Tuesday, May 26, 2020

From Ian:

The Jews are not “settlers” in their own ancestral heartland
Jewish communities, (villages and towns) in Judea and Samaria do not consist of “settlers.” The Jewish population consists of the descendants of the native and indigenous Jewish people in their own ancient land. A people have no need to “settle” what is already theirs by virtue of millennial physical and spiritual attachment. It is theirs and theirs alone.

Notice that as of this time of writing, Judea and Samaria have still not been annexed (I prefer the words, liberated or redeemed) at least not yet and the time to do so is well overdue – 2,000 years overdue. Will it happen this July, 2020 under Bibi Netanyahu’s watch or will there be another fabricated delay? These lands, after all, are the very warp and woof, the very fabric and fiber of Jewish history, both during and after Biblical times.

Simply put: The Jewish people do not “settle” land that already belongs to them. And the Jewish people cannot be called “settlers” in their very own ancestral, Biblical and native heartland.

Now if those facts are understood and hammered home again and again by every Israeli and every Jew in the Diaspora, think of the power and the glory that will illuminate the world as the veil of deception is finally torn from the same world’s eyes.

But it all will become meaningless if Israel’s leaders and politicians succumb yet again to a hostile world or to the Israeli Left, betray President Trump’s best chance for Jewish restoration in at least part of Judea and Samaria (its ancestral heartland), and instead delay for more endless years Israeli sovereignty throughout Eretz Yisrael.
Why do US Jewish leaders remain silent on Israeli sovereignty?
There is simply no excuse to stand on the sidelines during this existential debate merely because the issue is "controversial."

It is said that during this time of coronavirus, major Jewish organizations are suffering due to decreased donations. The virus may well be responsible for a considerable decline in support, but another virus may be at play here as well. The virus of fear is also rampant: fear of offending one's donors, one's neighbors, one's friends and relatives by taking a position that is unpopular but morally and historically correct.

Perhaps American Jews have grown weary of supporting organizations that lack the courage to distinguish themselves one from another. Perhaps they are hungry for an organization that trusts Israelis to act in their own national interest just as citizens of other countries do. Where is such a major Jewish organization among the American landscape today?

At some point, Israel will extend sovereignty over the Jewish portions of the West Bank. The status quo cannot continue indefinitely until the Palestinians miraculously decide to live in peace next to the Jewish State, a fantasy progressives continue to cling to despite all evidence to the contrary. It is at long last time to face reality and move on.

As Rabbi Hillel wisely said: "If not now, when?"
JPost Editorial: Netanyahu's circus of a trial delegitimizes democracy
The rowdy crowd took its cue from the beliefs of the person they had come to support – the prime minister. Netanyahu, who had attempted to avoid attending Sunday’s opening session, ended up grabbing the spotlight in every way possible, in an effort to dominate the headlines and coverage.

In a smart PR move, he had the Likud ministers bused to the courthouse to portray solidarity in a much-publicized photo taken without the court’s permission. As the Post’s Gil Hoffman wrote, media from around the world had gathered to report on the prime minister standing alone in a courtroom facing serious charges. The presence of the Likud ministers, as well as the cynical use of a group of Holocaust survivors who also pledged allegiance to the prime minister, helped to dull that sharp image.

Where things took a far more sinister turn was when Netanyahu gave a long statement to the media before the trial’s launch. First, he attempted to deflect the charges against him as an indictment against anyone in Israel with a right-wing political viewpoint.

“They are trying to topple me and the entire right wing,” he claimed, adding a who’s who of Israeli “leftists” who are out to get him. “The police, prosecution, press and the Left and the legal establishment joined together to bring me down....”

That doesn’t leave many people or institutions on the other side, as Netanyahu made sure to cover all the bases with his base statements. But as Hoffman astutely pointed out, the verdict in this trial, which is a watershed moment in Israeli history, is not going to be decided by partisan Likud voters or Israelis who distrust the legal establishment and the police. Rather, it is going to be ruled upon by the three judges, who will absorb all the evidence presented by both sides and make judgments based on the facts, not emotional appeals or demagogic tirades.

Netanyahu managed to shift the focus on this first day of his trial away from the image of a prime minister on trial to the image of a prime minister being lynched by a crooked system out to get him.

That attack on the democratic institutions of the country might have been effective in the short term, but when the court reconvenes in July and witnesses start taking the stand in the coming months (or even years), the focus will again shift to where it should be – on the charges, the defense and whether the prime minister is guilty or innocent.

Israel Advocacy Movement: Is the two-state solution dead?
It wasn't Trump's peace plan that killed the two-state solution, it was the Palestinians.

