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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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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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June 25, 2018

THE CLOCK IS TICKING IN ISRAEL - EARLY ELECTION AND ESCALATION IN GAZA?

It seems as though life is never dull for Israelis. Gaza: Hamas continues its "scorched earth" campaign. Days ago, Israeli military reporters disclosed the IDF had devised a hi-tech solution to intercept waves of Palestinian kites and balloons carrying incendiary bombs into Israel. However, these reports have proved to premature. These kites and balloons have now torched thousands of acres of Israeli farmland and forest with some 20-30 new fires daily. Firefighters are rushing from one blaze to another, dousing the flames, while Israeli residents are demanding the government order the IDF to take off the gloves. So far, the Israeli objective has been to develop less lethal means than firepower to deter Hamas.

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June 17, 2018

"IF NORTH KOREA IS HERE, CAN THE PALESTINIANS AND IRAN BE FAR BEHIND?"

Was it a Hollywood extravagance or a turning point in world history, maybe even with a future impact on Iran? Of course, only time will tell. All the praise or criticism of Trump is sheer speculation.

Naturally, Israel hopes it will also affect Iran's drive for nuclear weapons. Leading Israeli experts, such as Menashe Amir, see signs that the ayatollahs are worried that Trump may parlay the Singapore summit to mobilize greater pressure on Tehran. His scrapping of the 2015 deal has already forced several big European concerns to cancel lucrative deals with Iran for fear of being sanctioned by Washington. Most notably, the Nike decision to bar the Iranian soccer squad from wearing Nike sports shoes at the current World Cup. It's no contest when having to choose between doing business in the American and Iranian economies.

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June 11, 2018

"EYELESS IN GAZA" - ISRAEL LOOKS FOR NEW SOLUTIONS

For 12 weeks, thousands of Gaza's men, women, and children have been trying to break through the border fence into Israel. Israeli soldiers have stood in the breech with marksmen opening fire at the leaders and Hamas terrorists who are leading their charge. Over 130 Palestinians have been killed and thousands more wounded (including a female medic that was also filmed throwing firebombs into Israel). The Palestinians have been burning tires that create huge clouds of black smoke that pour into Israel. Using this for cover, Hamas terrorists among the civilians try to get as close to the border as possible to open fire at the Israelis.

It is fair to say that the force and determination of the Palestinian violence first took the IDF by surprise. This resulted in over 60 Palestinians being killed on one day. The troops were ordered that on no account would the Palestinians be allowed to cross the border and symbolically mark what they call "the march of return". At present they have succeeded in torching thousands of acres of Israeli farmland by sending incendiary kites and balloons over the border.

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June 03, 2018

WHY GAZA WILL GET WORSE BEFORE IT GETS BETTER

The violence along the Israel-Gaza border has spiraled out of control. In fact, it will likely get worse before it gets better. The background: in order to understand what is going on today it is necessary to put it in the Barbra Tuchman, "Looking back from the light on the stern." The two million or so Palestinians living in Gaza are led by Hamas, extreme as they get, focused on the destruction of the Jewish State. It's no two-state solution - it's winner takes all. In the Six-Day War, the IDF occupied Gaza and Israel came and built settlements there. However, in 2005, PM Ariel Sharon dismantled all the settlements and withdrew IDF forces to the Israeli border. Now, instead of exploiting Israel's pullback and seeking a similar withdrawal from the occupied West Bank, the Palestinians converted Gaza into a launchpad for terrorism against Israel. (This despite the fact that American officials quietly advised the Palestinians to call off the terrorism as this would enable them to seek a similar Israeli pullout from the West Bank.) However, this would have required the Palestinians to recognize Israel as the Jewish State. This would have meant the Palestinian refugees would not be returning to their former homes in Israel.

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March 27, 2000

We don't need another failure

 Two days after the Israeli elections, Islamic State carried out suicide attacks at two mosques in Sana'a, the capital of Yemen, murdering around 150 individuals. The day before, an Islamic State offshoot perpetrated a terror attack in Tunisia that killed 23 people, mostly tourists. During the same two-day period, seven people were murdered in an attack in Kathua, India, and 70 bodies were discovered in Damasak, Nigeria. Who heard? During the course of February, 1,977 people were murdered by Jihadists around the globe – all in acts of terror only. And as I write these words, reports are coming in about massacres being carried out by Iraqi-Iranian forces in the city of Tikrit, Iraq.

 

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March 23, 2018

WHY HAS ISRAEL SUDDENLY ADMITTED IT BOMBED SYRIAN NUCLEAR REACTOR OVER TEN YEARS AGO?

Amid all the hullabaloo in Israel, one key question remains unanswered: why has Jerusalem now seen fit to admit that eight of its aircraft on the night of September 6th, 2007 flew over part of Turkey to bomb and obliterate a secret nuclear reactor being built by the North Koreans in the Syrian desert?

It was a known fact throughout the Middle East that Israel had carried out the air strike - in fact, US officials had actually confirmed it shortly after the fact. And, indirectly, none other than the then Opposition, Leader Bibi Netanyahu, in a TV interview when asked about 'foreign reports' about a mysterious Israeli operation across the northern border. Bibi simply said that he 'wholeheartedly' supported such an operation. However Israeli censorship totally banned the Israeli media from reporting that Israel had carried out the daring mission. That is until now. Suddenly like another bolt out of the blue, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, the chief Israeli censor usually a high-ranking IDF officer and a special public committee have taken the wraps completely off. Not only that, senior military and intelligence figures have been given clearance to discuss their role in the operation, without having to first clear it with the official censor. During my fifty year career as a war correspondent and political reporter, I have never seen anything like it! The actual pilots, Intelligence chiefs, the Mossad official involved up to then Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, all taking a piece of the media frenzy and vying for part of the glory. 

