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.
Jeremy Corbyn leads a pro-Palestinian demonstration in London in 2014, one year before becoming Labour Party leader. Photo: File.
This marked a massive rise from the previous such survey, in which only 39% of Jews believed Corbyn was antisemitic.
British Jews also expressed an extremely low opinion of the Labour Party in general. The poll showed that 85.6% believed Labour suffered from “very high” levels of antisemitism.
Corbyn and his party have been beset with a series of high-profile antisemitism scandals for several years, which has resulted in the resignation and suspension of several prominent officials. Corbyn himself was recently caught on video saying that “Zionists” did not understand “English irony” despite “having lived in this country for a very long time.”
Makuya in Jerusalem 201 (YouTube)
Like an apple tree among trees of the forest, So is my beloved among the youths. I delight to sit in his shade, And his fruit is sweet to my mouth. (Song of Songs 2:3)
For ten days in late August, Israeli Rabbi Benny Lau and his wife, Rabbanit Noah Lau, traveled from Jerusalem to Japan to lead Bible study for groups of Makuya Japanese Christians. The Laus traveled to five Japanese towns and spent three days together at a weekend conference with 3,400 members of the Makuya group.
Makuya is Japanese for the Hebrew word Mishkan, the tent of meeting, where human beings come into contact with God. The Mishkan was the portable sanctuary that the Israelites used in the desert, before entering Israel and building the First Holy Temple.
The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence. (Psalm 11:5)
Brazilian presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro. (Credit: Agencia O Globo)
Jair Bolsonaro, the front-runner in the upcoming presidential election in Brazil, was stabbed during a campaign rally Thursday and was undergoing surgery.
The far-right politician, whose heated rhetoric has electrified some voters and angered others – -who accuse him of racism and homophobia – in a deeply polarized electorate, was attacked amid a crowd in the south-east state of Minas Gerais. Bolsonaro has performed strongly in recent opinion polls.
Those same polls suggested that he will likely receive the most votes in next month’s presidential elections, especially if the country’s former president Luis Inacio Lula da Silva (‘Lula’) remains blocked from standing. He is currently in prison, but is appealing against his candidacy ban – imposed after his conviction for corruption.
Republican lawmakers have made it clear they have no intention of repealing Obamacare in the current Congress.
Republicans in the nation’s top lawmaking body have never really wanted to get rid of Obamacare. They would prefer to present the program, which David Horowitz correctly describes as “the greatest assault on individual freedom and individual choice in our lifetimes,” as a villain and whip up sentiment against it and run against it every election. They view Obamacare as good for the business of politics. They may chip away at it from time to time or tinker with it at the margins, but make no mistake: these creatures of Washington want to keep it in place. This is the Republicans’ dirty secret.
The Trump administration has decided to reopen a case brought by a Zionist group against Rutgers University, previously closed by the Obama administration in 2014, alleging that the university had allowed Jewish students to be subjected to a hostile environment in violation of Title VI of the U.S. Civil Rights Act. The issue, ignored by the Obama administration, was whether the students were discriminated against based on their actual or perceived Jewish ancestry or ethnicity. Kenneth L. Marcus, the new assistant secretary of education for civil rights, decided that the case deserved another look.
Nestled in the Han River in the middle of South Korea’s bustling capital of Seoul, Yeoui Island is hardly where one would expect to find the largest mega-church in the world. Home to the city’s business and financial district, its skyline dotted with skyscrapers, the island boasts some of the country’s most powerful institutions, such as the Korean stock exchange and the headquarters of LG, the international conglomerate.
The AfD’s opponents, who often brand the party as “far right” or “extremist,” claim that the party’s alleged ties to neo-Nazi groups pose an existential threat to Germany’s constitutional order. The AfD’s supporters counter that Germany’s politically correct establishment, afraid of losing its power and influence, is attempting to outlaw a legitimate party that has pledged to put the interests of German citizens first.
Israel’s Palestinian foes regard “martyrdom” as the supremely highest expression of Islamic sacredness. Nonetheless, there are certain conspicuously prominent disjunctions between the relevant obligations of faith and expectations of international law. Unambiguously, only the latter set of obligations can offer a suitably authoritative source for assessing Palestinian resorts to armed force.
This is the case even when the stated objective of such resorts would be “self-determination” and/or “national liberation.”
“Setting fire to the ground,” a “major catastrophe,” bringing “new instability” are the headlines that have greeted Donald Trump’s unorthodox decisions over the past year. Withdrawing from UNESCO, moving the US Embassy, leaving the Iran deal and cutting funding to UNRWA and funding for Pakistan were seen as extreme decisions in the Middle East and around the world. Insofar as there is a “Trump Doctrine,” it has been to call this bluff.
In the mind-set of Trump and his team, the time has come for the United States to move quickly to reverse decades of foreign policy norms, ending the status quo, and ripping up what the previous administrations did.
The jihadi assault on and massacre of Christians continued unabated throughout the Muslim word. According to one report titled, “Armed gangs WIPE OUT 15 villages in mass Christian slaughter in Nigeria,” several Islamic terrorists “stormed through 15 villages to massacre Christians and destroy their churches in a violent crackdown against the religion…. Dozens of people have been killed after the gangs ransacked towns and villages to clear them of all aspects of the Christian faith.
Wars are raging in various parts of the Middle East, although there is a tendency not to call the conflicts by that name because of the fear conjured up by the word.
One conflagration is the war Iran is waging against those – headed by Israel – who stand in the way of its plans to take over the entire Middle East.
Another is the Assad regime’s war to take back control of the entire country, and a third is the PLO’s battle for survival.
Much has been written about the first of these wars, and reports have claimed that from early 2017 on, Israel has launched over 200 attacks in Syria, mainly at targets connected to Iran.