Category: Israel

One Day After Jared Kushner Says Israel’s Walls ‘Must Come Down For Peace’, Benjamin Netanyahu Is Indicted On Fraud And Bribery Charges

Benjamin Netanyahu expressed confidence that most voters won’t be influenced by the announcement, but said that even if it influences a few not to vote for him, it will bring the Left to power.”I’ve never seen the Left so happy…They’re sewing suits” to wear because they expect to become ministers, Netanyahu said.As for the timing, 40 days before the April 9 election, Netanyahu said “every citizen knows this is outrageous and meant to bring down the Right.

by Geoffrey Grider February 28, 2019

Only the voters will decide if I remain in office, not bureaucrats, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said after Attorney-General Avihai Mandelblit announced on Thursday his intention to indict the premier on multiple charges of fraud and breach of trust, and one bribery charge, pending a hearing.

Just as the radical Progressive Left in America wakes up each and every day thinking of how they might be able to bring down President Donald Trump, the radical Progressive Left in Israel does the same with their hatred of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Today they scored of victory of sorts as the Israeli attorney general announced his intention to indict Netanyahu on a variety of charges.

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.” Psalm 122: 6 (KJV)

Is Netanyahu guilty? I honestly don’t know. What I do know, however, is that Benjamin Netanyahu has done more to boost the Israeli economy, and has done more to boost Israeli border security than any other leader in the 70 years history of regathered Israel. Netanyahu certainly seems like God’s man for this time to me.

Personally, I do not think that Benjamin Netanyahu is guilty, at least not of what he is being charged with. Either way, he has my support. Please pray that these charges against him will come to nothing. I cannot imagine the changes that might take place if Israel were to replace him with a Liberal leader. Because if Netanyahu were to be replaced, then maybe Jared Kushner’s peace plan that involves tearing down all of Israel’s security walls might just happen after all.

Netanyahu to Be Charged With Bribery Pending Hearing

FROM THE JERUSALEM POST: Benjamin Netanyahu gave a very political speech from the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem, focusing on the timing of the charges and arguing that they are meant to bring down the Right, repeatedly using the phrase “witch hunt.”

The prime minister opened by talking about his recent meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin and comments US President Trump made overnight Wednesday, calling him tough and smart. He argued that he and the Likud have made Israel stronger than ever before.

“These connections are not to be taken for granted,” Netanyahu said. “The Left knows they cannot compete with these achievements in the voting booth, so they put massive pressure on the attorney general to indict even though there is nothing, in order to influence the elections and put the Left in charge.”

Netanyahu expressed confidence that most voters won’t be influenced by the announcement, but said that even if it influences a few not to vote for him, it will bring the Left to power.

“I’ve never seen the Left so happy…They’re sewing suits” to wear because they expect to become ministers, Netanyahu said.

As for the timing, 40 days before the April 9 election, Netanyahu said “every citizen knows this is outrageous and meant to bring down the Right. “I am not being given the chance to disprove the accusations until after the election – and I will disprove them all,” he added.

Netanyahu appeared to choke up with tears when he talked about the “seven circles of hell” his family has been through in recent years. He specifically referred to an accusation that he tried to have an article about his son dating a non-Jewish Norwegian woman removed from Walla, saying: “What father wouldn’t defend his son?

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9654

Turkey: Uniting an “Army of Islam” to Defeat Just One Country

by Uzay Bulut
February 21, 2019 at 4:30 am

https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/13559/turkey-army-of-islam

At the conference, Adnan Tanriverdi, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s top military advisor, delivered a speech detailing the inner workings of the “Islamic Confederal State” that Tanriverdi’s Strategic Research Center for Defenders of Justice (ASSAM) aims to establish with 61 Muslim countries.

Judging by an article Tanriverdi penned in 2009, the purpose of this joint Islamic force is to defeat Israel, which “should be made to get engaged [in war] and the length of the war should be extended.”

Erdogan and his chief military advisor are obviously engaging in projection. It is Turkey that has ethnically cleansed itself of Greeks, Assyrians and Armenians, and that is now targeting Syrian Kurds. It is the Turkish government’s continued aggression against various peoples in Israel, Syria, Iraq, Cyprus and other countries that is a threat to world peace; not Israel. It is Turkey, not Israel, whose destabilizing foreign policy needs to change.

Istanbul recently hosted the second “International Islamic Union Congress,” sponsored mainly by the Strategic Research Center for Defenders of Justice (ASSAM), which is headed by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s chief military advisor, Adnan Tanriverdi, a retired lieutenant general and an Islamist .

At the conference, Tanriverdi delivered a speech detailing the inner workings of the “Islamic Confederal State” that ASSAM aims to establish with 61 Muslim countries. In his address, Tanriverdi said that a “rapid deployment force” should be created. Judging by an article Tanriverdi penned in 2009, the purpose of this joint Islamic force is to defeat Israel, which “should be made to get engaged

[in war]

and the length of the war should be extended.”

“If Israel has to call all of its reserve soldiers to duty,” he explained, “there will be no one left at home or in their businesses. It cannot continue like that for a long time.”

