Category: Israel

TV report: Israel silent as Iran hit by computer virus more violent than Stuxnet

Tehran strategic networks attacked, Hadashot TV says, hours after Israel revealed it tipped off Denmark about Iran murder plot, and days after Rouhani’s phone was found bugged

By TOI staff 31 October 2018, 9:59 pm 55

Iranian infrastructure and strategic networks have come under attack in the last few days by a computer virus similar to Stuxnet but “more violent, more advanced and more sophisticated,” and Israeli officials are refusing to discuss what role, if any, they may have had in the operation, an Israeli TV report said Wednesday.

The report came hours after Israel said its Mossad intelligence agency had thwarted an Iranian murder plot in Denmark, and two days after Iran acknowledged that President Hassan Rouhani’s mobile phone had been bugged. It also follows a string of Israeli intelligence coups against Iran, including the extraction from Tehran in January by the Mossad of the contents of a vast archive documenting Iran’s nuclear weapons program, and the detailing by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the UN in September of other alleged Iranian nuclear and missile assets inside Iran, in Syria and in Lebanon.

“Remember Stuxnet, the virus that penetrated the computers of the Iranian nuclear industry?” the report on Israel’s Hadashot news asked. Iran “has admitted in the past few days that it is again facing a similar attack, from a more violent, more advanced and more sophisticated virus than before, that has hit infrastructure and strategic networks.”

The Iranians, the TV report went on, are “not admitting, of course, how much damage has been caused.”

On Sunday, Gholamreza Jalali, the head of Iran’s civil defense agency, said Tehran had neutralized a new version of Stuxnet, Reuters reported. “Recently we discovered a new generation of Stuxnet which consisted of several parts … and was trying to enter our systems,” Jalali said.

The Stuxnet virus was uncovered some eight years ago, and was widely reported to have been developed together by US and Israeli intelligence. It penetrated Iran’s rogue nuclear program, taking control and sabotaging parts of its enrichment processes by speeding up its centrifuges.

Netanyahu is adamant that the Iranian regime remains determined to attain a nuclear weapons arsenal, and has bitterly opposed the P5+1 powers’ 2015 deal with Iran. US President Donald Trump, with whom Netanyahu is closely allied, withdrew from the accord in May.

Referring to Stuxnet, Wednesday’s TV report noted that “in the past, the US and Israel have been alleged to have worked together on operations.” Trying to establish whether Israel had any role in the latest cyberattack, the TV report said: “We’ve tried to clarify here. They’re refusing to comment.”

The TV report noted that “behind the scenes lately, the Mossad,” under its director Yossi Cohen, has been “fighting a real shadow war.”

Without attributing responsibility to the Mossad, the report mentioned the tapping of Rouhani’s phone, noting that the Iranians “had to switch it for an encrypted model because they understand that someone has been listening to him for days and weeks.”

On Sunday, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei urged intensified efforts to counter enemy “infiltration,” Reuters said.

In a speech to officials in charge of cyber defense, Khamenei said: “In the face of the enemy’s complex practices, our civil defense should… confront infiltration through scientific, accurate, and up-to-date… action,” the report said, quoting Iranian state TV.

Earlier Wednesday, Israeli officials said the Mossad provided its Danish counterpart with information concerning an alleged plot by Tehran to assassinate three Iranian opposition figures living in the Scandinavian country. According to the officials, the Mossad gave Denmark information about a plot to kill three Iranians suspected of belonging to the anti-regime Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahvaz.

The intelligence reportedly provided by the Mossad prompted the arrest of a Norwegian national of Iranian origin earlier this month. Denmark on Tuesday recalled its ambassador to Iran over the incident.

“What Iran hides, Israel will find,” Netanyahu declared in his September UN speech.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9446

Nation Will Rise Against Nation: Israeli Tanks Mass Along The Border As War Between Israel And Hamas Appears To Be Imminent

Another extremely bloody border protest on Friday has pushed Israel and Hamas to the brink of war.  The Egyptians had been urging Hamas to tone down the border protests, but that did not happen.  Instead, Hamas is pledging to continue the border protests for as long as it takes to end the Israeli blockade.  So Israel has a choice to make.  Either it can end the blockade, accept the endless violence that is currently taking place along the border, or invade Gaza.  The Israelis have already stated very clearly that the blockade will not end, because everyone understands that weapons and fighters will pour into Gaza if that happens.  So it looks like the choice will come down to living with the border violence or invading Gaza, and living with the border violence does not appear to be an acceptable choice either.  On Friday, 10,000 Hamas protesters showed up at the border fence, and 130 of them got shot during the violence that erupted

Israeli soldiers shot and wounded 130 Palestinians during protests near the Gaza Strip border on Friday, the enclave’s Health Ministry said.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said about 10,000 demonstrators massed at the border and that some threw burning tires, grenades and explosive devices at the troops across the fence.

