Archive for the ‘Jerusalem’ Category

Greek Orthodox Church sells Jerusalem land to anonymous investors – The Jerusalem Post

A Greek Orthodox priest watches pilgrims roam around the ancient church of nativity, where many Christians believe Jesus was born.. (photo credit:DOV LIEBER)

The Greek Orthodox Church last week sold 50 hectares of land in central Jerusalem some 124 acres containing more than 1,000 housing units in numerous buildings to an anonymous group of investors, spurring fears of a hostile takeover.

For many years, the land was leased to the Jewish National Fund in agreements that are about to expire, leaving the residents future rights in limbo.

It remains unclear which homes will be affected.

MKs Rachel Azaria and Akram Hasson of Kulanu, Yossi Yonah of Zionist Union, Mickey Levy of Yesh Atid and Uri Maklev of United Torah Judaism are scheduled to discuss the matter during a Knesset meeting on Wednesday.

According to Azaria, the residents were aware the land was leased by JNF but were led to believe it would remain so for many years to come.

The land was leased by the church to JNF in the 1950s for 99 years, she said. Buildings were constructed on it in which people have been living for decades.

The residents knew that the agreements would expire within a certain time, but they assumed that the lease to JNF would be extended for a further period.

Azaria noted, however, that a few months ago the Jerusalemites Party on the city council determined that private developers received a 200-year lease on some of the land in 2011, and that an additional investor group signed a similar agreement one year ago.

Following this, the city council received a flood of inquiries from residents of the area who did not know what the future held for them, she said. Last week, a large gathering of the residents was held by the Jerusalemites Party and addressed by council member Itai Gutler and architect Yehuda Greenfield. The residents are demanding to know who among them is affected by the agreement between the church and the developers and who is not, what the agreements say, and what they mean for them.

Azaria said the tenants who purchased units in the buildings in the 1950s were made aware that the land was owned by the church, but they dealt directly with the JNF.

We are talking about people who have lived in these neighborhoods for decades and knew that they were dealing with JNF, she said. Its not a matter of one building or a few families, but very large and prestigious neighborhoods in the heart of Jerusalem. Hundreds of residents who assumed that the lease from the church would be extended never imagined that they would find themselves having to deal with private developers who will suddenly hold the land when the lease agreements expire.

Azaria added: In such a situation, they are liable to find themselves with nothing.

To avert a full-blown housing crisis, Azaria said she requested an early debate in the Knesset in conjunction with a petition that the residents brought against the Jerusalem Municipality to obtain information that is currently being withheld.

The second demand is that someone should take the matter in hand and conduct negotiations with the developers on behalf of the residents, rather than each apartment owner having to deal with the developers themselves, Azaria said. This is a major event concerning a substantial part of Jerusalem and one that will affect its character.

Noting that the unknown developers, in exchange for extending the lease, could ask for additional building rights and build on open areas, Azaria said the government must oversee all elements of the transfer to ensure the residents rights.

It is important that the state should intervene on the matter, she said. The value of the residents apartments is constantly falling, even in neighborhoods like Rehavia. Anyone who buys an apartment in these areas now is taking a risk, and that affects the value of the properties.

The Jerusalem Municipality said in a statement that it was actively working with all parties involved in the matter.

In a meeting with Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, Mayor Nir Barkat described dealing with this matter and [prioritizing] it at the highest level of importance, the statement said. Later, a meeting took place in the office of the director-general of the municipality, attended by representatives of JNF, the Justice Ministry and others, and it was decided that there should be further joint action by all the bodies involved in order to put an end to the residents uncertainty and to ensure continuation of the lease.

The municipality statement continued: All state bodies are taking coordinated action via several channels, and the officials of the church are also expected to cooperate on the matter.

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Israeli politicians tear into UNESCO Jerusalem vote – Israel News … – The Jerusalem Post

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LIVE: Indian PM Modi at Netanyahu’s residence in Jerusalem – The Jerusalem Post

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Israel

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived for a historic visit in Israel on Tuesday afternoon.

Modi’s visit is the first by a sitting Indian premier to the country.

Prime Minister Benjmain Netanyahu personally greeted Modi at Ben-Gurion Airport, along with the top tier of Israel’s leadership known as “segel aleph” an honor afforded to only a few select leaders, such as US presidents and popes.

From the airport, the two men drove to Mosha Mishmar Hashiva, near Beit Dagan, and visited the Danziger Dan flower farm, one of Israels leading floriculture companies, with approximately 80,000 square meters of state-of-the-art greenhouses specializing in reproduction of plants.

Modi then traveled to Jerusalem’s King David Hotel, where he will be staying, before making his way to Israel’s Holocaust remembrance center Yad Vashem.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi described Israel’s Holocaust remembrance center Yad Vashem as a “poignant reminder of unspeakable evil,” following his tour of the museum on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu joined Modi on his tour, guided by Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev. They visited the Hall of Names, participated in a memorial Ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance and toured the Children’s Memorial.

At the conclusion of his visit, Modi wrote in the Yad Vashem Guest Book: “I am deeply moved by my visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial museum. It is as much a poignant reminder of the unspeakable evil inflicted generations ago as it is a symbol of the endurance and fortitude of the Jewish people. As we deal with conflict, intolerance, hatred and terror in our time, Yad Vashem serves as a mirror to society around the world. May we not forget the injustices of the past and its devastating toll on humanity and remembering the past. We may empower our children to make compassionate, just and righteous choices for their future.”

Modi visited the Prime Minister’s Residence Tuesday evening where Netanyahu and Modi delivered statements before sitting down to an intimate dinner.

The Indian prime minister started off his address calling Netanyahu “Yedid hayakar,” or dear friend in Hebrew.

Herb Keinon and Tamara Zieve contributed to this article.

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First health clinic for African refugees opens in Jerusalem – The Jerusalem Post

African migrants protest in front of the Knesset, January 8, 2014.. (photo credit:Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post))

The capitals first medical clinic serving Jerusalems 3,000 uninsured African refugees and asylum-seekers from Eritrea, Sudan and Ethiopia opened this week to treat the largely marginalized and at-risk population.

