Netanyahu slams deputy minister’s digs at US Jewry

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely
Updated 23 November 2017
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Netanyahu slams deputy minister’s digs at US Jewry

JERUSALEM: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday rapped his deputy foreign minister for “offensive” remarks in which she said US Jews were too “comfortable” to understand threats to Israel.
In an interview on Tel Aviv-based i24 TV news channel, Tzipi Hotovely of Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party was quizzed Wednesday on the growing gulf between Israel and US Jewry, particularly youth.
“Maybe they’re too young to remember how it feels to be a Jewish person without a Jewish homeland, without a Jewish state,” she said in English, adding that US Jewry “never send their children to fight for their country.”
“Most of the Jews don’t have children serving as soldiers, going to the marines, going to Afghanistan or to Iraq,” she said.
“Most of them are having quite a convenient life, they don’t feel how it feels to be attacked by rockets.”
US-educated Netanyahu, who is also foreign minister, described his deputy’s comments as offensive.
“There is no place for such attacks, and her remarks do not reflect the position of the State of Israel,” an English-language government statement quoted him as saying.
“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemns Tzipi Hotovely’s offensive remarks regarding the American Jewish community,” it added.
The left-leaning Haaretz newspaper challenged Hotovely on the facts, pointing out that the head of the US Air Force, Gen. David Lee Goldfein is Jewish, along with others “in the highest ranks.”
“Around 200,000 US Jews live in Israel, with many young people serving in its military,” it said.
The Israeli Army and local media frequently air interviews with “lone soldiers” from the US; young men and women who have left their families at home and come to Israel for the express purpose of volunteering for army service, including combat units.
Divisions between Israel and the US Jewish community have grown lately over Netanyahu’s refusal to implement a deal allowing women and men to pray together at Jerusalem’s Western Wall.
In Israel, Jewish religious observance is governed by Orthodox practice, while in the US the more flexible reform and Conservative streams are prevalent.
Netanyahu’s government is also sensitive to the demands of ultra-Orthodox political parties which sit in his coalition and provide vital support for its slender parliamentary majority.
Under pressure from them, Netanyahu in June froze indefinitely a previous commitment to allow egalitarian prayer at the wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray.
In accordance with strict Orthodox tradition, there are currently separate prayer sections for women and men at the wall, one of the last remnants of the Second Jewish Temple destroyed in 70 AD.


Iraq carries out more air strikes against Daesh in Syria

Updated 25 May 2018
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Iraq carries out more air strikes against Daesh in Syria

  • At least 65 senior Daesh leaders live in Hajjin.
  • Hajjin is in Deir Ezzor province in eastern Syria, about 50 kilometers (just over 30 miles) from Iraq’s border.

BAGHDAD: Iraq announced Friday it had carried out air strikes against Daesh in Syria, the third cross border aerial operation inside a month in its war-torn neighbor.
“Iraqi F-16 planes carried out (Thursday) morning raids against the headquarters of Daesh terrorist gang leaders and an explosives depot occupied by terrorists in Syria’s Hajjin region,” a statement by Iraq’s operations command said.
A video released with the text shows a strike on a huge building surrounded by palm trees and a wall.
The images show the wall and the building collapsing simultaneously.
Several strikes have been carried out by Iraq or the international coalition since Thursday against the center of Hajjin, the last major area held by Daesh in Syria, said the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor.
At least 65 senior Daesh leaders live in Hajjin, the Observatory’s director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.
Hajjin is in Deir Ezzor province in eastern Syria, about 50 kilometers (just over 30 miles) from Iraq’s border.
It has been surrounded since the end of 2017 by the Syrian Democratic Forces, an alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters backed by the United States and France, Abdel Rahman said.
Several hundred prisoners are still held by the militants in Hajjin, he added.
Since April, Iraq’s air force has carried out several air strikes on Daesh held Syrian territory close to the border between the two countries.
Daesh seized a third of Iraq in 2014, before the government declared victory in December, but the military has continued regular operations along the porous Syrian border.