Poll: 47% of English speakers in Israel support annexing Judea and Samaria
A little more than 47% of English-speakers living in Israel said they support Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's plan to apply sovereignty to large parts of Judea and Samaria and the Jordan Valley, an i24NEWS poll revealed on Monday.

Some 31% of the respondents said they oppose the plan, while 21% answered they "don't know."

As for the French-speakers living in Israel, a staggering 90% said they supported the plan while only 6% opposed it, according to a survey conducted for i24EWS by Shlomo Filber and Tzuriel Sharon through Direct Polls on May 24.

The poll surveyed 464 Israelis, English or French speakers, aged 18-years and over.

Israel's annexation plan, as well as the White House's support for it, has been lambasted by the Palestinian Authority, which ordered its security forces to suspend security coordination with Israel, as well as by the EU and UN, with both warning annexation could be the final nail in the coffin of the regional peace proceeds, moribund since 2014.

In recent years, the population of the French Jewish community has grown in the Jewish state, following large waves of immigration to the country. While the reasons for the increase in numbers vary, many Jews have decided to leave France due to growing concerns over anti-Semitism.

Czech parliament Speaker questions two-state paradigm as cabinet quarrels
Politics in the Czech Republic have been roiled in the past few days by debate over how to respond to the possibility that Israel may apply its laws to parts of the West Bank.

The latest chapter in the ongoing political controversy came with an article by Czech Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies Radek Vondráček on Monday calling for “opening up a new perspective” and saying “time is running out and the situation has changed” since two states became the paradigm for the peace process. The emphasis on international law “contributed to the block in the conflict...and did not help resolve the conflict.”

“Everyone wants to live with dignity, in peace, independently, proud and with a future,” he wrote in Právo Daily. “Many are determined to find a way to do so without being captive to old schemes and frustrations from the results.”

Czechs would not have liked if their split with Slovakia was dictated with a third party, Vondráček added.

Vondráček concluded that support for Israel should not be based on a two-state solution, and that it is “time to revive the idea of coexistence in one common state.”
Erdogan says Turkey ‘won’t allow’ Israel to annex parts of West Bank
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened Israel over its new government’s plan to annex portions of the West Bank.

“We are witnessing a new plan of occupation and annexation by Israel that threatens Palestinian sovereignty and is contrary to international law,” Erdogan said in a video address late Sunday for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr. “We won’t allow the transfer of Palestinian land to anyone.”

“Turkey is the only voice defending the Palestinians today,” Erdogan said in a televised address. “The world order has let down the Palestinians, and has not successfully brought peace, justice, security and order to this part of the world.”

Erdogan added that Jerusalem and the Temple Mount are “holy to three religions and are the red line for all Muslims in the world.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s vows to begin annexing the Jordan Valley and all settlements in July has drawn condemnations from a growing list on countries, including Arab states such as Jordan and European nations like France and Germany.
Keeping the Peacekeeping: Why Withdrawing US Troops From Sinai Is a Dangerous Idea
According to recent reports, the US administration is pushing to withdraw its forces from their peacekeeping mission in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. The mission, Multinational Force & Observers (MFO), has been deployed since 1981 as part of the peace agreement between Egypt and Israel.

Understandably, with the focus on COVID-19, the deployment status of 400 troops in the Middle East may not sound like important news.

But the risk of such an action, contrary to what some advocates say, may prove fatal to the region and US interests, leading to harsh outcomes both in the short and long term. The desire to put America first in this case might very well cause more chaos, leaving the US and the world to deal with preventable turmoil in the fragile region.

The first risk of such an action is causing a resurgence of the Islamic State (ISIS) in the peninsula. Throughout the years, the Islamic State has succeeded in bringing down a Russian passenger jet, killing over 300 people in a mosque attack, and carrying out countless terror attacks. Its threat was crucial enough at times to lead to Egyptian-Israeli cooperation, according to some reports. Even in the last month, reports arose about attacks claiming the lives of Egyptian soldiers.

The success of the US in pushing back the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq in recent years has been a tremendous step in stabilizing the region. The problem with a frequent success, however, is that it blinds us to the possibility of failure. The diminishing of ISIS is not a given — once the effort to curb down the insurgency is reduced, it might rise back even stronger.

