Good News From Israel

On June 8, The Jerusalem Post reported the following:

The IDF released the following statement on Saturday:

“It has been cleared for publication that in a complex operation by the IDF, Shin Bet, and the Yamam unit of the Israel police four Israeli hostages were rescued this morning (Saturday). The hostages, Noa Argamani (25), Almog Meir (21), Andrey Kozlov (27), and Shlomi Ziv (40), were kidnapped by Hamas to the Gaza Strip from the ‘Nova’ party on October 7th.

The hostages were rescued by Shin Bet and Yamam fighters from two different locations in an operation in the heart of Nuseirat.

Their medical condition is stable, and they have been transferred for further medical examinations at the ‘Sheba’ Medical Center in Tel HaShomer.

Security forces will continue to make every effort to bring back the hostages.”

Later, in a televised statement, IDF Spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari  spoke on the heroic operation, saying:

“The IDF and Yamam infiltrated two facilities while under fire by Hamas terrorists. A Yamam soldier was seriously injured in the operation and has just reached the hospital. We pray for his well-being.

…When asked by KAN 11 if there were other hostages with them, “We cannot answer this intelligence questions about other hostages. We must be careful with information security. This operation could have ended very differently.”

It is wonderful news that these four hostages were rescued. It also reassures us that at least some of the remaining hostages held are still alive. Israel needs to keep fighting to free the hostages and to free Gaza from the tyrannical grip of Hamas.

 

Troubling News About The Red Cross

The Red Cross was founded by Clara Barton on May 21, 1881. Most of us have believed that the organization was a politically neutral group working for the protection of prisoners and helping victims of war. I guess that is no longer the case.

On Friday (updated Saturday), The Jerusalem Post posted an article about a recent meeting with Red Cross representatives in Israel.

The article reports:

Families of Israelis being held hostage by Hamas were reprimanded by representatives of the Red Cross in a meeting earlier this week, with the Red Cross telling one family they need to “think about the Palestinian side,” KAN reported on Thursday night.

Roni and Simona, the parents of Doron Steinbrecher who was kidnapped by Hamas terrorists from Kfar Azza on October 7, were invited to a meeting with the Red Cross earlier this week.

Doron needs a medication she takes daily and her parents thought that the Red Cross was finally willing to transfer the medication to her, but instead they were sat down and reprimanded by representatives of the Red Cross.

“Think about the Palestinian side,” the representatives of the Red Cross told Simona, according to KAN. “It’s hard for the Palestinians, they’re being bombed.” 

Did it occur to this representative that the reason the Palestinians were being bombed was that they attacked Israel on October 7 and took hostages? Would it occur to this representative to think about the hostages or the brutality of the attack on Israel? I suspect it is very hard for the hostages also.

The article concludes:

Dr. Nadav Davidovitz, who treated Elma after her release, said “We were in meetings with the Red Cross and asked them to make every effort to bring the medications to her, because some hostages are just dying. From a medical and nursing standpoint, what we witnessed is unlawful neglect.”

The Jerusalem Institute of Justice recently sent a letter to the ICRC pointing out that it had made several social media posts about the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza, but not a single one about the plight of the hostages and other Israeli victims from the October 7 massacre.

About three weeks after the attack, 1,200 lawyers across the world signed a letter written by the Israeli human rights group Shurat HaDin, condemning the Red Cross for not doing enough to help the hostages. The attorneys accused the organization of repeating the mistakes of indifference and inaction that it admitted to having made during the Holocaust.

One Lesson Learned From October 7

On Friday, The Jerusalem Post posted an opinion piece about one of the conditions that led to the death of so many Israelis on October 7. On November, I reported that in Israel only 2 percent of the population is armed (article here). That may be rapidly changing.

The article at The Jerusalem Post reports:

Over the past month, more than 200,000 Israelis have filed applications for gun licenses – permits to own and carry a firearm. Given the spike in Palestinian terrorism over the past 18 months and the Hamas massacres of October 7, this is not surprising and is even welcome. I think that every Israeli grandmother should now pack a pistol.

