Category: Israel

Biblical Archaeologists In Israel Uncover City Gate Dating To The Time Of King David In Ancient City Of Bethsaida In The Golan Heights

Although the area of the Golan Heights is not thought to be an Israelite kingdom, the archaeologists on the dig presume that Jerusalem and David’s capital in Bethsaida were actually quite similar to one another. Seven kingdoms are believed to have ruled the ancient Land of Israel. However, according to Arav, the researchers know little about the archaeology of these capitals since they have been destroyed and rebuilt many times over.

by Geoffrey Grider June 6, 2019

A city gate from the time of King David was discovered after 32 years of excavation in the ancient city of Bethsaida in the Golan Heights’ Jordan Park, opening up a world of new of opinions and theories about the ancient landscape of the Land of Israel.

The ruins of the New Testament city of Bethsaida is turning out to be a goldmine of amazing discoveries for biblical archaeologists because it has remained nearly completely untouched for almost 2,000 years. We told you last year about the discoveries in the lost city of Zer, and today’s article is a follow-up-to that.

“And the apostles, when they were returned, told him all that they had done. And he took them, and went aside privately into a desert place belonging to the city called Bethsaida. And the people, when they knew it, followed him: and he received them, and spake unto them of the kingdom of God, and healed them that had need of healing.” Luke 9:10,11 (KJV)

Do you realize that with all these new finds, that there has never once been anything that has contradicted or gone against what is laid out in the Bible? In fact, these incredible finds only add more light to the Bible passages that mention them. Compare that to the Book of Mormon, for example, that talks about dozens of people and places Joseph Smith said existed, and yet not one scrap of archaeological evidence has ever surfaced to support those claims. Hmm, I wonder why that is?  I thank God that He gave me a Book that is true and trustworthy.

Bethsaida is an almost untouched archaeological heaven for getting the real story about what happened during the times of the Hebrew Bible and the Second Temple period.

FROM THE JPOST: According to Professor Rami Arav of the University of Nebraska, chief archaeologist overseeing the excavations, told the Jerusalem Post that the gate and further findings found within the ancient city give the notion that it was possible that Solomon and David might not have been the sole kings of the Israelite kingdom at their respective times, but instead chieftains of large tribes of Israelites.

“And the fenced cities are Ziddim, Zer, and Hammath, Rakkath, and Chinnereth,” Joshua 19:35 (KJV)

The previously uncovered gate found in the area last year was cautiously identified to be a part of the biblical city of Zer, a name used during the First Temple period. However, the newly found gate dates back to the time and rule of King David, which is purportedly from the 11th to 10th centuries BCE.

“There are not many gates from capital cities in this country from this period,” said Arav. “Bethsaida was the name of the city during the Second Temple period, but during the First Temple period it was the city of Zer.” Arav cited Joshua 19:35, which says: “The fortified towns were Ziddim, Zer, Hammath, Rakkath, Kinneret.”

The excavation and research, sponsored by the Hebrew Union College of Jerusalem, has brought together archaeologists from all over the world to help.

Findings presented by the researchers point to the possibility that Bethsaida was not an Israelite kingdom but instead an Aramaic one. Within the city limits of Bethsaida, there was a stone stele bearing the image of their bull-shaped moon god, which dates back to the 11th century BCE. This monument is one of seven other similar tombstones found from the ancient world, from southern Turkey to Egypt. Two have been found in Bethsaida alone.

Some of these monuments have been found in cities dating to later periods, such as the 9th-8th century BCE. The rare stone stele dating back to the kingdom of Geshur was unearthed in the archaeological excavation.

“But Absalom fled, and went to Talmai, the son of Ammihud, king of Geshur. And David mourned for his son every day.” 2 Samuel 13:37 (KJV)

The kingdom of Geshur is mentioned in the Bible as having co-existed alongside the Kingdom of David. It was eventually annexed by King Hazael, who ruled what is today modern Syria. The biblical kingdom of Geshur existed in parts of what is now the Golan Heights.

Although the area of the Golan Heights is not thought to be an Israelite kingdom, the archaeologists on the dig presume that Jerusalem and David’s capital in Bethsaida were actually quite similar to one another.

Seven kingdoms are believed to have ruled the ancient Land of Israel. However, according to Arav, the researchers know little about the archaeology of these capitals since they have been destroyed and rebuilt many times over.

Arav said that these types of excavations are difficult in places like Jerusalem, because researchers need to get permission from landowners as well as the government to excavate these sites. In addition, other ancient cities, such as Damascus, have been destroyed and rebuilt multiple times in the past, making it difficult to connect inferences in what actually happened there during these time periods. Bethsaida is an almost untouched archaeological heaven for getting the real story about what happened during the times of the Hebrew Bible and the Second Temple period.

