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Report: Israel Used Special Missile in Syria Attack

By Israel Hayom
According to an unconfirmed report in foreign media, Israel Aerospace Industries' Rampage missile was used to attack Syrian military base on Saturday, successfully overcoming the advanced S-300 interceptor. For the first time, Israel fired advanced Rampage stand-off air-to-surface missiles against Syria to overcome the advanced Russian-made S-300 interceptor, foreign media reported on Wednesday. Israel reportedly attacked Iranian assets in a Syrian base near Hama on Saturday morning, destroying several military installations. Israel did not assume responsibility for the attack, but satellite imagery showed the aftermath of the apparent strike. According to the foreign media reports from Wednesday, Israel used the supersonic missile Rampage, developed by the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). The reports said it effectively hit its intended targets, essentially neutralizing the S-300, which has been recently transferred to the Syrian military. Israel has repeatedly stressed that it would do everything it could to prevent Iran from establishing a foothold in Syria, even if that means military attacks. This has often led to friction with Russia.

Kushner: `Deal of the Century' won't be Released Before June

By the Jerusalem Post

Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's senior adviser, told foreign diplomats on Wednesday that the "deal of the century" will not be released before the end of Ramadan, in June, a source familiar with the remarks told The Jerusalem Post. Kushner spoke in front of 100 foreign diplomats and ambassadors at Blair House and asked them to keep an open mind regarding the plan, adding it would require both sides to compromise. He said the plan would not jeopardize Israel's security, according to the report. He also said the plan has a "very detailed" political component, and will also have an economic component. Jason Greenblatt, Trump's special representative for international negotiations, tweeted on Tuesday that the peace team will not release any details ahead of time. "Continued speculation doesn't help anyone & harms the effort. We kindly suggest a stop to the guessing games," he wrote. Kushner spoke after Palestinians warned that the plan would be dead on arrival because it has removed some of the core issues from the table, such as Jerusalem, settlements, and refugees. The Palestinians have warned that the plan places all West Bank settlements under Israeli sovereignty, a claim bolstered by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's campaign pledge to so. Newly appointed Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh told The Associated Press on Tuesday: "There are no partners in Palestine for Trump. There are no Arab partners for Trump, and there are no European partners for Trump." Greenblatt attacked the PA prime minister, tweeting: "PM Shtayyeh, starting a new job by condemning a plan you haven't seen is unfair to Palestinians. You have an obligation to first look at an opportunity before you dismiss it. The PA can continue to push us away, but that will do nothing to improve the lives of the Palestinians. "Why does the new PA Prime Minister hope for our plan to be "born dead" & for peace to fail? By working with us, perhaps something wonderful can happen for Palestinians. We've repeatedly said this won't just be an economic plan," Greenblatt said. Greenblatt also said that while only the parties themselves can resolve the conflict, he believes that the plan can help them achieve that goal. "We've been working hard drafting what we believe is a fair, realistic & implementable plan. Fair agreements require compromises." The Evangelical community and settler leader Yossi Dagan are concerned that the Trump administration's talk of concessions would include territorial withdrawal. Both he and Evangelical leader Tony Perkins published an opinion piece in The Washington Times urging Trump to include Judea and Samaria within Israel's sovereign borders by refraining from any land for peace equation. Meanwhile, the European Union has rejected the idea of Israeli sovereignty in the West Bank, which would create chaos and violence in the Middle East, its foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini told the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Tuesday. Such a move would destroy the possibility of a two-state resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Mogherini said, adding that settlement construction was already making the idea of two-states impossible. "If it is not going to be a two-state solution then it is not going to be a solution," Mogherini said. Israel captured the West Bank territory from Jordan in the Six Day War, but never annexed it. Area C of the West Bank, where all the Israeli settlements are located, is under Israeli military and civilian rule. Areas A and B are under the autonomy of the PA. Mogherini's words come after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu promised earlier this month that if elected, in his next government he would annex portions of Area C of the West Bank. "The two-state solution is not only fading away," she said. "It is being dismantled piece by piece. Abandoning the two-state solution would bring greater chaos, not only to the Holy Land but also to the entire Middle East," Mogherini continued. "The next escalation of violence in Israel and Palestine could easily spiral out of control, and it would have tragic consequences in a region as unstable as today's Middle East." She said it is "our first duty" to keep the two-state perspective alive and to preserve the possibility of negotiations. "But any such plan must be based on the pre-1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps and the status of Jerusalem as the future capital of the two-states." Her pledge of support for a two-state resolution to the conflict comes in advance of the anticipated Trump administration's publication of its peace deal, which it has warned would deviate from the parameters of past efforts toward a two-state solution based on the pre-1967 lines. "The EU will recognize changes to the pre-1967 borders only if and when agreed by the parties, including about Jerusalem," she said. "The EU does not recognize Israeli sovereignty over any of the territories occupied by Israel since June 1967, in line with international law and with UN Security Council resolutions 242 and 497." She said this same policy applies to the Golan Heights. Mogherini spoke in the aftermath of Trump's decision to recognize Israeli sovereignty in the Golan Heights. Israel captured the territory from Syria in the defensive Six Day War and annexed it in 1981. Five of the EU countries that sit on the UN Security Council – UK, France, Germany, Belgium and Poland – have denounced the US move, Mogherini said. "Our position on the Golan Heights has been so clear, because we believe that international rules, international law, and international standards must be upheld," she said. Mogherini is among those that belief that even though Israel acquired the Golan Heights in a defensive war, it cannot retain it. "Borders cannot be changed by military force," she continued. "And this is a principle behind which the EU will continue to firmly stand and in a united manner."

