Sara Netanyahu Indicted for Misuse of State Funds

State prosecutors have for some time been investigating what they've termed the overtly-lavish spending of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's wife.

On Thursday, the attorney general felt it was time to finally take Sara Netanyahu to court on charges of misusing state funds.

The indictment filed against the prime minister's wife accuses her of fraudulently charging $100,000 in gourmet meals over the course of three years between 2010 and 2013.

The Prime Minister's Residence has a staff chef on hand to provide the Israeli leader and his family with all their meals. If the chef is not available, or if the prime minister is hosting foreign guests, additional chefs can be brought in or meals from restaurants can be ordered at the taxpayers' expense. Otherwise, the Netanyahu family must pay for its own food.

But, according to Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, Sara Netanyahu grossly violated those regulations, both at the Prime Minister's Residence in Jerusalem and the family's private home in Caesarea.

Negotiations between the two sides that would have seen Sara Netanyahu repay part of the money and publicly apologize reportedly broke down recently after the prime minister's wife reportedly refused to reimburse the state to the tune demanded by prosecutors.

But Netanyahu's lawyers dispute those reports, and instead insist that she did nothing wrong because the regulations in question are themselves illegal since they were never authorized by the Knesset Finance Committee, the only body that can legally determine which of the expenses incurred by the prime minister's family are covered by state funds.

"The most absurd thing in the indictment stems from the fact that it is based on illegal regulations, and even the person who wrote the regulations admits that they are illegal. The regulations covering food were written on the fly by three officials who were unauthorized to do so," read a statement released by Sara Netanyahu's lawyers.

 

Report: Hamas Paid Family to Claim Baby Died From Israeli Teargas

Remember that baby girl who died in Gaza last month allegedly after inhaling teargas fired by Israeli soldiers against Palestinian protestors?

Well–surprise, surprise–it turns out 9-month-old Layla Ghandour wasn't the victim of heartless Israeli brutality after all. At least not according to her cousin.

Twenty-year-old Mohammed Omar was captured by Israeli forces late last month while taking part in a three-man infiltration of southern Israel. The Fatah-affiliated activists managed to cut through the Gaza security fence and tried to set fire to an unmanned IDF post. Omar and one other cell member were nabbed, while the third managed to escape back into Gaza.

During his interrogation, Omar detailed the planned attack, and also volunteered that he was related to Layla Ghandour.

According to his indictment filed by the Southern District Attorney on Thursday, Omar told investigators that he was present at the mass Gaza border demonstration on May 14, the day Layla died.

Omar reported receiving a phone call from his mother informing him that his baby cousin had passed away. When he arrived home, Omar was told that Layla had succumbed to the same blood disease that had killed her brother less than a year earlier.

It was at that point, Omar recounted, that Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar got in touch with the family and offered them NIS 8,000 ($2,200) to tell reporters that Layla had died from inhaling Israeli teargas.

This type of deception is not uncommon in the Palestinians' portrayal of Israeli defensive and counter-terrorism measures. Nor is the mainstream international media's willingness to publish each and every unsubstantiated Palestinian claim against Israel absent even the most rudimentary fact-checking.

As the above video notes, Hamas had already removed Layla from the official Gaza border death toll at the end of last month, but not until longer after the damage to Israel's reputation had been done.

 

ANALYSIS: Has Iran's Multi-Front War Against Israel Already Begun?

That Israel is fighting a two-front, and perhaps even three-front, war with Iran became apparent following events in Syria and Gaza this week.

Let’s first take a look at what’s going on in Gaza, where Iran is funding Hamas’ latest terror campaign against Israel.

What began as an organized Palestinian mass protests against the ‘Israeli siege’ has now become a new type of warfare where Hamas and Islamic Jihad (both are funded and trained by the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC)) are using incendiary kites and explosives-laden helium balloons to terrorize southern Israel.

This campaign has already caused more than 450 fires that destroyed 25,000 dunams of forests and agricultural fields, resulting in millions of dollars in damages.

Last weekend, the Israeli military started to treat the ‘Kite Jihad’ as a terror campaign, and introduced a tit-for-tat strategy that includes airstrikes on Hamas and Islamic Jihad targets in Gaza, as well as attacks on cells that are responsible for organizing and carrying out the kite terror.

However, Israel has been unable to halt the ‘Kite Jihad,’ and Hamas has vowed to extend the campaign into next summer, claiming that the incendiary devices could eventually reach targets as far as 40 kilometers from the Gaza border.

On Tuesday night, the sides came close to all-out war when 45 rockets and mortar shells were fired into southern Israel after the IAF struck 25 terror-related targets in Gaza.

The IDF has said it is ready to enter Gaza whenever the Israeli government decides to put an end to the ‘Kite Jihad’ and the renewed rocket attacks on Israel.

An unnamed IDF official told the Israeli news site Ynet that Hamas is misreading the situation due to a perceived focus on the situation along the northern border. “They misunderstand us, and this could lead to a deterioration, at the end of which we would be back inside the Gaza Strip and they would realize they had made a mistake,” the source told Ynet.

IDF officers think that if Hamas continues its current escalation, the Israeli government would have no other choice than to call up reserve soldiers and order the army to move into Gaza. On Wednesday evening, Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu seemed to confirm he could give a green light for a major IDF operation against the Iranian proxies in the coastal enclave.

"I do not intend to go into detail about what we are planning vis-a-vis Gaza.The intensity will be stepped up as necessary. We are prepared for any scenario and our enemies would do well to understand this – now," Netanyahu said.

Hamas, for its part, made clear it is dead-set on “setting the rules of engagement the way it sees fit,” according to Palestinian media. “The resistance will not allow the Israeli occupation to isolate the Palestinian people or impose any new equations,” Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum told Ma’an News in Bethlehem.

In Syria, meanwhile, Israel is continuing its efforts to halt the Iranian military build-up by launching airstrikes on Iran-related targets as far away as the Iraqi border. At the same time, the Netanyahu government has launched a diplomatic offensive to keep Iran and its proxies away from the Israeli border.

This past Monday, the IAF reportedly struck the Iranian-backed Kata’ib Hezbollah militia near the town of Qaim in the vicinity of the Albu Kamal border crossing on the Syrian-Iraqi border. The attack killed 52 members of the Iraqi militia, which is part of the Hashd al-Shaabi umbrella organization of Iraqi Shiite militias, and which takes its orders from Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force of the IRGC.

Kata’ib Hezbollah is led by Qais al-Khazali, who was spotted touring the Lebanese-Israeli border seven months ago. His appearance there was seen is a signal to Israel that Iran would use multiple fronts in any future attempt to destroy the Jewish state.

Netanyahu's diplomatic efforts to curb Iranian ambitions have included leveraging his good relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump. On Monday, Netanyahu visited Jordanian King Abdullah II in Amman and dispatched his national security adviser, Meir Ben Shabbat, to Moscow to discuss the situation.

It remains to be seen, however, if the diplomatic offensive will bear fruit, and if the increasing IAF strikes on Iran-related targets throughout Syria will deter Tehran from establishing the final stretch of the their land corridor to the Israeli border.

Hezbollah terrorists and members of other Iranian-backed Shiite militias have been spotted wearing Syrian army uniforms to disguise their presence near the Israeli border, while on Tuesday night the Syrian army finally started the long-anticipated offensive against rebels in the Daara province.

This happened despite repeated American warnings to the Assad regime and its allies to not breach the de-escalation agreement in southwest Syria, a move that could trigger an Israeli reaction.

In southern Lebanon, meanwhile, Hamas and Hezbollah are increasing cooperation and are training thousands of fighters while building new missile facilities in preparation for the future multi-front war with Israel.

 

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Israel Foils Massive Hamas Terror Assault

Israeli security officials this week revealed the recent thwarting of a massive Hamas terror assault on central Israel.

In October of last year, the Israel Security Agency (ISA, known in Israel as the "Shin Bet") began investigating a large Hamas cell established in the Samarian town of Nablus.

In the ensuing months, the ISA discovered that the cell was planning an unprecedented terrorist offensive.

"In recent months, the Shin Bet, Israel Defense Forces and Israel Police uncovered a Hamas terror cell, extraordinary in its size and level of activity, which operated in the Nablus area," read an ISA statement released this past Sunday.

The cell was made up of over 20 operatives, most of whom have now been arrested. They were planning to carrying out a suicide bombing in Jerusalem, bomb attacks in Tel Aviv and the Jewish settlement of Itamar, and shooting attacks across the northern West Bank.

All of the aforementioned attacks were thwarted, and by the end of April, nearly all the cell members had been taken into custody.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said these revelations again proved why Israel can't simply surrender its biblical heartland for a questionable peace agreement.

"Hamas is trying to harm us both from Gaza and from Judea and Samaria. That is the reason that we will continue to maintain security control over the entire area west of the Jordan," said the Israeli leader in a prepared statement.

 

COMMENTARY: Footballers Salute the Fuehrer!

Bearing in mind the obvious success of President Trump’s “Don’t mess with me” strategy in getting dictators to the negotiating table, surely lessons can be learnt from this. It certainly gives a whole new meaning to ‘playing the trump card’.

But the stubborn Europeans refuse to take note, or even learn from history. Did not Jesus indicate that wisdom – and recognition of his Lordship in particular – was hidden from “the wise”, but revealed to “little children”? (Matthew 11.25)

I am more staggered than ever at the lengths to which the British Government will go to appease dictators since learning for the first time last Saturday that the England football team had, in 1938, raised a Nazi salute to Hitler in front of a crowd of 105,000 before a friendly match against Germany in Berlin – on the orders of the Foreign Office!

This was apparently designed to pave the way for Neville Chamberlain’s efforts to appease the Fuehrer, instead of squaring up to him as Churchill was later to do.

(A copy of the infamous ‘Nazi salute’ photo, reproduced in last Saturday’s Daily Mail, was sent to Britain’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson from his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in response to Johnson’s suggestion that Russia was using the World Cup for propaganda purposes in the same way that Hitler had done with the 1936 Olympics.)

This shameful (1938) episode in Britain’s history was a natural progression of their foreign policy in bending over backwards to keep the Arabs happy throughout the 20s and 30s when they were supposed to be preparing a home for the Jewish people.

Buckling under the pressure of Muslim-inspired riots over the prospect of a Jewish nation in their midst, Britain betrayed both their international obligation and their own Balfour Declaration promising to do all they could to ensure that Zionist aspirations were met.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict could well have been nipped in the bud if we had acted with more integrity and courage. And after all these years, Britain is still batting for the wrong side by refusing to follow President Trump’s lead in recognising Jerusalem as the Jewish capital.

Fear of Muslim-Arab fury, rather than pleasing God in blessing Israel, once again turns us into cowards presiding over the potential ruin of our country (see Isaiah 60.12).

Theresa May and her European allies are also refusing to take President Trump (and Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu) seriously over the danger posed by Iran, insisting on sticking to the Obama-led nuclear deal designed to keep the lid on the rogue state’s weapons build-up.

The Ayatollah’s threat of removing and eradicating the “malignant cancerous tumour” he calls Israel is shrugged off in a manner reminiscent of the 1930s, when Hitler’s rantings were not taken seriously.

Mr Netanyahu says it is “amazing that at the beginning of the 21st century, somebody talks about destroying Israel – that means destroying another six million-plus Jews…”

This is the same country that was behind the bombing of the Buenos Aires Jewish community centre in 1994, leaving 85 dead, an atrocity that has blighted Argentina ever since.

Our weakness with Iran seems to chime with our stance on its terrorist proxy Hezbollah who, last Sunday, were once again free to parade their hate-filled views on Israel through the streets of London despite ongoing calls for a ban.

Refusing to apply an outright ban on the organization (in recognising separate political and military wings which Hezbollah itself does not acknowledge) is not only encouraging ‘hate speech’ which is supposed to be illegal, but is obviously against the interests of our 300,000-strong Jewish community as well as Israel.

By sanctioning the belligerence of those who seek Israel’s demise, we are certainly not being a blessing to the seed of Abraham, and are thus in grave danger of bringing a curse upon our nation (Genesis 12.3). We at least have a chance to begin putting things right later this month when Prince William makes the first ever official visit to Israel from a British royal.

Can we not learn from Brazil where, just a fortnight ago, two million Christians took to the streets of Sao Paulo for their annual March for Jesus? According to one report, the crowd were waving Israeli flags while cheering and praying for the Jewish state.

For the first time in nearly 20 years of the event, Jewish officials were invited to attend. Addressing the gathering, Israel’s consul Dori Goren said: “Attending the march is our way to express our gratitude for the evangelical people and the Brazilian people.”

Argentinian evangelist Andrew Palau, son of Luis, preached the gospel and a “sea of hands” were raised in response to his call to faith and repentance.

Tens of thousands of Iranians have also expressed support for Israel in a Twitter campaign to distance themselves from the opinions of their regime.

Christians who know their Bible and are committed to following Jesus are also serious about their love for Jews. For it was they who gave us the patriarchs, the prophets, the Bible itself and indeed the Lord Jesus.

