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  • Iranian missiles on display at a Quds Day rally in Tehran, Iran, June 23, 2017. Credit: Saeediex/Shutterstock.

    U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin reiterated on Thursday Washington’s commitment to upholding Israel’s security, as the Israel Defense Forces continued preparations for an expected Iranian attack on the home front.

    Austin spoke with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant “to reiterate ironclad U.S. support for Israel’s defense in the face of growing threats from Iran and its regional proxies,” according to a Pentagon readout of their call.

     

  • Iranians attend a funeral procession in Tehran, held for seven Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps members killed in a strike in Syria. Hossein Beris | Afp | Getty Images
    • Western diplomats have mounted pressure on China to prevent Iran from escalating tensions in the Middle East with a direct retaliatory strike against Israel. 
       
    • Tensions spiked at the start of this month when seven Iranian military advisers were killed in a strike on Iran’s consulate in Damascus. Israel has not declared responsibility. 
       
    • On Wednesday, Iran’s Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Israel “should be punished and will be punished” for the Damascus killings. 
       
  • US Consulate in Tel Aviv (photo: The Jerusalem Post, Marc Israel Sellem)

    The United States said on Thursday it had restricted its employees in Israel and their family members from personal travel outside the greater Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Be'er Sheva areas amid Iran's threats to retaliate against its regional adversary.

    Iran has vowed revenge for the April 1 airstrike on its embassy compound in Damascus, ratcheting up tension in a region already strained by the Gaza war.

    "Out of an abundance of caution, U.S. government employees and their family members are restricted from personal travel outside the greater Tel Aviv (including Herzliya, Netanya, and Even Yehuda), Jerusalem, and Be'er Sheva areas until further notice," the US embassy said in a security alert on its website on Thursday.

  • FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies during a Congressional full committee hearing on the "The [Chinese Communist Party] Cyber Threat to the American Homeland and National Security" in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 31. (photo: Julia Nikhinson, AFP via Getty Images)

    FBI Director Christopher Wray on Thursday will warn of an "elevated threat" to U.S. public safety and national security while advocating for an increased budget.

    "Looking back over my career in law enforcement, I’d be hard-pressed to think of a time where so many threats to our public safety and national security were so elevated all at once," Wray will say to the House Appropriations subcommittee hearing on Thursday afternoon. "But that is the case as I sit here today. This is not a point when we can let up."

    Wray will say that the FBI's "immediate concern" is that individuals will draw inspiration from the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict in the Middle East and carry out terrorist attacks in the U.S.

  • A billboard displays a portrait of slain Iranian general Mohammad Reza Zahedi, with a slogan in Hebrew saying 'You will be punished,' April 3, 2024, at Palestine Square in Tehran. (Atta Kenare/AFP)

    Following last week’s strike in Damascus and threats of retaliation from Iranian officials, Israel has signaled that it will attack targets in Iran if it were to launch a direct attack, according to an Arab report Monday.

    Citing an anonymous “Western security official,” the London-based Elaph News reported that Israel has been conducting air force drills in recent days that include preparing to target Iranian nuclear facilities and other key infrastructure.

  • As the war between Israel and Gaza continues, Israel is also preparing for scenarios in other areas, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday, amid concern that Iran was preparing to strike Israel in response to the killing of senior Iranian commanders.

  • US and Israeli officials fear that most of the Israeli hostages held by Hamas since October 7 have been killed in captivity, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday, as talks to secure a hostage release deal and a temporary truce continued in Cairo.

  • Defense Minister Yoav Gallant held a meeting with CENTCOM Commander, General Michael "Erik" Kurilla (photo credit: NICOLE LASKVI/DEFENSE MINISTRY)

    The commander of the United States Army’s Central Command, General Michael Erik Kurilla, will arrive in Israel on Thursday for coordination talks on preparing for a possible attack by Iran. 

    This visit comes in light of Israel’s alleged strike that killed Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards general Mohammad Reza Zahedi in Damascus last week, Israeli officials said. 

    General Kurilla will meet with IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant against the backdrop of the joint preparation of the US and Israel against an Iranian attack using ballistic missiles, drones, and cruise missiles against targets in Israel, which may further escalate the conflict in the region.

  • Protesters interrupt U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin as he testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee on April 9, 2024. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

    A key Democrat on Tuesday said he is noncommittal about approving an $18 billion F-15 sale to Israel, even as centrist members of the party who previously supported unrestricted military aid to the country become increasingly skeptical amid the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

  • U.S. President Joe Biden addresses the nation from the Oval Office about the response to the recent Hamas invasion of Israel and Russia’s ongoing war on Ukraine, Oct. 19, 2023. (photo: Oliver Contreras, White House)

    The Spanish-language television network Univision aired an hour-long, pre-recorded interview on Tuesday in which U.S. President Joe Biden criticized Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

    “I think what he’s doing is a mistake,” Biden said. “I don’t agree with his approach.”

