Category Archives: Israel

THE COMING NEW YEAR

BLOG 546

December 27, 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.

THE COMING NEW YEAR

Except for tourists, most of the Middle East doesn’t even slow down for Christmas. The Orthodox celebrate on a different date from December 25. Life usually goes on like every other day. However, here’s several unexpected situations to ponder as we look toward the coming new year.

The head of the first major Islamic Arab party to enter a government coalition said Tuesday that Israel’s status as a Jewish state could not be changed. He was advising the Arab community to follow his pragmatic approach rather than trying to challenge the country’s identity.

Mansour Abbas’s comments were made during a conference held by the Globes news magazine in Tel Aviv. He was attempting to raise his community’s profile by working from within the government, a strategy that some fellow Arab politicians have criticized as selling out the Palestinian national cause.

“Israel was born as a Jewish state,” said Abbas, the head of the Islamist Ra’am party. “And that was the decision of the Jewish people, to establish a Jewish state. The question is not ‘what is the identity of the state?’ That’s how the state was born, and so it will remain.”

Abbas told the audience, “This is the reality. The question is not the about the state’s identity — but what the status of Arab citizens will be in it.” During the March election campaign, Abbas pledged tangible results for his voters, saying that his party offered a “realistic” approach to solving everyday problems in Arab communities, from rising crime to a severe housing shortage.

Interesting. Here’s a couple more items for you to think about.

The Israeli military has revised its open-fire policies for the West Bank, officially allowing troops to shoot at Palestinians who had thrown rocks or firebombs at cars, even if the assailants no longer present an immediate threat.

The policy change was first reported by Israel’s Kan broadcaster on Sunday night, and was later confirmed to The Times of Israel by a military spokesperson. He said it had been in effect for the past month or so. While the spokesperson described the change as a corrective to a situation that allowed suspects to evade justice, experts raised questions over the legality of using lethal force against a person who no longer poses a threat.

Here’s a final thought as you look toward a new year.

51% of Israelis would support a strike on Iran, even without US approval.

I have a new book 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)

Leave a comment

Filed under Gaza, Iran, Israel, Palestinians, The Middle East

YOU WANT TO SEE WHAT CONFUSION LOOKS LIKE?

BLOG 545

December 20, 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.

YOU WANT TO SEE WHAT CONFUSION LOOKS LIKE?

Ever wonder why the world seems to be in such a mess? Recent revelations about the interactions between Israeli and American diplomats demonstrate the strange contradictions and ineptitude that often comes out of Washington.

On January 2020, during a festive White House unveiling of Donald Trump’s long-gestating peace plan, then-Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu giddily announced that under its auspices, Israel would move to immediately annex large parts of the West Bank. The Israeli right was ecstatic. Finally, they believed, Israel would take full control of land that settler leaders hope will remain forever Israeli  and with the blessing of a US president, no less.

There was only one problem, according to new reporting on the events of those dramatic days: Nobody had bothered asking President Trump.

In fact, according to a new book from Israeli journalist Barak Ravid, Trump and peace-plan architect Jared Kushner were caught completely off guard by Netanyahu’s declaration during the White House event. The new details were reported in a pair of podcast episodes released Monday in a new series from Axios called “How It Happened,” which uses Ravid’s reporting from his new Hebrew book, “Trump’s Peace,” to tell the story of how Trump’s failed peace plan morphed into the successful brokering of the Abraham Accords to save face for him.

According to the podcast, Netanyahu decided to go forward with the annexation announcement after receiving assurances from then-US ambassador to Israel and longtime settlement-backer David Friedman that the US would back the move, even though the envoy never ran the idea by the White House.

The US proposal envisioned Israel annexing all of its settlements along with the Jordan Valley as part of a final status agreement. But it did not give a clear timeline, and it definitely did not stipulate that the move would take place right off the bat.

“Israel will apply its laws to the Jordan Valley, to all Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, and to other areas that your plan designates as part of Israel and which the US agrees to recognize as part of Israel,” Netanyahu said.

Trump was standing right behind him and glanced at someone off stage, checking to make sure what he had just heard, Ravid recalled. After Netanyahu left the White House, Trump met with his advisers and asked them, “What the hell was that?”