In saying so, I am shocking myself, because I grew up in a Western liberal society where gun-toting was rare and frowned upon. If anything, it was the passion of far-right rednecks who were viewed from afar as irresponsible. The Americas are plagued by too much gun violence, with regular shotgun and machine gun shootings by deranged people in malls, schools, campuses, playgrounds, and even occasionally churches and synagogues.

Furthermore, in this country to which I immigrated many decades ago, guns were considered the province of the military, into which we send our sons and daughters to serve. Soldiers coming home for the weekend with their sophisticated and scary-looking rifles are a regular sight, and troops in the streets to secure major holiday pedestrian traffic and tourist sites are commonplace (and necessary), especially in Jerusalem.

In other words, this country is seemingly well protected by its large citizen-based army, police force, para-military forces, and penetrating intelligence forces. It is not necessary for the average citizen in Israel – men and women – to be armed. Or so it seemed.

The time when every Israeli working in agricultural fields or walking to work in Tel Aviv needed to have a loaded gun is over, or so we thought. The time when every Israeli needed to display instant readiness to repel attack had passed, or so we thought.

I believe that a well-armed civilian population of Israelites living on the Israeli borders would be a deterrent to another October 7-style attack.

Eliminating The Terrorists One By One

On Monday, Scott Johnson at Power Line Blog reported that IRGC Colonel Hassan Sayad Khodayari was killed yesterday.

The article reports:

IRGC Colonel Hassan Sayad Khodayari was assassinated yesterday Sunday in broad daylight outside his home by two men on a motorcycle who rode off into the sunset. Iran blamed the assassination on “elements linked to the global arrogance,” which the Times of Israel’s story translates as “the term for the United States and its allies including Israel.”

I think Iran is fingering Israel, but they don’t want to let the Great Satan off the hook either. The mullahs have their assassins working on Mike Pompeo and John Bolton, if not President Trump himself. The Jerusalem Post notes: “The IRGC also reported that Khodayari was involved in the security of the Shiite holy places in Damascus and that he had a close relationship with Qasem Soleimani, an IRGC commander who was killed in a US airstrike in 2020.”

The ToI story adds one more translation: “Reports identified [Khodayari] as a ‘defender of the sanctuary,’ a reference to Iranians who carry out Tehran’s operations in Syria and Iraq within the Guard’s elite Quds Force that oversees operations abroad.” The Jerusalem Post covers the techniques employed in the assassination here (also linked above).

The Jerusalem Post also notes: “According to Iranian sources, Khodayari was responsible for attempts to abduct and assassinate Israelis in Cyprus, Turkey and Colombia, N12 reported.” There’s a war underway. However, I’m quite sure the United States has quit fighting back President Trump left town. The Post’s analysis separately concludes “Assassination of IRGC official shows Israel has shifted gears.”

If America chooses to sit on the sidelines while Israel deals with terrorist attacks, Israel will successfully deal with those attacks on her own. It would be nice if America helped, but not necessary. The Israelis have a way of getting things done on their own.

The article notes:

Unsourced reports in the Israeli media state that Khodayari had planned kidnappings and other attempts to attack Israeli and Jewish targets worldwide. Israel Hayom has more here.

I guess those plans are at least temporarily on hold.

The Global Cost Of A Weak American President

The Jerusalem Post reported the following yesterday:

Iran has reneged on allowing a recent deal with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for access to its Karaj nuclear facility, the UN nuclear watchdog said on Sunday.

“The (IAEA) Director General (Rafael Grossi) stresses that Iran’s decision not to allow agency access to the TESA Karaj centrifuge component manufacturing workshop is contrary to the agreed terms of the joint statement issued on 12 September,” the International Atomic Energy Agency said in a statement.

“Iran from 20–22 September permitted IAEA inspectors to service identified agency monitoring and surveillance equipment and to replace storage media at all necessary locations in Iran with the exception of the centrifuge component manufacturing workshop at the TESA Karaj complex,” the IAEA statement said further.

In mid-September, IAEA Director-General Rafael Grossi announced he had reached a deal with the new Iranian government, which was elected in mid-June, that could break the logjam which had led Tehran to block the agency’s inspections since May.

A major revelation that came out of the announcement of the deal was that various IAEA monitoring cameras had been destroyed, damaged or shut off.

