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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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November 06, 2016

Israel & US Presidential Election

For most Israelis Hillary Clinton is the safest bet - it's based on 'Better the devil you know than the devil you don't!' The roller-coaster polls have switched back to Hillary while the Israeli media have sent their star reporters to cover, some with baited breath, the latest ups and downs in the two rival camps. 'Israel Today', the freebie newspaper, that backs Bibi and is financed by American casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson, is beating the drums for Trump. However, Netanyahu has remained neutral and has also ordered his cabinet ministers to do the same when it comes to supporting Clinton or Trump. This also applies to the rest of the political parties. After his feud with Democratic President Barack Obama, and his Adelson connection, it is probable that Bibi is pulling for Trump. But barring some unexpected bombshell, I'm sticking with the prediction of my twelve-year old grandson Ariel who is pretty good at Math. The other day, when the polls indicated that Trump was leading Clinton, Ariel asked me how Trump could possibly win?

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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, 2016

Maybe Putin believes 'President' Trump would weaken America...

Israelis are also scratching their heads over the shenanigans of Donald Trump and how he is still even running for President. It would appear that Trump has passed the point of no return and only some new catastrophic disclosure about Hillary Clinton would bar her from entering the Oval Office. The most intriguing question is why Russian President Putin favors Trump and has mounted a cyber-campaign against Clinton leaking damaging material to American voters. In return, Trump has praised Putin as a 'strong leader'. But on the face of it, would the tough talking Trump not pose a more formidable rival to Putin than Hillary? Would she not follow in the footsteps of Obama by pulling in America's horns and giving Russia a free hand on the world stage?

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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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October 03, 2016

SHIMON PERES - (1923- 2016) DREAMER & VISIONARY

Jerusalem:

Why did world leaders and ninety delegations from seventy countries attend the funeral of Shimon Peres in Jerusalem? An amazing number for a tiny country that is more often than not the butt of unbridled criticism in the corridors of the UN. They did so, as stated by US President Barack Obama, because Peres achieved the international stature of a Nelson Mandella during his incredible career that never ended until his final stroke.

First Peres bolstered the capability of the fledgling Jewish state to survive the repeated attempts by its Arab enemies to annihilate it. His contribution to Israel's defense was possibly more, and certainly no less, than many of the state's vaunted military commanders. To this very day, Israelis stand strong against threats unparalleled by any other democratic country. Although survival had to come first in the reborn homeland of the Jews, it was to be followed by a ceaseless quest for peace with her Arab neighbors.

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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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September 04, 2016

NETANYAHU FAVORS ULTRA-ORTHODOX JEWS OVER IDF SOLDIERS

Jerusalem:

Pandemonium in Israel after the end of the Saturday Sabbath! Tens of thousands of IDF soldiers were left stranded with no way to return to their bases after Sabbath leave. And why was that? Because Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, their Commander in Chief, bowed to the demand of his ultra-orthodox (Heredi in Hebrew) coalition partners to cease all maintenance work on the railway during the Sabbath. And since the thirteen ultra-orthodox MKs hold the balance of power in Bibi's sixty-seven member majority; they threatened to topple the government. The PM caved into their ultimatum rather than call their bluff. On Friday evening after the maintenance work had already begun, Bibi issued an urgent order barring all work on the Sabbath. That meant that the necessary work would have to be done by closing down the railway on Sunday, the start of the work-week in Israel. Of course, this is a wonderful recipe for stranding not only IDF soldiers, but also thousands of civilians going back to their jobs. In order to help the soldiers return to base, Bibi leapt into the fray by dispatching hundreds of buses to the railway stations he closed down to pick up the soldiers he marooned. Hopefully, IDF base commanders will not penalize soldiers who arrive late.

