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Iran Threatens Israel and `Its Masters' after Striking Syrian Airbase, Killing 7 Iranians

By World Israel News

Following an air strike on the Syrian Tiyas Military Airbase on Monday, subsequently attributed to the Israeli military, Iran's Ali Akbar Velayati issued several threats targeting Israel. Velayati, who serves as a top adviser to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, made the threats on Tuesday speaking to the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA). Reports after the strike indicated that at least 14 were killed, with Iranian officials announcing that seven members of its military died in the attack. One of the dead was identified as a colonel in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' air force. The Syrian media claimed that Syrian forces intercepted eight out of the 20 missiles launched at the site. Responding to the strike, Velayati told IRNA "Defenders of the holy shrines are still standing by the Syrian people and government and will continue their fight against the enemies of the Islamic Ummah, particularly the Zionist regime and its masters. The crimes will not remain unanswered." Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif attempted to connect Monday's air strike to recent gains in the Syrian civil war purportedly achieved by brutal dictator Bashar Assad's forces. "The Zionist regime and the US have in different stages rushed to the scene to boost the morale of terrorists," he said, according to Iran's Press TV. "Whenever the terrorists face defeats, the Zionist regime launches operations and so do the Americans," Zarif declared.

Israel on High Alert, Prepares for Possible Iranian Retaliation after Strike on Syrian Base

By Ha'aretz

Iran directly threatened Israel on Tuesday following an airstrike on a Syrian air force Monday that killed at least seven Iranian advisers. Israel is taking the Iranian threats very seriously: The northern border is on high alert amid concerns of a possible revenge attack by Iran or Hizbullah, as well as a possible U.S. strike against the Assad regime in retaliation to the chemical attack at Duma. The airstrike, which Iran, Syria and Russia all blame on Israel, targeted Syria's T-4 airbase near Homs. According to foreign media reports, the strike damaged various capabilities that the Iranians had begun to deploy at the base. Israel has not claimed responsibility for the strike. The T4 airbase is one of the key sites where the Iranian Revolutionary Guards' Quds force is deployed in Syria. According to Arab media reports, the fatalities included a Revolutionary Guards colonel who was responsible for Iran's drone operations in Syria. The strike also apparently killed or wounded other officers and damaged other armaments aside from the drones. The armaments in question could have reduced the Israel Air Force's freedom of operation in Syrian airspace. Ali Akbar Velayati, an adviser to Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said in interview with the Hezbollah-affiliated Lebanese television station Al Mayadeen on Tuesday that "Israel's crime won't go unanswered." "I don't know who attacked in Syria," said Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman during a visit to the Golan Heights town of Katzrin on Tuesday morning. "But I know one thing for certain: We will not allow Iran to set up shop in Syria, regardless of the cost." This is far from the first time Israel has warned that it would see a transfer of Iranian military assets to Syria or the establishment of Iranian military sites there as a "red line" which it will act to enforce. On Wednesday, the security cabinet is slated to meet to discuss the tension on the northern border. At the meeting, the intelligence agencies will give the ministers their assessments of recent developments. The Israeli army is also preparing for another day of Palestinian demonstrations near Israel's border with the Gaza Strip. But it is also making efforts, with Egyptian help, to calm the mood in the Strip.

In Unusual Praise, Arab Social Media Users Laud Israel for 'Putting Iran in its Place'


Arab social media users on Monday lauded Israel following a reported airstrike on a Syrian air base. In stark contrast to the condemnations and warnings against Israel by officials in Syria, Russia and Iran, many ordinary Arabs used social media to urge Israel to continue bombing Syrian-Iranian weapons positions across the war-torn country. After learning of Saturday night's suspected chemical attack on the rebel-held Syrian town of Duma and seeing the shocking images of the victims, many of whom were children, many in the Arab world took to Facebook, Twitter and other online platforms to encourage Israel to continue raiding Syrian President Bashar Assad's arsenals. "We must tell the truth, Israel is the only state that punishes Assad for the massacres he carries out," Khadr Abu al-Heij, a Palestinian living in Sweden, wrote on Al-Jazeera's popular comments portal. "This is a shameful embarrassment for the Arab states. While Arab leaders just talk and say how horrible the massacre in Syria is, Israel keeps quiet and acts. Arabs, Syrians, Lebanese – who is the real enemy of the Arabs? Israel, or Iran that conquered Syria unopposed?" he wrote. Egyptian Ismail bin Ismail also called on Israel to continue striking Syria, writing, "It turns out Israel not only has courage but also the brains to inflict losses on Iran in Syria. If there is one state that puts Iran in its place, it is Israel. It is no wonder that Damascus hides behind Russia and Iran. Assad is afraid of [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu and [Defense Minister Avigdor] Lieberman." Lebanese Bassel al-Hassan wrote that Israel must continue its strikes in Syria, even at the cost of violating Lebanese airspace. "Media reports say that the Israeli planes attacked from Lebanese territory, so why is Hizbullah quiet? Hizbullah works hand in hand with the Shiites in Iran and betrays its Arab brothers in Syria. Iran and Syria, with the assistance of Hizbullah and Shiite militias, conquered Syria by massacring the Sunni population and we, the Arabs, keep quiet," he wrote on Facebook. "Thankfully, Israel is there to avenge the blood of our brothers. Luckily for the Arabs, Israel is unwilling to accept Iranian control in Syria. If it wasn't in Israel's interest, no Arab country would have stopped Iran. Where are the Arab leaders? They abandoned their people, just as they abandoned the Palestinians."

