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Wednesday, January 8, 2020    Volume XI, No. 4709   Yom Revii, 11 Tevet, 5780    

“Mr. Trump is so desperate for aggrandizement and survival that there’s no telling what extremes he will resort to in this campaign in order to win. Should he lose, he might claim the election was stolen and reject the verdict. Should he win, there will be no controlling his authoritarian impulses. Populist white nationalism will have scored a victory under a hollering demagogue with consequences too depressing to imagine. … A defeat of Mr. Trump in November would not go unavenged. No matter what, 2020 will end in turmoil. But the result will be momentous. It will stir hopes of a new age – or augur a dark one.” – Columnist Lawrence Martin laments the dawning of a new year given the divide within the US electorate vis a vis President Trump, despite the US's "goldilocks economy."  (Globe and Mail, Dec. 31, 2019)

Weekly Quotes     Short Takes    For Further Reference

                                       WEEKLY QUOTES

"In our case it was retaliation. He was a monster. And he's no longer a monster. He's dead. … They’re allowed to kill our people they’re allowed to maim our people; they’re allowed to blow up everything that we have and there’s nothing that stops them. And we are, according to various laws, supposed to be very careful with their cultural heritage. And you know? If that’s what the law is – I like to obey the law. But think of it, they kill our people, they blow up our people, but then we have to be very gentle with [their] cultural institutions. But I’m okay with it.” – said President Donald Trump in an interview following the killing of Iranian General Quassem Soleimani.  He responded to criticism against his suggestion that the US may respond to severe Iranian retaliation by blowing up Iranian cultural heritage sites.  (Realclearpolitics, Jan. 7, 2020)

"Let this serve as a WARNING that if Iran strikes any Americans, or American assets, we have targeted 52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years ago, some at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture, and those targets, and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD," -- Trump issued a stern warning to Iran through a series of Twitter messages intended to deter the country from retaliating after the US-ordered airstrike that killed Iran’s Gen. Qassem Soleimani last week. (Fox News, Jan. 5, 2020)

"If [US President Donald] Trump retaliates to Iran’s revenge, we will strike Haifa, Tel Aviv and wipe out Israel," -- said Mohsen Rezaei, a former chief of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps who currently serves as Expediency Council Secretary, according to the Hezbollah-affiliated Al-Manar news. The secretary added that Iran is "very serious" about taking revenge and would target all US interests in the region. (Jerusalem Post, Jan. 6, 2020)

“The United States is the main breaks in the region and its withdrawal would lead to an escalation, since the Iranians will continue to apply gas” to their aspirations of regional hegemony,” -- Brig.-Gen. (res.) Ilan Lavi warned during a conference held by the Alma Research and Education Center in Northern Israel. He responded to a letter sent from the head of the US military’s task force in Iraq to Abdul Amir, deputy director of Combined Joint Operations that sparked concern the US was removing its forces from Iraq after its parliament voted to oust American troops from the country following the assassination of top Iranian General Qasem Soleimani. (Jerusalem Post, Jan. 7, 2020)

“In light of our special relations and the steadfast friendship between our counties, I urge you to publicly condemn this erroneous decision, to acknowledge there is not a Palestinian state, that the court has no jurisdiction in this matter, which involves political issues to be determined by the parties, and to voice your deep concerns regarding its dangerous ramifications to the court and the region,” – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wrote. He personally appealed to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to condemn the International Criminal Court for taking a major step toward investigating Israel for alleged war crimes against Palestinians. (Globe and Mail, Dec. 25, 2019)

 “This was impeachment-lite – a strictly partisan affair with a rushed anticlimactic party-line vote. It lacked the gravitas, the drama, the national interest of other impeachments. Whether the charges against Mr. Trump were impeachment-worthy is debatable. And it was an impeachment that, judging by polls about the potential political damage for Republicans, augured well for the Republicans. Indeed, maybe the Democrats stood to suffer more damage for overreaching. … this trauma is likely to only deepen the country’s pathological political divide,” – political columnist Lawrence Martin writes.  He decries the Republican Party's not having expressed sorrow following the impeachment votes against President Trump.  (Globe and Mail, Dec. 19, 2019)

“Our father Mr. Josef Neumann was severely stabbed multiple times during the mass attack Saturday night .... Doctors are not optimistic about his chances to regain consciousness, and if our father does miraculously recover partially, doctors expect that he will have permanent damage to the brain; leaving him partially paralyzed and speech-impaired for the rest of his life. …Please continue to pray for Yehosef Ben Perel. (Yeohosef is our father’s Hebrew name. Ben means son, and Perel was the name of our grandmother OBM.) We urge fellow Jews across the United States and around the globe to please share on social media their own experiences with anti-Semitism and add the hashtag #MeJew. We shall not let this terrible hate-driven attack be forgotten, and let us all work to eradicate all sorts of hate.” – statement made by the family of Josef Neumann the 71-year-old man who was critically wounded in Saturday night’s stabbing incident at a Hanukkah celebration in Monsey, New York.  (Algemeiner, Jan. 1, 2020)

