Summary of Holiday of Shavuos. Hashem chooses the Jews to receive his Torah

From: www.chabad.org

 The holiday of  Shavuot celebrates  3,330 years since Hashem’s rendezvous with the Jewish people at a humble  mountain called Sinai.

It was – the first and only time the Creator communicated  with an entire nation,  a mere fifty days after taking them from Egypt.  Hashem gave the Torah to the Jews, entrusting a nation of recent slaves with the  cosmic mission of bringing  Divine light to the universe. This moment and mission are celebrated on the holiday of Shavuos.                                                    

The Torah        

Torah is Hashem’s wisdom, an expression of His essence. He created the universe so that the Torah’ s ideals could be actualized                                                          

 The Torah, as we experience it, is Divine  wisdom distilled for consumption by the  human mind. By studying its laws, logic and  stories, it becomes possible to wrap our rational  minds around Divine concepts.                                                           

To nourish you mind and soul, study whenever you can — ideally a chapter each morning  and evening.                                                                                 

To start today, check out, https://www.chabad.org , the #1 Judaism website on line.                                                                    

Counting the days to Hashem’s giving the Torah to the Jews                                                                              

Shavuot means “weeks,” referring to the  seven weeks our ancestors counted between Exodus from Egypt and the giving of the Torah. Today we count  as well, reciting a special  blessing and prayer  each of the 49 consecutive  nights between Passover  and Shavuot. This step-by-step process prepares  us to receive the Torah on the day of  Shavuot itself                                                

Cust0mary All Night long Prayer session

On the morning the Hebrews  were to receive the Torah,  our ancestors slept late. They sincerelY thought that they would be best able to receive the Torah if unconstrained by physical bodies —their souls could tap into sub-conscience realms beyond the mind.                                                  

In truth, Hashem  wantS us to be  present an awake in our service.  Instead                                   of escaping the physical world to reach holiness, we can use Torah to make the world  itself holy.                                                              

We compensate for our ancestors’ misjudgment by staying up the entire first night of Shavuot (Saturday Night, May 19, 2018)  studying Torah.  Many local Chabad centers will be hosting all-night Torah-fests, with                            .interesting lectures and discussion, plus lots  of delicious treats.                                                      

 Shavuot and Kids                                                          

Before giving the Torah, Hashem asked the Jews for a guarantor to ensure its perpetuation even as the demands of daily life overtook our focus. They suggested the elderly or the sages —people who had the time and energy                                to champion the Torah. But G-d wanted to know that everyone would hold the Torah  dear.

When they said “Our children will be our guarantors,” Hashem was satisfied that all through history, the Torah would be transmitted through our kids — our very future.                                   

Children naturally absorb the Torah’s moral concepts, which is why children of all ages, even infants, should go to synagogue to                           hear the reading of the Ten Commandments  on Shavuot (Sunday, May 20, 2018), reliving the event as we experienced it the first time.  

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The Truth About Hamas and Israel and the “Peaceful” Demonstration


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Dozens of Palestinians died to further the terror group’s lies—and the Western media ate it up.

By Ronen Manelis

Wall Street Journal, May 21, 2018

Sami Abu Zuhri is the spokesman for the extremist group Hamas, an internationally recognized terrorist organization funded by Iran. Hamas controls Gaza and has killed innocent Israeli, American, Brazilian, Kenyan, British, French and Chinese civilians. 

As chief intelligence officer of the Israel Defense Forces’ Gaza division from 2012-14, I came to know Mr. Abu Zuhri and other Hamas spokesmen from a distance. Their modus operandi is simple: Lie. Their lies support the stated goal of Hamas: the delegitimization and destruction of Israel.

For weeks the international media has reported on violence on the border between Gaza and Israel. Hamas has continued to lie to the world, which is why their rare acknowledgments of truth are especially revealing. Hamas spokesmen raced to the press last week to lament the death of innocent civilians.  But a senior Hamas leader, Salah Bardawil, said in a May 16 interview with a Palestinian TV station: “In the last round of confrontations, if 62 people were martyred, 50 of them were Hamas.”

