Saturday, December 17, 2016
RABBIS HONOR SPANISH KING FELIPE 6TH FOR EFFORTS TO RESTORE JEWISH LIFE.
28 And when these things begin to come to pass,(ALL THE PROPHECY SIGNS FROM THE BIBLE) then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption (RAPTURE) draweth nigh.
29 And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree,(ISRAEL) and all the trees;(ALL INDEPENDENT COUNTRIES)
30 When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand.(ISRAEL LITERALLY BECAME AND INDEPENDENT COUNTRY JUST BEFORE SUMMER IN MAY 14,1948.)
3 A fire devoureth (ATOMIC BOMB) before them;(RUSSIAN-ARAB-MUSLIM ARMIES AGAINST ISRAEL) and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them.
30 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.(ATOMIC BOMB AFFECT)
12 And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet,(DISOLVED FROM ATOMIC BOMB) and their eyes shall consume away in their holes,(DISOLVED FROM ATOMIC BOMB) and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.(DISOLVED FROM ATOMIC BOMB)(BECAUSE NUKES HAVE BEEN USED ON ISRAELS ENEMIES)(GOD PROTECTS ISRAEL AND ALWAYS WILL)
13 And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great tumult from the LORD shall be among them; and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbour, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbour.(1/2-3 BILLION DIE IN WW3)(THIS IS AN ATOMIC BOMB EFFECT)
47 And say to the forest of the south, Hear the word of the LORD; Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will kindle a fire in thee, and it shall devour every green tree in thee, and every dry tree: the flaming flame shall not be quenched, and all faces from the south to the north shall be burned therein.
18 Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the LORD'S wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land.
1 For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven;(FROM ATOMIC BOMBS) and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.
And here are the bounderies of the land that Israel will inherit either through war or peace or God in the future. God says its Israels land and only Israels land. They will have every inch God promised them of this land in the future.
Egypt east of the Nile River, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, The southern part of Turkey and the Western Half of Iraq west of the Euphrates. Gen 13:14-15, Psm 105:9,11, Gen 15:18, Exe 23:31, Num 34:1-12, Josh 1:4.ALL THIS LAND ISRAEL WILL DEFINATELY OWN IN THE FUTURE, ITS ISRAELS NOT ISHMAELS LAND.12 TRIBES INHERIT LAND IN THE FUTURE
Rabbis honor Spanish king for efforts to restore Jewish life-King Felipe VI awarded 2016 Lord Jakobovits Prize for European Jewry for ‘extraordinary’ efforts to rectify past wrongs-By Times of Israel staff December 13, 2016, 10:35 pm
King Felipe VI of Spain on Tuesday was awarded a top prize from Europe’s mainstream Orthodox rabbinic body for the country’s recent efforts to restore its Jewish communities.The Conference of European Rabbis honored Felipe with the 2016 Lord Jakobovits Prize for European Jewry in a Tuesday ceremony at the at El Pardo Palace in Madrid.According to a statement on the website of the World Jewish Congress, of which CER is an affiliate, the group praised the Spanish monarch in particular for his “immense contribution that the king has made in his willingness to embrace the many religious faiths present throughout the continent.”Spain last year passed an unprecedented law granting citizenship to the descendants of the hundreds of thousands of Jews who fled Spain after 1492, when the Catholic Church and the country’s royal house instituted a campaign of persecution, forced conversion to Christianity and dispossession against Jews known as the Spanish Inquisition.Spanish officials have said they enacted the Sephardic law of return to rectify a historical wrong. To date, 4,538 applicants for Spanish citizenship have been naturalized since the law went into effect last year.At the Tuesday ceremony, Felipe VI said it was his country’s “duty in the name of justice” to work towards reviving Jewish life in Spain.“Europe needs the invaluable contribution of its Jewish communities, because we need to be honest and respectful to both our common Judeo-Christian values and origins,” he said.Moscow rabbi and CER President Pinchas Goldschmidt commended Spain’s “extraordinary” efforts to rectify past wrongs against its Jews.“In an era where anti-Semitism is on the rise throughout Europe, Spain has taken extraordinary measures to make its Jews feel welcome. Not only did the minister of justice acknowledge the expulsion of what he has called an ‘historic mistake’, he ensured that action was taken to rectify it,” he said.The CER’s annual prize has previously awarded to former Polish Prime Minister and European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and former French Prime Minister Manuel Valls.