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March 14, 2018

NETANYAHU - ISRAEL'S WINSTON CHURCHILL OR RICHARD NIXON?

For two weeks Israel has been totally absorbed in a political frenzy focused on Prime minister Bibi Netanyahu and the question - is he an Israeli Winston Churchill or a Richard Nixon. The subject of no less than four full-blown investigations into corruption charges, Bibi was battling for his political life and possibly over serving jail time. He rose to the occasion - at his best, or worst, depending on whether you love or detest him. Contending that he was the victim of a witch-hunt, the PM portrayed himself as an Israel Winston C Churchill and only he can take on the threats to the Jewish state today, first and foremost Iran's vow to annihilate it (besides, Bibi also loves cigars). To the state-witnesses and mounting evidence that he was involved in a series of seedy dealings, Netanyahu pleaded innocent and declared loud and clear to the Israeli public: 'I am not a crook!'

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February 25, 2018

MAY OPENING OF US EMBASSY IN JERUSALEM TORPEDOES PALESTINIAN CAMPAIGN TO DELEGITIMIZE JEWISH STATE

What could be more historically just! Jerusalem, documented by the Old Testament as becoming Israel's capital three thousand years ago after being captured by King David; where the Israelites, the forefathers of today's Israelis, later built the Holy Temple, now officially recognized in word and deed by the greatest democracy in the world - the United States of America. President Donald Trump has decreed an American embassy will be opened on May 14th, Israel's Independence Day. Jerusalem, whose very name is derived from the Hebrew word 'shalom' for peace, and has always been the heart and soul of the Jewish people ever since they were exiled from the city by the Roman conquerors in 70A.D. The same Roman Empire that even tried to sever the Jews unbreakable bond with Jerusalem changing the city's name to 'Aelia Capitolina' - 'the conquered city'. But they never succeeded, nor did the other persecutors of the Jews during the following twenty centuries of Jewish exile. Throughout the ages Jerusalem always remained at the heart of the Jewish soul: 

'If I forget thee, O' Jerusalem,
Let my right hand forget its cunning!'


And: 'God willing, next year in Jerusalem!'
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February 04, 2018

ISRAEL TO LEBANON - STOP BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE!

In the space of several, short days - Israeli military and civilian leaders had fired salvos of dire warnings to Lebanon. They all targeted Iran's mounting military presence in Lebanon, Israel's northern neighbor. Tehran already has armed to the teeth its Lebanese proxy Hezbollah force that is actually more powerful than the official Lebanese Army. Remember that Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah triggered the Second Lebanese War with Israel in 2006 by conducting a cross-border raid that killed a number of IDF soldiers and kidnapped two more. Now after Iran and Hezbollah's extensive campaign in the Syrian civil war has kept President Bashar Assad in power, Iran and Hezbollah are now bent on building their military threat against Israel from inside Lebanon. Israeli intelligence has discovered that Iran plans on constructing an installation to assemble precision surface to surface missiles to bombard Israeli targets, probably including its crucial offshore natural gas project in the Mediterranean.

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January 28, 2018

ISRAEL - ANGER TRUMP AT YOUR PERIL!

Don't mess with US President Donald Trump. That's the lesson the shell-shocked Palestinians are digesting after his startling decisions recently. First, although the irascible leader of the Free World often seems to let his mouth run on ahead of his brain, there are times when he means what he says. First Trump sent his two negotiators, Greenblatt and Kushner, to start forging a peace proposal. However, they could not get past the total Palestinian rejection of any Israeli rights in Jerusalem (built by King David over three thousand years ago and whose very name is derived from the Hebrew language). So Trump simply 'took it off the table' by recognizing it as Israel's capital. But he also stressed that the White House was not setting any permanent lines - that would be up to Israel and the Palestinians in future negotiations. Nonetheless, Abbas hit the roof and hauled Trump and his negotiators over the coals. In an angry diatribe in Arabic, Abbas added fuel to the flames by referring directly to Trump with the saying: 'May your house be destroyed!' This went over big with his Palestinian audience but less so in the White House.

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January 14, 2018

ISRAEL TAKES ON TUNNELS, TERROR, AND IRAN

Israel is now engaged in an active low-intensity war on three fronts: Gaza, the West Bank and the Iranian-Hezbollah forces in Syria. In the past week or so, there has been a noticeable escalation in hostile activity in these three arenas. However, the IDF has things well in hand, so much so that Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu was able to fly off on an official visit to India. However, his prodigal son Yair, after his latest escapade, was left behind. More on Yair's caper later.

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December 08, 2017

TRUMP'S JERUSALEM ANNOUNCEMENT PULLS OUT RUG FROM UNDER PALESTINIAN STRATEGY

It is not just America's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, important as that may be. And what is more natural and just than recognizing the 'City of David' which was founded over three thousand years ago, long before Washington, Moscow, London, Paris, or even Ottawa existed? Its very name, Jerusalem, is derived from the Hebrew language and spoken by Israelis today.

The fact is that President Trump's historic decision has bankrupt the long-standing policy of the Palestinian 'peace camp'. And this is why: the Palestinians have long been divided, since the Arabs lost their 1967 war against Israel, on how to force Israel back to the old 'Green' cease-fire line of 1967 without recognizing Israel as a Jewish state.

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