Friday, March 10, 2017
PUTTING WOMEN IN TANKS, IDF TREADS NEW GROUND.
28 And when these things begin to come to pass,(ALL THE PROPHECY SIGNS FROM THE BIBLE) then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption (RAPTURE) draweth nigh.
29 And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree,(ISRAEL) and all the trees;(ALL INDEPENDENT COUNTRIES)
30 When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand.(ISRAEL LITERALLY BECAME AND INDEPENDENT COUNTRY JUST BEFORE SUMMER IN MAY 14,1948.)
3 A fire devoureth (ATOMIC BOMB) before them;(RUSSIAN-ARAB-MUSLIM ARMIES AGAINST ISRAEL) and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them.
30 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.(ATOMIC BOMB AFFECT)
12 And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet,(DISOLVED FROM ATOMIC BOMB) and their eyes shall consume away in their holes,(DISOLVED FROM ATOMIC BOMB) and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.(DISOLVED FROM ATOMIC BOMB)(BECAUSE NUKES HAVE BEEN USED ON ISRAELS ENEMIES)(GOD PROTECTS ISRAEL AND ALWAYS WILL)
13 And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great tumult from the LORD shall be among them; and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbour, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbour.(1/2-3 BILLION DIE IN WW3)(THIS IS AN ATOMIC BOMB EFFECT)
47 And say to the forest of the south, Hear the word of the LORD; Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will kindle a fire in thee, and it shall devour every green tree in thee, and every dry tree: the flaming flame shall not be quenched, and all faces from the south to the north shall be burned therein.
18 Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the LORD'S wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land.
1 For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven;(FROM ATOMIC BOMBS) and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.
And here are the bounderies of the land that Israel will inherit either through war or peace or God in the future. God says its Israels land and only Israels land. They will have every inch God promised them of this land in the future.
Egypt east of the Nile River, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, The southern part of Turkey and the Western Half of Iraq west of the Euphrates. Gen 13:14-15, Psm 105:9,11, Gen 15:18, Exe 23:31, Num 34:1-12, Josh 1:4.ALL THIS LAND ISRAEL WILL DEFINATELY OWN IN THE FUTURE, ITS ISRAELS NOT ISHMAELS LAND.12 TRIBES INHERIT LAND IN THE FUTURE
OTHER TODAY NEWS
EU DIPLOMATS WARN US OF RUSSIAN THREATS
OTHER RECENT EU NEWS
Putting women in tanks, IDF treads new ground-15 recruits set to begin training for all-female tank crews; will learn on Merkava Mark 3, eventually deploy on Jordan and Egypt borders-By Judah Ari Gross March 9, 2017, 5:01 pm-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL
In the next month, 15 female Israel Defense Forces recruits will begin the process of becoming the first women to serve in the Armored Corps, as part of a pilot program to assess fuller gender integration in the unit, a tank officer said Thursday.The IDF announced in November that it was considering allowing women to serve in the Armored Corps, drawing blowback from former high-ranking officers and religious groups.The 15 soldiers will be picked from a crop of new recruits drafted into mixed-gender combat battalions. They will go through standard basic combat training, before advancing in August to specialty tank training, where they will learn how to operate the Merkava Mark 3 model.In December, they will take positions in the army’s 80th Division, which is responsible for the southern Negev and Arava deserts, and help guard the borders with Egypt and Jordan, the officer said, speaking on condition of anonymity.They will serve in all-female tanks, in order to avoid issues of modesty. Serving on the Egyptian and Jordanian borders, they will be less likely to need to cross into enemy territory.However, all-male and all-female crews would come with their drawbacks, creating two distinct forces.Today, in an emergency, a soldier from one tank crew can be switched with a soldier from another crew; not so if one of the soldiers is from a male crew and the other from a female crew. Such practical issues will also be investigated during the trial program.By March 2018, the pilot program will officially end, and the military will review the results, the tank officer said.