Category: Israel

BIBI IN AMERICA: Netanyahu Wows At AIPAC, Vows To Stop Iran From Producing Nuclear Weapons

Pointing to a map where Iran’s inroads in the region were painted in black, Netanyahu said that the Islamic Republic was trying to establish a land bridge from Tehran to Tartus on the Mediterranean, and not only establish permanent military bases in Syria, but also manufacture precision-guided missiles in Syria and Lebanon.v

by Geoffrey Grider March 6, 2018

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was welcomed with a resounding ovation Tuesday morning at AIPAC, where he gave a 30 minute speech on the “good, bad and beautiful” in Israel and the region. Netanyahu steered completely clear of his legal woes piling up at home.

“Wherein the king granted the Jews which were in every city to gather themselves together, and to stand for their life, to destroy, to slay, and to cause to perish, all the power of the people and province that would assault them, both little ones and women, and to take the spoil of them for a prey, Upon one day in all the provinces of king Ahasuerus, namely, upon the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar.” Esther 8:11,12 (KJV)

EDITOR’S NOTE: Like Donald Trump in America, Israeli PM Netanyahu is beset by endless attacks from the media all seeking to end his run as leader. And like President Trump, Bibi has survived all such attacks so far, and not just surviving but thriving as well. In America this week, Netanyahu was the keynote speaker at AIPAC, and reminded his audience of the very real and ongoing nuclear threat from Iran. He invoked the book of Esther, and the threat from the Persian people back in 425 BC, as well as from the Persian government of Iran in 2018 AD.

The prime minister, showing no outward signs of the impact of his domestic situation, strolled away from the podium and used slides broadcast on large screens to talk about Israel’s contributions in the spheres of agriculture, water preservation and security, as well as its growing diplomatic standing in the world.

Pointing to the slide which was painted in blue representing all the countries with whom Israel has diplomatic ties, Netanyahu said to a resounding ovation, “There are those who talk about boycotting Israel, we will boycott them.”

While the good news coming out of Israel – regarding its technology and security expertise – is very good and getting better, the bad news, he said, “is that bad things are getting worse and are very bad.”

The overwhelmingly bad thing, he said, is Iran.

“We have to deal with this challenge,” he said. “If I have a message today it is simple: We must stop Iran.” Netanyahu, who last spoke at AIPAC in 2015 during the visit to Washington where he spoke out against the Iranian deal in Congress, said that what he warned then is transpiring.

He recalled that he said at the time that as a result of the nuclear deal Iran would not become more moderate and peaceful, but rather more extreme and “much more dangerous, and that is exactly what is happening.”

Pointing to a map where Iran’s inroads in the region were painted in black, he said that the Islamic Republic was trying to establish a land bridge from Tehran to Tartus on the Mediterranean, and not only establish permanent military bases in Syria, but also manufacture precision-guided missiles in Syria and Lebanon.

“I will not let that happen, we will not let that happen,” he said. “Last week we read in the Book of Esther about an earlier Persian attempt to destroy our people,” he said referring to Purim. “They failed then, they will fail now.”

Netanyahu also spent a few minutes talking about the Palestinian Authority’s payment of $350 million a year to terrorists and their families, asking what message this sends to Palestinian children.

“I believe President Abbas should find better use for his money, “ he said. “Build roads, schools, hospitals and factories. Invest in life, invest in peace.”

The “beautiful,” in his “good, bad and beautiful” equation, was the Israeli-US relationship

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9065

CONFIRMED: Donald Trump Will Officially Relocate The US Embassy To Jerusalem On May 14, 2018

The Trump administration will officially relocate the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May, timed with Israel’s 70th Independence Day, a State Department official confirmed to The Jerusalem Post on Friday. The official was responding to a message on Twitter by Transport Minister Israel Katz, who seemed to confirm the move would occur in the spring. “We’re planning to open the new US Embassy to Israel in Jerusalem in May,” the US official told the Post. “The Embassy opening will coincide with Israel’s 70th anniversary.”

by Geoffrey Grider February 23, 2018

The Trump administration will officially relocate the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May, timed with Israel’s 70th Independence Day, a State Department official confirmed to The Jerusalem Post on Friday.

“For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place.” Jeremiah 29:10 (KJV)

For quite some time now, we here at NTEB have been telling you that if any major fulfillment of prophecy related to the Rapture of the Church and the consequent start of the time of Jacob’s trouble was going to happen, it would be right around the time period of the 70th anniversary of the regathering of Israel on May 14, 2018.

So it is with a happy surprise and not just a little shock that our position received another nice validation today with this stunning news coming out of Israel, and here it is:

The Trump administration will officially relocate the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May, timed with Israel’s 70th Independence Day, a State Department official confirmed to The Jerusalem Post on Friday.

The official was responding to a message on Twitter by Transport Minister Israel Katz, who seemed to confirm the move would occur in the spring. “We’re planning to open the new US Embassy to Israel in Jerusalem in May,” the US official told the Post. “The Embassy opening will coincide with Israel’s 70th anniversary.”

“The Embassy will initially be located in Arnona, on a compound that currently houses the consular operations of Consulate General Jerusalem,” he continued. “At least initially, it will consist of the Ambassador and a small team.”

How’s THAT for a start to your day, all you prophecy watchers out there? Honestly, it doesn’t get much better than this. Moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem is not in Bible prophecy, but the events that this move could trigger certainly are. I believe with all my heart that the time period surrounding May 14 of this year, 70 years of Israel regathered, will be perhaps the greatest period of prophecy fulfillment in my lifetime. Here are some of the reasons why I believe that.

