Category: Israel

Netanyahu’s Popularity Skyrockets After Successfully Orchestrating Iran Missile Attack Response And May 14th US Embassy Opening In Jerusalem

Benjamin Netanyahu placed his chips on Trump and on him leaving the nuclear deal and he is now celebrating big-time with 35 seats. He has shown that there is nobody to match him in the diplomatic-security field,” Israel Radio political analyst Hanan Kristal said.

by Geoffrey Grider May 11, 2018

Israel’s tough stance on Iran has boosted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s popularity at home, and he can expect more good press in the coming days when the United States opens its embassy in Jerusalem.

“For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14 (KJV)

EDITOR’S NOTE: The speed at which events have transpired over the past few weeks is truly breathtaking. In America, President Trump seemed pinned to the mat with allegations from porn actress Stormy Daniels about an affair, a payoff and a coverup. Fake news media talking heads gleefully predicted Trump’s soon impeachment and removal from office. Yet today, President Trump has not only managed to bring home 3 American prisoners from North Korea, he announced last night a June 12th Summit with Kim Jong-Un to denuclearize the Korean peninsula. And he’s been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in the process. In Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu has been weathering relentless charges of corruption with his enemies also gleefully anticipating his downfall. Yet today he stands as a heroic defender of Israel after skillfully responding to an Iranian missile attack on Friday, and preparing to open the new US Embassy in Jerusalem on Monday. Why are these two world leaders – Trump and Netanyahu – not just surviving but thriving in this hostile political environment? I submit to you it is because both men, however flawed and human they may be, are each God’s appointed leaders for the end times to fulfill Bible prophecy regarding Judah and Jerusalem. And until they complete the work that God has ordained for them to do, they will remain untouchable. 

As the closest Middle East ally of President Donald Trump, Netanyahu has been central to U.S. decisions that have reshaped the political map of the region. On April 30, he appeared on prime-time television to present Israel’s case that Trump should abandon the 2015 international nuclear deal with Iran. The president did so barely a week later.

Netanyahu publicly hailed the decision and followed up with air strikes on Iranian military positions in Syria, a country that borders Israel and which Israel fears may increasingly be used as a base by Iran to attack the Jewish state.

A poll on Channel 2 television the day after Trump scrapped the Iran deal showed Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party would gain five seats if elections were held now, winning 35 in the 120-seat parliament and strengthening its position in a ruling coalition. A poll in April had Likud on 28 seats.

On Thursday Israel accused Iran of firing rockets from Syria into the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, the first time that Iran has attacked Israel with rockets. Israel struck back with its heaviest air strikes in Syria since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011, saying that it attacked nearly all of Iran’s military infrastructure.

That attack came too late for a poll in the Israeli daily newspaper Maariv on Friday. But the survey found that 69 percent of respondents were satisfied with Netanyahu’s handling of “Israel’s policy regarding Iran’s presence in Syria.”

The survey also showed 59 percent of Israelis polled said they considered Trump’s decision to pull out of the deal and reimpose U.S. sanctions on Tehran would aid Israel’s security.

But 54 percent of respondents said they feared a direct military confrontation with Iran was looming and agreed with officials who said that it would be better “to have the fight now and not at a later stage,” the paper said.

Israel’s next elections are set to be held in November 2019, but Netanyahu could seek an early ballot to capitalize on the boost in popularity.

“Benjamin Netanyahu placed his chips on Trump and on him leaving the nuclear deal and he is now celebrating big-time with 35 seats. He has shown that there is nobody to match him in the diplomatic-security field,” Israel Radio political analyst Hanan Kristal said.

Abraham Diskin, political science professor with the Hebrew University said standing up to Iran was likely to increase support for Netanyahu, as it would for any government, left or right. Despite Likud’s surge, Diskin said, the balance of power between right- and left-wing blocs in the Israeli Knesset, pr parliament, had not significantly changed.

“According to the poll, Netanyahu doesn’t have a majority but he does hold all the cards,” he said in a phone interview with Reuters.

The corruption investigations against Netanyahu “are perceived by his supporters as persecution and as the probes drag on, his supporters are strengthened in this belief,” Diskin said.

The next few days see “Jerusalem Day” on Sunday, the date in the Hebrew calendar when East Jerusalem was captured in the 1967 Middle East war.

A day later, on May 14, the United States will open its embassy in Jerusalem. The ceremony is timed to coincide with the day in 1948 — on the western calendar — that Israel declared its independence.

May 15 is the day Palestinians commemorate what they call the “Nakba“, or “Catastrophe”, when hundreds of thousands fled or were driven out of their homes in 1948.

Israel’s security forces have readied themselves for Palestinian protests to mark the embassy move from Tel Aviv and the anniversary, with the Islamist militant group Hamas talking of attempts to breach the Gaza-Israel border.

Most Israelis, from across the political spectrum, see the U.S. embassy move as a rubber stamp on recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Israel has always regarded the city as its eternal and indivisible capital but the city has not gained that recognition internationally. The United Nations regards East Jerusalem as being held under military occupation by Israel, and Palestinians say it must be the capital of their future state.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9178

IDF HITS BACK: Israel Launches Massive Counter Attack Against Iranian Forces In Syria In Largest Exchange Since 1973 Yom Kippur War

The Israel Defense Forces is taking action at this moment against Iranian targets in Syria. Any Syrian involvement against this move will be met with the utmost seriousness,” wrote Avichay Adraee, the Israeli military’s Arabic-language spokesperson, on Twitter. A source in the Israeli security establishment said this attack was the largest carried out by Israel since it signed on a disengagement agreement with Syria in May 1974.

by Geoffrey Grider May 9, 2018

 

In response an earlier Iranian missile attack, Israel launched an extensive retaliatory campaign, striking suspected Iranian bases throughout Syria for hours following the initial Iranian bombardment, an Israeli military spokesperson said, warning Syrian dictator Bashar Assad not to get involved.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Israeli Air Force has just finished with an absolutely blistering counterattack on Iran in Syria, in the largest show of firepower by Israel in Syria since the 1973 Yom Kippur War. The IDF warned Assad to not even think about using anti-tank missiles against its planes, and would be hit immediately if they did. This is breaking news and we will update this story as it develops…

“The Israel Defense Forces is taking action at this moment against Iranian targets in Syria. Any Syrian involvement against this move will be met with the utmost seriousness,” wrote Avichay Adraee, the Israeli military’s Arabic-language spokesperson, on Twitter.

