Israel Strikes Weapons Storage Day after US Espouses Support of anti-Iran Action in Syria

United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday last week provided American backing for Israel’s efforts to prevent Iran from setting up a new base of operations in Syria. One day later, Israeli warplanes struck weapons storage facilities belonging to Iran, including a target at an international airport in …

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 …

Netanyahu Tells Arabs that Iran Is Main Threat, To Talk with Putin to ‘Ensure Freedom of Action’ against Iran

It’s a busy season of diplomacy for Israel against Iran, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in Poland last week for a conference with Arab and Western nations discussing the threat from Tehran, and this week he will be in Poland’s neighbor Russia to discuss how to keep combatting that …

Israeli Spacecraft Launching for the Moon This Week

Israel is set to become just the fourth country to land a spacecraft on the moon, as the satellite “Beresheet”—Hebrew for “Beginning”—is scheduled to launch atop a SpaceX rocket around the end of this week with its destination being the lunar surface. The spacecraft will carry a time capsule to …

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Israel Named 8th Most Powerful Nation in International Survey

July 9, 2018 News

Israeli flags. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

They may be small, but thousands of people around the world apparently believe the State of Israel has a lot of power. The Jewish state been named the 8th most powerful nation in the world—and the most powerful nation in the Middle East—by US News and World Report as part of their 2018 “Best Countries” rankings. The United States and Russia were the top two, ahead of China and several European nations. Israel followed right after Japan, placing ahead of Saudi Arabia.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu contrasted his nation’s size with those superpowers ranked right before them. “Even though we are barely one percent of some of these countries, and have a smaller population than all of them, we are there thanks to the citizens of Israel, thanks to the statesmanship,” said Netanyahu on Monday in comments from his office.

The rankings by US News and World Report—done in conjunction with Y&R’s BAV Group and The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania—included a global survey of more than 21,000 people according to the news group’s website. The “Power” category considered attributes such as alliances, military strength and political influence. Israel’s top scoring “Power” category was its military. … Continue Reading

Israel Responds to Months of Hamas Terror with Economic Sanctions

July 9, 2018 Peace and Conflict

Illustrative example of goods shipped to Gaza. Photo courtesy of the Israel Tax Authority.

When the United States, Europe, or the United Nations are troubled by a malicious nation’s actions, they often resort to economic sanctions. After months of Gaza fire kites, balloon bombs, infiltration attempts, border riots and attacks on the border crossing, Israel responded with sanctions of their own. On Monday, the IDF announced on their website that the Kerem Shalom border crossing—itself a target of Gaza attacks—would only allow humanitarian aid to enter the Gaza Strip.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made it clear the border restriction was a response to Hamas’ nefarious ways. “We will be heavy-handed with the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip—immediately. In a significant step, today we are closing the Kerem Shalom crossing,” said Netanyahu to the Israeli parliament (Knesset) in comments released by his office. He further noted that “there will be additional steps” in response to Hamas, but did not provide details. … Continue Reading

Russian Bear Extends Its Paws: Netanyahu Visiting Moscow after Russian-Coordinated Ceasefire Begins in Southern Syria

July 8, 2018 Peace and Conflict

PM Netanyahu & Russian Pres. Putin to meet again over Syria. Illustrative photo, courtesy of Amos Ben-Gershom (Israel GPO)

Two days after a ceasefire was reached between Syrian rebels in the south of the country and Russia on behalf of the Syrian regime, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu previewed an upcoming visit to Moscow this week in which he will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin. A key topic in the discussion will of course be Syria.

“At the meeting I will reiterate the two basic principles of Israel’s policy: First, we will not tolerate the establishment of a military presence by Iran and its proxies anywhere in Syria—not close to the border [with Israel] and not far away from it,” said Netanyahu on Sunday in comments released by his office.

