Category Archives: History

UPDATE ON NETANYAHU’S CRIMINAL CHARGES

BLOG 549

January 15, 2022

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Having traveled and worked in the Middle East since l968, Robert L. Wise has journeyed through the region, giving him insights from behind the scenes. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon. Each week he attempts to present an objective view of current events.

UPDATE ON NETANYAHU’S CRIMINAL CHARGES

Followers of Israeli politics know former Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu was a wheeler-dealer, flip-flop artist, with a moral compass like a piece of Swiss cheese. Since being knocked out of office, he has been contending with legal charges. Here’s the latest.

The former PM wants to stay out of jail. The departing AG wants to secure a conviction. Both sides agree on that. But there’s one crucial issue that’s dividing them.

In the two years since he was indicted in three corruption cases, former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been publicly adamant that he would neither seek nor accept a plea bargain. Several weeks ago, however, according to unconfirmed reports over the last few days, one of his lawyers, Boaz Ben Zur, approached Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit to begin discussions on precisely such a deal. According to the thrust of the numerous, sometimes contradictory, and often confusing reports that have emerged this week on the two sides’ subsequent interactions, Mandelblit responded with a “framework” for a possible plea bargain.

The state prosecution would remove the most serious of the charges against Netanyahu, that of bribery in Case 4000 — the case in which he is alleged to have worked to illicitly and lucratively benefit the business interests of the controlling shareholder of the Bezeq media company, in exchange for positive coverage on the Walla news site.

The state prosecution would also close Case 2000, in which Netanyahu allegedly negotiated, but never implemented, an illicit quid pro quo deal with the  newspaper publisher that would have seen the former prime minister weaken a rival daily, the Israel Hayom, in return for more favorable coverage from Yedioth.

In return, Netanyahu would plead guilty to fraud and breach of trust in Case 4000, and likewise to fraud and breach of trust in Case 1000, in which he is alleged to have illicitly received benefits and expensive gifts from billionaire benefactors, including Israeli Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan.

Netanyahu, according to this reported plea bargain framework advanced by Mandelblit, would not go to prison for these offenses, but would rather serve something in the order of six months’ community service. Crucially, however, Mandelblit reportedly also emphasized that Netanyahu would have to accept that his crimes constituted “moral turpitude” — a designation that would see him barred from public office for seven years. Mandelblit made plain that unless Netanyahu was prepared to accept this, there was no point in their negotiating. TV reports on Thursday night suggested the “turpitude” issue is now the only element preventing the sealing of a plea bargain.

Stay tuned!

I have a new books coming out.

MAN ON FIRE can be ordered on Amazon or at your local book store. 

I hope you’ll avail yourself of this inspiring story!

Also these fine books are available now:

I Marched with Patton: A Firsthand Account of World War II

Alongside One of the U.S. Army’s Greatest Generals!

by Frank Sisson (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)

You can find I MARCHED WITH PATTON on Amazon.

82 Days on Okinawa: One American’s Unforgettable

Firsthand Account of the Pacific War’s Greatest Battle!

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA on Amazon.

by Art Shaw (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)

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Filed under Elections, History, Netanyahu

A NEW YEAR WITH NEW FINDS

BLOG 548

January 8, 2022

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Having traveled and worked in the Middle East since l968,  Robert L. Wise has journeyed through the region, giving him insights from behind the scenes. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon. Each week he attempts to present an objective view of current events.

A NEW YEAR WITH NEW FINDS

Most of what we discuss about the Middle East proves to be disconcerting or troubling. However, since we have just plunged into a new year let’s stand back, take a deep breath, and look on the lighter side. How about archeology? Something old for the new day? We haven’t considered this field in awhile.

No country in the world has as much going on archeologically as does Israel. Everywhere I looked in the past I found someone with a shovel in hand. For example ….

