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The Jewish Press » » Northern Israel
May 6, 2016 / 28 Nisan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Northern Israel’

IDF Military Forces Drilling on Northern, Eastern Israeli Borders

Monday, April 18th, 2016

IDF soldiers in northern and eastern Israel didn’t rest much last week, and aren’t likely to this week either.

“Good morning,” tweeted IDF spokesperson Lt. Col. Peter Lerner early Monday morning. “Surprise #IDF exercise this morning in the Golan Heights because #HopeIsNotAMethod.”

Despite the tweet, Lerner revealed little else. The drill is relevant primarily for general staff in the IDF Northern Command and is expected to last the entire week.

“Citizens can expect to see movement of security forces, military vehicles and aircraft in the ares of Golan Regional Council and the Jordan Valley Regional Council,” the IDF said in its announcement about the exercise.

Internecine conflicts are growing in Lebanon and Jordan along with the raging five-year long civil war in Syria and the spreading influence of the Da’esh (ISIS) terror organization — all of which is contributing to the rising risk of a conflict along one of Israel’s borders.

Hana Levi Julian

IDF Preparing for Conflicts Along Southern, Northern Borders

Saturday, April 16th, 2016

Israel’s defense establishment appears to be preparing military forces and civilians for a possible outbreak of hostilities either in the north or the south sometime soon.

A major civil defense drill – the largest since the 2014 war with Hamas – was held this past Thursday in southern Israel at Kibbutz Erez, barely a mile from Gaza.

Civilian response teams, IDF soldiers, Magen David Adom emergency medical teams, police officers, firefighters and others participated in the drill, Channel 2 reported Friday.

The exercise simulated an attack by Hamas terrorists on an Israeli kibbutz which included abduction of Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers overpowering the terrorists in the kibbutz dining hall.

According to the report, recent IDF preparations to meet a possible conflict have included the infusion of additional forces along the Gaza border. In addition, the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency reported Thursday that four IDF bulldozers leveled ground along the security fence a few meters inside Gaza, east of the city of Rafah, which straddles the enclave’s border with Egypt.

Nevertheless, defense officials continue to say that although Hamas is gathering its forces within Gaza, the terrorist group does not appear to be preparing for a direct war with Israel in the near future.

While the IDF is preparing to meet whatever threat may present itself in the south, forces are also making preparations in the north for much the same reason.

The IDF has beefed up its forces in northern Israel along the border with Lebanon and in the Golan Heights, near Syria. A major military drill began in the north on Wednesday and continued through the end of the week.

IDF Northern Command alerted civilians from the western Galilee all the way east to the Golan Heights not to be alarmed at the sounds of artillery and other ordnance.

The latest round of peace talks between opposition forces and the Syrian government started Wednesday (April 13) in Geneva but by the weekend had achieved nothing.

The Syrian regime has escalated the fighting near Aleppo, and local residents who had not yet fled are now making an effort to flee while they can. Opposition forces are accusing Syrian government chief mediator Bashar Ja’afari of not being serious about seeking a solution to the five-year civil war.

United Nations mediator Staffan de Mistura is trying to keep the talks focused on political transition but with intensified battles continuing, the opposition is losing its resolve.

In addition, Da’esh (ISIS), Al Qaeda, Army of Islam and Jabhat Al Nusra (Al Nusra Front) radical Islamist terror organizations are not at the table. Since they control at least half of the territory in Syria, even if negotiations succeed in resolving the issue of who governs Syria, the question still remains whether there is anything geographically, territorially left to govern.

Al Nusra controls the territory closest to the sole border crossing between Israel and Syria, at Quneitra. Last Tuesday (April 12) Syrian sources told international media that Da’esh (ISIS) now controls 90 percent of the Yarmouk refugee camp on the outskirts of Damascus. The community is home to Arabs from the Palestinian Authority and is also a stronghold for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist organization.

So far, the capital, Damascus is still in the hands of President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.