Amona settler leaders expect forced evacuation early next week-Outpost chiefs say they would have agreed to leave had alternative arrangements been credible; teenagers prepare barricades in run-up to ‘vigorous passive protest’-By Judah Ari Gross December 15, 2016, 4:51 pm-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL
AMONA, West Bank — Leaders of the illegal West Bank Amona outpost said Thursday that they now expect the settlement to be evacuated at the beginning of next week.Spokesperson Avichai Boaron told reporters at the outpost that residents had originally expected the court-ordered evacuation to begin on Thursday morning, but this did not materialize.“It seems like people in the right rooms [are] banging their heads trying to find a way to resolve this,” he said.On Wednesday night, the residents of Amona rejected a government-backed deal that would have allowed them to receive a plot of land on the same hill as the current outpost, with the possibility of creating a long-term settlement there, in return for leaving their homes peacefully.Following marathon talks that began on Tuesday morning, they voted against the plan by 59-20.The settlers said the plan would in fact only relocate 12 of the approximately 40 families in the outpost to nearby plots considered available.The other 28 families would potentially move to temporary housing in the nearby Ofra settlement as the state sought a long-term solution, a spokeswoman for the regional Binyamin council, Eliana Passentin, told AFP.“The government doesn’t have to commit to anything” concerning resettling the Amona residents, Boaron said, “and it’s all dependent on complicated legal issues.” He said they want to go from their current homes directly to new ones.“We’d waited two days to receive the deal and when we got it on Tuesday night, we were very upset,” he said.“They put a gun to our heads and said if you don’t agree, we’ll kick you out,” he added.In response, the Amona residents told the government they would accept being relocated once the promised homes had actually been built, but not before.The government initially rejected the counteroffer outright, Army Radio reported.However, “proxies of the government,” not officials, have been in touch in a bid to continue trying to reach an agreement, according to Boaron. As of Thursday afternoon, these efforts were in vain.Since the “no” vote, hundreds of protesters have been streaming into Amona and preparing to resist security forces efforts to evacuate the settlement.During the press conference, a resident of the outpost told reporters that while some of the young children had trouble coping with the stress of the situations, the teenagers were “happy with our decision.”“They really pushed us,” she said.Teams of teenagers, under the direction of Bentzi Gopstein, head of the far-right organization Lehava, moved dumpsters to block roadways, prepared tires to burn in the streets and piled rocks next to the entrance of the settlement to create a barricade against evacuating forces. Amona protesters flip a dumpster in order to block a road ahead of the outpost's evacuation. pic.twitter.com/in1Blxhjpc— Judah Ari Gross (@JudahAriGross) December 15, 2016-The teens also prepared the outpost’s water towers to act as a sort of last stand, although their efforts were partially abandoned after a resident warned them that the tanks’ old, thin metal would not safely hold their weight and might collapse.Many feared the protests against the evacuation would turn violent.Boaron and the settlement’s rabbi, Yair Frankel, said they were not planning an overly physical showdown with security forces, accusing the government of preparing to act violently against them by “dragging people out of their houses.”However, he said, although they would “conduct a vigorous passive protest” and drag their feet on the way out, they were calling on all protesters to “respect the Israel Defense Forces, respect the police and respect the State of Israel.”Boaron stressed that the fate of Amona was not only political and philosophical, but also deeply personal.“We gave birth to our kids here and we built our homes here. We celebrated our birthdays and anniversaries here,” he said. “We’ve fought to stay at home, to stay in Amona.”Amona is the largest of about 100 unauthorized outposts — erected without permission but generally tolerated by the government — that dot the West Bank.In December 2014, after multiple appeals and delays, the court ordered that the outpost be evacuated within two years.The deadline is December 25.The AFP contributed to this report.
2 Arab Israelis charged with arson-Court orders arrest of suspects, who are alleged to have started a brush fire near Mei Ami in the north-By Times of Israel staff December 15, 2016, 5:22 pm
An Israeli court ordered the arrest of two Arab Israelis charged with arson on Thursday.Suleyman Ben Tawfiq Mahameed and an unnamed minor, both from the northern Arab-Israeli town of Umm al-Fahm, are alleged to have attempted to start a large forest fire in the area of the nearby town of Mei Ami on November 25.After lighting some bushes on fire near the entrance to the town, the two got in their car to leave the scene, but were spotted by the town’s security coordinator, Tom Dahan, and volunteer security guard Chai Shalem, who were patrolling the area. The two tried to chase after the suspects in their car, but they sped off, according to a statement published by the Haifa District Court.The court on Thursday accepted a request from the state prosecution to arrest the two.The fire spread to cover an area of 290 square meters (3,120 square feet), and was eventually put out by seven firefighting teams and four firefighting jets.There were no reported casualties.The incident came at the tail-end of a wave of fires that ravaged Israel between November 18 and November 26, many of which are believed to have started from arson.According to Fire Services spokesman Yoram Levy, there were over 2,000 brush fires during this period, with 39 of them considered to be major. Fifty of the fires are currently being investigated as potential arson attacks.In all, at least 35 people were arrested in connection with the fires but almost all of them have since been released.Authorities estimate that some 130,000 dunams (32,124 acres) were destroyed in the blazes, approximately 30 percent more than the 2010 Carmel fire in which 44 people were killed. Haifa officials said fires ravaged some 28,000 dunams (6,900 acres) of land in the city alone. At least 60,000 of the city’s residents were evacuated while firefighters battled to contain a blaze that had entered a dozen of the city’s neighborhoods from the nearby Carmel Forest.
