Prime minister warns that Ayatollah Khamenei's recent verbal attacks against the US show true nature of Islamic Republic; says Tehran should be allowed to have "zero centrifuges."
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Monday that the purpose of his upcoming visit to the United States next month is to warn against the Iranian threat and to discuss the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
Speaking at Likud Beytenu's weekly faction meeting, Netanyahu warned that Iran continues its role as a "terror state," and therefore it must never be allowed to obtain nuclear weapons.
The prime minister stated that Iran is continuing to violate human rights by carrying out executions of its people, as well as supporting the "massacre" of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
He pointed to recent verbal attacks by Iranian Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei , as well as pronouncements that Iran is sending warships to America's maritime border, as proof of Iran's true intentions.
Netanyahu said that he would demand the complete dismantling of Iran's nuclear program before sanctions are further lifted, calling for "zero centrifuges" in the Islamic Republic.
Netanyahu said that he would make clear in discussions on the peace process that Israel's interests must be upheld, including recognition of the country's Jewish nature and the security of the state's citizens.
The prime minister said that in addition to meeting with US President Barack Obama and addressing AIPAC's annual conference during his trip, he would also be visiting the Silicon Valley and Los Angeles in order to promote Israel's economic interests.
This will be the first time in many years that an Israeli premier will travel to the US West Cost.
Netanyahu's trip, which is set fro the first week of March, was expected to last five days.
A 90-minute drive northwest of Islamabad is an Islamic seminary that is considered the ivory tower of terrorism, a jihadist factory that has produced prominent Taliban fighters and its leadership for decades.
Unofficially dubbed “University of Jihad,” Dar ul Uloom Haqqania [House of Knowledge and Truthfulness] counts Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Muhammad Omar and Jalaluddin Haqqani, founder of the dreaded Haqqani Network, among its alumni. Names of most of more than 8,000 former students who have passed through the seminary are encased in glass-covered wooden frames that hang on the walls inside the main building.
“Hand over everything to Taliban, and bring back Islamic Law.”
- Ammanullah, seminary student from class of 2007
“The Haqqanis got their surname from Haqqania, this madrassa” “Ammanullah,” a proud member of the Class of 2007, told FoxNews.com during a recent tour, a rare look inside the seminary along the Grand Trunk Road in Akora Khattak.
The campus is the size of four football fields, encompassing several buildings guarded by one police gunman. About 3,500 students currently live and study at the compound, which has churned out generations of freedom fighters stretching back to the 1980s Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Closely aligned with the Taliban of Afghanistan and Pakistan, it is at violent odds with the current governments of both nations.
Founded by Maulana Abdul Haq just after Pakistan gained independence in 1947, the seminary propagates Deobandi, a revivalist and anti-imperialist movement of Sunni Islam formed in reaction to the Britain’s colonization of India.
The seminary’s chancellor, Maulana Samiul Haq, 76, and son of the founder is regarded as the “Father of the Taliban” and is widely viewed as a key to any peace deal to be negotiated between the terror groups and the U.S. and Pakistan.
Seminary officials and teachers vehemently deny preaching violence. But Darul Uloom Haqqania’s embrace of fundamental Islam encourages students to oppose the west and crush enemies of Islam.
Anti-American sentiments run high at Haqqania. FoxNews.com observed a first-hand account of religious scholars professing their own brand of Islam to Talibs and explaining why jihad is necessary against the occupation forces in Afghanistan. The school’s leaders believe the same western ideals are contaminating their own country.
“It’s no hidden secret from the world what America is doing,” said Haq. He said the Afghani Taliban who fought in the ‘Mujahideen War’ are angry at Pakistan for supporting the west, and justified Taliban attacks in Pakistan which have left several thousand people dead in the country.
“They destroyed Afghanistan and have entered Pakistan - Taliban say standing with America is Kufar [infidelity],” said Haq.
In one classroom, the students wearing skullcaps dressed in traditional shalwar kameez worn in Afghanistan and Pakistan appeared riveted by the words and electrifying tone of their teacher’s lecture.