Tanriverdi also suggested how this could be accomplished:

“The Defense Ministers of Islamic Countries should be invited to an urgent meeting, at which possibilities for ‘defense cooperation’ should be examined; Turkey, Iran, Syria, the Iraqi Resistance Organization and Palestine should be the core of this cooperation.”

Within this context, he said, a “‘rapid Deployment Force of Islam,’ which will consist of an amphibious brigade, an armored brigade and an aero-landing brigade, should be encouraged.”

He went on:

“A peace force of Islamic countries should be deployed in Gaza… International efforts should continue, and the use of military force in Islamic countries should be encouraged. A joint military operation by our ground, naval and air forces should be carried out in the international waters of the Eastern Mediterranean. Aid convoys from Turkey, accompanied by Turkish warplanes, should land at the Gaza port. The resistance movements in Gaza should be supported with anti-tank and low-altitude anti-aircraft weapons.

“An aid fund should be formed by Islamic countries; the monthly budget of the legitimate Palestinian government should be paid from this fund and every adult individual in [the Palestinian territories] should be paid a monthly salary… Egypt should be pressured to open the Rafah border crossing. Syria should be encouraged to enhance its military presence on the Israeli border.”

Tanriverdi also claimed that:

“Turkish states, throughout history, prevented 21 crusades through which the West targeted Islam. Turkey did not get involved in the invasions following World War II, the establishment of the State of Israel and the US invasion of Iraq, which we could call the 22nd, 23rd and 24th crusades. It is Turkey’s duty to rectify this. Avoiding this responsibility would be contrary to our historic mission, our commitment to the civilization to which we belong and to Turkey’s survival.”

Tanriverdi’s views are the impetus for the founding in 2012 of his company, “SADAT International Defense Consultancy.” On its official website, Tanriverdi writes:

“The Turkish Armed Forces give services of training, consultancy and equipment to 22 friendly Turkish and Muslim countries. But it is impossible for them to respond to all the needs of 60 Islamic countries in the defense sector.

“In order to give services in needed fields, to prevent dependence on crusader-minded colonialist countries, to help form an environment of defense industry and defense cooperation among Islamic countries, and to serve the Islamic alliance, SADAT was formed by 23 founding shareholders and with the support of 64 army officers and non-commissioned officers who have successfully served the Turkish armed forces and who are respectful of the religious sensitivities of Islamic countries.”

Four years after SADAT’s establishment, Necati Yılmaz, an MP from the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), submitted a written parliamentary motion to then-Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, questioning SADAT’s activities and international connections. The motion read, in part:

“SADAT states on its official website that that it tries to ‘help establish a military force in the Islamic world that will be self-sufficient.’ With what countries does SADAT have connections? Is there any other country to which SADAT gives military and intelligence training? Does it have camps in other countries?

“Is it true that Sadat has connections with al-Nusra, al-Qaeda and ISIS? Is it true that Sadat has trained ISIS militants?”

Yıldırım did not answer the motion during his tenure, but allegations about SADAT’s providing military training to jihadist organizations abroad and to some pro-Erdogan groups in “secret military camps” in Turkey have not subsided. Tanriverdi and other SADAT officials have repeatedly denied the accusations, going as far as to sue some newspapers that published pieces repeating them.

In an interview last January with the pro-government newspaper, Habertürk, Tanriverdi called claims about SADAT “slanderous” and “imaginary.” Replaying SADAT’s “founding objective,” he insisted that it “engages with the state organs of friendly nations and provides them with services of corporate consultancy, training and equipment in line with their laws in their own countries.”

He continued:

“With very pure and decent feelings, we just want to transfer the experiences of our armed forces to Islamic countries. That is all. We also want the Islamic countries to get united.”

He failed, however, to remind readers that SADAT’s objective is to unite against the West and Israel. He also omitted comments from his 2009 article entitled “Palestine too should have an army”, such as:

“The states whose peoples are Muslim should either protect Palestine with their own armed forces or form a modern armed force for Palestine to deal with Israel.”

Although Tanriverdi’s dream of an “army of Islam” to fight Israel has yet to be realized, his company, SADAT, seems to be aiding Palestinian-Arab jihadist organizations targeting Israel. In February 2018, for instance, Israel’s internal security service, the Shin Bet, said that Hamas was funneling terror funds to the West Bank and Gaza through Turkey. The Shin Bet statement also accused Turkey of aiding Hamas’ military build-up via SADAT. Kamil Tekeli, a Turkish law professor who was arrested in Israel in mid-January, told his interrogators that SADAT sends money and arms to Hamas. Tekeli, after being interrogated, was deported back to Turkey, according to the Israeli media. The Turkish Foreign Ministry, however, rejected the Shin Bet’s accusations.

Tanriverdi’s statements and his company nevertheless appear to reflect Erdogan’s worldview.

“We as Turkey and myself — as long as I am in charge — can never have a positive view of Israel,” Erdogan said in 2014. “The obvious reality is that Israel is the country that threatens peace in the world and in the Middle East.”

More recently, on December 15, Erdogan repeated one of many hostile claims he has made over the years — comparing Israel to the Nazis.

