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Israel News Faxx will not be published on Rosh Hashanah, Monday and Tuesday, Sept. 10-11.We wish all of our readers a Shana Tova u'Metuka

Foreign Policy Magazine: Israel Armed Syrian Rebels to Fight Iran Proxy and Isis

By the Jerusalem Post

Israel reportedly has armed and funded at least 12 rebel groups in southern Syria to prevent Iranian-sponsored insurgents affiliated with Islamic State from becoming embedded near the Golan, according to a report in Foreign Policy magazine. Testimonies from more than 20 commanders in Foreign Policy noted that Israel supplied the weapons and cash to rebel groups throughout "Operation Good Neighbor" – launched in 2016 and shut down in July once the Assad regime regained control of the Syrian side of the Golan Heights – to keep troops belonging to Hizbullah and Iran away from the border of the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights. On Monday, the IDF maintained its position that the IDF did not interfere in the Syrian Civil War. In addition to allocating funds for Syrian insurgents to purchase arms on the Syrian black market, Israel reportedly paid $75 monthly per soldier, according to testimonies from journalists and rebel fighters in Syria. Through Operation Good Neighbor, the Israeli military provided more than 1,524 tons of food, 250 tons of clothes, 947,520 liters of fuel, 21 generators, 24,900 palettes of medical equipment and medicine. Reports first surfaced of Israel providing arms and cash to rebel groups several years ago. The regime of Bashar Assad claimed Israel was providing arms to terrorist groups, and that its forces regularly seized arms and munitions stamped in Hebrew. According to The Wall Street Journal, Israel had been arming at least seven different rebel groups in Syria's Golan Heights, including the Fursan al-Joulan rebel group which had around 400 fighters and was given an estimated $5,000 per month by Israel. "Israel stood by our side in a heroic way," the group's spokesperson, Moatasem al-Golani, told the Wall Street Journal in a January 2017 report. "We wouldn't have survived without Israel's assistance." Israel has repeatedly warned against Iran's entrenchment in Syria, has stressed that the country cannot serve as an Iranian forward operating base, and warned against Damascus becoming a way station for arms smuggling to Hizbullah in Lebanon. While Israel's military had been carrying out operations against Iranian targets in Syria for several years, its extent only became public after Syrian air defenses downed an IAF F-16 in February. On Monday, the military announced that in the past year and a half alone, Israel has carried out 200 strikes against Iranian and Hizbullah targets in Syria. Last year former Israel Air Force head Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amir Eshel stated that the IAF carried out 100 airstrikes in Syria over the past five years. The Syrian army, backed by Russian airpower and Iranian Shi'ite militia fighters, has recaptured large swathes of territory formerly held by rebels and is now believed to have control over 70% of the war-torn country. While Syrian troops have once again been deployed to the border with Israel, in order to prevent an escalation between the two enemy countries, Russian military police have been deployed along the Golan Heights border along with UN Peacekeepers.

US Ambassador Believes Golan will be 'Part of Israel Forever'

By Israel Hayom

U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman believes that the Golan Heights will remain under Israeli sovereignty, and certainly won't be placed back in the hands of Syria's current leader, President Bashar Assad. In an exclusive interview with Israel Hayom, Friedman said that "I can't imagine a circumstance where the Golan Heights will be returned to Syria. I cannot imagine, frankly, a circumstance where the Golan Heights is not a part of Israel forever. There's not even an indigenous population in the Golan Heights seeking autonomy. "So I think you'd put Israel at a great security disadvantage by giving up the high ground of the Golan Heights," he continued. "Needless to say, I can't think of a less deserving person to receive this kind of reward than Bashar Assad. So there are a whole host of reasons why I would expect the status quo to remain." Friedman stressed that the Trump administration might consider official recognition of the Golan Heights as Israeli territory in the future. Two weeks ago, during a visit to Israel, National Security Adviser John Bolton remarked that the Trump administration is not discussing possible U.S. recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Responding to this remark, Friedman said that "it is certainly possible" that the U.S. would recognize Israeli sovereignty, explaining that Bolton's remark "was simply a statement of fact. It's simply not on the list of things that are happening right now." Friedman also dismissed any possibility that any future U.S. administrations would reverse President Donald Trump's official recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital late last year. "I really can't see that happening, no matter what party is in control," he said. "In order for an administration to reverse this, they would have to conclude that Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel and Tel Aviv is. I think that would be a far more controversial thing to do than what the president did. It would be completely at odds with reality, and I don't believe that there is an American politician of any party – of no party – who would take a position that is completely contrary to reality. So I don't think that's going to happen." Attempting to explain Trump's deep affection for Israel, Friedman revealed that Israeli intelligence had helped prevent terrorist attacks on American soil, and spoke about Trump's appreciation for Israel's success. "He likes to win," Friedman said of Trump. "He's very good at winning, he likes people who win, he thinks that success breeds more success and he knows how difficult it is to succeed, so I think he has greater admiration for what Israel has accomplished, maybe even more than some Israelis." In the interview, Friedman also addressed the recent U.S. administration decision to defund UNRWA, the U.N. agency that supports Palestinian refugees. "UNRWA is a critically flawed organization. It doesn't advance regional peace and perpetuates the conditions that make peace even harder to achieve. As such, the U.S. doesn't see how any additional investment in the agency will yield a worthy return for the American taxpayers," Friedman said.

