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March 14, 2019

ISRAELI ELECTION RACE - BIBI WILL WIN UNLESS ...!

In the Israeli election, set for April 9th, the polls show Benny Gantz is still leading, but Bibi Netanyahu is still the favorite to become the next Prime Minister. And why is that? Unless Gantz wakes up and shakes up the campaign, his Blue & While Party may win a couple of seats more than Likud, but he will not be able to forge a 61-seat majority in the 120-member Knesset.

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February 26, 1969

Levi Eshkol (1895-1969)

Levi Eshkol (Skolnik) Born on October 25th 1895, Served as the third Prime Minister of Israel from 1963 until his death from a heart attack in 1969. He was the first Israeli Prime Minister to die in office.

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February 17, 2019

CALCULUS OF CURRENT ISRAELI ELECTION CAMPAIGN

"It's security, stupid!"

And how could it be otherwise? Consider the recent, horrific terror attack. Ori Ansbacher, a 19-year-old Israel woman, was walking in the outskirts of Jerusalem when she was attacked, raped, and stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist from the West Bank. The DNA of 29-year-old Arafat Arfiya was found at the site, leading to his arrest within 48 hours. Police say he has confessed and reenacted the crime.

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January 31, 2019

BENNY GANTZ - ISRAEL'S NEXT PRIME MINISTER?

Remember the name - Benny Gantz. A former IDF Chief of Staff, Gantz has just rocked the current Israeli election campaign - voters go to the polls on April 9th. What's happened? For weeks Gantz, a soft-spoken former paratroop commander, standing 6'5 tall, ran a low key campaign. He barely spoke at all, for which he was lambasted by the media and by his political rivals, in particular, by Bibi's Likud supporters. Then, on the night of January 29th, Gantz took off the wraps at his party convention. The whole country was waiting to hear what Israel's "Forest Gump" had to say finally. It turned out to be a blockbuster! Speaking quietly to his enthralled supporters and the nation, Gantz hauled Netanyahu over the coals. He compared Bibi's administration to that of the corrupt French Monarch Louis XIV - "The state? I am the State!". Bibi, now facing four investigations and possible indictment, had veered from the "straight and narrow" and the country was paying the price.

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January 22, 2019

IRAN & ISRAEL GO TO THE BRINK

Is it now Iran's call? For the first time, Iranian forces in Syria have attacked Israel by launching a missile at a target inside of Israeli territory - the winter resort at Mt. Hermon. Fortunately, for the thousands of Israelis in the area, and indeed even for the Iranian personnel stationed in Syria, Israel's Iron Dome Defense intercepted and shot down the Iranian missile. For, if it had landed and killed Israelis, it would have triggered a full-blown war with the Iranian forces in Syria.

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January 01, 2019

IS TURKEY'S EROGAN PLANNING GENOCIDE ON THE KURDS?

Is Turkey planning a massacre of Kurdish rebels in the wake of US President Donald Tump's surprise decision to withdraw the remaining two-thousand American troops from Syria? Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is not hiding his intention to punish the Kurds once and for all for their territorial games and drive for independence during the campaign in Syria against ISIS. For years, Turkey and the Kurds have been engaged in a brutal struggle over the Kurds' historic desire to establish an independent state. The Kurds, estimated to number some 30 million, live in a region known broadly as Kurdistan which is a contiguous spread over four separate states - Turkey, Iraq, Syria, and Iran. How come this landlocked area with such a large indigenous population was simply left out of the New Middle East that was carved out by Britain and France during WWI? 

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November 29, 1947

The Partition Plan כ"ט בנובמבר

On November 29, 1947, the UN General Assembly voted in favor of a resolution, which adopted the plan for the partition of Palestine, recommended by the majority of the UN Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP). 33 states voted in favor of the resolution and 13 against. 10 states abstained.

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November 27, 2018

ISRAELI "ROLLERCOASTER" SLOWS DOWN, BUT FOR HOW LONG?

"All quiet on the Isreali-Gaza front," at least, for the time being. After seven consecutive months of the continual firebombing of Israeli civilians, Hamas has reigned in tens of thousands of rioters, who also tried to break through the border fence and enter Israel. Hamas accepted an Egyptian cease-fire proposal based on a 30 million dollar payoff (in two installments) from the oil-rich Gulf State of Qatar. This eleventh-hour solution prevented another all-out war between Gaza and Israel after Hamas launched nearly 500 rockets at Israel within 24 hours.

Amidst this escalation, a covert Israeli unit was spotted by Hamas during an operation deep inside Gaza. The small Israeli team was apparently on a mission to bug Hamas communications, an attempt to cope with the fire-bombing. In the ensuing firefight, the Israeli commander was killed, as well as the Hamas commander in the area, and six other Hamas militants. It was a very close call for the Israeli unit that had to be extricated in a very risky helicopter operation. At this point, Gaza and Israel were on the brink, apparently about to take the next fatal step to all-out war.

