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Netanyahu Calls for Early Elections

By VOA News & Israel Hayom

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has called for early elections, after firing two key ministers over an array of policy disputes. Netanyahu has dismissed Finance Minister Yair Lapid and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, whom he said had "harshly attacked" his coalition government.

Lapid and Livni split with Netanyahu on several issues, including a controversial Netanyahu supported measure that would declare Israel the nation-state of the Jewish people. Critics say the proposal, which would remove Arabic as an official language, would undermine the democratic character of Israel and further marginalize the 20% of Israelis who are Arab.

Internal dissent also has focused on next year's budget, taxation policy and the high cost of living. Netanyahu said he would dissolve the current parliament "as soon as possible." Opinion polls indicate that, despite falling popularity, Netanyahu would come out on top in new elections. Earlier Tuesday, the prime minister said he wanted a "clear mandate" to carry out his policies, and that he would "no longer tolerate an opposition inside the government."

Lapid said "The prime minister has decided to lead Israel toward unnecessary elections. It is unforgivable national irresponsibility. We had an alternative, a good alternative. Instead of paralyzing the economy by wasting billions of shekels on elections, we could have passed a social budget, added billions to education, health and welfare, as well as to public security and the defense establishment."

In what has already been described as election campaign rhetoric, Lapid said that his party was being falsely accused of withholding funds from the military. "Under my leadership, the Finance Ministry has -- and will -- give billions for defense systems, for Iron Dome, to fight the terror tunnels, and to bolster the Air Force's capabilities. Israel's security comes first," he said.

Lapid criticized using the military for political purposes as "abhorrent" and urged all political parties to "refrain from drafting our soldiers to a political campaign. Israeli leadership has always steered clear of dragging the IDF into political conflicts and that is a tradition that should be observed."


Report: Hizbullah Intends Maritime Siege in Next War

By Israel Hayom

Hizbullah has a stock of advanced sea-to-sea missiles with which it intends to impose a maritime siege on Israel if the two sides enter another war, Lebanese media outlets reported on Monday.

According to the reports, Hizbullah apparently has an arsenal of sophisticated Russian-made Yakhont sea-to-sea missiles, which were recently transferred from Russia to Syria as part of an arms deal between the two countries. Moscow has also allegedly transferred more advanced S-300 anti-aircraft batteries to Syria. It is possible that some of these have been transferred to Hizbullah.

In the case of a war with Israel, the report said, Hizbullah intends to target Israeli and foreign vessels inside Israel's territorial waters. One senior Hizbullah official said, "The organization has modern long-range missiles and advanced weapons systems that alter strategic balance between Israel and Hizbullah."

Meanwhile, Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah has also reportedly confirmed that his Shiite terrorist organization has advanced long-range land-to-land missiles capable of hitting any point in Israel, including strategic facilities and infrastructure.

Two weeks ago, an Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander said hundreds of missiles with ranges of 250 to 350 kilometers (160 to 220 miles) ranges, capable of hitting the city of Dimona in southern Israel, had been provided to Hizbullah.

Revolutionary Guard Aerospace Force Brig. Gen. Seyed Majid Moussavi said the missiles, called Fateh missiles, fly at speeds of 4,500 kilometers (2,800 miles) per hour and carry 500-kilogram (1,100-pound) warheads.

"Our strategic guiding principle is the appropriate arming of Hizbullah and Hamas with advanced, modern weapons in order to allow the resistance groups to deal with the bloodthirsty Zionist regime," Moussavi said. "The missiles that Iran most recently gave to Hizbullah will allow the organization to reach every point in Israel, including the most guarded facilities of the Zionist occupation forces."

In efforts to contend with the various battlefield threats posed by Hizbullah, Israel and India last month successfully tested the jointly developed Barak-8 aerial defense system. The Barak-8 system uses medium range missiles designed to intercept airborne threats, including enemy aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles, anti-ship missiles and cruise missiles from land or sea.


Report: Saudi Arabia Mulls Oil Trade Relations with Israel

By AFP & Israel Hayom

After years during which Israel and Saudi Arabia have been rumored to have low-key commercial ties, the two nations may soon engage in open trade relations. The Kuwaiti news agency KUNA on Tuesday quoted Saudi Petroleum Minister of Ali Al-Naimi as saying that as Riyadh is seeking to increase oil sales, it would be willing to sell oil to any country that wants to buy it, including Israel.

Speaking at a press conference held as part of an OPEC summit held in Vienna on Sunday, the minister said, "We do not hold a grudge against any nation and our leaders promote peace, religious tolerance and co-existence. His Majesty King Abdullah has always been a model for good relations between Saudi Arabia and other states -- and the Jewish state is no exception."