The area around the Temple Mount always sheds light on where both the Temple and the Kingdom of Judah’s treasuries once stood. Dr. Zachi Dvira and Dr. Gabriel Barkay, analyzed dozens of clay seals that were found over the decades by sifting soil from the holy area where archaeological digs are not allowed as well as from excavations at Ophel Park, adjacent to the southern wall of the Old City. Clay seals were used in antiquity to sign documents or containers, ensuring they would reach their recipients closed and untouched. The seals often bear symbols or inscriptions of kings, prophets, and businessmen and important people mentioned in the Bible. They continue to find important clues that verify the history found in the Old Testament.

Now here’s a different twist. Could the ancient Ark of the Covenant be resting in Ethiopia? Really? But Ethiopia? My oldest son once taught at the University of Addis Abba, in Ethiopia and went to the place where the Ark might be found. The legend says that 3,000 years ago the Queen of Sheba (now in Ethiopia)  met with King Solomon. During this exchange, a man named Menelik brought the Ark to Ethiopia for safe keeping while an exact replica was left in hiding for protection. Another perspective maintains that a Jewish group during the time of King Manasseh took the Ark to Egypt and then sailed up the Nile to Ethiopia.

Either way, today that Ark is in the Church of Our Lady of Zion in the town of Aksium where a man called “The Guardian of the Ark of the Covenant” is the only one who can view it. The guardian lives in a fenced-off area for his entire life protecting the treasure. When he dies, a new guardian will replace him for the rest of that man’s life.

 Who believes this story? Well, Haile Selassie, the former emperor of Ethiopia did and claimed to be a direct descendant of Menelik. Haile Selassie claimed to be the 225th descendant of King David as well.

Great shades of Indiana Jones! Except this isn’t out of the movies. It has been believed by a multitude for 3,000 years. Give it some thought. A fascinating way to kick off 2022!

I have a new books coming out.

MAN ON FIRE can be ordered on Amazon or at your local book store. 

I hope you’ll avail yourself of this inspiring story!

Also these fine books are available now:

I Marched with Patton: A Firsthand Account of World War II

Alongside One of the U.S. Army’s Greatest Generals!

by Frank Sisson (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)

You can find I MARCHED WITH PATTON on Amazon.

82 Days on Okinawa: One American’s Unforgettable

Firsthand Account of the Pacific War’s Greatest Battle!

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA on Amazon.

by Art Shaw (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)

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Filed under archaeology, Egypt, History, The Middle East

PRIME MINISTER BENNETT MEETS WITH PUTIN

BLOG 541

November 8, 2021

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Having traveled and worked in the Middle East since l968, Robert L. Wise has journeyed through the region, giving him insights from behind the scenes. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon. Each week he attempts to present an objective view of current events.

PRIME MINISTER BENNETT MEETS WITH PUTIN

Insight into what is transpiring in the Middle East often comes from clandestine meetings that the public only learns about years later. However, the recent conference between two heads of state may give us some clues.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s October summit with Vladimir Putin ran overtime. Its unscheduled five-hour duration meant that the prime minister could not return to Israel before Shabbat, and was stuck in Sochi until Saturday night. Yet Bennett’s time with the Russian president was well spent.

Bennett needed to maintain Israel’s freedom of action in Syria. Since the outbreak of the civil war a decade ago, and the ensuing growth of Iran’s presence, the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) has repeatedly targeted Iranian positions and those of its proxy Hezbollah. Tehran’s pretext for involvement was to bolster its ally Bashar Assad, but the larger goal was to transform Syria into an Iranian satellite, a forward position from which to threaten Israel.

Israel decided not to merely observe the growing Iranian buildup, but to adopt a policy of active preemption. The logic of the Israeli strategy mirrored that of the United States in the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, when President John Kennedy declared that the mere positioning of Soviet missiles in the Western Hemisphere was an unacceptable provocation, irrespective of a decision on their actual use. From Jerusalem’s perspective, the Iranians’ deployment was in itself illegitimate, necessitating a robust Israeli response.

