- Likud is preparing for elections in March— Netanyahu is still their leader.
- Israel continues to attack Iranian positions in Syria.
- Israel will begin to supply Egypt with natural gas.
Israel is in the middle of the holiday of Hanukah. Jewish families on Hanukah light a candle each night related to a miracle which occurred in the times of the biblical state of Israel during the period of the second temple. Netanyahu and David Friedman, American Ambassador to Israel, visited the Wailing Wall on the first night to participate in Hanukah candle lighting.
Syria opened fire Sunday on missiles fired from inside Israel. The targets were Iranian Syrian military positions and weapons storage facilities. This is part of a series of attacks on Iranian targets in Syria in a wide scale defensive operation against Iranian presence in Syria. The attacks also target Iran’s support of Hezbollah in Lebanon, both northern neighbors of Israel.
A senior official from Iran, speaking for their Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, warned Israel that it will regret the alleged strikes in Syria. He said Israel’s actions will yield a response. An official in the IDF said that the next Israel war will be incomparable to other wars. It will affect the whole nation. Israel is trying to avoid another war with Hezbollah or Iran. At the same time, Israel takes steps to defend its borders from their aggression through bombing Iranian military facilities in Syria, Iraq, and on the Lebanese border.
Besides Hanukah, Christmas is being celebrated in Israel cities, like Nazareth, Bethlehem, and East Jerusalem. Just before Christmas, Nazareth mayor Ali Sallam met with the Pope at the Vatican. They spoke about Middle East politics, and specifically about making Nazareth more acceptable to tourism. The Pope is in favor of a two-state solution between the Palestinians and Israel.
Primaries for Likud, in preparation for the next election in March, were held Thursday, during the week of Hanukah. The two main opponents for leadership of the Likud party were Benjamin Netanyahu and Gideon Saar. Netanyahu won the elections by a landslide, receiving 72% of the votes. Gideon Saar applauded the victory of Netanyahu and gave him his full support and the full support for Likud in the coming elections.
In November, Netanyahu was charged with corruption in three criminal cases, and he has twice failed to form a government in the wake of two inconclusive national ballots. Netanyahu will lead Likud in the next elections. It is uncertain what the consequences will be after the indictment proceedings are completed. If Netanyahu becomes Prime Minister, Gideon Saar will be his replacement if he is forced to resign.
Israel has completed its contract with Egypt for natural gas and will begin to supply them with natural gas from Leviathan gas field, and Tamar gas field, located in the Mediterranean Sea offshore from Israel. The gas is intended to be for domestic consumption and for export to other markets. It is called the biggest economic cooperation project between the neighboring countries since their peace deal in 1979.