US EMBASSY MOVE TO JERUSALEM

For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem.” (Zech 14:2)

Sheldon Adelson offers to help pay for Jerusalem embassy — report

State Department lawyers investigating legality of private donation to cover costs said to be over $500 million ( Times of Israel * 23 Feb 2018)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration is considering an offer from Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson to pay for at least part of a new US embassy in Jerusalem, four US officials told The Associated Press.

Lawyers at the State Department are looking into the legality of accepting private donations to cover some or all of the embassy costs, the administration officials said. The discussions are occurring as the new embassy clears its final bureaucratic hurdles. On Thursday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson ended weeks of delay by signing off on a security plan for moving the embassy from Tel Aviv to the holy city, according to the officials, who weren’t authorized to discuss the issue publicly and demanded anonymity.

In one possible scenario, the administration would solicit contributions not only from Adelson but potentially from other donors in the evangelical and American Jewish communities, too. One official said Adelson, a Las Vegas casino magnate and staunch supporter of Israel, had offered to pay the difference between the total cost — expected to run into the hundreds of millions of dollars — and what the administration is able to raise.

Under any circumstance, letting private citizens cover the costs of an official government building would mark a significant departure from historical US practice. In the Jerusalem case, it would add yet another layer of controversy to Trump’s politically charged decision to move the embassy, given Adelson’s longstanding affiliation with right-wing Israeli politics.  Trump’s administration has been sifting through options for fast-tracking the Israel embassy’s relocation.

The US has looked at several possible sites.  The most likely plan involves a phased approach to opening the embassy in Jerusalem’s Arnona neighborhood at an existing US facility that handles consular affairs like passports and visas. The US could initially retrofit a small suite of offices in that facility to accommodate Friedman and one or two top aides such as his chief of staff. That would allow the administration to hang an “embassy” sign over the door and formally open it, perhaps in the next few months. The ribbon could be cut in time for Israel’s Independence Day, Yom Ha’atzmaut, which takes place in April.

(https://www.timesofisrael.com/sheldon-adelson-offers-to-help-pay-for-jerusalem-embassy-report/)

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Netanyahu to invite Trump to inaugurate US embassy in Jerusalem in May

PM thanks US president for his leadership and ‘strong friendship,’ will reportedly ask him to visit Israel for ribbon-cutting ceremony (Times of Israel * 24 Feb 2018)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to invite US President Donald Trump to Israel in May to inaugurate the US embassy, which Washington announced on Friday will be relocated to Jerusalem on Israel’s Independence Day, Hadashot TV news reported on Saturday. In a video statement posted to his social media channels on Saturday night, Netanyahu said the US announcement to relocate the embassy, which follows Trump’s historic declaration in December to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, marked a “great moment for the State of Israel.”

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The US State Department notified Congress on Friday that the Jerusalem embassy will open in May, to coincide with the 70th anniversary of Israel declaring independence. The State Department confirmed the timing of the move, with an official telling The Times of Israel: “The Embassy will initially be located in Arnona [in south Jerusalem], on a compound that currently houses the consular operations of Consulate General Jerusalem. At least initially, it will consist of the ambassador and a small team.” 

A ribbon-cutting ceremony is being planned for mid-May. Israel proclaimed independence on May 14, 1948. According to Channel 10 and Hadashot news, the ceremony could be held on May 14 to honor that date. (Israel celebrates its anniversary of independence according to the Hebrew calendar; Independence Day — Yom Ha’Atzmaut — falls on April 19 this year.)

(https://www.timesofisrael.com/netanyahu-to-invite-trump-to-inaugurate-us-embassy-in-jerusalem-in-may/)

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 TOP ISRAELI MINISTER:  US TO MOVE EMBASSY TO JERUSALEM ON 70TH INDEPENDENCE DAY

A May opening appears to represent an earlier time frame than what had been expected. (BY JPOST.COM STAFF, REUTERS / FEBRUARY 23, 2018)

The US embassy will move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by May 14, in honor of the 70th anniversary of Israel’s declaration of independence, according to Minister of Transportation and Intelligence Israel Katz. Katz tweeted on Friday saying, “I would like to congratulate Donald Trump, the President of the US @POTUS on his decision to transfer the US Embassy to our capital on Israel’s 70th Independence Day. There is no greater gift than that! The most just and correct move. Thanks friend!”