Notre Dame Fire May Be Divine Punishment, Says Prominent Settler Rabbi

By Haaretz

The conflagration at Notre Dame de Paris that badly damaged the ancient cathedral on Monday was possibly divine punishment, an influential Israeli rabbi said on Wednesday, invoking the 13th-century burning of Jewish scriptures. Addressing the fire at the 856-year-old church in Paris in a Q&A article published on religious-Zionist Israeli news website Srugim, French-born Shlomo Aviner, now the rabbi of West Bank settlement Beit El, also said it is a mitzvah - a deed done from religious duty - to set fire to churches in Israel, but warned that shouldn't be done anyway, because they would then have to be rebuilt. Asked if the fire at Notre Dame was cause for grief, Aviner said "that isn't our function at this time. There is no command to seek out Christian churches beyond Israel and burn them down. In our holy land, things are more complicated. Indeed the Rabbi of Satmar wrote that one of his reasons against immigration to Israel is that here the command to burn churches applies but it isn't exercised," and therefore being in Israel without burning churches is prohibited. He added that the Rabbi Menachem Mendel Kasher said that building churches, "which we'll have to do" should they be burnt, is a greater offense than leaving them as is. Gadi Gvariyahu of the Tag Meir nongovernmental organization, which monitors hate crimes in Israel and the West Bank and promotes interfaith dialogue, called Aviner's remarks "sad, angering and shocking. If an influential rabbi says 'there is no command to seek out Christian churches abroad and burn them down but in our holy land, the issue is more complicated' – what will the extreme right be likely to do?" Gvariyahu added. At first, Aviner pulled back from explicitly calling the fire a punishment from heaven. However, when answering the question "So it can't be said that it was punishment?" the rabbi wrote, "It is possible, after all. The first big Talmud burning was in Paris, there in the plaza of the Notre Dame Cathedral." Aviner said it was a result of the Paris trial, "In which Jewish sages in France of that generation were forced into a confrontation with the Christian sages. The result was the burning of the Talmud. The Talmud books were brought to the Note Dame square in 20 wagons … and were burned there, meaning 1,200 Talmud books." Answering a question about displeasing non-Jews by failing to demonstrate grief at the cathedral fire, Aviner wrote, "That is no reason to grovel. … Rabbis must remain faithful to the truth. Every God-fearing Jew must adhere to the truth."

