Light for the Last Days

Israel Desk – March 2019

Israeli scientists working on cure for cancer.

Israel has already developed one of the most advanced methods of cancer treatment. Called CAR-T, clinical trials have given it an 83 percent full remission rate, even among terminal cases. CAR-T has been added to the list of cancer treatments in Israel’s healthcare system.

Now a small team of Israeli scientists think they might have found the first complete cure for cancer.  “We believe we will offer in a year’s time a complete cure for cancer,” said Dan Aridor, of a new treatment being developed by his company, Accelerated Evolution Biotechnologies Ltd. (AEBi).  “Our cancer cure will be effective from day one, and will have no or minimal side-effects at a much lower cost than most other treatments on the market.”

Dr. Ilan Morad says the treatment, which they call MuTaTo (multi-target toxin), is essentially on the scale of a cancer antibiotic – a disruption technology of the highest order.  Morad said their discovery could also reduce the sickening side-effects of most cancer treatments, which stem from drug treatments interacting with the wrong or additional targets, or the correct targets but on non-cancerous cells.

Israel has created so many ways to benefit humanity – life giving medical help, agricultural advances, especially in barren lands and sending teams to bring relief in disaster situations such as earthquakes or the recent dam disaster in Brazil.  On the other hand, Israel’s enemies do nothing that is creative or beneficial to the world and only glory in terror, death and destruction.

US recognises Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

U.S. President Donald Trump declared recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights on 21st March, after which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a call to the American leader to thank him.

“This is the eve of Purim, and we have a miracle of Purim. President Trump has just made history. I thanked him on behalf of the people of Israel. First, he recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moved the U.S. embassy here. Then he pulled out of the disastrous Iran treaty and re-imposed sanctions. But now he did something of equal historic importance – he recognized Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, and he did so at a time when Iran is trying to use Syria as a platform to attack and destroy Israel.  We’re celebrating Purim, when 2,500 years ago, other Persians, led by Haman, tried to destroy the Jewish people,” the Israeli leader stated. “They failed then; and today, 2,500 years later, again Persians, led by Khamenei, are trying to destroy the Jewish people and the Jewish state. They’re going to fail again.’

This change in US policy comes as the Trump administration has taken a harder line against the Palestinians, largely cutting off aid due to the Palestinian Authority’s refusal to negotiate with the United States, as well as its financial support for terrorists and their families.  At the same time, the administration is preparing to release its proposal to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Reports indicate that the Trump administration will likely release its Mideast peace plan following Israel’s elections on April 9.

Meanwhile the Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad has warned UN representative Kristin Lund, that “Syria will attack Israel if it does not leave the Golan Heights.  We will not hesitate to confront Israel. We are also not scared away by Israel’s supporters who are helping to perpetuate the occupation of the Golan.’ After the disastrous civil war in Syria, the Syrian army on its own is in no position to confront Israel.  With the help of its Iranian and Russian allies that could be a different story (see Ezekiel 38-9).

The Deputy Commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Hossein Salami, recently threatened on Iran’s Channel 2 TV that Israel is “vulnerable and bringing itself closer to death”. Salami recently made it vehemently clear the strategy of the Iranian government, stating: “Our strategy is to erase Israel from the global political map.”   In addition, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei recently posted a Twitter tirade against Israel. It stated that the, “the Zionist regime will perish in the not so far future.”

This burst of confidence is bolstered by Iran’s military build-up in Syria, among other places. The Syrian civil war has been viewed as a perfect environment for the Iranian leaders to advance and ultimately achieve their objective of destroying Israel. Iran has built, or is in the process of building, more than 10 military bases in Syria, some of which are near the Israeli border on the Golan Heights.

Israel’s security situation.

Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) gave an annual report on Israel’s security situation concluding that a multi-front war on the Jewish state’s northern and southern borders is a very real possibility.  It said, “Most of the fronts facing Israel are very volatile: Syria, Lebanon, and the Gaza Strip. Despite mutual deterrence between the sides, there is a potential for escalation to a wider confrontation and an all-out war on more than one front.”

Iran is spending $7 billion annually on its wars in the Middle East.  It is setting up military bases across Syria and aims for a Shiite army of 100,000 strong to come against Israel.  It has given large sums of money to Hezbollah and Hamas to build terror tunnels and weapons warehouses. It is now trying to infiltrate the Palestinian Authority area (West Bank / Judea Samaria) and turn it into a fourth military front against Israel.

