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Israel says it Can Fight More Than One War at a Time

By Newsweek
Condemning an Iranian presence in neighboring countries, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned that his country was prepared to fight more than one war at a time. Israel and Iran have long swapped existential threats, with the latter claiming influential allies such as the Shiite Muslim Hizbullah movement active in both its native Lebanon as well as Syria, two countries bordering Israel. Just days after his own outgoing top military commander admitted Israel's role in backing an insurgency in Syria, Netanyahu dismissed Iranian claims that Tehran only played an advisory role in Syria's civil war. And he warned Iran to exit the war-torn country that has been repeatedly targeted by semisecret Israeli strikes. "I advise them to get out of there fast because we will continue our offensive policy as we promised and as we do without fear and without pause," Netanyahu told an audience gathered to inaugurate incoming chief of staff Lieutenant General Aviv Kochavi. Netanyahu vowed to continue developing Israel's advanced military capabilities, promising to "ensure a crushing blow against both close and distant enemies" and prepare the country for a "multitheater campaign." Israel has extensive experience fighting wars on multiple fronts. Upon its 1948 establishment, the country first battled a coalition of Arab states opposed to the displacement of Palestinians and would go on to fight two more wars against its hostile neighbors. Though Israel technically remains at war with Lebanon to the north and Syria to the northwest, an increasingly powerful Iran has emerged as the country's arch foe in recent years. Israel has fought two major wars with Iran's top regional partner, Hizbullah, along with a series of border skirmishes. Upon the outbreak of a civil war prompted by Western and Gulf Arab support for insurgents attempting to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, an ally of Iran and Russia, Hizbullah and other revolutionary Shiite Muslim forces came to the leader's aid, compelling Israel to launch airstrikes and to support rebel groups until the border areas were retaken by the Syrian government last summer. Israel has long contended that its aid was limited to humanitarian assistance, but outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, Foreign Policy and Newsweek reported on direct military backing for groups attempting to overthrow the Syrian government. On Saturday, outgoing Israeli chief of staff Gadi Eisenkot confirmed that his forces supplied Syrian insurgents "for self-defense" and expanded upon a previous assessment by Israeli Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz estimating in September that Israel took "military action more than 200 times within Syria itself" in the past two years" against suspected Iranian and Iran-backed targets. Eisenkot stated that Israel conducted "thousands of attacks without taking responsibility and without asking for credit," including dropping 2,000 bombs in 2018 alone, in a campaign that killed "only a few dozen Iranians." A day after the interview was published, Netanyahu himself acknowledged Israel's involvement in "hundreds" of attacks in Syria, including airstrikes against an alleged Iranian weapons depot in Damascus over the weekend.

On Israel's northern flank, the military has begun destroying cross-border tunnels allegedly dug by Hizbullah. Israel has accused Lebanon of allowing Hizbullah to maintain de facto control of the country's southern regions and the precarious ceasefire between the two countries received renewed media spotlight last month after footage emerged appearing to show a Lebanese patrol blocking Israeli attempts to lay wire along the mutually contested border. Israel's involvement in Syria has not only frustrated neighbors, however. In 2015, Russia staged a direct military intervention in Syria, helping the armed forces and allied militias retake territories lost to rebels and jihadis, including the Islamic State terrorist group (ISIS) and Al-Qaeda, which held territories near the Israeli border until as recently as last fall. Tensions between Israel and the Syrian campaign just across the border sparked a major spike in tensions, as well as some cross-border incidents, though a wider regional conflict was avoided. Russia has attempted to balance its strategic relationships with both Israel and Iran, but a deadly September incident in which a Russian Ilyushin Il-20 surveillance plane was accidentally downed by allied Syrian anti-aircraft systems during a surprise Israeli raid prompted Moscow to blame Israel for its uninvited intervention. As a result, Russia installed upgraded S-300 defense systems in Syria, though it was unknown if they were yet operational. The international dynamics of Syria's multifaceted conflict have been further complicated by President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw troops backing the U.S.-led ground campaign against ISIS. White House national security adviser John Bolton traveled to Jerusalem to assure Netanyahu that the U.S. would continue to support Israeli interests against Iran, but Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan deeply criticized the comments, in which Bolton also suggested that Turkey would not attack U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters considered terrorists by Ankara due to an ongoing insurgency at home. As fellow U.S. allies Turkey and Syrian Kurds feuded, Erdogan and Netanyahu have also recently condemned one another, leaving Washington's alliances further fractured.

