Friday, February 21, 2014

Don’t expect Abbas to sign anything

So far, the Palestinian negotiating tactic has been to get concessions, then cut off talks and 'start where we left off.'

By Shlomo Avineri for Haaretz

As prime minister, Ehud Olmert met 36 (or was it 37?) times with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and couldn’t reach an agreement with him. But that didn’t stop him from saying in a recent interview on Channel 2 that he’s certain Abbas is a partner for an accord.

Abbas Won't SignOlmert was prepared to go further than any other Israeli leader in meeting the Palestinians’ demands, including on the issues of Jerusalem, the Jordan Valley and territorial exchanges; he offered to evacuate 70,000 settlers as well as make a humanitarian gesture allowing 5,000 Palestinian refugees (or their descendants) to return. This underscored his belief in the need for Israel to make a painful compromise, and given his own political past, his courage and determination was especially admirable.

But what came out of all that? When Olmert proposed in dozens of meetings that Abbas sign a document containing the Israeli concessions, he refused. Olmert explains this by saying that Abbas did not say either yes or no. This is patently ridiculous: By refusing to sign, Abbas clearly said no.

Evidently, Abbas was not ready to commit to anything, but he was able to get Olmert to consent to far-reaching concessions, and then halted the negotiations. The upshot is that when the negotiations resume, the Palestinian side will insist that they must begin “where they left off” – with the starting point being the Israeli positions as set forward in Olmert’s generous proposal, with no concession having been made by the other side.

Am I misinterpreting things? This is exactly what happened in 1995 in Yossi Beilin’s talks with Abbas. Then, too, the talks led to extensive Israeli concessions; then, too, the Israeli side sought to put things down on paper and fashion a final accord – and then, too, Mahmoud Abbas refused to sign. There was never any Beilin-Abbas Agreement. There was only a paper laying out Israeli concessions.

At Camp David, then-U.S. President Bill Clinton became fed up with this method and, as he ran out of patience, told Yasser Arafat that so far he had rejected every offer. Perhaps you have a proposal of your own, Clinton suggested to Arafat. But no such Palestinian proposal was ever placed on the table.

 Continue reading.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Two Israelis arrested in Iran arms sales case

Avihai Weinstein and Eli Cohen have been investigated multiple times for allegedly violating sanctions

By Ilan Ben Zion for The Times of Israel
PhantomJetTwo arms dealers were arrested on suspicion of selling military aircraft parts to Iran, Channel 2 reported.

Avihai Weinstein and Eli Cohen were said to be under investigation by the Israel Police and the Defense Ministry’s security investigation arm. The police would not confirm the report to The Times of Israel, but said the matter was familiar to them butcould not comment further because it was under investigation by foreign law enforcement agencies.

Earlier this week, Greek officials, working together with the American Homeland Security Investigations agency, uncovered two shipments of spare parts for F-4 Phantom jets in December 2012 and again in April 2013, the Ekathimerini daily reported over the weekend.

Weinstein and Cohen have both been investigated multiple times for allegedly trying to sell and ship military equipment to the Islamic Republic in violation of international sanctions. The two had previously tried to ship the arms to Iran via intermediary states such as the United States, Germany, Thailand and Portugal, Channel 2 reported. According to the report, Cohen has been investigated six times on such charges in the past 12 years.

According to a Haaretz report from 2004, Cohen and Weinstein were suspected of attempting to sell Hawk missiles and radar systems used in Phantoms. Two years earlier they attempted to sell parts for Israeli-made armored personnel carriers, but were never indicted.

Their company, R.S.P. Rebuilt Spare Parts, was not available for comment at the time of publication.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Orthodox couples opt for illegal halachic weddings

Dissatisfied by old school patriarchy, many modern religious couples are marrying outside the Israeli rabbinate

By Amanda Borschel-Dan for Times of Israel

Orthodox couplesIt was a back-alley religious wedding. The bride, in her 30s, an Orthodox Russian-immigrant divorcée. The groom, a 40-something native Israeli. The wedding hall, a dingy, cramped three-room Jerusalem apartment.

They were married by an Orthodox rabbi, accompanied by a sliver of the groom’s large Yemenite family and a few friends. Blessings were recited under the huppah and, as in Yemenite custom, ash was sprinkled to symbolize the destruction of the Temple. A glass was broken. Burekas, Israeli salads and pita followed in the first of the couple’s traditional Sheva Brachot meals.

