Netanyahu: Time for US, Israel to Agree
NETANYAHU TO AIPAC: TIME FOR US AND ISRAEL TO ‘CLOSE RANKS’ ON IRAN: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday, January 9, that it was time for Israel and the US to align their positions regarding the threat emanating from Iran, after years of disconnect on the issue.
“It’s time to close ranks between Israel and the United States – and others,” Netanyahu said in a video address to a gathering of AIPAC members in Washington. The returning premier said the ongoing protests in Iran and the government’s crackdown on demonstrators shows “that this is a terrible, repressive, terrorist regime.” “I look forward to discussing this issue with President Biden and his team. I think there is more of a meeting of the minds today than there has ever been,” Netanyahu added. The Biden administration has indeed said in recent months that it is no longer focused on reviving the Iran nuclear deal, given Tehran’s radicalized positions on the matter, its cooperation with Russia in the latter’s invasion of Ukraine, and its crackdown on protesters at home. White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters Monday that “our priority right now is not the JCPOA,” and noted the numerous sanctions that the Biden administration announced against Iran over the past year. However, he clarified that the US still believes that “ultimately, diplomacy is the best way” to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon — a line Jerusalem is less fond of, as it does not include its demand for a “credible military threat.” (TOI / VFI News)
NETANYAHU WARNS IRAN, HEZBOLLAH OF ‘RED LINES’ AHEAD OF WAR GAMES ON LEBANON BORDER: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday, January 10, warned Iran and its Lebanese proxy Hezbollah of Israel’s “red lines” on the buildup of militant forces or weapons to its north, as the Israel Defense Forces prepared to hold an artillery drill on a contested hill on the border with Lebanon and Syria.
Netanyahu toured the military’s Northern Command headquarters in the city of Safed along with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant Tuesday, striking a defiant tone, despite the relatively quiet period on the border. “The main enemy we are facing is the terror regime in Iran and its satellites in Syria and Lebanon,” Netanyahu said in remarks provided by his office. “We are determined to fight Iran’s attempts to develop a nuclear arsenal. We are determined to fight any attempt by Iran to entrench itself on our northern military frontier in Syria. We are determined to fight all attempts by Hezbollah to show aggression against us from Lebanon,” Netanyahu said. The premier, back in power after a year in the opposition, threatened that Israel would jog the memories of enemies as to what its policies are. Under the Naftali Bennett-Yair Lapid government, Israel largely stuck to the strategy of carrying out airstrikes in Syria to thwart Iranian attempts to gain a foothold in the country. (TOI / VFI News)
DIRTY BOMB FEARS AS ‘SEVERAL KILOS OF URANIUM’ ARE FOUND IN CARGO AT HEATHROW: A major counter-terrorism investigation has been launched after several kilograms of uranium were seized at Heathrow airport.
The deadly nuclear material – which could potentially be used in a ‘dirty bomb’ – arrived on a flight from Oman, in the Middle East, on December 29. The shipment was addressed to an Iranian-linked firm in the UK, it is understood. Sources said the uranium was ‘not weapons-grade’ – and so could not be used to manufacture a thermo-nuclear weapon. But the security services are understood to be investigating whether the undeclared package could have been destined for an improvised nuclear device, known as a ‘dirty bomb.’ Such a device – which has long been a nightmare scenario for counter-terror experts – combines conventional explosives with nuclear material to disperse a lethal radioactive plume. The package originated in Pakistan before arriving at Heathrow’s Terminal Four aboard an Oman Air passenger jet from Muscat, sources told a British media outlet. Separately, another source informed the outlet that there is an overwhelming concern over what the Iranians living here wanted with non-disclosed nuclear material’. (DM / VFI News)
US NAVY INTERCEPTS OVER 2,000 ASSAULT RIFLES HEADED FROM IRAN TO YEMEN: The US Navy intercepted over 2,000 assault rifles being carried on a fishing vessel from Iran to Yemen on January 6, the US 5th Fleet announced on Tuesday, January 10.