    “So I what I’m calling for is for the Israelis to just call for a ceasefire, allow for the next six, eight weeks total access to all food and medicine going into the country,” Biden said.

  • President Joe Biden speaks during a news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in the Rose Garden of the White House, Wednesday, April 10, 2024, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

    US President Joe Biden says Washington’s commitment to Israel’s security is “ironclad” in the face of threats from Iran.

    “I said to [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu, US commitment to Israel’s security in the face of Iranian threats to launch an attack against Israel is ironclad,” he says during a White House press conference.

  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convenes an evening Security Cabinet meeting at the Kirya military headquarters in Tel Aviv after Israel was attacked early in the morning by the Hamas terror group, Oct. 7, 2023. (photo: Haim Zach, GPO)

    Israel’s Diplomatic-Security Cabinet is convening on Tuesday at the demand of Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, with the topics on the agenda to include the ongoing truce talks and the state of the war in Gaza. The minister was set to put two proposals on the table during the meeting.

    The first involves securing an American commitment to back Israel’s return to combat after a six-week pause in the fighting, and in particular a ground operation in Rafah in southern Gaza, as a condition for completing a deal.

    The second aims to ensure that, as part of the Israeli concessions being discussed in Cairo, there will be no free movement of residents of the Strip from south to north, which would allow Hamas to reorganize and maintain its force.

  • (photo: IDF)

    An Israeli air strike on Monday night killed a top Hamas terrorist, who headed the organization’s “emergency committee” in the camps of central Gaza.

    Hatem Alramery “was a Hamas military-wing operative in the field of projectile launches within the Maghazi Battalion of the Central Camps,” according to the IDF.

    Also on Monday, an Israeli Air Force craft eliminated a terrorist in Khan Yunis in southern Gaza who participated in the bloody Oct. 7 invasion of the northwestern Negev.

  • Armed Palestinian terrorists during a parade in the Balata camp in the Samaria city of Nablus, Sept. 29, 2023. (photo: Nasser Ishtayeh, Flash90)

    As the Israel Defense Forces fight Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip, the Iranian regime continues to foment violence in Judea and Samaria by flooding the territory with weapons, The New York Times reported on Tuesday, citing officials in Washington, Jerusalem and Tehran.

    Judea and Samaria saw a dramatic rise in terrorist attacks in 2023 compared to the previous year, with shootings reaching the highest level since the Second Intifada of 2000-05, according to Israeli military data.

    The violence has continued to escalate since Hamas started a war with its murderous rampage across the northwestern Negev last year. Since Oct. 7, at least eight Israelis have been murdered in Judea and Samaria.

  • (photo: Marc Israel Sellem, Pool / JNS)

    Israel has set a date for the military offensive against the remaining Hamas terror battalions in Gaza’s southernmost city of Rafah, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Monday night.

    “We are constantly working to achieve our goals—first and foremost the release of all our hostages and achieving a complete victory over Hamas.
    This victory requires entry into Rafah and the elimination of the terrorist battalions there,” the premier said in a video released by his office.

    “It will happen; there is a date,” revealed Netanyahu, adding that he had received a “detailed report” on the high-level hostages-for-ceasefire negotiations that ended in Cairo earlier on Monday.

  • Lapid and Blinken. (photo: Yair Lapid's X Account)

    U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid discussed efforts to free the 133 remaining hostages being held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip during a meeting in Washington on Monday.

    “I told the secretary of state that the citizens of Israel are united around the call for the return of the captives,” tweeted Lapid after the meeting.

    “Together with the international community, we can’t rest until we see everyone coming home,” added the Yesh Atid Party leader.

  • The U.N. Security Council adopts Resolution 2728 (2024) 14-0, demanding an immediate ceasefire to Israel's war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip during Ramadan and immediate release of all hostages taken from Israel and being held in Gaza, with Washington abstaining, March 25, 2024. (photo: Loey Felipe, UN)

    The Palestinians’ long-dormant application for full United Nations membership will be given a fresh look on Monday.

    The United Nations Security Council is set to meet, first in closed consultations, then in an open format, to consider the 2011 application—a move officially requested in a letter from Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad Mansour last Wednesday.

  • According to space.com, the totality phase of the eclipse in the United States will last for 67 minutes and 58 seconds. Could God be using the number 67 here as a reference to the peace process with Israel and another warning to the United States not to divide the land? In a previous commentary (at this link) we have noted that the National Eclipse Blog said the average width of the 2017 solar eclipse was 67 miles wide.

    Additionally, the date of the eclipse on the Gregorian calendar in the USA is 4-8. Could this be another warning regarding Israel which became a nation again in ‘48?