After 70 years the LORD will again visit Israel according to the prophet Jeremiah

The prophet Jeremiah in chapter 30 and verse 7 makes a reference to something he calls the “time of Jacob’s trouble”, which is the same thing Jesus mentions in Matthew 24 when He talks about the coming time of “great tribulation”.

“Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.” Jeremiah 30:7 (KJV)

But just one chapter before that, Jeremiah mentions something that immediately preceded that, a visitation from the Lord after 70 years. Historically this is talking about the Jews in Babylonian captivity, but is also a prophecy of the Jews in the time of Jacob’s trouble in the end times.

“For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place.” Jeremiah 29:10 (KJV)

It is interesting to note that in the book of Revelation, Jesus says that in the time of Jacob’s trouble Israel will be like “Sodom and Egypt”. (Remember the Boston Globe article calling Tel Aviv the “gayest city on Earth”?)  They have turned so far away from the LORD that this is how God now views them.

“And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.” Revelation 11:8 (KJV)

But Revelation also directs our attention to spiritual Babylon that has now trapped the Jews just like physical Babylon did in Jeremiah’s day.

“And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” Revelation 17:4,5 (KJV)

So I ask you, those of you who are Bible believers and understand that there is much prophecy yet to be fulfilled, is it possible that sometime around the 70th anniversary of the regathering of the nation of Israel, could the LORD be planning to once again visit Israel and His chosen people the Jews?

If so, then wouldn’t that of necessity place the Rapture of the Church before that visit? Yes, it would. The Church has no place in the time of JACOB’S trouble, it is Israel’s final refinement according to the Bible.

“Hear this word that the LORD hath spoken against you, O children of Israel, against the whole family which I brought up from the land of Egypt, saying, You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.” Amos 3:1,2 (KJV)

The 70th anniversary of regathered Israel is 3 months away, and there are only 3 possibilities for what is mentioned in this article. It is possible that 1). some of it could happen, 2). none of it could happen, or 3). all of it could happen.

Are YOU ready for what comes next?

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9052

Clay Seal of Isaiah Found But Mystery Remains

By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz February 22, 2018 , 4:20 pm

“The prophecies of Yeshayahu son of Amotz, who prophesied concerning Yehuda and Yerushalayim in the reigns of Uzziyahu, Yotam, Achaz, and Chizkiyahu, kings of Yehuda.” Isaiah 1:1 (The Israel Bible™)

Excavations at the City of David in Jerusalem. (Shutterstock)

A prominent Israeli archaeologist announced this week her discovery of a clay seal bearing the Hebrew name of Isaiah which may very well have belonged to the Biblical prophet.

“We appear to have discovered a seal impression, which may have belonged to the prophet Isaiah, in a scientific, archaeological excavation,” said Dr. Eilat Mazar, an archaeologist from Hebrew University, who made the discovery.

“The clay seal shows the lower part of a grazing doe, a motif of blessing and protection found in Judah, particularly in Jerusalem,” Dr. Mazar wrote in Biblical Archaeology on Wednesday.

Clay impression of Isaiah (Photo courtesy of Dr. Eilat Mazar)

It is unclear however, if the seal actually belonged to the prophet Isaiah because it remains uncertain that a letter may or may not be missing.

The [clay impression] reads ‘leyesha‘yah[u]’ in ancient Hebrew letters, which means ‘[belonging] to Isaiah’. The three Hebrew letters of nun, vav, and yud also appear. After the letter yud, the corner of the seal is broken off, raising the question if the three letters were also followed by a fourth letter, aleph completing the word, navi (prophet). Alternatively, the damaged space may very have been blank.

Without that missing corner confirming the existence or absence of the aleph, the bulla cannot be fully determined to have belonged to the Biblical prophet. If it can be authenticated, however, this will be the first time that an artifact directly connected to a Biblical prophet has been found.

The seal was discovered ten feet from where, in 2015, Dr. Mazar found another similar artifact that belonged to King Hezekiah who ruled over Judah from 727 BCE-698 BCE.

“The close relationship between the king and the prophet is well known,” Dr. Mazar told Breaking Israel News. “Finding a seal impression of the prophet Isaiah next to that of King Hezekiah should not be unexpected. It would not be the first time that seal impressions of two Biblical personas were discovered in close proximity.”

Dr. Mazar referred to two seal impressions belonging to Yehukhal ben Sheleḿiyahu ben Shovi and Gedaliyahu ben Pashḥur, both of whom were high officials in King Ẓedekiah’s court. Both seals were found just a few feet apart from each other, in the City of David in 2005. She noted that both were mentioned in the same Biblical verse.

Shephatiah son of Mattan, Gedalia son of Pashhur, Jucal son of Shelemiah, and Pashhur son of Malchiah heard what Yirmiyahu was saying to all the people. Jeremiah 38:1

The seal itself was not used by the common folk and therefore, symbolizes a person’s high stature in society.

“A seal is not an ordinary thing belonging to normal people,” Dr. Mazar explained. “Important people who need a seal had them to seal documents or to seal packages. No other figure was closer to King Hezekiah than the prophet Isaiah so it is an obvious assumption that he would have such a seal. If this seal did belong to him, it would indicate his high status.”

The reverse side of the seal shows the impression of woven cloth. Dr. Mazar suggested that the cloth may have been from a package the prophet was sending, marking it as his own. She suggested an intriguing and significant possibility of what that package may have been.

