Light Dispels Darkness

When dealing with politics, there is always something to observe, always something slightly different and sometimes even something new. Occasionally, there are some surprises, but even then, some surprises are often expected. For example, most political pundits expected that the coalition government in Israel would fall after the resignation of Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and the unaccepted “ultimatum” of members of the Jewish Home Party to have its chairman appointed as the new Defense Minister. Surprisingly, but not unexpectedly, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu emerged victorious, pulling an invisible rabbit out of a non-existing hat, resulting in his continuing to lead a paper-thin coalition of 61 members. All this, while holding four ministerial positions (3 temporarily) and while facing ongoing criminal investigations of possible misconduct in different areas while in office. On top of this, he manages to handle international diplomacy, while keeping his hand on the pulse of enemy activity from the Gaza Strip and from our not-so-distant cousins in Lebanon. 

A year ago this week, the President of the United States recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. A ray of light began to shine in the darkness and since then, there have been many efforts made by the darkness to smother that light, without success.

Seventy-seven years ago on this date, the American naval base at Pearl Harbor was bombed. The following day, then President Franklin Delano Roosevelt began his speech to the U.S. Congress with the words that December 7th, 1941, is a date that will live in infamy forever. 

Earlier this week, Jews around the world began to celebrate the festival of Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights (Hag Ha’Ureem, in Hebrew). It commemorates the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem following the successful Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid Empire. It is celebrated for eight nights and days (there was evening and there was morning, one day) and observed by the lighting of a special nine-branched menorah called a “Hanukkiah”. On the first night, one candle is lit. On the second night, two candles, on the third night, three candles and so on until all eight candles are lit. There is a ninth candle called the Shamash, which is lit first. It is then used to ignite the other candles and so serves them and imparts its light to them. There are many traditions accompanying this particular joyful festival, which falls every year on the 25th of the Hebrew month of Kislev, that could be between late November to late December according to the Gregorian calendar.

I’ve read many stories of heroism and miracles during this past week. Of the many stories that are moving and which stir the emotions, there was one which a close friend shared with me this morning, which I would like to share with you. It is a special story about Hanukkah. It touched me and I believe it will touch you as well. It contains a message relating to darkness and light, of death and life, of determination to curse and of desire to bless. I have no doubt that most of you who read this post and will see this video will relate to it in one way or another. Its message for each individual should be clear. It speaks volumes and will undoubtedly  remain long in our memories, particularly when we face difficulties and spiritual forces of wickedness. It deals with the Hanukkah Menorah and the Swastika. Please take a moment to look, to listen, to ponder and reflect and to acknowledge that light will always dispel the darkness.

I could easily share a sermon about Hanukkah. I’ve actually given such sermons in the past. Older Testament and Newer Testament combine to give the message that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. He proclaims that light will shine out of darkness and that light is the light of life. 

For those who celebrate this festival of lights, may you do so with good health, with joy and with abundant blessings. For those who do not celebrate it, my prayer for you is that you will also experience good health, joy and abundant blessings.

Be assured that God’s Word is eternal. It is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our paths. It teaches and instructs us in the way that we should go. It helps our feet not to deviate from the path of obedience that leads to life and helps to guard our lips that our mouths would not speak evil. It is a mirror that reveals to us what we are really like and what He wants us to be like. And so, I find myself beginning a sermon that was not intended. I’ll leave it at this point.

May you enjoy a peaceful Sabbath’s rest.

Remember: Bless, be blessed and be a blessing.

Marvin

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On the Brink – The Short, Gaza No-War War

During two days this past week, a multitude of rocket barrages containing over 460 rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip into the south of Israel. They were sent towards civilian communities adjacent to and surrounding Gaza. Lives were lost, many residents in the south were injured and there was much loss of, and damage to, property. Israel responded militarily and pounded some 160 designated targets in Gaza. And then, as was expected, Hamas called for a cease-fire. And, as expected, we agreed. Despite heavy destruction to strategic sites in Gaza, Hamas claimed victory. Following the cease-fire, Israel’s Minister of Defense, Avigdor Liberman, resigned, stating, among other things: “There is no definition, no other significance, but capitulation to terror…What we are doing now as a country is buying short-term quiet at the cost of our long-term security.” As a result of Liberman’s resignation, Hamas then claimed victory number two, this time, a political one. The events of this past week are not a game of chess. Neither side “won”, but both sides suffered loss.

The resignation of the hard-liner, Liberman, meant the withdrawal of his Israel Beiteinu Party from the coalition government, leaving Netanyahu with a paper-thin majority. Naftali Bennett, the leader of the Jewish Home Party and present Minister of Education, demanded that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appoint him as Minister of Defense to replace Liberman, under a threat to leave the coalition government and force early elections. Due to ongoing conflicts between Netanyahu and Bennett, such an appointment was not expected to take place. And it didn’t. That left the government no choice, but to call for elections, which will most likely take place during the first quarter of 2019.

If the above events were not enough for us in one week, yesterday (Friday) the “Fourth Committee” (“Special Political and Decolonization Committee”) of the General Assembly of the United Nincompoops (U.N.) passed no fewer than nine resolutions condemning Israel, which included one asserting that “unlawful Israeli practices and measures” were responsible for the ongoing crisis in the Gaza Strip, totally ignoring the fact that in 2005, Israel unilaterally withdrew from the Gush Katif area surrounding Gaza. All in all, one could hardly say it’s been an encouraging week for Israel.

Then, as if to add insult to injury, Hamas terror organization leader Yehya Sinwar claimed Hamas seized Israeli weapons during this week’s confrontation and threatened to kidnap Israeli soldiers, adding: I advise Israel not to try and test us again.

Israel Hayom-14 November, 2018
Israel Hayom-14 November, 2018

This time you did not have a lot of casualties and you managed to rescue your special forces…You should not try again, because next time you will have to release thousands of prisoners…Our hands are on the trigger and our eyes are open. Listen Netanyahu, and listen whoever will receive the defense portfolio. Anyone who tests Gaza will find death and poison. If we are attacked, we will let the barrage on Tel Aviv do the talking. Our missiles are more accurate, have a longer range and carry more explosives than before.” This threat  is more an expression of bravado than reality. If Hamas had “more accurate” missiles, they would have directed them against more strategic targets, rather than lob them in the direction of residential communities in the south. 

But, the question lingers on: Why did the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) stop short of neutraliziing the on-going threat from Hamas and “Palestinian” Islamic Jihad (PIJ)? After being involved with three wars with Hamas over the past 10 years, the threats of yet another war with Gaza inches closer each week, as the riots continue along the fence separating Gaza from the communties in the south of Israel. Despite the eight months of border riots, and despite the government’s rhetoric about dealing with the situation and warning Gazans not to approach the fence, Israel has restrained from pursuing a military solution that would extinguish the fuse that can ignite the entire region in another war, which would in all likelihood be a multi-front war.

