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Israel accused of strike in Syria, 14 reported dead Israel Hayom
Russia and Syrian military blame Israel for overnight airstrike on a major base in central Syria - Iranians reportedly among casualties - Israel declines to comment - Missile strike follows lethal poison gas attack in rebel-held Damascus suburb. News Agencies

A missile fired at the T4 base in Syria

Russia and the Syrian military blamed Israel for a strike early Monday on a major air base in central Syria, saying Israeli fighter jets launched the missiles from Lebanese airspace.

A war-monitoring group said the airstrikes had killed 14 people, including a number of Iranians active in Syria.

Russia's Defense Ministry said two Israeli aircraft targeted the T4 air base in Homs province, firing eight missiles. It said Syria shot down five of them while the other three landed in the western part of the base.

Syrian state TV quoted an unnamed military official as saying that Israeli F-15 warplanes fired several missiles at T4. It gave no further details.

Israel's Foreign Ministry had no comment when asked about the accusations.

Since 2012, Israel has struck inside Syria more than 100 times, mostly targeting suspected weapons' convoys destined for the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, which has been fighting alongside Syrian government forces.

Most recently, Israel hit the same T4 base in February, after it said an Iranian drone that had violated Israeli airspace had been launched from the base.

The T4 base, which was used as a launch pad for attacks against Islamic State militants who were at one point stationed close by, is near the Shayrat air base, which was targeted by U.S. missiles last year in response to a chemical weapons attack.

Monday's missile attack came hours after U.S. President Donald Trump warned there would be a "big price to pay" for a suspected poison gas attack in an eastern suburb of Damascus.

Over the weekend, suspected chemical attacks killed at least 60 people and wounded more than 1,000 in Syria's rebel-held eastern Ghouta, a Syrian medical relief group said Monday.

The death toll is likely to rise, according to the Union of Medical Care Organizations, a coalition of international aid agencies that funds hospitals in Syria and which is partly based in Paris.

"The numbers keep rising as relief workers struggle to gain access to the subterranean areas where gas has entered and hundreds of families had sought refuge," the group said in a statement.

Initially, Syria's state news agency SANA said the attack on the T4 air base was likely "an American aggression," but Pentagon spokesman Christopher Sherwood quickly dismissed any U.S. involvement. The agency then shifted the blame to Israel instead.

SANA said the missile attack resulted in a number of casualties but provided no specific figures.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the war through a network of activists on the ground, said 14 people were killed, including a number of Iranians and three Syrian officers.

Rami Abdurrahman, the Observatory's chief, said the assault targeted a mobile air defense unit and some buildings inside the air base. He added that it also hit posts outside the base used by the Iranians and Iran-backed fighters.

Israel fears Iran could use Syrian territory to launch attacks against it, after having repeatedly called for Israel's annihilation.

The U.S. launched several dozen Tomahawk cruise missiles at a Syrian air base last year, after a chemical attack in the northern Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun killed dozens of people.

Saturday's suspected poison gas attack on the besieged town of Douma came almost exactly a year after the U.S. missile attack prompted by the Khan Sheikhoun deaths.

In recent weeks, government forces have recaptured villages and towns in the eastern Ghouta suburbs of the capital. Douma was the only town left holding out.

A 2013 chemical attack in eastern Ghouta that killed hundreds of people was widely blamed on government forces. The U.S. threatened military action but later backed down.

Syria denies ever using chemical weapons during the war and says it eliminated its chemical arsenal under a 2013 agreement brokered by the U.S. and Russia.

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Netanyahu Silent on Syria Strike, but Vows to `Hurt' Those Who Would Harm Israel 0 Comments

Apr 9, 2018

Israel Syria Iran
Israel-Gaza border
Russia Syria

"If someone tries to attack you – rise up and attack him," Netanyahu declared, while refraining from comment on Russia's allegations that Israel was responsible for a powerful strike on a Syrian airbase Monday.

By: TPS and United with Israel Staff

Israeli officials have remained silent after Russia said Monday that Israeli jets conducted a strike on a Syrian airbase that left 14 people dead, including at least four Iranian military officials.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, while neither confirming nor denying the reports, made a cryptic reference to the incident. Speaking at a ceremony marking a major housing development in the southern city of Sderot the same day, he said, "We have one clear and simple rule and we seek to express it constantly: If someone tries to attack you – rise up and attack him."

