Last Saturday (February 10, 2018) Iran’s Islamic Republic resumed its provocation of Israel by sending a drone over Israeli territory. It was answered by force as expected. An Israeli Apache Helicopter shot down the drone (it has not been verified whether the drone was armed or not) over northern Israel. Iran’s involvement in Syria, including the deployment of Iran-backed Shiite militias, near Israel’s Golan Heights, has alarmed Israel. Israel has accused Iran of building precision-guided missile factories for Hezbollah in Lebanon. As Iran and its sponsored Shiite militias, including the Lebanese Hezbollah, continue to encroach on Israel’s border, Jerusalem has vowed to defend its territory and its people. A year ago, Israel’s missile defense batteries intercepted and destroyed several Iranian built drones used by Hezbollah to penetrate Israel’s airspace from Syria. Saturday, Israeli fighter jets were able to hit and destroy the aerial defense system around Damascus that Russia helped to build.
In retaliation over Iran’s drone attack, eight Israeli F-16 Fighter jets attacked numerous military targets inside Syria, including an airfield near Palmyra called T-4 base, where the drone originated. One of the F-16 fighter jets was damaged during the attack while on the way back from the operation inside Syria. Its two pilots managed to parachute down over Israeli territory. The F-16, which was abandoned by the pilots, crashed inside Israeli territory. One of the pilots was wounded, but is expected to fully recover. The Syrian and Iranian media and government spokespeople celebrated the “downing” of the Israeli F-16 as a major accomplishment. Following the damage to the Israeli Fighter jet, a squadron of Israeli F-16’s returned to Syria and wiped out the Syrian/Iranian air-defense system throughout the Assad dominated Syria.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared on Sunday (February 11, 2018) that “Yesterday we dealt severe blows to the Iranian and Syrian forces. We made it unequivocally clear to everyone that our rules have not changed one bit. We will continue to strike at every attempt to strike at us. This has been our policy and it will remain our policy.” Yoav Galant, retired former army general, Cabinet Minister, and a member of Netanyahu’s Security Cabinet, told the Associated Press that “we do not just talk, we act.” Galant, a former IDF Deputy Chief of Staff, added, “I think that the Syrians now understand the fact that hosting the Iranians on Syrian soil harms them.” Israel’s Intelligence Minister Israel Katz told Army Radio that “They and we know that we hit, and it will take them some time to digest, understand, and ask how Israel knew how to hit those sites (a reference to the air-defense systems). These were concealed sites and we have intelligence agencies and the ability to know everything that is going on there, and yesterday we proved it.”
According to Arab News (February 11, 2018), Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, addressing a flag-waving crowd at the central Tehran’s Azadi Square, said that “They (a reference to the U.S. and Israel) wanted to create tension in the region…they wanted to divide Iraq, Syria…They wanted to create long-term chaos in Lebanon but…with our help their policies failed.” For the Iranian-Shiite coalition, this day of fighting (Saturday, February 10, 2018) led to what Hezbollah has called “a new strategic era.”
In seven years of Iranian involvement on behalf of the Assad regime in the Syrian civil war, it was able to show a number of solid achievements, including saving the Alawite-led (a syncretic sect of the Twelver branch of Shiite Islam) Assad regime from total collapse. Tehran, with Russian help, solidified Assad’s rule (but as their own puppet), and the Assad regime now controls two-thirds of Syria’s territory. It is at this point that the Islamic Republic of Iran intends to change the balance of power on the Syrian-Israeli border. The Iranians took advantage of the chaos inside Syria to build up military assets that would target Israel, while at the same time, providing advanced weaponry to Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Iran is seeking to establish the Shiite Crescent or a land corridor from Iran through Iraq and Syria, to the Mediterranean Sea. Even more important for the Tehran regime is to have a permanent presence and military bases on Syrian soil. Now that it has consolidated its presence in Syria, Iran has turned its focus on the last obstacle that stands in its way to achieve its ultimate goal of becoming the regional hegemon – Israel.
