Category: Israel

Iran, Russia and Turkey signal growing alliance

For years, Turkey would say one thing to Moscow and Tehran while telling Washington’s Iran hawks that Turkey was “against Russia and Iran.”

By SETH J. FRANTZMAN   

MARCH 21, 2021 18:10

Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif was very content during a trip to Turkey on Friday. He said it was productive and smiled alongside his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu. He said it was a “wonderful” trip where he spoke with his “brother Cavusoglu.”

The trip signals the growing alliance that Turkey and Iran have in the region.

Zarif said: “As before, constructive engagement on bilateral and regional issues. Ultimate aim: Apply Iran and Turkey’s experience of 400 years of peace to our region. Together, anything is possible.”

Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan took Russia’s side in a growing spat with the US, slamming US President Joe Biden who is widely hated by Turkey’s ruling party.

He claimed that Biden’s recent comments about Russian President Vladimir Putin were unacceptable and “not fitting of a president.”

This isn’t just because of the tone of Biden’s comments, in which Biden called Putin a “killer.” Turkey’s president and regime often lashes out at other countries and leaders, belittling and threatening them with insults.

The messaging from Ankara is that Russia and Turkey are growing together as allies and partners. They work together in Syria, Libya and the Caucasus; their goal is to supplant US influence and divide up many areas of the Middle East between themselves.

They seek to control violence in these areas. For instance, Turkey got the Syrian rebels, who were fighting the Russian-backed Syrian regime, to change their course and fight Kurds so the Syrian regime could prosper. Then Turkey shipped the rebels to fight elsewhere to weaken the rebellion. Ten years after the start of the Syrian conflict, it is mostly Turkey that is responsible for sidelining the rebellion.

Now, enter Iran.

Iran, Turkey and Russia have worked together in the Astana process since 2017 to manage Syria – and they exclude the US. Zarif’s trip to Istanbul is just one of many in which Turkish and Iranian counterparts work together and demonstrate their warm connections.

Turkey wants more trade with Iran via rail links and also wants to work with Tehran in other ways. From Russia, Ankara wants more S-400s and military hardware.

Turkish media illustrated how the relations are growing. Turkish daily Hurriyet reported that “Hakan Fidan, the head of Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization, also attended the meeting, sources from the Foreign Ministry said on condition of anonymity.”

A recent deal between Baghdad and Erbil for the security of the Sinjar province and intensified dialogue between Turkey and Iraq is aimed at curbing the PKK’s (Kurdistan Workers Party) influence in a wider region in northern Iraq and eastern Syria.

Meanwhile, Turkey, Russia and Qatar issued a joint statement last week following talks between their foreign ministers in Doha, vowing to “defend Syria’s territorial integrity in accordance with the UN Charter,” the report notes.

Iran welcomes “any initiative that eases the pain of Syrian people and achieves stability and peace in this country,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said, stressing that the Astana talks among Ankara, Moscow and Tehran were one of the most successful initiatives to put an end to the Syrian conflict.

A month ago, there were rumors that Turkey and Iran might clash in Iraq, but now it appears that the countries have put aside any differences there as well. Turkey wants Iran to help it fight Kurds, which it alleges are part of the PKK.

Ankara is trying to ban opposition parties by labeling them “terrorists” linked to the PKK. The US has expressed concern, but Turkey hopes it can model its authoritarian regime on Russia and Iran. It is learning from Russia how to deal with dissidents – like how Russia dealt with Putin critic Alexei Navalny who was sent to a Russian penal colony.

For many years, Ankara would say one thing to Moscow and Tehran about partnership while telling Washington’s Iran hawks that it was “against Russia and Iran.”

Turkey would mobilize its strong DC lobbyists to push narratives from how Ankara was “fighting terrorism” to how it was challenging Russia and Iran “geopolitically.”

However, the reality was that Turkey was always working closely with Russia and Iran. It invented an imaginary “terrorist” threat from the Kurdish region of Afrin in 2018 to justify an invasion. It even pretended to be fighting ISIS when it was allowing ISIS families to transit from Raqqa to Idlib.

ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was found a few hundred meters from the Turkish border in Idlib. Turkey’s use of its lobbyists to claim it was confronting Iran was only a talking point for the Trump administration.

Even after the administration left, some of those who were close to Turkey continued to push this narrative. But even Turkey is now claiming to distance itself from some Muslim Brotherhood extremist activists in a bid to try to patch things up with Arab states in the region.

