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Hezbollah Host Rebel Conference
By Micah Halpern

Friday January 14, 2022
I've Been Thinking:

Hezbollah from Lebanon hosted a conference supporting the rebels in Saudi Arabia.
Challenge Saudi Arabia in Lebanon, when the majority of Lebanon supports Saudi Arabia and wants Saudi support to help rebuild Lebanon, seems rather counter intuitive. It takes gall.

Lebanon is in dire need of help from the Saudis. This move by Hezbollah speaks volumes.

A large part of internal Lebanese tension is due to the actions of Hezbollah.
Hezbollah’s support for the rebels in Saudi Arabia was the reason Saudi Arabia recalled its ambassador from Lebanon and banned all imports from Lebanon.

Throughout the conference, Hezbollah officials repeatedly told Saudi Arabia to stop “bullying”.

Everyone in attendance at the conference was allied with Iran. Iranian support was their common denominator.

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Russia &Israel
By Micah Halpern

Thursday January 14, 2022
I've Been Thinking:

Tensions are between the United States and Russia are increasing. There are several issues of contention.

Israel has entered into the dialogue of one of those issues – Iran.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett had a substantial phone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin. They spoke about Iran, especially the Iranian nuclear program and the talks taking place in Vienna about Iran’s nuke plan.

Bennett and Putin also spoke about security in the Middle East, about Syria and about Lebanon. They spoke about continued cooperation between their countries.

Bennett made it very clear to Putin that Israel was carefully watching Iran. He made it clear that no matter what is decided in Vienna, it will not stop Israel from striking Iran if they cross the line.

At the end of the call, Putin invited Bennett and his wife to visit Russia.

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Taliban Visit Iran
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday January 12, 2022
I've Been Thinking:

The foreign minister of Iran met with the Taliban foreign minister in Teheran.

After the meeting Iranian leadership announced that they are not yet ready to recognize the Taliban government of Afghanistan.

In the meantime, they decided to have future meetings and, Iran announced, they will continue to send humanitarian aid to Afghanistan.

It is important to remember that Iran and Afghanistan share a border – a very long border – 921 miles. That is the distance between new York City and Minneapolis or NYC and Des Moines, Iowa. There have been border conflicts between the two since August, that is when the Taliban forced the United States to leave Afghanistan.

Iran has a long memory. They reminded the Taliban that in 1998 Taliban terrorists kidnapped and murdered Iran’s ambassador to Afghanistan in the Iranian consulate.

Iran said that the Taliban has never taken responsibility for the murder and the terror.

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New Combined Variant
By Micah Halpern

Tuesday January 11, 2022
I've Been Thinking:

DeltaOcron was just discovered in Cyprus. The discovery was made by a professor of biology.

DeltaOcron, as the name implies, is the combination of two COVID-19 variants, Delta and Omicron.

This was the first discovery of this combination variant. The professor said that he found the combination variant in hospitalized patients.

He said: "We do not know if the combined strain will take over and be more common than Delta or Omicron, but for now, it seems that Omicron is the most contagious strain."

This new COVID discovery definitely needs to be watched.

Since the discovery this has been disporved as a lab mishap.

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Iran Sanctions US
By Micah Halpern

Saturday January 8, 2022
I've Been Thinking:

This is funny, It is a game being played by Iran.

Iranian leadership has declared that they are imposing sanctions against 51 Americans. They claim that these 51 Americans were responsible for the assassination of Qassem Suleimani in 2020.

Iran is calling the assassination an act of terrorism and a violation of human rights.

Iran can now seize the assets of the 51 Americans – their assets in Iran. Of course, none of the 51 have any assets in Iran.

This entire episode is a symbolic attack against the United States. In reality, it means nothing.

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PA Leader Son Deported from Egypt
By Micah Halpern

Friday January 7, 2022
I've Been Thinking:

Ramy Shaath, son of Palestinian leader Nabil Shaath, was deported from Egypt.

