VFI News October 12, 2021

Iran Claims to Have 80% of Uranium Needed to Build Nuclear Bomb

Iran has enriched more than 120 kg. of 20% enriched uranium, the head of its atomic energy organization, Mohammad Eslami, said Saturday evening, October 9, state news agency IRNA reported.

“We have passed 120 kilograms,” IRNA quoted him as saying. “We have more than that figure.”

“Our people know well that they [Western powers] were meant to give us the enriched fuel at 20% to use in the Tehran reactor, but they haven’t done so,” Eslami said. “If our colleagues do not do it, we would naturally have problems with the lack of fuel for the Tehran reactor.”

If true, the numbers could be considered a major jump forward in uranium enrichment, potentially toward a nuclear weapon if Tehran made the choice to try and break the nuclear threshold.

Last month, the International Atomic Energy Agency said Iran had 84.3 kg. of uranium enriched to 20%.

According to the Jewish Institute for National Security of America, 155 kg. of 20% enriched uranium would be enough to eventually be scaled up to weaponized uranium for a nuclear bomb.

That would mean 120 kg. would be almost 80% of the way there.

According to a recent JINSA report, “Iran is actively reducing the growth of its stockpile of 20% enriched uranium, which represents nine-tenths of the effort to achieve fissile material. Since starting in January, Iran cumulatively has enriched an estimated 152 kg. uranium to 20% at a rate of 19 kg./month.”

JINSA said: “To limit its stockpile, Iran has been converting some of it to uranium metal, which, while worrisome because this process is one of the steps to a nuclear weapon, means this material can no longer be used to enrich fissile material.”

In recent weeks, Tehran has given mixed messages about whether it would return to nuclear talks with the US and world powers and rejoin the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action’s nuclear-deal limits in exchange for Washington lifting sanctions or whether it is stalling for some other purpose.

In the meantime, since mid-September, the IAEA has heavily criticized Iran for blocking its access and disabling some of its nuclear monitoring equipment. (JPost / VFI News)

“God, we ask that you keep Your people safe from nuclear war.“

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Azerbaijan Says No Israelis on Border, Warns Against Iran 'Provocations'

Azerbaijan's State Border Service (SBS) rejected claims by Iranian officials that Israeli forces are present in Azerbaijan near the Iranian border, saying that Azerbaijan "does not need the support of foreign forces."

Ahmed Ali Goudarzi, commander of Iran's Border Guard, claimed last week that Israeli forces are present in "sensitive areas" in neighboring countries and conducting intelligence and espionage work, advising Muslim countries "not to allow this," according to Iranian state broadcaster IRIB.

The commander additionally claimed that Israel incited neighboring countries to take action concerning their borders or impose large tolls on heavy vehicles, an apparent reference to fees imposed on Iranian truck drivers by Azerbaijan recently.

The Azeri SBS stated in response that there never have been, are not and never will be forces of any third country on Azerbaijan's border, according to the Azeri APA news source. The SBS added that it does not need the support of foreign forces.

The SBS additionally stressed that Azerbaijan has the sovereign right to apply border and customs control on roads that cross through Azeri territory.

The statement added that, despite weekly meetings taking place at various levels between Azerbaijani and Iranian border guards, no information concerning the allegations of foreign forces in Azerbaijan was ever given to the SBS, according to APA.

The SBS warned that "any provocations directed at the state interests of the Republic of Azerbaijani in the state border will be resolutely prevented also from now" and recommended that Iranian officials "be more responsible, and avoid spreading false and defamatory information."

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian also made claims of an Israeli presence along the Azerbaijani-Iranian border on Monday, warning against Israeli provocative actions from Azerbaijani territory, according to Iranian media. (JPost / VFI News)

Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” - Romans 12:19

Isis Claims Responsibility for Afghan Mosque Attack that Killed 46

ISIS has claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing that killed at least 46 worshippers and wounded dozens more Friday, October 8, at a Shiite mosque in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz.

The local Islamic State affiliate, known as ISIS-K, claimed responsibility for the blast at the Gozar-e-Sayed Abad Mosque on its Telegram channels, according to Reuters. The same group carried out the Aug. 26 bombing that killed at least 169 Afghans and 13 American troops outside the Kabul airport in the final days of the chaotic US pullout.

Afghanistan’s state-run Bakhtar news agency said that at least 46 people had been killed and 143 others wounded, Reuters reported. However, two health officials told the outlet the death toll could rise to between 70 and 80.

Friday’s blast took place during midday prayers, the highlight of the Muslim religious week. It was the deadliest act of violence in the war-torn country since US and NATO forces pulled out after the Taliban took control in August.

