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Bennett Won't Meet Abbas
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday September 15, 2021
I've Been Thinking:

Israeli PM Naftali Bennett explained why he will not meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas.

Bennett gave YNET the reasons for his decision. He said:
"My perception is different than that of the defense minister although we work in harmony. I oppose a Palestinian state and I think it would be a grave mistake to import the failed Gaza model of Hamas which shoots rockets at us and turn the entire West Bank to that.”

Bennett also explained why Defense Minister Benny Gantz met with Abbas and why he can and should continue to meet with him.
Bennett explained that Gantz has different issues and different variables at play when deciding to meet with Abbas. But for him, it is a very different situation. He said:

"I see no logic in meeting Abbas when he's suing our soldiers in the Hague and accuses our commanders of war crimes. In my opinion, the Palestinian Authority is a failed entity.”

The government is acting in concert – there are no secrets among Israel’s leaders.

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Israeli PM Visits Egypt
By Micah Halpern

Tuesday September 14, 2021
I've Been Thinking:

For the first time in a decade an Israeli prime minister went to Egypt - publicly.
Egypt is the very first Arab country to sign a peace treaty with Israel – but – over the past few years, the relationship cooled.

That might be changing.

Israeli PM Naftali Bennett travelled to Israel and met with Egyptian President al Sisi. The meeting took place at the Red Sea resort of Sharm el Sheikh, located at the very southern tip of the Sinai Desert.

The most significant purpose of this Egyptian/Israeli talk was to come up with a plan to jumpstart talks between Israel and the Palestinians. Additionally, Bennett and al Sisi were able to discuss regional tensions in Syria, Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza and of course Iran and Iran’s influence in the region.

By the meeting’s end, al Sisi volunteered to host an Israeli/Palestinian summit.

The question is, will the Palestinians accept the invitation.

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Israel Preps a 4th Booster
By Micah Halpern

Monday September 13, 2021
I've Been Thinking:

2.8 million senior adults in Israel have already received their third COVID vaccine.
That is almost everyone eligible for the booster.

And Israel is already securing and preparing a fourth vaccine. The reason should be clear. There is no way to know what will happen next. A fourth shot may be necessary, and necessary around the bend.

In an interview on Radio 103FM, Nachman Ash, Israel’s Health Ministry Director
General explained the thinking this way: “We don’t know when it will happen; I hope very much that it won’t be within six months, like this time, and that the third dose will last for longer.”

Most countries haven’t yet figured out how to vaccinate their citizens in a first round. Israel is preparing for a fourth!

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A Plan for Gaza
By Micah Halpern

Sunday September 12, 2021
I've Been Thinking:

Economy for security – that, in a nutshell, is Israel’s plan to bring quiet to Israel from Gaza.

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid has laid out a detailed plan.

Lapid presented his outline in an address to the International Counter-Terrorism Conference at Reichman University, formerly called IDC, the Interdisciplinary College. The plan is dubbed "Economy for Security" and will include two phases.

Phase 1 will be humanitarian rehabilitation for Gaza in return for combating Hamas' efforts to increase its military capabilities.

Phase 2 will see the Palestinian Authority take control of civil and economic affairs in the enclave.

Sounds simple, sounds easy – on paper. We will see what happens when reality sets in.

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20 yrs Since 9-11
By Micah Halpern

Saturday September 11, 2021
I've Been Thinking:

It’s been 20 years since that fateful day, the day that changed history.

The world is a different place because of what happened that Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001.

What we consider a given, that al Qaeda, under the leadership of Osama Bin Ladin, perpetrated a triple hijacking that resulted in 2,977 deaths and over 20,000 wounded – is not what many people living in the Middle East think happened on that day.

Conspiracy theories positing that 9-11 was not the work of Muslim terrorists are rampant. They believe, instead, that Israel and the CIA colluded to cause that unfathomable act of terror. Or that the United States conspired to destroy their own Twin Towers.

It’s all about perspective. For many, facts and truth be damned.

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Taliban & Israel
By Micah Halpern

Friday September 10, 2021
I've Been Thinking:

The Taliban has announced that they are not at all interested in any diplomatic ties with Israel. What do you know – not a surprise.

