Political Insider

A look behind the scenes in the political world

A Chanukah Miracle For Allan Gross

"Hag sameach."  Those were the first words of the newly freed Alan Gross at his Washington press conference Wednesday afternoon.

After five years in a Cuban prison for trying to smuggle Internet equipment to the communist country's tiny Jewish community, he was freed as part of a dramatic change in relations between Havana and Washington..

Gross gave special thanks to the Greater Washington Jewish Community Relations Council and its executive director, Ron Halber, for their ongoing campaign for his freedom.

Zeldin To Co-Chair House GOP Israel Caucus

Congressman-elect Lee Zeldin of Long Island, the only Jewish Republican in the incoming 114th Congress, was elected co-chair of the 100-member House Republican Caucus. 

Other co-chairs are Reps Peter Roskam of Illinois, Doug Lamborn of Colorado and Leonard Lance of New Jersey. 

Roskam, in announcing the appointment, stressed the strategic relationship between the United States and Israel but made no mention of the search for peace with the Palestinians.

Light Up, It's Chanukah In Washington

Joe Biden won't be riding the cherry picker to the top of the National Menorah Tuesday afternoon; instead he'll light the a symbolic shames candle from the ground while others will ride up to light the first candle of Hanukah for the 4 p.m. ceremony on the Ellipse behind he White House.

Adelson Early Winner In Israeli Elections

Casino billionaire and Bibi buddy Sheldon Adelson is an early winner in Prime Minister Netanyahu's decision to call a snap election. 

By firing Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, Netanyahu removed an outspoken opponent of some of his pet legislative goals. She blocked legislation that he supported codifying Israel's status as the Jewish nation state, and she supported a bill he wanted defeated because it would ban the free giveaway of newspapers.

Pollard's Albatross

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu phoned Secretary of State John Kerry Saturday evening to ask him to intervene to release Jonathan Pollard in the wake of a fainting incident that send the convicted Israeli spy to a hospital earlier in the week.

"Jonathan is sick, his health is in danger, and after 30 years in prison it's time he is released," according to a statement from the PM's office. 

Oil Weapon Losing Clout

The price of gasoline dipped under $2 a gallon this week in some Oklahoma filling stations and others are expected to follow.

Plunging global oil prices come at a time when the United States is poised to surpass Saudi Arabia as the world's number one oil producer. That's good news for consumers and for those who feel OPEC as exerted undue influence on American foreign policy for too long.

Hamas 'Infuriated' US Arming Israel

Tehran-based PressTV reported "Gazans angered by US plan to send smart bombs to Israel."

They're "infuriated" that the Obama administration is selling more J-DAM or Joint Direct Attack Munitions, which rely on precision guidance to hit their targets and proved so effective against Hamas and its allies in Operation Protective Edge in Gaza this summer.

Fueling Fires Of Hatred

If Benjamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas mean it when they say they don’t want to see a Third Intifada, why does it look like that is exactly where they are headed? 

Each leader repeatedly accuses the other of incitement, often with good cause.  Their protestations of purity and innocence as the injured party would be a joke if so many people weren’t being killed and injured on both sides.

Hagel Out; 'True Friend Of Israel'

Chuck Hagel's nomination to be secretary of defense two years ago was met with considerable angst on the part of many friends of Israel. His resignation today was met with regret, especially at the Israeli Defense Ministry.

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon called him "a true friend of Israel" who made "large and significant" contributions to the two nations' security ties. 

That's a far cry from the initial response to nomination of the maverick former Republican senator from Nebraska. 

Kerry Is Zionist Mouthpiece: How Did They Find Out?

The likelihood of a nuclear agreement with Iran grows increasingly unlikely, and whose fault is that?

The Jews and the Republicans, according to the chief of staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, Major General Hassan Firouzabadi as reported by Iran's FARS news agency.

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