“The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them.” Ps. 2:4
IRAN TO FURTHER SCALE BACK ITS COMPLIANCE WITH NUCLEAR DEAL: Iran will announce moves this week to scale back compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal from which the United States withdrew last year, Reuters reported on Sunday 17 June 2019. “Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization tomorrow at the Arak heavy water site will announce preparatory steps that have been taken to further decrease Tehran’s commitments under the deal,” an Iranian news agency reported. The organization will announce its intention to increase stocks of enriched uranium and production of heavy water at Arak. Last month, an Iranian official said that the Islamic Republic has quadrupled its enrichment rate of low-enriched uranium and that it no longer accepts the restriction on uranium enrichment as it was written in the 2015 agreement. (INN)
ISRAEL JOINS USA IN ACCUSING IRAN OF OIL TANKERS ATTACK: After the USA accused Iran of being behind the attack on the oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz on Thur. 13 June 2019 senior Israeli officials told Israel’s Channel 13 that they too believe that the Iranian Revolutionary Guards were the ones who carried out the attack on the oil tankers in the Persian Gulf. Meanwhile, the Iranian Foreign Ministry summoned the British ambassador after the British government accused Iran of the attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. During a meeting with a senior Iranian Foreign Ministry official, Iran sharply criticized Britain’s “unacceptable” position on the Gulf’s tanker bombings. Iran was likely behind a coordinated attack on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman early Thur. morning 13 June 2019, the United States said, as “limpet mines” were spotted on one of the wrecked ships. USA Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the attack on the two oil tankers was one in a list of Iranian and Iranian-backed assaults over the last month. It was a “clear threat to peace, security, and freedom of navigation,” he said. The attack comes a month after four tankers were sabotaged off the United Arab Emirates in May 2019 and will raise USA-Iran tensions to their worst point in years. (J. Post)
SAUDI CROWN PRINCE BLAME IRAN FOR ATTACKS ON OIL TANKERS: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman accused Iran of being behind the attacks on oil tankers in a vital Gulf shipping channel. He added that the kingdom “won’t hesitate” to tackle any threats, according to a media interview published on Sunday 16 June 2019. “We do not want a war in the region, but we won’t hesitate to deal with any threat to our people, our sovereignty, our territorial integrity, and our vital interests.” Prince Mohammed further said, “The Iranian regime did not respect the presence of the Japanese prime minister as a guest in Tehran and responded to his diplomatic efforts by attacking two tankers, one of which was Japanese,” he charged. Thursday’s assault on the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous that was carrying highly flammable methanol when it was rocked by explosions and the Norwegian-operated Front Altair came around the time Japanese PM Shinzo Abe was meeting with Iranian leaders in Tehran. USA President Donald Trump has said the twin attacks had Iran “written all over it”, rejecting Tehran’s vehement denial. USA Secretary of State Mike Pompeo similarly accused Iran of being behind the attacks in the Gulf of Oman. Saudi Arabia has repeatedly called on Iran to stop its “meddling” in the affairs of the kingdom’s neighbors. (Arutz-7)
JEWISH-ARAB RELATIONS IN THE JORDAN VALLEY: David Elhaiini heads the Jordan Valley Regional Council, comprised of 21 Jewish communities, whose growth rate is an annual 6%, among the highest in the country. Elhaiini reports excellent relations between the Jewish communities and their Arab neighbors. “The only source of income for the Arab population in the Jordan Valley is the Jewish settlements,” he explains. “We employ over 6,000 each day, and in the peak periods – June, July, and September – the number reaches as much as 12,000.” Salaries paid by Jewish industries are three times higher than those from other local sources. “We live together. When you have a worker who has worked together with you for years, you have a relationship. You become his friend. They come to our weddings, and we attend theirs. When I worked in agriculture, my wife would tell me that I spend more time with Yusuf, my field manager, than I do with her. We would be together from 5 a.m. until 4 p.m. When you work together, sit together and eat together, you create relationships.”