First Passover Seder to be held in Warsaw Ghetto since Holocaust

By World Israel News

Hundreds of Jews will celebrate the Passover Seder this Friday night in a place that has not seen such a ceremonial meal since 1943, Arutz 7 reported on Wednesday. The chief rabbi of Chabad-Poland, Shalom Ber Stambler, will host a hundred families from the U.S., Israel, and Poland in the former Warsaw Ghetto, which still stands in part today in the center of the Polish capital as a reminder of the Holocaust. "It is very significant for us to be celebrating Jewish holidays, and particularly the Seder night, which symbolizes Jewish freedom and the day that we united as a nation, in a place that not long ago others sought to destroy us," Stambler said. "Throughout the ages, the Jewish people have been oppressed by many nations, yet we have always emerged triumphant!" There will be three simultaneous readings of the Passover Haggadah, the text used during the meal that celebrates the Jews' miraculous exodus from Egypt as described in the Bible. The Hebrew-language group will be led by Stambler's 13-year-old son, Yossi, whom the report describes as a "talented orator" even at such a young age. Attendees from Israel will include at least one survivor who participated in the last Seder in the ghetto, which was held the night before the Jews began their famed revolt against the Nazis. The Nazis had decided that Passover, known as the Festival of Freedom, was the proper date to deport all the remaining Jews in the ghetto to the death camps. The Polish-language group will be led by the chief rabbi. Among the local participants will be family members of Vladislav Szpilman, a pianist and composer whose story of surviving the war in Warsaw was made famous by the 2002 Roman Polanski film, The Pianist. Other Chabad-Lubavitch rabbis are coming from the U.S. to co-host the Seder for the English speakers. One of them, Rabbi Levi Goldschmidt, is the great-grandson of a noted Hassid who risked his life to prepare for that last Seder by secretly baking matzah, the unleavened bread eaten during Passover. Goldschmidt is the grandson of the sole survivor of the family, a daughter who had left Poland for Tel Aviv before the war.

The three groups are set to end the Seder together, in a show of Jewish unity in what is possibly one of the most evocative settings in which Passover will be celebrated this year.

Terror Network: Joint Hamas-Hizbullah Radio Station targets Israeli Arabs

By World Israel News

Giving new meaning to the term `terror network,' Hizbullah is now airing Hamas incitement using an antenna in Lebanon, according to Israel's Channel 12. A Hamas station in Judea and Samaria used to enlist "martyrs" to carry out attacks against Israelis, was discovered by the Israeli Shin Bet security agency a couple of months ago, according to the report. The station has since been closed down. However, soon after, says Channel 12, an antenna was positioned at a Lebanese army position. Hizbullah began using it to air the Hamas broadcasts. Hizbullah is a terrorist organization; it is also a member of the Lebanese government. The calls for terrorist attacks are aired 24 hours a day and are directed at Israeli Arabs. The Hamas station is called "Al-Aqsa," which is the name of a mosque built on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and the name of the Hamas military wing. The Israeli military has described Al-Aqsa as airing "sermons, political speeches, and children's shows which inspire youth to become suicide bombers when they grow up." The Hamas messages now airing via the Hizbullah antenna are heard on 101.6 FM, right next to the Israeli "Radio North" station on 101.5 which has many Israeli Arab listeners. "Rise and prepare. Follow in the footsteps of the fortunate martyrs," says a broadcaster on the joint Hamas-Hizbullah radio station. In an interview with Channel 12, a former senior Shin Bet member says that the antenna planted by Hizbullah is located near the Lebanese border with Israel. The transmitters are so strong, he says, that the broadcasts can be heard hundreds of kilometers away in the Greater Tel Aviv area. The broadcasts can also be heard in prisons located in the north and center of Israel. Channel 12 says it asked the Defense Ministry to explain why Israel, with its cyber capabilities, cannot shut down the Al-Aqsa broadcasts coming through the transmitters in Lebanon. The Israeli news channel says it was directed to the Israel Communications Ministry, which responded that the antenna is only about three kilometers from the Israeli border and that an official complaint has been filed with the International Telecommunication Union, which has been relayed to Lebanese authorities.

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