Israel Daily News
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Israel Daily News

Israel Daily News Podcast

Ep 392 Thu. July 14th, 2022

First hand account/coverage of U.S. President Biden’s landing and welcome ceremony in Israel along with audio of his speech; a scandal for the U.S. Secret Service in Israel this week & a preview of the Maccabiah Games where President Biden is expected to welcome the crowd (we’ll be there!).

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Music: Live to tape music of USA & Israel’s national anthems from the tarmac ceremony when Biden’s plane landed.

  1. U.S. President Joe Biden’s landing into the State of Israel. Yesterday, I went to the airport to report on Biden coming to the country and I live streamed the entire event in a 43 minute stream from the tarmac on my personal instagram page @shannafuld. Then, I had to take a bus to the ceremony and it took two hours to get a very short distance. Tons of security. I flashed my press credentials a few times and made it to the outdoor area where there were a few enormous tents set up to shield journalists and politicians from the hot sun. As I was live streaming a little behind the scenes visuals for my online viewers, the plane started to land. It was wild. A huge enormous white plane with the words United States of America on it. The stairs were rolled over to the door and within maybe ten minutes, the U.S. president walked down the stairs. The Israeli military band was playing and marching and the current Prime Minister Yair Lapid was announced along with the president of Israel Isaac Herzog. Both of them made short speeches at a podium with Israel’s symbol, the menora. Then, the president spoke. Here’s a clip of what he said. The press, for which there were 120 members, came down from the plane and a handful hurried into a smaller section in front of all the other press down on the ground in the front line and quickly got their cameras up and rolling just in time to catch the remarks. It was impressive to see all the events unfold.
  2. U.S. President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Yair Lapid are set to sign a joint statement today titled the Jerusalem Declaration which stresses the unbreakable commitment the United States has to the State of Israel. The declaration will include backing for extending the 38 billion dollar defense package that the United States first granted Israel in 2018. The 10-year contract is a ways away from expiring, but does take years to negotiate. That’s why the early discussions are happening now. The Jerusalem Declaration will also see both sides commit to never allowing Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon, a goal both President Herzog and Prime Minister Yair Lapid spoke of directly when Biden landed in Israel during the welcome ceremony at Ben Gurion International Airport. In a television interview yesterday, Biden said persuading Iran to rejoin the 2015 nuclear deal that former president Donald Trump revoked in 2018 offers the best shot at preventing Iran from delevoping a nuclear bomb, which has been a goal of his since the beginning of his presidency. The recommitment of that deal is contested among Israeli politicians, however, several major Israeli figures like Defense Minister Benny Gantz support a return to the deal, while others, like IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Aviv Kochavi have come out in strong opposition to the deal, saying it is dangerous and Israel needs to take a more aggressive approach to stop Iran’s nuclear program for good. Those in favor of the deal say that having relations with Iran is better than having no line of communicaiton at all. More details about the Jerusalem Declaration are expected to come out after Biden’s meeting with Lapid later today.
  3. Saudi Arabia is preparing to announce it will allow all commercial flights to and from Israel to fly over its airspace. This is huge. In addition, the Saudi leaders are planning to also permit direct charter flights to and from Israel for Muslims who are traveling to Mecca, the holiest city in Islam, for the annual Hajj pilgrimige. At the moment, Israel can fly over Saudi airspace for flights to the U.A.E. and Bahrain, but not for flights to Asian destinations, for example. Saudi Arabia is more east than Israel. This resolution will shorten the travel times for Israeli passengers. The announcement isn’t official, but it is supposed to come out as Joe Biden visits the region and takes a direct flight from Israel to Saudi Arabia on Friday. Biden says this announcement is a “small symbol” of improving relations between the two countries. Israel and Saudi Arabia do not have official diplomatic ties, but the two nations have been warming up to one another especially in combating Iran and its regional influence.
  4. A United States Secret Service member was sent home this week after allegedly assaulting an Israeli woman. A large group of Secret Service members arrived in Israel earlier this week in advance of President Joe Biden’s diplomatic visit to the country. One guard, according to the report, was drinking heavily at a bar at the Mahane Yehuda Market when he became rowdy, behaved inappropriately, and pushed a woman. The woman reported his behavior to police who detained the officer. He was sent back to the United States on Monday with no charges.
  5. The 21st Macabbiah Games commence Thursday, July 14th, so that’s tonight, after being postponed a year due to COVID-19. The Maccabiah Games began in 1932 before Israel was officially a state, and the Jews, Arabs, and British here called it Palestine. The games welcome Israelis and Jewish internationals to participate in all kinds of sporting events. It is the largest Jewish athletic competition ever and even the second largest sporting event in the world. This year, there are 10,000 participants from 60 countries competing in 42 events. Athletes range from 16 years old to senior citizens in their 80s. The largest delegation consists of 1,700 Israeli participants, followed by 1,400 Jewish Americans, 800 Jewish Argentinians and 700 Jewish Canadians. A fully sponsored delegation from Ukraine will be in attendance, which people at the press conference Tuesday were very proud of. For the first time ever, olim or immigrants who made aliyah to Israel, are included in the games as their own unit under the Macabbi World Union. According to statistics from the organizers, around 5% of participants make aliyah after each Macabbiah Games.
  6. At our press briefing, we heard from United States women’s hockey star Chelsey Goldberg. The 29 year old began playing ice hockey when she was 12, and now plays professionally for the Boston Blades in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League. Goldberg spoke about her struggles finding a place for female Jewish ice hockey players, and explained how she is finally, after 8 years of pushing, bringing women’s ice hockey to the Macabbiah Games. She needed to prove that there was enough interest from female players. Goldberg also explained why playing in the games is so important to her. Our intern Eliana Neill asked the best question out of the lot of reporters at the press conference. Here’s what she had to say. (5:30–6:03) “I’m so proud to be Jewish. And I think after, after seeing my twin brother compete in two games, and just hearing the experience that he had, and the stories that he came home with, it’s a very special, it hasn’t hit me yet, but it’s a very special feeling. Being able to combine my religious background and my athletic background. I think that’s so powerful, and just being able to meet so many other Jewish athletes that you know, are fighting for the same thing and have the same goal in mind. It’s just such a surreal feeling.” The opening ceremony will be held at Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem tonight, July 14th. Tickets are available online and U.S. President Biden is expected to come to the games and open the big night with some remarks. Sporting events will take place in Haifa, Jerusalem, and Netanya over the next two weeks, ending July 26th. There are loads of opportunity for you to get involved in sports or watch from the side in the upcoming weeks.

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Shanna Fuld

Shanna Fuld

I’m a news reporter living in Tel Aviv, Israel. I cover everything including politics, economics & arts & culture.