Tuesday, May 02, 2017



JEWISH KING JESUS IS COMING AT THE RAPTURE FOR US IN THE CLOUDS-DON'T MISS IT FOR THE WORLD.THE BIBLE TAKEN LITERALLY- WHEN THE PLAIN SENSE MAKES GOOD SENSE-SEEK NO OTHER SENSE-LEST YOU END UP IN NONSENSE.GET SAVED NOW- CALL ON JESUS TODAY.THE ONLY SAVIOR OF THE WHOLE EARTH - NO OTHER. 1 COR 15:23-JESUS THE FIRST FRUITS-CHRISTIANS RAPTURED TO JESUS-FIRST FRUITS OF THE SPIRIT-23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.ROMANS 8:23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.(THE PRE-TRIB RAPTURE)

LUKE 21:28-29
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.)

JOEL 2:3,30
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)

ZECHARIAH 14:12-13
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

Israel, Iran big winners from regional turmoil – Arab League head-Aboul Gheit says Palestinian issue overshadowed by Mideast conflicts as Tehran watches, waits for Arab world to self-destruct-By AFP May 1, 2017, 6:40 pm-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Arab League chief Ahmed Aboul Gheit warned Monday that Iran and Israel were the main beneficiaries of turmoil across the Arab world, which he described as the worst he has ever seen.“I’m 74 years old, and I have never seen anything worse than what we are now seeing,” Aboul Gheit said at the Arab Media Forum in Dubai.Israel stood to benefit from conflicts across the region, Aboul Gheit said.“Israel was under enormous pressure to find a solution with the Palestinians,” he said.“If I were the prime minister… I would have thought these were the happiest days for Israel.”Long-stalled peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians have been overshadowed by global concerns over the Syrian war and Islamic State group jihadists.Iran is also gaining from the turmoil brought about by the region’s turmoil.“Iran is enjoying what the Arab world is going through. There are those in Iran who are watching and waiting for us to destroy ourselves,” he said.Ties between Iran and Arab states have grown increasingly tense in recent years, with Tehran backing Syrian President Bashar Assad, Yemen’s Shiite Houthi rebels and armed Shiite groups in Iraq.Arab governments largely back Syrian opposition groups.Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies have for the past two years battled the Houthis, who control the capital and strategic ports along the Red Sea coastline.

A hunt for lost stories among Mount of Olives’ forgotten graves-Students and volunteers, sleuthing for information about soldiers who fell in state’s early days, gather at historic Jerusalem cemetery on Israeli Memorial Day-By Jessica Steinberg May 1, 2017, 4:45 pm-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL

It’s 10:15 a.m. on Israel’s Memorial Day, and Sarah Barnea is rushing around the burial plots on the Mount of Olives, making sure groups of high school students are finding the graves of the soldiers they’ve been researching for the last 10 weeks.“This place is my second home,” says Barnea ruefully with a little shrug of her shoulders.It’s a strange thing to say about the historic cemetery in the midst of the Arab neighborhood of a-Tur on the Mount of Olives, but it’s true for Barnea.She is one of some 25 volunteers of Giving a Face to the Fallen, a nonprofit organization dedicated to tracking down information about soldiers who fell in the early days of Israel’s establishment, and about whom little information is known.The organization’s volunteers become amateur sleuths in their search for background histories, which eventually culminate in state ceremonies in memory of the fallen soldiers with newly located long-lost relatives now able to visit the once-unattended gravesides on Memorial Day. The names of the fallen can also be added to the Yizkor Memorial website, the government site that lists the names and histories of each of Israel’s 23,544 war dead.Barnea is one of the regulars at the Mount of Olives cemetery. She has spent the last two-and-a-half months helping high school students from Jerusalem-area schools research the backgrounds of soldiers buried on this hill overlooking the Western Wall and the Dome of the Rock.On Memorial Day, the students returned to the Mount of Olives, prepared with the plastic-sleeved essays they wrote about their adopted soldiers, ready to stand at attention by these graves, as is the custom on this day of national mourning.“There will be hundreds of students here today,” said Barnea. “And their presence here is tremendously moving.”Two eleventh-grade students from Yeshivat Mekor Chaim, Naveh Hod and Yahel Shilyan, stood by the grave of Yafim Davidovich, a 54-year-old Russian colonel in the Red Army who spied for Israel and was given the rank of colonel by the Israeli army.“He had a really interesting story,” said Hod. “He had no reason to do what he did, he didn’t know Israel.”“Not like we do,” added Shilyan. “It makes you think about why people do what they do.”As the hour got closer to 11 a.m., when the memorial siren would sound for two minutes, Barnea continued to race around the different burial plots, making sure the students were able to find the graves of the fallen soldiers whose stories they had studied.The sun was warm, and most of the students were dressed in white shirts adorned with blue Memorial Day stickers. Some had their heads covered in white baseball hats emblazoned with the logo, “Going up to the Mount of Olives, 50 Years to Jerusalem’s Reunification,” as this year will mark 50 years since the Six Day War, when Israel gained control of East Jerusalem, including the Old City.The students, from both religious and secular schools, gathered together around various graves, the sounds of murmuring voices settling softly over the quiet cemetery, as teachers urged students to hear as many stories as possible.At one burial plot, on the side of the cemetery overlooking the Judean Desert, the students spoke to Yehudit Cohen, an older woman visiting the grave of her brother, Yitzhak Penso, who was killed in 1947 as he was attempting to load a truck with supplies from the Old City. Their family lived in Mamilla, said Cohen, referring to the neighborhood situated right outside Jaffa Gate, once home to families and merchants.Her other brother went missing, said Cohen, after running away to join the Palmach when Yitzhak, their older sibling, was killed.“I come here every year, because I’m the only one left who remembers them,” she said.There was a student who discovered a familial connection to Menachem Previs, who fell at 17 and was buried next to Moshe Levy, whose gravestone had finally been laid just three days earlier, said Barnea.There are still hundreds of fallen soldiers whose origins are unknown, and some 54 on the Mount of Olives that lack tombstones.Others have been well-marked for decades, like the grave of Heinz Beit, a German Jewish youth immigration official who was killed by gunfire in 1948 while riding with Golda Meir, then a new politician, up the blockaded road to Jerusalem. His history was being told by ORT Ramot tenth-graders Moshe Abulafia and Yotam Marsh to a soldier assigned to stand by Beit’s grave.The presence of soldiers at these long-neglected gravesides was an emotional sight for Barnea.“It’s a sign that something has changed, that we’re not the only ones paying attention to these graves,” she said.Just ahead of the 11 a.m. siren, many of the visitors gathered for the official ceremony held under a canvas covering at the front of the cemetery. Tourists, many of them German and Russian, sat quietly on the stone stairs overlooking the rows of graves. Behind them, a camel grunted and was quickly quieted by his owner, an Arab from the nearby village who was selling rides on the camel’s humped back.Throughout the half-hour ceremony, the rows of white stone graves beckoned, some attended by a pair of students, others by a single soldier.“It’s more than there’s ever been before,” said Barnea, who has been coming to the Mount of Olives to visit these long-dead soldiers for the last 15 years.Giving a Face to the Fallen is looking for more volunteers, as well as those with an interest in genealogy. The organization is also in need of funds, as their small government stipend is augmented by donations. They can be contacted through the Giving a Face to the Fallen Facebook page.

