VFI News August 13, 2021

Police to Significantly Increase Enforcement of COVID-19 Restrictions

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in a discussion on Monday, August 9, instructed Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev and Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai to step up the enforcement of coronavirus restrictions over the next eight weeks, including at the expense of other missions, to help try to prevent Israel from entering a fourth large-scale coronavirus lockdown, Ynet reported.

Minister Bar-Lev said during the meeting that the lockdown option is on the table, although it can still be prevented.

Israel police announced in a statement on Monday that they had already begun to expand the level of enforcement of coronavirus restrictions on Sunday, but that they will be increasing their efforts even further starting on Tuesday.

Data provided at the Bennett, Bar-Lev, and Shabtai's meeting on Monday show that on Sunday, August 8, 318 fines were issued for Israelis not wearing a mask, compared to 89 on Saturday, and 74 fines were issued for violating isolation restrictions, compared to 47 on Saturday. (JPost / VFI News)

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CDC Warns Against Travel to Israel amid Surge in Delta Variant Cases

The US Centers for Disease Control claimed Monday that there is a “very high level” of coronavirus infection in Israel when considering it as a single unified entity with the West Bank and Gaza, and urged Americans to avoid travel to all three areas.

The CDC in a travel advisory listed the risk of COVID-19 in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza at its highest level — level 4.

It urged even fully vaccinated Americans to avoid those areas.

Data released by Israel’s Health Ministry last month showed that the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccine appeared to largely prevent hospitalization and serious cases, but is significantly less effective against preventing the spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus.

There were 34,103 active coronavirus cases in Israel as of Monday night, the highest number since March, which has largely been blamed on the ultra-contagious Delta variant. (TOI / VFI News)

“God, we ask that you keep Your people safe from COVID-19 and all of its variants, and bring this pandemic to an end.”

20 Years Ago, a Hamas Terrorist Blew up a Pizzeria and Killed 15 People

Israelis and Americans mourn the 15 people, including seven children, who were killed 20 years ago during a terror attack. Hamas had claimed responsibility for the bombing.

Sbarro, the pizza chain restaurant where the bomber, Izz al-Din Shuheil al-Masri, detonated his suicide vest, trended on Twitter as family members, friends, and government officials expressed their grief.

Al-Masri was aided by Ahlam Al-Tamimi, who remains most wanted by the FBI for her role in scouting out the pizzeria and guiding the human bomb to the selected location. Al-Tamimi was initially arrested and convicted in Israel for her involvement in the bombing but was released in a prisoner exchange.

One of the American victims, Malki Roth, was 15 years old.

“My daughter Malki was murdered as were 14 other innocents,” her father, Arnold Roth, tweeted.

The other American victim, Shoshana Yehudit Greenbaum, was 31 years old and pregnant. Her unborn child also died. Moreover, 130 people were injured by the blast or shrapnel stored in the explosive device.

“There was a smell of explosives in the air and the patients arrived on stretchers directly from the site, because it was too close to even put them in ambulances. The initial moments were chaotic, it took some time before we were able to realize the extent of the catastrophe and that we were treating multiple siblings whose parents had been killed,” Chana Smadja, an emergency room nurse, recalled in an interview with The Jerusalem Post. (DC / VFI News)

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” - Psalm 34:18

“Lord, we pray that You comfort those who survived terror attacks and were left with wounded souls for the rest of their lives. And we pray that You would bring comfort to those who lost loved ones in this attack.”

Iranians Criticize Macron for Congratulating Raisi

Prominent Iranian human rights activists blasted French President Emmanuel Macron for his congratulatory statement on Monday to the Iranian regime’s new president, Ebrahmin Raisi.

“We the people of Iran will never forget this historical betrayal,” tweeted Masih Alinejad, an Iranian-American journalist and women’s rights activist. “President of a democratic country congratulates a mass murderer like Raisi, who’s ordered the execution of more than 5000 political prisoners in the 80s. He also approved the execution of French-Iranian journalist.”

Iranians use the moniker “Butcher of Tehran” for Raisi due to his role in the mass murder of Iranians in 1988 and 2019. The US sanctioned Raisi for his grave human rights violations.

He added that it was the first time in the history of the Islamic Republic that a chief justice became president. “Someone with a bloodstained record like Raisi will have a more difficult time on the world stage than Rouhani did,” said Brodsky. “And the costs of engagement will increase under this presidency.”

Macron has opposed banning the Iranian regime’s chief strategic partner, Hezbollah, in France and within the European Union.