He points out that the Jewish farmers share their agricultural expertise with their Palestinian neighbors. “We teach them the best ways of growing dates. They ask questions and work with us. Our instructors visit them unofficially because the PA does not want any connection.” Elhaiini says that the quality of life for Palestinians in the Jordan Valley has improved dramatically. “You can see it in the number of their children who attend university. Their profits and benefits have increased. We want to transform these good relations into more concrete areas, but the Palestinian Authority is preventing us from doing anything, and their BDS supporters don’t understand that they work to prevent peaceful relations.” (J. Post)
TECHNION STUDENTS HAVE CREATED OVER 2,000 COMPANIES: Entrepreneurship fever has made the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Israel’s oldest university founded in 1912 in Haifa, one of the main fuses for the country’s roaring tech sector. “Many of our graduates are running the economy,” said university president Peretz Lavie, who is stepping down in Oct. 2019 after 12 years. Technion students have created over 2,000 companies. The record for a single student is 21. In a country known as a start-up nation, failure isn’t the end, Lavie says. “Israelis don’t stop asking questions. In some countries, if you fail, that’s the end of it. I know people here who succeeded in their 10th attempt. In Japan, there is the same level of ambition as here but it’s the failures that they cannot tolerate. In Brazil, if you have a failed start-up, you can’t apply for more grants.” (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs) “I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions.” Prov. 8:12
GAZA FACTIONS MAKE INCENDIARY BALLOON SENT TO ISRAEL MORE LETHAL: The terror groups in Gaza appear to have found a new method of launching incendiary balloons in order to ignite as many fires as possible on Israeli territory, thereby maximizing the damage. The latest upgrade in what has become an entire arsenal of terror tools for the Palestinian factions in Gaza is to soak a slow-burning fuse in explosive liquids and attach it to an incendiary balloon. The balloon drips fireballs as it flies, creating several ignition points from just one device. The new method has been discovered by the Israeli military after no remnants of actual balloons had been recovered at several ignition zones in the Gaza border region. For instance, on Tue.11 June 2019 there were three fires in three different locations (relatively close to each other) in Kissufim Forest in the Eshkol Regional Council, but the firefighters found no traces of physical balloons in the affected area. “The Palestinians see this upgrade as a success story. This should not be taken lightly, and although it sounds non-threatening, it is certainly dangerous and can be lethal,” said one of the security coordinators of the communities bordering the Strip. Last week, the IDF took the rare step of completely closing the Gaza Strip’s offshore waters to Palestinian fishermen until further notice in response to incendiaries launched into Israel in recent days. Soon afterward, Palestinian terrorists fired a rocket into southern Israel from Gaza that was intercepted by the Iron Dome aerial defense system, the Israeli military said. (Ynet) Everything; all resources, goals, hopes, educational tools, and endeavors of the ruling Gaza Strip terrorist organization are always and ever focused on the “destruction of Israel.” Hamas wastes hundreds of millions of financial aid dollars, donated by world governments, on unending incitement, attacks, inventing new destructive devices, and hopeless wars against the Jewish state. When Israel finally needs to defend its citizens against ongoing rocket fire and terrorist attacks, Hamas then cries to the world for funds to rebuild structures and areas shattered – by whom they call the “oppressor”- Israel. Such funds, instead of being used for construction, are then put into the terrorist coffers once again to start reequipping the arsenals for the next round against Israel. Albert Einstein is broadly credited with exclaiming, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results”. The Gaza Strip is clearly run by madmen. Pray for a miracle of change to take place in the Gaza Strip government and for an overthrow of the Hamas terrorist organization.
FROM GAZA TO IRAQ: FIRE IS A NEW WEAPON OF ISIS, HAMAS AND OTHERS: In 2018 Hamas hit upon a new way to terrorize Israel. Its activists and supporters began attaching incendiary devices to balloons and floating them over the border from Gaza. In Iraq ISIS has also been burning fields across the center and north of the country to terrorize Iraqi farmers and to target various areas. More than 2,000 fires have been set in southern Israel and 8,700 acres burned between May 2018 and May 2019, according to the Meir Amit Intelligence and Information Center. The use of balloons to transport burning material over the border has increased according to the Meir Amit report. It is obviously an innovative strategy that Hamas set upon when it realized that its Great Return March mass protests and other activities, such as tunneling, had been thwarted. The relationship between ISIS using burning fields to terrorize people and Hamas using balloons is not clear, but in the past extremist groups have borrowed tactics from Hamas to use across the region and the world. For instance, suicide bombings, vehicular attacks, mass stabbings, and other means of assault, became common methods to attack Israel before they became as common abroad.
Thousands of acres have been burned in Iraq and Syria in the last months as ISIS began using fire as a weapon. The overall amount of land torched in Iraq is thought to be more than 8,000 acres. A man who goes by the Twitter name Tom Cat and follows the Iraqi security forces closely wrote that the fires have destroyed around 1.6% of Iraq’s wheat and barley fields. Farmers are losing their livelihoods. So far Iraq has not found a way to confront the fires. The country is still recovering from ISIS and the destruction its war caused from 2014 to 2018. The ISIS goal is to make it inhospitable for rural people to live normally and to keep people terrified. The locals who wondered if ISIS would return and who might have wavered in their support of the central government are being sent a message that ISIS is coming back. For minorities, the message is also that their former villages are not safe to return to, that lurking in the night the arm of ISIS can still reach out. (J. Post)
ISRAEL HONORS TRUMP WITH INAUGURATION OF ‘TRUMP HEIGHTS’: The USA mission to Israel took part in a special naming ceremony in the Golan Heights on Sunday afternoon,16 June 2019, marking the formal naming of a new town in the Golan after President Donald Trump. A sign at the entrance of the future town was unveiled during the ceremony for the yet-to-be-built community of Ramat Trump, or Trump Heights. The Israeli cabinet met Sunday 16 June 2019 in the Golan town of Kela Alon, near the site of the new community, to formally approve the establishment of Ramat Trump. USA Ambassador to Israel David Friedman joined Israeli PM Netanyahu and members of his cabinet at the ceremony. “This is a historic day,” Netanyahu said. “We are about to approve construction of a new town in the Golan, something that hasn’t happened in quite a long time, and we’ll be honoring a great friend of Israel, President Donald Trump, who recently recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan, the first foreign leader to do so.” Following Netanyahu’s comments at the special cabinet meeting in the Golan, Ambassador Friedman thanked the prime minister for the decision to name a new town after the American president, calling it an “extraordinary gesture that you and the State of Israel are making to the President of The United States.” (Arutz-7)
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