“Second, we will demand that Syria, and the Syrian military, strictly uphold the 1974 Separation of Forces Agreement,” he said, referring to the Yom Kippur War ceasefire agreement that established a demilitarized buffer zone between the countries. That second point has been mentioned repeatedly lately, and the latest reference comes after Russia reached a deal with Syrian rebels that will see some of them be allowed to relocate from the Jordanian border region to an area near the border with Israel, according to Al Jazeera. It also comes as fighting near Israel’s border has resulted in more errant fire threatening Israel last week. … Continue Reading

US Goal: Get Countries Buying Iranian Oil ‘Down to Zero as Soon as Possible’

July 2, 2018 News

Iranian oil is about to be sanctioned by the US again. Oil Tanker. Illustrative. Photo Courtesy of U.S. Navy. Photo by Mass Communication 2nd Class Nathan Schaeffer

The United States withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear deal earlier this year means the re-imposition of American sanctions on the Islamic Republic, which will resume in part on August 6. In November, the most critical sanctions—on Iran’s energy and oil industry and banking—will re-launch. While the US is the only one of the world powers to step out of the Iran nuclear deal, so far they aren’t the only ones backing away from the Iranian economy.

50 international firms, including those in the energy and financial industries, have announced plans to exit the Iranian market, a US State Department official told reporters on Monday. And the Americans want everyone to join them. “With respect to the energy sanctions, our goal is to increase pressure on the Iranian regime by reducing to zero its revenue from crude oil sales,” Brian Hook, US State Department director of policy planning, said in comments published by the Department.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week was already praising the impact of the US decision to leave the Iran nuclear deal and restart sanctions. … Continue Reading

Despite High Tensions with Syria, Israel Providing Tons of Aid to Syrian Civilians

July 1, 2018 News

Israel is being a “good neighbor” to Syria, despite the conflict. Israeli signpost showing distance between Israel, Syria in Golan Heights. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

Last week, Israel’s military provided hundreds of tents and tons of food and clothing to displaced Syrian refugees living in camps inside Syrian territory. Just days later, Israel’s military increased their number of troops along the Syrian border, as tensions between Israel, the Syrian regime and its ally Iran stay high. That’s not a contradiction, but a reality for Israel: They are staring down at war with the Syrian regime, but not the Syrian people.

“The IDF has provided life-saving humanitarian aid to Syrian civilians through Operation ‘Good Neighbor’ for several years, as a good-will gesture, while maintaining a policy of non-intervention in the Syrian conflict,” said the IDF Spokesperson on Friday in a series of Twitter posts about the latest aid provided.

The Twitter posts continued by stating, “The IDF is closely monitoring the events transpiring in southern Syrian and is prepared for a wide variety of scenarios, including additional humanitarian aid distribution to Syrians fleeing hostilities.” … Continue Reading

IDF Bolsters Border with Syria after Netanyahu Says Israel Will Strike Enemies ‘at Close and Longer Ranges’

July 1, 2018 Peace and Conflict

Is war brewing with Iran in Syria? Israeli tank. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

The Israelis are fully committed to striking at Iranian targets in Syria to prevent an Iranian military stronghold in their northern neighbor as well as to defend the country from threats both near and far, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared repeatedly in the last week. Meanwhile, he is also highlighting the economic trouble hitting Iran as the US reinstates sanctions on the country and what that could mean for a possible public uprising against the leadership in Iran.

“At a time when the US is economically striking at the Iranian regime, we are working to prevent Iranian forces and those of its proxies from establishing a military presence anywhere in Syria, and we will continue to do so,” said Netanyahu in comments released by his office on Sunday. That’s a similar message to what he said last Thursday at an IDF pilot graduation in other comments released by his office, stating that Israel “will continue to take strong action against Iranian targets in the area. We will defend our borders… We will continue to operate at close and longer ranges, both openly and in secret, against those who seek our lives.”

It’s more than just words and it’s more than just air power that is part of defending the border with Syria. On Sunday, the IDF Spokesperson posted to Twitter that “following a situation assessment in the Northern Command, it was decided to reinforce the 210th Division in the Golan Heights with additional armor and artillery troops.” … Continue Reading

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