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Hatikva: The Israeli Anthem Like You’ve Never Seen it Before

Sun, 05/12/2019 - 08:09

The IDF presents a moving rendition of the Israeli national anthem.

ISAIAH 44:3

Sun, 05/12/2019 - 07:55

Water is often used as a metaphor for Torah. The Talmud (Taanit 7a) explains that “just as water leaves a high place and flows downward to a low place, so does Torah knowledge flow away from those who are arrogant and toward those who are humble.” Furthermore, just as water nourishes and sustains the “thirsty soil” and “dry ground,” the Bible is the source of our spiritual nourishment.

Ben-Gurion University Researchers Think Out of the Box in Basic Research on Neurological Diseases and Cancer

Sun, 05/12/2019 - 07:46

Sometimes, combining two different drugs can be better be used effectively for a very different purpose. Researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beersheba combined two drugs already approved by the US Food and Drug Administration – one for alleviating Alzheimer’s disease and the other to treat high blood pressure  – to protect the blood-brain barrier (BBB).

BGN Technologies, the university’s technology transfer company, has introduced a novel drug combination therapy, based on the drugs memantine and losartan for preventing the development of various neurological diseases that are affected by diseases involving vessels in the brain.

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The BBB is a highly specialized interface that separates the circulating blood from the brain’s extracellular fluid in the central nervous system and only allows selected molecules to enter the brain tissue. Disruption of the BBB plays an important role in cellular damage in neurological diseases, including stroke, neurodegenerative diseases, brain tumors, and brain infections. When the BB breaks down, the entry of neurotoxic blood products can result in an inflammatory response and major damage to the brain. Thus, keeping the BBB whole and the ability to repair damages caused to its integrity are crucial.

Prof. Alon Friedman (Photo credit Ben Gurion University)

At present, the ability to treat such conditions is limited and is usually initiated only after symptoms are apparent and brain damage is substantial. The combination therapy was invented by Prof. Alon Friedman and his group, at the BGU’s Faculty of Health Sciences. He and his team discovered that treating the BBB at early stages can protect the brain and prevent disease development. Therefore, the novel treatment focuses on early diagnosis and prevention. The suggested treatment is comprised of a combination therapy of two FDA approved drugs: memantine and losartan.

Memantine, taken by mouth, is used to treat moderate to severe Alzheimer’s disease. It is less preferred than acetylcholinesterase inhibitors such as donepezil, and treatment is continued only if beneficial effects are seen. It was approved for use in the US 16 years ago.

Losartan is used to treat hypertension and to help protect the kidneys from damage due to diabetes. It is also used to lower the risk of strokes in patients with high blood pressure and an enlarged heart. Belonging to a class of drugs called angiotensin receptor blockers, it works by relaxing blood vessels so that blood can flow more easily. In 2016, it was the ninth most prescribed medication in the US, with more than 49 million prescriptions.

The BGU researchers found in preclinical studies that giving both drugs together protects the integrity of the BBB. Friedman and his team also developed an early diagnostic tool based on permeability analysis that makes possible early diagnosis and thus early treatment of certain neurological diseases.

“The role of the BBB in disease and in aging is being increasingly understood, and the rationale for using the novel combination therapy invented by Prof. Friedman is relevant for many CNS indications including stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, traumatic brain injury, post-operative and post radiation cognitive decline, age-related macular degeneration, ALS, migraine, and others,” said Dr. Ora Horovitz, senior vice president for business development at BGN Technologies. “Moreover, both drugs are already approved for other indications with a validated activity, and we are currently looking for partners for the further development of this promising combination therapy.”

Meanwhile, A new study by Dr. Dan Levy, a researcher in Ben-Gurion University’s microbiology, immunology and genetics and a member of the National Institute of Biotechnology in the Negev led by Dr. Michal Feldman has found a way to stop the process of cell division in the body.

Dr. Dan Levy and Dr. Michal Feldman in the lab.(Photo credit Ben Gurion University)

Methylation is an enzymatic reaction during which a methyl group (CH3) is added onto DNA or proteins. Most of the studies that deal with it focus on the influence of this chemical group on DNA. Recently, more and more indications suggest that methylation directly affects protein activity in the cell. The identification of cellular pathways controlled by methylation and the enzymes that add the methyltransferase group is of great importance not only in understanding basic processes in human cells but also in deciphering mechanisms for the development of various diseases such as cancer.

The study, recently published recently in the Proceedings of the [US] National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), showed that methylation is involved in determining the rate at which cell division progresses. Uncontrolled distribution of cells in our body is considered to be a major factor in the development of cancerous tumors. In this work, Feldman found that the methylation of a central controller in the cell division called PLK1 by MTT6 modulates the speed at which the cells divide, and in the absence of methylation, the PLK1 distribution controller shows increased activity leading to accelerated cell division

Levy’s lab is currently involved in the study of other processes involving protein methylation, such as cell motility, programmed cell death, DNA damage control and differentiation of fat cells. These and other processes directly affect the development of diseases studied in the lab, including various types of cancer and metabolic diseases such as diabetes, fatty liver, obesity and more.