Kushner, meanwhile, was livid.

The “who-said,” “they-said,” went back and forth on and on. Hypocrisy everywhere. Sorry. The scene doesn’t present a reassuring picture of international exchange — or of Netanyahu and Trump.

I have a new book 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)

1 Comment

Filed under America, Gaza, Israel, Palestinians, The Middle East, Trump

AMERICAN RELIGION IN ISRAEL

BLOG 543

December 6, 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.

AMERICAN RELIGION IN ISRAEL

Why would Israelis care what Americans think or believe about religion? Why? Because the Church was a major persecutor of the Jewish people for centuries. Consequently, a recent edition of The Jerusalem Post published some interesting data on American religious ideas. Take a look at what the Post found.

The Pew Research Center discovered half of American Evangelicals say that “my religion is the one true faith leading to eternal life in heaven,” and that members of other religions – even if they believe in God like Jews do – are not included. The survey found that almost three-fourths of Americans (73%) believe in heaven, but they disagree about who can go there.

Nearly a third (31%) of all American Christians say their religion is the one true faith leading to eternal life in heaven, compared with 58% who say that there are multiple religions that can lead to such eternal reward.

Nineteen percent of Evangelicals say that members of other Christian denominations can achieve eternal life in heaven, and 44% of Christians say that many religions can get you there. Catholics are much more likely (71%) to believe this.

About a third (32%) of Americans also say that people who do not believe in God cannot enter heaven, compared with 39% who say that they can. Evangelical Protestants especially feel that belief in God is a prerequisite for heaven, with 71% saying that only those who have it can go.

In other words, Evangelicals in particular do not believe the Old Testament account that God made a covenant with Israel that the Almighty indicated was not revocable. This group rejects that agreement with Moses and David and maintains Jews will never get to heaven. Other Americans hold a similar position.

Why should Jews note these statistics? The idea that Jews aren’t fit for heaven feeds anti-Semitism. Hatred of Jews and attacks on synagogues has been on the rise in the United States as well as Europe. These facts are not only worrisome but continue to create distrust of the Christian faith in Israel. When American evangelists and Evangelicals say they are friends of Israel while believing they are all going to hell, Israeli’s tend to believe they are lying. You might want to check out what your group believes.

Stay tuned. More to come.

I have a new book 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)

Leave a comment

Filed under America, Christians, Faith, Israel

THE POT KEEPS BOILING

BLOG 538

October 18, 2021

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Having traveled and worked in the Middle East since l968, Robert 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.

Having traveled and worked in the Middle East since l968, Robert 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.

THE POT KEEPS BOILING

While American news sources have been following other stories, the problem of Iran keeps simmering in the Middle East. The issue just won’t go away. In a trilateral meeting, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said that the world must act to stop the evil of Iran. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed met with Lapid  in Washington on Wednesday.

“Israel reserves the right to act at any given moment, in any way,” Lapid stated. “That is not only our right, it is also our responsibility. Iran has publicly stated it wants to wipe us out. We have no intention of letting that happen.”

Lapid warned that the Iranians are “dragging their heels” in order to enrich uranium and develop its ballistic missile program while the world waits for them to return to negotiations. “Secretary of State Blinken and I are sons of Holocaust survivors,” Lapid said. “We know there are moments when nations must use force to protect the world from evil. If a terror regime is going to acquire a nuclear weapon, we must act. We must make clear that the civilized world won’t allow it. If diplomacy between world powers and Iran fails, other options will be on the table,” Lapid said.

“When we say other options, I think everyone understands here in Israel, in the Emirates and in Tehran, what it means,” Lapid added.

Those “other options” were discussed in the meeting between Lapid and US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on Tuesday in the bilateral meeting with Blinken and the trilateral meeting, the foreign minister said. Blinken stated he and the foreign ministers are “united in the proposition that Iran cannot get a nuclear weapon.”

The US believes that diplomacy is the best way to make that happen and is prepared to return to the 2015 nuclear deal – the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – with Iran, but, Blinken cautioned, “What we are seeing – or more accurately, not seeing – from Tehran suggests that they’re not.”