“This is reminiscent of the story of the Prophet Isaiah healing King Hezekiah with figs,” she elaborated, referring to one such Biblical account.

When Yeshayahu said, “Let them take a cake of figs and apply it to the rash, and he will recover.” Isaiah 38:21

“Perhaps he brought special figs intended for the king and put a seal so that no one would touch it,” Dr. Mazar suggested. “We don’t know but there are many possibilities.”

Remarkably, a fingerprint is visible on the clay, perhaps that Isaiah himself.

“If the owner of the seal was the Prophet Isaiah, we have here the fingerprint of the prophet,” Dr. Mazar said. “But we cannot be sure of this because of the missing Aleph.”

Even the few clues found on the tiny piece of clay give hints that must be considered. Dr. Mazar noted that most seals are identified by the name of the owner and the owner’s father, which in the case of the Prophet Isaiah would be ‘Isaiah the son of Amotz’.

“That is the normal style.  however there are cases of seals containing the name and the title,” she said, emphasizing that this also was not a definitive clue. “Navi without an ‘aleph’ could also mean ‘from the city of Nov,’ a Kohanic (priestly) city near Jerusalem mentioned often in the Bible.”

Thereupon the king sent for the KohenAchimelech son of Achituv and for all the Kohanim belonging to his father’s house at Nov. They all came to the king. I Samuel 22:11

One other objection to the possibility that this seal belonged to Isaiah the prophet is the lack of the letter hay as a definitive prefix. In the Bible, the word navi (prophet) is usually preceded by the definitive of hay, translating as “the prophet.” The letter Hay, however, does not appear on the clay impression as a prefix to the letters of nun, vav, bet and yud, indicating that the seal did not say, “the prophet.” Dr. Mazar acknowledged this as a potential sign that the seal impression may not be from Isaiah but also noted that many inscriptions in ancient Hebrew have been found without the prefix.

Although she is not religious, Dr. Mazar uses the Bible as a resource for her research.

“I look for the reality behind the stories since reality is clearly written there, but the bible has to be examined according to the archaeological proof,” she stressed. “I was educated in archaeology to relate to the Bible as a most important historical source, to examine it and re-examine it.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9050

Why Jerusalem is not Islam’s 3rd holiest site

Exclusive: Joseph Farah reveals truth in face of ‘powerful delusion casting spell upon world’

Published: 18 hours ago

Joseph Farah

You’ve undoubtedly heard that Jerusalem represents the third holiest city in Islam.

That is provably untrue.

Or, perhaps you’ve read in Wikipedia or heard on CNN that the Al-Aqsa Mosque is the third holiest place of worship in Islam.

That, too, is a provable lie.

Or, maybe you heard about the vote by UNESCO in 2016 that denied any Israeli connection to the Temple Mount, referring it only by the Islamic name, “Haram al-Sharif.”

Before I get to the history of these myths, these aberrant legends, these anti-Semitic fictions from hell, let me tell you why anyone with a clear head and objective, rational mind can see the truth in spite of the powerful delusion that has cast a spell upon the world – deliberately, with political purpose and very recently, too.

Everyone should recognize the No. 1 holy site in all Islam is Mecca, the Qaba, which draws millions of pilgrims annually – perhaps more than any other religious shrine in the world. For instance, while some 5 million visit the Vatican City every year, 18 million Muslims visit Saudi Arabia and, almost all of them, go to Mecca, which doesn’t allow non-Muslims to enter the city. The annual five-day Hajj, alone, attracted more than 2 million in 2017.

image: http://www.wnd.com/files/2015/05/mecca.jpg

Mecca

Spiritual pilgrimages are a big deal in Islam, and the No. 2 holy site in all Islam is probably Medina, where Muhammad is buried.

image: http://www.wnd.com/files/2018/02/Medina.jpg

Medina pilgrimage

But after Mecca and Medina, there is actually much dispute, even among Muslims, as to which would be Islam’s third holiest city. Why? Because while Mecca and Medina are considered holy to all Muslim followers of Muhammad and Allah, not all of them are Sunni. Sunni Islam adherents represent about 80 percent, or roughly 1.2 billion Muslims worldwide. But another 20 percent are Shia, representing as many as 300 million. And Shia Muslims revere shrines in two other cities in Iraq – Najaf and Karbala.

How many make pilgrimage from Najaf to Karbala annually during the Shia Arba’een Pilgrimage? Hold on to your burqa or keffiyeh. Some accounts put it at 30 million from as many as 40 countries, often braving attacks from Sunni terrorists and usually traveling barefoot. That’s right. This Arba’een Pilgrimage, is a much longer one than the five-day Mecca Hajj and, according to many sources, much larger in sheer number of participants.

image: http://www.wnd.com/files/2018/02/Arbaeen-Pilgrimage.jpg

Arba’een Pilgrimage

Now let’s consider Al-Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock and Jerusalem.

How many Muslims make pilgrimage to Jerusalem? Israel hosts a total of about 2 million tourists from all over the world every year, but only a tiny fraction are Muslims. Israeli tourists are diverse ethnically but almost all Jewish and Christian. And please don’t tell me Muslims are not welcome, because they are. In 2014, the latest statics I could find, showed 26,700 tourists from Indonesia; 23,000 from Turkey; 17,700 from Jordan; 9,000 from Malaysia and 3,300 from Morocco. And those were the biggest numbers.

And maybe you think Muslims stopped coming to Jerusalem, their “third holiest city,” after Israel reunified it in 1967. Quite the opposite. There was scarcely any interest in Jerusalem when Jordan controlled Al-Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock. Even King Hussein never visited Jerusalem during the time he controlled part of the city for two decades.

