He has done it again! Just yesterday, President Trump officially announced that he is withdrawing from the agreement reached between the obama administration, Europe and Iran concerning their nuclear weapons program. The idea of the agreement, more or less, was to pay Iran tons of money so that they wouldn’t try to make a nuclear bomb. All the while they can continue with terrorism and all that stuff, just no nuclear weapon. Also, this is being done on the honor system. Iran’s 2nd favorite system! (Honor killing system is a consistent #1)
Reactions have been swift and predictable:
For withdrawing: America, Israel, Saudi Arabia
Against withdrawing: Iran, Europe
(its kind of like World War 2 all over again)
This all comes at a time when Iran is threatening to retaliate against a bunch of very successful recent Israeli attacks (including last night) against Iranian targets in Syria. Israel has made preparations for the possibility of an Iranian/Hezbollah attack, but mostly life goes on pretty routine. Most folks focused on next week.
What’s next week?
- Jerusalem Day (51st anniversary of Jewish victory in the Six Day War and return of Jewish sovereignty to Jerusalem and other historical/biblical cities, like Hevron, Shiloh, Shechem, Jericho, etc.)
- Moving of American Embassy to Jerusalem
- Ramadan (muslim month of fasting and violence)
- Shavuos (anniversary of the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai)
That’s alot going on, even for here.
And finally, yesterday the soldier, Elor Azarya, was released from jail. This is wonderful news and way, way overdue. His brother is getting married tonight and for sure Elor will be celebrated there as a hero. This will likely continue for the rest of his life. He can thank the thoughtless, immoral Israeli left for his lifetime hero status. He’s a cool guy, but they are the ones who made him a hero.
After next week, expect some excitement in the Knesset, strategic building in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem and more clarity as to who is running in the Jerusalem mayor elections.
In the meantime, sit back and enjoy the show!
Despite the Passover holiday being in full effect, there has been tons of drama this week in Israel!
Let’s start at the border with Gaza (not that I recommend camping there at the moment, I don’t). For a few days before last Friday, Hamas instructed arabs in Gaza to build tents near the border with Israel in preparation for a large protest/incursion planned for that Friday – Passover Eve. When Friday came, attempts were made by some arabs to damage/cross the fence into Israel. No one was successful and 18 arabs died from IDF gunfire. Many others were injured. That’s what happened. That’s it. There are those trying to make this out like this was a first amendment type protest thing. Those people are anti-semites, no one is that stupid.
The situation is ongoing and with Friday coming up, my money is on more attempted incursions and more dead arabs You can place individual bets on my facebook wall. Btw, B’Tzelem has called on soldiers to disobey orders and not shoot the terrorists. I’ll be shocked if a single soldier does what these morons say. The epitome of irrelevant.
The Infiltrators. So Israel, like America, has been trying to figure out a way to get rid of tens of thousands of illegal infiltrators, but instead of Mexico, ours are from Africa. Secret agreements have been made in the past with certain African countries for them to receive the deported folk. However, now a deal was made with the United Nations to send half the infiltrators to Western countries and for Israel to keep the other half. This deal lasted for about 4 hours and then Prime Minister Netanyahu, after severe pressure from others in his Government, cancelled the deal. Politics aside, that’s amazing. Announce a major deal with the world and cancelling it a few hours later. Bravo Bibi Bravo. This one ain’t close to over.
Another element to this fight is the role that the “new israel fund (nif)” has played in it. Prime Minister Netanyahu has publicly blamed them for sabotaging the supposed-to-be-secret deals with the African nations that had agreed to accept the infiltrators. Now its time for Bibi’s revenge. This “new israel fund” is a very active, incredibly subversive actor in Israel and has no shortage of patriotic enemies. Seems like now is the time to strike. Nif will need all the help they can get from their self-hating jewish friends in the Israeli legal community and their anti-semitic international friends. Might not be enough this time. The Israeli “Deplorables” might deliver a hefty smack down.
Alot of people are probably being killed throughout the Middle East – Syria, Iraq, Yemen, but no one cares. No Jews involved – no interest for the anti-semites. Sorry folks. President Trump is hinting that he will pull out American forces soon. This has got tons of nervous folks peeing their pants – just like Trump likes it.
