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Why is Russia so Involved?
By Micah Halpern

Monday July 15, 2019

I've Been Thinking:

Ever wonder why Russia is so involved in the Middle East and so committed to Iran?

I'll explain:

First and foremost, there is a significant Muslim population in Russia. And Russia needs to placate their citizens. There has been some Russian / Muslim tension and it is important to tamp it down.

Next is that the United States has significant influence in the region. And for Russia, it is very important to keep US interests in check. It is that attitude alone that informs large swaths of Russian foreign policy.

Third comes proximity. Russia itself, is actually located in the region. Their former states are even closer, extremely close, to Iran and to the entire Middle East.

Finally, Russia and Iran are linked economically. They are enormous oil producers. Russia is also a huge provider of much of what Iran needs.


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Hezbollah Threatens Israel
By Micah Halpern

Sunday July 14, 2019

I've Been Thinking:

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah went public today outlining the next conflict with Israel.

Nasrallah announced: "In the next war with Israel we will have surprises in land, air and sea." He went on and explained that "the resistance" which means perpetrators of terror and his own forces can reach "the whole of Israel until Eilat." Eilat is the southern-most part of Israel.

There was more. Nasrallah said he is "confident of victory" and confident that "Israel is weaker than a spider web ... Life and death are in the hands of God, yet logic points to me praying in al-Aqsa mosque."

Nasrallah described how Hezbollah could strike "sensitive targets" in the southern and northern Israel. 'In a next war with us, Israel will be fighting for its existence ... and I will be praying in Jerusalem".
The comments were made during an interview on Al-Manar TV, the Hezbollah TV cable station.

Explaining that Hezbollah is not afraid even though Israel has previously killed many Hezbollah members and will target them, he said: "Hezbollah is an organization that doesn’t depend on anyone ... There were those who died and those who left the organization, and it didn't affect us."

Nasrallah cautioned that Hezbollah will target the city centers: "There's no need for us to harm soldiers. Instead of wasting missiles on the north, we will attack the south ... "We'll bring Israel back to the Stone Age."

Explaining one of his targets Nasrallah explained that: "Israel tried to get rid of the ammonia tanks in Haifa and did not succeed. We only need a couple of rockets to hit these tanks, and the number of fatalities will be very large, even Israelis themselves say that."

The leader of Hezbollah emphasized that: "Everything I've presented is the minimum of our abilities. It's important to me that Israelis understand that."

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu responded very quickly to Nasrallah's remarks by saying: "Over the weekend we heard Nasrallah's remarks on his attack plans. It should be clear that if Hezbollah dares to do some nonsense and attacks Israel, we will hit him and Lebanon with a crushing military blow."

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Make Israel Normal Again
By Micah Halpern

Friday July 12, 2019

I've Been Thinking:

The election in Israel will be held on September 17th.
After the April election, Avigdor Lieberman was the man responsible for preventing Benjamin Netanyahu from creating the coalition government he needed to cinch the position of prime minister - thereby forcing the new election.

On Thursday Lieberman and his party, Y'Israel Beitenu (Israel is Our Home), released a campaign ad that unveils a new slogan.
The 30 second video which was released via Twitter runs under the phrase "This is not Las Vegas." The ad cuts to a slot machine with photos of Netanyahu's potential coalition partners and labels them all as extremists. Next comes a derogatory comment about potential coalition members if the Blue and White party were to win.

The ad finishes with a flourish. In white letters, against a blue background, with a blood red exclamation point for added emphasis - and in English - is the phrase "Make Israel Normal Again!"

The allusion to Donald Trump's "Make American Great Again" slogan is obvious. The substitution of the word "normal" is critical. Normalcy is a political and defense condition Israelis yearn for.

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Israeli Arab High Jumper Represents Israel- Called a Traitor
By Micah Halpern

Thursday July 11, 2019

I've Been Thinking:

Hanin Nasser is an Israel Arab, she is also Israel's best female high jumper. Nasser will represent Israel in the European Athletic U23 Championships.

And that upsets some Arabs.

Hirak Haifa, a group of Israeli Arab activists, is pressuring Hanin Nasser to back out of the competition. They went public with a statement. This is how it read:

"We condemn her representation of the Zionist entity that uprooted our people and is using her as a fig leaf to cover up the racism and crimes of Israel."

The group also sent a personal note to Nasser asking her not to represent Israel.

What frightens haters more than anything else is normalization. In their narrow world, freedom and democracy are treated as treason.

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Israel Stopped 50 Terror Attacks Worldwide
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday July 10, 2019

I've Been Thinking:

The Jerusalem Post published a report yesterday informing us that the Mossad has announced that Israel prevented and intercepted 50 terror attacks by Iran and ISIS over the past 3 years.

Twelve of those attacks were planned for Turkey. Some were halted at the very last minute.

Turkey's relations with Israel have been very rough since 2010. That's when a Turkish aid ship, part of a flotilla, was boarded by Israeli commandos.

Turkish President Erdogan has been a vocal critic of Israel at almost every turn.

And yet, despite the vitriol being spewed against them, Israel is convinced that helping stop terror everywhere is the right thing to do. Israel's leadership also believes that these connections will help Israel further improve relations with countries all around the world.

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Israeli Plans For Iran
By Micah Halpern

Tuesday July 9, 2019

I've Been Thinking:

Iran's moves to increase the enrichment of their uranium has upset the countries who signed on to the now infamous deal with Iran.

It appears that the deal has no teeth. That there is no way to force Iran to comply with the deal.

Additionally, this deal leaves Israel in a very precarious situation.

Questions arise. How will Israel respond to the new threats?

It should be perfectly clear to everyone that this assertive move by Iran is, first and foremost, a direct threat against Israel. And then it is a threat to the rest of the Western world. But location is everything and Israel is in the neighborhood - in the target zone, in the cross hairs, of Iran.

Israel has a history of interceding when it perceives threats to be developing. In 1981 Israel attacked and destroyed the nuclear reactor in Iraq. In 2007 Israel attacked and destroyed the nuclear center in Syria.

If Iran pushes too hard, Israel may very likely strike Iran's nuclear system.

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