"The first thing that is happening here may be summarized in one word – security: Security for Sderot, security for the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip, security for the Negev, security for Israel, security in the future," the prime minister continued, alluding to the violent Hamas protests at the border with Israel, where tens of thousands of Palestinians have been burning tires, throwing Molotov cocktails at IDF troops and attempting to infiltrate into Israeli territory.

"We will not allow, here on the Gaza border, them to hurt us. We will hurt them.

"Security in the present is a necessary condition for security in the future, and what we have here today is a powerful expression for our future security," he concluded.

Former OC Southern Command Yoav Galant also alluded to the strike when, at the same event, he said, "Syria cannot become a springboard for weapons transfers to Lebanon."

Russia's defense ministry said that Israel had carried out the overnight strike on the T-4 airfield between Homs and Palmyra, some 250 kilometers from Damascus.

"Two Israeli Air Force F-15 jets fired eight guided missiles at the T-4 airfield," the Russian defense ministry said in a statement. "The Israeli aircraft did not enter Syrian airspace and launched the strikes while flying over Lebanon."

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called the strike on the base a "very dangerous development."

Iran admitted that four of its soldiers had been "martyred" in the attack, while a foreign ministry spokesman in Tehran said the "Israeli strike in Syria would deepen the crisis in the country."

Israel has repeatedly stated that it will not allow Iran to establish itself militarily in Syria.

Latest Israeli Airstrike in Syria Likely Stopped New Iranian threat 1 Comment

Apr 9, 2018

chemical weapons
Iran proxies
Israel Air Force
Israel Syria Iran
Israel-Gaza border
Russia Syria


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Amid fallout from chemical weapons attack, Israel enforces its own red lines in Syria, while sending a message to Iran and Hezbollah.

By: Yaakov Lappin,

The recent missile strike on a military airbase deep in the central Syrian desert looks like the latest installment in a long-standing Israeli campaign to police its red lines against highly dangerous developments to its north.

Usually, such strikes are driven by incoming intelligence of threatening activity underway in Syria—activity that breaches Jerusalem's ban on Iran from constructing military bases in Syria, from setting up weapons factories there and from using Syria as a transit zone for the trafficking of advanced arms to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Iran is keen to cash in on its heavy investment and bloody involvement on behalf of the survival of Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime. That means attempting to expand the Iranian military presence on Syrian soil. Israel is determined to stop this at all costs.

By chance or not, the strike also comes amid fallout from the Syrian government's use of chemical weapons against rebel-held areas over the weekend, leading to warnings from President Donald Trump of likely military strikes in retaliation.

Nevertheless, the precise reason that triggered the latest strike remains unknown and can probably only be found in classified intelligence reports.

What is clear, however, is that over the past several years, Israel has reportedly carried out a series of strikes targeting the Iranian-led axis in Syria. If left unchecked, Iran would flood Syria with Shi'a militia groups and terrorist organizations, arm them with rockets and missiles, and set up terrorist cells. It would convert southern Syria into a new launch pad for attacks against Israel.

Iran's Quds Force, the elite overseas unit, and Hezbollah use Syria to manufacture and smuggle precision-guided ballistic missiles, heavy rockets, advanced surface-to-air missiles and surface-to-sea missiles. Israel has reportedly disrupted these activities on a regular basis.

Lebanon is already a well-established Iranian rocket base, filled to the brim with 120,000 rockets embedded in 200 Shi'a Lebanese villages. All of these projectiles are pointed at Israel. Under Iran's plans, Syria, too, would become a major threat.

The military base reportedly struck in the latest attack, known as "T4," has a history. In early February, Israeli fighter jets destroyed an Iranian drone control cabin that was stationed there, after Iranian operators sitting in it flew a drone into Israeli airspace. It's likely that the Iranian operators were killed in that attack.

According to reports that emerged on Monday, Iranian military personnel were killed in Monday's strike as well. That would seem to indicate that whatever was going on at the T4 airbase—hundreds of kilometers from the Israeli border—constituted a serious security threat to Israel, and that Iran has again tested the waters, seeing how far it can go in building up its military presence before provoking an Israeli response.

