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This week’s nuclear deal once again highlighted the tensions between Iran – which calls for the destruction of Israel – and the Jewish state. But the Islamic Republic did not always hold such animosity for Israel. In fact, The Times of Israel’s Mitch Ginsburg reports that after the heroic 1976 rescue that cost Yoni Netanyahu his life, Iran sent a letter commending the Entebbe mission and lamenting Yoni’s death:
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The letter – written during a period of close cooperation between Israel and Iran and made public now, as the two states battle over Iran’s nuclear program – is striped with colorful language and saturated in praise.
Written to Reuven Merhav, the Mossad station chief at the time, it begins in mid-sentence. “Well planned and flash executed impetuous operation of the Antebbe [sic] Airport in Uganda, by the brave Israeli commandos, saved the lives of a number of defenseless people who had been trapped in the grab of Air route bandits, aimed at persuing [sic] their defiled and unhuman goals and ended the adventure, alerting International Terrorism to think about the grievous consequences of their unwise and cruel attempts.”
The unsigned letter continues: “Kindly convey my sincere greetings and admiration for successful accomplishmont [sic] of this valuable military and intelligence operation along with sympathies and condolences for the loss and martyrdom of the her” – here the letter is severed, perhaps cutting the word heroic – “unit commander dispatched to the scene to your respective chief.”
Thursday, July 16th, 2015 at 9:58 AM | Stand For Israel
Early this morning, the latest terrorist rocket attack from Gaza targeted southern Israel. The Times of Israel reports that the Israeli Air Force carried out airstrikes on terrorist targets after the attack:
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Rocket alert sirens rang out early Thursday morning in towns near the Gaza Strip after a missile was fired from the Palestinian territory. The air force struck the Gaza Strip hours later in response…
The IDF said it wouldn’t tolerate any attempts to harm Israeli citizens and that it holds Hamas responsible.
Earlier this week, rocket sirens sounded across northern Israel in what turned out to be a false alarm. Sunday’s incident was the latest in a string of false alarms in recent weeks in which sirens sounded in southern Israel and the Golan Heights.
The rocket was the latest to hit southern Israel. Earlier this month, an Islamic State-affiliated group fired three rockets into southern Israel from Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, causing no injuries or damage.
Thursday, July 16th, 2015 at 7:18 AM | Stand For Israel
While much of America stands for Israel and is opposed to this week’s nuclear agreement with Iran, one wouldn’t be able to tell by the way it is being hailed as a historic deal. Despite what those who negotiated the deal may claim, Michael J. Totten writes that most people in the U.S. don’t trust Iran or the agreement that’s been made:
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I’m hardly alone in my skepticism. Monmouth University conducted a poll of 1,001 Americans nationwide and found that only 5 percent of us trust Iran “a lot” to stick to the deal. 58 percent don’t trust Iran at all. Democrats are divided. 45 percent only trust Iran “a little,” and another 45 percent likewise trust Iran “not at all…”
We skeptics could be wrong. No one is right about everything, and the Middle East is always surprising. Iran might actually mothball its nuclear program if its rulers think they can accomplish their objectives with other means.
But there’s no reason to trust the Iranians not to use the financial windfall from sanctions to back terrorist proxies throughout the Middle East. The deal doesn’t require them to stop, so why would they?
Thursday, July 16th, 2015 at 7:11 AM | Stand For Israel
Each and every day, more and more aging Holocaust survivors pass away. So, too, are the perpetrators of this dark period in history dying off, thus evading justice for the crimes. That is not the case, The Times of Israel reports, for Oskar Groening, the Auschwitz accountant who was sentenced to prison at the age of 94 for his part in the Holocaust:
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A German court Wednesday sentenced a former Nazi SS officer known as the “Bookkeeper of Auschwitz” to four years in prison, in what was expected to be one of the last Holocaust trials.
Oskar Groening, 94, sat impassively as judge Franz Kompisch said “the defendant is found guilty of accessory to murder in 300,000 legally connected cases” of deported Jews who were sent to the gas chambers in 1944.
Groening served as a bookkeeper at the death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland, sorting and counting the money taken from those killed or used as slave labor, collecting cash in different European currencies, and shipping it back to his Nazi bosses in Berlin…
Wednesday, July 15th, 2015 at 11:22 AM | Stand For Israel
Those who stand for Israel were appalled by yesterday’s international nuclear deal with Iran, while many others around the world lauded the agreement. Writing at Time, Dr. Michael Oren, former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. and current Knesset member, explains why the Jewish state is not joining in the celebrations:
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So why, then, are only Israelis united in opposing this deal? The answer is that we have the most to lose, at least in the short run. We know that the deal allows Iran to break out and create nuclear bombs in as little as three months, too quickly for the world to react. We know that the Ayatollahs, who have secretly constructed fortified nuclear facilities that have no peaceful purpose and have violated all of their international commitments, will break this deal in steps too small to precipitate a powerful global response. And we know that the sanctions, once lifted, cannot be swiftly revived, and that hundreds of billions of dollars Iran will soon receive will not be spent on better roads and schools. That treasure will fund the shedding of blood – of Israelis but also of many others…
The planned celebrations in Tehran and Iranian declarations of victory contrast starkly with the gloom hanging today over almost all Israelis. We believe that with stronger sanctions and tougher demands, a better deal is still possible. But we also understand that the present deal poses grave dangers not only to us, but ultimately to America and the world.