However, in September 2015 a new factor arose. The Kremlin made a decision to intervene directly in Syria with its own forces in support of Assad. The Iranians and Russians were now fighting on the same side of the civil war. In these circumstances, it could no longer be a forgone conclusion that Israel would still be able to continue striking against Iranian positions without incurring the wrath of Russia.

Then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu understood that Russia’s upgraded role in Syria was a game-changer. Prudently, he made the uncharacteristic decision not to join the United States and other NATO countries in publicly criticizing the Kremlin’s decision. Instead, Netanyahu expeditiously flew to Moscow for a face-to-face meeting with Putin, where he successfully reached a series of understandings that safeguarded Israel’s freedom of action.

Avoiding such a clash  (“deconfliction” in the language of the experts ) was crucial, but Prime Minister Bennett’s dialogue with the Russian leader held greater implications. It was vital to start a conversation with the Kremlin about developments in Syria and the future of that war-torn country, an exchange that sought convergence between the dictates of Israel’s national security and Russia’s interests in the Middle East that date back to the days of the czars.

Such a discussion was possible because unlike Iran, Russia is not overtly hostile toward Israel. On the contrary, Putin has declared his friendship toward the Jewish people and the Jewish state, solidarity he emphasized during his various official visits to Jerusalem in January 2020.

All in all, a  good step forward for the Middle East.

I have a new book coming out.

MAN ON FIRE can be ordered at the local book store. 

I can make copies available at:

Rev. Robert L. Wise, PO Box 22716 , Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, 731203

Cost is $15.00 plus the shipping fee.

I hope you’ll avail yourself of this inspiring story!

Also these fine books are available now:

I Marched with Patton: A Firsthand Account of World War II

Alongside One of the U.S. Army’s Greatest Generals!

by Frank Sisson (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)

You can find I MARCHED WITH PATTON on Amazon.

82 Days on Okinawa: One American’s Unforgettable Firsthand Account of the Pacific War’s Greatest Battle!

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA on Amazon.

by Art Shaw (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)

Leave a comment

Filed under History, Russia, The Middle East

A VIEW FROM ISRAEL  

BLOG 534

September 20, 2021

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Each week Robert L. Wise, Ph.D., explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.

A VIEW FROM ISRAEL  

Many Americans are wondering what the debacle in Afghanistan means for them and the future. America was there twenty years and the country fell in twenty days. Something is very wrong with that picture. Americans will claim we won the war and the Taliban will maintain they ran the Allies out. Obviously, American troops killed Bin Laden and probably should have left then. How do we interpret the fact that we stayed and then made a bungled exit, leaving some Americans behind? Not to mention the Drone strike on the Taliban that turned out to kill an Aid worker Zemari Ahamdi and seven children. A little hard to swallow, wouldn’t you say? Oh, yes. America left behind helicopters and vehicles as well as truck loads of weapons the Taliban captured.

Amtoz  Asa-El is an Israeli who writes about history. He has some penetrating observations for us to consider. Take a look.

Asa-El notes America built 800 bases worldwide 20 times more than all the other superpowers combined. America’s annual military is larger than the next five military spenders combined.  America’s eleven aircraft carriers equal the combined total of all other countries’ carriers.  America is the top dog …. And runout by the Taliban?

What have Americans wanted in past decades? Teddy Roosevelt called the national goal “the Imperialism of Duty.” While denouncing colonialism, America had pursed its own imperial goal. Asa-El notes that goal was achieved. The Soviet Empire crumbled while America marches on after a goal it could not achieve: proselytizing.

The imperialism imposition of an ideology became the mountain too high to climb.

It is one thing to wield power and win battles. It is another thing to impose a foreign idea on a resistant people while we believe we can change their minds. The Taliban had a saying. “Americans have watches: we have the time.” They were a radical Ismailis tribal state and not about to become a democracy. The story ends on a runway where American airplanes were hauling everyone out they could get on a jet.