“The research carried out in the laboratory has significant implications for both basic and applied research and has the potential to identify new therapeutic targets,” Levy concluded.

Sneak Peek At Israel’s Eurovision Video

Sun, 05/12/2019 - 07:22

The new video is designed to combat the antisemitic sentiment aimed at Israel who will host the next Eurovision international music contest.

Netanyahu Announces Location Found for Golan’s “Trumptown”

Sun, 05/12/2019 - 07:11

Prime MinisterBenjamin Netanyahu took time from an especially busy Cabinet meeting on Sunday morning to announce that a location has been found for a new community in the Goan that will be named after U.S. President and Israeli ally, Donald Trump.

“I promised that we would establish a community named after President Trump. I would like to inform you that we have already selected a site on the Golan Heights where this new community will be established, and we have started the process,” Netanyahu said at the meeting. The announcement of th4 precise location will be delayed until after Netanyahu forms a new coalition government.

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Netanyahu decided to name a town in honor of the president after Trump’s landmark recognition of Israel’s sovereignty in the Golan.

Makor Rishon reported last week that the community, which will be a mixed secular-religious settlement that in its first stage will number some 120 families, will be set up in the northern Golan at the site where a previous settlement was approved, but not established, in 1992.

Netanyahu also pointed out that this week marks a year since the US moved its embassy to Jerusalem, and that it has now also moved the official residence of the ambassador to the city as well.

Netanyahu also took the opportunity to announce that he will be requesting a 14-day extension from President Rivlin in order to form a coalition.

“Such an extension is not only acceptable, it is also necessary in view of the constraints of the calendar this time of year – the intermediate days of Pesach, Holocaust Remembrance Day, Remembrance Day, Independence Day and the security events around the Gaza Strip,” he said.

Israeli election law permits 28 days to form a government but empowers the president to grant an extension.

Farrakhan: “I’m Here to Separate the Good Jews From the Satanic Jews”

Sun, 05/12/2019 - 06:39

Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan reacted to Facebook banning him by saying in a speech, “I just know the truth, and I’m here to separate the good Jews from the Satanic Jews.”

During the speech Thursday at a St. Sabina Roman Catholic church on Chicago’s South Side, Farrkahn denied allegations that he had made antisemitic comments in the past by saying that he “stands on God’s truth.”

“I do not hate Jewish people. Not one that is with me has ever committed a crime against the Jewish People,” Farrakhan said. “Social media, you met me tonight. I plead with the rulers, let the truth be taught.”

Chicago cardinal Blase Cupich issued a statement on Friday evening saying Farrakhan’s comments “shock the conscience”, emphasizing that Farrakhan was invited by Rev Michael Pfleger who did not consult with him or any other archdiocesan officials before extending the invitation.

“Antisemitic rhetoric – discriminatory invective of any kind – has no place in American public life, let alone in a Catholic church,” Cupich said. “I apologize to my Jewish brothers and sisters, whose friendship I treasure, from whom I learn so much, and whose covenant with God remains eternal.”

The archdiocese released a similar statement distancing itself from Farrakhan.

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“There is no place in American life for discriminatory rhetoric of any kind,” the archdiocese said in a statement. “At a time when hate crimes are on the rise, when religious believers are murdered in their places of worship, we cannot countenance any speech that dehumanizes persons on the basis of ethnicity, religious belief, economic status or country of origin.”

Farrakhan has made numerous antisemitic comments in the past, frequently describing Jews as “Satanic.” In March 2018, he denied claims that he was antisemitic, explaining that he was “anti-termite.” He also has made many claims that Jews control the world. He stated that Zionists had key roles in the 9/11 attacks while Hezbollah were “freedom fighters.”

At a meeting of the Nation of Islam at Madison Square Garden in 1985, Farrakhan said of the Jews: “And don’t you forget, when it’s God who puts you in the ovens, it’s forever!”

His critics have compared his antisemitism to that of Hitler, to which Farrakhan responded during a March 11, 1984, speech broadcast on a Chicago radio station, “Hitler was a very great man.”

Did Hamas/PIJ Really Beat the Iron Dome?

Sun, 05/12/2019 - 05:48

Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad are claiming that in last week’s rocket attack against Israel, they succeeded in beating Israel’s vaunted Iron Dome missile protection system.

Abu Obeida, a spokesman for Hamas’s Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, made a social media post claiming that the sheer quantity of rockets fired by the terrorist groups at Israel overwhelmed the Iron Dome system.

‘The Qassam Brigades, thanks to God, succeeded in overcoming the so-called Iron Dome by adopting the tactic of firing dozens of missiles in one single burst,” Obeida claimed. “The high intensity of fire and the great destructive ability of the missiles that were introduced by the Qassam [Brigades]… succeeded in causing great losses and destruction to the enemy.”

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“The resistance managed to deter the IDF,” said Sami Abu Zuhri, spokesman for Hamas, according to the Kan public broadcaster, “The resistance managed to deter the IDF,” said Sami Abu Zuhri, according to the Kan public broadcaster,

A total of approximately 690 rockets were fired at Israel in under 41 hours. In one clear case of high-density rocket fire, a 60-rocket triple volley was fired at Ashkelon and Ashdod in one minute on Sunday.