  • (image: Xavier Jubier via Accuweather)
  • Soldiers from the Counter-Terrorism Unit discover weapons, munitions, and rockets inside a warehouse next to a school in Khan Yunis that was previously used as a shelter for civilians, March 5, 2024. (ohoto: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)

    Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said on Sunday that the IDF withdrew from Khan Yunis after Hamas ceased to function in the area, adding that the troops left in preparation for a coming Rafah operation.

    While speaking at the IDF's Southern Command base, he stated, "The withdrawal of the troops from Khan Yunis was carried out after Hamas ceased to function as a military organization in the city, the forces left to prepare for the operation in Rafah."

    The defense minister said this in light of a situational assessment held at the IDF's Southern Command with the Director General of the Defense Ministry, Major General (res.) Eyal Zamir, commander Major General Yaron Finkelman, and other staff officers. 

  • IDF chief of staff: War against Hamas is far from over, despite troop withdrawal By EMANUEL FABIAN IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi speaks to the press from an army base in central Israel, April 7, 2024. (Israel Defense Forces) IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi speaks to the press from an army base in central Israel, April 7, 2024. (photo: Israel Defense Forces)

    IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi says that, despite the withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, the war against Hamas continues and is far from over.

    He also says that the IDF will know how to return to fighting in the event of a truce as part of a hostage deal and that returning the hostages is a more urgent matter than other goals.

    “We are fighting this war differently, it is different from its predecessors,” Herzi says in a press statement marking six months since Hamas’s October 7 onslaught.

    “The war in Gaza continues, and we are far from stopping. Senior Hamas officials are still in hiding. We will get to them sooner or later. We are making progress, continuing to kill more terrorists and commanders and destroy more terror infrastructures, including last night,” he says.

  • Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei looks at the coffins of members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps who were killed in Damascus, during a funeral ceremony in Tehran, Iran April 4, 2024. (photo: Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader / WANA / Handout via Reuters)

    The Iranian leadership and several senior commanders of its proxy militias were spotted attending the annual Quds Day parade in the Iranian capital of Tehran on Friday, shortly before the state funerals for seven senior Iranian officers killed in the alleged Israeli airstrike near Iran’s Syrian embassy earlier this week.

    Thousands marched, carrying images of the perished officers and banners with slogans like, “Death to Israel” and “Death to America,” and pictures of the Iranian regime's founder, Ruhollah Khomeini.

    Quds Day (also al-Quds Day) is an annual pro-Palestinian event held by the Iranian regime on the last Friday of Ramadan. Quds Day is meant to serve as a counter to Jerusalem Day, in which Israelis celebrate the reunification of Jerusalem following the 1967 Six-Day War.

  • (screenshot: X)

    The IDF struck sites near Janta in the Beqaa Valley in eastern Lebanon early Sunday morning, just hours after an IDF drone was downed by a surface-to-air missile in Lebanon, according to Lebanese reports.

    Some Lebanese reports indicated that Syrian air defenses were activated during the strikes in the Beqaa Valley, although there has been no official confirmation of such an incident as of yet.

    On Saturday night, the IDF said a drone was downed by a surface-to-air missile and fell in Lebanon. Hezbollah took responsibility for the incident, saying it shot down the drone.

  • Above, Finland's Ambassador to NATO Klaus Korhonen, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, and Sweden's Ambassador to NATO Axel Wernhoff on May 18, 2022, in Brussels. Russia warned Finland about the consequences of NATO nukes being placed in its territory. (photo: Johanna Geron, Pool / AFP via Getty Images)

    Russian ambassador had harsh words for Finland on Saturday, warning that the country would retaliate against the new member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) if nuclear weapons were placed on Finnish soil.

    Finland is one of the newest European countries to join the military alliance, being officially welcomed into the fold in April 2023.

  • Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., left, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., right, arrive before US President Joe Biden delivers the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at the Capitol, Thursday, March 7, 2024, in Washington. (photo: Shawn Thew, Pool via AP)

    Several dozen Democratic members of Congress, including former speaker Nancy Pelosi, have sent a letter to US President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken calling for a halt on arms transfers to Israel following an IDF strike in Gaza that killed seven staffers of the World Central Kitchen, including a dual US citizen.

    “In light of this incident, we strongly urge you to reconsider your recent decision to authorize the transfer of a new arms package to Israel, and to withhold this and any future offensive arms transfers until a full investigation into the airstrike is completed,” the House representatives wrote.

    “We also urge you to withhold these transfers if Israel fails to sufficiently mitigate harm to innocent civilians in Gaza, including aid workers, and if it fails to facilitate — or arbitrarily denies or restricts the transport and delivery of humanitarian aid into Gaza,” they said.

