President Rivlin opens State Visit to Spain with official welcome ceremony at the Royal Palace

(Communicated by the President’s Spokesperson)

President Reuven Rivlin and First Lady Nechama Rivlin officially began their State Visit to Spain this morning, welcomed by King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain with an official welcoming ceremony at the Royal Palace in Madrid. Following a gun salute, the King and the President together reviewed a military guard of honor, and stood together with the Queen and First Lady for the national anthems of both countries.

President and First Lady Rivlin’s State Visit to Spain, at the invitation of the King, marked 30 years of diplomatic relations between Israel and Spain, and celebrated 100 years since the reestablishment of the Jewish community in Spain after the Expulsion of 1492. This is the first State Visit of an Israeli President to Spain for a quarter of a century, when then President Chaim Herzog visited for the symbolic and historic signing of the cancellation of the expulsion order of Jews from Spain.

President Rivlin to make State Visit to Spain

(Communicated by the President’s Spokesperson)

President Reuven and First Lady Nechama Rivlin will make a State Visit to Spain next week from November 5th to  November 8th. The President will be accompanied by a business delegation of leading Israeli companies and trade figures, and an academic delegation including leading figures and Nobel Prize laureates.

The following is a schedule of their visit:

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Monitoring Report June 2017

2 Presidents visit Israel – The world reveals its two faces

Visit by the Germany President

Thanks to the previous visit of his political party colleague and successor to the office of Foreign Minister, Sigmar Gabriel - which went badly out of control - Germany’s President Frank-Walter Steinmeier faced a delicate situation during his first state visit to Israel since taking office. Mr. Steinmeier landed at Ben Gurion Airport in the beginning of May. On the one hand, the German side wanted to calm the waves while at the same time holding their line and making it clear to the Israelis that they would not march to Netanyahu’s drum. That’s how they see it in Berlin.

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Monitoring Report April 2017

The Israelization of anti-Semitism
Growing anti-Semitism in Europe and Germany’s special responsibility

Anti-Semitism in Europe is growing. In a working meeting in the German Parliament organized by the “Initiative 27 Januar” i, the EU Anti-Semitism Commissioner, Katharina von Schnurbein, pointed out that, in some countries, such as France and Great Britain, for example, incidents carried out against Jews increased by as much as 36% last year. And yet, parallel to this shocking phenomenon, efforts on the part of state and civil organizations to better study  and understand modern anti-Semitism with the goal of limiting and even reversing it are on the increase. A clear definition of anti-Semitism is indispensable to achieving this goal.

What exactly do we understand when we hear the term Anti-Semitism?

The article by Andrew Baker ii of the American Jewish Committee, a globally active Jewish organization, gives a good historical overview of the efforts to establish a working definition of modern anti-Semitism that is recognized on government levels and practically implemented. The Committee’s efforts in this regard have been commendable. After working out and partially implementing a definition at the EU-level – and the subsequent revocation of the same – 31 member states of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) agreed on a working definition of anti-Semitism at their conference in May 2016 in Bucharest. The definition includes illustrations of how modern anti-Semitism is, or might be, manifested. It is worthy of note iii  that 7 of the 11 illustrations relate directly to the Jewish state of Israel - experts speak of the anti-Zionist form of anti-Semitism or of the Israelization of anti-Semitism iv.

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Israel’s Relationship with the UN Human Rights Council: Is There Hope for Change?

by Michal Navoth, April 6, 2014 (http://jcpa.org/article/israels-relationship-un-human-rights-council)

The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) and the Human Rights Council (HRC)

The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a process under the auspices of the Human Rights Council (HRC). It was created through the UN General Assembly (GA) on March 15, 2006, by resolution A/RES/60/251, which established the HRC itself.1 It is a mechanism that involves a review of the human rights records of all 193 UN member states2 once every four and a half years.3 The UPR provides an opportunity for each state to declare what actions have been taken to improve the human rights situations in their countries and to fulfill their human rights obligations. The ultimate goal of this evolving process is to improve human rights conditions around the globe and to address human rights violations wherever they occur.4 It is an innovative process that has no parallel.5

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Two urgent prayer points for Israel for 14-21 February

Dear Intercessors,

I want to briefly share with you some points and Scriptures the Lord has been highlighting to us in Succat Hallel that we feel need to be prayed for Israel this week:

1. THE MEETING BETWEEN PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU IN WASHINGTON DC ON FEBRUARY 15TH.

Some key things to pray over this meeting and all the meetings surrounding this visit:

We break off any witchcraft, sorcery, or mind control from having any influence on these meetings and on any of the counsel coming to Prime Minister Netanyahu or President Trump.  We proclaim Numbers 23:23, that there is no witchcraft, sorcery, mind-control that can succeed against Israel.