Friday’s chaos followed more violence earlier in the week.  On Wednesday, a rocket that was fired from Gaza obliterated a home in southern Israel, and another rocket landed not too far from Tel Aviv.  The Jewish people have been greatly outraged by these attacks, and their patience has worn very thin.

In response to those attacks, the IDF hit targets in Gaza with airstrikes.

In an article just a few days ago, I noted that Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman is now saying that he believes that war between Israel and Hamas is “inevitable”.  And on Thursday, Israel made a major move in that direction by massing tanks along the Gaza border

On Thursday Israel had ramped up armored forces along the Gaza border, a day after a rocket fired from the enclave destroyed a home in southern Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, vowed “very strong action” if attacks continued.

In fact, it is being reported that this massing of tanks along the border represents “the largest mustering of forces since the 2014 war”

Reuters has reported some 60 Israeli tanks and armored personnel carriers now stationed at a deployment area along the border as of Thursday, which is the largest reported mustering of forces since the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas.

This would be a war that would not benefit anyone, but it is very difficult to see how it will be avoided at this point.

Hamas could avoid war by simply ending the protests, but they have pledged not to do that.

Israel can keep hammering Gaza with airstrikes, but that definitely will not stop the violence.  The only thing that could permanently stop the violence is a full-blown invasion of Gaza with the intention of completely eliminating Hamas.

But that would be an exceedingly bloody mission, and it could potentially spark a much broader Middle East war.

The mainstream media in the United States has been mostly silent about this looming conflict, but the truth is that this is an extremely serious situation.  Just check out what Nickolay Mladenov told the UN Security Council on Thursday

Special UN envoy for the Middle East, Nickolay Mladenov, told the UN Security Council on Thursday thatwe remain on the brink of another potentially devastating conflict, a conflict that nobody claims to want, but a conflict that needs much more than just words to prevent”.

If someone was constantly sending rockets, grenades and incendiary devices across the U.S. border, the American people would be screaming and yelling for the military to do something, and rightly so.

Israel is not going to put up with all of this violence for much longer, but there is one huge problem.  If Israel invades Gaza at this point, they will be considered to be the “aggressor” by most of the rest of the world.  And in order to eliminate Hamas entirely, Israel would have to be ruthless, and images from the very bloody war would be endlessly broadcast throughout the Islamic world.  This could greatly galvanize Israel’s other enemies, and it could very easily spark a broader conflict.

Israel is surrounded by nations that would love to see it wiped off the map, and if the right opportunity arose they would gladly join forces in an all-out attempt to defeat Israel once and for all.

But if that scenario were to unfold while Donald Trump was in the White House, the Trump administration would most certainly intervene militarily on the side of Israel, and that could potentially be the start of World War 3.

It isn’t true at this point, but U.S. relations with Israel will soon once again become one of the most divisive issues in U.S. politics.  And a major war in the Middle East would go a long way toward destabilizing the entire globe.

We truly do live in apocalyptic times, and many are anticipating that global events will greatly accelerate during the months ahead.

Throughout much of human history, Israel has been at the center of attention, and now it is happening again.

Watch Israel very carefully, because the things that are happening over there right now are going to have very serious implications for all of us.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9431

Report: Israeli stealth jets flew over Iran

Two stealth fighters reportedly flew undetected over Iran, crossing Syria and Lebanon on the way, to conduct surveillance missions on sites believed to be connected to the Iranian nuclear project.

Smadar Perry|Published:  03.31.18 , 21:40

Israeli stealth planes reached Iran and returned without anyone noticing, Kuwaiti daily newspaper Al-Jarida reported Thursday, citing unnamed sources.

According to the report, two IAF F-35 Adir fighter jets entered Iranian airspace last month and conducted reconnaissance flights undetected, crossing Syrian and Iraqi airspace on their way to the Islamic republic.

The flyby was intended in preparation for a possible joint Israeli-American attack in Syria, specifically on Iranian outposts, the report said, without confirming whether the operation was undertaken in coordination with the US army.

The two planes—which are considered to be among the most advanced in the world—flew at a high altitude over sites suspected for a long time to be connected to the Iranian nuclear project, the report added, noting they were not detected at any moment by radar systems in any of the countries they flew over, including Russian radar systems stationed in Syria.

Iran has made no announcement that it spotted such action.

Al-Jarida has in the past uncovered a series of security affairs related to Israel, and has even claimed to receive its information directly from the prime minister’s office.

This report comes in the wake of Israel’s official admission last week that it was responsible for the 2007 attack on the nuclear reactor in Syria, as well as against the backdrop of mounting tensions with Iran.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9429

Earliest Known Stone Carving Of Hebrew Word ‘Jerusalem’ From Second Temple Period Found Near City Entrance Stuns Archaeologists

“I was picturing red spray paint in my mind and couldn’t understand how that happened because the latest dating could only be 2,000 years ago or earlier,” said Levi. But when she saw the professionally chiseled Hebrew lettering inscribed into the stone column, she realized it was something unusual. Brushing off the dirt, she began to read what was written. “My heart started to pound and I was sure everyone could hear it. My hands were trembling so badly I couldn’t properly take a picture,” said Levi, who dates the column and its inscription to 100 BC.

by Geoffrey Grider October 10, 2018

The earliest stone inscription bearing the full spelling of the modern Hebrew word for Jerusalem was unveiled on Tuesday at the Israel Museum, in the capital.