Hamas itself has confirmed that 80% of those killed in their violent riots last Monday were members of a terrorist group, not innocent civilians. Several more of the fatalities were claimed by Palestinian Islamic Jihad. 

On May 13, Mahmoud Al-Zahar, a co-founder of Hamas, said in an interview with Al Jazeera: “When we talk about ‘peaceful resistance,’ we are deceiving the public.” You can trust Hamas only when they admit to their lies.

The Hamas spokesmen orchestrated a well-funded terrorist propaganda operation. Behind the theatrics was a plan that threatened Israel’s border and civilians. Hamas provided free transportation from throughout the Gaza Strip to the border for innocent civilians, including women and children. 

Hamas hired them as extras, paying $14 a person or $100 a family for attendance—and $500 if they managed to get injured. Hamas forced all of their commanders and operatives to go to the border dressed as civilians, each serving as a director of an area—as if to direct their own stage of the operation.

The audience was the international media. Hamas gave anyone with a video camera front-row access to the show and free Wi-Fi. The IDF had precise intelligence that the violent riots were masking a plan of mass infiltration into Israel in order to carry out a massacre against Israeli civilians. Hamas called it a “peaceful protest,” and much of the world simply fell for it.

The idea that this was a peaceful protest is the biggest lie of all, because the basic tenets required for a protest in a democracy like the U.S. or Israel do not exist in Gaza. Under Hamas’s control, there is no freedom of speech, no freedom of assembly, no freedom of religion, no freedom of the press. There can be no such thing as a peaceful protest in Gaza, only gatherings organized, sanctioned and funded by Hamas. Calling this a protest isn’t fake news, just fake.

In multiple assaults on the border this spring, Hamas has used machine guns, Molotov cocktails, airborne improvised explosive devices and grenades. Hundreds of Gazans have tried to blow up or tear down the fence between Gaza and Israel, with the intention of infiltrating our sovereign territory and reaching innocent Israelis who live minutes from the border.

On April 6 the Hamas political leader, Yahya Sinwar, stated: “We will take down the border [with Israel] and we will tear their hearts from their bodies.” On Facebook Hamas posted maps for their operatives showing the quickest routes from the border with Israel to Israelis’ homes, schools, and day-care centers near the border. Does that sound like a peaceful protest to you?

Facing the dangers posed by cowardly terrorists who disguise themselves as civilians, IDF soldiers acted with courage and restraint, following strict rules of engagement to ensure minimum civilian injury and loss of life while still protecting the border. 

As part of Hamas’s propaganda operation, hundreds of Gazans were injured last week and several dozen died, most of whom were Hamas operatives. None of this violence had to occur, but it was the violence that Hamas instigated and orchestrated so that the headlines and pictures would reinforce the lies that the Hamas spokesmen had planned.

Hamas can lie—to the world, to Palestinians and to their own commanders and operatives—but I am proud that the IDF will never lie or use Israeli civilians or soldiers as pawns. 

Some of Israel’s greatest friends might have preferred that we had looked better in the media this past week, but between vanity and truth, the IDF always chooses truth. It is that morality that sustains the IDF. The uniformed professional soldiers of the IDF may not photograph well compared with terrorists disguised as civilians—but we are honest about what we are and what we say. As the IDF spokesman, if I cannot source and cite material, I will not allow it to be published. I will not release any statement if the facts are in doubt.

Some in the media helped Hamas by publishing its lies rather than the facts. Hamas achieved negative media coverage about Israel after their first violent riot, on March 30, the first day of this propaganda operation. Hamas could have then claimed a propaganda victory, stopped the violence, and prevented many deaths. But for Hamas, lies are more important than lives.

If in order to win the international propaganda war I need to lie like Hamas, then I prefer to tell the truth and lose. The IDF will win where it matters—protecting our civilians in the face of terror. The soldiers of the IDF won this week by keeping Israeli families safe and by stopping Hamas from accomplishing its stated goals.

