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Updated: 2 hours 49 min ago

IDF Gets Eurovision Fever

4 hours 21 min ago

Israelis got the Eurovision fever and IDF soldiers are no exception. A group of soldiers in green show that the IDF has many hidden talents. Presenting IDF: The Musical.

Israeli Minister Performs Kohanic Blessing on Temple Mount [WATCH]

4 hours 34 min ago

Uri Ariel, a member of the Knesset for The Jewish Home Party and the Minister of  Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, ascended the Temple Mount on Sunday. The day was a special occasion: Pesach Sheni, the day on which Jews who were unable to bring the Passover offering on the 14th of Nisan would bring their Passover lamb one month later.

Speak to B’nei Yisrael, saying: When any of you or of your posterity who are defiled by a corpse or are on a long journey would offer a Pesach  they shall offer it in the second month, on the fourteenth day of the month, at twilight. They shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. Numbers 9:10-11

Ariel is a long-time advocate for Jewish rights on the Temple Mount and a Kohen (descendant of Aaron the High Priest).During his tour of the Temple Mount Compound, Ariel stopped on the steps leading up to the gold-domed Dome of the rock which stands on the site where the two Jewish Temples once stood. He began by specifying the prime minister, the president of Israel, the IDF, the Israeli police, and the security forces for being blessed. He then recited  Birkat Hakohanim (the priestly blessing) as it appears in Numbers 6:23-27:

May the LORD bless you and guard you,

May the LORD make His face shed light upon you and be gracious unto you,

May the LORD lift up His face unto you and give you peace.

Normally, the blessing is performed by the priests holding their hands up with the fingers spread in the manner made famous by Leonard Nimoy (a kohen) when he played Spock on the television series Star Trek but Ariel did not perform this aspect of the ritual. His reticence may have been due to the agreement between Jordan and Israel which prohibits Jewish prayer at the site.

Ariel then wished the people who accompanied him with a joyous holiday. It should be noted that the Israeli police did not prevent the minister from performing the ritual.

“Israel Unprepared for the 17 Million People Who Will be Living Here in 2050”

5 hours 16 min ago

Despite recent attempts by the government to change the housing situation, the housing market in Israel is still in crisis—and if far-reaching changes are not implemented immediately, the crisis will turn into a socio-economic disaster in the years to come, Israel Builders Association President Raul Srugo warned at the association’s annual conference, which took place over the weekend in Eilat.

Srugo told the conference that the government must “stop pulling the wool over the public’s eyes.”

“There is a shortage of apartments here, much greater than the 146,000 households that have registered for the Mehir Lemishtaken [“Move-in Price” subsidized housing program for first-time buyers] lotteries. For years, we have been building fewer than 50,000 new housing units per year. To solve the crisis in the short term, we need to add another 20,000 housing starts a year in sought-after areas and get to 70,000 housing unit starts per year,” Srugo said.

Professor David Passig, a future studies researcher, also addressed the conference. Passig discussed global trends in housing and explained that the housing market in Israel was going in the opposite direction from the rest of the world: while global population growth has been checked, Israel is seeing impressive population growth. Passig presented a model showing that by 2050, Israel’s population would number at least 16 million.

“Not preparing for that scenario is a crime. Our children will blame us if we aren’t ready for the future because we know that this is what is going to happen. It’s not something we can say we didn’t know about,” Passig said.

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Srugo called on the government to establish a strategic planning authority while keeping its housing task force active.

“We are on the brink of a socio-economic abyss. As long as the government doesn’t begin strategic planning for the next generation in Israel, we’ll find ourselves in the biggest crisis since the state was founded. In 2030, there will be 12 million residents in Israel, and in 2050 there will be 17 million people here. Remember, this is a country where it takes 15 years to approve construction of a single [new] neighborhood, so 2030 is tomorrow and 2050 is the day after tomorrow. By then, Israel will need two more major metropolitan areas. Not two cities—two new major built-up zones.”

Srugo warned that residential construction could not grow at the rate of demand without a dramatic increase in investment in infrastructure. To allow infrastructure work to take a leap forward, he demanded that the government address immediately the growing shortage of stone and other construction aggregates, thereby lowering the cost of raw materials for construction. He also demanded that the government keep Chinese construction companies out of Israel, as most Western nations have.

“We don’t need to bring in the Chinese and if we continue to do so, it will have serious ramifications for the [construction] sector, as well as our economy and security. Israel needs laborers, not foreign companies,” he warned.

“The government must encourage the population to move to the periphery by investing in education, culture, and jobs, as well as building the necessary infrastructure,” he said.

“Immediately expanding construction activity, which we need to do now, is the right thing for society and, no less important, for the economy. In the next few years, Israel will need to handle a deficit. Expanding construction and infrastructure as needed will contribute to economic growth, adding 4.1 percent per year to the gross domestic product, an additional 18 million shekels [$5 million] per year to the state coffers from the sale of land and taxes, and 70,000 jobs for Israelis,” he said.

According to Israel Builders Association CEO Amnon Merhav, all the data presented at the Eilat conference “points to the need for a major change in how the government is handling the housing crisis.”

“Only 18,000 apartments have been sold through the Mehir Lemishtaken program thus far, and even though the government hasn’t made it public, we can assess that the number of apartments that have actually been handed over to the buyers is even smaller, a few thousand,” Merhav told the conference. “So government intervention has resulted in an increase in the gap between supply and demand for apartments. At the same time, construction inputs, which jumped by 3 percent in 2018, and the shortage of raw materials, have become a major threat to our ability to address housing prices.”

Iranian Military Commander: Iran On the Brink of ‘All-Out Clash With the Enemy’

5 hours 31 min ago

The Iranian leadership continues to prepare for further economic, political and military tensions with the United States, while the United States continues to build up its military forces in the Persian Gulf region.

Saudi facilities hit. Source: Houthi-controlled al-Masirah TV.

The USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group is already in the area, and the crippling U.S. sanctions will continue. In Iran, the top echelon of the regime headed by Supreme Leader Khamenei is preparing public opinion for an ongoing confrontation with the United States—the “Great Satan”—and particularly for the anticipated economic hardship, framing it as part of what the regime calls the “struggle economy.” In reality, the economy keeps deteriorating rapidly, with growing shortages and skyrocketing prices of consumer goods.

In the regional arena as well, tensions are mounting. On May 14, 2019, the Yemeni Houthis—who are under Iran’s influence in Yemen—used seven GPS-guided unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) to attack the Aramco East-West pipeline’s pumping stations in Saudi territory in the Dawadmi and Afif regions.

A United Nations report submitted to the U.N. Security Council in January 2018 found compelling evidence that Houthi-made “Qatef” drones had an almost identical construction and capabilities as the Iranian “Ababil” UAV.

On May 12, 2019, Saudi, Norwegian and UAE oil tankers were sabotaged near the shore of the Fujairah emirate in the Gulf of Oman.

Middle East oil facilities vulnerable to Iranian attack: No. 1 is the East-West Saudi pipeline. In the inset, No. 7, is a map of the Habshan-Fujeirah pipeline that bypasses the Strait of Hormuz.

In both cases, Iran signaled that amid the tightening sanctions and deepening economic crisis it is capable of pinpoint strikes on sensitive oil infrastructure in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, as well as in the heart of the Saudi oil industry.