“Bethsaida is a unique example of a capital city from the 11th-8th century BCE that is available for archaeological research, as there has been no disturbance to this site,” said Arav. Excavations will continue on site as archaeologists attempt to discover everything dating from the 11th century BCE to the period of Roman rule following the end of the Common Era.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9876

Former Head Of The International Atomic Energy Agency Security Team Warns Israel That Iran Now Only 6-8 Months Away From Nuclear Missiles

“Israelis need to be worried, and the Gulf states also have reason for concern,” Heinonen said. “How will you be able to ensure your security if Iran achieves nuclear abilities?” In the full interview, which will be aired Thursday morning, Heinonen said that despite IAEA’s claims, Iran can develop nuclear weapons in up to six to eight months. Slamming IAEA’s handling of the threat, Heinonen said the agency ignores Tehran’s race to achieve nuclear weapons. In his opinion, even the Trump administration’s decision to leavethe Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or “Iran deal” serves Iran’s purposes. “The Ayatollahs can handle the new sanctions, and in the meantime they’re making new centrifuges,” he explained.

by Geoffrey Grider June 5, 2019

Olli Heinonen, who headed the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) security team and served as the organizations’ deputy director general, on Wednesday morning told Army Radio that Israelis on the whole are not aware of the severity of the Iranian threat.

Yes, we have been hearing this for some time now, that Iran is only “months away” from having nuclear weapons, and so far it has not come to pass. But Iran not getting a nukes is not due to their lack of trying, not at all. Now, the former head of the IAEA says Iran, if present trends continue, will indeed have a nuclear weapon between now and the end of our current calendar year.

A lot of people back in the 1920’s refused to take Adolf Hitler seriously because no one ever thought he could pull it off, it was a running joke right up to the moment the blood began to run through Europe. If memes were popular back then the ‘well, that escalated quickly‘ one would have been quite applicable. No, America, the Middle East and especially Israel need to sound the alarm because one day, Iran will have nuclear weapons and they will use them. At that point it will be too late.

Iran is ‘six months away from an atomic bomb’

FROM ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS: “Israelis need to be worried, and the Gulf states also have reason for concern,” Heinonen said. “How will you be able to ensure your security if Iran achieves nuclear abilities?”

In the full interview, which will be aired Thursday morning, Heinonen said that despite IAEA’s claims, Iran can develop nuclear weapons in up to six to eight months.

Slamming IAEA’s handling of the threat, Heinonen said the agency ignores Tehran’s race to achieve nuclear weapons. In his opinion, even the Trump administration’s decision to leave the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or “Iran deal” serves Iran’s purposes.

“The Ayatollahs can handle the new sanctions, and in the meantime they’re making new centrifuges,” he explained.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9873

After The IDF Launches Twin Airstrikes On T4 Airbase In Syria, Netanyahu Gives ‘Jerusalem Day’ Speech Warning Iran That They Can’t Beat Israel

“Yesterday, two missiles were fired toward Israel from Syrian territory. One struck inside Syria and the other hit our territory on the Golan Heights. I held security consultations following the attack and I ordered the IDF to take strong action, which it did, striking several targets. We will not tolerate firing at our territory and we will respond with great force to any aggression against us. We are marking 52 years since Jerusalem was unified in the Six Day War. The war changed the fate of Israel. It removed us from a chokehold and danger of destruction, turned us into a strong regional power and – in effect – began the process of reconciliation the continuing fruits of which we see developing today.”

by Geoffrey Grider June 2, 2019

At Jerusalem Day ceremony, PM Netanyahu says anyone who tries to hurt Israel will be hurt far worse, claims Tehran gives Hezbollah $700 million a year

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has had quite the action-packed weekend so far. He watched as Iran used their proxy fighters to launch rockets at Israel, authorized retaliatory and blistering airstrikes by the IDF which left 10 dead. Then just to round everything out, gave a rousing Jerusalem Day speech where he threatened Iran and telling them they can in no wise beat Israel in any type of a war. And how was your weekend?

“Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it. And the governors of Judah shall say in their heart, The inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be my strength in the LORD of hosts their God.” Zechariah 12:2-5 (KJV)

PM Netanyahu reminded his listeners that”we are marking 52 years since Jerusalem was unified in the Six Day War. The war changed the fate of Israel.” From a prophecy perspective, the battle for the Middle East and the battle for Israel will always center around God’s holy city of Jerusalem. Take a good look at those verses I quoted from the prophet Zechariah of what will transpire in the coming time of Jacob’s trouble after the Pretribulation Rapture of the Church takes place.