Erdogan and his chief military advisor are obviously engaging in projection. It is Turkey that has ethnically cleansed itself of Greeks, Assyrians and Armenians, that refuses to recognize the religious rights of the Alevi minority and that is now targeting Syrian Kurds. It is the Turkish government’s continued aggression against various peoples in Israel, Syria, Iraq, Cyprus and other countries that is a threat to world peace, not Israel. It is Turkey, not Israel, whose destabilizing foreign policy needs to change.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9646

Violence Breaks Out On Temple Mount as Muslims Claim Gate Where Shechinah Dwells

By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz February 24, 2019 , 10:39 am

“And Hashem said to me: This gate is to be kept shut and is not to be opened! No one shall enter by it because Hashem, the God of Yisrael, has entered by it; therefore it shall remain shut.” Ezekiel 44:2 (The Israel Bible™)

On Friday, thousands of Palestinians stormed the Shaar HaRachamim (the gate of mercy), also known as the Golden Gate, on the Temple Mount chanting “Allahu Akhbar” (Allah is greater), breaking into the locked site. The site has been closed by court order since 2003 when it was discovered that the Islamic heritage association that operated there was associated with Hamas and the site had become a meeting place for suspected terrorists.  Illegal construction was also being carried out on site.  Palestinian officials hailed the entry of worshipers into the Golden Gate site on Friday as a “big victory.”

On Thursday night, police arrested 60 East Jerusalem residents on suspicions of incitement and rioting ahead of the Friday prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque.

In the video, the crowd is heard chanting, “with spirit and blood we will redeem Al-Aqsa.”

Jerusalem Police on Sunday arrested two senior officials of the Waqf (Muslim authority): the Chairman of the Wakf Department in east Jerusalem, Shiekh Abdel Azim Salhab and Sheikh Najeh Bkeirat, deputy director of the Wakf. The Waqf is under Jordanian jurisdiction and earlier this month, the Jordanian government increased the Waqf council from 11 to 18 in a move that was seen to bolster the Palestinian Authority control over the Temple Mount. It is believed that this is an attempt to consolidate control over the site before the U.S. announces President Trump’s Middle-East Peace Plan.

MK Ahmad Tibi of the joint Hadash-Ta’al party visited the controversial Golden Gate site on Saturday and said its opening was “an important and significant step.” He added that Muslims and the Waqf, custodians of the holy site, “should be given full control of the mosque, without the entry of settlers and Jewish politicians from the right,” according to Army Radio.

Israel conquered the Temple Mount in the 1967 Six-Day War and in a 1988 agreement with Israel, Jordan renounced its claim to any of the territories it had illegally occupied prior to the war. The peace treaty Jordan signed with Israel in 1994 requires Israel to “respect the present special role of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in Muslim Holy shrines in Jerusalem.”

According to Jewish tradition, the Shekhinah (שכינה) (Divine Presence) used to appear through the Eastern Gate and will appear again when the Messiah arrives.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9643

United Nations Warns That Billions Of Locusts Now Gathering On Both Sides Of The Red Sea Preparing To Swarm Egypt And Saudi Arabia

A locust outbreak in Sudan and Eritrea is spreading rapidly along both sides of the Red Sea to Saudi Arabia and Egypt, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization said. Periods of rain along the Red Sea coastal plains in Eritrea and Sudan have allowed two generations of breeding since October, leading to a substantial increase in locust populations and the formation of highly mobile swarms.

by Geoffrey Grider February 22, 2019

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warns that an infestation of desert locusts in Sudan and Eritrea is rapidly spreading along both sides of the Red Sea towards Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Even with all the gruesome weaponry that fallen man has created over the years, few things are creepier or more disturbing than when the insect world comes swarming. When God wanted to get Pharoah’s attention in the Old Testament, He sent plagues of disgusting insects and reptilian creatures. Right now, billions of locusts are descending on Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Kinda funny, though, how these swarms almost always skip right over Israel, isn’t it?

“And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.” Revelation 9:3 (KJV)

But in the near future, in the days after the Pretribulation Rapture of the Church, there will be a swarm of locusts in Israel that will come up from the bottomless pit. The Bible says about that time “And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.” That will happen during the time of Jacob’s trouble.  In the meantime, enjoy this Tribulation preview of locusts in the Middle East.

SPEAK OF THE BIBLE: LOCUST SWARMS IMMINENT IN EGYPT, SAUDI ARABIA

FROM THE JERUSALEM POST: According to an agency press release, heavy rains triggered two generations of breeding since October, leading to a substantial increase in the locust population.

“The next three months will be critical in bringing the locust situation under control before the summer breeding starts,” FAO’s Senior Locust Forecasting Officer Keith Cressman said.

Earlier this year, the insects evoked biblical times when they showed up at holy sites in Mecca, covering some areas in darkness and sparking a thunderstorm of hail and fire on social media.

“These locusts are normally present in low numbers in the desert and don’t cause a big problem. But following a large rainfall they can quickly multiply, eventually forming hopper bands or swarms of adults, composed of billions of individual locusts,” Cressman told The Media Line.

