As Friday marked the end of the 30-day mourning period, or shloshim, following Shimon Peres’s death, Israeli leaders and family members alike gathered at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem for a memorial service. There Peres’s tombstone was revealed with three inscriptions engraved at the request of his family: a passage from the Bible, a quote by David Ben-Gurion, and a quote by Hebrew and Yiddish poet Hayim Nahman Bialik.”
Solemnity and deep sadness envelopes us during these 30 days that you’re not with us Shimon,” President Reuven Rivlin said at the ceremony.
“In the days since you left us, stories about you and your deeds have come to light. Your role in the establishment of the country has been told over and over again: from the Nuclear Research Center in Dimona, Israel Aircraft Industries, Israel Military Industries, the Entebbe Operation…the elimination of inflation and the national economic plan, your diplomatic moves, and your faith in peace.”
During his speech, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “When I was an officer, we patrolled the country day and night. One night we got to Dimona, and they told us ‘you can’t cross this line.’ It took me several decades before I was finally able to cross the line and go into the Dimona reactor. Shimon Peres is the sole reason it was established. I would like to announce that I have requested that the nuclear research institute be renamed after Shimon Peres, as is so befitting for a visionary and a man of action.”
Representatives of the Baha’i religion accused the government of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Tuesday of “ongoing efforts to destroy the Baha’i community,” the Associated Press reported.
In a 122-page document, the Baha’i International Community outlined the Rouhani administration’s efforts to intensify its “campaign to incite hatred against Baha’is,” including by spreading over 20,000 propaganda pieces in the media.
Since Rouhani took power in 2013, more than 151 Baha’i have been arrested and 388 acts of economic discrimination — including threats, intimidation and the closing of Baha’i-owned businesses — have been documented against members of the faith, according to the report. Thousands of Baha’i have also been denied entry into universities, while 28 have been expelled on the basis of their religion, which has been outlawed by the Islamic Republic.
Bani Dugal, the representative of the Baha’i community to the UN, said that “taken altogether, what we have seen is an overall shift in tactics by the Iranian government, apparently as part of an attempt to conceal from the international community its ongoing efforts to destroy the Baha’i community as a viable entity.”
“The take-away from the report is that international pressure on Iran, whether by the United Nations, the news media, activists or even the general public, remains a critical means of protection against a wider pogrom that targets the largest non-Muslim religious minority in Iran,” Dugal added.
The Baha’i World News Service reported on Wednesday that Farhang Amiri, a member of the faith, was stabbed to death in the Iranian city of Yazd by two men who said they were motivated by his religion. “Such a heinous act is a consequence of a longstanding, systematic effort by the Iranian authorities to encourage hatred and bigotry against Baha’is,” Dugal said.
The Iranian-backed Houthi rebelsfireda ballistic missile toward Mecca, the holiest site in Islam, the Saudi-led coalition operating in Yemen announced.The missile was intercepted about 40 miles from the city. Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed of the United Arab Emirates, which is a member of the coalition fighting the Houthi rebels in Yemen, tweeted (TIP’s translation), “The Iranian regime supports a terrorist group that fires its rockets at Mecca…Is this regime Islamic as it claims?” Earlier this month, the Houthis launcheda ballistic missile at a Saudi base in Taif, which lies close to Mecca, as well as into border towns in the Jizan region, which lies on the Saudi-Yemeni border.
Reutersreportedlast week that Iran has increased its delivery of weapons to the Houthis, smuggling them overland into Yemen over the Omani border. An Iranian diplomat confirmed the report, adding, “The nuclear deal gave Iran an upper hand in its rivalry with Saudi Arabia, but it needs to be preserved.” Critics of the Iran nuclear deal, including the governments of Israel and Saudi Arabia, had expressed their concern that it would give Iran more leeway to support its destabilizing proxies throughout the region, including the Houthis and the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah. The group has recently fired missiles at American and Emirati naval vessels operating in the Red Sea.
The Houthis seized control of the Yemeni government in 2015, prompting a military intervention by a Saudi-led coalition of Arab countries. The Iranian proxy, whose slogan reads in Arabic “God is great, Death to America, Death to Israel, Curse on the Jews, Victory to Islam,” have received arms—including missiles—and training from Iran. American, French, and Australian vessels haveinterceptedweapons shipments from Iran on their way to the Houthi rebels. After the capture of Yemen’s capital, Sana’a, in 2014, Iranian parliamentarian Ali Reza Zakani, who is close to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei,boasted> that Iran now controlled four Arab capitals, the other three being Damascus, Baghdad, and Beirut.
Secretary of State John Kerry has previouslyexpressed his concern about Iranian missiles being delivered to the Houthis, and then being fired over the border into Saudi territory.
Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz paid a visit to the Turkish ambassador’s home in celebration of Turkey’s Republic Day—the first Israeli minister to visit the home of the Turkish ambassador to Israel since the Mavi Marmara incident in 2010.
Steinitz praised the renewed diplomatic relationship, saying, “the fact that Israel and Turkey are reaching out a hand of peace and cooperation again is important news. Today is evidence that Israel and Turkey not only want to re-establish diplomatic and formal relations, but strengthen economic ties and cooperation in the field of energy. This includes exporting gas from Israel to Turkey, and from Turkey to the rest of Europe. I hope that in the future, this will lead to a strengthening of trust, security cooperation, and political cooperation between the two countries.”
Turkey and Israel signed a deal in June to restore diplomatic ties after a six-year rift. They are set to exchange ambassadors soon and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has already met and shaken hands with an Israeli diplomat—the first meeting of its kind in two years. When the Turkish government faced a potential overthrow in July, Israel was among the first countries to stand by Erdogan and condemn the attempted military coup.