                                           SHORT TAKES
NETANYAHU: TRUMP ‘WORTHY OF ALL APPRECIATION’ FOR ASSASSINATING IRANIAN GENERAL (Jerusalem) -- At a Cabinet meeting on Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu noted that Soleimani “initiated, planned and carried out many terror attacks” in the Middle East and beyond  Netanyahu commented that President Donald Trump is “worthy of all appreciation” for ordering the killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani. (United With Israel, Jan. 5, 2020)

IRAQI PARLIAMENT PASSES MEANINGLESS RESOLUTION TO END FOREIGN TROOP PRESENCE (Baghdad) -- Iraq’s parliament passed a nonbinding resolution calling on the government to end the presence of foreign troop presence in Iraq. Not only is the resolution non-binding, but the caretaker prime minister isn’t legally authorized to sign the bill into law. As well, no timetable is attached to the resolution.  Moreover, the Iraqi parliament that passed the resolution was barely able to muster a quorum. Only 173 of the 329 Iraqi lawmakers participated. Nearly all of those who did are Shiite representatives. The Kurds and the Sunnis presumably would like U.S. forces to remain in Iraq. (Powerline, Jan. 5, 2020)

IRAN HITS US BASES IN IRAQ, WARNS ESCALATION WOULD REACH ISRAEL (Tehran) -- Iran fired ballistic missiles at U.S. military targets in Iraq in retaliation for the killing last week of a top general and warned that if the United States escalates, Iran’s next targets would be U.S. allies, including Israel. There were no immediate reports of casualties. (JTA, Jan. 7, 2020)

IRAN THREATENS TO KILL TRUMP, OFFERS $80 MILLION REWARD FOR ASSASSINATION (Tehran) -- During the funeral for Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, killed by a U.S. drone by direct order from President Donald Trump, Iranian state television announced that Iran will pay the hefty sum of $80 million, representing Iran’s population of 80 million, to anyone who avenges Soleimani’s death by assassinating President Trump. (WIN, Jan. 6, 2020)

SUPREME COURT WILL NOT BLOCK BIBI FROM RUNNING IN NEXT ELECTION (Jerusalem) -- Israel’s High Court of Justice dismissed a petition submitted by 67 plaintiffs to deprive current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of the right to form a new government, claiming that such issues should not be brought to the court prior to an election. The petition demanded that Netanyahu should be forbidden from forming a government, given that he faces indictments for bribery, fraud and breach of trust. The court did not return a verdict and Supreme Court Chief Justice Esther Hayut stated that there were no legal obstacles blocking Netanyahu’s bid to form a new government, the newspaper reported. Israelis are set to go to the polls on 2 March to vote in parliamentary elections. (JOL, Jan. 1, 2020)

NETANYAHU FILES OFFICIAL REQUEST FOR IMMUNITY (Jerusalem) -- Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu officially presented a request for immunity in a 71-point letter handed to Yuli Edelstein, Speaker of the Knesset, in connection with the indictments he faces in three criminal cases. The letter, written by the prime minister’s defense attorneys asked for immunity on the grounds that he was unfairly singled out, and that prosecuting the prime minister would harm the functioning of the government and the Knesset. They also argue the prime minister is innocent. (Jewish Press, Jan. 1, 2020)

NEW POLICY REDUCES VISA PERIODS FOR ISRAELIS TO THE US (Washington) -- New changes to the U.S. administration’s visa policy targeting only Israelis reduces the period of time they can use visas for investment, work and study purposes in the United States.The biggest change was regarding the investors E2 visa document, which the U.S. government announced seven months ago that it would grant to Israeli citizens. Most world citizens who request an E2 visa can get a five-year permit, but the maximum period Israelis can get was reduced to only two years. (Jewish Press, Jan. 4, 2020)

TERRORIST WHO MURDERED ARI FULD HY’D CONVICTED (Ofer) -- The military court at the Ofer base convicted Khalil Jabarin, 18, who murdered Ari Fuld on September 16, 2018, at Gush Etzion Junction. Jabarin was convicted of causing death intentionally and of three offenses of willful attempted murder. After having been stabbed, Fuld, 45, heroically chased and shot his assailant who was attempting to attack a Jewish woman. Having stopped the Arab terrorist, Fuld then collapsed and died of his wounds. (Jewish Press, Jan. 6, 2020)

IAI TO BUILD DROR 1, ISRAEL’S NATIONAL COMMUNICATIONS SATELLITE (Jerusalem) -- Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) won the government tender to develop and build Dror 1, Israel’s national communications satellite, which is intended to meet Israel’s satellite communications needs for approximately 15 years. Dror 1 will be based mostly on technologies developed in Israel by IAI, including an advanced digital communications platform, dubbed a “smartphone in space” that enables communication flexibility throughout its space operations. (Jewish Press, Jan. 4, 2020)