The surprise is that they made the announcement in the first place.

Taliban spokesman, Suhaul Shaheen, spoke to Sputnik News Service, a Russian news outlet and said that the Taliban would cooperate with the United States.

He said: "Of course, we will not have any relations with Israel. We want to have relations with other countries, Israel is not among these countries."

"Yes, of course, if America wants to have a relationship with us, which could be in the interest of both countries and both peoples, and if they want to participate in the reconstruction of Afghanistan, they are welcome.”

The Taliban has already named a provisional government and that government includes several people wanted for terror offenses. Among that group are:

Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund, a veteran of the group who is on a UN sanctions list and served as the Islamist regime’s brutal leader between 1996-2001. He was named as acting prime minister.

Sirajuddin Haqqani, who is wanted by the FBI for suspected involvement in a 2008 terror attack in Kabul that killed six people, including an American, and other alleged offenses. He has a $10 million bounty on his head. And he was named as acting interior minister.

Taliban co-founder Abdul Ghani Baradar will be the deputy prime minister. He previously served as the head of his movement’s political office, overseeing the 2020 signing of the U.S. withdrawal agreement.

Mullah Yaqoob, son of the Taliban founder and late supreme leader Mullah Omar, was named defense minister.

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Uman & COVID
By Micah Halpern

Thursday September 9, 2021
I've Been Thinking:

Those Israelis who visited Uman this year for Rosh HaShannah have returned home and along with their luggage, they are bringing home COVID.
And the virus is barreling in at a startling rate.

Followers of Rebbe Nachman travel to Uman, in Ukraine, to visit the grave of Rebbe Nachman of Bratslav. Being there for Rosh HaShannah holds serious significance.

In order to return to Israel, travelers from Uman and everywhere else, were required to ahow proof if a negative PCR test. Many of those who returned had COVID and forged their PCR test results.

The COVID positive travelers most certainly infected the entire planeload of people by traveling while infected. Ad then they infected everyone they were in contact with at the airport and upon returning to their apartments - especially their children.

Those now exposed children go to school, see other children and infect them.
Uman has become a super-spreader event. This may be the single largest super-spreader event in Israel since the beginning of COVID.

This behavior is simply unacceptable – it is sheer arrogance of the highest order.

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Abraham Accords 1 yr Later
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday September 8, 2021
I've Been Thinking:

It has been just over a year since the signing of the first Abraham Accords, the U.S. brokered agreements between Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.
Even though the first of the accords were signed during the peak of COIVD, there was a flurry of activity and back and forth travel between the countries.

Israelis flocked to the UAE and Bahrain, some even made weddings and forged new business contacts in these once forbidden countries. But most of the travel and excitement has been one way, one sided.

Residents of the Arab countries are being discreet about their forays into Israel. While we are seeing significant investments, those making the investments are keeping a low profile. They are taking private planes so as not to be seen in the terminals and on the flights coming to and from Israel.

Israelis are jumping at opportunities. The question is whether these will be long term or short term opportunities. Will the relationship develop or disappear after one cycle? Will there be continued and open reciprocity?

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Moderna & The Flu Shot
By Micah Halpern

Tuesday September 7, 2021
I've Been Thinking:

Moderna has announced that it is developing a single vaccine that combines a booster dose against COVID-19 with its experimental flu shot.

Stephane Bancel, CEO of Moderna, presented an update during a presentation to investors on the company’s drugs in development. During the presentation Bancel said: "We believe this is a very large opportunity that is ahead of us, if we could bring to market a high efficacy pan-respiratory annual booster … We believe Moderna could be first to market in this important new opportunity.”

The drugmaker already had several influenza vaccine candidates in development before the corona virus hit. This new vaccine combines the experimental flu shot that is furthest along together with Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine.

The company has also already started clinical trials for a vaccine appropriate for older adults.

Novavax, another pharmaceutical company, has also announced that it has initiated an early-stage study to test its combined flu and COVID-19 vaccine.
This is a major step forward.

By combining the vaccines into a single booster injection, recipients will bolster their overall protection.

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