It is obvious to all, both Israelis and the terrorist organizations that control the Gaza Strip, that Israel has neither intention, nor desire, to take over the coastal enclave. The cost, in terms of manpower, equipment, economics and international condemnation, would be enormous and would far outweigh any potential benefits that may accrue to Israel. The hoped-for calm and quiet that Israel, in general, and that residents in the south, in particular, desire would be elusive at best and destructive, at worst. And then, there remains the unanswered question: Who will take over if Hamas and PIJ are eliminated from Gaza? The gnawing response leads to the oft-repeated phrase, “The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know.” In either case, the devil remains the devil.

Unfortunately, both Hama and PIJ are both aware of Israel’s political and practical dilemma and have learned how to push Israel to the brink of war, to boast of successes in confrontation with the IDF (despite their own significant losses of military infrastructure), as well as in politics and, on the whole, international opinion. In short, Israel needs to re-evaluate its priorities, strategies and goals regarding its Gazan “thorn in the flesh”. A realistic approach would be to eliminate the leadership of Hamas and PIJ, while leaving the residents of Gaza to replace them with a leadership that is concerned more for the people than about eliminating the State of Israel.  The world won’t like us if we pursue such a goal. But, then again, it doesn’t like us now, either. In short, Israel needs to initiate action, rather than retaliate against action that is taken against it.

Part of the problem is Israel’s expressed pursuit of a two-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. In reality, such a “solution” is not only un-Biblical, it is totally unworkable. A political attempt to resolve the conflict that fails to factor in the Islamic perspective regarding a claimed occupation of Islamic land by foreign powers is doomed to fail from the outset. The land, promised by God to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, has come under the control of Islamic forces during centuries past. Islamic theology holds to the belief that land once controlled by Islam remains holy to Islam, even if Islam is “temporarily” removed from it and the land comes under the control of foreigners, who are considered “occupiers”. Hence, the claim of “occupied territory”, as espoused by the “Palestinians” and surrounding Arab countries, would apply to all of Israel, not just to Judea and Samaria, commonly referred to as “the West Bank”. Keeping the prospect of a two-state solution alive only fuels the fire of continuous conflict and opens the possibility that an Israeli government would actually enter into an agreement to allow the establishment of an enemy state in our midst. 

Another part of the problem is that Israel does not want to become entangled in Gaza, while it faces the threat of what Israeli officials and military personnel have referred to as a “northern war”, namely, a confrontation between Israel and Iranian-backed forces that would most likely occur with both Lebanon and Syria. Iran refuses to leave the Syrian arena, while Israel has repeatedly stated that it will not allow Iran to become entrenched in Syria. The recent delivery to Syria of Russian-made S-300 ground-to-air defense systems has created additional challenges for Israel to act against Iranian military influence in Syria. Assad’s victories over rebel insurgents, with the help of Russia and Iran, as well as fighters from the terrorist Lebanese Hezbollah, has refocused attention on Syria’s desires to regain control of the Golan Heights. Reliable estimates are that Hezbollah has over 100,000 missiles that can reach every major population center in Israel. The missiles are far more sophisticated and potentially accurate than they were during the last war. No doubt, Israel’s defenses would be able to deter many of them. But, the sheer number of missiles would pose a serious challenge to its air defense systems. 

Most military experts are of the opinion that another war with the Hezbollah is inevitable, the only open question being when it will happen? The unpredictability of volatile conflict necessitates a constant readiness to respond to what would certainly be a multi-front war – Hezbollah and the Lebanese army, Syria (including Iranian military support and Russian involvement) and various Shiite militias. Iran would most likely pull the strings of its puppets, Hamas and PIJ, along with other potential actors. No matter how we look at it, the next “northern war” will make the past week’s Gaza no-war war seem like a walk in the park.

Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. (Psalm 121:4)

On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have appointed watchmen; all day and all night they will never keep silent. You who remind the LORD, take no rest for yourselves; and give Him no rest until He establishes and make Jerusalem a praise in the earth. (Isaiah 62:6-7)

Bless, be blessed and be a blessing!

Have a great, God-honoring week.

Marvin

If There’s No Political Solution to Gaza ….

It was only a week ago when a major Lebanese newspaper reported that Israel and Qatar were moving forward with attempts to reach an agreement that would establish a sea passage between Cyprus and the Gaza Strip. According to the report, the route would be monitored by international forces, but under Israeli security supervision. The deal would remove a sizeable portion of the sea blockade and considerably extend the permissible fishing area.

Due to the ongoing friction between Fatah (the PLO faction in Judea and Samaria) and Hamas, the President of the “Palestinian” Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, has withheld transferring funds to Gaza. This, in turn, creates an economic crisis which stirs more violent activity each week for the past eight months along the fence separating the Gaza enclave from the communities in the south of Israel.

In an effort to alleviate the economic distress, Qatar has offered to step in and pay, at this point, only the salaries of Hamas civil servants, starting with back pay from July, at the rate of $15 million per month for six months, or a total of US $90 million. This payment, however, has stirred concerns by other “Palestinian” factions about Qatar’s involvement in “Palestinian” affairs and the deal allegedly being worked out on their behalf by Qatar and Israel. The financial “deal” purportedly would reduce, but not eliminate, the ongoing militaristic actions of Hamas and Islamic Jihad along the Gaza fence.

Needless to say, the Qatari cash payments intended for Hamas-controlled Gazan residents was condemned by Israeli Defense Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, who stated: “This is capitulation to terrorism, and in effect Israel is buying short-terתנועהm calm with money, while severely undermining long-term security.” Qatar has also said it would hand out $100 to each of 50,000 poor families, as well as larger sums to “Palestinians” wounded in clashes along Gaza’s border with Israel. A source close to Mahmoud Abbas said the “The PLO did not agree to the deal facilitating the money to Hamas that way” (i.e., in suitcases – “like a gangster”), adding that such a deal, bypassing the PLO, was damaging to efforts to reconcile the PA and Hamas. In direct contradiction to the recent reports of progress regarding Egypt’s involvement as mediator of talks between Israel and the “Palestinians”, Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar denied that any deal with Israel was in the works, saying that an understanding is being worked out between Hamas, Egypt, Qatar and the U.N., adding that whoever says that “there is a deal or understandings with the occupation does not tell the truth”. That statement evidences the underlying attitude of Hamas and its unwillingness to even recognize Israel as an existing nation state.