Historian  Asa-El argues this form of American Imperialism was finished with the hasty exit from Afghanistan.  You can’t plant democracy in a resistant country. The historian argues “America’s imperial period has been intense and in many ways rewarding, but it wasn’t part of the American Way.” In the beginning George Washington warned we should have as little political connection with other nations as possible. In other words, America can’t go around the world planting democracy where the soil is too thin to support the idea. It didn’t grow in Vietnam, Iraq, or Afghanistan.

Amotz Asa-El ends his argument by writing: “World management should never have been America’s task, and the Afgan misadventure should be its last imperial war.”

Gives you something to think about.

My latest books:

I Marched with Patton: A Firsthand Account of World War II

Alongside One of the U.S. Army’s Greatest Generals!

by Frank Sisson (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)

You can find I MARCHED WITH PATTON on Amazon.

82 Days on Okinawa: One American’s Unforgettable Firsthand Account of the Pacific War’s Greatest Battle!

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA on Amazon.

by Art Shaw (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)

Leave a comment

Filed under America, History, Israel, The Middle East

BREAKTHROUGH IN MORROCO

BLOG  498

December 14, 2020

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Each week Robert L. Wise, Ph.D., explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.

BREAKTHROUGH IN MORROCO

Morocco’s ruling monarch King Mohammad VI confirmed Thursday that the country intends to establish official relations with Israel for the first time in nearly twenty years.  Morocco is the fourth Arab nation to recognize Israel in recent months as the administration seeks to expand its “Abraham Accords” framework, which began over the summer with an agreement between the Jewish state and the United Arab Emirates. Bahrain and Sudan have followed suit and administration officials have also been trying to bring Saudi Arabia into the fold.

The move is likely to raise hackles in Morocco. According to one recent poll, only 16 percent of Moroccans have a favorable view of Israel, while 70% view Israel unfavorably.

Unlike the other countries which have normalized with Israel over the past few months, Morocco has a genuine opposition and civil society. While true power largely lies with the monarchy, the parliament has been controlled by a conservative Islamist party whose roots trace back to the Muslim Brotherhood since 2011.

“Morocco will resume official bilateral contacts and diplomatic relations [with Israel] as soon as possible,” King Mohammad said in a statement. The statement followed an announcement that Israel and Morocco had agreed to “full diplomatic relations a massive breakthrough for peace in the Middle East!” In a separate but likely closely-tied announcement, the US said it would recognize Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara, a former Spanish North African territory that has been the focus of a long-running dispute that has confounded international negotiators for decades.

Israel and Morocco established low-level diplomatic relations during the 1990s following a thawing of ties between Israel and the Palestinians. Those contacts, however, were suspended in 2002 in response to the Second Intifada. Since then, however, the relationship has continued informally, with tens of thousands of Israelis traveling to Morocco every year.

Explaining the decision to normalize, King Mohammad cited among other reasons the long-standing presence of Jews in Morocco. An estimated 50,000 Israelis — many of whom are descendants of Moroccan Jews who left in the 1950s — travel to Morocco each year on trips, learning about the Jewish community and retracing family histories.

“Morocco has played a historic role in bringing the peoples of the region together and supporting security and stability in the Middle East… [there are] special ties that bind the Jewish community of Moroccan origin, including those in Israel, to the person of His Majesty the King,” the report  said.

King Mohammad said his country will aim to “resume official bilateral ties and diplomatic relations [with Israel] as soon as possible,” and that Morocco will soon facilitate direct flights to transport Jews and Israelis to and from Morocco.

My latest books:

I Marched with Patton: A Firsthand Account of World War II Alongside One of the U.S. Army’s Greatest Generals!

by Frank Sisson (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)

You can find I MARCHED WITH PATTON on Amazon.

