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THE WEEK AHEAD: Mossad chief visits Washington, Israeli prime minister heads to Germany in attempt to sway world leaders against a dangerous nuclear deal with Iran

Here are the stories we are watching...

Mossad chief David Barnea seen after a ceremony held at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum in Jerusalem, as Israel marks annual Holocaust Remembrance Day, April 27, 2022. (Photo: Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
  • Iran nuclear deal – imminent?

  • Mossad chief in Washington

  • Israeli PM Lapid visits Germany

  • 50 years since Munich Olympic massacre

  • Maccabi Haifa soccer team in UEFA

IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL – IMMINENT?

The finalization of the Iran nuclear deal could be imminent, according to European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell. Israel’s last-ditch efforts to provoke rejection of the deal seem to have failed, despite a recent phone call between Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid and U.S. President Joe Biden. Israel is trying to pull sway over the deal’s content, while the country's top leadership has been engaged in an internal trade of barbs over what strategy of engagement to use with Washington.

Meanwhile, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi warned that his country will not return to a nuclear agreement, such as the one struck in 2015, unless International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors end their probes into the uranium traces found at particular sites in Iran. This refusal has been viewed as one of the main hurdles to restoring the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the 2015 agreement, called a “bad deal” by then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“Biden's Iran deal is even more dangerous than Obama’s,” former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley wrote on social media. “The ayatollahs will get over $1.2 trillion dollars for terrorism – and limits on their nuclear program start expiring in just over a year. No member of Congress should support it. Every Republican should promise to shred it.”

MOSSAD CHIEF IN WASHINGTON

Israel’s Mossad chief David Barnea will visit Washington, D.C., this week for a series of meetings with American officials over the looming Iran deal. Ahead of his departure, Barnea met with Lapid, who reportedly was surprised by Barnea’s earlier comments against the Biden administration’s handling of the nuclear-deal negotiations.

Last week, the head of the Mossad slammed the United States in intelligence briefings for intending to “sign an agreement which it knows is a total lie.” He added that “the agreement will push Iran’s breakout time from one month to two to three months and will give Iran hundreds of billions of dollars which will pour into terror organizations.”

Barnea’s message was more critical of the American position than recent statements made by the Israeli government, which has chosen to follow a strategy of “quiet diplomacy” vis-à-vis the White House.

LAPID TO VISIT GERMANY

Israel has repetitively voiced its concerns and raised objections to the shaping nuclear deal on all fronts, including in Europe. 

After Lapid spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron, the Prime Minister’s Office announced that Lapid will fly to Germany for a two-day visit on Sunday. Lapid is expected to meet with Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz, with the Iran issue topping their agenda. 

In addition, the Israeli premier will raise the issue of compensation for the families of the victims slain in the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre. He also is expected to talk about Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas’ controversial “50 Holocausts” remark, in reference to alleged crimes he accused Israel of committing against Palestinians.

50 YEARS SINCE MUNICH OLYMPIC MASSACRE

On Sept. 5, 1972, Palestinian terrorist group Black September scaled the walls of the Munich Olympic Village and violently broke into the Israeli team’s quarters, taking members of the team hostage and ultimately killing 11 athletes and training staff, as well as a West German police officer.

Fifty years later, the southern German city of Munich will hold a ceremony to memorialize the victims of that tragedy. Their families are expected to attend after a long dispute over compensation from the German government. According to the agreement, each family should receive around 483,000 euros. Israeli President Isaac Herzog and German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier will also take part in the event.

MACCABI HAIFA SOCCER TEAM IN UEFA

Once in a blue moon an Israeli football (soccer!) team makes history by qualifying for the UEFA Champions League – organized by the Union of European Football Associations – the second-most prestigious football competition in the world, next to the World Cup.

The Maccabi Haifa team made the cut this season and will begin its journey in UEFA's group stage on Tuesday, when it plays against Sport Lisboa e Benfica, a Portuguese team based in Lisbon. The Israeli club is in the draw with soccer powerhouses Paris Saint-Germain and Italian club Juventus.

For Israeli fans, one highlight of Maccabi Haifa’s campaign will take place the following week at the Sammy Ofer Stadium in the team's home city, where they will get a chance to see Saint-German stars Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappé.

This week, we are also keeping an eye on these developing stories:

  • ... Why did the P.A.’s No. 2  invite Evangelical-Israeli Joel Rosenberg to Ramallah?

  • ... Will the mayhem in Iraq continue after the resignation of a top Shiite cleric?

  • ... What is the reason behind the increasing trend of foreign ownership of Israel’s ports?

  • ... Why was World Vision International’s top Gaza aid worker put behind bars for 12 years?

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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