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August 28, 2016

Israel's New Rules For Palestinian Rocketing From Gaza

Did Hamas get the message? On August 22nd, Palestinian terrorists in Gaza deliberately fired a rocket into the Israeli town of Sderot. Sirens sounded - children, women and men rushed for the nearest bomb shelter. Fortunately no one was injured, aside from the possible trauma of having a rocket explode nearby in your home-town. But it could have killed and wounded many people if it had hit a crowded shopping area or summer camp for children.

As usual, the Hamas government in Gaza was quick to deny any responsibility for the attack-

       'It was probably a rogue band, not us!

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August 20, 2016

An Israeli Reply to George Soros

Jerusalem:

This is the appalling reality of the Middle East that faces Israel today: next door in Syria, over five-hundred thousand people, mostly civilians, have already been killed in a six year blood-bath. Several times more have been wounded while millions of refugees flee to Western Europe. Marking time until he soon retires, US Secretary of State John Kerry will jaw-jaw some more with the Russian's Sergey Lavrov. Meanwhile the Russians are now flying air strikes from an Iranian air base to make it easier to hit their civilian, rebel and Da'esh targets. Human rights groups estimate that 17,000 people have been tortured to death in Assad prisons. At this moment, Da'esh sadists are carrying out their genocide of the Yazidi people. The rebel held town of Aleppo was just attacked with chlorine gas in barrel bombs. From the town, a group of doctors has sent out a frantic plea to US President Barack Obama, leader of the Free world:

      'We do not need tears or sympathy or even prayers. We desperately need a zone free from bombing .. and international action.'

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August 14, 2016

Rio Olympics and New Middle East Politics

Jerusalem:

So what if an Egyptian judoka refused to shake hands after an Israeli defeated him? It was not the first time. In Rio, even Lebanese Olympians refused to travel in the same bus with Israelis. However it came in stark contrast to the under-current of relations that are slowly gaining momentum between Israel and the Sunni Arab states. Egypt's President Al-Sisi has forged a military understanding with Prime Minister Netanyahu on coping with the mounting mutual threat from Islamic State fighters in Sinai. (The Egyptian Sinai was demilitarized in the peace treaty with Israel). But much of the 'Arab street' in Egypt still views the Jewish state as an enemy. Most certainly, members of the powerful Muslim Brotherhood. It was not clear whether the Egyptian Judoka was a fanatical Muslim, probably not. Otherwise he would have refused to compete with a Jew. More likely the Egyptian was worried about the hot reception he would get back home, if he were filmed shaking the hand of an Israeli.

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August 06, 2016

Israel's Top Leaders Clash Over Reaction To President Obama's Statement On Iran Nuclear Deal

Israel's Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu and his new Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman have crossed swords for the first time. U.S. President Barack Obama actually started those fireworks. A year after the great powers reached the nuclear deal with Iran. Obama stated categorically, that the Israeli defense community now acknowledged, that Iran was abiding by the agreement which had turned out to be a 'game-changer'. Defense Minister Lieberman took umbrage and issued a strongly worded statement denying that he and his minions had backed the Iran accord. On the contrary - Lieberman compared it to the notorious Munich accord signed by Britain's Neville Chamberlain and Adolph Hitler of Nazi Germany. Lieberman's statement went on to say that Munich did not prevent either World War II or the Holocaust. He stated that today Iran was following in Hitler's footsteps.

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July 31, 2016

Israelis Split Over Trump or Clinton

It is still hard to say whether most Israelis favor Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. Going into the Democrats' convention, Trump had a slight lead. Coming out, Hillary got her expected 'bounce' and this will also be reflected in Israeli public opinion. Prime Minister Netanyahu and other Israeli politicians are wary about getting drawn into the U.S. presidential campaign for obvious reasons. A majority of Netanyahu's Likud party supporters hope Trump will make it to the White House, while the Centre and Left (Zionist Union-Labor) favor Clinton. Where does Bibi Stand? An indication is the clear-cut position taken by 'Yisrael Hayom' (Israel Today) the freebie newspaper that backs Netanyahu and is also in Trump's corner. Israel Today is financed by American casino tycoon, Sheldon Adelson. But the Clintons, both Hillary and Bill, have always been strong supporters of the Jewish state.