Whatever may be the situation concerning a “deal in the making” – the situation has seriously deteriorated since last night (Sunday). An elite unit of the IDF special forces managed to infiltrate some 3 kilometers (almost 2 miles) into Gaza in a civilian vehicle. Something went wrong and a fire-fight broke out. When it was over, a Lt. Colonel of the IDF was killed, another officer wounded and seven Hamas terrorists were killed, including Nur Barakeh, the commander of one of the battalions of a Hamas brigade in Khan Yunis.  The nature of the mission was not revealed, but military officials said it was “very meaningful” to Israel’s security. Israeli air support was called in to help in the evacuation of the IDF unit. The Lt. Colonel was buried this afternoon with thousands in attendance. He was 41 and left a wife and two  children.

“Red Alert” sirens have been sounding all across southern Israel this afternoon (Ashkelon, Sderot, Netivot, the area of Beer Sheva and the Dead Sea) and evening. Within the last few hours, barrages of hundreds rockets have been fired towards Israeli communities from the Gaza side of the fence.

Hamas has claimed responsibility for the rocket barrages. Response time to get to a shelter when the sirens go off varies from 15 seconds to a minute and a half, depending upon how far the person is from the source of the rockets. The striped, dark red to the left of the diagram shows 3 points in the Gaza Strip. The red, orange, beige and yellow are Ashkelon, Ashdod, Beer Sheva and Jerusalem, respectively. The blue patch to the right is the Dead Sea. Response Time to get to a shelterThe IDF has responded by attacking more than 70 terror targets of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, killing several terrorists in the process. Following widespread shooting, the IDF also placed units inside of the settlements surrounding the Gaza Strip as a defense against the threat of infiltration and/or terror-tunnel activity. In addition, dozens of IDF armoured vehicles are on their way to the south to reinforce the units around the Gaza line. A spokesman for the IDF stated: “Hamas is leading the Gaza Strip to destruction and will feel the intensity of the IDF’s response in the coming hours. So far we have attacked a wide range of targets. Firing squads, military compounds and observation posts. The attempt to harm civilians is unacceptable to us and we will continue to respond with force.”

Lest we forget, prior to the events of the last 24 hours, the violent border protests continued with deadly clashes between “Palestinian” protesters and the IDF, at times prompting serious concerns of an outbreak of a new war. And now, here we are once again, “on the brink”.

One would have to ask how a right-wing government has allowed the situation to deteriorate to such a point that we are restraining ourselves from putting an end to the terrorism of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, at the expense of residents in the communities in the south of our country,  citizens who, once again, need to run to secured shelters to get away from rocket barrages emanating from the Gaza Strip. We can’t continue to talk about trying to enter into yet another ceasefire with Hamas. This is an exercise in futility. Even when Egyptian-brokered talks were supposed to be approaching agreement, Hamas and Islamic Jihad continued their violence against Israel. Only yesterday, when Prime Minister Netanyahu was in Paris, together with representatives from countries around the world, to commemorate the end of “The Great War”, he said that there is no political solution for Gaza. If that is the case, then we must follow that statement with: What IS the solution? War? The situation is building up to that. But, to what end? Or, is it agreeing to the establishment of a “Palestinian” state? This is also a non-starter. It would be inviting those who are sworn to our destruction to set up an enemy state in our midst. 

Then there is the option of continuing the “tit for tat” belligerence that falls short of war. The major confrontations are with Hamas-controlled Gaza. But, the recognized leadership of the “Palestinian” Authority is based in Judea and Samaria, commonly referred to as “the West Bank”. The two so-called “Palestinian” entities have been at constant odds with one another for control over those who call themselves “Palestinian”. In essence, their inability to come to terms with one another has set up, de facto, two quasi states, both claiming to be “Palestinian”.

Israel Today - Three states for two peoples - 27 September, 2018
Israel Today – 27 September, 2018

This has served Israel’s interests for the past 11 years, despite the occasional, necessary military actions against Hamas. Most of the time, Israel “responds” to Hamas aggression and when that aggression crosses Israel’s pre-conceived red lines, the IDF steps in to strike hard at Hamas to bring them back into line, until Hamas seeks a cease-fire, to which Israel readily agrees. And so, the cycle continues. The main problem is that Israel does not have a considered strategy concerning Gaza primarily and Judea and Samaria secondarily. And so, we continue to respond, instead of to initiate, leaving the fate of the residents in the south of Israel to the whims of “Palestinian” bureaucrats and Holocaust deniers, like Mahmoud Abbas, or to terrorists, sworn to the destruction of Israel, like Hamas and Islamic Jihad, who decide when they want to aggravate Israel. At some point, Israel will cease trying to compromise with our enemies and decide to finally defeat them. 

Until then, every response of the IDF to the aggression of Hamas and Islamic Jihad is intended to systematically weaken their military infrastructure. But, is it enough to accomplish the ultimate goal of getting them to stop attacking us? Hamas will not stop unless it believes that its actions will result in its being removed from power. If that is, in fact, the case, then we should use force to end the force being displayed against us. Hamas knows that Israel can wipe them off the map. Israel knows that as well, but exercises restraint far beyond what other nations would do under similar circumstances. That is because Israel recognises that the world does not treat it like other nations. When Israel is involved in a matter, there is always the double standard of expectation and condemnation.

We are “The People of the Book” – the Bible. Shouldn’t we learn from the innumerable lessons that are presented in the Scriptures for our benefit?

When Elisha (the prophet) became sick with the illness of which he was to die, Joash the king of Israel came down to him and wept over him …Elisha said to him, “Take a bow and arrows” … Then he said to the king of Israel, “Put your hand on the bow.” … then Elisha laid his hands on the king’s hands. He said, “Open the window toward the east” … Then Elisha said, “Shoot!” … And he said, “The LORD’s arrow of victory, even the arrow of victory over Aram (Syria); for you will defeat the Arameans at Aphek until you have destroyed them.” Then he said, “Take the arrows [and] Strike the ground” and he struck it three times and stopped. So the man of God was angry with him and said, “You should have struck five or six times, then you would have struck Aram until you would have destroyed it. But now you shall strike Aram only three times.” (2 Kings 13:14-19)

What country in its right mind would put up with a situation like this?

You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions, stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow and the LORD will be with you. (2 Chronicles 20:17)

Thank you for your prayers for wisdom for the government, strength and courage for those who stand in the gap to defend us, grace to bear up under trials and favour in the sight of God and man.

Bless, be blessed and be a blessing,

Marvin

It Can’t Happen in the U.S. – or Can It?