For comparison, ruing the two months of the 2014  Operation Protective Edge, more than 4,500 projectiles were fired at Israel. At the time, the Israel Defense Forces said that the Iron Dome intercepted 90 percent of the rockets within their coverage zones

Three Israelis were killed by rocket fire and one, Moshe Feder, was killed by an anti-tank guided missile fired at his car as he drove on a road near the Gaza border. In total, 35 rockets and mortars landed in Israeli populated areas. The Iron Dome intercepted 240 projectiles, giving it an 86 percent success rate.

Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry said 29 Palestinians were killed by Israeli strikes. Two pregnant women and a baby were killed by a Palestinian Islamic Jihad rocket that landed inside Gaza. At least 11 of the Palestinian casualties were claimed by the terrorist groups as active members.

Maj. Tom Scott, one of the commanders of an Iron Dome battery in southern Israel, told Times of Israel that the Iron Dome’s radars also successfully spotted every rocket and mortar launch, which ensured that Israelis were warned of incoming projectiles ahead of time by sirens.

The terrorist groups utilized new types of rockets in their attacks, including a short-range rocket packed with massive amounts of explosives and the Badr 3, a long-range rocket with 250 kilograms of explosives.

The massive number of rockets readily available to the terrorist groups underscores the need for Israel to maintain control over the entry of material into Gaza.

 

Jewish Leaders Decry Lack of Censure by Most Democratic Candidates on Gaza Rocket Fire

Sun, 05/12/2019 - 04:20

Jewish and pro-Israel leaders decry the lack of support for Israel across the board by Democratic candidates running for president in 2020 after the barrage of rocket fire launched last weekend on civilians by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

“It is disappointing and troubling that only a few of the candidates spoke out in response to [the nearly] 700 rockets launched by terrorists against the civilian population of our close ally,” Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, told JNS. “It is difficult to understand why the facts are so clear as reflected by the comments of many members of Congress from both sides of the aisle.”

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“This is not an ‘even-handed’ situation, but Palestinian terrorism and violence across an international border that every candidate and elected official should be able to condemn unequivocally,” he added.

Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, urged presidential candidates to speak out about the rocket attacks.

“We deeply appreciate the long-time support for Israel of both the Republican and Democratic parties,” he wrote on Twitter. “We continue to urge all leaders of those parties, including those Democratic and Republican presidential candidates who haven’t yet spoken to the recent rocket attacks from Gaza, to stand by Israel at this time of need.”

Democratic Majority for Israel president Mark Mellman echoed Jacobs’ sentiment.

“Our public statement called upon all the candidates to publicly condemn Hamas’s attack and support Israel’s right to self-defense,” he told JNS. “We are very pleased some did so, and sorry others did not, though I feel confident they all share that view.”

In its statement on Sunday, Democratic Majority for Israel said, “This is the time for political leaders in both parties to express solidarity with Israel, and their commitment to strengthening the U.S.-Israel relationship. We urge all of the Democratic presidential candidates to condemn these terror attacks and reaffirm their support of Israel’s right to defend itself.”

Israel faced a massive barrage of more than 600 rockets fired by the Palestinian terrorist groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip over a two-day period last weekend.

While U.S. President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and several leading House Democrats condemned the rocket attack and supported Israel’s right to self-defense, Democratic front-runners such as former Vice President Joseph Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg remained silent on the attacks.

‘We stand behind Israel’s right to self-defense’

Nevertheless, a handful of Democratic candidates did speak out and condemn the rocket fire.

“Of course, Israel has the right to defend itself. This is a very complicated situation. I think when we look at the loss of life due to military strikes, it’s just not being condoned or supported,” Wayne Messam, the mayor of Miramar, Fla., told JNS. “And it does not work towards working to come to a two-state solution. I would support any action that brings peace. I support any action that brings the two parties together so we can ultimately find peace.”

“The random rocket fire by Hamas into Israel must stop,” said former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper. “My heart goes out to the families of the Israelis killed and those wounded in these grievous attacks. I call on all parties to show restraint and de-escalate this situation immediately.”

“We support Israel’s right to defend itself, full stop,” New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker told CBS News. “You have a terrorist organization that actually suppresses its own people, conducts acts of violence and human-rights violations against people who live in Gaza. And so Israel has a right to defend itself and it should do that.”

Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet tweeted, “We stand behind Israel’s right to self-defense against rocket attacks by terror groups inside Gaza. Launching rocket attacks against innocent civilians is unacceptable, and we mourn the lives lost. A cessation in violence is a necessary step toward de-escalation and stability.”

Meanwhile, former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel made scathing comments about Israel.

“The bloodshed in Palestine and Israel will not cease until the fundamentally unjust existing structure is jettisoned,” he said on Twitter. “We cannot support a right-wing racist regime committed to annexation and gradual ethnic cleansing. There must be a binational state with equal rights for all.”

The bloodshed in Palestine and Israel will not cease until the fundamentally unjust existing structure is jettisoned. We cannot support a right-wing racist regime committed to annexation and gradual ethnic cleansing. There must be a binational state with equal rights for all.

