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Lion Wins Jerusalem Mayoral Run-Off

Jerusalemites awoke Wednesday morning to the news that city councilman Moshe Lion had achieved a victory in the previous day’s run-off election against councilman Ofer Berkovitch, garnering a mere 6,500 more votes in a race which saw historically low turnout. "I will be mayor of all, even those who have not chosen me," Lion said following the announcment of the results, in an apparent effort to push back against accusations by his predecessor, outgoing mayor Nir Barkat, that he is a “puppet” of the ultraorthodox political factions which backed him in the race.

Lion will enter the mayor’s office with an unusual legal and politicalhandicap since his Jerusalem Shelanu party failed to win even a single seat on the city council. Berkovitch’s Hitorerut party, by contrast, secured seven seats, making it the largest single faction on the 31-seat Council.

55 other municipalities and local councils held run-off elections on Tuesday, with several being marred by accusations of voter fraud. 

Iran Projected to Suffer Deep Economic Recession
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) issued a report on Tuesday projecting that the inflation rate in Iran will increase by 40% by the end of 2018, fueling the massive economic recession which the Islamic Republic is already suffering from. "This largely reflects the expected impact of the reimposition of U.S. sanctions on Iran, which is likely to reduce Iranian oil production and exports significantly over the next two years at least," the IMF said.

Here is a video which gives some analysis of why the Iranian Government is in so much financial trouble

BDS Movement Suffers Another Defeat
The movement to Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) Israel suffered another defeat this week when Franklin Templeton Investments, one of the world’s largest investment management companies, opened an office in the Jewish State. “Franklin Templeton views Israel as a unique and important growth market,” said Jenny Johnson, president and COO of Franklin Templeton Investments.

Israel Blesses the World
Israel marked World Diabetes Day on Wednesday by taking note of the many medical breakthroughs make the disease more manageable for the estimated 425 million adults around the world who have been diagnosed with it. The developments include an “insulin pill” which allows people to avoid painful and expensive injections, developed by Israeli researchers at company called Oramed. Another company, Caesarea-based DarioHealth Corp., developed new software which helps people dealing with diabetes to personalize their treatments.

Lieberman Resigns as Defense Minister Following Cease-Fire

A tense calm greeted Gaza border residents Wednesday morning following a cease-fire agreement the previous evening following 48 hours in which over 460 rockets and mortars were fired into Israel from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip and the IDF hit approximately 160 terror targets in the Strip. Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman objected to accepting a cease-fire, prompting him to resign his position and setting in motion a series of political maneuvers fueling speculation about the possibility of early elections.

Almost immediately after Lieberman’s announcement, the Bayit Yehudi faction said it would quit the coalition if its leader, Education Minister Naftali Bennet, is not given the position. Likud Ministers, including Transportation and Intelligence Minister Israel Katz and Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman and former Shin Bet chief Avi Dichter were also reportedly interested in the position.

Meanwhile, residents of Gaza border communities protested the cease-fire, saying that Israel should have taken a more aggressive response to the rocket fire and predicting that not doing so ensured that another round of hostilities will break out in the not-too-distant-future.

Here are some videos showing the residents of these communities telling their stories

The cease-fire agreement was reportedly mediated by diplomats from Egypt, the UN, Norway and Switzerland. In related diplomatic developments, the US, France, Germany, Britain, Austria and the Czech Republic all issued strong statements condemning the rocket attacks on Israel while Turkey issued a statement condemning Israel’s counterattacks while barely mentioning the Hamas actions. The UN and Russia issued a more neutral statement calling on “all sides to exercise restraint.”

Meanwhile, the Kerem Shalom border crossing from Israel into Gaza remained open for the duration of the hostilities, ensuring that hundreds of truckloads of humanitarian supplies continued flowing to the civilian population of the Strip.

Hundreds of Rockets Fired Into Israel From Gaza

Over 400 rockets, mortars and anti-tank missiles had been fired into Israel from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip by late Tuesday morning, while the IDF reported striking 150 targets in the Strip belonging to Hamas or the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror militia. Additionally, IDF ground units had been moved into position outside the Strip in possible preparation for an incursion. “The IDF is determined to fulfill its mission of defending Israeli citizens, and is prepared and ready for a variety of scenarios, as necessary,” said an IDF statement. At press time, at least one individual had been killed in Israel several more wounded, while sources in the Strip reported that several Hamas and PIJ terrorists have also been killed and wounded.