According to the FAO, locust swarms can extend outwards several hundred square miles, containing roughly 40-80 million adult locusts in each square mile.

What makes these insects so dangerous is their threat to food security, says Cressman.

“A desert locust adult can consume its own weight (roughly 2 grams) in food in a day. The added difficulty is they’re normally in the desert, so they’re eating the vegetation there.

“Once they get into rainfed crops on the edge of the desert, grown by poor farmers, they’re eating an entire livelihood, and then they move into the country and affect national food supplies,” he emphasized.

Therefore, a swarm of about 40 million locusts eats the same amount of food in one day as about 35,000 average people. A swarm reaching the size of Paris would eat the same quantity of food in 24 hours as half the population of France, according to the FAO.

“When a locust swarm lands, it can cause crop losses of 80-100 percent,” Dr. Arianna Cease, Director of the Global Locust Initiative at Arizona State University, told The Media Line. “This is particularly devastating for subsistence farmers who depend on their crops to feed their families.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9640

Concerned with Closer Turkish-Russian Ties, Trump Blocks F-35 Sale

By JNS February 20, 2019 , 11:11 pm

For I know how many are your transgressions and how great are your sins— you who afflict the righteous, who take a bribe, and turn aside the needy in the gate. Amos 5:12 (The Israel Bible™)

U.S. President Donald Trump signed appropriations legislation late last week that blocks the sale of F-35 fighter jets to Turkey.

The transfer of these fighter planes to Ankara will not proceed until the U.S. Secretary of State and U.S. Secretary of Defense provide an update to Congress related to Turkey’s purchase of the S-400 missile-defense system from Russia.

The Pentagon, reporting to Congress in late November, noted that Turkey’s acquisition of the S-400 missile systems from Moscow could enable Turkey’s potential ejection from the F-35 program, in addition to purchasing other weapons such as Lockheed’s F-16 fighter, UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters and Boeing’s CH-47F Chinook helicopter.

“We will not stand idly by while NATO allies purchase weapons from our adversaries,” said U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on Sunday in a warning to Ankara. “We cannot ensure the defense of the West if our allies grow dependent on the East.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan confirmed on Monday the purchase and said that there would be no undoing of the decision.

“Having the S-400 from Russia is an outcome of this pursuit,” Erdoğan declared to supporters Monday. “Now [Washington], you tell us to give up purchasing the S-400 [but] … don’t provide us joint production and financial support.”

Aykan Erdemir, former Turkish parliament member and senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said that the Trump administration’s attempts persuade Turkey away from the Russians have largely failed.

“Washington’s attempt to use positive incentives to encourage Ankara to choose Patriot air defense system over the Russian S-400 system has failed to deliver results,” he said.

“The language in the spending bill signed by Trump will likely trigger U.S. sanctions against Turkey and block the transfer of F-35s, as Washington’s policy moves from positive incentives to negative incentives,” he continued.

“At this point, Erdoğan seems to be strongly committed to his deepening partnership with [Russian President Vladimir] Putin, and is unlikely to be swayed by Washington’s positive or negative incentives,” added Erdemir. “Erdoğan has been pivoting Turkey away from the transatlantic alliance and its values, putting U.S.-Turkish relations on a crash course, and 2019 might therefore mark the lowest point in bilateral relations.”

Diliman Abdulkader, director of the Kurdistan Project at the Endowment for Middle East Truth, said: “I don’t think this is anything new coming from the administration or Congress. The plan was always to have Turkey cancel the S-400 missile purchase from Russia.”

“Obviously, Erdoğan is looking for further gains despite his harsh stance. But ultimately, Turkey knows they will not receive the F-35 fighter jets if they go through with the Russian purchase,” he continued. “It’s also important to note that this is not just America’s position but other NATO allies as well, Turkey is [endangering] the security bloc.”

Last August, Trump signed the annual National Defense Authorization Act, which included barring Turkey from acquiring the F-35 from the U.S.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9637

Palestinians, Jordanians expand alliance to torpedo Trump’s peace plan

The Palestinians and the Jordanians have set up a joint council for the administration of the Temple Mount and holy sites in Jerusalem.

By JERUSALEM POST STAFF

February 18, 2019 17:57

The Palestinians and the Jordanians have set up a joint council for the administration of the Temple Mount and other Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem in an effort to preemptively torpedo the advancement of US President Donald Trump’s regional peace plan. 
 

Yoni Ben-Menachem, a veteran Arab affairs and diplomatic commentator for Israel radio and television and a senior Middle East analyst for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, revealed this information to Israel Hayom in an exclusive report.
 

Ben-Menachem told the Hebrew daily that the move constitutes “a violation of the Oslo agreement and seriously harms Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem.”
 

Senior Fatah officials confirmed that cooperation has been accelerated ahead of the peace plan, which Trump said he will reveal shortly after the April 9 elections in Israel.
 

A senior Palestinian source told Israel Hayom that the establishment of the joint council is a practical step derived from the understandings reached by Jordanian King Abdullah and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in August 2017, following the crisis of the electronic security monitors, which Israel erected on the Temple Mount after two Israeli police officers were killed in a shooting attack.
 

