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Israel Cracks Down on Drug Smuggling
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday, September 72022
I've Been Thinking:

IDF Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Ran Kochav announced that Israelís military forces have successfully increased operations to thwart drugs and weapons smuggling across the Jordanian and Egyptian borders and into Israel.

Kochav said that drugs valued at 135 million shekels and some 300 illegal weapons had been apprehended after they entered Israeli territory.

For years drugs and weapons have been smuggled into Israel.† As intended, these contraband materials cause tremendous harm to Israel. Stopping their illegal arrival is essential.

The IDF keeps Israel secure in myriad and all important ways.

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White HouseL No Conditions on Iran
By Micah Halpern

Tuesday September 6, 2022
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The White House has made it clear that there will be no conditionality between the re-implementation of the Iran nuclear deal and verifying whether Tehran has upheld its obligations under the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty.

The message, as delivered by White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, was clear and unambiguous.

Jean-Pierre told reporters that: "There should not be any conditionality between re-implementation of the JCPOA and investigations related to Iran's legal obligations under the Non-proliferation Treaty,"

She was, of course, referring to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) probes into uranium traces found at three undeclared Iranian sites.

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Israel Thinks there's a Better Deal
By Micah Halpern

Monday September 5, 2022
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Israel believes that Western powers can reach a better nuclear deal with Iran than the one they are now negotiating.†

As attempt towards reviving the original 2015 nuclear pact seem to be reaching final stages, a senior Israeli lawmaker gave an interview to Israeli radio station 102 FM and said: "We must draft a much better deal with a much longer stick. And this is what we're not seeing,"

The speaker was Ram Ben-Barak, head of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

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Gaza Starts Executions Again
By Micah Halpern

Sunday Septembert 4, 2022
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Gazaís Interior Ministry announced that Hamas executed five Palestinians. †

Full names were not provided for the group, but their crimes were listed. Two of the five, ages 44 and 54, were charged with engaging in espionage for Israel that dated back to 2015 and 2009. They were charged with giving information to Israel that led to the killing of Palestinians.† The other three had been convicted of murder.

The dawn executions, carried out by hanging or by firing squad, were the first official executions in the Palestinian territories since 2017. †Previous Hamas executions have drawn criticism from International human rights groups.

The official Interior Ministry statement read: "The execution was carried out after the conclusion of all legal procedures. The rulings had been final, with implementation mandatory, after all of the convicted were accorded full rights to defend themselves".

According to Palestinian law, the president, Mahmoud Abbas, has the final word on whether executions can be carried out. But Abbas has no effect on rulings in Gaza.

Since Hamas ousted Abbas and the PA from Gaza in 2007, its courts have sentenced dozens of Palestinians to death, and have executed 27 people.

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Qatar to Permit Beer at World Cup
By Micah Halpern

Saturday September 3, 2022
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Alcohol is forbidden according to Muslim law.† But attendees at the much anticipated upcoming World Cup, which will be held in Qatar, have received a dispensation, of sorts.

Qatar will permit ticketed fans to buy alcoholic beer at World Cup soccer matches starting three hours before kickoff and for one hour after the final whistle, but not during the match.†

This information comes from a source with, we are told, knowledge of plans for the tournament.

According to the source, Budweiser, a major World Cup sponsor with exclusive rights to sell beer at the tournament, will serve beer within the ticketed perimeter surrounding each stadium.† But Budweiser will not be serving beer, in the stadium stands or in the concourse/ concourse.

This year's World Cup is the first to be held in a Muslim country.† The event, which is both sponsored by a major beer brand and attended by many fans of beer drinking, posed a new set of problems for the World Game organizers.†††

They seem to working out the kinks in the system.

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IDF Permits Iran Opposition TV film Iron Dome
By Micah Halpern

Friday September 2, 2022
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This is a shocker. It is a news item that stunned me.

For the first time ever, the IDF authorized the Iranian opposition TV channel called "Iran International" entrance to the Iron Dome base and granted the channel permission to speak with base commanders and soldiers.

