Israel, Egypt and the European Union sealed a memorandum of understanding on June 15 in Cairo that paves the way for Israeli natural gas exports to European countries, which are seeking to reduce their dependence on supply from Russia in the wake of its invasion of Ukraine. As European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen looked on, the deal was signed by EU Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson, Egyptian Petroleum Minister Tarek El Molla and Israel Energy Minister Karine Elharrar. The landmark agreement enables Israel to send natural gas via Egypt, which will liquify it for export via sea. “This is a tremendous moment in which little Israel is becoming a significant player in the global energy market,” said Elharrar.
Mossad agents and their Turkish counterparts thwarted three Iranian attacks against Israeli civilians in Istanbul in June, according to a senior security official. Turkish media reported that Turkey arrested 10 members of an Iranian intelligence cell plotting to kill or abduct Israeli tourists and an unnamed former ambassador and his wife. The arrests came after the Foreign Ministry advised all Israeli citizens in Turkey to leave immediately, warning of an imminent Iranian terrorist attack against Israelis. Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said during a visit to Istanbul on June 23 that Israel and Turkey hoped to lift the travel warning before the peak summer season.
Despite the Israeli coalition’s collapse, US President Joe Biden plans to visit Israel, the West Bank and Saudi Arabia from July 13-16, the administration announced. The president will “reinforce the United States’ iron-clad commitment to Israel’s security and prosperity,” the statement read, while a senior official said Biden seeks to “rekindle a new political horizon.” The US National Security Council spokesperson said: “We have a strategic relationship with Israel that goes beyond any one government. The president looks forward to the visit next month.”
The Jewish Agency for Israel announced on June 16 that Doron Almog had been chosen unanimously its next chairman, ending a long search to replace Isaac Herzog after he became president. Almog, 71, a former head of IDF Southern Command and Israel Prize winner for lifetime achievement, has dedicated his life to running ADI Negev Nahalat Eran Rehabilitation Village (formerly ALEH Negev), a community for the disabled named after his late son, Eran, who had severe autism. “I am proud and excited about the trust and election,” said Almog, who takes up the position in September. “By working together, we will ignite the flame and pride in our work for a future of hope for future generations.”
Outgoing Prime Minister Naftali Bennett presented the EMET Prize, dubbed the Israeli Nobel, to six laureates at the Jerusalem Theater on June 26. The winners of the prize were Professors Amnon Rubinstein and Ruth Lapidoth (Social Sciences), Professors Hermona Soreq and Rafael Malach (Life Sciences), and Professor Oded Lipshitz and Gideon Shelach-Lavi (Humanities).
Bernard Edinger, The Jerusalem Report’s longtime freelance reporter in Paris, died on June 25 at the age of 80. Edinger, who grew up in the US, previously worked for the Reuters news agency in France, Israel, Britain and Kenya. His last reports included an article on why French aliya had declined since its peak in 2015 and on a 2019 Gaza rocket attack on Netivot, where he was visiting one of his two daughters, Sarah Nadia, and her family.
Ranan Lurie, an Egyptian-born Israeli-American cartoonist who fought in Israel’s War of Independence and the Six Day War and became the world’s most syndicated political cartoonist, died on June 8 at an assisted living center in Las Vegas at age 90. Lurie’s caricatures appeared in over 1,000 publications with more than 100 million readers in 100 countries, setting a benchmark in the Guinness Book of Records in the 1980s.
A.B. Yehoshua, a bestselling writer, essayist and playwright, died on June 14 at 85. President Isaac Herzog called him “one of Israel’s greatest authors of all generations, who gifted us his unforgettable works that will continue for generations. His works, which drew inspiration from our nation’s treasures, reflected us in an accurate, sharp, loving and sometimes painful mirror image. He aroused a mosaic of deep emotions.” Winner of the Israel Prize in 1995 and dozens of other awards, Yehoshua is survived by three children. His wife, Ika, died in 2016.