazeera as a pawn in political conflicts, said Sherif Mansour, the Middle East and North Africa program coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Israelis are proud of having a robust media ecosystem, full of debate and harsh criticism aimed at its leaders. But the flip side of Israeli democracy is Israels military occupation in East Jerusalem, Gaza, and the West Bank, where the ability of journalists to do their jobs has come under attack. In 2016, Israel jailed seven Palestinian journalists in the occupied West Bank a number that put them ahead of Saudi Arabia.

Israel has been practicing censorship under the guise of fighting terrorism for a long time, Mansour told VICE News.

While foreign media associations have denounced Israels attacks on Al Jazeera the International Federation of Journalists called it a witch hunt Israeli editorial boards have paid little attention to the issue, though the liberal Haaretz ran an op-ed by Al Jazeeras Jerusalem bureau chief criticizing the broadsides against Al Jazeera.

Israeli security forces record on press freedom appears to have only worsened in recent weeks. Last month, journalists flocked to Jerusalem to cover the Palestinian protests that erupted after Israel installed metal detectors outside the Al Aqsa Mosque. But journalists found themselves besieged by Israeli security forces, blocked from access to key sites in Jerusalems Old City, and thrown out of the area if they managed to get through police lines.

There were [also] far too many of cases of journalists being attacked with pepper spray in their faces, with stun grenades, said Glenys Sugarman, the executive secretary of the Foreign Press Association, a group that advocates for journalists working in Israel and the Palestinian territories. Earlier this month, her organization filed a petition with Israels Supreme Court over the violent tactics.

Then, on July 29, Israeli army forces raided the offices of PalMedia in Ramallah, seizing documents and six storage devices. The army said it did so because the company broadcasts incitement to terrorism.

One week later, Kara, the communications minister, called a press conference to announce Israel would be joining other states in the region, like Egypt and Saudi Arabia, in banning Al Jazeera. (Full disclosure: I have freelanced for Al Jazeera English.)

Al Jazeera, owned by Qatar, has been a thorn in the side of authoritarian states in the Middle East for its broadcasting of Islamists and dissident activists, though the channel does not criticize the country that owns it. In June, Saudi Arabia and other Arab Gulf states placed Qatar under siege until it changes its foreign policy and one of their initial demands on Qatar was to close Al Jazeera.

But Al Jazeera shows no signs of going away not in Qatar, and not even in Israel. Israels communications minister needs the cooperation of the Israeli parliament, Israels broadcasting regulator and the Israeli Government Press Office, which handles press credentials, to fully enact his proposal. And media experts in Israel said it was unlikely he would gain that authority.

The minister of communications has no authority to withdraw channels in Israel. The only thing he can do is go to the regulatory authority in Israel, and this authority would never take off a channel from Israeli television without a very strong factual basis, said Tehilla Shwartz Altshuler, the head of the Media Reform Project at the Israel Democracy Institute.

Altshuler told VICE News the decision is as much about political optics as it is about shutting down the news outlet. Lurking behind Karas announcement is the predicament of his party leader, Benjamin Netanyahu. The prime minister appointed himself communications minister in 2014 but was forced to resign in February because of an Israeli police investigation over charges he colluded with the head of an Israeli newspaper to get favorable coverage.

Netanyahu had to appoint someone as minister of communications. He appointed [Kara], a weak person, a loyal person to Netanyahu, without any prior experience in media regulation, said Altshuler. This guy said to himself, I must catch some public attention. I must be considered as someone who can do something.

In addition, attacking Al Jazeera is an easy way to appeal to the Likud Partys right-wing base.

It is a populist message, said Altshuler. Of course, the extreme right in Israel would be happy with that.

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As Investigations Intensify, Israel Imagines Life After Netanyahu – New York Times

Mr. Netanyahu has fought off swirling scandals for much of his public life, but experts say that Fridays signing of a states witness agreement by Ari Harow, who served as Mr. Netanyahus chief of staff and directed his 2015 re-election campaign, could be a game changer.

Mr. Harow was offered a light sentence in an unrelated matter in return for information about Mr. Netanyahu in what the police have called Case 1000 and Case 2000.

In Case 1000, investigators are looking at whether Mr. Netanyahu offered favors in return for gifts of expensive cigars, pink Champagne and other goods from wealthy friends, including Arnon Milchan, the Israeli Hollywood producer.

Case 2000 involves back-room dealings with a local newspaper magnate. Mr. Netanyahu was recorded negotiating with the publisher of Yedioth Ahronoth for favorable coverage in exchange for curtailing the circulation of a free competitor, Israel Hayom.

The police came across recordings of Mr. Netanyahus talks with the newspaper while searching Mr. Harows belongings, the Israeli news media has reported.

Mr. Hendel, who worked in the prime ministers office during the first of Mr. Harows two stints there, said Mr. Harow worked in the very broad, gray area between Mr. Netanyahus personal, familial and national obligations.

He added, Someone like Ari would see it all.

Mr. Netanyahu has vehemently denied any wrongdoing, and on Tuesday he made a statement about terrorism after a hospital visit to the victim of a recent attack, with no mention of the criminal investigations. He and his office have repeatedly lashed out at the news media and his critics, asserting that the focus on the investigations is meant to topple him under the weight of baseless accusations, rather than at the ballot box.

There is, as yet, no clear contender to replace Mr. Netanyahu, who is serving his third consecutive term and fourth over all. An Israel without Mr. Netanyahu at the helm would, in any case, be an unfamiliar place for its inhabitants, the Middle East and the world.

Mr. Netanyahu has had abrasive relationships with some international leaders, including President Barack Obama, particularly over his championing of settlement expansion and his efforts to thwart Irans nuclear program. President Trumps victory came as a great relief to Mr. Netanyahu and his coalition the most right wing in Israels history alleviating the pressure from Washington.

In May, Mr. Trump paid a bonding visit to Israel. But Mr. Netanyahu has not been given totally free rein on settlement building, and Mr. Trumps election promise of moving the United States Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv remains unfulfilled.

Mr. Netanyahu has also built strong alliances with other leaders, including President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt and Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India, and has expanded Israels global reach based on its prowess in intelligence, counterterrorism and technology.

