VFI News January 6, 2023

Hallelu Lyric Video

Explore the hidden connections between East and West—with this unique musical experience that spans across Israel and the nations, while blending middle eastern and country-western musical styles as well.

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Netanyahu Says He’ll Revert to ‘Openly’ Opposing Iran Deal, Names Security Cabinet

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday, January 3, that he would change Israel’s strategy toward countering Iranian nuclear ambitions, promising to bring the fight back to the court of public opinion.

Speaking at a cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said that it was still a “possibility” that Western powers would resuscitate efforts to sign a nuclear deal with Iran, and that he would apply public pressure to prevent it.

Tuesday’s meeting was the first with official business since the government was sworn in on Thursday. “We will work openly, from a position of strength, in the international arena against a return to the nuclear agreement,” Netanyahu said.

“Not only in talks with leaders behind closed doors but strongly and openly in the sphere of global opinion, which is now aware of the true dangers posed by Iran – the Iranian regime that is killing innocent citizens in and outside Iran.”

The most recently discussed nuclear agreement with Iran was panned as a “bad deal” by Israel’s previous government and security establishment, because it would release billions of dollars to Tehran without guaranteeing a real curb to its nuclear ambitions. (TOI / VFI News)

“God, we thank You for assisting our new government to take active steps against the possibility of nuclear war, and to keep making their decisions transparently.”

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.

Netanyahu Pans ‘Despicable’ UN Vote, Says Jews Cannot Be Occupiers in Their Own Land

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed the United Nations General Assembly Saturday, December 31, for a resolution passed the previous day to refer Israel’s “occupation… of Palestinian territory” to the International Court of Justice, accusing the global body of “distorting historical facts” and declaring that the Jewish people cannot be “an occupier” in its own land.

In a strongly worded statement, Netanyahu, who only regained the prime ministership on Thursday, said Israel would not be bound by the UNGA resolution demanding the ICJ weigh in on the conflict, in accordance with international law and the UN charter.

“Like hundreds of the twisted decisions against Israel taken by the UNGA over the years, today’s despicable decision will not bind the Israeli government. The Jewish nation is not an occupier in its own land and its own eternal capital, Jerusalem,” he said, adding that “no UN decision can distort the historical facts.”

“We will continue to fight for the truth,” the statement concluded. The UN General Assembly resolution, passed by 87 votes to 26, calls on the Hague-based ICJ to “render urgently an advisory opinion” on Israel’s “prolonged occupation, settlement and annexation of Palestinian territory.”

It also calls for an investigation into Israeli measures “aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem” and says Israel has adopted “discriminatory legislation and measures.” (TOI / VFI News)

“The righteous will never be uprooted, but the wicked will not remain in the land.” - Proverbs 10:30

Blinken Tells Israel’s New FM: US Will Oppose Steps that Undermine 2-State Solution

Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday, January 2, stressed US opposition to policies that undermine efforts to reach a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, during his first call with new Foreign Minister Eli Cohen.

Netanyahu’s right-religious coalition has agreed to expand Israeli settlements in the West Bank and legalize dozens of wildcat outposts. The first clause of its overall government guidelines specifies: “The Jewish people have an exclusive and inalienable right to all parts of the Land of Israel” — an area that includes the biblical Judea and Samaria, today’s West Bank.

For the Biden administration, any moves toward West Bank annexation or changing the status quo barring Jewish prayer at the Temple Mount represent “red lines,” according to two Israeli and US officials familiar with the matter.

Apart from the aforementioned points, the US and Israeli readouts on the roughly 40-minute Blinken-Cohen call were largely the same. According to the statements, Blinken and Cohen talked about the US commitment to Israel’s security, as well as efforts to strengthen the Abraham Accords and advance Israel’s integration in the region.

They also discussed the Iran nuclear threat. Blinken told Cohen that US efforts to revive the Iran nuclear agreement were currently on hold, due to Tehran’s intractable stance, the ongoing protests in the Islamic Republic and the latter’s intensified cooperation with Russian forces invading Ukraine — a reality that the new Israeli government is likely satisfied with, given its opposition to the nuclear deal.

The readout from Cohen’s office said he also used the call to explain his approach to the Palestinians and emphasized his opposition to Palestinians’ effort to bring the conflict to the International Court of Justice (ICJ). (TOI / VFI News)

Jewish Man and Infant Son Violently Attacked in London

A Jewish man and his infant son were viciously attacked in the Stamford Hill section of London while taking a walk, according to Stamford Hill Shomrim.

The community safety organization said that the man was walking with his wife and one-year-old son when they were attacked by an assailant who threatened to stab them.

“A racist male unhappy with the child's speed pushed the 1-yr-old shouting ‘Move F** Jew, I will stab & kill you’ before cutting the victim on his face/hand,” Stamford Hill Shomrim said on Twitter.

The incident is the latest in a series of anti-Semitic attacks on Jewish Londoners that have continued into the new year, which Stamford Hill Somrim referred to in November as a “racism pandemic.”

The comment was made in reference to a “prolific racist male [who] assaulted Jewish victim shouting ‘You Jews, you think you own the world.’” “Locals (St Andrews Mews #N16) are terrified of this violent male,” they added.