“We’re doing a test. After the test, we’ll have answers — if it’s possible or impossible for there to be girls [in the Armored Corps],” he said.A military official told the Haaretz newspaper last month that if the program is successful, female tank operators will likely help guard Israel’s borders, rather than take part in fighting behind enemy lines.Until now, women have been barred from serving in the tank brigades as it was believed that they could not physically handle the rigors of the Armored Corps. Female soldiers have, however, served as tank instructors.The 15 candidates will be monitored throughout the pilot program by nutritionists, doctors and exercise instructors to determine if they can handle the challenges of the position, Ynet reported last week.Since the army’s initial announcement about reconsidering the integration of the tank brigades, the argument over female enlistment has continued to rage. On Tuesday, Channel 2 news broadcast footage of a prominent rabbi saying that army service turns Jewish girls into gentiles. His comment sparked a frenzy of denunciation by politicians, though one religious lawmaker said the rabbi was “brave” for making his remarks.Within the Armored Corps, there has also been some opposition voiced to gender integration.Before the army announced its plans to consider allowing women to serve in the tank brigades, the head of the Armored Corps, Brig. Gen. Guy Hasson, told The Times of Israel he was concerned that such a move would harm the “image” of the unit.“We’re fighters. We’re trying to keep an image as fighters,” he said.“There are still people who look at us and say, there’s infantry and then there’s armored. You’re less ‘fighters.’ You’re less,” he said.-Getting the guys, too-In recent years, the Armored Corps has become one of the least popular units for recruits. In 2016, just 0.7 percent of drafted soldiers requested a spot in the IDF’s tank brigades, Hasson said at the end of last year.In December, a group of 86 recruits who were meant to enlist in the Armored Corps refused to do so and were sent to army prison.Most were later convinced to join the tank brigades, but the incident prompted a need for additional efforts to market the corps, the officer said.“In Golani, you go home with the Tavor [assault rifle]. In Armored, you don’t go home with a tank for the weekend,” he said.The tank brigades have therefore stepped up their efforts to “expose” people to the units.“Yesterday, we had a prospective recruits conference, where we invited them to find out about the corps and we showed them the tanks and let them go in and try them out,” he said.The next draft date for the Armored Corps is on March 19, and with it, another possibility of an embarrassing mass refusal to serve.To combat this, representatives from the unit have been “meeting with people in their homes,” he said, in order to convince them that the Armored Corps offers its soldiers meaningful military service.
NY Jewish Children’s Museum hit with bomb threat-Building evacuated on police instruction after emailed threat, NY mayor says ‘New York City stands united against hate’-By JTA and Times of Israel staff March 9, 2017, 7:08 pm
NEW YORK — The Jewish Children’s Museum in Brooklyn was evacuated after receiving an emailed bomb threat. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio condemned the threat amid increasing anti-Semitism.The museum was evacuated Thursday morning following a call to the police, AM New York reported.Devorah Halberstam, the museum’s director of foundation and government services, told JTA the evacuation was still ongoing as of 11:15 a.m.“It’s a trying time for us as a Jewish people especially, and we need to be aware and we need to take heed, and we need to be careful,” Halberstam said.She added: “I’m referring to all the threats that have been going on both locally and internationally — it’s something that is very frightening. Unfortunately anti-Semitism has been around for the longest time and I guess things don’t change, now it’s done by emails and phone calls. They use technology to hide behind it.”NYPD is investigating the threat at the Jewish Children’s Museum. We take every threat seriously. New York City stands united against hate.— Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) March 9, 2017-De Blasio tweeted that “We take every threat seriously. New York City stands united against hate.”Jewish institutions, including community centers and Anti-Defamation League offices, have been hit with more than 100 bomb threats so far this year, all of them hoaxes. Tuesday and Wednesday saw the sixth wave of threats, with 21 Jewish sites targeted in the United States and Canada.Last week, the New York Police Department said that anti-Semitic incidents were up 94 percent in New York City over this time last year.