Fourteen years ago, this couple decided to marry outside the Israeli Chief Rabbinate for a variety of personal and pragmatic reasons: She’d had a hard time with her halachic divorce through the rabbinate; he preferred living off the grid. And the couple didn’t have much money to spare on the relatively hefty registration fee.

“I feel free having married without the rabbinate,” the bride told The Times of Israel recently. “I decided that, whether we split or not, this will be my final wedding,” she said. She added that she is unconcerned about possible halachic problems, including hypothetically becoming an aguna — an anchored woman — if the marriage dissolves, and is sure their two daughters cannot be considered mamzerim (bastards).

This couple is hardly alone in choosing to marry outside the auspices of the rabbinate. Reform/Conservative Jews, the disenfranchised secular, and some 400,000 Israelis who are Jewish enough to be citizens, but not considered halachically Jewish to marry through the rabbinate, often marry abroad or in independent, unrecognized ceremonies.

Continue reading.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Jewish Ice Dancer Charlie White Wins First-Ever Olympic Gold Medal for U.S.

Spins to Sochi Win With Partner Meryl Davis

by Reuters from The Jewish Daily Forward

Sochi, Russia — A sultry performance that lasted four spellbinding minutes, but was 17 years in the making, propelled Meryl Davis and Charlie White to become the first Americans to win the Olympic ice dance title at the Sochi Games on Monday.

Charlie WhiteIn a showdown with rivals and Canadian training partners Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, the American couple proved a cut above the rest by winning with a world record total of 195.52.

An adventure that began rather tentatively in 1997 when a nine-year-old Davis was left blushing and tongue-tied after being told to gaze deeply into her eight-year-old partner’s eyes, ended on Monday with the duo exchanging looks of joy.

“We’re so excited, we’re kind of in shock a little. I’m not sure what we’re feeling,” a beaming Davis told reporters after improving on their silver medal from four years ago.

“It kind of all came together for us and we’re so pleased to be here. We’re kind of in disbelief.”

White, who is Jewish, added: “To come away with a gold medal is amazing… And 17 years of hard work was justified.”

From the moment the Americans stepped on the ice, with Davis wearing a sequined purple halter neck dress and White in an embroidered velvet jacket, the crowd waited with bated breath to see which side of the International Boundary the gold medal would end up in.

The Americans were soon showing why they have been unbeatable for 22 months.

They flew around the ice at a frantic pace, seamlessly weaving dazzling lifts and synchronised twizzles into their dramatic performance of Scheherazade - the story of a sultan’s wife whose enchanting tales stopped her husband’s bizarre habit of marrying a new wife every day and beheading the previous one.

When White held aloft Davis in the splits as he spun around rapidly, the crowd cheered.

 Continue reading.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Global Stories: Interactive Map of IDF Soldiers from Across the World

Since 1948, young men and women have made their way to Israel from the four corners of the globe to join the IDF. From every continent they have come, driven by a sense of purpose, a love of the country and an inner need to answer the call to protect the State of Israel.
Click on the map below to read their stories. The blue pins are in English, the red pins in French, the yellow pins in Spanish, and the green pins in Russian. Drag the map around to explore!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Who needs Valentine's Day when you've got a Jewish mother

By Abigail Radnor, for The

Valentine’s Day is nothing short of a mishegas for shmereldiks (excuse me while I sell that one to Hallmark and make my millions). I don’t really know anyone who enjoys this marketing ploy of a Yom Tov, even those in smugly contented relationships.

Of course no singleton gets kicks out of a day designed to underscore exactly how single they are. Although it arguably has less of a potent effect on our tribe. Technically, as Jews we shouldn’t be making too much of a fuss celebrating a Christian saint, but then if we start getting technical over what Jews are supposed to be doing we’d be here for a while and I’m pretty sure that wasn’t the kind of article you were after — if you were tempted to read on after my opening line.

The real reason Valentine’s Day is a touch null and void for Jewish singletons is because they do not need a national holiday to scrutinise the cracks in their love lives.
That’s what Jewish mothers are for.

I always assumed my own Jewish mother was pretty atypical when it came to these things. She seemed to exude a detached calmness on all matters related to my relationships, possibly because such matters often erred on the side of the ridiculous. That was until her friend’s daughter got engaged and suddenly, she flipped.

