A land flowing with milk and honey … and Molotov Kite Tails

No fewer than 18 times, the Bible refers to this land as “a land flowing with milk and honey”. We can argue about what “milk and honey” means, but it would be difficult to interpret the positive perspective of “flowing” in any way other than what the rational mind would understand it to be, namely, abundance and, when combined with “milk and honey”, abundantly fertile. Twice, within the context of describing the land that God gave to the Israelites, He refers to it as “flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands.” (Ezekiel 20:6, 15).

There is a proper place for trying to understand what is meant by that phrase. We can take it apart, word by word, and attempt to explain what we think it means today, what we think it meant to those who were living in Bible times and were about to enter this land, as well as what we think was understood by those who actually did enter. There is a beauty that the Scriptures reveals and proper examination of it illumines the eyes of our understanding and quickens our heart to anticipate “the glory of all lands” that still awaits us.

When the Israelites entered the land after forty years of wandering in the desert, there was work to be done. It had to be “cleared” before it could be properly enjoyed. The Israelites faced constant opposition and attempts to steal and destroy what they sowed and wanted to reap. Their enemies encouraged one another, saying “Come, let us wipe them out as a nation, that the name of Israel be no more.” (Psalm 83:4) The more things change, the more they remain the same. 

After two thousand years of diaspora “wandering”, the descendants of Abraham, Isaach and Jacob returned to the land. It needed to be “cleared” before it could be properly enjoyed. They met considerable opposition, yet they persevered. The “dry bones” (Ezekiel 37) were revived and once again, the land began to flow with milk and honey. Agricultural cooperatives were set up “from Dan to Beersheva” (i.e., from the north to the south of Israel). We taught a multitude of countries how to cultivate their lands, fatten their cows and irrigate their deserts. In the midst of opposition and despite and multitude of wars, this country grew, developed industry, cultural programs, technology and centers for higher education. The dry areas were fertilized and yielded produce, which was exported to nations all over the world. Israel was becoming a physical and material blessing to the nations. 

But, there is another consideration that cannot be overlooked, namely, that Israel is to be a spiritual blessing whereby all the families of the earth will be blessed by it. (Genesis 12:1-3). “Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘In those days ten men from all the nations will grasp the garment of a Jew, saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.”‘” (Zechariah 8:23). This remains an event for a future day. Hopefully, it is not too far off.

Yet, today, efforts are being made to turn blessing into cursing. Movements abound that try to delegitimize Israel and to condemn the Jewish people. If some could have their way, we would be blamed for every evil under the sun. The “father of lies” is very good at what he does and is not without gullible adherents. Most people tend to condemn what they do not fully understand. Some are taught to hate from childhood on. Blame is always put on “the other guy”, who, more often than not, turns out to be a Jew or the nation of Israel. So it is today.

During the last two months, our neighbors to the southwest, in Gaza, have attempted to breech the security fence between Gaza and communities in Israel. They have been warned not to approach the security fence, but those warning went unheeded. Stirred on by the terror organization Hamas, civilians are used as human shields. Weapons are used against Israeli troops, who are doing their job to defend our population from terrorist infiltration. Some people are killed, many are wounded. Israeli is blamed by the community of nations, who condemn Israel for continuing to exist. The latest i

The Dry Bones Blog (blog@mrdrybones.com)Blitzkite
The Dry Bones Blog (blog@mrdrybones.com)    Blitzkite-10 June, 2018

n the arsenal of weapons used by “Palestinians” is the “terror kite”. It is a regular kite, usually with a swastika put on it, to which a Molotov cocktail is attached. It is sent over the fence, explodes and causes severe fire damage to agricultural and other lands and property in civilian areas, resulting in considerable economic loss and severe ecological pollution.

Look at the contrast: This is what some of Israel looks like, because of the desire to build a nation and an infrastructure that will benefit the population of Israel. This, on the other hand, is what Hamas desires to do to Israel.

Billions of dollars have been pumped into the “Palestinian” Authority, which has been used to fund three wars against Israel since Hamas took over Gaza in 2007. It has been used to develop a terrorist infrastructure, instead of one that will help to improve the life of the citizens of Gaza. They don’t have anything that they want to protect, so they try to take what we have and what we want to protect. And that totally useless organization, the U.N. (I won’t even credit it with its full name) once again is being asked to condemn Israel for its actions to protect what belongs to it. This is where I live and I will do what I can to protect my home and my family. If this were your home, wouldn’t you do the same?

Please keep my two sons in your prayers. One is on active duty and the other is on reserve duty. Thanks.

Have a long life, peace be to you, and peace be to your house, and peace be to all that you have. (1 Sam. 25:6)

The LORD said to Abram … “Now lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward; for all the land which you see, I will give it to you and to your deascendants forever.” (Genesis 13:14-15)

Now Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho. And the Lord showed him all the land, Gilead as far as Dan, and all Naphtali and the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, and all the land of Judah* as far as the western sea, and the Negev and the plain in the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees, as far as Zoar. Then the Lord said to him, “This is the land which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to your descendants’;” (Deuteronomy 34:1-4)

* For those who may think that we are occupying “Palestinian” land, it should be noted that “the land of Judah” includes Gaza (Joshua 15:1, 47), which they are temporarily occupying.