Throughout the Syrian civil-war, Israel stayed largely out of it. Israel did however launch occasional airstrikes on weapon convoys headed from Iran to the Hezbollah terror group. In recent months though, Israel turned its attention to military sites suspected of hosting Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), and Shiite militias recruited by Iran from Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, and Yemen, being too close to its borders.
To sum up the effects of Israel’s operation, on February 10, 2018 Iran suffered casualties from the Israeli assault, as did the Syrian army. Israel managed to destroy a large number of Syrian anti-aircraft batteries, mainly SA-5 and SA-17 missiles, including some that were just received by Syria. In addition, the Israeli raid destroyed a Syrian radar installation upon which the Syria’s air defense depend on. According to a statement by the IDF, this was the most painful blow against Syria’s air defense system since the First Lebanon War in 1982. When the smoke finally cleared over this day of fighting, each of the sides could have claimed a heroic victory, as well as a loss of assets. Israel lost one of its fighter jets and now finds itself susceptible to Iranian penetration. Iran paid a price for violating Israeli sovereignty but the Assad regime paid the heaviest price for its participation in the incident.
Insofar as Israel’s defense policy is concerned, being surrounded by Iranian IRGC troops and Hezbollah forces in Lebanon and on its Golan Heights border with Syria, is intolerable and must not stand. The Iranians are not necessarily seeking a full-scale war with Israel at this time. They will be content to change the existing equation, by forcing Israel to limit or stop its operations in Syria. Israel, for its part, must prove the effectiveness of its deterrent power, by demonstrating to Bashar Assad that any attempt by Iran and its clients to deter Israel from acting in self-defense would exact a heavy price. This comes in direct conflict with Iran’s schemes to surround Israel with potential missile batteries that could reach all points inside Israel. Israel’s natural reaction to these irreconcilable Iranian threats might eventually lead to a war between these two Middle Eastern powers.
Jeremy Corbyn leads a pro-Palestinian demonstration in London in 2014, one year before becoming Labour Party leader. Photo: File.
This marked a massive rise from the previous such survey, in which only 39% of Jews believed Corbyn was antisemitic.
British Jews also expressed an extremely low opinion of the Labour Party in general. The poll showed that 85.6% believed Labour suffered from “very high” levels of antisemitism.
Corbyn and his party have been beset with a series of high-profile antisemitism scandals for several years, which has resulted in the resignation and suspension of several prominent officials. Corbyn himself was recently caught on video saying that “Zionists” did not understand “English irony” despite “having lived in this country for a very long time.”
Makuya in Jerusalem 201 (YouTube)
Like an apple tree among trees of the forest, So is my beloved among the youths. I delight to sit in his shade, And his fruit is sweet to my mouth. (Song of Songs 2:3)
For ten days in late August, Israeli Rabbi Benny Lau and his wife, Rabbanit Noah Lau, traveled from Jerusalem to Japan to lead Bible study for groups of Makuya Japanese Christians. The Laus traveled to five Japanese towns and spent three days together at a weekend conference with 3,400 members of the Makuya group.
Makuya is Japanese for the Hebrew word Mishkan, the tent of meeting, where human beings come into contact with God. The Mishkan was the portable sanctuary that the Israelites used in the desert, before entering Israel and building the First Holy Temple.
The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence. (Psalm 11:5)
Brazilian presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro. (Credit: Agencia O Globo)
Jair Bolsonaro, the front-runner in the upcoming presidential election in Brazil, was stabbed during a campaign rally Thursday and was undergoing surgery.
The far-right politician, whose heated rhetoric has electrified some voters and angered others – -who accuse him of racism and homophobia – in a deeply polarized electorate, was attacked amid a crowd in the south-east state of Minas Gerais. Bolsonaro has performed strongly in recent opinion polls.