This is the long-term goal of Turkey in finding an accommodation with states in the region and bringing together its alliance with Iran and Russia to legitimize its continued occupation of parts of Syria and bases in Iraq.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=11375

PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL BENJAMIN NETANYAHU SAID TUESDAY THAT FOUR MORE MUSLIM NATIONS ARE IN LINE TO JOIN THE ABRAHAM ACCORDS PEACE DEAL

“I brought… four peace agreements, and there are another four on the way,” he said in an interview with the Hebrew-language Ynet news site. “I talked about one of them yesterday.” According to the Israeli premier, he conversed with “one of the leaders in the region” on Monday night for 45 minutes about the possibility of a normalization deal. If he only knew what was actually happening, his enthusiasm might be dampened just a tad as he realizes he is making the Isaiah 28 covenant with death and hell.

by Geoffrey Grider March 16, 2021

Israel is set to make Abraham Accords peace deals with four more Arab countries in the region, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday.

Benjamin Netanyahu is very excited today, and from a human perspective you can see why that might be true. But from a prophetical perspective, if he only knew what was actually happening, his enthusiasm might be dampened just a tad as he realizes he is making the Isaiah 28 covenant with death and hell.

“Wherefore hear the word of the LORD, ye scornful men, that rule this people which is in Jerusalem. Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves: Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste. Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place. And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it.” Isaiah 28:14-18 (KJB)

But his eyes, along with the eyes of the rest of this unsaved world, are closed shut and will remain that way until the time of Jacob’s trouble commences shortly after the Pretribulation Rapture of the Church takes place. Pray for PM Netanyahu, pray for the Jewish people who are making this covenant with death and hell. Their eyes will open when Antichrist sits in the rebuilt Temple, but pray a remnant may escape with us on Flight #777 before that day takes place.

Netanyahu: Four More Abraham Accords Peace Deals on the Way for Israel

FROM BREITBART NEWS: “I brought… four peace agreements, and there are another four on the way,” he said in an interview with the Hebrew-language Ynet news site. “I talked about one of them yesterday.”

According to the Israeli premier, he conversed with “one of the leaders in the region” on Monday night for 45 minutes about the possibility of a normalization deal.

“I pledged to take care of the citizens of Israel and I do so with a deep sense of mission,” he added.

The so-called Abraham Accords, brokered by the Trump administration, saw four Arab Muslim states — the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan — establish ties with Israel.

Several Muslim-majority nations, including Indonesia, Mauritania, and even Saudi Arabia, are thought to be next on the list.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=11369

Archaeology news: ‘Incredible artefact testifies to the existence’ of Bible’s King David

ARCHAEOLOGICAL evidence testifying to the Bible’s historic reliability has come to light, according to a scripture expert who believes an ancient Aramaic inscription found in northern Israel proves King David was a man of fact and not just myth.

By SEBASTIAN KETTLEY

PUBLISHED: 07:14, Mon, Feb 15, 2021 | UPDATED: 07:14, Mon, Feb 15, 2021

Very little is known about the life and reign of King David beyond what is written in the Bible. The archaeological record of his life is poor, although not entirely non-existent. According to the Hebrew Bible, young David slew the Philistine giant Goliath after which he was anointed King of the United Kingdoms of Judah and Israel.

David went on to establish the Davidic Dynasty or the House of David, of which the Gospels claim Jesus Christ was a descendant.

Historians agree David lived during a golden era of prosperity in Israel’s ancient past, likely between 1010 and 970 BC.

David’s successor, King Solomon went onto become a mighty figure in his own right and the Bible credits him with the construction of Jerusalem’s First Temple in 957 BC.

But what evidence is there to support the Biblical narrative outside of scripture?

According to Tom Meyer, a professor of Bible studies at Shasta Bible College and Graduate School in California, US, a major piece of evidence was uncovered by archaeologists at the ancient city of Dan or Tel-Dan in 1993.

The archaeological site, which sits near Israel’s border with Lebanon, was an Iron Age settlement built about 4500 BC and abandoned in 733 BC.

It was at Tel-Dan that researchers found a nearly 3,000-year-old inscription on the so-called Tel Dan Stele – stone slab – mentioning the fabled House of David.

Professor Meyer told Express.co.uk: “Up until 1993 to 1994 not one shred of archaeological evidence existed outside the pages of the Bible that mentioned the name of one of the most central figures of the Old Testament: King David.

“Though he is mentioned over 1,000 times in the Bible and is the author of 73 psalms, David didn’t show up outside the record of the Bible.

“This absence of evidence emboldened many to state that King David never existed and was a figment of the imagination of a post-exilic Jewish community who, after returning to Jerusalem from Babylonian captivity in the fifth century BC, invented King David as a national figure which the fledgeling nation could rally around as they rebuilt their country.”

Philip R. Davies, the British biblical scholar, famously likened the myth of King David to the myth of King Arthur of Camelot.

But all of this changed when archaeologists identified the site of Tel-Dan at the foot of Mt Hermon in the Huleh Valley, northern Israel.

The archaeological site covers some 50 acres at an important junction of two ancient crossroads: The Great Trunk Route and the Via Maris.

