USA Backs Israel's Middle East Railway Initiative

Nov 8, 2018

“The meek will inherit the land and enjoy peace and prosperity.” Ps. 37:11

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USA BACKS ISRAEL’S MIDDLE EAST RAILWAY INITIATIVE: Jason Greenblatt, the USA Special Representative for International Negotiations, on Monday 5 Nov. 2018 expressed support for PM Binyamin Netanyahu and Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz’s “Railroads for Peace” initiative. Minister Katz said, "This is a dramatic development that is likely to affect many countries in the region, and it follows many contacts on the matter, which I led with the backing of the prime minister vis-à-vis the American administration and Arab elements in the region. The invitation of the government of Oman and the visit are part of a comprehensive move to promote the initiative and strengthen the ties with the pragmatic states in the region," he added. Katz’s visit to Oman follows Netanyahu's surprise visit to the Gulf sultanate several weeks ago, in what marked the first time since 1996 that an Israeli prime minister has visited the country. Greenblatt has been heading the USA efforts to resume peace talks between Israel and the PA. The PA, however, has rejected USA attempts to restart peace talks with Israel and has been boycotting the USA ever since Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital last Dec. (Arutz-7)

OCTOBER 2018 WAS BEST EVER MONTH FOR ISRAEL’S TOURISM INDUSTRY: October proved to be the best month for Israeli tourism, thanks to almost 500,000 tourists injecting $676.3 million into the economy. “The month of October breaks a historic record with an astonishingly unprecedented figure of almost half a million tourists who arrived in Israel in one month,” said Minister of Tourism Yariv Levin. “Incoming tourism contributes significantly to both Israel’s economy and, no less importantly, to its image,” added Levin. “I am convinced that we will continue to see the sharp rise in the number of tourists arriving in Israel, and we will end the year with another record.” Levin said also that a direct correlation can be identified between countries from which tourism increased and where the Tourism Ministry invested most in marketing over the past two years. In a year on year comparison, 65% more Hungarians visited Israel in October, 50% more Italians, 40% more Poles and Dutch as well as Romanians. The Tourism Ministry spent an average of 47% more on marketing in these countries. (J.Post)

UK LABOUR PARTY BRANCH VOTES DOWN MOTION CONDEMNING PITTSBURGH SYNAGOGUE ATTACK: A draft motion condemning the murder of 11 Jews at a Pittsburgh synagogue was voted down in a branch of Britain’s Labour Party in the country’s north. Steve Cooke, secretary of the Norton West branch in the Stockton North constituency of about 67,000 people near Scotland, submitted the motion for a vote following the 27 October 2018 shooting attack. When put to a vote, only two members backed the proposal and it was voted down, media sources reported on 3 Nov. 2018. Cooke wrote on Facebook that he was “aghast” that the motion was voted down and that members claimed there was too much focus on “anti-Semitism this, anti-Semitism that.” His draft motion said that the murders “demonstrate the dangers posed by the growth in anti-Semitic sentiments and hate speech internationally.” It spoke of a need to “stand in solidarity with the Jewish community around the world and send our condolences to all those affected by the tragic events in Pittsburgh.” Critics of the text at the Labour branch had said it should have condemned all racism instead of calling out anti-Semitism specifically, Cooke said. Labour is facing a criminal investigation initiated days ago by police in the London area over alleged anti-Semitic hate speech by members online. The Board of Deputies of British Jews has long maintained that Labour under party leader Jeremy Corbyn -who has called Hamas and Hezbollah his friends - has an anti-Semitism problem that the party is not doing enough to address. (Times of Israel)

‘BRITISH JEWS LIVE IN FEAR’: At the annual European Jewish Association conference, held this week in Brussels, politicians, lay leaders and Jewish communal figures gathered from all across Europe to address the current concerns of European Jewry. Prominent among discussion topics was the rise of anti-Semitism in the UK as embodied by the ascension of Jeremy Corbyn as head of the Labor party and potentially next PM of the UK. "I think it’s one of the most incredible developments in my career as a journalist," remarked David Maddox, Political Editor at The Sunday Express (UK). "I never thought I would see a mainstream party effectively be an anti-Semitic party" said Matthew James Offord MP. Gideon Falter, Chairman of the UK Campaign against Anti-Semitism, maintained that British Jews are very concerned about their future. "We don't see anything that Jeremy Corbyn can do, it is too far now. He is an anti-Semite. You can't ask an anti-Semite to clear out anti-Semitism from his political party." (Arutz-7) Pray for the UK Jewish community that they will be protected from growing tide of anti-Semitism in their land and government. Pray that many Jews will make the decision to make their homes in Israel. “Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.” Ps. 37:3