This dangerous pattern looks set to continue. Each incident represents a potential escalation point that can spiral into a wider conflict between Israel and the radical Shi'a axis that is taking over much of the Middle East. The Russian Complication

What makes this situation more tense is the fact that Russia acts as the air force of the Shi'a axis in Syria. Russian airpower helped turn the tide of the war in Assad's favor, a fact that has probably given the Syrian dictator the confidence to unleash the horrors of chemical warfare on Sunni areas and make a mockery of the international community in the process.

Russia has, through its waves of airstrikes in Syria, gained a warm-water port at Syria's Tartus naval base, and it has an airbase at Hmeimim on the Syrian coastline. It has moved advanced air-defense batteries to Syria. Moscow has used its intervention to position itself as a superpower actor in the Middle East. Meanwhile, the United States has decreased its influence in Syria to a bare minimum.

Israel seeks no conflict with Russia, but is unwilling to ignore the activities of Moscow's allies—something Israel has communicated to Russia repeatedly.

The Russians have so far been able to help de-escalate the situation by convincing their radical and dubious allies to tone down their responses to Israel's self-defense actions. The Iranian axis may not have needed much convincing; it remains fundamentally deterred by Israel's vast firepower and intelligence capabilities. Iran is keen on consolidating its control of Syria at this stage, rather than opening a new active front against Israel right now, which would risk its entire Syrian project. But if it succeeds in its goal of converting Syria into a new base of hostility towards Israel, there can be no doubt that sooner or later, it would activate this front.

These events put Russia's project in Syria at risk, and this poses a complication. Any full-scale conflict that erupts would place the Assad regime in existential threat, and Russia could see its investment go down the drain. Israel's Defiance

Statements released by Moscow on Monday indicate Russian displeasure at Israel's alleged actions.

Yet Israel has responded that it will not blink when it comes to defending its security.

It's also hard to ignore the fact that the alleged Israeli strike came hours after a horrendous chemical massacre was carried out, once again, by the Assad regime against a rebel-held area. Scenes of men, women and children murdered through the use chemical-weapons agents have once again flooded the world, with an ally of Iran and Russia—the Assad regime—again committing a ghastly crime against humanity.

As a result, it cannot be ruled out that the latest attack also served as an Israeli signal of intolerance to the usage of chemical weapons in the region.

Whatever triggered the strike, one thing seems certain: Iran will continue to test Israel's lines, and Israel will continue to enforce them.

African Migrants in Limbo After Israel Zigzags on Deportation April 09, 2018 12:21 PM

Robert Berger

African migrants and Israeli activists demonstrate against the Israeli government's plan to deport African migrants, in Jerusalem, April 4, 2018.
African migrants and Israeli activists demonstrate against the Israeli government's plan to deport African migrants, in Jerusalem, April 4, 2018.

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About 40,000 Africans in Israel are facing an uncertain future as Israel resumes efforts to deport them.

African migrants have been on a roller coaster ride since last week, when the Israeli government did an about-face.

First, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that Israel had reached a compromise with the U.N. Refugee Agency. Under the deal, some 16,000 Africans would be sent to Western countries, while more than 20,000 would be allowed to remain in Israel.

The migrants were elated, but not for long. Netanyahu abruptly cancelled the agreement the next day, after his right-wing coalition partners demanded that all the Africans be deported. The government rejects claims the Africans are refugees, describing them as economic migrants and "infiltrators."

Most of the migrants arrived in Israel from war-torn Eritrea and Sudan during the past decade.

Teklit Michael, a 29-year-old asylum seeker from Eritrea, says he does not know where he can work legally, he does not have a permanent place to live and he fears being deported or thrown in jail.

Some Israelis blame the migrants for rising crime and poverty in South Tel Aviv and accuse them of threatening the Jewish character of the state.

So the government is trying to revive a plan to send them to a third country in Africa, after Uganda backed out of a deal to take them in because it could not guarantee their safety.

Israeli human rights lawyer Avigdor Feldman says the government's policy is legally and morally unacceptable.

He says sending people to African countries where their lives would be in danger is a violation of international law. He adds that Israel has an ethical obligation to offer the Africans asylum, because Jews were refugees during the Holocaust.

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US: Israel Independence Day event cancelled over terror threat

Celebration in Miami marking Israel's 70th Independence Day cancelled following warnings of credible terror threats. Contact Editor
David Rosenberg, 09/04/18 22:07


An event planned in Miami to mark the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the State of Israel was cancelled Monday, after organizers said there were credible threats of terror attacks targeting the event.