“Time is running short, because as we’ve also had the opportunity to discuss, we are getting closer to a point at which returning to compliance with the JCPOA will not recapture the benefits of the JCPOA, because Iran is using this time to advance its program. With every day of refusal to engage in good faith, the runway gets shorter,” Bliken said.

We need to stay informed. The clock is ticking!

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 Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jews, The Middle East

UNREST IN IRAN

BLOG 537

October 11, 2021

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Having traveled and worked in the Middle East since l968, Robert L. Wise, Ph.D. 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.

UNREST IN IRAN

The recent wave of protests across Iran raises important questions about what is ahead. In the southwest Khuzesan providence, a serious shortage of what has led to animals dying sparked anger. Lack of water also led to a breakdown in electricity with frequent blackouts. Scarcity of water was only the trigger.

This particular providence also has had tension with the central government. However, these protests spread  to cities like Istaban, Kermanshab, and Tabiz. By the following Monday, the protests reached the capital with chanting that opposed the regime. Shouts like, “Death to the Dictator,” “Khamenei Shame on You, leave Iran alone,” rang through the streets. The unrest reflects discontent with the country’s resources being used to support terrorist activities across the region. Similar widespread unrest exploded in 2019.

Notably some protestors chanted slogans favorably supporting Reza Shad who founded the Pahlavi dynasty during the 20th century. A radical Muslim revolution sent him out of the country and overtook the American Embassy. Now many Iranians remember Shad for his attempts to modernize the country.

Is it possible that this current round of protests signal a potential revolt against the continued rule of the clerical reign? Hard to say. Unrest has existed for a long time in Iran. However, the demonstrations signal a significant problem with a lack of water in a farming region.

Religious revolts like the one that brought Muslem leaders to the top are always shaky. Promising great things, rebels forget about the resources and capacities necessary to fulfill their promises. Iran has been obsessed with its attack on Israel as a means to whip up the local population’s support. That strategy may be wearing thin.  It certainly is when the faucets run dry and you can’t turn the lights on.

The Achille’s heal of the Iranian system has always been an inability to create workable conditions and a positive social life for the citizens that it controls. Sorry, that condition has not changed.

Stay tuned. More to come.

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 Iran, Israel, The Middle East

OH! OH! LOOK WHATS HAPPENING

BLOG 535

September 27, 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.

OH! OH! LOOK WHATS HAPPENING

The world is still wondering what happened in Afghanistan. The USA was there 20 years and lost the country in 20 days. Because the Middle East understands ISIS and the Taliban from a frightened perspective, they are not nearly so surprised. Here’s the latest from the Afghan countryside.

        ‘No one will tell us what our laws should be,’ said Mullah Nooruddin Turabi, insisting that Afghanistan’s revived legal code will again be guided by the Quran. “Cutting off hands is very necessary for security,” he said, insisting they had a deterrent effect. He stated the Cabinet was studying whether to do punishments in public and will “develop a policy.”

One of the founders of the Taliban and the chief enforcer of its harsh interpretation of Islamic law when they last ruled Afghanistan, Turabi said the hard-line movement will once again carry out executions and amputations of hands. In an interview with The Associated Press, Mullah Nooruddin Turabi dismissed outrage over the Taliban’s executions in the past, which sometimes took place in front of crowds at a stadium, and he warned the world against interfering with Afghanistan’s new rulers.

Wearing a white turban and bushy, unkempt white beard, the stocky Turabi limped slightly on his artificial leg. He lost a leg and one eye fighting with Soviet troops in the 1980s. He is in charge of prisons. He is among a number of Taliban leaders, including members of the all-male interim cabinet, on a United Nations sanctions list.

On at least two occasions in the last week, Kabul men have been packed into the back of a pickup truck, hands tied and paraded around to humiliate them. In one case, their faces were painted to identify them as thieves. In the other, stale bread was hung from their necks or stuffed in their mouth. It wasn’t immediately clear what their crimes were.