Thousands of rebels, families begin departing battered Aleppo-Delayed operation marks final stage in Assad’s recapture of Syrian city from opposition after month-long assault-By Rim Haddad and Maya Gebeily December 15, 2016, 2:44 pm-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL
SYRIA (AFP) — Efforts to evacuate the last rebel-held areas of Syria’s Aleppo were underway on Thursday, with opposition fighters and civilians leaving the city after years of fighting.The rebel withdrawal will pave the way for President Bashar Assad’s forces to reclaim complete control of Syria’s second city, handing the regime its biggest victory in more than five years of civil war.More than a dozen empty buses and several ambulances moved toward a staging area in the south of the city where evacuees were expected to arrive and board the vehicles, an AFP correspondent said.“People are getting on the buses at the staging ground. The operation is proceeding as planned. Everything is fine, people are gathering,” said Ingy Sedky, a spokeswoman in Syria for the International Committee of the Red Cross, which is assisting in the operation.Aerial photos of the evacuation convoy if wounded people,from the besieged city of Aleppo to the Western countryside of AleppoPH:Hasan Katan pic.twitter.com/hvpuQDwDw0— Aleppo Media Center (@AleppoAMCen) December 15, 2016-“We expect this operation to take some time, because there will be multiple rotations. No one has left the staging ground yet,” she told AFP.It was unclear how many people would be involved in the first evacuation or how long the whole process could take.Syrian state television reported that at least 4,000 rebels and their families would be evacuated under the plan.A first evacuation expected to take place on Wednesday morning fell apart, with artillery exchanges and resumed airstrikes rocking the city until the early hours of Thursday.But the agreement, brokered by Syrian regime ally Moscow and opposition supporter Ankara, was revived following fresh talks.The defense ministry in Moscow said that Syrian authorities had guaranteed the safety of the rebels leaving the city and confirmed preparations were underway.It said the rebels would be evacuated towards the northwestern Syrian city of Idlib, a major opposition stronghold.The Russian military said it was monitoring the operation with surveillance cameras and drones.The ICRC said it had sent 10 ambulances and about 100 volunteers and staff from the Red Crescent to assist.Rebel officials said the evacuees would leave via the district of Al-Amiriyah, and then cross through the government-controlled area of Ramoussa on the southern outskirts of the city.Earlier, Ahmad al-Dbis, who heads a unit of doctors and other volunteers that are coordinating the evacuation of wounded people, said injured civilians and their families were already gathering at Al-Amiriyah.Video of wounded convoy starting to move out of #besiegedAleppo#A24 pic.twitter.com/B1i30FJI8P— Aleppo24 (@24Aleppo) December 15, 2016-Dbis said there were reports that regime forces had fired on an ambulance transporting the injured to Al-Amiriyah, wounding three people including a member of the White Helmets civil defense organization.One of the wounded was initially reported to have died, he said, but later an AFP correspondent said the situation was unclear.On Wednesday, cold and hungry civilians had gathered for the initial planned evacuation but were instead sent running through the streets searching for shelter as the fighting resumed.Russia accused the rebels of having violated the ceasefire while Turkey accused Assad’s regime and its supporters of blocking the evacuation.Iran, another key Assad backer, was reported to have imposed new conditions on the agreement including the evacuation of some civilians from two Shiite-majority villages in northwestern Syria under rebel siege.A source close to the regime with knowledge of the negotiations said the revived agreement now also involved the evacuation of sick and wounded residents of the two villages.The new deal Thursday was announced a month to the day after pro-government forces launched a major new offensive to retake all of Aleppo, large parts of which had been in rebel hands since 2012.Backed by foreign militia forces including fighters from Lebanon’s Shiite Hezbollah movement, the advance made rapid gains, seizing more than 90 percent of rebel territory within a few weeks.More than 465 civilians, including 62 children, have died in east Aleppo during the assault, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.Another 149 civilians, among them 45 children, have been killed by rebel rocket fire on government-held zones in the same period, the Britain-based monitoring group said.The United Nations and Western countries this week condemned alleged atrocities being carried out by pro-government fighters during the advance, including reported summary executions of men, women and children.A UN panel said on Wednesday that it had also received reports that rebel fighters were blocking civilians from leaving and using them as human shields.More than 310,000 people have been killed since the Syrian conflict began, and over half the population has been displaced, with millions becoming refugees.The United States and other Western nations, Turkey, and Gulf Arab states all backed opposition forces during the war but their support was limited.The conflict, which began with anti-government protests that were brutally put down, saw a turning point last year when Russia launched an air war in support of Assad.With Aleppo out of rebel hands, the largest remaining rebel bastion is Idlib province, which is controlled by an alliance dominated by former Al-Qaeda affiliate Fateh al-Sham Front.Rebels also hold territory in southern Daraa province and the Ghouta region around Damascus, although the army has been advancing there.Diplomatic efforts — including several rounds of peace talks in Geneva — failed to make headway in resolving the conflict.After upping its involvement by brokering the Aleppo deal, Turkey said it would meet with Russia and Iran in Moscow on December 27 to discuss a political solution to the entire conflict.“We are striving to secure a ceasefire throughout the country and for negotiations for a political solution to start,” Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said.