“The resistance factions’ joint command center is holding a serious conversation about expanding its range of fire. Ashkelon is just the beginning. Approximately one million Zionists will be within the range of our missiles if the Zionist enemy’s decision is to continue its aggression,” Hamas spokesperson Abu Obeida said Tuesday morning, implying that the cities of Beersheeba and Ashdod would also be targeted. A PIJ statement sounded a similar warning.

However, officials from Hamas and Israel have both said they don’t want an escalation and Egyptian intelligence officials are reportedly trying to find a way to end the hostilities.

Here are some videos related to this story

Israel Blesses the World
Over 5,000 specialists from 80 countries and represtenting dozens of large and small private companies, military and security services and other government agencies were in Tel Aviv on Monday to attend the fifth biennial International Homeland Security & Cyber Conference, learning from Israel’s hard-won expertise in these critical areas. Over 150 Israeli companies are also at the Conference showcasing training, equipment, software and best practices they have to offer in the fields of national security, intelligence, crowd protection, mass transit security, cybersecurity and financial tech.

“Israel has become one of the leading hubs in homeland security and cybersecurity in the last few years,” Adiv Baruch, chairman of the Israel Export Institute and one of the leaders of the conference, told the Jerusalem Post. “They are two different markets and solutions, but are all connected as they are supposed to provide a better, safer life for civilians in each country.”

Here is a video showing other ways Israel is blessing the world

BDS Movement Suffers Another Defeat

Orchid Sports Cars opened the first-of-its-kind car dealership in Israel selling automobiles from the luxury Bentley brand, owned by the Volkswagen group and manufactured in the UK. The cars on offer range in price from NIS 1.575 million to NIS 3 million, with Bentley reporting that orders for several units have already been placed by Israeli customers.

Saudi Arabia to Cut Oil Production Following Iran Waivers
Following the granting of waivers to several of Iran’s largest oil customers by the US State Department and a subsequent plunge in global petroleum prices, Saudi Arabia announced on Monday it is cutting production in order to reduce excess supply volumes and stabilize the market. "Sanctions didn’t cut so much out of the market as anticipated," Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Khalid al-Falih said in explaining the move. However, the production cut was harshly criticized in several world capitals as being unnecessary and counterproductive. 

Gaza Border Tense Following Deadly Weekend

Tensions were running high along the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip Monday afternoon following an incident inside the Strip late Sunday which ended in the death of an IDF Lt. Colonel and another Israeli soldier wounded. Seven Palestinians, including a senior Hamas commander according to the IDF, were also reportedly killed in the exchange of fire and a volley of rockets were fired into southern Israel before a tense quiet returned to the region as both sides apparently decided to wait and see what the other sides next move would be.

The IDF released a short statement saying that the soldier killed in action was Lt Colonel “M” and was 41 years old and leaving behind a wife and two children who live in northern Israel. Beyond that, the IDF spokesperson said simply that "a force acted as part of the IDF's efforts to preserve Israel's superiority over its enemies in a wide range of areas. The night force carried out a lengthy operation during which it encountered a very complex reality…the fighters acted heroically. From the moment they were discovered they conducted a heroic battle. The actions of Lieutenant Colonel M. will not be published, but Lt. -Col. M. deserves the respect of us all."

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cut short his trip to Paris, where he had been participating in events to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI, to return to Israel, telling reporters he was “doing everything possible to ensure calm in Gaza and to prevent a needless war.”

17 rockets and other projectiles were also fired into Israel early Monday morning, prompting schools to cancel classes and some public transportation to temporarily shut down as well.

Floods Kill 13 in Jordan
Israel and Jordan were hit by severe flash flooding in the Dead Sea region over the weekend, with 13 people reportedly killed in Jordan and many more injured or displaced. Authorities in both countries lamented that citizens had gone hiking in the region despite warnings that it wasn’t safe, putting their lives in jeopardy and forcing civil defense units to rescue them.