The Israeli leader has also become a fixture at the annual meetings of the United Nations General Assembly, showcasing a combative, theatrical style of diplomacy. A peak or nadir, depending on the perspective of his leadership was his March 2015 speech against the Iran nuclear deal in front of a joint meeting of Congress.

His tenure has been one of impasse in the Palestinian peace process. But inside Israel, he is credited with having maintained stability as Arab neighbors descended into chaos. A departure would leave Israel, its allies and its enemies in uncharted terrain.

It could take many months for Mr. Harows information to be substantiated. Any police recommendation for an indictment would have to be approved by the state prosecutor and attorney general; there is no precedent in Israel for a sitting prime minister to be charged.

But one or more of Mr. Netanyahus coalition partners may bolt before that to protect their own reputations. There are already some signs of unease from within his own Likud Party.

On Friday, when Mr. Harow signed his deal, the anchor of Israeli public radios noon news program said that the only one of Likuds 30 Parliament members willing to discuss the case was David Amsalem, a novice elected in 2015.

Since then, the coalition whip has threatened the others that they would pay a price in party primaries if they kept silent. One by one, Likud ministers have expressed support, many in Facebook posts. A political cartoon published Tuesday showed the whip holding a gun to the heads of several ministers while ordering, Again with feeling!

A Likud rally in support of Mr. Netanyahu is scheduled for Wednesday evening.

Late Monday, Israeli news outlets reported that the attorney general would soon announce charges against Mr. Netanyahus wife, Sara, on accusations that public funds were misused in the family residences. And, responding to a journalists freedom of information request, Israels Supreme Court has given Mr. Netanyahu two weeks to disclose the call logs of his conversations with executives of Israel Hayom, a newspaper widely considered to have been established to support him.

Yehuda Ben Meir, an expert in national security and public opinion at the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University, said that recent political polls showed a degree of erosion in the support for Mr. Netanyahu, but that there are no indicators at this moment that his position has been dealt a fatal blow.

Mr. Netanyahus durability can be attributed at least in part to the fractured field of potential rivals.

Naftali Bennett, leader of the far right Jewish Home party, and Avigdor Lieberman, of the nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu, would like to contend for the premiership but have relatively small parties that make it difficult.

The Likud has several people jostling for the top spot, including Yisrael Katz, the minister of transportation and intelligence affairs; Gilad Erdan, the minister of public security; and Gideon Saar, a former education minister who recently returned to public life.

Support for Yair Lapid, a former finance minister, and his centrist Yesh Atid party has grown over the past year. Avi Gabbay has injected new spirit into the Labor Party after being elected its chairman last month, replacing Isaac Herzog.

There are no two ways about it, Mr. Gabbay wrote in a recent Facebook post. There is only being for or against the corruption and the rot.

Dahlia Scheindlin, a political analyst, said all the chatter was not so different from what she heard before the election two years ago. Then, too, people were complaining that Bibi had been in for too long, that it was time for change, she said, referring to Mr. Netanyahu by his nickname. But in the same breath they would say, But theres nobody else. Its the same thing now.

Gadi Wolfsfeld, a professor of political communications at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, said, however, At some point, people in his party are going to say enough is enough.

The notion that there is nobody to replace Mr. Netanyahu holds until it happens, Professor Wolfsfeld said. They said nobody could replace Ben-Gurion.

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Gazan travelers face new restrictions from Israel – New Haven Register

Photo: Tsafrir Abayov, AP

Gazan travelers face new restrictions from Israel

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) New Israeli restrictions on Palestinians exiting the blockaded Gaza Strip, including a ban on laptop computers, hard-shell suitcases and even shampoo and toothpaste, have further disrupted travel for the lucky few who are allowed to cross the border into Israel.

Israel is citing unspecified security concerns as the reason for forcing engineers, journalists, business people and human rights workers to leave their electronic work tools behind. For those affected, the restrictions are unfair, inexplicable and mean new headaches in the struggles of daily life in Gaza.

“My work laptop that has all my work files that I can’t take back with me is a big problem for me,” said Ahmed Abu Shahla, an employee of an intellectual property firm in the United Arab Emirates who was returning to the Gulf after visiting relatives in Gaza.

As he boarded a bus at the border, he was forced to leave his laptop behind. He said he didn’t bother to put his projects on flash drives because he feared they would be confiscated.

“My loss is high because you have to move all the data by email or any other means which is almost impossible,” he said. “This affects you in all directions, professionally, unfortunately.”

The ban, which took effect on Aug. 1, applies to all Palestinians who want to travel to Israel, or through Israel to the West Bank and neighboring Jordan. With Israel and Egypt maintaining a tight blockade on Hamas-ruled Gaza, the Erez crossing is virtually the only way out of the territory.

Israel and Egypt imposed the blockade after Hamas won parliamentary elections in 2006 and routed forces loyal to the internationally recognized government of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas the following year. Israel, the U.S. and much of the West consider Hamas a terrorist group, and Israel says the blockade is needed to isolate Hamas and prevent it from smuggling in weapons.

The Rafah crossing on the Egyptian border has traditionally been Gaza’s main gateway to the outside world. But Egypt keeps the crossing closed for months at a time. The last time it opened for travelers was in March, and tens of thousands of people are on wait lists to travel once Egypt opens the crossing.

The Egyptian closure has made Israel’s Erez crossing vital to Gazans who need to travel abroad for business, medical care, studies or to see relatives.

Yet Israel, accusing Hamas of trying to exploit travelers to carry money or information to its agents abroad, has imposed a series of restrictions in recent years that has limited the flow of people across the border.

Israel allows only small numbers of people in special categories, such as students, aid workers and medical patients, to cross through the border, and all travelers go through a heavily fortified terminal where they pass through scanners, can have their luggage opened and are subject to strip searches. In recent years, Israel also has called in hundreds of people for day-long “interviews” with security agents before granting them travel permits.

The restrictions mean that the vast majority of Gaza’s 2 million residents remain trapped in the impoverished territory. Small numbers of merchants and aid workers the engines of what remains of Gaza’s economy along with medical patients and other humanitarian cases are the people who usually use the Erez crossing.

The new Israeli guidelines, outlined in an email obtained by The Associated Press, set out strict restrictions on electronics, baggage and personal items.

For Palestinian merchants, aid workers or travelers headed to Jordan, “personal mobile phones only, no food stuff or toiletries allowed,” says the email. Food is also banned, except for medical patients that can take food for “personal consumption.”