According to the report, Al-Naimi noted that for the most part, the Arab world acknowledges the Jewish state, and nothing is preventing his country from pursuing trade ties with Israel. Foreign media recently reported that Israel defense officials, including Mossad Director Tamir Pardo, have traveled to Riyadh to meet with their Saudi counterparts.

Hebrew University Students' 'Lives Are in Danger'


A Knesset Committee on Tuesday discussed the threat of terrorist attacks felt by Jewish students at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. The Knesset Committee on Public Complaints, headed by Adi Kol (Yesh Atid), heard testimony from students who say they feel that "their lives are in danger."

Hebrew University's Mount Scopus campus is located adjacent to several Arab neighborhoods, and is connected to French Hill, where Arab residents have recently rented apartments. In addition, many of the students commute to their studies via the light rail, which in recent months has seen countless attacks by Arab assailants, culminating in several car attacks on rail stations by Arab terrorists.

"Many students have filed complaints about this," said Kol. "Security in the Mount Scopus area is not good, to say the least, and students are expecting the security establishment to take action to ensure their safety. Many students also say they have complained to the University, which has not been sufficiently responsive."

In response, Shmulik Dahan, head of security at the University, said that it was the responsibility of police to deal with the problems. When asked what campus security was doing to keep criminals and terrorists off the school grounds, he said that "we have between 5,000 and 15,000 students at the University each day, and the administration spends tens of millions of shekels on security. I cannot examine every single person entering the campus when there is a long line of people waiting to get in."

Dahan added that in recent months, campus security had beefed up its activities, and as a result there was a drop of between 50% and 70% in the number of complaints filed by students in October, compared to the same month a year earlier.

Police official Yuval Reuven, speaking at the meeting, said that police "needed to ensure a balance between the security needs of students and the civilian population. We utilized a number of methods, including technological ones, to ensure safety." "In recent months we have made sure that hundreds of police are on duty, enforcing the law. I believe that the campus will soon return to its previous state of quiet," he added.

Deadly Attacks Spur New Wave of Online Palestinian Incitement


As high-profile terrorist attacks escalate in Israel, particularly around the Jerusalem area, a new Palestinian Arab video uploaded to YouTube last week shows the idolization of terrorism and propaganda fueling the current wave of attacks.

In the video, one Arab terrorist wrapped in a Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) flag and with a hand grenade strapped on his belt can be seen passing out handguns, knives, swords and hatchets to six other terrorists. See

The terrorists then stand in front of the security barrier in either Judea or Samaria and bearing their weapons in a menacing stance in a clear call for attacks, as a threatening song in Arabic is heard in the background with the following lyrics:

O my people in the (West) Bank, rise up, I'm coming, I'm coming. Strike with a knife, destroy your enemy, be the one to overcome them. I the suicide bomber, I won't give enemies quiet, I will rout them. My weapon today is my flesh, I will collapse the foundations of the tyrant. Hello heroes from the land of Gaza, (home) of men of freedom, we will send to Al-Quds (Jerusalem). Rise to the acts of liberation, O my people, burn your enemy in fire. Heroes of Palestine, awake, the time of the volcano has arrived. We will chop off the hands of the thief and crush the strongholds of the criminal.

The video comes in the midst of a wave of attacks on Jews using many of the various weapons displayed, included guns, knives and hatchets, all of which were used lethally in the brutal attack on a Jerusalem synagogue in Har Nof last month.

Just this Monday a female Arab terrorist of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah faction stabbed a Jew at Gush Etzion Junction in Judea and was shot and critically wounded while trying to flee; reportedly she had been jailed for a year in the past for a stabbing attack at the same exact location.

More Young Palestinians Try to Flee from Gaza to Israel


A growing number of Palestinian youths are trying to flee from the Gaza Strip into Israel, despite risk of injury or arrest, the Arab news portal "24" reported (Arabic link).

At least 12 such cases have occurred during the past two weeks. One youth was identified as Mahmoud Saleh, a young man from the Jabaliya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip, who managed to penetrate the border fence before being intercepted and arrested by IDF soldiers.

Saleh's father said that his 18-year-old son was unable to find work in the Gaza Strip and failed to earn any money for a long time. "Mahmoud left because of unemployment," his mother confirms. One of Mahmoud's younger brothers also tried to flee to Israel, but was quickly intercepted and released back to his family due to his young age.

"24" Arab news further reported that the number of cases of young Gazans who try to flee to Israel increased following Operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip, which took place between July and August 2014. According to officials, more than 130 such cases have occurred since the end of the operation.

Unemployment in Gaza stems in a large part from the failure of Hamas to provide the necessary economic and civic infrastructure for its residents. There are ongoing allegations that that Hamas skims donor money granted by Arab countries to the Gaza Strip, as well as redirecting construction materials for building projects for use in its military tunnels. Hamas was recently ranked as the world's second wealthiest terror organizations, with a number of its leaders established as millionaires.

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