London Kristallnacht Commemoration Event Disrupted
An event last Wednesday at Speaker’s Corner in London’s Hyde Park organized by the Israel Advocacy Movement and meant to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Kristallnacht massacres in Nazi Germany and Austria, as well as Jewish victims of terrorism in Arab countries, had to be dispersed after men ran up and started shouting in Arabic about killing Jews. Joseph Cohen, an Israel Advocacy Movement activist told JTA “As if on cue, before we’d even begun, an extremist began screaming a death chant of Jews. The vigil went from bad to worse, they shouted us down, they would not allow us to remember our dead until we had to call off the vigil.”

Jerusalem Mayoral Race Gets Ugly on Eve of Second Round
Jerusalem Mayoral Candidate Ofer Berkovitch told Army Radio Monday morning that his campaign is considering legal action against Minister of the Interior and Shas Chairman Aryeh Deri over remarks he made Sunday evening at a political rally, referring to Berkovitch and saying "He wants to destroy our holy city. Satan has called for his reserves. Satan mobilizes everyone, incites and lies, divides and conquers. Amos Shocken recruites his power for Berkovitch."

“There are people who allow themselves to cross boundaries. This is a very serious matter," Berkovitch explained. "I expect Deri to apologize for his words. This is not democratic behavior. We're considering all options - legal as well as police action against him."

In related news, the Israeli-Arab village of Kfar Manda in the Galilee region was engulfed in rioting Sunday evening following municipal elections in which the victorious faction won by a mere 24 votes. Police had reportedly waded into the area making several arrests and suffering a fair amount of violence themselves as villagers took a break from attacking each other with crude weapons to attack police instead.

Today's multi-media is the Remebrance Day sermon at Christchurch Jerusalem, the oldest Protestant Church in the Middle East

Iranian Security Forces in Brutal Crackdown Amidst Sanctions

In a sign of increased turmoil inside Iran, a former employee of the foreign ministry, one of several dozen individuals arrested in recent months on suspicion of “spying” for the Islamic Republic’s enemies was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Sunday. Also on Sunday, the Iranian Interior Ministry announced that another two individuals suspected of engaging in “economic crimes” and “spreading corruption on earth” were sentenced to death. Nearly 100 other people are reportedly on trial for similar charges, with many more having already been convicted as the clerical regime attempts to shift blame for increasingly difficult conditions in Iran away from itself.

On Saturday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told an interviewer on State TV that recently tightened US sanctions designed to dissuade Iran from pursuing its renegade nuclear program "have had no impact on our economy because America had already used all the weapons at its disposal and there was nothing new to use against us."

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said recently that "Treasury's imposition of unprecedented financial pressure on Iran should make clear to the Iranian regime that they will face mounting financial isolation and economic stagnation until they fundamentally change their destabilizing behavior."

Here is a video giving some analysis of the situation

Israel Holds War Games with Greece Amidst Regional Tensions

Against a backdrop of regional tensions, the Israeli Air Force wrapped up a series of war games with the Hellenic Air Force in Greece this week, practicing a variety of maneuvers expected to be relevant in any potential conflict scenarios. Also this week, a senior officer loyal to Syria’s Assad regime boasted during an interview with the Russian Sputnik News network that the recent deployment of an S-300 air defense system to Syria “minimized” the chances of Israeli air operations against Iranian targets in Syria.

Belgium Upgrading PA’s Diplomatic Mission
Belgium took a step towards formally recognizing the “State of Palestine” this week when it upgraded the Palestinian Authority’s diplomatic mission in Brussels, according to a PA official. However, the Belgian Foreign Ministry told The Jerusalem Post that “Belgium has not changed its position regarding Palestine…the ‘enhancement’ of the status of the Mission of Palestine in Brussels doesn’t imply any change in the position of Belgium on the question of the recognition of a Palestinian state.”

Police Recommend Indictments in ‘Submarine Affair’
Reports surfaced this week that the Israel Police have completed their investigation into the so-called “Submarines Affair” officially known as “Case 3000” and have recommended the indictment of David Shimron, the personal lawyer and relative of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as former Israel Navy commander Eliezer Marom. The police statement said recommendations were made to indict four other suspects, including military officers and former close aides to Netanyahu. The announcement led to immediate calls by opposition politicians for Netanyahu to resign and is expected to complicate his plans for the next election campaign.