Shaath the father is a senior adviser to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. That means that his son, Ramy, is from one of the most public and entitled families in the region.

Ramy Shaath has been in pretrial confinement in Egypt since 2019, accused of having ties with the Muslim Brotherhood. That could mean that he was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood or that he was a fixer for them - connecting and making contacts to help the Muslim Brotherhood fight Israel.

Egypt has designated the Muslim Brotherhood as illegal and as a terrorist group. Part of Ramy’s agreement and deportation was that he renounce his Egyptian citizenship.

In other words, this agreement means that there was a diplomatic agreement allowing him out of detention, stopping a prosecution and facilitating a deportation. Ramy Shaath should consider himself lucky – very lucky.

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Dutch Says No $ for PA Terror
By Micah Halpern

Thursday January 6, 2021
I've Been Thinking:

The Netherlands has announced that they will no longer be funding the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), a Palestinian NGO that has so far received approximately $25 million of Dutch taxpayer money. They announced that UAWC will not be receiving the next installment of Dutch aid.

The decision was made by both the Dutch minister of foreign development and the Dutch minister of foreign affairs. In a statement made to the Dutch parliament the ministers revealed that their audit “has made it sufficiently plausible that there have been ties at the individual level between employees and board members of UAWC and the PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine) for some time.”

“The large number of UAWC board members with a dual mandate is particularly worrisome … For the Cabinet, the findings about individual ties between UAWC and the PFLP and the lack of openness about this from UAWC, also during the investigation, are sufficient reason to no longer fund UAWC’s activities.”

They made it clear that there was no official link between the UAWC and the PFLP. But what concerned them was that 34 UAWC employees were members of PFLP and 12 hold leadership positions.

This was all proven through internet research investigations. It was all right there for the public to see.

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Iran Fails To Put Paylaods into Orbit
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday January 5, 2021
I've Been Thinking:

Iran recently failed to put three payloads into orbit.

I watched several videos of the launch.
Official Iranian media did not mention the failure.

Iran has failed numerous times before. To their credit, on the other hand, they have successfully launched a few satellites into orbit. But they have failed more than they have succeeded.

This time the problem was that the rocket just did not make it up to the speed necessary to push the payloads into orbit. “For a payload to enter orbit, it needs to reach speeds above 7,600 [metres per second]. We reached 7,350,” spokesman, Ahmad Hosseini, said in a documentary about the launch vehicle broadcast on state TV and posted online on Friday.

It is very important to note that Iran has both a space program and a ballistic missile/rocket program. In order to launch any part of the space program they use rockets. The programs are linked.

Iran will continue to develop their space program. The space program is not against any international agreements. It is the ballistic missile program which is not permitted.

But Iran is doing it anyway.

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Israel's 2021 Exports Break Records
By Micah Halpern

Tuesday January 4, 2021
I've Been Thinking:

It is the end of the year 2021, an appropriate and natural time to take a look at end of year business numbers.

Despite COVID, Israel’s exports hit a record of $140 billion worth of exports in 2021. That is an increase of 18% over last year 2020.

To understand the enormity of the number - in the year 2019, Israeli exports were a comparatively mere $117.5 billion.

Also this year - for the first time – services exceeded goods in exports… meaning 51% of Israel’s exports were services, including startups, while goods and products produced in Israel composed 49% of their exports.

Another business highlight for Israel in 2021 was the entry of the Israeli unit of Teva Pharmaceutical into the medical cannabis market. Teva Israel signed an agreement with Tikun Olam Cannbit, an Israeli cannabis company.

Under the agreement Tikun Olam will produce cannabis oil and Teva will market it.

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Israel's 2021 Exports Break Records
By Micah Halpern

Tuesday January 4, 2021
I've Been Thinking:

It is the end of the year 2021, an appropriate and natural time to take a look at end of year business numbers.

Despite COVID, Israel’s exports hit a record of $140 billion worth of exports in 2021. That is an increase of 18% over last year 2020.

