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Iran Schedules Ballistic Missile Drills in Latest Test of Nuclear Deal's Limits


In a direct challenge to the United Nations Security Council resolution implementing the nuclear deal with Iran, the country's military has announced plans to conduct ballistic missile exercises later this year, the semi-official Fars news agency reported Thursday.

Ground Force Commander Brigadier General Ahmad Reza Pourdastan said that war games, including "specialized missile drilling," will take place in both the Western and Eastern parts of the country. Fars noted that "an increasing number of Iranians are demanding the country's Armed Forces to stage a ballistic missile drills" to reinforce Iran's interpretation of Resolution 2231, which was unanimously adopted by the Security Council last month.

An annex of Resolution 2231 states that "Iran is called upon not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology" for the next eight years. But according to Fars, "Iran says it has not accepted or endorsed the annex, adding that none of its ballistic missiles has been designed to carry nuclear payloads, and thus, its ballistic missile program is no way related to the paragraph."

Iran's foreign ministry stated after the resolution passed that it would ensure that the country's ballistic missile program and capabilities would be "untouched and unrestricted" by the resolution.

Iran has consistently refused to negotiate about limits to its ballistic missile program, even though its program has been subject to Security Council resolutions for years. Earlier this year, the Pentagon reported that Iran was developing ballistic missiles that could be used to carry nuclear weapons.

Despite Iran's defiant stance regarding its ballistic missile program, it committed in the deal to "make every effort to support the successful implementation of this [deal] including in their public statements." Secretary of State John Kerry admitted earlier this week that there would be no "snapback" of sanctions if Iran was caught violating weapons embargoes, including those prohibiting its purchase of ballistic missiles.

'Slaughter the Jew' is OK, 'Arabs Go Home' Gets You Arrested


A Jewish protest was held in Ashkelon Wednesday and again on Thursday evening to counter Arab demonstrators bused in to protest the possible forced feeding of Mohammad Allaan, a jailed Islamic Jihad terrorist who has been on a nearly 60-day-long hunger strike.

Allaan was moved to Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon on Monday morning, after doctors at Soroka Medical Center in Be'e'r Sheva refused to comply with the newly passed law and force feed him. Barzilai doctors reportedly haven't complied with the law yet either.

The Jewish protesters came to counter the Arab demonstration in support of the jailed terrorist, and demanded that Israel not force feed Arab terrorists - but rather expel them. Activists Baruch Marzel, Bentzi Gopshtain and attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir arrived on Thursday with 50 or so Ashkelon activists, although the Arab protesters had yet to show. "Currently the Arabs were afraid to come, we hope they won't come," said Gopshtain. "We hope we all God willing will take part in the funeral of the terrorist and dance on his blood here."

Ben-Gvir added that "a terrorist who doesn't want to eat - don't feed him. It's an interest of the state of Israel. We saw the insolence and the nerve of dozens of supporters of the terrorist yesterday, and we came here to say: this is the state of the Jews, we own this place, we won't let them come here and call 'death to the Jews,' we'll say clearly 'death to the terrorists.'"

Video has surfaced on Facebook from Wednesday's protest, posted by a Jewish activist from Ashkelon named Yehuda Nini, who filmed himself in front of Border Patrol officers who were standing by the Jewish protesters and keeping them from the Arab protesters down the street.

"Hello, my name is Yehuda from Ashkelon, I was just now warned by a Border Police officer who told me he would arrest me if I continued to shout and protest: 'Arabs go home, Arabs go home,'" said Nini. Turning his camera on the officer, he said, "this is the officer who threatened to arrest me if I continued to demonstrate and shout."

"In a democratic country like (Israel) today, if I want to see how I can get arrested I just need to shout 'death to the Arabs' and I'm arrested," he said. Pointing out the hypocrisy, he filmed the Arab protesters while noting, "it's permissible for them standing shout: itbah al yahud, itbah al yahud ('slaughter the Jew' in Arabic - ed.), and they aren't arrested.

"Arabs are standing and cursing there, 20 meters from here, they aren't arrested and they get police protection," Nini continued, pointing at the Arab protesters with his hand. "That's our country ladies and gentlemen, these are the commanders and the officers who are here to defend the Arabs." He then noted the presence of officers mounted on horseback, and accused them of hitting Jews, before ending with a call for those watching the film to join the protest outside the hospital.

More video from Wednesday's protest shows how the Arab protesters faced off against the Jewish counter-protest, with curses hurled along with rocks and eggs according to some reports. In the clip, Arab activists are seen saying their protest was given permission, and later a Jewish protester is seen saying "ISIS will take your heads off," before the two sides engage in a stand-off.

ADL Chief: Charges Against Opponents of Iran Deal Create "Hostile Climate" For American Jews


The new national director of the Anti-Defamation League has said that he is "deeply troubled" by some accusations made against opponents of the nuclear deal with Iran, which he wrote "can foster a hostile climate for the American Jewish community."

Jonathan Greenblatt, who formerly worked in the Obama White House, wrote an op-ed Wednesday for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that criticized the rhetoric of both supporters and opponents of the deal, but specifically noted that supporters, including some members of the administration he used to work for, are attaching troubling stereotypes to opponents. He wrote that he was "deeply troubled" by those who called Sen. Chuck Schumer (D – N.Y.) a "traitor" for opposing the deal.