Since God consistently proclaims his unfailing love for his chosen people despite their repeated backsliding, Bible believers naturally follow the same path so that it becomes the case that if you love Jesus, you find yourself also loving the Jew.

Christians are those who follow Jesus – “despised and rejected of men” (Isaiah 53.3) – and are thus prepared to suffer abuse and ridicule as he did. In the same way they will also be ready to wave Israeli flags, which is to swim very much against the tide in almost every generation.

True Christians are happy to nail their colours to the mast – and to support the real victims of society, not necessarily those groups beloved of our politically-correct world.

So why do British Christians (on the whole) not get the connection between following Jesus and befriending the Jews? Could it perhaps be something to do with Pentecost, which I touched on last week? For Jesus explained that the Holy Spirit, poured out at Pentecost, would “guide you into all the truth”. (John 16.13)

And he also said: “Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.” (Luke 9.26)


Charles Gardner is author of Israel the Chosen, available from Amazon, and Peace in Jerusalem, available from olivepresspublisher.com

 

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Former Israeli Gov't Official Arrested for Spying; Could Face Death Penalty

A former Israeli government official has been arrested on charges of spying on behalf of Iran, and some say his sentence could be unprecedentedly harsh.

Gonen Segev served as minster of infrastructure and energy from 1995-1996, during the governments of Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres (after Rabin was assassinated). It has been noted that his vote was key to ratifying the Oslo Accords in the Knesset.

Following his political career, Segev went into private business, but was arrested in 2004 after being caught smuggling thousands of ecstasy tablets into Israel. Segev claimed he thought the pills were M&M's candies, but the court wasn't buying it, and sentenced the disgraced former minister to three years in prison.

After his release, Segev moved to Nigeria, where it has now been revealed he was recruited by agents at the Iranian Embassy in 2012.

A month ago, Segev tried to enter Equatorial Guinea, but was instead extradited to Israel due to his criminal record.

Upon arrival, he was taken into custody on charges of espionage, aiding the enemy in a time of war, and providing information to the enemy.

Israeli authorities contend that Segev passes sensitive information regarding security installations and Israel's energy industry to Iranian agents.

Segev reportedly has not denied frequent contacts with Iranian agents, but claims it was all part of a ruse to trick the Iranians, thus allowing him to eventually return home a hero.

Like his earlier M&M's story, that's not likely to convince Israel's judiciary, and at least one legal source told The Times of Israel that the court could decide to make an example of Segev by sentencing him to death, a punishment Israel has only ever carried out once in its 70-year modern history, and that against the Nazi architect of the Holocaust, Adolph Eichmann.

PHOTO: Former Energy Ministry Gonen Segev during his 2006 appearance before the Supreme Court for drug smuggling. (Flash90)

 

Iranians to Israel: "We Love You, and Know You Love Us"

An Israeli reporter in Russia to cover the World Cup caught up with fans of the Iran national team just after its match against Morocco, and some of what they had to say was eye-opening.

A group of three Iranian men pleased with their team's 1:0 win over Morocco went on to tell the Israelis watching from home: "What you saw in there, those are the people of Iran, not what you see on TV (referring to the frequently televised anti-Israel marches in Tehran). We love you, and I know you love us."

Another fan declared: "The Iranian people love Israel!"

Click here to watch the clip. The news commentary is in Hebrew, but the Iranian fans speak in English.

PHOTO: Ynet screenshot

 

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The Next Planned EU/UN Punch to Israel's Face

That Europe is heavily involved in what I have previously called "the dead Jew industry" should by now be beyond doubt. But in case some still don't get it, I would refer them to the EU's financial support of unrepentant terrorist Marwan Barghouti, who was convicted of 26 murders and attempted murders, for which he was sent to jail for five life sentences, plus an additional 40 years for membership in a terrorist organization. 

Holland and the EU, among others, hope that this convicted killer will replace Mahmoud Abbas as head of the Palestinian government. If that ever happens, Barghouti, who has already outlined his strategic plans for the future, would join forces with Hamas to resume the "armed struggle" against Israel.

A recent report by NGO Monitor, an Israeli organization that monitors the activity of the supporters of the dead Jew Industry, reveals once again how Europe is fanning the flame that will one day force Israel out of the so-called "West Bank," creating a new "Gaza" in the very heart of Israel.

NGO Monitor has shown that the EU contributed to the radical left-wing Israeli NGO Yesh Din some €269,975 for the pursuit of its new project of investigating the Israeli army's forcible entries into Palestinian homes. Knowing on which string to harp, Yesh Din is particularly interested in the effects these forced home entries (FHE) have on women and children. Gender sensitivity goes a long way nowadays, especially when it pertains to Palestinian women.

More specifically, in a grant proposal submitted to the UN, Yesh Din outlines its future objectives, the investigation of already assumed criminal offences routinely committed by Israeli soldiers during these forced home entries. The lack of true criminal investigations into these alleged crimes, so goes the logic, proves that there must be a "culture of impunity within Israel's security forces personnel." Such an opportunity to throw another punch at Israel's face is not going to be missed, especially not by the EU and the UN.

However, just as these radical NGOs won't tell you the reasons for the checkpoints, Yesh Din likewise won't acknowledge the justification behind those forced home entries. For their part, neither the EU nor the UN care to ask. Nevertheless, FHE is the practice of any security force around the globe that enters with considerable force into home of possibly dangerous individuals who are suspected of being involved in terrorism. More often than not, FHE takes places in the middle of the night, regardless of the identity of the uninvolved occupants of the targeted home. In Israel, as in any other country, FHE is carried out according to intelligence that locates the place where a suspect could be found in order to capture him or her for further investigation.

By nature, therefore, FHE is sensitive, since it is life-risking for the soldiers who enter into close quarters where uninvolved family members are being fully exposed to the brute force of such an operation. There should be little wonder that NGOs find the FHE a treasure trove of human rights violations. It is the nature of such operations that would send women to complain of foul play. Focusing on FHE, therefore, guarantees the desired results – the blaming of Israel for systematic violations of human rights.

Back in 2106, Ehud Yaari, in my opinion the most trusted Israeli journalist covering the conflict, told anyone willing to listen that the Palestinian Authority, realizing that its quest for statehood was going nowhere, decided to shift its current emphasis to the more lucrative human rights issue. This demonstrates the cunning of the Palestinians. It also shows that, in effect, NGOs like Yesh Din are clearly collaborating with the Palestinian Authority in its objective to ruin Israel.

PHOTO: IDF soldiers raid the home of a suspected terrorist in Hebron. (Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90)

 

Israeli Kids Counter 'Terror Kites' With 'Peace Balloons'

Israeli children (and their parents) living in the region adjacent to the Gaza Strip did something extraordinary on the weekend in response to ongoing Palestinian attacks on their communities.

For the past couple weeks, Hamas and other terrorist activists operating out of Gaza have been flying kites and balloons carrying incendiary devices into southern Israel.

The damage caused by the fires has been extensive, especially to Israeli farms in the area.

The residents of Kibbutz Nir Am decided to do something about it. So, on Saturday, the small community's children came out en masse and released balloons of their own toward Gaza. But instead of fire, these balloons carried a message of peace in the form of candy.

An Israeli diplomat working in Norway expressed in words what the balloons were meant to say: "The children in Gaza, who are innocent victims of the cruel #Hamas regime, deserve to know that children in #Israel don’t hate them."

PHOTO: Illustration. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

 

Southern Israel Ablaze Amid Fresh Wave of Terror Kites

Israeli firefighters battled dozens of blazes in the south of the country over the weekend, when Palestinians flew a fresh wave of kites and balloons loaded with incendiary devices into the Negev region.

Seven fires scorched dozens of acres in southern Israel on Saturday, and the area suffered 11 blazes on Friday.

Hamas had threatened to send 5,000 "terror kites" into southern Israel, but fortunately that didn't happen.

Of the kites and balloons that Gazans did launch, a great many were intercepted by Israeli military drones.

Still, the damage caused by those that managed to land in southern Israel was extensive.

 

NEW: CDs by Shuly Nathan

Shuly Nathan is an Israeli singer discovered as an unknown 20 year-old in 1967 when she performed the song "Yerushalayim Shel Zahav" (Jerusalem of Gold).

Her performance and her subsequent recording of the song made her a star in Israel.

 

UN Condemns Israel, But Won't Censure Hamas

The United Nations' bias and hypocrisy was on full display this week when the General Assembly voted overwhelmingly in favor of condemning Israel for the violence on the Gaza border, but refused to do the same for Hamas.

Having failed to push a condemnation of Israel through the UN Security Council, thanks to a US veto, champions of the Palestinian cause turned to the General Assembly, even though resolutions passed there are not legally binding.

The resolution passed on Wednesday slammed Israel for "excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate" use of force in dealing with the mass infiltration attempts along the Israel-Gaza border. The motion passed with 120 nations in favor, 8 opposed and 45 abstaining.

Just before the vote, US Ambassador Nikki Haley proposed an amendment that would have also held Hamas responsible for the volatile situation. The assembly voted on the amendment, accepting it by a vote of 62 in favor, 58 opposed and 42 abstentions, but the General Assembly president refused to add the amendment to the resolution arguing that it required the approval of a two-thirds majority. The original anti-Israel draft then went forward to a vote absent the US amendment.

Haley called the final General Assembly ruling a "morally bankrupt judgement."

In Israel, it wasn't paid a great deal of attention. Israelis are by now used to the bias and hypocrisy of the United Nations, and do not much worry themselves with the rumblings of the nations (Isaiah 17:13).

 

ANALYSIS: How to Solve the Gaza Humanitarian Crisis

Even as Hamas vows to continue the violent “Great March of Return” through the summer, despite a noticeable decline in the motivation among Gazans to turn up for new confrontations with the IDF along the Gaza border, Israeli politicians and IDF officers think they have found a possible solution to the crisis.

On Sunday, the Israeli security cabinet discussed the situation, and in particular the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza, for the first time since the beginning of the violence at the end of March.

The security cabinet didn’t make any decisions yet, but, according to Israeli media, the focus of the meeting was on measures to ease the plight of average Gazans.

The line of thinking behind the discussions, which included a proposal by Transportation Minister Israel Katz, who envisions the construction of a 1,300-acre artificial island off the coast of Gaza to serve as a gateway to the world, is that the dire economic conditions there fuel terror and violence directed at Israel.

“The State of Israel has run into an unreasonable situation in Gaza. On the one hand, we are dealing with short-term proposals for civilian assistance because of the humanitarian crisis, instead of exerting significant practical pressure to restore the bodies of the captured IDF soldiers. And on the other hand, we refrain from making decisions on correct strategic solutions for the long term,” Katz said before the meeting.

Deputy Minister Michael Oren also thinks that by solving the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip the security situation in south Israel would improve.

Oren wants to use the Erez Crossing as an extra terminal for the import of goods to Gaza, and wants to connect the Hamas-controlled enclave to the port of Ashdod via a railway. 

The former Israeli ambassador to the US also claims his plan is cheaper than Katz’ island idea.

Others like Education Minister Naftali Bennet and officials within the Israeli security apparatus say Israel should reach a deal with Hamas under which the terror group would return the bodies of slain IDF soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul in exchange for opening the already-existing port in Gaza. Supervision of the port could be outsourced to Germany, which in the past brokered deals between Israel and Hamas, the officials think. 

Then there is Member of Knesset Haim Jelin, who himself lives in a kibbutz close to the Gaza border, and who wants to use his contacts in the business world to create jobs in Gaza. Jelin thinks he can convince a Spanish textile corporation to invest in the impoverished enclave, while IDF officers recently recommended the Israeli government issue work permits for residents of Gaza once again.

But leading experts on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict say the politicians have it all wrong.

Take, for example, what Prof. Ephraim Karsh wrote in his analysis of the situation.

Karsh, a former emeritus professor of Middle East and Mediterranean studies at King’s College London and the writer of several books on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, wrote in an article titled ‘It’s not Gaza’s economy, stupid’ that the idea of “the immediate rehabilitation of Gaza as panacea to its endemic propensity for violence is not only completely unfounded but the inverse of the truth.”

It is the other way around, wrote Karsh in his article for the Middle East Forum. 

“It is not Gaza’s economic malaise that has precipitated Palestinian violence; rather, it is the endemic violence that has caused the Strip’s humanitarian crisis,” according to the current director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies.

"So long as Gaza continues to be governed by Hamas’ rule of the jungle, no Palestinian civil society, let alone a viable state, can develop,” Karsh concluded before calling for “a comprehensive sociopolitical and educational transformation” in Palestinian society as a whole.

The Palestinian Arabs should be educated in “the virtues of coexistence with Israel,” and only after such a transformation “Gaza can look forward to a better future,” according to Karsh, who compared this transformation to what happened in Germany and Japan after WWII.

Prof. Hillel Frisch, a professor of political and Middle East studies at Bar-Ilan University, advocates a similar approach, and says that Hamas should be defeated in the way the IDF crushed the Palestinian terror movements during the so-called ‘Second Intifada.’

