“You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in their distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat. For the breath of the ruthless is like a storm driving against a wall.” Isa 25:4
WORLD SHRUGS AS HEZBOLLAH PREPARES MASSIVE CIVILIAN DEATHS: Lebanon has made the Hezbollah terrorist group, whose rocket launchers are in homes and villages, part of its official army, making it responsible for civilian deaths on both sides should war erupt. Where is the UN? Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah recently warned Israel that his Iran-backed terror group could attack targets producing mass Israeli casualties, including a huge ammonia storage tank in Haifa and a nuclear reactor in Dimona. Also last month, sources reported that since the beginning of the Syrian civil war, Iran has provided Hezbollah with a vast supply of “game-changing,” state-of-the art weapons, despite Israel’s occasional airstrikes against weapons convoys. In a future conflict, Hezbollah has the capacity to fire 1,500 rockets into Israel each day. Should such a scenario materialize, Israel will be forced to respond with unprecedented firepower to defend its own civilians. Hezbollah’s advanced weapons reportedly are embedded across a staggering 10,000 locations in the heart of more than 200 civilian towns and villages. The Israeli military has openly warned about this Hezbollah war crime and the grave threats it poses to both sides, but that alarm has generated almost no attention from the global media, the UN, or other international institutions.
Hezbollah’s very presence in southern Lebanon is a flagrant violation of UN Security Council resolution 1701, which called for the area to be a zone “free of any armed personnel, assets and weapons” other than the Lebanese military and the UN Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL). The resolution also required Hezbollah to be disarmed, but the terror group today has an arsenal that rivals that of most armies. Hezbollah possesses an estimated 140,000 missiles and rockets, and reportedly now can manufacture advanced weapons in underground factories that are impervious to aerial attack. “Israel must stress again and again, before it happens, that these villages [storing Hezbollah weapons] have become military posts, and are therefore legitimate targets,” said Yoram Schweitzer, senior research fellow at Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies. But even a concerted campaign to showcase Hezbollah’s war preparation is unlikely to change things, said Eyal Zisser, a senior research fellow at the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies. Hezbollah exploits the fact that “the international community is too busy and weak to do something about it,” Zisser said. All of “these talks and reports have no meaning. See what is happening in Syria.” (Arutz-7) Pray that Israel will be prepared with effective strategies – and alliances that can be trusted.
FATAH: RECRUIT TENS OF THOUSANDS TO FIGHT ISRAEL: In an article published by the Palestinian Authority daily Al Quds, Fatah official Abbas Zaki called on the terror organization to “recruit tens of thousands Fatah activists to rise up against Israel.” PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is also a Fatah member. According to Zaki, if Fatah recruits members and begins another uprising (intifada) against Israel, the other terror organizations will act similarly, and Fatah will be returned to the leadership position it held in 1967, when it returned “the Arabs’ national hope” by means of “revolutionary acts.” In his article, Zaki wrote, “The sword continues to be aimed, and the gun continues to precede the olive leaf.” He also called on Arab officials to continue their attempts to harm Israel in international courts. “We need to do something concrete to integrate tens of thousands of Fatah activists into our civilian uprising against the settlers and the occupation’s forces,” Zaki wrote. “The numbers of these activists will immediately double, when other national and Islamist organizations join them, together with civilians of our great nation. This is because what binds us is the fight against Israel, and not the dialogue with Israel, which has already lost its efficiency in every way.” Zaki also called on Fatah activists to “close off the roads leading to towns in Judea & Samaria, in order to push Israeli forces out of the Palestinian Authority’s territory.” In fact, while Jews are not allowed to enter Arab villages – and would lose their lives if they did – Arabs often enter Jewish villages to murder residents and set fire to buildings. (INN)
ISRAELIS WARNED OF INCREASED ISIS THREAT ABROAD AHEAD OF PASSOVER HOLIDAY: Leading into the Passover and summer travel seasons, Israel has raised travel warnings to the highest level, cautioning Israelis against traveling to Egypt’s Sinai region. Counter-Terrorism Bureau Chief, Eitan Ben David, said on 27 March 2017 that “the threat has grown and is the gravest level of threat. Attacks on the Egyptian military, on Coptic Christians, ISIS rockets fired at Eilat and videos from ISIS against Israelis show the high motivation and power of terror groups there to attack Israelis,” said Ben David. While Sinai has the highest level of warning at level one of four, other countries also have high warning levels – with Turkey at level two (without special heightened warning for merely stopping over in Turkey’s airport) and Jordan along with Egypt at level three. Level one signals “a very high concrete threat” with advice to avoid any travel to a destination and leave immediately. Level two means “a high concrete threat” with advice to avoid travel to a destination and leave as early as possible. Level three means “a basic-level concrete threat” with advice to avoid travel to a destination. Ben David emphasized that they did not disregard threats from Iran, Hezbollah or others, but that in general the increased threat stemmed mainly from ISIS-related groups. (J.Post)