It is in vacuums that terrorist organizations gain overwhelming power, and this is also what allowed the Islamic State’s initial rise in Iraq. The resources dedicated to preserve the current mission of about 400 soldiers are but a mere footnote in US foreign and defense policy in the grand scheme of things. The same amount of resources that will be saved for such an act, could very much prove insignificant compared to the cost of yet another rise of preventable turmoil in the Middle East.
UN careers program to be open to Israelis for the first time in a decade
The UN Young Professionals Program (YPP) will be open to Israeli applicants for the first time in a decade, beginning in July.
The YPP is a recruitment initiative and training program for qualified professionals aged 32 or under to become international civil servants with the UN Secretariat.

Each year, the UN decides on a list of un- or under-represented countries making up the pool of applicants, and accepts 120 candidates.

Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon worked in recent years to have Israel added to the list.

YPP Applicants must have a university degree in one of the exam subjects and undergo a rigorous application process that includes include writing assignments, a video interview and additional requirements. The program offers a position at the UN for three years, with the opportunity to develop a career in any country within the UN organization.

The positions will be in the Security Council, political affairs, human rights, communications management and administration and more.

Danon said on Thursday: “Through our efforts in recent years, we have been able to increase the number of Israelis in the UN, but our mission is not over. Today, we are calling for young people in Israel to take part in this prestigious program. It is a unique opportunity to represent the State of Israel within the international organization.”

Amid US pressure, Israel taps local firm over China for $1.5b desalination plant
The Finance Ministry on Tuesday named a local company as the winning bidder for a $1.5 billion desalination plant contract, beating out Chinese competition amid reports of pressure from Washington.

IDE Technologies will build the Sorek 2 plant south of Tel Aviv, which by 2023 should be able to produce 200 million cubic meters a year of desalinated water from the Mediterranean, a statement from the finance and energy ministries said.

The Israeli company was chosen over Hutchison Water — part of the Hong Kong-based CK Hutchison Group — less than two weeks after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made a lightning visit to Israel during which he discussed Chinese investments.

The new plant will be the largest of its type in the world and increase Israel’s desalination capacity by 35 percent, saving the country money on water, the statement said.

It said the plant would save the Israeli government NIS 3.3 billion ($900 million) during its lifetime.

Finance Minister Israel Katz said the plant will “significantly increase the state’s water supply and save huge sums” in water costs.

Israel has boosted cooperation with China in high-tech and other sectors, but its key ally the United States has urged it to limit Chinese investment in strategic sectors of the economy.

Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz played down Israeli considerations of Washington’s concerns in the decision not to award the tender to Hutchison.
Malka Leifer fit for extradition, judge rules
After close to six years, Judge Chana Miriam Lomp of the Jerusalem District Court ruled on Tuesday that alleged sex offender Malka Leifer is mentally fit to to stand extradition back to Australia.

Leifer, who is wanted on 74 counts of sexual abuse and rape of minors, has claimed mental illness since extradition proceedings were initiated in 2014, but the court finally ruled that those claims were not valid.

Judge Lomp set an extradition heari ng for July 16.

Leifer’s lawyers said they should the extradition court rule to extradite her they would appeal both the decision that she is fit for extradition and the decision to extradite her to the Supreme Court.

In her decision, Lomp noted that Leifer’s fitness to stand extradition and trial depended on her ability to understand the legal proceedings against her and to defend herself against the allegations.

The judge said that she was convinced Leifer did meet this standard by the conclusion of the panel of psychiatric experts who gave their professional opinion to the court in January this year that she was fit for extradition.
Army liaison to Palestinians said to warn of ‘terror wave’ if West Bank annexed
Israel’s military liaison to the Palestinians warned the Israel Defense Forces’ chief of staff and the defense minister of a potential wave of violence if the government goes through with its plans to unilaterally annex portions of the West Bank, Army Radio reported Tuesday.

According to the station, Maj. Gen. Kamil Abu Rukun — formally known as the coordinator of government activities in the territories — told army chief Lt. Gen. Aviv Kohavi and Defense Minister Benny Gantz that annexation “was likely to lead to a wave of terror attacks and a breaking of security cooperation [with the Palestinian Authority].”

The IDF and Defense Ministry refused to comment on the report, saying they would not discuss the contents of conversation held behind closed doors.

Last week, PA President Mahmoud Abbas announced that his security forces were halting coordination with Israel — a threat he has made several times in the past, though he appeared to actually be going through with it to a certain extent.

While Israeli security officials have confirmed the PA has ended security cooperation, Channel 13 reported that Ramallah had sent messages to Israel saying it would not allow terror attacks against Israelis or a mass popular uprising.

