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Rosh Hashanah
By Micah Halpern

Friday September 18, 2020

I've Been Thinking:

Friday September 18, 2020
Iíve Been Thinking:
Itís Rosh Hashanah.
Another year has passed and a new one is upon us.
This, however, was no normal year Ė we all know that.
Traditions ground us and gives us stability. But this year, almost all traditions were thrown away, altered and re-shaped to meet the demands of our new reality.
Loss and crises flood my memory as I prepare for a new year.
And I wonder Ė can the community, any community, our community, sustain itself through another year like the one that is ending. And indeed, next year will be a year filled with the crisis called COVID-19. It will be different. Not the same crisis. But it would be naÔve to think that this is all gone.
COVID is rolling back into certain areas with a vengeance. Those who thought the pandemic was waning thought wrong and arrogantly.
I know that our community must adapt to the change and to the risks involved. Real changes. Changes that include technology and changes that focus on services. Changes that will be hands-on, changes that will be small group oriented and changes that will be online.
Communities need to truly assess what they need. And then they need to go about raising the funds and implementing the programs that will achieve their goals.
Figuring that out is one of the most important items on my thought list as we enter the new year. May it be a Shannah Tovah, a good and healthy and productive year, for us all.

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Palestinian Israelis Love the Peace Accords
By Micah Halpern

Thursday September 17, 2020

I've Been Thinking:

The sides have been drawn. Those in favor and those against the Abraham Accords.

The Palestinians have made their discontent known to all who will listen.
But what about Palestinian Arabs that live in the State of Israel? They have been totally silent. And there is a good reason for that silence.

Palestinians citizens of Israel understand the tremendous benefits brought about by the agreement between the UAE and Israel.

Personal benefits.
Business opportunities.

Several Palestinians with Israeli citizenship have already opened Palestinian restaurants in the UAE. Others see tourism opportunities. Still others see educational and college opportunities.

And some Palestinian Israelis are hoping to culturally translate Israel to UAE and Bahraini leaders in business and politics. They know Hebrew and understand the Israeli mindset and they know Arabic and understand the Arabic world.

They see an opportunity that is expanding way beyond the tiny borders of Israel Ė which has already tremendously expanded past the borders enclosing Palestinians who are not citizens of Israel.

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The Abraham Accords
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday September 16, 2020

I've Been Thinking:

Tuesday was a historic day at the White House. The Abraham Accords were signed between the UAE, Israel and the US.

As we know. is following suit and it looks like Oman will be next on the list. And that may well happen in the next week.

Oman will not be long before joining the illustrious group.

Lolwah Alkhate, Qatar's Assistant Foreign Minister, said his nation is not planning to join Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates in normalizing ties with Israel.

Over the past three years Qatar has moved out of the Sunni sphere of influence.

They were at odds with the UAE and other Sunni states like Saudi Arabia when they joined Iranís side. Qatar rejected the position of the Gulf States on Iran.

They want Arab countries to support Iran and relieve pressure being put on them by the United States.

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Israel Must Be a Bi Partisan Issue
By Micah Halpern

Tuesday September 15, 2020

I've Been Thinking:

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu flew in and out of Washington, DC to participate in the Abraham Accords singing ceremony.

Netanyahu spent time in the White House with President Trump. It is no secret that the two men are friends.

We have been told that while in the United States, Netanyahu did not reach out to Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential candidate.

If that is indeed true, Netanyahu needs to correct that oversight.

He can call from the plane. He can call from Jerusalem immediately upon his return home.

No matter who wins the US presidential election, Israel must have access and the Prime Minister of Israel and he must be on very friendly terms.

If their relationship is not strong and secure, the potential damage is incalculable.

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More In Line For Peace Train
By Micah Halpern

Monday September 14, 2020

I've Been Thinking:

First UAE then Kosovo now Bahrain.

And now Oman. Oman state media issued a statement saying that Oman welcomed Bahrain's decision to normalize relations with Israel and hopes it will contribute to Israeli-Palestinian peace.

In one weekend, from a Friday to a Sunday, two Arab countries followed UAE. And earlier in the week Kosovo, a Muslim country, did the same. That makes it three countries in one week.

The Bahraini government statement read:
"Bahrain hopes this new strategic path taken by some Arab countries will contribute to bringing about a peace based on an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and on establishing an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as capital."

A few days after the UAE / Israel accord was announced on Aug. 13, Israelís intelligence minister explained that Oman could also formalize ties with the country. Oman has welcomed the UAE and Bahraini decisions but has not commented on its own prospects for normalized relations.

Such statements are normally seen as the final steps in the process. In this case they are the first public statements, but they are also the last country to come out after long and secret talks with Israel.

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Iran in War Games
By Micah Halpern

Sunday September 13, 2020

I've Been Thinking:

I just finished watching videos of Iranian war games. I saw military drills and exercises that took place over three days in the Gulf of Oman and the Strait of Hormuz.

The drills covered about 800 square miles. Included in the exercise were the
Iranian air force, navy and army. There were jet fighters, drones, helicopters, submarines and of course, ground forces. Iranian Special Forces swam and invaded land targets. Surface-to-surface missiles were shot and surface-to-air and air-to-surface missiles were all tested in what Iranian military considered real battle conditions.

It was impressive.
It was meant to impress.

The US 5th Fleet was right there watching. The US took no action. The US made no comment.

Tensions are always high in the area. But now, with Gulf countries waiting in line to recognize Israel, Iran is feeling their dream of a united Muslim world confronting the West crumbling down.

There is little chance that Iranís dream will re-emerge Ė not even as a talking point among most of the Muslim world.

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