Newsletter : 18fx0906.txt
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Paraguay's Embassy is Leaving Jerusalem. Israel Closes embassy in Paraguay and
Palestinian Authority Opens One
By JTA, VOA & Reuters
Israel closed its embassy in Paraguay following an announcement by the South American
country that it was relocating its embassy back to Tel Aviv four months after moving to
Jerusalem. The move comes as Paraguay joins the effort to bring peace to the Middle East.
"Paraguay wants to contribute to an intensification of regional diplomatic efforts to
achieve a broad, fair and lasting peace in the Middle East," Foreign Minister Luis Alberto
Castiglioni told reporters on Wednesday.
Shortly after the announcement of the return to Tel Aviv, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu recalled his country's ambassador to Paraguay and then ordered the Israeli
embassy closed. Netanyahu also holds the foreign minister's portfolio. "Israel views with
great severity the unusual decision of Paraguay, which will cloud bilateral relations,"
the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Paraguay opened its new embassy in Jerusalem in May, a week after the United States moved
its embassy to the capital from Tel Aviv and days after Guatemala. "A great day for
Israel. A great day for Paraguay. A great day for our friendship," Netanyahu said at the
time. "You have not only the support of our government but the profound gratitude of the
"Paraguay helped the Jews escape Nazi Germany," the prime minister said of the historical
bond between Paraguay and the Jewish people. We will never forget it. You did it before,
during and after the Holocaust. It was an expression of compassion and generosity that
will always be etched in our hearts. Paraguay also supported the establishment of the
State of Israel and recognized Israel at the UN. We won't forget that, either," the
"You're an amazing friend to Israel," Netanyahu told then-President Horacio Cartes. "Under
your leadership, Paraguay made courageous moves in the international arena and refused to
take part in the lies against Israel. It's time we do a lot more together and increase the
cooperation between us. We've been discussing water, agriculture, security, and we are
doing and want to do more. And we will."
A previous embassy in a Jerusalem suburb was closed in 2012 in retaliation for Israel
shuttering its diplomatic mission in the Paraguayan capital of Asuncion as part of a round
of budget cuts. A new Paraguayan embassy opened a year later near Tel Aviv.
Cartes, who left office in mid-August when the government of Mario Abdo Benitez took over,
announced in late April during an event in Asuncion marking Israel's 70th Independence Day
that he planned to move the embassy before the end of his term. It is not known if Cartes
consulted with Benítez before announcing the move.
The Palestinian Authority on Wednesday welcomed Paraguay's decision to relocate its
embassy in Israel back to Tel Aviv from Jerusalem. The PA official in charge of foreign
affairs, Minister Riyad al-Maliki, announced that the PA had decided to "immediately" open
an embassy in Paraguay's capital Asuncion.
Maliki expressed gratitude to the president and foreign minister of Paraguay for their
commitment to international law and United Nations Security Council resolutions,
particularly a resolution from 1980 that bans countries from recognizing Israel's
sovereignty over "occupied Jerusalem" or moving their embassies to the city, reported the
Wafa news agency. He also urged other countries to open embassies in Paraguay in a show of
solidarity with that country.
PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas' office welcomed Paraguay's decision as well and described it as
courageous. "This decision was in line with international resolutions and was the result
of the wise and vigorous Palestinian diplomatic efforts to explain the dangers of the
transfer of embassies to Jerusalem on the peace process in the Middle East and the
establishment of the independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital," said a
statement from Abbas' bureau quoted by Wafa.
It stressed as well that "this courageous move by the Paraguayan government is an example
for all countries in facing Israeli greed and attempts by the American administration to
impose it on the world when it moved its embassy to Jerusalem in the so-called deal of the
The presidency praised all the countries that rejected the US move and considered it a
threat to the entire peace process in the region.
How the Mossad Operation to Retrieve Iran's Nuclear Files Took a Surprising Turn
By the Jerusalem Post
The Mossad agents who appropriated Iran's nuclear secrets from a warehouse in Tehran in
January knew they would be taking a large number of folders, but did not realize there
would be a large volume of disks, Yediot Aharonot's Ronen Bergman reported on Wednesday.
The Mossad agents involved were reportedly so surprised that they checked in with Mossad
chief Yossi Cohen who was observing the mission from Israel. Cohen quickly gave the order
to take as many of the disks as they could get.
The report said that in preparing for the operation, the planners debated whether to
photograph the files or physically bring them a more complex operation. At all
stages, including mid-operation, Cohen pressed to bring back as much original evidence as
possible to counter any claims from Iran that the evidence was doctored.
His ad hoc call mid-operation ended up having important repercussions as Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu decided to break with precedent and publicly present the intelligence
materials in a press conference on April 30. Many say that Netanyahu's presentation moved
President Donald Trump the final mile toward deciding to abandon the 2015 Iran nuclear
Further, the report said that information contained on the disks provided a wealth of data
about Iran's nuclear activities that were not in the files.
Poll: Only 30% of High Schoolers Know Lyrics of 'Hatikvah,' Israel's National
By Israel Hayom
A poll conducted by Israel Hayom before Israeli high school students returned school this
week points to a disconcerting lack of general knowledge and familiarity with many
subjects that are covered in their textbooks or frequently appear in the media.
A sample of 514 students from the 11th and 12th grades in the Jewish sector was asked
various questions about civics, history and current events. The same question,
incidentally, was presented by Israel Hayom to a representative sample of teachers in
2015, which also exposed problematic results.
The internet poll was conducted during the last week of August. It did not include
students from the Arab sector so as to avoid influencing the results, mainly due to
questions of a political or nationalistic nature such as what happened on Nov. 29,
1947; what are the names of Israel's wars; what is the Green Line; and what are the words
to the national anthem, "Hatikvah."
The sample pool was divided equally along gender lines (257 boys, 257 girls). Among those
questioned, 51% were from secular schools, 28% from national-religious schools, 13% from
ultra-Orthodox schools and 7% from private schools. None of the questions were
According to the results, as stated, a majority of the students lack knowledge in a number
of subjects. It might be a little hard to believe, but only 30% of the students were able
to write the first four lines of "Hatikvah precisely."
Around two-thirds of the students questioned didn't know that the U.N. voted to recommend
the partition of Palestine into Jewish and Arab states on Nov. 29, 1947; nearly half were
unfamiliar with the Green Line, and almost half couldn't name the five books of the Torah.
The fewest number of students, just 7%, knew the date of former Prime Minister Yitzhak
Rabin's assassination (Nov. 4, 1995).
In a comparison of the students' level of knowledge to the teachers from the 2015 poll,
the teachers generally exhibited better familiarity and knowledge in history and politics.
Regarding the national anthem and books of the Torah, for example, more than twice as many
teachers as students answered correctly.
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