If you want to go back further, before the first Zionist Aliyah, you can see what the Dome of the Rock circa 1875 looked like – abandoned, in total disrepair, unvisited. In fact, it didn’t get its famous gold-plated roof until the 1950s under Jordanian control, and it had to be redone in 1993 under Israeli authority.

image: http://www.wnd.com/files/2018/02/Dome-of-the-Rock.jpg

Dome of the Rock in 1875

While we’re starting to travel back in history, let’s look for Jerusalem in the Quran. Let me save you some time. You can stop looking. You won’t find it. It’s not there, though a passage we read in the Quran did indeed inspire the building of Al-Aqsa.

The Muslim “claim” to Jerusalem is based on what is written in the Quran in Sura 17:1, which says, “Glory be unto Allah who did take his servant for a journey at night from the Sacred Mosque to the Furthest Mosque.” How did this “Furthest Mosque” become the one visited by Muhammad in a dream in which he rode a flying camel or horse?

In Muhammad’s lifetime, Jerusalem was occupied by the Byzantine Empire. While Muhammad died in 632, Jerusalem was captured by Muslims in 638. When they came, of course, there was no mosque and no Dome of the Rock anywhere in Jerusalem, only churches. One of those churches is believed to have been built atop the Temple Mount. It may have even been converted into the Al-Aqsa Mosque. In fact, both the dome and the mosque display undeniably noticeable Byzantine architectural influences.

When rivals of Muhammad’s successors captured Jerusalem from the Christians, they first built the Dome of the Rock, a shrine the conquerors believed to have been the site of the Second Temple, destroyed by the Roman Empire in 70 A.D. The dome was completed in 691 and the Al-Aqsa Mosque some 20 years later, or some 80 years after the death of Muhammad. The “ascension” of Muhammad from the rock under the dome is believed to have been conjured during this period by Khalif Omar, who sought to construct a new holy site to rival the one in Mecca.

Nevertheless, the idea of establishing this shrine and the Al-Aqsa mosque atop the old Temple Mount as permanent Islamic holy places did not catch on, as we can see by comparing them to others in Mecca, Medina, Najaf and Karbala.

In fact, not through the entire time of the Islamic Ottoman Empire, which controlled Jerusalem until World War I, and not until 1929, did the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque stir any passionate interest in Islam. And that was thanks to Adolf Hitler’s Muslim friend, Haj Amin Al-Husseini, the grand mufti of Jerusalem, who reminded his radical followers of Muhammad’s “Night Journey.” He stoked the myth to initiate riots that year.

Then, another dreamer, after the 1967 Six-Day War in which Israel reunified Jerusalem under its control, Yasser Arafat, used the shrines to stir Islam’s claim to the city, which he called “Al-Quds.” Arafat also launched the lie that no Jewish Temple ever rested atop the Temple Mount, though that is precisely why both the dome and the mosque were built there on what Omar believed to be the Temple’s very foundation.

On one level, the propaganda coup has fooled most of the world – to such an extent that most Muslims believe the Al-Quds myth. They riot for it all over the world. They commit terrorism in the name of “liberating” it. They boycott, divest, impose sanctions, throw stones, launch missiles, start intifadas and more.

But, one thing they don’t do? They don’t visit. They don’t do pilgrimages. Go figure.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9039

Papyrus With Oldest-Known Hebrew Reference to Jerusalem Proves City Jewish 1,300 Years Before Birth of Islam

Feb 18, 2018 by Jews News in ISRAEL

By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz

“At that time they shall call Yerushalayim the throne of Hashem; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of Hashem, to Yerushalayim; neither shall they walk any more after the stubbornness of their evil heart.” Jeremiah 3:17 (The Israel Bible™)

A 2,700-year-old papyrus that is the oldest known non-Biblical Hebrew reference to Jerusalem has been found, announced the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) on Wednesday. The papyrus, originally stolen by antiquities thieves, was put on display in Jerusalem on Wednesday, coinciding with the second UNESCO resolution attempting to deny Judaism’s connection to its most holy city – a connection this ancient artifact so graphically proves.

The two lines of writing on the tiny scrap of papyrus (4.3 inches by 1 inch) are surprisingly clear: “From the king’s maidservant, from Naharta, jars of wine, to Jerusalem.”

The scroll was originally plundered from a cave in Nahal Hever in the Judean Desert near the Dead Sea by antiquities thieves. Professor Shmuel Ahituv of Ben-Gurion University studied the papyrus when it was first recovered. He spoke at the IAA press conference, noting that on the papyrus, the name of the city was spelled with a letter ‘yud’, as it is in modern Hebrew. Pronounced ‘Yerushalayim’, Ahituv noted that it is spelled this way only four times in the entire Bible.

Ahituv also noted that papyrus, made from the pith of the papyrus plant, was more expensive than the more common clay. The text specified a “female servant of the king” sending the wineskins to “Yerushalem”, suggesting the shipment was sent by a prominent woman to a person of high status in the capital.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9036

Waving piece of downed drone, PM threatens direct military action against Iran

‘Do you recognize this, Mr. Zarif?’ PM asks security confab attended by Iran FM, warns Tehran to ‘not test Israel’s resolve’

By Judah Ari Gross and Michael Bachner 18 February 2018, 12:58 pm 12

Brandishing a fragment of an Iranian drone downed over northern Israel a week ago, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday warned that Israel could strike the Islamic Republic directly and cautioned Tehran not to “test Israel’s resolve.”

