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Syria: IDF Air-Missile Attack on Iranian Ammo Stores at Aleppo Darkens City

By DEBKAfile
The IDF Thursday morning closed Golan air space to civilian flights at altitudes over 5,000 feet. This was a precaution in case of a possible clash between Israel and the wake of Israel's aerial missile bombardment of Iranian military depots in Aleppo. Syrian opposition sources report that 7 Iranian officers and soldiers were killed in the IAF attack. Other sources describe the Iranian Guards headquarters in Aleppo as razed. The Syrian news agency reported that shortly after midnight, Israeli air force missiles blasted Iranian military facilities at the Sheikh Najar industrial zone north of Aleppo, Jibrin and the town's international airport. SANA says 70% of the town's power was knocked out and the town went dark, and the several Israel missiles were intercepted. Syrian opposition sources add that the Israeli strike targeted arms and ammunition depots belonging to the Iranian Al-Qods Brigades in the Aleppo region and explosions shook the town. This was Israel's first air and missile attack in Syria since the last meeting in Moscow between President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister and Defense Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Feb. 27; it came less than a week after Netanyahu returned home from Washington after US President Donald Trump signed a decree of recognition for Israeli sovereignty over the Golan. The attack also came just a month after the Iranian, Syrian and Iraqi chiefs of staff met in Damascus to chart steps for reopening the Syrian-Iraqi border and advancing Tehran's aspiration for a land bridge. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, during a two-day visit to Jerusalem last week, warmed that Al Qods chief, Gen. Qassem Soleimani "never rests for a single moment" when it comes to military activity against the US and Israel in the region. According to DEBKAfile's military and intelligence sources, Iran moved its military hub in Syria away from Damascus and further north in the past month. Iranian transport planes carrying weapons systems and ordinance for Hizbullah and the Shiite militias no longer put in at Damascus airport. They land at Aleppo. While relocating this hub, Tehran also reduced the numbers of Revolutionary Guards officers and men serving in Syria by some 30% – mainly to economize, since Iran's oil revenues have been drastically slashed by US sanctions. The renewed Israel assault on Iran's military supply pipeline to its surrogates in Syria coincided with a UN Security Council session called to condemn US recognition of the Golan as sovereign Israeli territory, with the support of a majority of members. Israeli Ambassador Danny Danon argued in his speech that no country in the world would think of handing over strategic territory to its greatest enemies. If it were not for Israel's control of the Golan, the Iranian army would be sitting on the banks of the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) which Israel would never allow. DEBKAfile's military sources added that already, Iranian officers and soldiers deployed in southern Syria had reached a point just 25km from Israel's inland lake.

Is the IDF Prepared for Palestinian Violence this Weekend?

