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  • NATO and Russian flags are seen through broken glass this illustration taken April 13, 2022. (photo/illustration:Dado Ruvic, Reuters)

    Russian deputy foreign minister Sergey Ryabkov warned NATO was "playing with fire" by providing weapons shipments to Ukraine in an interview with the Rossiya-24 TV channel on Thursday.

    "NATO members are increasingly and directly involved in this conflict. Their support for Kyiv is now much more diversified than it was a few months ago. This is a reflection of Washington’s intentional policy, obediently pursued by the Europeans, of escalating the conflict. They are playing with fire. The risks are soaring," said Ryabkov.

    The deputy foreign minister stressed that Western countries are expanding weapons deliveries to Ukraine, including "heavier, longer-range weapons."

  • Likud head MK Benjamin Netanyahu is seen receiving the mandate to form Israel's next government from Israeli President Isaac Herzog. (photo: The Jerusalem Post, Marc Israel Sellem)

    Prime minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu filed a request to President Isaac Herzog to extend his mandate to form a coalition for an additional two weeks on Thursday evening. Netanyahu's mandate is set to end on Sunday.

    In the request, Netanyahu noted that all the factions set to be in the next coalition have signed appendices or letters concerning the division of positions in the 37th government.

    The Likud leader noted that there are matters concerning the positions that have not yet been settled, as both Shas and United Torah Judaism have only signed letters, not legal agreements, concerning the positions. Netanyahu added that all the factions are also demanding that a full coalition agreement including fundamental principles be signed before they form a government.

  • A Bahraini official walks through the Al-Qudaibiya palace in Manama during President Isaac Herzog's visit, December 4, 2022 (Lazar Berman/Times of Israel)

    Shortly after President Isaac Herzog’s Arkia charter flight took off Monday evening from Abu Dhabi for his journey back to Israel, the plane contacted Saudi air traffic controllers and made its way northeast.

    The presidential flight over Saudi Arabian airspace is a tangible sign of the progress Israel has made in a region that rejected overt cooperation for decades. Since the 2020 Abraham Accords normalization agreements, Saudi Arabia has allowed Israeli airlines to use its airspace for flights to and from signatories United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, and over the summer announced it would open its skies to all Israeli commercial flights.

    But it’s also a reminder of the barriers the agreements have run up against in the two years since they were signed on the lawn of the White House.

  • (photo: Times of Israel)

    Negotiators from the Likud and Shas parties reached an agreement overnight Wednesday-Thursday on the cabinet posts that the latter ultra-Orthodox faction will receive in the next government, completing the last of such deals with prime minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition partners as he aims to take office in the coming days.

    Like the deals Likud has signed with its Orthodox partners United Torah Judaism, Religious Zionism, Otzma Yehudit and Noam, the agreement with Shas was only an interim deal and all of the parties are still negotiating terms of their final coalition agreements so the next government can be sworn in. But having finished divvying out cabinet posts to his five partner parties, Netanyahu can now focus on handing out the remainder of portfolios to lawmakers from his own party, which with 32 MKs, is the largest in the Knesset.

    In the agreement with Shas though, Likud agreed to name the former longtime party’s chairman Aryeh Deri the next interior minister and health minister. After roughly two years, Deri will replace Religious Zionism chairman Bezalel Smotrich as finance minister.

  • U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price briefs reporters during a press briefing in Washington, D.C., on May 11, 2021. Credit: U.S. State Department Photo by Ron Przysucha.

    (December 7, 2022 / JNS) U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price on Tuesday failed to push back on a reporter’s accusation that Israel was perpetrating “war crimes” against the Palestinians.

    “I mean, what we have seen in the past couple weeks is really an uptick of Israeli aggression against the Palestinians. We see war crimes being committed on—in front of everybody. So that would not bother the United States of America, despite the fact that these guys [Religious Zionism Party head Bezalel Smotrich and Otzma Yehudit leader Itamar Ben-Gvir] have such a long rap sheet?” a reporter asked Price during the daily press briefing.

  • Likud leader MK Benjamin Netanyahu, center, with Shas leader MK Aryeh Deri, left, and Religious Zionism head MK Bezalel Smotrich at a swearing-in ceremony of the 25th Knesset, at the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem, November 15, 2022.(Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

    Details were emerging Wednesday about presumed incoming prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s planned legislative blitz before his government is sworn in.

    Hebrew media reported that Netanyahu’s Likud party plans to form two committees, each headed by a party lawmaker.

    One of the committees, to be headed by MK Shlomo Karhi, will oversee a law change aimed at enabling Shas party leader Aryeh Deri to serve as a minister despite his recent conviction on tax charges, as well as legislation enabling far-right Religious Zionism party leader Bezalel Smotrich to gain control of civil bodies with sweeping powers over the West Bank.

  • United Torah Judaism MKs Moshe Gafni (left) and Yitzhak Goldknopf (right) sign an interim coalition deal with Likud negotiator Yariv Levin on December 6, 2022. (photo: Courtesy)

    With prime minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu’s deadline to form a coalition fast approaching, his Likud party signed an interim coalition deal with United Torah Judaism on Tuesday night.

