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Israel’s Elections: The Final Count is In, But….

With 100% of votes tallied for the 24th Knesset election, the official results are in. To form a government, a coalition must have a total of at least 61 seats. Here is the breakdown by party:

Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud – 30
Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid – 17
Shas – 9
Benny Gantz’s Blue and White – 8
Yisrael Beiteinu – 7
Yemina – 7
Labor – 7
United Torah Judaism – 7
Gideon Saar’s Tikvah Hadashah – 6
Zionist Judaism – 6
Meretz – 6
The Joint List – 6
Raam – 4

Though Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu scored his largest electoral victory, he shows no clear path to forming a government majority. At the time of this writing, it appears that Israel may be headed this summer for an unprecedented 5th election in 2 years. In addition to the burden the Coronavirus has thrust upon Israelis, this ongoing political challenge leaves the country’s ability to move forward hanging in the balance. It’s also another delay in progress toward applying Sovereignty throughout Judea and Samaria.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Israeli people as they continue to work toward overcoming this tremendous political deadlock.

With All Votes Counted, Final Election Results Are In, by Chana Oz. Tazpit News Agency, March 25, 2021


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National State of Emergency in Area C

Leaders from Judea and Samaria and the political system issued a warning following an expose by the Ad Kan organization on the strategic threat to Area C. Conclusion: Israel is losing the battle for the control of Judea and Samaria to the Palestinian Authority’s grand plan to take it over illegally.

Ad Kan members conducted an undercover operation and disguised themselves as Arabs working for a Belgian news agency. They were successful in obtaining the PA’s grand plan to overtake Area C in Judea and Samaria through illegal construction projects, funded by the European Union (EU) and Arab countries.

“A well-oiled mechanism”
Ad Kan exposed that the PA is operating in the shadows together with the EU and the United Nations that have allocated about 3 billion euros for the construction of a Palestinian state and the construction of a new capital in Jerusalem. The process is in full swing and about 100 programs are taking shape in the field, unhindered. Ad Kan found that the EU “is pushing with all its might,” knowingly operating against the law and in contravention of the Oslo Accords, to build a Palestinian state.

The plan
“Isolate Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem and establish a de facto terrorist state in the heart of Israel.”

Yisrael Ganz, head of the Binyamin Regional Council, described the findings as a “national state of emergency” and warned Israel is losing Judea and Samaria.

We remained outraged that we must continue to report on this matter. Israel’s government is still on unstable ground and so is the status of applying Sovereignty over Judea and Samaria. That is unacceptable.

Leaders Warn Israel is ‘Losing Judea and Samaria’ Following Exposure of PA Grand Plan to Occupy Area C, by Aryeh Savir. Tazpit News Agency, March 25, 2021


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They Destroy, We Build

Thousands of Jews visited Mount Ebal in Samaria today and also visited the altar of Joshua son of Nun, part of which was destroyed last month by the Palestinian Authority. The site is believed to be the place where the Biblical Prophet Joshua built an altar after entering the Land of Israel more than 3,000 years ago.

Last month, a gravel crusher used by the Palestinian Authority for the paving of a new road deliberately removed and crushed stones from the ancient wall around the altar, provoking outrage among the Jewish and archaeological communities. The Samaria Regional Council promoted the restoration of the site and today for the first time held a huge event featuring thousands of people took place at the archaeological site.

Referring to the thousands who came to the first festival on Mount Ebal and the altar of Joshua, Dagan says: “They are destroying and we are building, they are trying to erase history and we are restoring and preserving the world history and historical sites of the Jewish people, the thousands who come today prove that the Jewish people do not forget their roots. A nation that remembers its past will have a glorious future on all its land.”

Thousands come to Joshua’s Altar after PA desecration, by Arutz Sheva Staff. Arutz Sheva, March 29, 2021

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Netanyahu Leads the Way, Headed for 7th Term. Can He Get to 61?

Following a dramatic Tuesday night and after some 87% of the votes had been counted as of Wednesday morning, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud party appeared close to victory. But, his fate still depends on Yamina leader Naftali Bennett.

The right-wing bloc of Netanyahu supporters currently has 52 mandates; the Center-Left bloc has 56 seats, but Yamina’s seven seats, and now Ra’am’s five seats, could go to either bloc to give it the majority it needs.

Shortly after the exit polls were released, Bennett said, “I will only do what is good for the State of Israel.” He did not elaborate further.

Voter turnout on Tuesday was particularly low – only 66.9% – marking the lowest turnout in the past four elections.

The results after 89% of the votes have been counted on Wednesday morning as of 10am Israel time are shown in the above image.

