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Israel Pounded by Heavy Rains and Freezing Temps

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9 Jan 2019 (All day)
Israel Pounded by Heavy Rains and Freezing Temps
Israelis from Dan in the north to Ber Sheeva in the south were bundling up and staying inside as much as possible Wednesday as the latest winter storm dumped rain, snow, sleet and hail over large swaths of the Holy Land. The Sea of Galilee has seen a noticeable rise and the Golan Heights are covered in a thick coat of snow which will slowly melt in the spring, releasing even more water into the Sea. However, hopes for snow in Jerusalem have so far proven elusive.

Political Manoeuvres Continue Ahead of Elections
The bad news for Labor Party leader Avi Gabbay continued on Tuesday when Henrique Cymerman, a candidate for Labor in the upcoming elections, disclosed to the Jerusalem Post that he had organized several trips for Gabbay to visit Arab countries in the last 18 months, leading to outrage among Labor Party members to whom Gabbay had said he was sick at home during the time he was actually on some of those trips. 

“We received an impression that there is much to be done by reaching out to countries who are interested not just in the Israeli government but also in the opposition,” Cymerman explained. “They want relations not just with the government but also with the Israeli people.”

Elsewhere, MK Ahmad Tibi's Ta'al (Arab Movement for Change) party received approval from the Knesset on Wednesday to withdraw from the Joint (Arab) List faction. The move came a few days after party stalwarts MK Haneen Zoabi, Balad MK Jamal Zahalka and United Arab List MK Masud Gnaim and Dov Henin of Hadash communicated to the media that they would not be running in the upcoming elections.

“Netanyahu is the one who would like to see the Joint List break apart most, and the extreme Right would love to divide and rule the Arabs,” Joint List leader Ayman Odeh tweeted. “I am proud to be a part of a political party that puts their ideologies before personal interests.”

Erdogan Enraged by US Position on Kurds
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reacted furiously Tuesday to a statement by US National Security Advisor John Bolton that America’s withdrawal from Syria will be conditioned on, among other things, a Turkish guarantee of protection for US-backed Kurdish forces in eastern Syria. Erdogan told Turkish media that “Bolton has made a serious mistake and whoever thinks like this has also made a mistake. It is not possible for us to make compromises on this point.”

Israeli Spy Convicted
Gonen Segev, who previously served as Israel’s energy and infrastructure minister before being convicted of drug smuggling, forgery and fraud and going into self-imposed exile in West Africa, was convicted by the Jerusalem District Court on Wednesday morning on charges that he engaged in espionage against Israel on behalf of Iran. The conviction was part of a plea bargain, with the sentencing hearings scheduled for 11 February.

Kraft Receives Genesis Prize
Robert Kraft, owner of the NFL’s New England Patriots and the main sponsor of the Kraft Family Israel Football League, among other interests, was named the 2019 2019 Genesis Prize Laureate by the Genesis Prize Foundation on Wednesday. The so-called “Jewish Nobel Prize” recognizes people for “their outstanding professional achievement, contribution to humanity, and commitment to Jewish values and Israel.”

Today's video gives some analysis of US policy in the Middle East


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