The first steps were taken only days ago and comes, according to the report. A senior Fatah official said the move was because the Jordanians and the Palestinians fear that within the framework of the regional peace plan, responsibility for the Temple Mount will be transferred to a joint Arab-Islamic council, granting Saudi Arabia official status around the al-Aqsa mosque.
 

In contrast, a senior Arab diplomat told the Hebrew daily that the move was made with the agreement of Jordan and Saudi Arabia and was intended to soften Palestinian resistance to the peace plan.
 

At the end of the month, American advisers Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt are scheduled to arrive in the Middle East to advance the regional peace plan. Abbas has himself already taken some steps to torpedo the plan.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9629

148 nations disavow Jewish ties to Jerusalem, Temple Mount

Posted by Staff Writer on February 14, 2019 at 7:00 pm

The UN General Assembly in New York on Friday approved six anti-Israel resolutions including two that ignored Jewish ties to the Temple Mount.

The primary resolution on Jerusalem, that passed 148-11 with 14 abstentions, also disavowed Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem.
Both that text and a second more global one on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which passed 156-8, with 12 abstentions, spoke of Judaism’s most holy site – The Temple Mount – solely by its Muslim name of al-Haram al-Sharif.

Be the first to know –

The votes comes as Israel is working to shore up international support for its sovereignty in Jerusalem.

A third text, which was approved 99-10 with 66 abstentions,

The United States, Canada and Australia voted against all six resolutions, which are the first batch of some 20 resolutions that the UNGA annually passes against Israel.

“We live in a time of many crises, crises that are raging around the Middle East and around the world. It is a shame that rather than addressing these crises, the UN passes so many biased resolutions,” said Israeli Deputy Permanent Representative Noa Furman.

She said she was particularly concerned by the two resolutions that ignored Jewish and Christian ties to the Temple Mount.
“This omission was deliberate. It shows yet another instance of the Palestinian refusal to recognize the proven historical connection between Judaism, Christianity, the Temple Mount and Jerusalem as a whole.

“The international community must stop participating in such a blatant denial of history. You must not permit these blatant attempts to delegitimize Israel,” Furman said.

The European Union, which supported both texts, warned it could stop doing so unless more include language was used to reference holy sites in Jerusalem.

Speaking on behalf of the EU, the Austrian representative said the EU stresses “the need for language on the holy sites of Jerusalem to reflect the importance and historical significance of the holy sites for the three monotheistic religions.”

It added, “future choice of language may affect the EU’s collective support for the resolutions.”

PLO Ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour thanked UN member states for their support of texts that reference a two-state resolution to the conflict based on the pre-1967 lines with east Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state.

This “global consensus, which all of us have worked for, is still the cornerstone of finding a just and lasting peace to the conflict.”
US representative Leslie Ordeman, who is deputy political coordinator, also spoke out against the texts.

“We are disappointed that despite messages of support for reform, member states continue to single out Israel with these resolutions.

“As the United States has repeatedly made clear, this dynamic is unacceptable. Again, we see resolutions that are quick to condemn all manner of Israeli actions, but say almost nothing about Palestinian terrorist attacks against innocent civilians. This is particularly acute now, when the rocket attacks on November 12 saw more projectiles fired on a single day than on any day since 2014.”

Both Israel and the US took issue in particular with the two resolutions passed Friday that continued to support the work of the “Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People” and the “Division for Palestinian Rights.”

“The Palestinians are the only actor in the UN system with a dedicated division within the UN Secretariat. The message that it sends is that the Palestinians never need to come back to the negotiating table – they can rely on flawed and biased mechanisms, such as these, to push their agenda,” he said.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9627

Netanyahu Again Confirms Syria Strike, Contrary to Position of Top Brass

Defense officials seek to restore the policy of ambiguity regarding Israeli strikes, but Netanyahu has all but ended it Noa Landau and Yaniv Kubovich

Feb 13, 2019 9:41 AM

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed on Tuesday evening that Israel struck Hezbollah targets in Syria the previous day. The confirmation runs contrary to the position of the Israeli defense establishment, as senior defense officials refrained from addressing the incident on the Syrian Golan Heights.

“We operate every day, including yesterday, against Iran and its attempts to entrench itself in the region,” Netanyahu said as he set out to attend an international conference on the Middle East in Warsaw.

Syrian state media reported on Monday that Israeli tank shells hit a demolished hospital and an observation post in Syria’s southern Quneitra province near the border with Israel.

Senior defense officials say the decision not to respond to the reports on the strike stemmed from the desire to renew the policy of ambiguity of recent years. The fact that the targets were Hezbollah position on the Golan is what prompted the officials to demand the defense establishment remain mum on the reports coming in from Syria. 

Israel’s policy of ambiguity regarding its Syria strikes has been all-but-lifted recently by Netanyahu and former IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot.

As Haaretz’s Amos Harel wrote, it began with Eisenkot’s proud assertion to the New York Times of attacks on thousands of targets in the north during his tenure. Last month, Netanyahu took public responsibility for attacking Iranian weapons stores in Syria.