— Mike Gravel (@MikeGravel) May 6, 2019

“This is all too typical of today’s Democratic Party,” Republican Jewish Coalition spokesperson Neil Strauss told JNS. “You cannot claim to support Israel if you can’t condemn the terrorists who shoot rockets at Israeli citizens that not only killed four innocent Israeli’s, but even killed a mother and child in Gaza. It should be an easy call to offer support for the only democracy in the Middle East.”

Pence Again Calls for Removal of Omar From House Foreign Affairs Committee

Sun, 05/12/2019 - 04:05

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on Friday reiterated his call for Rep. Ilhan Omar to be removed from the House Foreign Affairs Committee for making anti-Semitic and anti-Israel comments while in Congress.

“Ilhan Omar has made statements … anti-Semitic comments … statements against our most cherished ally: Israel … that ought to be rejected by every American,” said Pence during an interview with Fox News.

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Even before running for Congress, Omar made anti-Israel statements such as tweeting in 2012 that Israel has “hypnotized the world,” a post that has since been deleted.

Then in February, one month into the job, Omar accused the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the largest pro-Israel lobbying organization, of paying members of Congress to back Israel.

The following month, she accused her “Jewish colleagues” for attacking her and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) for labeling every criticism of theirs as anti-Israel because of the Muslim faith of the two congresswomen, in addition to slamming her critics regarding “the political influence in this country that says it is OK to push for allegiance to a foreign country.”

This led to a passed resolution condemning anti-Semitism and other forms of hatred that did not call out Omar by name.

However, potential removal from the committee looks unlikely.

“No, I’m not close to it,” said its chairman, Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), on CNN’s “Erin Burnett OutFront” in March when asked if he would remove Omar.

 

Controversial Imam Gives Opening Invocation at House of Representatives

Sun, 05/12/2019 - 03:54

A controversial imam who has been linked to anti-Israel rhetoric gave the opening invocation at the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday.

Omar Suleiman, founder and president of the Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research in Texas, was invited by Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas).

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“We pray for peace, not war,” said Suleiman. “Love, not hate. Benevolence, not greed. Unity, not division. And we commit ourselves to not betraying our prayers with actions that contradict them. Let us be for truth, no matter who, or for is against it.”

“Totally unacceptable that @SpeakerPelosi had Omar Suleiman give the opening prayer yesterday in the House. He compares Israel to the Nazis & calls them terrorists, supports Muslim Brotherhood, incites violence calling for a Palestinian antifada & the end of zionism, etc. Bad call,” tweeted Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.).

Totally unacceptable that @SpeakerPelosi had Omar Suleiman give the opening prayer yesterday in the House. He compares Israel to the Nazis & calls them terrorists, supports Muslim Brotherhood, incites violence calling for a Palestinian antifada & the end of zionism, etc. Bad call pic.twitter.com/bZakjQVwsJ

— Lee Zeldin (@RepLeeZeldin) May 10, 2019

Republican Jewish Coalition executive director Matt Brooks shared Zeldin’s tweet and added, “Either they vetted this guy and decided to still have him or they never vetted him. Either way a colossal blunder.”

Either they vetted this guy and decided to still have him or they never vetted him. Either way a colossal blunder. Thanks @RepLeeZeldin https://t.co/l24hkrXt0W

— Matt Brooks (@mbrooksrjc) May 10, 2019


Neither the Jewish Democratic Council of America nor Democratic Majority for Israel responded to a request for comment.

Despite his prayers for peace and unity, Suleiman has not shown such sentiment when it comes to Israel.

As the 2014 war in Gaza broke out, he posted on social media: “How befitting that the 3rd Intifada starts on the 27th night of Ramadan as worshippers are denied prayer in Masjid Al Aqsa. …God willing on this blessed night as the 3rd Intifada begins, the beginning of the end of Zionism is here. May Allah help us overcome this monster, protect the innocent of the world, and accept the murdered as martyrs. ameen.”

Mideast Envoy Greenblatt Blasts ‘Baffling’ UN Meeting on Settlements After Gaza Rockets

Sun, 05/12/2019 - 03:44

U.S. special envoy for Mideast peace negotiations Jason Greenblatt lambasted the U.N. Security Council on Thursday as members condemned Jewish settlements being built, instead of condemning the most recent rocket fire from Gaza towards Israel, saying it was “baffling and disappointing to see the obvious, continual anti-Israel bias at the U.N.”

“Let’s stop pretending that settlements are what is keeping the sides from a negotiated peaceful solution,” he said. “This farce and obsessive focus on one aspect of this complicated conflict helps no one.”

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Greenblatt remarked that “it is truly shameful that in these halls, there have been nearly 700 resolutions condemning actions of Israel—the region’s only real democracy—yet not one condemning Hamas’s attacks on Israelis, or its abuse and neglect of the very people it claims to represent.”

Israel was not invited to the meeting, a decision that Greenblatt called “surprising and unfair.”

pic.twitter.com/LIISBHinyv

— Jason D. Greenblatt (@jdgreenblatt45) May 10, 2019

Tightened Law in Texas Prohibits Small Businesses from Boycotting Israel

Sun, 05/12/2019 - 03:28

The Texas law prohibiting government contractors from boycotting Israel was narrowed on Thursday as Gov. Greg Abbott signed an updated version of the 2017 law.