The attack on the Aramco oil infrastructure highlights the persistent threat of Houthi unmanned weapon systems targeting vital onshore and offshore Saudi and Saudi-affiliated sites.

The targeted pipeline was built during the Iran-Iraq war as an alternative for Saudi Arabia should the Strait of Hormuz be blocked. The oil terminal at the port of Fujairah where Saudi tankers were sabotaged is another such alternative.

The message sent to the UAE and/or Saudi Arabia by these attacks was thus that “we know where your vulnerabilities are.”

Thus, the attacks near the port of Fujairah and in Saudi territory are symbolic. The Emirates serve as an outlet for an oil pipeline that bypasses the Strait of Hormuz and originates in Habshan in Abu Dhabi. As for the drone attack, it marks the first time that the Houthis—aided in their use of missiles and drones by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Lebanese Hezbollah—have hit a target nearly 500 miles from the Yemeni border (assuming the drones were not launched from Saudi territory).

“The armed forces of Yemen carried out an operation deep in Saudi territory.” Source: Tasnim News Agency.

Significantly, after the latest incident the Tasnim News Agency, which is affiliated with the IRGC, published a cartoon that glorifies the Houthis defeating Saudi Arabia.3 In the cartoon: a traditional Houthi dagger (jambiya) with a hilt in the form of a drone breaks the Saudi sword.

The Houthis have attacked Saudi Arabia and the UAE with drones and missiles in the past. In July 2018, a drone exploded at Abu Dhabi airport causing minor damage and sending a strong message to the UAE, which plays a dominant role in the southern parts of Yemen. In January 2019, a senior intelligence chief and senior officials were killed at the al-Anad air force base just outside Aden by a weaponized drone that exploded above them as they attended a military parade.

Given the recent incidents in Fujairah and Saudi Arabia, if the United States or one of its regional allies reveals clear intelligence that Iran was behind the attack on the Saudi tankers, it could lead to the deployment of military escorts for commercial vessels in the region. That, in turn, could augment the frictions with the Iranian naval presence and provoke a further escalation, to the point of limited hostilities between Iran and the United States.

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-in_article'); }); The most dangerous situation the Islamic Revolution has ever known

Meanwhile, the IRGC’s new commander, Hossein Salami, said on May 15, 2019: “Today, our enemies, by applying the maximum pressure strategy and using all their capacities, are trying to break the steadfastness of the Iranian nation, but they will fail.” He added that Iran’s enemies are unaware that the resilience, determination and honor of the nation form its protective shield.

Salami, who is known for his scathing remarks about the United States and Israel, called the current situation the most dangerous and sensitive one that the Iranian Islamic Revolution has ever known and said Iran was at the brink of an all-out confrontation with the enemy. He claimed, however, that Iran’s enemies had exhausted all their resources and, despite their steadfast demeanor, were falling apart internally and on the way to being vanquished by Iran.

Iranian Defense Minister Amir Hatami likewise declared: “Iran stands at the peak of defense-military preparedness to counter any threat or act of aggression,” and that it would defeat the U.S.-Israeli alliance. Hatami emphasized the fact that last year, despite the difficult conditions it is facing, Iran did not neglect military development, buttressing its power of deterrence.

“Negotiations Are like a Poison”

Meanwhile, Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, met with senior officials and again rejected any possibility of negotiating with the United States. “As long as the United States is what it is now,” he said, “negotiating is but poison, and with this current administration that poison is twice [as lethal].”

Fars News cartoon implies that the “war-mongering” Zionist regime is behind the attack in Fujairah. Source: Fars News.

In a wide-ranging survey of the difficult history of Iran’s relations with the “Great Satan,” he asserted that “the U.S. leaders serve the interests of the Zionist regime more than any other country.” Khamenei also elaborated on the United States’ domestic difficulties, which, he said, were leading it to externalize its problems and look for enemies.

“Negotiations,” Khamenei said, “entail exchanges, give and take, but all that interests the United States is power. They say, come, let’s discuss your defensive capabilities and the reasons that you are developing missiles of certain [long] ranges; reduce the range of the missiles so that if we hit you, you won’t be able to hit back. Come, let’s discuss your strategic influence in the region, which means ‘Give it up.’”

Khamenei added, “Negotiations are like a poison as long as the United States behaves as it behaves, and given the current [Trump] administration—which is not decent and does not obey any law—the poison is especially strong, and as a result no noble and wise Iranian will negotiate over his advantages … Not one of our clever people is looking for negotiations.”

Khamenei repeated his assessment that a war between Iran and the United States is unlikely.

“This is not a matter of a military confrontation between the two countries since war is not in the offing … We do not want a war, and neither does the United States, which knows it does not stand to gain anything from a war. This is a struggle of aspirations and values, and Iranian willpower is strong because Iran puts its trust in Allah. The boastful and bullying enemy has no real strength.”

Referring to Washington’s calls for Iran to change its policy, Khamenei said that Iran’s behavior has indeed changed, and “the Iranian people now hate the United States more than ever, and it can no longer interfere in their affairs.”

Source: Fars News.

The Supreme Leader’s forthright statements came in the wake of U.S. President Donald Trump’s offer to negotiate with Iran and his provision to the Swiss of a phone number the Iranians can use to call him directly. Trump’s proposal earned him derisive cartoons in most of the Iranian media. In this Fars cartoon, Trump holds a “telephone carrier” and says, “I want the Iranians to call me, but John Kerry is telling them not to call.”

 

Israeli Researcher Rolls Out Groundbreaking Flying/Driving Robot

6 hours 2 min ago

 It flies like Superman, crawls through small spaces like a cockroach, delivers packages like your favorite pizza-shop messenger and drives like a Formula One World Champion. The world’s first experimental robot drone that soars into the sky like a typical quadcopter, drives on tough terrain and squeezes into tight niches using the same motors, has been developed by imaginative and skilled researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) in Beersheba.

(Photos courtesy of Prof. David Zarrouk)

The hybrid FSTAR (flying sprawl-tuned autonomous robot) is due to be introduced at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation 2019 in Montreal, Canada on May 20. It was developed in BGU’s Bio-Inspired and Medical Robotics Lab by Prof. David Zarrouk, a senior lecturer in BGU’s department of mechanical engineering and head of the Bio-Inspired and Medical Robotics Lab, together with his graduate student, Nir Meiri.

The department was among the first established in the nearly 50-year-old university. The first class graduated in 1970, and many of them remained in the Negev to work.

Its research focuses on modeling, designing and manufacturing of unique robots, including miniature crawling robots and serial crawling robots for search & rescue applications, space, maintenance, agricultural and medical purposes. They specialize in designing minimally actuated robots that are easy to control and operate, as well as on modeling the interaction between robots and slippery and compliant environments. Our manufacturing techniques include machining, laser cutting, and 3D printing.

FSTAR can fly over obstacles or run underneath them. The sprawl, which adjusts from a flat configuration to 55 degrees, makes it possible for the bug-like robot to transform its movement from a flying quadcopter to a car-like robot. It also adjusts its width to crawl or run on flat surfaces, climb over large obstacles and up closely-spaced walls, or squeeze through a tunnel, pipe or narrow gaps.

It can run on the ground at a speed of up to eight feet per second (2.6 meters per second). That – combined with low energy consumption using the same motors – makes FSTAR ideal for a broad range of applications that may need a longer work time.