The date has not yet been confirmed publicly by the White House. However, an unnamed US official told Reuters on Friday that the US is expected to open its embassy in Jerusalem in May. A May opening appears to represent an earlier time frame than what had been expected. While speaking to the Knesset last month, US Vice President Mike Pence said the move would take place by the end of 2019. Trump announced in December that the United States recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, setting in motion the move of the embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.  (Jerusalem Post, 2/28)       (http://www.jpost.com/Breaking-News/Report-US-embassy-Jerusalem-move-date-decided-543465)

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Iran threatens to ‘level Tel Aviv,’ — and kill Netanyahu — if Israel attacks Senior Iranian official dismisses PM’s ‘unwise’ speech, in which he brandished an Iranian drone and threatened military action  – Times of Israel * 20 February 2018

Tel Aviv will be “leveled to the ground” if Israel attacks Iran, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will not escape with his life, a senior official in the Islamic republic’s regime threatened. His comments came in response to Netanyahu’s speech on Sunday at the Munich Security Conference, in which the prime minister brandished a piece of an Iranian drone downed in Israeli airspace and threatened direct military action against Iran. “About Netanyahu’s unwise words, I should say that if they carry out the slightest unwise move against Iran, we will level Tel Aviv to the ground,” Mohsen Rezaei, secretary of Iran’s Expediency Council and former chief of the country’s Revolutionary Guards, told the Hezbollah-affiliated Arabic-language al-Manar TV channel Monday.

Adding a personal threat to the Israeli leader’s life, Rezaei added that Tehran “will not give Netanyahu any opportunity to flee,” Fars News reported.

(https://www.timesofisrael.com/iran-threatens-to-level-tel-aviv-kill-netanyahu-if-)

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Embracing relations with China and Russia, Ayatollah Khamenei signals Tehran has given up on hopes of establishing a detente with the United States   Times of Israel * 26 Feb 2018 * TEHRAN, Iran (AFP)

Iran’s supreme leader has signaled a decisive shift in favor of relations with China and Russia, indicating that patience is running out with efforts to improve ties with the West. 

One of the most popular slogans during the 1979 revolution was “Neither East nor West,” a defiant vow that Iran would no longer favor either of the world’s major forces at the time — American-style capitalism or Soviet Communism. It was therefore striking to hear its current leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, declare on February 19 that: “In foreign policy, the top priorities for us today include preferring East to West.” Analysts say this does not change the basic idea that Iran refuses to fall under the sway of outside powers. But it does suggest that the latest attempt at detente with the United States — represented by the 2015 nuclear deal in which it agreed to curb its nuclear program in exchange for a lifting of sanctions — is running out of steam.

“Khamenei has repeatedly outlined that the 2015 nuclear deal was a test to see if negotiations with the West could yield positive results for Iran,” said Ellie Geranmayeh, of the European Council on Foreign Relations. “The leadership perceives the US as acting in bad faith on the deal. Khamenei’s statement signals a green light for the Iranian system to focus greater diplomatic effort on deepening ties with China and Russia,” she said. Khamenei’s comments come at a critical moment, with US President Donald Trump threatening to tear up the deal and reimpose sanctions unless Iran agrees to rein in its missile program and “destabilizing activities” in the Middle East.

Even before Trump, Iran felt Washington was violating its side of the bargain as it became clear that remaining US sanctions would still hamper banking ties and foreign investments, even blocking Iranian tech start-ups from sharing their products on app stores.  …“If the Europeans don’t have the courage to stand up to the US then they shouldn’t expect to be partners with us,” said Marandi. “If some doors are closed and some doors are open, we are not going to wait outside the closed doors forever.”

(https://www.timesofisrael.com/irans-eastern-shift-shows-patience-running-out-with-the-west/)

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GERMANY

From a German Euro to a German European Central Bank    (German-Foreign-Policy.com newsletter * 22 Feb 2018)

The EU finance ministers’ decision to appoint the Spaniard Luis de Guindos to be vice president of the European Central Bank (ECB), will boost the chances of German Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann to become its next president.  Berlin has welcomed the decision for Spain’s current Minister of the Economy Guindos, considered to be one of the fathers of the Spanish real estate bubble. Subsequent to his designation as vice-president, a northern European is expected to be given the post of ECB president, due to the EU’s proportional regional representation. According to observers, a conceivable deal may be reached with Germany’s Weidmann at the helm of the ECB and the post of EU Commission President going to France. The current German Bundesbank president is unpopular in Southern Europe because he has been systematically trying to prevent current ECB President Mario Draghi’s bond buying programs, considered to be vital for the crisis stricken countries.