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Monitoring Report July 2017

A bitter-sweet friendship - The German-Israeli relationship in times of strategic shift

The past week has been exemplary and intense in its example of how great the potential of the German-Israeli relationship is – but it also demonstrated the power of the conflicting forces that lie just below the surface. It has never been so clearly revealed simultaneously: The positive, the common bond, as well as that which separates, drives apart and conflicts. The bilateral relationship of the two countries is facing enormous challenges at a time in which major shifts are taking place in conditions in the Middle East – accompanied by upheavals of epic proportion. The quick turnover of events in Germany is closely connected to the fact that the past week was the last week the German Parliament was in session for this legislative period. A flood of bills where on the table that "still had to be passed" before Parliament recessed. A good example is the "marriage for all" bill that set politicians from every party and persuasion under pressure to get it passed before the short summer break and the subsequent elections. 

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Monitoring Report May 2017

Germany visits friends - About Germany’s Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel’s visit to Israel

A turbulent time in German-Israeli relationships is currently playing out before our eyes. And it is once again the double-standard that is continuously imposed upon Israel that is the cause of the turbulence. The current tension between the two allies is a result of the cancellation of a meeting planned between Benjamin Netanyahu, the head of Israel’s government and Sigmar Gabriel, Germany’s Foreign Minister. The meeting was cancelled by Benjamin Netanyahu himself, which caused great consternation in the German political scene and in the media. In order to understand why he made the decision to put the highest diplomat of one of his closest allies in his place so publically, one has to view the situation in a broader context.

Tensions in the relationship

On December 23, 2016, the UN-Security Council passed Resolution 2334, which declared settlements in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem to be illegal according to international law.  By abstaining from the vote, the USA allowed the Counsel to pass this strongly Israel-critical resolution – in essence approving it. Thus, in its last days in power, the Obama Administration again released a diplomatic inferno over Israel. In Israel, the resolution was thoroughly rejected by all parties of all colors. Benjamin Netanyahu described it as an “historic mistake”. 

A month later, at the Peace Conference in Paris, Germany, represented by Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the Foreign Minister at the time, identified itself with the International Community and in essence gave full support to Resolution 2334 by signing the final protocol of the summit. Then, in February 2017, the German Government cancelled the annual Government Consultation Meetings planned for May because of “scheduling difficulties”. Behind the scenes, the stubborn rumor prevailed that the cancellation was really due to the German rejection of Israel’s settlement policy.

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PM Netanyahu's Remarks at the Start of the Weekly Cabinet Meeting

(Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this morning (Thursday, 16 March 2017), at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting, made the following remarks:

"This afternoon I will meet again with President Trump's envoy, Jason Greenblatt. We are in the midst of a process of dialogue with the White House and our intention is to reach an agreed-upon policy regarding settlement construction. Agreed-upon for us, of course, not just for the American side. Naturally, this will be good for the State of Israel since we have not been in these processes for many years. To the residents of Amona, I reiterate: I gave you a promise to build a new community and I will honor that commitment.

On Sunday I am going to China together with five ministers. The visit is at the invitation of the Chinese President and it marks 25 years of diplomatic relations between China and Israel. I will meet with the Chinese President and Prime Minister and, of course, the ministers will meet with their counterparts. I will also meet with the heads of the biggest corporations in China and today, when we say the biggest corporations in China, we sometimes say the biggest corporations in the world, or which are quickly becoming the biggest in the world. We will continue the talks on establishing a free trade agreement between China and Israel and we will hold the third joint Israel-China innovation conference. Of course we are continuing to develop new markets and to open new markets for the Israeli economy. I expect all ministers to cooperate on this, and they are doing so.

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Monitoring Report March 2017

Remapping the world

As stormy as the year 2016 ended for world politics and Israel, it doesn’t look like the storm will abate going into 2017 - at least at this point in time. In a desperate, last-ditch closing act, the Obama Administration invested great effort in the attempt to chisel its foreign policy convictions regarding the Middle East peace process in stone – thereby bypassing the will of the American people and the democratically elected US-Congress. To do that, Obama used the same back-road detour he used to push the Iran deal through, the UN Security Council. UNSC resolution 2334 established one single guilty party for the lack of peace – the State of Israel and Israeli settlements in Judea, Samaria and in East Jerusalem. The resolution declared the settlements to be “illegal according to international law” – a step that drew sharp criticism across the political spectrum in Israel as well as from the newly elected, but not yet sworn-in President-elect Donald Trump. The USA withholding its veto and simply abstaining in this vote marked a significant shift in American policy and position up to that point.  (http://www.unwatch.org/joining-jackals-open-letter-amb-samantha-power/)

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UN chief says Temple Mount was home to Jewish temple, Palestinians demand apology

January 30, 2017 7:56am

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Palestinian officials are demanding an apology from the new United Nations chief after he said it was  “completely clear that the Temple that the Romans destroyed in Jerusalem was a Jewish temple.”

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also told Israel Radio in an interview Friday with its New York correspondent that “no one can deny the fact that Jerusalem is holy to three religions today,” including Judaism.

On Sunday, Adnan al-Husseini, the Palestinian Authority’s Jerusalem Affairs minister, told the Chinese news service Xinhua that Guterres “ignored UNESCO’s decision that considered the Al-Aqsa mosque of pure Islamic heritage.” He also said Guterres “violated all legal, diplomatic and humanitarian customs and overstepped his role as secretary general … and must issue an apology to the Palestinian people.”

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