We aren’t competitive with one another -- but we also never really had to test this before'-Married couple to go head-to-head in international Bible contest-The academic pair, who hit it off over their mutual love of Tanach, will each represent their home countries of Canada and the US in the upcoming Jerusalem-based competition-By Cathryn J. Prince December 13, 2016, 9:52 pm-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL
NEW YORK — This married couple is most definitely not on the same team and they couldn’t be happier.On December 28, Yeshiva University alumni Yair Shahak and Yaelle Frohlich will face off in Jerusalem at the 2016 International Adult Bible Contest. Brooklyn-born Shahak, winner of the 2014 US National Adult Chidon [Quiz] Competition, will represent the US. Frohlich, who was born in Edmonton, Alberta, will represent team Canada. It’s the first time a married couple has ever participated in the same bible contest.“I am competitive with myself but we aren’t competitive with one another — but we also never really had to test this before,” Frohlich, 28, said.“We’ll be thrilled for the other to win,” Shahak, 28, said, smiling in agreement.The couple, married four-and-a-half years, spoke to The Times of Israel via Skype. Sitting at their kitchen table, often finishing each others sentences, the pair spoke of discovering their mutual love of Tanach (the texts from the Five Books of Moses through Chronicles) nearly nine years ago, back when they were both undergraduates at YU.Once a week Frohlich made her way to YU’s third floor radio studio. There she hosted her show “Kosher Fairy Tales and Decent Exposures” on the university’s student radio network, WYUR. The show, which took fairy tales and recast them in a Jewish light (think Zeldarella instead of Cinderella) had a small but loyal following.Meanwhile, Shahak would be practicing his violin in one of the second floor music studios. Every once in a while when he finished practicing he’d walk up the short flight of stairs, pop into the studio and say hello.And so it went until the year-end WYUR awards party. The two finally had a chance to exchange more than a few words. Frohlich casually mentioned how much she adored reading Tanach. She wondered, had Shahak ever read it? “He held up four fingers, indicating that he’d gone through the entirety of Tanach four times. We were barely 20 years old at the time, and this response surprised me — actually, it blew me away. I knew from my own experiences of challenging individual Tanach study — I hadn’t yet even gone through the entire thing — that his answer was highly unusual, and unbelievably impressive,” she said of Shahak who won the National Adult Chidon Competition in 2014.Frohlich actually started studying Tanach when she was 12. She was enthralled. After transferring to a new school for junior high, she started learning biblical Hebrew and Rashi commentary. In seminary she took the highest level courses possible in both Chumash and the Early Prophets (Joshua through Kings II). Weekly quizzes on the content of each chapter and other material, including quotations and descriptions, were de rigueur.Later Frohlich, who is pursuing a PhD in 19th-century intellectual Jewish history at New York University, discovered it was similar to the material on the contest’s quizzes.Shahak grew up in Boro Park in what he called a “haredi-ish” family. He was always drawn to outside knowledge — whether chess theory, Tolkenism, or Tanach.‘I knew from my own experiences that his answer was highly unusual and unbelievably impressive’-“Every year or so I’d pick something from the outside and dive into it,” Shahak said, adding that his family always expected he’d attend YU. “I grew up with the Boro Park mentality but also with the concept of learning subjects not taught in my haredi yeshiva. I also have a large family in Israel who served in the IDF. There was always this dichotomy.”An ordained cantor, Shahak serves at the Mordecai T. Mezrich Center for Jewish Learning in East Windsor, New Jersey and Young Israel of Pelham Parkway Jewish Center in the Bronx.On weekends, when the couple isn’t studying, they teach at the Rimon Center in East Windsor, often leading the center’s explanatory Shabbat services. Shahak is also pursuing a Master’s of Music in Violin Performance at the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College.At first, Frohlich hadn’t considered competing, but studied with Shahak and noticed she often knew the answers to questions on Chidon study materials. So she decided to apply as a Canadian, her country of citizenship.“I would be testing Yair and I realized I knew a lot of the answers. I thought it would be something fun to do,” Frohlich said.With the competition just a little more than two weeks away, the couple are in their final stages of studying. They know the moderator can ask, and will ask, “literally everything and anything.”“A little nervousness is good, too much is paralyzing. You just have to focus on what needs to get done,” he said.Frohlich on the other hand is admittedly the more nervous of the two.“I’m inclined toward being nervous, but I don’t think nervousness is productive. I will still cram, in spite of everything. Even though I know it’s not supposed to be productive,” she said.
