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Trump Breaks Campaign Promise: Won't Move US Embassy to Jerusalem

By DEBKAfile, IsraelNationalNews,com & VOA News

President Donald Trump, reneging on a campaign promise to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem, renewed the waiver overriding a 1995 law, thus delaying the relocation for another six months. A White House source said that the president is committed to his promise during the election campaign to move the embassy to Jerusalem, but he believes that now is not the appropriate time. The source added that no timetable has been set for the transfer.

The president had promised during his 2016 White House campaign to move the embassy to the Israeli capital if elected. "We will move the American embassy to the eternal capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem," Trump said at the 2016 AIPAC conference in Washington DC. After the November election, however, Trump remained mum on whether he intended to follow through on his pledge.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that keeping the embassy outside of the capital distances peace because it revives the Palestinian fantasy that Israel and the Jewish people have no connection to the city. However, he said, Israel appreciates the president's words of friendship and his commitment to move the embassy at a later date.

Trump, in his long campaign for the presidency, vowed to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem to concur with the Israeli government's long-standing preference. But the issue is caught in the unending debate over the creation of separate Jewish and Palestinian states, with both the Israelis and Palestinians claiming Jerusalem as their capitals.

The White House said Thursday that Trump's decision to keep the embassy in Tel Aviv, where most other foreign governments also have their diplomatic missions, should not be considered "in any way a retreat from the president's strong support for Israel and for the United States-Israel alliance."

The White House statement said Trump made the choice "to maximize the chances of successfully negotiating a deal between Israel and the Palestinians…As he has repeatedly stated his intention to move the embassy," White House officials said, "the question is not if that move happens, but only when."

Netanyahu's disappointment appeared when he said "Israel's consistent position is that the American embassy, like the embassies of all countries with whom we have diplomatic relations, should be in Jerusalem, our eternal capital."

Knesset member Yehuda Glick (Likud) responded to Trump's decision when he stated the move had little impact on Israel, but boded ill for efforts to forge a lasting peace in the region. Despite his disappointment with the decision, Glick nevertheless expressed appreciation for the president's pledge to move the embassy, and said he was optimistic the move would ultimately be made.

"I believe it'll happen eventually," said Glick. "I want to bless the fact that Trump... said he that did not change his mind, he's just looking for timing. He wants to move the embassy and that's a step in the right direction because transferring the embassy to Jerusalem will be a contribution to stability in the region."

Glick added that while he supported the move, it had little direct bearing on Israel or the Jewish people and their connection with the city. "Jerusalem is the capital of the people of Israel and the State of Israel. It has been the capital of the people of Israel for 3,000 years. Every single Jewish couple that has gotten married swear to Jerusalem. Jerusalem is the heart - three times a day in our prayer. Nobody can change that - Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.

"The question of whether the embassy will be moved to Jerusalem - we don't need the embassies in Jerusalem, the world needs it. If the world wants to be relevant and connected to reality, they should move their embassies to Jerusalem."

But on a positive note, the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu has recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital. President Baldwin Lonsdale decided to express support after learning his country did not oppose UNESCO resolution denying Jewish ties to the Temple Mount

Vanuatu is an 83-island archipelago situated between Australia and Fiji, with a population of about 300,000. Israel's ambassador to Vanuatu and to other Pacific island nations, Tibor Shalev Schlosser, works out of the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem. Vanuatu has an honorary consulate in Israel.

The decision follows the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's passing of a pro-Palestinian resolution in October 2016 that denied Jewish ties to the Temple Mount. That resolution led to a harsh Israeli response that sought to send a strong message to the member states that did not oppose the resolution, which began to yield positive results recently.

The lower chamber of the Czech parliament passed two pro-Israel resolutions, one calling on the government to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and the other calling for withholding funds from UNESCO over its anti-Israel stance.

Lonsdale, an evangelical Christian who has a strong connection to the Jewish people and to Israel, recently made a similar move. During a meeting with Vanuatu's honorary consul to Israel, the issue of the UNESCO vote came up. Lonsdale said in the meeting he had been sorry to hear how the vote unfolded and his country's lack of opposition to it.