Graphic footage showed bloodied bodies surrounded by debris inside the mosque while bloodstains covered the front steps. The explosion blew out windows, charred the ceiling and scattered debris and twisted metal across the floor.

The worshippers targeted Friday were Hazaras, who have long suffered from double discrimination as an ethnic minority and as followers of Shiite Islam in a majority-Sunni country. Earlier this week, a report by Amnesty International found the Taliban unlawfully killed 13 Hazaras, including a 17-year-old girl, in Daykundi province, after members of the Western-backed government’s security forces surrendered.

The United Nations mission in Afghanistan condemned the attack as “part of a disturbing pattern of violence” targeting religious institutions.

Since reconquering Afghanistan, the Taliban have been grappling with the growing threat from ISIS-K. Taliban fighters have been targeted in a series of deadly ISIS attacks in recent weeks, including shooting ambushes and a Sunday bombing outside a mosque in Kabul that killed at least five civilians.

ISIS has also targeted Afghanistan’s religious minorities in attacks meant to stir up sectarian violence.

(JPost / VFI News)

“Do not kill the innocent and righteous, for I will not acquit the wicked.” - Exodus 23:7

Hamas Declares Victory after Court Reinstates Ban Against Jews Praying on Temple Mount

Jews barely got a chance to act on the court ruling allowing them to pray silently at their holiest site before the court reversed its decision in what Hamas declared a victory that could be credited to their missile attacks.

The story began when last Wednesday, October 6, when Justice Bilha Yahalom of Jerusalem’s Magistrate Court accepted an appeal by Temple Mount activist Rabbi Aryeh Lipo against the police ban on prayer on the Temple Mount. Lippo had been banned from the site for 15 days by the Israeli police after he was caught praying silently during a visit on Yom Kippur.

Israel’s High Court has ruled that Jewish prayer at the site is legally protected but the police may impose restrictions based on security considerations. The Israeli police appealed the decision.

“The State of Israel advocates freedom of worship and prayer for all, however, in view of the security implications, the status quo must be upheld that the prayer of Jews on the Temple Mount will take place next to the Western Wall and the prayer of Muslims will take place in al-Haram al-Sharif,” Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev said on Friday, using the Arabic name for the Temple Mount.

The ruling was decried by the Palestinians.

The Waqf, the custodial authority which managed the edifices on the Temple Mount, called the ruling a “flagrant violation” of the compound’s sanctity and a “clear provocation” for Muslims worldwide. “This decision also has no legitimacy because we do not recognize Israeli law on al-Aqsa,” mosque director Sheikh Omar al-Kiswani told AFP.

Hamas, the ruling party in Gaza recognized by many countries around the world as a terrorist organization, called the move a “blatant aggression against the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and a clear declaration of a war that goes beyond political rights to an aggression against religion and sanctities”. The group said in a statement that the “resistance is ready and prepared to repel aggression and defend rights.”

On Friday, October 8, thousands of Palestinians arrived at the Temple Mount for morning prayers and took the opportunity to hold a massive protest. The same day, the court accepted the police’s appeal.

Aryeh Romanov, the judge ruling over the case at the Jerusalem District Court, stated on Friday that the rules on the Temple Mount forbid “religious/ritual activities having external, visible characteristics,” stressing that the fact that the police officer noticed Lipo praying proved that his prayer was visible and therefore forbidden.

“God, we ask that You free Your people from persecution.”

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Aliyah Up 31% in 2021

Aliyah (immigration) to Israel has bounced back strongly in 2021 so far with some 20,360 arriving in Israel to date, compared to 15,598 during the corresponding period in 2020, an increase of 31%.

The figures come ahead of the national holiday, Aliyah Day, on October 13, which celebrates immigrants to Israel from around the world.

At the same time, aliyah will still likely be much lower than the level reached in 2019, the last full year before the COVID-19 pandemic, when some 34,000 new immigrants arrived.

The final tally of immigrants for 2020 was 20,000, a 33% increase over the figures as of October that year.

If aliyah continues at the same rate for the last three months of 2021 as 2020, the final number of immigrants for this year will likely be between 26,000 and 27,000.

That would be approximately a 22% decrease over the 2019 figures. Aliyah that year was, however, especially high, the highest in a decade.

According to the data, the largest source of aliyah this year has been Russia, with 5,075 immigrants arriving (which marks a 5% decrease from last year), and the US, with 3,104 (who made aliyah with the help of Nefesh B’Nefesh), up 41% from the first nine months of 2020.

