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With or Without a Nuclear Deal, Hizbullah's Iranian Missiles Threaten Tel Aviv

By DEBKAfile (Analysis)

President Barack Obama missed the point when he warned the 22 Jewish leaders he invited to the White House Tuesday that if Congress strikes down the Iranian nuclear deal, …"Hizbullah rockets will rain down on Tel Aviv" – not on New York - and that Iran would… "arm and land proxies on Israel's borders."

Both these menaces have been fully active for years, and never related to any kind of nuclear diplomacy. For nine years, from the 2006 Lebanese war and up to the July 2014 Gaza operation, missiles and rockets supplied by Iran have repeatedly rained down on Israeli population centers.

As time went by, the missiles became more precise and sophisticated. Terrorist attacks staged by Hizbullah at Tehran's behest are not unknown either. Therefore, Obama's warning to the Jewish leaders does not stand up to the test of logic or reliable intelligence. Furthermore, as the president spoke, the contention that the nuclear accord will keep Israel and the Middle East at large safe, including from the danger of missiles, was belied.

DEBKAfile's military sources report that, at that very moment on August 3, Hizbullah units under the command of Iranian officers were firing heavy Iranian Zelzal 3 surface missiles at Syrian rebels barricaded for more than a month in the Syrian town of Zabadani, just 200 km from Tel Aviv and even less, 140km, from Israel's heavy industrial town of Haifa.

Zelzal, a proud product of Iran's munitions industry, has an optimal range of 200 km, which can be extended to 250 km, by reducing its payload from 600 to 500 kg. Israel is familiar with the deadly capabilities of the Zelzal, because it was fired by Hamas on Nov. 20, 2012 the last day of the last Gaza operation. It exploded and razed a whole built-up street in Rishon Letzion, a town situated 14 km south of Tel Aviv and 9.3 km from Israel's only international airport at Lod.

On January 18, this year, Israel's air force struck a group of Iranian Revolutionary Guards and Hizbullah officers as they prepared to set up military quarters and missile pads on the Syrian Golan within shouting distance of IDF border defenses.

The above partial catalogue of Iranian and Hizbullah aggression was perpetrated alongside negotiations in Geneva and Vienna for a comprehensive nuclear accord with Tehran. It is therefore obvious that Israel faces an Iranian-Hizbullah missile threat Wednesday, as it did Tuesday, and probably Thursday, regardless of whether the US Congress endorses or throws out Obama's nuclear deal with Tehran.

He might have made a difference to this grim reality if US negotiators had stipulated that the deal include the lifting of the Iranian missile peril hanging over Israel and that Tehran's waive its standing threat to destroy the Jewish state. But as things stand now, this particular argument in support of his nuclear deal with Iran is an irrelevancy.

McCain: It'll Be Hard, But Not Impossible, to Override Veto

By Reuters and

Senator John McCain (R-AZ) said on Wednesday that even though there is no majority in Congress that can override a presidential veto on legislation against the Iran deal, it is clear that there is more opposition than support among lawmakers to removing the sanctions on Iran.

"We currently stand at a critical time, because of the agreement with Iran," he told Arutz Sheva, adding, "I cannot put myself in the Israelis' place, but I totally agree with Prime Minister Netanyahu that there is an existential threat to Israel. Currently there are not enough votes to override the veto, but the dynamic is not in favor of the administration at all.

Obama's remarks were a response to Netanyahu, who in a live webcast Tuesday urged American Jews to oppose the deal.

Addressing the issue of compensation and Netanyahu's insistence not to talk to the Americans about security-related compensation following the deal with Iran, McCain said the idea makes him uncomfortable. "Any weapons offered in one form or another cannot reassure Israel's real concern over this agreement," he noted.

McCain said the personal relations of President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu are not the issue at hand. "The relationship between Israel and the American administration is stronger than ever and does not worry me. I am concerned about the fact that Israel feels threatened by Iran," he told Arutz Sheva.

McCain expressed his dissatisfaction with agreements made directly between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency and which Iran has said are "secret" and Congress should not be allowed to review, saying that keeping those agreements secret is unacceptable. He also dismissed Obama's argument that the alternative to the agreement is a war, and made it clear that there are other alternatives in his opinion, and that Obama's statement is one that could have been avoided.

PA Incites Religious War Over Temple Mount


The Palestinian Authority has stepped up its rhetoric against Jewish rights and heritage to the Temple Mount, Palestinian Media Watch reported Wednesday - now labeling Israel's presence at Judaism's holiest site as an "invasion."

"Indeed, the Israeli establishment insists on carrying out its evil plan to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque and establish the alleged Temple," PA Minister of Religious Affairs, Sheikh Yusuf Ida'is, stated last month. "This is [done] by establishing facts on the ground, for the Muslims, so they will accept the inevitability of the situation."

"Every month there are invasions (i.e., visits by Jews to the Temple Mount)," he continued. "Last month, there were more than 184 invasions into places of worship, and especially into the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque [plaza] (i.e., the Temple Mount), as the Israeli establishment allows the herds of settlers to enter the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque [plaza] daily - which provokes the feelings of Muslims - under protection of the Israeli occupation police."

Both the PA and its ruling party, Chairman Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah, have also posted a string of cartoons depicting Israel destroying the Al-Aqsa Mosque. In one cartoon, an Israeli soldier is cutting the dome off the Dome of the Rock.

In another, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is digging up the foundation of Al-Aqsa Mosque with a bulldozer. And one other cartoon, posted by Fatah shows a Jew trying to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque and warns of religious war. The Jew in the cartoon has the word "excavations" written on his suit.