At Kremlin, PM says modern Iran threatens the Jews as the ancient Persians did in the Purim era-Netanyahu tells Putin that Iran must not replace IS in Syria-On whirlwind visit to Moscow, PM seeks to counter Tehran’s entrenchment in region, also to discuss ongoing coordination in Syria’s skies-By Raphael Ahren March 9, 2017, 4:00 pm-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday that his talks in Moscow with Russian President Vladimir Putin were focused on keeping Iran from filling the vacuum left by the Islamic State in Syria and combating Iranian-sponsored radical Islamic terrorism.“One of the things that we are fighting against together is radical Islamic terrorism. Of course, there was significant progress last year in the fight against the terrorism of radical Sunni Islam led by the Islamic State and al-Qaeda, and Russia has a very important contribution,” Netanyahu said ahead of his meeting with the Russian president.“It’s obvious that we wouldn’t want this terror to be replaced by radical Islamic Shiite terror led by Iran,” he said.While Russia has played a major role over the last year in Syria combating the Islamic State and the Syrian rebels, Israel is concerned that the Kremlin not allow Iran, Russia’s ally in supporting Syrian strongman Bashar Assad, a permanent foothold in the country.After their meeting, Netanyahu said Putin had “internalized” his warning, telling Israeli reporters that he expressed Israel’s “strong opposition to Iran’s entrenchment Syria.”“Iran is seeking to establish a permanent military presence and Syria, and this is grave for Israel’s security,” Netanyahu said. He did not divulge Putin’s reaction to the demand, saying only that “the message was internalized.”During their discussion, Netanyahu said he also brought up the Golan Heights, telling the Russian leader that Israel will never leave the area. “He already knows this issue,” Netanyahu said, indicating that he has discussed the matter with Putin during their previous meetings.The prime minister further said he asked for Putin’s help in bring back from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip two missing Israeli civilians and the bodies of fallen soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, who died in the 2014 Gaza war. Netanyahu said Putin “promised to do anything in his power to help us with this.”Absent from the discussion, however, was the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and Moscow’s possible interest in Jerusalem as a channel of communication to the White House was also not mentioned, Netanyahu said. “We talked about Israeli interests,” he indicated.Following their talk, at the Kremlin, Netanyahu thanked Putin for his wishes ahead of the Jewish festival of Purim, which starts Saturday night, noting that modern Iran now threatens the Jews as the ancient Persians did then.“Twenty-five hundred years ago in ancient Persia, there was an attempt to wipe out the Jewish nation that was unsuccessful, which is being marked with this holiday,” the prime minister said.“Here today in Persia’s successor, Iran, there is another attempt to wipe out the Jewish state. They say this as clearly as possible. They inscribe it on their ballistic missiles,” he said.Netanyahu said that Iran was a threat not just to Israel, but to the whole region.“Today, Israel is a state with an army and we are able to defend ourselves. But the threat of Shiite Islamic extremism is not just a threat to us, but rather to the entire region and world peace. I know that we share the desire to prevent any victory for radical Islam from any direction,” he said.During the meeting, Putin said he was “very pleased” with his “close and trusting contact” with Netanyahu.“We meet regularly in person, are regularly in contact by telephone, and work together at the ministry and agency level,” he said. “You often come to Russia right on the eve of holidays, and so I want to take the opportunity to congratulate you on the upcoming Purim holiday and wish everyone in Israel happy holidays and prosperity.”Netanyahu is on a whirlwind visit to Moscow for his third meeting with Putin in a year.He was greeted at the airport by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov. On the tarmac, Bogdanov, Moscow’s point man for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, warmly embraced his Israeli guest.Ahead of the visit, Netanyahu’s office said: “The prime minister will express Israel’s strong opposition to the presence of Iranian forces, and those of its proxies, on our northern border and in the Mediterranean Sea in the context of the talks on a settlement of any kind.”“The prime minister also intends to reiterate to President Putin the fact that the [Syrian-held] Golan Heights is not part of the discussion on any outline” of a peace agreement, his office said in a statement.Netanyahu and Putin were also expected to discuss the ongoing military coordination between the two countries to ensure their forces don’t clash over Syria’s skies.Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Arrives in Moscow ahead of his meeting with Russian President Putin. pic.twitter.com/BLS7SG1nHM— PM of Israel (@IsraeliPM) March 9, 2017-A source close to Netanyahu reportedly said Wednesday, hours before he arrived at the Kremlin, that “Moscow allows us to act against Hezbollah in Syrian airspace.”Russian and Israeli authorities denied the report. “There is just no such agreement or coordination,” a senior official in Jerusalem told The Times of Israel.Israeli officials have long accused the Iranian Revolutionary Guards of trying to build an anti-Israel front on the Syrian Golan, alongside Hezbollah forces and local Druze opposed to Israel. Netanyahu has sought Russia’s help in seeking to thwart the attempts of Iran and its terrorist proxy Hezbollah to use Syria as a base from which to attack Israel.Last week, Chagai Tzuriel, the director-general of the Intelligence Ministry, told The Times of Israel that keeping Iran and Hezbollah from getting a foothold on the Golan was at the top of the agenda for Israel’s security apparatus.“Since Russia began intervening in the Syrian war a year ago, Russia became an important actor in Syria itself,” said Eyal Zisser, a Middle East expert from Tel Aviv University. “But of course this intervention has to do with the strategic interest of Israel. Russia became a neighborhood country, so you need to coordinate, you need to establish open channels of communication in order to ensure that no accidents will occur along the border.”Russia partnered with Iran to assure the survival of the Syrian regime, which gives Netanyahu and Putin much to discuss, Zisser said, especially as the civil war appears to be at a turning point. Forces of President Basher Assad have recently recaptured the city of Aleppo from the rebels and it is currently unclear what the Syria-Russia-Iran alliance will attempt to achieve next.“The future of Syria might be dictated by Russians, Turks and Iranians. And Israel probably wants to share with the Russians its ideas and concerns about such a process,” Zisser said.The Golan Heights, which are close to Damascus, pose a particular headache for Israel, he added.“The Syrian regime, with the support of the Iranians and Hezbollah, might want to make a comeback and recaptured those territories which were lost several years ago to the rebels,” Zisser predicted.Forces affiliated with the Islamic State group are making territorial gains on the Golan Heights’ south, which also worries Jerusalem, although they are careful not to engage in a direct confrontation with Israel, he said. “They have other priorities, such as fighting each other and fighting the regime. But IS on the border is not something Israel is happy with.”Netanyahu, who flew to Moscow in a small jet, taking with him no press and a small number of advisers, is expected to return to Israel on Thursday evening, leaving Russia immediately after his meeting with Putin. He is accompanied by Minister Ze’ev Elkin — who also serves as his personal translator — acting national security adviser Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Jacob Nagel, his chief of staff staff Yoav Horowitz, his Military Secretary Brig.-Gen. Eliezer Toledano and the head of the IDF’s intelligence branch Herzl Halevy.
Army to seal off West Bank for Purim-Palestinians will be barred from entering Israel from Friday to Sunday except for special cases, IDF says-By Judah Ari Gross March 9, 2017, 4:52 pm-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL
Israel will close off the West Bank from Friday until Sunday as a preventative measure against attacks during the Jewish festival of Purim, the IDF announced on Thursday.Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman instructed the army to impose the closure from 12:01 a.m. on Friday until 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, the army said.Entering and exiting the West Bank will be forbidden for Palestinians during those three days, with the exception of “humanitarian, medical and exceptional cases,” according to an IDF statement.Those special cases will require the approval of the Defense Ministry’s Coordinator of the Government’s Activities in the Territories.The crossings will not be closed on Monday, when Purim is celebrated in Jerusalem.The closure will affect the tens of thousands of Palestinians who legally work in Israel every day, most of them in construction and maintenance.Within the West Bank, however, Palestinians will be able to enter Jewish settlements to work during the closure, a spokesperson said.Last year the West Bank was also closed for Purim in light of the general security situation.During the festival, which fell on March 24, IDF soldier Elor Azaria shot and killed Abed al-Fattah al-Sharif, minutes after Sharif and another man had carried out a stabbing attack on troops in Hebron, and as Sharif lay on the ground disarmed and bleeding, having been shot during the attack.Azaria was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 18 months in prison, though both the defense and prosecution have appealed the sentence.In 1994 on Purim, Jewish terrorist Baruch Goldstein killed 29 Palestinian worshipers in Hebron’s Tomb of the Patriarchs. The extremist doctor mowed down the Muslim worshipers and wounded 125 others with automatic gunfire. Goldstein was overcome and bludgeoned to death by bystanders.The Jewish holiday of Purim is generally a festive, carnivalesque occasion, celebrated with costumes, parades and street parties in cities around Israel.Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.