Possible commercial uses are package deliveries, since it can quickly fly to a target zone and then drive using its wheels safely and quietly to reach the recipient’s doorstep. FSTAR can also be used for search and rescue applications as it can fly over various obstacles and crawl between or underneath cracks where a regular drone cannot fly. The robot can also be used for agriculture, maintenance, cleaning, filming, entertainment, law enforcement and anti-terrorist applications.

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“We plan to develop larger and smaller versions to expand this family of sprawling robots for different applications, as well as algorithms that will help exploit speed and cost of transport for these flying/driving robots.”. Zarrouk noted.

Zarouk earned his master’s degree in stochastic mechanics and doctoral degree in medical robotics at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa. Between Aug. 2011 and Oct. 2013, he did a postdoctoral fellowship at the biomimetics and millisystems lab at the University of California at Berkeley, working on miniature crawling robots. He received many prizes for excellence in research and teaching, including a Fulbright fellowship, Fulbright-Ilan Ramon postdoctoral Fellowship, Hershel Rich Innovation award and an Alfred and Yehuda Weisman prize for consistent excellence in teaching.

His research was supported in part by the Helmsley Charitable Trust through the Agricultural, Biological and Cognitive Robotics Initiative (ABC Robotics) and by the BGU Marcus Endowment Fund. The Marcus legacy gift, of over $480 million, was donated in 2016 to American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev by Dr. Howard and Lottie Marcus. The donation is the largest gift given to any Israeli university and is believed to be the largest gift to any Israeli institution.

The ICRA conference is bringing together the world’s top researchers and most important companies to share ideas and advances in the field.  Many of the most important developments in robotics and automation have historically been first exposed at ICRA, and 2019 will take this trend one step further. As the practical and socio-economic impact of our field continues to expand, the role of industry-centered activities has grown and will be a critical aspect of the meeting.

EXODUS 23:15

7 hours 8 sec ago

“You shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread” says the Bible, so why do we refer to the holiday as “Passover”? Rabbi Tuly provides a Jewish teaching that explains the difference between the two names and gets to the very heart of what this special festival is all about. Unleavened Bread, or “Matzah” refers to the Jewish people’s devotion to God when they followed Him without sufficient provisions into the wilderness, whereas “Passover” refers to God’s loving concern for the People of Israel.

An Interview With the Guatemalan Ambassador on the Spiritual Bond With Israel

7 hours 15 min ago

On the eve of moving the Guatemalan embassy to Israel, Hananya Naftali, the prime minister’s deputy social media adviser, speaks with Mario Bucaro Flores about his country’s long history of Christian Zionism.

The “Cultural Intifada” Israel is Losing on the Temple Mount

7 hours 27 min ago

Visitors to the Temple Mount have documented timbers from the First and Second Temple being abused in a manner that will ultimately lead to their destruction.

In March, Palestinians rioted on the Temple Mount, breaking into an area adjacent to Sha’ar HaRachamim (Gate of Mercy, also known as the Golden Gate). The site was locked 16 years ago by court order after it was used as a meeting place for a Hamas-affiliated organization.

Their actions were in gross violation of agreements between Israel and Jordan concerning the site. In 1967 there was one mosque on the Temple Mount: the silver-domed al Aqsa. Due to Mulsim expansionism, there are currently five areas set aside for Muslim prayer that are off-limits to non-Muslims. As per the initial agreement, non-Muslims are restricted from praying on the Temple Mount.

This area is incredibly sensitive for political as well as religious reasons and this violation led to international negotiations involving Jordan and the United States. Several court orders were issued by the Israeli High Court. The Waqf ignored these summonses and ultimately was allowed de facto control over the site.

According to Jewish tradition, the Messiah will arrive via the Sha’ar HaRachamim. Out of a mistaken belief that Jewish tradition speaks of the Messiah being from the priestly caste, the Ottomans built a cemetery in front of the gate in order to prevent the Jewish Messiah from arriving.

In addition to religious interests, the site has archaeological significance that is being overlooked. Adjacent to the site is a pile of timber covered in a tarpaulin. Though they appear to be refuse and are treated as such by the Muslims, some of these timbers are from Solomon’s Temple. Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount have noted that refuse is being piled on top of these precious timbers.

Timbers at the Golden Gate (Photo courtesy Michael Miller)

Dr. Gabriel Barkay is familiar with Waqf abuses leading to the destruction of artifacts. He began the Temple Mount Sifting project in 2005 after Waqf renovations to Solomon’s Stables resulted in over 400 truckloads of material containing artifacts being removed from the Temple Mount and dumped in landfills. Much of the material was lost but Dr. Barkay’s Sifting Project has succeeded in recovering many of these invaluable remnants from the Jewish Temples.

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Dr. Barkay explained the history and significance of the timbers.

“The earthquake in 1927 caused extensive damage to the Aqsa Mosque, causing it to collapse,” Dr. Barkay explained to Breaking Isreal News. “The roofing beams were dismantled and later, at the request of the Waqf, the beams were studied by Robert W. Hamilton, director of antiquities for the British Mandate. He described most of the beams and wooden panels as being from the early Islamic Ummayad Dynasty from the Eighth Century. The best examples were taken to be displayed at the Rockefeller Museum near Jerusalem where they are on display to this day.”

Dr. Barkay explained that some of the beams are currently in the Islamic Museum on the Temple Mount. Others were stored underneath the Temple Mount in Solomon’s Stables.

“When that area was turned into the Marwani Mosque, the beams were moved and many of them disappeared,” Dr. Barkay said. “The leftovers were put in the outer courtyard next to the Golden Gate.”

Some of the beams were sold to an Armenian wood merchant and even more disappeared.

“They were sold as scrap wood,” Dr. Barkay said. “It is quite possible that some ended up as firewood.”

Some timbers found their way to the town of Ofra in Samaria where they are being stored. Some of these beams have Arabic inscriptions and decorations while others have Roman inscriptions and decorations.

In the 1970’s, the beams were checked by a team of Israeli botanists who determined that most of them were cedars from Lebanon and some are Cyprus trees. They carried out Carbon-14 tests on several of the timbers.  Some were determined to have been felled about 1,340 years ago which is approximately when al Aqsa Mosque was originally built. One cypress beam was determined to be was found to be 2,600 years, or around 630 BCE, around 50 years before the destruction of the First Temple.

Shockingly, one of the oak beams was determined to be 2,860 years old. That meant the tree had been cut down around 880 BCE, early in the First Temple period.

“It may be that these beams were used in al Aqsa Mosque as a secondary use,” Dr. Barkay said. “It is possible that when al Aqsa was first built, the builders used materials that were on site from the destroyed Jewish Temples.”

About a decade ago, the Israeli Antiquities Authority wanted to preserve the beams but the Waqf insisted the beams are their property. There have been unconfirmed sightings of some of the beams stored next to the Golden Gate being burned.

“It is a very sad situation when antiquities of this importance are destroyed,” Dr. Barkay said. “Past experience has shown that the Waqf does not care about the antiquities of any civilization but their own. And here we see that they don’t even care to preserve artifacts from their own history.”

“When the Waqf worked with heavy machinery and carted away over 400 truckloads of earth from the Temple Mount, they showed a barbaric approach. They for sure should not be entrusted to take care of such delicate and important antiquities.  These artifacts are important for the history of all of humanity and civilization. We see here, as in other nations, that the Muslim attitude towards history and the past is entirely lacking tolerance and respect. This is a war of civilization; the Islamic civilization against all others. It is, quite simply, a cultural intifada.”