During the visit an IDF commander told an Iranian correspondent that: †"the Iron Dome is only part of Israel's defense system, which includes four different systems that can protect Israeli skies from short and long range missiles from Hezbollah and Iran."

There really was logic behind this unique move.

Israeli leadership knows that the ruling regime in Iran monitors the opposition channel.† This was an opportunity to send a clear message illustrating Israelís military ingenuity and creativity.

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Iran Arrest Bahai
By Micah Halpern

Thursday September 1, 2022
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For the second time in two months Iranian media reported that their security forces arrested 12 individuals belonging to the Bahai faith in the north of the country.

Bahai has been outlawed in Iran.† Members have been persecuted in Iran since they established themselves as an offshoot of Islam.†

Followers of this faith are accused of supporting Israel and undermining the Iranian regime.

There is such antipathy from the government of Iran towards Bahai that, in Iran, it is neither illegal to persecute nor to kill those who are Bahai members.

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IsraelBombs Aleppo Airport
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday Auigst 31, 2022
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Israel bombed Aleppo airport and the areas around it.† The bomb strike was reported by SANA, the Syrian State News Agency.

The strike caused damage to the airport which has been temporarily shut down.

Aleppo is in northern Syria, very close to the Turkish Syrian border.

Damascus, on the other hand, is in the south of Syria close to the Israeli border.

Why would Israel bomb the Aleppo airport?†

The answer is that Iran is using the Aleppo airport as its base of operations to import weapons and the supplies needed to manufacture weapons. One of the destroyed factories near the airport was a missile factory. Most of the parts in that factory were imported from Iran and the missiles themselves were assembled in Aleppo.

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Lapid Guards US Relationship
By Micah Halpern

Tuesday August 30, 2022
I've Been Thinking:

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid explained that Israel is carrying out a correct policy ahead of the U.S. administrations intentions to return to the Iranian nuclear deal.

In Jerusalem, at the start of a weekly cabinet meeting, Lapid said: "Our policy this past year has been to apply pressure but not bring about a crisis in relations with the U.S., by presenting American officials with credible intelligenceĒ.

Come what may, it is Israel that will have to deal with Iran and its bomb.† And it should be clear to everyone that Israel is flying solo on the issue of Iran.†

Neither the United States nor the rest of the world is concerned about Iranís nuclear potential. They just want a deal.

There is very little doubt that when necessary, Israel will launch a surgical strike on Iranís nuclear arsenal and manufacturing capabilities.

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Putin Expands Army
By Micah Halpern

Monday August 29, 2022
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Russian President Vladimir Putin signed an order increasing the size of Russia's armed forces from 1.9 to 2.04 million.† This news was reported by Russiaís RIA Novosti news agency.

The figure, which includes a 137,000 increase in the number of military personnel to 1.15 million, will go into effect on Jan 1.

This decision by the Russian president proves several important points and gives insight into Vladimir Putinís strategy and intention.

Most importantly, it is now abundantly clear that Putin expects Russia to be at war for the near future.† To implement that goal, Russia will need more soldiers and more military personnel.

What is not clear is whether the war between Ukraine and Russia will be the only conflict that Russia will be engaged in, or if Putin has other conquests in his sites

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Israel Indicts Islamic Jihad Leader
By Micah Halpern

Sunday August 28, 2022
I've Been Thinking:

An Israeli military court recently filed an indictment against senior Islamic Jihad operative Bassam al-Saadi.

It was the arrest of al-Saadi that sparked the tensions that culminated in days of fighting between the IDF and Palestinian terrorist group in Gaza.

Bassam al-Saadi is considered to be one of the most prominent figures in the Islamic Jihadís West Bank branch.† The indictment charges him with membership in and service to a terror group, unauthorized gathering, aiding contact with hostile elements, incitement and impersonation.

According to the indictment, al-Saadi received funds from an Islamic Jihad operator in Gaza, incited the continuation of a violent struggle against Israel and tried to evade arrest by identifying himself as a different person.

The prosecution asked to extend al-Saadi's remand until the end of the proceedings against him.

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