Hamas Preps for Confrontation in 2023?
HAMAS PREPARING FOR MILITARY CONFRONTATION WITH ISRAEL IN 2023: A Lebanese newspaper, which is affiliated with Hezbollah, reported on Monday, January 16, that the Palestinian Arab organizations in the Gaza Strip recently held a series of meetings in which they discussed the challenges posed by the “fascist and racist government in Israel” and how to deal with it.
A Palestinian Arab source quoted by the newspaper said that at these meetings, assessments were presented which claim that “the Netanyahu government will lead to an explosion which means an almost certain confrontation in several arenas, including the Gaza Strip.” The report also said that, based on these assessments, the terrorist organizations decided to prepare for one or more rounds of conflict this year, as they are of the same opinion regarding the need to “prevent Israel from violating the existing situation in Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque or from taking dramatic measures in regards to prisoners, the situation of the Palestinians or annexation of Judea and Samaria.” The Palestinian Arab source quoted in the report said, “The resistance organizations believe that avoiding a reaction to the enemy’s escalating measures” will encourage Israel to continue its attempts to establish facts on the ground. (INN / VFI News)
UN ENVOY THANKS HEZBOLLAH TERROR GROUP, DRAWS REBUKE FROM ISRAELI OFFICIALS: ‘IS THIS REAL?’: A United Nations official on Monday, January 16, thanked a representative of Hezbollah for giving her a “tour d’horizon” of Lebanese issues, drawing a rebuke from Israeli officials.
Joanna Wronecka, the U.N.’s special coordinator for Lebanon, tweeted her thanks to Ammar Moussawi, head of international relations for Hezbollah, which is designated as a terrorist organization by the State Department. “I thank Mr. Ammar Moussawi of Hizbullah (sic) for a tour d’horizon on issues of priority for #Lebanon, including the election of a new President, the functioning of state institutions and the impact of regional and international developments on the country,” Wronecka wrote. Several Israeli officials criticized the tweet. “Is this real..??,” wrote Joshua Zarka, head of strategic affairs in Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “An official Senior UN Representative thanks the terrorist organization responsible for the murder of a UN peacekeeper for ‘a tour d’horizon’!!!” “So how does it feel to be indoctrinated by a terrorist? Care to share with us?” asked Yaki Lopez, head of public diplomacy at Israel’s embassy in Berlin. (FN / VFI News)
US QUIETLY SHIPPING AMMO TO UKRAINE FROM MASSIVE STOCKPILE IN ISRAEL — REPORT: The US military is quietly shipping hundreds of thousands of artillery shells to Ukraine from a massive stockpile in Israel, according to a Tuesday report, January 17.
The ammunition supply is located in Israel for the US military to use in regional conflicts. The US has also given Israel permission to use some of the supplies in emergency situations, American media reported, citing American and Israeli officials. The previous government approved of the move, as Israel attempted to chart a course between maintaining ties with the US and Ukraine, and not antagonizing Russia. US officials first brought up the possibility of supplying Ukraine from the stockpile in Israel last year, sparking concerns in Jerusalem about how Russia would react, the report said. Eventually, the US and Israel agreed to ship around 300,000 shells to Ukraine, according to Israeli and US officials. Israeli officials told Israeli media that Jerusalem had not altered its position against giving Ukraine lethal weapons, but was agreeing to the US using its own supplies. Israel has provided large amounts of humanitarian aid to Ukraine, as well as other types of assistance, and the new government under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said it intends to keep those supplies flowing. (TOI / VFI News)
BORN A DECADE BEFORE WW1: WORLD’S OLDEST PERSON DIES AT 118: The world’s oldest known person, French nun Lucile Randon, has died at the age of 118, a spokesman told French media on Tuesday, January 17.
Randon, known as Sister Andre, a name she took when she joined a Catholic charitable order in 1944, had survived COVID-19 last year. She was born in southern France on February 11, 1904, when World War I was still a decade away. Randon was the world’s oldest living person according to the Gerontology Research Group’s (GRG) World Supercentenarian Rankings List. She died in her sleep at her nursing home in Toulon, spokesman David Tavella said. “There is great sadness but… it was her desire to join her beloved brother. For her, it’s a liberation,” Tavella, of the Sainte-Catherine-Laboure nursing home said. Randon’s days in the nursing home were punctuated by prayer, mealtimes and visits from residents and hospice workers, according to the report. (INN / VFI News)
MAN WEARING A ‘JESUS SAVES’ T-SHIRT IS ORDERED BY SECURITY GUARD TO TAKE IT OFF OR LEAVE: A man wearing a ‘Jesus Saves’ T-shirt was ordered to remove the clothing, or leave at the Mall of America last weekend, in a video that has gone viral on social media.