The cold-blooded murder of 11 Jews in a Pittsburgh synagogue last weekend has been described as the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in the history of the United States. The members of the congregation mourn the massacre of their fellow members. The city mourns the tragic consequences of blind hatred. A nation mourns the ever-increasing law-lessness being expressed by anti-semitic acts. A people thousands of miles away mourn yet another deadly assault upon the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. If history teaches us anything, it should be that if we ignore what happened, it is reasonable to expect that it will happen again.

It was only a week ago when a gunman entered the Etz Haim (“Tree of Life”) Synagogue with an automatic rifle and several pistols and yelled “All Jews must die”, before opening fire and killing 11 congregants, the last of whom, aged 97, was buried yesterday (Friday). The gunman not only killed 11 people, he injured others in the congregation, along with four policemen. With multitudes on both sides of the ocean and around the world, still reeling from the outworking of unbridled hate, and while relatives of the victims sit “Shiva” (7 days of mourning), another deranged individual acted out his own brand of Jew-hatred, by setting fire to seven Hasidic (ultra-orthodox) institutions in the South Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, New York. The places that were set on fire were synagogues and places of learning (“yeshivot”). On Thursday, vandals spray-painted “Kill All Jews” on the wall of one reform synagogue,, apparently picking up on, and trying to emulate, the statement of the Pittsburgh killer. In addition to the fires set yesterday, the past week has evidenced swastikas graffitied in Brooklyn Heights, as well as the Upper West Side of Manhattan, among other things, including verbal threats against a Jewish man in Brooklyn.

The Pittsburgh massacre has evoked emotions from most people with half a brain. Those who don’t have half a brain deface and set fire to synagogues! And they flood cyberspace with online hate.

Some pictures truly speak louder than words. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette published on its front page yesterday (Friday) the beginning of the Mourner’s Kaddish – the prayer, which Jews recite upon the passing of a relative. It has no reference

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette-2 November, 2018
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

to death in it, but is totally a prayer of praise to God. The opening words are: Yitgadal v-yitkadash shemay rabah – it is a prayer in Aramaic and means [the opening words]: “Glorified and sanctified be God’s great name….” That this appeared on the front page of the newspaper speaks volumes about the respect and identification that the Pittsburgh community has with the gravity of this despicable crime.

 

Many others expressed sympathy with the Jewish community following the murders that took place last week. One of them was

Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers

the American football team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, who tweeted on October 27th: “We send our thoughts and prayers to those affected by this morning’s tragedy in Pittsburgh. We will continue to pray for everyone involved.” The logo of the Pittsburgh Steelers was turned into a symbol of solidarity with the Jewish community, when it added a Star of David to it. According to one tabloid, one of the doctors in Pittsburgh, who was involved in treating the wounded following the shooting, shared the edited logo next to the words, “Stronger Than Hate.”

Penguin Pete
Penguin Pete

The same is true for Pittsburgh’s Penguin Pete.

Surprisingly, two Muslim groups began a fundraising campaign that raised over $40,000 for the victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting. The crowdfunding campaign on “LaunchGood”, stated: “The Muslim-American community extends its hands to help the shooting victims, whether it is the injured victims or the Jewish families who have lost loved ones. We wish to respond to evil with good, as our faith instructs us, and send a powerful message of compassion through action.”

Clearly, there were independent voices within the Muslim world who spoke out against the recent terror attack in Pittsburgh and likewise would have been equally critical, even if the terror attack had occurred inside of Israel. One Saudi Arabian journalist stated: “I want to express my deepest sympathy and condolences not only to the Jewish communities, but to all around the world.  What happened in Pittsburgh is sad and a coward act of terrorism and beyond anything that I can imagine. Very, very sad to see innocent lives lost in a place of worship.”

A co-founder of Defend International, Dr. Widad Akreya, who is of Kurdish ancestry, stated: “It is heartbreaking to hear about the horrific Pittsburgh synagogue shooting. My thoughts are with the victims, their families and their friends.  I am grieving with you and hoping for a speedy recovery of the wounded.  May our love surround and comfort all of you.” These are, indeed, noteworthy comments and are undoubtedly genuine.

However, while it is noteworthy that representatives of Arab countries, including members of the news media, condemned the murderous attack, some took advantage of it to condemn Israel and Jews. I won’t take the space here to repeat those condemnations, which are, or should be, familiar to all.

The above events happened in the United States – a staunch defender of freedoms – of speech, of expression, of congregation … and of religion! It is not the Middle East, where differences of religion can affect local standing, civil rights and even the right to live. It is not Nazi-era Germany, where Kristallnacht marked government-sanctioned attacks upon Jewish people, institutions and businesses on November 9-10, 1938. These things can’t happen in the U.S. … or can they?

The events of Pittsburgh, and now Brooklyn among other places, are expressions of a growing disease of anti-Semitism. We can try to talk about it, try to rationalize it and to politicize it (as many have attempted to do this past week), but none of them offer a cure for it. This is not a time to play politics. It is a time to mourn with those who mourn. It is a time for soul-searching and to be honest with ourselves. How we feel about others reflects how we think about them, speak about them and act towards them. Blind hatred is a disease of a sick mind. It doesn’t go away, but only grows worse until it consumes the one who hates. And one of the worst things about hatred is that it is contagious! 

God chose the children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to be a blessing to the world, among other things. In a letter dated August 18, 1790, following his visit to the Hebrew Congregation of Newport, Rhode Island, President George Washington wrote, in part: 

“May the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in this land continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants – while everyone shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid. May the father of all mercies scatter light, and not darkness, upon our paths, and make us all in our several vocations useful here, and in His own due time and way everlastingly happy.”

What starts with one will end with many. It may be needless to point out what history has demonstrated over and over again, namely: that hatred that begins against the Jews doesn’t end with the Jews. What happened in Pittsburgh, and again in Brooklyn, is becoming the new normal. Think for a moment: the gunman could have entered a different religious gathering and, instead of yelling, “All Jews must die!”, he could have yelled: “All blacks must die!” or, “All Muslims must die!” or, “All Christians must die!” We are all exposed to the spreading disease of hate. 

Words can kill. America is killing itself with everyone accusing everyone else of everything that they don’t like. And it is spiralling out of control. Hatred, like politics, cannot offer a cure for itself. It has to come from outside. If, indeed, the United States still believes in its motto: “In God We Trust”, now is the time to ask for His help. 

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5)

Then you will call and the LORD will answer; You will cry and He will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you remove the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness and if you … satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then your light will rise in darkness and your gloom will become like midday.” (Isaiah 58:9-10)

Bless, be blessed and be a blessing.

