VFI News Feb 4, 2022

Israeli airstrikes hit Damascus & President Isaac Herzog visits a Mosque

President Isaac Herzog visits Mosque in Abu Dhabi & Israeli airstrikes hit Damascus, join Barry in this video to hear more about it.

#President #Mosque #AbuDhabi #Nationalday #Damascus #Iranian #gas #electricity #indexjumps

#Florida #Israeli #Ukraine #Russia #Conflect

  • 00:25 - President Isaac Herzog visits Mosque in Abu Dhabi
  • 02:28 - President Isaac Herzog opens Israel’s National day at Dubai Expo
  • 04:13 - Israeli airstrikes hit Damascus
  • 05:23 - Iranian Forces crackdown on teachers
  • 06:33 - Steep Global wildlife decline may be worse than first feared Israeli Study finds
  • 08:31 - Israel’s gas, electricity, and good prices climb as Consumer Price index jumps
  • 10:27 - Neo Nazi rally in Florida shout “The Jew is the devil”
  • 12:12 - Israeli tech firms have much to lose from Ukraine Russian conflict

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Alleged Israeli Airstrike Targets Sites Near Damascus

Syrian air defenses were activated in response to an alleged Israeli missile barrage targeting the vicinity of the capital Damascus, state media said early on Monday, January 31, citing a military source. This is the first alleged Israeli airstrike reported in Syria this year.

The missiles were launched from the direction of Riyaq, a Lebanese town east of Beirut, according to the Syrian SANA news agency.

The strikes targeted sites belonging to the Assad regime near Al-Qutayfah, northeast of Damascus, causing injuries and material damage.

A series of cargo flights on airlines used to transport Iranian weapons traveled between Iran and Syria in recent weeks, according to independent flight trackers.

The strike comes a week after Syrian and Russian military jets jointly patrolled the airspace along Syria's borders, including along the Golan Heights. (JPost / VFI News)

“God, we ask that You bring an end to the violence in the areas surrounding Israel, and protect Your children.”

The articles included in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Vision for Israel. We try to provide accurate reporting on news pertinent to Israel, the Middle East, the diaspora, and Jewish issues around the world—and we hope that you find it both informative and useful for intercessory prayer.

Iranian Forces Crack Down on Teachers as Wage Protests Continue

Iranian security forces arrested at least four teachers on Monday, January 31, as teachers around the country continued to demand improvements to their wages and working conditions and the release of detained teachers.

The Coordinating Council of Iranian Cultural Associations reported that dozens of union activists had been summoned by authorities throughout the country, saying that this showed that "the government's response to the demands is an iron fist."

Mohammad Ali Zahmatkesh, a teacher and activist, was reportedly arrested on Monday as he left his home on his way to a protest rally. In Tehran, Ahmad Heydari, a teacher participating in the protest in the city, was arrested as well in front of the Iranian parliament. Two other teachers were also detained by plainclothes security forces. A protester in Mariwan was also reportedly arrested.

According to the coordinating council, teachers protesting in Tehran were dispersed by security forces who pushed and threatened them.

Additionally, on Monday, teacher and activist Jafar Ebrahimi was sentenced by the Karaj Revolutionary Court to four years and six months in prison.

The council stressed that it will not be intimidated by the attempts to suppress the protests and warned that it would continue and widen protests and would close classes in March if their demands are not met.

Several protesting teachers and activists have been arrested and jailed since the protests began months ago. Some of the protests have been violently suppressed, with security forces firing tear gas at and assaulting protesters. (JPost / VFI News)

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. - Matthew 5:10

At Abu Dhabi Grand Mosque, Herzog Says Region has a Choice: Peace or Iranian Terror

During a visit to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi on Monday, January 31, President Isaac Herzog said the Middle East had a stark choice of possible futures, between one of hope and peace and another of Tehran-led chaos.

“There are only two alternatives for this region,” he said, standing outside the mosque in the capital of the United Arab Emirates.”One is peace, prosperity, cooperation, joint investments and a beautiful horizon for the people, or alternatively, what Iran is doing, which is destabilizing the region and using its proxies to employ terror. These are the two alternatives, and this visit symbolizes hope, peace, and a great future for our nations, the region, and the world at large.”

The night before, the UAE announced it shot down a ballistic missile fired at it by the Iran-backed Houthi terrorist group.

Herzog and his wife, Michal, concluded their historic visit to the UAE with the mosque tour.

The first lady was presented with a bespoke traditional robe, and the president signed the mosque guest book. They were then given a tour explaining the mosque’s architecture and construction.

Herzog summarized his trip as “very moving, historic, and exciting.” (TOI / VFI News)

Steep Global Wildlife Decline may be Worse than Feared, Israeli Study Finds

A new paper by Israeli researchers has not only confirmed a disputed estimate that wildlife populations have declined by over two-thirds in the past 50 years, but showed that the true drop may have been even more severe, according to a Monday, January 31, statement.

