ANALYSIS: How Israel and Others Exposed Iran's Nuclear Weapons Program

This week two leading American newspapers  published articles about how exactly the Mossad, Israel’s external intelligence agency, broke into a warehouse in Tehran, Iran to steal a giant trove of documents dealing with Iran’s secret nuclear weapons program.

During a dramatic six-and-a-half-hour during nightly operation on January 31, 2018 the 100 men-strong Mossad team broke into the warehouse via two doors after disabling the alarm system of the building in a commercial district in Tehran.

They then cut through a number of large safes by using torches that burned at least 3,600 degrees and left the capital of Iran at 5.00 AM two hours before Iranian security agents arrived for the morning shift, according to the New York Times.

The Israeli team knew exactly which safes contained the most critical designs for the production of nuclear weapons and how much time they had for the operation after a year-long surveillance of the warehouse which was not guarded by Iranians during the night to avoid drawing attention to the secret facility.

Last week, Israeli intelligence officials revealed that the planning of the operation began in 2016 when the Mossad obtained intelligence Iran had decided to consolidate and to conceal a large number of documents and disks its past illicit nuclear activities.

This happened after Iran and six world powers in the summer of 2015 reached an agreement called Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (JCPOA) on its nuclear activities which aimed to delay Iran’s ability to break out to a nuclear bomb.

The controversial agreement was implemented early 2016 after the Obama Administration and other governments cancelled biting sanctions and released frozen Iranian assets.

During the briefing one of the Israeli intelligence officials likened the Mossad operation to the casino heist in the movie ‘Ocean’s Eleven’ and said Israel had specific intelligence steering the team “to focus their efforts on specific safes,” according to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

When the operation in the warehouse was completed two hours before Iranian security agents  arrived the Mossad team left Tehran with some 50,000 pages and 163 compact disk of videos, designs and memos detailing Iran’s secret nuclear weapons program.

The New York Times showed a part of the Iranian archive to Robert Kelley, a nuclear engineer and a former inspector of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN’s nuclear watchdog.

“It’s quite good,” Kelley told Times reporter David E. Sanger and Israeli investigative journalist Ronen Bergman, the writer of the 2008 book “The Secret War With Iran”.

“The papers show these guys were working on nuclear bombs,” Kelley concluded after reviewing the documents detailing Iran’s secret Amad Project which was officially halted in 2003 when the United States invaded Iraq.

“The Iranian program to build a nuclear weapon was almost certainly larger, more sophisticated and better organized than most suspected in 2003,” other nuclear experts told The New York Times.

The documents shown to the American papers dealt with a nuclear warhead for Iran’s Shihab-3 long-range ballistic missile and described plans to built five nuclear bombs in the initial stages of the Amad Project.

After halting the Amad Project officially Iran shifted “many of its activities into the newly formed Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research,” according to WSJ.

The new details on Iran’s covert nuclear weapons program coincided with the publication of new German intelligence report by the state of Hesse which states that the Islamic Republic still  seeks to acquire  weapons of mass destruction.

The German report claimed Iran and North Korea are trying to “circumvent control mechanisms in countries that are not especially subject to embargo restrictions.” 

One of these countries is Syria which Iran is currently turning into another client state.

On July 11 Yossi Kupperwasser, a former top IDF military intelligence official told participants in a conference organized by the Jerusalem Center of Public Affairs that a “major purpose of Iran wanting to enlarge its footprint in Syria may be to hide aspects of its nuclear program from the International Atomic Energy Agency.”

The German magazine Der Spiegel as well as the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security (the good ISIS) have reported – based on extensive research- that Iran is probably operating an underground nuclear facility in Qusayr in the Qalamoun Mountains near the Lebanese border.

The Qusayr site is guarded by the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps and was referred to by a high-ranking Hezbollah official as “the atomic factory”.

Der Spiegel already reported in 2015 that 8,000 fuel rods were stored at the Qusayr facility, where three building conceal entrances to tunnels.

In March this year a ISIS team lead by former IAEA inspector David Albright came to the conclusion that while “evidence remains inconclusive there is reason to believe that Syria, apparently with help from North Korea and Iran, built a new underground nuclear facility in Qusayr.”

 

Trump Touts Meeting With Putin as Boon for Israel, But Was It?

The presence of Iranian forces in war-torn Syria was reportedly a major topic of discussion when US President Donald Trump met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on Monday.

And, according to Trump, the outcome of that discussion should put a smile on the face of Israel's leadership.

"We came to a lot of good conclusions. A really good conclusion for Israel. Something very strong," Trump told Fox News following the meeting.

The American also insisted that his Russian counterpart was a true friend of Israel, and of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. "[Putin] is a fan of Bibi," said Trump, using the Israeli leader's nickname. "Really helping him a lot and will help him a lot, which is good for all of us."

For the past couple years, Israel has been striking Iranian and Iranian-linked targets in Syria with the tacit approval of Russian forces deployed there, which have until now turned a blind eye to the Israeli operations.

But, the Syrian civil war appears to be reaching its conclusion, and Iran's strong military foothold in the country remains. This, according to Israel, poses an unacceptable existential threat.

Iranian officials, too, admit that the presence of their forces in Syria is primarily to threaten Israel.

"Orders are awaited, so that… the eradication of the evil regime [Israel] will land and the life of this regime will be ended for good. The life of the Zionist regime was never in danger as it is now," said the deputy commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), Gen. Hossein Salami, in a recent speech.

When Netanyahu visited Moscow last week, Putin informed him that the full evacuation of Iranian forces in Syria, which now number in the thousands, was unrealistic. Given that, there is understandably a lot of skepticism in Israel concerning Trump's more optimistic remarks.

 

Israel Cuts Off Gas Supply to Gaza

Israel on Monday announced that it was closing the Gaza Strip's Kerem Shalom border crossing to all gasoline imports. Food, medicine and other humanitarian supplies would continue to be permitted through the crossing.

The move was in response to a violation of the ceasefire by the Palestinian terror groups operating in Gaza when they fired a rocket toward southern Israel.

"Due to continuing attempts by Hamas to carry out terrorist attacks, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, after consultation with the IDF chief of staff, decided to halt the transfer of gasoline via Kerem Shalom until next Sunday," read a statement released by the Defense Ministry.

Israel also decided to reduce the Gaza fishing zone from six to just three nautical miles.

Hamas responded by accusing Israel of unjustifiably oppressing the Palestinians of Gaza. "The Israeli sanctions further intensify the seize of Gaza and represent crimes against our people. The world must not remain silent in the face of these crimes against humanity," read a Hamas statement.

At the same time, Egypt announced that it would close the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Sinai. It claimed this was being done due to "technical problems," and had nothing to do with the Israeli closure.

PHOTO: Trucks passing through the Kerem Shalom crossing. (Abed Rahim Khatib / Flash90)

 

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A Modern-Day Saul of Tarsus Tells Israelis About Yeshua

Israel Today speaks to the son of a rabbinical family who once persecuted local believers, but who now has a passion to spread the good news of Yeshua to his fellow Israelis.

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What are the Palestinians Fighting For?

If someone were to ask what it is the Palestinians are fighting for, one might answer: "For a Palestinian state in the occupied territories." If this is what you think, don't worry. Most people would say the same thing. Most believe that the moment Israel ends its occupation, peace and tranquility will descend upon the region. And just in case you feel you got the answer wrong, rest assured. Israel, from top to bottom, believes that the root cause of the conflict is its own victory in 1967. If only the results of this war could be reversed, say peace-loving Israelis, things would be great again.

On March 30, 2018, Hamas launched the first wave of what it called the "Great March of Return." These "demonstrations" were not an attempt to improve life in Gaza. As the name itself clearly states, what naive Westerners called "peaceful protests" were in fact a vivid expression of the Palestinians' raison d'etre: Reverting the geopolitical situation back to what it was before 1920, not to what it was before 1967. 

The Palestinians are fighting Israel in an attempt to return to their cities and villages and lands that stretch all the way from the River Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea, from Mount Hermon to the Red Sea. If you watch closely the signs carried by the "Free Palestine" crowd, you will note that the maps on the signs depict Palestine as wholly replacing present-day Israel. In other words, for there ever to be a State of Palestine, the State of Israel must cease to exist.

But what should have been obvious has become obscured after decades of well-planned propaganda smokescreens. So effective is this propaganda that even straight-forward attempts by "refugees" to return to their villages by force are seen as benign and legitimate quests for a better life in Gaza, as if Israel is still responsible for the services the municipality of this city provides to its residents.

One might expect that Israelis would be the first to recognize the smokescreen for what it is and do whatever it can to blow it away. Instead, we find that Israel has fallen prey to the lie that the Palestinians are fighting for their independence in the West Bank and Gaza, the latter of which was already made judenrein back in 2005.

A new book by Adi Schwartz and Einat Wilf titled _The War of Return _looks to bring Israelis back to their senses. As the name of the book itself indicates, the authors present a compelling case for the root cause of the conflict – the "Palestinian refugees," whose numbers have swelled over the past 70 years from just half a million to over five million. Palestinian refugees, as Schwartz and Wilf demonstrate, are not a humanitarian issue, but a political one.

However, the Palestinians, aided by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), have succeeded in creating an unprecedented, one-of-a-kind category of perpetual Palestinian refugee who are endowed with a unique "right of return" passed on to their descendants till kingdom come. 

By transforming the refugees from a solvable problem into an issue of justice and human rights, the Palestinians, together with UNRWA, the EU, etc., have turned a political question for which an answer could be found (Palestinian state) into a perpetual ethical dilemma with no end in sight. Justice will be done, the conflict will be solved, say the Palestinians and their supporters, only when the refugees return to their "homes," which can only happen by trampling over Israel's dead body.

 

Israelis Angered by Gaza Ceasefire After 174 Mortars and Rockets Hit Negev

Many Israelis have characterized the government's response to ongoing "terror kite" attacks from Gaza as flaccid, at best.

So, when Hamas and its allies upped the ante by lobbing no fewer than 174 rockets and mortar shells into southern Israel at the weekend, there was some hope that the Israeli army would finally get a green light to take real action.

The Israel Air Force did bomb a number of Hamas and Islamic Jihad installations, but it's the kind of damage from which the terror groups quickly recover.

Israelis want the threat eliminated completely, and see the ceasefire agreed to by the government on Saturday evening as a bandaid on a festering wound.