Abu Rukun’s reported comments were the latest in a series of warnings by defense officials regarding a potential outbreak of Palestinian violence in response to annexation of Israeli settlements and the Jordan Valley, as the government has proposed to do.
PA premier vows to prevent chaos in West Bank despite cutting security ties
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh on Monday said the PA would prevent widespread chaos and public disorder in the West Bank despite Ramallah’s decision to end security coordination with Israel last week over the new Israeli government’s plans to annex parts of the West Bank.

“We are in an important battle, a battle over the Palestinian national presence in the territory and to prevent the annexation of Palestinian territory for the benefit of the settlement enterprise,” Shtayyeh said at a press conference in Ramallah.

He said the PA would continue to act as a sovereign state in the West Bank and that it sees itself as released from agreements with Israel.

Israeli defense officials have warned of a potential outbreak of violence in response to the annexation plans and possibly stoked as well by the coronavirus-related economic woes of the Palestinian Authority.

Shtayyeh added the PA would not allow the public’s civil liberties to be violated, and would press for international legal action against Israel with the help of third parties, including international organizations.
Palestinians in Gaza Bring Back Incendiary Balloon Attacks
At least three groups of incendiary and explosive balloons were launched from the Gaza Strip on Monday, announced the terror group Ahfad al-Nasser later in the day, warning that Israel had 72 hours to send medical supplies for the coronavirus outbreak into Gaza, or they would make the Gaza envelope "hell."

The launches of incendiary balloons have become more sporadic in recent months. The last time balloon launches were announced by the balloon units was in late April, and before that in February. While they threatened launches before the Knesset elections in March, none were announced.

Countless incendiary and explosive balloons have been launched by Gaza's terrorists in recent years. They sometimes have books or toys attached to lure children, and some have sparked large wildfires in the past. Israel has threatened and has launched strikes against the Strip in response to continued use of the balloons.

A Palestinian teenager was killed when an explosive device he was working with exploded in Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip on Tuesday, according to Palestinian reports.
Israel’s High Court Orders IDF to Halt Demolition of Dvir Sorek Killer’s Home
Israel’s High Court of Justice on Monday overturned a demolition order against the home of one of the terrorists convicted for the murder of yeshiva student Dvir Sorek in Gush Etzion in August 2019. This marks the first time the court has blocked the demolition of the home of a convicted terrorist.

A three-judge panel ruled 2-1 against the demolition, stating that too much time had elapsed since the order was issued.

“The initial delay, for which no relevant explanation was presented, alongside an examination of the time period … in which the petitioners were left in a cloud of uncertainty about the fate of their home, lead us to conclude that the exercise of the authority to demolish was faulty, thereby justifying the cancellation of the order to confiscate and demolish the dwelling,” the judges said in the ruling.

It went on to state that “We are saying this also in light of the time that elapsed between the time the confiscation and demolition orders for the homes of four other terrorists accused of involvement in the attack and the time the order under discussion was issued, which is several months.”

The court went on to say that the delay in executing the demolition order had “obscured” the link between the murder and the sanctions taken in response.
In false alarm, rocket sirens blare in Gaza border areas
Rocket warning sirens blared Tuesday in some communities close to the border with the Gaza Strip, but the military quickly said that it was a false alarm.

The Code Red siren was heard in the southern communities of Zimrat, Shuva, Kfar Aza and Sa’ad.

Communities close to the Gaza Strip have borne the brunt of rocket fire from the Palestinian enclave for decades, and each siren sends those within earshot scrambling for cover as they have only roughly 15 seconds warning before the impact of an incoming rocket. There are occasional false alarms.

The Gaza Strip remains under the control of the Hamas terror group, which seized the territory from the Palestinian Authority in 2007.

Earlier this month Palestinian terrorists in Gaza fired a rocket into Israel that landed in an open area, causing no injuries or damage, the IDF said at the time.

The IDF said that in response tanks shelled three Hamas military positions in the northern Gaza Strip.
Palestinian national soccer team star booted for signing with Israeli squad
A soccer player who represented the Palestine national soccer team in dozens of its international games has been kicked out of the squad after signing with an Israeli team on Sunday for next season.

Abdallah Jabar, 27, will no longer be able to play for the West Bank-based national squad after closing a deal to join Israel’s local team Hapoel Hadera.

The response from Palestinian soccer fans was brutal, Jabar told Israel’s Channel 13 news on Monday. After announcing on social media that he had signed a contract in Israel, he received hundreds of offensive posts.

“People went mad, they really went mad,” said Jabar, an Arab Israeli from the central Arab city of Taibe. “It’s the political background, it is a sensitive issue.”

“As an Arab Israeli, I am amazed,” he said, referring to the delicate position of Arab Israelis in Palestinian and Israeli culture. “Over there, they say we aren’t really Palestinians and here they say we aren’t really Israelis.”