AFSI is praying that Israel will not have to go to a fifth election!! The country is clearly leaning right, but personalities seem to be getting in the way. We congratulate our many friends, most of whom are now in the government and wish they had all made it in.

With 89% of the votes in, Likud holds 30-seat lead, Right-wing bloc has 52 mandates, by ILH Staff. Israel Hayom, March 24, 2021

Time for PM Netanyahu to leave the Likud party, make way for right-wing coalition?, by i24News. Arutz Sheva, March 24, 2021

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PA Must Rethink Peace, Aim For ‘Soft Sovereignty”

Two of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s top advisers on negotiations with Israel urged in an editorial that Palestinians abandon their campaign for an independent state and instead aim for a “soft” sovereignty that would see Jordan and Egypt take over responsibility for border security affairs.

Writing in the latest edition of Foreign Affairs magazine, Hussein Agha and Ahmad Samih Khalidi said that the normalization deals between Arab states and Israel require that Palestinians rethink their approach to obtaining peace and statehood.

“The prospects of securing ‘hard’ sovereignty, based on nineteenth-century notions of the nation-state, with full and complete control over land, borders, and resources, are remote,” they wrote.

Palestinians may have to choose between the “self-defeating chimera of hard sovereignty” or “adopting softer versions,” they said.

Out-of-the box thinking is clearly warranted here. Palestinian attempts at diplomacy have repeatedly failed, time and again any peace talks have stalled, President Donald Trump brought together numerous Arab states into peace accords with Israel, and the PA keeps getting left behind. We look forward to seeing where this new way of thinking leads.

Top Abbas advisers urge Palestinian statehood with ‘soft’ sovereignty, by Stuart Winer. Times of Israel, March 23, 2021

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Just Hours Away – Israel Heads to the Polls

The final polls conducted until the Friday before Election Day on Tuesday, March 23, all suggested continued political deadlock. Neither the anti- nor the pro-Netanyahu blocs are expected to receive 61 seats in order to form a government.

Naftali Bennett’s Yamina Party, however, which is currently not committed to either bloc, could give the anti-Netanyahu parties a coalition.

The final poll broadcasted by KAN Channel 11 gave Netanyahu’s Likud Party 31 seats, followed by Yesh Atid with 19 seats, New Hope and Yamina tied for the third largest party with nine seats each, and the Joint List is stable at eight. The ultra-Orthodox Shas Party also has eight, while United Torah Judaism (UTJ) and Yisrael Beytenu have seven seats each.

Labor and the Religious Zionist Party received five seats each, while Blue and White, Meretz and Ra’am crossed the electoral threshold with four seats each.

The above polls, plus a number of other polls done by various outlets, will be the last before the election on March 23 in accordance with Israel’s election campaign laws.

AFSI prays this election is the one that sticks. After a string of many elections Israelis have gone through over the last two years, we trust that the winner will secure the necessary 61 seats needed to form a government. We also look forward to Israel’s new Prime Minister moving the country forward, specifically in applying Sovereignty over Judea and Samaria.

Israel’s election is heading toward a deadlock, final polls predict, by Cody Levine. Jerusalem Post, March 21, 2021


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Renewal and Expansion In Beit Shemesh

As Beit Shemesh celebrates its 70th anniversary, its municipality has announced a large-scale renovation operation of the old streets of Beit Shemesh and the Haredi neighborhood of Heftziba. The expected cost is tens of millions of shekels and work is expected to start in the coming weeks.

Beit Shemesh, population 130,000, is undergoing a large-scale expansion, with a yet to be approved master plan aiming to grow the city to 360,000 residents. The plan aims to develop the city’s oldest neighborhoods, built in the 1950s. This will include demolition and reconstruction of existing buildings, adding buildings, and giving a facelift to public spaces.

Beit Shemesh Mayor Aliza Bloch said, “This is a historic step as part of the policy of strengthening the old neighborhoods and renewing them, which is one of the anchors of the city’s master plan, which has been formed and will lead to the development of the city in the coming years in transport, industry, and employment. Only implementing these targets will enable support for enlarging the number of residents in the city.”

This is the kind of news that we like hearing! Building, developing, expanding and growing Israel’s Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.

After Years of Neglect Beit Shemesh Gets Major Facelift, 10,000 New Housing Units, by David Israel. Jewish Press, March 21, 2021

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Israel’s Supreme Court Issues Decision Opening Air Travel

The Israeli Supreme Court struck down key government restrictions on air travel Wednesday, dealing a blow to the government’s airport policies.

