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Tensions Soar in Red Sea as Yemen Rebels Declare Blockade on All Ships Heading to Israel

A Houthi terrorist enters the cockpit of a ship traveling along the Red Sea towards Israel. Photo: Handout via Reuters

Tensions are building in the Red Sea following the shooting down of two drones by a French naval frigate on Sunday as Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen doubled down on threats to attack Israel-bound vessels.

A statement from the French navy on Sunday confirmed that the frigate Languedoc, which operates in the Red Sea, had carried out the “interception and destruction of these two identified threats.”

The French action came hours after Brig.-Gen. Yahya Saree, the Houthis’ military spokesman, said that the rebel movement — whose slogan is “Death to America, Death to Israel, curse the Jews, and victory to Islam” — would prevent commercial ships from navigating the Red Sea on their way to Israel regardless of nationality. On Sunday, Iranian state media reported that a merchant vessel from an unspecified country had been prevented from reaching Israel by Houthi forces.

According to Saree, “a proper interaction was carried out with the ship, but it did not pay heed to our warnings.” He added that the vessel was subsequently “blocked from passing through and was forced to turn back,” in comments reported by the pro-Iranian Al-Mayadeen TV network in Lebanon.

Separately, in a lengthy thread on X/Twitter, Saree said that Houthi forces would “prevent navegating [sic] all the ships heading to the Zionist entity [sic] from any nationality, if the food and medicine keep not accessing the Gaza Strip, and they will become a legitimate target for our armed forces.”

He continued: “Out of concern for the safety of maritime navigation, we warn all ships and companies to avoid dealing with Israeli ports.”

Houthi forces have carried out several attacks on ships heading to Israel since the eruption of the war in Gaza triggered by the Oct. 7 Hamas pogrom in southern Israel.

Last week, two direct attacks on Israeli ships in the Bab Al-Mandab Strait off Yemen’s coast were launched as a gesture, Saree said, from the “free people of our Arab and Islamic nation to stand fully with the choices of the Palestinian people and their steadfast resistance.”

The post Tensions Soar in Red Sea as Yemen Rebels Declare Blockade on All Ships Heading to Israel first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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‘The mobs will not silence my voice’ says Conservative MP Melissa Lantsman after her Thornhill office is plastered with anti-Israel posters

Posters slamming Israel and decrying Canada’s suspension of funding to UNRWA were found at the Thornhill, Ont., offices of Melissa Lantsman, a pro-Israel and Jewish Conservative MP who serves as deputy leader of the Official Opposition.   “Blood on Your Hands,” “Stop Arming Israel” and “Fund UNRWA Now” were among the messages found taped to […]

The post ‘The mobs will not silence my voice’ says Conservative MP Melissa Lantsman after her Thornhill office is plastered with anti-Israel posters appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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IDF Chief Weighs in on Ultra-Orthodox Military Service, Week After New Draft Bill Proposed

FILE PHOTO: Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi speaks during his transition ceremony with the Prime Minister, Defense Minister, and the outgoing chief, in Jerusalem, January 16, 2023. Maya Alleruzzo/Pool via REUTERS

IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi called on the ultra-Orthodox public to mobilize for the current and future wars, a position at odds with their historic role in the state, in which they enjoy near blanket exemptions from military service.

“In these challenging days, there is one thing that is very clear: Everyone should mobilize for the defense of the homeland,” Halevi said.

He added: “This is a different era, and what was before it will certainly be re-examined. The IDF has always sought to bring into its ranks from all sections of Israeli society. This war illustrates the need to change. Join the service, protect the homeland. We have a historic opportunity to expand the sources of recruitment for the IDF at a time when the necessity is very high. We will know how to create the right solutions and conditions for any population that will join this noble mission.”

The issue of ultra-Orthodox enlistment in the IDF has been a hot button issue since the state’s establishment in 1948 and, in more recent years, the cause of wide scale backlash against the community. As part of an agreement when the state was founded, the ultra-Orthodox public was exempted completely from service. However, as the years progressed and the population grew exponentially, critics of the policy decried the unfairness of it.

A bill last week was introduced by the ruling Likud Party that called for an increase in military service time, particularly for reserve forces, yet failed to discuss the ultra-Orthodox issue. Backlash from both opposition and coalition members was swift.

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich at the time said, “The ultra-Orthodox public is dear and loved and contributes a lot to the State of Israel, and it is now essential that it also take a more significant part in the tasks of defense and security. This move should happen out of dialogue and discussion and not by coercion or, God forbid, by defamation. Religious Zionism proves that it is possible to combine Torah study and observance of minor and severe mitzvot together with military service at the front. My ultra-Orthodox brothers, we need you!”

Halevi’s comments were his first on the highly contentious issue.

The post IDF Chief Weighs in on Ultra-Orthodox Military Service, Week After New Draft Bill Proposed first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Israeli victims of the Oct. 7 attacks present their case to the International Criminal Court, hoping for arrest warrants against Hamas

A legal brief documenting the kidnapping, rape, torture and executions of Israelis who are being held hostage by Hamas terrorists in Gaza has been filed at the International Criminal Court by the Canadian-based Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights. The 1,000-page dossier documents the brutality of the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks on Israel, which killed […]

The post Israeli victims of the Oct. 7 attacks present their case to the International Criminal Court, hoping for arrest warrants against Hamas appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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