This earliest known engraving of the word ‘Jerusalem’ in Hebrew is a stunning discovery that has archaeologists in Israel weeping for joy. Jerusalem, the City of David, is the capital city of the only land on earth known as God’s Land.

“The LORD doth build up Jerusalem: he gathereth together the outcasts of Israel.” Psalm 147:2 (KJV)

FROM THE TIMES OF ISRAEL: While any inscription dating from the Second Temple period is of note, the 2,000-year-old three-line inscription on a waist-high column — reading “Hananiah son of Dodalos of Jerusalem” — is exceptional, as it is the first known stone carving of the word “Yerushalayim,” which is how the Israeli capital’s name is pronounced in Hebrew today.

The stone column was discovered earlier this year at a salvage excavation of a massive Hasmonean Period Jewish artisans’ village near the Jerusalem International Convention Center, at what is now the entrance to the modern city, by an Israel Antiquities Authority team headed by archaeologist Danit Levi.

“A worker came to me in the office towards the end of the day and excitedly told me to grab my camera and writing materials because he’d found something written,’” Levi told The Times of Israel, ahead of the column’s unveiling Tuesday.

At first, the excited worker could not clearly explain what he had found, and Levi thought it was graffiti.

“I was picturing red spray paint in my mind and couldn’t understand how that happened because the latest dating could only be 2,000 years ago or earlier,” said Levi. But when she saw the professionally chiseled Hebrew lettering inscribed into the stone column, she realized it was something unusual. Brushing off the dirt, she began to read what was written.

“My heart started to pound and I was sure everyone could hear it. My hands were trembling so badly I couldn’t properly take a picture,” said Levi, who dates the column and its inscription to 100 BC.

The 80 cm. high column has a diameter of 47.5 cm, said Levi, and would have originally been used in a Jewish craftsman’s building. It presumably belonged to or was built with money from Hananiah son of Dodalos.

While inscribed in a Jewish village — Levi said there is evidence of ritual baths as well as other finds bearing Hebrew lettering at the site — the column was eventually reused in a plastered wall, found in a ceramic construction workshop in use by the Tenth Roman Legion, that would eventually destroy Jerusalem in 70 AD

During an interview on Tuesday, Clinton said that Democrats can be civil toward Republicans when they take back the House, Senate or both.

“You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for, what you care about,” the former secretary of state said.

Clinton would rather see the country thrown into chaos, Ingraham said, than admit Trump’s policies are succeeding.

“This is all about foisting a liberal construct on America,” she said.

Democrats are actually resentful that the country is prospering, Ingraham added, and they’re displaying Antifa-like resistance.

“The Democrats have decided to run on just a platform of demonization.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9416

US Starts Implementing 10-Year $38 Billion Israel Defense-Aid Plan

By JNS October 3, 2018 , 11:39 am

Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. Malachi :10 (The Israel Bible™)

The U.S. State Department has announced that an MOU signed in 2016 between the United States and Israel to provide $38 billion in defense financing to Israel has become officially operational.

State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert released a statement announcing the implementation of the MOU, saying that “under the terms of the MOU, the United States will set funding for Israel at levels of $3.3 billion in Foreign Military Financing and $500 million for cooperative programs for missile defense over each of the next 10 years, a significant increase enabling Israel to acquire additional advanced military capabilities from the United States that will, over time, enhance Israel’s security and strengthen our bilateral relationship.”

The statement reiterates the United States’ longstanding bipartisan commitment to the safety and security of Israel.

“Our implementation of this historic MOU reflects the enduring and unshakable commitment of the President, this Administration, and the American people to Israel’s security,” Nauert stated, noting that “the MOU was negotiated under the previous Administration, reflecting the bipartisan nature of this commitment.”

“The United States unconditionally affirms Israel’s right to self-defense, and this MOU is a concrete demonstration of our commitment to Israel’s capacity to defend itself with a qualitative military edge over all potential regional adversaries,” she added.

While Israel receives among the largest annual aid packages from the United States, Israel provides the United States with significant value — both in terms of intelligence it provides, as well as operational feedback on equipment that can be later deployed by the United States or sold to other countries.

“Israel is a valuable and capable ally to the United States that today faces dangerously escalating regional threats, first and foremost from the Iranian regime’s sponsorship of terrorist groups seeking to attack not only Israel, but also American interests,” stated Nauert. “Israel is also threatened by the reckless proliferation of destabilizing weapons systems into the region that increase the possibility of an escalated conflict in an already dangerous and volatile theater.”