By the Jerusalem Post
With a violent week behind it, Israel's security establishment is bracing for thousands of Palestinians to riot this weekend across the West Bank and Gaza Strip, marking Land Day and the first anniversary of the Great March of Return demonstrations along the Gaza front. Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh called on "our Palestinian people in Gaza, the occupied West Bank and abroad to participate in Land Day [March 30] and take part in the million-man march." Land Day commemorated the Israeli government's confiscation of Arab-owned land in the Galilee on March 30, 1976. Six unarmed citizens were killed and hundreds wounded and arrested in the ensuing riots and confrontations with the IDF and police. Last year on Land Day, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip began their Great March of Return with thousands of Gazans violently demonstrating along the security fence with Israel, demanding an end to the 12-year-long blockade of the coastal enclave. Close to 300 Gazans have been killed in the past year, including women and children as well as medics and journalists. The reinforcement of IDF troops began on Monday, following the firing of a long-range rocket which destroyed a home in Moshav Mishmeret, some 120 km from where it was launched in Rafah. Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi ordered the mobilization of a divisional brigade and three regular brigades, as well as the call up of additional reserve forces. He also canceled the exchange of IDF battalions in multiple regions that had been scheduled for later this week. A quick drive to Israel's South reveals the tanks and armored personnel carriers parked in fields close to the Gaza border waiting for the order to enter Gaza. But the order to begin a ground operation never materialized. Instead, a shaky ceasefire was reached. But the IDF did not cancel the deployment of the extra troops. The army is anticipating an exceptionally violent weekend along the fence, not only on Friday when the usual riots take place but also on Saturday when Palestinians will mark both the first anniversary of the Great March of Return and Land Day. The IDF is not ruling out any scenario for this upcoming weekend, including the breaching of the security fence by thousands of rioters and Hamas operatives who would try to abduct soldiers or civilians and bring them back inside the Hamas-run enclave. As such, the IDF has also deployed additional snipers who have been stationed to defend against Gazan sniper fire and explosive devices were thrown by Palestinians. Unmanned aerial devices with observation equipment and crowd control measures, as well as combat helicopters, have also been deployed. During the violent weekly protests, Gazans have been burning tires and hurling stones and marbles, as well as other types of violence which include the throwing of grenades and improvised explosive devices (including military-grade explosives) towards troops. Ball bearings and other projectiles are also launched by high-velocity slingshots towards Israeli forces along the border. Also, mines and booby-trapped explosive devices with delayed detonation devices are also laid along the fence during the riots under cover of smoke and crowds, and "pose a direct threat to the lives and safety of IDF forces operating in the border area," the military said. In response to the protests, the IDF has already "substantially" increased its forces deployed on the Gaza border and all troops have undergone "specially developed training designed to replicate the expected elements of the Gaza border events." Israel has also stationed counter-terrorism forces in communities along the Gaza border to rapidly respond to any infiltration or military attacks. The IDF has also deployed Iron Dome missile defense systems across the country should Gazan groups launch rockets towards Israel's home front. The IDF has also constructed sand berms to provide defenses for IDF forces along the border, and also dug long trenches and laid barbed wire behind these berms in an attempt to delay crowds and vehicles from reaching Israeli civilian communities following any large-scale infiltration. The military is also currently developing a fortified vehicle that can shoot water at great distances. Once operational, it is expected these water cannons will help with riot control.

A Valuable Tool for Ending Middle East Violence

By Arlene J. Schar and Dr. David Leffler (Commentary) Tensions are high between Gaza and Israel as escalated attacks between the two have recently occurred. Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu "…ordered that the [IDF border] units be reinforced, that tools be added, in preparation for an extensive campaign. All citizens of Israel know that if an extensive campaign is necessary – we will go into it strong and secure after all, other possibilities have been exhausted." One possible tool which Netanyahu has not yet utilized is a little known means of preventing violence, war, and terrorism: Invincible Defense Technology (IDT). The practical components of IDT are the non-religious Transcendental Meditation (TM) and the more advanced TM-Sidhi programs. When large groups of experts practice these programs together, a powerful field effect of coherence and peace is generated that spills over into the surrounding population. Extensive scientific research has repeatedly confirmed measurable decreases in war deaths, terrorism, and crime when IDT is utilized. Due to this research the non-profit organization, Global Union of Scientists for Peace (GUSP) advocates this simple and cost-effective approach for reducing social stress (see: Inexpensively, the Israeli military could train and maintain a group of about 800 experts in the advanced IDT strategy. This Prevention Wing of the Military would practice IDT programs twice a day in large groups, defusing social tensions. The collective consciousness of all populations will rise through the influence of greater harmony and peace. Those who have engaged in violence will no longer do so. Studies have shown repeatedly that this method works – and will continue to work as long as the peace-creating group is maintained. IDT is not restricted to the military. Any large group of experts trained in the advanced IDT techniques can accomplish the same goals of alleviating terror and violence by practicing this approach in groups twice a day. These groups could be comprised of congregations at places of worship, prisoners, the elderly in retirement homes, even schoolchildren. The important factor is that the techniques be performed by trained experts consistently in groups twice a day. In this way, the chains of violence will finally be broken. At this stressful time, it is not enough for governments and militaries to take action. We have to examine our values and honestly assess whether we are promoting peace and tolerance, or fostering hatred in our everyday speech and actions. Learning the Transcendental Meditation technique and practicing it twice a day could help shift our culture from hate to love. A culture that promotes hatred will surely continue to foster violence. To stop these attacks, we must shift our cultural values to peace and tolerance. It is up to each one of us to now take responsibility for the world we have created by together consciously creating a world without violence, war, and terrorism. (Arlene J. Schar has served as Dr. Leffler's Executive Assistant at the Center for Advanced Military Science (CAMS) since 2015. She has edited and co-authored many of Dr. Leffler's articles. Leffler served as an Associate of the Proteus Management Group at the Center for Strategic Leadership, US Army War College. Currently, he serves as the Executive Director at CAMS.)