Marvin

Hate Control

It has been a few weeks since I last wrote. In the midst of the pressures of daily life, we all desire to get some rest, while at the same time try to get a handle on the events that unfold, some of which boggle the mind.

The most recent event, of course, is the shooting in conservative synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, during a Shabbat service. As of this writing, 11 people were killed and at least six others, including four police officers, were wounded. The gunman entered the Etz Haim (“Tree of Life”) Synagogue and, according to a local radio station, yelled “All Jews must die.” The victims ranged in age from 54 to 97 and included, among others, a husband and wife and two brothers. When the police arrived on the scene, the shooter opened fire on them, but was reported to be injured himself and taken into custody. One can only imagine the kind of hatred that leads a person to enter a religious service and start killing people, because of their faith.

Following this slaughter of innocents, many jumped on the “gun control” bandwagon, again arguing that this type of incident, like an increasing number of others in recent months and years, would not have happened if there was tighter control over who can purchase a weapon. People will continue to kill and injure others, irrespective of whether or not there is more strict control over access to weapons. The issue is not so much one of “gun control”, but of “hate control”. Governments can legislate against “hate speech”, but they can neither legislate against, nor deal with, the source of the hate. The heart of the matter is the matter of the heart. Only God can deal with that.

The hatred and cold-blooded murder that took place in Pennsylvania occurred five thousand miles from here. Yet, distance cannot prevent our hearts from being united with the families of those who were killed and wounded. Nor does it prevent our prayers from being offered before the Throne of Grace. Sometimes, we wait too long to tell people that we think of, and care about, them. As the Rabbi of the Pittsburgh congregation told those who gathered in the synagogue the following day: “Reach out to the people you know, call the people who you haven’t spoken to in a while.” No matter how strong we think we are emotionally, no education or theological seminary can prepare us for an event like this.

Closer to home, we have other expressions of hate, which are also designed to kill and maim. 

Escalation in the South

The escalation in the south of Israel continued this past weekend. The IDF reported that it struck a four-story building that was used as the new general security command center of the Hamas terrorist organization. This was in response to the rocket barrages from the Gaza Strip towards the settlements in the area surrounding the Strip Friday night.

Over 30 launches were identified as being fired into Israeli territory during the night hours between Friday and Saturday. The “Iron Dome” defense system shot down about ten of them. Two rockets landed within the Gaza Strip (see the outlined photo to the left, from the website of the Spokesman for the IDF, showing some of the areas 

Sites of IDF responses
Sites of IDF Retaliatory Responses

targeted by the IDF in response to the rocket barrage) and the rest fell in open areas. In its response, the IDF attacked about 80 locations of Hamas, including centers for the manufacture of advanced weaponry; military facilities; a command center; a training center  and an observation post. A video of some of the rocket barrages and the response of the IDF can be seen here.  You will need to scroll down to the second screen and click on the arrow to see the rocket fire and aerial defense of the Iron Dome. Also targeted by the IDF were military compounds of the “Palestinian” Islamic Jihad terror organization, which also operates in the Gaza Strip. Among the targets were weapons manufacturing facilities in the north of the Gaza Strip and a factory for the manufacture of equipment to reinforce tunnels. These are not 4th of July fireworks that are sent from the Gaza Strip, but explosive projectiles that are intended to kill men, women and children at random and to destroy as much as possible. 

 

Israel holds Hamas responsible for all that happens in and from the Gaza Strip and the consequences of terrorist activities against Israeli citizens.

Following the cessation of the rocket attacks from the Strip, the Ministry of Defense allowed life in the southern communities of Israel to return to almost normal.

The “Palestinian” Islamic Jihad, which was directly responsible for Friday night’s escalation,  usually operates in coordination with Hamas, with whom it is aligned ideologically. It is the second largest military organization in the Strip. Its present, ideologically extreme leadership is based in Damascus, Syria and serves the interests of Iran. It wants to establish a new kind of equilibrium, by responding with rocket attacks when “Palestinians” are killed during confrontations at the border fence. This is clearly unacceptable to the IDF.

The primary difference between Hamas and Islamic Jihad at this time has to do with their respective ties with Iran. Both Islamic organizations are Sunni. However, while Hamas receives financial support, weaponry and technical assistance from Iran, the Islamic Jihad receives not only money and weapons, but also instructions. In all likelihood, the primary reason that it initiated the rocket attacks last Friday night was because Iran had instructed them to do so.

In trying to figure out what prompted the Islamic Jihad to suddenly initiate the rocket attacks against the Israeli communities along the Strip, there are two possibilities that come to mind: The first is that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had a “secret” meeting with the leadership of the country of Oman on Friday. Following the meeting, Oman reported that the time has come to accept Israel in the region and offered assistance in the “peace process”. It described Israel as an acceptable country in the Middle East. The Security Minister to the Sultan responsible for foreign affairs in Oman stated in a security summit in Bahrain: “The State of israel is a fact on the ground and we understand this. We are not saying that the way is now easy and paved with flowers, our preference is to put an end to the conflict and to move to a new world.” Such statements fly in the face of the reason for the existence of Hamas – the destruction of Israel. While this event probably did not warm the cockles of the hearts of either Hamas or the Islamic Jihad, it is doubtful that this event was the primary factor that precipitated the rocket attacks against Israeli communities.

What is more likely is the second event that was published on Friday, namely, that after lengthy on-and-off negotiations, Egypt finally achieved an understanding with Hamas to restore calm to the area, more or less (mostly less) similar to what existed following the last Gaza War, Operation Protective Edge. The agreement purportedly calls for an end to the violence of the protesters along the border, but does not include an end to the border protests.

As mentioned in earlier posts, “saving face” is of critical importance in this area of the world. And, if you do not decisively lose a conflict or war, you are deemed to have won. This is particularly applicable when dealing with Hamas and Islamic Jihad. They can’t just stop fighting. They have to go out with a “bang”, a large one, so that both the populations that both organizations control and the patrons who control both organizations, will be satisfied. Thus, a substantial rocket barrage was necessary to usher in a period of relative calm. To appear victorious, both Hamas and Islamic Jihad were willing to suffer significant loss, so that following a visible display of military might, they can “agree to” a ceasefire and walk out among their people with their heads high. Israel, for her part, was willing to make a strategic, but painful, decision not to initiate ground action to retake the Strip. 

What kind of picture does this present for us? It’s like another round of tit-for-tat. “You hit us, we hit you back. You try to demonstrate power, we have more power.” So, Israel restrained itself, while the protest marches, incendiary kites and balloons, flaming arrows and explosive toys were sent over the Gaza fence, destroying valuable acres of farmland and other property and causing injury and death on both sides of the fence. In essence, Israel bided her time to allow Egypt to complete its negotiations with Hamas and Islamic Jihad. If the negotiations occasionally ran into difficulties, a new round of escalation would push Egypt to get them moving again, even more seriously than before.

