Israeli Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.
Israeli Minister of Intelligence Yisrael Katz has dismissed concerns that US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state might undercut the expected peace initiative currently being prepared by the White House.
His comments — in a far-reaching interview with The Algemeiner in New York City last Thursday — came a day before the first reports that President Donald Trump planned to unveil the move in a speech this coming Wednesday.
Katz argued the timing of an embassy move was favorable now because Arab states were more preoccupied with the threat posed by Iran than with the Palestinian issue.
“Now it’s the highest chance to do it,” he asserted. “Because everyone that would be potentially against it has other very, very big problems to deal with.”
JNS.org – The Gaza-ruling Palestinian terror group Hamas on Sunday called on Palestinian Authority (PA) Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah to change…
Katz — a leading Israeli political figure who recently stated his intention to succeed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — said that the issue of recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was one of two major objectives for his trip to the US.
The second, he said, was to “support the president’s policy” that “the United States and the world have to change, correct or cancel the nuclear agreement with Iran.”
For now, Israel still sees the value in working to modify the nuclear deal to include new components that it had initially suggested to the Americans, but were rejected by the Obama administration. The threat of new “paralyzing economic sanctions,” Katz said, may still convince Iran to change paths.
“Now the pain (of sanctions) is very familiar to them,” he said. “You know, sometimes when you do something and you release they are afraid to bring it back, it’s more frightening than even before.”
In the event that such new initiatives fail to bring the desired result — the end to Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapon — Katz said that support for the military option was unanimous in the Israeli government.
“It’s not only on the table. It’s very clear,” he stated. “There were times that there was an argument inside Israel, you know (between late former Mossad chief Meir) Dagan and Netanyahu and others, but it was only a tactical argument because everyone agreed that we won’t let Iran have nuclear weapons, but the question was if it was the last time to prevent it. But I think there is a very, very broad consensus politically, and a security consensus in Israel that, if it will be the last thing to prevent Iran from nuclear weapons capabilities, Israel will act.”
In the meantime, Katz sees in Trump echoes of the late British statesman Winston Churchill, who, ahead of World War II, sounded the alarm about Nazi Germany when the prime minister at the time, Neville Chamberlain, was still pursuing a policy of appeasement.
Trump, he said, “has an opportunity that Churchill didn’t (have), to change the reality before the disaster comes.” The president’s October speech on Iran policy was “historical” for Israel and Jews “because we always ask ourselves what would happen if Churchill would have come before and canceled the Munich Agreement, maybe the Second World War wouldn’t happen with all its horrible price.”
And to the Israelis, the specter of a nuclear Iran is just one of five or six elements of the Iranian issue in its totality. Katz described the broader threat from Iran in the region — over which the Israelis have been voicing concern for some time — as being close to a boiling point.
“When someone jumps from the 20th floor there is no big change until he comes to the floor,” he said. “You are now describing the situation, it’s very close to the floor.”
Katz confirmed reports that Netanyahu had been active behind the scenes in efforts to stop the advancement of Iran-backed militias into Kurdish areas in northern Iraq in late October, described by Chagai Tzuriel — the director-general of Israel’s ministry of Intelligence, who joined the interview — as part of an “Iranian master plan to create an overland corridor from Iran through Iraq through Syria to Lebanon.”
According to Katz, “Netanyahu spoke not only with, let’s say, Tillerson and others, maybe with the president, the vice president, but also with Putin, with Merkel, with Macron and with others… He told them that the world cannot let the Iranians attack the Kurds.”
But, Katz admitted, “we don’t have the influence and the regional power the United States has, especially in Iraq.”
Expressing sympathy for the Kurdish cause, he noted that the Kurds “were the only one army and power that put their boots on the ground and defeated ISIS. The only one. No superpower did it; they didn’t want to do it, okay. It can’t be that one moment after they finish the job everyone throws them to the wolves.”
Regarding the expanding land path under Iran’s sway, Tzuriel lamented, “Unfortunately everybody’s late because to a large extent this corridor has been completed.”
Said Katz, “We have to push with the leadership of the United States to stop Iran and push them out of the region, including the Kurds’ area, including Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and all those places. It’s a common interest of the United States, the new administration of the United States, of Israel, of Saudi Arabia, of Jordan, and of the majority of the Arab Sunni countries.”
Furthermore, he added, “If Iran will not touch the Kurds’ area but will establish military bases, seaports, airports in Syria, it’s even more dangerous for us. ”
The minister also reacted positively to recent developments in Saudi Arabia, where Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been consolidating his power.
“If the de facto leader in Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, is saying that Khamenei, the Iranian leader, is worse than Hitler, I don’t have to say anything after that,” he said. “And Iran, the foreign minister of Saudi Arabia said at the recent Munich Conference that Iran is the biggest supporter of terror in the area and in the world. Those are things that Israel is talking about all the time.”