Netanyahu threatens Iran, citing overnight Israeli strikes in Syria

FROM TIMES OF ISRAEL: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday warned Iran that Israel’s airstrikes on Syria earlier in the day showed that, when assaulted, the Jewish state hits back hard.

Speaking at a ceremony for Jerusalem Day, when Israel marks the unification of Jerusalem during the 1967 Six Day War, Netanyahu said that in the decades since that conflict many moderate Arab states have “sobered up” regarding their attitudes toward Israel, which they now see as an ally against Iran.

“While we do not make light of Iran’s threats, neither are we deterred by them because anyone who tries to hurt us will be hurt far worse,” Netanyahu said at the ceremony at Ammunition Hill in Jerusalem, the location of a key battle during the war. “We have proven this many times in the history of our state. We proved it just last night.”

The ceremony was also attended by President Reuven Rivlin, Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi and other senior officials. “Since 1967, a large number of Arab and Muslim countries have sobered up and today, thanks to our strength, they cooperate with us in an unprecedented manner,” Netanyahu said.

The IDF carried out airstrikes on several military targets in Syria in the predawn hours of Sunday morning in response to two rockets that were fired from the country at the Golan Heights the night before, the army said in a statement earlier.

“Every year Iran transfers to its protege Hezbollah $700 million,” Netanyahu said Sunday evening. “These enormous amounts are used to fuel the endless aggression by Iran and its satellites in our region. Our neighbors know this, all the Arab states know it, and that is one of the things bringing them to a renewed closeness with us.”

Beginning at 4:10 a.m. Sunday, IDF helicopters and planes attacked several targets connected to the Syrian army, including two artillery batteries, several observation and intelligence outposts, and an SA-2 type air defense unit, the army said in its statement. Syrian media reported that Israel also struck several targets connected to Iran and its proxy militias in Syria, in the area of al-Kiswah, south of Damascus.

The strikes reportedly targeted weapons caches and a military training facility. Seven “foreign fighters” were among the 10 killed by the strikes, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor group.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9860

Senate Armed Services Committee: Continued Security Assistance to Israel, Block F-35 Jets to Turkey

By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz May 24, 2019 , 10:31 am

“Kings of the earth take their stand, and regents intrigue together against Hashem and against His anointed?” Psalms 2:2 (The Israel Bible™)

The U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee approved a $750 billion 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) on Wednesday that includes the continuation of American assistance to Israel for missile-defense programs and at the same time blocks the transfer of F-35 jets to Turkey.

The closed-door vote was 25-2.

The Pentagon blueprint for the upcoming year allocates $500 million towards missile-defense systems in Israel such as the Iron Dome, David’s Sling and Arrow 3.

Like last year’s final version, the Senate version of the 2020 NDAA also temporarily halts the sale of F-35 fighter jets to Turkey. This comes amid tensions between Washington and Ankara with the latter seeking to purchase a Russian defense system.

“The bill sends a clear message to [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan who insists that he can acquire both the S-400 air-defense system and the F-35 jets,” Aykan Erdemir, who served in the Turkish parliament from 2011 to 2015, and now serves as a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told JNS.

“It is also a reminder that acquiring the Russian hardware would cost Ankara not only the F-35 jets, but also the lucrative business partnership, which is expected to provide revenues to the tune of $12 billion to Turkish firms in the F-35 supply chain,” he continued.

In the long term, said Erdemir, “the optimists would see this bill as a move to deter Erdoğan from making a costly mistake that would hurt not only Turkey’s security, diplomacy and economy, but also the transatlantic alliance. The Turkish president’s worrying track record in foreign and security policy, however, demonstrates that he is prone to settle for lose-lose options, and this might again end up being another one of those ill-advised steps.”

Diliman Abdulkader, director of the Kurdish Project at the Endowment for Middle East Truth, has been working on the F-35 issue that includes advising lawmakers against selling the U.S. defense product to Ankara.

“This shouldn’t surprise anyone following the Turkish purchase of the Russian defense systems,” Abdulkader told JNS. “The U.S. warned Turkey time and time again to cancel the purchase and abide by its NATO obligations. Turkey is choosing to play hardball.”

“Congress is finally realizing Turkey’s inconsistency as an ally and as a NATO partner. The move by the Senate Armed Services Committee is a positive one, it only shows that the U.S. will no longer play by Turkey’s terms, that Erdoğan can no longer stall the process and that a red line has been drawn,” he continued. “The next step is for [U.S.] President [Donald] Trump to follow through on the Senate’s actions and see Turkey for what it is: an unreliable ally.”

