Netanyahu meets president, prime minister of Singapore in historic visit

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JTA

    Netanyahu visited a local Singapore synagogue on Sunday

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with his counterpart in Singapore, during the first visit to the country by an Israeli prime minister.

In a statement issued after the meeting Monday with Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Netanyahu called Loong’s visit to Israel in April, the first by a Singapore leader, “an historic visit” and said that he was “following in your footsteps.”

“I believe that Israel and Singapore are kindred spirits. We’re small nations that have become in many areas global powers, and I believe that our cooperation makes us even more successful, cooperation in every field,” Netanyahu said. He cited a joint R&D fund that has already funded 150 projects for Israeli and Singapore companies working together in a variety of fields.

Israel and Singapore established diplomatic relations in 1969.

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Praising Trump, Saudi FM urges progress toward peace with Israel

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Times of Israel

    Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir, Feb. 19, 2017

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister said he is optimistic that Arabs and Israelis can reach a peace deal in 2017.

Speaking four days after US President Donald Trump and Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke at a White House press conference about the possibilities of a regional peace agreement, Adel al-Jubeir told delegates at the Munich Security Conference on Sunday that the contours of an Israeli-Palestinian accord were clear, and that Saudi Arabia and other Arab states would work to bring it to fruition.

“I believe progress can be made in the Arab-Israel conflict, if there is a will to do so,” he said. “We know what the settlement looks like, if there is just the political will to do so. And my country stands ready with other Arab countries to work to see how we can promote that.”

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Jewish Group Calls on Canadian Government to ‘Finally Get Serious About Addressing Antisemitism’

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Algemeiner

    An imam at an Islamic center in Montreal calls for the destruction of the Jewish people

The Canadian government must “finally get serious about addressing antisemitism,” the CEO of the country’s branch of a prominent Jewish organization said on Friday.

In a letter to group members, B’nai Brith Canada’s Michael Mostyn wrote, “Over the last few years, several clear instances of antisemitic hate crimes have occurred throughout the country, though appropriate charges were never laid. [We have] been diligent in reporting these hate crimes and demanding that the perpetrators be brought to justice. However, lawmakers have been silent when it comes to prosecuting these promoters of hatred and antisemitism.”

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Egyptian president tells US Jews peace deal at top of agenda

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Times of Israel

    Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi told a delegation from an umbrella group of US Jewish groups that reaching an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one of his top priorities.

Meeting in Cairo, Sissi told representatives from the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations that reaching a peace deal would remove a main impetus behind terror attacks.

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Ex-officials: Israeli leader spurned secret peace offer

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Washington Post


Israel’s prime minister turned down a regional peace initiative last year that was brokered by then-U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, former American officials confirmed Sunday, in apparent contradiction to Benjamin Netanyahu’s stated goal of involving regional Arab powers in resolving Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians.

Netanyahu took part in a secret summit that Kerry organized in the southern Jordanian port city of Aqaba last February and included Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi. The secret meeting was first reported by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz1

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A year ago, Israel, Jordan and Egypt secretly met for peace: report

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Reuters

    PMr Benjamin Netanyahu attends weekly cabinet meeting

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met secretly a year ago with the leaders of Egypt and Jordan in a failed attempt by the Obama administration to convene a wider regional summit on Israeli-Palestinian peace, Israel’s Haaretz daily said on Sunday.

At the White House on Wednesday, Netanyahu again raised the possibility of what he described as a “regional approach” to Israeli-Palestinian peace at a news conference with U.S. President Donald Trump, who appeared to embrace the idea.

Citing unidentified senior officials in former U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration, Haaretz said Netanyahu, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Jordan’s King Abdullah and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry convened on Feb. 21, 2016 in the Jordanian Red Sea resort of Aqaba.

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Biggest Challenge Facing Trump in ISIS Fight Is How to Confront Group Without Empowering Iran

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Algemeiner

    Algemeiner Editor-in-Chief Dovid Efune

The biggest challenge facing the Trump administration in terms of confronting ISIS is how to do so without benefiting Iran, the editor-in-chief of The Algemeiner said in an interview with i24 News on Thursday.

Asked by anchorwoman Michelle Makori about how the US could achieve the goals of both taking on Iran while also wiping out ISIS, Dovid Efune replied, “[Israeli] Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu has said this — when your enemies are fighting each other, you do not strengthen one of them, you weaken both. The challenge for the new national security apparatus, from the president down is going to be how do you stem the threat of ISIS while ensuring that Iran is not empowered in the process. And I think we’re beginning to see what the beginning stages of what that strategy might look like. And that involves prying Iran and Russia apart [and] isolating Iran from Russia and the international community.”

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Israel’s Economy Posts Strongest Quarter Since 2013

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Algemeiner

    The lobby of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange

Israel’s economy had its strongest quarterly performance since 2013, the country’s Central Bureau of Statistics said Thursday.

The economy grew by an annualized 6.2 percent in the last quarter of 2016, 4.2 percent in the third quarter, and 5.3 percent in the second quarter. The data showed that, year on year, the economy grew 5 percent in the second half of 2016, following 3.2-percent growth in the first half of the year.

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Reform movement opposes David Friedman as US envoy to Israel

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JTA

    David Friedman testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Feb. 16, 2017

The Reform movement became the largest Jewish body to oppose the nomination of David Friedman as United States ambassador to Israel.

In a statement released Friday, one day after the launch of Senate hearings to confirm Friedman, Union for Reform Judaism President Rabbi Rick Jacobs released a statement saying Friedman is “the wrong person for this essential job at this critical time.”

The statement says President Donald Trump’s longtime bankruptcy lawyer lacks the qualifications for the position, noting he has never been involved in professional foreign policy issues “other than as a zealous partisan and financial supporter of settlement activity.”

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How to get to two states: Netanyahu shines a bright light on the obstacles to a lasting peace

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Daily News

    PM Benjamin Netanyahu and Pres. Donald Trump

Setting aside a perplexing remark by President Trump, he and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a strong and important show of unity at the White House Wednesday.

Bad news first: Trump’s apparent ignorance of the two-state solution, which for very good reason has been the basis for Mideast peace negotiations for decades.

“I’m looking at two states and one state. I like the one that both parties like. I can live with either one,” said the President, perhaps unaware that a one-state solution would either consign Palestinians to permanent second-class status — or, via demographic change over the course of a few generations, end Israel’s status as a Jewish state.

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