The Terem Jerusalem Clinic for Asylum Seekers is the brainchild of first-year Hebrew University of Jerusalem medical student Roni Ben-Ami, who said she witnessed refugees avoid getting proper treatment because they knew they could not afford it.

I am a medical student, and as I developed a deeper and more professional understanding of the Israeli health system, I realized that not everyone is receiving the excellent medical care that the National Health Insurance enables, said Ben-Ami on Tuesday.

Uninsured asylum seekers in Jerusalem dont have affordable access to health care, she lamented.

To receive treatment, Ben-Ami said patients previously had to travel to the Terem emergency health clinic in Tel Aviv, which has facilities serving uninsured members of the African refugee population for nominal fees.

To create the Jerusalem clinic, she said she partnered with Terem to procure the necessary equipment and management model to accommodate Jerusalem-based refugees.

On Sunday, the Jerusalem clinic located at 80 Yirmiyahu St., near the central bus station opened its doors for the first time, charging patients a standard fee of NIS 40 to see a doctor, obtain x-rays, and perform blood tests.

The fee covers their examination and diagnosis, said Ben-Ami, noting that a volunteer staff of 10 physicians have agreed to meet with patients once a week without payment.

The doctors are mainly general practitioners, but we also have psychiatrists, and are trying to get more specialists, she continued. We also have about 10 medical school student volunteers who are volunteering for free.

The clinic is also staffed with translators to assist patients during their registration and treatment.

It is important to say that the clinic is linguistically and culturally accessible to the patients, she emphasized.

Presently, Ben-Ami said the clinic can only afford to function once a week, but hopes to expand hours as more resources become available.

Were open in July on Sundays between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m., and in August will be open only on Wednesdays, she said. Of course, the asylum seekers in Jerusalem will need the clinic every day, so were hoping to be open two days a week in the future.

While ancillary funding from Terem has allowed the clinic to become operational, Ben-Ami said donations will be necessary to accommodate all prospective patients living in the capital.

Terem has been very generous in helping us and given us the facility, x-ray machines and labs, and our officer manager, Orel Ben-Ari, has been instrumental in helping us run the clinic, she said.

Ben-Ami noted that the clinic does not treat children under 12 because the Health Ministry provides health insurance for the children of asylum seekers for a small fee.

We dont want to encourage parents not to get health insurance for their children under 12, she explained.

Meanwhile, the medical student said the clinic desperately needs financial support from donors to meet growing demand.

If someone needs more extensive treatment, we presently cant give it to them because we can only afford basic medicine, she said, adding that the clinic hopes to partner with Jerusalem-based hospitals to help absorb the prohibitive costs.

We want to work with Hadassah University Medical Center and Shaare Zedek at some point soon, she said.

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In Jerusalem, few Labor voters think new leader will oust Netanyahu – The Times of Israel

At the opening of the sole Labor party voting booth in Jerusalem on Tuesday, leadership candidate Avi Gabbay was speaking confidently to reporters about his chances for success when a gust of wind flattened his campaign tent in the foreground and sent a dozen blue-shirted activists scrambling. It made a rather apt metaphor for a party which governed Israel for the first 30 years of state, but has struggled increasingly in recent years to impose itself.

The activists for ex-Kulanu minister Gabbay had the strongest presence at the polls in the largely conservative capital, where the number of journalists and volunteers present greatly outnumbered the voters for a center-left party flailing for a political comeback.

Arriving with his elderly mother on his arm, ex-Kulanu environmental protection minister Gabbay who crossed the political aisle after quitting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahus government in 2016 told the assembled reporters that the second round of voting on July 10 would be a match between him and current party leader Isaac Herzog.

A short while later, faint chanting and cheering grew stronger as Labor MK Erel Margalit arrived with an entourage, setting off a yelling match between dueling activists struggling to drown each other out.

Labor party candidate Avi Gabbay seen with supporters outside a polling station in Jerusalem on July 4. 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Margalit and Gabbay embraced awkwardly.

The second round of voting will be between Herzog or former Labor leader Amir Peretz and himself, Margalit told reporters.

The Labor partys 40-year political dry spell will soon end, said the Jerusalem-based entrepreneur and sitting MK. Remember, the Jewish people had 40 years in the desert before they arrived at the promised land, he said.

But despite pledges by all seven candidates to would unseat Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahus Likud in the next elections, many Labor voters on line were unconvinced.

Supporters of Labor party candidate Avi Gabbay shout slogans outside a polling station in Jerusalem on July 4, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90 )

I dont know if hes strong enough, but thats all there is, said Motke Stockhammer, a pensioner and lifetime Labor party member who was backing Herzog in the leadership race. I dont think the party at all will be able to oust Netanyahu

Even some of Gabbays volunteers appeared skeptical, as one ironically revised the ubiquitous Israeli election chant Ho ha, whos that coming? The next prime minister to The next economy minister, earning quiet snickers from the others.

The leadership contest for the ailing Labor party plagued by internal divisions since current leader Herzog engaged in coalition negotiations to join Netanyahus government in 2016 will move to a second round of voting next week between the top two contenders, should none of the candidates receive more than 40 percent of the vote on Tuesday.

The primary pits Herzog against ex-Labor leader Amir Peretz, Gabbay, Margalit, Labor MK Omer Bar-Lev, and two other candidates whose chances of success were not considered realistic. The results were set to be announced around 10 p.m. on Tuesday.

The race comes after the Labor party has slipped in the opinion polls over the past year; surveys now predict it could lose as many as half of its 24 Knesset seats to the rival centrist Yesh Atid party.

Labor party candidate Erel Margalit arrives to vote at a polling station in Jerusalem on July 4. 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Shalom Brinn, also a pensioner, said he was supporting Margalit because today, to win you need to be a movie actor. Hes the only one who has it.

Gabbay is also very good, but too quiet, he opined.

The grievances with the party were on display as Brinn said he would abandon ship if its current or former leaders regained control.

If Peretz or Herzog get in, Ill need to find myself a new party, he said, adding that he doesnt know which one. This is the generation that destroyed the party.

Orit Cohen, a high school teacher in Maale Adumim, said she was voting for Margalit because hes a refreshing change. Cohen, who joined the Labor party a decade ago after shifting her political allegiances from the right, cautiously predicted that Margalit could oust Netanyahu.

