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July 18, 2017

U.S. SHOCKS ISRAEL BY CONSIDERING EXPANDED IRANIAN MILITARY PRESENCE IN SYRIA NEAR ISRAELI BORDER

In a dramatic move, Iran may be on the brink of expanding its military forces in Syria southwards towards the Israeli border. This was disclosed during Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu's recent visit to Paris for talks with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron. According to Israeli reporters, the cease-fire accord forged by the U.S. and Russia will allow Iranian forces to move to within twenty kilometers (twelve miles) of the Syrian-Israeli frontier on the Golan Heights. Netanyahu told his French host that Israel categorically rejects such a step. Iran, which declares openly its intention to destroy the Jewish state, has dispatched thousands of its Revolutionary Guards as well as large quantities of weapons to keep Assad in power. Israel is also said to have information that Iran now intends to build its own air base and naval port in Syria. Netanyahu was quoted as saying that 'such steps would alter the strategic picture in the region'. The Israeli leader reportedly told US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that he opposed this aspect of the ceasefire proposal. A senior Israeli official also told reporters:

       'The agreement as it stands today is very bad and does not take into account nearly any of Israel's security concerns. It creates a very worrying reality in southern Syria. Moreover, there is not a single word (restricting) Iran, Hezbollah or Daesh terrorists now located in Syria'.

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July 09, 2017

ISRAEL'S LABOR PARTY AT FATEFUL CROSSROADS

By the time you read this article, Israel's Zionist Union (old Labor) will have elected its new party leader. Over fifty thousand Laborites will have determined whether newcomer Avi Gabay or old-timer Amir Peretz will take the helm from Yitzhak Herzog, who lost badly in the recent primary after leading the party into near oblivion.

Full disclosure: early on, Isracast took the position that only Gabay had the slightest chance of defeating Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu if he is the Likud candidate in the next general election slated for no later than Nov. 15th, 2019.

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July 02, 2017

NETANYAHU SABOTAGES ISRAEL'S RELATIONS WITH AMERICAN JEWRY

It is mind-boggling. Never in the history of Israel's sacred ties with American Jewry has there been such a firestorm. And who lit the match - none other than the Prime Minister of the Jewish State, Bibi Netanyahu. Bibi, in a moment of utter folly, has endangered the country's national interest for the sake of keeping his job as prime minister. He sided with the Haredi ultra-orthodox Israelis by suddenly throwing out the window a compromise agreement, after five years of torturous negotiations, that would have granted Reform and Conservative Jews the right for men and women to pray together, as they wish, in a separate section of the Western Wall in Jerusalem (remnant of First & Second Jewish Temples). At present, the ultra-orthodox have a monopoly over prayer arrangements at the Western Wall. (For example, like many secular families in Israel, my two sons had their Bar Mitzvahs at the Western Wall. I was able to stand next to them, whereas my wife and daughter had to stand separately farther away and behind a barrier and a watchful custodian there to prevent them from entering).

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June 18, 2017

Urgent Questions About Terror In Jerusalem & High-Rise Inferno In London

Friday evening 7:30 in Jerusalem: Most Israeli families were just finishing the traditional Sabbath Eve meal. A typical peaceful quiet had descended over the city. Suddenly on Saladin Street, the main thoroughfare in East Jerusalem, gunfire shattered the calm. Near Zedekiah's Cave, two Palestinians armed with knives and a modified Karl Gustav submachine gun attacked Israeli Border police who were patrolling in the area. The terrorists' submachine gun jammed quickly and the police officers shot dead the two attackers. Meanwhile, up the street near the Damascus Gate, a third terrorist surprised another team of Israeli Border Guards and stabbed twenty-three-year-old Sergeant Hadas Malka in the back. Although critically wounded, she tries to fight off her attacker before comrades shoot dead the terrorist.

Hadas was rushed by ambulance to Hadassah Hospital on nearby Mount Scopus. Doctors worked to try and save her life, but to no avail - she was fatally wounded in the neck and throat. Five hours later she was pronounced dead. A second Israeli Border Policeman was lightly wounded by ricochet fragments, as were two Palestinian bystanders who were not linked to the attack. 

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June 11, 2017

BIBI, ABBAS & ARAB STATES PLAY BALL WITH TRUMP

While the rest of the world was looking for the 'smoking gun' in James Comey's testimony against President Donald Trump in Washington, some intriguing developments were going on in the Middle East. After Trump's recent visit, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the Gulf States ganged up on Qatar for its support of Iran, the Muslim Brothers, and Hamas. It triggered a diplomatic and commercial earthquake throughout the region. It stands to reason that the Arab states would not have taken such drastic steps without the green light from the US President. Even though America maintains a big air base with 10,000 troops on Qatar, Trump has accused Qatar of backing Islamist terrorism.