Have a great week.

Bless, be blessed and be a blessing,

Marvin

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“Their modus operandi is simple: Lie.”

In a scathing article that appeared in the Wall Street Journal on May 20th, entitled: The Truth About Hamas and Israel, the IDF Spokesperson, Brig. General Ronen Manelis, summed up the method of Hamas’s “war” against Israel and reminded the vast readership of the paper of the goals of this terrorist group: “Their [i.e., Hamas officials’] modus operandi is simple: Lie. Their lies support the stated goal of Hamas: the delegitimization and destruction of Israel.” He accused the Hamas terror organization, which has been ruling Gaza since 2007, of orchestrating “theatrics” for an international audience – theatrics which resulted in the deaths of dozens of “Palestinians” during the violent weekly, Friday demonstrations along the Gaza border fence. And, the worst thing about it is that the leftist media bought the narrative, hook, line and sinker. There was international outrage, calls for probes by the U.N. Human Rights Council (there’s a misnomer if there ever was one) and calls for setting up an international force that would protect (can you believe it?) the population of Gaza.. There were gatherings and events all planned to voice complaint against Israel for the deaths of alleged “innocent” victims of the Gaza fence uprisings. Then, Hamas itself revealed that 50 of the some 60 “Palestinians” killed were Hamas members. Islamic Jihad added 3 of its members to those who were killed. One would think that the bottom fell out of the arguments of those who condemned Israel and that they realized that the vast majority of the “innocents” were, in fact, active members of terrorist organizations, armed with weapons, hunting slingshots, explosives and “kite bombs”, who mixed in with the crowd and stirred them on. But, that wasn’t the case. 

Michael Oren, Israel’s Deputy Minister for Public Diplomacy, recently stated: “There’s a war being waged and we’re not even on the battlefield.” He added: “Hamas can’t cut through the fence, so it wants to get people killed in order to delegitimize Israel. And the press plays into that, the press enables Hamas to win.” And, much to our regret, in words of Lt. Colonel Jonathan Conricus, the head of the IDF’s internationl media department, regarding the fight for international public opinion, Hamas won an “overwhelming victory, by [a] knockout”. Conricus continued: “Hamas wanted the casualties, Hamas wanted people to die. Hamas wanted the pictures of the wounded and the overflowing hospitals and everything else…It’s been very difficult to tell our story”, adding that some of it is his fault.

If that wasn’t bad enough, along comes the article by Thomas L. Friedman, in the New York Times of May 22, 2018, entitled, Hamas, Netanyahu and Mother Nature. I could discuss the inconsistencies and errors, prejudices and presumptions contained in the article, which was simply another in a seemingly endless series of articles getting on Israel’s case. But, rather than do so here, I refer to you to a somewhat lengthy, but nevertheless informative, criticism of Friedman’s latest condemnation of our country and government, appearing in Israpundit. This will give you an idea:

But even compared to his past inanities, [Thomas Friedman’s] latest column, “Hamas, Netanyahu and Mother Nature”, is a real doozy—a “masterful” blend of personal bile and bias, liberally laced with logical inconsistencies, factual inaccuracies and even blatant non-sequiturs.

….

Friedman has of course, been long been captive to the seductive deception of two-statism. At the base of this dogma is the belief that, among the Palestinian-Arabs, there is a leader sufficiently reasonable to cut a deal acceptable to Israel and sufficiently authoritative to ensure its implementation.

Accordingly, in order to sustain their political credo, (or rather, “cult”), two-state adherents have to conjure up imaginary Palestinian-Arabs and an imaginary Palestinian-Arab society, significantly different from those that actually exist on Planet Earth.

It is difficult to refrain from commenting myself on statements that are based on historical error and misinformation in Friedman’s article. But, since others have done so, I will forego it at this point. Many years ago, before immigrating to Israel, I enjoyed reading The New York Times, which tried to live up to its slogan, “All the News That’s Fit to Print.” But, news that is distorted is not “fit to print” and should not be treated as news at all. With ethical considerations no longer part and parcel of a reporter’s responsibility, allowing him/her to “make”, rather than “report”, news. So maybe the slogan should be changed to “All the News That Fits We Print”. I wouldn’t be surprised to find that this is not my opinion only, but the opinion of all those who really want to know what is going on, factually, not fictionally. 

The “Palestinians” want Israel to answer for the Gaza incidents before the International Criminal Court, totally ignoring their own responsibility for the deaths of their own citizens. Israeli farmers are planning to retaliate and will seek to hold Hamas legally and criminally responsible for the destruction of Israeli fields, property and produce, resulting from the “kite fire bombs” that the “Palestinians” sent over the Gaza fence. The destruction of Israeli fields and vineyards from the “kite terror” is now a daily event and a genuine concern. Israel is totally justified in defending its borders against infiltration, whether against one or against a multitude. But, as Prime Minister Netanyahu has stated: “History has shown us time and again that what is right is not what is popular.” 