“Mr. Zarif, do you recognize this? You should, it’s yours. You can take back with you a message to the tyrants of Tehran — do not test Israel’s resolve!” proclaimed Netanyahu at the Munich Security Conference, which was also attended by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

The Iranian drone, which entered northern Israel from Syria near the Jordan border last Saturday, was shot down by an Israeli attack helicopter. In response to the drone incursion, Israeli jets attacked the mobile command center from which it was operated, the army said last week.

During the reprisal raid, one of the eight Israeli F-16 fighter jets that took part in the operation was apparently hit by a Syrian anti-aircraft missile and crashed. The Israeli Air Force then conducted a second round of airstrikes, destroying between a third and half of Syria’s air defenses, according to IDF spokesperson Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus.

The flareup on the northern border marked the first direct confrontation between the Israeli air force and the Iranian regime on Israeli territory. Israel has warned of growing Iranian entrenchment in neighboring Syria and has said it will not abide an Iranian military presence on its borders.

“Through its proxies — Shiite militias in Iraq, the Houthis in Yemen, Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza — Iran is devouring huge swaths of the Middle East,” said Netanyahu.

“Israel will not allow Iran’s regime to put a noose of terror around our neck,” he added. “We will act without hesitation to defend ourselves. And we will act if necessary not just against Iran’s proxies that are attacking us, but against Iran itself.”

In his remarks on Sunday, the prime minister also railed against the nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers, lambasted the Iranian regime, and branded Zarif the “smooth-talking mouthpiece of Iran.”

“I’ll say this, he lies eloquently,” Netanyahu said. “Zarif said it was wrong to say Iran is radical. If that’s true, why do they hang gays from cranes in city squares?”

Displaying a map of the Middle East, Netanyahu noted that while the Islamic State terrorist group is in retreat, Iran has been steadily making gains. Israeli military intelligence has helped prevent dozens of terror attacks in dozens of countries by Islamic State, said Netanyahu.

Iran is trying to take over large swaths of the Middle East, including setting up naval bases in the Mediterranean, Netanyahu charged.

“Can you imagine Iranian submarines next to the US Sixth Fleet? Next to the port of Haifa?” he asked.

The prime minister called for scrapping the 2015 nuclear deal between world powers and Tehran, saying, “Let’s not repeat the mistakes of the past. Appeasement never works.”

He likened modern Iran to Nazi Germany on the eve of World War II, saying that agreements between both regimes and world powers had emboldened them.

“Concessions to Hitler only emboldened the Nazis. Well-intentioned leaders only made war more difficult and costly,” he said.

“Iran is not Nazi Germany. One championed a master race, the other champions a master faith,” said Netanyahu. “Iran looks to destroy Israel and is developing ballistic missiles that can also reach Europe and the US. Once nuclear-armed, Iran will be unchecked.”

The Iran deal has “not made them more moderate internally, it has not made them more moderate externally. It released an Iranian tiger in our region. We must speak clearly; we must act boldly. We can stop this dangerous regime,” said Netanyahu.

“I don’t care about the agreement, fixing it or nixing it. I care about preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon,” Netanyahu said, calling for “the toughest, crippling sanctions” against Iran’s development of ballistic missiles.

The prime minister also hinted at a diplomatic row with Poland over a law outlawing blaming the Polish state or nation for crimes of the Holocaust, though he did not address it directly.

Addressing the Munich Security Conference on Saturday, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki was rejecting criticism of a new law that criminalizes mentions of Polish state complicity in the Holocaust, when he was asked by an Israeli journalist if sharing his family’s history of persecution in Poland would be outlawed under the new legislation.

“Of course it’s not going to be punishable, [it’s] not going to be seen as criminal to say that there were Polish perpetrators, as there were Jewish perpetrators, as there were Russian perpetrators, as there were Ukrainian; not only German perpetrators,” Morawiecki told Yedioth Ahronoth’s Ronen Bergman. In his initial response on Saturday night, Netanyahu responded that “the Polish prime minister’s remarks here in Munich are outrageous. There is a problem here of an inability to understand history and a lack of sensitivity to the tragedy of our people. I intend to speak with him forthwith.”

Speaking about Nazi crimes in World War II, the prime minister said on Sunday that “60 million were killed, including a third of my own people. Six million Jews killed by the Nazis and their collaborators,” he said, emphasizing the last word.

“We will not forget, we will not forgive, we will always fight for the truth,” Netanyahu said in Hebrew and English.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9034

Iran Unveils Series Of Nuclear-Capable Ballistic Missiles And Threatens To Strike Israel Over Syria Attack

Iranian military leaders bragged the ballistic missile “can be launched from mobile platforms or silos in different positions and can escape missile defense shields due to their radar-evading capability,” according to reports in Iran’s state-controlled media.

 

by Geoffrey Grider February 13, 2018

Iran unveiled a series of new homemade nuclear-capable ballistic missiles during military parades held over the weekend, a move that experts view as a bid to bolster the hardline ruling regime as dissidents continue efforts to stir protest.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Iran, armed with an ever-increasing battery of missiles and a firm alliance with Russia, is doggedly pursuing a confrontation with Israel. The Iranian drone incursion that triggered a series of Syrian airstrikes over the weekend that resulted in the loss of an Israel f-16 is proof of that. The policies of the Obama administration allowed Iranian technology to advance to the point now where Israel has no choice but to prepare to attack. 

On the heels of an encounter between an Iranian drone and Israeli forces, Iranian leaders showcased their ballistic missile capabilities, which includes a nuclear-capable medium-range missile that appears to share similarities with North Korean technology, according to experts.