    According to UTJ, the party signed a document stating that it had agreed to the allocation of roles in the next government, “since an extension needs to be requested from the president.”

    The ultra-Orthodox party said that it will hold another meeting on Wednesday to hammer out “fundamental issues” before signing a final coalition agreement.

    With a December 11 deadline approaching, Netanyahu’s Likud party has yet to reach coalition deals with all the parties in the right-religious bloc that he led to victory in the November 1 election.

  • The Arrow-3 missile-defense system is tested in Alaska on July 28, 2019. Credit: Israeli Defense Ministry.

    (December 6, 2022 / JNS) Senior Israeli and German defense officials met in Berlin, Germany, on Monday for the two countries’ annual bilateral strategic dialogue, the Israeli Defense Ministry said on Tuesday.

    The discussions touched on developments in Israel’s proposal to supplyGermany with the Israel Aerospace Industry-made Arrow 3 air defense system, among other topics.

  • A Russian Tu-95MS strategic bomber and an Ilyushin Il-78 aerial refueling tanker fly over the Kremlin and Red Square in Moscow on May 7, 2021. (photo: Alexander Menenov, AFP via Getty Images)

    Two explosions carried out by Ukraine hit two military airports in the country, reportedly destroying two Russian nuclear bombers and causing three deaths and six injuries, media reports claimed on Monday. According to estimates, the explosions were caused by tankers loaded with gasoline.

    One of the bombed airports contained a training center for military aircraft and tanks. At the second airport, two Tu-95 nuclear bombers were hit by a drone.

  • Russian air defences intercepted Ukrainian drones over two military airfields in Russia, hundreds of kilometres from the border between the two countries, Russia said on Monday.

    Falling debris from the unmanned vehicles lightly damaged two aircraft, a defence ministry statement said.

    Three Russian servicemen were killed and four injured in the incidents in the Ryazan and Saratov regions.

    Long-range strategic bombers are believed to be based at the airfields.

    Earlier, large explosions were reported at the Engels airbase in Saratov and the Dyagilevo airbase in Ryazan, but there had been no official comment on their cause.

  • US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks at the J Street National Conference at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, December 4, 2022. (photo: Carolyn Kaster, AP)

    US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday that the Biden administration will judge with the incoming hardline Israeli government based on the policies that it implements and not by the individuals slated to fill senior roles in the next coalition.

    “We will gauge the government by the policies and procedures, rather than individual personalities,” said Blinken in the keynote address at the annual conference of the dovish J Street conference in Washington. “We will hold to the… standards we’ve established in our relationship over the past several decades. And we will speak honestly and respectfully with our Israeli friends as partners always should.”

    The remarks come amid speculation that Biden officials will not engage with some of the most far-right members of Israel’s emerging government...

  • Maj. Gen. Hossein Salami, commander of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, June 8, 2018. Source: MEMRI.

    (December 4, 2022 / JNS) Maj. Gen. Hossein Salami, the commander-in-chief of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), predicted that Israel would soon fall and Iran will use the impending “world war” as a “graveyard” for the policies of the United States, Israel, Saudi Arabia and their allies.

    According to a report by MEMRI, Salami, in a speech that was broadcast on Ofogh TV (Iran) on Nov. 27, said, “Rest assured that we will witness the collapse of the Zionist regime, but we will never witness any serious damage to our revolution.” 

  • Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu with Shas leader Aryeh Deri, Religious Zionist Party head Bezalel Smotrich and other party leaders at a swearing-in ceremony of the 25th Knesset in Jerusalem, Nov. 15, 2022. Photo: Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90

    (December 4, 2022 / JNS) Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu attempted on Sunday to assuage critics of his emerging right-wing government by vowing to uphold Israel’s liberal democracy, pointing to his lengthy track record of guiding the nation and emphasizing that the buck on devising policy stops with him.

    “I’m going to safeguard Israeli democracy, I’m going to bring peace…and I’m going to stop Iran. That’s what I’m back for, and that’s what I’m committing to,” Netanyahu said in an interview with NBC‘s “Meet the Press.”

  • GETTING READY for US President Joe Biden’s visit to the President’s Residence in Jerusalem in July. Will US-Israel relations be able to recalibrate when the new government takes over? (photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

    US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is scheduled to address the left-wing J Street’s annual conference in Washington on Sunday. If former US ambassador Dan Kurtzer and former Mideast negotiator Aaron Miller had their way, Blinken would announce that the US is suspending the sale of offensive weapons to Israel.

    That’s right, Kurtzer and Miller – longtime “peace processors” during the 1990s and 2000s, who are critical of presumptive prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu for mainstreaming extremist parties in Israel by bringing Bezalel Smotrich, Itamar Ben-Gvir and Avi Maoz into his coalition – are themselves mainstreaming the blockage of arms deals to Israel, once the purview of the extreme anti-Israel wing of the Democratic Party.