Apparently, Israel is willing to settle for proportionate responses, instead of pursuing the alternative solution, namely, initiating a major military offensive in the Gaza Strip with its consequent loss of life and other losses and damage, which would end up like Operation Protective Edge – a cease fire with no future guarantees.

The residents in the communities surrounding the Gaza Strip are less interested in strategic stop and go, on again-off again attacks and counter attacks. They want to live without fear of rocket attacks and to rear their children without having to worry about whether another siren will blare, warning of more incoming missiles. On the whole, they would prefer war to this type of uncertainty, which takes its toll both on individuals and property. 

Obviously, Israel is in an ongoing quandry about what to do with the Gaza Strip. If it moves in militarily and takes it over, what will Israel do with it? The last thing we need is to try to gain control over the people of Gaza. Israel cannot, and does not want to, take on this responsibility. The drain on manpower and resources would be enormous, far beyond what could be justifiable. Nor would the people of Gaza want to live under Israeli control or authority or agree to do so. Transferring the Gazans to Arab countries surrounding Israel is not the most welcome idea in our military-political strategy for reasons that should be obvious. 

If, on the other hand, Israel succeeds to “eliminate” both Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the natural question is: “Who will step up to take control of the people of Gaza?” No one is waiting in the wings, who would advocate living in peace with Israel. 

In the meantime, each new rocket attack allows Israel to systematically destroy the military infrastructure and capability of Hamas and its cronies, their buildings, tunnels, fighting forces and more. Viewed from this perspective, if push comes to shove and war becomes inevitable, Hamas and Islamic Jihad will have considerably reduced capacity to fight. But, every cease-fire has presented opportunities for Hamas and Islamic Jihad to regroup, renew their strength, increase their forces and prepare for the next round of confrontations with Israel. On our side of the fence, absence of rockets and border fence confrontations will restore, to a degree, the pastoral nature of the communities in the south and allow them again to prosper. A trade-off? Not a good one. A tense quiet. The question always remains: How long will the “quiet” last, before the next assault upon Israeli communities from Gaza?

O God, do not remain quiet; do not be silent and, O God, do not be still. For behold, Your enemies make an uproar and those who hate You have exalted themselves. They make shrewd plans against Your people and conspire together against Your treasured ones. They have said, ‘Come, and let us wipe them out as a nation, that the name of Israel be remembered no more’.” (Psalm 83:1-4) – emphasis mine

Those who hate the LORD would pretend obedience to him, and their time of punishment would be forever. (Psalm 81:15)

Bless, be blessed and be a blessing.

Marvin

Not to be sold, distributed or given to BDS Supporters, unless they ask.

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (known as the BDS movement) is a global campaign, which began in 2005. It is coordinated by the “Palestinian” BDS National Committee and encourages various forms of boycott against Israel, urging people and nations not to buy Israeli products, not to participate in Israeli cultural events and to rid themselves of all kinds of investments in Israel, Israeli companies and research projects.

Israel, such a small country that has reached three score and ten years of age, has been responsible for a multitude of inventions and products that are beneficial to all of us on a daily basis. Some of the BDS supporters may have availed themselves of some of the following, but will probably not admit it. The following list barely scratches the surface of what Israel has invented, developed and contributed in its brief history.

Robotics

ReWalk is a bionic walking assistance system that enables paraplegics to not only stand upright, but to walk.

Mazor Robotics is an Israeli medical device company and manufacturer of a robotic guidance system for spine surgery. As of September, 2013, the company’s robotics technology was installed in 54 hospital (28 of which were in the U.S.) and has been used in more than 4,000 procedures worldwide. Its initial product, SpineAssist, became the first commercially available mechanical guidance system for spinal surgery.

Chemistry

For those who try to maintain a high protein diet, the discovery of the role of the protein Ubiquitin, by two researchers at the Technion Institute, in Haifa, led them to receive the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Optics

Medigus Ltd. developed the world’s smallest video camera (0.039 inches in diameter; 0.99 mm). The camera is designed for medical endoscopic procedures in hard to reach regions of the human anatomy. An endoscope is an illuminated optical, typically slender and tubular instrument that is used to look deep into the body and used in procedures called an endoscopy. It is used to examine the internal organs like the throat (esophagus), bladder (cystoscope), kidney (nephroscope), colon (colonscope), abdomen or pelvis (laparoscope), among others. They can also be used to examine visually and diagnose, or assist in surgery, such as an arthroscopy. Anyone who has had to undergo a medical procedure using an endoscope is thankful for the development of the tiny video camera.

In line with the smallest video camera of Modigus Ltd. is the “Pillcam”, Pillcam-CapsuleEndoscopedeveloped by Given Imaging. It is the first capsule endoscopy solution to record images of the digestive tract. The capsule is in the size and shape of a pill and contains a tiny camera. It is Israel’s “camera in a capsule” that has been approved for esophagus diagnosis. For BDS supporters, this may be a hard pill to swallow.

Medicine

Azilect (or Rasagiline) is used to treat symptoms in early Parkinson’s disease, or as an adjunct therapy in more advanced cases. The Israeli pharmaceutical company, Teva, marketed the drug, in partnership with others, in Europe, the U.S. and elsewhere. For additional news along these lines, click here.

Researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science are responsible for the development of the Copaxone immunomodular drug (also known as Glatiramer Acetate and as Copolymer 1) for treating multiple sclerosis.

Interferon proteins were also discovered by a researcher at the Weizmann Institute of Science. Interferons are a certain type of “signaling proteins” released by host cells in response to the presence of certain pathogens (for example, viruses, bacteria, parasite and also tumor cells). The release of interferons by an affected cell alerts nearby cells to heighten their anti-viral defenses.

Breakthrough in a cure for leukemia. A research team at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Faculty of Medicine developed a new biological drug that had a significant success rate in the laboratory. The drug acts like a cluster bomb and attacks several leukemic proteins at once, making it difficult for the leukemia cells to activate other proteins that can evade the therapy. This “single-molecule drug accomplishes the work of three or four separate drugs. If it were to be used in humans, one of its potential advantages would be to reduce the number of different drugs – each with its own side effects — to which cancer patients would need to be exposed. The other promising aspect of this new drug is its ability to eradicate leukemia stem cells. This has long been the big challenge in cancer therapy and one of the main reasons that scientists have been unable to cure acute leukemia.”