In Syria Iran has faced setbacks after Israel’s successful airstrikes on its bases, especially at Damascus airport.  Over the years of Syria’s civil war it has built up a base there for smuggling in war material, from ammunition to surface-to-air missiles and kits to improve the accuracy of Hezbollah’s guided missiles.  These have arrived in Damascus on planes from Iran before being transported by truck to Hezbollah in Lebanon, or to Iranian army bases in Syria, or to the Syrian army itself. After repeated Israeli attacks Iran is now removing its operation to the T4 airbase in the north of Syria.  

Israel has vowed to continue its attacks on Iranian targets in order to prevent it supplying arms to Hezbollah and digging in with its own offensive forces in Syria.  Iran has complained to the Russians for not activating the new advanced S-300 anti-aircraft missile system it has supplied to Syria against Israeli aircraft. Now it appears that the S-300 air-defence batteries in Syria appear to be operational, a threat towards Israel as it combats Iranian forces.  In the past Israel has taken out Syrian air defence systems in the course of its attacks on Iranian targets. If Israel attacks the S-300 missiles it could find itself in direct conflict with Russians who are operating the system.

Iran has kept up its threats of destroying Israel.  Revolutionary Guards leaders make repeated threats to ‘raze Tel Aviv to the ground’ and ‘annihilate the Zionist regime.’  Speaking at a rally celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Islamic revolution, a senior Revolutionary Guards commander said that Iran would demolish entire cities in Israel if the United States attacked the Islamic Republic.  

Netanyahu responded: “I do not ignore the threats of the Iranian regime but neither am I intimidated by them.  If this regime makes the awful mistake of trying to destroy Tel Aviv and Haifa, it will not succeed. However, this would be the last anniversary of the revolution that they celebrate. They should take this into account.”  

Israel has successfully conducted a trial of its Arrow-3 missile defence system, designed to defend against long-range missiles, stopping them while they are still in the space-flight of their trajectory. It is capable of taking out missiles launched from Iran against Israel.  Israel also possesses overwhelming air power with capabilities beyond any yet seen in military history. These have precision-guided weaponry, able to destroy several thousand targets in just a matter of hours. Israel knows where most of Hezbollah’s missiles are and could knock them out simultaneously and very quickly, albeit with great destruction to Lebanon and the risk of some getting through to cause destruction in Israel.

Anti-Semitism on the rise.

Israel’s Ministry of Diaspora Affairs released its annual 2018 report on anti-Semitism, which reveals frightening new trends in anti-Semitism around the world.  The picture emerging from this in-depth analysis is that incidents of anti-Semitism are increasing, and in many countries are reaching record levels. Worldwide, 2018 was a record year for the number of victims of anti-Semitic attacks.

While Islamist anti-Semitism remains the central and most dangerous threat to Israel and a threat to Jewish people in the diaspora, 2018 also saw an increase in anti-Semitic incidents originating from right-wing extremists, especially in the United States.  The year began with the horrific murder of the American Jewish student by a member of a radical right-wing group and continued with the Etz Chaim Synagogue attack in Pittsburgh, perpetrated by an extreme nationalist opposed to immigration and advocating white supremacy.  Jews were accused by right-wing radicals of encouraging immigration to Europe and the United States and being part of a progressive global attempt to mix races and create a “unified society.”

On the other side of the political map, radical left-wing anti-Semitism is disguised as anti-Zionism and a concern for Palestinian rights. Anti-Semitic statements by left-wing leadership have increased. Jews are accused by the radical left of strengthening nationalism, colonialism and even Nazism with reference to Israel as the main stumbling block to the creation of a new world order that will replace nation-states.  The distance between these ideological opposites cannot be bridged, except in one instance – Israel / Jew – hatred.

A survey conducted by the European Union shows that 85% of Europe’s Jews believe that anti-Semitism is a problem in their countries, and 38% are considering emigrating. The survey also showed that 80% of the incidents were not reported.  France, which has the largest Jewish community on the continent, recorded a record number of anti-Semitic incidents this year. In the UK, a new normalisation of the anti-Semitic discourse in politics has begun, this time on the left. The rise of Jeremy Corbyn for leadership of the Labour Party, and his candidacy for prime minister, represents the new anti-Semitism, posing as criticism of Israel.  The Internet has become a major source of extreme anti-Semitism as the volume and level of anti-Semitic online hate has reached levels never seen before.