Professor Meyer said: “In the gate of the city of Dan, three fragments of an Aramaic inscription were found when archaeologists were reexamining the city walls.

“The fragments date to about 100 years after the death of King David.

Archaeology news: The Tel-Dan stele mentions the House of David (Image: OREN ROZEN)

“They are a portion of a monument that was erected by Hazael, King of Damascus which he had inscribed with his proclamation of victory over ‘the House of David.'”

According to the expert, Hazael destroyed Israel and turned the kingdom into a vassal state.

The stele inscription was likely penned as a memorial to the accomplishment.

More importantly, however, it is the first time the term House of David was found outside of the Bible.

Professor Meyer said: “Once the Israelites regained control of Dan, they likely smashed Hazael’s monument.

“Later on, someone placed some of the broken pieces of the stele into the walls of the gate where they remained in their secondary use for over 2,800 years.

“Even though more of the stele is missing than has been found, a reconstruction of lines seven to nine read, ‘I killed Jehoram son of Ahab king of Israel and I killed Ahaz-iahu son of Jehoram king of the House of David.’

“This incredible artefact, now on display at the Israel Museum, testifies to the existence of the founder of the Davidic Dynasty, once again demonstrating the historical accuracy of the Bible.”

There have been, however, some challenges to this interpretation of the stele.

Author Daniel Pioske, for instance, has argued in his book David’s Jerusalem: Between Memory and History, the inscription references a dynasty from the southern Kingdom of Judah that traces its lineage to a founder named David, and not necessarily the Biblical king.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=11363

9 Signs That Chess Pieces Are Being Moved Into Place For A Major War In The Middle East

March 7, 2021 by Michael Snyder

The American people are really going to regret putting the warmongers back in control.  Joe Biden has been in the White House for less than two months, and the warmongers that Biden has surrounded himself with have been feverishly setting the stage for the next war in the Middle East.  I do not believe that it will start within the next week, but I do believe that it is inevitable.  While President Trump was in the White House for four years, the U.S. didn’t start any new conflicts, but now the Biden administration is quite determined to start projecting “American influence” all over the globe once again.  Most Americans don’t understand the bigger picture, but the truth is that this is going to have very serious implications over the next few years.

In this article, I would like to examine some of the chess moves that have been made since Joe Biden entered the White House.  As you will see, a very troubling picture emerges once you start putting all of the pieces together.

#1 Literally one day after Biden was inaugurated, a massive U.S. military convoy rolled into Syria

A large US military convoy entered northeastern Syria on Thursday, Syrian state news agency SANA reports, citing sources on the ground.

According to the report, the convoy included some 40 trucks and armored vehicles and was backed from the air by helicopters.

President Trump had tried very hard to disengage from the war in Syria, but Biden has made it crystal clear that the U.S. will be heavily involved in that conflict moving forward.

#2 Just a few weeks later, Joe Biden conducted his first airstrike against Iranian-backed forces inside Syria…

The US has carried out an air strike targeting Iran-backed militias in Syria, in the first military action undertaken by the Biden administration.

The Pentagon said the strike destroyed “multiple facilities” and was ordered in response to attacks against US and coalition personnel in Iraq.

Militia officials said one person had been killed but a war monitor reported at least 22 fatalities.

#3 Of course it was inevitable that Iranian-backed forces would respond, and they retaliated by launching rockets at a military base in Iraq where U.S. forces are stationed.  Just a couple days ago, new Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said that there will be a U.S. military response “at a time and place of our own choosing”

Defense Sec. Lloyd Austin tells @MarthaRaddatz the U.S. is still assessing who carried out recent rocket attack on base in Iraq housing U.S. troops—and that if the U.S. decides to respond, it will be “at a time and place of our own choosing.”

#4 More U.S. airstrikes may come sooner rather than later.  In fact, it is being reported that the U.S. has just sent six B-52 bombers to Diego Garcia…

The U.S. Air Force is sending six B-52 Stratofortress bombers to Diego Garcia, a military hub that acts as a strategic location for operations in both the Middle East and the Pacific.

Citing a U.S. official, CNN on Monday reported that the Cold War-era bomber will be “available for operations against Iran if ordered.”

#5 The Biden administration is also sending approximately 10,000 more U.S. troops to the Middle East…

Once the amphibious assault ship Bataan, which is moving toward the Middle East, arrives, the U.S. will have added roughly 10,000 personnel to the area within the last week, according to The Wall Street Journal.

#6 Russia has been busy making moves in the region as well.  On Friday, Russia conducted an air strike on an oil-loading facility in Syria that is used by opposition forces that are backed by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the Biden administration…

A suspected missile strike on an oil-loading facility used by Turkey-backed opposition forces in northern Syria sparked a massive blaze across a large area where oil tankers are normally parked, aerial and satellite images show.

