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Iran Likes Biden
By Micah Halpern

Thursday January 21, 2021
I've Been Thinking:

Iran is happy that Joe Biden is the new president of the United States. No surprise there.

President Hassan Rouhani of Iran is so pleased with the potential he sees in the new administration that he took the liberty of offering the new US president some advice.

Rouhani urged US President Biden to return to the 2015 nuclear agreement.

Rouhani delivered his message in a televised cabinet meeting. He said: "The ball is in the U.S. court now. If Washington returns to Iran's 2015 nuclear deal, we will also fully respect our commitments under the pact … U.S. President Donald Trump's political career is over today and his 'maximum pressure' policy on Iran has completely failed.”

Iran wants to get back to the good old days before Trump.
It’s too early to tell what direction the Biden administration will take.

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Blinken Has History
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday January 20, 2021
I've Been Thinking:

During his Senate nomination hearing Tony Blinken, the Biden nominee for Secretary of State, revealed some very significant foreign policy ideas on the part of new administration.

Blinken wants to push for the Two-State Solution between Israel and the Palestinians and he wants to restart relations with Iran Russia and China.

This is what he said to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee: "When we're not engaged, when we don't lead, then one of two things happen: either some other country tries to take our place, but probably not in a way that advances our interests or values. Or no one does, and then you get chaos … Either way, that does not serve the American people."

There is no doubt that if Blinken passes committee’s scrutiny he will be the one directing the Biden administration’s foreign policy.

Tony Blinken has extensive foreign policy experience. Part of that experience includes making nice with Iran - it is a part of his philosophy.

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Charedi Leader Finally Shouts
By Micah Halpern

Tuesday January 19, 2021
I've Been Thinking:

Finally, someone with real bona fides and credentials in the Chareidi (ultra orthodox) community is calling out Chareidi leaders, calling them irresponsible and guilty of aiding in the deaths of their followers. He accused them of denying COVID and not taking the deadly pandemic seriously.

Yehudah Meshi Zahav is the founder of ZAKA, a volunteer emergency medical
organization that unhesitatingly rushes in after accidents and terrorist attacks. ZAKA members are true heroes.

After losing both his mother and brother to COVID, Meshi Zahav gave an interview to YNET. He said: "This is our leaders' fault. I say this with heavy heart, I think they're worse than Holocaust deniers. After all, Holocaust deniers deny history, and here, they're denying the present.”

"What's wrong with those leaders? How can they say, 'our hands did not spill that blood?' There are people around here who are suspected of spilling blood, even if people call them 'rabbis'. There isn't a single neighborhood, building, or home without at least one victim.

"Forty-four people have died in the last 24 hours, 44 families whose entire worlds fell apart, 44 families for whom nothing will ever be the same again - and we played it down. Can’t they see? Each one of us is literally a ticking time bomb.”

And finally, he said: "Their obituaries shouldn't say, 'rest in peace,' but 'may the Lord avenge their blood' instead. Hearing [coronavirus patients'] cries in coronavirus wards, it's heart-wrenching. There is no one there to hear them, and I am sitting there, watching ambulance after ambulance taking out the dead."

Yehudah Meshi Zahav is to be applauded.

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Israel Demands Turkey Shut Hamas
By Micah Halpern

Monday January 18, 2021
I've Been Thinking:

Israel is showing strength and character.

Jerusalem issued a statement to Turkey about normalizing relations.
Israel made it clear that there can be no normalizing of relations between the countries until and unless Turkey shuts down their support and sponsorship of Hamas.

Turkey enables Hamas to organize their activities.

Turkey permits Hamas the ability to coordinate their terrorist operations out of Istanbul.

From Turkey Hamas recruits and finances much of their operation in Gaza. They transfer funds from Istanbul to Gaza and their money is protected in Turkey.

Israel has always had a weak spot for countries wanting to normalize relations with them. Israel would typically look the other way or even totally capitulate in order to accommodate the other country and get them to “like” the Jewish State.

Standing strong and making demands on Turkey is a major step for Israel.
Israel is showing maturity and wisdom.

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Saudis Welcome Qatar back
By Micah Halpern

Sunday January 17, 2021
I've Been Thinking:

I’ve Been Thinking:

Saudi Arabia has announced that they are opening an embassy in Qatar.

The announcement was thrown out as a nonchalant comment about the opening of new Saudi embassies by Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister, Faisal bin Farhan.

The Saudi foreign minister was speaking to journalists in Riyadh when he was asked about embassy re-openings.

This revelation signals that relations between Qatar and the other Sunni countries are on the mend. That’s big news because Qatar was isolated from the other Sunni countries after they sided with Iran against the other Sunni nations.

Now it looks like that the divide is narrowing and that Qatar is coming back into the community of Sunni Gulf nations.

It is clear that the Trump initiative in the Middle East was successful. Iran was sidelined and now Qatar wants to come back to the security of the Sunni fold, but many in the Sunni world are still skeptical of their real intentions.

Qatar’s move to side with Iran caused serious pain to the Sunni community. But if Saudi Arabia is willing to trust them other nations will probably follow along.

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Israel's Transition to Biden
By Micah Halpern

Saturday January 16, 2021
I've Been Thinking:

Now that Donald J. Trump will no longer president of the United States, Israel needs to recalibrate.

Israel spent the last four years riding the wave of pro-Israel US policy. And it was quite a wave.

The United States recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moved the US embassy to Jerusalem.

The United States recognized the Golan Heights as part of Israel.

Now Israel must figure out how to navigate their relations with the United States under Joe Biden’s administration.

Israel - not just Netanyahu but almost every leader in Israel, felt comfortable in the relationship between the Jewish State and Trump.

That is gone.

Biden is no stranger to Israel. But it will not be the same.

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