The NDAA will need an appropriations bill to fund it.

The U.S. House of Representatives Armed Services Committee is expected to release their version of the NDAA in the coming weeks.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9848

The “Cultural Intifada” Israel is Losing on the Temple Mount

By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz May 20, 2019 , 2:01 pm

“And they gave money to the quarriers and to the artisans, and food and drink and oil to the Zidonians and to the Tyrians to bring cedar wood from Lebanon to the sea of Jaffa, by the sanction of Cyrus the king of Persia upon them.”Ezra 3:7 (The Israel Bible™)

Visitors to the Temple Mount have documented timbers from the First and Second Temple being abused in a manner that will ultimately lead to their destruction.

In March, Palestinians rioted on the Temple Mount, breaking into an area adjacent to Sha’ar HaRachamim (Gate of Mercy, also known as the Golden Gate). The site was locked 16 years ago by court order after it was used as a meeting place for a Hamas-affiliated organization.

Their actions were in gross violation of agreements between Israel and Jordan concerning the site. In 1967 there was one mosque on the Temple Mount: the silver-domed al Aqsa. Due to Mulsim expansionism, there are currently five areas set aside for Muslim prayer that are off-limits to non-Muslims. As per the initial agreement, non-Muslims are restricted from praying on the Temple Mount.

This area is incredibly sensitive for political as well as religious reasons and this violation led to international negotiations involving Jordan and the United States. Several court orders were issued by the Israeli High Court. The Waqf ignored these summonses and ultimately was allowed de facto control over the site.

According to Jewish tradition, the Messiah will arrive via the Sha’ar HaRachamim. Out of a mistaken belief that Jewish tradition speaks of the Messiah being from the priestly caste, the Ottomans built a cemetery in front of the gate in order to prevent the Jewish Messiah from arriving.

In addition to religious interests, the site has archaeological significance that is being overlooked. Adjacent to the site is a pile of timber covered in a tarpaulin. Though they appear to be refuse and are treated as such by the Muslims, some of these timbers are from Solomon’s Temple. Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount have noted that refuse is being piled on top of these precious timbers.

Dr. Gabriel Barkay is familiar with Waqf abuses leading to the destruction of artifacts. He began the Temple Mount Sifting project in 2005 after Waqf renovations to Solomon’s Stables resulted in over 400 truckloads of material containing artifacts being removed from the Temple Mount and dumped in landfills. Much of the material was lost but Dr. Barkay’s Sifting Project has succeeded in recovering many of these invaluable remnants from the Jewish Temples.

Dr. Barkay explained the history and significance of the timbers.

“The earthquake in 1927 caused extensive damage to the Aqsa Mosque, causing it to collapse,” Dr. Barkay explained to Breaking Isreal News. “The roofing beams were dismantled and later, at the request of the Waqf, the beams were studied by Robert W. Hamilton, director of antiquities for the British Mandate. He described most of the beams and wooden panels as being from the early Islamic Ummayad Dynasty from the Eighth Century. The best examples were taken to be displayed at the Rockefeller Museum near Jerusalem where they are on display to this day.”

Dr. Barkay explained that some of the beams are currently in the Islamic Museum on the Temple Mount. Others were stored underneath the Temple Mount in Solomon’s Stables.

“When that area was turned into the Marwani Mosque, the beams were moved and many of them disappeared,” Dr. Barkay said. “The leftovers were put in the outer courtyard next to the Golden Gate.”

Some of the beams were sold to an Armenian wood merchant and even more disappeared.

“They were sold as scrap wood,” Dr. Barkay said. “It is quite possible that some ended up as firewood.”

Some timbers found their way to the town of Ofra in Samaria where they are being stored. Some of these beams have Arabic inscriptions and decorations while others have Roman inscriptions and decorations.

In the 1970’s, the beams were checked by a team of Israeli botanists who determined that most of them were cedars from Lebanon and some are Cyprus trees. They carried out Carbon-14 tests on several of the timbers.  Some were determined to have been felled about 1,340 years ago which is approximately when al Aqsa Mosque was originally built. One cypress beam was determined to be was found to be 2,600 years, or around 630 BCE, around 50 years before the destruction of the First Temple.

Shockingly, one of the oak beams was determined to be 2,860 years old. That meant the tree had been cut down around 880 BCE, early in the First Temple period.

“It may be that these beams were used in al Aqsa Mosque as a secondary use,” Dr. Barkay said. “It is possible that when al Aqsa was first built, the builders used materials that were on site from the destroyed Jewish Temples.”

About a decade ago, the Israeli Antiquities Authority wanted to preserve the beams but the Waqf insisted the beams are their property. There have been unconfirmed sightings of some of the beams stored next to the Golden Gate being burned.