Even more than the lying, the true difference between Mr. Abu Zuhri and me is that he goes to sleep every night wishing for the destruction of my country and the death of my children. I go to sleep at night hoping for a better life for his children as well as mine. And that’s the truth.

Brig. Gen. Manelis is the spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces.

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The State of California Prays to the Sun God

The Bogus Advantages of Solar Panels 

The state finds another way to make housing less affordable.

Wall Street Journal – The Editorial Board May 11, 2018

California is often where bad ideas spring to life these days, and they’re worth highlighting lest they catch on in saner precincts. Consider the state Energy Commission’s decision this week to mandate solar panels on all new homes. Meanwhile, Democrats bemoan the lack of affordable housing. Hmmm, maybe there’s a connection?

Regulators say the panels will add $8,000 to $12,000 to the cost of a home, which may be chump change in the Bay Area where the median home price is $1.2 million. But that’s a lot of money in Fresno or Bakersfield.

The commission’s estimate that the mandate will add only $40 to a monthly mortgage appears to assume that interest rates stay low forever, that the cost of panels continues to fall and that Congress extends the 30% renewable energy tax credit. The average cost of a rooftop solar panel system today is $18,840, which amortized at a 5.5% interest rate over 30 years is $107 a month.

Oh, and to ensure panels are operating efficiently, homeowners would have to pay between $300 and $500 for an annual cleaning and inspection. Repair costs average $650. This is a boon for contractors, which is why the home builders lobby endorsed the mandate. Crony green capitalism lives.

Regulators also say the panels will shave $80 off monthly utility bills, but that’s only because the state’s 50% renewable-energy mandate has made electricity so expensive. The retail rate of power in California is about 19.15 cents per kilowatt hour, twice as much as in Washington and a third higher than in Arizona.

Homeowners with solar panels also benefit from the state’s net metering subsidy, which compensates them for the excess power they produce and remit to the grid at the retail rather than wholesale rate. Yet California sometimes produces so much solar power that it has to pay Arizona to take it to avoid overloading power lines.

Thus, utilities pay homeowners to produce energy that they don’t need at a huge mark-up and then send it to Arizona at a loss. Brilliant. Balancing the electrical grid will also become more expensive and challenging due to the solar-panel mandate.

California’s astronomical housing costs are a result of these government mandates, zoning restrictions, and permitting fees. The state Legislative Analyst Office estimates that it costs between $50,000 to $75,000 more to build a home in California than in the rest of the country. 

Building a low-income housing unit costs about $332,000.

Last year the Democratic legislature approved a $4 billion general-obligation bond for the November ballot and imposed a $75 fee on mortgage refinancing to expand “affordable” housing. The Democratic model in a nutshell: Make housing more expensive with government mandates and then subsidize it, which makes it still more expensive.

Liberals have long supported more dense housing to cut carbon emissions, yet Democrats earlier this year killed legislation that would have streamlined reviews for housing projects by public transit stations. 

“Density for density’s sake doesn’t necessarily lead to affordability,” declared state Senator Ben Allen of the People’s Republic of Santa Monica.

All of this explains why hundreds of thousands of middle-class Californians are fleeing. 

In 2016 Arizona welcomed twice as many Californian refugees as Mexican immigrants. California’s labor force last year expanded by a mere 1% compared with 2.2% in Nevada and Arizona. Sharing a border with California is a gift that keeps on giving.

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Rabbi Meir Kahane’s open letter to the world describing its treatment of the Jew over the centuries.

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Jews once again play ostrich in Germany to their great peril

Jews celebrate the 70th anniversary of Israel’s re-birth

By Bret Stephens

New York Times  Opinion Columnist

April 20, 2018

Adam Armoush is a 21-year-old Israeli Arab who, on a recent outing in Berlin, donned a yarmulke to test a friend’s contention that it was unsafe to do so in Germany. On Tuesday he was assaulted in broad daylight by a Syrian asylum-seeker who whipped him with a belt for being “yahudi” — Arabic for Jew.