The Florida-Israel Friendship League (FIFL), a South Florida-based organization "devoted to enhancing the connection between the communities of Florida and Israel," has held Israel Independence Day events in Miami over the past 11 years. ADVERTISING
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The group was planning to mark Israel's 70th Independence Day on May 14th, but was forced to cancel after it received warnings of terrorist plans to attack the event," Channel 20 reported.

On Monday, the FIFL released a statement to members, announcing that the May event had been cancelled.

"Due to the security situation: Unfortunately, the traditional main event of the Independence Day [celebrations], which the Friendship League has held for the past 11 years, will not take place. The decision to cancel the event was made out of concern for public safety. We take [this matter] very seriously, and hope that you do as well."

Jewish leaders in Miami told Channel 20 that organizers had been informed by security officials of credible threats by terrorists to carry out a major attack during the Israel Independence Day event.

German diplomats defend Kuwait Airways' 'no Israelis allowed' policy

A court in Frankfurt ruled in November that Kuwait Airways was within its rights to refuse service to an Israeli citizen.

By Benjamin Weinthal
April 8, 2018 07:42
3 minute read.


Berlin probes Kuwait Airways for discrimination against Israelis >
German court rules Kuwait airline is allowed to ban Israelis

Kuwait Airways

Kuwait Airways. (photo credit: STEVE FITZGERALD/WIKIMEDIA)

German diplomats have said accusations of antisemitism against Kuwait Airways for its practice of refusing Israeli passengers are exaggerated, triggering sharp criticism from the Simon Wiesenthal Center and a German lawyer who sued the airline.

The statement defending state-owned Kuwait Airways was first reported by the Düsseldorf-based business daily Handelsblatt on Monday.

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A court in Frankfurt ruled in November that Kuwait Airways was within its rights to refuse service to an Israeli citizen. The Israeli in the lawsuit had booked a flight on Kuwait Airways from Frankfurt to Bangkok.

Katharina Ziegler, a German Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, declined to comment on the record in response to a query from The Jerusalem Post addressed to Heiko Maas, the new foreign minister. Maas has promised improved German-Israel relations after the anti-Israel policies of his predecessor, Sigmar Gabriel. Germany's Foreign Ministry is widely viewed as one of the harshest critics of the Jewish state within Chancellor Angela Merkel's administration. The US- and EU-designated terrorist entity Hamas praised Gabriel in January for terming Israel an "apartheid regime."

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The Handelsblatt article, authored by Moritz Koch and Daniel Delhaes, alleged that there is little understanding within the Transportation Ministry for Scheuer's threatened sanctions against Kuwait Airways. The criticism of Kuwait Airways, wrote the paper without sourcing, was termed a "complete farce" by anonymous sources within the ministry. Indian airliner makes history by flying to Israel via Saudi airspace, March 23, 2018 (Reuters) Cancel
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German "diplomats told Handelsblatt that relations with an important Arab partner country are being jeopardized for an internal domestic campaign." The diplomats added that it was problematic that Kuwait Airways refuses to serve Israelis.

According to Handelsblatt, unnamed experts in the Transportation Ministry said if Kuwait Airways is penalized by Transportation Minister Andreas Scheuer, then "He will have to cancel the [aviation] agreements with other Arab states like Saudi Arabia and Iran." Saudi Arabia, Iran and other Arab states deny service to Israelis.

Nathan Gelbart, the Lawfare Project's German counsel and the attorney for the Israeli plaintiff suing Kuwait Airways, told the Post on Saturday that "Handelsblatt is quoting anonymous German diplomats who criticize Minister Andreas Scheuer`s pressure on Kuwait Airlines as exaggerated, and this quote completely lacks minimal journalistic standards and is not appropriate for comment."

Gelbart said, "Three federal governmental ministries have clearly condemned Kuwait Airways' policy of boycotting Israeli passengers departing from German airports, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs."

He added that "Kuwait Airways is the only airline boycotting passengers in Germany from only one country, even though they're booked on destinations they hold valid travel documents for: Israelis. Singling out Israelis as a target of discrimination and boycott meets all definitions of antisemitism. Letting this happen in Germany has an especially bitter taste, and fighting this phenomenon is just and right and definitely not exaggerated."