The appearance of refuse at the Golden Gate is additionally disturbing because it may indicate that the Waqf is renovating the site into a more permanent prayer area. Shortly after the riots that opened the area to Muslims, the Waqf requested permission from the Israeli authorities to perform these renovations at the site and they were denied. If the renovations are extensive, then even more artifacts will be destroyed.

Top 10 Biblical Tourist Spots in Israel [PHOTOS]

10 hours 17 min ago

Israel is filled with Biblical heritage sites, offering tourists various opportunities to connect with the land, people and God of the Bible. As a top tourist destination for Biblical experiences, tour guides in Israel have even been known even bring a Bible along to point out locations found in Biblical texts. Here are 10 of the most compelling Biblical sites you can visit on your next tour of Israel:

  1.    The Western Wall (Kotel)

Rising to about 62 feet, this 2,000-year-old wall of stone stands on the western side of the Temple Mount and once served as an outer retaining wall of the Holy Temple. For generations, the Jewish people have prayed at this site and continue to do so, especially on pilgrimage holidays, Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles), Pesach (Passover) and Shavuot (Pentacost). Located in the Old City of Jerusalem, the large Kotel plaza is often crowded with people on Shabbat and on holidays, and at other times, it serves as a peaceful, spiritual retreat for quiet contemplation and prayer. The Western Wall ranks as Jerusalem’s #1 tourist destination. For a unique Kotel experience, check out the Kotel Tunnel Tours operated by the Western Wall Heritage Foundation where you will be able to learn more (and see for yourself, below ground) about the history of Solomon’s Temple, Herod’s Temple and the Western Wall, sourced from Biblical, historical and archaeological perspectives.

A Jewish man blows the shofar while thousands pray in front of the Western Wall during the Cohen Benediction priestly blessing, Oct 07, 2004. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

                                                

  1.    Cave of Machpela (Tomb of the Patriarchs)

The ancient stones of this towering structure in Hebron may look familiar, as they were constructed by King Herod the Great (who also built the Second Temple of which the Western Wall still remains). Also known as the Tomb of the Patriarchs, the structure houses the underground burial caves where the Biblical Patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their wives, the Matriarchs, Sarah, Rebecca and Leah are believed to be buried. As the second Jewish holiest site in the world, approximately 700,000 people per year visit Hebron, located about an hour’s drive south of Jerusalem. The Hebron Fund is a popular choice of tour organizers, with tourists and locals alike sightseeing and participating in prayer services with experienced and local guides.

Visitors of all ages enjoy connecting in Hebron – pictured in front of the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs (Hebron Fund)
  1.    Mount Tabor

In modern times, this 2,000 foot-tall mountain in the lower Galilee is a beautiful spot for hiking trails. Covered in pine trees, Mount Tabor is surrounded by lush plains. But its history dates back to Biblical times – it is here where Barak and Deborah led the Jewish people against Sisera’s army and the Canaanites. Visitors can tour Mount Tabor to learn more about the area’s Biblical and strategic significance during the Second Temple, as both a site of settlement and the location of various battles.

Spring blooming of poppies in Galilee near the Nazareth, against the background biblical Mount Tabor, Israel (Shutterstock).
  1.  The Tomb of King David

Located on Mount Zion and outside the Old City of Jerusalem, an ancient building houses a cenotaph, or memorial marker, that indicates the underground caverns where tradition holds King David was buried. Prayer services are held on a regular basis, with Hasidic musical gatherings often taking place on Saturday nights.

King David of Israel playing the harp. Statue located near the entrance to the King David’s Tomb on Mount Zion in Jerusalem (Shutterstock)
  1.    The Jordan River

Many songs have been written about the river that connects the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea. According to Jewish tradition, the Jewish people crossed into the land of Israel at the Jordan River following the 40-year journey from Egypt. Additionally, according to Christian tradition, the Jordan River is the site of Jesus’ baptism. Today, the Jordan’s often-calm waters offer areas where tourists can partake in kayaking or rafting. There are many hiking trails run by the Israel National Parks Authority, as well as the famous baptismal site near kibbutz Kvutzat Kinneret (Casa al Yehud).

Beautiful landscape of the mountains of Galilee and Golan Heights via Jordan River (Shutterstock)
  1.    Masada

Masada, the high plateau overlooking the Dead Sea, has seen a great deal of Jewish history, from the Jewish zealots making their last stand against the Roman legions, to modern times, as tourists from all over the world come to enjoy the incredible views and history the site has to offer. Ascend and alight Masada by foot (there is a longer snake path or a shorter way up) or cable car. In Biblical times, unlike Shimon bar Kochba at the battle of Betar or the siege of Yodfat, the residents of Masada held out against the Romans and took their own lives rather than be taken captive and enslaved. Enjoy impressive archaeological remains protected by Israel’s National Parks Authority, concerts and Israel Defense Force ceremonies atop Masada – sure to be an inspirational site for your visit to the Holy Land.

Beautiful sunrise over Masada fortress and Judaean Desert. Ruins of King Herod’s palace. Israel. (Shutterstock)
  1.  The City of David

Located near the Old City, the City of David (Ir David) and its spectacular Jerusalem archaeological sites show what Israel’s capital looked like in Biblical days. Coins and other artifacts have been found in the neighborhood (Silwan), what may have been royal quarters for the rulers of the city. The site also includes portions of the underground aqueduct, which tourists can visit – the water tunnels are perfect for tourists to visit and learn on a hot summer day.

Excavations at the City of David in Jerusalem. (Shutterstock)
  1.  Sea of Galilee

The Sea of Galilee is a freshwater lake in Israel, fed largely by the Jordan River. Its Hebrew name, the Kinneret, is a Biblical reference from Numbers 34:11 and Joshua 13:27, which references the sea. Located on the ancient trade route linking Egypt with the northern kingdoms, the Sea of Galilee drew many Jewish, Greek and Roman settlers, including the families of Jesus and his disciples. According to Christian tradition, the Sea of Galilee is the site of Jesus’s ministry. Today, the site is an important tourist attraction, with hiking trails and baptism sites for Christian pilgrims, as well as leisure activities such as rafting and swimming.

A view of the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) from Mt. Arbel. (Credit: Shutterstock)
  1.    Shilo

The Biblical city of Shilo is mentioned in both the Hebrew Bible and Old Testament in the Books of Joshua, Judges, 1 Samuel, 1 Kings, Psalms and Jeremiah as the site where the Tabernacle and Ark of the Covenant were once located. Points of interest at the site include the place where the Tabernacle stood, storehouses from the time of the Tabernacle, water cisterns and ritual pools, lookouts, an olive press, wine-making press, family burial caves and more. Shilo is also great for family outings, with a short movie about its historical significance, as well as outdoor and leisure attractions like cycling, paintball and ATVs.

Excavations at the Biblical Tel Shiloh, a potential site of the Jewish Tabernacle. (Wikimedia Commons)
  1. Rachel’s Tomb

Although Biblical Rachel did not make it to Hebron, she gave up her burial place next to her husband in Hebron and accepted a burial on the side of a deserted road. Through this act of sacrifice, Rachel’s ‘prize’ was the children of Israel who visit her tomb every day, located at the northern entrance of Bethlehem. Stopping on the way to Hebron, visitors may pray at Rachel’s Tomb (Kever Rachel), which is the third holiest site in Judaism and a cornerstone of Jewish-Israeli identity, with Jews making a pilgrimage to this site since ancient times. Rachel’s story of years of childlessness, before she was granted children, has made her tomb a magnet for Jewish women to pray who are suffering from infertility.

