Election Outcomes Critical to Israel
RISHI SUNAK BECOMES UK’S NEXT PM AS LAST RIVAL DROPS OUT OF LEADERSHIP RACE: Former Treasury Chief Rishi Sunak won the race to be leader of the Conservative Party on Monday, October 24, and became Britain’s next prime minister — the third this year.
The former Treasury Chief will be Britain’s first leader of color and faces the task of stabilizing the party and country at a time of economic and political turbulence. His only rival, Penny Mordaunt, conceded and withdrew. As leader of the governing party, he will take over as prime minister from Liz Truss, who quit last week after 45 tumultuous days in office. Sunak had been the strong favorite as the governing Conservative Party sought stability at a time of immense economic challenges and after months of chaos that consumed the past two leaders. Sunak’s position strengthened after former leader Boris Johnson dropped out of the Conservative Party leadership contest. (TOI / VFI News)
‘VOTE OR DON’T VOTE, IT’S THE SAME’: ARAB ISRAELIS DESPONDENT AHEAD OF 5TH ELECTIONS: In the Arab Israeli town of Rahat, a few trampled political party flyers on the pavement are the only sign that the country is about to go to the polls.
While the campaign ahead of Israel’s fifth election in four years has been somewhat lackluster nationwide, the apathy is especially acute among the Arab minority where turnout is feared to be low. “The top issue is how do we get Arab citizens from their house to the ballot box,” said Fayez Abu Souhaiban, mayor of Rahat, ahead of the November 1 polls. “This is a big issue and a very big dilemma.” The town sits in the southern Negev desert region, far from Israel’s centers of power and home to the majority of Israel’s Bedouins, who are part of the wider Arab community. In Rahat’s central market, many traders and shoppers told AFP they had no idea whom to vote for, and were unable to name any candidates or parties. In part, the disinterest is the result of dashed hopes for Arab Israelis, who make up about 20 percent of the country’s population and have long complained of discrimination despite recent political gains. (TOI / VFI News)
LEBANESE GOVERNMENT FAILS TO ELECT A PRESIDENT IN FOURTH ATTEMPT: The Lebanese government failed to elect a president in a fourth attempt at voting on Monday, October 24, just a week before current President Michel Aoun’s term ends.
Michel Moawad, an independent Lebanese politician opposed to Hezbollah, received 39 votes, 50 MPs voted with a blank slip, 10 MPS voted for Issam Khalifa (a professor specializing on Lebanon’s maritime borders) and 13 MPs submitted ballots reading “New Lebanon.” In the last attempted vote, 55 MPs cast blank ballots, while Moawad received 42 votes. House Speaker, Nabih Berri, scheduled a new session to elect a president for October 27, just four days before Aoun’s term ends. “There is a dominant authority working to blackmail MPs and the Lebanese to maintain its quotas by disrupting sessions,” said Moawad after the vote on Monday. “Treason parties are held between the presidential election sessions, and I tell Hezbollah that it is not possible to continue and accept the logic of treason and coercion,” added Moawad. “There is no consensual candidate in the balance of power today unless he submits his credentials to Hezbollah and ‘the movement’ and the alternative solution is to gather the opposition and secure 65 votes to change the balance of power.” (JPost / VFI News)
ISRAELI OFFICIALS CLAIM TO HAVE DESTROYED 90% OF IRAN’S MILITARY OPERATIONS IN SYRIA: The Israeli military has destroyed about 90% of Iran’s military infrastructure and attempts to entrench itself – with Hezbollah – in Syria, top officials in the defense establishment claimed over the weekend.
According to the officials, Israel has in recent years succeeded in almost completely curbing Iran’s ability to transfer weapons to Syria, to manufacture weapons on the country’s soil, and to establish a base in it with pro-Iranian forces. According to the sources, the plan of the former commander of the Iranian Quds Force, Qassem Soleimani, who was killed by the Americans in 2020, has failed due to the IDF’s continued air campaign against the forces in Syria. The last alleged attack attributed to Israel in Syria was Friday, October 21, when local media reported that the IDF attacked near the airport in Damascus after about a month of relative silence. The security officials emphasized that the IDF severely damaged Iran’s smuggling routes from the sea, from the air and even from the land from Iran to Syria. (JPost / VFI News)
IRAN ARRESTS 10 FOR KIDNAPPING, INTERROGATING SECURITY FORCES FOR ISRAEL: Ten individuals suspected of working with the Mossad in Iran’s West Azerbaijan Province were indicted on Monday, October 24, Iranian media reported.