The nuclear-capable missile can strike Israel even when fired from Iranian territory, raising concerns about an impending conflict between Tehran and the Jewish state that could further inflame the region.

Iranian military leaders bragged the ballistic missile “can be launched from mobile platforms or silos in different positions and can escape missile defense shields due to their radar-evading capability,” according to reports in Iran’s state-controlled media.

The latest technology could further inflame tensions between Israel and Iran, which funds and controls terror organizations operating along Israel’s border. Concerns that this nuclear-capable technology could be shared by Iran with its terrorist proxies are fueling longstanding concerns among the Israelis that an attack is imminent.

As Iranian dissidents continue to protest over the country’s ailing economy, the ruling regime continues to invest millions of dollars it received as part of the landmark nuclear deal with the United States on its military technology, specifically ballistic missiles, which are subject to a ban under international statutes.

However, Iran has not only continued this work but also invested heavily in it since receiving the cash windfalls from the nuclear deal. Conservative estimates from open sources indicate the Iranian regime has spent at least $16 billion in recent years on its military buildup and rogue operations in Syria, as well as other countries.

“Thirty-nine years in, the Islamic Revolution has little to show for its decades in power other than growing the country’s asymmetric military capabilities in order to continue their export of the revolution,” Behnam Ben Taleblu, an Iran expert with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told the Washington Free Beacon. “The Islamic Republic has considerably grown the country’s missile and rocket arsenal, both through production and procurement.”

The two missiles featured over the weekend by Iran include the Ghadr, a medium-range ballistic missile that was modified and upgraded by the Islamic Republic

“The Ghadr can strike Israel when fired from Iranian territory, and in March 2016, was flight-tested while bearing genocidal slogans against the state of Israel,” according to Ben Taleblu, who has researched Iranian missile procurement.

Iranian military leaders also rolled out a rocket called the Fajr-5, which is becoming a new favorite of Iranian-backed terror proxy groups operating against Israel.

“The Fajr-5 is an Iranian rocket that has been proliferated to anti-Israel groups like Hamas and Hezbollah. It can travel up to 75 km, and is therefore a long-range artillery rocket. It uses solid fuel for propulsion,” Ben Taleblu explained. “Both the Qadr missile and Fajr rocket represents Iran’s commitment to developing stand-off weaponry that it uses for purposes of deterrence and coercion.”

The new weaponry could fuel ongoing efforts by Congress to crackdown on Iran’s continued proliferation of ballistic missile technology, a large part of which has been incubated by the North Korean regime, which continues to have a technology-sharing agreement with Tehran.

Iran already has the region’s largest arsenal of ballistic missiles and is seeking to continue building this technology.

The Trump administration has said that any effort to fix the nuclear deal with Iran must focus on constricting the regime’s access to ballistic missile technology.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9021

The next Iranian-Israeli engagement in Syria is due in late April, early May

Feb 12, 2018 @ 15:09 Iran, Iraqi Shiite militia, Iraqi-Syrian border, Israeli Air Force, Lebanon, Russia, US special forces

It is then that Tehran will try to move a special Russian-backed Iraqi Shiite force from southern Iraq into Syria and so expand its anti-Israel war front.
Since the Israeli Air Force hit a dozen Syrian and Iranian military targets on Saturday, Feb. 10, certain Israeli leaders have been vying for the most belligerent anti-Iran speeches (“They will never forget their next lesson” – Transport Minister Yisrael Katz; “We won’t let Iran set up a forward command” OC IDF’s Northern Command, Maj. Gen. Yoel Strick”). However, the plans Iran has in store  for the next round may tax them with making good on their warnings, although one at least comes after the fact. Iran is already running three forward commands in Syria – one in Damascus, one at Abu Kamal in the east and a third outside Aleppo.
Iran’s next challenge to Israel is likely to be more extensive than a lone Iranian drone intrusion and may start far from Israel’s northern border. Russia and Iran are trying to run a two-way, cross-border military movement between Iraq and Syria, which US forces in Syria have so far frustrated.

DEBKAfile’s military sources report that the United States is in the process of establishing a new “Border Security Force” in Syria, which is composed mainly of Kurdish fighters.
Iran and Russia are meanwhile building and training an elite “rapid deployment force” based on Iraqi Shiites. One of its functions will be to expand the front against Israel in both Syria and Lebanon. It is expected that the coming crossing into Syria of the Iraqi Shiite force may be used to detach a section for service on the Lebanese-Israeli border. Last month, an Iraqi Shiite militia chief traveled to Lebanon to inspect Israeli positions on that border. .
The Iraqi group is composed of 5,000 Shiite fighters, who are undergoing special training course for combat in Syria. They were handpicked from two high-performance Iraqi Shiite militias: One is the Nujaba of Kaabil (Movement of the Part of God), which is the Iraqi version of the Lebanese Hizballah and is headed by Sheikh Akram al-Kaabi. It has four sub-units, the Ammar Ibn Yasir Brigade, the Liwa al-Hamad – Praise Brigade, the Liwa al-Imam al Hassan al-Mujtaba – Imam Hssan the Chosen, and the Golan Liberation Brigade. The other militia is the Abud al-Fadl al-Abbas Forces.

This big difference between this elite Iraqi force and the other Shiite militias Tehran deploys in Syria is that it will be equipped with an air force, according to DEBKAfile’s intelligence sources. Russian and Iranian air force officers are setting up an aviation unit called the Combat Helicopters Directorates, to consist of dozens of Russian Mil Mi-17 assault and freight choppers as well as Iranian Shaed 285 attack choppers.

