Israel’s shrillest critics often accuse the Jewish State of exaggerating security threats. Some detractors have even characterized Israel’s security conscience leaders as “paranoid.” We often hear them spew tired and meaningless banalities like “peace of the brave” and “risks for peace” in connection with their calls for unilateral Israeli concessions. But Israelis, who have been compelled to fight seven wars with their Arab neighbors since acquiring hard-fought statehood, know better. They are keenly aware that peace treaties with authoritarian leaders and two-bit kings, generals and sheikhs are worth no more than the paper on which they’re written.
Nothing underscores this concept better than outrageous but unsurprising statements recently made by Jordan’s former prime minister, Abdelsalam al-Majali. In an August 18 televised interview, al-Majali, who was a signatory to the 1994 Jordan-Israel peace treaty, stated, “The Arabs do not have any power. If we ever have military power, will we let them keep Haifa? We’ll take it.” And just in case anyone had any doubts as to the meaning of his words he added, “If tomorrow we become stronger and can take Haifa by force, will we really decline just because we have an agreement with them?”
The comments were made in Arabic to an Arabic audience. This is typical. Arab leaders often speak in forked tongues when the topic centers on Israel and have become adept at this type doublespeak. When addressing Western audiences, they moderate their tones and often employ euphemisms and ambiguities to mask their real intentions. But it is an entirely different affair when they address their fellow kinsmen where their true pernicious intentions are exposed.
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu is under no illusions about the catastrophe that would befall his nation if Israel let its guard down for one second. He once insightfully observed that “If the Arabs put down their weapons today, there would be no more violence. If the Jews put down their weapons today, there would be no more Israel.” As a result, the Netanyahu-led government has invested heavily in defense. Nearly 6 percent of Israel’s GDP, or $19.6b was allocated toward defense spending in 2017.
All branches of the armed forces are slated to receive substantial upgrades to their operational capabilities. The Israel Air Force (IAF) currently operates a squadron of F-35 “Adir” 5th generation stealth fighters. Israel was the first nation outside of the U.S. to have deployed the F-35 and the aircraft has already seen successful operational use in the Syrian theater. The IAF is expected to take delivery of 50 of these machines, which when added to Israel’s existing fleet of F-15 Strike Eagles and F-16 Sufa fighters will ensure that the IAF maintains its air supremacy over the skies of the Mideast for decades.
The armored corps is slated to receive upgrades to its vaunted Merkava IV tanks with artificial intelligence (AI) enhancements. The new tank will be called the Barak and in addition to AI enhancements, will receive an improved cannon, improved Active Protection System (APS) capable of swatting anti-tank guided missiles and RPGs before the projectiles can reach the tank’s armor, and a 360-degree Virtual Reality (VR) system enabling the crew to survey the terrain without having to expose themselves to enemy fire.
Israel’s Ministry of Defense (IMoD) recently announced the establishment of a missile corps which will be attached to the ground forces. It is a revolutionary concept that will enable the ground forces to deploy rockets possessing various ranges of between 30 and 150 kilometers with unprecedented precision. The missile corps will be integrated with the Tzayad battlefield management system. This platform allows all units in the theater of operations to see each other through interconnected laptops. With a touch to a screen, a commander can communicate to all other units the location of friend and foe alike within seconds. Soldiers of the missile corps would then swing into action launching deadly rockets from as far away as 150 kilometers with incredible precision. The establishment of the missile corps will enable the IAF to concentrate on more strategic targets while the missile corps deals with tactical targets.
The Israel Naval Service will also soon see a significant boost to its operational capabilities with the acquisition of four Sa’ar-6 class super corvettes equipped with sophisticated sea-to-sea missiles, torpedoes, point-defense systems, anti-aircraft missiles and rapid-fire cannon. These along with other naval assets will patrol Israel’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and ensure that maritime traffic in the eastern Mediterranean, the Gulf of Eilat and the Red Sea remains unimpeded. Advanced Dolphin II class submarines, equipped with Popeye Turbo cruise missiles (which can be nuclear tipped) will ensure that Israel maintains second strike deterrent capabilities. Moreover, the Dolphin II’s in Israeli service can be submerged for up to 30 days and are extremely quiet making them ideal platforms for covert operations against close and distant targets.
While these and other military upgrades to Israel’s formidable military will enhance Israel’s security, they are no substitute for strategic depth and defensible borders. Israel’s current leadership understands that the Jordan Valley, with its steep depression and high ridgeline, presents the best natural defense against an attack from the east. Moreover, the Samarian mountain range, which overlooks Ben Gurion Airport and part of Israel’s coastal plain, must never be vacated by Israel. Finally, Israel without Judea and Samaria (West Bank) is only nine miles wide at its narrowest point. In 1998, when then Texas Governor George Bush visited Israel and was informed of this fact, he quipped that there were driveways in Texas longer than that. That humorous observation correctly sums up Israel’s strategic situation and that is why Judea and Samaria is integral to Israel’s security needs.