The Saudis, Katz pointed out, see Israel as the last line of defense against regional Iranian hegemony. “Saudi Arabia knows, even if they buy a lot of weapons, advanced weapons from the United States, maybe from other places, they know and Jordan knows and the Emirates knows that Israel is the only power that can stand against Iran,” Katz said.
In the long term, Katz is optimistic about the prospect of peace with the Saudis.
“I would like to see that Saudi Arabia — they don’t have any conflict with Israel, any territorial conflict — will sign a peace agreement with Israel, will make a full normalization with Israel,” he said. “Maybe it will not happen now, but I think that the threat, the Iranian threat is so big and the only power and only country that can stop Iran in the area is Israel.”
At the same time, the Trump administration is readying further possible sanctions on Venezuela, the official said.
Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro attends a military exercise in Maracaibo. (photo credit: MIRAFLORES PALACE/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)
WASHINGTON, Feb 8 – The United States is holding direct communications with members of Venezuela’s military urging them to abandon leader Nicolas Maduro and is also preparing new sanctions aimed at increasing pressure on him, a senior White House official said.
The Shalva Band following their final performance on “Rising Star.” Photo: Screenshot.
The Shalva Band has removed itself from the race to represent Israel in this year’s Eurovision competition because some of its members observed Shabbat and would not be able to partake in mandatory rehearsals, The Jerusalem Post reported on Tuesday.
The group, made up of eight musicians who have special needs, was one of four finalists in the “Rising Star” singing contest — the winner of which will represent Israel in Eurovision, set to be held in Tel Aviv in May.
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As Birthright Israel reaches its 700,000th participant, certain voices in America have done their best to slander the organization and force it to make drastic changes. Having staffed multiple Birthright trips as a madrich (youth leader), I have had the amazing opportunity to pass on some of the love for Israel that helped change my life.
Local police in Manchester’s Whitefield neighborhood declared the vandalism a criminal act rather than antisemitic.
Protesters hold placards and flags during a demonstration, organised by the British Board of Jewish Deputies for those who oppose anti-Semitism, in Parliament Square in London, Britain, March 26, 2018.. (photo credit: HENRY NICHOLLS/REUTERS)
The Philips Park Jewish cemetery in Manchester, England, was vandalized on Saturday, during which the tomb of Rabbi Yehuda Zev Segal, who died last year, was desecrated.
Protestors call for the severing of diplomatic ties with Israel during a march in Cape Town. (photo credit: MIKE HUTCHINGS / REUTERS)
A proposed multi-million dollar deal between Israel’s Central Bottling Company (CBC) and South Africa’s biggest dairy producer Clover could be in serious trouble due to heavy pressure from the anti-Israel lobby.
Newly-formed consortium Milco, in which Israel’s Central Bottling Company (CBC) holds a majority, is offering to buy 59.5% of the South African dairy producer.
We need to give the Likud Party some credit for not destroying itself in Tuesday’s internal elections. Given that primaries are the very embodiment of deal-making, political machines and big worker unions voting in lockstep, the results could have been far worse.
When it came to casting a secret ballot, the Likud Party’s registered voters did display some maturity. They weren’t the obedient foot soldiers of Benjamin Netanyahu, who has failed again and again in his machinations.
With elections barely two months away, the greatest challenge facing Israel’s Right emanates neither from the Center nor the Left, but, rather, from within.
Indeed, if recent polls are accurate, several small parties on the Right, most of which may not individually pass the minimum threshold to make it into the next Knesset, could nonetheless win a combined total of 10 to 12 seats, all of which would end up in the dustbin if they fail to run together.
August 2017, white supremacists marched in Charlottesville shouting, “Jews will not replace us”. October 2018, one white supremacist posted on social media that “Jews are taking over the white house”, and that Trump is a puppet of the Jews. Shabbat, the same month, a man enters a synagogue during a Bris celebration and butchers Jewish people who are praying. December 2018, Women’s March leader and Louis Farrakhan (“I’m not an antisemite, I’m an anti-termite”) fan, Tamika Mallory says: “White Jews, as white people, uphold white supremacy…”
Henry Ford devoted his life to two passions: making cars and demonizing Jews. When Hitler said, “I regard Henry Ford as my inspiration,” he wasn’t referring to his car manufacturing. He was referring to Ford’s anti-Semitic ideology that eventuated in the genocide of six million Jews.
Henry Ford does not deserve to be honored. The question the good people of Dearborn should ask themselves is: What would you do if the performing arts center were named after Jefferson Davis? If the answer is that you would remove Davis’s name, then you should remove Ford’s.
It was reported recently that the USA and the Taliban have reached a peace agreement on Afghanistan that will allow US forces to leave that country 17 years after they invaded it on October, 2001, less than a month after 9/11.
Al Qaeda had used that dysfunctional state as a safe haven and, while there, was able to plan and execute the attacks that took the lives of over 3000 people in. After the West invaded, the Taliban