In response to the MOU becoming operational, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked the American administration and Congress for their commitment to Israel.

“Israel and the world face complex security challenges, especially Iranian aggression. The unreserved US support for Israel’s right to defend itself is among the pillars of the strong bond between the two countries,” he said.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9404

Major mistake’: Israel, US warn Russia against giving S-300 missiles to Syria

Netanyahu says move to arm Assad with advanced system within 2 weeks following downing of spy plane will ‘magnify dangers’ in region, Bolton cautions of ‘significant escalation’

By TOI staff and Agencies 24 September 2018, 7:22 pmUpdated at 7:58 pm 56

Both Jerusalem and Washington warned Russia on Monday evening against its declared intention to provide the Syrian military with advanced surface-to-air missiles within two weeks, saying the move would further destabilize the region and increase already high tensions.

Israel’s high-level security cabinet was set to meet Tuesday morning to discuss the latest developments involving ties with Russia, in the aftermath of last week’s downing of a Russian plane by Syrian anti-aircraft fire during an Israeli airstrike.

Russian President Vladimir Putin informed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of the decision to provide Syria with the S-300 system in a phone call Sunday.

In response, according to a statement by Netanyahu’s office, “The prime minister said providing advanced weapons systems to irresponsible actors will magnify dangers in the region, and that Israel will continue to defend itself and its interests.”

Concurrently US National Security Adviser John Bolton said Russia’s decision was a “major mistake” that would cause a “significant escalation” of  tensions. He urged Moscow to reconsider.

Channel 10 News quoted a senior American official who noted that the system could endanger US Air Force jets operating against Islamic State in Syria.

“Bringing more anti-aircraft missiles into Syria won’t solve the Syrian army’s unprofessional and indiscriminate firing of missiles and won’t mitigate the danger to aircraft flying in the area,” the unnamed official said.

Russia made the announcement following last week’s downing of a Russian plane by Syria in a friendly fire incident that killed 15 Russia soldiers. The Russian military’s reconnaissance Ilyushin Il-20 was shot down by Syrian missile defense systems responding to an Israeli airstrike.

In his call with Netanyahu, Putin said he disagreed with the Israeli version of events concerning the downing of the Russian plane.

“The information provided by the Israeli military… runs counter to conclusions of the Russian defense ministry,” the Kremlin said of the content of Putin’s remarks in the call, adding that the actions of the Israeli pilots had led to the plane being targeted by Syrian air defense systems.

“The Russian side proceeds from the fact that the actions by the Israeli air force were the main reason for the tragedy,” a statement said.

Last Tuesday, by contrast, in a previous Putin-Netanyahu call, the Russian president had absolved Israel and blamed a “chain of tragic accidental circumstances.”

A before and after photo of an ammunition warehouse which was destroyed in an Israeli airstrike on a Syrian base in Latakia, September 18, 2018 (ImageSat International (ISI/Ynet)

Netanyahu’s office said Monday night that, in the call, he had “expressed his confidence in the credibility of the IDF probe and its conclusions, and stressed once again that responsibility for the unfortunate incident lay with the Syrian army that brought down the plane, and with Iran, whose aggression destabilizes [the region].”

At the same time, it said, Netanyahu had “once again expressed his condolences for the deaths of the Russia soldiers.”

The statement added that the two leaders agreed to “continue talks between professional teams and coordination between the armies through military channels.”

The Kremlin earlier Monday issued a devastating critique of Israel over the incident, accusing Israel’s air force of “premeditated actions,” and warning the incident would harm relations between the two countries.

“According to information of our military experts, the reason (behind the downing) were premeditated actions by Israeli pilots which certainly cannot but harm our relations,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists.

Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov produced data collected by Russian air defense systems in Syria purportedly indicating that one of the Israeli F-16 fighter jets was flying close to the much larger Russian plane. When the F-16 was targeted by a Syrian missile it suddenly veered off, resulting in the missile homing in on the bigger target.

Konashenkov also said that data showed that the Israeli jets remained over the Mediterranean Sea off Syria’s coast after the Russian plane was downed, though Israel has said its fighters were long gone by the time the Syrian missiles were launched.

The Russian defense ministry had announced the upcoming transfer of the S-300 earlier in the day, saying Moscow would “transfer the modern S-300 air defense system to the Syrian armed forces within two weeks.”

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu also said Russia planned to jam radars of military planes striking from off the coast of the Mediterranean — measures that would complicate Israel’s ongoing efforts, including numerous airstrikes, to prevent Iran deepening its military presence in Syria and to thwart the transfer of weapons in Syria to Hezbollah.

“In regions near Syria over the Mediterranean Sea, there will be radio-electronic suppression of satellite navigation, on-board radar systems and communication systems of military aviation attacking objects on Syrian territory,” Shoigu said.