“Economic largesse at this point would only augment Hamas’s resources, as it taxes incoming goods and aid. That money will be funneled back to its hardcore through campaigns such as the March of Return,” Frisch argued.

Frisch and Karsh are probably right.

One only has to look at what happened after the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, when Palestinian Arabs razed the greenhouses of Gush Katif to the ground within a matter of days. At the time, there was no humanitarian crisis and all the border crossings in Gaza were open.

Many in Israel were convinced that the complete withdrawal could turn Gaza into a new “Singapore,” as Frisch puts it, and would enhance peace between Israel and its neighbors in the now-devastated enclave.

 

COMMENTARY: I've Never Met a Bad Shiite

Israel Today editor Aviel Schneider recalls his days as a soldier during the Lebanon war, fighting alongside Shiites.

The full article appears in the June 2018 issue of Israel Today Magazine.

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Israel, the World Cup and BDS

Football (or soccer as it's known in North America) is by far Israel’s favorite sport. Once every four years, the flags of different countries adorn the balconies and porches of Israeli fans. It’s time for the World Cup, the most watched sporting event in the world.

Israelis are excited for the upcoming games, though Israel’s national team failed to qualify for the tournament… again. This sad fact surprises no one, because even though Israelis love football, in the international arena, they simply don’t excel.

Why is that so? No one really knows the answer to this question. We have high-paid players competing in premier leagues in Europe, yet countries smaller than us are doing better. Iceland is a good example. With a population of just 380,000, people they qualified for the World Cup. Football was the Icelandic government’s answer to the problem of drug and alcohol abuse among youth. They invested heavily in establishing football academies, open fields for kids to play and let certified coaches train them. Maybe the problem, indeed, lies in how little we budget for and spend on sports.

The only time Israel qualified for the World Cup was in 1970, and memories of those hallowed times are still spoken of today. 

Fast forward back to the present - Israel was all set to close Argentina’s round of the preparation phase with a friendly match here in the Jewish state. Tickets to the game sold out within hours given that one of the most recognizable athletes in the world, Argentina's star forward Lionel Messi, was going to take the field, here, in Israel. Sadly, the game never took place. It was called off due to enormous pressure from the Palestinians and the anti-Israeli Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS).

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke twice with his Argentinean counterpart, but the exchanges proved fruitless. Some say that the fault lies with Culture & Sports Minister Miri Regev for insisting the game be held in Jerusalem, instead of Haifa. A large demonstration was held in Barcelona, where the Argentineans were training for the international event. In an outburst of protests, Argentinean jerseys were sprinkled with red paint to resemble blood, and signs with the usual apartheid slogans were seen on the streets. A representative for the BDS movement said: “I think that today’s cancellation is a small part of the growing wave of  support for the BDS, and we hope that Israeli society will start to realize that there is a price to pay for the occupation.” Messi, after seeing his jersey drenched in “blood,” voiced concern that by going ahead with the game, Argentina would be partaking in the whitewashing of the “Israeli occupation.”

It was a defeat for sports, and a defeat for truth. Sports are supposed to bind nations around the world and to bridge divides – not create them. It is not the first time that a foreign team has refused to play in Israel based on political considerations, and it will likely not be the last.

That said, Israelis will continue to love football despite the fact that our national team struggles to move up in the world rankings. They will look to unplug from current events, from the cries that speak hate and lies about their country, and simply enjoy a good game of football.

 

Macron's Overt Antisemitism

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to France on June 5th yielded interesting statements from French President Emmanuel Macron. 

After going through the routine of condemning all forms of violence against civilians and committing France to the security of Israel, Macron's problematic ideas about violence and peace came when he "condemn[ed] all form of expressions to incite, made by certain groups, and I am thinking of Hamas here," as well as when he spoke about his disapproval of the moving of the US Embassy to Jerusalem, which led to "people dying"… in Gaza. "If this [move of the embassy] leads to people dying, it’s not a celebration," he said.

Macron, if he ever takes notice, could sue me for attaching antisemitism to his name, and if that happens, I will lose the case in a heartbeat, because Macron is not an anti-Semite. This being said, there can be no denial that Macron is using logical and moral arguments of the kind that will show their true colors only if taken to their logical conclusion, ad absurdum.

By today's moral standard, Israel would never have come into being for the simple reason that it is viewed as a white colonialist entity that displaced indigenous people and occupied their land. This argument, you might be interested to know, is the oldest anti-Semitic ploy in the book. This moral charge, echoed repeatedly in the Bible, has become the standard reason for opposing Jewish presence in the Land of Israel ever since. 

Now, since the Jewish people stand on the three-legged foundation of Torah-People-Land, removing one leg will bring an end to the whole thing called Israel. Antisemitism, therefore, goes far deeper than Holocaust-denial or raw hatred of the Jews. Fundamentally, antisemitism is any attempt to remove any one of these legs.

Concerning today's most pressing issue, the land, in his opening comments on the Book of Genesis, Rashi, arguably the most important Jewish interpreter of the Bible, explains why Genesis was even written. The reason, he argues, is written in Psalm 111:6: "He has shown his people the power of his works by giving them the lands of other nations."

Accordingly, Genesis was written in case "the nations of the world will say that 'you are robbers because you have occupied the lands of seven nations,' tell them that the Land is the Lord's. He created it and He gave it to whom He pleased." Rashi's answer is chillingly candid. Without divine decree, he seems to be saying, Israel is indeed a moral travesty.

In this scheme, overt antisemitism, which denies the very idea of a "chosen people" rightfully dwelling on the land of seven nations, becomes a morally-sound position that was, and still is, used against Israel. 

Consider the 1919 Paris peace treaty, which among other things approved the Balfour Declaration for a Jewish home in Mandatory Palestine. Leading up to this treaty was the King-Crane Commission that concluded that support for a Jewish state in Palestine would lead to violence since, due to Arab resistance, "only by force can a Jewish state in Palestine be established or maintained." If, as it is today, peace was the primary driving principal behind the superpowers' foreign policy, Israel would have never come into being.

Macron's logic and morality run along the same lines. If the move of the American embassy to Jerusalem breeds violence in Gaza, it is morally and politically imperative not to do it. Peace above all, even if it means the clogging of the arteries of Israel's heart, is good for Israel, and for the world, according to this moral anti-Semitic argument. To balance it off, Macron draws moral equivalency between Israel and Hamas by refusing to address this entity's expressed supreme goal of destroying Israel. Peace, the anti-Semites will argue, is more important than Israel.

Whether or not he realizes it, Macron is softly whispering, much like the famous MASH theme song, the lullaby of "suicide is painless. It brings on many changes." While for some it might be unwittingly done, this is part of a "valiant" European effort to euthanize Israel.

 

COMMENTARY: Whatever Happened to Pentecost?

With anti-Semitism on the rise, and Jews under threat as never before, it was astonishing that the government again allowed the staging in London of Sunday’s annual Iranian-backed Al Quds parade.

What sense does it make that, in a country where ‘hate speech’ is supposedly illegal, a march fronted by the Hezbollah terrorist group – committed to the destruction of Israel – is free to spread its poison?

Among the cheerleaders, and one of the speakers down to address the rally, was Rev Stephen Sizer, who has already been severely reprimanded for his anti-Semitic views by his own Church of England.

The whole scenario was an absolute disgrace. And yet Israel’s greatest need is not protection! Bear with me as I will explain in due course.

You will no doubt have heard talk of how we are now said to be living in a post-Christian era, with British society largely having rejected biblical values of the past. But I also detect a very worrying trend in the Western Church towards a kind of post-Pentecost line of thinking that appears to relegate its teaching as ‘passe’.

As the disciples of Jesus were empowered on the Day of Pentecost to spread the gospel throughout the world, effectively giving life to what is now known as the Church, does this mean that the body of Christ is now in its death-throes?

I have just reviewed the most brilliant book I have ever had the pleasure to read – R T Kendall’s Whatever Happened to the Gospel? – and hereby offer this piece as a brief postscript to the much-beloved preacher’s latest volume.

Whatever happened to Pentecost? Many British churches seem to have stopped celebrating the day, or even mentioning it, although it’s much more than a day anyway – it’s an experience. Even Pentecostals and charismatics, who supposedly base much of their theology on this vitally important feast, seem largely to have abandoned it.

The need for believers to be emboldened with power from on high, for which the resurrected Christ commanded his disciples to wait in Jerusalem, is rarely discussed. And we wonder why there is a lack of power in our witness.

The Bible feasts, which include Passover and Pentecost (also known as Shavuot), are meant to be celebrated to remind us of key truths and of God’s great bounty and deliverance. Pentecost comes 50 days (or seven weeks) after Passover, is also known as the Feast of Weeks, and is a celebration of the first fruits of the harvest – specifically wheat, the main ingredient of bread.

Jews also mark the occasion to celebrate the giving of the Law on Mt Sinai. And Jesus, the ‘bread of life’ born in Bethlehem (literally house of bread) is the fulfilment of the Law (Matthew 5.17). And thus Pentecost is a fulfilment of Passover. Jesus, who died for our sins of which the Law convicts us (Romans 7.7), sends his Holy Spirit to empower us to keep a Law that is now “written on our hearts” and not just on tablets of stone (Ezekiel 36.26, Romans 2.15, 2 Corinthians 3.3), thus enabling us to witness boldly for the gospel.

And so it was that, on the Day of Pentecost, 3,000 souls were added to the body of believers. We absolutely cannot do without Pentecost. Jesus paid a very high price for it. It cost him everything.

Britain is proud to have produced one of the outstanding preachers of 20th century Pentecostalism, Smith Wigglesworth, who was illiterate prior to his conversion and subsequently only ever read the Bible. He took the message of the gospel around the world and raised 14 people from the dead in the process – a modern-day apostle if ever there was one.

Yet today Pentecost is largely forgotten and considered almost irrelevant; something of an embarrassment even. To their credit, the Anglicans, who in some ways are leading the march towards apostasy, still hold on to the feast.

But Jewish believers are doing much more than that. No doubt partly due to their awareness of the festival’s roots going back thousands of years in their history, they are taking Jesus’ words seriously, and literally, as – empowered by the Holy Spirit – they share the good news, beginning in Jerusalem (Acts 1.8).

Jews for Jesus had specifically chosen the feast of Shavuot to preach the gospel in the streets of Jerusalem, just as the apostles had done 2,000 years ago. And while they are not claiming that 3,000 souls responded, dozens decided to follow Yeshua (Hebrew for Jesus) as they learnt how he had fulfilled Messianic prophecies in the Tenach (our Old Testament). And hundreds more were willing to discuss his claims to be the Messiah of Israel.

One woman, when reminded of what happened in Jerusalem with Jesus, was shocked, and said: “I need to read those prophecies about the Messiah as soon as possible, because although I always believed in God, I did not know about them.”

The general openness was apparently profound, as I have experienced myself. David Brickner, of Jews for Jesus, wrote in their June update: “Of course, the key to success for those first disciples who began in Jerusalem 2,000 years ago was the power of the Holy Spirit. That is still true for Jews for Jesus and anyone else who wants to do God’s work in His way…I don’t know how much more time we have before the return of the Lord, but just like those first Jews for Jesus, we cannot just stand gazing up into heaven (referring to Jesus’ ascension).”

Israel is currently surrounded by implacable enemies who have vowed to bring about their annihilation. This is why Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the target of a recent assassination plot, is warning Theresa May and other European leaders of the danger posed by Iran.

Yet their greatest need is not defence. For God, who brought them back to the Promised Land in fulfilment of ancient prophecies, also plans to restore them to a living relationship with Him. And when they are back with their Lord, the Lord will come back to the world. (Zechariah 12.10 & 14.4)

Indeed, as Israel comes to know that He (Jesus) is the Lord, the nations too will understand this truth. (Ezekiel 36.23) And none of this would happen without Pentecost.

PHOTO: A traditional harvest celebration leading up to Shavuot/Pentecost in Israel. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)


Charles Gardner is author of Israel the Chosen, available from Amazon, and Peace in Jerusalem, available from olivepresspublisher.com

 

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Israel: Only Removal of Hamas Can Solve Gaza's Problems

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday convened his cabinet to discuss proposals for easing the dire humanitarian conditions effecting many residents of the Gaza Strip.

The measures discussed centered primarily on providing Gaza with more electricity, fresh water and food.

But by the end of the day, the cabinet couldn't come to any agreement on the proposals, and it Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman's words of warning that echoed loudest.

"Whoever thinks improving the civilian and economic situation in Gaza will halt the terror kites and the violence, is simply wrong," Liberman told Army Radio ahead of the meeting.

"Enough with all sorts of illusions and delusions that improving the economy will end terror," he continued. "The opposite is true — they’ll understand that with use of force and violence they can achieve political goals. To improve the reality in the Gaza Strip, the Hamas regime must be toppled. Anyone who wants more than four hours of electricity a day must topple the Hamas regime."

Typically the situation is reported in the mainstream international media as Israel imposing unfair sanctions that amount to collective punishment on the people of Gaza.