With the commencement of the month-long Moslem celebration of Ramadan, which began this year on May 16th, violence along the Gaza fence has not diminished. The focus of world attention has shifted from Iranian involvement in Syria to violent clashes along the Gaza border fence. The weekly, Friday confrontations continue. The leadership of Hamas continues to send Gazans to confront the Israel Defense Force, which is determined to prevent “Palestinian” infiltration into Israel communities. And, of course, the leftist media continues to miss the mark and fails to understand that these demonstrations are not for the benefit of the Gazan population. The people are being used as “walking bombs” by the Hamas leadership in its goal to win the war of public opinion. The price: 50 Shekels (about US $14 or £10.50 or CAD $18.20). 

In his excellent article entitled Hamas: Fight to the last Gazan, Dr. Mordechai Kedar brings us full circle to the need to recognize the role that the media plays in encouraging “Hamas’ satanic plans”. As Dr. Kedar states, in part, in his article, which I heartily recommend that you read: 

“Every person killed is a public relations accomplishment for Hamas, every person wounded is a propaganda gain to mislead viewers in Europe and America who have no understanding of Hamas’ satanic plans to use the people of Gaza as live ammunition against Israel, knowing that they will be killed as soon as they try to break through the fence….Everyone in Gaza…now knows exactly what happens to anyone who comes near the fence. That makes the rioters themselves and the Hamas organization which sends them fully responsible for the deaths of these live bullets.

However, the foreign press is another responsible party of which the public must be made aware. Anyone who understands Hamas’ plans knows full well that without media coverage all the riots near and at the fence would not have occurred. After all, why would Hamas waste human ammunition unless it could make an impression on world opinion?

This is where Israeli idiocy steps in, as Israel allows foreign media to reach the immediate surroundings of  Gaza…[The] media act as tools of the Hamas terrorists, useful idiots who spread Hamas propaganda without charge.”

Why doesn’t Israel shut down, at least temporarily, the internet access which it supplies to Gaza? We provide the internet that allows Hamas to spread its propaganda. We supply Gaza with electricity, that allows Hamas satellite television broadcasting. Maybe the world outcry against depriving the “Palestinians” of access to media outlets would be considered a fate worse than death. 

Dr. Kedar closes his article on an optimistic note: 

“There   is no question that Israel will defeat Hamas, because Israel is fighting a just war and Hamas is a terror organization whose reign of terror over Gaza turns its population into disposable ammunition with its own evil hands. The fate of Hamas is not in doubt: It will be dumped in the ash heap of history, along with the other Arab dictators who were overthrown in the “Arab Spring.”  Hamas, the despotic and tyrannical terror movement, is no different than they, because it, too, is prepared to sacrifice the Palestinian Arabs down to the last man on the altar of its own survival.” 

In the meantime, the violence continues, also in places other than along the Gaza border fence. Staff Sergeant Ronen Lubarsky, a 20-year-old IDF soldier, who served in the elite Duvdevan unit, was critically injured a week ago Thursday, during an operation in a refugee camp near Ramallah. He was struck by a large marble slab thrown on his head from the third floor of a building. He died of his injuries two days later and was buried last Sunday morning. Despite the tragedy of his son’s death, Ronen’s father stated, in part: “Also in these difficult days I am content, because the nation of Israel has embraced my family with a strong embrace that I did not believe existed. Our great victory is that we will live full lives.” Ronen was a close friend of one of my youngest’s son’s friends. May the God of all comfort touch the hearts of his family and grant them all His abundant comfort.

ronenlubarsky

Ronen’s death is a tough reminder of the fact that among the many tasks that the IDF has, one of them is to go into the refugee camps and other places in the administered territories to search for and arrest “Palestinians” wanted by Israeli authorities, some of them before they perform an act of terror. This is an ongoing activity for the unit, which operates on a moment’s notice 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, all year long. 

Then there are the rockets that Hamas fires off in the direction of Israeli civilian communities. They shoot the rockets. We retaliate. Two days ago, Hamas asked for a cease fire. We agreed. They immediately violated the cease fire. We struck back. Have you ever had a rocket land close enough to you to shake the foundations of your residence and your entire neighborhood? That is our reality. What would YOU do? 

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23)

The LORD your God is in your midst. A victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy. He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy. (Zephaniah 3:17)

[The] Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. (2 Thessalonians 3:3)

Bless, be blessed and be a blessing,

Marvin

Moral Inversion – Blaming the “Other Guy” for Defending Himself

On January 18, 2018, an article appeared in American Thinker, entitled “The moral inversion of ‘humanitarian groups luring the poor into death traps”. It opens with the question: “How do you say ‘chutzpah’ in Spanish?” It focused on the accusation of two “purported ‘humanitarian’ groups” that blame the deaths of border violators on the U.S. Border Police, who destroy the food and water left by these two groups for the migrants who try to infiltrate the border. The writer continues: “Providing food and water to lure people into a potentially fatal journey is reprehensible….Anyone who encourages people to violate our laws and do so in a life-threatening manner is doubly culpable in my book….We are supposed to be outraged by the sight of Border Patrol agents executing their protective function.” No one would seriously deny that the United States has the right to defend its borders against those who would illegally seek to infiltrate its territory.