Lonsdale later signed a document stating that Jerusalem should be recognized as Israel's capital and condemning the UNESCO resolution. He also asked to explore with the Prime Minister's Office the possibility of visiting Israel, which would be the first by a president of Vanuatu.


Arab-Israeli Children Live in Fear of Gunfire

By YnetNews

Since the beginning of the year there have been 18 civilian deaths among the Arab populace caused by shooting incidents in which dozens more were wounded either deliberately or accidentally—among them children, who were hurt not only physically but mentally.

As Israel Police activity in Arab towns and villages is considered to be complicated and dangerous, Arab-on-Arab crime has grown rampant in recent years; with protection rackets, drugs and illegal weapons trade, primarily carried out by crime cells or clans that have devolved into crime families, causing a massive increase in violence and shooting incidents.

"After what I've been through I'm scared to leave home and go to school. I'm afraid that I'll get shot again," said Muhammad Amash, 10, who was struck by a stray bullet. Muhammad, who lives with his family in Jisr az-Zarqa, told Ynet that about a month ago he and his relative went to visit a friend, when suddenly they heard gunshots. "We tried running away but I got hit in my right leg. My relative was also wounded; he got shot in the chest."

Jamil Amash, Muhammad's father, said, "The little children are the ones paying the price of the violence. My son is having a hard time coping with what happened to him. We're all scared to get shot. My nephew, who is 13 years old, was shot in that same incident and is still in serious condition. "We're all busy with treating the wounded and in the meanwhile the shooters are walking free. Unfortunately, the police are not doing enough. Even if they arrest someone the court releases them and our lives remain in danger."

Wesam Amash, Muhammad's mother, said, "Despite the horrible incident we went through, the authorities didn't pay us any mind. Our situation demands assistance for my son, but we were abandoned. My son is traumatized. He barely sleeps at night, reliving that nightmare."

The head of Jisr az-Zarqa's local council, Murad Amash, said that the current situation worries him and all of the town's residents. "The violence cannot continue. We need immediate solutions before more disasters occur. We at the council try constantly—together with our schools' administrative staff and teachers—to raise awareness to decrease violence and crime. We also meet with different groups and organizations to come up with a plan to eradicate this trend."

Jinnah Mahamid, who lives with his family in the E-Shajur neighborhood in Umm al-Fahm, recounted, "A few days ago, I was sitting in the backyard with my parents. All of the sudden, we heard gunshots and immediately ran inside. Later, when we went outside again, we saw bullet holes where we had been sitting. Now, we're scared to even sit in the guest room, afraid that a bullet might pierce through the window and hit us. We stay in a closed room and don't leave the house. It's like being in prison."

Marwa Ahmad Mahamid, 12, also recounted a shooting that nearly wounded her and her family: "Most of the time, especially at night, I'm nervous because of the loud gunfire you constantly hear here. We girls go to school terrified. Even during class, we're afraid that a bullet might enter through a window and hurt us. "It's not an easy thing to cope with. We also had an incident where shots were fired at our home and almost pierced through to the rooms we were in. Sometimes I can't sleep, even in days before tests. It's affecting my grades."

Binan Mahamid, who lives in the Ayn Jarar neighborhood in Umm al-Fahm, echoed the same experience and hardships, saying, "It's constant shooting at night, which really stresses me out. "A couple days ago, we came home and we saw a bullet right on the ground, and it was really creepy for me because it was at the entrance to our house. If we had been here in that moment (when it was shot), we could have been injured.

"I got really angry when not even one policeman would come (after we reported it). If this would have happened in a (Jewish) Israeli community, not just one policeman would come, but four or five. Why is that? Do they think Arab blood is cheap?

"We lived for a while in the Unites States and never had this kind of problem. I want to go back because I'm tired of the violence. We used to ask for playgrounds, museums, nice streets, but what we really need now is safety. We need to feel safe in our homes. We need somebody to protect us."