Wednesday, July 15th, 2015 at 8:21 AM | Stand For Israel
This morning we reported on Israel’s initial reaction to the newly signed Iranian nuclear agreement – that it is a “historic mistake.” Now, The Times of Israel’s founding editor, David Horovitz looks at 16 reasons why Iran is celebrating the deal – and why “nobody else should be”:
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5. Has the Iranian regime been required to halt its ongoing missile development? No…
7. Has the Iranian regime been required to submit to “anywhere, anytime” inspections of any and all facilities suspected of engaging in rogue nuclear-related activity? No. Instead, the deal describes at considerable length a very protracted process of advance warning and “consultation” to resolve concerns…
9. Has the Iranian regime been required to halt its arming, financing and training of the Hezbollah terrorist army in south Lebanon? No…
16. Does the nuclear deal further cement Iran’s repressive and ideologically rapacious regime in power? Yes.
Tuesday, July 14th, 2015 at 10:49 AM | Stand For Israel
While the world may seem impressed with today’s nuclear agreement with Iran, the deal is not a good one for Israel. The Times of Israel reports on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s reaction to the agreement – that it is a “historic mistake for the world”:
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Israeli lawmakers voiced strong opposition to a landmark nuclear deal reached between Iran and world powers Tuesday morning, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warning the agreement was “a historic mistake…
“From the initial reports we can already conclude that this agreement is an historic mistake for the world,” Netanyahu said at the start of a meeting with Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders. “Far-reaching concessions have been made in all areas that were supposed to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons capability.”
Echoing comments he made a day earlier, Netanyahu said the agreement was inevitable when the US was willing to cave to Iranian demands even as Tehran officials led public calls of “Death to America.”
“I would like to say here and now – when you are willing to make an agreement at any cost, this is the result.”
Tuesday, July 14th, 2015 at 7:28 AM | Stand For Israel
After years of negotiations and concessions, six world powers finalized a nuclear deal with Iran in Vienna today. The Jerusalem Post reports that on the agreement that will supposedly limit the Iranian nuclear program – an agreement opposed by Israel:
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World powers have adopted a final, comprehensive agreement with Iran that will govern its nuclear program for over a decade.
The deal culminates a two-year diplomatic effort in which the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, led by the United States, have sought to end a twelve-year crisis over Iran’s suspicious nuclear work.
Formally known as the the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the 100-page document amounts to the most significant multilateral agreement reached in several decades. Its final form is roundly opposed in Israel— by the government, by its opposition, and by the public at large.
The JCPOA allows Iran to retain much of its nuclear infrastructure, and grants it the right to enrich uranium on its own soil. But the deal also requires Iran to cap and partially roll back that infrastructure for ten to fifteen years, and grants the UN’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, managed access to monitor that program with intrusive inspections.
In exchange, the governments of Britain, France, Russia, China, the US and Germany have agreed to lift all UN sanctions on the Islamic Republic— once Iran abides by a set of nuclear-related commitments.
The moment Tehran receives sanctions relief— including access to an estimated $100 billion in frozen assets overseas— will be on “implementation day,” as one senior administration official put it on Tuesday morning in Vienna. That date is not set, and is entirely reliant on the pace of Iran’s initial haste in preparing for life under the deal…
Tuesday, July 14th, 2015 at 7:18 AM | Stand For Israel
In today’s Stand for Israel Daily Dispatch, we report that the streets of Tehran are preparing to celebrate the impending Iranian nuclear agreement – an agreement on which the U.S. Congress might not be sold. Yet as Iran may be rejoicing over the deal, Israel Hayom reports that it will be a “bad deal” for the Jewish state, which is prepared to defend itself from a nuclear Iran:
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Meanwhile, in Israel, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon warned on Monday against what he called a “bad deal” with Iran.
Speaking to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee hours before the deal was anticipated to be finalized, Ya’alon said that “at the bottom line, we are headed toward a bad deal, after which we will continue to be ready to defend ourselves, by ourselves…
“Even if there are last-minute improvements, it will still be a bad deal that will allow Iran to become a nuclear threshold state, with everything that entails…”
Monday, July 13th, 2015 at 8:44 AM | Stand For Israel
While the possible nuclear agreement with Iran is indeed unsettling, the Islamic Republic’s reach across the Middle East threatens the region in other ways, too. Former national security adviser Elliott Abrams writes that “[t]he war in Syria is becoming increasingly an Iranian war rather than a civil war”:
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Consider this new report by Now Lebanon, entitled “Syria Alawites reportedly clash with regime, Iran troops.” Two facts are striking. First, the Alawite regime of Bashar al-Assad is having enormous trouble recruiting Alawite youths to join the military. It has long been said that the Alawite community is his base and will fight for him, if only out of fear that if the regime falls they will pay the price when Sunnis attack Alawites. But more and more Alawites, it seems, do not wish to risk their lives for Assad. This should not be quite so surprising, because only the Alawite upper classes benefitted financially from the regime (and some became millionaires and even billionaires), while many Alawites remained in poverty…
While we debate the possible nuclear deal with Iran, let’s not lose sight of Iran’s aggressive conduct throughout the region. If the nuclear deal does get signed and as planned gives Iran access to $150 billion, we can expect even more of an Iranian (and Hezbollah) role in Syria. Not only is there Sunni and Kurdish resistance but now some Alawite resistance. The usual way Assad and Iran deal with such resistance is murder. If the Iran deal comes to pass, let us hope that far stronger American action is planned to prevent even more killings in Syria and to see if the Alawite population can be turned against the regime.
Monday, July 13th, 2015 at 8:26 AM | Stand For Israel