Wives of Israeli Men Killed in Ethiopian Airlines Crash Could be in Limbo

A special rabbinical court has been set up in Israel to determine the marital status of the wives of two Israeli men who died in the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines plane. The Israelis killed in the crash were identified as Avraham Matsliah, 49, from Maale Adumim, and Shimon Reem, 55, of Zichron Yaakov. The court ordered by Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef must prove that the men got on the plane and died in the crash on March 10 near Addis Ababa, The Jerusalem Post reported. Without such proof, the women will remain agunot, or chained wives, who are prevented from remarrying. Because neither of the men's remains has yet to be found, their families have not yet been able to sit shiva, the Jewish ritual mourning period. Volunteers from Israel's Zaka search-and-rescue organization and an Israeli forensics team have had limited access to the crash site and have been unable to complete the research necessary for the rabbinical court. Airline officials last week began delivering 2-pound bags of scorched earth from the crash site to the bereaved families to bury in place of their loved ones' bodies. Death certificates were expected to be issued by the end of the month.

The Secret Nazi History of Einstein Bros. Bagels

By Emily Burack (Commentary-Kveller)
The second wealthiest family in Germany, the Reimann family, owns Einstein Bros. Bagels. They also have controlling stakes in pretty much anywhere you'd meet your bubbe for a meal, like Krispy Kreme Donuts, Panera Bread, Pret a Manger, Peet's Coffee, and more. Just why are we writing about the Reimanns, who are worth roughly $37 billion? Well, take a gander at this recent shocking announcement, that states, "new research had shown that the company's Nazi-era directors, Albert Reimann and his son, Albert Reimann Jr., were dedicated National Socialists who committed violence and abuse against slave laborers forced to work for their company's factories and in their private villa." They discovered they used slave labor and had significant links to the Third Reich. And they were Nazis!! So, yes… to recap: The family that runs a bagel chain — one with a Jewish last name on it, though it's not their own — were literally Nazis. As writer Helen Rosner tweeted, "so I'm just gonna float here that a Nazi-money family owning a bagel business with a Jewish name on it is maybe a tiny bit of a problem on a number of levels." Just a tiny problem. The Washington Post also reports, "Other disclosures in the report include revelations that the two men were anti-Semites and avowed supporters of Adolf Hitler, and Reimann Sr. donated to the paramilitary SS force as early as 1933." Twitter had a field day with the story, primarily joking about how bad the bagels are. "Making shitty bagels may be the most passive-aggressive form of anti-Semitism yet," one user wrote. Another tweeted, "Is anyone surprised though, their bagels are 100% a crime against the Jewish people." (LOL, yes. Their bagels are really so bad.) And although these jokes are dark, perhaps it's the best way to cope with the news that the billionaires behind one of America's largest bagel chains are Nazis.

Western Wall Nixed for Eurovision

Tourist attractions located in Judea and Samaria will be absent from the imagery in this summer's Eurovision Song Contest slated to take place in Israel, Channel 12 reported Thursday. According to the report, even the Western Wall will largely be absent from the contest. Typically, before the song entry of a country is presented, a short clip is shown of that country's delegation at various tourist attractions in the host country. Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation "Kan," which is co-producing the contest, has chosen not to include tourist sites from Judea and Samaria in the clips, and neither will the Western Wall appear in the clips of any of the delegations - except for that of Israel. Kan said that the decision was "artistic only" and was not a result of coercion by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which also produces the contest. An EBU official confirmed to Channel 12 that the EBU had not given such an instruction, but hinted that Kan wanted to avoid an "embarrassing situation" in which the resentment of countries might have drawn negative headlines in Europe.

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