What's often left out of those reports is the fact that Egypt is also blockading Gaza, and for the same reasons as Israel - to prevent the coastal enclave's Hamas overlords from importing weapons and bolstering its military infrastructure. Similarly, the Palestinian Authority itself, which is currently blaming Israel for all of Gaza's woes, has for years cut salaries to government workers in Hamas-ruled Gaza (the government is the largest employer) and has refused to pay for most of the electricity that Israel supplies to the territory.

Hamas-ruled Gaza is indeed under siege, but not only from Israel. In fact, of the three parties blockading and/or sanctioning Hamas-ruled Gaza, Israel is by far doing the most to ease the burden on local residents.

 

Israel Makes Iran an Offer It Shouldn't Refuse

"Iran's regime shouts, 'Death to Israel.' In response, Israel declares, 'Life to the Iranian people!'"

 

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Trump Wants Belligerent Palestinian Negotiator Booted

The Palestinian Authority's long-time chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, has made a career of sticking to his movement's hard-line demands, and of publicly rejecting all Israeli claims, be they legal, historical or religious.

And US President Donald Trump's had enough of him.

An op-ed penned by Trump's Middle East envoy, Jason Greenblatt, and appearing in the Sunday issue of the daily newspaper Ha'aretz called for Erekat's immediate ouster.

"We have heard your voice for decades and it has not achieved anything close to Palestinian aspirations or anything close to a comprehensive peace agreement," wrote Greenblatt. "Other Palestinian perspectives might help us finally achieve a comprehensive peace agreement where Palestinian and Israeli lives can be better."

While Erekat has long been critical of America's role in the peace process, his rhetoric has escalated significantly since Trump took office.

In his own Ha'aretz op-ed published last week, Erekat accused Trump of working hand-in-hand with Israel to oppress the Palestinians. The article was titled "Partners in occupation: Trump provides the anti-Palestinian incitement, Israel the bullets".

 

IDF Reservists Called Up for Surprise Drill on Northern Border

Israeli army reservists were surprised on Sunday to receive orders to immediately leave their jobs and families and report to the northern border with Syria.

The massive ground forces exercise follows a large Air Force drill conducted over the past week.

Both are seen as a clear message to Iranian forces just over the border in Syria to not further test the Jewish state.

Army officials, however, denied that Sunday's surprise call-up was directly tied to escalating tensions with Iran.

The IDF explained that the drill had been planned for some time, but that it was kept secret, even from the participating units, to test their response to an emergency call-up in the event of an actual outbreak of war.

 

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Analysis: How the Media Serve as an Echo Chamber for Hamas

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman this week harshly criticized the international media for being an “echo chamber” for Hamas and other Palestinian organizations in their reporting on the Gaze border riots over the past two months.

“With all the criticism Israel has gotten, nobody has identified the less lethal means by which Israel could have defended itself over the last 4 weeks… If what happened isn’t right – what is right? It seems to me that in this journalistic environment nine out of 10 articles that are written about the Gaza conflict are critical of Israel,” Friedman argued during a conference in Jerusalem organized by The Media Line.

“There’s tension between getting it out fast, and getting it right,” the American diplomat continued, adding that “no one in the media should have to be an echo chamber,” since journalism should be based on accuracy.

While Friedman was speaking, Townhall published a column written by Marina Medvin in which she accused CNN of disseminating ‘fake news’ about Hamas’ violent attempts to infiltrate and terrorize southern Israel.

CNN stories are propagandizing art. A story about months of continuous attacks on Israeli border and infrastructure by terrorists and their recruits becomes a story of a nurse killed due to Israeli overreaction to what CNN described as ’largely unarmed’ ‘protests,’ a regurgitation of Hamas terrorist allegations,” Medvin wrote.

She then gave two examples of how CNN serves as an echo-chamber for Hamas in Gaza.

In the case of the death of a Palestinian baby in May, CNN reported Israel was responsible for the death of the child who Palestinian Arabs claimed died of inhalation of tear gas during one of the violent protests along the Gaza border.

“Turns out, that was a lie,” Medvin wrote, adding that “the baby was removed from the list of Palestinian dead because that baby died of natural causes unrelated to Israel or the Great Return March.”

The baby suffered “from patent ductus arteriosus, a congenital heart disease commonly described as a hole in the heart,” The New York Times reported last month.

The dead body of the child was then taken to the Israeli border by an 11-year-old uncle, while the father of the baby lied to the media about the causes of his child's death to score some points in the cognitive war against Israel.

CNN didn’t correct its reporting about the death of the baby, nor did the organization withdraw the false accusation that IDF soldiers were responsible for its death.

Then there is the case of Razzan al-Najjar a 20-year-old paramedic who Palestinian sources are claiming was shot dead by Israeli snipers during last week’s violent protests.

Virtually all media outlets republished claims by Hamas and the Palestinian health ministry in Gaza that al-Najjar died as a result of Israeli sniper fire while trying to care for wounded people along the border fence.

Israeli blogger Aussi Dave, however, delved into the information Palestinian sources have been disseminating since the alleged incident.

His article on the Israellycool blog opens with the conclusion that the Palestinian “version of events is not consistent and raises serious doubts as to the veracity of their claims.”

Pro-Palestinian media and organizations have been saying Israeli snipers shot the nurse in the back or in the chest, depending on whom you ask.

TRT World even aired a video purportedly showing al-Najjar wearing a bulletproof press vest after being shot. Other caretakers are seen removing the vest while TRT reports: “Israeli forces killed her.”

A bulletproof vest, however, prevents the penetration of bullets, and the TRT video clearly shows that the nurse's clothes, which Electronic Intifada claimed clearly identified her as a medic, were not blood-soaked as one might have expected when one is hit in the chest by a bullet.

Palestinian sources later published pictures showing blood-soaked clothes purportedly belonging to al-Najjar, but as the TRT video clarified, the Palestinian nurse was not wearing these clothes.

Another photograph released by Palestinian sources shows Razan Najjar raising her hands and wearing a red headscarf (Hijab) while approaching the border fence.

Yet, a picture which purportedly was taken after she was shot shows two things contradicting other images.

First, she wore a black and purple headscarf, but in another shot she suddenly appears wearing a snow-white paramedic's jacket free of blood.

On Tuesday, the IDF published the results of its preliminary investigation into the incident and officially announced its forces had not shot at  Razan al-Najjar.

 

Uproar After Israeli Teacher Asks Students to Pray Against Gay Parade

Israel, or at least the Greater Tel Aviv area, has made a name for itself of late as a place of great tolerance for homosexuality, and even a top travel destination for the LGBT crowd.

So, when a high school teacher from the Tel Aviv suburb of Ramat Gan cited the Bible in requesting that his students pray against the upcoming "Gay Pride" parade, outrage ensued.

In reporting on the incident, Israel's Ynet news portal (Hebrew) referred to the teacher's remarks as a scandalous example of "homophobia" in the public education system.

The teacher sent a Whatsapp message to his students stating that "on Friday there will unfortunately be a great desecration of God's name in the heart of Israel, in Tel Aviv. We are short on salvation, but the salvation of God can come in the blink of an eye. Read this chapter of Psalms that saves us from shame and disgrace."

The teacher then cited Psalm 15:

O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent?
Who shall dwell on your holy hill?
He who walks blamelessly and does what is right
and speaks truth in his heart;
who does not slander with his tongue
and does no evil to his neighbor,
nor takes up a reproach against his friend;
in whose eyes a vile person is despised,
but who honors those who fear the Lord;
who swears to his own hurt and does not change;
who does not put out his money at interest
and does not take a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things shall never be moved.

The local Ramat Gan municipality condemned the teacher's remarks, inexplicably calling them "racist" in nature, while the Ministry of Education released a statement censuring the educator for intolerance.

"The teacher's words...are not in keeping with the spirit of the Ministry of Education, which educates to increase tolerance and acceptance of the other," read the statement.

The teacher is expected to face disciplinary action, and the students were all called in for a "sensitivity session" to undo any influence the teacher in question might have had on their views regarding homosexuality.

PHOTO: Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai speaks at a cocktail reception introducing the upcoming Tel Aviv "pride week." (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)

 

Is the Messiah Waiting for Christians, Jews and Muslims to Join Together?

A recent gather in Turkey marking the start of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan brought together prominent Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders in a rare display of solidarity.

The underlying theme of the event, hosted by Turkish opinion leader Adnan Oktar, was that global salvation requires Christians, Jews and Muslims to stop fighting one another, and instead come together in brotherly union.

A press release regarding the event published by Mr. Oktar's office included the following excerpts:

The noble purpose of this year's iftar, which customarily brings together people of different cultures, identities and views who are well-meaning, conscientious, refined people, is to put a complete end to hatred. An important path to achieve this is to bring sincere Christians, Jews and Muslims together to exchange messages of love, peace and solidarity. And the Jewish, Christian and Muslim guests also made an emphasis on the signs of Moshiach’s appearance and that all of those signs have come to pass, making it clear that salvation lies in the brotherly union of Christians, Jews and Muslims and in their solidarity.

The prayer, recited both in Arabic and Turkish, was noteworthy and unprecedented due to its being a Muslim supplication to God for good wishes and blessings for the Jews and Christians.

Mr. Oktar underlined the positive role of religion, saying that problems between peoples "can be solved only by means of religious people since religion puts a complete end to hatred. The solution is love, friendship and brotherhood as described in Torah, Bible and the Qur'an. Religious people should come together, stand in solidarity." Mr. Oktar also cited the following passages from the Torah after praying for the appearance of Moshiach whom he believes will be the only solution for peace:

"Did not one God create us? Why do we profane the covenant of our ancestors by being unfaithful to one another?" (Malachi 2:10)

"How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!" (Psalm 133:1)

"… a future awaits those who seek peace." (Psalm 37:37)

The event was attended by several high-ranking Israeli rabbis, including Rabbi Abraham Sherman, who served on Israel's Rabbinical Court for 32 years, and Rabbi Ben Abrahamson, a historian and consultant to the Jerusalem Rabbinical Courts on matters concerning Islam.

In the past, religious members of Knesset and even Israeli cabinet ministers have attended Mr. Oktar's gatherings.

PHOTO: Rabbi Avraham Sherman being warmly greeted and escorted to the iftar meal by Adnan Oktar (right). Courtesy of A9 TV

 

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Gaza's Terror Kites are Becoming a Real Problem for Israel

It's a problem currently without a solution. And it's costing the Palestinians next to nothing to cause extensive damage to southern Israel.

While Israel's military might is able to halt a mass infiltration, and it's advanced technology can knock nearly every missile out of the sky, the Jewish state at present has no answer to the flaming "terror kites" Palestinians are flying into the southern Negev region with greater frequency.

Hamas-encouraged Palestinian activists fix a normal kite with a Molotov cocktail or other incendiary device and then let the wind do the rest by carrying it over the border into southern Israel, where thousands of acres of fields and farmland have been scorched by this latest terror tactic.

All Israel seems able to do for now is battle the blazes as best it can, something the dry summer heat is not making easy.

Meanwhile, international mainstream media has hardly covered the terror kites, even as it continues to suggest Israel is hurting the Palestinian rioters in Gaza for no good reason.

 

Israel Tweets Perfect Response to Yet Another Iranian Threat to Destroy Her

Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was at it again this week, threatening to wipe the State of Israel off the map.

Khamenei's Twitter post, in English, further clarified that it's not only the policies of the current Israeli government with which his nation disagrees. The Iranian regime does not accept Israel's existence, period.

The Iranian leader tweeted:

Our stance against Israel is the same stance we have always taken. #Israel is a malignant cancerous tumor in the West Asian region that has to be removed and eradicated: it is possible and it will happen. 7/31/91 #GreatReturnMarch

The concluding hashtag was a reference to the mass Hamas-led infiltration attempts along the Gaza-Israel border, a volatile situation that Israeli officials say is being financed and encouraged by Iran.

Knowing by now that bring rational arguments to the table is an exercise in futility, the Israel Embassy in the US instead turned to satire, responding to Khamenei's tweet in perhaps the most perfect way possible:


 

The Countdown Begins....

During the months of March and April, we planted 2000 olive trees in our newly established olive grove in Beer Milka near the biblical Kadesh Barnea in Israel's Negev desert.

The 3rd, and final, planting of another 2,000 olive trees is expected to take place after the summer, during the Jewish High Holidays in September / October.

You have one last chance to join us in this pioneering endeavor and participate in the greening of Israel's desert region.

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ANALYSIS: Changing Saudi Attitudes Toward Israel

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman is known for his out of the box thinking and his ambitious sweeping reforms in Saudi Arabia where he has made many enemies during a purge which robbed elites, including members of the royal family, of their illegally obtained wealth last year.

The Saudi leader – he's expected to become king soon because his ailing father Salman is suffering from Alzheimer decease- has also radically changed his country’s attitude toward Israel which is no longer considered an outcast or illegal implant in the Middle East by the Saudis.