“Iran is issuing threats against us. On the fortieth anniversary of their revolution, they threatened to destroy Tel Aviv and Haifa. I said that they won’t succeed and if they try it will be the last anniversary they celebrate,” Netanyahu added.

“We are constantly operating according to our assessments and needs to prevent Iran and its satellites from forming bases near our northern border or in our area at all,” Netanyahu said at a naval base in Haifa earlier Tuesday, adding: “We do whatever is necessary.”

Monday’s attack apparently targeted Hezbollah forces, with the goal of driving them away from the Israeli border.

“We are operating through a lot of different means and elements against their attempts to arm up on nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. We also halt their attempts to entrench themselves in Syria,” the prime minister said of Israeli actions to fend off Iranian threats in the region.

Netanyahu also noted that Israel’s relations with countries in the Middle East “are very good. With all of them except for Syria.”

“Descriptions according to which we are disconnected

[from countries around us]

are the opposite of the reality. Relations are tightening. Not everything is out in the open but some of it is,” he added.

Addressing the conference in Warsaw that he will participate in and that the Palestinians have chosen to shun, the prime minister said he “doesn’t think the deal of the century [or Trump’s peace plan] will be at the center of discussions.”

Challenge along the border

Israeli intelligence officials said that Iran and Hezbollah haven’t given up their desire to open a new front against Israel in the Golan. All the intelligence agencies’ scenarios predict that Lebanon-based Shi’ite organization will try to challenge Israel along the Syrian border, and that Iran will attempt to exploit these efforts.

Israel proudly announced last year that it had reached understandings with Russia and the United States under which.

Monday’s incident casts doubt on the promises Israel said it received from Russia and the U.S., which stipulated that Iran and its proxies would be kept at least 80 kilometers from the Syrian-Israeli border, as the apparent targets were forward outposts of Hezbollah in the Golan, just a few kilometers from the Israeli border.

And while Israel has made significant efforts to enforce the agreement itself, it doesn’t seem to be succeeding.

The defense establishment thinks that today, Iran has very few officers and advisers in Syria, and Hezbollah has also significantly reduced its forces there. Nevertheless, both Iranian and Hezbollah personnel remain in the country.

Iran’s main activity in Syria now is trying to entrench its Syrian militias and locate them near the Golan. Hezbollah is also trying to bolster its control over the triangle where Israel, Syria, and Jordan meet in the southern Golan.

All this is happening as the Syrian army has regained control of most of the country, including the Golan Heights. The fact that Iranian and Hezbollah forces are stationed among or alongside Syrian soldiers in the Golan worries Israel.

In December,  the IDF spotted several armed men crossing the fence into the buffer zone between Syria and Israel. Israeli soldiers fired at the men, but they fled and returned to Syria unharmed.

After the incident, senior IDF officers said they were displeased with this outcome, as the armed men should have been killed.

Last month, an Iranian missile was fired at Mount Hermon following an airstrike near the Damascus airport that was attributed to Israel. That missile, an Iranian model that came from an Iranian factory, was also launched from much closer to the border than the 80 kilometers Israel was promised.

These events show that Iran hasn’t abandoned its desire to entrench itself much closer to the Israeli border than Israel would like.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9620

Russia: A Friend of Israel or Prophetic Enemy From the North?

By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz January 30, 2019 , 2:12 pm

“And you will come from your home in the farthest north, you and many peoples with you—all of them mounted on horses, a vast horde, a mighty army.” Ezekiel 38:15 (The Israel Bible™)

In the wake of Israeli airstrikes targeting Iranian military sites in Syria, Russia released what seemed to be conflicting statements; decrying “arbitrary Israeli airstrikes” on one hand while at the same time claiming they were deeply concerned about “ensuring a very strong security of the State of Israel.” With a major military presence in Syria, it is essential to understand Russia’s intentions for the region.

Russia’s role takes on apocalyptic implications when considering verses that identify the pre-Messiah War of Gog and Magog which, according to the prophet Ezekiel, will be a war against Israel fought by a multi-nation coalition led by a nation from the north.

Therefore prophesy, O mortal, and say to Gog: Thus said Hashem: Surely, on that day, when My people Yisrael are living secure, you will take note, and you will come from your home in the farthest north, you and many peoples with you—all of them mounted on horses, a vast horde, a mighty army. Ezekiel 38: 14-15

This was emphasized in a teaching from the 18th century Rabbinic sage known as the Vilna Gaon who singled out Russian aggression as a precursor to the Messiah.

“When you hear that the Russians have captured the city of Crimea, you should know that the times of the Messiah have started, that his steps are being heard,” the Vilna Gaon told his followers just before his death in 1797. “And when you hear that the Russians have reached the city of Constantinople (today’s Istanbul), you should put on your Shabbat clothes and don’t take them off, because it means that the Messiah is about to come any minute.”

It should be noted that in 2014, Russia annexed the Ukrainian territory of Crimea.

