Benjamin Netanyahu has won his reelection campaign. Though the official results are not yet available, the standing Prime Minister has claimed victory, and his main rival, Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog, has conceded defeat. Netanyahu’s political party, the Likud Party, also earned 30 seats in the country’s parliament. Days before the election Netanyahu announced a change in his own position, stating that he would oppose the establishment of a Palestinian state ... Discuss
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Congress in a speech today that the U.S. should abandon a proposed deal with Iran because it could help the country possess nuclear weapons in the near future. The U.S. is part of a coalition of nations negotiating an agreement with Iran for the country to temporarily stop pursuing nuclear technology. The U.S. and several other nations are offering relief from economic sanctions if Iran complies. In his speech, Netanyahu said, "We've been told that no deal is better than a bad deal. Well this is a bad deal, a very bad deal." He claimed that the agreement “will all but guarantee that Iran will get those nuclear weapons, lots of them." Specifically, he warned, "Iran could get to the bomb by keeping the deal because all the restrictions would basically expire in about a decade.”
His speech was extremely controversial in Washington, because it was done at the invitation of Republican lawmakers, not the Democratic White House. House minority leader Nancy Pelosi refused to clap during several standing ovations and issued a blistering statement following the speech, calling it an "insult to the intelligence of the United States." Netanyahu thanked the U.S. for their support, and added, “I deeply regret that some perceive my being here as political.” Throughout the speech, he underscored why he believed Iran remains an enemy of the U.S. and Israel, in hopes of preventing the proposed deal from moving forward. President Obama refused to meet Netanyahu out of concern that it would interfere with a coming meeting with officials from Iran. White House aids said that Obama did not plan on watching today’s speech on television ... Discuss
Authorities have arrested a 23-year-old Palestinian man for allegedly stabbing nine people on a bus in Tel Aviv. Five of the victims sustained serious injuries. Police say it was an act of terrorism. The alleged perpetrator was shot by police and wounded while attempting to flee. In a statement, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the Palestinian Authority is responsible for inciting the knife attack on civilians. He told Haaretz, “We will continue to act with force against terrorism that has tried to hit us since the establishment of the state, and we will make sure that it does not achieve its goals” ... Discuss
Researchers in the West Bank have unearthed a massive, multi-level corridor that served as an entry to the Herodian Hilltop Palace 2,000 years ago. From The National Post:
Three Hebrew University archaeologists concluded that Herod — best remembered for ordering the murder of the baby boys of Bethlehem in the Bible’s Nativity account — had the corridor filled in as part of his plan to turn Herodium into a volcano-shaped hill that was to commemorate him after his death.
Along with the hidden palace entrance, according to NBC News the team found a series of “hidden tunnels that were used by Jewish guerrillas during a second-century revolt against the Romans.” As with many activities in the region, the dig has proved somewhat controversial, as Palestinian leaders have contested the rights of Israeli teams to excavate areas in the West Bank ... Discuss
Authorities say two Palestinians killed four men during a knife attack in a Jerusalem synagogue. Police responding to the attack on the worshippers shot and killed the men, who were armed with knives, an ax and a handgun. Six others were wounded, including two police officers. The Israeli police department released the identities of the four victims: They were all rabbis; one of them held dual Israeli-British citizenship, and the three others were Israeli-American citizens. Because the attack involved the death of U.S. citizens, the FBI has said it will also join the investigation.
After the attack, police moved into the neighborhood where the attackers had lived, arresting nine people after a clash with residents. The office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a statement on Twitter saying, “We will respond with a heavy hand to the brutal murder of Jews who came to pray and were met by reprehensible murderers.” Though they did not claim responsibility for the synagogue attack, Hamas has said it was retaliation for the recent death of a Palestinian bus driver who, as CNN explains, died “under disputed circumstances.” In a statement, Secretary of State John Kerry said, “Our hearts go out to all Israelis,” adding, “People who had come to worship God in the sanctuary of a synagogue were hatched and hacked and murdered in that holy place in an act of pure terror and senseless brutality and murder” ... Discuss
The latest round of violence in Gaza has come to an end after weeks of on-going fighting, airstrikes and rocket attacks. At least 2,100 Palestinians, a majority civilians, were killed in the fighting. In the Israeli military, 64 soldiers were killed, and six Israeli civilians died from rocket attacks.
The open-ended ceasefire, which was brokered by officials in Egypt, went into effect last night, and so far, it has stopped the violence that has raged in the region for the last seven weeks. Despite Hamas leaders claiming victory, the conditions of the ceasefire do not appear to contain any significant changes to pre-war status. From The Guardian: “But the terms of the deal … appeared to be almost identical to those agreed at the end of the previous war 21 months ago. Israel will open crossings on its border to allow humanitarian aid and construction materials to enter Gaza, and will extend the permitted fishing zone to six miles off the coast of Gaza” ... Discuss