According to the Emirati newspaper Khaleej Times MBS –as he’s called by much of the media- recently arranged for a series of meetings between top Saudi officials and their Israeli counterparts during his visit to Cairo, Egypt in March.

Officially the meetings officially dealt with MBS’ ambitious plan to build a megacity called Neom which will partly build in Jordan and Egypt as well, but also addressed the upcoming American plan to solve the Palestinian Israeli conflict.

The $500 billion plan for the construction of Neom, a city of 26,500 square kilometers (the size of Belgium), includes hydro-agriculture projects which will be reportedly realized with Israeli help.

MBS has also called for religious freedom in Saudi Arabia, recently visited the heads of the Coptic Church in Egypt and the Anglo-Catholic Church in the United Kingdom and signed a deal with the Vatican to build churches in the ultra-conservative Muslim country.

Bin Salman, furthermore, works with Jason Greenblatt and Jared Kushner, Trump’s Jewish point men for the Middle East and Israel, on an out-of-the-box solution for the Palestinian Israeli conflict which reportedly includes the establishment of a Palestinian state ‘minus’.

The Palestinian mini-state would not have east-Jerusalem as its capital but Abu Dis according to media reports while Israel would retain security control over the Jordan Valley and large areas in Judea and Samaria.

The plan drew the ire of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas who was summoned to Saudi Arabia in January where was updated about Trump’s ‘deal of the century’ by MBS accordingto the Israeli TV Channel Kan.

Abbas returned to Ramallah in total shock and later declared the plan “the slap of the century”.

During a two-hour during speech given to the Palestinian Central Council on January 15, 2018, the Palestinian leader repeatedly cursed president Trump and vowed the Palestinian Authority would “slap back.”

MBS later met with a delegation of Jewish American leaders while being on a long trip in the United States where he again held talks with Kushner and Greenblatt.

Details of the meeting with the Jewish delegation were later leaked to the media and suggested the Saudi Crown Prince had “castigated” Abbas and other Palestinian leaders for spurning every opportunity to reach a peace agreement with Israel.

The Palestinian Arabs should accept the Trump peace plan or “simply shut up” MBS reportedly told the Jewish leaders.

The changing Saudi attitude toward Israel inspired by Crown Prince has also been reflected in recent publications by intellectuals, commentators, and journalists in the oil-rich Kingdom.

Saudi writers “have been increasingly expressing open support for Israel, approving of its policy towards Iran and even calling to normalize relations and make peace with it,” the Middle East Media Research Institute reported last week.

For example, during the so-called “Great March of Return” the Hamas-organized violent weekly protests on the Gaza-Israeli border, some Saudi commentators blamed Hamas and Iran for the deadly turmoil and said, Hamas and Iran “were promoting their interests at the expense of the children of Gaza.”

Iran has clearly replaced Israel as Saudi-Arabia’s biggest foe a fact that is also prominently featuring in many articles and commentaries published in the country recently. 

“Today, the Arabs have no choice but to reconcile with Israel, and to sign a comprehensive peace agreement (with it), in order to free themselves up for confronting the great Iranian plan in the region, and (Iran's) nuclear program, and to end (Iran's) intervention in Arab affairs,” Ahmad Al-Jumay'a, the former deputy editor of the Saudi daily Al-Riyadh wrote last month.

'If war breaks out between Israel and Iran, aimed at eliminating the foreign militias Iran has brought into Syria, who will you support?!'... (My) answer, which does not take a lot of courage to utter openly in the paper, is that I will side with Israel,” Ali Sa'd Al-Moussa, a columnist for the government daily Al-Watan later exclaimed.

Al-Moussa got support from Muhammad Aal Al-Sheikh, a senior columnist for the Saudi Al-Jazirah daily who also wrote Israel has a right to defend itself, while other Saudi commentators wrote similar things.

Saudi intellectual 'Abd Al-Hamid Al-Hakim, the former director of the Middle East Center for Strategic and Legal Studies in Jeddah, has been most outspoken in his support for the Jewish state.

Al-Hakim congratulated Israel on its 70th Independence Day and welcomed the relocation of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.

He also wrote Jews have a historical right to the land of Israel, a right which is rooted in “monotheistic scriptures.”

PHOTO: Former Prime Minister Shimon Peres shaking hands with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud El Faisal in 1996 during the summit of the peacemakers conference in Sharm a Sheikh, Egypt. (Ohayan Avi / GPO)

 

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What's the Deal With Kuwait, and Why's the World Ignoring It?

Kuwait calling for a UN resolution to set up an international "protection mission" for the Palestinians is just the latest in a long list of initiatives to condemn and vilify Israel by the oil-rich emirate. 

One need but recall the outrageous behavior of the speaker of Kuwait's National Assembly, Marzouq Al-Ghanim, during the Forum for International Parliaments held in St. Petersburg last October. "Occupiers and murderers of children," he lashed out at the Israeli delegation, who left the forum after Al-Ghanim said that Israel "represents the worst form of terrorism." For more than two years now, Kuwait Airways has been discriminating against Israelis, a practice that, by the way, was approved by a German court. In short, Kuwait, which owes its very existence to the West, has become a real menace for Israel. 

To better understand the behavior of Kuwait's de facto ruler, this 49-year-old billionaire who is largely filling in for the absent 89-year-old Emir Sabah Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, I spoke with Edy Cohen from the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies. Cohen, who has tens of thousands of followers on his Arabic-language Facebook page and is one of the very few Israelis invited to speak on Al-Jazeera, knows the Muslim world at least as well as the Muslims themselves.

Cohen says that Al-Ghanim's Israel-bashing is a shrewd tactic to gain popularity in the Muslim world. His reputation was badly damaged after his 2011 jailing of Kuwaiti lawmakers who protested against corruption. Al-Ghanim is now a hero of the Palestinians, who, we must not forget, cheered for Saddam Hussein. Streets in Nablus and Qalqilya are named after him. This thing, says Cohen, shows once again that Israel-hatred is what unites the otherwise deeply divided Muslims.

Kuwait's condemnation of Israel, says Cohen, is yet another severe case of hypocrisy. Few in the world have ever heard of "Bidoon," he says. Bidoon, translated "without," which is particularly prevalent in Kuwait, refers to a social class without rights. Cohen views these Bidoons as nothing less than 21st century slaves. It was Al-Ghanim himself who canceled the Kuwaiti law that granted citizenship and rights to more then 70,000 people living under the oppressive Bidoon status. This person who condemns Israel ceaselessly, who is feeding on the Palestinian hope of eradicating Israel, denies basic rights to his own people.

This is the new Kuwait, says Cohen, and it is a shame that the rest of the world continues to turn a blind eye toward the real villains in this region. Cohen concludes that all one really need to do to get away with despotism in today's Middle East is deflect one's own misconduct toward Israel.

An Israeli participating in the 2007 Jordan Rally poses with Kuwaiti sheikhs. Such a friendly encounter would today likely be frowned upon by Al-Ghanim's regime. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

 

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Christ at the Checkpoint 2018: Was Christ Really at the Center?

"This conference is not about taking sides," said the chairman of Bethlehem Bible College, Tanas Kassis, in his opening remarks to the Christ at the Checkpoint conference, held last week in the Bethlehem suburb of Beit Jala. "We don’t want you to go back and say, I’m on the Palestinian side or I’m on the Israeli side. This conference is about building awareness, this conference is about having healthy discussions." 

The theme of this biannual conference is "Christ at the Center," but is the Messiah indeed at the heart of the discussions at this controversial gathering?

The speakers went to emphasize the struggle and the hardships of the Palestinian people as a result of Israeli occupation. No criticism of the Palestinian Authority (PA) was offered, and little room was left for pluralistic thought on the circumstances that brought about the current status quo. PA Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki made a purely political speech pushing the nationalistic Palestinian agenda. Support for the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement was also heard.

A lot of attention was paid to the recent transfer of the American embassy to Jerusalem. "This move is a crime," insisted Nicola Khamis, the mayor of Beit Jala. "This is something we absolutely reject here, and I would like to take this opportunity with the president, Bishop Efraim, representing many evangelicals around the world, to say [that] we have to stop this, and please communicate. Let’s put pressure, to say that we reject this." Criticism of US President Donald Trump and his policies was also prevalent, with many saying that peace had never been pushed further away. "He [Trump] brought us a nightmare," claimed Rev. Alex Awad.

The messages at the conference were nationalistic and one-sided. Biblical motifs were employed to back-up and justify a political agenda, and the high moral standard of the Bible was used to call upon the international Evangelical community to side with them in their battle against the "occupier" – Israel – with no heed paid to the broader realities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 

The victim strategy was neatly applied, and many big words were used to stress the suffering of the Palestinians, like human rights, freedom, civil rights, humanitarian crisis, wall of separation, demeaning checkpoints, etc. I do not mean to disregard the suffering of the Palestinian people in any way, shape or form. I believe it is real, to some degree, but the attendees of this conference were not getting the full picture.

Much effort went into educating the listeners against Christian Zionism. Talks were given on the subject of Replacement Theology, and theology of the land. In the eyes of the organizers, the theme of "Christ at the Center" means that Evangelical Christians should abandon Israel from their faith-walk and embrace Christ's high moral teachings, that are focused instead on the oppressed, naked, widowed and orphaned - in other words, the Palestinians.

Dr. Michael Brown offered a glimmer of hope and gave attendees a taste of the other side. "The first to plead his case seems right, until another comes and examines him." (Proverbs 18:17) Brown explained that there are solid reasons behind the establishment of checkpoints and walls. Their purpose isn’t to oppress the Palestinians, but to protect the Israelis. He went on to explain that God is not done with the Jewish people, and that God still has a purpose and a future for them in the Land of Israel. He moved on to stress the dangers of Replacement Theology and the harm it caused the Jewish people throughout history.

The Christians in the West Bank, although a minority, strongly affiliate themselves with the Palestinian people and side with, pray for and positively support the Palestinian Authority and it’s leaders. They elevate nationalism above the Christian faith that they claim to profess. The welcoming of a figure from the Zionist camp (Dr. Brown) is very reassuring, as it may be a sign that REAL dialogue at these conferences may soon be very much possible. It is only when both Palestinians and Christian Zionists will understand that they are citizens of heaven and put Christ, and not the Land, TRULY at the center that we will see progress, and the checkpoints removed.

PHOTO: A demonstration at the checkpoint between Bethlehem and Jerusalem. The anti-Israel BDS movement seen there was widely praised by the speakers at the Christ at the Checkpoint conference. (Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90)

 

VIDEO: Bethlehem Priest Stabbed While Protecting Christian Tourists

The following video clip is making the rounds on Israeli social media, where folks are none-too-pleased with claims that Israel is the reason for the dwindling Christian population in the Palestinian-controlled territories, while incidents like these are completely ignored.

The footage was taken from a security camera at the entrance to a church or monastery in Bethlehem. Several foreign Christian tourists are seen being harassed by at least two young Palestinian men. A local monk or priest quickly opens the gate and offers them shelter, before chastising the assailants.

One of the young Palestinian men is having none of being told what to do by a Christian, and so pulls out a knife and stabs the priest through the gate.

The timestamp reveals that this happened on Friday, June 1.


Many of the comments on the video came from Israelis who are frustrated that such attacks receive absolutely zero coverage in the Western media, which is at the same time only too happy to present a Palestinian narrative that claims Israel is the source of all Christian woes.

 

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'Jesus Was a Palestinian,' Christian Visitors to Bethlehem are Told

"Welcome to the State of Palestine. The only state whose land is still under occupation by another country, the State of Israel," declared Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki (pictured) in his keynote address on the opening night of Christ at the Checkpoint 2018.

No mention of Tibet, or that before Israel, his "country" was occupied by Jordan, and before that by the Ottoman Turks, and before that...oh, wait, there never has been a State of Palestine to occupy. But we are already getting way off track.

A couple of small remarks at the start of al-Maliki's address should have raised major red flags for any Christian who believes in the validity and infallibility of the Bible.

"Christ at the Checkpoint...[Christ] unable to cross simply because he was a Palestinian... Palestine, the birthplace of Jesus..."

In this revisionist approach to Scripture, which was repeatedly applauded by those Christians hosting (Bethlehem Bible College) and attending Christ at the Checkpoint, all those many New Testament passages confirming that this land is the homeland of the Jewish people are ignored, or completely tossed out. Modern Israel is labeled a "colonialist" project, so it's not possible to recognize the Jews' forefathers as having inhabited this land long before any Arabs were present, just as it is not possible to openly acknowledge that Jesus himself was a Jew, born in the Jewish town of Bethlehem.

In my Bible, the second chapter of Matthew begins thus (emphasis mine):

"Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, 'Where is the newborn king of the Jews?...'"

Perhaps al-Maliki was citing a wildly different translation of the New Testament, one provided to him by Bethlehem Bible College, because I just can't seem to find the terms "Palestine" or "Palestinian" even once in the story of Jesus. At the same time, these passages sure do reference the Jews an awful lot, considering that the Palestinian Authority that al-Maliki was there to represent rejects any historical Jewish connection to Bethlehem and the rest of the Holy Land.