The Times of Israel-Israel Inside-F-35 jets to buzz Independence Day celebrations for first time-Planes to fly 850-kilometer route from Beersheba in the Negev to Katzrin in the Golan, and most cities in between, as part of annual air show-By Judah Ari Gross May 1, 2017, 7:09 pm-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL

The Israeli public will get its first look at the air force’s new F-35 jets on Tuesday, when the stealth fighters take part in the annual Independence Day flyover.Along with the F-35, the air force will show off some of its other hardware including trainers, fighter jets, transport planes, helicopters, and refueling aircraft.The decision to include the F-35 in this year’s flyover was made by the Israeli Air Forces’ top brass, including IAF commander Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel, according to Maj. G, one of the flyover’s organizers, who, in keeping with air force security precautions for pilots, can only be identified by his first initial.Israel is the first country outside the United States to receive the state-of-the-art F-35, which is manufactured by Lockheed Martin. In total, the country is planning to purchase 50 of the fifth-generation stealth aircraft, known in Israel as the “Adir,” or “mighty one,” and has thus far received five of them.Celebrations marking the the 69th Independence Day are scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. on Monday and continue through the following day.There will be four flybys on Tuesday.The main flyover will begin in Rahat, north of Beersheba, shortly after 10:30 a.m., traveling south to Yeruham and then north, past Arad, Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley to Katzrin, in the Golan Heights. From there, it will fly west to the coast, past Haifa and Tel Aviv to Ashdod. It will then go past Netivot to Beersheba, the last stop, before ending shortly before 1 p.m.The F-35 will only take part in some of that flyover. The aircraft will fly past Beersheba at 11:26 a.m., the Tel Nof air base at 11:44, Jerusalem at 11:50, the Ramat David air base at 12:03 p.m.; Haifa at 12:23, and Tel Aviv at 12:33, before returning to base.In total, the main flyby will travel approximately 850 kilometers (530 miles) on Tuesday, according to Maj. G.Southern Israel will enjoy its own flyby, albeit a more modest one. The Lavi, a trainer aircraft, and the F-16 Barak will fly from the northern Negev down past Sde Boker and Shizafon to the port city of Eilat and then north to Ketura and Sapir, before returning to base.The air force’s aerial acrobatic planes will begin to perform at 9:40 a.m. above the Ramat David air base in northern Israel. They will then travel to Haifa at 9:55 a.m., Tel Nof at 11:50, Tel Aviv at 12:05 p.m., the Air Force Museum in Beersheba at 1:35, and finally Jerusalem at 2.Finally, the Sikorsky CH-53 Sea Stallion heavy transport helicopter, known in the IAF as the Yasur, will fly past the center of the country, from Jerusalem to Haifa, beginning just before 11 a.m. and ending an hour and a half later.(A detailed timetable can be found below)-Maj. G, an F-15 pilot, told The Times of Israel on Monday that it took “many hours” to prepare the flyover.With planes taking off at different locations, “it’s a complicated bureaucracy that you have to synchronize in the air,” he said.One plane taking off late can throw off the whole schedule, he said.“We choose the sites we want to pass over during the flyby. It goes to all the cities — well, most of the big cities in the country. Afterward, we pick in each city the place where there will be the most people so that they can watch,” he said.For instance, in Tel Aviv, the planes spend most of their time just off the coast, giving beach-goers front-row seats for the action.In addition to helping plan the flyover, Maj. G will also be taking part in it, flying an F-15I as part of the main event.“This is my first time flying in it. I’m very excited. It’s a very meaningful event for me,” the pilot said.“[My family] knows how to pick out my plane. When I’m in the air, they’ll see me from the ground. Then afterward, we’ll meet up.”

Israel dismisses purportedly ‘friendlier’ Hamas charter-Palestinian group, forced to postpone document’s release, won’t succeed in bid to ‘fool the world,’ Netanyahu spokesperson says-By Raphael Ahren and Dov Lieber May 1, 2017, 7:41 pm-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL

Hours before its official launch, Israel on Monday afternoon preempted Hamas’s new amendment to its charter, which seeks to put a friendlier face on the terrorist organization, saying that it still adheres to genocidal policies.“When Hamas stops building tunnels and spends its resources on civilian infrastructure and ceases educating toward killing Israelis — that will be true change. But that hasn’t happened,” a statement issued by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said.“Hamas is attempting to fool the world, but it will not succeed,” David Keyes, a spokesperson for Netanyahu, told The Times of Israel on Monday, with the Palestinian organization set to present its new “policy paper” in Qatar.“Daily, Hamas leaders call for genocide of all Jews and the destruction of Israel,” Keyes said. “They dig terror tunnels and have launched thousands upon thousands of missiles at Israeli civilians. Schools and mosques run by Hamas teach children that Jews are apes and pigs. This is the real Hamas.”Hamas called the paper a “political document” of “general principles and policies.” In it, it will reportedly drop its call to kill all Jews. Instead, the document is expected to endorse armed struggle against Israeli occupiers.Hamas said Monday afternoon it was forced to delay the much-hyped press conference to present the document by a few hours, after the hotel slated to host the presser backed out.“Due to special circumstances, the InterContinental Hotel management has issued an apology at the last minute for being unable to host the meeting,” a statement by the Gaza-based terror group said.Associated Press reporter Fares Akram, the agency’s Gaza reporter, said on Twitter that the Intercontinental Hotel canceled the event for fear of US Treasury Department sanctions.Hamas delays for 2hours presser after Intercontinental hotel in Qatar apologizes to host event for fears of US Treasury Department sanctions-— Fares Akram (@faresakram) May 1, 2017-The news conference by Khaled Mashaal, the Hamas leader in exile, was originally to begin at 7 p.m. (4 p.m. GMT), but will instead take place at 8:45 p.m. at the Sheraton Hotel in Doha, Hamas said.The conference is slated to go on for over four hours, according to Hamas.The five-page policy document adopts seemingly more moderate language in hopes of helping the terror group break out of its international isolation. It does not, however, formally replace the group’s fiery 1987 founding charter, which calls for Israel’s destruction and is packed with anti-Semitic language.According a leaked version of the new document, Hamas “distinguishes between the Jews, as the people of the book (i.e., the Bible), and Judaism as a religion on the one hand, and between the occupation and the Zionist project, on the other, and believes that the conflict with the Zionist project is not a conflict with the Jews because of their religion.”While Hamas will not recognize the State of Israel, it does agree to the establishment of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, while stressing that it will preserve weapons of “resistance” in order to liberate the entire land of Palestine, including Israel.“There is no alternative to the liberation of the entirety of Palestine, from the river to the sea, no matter how long the occupation persists,” the leaked document continues, leaving no doubt as to the fact that the ultimate goal of the group, which has always included Israel’s destruction, hasn’t changed.Avi Issacharoff and agencies contributed to this report.


JOEL 3:2
2 I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people(ISRAEL) and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land.(UPROOTED ISRAELIS AND DIVIDED JERUSALEM)(THIS BRINGS ON WW3 BECAUSE JERUSALEM IS DIVIDED,WARNING TO ARABS-MUSLIMS AND THE WORLD).


Heres the scripture 1 week = 7 yrs Genesis 29:27-29
27 Fulfil her week, and we will give thee this also for the service which thou shalt serve with me yet seven other years.
28 And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week:(7 YEARS) and he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife also.
29 And Laban gave to Rachel his daughter Bilhah his handmaid to be her maid.

DANIEL 11:21-23
21 And in his estate shall stand up a vile person, to whom they shall not give the honour of the kingdom: but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries.
23 And after the league made with him he shall work deceitfully: for he shall come up, and shall become strong with a small people.
24 He shall enter peaceably even upon the fattest places of the province; and he shall do that which his fathers have not done, nor his fathers' fathers; he shall scatter among them the prey, and spoil, and riches: yea, and he shall forecast his devices against the strong holds, even for a time.

DANIEL 9:26-27
26 And after threescore and two weeks(62X7=434 YEARS+7X7=49 YEARS=TOTAL OF 69 WEEKS OR 483 YRS) shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary;(ROMAN LEADERS DESTROYED THE 2ND TEMPLE) and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.(THERE HAS TO BE 70 WEEKS OR 490 YRS TO FUFILL THE VISION AND PROPHECY OF DAN 9:24).(THE NEXT VERSE IS THAT 7 YR WEEK OR (70TH FINAL WEEK).
27 And he ( THE ROMAN,EU PRESIDENT) shall confirm the covenant (PEACE TREATY) with many for one week:(1X7=7 YEARS) and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease,(3 1/2 yrs in TEMPLE ANIMAL SACRIFICES STOPPED) and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

14 They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.

11 For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.

3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.

8  The highways lie waste, the wayfaring man ceaseth: he hath broken the covenant,(7 YR TREATY) he hath despised the cities, he regardeth no man.(THE WORLD LEADER-WAR MONGER CALLS HIMSELF GOD)


GENESIS 25:20-26
20  And Isaac was forty years old (A BIBLE GENERATION NUMBER=1967 + 40=2007+) when he took Rebekah to wife, the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Padanaram, the sister to Laban the Syrian.
21  And Isaac intreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived.
22  And the children (2 NATIONS IN HER-ISRAEL-ARABS) struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the LORD.
23  And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels;(ISRAEL AND THE ARABS) and the one people shall be stronger than the other people;(ISRAEL STRONGER THAN ARABS) and the elder shall serve the younger.(LITERALLY ISRAEL THE YOUNGER RULES (ISSAC)(JACOB-LATER NAME CHANGED TO ISRAEL) OVER THE OLDER ARABS (ISHMAEL)(ESAU)
24  And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb.
25  And the first came out red, all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name Esau.(THE OLDER AN ARAB)

ZECHARIAH 12:1-5 King James Bible
1 The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him.
2 Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem.
3 And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.
4 In that day, saith the LORD, I will smite every horse with astonishment, and his rider with madness: and I will open mine eyes upon the house of Judah, and will smite every horse of the people with blindness.

14 Wherefore hear the word of the LORD, ye scornful men, that rule this people which is in Jerusalem.
15 Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves:
16 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.
17 Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place.
18 And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it.
19 From the time that it goeth forth it shall take you: for morning by morning shall it pass over, by day and by night: and it shall be a vexation only to understand the report.