Rachel’s Tomb as it looked more than a hundred years ago (right) and the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron. (Credit: Breaking Israel News)

Written in cooperation with the Hebron Fund

PA Announces Plans to “Torpedo” Trump’s “Despicable” Middle-East Peace Plan

11 hours 5 min ago

As is the case every year on “Nakba Day,” this May 15 the Palestinian “right of return” dominated the discourse of both the Palestinian Authority and Fatah. However, this year the discourse was doubly important, coming against the backdrop of the official announcement, expected in the next few weeks, of the Trump administration’s Mideast peace plan, known as the “deal of the century.”

According to leaks and assessments, the deal is not expected to include the right of return.

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Senior P.A. and Fatah officials reiterated that there would be no concessions on this matter, nor on any of the other Palestinian positions, and categorically rejected the deal. Additionally, Fatah posted messages and posters on its social media channels emphasizing its adherence to the right of return.‘’

The P.A. Foreign Ministry said in an official statement that the Palestinian people and its leadership conveys “its determination to torpedo the ‘deal of the century.’ [This day] will serve as a true platform for standing up to the despicable American measure and thwarting it. … Our people’s commemoration provides solid proof of its insistence on its just and legitimate national rights—its right of return, self-determination, and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state in the June 4, 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital. This is further proof that there is no statute of limitation to Palestinian rights, as long as our people keep the embers alive and remains steadfast on its homeland’s soil, behind its sagacious leadership, as personified by President Mahmoud Abbas.”

At a Ramadan iftar (breakfast) meal at the Kalandia refugee camp, P.A. Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh stressed: “The camp will continue to be a symbol of steadfastness and of the sacred right of return.” He promised to “provide the [refugee] camp with all form of assistance to bolster the steadfastness of its residents until they have returned to their land from which they were expelled.”

Fatah, too, released an announcement emphasizing that the Palestinian people is even “more determined to adhere to the legitimate national rights and principles, in conformity with international law and United Nations decisions, and first and foremost the right of return.” It underlined its opposition to the “deal of the century, the attempts to split the [Gaza] Strip from the West Bank, and the deplorable Trump declaration recognizing Jerusalem as the occupation state’s capital.”

Senior Fatah officials made similar statements. During a march in the Gaza Strip, PLO Executive Committee member Ahmad Abu Houli, who heads the PLO’s Palestinian Refugee Affairs Department, said: “The grand American scheme that targets [the Palestinians’] rights and principles via the American ‘deal of the century,’ the implementation of which effectively began with Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and to transfer the [U.S.] Embassy there, and which continued with the attack on UNRWA and the ending of its funding … shall not pass, and will be thrown on the trash heap of history. … The Palestinian leadership will not agree to [any] substitute for return, and it rejects all plans for granting citizenship [to the refugees in their current country of residence], expulsion, compensation, and an alternative homeland.”

See full article at MEMRI.

Al Jazeera: ‘Holocaust Paved Way’ for Jewish Immigration to ‘Palestine’[WATCH]

11 hours 22 min ago

AJ+ Arabic, an online media platform run by the Qatari Al Jazeera network, posted a video on May 18 about “the story of the Holocaust” on Twitter and Facebook. The video was titled: “The gas chambers killed millions of Jews—that’s how the story goes. What is the truth behind the Holocaust, and how did the Zionist movement benefit from it?”

The video is narrated by Muna Hawwa, a Kuwaiti-born Palestinian who lives in Qatar and works as a producer for Al Jazeera. In the video, Hawwa claims that the number of Jewish Holocaust victims remains “one of the most prominent historical debates to this day,” and says that some people believe that Hitler supported Zionist ideology.

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She claimed that the “much-regurgitated narrative of the Holocaust sorrows” paved the way for Jewish immigration to Palestine, and although she stressed that “denouncing the Holocaust is a moral obligation,” Hawwa added that Israel is the biggest “winner” from the Holocaust.

She added that it uses the “same justification” as a “launching pad for the racial cleansing and annihilation of the Palestinians.”

The ideology behind the State of Israel, she said, “suckled from the Nazi spirit,” concluding: “So how can a Palestinian denounce a crime that has become the flip side of his own tragedy?”

Shortly after its publication, the video could no longer be accessed on Facebook.

Israel Researchers Find Link Between Autism and General Anesthesia During Caesarean Births

11 hours 46 min ago

Autism arouses great fears among parents of babies and toddlers because so little is known about its causes and – while there are numerous subtypes along the autism spectrum and children can improve – it is not yet curable.

Now, researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Soroka University Medical Center in Beersheba have documented how children who are exposed to general anesthesia during Caesarean section births are at higher risk of developing autism.

Their findings were just published in the journal Autism and Developmental Disorders under the title “Exposure to General Anesthesia May Contribute to the Association between Cesarean Delivery and Autism Spectrum Disorder.”  

“We have known for many years that children born via C-section are at higher risk of autism, but we weren’t able to quantify exactly why,” says Dr. Idan Menashe, from BGU’s department of public health and the Zlotowski Center for Neuroscience.

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“The current research shows that the exposure to general anesthesia commonly used to perform a Caesarian section, rather than the operation itself, is related to communication challenges later in life. This is important because our findings highlight the potential reason for the association between c-section and autism for many years and suggest that C-sections performed with other types of anesthesia such as epidural or spinal sedation are relatively safe,” explained Menashe, who also serves as the scientific director of BGU’s National Autism Research Center.

Last year, the US Centers for Disease Control announced that one in 59 children is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Boys are four times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls. Although the condition characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech, and nonverbal communication can be reliably diagnosed as early as 18 months, in most countries, parents receive the diagnosis after age four.

Almost a third of children with ASD have an intellectual disability (IQ of less than 70); 25% are in the borderline range (IQ 71–85); and 44% have IQ scores in the average to above average range. Because autism is a spectrum disorder, each individual has a distinct set of strengths and challenges. The ways in which people with autism learn think and problem-solve can range from highly skilled to severely challenged. Some people with ASD may require significant support in their daily lives, while others may need less support and, in some cases, live entirely independently.

Several factors may influence the development of autism, and it is often accompanied by sensory sensitivities and medical issues such as gastrointestinal disorders, seizures or sleep disorders, as well as mental health challenges such as anxiety, depression and attention issues. 

The study, conducted by an interdisciplinary team from the National Autism Research Center at BGU and headed by Menashe, compared the births records of 350 children with autism and 2,000 healthy controls. They found that birth by C-section that was conducted with general anesthesia increases the risk of autism, while those performed with epidural or spinal (regional) anesthesia did not.

Their analysis of the records further showed that the risk of autism associated with general anesthesia is not related to the original reason for the surgery – whether it was by choice or because of medical complication. “We show that only CS performed with general anesthesia elevated the risk of ASD with no significant difference between indicated and non-indicated surgeries. We, therefore, suggest that exposure to [general anesthesia] during CS may explain the association between C-section and ASD,” Menashe explained.