A US Navy team from the USS Chinook patrol coastal ship discovered and seized the weapons with support from the USS Monsoon, and guided-missile destroyer USS The Sullivans. The vessel was sailing on a route historically used to traffic illicit cargo to the Houthi terrorist group in Yemen, and was crewed by six Yemeni nationals. The direct or indirect supply of weapons to the Houthis violates UN Security Council Resolution 2216 and international law. “This shipment is part of a continued pattern of destabilizing activity from Iran,” said Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, commander of US Naval Forces Central Command, US 5th Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces. “These threats have our attention. We remain vigilant in detecting any maritime activity that impedes freedom of navigation or compromises regional security.” Two other fishing vessels smuggling weapons and materials for weapons to the Houthis from Iran were intercepted by the US 5th Fleet in the Gulf of Oman in the past two months. (JPost / VFI News)
IRAN CLAIMS IT ARRESTED SIX MOSSAD TEAMS AMID PROTESTS: Iran’s Intelligence Ministry claimed Tuesday, January 10, that Iranian authorities have arrested six teams working for the Mossad in the country.
In total, 23 alleged operatives were identified by Iranian authorities in the Tehran, Isfahan, Yazd, West Azarbaijan and Golestan provinces, and 13 individuals who were in the country have been arrested. According to the ministry, the network of teams is headed by a person using the pseudonym “Cyrus,” who resides in a European country and contacts Iranians through Instagram and WhatsApp. The ministry claimed that the Mossad was trying to “take advantage” of the protests sweeping Iran to assassinate a military official, and carry out several “sabotage operations” in major cities. The network also allegedly tried to transport large-scale explosives from Iran’s southern coast. The alleged arrests were first reported by Iran’s Intelligence Ministry in late December, when the ministry claimed that four teams had been discovered. (JPost / VFI News)
ANTI-SEMITIC INCIDENTS IN NYC MORE THAN DOUBLED OVER THE LAST 2 YEARS: There were over 250 anti- Semitic hate crimes reported to authorities in New York City last year, marking a steep rise in incidents targeting Jews over the past two years, according to police data.
Figures for all of 2022 were tallied by collating monthly New York Police Department reports on hate crimes in the city. The police department released figures for December on Thursday, showing 11 anti-Semitic incidents last month, a relatively low amount. Throughout 2022, however, the data shows that there were 263 hate crimes reported, an average of one anti-Semitic incident in the city every 33 hours. The tally underlines a sharp increase in anti-Jewish incidents that mirrors nationwide trends, more than doubling the 121 anti-Semitic crimes reported in 2020 and rocketing past the 196 incidents reported in 2021. According to the police’s hate crimes dashboard, which includes annual data for 2022 through September, Jews were targeted last year far more than any other group. The incidents in the past year range from violent assault to verbal harassment, property damage, and anti-Semitic graffiti. Jewish security groups have said that many attacks likely go unreported, though observers note that some of the increase in anti-Semitic crimes is due to different and improved reporting methods. (TOI / VFI News)
ISRAEL AMONG TOP 10 COUNTRIES WITH LONGEST LIFE EXPECTANCIES: Israel has the 10th highest life expectancy in the world, according to research conducted by NiceRx, which claims Israelis have a life expectancy of 83.49 years: 81.98 years for men, and 84.91 years for women.
Taking the number one spot on the list is Hong Kong followed by Japan, Switzerland, Singapore, Italy, Spain, Australia, Iceland, and South Korea. The list is comprised of OECD countries. Hong Kong, which headed the list with a life expectancy of 85.29 years (82.38 years for men and 88.17 years for women), has seen its life expectancy rise to such a degree, largely, due to beneficial lifestyles and healthcare opportunities that mitigate risks from diseases and chronic conditions. Although life expectancy in OECD has ceased its dramatic growth and fluctuates slightly from year to year, Israel’s life expectancy has maintained a slow growth. There are numerous reasons why Israel does well in relation to other countries. According to an OECD report last year, Israelis, among other things, drink less alcohol and commit suicide less frequently than people in other OECD countries. Additionally, a 2016 study published by The Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel showed that countries with mandatory military service, such as Israel, enjoy significantly higher life expectancies. Meanwhile, according to the research by NiceRx, Israel ranked 27 of 39 on the list of countries with respect to healthcare expenditure per capita. In this respect, Israelis spend an average of $3,057. (JPost / 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