Menu
PM Netanyahu meets with Senior US Presidential Adviser Jared Kushner and US National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien

PM Netanyahu meets with Senior US P…

PM Netanyahu met with Sen...

FM Ashkenazi on official visit to Germany

FM Ashkenazi on official visit to G…

FM Ashkenazi: I can attes...

Israel joins the Council of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization

Israel joins the Council of the UN …

Israel’s membership in th...

Israel joins the Council of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization

Israel joins the Council of the UN …

Israel has been accepted ...

FM Ashkenazi meets with Cypriot FM Nikos Christodoulides

FM Ashkenazi meets with Cypriot FM …

FM Ashkenazi: Israel and ...

MFA hosts virtual conference on digital diplomacy during the corona crisis

MFA hosts virtual conference on dig…

Some 150 participants wil...

PM Netanyahu chairs Corona Cabinet meeting

PM Netanyahu chairs Corona Cabinet …

The goal of the policy is...

President Rivlin and FM Katz host reception for the diplomatic and consular corps in Israel

President Rivlin and FM Katz host r…

President Rivlin: Althoug...

Special Holy Fire ceremony held during the coronavirus outbreak

Special Holy Fire ceremony held dur…

The traditional Holy Fire...

Prev Next
A+ A A-
Booking.com

Poll: Israelis Support Military Strike on Iran, Do Not Believe Obama Will Consult Israel on Iranian Nukes

“The Israeli public has a clearly realistic sense of the looming danger posed by an Iranian regime intent on obtaining nuclear weapons…”

Recent poll has shown that clear majorities of Israelis support Israel undertaking military strikes against Iran, should this prove necessary to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power. A new Israel Hayom – New Wave Research poll shows that nearly two-thirds of Israelis –– 66% –– favor such a strike, as opposed to a mere 22% who oppose it. The same poll also found that:
Israelis approved of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s United Nations General Assembly speech earlier this month by a margin of 51% to 11%.
• A large majority of 84% of Israelis said they did not believe that the international talks with Iran could convince Iran to abandon its military nuclear program, as opposed to 7% who believe that this will be the result.
• 47% of Israelis do not believe that President Barack Obama would deliver on his promise to consult with Israel on the issue of Iran, as opposed to 38% who believe that he would. (‘Poll: Two-thirds of Israeli Jews back unilateral Iran strike,’ Israel Hayom, October 4, 2013).
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “The Israeli public has a clearly realistic sense of the looming danger posed by an Iranian regime intent on obtaining nuclear weapons.
“Like people everywhere, the Israeli public wants to achieve the ending of the Iranian nuclear weapons program peacefully, but simply does not believe that negotiations will actually produce this vital result. That is why we are seeing today majority support for military action against Iran’s nuclear facilities, should this be the only avenue remaining to achieve the desired goal.”

Read more...

Big Bank to be Penalized Big Dollars

The largest bank in the United States has tentatively agreed to pay $13 billion in fines, penalties and consumer relief to settle several investigations into bad mortgage loans it allegedly made.

JP Morgan Chase and the U.S. Justice Department still have to finalize the deal, which also requires the bank to cooperate with a continuing criminal probe into the bank's mortgage-backed securities in the run-up to the 2008 financial meltdown.

The settlement would represent the largest penalty ever paid by a single company. The $13 billion total would include $4 billion in aid for struggling homeowners, such as loan modifications.

A number of federal and state regulators claim that JP Morgan Chase misled investors about the quality of the mortgages it was selling between 2005 and 2007 When the so-called housing bubble burst in 2007, investors in those mortgages lost heavily.

The bank has set aside at least $23 billion in reserves to cover settlements and legal expenses related to its actions before and after the financial crisis.
Read more...

US Lawmakers Begin Work on Budget

VOA News, U.S. lawmakers are moving on from the crisis of the government shutdown to talks aimed at resolving deep budget differences between Democrats and Republicans.

A congressional panel has convened to address issues such as the size of the government and the level of federal taxation. The talks were mandated by the last-minute compromise bill that ended the federal shutdown this week.

The panel, which began its work on Thursday, is scheduled to produce some kind of compromise budget plan by December 13.


Also on Thursday, U.S. President Barack Obama stated that he felt there were "no winners" in the bill approved by Congress to fund the government and avoid a potential debt default.

Speaking at the White House, Obama said the impasse that sparked a 16-day partial government shutdown "inflicted completely unnecessary damage" on the U.S. economy.

He said the American people are "completely fed up with Washington," and that it is time to earn back their trust.