Labor party members cast their vote at a polling station in Jerusalem on July 4. 2017 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90 )

I very much want to believe yes, she said.

But Niva, a university student who voted for Bar-Lev and declined to give her last name, said she was mostly seeking a new opposition leader.

I dont think Netanyahu will go anywhere in the coming decades, she said.

She was standing with Gabbay-backing student, who asked to remain anonymous and was more optimistic about his chances, noting that general elections were not scheduled for another two years, giving the candidates ample time to mount a challenge.

For two years, being a member of the party was embarrassing

He said that over the past two years, being a member of the party was embarrassing and its conduct both internally and externally was plastic, unconvincing and inauthentic.

Finally, a politician has come who is broadcasting something that in my view, in his discourse and style, is real, he said of Gabbay.

While support for Jerusalem residents Gabbay and Margalit appeared to dominate in the capital, Sonia Cohen, a long-time Herzog activist and adviser to the Labor party chief on neighborhood issues, insisted the opposition leader would do better the second time around.

In the Labor party, they cut off heads all the time they dont let the chairman work, said Cohen, who referred to the partys tested trend of choosing a new leader in each primary vote. He went through this baptism by fire already, when they tried to cut off his head. In the next four years, when he leads again, maybe theyll let him work and prove his capabilities and he has capabilities.

Labor party leader Isaac Herzog arrives with his wife Michal to casts his vote at a polling station in Tel Aviv on July 4, 2017.(Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Nor did Cohen, a Labor member for 30 years, think a victory for Herzog would send him racing back into negotiations with Netanyahu.

I dont think hell enter the coalition; he wants to create a bloc of his own, she said.

Labor Party members cast their vote at a polling station in Jerusalem on July 4. 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

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Major Terrorist Attack Foiled on Jerusalem Outskirts by Border Guard Police – The Jewish Press – JewishPress.com

Photo Credit: TPS

Israeli Border Guard Police officers prevented a deadly terrorist attack mid-afternoon Tuesday after spotting six suspicious-looking occupants in a vehicle coming up to the Mazmoria checkpoint on the outskirts of southern Jerusalem, leading to Gush Etzion.

The front and rear license plates on the car did not match. Moreover, the driver had no identification card at all neither a green Palestinian Authority ID, nor an Israeli blue teudat zehut car either and refused to answer any questions when asked. In fact, not one of the six occupants of the vehicle had any identification with them.

At that point, personnel at the checkpoint proceeded to carry out a full-scale, thorough search of the vehicle.

The soldiers uncovered a number of firebombs (Molotov cocktails) two of them already prepared for operation two shock (stun) grenades hidden within the car, and a bag with five sharp knives, making it clear that a major terrorist operation was underway.

The crossing was closed, a sapper was called to the scene, and the area was cleared until the end of the investigation, said a spokesperson for Jerusalem District Police.

The would-be terrorists, all Arab residents of the Palestinian Authority, were all taken into custody and transferred to security personnel for interrogation.

During initial questioning, the suspects admitted they intended to go to Jerusalem and carry out an attack, the police spokesperson said.

There is no doubt that an attempt was made to carry out an attack that could have had serious consequences in the Jerusalem area.

Efforts to locate, prevent and thwart attempts by terrorists to carry out their attacks are continuing throughout Jerusalem, with an emphasis on the crossings around [the capital].

The seizure of the vehicle and the arrest of the suspects at the Mazmoria crossing is a central and added layer to the wise operational activity that is being carried out at all times, the spokesperson added.

The Border Guard Police officers operating in the surrounding area provide a crucial security envelope in the effort to prevent the entry of hostile elements and to ensure the safety of the residents.

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UNESCO set to pass yet another critical resolution on Jerusalem – The Times of Israel

An important committee of the United Nations cultural agency is set to pass on Tuesday evening a resolution critical of Israeli actions in the Old City of Jerusalem.

The annual vote on a Jerusalem-themed resolution at UNESCOs World Heritage Committee, which is meeting in Krakow, Poland, was originally scheduled to take place next week. But Palestinian diplomats advanced the debate, presumably to blindside Israeli officials who are currently busy fighting another Palestinian initiative at UNESCO regarding Hebron.

A vote to inscribe the Old City of Hebron on UNESCOs World Heritage List is scheduled for Friday.

The Jordanian-sponsored resolution on the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls is much softer than last years text, but Israel rejects any attempt to politicize the issue of the holy sites in its capital in international bodies.

This years resolution still calls Israel the occupying power and reaffirms previous UN resolutions denying the countrys claims to East Jerusalem, echoing a resolution passed in May by UNESCOs executive board. It also regrets the failure of the Israeli occupying authorities to cease the persistent excavations, tunneling, works, projects and other illegal practices in East Jerusalem, particularly in and around the Old City of Jerusalem, which are illegal under international law.

However, Decision 41 COM 7A.36 stresses the importance of the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls for the three monotheistic religions, language not found in last years text. It also does not refer to the Temple Mount compound solely by its Muslim names, Al-Aqsa Mosque/Al-Haram Al-Sharif, as the 2016 resolution did, defining it only as a Muslim holy site of worship.

The Palestinians moved to advance the discussion because they believe that by softening the text on the subject of Jerusalem they will reach consensus in favor of the proposal so that no voted will be required, Israels ambassador to UNESCO, Carmel Shama-Hacohen, told The Times of Israel on Tuesday morning.

Israels ambassador to UNESCO Carmel Shama-Hacohen throws a copy of the days resolution on Jerusalem in the trash on Wednesday, October 26, 2016. (Erez Lichtfeld)

He vowed to use the remaining time to fight the Palestinians move and seek to open the discussion, thus forcing a debate he said he believed would thwart a consensus.

The chairperson of UNESCOs World Heritage Committee can propose to adopt a resolution by consensus, which would give it the appearance of a unanimous decision. But if Israel manages to recruit at least two member states to request a secret ballot, the decision can no longer be passed by consensus, paving the way for no votes and abstentions.