  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu outside his office at the Knesset in Jerusalem, March 13, 2024. (photo: Yonatan Sindel, Flash90)

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu directly addressed Iran at a high-level meeting on Thursday night, warning the Islamic Republic that whoever harms or plans to harm the Jewish state will be hurt back.

    “For years, Iran has been working against us, both directly and through its proxies, and therefore Israel has been working against Iran and its proxies, both on the defense and offense,” said the premier.

    “We will know how to defend ourselves and will act according to the simple principle that whoever hurts us or plans to hurt us—we will hurt him,” he added.

  • Notice the map shows the earthquake near Lebanon, NJ. (Image: New York Post)

    The 4.8-magnitude earthquake that shook the tri-state area Friday morning is the largest earthquake with an epicenter near New York City in 140 years.

    The largest earthquake ever recorded in New York City’s history was 5.2-magnitude in 1884, according to NYC Emergency Management. It’s believed to have happened somewhere between Brooklyn and Sandy Hook, New Jersey.

  • Iranians burn an Israeli flag during a rally marking Quds Day and the funeral of members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps who were killed in a suspected Israeli airstrike on the Iranian embassy in the Syrian capital Damascus, in Tehran, Iran, April 5, 2024. (photo: Majid Asgaripour, Reuters)

    The U.S. is on high alert for a potential attack on Israel or on American facilities in the Middle East in retaliation for an Israeli strike in Syria that killed Iranian commanders, two U.S. officials told USA TODAY.

    Iran vowed revenge after suspected Israeli warplanes bombed its embassy in Damascus on Monday, killing a top Iranian military commander, a major escalation in Israel's war with its regional adversaries.

    The Biden administration is concerned about the possibility Iranian might attack U.S. bases in Iraq and Syria, sources said, and American forces were in a heightened state of vigilance.

    Iran's Revolutionary Guards announced the deaths of seven military advisers in the Damascus strike, including Mohammad Reza Zahedi, a senior commander in its Quds Force, an elite foreign espionage and paramilitary arm.

    Iran promised "to take a decisive response."

  • (photo: Ynet / Getty)

    The Biden administration is drawing up plans to require labeling of products originating from West Bank settlements, the Financial Times reported on Friday, citing U.S. officials.

    It is still unclear if and when such an initiative would take effect as part of the Biden administration’s efforts to turn the screws on Israel following reports of a supposed increase in settler violence against Palestinians in the West Bank. The report also highlighted Washington's frustration with how Israel is conducting the war in the Gaza Strip.

  • (image: USGS)

    A rare earthquake rocked the New York area Friday morning, shaking buildings and sending terrified residents into the streets as it rattled parts of the Big Apple, Connecticut and New Jersey — the first time a major temblor hit the city since 2011.

    The preliminary 4.8-magnitude earthquake struck near Lebanon, New Jersey, around 10:23 a.m., according to the US Geological Survey.

    At the United Nations in Midtown Manhattan, a Security Council address on the Israel-Gaza conflict was interrupted as cameras began shuddering.

  • (source: USGS)
  • Official UN Security Council Agenda for April 5, 2024

    10.00 a.m. - 9596th meeting - Security Council Chamber 

    1.       Adoption of the agenda 
    2.       The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question

     

  • (image: USGS)
  • (photo: Accuweather, Dan Martland)
  • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at a security cabinet meeting, April 4, 2024. (photo: Channel 12 screenshot)

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed on Thursday to respond to efforts to harm Israelis, as the country geared up for a possible Iranian response to Israel’s alleged assassination of the top Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commander in Syria.

    Speaking at a meeting of the security cabinet soon after his phone call with US President Joe Biden, Netanyahu said “Iran has been acting against us for years — directly and via proxies. And, therefore, Israel acts against Iran and its proxies — defensively and offensively.”

    Netanyahu added: “We will know how to defend ourselves, and we will act according to the simple principle: that those who harm us or plan to harm us, we will harm.”

  • Hassan Nasrallah. (photo: Aziz Taher, Reuters)

    The head of the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah said on Friday that Israel's strike on Iran's consulate in Damascus this week marked a "turning point" since Oct. 7, when Hamas launched an attack on Israel that has led to escalating regional tensions.

    The Damascus strike on Monday killed seven Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps members, among them a senior Quds Force commander, Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Zahedi. Iran has vowed revenge.

    Iran-backed Hezbollah has said it supports Iran's right to "punish" Israel, and in televised remarks on Friday, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said the response was coming.

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Provocative Commentary


“The men who have done the most for God in this world have been early on their knees. He who fritters away the early morning, its opportunity and freshness, in other pursuits than seeking God will make poor headway seeking Him the rest of the day. If God is not first in our thoughts and efforts in the morning, He will be in the last place the remainder of the day.” 
― E.M. Bounds

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