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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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Hopkins' A/S
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday January 13, 2021
I've Been Thinking:

It is stunning to realize how many examples there are of anti-Semitism on campus.

In a tweet, a teaching assistant at Johns Hopkins polled her followers and asked if, when grading, she should take points away from pro-Israel students.
She then described how repulsed she was by the pro-Israel sentiment of her students and how she found white men reprehensible.

The teaching assistant insisted that, up until now, she has always been fair – but her tweets speak for themselves.

The university issued a statement:
"We are aware of an incident of alleged anti-Semitism and potential abuse of authority in the discharge of academic responsibilities on our campus, and while we are constrained in what we can share with you and others about matters such as these, we wish to assure you that we take seriously any and all allegations of discrimination, harassment, or other misconduct – including anti-Semitism."

The pressure Jews feel on campus is growing and growing.

This is just one of many examples.

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Pelosi Quotes Israeli Poet
By Micah Halpern

Tuesday January 12, 2021
I've Been Thinking:

I admit we live in crazy times. And then it just gets crazier.

While speaking in Congress, in an appeal to her Republican colleagues, Nancy Pelosi quoted from the great Hebrew poet Ehud Manor’s spectacular poem “Ein Li Eretz Aheret” which, in English, translates to mean “I have No Other Country”.

Pelosi did not just mention the title of the poem and its essential theme, she said: "Mr. Speaker … I recall the words of the great Israeli poet, Ehud Manor.”

And then continued: "I can't keep silent in light of how my country has changed her face, won’t quit trying to remind her. In her ears, I'll sing my cries until she opens her eyes. I can't keep silent of how my country has changed her face.”

The poem was turned into a song that was made famous by Gali Atari. It is a heart wrenching and deeply moving poem and when put to music it deeply touches the souls of people who care about their country.

For Ehud Manor, that country was Israel. For Nancy Pelosi, it is the United States.

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Pelosi Quotes Israeli Poet
By Micah Halpern

Tuesday January 12, 2021
I've Been Thinking:

I admit we live in crazy times. And then it just gets crazier.

While speaking in Congress, in an appeal to her Republican colleagues, Nancy Pelosi quoted from the great Hebrew poet Ehud Manor’s spectacular poem “Ein Li Eretz Aheret” which, in English, translates to mean “I have No Other Country”.

Pelosi did not just mention the title of the poem and its essential theme, she said: "Mr. Speaker … I recall the words of the great Israeli poet, Ehud Manor.”

And then continued: "I can't keep silent in light of how my country has changed her face, won’t quit trying to remind her. In her ears, I'll sing my cries until she opens her eyes. I can't keep silent of how my country has changed her face.”

The poem was turned into a song that was made famous by Gali Atari. It is a heart wrenching and deeply moving poem and when put to music it deeply touches the souls of people who care about their country.

For Ehud Manor, that country was Israel. For Nancy Pelosi, it is the United States.

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Iran & Their Drones
By Micah Halpern

Monday January 11, 2021
I've Been Thinking:


Iran recently conducted a drone exercise. Several hundred drones participated in the exercise.

The drones were used in many roles - air to air, air to surface and surface to surface. Some of the drones also were fitted with missiles and smart bombs.

A major part of the exercise involved hundreds of drones in kamikaze strikes in which the drones were used as missiles. This kamikaze drone weapon is new and it is very effective. Like suicide bombers, the drone can be sent by its operator directly to its target.

The videos I watched were like Top Gun with drones. But this is neither fantasy nor entertainment. The new use of these weapons by Iran is extremely dangerous.

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Yemeni Houthis Threaten Israel
By Micah Halpern

Sunday January 10, 2021
I've Been Thinking:

Yemen is threatening Israel.

They are threatening Israel in response to an interview on Kan Media in Israel during which an Israeli military source said that Israel is preparing strikes against Iranian backed Iraqi militias, as well as Iranian backed Houthis in Yemen.

Fadl Abu Talib, a member of the Houthi Political Bureau, told the Yemini media outlet Rai Al Youm that they will strike “very sensitive” sites in Israel if Israel attacks them.

He said: "If the Israeli enemy was involved in any action against our people, our people will not hesitate to declare jihad against this enemy. We will not hesitate to launch the strongest possible attacks towards very sensitive sites for the Israeli enemy."

Abu Talib then added: "The remarks of the Zionist war criminals, which stated that Yemen is a threat to the Zionist entity, have been repeated; therefore, we are recalling … that our hostility to Israel as a rapist entity and hostile to our ummah is a human and moral principle, as well as a religious obligation."

The Houthis are blustering and over-reaching. There is no way that they can actually present a realistic military threat against Israel.

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Israel Delivers Iron Dome to US
By Micah Halpern

Thursday January 7, 2021
I've Been Thinking:

Israel delivered its 2nd Iron Dome Anti-Missile defense system to the United States on Thursday. This is significant. The US commissioned Israel and purchased this advanced anti-missile system in 2019.