Syrian opposition groups and at least one war monitor blamed Russia for the strike Friday night near the towns of Jarablus and al-Bab, near the border with Turkey. In a report, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, based in Britain, said Russian warships in the Mediterranean had fired three missiles that struck primitive oil refineries and tanker trucks in the region.

#7 Meanwhile, Israel continues to hit strategically important targets inside Syria on a regular basis.  The following comes from a news report that was published in late February

Syrian air defenses were activated in the capital Damascus and its southern suburbs Sunday night to repel an Israeli missile attack, state media reported. There was no word on casualties.

State TV quoted an unnamed military official as saying that most of the Israeli missiles were shot down before reaching their targets near Damascus.

#8 Israel is particularly interested in keeping Iran from developing nuclear weapons.  In an interview with Fox News, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz just stated that Israel is ready to attack Iran without any U.S. help

The Israeli military is updating plans to strike Iranian nuclear sites and is prepared to act independently, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz told Fox News.

Israel has identified numerous targets inside Iran that would hurt its ability to develop a nuclear bomb.

“If the world stops them before, it’s very much good. But if not, we must stand independently and we must defend ourselves by ourselves,” Gantz said in his first sit-down interview with an American outlet.

#9 During a phone call last Thursday between Kamala Harris and Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister made it exceedingly clear that his nation is ready to do whatever it takes to prevent the Iranians from developing their own nukes…

“The prime minister said we would continue to strengthen our intelligence and security cooperation and said during their conversation that as prime minister of Israel, he is totally committed to preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons that are meant for our destruction.”

Of course the Iranians have no plans to back down, and that makes a military conflict between Israel and Iran inevitable.

There will be war in the Middle East, and the horror of that conflict will shock the entire planet.

And once that war begins, it will greatly accelerate our economic problems and the ongoing political turmoil in this country.

So enjoy this brief period of relative stability while you can, because our world is about to start changing in dramatic ways.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=11350

SAUDIS REFUTE CLAIM THAT TEMPLE MOUNT HOLY TO ISLAM: IS IT A PROPHECY FROM THE ZOHAR?

BY ADAM ELIYAHU BERKOWITZ | MAR 8, 2021 | BIBLICAL NEWS

In the days to come, The Mount of Hashem‘s House Shall stand firm above the mountains And tower above the hills; And all the nations Shall gaze on it with joy. Isaiah 2:2 (The Israel BibleTM)

As the “Palestinians” try to reestablish themselves with the new US president, many Arab nations, now politically aligned with Israel, are rejecting the Palestinian claim to the Temple Mount, saying it is insulting to Islam. It seems, in fact, that the Palestinian efforts to dominate Judaism’s holiest site have more to do with an eschatological battle described in the Zohar than with Muslim theology.

“PALESTINIANS INSULT AND HUMILIATE SAUDI ARABIA”

A new Saudi Arabian social media initiative is working to refute the “Palestinian” claim to the Temple Mount.

Israel National News (Arutz Sheva) reported on a new Saudi Twitter campaign that emphasizes the religious importance of Mecca and Medina while refuting that the Temple Mount has any significance to Islam.

“According to the Saudis, the campaign is in response to the Palestinians who insult and humiliate the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for its cooperation with Israel, both online and in many demonstrations on the Temple Mount on Fridays,” the report read. 

Jews around the world face towards the Temple Mount when praying. Islamic law mandates the ‘qibla’, requiring Muslims to face the Kaaba in Mecca when praying. This is expressed in a teaching in the Koran that was revealed to Muhammad in the second Hijri year.  Prior to this revelation, Muhammad and his followers in Medina faced Jerusalem for prayers, mimicking the custom of the Jews in Medina.

A FRIDAY TRADITION

Thousands of Palestinians come every Friday to pray at the Temple Mount in contravention of Health Ministry guidelines pertaining to the pandemic. 

“The reaction of the Saudis is to emphasize that Al-Aqsa is a mosque like all mosques, but the direction of prayer of the Muslims is to the city of Mecca and to it only,” the report in Arutz Sheva continued. Despite their insistence that the Temple Mount is holy to Islam, even the Muslims who pray on the Temple Mount do so while facing Mecca, effectively turning their backs to the Dome of the Rock, the site of the Holy of Holies in the Jewish Temples.

This point was emphasized in the Twitter campaign as seen in the comment by prominent Saudi cartoonist Fahd al-Jabiri who wrote, “”The direction of the prayers of the Jews is not important to us, what is important to us is only our homeland.” 

In the context of current events, we see the Palestinians insisting upon worshipping on the Temple Mount despite its non-relevance to Islam. They are,in effect, disassociating from Saudi Arabia, the leaders of Sunni Islam, and instead of bowing down on the Temple Mount with the Dome of the Rock, the site of Holy of Holies, as the focus of their religious war, precisely as the Sohar predicted.