Israel Blesses the World
Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam, recently received two GEN-350 atmospheric water generators as a gift from Israeli philanthropist Dr. Michael Mirilashvili. President of the Watergen company which builds the generators. The equipment, which draws water out of the atmosphere and distills it for household use, will alleviate shortages which have long plagued the city of 7.5 million people. “Watergen is honored to share the benefits of Israeli water technology to the people of Vietnam by providing them with a fundamental lifeline of drinking water,” said Mirilashvili.

Today's video gives some analysis of the effect on Iran of renewed economic sanctions

US Renews Nuclear Sanctions on Iran

Crowds gathered in major Iranian cities on Sunday evening to mark the 39th anniversary of the seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran during the 1979 Islamic Revolution, just a few hours before sanctions meant to curtail the Islamic Republic’s renegade nuclear program and support for terrorism were re-imposed by the US. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement on Saturday evening thanking the Trump Administration and saying, "For years I've been calling for sanctions to be fully reimposed against Iran's murderous terrorist regime, which threatens the entire world."

8 countries were reportedly granted 6 month waivers which will allow them to continue buying Iranian oil without facing penalties, as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo explained during a Fox News interview that some countries “need a little bit more time” to come into compliance with the sanctions.

"America wanted to cut to zero Iran's oil sales...but we will continue to sell our break sanctions," Iranian President Hassan Rohani said in a speech broadcast on State TV early Monday morning.

Here are some videos which give a more complete picture of the situation

Christian Allies of Israel Meet with Arab Leaders

Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman hosted a group of Evangelical Christians in Riyadh on Thursday, including Joel C. Rosenberg and Mike Evans, both well-known allies of the Jewish State. “We were pleased by the invitation extended to us more than two months ago by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia," the delegation said in a statement. "Without question, this is a season of tremendous change in the Middle East, and therefore we have been grateful for the opportunity to meet in-person with key Arab leaders to understand their goals and to ask direct questions. We look forward to building upon these relationships and continuing the dialogue.”

The delegation also met with several senior Ministers in the Saudi government and they came to Riyadh following a similar visit to Abu Dhabi where they met with with Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed and senior officials of his government. Previously, they met with the leadership of Egypt and Jordan.

Netanyahu in Bulgaria
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flew to Bulgaria on Thursday for meetings with the leaders of that country as well as Romania, Greece and Serbia. The meetings are meant to build stronger relationships with Balkan allies and serve, in part, as a counter-balance to the increasingly hostile diplomatic stance taken towards Israel elsewhere in the European Union. “This is a process that will take time, but I believe in setting a goal, and systematically setting out to achieve it – and I believe this is something we will achieve with time,” he told reporters at Ben Gurion Airport just prior to boarding his flight.

Here is the video of Netanyahu’s joint press appearance with his Bulgarian counterpart

Here is the video of his statement along with the other Balkan leaders at the summit

Iranian FM Accuses Israel of Conspiring to Wreck JCPOA
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif sent out two tweets Thursday accusing Israel of entering into a conspiracy to turn world powers against his country and convince European powers in particular to think twice about continued support for the JCPOA nuclear deal. He explained in the tweets that Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency is responsible for “false flag” operations which make it appear as if Iranian agents have engaged in nefarious activities in European countries.

Israel Blesses the World
Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade of the Nigerian state of Cross River announced this week that he has signed an agreement with Israel’s Ministry of Agriculture to train farmers in his state in order to boost food production and general economic performance. “Cross River is fully prepared to become number one rice producer in Nigeria with the training and equipping of over 1000 farmers with 21st century farming skills in the first phase of the training progam,” he said. “I brought experts from Israel to train us and allow us to have the full benefit of our rice factory that we have set up here for maximal benefits to the citizenry.”

China-Israel Cooperation Deals Signed
The movement to Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) Israel suffered another defeat on Thursday when officials from China and Israel signed a large number of high-level bilateral collaboration agreements at the fourth annual China Yunnan-Israel Innovation Cooperation Forum in Tel Aviv. The agreements, covering various aspects of academic, economic, agricultural and technological cooperation, hold the potential for billions of dollars of investment in the Jewish state and the creation of tens of thousands of jobs.

