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Middle East Update 019


Tragically this week, we learned in Israel that Jewish teens allegedly murdered a Palestinian woman. Some on the far right have criticized our police for the way they obtained confessions (though there is no evidence of wrongdoing). Nevertheless, when it is Arabs committing terror, we are aggressive in seeking justice. While I identify far more with the Israeli right than the left, in this case, the RIGHT is WRONG. (To be clear, the vast majority of Israelis support our police in dealing with this issue) Read more below. As always, your prayers for our nation are appreciated.  Ron and MMI Team


Nat. Sec. Adv. John Bolton to Israel: US Syrian withdrawal will keep Israel’s safety in mind

Visiting Israel this week, U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton sought to reassure Israel that America’s decision to withdraw American troops from Syria will not endanger the Jewish state and is conditioned on finishing off Islamic State’s presence in the region.

“There are objectives that we want to accomplish that condition the withdrawal,” Bolton told reporters in Jerusalem. “The timetable flows from the policy decisions that we need to implement.”

Bolton with Netanyahu this week.

Bolton’s statement is confirmation that U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement last month of a complete troop withdrawal has been slowed. This is good news to Israel supporters and those who see a US presence in the Middle East as a stabilizing force and a deterrent to Islamic extremism.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked Bolton for backing Israel’s right to defend itself, but also said it is time for the U.S to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

“The Golan Heights is tremendously important for our security,” Netanyahu said at a news conference with Bolton. “When you’re there, you’ll understand why we’ll never leave the Golan Heights, and why it’s important for all countries to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.” Before Israel took the Golan Heights from Syria in 1967, Syria could literally look down on Sea of Galilee towns and bomb them.

Bolton reaffirmed that Israel’s defense and that of “our other friends in the region is absolutely assured.” Those who fought with the U.S. against Islamic State are “taken care of,” Bolton said, hinting the surprise that Israel and other Arab states are cooperating against the Iran/Syria/Lebanon alliance.

“President Trump has said repeatedly that he backs Israel’s right to self-defense — he says it proudly and unequivocally,” Bolton said. “And I would just say to any nation in this region, or not in this region, that has any doubt about America’s support for Israel’s self-defense – it better think about it again.” That was probably a message to Turkey and Iran.

Bolton toured the ancient tunnels beneath the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City, angering Palestinian officials. In May 2017, six months before recognizing the city as Israel’s capital, Donald Trump became the first sitting American president to visit the Western Wall.

Bolton Snubbed in Turkey

Bolton headed next to Turkey for talks focused on the situation in Syria. However the president (dictator) of Turkey refused to meet with him. The issue was the very thing that many have been concerned about since President Trump announced a rapid withdrawal from Syria.

The Kurds who assisted US troops in crushing ISIS are considered to be a terrorist organization by the Turks. There is no doubt that had the US followed through with the withdrawal, that Erdogan, Turkey’s brutal leader, would have unleashed a bloodbath on the Kurds. This was why Secretary of Defense Mattis resigned. Fortunately, the US administration has made an about face on this issue, saying that the US will not leave Syria unless the Kurds are protected and ISIS is completely defeated.

This is a reversal from Trump’s stunning announcement last month that ISIS had been defeated and US troops were coming home, “now.”

The president of Turkey was none too excited to hear that his offensive against the Kurds would not be allowed and the US would be staying in Syria. He refused to even meet with Bolton, saying at a speech before Parliament,

“Bolton’s remarks in Israel are not acceptable. It is not possible for me to swallow this…Bolton made a serious mistake. If he thinks that way, he is in a big mistake. We will not compromise.”

Gaza militants float balloon bouquet with explosives into Israel

Palestinians floated an explosive device into Israel on a model drone and a cluster of colorful balloons on Sunday.

Thankfully the device landed in an open field and was neutralized by police before causing damage or injuries. But residents of southern Israel have spent months enduring thousands of incendiary balloons, explosives and other devices which have caused millions of shekels in damage to fields and property.

What is particularly hideous about this, is that the Islamic terrorists are targeting children, who would naturally run to the balloons. It simply reveals how depraved this people are, who give themselves over to blood and death.

Israel children have had to be trained to avoid balloons. Less than two weeks ago, a different cluster of balloons with an explosive device landed close to the fence of a kindergarten.

Shin Bet releases footage of Jewish teenaged terror suspects burning Israeli flag

Israeli police have arrested five Jewish teens for the murder of a Palestinian mother of eight in October.

Aisha Rabi, 47, and her husband were driving near a West Bank checkpoint near Nablus when a group of Israeli teens threw stones at their car. She was struck in the head and died of her injuries.

The Shin Bet, Israel’s version of the FBI, uncovered evidence that shows the teens believed to be involved seemed to hate Israel as well as Palestinians. A video apparently showed the teens burning an Israeli flag, as well as another flag with a swastika drawn over the Star of David and the phrase, “Death to Zionists” written on it.

“As part of the investigation into the attack, we found evidence that indicates the suspects had anti-Zionist and extremist motives … evidenced by the activity and the harsh language used by the minors to attack the State of Israel and its symbols.” —Shin Bet Statement

Israeli flag with swastika over Star of David found among the Jewish teens. The words in Hebrew at top say Death to Zionists.

Jewish terrorism is rare, but Israel takes it seriously and prosecutes its own citizens involved in terrorism against Palestinians.

Israeli citizens condemn any violence by Jews against Palestinians and are disgusted by such racist and appalling acts. This is in stark contrast to Palestinians who celebrate in the streets and distribute sweets when Israelis are killed in Palestinian terror attacks.

The Shin Bet stood by its arrests in the face of criticism from other Jewish settlers and said it would not hinder its efforts of “stopping all forms of terror, Jewish or Palestinian.” Amid pressure from the far right to condemn the Shin Bet, Netanyahu and President Rueven Rivlin strangely defended the Shin Bet.

Israel sets tourism record in 2018

Israel had a record year for tourism in 2018 with more than 4 million visitors — the nation’s second consecutive record-breaking year in incoming tourism.

“We have broken incoming tourism records and this achievement is the direct result of intensive work that we are doing at the Tourism Ministry,” Tourism Minister Yariv Levin said. “This achievement is a result of a revolutionary change in marketing strategy; infrastructure development; opening direct routes from new destinations and creating collaborations with some of the largest travel agents in the world.”

One of Israel’s strategic tourism developments last year was the opening of a new international airport in Eilat.

Although Israeli tourism is thriving, with Jerusalem one of the fastest growing tourism destinations in the world, other Middle Eastern and North African countries are experiencing a decline in tourism including Sharm el Sheikh which has dropped out of the top 100 city destinations in recent years “mainly due to terrorist attacks and subsequent slumping demand.” In other words, if you are concerned about terror, then come to Israel where it is safe, and tourists have life-changing experiences. We still have space for our upcoming May tour. Go to: www.uptozion.netto see the itinerary.

The Tourism Ministry announced on Sunday that 4,120,800 foreign visitors came to Israel in 2018, an increase of 14 percent from 2017 and an all-time high. ِThere is a reason we are breaking these records—It is the trip of a lifetime!