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Officials: 'No One will be Fully Pleased' with Trump Peace Plan

By the Jerusalem Post

Senior Trump administration officials working on a proposal for Israeli-Palestinian peace issued a joint statement on their work on Wednesday, cautioning a world eagerly awaiting their plan that "no one will be fully pleased" with its contents. The statement was issued amid intensive discussions within the administration over when to release the plan to the public. "No one will be fully pleased with our proposal, but that's the way it must be if real peace is to be achieved. Peace can only succeed if it is based on realities," said the team, comprised of Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser; Jason Greenblatt, his special representative for international negotiations; David Friedman, his ambassador to Israel; and Nikki Haley, his envoy to the United Nations. Greenblatt, who is primarily responsible for daily work on the plan, disseminated the statement on Twitter in Hebrew, Arabic and English. Administration officials have said that the plan is essentially complete and could drop at any time once the team feels the timing is right. Some officials have suggested that the moment might arrive months from now, but others have hinted the plan could be revealed by the end of the summer. Team members have also said for months that aspects of the plan will appeal to Palestinians and that others will please the Israelis– but that neither will be entirely satisfied with the plan as a whole.

Finance ?Minister Reveals ?Israel is Worth 17.6 Trillion Shekels

By Israel Hayom

If the State of Israel were a public company traded on the stock market it would be worth some 17.6 ?trillion shekels ($4.8 trillion), Finance Minister ?Moshe Kahlon announced at a special event hosted by ?the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.? The TASE ?called on Israelis to participate in the evaluation ?of the economy's "biggest public company" – the ?state itself. ? Using a model developed by the World Bank, the TASE ?calculated Israel's estimated wealth as ?NIS 16 trillion ($4.3 trillion), but when the public's assessment was factored into the equation, the figure rose to ?NIS 17.6 trillion ($4.78 trillion).? The World Bank's methodology was outlined in a study issued in January, titled "Changing Wealth of ?Nations." The study tracked the wealth of 141 ??countries between 1995 and 2014, but Israel was ?excluded from it, leading the? TASE to conduct ?its own poll based on the same parameters. ? The polling found that 77.9% of Israelis believe ?Israel's economic future lies with the technology ?sector. Some 62.8% of Israelis said national ?security is the most important parameter by which ?economic prosperity can be predicted, and 47.2% ?believe the standard of living will continue to improve. The survey further found that 39.2% of Israelis ?believe in their country's health care system, and 35.3% of the ?public believes the educational system will continue ?improving. ? Tel Aviv Stock Exchange CEO Ittai Ben-Zeev explained ??that the poll's questionnaire was designed to ??examine the public's confidence in various ??institutions and its degree of optimism about the ??future of life in Israel. ??Tens of thousands of Israelis participated in the ?survey, he said. ?Kahlon noted that ?Israel's record of uninterrupted economic growth and ?its falling level of debt-to-gross domestic product ?ratio were encouraging, but warned that no economy's ?future is 100% secure. ??"Economy is, by nature, cyclical and there is no ?insurance policy for anyone. "We've seen what happened in Turkey: One move by ?[U.S. President Donald] Trump ?created a roller coaster. At the moment, our ?situation is good, but economic crises have happened and ?will happen. My responsibility as the finance ?minister is to prepare the country for a crisis. A country that doesn't grow is a country that ?declines, growth is security, growth is money to ?make the country stronger, for all the things you ?want. We aspire to reach 5% [growth] per year, and at present, ?we're at 3.3%, so we need to make more effort," ?he said.?

Malaysian Prime Minister Defends His Right to be Anti-Semitic

By JTA

Anti-Semitism is an artificial construct created to silence critics of the Jews, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said. "There is one race that cannot be criticized. If you are anti-Semitic, it seems almost as if you are a criminal," Mohamad said in an interview with the Associated Press on Monday, denying that he disliked Jews, as such. "Anti-Semitic is a term that is invented to prevent people from criticizing the Jews for doing wrong things. "When somebody does wrong, I don't care how big they are. They may be powerful countries but if they do something wrong, I exercise my right of free speech. They criticize me, why can't I criticize them?" Mohamad, an avowed anti-Semite, was sworn in as prime minister in May, nearly two decades after he last held office. He is well known for his anti-Semitic rhetoric, writing on his personal blog in 2012 that "Jews rule this world by proxy." In 2003, speaking at the Organization of the Islamic Conference summit in Kuala Lumpur, he said that "1.3 billion Muslims cannot be defeated by a few million Jews. There must be a way. And we can only find a way if we stop to think, to assess our weaknesses and our strength, to plan, to strategize and then to counterattack. We are actually very strong. 1.3 billion people cannot be simply wiped out. The Europeans killed 6 million Jews out of 12 million." He has also said, "I am glad to be labeled anti-Semitic […] How can I be otherwise, when the Jews who so often talk of the horrors they suffered during the Holocaust show the same Nazi cruelty and hard-heartedness towards not just their enemies but even towards their allies should any try to stop the senseless killing of their Palestinian enemies." He wrote in his 1970 book "The Makay Dilemma" that "The Jews are not merely hook-nosed, but understand money instinctively." In 2007, Mohamad was not in office when he announced the creation of a war crimes tribunal that would focus on victims of abuse in Iraq, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories. At 92, he is the world's oldest elected leader. He previously served as prime minister from 1981 until 1999. Despite the controversy surrounding his remarks, he told AP that he didn't particularly care about his legacy or how he would be remembered. "Frankly I don't care. I won't be around," he said. "When I am dead, it doesn't matter anymore."

Survey Hints Rumors That Amazon is Opening an Israeli Warehouse May be Correct

By JTA

A new online survey conducted by Amazon.com hints lends credence to reports that the internet retail giant is looking to establish a greater presence in Israel. The survey, which significantly is being conducted in Hebrew, seeks the views of Israelis regarding their desire to sell their wares on the platform and various aspects of doing business in Israel, Globes reported. The survey follows only months after a similar poll targeting Israeli consumers. The polls highlight Amazon's interest in expanding its retail footprint in Israel and seem to confirm earlier reports that the company is looking to open a local shipping center. In November, the Israeli financial newspaper Calcalist reported that Amazon was negotiating for warehouse space in the central Israeli city of Modiin and that if the negotiations were successful, it would then launch a Hebrew language version of its website. Israelis have been turning increasingly to the internet as an alternative to shopping in stores. According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, Israel's cost of living is among the highest in the developed world.

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