Hana Levi Julian

IDF Begins Military Drills in Northern Israel

Wednesday, April 13th, 2016

Residents in northern Israel may hear explosions or see military vehicles passing by in the next few days.

The IDF Northern Command is conducting military drills in the Galilee and Golan Heights, beginning Wednesday and continuing through the rest of this week.

The sound of artillery and other ordnance is to be expected.

Last week the Da’esh (ISIS) terrorist organization abducted 300 cement workers and contractors from the Al-Badia company in Dumeir, about 28 miles from Damascus, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

A new round of peace talks between opposition forces and the Syrian government were scheduled to start Wednesday (April 13), but were not to include Da’esh (ISIS), Al Qaeda, Army of Islam or any other radical Islamist group such as the Al Qaeda-linked Jabhat Al Nusra (Al Nusra Front) group.

Da’esh and related terror groups are largely in control of Syrian territory close to the border with Israel.

Syrian sources said Tuesday that Da’esh now controls 90 percent of the Yarmouk refugee camp on the outskirts of Damascus, home to Arabs from the Palestinian Authority.

The camp is also a major base for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist organization, which has ties to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

Hana Levi Julian

18 Dead in Quneitra Bombing Near Syrian-Israeli Border

Thursday, March 3rd, 2016

At least 18 people were killed Wednesday in a powerful car bombing that local sources said was carried out by two suicide bombers in Quneitra province in southern Syria near Israel’s northern border.

According to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, among the dead was the commander of the moderate Syrian Revolutionaries Front, Abu Hamza al-Naimi.

The bomb exploded while a group of the commanders were meeting in the village of Asheh, not far from the sole Syrian crossing with Israel.

The targeted group was meeting at a base belonging to Jabhat Thuwar Souria, a faction in the U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA).

According to Suhaib al-Ruhail, a spokesperson for Al-Wiyat al-Furqan, the attack was “most likely” carried out by “Da’esh sleeper cells” (ISIS). The Al-Wiyat al-Furgan Islamist group operates in the Quneitra province, close to the Syrian-Israeli border.

Issam al-Rayyes, spokesperson for FSA’s Southern Front, said it was not clear who was behind the attack.

Hana Levi Julian

Shi’ite Lebanese MP: Israeli Forces Stole Our Goats!

Sunday, February 14th, 2016

The latest accusation against Israel from Lebanon is a charge that the IDF has begun to indulge in cross-border livestock rustling.

Lebanon and its Big Brother Iran spent each day last week building up the accusation and whipping up local angst and rage against the Terrible Israelis.

The espionage eagle wasn’t creative enough, it seems. Nor was the griffon vulture. There is no end to the amazing myths about the superpower of Israel’s intelligence apparatus, it seems: the Zionist Entity can turn any living creature into a spy. Even one’s poor kidnapped goats and sheep. So watch out!

Our story begins with a herd of goats that apparently went missing in the southeast Lebanese village of Halta.

So who’re ya gonna call?

A small group of farmers and shepherds gathered to hold a protest last Wednesday in the village, claiming the goats were “confiscated by Israeli forces,” the state-run National News Agency reported. It is not really clear who the farmers blamed, but state-run media made certain to guide the way.

That same day, Lebanese MP Qassem Hashem added more fuel to the fire. Hashem, a member of Amal in the parliament’s Development and Liberation bloc, issued a statement condemning Israel’s “brief seizure of Lebanese cattle.”

The Amal MP is a firm supporter of Iran and Hezbollah. He was quoted by Alahednews six years ago as saying it had become a norm that the international community and the United Nations were “not to be depended on… namely because their role has been reduced to counting violations.”

(It was the Shi’ite Amal group that seized Israel Air Force navigator Ron Arad when he was lost in October 1986 in a mission over Lebanon and later handed him over to Hezbollah. Hezbollah told a mediator the airman was killed during an escape attempt, but provided no proof. His status and whereabouts remain unknown to this day.)