However, Grossi said he had received guarantees from Iran that it would almost immediately grant access to fix and otherwise restore the cameras’ monitoring.

The article concludes:

A Wall Street Journal report from Sunday also predicted that Iran will claim safety issues and the need to continue to collect forensic evidence as a basis for delaying access.

But, as the report points out, Iran is public as having restarted operating Karaj after the June attack that Iran has attributed, and The Jerusalem Post has validated, to the Mossad.

If Tehran was operating Karaj even after the attack, its latest defenses for impeding IAEA access could be exposed as contrived.
Broadly speaking, the US has said it would lift sanctions if the Islamic Republic ends its nuclear violations.

So let’s get this straight. The IAEA was not allowed to inspect or repair the monitoring system at the TESA Karaj centrifuge component manufacturing workshop. I know it is just an incredible coincidence that this is the site that Iran had restarted operating after June and now the IAEA is not allowed to fix the monitoring equipment. I think I trust Iran about as much as I trust a hungry alligator staring at my small pet.

 

I Guess He Didn’t Read The Memo

The Washington Examiner reported the following today:

Secretary of State Antony Blinken claims that he hasn’t been shown evidence to justify Israel’s airstrike of the building in Gaza, which housed the Associated Press and Al-Jazeera offices.

“Shortly after the strike we did request additional details regarding the justification for it,” Blinken said at a news conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, choosing not to address specifics, adding that he “will leave it to others to characterize if any information has been shared and our assessment that information,” according to the Associated Press.

“I have not seen any information provided,” he continued.

Why hasn’t he seen the information provided? Is this another example of ‘plausible deniability”?

Meanwhile, Breitbart reported the following yesterday:

Israel reportedly showed U.S. officials “smoking gun” intelligence Sunday indicating that the Palestinian Hamas terrorist organization was using the Jala Tower in Gaza, which also housed the Associated Press, Al Jazeera, and other international news outlets.

On Saturday, Israel destroyed the tower, after warning the occupants to allow them to leave. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) tweeted that the building contained “Hamas military intelligence assets” and that the media had been used as “human shields.”

In deciding which story to believe, it’s important to look at the entire event and the history of both sides. Hamas has a history of using ‘human shields’. It places rocket launchers in hospitals and homes. Israel has a history of bending over backwards to avoid civilian casualties–to the point of sending ‘knock-knock’ bombs to warn civilians to evacuate.

The article at Breitbart concludes:

But on Sunday, according to the Jerusalem Post, Israel shared its evidence that the building had been used by Hamas:

Israel shared intelligence with the US showing how Hamas operated inside the same building with the Associated Press and Al-Jazeera in Gaza, officials in Jerusalem said on Sunday.

Officials in more than one government office confirmed that US President Joe Biden’s phone call to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday was, in part, about the bombing of the building, and that Israel showed Biden and American officials the intelligence behind the action.

“We showed them the smoking gun proving Hamas worked out of that building,” a source close to Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi said. “I understand they found the explanation satisfactory.”

Hamas continued firing rockets at Israeli communities on Sunday, even as its officials claimed that they wanted a ceasefire.

If the Secretary of State hasn’t been shown the evidence of Hamas headquarters in the same building as the media, maybe he need to ask why.

Israel Has Every Right To Defend Itself

The Jerusalem Post is reporting today that Israel attacked Iranian and Syrian targets in Syria in response to explosive devices found on the Israeli border.

The article reports:

“IDF warplanes attacked military targets belonging to the Iranian Quds Force and the Syrian army tonight in Syria. The attack damaged warehouses, command posts and military complexes, and batteries of surface-to-air missiles,” the IDF said in a statement.

The strikes hit eight targets from the Golan Heights to Damascus including an Iranian military complex near Damascus International Airport, a secret military barracks which acts as a housing complex for senior Iranian officials as well as visiting delegations, a command post for Division 7 of the Syrian army which cooperates with the Quds force and mobile surface-to-air missile trucks which fired towards Israeli jets during the strikes.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the strikes were part of a policy that he has been “pursuing for years” and that Israel would not allow for Iran to entrench itself in Syria nor would it allow for any attempted attack from Syrian territory.

