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IDF Shoots at Drone from Syria
By Micah Halpern

Sunday June 24, 2 018

I've Been Thinking:

Earlier this morning Israel launched a Patriot anti-missile salvo at a drone that was infiltrating northern Israel from Syria.

The trail of the Patriot was filmed by numerous people in the Safed area.

The drone was flying from the Syrian controlled area of the Golan Heights into Israel. These drones are large and are used for two purposes - primarily for reconnaissance but also for attack. This drone, and others like it, is part of a Syrian/Iranian system patrolling the skies and gathering information.

The Patriot is a US weapon that Israel purchased in order to bolster their defense against missiles, just like this drone, entering their airspace.

On Nov 17, 2017 Israel shot down a drone in a similar fashion.

Earlier today the Patriot missed its target, but despite that, the drone changed course and returned to base.

Israel must make certain that their airspace is not breached. The information Iran and Syria could garner from aerial photos could be devastating to Israel’s security.

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Iran Makes 15 Demands of US
By Micah Halpern

Friday June 22, 2 018

I've Been Thinking:

Iran posted 15 demands for the United States. They say that the demands are a list of the 15 things necessary to bring them back to the table. They are basic requirements.

The list was provided to the US by Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif.

These 15 items are a direct response to the actions taken by United States, that is clear and obvious. In May the US set down a series of demands for Iran and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is the person who listed those demands.

It's a case of tit for tat.

Iran's demands include the return of the United States to the P5+1 Nuke Deal. They are also demanding that the US stop providing aid to Yemen invaders. The expression "Yemen invaders," when spoken by the Iranians, means the Saudis. Another demand is that US stop their opposition to Israel's nuclear disarmament.

There is very little chance that this Iranian strategy will succeed. Never the less, Iran is taking it very seriously.

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Gaza Changing The Rules of Engagement
By Micah Halpern

Thursday June 21, 2 018

I've Been Thinking:

45 mortars and rockets from Gaza were shot toward Israel yesterday.
Seven were intercepted. At least five fell in Gaza. The others were left alone, they were not en route to populated areas within Israel.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad of Gaza claimed responsibility for the rockets.

In response, Israel struck 25 Hamas targets. Hamas and Islamic Jihad, for their part, claim that they are responding to Israeli aggression. They have announced that they will counter every Israeli attack with an attack.

Islamic Jihad said that, as of now, Israel can no longer act freely in Gaza.

These statements - and more importantly, the launching of rockets and mortars as a response to Israel's response - is a new reality and a new strategy for Gaza.

It will not impact Israel's actions but it is, none the less, a significant change in status.

It's real purpose is not to intimidate Israel. It's real purpose is to empower Gazans, to give Gazans a sense that they are not defenseless against Israeli attacks.

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US Team Meets w Jordan King
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday June 20, 2 018

I've Been Thinking:

US President Donald Trump's Middle East team met with Jordan's King Abdullah II yesterday. The team also plans to meet with leaders from Egypt, Israel, Qatar and Saudi Arabia over the next few days.

The US team leaders are in Jared Kushner, presidential son-in-law and Presidential Special Middle East Envoy and presidential advisor Jason Greenblatt.

The meeting with Abdullah took place in the Jordanian capital, Amman.

It followed one day after the Jordanian King hosted a quiet and surprise visit to Amman by Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Everyone is weighing in on the still unknown, new, US peace plan.

We do not know what is in the plan only that the Palestinians do not like it. Once again the Palestinian press was filled with vitriol and rejection of the plan.


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Pope Pulls a Trump
By Micah Halpern

Tuesday June 19, 2018

I've Been Thinking:

Pope Francis spoke off the cuff recently. His topic about abortion.

The Pope said: "Last century, the whole world was scandalized by what the Nazis did to purify the race. Today, we do the same thing but with white gloves."

The parallel between today and abortions during the Holocaust is extreme.
The policy for decades was that the Pope always spoke from prepared statements and never spoke off the cuff. This is why.

There is no way to compare the events of the Holocaust to what happens in the year 2018 in America.

This is an exaggeration better fitting of a Trump tweet or a Trump rally that a comment by the Pope.

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CNN Reporter Tours Gaza Tunnel
By Micah Halpern

Monday June 18, 2018

I've Been Thinking:

CNN reporter Ian Lee was blindfolded and brought on a tour of a terror tunnel by Islamic Jihad in Gaza.

The tour was taped and, quite frankly, not at all interesting. However - one question and answer were very insightful.

Lee asked about indiscriminately shooting rockets into Israel. He said that it appears that Islamic Jihad targets children's schools.

Islamic Jihad leadership responded that they do not deliberately target children.

Islamic Jihads wants to wreak as much havoc upon Israel as possible. Targeting children hurts Israel more than any other attack. Children are the most valued jewel in Israeli society. And that's why Jihad definitely wants to target children.

Their tunnels are an attack route into Israel. They are shelters to protect against Israeli air force attacks.

These tunnels are their lifeline, they are Islamic Jihad’s most effective attack weapon against Israel.