The modified version came two weeks after a federal judge ruled that the original anti-BDS law as unconstitutional.

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“At the heart of the First Amendment lies the principle that each person should decide for him or herself the ideas and beliefs deserving of expression, consideration and adherence,” said U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman.

“Our political system and cultural life rest upon this ideal,” Pitman said in his opinion.

He added that “the purpose behind the Bill of Rights, and of the First Amendment in particular[,]” is “to protect unpopular individuals from retaliation—and their ideas from suppression—at the hands of an intolerant society.”

The updated law exempts individuals and smaller companies, specifically those with less than 10 full-time employees or valued under $100,000.

The political arm of the Israel-American Council lauded Thursday’s move.

“This effort served as proof that the pro-Israel community fully supports the First Amendment of the Constitution. In this case, states like Texas have created laws that carefully regulate commercial activity and not the conduct of private speech,” said Joseph Sabag, IAC for Action’s director of state policy and government relations. “Anti-BDS laws are narrowly tailored, anti-discrimination laws, similar to many other anti-discrimination laws that protect, among other categories of people, women, racial minorities and LGBTQ individuals.”

Trump Calls for Former Secretary of State Kerry to Be Prosecuted for Iran Meetings

Sun, 05/12/2019 - 03:21

U.S. President Donald Trump called on Thursday for former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to be prosecuted for having talks with Iranian officials, including Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, since leaving office in an attempt to save the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

“You know John Kerry speaks to them a lot, and John Kerry tells them not to call. That’s a violation of the Logan Act, and frankly, he should be prosecuted on that,” Trump told reporters at the White House.

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The 18th-century law prohibits unauthorized U.S. citizens from corresponding with foreign governments having a dispute with the United States. No one has ever been convicted under it.

“But my people don’t want to do anything; only the Democrats do that kind of stuff. If it were the opposite way, they’d prosecute him under the Logan Act,” said Trump.

The president apparently was referring to Kerry conducting shadow diplomacy to salvage the nuclear deal, which the United States withdrew from last year and reimposed sanctions that were lifted under it, in addition to enacting new penalties against Tehran.

Kerry admitted in September to meeting with Zarif “three or four times” regarding the nuclear agreement.

“What I have done is tried to elicit from him what Iran might be willing to do in order to change the dynamic in the Middle East for the better,” said Kerry on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show.

A spokesperson for Kerry said, “He’s wrong about the facts, wrong about the law, and sadly, he’s been wrong about how to use diplomacy to keep America safe. Secretary Kerry helped negotiate a nuclear agreement that worked to solve an intractable problem. The world supported it then and supports it still. We’d hope the president would focus on solving foreign-policy problems for America, instead of attacking his predecessors for theater.”

This week, the Trump administration announced sanctions that will target Iran’s aluminum, iron, copper and steel sectors.

Israel, Continue the Targeted Killings!

Sun, 05/12/2019 - 02:00

After three days and 700 rockets later, I couldn’t say this any plainer, KILL all the leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza, ASAP!

Keep cutting off the heads of the snakes. Don’t worry if they grow new heads, cut them off too, if they grow back. In any case, it will disrupt their operational capacity. Keep KILLING their leaders and operatives, until they’re frightened to death, and no one volunteers for the job anymore.

Targeted killings, assassinating the terrorist leadership in Gaza, worked well in the Sharon era. Take a look at my article, “Happy Yassin Day,” from that period. An Israeli AH-64 Apache sent then Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmad Yassin and his wheel chair, to find his 72 year old virgin, down under. Then an another Israeli Apache got Abdel Aziz Rantisi, Yassin’s replacement. And, they weren’t the only ones Israel sent to early retirement, at the time.

But, after a minimal IDF response, Netanyahu chose to accept a cease fire instead. He promised, “The campaign isn’t finished, and it will require patience and careful judgment. We’re prepared for its continuation.” I certainly hope so.

Even Benny Gantz, from the losing Blue and White party, during the recent election campaign, threatened that the leaders of the Palestinian terror group should remember that Israel assassinated one of its most senior officials during the Gaza conflict of 2012, and was capable of doing the same again. “The heads of Hamas have forgotten what happened to Ahmed Jabari – their chief of staff. They will get a personal reminder if they continue targeting our population, as will all terrorists.”

Gantz lost the election. The Israeli public chose Netanyahu to lead instead, thinking he would be tougher and better able to maintain security and safety (one of the only purposes of government), for the Israeli public.

“The reality in the south, as we unfortunately saw today, where Israeli children spend their nights in bomb shelters, while the heads of Hamas celebrate must end now – and it will,” Gantz told a conference during the election campaign.

Well nothing has changed, and that should still be Israel’s goal. Better that Hamas people learn by heart all their funeral prayers, than songs of joy. Islamic Jihad should load up on mourning meals instead of handing out sweets in the street, celebrating.

Let’s force King Solomon’s sage advice onto terror leaders in Gaza, “It’s better to go to a House of Mourning than to a Party…’ (Ecclesiastes 7:2)

And while they are mourning, giving speeches of support and encouragement, to carry out the next atrocity against Israeli civilians, and burying their dead; Israel should also bomb, strafe, and disperse those political rally terror supporting funerals, as I’ve called for since 2003. See my article, “The Call of the Israeli Apache.”

