AUSTRALIAN  PRAYER  NETWORK  NEWSLETTER – ISRAEL NEWS 20th JULY 2013

  • NETANYAHU WARNS: DON’T BE FOOLED BY IRANIAN ELECTION
  • ISRAEL MAY OPEN WOMEN’S ACCESS TO WESTERN WALL
  • REMEMBERING THE HOLOCAUST: ISRAEL’S MARCH OF THE LIVING

     

NETANYAHU WARNS: DON’T BE FOOLED BY IRANIAN ELECTION

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has cautioned the West to avoid being fooled by the election of a purported moderate in Iran’s presidential election, noting that the Islamic Republic is really ruled by radical Islamic clerics. Iranians overwhelmingly voted into power moderate cleric Hassan Rohani, who was backed in the campaign by reformist elements. Rohani campaigned on a platform of greater freedom in Iran, and had previously vowed to reinstate official relations with the US. That might be good news for Iranians. But when it comes to foreign relations, and especially Iran’s nuclear program, Israel urged the West to continue treading very warily. 

“The international community should not be dragged into wishful thinking,” said Netanyahu. “15 years ago they said former Iranian President Mohammed Khatami was moderate, but nothing has changed. Iran will be judged by its action regarding nuclear program.” Iran is actually ruled by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khameini and his council of clerics. It should be noted that Rohani, while more pragmatic than his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is a long-time supporter of the Islamic regime, and was a disciple of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolution. 

An Israeli Foreign Ministry statement following the election pointed out that a number of Rohani’s opponents in the election were disqualified by the ayatollahs, meaning the new president must not be too far off the mark of the official regime agenda. As such, it’s probably too early to be speaking of a “revolution” in Iran. Nevertheless, the international community is likely to be taken in by the excitement, and Israel fears Rohani’s election will buy the ayatollahs much more time to push forward their nuclear program. That might have been the point all along.

Source: Jerusalem Post

 

ISRAEL MAY OPEN WOMEN’S ACCESS TO WESTERN WALL

Currently, at Jerusalem’s sacred Wailing Wall, men and women can pray together only in the small designated area of Robinson’s Arch. But Prime Minister Netanyahu has requested that the head of the Jewish Agency, Natan Sharansky, submit a review of the gender segregation policies after the arrests of several women who defied the co-ed seating restrictions. A new plan could call for “the current prayer area at Robinson’s Arch to be elevated to the same level as the current plaza area, and for the area running along the Western Wall to be divided into three equal parts…with one entrance to the entire complex set to be created.” 

Calling the possible establishment of new seating at the Western Wall “ground breaking,” a report in News Times also concedes that the push to change the status-quo at the Holy Site is driven in no small part by American women. The Orthodox rabbinate in Jerusalem, the report states, “has fiercely resisted inroads by the progressive Reform and Conservative streams of Judaism, refusing to recognize their rulings, conversions or ceremonies as religiously valid. This has led to a deepening rift with American Jews, most of whom are affiliated with the liberal streams. No-where has this conflict been more visible that at the Western Wall.”

Source: The Jerusalem Post

 

REMEMBERING THE HOLOCAUST: ISRAEL’S MARCH OF THE LIVING

Holocaust Remembrance Day was commemorated in Israel, with a host of events. Tens of thousands participated in a “March for the Living” to honour the survivors of Nazi extermination policies. President Shimon Peres spoke to nearly 11,000 dignitaries, politicians and march attendants saying, “The Jewish people are still smaller than they were on the eve of the war. Even now, we have not restored what has been lost. But only three years after the war, we received this great miracle: the resurrection of the Jewish people—the State of Israel. It was established in contradiction to all chances and conventions—with want, suffering, poverty, and with much opposition.” 

One report also notes that dozens of Arab youths participated in a Holocaust Memorial Day ceremony after traveling to Poland to visit various concentration camp sites. Many of the youth were quoted as saying they were “harshly criticized in their home communities” for going to the camps, but that it helped them better understand how the Holocaust shaped modern Israel. Other activities included ceremonies honouring those who aided Jews in escaping the Holocaust. And in a particularly poignant act of respect, Israelis throughout the country stood still for one minute in honour of those whose lives were lost in Hitler’s pogroms.

Source: Israel National News