SYNAGOGUE SHOOTER CONTACTED UK NEO-NAZIS: The gunman responsible for the recent massacre inside a Pittsburgh synagogue was in contact with British neo-Nazis prior to the attack, UK media outlets reported Mon. 5 Nov. 2018. Robert Bowers, a 46-year-old resident of Baldwin, Pennsylvania, reportedly was in contact with fringe elements in Britain, raising concerns the 27 Oct. 2018 massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue could inspire copy-cat attacks in the UK. Bowers, whose social media accounts were filled with anti-Semitic and white supremacist comments, entered the Tree of Life synagogue during a circumcision ceremony and opened fire with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle and three handguns. Seven congregants and four guests were killed in the shooting. Two others were wounded inside the synagogue, before police arrived at the scene. In the ensuing gunfight, four more officers were wounded, before Bowers was shot and surrendered himself to authorities. According to security sources, Bowers had been in touch with white supremacists in Britain who shared his belief in anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. One security source said there was concern that British white supremacists would follow Bowers’ example and attack Jewish targets in the UK, including synagogues. (Algemeiner)

EGYPT CONSIDERS BANNING THE BURQA AS PART OF ANTI-EXTREMISM CAMPAIGN: Egypt is discussing a new draft law that would prevent women from wearing a burqa in public spaces as part of a government campaign against extremist interpretations of Islam. The burqa, used mainly in Islamic cultures, is the veil that covers a woman’s entire face except for the eyes. Last weekend, Ghada Ajami, a lawmaker, submitted a bill in the Egyptian parliament calling for a fine of 1,000 Egyptian pounds ($56) for women who defy the proposed ban. Ajami stressed that the purpose of the bill is “to support the state’s efforts in fighting terrorism.” The draft states that the burqa would be prohibited in Egyptian public spaces “at any time and under any circumstances.” Public spaces would include hospitals, health clinics, schools, cinemas, theaters, public libraries, museums, and government buildings, among others. Ahmad Sharbini, an Egyptian political analyst, said, “Egypt is going through a period of instability because of radical Islamic groups operating within the country,” adding that the burqa creates a security problem as "many male and female terrorists use it to hide their identities or sneak into places. If passed, this legislation would not infringe on freedoms or go against religions,” Sharbini continued, stressing that public safety and national security are more important than anything. (J.Post)

ECUADOR’S PRESIDENT HIGHLIGHTS JEWISH CONTRIBUTION TO COUNTRY: The President of Ecuador praised his country’s Jewish community on its 80th foundation anniversary. Several Jewish and non-Jewish officials attended the recent ceremony held at the Comunidad Judia de Ecuador synagogue in the capital Quito. President Lenin Moreno highlighted the contribution of Jewish Ecuadorans to the South American society. “Today allow me to feel like a proud heir of several generations of authorities and citizens, who opened the borders and the heart to all the Jewish brothers who chose my homeland to escape the horror and find peace,” Moreno said. Ecuador Jewish community leader Abraham Vigoda added that the country offers “full tolerance.” Israel’s ambassador to Ecuador, Edwin Yabo, read a message from Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin, “We will not forget the humanitarian response of Ecuador,” Rivlin said. He also recalled Ecuadorian consul Manuel Antonio Munoz Borrero, who was declared “righteous among the nations” by Yad Vashem in Jerusalem for saving the lives of some 700 Jews during World War II. Ecuador is home to some 650 Jews. “It is a Jewish community that was never very big but was always important in its contribution in industry, production, cattle-raising, pharmaceuticals and architecture,” said Yabo. (J.Post)

PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY: ‘ISRAEL STOLE OUR SNAKE’: Last Thur. 1 Nov. 2018, Israel’s Society for the Protection of Nature and the Israel Nature and Parks Authority named the Palestine viper as Israel’s national snake. The Palestine viper, or daboia palaestinae, was selected based on an online vote. Found across the Levant, from the northern Negev and western Jordan in the south to northern Lebanon and central Syria in the north, the snake is common throughout most of Israel, and in Hebrew is referred to as the ‘common viper’, or ‘common Land of Israel viper’. The Palestinian Authority protested the move, calling it ‘theft’ and ignoring what they called the viper’s Palestinian heritage. Imad al-Atrash, the Executive Director of the Palestine Wildlife Society, denounced Thursday’s announcement regarding the viper, adding that the struggle over the snake’s national identity was part of the larger battle by the PA to preserve ‘Palestinian identity’. Al-Atrash called on outside organizations to join the struggle to recognize the snake as the ‘Palestine viper’, rather than as the ‘Land of Israel viper’. (INN) “Israel stole our land! Israel stole our snake!” Only in the Middle-East…

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

Barry Segal with the Editorial Staff

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