A source in the Israeli security establishment said this attack was the largest carried out by Israel since it signed on a disengagement agreement with Syria in May 1974.

According to Arabic media reports, the Israel Defense Forces struck numerous targets across Syria, including weapons depots and Assad regime radar and air defense systems. The Israeli military would not immediately comment on its specific targets.

Syrian rebels said these strikes targeted three airfields: the Shayrat air base, which was targeted by the United States last year for its role in an alleged chemical attack in the Syrian town of Khan Shaykhun; the Tha’lah air base, in southwest Syria, which has been tied to Hezbollah; and the Mezzeh military air field outside Damascus, which is reportedly home to Assad’s elite republican guard.

A large Israeli bombing raid was reported near the northwestern Syrian town of Qusayr near the Lebanese border, a known Hezbollah stronghold.

Syria’s state news agency, after initially reporting that the country’s air defenses were intercepting dozens of “hostile Israeli missiles,” later said Israeli jets were “aiming to destroy anti-aircraft defenses and radar

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9173

The Middle East Is Bracing Itself For A Week Packed Full With Milestone Events Of Biblical And Prophetic Proportions

On May 14, Israel’s 70th anniversary, the U.S. ceremoniously opens its new embassy in Jerusalem, in line with Trump’s recognition in December of the city as Israel’s capital. Israel has excitedly welcomed the move. For Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, it spells the end to hopes that the U.S. would one day get Israel to cede the West Bank and Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem — lands it captured in 1967 — to a Palestinian state.

by Geoffrey Grider May 8, 2018

The Middle East is bracing for milestone events packed into one week — beginning Tuesday — that could reverberate in unforeseen ways and change the trajectory of a region shaped by growing conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia, leaders of the Shiite and Sunni Muslim camps.

“The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him. Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.” Zechariah 12:1-3 (KJV)

EDITOR’S NOTE: The amount of potential prophetical fulfillment packed into a single week is absolutely staggering. In exactly 7 days from today, regathered Israel will celebrated 70 years of being back in the land. I can just picture the prophets Daniel and Jeremiah looking down and high-fiving each other in anticipation. President Trump, the first United States president to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the only president to move the US Embassy there, is fully expected to announce later today that the US is pulling out of Obama’s phony Iranian Nuclear Treaty. As if all that was not enough, Hamas in Gaza is promising an all-out riot on the border on May 14th protesting the US Embassy move to Jerusalem. Here at NTEB, we have been urging believers to take a very long, hard look at the time surrounding May 14th as Israel turns 70, and events are coming together exactly as we have been saying they would. The only question is will the Lord finally ‘throw the switch’ and launch Flight #777 on Tttus213 Airlines so Daniel’s 70th Week can start? Tick, tock…let’s watch and see what happens. 

In this short span, the United States is to decide whether to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal and then move its embassy in Israel to contested Jerusalem, provoking Palestinians at a time when many thousands plan to march from blockaded Gaza to Israel’s border — and perhaps overrun it.

THE IRAN DEAL

U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to announce Tuesday whether he will keep the U.S. in a 2015 deal that gave Iran relief from sanctions in return for curbing its nuclear program.

A pullout is opposed by other world powers, but supported by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. A U.S. withdrawal and the possibility of an eventual collapse of the deal raises concerns about escalation, even war —particularly if Iran is seen as resuming its pursuit of nuclear weapons and Israel retaliates.

Tensions between Israel and Iran already are high over Iran’s efforts to expand its military presence in Syria and airstrikes attributed to Israel that killed Iranian fighters there, prompting threats of reprisal by Tehran. Netanyahu says he’ll counter “Iran’s aggression … even if this means a struggle.”

Israeli security officials say forces are already on high alert in northern Israel.

Netanyahu’s critics inside Israel warn that he is pursuing a risky course by trying to torpedo the nuclear deal, without assurances that the U.S. has prepared for the fallout.

Iran could respond by activating regional allies — Lebanon’s Hezbollah and the Gaza-based Hamas — but faces limits. Both groups have to keep in mind local constituencies that endured painful Israeli airstrikes in previous cross-border confrontations.

Hezbollah, armed with tens of thousands of rockets trained at Israel, hopes to integrate further into Lebanese politics after scoring gains Sunday in the country’s first election in nine years. Hezbollah’s calculations could change if it succeeds in setting up military positions in southwestern Syria, allowing it to launch rockets without concern for Lebanese civilians being harmed in counterattacks.

Sunni Muslim Hamas, which has had ambivalent ties with Shiite-led Iran since seizing Gaza in 2007, wants to avoid another war with Israel and is betting on mass border protests to break a decade-old blockade of Gaza by Israel and Egypt.

A U.S. EMBASSY IN JERUSALEM

On May 14, Israel’s 70th anniversary, the U.S. ceremoniously opens its new embassy in Jerusalem, in line with Trump’s recognition in December of the city as Israel’s capital. Israel has excitedly welcomed the move.

For Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, it spells the end to hopes that the U.S. would one day get Israel to cede the West Bank and Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem — lands it captured in 1967 — to a Palestinian state.

Trump’s predecessors have said conflicting claims to Jerusalem must be resolved through negotiations. His claims that the Jerusalem policy shift doesn’t preclude talks on how to share the city is met with scorn by Abbas, who suspended ties with Washington and considers it unfit to keep serving as the sole Mideast broker.

Abbas warned recently that he would take “tough steps” against the U.S. and Israel, but didn’t spell them out. Options endorsed last week by the Palestine Liberation Organization include suspending recognition of Israel and walking away from interim peace deals of the 1990s.

Signaling that he’s in no rush to respond, Abbas left Sunday for a trip to Venezuela, Chile and Cuba. Even if he’s back by May 14, he won’t have time to get far-reaching decisions approved, if only as a formality, by senior PLO figures.

Jordan’s King Abdullah II seems to have resigned himself to the U.S. shift on Jerusalem, whose Israeli-annexed eastern sector, sought as a Palestinian capital, houses major shrines of Islam, Christianity and Judaism. U.S. officials have told the monarch he would continue to serve as custodian of Islamic and Christian holy sites in the city.

UPDATE: Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat announced his intention to formally name the square near the US embassy site the “United States Square in honor of President Donald Trump,” the Jerusalem Press Office released on Tuesday.

