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MFA hosts virtual conference on digital diplomacy during the corona crisis

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PM Netanyahu chairs Corona Cabinet meeting

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Israel marks Memorial Day for the fallen soldiers and victims of terrorism

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

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Special Holy Fire ceremony held during the coronavirus outbreak

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PM Netanyahu addresses the ceremony marking Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day

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Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day 20-21 April 2020

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Briefing for foreign ambassadors on Coronavirus management and cooperation with the Palestinians

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Netanyahu Update: Freezing and release of prisoners in exchange for Pollard

Prime Minister Netanyahu and Secretary of State John Kerry meet to "polish" the deal that would release Pollard before Passover for the release of hundreds of Plalestinians prisoners.

According to sources who spoke with the Prime Minister , the deal will include the release of the Jewish spy - American Jonathan Pollard before Passover Seder and the continuation of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians in 2015 . In return , Israel agreed to release the terrorists ' fourth pulse "and 400 other prisoners without blood on their hands , most of them young and some women , which will determine their identity. Also part of the deal Israel agrees to freeze construction in the settlements .
Netanyahu told Likud ministers this morning that construction auctions in Samaria will be frozen, but despite the Palestinian demand Israel will continue construction in progress, as well as private construction and building public institutions and in Jerusalem. Progress has been made in meeting the night before, but the final details have not yet been closed.

Kerry was supposed to to continue last night, after his meeting with Netanyahu meeting, to Ramallah for a meeting with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. The meeting was postponed and was informed that it will be this morning, after the two finally met Kerry flew back to Europe after the meeting with Netanyahu.
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Jewish Parliamentarians Urge Clemency for Pollard

NEW YORK – The International Council of Jewish Parliamentarians (ICJP) is urging US President Barack Obama to commute the sentence of long-imprisoned spy Jonathan Pollard.

“We, the members of the International Council of Jewish Parliamentarians, write to urge you to use your power of clemency to commute Jonathan Pollard’s prison sentence to time served,” the ICJP’s steering committee wrote in a Dec. 19 letter to the American president. “Mr. Pollard committed a serious crime for which he deserved punishment. But, after serving more than 25 years in prison, it is our opinion that it is time for him to be released. He has paid a steep price, to be sure.”

The letter was signed by the chairman of the ICJP, US Rep. Eliot Engel, and seven other members of parliaments from around the world: MP Viviane Teitelbaum of Belgium, MP Luis Fishman Zonzinski of Costa Rica, MP Meyer Habib of France, MPs Pal Steiner and Tibor Szanyi of Hungary, Member of Knesset Nachman Shai of Israel and MP Oleksandr Feldman of Ukraine.

The full text of the letter follows:

Dear Mr. President:

We, the members of the International Council of Jewish Parliamentarians, write to urge you to use your power of clemency to commute Jonathan Pollard’s prison sentence to time served. Mr. Pollard committed a serious crime for which he deserved punishment. But, after serving more than 25 years in prison, it is our opinion that it is time for him to be released. He has paid a steep price, to be sure. As has been brought to your attention in the past, Mr. Pollard has served a disproportionate sentence compared to perpetrators of similar crimes. While we would not expect preferential treatment for him over those guilty of commensurate infractions, he should be treated comparably.

Mr. President, Jonathan Pollard’s release is overdue and justified on humanitarian grounds given his current poor state of health, and on fairness grounds given the outcomes of similar cases within the United States justice system. We urge you to do what is right and grant clemency to Mr. Pollard so that he can be released for time served.

Sincerely,

Eliot L. Engel, Congressman, United States Oleksandr Feldman, MP, Ukraine

Luis Fishman Zonzinski, MP, Costa Rica Meyer Habib, MP, France

Nachman Shai, MK, Israel Pal Steiner, MP, Hungary

Tibor Szanyi, MP, Hungary Viviane Teitelbaum, MP, Belgium



About the ICJP

The International Council of Jewish Parliamentarians, an initiative of the World Jewish Congress, was founded as an independent, informal association of Jewish parliamentarians and elected officials from around the world who meet periodically to promote democracy and human rights and combat racism, anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry. It serves as a platform to support Israel, support an enduring Middle East and security of Jewish communities around the world and explore best practices.
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Israel Demands End to US Spying

Robert Berger, Jerusalem, Israel has reacted angrily to reports the country was a target of espionage by the United States.

Senior officials in Jerusalem are demanding an end to U.S. spying on Israel after revelations the National Security Agency intercepted e-mails from Israeli leaders.

The allegations were disclosed by former NSA contractor and whistle blower Edward Snowden and published in several Western newspapers. The reports said from 2008 to 2011, the NSA targeted e-mail addresses belonging to then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

The issue topped the agenda at Israel’s weekly Cabinet meeting.

“This is not legitimate,” said Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz.

He said Israel was “not tracking the U.S. president, White House or secretary of defense.”

Steinitz said Israel and the United States hadan “intelligence alliance” and sharedthe most sensitive information; and therefore he said, allies must reach an agreement not to spy on one another.

Israel joins the list of other top American allies who have been targeted by the NSA, including France and Germany.

The issue touches a raw nerve in Israel because of the case of Jonathan Pollard, a former American intelligence analyst who was sentenced to life in prison in 1987 for spying for Israel. The case strained ties at the time and has been a sore spot ever since. The United States has repeatedly rejected Israeli requests for Pollard’s release.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Cabinet that Israel was continuing to press President Barack Obama to free the ailing Pollard and allow him to come “home” to Israel.

Israel’s response was uncharacteristically angry. Officials saidt was necessary to issue a strong protest, but they have also made it clear that Israel would allow the affair to harm relations with its best friend and ally, the United States.

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