Let’s move some nine thousand miles east to the State of Israel and the wire fence separating Gaza from Israeli communities in the south of the country. Tens of thousands of Gaza residents attempt to storm the fence, tear it down and infiltrate into Israeli territory where they can destroy property, injure, kill and kidnap Israeli citizens. In the process, they use whatever weapons they have at their disposal, some resulting in personal injury and others causing considerable property damage. Standing between the infiltrators and their intended goals of “returning” to themselves what never belonged to them is the Israel Defense Forces (“the IDF”). The leaders of rioters make promises to them that they can never keep and urge civilians to put themselves at risk of injury or death in their attempts to get to the other side of the fence. The IDF holds its position and repels the attempts to infiltrate Israel’s borders. Gazans are shot, many are wounded, some are killed. 

Most of the reactions by the leftist media and by many so-called democratic governments around the world, with very few notable exceptions, are “outraged by the sight of [the IDF] executing their protective function”. Some foreign, cultural functions in Israel are cancelled, diplomatic representatives are called home and countries call for the investigation of Israel’s use of “disproportionate” force. We live in a world that does not wince at applying a “double standard” whenever Israel is involved. We usually find ourselves on the wrong side of the “moral inversion”, being blamed for surviving attempts to kill us and for defending against those who would steal the land that has been restored in accordance with God’s promise and possessed after the shedding of the blood of our relatives and friends. 

The Hamas terrorist organization instigates its people to go on suicide missions against the IDF. From the perspective of the depraved leadership of Hamas, the more dead Gazans, the better. The international media thrives on pictures of bleeding bodies, but ignores pointing a finger at the ones responsible for the deaths and injuries – the obsessed leadership of Hamas – and instead accuses Israel of acting improperly and even of committing war crimes. Writers need to fill their word quota. Newspapers need to increase their circulation. Media outlets are unrestrained in accusing the wrong person, because reporters are no longer bound by ethical standards. Truth and balanced reporting, if they truly ever existed, are now things of the past.

The reasons given for the violent uprisings – not peaceful protests, but terror attacks, are without foundation. In years past, there was the “intifida” that began following a “Palestinian” accusation that Israel had “invaded” the Al-Aqsa Mosque, or was trying to “destroy” the mosque, or that allowing Jews to visit the Temple Mount in Jerusalem would “defile” the holy sites of the “Palestinian” people. The most recent uprisings along the Gaza fence is allegedly in opposition to the announcement of U.S. President Trump which declared Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and because the U.S. moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This is absolute nonsense. The recent uprisings are in connection with the “March of Return”, and have no connection with anything that the U.S. did or intended to do. The main events took place along the Gaza fence, not in Jerusalem or in the capitals of other Arab countries in the Middle East. 

Hamas leaders were so confident that the Gaza border clashes would result in victory, that they handed out detailed instructions via social media, informing the protesters which “Palestinian” leader would be giving a victory speech after the border was breached. But, the leadership of Hamas did not take part in the border clashes. They sent members of their terrorist organization, who were dispersed among the civilians. Hamas later admitted that 80% of the fatalities of the border incidents in April and 85% of those killed this past Tuesday (Nakba Day) were Hamas and Islamic Jihad military personnel. Yet, instead of reporting on these admissions, the western media continues to condemn Israel and call for the prosecution of Israel’s leaders. Major General (res.) Yaakov Amidror of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategic Studies rightly commented on this earlier last week: “They sit in air-conditioned offices in Europe and think that we’re facing demonstrations in Brussels against the central bank, and then preach to Israel about how to handle the riots.”

As David M. Weinberg, vice president of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategic Studies, stated  on May 18th: 

“It is stomach-churning that people call the Gaza border death toll “disproportionate.” How many Israelis have to die for the sake of symmetry and ersatz Western scruples?

“It is also annoying that Western do-gooders seem to accept Palestinian “days of rage” as tolerable behavior. As if the Palestinians can’t help themselves from throwing a tantrum. As if responsible and reasonable behavior, such as negotiation, democratic discourse and normative state-building, can’t be expected of the Palestinians.

“This is the soft bigotry of low expectations and the counterpart hard bigotry of demands for impeccable/impossible conduct from Israel. This stems, I sense, from an inability to internalize the fact that despite Israel’s Oslo Accord concessions and multiple peace offers ever since, much of the Palestinian national movement has not changed its goal of annihilating Israel and replacing it with a Palestinian state. That is, of course, the meaning of Hamas’ so-called “Great March of Return.”

“It is incredibly hurtful when people who should know better focus only on Israel’s alleged shortcomings and not on the venality of those who instigate the violence so as to generate a maximum number of casualties. This only encourages the terrorists to keep at it, believing that useful idiots in the West will act to isolate the Jewish state until it collapses.” 

Colonel Richard Kemp, a former commander of British military forces in Afghanistan, told the UN Human Rights Council last week: 

 “If Israel had allowed these mobs to break through the fence, the IDF would then have been forced to defend their own civilians from slaughter and many more Palestinians would have been killed….Israel’s actions therefore saved lives of Gazans, and if this council really cared about human rights, it should commend the IDF for that, not condemn them on the basis of lies….I ask every country in this council: You have all been telling us that Israel should have reacted differently. But how would you respond if a jihadist terror group sent thousands to flood your borders, and gunmen to massacre your communities?”

And, if that isn’t enough, here is the report from someone who was there, in real time, serving as a reservist, on the front line along the Gaza fence. Before the liberal media condemn those who defend our country, let them put on a uniform, become targets, put their lives in danger, pretend that they are defending their families and their homes, and then report from the front lines. It just might reverse their moral inversion.