As the debate over the Iran deal has gone forward, the administration has at times waded into characterizations that in the eyes of many members of the Jewish community recall malicious accusations about Jews. References to money and the well-funded opposition, while factually accurate, resonate negatively in a Jewish community that has been targeted for centuries as using its wealth for sinister purposes. This anxiety only is bolstered when one realizes that no one has raised issues about the finances and organizations of the deal proponents.

Moreover, claims that opponents of the proposed agreement are "the same folks who brought us the war in Iraq" remind many Jewish Americans of tired accusations against the "Jewish lobby" that has supposedly pushed for every failed policy in the Middle East. Yet there was no unified Jewish community position on the Iraq war, and the community was in no way a major factor in the Bush administration's decision to launch the war. In fact, many Jewish Americans who are concerned about this deal with Iran actually were opposed to the Iraq war and bristle at accusations that imply "they got it wrong before, don't listen to them now."

At best, this assertion is simply inaccurate. At worst, it can foster a hostile climate for the American Jewish community as the debate intensifies. Long after the dust settles it may also leave lingering questions about the Jewish ability to partake in public debate. Greenblatt ended his op-ed by calling for all sides "to reject personal attacks and to avoid innuendo and stereotypes." Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg criticized supporters of the deal Tuesday for "resorting to intimidation and demonization" to make their case.

Israel Proposes 3G Mobile Network Deal to Palestinians

By & Reuters

Israel has presented a proposal to the Palestinian Authority that could enable the opening of a long-awaited Palestinian 3G mobile network in the West Bank. Meetings held on Thursday had led to an agreement in principle and hinged on the Palestinians meeting Israeli conditions, said a spokesman for the Communications Ministry. He declined to comment on specific terms.

Palestinian mobile operators Paltel and Wataniya, still using 2G technology and losing money, are seeking to offer 3G to meet surging demand for data bandwidth through social media applications. Under interim peace accords, Israel effectively has final say in allocating radio frequencies in the West Bank, where the Palestinian Authority exercises limited self-rule.

In the past, Israel has told the Palestinians there were not enough frequencies for 3G and that they should lease access to them from Israeli providers. "We now have the will" for an agreement with the Palestinians, the ministry's spokesman said.

Allam Mousa, the Palestinian Minister of Telecommunication, called the new outline a "breakthrough. In the last meeting, some proposals were made in accordance with our demands and some amendments were made that could be studied and that could enable us to achieve our demands," Mousa told Reuters. "So far there is no final agreement -- it is only another round -- but this round has achieved a bigger achievement than previous rounds," he added.

The Israeli Communications Ministry this week allocated a number of high-speed 4G frequencies to Israeli mobile phone operators.

Bennett's Initiative: Teach Arabs Hebrew in Kindergarten


After doubling the budget of a gay youth organization, Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) has come out with a new initiative, this time launching a program to have Arab students learn Hebrew as a required subject starting in kindergarten all the way through high school.

Bennett's program is estimated to cost 30 million shekels ($7.9 million), and it will come into effect next school year. The program focuses on improving the spoken Hebrew of Arab students, and Bennett's Education Ministry stated that the step would allow greater dialogue and communication between the Arab and Jewish populations - and also greatly improve Arab employment and economic power.

"Knowledge of Hebrew will lessen the social gaps - it is a stimulus for social and economic advancement, and a key at integrating into Israeli society economically and culturally," said the ministry in a statement, emphasizing how the move will help Arabs have a greater presence in academia and the Israeli job market.

Official figures show that 93% of Arab sixth grade students think Hebrew will help them succeed in the future, but only 47% are exposed to Hebrew outside of school, indicating the Arabic bubble most students in the sector live in. Those reading Hebrew newspapers stand at 26%, while just 16% watch Hebrew TV shows.

"The decision to advance the study of the Hebrew language to kindergarten for the Arab sector stems from thoughts for the future of the children," said Bennett. "With my entry to my position I obligated myself to reduce the gaps, and that's what I'm doing," he said. "Knowledge of the Hebrew language will obtain skills and tools required today to build the personal and professional future of every male and female student."

Bennett has long set Arab employment as a key goal of his, including during his stint at Economy Minister in the last coalition during which time he oversaw a $2.5 million program integrating Arabs in the hi-tech industry. In March 2013, he told the Europe Israel Press Association that the issue of increasing the number of Arab women in the workforce is "his baby."

Likewise in May 2013, when MK Hanin Zoabi (Balad) raised complaints about the lack of Arab women in the workforce in a Knesset session, Bennett took the podium and told her "on this issue we completely agree. Well done (for raising the topic)." He called the increased employment of Arab women a "national goal," saying the increased employment of Arab women will help Israeli society, and that Jews and Israeli Arabs are "a couple living in the same country and the same state."

Indicating his support of the Israeli Arab community, Bennett claimed last November that "99.9% of Arab citizens are loyal to the state of Israel." In another comment equating Jewish and Arab citizens, just this Sunday he called for the death penalty to be applied to both Arab terrorists and "Jewish terrorists" - even though he and his party recently voted against a bill calling for the death penalty against terrorists.

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