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May 30, 2019

ISRAEL'S ELECTION CRISIS - THE AFTERSHOCK

Political turmoil reigns supreme - in the hoopla of the April 9th election, Bibi Netanyahu was confident he was on his way to a record fifth term as Israel's Prime Minister. Even faced with three possible indictments for fraud he came out of the election, apparently, with a 65-seat overall majority in the 120-member Knesset; this was based on his own Likud party teaming up with other rightwing and religious parties in the 120-member Knesset. It seemed only a matter of hammering out individual agreements with his potential partners. No sweat - Bibi's a master negotiator.

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May 20, 2019

TRUMP'S "MARSHALL PLAN" FOR MIDDLE EAST

At long last, US President Donald Trump will take the wraps off his "deal of the century" to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The date, June 24-25: the venue will be Bahrain in the Arab oil-rich Gulf. His special envoy, Jared Kushner, will present a novel peace package - my guess is it will resemble another historic American program "The Marshall Plan," initiated by President Harry Truman to rebuild war-torn western Europe after WWII. It was one of the most ingenious and humane economic plans in history that laid the groundwork for rebuilding the continent and even included Nazi Germany, the perpetrator of the devastation.

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May 14, 2000

THE ISRAEL YOU DON'T SEE ON THE NEWS

 Amidst the whirlwind of tensions that monopolizes much of Israel's airtime attention, it does appear to be a wonder sometimes that anyone would choose to live in such a tumultuous and threatened nation, let alone vacation here. Indeed, it is not unusual for outsiders to shake their heads dismally at the newest sensationalized upheaval, wondering, 'when will those hot-heads in the Middle East get their act together?' And this languid desire for peace and quiet is not unfounded; in point of fact, the state of Israel has been in a perpetual state of war with its neighboring countries since it's Declaration of Statehood in 1948, which was marked by Transjordan, Egypt, Syria, and Iraq launching a joint attack on the infant nation meant to 'drive the Jews into the sea'. The truth is Israel itself would like some peace and quiet more than anyone. And yet, despite the troubling realities of a nation living under the constant shadow of war, Israel has miraculously thrived in almost every way imaginable! 

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May 05, 2019

BERNIE SANDERS AND ISRAEL'S HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE

Another annual day of remembering the Holocaust has come and gone in Israel. As always, it was marked by a deeply moving ceremony on Jerusalem's Mount Herzl near the Holocaust Memorial Museum. Six survivors - three elderly women and men in their 80's and 90's bore witness to their harrowing experiences and recalled their family members who went up in smoke in the crematoria of Auschwitz and the other death camps or were murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators during WWII in Europe. And again, the incredible tales, seen through the eyes of the then very young children, some of them no more than toddlers.

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April 18, 1948

Israel's War of Independence

On May 15, 1948, day after the creation of the State of Israel, the armies of Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon invaded the new Jewish state.

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April 15, 2019

THE RATIONALITY FOR NETANYAHU'S RE-ELECTION

How come Israel's Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, who faces three indictments for fraud, has won an unprecedented fifth election? Just three days after election day Israeli jets reportedly launched another devastating airstrike on an Iranian missile facility inside Syria. Israel, as usual, did not acknowledge the attack that caused severe damage and killed several militants, possibly members of Iran's Revolutionary Guards. Netanyahu did make a statement: "Whoever threatens or endangers Israel, threatens or endangers themselves. Israel will respond with its power also to the north!"

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March 29, 2019

ISRAELI ELECTION PREDICTION - IS NETANYAHU/GANTZ COALITION A REAL POSSIBILITY

With Election Day fast approaching on April 9, Netanyahu and Gantz are still running neck-and-neck. But, barring unforeseen circumstances, Bibi still has the best chance of forming another coalition because he can count on the other right-wing and religious parties to go over the required 61-seat majority in the 120-member Knesset.

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March 14, 2019

ISRAELI ELECTION RACE - BIBI WILL WIN UNLESS ...!

In the Israeli election, set for April 9th, the polls show Benny Gantz is still leading, but Bibi Netanyahu is still the favorite to become the next Prime Minister. And why is that? Unless Gantz wakes up and shakes up the campaign, his Blue & While Party may win a couple of seats more than Likud, but he will not be able to forge a 61-seat majority in the 120-member Knesset.

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February 26, 1969

Levi Eshkol (1895-1969)

Levi Eshkol (Skolnik) Born on October 25th 1895, Served as the third Prime Minister of Israel from 1963 until his death from a heart attack in 1969. He was the first Israeli Prime Minister to die in office.

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February 17, 2019

CALCULUS OF CURRENT ISRAELI ELECTION CAMPAIGN

"It's security, stupid!"

And how could it be otherwise? Consider the recent, horrific terror attack. Ori Ansbacher, a 19-year-old Israel woman, was walking in the outskirts of Jerusalem when she was attacked, raped, and stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist from the West Bank. The DNA of 29-year-old Arafat Arfiya was found at the site, leading to his arrest within 48 hours. Police say he has confessed and reenacted the crime.

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January 31, 2019

BENNY GANTZ - ISRAEL'S NEXT PRIME MINISTER?

Remember the name - Benny Gantz. A former IDF Chief of Staff, Gantz has just rocked the current Israeli election campaign - voters go to the polls on April 9th. What's happened? For weeks Gantz, a soft-spoken former paratroop commander, standing 6'5 tall, ran a low key campaign. He barely spoke at all, for which he was lambasted by the media and by his political rivals, in particular, by Bibi's Likud supporters. Then, on the night of January 29th, Gantz took off the wraps at his party convention. The whole country was waiting to hear what Israel's "Forest Gump" had to say finally. It turned out to be a blockbuster! Speaking quietly to his enthralled supporters and the nation, Gantz hauled Netanyahu over the coals. He compared Bibi's administration to that of the corrupt French Monarch Louis XIV - "The state? I am the State!". Bibi, now facing four investigations and possible indictment, had veered from the "straight and narrow" and the country was paying the price.