“I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem.” (Isaiah 62:6)

“I am zealous for Zion with great zeal.” (Zechariah 8:2)

“For Zion’s sake I will not hold My peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until her righteousness goes forth as brighteness, and her salvation as a lamp that burns.” (Isaiah 62:1)

Happy Shavuot / Feast of Weeks / Pentecost (Lev. 23:15-16; Acts 2:1)

Bless, be blessed and be a blessing,

Have a great week.

Marvin

War … Almost!

On Tuesday, May 8th, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that the United States was withdrawing from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – otherwise known as the Iran nuclear deal – that was signed between Iran and six world powers, referred to as “the P5 +1” (it would have been easier if they just referred to the P6 to prevent everyone from having to do the math) and that it would be renewing economic sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran. In his televised speech, Trump stated, among other things, that the deal “should have never been made. It didn’t bring peace and it never will.” The action by the U.S. was certainly in its best interests and boosted Trump’s image as a decisive leader in the international community. And, irrespective of what may think about him from a number of different perspectives, when it comes to Israel, he knows how to make the right decision. He and the U.S. will be blessed as a result (“I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse…” Gen. 12:3). He walks the walk.

As expected, Iran was not a happy camper. It had continually threatened that there would be “consequences” if the U.S. pulled out of the nuclear deal.

The following night, May 9th, Iranian military forces stationed in Syria fired 20 rockets towards the Israeli portion of the Golan Heights. Some of them were shot down by Israeli’s Iron Dome defense system, while the others fell on Syrian soil. Windows in Haifa and in various places in the north of Israel were rattled when the Israeli Air Force responded by sending 28 jets into Syrian airspace, which fired some 60 missiles at Iranian targets, severely damaging its infrastructure on Syrian soil. In the process, Syria fired anti-aircraft missiles at the Israeli jets, which all returned unharmed and safely home to Israel. Israel also destroyed the anti-aircraft batteries. The number of Iranians who were killed in the Israeli retaliatory strike varies, depending upon the source of the reports, but in all, 23 troops were killed, 18 of them being non-Syrians.

Israel’s Defense Minister, Avigdor Liberman, warned Tehran: “If you give us rain, you will get a flood.” The U.S. and other countries joined in condemning Iran and in supporting Israel’s right to defense herself. In a rare announcement, Bahrain’s Foreign Minister said that all countries in this region have the right to defend against Iranian agression. Others, like Russia of all places, called upon the parties to act with restraint.

Iran was clearly embarrassed by Israel’s successful retaliatory strike against its various installations in Syria. While Iran says that it is not interested in escalating the tensions between the two countries or in the region, it is clear that none of Iran’s media pronouncements can be trusted. The missile barrage could be an opening shot, to test Israel’s response (which was undoubtedly more than what Iran had expected). At the same time, it announced that as a result of the U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear agreement, Iran would push ahead with uranium enrichment on an industrial scale. In line with this, Iranian cleric Ahmad Khatami warned yesterday (Friday): “We will expand our missile program and our capabilities despite pressure from Western countries … to let Israel know that if it acts foolishly, Tel Aviv and Haifa will be totally wiped out.”

Notwithstanding statements like those from Ahmad Khatami, Iran continues to blame others for the escalating tensions in the Middle East, while portraying itself as one who is acting to diminish those tensions. In an almost ludicrous statement, Syria joined Iran’s narrative and accused Israel as the one that is destabilizing the region: “…Syria has expressed dismay over the overnight airstrikes and blamed Israel for disrupting the peace and stability in the region. Iran has not yet made a statement about the attack.” Apparently, some of the chemical agents used by Syria have fallen on its media personnel.

There is, however, an over-emphasis by the media as to whether Tehran will respond to these latest developements and to its being embarrassed by Israel’s retaliation and destruction of much of its military infrastructure in Syria. The more formidable enemy is Iran’s proxy in Lebanon, the Hezbollah, which is not getting the media attention that it should. If Israel had acted in Lebanon the way that it did in Syria, it could have prevented the massive buildup of rockets and missiles now possessed by the Hezbollah, which are said to number over 100,000, all pointed in Israel’s direction. This terrorist organization has turned into a sizeable military force since the Second Lebanon War in 2006, and many in their organization have gained combat experience by being active participants in the 7-year civil war in Syria. In all likelihood, if a serious military confrontation takes place with Syria, or with Iran, directly or indirectly, the Hezbollah will be active participants in that,as well. As I mentioned in previous posts, Israel is preparing for a multi-front war, the opening shots of which may have been the Iranian missile barrage from Syria last week. For now, as we begin a new week, there is an uneasy quiet on the northern front.

Increasing Tensions in the South

If the northern arena is taking a breather, the southern arena is picking up steam. The weekly, Friday confrontations along the Gaza fence are growing in intensity and in the damage that is being done to the fields on the Israeli side of the fence by “Kite Bombs” prepared by the “Palestinians”. Acres of land here have been destroyed by this unconventional, new weapon, that as of now, Israel is struggling to cope with.  The facade of these weekly confrontations being “non-violent” has long been negated. During yesterday’s demonstration, “Palestinians” set fire to gas pipelines that carry gas from Israel to the Gaza Strip. As the expression goes, they are “shooting themselves in the foot”.