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Hateful Sermon in Mosque in Jerusalem
By Micah Halpern

Sunday June 17, 2018

I've Been Thinking:

On Friday over 90,000 people attended prayer services at the Al Aqsa mosque atop the temple mount in Jerusalem. They were also treated to a lengthy sermon which was extremely critical of the US and Israel.

Al Aqsa is the place where according to Muslim tradition Muhammad journeyed on in his nighttime mirage. It was a guided tour on his famous steed he saw Al Aqsa and even ascended to heaven.

Friday was special because it was Eid al Fitr the holiday/feast that concludes the month long Muslim fast of Ramadan.

In his sermon, the Mufti of Jerusalem, Sheik Muhammad Hussein, used the opportunity to lash out at the US and Israel especially US President Donald Trump. The Mufti shouted that the US peace plan which is about to be unveiled is destructive to the Palestinian cause. He said that "this is an unfair plan that aims at the liquidation of the Palestinian cause."

As you can imagine the Mufti also had sharp words about the move of the US embassy to Jerusalem.

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Miss Iraq in Israel
By Micah Halpern

Friday June 15, 2018

I've Been Thinking:

Iraq's Miss Universe 2017 is visiting Israel. She took a selfie with her Israeli counterpart.

Ever since posting the selfie, Miss Universe has been getting death threats. She is being cursed across the Arab world.

Miss Iraq now lives in the United States. She is visiting Israel as part of a program sponsored by the American Jewish Committee. After arriving she explained that she chose to come to Israel "because I want peace for everyone, for Israelis, for Palestinians."

The response Miss Iraq is getting to her visit to Israel underscores how important it is for people and for leaders to step up and embrace forward thinking solutions and engage in real dialogue.

It also demonstrates how petty and hateful people can be.

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Large Numbers of Iranians Support Israel
By Micah Halpern

Thursday June 14, 2018

I've Been Thinking:

#WeStandWithIsrael is the twitter hashtag that Iranian supporters of Israel are using to show their defiance against Iran's leadership.

On the same day and at the exact same hour that Iranian leadership organized Al Quds Day, a day condemning Israel, tens of thousands of people hashtaged #WeStandWithIsrael. The time was 9PM.

Israel's twitter feed directed at Iran and in Persian has 60,000 followers. The feed reaches as many as 2.5 million readers in a week.

The take away from this is that there are many, many Iranians who support Israel.

These revolutionaries, these young Iranians, are risking their lives to announce on twitter that they support Israel despite their national and religious leaders who rant and rave and proclaim a commandment to destroy the Jewish State.

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Iran Wants More
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday June 13, 2018

I've Been Thinking:

French President Macron called Iranian President Rouhani yesterday with an update on the progress he and the other remaining P5+1 leaders made on the nuke deal.

Macron's office issued a statement saying:

"The President of the Republic recalled the will of France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China, to continue to implement the Vienna agreement in all its dimensions."

"The president informed President Rouhani of the progress in the work being done on our side. He hoped that Iran, for its part, will fulfill its obligations without any ambiguity."

Meanwhile, according to Iranian media, President Rouhani of Iran told Macron that Iran cannot stay in the agreement without receiving much better incentives and benefits and compensation.

Rouhani's website posted: "We must not let this great achievement of diplomacy be destroyed by others' unilateral actions, which are unfaithful to their promises."

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Fire Balloons the New Kites
By Micah Halpern

Tuesday June 12, 2018

I've Been Thinking:

Incendiary balloons are the newest danger hitting Israel from Gaza. They are a version of the incendiary kite.

The principle is the same.

Gazans launch a helium filled balloon. Attached to the balloon is a lit Molotov cocktail. The balloon is lofted up and into the wind, propelled westward by the strong breeze of the Mediterranean Sea.

When the lit bottle explodes the balloon bursts, dropping a fireball into Israel, igniting whatever it hits.

Israel is knocking the balloons out of the sky with drones - just like they knock out the kites. The drones fly into the balloons while still in Gaza and they fall there.

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Iran is Back in Syria
By Micah Halpern

Monday June 11, 2018

I've Been Thinking:

There are reports that Iran and Hezbollah have pulled out of southern Syria.

And there are other reports, like the one that ran in the Wall Street Journal on Friday and is now being reported across the Middle East that Iran and Hezbollah have returned to southern Syria.

They left in their uniforms and returned in Syrian army uniforms.

The change is not just a ruse to fool those who asked them to leave - it is an attempt to trick Israel. In Syrian army uniforms, Iranian and Hezbollah forces will not be obvious targets for Israeli strikes.

Hezbollah's Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah announced on Friday that, "if the whole world comes together to force us to leave Syria, they will not be able to evict us."

This is a typical fake out by Iran. They said they were leaving and then came right back.

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Israel & Sudan
By Micah Halpern

Sunday June 10, 2018

I've Been Thinking:

Everyone's eyes are on US President Donald Trump and his historic summit with the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

But that's not the only game in town. Other very important international events are taking place and not getting the media coverage they deserve.

