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October 27, 2016 / 25 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Golan Heights’

Lessons from 5776, Optimism for 5777

Sunday, October 2nd, 2016

As we take our leave from 5776, I would sum it up as the year that Israel discovered the correct paradigm for dealing with her adversaries.

In previous years, many believed Israel’s military superiority allowed and even obliged her to take “risks for peace.” Others believed that propping up the economies of Israel’s neighbors until they were on par with her own, while giving up land, would bring peace.

But in 5776, Israel discovered that the secret for a relatively peaceful status quo comes not from creating economic parity, giving away land or taking risks, but rather by creating economic dependence, along with the application of Israel’s military superiority.

It should be made clear that a peaceful status quo is a separate discussion from what Israel’s long term vision for the region should be — whether that solution be Israel applying phased or full sovereignty over all of Israel’s territories, a confederation with Jordan, or some other ideas not yet tested or considered.

It’s been repeatedly noted that only one of the terror attacks by PA Arabs in this recent terror wave was executed by an individual with an Israeli work permit.

Israelis have learned that no matter how much their neighbors may hate them (and by the way, not all of Israel’s neighbors close and far hate Israel), or how much incitement they absorb from Palestinian Authority TV and the Islamic preachers, their families and villages depend on the money they make from Israelis, and all of them, save one, would not dare risk that.

Which is why the Palestinian Authority tried its best to force these Arab workers to stop working in the settlements, and why it failed. (PA Arabs make three times more working for Israelis than they do working in the Palestinian Authority.)

Incidentally, Israel would probably help the future stability of Judea and Samaria by announcing it will guarantee PA police salaries should the Palestinian Authority collapse under the weight of its own incompetence and corruption or Abbas’ retirement or death.

There’s very little that creates more loyalty than a paycheck paid on time.

Despite the roadblocks set up by Israel’s High Court, 5776 concluded with Jordan signing a $10 billion gas deal with Israel, which a Jordanian official said will save Jordan $600 million a year. It’s a deal that might very well tie Jordan’s economic stability to Israel for the next 15 years, along with the fresh water that Israel provides them.

Besides natural gas, Turkey, Greece, various Arab countries, some African states, India, Russia and China are looking to purchase or enter business partnerships with Israel, to acquire Israeli technology, military experience and equipment, fresh water solutions, solar energy, agricultural know-how or simply gain access to Israeli projects.

As these countries and others become more reliant on what Israel has to offer, there will be a gradual, visible change in their public attitudes, voting in international forums, and policies towards Israel, as Prime Minister Netanyahu pointed out in his speech last month before the UN General Assembly.

On the military side, this past year, the IDF finally resumed its function in actively preventing terrorism, rather than restricting itself to a reactive mode. IDF soldiers have been raiding the hornet nests in the Palestinian Authority every night, to confiscate illegal weapons and ammunition, uncover weapons factories and erode the terror networks of Hamas, the PLO, and the various Islamic Jihadi groups which expanded operations under former defense ministers Ehud Barak and Moshe Ya’alon. And, surprisingly, these IDF actions hardly provoke any international condemnation, save for criticism from Haaretz.

It was also the year Israel has actively taken on BDS, and began to beat it down, state after US state.

Obviously, all was not rosy this past year.

Thanks to the Iran deal, a revitalized Islamic Iran has been expanding its terror operations. But as Iran and their client Hezbollah try to establish terror bases on Israel’s Golan Heights’ border, Syrian Rebels are fighting those Iranian and Hezbollah terrorists on the Golan — the same rebels who are reportedly receiving much-needed medical aid from Israel.

There has been an upswing in Israeli Arabs participating in terror attacks and joining ISIS due to Islamic radicalization, incitement and propaganda, but Israel is already learning how to deal with them.

Hamas is still destroying Gaza as it continues to prepare for another round of fighting with Israel.

In the spring of 5777, Israel will celebrate 50 years since the liberation of our ancient lands of Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem from the illegal Jordanian occupation. Expect the usual NGOs (under new names and old) and Israel haters to foment their venomous propaganda, and also expect fewer and fewer people, everywhere in the world, to pay attention.

There’s concern over Obama’s anticipated November surprise at the UN.

And, of course, there will be the new challenges that either candidate for US president will present to Israel.

At the JewishPress.com we believe we have reason to be optimistic.

Israel has made significant positive changes this past year, with strategic, long term ideas being implemented, already with noticeable results. 5777 will bring challenges, even difficult ones, but we believe Israel is ready for them.

Shana Tova – Have a sweet new year.

Stephen Leavitt

Wine Industry’s ‘Wine Spectator’ Praises Israel’s Wines

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

The venerable sage of the international wine industry, ‘Wine Spectator’ magazine, has devoted its October 2016 cover story to “The Wines of Israel: Surprising Quality from an Emerging Region.”