Russia was also named as playing a major role in events leading up to the Messiah by the late Rabbi Haim Shvili, a Jewish mystic born in the early 1900s. He made some predictions about the messianic era recorded in his book, Heshbonot Hageula (Reckonings of Redemption), which he wrote in 1935. Although obscure and largely unknown, the predictions in the text were shockingly accurate, stating specific dates and names he described a final terrifying vision of Gog and Magog as a war waged against Israel by a Russian-led coalition. He based this on a verse in Ezekiel.

O mortal, turn your face toward Gog of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. Prophesy against him. Ezekiel 38:2

In this verse, the Hebrew word for ‘chief’ is רֹאשׁ (Rosh), which Rabbi Shvili claims hints at ‘Russia.’

As an astute student of history, Rabbi Ken Spiro, a historian and Senior Lecturer and Researcher for Aish HaTorah Yeshiva, sees Russia’s intentions as more pragmatic than Messianic. Rabbi Spiro prefaced his statement with a quote from Winston Churchill.

“I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma,” Churchill is credited with saying.

Rabbi Spiro noted that there was good reason to see Russian President Vladimir Putin as having good intentions when it came to relations with Israel.

“Putin has very good personal relations with Jews from his childhood,” Rabbi Spiro noted. “In addition, Netanyahu has worked very hard to cultivate a positive relationship with Putin. Until recently, the Israeli Defense Minister was Avigdor Liberman, a Russian ex-patriot.”

But Rabbi Spiro added the disclaimer contained in the second half of Churchill’s statement.

“Perhaps there is a key,” Churchill famously said. “That key is Russian national interest.”

Rabbi Spiro cited a rule in politics attributed to many political figures throughout history.

“There are no permanent friends and no permanent enemies,” he quoted. “Only permanent interests.”

“During the Cold War, Russia went into a decline and he [Putin] wants to reassert his country as a major player in the world.  Rabbi Spiro said. “Russia has always wanted a presence in the region. It took decades during the Cold War for the U.S. to get control of the Middle East.  Eight years of Obama’s administration allowed Putin to reassert Russia into the Middle East.”

Spiro applied this rule of Russian practicality to its alliance with Syria and Iran as well.

“The alliance with Iran and Syria is not ideological,” Rabbi Spiro said. “It is practical.”

The rabbi emphasized that Russia was most likely being candid when they claimed to have Israel’s security interests at heart.

“I don’t think Putin sees any reason to antagonize Israel,” he said. “A direct confrontation with Israel would make Putin’s job of reasserting Russia into the region just that much trickier. Russia does have our security interests at heart but only inasmuch as it serves their interests.”

Though Spiro said that Russia’s interests are clear, the complicated situation on Israel’s northern border makes it tricky for them to achieve these interests.

“The entire thing is surreal,” Rabbi Spiro maintained. “Russia put their army in Syria, covering Assad’s forces, while at the same time they are allowing Israel to come in and bomb stuff. It is a very delicate balance. Putin is doing a dance with everyone in the region: Syria, Turkey, Iran, and yes, even Israel.”

Spiro recognized the prophetic aspect of events on Israel’s northern border but understands it in a moderate manner.

“The north is a generic term for any country coming from outside the region,” he argued, “though it is interesting to note that Moscow in due north of Jerusalem. But at the same time, Russia is not Israel’s nemesis. During the Cold War, Russia supported the Arab countries only because Israel was America’s proxy.”

Additionally, Spiro expressed a more general understanding of how Gog and Magog may play out.

“The War of Gog and Magog doesn’t necessarily have to be a military confrontation,” he explained. “I understand the imagery includes chariots and that would imply a physical war but it could also be a war of ideologies. In that case, the multi-national war of Gog and Magog could be fought in the United Nations General Assembly, much like what we are seeing now.”

On the ideological battlefield, Spiro sees Biblical conflicts being expressed in modern terms.

“It is remarkable that the powers of Esav (Esau, i.e. the West and Europe) put aside their differences with Ishmael (i.e. the Arab nations) to unite against Israel,” Rabbi Spiro said. “On one hand, Jewish sources describe  a pre-messiah scenario of Gog and Magog as a world alliance against Israel like we see in the UN.”

“On the other hand, we have descriptions of Esav and Yishmael fighting each other,” Rabbi Spiro said. “In fact, these two scenarios aren’t necessarily contradictory. The reality is that they are both currently happening simultaneously. Radical Islam is going after Europe’s weak underbelly,, the post-Christian Esav. They don’t like each other but they put their differences aside to attack us. They feel more threatened by us.”

“That is why we see these strange alliances of a Euro-leftist gay activist walking hand-in-hand on campus with a radical Muslim,” Rabbi Spiro noted.

Rabbi Pinchas Winston, a prolific author and end-of-days expert, emphasized Russia’s claims to caring for Israel’s security should be treated with caution.

“Russia only has their own interests at heart,” he told Breaking Israel News, agreeing with Rabbi Spiro. But he noted a Biblical reference as a guide:

“In the Midrash, Esav is compared to an animal that has one of the signs of being kosher but not the other; like cloven hooves, but not the other, such as chewing its cud,” Winston said. “You might say that this is better than a totally non-kosher animal, that maybe it is half kosher. But the Midrash says this is even worse. The animal can be deceitful, hold out is hooves and try to convince the Jew that they are kosher.”