The government was excoriated over its handling of the issue of air travel during the COVID crisis. The justices tossed out the limit imposed by the government on the total number of Israeli citizens allowed to enter Israel by air each day. The 3,000 passenger daily limit will end on Saturday.

The court also ruled that the requirement for travelers who lack both vaccination certificates and certificates of recovery from COVID to receive special permission to travel from a government committee is illegal, striking down the need to receive approval from the exceptions committee. Travelers looking to depart from Israel after this coming Saturday will not be required to receive permission from the exceptions committee.

The justices, led by chief justice Esther Hayut, blasted the government over the way it adopted the restrictions, saying the decisions were made without references to relevant data. “In the future, any new restrictions on travel into or out of Israel need, in legal terms, [requires] a comprehensive, factual, data-based foundation.”

The court also slammed the restrictions themselves, writing in the ruling that the limits constitute an “assault on the very heart of the legal right to enter Israel and to leave it, and other rights that are at the heart of the fabric of life in democratic societies.”

Given prior overreach by the Supreme Court is this ruling appropriate? Whoever makes the decision, we’re hoping that the government will permit Israel to open up to Americans and others soon.

Open Skies? Supreme Court strikes down government limits on air travel ~David Rosenberg. Arutz Sheva, March 17, 2021

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Biden Delusional Memo on Israel is Destined to Fail Again, and Again, and Again….

The Biden-Harris administration is looking to hit the reset button with the Palestinian Authority, including the return to a more traditional (and consistently failed) position on a two-state solution. Plus, they aim to roll back several significant Trump administration positions on Israel.

The four-page memo, “The U.S. Palestinian Reset and the Path Forward,” was obtained by The National, an English-language news outlet based in the United Arab Emirates. It was reportedly presented to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on March 1.

According to the delusional memo, the Biden administration will seek to achieve Israeli-Palestinian peace under a two-state solution framework “based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed land swaps and agreements on security and refugees.”

Americans For A Safe Israel/AFSI does not endorse a two-state solution and neither do the majority of Israelis.

Among the other damage Biden looks forward to is a restoration of UNRWA funding. This would increase the terrorist agenda against Israel. He’ll also roll back some Trump administration policies favorable towards Israel such as the right to put “Product of Israel” labels on goods manufactured in Judea and Samaria.

Americans For A Safe Israel strongly condemns the contents of Biden’s despicable and damage filled four-page memo. The best thing the Biden administration can do for Israel is to do absolutely nothing. In addition to the memo, any other plans this administration has slated, i.e., re-enter the Iran deal, only take many steps backward to crush the success the Trump administration achieved for Israel. Biden’s agenda is a resurrection of old attempts at peace that have consistently failed again, and again, and again. Placating terrorists never works.

It is obvious that the Biden administration has no new plans and certainly no new way of thinking when it comes to supporting Israel against the hostile forces that surround her. Anything Biden and his incompetent, anti-Semitic, corrupt colleagues attempt to implement in the name of peace between Israel and the PA will only threaten Israel’s security, defense and her very existence. Biden’s intentions to jump-start peace by starting in reverse do not make him a friend to Israel.

Memo: Biden Administration Aims to ‘Reset’ Relations with the Palestinian Authority, by JNS News Service. Jewish News Syndicate, March 17, 2021

‘The National’ obtains US official document for Palestinian ‘reset’, by Joyce Karam. the National, March 17, 2021

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Let Them Return Home!

The IDF evacuated activists from the ruins of the former Sa-Nur community. The action came after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to heed a call to allow Jews to remain at the site.

Jews in this community had ‘illegally’ entered the site in the predawn hours. This was a challenge to Netanyahu to prove he is truly a right-wing leader with the hope that he would allow them to remain rather than risk a forced evacuation. They demanded that Netanyahu agree to rebuild that community and three others in northern Samaria that Israel destroyed in 2005 as part of the Disengagement Plan.

“We call on Netanyahu to begin his fully Right [government] already today, and not to wait until after the elections,” the activists said in a statement they issued from the site. “Stop the evacuation,” Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan said, in a message aimed at Netanyahu. “Allow the families to stay and resettle Sa-Nur.” Dagan himself is a Sa-Nur evacuee. “Let us return home,” he added.

Israel has just one week before the country’s March 23 election and where are we in our quest for Sovereignty? Not close at all it seems. But for the sake of our friends in Judea and Samaria, we remain steadfast in our commitment to and hopeful that Sovereignty is not far off on the horizon.

“For the Lord will not abandon His people, nor will He forsake His inheritance.” – Psalms 94:14

IDF evacuates Sa-Nur, settler challenge to Netanyahu fails, by Tovah Lazaroff. Jerusalem Post, March 16, 2021

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