The Blaze: The Obama administration has reportedly apologized to Israel for another leak of classified information to the media, one that occurred earlier this month and which Israeli officials are concerned could place Israeli lives at risk.
Israel Radio’s diplomatic correspondent Chico Menashe reported Sunday morning (via the Jerusalem Post):
American officials apologized to their Israeli counterparts for confirming that Israel was behind the airstrikes on the Damascus airport earlier this month, Israel Radio reported on Sunday. Read more »
Jpost: South Korea deployed Israeli precision-guided missiles on Yellow Sea islands bordering North Korea, Yonhap News Agency reported on Sunday.
“Dozens of Spike missiles and their launchers have recently been deployed on Baengnyeong and Yeonpyeong islands,” a South Korean army official said.
“They can destroy (North Korea’s) underground facilities and can pursue and strike moving targets,” he continued. Read more »
Ynet News reports: The world’s longest Shabbat table was set up recently in the central Israeli city of Bnei Brak. The table, which is 60 meters (197 feet) long, comfortably seats more than 300 people and includes all the classic Shabbat symbols: A table cloth, challah, goblets, candlesticks and more.
The surprising initiative is expected to set a new Guinness record as the longest Shabbat table in the world. Hundreds of people, including public figures and journalists from Israel’s ultra-Orthodox sector, were invited to sit at the huge table and enjoy a Shabbat meal, just before Shabbat. Read more »
Jpost reports: Finance Minister Yair Lapid said Thursday the harshest cuts in his controversial budget were aimed at haredim in hopes of pushing them into the labor force.
“I already cut for the haredim more than ever has been,” he said in a Facebook chat Thursday night, alluding to cuts in child allowances that disproportionally affect the ultra-Orthodox community, whose birth rate is four times the Israeli average. “Israel doesn’t need a culture of allowances, but a culture of work.” Read more »
Reuters Via Yahoo: In public remarks at the weekly meeting of his cabinet, Netanyahu made no direct mention of those attacks, but made clear Israel was prepared to take action in the future and said it was “preparing for every scenario” in the Syrian conflict. Read more »
JNO: German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle kicked off his two-day visit to Israel, Jerusalem and the West Bank with a meeting with Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni in Tel Aviv. Westerwelle and Livni said they would discuss their countries’ bilateral relationship, the Middle East peace process and the tensions in the region, including the Syria crisis. – See Raw Video Read more »
Israel Hayom reports: U.S. officials told The Wall Street Journal on Thursday that another round of Israeli airstrikes could target a new Russian transfer of advanced anti-ship missiles in the near future. Israeli and Western intelligence services believe the Yakhont missiles, which have been sold by Russia to Syria in recent years, could be transferred to Hezbollah within days, the newspaper reported on its website Friday. Read more »
World Net Daily: Deputy Knesset Speaker Moshe Feiglin of the ruling Likud Party contends the Israeli strategy for dealing with Iran is “a mistake.” In an interview with WND, he said the Iranian regime should be considered Israel’s problem – not the world’s – and must be dealt with as such.
Feiglin, who leads the Jewish Leadership (Manhigut Yehudit) faction of Likud, also argued that Iran’s nuclear program is not the biggest threat to Israel. Read more »
Obama fan Barak Ravid: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will arrive in Israel again next week for his fourth trip since embarking on a round of shuttle diplomacy aimed at restarting Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. One of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’ senior advisers was asked a few days ago for his opinion of Kerry’s efforts. The man responded with a smile and a wink. “The guy has a lot of energy,” he said dismissively.
About one thing, there’s no disagreement between Jerusalem and Ramallah: Kerry has a lot of good intentions and a real sense of mission; he truly wants to make peace in the Middle East. But despite his good intentions, Kerry so far looks like a naive and ham-handed diplomat who has been acting like a bull in the china shop of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Or as former Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan once put it, he’s a good chap in the worst sense of the term.
Jpost reports: Finance Minister Yair Lapid accused Shas Chairman Arye Deri of lying Tuesday in his statement that budget cuts in the Shas educational network had been cancelled.
Lapid said cuts to the haredi education networks would be postponed by six months, until a state network for haredi education was established, he wrote on his Facebook. Lapid added that Deri’s conduct prevented the possibility of collaboration between him and Yesh Atid for matters that interest Deri’s supporters. Read more »
Jpost: The world wondered if Yair Lapid, the 49-year-old head and founder of Yesh Atid, had dethroned “King Bibi,” a nickname Time bestowed upon Netanyahu in May 2012. One thing was for sure: Lapid’s meteoric rise signaled to the world a resounding shift in national priorities, and that a more moderate and internally focused leadership was on the horizon. He is a man who can fashion the face of Israel’s future.