Russia had originally agreed to sell the system to Syria in 2010, but scrapped the plan at Israel’s behest. However, the Syrian military has already received training to use the system.

“We are certain that the realization of these measures will cool the ‘hot heads’ and will keep them from poorly thought-out actions which threaten our servicemen,” Shoigu said.

Shoigu noted that Russia had also intended to supply Syria with the systems in 2013, but had held back because of Israeli concerns. Now, he said, “the situation has changed, and that isn’t our fault.”

Peskov said the measures were “not directed against third countries but towards defending our own military.”

Syria’s Ambassador to Russia Riyad Haddad said following the announcement that Damascus required the S-300 “in order to defend Syrian land from Israel’s aggressive actions.”

Also Monday, Putin told Syrian President Bashar Assad of Moscow’s plan to deliver the new S-300 air defense system, in the first conversation between the two leaders since the downing of the plane.

In the phone call, initiated by Assad, Putin spoke of “additional measures to ensure the safety of Russian troops in Syria and to reinforce the country’s air defense system,” the Kremlin said in a statement.

According to the Syrian president’s office, Putin told Assad the blame for the plane incident lay squarely with Israel.

“This is absurd,” said Israeli Middle East analyst Ehud Ya’ari on Monday night. “The Syrians down a Russian plane and get the prize of an advanced weapons system.”

Israeli fighter jets conducted the airstrike last Monday night on a weapons facility in the coastal city of Latakia that the IDF said was going to provide weapons to the Hezbollah terror group and other Iranian proxies. During a Syrian air defenses counterattack, the Russian spy plane was shot down by an S-200 anti-aircraft missile and its 15 crew members were killed.

Russia already has its own S-300 air defense system in Syria, along with the more advanced S-400 system.

Defense analysts have questioned whether an S-300 system in Syrian, not Russian, hands could threaten Israel’s air power in the region and prevent it from being able to conduct strikes against targets in Syria.

Earlier this year Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman downplayed Israeli concerns over Russia’s purported plans to install the system in Syria.

“One thing needs to be clear: If someone shoots at our planes, we will destroy them. It doesn’t matter if it’s an S-300 or an S-700,” he said.

Israel’s former Military Intelligence chief Amos Yadlin, who currently heads the influential Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, said months ago that he assumed the air force would work quickly to destroy the S-300, if it were indeed handed over to Syria.

“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,” Yadlin told Bloomberg news in April.

Moscow announced earlier this year that it was considering reversing its longtime policy against supplying the S-300 system to the regime following a series of airstrikes against Syrian targets by the United States, United Kingdom and France in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack by Assad.

The Russian-made system, made up of radar arrays and missile launchers, offers long-range protection against both fighter jets and missiles. The system has been supplied by Moscow to Tehran, and deployed by the Russian army in Syria alongside its more advanced iteration, the S-400.

The Israeli military on Sunday entirely rejected the Russian defense ministry’s claim that it was to blame for the downing of the Russian spy plane, reiterating that Syria was at fault.

In a statement, the Israel Defense Forces maintained its version of events — that the Russian reconnaissance plane was shot down as a result of indiscriminate Syrian anti-aircraft fire — and said it would continue to act to prevent terrorist groups from obtaining advanced weapons.

Earlier on Sunday, the Russian defense ministry released the findings of its investigation into the downing of the plane and the deaths of the crew. Moscow said Israel alone was responsible for the incident, accusing the IDF of failing to give notice of its attack in a timely and accurate manner, and claiming the Israeli pilots used the Russian surveillance aircraft as cover during their strike.

Nevertheless, the Israeli military said that it would continue to operate against Iran and Hezbollah in Syria and that it hoped its coordination efforts with Russia continued.

An Israel delegation that flew to Moscow last Thursday, led by IAF chief Amikam Norkin, detailed to the Russians that it gave considerable advance warning — 12 minutes according to Israeli reports — and precise information on the target area to the Russians before the strike, that its jets did not hide behind the Russian plane, and that its planes had left the area before the Syrians fired one of 40 anti-aircraft missiles “indiscriminately,” downing the Russian plane. Israeli officials said on the return of the delegation that they believed their Russian hosts had accepted their version of events.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9388

Israel Defense Ministry ‘Sends Message’ To Assad By Publishing Ofek 11 Spy Photos Of Syrian Presidential Palace And Damascus Airport

The publication of the images could be seen as both a show of strength and a tacit threat to Syria, where Israel has routinely conducted air raids against Iranian targets, over 200 of them since 2017, according to the Israel Defense Forces. The Saturday night strike reportedly targeted an Iranian plane at the Damascus international airport that was delivering weapons to pro-regime forces and Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps units fighting in Syria’s civil war, as well as several weapons storage facilities at the airport itself.

by Geoffrey Grider September 17, 2018

To mark 30 years since its first orbital launch, Israel Defense Ministry publishes images from its newest spy satellite, showing Syrian tanks, an airfield… and Bashar Assad’s home

After launching over 200 airstrikes on Syria over the past year to stop Iranian aggression, Israel today ‘sent a message’ to the Syrian government in the form of high resolution photographs taken by their Ofek 11 spy Satellite. The three photos of the presidential palace, the Damascus Airport and a Syrian military base, let Assad known in no uncertain terms that Israel has Syria in thier crosshairs and will not hesitate to pull the trigger if forced to do so.