THE EARTH (WORLD) NEVER ENDS (AS WORLD ENDERS-CONSPIRACY THEORISTS CLAIME)(THE END OF THE AGE OF GRACE ONLY)(DECIEVERS CLAIME THE END OF THE WORLD-NOT ME)
LUKE 21:08,11,25 - END OF WORLD CROWD CLAIM ASTEROIDS-NIBURU-WILL KILL EVERYBODY ON EARTH.
08- And he (JESUS) said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time (THE END OF THE WORLD) draweth near: go ye not therefore after them.
11- And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.
25-And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;
1 And I saw a new (kainos-a remodeling) heaven and a new (kainos-a remodeling) earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.(THE NEW HEAVEN AND EARTH ARE REMODELED-REGENERATED-NOT A TOTALLY NEW HEAVEN AND EARTH-AND WE CHRISTIANS LIVE ON THE REMODELED EARTH FOREVER WITH JESUS-NEVER-ENDING AFTER THE THOUSAND YEAR REIGN)
MATTHEW 19:28-EARTH REMODELED-(REGENERATION) NOT DESTROYED
28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration (kainos-here means a REMODELING-not totally new earth)(neos-is a new total earth) when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
regeneration - forming again (especially with improvements or removal of defects); renewing and reconstituting-re-formation-reconstruction - the activity of constructing something again.
ACT 3:21-EARTH REMODELED-(REGENERATION) NOT DESTROYED
21 Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution (kainos-here means a REMODELING-not totally new earth)(neos-is a new total earth) of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.
restitution - A return to or restoration of a previous state or position. from Latin to rebuild, from re- + statuere to set up]-(General Physics) the return of an object or system to its original state.
32 He (JESUS) shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:(IN JERUSALEM)
33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob (ISRAEL) for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.(THATS RULING FOREVER FROM JERUSALEM JESUS DOES)
4 One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.(AND EVER)(WORLD NEVER ENDS)(END OF THE AGE OF GRACE ONLY,NOT THE END OF THE WORLD)
5 Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever.(NO END OF THE WORLDERS NONESENSE HERE)
5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.(FOREVER,NOT HEAVEN)
29 The righteous shall inherit the land,(ON EARTH-NOT HEAVEN) and dwell therein for ever.
17 But Israel shall be saved in the LORD with an everlasting salvation:(FOREVER) ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end.(JERUSALEM ISRAEL ON EARTH FOREVER-NEVER ENDING)
21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
NASA Scientist Warns Earth Is Due For 'Extinction-Level Events'-[International Business Times]-Cristina Silva-YAHOONEWS-December 14, 2016
The Earth is down for a large-scale event that could wipe out humanity, according to a NASA scientist. Humans are unprepared to stop such an event, said Joseph Nuth, a researcher with Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Center.Nuth, who was addressing the annual meeting of American Geophysical Union, said large and potentially dangerous asteroids are rare, but could strike the Earth at any time, the Guardian reported Tuesday. “But on the other hand they are the extinction-level events, things like dinosaur killers, they’re 50 to 60 million years apart, essentially. You could say, of course, we’re due, but it’s a random course at that point,” he said. Nuth noted the Earth had "a close encounter" with a comet in 1996 and then again 2014 when a comet passed "within cosmic spitting distance of Mars." Mankind didn't even know about the 2014 event until 22 months before it hit Mars. But scientists would need a warning time of more than two years to stop a comet from hitting Earth, he said. "If you look at the schedule for high-reliability spacecraft and launching them, it takes five years to launch a spacecraft. We had 22 months of total warning," he said. Even reducing that timeframe by 25 percent would be "basically a hail-mary pass," he said.Meanwhile, Cathy Plesko, a scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, suggested mankind use a nuclear warhead to deflect an asteroid. "Cannonball technology is actually very good technology, intercepting an object at high speed actually ends up being more effective than high explosives," she said. "We don’t want to be doing our calculations before something is coming. We need to have this work done."Government officials are already looking into how to protect the Earth from a disaster that could signal the end of the world. The Federal Emergency Management Agency and NASA performed in October a simulation exercise of what might happen if a huge asteroid hit near Los Angeles, killing tens of thousands. An asteroid that exploded over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk in 2013 injured more than 1,000 people.