The email was sent on July 19 to international aid organizations that operate in Gaza and was signed by an officer with COGAT, an Israeli defense body that enforces policies toward Palestinian civilians. An updated email next day showed that these procedures are applicable on people exiting Gaza, not entering it.

On Sunday, a Palestinian reporter for the AP was barred from bringing his laptop into Gaza. He was told that he would not be allowed to take it out of Gaza once he enters.

Foreigners were exempted from the restrictions.

COGAT said the new rules were ordered by Israel’s Shin Bet internal security service. In a short statement, the Shin Bet said travel regulations through Erez were updated recently and that exceptional cases can be tested “case by case.” The agency provided no reason for the ban.

Shai Grunberg, a spokeswoman for Gisha, an Israeli advocacy group pushing for Palestinian freedom of movement, said there was no clear explanation for the change in policy.

“Security checks are conducted, understandably, in transit stations around the world. This new directive is punitive, damaging, and must be stopped immediately,” she said. About 6,500 Gazans pass through Erez each month, about half the year-earlier level, according to Gisha.

The measures have caused an outcry among Palestinian too.

“These restrictions are aimed at harassing people and we reject them because Israel already has the best checking and security screening technology,” said Walid Wahdan, spokesman for the Palestinian Civil Affairs Ministry, which carries out civilian coordination with Israel. “These suitcases are used in all airports and terminals. Why they are banned here?” he said.

Each week, Israel allows a bus load of Gazans to ride a shuttle to the West Bank border with Jordan. After receiving permission from Jordan, thousands of people apply to catch a ride on the 50-passenger bus.

On a recent morning, a group of travelers lined up at 7 a.m. outside the Gaza branch of the civil ministry to catch the bus, most of them carrying gym or sport bags.

A young woman had an iPad, but a Palestinian official accompanying the bus told her that she can’t travel with it and that they are not responsible if the Israelis confiscate it. Neither of them agreed to be interviewed.

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Four new ambassadors to Israel present credentials – The Jerusalem Post

Four new ambassadors two resident, two non-resident presented credentials to President Reuven Rivlin on Tuesday: Chris Cannan of Australia; Pablo Mcedo of Mexico; Amara Camara of Guinea, who came in the flowing traditional robes of his country; and Talla Fall of Senegal.

Camara, a celebrated former freedom fighter, is his countrys resident ambassador to France and resides in Paris, while Fall is his countrys resident ambassador to Egypt and is posted in Cairo.

The significance that Israel places on its relations with African states was evidenced in the time Rivlin gave to his individual private meetings with Camara and Fall.

Because both are Muslim, Rivlin made a point of telling them that Israel has no war with Islam per se, but only with Islamic fundamentalists and terrorists.

Rivlin told Fall that he looked forward to the day when Senegal would have an embassy in Israel. He underscored that precisely because of the excellent relations Senegal has with Egypt, Turkey and Iran, Fall could play an important role in regional relations from where he sits in Cairo, and thereby be of assistance in changing the status quo.

Referencing the possibility of peace in the region, Rivlin said the first condition for peace was acknowledgment by Hamas of Israels right to exist. Its time that they recognized this, he said. If they want peace, they need to build confidence and not engage in temporary ceasefires while they work out new ways in which to engineer Israels destruction.

Fall said he was happy to be in Jerusalem, which he characterized as the city of peace and tranquility.

He was particularly appreciative of the warm hospitality accorded to him. He may have had doubts before he came, given the lull in relations between Israel and Senegal for the first six months of this year. Senegal cosponsored an anti-settlement resolution at the UN Security Council in December 2016. As a result, Israel froze all aid to Senegal and recalled her ambassador. The situation was resolved in June when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went to Liberia where he attended the summit of the Economic Community of Western African States and met with Senegals President Macky Sall.

Fall credited Israel with having been the fourth country to recognize Senegal following its independence in April 1960. He noted that Israel had sent a large delegation headed by Yitzhak Rabin to the 1961 Independence Day celebrations.

Fall said he had come to Israel as a true friend because as a boy he had admired Abba Eban and Golda Meir.

Guinea severed diplomatic relations with Israel in 1967 and they were not renewed until July 2016. Camara said that was too long a hiatus and that he regretted the lapse, during which each country could have learned so much from the other.

Relating to the Greek national debt, which is currently in excess of 300 million Euros, Camara said that if a sum of this magnitude would be given to Guinea, you have no idea what we could do with it.

This is not the first time that Camara has been in Israel. In 2003 he was in Ramallah, but confessed that he spent most of his visit in Jerusalem. Here, I saw the meaning of solidarity, he said.

He was optimistic that Guinea and Israel can make up for lost opportunities and build a solid relationship and pledged cooperation at all levels.

Camara said he was familiar with Rivlins quest for equal rights and opportunities for all citizens of Israel, adding that equality was something for which he had striven in his own country.

Cannan was the first ambassador to present credentials to Rivlin, who welcomed him as an ambassador of a country friendly to Israel. Rivlin said he knew that Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was doing a lot to enhance the relationship between the two countries.

Rivlin also mentioned the upcoming commemoration at the end of October of the one hundredth anniversary of the battle of Beersheba. He acknowledged the extent to which Australian soldiers contributed to the stunning victory that gave the Jewish population cause to think there was hope for the establishment of a Jewish state.

Cannan confirmed that there has been a long and positive relationship between the two countries, particularly this year, with Netanyahus visit to Australia in February.

There has also been a long defense and military relationship, he said, noting that Australian Multinational Force and Observers personnel are fighting terrorism on Israels borders.

The relationship has now developed a new dimension by way of innovation, Cannan said.

Rivlin thanked Cannan for Australias support at the United Nations, but neglected to mention that this is the 70th anniversary year of the UN Resolution on the partition of Palestine, in which Australia played a pivotal role.

Rivlin had several points of discussion with Mexican ambassador Pablo Mcedo, including the anticipated visit to Israel by Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and Netanyahus trip to Mexico next month. Rivlin also spoke of the sale by Kibbutz Hatzerim of 80% of its Netafim drip irrigation company to Mexichem for $1.5 billion. He mentioned having been to Mexico several times, both as minister of communications and as a member of Knesset. But his most memorable visit had been in 1986 for the FIFA World Cup that had initially been scheduled for Colombia, but for economic reasons had been moved to Mexico.