FROM TIMES OF ISRAEL: Israel on Monday released photographs taken by its newest spy satellite of sites located deep inside Syria, including Syrian dictator Bashar Assad’s palace, in an apparent threat to the regime. The images, taken by the Ofek 11 spy satellite, were released by the Defense Ministry to mark 30 years since Israel’s first orbital launch on September 19, 1988. The three photographs released by the ministry showed the Syrian Presidential Palace, also known as the Palace of the People; tanks on a Syrian military base; and the Damascus international airport, which was reportedly targeted by an Israeli missile strike on Saturday night.

Ofek 11 spy satellite photo of the Damascus International Airport in Syria September 17, 2018

The publication of the images could be seen as both a show of strength and a tacit threat to Syria, where Israel has routinely conducted air raids against Iranian targets — over 200 of them since 2017, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

The Saturday night strike reportedly targeted an Iranian plane at the Damascus international airport that was delivering weapons to pro-regime forces and Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps units fighting in Syria’s civil war, as well as several weapons storage facilities at the airport itself.

There was no official Israel comment on the reported attack. However, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday seemed to acknowledge that the Israeli military was responsible for it

“Israel is constantly working to prevent our enemies from arming themselves with advanced weaponry,” Netanyahu said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem. “Our red lines are as sharp as ever and our determination to enforce them is stronger than ever.”

Ofek 11 spy satellite photo of Syrian military base September 17, 2018

The Syrian state news agency, SANA, claimed that Israel had targeted the airport with missiles, activating the country’s air defenses, which shot down a number of the projectiles. The Syrian military has often been accused of exaggerating its successes in intercepting incoming missiles.

On Sunday, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said that the alleged Israeli strike caused “substantial” damage at the airport, but had no immediate information on casualties.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9383

Israel is building a massive wall along its northern border

Israel is building a massive wall along its northern border,

saying the barrier is needed to protect civilians from Hezbollah attacks, but the project has raised tensions with Lebanon, which fears the fence will encroach on its territory.

The IDF insists the entire barrier is being constructed in Israeli territory, and the UN peacekeeping force in the area agrees. But Hezbollah has never fully accepted the border, and a senior Israeli military official stressed the need for the wall, saying that while Israeli intelligence closely monitors the terror group, “we are prepared for the possibility that they will surprise us.”

Wall construction along Israel’s northern border (Photo: AFP)

The official spoke on condition of anonymity under military guidelines during a military-led tour of the border region provided for reporters.

Israel’s military conducted a large-scale combined arms drill in northern Israel this week simulating a future conflict with Hezbollah, with which it fought a monthlong war in 2006. Israelis fear there could be a renewal of hostilities as the civil war winds down in neighboring Syria, where the Iran-backed terror organization has been fighting alongside President Bashar Assad’s forces for the last seven years.

Hezbollah is believed to have an even larger and more sophisticated arsenal of rockets than in 2006, when it fought Israel’s  military to a stalemate in southern Lebanon. That war began with a deadly cross-border raid in which Hezbollah killed eight Israeli soldiers and abducted two others, whose remains were returned to Israel in a prisoner exchange two years later.

Brig. Gen. Eran Ofir, the commander in charge of Israel’s border wall projects, said around seven miles of the 80-mile (130-kilometer) barrier has been built. The $450 million project is slated for completion in two years. Most of the barrier is a concrete wall topped by steel mesh, sensors and surveillance cameras. Steel fencing replaces the concrete wall in especially rugged areas.

Earthmovers and other large machinery rumbled alongside a completed section of the 30-foot (9-meter) high concrete wall earlier this week near the Mediterranean coast. Lebanese soldiers looked over the barrier from a guard post on the opposite side of the Blue Line, which was demarcated by the UN after Israeli forces withdrew from south Lebanon in 2000. The two countries technically remain at war.

Last month, the Lebanese army complained to UNIFIL, the UN peacekeeping force, saying Israeli bulldozers working on the barrier were encroaching on the Lebanese side. A Lebanese security official at the time said that following the Lebanese request, the Israeli bulldozers stopped their work and pulled back 50 meters (160 feet).

The UN Security Council warned last month that violations of the ceasefire agreement between Lebanon and Israel could lead to fresh conflict, and Lebanon’s top security body earlier this year described the planned border wall as an “aggression” against its sovereignty.

 

“This wall, if it is built, will be considered an aggression against Lebanon,” it said in a statement. “The Higher Defense Council has given instructions to confront this aggression to prevent Israel from building this so-called wall barrier on Lebanese territory,” it added.