“It is a very sad situation when antiquities of this importance are destroyed,” Dr. Barkay said. “Past experience has shown that the Waqf does not care about the antiquities of any civilization but their own. And here we see that they don’t even care to preserve artifacts from their own history.”

“When the Waqf worked with heavy machinery and carted away over 400 truckloads of earth from the Temple Mount, they showed a barbaric approach. They for sure should not be entrusted to take care of such delicate and important antiquities.  These artifacts are important for the history of all of humanity and civilization. We see here, as in other nations, that the Muslim attitude towards history and the past is entirely lacking tolerance and respect. This is a war of civilization; the Islamic civilization against all others. It is, quite simply, a cultural intifada.”

The appearance of refuse at the Golden Gate is additionally disturbing because it may indicate that the Waqf is renovating the site into a more permanent prayer area. Shortly after the riots that opened the area to Muslims, the Waqf requested permission from the Israeli authorities to perform these renovations at the site and they were denied. If the renovations are extensive, then even more artifacts will be destroyed.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9831

Two Saudi Oil Tankers Attacked Raising Tensions Between US and Iran

By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz May 13, 2019 , 3:35 pm

49 Yehoshafat constructed Tarshish ships to sail to Ophir for gold. But he did not sail because the ships were wrecked at Ezion-geber.” I Kings 22:49 (The Israel Bible™)

Two Saudi Arabian oil tankers were targeted by “sabotage attacks” adding more heat to the regional tensions.

Khalid Al-Falih, Saudi Arabia’s energy minister, announced to the state-run media on Monday morning that two of his nation’s oil tankers were targeted in a “sabotage attack” off the coast of Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The site of the attacks is less than 100 miles from the vital Strait of Hormuz shipping channel. The tankers sustained “significant damage.”

He said: “Fortunately, the attack didn’t lead to any casualties or oil spill; however, it caused significant damage to the structures of the two vessels.”

The UAE on Sunday said an alleged sabotage attack targeted four boats, without elaborating or naming suspects. It is believed that one of the vessels was Norwegian.

Reuters reported INTERTANKO, an association of independent tanker owners and operators, saying that it had seen pictures of “at least two ships have holes in their sides due to the impact of a weapon,” and that “trading and shipping sources identified the Saudi vessels as Bahri-owned very large crude carrier (VLCC) tanker Amjad and crude tanker Al Marzoqah.”

The Saudi Foreign Ministry published a statement on the state-run Saudi Press Agency on Monday, saying, “this criminal act poses a serious threat to the security and safety of maritime traffic, which reflects negatively on regional and international peace and security.”

Though it is still unknown who was responsible for the attack, the timing raises suspicions that indicate that Iran may be involved. Last week, the U.S. Maritime Administration issued a warning to commercial shipping companies that from the beginning of May there had been, “an increased possibility that Iran and/or its regional proxies could take action against U.S. and partner interests, including oil production infrastructure, after recently threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz. Iran or its proxies could respond by targeting commercial vessels, including oil tankers, or U.S. military vessels in the Red Sea, Bab-el-Mandeb Strait, or the Persian Gulf.”

The White House ordered the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier strike group and B-52 bombers to the region on May 4, indicating heightened tensions between the U.S. and Iran.

The statement from the Saudi government on the alleged “sabotage attacks” off the United Arab Emirates port at Fujairah came just hours after Iranian and Lebanese media outlets aired false reports of explosions at the port in Fujairah.

Britain’s Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt warned that such incidents could spark a larger conflict.

“We are very worried about the risk of a conflict happening by accident with an escalation that is unintended,” Hunt said about the incident.

Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani,  the secretary general of the Gulf Cooperation Council, agreed with that assessment. “Such irresponsible acts will increase tension and conflicts in the region and expose its peoples to great danger,” Al Zayani said in a statement.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9807

Israeli Aircraft Strike Targets In Gaza Strip Early Thursday Morning After Palestinian Fire Balloon Attacks Ignite Fields In Eshkol Region Of Israel

Throughout the day, Palestinians launched dozens of incendiary devices, carried by balloons, into southern Israel from the Gaza Strip. However, it was not immediately clear if the Eshkol fire was sparked by one of these objects.“At this point, the cause of the fire is not known. We will only know after a check by fire investigators,” a spokesperson for the Eshkol region said. The strike came after a large brushfire broke out in the Eshkol region of southern Israel on Wednesday night, with suspicions that it was caused by a balloon-borne incendiary device from the nearby Gaza Strip, officials said.

by Geoffrey Grider May 1, 2019

Israeli aircraft were striking target in the Gaza Strip early Thursday, Palestinian reports said after a wave of fire balloons were launched into Israel from the Gaza Strip.