The episode was caught on video and has caused a national uproar. Heiko Maas, the foreign minister, tweeted, “Jews shall never again feel threatened here.”

It’s a vow not likely to be fulfilled. There were nearly 1,000 reported anti-Semitic incidents in Berlin alone last year. A neo-fascist party, Alternative for Germany, has 94 seats in the Bundestag. Last Thursday, a pair of German rappers won a prestigious music award, given largely on the basis of sales, for an album in which they boast of having bodies “more defined than Auschwitz prisoners.” The award ceremony coincided with Holocaust Remembrance Day.

To be Jewish — at least visibly Jewish — in Europe is to live on borrowed time. That’s not to doubt the sincerity and good will of Maas or other European leaders who recommit to combating anti-Semitism every time a European Jew is murdered or a Jewish institution attacked. It’s only to doubt their capacity.

There’s a limit to how many armed guards can be deployed indefinitely to protect synagogues or stop Holocaust memorials from being vandalized. There’s a limit, also, to trying to cure bigotry with earnest appeals to tolerance. The German government is mulling a proposal to require recent arrivals in the country to tour Nazi concentration camps as a way of engendering a feeling of empathy for Jews. It doesn’t seem to occur to anyone that, to the virulent anti-Semite, Buchenwald is a source of inspiration, not shame.

All this comes to mind as Israel this week marks (in the Hebrew calendar) the 70th anniversary of its independence. There are many reasons to celebrate the date, many of them lofty: a renaissance for Jewish civilization; the creation of a feisty liberal democracy in a despotic neighborhood; the ecological rescue of a once-barren land; the end of 1,878 years of exile.

But there’s a more basic reason. Jews cannot rely for their safety on the kindness of strangers, least of all French or German politicians. Theodor Herzl saw this with the Dreyfus Affair and founded modern Zionism. Post-Hitler Europe still has far to fall when it comes to its attitudes toward Jews, but the trend is clear. The question is the pace.

Hence Israel: its army, bomb, and robust willingness to use force to defend itself. Israel did not come into existence to serve as another showcase of the victimization of Jews. It exists to end the victimization of Jews.

That’s a point that Israel’s restless critics could stand to learn. On Friday, Palestinians in Gaza returned for the fourth time to the border fence with Israel, in protests promoted by Hamas. The explicit purpose of Hamas leaders is to breach the fence and march on Jerusalem. Israel cannot possibly allow this — doing so would create a precedent that would encourage similar protests, and more death, along all of Israel’s borders — and has repeatedly used deadly force to counter it.

The armchair corporals of Western punditry think this is excessive. It would be helpful if they could suggest alternative military tactics to an Israeli government dealing with an urgent crisis against an adversary sworn to its destruction. They don’t.

It would also be helpful if they could explain how they can insist on Israel’s retreat to the 1967 borders and then scold Israel when it defends those borders. They can’t. If the armchair corporals want to persist in demands for withdrawals that for 25 years have led to more Palestinian violence, not less, the least they can do is be ferocious in defense of Israel’s inarguable sovereignty. Somehow they almost never are.

Israel’s 70th anniversary has occasioned a fresh round of anxious, if not exactly new, commentary about the rifts between Israeli and Diaspora Jewry. Some Diaspora complaints, especially with respect to religion and refugees, are valid and should be heeded by Jerusalem.

But to the extent that the Diaspora’s objections are prompted by the nonchalance of the supposedly nonvulnerable when it comes to Israel’s security choices, then the complaints are worse than feckless. They provide moral sustenance for Hamas in its efforts to win sympathy for its strategy of wanton aggression and reckless endangerment. And they foster the illusion that there’s some easy and morally stainless way by which Jews can exercise the responsibilities of political power.

Though not Jewish, Adam Armoush was once one of the nonchalant when it came to what it means to be Jewish in the 21st century. Presumably no longer. For Jews, it’s a painful, useful reminder that Israel is not their vanity. It’s their safeguard.

