President Trump Expected To Visit Israel in May
Israel’s former Defense Minister hopes for a comeback
Israeli media are reporting that the US and Israel have begun coordinating the details of President Trump’s expected visit to Israel in May, with the date of May 21 surfacing in social media. Israeli media said that a US delegation is expected to arrive in Israel soon to coordinate the visit.
During the campaign, Trump promised to move the US embassy to Jerusalem, although he has since backed away from that promise. His newly appointed ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, owns an apartment in Jerusalem. Media reports have said that Friedman will receive diplomatic visitors in Jerusalem, without actually opening an embassy.
The news of the expected Presidential visit came as Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s office said that Israel’s National Cyber Authority had thwarted a “major” attack on Israeli businesses and public institutions.
“In recent days, the National Cyber Authority has collected many testimonies about a planned cyber attack,” the statement says. “In response, the authority carried out an investigation and discovered the plan of the attack.”
According to the Prime Minister’s office, the hackers disguised themselves as a legitimate organization and sent emails to “120 organizations, government offices, public institutions and private individuals” in an attempt to infiltrate their networks.
The announcement comes days after the body faced harsh criticism from some of the country’s top security officials.
Meanwhile, Israel’s former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon attacked the Israeli government as “corrupt” and extreme” and said he will challenge the Prime Minister in the next election.
Ya’alon, who resigned from the government last year, said Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s government had undermined the country’s democratic values and had “generated hatred for short-term political benefits.” Yaalon has founded a political movement called “Manhigut” or Leadership. However a recent poll by Israel’s Channel 2, found that it would not reach the four percent needed to get a seat in the Israeli parliament.
Speaking to the foreign press in Jerusalem Ya’alon said that there is no existential danger to Israel, although Iran is gaining strength in the Middle East. He said that the Lebanese group Hizbullah was an Iranian proxy, and that Iran wants to establish hegemony throughout the Middle East.
At the same time, Ya’alon told The Media Line that Hizbullah, which has an estimated 100,000 rockets aimed at Israel, is not a serious threat, at least right now. Hizbullah has been fighting in Syria for the past five years on the side of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
“Hizbullah used the present situation to gain experience,” Ya’alon said. “They also had a lot of casualties and injuries. They are stretched very thin now. In the future any decision to wage a war against us is not going to be made in Beirut anyhow, but in Teheran.”
Israel has been closely watching the conflict in Syria, especially the estimated 1000 Islamic State fighters on its border in the Golan Heights. Ya’alon said he did not foresee a situation in which Syria could be reunified, which is still the official US position.
“I know how to make an omelette from an egg, I don’t know how to make an egg from an omelette,” Ya’alon said. “I don’t see a chance for the reunification of Syria and I believe that we should accept the situation now, with a Syrian Alawistan(the area under Assad’s control), a Syrian Kurdistan, and a Syrian Druzistan,’ he said, referring to the Druze minority in Syria.