Russia Warns Israel to Curtail Activity in Syria
Russia’s Defense Ministry issued a statement Thursday warning against “hot heads” who might be tempted to escalate the situation in Syria, with Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov specifically mentioning that the recently deployed S-300 air defense system was meant to deter such adventurism. Sources in the Kremlin confirmed to media outlets that the statement had been meant for Israel, which has reportedly continued to strike at Iranian targets in Syria despite Teheran’s alliance with Russia.

Today’s video shows how archeologists are finding proof of the Bible in Israel

Iran Angrily Denounces Danish Accusations

Iran’s Foreign Ministry has put on a flamboyant display of outraged indignation over Denmark’s accusations that Iranian agents were in the advanced stages of a plot to murder an Iranian dissident on Danish soil, summoning Denmark’s ambassador in Teheran for a “strong protest” Wednesday and mounting a public relations campaign against the accusation in various media outlets, as well as online. Denmark promptly recalled its ambassador and has announced plans to consult with its European allies in an effort to form a united front against Iran’s aggression.

"There is a need to show Iran that we are well aware of what took place and that we don't accept it," Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said on Wednesday. Denmark has received diplomatic support for its moves from the US and the European Commision.

A man of Iranian descent but holding a Norwegian passport was arrested earlier this month in Sweden on suspicion of taking part in illegal activities. He was extradited to Denmark and is being held there on suspicion of participation in a plot to assassinate the leader of the Danish branch of the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of al-Ahvaz (ASMLA), an organization which wishes to gain independence for ethnic Arabs in the southwestern Iranian province of Khuzestan. Iranian security officials have accused the group of terrorist attacks in Iran, including a deadly shooting attack on a military parade in Teheran earlier this year.

In related news, Iranian President Hassan Rohani said during a televised meeting with his cabinet on Wednesday that "The situation was hard for people in the recent months, and it may be hard in the next several months, too." He was referring to the catastrophic economic conditions in Iran which most analysts expect to worsen following the imposition of even more strict sanctions by the US in response to the Islamic Republic’s continuation of its renegade nuclear program.

“You will not be able to reach any of your goals with regard to Iran's oil," Rouhani warned the US in his remarks. "You will not be able to bring it to zero or reduce it."

Here is a video offering some analysis of current events in Iran

Boeing Signs Multi-Billion Dollar Deal with Israel

The movement to Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) Israel suffered another crushing defeat this week when the American-based industrial conglomerate Boeing signed a deal with the Israeli Ministry of Economy for reciprocal spending which will see Boeing investing billions of dollars in Israel’s economy in exchange for the governments purchase of Boeing’s military aircraft. "Our years-long partnership with Israel essentially commenced with the establishment of the state," said Leanne Caret, CEO of Boeing Defense, Space & Security. "This agreement ensures that the relationship and partnership will continue to grow and prosper in the coming decades."

"A reciprocal purchase agreement on such a scale is a significant achievement which will lead to the growth of many companies in the domestic market, and to expand their activities and success in international markets," added Economy Minister Eli Cohen. "We will continue to insist that foreign companies fulfill their obligation to purchase in return from Israeli industry, which will enable the growth of employment, industry and state revenues."

Another defeat for the BDS movement came from the World Bank Group’s “Doing Business 2019” which was published on Wednesday and listed Israel as the 49th easiest economy for doing business worldwide, an improvement over last year’s rankings and putting Israel in the top 25% of countries worldwide.

Canadian FM Avoids Saying ‘Two-State Solution’
Visiting Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, seen by some as a probable successor to current Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, gave remarks to the press Wednesday alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in which she pointedly avoiding using the phrase “two-state solution” and otherwise spoke very favorably of the Jewish State. “We have an unwavering, ironclad commitment to the security of Israel,” she said. “We support Israel’s right to live in peace and we are committed to a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East.”

Here is the video of the press conference between Freeland and Israeli PM Netanyahu

Egypt Hosting Arab Forces for War Games
The Egyptian military announced on Wednesday that forces and observers from the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Jordan, Lebanon and Morocco will begin a large exercise in Egypt this Saturday under the banner of "The Shield of the Arabs 1" and touted by some as the foundations of an Arab version of the NATO alliance. The exercises, which will include maneuvers by land, air, sea and Special Forces, will run for two weeks and conclude on 16 November.

Today’s video gives a look at how Israelis stay healthy


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