‘TOP NINE’ INSTAGRAM COLLAGE APP, DEVELOPED BY ISRAELI, HITS #1 IN US STORES (Jerusalem) -- From classmates and coworkers to the Kardashians, many Instagram users wrapped up 2019 with a three-by-three grid collage of their most popular posts from the year, using an app based in Tel Aviv and developed by an Israeli. “Top Nine” — available for download as a third-party application to the popular picture-posting social media platform — has gone viral and now holds the #1 spot in both the US and UK app stores. It is also available on Google Play. According to Natanzon, “Top Nine” is the first Israeli app to have reached #1 since “Waze,” the popular driving navigation aid acquired by Google in 2013. It now has 130 million monthly users globally. (Algemeiner, Jan. 1, 2020)

NETFLIX RELEASES DOCUMENTARY SERIES ON MURDER OF ARGENTINE AMIA BOMBING PROSECUTOR ALBERTO NISMAN (Los Gatos) -- Five years after the murder Alberto Nisman — the Argentine federal prosecutor who was investigating the worst terror outrage in the history of Latin America — streaming giant Netflix unveiled its new documentary series “The Prosecutor, the President and the Spy” in its latest offerings for 2020. Nisman spent more than a decade probing the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish center in the Argentine capital, and then later exposed the role of former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and her colleagues in a cover-up of Iran’s responsibility for the atrocity. Hours before he was due to unveil a complaint against the Kirchner government over its alleged collusion with Iran on Jan. 19, 2015, Nisman’s lifeless body was discovered in his Buenos Aires apartment. (Algemeiner, Jan. 1, 2020)

PALESTINIAN NGOS REJECT EUROPEAN AID, DUE TO REFUSAL TO RENOUNCE TERROR TIES (Ramallah) -- Over 100 Palestinian NGOs have refused to sign an EU grant request because it demands that funds cannot be handed over to terrorist groups. (Algemeiner, Dec. 31, 2019)

UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO UNION CONDEMNED FOR TARGETING JEWISH PROGRESSIVE, CALLING JEWISH GROUPS ‘FOREIGN’ AGENTS (Toronto) -- A Canadian Jewish civil rights group is calling out a labor union at the University of Toronto over a series of “anti-Israel and antisemitic tweets.”   This follows recent comments targeting a Jewish Twitter user and past accusations that Canadian Jewish groups were foreign agents. The Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 3902 (CUPE 3902) represents some 9,500 contract academic workers at U of T, including teaching assistants, student and postdoctoral course instructors, and sessional lecturers, among others. It operates under the umbrella of CUPE, Canada’s largest labor union. In July, the union called B’nai Brith — a Canadian Jewish group — “a front organisation for the Israeli apartheid state,” and suggested that it was guilty of “foreign interference in Canadian affairs. (Algemeiner, Jan. 7, 2020)

POLISH CHILDREN WEAR GERMAN NAZI UNIFORMS REENACT AUSCHWITZ GASSING IN SCHOOL SHOW (Labunie) – Polish primary school students recently staged an Auschwitz-themed performance in which some schoolchildren wore Nazi uniforms, while others re-enacted the gassing of prisoners at the German-run concentration camp during World War II. The show — organized under the supervision of teachers — was intended to commemorate the thousands of Polish children deported and killed under Nazi occupation in the World War II-era. (Algemeiner, Jan. 1, 2020)

MINUTES AFTER TAKEOFF FROM TEHRAN, UKRAINIAN PLANE CRASHES, KILLING 176 (Tehran) -- A Ukrainian passenger jet carrying 176 people crashed on Wednesday, just minutes after taking off from the Iranian capital’s main airport, turning farmland on the outskirts of Tehran into fields of flaming debris and killing all on board. The crash of Ukraine International Airlines came hours after Iran launched a ballistic missile attack on Iraqi bases housing U.S. soldiers, but both Ukrainian and Iranian officials said they suspected a mechanical issue brought down the Boeing 737-800 aircraft. (WIN, Jan. 8, 2020)

                            FOR FURTHER REFERENCE

WATCH LIVE: ‘No Hate, No Fear’ Rally Against Anti-Semitism in New YorkUnited With Israel, Jan. 5, 2020 -- The massive show of solidarity was organized by several key Jewish organizations, including the American Jewish Committee, UJA-Federation, and the Anti-Defamation League.

I Faced Soleimani's Forces; Dems Are Mourning a War Criminal:  Tony Shaffer, Realclearpolitics, Jan. 7, 2020 -- As someone who went toe-to-toe with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in Afghanistan, I can assure you that Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani got exactly what he deserved when he perished in a U.S. drone strike. What he certainly doesn't deserve is praise from Democrat lawmakers who would rather mourn a war criminal than credit President Trump for making the world safer. 

Americans Will Rally Around Trump on Iran:  Conrad Black, American Greatness, Jan. 6, 2020 -- The Democrats have stumbled into yet another beartrap in their unanimous objection to President Trump’s order to kill the world’s leading terrorist, Iranian general Qassem Soleimani.
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