Disturbingly, the team also found that the association between an infant’s exposure to general anesthesia and the development of ASD is particularly evident in relation to the most severe type of autism.

The team, besides Menashe, also included Maayan Huberman Samuel, Gal Meiri, Ilan Dinstein, Hagit Flusser, Analiya Michaelovski and Asher Bashiri.

Americans Paid for the Internet, We Deserve Free Speech On It

12 hours 29 min ago

“But, it’s a private company.”

It’s a familiar argument. Bring up the problem of Google, Facebook and Twitter suppressing conservative speech and many conservatives will retort that it’s a free market. The big dot com monopolies created their own companies, didn’t they? And we wouldn’t want government regulation of business.

In a FOX Business editorial, Iain Murray writes that breaking up dot coms like Google would be “a repudiation of conservative principles”. He argues that “Twitter is a private company” and that “there is no positive right to free speech on Twitter or any other private venue.”

“The same goes for the president’s attacks on Google and the complaints of conservative censorship,” Diane Katz writes at the Heritage Institute. “These private enterprises are not obligated to abide any sort of partisan fairness doctrine.”

The talking point that Google, Facebook and Twitter are private companies that can discriminate as they please on their private platforms, and that the First Amendment doesn’t apply, is in the air everywhere.

But it overlooks two very simple facts.

The driving force behind the censorship of conservatives isn’t a handful of tech tycoons. It’s elected officials. Senator Kamala Harris offered an example of that in a recent speech where she declared that she would “hold social media platforms accountable” if they contained “hate” or “misinformation”.

“Misinformation” is a well-known euphemism among Democrats and the media for conservative political content. It was originally known as “fake news” before President Trump hijacked the term to refer to the media. The recent Poynter list of “unreliable” sites was stacked with conservative sites. Lists like these aren’t hypothetical. Poynter runs the International Fact Checking Network which had been empowered by Facebook and other sites to deplatform conservative content through its ‘fact checks’.

All of this got underway in response to claims by Hillary Clinton and her allies that “fake news” had cost her the election and represented a grave attack on our democracy. The call was quickly taken up by Democrats in the House and the Senate. It’s been commented on supportively by powerful Clinton allies in the tech industry, like Eric Schmidt, the former chairman of Google.

Dot coms like Facebook are cracking down on conservatives as an explicit response to pressure from elected government officials. That’s not the voluntary behavior of private companies. When Facebook deletes conservatives in response to threats of regulatory action from Senate Democrats, its censors are acting as government agents while engaging in viewpoint discrimination.

Free market conservatives can argue that Facebook should have the right to discriminate against conservatives. But do they really want to argue that Senate Democrats should have the right to compel private companies to censor conservatives?

What’s the difference between that and a totalitarian state?

It might, arguably, be legal for your landlord to kick you out of your house because he doesn’t like the fact that you’re a Republican. But is it legal for him to do so on orders from Senator Kamala Harris?

Defending abusive behavior like that is a desecration of the free market.

The second fact is that the internet is not the work of a handful of aspiring entrepreneurs who built it out of thin air using nothing but their talent, brains and nimble fingers.

The internet was the work of DARPA. That stands for Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. DARPA is part of the Department of Defense. DARPA had funded the creation of the core technologies that made the internet possible. The origins of the internet go back to DARPA’s Arpanet.

Nor did the story end once the internet had entered every home.

Where did Google come from? “The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine,” the original paper by Sergey Brin and Larry Page, the co-founders of Google, reveals support from the National Science Foundation, DARPA, and even NASA.

Harvard’s computer science department, where Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg learned to play with the toys that turned him into a billionaire, has also wallowed in DARPA cash. Not to mention funds from a variety of other DOD and Federal science agencies.

Taxpayer sank a fortune into developing a public marketplace where ideas are exchanged, and political advocacy and economic activity takes place. That marketplace doesn’t belong to Google, Amazon or Facebook. And when those monopolies take a stranglehold on the marketplace, squeezing out conservatives from being able to participate, they’re undermining our rights and freedoms.

“A right of free correspondence between citizen and citizen on their joint interests, whether public or private and under whatsoever laws these interests arise (to wit: of the State, of Congress, of France, Spain, or Turkey), is a natural right,” Thomas Jefferson argued.

There should be a high barrier for any company seeking to interfere with the marketplace of ideas in which the right of free correspondence is practiced.

Critics of regulating dot com monopolies have made valid points.

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Regulating Google or Facebook as a public utility is dangerous. And their argument that giving government the power to control content on these platforms would backfire is sensible.

Any solution to the problem should not be based on expanding government control.

But there are two answers.

First, companies that engage in viewpoint discrimination in response to government pressure are acting as government agents. When a pattern of viewpoint discrimination manifests itself on the platform controlled by a monopoly, a civil rights investigation should examine what role government officials played in instigating the suppression of a particular point of view.

Liberals have abandoned the Public Forum Doctrine, once a popular ACLU theme, while embracing censorship. But if the Doctrine could apply to a shopping mall, it certainly applies to the internet.

In Packingham v. North Carolina, the Supreme Court’s decision found that, “A fundamental principle of the First Amendment is that all persons have access to places where they can speak and listen.”

The Packingham case dealt with government interference, but when monopolies silence conservatives on behalf of government actors, they are fulfilling the same role as an ISP that suspends a customer in response to a law.

When dot com monopolies get so big that being banned from their platforms effectively neutralizes political activity, press activity and political speech, then they’re public forums.

Second, rights are threatened by any sufficiently large organization or entity, not just government. Government has traditionally been the most powerful such organization, but the natural rights that our country was founded on are equally immune to every organization. Governments, as the Declaration of Independence asserts, exist as part of a social contract to secure these rights for its citizens.

Government secures these rights, first and foremost, against itself. (Our system effectively exists to answer the question of who watches the watchers.) But it also secures them against foreign powers, a crisis that the Declaration of Independence was written to meet, and against domestic organizations, criminal or political, whether it’s the Communist Party or ISIS, that seek to rob Americans of their rights.

A country in which freedom of speech effectively did not exist, even though it remained a technical right, would not be America. A government that allowed such a thing would have no right to exist.

Only a government whose citizens enjoy the rights of free men legally justifies is existence.

If a private company took control of all the roads and closed them to conservatives every Election Day, elections would become a mockery and the resulting government would be an illegitimate tyranny.

That’s the crisis that conservatives face with the internet.

Protecting freedom of speech does not abandon conservative principles, it secures them. There are no conservative principles without freedom of speech. A free market nation without freedom of speech isn’t a conservative country. It’s an oligarchy. That’s the state of affairs on the internet.

Conservatives should beware of blindly enlisting in leftist efforts to take regulatory control of companies like Facebook. The result would be a deeper and more pervasive form of censorship than exists today. But neither should they imagine that the ‘free market side of history’ will automatically fix the problem.

As the internet has devolved from its origins in academia to a set of handheld devices controlled by one of two companies, and then to a set of smart assistants controlled by one of two companies, it has become far less open. Even if Google were to lose its monopoly, Silicon Valley hosts a politicized workforce which allies with the media to compel any rising new company to toe the same line.

And if that fails, there are always House and Senate hearings and harder laws coming out of Europe.