Forty Israeli wines earned a score of 88 out of 100 by the publication, with 75 percent rated at more than 90 percent, and only two in the non-kosher category.

The top mark (93) went to Tzora’s Misty Hills Judean Hills 2013 vintage.

Wine Spectator predicts, however, that the Israeli wine industry will maintain a small place “on the world stage… for the foreseeable future.”

Israel produces 10 million cases annually from 13,500 acres of vineyard — one fourth of California’s Sonoma Valley.

Hana Levi Julian

Judea, Samaria, Golan Communities Bypassing BDS, Taking Products Directly to US Consumers

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

This week, Yesha Council, the umbrella organization of municipal councils of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria this week joined forces with the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs to promote their products as well as products from the Golan Heights at the annual IAC National Conference in Washington. Representatives of the council and ministry handed out five thousands Medjoul dates from the Jordan Valley, two hundred bottles of wine, and hundreds of samples of Ahava cosmetics and other products to conference participants.

The imitative was part of a broader plan to educate and encourage Israel supporters worldwide to buy blue and white and support businesses most threatened by the BDS campaign. Three months ago, a similar program was held in Moscow, and many more such events are anticipated worldwide in the coming months.

Oded Revivi, Chief Foreign Envoy of Yesha Council said in statement: “Israeli industrial zones in Judea and Samaria are islands of peace and coexistence where Israelis and Palestinians work together for a better future. With no political solution on the horizon, it’s time to tell the world that Israelis and Palestinians can live and work together in peace without being pushed into an agreement that neither side wants. Boycotting Israeli companies in Judea and Samaria actually harms Palestinian workers far more than the Israeli economy and is therefore and act against peace.”

While in Washington, Revivi met with more than a dozen Senators, Congressmen and staffers on Capitol Hill from both the Republican and Democrat parties, where he stressed that Yesha Council would welcome continued dialogue and cooperation with both sides of the aisle.

Yesha Council reps having lunch with Sheldon Adelson. / Courtesy

Yesha Council reps having lunch with Sheldon Adelson. / Courtesy

The Yesha Council delegation met privately with casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, and requested his assistance with new initiatives to strengthen the connection between the Jewish people and their ancestral homeland. They reported that Adelson was extremely excited to hear about a new Amazon-like Boycott website that the Council is in the process of launching. He also agreed to come on a VIP tour of the thriving Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria.

Revivi told Adelson that “businesses in Judea and Samaria are on the frontline of the battle against BDS, [which is] currently targeting Ariel and Efrat but their ultimate goal is the destruction of the entire Jewish State. The Yesha Council is now going on the offensive launching a new Boycott website to promote Israeli goods directly to consumers.”


80 Syrian Soldiers Killed as Russian-US Ceasefire Wobbles, And Israel Deploys Iron Dome

Sunday, September 18th, 2016

It looks like the ceasefire between Russian and American forces is very shaky, if not ceasing, as Da’esh (ISIS) forces appear to threaten the city of Deir el-Zour.

At least 80 Syrian government forces were killed Saturday in an air strike on a base near the Deir al-Zour airport, but it’s not clear which bomb was responsible.

The Syrian government military loyal to President Bashar al-Assad said it was the U.S.-led coalition that bombed its army base in Deir el-Zour. The force contends that the attack caused casualties and damage to equipment, and allowed Da’sh (ISIS) terrorists to advance on the area.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed that 80 Syrian soldiers were killed in the strike, citing a source at the airport. But the monitoring group told Reuters that Russian jets — who back the Assad regime — had also been bombing in the same area, at the same time.

The source at the airport confirmed the air strike had the effect of paving the way for Da’esh fighters to overrun Jebel Tharda, according to the UK-based monitoring group.

Russia meanwhile has claimed Syrian opposition forces violated last week’s ceasefire at least 55 times over the weekend, with various clashes, including strikes on military and civilian targets in Aleppo. Russia’s official Interfax news agency quoted Colonel Sergei Kopytsin on Saturday as saying mortar fire and improvised rockets launched by rebels hit Aleppo 26 times.

Syrian state news agency SANA claimed that opposition forces, “insurgents,” violated the ceasefire 12 times in the past 12 hours.

Syrian opposition activists, meanwhile, say that forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad have killed at least five civilians from the opposition contingent. The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said a woman and child were killed in the central Homs province, in the town of Talbiseh. Two men were also killed outside Damascus and a child was killed in Aleppo.

Israeli military officials decided at the weekend to deploy the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system in the Israeli Golan Heights due to the near-daily “spillover” mortar fire that has been reaching over the Syrian-Israeli border. On Saturday alone, the Iron Dome system intercepted two such attacks, neutralizing both shells before they could land and explode on Israeli territory.