Fire balloons are no joke, and have done millions of dollars in damage to myriad acres of fields in southern Israel since the Gaza Strip riots began a little over a year ago. They show no signs of abating anytime soon.

In keeping with Israel’s zero tolerance policy on attacks by Palestinians in the Strip, the Israel air force launched a series of targeted strikes early Thursday. We will update this story as events progress.

Israeli aircraft said to strike targets in Gaza after wave of fire balloons

FROM THE TIMES OF ISRAEL: There was no immediate comment from the IDF. The reports said the aircraft bombed targets in northern Gaza. There were no reports of injuries. The strike came after a large brush fire broke out in the Eshkol region of southern Israel on Wednesday night, with suspicions that it was caused by a balloon-borne incendiary device from the nearby Gaza Strip, officials said.

A fire rages in the Eshkol region of southern Israel on May 1, 2019. (Tzvika Korbeshi/Eshkol)

The blaze began in a field between the Eshkol National Park and Kibbutz Urim, spreading throughout the grasslands and into a wooded area, according to Fire and Rescue Department Eli Cohen.

The fire came amid heightened tensions between Israel and terror groups in the Strip, after a rocket was launched from the coastal enclave, landing several kilometers off shore on Monday night.

Throughout the day, Palestinians launched dozens of incendiary devices, carried by balloons, into southern Israel from the Gaza Strip. However, it was not immediately clear if the Eshkol fire was sparked by one of these objects.

“At this point, the cause of the fire is not known. We will only know after a check by fire investigators,” a spokesperson for the Eshkol region said.

Three teams of firefighters were working to put out the fire. In addition to the Fire and Rescue Department, firefighters from the Jewish National Fund and from the Parks Service were involved in the effort, the fire department spokesman said.

“The teams are working together to get control over the fire and prevent it from spreading,” Cohen said.

Due to the blaze’s location, the firefighters were not able to bring their trucks into the area, requiring them to use smaller, hand-held equipment to battle the flames, the fire department spokesman said.

On Tuesday, a fire broke out near Kibbutz Nahal Oz in the Sha’ar Hanegev region. That blaze was caused by a balloon-borne incendiary device launched into Israel from Gaza. In recent weeks, such arson attacks have tapered off under the ceasefire brokered by Egypt last month. That fire was quickly extinguished by a team of volunteers, the fire department said.

Also Tuesday, the Israeli military deployed Iron Dome missile defense batteries throughout the country, following a rocket attack from Gaza the previous night and ahead of what is expected to be a sensitive next few weeks.

The military expects the coming weeks to be particularly tense, as they will see the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, the international Eurovision song competition in Tel Aviv, Israel’s Memorial and Independence days, and the first anniversary of the opening of the contentious US Embassy in Jerusalem.

Following Monday’s rocket launch, Israel scaled back the permitted Gaza fishing zone from 15 nautical miles to six until further notice. The fishing zone had previously been extended to 15 miles — a level that the coastal enclave has not seen in over a decade — as one of the first concessions by Jerusalem under an unofficial ceasefire agreement with terror groups in the Gaza Strip.

On Tuesday morning, the IDF said the Islamic Jihad intentionally fired the rocket from the northern Gaza Strip toward coastal Israel the day before in an effort to derail ongoing efforts to maintain the ceasefire.

While there has not been a complete cessation of violence along the Gaza border since the ceasefire went into effect last month, the situation there has been relatively calm. Terror groups in the Strip have threatened to bring back regular border riots if Israel does not abide by its side of the deal.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9783

USS Abraham Lincoln deploys opposite Syria, US envoy to Russia aboard

Apr 25, 2019 @ 10:10 Diane Shalem Iranian threats, Putin-Kim summit, Ukraine, USSS Abraham Lincoln opp Syria

Accompanied by 10 warships, the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier on Wednesday, April 24, deployed opposite the Syrian coast in a dramatic show of strength against Russia and Iran. The effect was underlined by the revelation from US Navy sources of the presence on the carrier’s command bridge of none other than US ambassador to Moscow Jon Huntsman. His message needed no commentary: “When you have 200,000 tons of diplomacy cruising the Mediterranean, this is forward-operating diplomacy – nothing else need be said.”

There is no precedent even in the Cold War years between America and Soviet Russia of a US ambassador being planted on a front line against Russian and Iranian forces in the Middle East. The US Navy communique reported that Ambassador Huntsman was inspecting the operations of “9.000 crew and Marines and the 130 warplanes on the decks of the Lincoln and other vessels of the strike group.”