The constant fear of having to run for bomb shelters at any moment "is ruining our lives," a resident of Kibbutz Kfar Aza told Israel's Mako news portal.

Others complained that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seemingly isn't making their ability to live in peace and security a top priority. "Another escalation, and [Netanyahu] is off traveling to the World Cup," said a resident of Netiv HaAsara, referencing the fact that the prime minister took the opportunity during last week's visit to Russia to enjoy the world's largest sporting event.

The government argued that the return of relative quiet to the area known as the "Gaza envelope" should silence the residents' grumbling.

In an interview with the Ynet news portal, Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz insisted that it was Israel's "strong response" to the rocket fire over the weekend that compelled Hamas to seek a ceasefire. "We will not accept any acts of terror against us," Steinitz said, stressing that additional attacks on southern Israel would be dealt with harshly.

But the mayor of Sderot, the Negev town most often hit by Gaza rockets, warned that the manner in which the weekend's violence was resolved had put Hamas, not Israel, in the driver's seat.

"We are not pleased with this ceasefire," Mayor Alon Davidi told Mako. "It is Hamas, not Israel, that's deciding when to escalate and when to back down. I call upon the prime minister and his cabinet to come down to the south and hear from the residents what life is like here."

Mayor Davidi's criticism was echoed by Education Minister Naftali Bennett.

"Allowing Hamas to dictate the terms of the ceasefire after two months of arson attacks and hundreds of rockets on the residents of Gaza border communities is a serious mistake," read a statement released by Bennett. "Showing restraint creates an escalation in violence."

Indeed, as Bennett concluded, the greatest fear of the residents of southern Israel is that their government's policies have committed them to a "long war of attrition."

 

Knesset Rejects Surrogacy for Homosexual Couples

Israel's Knesset last week slapped down an attempt by same-sex couples to get themselves included in an amendment to the state's surrogacy laws.

The amended surrogacy bill will enable Israeli families to have up to five children through surrogates, up from just two, and will also permit a surrogate to give birth five times, including her own children.

The biggest change is that the new bill also covers single mothers, while previously only married women could obtain approval for a surrogate birth. Homosexual couples had hoped to also add a clause enabling them to have children here at home via a surrogate, rather than pay exorbitant prices to do so abroad.

But the Knesset Labor, Welfare and Health Committee voted down a proposed amendment to that effect submitted by Likud MK Amir Ohana, who is one of several openly gay Israeli lawmakers.

"When my husband and I wanted to raise a family, we had to travel thousands of kilometers to another country. The twins were born prematurely and we were not by their sides," an emotional Ohana told the committee. "I had to turn the world upside down to find a Jew, who did not know me but lived nearby, to be by their sides. I am not defying the rabbinate and going against religion, just asking for a bit of humanity."

Fellow gay lawmaker Itzik Shmuli (Zionist Union) called the committee's decision on the matter "an insult."

"I want to be a father and I cannot be a father. To do this, I have to go to a foreign country, pay $140,000 and hope it’s all right," he added. "We are good enough to serve the country, but not to be parents. It’s an insult I cannot describe. It is a situation that is simply discriminatory, painful, and full of insults and dishonesty. This is wrong."

While Israel touts itself as a safe haven for homosexuals, it has yet to legalize same-sex marriage. However, same-sex marriages executed abroad can be officially registered in Israel.

PHOTO: Israelis demonstrate in Tel Aviv against the failure to include homosexuals in new surrogacy regulations. The sign being held up reads "Father and Father." (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

 

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Cannabis: The New Miracle Worker

Ever since Raphael Mechoulam isolated the principal psychoactive constituent of cannabis (THC) in 1964, Israel has been at the forefront of cannabis research. 

Companies like iCAN and Tikun Olam (which means, no less, "amending the world"), are on the cutting edge of developing medical and cosmetic applications based on the cannabis plant. According to iCAN, cannabis has the "potential to heal human suffering and to bring economic vitality where it is allowed to develop."

But Israel is still wavering as to whether or not to legalize cannabis. Health Minister Yaakov Litzman, an Orthodox Jew, supports cannabis research and has eased up on medical prescriptions, particularly for cancer patients. In March 2017, Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan introduced a new policy that decriminalizes the personal use of marijuana, though a $250 fine waits those caught smoking it in public places.

In their pro-cannabis crusade, however, Israeli enthusiasts tend to go overboard. Trying to make us all believers in the healing powers of this wonder plant, already three years ago Canna Magazine recruited Jesus to their side, but not in the way you would think. "Though many have interpreted these stories [of Jesus performing miraculous healings] as testimony of God's intervention," read a 2016 Canna article, "researches now offer a different interpretation … that Jesus used cannabis to heal the sick."

One of those pushing this narrative is Carl Ruck, a Boston University teacher of classic mythology. Ruck's particular area of research is how religious experiences in ancient Western cultures were induced by psychoactive plants. As an expert on the topic, he said confidently back in 2003 that "there can be little doubt about a role for cannabis in Judaic religion," and it is almost certain that the anointing oil used by Jesus and his disciples contained an ingredient called kaneh-bosem, which Chris Bennet has claimed is cannabis extract.

Kaneh-bosem (Exodus 30:23) is one of the 11 ingredients from which the biblical incense was made. Being sacred as well as mysterious, Judaism speaks extensively about the incense – what it was made of and how it was produced. Kaneh-bosem was identified, without certainty, as cinnamon, the bark of the aquilaria agallocha or, agarwood tree.

Cannabis enthusiasts, however, are not impressed with things like incense and its uses. For them, it is almost a matter of fact that Jesus used cannabis oil to heal the blind, who were really suffering from glaucoma, which can be treated with CBD. Truth is, said cannabis historian David Bienenstock to the Daily Star, that the simpletons who wrote the gospels couldn't tell the difference between demon possession and epilepsy, which can also be treated with cannabis oil, thus confusing its application with a miracle.  A case in point is Mark 6:13, which records the intervention not of a wondrous God, but rather of a wondrous plant.

Beinestock's nonsense was recycled by the Israeli news portal Walla (July 9), in a column suggesting that the Messiah was called so not because he was God's anointed, but because he anointed the sick with the natural cannabis agent. Jesus made it Kosher. Thank God.

 

ANALYSIS: Russia and Iran increasingly threaten Israel's security from Syria

As Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu arrived in Moscow for the third time in six months to hold “very important talks” with Russian president Vladimir Putin the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) shot downa Syrian or Iranian drone which was already flying in Israeli airspace 10 kilometers.

The interception of the drone by a Patriot missile triggered the code red alarm in Israeli communities in the northern Jordan valley and on the Golan Heights. No damages or casualties were reported, however.

The new provocation by the Iranian axis in Syria underlined the importance of Netanyahu’s visit to Moscow now that the Iranian-Russian backed pro-Assad coalition is on the verge of launching an offensive to ‘liberate’ the Kuneitra province which borders on Israel.

Israeli and Arab media reported on Wednesday that after seizing more than 70 percent of the territory of the Daraa province in southwest Syria and laying siege on Daraa city, where the uprising against Assad started in 2011, the Syrian army and its Shiite allies are now approaching the Israeli border on the Golan Heights.

The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported Russian warplanes bombed positions of ISIS-branch Jaish Khalid Ibn al-Walid which is in control of the Yarmouk Basin near the Jordanian and Israeli border.

At the same time, Assad’s forces launched an attack on Jaish Khalid Ibn al-Walid which has vowed to fight until death together with Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, the former Al Qaida branch in Syria which changed its name in 2017.

Jabhat Fatah al-Sham is controlling most of the Kuneitra region adjacent to the Israeli border but recently Hezbollah and other Shiite militias which fight along the Syrian army have tried to set up camp in the abandoned UNDOF compound in Kuneitra.

As Israel Today reported earlier the Russian air force is hindering Israel’s operational abilities against the growing threat by the Iranian axis by bombing rebel positions close to the Israeli border.

Netanyahu will no doubt try to get new assurances from Putin regarding the prevention of the Iranian military build-up in Syria but the Russian president is clearly paying a double game in the war-torn country.

Putin has repeatedly violated his promises to keep Iran away from the Golan Heights and has forced Netanyahu into concessions in exchange for a Russian blind eye to Israeli airstrikes on Iranian and Hezbollah bases in Syria as well as Iranian missile transports to Hezbollah and the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps.

The Israeli PM first insisted Russia would keep the Iranian axis 80 kilometers from Israel’s border and then agreed to a 40 kilometer wide buffer zone but now says Israel will suffice with the renewed enforcement of the 1974 Separation of Forces Agreement which secured a relatively 40-year period of calm on the Golan Heights.

Another indication Russia is not a trustworthy partner in countering the growing threat to Israel from Syria came from Sergei Shoigu, Putin’s minister of defense who told the Italian newspaper Il Giornale Russia is currently discussing the supply of the state-of-the-art S-300 anti-aircraft missile system to the Assad regime.

The delivery of the S-300 system would seriously undermine Israel’s capability to conduct airstrikes against Iranian targets in Syria.

High-ranking Iranian officials, meanwhile, openly talk about the IRGC’s next target in the seven-year-old Syrian war: the destruction of Israel, while Hezbollah portrays the recent defeat of the Syrian rebels in Daraa as “a heavy defeat for the Zionist regime.”

To justify the Iranian military build-up in southern Syria high-ranking officials in the Islamic Republic now claim Israel is trying to take over Syria.

“The Zionist regime tries to gain dominance over Syria after Daesh (ISIS), but resistance forces and military advisers from the Islamic Republic of Iran will continue their presence alongside Syria to counter terrorism, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, the foreign affairs adviser of the speaker of the Iranian parliament said last week.

Amir-Abdollahian said during a meeting with the Palestinian ambassador to Tehran that “the Syrian people  will not allow the country to be turned into the hotbed of Zionist terrorists once again.”

Hossein Salami, the deputy commander of the IRGC went even further and threatened Israel with all-out war by an “Islamic Army.”

“Today an international Islamic army has been formed in Syria, and the voices of the Muslims are heard near the Golan,” Salami recently said during the commemoration of ‘Al-Quds day’.

 “Orders are awaited, so that… the eradication of the evil regime will land and the life of this regime will be ended for good. The life of the Zionist regime was never in danger as it is now,” the IRGC commander claimed.

Salami bragged Hezbollah alone would be able to “break the Zionist regime” with “its 100,000 missiles” and claimed Israel was a “threat to the entire Muslim world.”

