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The Daily TIP: Top Israeli, U.S. Political Leaders Celebrate 50th Anniversary of Jerusalem's Reunification

Posted by Tip Staff - June 08, 2017

Top Israeli, U.S. Political Leaders Celebrate 50th Anniversary of Jerusalem's Reunification
Iran’s High Rate of Executions Continues After Rouhani’s Re-Election
U.S. Shoots Down Drone Following Threat by Syra
Israeli Tech Crowdfunding Platform Building Ties to Australia, India


Top Israeli, U.S. Political Leaders Celebrate 50th Anniversary of Jerusalem's Reunification

Top Israeli and American political leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, participated in a joint celebration of the 50th anniversary of Jerusalem's reunification on Wednesday.

The event was broadcast simultaneously from the U.S. Capitol building in Washington and the Knesset in Jerusalem, marking the first time the two legislative bodies held a joint event, The Times of Israel reported. It was hosted by Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer.

"Since 1967, Jerusalem has again become a spiritual center, where members of all religions may practice their faith freely," Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein said in his opening remarks. "Where the sounds of Jewish prayer mingle with the voice of the muezzin and church bells. Where pilgrims come to seek God in synagogues, mosques and churches. This is Jerusalem. Reunified fifty years ago today, never to be re-divided.”

"Let us promise that support for unified Jerusalem remains high on both sides of the aisle, across the political spectrum, and throughout the United States," Edelstein continued. "Looking around the world, and especially at this region, one thing becomes crystal clear: Only Israeli sovereignty will ensure that the city`s holy sites remain open, free, and safe for members of every religion."

He concluded by urging the White House to "recognize Jerusalem as the official and unquestioned capital of the State of Israel. Bring your embassy to our capital.”

"Brave men and women not much older than my kids fought to save Israel from imminent annihilation," Ryan said of the Six-Day War, during which "Jerusalem—the spiritual and religious capital of the Jewish people for 3,000 years—was made whole again."

He pointed out that in Jerusalem, Jews, Christians, and Muslims can worship freely at their most sacred sites, but addted, "Let’s not take that for granted. It wasn’t always like that."

Ryan concluded by quoting a letter written by Yoni Netanyahu to his younger brother Benjamin, now the prime minister, after the 1973 Yom Kippur war. "I don’t intend to tell my grandchildren about the Jewish state in the twentieth century as a mere brief and transient episode in thousands of years of wandering," the older Netanyahu wrote. "I intend to hold on here with all my might."

While Yoni never lived to have children, having been killed three years later rescuing victims of a Palestinian airplane hijacking in Uganda, Ryan said that had he survived, he might have written today, "After thousands of years in exile, the Jewish people are finally back home. Home in the land of their ancestors. Home in the land so many have died fighting to defend. And home in their eternal, united capital of Jerusalem—never to be divided again."

In his remarks, Netanyahu explained his commitment to keep Jerusalem united "because I remember what it was like when it was divided." He said that Israeli control of the city, including its commitment to have it open to members of all religions, has ensured that Jerusalem did not "descend into horrible sectarian violence."

"We see that in this great convulsion that is taking place around us, there is one free city where Christians, Jews and Muslims are free to worship undisturbed, and that's in the free united city of Jerusalem. And that's how it will stay," he added.

The prime minister also thanked the U.S. for its support, observing, "America has no better friend than Israel, and Israel surely has no better friend than the United States of America."

Iran’s High Rate of Executions Continues After Rouhani’s Re-Election


Iran has executed at least 20 people since the re-election of President Hassan Rouhani on May 19, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies reported Wednesday.

This grim statistic mirrors the record of Rouhani’s first term in office, when the regime carried out some 3,000 executions. In fact, Rouhani’s four-year record compares unfavorably to that of his firebrand predecessor President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. During tehh latter's first term in office, at least 1,095 executions occurred, while at least 2,322 transpired during his second. During Rouhani’s first term, Iran carried out more executions than any country other than China.

Every year, Iran executes hundreds of people many for moharebeh—a loosely-defined crime that can mean anything from “enmity against God” to trying to overthrow the regime. According to an investigation by the UN’s Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran, at least 966 people were put to death in the country in 2015—the highest number since 1989, twice as many as in 2010, and 10 times as many as in 2005.