Games played for Palestine saw him take to the turf in countries around the world and across the Middle East, including Iran. However, the team has a strict rule that its players may not participate in Israeli leagues.

Jabar’s Israeli citizenship also prevented him from signing with Egyptian teams in 2016.
PMW: PA: Quran commands fighting and permits killing Israelis
Head of PA Islamic courts: “If someone comes to attack me... my home... my land... my homeland... my property... my honor... my family... your existence... your rights... your souls.” What must be done? “I am commanded to fight him... I am allowed to kill him”

The radical Islamist ideology that one expects to hear from ISIS and Iran is taking over the Palestinian Authority’s religious ideology. One of the most important religious leaders in the PA has announced a list of 10 “transgressions” for which Palestinians are “commanded” to fight and “allowed” to kill the “transgressors.” The “transgressions” seem to have been carefully selected in order to turn every single Israeli into a target that every Palestinian Muslim is “commanded” to fight and “allowed” kill.

The set of capital transgressions was mentioned during a relgious lesson on official PA TV by Mahmoud Al-Habbash, who PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas appointed to be both the Supreme Shari’ah Judge and the Chairman of the Supreme Council for Shari'ah Justice, in addition to his being Abbas’ personal advisor on Islam until a year ago. His religious rulings are supreme in the PA.

The PA religious leader quoted from the Quran: “kill them,” and then defined who it is who should be killed. Feigning moderation, Al-Habbash first taught that people should not be killed without reason, whether “Muslims, infidels, idol worshippers, or people of the book [Jews and Christians].”

However, he said, there are 10 “transgressions” for which Muslims - and therefore Palestinians too - are commanded by Allah to fight, and kill if necessary. Although Al-Habbash didn’t mention Israel or Jews by name, it is clear from the context and from many years of demonization and libeling of Israelis and Jews by Al-Habbash and many other PA leaders that he was announcing to Palestinians that Israelis must be targeted.

MEMRI: IRGC Qods Force Commander Qassem Soleimani In Letter Sent Prior To His Death To Hamas Military Wing Commander Muhammad Deif: Despite The Pressures And Siege, Iran Will Never Abandon Palestine
The website of the Al-Mayadeen television channel, which is affiliated with the resistance axis, recently posted a letter from Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Qods Force in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), to Muhammad Deif, commander of Hamas’s military wing, the ‘Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades. In the letter, sent before Soleimani’s death in January 2020 in a U.S. airstrike, the Iranian commander conveyed his greetings to Hamas’s fighters and to the Palestinian people as a whole, and promised them that Iran will not abandon them under any circumstances. He added that “the death knell of the invading Zionists will soon be heard,” and expressed hope to die as a martyr for the sake of Palestine.

This letter is further evidence of the close relations between Iran, which calls for the annihilation of Israel, and Hamas, and in particular of the ties between Qods Force commander Qassem Soleimani and Qassam Brigades commander Muhammad Deif.

It should be noted that Hamas officials have recently made many statements in praise of the Iranian regime and its ties with their movement. On May 20, 2020, in a speech on the occasion of Qods Day – a day of solidarity with Jerusalem and the Palestinians marked by Iran on the last Friday of Ramadan -- Isma’il Haniya, the head of Hamas’s political bureau, said that “Iran has never hesitated to support the resistance and assist it financially, militarily and technologically.”[1] Haniya’s deputy, Saleh Al-‘Arouri, said in an interview with the Al-Mayadeen channel that “the relations between Hamas and Iran are strong” and that “Iran has given Hamas and the resistance movements all the support and weapons they need.” He revealed that, during the 2008-2009 Israel-Gaza war, Soleimani was present in Hamas’s military operations room in Damascus, and noted that Soleimani’s successor, Esmail Ghaani, was “maintaining the coordination and assistance to the Palestinian resistance.”[2] Hamas’s representative in Iran, Khaled Al-Qadoumi, said in an interview with a Hamas-affiliated website that, “via its ties with Iran, Hamas strives to establish that the Zionist enemy is the common enemy of the entire Arab and Islamic nation.”[3]

The following is a translation of Soleimani’s letter to Deif, as posted on the Al-Mayadeen website:[4]
“My dear brother, the great jihad fighter, living martyr and brave resistance fighter, general commander of the Martyr ‘Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, [Muhammad] Abu Khaled Deif, may God protect and strengthen you…

“[I convey my] heartfelt greetings to, and deep longing for, the battle-ready jihad fighters of the purest [battle]front, for which millions of hearts weep with yearning. May God’s mercy and will be with the courageous Palestinian people, who carry deep sorrow and suppressed pain in their hearts due to their many wounds, in the face of the oppressive siege and the enemies’ barbaric attack [carried out] in plain sight of the hundreds of millions of Muslims [around the world].