Poll: 40% of UK Jews Would Consider Emigrating if Corbyn is Elected Prime Minister

By Israel Hayom

A poll published by the London-based Jewish Chronicle on Wednesday points to a sharp rise in the number of Jews in the United Kingdom who are seriously considering leaving the country if Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn becomes prime minister. Some 40% of those questioned said they were seriously thinking about emigrating from the U.K. if Labour and Corbyn ascend to power. Among those in the 35-54 age group, 50% expressed concern for their future, and 44% of the women polled echoed the sentiment. Britain's former Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks warned last weekend that most Jewish people in the country no longer know if the U.K. is a safe place to raise their children. Sacks singled out Corbyn for failing to address anti-Semitic attitudes in the largest opposition party, saying the Labour leader would pose a danger as prime minister unless he expresses "clear remorse" for past statements. Meanwhile, Jewish groups in the U.K. on Wednesday intensified their criticism of Corbyn and his supporters, after the Labour leader sought to impose a party line supporting the right to claim that Israel was established under racist circumstances. Although Labour adopted the internationally accepted definition of anti-Semitism, it also backed a statement that adopting the definition "will not in any way undermine freedom of expression on Israel or the rights of Palestinians." Gideon Falter, chairman of Campaign Against Antisemitism, said the statement was an "attempt to undermine the definition's validity, despite its adoption around the world and the fact that the definition is already heavily caveated." Nevertheless, on Tuesday, a survey by British polling company Survation showed Labour extending their lead over Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservative Party to 4 percentage points, up from 2 percentage points. Most recent opinion polls show Labour ahead of, or level with the Conservatives.

Trump Touts his 'Jewish Connection' in Pre-Rosh Hashanah Conference Call with American Jewish Leaders


President Donald Trump spoke with Jewish leaders in a conference call Thursday, ahead of the Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur holidays. During the call, the president highlighted his accomplishments over the past year, including upholding his promise to relocate the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the deportation of Nazi war criminal Jakiw Palij, withdrawing the US from the United Nations Human Rights Council – citing its anti-Israel bias – and pulling out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Trump also noted his administration's decision to withhold funds earmarked for the Palestinian Authority until PA chief Mahmoud Abbas agrees to renew negotiations with Israel. "I said to some of the past negotiators," Trump said. "'Did you ever do that before? Did you ever use the money angle?' They said, 'No, sir. We thought it would be disrespectful.' I said, 'I don't think it's disrespectful at all. I think it's disrespectful when people don't come to the table.' "Each and every one of these is something that his predecessors could have done, but did not. And so we owe him our repeated thanks. We were privileged to receive the President's wishes for a blessed New Year," said Rabbi Yaakov Menken, Managing Director of the Coalition for Jewish Values, one of the organizations invited to participate in the conference call. Last year, Reform, Conservative, and Reconstructionist leaders refused to help organize the conference call, protesting the president's response to the violence in Charlottesville. Despite the boycott, President Trump held the conference call, including Orthodox leaders. A spokesperson from the Reform movement's Religious Action Center told the Religion News Service this week that it would boycott this year's conference call as well. According to a report by Channel 10, President Trump also mentioned his family ties to Judaism through his daughter Ivanka, son-in-law Jared Kushner, and the couple's children. "I have a personal connection to Judaism: Ivanka, Jared, and their kids."

New Year's Wishes from China to 'Post' readers: Shana Tova u'Metuka

By the Jerusalem Post

As Rosh Hashanah approaches, Jews around the world are sending New Year's wishes for a shana tova u'metuka, a sweet and happy New Year, to friends, family and loved ones near and far. But in Chinese? China Radio International's Hebrew language service released a video sending New Year's greetings to The Jerusalem Post's readers worldwide. A Hebrew-speaking Chinese presenter named Itzik Hasini, meaning "Itzik the Chinese," the nom de plume of CRI journalist Xi Xiaoqi leads Chinese tourists, workers, and Beijing residents in chants of shana tova u'metuka. Filmed at the famous 15th century Temple of Heaven in the Chinese capital, interviewees also expressed their admiration for Israel and the Jewish people, including Jews' "business sense." In the video, Itzik also downs the traditional Rosh Hashanah treat of apples dipped in honey, blows the shofar, and makes asides in Hebrew to the camera. China and Israel have pursued growing economic, research, and political ties in recent years, with Chinese companies investing heavily in the Israeli market. Interest in Jews, Jewish history, and Israel has also grown in China, with more and more Chinese reading Jewish books in translation and studying Jewish topics. China Radio International is the state-owned broadcaster of the People's Republic of China. The Hebrew language division of the CRI publishes a website and creates viral content like this New Year's video.

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