At last years convention in Paris, the much harsher text was accepted by a large majority, after Tanzania and Croatia had asked for a secret ballot. Ten countries voted in favor, eight abstained and two opposed the text. Eight yes votes were needed for the resolution to pass.

UNESCOs World Heritage Committee voting on a resolution ignoring Jewish and Christian ties to Jerusalems Old City in Paris, October 26, 2016 (screen shot UNESCO website)

The 21 members of this years committee are Angola, Azerbaijan, Burkina Faso, Croatia, Cuba, Finland, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, South Korea, Tunisia, Turkey, Tanzania, Vietnam and Zimbabwe.

The list includes five countries with which Israel does not have diplomatic ties, and a number of others that routinely support pro-Palestinian resolutions. Even the four Europeans states on the committee are determined to support the decision, The Times of Israel has learned. Its passing thus seems a foregone conclusion.

As much as Israel deplores resolutions denying its claims to East Jerusalem, the governments main focus remains on thwarting Fridays expected vote to declare the Old City of Hebron including the Tomb of the Patriarchs a Palestinian world heritage site in danger.

Israel, the US government and several Jewish groups vociferously object to this move, and have called on UN leaders to prevent the vote.

A general view of the West Bank city of Hebron with the Cave of the Patriarchs, on January 18, 2017. (Lior Mizrahi/Flash90)

The Tomb of the Patriarchs, which is sacred to three faiths, is in no immediate threat. Such a designation risks undermining the seriousness such an assessment by UNESCO should have, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley wrote to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova.

Many precious sites from the Democratic Republic of Congo to Libya to Iraq to Syria are under real and imminent threat of destruction today. They urgently demand UNESCOs full and immediate attention, which should not be wasted on this sort of symbolic action, she added.

On Tuesday, the Palestinian Authority Foreign Ministry hit back at Haley, accusing her of being racist and anti-Palestinian and an ambassador for Israel, rather than the US at the UN.

This is not the first message in which the American ambassador has expressed her hidden malice and hatred toward the Palestinians, the PA Foreign Ministry said in a press statement on Tuesday. After she prevented the appointment of Dr. Salam Fayyad as the UN envoy in Libya, she recently affirmed that she would prevent the appointment of any Palestinian in the United Nations and its institutions, confirming her racist and anti-Palestinian position, and its clear hostility to Palestine.

The statement went on to condemn the crude intervention of the US ambassador in the work of UNESCO and the attempt to influence the independence of the UN organization by pressing the member countries of the World Heritage Committee to vote against the Palestinian request to put Hebron on the World Heritage List. It said that was indicative of nothing less than a complete bias in favor of Israel, and confirms what has been reported in the corridors of the United Nations in New York. Recently, many foreign diplomats have expressed that Haley is an ambassador for Israel, more than an ambassador for her country, the United States of America.

The PA called on the US State Department to clarify its official position regarding the statements made by Haley on the issue.

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Army Demolishes A Home, Stable And A Farmland In Jerusalem – International Middle East Media Center

Israeli soldiers demolished, Tuesday, a Palestinian home in Beit Hanina neighborhood, north of occupied East Jerusalem, a stable for horses in Silwan town, and bulldozed a farmland in Zaim town, east of Jerusalem.

Dozens of soldiers, accompanied by bulldozers, invaded Beit Hanina neighborhood, after surrounding and isolating it, and demolished a home, reportedly for being built without a permit.

The soldiers also invaded Wadi Yasoul neighborhood in Silwan town, south of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, and demolished a stable for horses.

Furthermore, the soldiers bulldozed and uprooted a farmland, owned by Tareq Abu Sbeitan, in Zaim town, east of Jerusalem, without a warrant or even a explanation.

Earlier Tuesday, the soldiers abducted two young Palestinian men from their homes, in Zabbouba village, west of Jenin, in the northern part of the West Bank.

On Tuesday at dawn, the soldiers carried out massive invasions and violent searches of homes in different parts of the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem, and abducted twenty-four Palestinians, including a woman, former political prisoners, in addition to a father and his four sons.

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Danon guides counterparts in Jerusalem ‘to defeat lies spread at the UN’ – The Jerusalem Post

Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon guides counterparts through a tour of Jerusalem.. (photo credit:ARNON BOSSANI AND FRAYDA LEIBTAG)

NEW YORK Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon led nine of his counterparts on a tour of Jerusalems City of David on Monday as part of a visit to Israel organized by the American Jewish Committee.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat gave the diplomats a guided tour of the historic site, showing them the remains of the Shiloah Pool as well as numerous archeological findings, which, he said, unambiguously link the Jewish people to Jerusalem.

To defeat the lies spread about our capital city at the UN, nothing is more important than for my fellow ambassadors to learn the truth about Jerusalem and see the beauty of this city firsthand, Danon said.

The five-day visit aims to provide the ambassadors with a deeper understanding of the geopolitical and security challenges Israel faces. Participating in the tour are representatives of Australia, Estonia, Gabon, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Papua New Guinea, Poland and Togo.

In addition to their tour of Jerusalem, the diplomats will spend the next few days traveling from the northern border to the southern region, as well as to Tel Aviv.

The trip also includes a meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu and other government officials in Jerusalem, as well as visits to centers for innovation in agriculture and water technology.

The delegation is also scheduled to travel to Ramallah, to meet with Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah. They will also tour the joint Israeli-Jordanian-Palestinian Industrial Zone.

Ambassadors to the UN are senior representatives of their governments and are at the forefront of their countries international relations efforts, Danon said. The more ambassadors that visit Israel and have the chance to visit all parts of our beautiful country, the more they understand the challenges, as well as the opportunities, facing Israel in todays tumultuous Middle East.

AJC CEO David Harris, who is also taking part in the trip, said his organization is honored to play a part in bringing this high-ranking delegation to Israel.

From considerable experience, observing Israel from a distance is no substitute for seeing it up close, which is the goal of this fiveday visit, he added.