The world catches up with 'Nitro Zeus'-Mutually assured cyber destruction? Op-ed: Experts say first the US, then some of the West’s enemies, have developed the capability to shut down entire countries at the flip of a switch-By David Horovitz December 15, 2016, 4:53 pm-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL
In summer 2013, I attended a conference on cybersecurity at Tel Aviv University. It was there that I learned for the first time that Stuxnet — the super-sophisticated computer virus that the US and Israel allegedly managed to insert into Iran’s Natanz enrichment facility in 2010, there to play havoc with the centrifuges — had come to be regarded in the world of cyber-warfare as a terrible mistake.Several speakers at the conference made this assertion, branding as a failure what had been widely regarded in Israel as a dazzling success — a nonmilitary strike that had set the Iranian program back by a good few months, and had planted all kinds of uncertainty in the minds of their nuclear technicians.On the sidelines of that conference, therefore, when I interviewed Richard A Clarke, the counterterrorism chief for both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, I asked him whether he too thought Stuxnet had been, to put it mildly, counterproductive. Absolutely, Clarke made clear.For one thing, “the attack code was supposed to die and not get out onto the internet,” he noted, but it did. “It got out, and ran around the world.” It couldn’t harm anything else, because it had been programmed only to strike at Iran’s centrifuges, but “nonetheless it tried to attack things and people therefore grabbed it and decompiled it, so it’s taught a lot of people how to attack,” said Clarke.In other words, the alleged US-Israel cyber-warfare breakthrough became common knowledge in that dark world, enabling others — including, it would transpire, the Iranians themselves — to learn how to conduct similar attacks.Worse still, Clarke indicated, the fact that the attack had been discovered constituted a kind of legitimation of that form of warfare — if the US was doing it, it could hardly complain if its enemies did the same. And this in an era when defenses against cyber warfare were playing constant catch-up to try to foil attackers.As Clarke put it, “No one really knows how to do defensive systems. The technology right now doesn’t work as well on the defense as it does on the offense. Historically, there’s this phenomenon in military science called ‘offense preference,’ where certain circumstances are created where the offense always wins… Right now and for some time now, we have been in this period of offense preference in cyber, where the offense usually wins.”As the fascinating documentary “Zero Days,” released earlier this year, makes clear, we are still emphatically living in an era when “the technology doesn’t work as well on the defense as it does on the offense.”Alex Gibney’s riveting film includes the devastating accusation that Israel blew Stuxnet by utilizing it too aggressively, so that the Iranians could hardly help realize that they were being attacked. It also details how Iran responded to Stuxnet.For a start, the Iranians themselves got hold of the code and figured out how it worked. And then, once they had cleaned out their computers, and recovered from what, relatively speaking, was the minor setback of the attack, they hit back. Twice.In the wake of Stuxnet, “Zero Days” reported, Iran set up a “cyber army” to wage computer warfare. And in August 2012, the Iranians targeted Saudi Aramco, the world’s biggest oil company, in a massive cyber attack that wiped out “every piece of software, every line of code, on 30,000 computers.” A month later, they targeted a series of US banks online, in an unprecedented attack that impacted millions of customers.The unstated message from Tehran to its adversaries: You try to wage cyber warfare against us? We’re more than capable of doing the same, and worse, to you.Quoting CIA and National Security Agency sources, “Zero Days” asserted that Stuxnet was actually only a small part of an immensely wider anti-Iranian mission — a full-scale cyber-war, essentially designed to bring Iran to a complete halt. This mission, known as “Nitro Zeus,” was initiated amid US fears that Israel might attack Iran’s nuclear sites, and that if it did, the US would be drawn into the conflict.At a cost of hundreds of millions, maybe billions, the sources said, the American government’s cyber-warriors developed the capabilities to infiltrate Iran’s military computer systems. They learned how to attack Iran’s military command-and-control system, “so the Iranians couldn’t talk to each other in a fight.” They developed the ability to take control of Iran’s air defenses, “so they couldn’t shoot down our planes if we flew over.”Far, far beyond that, however, the US also developed the capability to infiltrate Iran’s civilian computer control networks. “We also went after their civilian support systems, power grids, transportation, communications, financial systems,” the CIA and NSA sources said. “We were inside, watching, waiting, ready to disrupt, degrade and destroy those systems with cyber attacks.” By comparison, said the sources, “Stuxnet was a back alley operation.” Nitro Zeus provided for “a full-scale cyber war, with no attribution… The science fiction cyber war scenario is here.”What the US developed, in short, was the capacity to close down Iran at the flick of