The facts: unlike all the other Sunni Arab states, Qatar is on good terms with Shiite Iran. In addition, it supports the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt against President Al-Sisi while also backing Daesh, Al Qaida and Hamas in Gaza. (The IMF estimates that Qatar is the richest country in the world per capita with an average annual income of $127,000 compared to Israel with $35,000). As for the Jewish state, independent-minded Qatar maintains some informal ties, despite its support for Hamas. But Trump and the Shiite Arab states have concluded that Qatar has gotten too big for its britches, so to speak, and decided to take it down a peg or two. Its capital, Doha, is isolated in the Persian Gulf and will be forced to mend its ways.

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June 07, 1981

Israel and Nuclear Weapons Threats - Operation Opera

On the anniversary of Israel's air strike that destroyed Saddam Husein's nuclear reactor near Baghdad on June 7th, 1981 and against the background of former Mossad Chief Meir Dagen's warning that Israel should not attack Iran's nuclear weapons sites today, IsraCast presents a report broadcast shortly after the Israeli preventative attack on Iraq.

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June 04, 2017

PRES. DONALD TRUMP = HOMO DEUS OR YERTLE THE TURTLE?

Does U.S. President Donald Trump perceive himself to be a first and only master of humankind; a Homo Deus, to pinch the title of Prof. Yuval Harari's intriguing book? Never mind that the preponderance of serious scientists in the world agree that there is an urgent need to also 'repeal and replace' the Paris accord on the emission of dangerous gases into the atmosphere - our very future is at stake. But Trump has signaled that America's coal miners come first. However, just as Trump struck out on rejecting Obamacare, he probably will also fail again. Even Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who opposed withdrawing from the Paris accord, was quick to play down the impact:

       “I think it's important everyone recognizes the U.S. has a terrific record of reducing our own greenhouse gas emissions. I don't think we are going to change our ongoing efforts to reduce these emissions in the future either. So, hopefully people can keep it in perspective.”

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May 28, 2017

TRUMP RAISES MORE QUESTIONS THAN ANSWERS IN MIDDLE EAST

The only thing consistent about U.S. President Donald Trump is his frequent lack of consistency. He left Israel with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Right-wing camp jumping for joy: Trump had made no specific reference to the two-state solution! But on the other hand, he and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson declared Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was truly interested in making peace with Israel. Knesset Member Tzipi Livni, a former Likudnik who has switched to Labor, has more negotiating hours with Abbas than any other Israeli politician. Livni feels the question now is whether Trump will follow through on his declaration that both Bibi and Abbas are ready for a deal.

Livni is looking for Trump's Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt to start the ball rolling by putting something on the table. Greenblatt is Trump's longtime private lawyer with a reputation for resolving sticky issues. He will now have his work cut out for him. So far, he stage-managed a great Middle East tour for his boss that has left everybody singing the praises of Trump: Saudi Arabia's King Salman, Abbas, and Bibi.

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May 22, 2017

PRESIDENT TRUMP WILL HIGHTLIGHT HISTORIC OPPORTUNITY FOR ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN PEACE

After his 'tremendous talks' in Riyadh with Arab leaders, the U.S. President is convinced that he can help Netanyahu and Abbas close the deal. Fresh from his diplomatic success in Saudi Arabia, Trump will offer to act as a facilitator and instruct his administration to work overtime to aid Bibi and Abbas in forging peace. In Riyadh, he had heard that Muslim leaders world-wide would make peace with Israel the day after Bibi and Abbas hammered out an agreement. They already have signed on to the Saudi peace initiative for Israel. The first step was to return to the table with both sides making some good-will gestures to get the ball rolling.

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May 14, 2017

ISRAEL SUCCEEDS IN BLOCKING CYBER ATTACKS

So far so good. As of this moment Israel's cyber defenses have prevented any major cyber break-in. After some one hundred countries have reported a major cyber offensive around the globe, Prime Minister Netanyahu told the regular cabinet session today that Israel's cyber wall had stood the test. The country was waiting for Sunday when Israel goes back to work after the Sabbath when everything shuts down. The PM reported only 'very minor' cyber attempts were detected and there had been no penetration of vital strategic networks. He also disclosed that several years ago Israel had established a 'Governmental Authority' to protect Israel's vital institutions. This obviously referred to the IDF and a vast array of other potential military and civilian targets. Netanyahu did not reveal details, but it's a safe bet that Iran poses the greatest cyber threat to Israel.