Purim readings aim to bridge Israel’s religious-secular gap-Among the 400 non-synagogue locations hosting holiday services are several fire stations in honor of their efforts in recent wild fire wave-By JTA March 9, 2017, 5:16 pm-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL
Purim megillah readings and activities will come to over 400 neutral, non-religious locations throughout Israel this year.The Tzohar Rabbinical Organization, which works to bridge the gap between the religious and secular in Israel, and Ohr Torah Stone’s Yachad, or Together, Program, will hold the Megillah BaKehilla, or Megillah in the Community programs throughout the country over the Purim holiday.Among the venues are community centers, local entertainment facilities, and school gyms. This year readings also are scheduled to take place in several fire stations, to recognize the challenging few months that firefighters experienced around the country this year.Over 50,000 people are expected to participate in the readings and programs.“Purim is a holiday that inspires the participation of Israeli Jews of all backgrounds and levels of observance,” said Rabbi David Stav, chairman of Tzohar and co-chancellor of Ohr Torah Stone. “We welcome the chance to use this holiday as an avenue to get all Israelis involved in their religion and feel more attached to their nation and traditions.”Tzohar has been coordinating community holiday programming for over 10 years, with the goal of making Jewish holiday traditions accessible to all Jews in Israel in a non-coercive atmosphere. Events for Yom Kippur, Purim and Shavuot are hosted in kibbutzim, moshavim and cultural centers across Israel, staffed by hundreds of volunteers.Ohr Torah Stone’s “Yachad” program has been running Jewish Identity programming in community centers across the country since 2004, with the goal of empowering the secular population in Israel to connect to the traditions and values of their heritage and to feel pride in their Judaism.
This is by far the most contested vote on a nominee for US ambassador to Israel ever'-Panel clears Friedman for full Senate vote as US envoy to Israel-Trump’s Israel ambassador pick approved almost entirely along party lines in Senate Foreign Relations Committee; only New Jersey’s Democratic senator breaks ranks to vote yes-By Eric Cortellessa March 9, 2017, 6:14 pm-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL
WASHINGTON — The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved David Friedman to be US ambassador to Israel on Thursday, sending his nomination to the full Senate for a final vote on his confirmation.The committee vote was split almost entirely along party lines, with every single Republican member voting in favor of the 57-year-old Long Island Native, and every single Democrat voting against except for New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez.Friedman will now go to the full Senate for a final vote on his confirmation, though it is not yet clear when. He is likely to be approved, as there would need to be at least three Republican defections to block the nomination.Democrats warned ahead of the vote that Friedman was ill-equipped for such a sensitive diplomatic position-“The last thing we need in this position is somebody who has a penchant for over the top hyperbolic and even false statements,” said Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine-Ever since President Donald Trump announced Friedman as his pick to serve as the US envoy to Israel in December 2016, the nomination has been a source of intense controversy.As an Israel policy adviser to candidate Trump, Friedman was known as a firebrand with a hard-line view of the Israel-Palestinian conflict and who frequently hurled incendiary insults toward those he disagreed with.Most notably, he labeled the liberal Jewish advocacy group J Street “worse than capos,” referring to Jews who assisted Nazis during the Holocaust. He also referred to former president Barack Obama as “a blatant anti-Semite.”During his confirmation hearing last month, however, the former bankruptcy lawyer said he felt remorse over his rhetoric and tried to convince the senators it was not indicative of his true self.“These were hurtful words and I deeply regret them. They’re not reflective of my nature, or my character,” he said.J Street slammed the vote, calling the level of opposition to Friedman “unprecedented.”“This is by far the most contested vote on a nominee for US ambassador to Israel ever,” J Street said, calling it “a clear signal that he is a completely inappropriate and disastrous choice for such an important position.”However, the Yesha Council, the main umbrella- group for West Bank settlers, welcomed the move, saying they “look forward to working together with him to build a brighter future for everyone in the region.”