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The Catholic Fracture via Pope Francis

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The Catholic Fracture Via Pope Francis

National Review  April 16, 2018
Pope Francis (center) during the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Synod of Bishops, October 2015. (Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images)

To Change the Church: Pope Francis and the Future of Catholicism, by Ross Douthat (Simon & Schuster, 256 pp., $26)

With this new book, Ross Douthat has done a service to all those who take an interest in the life and teachings of the Catholic Church.

Douthat, a political columnist who writes for a mostly secular audience, is exquisitely careful in delineating the factional fault lines within the Church under Francis. He credits Francis with a surprising turnaround in the media’s perception of the Church, one that seemed impossible after the nadir of the child-sex scandals.

But what motivates this book are not questions of politics or of media perceptions, but ones concerning theology: Does a pope have authority to change Church teaching? Can Christian doctrine develop in such a way that it has practically the opposite meaning in one age that it has in the next? Is the Church about to undergo a schism? And beneath it all, a much more personal question lurks.

Douthat’s account really takes off when he comes to narrate, and comment on, the hour-by-hour intrigue of the two-year Synod on the Family (2014–15). To much of the rest of the world, the Catholic Church looks like an inscrutable closed system, one in which the chief occasionally shows a different personality to the world but that otherwise functions like a machine according to its own internal logic, breaking down here or there, as machines do.

But watching the sometimes ugly maneuvering and wheedling of the Synod’s progressives, and the alternating attempts at flattery and bold confrontation by the Synod’s conservatives, all over theological concepts, will return many readers to the palace intrigue of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.

Francis closed the proceedings of the first year’s synod with a speech that sought a middle ground between the two factions, placing himself at the center. At the close of the second year’s synod, the pope, obviously frustrated that his desired language had not received approval, thundered openly and hysterically against the conservatives.

With the subsequent papal document Amoris Laetitia (2016), Francis and his fellow progressive reformers sought to institute a legal and official way of granting Holy Communion to those who live in a state of life the Church traditionally recognizes as adultery, without calling them to repent and reconcile with their first spouse or to live “as brother and sister” in their new household.

This debate has opened up rhetorical tools the Church seemed to have put away: bishops charging other bishops with heresy, or with schismatical disobedience to the Roman pontiff. Douthat sensitively navigates the generational, political, and geographical features of this conflict: In general, the older, richer, and more European parts of the Church insist on change. The younger, poorer, and African parts insist on orthodoxy.

The Church’s liberal reformers often say that if the great mass of Catholics are failing to practice one of the Church’s teachings or recognize its authority in their lives, then they have not “received” that teaching, and that the teaching itself is to be blamed. The People of God can’t be so wrong, can they?

Reformers apply this to the Church’s prohibition on artificial contraception: Catholics flout the teaching. If the sheep do not recognize the voice of the shepherd, they reason, perhaps it isn’t the shepherd speaking. (For reasons I cannot grasp, they rarely apply this logic to the Beatitudes.)

The reformers, seeking to get their new policy’s nose under the tent, sought a “pastoral” change, not a doctrinal one: They claimed to be changing not the teaching but its application. But the theories undergirding their approach ultimately rewrote the moral law into a system of beautiful but unreachable moral ideals that could be only approximated in the lives of believers, not fully obeyed with the generous help and grace of God.

The practical effect of this change is to seek for signs not of repentance or holiness in believers but of stability and sincerity in their purpose. Instead of reaching out to wretches begging forgiveness, and falling down before the godliness of saints, this approach hallows the respectable and the bourgeois. The Church used to make mistakes in mystifying the authority of kings and potentates; now it is reduced merely to flattering remarried stockjobbers.

The greatest strength of Douthat’s book is the way he draws out how this supposedly “merciful” reform ultimately hollows out the authority of the Church — not because it is merely inconsistent with a previous paradigm, but because it contradicts the ultimate authority.