Trump, Abbas gear up for White House meeting-PA leader to meet US president for first time Wednesday in expected bid to revive peace talks amid conflict with Hamas, US criticism over stipends to terrorists-By Sarah Benhaida May 1, 2017, 10:38 am-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AFP) — US President Donald Trump will meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas Wednesday for their first face-to-face talks, with the PA leader hoping the billionaire businessman’s unpredictable approach can inject life into long-stalled peace efforts.Abbas makes the trip to Washington while politically unpopular back home, but hoping Trump can pressure Israel into concessions he believes are necessary to salvage a two-state solution to the decades long conflict.PA officials have seen the Israeli-Palestinian conflict overshadowed by global concerns such as the Syrian war and the Islamic State terror group, and want Trump’s White House to bring it back to the forefront.“Palestinians are hoping that Trump’s unpredictability might play in their favor,” one Jerusalem-based European official told AFP on condition of anonymity.“They are going to be very disappointed. They can’t be sure of anything.”Examples were seen early on, with Trump appearing to back away from the US commitment to the two-state solution when he met Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in February.He said he would support a single state if it led to peace, delighting many Israeli right-wingers who want to see their country annex most of the West Bank.Trump also vowed to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a prospect that alarmed Palestinians but which has been put on the back burner for now.At the same time, he urged Israel to hold back on settlement building in the West Bank, a longstanding concern of Palestinians and the international community, who view settlements as an impediment to the eventual creation of a Palestinian state-One of Trump’s top advisers, Jason Greenblatt, held wide-ranging talks with both Israelis and Palestinians during a visit in March.Abbas and Trump spoke by phone on March 11.-Pressuring Hamas?-Trump’s unpredictability is far from Abbas’s only concern, with polls suggesting most Palestinians want the 82-year-old to resign.Abbas’s term was meant to expire in 2009, but he has remained in office with no elections held.The bitter split between Abbas’s Fatah party, based in the West Bank, and Hamas, the Islamist terror group that runs the Gaza Strip, has also taken a new turn in recent days.Some analysts say it seems Abbas is seeking to increase pressure on Hamas in the coastal strip, but he risks being blamed for worsening conditions in the enclave of two million people.Israeli officials say the PA, which is dominated by Abbas’s Fatah party, has begun refusing to pay Israel for electricity it supplies to Gaza.Rights activists and Israeli military officials have warned that exacerbating an already severe power shortage in the strip, which was been largely under an Israeli and Egyptian blockade for 10 years, could be catastrophic.The reported move comes after the PA announced earlier in April it would temporarily cut stipends to its Gaza civil servants.The PA said it was forced into cutbacks by falling foreign aid, but others alleged it could be aimed at stirring discontent in Gaza and destabilizing Hamas’s rule there.-Regional support-With those difficulties in mind, Abbas may face demands from Trump that could be “political suicide” for him to implement, the European official said.Such demands may include stopping payments to families of Palestinian terrorists imprisoned by Israel, a policy heavily criticized by Netanyahu as encouraging further violence.US lawmakers have also strongly condemned the stipends to the families of Palestinian terrorists and Republican Senator Lindsey Graham (South Carolina) reintroduced a bill in March that would cut off US funding to the PA as a result of the payments.Doing so could further open Abbas to accusations of bending to Israel’s will, particularly with one of his rivals in Fatah, convicted terrorist Marwan Barghouti, leading a hunger strike involving hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails since April 17.Barghouti is serving five life sentences over his role directing terror attacks in the Second Intifada, but he is popular and polls suggest he could win the presidency of the PA in an election.Trump has spoken of reviving the idea of a regional peace initiative, pulling in countries such as Egypt and Jordan, the only two Arab nations to have signed peace treaties with Israel.Both Abbas and Trump have recently met Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi and Jordanian King Abdullah II.After meeting Abbas on Saturday, Sissi urged Washington to help restart negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.Jamal Shubaki, the PA ambassador to Egypt, said Abbas, Sissi and Abdullah shared the same goal of explaining “to the new American administration their attachment to the Arab peace initiative.”The proposal made in 2002 holds out normalized ties between Arab nations and Israel in exchange for the creation of a Palestinian state with a capital in East Jerusalem, the return of refugees and other key Palestinian demands.Abbas’s visit also comes amid speculation about when Trump will visit Israel.Israeli officials and media have said that talks about a visit were underway, with the trip tentatively scheduled for May 22.Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

Nikki Haley remains boldly off-message at the UN-US diplomats fear ambassador’s words could result in an inconsistent, incoherent international message-By VIVIAN SALAMA May 1, 2017, 7:33 pm-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL

WASHINGTON (AP) — Nikki Haley didn’t wait to take office as US ambassador to the United Nations to break with the Trump administration’s foreign policy stances.At her Senate confirmation hearing, Haley bluntly accused Russia of being complicit in war crimes in Syria — going against the president-elect’s talk of warmer relations with Moscow.Three months later, she remains boldly off-message. Much to the chagrin of Washington diplomats, her remarks often go well beyond the carefully worded scripts crafted by the White House and State Department.She’s warned Syrian President Bashar Assad that “the days of your arrogance and disregard of humanity are over,” even as other top aides to President Donald Trump insisted that his fate was a decision for the Syrian people.She’s pushed human rights as a driver of foreign policy just as the Trump administration showed its willingness to work with leaders who have suppressed civil liberties, such as Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Egypt’s Abdel-Fatah el-Sissi.US diplomats fear Haley’s words could result in an inconsistent, incoherent international message. State Department diplomats drafted an email urging Haley’s office to ensure that her public statements on high-profile issues are cleared by Washington. The email was first reported by The New York Times.In some ways, Haley has been ahead of the curve. Her hints at a change in the Syrian government are now seeping into Trump policies, and the administration has toughened its stance on Russia.She seems to be in Trump’s good graces. At a White House luncheon for UN diplomats last week, he said Haley was doing a “fantastic job” — but only after awkwardly joking that if the diplomats didn’t like her, “she could easily be replaced.”Haley, a rookie to international politics, was an unusual pick to be UN envoy.As South Carolina governor, she was outspoken in her criticism of Trump during the 2016 campaign — a stance that effectively disqualified other candidates for top administration positions. The daughter of Indian immigrants, Haley alluded to Trump in denouncing “the siren call of the angriest voices” who disrespected America’s immigrants. Trump tweeted that “The people of South Carolina are embarrassed by Nikki Haley.”She has star power in an administration where the president prefers to keep attention on himself. In some ways, the 45-year-old Haley is seizing the spotlight left vacant by media-averse Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Her high-profile persona and relative youth have prompted speculation that she may run for president someday.The White House and the US Mission to the United Nations declined to comment for this story.Haley’s office falls under the State Department’s authority, but administration officials say Haley’s staff frequently bypasses the department for policy matters. They said Haley’s deputy, Jon Lerner, a Republican pollster and strategist who helped coordinate the Never Trump movement during the campaign, is in closer contact with senior members of the National Security Council, the White House’s national security apparatus. Still, at times, Haley ad-libs her remarks, they said.The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to publicly discuss the policymaking process.They said the State Department was involved in the planning of Trump’s meeting last Monday with the UN ambassadors, nor was it consulted. The event was coordinated exclusively between the US Mission to the UN and the NSC.Public remarks by the UN ambassador are generally approved by the State Department and, at times, other departments. Zalmay Khalilzad, a UN ambassador under President George W. Bush, said that messaging from the various departments has “to be consistent with each other,” but he joked that this is not an administration that is “known for protocol.”Indeed, Haley’s off-message remarks highlight a broader trend in the administration, with poor communications and tight inner-circle White House politics creating disunity on various issues.But Khalilzad praised Haley, saying her “experience as a politician helps her in recognizing the importance of the message and the quality of the message.”Phil Cox, a political consultant who has known Haley since 2010 from his work with the Republican Governors Association, said Haley’s plain-spokenness comes as no surprise to anyone who tracked her work in South Carolina, starting with service in the state Legislature.“The Nikki Haley operating on a world stage today is the exact same person the people of South Carolina came to know and respect as governor,” he said in a recent interview. “Since she was first elected governor, people have been talking about her taking the next step.”