The bulk of the new force is expected to be ready to start moving west in the course of April and cross over into southeast Syria in the regions of Abu Kamal and Deir ez-Zour by early May at the latest. So far, the American forces deployed in western Iraq and southeastern Syria, centering in Al Tanf, have used live air force and artillery fire to push the vanguard back from the Syrian border.

A US special operations contingent also frustrated a move in the opposite direction by Syrian and Hizballah forces trying to cross the Euphrates to the eastern bank across a floating bridge laid by the Russians. They were heading to link up with the incoming Iraqi militias.  (Read DEBKAfile’s exclusive report on Feb. 8). This major US operation that involved air force, artillery and commandos was somehow missed by the Israeli politicians and analysts who commented on how the US had abandoned the Syrian arena when they discussed the Israeli air offensive of last Saturday.

Despite every effort to block the Iraqi force from reaching Syria, it may find a small gap in the 1,000km long Iraqi-Syrian border and manage to slip through. Israel’s government and military leaders will then face a decision that is much harder than whether to destroy the command vehicle controlling an Iranian drone. Part of the difficulty will be that before actin, Israel will have to keep an eye on the state of relations between the US and Russia which are at a low ebb at this time and how this plays out on the ground.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9015

Turkey’s Erdogan: Jerusalem Is ‘My Top Priority’ in Meeting With Pope Francis

‘The Pope and myself are at one on Jerusalem,’ the Turkish president states as he calls for the whole world to ‘recognize the State of Palestine’

Haaretz

Feb 04, 2018 7:54 PM

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses his party members in Ankara.Yasin Bulbul/AP

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has publicly expressed on numerous occasions his outrage over U.S. President Donald Trump’s momentous December 6 declaration acknowledging Jerusalem to be Israel’s capital, amped up his rhetoric against Washington’s recent move in an interview released Sunday by Italian daily La Stampa.

Speaking about his upcoming visit to Italy and the Vatican, where he is slated to meet Pope Francis, the Turkish president stressed that first and foremost on his agenda was the issue of the contested city. “My top priority is Jerusalem,” he said.

“The pope and myself are at one on Jerusalem, no one can take unilateral steps on a city which is dear to billions of people,” Erdogan further stated. “We need to take joint actions to preserve the status quo,” he continued.

When asked why he deemed it so pressing to discuss the status of Jerusalem with the pope, Erdogan reiterated his message: “No nation in the world has the right to take unilateral steps on a city which is dear to billions of people, ignoring international laws.”

“That’s why the UN General Assembly voted to condemn the Trump declaration on Jerusalem last December,” he added. “Only a few countries supported the U.S. and Israel, and I was glad to see Italy voted against the U.S. decision, too,” he shared.

Erdogan extolled Pope Francis for taking immediate action following the U.S. president’s statement in December. “Following Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, which violated international law, he immediately spoke to the Pope. After [the] phone call Pope Francis swiftly conveyed the right message on Jerusalem to all of his Christian followers around the world, and I want to thank him for that.”

“The status of Jerusalem is a central issue for both Muslims and Christians, both the Pope and myself are committed to protecting the status quo,” Erdogan emphasized.

When asked what kind of steps he saw himself taking together with the pope to preserve the status quo in the city, Erdogan shared his long-term vision for Jerusalem “We should take measures to preserve the status quo, ensure holy places in Jerusalem remain open to the three religions, and protect the rights of the Palestinians. It is important that the Pope keeps advocating for this,” he continued.

The Turkish president highlighted his support for the Palestinian people, saying in his interview that he fully supported the Palestinian quest for statehood. “All countries around the world should recognize the State of Palestine,” he said. “I call on Italy to do it too,” he urged.

Asked what solution he envisions for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Erdogan flatly stated: “The only solution is the two-state solution.”

The Turkish president spoke harshly before of Trump’s move on Jerusalem as well as on Israel’s conduct in the city and in the region at large. Shortly after Trump made his announcement in December, Erdogan bashed him as a “partner in bloodshed” and promised to continue his diplomatic efforts to reverse the American president’s “null” declaration.

Israeli forces are “terrorists,” he said at the time. “We won’t leave Jerusalem to the mercy of a child-murdering country,” Erdogan blasted. Israel, he accused, has no values other than “occupation and plunder.”

Erdogan was among the first of world leaders to decry Trump’s declaration, but while he pledges to lead action against Israel and in favor of the Palestinians, Israel has retorted that his accusations are insignificant and inciteful, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu charging that the Erdogan “has attacked Israel.”

Netanyahu slammed Erdogan for double standards, saying in response to his allegations: “I’m not used to receiving lectures about morality from a leader who bombs Kurdish villages in his native Turkey.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9009

With high-tech warships, Navy readies to guard gas fields from Hezbollah, Hamas

Four new German-built Sa’ar 6 corvettes due to arrive starting late 2019. Until then, IDF planning to protect strategic maritime assets with existing ships, specialized Iron Dome

By Judah Ari Gross 5 February 2018, 6:44 pm

An Israeli Navy Sa’ar 5 corvette defends a natural gas extraction platform off Israel’s coast, in an undated photograph. (Israel Defense Forces)

An Israeli Navy Sa’ar 5 corvette defends two natural gas extraction platforms off Israel’s coast, in an undated photograph. (Israel Defense Forces)

An Israeli Navy officer and German engineer look over plans for a Sa’ar 6 corvette that is under construction for the Israeli Navy in Kiel, Germany, in an undated photograph. (Israel Defense Forces)

German workers look over plans for a Sa’ar 6 corvette that is being constructed for the Israeli Navy in Kiel, Germany, in an undated photograph. (Israel Defense Forces)

The Israeli Navy is charged with defending the country’s territorial waters, an area that is twice as large as the state itself and is becoming increasingly crowded with highly lucrative natural gas fields and shipping lanes, and it needs help.