To understand the enormity of the number - in the year 2019, Israeli exports were a comparatively mere $117.5 billion.

Also this year - for the first time – services exceeded goods in exports… meaning 51% of Israel’s exports were services, including startups, while goods and products produced in Israel composed 49% of their exports.

Another business highlight for Israel in 2021 was the entry of the Israeli unit of Teva Pharmaceutical into the medical cannabis market. Teva Israel signed an agreement with Tikun Olam Cannbit, an Israeli cannabis company.

Under the agreement Tikun Olam will produce cannabis oil and Teva will market it.

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Alibaba & the PA
By Micah Halpern

Monday January 3, 2021
I've Been Thinking:

Alibaba, the very large and very popular Chinese e-commerce site, announced that they will no longer deliver to The Palestinian Authority. The announcement came in the form of a message sent by aliexpress.com.

The decision is not political - it is purely business. It is logistical and is based on a jumbling of packages.

Due to a PA policy, many Alibaba packages have not reached their destinations in the Palestinian Authority.

That’s because the PA postal service will not deliver a package that has Israel as part of the address. It is a matter of policy. But many Palestinians who order from Alibaba put Israel as part of their address.

Alibaba decided that the problems this causes and the damage to their reputation and the inefficiency of non-delivered packages outweighs their gains and their profits.

So they simply cut off the Palestinians.

Since their original announcement, Alibaba has resuming deliveries to the PA.

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Abbas Visits Gantz in Israel
By Micah Halpern

Sunday January 2, 2021
I've Been Thinking:

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz hosted Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas yesterday.

The meeting took place at Gantz’ home in Rosh Haayin.

This is the first time since 2010 that Abbas was in Israel - with the sole exception of Shimon Peres’ funeral in 2016.

The meeting lasted for two and a half hours. Also present were Israeli Major General Rassan Aliyan, Palestinian Minister of Civil Affairs Hussein a Sheik and Palestinian Chief of Intelligence Majed Faraj.

Following the meeting Defense Minister Gantz’s office released this statement:
"The two discussed various security and civilian issues … The defense minister emphasized the shared interest in strengthening security coordination and maintaining stability, and preventing terrorism and violence."

The statement also revealed that Gantz told Abbas that he intends to "further promote bond-building steps in the economic and civilian spheres, as the two agreed on during their last meeting."

This was the second meeting between Benny Gantz and Mahmoud Abbas. Their first took place in August in Ramallah.

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Anti Vax Star of David
By Micah Halpern

Saturday January 1, 2021
I've Been Thinking:

A poster condemning anti-vaxxers with a Star of David on it appeared in two different locations in the Los Angeles area.

One of the posters was displayed outside the Baba Sali Synagogue. The second poster was at Cedar Sinai Medical Center

On these posters, the Star of David, also known as the Magen David, is composed of the letter A and, on top of the letter A, the letter V. It is clearly identifiable as a Star of David.

The posters’ caption reads “Report Anti-Vaxxers, because you care and they don’t,” and includes a telephone number that, according to a local media outlet, went to a restaurant in Hollywood.
Police are investigating.

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Operation Shield the North
By Micah Halpern

Friday December 31, 2021
I've Been Thinking:

Israel has begun “Operation Shield the North”.

The purpose of this operation is to provide the residents who live in the northern part of Israel with bomb shelters to protect them from rockets and missiles that may be shot into Israel from Lebanon or from Syria.

All total, 21 communities that are situated on the border will have their existing shelters reinforced and new shelters built.

Operation Shield the North came about as a direct result of the 2020 comptrollers report which revealed that 30% of Israelis do not have access to functioning shelters in the event of a bombing.

Israel needs to prepare for an onslaught of rockets from the north. Until now, they have relied on interceptors like the Iron Dome. But interceptors can only shoot down so many rockets and missiles.

Citizens of Israel need to have safe, well built, well protected bomb shelters in which they can – when necessary, hunker down and wait out the storm.

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