At the end of 2017 Qassem Soleimani the shrewd commander of the Quds Force of the IRGC formed an all Shiite Golan Liberation Brigade which is largely made-up of Iraqi militias which fight in Syria on Assad's and Iran’s behalf.

The brigade is an extension of the Hashd al-Shaabi umbrella organization of predominantly Shiite Iraqi militias who turned Iraq into another Iranian client state and operates in a similar fashion to Hezbollah’s elite Radwan unit in Syria.

Both militias are currently involved in the offensive against rebels in Daraa and Kuneitra.

PHOTO: Israeli soldiers keep a close eye on what's happening just over the border in Syria. (Basel Awidat/Flash90)

 

US Congress Warns Netanyahu Against Making Deal With Putin Regarding Syria

If Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is thinking of striking a deal with Russia regarding the future of Syria, he'd better think again, cautioned a senior US senator.

As Netanyahu was meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) tweeted, "To our friends in Israel — be very careful making agreements with Russia re Syria that affect U.S. interests. I don’t trust Russia to police Iran or anyone else in Syria. U.S. must maintain presence in Syria to ensure ISIS doesn’t come back and to counter Russia/Iran influence."

Netanyahu reportedly insisted in his first sit-down with Putin that Iranian forces in Syria be evacuated following the country's civil war. Putin replied that such a demand was unrealistic, leading some to fear that Netanyahu would agree to some kind of arrangement under which Russia promised to keep said Iranian forces in check, while allowing them to remain deployed within striking distance of Israel.

Graham seemed to concur with Putin's assessment that the Iranians can't be easily removed at this point, and instead wants to see a strong US military presence in Syria, too.

That position is shared by most US lawmakers from both sides of the aisle, many of whom are now concerned that when President Donald Trump meets with Putin early next week, he might make some kind of deal that leaves Syria in the hands of the Russians, and their Iranian allies.

In Israel, this is all being viewed as a recipe for war.

 

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Assad Determined to Make Syrians Hate Israel Again

Syrian dictator Bashar Assad might soon win the war for control over his country, but he's largely lost the battle for hearts and minds concerning the "Zionist entity."

For decades, Syrians were raised to view Israel as their eternal foe. But with the outbreak of the Syrian civil war, many began to see the Jewish state in a very different light.

For the past five years, private Israeli citizens have been donating everything from winter coats to teddy bears to Syrian children, while the Israeli army has been working with hospitals in the Galilee region to provide life-saving medical treatment to those wounded in the conflict.

Regular Israeli air strikes on Syrian regime forces and its Iranian allies have also indirectly aided rebel groups fighting to overthrow the brutal rule of Bashar Assad.

"People in Syria no longer see Israel as the enemy," a Syrian patient being treated at Ziv Medical Center in Safed told Israel Today. "Israel is the most just country in the region," he added, demonstrating how drastically Syrian views on the Jewish state have shifted in recent years.

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But the Syrian civil war appears to be wrapping up, as Assad and his Russian allies move closer to reasserting control over the rebellious southern provinces.

Prior to the war, one of the primary ways in which the Syrian regime distracted from domestic problems was by maintaining simmering hostility toward Israel. With the conclusion of the conflict in sight, Assad is keen to reestablish anti-Israel sentiment and reintroduce the Jewish "bogeyman" as a means of avoiding future challenges to his rule.

The scheme is unlikely to work on older Syrians, who by now are fully aware that Israel is no enemy of theirs. But children remain susceptible to the message, ensuring that the official state of war that exists between Israel and Syria persists well into the future, if only Assad can effectively make the case.

A recent survey of school textbooks being used in areas under the control of the Assad regime revealed widespread derogatory references to Israel, even in subjects unrelated to history, politics or regional issues.

Syrian children using these books are told repeatedly that the "Zionist entity" has rewritten history, stolen Arab lands and cruelly forced its own culture and language upon the Arabs living under its control. The Syrian textbooks, which are being used from grade 1 all the way through grade 12, were reviewed by IMPACT-se, an Israeli NGO that monitors textbooks used throughout the region for their compliance with international education standards regarding peace and tolerance.

 

Breastfeeding - It's the 'Right' Thing To Do

"Breastfeeding? You have aligned yourself with the extreme right" – this is not a joke, but the headline of a "thoughtful" column published on July 4 in the daily newspaper Haaretz. It could have been a joke if not for Haaretz devotees enthusiastically embracing almost anything the newspaper prints. Given this, the column points to the direction that Israeli progressives would like Israeli society to go.

The trigger for this bizarre column (and others expressing similar ideas) was a Health Ministry initiative encouraging more Israeli mothers to breastfeed in hopes of increasing the numbers from 59 percent today to 97 percent by 2020. But, apparently, what is common sense for normal people constitutes an outrageous notion in the minds of progressives, who now see in breastfeeding a sinister right-wing plot to thwart the progressive dystopia.

Fortunately, progressives have become so confident that they have dropped their guard in their all-out attack on common sense and traditional values. In the past, progressives utilized covert tactics to plant the seeds of their revolution in state institutions. They accomplished that mainly through human rights NGOs and handsome scholarships to promising students in social science and law faculties. Now that these seeds have taken deep root (students have become key figures in the legal system, for example), they can afford to paint their goals on large signs for all to see.

Breastfeeding, according to our progressives, "is a code word for violence exercised against those opposing this one-dimensional one-way propaganda" because, in case you didn't know, "breasts are the most effective tool for the subjugation of women." Breastfeeding, therefore is indicative of a regressive society: "The more the right tightens its governmental grip, the more grows the yearning for traditional family values … where women are expected to fulfill their 'natural' role." Therefore, so goes the progressive logic, "all those in favor of breastfeeding are suspected of aligning themselves, perhaps unwittingly, with the darkest forces in Israel, with hidden homophobia, or at least a lack of understanding of what the family nucleus in this present age is." 

In the future, the argument continues, the word "nature" will become a thing of the past. What's today considered natural and normative will be considered strange and primitive in this progressive hereafter, where "babies drinking battery fluid will be born out of plastic tubes."

Outlining their vision so clearly, progressives are no longer looking for a socialist utopia. This is a thing of the past. They want nothing to do with Marx or Herbert Marcuse. Today, progressives are fighting for a post-human world where each and every individual will be able to develop a one-of-a-kind identity. The post-human world they are hoping for will look very much like those science fiction movies depicting cities filled with mutants and cyborgs and freaks of all shapes and sizes that have nothing in common. Progressives, in short, want the world to revert to a state of chaos, which is why the local Israeli chapter so hate God and Judaism.

 

The next workshop for Israel's Lone Soldiers will take place in October / November

S. was born in London, England where she lived until age 14 and decided to move to Israel. In December 2012, she enlisted as a combat medic and served with a tank division in Hebron. S. participated in a pre-release workshop, then undertook multiple meetings with her advisor and financial advisor. "It’s not a given that a program for lone soldiers released from the army exists, especially when there’s no-one else to turn to."

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COMMENTARY: UK Taxpayers Sponsor Palestinian Terror

As support for the Palestinian cause drops off even in the Arab world, news that Australia has cut a $7 million ‘lifeline’ to a death-cult is welcome indeed.

Maybe it’s also time for Britain to get real – especially in the wake of the barely reported stoning of Prince William’s vehicle – and acknowledge the need to stop encouraging terror with taxpayers’ money.

Australia has decided to discontinue direct aid to the Palestinian Authority because it suspects the cash is freeing up funds used to back political violence. And we have recently learnt that the UK gave £20 million in aid to Palestinian schools, where they teach children about Jihad (holy war) and martyrdom.

A report by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education reveals that the PA school curriculum “utilizes a variety of tools to convince children – mostly boys – to risk their lives and die as martyrs”.

It goes on to highlight some of the lessons being funded by British aid. For example, a science textbook explains Newton’s second law of physics – on power, mass and tensile strength – by using an image of a boy with a slingshot targeting soldiers.

Meanwhile jihadists continue their desperate attempts to engage Western sympathy by stoking up further flames in Gaza, sending burning kites to destroy Israeli crops while also trying to force their way through the border fence in order to kill Jews.

The Saudi Crown Prince and heir to the throne indicated something of current Arab frustration with the Palestinians by saying that it was about time they accepted offers of peace and agreed to come to the negotiating table “or they should shut up and stop complaining.”

Mohammed bin Salman, during a meeting with American Jewish community leaders, stressed: “There are much more urgent and more important issues to deal with – such as Iran.”

Clearly, the riots in Gaza are designed to provoke Israel to war, which would inevitably draw further criticism of the Jewish state for what the world is expected to regard as disproportionate response. And this would in turn elicit fresh sympathy for the Hamas cause of Jewish genocide.

But as a 46-year-old Palestinian put it: “Most people want nothing to do with the riots at the border fence. Hamas does not care how many Palestinians perish. What’s important to them is that the media continues to cover it.”

Bassem Eid, a Jerusalem-based Palestinian and political analyst, speaks from experience when he says that Israel “was the only nation that had given us a chance at a better life. In my opinion, the Palestinian cause has nearly reached its conclusion…I am calling on my Palestinian colleagues to wake up to the truth. The time has come for us to value life over death.”

Col Richard Kemp, a former British Army commander, laid the blame for Gaza bloodshed squarely with the United Nations when he addressed that body in May, saying: “Your failure to admit that Hamas is responsible for every drop of blood spilt on the Gaza border encourages their violence and use of human shields. It makes you complicit in further bloodshed.”

The self-inflicted wounding of Palestinian aspirations – caused by stubbornness to recognise Israel’s right to exist – will no doubt be reflected in President Trump’s much-heralded peace deal.

And the stoning of Prince William’s vehicle during his visit to PA headquarters in Ramallah may perhaps jolt British officials into some sense of reality. The children responsible for the outrage are taught to hate Jews and to blame Britain for handing ‘their’ country over to ‘infidels’ (non-Muslims).

Britain has consistently been a soft touch for Arab terror – riots and threats of mayhem have led successive governments to capitulate to pressure and betray Jewish aspirations in the process. But a first-ever official visit to Israel of a British royal is surely time to change our policy and revert to our pre-Balfour support of the Jews, which is the only guarantee of blessing for our nation (Gen 12.3).

As the Prince shared during his tour, the story of how his great-grandmother Princess Alice selflessly saved members of the Cohen family from the Nazis was “a matter of great pride” for his whole family. And after being horrified at what he witnessed during his visit to Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem Holocaust museum, he said: “I am well aware that the responsibility falls now to my generation to keep the memory alive of that great crime as the Holocaust generation passes on. And I commit myself to doing this.”

