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News Briefs From Israel

Deutsche Bank last week ranked the Israeli shekel as the world’s second-strongest currency, bolstering the broader outlook on the Jewish state’s economy. During the past year, the shekel has appreciated 6.1 percent against the currencies of Israel’s main trading partners, including the U.S. dollar, British pound, euro and yen. “The strength of the shekel reflects the strength of Israel’s current economic position,” said Leo Leiderman, a professor of economics at Tel Aviv University and the chief economic adviser for Bank Hapoalim, Israel’s largest bank.
Speaking exclusively with JNS.org, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman on Sunday night confirmed a report that a team from the Trump administration is drafting an Israeli-Palestinian peace plan. “We’re working very hard on it,” Friedman said of the Mideast peace proposal, in an interview at the Zionist Organization of America’s annual awards dinner. The ambassador also said that U.S. support for Israel is “becoming too tilted to one party.”
At Ovda Air Base, fighter jets from different countries line up on the desert runways, waiting for the signal from the control tower. Soon afterwards, they roar into the sky and assume positions just north of Eilat. They are subsequently challenged by Israeli F-16s, whose mission is to simulate the enemy’s actions and launch mock attacks. From down below, the jets are “attacked” by Israeli Patriot missile batteries. These unusual scenes played out at Blue Flag, Israel’s largest-ever international aerial exercise.
Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne, came under sharp criticism after it was revealed that he once blamed “the influx of foreign Jews” for causing unrest in the Middle East and said an American president should “take on the Jewish lobby” in the U.S.
Jewish leaders are strongly criticizing Rutgers University for employing a longtime Syrian government official. Dr. Mazen Adi served in the Syrian Foreign Ministry and with Syria’s U.N. delegation from 1998-2014, and has vigorously defended dictator Bashar al-Assad. Adi is scheduled to teach a course in “International Criminal Law and Anti-Corruption” in 2018. He first taught at Rutgers in 2015, but his continued employment there is attracting fresh attention amid the Assad regime’s ongoing perpetration of war crimes. Despite the professor’s track record and associations, the university describes the issue as a matter of “academic freedom.”
Earlier this year, President Donald Trump said Iran was violating the “spirit” of the 2015 nuclear deal. Now, the Iranians are clearly disregarding the letter of the accord, but the international community is denying that reality, experts say. International Atomic Energy Agency chief Yukiya Amano is campaigning to counter Trump’s objections to the nuclear deal. “It is mind-boggling that [Iran’s] violations are occurring in the open and all the parties to the agreement are pretending not to see it, and instead are dealing with issues that are important, but are not connected to the [deal],” said Yigal Carmon, head of the Middle East Media Research Institute.