Beyond such assurances, the kingdom, where most residents are of Palestinian origin, relies on U.S. aid and discreet security ties with Israel. Despite Abdullah’s tough rhetoric on Jerusalem, he recently ended a months-long diplomatic crisis with Israel, signaling he is ready to move on.

Sunni Arab states might issue new statements critical of the U.S. Embassy move to appease domestic audiences. However, the Saudi-led camp has cheered Trump’s aggressive stance toward Iran, and will likely avoid hurting the new alliance.

BORDER MARCH

On the day of the U.S. Embassy move, Hamas plans to bring the largest crowd yet to the Gaza-Israel border, as part of an open-ended blockade-busting protest campaign. Since the weekly demonstrations began in late March, protesters have mostly thrown stones and burned tires on the Gaza side, stopping short of large-scale border breaches.

Two senior Hamas officials said such breaches will become inevitable when crowds gather on May 14, the day of the embassy move, and likely also on May 15, when Palestinians mark their “nakba,” or mass uprooting during the 1948 Mideast war over Israel’s creation.

More than two-thirds of Gaza’s 2 million people are descendants of refugees. Blockade-linked hardships, from 16-hour-a-day power cuts to sweeping travel bans, have pushed more people to go to the border, despite the risks.

So far, 40 protesters have been killed and more than 1,700 wounded by Israeli troops.

A mass breach is bound to lead to more casualties. Israel has dug in, despite international criticism of its use of lethal force against unarmed protesters. Israel says it needs to maintain the blockade to contain Hamas and that it will defend its border at all costs.

The border marches are expected to continue at lower intensity during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which begins around May 16, said the two Hamas officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to discuss internal deliberations with reporters.

Hamas is investing as much in the new tactic as it did in its military wing, responsible in the past for suicide attacks and rocket fire on Israel, the officials said. The group believes the protests have become the only remaining tool for breaking the blockade.

Abbas is not expected to try to compete with Hamas during “nakba” rallies. In the West Bank, his security forces have kept demonstrators away from Israeli army positions.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9168

JACOB’S COMING TROUBLE: Israel And Iran On Path To War As Mideast Tinderbox Awaits Spark To Ignite

Iran and Israel have been exchanging threats for decades. What’s different now is that Syria’s civil war, which sucked in both countries, provides a potential battlespace — one that’s much closer to Jerusalem than to Tehran. It’s a tinderbox, says Ofer Shelach, a member of the foreign affairs and defense committee in Israel’s parliament. “I’m worried about the possibility that a match ignited in the Golan will light up a war going all the way to the sea.’’

by Geoffrey Grider May 4, 2018

There have been coups and revolutions, external invasions and proxy conflicts, but the Middle East hasn’t seen a head-to-head war between major regional powers since the 1980s. There’s a growing risk that one is about to break out in Syria, pitting Israel against Iran.

“But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by.” Luke 21:9 (KJV)

EDITOR’S NOTE: As I write this, the world stands on the precipice of mind boggling change without even being wholly aware of it. War between Israel and Iran, happening on or around the 70th anniversary of Israel’s regathering as a nation, would not simply be a political or regional conflict. It would be a conflict of biblical proportions. Stop and think for a moment how things stand right now. Russia controls Syria, and has a signed pact with the nations of Turkey and Lebanon for its protection. This is in addition to the pact Russia signed with Iran back in 2015 to back each other up in the event of war. God has made sure that pro-Jerusalem Benjamin Netanyahu has remained the leader of Israel, and that the United States has the pro-Jerusalem Donald Trump as its leader. And then there’s Syria. Syria figures crazy heavily in Bible prophecy, with Damascus being singled out in the time of Jacob’s trouble for utter destruction. The powder keg of prophecy is filled to the brim, and the only thing left is for the LORD to light the match. As we have been saying since 2016, May 14th, 2018 is a date you need to keep an eye on, as the LORD may just be getting ready to pay a visit. 

“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)

The Islamic Republic’s forces are entrenching there, after joining the fight to prop up President Bashar al-Assad. The Jewish state, perceiving a direct threat on its border, is subjecting them to an escalating barrage of airstrikes. Nobody expects those strikes to go unanswered.

The path to escalation is clear, and the rhetoric is apocalyptic. “We will demolish every site where we see an Iranian attempt to position itself,’’ Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman told the London-based Saudi newspaper Elaph, adding that the Iranian regime is “living its final days.’’

In Tehran, Hossein Salami, deputy commander of the Revolutionary Guards, said that “100,000 missiles are ready to fly’’ in Israel’s direction, and warned they could bring about its “annihilation and collapse.’’

Iran and Israel have been exchanging threats for decades. What’s different now is that Syria’s civil war, which sucked in both countries, provides a potential battlespace — one that’s much closer to Jerusalem than to Tehran.

Israeli officials say there are 80,000 fighters in Syria who take orders from Iran. As they help Assad recapture territory, militiamen from Hezbollah have deployed within a few kilometers of the Golan Heights on Israel’s border. Iran has vowed to avenge its citizens killed by the Israeli airstrikes, and it has plenty of options for doing so.

It’s a tinderbox, says Ofer Shelach, a member of the foreign affairs and defense committee in Israel’s parliament. “I’m worried about the possibility that a match ignited in the Golan will light up a war going all the way to the sea.’’ Even more troubling is the absence of firefighters.

Israelis lament that Washington has become a bit-part player, unable to impose a Syrian settlement that would guarantee its ally’s security. Absent that, “we can only represent our interests through force,’’ Shelach says.

The man who started the global shaking

We have written story after story showing you exactly why Donald Trump is God’s man to lead the most powerful nation on earth at the start of the end times. In just 10 days, he will authorize the opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem.

Asked about Israel-Iran tensions at a press briefing on Thursday, Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said the U.S. is concerned by Iranian actions that “destabilize the region,” including through its proxy Hezbollah. “Wherever Iran is, chaos follows,” she said.

Far from tamping down tensions, President Donald Trump -– egged on by Israel –- has been ramping them up. By threatening to withdraw next week from the international agreement to curb Iran’s nuclear program, he’s added another volatile element to the regional mix.

The only power with channels open to both sides, and the clout to play mediator, is Russia.

President Vladimir Putin’s intervention in 2015 to shore up Assad has left Russia as the strongest actor in Syria. Putin is seeking to impose a peace that would lock in his political gains, so he has every interest in averting any spread of the war.