Two additional Western leaders – the presidents of Switzerland and Austria – also congratulated Raisi on his presidency. (JPost / VFI News)

Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. - Proverbs 13:20

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Chinese Group Carried out Widespread Cyber Espionage Campaign in Israel

United States cybersecurity firm FireEye said a Chinese group has waged a widespread espionage campaign against Israeli entities.

The attacks targeted Israeli government institutions, IT providers, and telecommunications firms in multiple, concurrent operations starting in January of 2019.

The hackers carried out data harvesting and reconnaissance, likely motivated by financial, technological, and business interests. FireEye did not report Chinese government involvement but said the targets coincided with Beijing’s interests.

During the same campaign against Israel, the group attacked targets in Iran, the United Arab Emirates and Kazakhstan, and may have sought to ascribe the attacks to Iran.

FireEye first detected the Chinese espionage group, called UNC215, making the intrusions by exploiting a Microsoft SharePoint vulnerability in early 2019. The group used its custom malware tools, called FOCUSFJORD and HYPERBRO, during the attacks.

After breaking into a system, the group stole large numbers of users’ credentials and carried out internal network reconnaissance. The group’s HYPERBRO malware was used for information collection, such as screen captures and keylogging.

Israel has been caught between China and the US in recent years, as the two rivals seek to wield global influence while Jerusalem tries to maintain friendly relations and trade ties. China has also bid for or been involved with, Israeli tunnel construction, railways, desalination plants, agriculture projects, and 5G network infrastructure.

Israel has been working for years to expand trade with China, one of the world’s largest markets.

(TOI / VFI News)

“God, we ask You to protect Your children from physical, emotional, and virtual attacks.”

EU lawmakers Pan Decision to Send Senior Diplomat to Iran for Raisi Inauguration

Nine members of the European Parliament sent a letter to EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, blasting the decision to send a senior EU diplomat to Tehran for last week’s inauguration of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi.

“Sending such senior representation to the inauguration of a president with such a dark record, at this sensitive time, contradicts European commitments to uphold and stand up for human rights,” wrote the MEPs.

The parliamentarians called Raisi’s electoral victory in June “a sham election,” and decried his “appalling record of personal responsibility for the most heinous of human rights abuses.”

Prior to the inauguration ceremony, Israel’s Foreign Ministry called the EU decision to send Enrique Mora, the EU point man on the Vienna nuclear talks, a “shameful” display of “poor judgment.”

The ultraconservative Raisi, 60, was inaugurated by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei last Tuesday and sworn in before parliament two days later.

The decision “is puzzling and shows poor judgment,” the Foreign Ministry said. (TOI / VFI News)

“You shall do no injustice in court. You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor..” - Leviticus 19:15

Lebanon's Maronite Patriarch Calls on Army to Confront Hezbollah

Lebanon’s Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros al-Rahi called on Sunday for the Lebanese army to take control of the southern part of the country, Hezbollah’s stronghold, and strictly implement UN Security Council Resolution 1701, after recent clashes between Israel and Hezbollah.

“We call upon the Lebanese army, which is responsible with the international forces for the security of the South, to take control of the entire lands of the South, to strictly implement Resolution 1701 and to prevent the launching of missiles from Lebanese territory, not for the sake of Israel’s safety, but rather for the safety of Lebanon,” said Rahi during Sunday Mass.

The Maronite patriarch stressed that he could not “accept, by virtue of equality before the law, that a party decides peace and war outside the decision of legality and the national decision entrusted to two-thirds of the members of the government.”

On Friday, August 6, 19 rockets were fired from southern Lebanon into northern Israel, with the Iron Dome intercepting 10 rockets and six rockets falling in open areas near Har Dov, along the Lebanese border. The others fell inside Lebanon. There were no injuries or casualties.

It was the sixth such attack in recent months and the first in which Hezbollah admitted responsibility. (JPost/VFI News)

“God, we ask that You provide justice for those who have wronged Your people, and to foster peace in Israel.”

Israeli Law School Journal No. 3 in World in Human Rights

The College of Law and Business international law journal has finished third in the world in the human rights category of the 2020 American W&L Law Journal Rankings, narrowly beating out Harvard Law School which finished fourth.

Only Columbia University Law School and Georgetown University Law School finished ahead of the journal, which is formally known as the Law & Ethics of Human Rights journal.

The law school also had a third-place finish in the world among 600 non-US law journals in terms of the expected impact of the articles.

In that competition, it beat out the European Journal of International Law. (JPost / VFI News)

“An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.” - Proverbs 18:15

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

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