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Netanyahu: Iran's Precision Missiles in Yemen Meant to Attack Israel

By YnetNews

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned Monday that Iran is deploying precision missiles in Yemen in order to attack Israel. In his meeting with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Netanyahu said Iran hopes to be able to use such missile capability, targeting anywhere in the Mideast. Netanyahu noted these efforts by Iran have been ongoing but the introduction of missiles to Yemen is for the purpose of targeting Israel. According to the Prime Minister Iran intends to deploy precision missiles in Syria and Iraq as well as upgrading the 130,000 missiles arsenal in Lebanon. Ynet security analyst Ron Ben Yishai says Iranian missiles fired from inside Iran are also capable of hitting targets in Israel but the deployment of such weapons around the Middle East including now Yemen requires a more extensive use of missile detection technology on the part of Israel including on its south. "We regard Iran as the biggest threat to peace stability and security. They have attacked Saudi Arabia, disrupted international maritime routes and over the past decade, have attacked and killed Americans in Afghanistan and elsewhere." Mnuchin told his host the administration plans to continue to ramp up efforts to curtail Iran's aggressive ambitions. "We have executed on a maximum pressure campaign for sanctions. They have worked, they are working, and they are cutting off the money." Earlier the prime minister met with US Special Representative Jared Kushner.

Ben Shapiro Calls for Synagogue to Be Built on Temple Mount

By United with Israel

American conservative political commentator Ben Shapiro recently commented that a synagogue should be built on the Temple Mount. "I think there's a strong case to be made that Jews should be building [on the Temple Mount] if they can't build the temple because there's the Dome of the Rock right there. They should at least build a synagogue up there so you can have regularized prayers," Shapiro said on his podcast. "If Muslims are able to build a school on one end which they have done, it seems to me the Jews should be able to build a synagogue in a space that is roughly the size of three football fields," he added. Shapiro was kicked off the Temple Mount last week after a member of his group was caught praying. The Waqf, a Jordanian-backed religious trust that controls and manages the current Islamic edifices on the Temple Mount, forbids any non-Muslim from praying at the site. Shapiro commented on his Temple Mount experience, "The site's incredible. If you're ever in Jerusalem and you have a chance to visit it you certainly should. It's the holiest site in Judaism. That's where the Holy of Holies used to stand in the Beit HaMikdash – the Temple. It is the rock where Abraham, according to the Bible, was about to sacrifice Isaac. It is also the site where Jacob, when he had the dream of the ladder going to heaven was promised the land," he said. He also compared the experience of being on the Temple Mount to praying at the Western Wall. "The Western Wall is actually a retaining wall for the platform where the Temple stood. It's kind of weird. We're actually praying at the retaining wall not of the actual Temple itself, there was another wall that surrounded the Temple," he said. It's sort of like praying at the fence of a parking lot that contains the building you actually care about."

Israel Saves Second Temple-Era Palace from Palestinian Destruction

By United with Israel

A Second Temple period site near Jericho was saved from potential damage and destruction on Sunday when Civil Administration officials discovered construction taking place without a permit at the archaeological site. The complex is believed to be associated with a Hasmonean palace built by the ancestors of the Chanukah hero, priest Mattathias (Matatyahu). Construction vehicles filled with bricks, cement and other building materials were discovered at the site and immediately confiscated, according to a press release by the Archaeology Unit at the Civil Administration via the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT). The Civil Administration is Israel's governing body in Judea and Samaria. The suspects were detained and questioned by the nearby Maale Adumim police. In May, a tractor performing illegal agricultural work in the area uncovered a massive Jewish burial cave filled with hundreds of bones, dating back to the Second Temple period, according to the Jerusalem Post. Unique inscriptions of three generations of Hasmoneans were also found, providing details of those buried there. Damage had already been done to the cave's grottoes before the illegal work was discovered. The bones were reburied in a tomb in Kfar Adumim in the Judean Desert northwest of Maale Adumim. The caves are the largest Second Temple era burial grounds in Israel, according to Haifa University Prof. Rachel Hachlili, who has extensively studied the Jericho-area Jewish necropolis, a term that refers to large cemeteries with elaborate tomb monuments. The findings have provided an understanding of ancient Jewish funerary customs. However, looting and damage have made further investigations difficult. Hanania Hizmi, head of the Civil Administration Archaeology Unit, said that historical sites in Judea and Samaria "cannot be damaged" and that "the archaeology unit works tirelessly to develop and preserve the archaeological sites" in those areas, according to the report. Unfortunately, Palestinians have been caught on numerous occasions destroying ancient artifacts and structures, many of which prove historic Jewish presence in the Holy Land. Director of the Civilian Control Unit, Marco Ben Shabbat, said that the Civil Administration will use "all the tools at our disposal" to continue preventing illegal construction from taking place at archaeological sites in Judea and Samaria, reported the Post.