But that doesn’t mean he’s able or willing to rein in Iran. While Russia has cordial ties with Israel, they’re likely outweighed by the confluence of interests with the Islamic Republic, whose ground forces were crucial to the success of Putin’s Syrian gambit. Repeatedly threatened with attack or regime-change by its enemies, Iran sees the sympathetic governments in Damascus and Beirut as providing strategic depth.

Now, the Iranians in Syria have graduated from helping Assad to “building their strategic presence against Israel,’’ said Paul Salem, senior vice president at the Middle East Institute in Washington. “It appears that neither the Russians nor the Assad regime are in control or can limit these things,’’ he said. “The situation is highly unstable and highly unmanaged.’’

One test of Russia’s ability to manage it may come in southern Syria, where Islamic State and other jihadists and rebels still hold territory near Israel’s border — enclaves that are among the likely next targets for Assad’s advancing army.

For such a time as this

This amazing video shows exactly why Benjamin Netanyahu is absolutely God’s man to lead Israel in the end times.

“Before they do that, the Russians need to have an arrangement with the Israelis,’’ said Yuri Barmin, a Middle East expert at the Russian International Affairs Council, which advises the Kremlin. Russia is “willing to negotiate on the issue of Iran and Iran’s presence’’ in those regions, he said.

That may not be enough to meet Israeli concerns, which extend far beyond the border.

Earlier in the Syrian conflict, Israel’s airstrikes typically aimed to destroy weapons convoys bound for Hezbollah in Lebanon. There’s been a significant change. Two strikes in the past month -– widely attributed to Israel, though the Jewish state doesn’t comment on such matters –- targeted permanent infrastructure used by Iran’s forces. Both took place deep inside Syrian territory.

“It’s shortsighted to look at it in terms of how many kilometers from the border Iran is sitting,’’ said Amos Gilad, who recently stepped down as director of political-military affairs at Israel’s Defense Ministry. “Iran cannot be allowed to base themselves militarily in Syria. And Israel is fully determined to prevent that.’’

To be sure, the goal could be achieved without a full-blown war. Salem, at the Middle East Institute, says the likeliest outcome is that Israel and Iran will avoid a conflict that neither really wants — though he says the risk that they’ll end up fighting is higher than at any time since the Israel-Hezbollah war in 2006.

And although hostilities have effectively begun with the airstrikes, many analysts say that they can be contained to Syria -– where Israel and Iran can square off without their allies necessarily being drawn into the fight.

“Never!’’ said Liberman, when asked if clashes with Iran could lead to clashes with Russia. “There will be no confrontation with them.’’

In Beirut, Sami Nader of the Levant Institute for Strategic Studies said that Russia may not oppose an Israeli attack on Iranian positions in Syria, provided it doesn’t threaten to topple the Assad regime that is “the Russians’ main card at the negotiating table.” Barmin, the Kremlin adviser, said there’s plenty of daylight between the “diverging interests” of Russia and Iran.

So far, Russia’s response to Israeli airstrikes has been muted. But after the U.S. bombed Syrian targets last month, to punish Assad for an alleged chemical attack, Russian officials said they may deliver state-of-the-art S-300 missile defense systems to Syria. That would pose new risks for the Israeli air force -– and increase the chance of a flashpoint.

Israel’s parliament this week passed a law empowering the prime minister and defense to declare war without wider Cabinet approval in “extreme circumstances.”

Half a century ago, Israel launched a surprise attack against its Arab enemies. A few years later, in 1973, the tables were turned. In both cases, one of the combatants consciously opted for war.

But that’s not how Israel’s more recent conflicts have started, says Shelach. “It always happened because the situation escalated, deteriorated, without any of the sides making a decision.’’ And that’s the risk he sees now, with no obvious off-ramp.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9164

Benjamin Netanyahu Makes 3 Very Bold Moves As He Prepares Israel To Take On Iran Militarily In Quest To Stop Their Nuclear Ambitions

In Tel Aviv the next evening, Mr. Netanyahu gave a bravura PowerPoint performance on live television from inside the Defense Ministry, flaunting the booty pilfered from a secret Tehran warehouse by an intrepid Mossad team — evidence, he said, of Iranian deceit about its long-running efforts to develop a nuclear bomb. The revelation came less than two weeks before President Trump is to announce a decision on whether to withdraw from the international agreement to curb Iran’s nuclear program.

by Geoffrey Grider May 3, 2018

In three bold moves this week — with F-15s, a PowerPoint presentation and the passage of a contentious new law — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has strengthened his hand in trying to foil Iran’s strategic ambitions, while potentially pulling the two nations closer to direct conflict.

“But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by.” Luke 21:9 (KJV)

EDITOR’S NOTE: As Iran continues to build their military presence in Syria, Israel knows that the time is short before the two nations are going to have to engage each other on the battlefield. Israeli PM Netanyahu is taking the unpopular but necessary steps to protect his country and his people, but of course the liberal media will only ever see this as ‘Israeli aggression” when in fact it is much-needed self defense. May 14th is now 11 days away…

In Syria late Sunday, F-15s, widely assumed to be Israel’s, struck facilities where Iran and its proxies had entrenched themselves. The attack on a storage site near Hama destroyed 200 missiles and killed at least 16 people, 11 of them Iranians.

In Tel Aviv the next evening, Mr. Netanyahu gave a bravura PowerPoint performance on live television from inside the Defense Ministry, flaunting the booty pilfered from a secret Tehran warehouse by an intrepid Mossad team — evidence, he said, of Iranian deceit about its long-running efforts to develop a nuclear bomb.

The revelation came less than two weeks before President Trump is to announce a decision on whether to withdraw from the international agreement to curb Iran’s nuclear program. Israeli officials portrayed it as an attempt to provide Mr. Trump — Mr. Netanyahu’s close ally — with backing for the decision, which they believe the president has already made.

Even as Mr. Netanyahu was speaking, his coalition in Parliament was pushing through a bill that would shift the power to go to war or carry out a military operation from the full cabinet to the smaller security cabinet — and, under “extreme circumstances,” allow the prime minister and defense minister alone to order such action.

In short order, Mr. Netanyahu had managed to exploit important political, military and intelligence advantages to advance his agenda on both the nuclear and conventional fronts, intensify the pressure on Iran, and free his hand under Israeli law to take the country to war without cabinet approval.