Nano Eye-Drops – a potential alternative to laser correction, glasses and contact lenses. The eye drop adjusts the refraction of light through the cornea, the protective layer that rests above the eye’s lens and the iris.

Computer Hardware / Software

The USB flash drive – a “disk on key” memory data storage device integrated with a USB interface, is said to be the brainchild of the  Israeli company300px-TwinMOS_Mobile_Disk_III_K24-256MB_USB_Flash_drive M-Systems, working in partnership with IBM. 

The Intel 8088 is the first PC CPU (central processing unit) from IBM that was designed in Israel at Intel’s Haifa laboratory. A CPU is the electronic circuitry within a computer that ca540px-KL_Intel_TD8088rries out the instructions of a computer program, by performing the basic operations specified by the instructions. Everyone who uses a computer can be thankful for this development.

Quicktionary Electronic Dictionary is a pen-sized scanner able to scan words or phrases and immediately translate them into other languages, or keep them in memory in order to transfer them to the computer. It was deveQuicktionary3loped by the Israeli company, Wizcom Technologies Ltd.

Laser Keyboard is a fo440px-ProjectionKeyboard_2rm of computer input device, whereby the image of a virtual keyboard is projected onto a surface. When a user touches the surface covered by the image of a key, the device records
the corresponding keystroke. Some of them connect to Bluetooth devices, including smartphones, tablets and mini-PC devices.

Babylon is a computer dictionary and translation program developed by the Israeli company Babylon Software Ltd., established in 1997. It is a tool used, among other things, for translation and uses a text-to-speech agent, so users hear the proper pronunciation of words and text. 

ICQ (which derived its named from the phrase “I Seek You”)  was among the first stand-alone, instant messengers and the first online instant messenger service.

Viber is a proprietary, cross-platform instant messaging, voice-over-Internet Protocol (IP) application for smartphones.

Mobileye vision-based, advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) providing warnings for collision prevention and mitigation. Many companies developing autonomous vehicles, such as BMW, rely on Mobileye’s technology. In some places, use of this invention could reduce the costs of car insurance.

OrCam MyEye is a portable, artificial vision device that allows the visually impaired to understand text and identify objects through audio fee440px-OrCam155dback describing what such people are unable to see.

Waze is a GPS-based geographical navigation application program,
which provides turn-by-turn information and user-submittedWaze_4.3_iPhone_app travel times and route details is available in over 100 countries.

WeCU (pronounced ‘We See You’) Technologies, is a technology able to pickup, analyze, and identify in real time terrorists and is being implemented in airports around the world to help identify potential terrorists.

Defense

Among Israel’s many developments in the area of defense, used worldwide, are the following:

The Uzi submachine gun.

The Python short-range air-to-air missile.

The Protector USV unmanned surface vehicle – the first of its kind to be used in combat.

600px-Flickr_-_Israel_Defense_Forces_-_Iron_Dome_Intercepts_Rockets_from_the_Gaza_Strip

The Iron Dome mobile air defense system, designed to intercept short-range rockets and artillery shells.

The Arrow 3 anti-ballistic missile defense system capable of shooting down ICBMs and other long range missiles.

David’s Sling – an air defense system capable of intercepting enemy planes, drones, tactical ballistic missiles, medium- to long-range rockets and cruise missiles.

MUSIC (Multi Spectral Infrared Countermeasure) – a system that counters surface-to-air heat-seeking missiles.

MagnoShocker – combines a metal detector and a taser to immediately neutralize a dangerous person.

Wall radar – a unique radar, that allows its users to see through walls.

Injured Personnel Carrier – A unique evacuation method, comprises a strap which allows someone to carry a wounded person on his back. See the demonstration on YouTube.

The Emergency Bandage is a first field dressing which can be applied and secured with one hand to prevent bleeding from battlefield injuries.

One more item that was reported in the news this past week is: 

The Bullet-Proof Back Pack. Made by the Israeli company, Masad-Armour. itt is a bullet-proof backpack that transforms into a bullet-proof vest to protect against the threat of school shootings in less than two seconds. To see the demonstration, scroll down to the video portion and see how quickly it can turn into a protective bullet-proof vest.

In addition, Israel has also been at the forefront of advances in mathematics, agriculture, economics and theoretical computer science, among a multitude of other matters, including consumer goods, such as “Epilator” (originally “Epilady”), Wonder Pot and games like Rummikub and Taki. The list is simply too large to describe in this post. You can check this link for a few additional innovations that have been beneficial to people all over the world.

For the BDS people to remain true to what they preach, they should not take advantage of any of Israel’s technology. But, their ideology will eventually yield (if it hasn’t already done so) to their unwillingness to give up their conveniences and when it comes to dealing with issues related to their health. If they ever need a surgical procedure that requires using an Israeli invention, it is doubtful that any of them would be willing to die, because they refuse to use the Israeli invention that could save their lives. So, if BDS people try to distract you from supporting Israel, tell them that they have lost their way, but that they can get back on track by using Waze – a remarkable Israeli invention that will help them find the right way in the shortest possible time. We can explain truthful and reasonable things to them, but we are not responsible if they fail to understand them.

“*** I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing; and I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” (Genesis 12:2-3)

“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.” (Galatians 6:7)

Bless, be blessed and be a blessing.

Iran and Israel – From Friendship to Enemyship

Two of the prophetic Fall feasts of Israel, the Feast of Trumpets and the Day of Atonements, are now behind us. Beginning at Sunday evening at sundown, Israel began to celebrate the seventh and final feast, Succot (the Feast of Tabernacles). Officialdom in Israel (government offices, schools and all kinds of businesses) will be closed for eight days, with the first and last days being major feast days. After this holiday, Israel will settle down and return to normal activity, while children wait for the next school-holiday, Hanukkah, in December. 

Tensions remain high in the region, particularly because of the on-going civil war in Syria and the constant threats from the leader of the Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, and from the chief mucky-mucks in Iran. The situation was made even more tense following the terrorist attack that took place on Saturday against the military parade in the southern city of Ahvaz, which left some 30 people dead, about half of them from the Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard, and another 70-plus wounded. Even though at least two organizations claimed responsibility for the attack, no evidence was forthcoming from them to prove that they carried it out. Other organizations, which were named as being possible perpetrators of the attack, denied having any involvement. At the end of the day, it was not known who was responsible for the attack. 