“Greetings [also] to the jihad and resistance fighter [Hamas political bureau head Isma’il] Haniya and to his loyal supporters who declare from Gaza their steadfastness and call for jihad, out of faith and with their eyes yearning for the dawning of victory.
MEMRI: Saleh Al-Arouri, Deputy Head of Hamas Political Bureau: There Will Be an Intifada Very Soon
Saleh Al-Arouri, the Deputy Head of the Hamas Political Bureau, said in a May 21, 2020 interview on Mayadeen TV (Lebanon) that he believes a massive Intifada in the West Bank is very near because of possible Israeli annexation of parts of the West Bank and because today’s diplomatic and political circumstances are similar to those that had preceded previous Intifadas. In addition, he praised PA President Mahmoud Abbas’ recent statement that the PA is no longer bound by any of its agreements with the U.S. or Israel and he said that the Palestinians are ready to pay the price of martyrdom and suffering for a war for independence and freedom. Later in the interview, Al-Arouri said that Iran’s support for the Palestinian resistance is unwavering, that he had met former IRGC Qods Force Commander General Qasem Soleimani on multiple occasions, that Soleimani had been very active in helping the Palestinian resistance groups during wars against Israel in 2006 and in 2009, that Hamas will never agree to a two-state solution, and that financial aid that Hamas receives from Qatar is brotherly, unconditional aid from a country that supports the Palestinian cause.

MEMRI: Islamic Jihad Leader: Thousands of Palestinian Fighters Transported out of West Bank, Gaza to Train
Ziyad Nakhalah, the Secretary-General of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, said in a May 21, 2020 interview with Al-Nujaba TV (Iraq) that thousands of Palestinian fighters had been trained at designated camps set up by former IRGC Qods Force Commander General Qasem Soleimani, who was killed in a U.S. airstrike in January 2020. He elaborated that these fighters had been transported out of the West Bank and Gaza to these camps. In addition, Nakhalah said that six months ago, 80 Islamic Jihad fighters had been caught in Egypt and detained by Egyptian authorities.

20 years after Lebanon pullout, docuseries dives into the ‘War With No Name’
The grave of any soldier killed fighting in the Battle of Ammunition Hill on June 6, 1967, clearly identifies them as one of the roughly 800 IDF soldiers who fell in the Six Day War. Soldiers killed in the 1948 War of Independence, the 1973 Yom Kippur War or 2014’s Gaza war, Operation Protective Edge, are similarly identified according to the wars that took their lives.

But a soldier killed during Israel’s 18-year presence in southern Lebanon gets no such recognition. They are listed as having been killed “in Lebanon.”

“What’s ‘Lebanon’?” journalist and now filmmaker Matti Friedman asked The Times of Israel, rhetorically, last week.

Friedman and veteran television producer Israel Rosner sought to answer that question with a three-part, three-hour documentary series, “A War with No Name,” which was aired on Kan this month and is available to watch on YouTube. It is, for now, only available in Hebrew, though Friedman said a version with English subtitles is in the works.

Using archival footage and revealing new interviews, Friedman and Rosner tell the story of Israel’s occupation of Lebanon, from 1983 after the previous year’s First Lebanon War to May 24, 2000, when the Israel Defense Forces pulled out the last of its troops from the country on the orders of prime minister Ehud Barak.

The result is an impressive, infuriating and enlightening account of how a haughty Israel attempted to remake the Land of the Cedars into something more to its liking, but instead ended up getting “sucked into the Lebanese mud,” as the saying goes, for 18 brutal, bloody years.

As the title of the series suggests, this period has no official designation. The 675 soldiers who were killed during that time are not seen as having fallen in a single war, campaign or overall operation. Indeed, that number — 675 — is not an existing official government figure, but a rough tally calculated by three enterprising Israeli citizens: Haim Har-Zahav, Yossifoon Kaufman and Oded Kramer.

That the war and its casualties have no official recognition or designation “is an insult,” according to Friedman, who was drafted into the IDF in 1997 and served in Lebanon from 1998 to 2000.
Video: 20 Years Since the End of the First Lebanon War - Amb. Dore Gold and Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Dr. Shimon Shapira
Former prime minister Ehud Barak once stated that when Israel entered Lebanon in 1982 there was no such thing as Hizbullah, but by the time it left there certainly was Hizbullah. This gave rise to the false claim that Israel created Hizbullah. This is a historic error which Israel's enemies exploit to their benefit.

