Israel Still Aiding Wounded Syrians, Turning Them from ‘Enemies to Friends’

Israel and Syria have been mortal enemies since Syria attacked the newly reborn State of Israel almost 70 years ago. But that hasn’t impacted Israel’s ongoing work to help Syrians wounded in that nation’s civil war—and it may even offer hope for peace. It certainly isn’t stopping, even as violence …

Israel—An Ancient King of Making Glass

Centuries before the Land of Israel was a hub for the high-tech industry, the region was among the world leaders in another profession involving science, skill, and specialized knowledge: glass making. The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) announced in a press release on Monday that they have discovered 1,600-year-old kilns used …

Israel Strikes Syrian Military in Response to ‘Spillover’ Fire, Twice

Multiple Syrian projectiles hit Israeli territory on Saturday and the Israelis were very clear that such “spillover” from the Syrian civil war is unacceptable, as the Israeli military took the strong response of publicly targeting the Syrian military directly. Then it happened again the next day. The IDF Spokesperson’s Twitter …

Israeli Security Forces Arrest Citizen Muhammad Azzam for Planning to Join ISIS

The resident of an Israeli Arab town was arrested earlier this month for contact with ISIS, also known as the Islamic State (IS), and for making plans to join the brutal terrorist organization. Muhammad Azzam, an Israeli citizen from Kfar Manda, was arrested on June 6 in a joint operation …

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Israel Strikes Syrian Military in Response to ‘Spillover’ Fire, Twice

June 25, 2017 Peace and Conflict

Syria’s civil war is straying into Israel, again. Educational sign post showing distance between major locations in the Middle East. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

Multiple Syrian projectiles hit Israeli territory on Saturday and the Israelis were very clear that such “spillover” from the Syrian civil war is unacceptable, as the Israeli military took the strong response of publicly targeting the Syrian military directly. Then it happened again the next day.

The IDF Spokesperson’s Twitter feed said that on Saturday “more than 10 projectiles” hit an open area in Israel, and in response the Israeli strikes on Saturday took out a Syrian heavy machine gun position and two tanks, according to a video posted to the Twitter account.

On Sunday, the IDF Spokesperson’s Twitter feed said that following “several Syrian projectiles” hitting an open area in the northern Golan Heights region of Israel, the IDF struck two Syrian military artillery positions and an ammunitions truck. While no Israeli injuries occurred in the Syrian attacks, more than a dozen projectiles have struck Israel in two days. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in comments on Sunday published by his office, warned against future Syrian attacks—intentional or not. … Continue Reading

Israeli Security Forces Arrest Citizen Muhammad Azzam for Planning to Join ISIS

June 25, 2017 News

Israeli security forces prevent terrorism, at home and abroad. Israeli police car. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

The resident of an Israeli Arab town was arrested earlier this month for contact with ISIS, also known as the Islamic State (IS), and for making plans to join the brutal terrorist organization. Muhammad Azzam, an Israeli citizen from Kfar Manda, was arrested on June 6 in a joint operation between the Israeli Police and Israel Security Agency (ISA), according to an ISA press release published on Sunday.

During the investigation of Azzam, the ISA said they learned that Azzam “supports the IS idea, followed IS propaganda online and recently made tangible preparations to leave for the combat zone in order to join the ranks of IS fighters.” He was also in online contact with ISIS fighters who were helping him.

The Israelis take the situation very seriously. “The ISA views Israelis who support IS, are in contact with it and who go to fight in its ranks, as a severe strategic threat,” said the ISA press release. … Continue Reading

Israeli Air Force—Four Times Better than Last Time—Confident about Preparing for Next War with Hezbollah

June 21, 2017 Peace and Conflict

Israel’s Air Force has added new planes, such as the American F-35. Illustrative image of F-35. Image courtesy of the Department of Defense website. The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.

The military challenges facing Israel from the north have grown, but so have Israel’s capabilities in the air—four times as much according to the Air Force, able to overwhelm their northern foe Hezbollah in a fraction of the time. That’s the assessment from Israel Air Force Commander Major General Amir Eshel, who told a conference on Wednesday that “over the last four or five years we have multiplied our capabilities by a factor of 4. What we could do in 34 days during the second Lebanon War, we can now do in 48 hours.”