"Let us be clear, there are no winners here. The last few weeks have inflicted completely unnecessary damage on our economy. We don't know yet the full scope of the damage, but every analyst out there believed it slowed our growth. We know that families have gone without paychecks or services they depend on. We know that potential home buyers have gotten fewer mortgages and small business loans have been put on hold. We know that consumers have cut back on spending and that half of all CEOs say that the shutdown and the threat of shutdown set back their plans to hire over the next six months," said Obama.

Back to work

Thousands of U.S. federal employees returned to work after Congress approved a compromise bill late Wednesday to fund the government, which Obama immediately signed into law.

The bill keeps the government running until at least January 15 and raises the borrowing limit to put off the risk of default until February 7.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, and his Republican colleague, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, crafted the bill a day before the government's borrowing authority expired.

If the debt ceiling was not raised, the United States would lose the authority to borrow money to keep paying its bills.

Credit rating

Standard & Poor's estimated the shutdown has taken $24 billion out of the economy while the Fitch credit rating agency warned it is reviewing its AAA rating on U.S. government debt for a possible downgrade.

The government shut down on October 1 when the Senate rejected House demands to defund or delay President Obama's health care law as part of a spending bill. The president said he would not negotiate changes in the law until the government reopened.

House Speaker John Boehner said House Republicans fought with everything they had to force negotiations on the law, nicknamed "Obamacare." Boehner said his party will continue to push for legislative oversight and highlight perceived flaws in the plan.
Read more...

Report Says Recurring Financial Crises Have Hurt US Economy

VOA News

A new economic analysis has concluded that the U.S. has significantly damaged its economy over the last several years by lurching from one financial crisis to the next.

The Macroeconomic Advisers research firm says that financial policy uncertainty and diminished consumer spending has annually cost the American economy, the world's largest, one percentage point of economic growth since late 2009.

The report said repeated down-to-the-wire government spending and tax decisions have resulted in more than 2 million lost jobs and have pushed the U.S. unemployment rate six-tenths of a percentage point higher than it otherwise would be. Although it gradually has been falling, the U.S. jobless rate is still at an elevated 7.3 percent as the American economy struggles to regain strength from the depths of its worst economic downturn since the 1930s.

The author of the report, economist Joel Prakken, said Washington's long-running conflict over the role of government in American life has led to continual legislative disputes over spending and taxation policies.

"There's a dispute in Washington about the longer-run vision of the role of government in American society. And since no agreement can be reached on that long-run view, we're left with a laser-like focus on near-term fiscal policy because of the need on a regular basis to re-appropriate funds for the discretionary part of the federal budget," he said.

U.S. President Barack Obama, a Democrat, and his Republican opponents in Congress are facing twin financial crises at the moment. They are trying to reach an agreement on ending a 15-day partial government shutdown and increasing the country's $16.7-trillion borrowing limit by Thursday so the U.S. avoids defaulting on its financial obligations.

Prakken said the government shutdown already has cost the U.S. economy three-tenths of a percentage point of growth in the last three months of the year, and that failure to increase the debt ceiling would be calamitous. He said a short-term default would push the jobless rate to 8.5 percent and cost 2.5 million jobs, while a longer default would be even worse.

He said no one knows with certainty what might happen if the U.S. endures a large-scale default, but that the world economy and financial markets could be left in turmoil.

"It's a scary scenario, one we don't want to learn about first-hand. It's true that the results and these kind of estimates are speculative, but we don't want to find out," said Prakken.

The current Washington dispute over government spending priorities and increasing the U.S. borrowing limit follows a contentious debt ceiling dispute in August 2011 that slowed economic growth at the time and led one financial services firm to downgrade the U.S. credit rating.

At the end of last year, Obama and Congress engaged in a lengthy debate over tax rates that was settled at the last minute with taxes being increased on the wealthiest Americans.
Read more...

New US $100 Bill Designed to Defeat Counterfeiters

VOA News, The U.S. on Tuesday is unveiling a new $100 bill, a note that still will show touches of long-standing tradition, but also will carry new markers in an attempt to thwart counterfeiters.

Like the current greenish $100 bill, the new version will bear the likeness of Benjamin Franklin, a leader in the American Revolution more than two centuries ago.

But it will also have a vertical blue security ribbon that shows "100" and small pictures of the iconic Liberty Bell in darker blue.


Next to Franklin's portrait is a tan quill and bronze-color inkwell, with the Liberty Bell drawn inside. The bell's color changes depending on what angle the bill is held at.