That event was an embarrassment for the theocratic regime of Iran and its Revolutionary Guard Corp. The fact that the attack was carried out at this time and within the borders of Iran was a particularly difficult blow to Iran’s security establishment, which has boasted of its ability to repel any external threat and revealed that even Iran’s best military unit is vulnerable to a properly coordinated military action. Therefore, it was necessary for them to quickly accuse one or more potential aggressors. In this regard, Zarif accused the United States of being behind the attack, while a spokesman for the Revolutionary Guard accused Saudi Arabia of backing the terrorists. Zarif threatened revenge and the Guards vowed retaliation. “Iran holds regional terror sponsors and their US masters accountable for such attacks. Iran will respond swiftly and decisively in defense of Iranian lives”. Relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia are fragile, to say the least. Whatever may have been the situation in the past, it never reached such a scale, where so many soldiers were killed inside Iran itself. Even more embarrassing for Iran and a serious blow to its national pride is the fact that the attack was carried out at a military parade commemorating the 30th anniversary of the 8-year war with Iraq. Moreover, the attack came only days before U.S. President Donald Trump’s address  today to the U.N., where he spoke, among other things, about Iran’s destabilizing “aggression and expansion” and sponsorship of terrorism in the region. It is doubtful that Iran will be affected by anything that Trump said.

It would appear that Iran is once again looking to further its threats against both the United States and Israel and may try to use the attack against its Revolutionary Guards as an excuse for additional military action in the region. Even though Iran has no evidence of U.S. or Israeli involvement, the deputy head of the Revolutionary Guards accused them both and said they they should expect a “crushing and devastating” response from Tehran.

Iran chooses to ignore, at least officially, that this particular attack was in response to Iran’s aggressive actions in the Middle East theatre. Iran (formerly known as Persia) is a Shiite-dominated theocracy. It has become more and more involved and entrenched in this region. Its proxies include not only Syria to the northeast of Israel, but the terrorist Hezbollah in Lebanon, which is directly north of Israel and which has played a significant role in the Syrian civil war, supporting the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Last week, Hezbollah’s General Secretary, Hassan Nasrallah, threatened that his organization “possesses precision and non-precision rockets and weapons capabilities…If Israel forces a war on Lebanon, Israel will face a fate and a reality it has never expected on any day.” 

Earlier this month, Iran openly fired multiple missiles on a base in northern Iraq, housing an Iranian Kurdish opposition party. A dozen people were killed and several dozens of people were wounded as a result. The Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (“PDKI”), an anti-Iranian organization, accused Iran of using “long-range missiles in a coordinated attack on PDKI’s bases and adjacent refugee camps”. The Kurds, who number about 30 million, have sizeable communities in various countries in the Middle East. The PDKI threatened retaliation for Iran’s actions and it is reasonable to credit that organization with carrying out its threats. If Iran can attack Kurds outside of Iran’s borders, then the Kurds can attack Iranians within Iran’s borders. If, in fact, they were the ones responsible for the attack on the military parade of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, then it would be another example of the eye-for-an-eye mentality so prevalent in Middle East conflicts and portends that more of such incidents will follow.

Iran’s accusation are like “the pot calling the kettle black”. It loves to blame others for behaving as it does. 

According to the United States Department of State’s Annual Country Reports on Terrorism 2017, released 19 September, 2018, at page 218: Iran creates “instability in the Middle East and “uses regional proxy forces to provide sufficient deniability to shield it from the consequences of its aggressive policies” Iran’s nature being what it is, the cycle of cross-border attacks that we’ve seen take place this month will most likely not end soon. The only real question for Israel is: How far will Iran, itself, go to carry out its threats against Israel?

We’ve gone through a few “almost war” scenarios since the beginning of the year, but the actions and threats have fallen short of actual international belligerence.

The two countries weren’t always at odds with one another. In fact, it was quite the opposite.  Israel and Iran were actually friendly and cooperated with one another on many levels, including military cooperation, even after Iran cut diplomatic ties with Israel following Iran’s Islamic Revolution of 1979. Today, however, the situation is completely different and Israel views Iran as an existential threat.

In the light of the present, on-going tensions between the two countries, it is difficult to imagine that the two of them ever got along with each other. The “friendly” relationship between the Jewish people and Iran goes back to the time of the Persian King, Cyrus the Great, who allowed the Jews living in Persia to return to Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 36:22-23; Ezra 1:1-2, 7-8; 3:7; 4:3; 5:13-14, 17; 6:14; Isaiah 44:28; 45:1, 13). Fast forward to modern times, Iran served as a convenient intermediate point of transit for Jews fleeing Iraq shortly following Israel’s independence in 1948. Ironically, Iran followed Turkey’s lead and, in 1950, it became the second country with a Muslim majority to recognize Israel, although in a de facto manner at first and more officially several years thereafter. The relationship was mutually beneficial for many years, with Iran supplying oil to Israel when other oil-producing countries would not. Israel, for its part, provided assistance to Iran in many different areas, such as agriculture, medicine, construction and military intelligence.

During the 1950’s and 1960’s, Iran was split between its secular and religious elements, with the latter pushing for Iran to join Arab countries in their opposition to Israel. However, the country maintained its secular perspective until the Shah was deposed in 1979. The primary issue that divides Iran and the Arab world today is a religious one. Most of the Arab world are Sunni Moslems (headed up primarily by Saudi Arabia), while Iran leads the minority Shi’ite element. After the secular Shah was deposed in 1979, the religious fringe which took over the country was overtly anti-Israel and promptly severed all relations with Israel and, over time, eventually led to the establishment of local proxies, like Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza, as well as in other places. However, even after the ties between the two countries were “officially” at an end, Iran purchased hundreds of millions of dollars worth of arms from Israel during the early years of the Iraq-Iran War in the early 1980’s. Religious zeal yielded to secular needs.

When the former U.S.S.R. came apart, things became progressively worse between the two countries and former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, an ardent denier of the Holocaust, openly called for the annihilation of Israel. The U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear agreement with Iran – a move strongly encouraged by Israel – added to the anti-Israel stance of Iran. It is no wonder that Iran condemns and threatens Israel at every opportunity. 

With Russia’s entry into the Middle East arena, Israel needs to re-evaluate its strategy for multi-front warfare. After Syria shot down a Russian plane, resulting in the death of

The Dry Bones Blog-25 September, 2018
The Dry Bones Blog – 25 September, 2018

some 15 Russian personnel, Russia blamed Israel for what Syria did and now plans to reward Syria and supply it with S-300 air-defense systems – a serious concern for Israel.

Pray for wisdom for our political and military leaders, for strength and boldness for those who stand ready, day and night, to defend us from attacks from our enemies.

“No weapon that is formed against you will prosper; and every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn.” (Isaiah 54:17)

Celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles with joy.

The Dry Bones Blog-27 June, 2018
The Dry Bones Blog – 27 June, 2018

Bless, be blessed and be a blessing.

Marvin