With Weidmann as ECB president, Germany would further tighten its grip  on the euro zone’s financial institutions.

more…      https://www.german-foreign-policy.com/en/news/detail/7542/

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TRADE WAR ESCALATES  (Financial Times UK briefing: 23 Feb 2018)

— The ECB is scared of Trump. Mario Draghi and company are worried the US is trying to start a deliberate global currency war, according to the central bank’s latest minutes.

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German Left Party voices support for military rearmament and war

As the Social Democratic Party (SPD) and Christian Democratic Union (CDU) work to form a new grand coalition government, whose central aim will be the rearmament of Germany in pursuit of neocolonial war and great power conflict, the Left Party has expressed its categorical support for German rearmament.

By Johannes Stern * 26 Feb 2018 * Copyright © World Socialist Web Site

Last Monday, Stefan Liebich, a Left Party representative in the parliamentary foreign affairs committee, enthusiastically greeted the speech of Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel (SPD) at the Munich Security Conference. “That’s long overdue; I honestly said that and that’s what our party advocated when we had much friendlier governments there [in the US] because we’re no longer living in the Cold War era,” he said on the political talk show “Unter den Linden.” Germany is “a sovereign country with its own interests, which very often coincide with the interests of the United States, but sometimes not.” In Gabriel’s war speech in Munich, the Social Democrat blustered about foreign policy “carnivores” and a common European “power projection in the world.” He made it clear that a new edition of the grand coalition with the Christian Democrats will massively upgrade the Bundeswehr (Armed Forces) and develop an independent great power policy. …Liebich left no doubt that what he means is military intervention.

…The militaristic tirades of a Liebich or Bartsch are not lapses, but show the core right-wing and pro-imperialist character of a party that has been deeply integrated into the structures of the capitalist state and its intelligence and military apparatus for many years.  (http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/02/26/left-f26.html)

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German Chancellor promotes rearmament and war in speech to parliament                                                                                                                           By Johannes Stern * 24 Feb 2018 * Copyright © World Socialist Web Site

Merkel focused in particular on strengthening Europe’s common military and great power policies so as to enable Germany to pursue its economic and geostrategic interests in conflict zones around the world. At the beginning of her speech, Merkel stated that Europe is “exposed due to its geographic location,” because “these wars and conflicts in Syria, Libya and Ukraine are not taking place somewhere else in the world but only a few hours flight from Berlin.”  She is “therefore convinced that, firstly, the world won’t wait on us—neither in Germany nor in Europe—and secondly, we urgently need European answers to the major problems of our time.” For this reason, it is “no accident that the first chapter of the coalition agreement between the CDU, CSU and SPD is devoted to Europe,” Merkel said. At stake is “our national response to the European agenda.”

Merkel left no doubt about the fact that this “national response” includes rearmament and war.

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/02/24/merk-f24.html (World Socialist Website)

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Let’s work together on defense, France and Germany tell Europe   (Reuters Staff * 16 Feb 2018)

In a speech to the Munich Security Conference, German defense minister Ursula von der Leyen said Europe’s countries would not be able to respond nimbly enough to global challenges if they were stymied by the need to decide joint foreign policy approaches unanimously.

“Europe has to up its pace in the face of global challenges from terrorism, poverty and climate change,” she said. “Those who want to must be able to advance without being blocked by individual countries.”  Her French counterpart Florence Parly said any such deepened cooperation would be complementary to the NATO alliance, which itself was based on the principle that members contributed differently depending on their capacities.

…Von der Leyen pledged to spend more on its military and the United Nations, but called in return for other countries not to turn away from mulitlateralism.  The pledges come as the EU seeks a new basis on which to cooperate with Britain, traditionally one of the continent’s leading security players, after its vote to leave the EU.  Earlier on Friday, the leaders of the three countries’ security services said close security cooperation in areas like terrorism, illegal migration, proliferation and cyber attacks, must continue after Britain’s departure.