“Whoever tries to attack us, whoever attacks us -will bleed from his head,” Netanyahu warned.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz responded to the strikes on Wednesday morning saying “I repeat to our enemies – Israel will not tolerate violations of sovereignty on any border, and will not allow dangerous escalations at any border. The Syrian regime is responsible for everything that is done in its territory.”

Israel has no choice but to respond to attacks on its borders. Israel is also aware that if Joe Biden becomes President, the friendship between Israel and America will end. Joe Biden will renew the Iran Nuclear Deal that will give Iran a green light on developing atomic weapons which they will use on Israel. Israel will have no choice but to do everything in its power to stop that development. If Joe Biden becomes President, peace in the Middle East will become a distant memory.

An Organization That Has Not Stayed True To Its Purpose

The Jerusalem Post is reporting the following today:

Some 138 United Nations countries approved a draft resolution that spoke of the Temple Mount solely as an Islamic holy site, by referencing it only by its Muslim name of al-Haram al-Sharif.

It was one of seven pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel resolutions that the UN General Assembly’s Fourth Committee in New York passed on Wednesday.

It is amazing that as more countries are settling their differences with Israel, the UN is drafting resolutions that will only work against peace in the Middle East.

The article reports:

The resolution was titled, “Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including east Jerusalem.”

The text did affirm the connection between Jerusalem and three monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Still the reference in the text to the Temple Mount, the location of the ancient Jewish Temple and the most holy site in Judaism, solely by its Muslim name is viewed as an attempt by UN member states to delegitimize and erase that well known history.

Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan called the passage of the text “a disgrace.” He added, “No resolution passed here will change the eternal connection between the Jewish people and the holiest site of our faith – Har HaBayit, the Temple Mount,” Erdan said.

“For years, the Palestinians have promoted language that includes only the Muslim term of “Haram al-Sharif” and purposely excludes the Jewish name – Temple Mount,” he said.

Nine countries, including Israel, voted against the resolution. These were: Australia, Canada, Guatemala, Hungary, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru and the United States.

I realize that everyone who reads this blog may not believe in the Bible, but the Bible clearly tells Israel “I will bless those who bless you, But I will curse those who curse you.
And through you I will bless all the nations.” Genesis 12:3. Look to history to see this principle at work.

 

Something To Watch

The Times of Israel posted the following headline yesterday:

Hezbollah denies border attack, says response to fighter’s death yet to come

Yesterday The Jerusalem Post reported:

Tensions remain high in the North after the IDF thwarted a Hezbollah terrorist attack Monday afternoon near Mount Dov along the border with Lebanon. The defense establishment is concerned Hezbollah might still carry out an attack against the military.

A Hezbollah cell, which numbered between three and five operatives, crossed the border, also known as the Blue Line, several meters into sovereign Israeli territory and was identified by the IDF, which opened fire on them with machine guns and tank shells.

The cell fled back into Lebanon without firing at the soldiers, IDF Spokesperson Brig.-Gen. Hidai Zilberman said, denying reports that anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) were fired during the incident.
“We have some tense days ahead,” he said.

While the condition of the Hezbollah cell members was unclear, the Hezbollah-affiliated Al Mayadeen news outlet reported that no Hezbollah fighters were killed during the failed attack. The soldiers were unharmed, the IDF said.

Hezbollah later released a statement saying there had been no clash along the border, and soldiers had fired on empty fields, making up the entire incident due to their “extreme fear” over a Hezbollah retaliation.

News from the Middle East generally resembles propaganda more than news, but the important thing to remember here is that both of these articles indicate that tensions are rising on the Israeli and Lebanon border. Please follow the links to read both stories for more information.

Good News From Israel

On January 1, 2020, Interesting Engineering posted the following:

Israeli firm Alpha Tau Medical has developed a new cancer treatment that attacks tumors while sparing healthy tissue. The treatment is called Alpha DaRT (Diffusing Alpha-emitters Radiation Treatment), according to The Jerusalem Post.

Alpha DaRT uses, for the first time, alpha radiation for solid tumor treatment. But it does so in a way that the body can tolerate it.

Most cancer treatments out there are simply not tolerable. Our bodies were not made to be exposed to them.