Maj. Tomer Gilad, Israel’s liaison officer with UNIFIL, said there are monthly meetings with the Lebanese military and UN officials to coordinate the barrier’s construction.

“Even for the past year before we started this construction, we’ve coordinated this activity with UNIFIL, and through UNIFIL with the Lebanese Armed Forces. We’ve alerted them of our intention to do so, to construct this defensive mechanism,” Gilad told reporters.

Thus far, construction has proceeded “very calmly with the participation on all sides to maintain the stability,” Gilad said. “We expect UNIFIL and the Lebanese Armed Force to maintain stability over here throughout this construction, because this construction is a stabilizing measure.”

UNIFIL spokesman Andrea Tenenti said that since construction began in February 2018, everything has been built south of the Blue Line and away from sensitive areas.

Israel says the barrier’s purpose is to defend Israeli communities from Hezbollah, pointing to sporadic cross-border attacks on Israeli troops and civilians in recent years. The volatile border between the two countries has been relatively quiet since the 2006 war, with few major cross-border attacks or incidents.

In 2010, an Israeli army officer was killed and another was seriously wounded when Israeli troops came under fire by Lebanese army forces while trimming trees on the Israeli side of the border. Three Lebanese soldiers and a Lebanese journalist were killed in Israeli retaliatory shelling. In 2013, an Israeli soldier was killed by a Lebanese army sniper while driving along the border, and in 2015 Hezbollah fired an anti-tank missile at an Israeli military convoy, killing two soldiers and wounding seven.

The Israeli official who spoke on condition of anonymity said the army has noticed a troubling rise in “very close cooperation between Lebanese Army Forces and Hezbollah” near the Israeli frontier in the past year. He says the military expects even more Hezbollah fighters to arrive in the area after the Syrian war ends.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9373

Red Heifer Birth, Paves Way For Renewed Temple Service

By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz September 5, 2018 , 12:17 pm

Daniel 12:10 (The Israel Bible™)

Red heifer candidate born in Israel. (Credit: The Temple Institute/YouTube screen capture)

Last Tuesday, the Temple Institute’s Red Heifer program was blessed with results; an entirely red female calf was born, paving the way for re-establishing the Temple service and marking the final stage of redemption.

Almost three years ago the Temple Institute inaugurated its Raise a Red Heifer in Israel program. Due to laws restricting the importation of live cattle into Israel, the Temple Institute imported frozen embryos of red angus, implanting them in Israeli domestic cows. The pregnant cows were raised on cattle ranches in different locations throughout the country. The cows are giving birth this summer with several calves already having been born.

One week after it’s birth, the newborn red heifer was certified by a board of rabbis as fulfilling all the Biblical requirements. The rabbis emphasized that the heifer could, at any time, acquire a blemish rendering it unsuitable. They will be inspecting the calf periodically to verify its condition.

The red heifer was the main component in the Biblically mandated process of ritual purification for impurity that results from proximity or contact with a dead body.  Because the elements needed for this ceremony have been lacking since the destruction of the Second Temple, all Jews today are considered ritually impure, thereby preventing the return of the Temple service.

The red heifer is described in the Book of Numbers.

“This is the ritual law that Hashem has commanded: Instruct B’nei Yisrael to bring you a red cow without blemish, in which there is no defect and on which no yoke has been laid. Numbers 19:2

Several heifers have been found in recent years that seemed to qualify but ultimately were unsuited for the ritual. Earlier this month, two calves born in Israel to the Institute’s red heifer program were deemed to be unsuitable for the performance of the mitzvah. One calf was a bull while the second, a heifer, had a small patch of white hair which disqualified her.

The heifer, born from a natural birth, must be entirely red, with no more than two non-red hairs on its body. It must also never have been used for any labor or have been impregnated. The existence of such a heifer is considered a biological anomaly and very rare. Fortunately, the ritual requires an infinitesimally small quantity of ashes. From the time of Moses, who personally prepared the first heifer, until the destruction of the Temple, only nine red heifers were prepared. Nonetheless, this was sufficient to maintain the ritual purity of the entire nation for almost 2,000 years.

According to Jewish tradition, there will only be ten red heifers in human history with the tenth heifer ushering in the Messianic era. Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon (Maimonides), the most renowned medieval Jewish scholar known by the acronym Rambam, wrote in his explanation of the mitzvah that “the tenth red heifer will be accomplished by the king, the Messiah; may he be revealed speedily, Amen, May it be God’s will.”

Rabbi Chaim Richman, the International Director of the Temple Institute, commented on this on the institute’s website.

“If there has been no red heifer for the past 2,000 years, perhaps it is because the time was not right; Israel was far from being ready. But now… what could it mean for the times we live in, to have the means for purification so close at hand? With the words of Maimonides in mind, we cannot help but wonder and pray: If there are now red heifers… is ours the era that will need them?”