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Greek Orthodox Church sells Jerusalem land to anonymous investors – The Jerusalem Post

A Greek Orthodox priest watches pilgrims roam around the ancient church of nativity, where many Christians believe Jesus was born.. (photo credit:DOV LIEBER) The Greek Orthodox Church last week sold 50 hectares of land in central Jerusalem some 124 acres containing more than 1,000 housing units in numerous buildings to an anonymous group of investors, spurring fears of a hostile takeover. For many years, the land was leased to the Jewish National Fund in agreements that are about to expire, leaving the residents future rights in limbo. It remains unclear which homes will be affected. MKs Rachel Azaria and Akram Hasson of Kulanu, Yossi Yonah of Zionist Union, Mickey Levy of Yesh Atid and Uri Maklev of United Torah Judaism are scheduled to discuss the matter during a Knesset meeting on Wednesday. According to Azaria, the residents were aware the land was leased by JNF but were led to believe it would remain so for many years to come. The land was leased by the church to JNF in the 1950s for 99 years, she said. Buildings were constructed on it in which people have been living for decades. The residents knew that the agreements would expire within a certain time, but they assumed that the lease to JNF would be extended for a further period. Azaria noted, however, that a few months ago the Jerusalemites Party on the city council determined that private developers received a 200-year lease on some of the land in 2011, and that an additional investor group signed a similar agreement one year ago. Following this, the city council received a flood of inquiries from residents of the area who did not know what the future held for them, she said. Last week, a large gathering of the residents was held by the Jerusalemites Party and addressed by council member Itai Gutler and architect Yehuda Greenfield. The residents are demanding to know who among them is affected by the agreement between the church and the developers and who is not, what the agreements say, and what they mean for them. Azaria said the tenants who purchased units in the buildings in the 1950s were made aware that the land was owned by the church, but they dealt directly with the JNF. We are talking about people who have lived in these neighborhoods for decades and knew that they were dealing with JNF, she said. Its not a matter of one building or a few families, but very large and prestigious neighborhoods in the heart of Jerusalem. Hundreds of residents who assumed that the lease from the church would be extended never imagined that they would find themselves having to deal with private developers who will suddenly hold the land when the lease agreements expire. Azaria added: In such a situation, they are liable to find themselves with nothing. To avert a full-blown housing crisis, Azaria said she requested an early debate in the Knesset in conjunction with a petition that the residents brought against the Jerusalem Municipality to obtain information that is currently being withheld. The second demand is that someone should take the matter in hand and conduct negotiations with the developers on behalf of the residents, rather than each apartment owner having to deal with the developers themselves, Azaria said. This is a major event concerning a substantial part of Jerusalem and one that will affect its character. Noting that the unknown developers, in exchange for extending the lease, could ask for additional building rights and build on open areas, Azaria said the government must oversee all elements of the transfer to ensure the residents rights. It is important that the state should intervene on the matter, she said. The value of the residents apartments is constantly falling, even in neighborhoods like Rehavia. Anyone who buys an apartment in these areas now is taking a risk, and that affects the value of the properties. The Jerusalem Municipality said in a statement that it was actively working with all parties involved in the matter. In a meeting with Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, Mayor Nir Barkat described dealing with this matter and [prioritizing] it at the highest level of importance, the statement said. Later, a meeting took place in the office of the director-general of the municipality, attended by representatives of JNF, the Justice Ministry and others, and it was decided that there should be further joint action by all the bodies involved in order to put an end to the residents uncertainty and to ensure continuation of the lease. The municipality statement continued: All state bodies are taking coordinated action via several channels, and the officials of the church are also expected to cooperate on the matter. Share on facebook

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Israeli politicians tear into UNESCO Jerusalem vote – Israel News … – The Jerusalem Post

OUR FREE DAILY NEWS BLAST Caroline B. Glick Our World: Modi and Israels coming of age Seth J. Frantzman WATCH: Challenges of the Negev from the air Susan Hattis Rolef Think about it: The Labor Party leadership primaries Naphtali Tuly Weisz How Christian Zionists can solve the Western Wall crisis Tillerson: Break with Qatar by KSA, others won’t affect counter-terrorism Israel expects change in UN voting patterns, Netanyahu says after Africa trip ISIS claims responsibility for London attack REAL ESTATE CLASSIFIEDS Most Read Indian PM Modi arrives in Israel for historic visit Whats next for US-trained Syrian rebels cut off from fighting ISIS? Britney spears rocks Tel Aviv, but nobody notices US aircraft carrier off Israel’s coast symbol of freedom, Netanyahu says

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LIVE: Indian PM Modi at Netanyahu’s residence in Jerusalem – The Jerusalem Post

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Israel Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived for a historic visit in Israel on Tuesday afternoon. Modi’s visit is the first by a sitting Indian premier to the country. Prime Minister Benjmain Netanyahu personally greeted Modi at Ben-Gurion Airport, along with the top tier of Israel’s leadership known as “segel aleph” an honor afforded to only a few select leaders, such as US presidents and popes. From the airport, the two men drove to Mosha Mishmar Hashiva, near Beit Dagan, and visited the Danziger Dan flower farm, one of Israels leading floriculture companies, with approximately 80,000 square meters of state-of-the-art greenhouses specializing in reproduction of plants. Modi then traveled to Jerusalem’s King David Hotel, where he will be staying, before making his way to Israel’s Holocaust remembrance center Yad Vashem. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi described Israel’s Holocaust remembrance center Yad Vashem as a “poignant reminder of unspeakable evil,” following his tour of the museum on Tuesday. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu joined Modi on his tour, guided by Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev. They visited the Hall of Names, participated in a memorial Ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance and toured the Children’s Memorial. At the conclusion of his visit, Modi wrote in the Yad Vashem Guest Book: “I am deeply moved by my visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial museum. It is as much a poignant reminder of the unspeakable evil inflicted generations ago as it is a symbol of the endurance and fortitude of the Jewish people. As we deal with conflict, intolerance, hatred and terror in our time, Yad Vashem serves as a mirror to society around the world. May we not forget the injustices of the past and its devastating toll on humanity and remembering the past. We may empower our children to make compassionate, just and righteous choices for their future.” Modi visited the Prime Minister’s Residence Tuesday evening where Netanyahu and Modi delivered statements before sitting down to an intimate dinner. The Indian prime minister started off his address calling Netanyahu “Yedid hayakar,” or dear friend in Hebrew. Herb Keinon and Tamara Zieve contributed to this article. Share on facebook