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May 08, 1972

Sabena Flight 707

On May 8, 1972 a Boeing 707 passenger aircraft of the Belgian airline company, Sabena, that was in flight from Vienna to Tel Aviv, was hijacked by four terrorists from the Palestinian terrorist organization, Black September, and landed at the Tel Aviv airport near Lod.


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May 05, 2017

ARE NETANYAHU'S DAYS NUMBERED OR WILL HE SURVIVE INVESTIGATION?

The chief Israeli prosecutor investigating Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu on suspicion of graft has indicated there are grounds for indicting Israel's leader. If so, this could now start the dominoes falling leading to Netanyahu's eventual resignation. However, the final say on charging Bibi is up to her boss, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, a former close aid of the Prime Minister. But let's not put the cart before the horse.

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May 01, 2000

Ben-Zion Netanyahu (1910-2012)

Prof. Ben-Zion Netanyahu passed away at his Jerusalem home, at the age of 102. Ben-Zion Netanyahu and his late wife Tzila, who passed away in 2000, had three sons – Lieutenant Colonel Yonatan (Yoni) Netanyahu, who was killed during Operation Yonatan in Entebbe; Benjamin, the Prime Minister of Israel; and Ido, a doctor, writer and playwright. Read More...
April 30, 2017

PRESIDENT TRUMP TO PERSONALLY PROD ISRAEL & PALESTINIANS TOWARD PEACE

It's not official yet, but President Donald Trump is expected to arrive in Israel next month. It's a safe bet that he will prod Israel and the Palestinians to show progress on the peace track that has hit a dead end. Make no mistake, Trump can use something to show in the international arena now that he has those famous 'one hundred days' under his belt. In fact, he's showing signs of some 'wear and tear'.

'I loved my previous life - I had so many things going. This is more work than in my previous life. I thought it would be easier.'

Previously, the tycoon Trump did not have to cope with such pesky problems as the U.S. Constitution, political rivals and the 'checks and balances' of American politics. If some of the hired help failed to deliver, he could just shout at him or her 'You're fired!' Now it is far more complicated with many more hurdles to overcome on the path from setting a goal and actually reaching it.

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April 02, 2017

NETANYAHU IMPOSES PARTIAL FREEZE ON SETTLEMENTS

Remember Henry's Kissinger's 'constructive ambiguity'? We are now seeing President Trump's version of it, possibly on the advice of his special emissary Jason Greenblatt, who recently visited the region to meet separately with Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. But how can Bibi's decision to establish a new settlement, the first new one in 25 years, aid in a resumption of peace negotiations? (All the other construction of housing units was within the boundaries of existing settlements on the West Bank).

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March 27, 2017

LONDON & JERUSALEM IN 'CLASH OF CIVILIZATIONS'

What motivated a 52-year-old citizen, born and bred in Britain, to attack the sacred 'Mother of Parliaments' while running over, stabbing and shooting scores of his fellow countrymen? It was yet another road mark in the 'Clash of Civilizations' that radical Islam is waging world-wide. Even Canada, with no imperial past to atone for, was targeted in October 2014. The British terrorist, Adrian Elms, was apparently converted to Islam in prison when he served a term for stabbing, and adopted his new name of Khalid Masood. Daesh has confirmed he acted in its name. What may have sent him around the bend may have been the heavy bombing now being inflicted by the US-led coalition on the Daesh force in the Iraqi city of Mosul. The Daesh 'capital city' of Raqqa in Syria is next in line. In response, Daesh Internet has adopted the old Marxist battle-cry with its version, 'Muslims of the world unite - come and join our forces in the Middle East, but if you cannot, kill the infidels wherever you can!'

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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 26, 2017

'WHAT TRUMP DOES TO MUSLIMS WE'LL DO TO JEWS'

In America, the flare-up in anti-Semitism is somehow related to the ascension of President Donald Trump. But just what is the connection? Trump's daughter Ivanka even converted to Judaism and he has 'three beautiful Jewish grandchildren'. However, there is another way of looking at it. The new President is keeping his word about cracking down on Muslims at large. But in advancing this highly controversial policy, the President has run afoul of the US Constitution, as was pointed out to him by a federal judge. Nonetheless, he may have sent unintentionally a viral message to violent anti-Semites, who may be now saying to themselves:

    'Look at what Trump is doing to the Muslims; he not only talks, he does something about them! We must get off our asses and also do something about the Jews. Hell, they've even infiltrated Trump's family for Christ's sake!'

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