Full text of May 2017 UNESCO resolution on ‘Occupied Palestine’-The cultural agency’s executive board slams Israel for ‘persistent excavations, tunneling, works and projects in East Jerusalem’-May 1, 2017, 4:17 pm-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL

Item 30: OCCUPIED PALESTINE-DRAFT DECISION-Submitted by: Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, and Sudan

The Executive Board, 1. Having examined document 201 EX/30, 2. Recalling the provisions of the four Geneva Conventions (1949) and their additional Protocols (1977), the 1907 Hague Regulations on Land Warfare, the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict (1954) and its additional Protocols, the Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property (1970) and the Convention for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (1972), the inscription of the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls at the request of Jordan on the World Heritage List (1981) and on the List of World Heritage in Danger (1982), and the recommendations, resolutions and decisions of UNESCO on the protection of cultural heritage, as well as resolutions and decisions of UNESCO relating to Jerusalem, also recalling previous UNESCO decisions relating to the reconstruction and development of Gaza as well as UNESCO decisions on the two Palestinian sites in Al-Khalil/Hebron and in Bethlehem, 3. Affirming that nothing in the current decision, which aims, inter alia, at the safeguarding of the cultural heritage of Palestine and the distinctive character of East Jerusalem, shall in any way affect the relevant Security Council and United Nations resolutions and decisions on the legal status of Palestine and Jerusalem, including United Nations Security Council resolution 2334 (2016), 30.I Jerusalem-4. Reaffirming the importance of the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls for the three monotheistic religions, 5. Reminding that all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, which have altered or purport to alter the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, and in particular the “basic law” on Jerusalem, are null and void and must be rescinded forthwith, 6. Further recalling the 11 decisions of the Executive Board: 185 EX/Decision 14, 187 EX/Decision 11, 189 EX/Decision 8, 19-0 EX/Decision 13, 192 EX/Decision 11, 194 EX/Decision 5.D, 195 EX/Decision 9, 196 EX/Decision 26, 197 EX/Decision 32, 199 EX/Dec.19.1, 200 EX/Decision 25 and the seven World Heritage Committee decisions: 34 COM/7A.20, 35 COM/7A.22, 36 COM/7A.23, 37 COM/7A.26, 38 COM/7A.4, 39 COM/7A.27, 40 COM/7A.13, 7. Regrets the failure of the Israeli occupying authorities to cease the persistent excavations, tunneling, works and projects in East Jerusalem, particularly in and around the Old City of Jerusalem, which are illegal under international law and reiterates its request to Israel, the occupying Power, to prohibit all violations which are not in conformity with the provisions of the relevant UNESCO conventions, resolutions and decisions; 8. Also regrets the Israeli refusal to implement the UNESCO request to the Director-General to appoint a permanent representative to be stationed in East Jerusalem to report on a regular basis about all aspects covering the fields of competence of UNESCO in East Jerusalem, and reiterates its request to the Director-General to appoint, as soon as possible, the above-mentioned representative; 9. Stresses again the urgent need to implement the UNESCO reactive monitoring mission to the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls, and invites the Director-General and the World Heritage Centre, to exert all possible efforts, in line with their mandates and in conformity with the provisions of the relevant UNESCO conventions, decisions and resolutions, to ensure the prompt implementation of the mission and, in case of non-implementation, to propose possible effective measures to ensure its implementation; 30.II Reconstruction and development of Gaza-10. Deplores the military confrontations in and around the Gaza Strip and the civilian casualties caused, as well as the continuous negative impact in the fields of competence of UNESCO, the attacks on schools and other educational and cultural facilities, including breaches of the inviolability of United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) schools; 11. Also deplores the continuous Israeli closure of the Gaza Strip, which harmfully affects the free and sustained movement of personnel, students and humanitarian relief items and requests Israel to immediately ease this closure; 12. Thanks the Director-General for initiatives that have already been implemented in Gaza in the fields of education, culture and youth and for the safety of media professionals, calls upon her to continue her active involvement in the reconstruction of Gaza’s damaged educational and cultural components and reiterates, in this regard, its request to her to upgrade the UNESCO Antenna in Gaza and to organize, as soon as possible, an information meeting on the current situation in Gaza in the fields of competence of UNESCO and on the outcome of the projects conducted by UNESCO; 30.III The two Palestinian sites of Al-Haram Al-Ibrahimi/Tomb of the Patriarchs in Al- Khalil/Hebron and the Bilal Ibn Rabah Mosque/Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem-13. Reaffirms that the two concerned sites located in Al-Khalil/Hebron and in Bethlehem are an integral part of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and shares the conviction affirmed by the international community that the two sites are of religious significance for Judaism, Christianity and Islam; 14. Deplores the ongoing Israeli excavations, works, construction of private roads for settlers and of a Wall inside the Old City of Al-Khalil/Hebron which are illegal under international law and harmfully affect the authenticity and integrity of the site, and the subsequent denial of freedom of movement and freedom of access to places of worship and asks Israel, the occupying Power, to end all violations which are not in conformity with the provisions of relevant UNESCO conventions, resolutions and decisions; 15. Regrets the visual impact of the Wall on the site of Bilal Ibn Rabah Mosque/Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem as well as the strict ban on access of Palestinian Christian and Muslim worshippers to the site, and demands that the Israeli authorities restore the original character of the landscape around the site and to lift the ban on access to it; 30.IV-16. Decides to include these matters under an item entitled “Occupied Palestine” in the agenda at its 202nd session, and invites the Director-General to submit to it a progress report thereon.