“Shoulder your gun and march ahead to protect your soil. Those who bomb mosques and religious gatherings are not Taliban but foreign forces,” said a teacher speaking to dozens of rapt student.
The message cannot be reconciled with the Taliban’s own public claims of responsibility for a series of bombings over recent years of religious sites. Yet seminary officials shrug off claims within Pakistan that the school has become a crucible for turning students into radical and violent jihadists.
“They think that Darul Uloom Haqqania is creating problems for them,” said Maulana Yousaf Shah, secretary of the seminary. “As you have seen we only give Islamic teachings over here - we are not giving training of terrorist attacks.”
He claims that U.S., India, and Afghan President Hamid Karzai want Maulana Samiul Haq dead and blames forces aligned with them for a botched car-bombing attempt on his life.
Haq’s importance to achieving peace in the region has been recognized by the U.S.
Shah recounted a conversation U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Richard Olson had with Haq last July which fruitlessly broached the idea of peace talks with the Taliban.
“What are you offering [to the Taliban]?” Haq told Olson, according to Shah. “Unless you have something concrete, there cannot be talks.”
It’s not just Haq’s influence within the Taliban, but his sway over Pakistan’s politics, which led the Pakistani Taliban to ask him to help negotiate a truce with the country’s government.
A former senator, leader of the religious political party Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-S), and alleged creator of a banned terrorist group, Haq speaks Arabic, Urdu and Pashto, giving him the ability to communicate with several militant factions in both Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Ammanullah learned his lessons well at the seminary. He now sells polemical religious books there and has a simple solution for the U.S., Pakistan and the Afghan government of Hamid Karzai.
“Hand over everything to Taliban, and bring back Islamic Law,” he advised.
The World Evangelical Alliance said it is "extremely disappointed" that the major U.N. talks on the Syrian civil war failed to make any significant progress last week, and called on an immediate end to the violence as scores of people continue dying.
"We are extremely disappointed that very little progress was made in the recent peace talks. No one believed it was going to be easy to get agreement. We urge on all sides to return to the table on February 10 with the intention of ending the civil war," Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe, CEO and secretary general of the World Evangelical Alliance, shared in an email with The Christian Post on Sunday.
The major Geneva II conference on the Syrian civil war that began on Jan. 22 and lasted for a week was hosted by the U.N., the U.S. and Russia, and sought to bring together representatives from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government and some of the opposition forces looking to topple his administration.
According to reports from the conclusion of the first week of talks, however, there has been very little progress, and the Syrian delegation did not even confirm whether it will return for further peace talks.
"Progress is very slow indeed, but the sides have engaged in an acceptable manner," explained U.N. mediator Lakhdar Brahimi, according to Reuters.
The conflict in Syria, which has been increasingly violent since 2011, has left over 100,000 people dead and displaced over 9.3 million, according to U.N. estimates. Christian communities have also been targeted by Islamic rebels, who have burned down churches and sometimes entire towns, murdering dozens of followers of Christ.
"We are deeply concerned for the Christian community in Syria. Like all minority groups they need protection from the very real threats that have been made against them. In addition, it is imperative that as the future shape of Syria is being determined, Christians who have had a presence in the land for two thousand years be represented," Tunnicliffe said in a statement before the conference.
In his email to CP, the WEA head called for an end to hostilities in the war-torn Middle Eastern nation, as well as improved efforts to ensure safe delivery of humanitarian aid to the millions of Syrians in dire need.
"The current situation demands that as Christ followers we need to continue to pray to the Prince of Peace asking for His mercy," Tunnicliffe added.
Meanwhile, the high death toll in Syria continued rising over the weekend, with 90 people believed to have been killed following government air strikes on the city of Aleppo. Women and children were reported among the dead in neighborhoods where rebel groups have a stronghold.
"The humanitarian situation is very bad, there is a huge number of wounded people," a medical staffer at an Aleppo field hospital told CNN.