On putting down the phone after showering her friend with the mandatory mazel tovs she turned to me and said somewhat aggressively: “That third date better go well.” (It didn’t.) Now that I am in a relationship she has taken to texting me pictures of baby clothes. To which I reply: “Get a job.”
Jewish 20-somethings (and 30-somethings, who have it worse) can entertain themselves for hours swapping war stories of interfering Jewish mothers, fathers, grandparents (when I remarked to my Grandma that I couldn’t believe I was turning 28 last May, her reply “and what are you going to do about it?” stumped me. I’m pretty sure she wasn’t enquiring as to my party plans that involved Jager bombs and dancing on tables because we just don’t have those kinds of chats.)
But recently I have had something of a revelation. At my work Christmas do, sandwiched between two non-Jewish colleagues and pretending to handle my alcohol, I realised they were bemoaning the exact same afflictions as my Jewish friends — relatives driving them mad about their love lives.
One of their mothers has essentially given up all hope for her (she’s 32) and another detailed how every February 15 her grandmother would call her with one question… “Well?” There was another friend whose mother insisted on taking her new boyfriend on a tour of the house when he first came to meet the family and as they reached the end of the landing gestured: “And this is where the nursery will be.”
This was marvellous, I thought. I felt like running through the streets waving an interfaith flag proclaiming: “It’s not just the Jews, it’s not just the Jews!”

And the more I investigated the domestic Gentile world (hard-hitting journalism that often involved me asking my friends “so does your mum drive you mental too?”) the more harassment was revealed.
One mentioned her friend, Alice, 32, who made a birthday cake for her niece and said to her mum: “I hope someone will do this for me one day,” to which her mother replied: “What are you talking about? You’re nearly 40, you’re clearly never giving me grandchildren!”

Another, who has been with her boyfriend for five years, only just 27, complains of being constantly asked when they will settle down. A celebrity journalist, she says: “Even bloody Anna Friel ticked me off when I interviewed her — ‘How long have you been together? Five years? Well, it’s about time he proposed’. I mean...pot, kettle!” (I’ll leave you to Google the ins and outs of Anna Friel’s love life in your own time.)
So dear Semitic singletons, as you may feel the urge to punch anyone carrying flowers, anything heart-shaped or vaguely cuddly in the face this weekend, cheer yourself with the thought that you are not alone. There are interfering mothers everywhere.

PS love you Mum x

Olympic medal wins for figure skating trio


Jewish athletes were this week celebrating winning medals at the Sochi Winter Olympics, helping America and Canada to silver and bronze success.

American figure skaters Jason Brown and Charlie White were part of a team of eight who saw Team USA win bronze, while Dylan Moscovitch won silver with the Canadian national team in the same event.

Jewish MedalistsDelighted with his win, Brown said: “I don’t even know where to begin. The team event was absolutely incredible! From start to finish, the excitement just continued to build and I am so honoured to be a part of this team, and to have represented team USA in the first ever figure skating team event! I’m so proud of my teammates and the performances they put out!

“I’ve looked up to these seven athletes for years. They’ve been huge inspirations to me, so standing on that medal stand tonight, alongside them was truly special, it’s a moment I will never forget and sharing it with these seven unbelievable athletes was beyond a dream come true. We will always be Olympic bronze medallists together, as a team!”

Just as ecstatic with the win, White said: “What an amazing and historic moment! So lucky to be part of a team that showed courage, fortitude, and a lot of great skating! We worked really hard to earn that Olympic medal – something that will be uniting us together as family for the rest of our lives.”

Other American Jewish athletes who are in action include skier Jared Goldberg, cross-country skier Noah Hoffman and figure skater Simon Shnapir.

Israeli athletes haven’t though been as successful. And with the country still in search of their first Winter Olympics medal, short track speed skater Vladislav Bykanov came agonisingly close to qualifying for the semi-finals of the 1,500m event, missing out by 0.8 seconds. Israel’s flag bearer at the Opening Ceremony will though compete in the 1,000m race later on Thursday, and the 500m race on Tuesday.

Figure skaters Evgeni Krasnopolski and Andrea Davidovich did qualify for their medal race, after finishing in 15th place – out of 20 – in the short program of the event. Speaking after qualifying, Krasnopolski said: “It’s a fantastic feeling. We were very tense all day and really nervous up to the last moment. In technical terms we could have been better here and there, but the bottom line is that we reached the final and that was our main aim.” However, competing in the free skating on Wednesday afternoon, they finished the pairs’ figure skating competition in 15th place, recording a result of 94.35 in the free skate portion of the event to end with a total score of 147.73 points.