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November 01, 2000

HAS ANYTHING CHANGED SINCE THE SUEZ WAR?

 On October 29, 1956 Britain, France and Israel launched a military operation against Egypt. In a swift, sweeping operation of 100 hours, under the leadership of then Chief of the General Staff, Moshe Dayan, the entire Sinai peninsula fell into Israeli hands, at a cost of 231 soldiers killed. This operation was held in response to the closing of the Suez Canal by the Egyptians and terrorist attacks on Israel that violated the armistice agreement between the two countries.

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October 29, 1956

The Suez War (1956)

On October 29, 1956 Britain, France and Israel launched a military operation against Egypt. In a swift, sweeping operation of 100 hours, under the leadership of then Chief of the General Staff, Moshe Dayan, the entire Sinai peninsula fell into Israeli hands, at a cost of 231 soldiers killed. This operation was held in response to the closing of the Suez Canal by the Egyptians and terrorist attacks on Israel that violated the armistice agreement between the two countries.

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October 21, 2018

COURAGEOUS ISRAELI MOTHER PREVENTS DISASTROUS WAR BETWEEN ISRAEL & GAZA

A split second was all that averted a new all-out war between Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza. At about 3:00 in the morning of October 17, Palestinians in Gaza launched two long-range missiles at Israel. One of them was on target for the Israeli city of Beersheba miles away to the east. The IDF's anti-missile defense failed to intercept it but the sirens blared throughout Beersheba. This is how the Israeli mother, from Ethiopia, of three small boys, described what happened: "I was sound asleep in my bedroom on the first floor (her husband was at work on the night shift). When I first hear the wail of sirens I thought I was dreaming, but I woke up immediately and raced upstairs to where my three boys were sleeping. I grabbed them out of their beds and pushed them half asleep downstairs to our 'mammad' (a reinforced safety room for shelter from missile attacks). I shoved them inside and then slammed the door. Immediately, we didn't even have time to sit down, a huge explosion rocked the whole building. One of my boys yelled: "Imma (mother), it hit our house!"

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October 16, 1981

Moshe Dayan (1915-1981)

Moshe Dayan was an Israeli military warrior who became a crusader for peace. He was skilled in both battle and diplomacy, and played a key role in four wars, but also helped negotiate the historic Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty.

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October 11, 2001

Rechavam Zeevi (Gandi, 1926-2001)

Tourism Minister Rechavam Ze'evy was assassinated by two shots to the head outside his room at the Jerusalem Hyatt Hotel on October 17, 2001. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine claimed responsibility for the attack.

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September 16, 2018

WHO GOES FIRST, TRUMP OR THE IRANIAN AYATOLLAHS?

From an Israeli perspective, the race is now on. Will US President Donald Trump succeed in reigning in the fanatical regime in Iran that is bent on destroying Israel, or will he himself be toppled from power? At this point, it is impossible to predict. But for the vast majority of Israelis, there is no doubt that the current US President is a far better friend to Israel than his predecessor Barack Obama, who extended the Islamist regime a ten-year reprice (now down to seven) to start up again their nuclear weapons program. In return, Obama led a huge international bailout program for Iran that enables the regime to make more mischief throughout the Middle East and one day acquire nuclear weapons to attack the Jewish state. Can anyone in their right mind doubt that the Iranian regime, which persecutes its own people, is any less racist than Adolf Hitler and his Nazi cohorts? Yet, former US President Barack Obama and his sidekick, John Kerry, only reacted, when prodded several years ago by Bibi Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, to launch a preemptive strike against Iran if nothing was done to prevent them from acquiring nuclear weapons. But Obama and his international partners took the easy way out by simply kicking the can down the road and leaving it to a future president, in this case, Donald Trump, to handle the threat.

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August 27, 2018

IT'S STILL NETANYAHU BY A MILE

Despite the plethora of police investigations into two possible cases of financial fraud, Bibi is still far ahead of the pack. Channel 13 TV showed a poll indicating that 51% of Israeli voters prefer Netanyahu for Prime Minister. The two other potential candidates, Yair Lapid and Avi Gabbay, lag far behind. Clearly, if a snap election were held in the near future, Netanyahu would win hands down. And the reasons are obvious - the two other candidates are rank amateurs when it comes to experience in leading Israel that faces the perpetual threat of Palestinian terrorism and the vow of Iran to wipe the Jewish state off the map.

So, if there is a move to oust Netanyahu via the legal process, such as an indictment, that would probably spark "a rebellion" by the Right-wing; not dissimilarly to what American politician Rudy Gulliani has warned of were the US President Donald Trump to be toppled by a legal and not a voting process.