Government Minister Miri Regev announced today that Israel would authorize 500 more houses in the Samarian Jewish Community of Har Bracha sometime after Pesach. This would more than double the size of the very strategic community. Quite frankly, if this happens, then anything is possible (in terms of “settlement construction”).
While I’m in the mood to make predictions, my bet is that a major announcement is coming on building in Jerusalem in the near future – after the US Embassy is moved to Jerusalem. No evidence, just a feeling. Might be all the matzah.
The Festival of Redemption is nearly upon us, but this week redemption came early this year in Hevron! In the past few days, Jewish buyers were finally able to enter two properties that they purchased years earlier from an arab. An attempt was made to settle the properties almost 2 years ago, however, the Israeli Government at the time (specifically Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon) had the Jews evicted until more investigation could be done to verify the purchase. That finished this week with the Jews taking possession of the legally purchased properties, called “Beit Rachel” and “Beit Leah”.
THIS IS A HUGE DEAL!!! As someone who is personally and professionally very involved in trying to strengthen the Jewish Presence in Hevron, I would like to discuss this a bit more.
A few more points about this very significant development:
-These are the 3rd and 4th houses purchased by Jews in Hevron over the past few years in a “new” tactic (dating back to Abraham) of increasing the Jewish population in Hevron by buying new properties, this as opposed to trying to settle already-owned Jewish properties or gaining legal approval for additional construction of Jewish residences. Both those latter ideas, while seemingly easier, have been successfully stymied by the leftist Israeli legal community. This most recent success is a massive boost to the idea of purchasing property.
-The Jews previously purchased and inhabited “Beit HaShalom”, after a long legal battle. “Beit HaShalom” sits at the entrance to Hevron, near neighboring Kiryat Arba. Plans are for renovations in the near future and the construction of 17 apartments. “Beit Leah” and “Beit Rachel” should be able to house about 12 families total. THIS WOULD BE A SIGNIFICANT INCREASE TO THE JEWISH POPULATION!!
-The remaining house purchased by Jews, but not yet legally inhabited, is “Beit Machpela”. Jews had been inside this property for the past 6 months, but recently evacuated until more legal proceedings are conducted to finalize the purchase. At least another 8 Jewish families will eventually live there – directly across from the Tomb of the Patriarchs.
All told, the current purchases and development will result in at least a 50% increase in the Jewish population in Hevron. More importantly, instead of living in “enclaves” as the international community often refers to the Jewish neighborhoods in Hevron, now Jewish families will live throughout the area under Israeli control. Its reasonable to assume (but still pray for) that all of this success will lead to both more purchases from arabs by Jews and a weakening of the current legal impediments to the growth of the Jewish Community in Hevron. Hevron is being made great again!
In other news connected to Judea and Samaria, the new community of Amichai has been officially established and some families that were evicted from Amona have moved in. Just today, tenders were issued for the construction of hundreds of houses in Beit El. Both the Amichai/Amona and Beit El situations were the result of leftist Supreme Court decisions that have now been completely reversed by the current right-wing Israeli Government. In place of 70 residences destroyed, 500-600 will be built. Plus another 300 in Netiv Ha’avot (in place of 15 residences being destroyed by Supreme Court order). This week Defense Minister Lieberman laid the cornerstone for the houses in Netiv Ha’avot.
PICTURE FROM OUR WORK IN AMICHAI
Prime Minister Netanyahu went to the hospital last night with a high fever. He will recover and be fine. If Abu Mazen, president of the palestinian authority, got a high fever, he would probably die. In the meantime, he just celebrated his 83rd b-day. Seems like President Trump is waiting this one out and banking he doesn’t celebrate too many more.
In honor of Passover and a strong tradition of hatred of Jews, arabs from Gaza are planning some kind of protest for this Friday when they may or may not attempt to cross the fence, en masse, into Israel. The head of the Israeli army promises that it won’t happen and claims to have placed at least 100 snipers along the fence. While we sit down for Seder this Friday night, the soldiers will most likely be working hard. G-d should grant them much success.
Next year, with an even stronger Jewish Presence, in Jerusalem!
The President of the “Palestinian Authority” Abu Mazen called the American Ambassador to Israel a “son of a bitch”. That doesn’t happen everyday. But in fairness to Abu Mazen, America has never had such a proud Jew as an ambassador before. The last few have been quite the sellouts. Abu Mazen probably loved them! David Friedman, not so much.