Taken together, his moves have prompted longtime observers of the prime minister, whom they have long credited with a healthy aversion to all-out warfare, to ask if he may have turned to a grim new way of thinking.

“All these years he was trigger-unhappy,” said Nahum Barnea, a respected columnist at Yediot Ahronoth. “And I believe that we should appreciate him for being so cautious about using military power. Now, it seems that he is pushing everybody toward a more hostile environment.”

Mr. Barnea said the hostile political environment Mr. Netanyahu faces could also be a factor: He is awaiting a likely indictment in a sprawling corruption scandal; he is believed to want to hold elections before any criminal charges materialize; and he has been presenting himself to his political base as the only Israeli leader capable of keeping the country safe.

“I don’t rule out any reason,” Mr. Barnea said. “And I’m sure there is more than one reason.”

All three actions this week further Mr. Netanyahu’s longtime goals.

As early as 2010, he sought to prepare for an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, but was stopped repeatedly by his own cabinet. He railed against the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement from its inception under President Barack Obama, contending it would allow Tehran to threaten Israel with atomic weapons within a decade’s time. And he has vowed for months to prevent Iran from establishing a conventional offensive threat to Israel from inside Syria.

The new war powers law, approved Monday on a vote of 62 to 41, was not written with the current skirmishes with Iran or the current prime minister and defense minister in mind, according to one of the measure’s architects.

Still, critics note that the corruption cases against Mr. Netanyahu, and the lack of security experience in his defense minister, Avigdor Lieberman, could raise questions about their motivations should they decide to take Israel to war.

And while the power applies only in “extreme circumstances,” the law does not define what those are.

Some experts said the new law may not have a dramatic effect. The prime minister and defense minister are unlikely to go to war without strong political backing and the support of the military and security agencies, some experts said, which have proven in the past to be cautious.

“A government cannot go to war, no matter what the law says, without a national consensus,” said Shlomo Avineri, professor emeritus of political science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. “Obviously a prime minister under investigation is limited by the kind of choices he can take, and they will be scrutinized even more than usual.”

Crucially, the show of force in Syria and the show-and-tell of spycraft both come as Iran is constrained from plunging into a shooting war with Israel, either by itself or by proxy. Its own public is increasingly restive. Its close ally in Lebanon, Hezbollah, which might otherwise be counted on to retaliate against Israel, is reined in, at least for the moment, by elections on May 6, in which it is fielding candidates.

Most of all, with President Trump set to announce his decision on the nuclear agreement by May 12, Iran is unlikely to give Mr. Trump any fresh excuses to quit it.

“That’s just an opportunity for Israel to do what needs to be done, and at relatively low cost,” said Daniel Shapiro, the former United States ambassador to Israel under Mr. Obama.

Analysts said Mr. Netanyahu’s fight to arrest Iran’s conventional-arms buildup in Syria was linked not merely by coincidence of timing to his efforts to deny Tehran a nuclear option. Just as North Korea amassed a huge arsenal of artillery to threaten Seoul while it worked to develop nuclear arms, Mr. Shapiro said, Iran is seeking to threaten Israeli territory, with drones and precision-guided missiles from within Syria, “while it uses time and negotiations and delays to advance their nuclear ambitions.”

Amos Yadlin, a former chief of Israel’s military intelligence who now heads the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, said Iran’s nuclear and conventional threats were “aimed at the same goal: to destroy Israel.”

Mr. Yadlin said the nuclear deal had succeeded in stopping Iran from pursuing nuclear weapons for a number of years.

“So they built a conventional force against Israel in Syria — with ballistic missiles, with precise guidance,” he said. “And this is the most dangerous threat towards Israel today in 2018.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9160

New Archaeological Find is Helping Settle Academic Dispute Over Historical King David

By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz April 30, 2018 , 3:45 pm

“But a shoot shall grow out of the stump of Yishai, A twig shall sprout from his stock.” Isaiah 11:1 (The Israel Bible™)

Archaeologists, aided by burrowing mole rats, discovered a large building in the valley below the hills of Hebron attributed to the kingdom of Biblical King David. The discovery is a milestone in the ongoing debate over the veracity of Biblical King David as a historical figure with most archaeologists now looking to the Bible as having a factual basis.

“Until 25 years ago no one doubted that King David was a historical figure,”  Professor Avraham Faust, director of the archaeological dig, told Breaking Israel News. “In the last 25 years or so, however, David’s historicity, and especially the size of his kingdom, are hotly debated“.

“The new discovery at Tel ‘Eton, located in the Judean Shephelah to the east of the Hebron hills, seems to suggest that the highland kingdom controlled larger areas than some scholars believe”, Faust added.

The dig, led by  Professor Faust of Bar-Ilan University, is at Tel Eton, in the valley near the Hebron hills. The city that once stood at the site has been identified by scholars as Eglon, a city which, according to the Bible, fought against the Israelites as part of the five Amorite kings coalition and was later listed as part of the tribe of Judah.

This was the portion of the tribe of the Judites by their clans…Lachish, Bozkath, Eglon. Joshua 15:20,39

The discovery has become part of an ongoing dispute among archaeologists about whether King David actually existed as a real historical figure or whether he was just a mythological figure existing only in the pages of the Bible.. The finds from Tel ‘Eton, recently published by Faust and Yair Sapir in the journal Radiocarbon, led the authors to claim that the city was once part of David’s kingdom.  The structure was dated to the 10th century – the time in which King David was supposed to have ruled according to the Bible – on the basis of radiocarbon dates of samples from the floor make-up and from the foundation deposit. After describing the building and the reasons that led them to date it to the 10th century BCE, Faust and Sapir wrote:

“This has bearings on the date in which social complexity evolved in Judah, on the debate regarding the historicity of the kingdom of David and Solomon.”

Dr. Faust explained how they came to this remarkable conclusion.

“We, of course, did not find any artifacts that said ‘King David’ or King Solomon’ but we discovered at the site signs of a social transformation the region underwent, including the construction of a large edifice in a plan known to archaeologists as ‘the four-room house’ which is common in Israel but is rare to non-existent elsewhere. This seems to indicate that the inspiration or cause for the transformations are to be sought in the highland. The association with David is not based on any archaeological evidence but on circumstantial grounds only. Since the source of the change seems to be in the highlands, and since it took place at the time when David was supposed to have existed, the link is plausible,” Professor Faust told Breaking Israel News. “Moreover, the changes are consistent with larger regional changes, all connected with the highlands, and all taking place at a time the Kingdom of David was supposed to have to spread into this region”.