Good thing, because the growing strength of Hezbollah—which is believed to have stockpiled tens of thousands of missiles—will put more of Israel at risk than before. But Israel hasn’t been just letting Hezbollah grow. Media reports have indicated multiple attacks on weapons in Syria that had been bound for Hezbollah.

Eshel alluded to that in his comments, “Our activities in this period in between wars, beyond removing the threats over us, have an effect that will be measured only with hindsight,” said Eshel, whose comments at the IDC Herziliya Conference 2017 were published by the Israeli Government Press Office. “What we are currently doing, and the results which are very well known to our enemies, to my mind are postponing a war. Does this mean there won’t be a war? One cannot promise that.” … Continue Reading

After US Downs Syrian Plane, Tensions Spike with Russia that Could Put Israel, Others at Risk

June 19, 2017 News

Russian President Vladimir Putin. Illustrative. Photo courtesy of the office of the President of Russia.

The United Stated defended local fighters assisting in the coalition against ISIS by shooting down a Syrian plane that was bombing near the locals, and now Russia is threatening to shoot down almost everybody. The New York Times reported that the Russian Defense Ministry not only supported their ally in the Syrian regime, but issued threats on their behalf. “All flying objects, including planes and drones of the international coalition, detected west of the Euphrates, will be followed by Russian air defense systems as targets,” the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement on Monday, according to the report.

The Russians have long coordinated with the various nations engaged in the skies above and around Syria to avoid dangerous mistakes. That has included Israel as well as the United States. The Russians also said they suspended the coordination hotline with the U.S., but The New York Times noted that threat has been issued before only to disappear later. The United States on Monday defended their actions. … Continue Reading

Palestinian Political Faction Glorifies Terrorists, Condemns Israeli Police

June 18, 2017 Peace and Conflict

The Palestinians promotion of terror continues. Illustrative banner of terrorists and Dome of the Rock. By Joshua Spurlock

Following the two-pronged Palestinian shooting and stabbing terror attack on Friday that murdered Israeli border policewoman Hadas Malka, the Fatah political faction headed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas did worse than just fail to condemn the terrorism. “Instead of condemning the attack, Fatah… issued a statement in which it condemned the Border Police fighters who killed the terrorists, and praised the murderers as heroes,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday. “It seems that mendacity and brazen gall know no bounds.”

Netanyahu, in comments released by his office, noted that Fatah wasn’t the only so-called moderate Palestinian group that did not respond appropriately. Noted the Israeli premier, “Of course, the Palestinian Authority [P.A.] is refusing to condemn the murder and the same Authority will now pay financial compensation to the murderers’ families.” That issue of the P.A. payments has created international concern, with the United States being troubled by it. Meanwhile, two different Palestinian terror groups claimed credit for last week’s murder. … Continue Reading

UN Agrees with Israel that Gaza Electricity Crisis ‘Internal Palestinian Dispute’

June 15, 2017 News

This is where the Gazan taxes are being spent – on rockets. Illustrative photo of spent Rockets fired from Gaza. By Joshua Spurlock.

The United Nations and Israel agree: The electricity crisis in the Gaza Strip—occurring after the Palestinian Authority requested that Israel cut supply due to lack of funding from Hamas in Gaza—is an “internal Palestinian” matter. U.N. Resident Coordinator assigned to the Palestinians, Robert Piper, was quoted by the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs website as saying on Wednesday that “the people in Gaza should not be held hostage to this longstanding internal Palestinian dispute.”

That language is almost identical to how Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the situation one day before. “It needs to be understood that the issue of electricity in Gaza is subject to a disagreement between the Palestinian Authority (P.A.) and Hamas,” said Netanyahu in comments from his office on Tuesday. “Hamas is demanding that the P.A. pay for the electricity and the P.A. is refusing to do so. This is an internal Palestinian argument.” And while Israel is a key provider of electricity to Gaza, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman made it clear it’s not their decision to cut the power—in fact, they are “definitely ready to provide.” … Continue Reading

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