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January 22, 2019

IRAN & ISRAEL GO TO THE BRINK

Is it now Iran's call? For the first time, Iranian forces in Syria have attacked Israel by launching a missile at a target inside of Israeli territory - the winter resort at Mt. Hermon. Fortunately, for the thousands of Israelis in the area, and indeed even for the Iranian personnel stationed in Syria, Israel's Iron Dome Defense intercepted and shot down the Iranian missile. For, if it had landed and killed Israelis, it would have triggered a full-blown war with the Iranian forces in Syria.

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January 01, 2019

IS TURKEY'S EROGAN PLANNING GENOCIDE ON THE KURDS?

Is Turkey planning a massacre of Kurdish rebels in the wake of US President Donald Tump's surprise decision to withdraw the remaining two-thousand American troops from Syria? Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is not hiding his intention to punish the Kurds once and for all for their territorial games and drive for independence during the campaign in Syria against ISIS. For years, Turkey and the Kurds have been engaged in a brutal struggle over the Kurds' historic desire to establish an independent state. The Kurds, estimated to number some 30 million, live in a region known broadly as Kurdistan which is a contiguous spread over four separate states - Turkey, Iraq, Syria, and Iran. How come this landlocked area with such a large indigenous population was simply left out of the New Middle East that was carved out by Britain and France during WWI? 

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November 29, 1947

The Partition Plan כ"ט בנובמבר

On November 29, 1947, the UN General Assembly voted in favor of a resolution, which adopted the plan for the partition of Palestine, recommended by the majority of the UN Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP). 33 states voted in favor of the resolution and 13 against. 10 states abstained.

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November 27, 2018

ISRAELI "ROLLERCOASTER" SLOWS DOWN, BUT FOR HOW LONG?

"All quiet on the Isreali-Gaza front," at least, for the time being. After seven consecutive months of the continual firebombing of Israeli civilians, Hamas has reigned in tens of thousands of rioters, who also tried to break through the border fence and enter Israel. Hamas accepted an Egyptian cease-fire proposal based on a 30 million dollar payoff (in two installments) from the oil-rich Gulf State of Qatar. This eleventh-hour solution prevented another all-out war between Gaza and Israel after Hamas launched nearly 500 rockets at Israel within 24 hours.

Amidst this escalation, a covert Israeli unit was spotted by Hamas during an operation deep inside Gaza. The small Israeli team was apparently on a mission to bug Hamas communications, an attempt to cope with the fire-bombing. In the ensuing firefight, the Israeli commander was killed, as well as the Hamas commander in the area, and six other Hamas militants. It was a very close call for the Israeli unit that had to be extricated in a very risky helicopter operation. At this point, Gaza and Israel were on the brink, apparently about to take the next fatal step to all-out war.

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November 01, 2000

HAS ANYTHING CHANGED SINCE THE SUEZ WAR?

 On October 29, 1956 Britain, France and Israel launched a military operation against Egypt. In a swift, sweeping operation of 100 hours, under the leadership of then Chief of the General Staff, Moshe Dayan, the entire Sinai peninsula fell into Israeli hands, at a cost of 231 soldiers killed. This operation was held in response to the closing of the Suez Canal by the Egyptians and terrorist attacks on Israel that violated the armistice agreement between the two countries.

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October 29, 1956

The Suez War (1956)

On October 29, 1956 Britain, France and Israel launched a military operation against Egypt. In a swift, sweeping operation of 100 hours, under the leadership of then Chief of the General Staff, Moshe Dayan, the entire Sinai peninsula fell into Israeli hands, at a cost of 231 soldiers killed. This operation was held in response to the closing of the Suez Canal by the Egyptians and terrorist attacks on Israel that violated the armistice agreement between the two countries.

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October 21, 2018

COURAGEOUS ISRAELI MOTHER PREVENTS DISASTROUS WAR BETWEEN ISRAEL & GAZA

A split second was all that averted a new all-out war between Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza. At about 3:00 in the morning of October 17, Palestinians in Gaza launched two long-range missiles at Israel. One of them was on target for the Israeli city of Beersheba miles away to the east. The IDF's anti-missile defense failed to intercept it but the sirens blared throughout Beersheba. This is how the Israeli mother, from Ethiopia, of three small boys, described what happened: "I was sound asleep in my bedroom on the first floor (her husband was at work on the night shift). When I first hear the wail of sirens I thought I was dreaming, but I woke up immediately and raced upstairs to where my three boys were sleeping. I grabbed them out of their beds and pushed them half asleep downstairs to our 'mammad' (a reinforced safety room for shelter from missile attacks). I shoved them inside and then slammed the door. Immediately, we didn't even have time to sit down, a huge explosion rocked the whole building. One of my boys yelled: "Imma (mother), it hit our house!"

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October 16, 1981

Moshe Dayan (1915-1981)

Moshe Dayan was an Israeli military warrior who became a crusader for peace. He was skilled in both battle and diplomacy, and played a key role in four wars, but also helped negotiate the historic Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty.

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October 11, 2001

Rechavam Zeevi (Gandi, 1926-2001)

Tourism Minister Rechavam Ze'evy was assassinated by two shots to the head outside his room at the Jerusalem Hyatt Hotel on October 17, 2001. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine claimed responsibility for the attack.

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