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1st Orthodox Female Rabbi in Israel
By Micah Halpern

Friday May 7, 2021
I've Been Thinking:

History is being made in Israel.

For the first time ever, a woman has been hired to be the leader of an orthodox synagogue.

Rabanit Shira Marili Mirvis was appointed to lead Congregation Shirat Tamar in Efrat.

Mirvis will graduate from a five-year course at the Susi Bradfield Women’s Institute of Halakhic Leadership (WIHL) at Ohr Torah Stone’s Midreshet Lindenbaum in June.
Her course of study included Jewish law pertaining to Shabbat, kashrut, family purity, mourning, marriage and divorce. The program certifies graduates as “spiritual leaders” and “morot hora’ah” - women authorized to provide direction in matters of Jewish law.

Rabbi Kenneth Brander, president and yeshiva head of Ohr Torah Stone expressed his pride in this first of its kind program for women. He said:

“I am deeply hopeful and confident that we will look back on this moment as one which paved a new halachic direction for the rightful place of women spiritual leaders within the Orthodox community.”

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Mossad Head in Bahrain
By Micah Halpern

Thursday May 6, 2021
I've Been Thinking:

Yossi Cohen, the head of Israel’s Mossad, visited Bahrain.

In Bahrain, Cohen met with his counterparts, the head of Bahrain’s national intelligence and the head of Bahrain’s strategic security.

There is tension in the region. Tension over Iran and how to deal with the Iranian regime. And tension caused by Israel's deal to normalize relations with Bahrain, aka the island kingdom. And further tension because Iran is trying to whip up anger against Israel.

Cohen’s visit and the meetings he held were reported about on Bahraini state run media.

The statement carried by the news agency was brief.

It said only that Yossi Cohen met with Bahrain's heads of national intelligence and strategic security to discuss "the most prominent security topics, regional developments and issues of common interest."

Neither Bahrain nor Israel want to cause more and unwarranted tension.

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Iran Threatens Israeli Shipping
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday May 5, 2021
I've Been Thinking:

For months I have explained, repeatedly explained, that Israel’s shipping assets are at risk.

For months, Iran has been targeting Israeli commercial ships on the high seas.

Now Iranian General Hussein Salami, commander of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, is threatening Israel’s maritime trade. Salami has said that Israeli shipping could be "easily disrupted."

Iran and Israel have targeted each other’s ships. But Iran thinks that it has the upper hand. The Iranian general told state TV that Israel's small size makes it "more susceptible to such a devastating attack."
"On action can bring down this whole regime.”

General Hussein Salami was just posturing or sounding off. He was delivering a message.

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Iran In COVID Trouble
By Micah Halpern

Tuesday May 4, 2021
I've Been Thinking:

Iran has purchased 60 million Sputnik V COVD vaccines from Russia. The Sputnik V is a two-dose vaccine.

60 million vaccines, at two doses each, means that Iran purchased enough vaccine for 30 million people. Sounds like good news - except that Iran has a population of 84 million.

Iran is in total COVID lockdown. Almost the entire country, 85% of the cities which comes to 250 cities, are in Red or Orange zones.

Thus far, only 100,000 people in Iran have been vaccinated.

Making matters worse is that the Sputnik V vaccine is not expected to reach Iran until the end of 2021. are only expecting the vaccines by years end.
The situation is dire.

Iran is living a COVID nightmare. The country is on the precipice. At this rate, millions of Iranians will die from COVID.

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Biden Meets Mossad Chief
By Micah Halpern

Monday May 3, 2021
I've Been Thinking:

US President Joe Biden met with Yossi Cohen, the head of the Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency. They met one-on-one in the Oval Office.

The president of the United States receives a daily briefing on intel threats throughout the world. But this meeting was not a simple intel briefing.
Cohen was sent to Washington as a direct emissary of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. And immediately after leaving the meeting, Cohen called and briefed his prime minister.

The topic of the meeting was Iran.

Israel is not happy with the on-going Iranian negotiations. The United States is not happy with Israel’s moves and counter moves against Iran.

Relations and interactions between Jerusalem and DC are still positive. The United States and Israel are working together - even when they disagree.


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COVID in Israel Almost Gone
By Micah Halpern

Sunday May 2, 2021
I've Been Thinking:

As of the first week in May, Israel had a COVID positivity rate 0.1 percent. In real numbers that means that of the 9,236 people tested for COVID, only 13 people were positive.

There were 62 Israelis on ventilators, 102 hospitalized and two deaths.

That brought the entire fatality total in Israel to 6,365.

This was very good news.

Israel is still restricting entrance to the country, but progress on that front is being made. People entering from high COVID countries like India are put in quarantine hotels for 14 days and then tested.

Slow and cautious. That’s how Israel is managing the pandemic.


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Iran Sees Lift of Sanctions
By Micah Halpern

Saturday May 1, 2021
I've Been Thinking:

Iranian media is reporting that their negotiations with the P-5+1 are going very well.

Their media is reporting that the talks in Vienna will lead to the lifting of sanctions on oil, banks, individuals and institutions.

"Sanctions ... on Iran's energy sector, which include oil and gas, or those on the automotive industry, financial, banking and port sanctions, all should be lifted based on agreements reached so far," Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi was quoted telling Iranian state media.

Washington, on the other hand, is playing down any progress.
One day soon, we should know the truth about these negotiations.

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