Israel is currently surrounded by implacable enemies committed to condemning them to another Holocaust. It’s not just a memory we need to keep alive – it’s also today’s Jewish people who are under such threat. We need to wake up as a nation and pray for the peace of Jerusalem, as the Word of God commands us. (Psalm 122.6)


Charles Gardner is author of Israel the Chosen, available from Amazon; Peace in Jerusalem, available from olivepresspublisher.com; and A Nation Reborn, available from Christian Publications International

 

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Israeli Soldiers Save Life of Palestinian Baby

The presence of Jews, and especially Israeli soldiers, in the biblical city of Hebron is portrayed by the Palestinian leadership and the mainstream media as an obstacle to peace.

Both the soldiers and the settlers there are painted as aggressive racists who bear nothing but ill will for the Palestinian Arab residents of the city.

And yet, stories like the following are not uncommon, though they receive almost zero attention in the foreign press.

On Sunday night, Israeli soldiers manning a position at the Cave of the Patriarchs in central Hebron, a site holy to both Jews and Muslims, heard screaming from a nearby Palestinian house, reported the Israeli news portal 0404.

Rather than ignore the shouts for help and leave the Palestinians to their fate, the Israelis rushed over to provide whatever assistance they could.

Inside, the soldiers found a panicked family surrounding a 9-month-old baby who was unresponsive and not breathing. They immediately began administering CPR while calling for their unit's medic.

The Israeli army medic arrived and moved the child outside, where he continued life-saving treatment that resulted in the Palestinian boy regaining consciousness and breathing again.



This is not the kind of thing most people hear about Israeli soldiers. But, it is the way most Israeli soldiers behave toward Palestinian Arabs. Most Israeli soldiers prefer to preserve life, rather than take it, contrary to how the mainstream media portrays them.

PHOTO: Illustration. Israeli soldiers providing life-saving medical assistance to Palestinian Arabs is far more common than the media would have you believe. (Gershon Elinson/FLASH90)

 

ANALYSIS: Controversy Over Israel-Poland Joint Statement

The Polish government has decided to translate into Hebrew a joint statement on the role of Poland in the Holocaust, and publish it as an advertisement in Israeli newspapers, which has sparked controversy among Israeli historians and politicians. 

This affair began with "The Polish League Against Defamation" conference "Support Poland!" held on November 2017. The conference urged Poles around the world to defend Poland's good name, specifically in refuting the claim of "Polish death camps." This call was taken seriously by Mateusz Morawiecki, who became the Polish prime minister just a month later. Then-deputy PM Morawiecki said that "Poland should take legal action against all those powerful foreign media organizations that still dare" to insist that there were Polish death camps. As prime minister, Morawiecki was able to pass a bill on February 1 that could send those accusing Poland of involvement or responsibility for the Nazi atrocities to prison for up to three years.

After Morawiecki defended the bill at the Munich Security Conference on February 17, Prime Minister Netanyahu responded that “there is a problem here of an inability to understand history and a lack of sensitivity to the tragedy of our people. I intend to speak with him forthwith." That discussion resulted in the joint statement now causing so much noise due to Netanyahu allegedly aiding a Polish revision of history.

Historians at Jerusalem's Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum thanked Netanyahu for excluding any restrictions on free research, but noted that "the joint statement contains highly problematic wording that contradicts existing and accepted historical knowledge in this field." It is untrue, as the statement would have us believe, that "the wartime Polish Government-in-Exile attempted to stop this Nazi activity by trying to raise awareness among the Western allies to the systematic murder of the Polish Jews." The truth, said Yad Vashem historians, is that "much of the Polish resistance in its various movements not only failed to help Jews, but was also not infrequently actively involved in persecuting them."

The Historical Society of Israel expressed its full support for the Yad Vashem historians regarding this matter: "We are all unanimous in that the joint statement of the prime ministers contains serious distortion of known historical facts … likewise we want to express our strong protest against the intervention of politicians in historical discourse." In response, Netanyahu stressed that his primary goal had been to remove the criminal element from the new Polish law, which he did, and that at a later date the historians' criticisms regarding the details could be considered.

But it wasn't only historians laying into Netanyahu. Yair Lapid, head of the centrist Yesh Atid party, called the joint statement a "bad joke" and demanded that the new Polish law in question be repealed entirely. Education Minister Naftali Bennett, head of the Jewish Home party, said that "the statement is a disgrace filled with lies."

In response to the attacks on the joint statement, Dina Porat, the chief historian at Yad Vashem and the one who advised Netanyahu's negotiation team, said the statement is reasonable. She further called on critics like renowned historian Yehuda Bauer, who called the Israeli participation in the statement an act of treason, to find different words to voice their disagreement. Porat said that following the harsh criticism she considered resigning from Yad Vashem, but that the president of the institution wouldn't accept it, which means that contrary to the concerns of Yad Vashem historians, the institution itself accepts as legitimate Porat's position that the joint statement is reasonable. 

One will have to wait and see where this commotion leads, and whether or not it is going to affect Netanyahu's electability. One thing is certain though, the Holocaust is still a volatile issue, as it should be, and those tempted to lend their name to the revision of history for the sake of political expediency risk seriously damaging their reputation.

PHOTO: Jewish youth from all over the world participate in the March of the Living at the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp in Poland. (Yossi Zeliger/Flash90)

 

100 Days of Fire

For the last 100 days not a single day has passed in which fields and forests were not set ablaze by Hamas kites and balloons. During these 100 days, Israel did next to nothing to stop Hamas from burning Israel's southern Negev region. Justifying Israel's policy of containment and appeasement is possible only by trying really hard.

Containment and appeasement, the legal daughters of defeatism, have accompanied Jews in exile for a very long time. In exile, where they were a defenseless, persecuted minority, containment and appeasement were entirely understandable, a necessary evil that allowed Jews to survive. This approach to conflict resolution is recited three times a day at the conclusion of the Amidah prayer – "let my soul be mute to those who curse me and let my soul be as dust before all."

Two thousand years of recitation have done their job, and made this approach second nature, a habit difficult to abandon. And it is not as if we haven't tried. From the 1920s to the 1940s, the Jewish society in Israel was deeply divided between those who opposed appeasement (revisionists) and those who supported it (labor parties). Back then, those supporting appeasement feared that retaliation would endanger the small and vulnerable Jewish population in mandatory Palestine. Containment, then, was believed to be an effective way to appease the Arabs and the British, but it never really worked out that way.

Containment and appeasement are also the hallmark of former-British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlin, who remained convinced till he was forced out of office in May 1940 that his way would save England. Chamberlin was so self-assured that he insisted on his policy even after the Anschluss of Austria and the Sudetenland and the invasions of Abyssinia, Poland and the Benelux countries by Italy and Germany, respectively. Chamberlin's policy of appeasement was justified by his belief that Britain could not defeat Germany on the battlefield. From that point of view, his policy was sound and logical. History has now proved that this policy of containment and appeasement based on a defeatist mindset was a complete sham.

What further complicates things is that Chamberlin wasn't a soft-hearted lefty. He was a conservative, an English Tory who ruled the country with an iron fist, so much so that many of his colleagues saw him as a dictator of a kind. Defeatism, Chamberlin demonstrated, has nothing to do with ideology.

Yet, despite vivid examples from the not too distant past that clearly demonstrate how containment and appeasement bring the exact opposite of the hoped-for result, Israel still believes it is beneficial. Unfortunately, in Israel one hears repeatedly that terror can't be defeated. We watch as Hamas is appeased with truckloads of goods and humanitarian aid, while the terror group's assets are bombed with such precision and timing so as not to hurt, let alone kill, anyone associated with it. This failed policy of appeasement has characterized Israeli governments, both left- and right-wing alike, since 1967, and to no avail.

It could be that our leaders still believe, even though they no longer pray, that turning the other cheek is truly the right thing to do. But they would do well to remember the lesson of history, that containment and appeasement have never ended well for those trying to avoid conflict.

 

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Israeli Lawmakers Still Can't Freely Visit Israel's Holiest Site

Israel is a country that prides itself on the level of religious freedom enjoyed by all citizens, regardless of race or creed. Especially given the religious oppression and suppression prevalent in the nations surrounding her.

But there's still one group in the Jewish state that suffers under a severe restriction on its religious expression - the Jewish people.

In its exaggerated efforts to be sensitive to the whims of every other group, Israel still forbids Jews to freely visit their most sacred site, the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

This can be most readily seen in the absurd restrictions placed on Members of Knesset who wish to ascend Judaism's holiest site.

Because Muslims also claim the site, and currently have two mosques situated where the Temple once stood, Israeli MKs can only visit the Temple Mount once every three months, must coordinate such visits with the Israel Police at least 24 hours in advance, may not speak to anyone (especially the media) while atop the holy plateau, and most certainly must not pray, even silently.

Any violation of these regulations is seen as some kind of justification for a violent Muslim outburst.

 

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Secular Redeemer: Commemorating Herzl's Death

Theodor Herzl, who turned the Zionist vision into reality, died 114 years ago, on July 3, 1904. He was only 44, and his untimely death sent waves of anguish throughout the Jewish world. Obituary postcards spoke of him as "Messiah," and Jews of all shades lamented his sudden departure.

This, of course, doesn't mean that he was free of criticism, but since no human being is spotless, one is left with deciding whether to dwell on the insipid, or the gist. If one were to choose one thing from the insipid, then what has tarnished Herzl's reputation more than anything else was his youthful thought of converting the Jewish people to Christianity as a way to escape the harsh reality Jews were facing. In 1892, Herzl wrote to Moritz Benedict, the editor of the influential newspaper Neue Freie Presse, that once hostility toward the Jews subsides, "Jews, as a whole, should convert to Christianity."

In an article that appeared in 2004, on the 100th anniversary of Herzl's death, seasoned journalist Ariana Melamed reminded her readers of this "sin," along with other trivial mischiefs, in hope of further corroding the image of Herzl, and Zionism. Anti-Zionist Orthodox Jews are doing the same, with the same zeal and goal in mind. What both camps fail to mention is that Herzl mentioned this idea before he got into politics and the Zionist movement in 1885, and that in fact he never seriously contemplated such an idea.