Skier Virgile Vandeput will also be in action next week when he takes part in the giant slalom next Thursday, and the slalom on 22 February.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Donald Duck’s Anti-Semitic Tweets Ruffle Feathers

Arabic Donald DuckDisney fires famous fowl’s Arabic voice-over artist for extreme statements

By Liel Leibovitz for Tablet Magazine

It’s been a long, hot summer for Donald Duck. In August, he sat at his computer, logged on to Twitter, and waxed anti-Semitic: “I truly wish #Israel is demolished, I hate Zionism, I have so much hate inside me with every single child they murder or land they seize!”

Disney didn’t much like it. Last week, the company notified Wael Mansour, the tweets’ author and the voice of Donald Duck in cartoons dubbed into Arabic, that his services would no longer be needed. Like the defiant duck he helped make famous in the Middle East, Mansour responded by tweeting that he was proud of his termination and his views alike. Perhaps Yosemite Sam would’ve been a better fit.

Here's the tweet:

 AntiSemitic Tweet

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Adina Bar Shalom, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef's Daughter, Weighs Israel Presidential Run

Ultra-Orthodox 'Bridge Between Religion and State'

By Nathan Jeffay for The Jewish Daily Forward

Bar ShalomJerusalem — When Israel’s most revered rabbi died last October, there was much talk about who would be the main figure to perpetuate his legacy and how he would do it. Nobody suggested that it would be a woman, or that her instrument of influence would be the state’s highest office.

But Rabbi Ovadia Yosef’s daughter, Adina Bar Shalom, has told the Forward that she is considering running as president of Israel this spring, when members of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, are expected to select someone to succeed Israel’s current head of state, Shimon Peres. If she does compete and win, she will be the country’s first female president and its first Haredi, or ultra-Orthodox, president.

Rumors of Bar Shalom’s candidacy began spreading on January 22, when an un-sourced report in the daily newspaper Ma’ariv suggested that she was considering running. Her response then was that she wasn’t dismissing the idea but had “still not talked with anyone.”

Speaking with the Forward on February 10, Bar Shalom stopped short of a definitive declaration. But her earlier diffidence had dissipated. For the first time, she indicated that she is seriously considering a run.

Bar Shalom said that she is now in regular contact with people who want her to declare her candidacy. The 69-year-old Tel Aviv mother-of-three described the possibility of doing so as “very exciting,” adding that her supporters believe she can be a “bridge between religion and the state.”

The main factor delaying her final decision, said Bar Shalom, is the question of who else will put their hat in the ring. She plans to “see who are the candidates, and then decide.” If Bar Shalom takes the plunge, she will be up against at least one other non-politician. Dan Shechtman, a scientist at Haifa’s Technion University who won the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 2011, declared his intention to run last January. The other declared candidates are two respected veteran Knesset members: Reuven Rivlin of Likud and Benjamin Ben-Eliezer of the Labor party.

 Continue reading.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Israelis hop on to logistics hub - Government gets promise for significant assistance with the planned game changer

Gary Spaulding, Senior Jamaica Gleaner Writer

The Israeli government has committed extensive assistance to Jamaica in helping to forge a path to the planned logistics hub that represents one of the Government's primary hopes of stimulating economic recovery.

Israel-JamaicaAmbassador-designate of Israel to Jamaica, Bahij Mansour, told The Sunday Gleaner that the vast expertise and experience of world-renowned ZIM Integrated Shipping Services, with its extensive network, will be brought to bear on the preparation and construction of the hub.

According to Mansour, Jamaicans will be invited to Israel to be trained while the hub is being constructed.

"As we look at how we can deepen the cooperation between the two countries, our government will be hosting Jamaicans to get some experience from Israel. I have high hope for this," said Mansour.

To this end, Mansour said he has met with Agriculture Minister Roger Clarke, as well as Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce Anthony Hylton; Minister of Youth and Culture Lisa Hanna, and Education Minister Ronald Thwaites.

"I met with them (last) week and offered them a lot of avenues on how to go forward in the fields of agriculture, trade and energy," said Mansour. "Cooperation is supposed to be two sides and we are offering much of the potential that we have."