The study, published last week in the journal Nature, should spur people to action and reconsider the relationship between human beings and nature, said the authors, from Ben Gurion University of the Negev and Tel Aviv University.

“Rather than discourage us from action, we feel that our work should be viewed as a call to arms,” said co-author Shai Meiri from Tel Aviv University. “Rapid and comprehensive changes in how we view our relationships with nature are needed – and the onus is on us to make sure they happen before it is too late.”

Going further, the researchers took a closer look at the overlap between monitored populations and protected wildlife areas around the world. The data was then compared to random samples from other locations and their proximity to the global network of protected areas. The results showed that populations that were sampled for the Living Planet Report were “much more likely to be inside protected areas than would be expected to occur by chance.”

It indicated that the true wildlife decline could be even more dire than previously thought.

“This is truly alarming,” said co-author Gabriel Caetano. “If populations inside protected areas – where we focus a lot of our conservation efforts – are doing so badly, those that reside outside protected areas are probably worse off. The true situation of nature – mostly not monitored or protected – may be much worse.”

“A lot of focus and attention by the public, governments, and NGOs is focused on the extinction of species,” the statement said. “Nevertheless, extinction is but the unwanted conclusion of a process that starts with harm to individual animals or plants by people and leads to their populations declining.”

Authors called for greater monitoring of populations and species in different locations and warned that “many populations, species, and pristine locations would be lost forever without concentrated and direct action.” (TOI/VFI News)

“God, we ask that you protect the animals, wildlife, and children for generations to come.”

Lema'an Tzion / For Zion's Sake (Isaiah 62:1) by Barry & Batya Segal

"For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet, until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a burning torch."

'The Jew is the Devil' — Neo-Nazis Rally in Florida

Participants at a neo-Nazi rally in Orlando, Florida, on Saturday, January 29, waved Nazi flags and shouted antisemitic and anti-Black slogans, according to the NGO StopAntisemitism.org.

The rally was organized by the National Socialist Movement (NSM) and was supposed to be live-streamed on the American Nazi Party’s website. The live-stream archive was not currently working on the website, but participants chanted, “The Jew is the devil” and “Jews rape children and drink their blood.”

NSM plans to hold other events, including on April 23 in Washington State, a convention of its national chapters and a public protest.

On January 12, NSM said it had opened its own live-streaming capabilities after losing access to the use of BlogTalk Radio, which it blamed on “the Jew.” The platform is still rife with errors, which the webmaster blamed on visitors.

NSM has a 25-point manifesto on its website and advocates an American “White” ethnostate in which only those with European ancestry can be citizens. (INN / VFI News)

“Lord we ask that You would protect the Jewish people around the world and that you would uproot antisemitism and hatred for Your people.”

Herzog Opens Israel's National Day at Dubai Expo, Celebrates Israel-UAE Ties

“Expo 2020 Dubai is a reminder of what can be accomplished when we work together to break down borders by connecting minds and imagining a different future,” President Isaac Herzog said Monday, January 31, as he launched Israel’s national day at Expo 20 in Dubai, following a ceremonial welcome in the central plaza where “Hatikvah” was played.

Herzog reiterated the hope and belief he had expressed on Sunday in Abu Dhabi that other Arab states in the region will follow the UAE’s lead and join the Abraham Accords. Expo 2020 Dubai is a huge achievement for all the participating nations and also a huge achievement for Dubai itself and its brave leaders, Herzog said, adding, “It is a remarkable celebration of each nation’s unique identity.”

Herzog said he was proud of Israel’s contribution to the vision of a common future, as has been seen on display over the past several months both in the UAE and in Israel, where he said he had the honor to inaugurate the UAE Embassy in Tel Aviv. “Israel is a country in which obstacles become opportunities and where the impossible is a tantalizing challenge,” Herzog said.

Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, the UAE’s minister of tolerance and coexistence and commissioner-general of Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “Israel has much to offer on our global platform, and so we are pleased to have you at this engagement with us, at Expo 2020 Dubai. We are proud to host the first World Expo to be held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region and of our warm Emirati welcome to the whole world.” (JPost / VFI News)

“God, we ask that You would help our leaders foster true, honest collaboration between Israel and other countries.”

Israel's Gas, Electric, and Food Prices Climb as Consumer Price Index Jumps

Gasoline and electricity prices were set to rise on Tuesday, February 1, reflecting global price hikes brought on in part by supply shortages, steeper raw-material costs and decreased workforce availability.

Israel’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 2.8% in 2021 and increased another 0.1% to 2.9% this year as of January 30, the Central Bureau of Statistics reported Monday, January 31.

Prices for products and services are rising throughout the country. Last month, Osem, one of Israel’s largest food producers, told supermarkets it would be increasing the prices of its products by as much as 5%, citing an increase in the cost of materials, packaging and transportation.

“This is unprecedented,” Osem said. “After an extended period during which we have absorbed the price increase, we are forced to update our retail prices.”