Rabbi Winston applied this analogy to Russia.

“Russia is trying to create the external appearance that they are our friends, that they have our back and care about our security,” he claimed “The worst tactic of Esav is when they act like our friend. When Esav wanted to accompany Israel he was only waiting until Jacob lowered his guard so he could stab him in the back.”

“But Esav is enticing Israel, trying to make us sin with the negative trappings of technology that lead to improper behavior, or act like they are our allies so we can lower our guard in the Golan. In the end of days, Hashem is more angry at Esav than Ishmael. Ishmael comes at us directly with violence. Esav, on the other hand, is deceitful and lures us in, either to sin or to get us to lower our guard. This is precisely what Russia is doing.”

“The moment that someone uses this Esav tactic, like what Russia is doing here, when they tell you they have your back, that’s when you need to turn around and defend yourself,” Rabbi Winston concluded.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9597

Tel Aviv Skyscraper: Remake of Tower of Babel or Preparation for Third Temple?

By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz January 28, 2019 , 12:45 pm

“See, a time is coming—declares Hashem—when the city shall be rebuilt for Hashem from the Tower of Hananel to the Corner Gate;” Jeremiah 31:37 (The Israel Bible™)

One of the largest real-estate developers in Israel revealed plans for the soon-to-be tallest building in Israel that looks surprisingly similar to images of what the Tower of Babel may have looked like. But a closer look reveals the new building may be much more, what one rabbi thinks could be a dry-run for building the Third Temple.

The Azrieli Group, an Israeli real estate and holding company, announced their plan to build Israel’s tallest building as an addition to their already impressive Azrieli Center Complex in Tel Aviv. Topping out at 91 stories and reaching 1,150 feet toward the heavens, it is estimated that the Spiral Tower will take six years to complete at an estimated cost of $666 million. The new tower will take its place next to the iconic circle, square and triangle towers that make up the Azrieli Complex. By building the Spiral Tower, the Azrieli Group will outdo itself as they built the current tallest building in Israel, The Azrieli Sarona Tower which stands 782 feet high with 53 floors, just two years ago.

The plans are ambitious, with around 150,000 square meters containing commercial space, offices, residences, and a hotel. Six underground parking levels, covering an area of 45,000 square meters, will be built at the base of the structure, in addition to a commercial floor connected directly to the light rail. The tower’s peak will include space for conferences and meetings, recreational space, and a 360-degree view of Tel Aviv and the surrounding area. it is predicted that approximately 100,000 people will pass through the center every day.

The unique design was produced by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (KPF), a New York-based architecture firm which is responsible for five of the 10 tallest skyscrapers in the world. According to the press release, the architects took their inspiration from nature as well as Jewish heritage.

“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.”

More cynical critics of the design might draw a comparison between the elegant design presented by the developers and certain depictions of the Biblical Tower of Babel. Though the Biblical account contains no details other than it builders aspirations for it to reach great heights.

And they said, “Come, let us build us a city, and a tower with its top in the sky, to make a name for ourselves; else we shall be scattered all over the world.” Genesis 11:4

Traditional Jewish sources provide additional details. Midrash (homiletic teachings) described “an idol on the top holding a sword, so that it may appear as if it intended to war with God.” The Midrash also described a structure built on tall columns designed to protect the tower from another divine flood.

Some modern scholars have associated the Tower of Babel with known structures, notably the Etemenanki, a ziggurat dedicated to the Mesopotamian god Marduk built by Babylonian King Nabopolassar in 610 BCE. Indeed, the Spiral Tower Design closely resembles a ziggurat, an ancient structure from the Middle East built as a terraced compound of successively receding stories or levels. at the top of each ziggurat was a shrine. Also, similar to the Azrieli Towers,  each ziggurat was part of a larger complex that included a courtyard, storage rooms, bathrooms, and living quarters, around which a city was built.

Rabbi Yisrael Rosenberg is an author who has a powerful connection to the spiritual implications of construction. His daytime job is as a tour guide for the Western Wall tunnels.

“The main of the sin connected to the Tower of Babel was not in their action but in their intention. The bottom line is that the intent of the builders and the architects of the Azrieli tower is l’shem shamayim (in the name of heaven). The fact that they envisioned a Torah scroll while designing the building is remarkable. Even if it was just for beauty, beauty can be to praise God’s creation.”

Rosenberg noted that the builders of the Tower of Babel came together to challenge heaven, hence their punishment was to be divided and scattered.

“Tel Aviv needs high towers since it is becoming densely populated,” he said. “This is a Tikkun (fixing) for what happened after the Tower of Babel. It allows people to be together in Israel.”

He also noted that for the 2,000 years of exile, Jews excelled in many fields but were less represented in architecture and land development.

“Everything we learn about construction in Israel is just one step away from the Beit Hamikdash,” the rabbi said. “Just like Solomon’s Temple, the Third Temple will be with the agreement and blessings of every nation in the world and it will be the greatest construction project ever seen. We need to learn how to lead the world in this project.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9593