We have an existing useful toolset to draw on, from anti-trust laws to civil rights investigations to the Public Forum Doctrine. This will be a challenging process, but we must remember through it all, that we have a right to freedom of speech on the internet. Our tax dollars, invested over generations, built this system. It does not belong to the Left. Or, for that matter, the Right. It belongs to all of us.

Reprinted with author’s permission from Sultan Knish Blog

Missiles in the Desert

13 hours 29 min ago

Evidence grows that Iran is stationing missiles directed at Israel with its client militias in western Iraq.

In a speech delivered on May 9, Sheikh Akram al-Kaabi, Secretary General of the Hizballah Nujaba movement in Iraq, delivered a series of threats against Israel.  Hizballah Nujaba is an Iran supported Shia militia. It is affiliated with the Popular Mobilization Forces, or Hashd al-Shaabi, which is a gathering of mainly Shia, mainly pro-Iran military groups.  Al-Kaabi’s speech is by itself of only passing interest.  But it is an indication of the growing involvement of Teheran’s Iraqi servants in Iran’s preparations for conflict with Israel – and not only on the verbal level.

In his speech, al-Kaabi accused Israel of supporting ‘Takfiri’ organizations – the Shia militias’ and Iran’s preferred term for Sunni groups such as ISIS.  The Takfiri groups, al-Kaabi said, wage a ‘proxy war’ on behalf of the ‘Zionist entity’, so that it may ‘enjoy peace, while its proxies are killing the Muslims.’  The Shia militia leader pledged that after the ‘Takfiri’ groups were defeated, the goal of his organization would be to ‘completely end (the Zionist entity’s) existence, and restore the land to its rightful owners.‘

This is not the first time that al-Kaabi has expressed himself in this manner.  On February 13, 2018, the Nujaba leader visited Beirut, and pledged that his movement would ‘stand with the axis of resistance’ in a future conflict with Israel. On March 8, 2017,  al-Kaabi announced the formation of the ‘Golan Liberation Brigade,’  intended to take part in a future war against Israel on the Golan.

From one point of view, al-Kaabi’s words might seem somewhat pretentious – coming as they do from the leader of a force of around 9000 lightly armed militiamen.  It is indeed unlikely that his threats will cause the commanders of the IDF’s 210th Bashan Division on the Golan Heights any sleepless nights just yet.

Nevertheless, the Nujaba leader’s latest comments reflect a deeper reality – namely, that the land area encompassing Iraq, Syria and Lebanon today constitutes a single arena from an Iranian operational point of view.  Al-Kaabi’s controllers, in the Qods Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), have freedom of action in each of these areas, and operate a coordinated strategy across their entirety.  This strategy involves the centralized coordination and use of the many political and military elements which the Iranians have established across this space and which they sponsor.

This is a new situation  for Israel. Addressing it requires a broadening of focus, and paying closer attention to players and geographical areas formerly of only peripheral interest.   Conversations with Israeli officials suggest that this widening of the lens of observation is taking place.

In this regard,  an article published this week by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy is worthy of close attention.    The piece, authored by IDF Brigadier-General (Res) Assaf Orion and veteran Iraq analyst Michael Knights focuses on indications that Iran is making use of its Iraqi militia clients to deploy short range ballistic missiles (SRBMs) in the deserts of western Iraq – with the intention that these could be launched against Israel at a time of Iran’s choosing.

These indications are of particular relevance given the current high level of tension in the Persian Gulf.

Knights and Orion’s article is not the first public airing of Iranian activity in this regard.  A Reuters report on August 31, 2018 was the first to note the concerns of US and Israeli intelligence agencies. The article detailed the transfer by the IRGC’s Qods Force  of  Zelzal, Fateh-110 and Zolfaqar missiles and launchers to western Iraq.  The Zolfaqar has a claimed range of 750 km – putting Tel Aviv within its range if it was deployed in this area.  The distance from al-Qaim on the Iraqi Syrian border to Tel Aviv is 632 km.

Teheran has also established facilities for missile production in western Iraq, and is employing Iraqi citizens to carry out this work.  The Reuters article named the areas where production is taking place as ‘al-Zafaraniya, east of Baghdad, and Jurf al-Sakhar, north of Kerbala.‘

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Knights and Orion re-focus on this developing story, offering substantial new details.  Specifically, the article names three militias as among the recipients of Iranian ‘long range artillery rockets’ – the aforementioned Hizballah al-Nujaba,  Ktaeb Hizballah, and the Badr Organization.

The article notes that ‘These Shia proxies have reportedly developed exclusive use of secure bases in the provinces of Diyala (e.g., Camp Ashraf), Salah al-Din (Camp Speicher), Baghdad (Jurf al-Sakhar), Karbala (Razzaza), and Wasit (Suwayrah).’

The authors also point out that in ‘Iraqi, US and Israeli’ intelligence circles it is widely accepted that the ‘militias have developed a line of communication and control to Iran through Diyala, allowing them to import missiles and equipment without government approval or knowledge.’

The ability of Iran to operate a de facto contiguous line of control across Iraq, and thence to Syria, Lebanon and the borders with the Golan Heights is thus not under serious doubt.  It appears that Teheran has begun to station SRBMs along this route, directed at Israel, and crewed by the Qods force-directed militia franchises – an arrangement intended to provide Iran with deniability in the event of their being used.

The latest episodes at the Fujairah port in the UAE and the Aramco East-West pipeline in Saudi Arabia this week suggest that Iran intends to follow a strategy precisely of deniability and use of proxies in its attempts to hit back at US efforts to contain and roll back Iranian advances of recent years.  Israel is not outside of this circle.  As an un-named Iranian official quoted by Reuters put it: ‘If America attacks us, our friends will attack America’s interests and its allies in the region.”

It may be assumed that relevant Israeli agencies take careful note of threats of this kind, along with the more florid pronunciations of such figures as Akram al-Kaabi.  These are not mere chatter . In the remote deserts of western Iraq, Iran’s servants are busily at work preparing a new front against Israel.

Reprinted with author’s permission from Jonathan Spyer

Israel at 71

14 hours 29 min ago

It’s staggering, when you think about it. Seventy-one years!

When David Ben Gurion stood at a mic on the afternoon of May 14, 1948 in Tel Aviv, he told the world that Israel had re-entered history.

The founders of the state weren’t even sure what to call the new state at first. Among the possibles: Zion.

Finally, they settled on “Israel,” and Bible prophecy rocketed forward at warp speed. Today, Israel is a vibrant miracle.

We know what the Romans did to the area 2,000 years ago. The expulsion of Jews from their ancient homeland has been an open wound ever since.

By 1850, there were about 10,000 Jews in Palestine. The village of Rosh Pinah (the “headstone” of Psalm 118) was established in 1882, the year of the largest influx of Jewish immigrants to the area. That began large-scale modern Jewish settlement in the Land of Israel.

Just days before statehood in 1948, Golda Meir made a clandestine trip to meet with Transjordan’s King Abdullah. A bit of their conversation is quite fascinating, as she told it:

“‘Why are you in such a hurry to proclaim your State?’ he asked me. ‘What is the rush? You are so impatient!’ I told him that I didn’t think that a people who had waited 2,000 years should be described as being ‘in a hurry’, and he seemed to accept that. ‘Don’t you understand,’ I said, ‘that we are your only allies in this region? The others are all your enemies.’ ‘Yes,’ he said, ‘I know that. But what can I do? It is not up to me.’ So then I said to him: ‘You must know that if war is forced upon us, we will fight and we will win.’ He sighed and again said ‘Yes. I know that. It is your duty to fight. But why don’t you wait a few years? Drop your demands for free immigration. I will take over the whole country and you will be represented in my parliament. I will treat you very well and there will be no war.’