Rivlin was aware that after the Second World War, Mexico admitted a large number of Holocaust survivors and since then, every government of Mexico has had good relations with the Jewish community.

Mcedo said that Mexicos friendship with Israel was very solid and unwavering and that the Jewish community was vibrant and plays a major role in Mexicos economy and in other sectors.

Being posted to Israel was one of the highlights of his diplomatic career, said Mcedo, adding that he has already found friends here.

Rivlin related a conversation that he had with Nieto, and said that he appreciated Mexicos willingness to listen to what Israel has to say.

Mcedo assured him that Mexico will continue to listen and cooperate in the multilateral field.

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Ministry to Israel

Imagine, you just left the security of your home, youve moved to a foreign land, you dont know the language, the culture, where to shop, to bank, to send your children to school or even how to pronounce the name of the street you live on Youve been told the surrounding nations have pledged to destroy your new country. Yet, deep in your heart you know you belong in this place, it is your destiny, thats why youre here.

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US Democratic leader: Party’s support for Israel not waning – The Jerusalem Post

US House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland speaks during the first day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (photo credit:REUTERS)

The Democratic Party remains overwhelmingly supportive of Israel, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland) said on Tuesday, amid signs that the party that has traditionally been pro-Israel is shifting because of pressure from the Bernie Sanders, progressive wing of the party.

Hoyer, among 52 US congressmen from both parties in Israel on a trip sponsored by the American Israel Education Foundation, an independent foundation affiliated with AIPAC, said that there was no residual impact on Democratic support for Netanyahu following his speech to Congress in 2015 that was opposed to and even boycotted by a number of Democrats.

Israel-US ties, Hoyer said, are not about one prime minister or another, or one president or another. This is about a consensus that Israels security is critical to the security of the United States of America.

Asked if certain recent votes in Congress on Israel-related issues did not show a slippage of Democratic support, Hoyer pointed instead to the passage last month of a bill strengthening sanctions against Iran.

Iran sanctions were expanded significantly by the Congress of the United States, and there were only three votes against it none of them were Democrats, said Hoyer, who was speaking at the press conference alongside the House majority leader, Republican Congressman Kevin McCarthy from California.

Hoyer said the fact that he was speaking together with McCarthy, and that the delegation included 19 Democrats and 33 Republicans, shows that we are speaking with one voice on behalf of the security of Israel.

Acknowledging that there are some differences of opinion, Hoyer said, however, that when you have votes about Israels security and safety, they are overwhelmingly bipartisan; overwhelmingly.

The Democratic delegation arrived a week ago and will be leaving on Wednesday, while the Republicans arrived on Monday and will be leaving next week.

The Democrats met on Monday with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and the Republicans are scheduled to do so in the coming days. Both groups also have, or will, meet with Palestinian Authority officials in Ramallah.

McCarthy said that he and Hoyer felt that it was important for the two delegations to overlap in Israel for a couple of days in order to send a strong signal of bipartisan support and commitment to Israels security, safety and sovereignty.

I dont think any other country has this large a bipartisan delegation, McCarthy said, with 12% of the 435 members of Congress standing behind him, most of them freshman representatives. I think this is an example of the respect for our relationship with Israel.

McCarthy, on his fifth visit to Israel, said the US and Israel have shared values, shared security interests throughout the world, and shared enemies. There is no stronger bond between [the US and] any ally we have, he said.

Hoyer said the members of the delegations were not in Israel as Democrats or Republicans, but as Americans who support Israels security, sovereignty and the safety of its people. We are here because the US and Israel are partners for peace and partners for security.

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Israel grounds Apaches after fatal crash – IHS Jane’s 360

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Ahaziah of Israel – Wikipedia

This entry is not about King Ahaziah of Judah.

Ahaziah (Hebrew: azyh, “Yahu has grasped”; also Ochozias; was king of Israel and the son of Ahab and Jezebel.

William F. Albright has dated his reign to 850-849 BC, while E. R. Thiele offers the dates 853-852 BC.[1] The author of the Books of Kings criticized him for following the ways of his father Ahab.

During his reign the Moabites revolted against his authority (2 Kings 3:5-7). This event is recorded on the Mesha stele, an extensive inscription written in the Moabite language.

Joram formed a business partnership with Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, in order to construct a fleet of trading ships. However, because Jehoshapat had made an alliance with Ahaziah (who was doing the same evil as Ahab and Jezebel, his father and mother, in the kingdom of Israel) the ships were wrecked and never set sail.[2]

His messengers, sent to consult Baal-Zebub, the god of prophecy in Ekron regarding his recovery from the effects of a fall from the roof-gallery of his palace, were met on the way by Elijah, who sent them back to tell the king that, for his deeds and for seeking a God that was not the God of Israel, he would never rise from his bed (1 Kings 22:51; 2 Kings 1:18). According to the Second Book of Kings, he did not recover from his injuries and died.

Having no son, Ahaziah was succeeded as king of Israel by Joram,[3] his younger brother.

The ancestors of Ahaziah can be recognized by the Bible.

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Israel Once Tried To Turn North Korea Into A Friend The Forward

Getty Images More than two decades ago, as Israel sought peace with Palestinians and Arab states, it also sought to thaw its relationship with North Korea an effort that diplomats claim might have succeeded had the Mossad, Israels spy agency, not intervened. According to the Times of Israel, five Israeli diplomats traveled to Pyongyang in 1992 in a bid to convince the North Koreans to stop sharing nuclear technology and know-how with Israels neighbors in the Middle East. They saw possible business and economic development deals between the two countries as a way to sweeten the arrangement for the totalitarian regime. We were flown around by the helicopter of the leader [Kim Il-sung] and met with his deputy. We were accompanied by a high-ranking general from the North Korean army all throughout our visit, and they entertained us with a huge spectacle, recalled Eytan Bentsur, then the deputy director general of the Israeli Foreign Affairs Ministry. But Bentsur and his colleagues said that their outreach was scuttled by the Mossads machinations, allegedly on the orders of then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who may himself have been pressured by the United States. Those diplomats think that stopping negotiations was a grave mistake. At that particular moment in time it was possible to change an aggressive and dangerous regime into one that focused on developing its own economy, Bentsur told the Times of Israel. Theres no doubt that it would have been a different North Korea. Contact Daniel J. Solomon at solomon@forward.com or on Twitter, @DanielJSolomon

