Biden Appears to Win 2020 Election; Reaction from Israel, Arab States Mixed; Biden Likely to Try to Re-Enter 2015 Nuclear Deal

It appears that Democratic candidate Joe Biden has won the U.S. election for president, denying President Donald Trump a second term, according to projections by AP, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, The New York Times and ABC News. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more…

But what does Biden’s win mean for Israel? According to The Times of Israel, Biden has a longstanding history as a supporter Israel. He has known every prime minister since Golda Meir. Michael Oran, the Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. during the Obama years, says Biden “has a deep feeling for Israel.” Although Oran opposed almost all the Obama-era policies towards Israel, he said Biden is genuinely concerned about Israel. “He has Israel in his heart. He actually gets it. He gets Israel.” Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more… Vice-President Elect Kamala Harris likewise appears to be pro-Israel. Her voting record during her three years as a senator put her in the pro-Israel camp of the Democratic party. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more…

Daniel Kurtzer, the former U.S. Ambassador to Israel, predicts that U.S. President Elect Joe Biden will seek to bring the United States back into the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. His remarks came after Iranian president Hassan Rouhani urged Biden to do so. Kurtzer, however, believe Washington will talk to Israel first before seeking any kind of agreement with Iran. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more… Nonetheless, Likud officials are concerned that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s close relationship with U.S. President Donald Trump will damage the prime minister’s standing with a Biden-led administration. They also worry that it could lead to less support for Israel in the U.N. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more… Believing Biden will want to re-enter the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz wants “dialogue with the new administration” to ensure that it does not re-enter under the same terms as in 2015. He believes the goal should be to dismantle the program, not freeze it in place. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more…

Israeli president Reuven Rivlin invited U.S. President-elect Joe Biden to visit Jerusalem. Rivlin called Biden a longtime friend of Israel. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more… Yet, even as world leaders congratulated Biden, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was, initially, mum. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more… It was Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz who broke the silence by congratulating Biden on the win. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more… Yamina party leader Naftali Bennet also congratulated Biden. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more… Later, Netanyahu tweeted a congratulation to Biden, saying, “we’ve had a long & warm personal relationship for nearly 40 years, and I know you as a great friend of Israel.” Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more…

Palestinian Authority President Mahmood Abbas also praised Biden’s win, saying that the Palestinians were ready to resume peace talks, but only from where they left off prior to Trump’s presidency. PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said the PA was ready for “immediate engagement” … but only if certain preconditions were met. One of those conditions may be the return of the U.S. Embassy to Tel Aviv. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more… Meanwhile Palestinians celebrated Trump’s defeat. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more…

Iran’s supreme leader, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, called the U.S. election a “spectacle,” saying it was an “example of the ugly face of liberal democracy in the U.S.” He also said the “political, civil & moral decline” of the U.S. was “clear.” Reported by Fox News. Read more… Iran’s First Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri said that he hoped Biden’s election would bring an end to “America’s destructive policies”—a reference to Trump’s withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal and reimposition of sanctions on Iran. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more…

Turkey says that Biden’s election will not change relations between the U.S. and Turkey, though the latter will keep pressing on Syria and other policy differences between the two nations. Reported by Haaretz. Read more… Across the Arab world, however, with the notable exception of Saudi Arabia, Arab leaders also congratulated Biden and Harris. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more…

Prior to the election, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo praised President Trump’s “America First” policy, saying it had achieved historic outcomes for the American people. Pompeo said that while the Obama administration tried to appease Iran, the Trump administration enacted the strongest sanctions ever. He also praised Trump’s efforts in Afghanistan, the peace deals between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Sudan, and the destruction of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS. Reported by Fox News. Read more… In fact, before the election, the Trump administration appears to have scored another deal in the region, brokering a cease fire between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region. Reported by Fox News. Read more…

Before the election, President Trump’s chief advisor, his son-in-law Jared Kushner, said the recent peace deals made by Trump “are much harder than President Trump is making them look.” Kushner noted that “some people [would] be in Washington for 30, 40 years” and “are never able to work on a single foreign transaction.” He noted the significance of the Israel-Sudan peace deal, and the fact that after the 1967 Six-Day-War the Arab league met in Sudan and issued its famous “3-No’s” decree—“No peace, no recognition, no negotiations” with Israel. And yet, Kushner said, more than 50-years later, that is starting to change to ‘3-Yes’s.’ Reported by Fox News. Read more… Also before the election, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said more peace deals were to come. In a Fox News interview, Meadows said, “Well, we will see more countries coming in. The president has been not only a leader but he’s been very proactive on trying to make sure that peace in the Middle East is really not just a dream but a reality.” He hinted that four or five countries may make deals with Israel. Reported by Fox News. Read more…