“The Israeli towns in Judea and Samaria are an integral piece in the puzzle for peace and can no longer be sidelined. Ambassador Friedman is a true friend of Israel that has a deep understanding of the reality on the ground and he will be a great asset to Israeli-American relations,” said Oded Revivi, one of the Yesha council leaders, slightly preempting Friedman’s title.Friedman’s contrition did not satisfy Democrats on the committee, including ranking member Ben Cardin of Maryland, who said in a statement Wednesday that his history of comments on the two-state solution rendered him too flawed a mediator for peace.Over the course of the campaign, Friedman was outspoken about his belief that West Bank settlement activity was not an obstacle to peace and that Israel would not face a “demographic threat” to its Jewish character if it were to fail to separate from the Palestinians.He has also been an active supporter — both financially and vocally — of Israel’s settlement enterprise in the West Bank.He did express a willingness, however, to support a two-state outcome in his nomination hearing last month. But that did not satisfy Cardin, who said he remained skeptical.“Taken together, Mr. Friedman’s statements and affiliations make it clear that he does not believe the two-state solution is necessary for a just and lasting peace,” he said. “I am concerned that Mr. Friedman’s history on this issue undermines his ability to represent the United States as a credible facilitator of the peace process.”
Police close 3 Bat Yam brothels in anti-prostitution sweep-While sex work is legal in Israel, pimping, sex trafficking, and running a brothel are punishable under the law-By Jacob Magid March 9, 2017, 6:34 pm-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL
Police shut down three brothels in Bat Yam Wednesday as part of a broader operation targeting the prostitution industry in Israel.It also arrested four people on suspicion of running prostitution houses — two men and two women, one of whom is a Ukranian tourist.Police also confiscated tens of thousands of shekels that were found at the scenes, police said.Authorities have been working in recent months to crack down on the brothel industry in Tel Aviv and its surrounding cities.While prostitution itself remains legal in Israel, pimping, sex trafficking, and running a brothel are punishable by law.On Tuesday, Tel Aviv vice units raided four brothels in the city believed to have been exploiting minors. Large sums of money and prostitution solicitation cards were uncovered.Three women were detained on respective charges of withholding evidence, withholding money, and assaulting police officers. Each was granted conditional release after questioning, according to Hebrew media reports.Earlier this week, indictments were filed at the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court against two distributors of business cards advertising prostitution services.For years, the cards have been littering the streets of Tel Aviv, typically featuring a provocative photo of a women along with the phone number and address of the advertising brothel.
Latest: Tusk gets 2nd term for top EU job despite Polish objections-Netanyahu says Iran seeks to build seaport in Syria-New York Jewish Children’s Museum receives bomb threat; Tehran claims it successfully test-fired ballistic missile; Senate panel approves Friedman nomination for envoy to Israel-By Itamar Sharon March 9, 2017, 3:11 pm-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL
19:10-Tusk gets 2nd term for top EU job despite Polish objections-European Union leaders have confirmed Donald Tusk for a second term as council president, overcoming weeks of strong opposition from his native Poland.Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel tweets “congratulations” and Tusk sends a tweet with “Thank you for keeping fingers crossed and for heart-felt support. It helped.”The government in Warsaw has argued that the decision should be delayed because of its displeasure with Tusk, a bitter political rival. But other leaders won out, insisting there was no appetite for a delay.— AP-19:09-White House presses Iran for info on ex-FBI agent-The White House is expressing its “unwavering” commitment to locate and return ex-FBI agent Robert Levinson, who disappeared 10 years ago on Iran’s Kish Island.“The Trump Administration remains unwavering in our commitment to locate Mr. Levinson and bring him home. We want him back, and we will spare no effort to achieve that goal,” the White House says.The former agent and ex-CIA contractor went missing in March 2007. His whereabouts has been yet another point of friction between Tehran and Washington.— AFP-18:56-NY Jewish Children’s Museum hit with bomb threat-The Jewish Children’s Museum in Brooklyn has been evacuated after receiving an emailed bomb threat.“It’s a trying time for us as a Jewish people especially, and we need to be aware and we need to take heed, and we need to be careful,” Devorah Halberstam, the museum’s director of foundation and government services, tells JTA.