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Israel targets Al Jazeera in latest attack on press freedoms – VICE News

Israels communications minister declared war on Al Jazeera Sunday, pledging to shut down its local broadcasts, revoke its press credentials, and close its Jerusalem office, a brazen broadside aimed at the popular Arab media outlet. Ayoob Kara, the communications official, said barring the state-owned Qatari outlet was necessary because it supports terrorism, a likely reference to its broadcasts of interviews with groups like the Palestinian militant group Hamas, which Israel considers a terrorist organization.Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu celebrated the proposal, accusing Al Jazeera of incitement against Israel. Last month, Netanyahu accused Al Jazeera of encouraging Palestinian violence against Israel in response to Israeli security measures outside the Al Aqsa Mosque. Press freedom advocates denounced the proposal as a step toward censorship and the latest sign of deterioration in press freedom throughout Israel, whose security forces allegedly beat journalists covering July protests in Jerusalem and have launched frequent raids on Palestinian media outlets in the West Bank. I dont think Israel can continue to boast an image of being the sole democratic country in the region at the same time they are following authoritarian governments in banning Al Jazeera or using Al Jazeera as a pawn in political conflicts, said Sherif Mansour, the Middle East and North Africa program coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists. Israelis are proud of having a robust media ecosystem, full of debate and harsh criticism aimed at its leaders. But the flip side of Israeli democracy is Israels military occupation in East Jerusalem, Gaza, and the West Bank, where the ability of journalists to do their jobs has come under attack. In 2016, Israel jailed seven Palestinian journalists in the occupied West Bank a number that put them ahead of Saudi Arabia. Israel has been practicing censorship under the guise of fighting terrorism for a long time, Mansour told VICE News. While foreign media associations have denounced Israels attacks on Al Jazeera the International Federation of Journalists called it a witch hunt Israeli editorial boards have paid little attention to the issue, though the liberal Haaretz ran an op-ed by Al Jazeeras Jerusalem bureau chief criticizing the broadsides against Al Jazeera. Israeli security forces record on press freedom appears to have only worsened in recent weeks. Last month, journalists flocked to Jerusalem to cover the Palestinian protests that erupted after Israel installed metal detectors outside the Al Aqsa Mosque. But journalists found themselves besieged by Israeli security forces, blocked from access to key sites in Jerusalems Old City, and thrown out of the area if they managed to get through police lines. There were [also] far too many of cases of journalists being attacked with pepper spray in their faces, with stun grenades, said Glenys Sugarman, the executive secretary of the Foreign Press Association, a group that advocates for journalists working in Israel and the Palestinian territories. Earlier this month, her organization filed a petition with Israels Supreme Court over the violent tactics. Then, on July 29, Israeli army forces raided the offices of PalMedia in Ramallah, seizing documents and six storage devices. The army said it did so because the company broadcasts incitement to terrorism. One week later, Kara, the communications minister, called a press conference to announce Israel would be joining other states in the region, like Egypt and Saudi Arabia, in banning Al Jazeera. (Full disclosure: I have freelanced for Al Jazeera English.) Al Jazeera, owned by Qatar, has been a thorn in the side of authoritarian states in the Middle East for its broadcasting of Islamists and dissident activists, though the channel does not criticize the country that owns it. In June, Saudi Arabia and other Arab Gulf states placed Qatar under siege until it changes its foreign policy and one of their initial demands on Qatar was to close Al Jazeera. But Al Jazeera shows no signs of going away not in Qatar, and not even in Israel. Israels communications minister needs the cooperation of the Israeli parliament, Israels broadcasting regulator and the Israeli Government Press Office, which handles press credentials, to fully enact his proposal. And media experts in Israel said it was unlikely he would gain that authority. The minister of communications has no authority to withdraw channels in Israel. The only thing he can do is go to the regulatory authority in Israel, and this authority would never take off a channel from Israeli television without a very strong factual basis, said Tehilla Shwartz Altshuler, the head of the Media Reform Project at the Israel Democracy Institute. Altshuler told VICE News the decision is as much about political optics as it is about shutting down the news outlet. Lurking behind Karas announcement is the predicament of his party leader, Benjamin Netanyahu. The prime minister appointed himself communications minister in 2014 but was forced to resign in February because of an Israeli police investigation over charges he colluded with the head of an Israeli newspaper to get favorable coverage. Netanyahu had to appoint someone as minister of communications. He appointed [Kara], a weak person, a loyal person to Netanyahu, without any prior experience in media regulation, said Altshuler. This guy said to himself, I must catch some public attention. I must be considered as someone who can do something. In addition, attacking Al Jazeera is an easy way to appeal to the Likud Partys right-wing base. It is a populist message, said Altshuler. Of course, the extreme right in Israel would be happy with that.

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As Investigations Intensify, Israel Imagines Life After Netanyahu – New York Times