If you are willing to toss out such foundational content, then all of the New Testament and its teachings must be placed under a question mark.

Welcome to post-biblical Christianity.

Now, I understand that al-Maliki is himself a Muslim, and as such we cannot expect him to accept the biblical narrative as it's written. We can, however, expect that of Bethlehem Bible College. But, instead of trying to set the biblical record straight, the hosts of Christ at the Checkpoint not only applauded al-Maliki's adaptation of Scripture, they buffeted it with their own "scholarly" Christian doctrines.

The rest of al-Maliki's address was the typical polemic against Israel as the source of all Arab woes, with the typical omission of Arab hostility toward and terrorism against the Jews.

To go line-by-line in debunking the same tired old claims would be an exercise in futility. Suffice it to say that the very brand of dehumanization al-Maliki accused Israel of wielding against the Palestinians was on full display in his own verbal assault on Israel's Jewish majority.

PHOTO: Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki during meetings with a visiting Dutch delegation earlier this year. (Flash90)

 

Russia Agrees to Let Israel Attack Iranian Forces in Syria

Mounting concerns that escalating Israeli strikes against Iranian targets in Syria would result in direct clashes with Russian forces operating in the war-torn country were apparently put to bed on Thursday.

The Saudi-owned newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat reported that high-level meetings between Israeli and Russian officials ended with the latter granting Jerusalem a "green light" to continue punishing Iranian efforts to establish a military foothold in Syria.

In return, Israel reportedly agreed to refrain from attacking military assets belonging to the regime of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad, which Moscow is trying to help regain control over the fractured country.

Iran is also trying to keep Assad in power, but in accordance with its own agenda of regional hegemony, which, despite Tehran's friendly relations with Moscow, does not seem to mesh with Russian plans for the Middle East.

If the reports are accurate, this would mark a major diplomatic victory for Israel, which was able to pull Russia over to its side in the conflict with Iran, seemingly leaving the Islamic Republic without any major international supporters.

 

Are we Witnessing the Death Throes of the Israeli Left?

Books have been written about Israel's dying left-wing. 

Tzvia Greenfield, who despite being an Orthodox Jewess served for three months as a Member of Knesset for the ultra-leftist Meretz party, knows a thing or two about the Israeli left. In her book, Crushing: The Story of the Collapse of the Israeli Left, she says that the left became irrelevant, at best, once it started advocating for the "deserting of the Zionist project along with turning Israel from a Jewish to an egalitarian state."  This, she says, can happen to a people who "have become a herd of living dead … they stumble in the dark, shake their hands and feet, utter voices, but there is no purpose in their actions. With the little strength left in them they struggle along, seeking where to go and why."

Now, don't get me wrong. I am not wishing for the death of the Israeli Zionist left. The Labor Party has a lot to offer, if it would only regain its senses; and it's not as if our socialists don't try. The election of Avi Gabai (pictured) as the head of this party was a nice try. But Gabai, a former member of the center-right Kulanu party and a multi-millionaire who gained his fortune in ways that are far from any socialist ideal, doesn't say much about anything. Nor is he willing to take action against outspoken non-Zionist members of his Labor Party.

Two incidents just in the past week seem to prove Greenfield's thesis. The first followed an article published by senior Labor member Eitan Cabel, who called to annex the Jewish settlement blocs in the West Bank. Though this has been Labor's position for a long time, instead of weighing his proposal seriously, Cabel's colleges demanded he be tossed out of the party.

The second simultaneous incident came in the form of a Facebook post of Avigdor Feldman, a well-known and influential civil and human rights lawyer. Feldman is known for speaking his mind, no matter the consequences. His candidness, along with him being part and parcel of the Israeli left, turns his post from anecdote to manifest. Feldman, tired of the Israeli left being portrayed as a fifth column, wants to regain this camp's lost credibility by creating a new left-wing party that will not be ashamed of itself.

This party, Feldman proposes, will follow the left's glorious past. "We have our own tradition, we fought the fascists, we were sent to the concentration camps before the Jews … we have Rosa Luxemburg, Gramsci, Marcuse, Adorno, we are B'tselem, Yesh-Gvul, Hamoked, Yesh-din [extreme left post-Zionist Israeli NGOs] … Bibi makes us laugh … we are the left, we are leftists, I am the left, I am a leftie."

And, Feldman is right, he is the Israeli left, which is why the Israeli left is dying. Israeli socialists who dreamed of and fought for a Jewish state are deserting this new post-Jewish left that has little regard, if any, for the Zionist values they still cherish. Indeed, this new left deserves to die, and the sooner the better.

Now, it remains to be seen whether or not the good old socialist Zionism can make a clean break from Feldman and his friends, or will it allow them to keep polluting what remains of the once-formidable party of David Ben Gurion, Berl Katznelson, Golda Meir and Yitzhak Rabin.

 

IDF Reveals List of Gaza Targets, Including Hamas Submarines

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) this week published a list of some of the 60+ terrorist targets it hit in the Gaza Strip following rocket fire against communities in southern Israel.

The IDF had apparently collected a rather long list of locations where Hamas and its allied terror groups were stockpiling weapons and ammunitions, and destroyed nearly all of them.

Among those targets was a naval base housing a small fleet of unmanned submarines.

The weapons could have been used not only for coastal attacks on Israel, but also to hit Israel's natural gas drilling platforms in the Mediterranean.

 

ANALYSIS: Understanding Iran's Plan for Israel and the Middle East

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last week announced a new policy that aims to roll back Iran’s hegemonistic drive in the Middle East and to prevent the Islamic Republic from attaining a nuclear weapon.

Ever since, there has been a lot of criticism, mostly by backers of the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (JCPOA) that the Obama Administration brokered with Iran in 2015.

The goals of US President Donald Trump’s new Iran policy were ‘unrealistic’ or even a ‘recipe for war,’ some of the critics said, while others claimed the plan was doomed to fail since it required the help of much of the world.

Let’s focus on the part of Pompeo’s list that dealt with Iran’s imperialistic agenda for the Middle East.

Here’s what the new secretary of state outlined during his speech at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, DC on May 21:

Iran must end support to Middle East terrorist groups, including Lebanese Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Iran must respect the sovereignty of the Iraqi Government and permit the disarming, demobilization, and reintegration of Shia militias.

Iran must also end its military support for the Houthi militia and work towards a peaceful political settlement in Yemen.

Iran must withdraw all forces under Iranian command throughout the entirety of Syria.

Iran, too, must end support for the Taliban and other terrorists in Afghanistan and the region, and cease harboring senior al-Qaida leaders.

Iran, too, must end the IRG Quds Force’s support for terrorists and militant partners around the world.

And, too, Iran must end its threatening behavior against its neighbors – many of whom are US allies. This certainly includes its threats to destroy Israel, and its firing of missiles into Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. It also includes threats to international shipping and destructive cyber-attacks.”

Pompeo explained that these requirements are “very basic,” and that the length of the list was “simply a scope of the malign behavior of Iran.”

A closer look at the list reveals something that is crucial to understanding what is currently happening in the battle against the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), which is mainly conducted by the US Army, Israel and Saudi Arabia’s coalition of Sunni Muslim countries.

In recent years, Iran has been executing a plan for the Middle East that is based on the so-called Mahdi doctrine.

According to this Shia end-of-days vision, the active participation of the pious in the creation of mayhem and war in the world could actually lead to a hastened return of the Mahdi.

Mahdi is the Shiite messiah, the hidden twelfth Imam who will return after an Islamic uprising that will spread all over the world, and will cause mayhem in specific Arab countries, in particular.

Israel is also playing a central part in this doctrine, which says the Jewish state will have to confront “extra forces which will arrive from Iraq.”

The Iranian plan for the Middle East and the Mahdi doctrine were explained in a regime-produced documentary from 2011 titled “The Coming (of Mahdi) is Upon Us.”

The (Shiite) soldiers of Mahdi will enter Saudi Arabia and the Muslim holy places via Yemen after a bloody battle that involves the Ansar Allah militia in Yemen (Houthis), an Arab legion, the US and Israel, according to the documentary.

The Mahdi doctrine requires the rise of Iran in the Middle East and Iranian dominance over Iraq, which will in the future house the capital of Mahdi’s Imperium (Baghdad).

At the end of a bloody battle that precedes the return of Mahdi, Iranian-led forces will attack Israel.

“The annihilation of the Zionist regime and the conquering of ‘Beitol Moghadas’ (Jerusalem) is one of the most important events in the age of the Coming,” according to the voiceover in the documentary.

If we now return to Pompeo’s list of requirements, we understand that the new American strategy against Iran is (finally) based on an understanding of Iran’s underlying strategy in the Middle East, which is the Mahdi doctrine.

As a result, the US is now working with Israel to prevent an Iranian takeover of Syria, where Iran has stationed more than 50,000 Shiite fighters.

The US military and its ally in the Syrian Democratic Forces are acting against Iranian-backed Shiite militias in (eastern) Syria, where the SDF controls 30 percent of the territory, while Israel has recently stepped up its military campaign against the Quds Force and almost every day launches attacks against Iranian targets in western Syria.

In Yemen, the US is working with a Saudi coalition of Muslim countries against the Iranian-backed Ansar Allah (Houthi) militia, which regularly lobs missiles at Saudi Arabia, but has been prevented from reaching the strategically-important waterway Bab el-Mandeb, through which an estimated 4.8 million barrels of oil flow each day.

Iraq is a more difficult problem for Iran’s enemies in the Middle East. 

The Iranians are currently trying to prevent the formation of an anti-Iran coalition after Iraq's elections on May 12. 

The Iranian regime immediately dispatched Qassem Soleimaini, the commander of the IRGC’s Quds Force, to Baghdad after the Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who hates the Iranians, won the parliamentary elections. 

The Saudis have recently tried to increase their clout over Iraq by pouring lots of money into the war-torn country, and have invited al-Sadr to Riyadh. But it remains to be seen if they will be successful in rolling back Iran’s influence over the country. 

It is clear, however, that the current US Administration is acting according to a plan, which is finally based on understanding the enemy and the new Middle East.

 

Israel to Welcome 300 Asylum-Seekers: A Good Sign, or Avoiding the Core Issue?

Israel has announced that it will grant A5 humanitarian visas (one step below refugee status) to 300 asylum-seekers from Sudan in response to petitions on their behalf. This seems like great news, though some claim it is a way for the government to dodge the root of the problem and quiet the voices of criticism toward government policy, or the lack thereof.

According to ASSAF (Aid Organization for Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Israel), as of December 2017, some 35,300 asylum-seekers live in Israel; 92% are from Eritrea or Sudan. For years, asylum-seekers were not allowed access to the recognition process as refugees. Today, less than 1% are recognized as refugees in Israel, while in the rest of the world the percentage of Eritrean and Sudanese refugees is 84% and 69%, respectively. Thousands of asylum-seekers live in various cities in Israel without proper status, without a work permit and without access to essential health and welfare services, legal aid or housing.

The refugee issue is highly controversial in Israeli society. On the one hand, Israel feels the need to help those who flee genocide and humanitarian crises, but on the other it can’t compromise it’s own citizens, their wellbeing and safety. The tricky situation is most apparent in South Tel Aviv. According to the Association of Civil Rights in Israel, 14,000 asylum-seekers reside in South Tel Aviv, and the fact that they don't have work permits and basic rights only increases the burden on the veteran residents of the local neighborhood. The residents of South Tel Aviv are now also facing increasing incidents of violence, theft and prostitution. It is also fair to say that many of the so-called asylum-seekers are not refugees at all, but rather economic migrants who escaped their own third world countries to seek a better life in Israel.

In Judith Pex’s book “A People Tall and Smooth” (Hachotam) she tells the story of five Sudanese refugees who fled the horrors of life in Sudan during the genocide and civil wars. Judith and her husband, John, run a hostel called The Shelter that is very well known among Messianic believers. In 2007, they started to come in contact with the Sudanese people and their sufferings in Sudan. Pex took it upon herself to give the faceless a name and a voice, and to bring the severity of the situation to the believing community, both inside and outside Israel. Pex wants people to know that the majority of the South Sudanese are Christians, and that the Muslims from Darfur don’t identify with Hamas or Hezbollah, but are grateful for Israel, when every other Muslim country has turned their back on them. 

“At that time a gift of homage will be brought to the LORD of hosts From a people tall and smooth, Even from a people feared far and wide, A powerful and oppressive nation, Whose land the rivers divide— To the place of the name of the LORD of hosts, even Mount Zion.” (Isaiah 18:7)

These verses gave hope to the Sudanese believers, as everywhere they turned they met rejection, while in Israel they received hope of a peaceful existence. The Sudanese would equate their journey to that of the Israelites, fleeing Egypt after suffering tribulations. They can identify with the Jewish people in the Land, and find comfort in the Scriptures. Likewise, Israel also feels it is her duty to aid the Sudanese, given a shared experience of genocide on racial and religious grounds.