FORMER BRITISH PM TONY BLAIR: IF IRANIAN REGIME WERE BENIGN, ALL PROBLEMS IN THE MIDDLE EAST WOULD BE RESOLVABLE: “If you had a benign regime in Iran, all of the problems in the Middle East would be resolvable,” ex-British PM Tony Blair said on 26 March 2017. Speaking at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s conference in Washington, DC, Blair called for a tough line against the Islamic Republic. “We have to push back hard,” Blair said. “Iran is involved in some fashion in numerous conflicts throughout the Middle East. It provides funding and weapons to the Hamas terrorist organization in the Gaza Strip, as well as to the Houthi rebels in Yemen, and controls the Hezbollah terrorist organization in Lebanon. Iran is also a key ally of Assad and has supported his regime militarily in the Syrian civil war which has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives. Regarding the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, Blair – a former Mideast Quartet envoy – said that a “new way forward” was needed. “We’re not going to reach peace in the old way. The key to transforming the Middle East is to have relationship between Israelis and Arabs which can be open, acknowledged, in which Israel’s existence is accepted and Israel works closely with Arab states. What I would like to see is a new alliance in the Middle East – a strategic partnership with the leadership of the USA, in which we say this is what the battle in the Middle East is about. It’s against extremism, in favor of respect across boundaries, race, faith and culture,” said Blair. (Algemeiner)
PENCE REVIVES TALK OF EMBASSY MOVE; AMBASSADOR DERMER: NO DAYLIGHT BETWEEN US AND ISRAEL: Following a series of apparent down-grades in the priority and timing for fulfilling a campaign promise to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Vice President Mike Pence revived the issue when he told the annual assemblage of the American pro-Israel lobby that President Trump is “giving serious consideration” to the move. The actual move is one of the most contentious acts potentially on the table in terms of the expected reaction from the Arab world, the Palestinians and even most of the Western nations. But for the pro-Israel community worldwide, the act of moving the embassy would infer at long last recognition of Israeli sovereignty over its capital. Supporters of the Jewish state rile at the refusal by the USA and other nations to recognize even west Jerusalem as the Israeli capital. Former presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and President Donald Trump all promised to move the embassy as one of their first acts in office, but none did. Despite such promises by candidate Trump and his spokesmen, the move was downgraded from an action to occur on the first day to “we’re looking at it.” Pence’s comment has re-ignited both hope on the part of the pro-Israel community and anger on the part of the pro-Palestinian world. It came after Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer assured the assemblage that after “decades, there is no longer any light between the governments of the United States and Israel.” (Media Line)
EVERY 83 SECONDS: ANTI-SEMITIC POST UPLOADED TO SOCIAL MEDIA: Over the course of 2016, a World Jewish Congress survey finds, more than 382,000 anti-Semitic posts – an average of one post every 83 seconds – were uploaded to Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, blogs and other social media forums. “We knew that anti-Semitism online was on the rise, but the numbers revealed in this report give us concrete data as to how alarming the situation really is,” World Jewish Congress Executive Vice President Robert R. Singer said. “We hope this serves as a wake-up call to all internet forums to rid themselves of offensive content, and make the digital world a safer place for all.” The WJC research analyzed tens of millions of posts in 20 languages on various social media. After Twitter, the highest number of anti-Semitic posts online can be found on blogs, at 16%. 11% of anti-Semitic content online was posted to Facebook, followed by Instagram with 6%, YouTube with 2%, and 2% on other forums. (INN)
‘BDS THE MOST SERIOUS THREAT TO ISRAEL’: Former Canadian prime minister, Stephen Harper, on 26 March 2017, addressed the 2017 AIPAC policy conference and discussed his support for Israel during his time in office. “What is the difference between our values and Israel’s? None. What is the difference in the threats we face? The only difference is that Israel is much closer to these threats than we are,” Harper said. “We have one choice: We stand by Israel and we stand against those threats or we watch those threats come to our own shores,” he continued. One of the biggest threats to Israel today, opined Harper, is Iran becoming a nuclear power. “I think it’s important to do everything in our power to stop that fanatical regime from obtaining nuclear weapons,” he said. But the most serious threat to Israel is the BDS movement, he continued. “The BDS movement is about translating the old ideology of anti-Semitism into something acceptable to a new generation. The BDS movement, in calling for the boycott, sanctions and divestment in Israel, in having Jewish students harassed – is revealing its realities,” said Harper. “It is incumbent on all of us to be as vocal and as loud in our denunciations of BDS as we can possibly be,” he added. (Arutz-7)
ARKANSAS LEGISLATURE PASSES ANTI-BDS LEGISLATION: The Arkansas state legislature has passed a law that prohibits state agencies from contracting with or investing in companies that boycott Israel. The law was sent to Arkansas State Gov. William Hutchinson on 24 March 2017 for his signature. “Israel and Arkansas are great friends, and I thank the people of Arkansas for supporting this essential relationship, which is based on shared values,” said Josh Block, president and CEO of The Israel Project. “By passing this bill today, Arkansans are standing strong against discrimination, and are solidly on the right side of history.” More than a dozen US states have passed similar legislation. (Arutz-7)
The suggestions, opinions and scripture references made by JNN writers and editors are based on the best information received.
Blessings from Jerusalem,
Barry Segal with the Editorial Staff