Mr. Netanyahu has fought off swirling scandals for much of his public life, but experts say that Fridays signing of a states witness agreement by Ari Harow, who served as Mr. Netanyahus chief of staff and directed his 2015 re-election campaign, could be a game changer. Mr. Harow was offered a light sentence in an unrelated matter in return for information about Mr. Netanyahu in what the police have called Case 1000 and Case 2000. In Case 1000, investigators are looking at whether Mr. Netanyahu offered favors in return for gifts of expensive cigars, pink Champagne and other goods from wealthy friends, including Arnon Milchan, the Israeli Hollywood producer. Case 2000 involves back-room dealings with a local newspaper magnate. Mr. Netanyahu was recorded negotiating with the publisher of Yedioth Ahronoth for favorable coverage in exchange for curtailing the circulation of a free competitor, Israel Hayom. The police came across recordings of Mr. Netanyahus talks with the newspaper while searching Mr. Harows belongings, the Israeli news media has reported. Mr. Hendel, who worked in the prime ministers office during the first of Mr. Harows two stints there, said Mr. Harow worked in the very broad, gray area between Mr. Netanyahus personal, familial and national obligations. He added, Someone like Ari would see it all. Mr. Netanyahu has vehemently denied any wrongdoing, and on Tuesday he made a statement about terrorism after a hospital visit to the victim of a recent attack, with no mention of the criminal investigations. He and his office have repeatedly lashed out at the news media and his critics, asserting that the focus on the investigations is meant to topple him under the weight of baseless accusations, rather than at the ballot box. There is, as yet, no clear contender to replace Mr. Netanyahu, who is serving his third consecutive term and fourth over all. An Israel without Mr. Netanyahu at the helm would, in any case, be an unfamiliar place for its inhabitants, the Middle East and the world. Mr. Netanyahu has had abrasive relationships with some international leaders, including President Barack Obama, particularly over his championing of settlement expansion and his efforts to thwart Irans nuclear program. President Trumps victory came as a great relief to Mr. Netanyahu and his coalition the most right wing in Israels history alleviating the pressure from Washington. In May, Mr. Trump paid a bonding visit to Israel. But Mr. Netanyahu has not been given totally free rein on settlement building, and Mr. Trumps election promise of moving the United States Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv remains unfulfilled. Mr. Netanyahu has also built strong alliances with other leaders, including President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt and Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India, and has expanded Israels global reach based on its prowess in intelligence, counterterrorism and technology. The Israeli leader has also become a fixture at the annual meetings of the United Nations General Assembly, showcasing a combative, theatrical style of diplomacy. A peak or nadir, depending on the perspective of his leadership was his March 2015 speech against the Iran nuclear deal in front of a joint meeting of Congress. His tenure has been one of impasse in the Palestinian peace process. But inside Israel, he is credited with having maintained stability as Arab neighbors descended into chaos. A departure would leave Israel, its allies and its enemies in uncharted terrain. It could take many months for Mr. Harows information to be substantiated. Any police recommendation for an indictment would have to be approved by the state prosecutor and attorney general; there is no precedent in Israel for a sitting prime minister to be charged. But one or more of Mr. Netanyahus coalition partners may bolt before that to protect their own reputations. There are already some signs of unease from within his own Likud Party. On Friday, when Mr. Harow signed his deal, the anchor of Israeli public radios noon news program said that the only one of Likuds 30 Parliament members willing to discuss the case was David Amsalem, a novice elected in 2015. Since then, the coalition whip has threatened the others that they would pay a price in party primaries if they kept silent. One by one, Likud ministers have expressed support, many in Facebook posts. A political cartoon published Tuesday showed the whip holding a gun to the heads of several ministers while ordering, Again with feeling! A Likud rally in support of Mr. Netanyahu is scheduled for Wednesday evening. Late Monday, Israeli news outlets reported that the attorney general would soon announce charges against Mr. Netanyahus wife, Sara, on accusations that public funds were misused in the family residences. And, responding to a journalists freedom of information request, Israels Supreme Court has given Mr. Netanyahu two weeks to disclose the call logs of his conversations with executives of Israel Hayom, a newspaper widely considered to have been established to support him. Yehuda Ben Meir, an expert in national security and public opinion at the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University, said that recent political polls showed a degree of erosion in the support for Mr. Netanyahu, but that there are no indicators at this moment that his position has been dealt a fatal blow. Mr. Netanyahus durability can be attributed at least in part to the fractured field of potential rivals. Naftali Bennett, leader of the far right Jewish Home party, and Avigdor Lieberman, of the nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu, would like to contend for the premiership but have relatively small parties that make it difficult. The Likud has several people jostling for the top spot, including Yisrael Katz, the minister of transportation and intelligence affairs; Gilad Erdan, the minister of public security; and Gideon Saar, a former education minister who recently returned to public life. Support for Yair Lapid, a former finance minister, and his centrist Yesh Atid party has grown over the past year. Avi Gabbay has injected new spirit into the Labor Party after being elected its chairman last month, replacing Isaac Herzog. There are no two ways about it, Mr. Gabbay wrote in a recent Facebook post. There is only being for or against the corruption and the rot. Dahlia Scheindlin, a political analyst, said all the chatter was not so different from what she heard before the election two years ago. Then, too, people were complaining that Bibi had been in for too long, that it was time for change, she said, referring to Mr. Netanyahu by his nickname. But in the same breath they would say, But theres nobody else. Its the same thing now. Gadi Wolfsfeld, a professor of political communications at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, said, however, At some point, people in his party are going to say enough is enough. The notion that there is nobody to replace Mr. Netanyahu holds until it happens, Professor Wolfsfeld said. They said nobody could replace Ben-Gurion.

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Gazan travelers face new restrictions from Israel – New Haven Register