We all know that the midterm elections are different this time around. They are usually like “all politics,” namely local. But this time around they’re different. They are all presidential, all about Trump, as most everything is. And for the anti-Trump crowd — I’m talking about the political commentators and “analysts” — any and all things bad are held to be Trump’s fault. This is presumably because they believe that their condemnations of Trump will result in a Democrat takeover of the House of Representatives.
A new book explores how graffiti artists in Beirut skirt limitations on expression to share political criticism in the streets.
A photograph of the book “Drawing Lines” by Tamara Zantout, taken at the launch of the book at Beit Beirut cultural center, Beirut, Lebanon, Oct. 25, 2018.
BEIRUT — Beirut’s alleyways and streets are peppered in bright, detailed and provocative graffiti. Street artists use the medium, which exists in a legal grey area, to express their identity and give voice to political frustrations.
On Tuesday, San Francisco will become the largest city in the nation to allow noncitizens to vote, and the city has spent $310,000 on a “new registration system” specifically aimed at illegals. As the San Francisco Chronicle reports, the plan is the first in the state and follows Proposition N, a 2016 ballot measure allowing votes by noncitizens over the age of 18, reside in the city, and have children under age 19.
By the count of the Chronicle, only 49 noncitizens have signed up to vote on Tuesday, which works out to $6,326 for every illegal voter, but there’s more to the story. City officials are worried that voting could expose illegals to ICE, who might come looking and possibly deport somebody. So supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer, a backer of Proposition N, urged the city to spend $500,000 to warn the illegals.
At first Sabbath service after massacre, shooting survivors are blessed; rabbi says to those who condemned Trump’s visit: ‘No one tells me how to welcome a guest in my own home’
On November 3, 2018, a joint communal Shabbat prayer service at Pittsburgh’s Beth Shalom Conservative synagogue following the massacre a week prior which saw 11 Jewish community members killed. (Amanda Borschel-Dan/Times of Israel)
PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania — A week after an anti-Semitic shooter massacred 11 worshipers at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue, the community embraced each other in prayer on Saturday.
IS EUROPE RETURNING to the horrors of the 1930s? In an assessment typical of the moment, Max Holleran writes in the New Republic that “in the past ten years, new right-wing political movements have brought together coalitions of Neo-Nazis with mainstream free-market conservatives, normalizing political ideologies that in the past rightly caused alarm.” He sees this trend creating a surge in “xenophobic populism.” Writing in Politico, Katy O’Donnell agrees: “Nationalist parties now have a toehold everywhere from Italy to Finland, raising fears the continent is backpedaling toward the kinds of policies that led to catastrophe in the first half of the 20th century.” Jewish leaders like Menachem Margolin, head of the European Jewish Association, sense “a very real threat from populist movements across Europe.”
IS EUROPE RETURNING to the horrors of the 1930s? In an assessment typical of the moment, Max Holleran writes in the New Republic that “in the past ten years, new right-wing political movements have brought together coalitions of Neo-Nazis with mainstream free-market conservatives, normalizing political ideologies that in the past rightly caused alarm.”
We’ve been told for a long time that the ceasefire is on the way. It had many names in the past, such as tahdiah, hudna, and most recently—”an arrangement.” On Friday, once again, reports started emerging that an agreement has been reached. Several hours later, southern Israel was hit with a barrage of rockets. What happened?
And He said, “You will not be able to see My face, for No Human Being shall see Me and live.” — Shemot 33:20
Faith is deeper than knowledge. While scientific data is absorbed only in the brain, faith permeates all parts of the human personality. Nothing is untouched, all spiritual limbs quiver, and everything is transformed. It is thus more difficult to acquire faith than knowledge, and faith has a more radical effect on the human being.
A Catholic archbishop recently touched on an unspoken but highly subversive phenomenon: How anti-Christian forces exploit Christian teachings to empower those who seek to dismantle Christian civilization, Muslims being chief among them.
In an interview published last summer by the Italian outlet IlGionarle.it, Catholic Archbishop Athanasius Schneider of Kazakhstan said:
The King of Jordan, not some lowly clerk, announced that Jordan will not extend the currently existing leases renting two parcels of land to Israel. One is the so-called Island of Peace in the northern Naharayim area and the other located in the southern Arava, near Tzofar, an agricultural cooperative village (moshav). Jordan was entirely within its rights to decide not to renew the leases