Iranian sources reveal the historic fact that Iran established Hizbullah in 1982 as an alternative to the Shi'ite Amal movement, which refused to accept strict political and religious obedience to Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini.

This is the reason Iran created Hizbullah as a proxy in its own flesh, delivering absolute obedience to Iran's decisions and spearheading its Islamist jihad against Israel. As Jerusalem Center Fellow Brig.-Gen. Dr. Shimon Shapira explains, Hizbullah was never an Israeli creation

Iran: The Ayatollah, Amid Coronavirus, Calls for Jihad Against the Jewish State
It is mystifying that Twitter, which wantonly censors so much, continues to allow... Iranian leaders to spread Nazi-inspired language and anti-Semitic sentiments on its platform. In general, "Big Tech" -- Google, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter -- have long since ceased being "neutral" transmitters of information as if they were "utilities". Instead, they have become America's Thought Police. They urgently need to be regulated the same way media is.

The ruling mullahs of Iran need to be held accountable by the international community for threatening to annihilate a fellow- member of the United Nations, the Jewish state. Not only are these threats unacceptable according to Chapter I: Article 2(1)-(5) of the Charter of the United Nations... They are also unacceptable as part of a double-standard in which the United Nations and the international community continue to be silent about Iran's threats against Israeli citizens -- not to mention Iran's malign actions against its own citizens. Perhaps the time... is long overdue... for the U.S. to cease funding the UN, which seems only to conserve injustice and war.

Under no circumstances should the US, the UN or any other entity -- read: Europe -- in any way be assisting the malign mullahs of Iran.
Iran’s new push to erase its millennia of Jewish history
The story of the biblical queen Esther and her cousin Mordechai is among the most dramatic and moving in the Old Testament: After the pair learn of a plot to destroy the Jews hatched by the evil ­vizier Haman, Esther uses her wiles and beauty to persuade her husband, the Iranian emperor Xerxes, to save her people.

Two and a half millennia later, Jew-haters threaten a shrine and tomb dedicated to Esther and Mordechai in Hamadan, Iran, and there sadly is no Xerxes to protect Jewish memory. Last week, an assailant entered the tomb and attempted to set fire to it. Mercifully, the result was only minor smoke damage.

Iran’s state-run Islamic Republic News Agency confirmed the attack but then scrubbed the story from its site, according to the Times of Israel. If some elements in the regime or its Western apologists do eventually get around to shedding crocodile tears: Don’t buy it. The shrine has been neglected and vulnerable to attack since the 1979 revolution that brought the Islamic Republic to power.

The reason: It reminds the nation of a 2,500-year-old bond between Iranians and Jews.

In 2011, anti-Jewish mobs rioted at the shrine, which had been restored by a Persian-Jewish architect under the shah, because the structure contains a Star of David (visible in satellite imagery) and because its fence design likewise incorporates the Jewish star. As recently as February, the ­regime’s Basij paramilitary forces threatened to storm the site.

The threat to the shrine is of a piece with a wider pattern of attacks on minority religious sites in Iran over the last few days. Arsonists, most likely groups associated with the regime, also targeted a Hindu temple in Bandar Abbas and a Christian cemetery in Eslamshahr.

Such vandalism and hatred are in the ­regime’s DNA. The Islamist revolutionaries who took over Iran in 1979 began their reign of terror by targeting the Jewish community. Habib Elghanian, a successful businessman, was one of the first Iranians to be executed in May 1979. The triumphant revolutionaries picked him simply because he was the symbolic head of the Iranian Jewish community.
Iran's chief rabbi says Zionists 'do not represent Judaism'
The Chief Rabbi of Tehran sent a message in Hebrew to the "Zionists, first and foremost to [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu" while appearing on Iranian state television during Quds Day on Friday.

"We, the Jews of Iran, want to send this message to Zionists, first and foremost to Netanyahu," said Rabbi Yehuda Gerami, on Friday.

"Know that you Zionists do not represent Judaism and do not represent the Jewish people. You represent only the idea of a political movement whose ideas and values contradict the ideas and values of our sacred teachings and the Jewish religion," Gerami said.

"We strongly condemn your aggression and emphasize to the whole world - there is a big difference between Judaism and Zionism," he added.

The Jewish community in Iran, numbering about 8,000, live in the Islamic Republic under the constant shadow of accusations of espionage and dual loyalty.

Leaders in the community have long been stressing the difference between Judaism and Zionism in order to distance themselves from Israel and prevent Iranian Jews from being considered pariahs in Iranian society.