Alpha particles have a high capacity to destroy cancer cells without causing side effects on healthy cells. However, they have extremely short path length in tissue, meaning that up to now they could not get across the entire volume of a tumor.

ALPHA DaRT technology uses the radioactive decay of an isotope called radium-224 to power the spread of alpha particles across entire tumors. This makes ALPHA DaRT technology a powerful cancer-killing agent with minimum side effects.

This limits collateral damage during cancer treatment. Studies done on the treatment are very promising showing a very high level of safety for patients.

The article concludes:

In one recent study, the treatment showed tumor shrinkage in 100% of cases and delivered total tumor destruction in over 78% of cases.

…And other cancer centers are also exploring Alpha DaRT. Trials are being undertaken in Israel, Canada, Japan, Russia, Italy and in the United States.

This is fantastic news for anyone or any family that has been touched by cancer.

Amazing News From Israel

The Jerusalem Post reported yesterday that a group of Israeli scientists believe that they have found a cure for cancer. If their clinical tests prove what they believe, this is fantastic news.

The article reports:

“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), which was founded in 2000 in the ITEK incubator in the Weizmann Science Park. AEBi developed the SoAP platform, which provides functional leads to very difficult targets.

“Our cancer cure will be effective from day one, will last a duration of a few weeks and will have no or minimal side-effects at a much lower cost than most other treatments on the market,” Aridor said. “Our solution will be both generic and personal.”

…Aridor, chairman of the board of AEBi and CEO Dr. Ilan Morad, say their treatment, which they call MuTaTo (multi-target toxin) is essentially on the scale of a cancer antibiotic – a disruption technology of the highest order.

The potentially game-changing anti-cancer drug is based on SoAP technology, which belongs to the phage display group of technologies. It involves the introduction of DNA coding for a protein, such as an antibody, into a bacteriophage – a virus that infects bacteria. That protein is then displayed on the surface of the phage. Researchers can use these protein-displaying phages to screen for interactions with other proteins, DNA sequences and small molecules.

In 2018, a team of scientists won the Nobel Prize for their work on phage display in the directed evolution of new proteins – in particular, for the production of antibody therapeutics.

AEBi is doing something similar but with peptides, compounds of two or more amino acids linked in a chain. According to Morad, peptides have several advantages over antibodies, including that they are smaller, cheaper, and easier to produce and regulate.

The article concludes:

The MuTaTo cancer treatment will eventually be personalized. Each patient will provide a piece of his biopsy to the lab, which would then analyze it to know which receptors are overexpressed. The individual would then be administered exactly the molecule cocktail needed to cure his disease.
However, unlike in the case of AIDS, where patients must take the cocktail throughout their lives, in the case of MuTaTo, the cells would be killed, and the patient could likely stop treatment after only a few weeks.

The company is now writing patents on specific peptides, which will be a large bank of targeting toxin peptides wholly owned and hard to break, said Aridor.

Morad said that so far, the company has concluded its first exploratory mice experiment, which inhibited human cancer cell growth and had no effect at all on healthy mice cells, in addition to several in-vitro trials. AEBi is on the cusp of beginning a round of clinical trials which could be completed within a few years and would make the treatment available in specific cases.
Aridor added: “Our results are consistent and repeatable.”

Wow. Just wow.

Some Good News From The Middle East

The Jerusalem Post reported yesterday that Egypt will be sending its first full-time Ambassador to Israel in three years.

The article reports:

Netanyahu said this is something Israel appreciates and is “deeply welcomed,” and that he believes it is “very good for cementing the peace that exists between Egypt and Israel.”

Israel appointed Haim Koren as its ambassador to Egypt in 2014. On Friday, Koren made history in being the first ever Israeli ambassador to deliver a Ramadan greeting to the Egyptian people.

In the video message uploaded by the Foreign Ministry, Koren said in Arabic, “On my behalf and on behalf of the people of Israel ahead of the holy month of Ramadan, we wish the Egyptian people Ramadan Kareem,” referring to the traditional Ramadan blessing.

America‘s Middle East policy (whatever it is) is not working. As a result of our failure to bring peace in the area, alliances between countries that are looking for stability are forming. That is a good thing. Hopefully, this is simply the beginning of good things to come.