It is expected that the violence will reach its peak on Tuesday of this coming week, as we begin the week with Jerusalem Day (commemorating the reunification of Jerusalem in 1967) on Sunday, the dedication of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem on Monday (coinciding with the 70th anniversary of Israel’s establishment according to the Gregorian calendar) and Nakba Day (what the “Palestinians” refer to as the day of catastrophe) on Tuesday.  One leader of the terrorist organization, Hamas, hinted that it is possible that hundreds of thousands of “purely peaceful” protestors would storm the fence. Israel’s forces will continue to defend against any terrorist attack and “Palestinian” attempts to breach the border, instigated by Hamas. A massive protest and confrontation will undoubtedly result in a multitude of casualties, which would be in keeping with Hamas’s goals of gaining as much media coverage as possible, in the hope that the international community will  not only condemn, but take action against, Israel. This coming week’s Gaza fence confrontations will provide the headline coverage that Hamas has been waiting for. It should be clear that one of the easiest ways to negate so-called “Palestinian” claims to the land of Israel is by noting their readiness to destroy it.

“Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” (Genesis 28:15)

“No weapon that is formed against you will prosper.” (Isaiah 54:17)

“Blessed be the LORD from Zion, Who dwells in Jerusalem. Praise the LORD!” (Psalm 135:21)

Bless, be blessed and be a blessing.

Marvin

“Fix It Or Nix It.”

“Fix It Or Nix It.”

Iran put on a good show. It is a good actor on the international stage of the ship of fools. It bamboozled its negotiation partners into believing that it was sincere in its proclamations and its alleged willingness to put its nuclear ambitions on hold. It got what it wanted – a deal signed in July, 2015, that totally serves Iran’s purposes. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the formal name for the nuclear agreement – “the agreement”) that was signed does not prevent Iran from upgrading its centrifuges and, among other things, it allows Iran to assert that any site within its borders is a military site and, therefore, is exempt from inspection. The agreement fails to restrict Iran from developing its missile program, which would be the “means” by which it would deliver any nuclear payload and it totally ignores – and therefore, allows – Iran to continue with its plans for Middle East hegemony. 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been an ardent opponent of the agreement with Iran and has, on more than one occasion, said “Fix It or Nix It”. As slogans go, this is a nice one. But, neither fixing, nor nixing, the agreement, by itself, will stop Iran’s nuclear ambitions. As for “fixing” the agreement, that is not a practical solution for Iran, which made a “good deal” for itself. Therefore, it has no reason to agree to amend it. Serious, crippling economic sanctions were imposed on Iran and it only agreed to come to the nogotiating table because of the economic pressures that it was facing. Once the agreement was signed and the sanctions were removed, it immediately entered into various business deals with different countries and private companies. And while it smiled all the way to the bank – and friendlier relations with the European Union – it continued its pursuits to attain a nuclear weapon, which would enable it to join an exclusive club of nuclear-capable nations and, give it the freedom to say and do as it pleases. Lest we forget, when the agreement was signed, it was touted as a great success that was brought about by the joint efforts of many of America’s allies. Now, with the discovery that Iran lied from day one and that it negotiated the JCPOA in bad faith, the nations that praised it as the deal of the century now have a difficult time to admit that they were wrong. The ugly pride of politics This is where skill in diplomacy enters the picture. 

If “fixing” the deal were to be a realistic option, it would serve Iran’s interests even further. Iran could agree to re-negotiate and drag out those negotiations for an extended period of time, possibly even years, that would bring it close to the 10-year breakout period, that would free it of all obligations. And, with Russia and China involved in the renewed negotiations, the matter can be delayed time and time again, even as it was during the original negotiations and make a farce of any attempt at agreeing to any revisions.

So, then, if “fixing” the deal is not really practical or reasonably workable, that leaves us with the second part of the “either/or” situation, namely: “nixing” the deal, accompanied by strong, economic sanctions imposed by the international community … and enforced!. Enter President Trump, who tonight (9 p.m., Israel time – 2 p.m. Eastern Standard Time in the U.S.) withdrew the U.S. from the 2015 nuclear agreement and said that it would reimpose “powerful”, economic sanctions. If other countries will continue to deal with Iran, they, too, might be subject to sanctions. 

Clearly, “nixing” the JCPOA is an encouragement to its critics, not the least of which is Prime Minister Netanyahu, whose status has increased before the international community, as the leader of the opposition to this disastrous agreement, and as the one who, in a very real sense, was the prime mover behind the U.S. deciding to withdraw from the agreement. It also served to present President Trump as someone who does what he says he will do, a fact that he clearly emphasized.

How does this decision impact Iran? Despite Trump’s announcement, Iran will not kowtow and easily abandon its nuclear ambitions, nor its nuclear program. In order for it to pursue its desire to gain hegemony over the Middle East, it must reject outright the action of the U.S. It must act in defiance of Trump’s announcement and accuse the U.S. of acting illegally, among other things that it will come up with. It must make every effort not to “lose face”, particularly in the eyes of the countries of the Middle East. The imposition of economic sanctions, even severe economic sanctions by the U.S. alone, will not immediately bring Iran to its knees. This will take time, which works in favor of Iran. The U.S. will need the support of other nations to make the sanctions effective. This, too, will take time. The only way for Iran to be stopped in its tracks is for it to realize that it is in a genuine and serious danger of a coordinated military strike against it. Only then will it sit up and think through the consequences of being on the wrong side of military attacks.