“I’m referring to all the threats that have been going on both locally and internationally — it’s something that is very frightening. Unfortunately anti-Semitism has been around for the longest time and I guess things don’t change, now it’s done by emails and phone calls. They use technology to hide behind it.”— JTA-18:55-Intelligence minister promotes plan for Gaza seaport-Intelligence and Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz says he is pushing forward with a proposal to build an artificial island with a seaport off the coast of Hamas-ruled Gaza that he believes will alleviate hardship in the blockaded territory and offer residents their first real bridge to the outside world in a decade.With an independent Palestinian state unlikely anytime soon, Katz tells The Associated Press that an island for moving goods in and out of Gaza is part of his broader goal of creating regional security and “economic peace” between Israel and its neighbors.Katz’s plan calls for an eight-square-kilometer (three-square-mile) island linked to Gaza by a five-kilometer (three-mile) bridge. The island, estimated to cost $5 billion, would take five years to build and include a seaport, a power station, a desalination plant and perhaps a future airport. Israel would supervise security but it would otherwise be run by the Palestinians and the international community — which he says would mark the completion of Israel’s 2005 withdrawal from Gaza.— AP-18:42-Netanyahu says Iran seeks to build seaport in Syria-Speaking further on Tehran’s efforts to entrench itself in Syria, the prime minister says Iran is “seeking to build its military forces, military infrastructure, in order to establish itself in Syria, including an attempt to build a seaport.”Netanyahu says such efforts “have serious repercussions for Israel’s security.” He says he told Putin during the two leaders’ meeting earlier that “this would destabilize (the region)… I made it clear that this would be unacceptable to Israel.”“This makes a (Syrian peace) accord impossible. It’s against everyone’s interests.”-18:41-PM tells Putin Israel against Iran keeping forces in Syria-Following his meeting today with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he has made it clear that Israel vehemently opposes Iran maintaining any military presence in Syria under any future peace deal.“Israel has no opposition to an accord in Syria, but we strongly oppose the possibility of Iran and its emissaries maintaining a military presence in Syria under such an arrangement,” he says.Netanyahu adds that he has asked for Putin’s assistance in securing the return of the bodies of two soldiers held by Hamas in Gaza, as well as the return of two Israeli citizens held by the terror group.-17:56-Iran says it successfully tested ballistic missile-Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency is reporting that the country’s Revolutionary Guard has successfully tested a ballistic missile.The report quotes Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, chief of the Guard’s airspace division, as saying the missile destroyed a target from a distance of 250 kilometers (155 miles).The report says the sea-launched ballistic missile dubbed Hormoz 2 was tested last week. The report provides no additional details.— AP-16:56--Tusk seen gathering ‘overwhelming support’ for top EU job-European Union leaders overwhelmingly come out in support of Donald Tusk to retain presidency of the EU Council, saying it is unlikely that strong opposition from his native Poland can block his appointment.The government in Warsaw argues that the decision should be delayed because of its displeasure with Tusk, a bitter political rival. But other leaders insist there is little appetite for a delay.Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, who will oversee Thursday’s election for president for the next two and a half years, says that consultations over the past week have shown “very solid support” for Tusk.— AP-16:36-Kremlin denies violating nuclear arms pact with US-The Kremlin is rejecting US claims of Russian violations of a landmark nuclear arms treaty, saying it has respected the pact and will continue to do so.Gen. Paul Selva, vice chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, on Wednesday accused Russia of deploying a land-based cruise missile in violation of “the spirit and intent” of the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty. He said that Moscow’s intention is to threaten US facilities in Europe and the NATO alliance.President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov responds that “we disagree with and reject any such accusations. Russia has adhered to and will adhere to all its international obligations.”— AP.
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