TEMPLE MOUNT HOLY TO ISLAM: “FAKE NEWS”

Many of the comments noted that the Temple Mount has, in fact, no significance to Islam, a claim that is becoming more prominent in Saudi Arabian social discourse

Dr. Mordechai Kedar, a senior lecturer in the Department of Arabic at Bar-Ilan University, frequently refers to the myth that the Aqsa Mosque described in the Koran is located in Jerusalem as “fake news” and insulting to Saudi Arabian Muslims since it would raise the mosque on the Temple Mount to a level of importance that could contest the centrality of Mecca in Islam.

“In early Islam, we see that assigning holiness to the Temple Mount was criticized as an attempt to introduce Jewish concepts into Islam,” Dr. Kedar said. “Today, this narrative describing Mohammad’s Night Journey as culminating in Jerusalem has been revived, advanced by the Muslim  Brotherhood, Turkey’s President Erdogan, Qatar, and other Islamist movements seeking to unite Muslims and/or Arabs under a caliphate who seek to take over Jerusalem and use it like a crown.”

Dr. Kedar cited the notable exceptions of Islamic interest in Jerusalem were the periods in which the Muslims identified a risk that other religions would rule in Jerusalem, such as during the Crusades, the First World War, and of course, the period of Zionism.

In an article first published in 2016, Dr. Kedar, a senior lecturer in the Department of Arabic at Bar-Ilan University, is a long-time advocate for a more precise and accurate understanding of the significance of Jerusalem for some Muslims by dispelling some clear lies perpetuated about the Temple Mount. Dr. Kedar explained that Al-Aqsa is mentioned once in the Koran, and Jerusalem is never named even once.

“Since the Haj pilgrimage is one of the five basic Islamic commandments, the Umayads were forced to choose Jerusalem as their alternative for a pilgrimage site,” Dr. Kedar explained. “In order to justify choosing Jerusalem, the Umayyads rewrote the story told in the Koran, moving the al Aqsa mosque to Jerusalem, and adding, for good measure, the myth of the night-time journey of Mohammed to al Aqsa. This is the reason the Sunnis now consider Jerusalem their third holiest city.”

“Shia Islam, mercilessly persecuted by the Umayya Caliphate, did not accept the holy Jerusalem canard, which is the reason the second holiest city to Shiites is Najif in Iraq, the burial place of Shiite founder Ali bin Abi Talib. Many of the Shiite elders – Iranian and Hezbollah – only began to call Jerusalem holy after the Khomeni rebellion in 1979 so as to keep the Sunnis from accusing them of being soft on Zionism.”

ZOHAR: SONS OF ISHMAEL WILL BOW DOWN BEFORE GOD AT THE HOLY MOUNTAIN

The Palestinian imperative to lay claim to the site of the Jewish Temples may have more to do with an end-of-days prophecy described in the Zohar than with Muslim theology. Jewish sources describe that in the end-of-days the descendants of Ishmael will have a place and a purpose on the Temple Mount. A surprisingly detailed description of the Messianic process is given in the Zohar Hadash, a collection of previously unpublished manuscripts pertaining to the Zohar printed in the late 16th century. In one section (Balak 68b), the Zohar Hadash describes a process that will begin in the 274th year of the sixth millennium. This works out to be the year 5774 in the Hebrew calendar which began in September 2013. This same prophecy is repeated in other sources, adding that the “Sons of Ishmael” (Arabs) will make war against the Messiah, and will “come and bow down before God at the holy mountain in Jerusalem”.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=11341

Israel in talks with Saudi, UAE, Bahrain for defense alliance against Iran

Following op-ed by Ronald Lauder in Saudi paper, PMO says its ‘not confirming report, but we are always interested in upgrading ties with our Middle East partners.’

By LAHAV HARKOV   

MARCH 1, 2021 18:07

Israel, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain discussed expanding cooperation in facing its common enemies, an Israeli official with knowledge of the matter said on Monday.

The matter is being “informally discussed,” the source said, pointing out that the countries are American allies. All four view a nuclear Iran as a major threat, and have been eyeing the Biden administration’s plan to rejoin the 2015 nuclear deal with concern.

“There is much to be gained by expanding cooperation,” the source said.

The remarks came following an article by World Jewish Congress President Ron Lauder in Arab News calling for a “NATO of the Middle East.” Saudi Arabia does not have a free press, and Arab News is owned by Prince Turki bin Salman Al Saud, a son of King Salman and brother of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, and is seen as reflecting the Saudi government’s official views.

Lauder wrote that his contacts in Arab states viewed Israel as the only reliable ally against Iran, and vice-versa. He said they are “contemplating, aghast, the West’s inability to halt these belligerent, dangerous developments” of Iran resuming uranium enrichment and limiting International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors’ access to nuclear sites.

