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Israeli Defense Minister: Next Gaza War will be the Last

By DEBKAfile, &

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman: "The next war in Gaza will be the last." He said this in an interview with the Palestinian East Jerusalem paper Al Quds to be published Monday. He also reiterated his view that the solution of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute should be based on two states with major land and population swaps between them and the settlement blocs remaining in place under Israeli control.

The newspaper teased the article on Sunday with a photo of Lieberman in his office with a copy of the Arabic-language newspaper on his desk. The interview has drawn anger from Palestinians on social media, especially amongst those who identify with the Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terror groups.

However, emotions were running high this weekend at Moshav Netiv Haasara, on the Gaza Strip border, following reports that the Israel Defense Forces was considering withdrawing the troops that guard the community. However, the defense establishment stressed that it had no such plans.

IDF officials said the military was "constantly reevaluating operational methods, while updating the residents and cooperating fully with the local council heads," but underscored that "there is no change to the deployment of forces in the communities [on the border]."

The rumor that the soldiers would be withdrawn prompted some of the moshav residents to contact the commanders of the Gaza Division and the Northern Brigade. The residents said they strongly disapproved the step and that they intended to fight for their safety.

Over the weekend, the moshav secretariat updated the residents that the brigade commander had been persuaded to cancel the decision to withdraw the soldiers. The IDF maintains it had never decided to withdraw them in the first place.

MK Haim Jelin (Yesh Atid), who lives in a community on the Gaza border, said, "The decision to withdraw IDF troops when the underground problem [of attack tunnels from Gaza] still hasn't been solved goes against the values of Zionist and populating the country, and I welcome its cancellation."

Yifat Ben-Shushan, a resident of Netiv Haasara, added: "I'm happy that whoever made the initial decision to remove the soldiers who are defending Netiv Haasara, which is so wrong in my eyes, changed his mind quickly. Two years ago, we were facing a similar situation, only then the soldiers were withdrawn even though the decision-makers knew about the existence of the tunnels near the Gaza border."

Republican Israel Event Downsized

By JTA & The Jerusalem Post

A Republican Party event scheduled for Jerusalem, which was to feature addresses by presidential candidate Donald Trump and his vice-presidential running mate Mike Pence reportedly has been downsized. The event, scheduled for Wednesday, was originally set to be a rally featuring thousands of Israelis showing their support for Trump, but now the event will be closed to the public.

The event now will honor volunteers in Israel who worked to register American voters in Israel. It will be geared to American Evangelicals watching the event at home on Christian television networks, citing organizers of the event. Trump will speak in a two-minute pre-recorded speech and Pence in a four-minute taped speech, according to the newspaper.

Trump's speech will be the debut of a campaign video outlining the real estate mogul's views on the Middle East and Israel, while Pence's speech will elaborate on those views and was recorded specifically for the event.

The event was to be held on the roof of the Aish HaTorah yeshiva, which overlooks the Old City of Jerusalem. It has been moved to a Jerusalem restaurant, however, after Aish HaTorah has to decline to host the event explaining its status as a non-profit organization which cannot host political activity, according to the report.

The Post reported Thursday that Aish HaTorah rejected a request by Republicans Overseas Israel to host the event on the roof of its building overlooking the Western Wall to avoid appearing to be siding with the Republican Party. "We decided not to do the event, because Aish is a nonprofit that doesn't get involved in partisan politics," Aish director general Rabbi Steven Burg told the Post.

Former CIA chief James Woolsey and former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, did not accept invitations to speak at the event - Woolsey, due to a scheduling conflict. Bolton did not give a reason for his refusal.

French Town Commemorates Alfred Dreyfus

By JTA and

A French municipality has honored the persecuted Jewish officer Alfred Dreyfus with a statue. Dreyfus, a French army captain who was wrongfully convicted of spying for Germany in 1894, humiliated and stripped of his rank in public, was commemorated earlier this month in his native city of Mulhouse in eastern France. On Oct. 9, the day Dreyfus was born in 1859, one of his grandsons unveiled a statue of him at a local park during a ceremony attended by the mayor, France 3 reported.

Paris, the city where his show trial was held and where he was eventually exonerated in 1906, has no street named after Dreyfus, who was exiled to a French colony in South America where he suffered greatly for the false and anti-Semitic charges brought against him.

Theodore Herzl was moved to try to establish a Jewish homeland by the trial, while author Emil Zola penned the famous J'Accuse criticizing the Dreyfus Case travesty that shook Europe.

Monarch offers Ovda (Eilat)-to-London tickets for $45


Monarch Airlines launched low-cost flights from Eilat to London that are so below market price they may even bring down the prices of its competitors.

Monarch had already established attractive flights going the other direction—from Luton Airport in London to Ben Gurion Airport and to Ovda Airport—in December 2015. The route was mainly popular among British tourists wishing to escape the dreary winter in their homeland for a bit of Middle East sunshine. The company soon discovered, though, that many Israelis were looking to visit London during the same winter months and take advantage of the holiday season's sales.

A further reason that allowed Monarch to lower their prices was the fact that Ovda Airport and the passengers passing through are no longer required to pay any tolls, including port taxes, starting from the month of October. The Ministry of Tourism is also incentivizing airlines to pass through Ovda by giving them 45 Euros per tourist landing there.

Monarch's flights from Ovda to London will operate until April 2017 on Thursdays, leaving Ovda at 18:05, landing at Luton Airport at 21:45 and costing the reported $45. Flights from Luton will leave at 09:45, land at Ovda 16:55 and cost $136. Taken together, a roundtrip will cost $181.

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