In a 1985 note to his diary, Herzl addressed the topic of mass conversion. "These were vague declensions reflecting youth's weakness. I say to myself with all honesty … I have never seriously considered to convert." Herzl's monumental achievement confirms every bit of his rejection of the notion of conversion.

Melamed and other like-minded secular Jews are highlighting Herzl's [lack of] morality [like his venereal disease], in a further attempt to slaughter Zionism's most sacred cow. Against this unfortunate trend rise an increasing number of religious Zionists who are trying to paint Herzl as a leader almost on par with Moses. The most difficult thing to explain to any religious person is why the modern State of Israel came into being through the work of a secular redeemer.

At a humble memorial service held on July 3, Rabbi Uri Sherki offered a compelling explanation that views Moses as a secular redeemer, as well. Sherki accepts the explanation of Rabbi Naftali Zvi Yehuda Berlin (Natziv of Volozhin 1816-1893), who was probably the first to address the problem of "secular redemption."

According to Berlin, Moses was punished because he thought the people of Israel would not accept him due to his appearance and speech being that of an Egyptian. Moses doubted God's choosing a secular Jew, himself, to bring Israel out of Egypt. This is expressed in Exodus 4: "But behold, they will not believe me or listen to my voice, for they will say, 'The LORD did not appear to you.'" 

Then, as today, people find it difficult to believe that God can speak and work through secular Jews. The convention dictated that Aaron, not Moses, was the natural candidate for leadership, since he wasn't steeped in Egyptian culture, like Moses was. Moses, accordingly, was punished for assuming that a secular redeemer is inconceivable. He doubted God's wisdom and limited the scope of his actions. 

Doubting Herzl's achievement just because he didn't wear a kipa, leading Zionist rabbis now acknowledge, is as severe as doubting Moses.

 

ANALYSIS: Netanyahu's New Iran Offensive Inspires Israel's Arch Enemy

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has launched a public relations offensive exclusively aimed at the Iranian people, and his new strategy has already been copied by one of Israel's foes.

About two weeks ago, the Israeli leader posted a video in which he offered to help solve a serious water crisis in Iran. As he filled a glass with water, Netanyahu said Israel wanted to make an unprecedented offer to the people of Iran in the field of water management, because the lives of more than 50 million Iranians are threatened by mismanagement that the prime minister blamed on the "cruel "Iranian regime.

But disdain for the Iranian regime would not curb the respect and friendship between the people of Iran and Israelis, Netanyahu continued. He announced that the Israeli government had opened a website in Farsi where Israeli water innovations would be presented and taught to the Iranian people.

Netanyahu's video was published prior to the demonstrations in southern Iran against the regime’s mishandling of the water situation. Local media reported that numerous Iranians had been poisoned last week alone by drinking contaminated water.

The demonstrations, which began in the predominantly-Arab city of Khorramshahr, have now spread to other Iranian cities and were cruelly suppressed by the Basij militia of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, which last weekend opened fire on the demonstrators. Four people were reportedly killed by the Basij militia before demonstrators seized guns from Ayatollah Khamenei’s security forces and fought back.

An Iranian general later tried to turn the tables by blaming Israel for the lack of rain in Iran. He claimed that the Jewish state had manipulated clouds and had stolen snow from the mountains in the Afghan border region (no joke).

“Israel and another country in the region have joint teams which work to ensure clouds entering Iranian skies are unable to release rain,” Brigadier General Gholam Reza Jalali, head of Iran’s Civil Defense Organization, told reporters. He then said Israel was responsible for the disappearance of snow from mountain tops above 2,200 meters (7,216 feet) in Iran.

“All mountainous areas between Afghanistan and the Mediterranean are covered in snow, except Iran,” Reza Jalali was quoted as saying by The Times of Israel.

On Monday evening, Netanyahu posted another video, this one encouraging the people of Iran to continue their courageous fight against tyranny. He stressed that while the people of Iran were suffering from various crises, their Islamist regime was squandering the nation's wealth on supporting terrorism across the Middle East.

Experts say that Netanyahu's public relations offensive is taking advantage of a new trend in Iran that's seeing average Iranians no longer willing to swallow the anti-Israle propaganda of the regime. Last week, this trend was clearly visible when demonstrators took to the streets in an unknown Iranian city and chanted "Death to Palestine" and "Not Lebanon and Gaza, but the Iranian people."

The spectacle demonstrated that the Iranian people do not accept their regime spending billions of dollars exporting its "Islamic Revolution" to the rest of the Middle East.

In addition to Netanyahu's video clips, the Israeli government is also using social media platforms like Instagram to send messages of peace and practical assistance (like water conservation tips) in Farsi to the Iranian people. The "new media" methods being employed by Israeli officials constitute a kind of reverse psychology, according to Iran expert Alireza Nader.

“The regime’s anti-Israel propaganda can make Israel more popular among younger people,” the former Iran analyst of Rand Corp. told Bloomberg reporter Eli Lake.

It’s too early to tell if Netanyahu’s ‘Iran offensive’ will work, but it has already inspired one of Iran’s proxies to mimic the strategy in an effort to influence Israeli opinion.

Hamas’ military arm, Izz-a-Din al Qassam, is reaching out to the Israeli public by publishing Hebrew language messages on its website such as “Leah: Netanyahu doesn’t care about bringing Hadar back.” The message, in fluent Hebrew, refers to Netanyahu’s refusal to engage in another prisoner swap with Hamas to bring home the remains of Leah Goldin’s son, Hadar, whose body has been held by Hamas since the summer 2014 war between Israel and the Gaza-based terror organization.

Leah Goldin has been highly critical of the Israeli government’s policy not to engage in talks with Hamas, which hopes it can get other Israelis to follow suit.

 

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HOLINESS AND COVENANT

There it is at the core of Leviticus, and central to the whole of Torah: "Speak to all the congregation of the sons of Israel and say to them, you shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy" [Lev. 19:2].

It concerns every member of the congregation, and is a very straightforward demand. From a certain viewpoint, it is the only reasonable summing-up of how matters must work out between man and God. If this demand could not be effected, then God is not God and human life is vain. The essential call to Israel to become a nation fully separated unto the Lord, would be hollow and meaningless.

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Did an American Court Just Justify Palestinian Terror Against Jewish Settlers?

Palestinian leaders have been saying it for years. While they feign condemnation of terrorist attacks against Israelis, they almost always immediately justify such violence as a "natural reaction" to the presence of these Jewish "settlers."

In a worrying turn of events, a US district court this week seemed to at least partially agree with the Palestinians on this matter.

A district court in Washington, DC ruled that the parents of a murdered Israeli teen could indeed sue Iran and Syria for providing material support to the Palestinian terrorists who carried out the grizzly deed, but that the amount of compensation awarded would be relatively low.

The reason? Because, in the words of Judge Rosemary Collyer, "the plaintiffs took on themselves the risks of living beyond Israel’s Green Line and sending [their son] another 40 km into the West Bank to a high school in Gush Etzion."

The boy in question was 16-year-old Naftali Fraenkel, who was abducted and executed along with two friends, Eyal Yifrah and Gilad Shaar, when they inadvertently hitched a ride with Hamas terrorists in June 2014. Judge Collyer continued by noting that the boys were targeted "because they were Jewish and Israeli youths," as though this were somehow an acceptable argument in lowering the damages.

Fraenkel's parents, Racheli and Avi, admitted they didn't expect to actually win any money from the case, since neither Iran nor Syria was likely to actually pay, but nevertheless wanted to make a statement by demanding a whopping $341 million.

In the end, it was Judge Collyer who made the biggest statement by limiting the damages to $4.1 million.

This is problematic for a number of reasons, but a few really stand out.

First, the ruling, like so many other aspects of the failed peace process, paints the Palestinian Arabs as violent by nature, that such attacks are all that could be expected of them. While many Israeli victims of terror might agree with that characterization, it's the very stigma Western peace brokers are trying to break, so it seems odd for a judge to be reinforcing that negative image.

The ruling also takes another step toward a very slippery slope that would negate certain violent crimes based on where they took place. If Jews can't live in the West Bank without waving their right to security, then eventually one might argue that a white family murdered in gang-infested Compton or a black man killed in a Ku Klux Klan stronghold in the South had done the same.

Lastly, this is the very kind of ruling that ends up putting peace even further out of reach.

For Israelis, the primarily stumbling block to a genuine peace agreement is the failure to eradicate Palestinian terrorism and incitement. And by partially justifying the murder of Jews for daring to step foot on land claimed by the Palestinians, this judge has (no doubt unintentionally) encouraged the Palestinian Authority to maintain hard-line positions that no Israeli government can ever accept.

PHOTO: A memorial for the three murdered Israeli boys - Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Sha'ar and Naftali Fraenkel - a month after their execution by Hamas terrorists. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

 

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Syrians Thank Israel for Being a 'Good Neighbor' When No One Else Will

Syrian civilians being mercilessly bombed by their own regime and turned away by neighboring Arab countries are thanking Israel for showing kindness even to its enemies.

The video above shows Israeli soldiers who are part of "Operation Good Neighbor" delivering tons of food, clothing and medical supplies to the Syrian refugees amassing on their nation's side of the Golan Heights.

The refugees began streaming to the border last week when the Syrian regime and its Russian allies began indiscriminate aerial assaults on their homes, which are situated in some of the last rebel-held territory.

Israeli officials said they can't possibly take in 160,000 refugees, but are trying to do everything possible to help them.

Over the weekend, six Syrians in need of urgent medical treatment were granted entry to Israel. The wounded included four young children, some of whom are seen being treated by IDF medics in the video below:


Speaking to Israel's Ynet news portal, one Syrian refugee said he and his family felt hopeless after being turned away at the border with Jordan, which has already taken in over half a million Syrian refugees, and turned toward Israel as a last resort.

They were pleased to find the Jewish state ready to help, despite the fact that Syria remains officially at war with Israel.

"We saw a very noble stance by the Israeli side, both by the aid that it sent and in its treating of the wounded," the man, identified as Sa’id, told Ynet.

Our favorite YouTuber, Hananya Naftali, asks rhetorically why the mainstream international media is paying so very little attention to this incredible display of Israeli goodwill, which demonstrates quite clearly that the Jewish state is not racist against Arabs:


 

Australia Cuts Direct Funding to Palestinians, Will Trump Follow Suit?

Australia on Monday announced its decision to cut direct financial aid to the Palestinian Authority over the latter's propensity to use that money to fuel anti-Israel terrorism.