The PA adamantly opposes excavations near the Temple Mount and in the City of David because the many archaeological finds in those areas related to Jewish history expose the falsehood of PA claims that Jews never lived in Jerusalem and that there never was a Jewish Temple. The PA therefore charges that the excavations are intended to cause the Mosque to collapse.

The Jordanian Waqf retains de facto control of the Mount even since its liberation in the 1967 Six Day War, and it has forbidden Jews from praying at the site despite Israeli law ensuring freedom of worship - a fact the PA has exploited.

Arabs have repeatedly tried to erase the Jewish nature of the site, where the First and Second Temples stood, by destroying ancient Jewish artifacts and building illegally. In its most recent historical revision, PA literature published reviews from "experts" who claimed that the Holy Temples were not Jewish, but Roman buildings.

Deceptive Missionary Campaign Exposed in Jordan Valley


Christian missionaries have escalated a new campaign targeting kibbutzim (agricultural communities founded on socialist values) in the Jordan Valley, in an attempt to pull Jews away from their faith.

Dan Shalev, who was born and raised at Kibbutz Beit Zera and currently lives in Judea's Gush Etzion, told Arutz Sheva on Wednesday about how he found missionary books in his mother's kitchen at the kibbutz.

"I arrived at the kibbutz, at my mom's, and I saw on the table two books that didn't hide their purpose - one of them was 'The New Covenant' with a quote from Isaiah on it, and another called 'Betrayal!,' which on its back cover wrote about a Jew whose daughter wanted to convert to Christianity and he tried to clarify and contradict her words, and the continuation apparently is that he finds out that she was right."

How did the missionary books reach his parents' kitchen table? Shalev found out that on the pathways of the kibbutz, his mother met a woman who told her how much she loves Israel, and asked her to give her, and a family member who is ill, a blessing.

The two continued talking, until at a certain point "it happened that she had two books, if she (Shalev's mother - ed.) wanted to read and take them." Shalev reported that his mother heard about other women in the kibbutz whose homes were also visited by people distributing the books.

"It appears that those who are doing it aren't doing any field tests," he added with a grin, noting that those familiar with the Hashomer Hatzair socialist-secular kibbutz movement know it rejected Judaism to the point that trying to get them to embrace Christianity also is doomed to failure, due to the fact that Christianity historically was created as a branch out of Judaism.

Kibbutz residents may read the books but there's no reason to think they will change their ideology, according to Shalev, who based his prediction on many long conversations with residents. When asked how he returned to Judaism and moved to Gush Etzion after being raised in such a radically secular environment, he recalled, "I didn't have a revelation."

Shalev said that after growing up in a communist education system he developed a strong moral consciousness that was not affected by the later collapse and privatization of the kibbutzim. As he continued to search for knowledge, he found that the one source that for thousands of years had spoken about the moral values he grew up with was none other than Judaism.

Haredi Men Order Woman to Move to Back of Bus


A Foreign Ministry worker in her 50s was forced to get off a bus in Jerusalem on Sunday after ultra-Orthodox men demanded that she move to the back side of the vehicle. Anna Schulkin, a resident of the Gilo neighborhood, got on Egged bus No. 36 in Jerusalem's Ramot neighborhood on Sunday afternoon. As there were no other vacant seats, she sat in the front part of the bus opposite a teenage haredi boy.

"To my surprise, the boy got up, turned his back on me, tapped his fingers as if he were addressing a dog and said to me: 'Go backwards, that's where you belong,'" she later told Ynet. According to Schulkin, none of the men surrounding her told the boy off for his behavior.

She tried to explain to the boy that there was no law banning her from sitting there. "There were no other vacant seats," she says. "It was incredibly hot, and because of the principle I decided not to give up. After I refused to move, the boy got up and started inciting all the other men, who backed everything he said."

Schulkin said she approached the bus driver, who clarified that she was legally right and could sit wherever she wanted. She started documenting the incident with her camera, but the passengers continued to harass her. One of the haredi men, she says, grabbed her bags from the adjacent seat and threatened to throw them on the floor, saying: "I need this seat because I suffer from intestinal gas."

As the atmosphere heated up, Schulkin decided to get off the bus and share her experience in an angry Facebook post. "I got off fast, not before I took as many pictures as possible," she wrote. "Our home is on fire. We are burning each other. At that stage I didn't know that it's the driver's duty to stop and call the police," she told Ynet. "I saw that he was afraid of his own shadow, so instead of feeling sorry for myself, I felt sorry for him."

The driver's passivity and the passengers' fiery behavior, she says, made her realize that there was no one there to defend her rights. "I decided that I didn't want to flex the muscles I don't have, and got off the bus."

After complaining on the Egged website, Schulkin received an immediate response that the incident was being looked into. Egged Spokesman Ron Ratner offered the following comment: "I strongly condemn any expression of racism and/or behavior on the background of religious coercion. We will not tolerate hooliganism in the public domain in general, and on Egged buses in particular. We will not accept any takeover attempt by radical elements or any exclusion of women on the bus, as the complainant experienced."

As for the claim that the driver failed to intervene and alert the police, Ratner said: "As far as we know, the driver backed the passenger. He may have not been very assertive, as he should have been. I assume that because he is a member of a minority group who was supposed to deal with radical haredim, he was afraid to do so.

"In any event, we will look into the incident with the driver. I am certain that had he known the passenger would get off the bus because of it, he would have gotten more involved. We will emphasize the procedures so that they are clear to everyone."

Schulkin says she got on another bus in which she sat next to three haredi men, and none of them said anything or insulted her. "I told them what had happened to me and said, 'I can't believe you're letting me sit here. God bless you.' It's important to know that not all people are the same."


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