The laws pertaining to the mitzvah are myriad and considered by the sages to be the archetypal chok, an inexplicable Torah commandment accepted solely on faith. Before entering the land of Israel after the Exodus, the heifer was burned outside of the camp. In the days of the Temple, the heifer was taken to the Mount of Olives across a causeway built specifically for this purpose to ensure that there was no inadvertent contact with areas along the way that may have been contaminated by dead bodies.

Cedarwood, hyssop, and wool or yarn dyed scarlet are added to the fire, and the remaining ashes are placed in a vessel containing spring water to purify a person who has become ritually contaminated by contact with a corpse. Water from the vessel is sprinkled on the subject, using a bunch of hyssop, on the third and seventh day of the purification process. The priest who performs the ritual then becomes ritually unclean, and must then wash himself and his clothes in running waters. He is deemed impure until evening.

No less stringent than the laws pertaining to the heifer are the laws pertaining to the site where the heifer is burned. Almost 30 years ago, Rabbi Yonatan Adler, who is also an archaeologist, performed an in-depth study into the textual references to the site where the red heifer was burned, publishing his results in  in the Torah journal Techumin. His calculations, based on the Holy of Holies being located where the Dome of the Rock stands today, led him to a spot where Dominus Flevit, a Catholic Church built in 1955, now stands. Archaeological surveys discovered unique characteristics of the site that corresponded to descriptions in the Talmud.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9367

Iran launches anti-US-Israel front – from W. Iraq, with Tel Aviv in missile range, builds base facing Golan

Aug 31, 2018 @ 18:25 Iranian forces in W. Iraq, Russian armada, US-Russian-Israeli buildup

Russia, Iran, Syria and Hamas have launched six steps to counter the US-Israeli plan to hit Iranian military targets in Syria, which National Security Adviser John Bolton finalized in Jerusalem two weeks ago. That plan is to strike Iran’s Al Qods Brigades and allied Shiite militia forces in Syrian and western Iraq, as DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources were first to reveal. The US and Israel agreed to provide each other with reciprocal air and military cover for their operations in Syria. This accord was first implemented on Aug. 23, when unidentified warplanes bombed a pro-Iranian Iraqi Shiite Khataib Hezballah convoy on the Syrian-Iraqi highway.

The Russian-backed Iranian-Syrian-Hamas alliance subsequently put together six counter-measures:

  1. Iranian Defense Minister Amir Hatami arrived in Damascus with a large military delegation to sign expanded military cooperation pacts with Syrian ruler Bashar Assad. Israeli and American officials who initially made light of this event were forced to take a second look.
  2. Iran was empowered by these accords to deepen its military grip on Syria, backed by the promise of Russian military and air cover modeled on the US-Israeli mutual commitment.
  3. Tehran and Damascus agreed to retaliate for every US or Israel attack on Iran’s Al-Qods or Shiite militia forces in Syria in the same coin, i.e. by targeting US military forces posted east of the Euphrates River along the Syrian-Iraqi border, or IDF forces inside the Golan enclave. Al Qods chief Gen. Qassem Soleimani was put in charge of these operations.
  4. Our exclusive sources also reveal that the new military pacts signed by Iran and Syria provide explicitly for three large Iranian bases to go up in Syria as hubs for the various Iranian command posts dispersed across the country; one outside Aleppo; a second between Damascus and the Israeli Golan border and a third at a still undetermined location.
  5. In the wake of these pacts, the United States, Russia, Iran and Israel are all engaged in military buildups in the Middle East and around Syria of intervention forces for a potential escalation.
    The Americans have prepared major naval and air strength in the region capable of rapid responses, mainly with Tomahawk cruise missiles.
    The Russians are massing a sea armada opposite the Syrian coast. Fresh arrivals on Friday, Aug. 31, raised the number of warships to 24.
    Syrian air defense networks are on the highest war alert since early this week. The IDF’s presence in northern Israel has been beefed up and the troops placed on high alert.
  6. On Friday, Iran said it had supplied allied Iraqi Shiite militias with ground-to-ground missiles with ranges of between 200km and 700km. From Western Iraq, meaning Anbar, where Soleimani has concentrated a large force, these mssiles can reach Tel Aviv; and from southern Iraq, the Saudi capital of Riyadh. The senior US allies in the region are therefore under fresh Iranian missile threat from Iraq.
    DEBKAfile’s military sources note that these missiles have long been in the hands of the Iraqi Shiite militias under Tehran’s thumb, but Iran’s leaders decided it could do no harm to release the information to its enemies at this time.
    In former articles, our sources have pointed out that a US-Israeli showdown with Iran in Syria  would inevitably spill over into Iraq.
    Hamas joined the emerging fray on Thursday, when its leader noted that the Palestinian organization also had rockets capable of reaching Tel Aviv. He was pointing up the collaboration between Gaza’s Palestinian rulers and Tehran.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9364