“The association with the highland kingdom, as well as the time of the change, are the main discovery, and if someone thinks that there was no King David, that person should come with a different name for the highland king in whose time the region was incorporated into the highland kingdom,” Professor Faust added.

“The association with the highland kingdom, as well as the time of the change, are the main discovery, and if someone thinks that there was no King David, that person should come with a different name for the highland king in whose time the region was incorporated into the highland kingdom”.

This connection between the Bible and archaeology made by Professor Faust can be problematic, as Dr. Eilat Mazar, a prominent Israeli archaeologist, explained.

“Archaeology does not begin with a belief and the Bible and then a search for proof,” Dr. Mazar told Breaking Israel News. “We first find evidence and then try to understand the truth behind the evidence.”

For the most part, evidence of Biblical events is lacking, Dr. Mazar noted.

“Even with what is written about David, one of the more prominent figures in the Bible, there are very few events that would leave evidence we could find archaeological proof of today.”

Nonetheless, Dr. Mazar uses the Bible as a resource to guide her work. This has set her at odds with many other Israeli archaeologists who reject the validity of this technique.

“We can use the Bible as a source to guide our search, but we cannot use the Bible as proof,” Dr. Mazar said. “But conclusions are drawn after a very long and thorough process of proof. After proving the connection using archaeological methods, the Biblical connection can now be brought.”

Her methods speak for themselves as Dr. Mazar is credited with many major finds.

AnaRina Heymann, director of Jerusalem Watch and the outreach coordinator for the City of David, frequently encounters skeptics who question the historical validity of King David.

“Until 1993, there was no way we could prove that King David existed,” Heymann told Breaking Israel News. “That was when archaeologists discovered the Tel Dan Stele.”

The Tel Dan Stele referencing King David. (Israel Museum/Wikimedia Commons/Oren Rozen)

The Tel Dan Stele, currently on display in the Israel Museum, is a broken stele (inscribed stone) discovered in 1993 during excavations at Tel Dan in northern Israel. It consists of several fragments making up part of a triumphal inscription in Aramaic, left most probably by Hazael of Aram-Damascus, an important regional figure in the late 9th century BCE. The inscription boasts of victories over the king of Israel and his ally the king of the “House of David”. It is considered to be the earliest accepted reference to the name David as the founder of the Kingdom of Judah.

“The Tel Dan Stele absolutely one hundred percent proves that King David existed,” Heymann said. “It refutes any claim that King David was merely a story.”

If verified, Tel Eton will be the second major archaeological site attributed to King David. In 2007,  Yosef Garfinkel of the Hebrew University found a large military fortress at Khirbet Qeiyafa approximately 20 miles southwest of Jerusalem. He eventually dated the fortress to the early 10th century BCE when King David is thought to have ruled over Israel concurrent with the structure at Tel Eton.

Professor Faust noted that the site at Tel Eton indicates a level of social complexity, indicating the society at the time was complex politically. The archaeological site covers 15 acres, making it the third largest in the Judean region behind Jerusalem and Lachish. When Professor Faust’s group first began excavations, they discovered fortifications, suggesting the regional importance of the site. Most of the buildings at the dig were from the 8th century BCE, several hundred years later than the period of King David. But further studies suggested the site had a much more ancient history.

The archaeologists recently announced the discovery of a new structure at the top of the tel (an artificial mound formed from the accumulated remains of civilizations that existed on the same site for hundreds or thousands of years) that was notably well-constructed, suggesting its role as a regional administrative center.

“The building was nicely executed, including ashlar stones in the corners and openings,” Faust said in Popular Archaeology. “Hundreds of artifacts were unearthed within the debris, including a wide range of pottery vessels, loom weights, many metal objects, botanical remains, as well as many arrowheads, evidence of the battle which accompanied the conquest of the site by the Assyrians.”

Researchers believe the city was destroyed by King Sennacherib and the Assyrians in 701 BCE.

The ashlar stones, finely cut and squared-off masonry, were the earliest examples of such masonry found in Judah. The structure was built on a deep foundation, indicating a high level of sophistication.

While exploring the foundations of the structure, the archaeologists discovered a pottery bowl which they believed was an offering to God as a supplication for protection of the building, something archaeologists have encountered before in more ancient digs. This type of foundation offering enabled the researchers to date the building to Canaanite Bronze Age and early Iron Age, and to the 10th century at the latest.

The researchers were aided by mole rats, burrowing rodents that live in the region. Archaeologists have little idea of what lays underground when they begin digging and many hours of meticulous work may be spent in a fruitless effort. By sifting through the earth brought to the surface by the burrowing rodents, archaeologists can glean clues about what lays below

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9156

Netanyahu says Iran ‘brazenly lying’ after signing nuclear deal, moved documents to a secret location

By Travis Fedschun | Fox News

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed new “dramatic” intelligence Monday which he claimed shows Iran is “brazenly lying” about its nuclear weapons program and shows the country is not complying with the vaunted nuclear deal it signed in 2015.

The information was obtained within the past 10 days, Israeli officials told Fox News. Netanyahu said the ‘half a ton’ of files were moved to a “highly secret” location in Tehran after the deal was signed, and contained materials spread over 55,000 pages and 55,000 files on 183 CD’s.

“These files conclusively prove that Iran is brazenly lying when it says it never had a nuclear weapons program,” he said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shows where Iran moved its nuclear weapons files to a location in Tehran after signing the nuclear deal.  (AP)

Netanyahu briefed President Trump about the intelligence on Saturday and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday. European counterparts were made aware Monday prior to the speech, officials said.

Trump has repeatedly expressed a desire to exit the Iran nuke deal, which was signed during the Obama administration. And though he has yet to end it, a crucial deadline for re-certifying the deal is on the horizon.

Israeli Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a news conference at the Ministry of Defence in Tel Aviv, Israel April 30, 2018.  (REUTERS/ Amir Cohen)

Netanyahu’s statement also came on the heels of a missile attack in northern Syria that killed nearly 26-pro-government fighters, mostly Iranians, according to a Syria war monitoring group. Israel had no comment on the strike, but there was widespread speculation that Israel was responsible. Tehran has sent thousands of Iran-backed fighters to help President Bashar Assad’s forces in Syria’s seven-year civil war.

