Despite a fourth inconclusive time at the polls and no clear path to forming a government, Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin reluctantly tasked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday with forming a governing coalition. Rivlin said “this was not an easy decision” given the divisive political climate and Netanyahu’s personal prospects amid his ongoing corruption trial.

Netanyahu, leader of the Likud party, has 28 days to negotiate with the 13 parties who make up the 120 member Knesset (parliament) and form a coalition of 61 seats. His party has 30, and his right-wing allies (Shas, United Torah Judaism, and Religious Zionism) bring another 22 to the tally.

Rivlin addressed the members of 24th Knesset after they were sworn in. Rivlin said he believed that Netanyahu has a “slightly higher chance of forming a government” than Yair Lapid (centrist Yesh Atid party) and Naftali Bennett (right-wing Yamina party) who had proposed a “healing government” where they would share power and rotate as Prime Minister. Their idea failed to gain traction. It was also thought that the Islamic Ra’am party might be a “kingmaker,” but they abstained from endorsing any candidate.

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Five world powers met in Vienna Tuesday and took the first steps in a complicated dance of diplomacy to get the United States back into the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned of the dangers of a nuclear-armed Iran and vowed that Israel would “always defend ourselves.”

Representatives from the US and from Iran are attending the talks, but neither side is willing to comply with the other’s demands to meet face to face. Iran wants the United States to immediately lift the crippling economic sanctions reimposed since 2018, which would release an estimated $1 billion in funds blocked in other countries. The US wants Iran to fall back to compliance levels, despite having enriched uranium well past the prescribed limits in the deal.

You do not reward someone for bad behavior. The sanctions have crippled the economy of Iran, and yet, they still flood the rebels in Yemen, terrorists in Lebanon and the dictator of Syria with funds, taken from the Iranian people. Maybe believe that the sanctions will eventually lead to a much-needed revolution in Iran.

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Fearing what will happen after the US military’s promised pull-out from Afghanistan, Zabulon Simantov is packing his bags for Israel. Simantov has faithfully looked after the nation’s only operational synagogue for decades, but now he will close the doors for good.

“I managed to protect the synagogue in Kabul like a lion of Jews here,” he told Arab News on Sunday.

Simantov, like many Afghanistan minority populations, is concerned about what will happen after the US troops leave. It is likely that the Taliban or another similar group will move in to fill the vacancy left behind.

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Last week, the Biden administration quietly resumed sending money to the West Bank and Gaza, pledging close to $100 million in aid, as part of the President’s campaign promise to regain the “trust and goodwill” of the Palestinian community. On Monday, US State Department spokesman Ned Price dodged giving a clear answer when asked about the administration’s position on Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

In back-to-back moves, the administration on Thursday and Friday announced $15 million in aid to help Palestinians combat COVID-19 and possibly as much as an additional $75 million in economic support.

“We continue to believe that American support for the Palestinian people, including financial support, it is consistent with our values. It is consistent with our interests. Of course, it is consistent with the interests of the Palestinian people. It’s also consistent with the interests of our partner, Israel, and we’ll have more to say on that going forward,” Price said of the restart of funds flowing into Palestinian communities.

The Biden administration seems to be counting on the influx of assistance to entice the Palestinians back to the negotiating table with Israel and the US to establish peace in the Middle East.

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Did you know that Easter was solidified at the Council of Nicaea (325) from a place of DEEP JEW-HATRED? Listen to Emperor Constantine: … it appeared an unworthy thing that in the celebration of this most holy feast (Easter) we should follow the practice of the Jews, who have impiously defiled their hands with enormous sin, and are, therefore, deservedly afflicted with blindness of soul. … Let us then have nothing in common with the detestable Jewish crowd; for we have received from our Saviour a different way.”

I am not against Easter…but it is important to learn from History. God’s plan was that the Gentiles would bless Israel (Romans 11:11), not curse her.