Photo: Tsafrir Abayov, AP Gazan travelers face new restrictions from Israel GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) New Israeli restrictions on Palestinians exiting the blockaded Gaza Strip, including a ban on laptop computers, hard-shell suitcases and even shampoo and toothpaste, have further disrupted travel for the lucky few who are allowed to cross the border into Israel. Israel is citing unspecified security concerns as the reason for forcing engineers, journalists, business people and human rights workers to leave their electronic work tools behind. For those affected, the restrictions are unfair, inexplicable and mean new headaches in the struggles of daily life in Gaza. “My work laptop that has all my work files that I can’t take back with me is a big problem for me,” said Ahmed Abu Shahla, an employee of an intellectual property firm in the United Arab Emirates who was returning to the Gulf after visiting relatives in Gaza. As he boarded a bus at the border, he was forced to leave his laptop behind. He said he didn’t bother to put his projects on flash drives because he feared they would be confiscated. “My loss is high because you have to move all the data by email or any other means which is almost impossible,” he said. “This affects you in all directions, professionally, unfortunately.” The ban, which took effect on Aug. 1, applies to all Palestinians who want to travel to Israel, or through Israel to the West Bank and neighboring Jordan. With Israel and Egypt maintaining a tight blockade on Hamas-ruled Gaza, the Erez crossing is virtually the only way out of the territory. Israel and Egypt imposed the blockade after Hamas won parliamentary elections in 2006 and routed forces loyal to the internationally recognized government of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas the following year. Israel, the U.S. and much of the West consider Hamas a terrorist group, and Israel says the blockade is needed to isolate Hamas and prevent it from smuggling in weapons. The Rafah crossing on the Egyptian border has traditionally been Gaza’s main gateway to the outside world. But Egypt keeps the crossing closed for months at a time. The last time it opened for travelers was in March, and tens of thousands of people are on wait lists to travel once Egypt opens the crossing. The Egyptian closure has made Israel’s Erez crossing vital to Gazans who need to travel abroad for business, medical care, studies or to see relatives. Yet Israel, accusing Hamas of trying to exploit travelers to carry money or information to its agents abroad, has imposed a series of restrictions in recent years that has limited the flow of people across the border. Israel allows only small numbers of people in special categories, such as students, aid workers and medical patients, to cross through the border, and all travelers go through a heavily fortified terminal where they pass through scanners, can have their luggage opened and are subject to strip searches. In recent years, Israel also has called in hundreds of people for day-long “interviews” with security agents before granting them travel permits. The restrictions mean that the vast majority of Gaza’s 2 million residents remain trapped in the impoverished territory. Small numbers of merchants and aid workers the engines of what remains of Gaza’s economy along with medical patients and other humanitarian cases are the people who usually use the Erez crossing. The new Israeli guidelines, outlined in an email obtained by The Associated Press, set out strict restrictions on electronics, baggage and personal items. For Palestinian merchants, aid workers or travelers headed to Jordan, “personal mobile phones only, no food stuff or toiletries allowed,” says the email. Food is also banned, except for medical patients that can take food for “personal consumption.” The email was sent on July 19 to international aid organizations that operate in Gaza and was signed by an officer with COGAT, an Israeli defense body that enforces policies toward Palestinian civilians. An updated email next day showed that these procedures are applicable on people exiting Gaza, not entering it. On Sunday, a Palestinian reporter for the AP was barred from bringing his laptop into Gaza. He was told that he would not be allowed to take it out of Gaza once he enters. Foreigners were exempted from the restrictions. COGAT said the new rules were ordered by Israel’s Shin Bet internal security service. In a short statement, the Shin Bet said travel regulations through Erez were updated recently and that exceptional cases can be tested “case by case.” The agency provided no reason for the ban. Shai Grunberg, a spokeswoman for Gisha, an Israeli advocacy group pushing for Palestinian freedom of movement, said there was no clear explanation for the change in policy. “Security checks are conducted, understandably, in transit stations around the world. This new directive is punitive, damaging, and must be stopped immediately,” she said. About 6,500 Gazans pass through Erez each month, about half the year-earlier level, according to Gisha. The measures have caused an outcry among Palestinian too. “These restrictions are aimed at harassing people and we reject them because Israel already has the best checking and security screening technology,” said Walid Wahdan, spokesman for the Palestinian Civil Affairs Ministry, which carries out civilian coordination with Israel. “These suitcases are used in all airports and terminals. Why they are banned here?” he said. Each week, Israel allows a bus load of Gazans to ride a shuttle to the West Bank border with Jordan. After receiving permission from Jordan, thousands of people apply to catch a ride on the 50-passenger bus. On a recent morning, a group of travelers lined up at 7 a.m. outside the Gaza branch of the civil ministry to catch the bus, most of them carrying gym or sport bags. A young woman had an iPad, but a Palestinian official accompanying the bus told her that she can’t travel with it and that they are not responsible if the Israelis confiscate it. Neither of them agreed to be interviewed.

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Four new ambassadors to Israel present credentials – The Jerusalem Post

Four new ambassadors two resident, two non-resident presented credentials to President Reuven Rivlin on Tuesday: Chris Cannan of Australia; Pablo Mcedo of Mexico; Amara Camara of Guinea, who came in the flowing traditional robes of his country; and Talla Fall of Senegal. Camara, a celebrated former freedom fighter, is his countrys resident ambassador to France and resides in Paris, while Fall is his countrys resident ambassador to Egypt and is posted in Cairo. The significance that Israel places on its relations with African states was evidenced in the time Rivlin gave to his individual private meetings with Camara and Fall. Because both are Muslim, Rivlin made a point of telling them that Israel has no war with Islam per se, but only with Islamic fundamentalists and terrorists. Rivlin told Fall that he looked forward to the day when Senegal would have an embassy in Israel. He underscored that precisely because of the excellent relations Senegal has with Egypt, Turkey and Iran, Fall could play an important role in regional relations from where he sits in Cairo, and thereby be of assistance in changing the status quo. Referencing the possibility of peace in the region, Rivlin said the first condition for peace was acknowledgment by Hamas of Israels right to exist. Its time that they recognized this, he said. If they want peace, they need to build confidence and not engage in temporary ceasefires while they work out new ways in which to engineer Israels destruction. Fall said he was happy to be in Jerusalem, which he characterized as the city of peace and tranquility. He was particularly appreciative of the warm hospitality accorded to him. He may have had doubts before he came, given the lull in relations between Israel and Senegal for the first six months of this year. Senegal cosponsored an anti-settlement resolution at the UN Security Council in December 2016. As a result, Israel froze all aid to Senegal and recalled her ambassador. The situation was resolved in June when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went to Liberia where he attended the summit of the Economic Community of Western African States and met with Senegals President Macky Sall. Fall credited Israel with having been the fourth country to recognize Senegal following its independence in April 1960. He noted that Israel had sent a large delegation headed by Yitzhak Rabin to the 1961 Independence Day celebrations. Fall said he had come to Israel as a true friend because as a boy he had admired Abba Eban and Golda Meir. Guinea severed diplomatic relations with Israel in 1967 and they were not renewed until July 2016. Camara said that was too long a hiatus and that he regretted the lapse, during which each country could have learned so much from the other. Relating to the Greek national debt, which is currently in excess of 300 million Euros, Camara said that if a sum of this magnitude would be given to Guinea, you have no idea what we could do with it. This is not the first time that Camara has been in Israel. In 2003 he was in Ramallah, but confessed that he spent most of his visit in Jerusalem. Here, I saw the meaning of solidarity, he said. He was optimistic that Guinea and Israel can make up for lost opportunities and build a solid relationship and pledged cooperation at all levels. Camara said he was familiar with Rivlins quest for equal rights and opportunities for all citizens of Israel, adding that equality was something for which he had striven in his own country. Cannan was the first ambassador to present credentials to Rivlin, who welcomed him as an ambassador of a country friendly to Israel. Rivlin said he knew that Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was doing a lot to enhance the relationship between the two countries. Rivlin also mentioned the upcoming commemoration at the end of October of the one hundredth anniversary of the battle of Beersheba. He acknowledged the extent to which Australian soldiers contributed to the stunning victory that gave the Jewish population cause to think there was hope for the establishment of a Jewish state. Cannan confirmed that there has been a long and positive relationship between the two countries, particularly this year, with Netanyahus visit to Australia in February. There has also been a long defense and military relationship, he said, noting that Australian Multinational Force and Observers personnel are fighting terrorism on Israels borders. The relationship has now developed a new dimension by way of innovation, Cannan said. Rivlin thanked Cannan for Australias support at the United Nations, but neglected to mention that this is the 70th anniversary year of the UN Resolution on the partition of Palestine, in which Australia played a pivotal role. Rivlin had several points of discussion with Mexican ambassador Pablo Mcedo, including the anticipated visit to Israel by Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and Netanyahus trip to Mexico next month. Rivlin also spoke of the sale by Kibbutz Hatzerim of 80% of its Netafim drip irrigation company to Mexichem for $1.5 billion. He mentioned having been to Mexico several times, both as minister of communications and as a member of Knesset. But his most memorable visit had been in 1986 for the FIFA World Cup that had initially been scheduled for Colombia, but for economic reasons had been moved to Mexico. Rivlin was aware that after the Second World War, Mexico admitted a large number of Holocaust survivors and since then, every government of Mexico has had good relations with the Jewish community. Mcedo said that Mexicos friendship with Israel was very solid and unwavering and that the Jewish community was vibrant and plays a major role in Mexicos economy and in other sectors. Being posted to Israel was one of the highlights of his diplomatic career, said Mcedo, adding that he has already found friends here. Rivlin related a conversation that he had with Nieto, and said that he appreciated Mexicos willingness to listen to what Israel has to say. Mcedo assured him that Mexico will continue to listen and cooperate in the multilateral field. Share on facebook

