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March 19, 2017

Israeli defense minister Avigdor Lieberman to Syria: “IDF will destroy all of Syria’s anti-aircraft defenses if Syria again fires missiles at Israeli jets.”

The night of March 16th: Several Israeli jets fly into Syrian airspace. They head in the direction of Palmyra and then apparently rocket another truck convoy of advanced weaponry bound for Hezbollah in southern Lebanon. After destroying their targets, the Israeli aircraft then turn to fly back to Israel. On the way out, the Syrian army launches Russian-supplied SA-5 anti-aircraft missiles at them. They miss their target but one of the missiles flies off in the direction of Israel. Israel's Arrow 3 missile defense then kicks in. Arrow 3 is designed to intercept ballistic missiles in space but it also logs on to the errant Syrian missile headed for Israel. It could conceivably land in an Israeli community and so the decision is taken to intercept it with Arrow 3, which destroys it in mid-air. The boom is reportedly heard in Jerusalem, and parts of the SA-5, one of Russia's most advanced missiles, also land in neighboring Jordan.

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March 12, 2017

ISRAEL RESETS RELATIONS WITH MOSCOW & WASHINGTON

The state's two top leaders have returned from similar missions - Prime Minister Netanyahu went to Moscow and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman to Washington to determine how Israel can better 'coordinate' strategic policies with Russia and the U.S. There are several urgent reasons for doing so as a new strategic landscape is fast emerging in the region in the wake of the Iranian nuclear deal and the winding down of the Syrian Civil War; and in fact, there is a link between the two.

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March 04, 2017

WHO DOES BIBI FEAR MOST, ISRAELI SETTLERS OR TRUMP?

It was not Israel's finest hour. State Comptroller Yosef Shapira has lambasted both Israel's political and military echelons for their conduct before and during the 'Protective Edge' military campaign against Hamas in Gaza in the summer of 2014. Sixty-eight Israelis and five civilians were killed in the war that was triggered by the Hamas kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank. Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon and IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz barely received a passing mark. They were all found to be at fault for their failure to prepare to deal with the tunnels dug by Hamas under the border into Israel that cost many Israeli lives.

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February 19, 2017

POLL: ISRAELIS PREFER TWO STATE SOLUTION BY NEARLY 3 TO 1

'One state, two states'! Whatever, it's up to you guys, the Israelis and Palestinians. Whatever they decided would be fine with US President Donald Trump - just make the deal already! Has the new US President just thrown out the window several decades of American support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Over at the UN, American Ambassador Nikki Haley was quick to correct any mistaken impression - the US still backed the two-state scheme. Apparently, the boss sometimes gets carried away with his own rhetoric. Go figure.

That is just what Bibi's friends and foes are now trying to do back in Jerusalem. Channel 10 got the jump on everyone by conducting a snap opinion poll in the wake of Trump's bomb-shell. Where do Israeli voters stand today? The results were startling:

  • ISRAELIS FOR TWO-STATE SOLUTION: 43%
  • ISRAELIS FOR ONE-STATE SOLUTION: 15%
  • UNDECIDED: 30%
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February 18, 1943

The Tehran Children

The 'Tehran Children' was a group of about one thousand Jewish children, most of them orphans, who reached Palestine through Iran in February 1943. IsraCast brings you a sequence of photos which show the 'Tehran Children' arriving in Israel.

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February 11, 2017

WILL NETANYAHU AND TRUMP CLASH OR COOPERATE OVER SETTLEMENTS?

What's going on? Twice in the last week US President Donald Trump has opposed wide-scale Israeli settlement building on the West Bank. In Israel, Right-wingers have been shocked to the core - Trump and Bibi were supposed to be great pals. They had anticipated that Trump would give Israel the green light for constructing a brand new settlement and adding 5,500 new housing units to existing settlements. Moreover, there is the new controversial law that would enable Israel to legalize homes built on privately owned Palestinian land. But is this promising package is unraveling? In an exclusive interview with Yisrael Hayom, the pro-Netanyahu newspaper, Trump clarified his position:

  • 'The settlements don't help the process. I can say that. There is only so much land left (on the West bank). And every time you (Israel) take land for settlements, there is less land left (for a Palestinian state). But we are looking at that, and we are looking at some other options, we'll see. But no I am not somebody that believes that going forward with these settlements is a good thing for peace'.
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February 05, 2017

TRUMP SIGNALS NETANYAHU - HOLD YOUR HORSES ON SETTLEMENTS!