Trouble for Hamas in Gaza.

Hamas has again proved that it really is a terrorist group that oppresses its people and prevents them from expressing their opinions. It has also shown that when it is in trouble, it will do its utmost to divert attention from the problems it is facing at home.

Thousands of Palestinians had taken to the streets in the Gaza Strip to protest the wretched economic situation, exacerbated by a Hamas decision to impose new taxes on them. The unprecedented protests, which were carried out under the banner “We Want to Live!,” apparently caught the Hamas rulers of the Gaza Strip by surprise.  The leaders of Hamas apparently had not foreseen the mass protests. Hamas leaders seem to have reckoned that their repressive measures against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip were so harsh that no one would dare publicly protest against the deteriorating economic and humanitarian situation there.

That may explain Hamas’s response to the mass protests, which by all accounts, was hysterical and extremely violent. Within 24 hours, Hamas militiamen and security officers opened fire on hundreds of Palestinian protesters, who chanted: “We are hungry!” and “Save Gaza from starvation!”  Palestinian eyewitnesses said that Hamas used hundreds of militiamen from its military wing, Ezaddin Al-Qassam, as well as security officers to crush the demonstrations. “Al-Qassam fighters assault, arrest, threaten, suppress, besiege and impose resections on freedoms,” reported Mohammed Bassouni, a resident of the Gaza Strip.  Photos of wounded Palestinians (broken arms, bruises all over the body) have surfaced on some social media sites, showing the brutality of the violence that Hamas used to disperse the protesters.

The violence on the streets of the Gaza Strip is probably the worst since Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip 12 years ago. Since then, Hamas has been holding nearly two million Palestinians living there hostage to its oppressive regime. Hamas has turned the Gaza Strip into a dictatorship where public freedoms are assaulted on a daily basis. Hamas has dragged the Palestinians there into a number of wars with Israel that have destroyed the lives of countless residents of Gaza. In the view of many Palestinians, what Hamas is doing in the Gaza Strip is tantamount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.

As far as Hamas is concerned, one of the best ways to divert attention from the growing frustration with its rule is by attacking Israel and Jews. Then, Israel is forced to respond to defend itself. That will allow Hamas to tell its people that there is no room for internal fighting and disputes “because we are under attack by the Jews.” No Palestinian would dare to criticize Hamas while Israel is supposedly “attacking” Hamas. Anyone who did so would be accused of being a “traitor” and “collaborator” with the “Zionist enemy.”  That is exactly what happened after the protest, when two rockets were fired at the Israeli city of Tel Aviv.

In the view of many Palestinians, what Hamas is doing in the Gaza Strip is tantamount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Meanwhile, the international community, specifically the United Nations, continues to allow itself to be deceived. Instead of calling out Hamas for its war crimes against its own people, the hypocrites at the UN, the international media and other international forums are continuing to point an accusatory finger towards Israel for simply defending itself against rockets and missiles that are fired towards Israeli civilian centres on an almost daily basis.

Recently, in a grotesque allegation, UN human rights “experts” claimed that Israel may have committed war crimes by shooting at Palestinian demonstrators who tried to breach the Gaza-Israel border fence and infiltrate into Israel. The demonstrators who were shot were mostly Hamas and Islamic Jihad members, as both organizations have openly admitted. In other words, Israel is being accused of war crimes for defending its border against terrorists attempting to infiltrate it in order to murder or kidnap Israelis.

It is the leaders of Hamas, and only Hamas, who are committing war crimes in and around Gaza. They are committing war crimes against Jews, and they are committing war crimes against their own people. It is time for the human rights “experts” and foreign media to wake up to facts.

Could Netanyahu Be Charged With Treason?

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu might not be fighting only for his current job in the Israeli elections on April 9th. He might be fighting for his personal freedom.  Netanyahu already faces indictment on charges of bribery and corruption. But his political opponents are suggesting that those could be expanded to charges of treason. They would almost certainly make such a move were Netanyahu to lose the election, in which case some rivals would seek to drive the final nail in the coffin of Likud’s political dominance. Without Bibi at the helm, the party would be unlikely to attract so many right-wing voters in future elections.