82 Days on Okinawa: One American’s Unforgettable Firsthand Account of the Pacific War’s Greatest Battle!

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA on Amazon.

by Art Shaw (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)

Leave a comment

Filed under America, History, Jews, The Middle East

A SURPRISE FOR YOU!

BLOG 489

October 12,  2020

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Each week Robert L. Wise, Ph.D., explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.

A SURPRISE FOR YOU!   

Hey, I want to deviate from the usual path because I have something new that I think will be important for you. My latest book has just been released by Harper/Collins and I believe it will fascinate you!

Released immediately, I MARCHED WITH PATTON is the World War II story of a dear friend, Frank Sisson. I had known Frank for decades and never heard him mention of being in World War II. However, a couple of years ago, I noticed a plaque on the wall commemorating participation in the Battle of the Bulge. When I asked him about his involvement, he mumbled, “I don’t talk about it.”

As I pried the story out of him, his remembrances took me inside the war in a way that I had never known. I knew the public needed to read this account. In addition to the struggles of combat, Frank helped liberate the Dachau Concentration Camp and following the war became a Military Policeman in Berlin. His encounters with the Russians remains a story unto itself.

We developed this book to help contemporary Americans understand the values and ideals of the 75-80 million souls that perished because of this war. As I wrote these pages, I found myself again and again moved by the valor of the American soldier. You will be moved.

Perhaps, you read my 82 DAYS ON OKINAMWA that was released last March. The pandemic had just started and that blunted the release. However, the book is the first-person memories of Col. Art Shaw, also a dear friend who has since passed away.  His memories recount an era now passed, but important to recover.

Both of these books are available through Barnes & Noble or Amazon. They will more than suffice for those nights when there’s nothing much on television. They will warm your heart and challenge your soul.

Check it out!

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA on Amazon.

You can find I MARCHED WITH PATTON on Amazon.

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Filed under America, History, Jews, War

ARCHEOLOGICAL JACKPOT!

BLOG 484
August 31, 2020

archaeology

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Each week Robert L. Wise, Ph.D., explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.

ARCHEOLOGICAL JACKPOT!

Parodically, I take a break from the “hot and heavy” political news of the Middle East to catch up with what archeologist are turning up. Possibly, nowhere in the world have the digs turned up such amazing finds and treasurers. These experts about the past are chancing how we read history. Here’s the latest.

A rare hoard of 425 gold coins from the Abbasid Caliphate, dating around 1,100 years ago, was uncovered by teenage volunteers at an archaeological excavation in the center of the country, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) announced on Monday. The trove was discovered by a group of young people carrying out volunteer work ahead of their mandatory army service.

“It was amazing.” said teen Oz Cohen. “I dug in the ground and when I excavated the soil, saw what looked like very thin leaves. When I looked again, I saw these were gold coins. It was really exciting to find such a special and ancient treasure.” Excavation directors Liat Nadav-Ziv and Dr. Elie Haddad said that it was assumed that whoever buried the coins would have expected they would be able to retrieve the hoard, and that the find could point to international trade carried out by the area’s residents.

“Finding gold coins, certainly in such a considerable quantity, is extremely rare. We almost never find them in archaeological excavations, given that gold has always been extremely valuable, melted down and reused from generation to generation,” the directors. “The coins, made of pure gold that does not oxidize in air, were found in excellent condition, as if buried the day before. Their finding may indicate that international trade took place between the area’s residents and remote areas,” the statement read.

Dr. Robert Kool, a coin expert at the IAA, said that the total weight of the hoard — around 845 grams of pure gold — would have been a significant amount of money at the end of the 9th century. “For example, with such a sum, a person could buy a luxurious house in one of the best neighborhoods in Fustat, the enormous wealthy capital of Egypt in those days,” Kool said that at the time, the region was part of the Abbasid Caliphate, which stretched from Persia to North Africa, with a central seat of government in Baghdad.