It was not long in coming – President Trump has signaled Prime Minister Netanyahu to back off on building new settlements or expanding any existing settlements 'beyond their current borders'. In fact, Israel's leader actually triggered the White House response. What did Bibi expect after he announced that Israel would build a brand-new settlement to compensate for the evacuation of the illegal settlement of Amona? For good measure Netanyahu also tacked on 5,500 new housing units to existing settlements on the West Bank! This was the official Trump statement:

  1. "While we don't believe the existence of settlements is an impediment to peace, the construction of new settlements or the expansion of existing settlements beyond their current borders may not be helpful in achieving that goal."
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January 21, 2017

ISRAEL AWAITS TWO SAVIORS

Israel's Right wing fervently hopes and believes US President Donald Trump will reverse America's former policy that opposed settlement building in the West Bank. From Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu on down, the Right wingers also trust the US will serve as a bulwark to anti-Israel moves at the UN and in other international forums. A first indicator will be if Trump keeps his campaign pledge to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in the face of bitter Palestinian and Muslim threats. But his credibility is at stake. Could this mean he will, as reported, suffice with some half-measure like moving the Ambassador's official residence to Jerusalem, while the embassy would remain in Tel Aviv?

Trump's Inauguration address focused on his 'America First' theme and bringing back home American jobs. If so, this might trigger a global trade war. Or then again, will Trump's bark prove to be worse than his bite?

On Friday evening, Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu rushed off his best wishes to Trump:

       'Congratulations to my friend President Trump. I look forward to working closely with you to make the alliance between Israel and America stronger than ever. Shabbat Shalom'.

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December 31, 2016

OBAMA MAY HAVE SCREWED ISRAEL BUT BIBI ALSO SCREWED UP

US President Barack Obama screwed Israel on the UN Security Council Resolution that blamed Israeli settlements solely for the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Granted, Secretary John Kerry has tried to take out some of the sting, but the fact remains Professor Obama presented his damning thesis - 'if only the Israelis had halted the settlements we would have reached an historic peace accord and today the Palestinians and Israelis would be living happily ever after'. This is patently false and does not stand up to a fair and balanced examination of what has transpired since Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat signed the Oslo Agreement on the White House lawn in 1993.

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December 17, 2016

IMPACT OF ISRAEL'S F-35 SLEUTHS ON IRANIAN NULCEAR THREAT

All systems are go for Israel's Air Force to start operational training on their F-35s, touted to be the top fighter-bomber in the world. Israeli top pilots have long been training on simulators and are eager to get inside the cockpit. Maintenance crews have also been burning the midnight oil studying the myriad of hi-tech that comes with the $100 million price tag (although funded by U.S. military aid). Squadron leader IAF Col. Yotam promises the F-35s will go operational within a year. In addition, the IAF has permission to upgrade the F-35 with secret Israeli improvements - the products of Israeli hi-tech that have proved so effective in the F-15 and F-16. In an unguarded moment, the squadron leader went gung ho saying we'll make changes the designers never dreamed about and they won't believe it a year from now.

While only the first two landed at the Nevatim Air base, more and more will be coming. Fifty are now on order. The IAf has dubbed the F-35 in Hebrew by the name of 'Adir' - the Mighty. Israel is the first foreign country to be supplied with the F-35. The rest of America's allies will keep an eagle eye on how successfully the IAF integrates this aircraft. If things go well they can be expected to also start ordering F-35s from Lockheed-Martin. So economically a lot is riding on its going operational in Israel.