During the latest round of Gazan rocket attacks on Israel, Israeli airstrikes in Gaza killed 23, including nine people identified as Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists. Israel killed exactly one top leader. The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit confirmed that Hamad Ahmad Al-Khudari of Hamas’ military wing had been eliminated by targeted assassination. Adding that Al-Khudari was responsible for the transfer of funds from Iran to Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza. But he’s small fry, now fish fillet.

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Israel needs to take down their political leadership too. Ismail Haniyeh, and his ilk have GOT TO GO.

During the conflict, in desperation, MK Ofir Sofer (Union of Right-wing Parties) said, “The reactions that Israel has taken so far are only a kind of Tylenol; the State of Israel must preserve its initiative and not let Hamas dictate the pace. The Israeli response should be asymmetrical and disproportionate so that the terror organizations will feel the bitter taste well and over time. There’s no choice but to enter on the ground and initiate a long-term military action, and the sooner the better. The fighting in Gaza must be decided.”

I strongly disagree, its not yet time for a full ground liberation…

Israel has not yet exhausted by far, its superior air-power advantage. Why risk any more Israeli lives? Taking out terrorists, their leadership, and supporters, without concern for collateral damage, is the way to go. Continue the campaign of targeted killings, why stop after gaining the momentum?

Its time to take the gloves off, and really unleash the Israeli Air Force. Bring back the one-ton bombs. Its also time to introduce the modern equivalent of the Gatling gun, the M61 Vulcan, GAU-8/A Avenger, or The GAU-12/U Equalizer.

Its time to continue the targeted killings!

Making Sense of Palestinian Logic

Sun, 05/12/2019 - 01:00

Palestinians do weird things: A few days ago, the Palestinian Authority (PA), which rules most of the West Bank, refused to accept the tax revenues it is owed by the Israeli government. Today, Hamas, which rules all of Gaza, launched more than 200 rockets against Israel.

Both of these are, on the surface, self-defeating steps that make no sense. Not taking the money means the PA could collapse; firing rockets means Hamas is getting battered militarily by the far superior Israeli forces.

So, why do the leaders of these quasi-governmental entities take such apparently self-defeating steps? Because they bring results. Follow the logic:

Israel is thriving in nearly every domain, from demographics to economics, from democracy to cultural creativity.

The Palestinians feel isolated and weak because the Arab states have basically come to terms with its existence, leaving the struggle to secondary players such as Iran, Turkey, and the global Left.

No matter their weakness, leaders of the PA and Hamas remain committed to the elimination of the Jewish state, meaning that they cannot live in peace next to Israel.

Contrarily, the Israeli public cherishes normality and especially since the 1993 Oslo accords, has been ready to pay a price to keep the quiet.

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Therefore, the Palestinians play a game of chicken, disturbing the quiet in return for an Israeli pay-off. The Palestinian Authority says, give us the money you’re holding back that we use to fund attacks on Israelis or our whole structure will come crashing down and you’ll have a much bigger mess on your hands. Hamas says, give us access to the money Qatar is sending us or we will make life miserable for you, with rockets raining down during your Memorial Day, Independence Day, and the semi-finals of the Eurovision Song Contest.

Palestinian logic boils down to blackmail: You Israelis are rich, strong, and happy, so we will make you miserable unless you give us or give us access to more money. It’s weird, it’s sick, but it usually works, especially given an Israeli security establishment for whom quiet is the first priority.

So, expect these tactics to succeed and be deployed time and again into the future.

Reprinted with author’s permission from Middle East Forum

Turkey Venerates Glory/Gory Days of Jihadi Rape and Slaughter

Sun, 05/12/2019 - 00:00

It’s official: Turkey plans on converting the Hagia Sophia museum—for centuries, one of Christendom’s grandest basilicas—into a mosque.

Although President Erdogan often tells Western/secular media that his decision is a sort of tit for tat—now a response to Israel’s treatment of Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa mosque, now a response to European resistance to more Muslim migrants—the true significance behind his desire to transform Hagia Sophia came out in March 31, 2019.

After reporting that “Turkey’s president has recited an Islamic prayer in the Hagia Sophia, a historic Istanbul landmark that has become a symbol of interfaith and diplomatic tensions,” AP added that Erdogan also dedicated his prayer to the “souls of all who left us this work as inheritance, especially Istanbul’s conqueror.”

He is not alone in his desire to turn Hagia Sophia into a mosque as a way of venerating its jihadi conquerors; more than 97 percent of Turks surveyed said they want to see Hagia Sophia turned into a mosque, not because there is a dearth of places to pray—as of 2010, there were 3,000 active mosques in Istanbul alone—but to revel in the glory (that is, gory) days of jihad, and honor its practitioners.

To quote Salih Turhan, head of the Anatolian Youth Association, a group that annually organizes mass demonstrations around Hagia Sophia: “As the grandchildren of Mehmet the Conqueror, seeking the re-opening Hagia Sophia as a mosque is our legitimate right.”