a switch.What has become of that dazzling, terrifying capability? There is no reason whatsoever to believe that the US would have dismantled it. And, meanwhile, according to one of the experts at the Symantec cybersecurity firm, which broke much of the ground in understanding Stuxnet, other nations, unsurprisingly, have been working to develop their own, parallel, full-scale cyber-war capabilities — their own programs to shut down the enemy with the flick of a switch.Since the “Zero Days” documentary was made, “we’ve seen multiple campaigns from potentially multiple different state actors all doing very similar things — basically placing their implants, their malicious code, in key places in the infrastructure of different countries,” said Symantec’s Eric Chien in an interview with the Daily Beast just last month. They’re “just waiting,” he warned. “So potentially some political event happens and then they can literally flip the switch.”What would happen if you did flip the switch? As the NSA and CIA sources told Gibney in “Zero Days,” “When you shut down a country’s power grid, it doesn’t just pop back up” afterwards. “It’s more like Humpty Dumpty. And if all the king’s men can’t turn the lights back on or filter the water for weeks, then lots of people die. And something we can do to others, they can do to us too.”If other countries have now caught up with that US’s Nitro Zeus capability, if the free world and its enemies have both now developed the capability to shut down entire countries, we would seem to have reached the cyber equivalent of mutually assured destruction.Stuxnet was intended by its designers to play havoc with Iran’s nuclear enrichment capabilities, as a step toward ensuring that the ayatollahs never attain the bomb. The cyber-warfare race that it unleashed would appear to have massively complicated that challenge. It’s no surprise the experts have long since drawn their bleak conclusions about Stuxnet. And one can only wonder how the cyber-warfare advances that followed its discovery have complicated the vital ongoing imperative to halt Iran’s march to the bomb.
On PM visit to Asian Muslim states, a not-so-subtle message to the Arab world-Netanyahu sees his visit to Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan as a model for others to follow, but unless Palestinian issue is addressed rapprochement with enemy states remains far off-By Raphael Ahren December 15, 2016, 7:22 pm-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL
ASTANA, Kazakhstan — Addressing members of Azerbaijan’s Jewish community Tuesday in a school operated by the Chabad movement, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recalled his meeting with the Lubavitcher Rebbe 32 years ago.“You are going to the house of darkness and remember that if you light one candle of truth, it will shine a precious light that will be seen from far away,” Netanyahu quoted the rabbi as telling him as the took up the post as Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations. “Ever since I have tried to do just as the Rebbe said.”Later in his speech he said he was touched by the boys and girls of the local Jewish choir, who had treated their prominent guest from the Holy Land to a performance of Shalom Aleichem, Hava Nagila and an Azeri folk song.“But I am very moved by something else,” he said, pointing to the Israeli and Azerbaijani flags that had been placed on the stage. One has a Jewish Star of David, the other one the Muslim crescent moon. “Look at these two flags, this is what we want to show the world – this is what can be and what needs to be,” Netanyahu said. “It is the exact opposite, but the exact opposite of the darkness; this light, this is the light that dispels the darkness.”During his historic trip this week to Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan — two Muslim states, one Shiite and one Sunni — this was the prime minister’s key message: Wouldn’t it be great if Muslims and Jews, Israel and the Arab world, could get along? “I don’t deny that I have double intentions,” he told reporters on Wednesday evening as his busy two-day trip wound down. While he is genuinely interested in boosting trade and security ties with these countries, he also wants to use his visit to show moderate Arab states that it is possible for Muslim states to have strong and overt ties with Israel, he explained.For several years now Netanyahu has been talking nonstop about how Israel’s Arab neighbors no longer see the Jewish state as an enemy but rather an “indispensable ally” in the struggle against radical Sunni Islam and increasingly aggressive Shiite Iran. But so far, these ties have remain clandestine: the states Netanyahu is talking about have not publicly changed their tune about the hated Zionist regime. (Timid signs of a rapprochement can be spotted occasionally, such as meetings between Israelis and former Saudi officials, but the Arab world’s official stance still views Israel as an enemy state).In Baku and Astana, Netanyahu reiterated, over and over again, that the undisguised friendship between two Muslim countries and the Jewish state should serve as a model for other states to emulate. At times it sounded as if his words were more addressed to Riyadh and other capitals in the Gulf than to his respective audiences in Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan.“There is a change that we see in many parts of the Muslim world and specifically the Arab world,” Netanyahu said Tuesday in Baku’s Zagulba Palace during his meeting with President Ilham Aliyev. “But I think if they want to see what the future could be, come to Azerbaijan and see the friendship and the partnership between Israel and Azerbaijan. It’s not only good for both our countries and both our peoples, I think it’s good for the region and good for the world.”On Wednesday, in Astana’s magnificent Akorda presidential palace, he repeated the same phrase almost verbatim. As if to make sure he’s heard in the Arab world, he emphasized — some would say overstated — his message by declaring that “this example of Muslim-Jewish cooperation is something that reverberates around the world.”The Arab world is changing, he added, and Israel’s relations with Kazakhstan are a “part of this great change that the world is waiting for.”(In the Hebrew press, Netanyahu’s visit garnered relatively little attention, a fact he lamented in a bitter Facebook post asking his followers to let their friends know about it.) Netanyahu spared no one. In a conference for Israeli and Kazakh businessman, he said that the “great friendship” between Jewish Israel and Muslim Kazakhstan is a “welcome message to all of humanity” and an “example for the region and for the world of how things can be and will be.”Even in Astana’s Great Synagogue, where someone had hung up a huge poster of his meeting with the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Netanyahu made sure to hail Kazakhstan as a “Muslim country that respects Israel … and constitutes a model of what needs to happen – and can happen – in our region as well.”To be sure, Netanyahu acknowledged that the Arab nations will not recognize Israel over night, “but there plainly is a trend,” he told the traveling press in Astana. But, he insisted, Israel’s extensive clandestine cooperation with Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan “will eventually create a critical mass.”Important regional players as they may be, how much influence do Baku and Astana have in the Arab world? The leaders of both countries announced their desire to strengthen ties with Israel and stressed their friendless toward Jews — but refrained from publicly committing to help Jerusalem reach out to the Arab world.According to Israeli ambassador to Kazakhstan Michael Brodsky, change will come incrementally but it will come. “I believe that indirectly, [Netanyahu’s visit] will influence the readiness of Arab states to have more open relations with Israel,” he told The Times of Israel. “There is no shame in developing normal, open, mutually beneficial relations with Israel. After all, we have common interests and common threats.”Brenda Shaffer, an Israeli professor at Georgetown University’s Center for Eurasian, Russian and Eastern European Studies, said Netanyahu’s visit creates a “general legitimacy for Muslim-majority countries and Muslims themselves to have connections with Israel.”On the other hand, she pointed out, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and other Central Asian states are exceptional in that they separate church and state. Baku, for example does not allow girls to be covered with hijab in schools. “Today, few Muslim-majority states keep the separation,” she said.The approach to Islam is an important factor in understanding why some Muslim countries warmly host Netanyahu, while others deny maintaining any contacts with him.Kazakhstan’s ambassador to Israel, Doulat Kuanyshev, told The Times of Israel that “we’re not a Muslim state; we’re a secular state first.” The two countries Netanyahu visited pride themselves as promoters of religious and ethnic coexistence. Azerbaijan recently declared a “year of multiculturalism” and Kazakhstan is “a leader” in holding events where religious leaders of Iran and Israel “are sitting next to each other at the table,” Kuanyshev said.None of this can be said of Saudi Arabia or other Arab countries Netanyahu wants to reach.Kazakhstan is mostly interested in economic advancement, not in exporting its version of tolerance to the Arab world, Kuanyshev indicated. “We don’t want to impose our examples or our models,” he said. We’re just doing our thing, and who knows, “probably some will choose to follow it.” Or not. When it comes to religious tolerance, Astana and Baku are world apart from Riyadh or Doha.Another important difference between the countries that publicly embraced Israel and those who shun it is, of course, is the Palestinian issue. In half a dozen public events held on Baku and Azerbaijan, this topic was non-existent. The terms “two-state solution” or “settlements” weren’t uttered even once. The countries Netanyahu visited are interested in Israeli technology and anti-terrorism expertise but care little about what Israel does in the West Bank.The Arab states, by contrast, are still committed to the Palestinian question, at least on paper, and are thus unlikely to make official their cooperation as long as the plight of their Palestinian brethren is not dealt with. No, Arab leaders don’t really care that much about Palestine, but they fear domestic public opinion will not allow them to embrace Israel as long as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains unsolved.It seems, therefore, that Netanyahu will have to wait a long time before he’ll get to hear the children of a Jewish school perform Hava Nagila for the Israeli prime minister anywhere in the Arab world.
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