Last month, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop asked the Palestinian Authority to guarantee that Australian donations were not being given as stipends to Palestinians jailed for engaging in terrorist violence against Israel.

Apparently, the PA's response failed to satisfy Bishop, who wrote in a statement published online:

"I am confident that previous Australian funding to the PA through the World Bank has been used as intended. However, I am concerned that in providing funds for this aspect of the PA's operations there is an opportunity for it to use its own budget to (fund) activities that Australia would never support.

"Any assistance provided by the Palestine Liberation Organization to those convicted of politically motivated violence is an affront to Australian values and undermines the prospect of meaningful peace between Israel and the Palestinians."

Instead, Australia will send the $7.4 (USD) in question to the United Nations Humanitarian Fund for the Palestinian Territories in hopes that it will be used only to provide health care and basic necessities to those most in need.

The question on many Israelis' minds is if American President Donald Trump will now follow suit by cutting all American financial aid to the PA.

Already in March, the US Congress passed and Trump signed into law the Taylor Force Act, which slashed the amount of American taxpayers' dollars being put in the PA's pockets.

But many lawmakers on Capitol Hill in Washington feel the motion didn't go far enough, and that so long as the PA is inciting hatred of and violence against Israeli Jews, it shouldn't be the recipient of even one American dollar.

PHOTO: Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop meets with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem in 2016. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)

 

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Israel Can't Take Syrian Refugees, but is Determined to Clothe and Feed Them

More than 160,000 Syrian refugees have amassed near Israel's border on the Golan Heights. Despite being told their entire lives that Israelis are bloodthirsty and heartless enemies, they are now seeking shelter in the Jewish state amid a merciless onslaught by their own dictatorial regime and its Russian allies.

Israel, of course, cannot permit an influx of so many refugees, especially from a nation still officially at war with it. But, the Jewish state is determined to do all it can to help these poor souls, including feeding and clothing them to the best of its ability.

Over the weekend, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) sent 300 tents, 13 tons of food, 15 tons of baby food, 30 tons of clothes and shoes, and three pallets of medical supplies to the massive refugee camp taking form just over the border.

The Israeli military did grant entry to six Syrians in dire need of emergency medical care. Four of them were newly-orphaned children who were wounded during indiscriminate aerial assaults by their own government.

An IDF statement read:

"In a unique and complex medical operation by the Bashan Division, six moderately to severely injured Syrian were received and treated last Friday night, including four children. According to reports from the Syrian side, the families of the children were killed in bombings during the fighting in Syria, and the children were rushed to Israel to receive treatment."

The children all received emergency first aid by IDF medics. Once stabilized, they were taken to a hospital in northern Israel.

PHOTO: Israelis demonstrating in Jerusalem in 2016 urged the government to grant entry to more Syrian refugees. (Flash90)

 

COMMENTARY: Global Battle for Truth

We are currently witnessing a worldwide battle of the ages between truth and lies. And in recent days much of this has been focused on Israel – specifically at a conference in Jerusalem called GAFCON and on the northern borders of the Gaza Strip.

At the Global Anglican Future Conference, attended by nearly 2,000 Anglican leaders from around the world, a British evangelist warned of the Holy Spirit departing from the traditional Anglican church if it continued to despise the authority of Scripture.

Rico Tice was giving an interview at the third such convocation of this body since its inception ten years ago for the purpose of maintaining the truth of the gospel in the face of growing apostasy including support for same-sex relationships.

Not many miles away, on the borders of Gaza, another battle for truth is being waged as the media is largely determined to spew out lies and propaganda in support of the Palestinian narrative. It was reported that Israeli soldiers had killed a baby caught up in the riots over the alleged right of Palestinian refugees to return to Israel. But it later emerged that Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar had paid a Gazan family to lie about eight-month-old Leila al-Ghandour dying from tear gas inhalation rather than from a pre-existing medical condition.

Readers may well wonder how Palestinians, or anyone else, can get away with so much deceit. But as Israel Today journalist Ryan Jones puts it, “many, if not most, Palestinians have no problem telling bald-faced lies in order to smear Israel and advance their own nationalist agenda. This is because Muslims are permitted to lie to ‘infidels’ in service to Islamic causes, a concept known as taqiyya”.

The prophet Isaiah spoke of such wickedness when he wrote: “…Justice is driven back and righteousness stands at a distance; truth has stumbled in the streets, honesty cannot enter. Truth is nowhere to be found, and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey.” (Isa 59.14f)

What a shoddy business. And the same people who are so ready to condemn Israel for defending her right to exist are engaged in the wicked brainwashing of Western nations on an unprecedented scale into believing that same-sex relationships are perfectly normal. Nazi Germany’s lies about the Jews led to the systematic murder of six million people. With few exceptions, the German people blithely accepted the doctrine that Jews were a cause of all their economic and other problems, partly due to the intimidating nature of rule under the Third Reich. It was a doctrine, much like today’s new teaching on sexual ethics, that brooked no dissent, with the result that those who objected often paid with their lives.

Today, going along with the gay agenda is seen by most as the only way to maintain respectability and acceptance in social circles. This is why, in Australia, where they held a referendum on the issue, same-sex won the day. But if all those who voted for it practiced what they preached, that great southern continent would soon become extinct!

The 1930s propaganda of Josef Goebbels seeped through the German national consciousness, almost without a whimper of opposition, just as the same-sex issue has done in Britain and the West where the general populace is bombarded with stories and images on national television and elsewhere glamorising, justifying and sanctioning lesbian and homosexual behaviour.

And even our church leaders have succumbed to it, undermining the authority of God’s Word in the cause of breaking down boundaries of decency and propriety that have underpinned our civilization for centuries. We are fast heading for a sterile world where the traditional family is a thing of the past, and where the future holds little hope. Hopefully the world will soon wake up in shock at the devastation it has caused, and no-one will be able to say they didn’t know what was going on.

At GAFCON, meanwhile, Rico Tice, a gifted evangelist on the staff of All Souls, Langham Place, and co-author of the much-acclaimed Christianity Explored course, revealed he had resigned from the Archbishops’ Evangelism Task Group because it meant having to submit to the authority of a bishop – Rt Rev Paul Bayes of Liverpool – who validates same-sex.

“It’s a different religion,” he said, adding: “I think it’s a great wickedness to tell people who are on the road to destruction that they are not.”

He went on: “There is no power in evangelism unless you submit to Scripture.” And he suggested that God would remove his power from the institutional church, as he did in the days of John Wesley, if there was no repentance.

He admitted that the problem had been compounded by Christians who have changed their position for emotional reasons because family members had turned gay.

Meanwhile the Archbishop of Uganda has threatened to boycott future meetings called by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Stanley Ntangali said: “Unless godly order is restored in the Anglican Communion, we shall not attend other meetings invited by Canterbury…The church of Uganda is an evangelical church, and we obey Christ and the authority of the Bible, and the apostolic faith. So we have no apology for the stand we have made and will continue to proclaim the gospel of Christ to the nations, uncompromisingly.”

The conference has written a Letter to the Churches challenging the Archbishop of Canterbury to speak the truth about the gospel and human sexuality clearly and publicly and to discipline those within the Anglican Communion who have abandoned it.

In the similar way, lies about Gaza stir up trouble and strife in the Middle East which could erupt into a major war. Lies destroy society whereas truth brings freedom and peace, both among families and the wider world. Spreading lies about human sexuality could well cause as much, if not more, damage to the world at large than the tendency for Arabs to be economical with the truth.

Prince William, on his tour of Israel, will hopefully have learnt from his visit to the Holocaust museum that the anti-Semitism displayed by Palestinian Authority politicians has all the hallmarks of another attempt at genocide. After all, that is the oft-stated aim of Israel’s opponents.

The Prince’s great-grandmother, Princess Alice of Battenberg, took sides in a previous conflict by hiding Jews who would otherwise have been murdered by the Nazis. Will the British Foreign Office allow him to take sides when Jews, now living in their own land, are equally threatened?

He says he wants peace – most of us do – but Neville Chamberlain’s experience should be a lesson to us all.


Charles Gardner is author of Israel the Chosen, available from Amazon; Peace in Jerusalem, available from olivepresspublisher.com; and A Nation Reborn, available from Christian Publications International

 

ANALYSIS: Russian Offensive Robs Israel of Ability to Strike Iranian Forces

A Russian-Syrian led offensive in southwest Syria is complicating Israel’s operational abilities against the growing Iranian threat from the country.

The offensive by the pro-Assad coalition started early last week and aims to drive the various rebel groups out of the region along the Jordanian and Israeli border.

To make things even more complicated for Israel the Russian air force joined the offensive which spelled the end of the so-called de-escalation zones agreement between the U.S., Russia and Jordan from July 2017.

Russian and Syrian airplanes are currently bombing rebel positions in the Daraa Province which borders the Kuneitra Province along the Israeli border.

The offensive has already made between 45,000 and 120,000 civilians homeless, the United Nations and Emad Batin, the vice president of the opposition’s Daraa Provincial Council,reported on Thursday.

The displaced Syrians first tried to flee in the direction of the Jordanian border but after the Hashemite Kingdom, which is already home to more than 1.3 million Syrian refugees closed its borders, the region along the Israeli border became a last resort for the Daraa residents.

Apparently the displaced persons hope Israel will open its border with Syria or that the Syrian army will not dare to launch attacks so close to the Israeli border.

Israeli intervention to stop the Iranian Russian-backed pro-Assad coalition from taking over the border region on the Golan Heights is increasingly becoming unlikely since the Russian air force joined the offensive.

Russian and Syrian warplanes carried out more than 84 airstrikes in Daraa on Thursday morning alone while the Islamist rebels in the Yarmouk Basin region used suicide attacks in an attempt to derail the offensive.

Heavy fighting was also reported in the eastern countryside of Daraa while the Long War Journal (LWJ)revealed at least one Iranian backed Shiite militia from Iraq is fighting along Assad’s army.

According to  LWJ the Iraqi Shia militia Liwa Zulfiqar advertised its presence in the offensive via videos and photos which it posted on its Facebook page.

Liwa Zulfiqar took part in the battle for Busra al Harir a strategically important town in eastern Daraa and claimed rebels had tried to assassinate its commander.

During the offensive in Daraa at least three hospitals were bombed leaving residents of the province, where the uprising against Assad started in 2011, without medical care local media reported.