UNESCO to fire another volley at Israel – on Independence Day-Italy so far only EU state to say it will oppose resolution that, while softer than previous versions, still denies Israeli claims to Jerusalem-By Raphael Ahren May 1, 2017, 4:17 pm-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL

The United Nations’ cultural agency is set to pass a resolution on Tuesday — Israel’s 69th Independence Day — that indicates rejection of the Jewish state’s sovereignty in any part of Jerusalem. The resolution also harshly criticizes the government for various construction projects in Jerusalem’s Old City and at holy sites in Hebron, and calls for an end to Israel’s blockade of Gaza without mentioning attacks from the Hamas-run Strip.Submitted to UNESCO’s Executive Board by Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar and Sudan, the resolution on “Occupied Palestine” will most likely pass, given the automatic anti-Israel majority in the 58-member body. Its wording as of Monday was slightly less harsh on Jerusalem than previous resolutions, in that it does affirm the importance of the city to the “three monotheistic religions.”On Monday, Israeli diplomats were busy trying to prevent an European-Arab agreement that would see the council’s European members either vote in favor or abstain in exchange for a slightly softer text.Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was said to be making phone calls to European leaders in a bid to convince them to reject the resolution.According to Israeli officials, Germany was a driving force behind a deal that would see all EU states abstain in exchange for the removal of the most incendiary anti-Israel passages. But on Monday, Italy announced that it would vote against the resolution, apparently ending the effort to forge a European consensus.“This [Italian stance] is without a doubt a positive development, which should tell the Germans that negotiating over a joint text with the Arabs is a mistake not just in Israel’s view but also in the eyes of several countries in the European Union,” Israel’s ambassador to UNESCO, Carmel Shama-Hacohen, told The Times of Israel.“Now we are focusing on our mission to make sure Italy will the first but not the last country to announce it does not want to be part of this deal with the Arabs and vote against the resolution.”Jerusalem prefers to see Western countries vote against an outrageous resolution, even if it passes, than a consensus in support of a milder text.Given that there no longer appears to be a European consensus, it is possible that Germany will also oppose the resolution. The Netherlands and Lithuania are also still on the fence, according to diplomatic sources who spoke to The Times of Israel on condition of anonymity.The US is widely expected to oppose the resolution. “UNESCO is too often used as a vehicle for member states inclined to delegitimize the State of Israel, and [its resolutions] have become increasingly political in nature, in this case, questioning Israel’s basic claim to historic sites,” a US official told The Times of Israel. “These types of resolution are counterproductive to the core work of UNESCO and they do nothing to advance the goal of a two-state solution.”-LOGO-UNESCO-2008-The Arab group at UNESCO proposes similar anti-Israel resolutions twice every year, but after Israel cried foul last year over the fact that these texts provocatively ignored Jewish ties to Jerusalem’s Old City, a number of Western countries announced their intention no longer to support them. This development is likely behind the negotiations over an Arab-European compromise text, which would remove the most blatant anti-Israel elements.As it stood on Monday, Tuesday’s resolution, unlike previous resolutions, does not refer to the Temple Mount only as Haram al-Sharif, or to the Western Wall Plaza only as al-Burak plaza, the respective sites’ Muslim names. In fact, these sites are not mentioned at all.Furthermore, Resolution 201 EX/PX/DR.30.1 affirms “the importance of the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls for the three monotheistic religions.” It also notes that The Patriarchs’ Cave and Rachel’s Tomb in Hebron “are of religious significance for Judaism, Christianity and Islam” — though it calls them “Palestinian sites.”However, the current draft of the resolution still contains many red flags for Israel. For instance, Israel is referred to throughout the document as the “occupying power,” indicating that it has no legal or historical ties to any part of Jerusalem.The text stresses that “all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, which have altered or purport to alter the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, and in particular the ‘basic law’ on Jerusalem, are null and void and must be rescinded forthwith.”Basic Law: Jerusalem, which was passed by the Knesset in 1980, declares united Jerusalem as Israel’s sovereign capital.The current draft of the UNESCO resolution declares “everything Israel does in Jerusalem as illegal,” according to a statement issued by the Foreign Ministry. The resolution also affirms previous UNESCO resolutions that “denied the connection between the Jewish people and Jerusalem,” the Israeli statement lamented.The resolution also refers to UN Security Council Resolution 2334, which in December declared all Israeli settlements, including in East Jerusalem, illegal under international law.Resolution 201 EX/PX/DR.30.1 declares as null and void Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem and “[r]egrets the failure of the Israeli occupying authorities to cease the persistent excavations, tunneling, works and projects in East Jerusalem, particularly in and around the Old City of Jerusalem, which are illegal under international law.”The text further “[d]eplores the military confrontations in and around the Gaza Strip and the civilian casualties caused,” and urges Israel to immediately end its Israel’s “closure” of the Hamas-held enclave, arguing it “harmfully affects the free and sustained movement of personnel, students and humanitarian relief items,” but not mentioning attacks on Israeli civilians that emanate from the strip.Turning its attention to the two holy sites in Hebron, the draft resolution slams Israel for ongoing excavations and the “construction of private roads for settlers” and the “denial of freedom of movement and freedom of access to places of worship.”Israel officials acknowledged that the resolution to be passed Tuesday is somewhat easier to stomach than previous versions, but emphatically urged Western countries to vote against it. “We hope that the European countries will not fall into the trap of a softened text and vote against any effort to politicize UNESCO and hurt Jerusalem status Israel’s eternal capital,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Emmanuel Nahshon told The Times of Israel.-A somewhat positive trend-Last October, 24 member states of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s General Conference backed a resolution entirely ignoring Jewish ties to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall and accusing Israel of a long list of wrongdoings. Six countries voted against and 26 abstained, and the resolution was adopted by the UNESCO’s Executive Board a few days later.Despite the stinging diplomatic defeat, that vote tally turned out better, from an Israeli perspective, than a vote on the same matter half a year earlier, which similarly turned a blind eye to the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall.Seven countries that in April 2016 voted in favor of the resolution abstained in the second vote, among them heavyweights France and India.While the number of countries voting against the draft remained low at six — the US, Great Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, Lithuania and Estonia — this time around supporters of the resolution failed to garner an overall majority. In April, 33 states voted yes and 17 abstained. In October for the first time more countries abstained than supported the text.Nonetheless, Israel protested furiously, with Netanyahu calling the decision “absurd” and President Reuven Rivlin deeming it an “embarrassment” for UNESCO. Education Minister Naftali Bennett vowed to cut all ties to the organization.Several top UNESCO officials, including Director-General Irina Bokova, as well as a handful of world leaders, also criticized the text, affirming that Jerusalem’s Old City is holy to all three Abrahamic religions.“The heritage of Jerusalem is indivisible, and each of its communities has a right to the explicit recognition of their history and relationship with the city,” Bokova said in a statement after the October vote.Last week, she reiterated that message during a speech to the World Jewish Congress in New York: “The Al Aqsa Mosque / Al-Haram al-Sharif, the sacred shrine of the Muslims, is also the Har Habayit — or Temple Mount — the holiest place in Judaism, whose Western Wall is revered by millions across the world, a few steps away from the Saint Sepulchre and the Mount of Olives holy to the Christians,” Bokova said.“To deny, conceal, or erase any of the Jewish, Christian or Muslim traditions runs counter to the reasons that justified its inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage list,” she stressed.Statements such as these have further fueled Israeli protest against Tuesday’s resolution, even though it no longer uses exclusively Muslim names for Jerusalem’s holy sites.“Instead of stopping UNESCO’s politicization as was promised to Israel, representatives of the European Union in fact support it by proposing their own draft resolution, including on the question of Jerusalem, when there is no connection whatsoever between them and UNESCO’s mandate,” the Foreign Ministry stated.“Israel expects the member states to vote against this absurd resolution. The proposed resolution will not harm our determination to act in Jerusalem for the benefit of all its residents. It will, however, hurt the standing and the relevance of UNESCO.”

