Amb. Oren's Statement on the Attack at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, Turkey
"I was appalled to learn of the horrific attack against the U.S. Embassy in Ankara. Such malicious aggression reminds us of the risks taken by those who represent us abroad and of the viciousness of those who hate liberty and life. We send our deepest condolences to bereaved family members and the American people."
Iran Plans to Speed Nuclear Fuel Work
According to a report by Reuters, Iran has announced plans to install and operate advanced uranium enrichment machines, in what would be a technological leap allowing it to significantly speed up activity the West fears could be put to developing a nuclear weapon.
In a letter to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Tehran said it would introduce new centrifuges to its main enrichment plant near the central town of Natanz. A new generation centrifuge could, if successfully deployed, refine uranium several times faster than the model Iran now has.
It was not clear how many of the upgraded centrifuges Iran aimed to put in place at Natanz, which is designed for tens of thousands of machines, but the wording of the IAEA's note implied it could be up to roughly 3,000.
Washington Warns Syria Not to Transfer Weapons to Hezbollah
"We've been very clear that Syria should not further destabilize the region by transferring, for instance, weaponry to Hezbollah," Ben Rhodes, a deputy US national security advisor said on Thursday.
"We also, of course, have been very clear beyond that that we're closely monitoring Syria's chemical weapons as well," he said.
"What we would like to see from other countries, including Russia, is an acknowledgment that Bashar al-Assad must go and that there needs to be a transition within Syria to a new government," said Rhodes.
Israel Concerned Over Argentina-Iran Agreement to Investigate '90s Attacks
Israel has received news of an agreement between Argentina and Iran over bombings that occurred in 1992 and 1994 with astonishment and deep disappointment.
The Ambassador of Argentina in Israel was summoned on Tuesday to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem for clarification. The MFA conveyed Israel's concern over the Argentinean government's decision to collaborate with Iran after the latter's responsibility for the bombing of the AMIA Jewish Community Center was exposed by an Argentinian investigation.
As soon as contacts between Argentina and Iran had begun, the Israeli government asked to be updated on the discussions but received no response from the Argentinean authorities.
Israel is clearly and understandably concerned by the matter. The 1994 bombing targeted the AMIA Jewish Community Center, and caused 85 dead and hundreds of wounded, Jews and non-Jews alike. Though the attack took place on Argentinean soil and was aimed at Argentinean citizens, the findings of the ensuing investigation by Argentinean authorities has brought up a clear resemblance with the bombing of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires, which occurred two years earlier.
This recent agreement raises several concerns: it establishes a committee whose recommendations are non-mandatory, and it provides the country which all the evidence points at, namely Iran, with the capacity to delay indefinitely the committee's works. It is doubtful that justice can truly be rendered.
Pres. Peres Expected to Tap Netanyahu to Form Government
President Shimon Peres, concluded a round of consultation meetings with representatives of the political parties elected to the 19th Knesset. The President will hold an official ceremony on Saturday, at which he is expected to announce that Benjamin Netanyahu will be responsible for forming the next government. He has congratulated the citizens of Israel for realizing their civic duty and participating in shaping the country's future.
On January 22nd, elections were held for the 19th Knesset in Israel. This Knesset features 53 new members, including a record number of females.
|President Peres receives the official results of the elections.|
Check out this Facebook album for more photos of the 2013 Israel Election.
Ambassador Oren and President Peres Thank U.S. Allies
President Shimon Peres has sent a parting letter to outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Rodhamn Clinton thanking her for her friendship and support for the State of Israel during her tenure as Secretary of State.
"Over the years, you have defended democracy and championed the cause of women's rights and the rights of civil society in general, in doing so, not only did you shape U.S. foreign policy, but also tackled the wide range of complex issues and winds of change in the world in general, and our region in particular, with an enlightened approach and great sensitivity."
"From the bottom of my heart I wish you the very best and every success in whatever path you will be taking, and looking forward to continued contact with you, I convey my heartfelt appreciate for everything."
Ambassador Michael Oren also sent his thanks to outgoing Sec. Clinton, saying:
"On behalf of the Government of Israel, I wish to commend Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton for her remarkable work over the past four years, and to wish her success on her future endeavors. She has proven herself, time and again, to be an outstanding stateswoman and an indefatigable fighter for peace. I have had the privilege of working with Secretary Clinton and have been ceaselessly amazed by her energy, her imagination, and her courage. We in Israel look forward to many more years of fruitful cooperation with this true friend of the Jewish state."
Ambassador Oren has congratulated Senator John Kerry on his appointment as the next Secretary of State. "I've come to know him personally and he's a true friend of Israel."
10 Years Later: Documentary Commemorates Astronaut Ilan Ramon
Today marks the 10th anniversary of the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, a tragic accident that claimed the lives of seven astronauts, including an Israeli named Ilan Ramon. According to the Jewish Daily Forward, a new documentary, "Space Shuttle Columbia: Mission of Hope," which airs on PBS on Thursday, January 31, reveals that Ramon's journey had special meaning not only for his country, but for Jews everywhere.
Ramon, a colonel in the Israel Air Force, was the mission's payload specialist. An Israeli fighter pilot who participated in Operation Opera, the 1981 raid that destroyed the unfinished Iraqi nuclear reactor, he was also the son of Holocaust survivors.
Ramon carried many Jewish items into space, among them a drawing of the earth as seen from the moon, sketched by a child who died in Terezin.
Perhaps most important was a small Torah he took with him. It originally belonged to Joachim "Yoya" Joseph, the Israeli scientist working with him on the mission. Joseph got it from a rabbi in Bergen-Belsen who performed a secret bar mitzvah for him. The rabbi insisted that Joseph let the world know what happened to the Jewish people, which is why he let Ramon take this precious cargo into space.
Corcoran Gallery of Art Celebrates "Bezalel on Tour" with Embassy of Israel
The Corcoran Gallery of Art and College of Art + Design celebrated the opening of "Bezalel on Tour" in a reception held last night. Regional D.C. leaders and art enthusiasts mingled joined Embassy diplomats for an exhilarating exhibition of modern art from Bezalel Academy, Israel's leading school of art and design.
"Bezalel is a dynamic, energetic, and cutting edge art institute that has made profound contributions to the global art community," Ambassador Michael Oren said. "We are proud that an institution as respected as the Corcoran recognizes Israel's influence and creativity." The Embassy of Israel held a reception in honor of the exhibit's opening last night.
Bezalel on Tour , Israel's oldest institute of higher education and a leading international academy of art, design and architecture.
The exhibition, celebrating the 106th anniversary of Bezalel includes works of recent graduates and emerging artists from Bezalel's eight undergraduate departments.