Tehran’s continued use of the death penalty is at odds with Rouhani’s election promise to improve human rights in the country and his image as a moderate and reformer. Similarly, Rouhani has failed to address the lack of due process and the violations of rights of prisoners. Iran is known for its harsh prison conditions, arbitrary arrests and detention, elicit confessions, and torture.

“In reality, Rouhani’s tenure suggests that he remains a loyal foot soldier of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Tehran’s ultimate powerbroker. In this sense, Iran’s executions reflect its core revolutionary ideology, which seeks to enforce radical Islamic norms as a counter to the perceived secularism and rapaciousness of the West,” concluded Tzvi Kahn, a senior Iran analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.



U.S. Shoots Down Drone in Syria Following Threat by Hezbollah

The United States shot down an attack drone that had targeted U.S.-backed rebels in Syria, one day after Hezbollah threatened to attack American targets in Syria, The New York Times reported Thursday.

A day earlier, the Iran-backed terrorist group Hezbollah threatened to strike U.S. positions inside Syria if it crosses any "red lines.”

The Lebanese group released a video claiming to show an American drone tailed by an Iranian one over eastern Syria, depicting it as evidence that it could strike U.S. targets at will.

The threat follows a strike by American planes earlier this week against forces supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The pro-regime forces entered a well-established deconfliction zone near the Tanf Garrison in southeastern Syria, which is used by U.S. and coalition forces, according to U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM). Coalition forces "issued several warnings via the de-confliction line prior to destroying two artillery pieces, an anti-aircraft weapon, and damaging a tank," CENTCOM said. U.S. planes also struck a convoy of pro-Assad forces last month after it entered the deconfliction zone near Tanf. The zones were established by the U.S. and Russia in order to reduce the likelihood of accidental military encounters.

U.S., British, and Norwegian forces in Tanf are training Syrian rebels to fight against the Islamic State in Raqqa. The base has "become a front-line outpost in the US containment of regional power Iran, whose allies are advancing on the garrison from two directions," the Christian Science Monitor explained this week. It is located near a highway that "links Baghdad and Damascus and serves as a coveted overland route that could provide Iran with access to its strategic Lebanese Shiite ally, Hezbollah."

Last week, an Iran-backed Shiite militia captured the Iraqi border town of Um Jaris, to the east of Tanf. To its northwest, "a combined force of Syrian troops, Hezbollah fighters, and Iraqi Shiite militiamen are mobilizing for a southward thrust to seize the Tanf border crossing," the Monitor reported.

“I think any assault on Tanf [by Iranian-backed groups] would meet with a vigorous and effective military response,” Frederic C. Hof, director of the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East at the Atlantic Council in Washington and previously a top Obama administration official, told the Monitor. “I do not know the rules of engagement in effect for US ground forces, but an Iranian-Hezbollah assault on Tanf would, I think, be quite reckless and not likely to succeed.”

Hezbollah said that only "self-restraint" was keeping it from attacking U.S. forces.



Israeli Tech Crowdfunding Platform Building Ties to Australia, India

National Australia Bank (NAB) announced a first-of-its-kind collaboration with Israeli equity crowdfunding platform OurCrowd for its Private clients on June 5, followed by today’s announcement of a similar collaboration between OurCrowd and Reliance Private Client, an Indian wealth-management company that’s part of Reliance Capital in Mumbai.

These strategic agreements will provide NAB and Reliance Private customers with direct access to exclusive OurCrowd startup investments.

The NAB announcement was made by OurCrowd CEO Jon Medved at the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce Women Leaders Delegation in Israel.

“We know that our clients are looking globally for investment opportunities, and OurCrowd is an established global platform which offers a full service end-to-end solution,” said Christine Yates, executive general manager of NAB Private. “Technology is changing the way we do business and this shows how banks need to think differently when it comes to servicing their clients. Our NAB clients will have access not available outside this collaboration.”

OurCrowd, which entered the Australian market in 2014, was founded in Jerusalem in 2013 and has raised more than $440 million from approximately 20,000 investors across 112 countries for more than 120 early stage companies.

Commenting on today’s announcement from India, Reliance Private Client Country Business Head Amrita Farmahan said: “We are excited to bring our clients this unique opportunity to access high quality and curated portfolios of deep technology-enabled startups via OurCrowd’s disruptive private equity platform. In addition to providing viable investment opportunities in these important alternate assets, we will connect the Indian investors to the global startup ecosystem via OurCrowd.”

(via Israel21c)


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