Israeli minister fires back at Barghouti in NY Times op-ed-Gilad Erdan says hunger strike led by Palestinian terrorist and popular leader is about politicking, not improving prisoners’ conditions-By Times of Israel staff May 1, 2017, 5:02 pm

In an op-ed piece in The New York Times Monday, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan wrote that a massive hunger strike by Palestinian prisoners is really an internal political play by the popular Palestinian Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti, a convicted murderer.Erdan’s column rejected charges leveled two weeks ago by Barghouti in the same newspaper, in a piece that condemned “Israel’s illegal system of mass arbitrary arrests and ill-treatment of Palestinian prisoners.”“Mr. Barghouti would like his audience to believe that the hunger strike is a reaction to the mistreatment of prisoners like him,” Erdan wrote. “In fact, it has nothing to do with their conditions, which meet international standards. This is reflected in the list of demands presented by Mr. Barghouti to the Israel Prison Service: the option to obtain university degrees, more family visits, access to more television channels, public telephones and private doctors.”Rather, Erdan stated, “the true motivation behind this strike is political jockeying. From prison Mr. Barghouti has become a major player in Palestinian politics, releasing regular statements on Palestinian affairs and backing candidates in elections.”Erdan argued that because the strike was about Fatah politics rather than the treatment of prisoners, Barghouti has gained no support from rival groups, including the Hamas terror organization.“The hunger strike is another step in his campaign to position himself as Mr. Abbas’s successor,” he wrote. “The political nature of the strike is a main reason the leaders of Fatah’s rival, Hamas, have not backed the strike.”Erdan said that despite attempts by Barghouti to rebrand himself as a “moderate” and Palestinian terrorism as “resistance,” Barghouti remains an unrepentant convicted murderer, responsible for the deaths of five people — Jewish, Christian and Druze.He accused the Palestinian Authority, led by Mahmoud Abbas, of encouraging terrorism through incitement, and particularly through payments to the families of those who commit terror attacks.Erdan called on the international community to put an end to incitement by ensuring the money does not reach terrorists.“The billions of dollars in international aid enable the authority to continue lining the terrorists’ pockets with cash,” he wrote. “Both politicians and ordinary citizens must demand an end to this gross abuse of international funds.”The New York Times took flak after publishing Barghouti’s op-ed for failing to note his murder convictions. Subsequently, the paper’s public editor, Liz Spayd, criticized the op-ed department, saying skimping on details of opinion writers’ biographical information is a repeated fault that discredits the paper.A subsequent editor’s note on the piece acknowledged the omission.Assaf Librati, a spokesman for the Israel Prison Service, said Monday that 870 prisoners are still on hunger strike, down from a peak of about 1,300 last week. Librati did not say why more than 400 prisoners had ended their fast.The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Israeli Arabs view country more positively than Jews, survey finds-While 66% of Arabs see the overall situation as good, just 43.9% of the Jewish population agrees, according to new IDI study ahead of Israel’s 69th Independence Day-By Stuart Winer May 1, 2017, 1:26 am-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL

More among Israel’s Arab community than its Jewish population are satisfied with life in Israel and slightly over half are proud to be Israeli citizens, according to a survey released on Sunday.The results of the poll, conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University Peace Index, were released ahead of Israel’s 69th Independence Day that falls on Tuesday. The survey sought an appraisal of life in Israel, asking the question: “How’s it going?”Among Jewish respondents, 43.9 percent said they see Israel’s situation as “good” or “very good” while among Arabs the figure was nearly two-thirds at 66%. As for personal circumstances, nearly three-quarters of Jews (74%) said their situation is “good” or “very good” compared to 57% of Arabs who felt the same way.Similarly, according to the survey, 73% of Jews and 61 % of Arabs felt optimistic about Israel’s future, but while a majority from both communities were satisfied with Israel’s ability to maintain security in the country, only a small percentage of all Israelis felt that the government is attentive to their needs.“Only 2 percent of Jews and 5 percent of all Israelis think Israeli leadership is doing a moderately good or very good job at paying attention to what citizens want,” the IDI said in a press release.A majority of Jews believe the situation is not so good (47.9%) or not good at all (28.7%), according to the survey. In addition, over a third (35.6%) of those surveyed felt that when it comes to closing social gaps, the situation is “not so good” or “not good at all.”The good appeared to outweigh the bad, however, with some 80% of respondents saying they felt proud to be Israeli (51.1% among Arab respondents, 86.1% among Jewish respondents.)-Optimism was also high with 74% of Jews and 61% of Arabs responding positively to a question about how they feel about the future. The majority of the public (82% of Jews and 58% of Arabs) also feel “to a moderately large extent” or “to a very large extent” a part of the state of Israel and its problems, according to the survey.The country’s economic stability also ranked well with most Jews (62%) and Arabs (75%), who said Israel’s economic situation was “moderately good” or “good.”Medicine, health, and education services as well as science, ranked high with 70% of respondents seeing the country’s achievements in medicine and health as “moderately good” or “good.” Some 61% of Israelis felt the same way about achievements in education and science.The telephone survey, conducted on April 18-19, by the Midgam Research Institute, queried 600 respondents over the age of 18 who represented a national sample. Results have an error range of ±4.1% at a confidence level of 95%, the IDI said.