“This is where Francis-era liberal Catholicism has so often ended up,” Douthat writes: “in arguments that imply that the Church must use Jesus to go beyond Jesus, as it were, using his approach to the ritual law as a means to evade or qualify the moral law, which means essentially evading or qualifying his own explicit commandments, and declaring them a pharisaism that the late-modern Church should traffic in no more. To fulfill Jesus’s mission, to follow the Jesus of faith, even the Jesus of Scripture must be left behind.”

Francis’s men apparently thought that conservative bishops could be steamrolled on these points, believing that they were all spineless timeservers, morally compromised mediocrities, or at least sufficiently conditioned to accept and implement the documents that poured out of the Vatican.

In fairness to the conservative bishops, I should point out that, for some three decades, these Roman documents had been polished like gems by the exacting Joseph Ratzinger, first as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, then as pope; and they stood out against the pious political dribble that is produced by most national conferences of Catholic bishops.

Further, Francis and his allies knew that the sacramental approach to the divorced and remarried, and even homosexuals, that they want to institute de jure is often the de facto way of the world even in many conservative dioceses. But it turned out, when the chips were down, that the conservatives were capable of putting up at least a little fight on behalf of the orthodoxy, at least on paper.

And ever since Francis’s fulminations, conservatives seem to have stopped boosting Francis, and instead, when possible, have passively resisted these reforms with simple noncompliance or nonrecognition. But their relatively feeble, disorganized, and hesitant resistance seems to have resulted in a stalemate, and the impression now is that this pontificate has stalled out and that Francis is playing a longer game.

Douthat outlines several possibilities for the Church’s future. He correctly locates Francis’s influence in his ability to shape the College of Cardinals and to choose bishops — but he asks whether this power can possibly overcome the generational conflict within Catholicism: “The real Francis legacy might be less a swiftly unfolding progressive revolution than a new impasse.

He could leave liberal Catholicism with control of the most important levers of power within the Church — but without having solved its longstanding manpower-and-enthusiasm problem. There might be fewer cardinals equipped to stop his would-be heirs — but also too few priests enthusiastic about following them.” This generational conflict is a staple of Francis’s own parables, which frequently pit young, fire-breathing priests who want to protect tradition and orthodoxy against wise old clerics who know how to be merciful. …

 Michael Brendan Dougherty is a senior writer at National Review Online

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The Iran-Israel Shadow War

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The 2015 nuclear deal has financed Iran’s Syria military buildup.

In a presentation on national TV, Mr. Netanyahu revealed the country’s spooks had obtained “half a ton” of documents and CDs from a secret facility in the Shorabad District in southern Tehran. The Israeli leader claims the files “conclusively prove” that Iran lied about its nuclear-weapons program before signing Barack Obama’s 2015 nuclear pact, and that it has since worked to preserve its nuclear-weapons related capabilities.

Mr. Netanyahu offered photographs, videos, charts and blueprints from the intelligence haul relating to Tehran’s Project Amad, which the Israeli leader called “a comprehensive program to design, build and test nuclear weapons.” The Iranians have always denied the existence of such a program, and the United Nations downplayed Tehran’s nuclear ambitions in 2015.

Potomac Watch Podcast

It’s no coincidence that Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif mentioned that 2015 U.N. assessment in a tweet Monday as evidence that Tehran should be trusted. Perhaps the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors would like to revisit those findings in light of this new evidence?

Mr. Netanyahu also claimed that the underground Fordow uranium enrichment facility was designed “from the get-go for nuclear weapons as part of Project Amad,” and misled the U.N. about its activities. The Iranians preserved Project Amad’s documentation and have kept its research team, headed by Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, largely in place in a new organization housed within the Defense Ministry.

The Israelis have shared this information with the U.S., and Trump Administration officials said Monday it seems authentic. Mr. Trump has said he’ll decide by May 12 whether to withdraw from Mr. Obama’s Iran nuclear deal, and the Israeli intelligence findings are surely relevant. If Tehran is waiting until the deal sunsets starting in 2025 to rev up its reactors, then the evidence tilts toward withdrawal unless the deal can be reworked to make it permanent.