Often seen on signs at demonstrations opposing the deportation of the asylum-seekers are the following verses: “He executes justice for the orphan and the widow and shows His love for the alien by giving him food and clothing. So, show your love for the alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.” (Deuteronomy 10:18-19) 

Leaving the ‘right-left’ debate behind, the words of the Bible hit home. It is because the people of Israel know what these people are going through. They have experienced it themselves, and it is because of this that they feel they must outstretch a loving hand.  It is highly understandable that Israel can’t open it’s borders freely for everyone who wishes to immigrate, and there are a lot of gray areas when it comes to this complicated topic, but things should certainly begin moving forward on this issue, as a mere 300 IDs aren’t going to cut it - the government needs to take proper action.

 

VIDEO: I'm on reserve duty near Gaza

 

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ANALYSIS: What and Who are Behind the Massive Escalation in Southern Israel

Islamic Jihad, an Iran-backed Palestinian terror organization, attacked southern Israel Tuesday morning by lobbing between 50 and 60 mortar shells at Israeli towns and communities in what is called the "Gaza belt."

Hamas later admitted it had condoned the attack after a number of their fighters attacked the Israeli town of Sederot on Monday evening with heavy machine guns.

The Israeli military first responded to the largest attack on Israel from Gaza since the summer war of 2014 by using tank fire, which was aimed at Hamas positions near the Gaza border.

The limited response drew the ire of Mayor Alon Davidi and residents of the Israeli town of Sederot who called for a large scale IDF offensive to finish off Hamas and the other Palestinian terror organizations in the Gaza Strip.

Later on Tuesday, Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the massive mortar fire, which was meant to hit Israeli citizens while on their way to work and schools.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad also started to evacuate military bases and installations across Gaza in anticipation of the Israeli retaliation.

Shortly after noon on Tuesday, IAF warplanes attacked a large number of Islamic Jihad targets in Gaza, while Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu linked the morning attack to the situation in Syria, where the Iranian-backed pro-Assad coalition is trying to set up camp in the vicinity of the Israeli border on the Golan Heights.

“Israel will exact a heavy price from anyone who tries to attack it, and we view Hamas as responsible for preventing such attacks against us,” Netanyahu said after conducting an emergency meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office.

Netanyahu repeated that Israel would not suffice with a buffer-zone free of Iranian-backed forces along the Israeli-Syrian border, and again demanded a full withdrawal of Iranian-backed militias and the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps from Syria.

The IAF, meanwhile, also destroyed a terror tunnel belonging to Hamas. The IDF spokesman said the tunnel led from Gaza via Egypt to southern Israel, and that Hamas planned to use it to smuggle weapons from Egypt and to attack Israel.

A short while after the string of IAF strikes on Gaza, Hamas and Islamic Jihad lobbed a second barrage of mortar shells and rockets at southern Israel, with some missiles penetrating as far as 25 kilometers into the Jewish state.

The Iron Drome missile shield intercepted several missiles over the Israeli city of Ashqelon, while Ofakim, a city 20 kilometers west of Beersheba, was also targeted by what the IDF said were Iranian missiles.

“The Palestinian Islamic Jihad today used Iranian-made weapons,” according to the IDF in a statement, while emphasizing the organization is rooted in “Iranian ideology.”

The attacks on southern Israel were, in fact, another Iranian attempt to spark a new war on the southern border after the failed attempts to invade Israel from Gaza over the past seven weeks.

The so-called “Great March of Return” has been funded with Iranian money, Hamas earlier announced.

Islamic Jihad takes its orders from Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, while Hamas in October last year mended ties with the Islamist regime in Tehran.

The pretext for the Islamic Jihad attack on Israel was the liquidation of three Islamic Jihad operatives who were attempting to infiltrate into Israel from the Rafah area earlier this week.

However, by now it has become clear that the Iranians want to keep up the pressure on Israel by attacking it from different fronts. 

On May 10, Iran attacked Israel directly by launching 32 missiles at northern Israel, triggering a massive response in Israel which destroyed more than 50 Iranian targets in Syria.

The Islamic Jihad attack on southern Israel came less than a day after Israel and Russia reportedly reached understandings on the presence of Iranian-backed forces on the Golan Heights near the Israeli border.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Monday told reporters in Moscow that his government wants the Syrian army to re-conquer the border area with Israel and Jordan, and called upon all foreign forces, including the Iranians, to leave Syria.

The problem with this idea is that Hezbollah and other groups of Shiite fighters have become an integral part of the Syrian army, after Sunni conscripts refused to fight for the Syrian dictator.

 

UPDATED: Gaza Fires 100 Rockets at Israel; Three IDF Soldiers Wounded

Most of the rockets fired by terrorists operating out of the Gaza Strip on Tuesday failed to cause any damage or casualties in Israel, thanks in large part to the Iron Dome anti-missile system.

But one rocket that did find a target ended up hitting the power line via which Israel provides Gaza with most of its electricity.

Extensive damage to the line means large parts of the Gaza Strip are now without electrical power, a situation that the Palestinians will no doubt try to blame on Israel.

The Israeli government ordered the Israel Electric Company to fix the line, but only after the current violence subsides so as to not put any of the workers' lives in danger.

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During its retaliatory strikes on terrorist targets in Gaza, Israeli forces destroyed what they are calling a "unique" Hamas terror tunnel.

The tunnel, which extended two kilometers, went into Egypt before turning back into southern Israel to bypass Israeli border defenses.

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Three Israeli soldiers have reportedly been wounded during multiple barrages of mortar shells and short-range rockets fired by terrorist forces operating out of the Gaza Strip.

At least 50 mortars and rockets have been fired into southern Israel today.

Israel has so far responded with targeted artillery and aerial strikes on terrorist positions in Gaza, but officials are hinting that the volatile coastal enclave could be facing a far more severe Israeli response if the escalation continues.

 

Major Escalation in Gaza as Hamas Mortar Barrage Hits Southern Israel

The day began with the sound of air raid sirens for Israelis living in what's known as the "Gaza envelope." At around 7 AM, the "Red Alert" early warning system began sounding in towns and villages within rocket range of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

During the morning barrage some 27 mortar shells and short-range rockets had been fired by Hamas and allied forces into southern Israel.

A spokesman for the Israeli military reported that the Iron Dome anti-missile system had managed to intercept most of the projectiles that actually posed a threat to Israeli communities. But several mortars did get through. One landed in the playground of a local kindergarten that was thankfully still empty at the time.

Residents living in the area were ordered to keep their children at home and to take cover in their bomb shelters.


The barrage was the largest attack from Gaza on southern Israel since the last Gaza war in 2014.

Israeli forces responded with targeted artillery and air strikes on Hamas and other terrorist positions.

PHOTO: The playground of a kindergarten in southern Israel that was hit by a Hamas mortar shell early Tuesday morning. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

 

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Recently we received an email with photos from a loyal subscriber family from Switzerland who made a generous donation to "Israel's Lone Soldiers".

As a thank you they all received IDF hooded sweatshirts. They were particularly touched and pleased sending us a few photos back (published below)! They wrote, "Your sweatshirts were met with great enthusiasm in our family - thank you very much, we send you greetings from Switzerland with a hearty Shalom and God's blessing."

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Thou Shall Not Kill. Period.

The so called "demonstrations" on the Israel-Gaza border are another form of military tactic used in the overall Palestinian war against Israel. The 60 Gazans killed while trying to cut the border fence were not asylum- or job-seekers. Their assignment was the same as a military assault vanguard. They were to break through the enemy's barriers in preparation for an all-out attack. Challenging the necessity to kill these Hamas spearhead troops amounts to challenging the army's right to eliminate any of its enemies.

Yet this is exactly what many Israelis are now saying; the clearest voice among them is perhaps Ruhama Weiss. In her May 18 column "Our Moral Desert in Gaza: This Isn't My Religion," Weiss charges Israel with murder for killing Israel's enemies. Weiss–a teacher, author and columnist for the daily Yediot Aharonot–sounds very much like those religious Jews who cheer for J Street and applaud _Rabbis for Human Rights, _groups rush to condemn Israel for what they perceive as crimes against humanity.

Wiess starts her diatribe with the assertion that Israel is a fascist state, one that teaches its citizens that love for one's country is more important than human lives. She gets it from a slogan she heard in her youth, that for Israel's sake "it is forbidden to receive from the state, one should only give." Wiess turns this slogan, that sounds very much like JFK's immortal "ask not what your country can do for you...," into a fascist state of mind that expresses Israel's existential fear. To overcome their fear of death, she writes, Israelis strive to become a part of something bigger than themselves, something will not die with when they do. In Weiss' estimation, this has produced in Israelis a sadistic love for country that's transformed them into murderous fascists.

This is why, even as Gazans were being killed while trying to violently infiltrate Israel to destroy her, Weiss couldn't stop crying. "I became utterly exhausted from seeing Jewish soldiers killing human beings … there are a thousand good reasons for the killing in Gaza and only one reason to stop it – it is immoral." Israel, she says, has failed to make "thou shall not kill" a part of its government policy. It never took peace too seriously. In her fantasies, had Israeli simply given all authority to the 10 wisest, most creative women in the country, peace could have already been achieved.

Weiss uses pseudo-biblical notions of morality to justify her ugly accusations, much in the same way others use human rights to justify their hatred of Israel. But just as accusations about genocide, apartheid or racism lack factual foundations, so, too, does Weiss' diatribe fall flat on its face. In her misandrist mindset, Weiss assumes, contrary to all available evidence, that Israel's male population simply does not want peace. She also assumes that Hamas would erase its charter that vows to destroy Israel if only 10 Weiss-like women would tell them to do so. 

Worse still is her assumption that "thou shall not kill" is a sweeping command. Weiss' ignoble interpretation, that fails to differentiate between murder and killing, inevitably makes God, who also commanded that "the murderer is to be put to death," nothing less of a murderer. And if God is a murderer, how much more Israel, whose soldiers dare to kill innocent protestors whose only crime was attempting to realize Hamas' dream of destroying the nation they were sworn to protect? Weiss' sick reasoning, then, is the same as that of her enemies, who gleefully share her pious view that being a murderer, Israel is to be put to death.

 

VIDEO: Our Olive Grove From The Air

It was an experience planting another 1000 olive trees in our grove together with our staff and a group of volunteers.

The third and final planting of olive trees in our olive grove is planned for October 2018!

Please take note that the number of olive trees available are limited!

 

EXCLUSIVE: Michael Brown Speaks Out on 'Christ at the Checkpoint' Controversy

The following first appeared in the April 2018 issue of Israel Today Magazine. Dr. Michael Brown will tomorrow participate in the 5th biannual Christ at the Checkpoint conference, so we have decided to republish the interview here in full.

Dr. Michael Brown is a radio host, author, professor and a noted proponent of Messianic Judaism. His nationally-syndicated radio show, The Line of Fire, airs throughout the United States. Dr. Brown spoke to Israel Today's David Lazarus about his participation in the upcoming Christ at the Checkpoint conference.

Israel Today: Most Messianic Jews refuse to participate in the anti-Israel Christ at the Checkpoint Conference (CatC). Why did you accept the invitation?

Dr. Brown: I am aware of the controversy and division among the leadership in the Messianic body in Israel on this issue, and I want to be sensitive. However, when the CatC people invited me to speak they said, ‘We disagree with you strongly, but we want you to come.’ I saw this as an opportunity to get my views out. I am outspoken and not afraid of confrontation.

Israel Today: Are you concerned that CatC will exploit your presence for their own propaganda, trying to show that Messianic Jews are also involved in their agenda? 

Dr. Brown: I have a louder voice than they do. My public relations network is louder than theirs. If there is anything duplicitous in what is said in the conference, we will shout it out for the whole world to see and hear. We plan to live stream the event, and our Facebook page has over 550,000 followers. If there is any dishonesty, I will confront them publicly.

Every CatC report I have seen on their Facebook page is bashing Israel. I am going to directly challenge them to speak out openly about the horrible things being done by the Palestinian Authority, which is complicit in terrorism. I have written to them to be honest about their goals, because from what I read on their posts, it looks like their goal is to call Christians to stand against ‘the demonic State of Israel.’ I will explain that they will never be blessed by God unless they acknowledge that He has brought our people back to the Land and still has promises for the people of Israel. One of their leaders, Munther Isaac,  is saying that the spirit of Jesus is contrary to the spirit of Zionism. I will not stand for that.

Israel Today: Israeli authorities view CatC as extremely problematic. How will it look to them if you, a Messianic Jew, participates in such an event?

Dr. Brown: I certainly do not want to be part of an adversary to Israel. But look, the Israeli government says they reached out to CatC, but without success. I now have an open door to speak to them publicly, and in private. Some of the participants are Christians, and I will confront sin publicly and privately. If all fails and the conference is my worst nightmare, we will shout it out for the world to see. That's something I can only do by being there. If the government is watching, they will see me as a champion, they will be smiling and give a thumbs-up.

Israel Today: Why do you think you will be successful where other Messianics have tried without bringing any change to CatC?