In August, three serious anti-Semitic incidents occurred in one day in London. (INN / VFI News)

“God, we ask that Jewish people are shielded from anti-Semitism, hate speech and attacks no matter where they reside, and that the victims of this vicious attack recuperate and are able to heal physically and emotionally.”

US Base in Syria Hit with 2 Rockets, Following 3rd Anniversary of Soleimani Killing

Two rockets struck a U.S. military base in northeastern Syria Wednesday, January 4, following the 3rd anniversary of the killing of Iranian military leader Qassem Soleimani by a U.S. drone strike in 2020.

Coalition forces at Mission Support Site Conoco were targeted in the attack that occurred around 9 a.m. local time, according to United States Central Command (CENTCOM).

There were no injuries or even damage to the base or the coalition’s property. Attacks of this kind place coalition forces and the civilian populace at risk, and undermine the hard-earned stability and security of Syria and the region," Col. Joe Buccino, a spokesman for CENTCOM said.

It is unclear how many troops were on the base at the time of the attack, though some 900 U.S. forces are stationed in Syria.

Syrian Democratic Forces visited the site of the rocket's origin and found a third unfired rocket. The attack came one day after the anniversary of Soleimani’s death on Jan. 3, 2020 in Baghdad, by a U.S. drone strike. (FN / VFI News)

“God, we pray for an end to the human malevolence and violent attacks worldwide. We hope that people of all nations can coexist peacefully, accept their past mistakes and rise together in peace and prosperity.”

Wave of International Criticism After Ben Gvir Visits Flashpoint Temple Mount

Israel’s new government faced a wave of international condemnation on Tuesday, January 3, after National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir paid a morning visit to the flashpoint Temple Mount site, which houses the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Amid the chorus of denunciation, police reportedly raised their alertness level in Jerusalem.

Jordan, which views itself as a custodian of the Temple Mount — a status Israel does not recognize, though it acknowledged the kingdom’s “special role” at the site in the countries’ 1994 peace treaty — castigated Israel over the far-right minister’s visit.

“Jordan condemns in the severest of terms the storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and violation of its sanctity,” the Jordanian Foreign Ministry said in a statement, according to British media.

Ben Gvir did not enter the mosque. He made a 15-minute visit to the Temple Mount compound around 7 a.m. — during the time Jews are allowed to enter the site. He had visited on numerous previous occasions, but Tuesday’s trip carried more weight as it was his first as a minister.

Israel’s ambassador to Jordan, Eitan Surkis, was called into Jordan’s Foreign Ministry offices for a dressing-down, according to Hebrew media reports. Surkis told the Jordanians that Israel remained committed to the status quo, that there had not been any violations of the agreement, and that Israeli ministers have visited the site in the past. (TOI / VFI News)

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” - John 16:33

New Immigrants Will Need to Prove They’ve Settled in Israel Before Getting Passports

Interior Minister Aryeh Deri is planning a new policy that will see new immigrants required to prove they’ve settled in Israel, in order to be eligible for an Israeli passport, his office said Monday, January 2.

A statement said Deri had instructed the Population Authority to begin preparing for the move, a shift from the current policy that grants a passport automatically upon obtaining citizenship. Deri’s plan would first require a law change, which would be part of the incoming coalition’s immigration reform.

In addition to the passport law, the government also intends to alter the Law of Return, specifically the clause that permits anyone with at least one Jewish grandparent to obtain citizenship.

This has drawn intense criticism from Diaspora Jewry. In the past, new immigrants were only eligible for a passport after a year in the country.

In 2017, a new law allowed new immigrants to obtain a passport immediately, despite warnings from law enforcement that such a permissive policy could lead to abuse.

“The ‘air train’ in which people eligible [for citizenship] under the Law of Return are taking advantage of their right to a passport and ‘absorption package’ [of government benefits], and then going back to where they came from is unacceptable,” Deri said.

“We should give status and a passport only to those who are settling in Israel, not to those looking to get benefits they’re not entitled to.” (TOI / VFI News)

Bank of Israel Hikes Interest Rates to 3.75%, Highest Since 2008

The Bank of Israel on Monday, January 2, increased the benchmark interest rate for the seventh straight meeting, raising its key lending rate by 50 basis points to 3.75 percent, the highest level since 2008, as the central bank steps up efforts to tame the rising inflation of recent months.

The central bank’s monetary committee decided to lift the benchmark rate to 3.75% from 3.25%, in line with most economists’ forecasts.

Since policy makers started to raise borrowing costs in April from an all-time low of 0.1%, the key lending rate increased by more than 300 basis points in 2022, as the Bank of Israel seeks to bring inflation back into the government’s 1% to 3% target range.

Despite the steps, Israeli inflation accelerated to 5.3% in November, over the previous 12 months, led by spiraling housing and food costs.

“High inflation involves growing uncertainty and increasing difficulty in making decisions at the household and the business levels, weighs on economic conduct, and adversely impacts growth and welfare, first and foremost among the weaker strata,” said Bank of Israel governor Amir Yaron.

“In addition, the more entrenched inflation becomes, the harder it is to eradicate, and then ultimately the required interest rate will be even higher.” (TOI / VFI News)

Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy. - Proverbs 31:9

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

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