Executions of convicted murderers were usually by a single shot to the head, carried out by the victim’s family, who had the option of accepting “blood money” and allowing the culprit to live. For convicted thieves, the punishment was amputation of a hand. For those convicted of highway robbery, a hand and a foot were amputated.

Since the Taliban overran Kabul on August 15 and seized control of the country, The world has been watching to see whether they will re-create their harsh rule of the late 1990s. Turabi’s comments pointed to how the group’s leaders remain entrenched in a deeply conservative, hard-liner worldview, even if they are embracing technological changes, like video and mobile phones.  Turabi, now in his early 60s, was justice minister and the religious police during the Taliban’s previous rule.

Anybody care for a vacation in Afghanistan? 

I have a new book coming out.

MAN ON FIRE

The story of the first Church father

(Elk Lake Publishing)

You’ll be inspired. Get a copy!

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 Iran, Israel, 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

THE TALIBAN IS THE HEADLINES

BLOG 531

August 23, 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.

THE TALIBAN IS THE HEADLINES

The chaos in Afghanistan remains the headline story in the Middle East. Israelis are closely following the insurgence of the Taliban. The pull out was first initiated by President Trump and Secretary Pompeo setting in motion the withdrawal with the Taliban. President Joe Biden has stood firm on withdrawing US troops and believes the public is with him. Twenty years of investment that cost $2 trillion and nearly 2,500 US lives were disintegrating within days as the Islamist insurgents captured the capital of Kabul.

Israelis remain concerned about what is ahead in Afghanistan. They know the Taliban record. The most recent reports indicate the Taliban are going house-to-house searching for opponents and their families, according to an intelligence document for the United Nations that deepened fears on Friday that Afghanistan’s new rulers were reneging on pledges of tolerance.

After routing government forces and taking over Kabul on Sunday, the hardline Islamist movement’s leaders have repeatedly vowed to provide complete amnesty, as part of a well-crafted PR blitz. Women have also been assured that their rights will be respected, and that the Taliban will be “positively different” from their brutal 1996-2001 rule. However, with thousands of people still trying to flee the capital aboard evacuation flights, the report by the UN confirmed the fears of many. The Taliban has been conducting “targeted door-to-door visits” of people who worked with United States and NATO forces, according to a confidential document by the UN’s threat assessment consultants and seen by Associate Press.

The report, written by the Norwegian Center for Global Analyses, said that militants were also screening people on the way to the Kabul airport. Taliban fighters stood guard along streest sin Kabul as thousands of people mobbed the city’s airport trying to flee the feared hardline brand of Islamist rule.

“They are targeting the families of those who refuse to give themselves up, and prosecuting and punishing their families ‘according to Sharia law,’” Christian Nellemann, the group’s executive director, told AFP. “We expect both individuals previously working with NATO/US forces and their allies, alongside their family members to be exposed to torture and executions.”

The Taliban have denied such accusations in the past and have several times issued statements saying that fighters were barred from entering private homes. They also insist women and journalists have nothing to fear under their new rule, although several media workers have reported being thrashed with sticks or whips when trying to record some of the chaos seen in Kabul. During their first stint in power, women were excluded from public life, and girls were banned from school. People were stoned to death for adultery, while music and television were also banned.

A video posted online this week by a high-profile woman journalist for a government-run television station offered a different reality to the Taliban’s new image of tolerance.

“Our lives are under threat,” Shabnam Dawran, an anchor at the state-owned broadcaster RTA, declared as she recounted being barred from the office. “The male employees, those with office cards, were allowed to enter the office, but I was told that I couldn’t continue my duty because the system has been changed,” she said.

The world continues to watch and it is not a pretty picture.

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 Israel, The Middle East, Trump

FRONT PAGE STORIES IN ISRAEL

BLOG 530

August 16, 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.

FRONT PAGE STORIES IN ISRAEL

What are people reading in today’s newspapers in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem?  Here’s some of what is catching their attention. They have a new president. Isaac Herzog was sworn in as the 11th president, replacing Reuven Rivin for a seven-year term. He was sworn in with the same Bible used when his father Chaim Herzog became the sixth president.