"I am so nervous because my staff inside [have] become so confused, I have to calm them, I don't know what I will have to do for tomorrow."
Humanitarian group Oxfam International noted in a phone interview with CP on Monday that although progress has indeed been slow, there still remains hope for significant breakthroughs when the Syria peace talks resume next week.
"In particular, we are still waiting to see some genuine progress on humanitarian assistance for Syrians inside the country who are still in need. But there has been some initial promising signs. We recognize, and everyone recognizes going in that progress toward achieving a political solution was certainly going to take some time," Oxfam Senior Policy Adviser Noah Gottschalk said.
Gottschalk added that Oxfam hopes Syria's civil society groups will also be allowed to speak at the U.N. conference and have their say.
"There are so many groups that are active on the ground inside Syria; there are women's groups, and all kind of other groups who are active and have a lot to say, and [they] represent real constituencies inside Syria. So far, a lot of them have not been represented (at the conference), despite flying in to Geneva at great personal risk and expense. They are looking to contribute, to play a role."
The Voice of the Martyrs, a Christian nonprofit that highlights the persecution of Christians worldwide, has drawn its attention this month to the hostilities faced by Christians in the Holy Land, and acknowledges that some might find its "position of highlighting Israel as a hostile nation" disagreeable and offensive.
"There's no persecution in the Holy Land … unless you share your faith," reads the quote on the cover of The Voice of the Martyr's February 2014 newsletter. The quote is attributed to Steven Khoury, an Arab Israeli Christian who pastors churches in Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Pastor Khoury has spoken in the media of witnessing church members being attacked because of their faith, and of losing an uncle who was martyred.
The Voice of the Martyrs, founded in 1967 by a Jewish couple, lists Israel on its "restricted nations" map as a "hostile nation."
The Oklahoma-based nonprofit writes of the February issue's cover story in a Facebook post"
Christian bookstores are filled with publications on Israel — on topics ranging from the nation's rich history to biblical prophecy and the end times. Discussions of Israel reveal varying opinions and even controversies. But rarely will you read or hear a discussion about Israel being hostile toward the followers of Christ who live there. That statement itself may evoke strong opinions.
Many Christians in Israel today live free of persecution. But those who share their faith and witness on the frontlines of the nation's spiritual battleground face an altogether different experience. Rami Ayyad, manager of a Bible Society book store in the Gaza Strip, was kidnapped and killed because of his witness for Christ.
While most persecution against Christians in the Holy Land is at the hands of radical Muslims, believers are also persecuted by anti-missionary Jewish activists. The activists sometimes spray graffiti on Christian churches in what are called "price tag attacks" (exacting a price on anything that seems to threaten Jewish sovereignty). A few months ago, they painted "Jesus is a monkey" on a church that is a major pilgrimage site for Christians.
While noting that Israel is "at the heart of our Christian faith" and suggesting the country has a significant role in future events, The Voice of the Martyrs reminded supporters that "as followers of Christ today, we are still called to be his witnesses" by evangelizing, even amid threats of torture, imprisonment and death.
"VOM's calling also remains unchanged — serving those who suffer because of their witness for Christ, be it in Colombia, Iran, Nepal or even Israel," the nonprofit states.
"More than 120,000 Christians live in Israel, including about 17,000 Messianic Jewish believers. There are an estimated 8,000 Palestinian Arab evangelical believers, with 1,400 of those in the West Bank and 300 in Gaza," according to the persecution watchdog organization.
Excerpts from the VOM February 2014 newsletter shared online include the story of Messianic Jew Ami Ortiz, who was seriously wounded as a teen in 2008 when he opened a bomb disguised as a gift left at his home by U.S.-born Yaakov "Jack" Teitel. Teitel, dubbed a "Jewish terrorist" throughout the case, was sentenced in 2013 to two life terms in prison plus 30 years for the bomb attack, and the murder and attempted murder of others in Israel. Teitel confessed to wanting to kill the teen's father, Pastor David Ortiz, because of his position in the Messianic Jewish community.