Nadiya Mahajana, principal at the Khadija Secondary School for girls in Umm al-Fahm, explained that it is common knowledge that the phenomenon has spread throughout the city. "We all suffer from it because it affects us all. We do our best here, together with the administrative staff and teachers, to help the girls put the danger out of their minds through social activities," she said.

Reda Jaber, director of Aman—the Arab Center for a Safe Society—explained that "the challenge of dealing with violence in Arab society is both social and structural. Arab society needs to be reorganized and rebuilt from its foundations for it to resolve the issues afflicting it, and not just deal with their symptoms.

"Fixing the erosion of its values that once united it. Forgoing its clannish and tribal structure, which prevents any real progress by the local Arab authorities. Nurturing Arab settlements, fighting poverty and taking care of youths by establishing vital community centers for non-formal education. Improving women's status in society and the perception of government and law. All these things require political and social leadership willing to take the lead, face reality and bravely work for meaningful and even painful changes.

The police responded that they "have been operating in recent years together with the Ministry of Public Security to meet the unique needs of Arab society to reduce crime and increase feelings of safety and trust in the police and the rule of law among citizens. That is done through, among other things, firm enforcement against law breakers.

"In recent years, we have seized thousands of armaments and arrested hundreds of suspects, indicting them whenever we could. In 2015 more than 1,100 indictments for weapon violations within the Arab populace were filed, and more than 900 suspects' remands were extended until the end of the proceedings against them. These results are a product of due decisive action and are, and the number of arrests that result in indictments is only getting higher."

Model of Ark of the Covenant Destroyed in Jerusalem

By IsraelNationalNews.com

A model of the largest Ark of the Covenant, the largest such model in the world, donated to the residents of Jerusalem, was demolished by vandals Thursday morning. One person has been arrested in connection with the incident.

The building and setting up of the model of the Ark of the Covenant was conceived, constructed, and donated to the residents of the city of Jerusalem by Filipina businesswoman Grace Gupana, a resident of the Philippines and a lover of Israel. The Ark, she said, was created for all believers of all faiths, especially the residents of Jerusalem and the State of Israel, in the hope that the Ark would serve as a powerful testimony against those who do not believe in the Bible.

Gupana said that the model of the Ark of the Covenant was first unveiled in Jerusalem during the Jerusalem Day March in 2013. She said that she was "shocked, pained and saddened about the vandalism and destruction of the Ark model," and that "the punishment of those who destroyed the model of the Ark of the Covenant will come from God."

She added that the city of Jerusalem is a place of worship for the three monotheistic religions, and that while Israel has undertaken to provide complete freedom of worship, there are those who do not allow that to happen. "My pain and sorrow are very great today, and the Jewish people, on the day of the giving of the Torah, must respect the believers of all religions," she said.

The model Ark was placed on a square in front of the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem on the eve of the Shavuot holiday Tuesday. It was draped in an Israeli flag. The model weighs 1,760 pounds. It is 10 feet tall, 16 feet long, and 5 feet wide. It took 12 artists and professionals four months to build, and its construction was estimated to have cost tens of thousands of dollars.


Videos of Female Soldiers Behaving Badly Uploaded Once Again

By Israel Hayom

Israel Defense Forces soldiers one-upped some of their comrades who recently posed practically nude only to have the racy photographs uploaded and disseminated online, this time filming a soldier doing a striptease poll dance, using her personal weapon as the poll.

The clip was crudely filmed on a cellphone. A voice in the background -- ostensibly another female soldier -- says that she will upload the video to Facebook, and tag the participants. It is evident from the clip that the threat of online publicity was not dissuading the dancer.

The latest scandal comes a couple of weeks after photos of soldiers in the School for Infantry Corps Professions and Squad Commanders went viral after being posted to the social network Facebook. The girls were sparsely clad, wearing little more than their assault weapons. The photos were picked up by media outlets in Israel and around the globe.

The IDF has expressed concern about the "phenomenon." As Israel Hayom first reported, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz decided that soldiers, on day one of their induction, will undergo a brief course clarifying that soldiers represent the IDF and must be committed to its core values. These briefings will also be tacked onto additional courses that soldiers take throughout their service.


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