9:35am: IDF confirms: Two IDF soldiers were killed in the anti-tank missile strike on a military vehicle. Seven soldiers were injured and are in light to moderate condition. The families of the casualties have been notified.
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“Jews were killed in Auschwitz, just because they are Jews,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday during a memorial ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, held at the Jewish Museum of Moscow.
The memorial event, held at the Jewish Museum of in the Marina Roscha neighborhood in central Moscow, headed by the Chief Rabbi of Russia, Rabbi Berel Lazar, who began his address with the prayer, El Malei rachamim.
President Barack Obama commented in public for the first time since the WH announced that he will not meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in March, because his trip to Washington comes too close to Israel’s upcoming Knesset elections.
“I’m declining to meet with him simply because our general policy is, we don’t meet with any world leader two weeks before their election,” Obama said in an interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria. “I think that’s inappropriate, and that’s true with some of our closest allies.”
#Israelex Morning Read – Netanyahu Recruits Professor and Terrorism Expert For Reserved Places; Obama Publicly Counters Netanyahu’s Iran Argument
TRI POLL: BIBI EXTENDS LEAD OVER BUJI: This week, Bizportal and Orange presented the seventh survey examining who the Israeli public would prefer to see as prime minister. Again, incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu increased his lead over the duo of Herzog and Tzipi Livni, winning 34% of the support from respondents, compared with 32% in the three previous weeks. The leaders of the Zionist camp, Herzog and Livni, have fallen in the current survey – the pair won the support of 21% of the respondents, compared to 24% in last week’s poll. [JP]
The gathering of the European leaders was part of the European Jewish Congress’s “Let My People Live!” conference that coincided with the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
You don’t have to look far to see that Isaac Herzog was raised in a household where politics was discussed over the dinner table. His father, Chaim Herzog, was an Irish-born Israeli politician, General, lawyer and author who served as the sixth President of Israe, serving for 10 years from 1983-1993.
(AP). President Barack Obama’s attorney general nominee, Loretta Lynch, faces Senate questioners Wednesday as she seeks to become the first black woman to hold the nation’s top law enforcement job.
In the first Republican-led confirmation session of the Obama administration, Lynch was scheduled to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee as it opens two days of hearings on her nomination. She’s widely expected to win confirmation but will face tough questions nevertheless.
(AP). They appeared to be scenes from a frozen apocalypse.
Streets across the nation’s largest city were empty, the only movement the changing traffic lights signaling to cars that weren’t there. The subway system was shuttered, the city’s pulse rendered still. Hardy souls who braved the snow were threatened with fines or arrest.
However, neither the country’s most important Jewish organization nor their leaders will be attending the ceremony. With the recent killing of Alberto Nisman, Jewish leaders have decided to boycott the commemoration.
The report by the IRNA news agency quoted Gholam Hossein Esmaeili, a senior judicial official. The report did not offer a specific time for the trial to start.
(AP). Civil aviation authorities in Malaysia will release a required report on the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 a day before the one-year anniversary, but it won’t have any conclusion on what happened because the search is ongoing.
The report to be released March 7 will focus on investigations into the search for the plane, which is believed to have crashed in the remote southern Indian Ocean, Deputy Transport Minister Aziz Kaprawi said Wednesday.
(AP). The Lebanese Hezbollah group claimed responsibility for firing a missile that targeted an Israeli military convoy on Wednesday, an attack that prompted Israel to fire at least 50 artillery shells into Lebanon in a significant escalation along the volatile border.
In a statement, Hezbollah said its fighters destroyed a number of Israeli vehicles that were carrying Israeli officers and soldiers and caused casualties among “enemy ranks.”
A recent survey shows an undeniable trend. Israelis prefer Bibi sitting right where he is, in the Prime Minister’s office. There is some significant shuffling around going on, and it is always interesting to see what Israelis shmoozing in the coffee houses think is the most important issue in the upcoming election.
This week, Bizportal and Orange presented the seventh survey examining who the Israeli public would prefer to see as prime minister.