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First health clinic for African refugees opens in Jerusalem – The Jerusalem Post

African migrants protest in front of the Knesset, January 8, 2014.. (photo credit:Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)) The capitals first medical clinic serving Jerusalems 3,000 uninsured African refugees and asylum-seekers from Eritrea, Sudan and Ethiopia opened this week to treat the largely marginalized and at-risk population. The Terem Jerusalem Clinic for Asylum Seekers is the brainchild of first-year Hebrew University of Jerusalem medical student Roni Ben-Ami, who said she witnessed refugees avoid getting proper treatment because they knew they could not afford it. I am a medical student, and as I developed a deeper and more professional understanding of the Israeli health system, I realized that not everyone is receiving the excellent medical care that the National Health Insurance enables, said Ben-Ami on Tuesday. Uninsured asylum seekers in Jerusalem dont have affordable access to health care, she lamented. To receive treatment, Ben-Ami said patients previously had to travel to the Terem emergency health clinic in Tel Aviv, which has facilities serving uninsured members of the African refugee population for nominal fees. To create the Jerusalem clinic, she said she partnered with Terem to procure the necessary equipment and management model to accommodate Jerusalem-based refugees. On Sunday, the Jerusalem clinic located at 80 Yirmiyahu St., near the central bus station opened its doors for the first time, charging patients a standard fee of NIS 40 to see a doctor, obtain x-rays, and perform blood tests. The fee covers their examination and diagnosis, said Ben-Ami, noting that a volunteer staff of 10 physicians have agreed to meet with patients once a week without payment. The doctors are mainly general practitioners, but we also have psychiatrists, and are trying to get more specialists, she continued. We also have about 10 medical school student volunteers who are volunteering for free. The clinic is also staffed with translators to assist patients during their registration and treatment. It is important to say that the clinic is linguistically and culturally accessible to the patients, she emphasized. Presently, Ben-Ami said the clinic can only afford to function once a week, but hopes to expand hours as more resources become available. Were open in July on Sundays between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m., and in August will be open only on Wednesdays, she said. Of course, the asylum seekers in Jerusalem will need the clinic every day, so were hoping to be open two days a week in the future. While ancillary funding from Terem has allowed the clinic to become operational, Ben-Ami said donations will be necessary to accommodate all prospective patients living in the capital. Terem has been very generous in helping us and given us the facility, x-ray machines and labs, and our officer manager, Orel Ben-Ari, has been instrumental in helping us run the clinic, she said. Ben-Ami noted that the clinic does not treat children under 12 because the Health Ministry provides health insurance for the children of asylum seekers for a small fee. We dont want to encourage parents not to get health insurance for their children under 12, she explained. Meanwhile, the medical student said the clinic desperately needs financial support from donors to meet growing demand. If someone needs more extensive treatment, we presently cant give it to them because we can only afford basic medicine, she said, adding that the clinic hopes to partner with Jerusalem-based hospitals to help absorb the prohibitive costs. We want to work with Hadassah University Medical Center and Shaare Zedek at some point soon, she said. Share on facebook

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In Jerusalem, few Labor voters think new leader will oust Netanyahu – The Times of Israel

At the opening of the sole Labor party voting booth in Jerusalem on Tuesday, leadership candidate Avi Gabbay was speaking confidently to reporters about his chances for success when a gust of wind flattened his campaign tent in the foreground and sent a dozen blue-shirted activists scrambling. It made a rather apt metaphor for a party which governed Israel for the first 30 years of state, but has struggled increasingly in recent years to impose itself. The activists for ex-Kulanu minister Gabbay had the strongest presence at the polls in the largely conservative capital, where the number of journalists and volunteers present greatly outnumbered the voters for a center-left party flailing for a political comeback. Arriving with his elderly mother on his arm, ex-Kulanu environmental protection minister Gabbay who crossed the political aisle after quitting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahus government in 2016 told the assembled reporters that the second round of voting on July 10 would be a match between him and current party leader Isaac Herzog. A short while later, faint chanting and cheering grew stronger as Labor MK Erel Margalit arrived with an entourage, setting off a yelling match between dueling activists struggling to drown each other out. Labor party candidate Avi Gabbay seen with supporters outside a polling station in Jerusalem on July 4. 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90) Margalit and Gabbay embraced awkwardly. The second round of voting will be between Herzog or former Labor leader Amir Peretz and himself, Margalit told reporters. The Labor partys 40-year political dry spell will soon end, said the Jerusalem-based entrepreneur and sitting MK. Remember, the Jewish people had 40 years in the desert before they arrived at the promised land, he said. But despite pledges by all seven candidates to would unseat Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahus Likud in the next elections, many Labor voters on line were unconvinced. Supporters of Labor party candidate Avi Gabbay shout slogans outside a polling station in Jerusalem on July 4, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90 ) I dont know if hes strong enough, but thats all there is, said Motke Stockhammer, a pensioner and lifetime Labor party member who was backing Herzog in the leadership race. I dont think the party at all will be able to oust Netanyahu Even some of Gabbays volunteers appeared skeptical, as one ironically revised the ubiquitous Israeli election chant Ho ha, whos that coming? The next prime minister to The next economy minister, earning quiet snickers from the others. The leadership contest for the ailing Labor party plagued by internal divisions since current leader Herzog engaged in coalition negotiations to join Netanyahus government in 2016 will move to a second round of voting next week between the top two contenders, should none of the candidates receive more than 40 percent of the vote on Tuesday. The primary pits Herzog against ex-Labor leader Amir Peretz, Gabbay, Margalit, Labor MK Omer Bar-Lev, and two other candidates whose chances of success were not considered realistic. The results were set to be announced around 10 p.m. on Tuesday. The race comes after the Labor party has slipped in the opinion polls over the past year; surveys now predict it could lose as many as half of its 24 Knesset seats to the rival centrist Yesh Atid party. Labor party candidate Erel Margalit arrives to vote at a polling station in Jerusalem on July 4. 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90) Shalom Brinn, also a pensioner, said he was supporting Margalit because today, to win you need to be a movie actor. Hes the only one who has it. Gabbay is also very good, but too quiet, he opined. The grievances with the party were on display as Brinn said he would abandon ship if its current or former leaders regained control. If Peretz or Herzog get in, Ill need to find myself a new party, he said, adding that he doesnt know which one. This is the generation that destroyed the party. Orit Cohen, a high school teacher in Maale Adumim, said she was voting for Margalit because hes a refreshing change. Cohen, who joined the Labor party a decade ago after shifting her political allegiances from the right, cautiously predicted that Margalit could oust Netanyahu. Labor party members cast their vote at a polling station in Jerusalem on July 4. 2017 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90 ) I very much want to believe yes, she said. But Niva, a university student who voted for Bar-Lev and declined to give her last name, said she was mostly seeking a new opposition leader. I dont think Netanyahu will go anywhere in the coming decades, she said. She was standing with Gabbay-backing student, who asked to remain anonymous and was more optimistic about his chances, noting that general elections were not scheduled for another two years, giving the candidates ample time to mount a challenge. For two years, being a member of the party was embarrassing He said that over the past two years, being a member of the party was embarrassing and its conduct both internally and externally was plastic, unconvincing and inauthentic. Finally, a politician has come who is broadcasting something that in my view, in his discourse and style, is real, he said of Gabbay. While support for Jerusalem residents Gabbay and Margalit appeared to dominate in the capital, Sonia Cohen, a long-time Herzog activist and adviser to the Labor party chief on neighborhood issues, insisted the opposition leader would do better the second time around. In the Labor party, they cut off heads all the time they dont let the chairman work, said Cohen, who referred to the partys tested trend of choosing a new leader in each primary vote. He went through this baptism by fire already, when they tried to cut off his head. In the next four years, when he leads again, maybe theyll let him work and prove his capabilities and he has capabilities. Labor party leader Isaac Herzog arrives with his wife Michal to casts his vote at a polling station in Tel Aviv on July 4, 2017.(Miriam Alster/Flash90) Nor did Cohen, a Labor member for 30 years, think a victory for Herzog would send him racing back into negotiations with Netanyahu. I dont think hell enter the coalition; he wants to create a bloc of his own, she said. Labor Party members cast their vote at a polling station in Jerusalem on July 4. 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