“Facing the accelerating threat of a malevolent Iran and the weakness of a coronavirus-hit world, the path toward self-reliance seems also to be the only path forward,” Lauder wrote. “Israelis and Arabs should seize the opportunity to work together to save the Middle East from the looming catastrophe of extremism and nuclearization.”

Last week, i24 News reported that Israel is in talks with the three Gulf states about a defense alliance.

The Prime Minister’s Office said it is “not confirming the report, but we are always interested in upgrading ties with our Middle East partners.”

One early indicator of a possible defense alliance is that Israel did not object to the US selling F-35 fighter jets to the UAE, after the countries normalized ties as part of the Abraham Accords last year. Under US law, Washington must make sure its weapons sales in the Middle East do not threaten Israel’s qualitative military edge in the region; following meetings between Defense Minister Benny Gantz and his US counterpart at the time, Jerusalem gave the green light to sell the planes to Abu Dhabi.

Israel still does not have official ties with Saudi Arabia. Israel grew closer with the three Gulf states with which it is discussing further security cooperation in the aftermath of the 2015 deal between world powers and Iran, which they felt does not prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon once the agreement expires.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and MBS, as the Saudi crown prince is known, secretly met in Neom, a planned futuristic-Saudi city on the Red Sea, in November of last year.

Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi spoke with Omani Foreign Minister Badr Albusaidi on Monday.

“Views were exchanged on a number of issues of common interest, as well as the importance of supporting all efforts aimed at achieving peace and stability in the region,” Ashkenazi said. “We agreed to maintain our direct channel of communication and to further enhance cooperation.”

Israel does not have official diplomatic relations with Oman, but Netanyahu led a delegation to the country in 2018.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=11329

NETANYAHU’S PURIM WARNING TO IRAN: LIKE HAMAN, YOUR PLOT TO ANNIHILATE US WILL FAIL TOO

BY DAVID SIDMAN | FEB 25, 2021 | BIBLICAL NEWS

Haman plotted to do away with all the Yehudim, Mordechai‘s people, throughout the kingdom of Ahasuerus. Esther 3:6 (The Israel BibleTM)

As US president Joe Biden is expected to renew the Iran nuclear deal and remove the sanctions placed upon it, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded on Tuesday to what he says is the Islamic Republic’s efforts to obtain nuclear weapons reports 0404.

“On the eve of the holiday of Purim I am telling those who want to destroy us, Iran and its proxies throughout the Middle East: 2,500 years ago, a different oppressive Persian regime tried to annihilate the Jewish nation and just like they failed then, so too will you fail today. We will not allow your extremist, brutal regime obtain nuclear weapons.”

Invoking Jewish history, Netanyahu added: “We did not make the journey throughout the generations and over thousands of years to return to the land of Israel just to allow some basket-case regime of Ayatollahs to finish off the story of the establishment of the Jewish people. We are not sacrificing our loved ones for any agreement with an extremist dictatorship like yours.”

“We have already seen the nature of agreements with extremist regimes like yours. In the past century and in this century with the government of North Korea. With or without an agreement, we will do everything in our power to ensure you don’t obtain a nuclear weapon” Netanyahu concluded.

In a possible response to Netanyahu’s sentiments, Israel365 reported that Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei tweeted that nuclear weapons violate Islam.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=11322

Does Israel feel compelled to launch a strike at Iran’s nuclear sites? And if so, when?

Feb 2, 2021 @ 21:28 Aviv KochaviIran nuclearKenneth McKenzieTzachi Hanegbi

Israel may have to go it alone against a nuclear-armed Iran, said senior minister Tzachi Hanegbi on Tuesday, Feb. 2, because, je said, he can’t see the US taking such a military initiative. The minister spoke the day before an Israel foreign affairs and security cabinet session to discuss the Iranian nuclear issue for the first time since the Biden administration took office. For now, said Hanegbi, it is vital to keep up the pressure of sanctions.

On Monday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken added his voice to the warnings issued by US national security adviser Jake Sullivan and Israel’s top military chief Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, who both estimated that Tehran may be just weeks away from enough fissile material for making a nuke.

That distance is getting shorter. The UN nuclear watchdog disclosed on Tuesday that a second cascade of advanced IR-2m centrifuges for enriching uranium has begun working at Iran’s Natanz underground plant and a third cluster was ready to go. Last week, Tehran announced that it had upgraded uranium enrichment to 20pc at the Fordow plant. That level is still well below 90pc weapons grade, but it is a large jump towards that goal. Tehran is making no secret of all these flagrant violations of the nuclear accord it signed with six world powers in 2015 – ever since the US quit the accord.