The pro-Assad coalition is now approaching the Israeli border and bombed the Free Syrian Army in the town of Nawa which is located less than twelve kilometers from the Golan Heights.

Russian and Syrian warplanes are targeting the Islamic State affiliate Jaish Khalid bin al-Walid which is controlling most of the Yarmouk Basin area.

The United States, meanwhile, has made clear it has no intention to help the rebels in southeast Syria while the Trump Administration has set up a meeting to discuss the Iranian presence in Syria with Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Putin and Trump are expected to meet in Europe after a NATO conference in Helsinki, Finland which will take place in another two weeks.

Israel, meanwhile, continues to strike Iranian weapon transports to Syria but seems to be robbed of its military options by Russia to stop the Iran-dominated pro-Assad coalition from taking over the region adjacent to the Israeli Syrian border on the Golan Heights.

The presence of Russian airplanes in Syrian airspace above the Quneitra and Daraa provinces will most likely tie the hands of the Israeli air force whenever the offensive reaches the Golan Heights

The pro-Assad coalition, on the other hand, seems also very cautious in its efforts to take over the Golan Heights.

Most of the fighting since the beginning of the offensive has taken place in Daraa, not Kuneitra.

While Arab media claimed a Syrian offensive on the Golan Heights would lead to Israeli airstrikes or even an IDF ground operation in Syria, the most likely path the pro-Assad coalition will follow is to close a ‘reconciliation’ deal with the Islamist rebels on the Golan Heights.

Such deals ended other stand-offs with Islamist rebel groups across Syria and would include the forced transfer of the Islamist rebels along the Israeli and Jordanian border to Sunni dominated areas in northern and eastern Syria.

 

Prince William Was Stoned in Ramallah. Why Didn't the Media Report It?

Prince William's visit was important for being the first (official visit) by a member of the British Royal Family since the founding of the State of Israel. But beside that fact, it was a rather uneventful stopover, as befitting the visit of an apolitical figure to a politically-charged region.

Except for once incident.

Seems that when Prince William went to visit with Palestinian and UN officials in Ramallah, his vehicle was stoned by Palestinian children.

This according to Quds News, which noted that the residents of Jalazun refugee camp had not been aware of the prince's visit beforehand, and when they suddenly found a British royal outside their homes, they became enraged.

Many Palestinians still blame the British for handing "their" country over to the Jews.

Prince William was, of course, unharmed. What's really telling isn't that Palestinian kids raised on a constant diet of hateful incitement would engage in such violence; it's that the mainstream international media completely ignored the stoning of Britain's future king.

Anyone who's been following this conflict for any length of time will know that had Prince William been stoned by Jewish settler children, the incident would have made headline news across the world for at least the next week.

So, why the lack of coverage when Palestinian kids do it?

 

Trump Reportedly 'Green Lights' Israeli Attacks on Iranian Forces

When US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin get together on July 15, the primarily topic of discussion will be Syria. In particular, the removal of Iranian forces from Syria.

According to American diplomatic sources cited by the London-based Arabic-language newspaper Al-Hayat, Trump is ready to accept Bashar Assad remaining in power in Damascus. But he wants a full withdrawal of Iranian and Iranian-aligned forces from the country.

That's something the Russians can presumably facilitate. And, if they can't, Trump's leverage will reportedly be giving Israel a "green light" to, well, "light up" the Iranians "wherever and however Israel wants to," said the source.

Israel has been adamant that the Iranian military foothold established in Syria over the past couple years poses and unacceptable and existential threat to the Jewish state. Israel has even broken with its traditional policy of ambiguity by taking credit for numerous devastating air strikes on Iranian bases in and around Damascus.

Also of note is the fact that the Russians, who could prevent those Israeli strikes with the air forces and defenses they have deployed in Syria, have instead chosen to turn a blind eye. This despite the fact that the Russians and Iranians are ostensibly in Syria for the same reason - to keep Assad in power and reunite the fractured country under his rule.

PHOTO: Archive. Israeli fighter pilots make their way to their aircrafts. (Shaul Shwartz/Flash90)

 

Netanyahu Encourages Iranians to Continue Uprising Against Ayatollah

 

Syrian Refugees Begin Massing on Israel's Border

Syrian civilians fleeing a fresh military offensive by their own government and its Russian allies have begun massing on the border of Israel's Golan Heights.

They say that being as close as possible to Israeli forces is the safest place to be, presumably because Syrian dictator Bashar Assad and Russia are wary of drawing Israel further into the country's bloody civil war.

The Assad regime is feeling confident of late after managing to regain control over most of Damascus and its suburbs, with the help of the Russians.

Now, Assad wants to end the official rebellion (which is largely unrelated to fight against ISIS and other jihadist groups) by retaking the last major rebel stronghold, the Daraa region of southwestern Syria.

The Daraa region borders both Jordan and Israel. It is through Daraa that well over half a million Syrians have crossed the border to find refuge in Jordan. But, the Hashemite Kingdom has now said "no more."

Jordan this week officially closed its border to additional Syrian refugees. It was the worst possible timing for the residents of Daraa, as regime and Russia warplanes began indiscriminately bombing everything in sight in preparation for a major military push into the region.

Waseem Kiwan, a resident of Daraa city, told the AP that the Russians are bombing everything, including hospitals and UN facilities. As a result, many of these Syrians now feel that the "safest place is the border with Israel because the regime and Russian airplanes cannot strike the area near the Israeli border," said Kiwan.

Another observer, Qalaat Al Mudiq, posted photos and videos of the fighting in Daraa, as well as the migration of Syrians toward Israel, to his Twitter profile:


This is a rather remarkable development, considering that most Syrians were raised believing the Israelis to be bloodthirsty and merciless enemies.

Clearly, a great many people no longer believe such lies, as previously evidenced by the flood of wounded Syrians seeking medical treatment in Israel.

PHOTO: Despite being officially at war, the Quneitra border crossing has seen Israel grant entry to thousands of Syrians seeking medical treatment. Will the Jewish state now open its gates to a much larger number of Syrian refugees? (Flash90)

 

ANALYSIS: Israel Finds Solution to Gaza Terror Kites, But There's More Trouble Brewing

The Israeli army has finally found an effective solution to the so-called ‘kite terror’ that has already destroyed hundreds of acres of agricultural land and forests in southern Israel.

This solution was initially developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems to counter the growing threat of small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV’s) that are used by Hamas and Hezbollah to spy on Israel or to carry out terror attacks against the Jewish state.

Hadashot, a state-funded broadcaster in Israel, reported on Thursday that the IDF has begun using the ‘electronic eye’ to identify where the incendiary kites and balloons are launched from in Gaza, and to track them down before they reach Israel.

The system, called Sky Spotter, enables the IDF to determine the trajectory of the terror kites and balloons and to predict where exactly they will land. A group of IDF operators is now able to provide early warning to firefighters, who then arrive on the spot where the balloons and kites land before they can cause a large blaze.

Sky Spotter is also able to direct small Israeli UAV’s, which are used to bring down the kites and balloons mid-flight.

The system will probably prevent a large-scale military operation in Gaza to stop the ‘kite terror,’ though the Israel Air Force and the IDF continue to target Hamas and Islamic Jihad targets in response to the organized attempts to scorch southern Israel.

On Tuesday night, the IAF bombed a car belonging to a kite terror cell, after which Hamas responded by firing 12 rockets into Israel. Three of them were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile shield, while no casualties or damages were reported.

The Israeli army last week revealed that “the launching of arson and explosive device-laden kites and balloons is now a deliberate activity, planned and executed by the Hamas terror organization, targeting Israeli territory from the Gaza Strip.”

The IDF added that “arson kites are made by Hamas terror operatives in large quantities and in an organized manner.”

Hamas, meanwhile, has to cope with growing unrest in Gaza as a result of its failure to bring Israel to its knees via the ‘Great March of Return,’ and to improve the ailing economy of the coastal enclave.

A number of residents of the impoverished Gaza Strip last week took the streets to demand Palestinian unity, meaning reconciliation between Hamas and the central Fatah-led PA government in Ramallah. The protest was organized by disgruntled Palestinian Arabs who served jail-time in Israel for terror-related activities. About a year ago, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas stopped paying monthly stipends to these ex-prisoners, who now demand Hamas relinquishes control over the Gaza Strip to the Palestinian Authority.

The protest was violently dispersed by Hamas members wearing kaffiyehs and white baseball caps who came out of a mosque, according to eye-witnesses. The plainclothes Hamas agents carried signs and shouted slogans against PA-leader Mahmoud Abbas who, they said, must be removed from power. When the protesters refused to back down, the Hamas agents destroyed their stage and confiscated video footage and photos of the violent crackdown. 

Hamas later denied it had put a violent end to the protest, which came a week after similar demonstrations in the Palestinian cities of Ramallah and Bethlehem, where they were oddly condoned and even encouraged by the PA police. These protests were more directed at Abbas’ ruling clan, which has totally failed to bring prosperity to the territories under its control and is blamed for the humanitarian catastrophe in the Gaza Strip.

“According to reports on Palestinian news sites, the protesters (in Ramallah and Bethlehem) praised Mohammed Def, the head of Hamas’ military wing, called for an end to the security cooperation with Israel, and shouted slogans disparaging the nonviolent struggle and favoring a return to the armed struggle,” the Israeli paper Ha’aretz reported last week.

 

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Welcome to Gaza, Enjoy Your Stay

No one is suggesting that life in the Gaza Strip is sunshine, lollipops and rainbows (to cite a famous song). But to hear the mainstream international media describe it, the coastal enclave on Israel's southern Mediterranean border is the most destitute and oppressed scrap of land on the face of the planet. A lot of that has to do with Israel itself, but not for the reasons one might immediately assume.

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

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In Protesting Ayatollah Regime, Iranians Shout 'Death to Palestine'

For years, the only images of Iranians engaging the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that were approved for broadcast were of Iranians cursing the Jewish state.

But, for just as long, the older generation of Israelis have been reminding everyone that the people of Iran were previously their warmest allies in the region.

In other words, those anti-Israel demonstrations in Tehran reflected more the ayatollahs' agenda than the genuine sentiments of most Iranians.

On Monday, Iranians took to the streets of Tehran to protest against their oppressive regime. Their primary focus was on domestic issues. But, when they did turn to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, guess what they shouted? "Death to Palestine" was the call replacing the "Death to Israel" they had been so long forced to chant by the ayatollahs.