Lapid’s heavily domestic platform on economic reform, equalizing the burden of service and freedom of religion for all Jews in Israel has electrified the populace, and could signify the beginning of a Jewish state different from the one Netanyahu has led for the last three years. Read more »
Israel National News: Shas chairman MK Aryeh Deri, Education Minister Rabbi Shai Piron and Finance Minister Yair Lapid agreed on Monday evening that the planned cuts in the network of schools, which is called “Maayan Hahinuch HaTorani”, will be postponed for the time being.
The three also decided that the issue will be discussed again after the Ministry of Education sets up a state-sponsored education system for hareidim next year. Read more »
Two polls published over the weekend suggest Yesh Atid party losing support, following party chairman and Finance Minister Yair Lapid’s presentation of his budget proposal last week, that includes tax hikes and harsh cuts.
If elections were to take place today, the survey conducted by Panels Politics for the Knesset channel, found Lapid’s party would lose three Knesset seats from the 19 they currently hold. In April’s poll, Lapid’s party increased its 2013 election support by 50 percent – to 28 projected seats. Read more »
Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor’s Israel Pulse: On his visit to China on May 6, Prime Minister Netanyahu tried to get the Chinese to move away a bit from their traditional position that does not view a nuclear Iran as a burning international issue, and does not go out of its way to calm the radical forces in the region. The Chinese, according to the Israeli defense establishment, are simply not afraid of Iran and discount it. In Israel, they say that China is so big that even an Iranian nuclear attack against it does not constitute a real threat. The Chinese could absorb the brunt of such an attack relatively easily, and then wipe Iran off the map without even breaking a sweat. Read more »
An Iron Dome anti-missile defense system battery will be placed in the Dan Bloc, or greater Tel Aviv region, for several days, beginning Monday, the IDF Spokesman’s Unit said. The Iron Dome battery is undergoing a process of assimilation into the operational array. As part of this process, the battery is being stationed at different locations throughout the country. This process will make it fully operational in all locations. – INN
EJP: Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Ron Prosor spoke of the Jewish State’s precarious position at the heart of Middle East terrorism as he told a UN Security Council meeting on counterterrorism that terrorism “is a growth industry working around the clock to expand into new markets.”
“Its mission is to undermine democracies and its vision is instilling fear through violence,” he added. Read more »
The Jewish Chronicle: The head of the PLO Executive Committee, Yasser Abed Rabbo, has revealed that secret discussions about peace talks took place between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the PLO two years ago.
According to the Times of Israel, Mr Netanyahu and Mr Abed Rabbo met several times in 2010 and 2011 at the house of Israel chief negotiator Yitzhak Molcho. Read more »
Jewish News One: Kidnapped peacekeepers returned in good health but with decision on Philippines pulling out troops pending uncertainty clouds UN peacekeeping mission. See Video Read more »
Jpost reports: Former US president Jimmy Carter is pushing the European Union to implement a law forcing products coming out of the West Bank settlements to be labeled as such, according to a report in the Irish Times.
“The EU has repeatedly condemned settlement expansion in the West Bank,” Carter was quoted as saying, “it could therefore introduce a clear labeling of products made in Israeli settlements, which are illegal under international law.” Read more »
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to fly to Russia to meet Vladimir Putin in what is said to be an effort to convince the Kremlin not to sell Syria’s Bashar al-Assad a sophisticated missile system. – See Video Read more »
Via IMRA: Statement by the spokesperson of EU High Representative Catherine Ashton on recent developments in East Jerusalem and the West Bank
“The High Representative is concerned by developments over the past week in East Jerusalem and the West Bank which have increased tensions on the ground and risk undermining current efforts to re-launch peace talks. It is important that those concerned exercise maximum restraint and refrain from any actions which could drive the sides to the conflict further apart. Read more »
The IDF Engineering Corps and the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) recently assisted in the clearing of landmines planted in the fields of Husan, near Bethlehem. An Israeli group that specializes in mine removal began clearing the mines on Sunday, April 21, after Engineering Corps soldiers had combed and fenced off the area.
The area being cleared of mines covers 13 dunams of land and borders private houses. Nine of the dunams certainly contained mines, while the remaining four were suspected to be mined. Read more »
AP Via Yahoo: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will seek alternate sleeping arrangements when traveling after receiving a sky-high bill for installing a customized bed on a recent flight to London, officials close to the Israeli leader said.
Netanyahu found himself facing a public uproar on Sunday after Channel 10 TV reported over the weekend that he had spent $127,000 in public funds on a special sleeping cabin for the five-hour flight to attend Margaret Thatcher’s funeral last month. Read more »