DEBKAfile’s military sources point out that key elements of Iran’s nuclear program remain hidden – even from veteran experts who faithfully follow its progress. They all agree on some points, especially that the Islamic Republic wont risk going into production for a single nuke, but only when it has the capacity to roll out 3-5 weapons. The calculus is simple: the US or Israel may target a single bomb but would think twice if Iran was capable of responding in kind and launching a nuclear attack on its attackers. Tehran therefore deems a nuclear arsenal to be a deterrent against an enemy offensive.

The Iran pundits find it hard to pin down the exact point Iran has reached in developing a weapon. Is it only as far as a primitive device, or are they now able to build a nuke sophisticated and compact enough to mount on a missile? And what about, other sensitive components, such as the envelope for the fusion fuel canister, for instance? Is Iran getting help from North Korea or Pakistan on these essential details?

It may be assumed that these questions and more were covered in the quiet conversations US CENTCOM chief Gen. Kenneth McKenzie held in Israel last week, first with IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi and then in a two-hour sit-down with Yossi Cohen, director of Israel’s Mossad agency. Cohen no doubt filled the American general in on the intelligence data behind Kochavi’s landmark speech last Monday, in which he ruled out renewed nuclear talks as “wrong” and disclosed that he had instructed the Israel Defense Forces to prepare a number of operational plans, in addition to those already in place.”.

“It will be up to the political leadership, of course, to decide on implementation,” the general noted. “But these plans need to be on the table.”

It stands to reason that the CENTCOM chief will be drawing up military plans of his own ready to show to the new US president in the event of a decision to strike Iran.

Parallel to the military track, Washington and Tehran have been talking on the quiet for some weeks. Most recently, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and other Gulf emirates have jumped in to test Iran’s waters for any signs of readiness to engage in talks on an improved nuclear deal. A notable figure in all these moves is the newly CIA chief, Wiliam Burns, who was the key figure in the Obama administration’s backdoor talks in Oman in 2013-1014, which ripened into the 2015 accord.

The most notable development now is that the IDF is preparing for action against Iran’s nuclear program – even if it has to do it on its own.

Meanwhile, Washington and Tehran are moving along a predicable track, each waiting the other to make the first move.

On Saturday, Tehran stressed that the nuclear deal was “non-negotiable” and its participation “unchangeable” and repeated its demand for the lifting of US sanctions before its consent to return to the table. President Joe Biden insisted that Iran must first come into full compliance with its terms.

Then, on Monday, FM Mohammed Javad Zarif suggested that a European Union official could help “synchronize” or “coordinate” efforts by Iran and the US to return to a 2015 nuclear accord “as a standstill persists over which country will take the first step.”

The conflict is therefore taking on a wider dimension. Biden’s diplomatic stance towards Tehran is obviously being watchfully eyed by Presidents Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping as well as the North Korean ruler Kim Jong-un and may go far towards determining his administration’s standing on the international scene.

Israel faces a perilous quandary. Gen. Kochavi’s comments on the Iranian threat woke up the Israeli lobby of former security chiefs that thwarted the plans prepared by then PM Binyamin Netanyahu and his defense minister, Ehud Barak, to nip Iran’s nuclear weapons program in the bud with a military attack.

But these days, following the new relations and understandings Israel reached during the Trump administration with Gulf nations and Morocco, the Jewish state has an overriding need to preserve those highly strategic ties. At the same time, its government is bound to preserve its freedom of action against Iran obtaining a nuclear capability for aggression, while also remaining in sync with the United States, Europe and the Gulf.

Netanyahu is meanwhile preparing the ground for action. On Monday, he was closeted with the finance minster Yisrael Katz and Gen. Kochavi to put together a three-billion-shekel package (roughly $910 million) to fund a possible military attack on. On Wednesday, the security cabinet was to be convened to air the options. But time is short. If the incumbent government decides on action, it will have strike before the general election takes place on March 23.

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RARE: RAINBOW OVER TEMPLE MOUNT, A ‘REMINDER OF GOD’S COVENANT’

BY ADAM ELIYAHU BERKOWITZ | JAN 31, 2021 | BIBLICAL NEWS

Of Binyamin he said: Beloved of Hashem, He rests securely beside Him; Ever does He protect him, As he rests between His shoulders. Deuteronomy 33:12 (The Israel BibleTM)

At first glance, the photo of the rainbow over the Temple Mount is aesthetically pleasing, but a quick look at the story behind the photo brings out the deeper beauty.

Yonadav Horowitz took the photo from the balcony of his house in Kidmat Tzion, about four kilometers from the Temple Mount, on the holiday of Tu B’Shvat last week. That particular image from that particular perspective on that particular day was shared by very few people since only ten families live in Kidmat Tzion. And it is a modern-day miracle that those families live there.