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Major Terrorist Attack Foiled on Jerusalem Outskirts by Border Guard Police – The Jewish Press – JewishPress.com

Photo Credit: TPS Israeli Border Guard Police officers prevented a deadly terrorist attack mid-afternoon Tuesday after spotting six suspicious-looking occupants in a vehicle coming up to the Mazmoria checkpoint on the outskirts of southern Jerusalem, leading to Gush Etzion. The front and rear license plates on the car did not match. Moreover, the driver had no identification card at all neither a green Palestinian Authority ID, nor an Israeli blue teudat zehut car either and refused to answer any questions when asked. In fact, not one of the six occupants of the vehicle had any identification with them. At that point, personnel at the checkpoint proceeded to carry out a full-scale, thorough search of the vehicle. The soldiers uncovered a number of firebombs (Molotov cocktails) two of them already prepared for operation two shock (stun) grenades hidden within the car, and a bag with five sharp knives, making it clear that a major terrorist operation was underway. The crossing was closed, a sapper was called to the scene, and the area was cleared until the end of the investigation, said a spokesperson for Jerusalem District Police. The would-be terrorists, all Arab residents of the Palestinian Authority, were all taken into custody and transferred to security personnel for interrogation. During initial questioning, the suspects admitted they intended to go to Jerusalem and carry out an attack, the police spokesperson said. There is no doubt that an attempt was made to carry out an attack that could have had serious consequences in the Jerusalem area. Efforts to locate, prevent and thwart attempts by terrorists to carry out their attacks are continuing throughout Jerusalem, with an emphasis on the crossings around [the capital]. The seizure of the vehicle and the arrest of the suspects at the Mazmoria crossing is a central and added layer to the wise operational activity that is being carried out at all times, the spokesperson added. The Border Guard Police officers operating in the surrounding area provide a crucial security envelope in the effort to prevent the entry of hostile elements and to ensure the safety of the residents.

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UNESCO set to pass yet another critical resolution on Jerusalem – The Times of Israel

