Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Reuven Rivlin
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke on Wednesday morning of the “kinship” he feels with Israel, hailing the rapidly improving relations between the two countries, and especially the burgeoning trade ties.
Modi arrived Tuesday, making him the first-ever head of India’s government to visit the Jewish state.
The US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, has strongly criticized the Palestinian campaign for the Tomb of the Patriarchs and the Old City in the West Bank town of Hebron to be recognized as “Endangered World Heritage Sites” by UNESCO, the UN’s global cultural agency.
The Palestinian proposal is scheduled to be put to a vote on Friday, during the 41st meeting of UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee which began last Sunday in the Polish city of Krakow.
In a letter addressed to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova – a copy of which was seen by The Algemeiner – Haley stated the Tomb of Patriarchs, which is “sacred to three faiths, is under no immediate threat.” To designate it as an “endangered” site, Haley said, risks “undermining the seriousness such an assessment by UNESCO should have.”
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman offered an optimistic outlook on Thursday regarding his country’s efforts to forge better ties with its neighbors.
“The word ‘peace’ is not relevant in the Middle East,” Lieberman said during a Kol Chai radio interview, according to the Hebrew news site nrg. “I’m talking about regional understandings. I reiterate: We’ve never been closer to a regional arrangement with moderate Arab countries and have never been so far from a deal of any sort with the Palestinians.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, pose for a photo with pilot Nechama Spiegel Novak (right) before taking off from Ben Gurion International Airport to Greece, June 14, 2017
The El Al flight taking Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife to Greece on Wednesday was piloted by a female ultra-Orthodox woman, a first for an official flight.
Nechama Spiegel Novak, a mother of four who has been flying Israel’s national carrier since earlier this year, left Ben Gurion International Airport on Wednesday morning guiding a chartered Boeing 737 to Thessaloniki, where Netanyahu is participating in a trilateral summit with Greece and Cyprus.
The prime minister and his wife, Sara, took several photos with the pilot, who was the first officer on the flight, before they took off.
Novak attended flight school in the United States, where she worked to log enough flight hours. Unlike most Israeli pilots, she did not serve in the Israeli Air Force, where most pilots log their flight hours and get their licenses.
“Being a pilot has always been a dream of mine. My husband is very supportive, and he is helping realize this dream,” she said in 2015 when she started her flight training.
Section of a tunnel discovered running from the Gaza Strip to Israel, October 13, 2013
The United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees uncovered a tunnel belonging to Hamas under a boys’ elementary school in the Gaza Strip, according to a statement released by the organization on Friday.
The tunnel was discovered by workers of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) on June 1 under the school, which is part of a compound comprising other schools in the Maghazi refugee camp in the Gaza Strip near the city of Deir al-Balah.
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said Thursday that Israel was “closer than ever” to an agreement with the Palestinians and that the opportunity for full relations with Arab states would sway the Netanyahu government to accept a deal.
“We are far closer to an agreement than ever before,” Liberman told Channel 2 on Thursday. “I hope we will be able to realize this option.”
Some 70 Ethiopian immigrants arrived in Israel on Tuesday as part of a joint operation between the Jewish Agency and the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem. Their arrival was made possible due to a government decision passed on November 2015, which agreed to bring over 9,000 members of the Falash Mura community from Ethiopia, but activists criticized the slow pace at which the decision has been implemented.
Dozens of excited family members gathered at Ben-Gurion Airport to meet their relatives, whom they had not seen for many years. Among them was Malaso Bardokai, who waited quietly to greet his daughter, whom he had not seen in a decade. “We have been waiting for this for so long, and now the family is finally reuniting,” he said.
United States permanent Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley
The US ambassador to the United Nations on Tuesday threatened that the US could withdraw from the body’s Human Rights Council, unless it reforms, including by removing its built-in procedural mechanism to bash Israel.
Nikki Haley said the Council’s “relentless, pathological campaign” against a state with a strong human rights record “makes a mockery not of Israel, but of the Council itself.”
President Donald Trump signed a temporary order on Thursday to keep the U.S. embassy in Israel in Tel Aviv instead of relocating it to Jerusalem, despite his campaign pledge to go ahead with the controversial move.
After months of fierce debate within his administration, Trump chose to continue his predecessors’ policy of signing a six-month waiver overriding a 1995 law requiring that the embassy be transferred to Jerusalem, an action that would have complicated his efforts to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
Palestinians hold posters showing Dalal Mughrabi, a Palestinian terrorist involved in the 1978 Coastal Road Massacre in which 38 Israelis were killed, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, on July 16, 2008
Norway’s foreign minister on Friday condemned the Palestinian Authority for naming a women’s center in the West Bank, funded in part by the Scandinavian country, after a female terrorist.
“The glorification of terrorist attacks is completely unacceptable, and I deplore this decision in the strongest possible terms. Norway will not allow itself to be associated with institutions that take the names of terrorists in this way. We will not accept the use of Norwegian aid funding for such purposes,” Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende said in a statement.