Mansour said he spoke with Hylton only minutes before he spoke with The Sunday Gleaner. He said part of the discussions involved the planned inclusion of ZIM being a major part of the logistics hub and centre.

"ZIM will be part of this project because of its experience. They have been working on projects like these for many years," added Mansour of the company which was once public owned but has been divested in private hands.

Massive boost for businesses

Hylton has said that the development of Jamaica into a global logistics hub will prove a massive boost for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises that wish to invest in, or grow their existing operations on the island.

Continue reading.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Bennett: Western peace efforts keep blowing up in our faces

Jewish Home leader says it’s ‘frustrating when people come from outside and think they have a magic solution.’ When they fail, ‘we’re stuck with the consequences’

By David Horovitz for Times of Israel

Meeting with Times of Israel editorial staff on Monday morning, Naftali Bennett was at his most diplomatic: He didn’t once say the name John Kerry.

Naftali BennettBut the US secretary of state’s relentless efforts to chivy Israel and the Palestinians toward a peace accord, and Kerry’s assessment that Israel’s current relative security and prosperity are “illusional,” “momentary” and unsustainable, were the elephant in the (editorial) room.

Far from helping Israel achieve long-lasting tranquility, and helping the Palestinians flourish too, Bennett argued, 20 years of well-intentioned internationally brokered peace efforts have had the opposite effect — provoking violence and instability. “It’s a bit frustrating when people come from outside and think they have a magic solution,” he said, not mentioning Kerry. “They come. [Their] entering the fray creates a whole new wave of terror. And then when it fails, we’re stuck with the consequences.”

What’s needed, the Jewish Home party leader argued, are not good intentions but realistic ones. And his own “stability” plan — under which Israel would annex some 60 percent of the West Bank and grant full citizenship to the 70,000 Palestinians who live there, while giving the remaining Palestinians elsewhere in the territories self-government but not statehood — while admittedly “imperfect,” said Bennett, has the advantage of being realistic.

As minister of the economy, he also argued that Israel could survive the delegitimization and boycott efforts that would intensify were Israel to follow his lead and rule out Palestinian statehood. Israel has been boycotted throughout its brief modern history, he noted, and it would have to fight back. But the bottom line in his conception, Bennett made clear, is that the entire worldview that regards Israel as an occupying power when it comes to the Palestinians — a worldview that, he acknowledges, is shared by many Israelis — is factually incorrect and lies at the root of Israel’s battle for legitimacy.

Continue reading.

Friday, February 7, 2014

1,700 years of Jewish history come alive in downtown Cologne

Excavations in a city where Jews have lived as long as Christians yield some remarkable findings, to be displayed in a major new museum

BY RAPHAEL AHREN for The Times of Israel

Cologne SynagogueCOLOGNE, Germany — Sometime between 1267 and 1349, Samuel Bar Zelig scratched his name onto the bimah (the platform from which the cantor leads the prayer and reads the Torah) of the local synagogue.

“Apparently the children learned and played there, and evidently also fooled around,” said Michael Wiehen, a senior archaeologist with the Cologne municipality.

In the Middle Ages, synagogues were often used as classrooms. In this particular house of worship, in the heart of Europe, the children apparently climbed on chairs and table to sign their names wherever they could, Wiehen explained. “They essentially wrote something like ‘I was here.’”

Samuel’s ancient “graffiti,” as archaeologists call this kind of scrawling, is only one of a myriad of relics that were — and are currently still being — excavated in a central Cologne square, the site of the city’s ancient synagogue. In a few years, the remaining ruins of that 700-year-old synagogue and the adjacent ancient mikveh, or ritual bath, will be visible to visitors in what promises to become one of Europe’s most fascinating museums of ancient and medieval Jewish history. Visitors will get see the base of the shul’s original bimah, and a modern reconstruction of it, in addition to many other relics found in Cologne’s medieval Jewish quarter.

More than 700 fragments of the ancient synagogue have been found, allowing the archaeologists to reconstruct the bimah. “It was probably created around 1280 by French workmen of the Cologne Cathedral lodge, which makes this Bimah a unique testimony to the cohabitation of Jews and Christians at that time,” the museum website states.