Dr. Brown: I am different than others. I have huge radio, TV and social media audiences. I have already engaged in a massive campaign to expose CatC for what it really is, even before the conference. Others have not. I will explain to them that there is a reason why other Messianics don't come to their conference, even though they work closely with many other Arabs in the Land. It is because they don't find that you are of the same spirit. They need to understand that there is a reason Israel has checkpoints. It is to keep out murderers. I will never be complicit with Israel-bashing. I can be confrontational.

I also plan to squarely place responsibility for Christian persecution on the Palestinian leadership, Hamas and radical Islam, and not on Israel, as CatC often does. They will be called to account before the Lord and before the whole world, unless of course they ban me at the last minute.

 

Europe's Metaphysical Gripe Against Israel

If the European Union truly represents the people of Europe, then this continent is becoming a real menace to Israel. 

EU hostility toward Israel is not new. Looking just at its appeasement policy toward Iran, a country that openly calls for the destruction of Israel, and the sympathy it shows to the Palestinians, who share Iran's vision, is enough to raise suspicion that the EU is, at the very least, lightheaded in regard to this sinister agenda.

For decades, the EU was able to deceive the world into believing that its anti-Israel bias starts and ends with the "occupation." End the occupation, it seems to be saying, and Israel will be treated fairly once again. But now, with its call for an investigation into the injury of Jafar Farah, Europe's duplicity can no longer be maintained. Officially, the EU claims to have a special relationship with Israel. Officially, the EU is against the anti-Israel BDS movement and other forms of anti-Semitism, and it might even be sincere in this regard. 

The big question, which has been ignored thus far, is what kind of Israel it supports.

Farah's leg was broken during clashes with police in Haifa last Sunday. This isn't the first time local police have injured Israelis, so why investigate now? Before answering this question, one need answer a set of other questions, such as: 

Who or what allows the EU to intervene in the internal affairs of another sovereign country? 

Why is the EU not similarly calling for an investigation into the 60 women and children killed in 2017 by Turkish border patrol?

How about the 48 impending judicial inquiries into French police brutality? 

Or the 2,000 annual reports of police brutality in Germany?

Or, perhaps, the well-documented brutality of Greece's police? 

Likewise, why hasn't the EU called for investigations into police behavior in Pakistan, Iran, Syria, etc., that by all accounts are immeasurably more violent than the Israel Police? 

Why, once again, of all the nations of the world, is it Israel that deserves the EU's special attention?

The short answer to these questions is that Europe still holds a metaphysical gripe against the Jews, and is now turning against the Jewish state. Moved by guilt over the Holocaust, Europe was able to keep the lid on this fermenting mood for decades. But, the rise of the post-modern tyrannical culture of "Political Correctness," which has engendered what Daniel Greenfield termed the "religion of racism," enabled Europe to alter the biblical morality upon which it stood condemned, with racism being "the moral drama of damnation and redemption, confession and absolution." In this framework, outlined so well by Greenfield, with its insistence on being a Jewish state, it is Israel that now stands condemned, not Europe.

It follows, then, that if Israel wishes to enjoy Europe's full support, it must forsake this racist Jewish notion of being a "chosen people" and transform itself into a non-Jewish democratic state. Israelis should strive for an "Open Society" that by default opposes the tribalism or collectivism that characterizes Israeli society today. If Israelis can't grasp this, if they continue to insist on living as the chosen people in their divinely-appointed land, then, for their own good, the EU must help Israel achieve this outcome by any means, including subversive activities, consistent condemnation of Israel in international forums and blatant intervention in Israel's internal affairs.

This explains why the EU is now rushing to help poor Farah, who is the head of Mossawa Center, an NGO financed by, among others, the EU and George Soros' notorious "Open Society Foundation." Though Farah presents himself as a human rights activist, Mossawa's real goal is "to promote a democratic society, and acts against all forms of discrimination based on race, nationalism, religious affiliation." To whitewash this clearly anti-Zionist agenda, Mossawa includes "gender and disabilities" in its human rights focus, things they are interested in like yesterday's news.

The EU's dirty fingerprints are smeared all over Israel's map. They can be found on EU funding of NGO's fighting Israel in the legal arena, on EU funding of illegal Bedouin villages in Israel's south, and on EU funding of myriad other organizations whose sole purpose is to weaken the Jewish state to the point of capitulation to the new "Moral Order" that condemns Israel for what it is, not for what it does. 

It's not the occupation, dummy, to use a popular phrase. Its the Jewish state itself that infuriates the European Union, even more so than all the atrocities committed in Syria, the occupation of Tibet, the North Korean gulags and the systematic human rights violations prevalent anywhere from South Africa to China to Venezuela to Myanmar. And it is this new moral order that enable the EU to justify its unforgivable metaphysical gripe against the Jews.

 

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"My enemy loves me more"

A growing number of Arabs are waking up to the fact that not only is Israel not their enemy, it might be the only country that actually cares for them.

The full article appears in the June 2018 issue of Israel Today Magazine. See options below to read it in full >>


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ANALYSIS: Despite Devastating Israeli Attack, Iran Continues Build-Up in Syria

Israel Air Force Commander Maj.-Gen. Amikam Norkin (pictured) on Tuesday revealed Israel is continuing to conduct airstrikes in Syria after the major confrontation with the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps in the war-torn country on the night of May 10.

Norkin also presented new information about what exactly happened in the hours-long clash between the IAF and the Iranians that night, which an Israeli eyewitness who spoke with Israel Today on condition of anonymity described as being like a scene from “Star Wars.”

Norkin told a gathering of international air force chiefs in Herzliya that Israel has maintained its freedom of action over Syria, and stressed: “Israel will continue to work with determination to thwart the entrenchment of Iran in Syria and the arming of Hezbollah.”

His comments followed reports that an Iranian operations center at the headquarters of the Syrian Department of Electronic Warfare near Damascus had been attacked early Monday morning. The strike took place after a large Ilyushin IL-76T cargo plane arrived from Tehran at Damascus International Airport a few hours earlier.

Iran is using civilian airplanes and Syrian cargo planes to transfer sophisticated weaponry and missiles to Syria in violation of a UN Security Council resolution that prohibits such activity.

Sky News reported that the attack also destroyed the barracks of Iranian-backed Shiite militias at a state security school in the area.

On Tuesday, the Anadolu news agency in Turkey reported that Hezbollah and other Iranian-backed Shiite militias in southwest Syria were withdrawing from the area after “intensive reconnaissance flights over the region.”

The state-controlled Turkish news agency also reported that the Iranian-backed militias had set up camp at a number of locations in Daraa near the Jordanian border, and in Quneitra on the Syrian Golan Heights.

On Saturday, the IDF used artillery to prevent Hezbollah from establishing positions in the village of Tulul al-Humur south of Quneitra, according to Anadolu.

This all shows that Iran is not giving up its efforts to encroach on the Israeli border, and is preparing for more confrontations with the Jewish state.

Gen. Norkin, meanwhile, revealed more details on the first major confrontation between Israel and Iran on the night of May 10.

Iran had launched 32 missiles toward Israel that night, according to the IAF commander. Only four of them were intercepted by Israel’s various missile shields, while the rest fell within Syrian territory. Norkin also announced that the “Adir,” Israel’s modified version of the American F-35 stealth fighter, is conducting combat missions in Syria.

Norkin disclosed that over 100 anti-aircraft missiles were fired at the 28 Israeli F-15I and F-16I warplanes that took part in the broad aerial assault. None of those missiles hit their target, however.

In response, the IAF destroyed almost all the Syrian anti-aircraft batteries, including the advanced Russian-made Pantsir S-1 (SA-22) anti-missile system that was considered practically impregnable by the Russian military.

In addition to what Norkin told the conference in Herzliya, researchers at the Atlantic Council's Digital Forensic Research Laboratorium (ACDFRL) concluded that the IAF strikes on 50 Iranian targets on May 10 also exposed serious flaws in Syria’s air defenses.

Russian media insisted that the Israeli hit on the Pantsir S-1 system had been possible because the battery had been turned off. But that didn’t convince the researchers at the ACDFRL, because Israeli warplanes had been conducting airstrikes for hours and the Pantsir S-1 was stationed close to Syrian dictator Bashar Assad’s palace in Damascus.

They think the Israeli strikes exposed the Russian-made systems as inferior to US-made counterparts and to the tactics of the Israel Air Force.

For example, the Russian-made S-200 Wega-Es anti-aircraft missile system, which can fire up to five guided interceptors at a time, is currently causing IAF jets the most trouble. But, it was exposed as being ineffective against low-flying aircraft, a fact that was likely exploited by Israeli pilots.

That might explain why this reporter witnessed some IAF warplanes flying at very low altitude during the four hour-long raid, and why all Israeli jets returned safely to their bases.

 

Look How Beautifully I'm Throwing Bombs: Anti-Israel Propaganda

The Eurovision song contest is a very politicized affair, causing many to wonder how in the world Israel's entrant, Neta Barzilai, managed to snag first place. Following her win, anti-Israel remarks in the mainstream media didn't waste any time in rearing their usual ugly head.


Popular Dutch comedienne Sanne Wallis de Vries during a recent airing of her show featured her own version of Neta's contest-winning song "Toy." The revised lyrics mocked Israel, while the impersonating actress dressed as Neta danced against the backdrop of footage from the Gaza fence riots.


"Look at me, I'm the sweetest little country, world leaders like to eat from my hand, and I kiss all the problems goodbye," went the lyrics. Immediately, thoughts of anti-Semitic caricatures come to mind - the world being controlled by the rich, greedy Jews.

The skit continued: "We're throwing a party, are you coming? Coming soon in the Al-Aqsa Mosque. It's gonna be empty soon anyway."

The satire also remarked on the recent American embassy move. "Is your party crashed by radicals? Open embassies - make sure you cash in on it." Followed by ‘ka-ching’ sounds.



The sketch angered not only Israel, but the international Jewish community at large. The pro-Israel organization CIDI tweeted back the lyrics to the show, with footnotes to every verse, condemning the comedians for antisemitism. 

President of CIDI, Ronnie Eisenmann, said Turkey has played a big role in the rise of antisemitism in the Netherlands, as Turkish members of the Dutch parliament speak openly against Israel and the Jews. (In the 2017 parliamentary election, the Turkish party Denk secured three seats.) 

Israel's ambassador to the Netherlands, Aviv Shir-On, wrote in a letter of complaint that the satire wasn't purely political, but antisemitic and thus dangerous; tying the love of money with the Jews, and mocking kosher foods. He also stressed that Israel doesn't rejoice in the death of Palestinians.

Unfortunately, it seems apparent that antisemitism is on the rise again in Europe, and this isn’t the only incident that has emerged over the past week. A few days back, after the Eurovision finals, the German daily newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung published a caricature of Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu standing on stage dressed in Neta’s unique costume and holding a missile. There are many more examples of the sort, and the statistics on the issue are not promising.

It’s easy to see that the world’s attention is focused on Israel. While being the only democracy in the Middle East, Israel is also most certainly the state that receives the harshest criticism.

Psalm 83 comes to mind: "They make a shrewd plot against Your people, conspiring against Your treasured ones. 'Come,' they say, 'let’s wipe them out as a nation! Let Israel’s name be remembered no more!'"

But, despite this bias and unfairness, Israel's Messianic Jewish community isn’t discouraged, for the same Psalm also says: "Let them know that You alone - Whose Name is Adonai – are El Elyon over all the earth."

 

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EXCLUSIVE: Protecting Our Soldiers From Ourselves

The performance of Israel's soldiers on the battlefield is being dangerously hindered by a hyper-active legal system that's trying to prove to the world that Israel values "justice" over security.

Israel Today spoke to a top legal advocate who's trying to help keep our soldiers safe by protecting them against ourselves.

The full interview appears in the June 2018 edition of Israel Today Magazine.


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Europeans Warn Israel: Trump Won't Be President Forever

For once, the zeal of Washington's support for Israel seems to match that of the American people. And the Jewish state is basking in the nearly-unquestioned backing of its policies, concerns and claims. So much so that Jerusalem has of late taken a somewhat more aggressive stance toward less cooperate allies.

According to a senior European Union official cited by Hadashot TV, Israel's making a big mistake in that regard.

Israeli government officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have openly lashed out at the EU over its seeming acceptance of the Hamas narrative regarding what's happening on the Gaza border, its refusal to accept Jerusalem as Israel's capital, and its defense of the Iran nuclear deal.

Given that US President Donald Trump has publicly and firmly backed the Israeli position on all these fronts, Netanyahu and his ministers feel comfortable sticking it to Europe in tones they might not otherwise use.

But, warned the EU source, "Trump won't be president forever," and once he leaves the White House, Israel might find itself in a far less enviable position.

"Just like nobody imagined that the Obama legacy would be erased so quickly, it can happen to the other side," said the official. "You shouldn’t disparage Europe. Look at the numbers: We are still your biggest trade partners. You don’t understand that we are under immense public pressure against Israel."

PHOTO: Netanyahu meeting with Trump in the Oval Office on March 5, 2018. (Haim Zach/GPO/Flash90)

 

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