The cost of gasoline has spiked in tandem with the increased price of oil on global markets. The maximum price of 95-octane gasoline was set to rise by NIS 0.34 to NIS 6.71 per liter on February 1 at midnight, the Energy Ministry said. The price of one barrel of Brent crude oil is currently $91.31. Over the past week, it has risen $4.61, or more than 5%.

Electricity tariffs were set to rise an average of 5.7% on February 1 at midnight, the Public Utilities Authority said. It attributed the increase to an almost tripling of world coal prices, from $86 per ton to $226 per ton in the past year.

The rise in energy prices has led to a significant increase in electricity tariffs in many countries, the Public Utilities Authority said. More severely impacted are Sweden, with a 35% rise, the UK (34%), Belgium (18%) and Austria (14%).

Israel, in part due to its reduction of coal use in recent years, is among the countries with lower increases, including the Czech Republic (9%), Italy (6%) and Germany (5%).

While supply issues and raw-material costs are partly to blame, the coronavirus pandemic’s effect on consumer demand also plays a significant role in the CPI’s increase, according to Prof. Danit Ein-Gar of Tel Aviv University’s Coller School of Management. (JPost/ VFI News)

The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender. - Proverbs 22:7

Israeli Tech Firms Have Much to Lose in Ukraine

Computer programmer Peter Kolomiets, a Russian-speaking Israeli who is currently living in Kharkhov, Ukraine, is concerned. In recent days, people in the border city in the east of the country have stocked up with canned foods, toilet paper and some are planning to flee westwards to Kiev, or Poland, or even to East Asia. "When you see on TV, 100,000 Russian troops massing on the border, 30 minutes away from you, it's very stressful," he told "Globes."

Kolomiets said that Kharkhov's residents are divided between worried residents and business people, and tech entrepreneurs who feel sure that it's all just a muscle-flexing exercise by the Russians. Kharkhov is 42 kilometers from the Russian border but according to Kolomeits life is carrying on as usual and the restaurants and bars are full at night.

Kolomiets's software company IdeaSoft serves Israeli companies and he is eager to convey the 'business as usual' message, to calm both his employees and customers. As a former officer in the IDF's Dudevan commando unit, he says that he understands military conduct and the Russians would not want to invade heavily populated areas, where they would sustain major losses, as happened to them previously in Georgia.

In recent years Ukraine has become a type of proxy for Israel's tech sector, as companies struggle to hire staff. There are no official figures but IT outsourcing giant Ciklum VP Eran Cohen, who has been working with Israeli companies in Ukraine over the past 10 years, estimates that there are 15,000-17,000 employees there serving Israeli companies. This makes Ukraine a critical factor in the growth of Israel as a unicorn nation.

These employees divide up into several categories: those working for large outsourcing companies like Ciklum, Aman Group and Globalogic, which serve Israeli companies; workers employed directly by Israeli companies like Playtika, Plarium, Wix and MoonActive; and everything in between including freelancers, or those employed by hundreds of local outsourcing companies. Some 5,000 Ukrainians are employed directly by Israeli companies, according to conservative estimates, with gaming software company Playtika alone having 1,000 employees in Ukraine.

In Ukraine it is understood that these 17,000 employees of Israeli companies are in danger, although a distinction is made between cities like Kharkhov, Mariupol and Dnipro, which would likely be in the path of any potential Russian invasion, and cities closer to the Polish and Belarus borders like Kiev, Odessa, and Lvov, which are considered safer.

An analysis by "Globes'' on LinkedIn found that many Israeli companies are in the more dangerous eastern region including gaming software company Plarium, which has 816 developers living in Kharkhov. Other Israeli companies with development centers in Eastern Ukrainian cities are Playtika, Wix, and Fiverr.

British outsourcing company Ciklum, which has 900 employees in Dnipro and Kharkhov, has formed a detailed plan to respond to any crisis. Cohen, who is responsible for Ciklum's operations with Israeli companies, said, "We assessed the situation and charted four scenarios of different invasions and reached the conclusion that an invasion in the east is the most likely possibility. We have plans for business continuity and in an emergency situation, we will evacuate workers to an office in Gdansk in Poland. Our business continuity team, which is responsible for the subject at a corporate level, has been equipped with satellite telephones."

Peter Kolomiets, who manages projects in Ukraine for Israel's Aman Group, has also prepared a plan including assistance in evacuating workers and their families to Kiev, funding for hotel accommodation and food supplies brought ahead of time, as well as assistance with EU representatives in evacuating workers to Poland, if necessary, and buying satellite phones. "We have seen that the shutting down of the Internet is something that the Russians have repeatedly done," said Kolomiets.

Verbit, an Israeli unicorn with 30 employees in Ukraine, has also prepared a business continuity plan, which includes assistance in evacuating employees to Poland, the UK and Israel, and preparing employees for remote work, and paying salaries if the banking system in Ukraine is shut down and the economy disrupted. (JPost / VFI News)

The suggestions, opinions, and scripture references made by VFI News writers and editors are based on the best information received.

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