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August 19, 2018

ISRAEL CAUTIOUSLY OPTIMISTIC OVER CEASEFIRE ARRANGEMENT WITH HAMAS

Two of Israel's super-hawks, PM Bibi Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Leiberman, are doing their utmost to prevent the Palestinian firebombing of Israeli civilians from erupting into another all-out war. The outcome still hangs in the balance at this time. For over four months, the Hamas leadership in Gaza has incited tens of thousands of Palestinian to launch helium balloons and ingenious kites with firebombs attached at Israeli villages across the border. To date, thousands of acres of Israeli farmland and fields have been torched and many small animals have been killed in the inferno. No Israeli civilians have been killed but there have been several close calls - that's probably why Israel has not declared all-out war on Hamas. The IDF has responded with surgical airstrikes on Hamas targets inside Gaza while snipers have shot Palestinians launching the firebombs and also trying to break through the border fence.

At the moment, Egypt, Israel's peaceful Arab neighbor, is working overtime to come up with a solution for ending the current conflagration. If the crisis does escalate into a war it would be the fourth in recent years. To date, the improvised firebombs have proven to be highly successful, and Israel's hi-tech wizards have yet to find an effective response. Although, several thousand Israeli residents in the border area are, understandably, incensed over being firebombed day and night. Netanyahu and Lieberman have taken the advice of IDF Cheif of Staff Gadi Eizencot and not gone to war again with Gaza despite the provocation.

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August 01, 2018

NETANYAHU & ROUHANI (AND THEIR HOUR OF HUBRIS)

First to Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!" This old adage has just caught up with Bibi after he conducted a highly successful diplomatic feat in blocking Iran's plans to establish a military base for threatening Israel from Syria. Netanyahu has gained the backing of both Presidents Trump and Putin. It comes as no surprise that Trump is in Israel's corner, but Putin is a different matter. However, at their recent meeting, the Russian leader told Bibi that he has no objection to Israeli airstrikes on the Iranian military buildup in Syria. Moreover, the Russian ambassador to Israel has reportedly said that Moscow cannot prevent Israel from attacking the Iranians, but on the other hand, neither can it dictate Iran's withdrawal from Syria.

Although Netanyahu has still not found a fail-safe tactic for halting Hamas firebombing from Gaza, this does not pose an existential threat to the Jewish state. However, Iranian forces closing in on the Syrian front is something that Israel will not tolerate. So Bibi was riding high in opinion polls, and if a snap election were called he would likely return as new Prime Minister, despite police investigations on four financial cases.

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July 22, 2018

GAZA & GOLAN - ISRAEL JOINS THE DOTS

All quiet on the Gaza front, for the time being. How long now depends on Hamas. If the ceasefire holds, and that includes the Palestinian firebombing of Israeli civilians, Israel will again permit 1,000 trucks a day to deliver good and produce to poverty-stricken Gaza. If not, the latest Israeli blitz of Gaza was a taste of what will come next.

Indeed, it may be the intervention of Bulgarian diplomat Nickolay Mladenov, in his UN role, persuaded Israel and Hamas to abide by his stern demand to "step back" immediately. From Israel's perspective, both the government and public opinion were fed up after the three months of Hamas firebombing. It was only by sheer luck that Israeli civilians were not killed. In one case, a kindergarten teacher suddenly spotted a helium firebomb about to land on her children. She barely managed to rush her toddlers to safety.

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July 10, 2018

THE HOLOCAUST CASTS ITS GRIM SHADOW OVER ISRAEL

First the facts: Poland itself was invaded by Nazi Germany at the outset of WWII. At the same time, there are reams of documented evidence, including photographs, proving that many Poles participated in pogroms and reporting Jews to the Nazis. Granted, there was a smaller number of some 6,000 Polish citizens who risked their lives in saving Jews and who have been rightly honored by the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem. The bitter controversy flared last February when the Polish Parliament passed a law that imposed a three-year prison sentence on anyone who contended that the Poles had collaborated with the Nazi regime. There was immediate outrage in Israel and among many historians who had researched the Holocaust. The clash even threatened to sabotage relations between Jerusalem and Warsaw.

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July 02, 2018

ISRAEL "RESETS" ON SYRIAN CIVIL WAR

The outcome is obvious. Russian fighter-bombers are bombing the Syrian revel forces into oblivion. The rebels, who are also being pursued by President Assad's ground forces, are being driven south to within view of the Israeli border. Along the way, the Russian-led Juggernaut is destroying Syrian towns and villages where the rebels are making a last stand. Dozens of Syrian civilians are being killed and wounded daily in the crossfire. This has triggered a frantic flow of tens of thousands of civilians seeking shelter, from where? The direction of the Jewish state. Meanwhile, Israel has been supplying the Syrian refugees with humanitarian aid, baby food, tents, medicine, etc. In addition, the IDF has stepped up one of the least known secrets in the region - during the seven-year civil war it has been treating wounded Syrian civilians in need of critical medical care. These cases, now over 2,500, have been quietly transferred across the border at night to be treated at several IDF field hospitals. Emergency cases are rushed to a nearby hospital for intensive care and more complicated operations. The Identity of these Syrian patients must be kept secret for fear of reprisals after they are returned home to Syria. (They would be suspected by Assad's forces of having been turned into Israeli agents - even the many wounded children!)

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