Those same polls suggested that he will likely receive the most votes in next month’s presidential elections, especially if the country’s former president Luis Inacio Lula da Silva (‘Lula’) remains blocked from standing. He is currently in prison, but is appealing against his candidacy ban – imposed after his conviction for corruption.
Republican lawmakers have made it clear they have no intention of repealing Obamacare in the current Congress.
Republicans in the nation’s top lawmaking body have never really wanted to get rid of Obamacare. They would prefer to present the program, which David Horowitz correctly describes as “the greatest assault on individual freedom and individual choice in our lifetimes,” as a villain and whip up sentiment against it and run against it every election. They view Obamacare as good for the business of politics. They may chip away at it from time to time or tinker with it at the margins, but make no mistake: these creatures of Washington want to keep it in place. This is the Republicans’ dirty secret.
The Trump administration has decided to reopen a case brought by a Zionist group against Rutgers University, previously closed by the Obama administration in 2014, alleging that the university had allowed Jewish students to be subjected to a hostile environment in violation of Title VI of the U.S. Civil Rights Act. The issue, ignored by the Obama administration, was whether the students were discriminated against based on their actual or perceived Jewish ancestry or ethnicity. Kenneth L. Marcus, the new assistant secretary of education for civil rights, decided that the case deserved another look.
Nestled in the Han River in the middle of South Korea’s bustling capital of Seoul, Yeoui Island is hardly where one would expect to find the largest mega-church in the world. Home to the city’s business and financial district, its skyline dotted with skyscrapers, the island boasts some of the country’s most powerful institutions, such as the Korean stock exchange and the headquarters of LG, the international conglomerate.
The AfD’s opponents, who often brand the party as “far right” or “extremist,” claim that the party’s alleged ties to neo-Nazi groups pose an existential threat to Germany’s constitutional order. The AfD’s supporters counter that Germany’s politically correct establishment, afraid of losing its power and influence, is attempting to outlaw a legitimate party that has pledged to put the interests of German citizens first.
Israel’s Palestinian foes regard “martyrdom” as the supremely highest expression of Islamic sacredness. Nonetheless, there are certain conspicuously prominent disjunctions between the relevant obligations of faith and expectations of international law. Unambiguously, only the latter set of obligations can offer a suitably authoritative source for assessing Palestinian resorts to armed force.
This is the case even when the stated objective of such resorts would be “self-determination” and/or “national liberation.”
“Setting fire to the ground,” a “major catastrophe,” bringing “new instability” are the headlines that have greeted Donald Trump’s unorthodox decisions over the past year. Withdrawing from UNESCO, moving the US Embassy, leaving the Iran deal and cutting funding to UNRWA and funding for Pakistan were seen as extreme decisions in the Middle East and around the world. Insofar as there is a “Trump Doctrine,” it has been to call this bluff.
In the mind-set of Trump and his team, the time has come for the United States to move quickly to reverse decades of foreign policy norms, ending the status quo, and ripping up what the previous administrations did.
The jihadi assault on and massacre of Christians continued unabated throughout the Muslim word. According to one report titled, “Armed gangs WIPE OUT 15 villages in mass Christian slaughter in Nigeria,” several Islamic terrorists “stormed through 15 villages to massacre Christians and destroy their churches in a violent crackdown against the religion…. Dozens of people have been killed after the gangs ransacked towns and villages to clear them of all aspects of the Christian faith.
Wars are raging in various parts of the Middle East, although there is a tendency not to call the conflicts by that name because of the fear conjured up by the word.
One conflagration is the war Iran is waging against those – headed by Israel – who stand in the way of its plans to take over the entire Middle East.
Another is the Assad regime’s war to take back control of the entire country, and a third is the PLO’s battle for survival.
Much has been written about the first of these wars, and reports have claimed that from early 2017 on, Israel has launched over 200 attacks in Syria, mainly at targets connected to Iran.