  • Smoke and flames rise during an Israeli air strike in the Gaza Strip, December 4, 2022 (photo credit: IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA/REUTERS)

    The IDF struck targets in the Gaza Strip on Saturday night after a rocket was fired from the Strip into southern Israel earlier in the night, according to the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit.

    A rocket was fired into Israeli territory north of the Gaza Strip on Saturday night, but no interceptors were fired from the Israeli side. The rocket reportedly fell in an open area.

    he strikes targeted a workshop for producing weapons belonging to Hamas. The workshop serves as a central production site for much of the rockets belonging to the terrorist organization. A terrorist tunnel belonging to Hamas in the southern Gaza Strip was hit as well.

  • Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz conducts a security briefing for the defense attaches of over 30 countries, Dec. 1, 2022. Credit: Ariel Hermoni/Israeli Ministry of Defense.

    (December 2, 2022 / JNS) Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Thursday told the defense attaches of over 30 countries that Iran had conducted at least 16 attacks on civilian vessels in the region over the past five years.

    “Iran is a global and regional challenge and also a threat to the State of Israel. Just this month, we saw an [Iranian] attack on a commercial vessel using a Shahed 136 [unmanned aerial vehicle], which was launched from the Chabahar region of southern Iran,” Gantz said, adding: “This is the same area I discussed one year ago with your ambassadors as a hotspot of terrorism. In fact, in the last 5 years, Iran has conducted at least 16 separate attacks on civilian international vessels in the Gulf and the Red Sea.”

     

  • A composite image of incoming prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right) and outgoing prime minister Yair Lapid leading their respective Likud and Yesh Atid faction meetings at the Knesset, on November 8, 2021. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

    Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday censured outgoing prime minister Yair Lapid for “attempting to incite rebellion among military officers and local authorities against the elected government.”

    His comments came after Lapid urged local authority leaders not to cooperate with an extremist far-right member of the incoming government on educational issues, and after he was reported to warn a military general earlier this week against allowing the far-right “to gain control over the military.”

    “Lapid’s conduct is dangerous and hurts democracy,” Netanyahu said in a statement. “We must leave the IDF out of any political debate. Senior officers certainly must not be incited to rebellion against a government that was elected by the people. It crosses a red line.”

  • Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu with Shas leader Aryeh Deri, Religious Zionist Party head Bezalel Smotrich and other party leaders at a swearing-in ceremony of the 25th Knesset in Jerusalem, Nov. 15, 2022. Photo: Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90

    (December 1, 2022 / JNS) The Likud and Religious Zionist parties reached a coalition agreement on Thursday evening that clears the way for Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu to form a government backed by 64 members of Israel’s Knesset.

    Under the accord, Religious Zionist Chairman Bezalel Smotrich will become finance minister for two years under a rotation deal with Shas Party head Aryeh Deri. 

    The Religious Zionist Party, which has seven members of Knesset, will also get a post in the Defense Ministry that will be responsible for District Coordination and Liaison Offices (DCL) and the Civil Administration in Judea and Samaria, as well as the Settlement Division of the World Zionist Organization, Sherut Leumi (National Service) and pre-military academies (mechinot). The official will act with the coordination and agreement of the prime minister.

  • A drone is launched during a military exercise in an undisclosed location in Iran, in this handout image obtained on August 25, 2022. (photo credit: Iranian Army / West Asia News Agency / Handout via Reuters)

    Iran has conducted at least 16 separate attacks on international vessels in the Gulf and Red Sea in the past five years and can reach a significant quantity of enriched uranium for one nuclear bomb (SQ1) at 90% in only two weeks, Defense Minister Benny Gantz said Thursday.

    “Just this month we saw an attack on a commercial vessel using a Shahed 136 UAV, which was launched from the Chabahar region of southern Iran,” Gantz said. This is the same area I discussed a year ago with your ambassadors, as a hotspot of terrorism. In fact, in the last five years, Iran has conducted at least 16 separate attacks on civilian international vessels in the Gulf and the Red Sea.”

    Gantz, who made the comments during a security briefing for defense attaches of over 30 countries, stressed that the Islamic Republic is not only a threat to Israel, but poses a challenge to the region and the world.

  • Likud head and prime minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu is seen with RZP chief Bezalel Smotrich on December 1, 2022. (photo: Likud Spokesperson)

    Prime minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud reached a partial coalition agreement with the Religious Zionists Party (RZP) on Thursday evening, following three weeks of intense negotiations, the factions confirmed. 

    As part of the agreement, announced in a joint statement, RZP chief MK Bezalel Smotrich will become finance minister in a rotation. RZP will also receive the Aliyah and Integration Ministry and a new ministry dubbed the National Tasks Ministry.

    One of these will also serve as a minister in the Defense Ministry responsible for the settlements in the West Bank, which will act "in accordance and agreement with the prime minister," the joint statement reads

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“The men who have done the most for God in this world have been early on their knees. He who fritters away the early morning, its opportunity and freshness, in other pursuits than seeking God will make poor headway seeking Him the rest of the day. If God is not first in our thoughts and efforts in the morning, He will be in the last place the remainder of the day.” 
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