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IDF on War Alert. Iran-Syrian-Hizbullah War of Attrition Threatened

By DEBKAfile

Israel's two air force strikes on Syria in three days – the second targeting the emblems of Assad rule overlooking Damascus from Mt. Qassioun – appear to be part of a tactical plan put together by the US Israel, and two Sunni powers, Turkey and Qatar, to break up the Tehran-Damascus-Beirut radical bloc and eventually force Iran to give up its nuclear bomb aspirations.

This is how it will be interpreted by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Bashar Assad and Hassan Nasrallah as they prepare their responses for the Israeli attacks.

Without officially confirming those strikes ever took place, Israel insisted that its air force and rockets singled out the advanced Iranian weapons waiting in Syria for transfer to Hizbullah - and Hizbullah itself. This message was designed for a purpose: It was meant to support Washington's argument to Moscow that Israel had not aimed its bombs and rockets against Assad and his army – only the Iranian and Hizbullah military presence in Syria.

But it didn't quite work that way, because no one in Damascus slept a wink early Sunday as Israel rocket blasts shook the city in what was described as a 4 magnitude earthquake and inflicted heavy casualties – not on the Hizbullah brigades fighting in Syria, but Syrian elite units stationed around Mt. Qassioun.

The columns of fire over Damascus flashing across world screens caused the Assad regime and army serious loss of face. Syrian officials could do no less then broadcast dire threats of war, but may be poised to do more.

On Monday, the Syrian ruler spelled out his next plan of action in a message posted to Moscow: A third Israeli strike would incur an instantaneous Syrian response, he warned. Damascus would let Palestinian organizations off the leash to mount attacks against Israel from the Syrian Golan.

What this presages, according to our military sources, is the launching of a cross-border war of attrition mounted from Syria and Lebanon by Syrian and Hizbullah soldiers posing as Palestinian fighters. That is if Israel continues its assaults on Syria.

Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said Monday that Israel's "acts of aggression against Syria will not go unanswered and Tel Aviv will receive a crushing response." Washington is meanwhile expected to follow up on the Israeli operation in Syria by the end of May, early June, with operations ranging from US arms supplies to the Syrian rebels to demolishing Syria's air force facilities and missile sites by US air strikes from Turkey, Europe and Israel.

Barak Obama used this tactic to overthrow Muammar Qaddafi in Libya two years ago. The Obama administration made a point of getting these options into print in Monday's media after saying in answer to a question about the Israeli air strikes: "Israel justifiably has to guard against advance weapons reaching Hizbullah."

DEBKAfile's military sources said that since the Syrian rebels are being systematically ground down and falling apart under the crushing weight of the Syrian army backed by Iranian and Hizbullah troops and Moscow, feeding the rebels more weapons may no longer avail. So this would be the less probable of the two options.

And meanwhile, Israel's military operation has altered the military equation for Syria. And so Obama will again try to proposition Vladimir Putin for a joint effort to end the Syrian war. He would not be averse even to Russian forces landing in Syria to enforce the termination of hostilities. The US president got nowhere with his past bids to break up the Iranian-Syrian-Hizbullah front - mainly because he was outmaneuvered by Russia.

On April 27, before Israel embarked on action against Syria, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov forged a new Russian alliance with Hizbullah in Beirut. This was Putin's answer to Obama's direct appeal for a partnership in the effort to terminate the Syrian conflict. Obama's rejoinder was the green light he gave Israel to go for Iranian and Hizbullah targets in Syria.

The claim by a "senior US intelligence official" that Israel did not apprise Washington before embarking on its Syrian operation does not hold water. The Netanyahu government might have embarked on a "justifiable" operation against advanced Iranian arms for Hizbullah on its own, but would not have stuck its neck out to strike Syria's elite troops on Mt. Qassioun without first clearing it with the Obama administration.

But the new direction now indicated may derail Washington's plan for a superpower deal to bring the horrendous Syrian crisis to a close. The local players, Khamenei, Assad and Nasrallah, are getting ready to grab the wheel and push the US and Israel off the driving seat. Assad warned Moscow Monday of his plan for a war of attrition against Israel, using Palestinian fighters as cutouts, while Iran, Syria and Hizbullah turned their missile batteries around to face Israel.

Having taken the calculated risk that Syria would be too busy with its own war to embark on a major reprisal, Israel Sunday night placed the country's northern borders and region, including the big port city of Haifa - and its early warning systems - on the highest level of war alert, closed its northern airspace to civilian traffic for a couple of days, stationed Iron Dome anti-missile batteries at vulnerable points, and advised local authorities to go on standby.

Do You See a Pattern?

By Ed Ziegler (Commentary)

The United States is known for welcoming immigrants seeking freedom and a better life. The vast majority of immigrants embrace our language, customs and laws. However it appears that many Muslims have developed a pattern to change our way of life to satisfy their religion and customs.

In 2010 Safoorah Kahn, a new teacher (a Muslim) in the Berkeley Illinois School District filed a law suit against the school for refusing her a 19-day leave in mid-semester to travel to Mecca. Her request did not meet those set forth in the Professional Negotiations Agreement between the district and the Teachers' Union.

In 2007, at some Target stores, Muslim cashiers suddenly objected to scanning pork and alcohol products because doing so, they said, would conflict with their religious beliefs. They directed customers to other cashiers.

In 2012 Wegman's Food Company posted a sign at one of its check-out counters to appease a Muslim cashier. The sign directed customers, purchasing pork or alcohol, to other counters. Again, because Muslims are forbidden to consume pork and alcohol.

In 2012 Reuters reported that Imane Boudal, a Muslim and a former Disneyland restaurant employee, sued Walt Disney Company for harassment and religious discrimination, saying that she was fired because she wanted to wear a Muslim head scarf at work.