An important committee of the United Nations cultural agency is set to pass on Tuesday evening a resolution critical of Israeli actions in the Old City of Jerusalem. The annual vote on a Jerusalem-themed resolution at UNESCOs World Heritage Committee, which is meeting in Krakow, Poland, was originally scheduled to take place next week. But Palestinian diplomats advanced the debate, presumably to blindside Israeli officials who are currently busy fighting another Palestinian initiative at UNESCO regarding Hebron. A vote to inscribe the Old City of Hebron on UNESCOs World Heritage List is scheduled for Friday. The Jordanian-sponsored resolution on the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls is much softer than last years text, but Israel rejects any attempt to politicize the issue of the holy sites in its capital in international bodies. This years resolution still calls Israel the occupying power and reaffirms previous UN resolutions denying the countrys claims to East Jerusalem, echoing a resolution passed in May by UNESCOs executive board. It also regrets the failure of the Israeli occupying authorities to cease the persistent excavations, tunneling, works, projects and other illegal practices in East Jerusalem, particularly in and around the Old City of Jerusalem, which are illegal under international law. However, Decision 41 COM 7A.36 stresses the importance of the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls for the three monotheistic religions, language not found in last years text. It also does not refer to the Temple Mount compound solely by its Muslim names, Al-Aqsa Mosque/Al-Haram Al-Sharif, as the 2016 resolution did, defining it only as a Muslim holy site of worship. The Palestinians moved to advance the discussion because they believe that by softening the text on the subject of Jerusalem they will reach consensus in favor of the proposal so that no voted will be required, Israels ambassador to UNESCO, Carmel Shama-Hacohen, told The Times of Israel on Tuesday morning. Israels ambassador to UNESCO Carmel Shama-Hacohen throws a copy of the days resolution on Jerusalem in the trash on Wednesday, October 26, 2016. (Erez Lichtfeld) He vowed to use the remaining time to fight the Palestinians move and seek to open the discussion, thus forcing a debate he said he believed would thwart a consensus. The chairperson of UNESCOs World Heritage Committee can propose to adopt a resolution by consensus, which would give it the appearance of a unanimous decision. But if Israel manages to recruit at least two member states to request a secret ballot, the decision can no longer be passed by consensus, paving the way for no votes and abstentions. At last years convention in Paris, the much harsher text was accepted by a large majority, after Tanzania and Croatia had asked for a secret ballot. Ten countries voted in favor, eight abstained and two opposed the text. Eight yes votes were needed for the resolution to pass. UNESCOs World Heritage Committee voting on a resolution ignoring Jewish and Christian ties to Jerusalems Old City in Paris, October 26, 2016 (screen shot UNESCO website) The 21 members of this years committee are Angola, Azerbaijan, Burkina Faso, Croatia, Cuba, Finland, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, South Korea, Tunisia, Turkey, Tanzania, Vietnam and Zimbabwe. The list includes five countries with which Israel does not have diplomatic ties, and a number of others that routinely support pro-Palestinian resolutions. Even the four Europeans states on the committee are determined to support the decision, The Times of Israel has learned. Its passing thus seems a foregone conclusion. As much as Israel deplores resolutions denying its claims to East Jerusalem, the governments main focus remains on thwarting Fridays expected vote to declare the Old City of Hebron including the Tomb of the Patriarchs a Palestinian world heritage site in danger. Israel, the US government and several Jewish groups vociferously object to this move, and have called on UN leaders to prevent the vote. A general view of the West Bank city of Hebron with the Cave of the Patriarchs, on January 18, 2017. (Lior Mizrahi/Flash90) The Tomb of the Patriarchs, which is sacred to three faiths, is in no immediate threat. Such a designation risks undermining the seriousness such an assessment by UNESCO should have, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley wrote to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova. Many precious sites from the Democratic Republic of Congo to Libya to Iraq to Syria are under real and imminent threat of destruction today. They urgently demand UNESCOs full and immediate attention, which should not be wasted on this sort of symbolic action, she added. On Tuesday, the Palestinian Authority Foreign Ministry hit back at Haley, accusing her of being racist and anti-Palestinian and an ambassador for Israel, rather than the US at the UN. This is not the first message in which the American ambassador has expressed her hidden malice and hatred toward the Palestinians, the PA Foreign Ministry said in a press statement on Tuesday. After she prevented the appointment of Dr. Salam Fayyad as the UN envoy in Libya, she recently affirmed that she would prevent the appointment of any Palestinian in the United Nations and its institutions, confirming her racist and anti-Palestinian position, and its clear hostility to Palestine. The statement went on to condemn the crude intervention of the US ambassador in the work of UNESCO and the attempt to influence the independence of the UN organization by pressing the member countries of the World Heritage Committee to vote against the Palestinian request to put Hebron on the World Heritage List. It said that was indicative of nothing less than a complete bias in favor of Israel, and confirms what has been reported in the corridors of the United Nations in New York. Recently, many foreign diplomats have expressed that Haley is an ambassador for Israel, more than an ambassador for her country, the United States of America. The PA called on the US State Department to clarify its official position regarding the statements made by Haley on the issue.

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Army Demolishes A Home, Stable And A Farmland In Jerusalem – International Middle East Media Center

Israeli soldiers demolished, Tuesday, a Palestinian home in Beit Hanina neighborhood, north of occupied East Jerusalem, a stable for horses in Silwan town, and bulldozed a farmland in Zaim town, east of Jerusalem. Dozens of soldiers, accompanied by bulldozers, invaded Beit Hanina neighborhood, after surrounding and isolating it, and demolished a home, reportedly for being built without a permit. The soldiers also invaded Wadi Yasoul neighborhood in Silwan town, south of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, and demolished a stable for horses. Furthermore, the soldiers bulldozed and uprooted a farmland, owned by Tareq Abu Sbeitan, in Zaim town, east of Jerusalem, without a warrant or even a explanation. Earlier Tuesday, the soldiers abducted two young Palestinian men from their homes, in Zabbouba village, west of Jenin, in the northern part of the West Bank. On Tuesday at dawn, the soldiers carried out massive invasions and violent searches of homes in different parts of the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem, and abducted twenty-four Palestinians, including a woman, former political prisoners, in addition to a father and his four sons.

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Danon guides counterparts in Jerusalem ‘to defeat lies spread at the UN’ – The Jerusalem Post

Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon guides counterparts through a tour of Jerusalem.. (photo credit:ARNON BOSSANI AND FRAYDA LEIBTAG) NEW YORK Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon led nine of his counterparts on a tour of Jerusalems City of David on Monday as part of a visit to Israel organized by the American Jewish Committee. Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat gave the diplomats a guided tour of the historic site, showing them the remains of the Shiloah Pool as well as numerous archeological findings, which, he said, unambiguously link the Jewish people to Jerusalem. To defeat the lies spread about our capital city at the UN, nothing is more important than for my fellow ambassadors to learn the truth about Jerusalem and see the beauty of this city firsthand, Danon said. The five-day visit aims to provide the ambassadors with a deeper understanding of the geopolitical and security challenges Israel faces. Participating in the tour are representatives of Australia, Estonia, Gabon, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Papua New Guinea, Poland and Togo. In addition to their tour of Jerusalem, the diplomats will spend the next few days traveling from the northern border to the southern region, as well as to Tel Aviv. The trip also includes a meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu and other government officials in Jerusalem, as well as visits to centers for innovation in agriculture and water technology. The delegation is also scheduled to travel to Ramallah, to meet with Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah. They will also tour the joint Israeli-Jordanian-Palestinian Industrial Zone. Ambassadors to the UN are senior representatives of their governments and are at the forefront of their countries international relations efforts, Danon said. The more ambassadors that visit Israel and have the chance to visit all parts of our beautiful country, the more they understand the challenges, as well as the opportunities, facing Israel in todays tumultuous Middle East. AJC CEO David Harris, who is also taking part in the trip, said his organization is honored to play a part in bringing this high-ranking delegation to Israel. From considerable experience, observing Israel from a distance is no substitute for seeing it up close, which is the goal of this fiveday visit, he added. Share on facebook

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