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Slaughtering Kosher Meat Illegal in Greece
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday October 27, 2021
I've Been Thinking:

Jewish ritual slaughter of meat is a central component of Jewish life.

Over the past few years there has been a move to outlaw Jewish ritual slaughter of animals. The reason given for promoting this move – which has already won in court cases, is that Jewish law prohibits stunning the animal before slaughter.

Not stunning the animal before slaughter, is considered animal abuse.

Today, the highest court in Greece ruled that Jewish ritual slaughter of animals was animal abuse and illegal.

The Greek ruling echoes last year’s decision from the highest court in the European Union. According to that ruling, any region that prohibited slaughtering an animal without first stunning it, was illegal.

The rulings directly impact the lives of both Jews and of Muslims who must, according to their religious belief, eat kosher and hallal meats.

These rulings make an obvious point: animal rights take precedence over, and have become more important, than religious rights and religious rites.

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Cyberattack Hits Iran Gas Stations
By Micah Halpern

Tuesday October 26, 2021
I've Been Thinking:

Iran was hit by another cyberattack on Tuesday.
This was one brilliant attack.

The target of this cyberattack was gasoline fueling stations. Long lines snaked across the country as no one was able to fill up on gas.

Here is how the hack worked:
All Iranians get their gas by using a government issued credit card that gives them a subsidy. Effectively, with the government card a gallon of gasoline costs an
Iranian 5 cents for up to 15.8 gallons. After that, gas costs 10 cents a gallon.
This hack attacked the card system.

Every time an Iranian used their card and began to fill-up on gasoline, the number 64411 flashed along with the word “cyberattack”.

The numbers 64411 echo a previous attack that struck Iranian trains. That attack was attributed to a hacking group named Indra – the Hindu god of war.
The earlier attack was tracked by Check Point, one of Israel’s cybersecurity firms.

Any number of groups could have perpetrated this cyberattack. Israel and Israelis are, of course, prime candidates – but there is a long list of groups and countries that would benefit from disturbing daily life in Iran.

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Israel Invests in Arab Sector
By Micah Halpern

Monday October 25, 2021
I've Been Thinking:

Israel has allocated NIS 30 billion for a five-year plan dedicated to the economic. social and infrastructure development of the Arab sector. The plan includes investments in education, transport, housing, culture, sport and employment.

According to Meirav Cohen, Israel’s Social Equality Minister: "this plan will provide hope for many people in Israel, and at the end of the day will also reduce the violence and crime problem in the Arab sector."

That’s not all.

The government approved another NIS 2.5 billion dedicated to fighting the spike in crime in the Arab sector.

Public Security Minister Omer Barlev explained the decision saying: "the decision convinces the whole government to act as one for this important goal."

Lawlessness within the Arab sector has led to a sense of frustration in Arab villages and cities. These allocations are seriously needed. Hopefully, they will have the desired and desperately needed effect.

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Syria Executes 24
By Micah Halpern

Sunday October 24, 2021
I've Been Thinking:

Syria regularly executes people convicted of crimes.

Recently, Syria executed 24 people. They were convicted of igniting wildfires last year that left three people dead and burnt thousands of hectares (acres) of forests. The fire was devasting.

Executions are common in Syria.

But 24 executions is an unusually large number even for Syria to execute at one time.

Syria's decade-old conflict left hundreds of thousands dead and displaced half the country's population, including five million refugees outside the country.

The Syrian Ministry of Justice said those were executed, "criminals who carried out terrorist attacks that led to deaths and damage to infrastructure and public property." The ministry said that there were another 11 people who were sentenced to life in prison in the same case.

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Iran's Public Air Drill
By Micah Halpern

Saturday October 23, 2021
I've Been Thinking:

Iran boldly and publicly had the media cover their annual air force drill. As part of the exercise they had planes flying across the country, crossing into the sea and then back to land.

This air force drill came just one week after another massive exercise – this one in air defense.

Official Iranian media covered the two events extensively so as to send a message to the United States and Israel.

According to Iranian reports, bombers, jet fighters, and attack and surveillance drones participated in the drill. Additionally, they used heavy weapons including laser-guided missiles.

The press reported that all of Iran’s military air bases participated in the maneuver. Reportedly, Iran has 12 air bases.

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India Vaccinates 1 Billion
By Micah Halpern

Friday October 22, 2021
I've Been Thinking:

1.4 billion people live in India. Vaccinating India against COVID was a real challenge. There were devastating surges of COVID and the country was devastated by the numbers of deaths due to corona virus.

But India just celebrated a milestone. They successfully administered 1 billion COVID-19 vaccines.

The government promoted the event with song and a video. But just as the celebrations began, the number of daily vaccines dropped.

Today, India's has vaccinated 75% of its 944 million adults with at least one vaccine dose. BUT only 31% with two doses. The government wants all adults to get vaccinated before the end of 2021.

"India scripts history," Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Twitter. "We are witnessing the triumph of Indian science, enterprise and collective spirit of (1.3 billion) Indians."

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Hezbollah Losing Support
By Micah Halpern

Thursday October 21, 2021
I've Been Thinking:

Samir Geagea is the head of the Lebanese Christian Forces.

The Lebanese Christian Forces is publicly charging Hezbollah, which is the Iranian backed Shiite Muslim terrorist group, as being "the biggest threat facing Lebanon and its people."

Geagea further stressed that, right now, Hezbollah has only one goal. And that goal is to stop the investigation into last summer’s explosion at the port of Beirut.
The explosion killed hundreds and injured thousands.

Geagea is suggesting that Hezbollah and/or Iran must have had some role in the explosion. The head of the Lebanese Christian Forces is not alone. We are hearing from more and more Lebanese leaders condemn Hezbollah.

Until recently this critique was unheard of. This might be a sign that Hezbollah is losing popular support and control in Lebanon.

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Egypt Fighting ISIS
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday October 20, 2021
I've Been Thinking:

Egypt has implemented a set of plans aimed at destroying ISIS in the Sinai desert.
Until now, for all intents and purposes, ISIS was freely roaming the desert. They were roaming the desert with impunity.

The first thing that the Egyptian army is doing is cutting off this freedom of movement.

To that end, the Egyptians erected a string of watchtowers, checkpoints and army posts along the northern edge of Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. Egyptian troops now patrol in armored vehicles along newly repaved roads, they are on the lookout for ISIS.

Smaller roads have been blocked off with piles of sand and some houses were demolished to eliminate cover between Al Arish and Sheikh Zuweid.

These measures reflect a significant shift in the security situation during the past two years. Hopefully, Egypt will successfully secure the area and force ISIS into retreat.

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Iran Strikes US Base
By Micah Halpern

Tuesday October 19, 2021
I've Been Thinking:

Iran attacked a US base in Syria.

The al Tanf base sits on the Syrian/Iraqi border. The base is there to function as an intel facility. It houses about 400 US troops along with British and French intelligence personnel.

Interestingly, the report on the attack of a US base was broadcast not on US media – but on Iranian media. And the Iranians claimed responsibility.

This was a direct message to both the United States and Israel. And the message is that Iran is acting and responding to changing events in the region.

Iran regularly uses others to do their bidding so that they have plausible deniability. So their direct involvement in strike against a US base is a significant change in style.

Aside from the message to the United States and to Israel, Iran is also telling Russia that they too do not want the United States in Syria and that they are actively moving to push them out.

We have been warned.

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