When asked about the German diplomat's comment, Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the head of the Jerusalem office of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, told the Post:

"This is clearly a case of a policy rooted in antisemitism. It has already been widely acknowledged that anti-Zionism is a form of antisemitism, and the stance adopted by Kuwait Airlines is clearly another example of this phenomenon."

Kuwait Airways dropped service between New York and London in 2015 after the US Department of Transportation ordered the airline to cease refusing to transport Israeli citizens between the US and any third country where they are allowed to disembark. Volker Beck, a Green Party politician, said on Friday, "Anyone who excludes citizens of the Jewish and democratic state from transportation violates anti-discrimination law and transportation law. Anyone who does not recognize this is a part of the problem." Jpost's featured videos


Jewish-American soldiers didn't just fight Nazis in WWII — they endured anti-Semitism

By Curt SchleierApril 5, 2018 11:56am

Rabbi Chaplain Robert Marcus, far left, with Jewish soldiers in 1944. (Tamara Green and Roberta Marcus Leiner)

(JTA) — "GI Jews: Jewish Americans in World War II" begins as many Holocaust documentaries do, with a history of the rise of Hitler and Nazism in Germany mixed with what is now standard archival footage of Brownshirts and Kristallnacht. Throw in interviews with some Jewish celebrities — in this case, Carl Reiner and his friend Mel Brooks wearing his old Army jacket — and it has all the workings of a typical PBS documentary.

But the film, which premieres April 11, on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day, quickly takes an unexpected turn. Jewish-American soldiers, the viewer learns, weren't only fighting Nazis during the war — they had to battle the anti-Semitic prejudice of many of their fellow soldiers.

All told, some 550,000 Jews served in World War II. A few had experienced anti-Semitism at home already in the form of "Gentiles Only" signs, for example, which were found at some public facilities across the country.

Mimi Rivkin, one of the 10,000 Jewish women who enlisted, a future member of the Women's Army Corps, recalled a more personal incident in public school: "Suddenly kids weren't playing with me. I asked one why and she said, `The teacher told us you're a Jew and we're not supposed to play with you.'"

But for the most part, these soldiers were immigrants or the children of immigrants who lived in largely Jewish urban areas, and it was a major culture shock for them to suddenly hear anti-Semitic slurs from their peers. In one case, a Jewish Marine chaplain assigned to accompany combat units was asked to conduct an interfaith service following the battle of Iwo Jima — until his fellow chaplains objected, forcing the military to conduct three separate services.

Jewish soldiers of the 329th Infantry at Rosh Hashanah services, somewhere between Beaugency and Orleans, France, in 1944. (Courtesy of the National Museum of American Jewish Military History)

Some friendships formed across religious lines. The film recounts the story of Master Sgt. Roddie Edmonds, a senior noncommissioned officer in a German prisoner of war camp. When the camp commander ordered all the Jews to step forward, he refused to allow it.

"We are all Jews," he said.

Threatened with a gun, Edmonds said, "You can shoot me, but you will have to shoot all of us, and when the war comes to an end you will be tried as a war criminal."

The commandant turned and walked away, and Edmonds was subsequently the first American soldier recognized at Yad Vashem as a Righteous Among the Nations.

The documentary is timely as anti-Semitism is on the rise throughout the world, but it came about by chance.

Roddie Edmonds was honored by Yad Vashem for sticking up for Jews in a German POW camp. (Screenshot from YouTube)

"I was actually working on another documentary [where] I had interviewed Jewish veterans and I started to hear stories about the anti-Semitism they'd experienced in barracks when they went [to Army camps] down south, and what it was like to serve in the war as Jews," Jewish filmmaker Lisa Ades told JTA. "I felt this was a story that had never been told. When you think about Jews in World War II, you think of them as victims."

The story had been told before, by historian Deborah Dash Moore (a senior adviser on the film) in her 2004 book, also titled "GI Jews," but Ades saw an opportunity to bring it to a larger audience. She began filming five years ago.

"We had to get these stories on tape while the veterans were still alive," Ades said. "They were grateful. They never had a chance to tell their stories before. They were ready to talk about them, finally after all these years." ADVERTISEMENT: We need to talk about death: Jewish approaches to end of life. Learn more. Get JTA's Daily Briefing in your inbox
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