Israel Begins Human Trials for Coronavirus Vaccine; Gantz, Bennett Meet About Triggering New Elections; Anti-Netanyahu Protests Continue

Israel has begun human trials on its own vaccine for the coronavirus. Two groups of volunteers at two separate hospitals have started. Another 80 volunteers are set to join it these first volunteers remain in good health. Reported by Fox News. Read more…

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Yamina Party leader Naftali Bennett reportedly met to discuss the possibility of triggering early elections. Reports suggest one reason for the meeting was Gantz’s belief that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would not honor his promise to cede the premiership to Gantz in November 2021. Gantz is reportedly frustrated by delays in finalizing a state budget for this year and the next. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more…

Meanwhile, protests in Israel against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continue, now with added chants of “Trump’s out and Bibi’s next.” However, demonstrations in Jerusalem had lower turnout than usual. Many of the protesters were celebrating Trump’s perceived loss in the election. One protester, Shani Weissman, said that “I feel that to truly make progress with the peace and negotiation with the Palestinians, which is the most important path of peace, we need a United States that’s more neutral, that’s more a bridge between us and the Palestinians.” Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more… And Facebook reported that it had removed a network of Facebook and Instagram accounts involved in a deception campaign targeting Israelis. The posts included “anti-Prime Minister Netanyahu protests in Israel, criticism of his policies and response to the pandemic” material and were tied to individuals associated with EITRC, a Tehran-based IT company. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more…

Terror Attacks in Nice, Vienna Put Europe on Heightened Alert

A man shouting “Allahu Akbar” beheaded and woman and killed two other people at a church in Nice, France on October 29, 2020. The attacker continued to shout “Allahu Akbar,” or “God is great,” even after being detained by police. It was the second beheading attack in France in the month of October. Earlier in the month, French teacher Samuel Paty was beheaded after he showed cartoons of the prophet Mohammad in a civics class. Reported by France24. Read more… Reported by CBS News. Read more… Reported by The Guardian. Read more… Seeking to reassure the French people, President Emmanuel Macron said that France “will not give in to terrorism.” Reported by CNN. Read more… The country is on maximum alert, said French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin. “We are in a war against an enemy that is both inside and outside,” Darmanin said in an interview with a French radio station. “We need to understand that there have been and there will be other events such as these terrible attacks.” Reported y France24. Read more… Speaking at a memorial service in Nice for the dead, France’s Prime Minister Jean Castex said that “We know the enemy, it has not only been identified but has a name, it’s radical Islamism.” He noted that Nice had already paid a heavy toll, recalling a 2016 truck attack that killed 86 people in the French city. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more…

A few days later, on October 2, terrorist struck again, this time in Vienna, Austria, where terrorists killed three and injured many other people before one was trapped and gunned down by police. Reported by France24. Read more… Although one suspect was killed, police believe several individuals were involved, as the attacks broke out in six separate locations near a synagogue in the center of the city. Reported by France24. Read more… The death toll later rose to four, two men and two women, not including the gunman. Twenty-four other people were injured. Police raided 18 locations and made 14 arrests in connection with the attacks. France’s interior minister said the suspect, a 24-year old dual citizen of Austria and North Macedonia, sympathized with the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) and in April 2019 had been sentenced to 22-months in prison for attempting to travel to Syria to join the group. He was released in early December 2019. The minister said the suspect was able to fool Austria’s de-radicalization program. Reported by France24. Read more… ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack. Reported by Fox News. Read more… [Police later identified the suspect as Kujtim Fejzulai]. As police investigated, questions began to arise about how a convicted ISIS sympathizer was able to carry out the attack. Reported by France24. Read more… Vienna’s terror chief has been suspended after information emerged regarding security lapses. Among the lapses was information reported to Austrian authorities that Fejzulaj had been in contact with persons who had been on the radar of German intelligence agencies. Reported by France24. Read more… Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more…

Pentagon Officials May Be Targets of Security Threats; Justice Department Proceeds with Forfeiture Proceedings Against Iranian Weapons and Oil Seized on High Seas; Iran Rebuilding Centrifuge Facility at Natanz

Top Pentagon officials have apparently been the target of security threats made against then both on and off U.S. soil. The threats are believed to possibly be in retaliation for the death of Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani. Although the officials involved have not been identified, Fox News reports they may be those involved in the planning of the operation that resulted in Soleimani’s death. While intelligence officials suspect Iran may be behind the moves, no definitive links with Tehran have been established. Reported by Fox News. Read more… The Justice Department is proceeding formally in court to force the forfeiture of Iranian missiles bound for Yemen and for the sale of Iranian oil confiscated by the U.S. Navy. The Navy seized the materials from ships in international waters. Funds from the fuel sales will go to the United States Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Fund. Reported by Fox News. Read more… Meanwhile, satellite photos show than Iran may be building an advanced underground centrifuge plant at it Natanz nuclear facility.  The last centrifuge plant exploded in an alleged attack in the summer of 2020. Reported by Fox News. Read more…