Government officials say the new note was designed primarily to combat increasingly sophisticated counterfeiting, although the older ones in circulation will continue to be honored.

The $100 bill is the most global bank note the U.S. prints, with one-half to two-thirds of the more than 8 billion in circulation in use outside the United States.
Read more...

Obama Taps Yellen to Replace Fed Chief Bernanke


Mil Arcega


President Barack Obama has named Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Janet Yellen to head the U.S. central bank after Ben Bernanke steps down at the end of January. The US senate still has to confirm Yellen, but analysts believe she’s a safe choice to steer US monetary policy in troubled economic times.

She’s poised to become the first woman to head the U.S. central bank. And with more than a decade at the Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen may be one of the most qualified to run it.

President Obama described her as tough and effective.

“She sounded the alarm early about the housing bubble, about excesses in the financial sector and about the risks of a major recession. She doesn’t have a crystal ball but what she does have is a keen understanding about how markets and the economy work not just in theory but also in the real world," said President Obama.

The 67-year-old economist is being tapped to take the reins of the U.S. central bank when Chairman Ben Bernanke steps down in January. She thanked the president for his trust in her and vowed to preserve the Federal Reserve’s mandate.

“If confirmed by the Senate, I pledge to do my utmost to keep that trust and meet the great responsibilities that Congress has entrusted to the Federal Reserve, to promote maximum employment, stable prices and a strong and stable financial system," said Yellen.

The president also heaped praise on Bernanke for providing a steady hand - through the worst financial crisis in decades.

“He has truly been a stabilizing force not just for our country but for the rest of the world," said Obama.

Under Bernanke’s leadership, the Fed cut short term interest rates to near zero and has kept long term rates at record lows with an $85 billion a month bond buying program.

Financial markets welcomed the Yellen nomination as a nod to continuity.

Former central bank official Joseph Gagnon says Yellen is likely to continue Bernanke’s policies.

“I don’t see big changes. I think they’re both rather collegial in terms of encouraging, trying to get consensus within a group as much as possible, so I think that will continue," said Gagnon.

Analysts expect an easy confirmation by the Democratic controlled Senate with help from moderate Republicans. But given the sharp partisan divide in Congress, economists say Yellen’s biggest challenges are yet to come.
Read more...

Netanyahu Warns Obama on Iran

VOA, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Iran must dismantle its nuclear program and should face tougher sanctions as it negotiates with the West.

Netanyahu made the comments after meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama in White House talks Monday. Obama said world powers will negotiate with Iran in a "clear-eyed" manner and will consult Israel closely.

Netanyahu's visit comes three days after Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani conducted the highest-level contact between the countries in more than three decades.

That telephone call fueled hopes for a resolution of Iran's decade-old nuclear standoff with the West.

Iran has long insisted its nuclear program is peaceful. The U.S. and many of its allies disagree and have helped impose several rounds of sanctions that have battered Iran's economy.

Netanyahu is deeply concerned about eased tensions between Iran and the international community, saying Tehran is using talks to try to lessen the crippling sanctions and to buy more time to build a nuclear weapon.

Many Israelis agree.



Read more...

US Looking to Bolster Israeli-Palestinian Talks at UN

Scott Stearns

VOA, At this week's meeting of the U.N. General Assembly, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will be pushing efforts to back ongoing peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians. The talks are based on a two-state solution to the conflict.

Nothing has taken more of John Kerry's time as Secretary of State than Middle East peace. So these talks have been front and center in the run-up to his first U.N. General Assembly. "I am talking to both leaders directly and everybody, I think, understands the goal that we are working for. It is two states living side by side in peace and in security," he said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says it is time. "We both know that this road is not an easy one, but we have embarked this effort with you in order to succeed to bring about a historic reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians that ends the conflict once and for all," he said.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says Palestinians are ready. "We have a period of nine months during which we hope to be able to reach to a peace agreement between us and the Israelis," he said.

Obstacles include the status of Jerusalem as an Israeli and Palestinian capital and the borders of a two-state solution.

The same issues that have largely blocked progress on a negotiated settlement since the Oslo Accords 20 years ago. So what has changed? Broader Israeli concerns about the future, says former U.S. ambassador Adam Ereli. "Whether or not you have the territory, whether or not you have provided for your security, the fact of the matter is it does not serve Israel's long-term interest to be an occupying power," he said.

Israel has issued new work permits for Palestinians from the West Bank as part of economic measures aimed at supporting the peace talks. But that is offset by new Israeli settlements, says Oxfam's Alun McDonald. "There are a lot of reasons to feel positive, but itis very hard to be optimistic when over the past few weeks there have been more announcements of settlements, there have been more demolitions of homes, and the occupation still continues," he said.