Hana Levi Julian

Israeli Envoy to UN Slams Ban’s ‘Outrage’ Over Netanyahu ‘Ethnic Cleansing’ Video [video]

Friday, September 16th, 2016

Israeli UN envoy Danny Danon categorically rejected an address by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in which he expressed “outrage” over a video showing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussing the issue of Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria.

In his statement, issued Thursday, Danon slammed Ban’s remarks, calling them a “distorted vision of the situation in Israel.”

“The failure of the peace process begins and ends with Palestinian [Authority] incitement to terror and Mahmoud Abbas’ refusal to meet Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu,” Danon said.

“Instead of directly condemning Hamas and the building of terror tunnels…the Secretary-General chooses to regularly censure Israel,” he added.

The outgoing UN leader expressed outrage over a video in which the prime minster commented that insisting on ensuring territories are without Jews, constitutes “ethnic cleansing” on the part of the Palestinian Authority. Those who support the PA in this viewpoint likewise support such “ethnic cleansing,” he pointed out, noting that the same definition applies in other places around the world too.

For some reason, however, the prime minister’s logic infuriated Ban, and in an address to the UN Security Council on the “Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question,” he went on and on how the “leaders on both sides have failed to take the difficult steps needed for peace.”

Only, somehow, it has always been the Israeli leader who seems to be the one with more despicable activities, in more grim detail, and more”oppressive” and “outrageous.”

“I am disturbed by a recent statement by Israel’s Prime Minister portraying those who oppose settlement expansion as supporters of ethnic cleansing,” the UN leader said. “This is unacceptable and outrageous.

“Let me be absolutely clear: settlements are illegal under international law. The occupation, stifling and oppressive, must end.

“The international community, including the Security Council and the Middle East Quartet, universally view the expansion of settlements as an obstacle to peace.”

But he calls the “glorification of terror” simply “disgraceful” and just comments that “the Palestinian leadership must put an end to it.”

Oh, you mean it’s not illegal under the internationally-recognized Oslo Accords that gave birth to the Palestinian Authority that is now claiming statehood under the UN? It’s not incitement to violence and more terrorism? It’s not an obstacle to peace, like building homes in areas that would pose a clear security risk to Israel, were they to be left open to occupation by enemy forces – the same territory that was once occupied by Jordan?

Likewise, Ban noted the Palestinian Authority’s High Court decided last week to suspend preparations for the upcoming local elections, but again ducked the real reasons behind it.

He warned that if the pattern does not changed, the trajectory is heading towards “a one-state reality and urged all parties in the Palestinian Authority to find a way to create a unity government, and then to find a way to work together with Israel to create a new Arab state, in peace.

This, after half a century of fratricide, anti-Semitic incitement, hatred and terrorism. War.

It is said that when the Messiah comes, there will be peace on earth…

Hana Levi Julian

Mortar Shell Strikes Golan Heights Third Day in a Row

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016

Another round of mortar fire from Syria reportedly struck the Golan Heights in northern Israel from Syria. The IDF located four artillery shells in the northern part of the Golan Heights by Wednesday night, Ynet reported, allegedly more of the “spillovery” from the raging civil war taking place across the border.

If the report is confirmed, it will be the third day in a row for what has become a continuing series of mortar fire despite Israeli military efforts to deter, or at least, contain an escalating situation on the northern border.

This is the eighth time the region has been hit by “spillover” action from the raging civil war taking place on the Syrian side of the border.

The attacks have continued despite retaliatory Israeli Air Force air strikes and IDF artillery fire intended as a warning to prevent further shelling.

On Tuesday, the IDF closed Route 98 in the north after the third mortar shell of the day came whistling into the region from across the border.

That attack came just 24 hours after two projectiles landed in Israel from Syria.

The Golan Heights also was attacked on Monday, and over the weekend as well.

The Israeli government has issued a statement after each attack, warning that it holds the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad responsible for all activity that takes place within its territory, military and otherwise.

Hana Levi Julian

Update: IDF Retaliates for Second Day of Mortar Fire from Syria

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

The Israel Defense Force has again retaliated for several rounds of renewed mortar fire on Tuesday that was directed — albeit perhaps unintentionally — at northern Israel’s Golan Heights.

“In response to the projectiles which hit Israel earlier today, IAF aircraft targeted artillery positions of the Syrian regime in the central Syrian Golan Heights,” the IDF said in a terse statement to media.

Earlier in the day, Israeli authorities closed Route 98 in the northern part of the country, deeming it unsafe for civilians to travel in the area due to the shelling from Syria.

Israel hold the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad responsible for any actions taken on the Syrian side of the border.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/update-idf-retaliates-for-second-day-of-mortar-fire-from-syria/2016/09/13/

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