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December 03, 2016

OBAMA CONDUCTED U.S. FOREIGN POLICY LIKE A BUDDHIST MONK

In the final days of US President Barack Obama's second term, it is time to sum up his foreign policy. Obama has done his damnedest to keep America out of foreign wars and he succeeded. The question is at what price? Syria will go down as his most deplorable and bloodiest failures. Historians will debate whether Obama's 'leading from behind' approach contributed to the ongoing bloodbath that has dragged on into its sixth year. Aleppo will be remembered as one of the worst international atrocities since World War II. Obama has simply abandoned this hapless city to barbaric Russian and Syrian air strikes, at times with chemical weapons.

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November 11, 2016

President Elect Trump Tells Israel He rejects Imposed Settlement With Palestinians

Jerusalem:

Israel is split - The Right is jubilant whereas the Center-Left worries that the election of President Trump will spur the Netanyahu government to build new settlements on the West Bank. There is no question that Netanyahu will be under immense pressure from the far Right to do so. In heralding the Trump victory, Cabinet Minister Naftali Bennett leader of the Far Right 'Jewish Home' party declared 'The two-state solution is finished! It is now in our hands to change the course of Israel - to take Israel out of the Oslo perception of a Palestinian state, which has only brought us conflict and bloodshed!'

In Jerusalem, the chairman of the local planning committee at City Hall has announced he will present plans to build 7,000 housing units in territory across the old 1967 line. The fire-brand called Meir Turgeman told Israel Radio that Prime Minister Netanyahu himself froze the plans for one reason or another due to pressure from the Obama administration. However Turgeman added now that Trump has been elected, Netanyahu will have no excuse to intervene. Though, the building plans must first be approved by the Israeli cabinet before the bulldozers start rolling.

Netanyahu who steered clear of expressing support for either Trump or Clinton issued a statement congratulating the President Elect and thanking Clinton for her support in the past. He is obviously delighted that Trump won. It's a safe bet that Bibi will want to cement ties with Trump as soon as possible. Therefore he will not want to arouse Trump's ire with hasty decisions. Bibi has also apparently instructed his Likud cabinet ministers not to go overboard by giving the impression that Trump is now in Israel's pocket. Netanyahu and his colleagues including Naftali Bennett would do well to remember that Trump has risen to power on his 'America First' platform and this will continue to be his prism for all his foreign policy decisions. If anything, policy-makers in Jerusalem must have realized Trump is impulsive and at times totally unpredictable.

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October 26, 2016

Israel Offers Massive Aid To Gaza While Battle of Mosul Could Turn Into 'Free-For All'

Jerusalem:

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has offered a major aid package for Gaza, if Hamas suspends its military build-up against the Jewish State. Lieberman sent the surprising message in an interview with the Palestinian newspaper El Kuds. It is not clear at this time if Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu and the Israeli government have approved Lieberman’s proposal. If so it would be a major step, otherwise Lieberman was just blowing hot air.

So to the nuts and bolts of his proposal, in his words:

      'Israel will be the first to rebuild the Gaza Strip by investing in a seaport, an airport and two industrial zones at Karni and Erez. But there were several conditions: Hamas must stop digging attack tunnels from Gaza into Israel, launching rockets into Israel and smuggling in weapons'.

For its part, Israel had no intention of occupying Gaza or starting another war. But he warned:

      'If war is forced on Israel again, it will be the last war for Hamas, we will totally destroy Hamas!'

The Israeli Defense Minister disclosed that Hamas, rather than improving the lot of the nearly two million Palestinians in Gaza, has spent more than $500 million dollars in a military build-up recently. Lieberman appeared to be offering a big carrot and a big stick to Hamas after the bitter summer war of 2014 that left Gaza in a shambles.

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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 14, 1986

Ron Arad, Missing in Action Israeli Soldier

Ron Arad was captured after answering a call for reserve duty as a navigator in the Israeli air force. He was forced to bail out of his plane over the city of Sidon in Lebanon and was captured by members of the Iranian backed Shiite Amal organization. Since then, Ron has been held captive by several groups, all of them extremist Shiite groups, backed by Iran.

