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Today’s Top Stories
1. The Temple Mount was closed on Jerusalem Day after Palestinians threw stones and clashed with Israeli police in the morning. Times of Israel coverage. Of all the Jerusalem Day articles, I read today, Yossi Beilin‘s reminiscence was easily the most touching.
My radio picked up the news that east Jerusalem had been conquered and that our forces had reached the Western Wall. And I, a 19-year-old soldier, stood and cried like a child.
2. The Syrian army destroyed the Eliyahu HaNavi Synagogue (a.k.a the Jobar Synagogue), which is said to have been built by the prophet Elisha. The Daily Beast has exclusive photos.
Opposition sources told The Daily Beast that the damage assessment following this week’s devastating attack on the Jobar synagogue was ongoing but all of the Jewish heritage items that remained inside the synagogue are feared lost.
3. As this roundup goes to press, President Obama gave a major foreign policy address at West Point commencement exercises. As the Jerusalem Post reported beforehand, the Mideast peace process was completely omitted from the speech. Draw your own conclusions.
Israel and the Palestinians
• Good news and bad news from Washington: The Obama administration supports legal action against the Jordan-based Arab Bank, which is accused of facilitating money transfers to Hamas. The bad news is that the government also weakened the case. The Jerusalem Post explains some serious in-fighting between the departments of Justice, Treasury and State.
The government’s emphasis on worrying about foreign policy impacts of terror financing cases brought by private individuals also could potentially harm future terror financing cases, if accepted by the Supreme Court.
• Ramallah’s anti-normalization activists must be feeling flatter than a deflated soccer ball. A day after FIFA president Sepp Blatter claimed he was an ambassador of the Palestinians, he ruled out punitive action against the Israeli Football Association. No red cards today. The affair prompetd LA Times sports writer Kevin Baxter to wonder:
The president of FIFA, world soccer’s governing body, can’t even get Brazil to finish remodeling its stadiums on time and now he’s going to try his hand at negotiating a peace treaty between Israel and the Palestinians.
• Why did the graffiti from the papal photo op at the security barrier look fresh? According to the Wall St. Journal, the paint was so fresh, it had not yet even dried.
Some of the answers are found up the hill from the spot where Francis prayed. There, a group of young men in a Palestinian refugee neighborhood called Aida say they played a week’s cat-and-mouse game with Israeli soldiers, trying to spray messages from themselves to Francis as the government repeatedly erased them.
• Although Pope Francis has departed, Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rai’s visit to Israel continues. The controversy he’s courting back in Lebanon will only get worse:
Later in the week, Ra’i plans to meet with parishioners in northern Israel and celebrate Mass for Lebanese Christians who fought alongside Israeli troops during Israel’s occupation of the south Lebanon “security zone” buffer against armed groups.
The fighters of the South Lebanon Army and their families fled to Israel after Israel withdrew from Lebanon in 2000. In Lebanon, they are widely seen as traitors.
• The good news from India continues: The new foreign minister, Sushma Swaraj, admires Israel — especially Golda Meir. The Times of Israel writes:
Swaraj, 62, the first woman to receive the foreign affairs ministerial portfolio, called Israel “a reliable partner” in 2008, according to the Economic Times. The statement arose in the context of criticizing the left-wing parties’ opposition to the Israel-India diplomatic relationship . . .
As the first female in that – and many other — political positions in India, Swaraj is said to look to Meir for inspiration. Like Swaraj, Meir had served as foreign minister under prime minister David Ben Gurion in 1956.
• Nice win-win news: Bloomberg News reports that Israel agreed to spend half of Iron Dome funds in the US. American assistance to the Jewish state’s invested back in Uncle Sam.
- Is the BDS South African divestment model a myth?
- Syrian jihadis behead Iranian commander.
- Why did Egyptians really get an extra day to vote?