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Friedman: ‘Any rational person would know we can’t return to the JCPOA’

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David Friedman, US Ambassador to Israel, is slated to leave office Wednesday as the next administration will begin.

In a final interview before his departure, Friedman said he is concerned about the next administration and the Iran nuclear threat, according to an article by The Jerusalem Post.

“I am worried about one thing in particular: about Iran,” Friedman said.

President-elect Joe Biden’s foreign policy team includes top Iran deal negotiator Wendy Sherman as deputy secretary of state, Anthony Blinken as secretary of state and Jake Sullivan as national security adviser. Former secretary of state John Kerry and ex-national security adviser Susan Rice were also appointed to senior posts. This team was involved in creating the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

“The Iran band is back together again,” Friedman said. “You’d have to not be paying attention not to be concerned about Iran, given [their] prominent positions.”

Moreover, Biden has indicated his desire to return to the Iran deal — which President Donald Trump pulled out of in 2018 — while Israel is warning against the deal.

Last week, Walla News reported that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is assembling a team to strategize for the first talks with the Biden administration on Iran’s nuclear program.

Also last week, Netanyahu warned against the U.S. rejoining the nuclear agreement, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

“If we just go back to the JCPOA, what will happen and may already be happening is that many other countries in the Middle East will rush to arm themselves with nuclear weapons. That is a nightmare and that is folly. It should not happen,” Netanyahu said.

Friedman hopes appointees will realize returning to the Iran deal now will be drastically different than how it was in 2015.

“In 2015, reasonable minds could disagree,” he said. “Someone could give the benefit of the doubt and think the Iran deal was a good idea. The premise was that Iran would self-modulate… Now we know they didn’t. They destroyed Yemen, attacked America in Iraq, attacked Israel from Syria and funded Hezbollah, Israel’s greatest risk on any border.”

Friedman added, “I’m hoping any rational person would know we can’t return to the JCPOA, but the news reports [indicate] trouble.”

Netanyahu thanked Friedman for “fixing the injustices and discrimination that the diplomatic world has subjected Israel to over the years, for establishing Jerusalem as the nation’s capital, and for many more acts that have yet to be told.”

“Over the years, I have met many ambassadors from many countries, including the US, our great ally. I can safely say that there has never been a greater ambassador than David Friedman in strengthening the deep relationship between Israel and the US,” Netanyahu tweeted Monday.

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Economy

Michigan asks residents to house migrants, enroll children in school and help adults find employment

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Michigan is asking its residents to help with the mess its leadership created and house migrants in their own homes. The state Department of Labor and Economic Development said volunteers who participate must commit for at least 90 days as part of the refugee support program.

In addition to opening up their homes, sponsors are expected to support newly arrived refugees by greeting them at the airport, securing and preparing initial housing, enrolling children in school and helping adults find employment.

“Programs like the Welcome Corps advance the Office of Global Michigan’s mission to make Michigan the home for opportunity for our immigrant, refugee and ethnic communities,” said Poppy Hernandez, Global Michigan Director and Michigan’s Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer. “Expanded refugee resettlement pathways empower more Michiganders to support our state’s growing refugee population and build a more welcoming and inclusive Michigan for all.”

The migrants will come from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela, all points of origin where many have been hoping to apply for asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Fox News reports “cities like New York and Chicago have also dealt with issues related to migrants committing crimes, as well as pushback from residents who have voiced anger and concern over the influx. Migrant shelters in those cities have largely been full, forcing officials to come up with ways to safely house the migrants.”

Last year, Massachusetts officials asked residents to open their doors as migrant shelters were full at the time. “Most importantly, if you have an extra room or suite in your home, please consider hosting a family. Housing and shelter is our most pressing need and become a sponsor family,” said Massachusetts Lt. Governor Kim Driscoll.

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