Pastor Ortiz, despite the attack, called for Christians to stand in support of Israel, as Teitel was not representative of all Israelis.
"They should continue to pray for Israel, supporting Israel. These radicals are less than one percent of the population. They don't represent the Israeli public," he said after the bombing.
The U.S. Department of State reveals in its 2012 Report on International Religious Freedom regarding Israel and the Occupied Territories that while "the country's laws and policies provide for religious freedom and the government generally respected religious freedom in practice," that attitude among Jews toward missionary activities and conversations were negative.
"Most Jews opposed missionary activity directed at Jews, and some were hostile to Jewish converts to Christianity," according to the State Department's report. "Messianic Jews and Jehovah's Witnesses were harassed regularly by Yad L'Achim and Lev L'Achim, Jewish religious organizations opposed to missionary activity."
Despite the resistance to Christian evangelism efforts among some Israelis, the Middle East country has long enjoyed the favoritism of many American evangelical Christian groups and prominent individuals, such as Texas Pastor John Hagee and Christian Broadcasting Network founder Pat Robertson.
However, some Christians have been pushing for a more balanced approach to how U.S. evangelicals discuss the longstanding Mid-East conflict. Todd Deatherage of the Telos Group, which encourages American evangelicals to help positively transform the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, said he and other faith-based groups and Christian activists want to persuade evangelicals "to affirm and support the dignity of all the people of the Holy Land, to be truly pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian at the same time."
Christianity began in the East, not the West, yet today Christians in the East are enduring an all-out-assault by Islamic terrorists, while Christians in the West live their lives largely oblivious to it all. This has to change.
This is no imaginary persecution; in Syria alone there have been reports of kidnappings, Christian communities intentionally displaced by militants and, worst of all, shootings and beheadings of Christians who refused to convert to Islam.
In Egypt radicals have recently destroyed dozens of churches, and the once vibrant Christian population in Iraq has been decimated.
Christians in the West should stand up for those in the East out of regard for all they have given us over these thousands of years.
Christians in the West should stand up for those in the East out of regard for all they have given us over these thousands of years, if for no other reason.
See, what most American Christians don’t realize is that the “Islamic World” was once the Christian world. Some of the most well-known and influential leaders in the early church hailed from North Africa and the Middle East – like the warring theologians Athanasius and Arius, and the apologist Tertullian. It was for the library in Alexandria that the preeminent Greek version of the Torah (the “Septuagint”) was commissioned.
Today, St. Augustine would be called a Tunisian, Origen would be Egyptian and the Apostle Paul – who was on the road to Damascus when he encountered Christ – would have told the story of his conversion while heading to “Syria.”
It was also in the Syrian city of “Antioch” that Christians were first called “Christians,” and to this day there are as many Christian holy sites in that nation as anywhere else in the world.
When Jesus was born, and his life was threatened by the hysteria of King Herod, it was to Egypt that Joseph and Mary fled until Herod’s bloodlust subsided.
If the famed Council of Nicaea were held today, the headline would read: “Christian theologians gather in Turkey to settle long-held dispute about Christ’s deity,” and the part of the Jordan River where Jesus was baptized could have very well flowed through modern-day Jordan , as opposed to Israel.
Christianity was once so entrenched in the modern Islamic world that for centuries the center for Christian scholarship was Baghdad, and the long-ruined city of Merv (not far from border of what is now Afghanistan) was not only the largest city of its time, it was also best known as the center of Bible translation.
To this day – in nearly all of those places – there are Christian communities that have persevered through the ages, but now face the threat of extinction.
They have endured conflict after conflict, schism after schism, and they have learned how to coexist with peace-loving Muslims who are themselves fighting against the same radicalism that has caused the burning and bombing of hundreds of churches around the Islamic world since the spark of Arab Spring.
The trickling stream of Christianity runs in these places all the way to the era of Christ himself, but now – particularly in Syria – that stream is being dried up more quickly that most people realize.