“The hoard consists of full gold dinars, but also — what is unusual — contains about 270 small gold cuttings, pieces of gold dinars cut to serve as small change,” Kool said.

He added that one of those cuttings was exceptionally rare and never before found in excavations in Israel — a fragment of a gold solidus of the Byzantine emperor Theophilos (829 – 842 CE), minted in the empire’s capital of Constantinople.

YOU MIGHT ENJOY MY NEWEST BOOK HOT OFF THE PRESS
82 DAYS ON OKINAWA
Harper-Collins Publishers
JUST OUT – IT’S A THRILLER!
Col. Art Shaw & Robert L. Wise

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA at your local book store or on Amazon.

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Filed under archaeology, History, Israel, The Middle East

ISRAELIS COUNT DOWN

BLOG 452
November 25, 2019

countdown 1

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Each week Robert L. Wise, Ph.D., explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.

ISRAELIS COUNT DOWN

Time is running out.

The current quagmire in Israel is rumbling toward a third election.

The two main sticking points in efforts to reach a unity government have been the right-wing bloc, which Netanyahu has refused to part with, and Blue and White’s refusal to serve under a prime minister facing criminal charges. This week an unexpected indictment against Netanyahu exploded and the pieces are still coming down. For well over a year, I have been writing about this possibility and predicting such was coming.
Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit leveled and filed three charges of corruption against Netanyahu, putting him under criminal indictment.

Will the Israel public vote for a Prime Minister under criminal indictment? That just maybe the jackpot question. Quite possibly the impasse between Netanyahu and Gantz may have pushed patience too far and the charges were filled to dynamite the log jam. We will see.

Officials in Yisrael Beytenu, whose party is the deciding factor on whether Netanyahu or Gantz will be able to form a government without the other, told The Times of Israel that leader Avigdor Liberman would announce his decision on whether to support either Gantz or Netanyahu, or neither, this week. In his statement Gantz, who had 24 hours left until his deadline to form a governing coalition, said he would “continue to make every effort and turn every stone to try to reach understandings and form a government even in the remaining time, in order to prevent costly and unnecessary elections that are contrary to the will of the citizens of Israel.”

And then President Donald Trump dropped the bombshell! In an effort to support and shore up Netanyahu, he proclaimed West Bank settlements by Israel are not illegal. Needless to say this arbitrary action was rejected on many fronts. The principal Democratic presidential candidates denounced the decision. The European Union rejected the idea and said such a move would be an obstacle to peace. Russia and Turkey both weighted in and rejected the USA position.

Will Trump’s move mean anything? Not if the Israeli public rejects the idea of electing a Prime Minister under criminal indictment. Stay tuned. There’s more to come!

You might find my collection of Holy Land experiences to be helpful.
BIBLE LANDS: An illustrated Guide to Scriptural Places
Barbpir books Publishers

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Filed under America, Gaza, History, The Middle East

TWO BIG STORIES!

BLOG 449
October 28, 2019

trumpy

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Each week Robert L. Wise, Ph.D., explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.

TWO BIG STORIES!

STORY ONE:

If you’re not following what’s happened to the Kurds since President Trump arbitrarily pulled American troops and influence out of Syria, you should be. The Turks have been killing the Kurds in the same manner that ISIS did earlier. The slaughter of a once American Ally while the USA stands on the sidelines and watches will go down in history as not only one of the greatest blunders of recent years, but a betrayer of people who once thought we were their friends. Who would want to be an Ally of America when such arbitrary actions mean that our relationships mean nothing?

(Refer to last week’s blog for a listing of the objectives of Russia.) From the point of view of the Middle East, Trump’s actions have handed Putin his first three major objectives on a silver platter. Putin is now the king maker and controls Syria. America is out.

Who are the Kurds? Between 25 and 35 million Kurds inhabit a mountainous region straddling the borders of Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Iran and Armenia. They make up the fourth-largest ethnic group in the Middle East, but they have never obtained a permanent nation state. Currently, they are struggling to exist.