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July 24, 2016

Did Israel Deliberately Miss Unidentified Drone that Entered Israeli Air Space From Syria?

Golan Heights July 17th: 5:00 PM:

An unidentified pilotless drone flies into Israeli air space from Syria. Israeli Air Force controllers launch a Patriot (American made) surface-to-air missile. It misses the target. A second Patriot goes streaking skyward. It also goes wide. An Israeli jet then fires an air-to-air rocket - again no bull's eye. After penetrating Israeli airspace by some four kilometers (over two miles) the drone turns around and then flies back unharmed into Syria. A small part of a Patriot missile falls on the head of an Israeli girl far below. She is not seriously hurt.

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July 15, 2016

France's '9/11', US Election Campaign & Israel

Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite is a magnificent motto but it just got trumped by the battle cry of 'Allah Akbar'. The cold-blooded murder of over 84 children, women and men in Nice is a startling example of our age. After the Islamic terror attacks in Paris last November, French President Francois Hollande thought declaring a half-hearted 'state of emergency' would do the trick. And after hosting the huge Euro-Cup soccer tournament, France had breathed a sigh of relief. But then came the new slaughter that killed so many and wounded many, some critically, ironically at Bastille Day celebrations for what is probably the greatest democratic event in all of history, the French Revolution.

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July 08, 2016

CONTRARY TO SOME REPORTS, ISRAEL IS NOT ABOUT TO GO TO WAR AGAINST HEZBOLLAH

This is a recent sensational headline carried in the international media, an example of how many foreign experts tend to completely misread Israel. The analysis was carried by the Huffington Post and written by Alastair Crooke, 'a former MI-6 agent', the British equivalent of the CIA or Mossad. Crooke bases his conclusions on a recent presentation by IDF Maj. Gen. Herzl Halevi, the commander of the IDF Intelligence Branch. This was a key sentence by the General:

      "I'm going to say this with all due caution, but there has never been an army (IDF) that knows so much about its enemy as we know about Hezbollah. But still, the next war will not be simple, it will not be easy."

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July 01, 2016

Netanyahu: 'You Don't Slit a Little Girl's Throat…!'

Israelis must brace up to terror attacks of one kind or another - it is part of the nation's struggle for survival. None are easy, but some hit harder than others.

Thursday morning 8:38 AM in Kiryat Arba in Judea-West Bank:

Thirteen-year-old Hallel Yaffa Ariel is sleeping in her bed alone in her home. The summer vacation has already begun and Hallel, an ardent dancer is sleeping-in after performing the night before in Jerusalem.

A seventeen-year-old Palestinian from the nearby town of Bani Na’im jumps over the Israeli security fence built around the community sounding the alarm at the security headquarters. The terrorist races to the nearest Israeli home and enters. It is still not clear if the door or a window was left open. Armed with a knife, he rushes to the children’s' room, where Hallel is apparently still sleeping, and stabs her eight times.

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June 24, 2016

F-35 Stealth Jets to Israel – Act II of Obama’s Political Drama

The delivery of the first two F-35 stealth fighters to Israel this week marks the close of Act II in President Barack Obama's Middle East policy. Act I was based on Obama's nuclear deal with Iran. It removed the only thing that could have fouled up his decision to cut America's losses and get out of the Middle East. Failure to find a diplomatic solution to suspending Iran's nuclear weapons program could have triggered an Israeli preventative strike that would have drawn in the US militarily. From Obama's point of view, this was and is a deliberate and rational policy. The fireworks with Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu were simply an inevitable result - collateral damage, it wasn't all personal, 'it was business'. Even Ben Rhodes, apparently in a lapse of megalomania, bragged how he and his buddies had pulled the strings of the American media like puppets.

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