Sadly, few Christians in the West have any idea this is going on, and I was once just like them.
Then I was invited last September to observe a meeting convened by Jordan’s King Abdullah in his country’s capital, Amman. Several dozen leaders of the Christian congregations of the East attended the meeting; I listened as these Catholic cardinals, Orthodox patriarchs and Anglican and Coptic bishops described the plight of their people.
No one was discussing their theological differences, because it was their churches that had been burned, their relatives who had been kidnapped and killed, and nearly every one of them told stories of consoling an inconsolable mother or child as they grieved the death of their last living loved one.
I wept as I heard their stories, and I wondered why Christians around the world weren’t incensed by it all.
Ironically, that meeting in Jordan was not convened by Christians, but by Muslims who cared about the plight of their Christian neighbors.
At one point, Jordan’s strong and kind king said that “it is a duty rather than a favor” to protect the Christians in the region, and Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad, a senior adviser to the king, acknowledged that “Christians were in this region before Muslims.” He said, “They are not strangers, nor colonialists, nor foreigners. They are natives of these lands and Arabs, just as Muslims are.”
While I was deeply encouraged by the tone of these Islamic leaders, I couldn’t help but ask myself, “I wonder how many Christians in the West even care about those in the East?”
In that moment, I decided I would be their advocate.
It was the Apostle Paul who once advised some friends in Greece to “pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil people.”
I hear Paul’s prayer again on the lips of those persecuted today, and I call upon Christians everywhere to pray for and be an advocate for those upon whose foundation so much of our faith has been built.
Indeed, it isn’t a favor. It’s our duty.
Monday, February 3, 2014
Prime Minister Binyamin on Monday attacked Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for his refusal to recognize Israel as the Jewish state.
"The chairman of the PA was quoted today as saying that he is not prepared to recognize the Jewish state. And this comes with him knowing that there will not be an agreement without recognition of the nation state of the Jews," Netanyahu said at the Likud faction meeting.
The prime minister's comments came after Abbas told The New York Times on Monday that he was willing to allow Israeli troops to remain in the future Palestinian state for a five-year transitional period, after which they would be replaced by US-led NATO troops to ensure Israel's security. He added, however, that he would not recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
Netanyahu said that it is "absurd" to think that Israel would acquiesce to a peace agreement that entails Israeli recognizing a Palestinian state without gaining Palestinian recognition of a Jewish state.
"Now we will see if those same international actors, who until now have solely put pressure on Israel, will make clear to the Palestinian Authority what exactly will happen to the Palestinians if there will not be an agreement," Netanyahu said.
"Because, unless the Palestinians understand that they will pay a price for the failure of peace talks, they will prefer not to continue the talks," he added.
"No amount of pressure, will cause me to give up on the essential interests of the State of Israel - chief of which is the security of Israel's citizens," he vowed.
Economy Minister Nafatli Bennett also reacted to Abbas's interview in the Times Monday, rejecting the idea of NATO troops taking over for IDF soldiers.
"I heard about a new start-up: NATO forces guarding Israelis. We have seen in the past that when it is calm they are there, but when things heat up, they run away," Bennett said.
The Bayit Yehudi leader gave the example of southern Lebanon following the Second Lebanon War. He stated that there were now some 100,000 missiles in south Lebanon despite the mandate of UN peacekeepers in the area to keep missiles out of the region in accordance with UN Resolution 1701.
"Only the IDF will guard our kids. To any other patent, we say, no thanks," he said.
Labor leader Isaac Herzog reacted to Abbas's proposal, saying at the party's weekly faction meeting that "Agree or not, at least he has a plan."
Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri has ordered Egyptian Muslims to stop persecuting their fellow Middle Eastern Christians and instead focus their energy on confronting the military-backed government.
(PHOTO: REUTERS/HAMID MIR)
Osama bin Laden (L) sits with fellow Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in 2001.