Trump Brokers’ New Peace Deal in Mideast Between Israel, Sudan

U.S. President Donald Trump scored another victory in the Middle East, brokering a deal between Israel and Sudan to normalize relations between the two countries. Trump also claimed that there “would be more peace deals to come in the Middle East.” Reported by Fox News. Read more… Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more… A joint statement from the U.S., Israel, and Sudan said, “The leaders agreed to the normalization of relations between Sudan and Israel and to end the state of belligerence between their nations.” Wasel Abu Youseff, a senior Palestinian Liberation Organization official, said the deal was a “new stab in the back.” It is unclear, however, whether Sudan’s transitional government has the authority to agree to such a deal. Sudan currently has no parliament and new elections are not scheduled to occur until 2022. Reported by The Guardian. Read more… Sudan’s foreign minister confirmed an as yet formed legislature must approve the deal. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more… As a part of the deal, Sudan will declare Hezbollah a terrorist group. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more…

State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus says that Trump’s peace deals are unprecedented for the region. Ortagus said prior to the deals between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and now Sudan, the last deal normalizing relations between Israel and an Arab state occurred 26 years ago. She says that there is a “fundamental shift” occurring in the region. Reported by Fox News. Read more… On Sunday, Israel’s government ratified the treaty with the United Arab Emirates, and approved the deal with Bahrain, sending it to the Knesset for a vote. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more… Oman may be the next Arab country to normalize relations with Israel, say Israeli officials. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more…

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the breakthrough, saying “In Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, in 1967 the Arab League adopted its three ‘No’s’: ‘No to peace with Israel, no to recognition of Israel and no to negotiations with Israel.’” Netanyahu continued, adding, “But today Khartoum has said, ‘yes to peace with Israel, yes to recognition of Israel and yes to normalization with Israel.’ This is a new era. An era of true peace. A peace that is expanding with other Arab countries – with three of them joining in recent weeks.” Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more… There is speculation one of those nations could be Lebanon. Israel and Lebanon met for the first time to discuss their maritime border. The two countries will meet again for further negotiation brokered by the United States. A joint statement by the U.S. State Department and U.N. said the first meeting was productive. Both countries denied the talks were part of a larger plan to normalize relations between the two countries. Reported by Fox News. Read more…

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas slammed the announcement, saying “No one has the right to speak on behalf of the Palestinian people and the Palestinian cause.” U.S. President Trump addressed the Palestinian cause during the press conference announcing the new deal, saying, “And the Palestinians, by the way, if you ask about the Palestinians, they’re wanting to do something. They have never seen anything like this. They’re wanting to do something. I’m sure that will get done too.” Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more… Iran also condemned the deal. Iran’s foreign ministry tweeted, “Pay enough ransom, close your eyes to the crimes against Palestinians, then you’ll be taken off the so-called ‘terrorism’ blacklist. Obviously, the list is as phony as the US fight against terrorism. Shameful.” Before the deal was finalized, U.S. President Trump signed a waiver removing Sudan from the list of states that sponsor terrorism. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more…

In a telephone discussion with Trump on Friday regarding the deal, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu artfully dodged President Trump’s slight against presidential candidate Joe Biden. During a conference about the deal, Trump allegedly said, “Do you think Sleepy Joe could have made this deal?” Netanyahu sidestepped the query, saying, “one thing I can tell you is that we appreciate the help for peace from anyone in America and we appreciate what you’ve done enormously.” Reported by Fox News. Read more…

French Teacher Who Showed Caricature of Mohammed Beheaded by Extremist

A French teacher was murdered on October 16, 2020 in a Paris suburb after showing a caricature of the Prophet Mohammed in class. The teacher, Samuel Paty, 47, was attacked and beheaded by an 18-year old man, later identified as Abdullakh Anzorov, who was later shot dead by police. France’s anti-terror prosecutor, Jean-François Ricard, said Paty was “assassinated for teaching.” He also pointed out that this shows the high level of terrorist threat France faces. Reported by The Guardian. Read more…  Reported by ABC News. Read more… French President Emmanuel Marcon condemned what he called an “Islamist terror attack” and urged France to stand united against extremism. Macron also visited the school where Paty worked. Reported by CBS News. Read more… France paid tribute to Paty, and Macron gave a speech honoring Paty, posthumously awarding him France’s highest honor, the Legion of Honor. Reported by France24. Read more… French prosecutors later charged seven people, including two teens, for varying roles in the attack. Reported by France24. Read more… Jean-François Ricard stated that two students were paid by Anzorov to lead him to Paty. Reported by France24. Read more… Macron promised to intensify a clampdown on Islamic radicalism in France but urged that anger “must not override the rule of law.” Reported by France24. Read more… A week after the horrific murder, French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced that more protective measures for public officials and civil servants would be taken. Reported by MSN. Read more…

