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Bibi's Gov Almost Fell Last Night
By Micah Halpern

Friday August 26, 2016

I've Been Thinking:

A massive crisis in Israel was averted on Thursday night.

The crisis was not about peace or economics, not about the Palestinians or security or even about ISIS. And yet, it was a crisis of such proportion that it threatened to take down the government - and nearly did. Prime Minister Netanyahu spent the whole night in dialogue and negotiations to keep his government from falling.

The crisis centered on a simple Latin expression composed of 2 words: Status Quo - which means, things should stay the same. No Changes.
Status Quo. These words are the foundation of the Netanyahu coalition. It has to do with the concept of religious life in Israel, especially the role of government.

In this case religious parties in the Netanyahu government were up in arms because work on the rail lines was taking place on Shabbat.
Two ministers sent a scathing letter to the PM saying stop or we will pull our support from your government because this is a violation of the Status Quo, which is part of our coalition contract.

Israel's ministers of transport and labor said that their contracts allowed for work on Shabbat in Tel Aviv. The religious parties said no way.

Finally, the prime minister stepped in with a Solomonic resolution.
They agreed to allow emergency and safety related work to be done on Shabbat because that work save lives. For instance, major safety improvement on the Ayalon Highway may be performed so that fewer people will die in what has become a deadly roadway. But simply laying track and other non-safety related work will be postponed until after Shabbat.

A near crisis - averted.

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What a Shock-- Its Politics
By Micah Halpern

Thursday August 25, 2016

I've Been Thinking:

George P. Bush, Jeb Bush's 40 year old son, just returned from a trip to Israel.

The trip should come as no surprise, Jeb and his uncle George W. are great supporters of Israel.

The big surprise is that George P Bush broke ranks from his father and endorsed Donald Trump, the republican nominee. Despite the awful way that Trump attacked his father, George none the less has embraced the idea that Trump needs to win the presidency.

Currently, George P. Bush is the Texas land commissioner, elected in 2014. But he may be maneuvering for a spot in the Trump administration. This trip to Israel certainly helps secure his foreign policy exposure and experience.

Machiavelli said that politics make strange bedfellows. Here we have the perfect example.

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Russia to Sponsor Israel-PA Summit
By Micah Halpern

Monday August 22, 2016

I've Been Thinking:

Egyptian President al Sisi informed several journalists yesterday that Russian President Putin is offering to host direct talks between Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Palestinian President Abbas.

That is a very important announcement.

Originally, Egypt was supposed to host a bi-lateral summit. Now it will be Russia who hosts. It is essential that Egypt and Saudi Arabia be present. Their presence will allow Palestinian leader Abbas the illusion of protection, comfort and security that may permit him to make concessions.

Of course, the biggest questions is where the United States will be during the summit. They will unquestionably be invited - but this time around they will have to take a back seat.

This is Russia's party and the co-hosts are Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

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Iran's Weapons Industry
By Micah Halpern

Sunday August 21, 2016

I've Been Thinking:

Iran now has an advanced weapons industry.

Iran's motivation in creating this industry was the sanctions that the West and the world imposed on them. So far, their results have been very impressive. Iran is making sophisticated weapons, on its own.

Here's an example:

The Russian S-300 rocket system has been caught in the sanctions debate. And even though Iran signed a deal with the P5+1 last year, the S-300 has not actually been delivered.

Russia has been pressured by Israel and the United States not to send the entire S-300 order.

So, since 2010, Iran has been developing an alternative to the S-300. The Iranians say that they have successfully developed the Bavar-373. We are told that they tested the rocket and that Iranian President Rouhani actually toured and watched the launching of the new weapon.

Also on the agenda for release almost immediately is Iran's first turbo jet engine.

This info comes to us courtesy of Iran, so some skepticism is valid. Iranians are masters of deception and have, in the past, fictionalized their technical weapons development and prowess.

We just have to wait and see what the real story is this time.


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