However, this just wasn’t enough excitement, so… Israel officially revealed that they bombed a nuclear reactor in Syria in 2007. Now that is exciting! Most folks were already pretty aware of this, but now we had details. This, predictably, started a whole war of words (luckily not a real war with Syria) between different Israeli political and security figures. They argued like bickering children over who should get the credit, how the strike happened, how war was avoided and whether or not this information should have been released now. Somehow Netanyahu will get the credit (despite not being in power at the time), he’s just that good at this.
Many think this is a message to Iran not to mess. With the new and improved Trump Administration potentially poised to negate Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran in the next few months, Iran needs to know its place. Showcasing Israel’s ability to blow up nuclear facilities would be a nice warning. Additionally, as the Syrian government creeps closer to winning the civil war in their country, they also need to know that messing with Israel is never a good idea. I like to think of the whole thing as an early Happy Ramadan message to the entire muslim world, and don’t mess.
Very unfortunately, there have been victims of terror attacks in the past week in Israel. Two soldiers were killed (and two injured) in the northern Shomron and an Israeli civilian was killed in the Old City of Jerusalem. These attacks appear to have been carried out by individuals and not so premeditated. One attacker was captured and one killed. The terrorist who killed Rabbi Itamar Ben Gal was also captured this week in Shechem. They never get away. They know this, but they do it anyway. Something to ponder.
Remains to be seen how/if Israel will respond to these attacks. Will keep everyone posted.
In some good news, it looks like former residents of the destroyed community of Amona will move into houses this week, before Passover, in the new community of Amichai – near Shiloh. Rarely does Israel meet deadlines, but Passover is Passover. Hopefully the large families will experience a sense of “freedom” from the small dormitory rooms they’ve been confined to for the past year. Looking forward to those pictures.
Prime Minister Netanyahu is scheduled to be questioned about something next week. At this point, even the left seems bored with this. Makes more sense for them to go through the Haggadah to be ready for the Seder(s)!
Fireworks in the Israeli coalition government this week! For the first time since anyone can remember, there was a real crisis within the government coalition this past week. The reason: the potential draft of yeshiva students and/or the Prime Minister’s alleged desire for elections based on Likud’s strong showing in recent election polls.
Without going into tremendous detail, basically, the Supreme Court recently invalidated the current system of exempting yeshiva students from the army. Therefore, a new law has to be passed to replace the old one. The Haredi/ultra-orthodox parties wanted this done before they would vote for the budget. There was a set deadline to vote for the budget, so time was running out. Majorly complicating things was Avigdor Lieberman’s party’s virulent and vocal opposition to the law being proposed without coordination with the defense ministry. They promised to vote no, Netanyahu would then fire those that voted “no” and disband the government for elections in June.
The conclusion: the conscription law was read in the Knesset and passed a first vote. This was done with the approval of the Rabbinical council that directly the ultra-orthodox parties as to how to vote. It must pass others to become law and that won’t happen until the next session of the Knesset – after Pesach. The budget was passed and the coalition is fully intact. Remains to be seen what will happen next session – probably won’t be smooth sailing like it had been up until this most recent crisis. There still another year and half until scheduled national elections – looking doubtful right now if this government will make it to then.
President Trump fired his Secretary of State – Rex Tillerson – and replaced him with the former head of the CIA – Mike Pompeo. Unclear how this will effect US policy in the Middle East, but Pompeo is said to very much oppose the Iran nuclear deal. Will be interesting to see how aggressive he is about that opposition, which he shares with President Trump. (Trump also appointed the first woman to lead the CIA, but no one on the right is surprised and no one on the left seems to care. go figure)
War rages on numerous fronts in Syria. Death toll for civilians way over 1000 in Eastern Ghouta, just outside of Damascus. Turkey continues to gain ground in the northwest of Syria against the Kurds. Not clear what will happen if Afrin does fall to Turkey – both to the civilians and the fighters. Could be the same fate…
Oh, and the Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority was almost assassinated in Gaza this week. Seems the attackers blew up the wrong car as the convoy made its way into Gaza. There were injuries, but only to security. Of course, this does not bode well for PA-Hamas reconciliation.