Imane's motive comes into question on two important points. She made her request after being on the job two years and very likely knew company policy. Secondly, Disney said it offered Boudlal several options for a costume that would accommodate her religious beliefs, as well as four different jobs where she could wear her own hijab.

At DELL Computer, in 2005, thirty-one Muslims walked off the job after they were denied permission to leave their workstations and pray. Council on American Islamic Relations, as they frequently do, took up their cause and pressured Dell to change its practices to conform to Islam. Dell also felt forced to give its managers training in accommodating Muslim demands.

In September 2007 the Indianapolis Airport announced that, as part of a $1.07 billion terminal renovation, footbaths would be installed in a restroom used by cab drivers -- so that the Muslim drivers could easily perform their rituals required before Islamic prayers. The floor-level sinks, would be financed through airport revenue. An airport spokesman, David Dawson, insisted, "These facilities are for everybody's use." Who is everybody?

In 2006 San Diego's Carver Elementary School scheduled breaks so that Muslim students could pray during school time. Also sex-segregated classes were introduced to conform to Islamic sensibilities, while at the same time, pork disappeared from the cafeteria. They also added Arabic classes to the curriculum. Investor's Business Daily editorialized, "In effect, Carver administrators have carved out a school within a school expressly for Muslims elevating them above Christian and Jewish students."

In 2007 the Minneapolis Community College announced plans to construct facilities for Islamic prayer – despite having prohibited a coffee cart from playing Christmas carols on campus. Many other schools extended special consideration to Islamic students. New York University and over 15 colleges and universities have announced plans, to or had footbaths installed. This includes Boston University, George Washington University and Temple University. And all of this at the insistence of the Muslim Student Association - a Muslim Brotherhood organization.

A little different twist with Lina Morales who, for 10 months held a job at Rising Star, a telecoms company in Florida. One day, in 2004, she was eating a bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich at work. She was summarily fired for violating a company rule against eating pork products on company premises. I wonder what caused such policy to be established and why there was no a warning for the first infraction.

There have been far too many Muslims accepting positions without presenting what might be an obvious conflict, for this approach too be coincidental. Instead they take employment only to file a law suit if their demand is not acceptable. The school demands or the cabbie actions are of a similar nature.

What can we do? We must investigate such changes that might challenge our traditions and freedom. Join others and make your voice be heard loud and strong. Do not take the easy way out for, in the future if not, questioned, it will likely hurt all the more.

Rabbi OKs HIV-Positive Organ Donation


Receiving an organ donation from an HIV-positive patient is permitted according to Halacha: Following an appeal from Israel's AIDS Task Force through the Puah Institute, former Chief Rabbi Eliyahu Bakshi-Doron has ruled that a life-saving organ donation can be received from an HIV-positive person, even if the recipient may become HIV-positive himself following the transplant.

According to the rabbi, "If the person will not live without the organ donation, it is permitted and the transplant must be carried out in order to save a life." Bakshi-Doron, one of Israel's most prominent poskim (legal scholar who decides the Halacha in cases where previous authorities are inconclusive or in situations where no halachic precedent exists), is known as a pragmatic posek whose rulings are accepted by very wide circles in the Jewish world.

His current ruling, Israel's AIDS Task Force says, may lead to a process which will allow HIV-positive people to act on their right to donate organs to other HIV-positive patients and to any other person in need, and save lives.

According to the AIDS Task Force, the new ruling has many implications, including the emphasis that this is a chronic illness which can be treated and that patients can live with it for a long time. "The world of Halacha is preceding the medical practice here, and we hope that Rabbi Bakshi-Doron's decision will prompt the medical world to hold a relevant discussion of this issue," says Dr. Yuval Livnat, director of Israel's AIDS Task Force.

"First of all, we must allow HIV-positive people to donate organs to other HIV-positive patients. Such transplants are being conducted successfully for several years now in South Africa, and more than a month ago the Senate's Committee on Health passed a bill allowing such donations in the US as well. Giving HIV-positive patients the option to donate organs to other HIV-positive patients will shorten the transplant waiting time, which is long as it is – especially in Israel.

"Second," he added, "there are situations in which we should approve – as Rabbi Bakshi-Doron recommends in his ruling – organ donations from HIV-positive patients to people who are not HIV positive. For example, in situations in which the recipient urgently needs a donation – and there is no suitable donation from a person who is not HIV positive, and this donation could save his life."

Rabbi Menachem Burstein, head of the Puah Institute which helps couples with fertility, medicine and Jewish Law, explains: "The halachic ruling on medicine and Halacha of the Puah Institute is based on an up-to-date examination of the medical innovations, and at the same time on extensive consultation with the greatest poskim of our generation.

"The important ruling of our master, Chief Rabbi Bakshi-Doron, may he live long and happily, is accepted by millions of Jews in Israel and around the world, and demonstrates, to those who do not already know it, that the Halacha progresses and deals with complex issues all the time. This is an excellent example of a halachic perception which provides a ruling while addressing innovations in the world of medicine."

The National Transplant Center stresses that HIV-positive people can already donate organs today – but only to other HIV-positive patients. However, in Israel this has yet to be done. "The world is experienced in this, especially regarding kidney transplant," says Dr. Tamar Ashkenazi, head of the National Transplant Center. "As far as we know, South African has the greatest amount of experience in this field."

Israel has not been required to deal with the issue yet. More than 7,400 new cases of HIV infection occur each day. On average, at least one of them is Israeli. The absolute majority of the new cases are contracted from people who are unaware that they are HIV positive. A survey conducted in the past three years by Israel's AIDS Task Force and the Mutagim research institute revealed that nearly 70% of Israeli residents have never been tested for HIV.

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