For Israel, it doesn’t matter who is elected

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Reuters)
Updated 28 September 2016

For Israel, it doesn’t matter who is elected

JERUSALEM: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his Cabinet following the first US presidential debate that as far as Israel is concerned, it does not matter who is elected.
“They both spoke of their support for Israel and the importance of bilateral relations between our two countries,” he said Tuesday at the start of a Cabinet meeting, hours after the debate Monday night in New York between Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump.
Netanyahu had met separately on Sunday with both candidates.
“It doesn’t matter which of them is elected – American support for Israel will remain strong. This alliance will stay strong and will even strengthen in the coming years,” he said.
Trump cited his meeting with Netanyahu during the debate when criticizing the Iran nuclear deal, which exchanged sanctions relief for limits on Iran’s uranium enrichment and other nuclear activities. Netanyahu was vehemently opposed to the deal, saying it harms Israel’s security.
“I met with Bibi Netanyahu the other day, believe me, he is not a happy camper,” Trump said.
The debate was aired live in Israel on one of the country’s major television channels with simultaneous Hebrew translation.
Clinton’s meeting with Netanyahu was brief. The two met for less than an hour in Manhattan, according to Clinton campaign officials.
Clintons' campaign said in a statement that the two had an "in-depth conversation."
She stressed that "a strong and secure Israel is vital to the United States" and "reaffirmed unwavering commitment" to the relationship.
According to her campaign, Clinton stressed her support for the 10-year, $38 billion military aid package signed between the two countries earlier the month and opposition to efforts to boycott Israel.
They also discussed Iran, the conflict in Syria and other regional challenges, including her support for a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict negotiated by the two parties .
Trump and Netanyahu are long-time acquaintances. But in December 2015, Trump postponed a trip to Israel to meet with Netanyahu after the prime minister’s office criticized his proposal to temporarily ban Muslim immigrants .
The Trump campaign said Sunday that the nominee and the prime minister “have known each other for many years and had the opportunity to discuss many topics important to both countries,” citing Daesh, the Iran deal and Trump suggesting, if elected, continuing US military aid to Israel.


Iranian wedding party fueled new COVID-19 surge, President Rouhani says

Updated 06 June 2020

Iranian wedding party fueled new COVID-19 surge, President Rouhani says

  • New cases dipped to 2,886 on Friday, bringing Iran’s total cases to more than 167,000, with over 8,000 deaths
  • Health officials have been warning of a second wave of the outbreak, but say a reason for the surge in new cases could be wider testing

DUBAI: A wedding party contributed to a new surge in coronavirus infections in Iran, President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday but insisted the country had no option but to keep its economy open despite warnings of a second wave of the epidemic.
Iran, which has been gradually relaxing its lockdown since mid-April, has reported a sharp rise of new daily infections in recent days. Thursday’s toll of 3,574 new cases was the highest since February, when the outbreak was first reported.
“At one location, we witnessed a peak in this epidemic, the source of which was a wedding that caused problems for the people, health workers and losses to the economy and the country’s health system,” Rouhani said on state TV. He did not say when or where the wedding took place.
New cases dipped to 2,886 on Friday, bringing Iran’s total cases to more than 167,000, with over 8,000 deaths.
Health officials have been warning of a second wave of the outbreak, but say a reason for the surge in new cases could be wider testing. One official said about 70% of the new cases in Tehran were among those who had traveled outside the capital in recent days.
Iran has been struggling to curb the spread of COVID-19 but authorities are concerned that measures to limit public and economic life to contain the virus could wreck an already economy already reeling under international sanctions.
“In these circumstances, we have no other choice — that is, there is no second option,” Rouhani added. “We have to work, our factories have to be active, our shops have to be open, and there has to be movement in the country as far as it is necessary.”
Iranian universities reopened on Saturday after being closed for more than three and a half months, state media reported. Nurseries will reopen in a week’s time, when Qur'an and languages classes will also resume, Rouhani said.