Netanyahu Slams Iran's Failed Satellite Launch as Covert Missile Test

By United with Israel, Israel Hayom & Reuters

Israel's prime minister blasted the Islamic Republic, which unsuccessfully launched a satellite this week that appears to be linked to its covert program to develop nuclear weapons. While Iran characterized its recent spacecraft launch as nothing more than an "innocent satellite," Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu identified it as "the first stage of an intercontinental missile" Iran is developing in violation of international agreements. Netanyahu says the launch is part of the Iranian government's lies, beginning with its denial of trying to develop a nuclear weapon and its flaunting of the nuclear accord reached with world powers. Speaking at a ceremony welcoming Israel's incoming military chief, Netanyahu said that Israel is committed to exposing Iran, which "lies all the time." Iran announced earlier on Tuesday that it had conducted one of at least two satellite launches it plans despite criticism from the United States. Iran admitted that while it had launched the Payem satellite, it never reached orbit. According to Iran's Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi, the satellite carrier rocket failed to reach "necessary speed" in the third stage, though it successfully passed the first and second stages of the launch. "Iran is lying when it says it now wants to launch a satellite into space. In practice, it is trying to launch an intercontinental missile," Netanyahu said. Earlier in January, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Iran's plans for sending satellites into orbit demonstrate the country's defiance of a U.N. Security Council resolution that calls on Iran to undertake no activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons. The United States is concerned that the long-range ballistic technology used to put satellites into orbit can also be used to launch warheads. Iran has said its space vehicle launches and missile tests were not violations and would continue. The satellite was intended to be used for imaging and communications purposes and was mounted with four cameras, according to the report. The satellite was planned to stay at an altitude of 500 km for approximately three years. Iran launched its first domestically built satellite, the OMID ("Hope") research and telecommunications satellite in 2009, on the 30th anniversary of the country's 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Israeli Man Threatened, Followed by Arabs and Then Arrested


Three weeks ago in the middle of Shabbat, a new immigrant from France left for a walk in the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood of Jerusalem. On his way he met eight Arabs who began to provoke him and curse him. He chanted "Am Yisrael Chai" towards them and continued walking. A few minutes later the Jew discovered the group wanted to follow him accompanied with threats, shouts, and curses while holding rocks in their hands. He understood the situation could develop into a dangerous incident and pointed to the weapon in his possession. The Arabs photographed him and called the police. A patrol car stopped the man who had been attacked. Attorney Chaim Bleicher, who accompanies the Jew, told Arutz Sheva "he was brought to the police station on Saturday and told he was accused of threatening with a weapon. At the police station he saw the Arabs who a moment ago were threatening him and trying to harm him sitting and snickering in his face." Bleicher claims the police were too lenient with the attackers. "The man complained to the police about the assault and was asked why he didn't inform the police of an attack. He answered it was Shabbat and he didn't have a mobile phone." The attorney wonders why the police hastened to arrest the young man without thoroughly examining the case. "We sent a letter to the police and demanded the attackers be arrested for questioning. We know Armon Hanatziv is a very sensitive place, where the police need to be more sensitive to civilians who are attacked and encourage citizens to defend themselves. "It's time for the police to know who's endangering the public and act against it, not to cause citizens to fear to defend themselves," said Bleicher.

Near Disaster After Crew Falls Asleep in Runaway Tank

A runaway tank nearly caused disaster in southern Israel recently, after the tank's crew fell asleep. The incident occurred at an IDF training area in southern Israel during an officer's training course, according to a report by Channel 2, after the tank unit commander had left the vehicle, which has been identified as a Merkava MK IV tank. The commander had instructed the crew to remain inside the tank, with the vehicle's special brake system activated, which should have prevented any movement. In addition, the tank's turret was locked into position, to prevent any accidental rotation. Despite these precautions, when the commander returned to the vehicle, he found that the tank had disappeared. The 70-ton tank was later found nearly 2,000 feet away, after having crossed Highway 40. It was later discovered that no one was in control of the tank at the time, as the crew were asleep as the Merkava cut across the highway in what could have been a traffic disaster. An IDF spokesperson confirmed that the mishap took place, and said army investigators were probing the incident. "During training which took place as part of a tank officers' training course in southern Israel, a tank slid down several hundred meters and cross a road. There were no injuries or damage caused by the incident. This is an unusual security incident, which will be investigated with the goal of preventing similar accidents from occurring the future."