In accepting the office, Isaac Herzog pledged to “lower the tone, reduce the flames, and calm things down.” A worthy challenge after the fireworks displays that Netanyahu left behind in his defeat. We’ll see.

The headline story is the chaos in Afghanistan. Israelis are closely following the insurgence of the Taliban. Opinions vary, but the following appears to be what they are thinking.

The Taliban’s stunning advances in Afghanistan threatens to be a stain on President Joe Biden’s record, but he has stood firm on withdrawing US troops and believes the public is with him. Twenty years of investment that cost $2 trillion and nearly 2,500 US lives were disintegrating within days as the Islamist insurgents seized most of the largest cities with little resistance and closed in on the capital Kabul.

Republican rivals predictably attacked Biden but he also faced the most critical coverage of his presidency, with television networks juxtaposing images of Afghanistan’s collapse with his remarks a little more than a month ago that “the Taliban overrunning everything and owning the whole country is highly unlikely.” They are speculating Biden has put at risk the real progress in Afghanistan since 2001 including education for girls, banned by the Taliban when they last ruled.

Top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell said Biden allowed a “massive, predictable and preventable disaster” and former president Donald Trump issued a statement denouncing the “tragic mess” and writing in all caps, “Do you miss me yet?”

However, Trump himself set in motion the withdrawal with a February 2020 deal with the Taliban.

Biden, who through his decades in public life earned a reputation for empathy, has been unmoved when asked about Afghan losses and instead speaks of protecting US troops, a deeply personal matter as his late son Beau served in Iraq.

Both the former vice president and US opinion polls have shared his view for years. VoteVets, an advocacy group, hailed Biden for finally “having the strength to stand up to those who want endless war.”

Israelis remain concerned about what is ahead in Afghanistan.

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, Israel, The Middle East, Violence

MORE TROUBLE

BLOG 529

August 9, 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.

MORE TROUBLE 

The shadow war with Iran popped up in another area this week. This time it was from the Iranian backed Hezbollah terrorist army based in Lebanon. Just as the Israelis got Gaza under control in the South, problems exploded in the North. As you may be aware, Hezbollah moved into Lebanon and has virtually taken over the country. They are resourced by Iran.

Hezbollah fired a barrage of 19 rockets at Israel, in the first attack since the 2006 war with the Jews. Military sources said 10 projectiles were intercepted by air defenses. Six struck open areas and 3 landed in Lebanon. The terrorist claimed the attack was in response to recent Israeli airstrikes following rocket fire by Hezbollah, August 6, 2021.

The Iran-backed terrorist group confirmed it had fired the projectiles, Several previous rocket attacks on Israel have been attributed to Hezbollah, but it had not acknowledged responsibility.

“The Islamic Resistance shelled open areas near the Sheba Farms with dozens of 122mm rockets,” Hezbollah stated in a statement carried in Arabic-language media.

There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage in Friday’s rocket attack. The Magen David Adom ambulance service said it was not aware of any injuries. The IDF (Isreaeli Defense Force) reported it had begun a wave of artillery strikes toward the source of the rocket fire. The military added that there were no special instructions for residents in the area. “Routine civilian life adjacent to the Lebanese border should be maintained,” the IDF reported in a statement. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Defense Minister Benny Gantz, IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi and other security officials were to hold talks to review Israel’s potential course of action following Friday’s attack.

The United Nations’ peacekeeping mission in Lebanon (UNIFIL) considered the situation to be very serious and urged both sides to cease fired.  Israeli military spokesman Ran Kochav told reporters that Israel  has “no intention of going to war but we do not want to turn the Lebanon border into a line of confrontation. The incident shows Hezbollah’s deterrence, as it fired at open areas.” Kochav noted that Hezbollah intentionally fired at open areas. The Iron Dome defense system still intercepted most of the rockets.

Nevertheless, Israeli officials noted they reserve the right to respond to rocket attacks as they see fit. Fortunately, the Hezbollah attack was a symbolic gesture mainly to appease their constituency. They are well aware of how dangerous a genuine attack on Israel would be. Look at Gaza drowning in a sea of broken cement.

Let’s hope Hezbollah leaves well enough alone!

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