STORY TWO:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday evening announced he had failed to muster a coalition after almost four weeks of effort, and therefore returned the mandate to form a government to President Reuven Rivlin. Netanyahu’s 28-day deadline for building a government was due to expire on Wednesday.

Rivlin is now expected, probably on Tuesday morning, to charge Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz with the task of mustering a coalition that can win a Knesset majority. Blue and White said it was determined to build the “liberal unity government, led by Benny Gantz, that the people of Israel voted for.”

Gantz now has 28 days to try and do what Netanyahu could not accomplish. If he fails, any MK will have 21 days to obtain the support of a Knesset majority to form a government. If no one succeeds, elections will be initiated automatically — a third round inside a year after April’s and September’s inconclusive votes.

Like a predictable politician, Netanyahu blamed Gantz for his failure. The truth is that the criminal charges hanging over Netanyahu’s head have sunk his attempts to unite with other political groups needed to form the government.

Keep your eyes open for Story Three — yet to come.

You might find my collection of Holy Land experiences to be helpful.
BIBLE LANDS: An illustrated Guide to Scriptural Places
Barbpir books Publishers

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Filed under America, History, Israel, Kurds

YOU THOUGHT AMERICA HAD POLITICAL PROBLEMS Part 2

BLOG 446
September 30, 2019

israel

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Each week Robert L. Wise, Ph.D., explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.

YOU THOUGHT AMERICA HAD POLITICAL PROBLEMS
Part 2

Because the impending Trump Impeachment Inquiry grabbed the headlines, the story in Israel hasn’t even been reported in the national media. Even though it hasn’t been a headline grabber, the situation remains fascinating … and highly muddled.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Wednesday proposed a unity government in which power would be equally divided. Likud’s Netanyahu and Blue and White chief Benny Gantz would each serve two years as prime minister. Netanyahu would take an open-ended leave of absence if and when he is indicted in three criminal probes. Under the arrangement Gantz, as “interim prime minister,” would enjoy all prime ministerial authority.

Why not? The two candidates virtually tied in the election. Gantz won 33 seats and Netanyahu’s Likud’s took 32 seats. Neither side had a clear path to a majority coalition. One of the problems in the election was Netanyahu’s forming a government including right-wing and Orthodox religious parties. The public clearly wants the religious groups out of the government. However, Netanyahu knows he can’t function without their support.

Negotiating teams for Likud and Blue and White groups met Friday morning for ongoing talks over a potential unity government between the two parties, but made little headway, with each side appearing chiefly concerned with avoiding any blame for a collapse of negotiations.

For its part, Blue and White said in a statement that it was concerned with “principles and values” as “the foundation of any negotiation” while Likud was chiefly concerned with Netanyahu remaining prime minister. Observers said it was clear Likud’s stance was aimed at dragging the State of Israel into a third round of elections, and that lined up with the interests of the prime minister. Despite the tense mood, the sides agreed to meet again on Sunday morning.

President Rivling stressed Wednesday that Israelis do not want a third round of elections, saying “the public will pay the price” of a failure by Netanyahu and Gantz to find common ground. However, observers currently believe Netanyahu may be stalling, ready to force another election. Why? Only by being able to control the Knesset does Netanyahu have any chance of avoiding facing serious legal charges. He’s not going to throw in the towel easily.

The fact that Netanyahu can’t form a government or win the election is viewed within Israel as somewhat of a rejection of President Trump. Netanyahu had vigorously campaigned with pictures of himself standing with Trump but this didn’t work to win the election.

What’s next? Who knows! Sure beats most of what’s on television.

You might find my collection of Holy Land experiences to be helpful.
BIBLE LANDS: An illustrated Guide to Scriptural Places
Barbpir books Publishers

Leave a comment

Filed under History, Israel, The Middle East, Trump