How Gantz Could Build A Government, Without A Majority

Israel’s second round of elections have been a complex but ultimately straightforward math problem: the ruling Likud party plus their allies equals less than a majority. The opposition Blue and White party plus their allies equals less than a majority. Neither side is willing to make the compromises needed to …

Arab Village Electrician Uncovers Ancient Artifacts, Helps Israel Preserve Them

Arabs can face opposition from their own people for helping Israel, but one Arab villager recently chose to do the right thing in spite of critique and in the process helped Israel preserve history. The resident of the village of Araba in northern Israel, Ahmed Nassar Yassin, is an electrician …

Israel Holding Hamas Responsible as Gaza Attacks Continue

Following more rocket attacks from Gaza against Israel, the IDF hit back at Hamas in a counterstrike last Friday. Based on comments from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday, expect that Israeli response to Gaza violence to continue as needed. “We are acting against Islamic Jihad, as it is …

Iraqi Protestors Challenging Iranian Influence Have ‘Clearly Made Iran Nervous’

Protests are making an impact in Iraq, and it’s not just the leaders in Baghdad that are feeling the pressure. Leaders in Iraq’s next-door neighbor and general bad influence Iran are taking notice too, as Iraqi protestors have opposed Tehran’s entanglement in their country. “Iraqis increasingly view Iran as having …

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Israel Honors Security Agency that Helped Nab Teen Killers, Stop Hundreds of Attacks

August 12, 2019 News

President Rivlin and Prime Minister Netanyahu at ceremony for ISA outstanding employees, Photo courtesy of Amos Ben-Gershom (Israeli GPO)

The Israel Security Agency (ISA) recently made the news for their role in apprehending two suspects believed to have murdered 18-year-old Dvir Sorek in a stabbing terror attack. But behind the scenes, they’ve been responsible for preventing hundreds of other terror attacks from even taking place. “You caught Dvir’s murderer within 48 hours,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday at an award ceremony for ISA employees. “…You work night and day for the well-being of our citizens. In the past year, you thwarted over 600 terrorist attacks. This was a counter-terrorist action of immense scope. We are doing everything to cut off terrorism at its outset.”

Netanyahu, whose comments were published by his office, thanked the ISA for their role in catching Sorek and noted he had “great confidence” Israel was going to catch the teen killers. “This is what you have done in recent years; all murderers, without exception, have been apprehended,” said Netanyahu to the ISA award winners. “In every case in which vicious murderers have cut down innocent Israeli lives, it has not taken much time for us to find them.” … Continue Reading

Pompeo Slams Iranian Leader as ‘Sick’ for ‘Call for Violence’ against Israel

August 11, 2019 News

PM Netanyahu & US Secy. of State Pompeo. Illustrative. Photo courtesy of: Haim Zach / Israeli GPO

Iranian threats against Israel are a disturbing trend, but the timing of the latest rant from Iran’s leader drew stern condemnation from United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. In a message delivered by Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei and posted to his website on August 10, the Iranian dictator called Israel’s government “child killers” and praised Palestinians for being “on the battlefields more enthusiastic, and braver than yesterday. But the ultimate outcome requires assistance from all Muslims.”

While Khemenei’s words were in honor of the Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, it’s timing also aligned with the saddest day of the Jewish calendar marking the destruction of both temples and other tragedies. That caught Pompeo’s attention.

As part of a series of Twitter posts, Pompeo said, “It’s sick that on the eve of #TishaBAv—a solemn day for the Jewish people—@khamenei_ir calls for violence against the Jewish state.”

Pompeo followed up in another Tweet to say, “@khamenei_ir doesn’t see ‘progress’ as prosperity for the Palestinian people, but Palestinian terrorists switching from rocks to rockets to kill more Jews. The Iranian people don’t want this; they deserve leadership behaviors that reflect their greatness.” … Continue Reading

Terror Foiled: Israel Arrests Teen’s Killers, Stops Gaza Attacks

August 11, 2019 Peace and Conflict

Israeli soldiers were busy over the weekend. Israeli Soldiers. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

It was an intense start to the weekend in Israel, as security forces apprehended the terrorists believed to be behind the terror stabbing of 18-year-old Dvir Sorek and shut down an attempted attack at the Gaza border—twice—in just two days. On Saturday, a group of four terrorists from Gaza sought to cross the border with Israel carrying AK-47 rifles, rocket-propelled grenade launchers and grenades, according to posts on the IDF Twitter page. The IDF tweeted that “once one of the terrorists crossed into Israel, our troops opened fire. The terrorists were neutralized.” The tweet also noted that one grenade was thrown by the terrorists.