Secret Dubai Synagogue Prays for Persian Gulf Revival

By Israel Hayom
In an unmarked villa, nestled amid homes in an upscale Dubai neighborhood, a congregation prays in the first fully functioning synagogue in the Arabian Peninsula in decades. Though its members keep its precise location secret, the synagogue's existence and the tacit approval it has received from this Islamic sheikhdom represent a slow rebirth of a burgeoning Jewish community in the Persian Gulf, uprooted over the decades after the creation of Israel. The United Arab Emirates' rulers have sought to boost the community by hosting interfaith events and pledging to build a massive multi-faith complex that includes a synagogue, part of their efforts to burnish the country's image to the West. Meanwhile, ties between Gulf Arab states and Israel slowly warm over their mutual enmity of Iran, though concerns about the future of the Palestinians remain a wedge. Yet even with the challenges, leaders of the Dubai congregation say they represent a new, growing presence that could offer a hopeful glimpse into the future. "We have slowly found our place in the ecosystem of the UAE," Ross Kriel, the president of the new Jewish Community of the Emirates, told reporters. "It reflects our optimism about the future of the UAE as a place for us to commune, contribute and flourish." Thriving Jewish communities in the region once stretched from the neighborhoods of Baghdad and Tehran down to the island nation of Bahrain, and from the eastern coast of Oman, home to a purported tomb of the Prophet Job, to Yemen's southern shores. But the war surrounding the 1948 creation of Israel, saw both Arab rulers and their public turn against their Jewish neighbors. Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution also saw Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, who acknowledged Israel, replaced by a Shiite theocracy that views the state of Israel as an enemy, with tens of thousands of Jews fleeing. A small Jewish community still lives in Iran today, with a few families in Bahrain. Their synagogues and others are mostly scattered relics of the past. But the UAE, a federation of seven sheikhdoms, was only founded in 1971 and had no significant history with Jews. While still not acknowledging Israel diplomatically, Emirati officials have allowed Israeli officials to visit and the Israeli national anthem was played after an athlete won gold in an Abu Dhabi judo tournament. Next year, Israel will take part in Expo 2020, the world's fair being hosted by Dubai. Jewish life in the Emirates now revolves around the Dubai villa, where an eclectic group of visitors gather for weekly prayers, kosher meals, and holiday celebrations. The house's living room serves as the main sanctuary, where the Torah scroll is read and prayers are recited. The upstairs living quarters offer overnight accommodations for observant visitors who don't travel on Shabbat. The synagogue has hosted Bar Mitzvah ceremonies and performed Jewish circumcision rituals for newborn boys. Neighbors haven't complained of its presence, even after recent Jewish New Year celebrations included some boisterous blowing of the shofar or ram's horn. Services are conducted in Orthodox fashion, with separate seating for men and women, but the groundbreaking congregation welcomes all. Last week, the community marked the weeklong Jewish festival of Sukkot, or Feast of Tabernacles. The holiday commemorates the Jews' desert wandering after they were freed from Egyptian slavery, a symbolism not lost among members at the Jewish community's new Arabian home. However, the community remains cautious and many asked not to be identified. A reporter had to agree not to photograph the synagogue or describe its location before visiting. Kriel himself praised the embrace of the UAE, and said he felt very safe in Dubai, but still refrained from wearing a Jewish skullcap on the street. "Although our community is very unique in the Jewish world, we have not wanted to sensationalize our presence here," he said. "Our future vision is a Jewish community that is not just considered a normal feature of life in the UAE but is considered to be a place where Jews flourish." The Emirati government this year has marked what it calls "The Year of Tolerance," which included a visit by Pope Francis, an interfaith conference including American rabbis and Christian evangelicals and the creation of a Ministry of Tolerance. As part of the effort, it announced plans to build the Abrahamic Family House in Abu Dhabi, which will house a mosque, a church and a synagogue. Fitting of a country that boasts the world's tallest building, massive shopping malls and the world's busiest airport for international travel, it is being touted as the most expensive Jewish house of worship ever built, estimated to cost hundreds of millions of dollars. "Whether of sect, or religion, intolerance has proved to be the primary source of conflict and extremism," said Omar Ghobash, an Emirati assistant minister for cultural and public diplomacy. "The UAE has been in the forefront in challenging these forces, by building a diverse, modern, progressive and stable society, which promotes integration. We see this as much as an opportunity as a responsibility." The UAE's tolerance push, however, does not extend to decriminalizing public protest, allowing political parties or halting a prolonged crackdown on Islamists, whom the nation's hereditary rulers view as a threat. The Emirates has long relied on the West, particularly the US, as a bulwark against Iran. Religious tolerance efforts offer something for Emirati diplomats to point to in Washington as the Pentagon keeps 5,000 US troops stationed here and relies on Dubai's Jebel Ali port. Despite that, Yehuda Sarna, the newly named chief rabbi of the UAE's Jewish community, said the country has genuinely become "a major global hub and point of encounter between religions. We are being invited to that encounter," he said. "Are we going to dwell on the past or look to the future? I feel that this history has yet to be written and we are going to write it by living it."

'Israeli Air Force One' Almost Ready for Takeoff

By JNS & Israel Hayom
Israel's own "Air Force One" was seen for the first time exiting the garage at the aircraft division of Israel Aerospace Industries on Sunday, Ynet reported on Monday. The customized Boeing 767 is painted blue and white with a Star of David on the tail and is earmarked by use by Israel's president and prime minister. The plane is 19 years old and arrived in Israel in 2016 from Australian airline Qantas. It has undergone special renovations according to Israel's Channel 12. Among the new technologies reportedly installed are defense systems against cyberattacks and missiles. The plane also includes a study room, a bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen, as well as a meeting room equipped with encrypted satellite communications systems.

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