Israel and Iran are arch-enemies, and Israel has said repeatedly it would not allow Iran to establish a permanent military presence in Syria. Iran has already accused Israel of carrying out another airstrike in Syria this month that killed seven Iranian military advisers and vowed revenge.

Pompeo on Sunday ratcheted up the Trump administration’s rhetoric against Iran and offered warm support to Israel, and Saudi Arabia, in the standoff with Tehran.

In this Sunday, April 29, 2018 file photo, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. left. is greeted by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ahead of a press conference at the Ministry of Defense in Tel Aviv.  (Thomas Coex, AFP via AP)

“The United States is with Israel in this fight,” Pompeo said.

The 2015 nuke deal gave Iran relief from crippling sanctions in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program.

Netanyahu has been a leading critic of the agreement, saying it fails to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapons capability and welcoming Trump’s pledges to withdraw from the deal if it is not changed.

“The nuclear deal gives Iran a clear path to producing an atomic arsenal,” he said Monday.

On Monday, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the time when Iran’s enemies can “hit and run” is over.

“They know if they enter military conflict with Iran, they will be hit multiple times,” he said, according to his website. He did not specifically refer to the latest attack in Syria.

Israeli Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a news conference at the Ministry of Defence in Tel Aviv, Israel April 30, 2018.  (REUTERS/ Amir Cohen)

Michael Oren, a senior Israeli official, had no comment on the airstrike in Syria, but warned both Syria and Iran against trying to attack.

“If someone shoots at us, we shoot back and we will shoot back either at the Syrian army or the Iranians, at the origin of the aggression,” Oren said.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9154

After Syria strikes, security cabinet calls emergency meeting

Israel mum on overnight raids, which some have blamed on Jewish state; ministers attend confab at army headquarters on tensions in north

By TOI staff Today, 1:23 pm 1

The high-level security cabinet convened for an emergency meeting on Monday afternoon, hours after missile strikes in Syria reportedly killed some 18 Iranian troops.

Ministers were told to arrive at the Kirya military base, which is also home to the Defense Ministry, in Tel Aviv at 1:30 p.m. The impromptu meeting, which lasted for an hour and a half, focused on the rising tension on Israel’s northern borders.

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, who was returning from New York, did not make it back in time for the meeting.

Israel has not commented on the strikes, which some Syrian media outlets were blaming on the Jewish state.

Intelligence Minister Israel Katz told Army Radio on Monday morning that he was “not aware” of the latest strikes.

But, he said, “all the violence and instability in Syria is the result of Iran’s attempts to establish a military presence there. Israel will not allow the opening of a northern front in Syria.”

The Kan public broadcaster also reported on Monday that a security cabinet tour of the home front command, scheduled for Tuesday, had been canceled.

Syrian state media reported overnight that “enemy missiles” had struck government targets in Hama and Aleppo provinces, without mentioning any casualties or who may have been responsible.

In the hours after the strikes, media reports said that 18 members of Iran’s military, including a senior officer, were killed in the raids. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor said 26 pro-regime fighters, most of them Iranians, had been killed. There were conflicting reports on the number of casualties, with some opposition-linked outlets placing the overall number of fatalities at 38.

Iran subsequently denied that its bases in Syria had been targeted or that any of its soldiers had been killed.

Videos of the blast show a fireball lighting up the night sky.

The Hama facility was said to house a weapons depot, which accounted for the size and intensity of the blast, which could be seen from kilometers away and reportedly registered on seismographs in the area.

The opposition-linked Orient news outlet noted that the base was known to be the headquarters of Iranian militiamen and had been “heavily involved” in attacks against rebel forces in the area.

While some sources blamed Israel for the purported strikes, Syrian state-owned news site Tishreen said late Sunday the raids were carried out by the United States and British forces. The Western troops launched nine ballistic missiles from military bases in northern Jordan that struck Syrian bases near Aleppo and Hama, the news outlet said on its Facebook page.

Other media outlets claimed the attacks were carried out by aircraft bombers, and Hezbollah-linked sources and other regime outlets attributed the strikes to Israel.

There was no official statement from the US or Britain about the attack. As a rule, the Israeli Air Force does not comment on its activities abroad.

On Sunday, Liberman said Israel would uphold its right to operate in Syria against any threats, and would not be deterred if Russia supplies the Syrians with advanced air defense systems. He added that Israel would stop at nothing to prevent Iran from using Syrian territory as a base to attack Israel.

Israel, Liberman said, “will prevent Iran from establishing a forward base in Syria at any cost.”

Earlier this month, seven Iranian military personnel were killed in an airstrike on Syria’s T4 air base in Homs. Syria, Iran and Russia blamed Israel for that attack. Israel did not confirm or deny it.

Israel has repeatedly voiced concerns that, as well as trying to deliver advanced weaponry to the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah, Iran has been using the unrest in Syrian as a means to establish forward operating bases that could be used to launch rocket attacks and other military action against Israel.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9152

BRACING FOR 70: United States Sending Massive Delegation To Israel For Embassy Relocation Opening In Jerusalem On May 14th

President Trump announced with great fanfare on December 6 that he would relocate the embassy, which will temporarily be located in the current American consulate in Jerusalem’s Arnona neighborhood. Immediately after the US Embassy is relocated to Jerusalem, Guatemala will follow suit, President Jimmy Morales announced at last month’s AIPAC policy conference. After that, Honduras will move its embassy, becoming the third country to do so.

by Geoffrey Grider April 25, 2018

Mike Pompeo, the incumbent CIA director and nominated US Secretary of State, is slated to lead the delegation of some 250 American officials and Jewish leaders at a ceremony inaugurating the United States Embassy in Jerusalem on May 14, Channel 10 reported on Wednesday.

“And the governors of Judah shall say in their heart, The inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be my strength in the LORD of hosts their God.” Zechariah 12:5 (KJV)

EDITOR’S NOTE: Immediately after the United States officially opens their Embassy in Jerusalem on May 14th, the nation of Guatemala, Honduras, Romania and the Czech Republic will also follow suit. As we have long told you, the timeclock of Bible prophecy is Israel in general and Jerusalem in particular. If you want to see where God is going to move next, keep your eyes on Jerusalem. The prophet Jeremiah says that ‘after 70 years’ the LORD will again visit Israel, and we have 19 days and counting until May 14th at the moment. Will the LORD pay His chosen people a visit? All I can say that as watchmen, we should be, well, watching. And that’s exactly what we’re doing. 