Rabbi: Blood Moon is a Sign Telling Jews to `Come to Israel'


A popular rabbi in Israel says a coming blood moon eclipse is a message for Jews to come home. Blood moons long have been associated with significant events for the nation of Israel, and the coming event is known as a "super blood wolf moon eclipse" because it will be a total lunar eclipse for parts of North America at a time when the full moon is at the closet point of its orbit to the Earth. It also is the first such event in January. In 2014 and 2015, the world witnessed four consecutive total eclipses of the moon, known as a tetrad. Now according to a report from Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz in Breaking Israel News, Rabbi Yekutial Fish said, "When nature does something unusual, like an eclipse, we should certainly pay heed. Nonetheless, the lunar eclipse over North America bears a message for the U.S. and the Jews. It clearly is telling the Jews that they need to come to Israel. "When an emissary is on a mission from the king, he is under the protection of the king," Fish said. "When a Jew does the will of God, he is protected. The Jews were sent into exile, dispersed throughout the world, to spread the light of Torah. As soon as that mission is over, they are no longer under the protection of the king. "According to the prophets, the end of days will signal the end of the kingdom of Edom." Berkowitz explained that refers to the nation descended from biblical Jacob's twin brother, Esau. Edom eventually evolved into the Roman Empire. "This is the period we are entering now," Fish told BIN. "There will be great tragedies that will bring down governments and great human suffering. Only by doing God's will can tragedies be avoided or lessened. "Anyone who is not Jewish can do God's will wherever he is. For the Jews who are still in the exile, the only way they can avoid tragedy is by coming to Israel." WND reported Pastor Mark Biltz, the man who discovered that such events historically have been accompanied by significant developments for the nation of Israel, is keeping an eye on the next lunar eclipse. Biltz bases his celestial observations on Genesis 1:14, which says the heavenly bodies serve "as signs to mark sacred times." He explains his findings in his book "Blood Moons," which draws from earlier works, "God's Day Timer" and "The Feasts of the Lord." He noted that the 2014 and 2015 blood moons fell on Jewish holidays. The eclipse this month, he said, "just so happens" to be on the date of President Trump's inauguration two years ago. "Trump was born on the night of June 14, 1946, within 15 minutes of a total lunar eclipse and 700 days before the state of Israel was established. When he was sworn in as president on January 20, 2017, he was 70-years-old, seven months and seven days. Also, very significantly, the Super Blood Moon also falls on the Jewish holiday of Tu B'Shevat. Even more significant is the fact that there was another Blood Moon on Tu B'Shevat last year! Last year the blood moon was seen over the Middle East and this year will be seen over the U.S." Biltz said that from a biblical standpoint, having two blood moons on the same biblical holiday two years in a row is very significant. "The Bible says that everything is to be established by two or three witnesses," he said. "The Bible says in Psalms 89 that God's covenant with Israel and King David is forever and the sun and the moon are to be His faithful witnesses in heaven confirming that." It is the first of three super moons in 2019. The others are on Feb. 19 and March 21. Biltz' newest book, "Decoding the Antichrist and the End Times," will be released March 5.

30,000 Download App to Document Stories of Jews from Arab States

By Israel Hayom

Some 30,000 people have downloaded a smartphone app for documenting the personal stories of Jewish immigrants to Israel from Arab states and Iran in the three weeks since the app first launched. An initiative of the Social Equality Ministry, the Hebrew-language Seeing the Voices app is available for free and allows Israelis from Arab countries and Iran to record and upload videos of them telling their stories. The app is one prong of the Seeing the Voices initiative to tell the story of immigrants from Arab countries and Iran, whose story has been marginalized in Israel. The government has invested 10 million shekels ($2.7 million) in the project to date.

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