Will German president defy Netanyahu, meet Breaking the Silence?-Amid nadir in ties after FM’s visit, Frank-Walter Steinmeier due in Israel at the weekend; held talks with left-wing NGO on previous trip as minister-By Raphael Ahren May 1, 2017, 11:53 am-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL

Amid a deepening crisis in bilateral ties, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier is set to arrive in Israel next week, and it is currently unclear whether he will meet with the controversial Breaking the Silence NGO and thus risk being boycotted by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.Netanyahu last week canceled a planned meeting with German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel when the latter refused to cancel a sit-down with Breaking the Silence.The schedule for Steinmeier’s three-day visit has not been completed, German and Israeli officials told The Times of Israel on Monday, refusing to comment on the possibility that Netanyahu would decline to meet the German head of state.Steinmeier, who became Germany’s president in March, is landing on Saturday. So far, a meeting with Netanyahu is part of Steinmeier’s preliminary schedule. But Netanyahu’s new policy to shun foreign dignitaries who meet with Breaking the Silence puts a question mark over the planned encounter.President Reuven Rivlin, who met Gabriel last week, will host Steinmeier for a working lunch on Sunday, after which the German guest will answer questions from the traveling press.According to Der Spiegel, one of the few confirmed items on Steinmeier’s itinerary is a speech at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem focusing on “the threats facing both German and Israeli democracy.”In his previous position as foreign minister, Steinmeier, a Social Democrat, did meet with Breaking the Silence, which publishes anonymous testimony of Israeli soldiers alleging human rights violations against Palestinians in the West Bank. Germany’s former president, Joachim Gauck, has on previous trips to Israel also met the group.Last week, already strained Germany-Israel relations hit a new low when Netanyahu boycotted Gabriel due to his refusal to cancel his scheduled meeting with Breaking the Silence.The controversy over Gabriel then intensified when, in a newspaper op-ed, he said that “the Social Democrats were, like Jews, the first victims of the Holocaust.” His office later corrected that sentence, replacing the word “Holocaust” with “Nazism.”Yad Vashem, Israel’s official Holocaust memorial authority, which Gabriel had visited on Holocaust Remembrance Day last week, condemned Gabriel for appearing to compare the suffering of Jews and Social Democrats during the Nazi era. “It is very unfortunate that an unnecessary and historically incorrect statement found its way into the political storm,” it said, according to Yedioth Ahronoth.Ties between Jerusalem and Berlin were further strained this week by Germany’s efforts to create a European consensus on a resolution critical of Israel to be passed Tuesday at UNESCO, the UN’s cultural agency.The Arab group at UNESCO has agreed to soften the text of its biannual resolution lambasting Israel for purported activities in and around Jerusalem’s Old City in exchange for abstentions from all EU member states. According to Israeli officials, who want Western nations to vote against the text, Germany was a driving force behind the Arab-European agreement that would see all EU states abstain.Berlin’s move at UNESCO preceded the spat over Gabriel, but the fact that Netanyahu publicly snubbed the German foreign minister certainly did not help ease the tensions, Israeli officials said this week.Relations between Berlin and Jerusalem have been frosty for years. Earlier this year, Merkel postponed joint Israeli-German government consultations originally planned for May 10, citing scheduling difficulties ahead of national elections in September. However, she did find time to host Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas last month. In private conversations, German and Israeli officials acknowledged that Merkel’s cancellation was due to her frustration over Israeli legislation to retroactively authorize illegal West Bank outposts.The latest saga started when Netanyahu’s office presented Gabriel with an ultimatum ahead of his first visit to Israel as foreign minister: Either he canceled his planned meeting with Breaking the Silence, or he would be disinvited from the Prime Minister’s Office. But Gabriel, a seasoned politician from Germany’s main center-left party, insisted on the meeting.The German foreign minister said he regretted Netanyahu’s decision, but added that it is “no catastrophe” and that bilateral relations will remain unchanged.“In the past, the German embassy always invited them [Breaking the Silence],” Gabriel said Tuesday in his first reaction to Netanyahu’s snub. “There were never any difficulties; they were even once on the guest list of the federal president, therefore [the cancellation] came as a surprise to us.”A spokesperson for Chancellor Angela Merkel said she found Netanyahu’s snub of Gabriel “regrettable.” Talks with non-governmental organizations were common during foreign travel and should not set off a rift between allies, he said. “It should not be problematic for foreign visitors to meet with critical representatives of civil society.”But Netanyahu said that Breaking the Silence, which relies on anonymous testimonies to accuse Israeli soldiers of serious human rights violations, was beyond the pale.“Diplomats are welcome to meet with representatives of civil society but Prime Minister Netanyahu will not meet with those who lend legitimacy to organizations that call for the criminalization of Israeli soldiers,” his office declared.His position was seen as broadly popular in the Israeli public and was supported by most right-wing and even centrist politicians. Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely branded the NGO an “enemy,” saying it was worse than other pro-Palestinian groups since, she said, it seeks to get Israel’s soldiers prosecuted for war crimes at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.This incident was not the first time a visiting dignitary’s meeting with leftist NGOs caused irritation in Jerusalem.In February, Netanyahu instructed the Foreign Ministry to reprimand the Belgian ambassador to Israel because the country’s prime minister, Charles Michel, had met with Breaking the Silence and another dovish NGO, B’Tselem, a visit Jerusalem “views with utmost gravity,” according to a statement the PMO issued at the time.

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