Settlements are a particularly difficult issue for Israel's coalition government, says Cato Institute analyst Doug Bandow. "The internal political dynamic is a very complicated one. It is hard to give those up. There is very little trust on both sides, so there is a lot of skepticism out there," he said.

Bandow says putting a peace deal to Israeli voters is especially perilous for a coalition government confronting divisive social issues of welfare benefits and military service for Orthodox Jews. "This really has to look good, it really has to look salable before Netanyahu is going to take ownership. He's got a lot else on his plate," he said.

Former Israeli negotiator Uri Savir says the momentum of the Oslo Accords is not entirely lost. "Peace processes take time. It is a difficult transition. But the foundations are still alive. And a two-state solution will still be achieved, I have no doubt," he said.

Kerry says time is the enemy of a peace process because it allows a vacuum to be filled by people who do not want things to happen.

Read more...

Barney Frank: Financial System Safer Five Years After Crisis

Mil Arcega, VOA


Five years after the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, former U.S. congressman Barney Frank feels the risks of another calamitous bank failure that could throw the global economy into a downward spiral have diminished. However, although Frank insists the risks have been greatly reduced and that "the economy is better off than it was five years ago for almost everybody,” economists say the U.S. recovery remains mixed.

Expectations of a quick turnaround were misplaced, claim experts such as Robert Bixby of the Concord Coalition.

"It was a major catastrophic bursting of the bubble and that takes a lot longer to recover from."

Former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, who helped bail out some of the biggest financial firms in 2008, said that as unpopular as it was, the TARP program, which authorized the government to purchase up to 700 billion dollars of troubled assets, helped prevent a bigger crisis.

"The American people never understood , never understood, we did these [bailouts] to prevent a disaster... Barney and I both understood, we could have had something that rivaled the Great Depression.”

Five years after the onset of the crisis, the biggest banks are once again profitable. U.S. stock prices are 26 percent higher than they were in 2008 and America’s top CEOs are earning more than they did before the crisis.

However, despite good news on Wall Street, unemployment remains high and the median income for Americans is lower than it was before the crisis. The OECD has even said that the United States now has the greatest level of income inequality among developed nations.

Barney Frank feels that this charge is not entirely related to the crisis, and pointed out that America’s high levels of inequality were present before 2008 and that resolving the financial crisis would not necessarily entail also tackling income disparity, stating that the financial legislation that was passed was to “stop bad things from happening,” and that “nothing in there makes good things happen."

Some blame the two sided recovery on dysfunction in Washington. Economist Joe Gagnon of the Peterson Institute said the drawn out budget battle of 2010 and deep government spending cuts enacted by Congress earlier this year insure that the recovery will remain tepid.

Considering future hurdles, Gagnon said, “I think the only thing that could hurt us in the short run would be a catastrophic political impasse in Washington. You know, a government shutdown that would drag on for months."

Another potential wrinkle could come on Wednesday, when the Federal Reserve is expected to announce whether it plans to scale back monetary policies that have kept long term interest rates at record lows.
Read more...

PM Netanyahu: What the past few days have shown is that if diplomacy has any chance to work, it must be coupled with a credible military threat. What is true of Syria is true of Iran, and vice versa.

Following are Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's remarks at the conclusion of his meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry:
"We have been closely following – and support – your ongoing efforts to rid Syria of its chemical weapons. The Syrian regime must be stripped of all its chemical weapons, and that would make our entire region a lot safer.
The world needs to ensure that radical regimes don't have weapons of mass destruction because as we've learned once again in Syria, if rogue regimes have weapons of mass destruction, they will use them. The determination the international community shows regarding Syria will have a direct impact on the Syrian regime's patron, Iran. Iran must understand the consequences of its continual defiance of the international community, by its pursuit towards nuclear weapons.
What the past few days have shown is something that I have been saying for quite some time, that if diplomacy has any chance to work, it must be coupled with a credible military threat. What is true of Syria is true of Iran, and, by the way, vice versa.
John, I appreciate the opportunity we've had to discuss at some length our quest for peace with the Palestinians and the ongoing talks. We both know that this road is not an easy one, but we have embarked on this effort with you in order to succeed, to bring about a historic reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians that ends the conflict once and for all."

Read more...
Subscribe to this RSS feed

Sections

Jewish Traditions

About Us

Community

Cooperations

Follow Us