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October 09, 2016

ISRAEL - WHAT WENT WRONG? YOM KIPPUR 2016

Jerusalem:

On Yom Kippur - the Day of Atonement in 1973, the new-born state of Israel was nearly wiped off the map. Egypt and Syria launched a massive surprise attack along the entire lengths of the Golan Heights and the Suez Canal. The IDF was caught napping - when it finally awakened just several hours before the onslaught, Prime Minister Golda Meir and Defense Minister Moshe Dayan rejected a plea by Chief of Staff David Elezar to launch a preventative air strike against the massed Arab forces, about to surge forward. The Israeli leaders feared the US would blame Israel for starting the war because both President Richard Nixon and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger did not believe the Arabs would dare attack Israel. In the opening weeks of the Yom Kippur War, it was touch-and-go whether the Jewish state would survive. The IDF forces along the Suez Canal and the Golan were outnumbered ten-to-one in tanks and artillery, and by far more in infantry. Moreover the Russians had just supplied sophisticated anti-aircraft missiles to both their Arab allies that shot down an alarming number of Israeli aircraft. In one of the war’s darkest hours, a desolate Dayan was heard to say:

      'The Third House of Israel may be about to fall!'

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September 29, 2000

There's a strong leader around, and his name isn’t Obama

US President Barack Obama delivered an impressive speech at the United Nations General Assembly on Monday. He knows how to talk. Military power alone will not solve the problem in Syria, he said, and presented a vision of peace and comradeship. He asked Iran nicely not to shout "Death to America," because it won’t bring them jobs, and expressed his hope that those who hope for its extinction will maintain the nuclear agreement and turn the world into a safer place. Just like that. There is no doubt that he is a believer. 

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September 25, 2016

Netanyahu & Abbas Talk Past Each Other At the UN

Jerusalem:

At this week's UN General Assembly session, Israel's Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, poured on the rhetoric but ignored the two key elements at the core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They both stuck to two straight lines in the war of words and we all know that straight lines almost never meet, except in outer space. And until the two leaders start talking in the same plane there will be no peace. Leading off the debate, Abbas actually refused to come to terms with the idea of a Jewish state while Bibi glossed over the Israeli occupation of the West Bank (Judea & Samaria).

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September 19, 2016

Israel's Ehud Barak Blasts Bibi Again!

Jerusalem:

This time it was over the record US military aid package to Israel. No less than $38 billion dollars will go to the Jewish state over a ten year period starting in 2018. Even if every penny will go back into the American economy for the purchase of American weapons, why did former Prime Minister Ehud Barak again smack Bibi in the kisser for bungling the matter? Recently Barak hauled Netanyahu over the coals for jeopardizing Israel's national security but he refused to elaborate and left the country guessing. Now after the disclosure of the details, Barak has weighed in. Writing first in the Washington Post, Barak accused Bibi of playing fast and loose by continuing to oppose US President Barack Obama even after it should have been clear the US and Iran had closed the nuclear deal. Bibi should have backed off, even if it was a ' very bad deal' and tried to salvage what he could with the US leader. But on the contrary - Bibi tried to go over Obama's head and accepted a Republican invitation to address the US Congress on this very contentious issue. Barak contends it was an act of folly that only antagonized Obama. This was a crucial period when the US leader would have been ready to listen favorably to some of Israel's legitimate concerns. After all is said and done Obama had agreed to leave almost all of Iran's nuclear weapons facilities in place which could mean a possible breakout in the future.

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September 10, 2016

Implications Of Latest North Korean Nuclear Test For Israel

Jerusalem:

Iranian nuclear scientists have visited North Korea in the past, so they may have also been invited to the latest nuclear bomb test. So North Korea, one crazy state, has supplied nuclear weapons aid to another one, Iran. And note this troubling aspect about the North Korean statement:

      'The standardization of the nuclear warhead will enable (North Korea) To produce at will and as many as it wants a variety of smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear warheads of higher striking power... This has definitely put us (North Korea) on a higher level for mounting nuclear warheads on ballistic missiles'.

For Israel, does this raise the possibility of North Korea selling nuclear bombs to Iran in the future? A flush Iran will now have the cash. This is something that Israel must take into account although the International Atomic Energy Agency believes that Tehran is abiding by the nuclear deal forged in July 2015.

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