“I tried to explain to him that his plan was impossible. ‘You know all that we have done and how hard we have worked,’ I said. ‘Do you think we did all that just to be represented in a foreign parliament? You know what we want and to what we aspire. If you can offer us nothing more than you have just done, then there will be a war and we will win it. But perhaps we can meet again— after the war and after there is a Jewish State.’”

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Remarkable!

And when President Truman recognized the new Jewish state hours after the Tel Aviv declaration, the world woke to a new reality. Very few understood the prophetic implications (fewer do now, I’m afraid), but the fact is, God had brought about the very thing He promised to do.

Let us celebrate with our Jewish and Israeli friends, and remember when we get down that God always keeps His promises.

Never let that thought leave your mind and heart.

Reprinted with author’s permission from Rapture Ready

Sabbath Observance Keeps Shalva Out of Competition But They Shine in Eurovision Performance [WATCH]

Sun, 05/19/2019 - 09:02

After winning the competition to represent Israel in the international Eurovision contest, Shalva was forced to bow out due to their dedication to Sabbath observance. But their performance on Saturday night as an interval act brought the crowd to tears.

The band won the popular vote on the television talent show, “Hakochav Habah,” or “The Next Star” in February. The schedule for contestants required rehearsals on Friday and Saturday. Several of the members of Shalva are Sabbath observant so the chose to relinquish their spot rather than violate the Shabbat.

Shalva Band. Just one of a million reasons why #Eurovision is THE GREATEST SHOW! pic.twitter.com/Co12y88tVd

— BBC Eurovision

Shin Bet: No Terrorism Casualties in April, First Since 2017

Sun, 05/19/2019 - 07:47

The Israeli internal security agency known as the Shin Bet or Shabak reported that in April there were 126 terrorist attacks in Israel but they did not result in any injuries or deaths. The last casualty-free month was December 2017. This compares to 308 attacks in March of 2019.

The majority of the attacks, 88 total, were in Judea and Samaria, 12 in Jerusalem, and 12 in the Gaza Strip and Sinai. There were no attacks in the central region of Israel.

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This data does not include the four Israelis killed in last month’s rocket attacks.

Last Wednesday, 65 Palestinians were injured when an estimated 10,000 Gazans rioted the border fence separating Israel from Gaza, setting fires, burning tires, and throwng rocks and incendiary devices. Aerial incendiary devices landed in Israel setting nine fires.

Watergen Provides 120 Orphans in Uzbekistan With Fresh Water Made From Air

Sun, 05/19/2019 - 07:14

Watergen, an Israel-based innovative company that creates clean water out of air is now providing a source of freshwater for over 120 children living in an orphanage in Uzbekistan’s city of Bukhara. The technology comes in the form of an atmospheric water generator known as the “GEN-350,” which can produce up to 900 liters of water per day. A popular tourist destination but also associated with arid weather conditions, Bukhara has recently been experiencing serious water shortages. Earlier this month, water supply was even disrupted for almost two days. The entire city of Bukhara was left without drinking water including several busy hotels. Since the local underground water is unusable, fresh water is currently supplied to Bukhara from the city of Samarkand, almost 300 km away.

(Photo courtesy Gold PR)

 

With a weight of just 800 kilograms, the GEN-350 is transportable and can be installed easily. Each unit contains an internal water treatment system and needs no infrastructure except a source of electricity in order to operate. The GEN-350 was installed at the orphanage as part of a test pilot, estimated to run for about two months, in order to demonstrate the generator’s unique capabilities to produce hundreds of liters of clean, safe-drinking water in the arid environment of Bukhara.

 

Attending the inauguration ceremony of the GEN-350 were senior political leaders in Uzbekistan including First Deputy Prime Minister, Achilbay Ramatov; Prosecutor General, Otabek Murodov; Governor of the Bukhara region, Uktam Barnoev; and Mayor of Bukhara, Karim Kamolov. All signs show that the the pilot has gotten off to a great start. Watergen’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Michael Rutman, who was present at the ceremony said: “I’m very pleased with the results of the GEN-350. The children were very excited to drink the high quality water from the GEN-350.”

(Photo courtesy Gold PR)

Watergen’s president, Dr. Michael Mirilashvili added: “Uzbekistan’s water utility company was thrilled with our water from air solution and requested to run pilots in several other regions of Uzbekistan. Although there is only 20% humidity in the air of Bukhara, the GEN-350 was still able to generate hundreds of liters of high-quality drinking water.”

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Dr. Mirilashvili is also the visionary behind Watergen’s goal to provide clean, safe-drinking water to every human around the world. Watergen’s efforts to make fresh, pure water available around the globe earned the company its place on the World Economic Forum’s list of the world’s top technology pioneers in 2018.

About Watergen:

Founded in 2009, Watergen has devoted its innovative technology towards solving the world’s water crisis under the leadership of its president, Dr. Michael Mirilashvili. Watergen provides a game-changing water-from-air solution based on its proprietary patented GENius technology that uses humidity in the air to create clean and fresh drinking water to people everywhere. The company offers a range of water atmospheric generators (WAG) for various applications; the home-scale GENNY that can produce 27 liters of water per day, the medium-scale GEN-350 that produces up to 900 liters of water per day and the industrial, large-scale generators that can make as many as 5,000 liters of water per day. Watergen’s WAG are installed in several countries around the globe.  For more information please visit: www.watergen.com

LAMENTATIONS 1:21

Sun, 05/19/2019 - 06:50

The prophet Yirmiyahu captures the sense of utter loneliness that prevailed after the destruction of Yerushalayim and the exile of the people. He describes their feeling that there was no one to stand by their side or to provide any sort of comfort in their time of need. Over many centuries of exile, Jews repeatedly experienced this same sense of abandonment. For example, over two and a half millennia following the destruction of Yerushalayim in Yirmiyahu’s time, as Hitler’s persecution mounted in the late 1930’s, many Jews desired to flee from Europe. Unfortunately, though, not a single country was willing to absorb Jewish refugees. In July of 1938, delegates from over thirty countries met in Évian-les-Bains, France, to discuss the refugee crisis. Despite many sympathetic speeches for the tragic plight of the Jews, no country was willing to significantly change their immigration quota to admit additional Jewish refugees. As this verse bemoans, the entire world had closed their doors to the Jewish people, abandoning them in their time of need. With the establishment of the State of Israel, however, the Jewish people now have a home. Never again will they be left alone with no one to protect and comfort them. As Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik writes in his essay Kol Dodi Dofek, ‘The Voice of my Beloved Knocks,’ “A Jew who flees from a hostile country now knows that he can find a secure refuge in the land of his ancestors… Jews who have been uprooted from their homes can find lodging in the Holy Land.” 
This Passover, it is especially important to thank those who ensure a safe and secure Israel for all of its citizens. Lone Soldiers who have left their families in order to defend the Holy Land are especially deserving of praise and support. YOU can step up to show Lone Soldiers that while they may be ‘lone,’ they are not alone.

IDF: A Small Country With a Big Spirit

Sun, 05/19/2019 - 06:17

An IDF video shows the spirit that drives them to defend a very special country.