A follow-up tweet showed a range of weapons, noting that “these are the weapons possessed by the terrorists who attempted to infiltrate into Israel from Gaza last night. Their (unfulfilled) objective: murdering Israelis.” A separate tweet saluted the female border-monitoring soldier, given the alias “Sargent Y”, noting she “spotted 4 armed terrorists on their way to carry out a brutal terror attack in Israel. Because of her they were stopped. And innocent lives were saved.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in comments released by his office on Saturday night, commended “the IDF unit that acted quickly and efficiently on the border with Gaza and prevented a terrorist infiltration of our territory.”

He continued, “Hamas is responsible for all aggression emanating from the whole of Gaza. Israel will continue to act to thwart infiltrations of its territory and attacks on our citizens.” … Continue Reading

Netanyahu: ‘We Will Settle Accounts’ with Terrorists Who Murdered Teen

August 8, 2019 Peace and Conflict

PM Netanyahu at scene of Gush Etzion terrorist attack. Photo Courtesy of Amos Ben-Gershom (Israeli GPO)

As Israel continues to mourn the murder of 18-year-old Dvir Sorek, they are also making it very clear that the terrorists behind the deadly stabbing will face justice—including their leaders. “I have no doubt, also on the basis of what I have heard, that we will also apprehend those who carried out this awful murder,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday. “We will settle accounts with them and with those who dispatched them.”

Netanyahu, speaking from the scene of the crime in comments published by his office, said he had been given security briefings and said “progress” was being made in the pursuit of the killers. He noted that the security forces in recent years “have found all the murderers.”

Said Netanyahu, “Our answer to these murderers is two-fold: First of all, they come to destroy and we build. Secondly, our arm will reach them and we will settle accounts with them. The investigation is making progress and it is ongoing.” … Continue Reading

Iran Threatens to Further Escalate Nuclear Program Conflict with Third Step

August 4, 2019 Iran Nuclear Program, News

Iran is planning new antagonistic nuclear steps.
Illustrative official meeting. Photo Courtesy of UN Photo/Evan Schneider

Having already increased their nuclear fuel stockpile and the quality of their nuclear fuel enrichment beyond the limits imposed under the nuclear deal, Iran is now warning that their third step in withdrawing from commitments in the deal is coming up. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif was quoted by the Fars News Agency as telling the Iranian Parliament on Saturday they would “assuredly” take that next step if the world powers fail to boost economic benefits to Iran. What that third move would be was not made clear.

The Iranians in recent months began reneging on their commitments under the nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), warning that they would continue to expand their nuclear program if the Europeans didn’t effectively mitigate United States’ sanctions on Iran. While the nuclear program remains solidly in the civilian range—Iran has announced 4.5% uranium enrichment quality has been achieved, whereas 90% is needed for nuclear weapons—there are threats of advancing that element further to medical research levels and even beyond.

The Fars News report noted that recently Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said there wouldn’t be “any problem” for Iran to advance to 20% enrichment quality—the level needed for medical research—and that there are “options even higher than that.” He did claim that they would act based on Iran’s needs and not just go for higher levels as a scare tactic. … Continue Reading

Conflicting Polls Paint Palestinians as Either Open to US Peace Plan, or Open to Intifada

August 4, 2019 Peace and Conflict

Are the Palestinians open to Trump’s peace plan or rejecting it sight-unseen? Depends on who you ask. Illustrative photo of Palestinian event. By Joshua Spurlock

A pair of recent polls of Palestinians offer contradictory views on peace, especially the not-yet-unveiled United States peace plan from the Trump Administration. One poll shows uncertainty and a wait-and-see approach, while another poll shows strong opposition to the plan and even support for a return to a violent uprising, or intifada.

The Palestine Center for Public Opinion poll, conducted June 27-July 19, took the more positive view. The poll, according to an article on The Washington Institute for Near East Peace website, showed the majority of Palestinians polled preferred that either the Palestinian Authority (PA) should wait to take a position on the US peace plan until they’ve actually seen it or that the PA should “not reject the plan, so Israel won’t be able to take advantage” of that rejection. Roughly 25% support each of those positions, versus roughly one-third who call for the PA to reject the plan already, sight-unseen.

However, while this poll seemed to present a moderated view on US President Donald Trump’s peace vision for the Middle East, another Palestinian poll conducted June 27-30 by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PCPSR) found the opposite view. 75% of those polled called for the PA to reject the plan—more than double those holding that view in the other poll. Just 15% said the plan should be accepted with reservations and only 4% called for accepting it without reservations. … Continue Reading

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