DEBKAfile’s military sources: This show of US military-backed diplomatic muscle was timed for Thursday, April 25, when President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader were about to sit down for their first summit in the eastern Russian city of Vladivostok, This meeting was seen in Washington as Putin’s challenge of the nuclear negotiation channel set up by President Donald Trump with the North Korean dictator.

The Lincoln’s deployment facing the Syrian coast was also the Trump administration’s answer to the three top Iranians, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif, who Wednesday threatened America with harsh retribution for the sanctions that were blocking its oil exports.  

Added to this, on Wednesday, Moscow advised Ukrainian separatists supported by Russia in their battle against the central government in Kiev that the red tape would be cleared from the path of any of those fighters who sought Russian citizenship. This was seen in Washington as a half-step towards Russia’s annexation of another part of Ukraine after Crimea. The State Department issued this statement: “Russia, through this highly provocative action, is intensifying its assault on Ukraine’s sovereignty and national integrity.”

On \Tuesday, April 23, DEBKAfile was first to break the news of the arrival in the Mediterranean of two US carriers and their strike groups – the USS Abraham Lincoln and the USS John C. Stennis, and reported that they are operating with the US Sixth Fleet in conjunction with allied navies.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9772

Famed Architectural Firm KPF Building The Azrieli Center ‘Spiral Tower’ In Tel Aviv That Looks A Lot Like The Tower Of Babel For About $666 Million Dollars

The spiral tower was designed by the American Kohn Pedersen Fox architecture firm, which has designed five out of the 10 tallest skyscrapers in the world. Israeli firm Moshe Tzur Architects & Town Planners is working with KDF on the project.The tower’s spiral shape, according to its planners, draws inspiration from the curves of a snail shell. Biblical scrolls were another source of inspiration.

by Geoffrey Grider April 25, 2019

Tel Aviv will soon have a very substantial addition to its skyline – a fourth Azrieli Center tower, this time in the shape of a spiral, to join the city’s landmark trio of buildings. Once completed, it is set to be the tallest tower in Israel.

Well now, this is interesting. Construction work has begun on what will be the tallest building in Israel, part of the Azrieli Center in Tel Aviv. The building looks stunningly like a 21st century version of the Tower of Babel from the bible, with the price tag coming in right around $666 million dollars, approximately. Even more interesting is the logo of the Azrieli Group with its large, Masonic capital “G” that intersects with a pyramid topped with a blue capstone. All that’s missing is the number “33” to make the imagery complete. So what to make of all this?

“Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.” Genesis 11:9 (KJV)

OK, so it looks like the Tower of Babel, has 91 floors (9/11??), it costs right around $666 million dollars, and the Azrieli Group has a crazy creepy Illuminati and Masonic-themed logo. Hmm. I guess all I can do is put it in a big, fat ‘prophecy pile’ together with Mike Pompeo’s teasing of a rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem and Jared Kushner, who owns a building at 666  Fifth Ave, that was financed by George Soros, preparing to implement a ‘new and different‘ Middle East peace plan. Is this for real, or did I swallow a ‘Left Behind‘ novel for breakfast this morning?

Things are speeding up quickly now, people, pay close attention or you’re going to miss it.

Tel Aviv to Add Fourth Azrieli Center Tower; Will Be Tallest Building in Israel

FROM THE TOWER: The 91-story spiral tower will be almost 1,150 feet (350 meters) tall and will include commercial, office and residential areas as well as a hotel. The top floors are to house conference rooms, spaces for meetings and entertainment and a 360-degree lookout. A garden and chef restaurant will be on the roof.

Digging and piling work is already underway, and construction is expected to be completed within six or seven years. The total cost of the project is estimated at ₪2.5 billion (over $650 million).

“The architecture of the spiral tower reflects the boldness and creativity of the Azrieli Group, which redefines Tel Aviv’s skyline with each new project,” Azrieli Group Chairwoman Dana Azrieli said at the project’s unveiling on Wednesday.

“The tower was planned and developed in a unique geometric shape, never before seen in Israel, which captures the eye and the imagination. The main challenge for the initiators and architects was to create harmony between the three iconic towers that form Azrieli Center and the new tower, an impressive, one-of-a-kind structure which stands on its own. The tower’s design takes inspiration from the twists of a snail’s shell, attempting to imitate their natural form. The design also draws inspiration from ancient biblical scrolls and the way they unfurl upwards.” – KPF

“The exceptional financial investment in the project is a testament to our great confidence in the Israeli economy and its growth, and continues the strategy that has led us in building the country for over three decades,” she said.