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Ministry to Israel

Imagine, you just left the security of your home, youve moved to a foreign land, you dont know the language, the culture, where to shop, to bank, to send your children to school or even how to pronounce the name of the street you live on Youve been told the surrounding nations have pledged to destroy your new country. Yet, deep in your heart you know you belong in this place, it is your destiny, thats why youre here.

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US Democratic leader: Party’s support for Israel not waning – The Jerusalem Post

US House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland speaks during the first day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (photo credit:REUTERS) The Democratic Party remains overwhelmingly supportive of Israel, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland) said on Tuesday, amid signs that the party that has traditionally been pro-Israel is shifting because of pressure from the Bernie Sanders, progressive wing of the party. Hoyer, among 52 US congressmen from both parties in Israel on a trip sponsored by the American Israel Education Foundation, an independent foundation affiliated with AIPAC, said that there was no residual impact on Democratic support for Netanyahu following his speech to Congress in 2015 that was opposed to and even boycotted by a number of Democrats. Israel-US ties, Hoyer said, are not about one prime minister or another, or one president or another. This is about a consensus that Israels security is critical to the security of the United States of America. Asked if certain recent votes in Congress on Israel-related issues did not show a slippage of Democratic support, Hoyer pointed instead to the passage last month of a bill strengthening sanctions against Iran. Iran sanctions were expanded significantly by the Congress of the United States, and there were only three votes against it none of them were Democrats, said Hoyer, who was speaking at the press conference alongside the House majority leader, Republican Congressman Kevin McCarthy from California. Hoyer said the fact that he was speaking together with McCarthy, and that the delegation included 19 Democrats and 33 Republicans, shows that we are speaking with one voice on behalf of the security of Israel. Acknowledging that there are some differences of opinion, Hoyer said, however, that when you have votes about Israels security and safety, they are overwhelmingly bipartisan; overwhelmingly. The Democratic delegation arrived a week ago and will be leaving on Wednesday, while the Republicans arrived on Monday and will be leaving next week. The Democrats met on Monday with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and the Republicans are scheduled to do so in the coming days. Both groups also have, or will, meet with Palestinian Authority officials in Ramallah. McCarthy said that he and Hoyer felt that it was important for the two delegations to overlap in Israel for a couple of days in order to send a strong signal of bipartisan support and commitment to Israels security, safety and sovereignty. I dont think any other country has this large a bipartisan delegation, McCarthy said, with 12% of the 435 members of Congress standing behind him, most of them freshman representatives. I think this is an example of the respect for our relationship with Israel. McCarthy, on his fifth visit to Israel, said the US and Israel have shared values, shared security interests throughout the world, and shared enemies. There is no stronger bond between [the US and] any ally we have, he said. Hoyer said the members of the delegations were not in Israel as Democrats or Republicans, but as Americans who support Israels security, sovereignty and the safety of its people. We are here because the US and Israel are partners for peace and partners for security. Share on facebook

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Israel grounds Apaches after fatal crash – IHS Jane’s 360

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Ahaziah of Israel – Wikipedia

This entry is not about King Ahaziah of Judah. Ahaziah (Hebrew: azyh, “Yahu has grasped”; also Ochozias; was king of Israel and the son of Ahab and Jezebel. William F. Albright has dated his reign to 850-849 BC, while E. R. Thiele offers the dates 853-852 BC.[1] The author of the Books of Kings criticized him for following the ways of his father Ahab. During his reign the Moabites revolted against his authority (2 Kings 3:5-7). This event is recorded on the Mesha stele, an extensive inscription written in the Moabite language. Joram formed a business partnership with Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, in order to construct a fleet of trading ships. However, because Jehoshapat had made an alliance with Ahaziah (who was doing the same evil as Ahab and Jezebel, his father and mother, in the kingdom of Israel) the ships were wrecked and never set sail.[2] His messengers, sent to consult Baal-Zebub, the god of prophecy in Ekron regarding his recovery from the effects of a fall from the roof-gallery of his palace, were met on the way by Elijah, who sent them back to tell the king that, for his deeds and for seeking a God that was not the God of Israel, he would never rise from his bed (1 Kings 22:51; 2 Kings 1:18). According to the Second Book of Kings, he did not recover from his injuries and died. Having no son, Ahaziah was succeeded as king of Israel by Joram,[3] his younger brother. The ancestors of Ahaziah can be recognized by the Bible.

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