The Iron Dome works on a unique system. It triangulates and then once the missile target is determined, uses an extremely fast rocket to intercept the missile.

The Iron Dome is so good, it is even able to protect against low tech rockets shot into Israel from Gaza.

Ironically, when Israel first suggested the Iron Dome to the US, their Department of Defense engineers said the technology was impossible. They said there was no way to do what Israeli engineers say they can do.

The Iron Dome has successfully downed cruise missiles. It is the first time technology able to defend against the cruise missile.

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World Watches the US
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday January 6, 2021
I've Been Thinking:

I’ve been watching how Israel is watching the United States in the weeks since the November 2020 presidential election.

I’ve seen how deeply concerned Israel is about the way in which the United States has been handling the election results.

Israel can be considered a microcosm of the rest of the world – they are watching and worrying just like the rest of the world, even enemies of the US, are watching and worrying.

The violence that took place in Washington, DC when the US Capitol was overrun by rioters, not only shocked the world, it shook the world.

The world, and Israel in particular, look towards the United States for direction.
The United States sets the example, other countries learn from the example of the United States.

The world is confused by the images they are seeing. They do not understand what they are seeing, cannot believe what they are seeing.
Neither can Americans.

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Cammack To DC w Israeli Flag
By Micah Halpern

Tuesday January 5, 2021
I've Been Thinking:

Kat Cammack was just elected to represent Florida’s 3rd District. She will be a welcome voice in DC. Cammack loves Israel.

Cammack has announced that she will post an Israeli flag outside her Congressional office on Capitol Hill. Cammack’s office will be situated right next to the Democratic Representative from Michigan’s office. She will be right next to Rashida Tlaib, so that flag will have special significance.

Tlaib is of Palestinian decent. She also supports BDS

Cammack said ““She (Tlaib) has some very strong opinions about Israel, and I have some very strong opinions about Israel, so I have made a pledge that I’m going to be planting the flag of Israel outside my door right next to the American flag.”

“I think it’ll be very helpful as she walks past it every day.”
Cammack is going to push back against “the Squad” and against their stance on Israel. Her strength and clarity is welcomed.
Kudos to Congresswoman-elect Kat Cammack.

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Iran Seizes S Korean Tanker
By Micah Halpern

Monday January 4, 2021
I've Been Thinking:

Iran seized a South Korean tanker in the Straits of Hormuz. Iran claimed that the South Korean vessel was polluting. Iran acknowledged the seizure.

What was not acknowledged was that only hours earlier it was announced that a South Korean diplomat was arriving in Iran to discuss billions of dollars of Iranian assets frozen in South Korea.

South Korea freezes Iran’s assets and then Iran seizes a South Korean tanker.
There’s more.

While this is happening, Iran has begun to enrich uranium to 20%. Enriching uranium to 20% is 4 times higher than the famous Iranian agreement permits.
Iran is playing the world like a fine fiddle.

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Nimitz Back to Gulf
By Micah Halpern

Sunday January 3, 2021
I've Been Thinking:

The US Defense Department announced that the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier group was exiting the region of the Middle East.

Over the past weeks Iranian leadership and the US president have been exchanging jabs. The intention of the United States in relocating the Nimitz was to de-escalate tensions between the countries,

So the Nimitz and its entire strike force group was relocated to the Persian Gulf area. And then, they were recalled. And now the Nimitz group has been returned to its original location.

During the course of a week the Nimitz was first recalled and then resent to the region.

Acting US Defense Secretary Christopher Miller announced, late on Sunday, that: "Due to the recent threats issued by Iranian leaders against President Trump and other U.S. government officials, I have ordered the USS Nimitz to halt its routine redeployment."

Iran is back to its old tricks. Iran, once again, is playing games with the United States.

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Iran & Trump
By Micah Halpern

Friday January 1, 2021
I've Been Thinking:

Iran is obsessing over US President Donald Trump. Their thinking is that Trump will attack Iran in his final days in office.

Look at this tweet from Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. Zarif warns the United States not to attack Iran, he warns that Iran will defend itself so -- beware.
Zarif wrote: "Instead of fighting Covid in US, @realDonaldTrump & cohorts waste billions to fly B52s & send armadas to OUR region. Intelligence from Iraq indicate plot to FABRICATE pretext for war."

Zarif is claiming that President Trump is manufacturing a pretense so that the US can attack Iran.

A military adviser to Iran's Supreme Leader warned the US president "not to turn the New Year into mourning for Americans".

This is just one of many episodes, one of many examples.

The essential lesson to learn from Iran’s behavior is that they are wary of Donald
Trump and believe him to be very unpredictable. Iranian leadership does not know what he will do and what he can do - even to the point of an attack on Iran in the last hours of his presidency.

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