The individuals were focused on identifying Iranian intelligence forces who worked against Israel in West Azerbaijan and Tehran provinces in northern Iran and the Hormozgan Province in southern Iran, according to Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The report claimed that the 10 suspects were in direct contact with several Mossad officers and had kidnapped, threatened and beaten Iranian forces in an attempt to extract information. Four of the suspects were charged with “corruption on earth,” a charge usually issued against political dissenters, those accused of damaging Iranian national security, and members of the LGBTQ+ community. Earlier this year, Iranian media had reported that two IRGC officials had been kidnapped and interrogated by the Mossad on Iranian territory. Yadollah Khedmati and Mansour Rasouli were said to have been kidnapped by the Mossad and interrogated. Rasouli reportedly admitted to planning to assassinate an Israeli diplomat in Turkey, a journalist in France and a US general in Germany. Khedmati reportedly admitted his role in transferring weapons to Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen as part of the IRGC’s logistics wing. It was unclear whether Iranian authorities were referring to these cases in the indictment published on Monday. (JPost / VFI News)
CITING COMMON THREAT FROM IRAN, LAPID PLEDGES CYBERDEFENSE HELP TO ALBANIA: Prime Minister Yair Lapid on Sunday, October 23, offered aid to his Albanian counterpart, Edi Rama, who is in Israel to seek protection from Iranian cyberattacks, according to an Israeli readout of a meeting between the two men.
Tirana cut diplomatic ties with the Islamic Republic in September after a series of cyberattacks it attributes to Iran. “Iran represents a joint threat for Israel and Albania,” said Lapid at the meeting, which took place in the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem. “We saw this in the recent Iranian cyberattacks against Albania. Israel will assist in any way in the effort against Iran. We see this as a national interest and a historical responsibility.” After the visit, the next stage will be for the professional echelons in both countries to hold online discussions about cybersecurity. The two leaders also discussed expanding tourism and trade, as well as resuming direct flights between the countries. (TOI / VFI News)
IRAN AND VENEZUELA STRENGTHEN DANGEROUS MILITARY, ECONOMIC ALLIANCE IN CHALLENGE TO US: In a move widely lambasted by Republicans, President Biden recently sought to resume Venezuelan oil imports in exchange for a promise of free and fair elections in 2024, a move which critics argue would only strengthen the hand of the Nicolás Maduro dictatorship.
The move comes at a time of closer relations between the two U.S. enemies. Iran and Venezuela, both petroleum-rich OPEC members with international pariah status, have recently found solidarity in coordinated geopolitical, economic and military maneuvers against shared common enemy the United States, which has subjected them to a regimen of economic sanctions for years. Former diplomat and current Venezuelan political dissident Isaias Medina views the alliance as a clear and present threat to the United States: “In my opinion, the countries of the Axis of Evil are increasing their presence on Venezuelan territory to strengthen their state policy of pursuing de facto control of a government that is based on asymmetric warfare against the West…this is where the interests of Venezuela-Iran -China-Russia-Cuba align.” Medina quit his position with the Venezuelan mission to the UN where he served in a senior position over Maduro’s policies. Geopolitical analysts have noted that the Maduro regime is now pursuing a policy which offers economic and territorial control to rogue states in exchange for access to its vast resources, including petroleum, gold and potentially even uranium. (FN / VFI News)
IDF FOILS ATTEMPT TO SMUGGLE HANDGUNS, 35 KILOS OF DRUGS INTO ISRAEL FROM LEBANON: Israeli troops foiled an attempt to smuggle firearms and drugs worth hundreds of thousands of shekels into Israel from Lebanon on Sunday night, October 23, the military said.
According to the Israel Defense Forces, soldiers monitoring an area near the town of Ghajar spotted a suspect smuggling a large bag into the country, and dispatched troops to the scene. The soldiers launched flares over the area and located the man, who was found to be carrying two handguns and 30 kilograms of an unnamed drug, with an estimated street value of 800,000 NIS ($225,000). The arrested man, the handguns, and the drugs were handed over to police, the IDF said. In an image published by the army, some of the drug packages bore a logo — the Lexus luxury division of Japanese car manufacturer Toyota — previously used in packages of captagon pills. Captagon is an amphetamine-type stimulant manufactured mostly in Lebanon and Syria. Much of it has been bound for illegal recreational use in Saudi Arabia. Captagon pills have previously been seized en route to the Gaza Strip. Israeli officials have previously called it the “Islamic State drug,” as it was supposedly used by jihadists to prevent fear and fatigue during fighting in Syria and Iraq. (TOI / VFI News)
The suggestions, opinions and scripture references made by JNN writers and editors are based on the best information received.
Blessings from Jerusalem,
Barry Segal with the Editorial Staff