Netanyahu Secures Right Flank Ahead of Elections

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17 Feb 2020
Netanyahu Secures Right Flank Ahead of Elections
With just a little over two weeks until Israel’s third Knesset elections in a single calendar year, the leaders of the Shas, United Torah Judaism and Yamina factions posted a statement over the weekend pledging their support for incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and declaring that they would not enter negotiations to join a governing coalition led by anyone else. Also on Sunday, the Tzomet Party dropped out of the race with a statement urging its supporters to vote for Likud. Voting by diplomats at overseas embassies and consulates is scheduled to begin on Tuesday.

Here is a video of Netanyahu addressing a group of American Jewish Leaders on Sunday



Gilad Schalit Proposes to Girlfriend
Israelis were delighted over the weekend at the news that Gilad Schalit, an IDF soldier who was held hostage by the Islamist terror militia Hamas in the Gaza Strip for 5 years between June 2006 and October 2011, had proposed to his girlfriend Nitzan Shabbat. The couple had been together for a year and a half prior to Shalit posting the picture of her wearing the wring he’d offered her on Friday afternoon.

Israel Responds to Rocket Fire from Gaza
Rockets were fired into Israel from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip on Saturday morning, prompting retaliatory strikes on Hamas positions in the central city of Deir el-Balah and the southern city of Khan Yunis by IAF jets and helicopters later in the afternoon. Hamas “bears responsibility for what is happening in and out of the Gaza Strip, and it will face the consequences for terrorist actions against Israeli citizens,” the IDF said, adding that it “will continue to act as necessary against attempts to harm Israeli civilians.”

Heredim Agree to Secular Subjects in Schools
In a dramatic development, senior United Torah Judaism MK Moshe Gafni announced over the weekend that the senior rabbinic leadership of the Ultra-Orthodox (haredi) community has approved the study of “secular” subjects, such as Math, English and others, in elementary boys' schools. He said the move came in response to complaints from the parents of haredi children at the lack of preparation for gainful employment offered by these schools.

Iranian Leaders Signal Continued Defiance to US
Iranian President Hassan Rohani made a fiery campaign speech over the weekend ahead of parliamentary elections scheduled for later this week, declaring that “America's 'maximum pressure' toward Iran is doomed to failure…we will never yield to America's pressure and we will not negotiate from a position of weakness.” He then added, without any apparent intent to project irony, that "Securing peace and stability in the sensitive region of the Middle East and in the Persian Gulf is impossible without Iran's help."

His speech came a day after Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif addressed the Munich Security Conference, declaring among other things thar "I believe President Trump, unfortunately, does not have good advisers. He's been wanting for Iran to collapse since he withdrew from the nuclear deal."

Nasrallah Threatens US with Economic Sanctions
Hezbollah’s Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah gave a thunderous speech from the safety of an undisclosed bunker somewhere deep underneath the city of Beirut on Sunday, declaring among other things that the assassination of IRGC Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani and the release of US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan has "ushered in direct confrontation with the axis of resistance in Lebanon.” He added that “All the people of the region will carry a rifle, because this American tyrant has left no room for anyone.”

“We have never seen an American regime like Trump’s,” he added. “When Trump kills the leaders in a public and brutal manner, he declares war and we are still slowly reacting. The Israeli enemy has a major weakness which is the human losses; similarly, the Americans have their economic and financial situation as a point of fragility.  Hezbollah hit the Israeli enemy at its weakness – so, likewise, we can concentrate on the US economic interests.” He continued by saying that “'The Deal of the Century' is a Zionist plot to end Palestinian causes. “No people in the world would accept a proposed state like [this].In fact, this is not a deal, it’s a dictation, [and] its failure depends on the resistance of Islamic states…we are not afraid of the US, and we believe in our own capabilities and faith.”

Today’s video gives an in-depth look at Israel’s security challenges