The land for Kidmat Tzion was purchased about a century ago by Jewish residents of Jerusalem who wanted a more pastoral and less urban existence, nearby but outside the walls of the Old City. About 150 acres was purchased but the illegal Jordanian occupation of the area in 1948 prevented the Jews from settling on their land. During the Jordanian occupation, massive Arab construction resulted in the creation of the neighborhood of Abu Dis on what used to be empty land. Israel annexed all of Jerusalem but only about 15 acres of the land purchased by the Jews fell within this area, the rest now being considered Judea. Ateret Kohanim, an NGO workign to strengthen the Jewish nature of all of Jerusalem, worked to reestablish the existing Jewish claim to the land and ten families now live in Kidmat Tzion. 

“Seeing the rainbow, a sign of God’s covenant with all of mankind, reminded me that God does, of course, keep all of his promises,” Horowitz told Israel365 News. “That is especially true when it comes to his promises to the Jewish people, and even more so when it pertains to Jerusalem.”

Horowitz loves that he lives within walking distance of Judaism’s holiest site, though the hostile nature of Abu Dis prevents this. But the view is inspiring in a Biblical context. The view of Jerusalem nestled between two high points reminded Horowitz the verse from Deuteronomy that describes God’s special love for the domain of the tribe of Benjamin:

Of Binyamin he said: Beloved of Hashem, He rests securely beside Him; Ever does He protect him, As he rests between His shoulders. Deuteronomy 33:12

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IRAN MAY BE “WEEKS” AWAY FROM DEVELOPING NUCLEAR BOMB’, SEC OF STATE BLINKEN ADMITS

BY JNS | FEB 2, 2021 | US-ISRAEL RELATIONS

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

Jake Sullivan, President Joe Biden’s national security advisor, suggested an expedited timeline for rejoining the Iranian nuclear deal, which the Trump administration exited in May 2018. The comments come as the Biden administration announced its decision to select veteran diplomat Robert Malley as its special envoy on Iran talks.

In remarks to the U.S. Institute of Peace on Jan. 29, Sullivan said that it was key for the United States to put the nuclear program “in a box” as the first order of business.

“We are going to have to address Iran’s other bad behavior, malign behavior, across the region, but from our perspective, a critical early priority has to be to deal with what is an escalating nuclear crisis as they move closer and closer to having enough fissile material for a weapon,” said Sullivan, according to The Washington Post. “And we would like to make sure that we re-establish some of the parameters and constraints around the program that have fallen away over the course of the past two years.”

In recent weeks, Iran has begun to accelerate its nuclear program. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said last week that Tehran will not reverse the acceleration of its nuclear program until the United States lifts sanctions against the country. Iran recently announced that it had begun enriching uranium to 20 percent, in violation of the nuclear accord.

The comments by Sullivan may indicate a disagreement among Biden administration officials on how to approach the Iranian nuclear program.

While Biden has indicated support for rejoining the deal, the administration has stated that a precondition would be full compliance by Iran with the original agreement.

Secretary of State Tony Blinken has been more skeptical of swiftly returning to the nuclear deal, saying that a U.S. return is still far off.

“Iran is out of compliance on a number of fronts. And it would take some time, should it make the decision to do so, for it to come back into compliance and time for us then to assess whether it was meeting its obligations,” he said during a news conference at the State Department on Jan. 27. “We’re not there yet, to say the least.”

In an interview with NBC News on Sunday, also warned that Iran could be months or even only “a matter of weeks” from developing a nuclear bomb if it further violates restrictions stemming from the 2015 accord.

‘Negotiating constraints on Iran’s nuclear program’

At the same time, the Biden administration has also announced that former Obama administration Mideast adviser Robert Malley will serve as a special envoy on Iran.

U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said that Blinken “is building a dedicated team, drawing from clear-eyed experts with a diversity of views. Leading that team as our special envoy for Iran will be Rob Malley, who brings to the position a track record of success negotiating constraints on Iran’s nuclear program.”

However, Malley’s appointment has been met with criticism by conservatives and pro-Israel groups, who contend that he may be too soft on Iran and critical of Israel.

“It’s deeply troubling that President Biden would consider appointing Rob Malley to direct Iran policy. Malley has a long track record of sympathy for the Iranian regime & animus towards Israel. The ayatollahs wouldn’t believe their luck if he is selected,” tweeted U.S. Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.).

CUFI Action Fund Chairwoman Sandra Parker, who urged the Biden administration not to repeat the mistakes of 2015, also was critical of the choice.

“Robert Malley is the wrong man for the job. He has a well-documented track record of appeasing America’s adversaries and condemning one of our closest allies. Whoever sits across the table from Iran’s tyrannical regime should be more interested in a good deal than a deal at any price—Robert Malley is not that person.”

“We continue to urge the Biden administration to not repeat the errors of 2015 and instead engage Iran in a manner that maximizes the likelihood of securing a strong, comprehensive agreement with bipartisan support,” added Parker. “Unfortunately, Malley’s appointment signals that this outcome is less likely.”

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