Ayman al-Zawahri, an Egyptian physician who has been responsible for terrorist attacks in North America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East and dubbed as the "mastermind" behind 9/11, told his followers in an audio message posted to militant websites this week that they should stop antagonizing the country's Christians because "we have to be busy confronting the Americanized coup of (Gen. Abdel-Fattah) el-Sissi and establish an Islamic government instead," according to the Associated Press.
In July 2013, Egypt's military oversaw the ejection from power of then-President Mohammed Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood who was elected just a year before. Following Morsi's fall from power, Coptic Christians were made into scapegoats and targeted by Morsi-supporters after some Copt leaders had expressed their support of action against Morsi's regime.
Seeking retribution later that summer, parts of southern Egypt in the Minya province were taken over by Islamists before the government wrested back control in late September. In August, Islamists burned or destroyed more than 70 churches and religious institutions, killing four people. Two months later in October, two gunmen opened fire at a Christian wedding, killing four people.
Al-Zawahri said that the group's scapegoating of the Christian community had only hurt the image of Muslims in the West.
"We must not seek war with the Christians and thus give the West an excuse to blame Muslims, as has happened before," al-Zawahri suggested.
While al-Zawahri was critical of Morsi, who he blamed for cooperating with secular Egyptians and surrendering to "the Americans by acknowledging agreements with them and Israel," he saved his harshest vitriol for Mushir Sisi, the current Commander-in-Chief of Egypt's military.
"He is a mercenary, an Americanized puppet, an impostor, treacherous and sinful with a history of bootlicking," al-Zawahri said.
Al-Zawahri's new remarks come amid his recent call for unity among the region's Muslims. Nearly 1,400 people have died due to fighting among rebel groups in Syria, leading the al-Qaeda leader to ask the groups to come together to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad rather than fighting one another.
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Zionist Organization of America poll shows nearly 60 percent in US advocate stronger sanctions on Iran; over half believe Obama could have done more to prevent development of nuclear weapons in the first place.
Most Americans think Obama not doing enough to stop Iran Photo: REUTERS
The American public overwhelmingly supports Israel in most issues, but opposes US President Barack Obama's positions on related matters, according to a poll commissioned by the Zionist Organization of America released Tuesday.
“President Obama and [US] Secretary of State [John] Kerry should heed these results. They should understand that the American people expect our government to support Israel; stop promoting a Palestinian state; stop condemning Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria and eastern Jerusalem as ‘illegitimate’; support Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital; stop funding the Palestinian Authority and impose stronger sanctions on Iran to persuade it to terminate its nuclear weapons program," ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said.
Only 31 percent of Americans believe Obama is a close and reliable friend of Israel.
Most Americans - 51% - believe Obama has not done all he can to prevent Iran developing nuclear weapons, as opposed to a mere 28% who believe that he has.
In addition, 59% of Americans advocate the imposition of stronger sanctions on Iran to convince it to stop developing nuclear weapons, as opposed to a mere 17% who believe the US should weaken sanctions on Iran to convince it to stop developing nuclear weapons.
As for the conflict with the Palestinians, 59% of Americans believe a future Palestinian Arab state would be hostile to Israel and support terrorism.
By a ratio of over 3 to 1 (47% –– 14%), Americans believe that Jews have the right to settle in the West Bank, according to the poll.
An overwhelming majority of 72% Americans oppose Obama’s plan to give the Palestinian Authority $440 million, while only 15% believe that he should.
Over half - 55% - of Americans believe Jerusalem should remain the undivided capital of Israel, and 63% believe that the PA should recognize Israel as the sovereign state of the Jewish people.
“Pro-Israel organizations, both Jewish and non-Jewish, should cite these results to promote stronger support for Israel," Klein stated.
The WZO poll was conducted by McLaughlin Associates, surveying 1000 Americans, consisting of Protestants (46%), Catholics (30%), Jews (3.6%), African Americans (13%), Hispanics (12%), Asians (3%) and Whites (70%). Politically, the respondents were 42% Democratic supporters and 41% Republican supporters.