Meantime, Israel is taking action against Iran’s increasing military buildup in Syria near the Golan Heights. On Sunday Syria’s state news agency reported missile strikes hit military bases in Aleppo and Hama, destroying an arms depot and killing more than 20 fighters. Some of the dead were reported to be Iranians, though Iran denied it. Israel has a policy of not commenting on such strikes, but the force and accuracy of the strike could only have come from a state power like Israel. As long as both sides pretend not to be doing what they’re doing, they have an easier time avoiding escalation.

The intrigue was magnified by Mike Pompeo’s swing through Israel and other U.S. Middle East allies on his first trip as Secretary of State. One of his goals is to build a new alliance against Iranian aggression in the region. On Sunday he said that Iran is “the greatest sponsor of terrorism in the world, and we are determined to make sure it never possesses a nuclear weapon,” adding that “the Iran deal in its current form does not provide that assurance.”

The issues are linked because Iran has used the windfall from the nuclear deal to fund its regional aggression. The sooner the world pushes back against Iranian imperialism, the better the chance of avoiding a much larger war.

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The Iran-Israel Shadow War

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The 2015 nuclear deal has financed Iran’s Syria military buildup.

Israeli Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a news conference at the Ministry of Defence in Tel Aviv, Israel, April 30.

In a presentation on national TV, Mr. Netanyahu revealed the country’s spooks had obtained “half a ton” of documents and CDs from a secret facility in the Shorabad District in southern Tehran. The Israeli leader claims the files “conclusively prove” that Iran lied about its nuclear-weapons program before signing Barack Obama’s 2015 nuclear pact, and that it has since worked to preserve its nuclear-weapons related capabilities.

Mr. Netanyahu offered photographs, videos, charts and blueprints from the intelligence haul relating to Tehran’s Project Amad, which the Israeli leader called “a comprehensive program to design, build and test nuclear weapons.” The Iranians have always denied the existence of such a program, and the United Nations downplayed Tehran’s nuclear ambitions in 2015.

Potomac Watch Podcast

It’s no coincidence that Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif mentioned that 2015 U.N. assessment in a tweet Monday as evidence that Tehran should be trusted. Perhaps the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors would like to revisit those findings in light of this new evidence?

Mr. Netanyahu also claimed that the underground Fordow uranium enrichment facility was designed “from the get-go for nuclear weapons as part of Project Amad,” and misled the U.N. about its activities. The Iranians preserved Project Amad’s documentation and have kept its research team, headed by Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, largely in place in a new organization housed within the Defense Ministry.

The Israelis have shared this information with the U.S., and Trump Administration officials said Monday it seems authentic. Mr. Trump has said he’ll decide by May 12 whether to withdraw from Mr. Obama’s Iran nuclear deal, and the Israeli intelligence findings are surely relevant. If Tehran is waiting until the deal sunsets starting in 2025 to rev up its reactors, then the evidence tilts toward withdrawal unless the deal can be reworked to make it permanent.

Meantime, Israel is taking action against Iran’s increasing military buildup in Syria near the Golan Heights. On Sunday Syria’s state news agency reported missile strikes hit military bases in Aleppo and Hama, destroying an arms depot and killing more than 20 fighters. Some of the dead were reported to be Iranians, though Iran denied it. Israel has a policy of not commenting on such strikes, but the force and accuracy of the strike could only have come from a state power like Israel. As long as both sides pretend not to be doing what they’re doing, they have an easier time avoiding escalation.

The intrigue was magnified by Mike Pompeo’s swing through Israel and other U.S. Middle East allies on his first trip as Secretary of State. One of his goals is to build a new alliance against Iranian aggression in the region. On Sunday he said that Iran is “the greatest sponsor of terrorism in the world, and we are determined to make sure it never possesses a nuclear weapon,” adding that “the Iran deal in its current form does not provide that assurance.”

The issues are linked because Iran has used the windfall from the nuclear deal to fund its regional aggression. The sooner the world pushes back against Iranian imperialism, the better the chance of avoiding a much larger war.

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