Continue reading.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Jewish roots of Beatlemania

50 years after mop tops landed, Yids whose marketing unleashed a revolution are remembered

By Lonnie Ostrow for The Jewish Star

Jewish Roots of Beatlemania Fifty years ago this week, on Feb. 7, 1964 four charismatic, long-haired young men from Liverpool landed at the newly renamed JFK airport. They were met at the Pan Am arrival terminal by 5,000 screaming fans (mostly young women). Two nights later, they made their American television debut on The Ed Sullivan Show. More than 73 million people tuned in to experience what would be the start of a cultural revolution …and a musical love affair that has now lasted half a century.

John, Paul, George and Ringo. The Beatles. Perhaps the most hyped entertainers in the history of popular culture. And remarkably, a group of four extraordinarily talented musicians who managed to exceed overwhelming expectations from the publicity buildup.

The numbers are truly staggering. Twenty Beatles songs have topped the U.S. singles chart. Nineteen of their albums have hit the #1 position. They are the bestselling recording artists of all time by a wide margin, with more than 600 million albums sold worldwide.

No, the Beatles were not Jewish. We can lay claim to Steven Spielberg, Barbra Streisand, Albert Einstein, Bob Dylan and Sandy Koufax. But the Fab Four? Ringo Starr had a Jewish step-father (Harry Graves). His mother, Elsie Gleave Starkey was once rumored to be of Jewish ancestry, though nothing definitive has ever been proven. That’s about as close as we get to a “Jewish Beatle.”

But as for their supporting cast… well, let’s just say that if it weren’t for an assortment of businessmen, promoters, lawyers, visionaries, and a trio of spouses, the Beatles almost certainly would not be remembered as the lasting phenomenon they remain today.

Brian Epstein was born in Liverpool, UK, on Yom Kippur day in 1934, the son of Malka and Harry Epstein. He was raised in an Orthodox, Yiddish-speaking household.

 Continue reading.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Israeli Company Testing Ambulance Drones

The unpiloted AirMule can fly with up to 800 pounds of cargo

By Lily Wilf for Tablet Magazine

Israeli startup Urban Aeronautics is testing a flying ambulance drone they hope to release before 2020, Business Insider reports. The vehicle, which is called the AirMule, would be used to perform rescues in places like dense urban environments, where helicopter maneuvering is difficult. The AirMule is directed and controlled remotely and it can fly unpiloted with up to 880 pounds of cargo.

Its primary purpose is to assist with rescues during military operations:

A much quieter, remotely-piloted aircraft like this would be a game changer for military personnel. Medical evacuations for wounded troops have greatly improved since the introduction of the helicopter, but pilots still must be weary of enemy fire. That won’t be the case with a pilot controlling the aircraft far from the danger.

The drone would also be able to deliver aid to isolated populations and rescue civilians in the event of a natural disaster. While the concept sounds futuristic, it might not actually be so long before these ambulance drones start being utilized by the military—according to Popular Mechanics, the AirMule successfully undertook a series of fully automated test flights last month.

Still, the first pilot-less emergency rescue vehicle is going to cost you. Each AirMule is $2.5 million—and their continued production will, naturally, depend on increased demand.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Netanyahu, Kerry talk after public criticism

Kerry1JERUSALEM (JTA) — Benjamin Netanyahu and John Kerry discussed the developing framework agreement in a telephone call hours after the Israeli prime minister accused the U.S. secretary of state of promoting a boycott in a speech.

The two leaders spoke on Sunday night, Haaretz reported. The newspaper cited unnamed senior U.S. officials as saying the conversation dealt mostly with the framework agreement. The conversation came after Kerry met earlier on Sunday with Israeli Justice Minister and chief Israeli peace negotiator Tzipi Livni, and negotiator Isaac Molho.

Earlier on Sunday, Netanyahu, and other Israeli government officials, rapped John Kerry for warning that Israel would face more international boycotts if the peace process fails, during an address to the Munich Security Conference.

Netanyahu called boycotts “immoral and unjust.” He also said that boycotts push the peace process further away by causing the Palestinians “to adhere to their intransigent positions,” and that “no pressure will cause me to concede the vital interests of the State of Israel, especially the security of Israel’s citizens.”

The U.S. State Department responded to the criticism leveled at Kerry.

“Secretary Kerry has a proud record of over three decades of steadfast support for Israel’s security and well-being, including staunch opposition to boycotts,” State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said in a statement on Sunday. “Secretary Kerry has always expected opposition and difficult moments in the process, but he also expects all parties to accurately portray his record and statements.”

Kerry is expected to introduce his framework agreement proposal to the mostly stalled U.S.-brokered Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in the coming weeks.