Iran, Russia Behind Email Threats to Democratic Voters; U.S. State Department Seizes Two Domain Names Owned by Iran-back Terror Group; Arms Embargo Against Iran Expires

Iran and Russia are behind a spate of emails directed at voters in battleground states such as Florida, says John Ratcliffe, Director of National Intelligence. According to Radcliffe, the emails threaten the voters if they don’t vote for Donald Trump. Radcliffe says the FBI has connected both Iran and Russia to the emails and accused the two nation of attempting to influence U.S. voters ahead of the U.S. election. The emails tell the recipients that the sender is in possession of the user’s personal information such as address and telephone numbers, as well as the recipient’s party affiliation, and threatens that if the recipient does not change their affiliation to Republican and vote for Trump, the sender will “come after you.” Reported by Fox News. Read more… Copies of the emails have been circulating on social media. Republican Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri blasted Twitter for not censoring the tweets showing the emails, saying it “facilitates election interference.” Hawley told Fox News, “Yet again, Twitter has applied entirely different standards based on whether posts would help or harm Democratic candidates … Here, Twitter’s anti-conservative bias directly facilitates election interference by foreign adversaries. I look forward to probing these issues with Jack Dorsey.” Reported by Fox News. Read more… National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien told Fox & Friends that it’s no surprise Russia and Iran have allegedly tried to interfere because they want Trump out of office. Reported by Fox News. Read more… CNN skipped the FBI press conference that revealed the interference. Reported by Fox News. Read more…

The U.S. government seized two domain names linked to an Iran-backed terrorist group in Iraq. The group, Kata’jb Hizballah, is accused of committing violence against Coalition and Iraqi security forces. One of the websites functioned as an online television outlet. Both acted as the terror group’s media arm, publishing content designed to destabilize Iraq. The sites were also used to recruit. Reported by Fox News. Read more…

Despite the best efforts of the United States, the longstanding U.N. arms embargo against Iran has expired. Iran is now free to openly buy and sell weapons, including advanced hardware such as air defense systems, which Russia plans to sell the Tehran regime. Iran’s ruling class celebrated the end of the 13-year ban while the U.S. ponders a bigger question—what next? Reported by Fox News. Read more…

Erekat in Critical Condition with Covid-19; Hamas Operating Secret Cyber Facility in Turkey; Yet Another Hamas Tunnel Exposed by IDF

Saab Erekat, the Palestinians chief negotiator, has Covid-19 and is in critical but stable condition on a respirator in an Israeli hospital. He was transferred from the West Bank to Jerusalem’s Hadassah Medical Center Ein Kerem. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more…

Hamas is reportedly running a secret facility in Turkey where it conducts cyberattacks and counterintelligence operations. The center has been up and running for two years according to a report in the Times of London. The report also says the facility was set up without the knowledge of Turkish authorities. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more… Reported by the Times of London. Read more…

The Israeli Defense Force discovered another tunnel dug from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory. The IDF claims the tunnel was dug by the Hamas terror group. Though the tunnel penetrated several meters into Israeli territory, it terminated before reaching a concrete barrier surrounding the territory. Both Hamas and Islamic Jihad have constructed tunnels into Israeli territory in the past. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more…

United States to Declare Prominent Humanitarian Groups “Anti-Semitic” Drawing Criticism from the ADL; New Report Says Jewish Population in Europe Lowest in 1,000 Years

Both Fox News and the news site Politico are reporting that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is trying to get the State Department to declare several international human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and Oxfam, declared anti-Semitic in order to urge an end to U.S. support for the groups. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more… Original report on Politico. The Anti-Defamation League has been quick to respond, slamming the move, saying, “We strongly believe that these organizations are crucial to ensuring robust civil society and democratic protections worldwide.” The ADL said that labelling the groups anti-Semitic “is neither accurate nor helpful to the fight against anti-Semitism.” The ADL also said the move politicizes efforts to combat anti-Semitism. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more…

Meanwhile, a new report issued by the London-based Institute for Jewish Policy Research says the population of Jews in Europe is as low now as it was 1,000 years ago and is declining. The organization reports that only 1.3 million people in the U.K., continental Europe, Turkey and Russia describe themselves as Jewish, down 60% from the 3.2 million who identified as Jewish in 1970. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more…