Some savvy leaders have actually intentionally taken advantage of the moment and timed their events to coincide with the US/NoKo summit knowing that they will be able to skirt the international limelight.
For example, Kenya is asking Sudan for permission to fly their commercial airliners over their airspace en route to Israel.

Sudan and Israel do not have diplomatic relations -- but one of the documents included in the trove of documents leaked by wikileaks provided a telegram from a senior adviser to the president of Sudan to a senior US official.

The telegram reads: "If things were going well with the US, you might be able to help us with Israel, as they are your closest ally in the region."

The plan is to start with one flight a week. This is a very big step forward in terms of African / European business. Israel can easily be a hopping point en route for travelers and for goods.

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Israel Asks FIFA To Ban Argentina
By Micah Halpern

Friday June 8, 2018

I've Been Thinking:

Argentina has cancelled their friendly soccer match with Israel, scheduled to take place this Saturday June 9th in Jerusalem at 3:30pm Israel time.

It is clear that the BDS movement was able to successfully influence Argentina to scratch the match.

Now the Israeli branch of the Football (Soccer) Association is asking FIFA, the World Soccer Federation, to ban Argentina from the World Cup which takes place in Russia this summer. Israel is saying that Argentina's cancellation of the match was a case of "religious discrimination."

Comtec, the Israeli company that organized the game, has already paid the Argentina Soccer Association $2 million from the sale of tickets - the game sold out within 20 minutes of going on sale.

Discrimination is against FIFA rules. If FIFA leadership chooses to remove Argentina from the organization it would be an extremely serious punishment and would send a message to everyone else not to discriminate against Israel

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Farrakan Again!
By Micah Halpern

Thursday June 7, 2018

I've Been Thinking:

Louis Farrakan delivered a speech recently in which he attacked Jews and Judaism. It was a speech which was a lot like a medieval canard against Jews.

The founder of the Nation of Islam said:

"Satanic Jews who have infected the whole world with poison and deceit."

He said: "the false Jew will lead you to filth and indecency. That's who runs show business. That's who runs the record industry. That's who runs television." Farrakhan alleged that Jews often force aspiring actors to submit to anal sex. "Do you know that many of us who go to Hollywood seeking a chance have to submit to anal sex and all kind [sic] of debauchery [before] they give you a little part?" ... "It's called the casting couch. See that's Jewish power."

It is hard to imagine that in 2018 people like this still exist and speak out publicly. More amazing is that so many people actually believe these lies.

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Israel Thwarted Numerous Attacks in Europe
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday June 6, 2018

I've Been Thinking:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is on a European trip trying to convince leaders there to join Israel's global point of view.

One of Netanyahu's talking points is his also assertion that Israel continues to help Europe through sharing intelligence.

Netanyahu said: "Israel is operating against the threat of radical Islam. We prevent awful terror attack, also in France. Israel has thwarted many terror attacks across Europe and will continue doing so."

This is an essential point.

Israel is doing its job to help protect Europe. Now Israel wants a quid pro quo. Netanyahu is asking Europe to join forces with Israel and the United States.

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Putin Tells US -- Reward N Korea
By Micah Halpern

Tuesday June 5, 2018

I've Been Thinking:

Russian President Vladimir Putin was interviewed in ORF Austrian public broadcasting an media group. newspaper.

Putin told the paper that the US should make certain to reward North Korea if a real deal is worked out.

Putin said that if North Korea agrees to denuclearize, the US must entice them trough aid packages.

In Putin's words, the deal would not be "a one way street."

These statements make it clear to all clear that Putin wants to be a player in this game, too.

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Assad to Visit N Korea
By Micah Halpern

Monday June 4, 2018

I've Been Thinking:

The web lit up yesterday as North Korean media announced that Syrian President Assad will soon be visiting North Korea.

The reports in Rodong Sinmun, the official media mouthpiece of the North Korean dictator, did not specify when the Assad trip will take place.

The timing of the announcement was not accidental. The new North Korean ambassador to Syria was welcomed by Assad, but that was incidental. The real reason for making the announcement is that it dovetailed into the announcement that the summit between the United States and North Korea was still on for June 12.

The statement from Assad read: "I am going to visit the DPRK and meet His Excellency Kim Jong Un."

"I am sure that he will achieve the final victory and realize the reunification of Korea without fail." Syria "will completely support all the policies and measures" of North Korea and President Assad is certain of their victory.

Now we wait, watch and analyze.

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Dueling Resolutions at UN
By Micah Halpern

Sunday June 3, 2018

I've Been Thinking:

The US proposed a resolution in the UN Security Council to condemn Hamas for their attack on Israel.

Unfortunately, the only vote in favor of the United States resolution was the United States.

The vote came on the heels of a Kuwaiti resolution condemning Israel for excessive force and asking for Palestinians to get international protection. The US vetoed that resolution.

It was a clear back and forth anti Israel - pro Israel set of resolutions.
Yet---

These resolutions illustrate how the UN Security Council has made huge strides. The United States is trying to level the playing field in the Security Council. They are trying to make certain that Israel gets a fair shake and these two resolutions are the proof.

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