Yuval Shteinits, Minister of Intelligence, Minister of International Relations and Minister of Strategic Affairs, was quoted as saying on Monday that if the Zionist Camp under Herzog and Livni take power in the next elections, Israel will be facing grave existential threats from Iran and also from within its own borders.
When asked by Jerusalem Post Political Correspondent Gil Hoffman if Israel would be destroyed if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was not reelected on March 17, Steinitz said, “I think it might be dangerous – first because if, unfortunately Herzog and Tzipi are running the country, I don’t think they can hinder the Iranian nuclear issue like Netanyahu can.”
Sirens sounded for the second time yesterday shortly after midnight. IAF planes responded by attacking Syrian military targets. The IDF said no rockets had landed in Israeli territory and the military was investigating why the alarms sounded. Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon said in a statement: “We will not tolerate any firing towards Israeli territory or violation of our sovereignty and we will respond forcefully and with determination,”
In the attack earlier Tuesday afternoon, the IDF confirmed that two rockets had been fired at Israel. IDF spokesman Peter Lerner said in a text message the Syrian fire was “intentional, not spillover from the Syrian civil war”. IDF forces returned fire. The IDF Spokesperson’s Office confirmed at 2:00 p.m. that it had successfully struck the source of the rocket fire. The rockets were fired from territory under the control of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad according to the source, who added that those who actively launched the rockets were members of the Iran-proxy Hezbollah terrorist organization, which has been fighting for Assad.
Everyone is probably asking the same question about Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, how did he fool everyone? How was he able to please so many people while averting suspicion about his “side” businesses?
Silver became the state’s most powerful lawmaker by practicing politics the old-fashioned way — rewarding friends, punishing enemies and keeping words to a minimum.
As Staten Island District Attorney Dan Donovan prepares to fill Michael Grimm’s vacant seat in the 11th Congressional District, the Eric Garner case threatens the success of his future if he gains the title in the special election.
Many are concerned that Donovan’s role in the Eric Garner case could infuriate residents and heighten the racial tensions in New York City. Now matters have gotten much worse as more than a thousand New Yorkers signed a petition urging Donovan to unseal the transcripts of the case.
(AP). Japanese officials were tightlipped Wednesday as secret talks in Jordan sought to secure the freedom of a Japanese journalist and a Jordanian pilot captured by Islamic State extremists and purportedly threatened with death within 24 hours.
The global efforts to free Japanese freelance journalist Kenji Goto and Jordanian Lt. Mu’ath al-Kaseasbeh gained greater urgency with the release of the apparent ultimatum from the Islamic State group.
(AP). In the latest sign of Libya’s descent into chaos, gunmen stormed a luxury hotel used by diplomats and businessmen in the capital on Tuesday, killing 10 people, including an American, a French citizen and three people from Eastern Europe.
Two attackers were killed following an hourslong standoff that included a car bomb that exploded in the parking lot of the seaside Corinthia Hotel. It was unclear if other gunmen were involved in the attack, which also killed five Libyan guards.
(AP). A whippet named Burt that vanished on the streets of New York City five months ago has finally made it home.
The Fire Department of New York said Burt’s incredible journey came to end early Tuesday at the height of the winter storm when he was rescued at a training facility on Randall’s Island.
(AP). Apple had another blowout quarter thanks to its new plus-sized iPhones, which helped the company smash sales records for the holiday season.
Apple said Tuesday that it sold 74.5 million iPhones during the three months that ended Dec. 31, beating analysts’ expectations for the latest models of Apple’s most popular gadget, introduced in September.
According to Morelle, after two days of intense discussions, Assembly Democrats have agreed that Mr. Silver’s time has come to step down and that he’ll have to resign by Monday or be ousted by the Democratic conference.
(AP). New York City lost about $200 million in economic activity in the fizzled snow storm and decision to shut down the transit system, but it wasn’t a crippling loss, according to a preliminary estimate from Moody’s Analytics.
Consumers who would have otherwise bought cars or made other major purchases will likely do so a day or two later, Moody’s economist Adam Kamins said. And he noted that many employees forced to stay home Tuesday were able to telecommute.