For Israel’s enemies these naval sites are “preferred targets,” and both the Iran-backed Hezbollah terror group in Lebanon and — to a lesser extent — Hamas in Gaza have the capabilities to threaten them, a senior Israeli Navy official said Monday, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The senior officer said the navy operates under the assumption that Hezbollah has access to the Russian-made Yakhont shore-to-sea guided missiles, though he would not say explicitly if Israeli intelligence indicates that that is indeed the case.

According to the official, Hamas is less able to acquire advanced weapons due to the Israeli and Egyptian blockades on the Gaza Strip, but is nevertheless believed to have access to two varieties of shore-to-sea missiles: the Chinese C-802 and C-704.

Both terror groups are also believed to be developing naval capabilities, including autonomous submersibles, suicide drones and scuba-diving commando units, Israeli naval officials have said.

Some of those weapons have already been deployed against Israel in combat, by Hezbollah in the 2006 Second Lebanon War and by Hamas in the 2014 Gaza war. Hezbollah succeeded in severely damaging the navy’s INS Hanit with a shore-to-sea missile in the 2006 conflict, and Hamas made use of a naval commando unit in a daring — though ultimately ineffectual — coastal attack at Zikim Beach in 2014.

To counter those threats, as the country’s gas fields and shipping lanes grow more and more important, the military has been investing heavily in the navy, upgrading systems and better integrating it into the rest of the Israel Defense Forces.

In the coming years, additional assistance will come in the form of four state-of-the-art Sa’ar 6 corvettes currently being built by a firm in Kiel, Germany.

The 300-feet-long (90-meter) warships will be packed to the gills with highly sensitive detection equipment, offensive weapons and defensive missile interceptors.

“We’re making use of them down to the last centimeter,” the senior officer told reporters.

Their primary mission will be to guard the natural gas extraction platforms located off the country’s coast.

Since a significant field — Noa North — was first found off the coast of Ashkelon in 2000, Israel has been moving more toward natural gas, with the hope of not only achieving energy independence, but of becoming an energy exporter. That desire kicked into overdrive with the discovery of the Tamar gas field in 2009 and the Leviathan deposit in 2010, which are 200 and 400 times larger than Noa North, respectively.

The process has not been without its controversies both at home and abroad. Domestically, Israelis staged large-scale protests against the deal between the government and energy companies for rights to the sites, with activists and economists claiming that average citizens would not see the benefits from the natural resource.

Internationally, Israel has been at loggerheads with its northern neighbor Lebanon over an area off the coasts of both countries, known as Block 9, where gas is believed to be located and which each claims as its own.

Last Wednesday, Lebanon issued an offshore oil and gas exploration tender for the area, prompting a war of words with Israel, with Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman calling the move “very provocative.”

Israel currently gets 60 percent of its electricity from natural gas, and that figure is expected to increase to 75% by the end of the decade.

Tamar, located 130 kilometers (80 miles) off the coast of Haifa, has been active since 2013, while extraction from the nearby Leviathan has yet to begin.

In 2012, the Bloomberg BusinessWeek financial publication estimated that Israel’s natural gas reserves were worth approximately $240 billion.

That valuation, along with the country’s increasing dependence on the gas fields for electrical power, led the government to officially recognize the sites as strategic national assets in 2013.

That year, the government formally gave the navy the responsibility for defending the gas fields, prompting large amounts of funding to be diverted toward the project.

The Sa’ar 6 corvettes will be outfitted with both a modified version of the Iron Dome system, known as the Naval Iron Dome, as well as the Barak 8 missile interceptor.

The senior officer explained that the Naval Dome system will provide a response primarily to simpler ballistic attacks, while the Barak 8 system is meant to counter more advanced guided missiles.

“But the Sa’ar 6 isn’t just defensive; it is also able to attack from long-range. It is deadly and can stand up to the threats,” the officer said. “If I had to pick a side, I’d pick ours.”

However, it’s going to take a little while before they get to the port of Haifa, where they will be based. The first of the ships will be delivered in November 2019, followed by a second in June 2020, a third in September 2020 and the final one in February 2021.

The Sa’ar 6 isn’t just defensive, it is also able to attack from long-range. It is deadly and can stand up to the threats

Only once they arrive can the navy and local defense contractors get to work outfitting the ships with the latest and greatest in Israeli technology, the officer said. The process of bringing the Sa’ar 6 corvettes to operational status is expected to take several months.

Last November, the Israeli Navy outfitted an existing Sa’ar 5, which is older and smaller than the Sa’ar 6, with a Naval Dome battery that is meant to act as an interim security measure.

In addition to purchasing the four cutting-edge Sa’ar 6 corvettes, the Defense Ministry announced a NIS 1.5 billion ($420 million) deal last July to outfit the Israeli Navy with maritime systems to protect the country’s gas fields and shipping lanes, including missile defense batteries, electronic warfare, navigation systems, command and control centers and communication gear.

The senior officer said the navy was also improving its Haifa base in order to better accommodate the Sa’ar 6 corvettes, including the construction of a new floating dry dock.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9007