“The results of this latest, very detailed and highly representative survey of American opinion show gratifyingly high, indeed, overwhelming levels of support for positions Israel takes, as opposed to the position the Obama Administration takes," Klein said. "It also shows an understanding of the dangers Israel faces from a terror-sponsoring PA.”
“Large majorities of Americans clearly understand that a Palestinian state, if established, will not live in peace with Israel and will simply be another Mideast terrorist state," he added.
Klein pointed out that the poll indicates that "only a small percentage [of Americans] believes in the racist, anti-Semitic Palestinian position that only Palestinians have the right to live there.”
Friday, January 24, 2014
Only 22 percent think Obama would "ensure that Iran does not achieve a nuclear weapon."
According to new poll, a huge majority of Israelis do not trust President Obama with regard to Iran, and believe Obama will allow Iran to go nuclear. Only 22 percent of Israeli voters believed that Obama would “ensure that Iran does not achieve a nuclear weapon.”
Almost two-thirds of Israelis thought that statement was untrue, and 15 percent gave no answer. President Obama has just a 33 percent favorable rating in Israel, as opposed to a 50 percent disapproval rating. Even those who favor Obama are split evenly on whether or not he will prevent Iran from going nuclear.
Obama’s favorability ratings actually rate higher than many Israeli officials, but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu clocks in at a healthy 51 percent approval rating. Thirty percent of voters for Netanyahu’s Likud party favor Obama.
Obama rates higher with Israeli leftists, who favor him by a 42 percent to 35 percent margin, with 23 percent claiming ignorance. A full 45 percent of Israeli Arab voters refused to rate Obama; those who did answer disfavored Obama by a shocking 11 percent to 44 percent margin.
Thursday, January 23, 2014
Prime minister addresses prestigious Davos World Economic Forum, says investing in "epicenter of world innovation" will help Israel's Arab neighbors, particularly the Palestinians.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Thursday at the Davos World Economic Forum that investing in the Israeli economy is a way to facilitate peace in the region.
In a speech that largely focused on the strength of Israel as a hub for innovation, as well as research and development, Netanyahu said that the advancement of the Israeli economy would help Israel's Arab neighbors, specifically the Palestinians.
The prime minister stated that "Israel is not what's wrong in the Middle East, it is what's right with the Middle East."
Netanyahu addressed the peace process and the changing region in a question and answer session which followed his speech. He called on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to embrace the opportunity for peace.
"I'm ready for peace. I'm ready for a real, secure, genuine, peace. and I hope President Abbas is ready too."
He stated that the Middle East was undergoing a process of change, by which many Arab states shared similar concerns to Israel.
"Central Arab governments in the Middle East are concerned with the arming of Iran with nuclear weapons and the spread of the Islamic brotherhood. Those governments see Israel as a partner in holding back those threats," he stated.
The premier used his remarks to praise his country's economic prowess, which he credited to "the indispensable element of entrepreneurship" as well as "sound macroeconomic policies."
"Israel is often called the 'start-up nation,' but I call it the 'innovation nation,'" Netanyahu said.
The premier touted an economic policy of "cutting taxes and removing barriers to competition so that the private sector could run forward and compete."
Netanyahu said that in the ten years since he took over as finance minister during the administration of Ariel Sharon, Israel managed to bring down the debt-to-GDP ratio to 67 percent while reducing inflation and cutting down unemployment.
The premier said that Israel's small size and the Jewish culture of "asking questions" has contributed to the country's strong economic performance.
"From the Talmud to Einstein, Jewish people were always asking questions," the prime minister said. "The questioning mind is something in our culture and adds very much to our capacities. We're very small, everything is close by, and everyone competes and collaborates with each other."
"This is an invitation to innovation nation, it's open for business, it's open for your business, please come join us," he stated.
Netanyahu's appearance at Davos came hours after that ofIranian president Hassan Rouhani. Immediately following Rouhani's speech, Netanyahu released a statement warning the world not to be deceived by the Iranian leader's pronouncements of peaceful intentions.