By Thursday (Feb. 11) South Lebanese residents were demonstrating in front of the United Nations Internation Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) office in the village of Kfar Shuba over “Israeli abduction of cattle,” NNA reported via The Daily Star.

“Israeli forces Thursday returned 134 goats to south Lebanon in ‘bad condition,’ but are still holding another 91,” Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency (NNA) reported Friday.

Apparently everyone took a break on Friday so they could go to the mosque and hear a few more invectives against Israel and so forth.

By Sunday (Feb. 14) the story had been embroidered enough to make Iran’s Press TV news.

“Israeli troops have crossed into Lebanon and made off with cattle in the southeastern village of Halta in the latest violation of the Arab country’s territories,” proclaimed the Iranian news outlet in bold letters on its news site.

“The Israeli patrol crossed the “Blue Line” and encroached 100 meters inside the Lebanese territories and drove 100 heads of cattle belonging to a Lebanese national towards the occupied territories on Wednesday,” Press TV claimed. The outlet accused the IDF of more livestock rustling in September 2015.

Lebanon has had no president since May 25, 2014, when former president Michel Sleiman completed his term in his office.

The reason, according to Yalibnan News, is because, “the parliament was unable to reach a quorum… the Iranian-backed Hezbollah militant group and its ally MP Michel Aoun’s Change and Reform block Mps boycotted the [27] sessions” dedicated to the effort.

Iranian involvement in Lebanon has been so helpful for the country that once was considered the Riviera of the Middle East…

Hana Levi Julian

Turkey Shells Kurds in Syrian Border Village After Recapture

Saturday, February 13th, 2016

Over the weekend, Turkish forces shelled the Syrian village of Maranaz and the Menagh airbase, both of which were re-captured recently by the Kurds.

Israel is watching the situation in Syria closely; events across the northern border have serious potential to affect Israeli national security. Although Israel coordinates its activities with Russia, that doesn’t mean every move by Moscow is one that works well for Jerusalem across the northern border. Nor does Russia necessarily take into consideration how its military activities might impact Israeli security. The same holds true for Turkey.

Coverage earlier in the day by international media claimed Turkish artillery was aiming its shelling at villages that were under the control of Jaysh al-Thuwar (Revolutionary Army), not YPG, (Kurdish People’s Protection Units militia). A Turkish government source told Reuters on Saturday that Turkey’s military force shelled YPG targets near the town of Azaz in northern Syria. The source did not explain the extent or reason for the shelling.

The Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), like the YPG, is considered by Ankara to be a branch of the Turkish PKK terror organization.

The PKK is recognized by the United States and the European Union as a terrorist entity. However, neither considers the YPG or the PYD to be terrorist organizations.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed the shelling struck areas of Aleppo, including Menagh, that were recently taken by YPG. The Syrian Kurdish YPG group confirmed the news in a tweet early Saturday evening. Local sources said the shelling did not have any major impact and was not hampering YPG efforts or operations at either location.

“It’s just a propaganda show to pretend they are not idle while al-Qaeda is smashed,” wrote a local source in a response on the Twitter social networking site.

But the artillery aimed Kurdish positions, rather than Da’esh targets, has raised more questions about the Ankara’s goals at a time when Turkey has turned up the pressure over its candidacy for European Union membership.

Moreover, as a member of NATO, Turkey has flatly stated that it expects the world organization to come to its aid in the event that its borders are breached.

But what if those borders are breached by desperate Kurds fleeing flaming wrecks of cities shelled by Turkish artillery?

Those same Kurds are viewed by Turkey as “terrorists” and yet the United States does not view them in the same light. How would this conflict be resolved among two members of NATO, sworn to protect each other under “siege” ?

Meanwhiel, special forces from the United Arab Emirates are reportedly being sent to Syria to help Sunni fighters recapture Raqqa, the northern Syrian city seized by Da’esh (ISIS) for use as the capital of its world caliphate.

It is not clear how many forces the UAE plans to send to Syria for the mission. But Saudi Arabia has also pledged to send forces to train and help local fighters recapture Raqqa.