Meanwhile, 2,819 immigrants have come from France (a 55% increase), 2,123 from Ukraine (4% increase), 780 from Belarus (69% increase), 633 from Argentina (46% increase), 490 from the United Kingdom (20% increase), 438 from Brazil (4% increase), and 373 from South Africa (56% increase).

Finally, 1,589 have come from Ethiopia, compared with 285 immigrants the previous year thanks to Operation Zur Israel, led by the Jewish Agency and the Aliyah and Integration Ministry, which helped immigrants reunite with their families after decades of being apart.

Jerusalem is now home to 2,184 of this year’s new immigrants, with 2,122 moving to Tel Aviv, 2,031 to Netanya, 1,410 to Haifa, and 744 to Ashdod. Meanwhile, Ra’anana, Beit Shemesh, Nahariya, Beersheba and Bat Yam have all absorbed more than 600 immigrants this year. (JPost / VFI News)

“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” - Hebrews 13:2

Three Israeli Hospitals Make Newsweek’s List of Top Cardiology Centers

Three Israeli hospitals were featured in a new list of the world’s top cardiology centers published by Newsweek.

Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer ranked No. 44 out of the top 50, and Hadassah University Medical Center and Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center were in the 51-200 list, which was sorted alphabetically.

“In our nine decades, Newsweek has covered all aspects of health care — scientific challenges, economic disruption, the occasional medical miracle and most of all, what these developments mean for our readers,” the magazine’s global editor-in-chief, Nancy Cooper, wrote in an introduction. “As part of that commitment, we’ve partnered with Statista Inc., the global market research and consumer data firm, to rank the world’s best hospitals.”

This latest ranking includes the best hospitals for cardiology, oncology, endocrinology, neurology, gastroenterology and orthopedics.

Hadassah's Sharett Institute of Oncology made the list of top oncology centers. No other Israeli hospitals made it on the other lists.

"The choice of the Cardiology Department at Hadassah is gratifying and reflects extensive activity in all areas of cardiology, from innovative treatments through groundbreaking research to the training of the next generation of cardiologists from Israel and around the world,” said Ofer Amir, Head of Hadassah’s Heart Institute. (JPost / VFI News)

“God, we thank You for the brilliant minds of Your children, and ask You to bless them in their work.”

Israeli-American Economist Joshua Angrist Wins 2021 Nobel Prize in Economics

Israeli-American economist Joshua Angrist was awarded the 2021 Nobel economics prize alongside David Card and Guido Imbens on Monday, October 11, for pioneering the use of “natural experiments” to understand the causal effects of economic policy and other events.

Natural experiments use real-life situations to work out impacts on the world, an approach that has spread to other fields and revolutionized empirical research.

The prize, formally known as the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, is the last of this year’s crop of Nobels and sees the winners share a sum of 10 million Swedish crowns ($1.14 million).

Canadian-born Card, 65 and a professor of economics at the University of Berkeley, California, took half the prize “for his empirical contributions to labor economics,” the academy said. Angrist and Imbens, the latter of whom is 58 and a professor of economics at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, shared the other half “for their methodological contributions to the analysis of causal relationships.”

“I was just absolutely stunned to get a telephone call, then I was just absolutely thrilled to hear the news,” Imbens said on a call with reporters in Stockholm.

The Nobel Institute said in a statement that the three laureates had provided us with new insights about the labor market and shown what conclusions about cause and effect can be drawn from natural experiments. (JPost / VFI News)

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

Massive Ancient Wine Factory Unearthed in Israel

Yavne was a world wine powerhouse about 1,500 years ago: a huge and well-designed industrial estate from the Byzantine period, with a very impressive wine production complex - the largest known in the world from this period, has been excavated in the city over the past two years.

This huge excavation has been conducted by the Israel Antiquities Authority as part of the Israel Land Authority's initiative to expand the city. The plant includes five magnificent wine presses, warehouses for aging and marketing the wine, kilns for firing the clay amphorae in which the wine was stored, tens of thousands of fragments and intact earthen amphorae (jars), well planned access between the facilities, and more.

Drinking wine was very common in ancient times, for children and adults alike. Since the water was not always sterile and or even tasty, wine was also used as a kind of "concentrate" to improve the taste, or as a substitute for drinking water.

Each of the exposed winepresses covered an area of about 225 square metres. Around the treading floor, where the grapes were crushed barefoot to extract the liquid, compartments were built for fermenting the wine, and next to them - two huge octagonal shaped vats for collecting the wine.

Between the winepresses, four large warehouses were discovered, which formed the winery of the factory. The wine is aged in elongated amphorae, known as 'Gaza jars'.

The jars themselves, some of which were discovered complete, together with hundreds of thousands of their fragments, were made at the site in large kilns. (INN / VFI News)

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