The protests, which turned violent in several places, were sparked by Iran's crumbling economy, the result of a defiant nuclear program and unrepentant Iranian support for regional terrorist organizations.

Among the chief beneficiaries of Iranian patronage have been the Lebanese militia Hezbollah and the Palestinian terror group Hamas, both of which were founded for and remain dedicated to Israel's destruction.

Iranians have grown tired of their regime involving them in conflicts in which they have no interest at the expense of the nation's economic prosperity.

Videos posted to social media showed the demonstrators chanting slogans like "Death to Palestine," "No to Gaza, no to Lebanon," and "Leave Syria and think of us."

Many Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, remain convinced that were the regime of the ayatollahs to fall, Iran would return to being a close and strong ally to the Jewish state, as it was prior to the Islamic Revolution in 1979.

 

Prince William Lands in Israel After Palace Officials Anger Jewish State

Britain's Prince William landed at Ben Gurion Airport on Monday evening for the first official visit by a member of the royal family since the end of the British Mandate.

His three-day tour in the Holy Land is part of a broader Middle East trip. While here, the future king was scheduled to make high-profile stops at major sites across the country, including Yad Vashem, Jerusalem's Old City and the Western Wall, as well as meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leaders.

But it was the wording of the official itinerary published by Kensington Palace that irked Israeli officials. According to the itinerary, when Prince William visits Jerusalem's Old City and Judaism's holiest site, he will be doing so in "Occupied Palestinian Territory."

"United Jerusalem has been the capital of Israel for 3,000 years and no distortion in the tour itinerary can change that reality," insisted Minister of Jerusalem Affairs Ze'ev Elkin.

The British ambassador to Israel, David Quarrey, defended the working of the itinerary, telling reporters that "all the terminology that was used in the program was consistent with years of practice by British governments. It’s consistent with British government policy."

Quarrey further stressed that Prince William is not a political figure, nor is his visit political in nature. Even so, many Israelis were displeased that the British government chose to use the wording of the prince's itinerary to drive home the point that it doesn't accept Jewish sovereignty over Jerusalem.

 

More on the IDF's Mistreatment of Palestinian Women

There is nothing more sinister than hijacking morally-sound agendas for immoral purposes. 

For decades now, anti-Israel activism has so hijacked human rights to delegitimize Israel. This campaign, energized by the World Conference Against Racism, held in Durban, South Africa in 2001, succeeded despite the fact that the charge of "Israeli apartheid" lacked any real evidence.  

A week or so ago, in "IDF Culture of Impunity," I exposed Europe's new propaganda campaign against Israel, which focuses on alleged IDF mistreatment of Palestinian women. "Gender sensitivity," I wrote there, "goes a long way nowadays, especially when it pertains to Palestinian women." As it was with the hijacking of human rights for sinister purposes, so it is now with "MeToo." A perfectly legitimate moral goal is now being appropriated in order to paint the State of Israel as a kind of sex-offender and child-molester.

A picture surfaced today on social media demonstrating that this campaign has been well under way for at least a year. Already in August 2017, Member of Knesset Bezalel Smotrich (Jewish Home) was urging his followers to share a reposted photo originally uploaded by Swedish activists who presented it as proof that Israel abuses women.



Unfortunately for the Swedes, however, Smotrich recognized the poor Palestinian women being dragged by the soldier as the niece of one of his friends. This photo, he wrote, "was taken at the evacuation of the [Jewish-owned] 'House of Peace' in Hebron and the redhead being dragged in the picture," Smotrich revealed, "is a Jewish settler ... the niece of an acquaintance of mine."

As the recent death of one Gaza baby shows, exposing such lies makes no difference. Consider this headline from the New York Times: "A Child of Gaza Dies. A symbol Is Born. The Arguing Begins." The paper doesn't even try to hide its bias as it frames the mother and dead baby in a pieta scene meant to leave the reader with absolutely no doubt that the supposed villains (Israel) are "Christ-killers."

And now, would it make any difference that Israel has discovered that 8-month-old Layla Ghadour didn't die from acrid gas (and what was she doing in a violent event to begin with?), but rather from a heart disease, and that Hamas paid $2,200 for the family to blame Israel for her death? Those who concoct such stories and those who eagerly consume them don't care for such inconveniences like the truth. Their only interest is in justifying their hate.

 

COMMENTARY: British Betrayal Revisited

As evidence has come to light of further shameful acts of anti-Semitism carried out by British officials during its charge over the territory formerly known as Palestine, it is hoped that this week’s royal visit to Israel will help heal the wounds of those who suffered.

I reported last month on a special ceremony held near Haifa at which UK representatives shared a ‘declaration of sorrow’ for the way our country treated Jews in the years leading up to the rebirth of their nation in 1948.

A more detailed report of that May 11 event has since come into my possession, and I am thus able to exclusively reveal some shocking facts shared by Holocaust survivors and others attending the ceremony, organised by Love Never Fails, an alliance of Christian groups supporting the Jewish state.

It took place at Atlit, a former detention camp where Jewish refugees were held as part of British policy to limit immigration to the region, adding further trauma to a people who had already suffered terribly under the Nazis.

Granted a League of Nations mandate to prepare a safe homeland for Jews, Britain instead interred them behind barbed wire complete with watchtowers.

Among those who shared their harrowing stories of the time were Hannah Avrutsky. A survivor of the notorious Warsaw ghetto, she was hidden in a monastery before being smuggled to the Exodus ship bound for Israel in 1947, only to face a British naval blockade and be sent back to a Displaced Persons’ camp in Germany, where so many of her people had been murdered!

Ben Zion Drutin spoke of being hospitalised after being wounded by the British on board the Exodus and then held in Atlit for six months.

Arie Itamar, who was eight years old on the Exodus, compared Israel to a “betrayed lover” during the Mandate.

Pinchas Kahane spoke of his parents’ escape from Auschwitz, his birth in a Cyprus detention camp and how Britain prevented them leaving the camps until February 1949, well after the establishment of the State of Israel.

Dr Miri Nehari, whose father had been a leader in mobilizing the escape of Jews from Europe after the Holocaust, read out a British telegram to the Polish government-in-exile asking them to close the borders to escaping Jews.

Zehavit Blumenfeld, whose 70th birthday has coincided with that of Israel’s, said: “I do not forget, but I forgive.”

She was born in the Cyprus detention camps where 53,000 Jewish refugees from the Holocaust were interned by the British.

She and others were moved by the warmth and sympathy of the Christians who came to express their sorrow, and hope that Prince William’s visit will be an important step towards reconciliation.

The testimonies concluded with stories of British collusion with Arab terror during the Mandate. Noam Arnon, representing the Hebron Jewish Community, spoke on behalf of those who had survived the 1929 massacre there, outlining British complicity.

Zehava Fuchs witnessed the Hadassah convoy massacre as a girl in 1948 when the British had deliberately not intervened to rescue Jewish passengers – 78 people, mainly doctors and nurses, were killed in the attack by Arab terrorists. Zehava is still unable to attend a barbeque as it reminds her of the smell of burning flesh.

Rachel Rust, daughter of a former British officer who served in Palestine, confessed her deep sorrow at the cruel treatment handed out by the British army.

On a positive note, Rita Offenbach shared how her mother was among 180 Jewish fighters rescued after being besieged by Arabs attacking their convoy. Another paid tribute to British officer Orde Wingate who is still much loved in Israel for having laid the foundations of the Israeli Defence Force in creating special night squads.

The declaration of sorrow read, in part: “We grieve that (Britain’s policies) led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Jews who could have escaped Hitler’s ‘final solution’ if the gates to their ancient homeland had been fully open.”

Film-maker Hugh Kitson expressed sorrow not only for the failures of the Mandate, but also for the fact that today’s British Government fails to recognise Israeli sovereignty over their own capital city.

Many Israelis are still waiting to hear an apology from Britain for her betrayal of Israel in breaking a pledge to prepare a safe refuge for the Jewish people. Israel came into being without our help in the end, but not before many lives were unnecessarily lost due to the delay. There is still a need for much repentance and reconciliation.

Prince William is scheduled to touch down on Monday for the start of a first ever official visit to Israel by a British Royal during which he will pay his respects at the tomb of his great-grandmother, Princess Alice of Greece, who hid a Jewish family from the Nazis during the war. It is hoped that the visit will mark a turning point in Britain’s relationship with Israel.

It is certainly encouraging that, according to a senior Conservative source, British Home Secretary Sajid Javid will take steps later this year to fully ban Hezbollah, one of Israel’s most implacable enemies. Since banning the terrorist group in 2008, Britain has continued to recognise its political wing – a distinction not even accepted by Hezbollah, a heavily armed proxy of Iran which has held successive London rallies against the Jewish state.

Also encouraging is Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson’s condemnation on Monday of the United Nations Human Rights Council over its long-standing anti-Israel bias, demanding the council drop a controversial agenda item placing Israel under intense scrutiny.

These are indeed steps in the right direction, and we trust and pray that the Duke of Cambridge will help bring peace to the region as he walks in the footsteps of Jesus, the Prince of Peace.


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

 

Trump Tries to Bypass Palestinian Leadership in Peace Push

US President Donald Trump's envoys at the weekend tried to bypass the Palestinian Authority by appealing directly to the Palestinian Arab street not to reject a peace proposal that their leaders hadn't even yet examined.

Trump's son-in-law and senior White House adviser Jared Kushner and US Middle East peace envoy Jason Greenblatt are in Israel as part of a regional push for the American leader's new peace plan. But they have very conspicuously avoided meeting with the Palestinian Authority, preferring instead to bring Israel and neighboring Arab countries on board.

Kushner addressed the Palestinian public via a local newspaper, Al Quds, urging them not to continue being led down a path of violence and conflict they their "scared" leadership.

The transcript of Kushner's interview was made public by the White House. In it, Kusher said:

"There have been countless mistakes and missed opportunities over the years, and you, the Palestinian people, have paid the price. Don’t let your leadership reject a plan they haven’t even seen. A lot has happened in the world since this conflict began decades ago. The world has moved forward while you have been left behind. Don’t allow your grandfather’s conflict to determine your children’s future."

Many in Israel fear Trump's peace plan might contain heavy concessions by the Jewish state in return for the president's firm stand on Iran's nuclear program and the transfer of the US Embassy to Jerusalem.

However, so long as the Palestinian leadership is effectively boycotting the Trump Administration, there is little hope of the peace process moving forward, for better or for worse.

 

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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....

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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.

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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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