Iran has threatened that there will be consequences if the U.S. pulls out of the agreement. In this regard, it must be remembered that Israel and the U.S. are strong allies and have a common position with regard to the nuclear deal. Also to be remembered in this entire scenario is Iran’s threats to retaliate against Israel for the attacks on its bases in Syria during the last few months and, particularly, the one on April 9th, which killed Iranian advisers and members of the Revolutionary Guards. The Israeli military is on “high alert” and is prepared for an Iranian missile attack from Syria and Lebanon. It also has a dozen warships in the Mediterranean, along the northern coast of Israel, as well as tanks in some northern cities. In addition to a potential rocket and missile threat, there is concern about the possibility of attempted physical infiltration. While writing this post, I received an alert that the IDF instructed communities in the area of the Golan Heights to open up public bomb shelters, even as F-16s are flying overhead and are circling in the skies over the Syrian portion of the Golan. The IDF also called up some members of the reserves.

The big questions now are: Where do we go from here? What is Plan B, or Plan C, who will participate in it and how long will it take to put it into place? And now, the political pundits are preparing to prophesy.

“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

“Do not fear them, for the LORD your God is the one fighting for you.” (Deuteronomy 3:22) 

Keep looking up!

Bless, be blessed and be a blessing.

Marvin

The Price for Fulfilling a Vision

The Price for Fulfilling a Vision

It’s the little things that catch our attention, things like:-

May 1, 2018: the statement by Michael Oren, a former Israeli ambassador to Washington and now serving as a deputy minister for diplomacy in the prime minister’s office, that the expected peace plan of U.S. President Trump will undoubtedly require Israeli concessions, but that Israel would be foolish to reject it. In his opinion, no U.S. President has been a more favorable ally to Israel than Trump. Therefore, we should welcome the peace plan, irrespective of its content. In his words: “My own feeling is to strongly recommend that the Israeli government accept this plan with an open mind, if not open arms, that we engage with it energetically and that we certainly don’t reject it out of hand.”

May 4, 2018: a report that President Trump revealed his proposed peace plan to Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman during the latter’s visit to Washington last week. This plan, long-awaited by many, will require Israel to give up four areas of East Jerusalem that would serve as the capital of a “Palestinian” state. One Hebrew language, daily newspaper here reported that Trump’s plan does not include the Old City of Jerusalem, which would be recognized as “international territory”. But, the proposed peace plan is also reported to contain total U.S. support of Israel in any matter concerning Iran. This is a broad provision and is expected to include support of Israel before the international community, as well as provide military aid and weaponry, in the event that Israel would decide to take action against Iran, even if initiated by Israel. The office of the Israeli Defense Minister refused to comment. Trump’s peace plan is expected to be made public after the U.S. Embassy is re-dedicated, this time in Jerusalem, on May 14.

May 5, 2018: In an interview given by Defense Minister Liberman, he commented on the upcoming move of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, saying: “There are no free meals. National ambition and fulfilling a vision has a price. Opening the US embassy in Jerusalem will have a price too and it is one worth paying. I hope there won’t be, but I think that this decision is historic, important and dramatic. We have to welcome – and be prepared to pay prices. No one gave us our country on a silver tray.”

So, the summary of the above statements is: take it, whatever it is; we’ll probably have to make concessions (it seems that we are always the ones having to do that); favors come with a price and big favors come with a big price. 

On December 7, 2017, after Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s eternal capital, I asked: “The only question I have at the moment is ‘What price is Israel going to have to pay for this announcement?'” Now, we get a glimpse of what it will cost, though foggy. Soon, we’ll see it clearly! Woe to those who try to divide up God’s land (Joel 3:2), whoever it is.

Iran, again. Things are definitely heating up.

A month ago, a Syrian base was bombed and 7 Iranian military advisers and members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard were killed. Iran said that it would retaliate for the strike. Israeli defense officials are preparing for a possible revenge attack by Iran, from Syria, with rocket and missile launches directed at northern Israel. While Tehran is not looking for an all-out war with Israel, it is anticipated that Iran’s retaliation will be directed against military, as opposed to civilian, targets. According to a report on one of Israel’s major TV stations: “Israel has recently identified with certainty Iranian preparations to fire at the north…We are not on the eve of war with Iran… but Iran is very determined to carry out an attack to avenge the T-4 strike and the deaths of its military personnel”. According to the TV report, the Israel Defense Forces reportedly claimed that they would hit all Iranian targets in Syria, if an attack was launched against Israeli territory. And, of course, Defense Minister Liberman said only a week ago that “If Iran attacks Tel Aviv, Israel will strike Tehran.” But, there is the Hezbollah, the Iranian proxy in Lebanon, which has over 100,000 missiles aimed in our direction. If Iran launches a missile attack from Syria, even if against military targets only, there is a great likelihood that the Hezbollah will join the fray and be less discriminating in its choice of targets. Not to be forgotten is Hamas, Iran’s other proxy in Gaza, who is still trying to make its mark on the world with its “kite bombs”, among other violent means. We have various anti-missile systems, but if we blow all of their projectiles out of the air, what will follow after that?