Defense Minister Declares Slain Gaza Photojournalist 'Terrorist'

By the Jerusalem Post

Gazan photo journalist Yaser Murtaja was a salaried senior member of Hamas's military wing, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said on Tuesday. "The photographer was a terrorist," Liberman told reporters in Katzrin on the Golan Heights. Murtaja was one of nine Palestinians fatally shot by the IDF during last Friday's "Great March of Return" protest on the Gaza border. Liberman did not provide any substantiation on the source of his claims. According to some media reports he may have been standing 100 meters from the Gaza security fence when he was shot. The IDF has warned Palestinians that those who come that close to the barrier do so at risk to their lives. The story of the 30-year-old photographer who was shot in the stomach while wearing a flak vest marked "PRESS" and taking pictures of the protest immediately garnered international headlines. His photographs as well as a picture of him with his two-year-old daughter were widely publicized on social media. In the cover photograph on his Facebook page, he has a camera with a large lens strapped on his shoulder and he is holding a drone camera over his head. On March 24 he posted an aerial shot of the Gaza City shoreline, with the following words, "My only dream is to travel, I wish to capture this scene from the air, not from the ground. I am 30, live in Gaza and never traveled." Liberman told reporters that Murtaja had used his drone to gather information about IDF soldiers on the border. Murtaja had a rank equivalent to that of a captain in Hamas's armed wing, Izzadin Kassam, where he has been on the payroll since 2011, the defense minister said. "I hope that all those journalists and media outlets that talked about the poor journalist Murtaja who did his job faithfully, will publish all the facts correctly," Liberman said. This is another example of how Hamas members work disguised as journalists, ambulance crews and patients." The prime minister's spokesman David Keyes also tweeted about Murtaja's military role in Hamas, and asked reporters who had called him a journalist to correct the record. But Murtaja, the co-founder of the Gaza-based Ain Media Company, was well known for his photos and videos. His company was used by major media outlets including Al Jazeera and the BBC. The Associated Press reported that Ain Media had recently received an $11,700 grant from the US government. In a statement on its media page, Ain Media claimed that the IDF had targeted Murtaja. "We confirm that Yaser Murtaja was filming in an area that does not pose a threat to the occupation and was not operating a drone camera on the day as the occupation claims," Ain Media said.

Palestinian Collaborator Claims Israel Refused him Residency

By YnetNews

A Palestinian from the Tulkarem Governorate in the West Bank who was recruited by Israeli security services in the 1990s and forced to flee to Israel after his cover was compromised, has lived in Tel Aviv for more than two decades—now with his young son—without a permanent residency permit and without a legal course to earn a living. "I love this country but feel like it abandoned me," said the agent, identified as "A.", tearfully in a conversation with Ynet while appealing to Interior Minister Aryeh Deri for a permanent residency permit that will allow him to earn a living. A., in his 40s, was recruited in 1996 by an Israeli agent. He said that for several years he endangered his life to help Israel locate and arrest wanted persons in the West Bank. "In one of our activities, after we finished capturing a wanted person, my agent told me that I had to flee urgently because I was exposed," he recounted. "I came to Tel Aviv and did not ask the state for anything. My operator would meet with me every few weeks and give me a Talkman card (a prepaid Israeli SIM Card) so that I could talk to him on the phone and some money in cash." Later he returned to work again for the security services and was asked to recruit agents in east Jerusalem, but at some point his "employment" was terminated. Last year, A. was almost expelled back to the Palestinian Authority after his Civil Administration permits expired. At the last minute, however, it was decided to extend his stay until the end of 2018, by virtue of family unification with his son from his ex-wife, who has Israeli citizenship. According to A., all his requests to the Ministry of the Interior to receive legal status fell on deaf ears, and he says that he was told by the ministry that it was impossible to give him a residency permit based on the documents he submitted to them. He claims that all his attempts to obtain clarification on this from the relevant officials at the Interior Ministry were met with evasive responses. "I hope that Minister Deri or someone else will help me because I'm sick of this life," he pleaded. "I have to take care of my kid, but I'm stuck. I can't rent an apartment, start a business or work because I do not have an Israeli ID card. I cannot go back to the (Palestinian) territories because I am under threat—there is a bounty from Hamas and the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades on my head. "I love this country and know that here none of my enemies will hurt me, but on the other hand they don't allow me to live here. I pray that the relevant parties understand that an injustice has been done and correct it before Independence Day." The Population and Immigration Authority said in response that "the status of collaborators is solely based on the recommendation of the (Israeli) security services," noting there was no such recommendation for him and stressing that if he feels his life is in danger, he should "contact the relevant authorities." The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories contradicted A.'s claims, saying that "on December 24, 2017, a request from him for a permit to stay in Israel was received. The application was examined with the relevant authorities and approved on the same day, so the above mentioned may stay in Israel."

Jewish-American soldiers Didn't Just Fight Nazis in WWII — They Endured Anti-Semitism


"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 Wednesday. 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. 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 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."

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