In what follows, we revisit exactly what Mehmet (the Turkish pronunciation of “Muhammad”) the Conqueror did to prompt so many modern Turks, including their president, to honor him, including by transforming Hagia Sophia into a mosque. (All quotes in the following narrative are from primary sources, mostly eyewitnesses, and are documented in my recent book, Sword and Scimitar: Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West).

Hagia Sophia—Greek for “Holy Wisdom”—was built around 537 AD in Constantinople, the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire, which for nearly a millennium was a stalwart symbol of defiance against an ever encroaching Islam from the east.

After parrying centuries of jihadi thrusts, Mehmet sacked Constantinople on May 29, 1453, and turned Hagia Sophia into a mosque (until a then secularizing Turkey turned it into a museum in 1935).

Once inside the city, “The enraged Turkish soldiers . . . gave no quarter,” wrote an eyewitness:

When they had massacred and there was no longer any resistance, they were intent on pillage and roamed through the town stealing, disrobing, pillaging, killing, raping, taking captive men, women, children, old men, young men, monks, priests, people of all sorts and conditions…  There were virgins who awoke from troubled sleep to find those brigands standing over them with bloody hands and faces full of abject fury…  [The Turkish jihadis] dragged them, tore them, forced them, dishonored them, raped them at the cross-roads and made them submit to the most terrible outrages… Tender children were brutally snatched from their mothers’ breasts and girls were pitilessly given up to strange and horrible unions, and a thousand other terrible things happened. . .

Because thousands of citizens had fled to and were holed up in Hagia Sophia, it offered an excellent harvest of slaves once its doors were axed down.

“One Turk would look for the captive who seemed the wealthiest, a second would prefer a pretty face among the nuns. . . . Each rapacious Turk was eager to lead his captive to a safe place, and then return to secure a second and a third prize. . . . Then long chains of captives could be seen leaving the church and its shrines, being herded along like cattle or flocks of sheep.”

The slavers sometimes fought each other to the death over “any well-formed girl,” even as many of the latter “preferred to cast themselves into the wells and drown rather than fall into the hands of the Turks.”

Having taken possession of one of Christendom’s greatest and oldest basilicas—nearly a thousand years old at the time of its capture—the invaders “engaged in every kind of vileness within it, making of it a public brothel.” On “its holy altars” they enacted “perversions with our women, virgins, and children,” including “the Grand Duke’s daughter who was quite beautiful.” She was forced to “lie on the great altar of Hagia Sophia with a crucifix under her head and then raped.”

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Next “they paraded the [Hagia Sophia’s main] Crucifix in mocking procession through their camp, beating drums before it, crucifying the Christ again with spitting and blasphemies and curses. They placed a Turkish cap . . . upon His head, and jeeringly cried, ‘Behold the god of the Christians!’” They “gouged the eyes from the [embalmed] saints” and dumped their corpses “in the middle of the streets for swine and dogs to trample on . . . and the images of our Lord Jesus Christ and His Saints were burned or hacked to pieces.”

Many other churches in the ancient city suffered the same fate. “The crosses which had been placed on the roofs or the walls of churches were torn down and trampled.” The Eucharist was hurled to the ground; holy icons were stripped of gold, “thrown to the ground and kicked.” Bibles were stripped of their gold or silver illuminations before being burned. “Icons were without exception given to the flames.” Patriarchal vestments were placed on the haunches of dogs; priestly garments were placed on horses.

“Everywhere there was misfortune, everyone was touched by pain” when Sultan Mehmet finally made his grand entry into the city. “There were lamentations and weeping in every house, screaming in the crossroads, and sorrow in all churches; the groaning of grown men and the shrieking of women accompanied looting, enslavement, separation, and rape.”

The sultan rode to Hagia Sophia, dismounted, and went in, “marveling at the sight” of the grand basilica. Like other churches that came under Muslim control—such as John the Baptist’s basilica, now the Great Mosque of Damascus—Hagia Sophia’s lot was not destruction but transformation into a mosque. After having it cleansed of its crosses, statues, and icons—the sultan himself knocked over and trampled on its altar—Mehmet ordered a muezzin to ascend the pulpit and sound “their detestable prayers. Then this son of iniquity [the sultan], this forerunner of Antichrist, mounted upon the Holy Table to utter forth his own prayers,” thereby “turning the Great Church into a heathen shrine for his god and his Mahomet.”

This, then, is what Turkey’s Muslims and president are proud of: the violent conquest of ancient Christian territory, and the atrocity-laden transformation of its greatest cathedral into a mosque; this is what they are eager to honor by turning Hagia Sophia into a mosque again.   For make no mistake: if the average Westerner is clueless concerning the history of Hagia Sophia, every Turk is taught it in youth.

Openly idolizing Mehmet and doing what he did—transforming Hagia Sophia into a mosque to honor the “souls of all who left us this work as inheritance, especially Istanbul’s conqueror”—as Erdogan has decreed to the joy of many Turks, is tantamount to their saying, “We are proud of our ancestors who slaughtered, beheaded, enslaved and raped people and stole their lands simply because they were Christian infidels.”