The threat at hand relates to Case 3000, in which Netanyahu and a number of his associates stand accused of accepting financial kick-backs in return for pushing through a deal for the state to purchase billions of shekels worth of submarines from German shipbuilder Thyssenkrupp.

Netanyahu has called the accusations “contrived,” and stressed that investigators have not found any evidence directly linking him to any wrongdoing. “I didn’t get a shekel from the submarine deal,” the prime minister said this week.

Moshe Ya’alon, who is third on the Blue and White list and likely to become minister of defence if the party wins the election on April 9, went so far as to tell Israel Radio that “this issue is so important that it could even amount to treason.”  Likud officials immediately shot back, saying that Ya’alon had “crossed a line” by employing a “blood libel” against Netanyahu. “The use of the term ‘traitor’ against the prime minister dangerously crosses a red line,” read the party’s statement. Indeed, left-wing elements often accuse Netanyahu and the right of having incited personal enmity against former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin prior to his assassination. And yet, they seem to have little problem with doing the same to Bibi.

Brutal murder raises question of death penalty.

Top government ministers are demanding that the courts invoke Israel’s underutilised death penalty after the brutal murder of a teenage Jewish girl, Ori Ansbacher, by a Arafat Irfayia, a Palestinian from Hebron.  It was a premeditated murder as Irfayia admitted to Israeli authorities to having set off from Hebron armed with a knife and intent on killing a Jew. 

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked is insisting that he be condemned to death, lest Israel further sacrifice its deterrence against such violence.  “The military prosecution needs to ask for the death penalty. He killed Ori because she was a Jewish girl.” The only time Israel sentenced someone to death was at the trial of captured Nazi SS officer Adolf Eichmann, architect of the Holocaust, in 1962.

Last year, the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tried to advance legislation that would have resulted in more frequent use of the death penalty, particularly in response to deadly terrorist attacks.  Netanyahu himself was in favour of the death penalty bill, but it was eventually shelved after opponents of the bill cited top security officials, who suggested that the use of capital punishment was “unhelpful.”

‘Israel Today’ commented on this case:  

Unlike most modern democracies that reject the death penalty, in Israel there are two specific crimes that are punishable by death: crimes against the Jewish people and humanity (the law for the punishment of Nazis and their accomplices), and murder in the context of a terrorist act (under the emergency regulations act).

According to Israeli law, the death penalty requires a unanimous vote by the Supreme Court. The caution against rashly implementing the death penalty in Israel is based in large part on Jewish tradition, in which, despite the existence of this punishment, it is almost never invoked. As it is written:  ‘The Sanhedrin that kills one person every seven years is considered damaging.’ In other words, Jewish law requires moderation in dealing with murder cases. The Bible makes a distinction between malicious and accidental murder. The concept is found first in Leviticus 4, where the person who acted without intent is given an opportunity to pay for the murder, but not with his life. Today, we distinguish between manslaughter and murder, wrongdoing and malice.  The Bible had recognised all these scenarios a long time ago. The basis of the Bible’s approach to these laws is to protect the sanctity of life, while also taking into consideration the weaknesses and complexities of humanity. Yet, the biblical guidelines would not be considered “humane” by modern politically-correct standards. In Numbers 35, we have the clearest standards for judging murder. The chapter concludes with a strong warning not to go easy on the “wicked criminal.” There is a severe prohibition against any kind of plea deal, payment or political considerations to ease the punishment of a convicted murderer.  The murderer “who is wicked must be put to death.”

All of the scriptural regulations were given to protect the “sanctity of the land,” to maintain personal security for the individual and the public, and to prevent further bloodshed. What will happen to a society whose leaders renounce their responsibility to protect the sanctity of life when there is “wickedness in the land”? Perhaps it is the chaos, mayhem and anger we see on the streets of Israel, and around the world. God help us in these troubling times.

While Israel grieved this brutal murder, PA TV celebrated it with a song saying: “We have given them a taste of grief, We are not afraid of the enemy – a bone in the throat of the Zionists…’  The song tacitly promises 10 times more terror than Israel has suffered until now by promising there will be 10 times more Palestinian terrorists, taken from today’s Palestinian children.

Tony Pearce