Gerami visited the home of the late IRGC commander, Qasem Soleimani, to offer condolences along with other members of the Iranian Jewish community after his assassination by US forces in January.
MEMRI: Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei: Zionism Invented by “Jewish Masters of Gold” and England
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a May 22, 2020 Quds Day address that aired on Khorasan Jonoobi TV (Iran) that the plundering of the state of Palestine and the formation of the “Zionist cancerous tumor” is the greatest crime in recent history. He said that the “heretical doctrine” of Zionism had been invented by England and by the “Jewish masters of gold.” He emphasized that fighting for the liberation of Palestine is Jihad for the sake of Allah and an Islamic obligation. Ayatollah Khamenei said that the Zionist regime will be removed like the dangerous malignant growth that it is and criticized people who say that Israel is a reality. He also compared the “veteran Zionist virus” to COVID-19 and he urged people to support and arm Palestinian resistance fighters and help expand the Jihad in Palestine. He added: “Victory is guaranteed.”

Iran’s president orders implementation of law banning all use of Israeli tech
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Tuesday issued an executive order requiring the implementation of a law passed last week that bars any cooperation with Israel, including the use of Israeli software and hardware.

The Iranian interior, intelligence, foreign and defense ministries as well as the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) and the Judiciary are required to implement the law, approved last week by the parliament and the Guardian Council, the Fars News Agency reported.

The Guardian Council is an oversight body that supervises legislation to make sure it is compatible with the “criteria of Islam and the Constitution.”

Fars reported that the Guardian Council had studied the bill and “did not find it against the religion and Constitution.”

The legislation passed by parliament brands any cooperation with Israel as an “act against God.”

“Based on the first article of the bill, all Iranian bodies are required to use the country’s regional and international capacities to confront the Zionist regime’s measures,” an Iranian parliamentary spokesman, Seyed Hossein Naqavi Hosseini, said last week.

Related: Iran has banned all use of Israeli tech. Really? That would set it back 50 years

According to Fars, the legislation states that any cooperation or spying for “the Zionist regime” is to be considered “equal to enmity towards God and corruption on earth,” and “activities of the Israeli software platforms in Iran and using its hardware and software products are forbidden.”

The law was adopted unanimously by all legislators present, Fars reported.
Report: Iran spent $30B on propping up Syria's Assad
The Iranian regime has invested about $30 billion into bolstering Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime since the civil war erupted in the country in March 2011, an Iranian lawmaker revealed in a rare estimate of the cost of Tehran's involvement in the near decade-long unrest.

The figure comes from Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, an outgoing member of the Iranian parliament who shared the figures with Iranian daily Etemad in an interview published Wednesday.

According to the Bloomberg news agency, Falahatpisheh, who was a member of the Iranian government Security and Foreign Policy Committee, Tehran expects Damascus to "return the investment." He did not elaborate on how this was to be achieved.

The figure is about twice as high as Iran's own defense budged for 2019, Bloomberg noted. The International Monetary Fund estimates that it comprises approximately 6.5% of Iran's gross domestic product for the previous year.

Iran was one of the first foreign players to get involved in the Syrian crisis, sending militias and Revolutionary Guards troops to assist the besieged Assad regime when anti-government protests turned into a full-fledged civil war. The Islamic republic has also enlisted Hezbollah, its Lebanon-based proxy, to help it in its efforts to shore up the Damascus regime.

Besides support on the ground, Iran also provided Assad with funds, weapons, and oil, and was able to secure a foothold in the Syrian economy in return, getting a major share of the telecom market and receiving a green-light to build a port in the country.

Israel has warned repeatedly about Iran's nuclear ambitions as well as its aspirations of regional hegemony, saying that it will not allow Tehran to entrench itself militarily in Syria, Israel's neighbor to the north.
Iranian Majles Member: $20-$30 Billion Spent on Syria Is Our People's Money - We Need to Get It Back
On May 20, 2020, the Iranian website etemadonline.com uploaded an interview with Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, who on the same day concluded his position as a member of the Committee for National Security and Foreign Policy in Iran’s Majles. Falahatpisheh said that he thought it was “interesting” that Iran’s Supreme National Security Council had complained about him because he had suggested that a red telephone be established between Iran and the United States. Calling for financial transparency, he said that many Majles members have been involved in financial violations, embezzlement, and corruption despite having many potential Majles candidates who would have been better suited for the position, and he bemoaned the fact that there are always corruption trials taking place in Iran. In addition, he defended his positions regarding foreign policy, saying that for him, national interests have always come first.

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