A security guard at the nation’s most famous shopping center in Minnesota can be heard telling the man: ‘If you want to shop here you need to take off that shirt.’ Another clip shows the same guard saying: ‘Jesus is associated with religion and it is offending people. People have been offended.’ The video which was recorded on January 7 has prompted outrage online with one group organizing a protest at the Mall where they intend to wear their own ‘Jesus Saves’ shirts. The man can be heard saying: ‘I didn’t say anything though. I didn’t speak. I didn’t say anything. I just went to Macy’s.’ The guard replies: ‘Again, I’m giving you a couple options. You can take the shirt off and you can go to Macy’s and you can do your shopping. Or you can leave the mall, OK? Those are your only options right now.’ The officer later claims the man was engaging in ‘religious soliciting,’ which the Mall forbids. However, the man insists throughout the video that he was not attempting to preach but was simply wearing the shirt while shopping. A spokesman for Mall of America told British media that the man was allowed to remain in the Mall following the interaction, while still wearing his shirt. This is despite the fact guards can clearly be heard threatening to kick him out. (DM / VFI News)
CHRISTIE’S AUCTION HOUSE HONORS 25 YEARS OF NAZI-CONFISCATED ART RESTITUTION EFFORTS: Leading auction house Christie’s Restitution Department recently revealed plans to host a year-long series of programs honoring 25 years of the Washington Principles, an international agreement that progressed the restitution of Nazi-confiscated art.
In December 1998, representatives from over 40 countries and several non-governmental organizations met in Washington, DC for the Washington Conference on Holocaust-Era Assets. To address the widespread theft and seizure of art by the Nazis from 1933-1945, the conference formulated 11 Washington Principles on Nazi-Confiscated Art that established new international guidelines for locating, researching, and recovering stolen art. “When we discover a loss, a malign change of ownership, or a forced sale that was not addressed and remedied after World War II, the Washington Principles gives parties the framework to address these issues, even many decades after they occurred,” Christie’s Global Head of Restitution Richard Aronowitz said in a press release. Perhaps the most well-publicized example of restitution under the Washington Principles came in 2006 when five Gustav Klimt paintings were returned to the heirs of the Bloch-Bauer family. A more recent example of Christie’s restitution efforts, is the recovery and sale of the Kainer collection, specifically Edgar Degas’s “Danseuse” in 2009, and Pissarro’s “The Anse des Pilotes, Le Havre” in 2022. (JPost / VFI News)
NEW CULTURE MINISTER: FILMS ‘OFFENSIVE’ TO ISRAEL WILL NOT RECEIVE FUNDS: Culture and Sports Minister Miki Zohar has said Israeli filmmakers who seek state funding for their work will need to sign a pledge that their productions are not “offensive” to the country or its armed forces.
Speaking to Israeli media Monday, January 16, Zohar said that organizations that want to boycott Israel often point to locally produced works critical of the government and its policies toward Palestinians, as proof that their claims of Israeli abuse are justified. Therefore, he said, the Israel Film Council will require filmmakers seeking government grants to sign a clause that they won’t produce anti-Israeli content, though he did not give specifics on what exactly the criteria for this would be. “In the end, the public will decide whether they come to see a film or not, but we will not compromise on the financing issue. We will not fund offensive content against IDF soldiers and the State of Israel.” “You have to remember, you are allowed to make any movie you want within the law, of course,” he said. “We are in a democracy. But the state does not have to finance such controversial content because it violates very fundamental things.” (TOI / VFI News)
RISE IN HOUSING PRICES SLOWS BUT STILL UP ALMOST 19% FROM 2021: The persistent rise in housing prices over the course of 2022 slowed in November, but home costs were still up close to 19% compared to the same period in 2021, according to new figures released Sunday, January 15, by the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS).
The newest housing report showed that housing prices rose by 18.8% on average in October-November 2022 compared to October-November 2021, and by a moderate 0.3% from September-October 2022. This marked a slight drop from the previous monthly CBS report, which indicated that housing prices rose by a record 20.3% in September-October 2022, compared with the corresponding period in 2021. It was the largest year-on-year increase since May-June 2010, with a 20.4% rise on May-June 2009, according to CBS figures. In October-November 2022, the highest price rises were seen in northern Israel, where prices were up 21.7%, followed by central Israel where housing prices increased by 21% on average from October-November 2021. Prices in southern Israel rose by just over 13% in the same period, according to the report. Jerusalem and Tel Aviv housing prices increased by 15.9% and 18%, respectively. Overall, prices for new housing — dwellings not sold in the second-hand market or through subsidized housing programs — were up 22.4% in October-November 2022. (TOI / VFI News)
The suggestions, opinions and scripture references made by VFI writers and editors are based on the best information received.
Blessings from Jerusalem,
Barry Segal with the Editorial Staff