The spiral tower was designed by the American Kohn Pedersen Fox architecture firm, which has designed five out of the 10 tallest skyscrapers in the world. Israeli firm Moshe Tzur Architects & Town Planners is working with KDF on the project.

The tower’s spiral shape, according to its planners, draws inspiration from the curves of a snail shell. Biblical scrolls were another source of inspiration. Once completed, the new building will unfurl dramatically above the existing circular, triangular and square-shaped Azrieli Center buildings. Those three 50-story buildings, which include a shopping mall, commercial and office space, were completed between 1998 and 2007.

The new tower will expand the Azrieli Center footprint by almost three acres, for a total area of more than 12 acres. The complex will constitute a major transportation hub, connecting the existing Hashalom railway station with the light-rail network now under construction in the Tel Aviv district, as well as the many bus lines.

Some 100,000 people are expected to pass through the expanded center every day.

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Lebanon’s minister threatens to strike Ben-Gurion Airport in future war


By ANNA AHRONHEIM
04/25/2019  

The disputes over the border have elevated tensions between the two enemy countries
Lebanon’s Defense Minister Elias Bou Saab has warned that the Lebanese military would strike Israel’s Ben-Gurion Airport if Beirut’s Rafik Hariri International Airport were struck in a future conflict.

“If ‘Israel’ bombards our airport, we will bombard its airport; if it strikes our oil facilities, we will strike its oil facilities,” he was quoted as saying by Hezbollah’s al-Manar news site.

Saab made the comments while touring south Lebanon. During his tour, he met with Lebanon’s Army Chief Gen. Joseph Aoun in Tyre, who briefed him on the situation in the southern region, especially in villages bordering Israel Saab and Aoun later visited UNIFIL headquarters in Naqoura, where they were received by its general commander Maj.-Gen. Stefano Del Col.

Disagreement over Israel’s ongoing construction of the border wall and Lebanon’s plans to explore for offshore oil and gas in disputed maritime waters have elevated tensions between the two countries, which officially remain at war.

Israel and Hezbollah fought a deadly 33-day war in 2006, which came to an end under UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which called for disarmament of Hezbollah; withdrawal of the Israeli army from Lebanon; deployment of the Lebanese army; and an enlarged UN force in southern Lebanon.

But Hezbollah’s influence in Lebanon has led senior officials in Israel’s defense establishment to warn that Lebanon’s army has lost its independence and has become an integral part of Hezbollah’s network.

The IDF says that cooperation between the LAF and Hezbollah has increased in the past year, and has warned that the next war will see Israel target not only military infrastructure but civilian infrastructure used by Hezbollah.

On Tuesday, Lebanon’s Speaker of the House Nabih Berri said that his country is prepared to demarcate its maritime border with Israel under the supervision of the United Nations, with the same mechanism used for the Blue Line.

“We are ready to draw Lebanon’s maritime borders and those of the Exclusive Economic Zone [EEZ] using the same procedure that was used to draw the Blue Line under the supervision of the United Nations,” Berri was quoted by Lebanon’s National News Agency as saying.

The UN-demarcated Blue Line currently separates Lebanon and Israel’s territory along more than 200 points. Thirteen of the points are disputed by the Lebanese government.

According to the report, Del Col told Berri that the mechanism used to draw the Blue Line could also be used to resolve the maritime border issue and enhance stability.

The two countries have an unresolved maritime border dispute over a triangular area of sea comprising around 860 sq.km., which extends along several blocks of exploratory offshore drilling that Lebanon put up for tender two years ago.

Beirut claims that Blocks 8 and 9 in the disputed maritime waters are in Lebanon’s EEZ and parts of Block 9 run through waters that Israel claims as its own EEZ.

Recently discovered oil and gas reserves off the shores of Lebanon and Israel are predicted to generate up to $600 billion over the next few decades. In December 2017, Beirut signed contracts with three international companies to explore oil and gas in two of the blocks.

Lebanon and Russia signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate on oil and gas in October 2013.

Israel also views its offshore oil and gas reserves as highly valuable, both economically and strategically. Jerusalem has made agreements with Cairo to sell it surplus gas, and agreed earlier this year to partake in an Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum, which includes seven members: Egypt, Israel, Greece, Cyprus, Jordan, Italy and the Palestinian Authority.

In November, Israel reportedly signed an ambitious project to build a 2,000 km. underwater gas pipeline – from Israel to Cyprus, Crete, mainland Greece and Italy – to supply natural gas. The construction of the pipeline is expected to take five years and cost some $8b.
Due to the pipeline, Greece and Cyprus were reported by al-Hayat to have offered their help in mediating the demarcation of the maritime border with Lebanon.

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