Reprinted with author’s permission from Raymond Ibrahim

US Enacts New Iranian Sanctions, Denies Oil Waivers

Fri, 05/10/2019 - 03:43

Exactly one year after withdrawing from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, the United States announced on Wednesday new sanctions on Tehran, and that it will not issue further waivers to countries over importing Iranian oil.

The Trump administration said sanctions will target Iran’s aluminum, iron, copper and steel sectors.

“It remains the policy of the United States to deny Iran all paths to both a nuclear weapon and intercontinental ballistic missiles, and to counter the totality of Iran’s malign influence in the Middle East,” Trump said in the order released on Wednesday.

“It is also the policy of the United States to deny the Iranian government revenue, including revenue derived from the export of products from Iran’s iron, steel, aluminum and copper sectors, that may be used to provide funding and support for the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, terrorist groups and networks, campaigns of regional aggression and military expansion,” read the statement.

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Moreover, the administration also announced that it will issue no more waivers for countries to import Iranian oil, reported Reuters.

The developments come as the United States deployed an aircraft strike group and four B-52 bombers to the Middle East amid the Iranian threat.

Finally, Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Pat Toomey (R-Penn.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) introduced a resolution marking the one-year anniversary of the U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear accord, in addition to reiterating congressional opposition to Iran ever acquiring nuclear weapons and rejecting the United States ever giving sanctions relief to Tehran.

“Iran’s ongoing nuclear misbehavior underscores why the United States was absolutely right to withdraw from the flawed deal,” said Rubio. “The people of Iran deserve better as they continue to suffer under the Iranian regime’s criminal corruption, massive economic mismanagement and systemic human-rights abuses, in addition to its support for terrorists and the murderous Assad regime, ballistic missile aggression and nuclear misbehavior.”

Postcard Discovered With Ben-Gurion’s Writing, ‘State of Israel Has Been Born!’

Fri, 05/10/2019 - 02:29

A postcard written and signed by Israel’s founding father and first prime minister David Ben-Gurion, just one day after he officially declared the State of Israel’s independence, was recently discovered. The postcard, dated on the sixth day of the Hebrew month of Iyar in the Jewish year 5748 (May 15, 1948), was sent to the founding father of the kibbutz movement, Shlomo Lavi.

In a letter inscribed on the back of the postcard, Ben-Gurion wrote: “The people of Israel have attained the pinnacle of their existence—the State of Israel has been born.”

The postcard, which was discovered right before Israel’s Independence Day, will be put up for public auction next week at the Kedem Auction House in Jerusalem.

In the letter, Ben-Gurion compares the contrasting realities on the ground between the time he immigrated and the day after the establishment of the State of Israel.

“When we arrived in this Land, you as Lefkowitz and I as Grün, waving the flag of Labor, we encountered the malaria of the swamps and the corruption of the Ottoman regime. Now, despite the fact that the roar of the cannons has not ceased and our sons are fighting on all fronts, my heart is joyous upon witnessing this great advancement.”

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Ben-Gurion (formerly Grün, 1886-1973), who was born in Płońsk, Poland, served as both prime minister and minister of defense in the first national government, and as leader of the Labor Party in succeeding governments. He was among the founders of the Histadrut (General Organization of Workers in Israel) and the first leader of the Yishuv (Jewish community in mandatory Palestine).

The letter recipient, Shlomo Lavi (formerly Lefkowitz, 1882-1963), was also born in Płońsk. He was also an active member of the Ezra Zionist Youth Movement, which sought to provide free Hebrew education to poor children, and was founded by Ben-Gurion and Shlomo Tzemach.

Lavi immigrated to the region of Palestine under the Ottoman Empire in 1905, during the period of the Second Aliyah. He then worked in several different positions, including at the orchards of Petach Tikvah and Sejera, at an oil-production plant owned by the Atid company and on the Kinneret agricultural farms. He was one of the founders of the Jewish defense and paramilitary organization of Hashomer. As a member of the communal Kvutzat Kinneret community in the Galilee region, he introduced the concept of the “Kvutzah Hagedolah” (the kibbutz). In 1921, Lavi and several other individuals founded Kibbutz Ein Harod.

Meron Eren, co-owner of Kedem Auction House, said: “This postcard is a very special find that encompasses a supreme historic value. Above all, it carries with it nostalgia for the early days of the country, sentiments of renewal, excitement upon a state in the making, and the exhilaration and joy of a generation that took nothing for granted.”

The revelation of the postcard also overlapped with the discovery of a collection of 26 photographs that captured scenes that transpired among Arab belligerent forces during Israel’s War of Independence. The photos will likewise be put up for public auction next week at the Kedem Auction House.

Israel’s Sacrifice and Independence

Fri, 05/10/2019 - 02:14

Yishai returns from a great trip in Boston, New York, Los Angeles & San Diego – just in time for Israel’s Memorial and Independence Day. Malkah Fleisher joins to remember the loss and celebrate the gift. Then, Yishai speaks with the heroic Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein of Chabad of Poway.

Israel’s 71 Years of Terror and Hope

Fri, 05/10/2019 - 02:05

Israel began celebrations for its 71st Independence Day Wednesday night, with a variety of ceremonies and shows being held across the country.