“Cooperation between European intelligence agencies combined with the values of liberal democracy is indispensable, especially against a background of diverse foreign and security challenges,” they said.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-germany-security-vonderleyen/lets-work-together-on-defense-france-and-germany-tell-europe-idUSKCN1G01K9

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GREATER ROLE FOR EUROPE IN MIDEAST

 NATO in Baghdad (German-Foreign-Policy.com newsletter)

(Own report) – Today, Thursday, NATO’s defense ministers begin their preparations for the war alliance’s Iraq mission, NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg announced in light of the ministers’ meeting ending today in Brussels. The mission is in accordance with US demands, which not only seek to empower Iraqi armed forces to permanently suppress IS, but particularly, to scale back Teheran’s significant influence on Baghdad. Iran owes its new influence in Iraq and other countries of the region – from Syria to Yemen and Qatar – to the failed and bloody wars and various aggressions by the West and its closest Middle East allies. Teheran could not have achieved its current influence in Baghdad, without the 2003 US invasion and subsequent extensive destruction of the country. Berlin signaled its interest to participate in the upcoming NATO mission to Iraq.

https://www.german-foreign-policy.com/en/news/detail/7534/

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Double Standards — German Foreign Policy

(Own report) – The German government is increasing political pressure, in its efforts to have a greater impact in the power struggle over Syria. In view of the civilian population’s horrible situation in the fiercely contested region of East Ghouta, east of Damascus – dominated by an al Qaida offshoot and several of its allied militias – Chancellor Merkel is accusing the Syrian government of not waging a war “on terrorists” but on “its own people.” Similar accusations have already been raised during the battle to retake Eastern Aleppo, which cost the lives of nearly 3,500 civilians, according to western sources. No such accusations, however, were raised against the anti-IS war coalition – with German Bundeswehr participation – when at least 1,400, and from 9000 – 11,000 civilians were killed in their battles to retake Raqqa and Mosul respectively. Double standards are typical for politicians and media in countries involved in war, particularly when they face defeat.

more…
https://www.german-foreign-policy.com/en/news/detail/7546/

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BREXIT

Britain has a German Brexit ally…but it’s the AfD. Germany’s new Bundestag – which features the far-right AfD for the first time – had its first full debate on Europe ahead of an informal EU27 summit in Brussels today. Handelsblatt sums up the heated debate in an unusually rancorous German parliament. Divisions included whether Germany should help out Italy’s unemployed youth, and coughing up for a bigger EU budget. On Brexit, AfD co-leader Alice Weidel called for Berlin to go easy on the Brits and backed an EEA-style deal.  (FT Brussels Briefing, 2/23)

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The Munich Security Forum — UK Prime Minister May warns EU against freezing Britain out of defense developments              (Defense News * 17 Feb 2018)

MUNICH — The United Kingdom’s prime minister sent a subtle message to the European Union that going it alone in defense development efforts without full cooperation with the U.K. would be a step backward in regional security. 

Theresa May focused much of her speech at the Munich Security Conference on reassurances that an exit from the EU by the U.K. does not translate to an abandonment of collective European security. But in terms of defense research and development, May was pointed about the U.K.’s contributions. “The U.K. spends around 40 percent of Europe’s total [investment] in defense research and development, and this provides a sizeable stimulus to improve Europe’s competitiveness and capability, and this is to the benefit of us all,” May said. “An open and inclusive approach to European capability development, that fully enables the British defense industry to participate, is in our strategic security interests.”

…She also pointed to the NotPetya cyberattack perpetuated by Russia against Europe as an example of why development cooperation in network security is so critical. And in the space domain, May noted that “the U.K. hosts much of Europe’s cutting edge capabilities on space,” with a leading role on the Galileo program as one example. “The key for this is to continue as part of our new partnership, but as is the case more widely, we need to get the right agreements concluded, which will allow the U.K. and its businesses to take part on a fair and open basis.”

(https://www.defensenews.com/smr/munich-security-forum/2018/02/17/uk-prime-minister-may-warns-eu-against-freezing-britian-out-of-defense-developments/)

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POLISH ANTI-SEMITISM

“A Catholic priest said on state TV that it was hard to like Jews.”

Polish Jews stunned, scared by eruption of anti-Semitism (Associated Press•February 17, 20180

Poland’s Jewish community is the surviving remnant of a vibrant and diverse Polish- and Yiddish-speaking community that numbered 3.3 million on the eve of the Holocaust. Only 10 percent survived the German genocide, while postwar violence and persecution in the first decades of communist rule forced out many of the survivors. 