“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)

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley and Vice President Mike Pence had both indicated they might attend. The earlier report did not say whether Haley would be coming. Some 40 senators are expected to join the delegation, along with congressmen and the heads of major American Jewish organizations.

President Trump announced with great fanfare on December 6 that he would relocate the embassy, which will temporarily be located in the current American consulate in Jerusalem’s Arnona neighborhood.

Immediately after the US Embassy is relocated to Jerusalem, Guatemala will follow suit, President Jimmy Morales announced at last month’s AIPAC policy conference. After that, Honduras will move its embassy, becoming the third country to do so.

Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dancila confirmed earlier this month that his government had approved moving its embassy to Jerusalem. But under Romanian law, the final say on embassy relocation belongs to President Klaus Iohannis, who has spoken out against the move.

Dancila is scheduled to arrive in Israel on Wednesday and meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely met with Dancila in Romania on April 10 in what her office described as the first leg of a campaign to persuade countries to move their embassies to the capital.

Hotovely told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday that as part of that campaign, she will fly to Prague on Thursday to meet with Czech Republic President Miloš Zeman. The Czech Parliament has already decided in favor of moving its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9149

Russian Missiles Alarm Israel, Stoking Risk of Next Syria Crisis

By David Wainer and Henry Meyer

April 19, 2018, 12:00 AM EDT Updated on April 19, 2018, 9:50 AM EDT

  • Threatened delivery of S-300 air defenses to Assad is red line
  • Israel would likely try to blow them up, says ex-intel chief

Angered by last week’s U.S. attack on Syria, Russia warned that there would be consequences. Only one of them was spelled out: The Kremlin said it may supply its Syrian ally with state-of-the-art air defenses.

If the prospect rings alarm bells among President Bashar al-Assad’s enemies, they’re likely to be loudest in Israel, not the U.S. Israel carries out airstrikes in Assad-controlled Syrian territory much more frequently than the U.S., as it seeks to prevent a military buildup near Israeli borders by Assad’s other key backer, Iran.

Israeli analysts and former defense officials say there’s only one likely response from the Jewish state if the S-300 surface-to-air missile systems are delivered to Syria: An immediate attempt to blow them up.

That would upend the delicate relationship between Israel and Russia, who’ve kept channels open despite supporting opposite sides in Syria. And it could create another dangerous moment with the potential to escalate the seven-year civil war into a wider conflict.

‘What Will Be Done’

Already, multiple global and regional powers have been sucked in. Last week saw the tensest standoff in decades between nuclear rivals Russia and the U.S. On the ground, American and Turkish soldiers occupy separate chunks of the country’s north, while Iranians and Russians fight alongside Assad’s army. In the skies, Israel has for the most part enjoyed freedom of maneuver, thanks to its air superiority — and an implicit green light from Moscow. Both conditions may now change.

Amos Yadlin has firsthand experience of how Israel responds to such threats — and no doubts about how it would handle this one.

A former military intelligence chief, Yadlin was also one of the Israeli pilots who destroyed Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor in 1981. The deployment of S-300s in Syria has been a concern for two decades, and “at the end of the day, it will happen,’’ he said. “If I know the air force well, we have already made proper plans to deal with this threat. After you remove the threat, which is basically what will be done, we’re back to square one.”

Russia already has sold S-300 systems to Iran over American and Israeli objections. Syria was on track to get them too -– until 2013, when Russian President Vladimir Putin froze the contract in response to pleas from Israel. But Putin said at the time that if the U.S. attacked, Moscow would “think how we should act in the future.”

Russia Reconsiders

That moment arrived with last week’s missile strikes by the U.S., U.K. and France, in response to an alleged chemical attack by Assad’s army.

The Barzah research and development center before and after strikes against Syria on April 14.

Photographer: U.S. Department of Defense via AFP via Getty Images

Hours afterward, Russia’s first deputy chief of staff, Sergei Rudskoi, said his government would “reconsider” whether to supply the air defenses to Assad. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov hammered home the message in a BBC interview two days later, saying the plan might be revived because Russia feels it must do “whatever is required to help the Syrian army deter aggression.”

Israel has carried out at least 150 bombing raids in Syria since the civil war began in 2011, according to Zvi Magen, a former Israeli ambassador in Moscow. The latest, on April 9, hit an air base used by the Iranian military; other targets have included arms convoys bound for Hezbollah, the Iranian-armed Shiite group in Lebanon that’s repeatedly fought with Israel. The government and army have a strict policy of not acknowledging or commenting on military actions taken in the neighboring country.

S-300s can fire missiles at six targets simultaneously, and have a range of 200 kilometers (120 miles). That would extend into the airspace of Lebanon, sometimes used by Israeli planes to strike Syria — and even into Israel itself.

‘Exceptionally Advanced’

“It’s an exceptionally advanced system that can cover large swaths of territory,” said Michael Oren, Israel’s deputy minister for public diplomacy and an adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “We will always oppose it.”

Given Israel’s likely response, some analysts in Moscow say it makes more sense to use the threatened deployment as a bargaining chip.

Actually delivering the weapons “would fuel tensions in the region and cause major friction with Israel,” said Elena Suponina, a Middle East expert at the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, which advises the Kremlin. “It’s enough to provide Syria with other air-defense systems that won’t provoke such a response.”

Even Syria’s current Soviet-designed systems, which have been upgraded over the last 18 months, have inflicted some damage. In February an F-16 was shot down, said to be the first Israeli aircraft lost in action since the early 1980s. And while the Pentagon says that all of the more than 100 missiles fired in last week’s strike reached their targets, Russia says that two-thirds of them were intercepted. A pro-opposition Syrian monitoring group, citing aerial defense officers, made a similar estimate.

Not Invincible

“Syria already has some good short and medium-range systems,’’ said Jeremy Binnie, Middle East and Africa editor at Jane’s Defence Weekly. Add the S-300s, and “they would be able to form a fairly comprehensive, multi-layered air defense umbrella over their country.”

In any attempt to destroy the new weapons, Israel would probably use U.S.-built F-35 stealth aircraft and electronic warfare, he said.

Russian military experts say that while the S-300 is very powerful, it isn’t foolproof.

“There’s no invincible air-defense system,’’ said Viktor Murakhovsky, a former army colonel who’s now a government adviser. “Just like there are no invincible aircraft.’’

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