Numerous Kurds fell in the initial battle to hold the city.

Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, however, warned other nations they not interfere in the Syrian conflict. Medvedev said in an interview with the German newspaper Handelsblatt that more foreign intervention will only exacerbate the conflict and could lead to a “permanent war.”

Meanwhile, Israel could easily be caught between all parties and find itself dancing at numerous weddings all at the same time.

Having managed to maintain a cold peace with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for decades on the Golan Heights border, Israel has lately been forced to maintain a much closer watch in the area. The various groups jockeying for position in what is colloqually now being referred to as “the Syrias” are coming closer and closer to the Israel-Syria border — close enough to be seen with binoculars.

Hana Levi Julian

Golan Heights Farmers Turn Syrian Bunker Into Wine Cellar

Thursday, February 4th, 2016

by Michael Zeff

In the small Golan Heights community of Kidmat Tzvi, Tami and Babi Kabalo have figuratively beaten their swords into plowshares by converting a wartime relic into a fully functional wine cellar in the service of their boutique winery.

A military facility that used to store munitions, mortars, and explosives used against Israel by Syria in the Six Day War is now a wine cellar used for aging Israeli wine near a site where Jews produced wine over 1,500 years ago.

The Ein Nashut Winery is located within the Kabalos’ family farmstead, Belle Ofri.

The elderly Kabalo couple own and operate the farmstead and are part of Kidmat Tzvi’s founding generation.

The community was founded in 1981 on the ruins of a Syrian military outpost used during the 1967 Six Day War. Today, Kidmat Tzvi is a productive community of 375 people made up of family farmsteads such as the Belle Ofri.

“When we broke ground on our plot of land shortly after arriving in what would become Kidmat Tzvi, my husband Babi discovered a military bunker right under our property,” Tami Kabalo told Tazpit Press Service (TPS).

“Instead of having it destroyed or moving our plot further away, Babi decided to keep it as part of our property, thinking he would find a use for it eventually,” Tami explained.

After having worked as a winegrower and winemaker for several wineries in the area for more than 20 years, Babi Kabalo finally opened his own small winery called Ein Nashut in 2007.

“When my husband made the first batch, we were looking for a dry and chilly spot to store and age our wine and then we remembered the abandoned bunker under Belle Ofri. We began renovating it and of course, making it safe,” Tami said.

The entire family began emptying out the bunker of everything the soldiers left behind when the outpost was abandoned in 1967. The Kabalos cleaned the walls and even installed a new tile floor.

“The bunker only had a ladder leading straight down so Babi did some digging and built a proper convenient stairway to our new wine cellar,” elaborated Tami.

The Ein Nashut Winery today produces over 12,000 bottles of wine a year. “We currently grow and offer Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Merlot, and Syrah wines. We will soon be producing white wines as well,” explained Tami.

The wines of Ein Nashut are varietal wines, made from a single named grape variety. All wine is produced solely from the grapes grown by the Kabalos in their private vineyard, making Ein Nashut wine a single-vineyard designated wine.

The winery is named after an archeological site across the road from the Belle Ofri farm. According to the Israel National Parks Authority, the site used to be a thriving Jewish village during the Talmudic era roughly 1,500 years ago. Archeological research at the site has found evidence showing that olive oil and wine served as its main source of income.

“The territory of the Golan Heights is simply perfect for wine-making; the quality of the soil and the climate here are ideal for wine grapes. It must have been the same when the ancient Jewish village of Ein Nashut existed,” Tami related. “We know today that they used to produce a lot of wine and they were known throughout the Roman Empire for their wine quality.”

The Belle Ofri farm and the Ein Nashut winery are open for the public to visit if coordinated with the Kabalos in advance. Besides producing wine, the Kabalos also produce aged cheeses in the Italian and French style as well as sculptures and glass art.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/golan-heights-farmers-turn-syrian-bunker-into-wine-cellar/2016/02/04/

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