Anxieties have been creeping in amid a global rise in xenophobia that was also felt in Poland. Matters escalated a few weeks ago when Israeli officials sharply criticized new Polish legislation that criminalizes blaming Poland as a nation for crimes committed by Nazi Germany. They accused Poland of seeking to use the law to whitewash the role of the Poles who helped Germans kill Jews during the war. Amid Israeli criticism, a prominent Polish right-wing commentator used an offensive slur to refer to Jews. Rather than being punished, he was welcomed on TV programs, including a state television talk show where he and the host made anti-Jewish comments, including jokes about Jews and gas chambers. The negative comments just kept on coming. A Catholic priest said on state TV that it was hard to like Jews, and his words were then quoted by the ruling party spokeswoman. An adviser to the president said he thought Israel’s negative reaction to the law stemmed from a “feeling of shame at the passivity of the Jews during the Holocaust.” Commentators have also suggested that opposition to the Holocaust law was a cover for Jews wanting money from Poland, a reference to reparations that international Jewish organizations seek for prewar Jewish property seized by the communists. The current wave of discrimination comes just weeks before the 50th anniversary of an anti-Semitic campaign orchestrated by Poland’s communist regime in March 1968. That campaign began with rhetoric eerily similar to the things being said today and ended up with 20,000 Jews forced to relinquish their possessions and their Polish citizenship and flee the country.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/polish-jews-stunned-scared-eruption-anti-semitism-125719594.html

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Poland freezes Holocaust survivors’ property restitution bill 73 years after World War Two ended, restitution for lost Jewish property has not yet been regulated in Poland, with new bill dealing with issue put on hold, possibly due to ‘death camp law’;                        (Ynet news * 15 Feb 2018)

‘Survivors can’t wait,’ says Jewish organization; Polish Senate speaker also appealed to Poles living abroad to report to the authorities any statements hurting ‘Poland’s good name.’ The government of Poland has decided to reexamine a draft bill on restitution for Holocaust survivors whose property was confiscated during World War Two.

The bill was put up for inspection by the country’s Justice Ministry, and may be shelved altogether.

https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-5115706,00.html

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned as “outrageous” his Polish counterpart Mateusz Morawiecki’s remark Saturday that ‘Jewish perpetrators were also responsible for the Holocaust’.  Both were at the Munich Security Conference 2018  (Times of Israel * 17 Feb 2018)

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Jews were murdered in the Holocaust and Poles took an active part in their murder. The Israeli government must be here for the millions murdered and strongly condemn the Polish prime minister’s words,” he said.  Tzipi Livni, a Zionist Union MK and former foreign minister who was in the audience, said it was “moving to hear Ronen Bergman asking/attacking the Polish prime minister over the law that forbids mentioning the participation of the Polish nation in the Holocaust, as [Bergman] told his family story and received applause from the audience.”  Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid, one of the most vocal Israeli critics of the Polish law, said Morawiecki’s statement is “anti-Semitism of the oldest kind.”  “The perpetrators are not the victims. The Jewish state will not allow the murdered to be blamed for their own murder,” he said, while calling on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to recall Israel’s ambassador to Warsaw.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/netanyahu-calls-polish-pms-claim-of-jewish-holocaust-perpetuators-outrageous/ 

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Netanyahu:  A Great Prime Minister – Despite Everything                 By Vic Rosenthal * Feb 27, 2018

It’s hard to imagine a clearer case of the media appointing itself judge, jury and executioner.

Netanyahu has his flaws; but his claim to have dedicated his career and his life to the security of the state of Israel is indisputable.

(http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/abu-yehuda/a-great-prime-minister-despite-everything/2018/02/27/)

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Report: Anti-Semitic incidents in US soar by 57% in 2017

In highest total since 1994, Anti-Defamation League reports 1,986 incidents last year, including vandalism, harassment and bomb threats and even physical attacks; ADL director says increase fueled by emboldened far-right extremists as well as the ‘divisive state of our national discourse.’

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ISLAM VS THE WEST

Columbia, SC Imam Muhammad Adly Warns Muslims Not To Send Children To Non-Muslim Schools: Gay And Lesbian Teachers Might Pass It On To Your Child (MEMRI # 6426)

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GOOD QUESTION

Somali-born ex-Muslim author Ayaan Hirsi Ali “asks why do we loudly defend a woman’s right to wear the hijab but when it comes to supporting Muslim girls who refuse to wear it, feminism is strangely quiet?” (Photo by Elisabetta Villa/Getty Images)

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HEALTH

Proverbs 23:2 ESV : “And put a knife to your throat if you are given to appetite.”

Many adults ‘don’t know signs of eating disorders

The charity Beat says the main signs to watch out for are: 

  • becoming obsessive about food
  • changes in behaviour
  • having distorted beliefs about their body size
  • often tired or struggling to concentrate
  • disappearing to the toilet after meals
  • starting to exercise excessively

People with eating disorders can become very secretive as they try to hide the extent of their problem.   (http://www.bbc.com/news/education-43140176)

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