Earlier today, Prime Minister Netanyahu said: “We are determined to block the Iranian entrenchment, even at the cost of confrontation…We don’t want an escalation, but we are prepared for every scenario. We don’t want confrontation, but if there needs to be one, it is better now than later. (my emphasis) 

Yes, it is the little statements that grab our attention. 

This is not exactly what I wanted to share this evening, but it’s definitely on the front burner.

“Do not fear them, for I have given them into your hands; not one of them shall stand before you.” (Joshua 10:8)

‘They will fight against you, but they will not overcome you, for I am with you to deliver you’, declares the LORD.” (Jeremiah 1:19) 

“The Lord bless you from Zion, and may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life.” (Psalm 128:5)

Bless, be blessed and be a blessing.

Marvin

The “Nuked” Truth

The “Nuked” Truth

As expected, the media was all over the presentation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The left pooh-poohed it, while the right applauded it. The charts and physical files and computer discs certainly aided him in his presentation. And, the fact that Israel’s Mossad was able to get into the heart of Iran and get all of the documentation is an accomplishment of major proportions that will certainly have Iran thinking twice before acting. The biggest argument against Netanuyahu’s “revelations” is that when all was said and done, there was no clear showing that Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapons agenda now. Iran responded to Netanyahu’s presentation, claiming it was merely another raving from “the boy who cries wolf”. What effect did it have on other countries and governments, as well as upon individuals? Undoubtedly, in the final analysis, much will depend on what their respective perspectives were regarding both the nuclear deal and Netanyahu prior to the broadcast.

Granted, his presentation did not reveal a smoking gun. But, it did focus world attention on Iran’s false and misleading conduct, which lead to the signing of the nuclear agreement in the first place. Are we missing something here? Are we failing to see the forest through the trees? From the outset, P.M. Netanyahu has been arguing against the deal that was made with Iran and six world powers (the P5 +1, it sounds more like a rock band than international leadership) that was intended to delay Iran’s entry into the realm of nuclear capability. He said that the agreement would, in effect, grant to Iran an open road to developing a nuclear weapon. Last night (Monday), he offered proof of his claims. If what he claimed is true – that Iran never stopped pursuing its nuclear ambitions – then the world needs to sit up and not only take notice, but to respond accordingly. And, if his claims are true, then the intelligence communities of the world have been duped into believing an outrageous lie, that the leopard has, indeed, changed his spots. Even John Kerry, who was then serving as Secretary of State during the Obama administration, said that the U.S. had “absolute knowledge” about Iran’s pursuits of developing nuclear weapons capability. The Israeli Mossad succeeded in obtaining a vast multitude of documentation that, if valid, would put to shame the faulty intelligence information that the six world powers possessed when they signed the agreement with Iran. Potential test sites and designs for nuclear warheads are enough to create serious concerns about Iran’s believability. Again, this information was only now disclosed, again pointing to faulty intelligence gathering by the “world powers”.

But, the consequences of the disclosures made by Netanyahu yesterday are far-reaching. If Israel’s claims are shown to be correct regarding Iran’s systematic lying to weapons inspectors and the International Atomic Energy Agency, then it could also impact the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty that was signed by Iran. If it lied the “big lie” once, the likelihood is that it continued to lie all along. Will the international community seek to penalize Iran for its deception? It’s difficult to say at this juncture. Much will depend on how President Trump will deal with the situation by May 12th. Netanyahu believes that Trump “will do the right thing”. Undoubtedly, he will do what he believes to be right. People usually do what they want to do, even if others close to them are against it. The bottom line that we always ask here is “whether it will be good for Israel”? If the U.S. cancels the deal, Iran will, indeed, have an open road to do what it wants. Sanctions against Iran have been removed and the nations of the world are only too happy to continue in business ventures with Iran. So, if the deal is nixed, why would Iran want to sit down and re-negotiate it? It could be affected and encouraged to renew the talks if new, strong and paralyzing sanctions are put into place. Is no deal better than a bad deal? It really depends on who the players are. If the nuclear deal with Iran comes to an end, the big question will be: Is there a “Plan B” for what will happen afterwards? 

Moving Towards War?

If the war planes that have been flying overhead all day are any indication, the natural perception is that Israel is preparing for war with Iran … and with some of its proxies in the region.

Responding today to Irans threats to, among other things, “annihilate” the cities of Tel Aviv and Haifa, Israel Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman stated: “Israel can not afford to ignore Iran’s threats that its leaders promise to destroy Israel…The threats from Tehran come week after week. They do not need excuses for that.” He did not expand on that and there is increased speculation that Israel might make a pre-emptive strike on strategic Iranian targets. One can beat the war drums for only so long before the drums stop and the tribes go after each other.

“I am for peace, but when I speak, they are for war.” (Psalm 120:7)

And He will judge between the nations, and will render decisions for many peoples; and they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, and never again will they learn war.” (Isaiah 2:4) May this speedily come to pass.

Bless, be blessed and be a blessing.

Marvin