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Showing posts from May, 2019

Wait a Minute - Another Israeli Election!

One of the many benefits that I have received through my many trips to Israel is a fascination for Israeli politics.  I am not certain that there is another country in the world that does politics like the Israelis do.  The strength of Israeli politics is the ability to compromise and to form coalitions.  For, unlike America where we basically have two political parties - yes, I know there are several so-called third parties, but they very seldom impact a national election - in Israel there are multiple parties, in fact, dozens of them.  The 120 seats in the Knesset, the Parliament of Israel, are distributed according to the percentage of popular vote each party receives.  I believe the baseline is around 4% of the vote.  That means that it is highly unlikely that no one party could govern as its own majority, needing 61 seats to do so.  The leader of the party receiving the most votes, thus the most seats, is asked to form a coalition government, achieving that goal when he or she is…

A Message for Memorial Day

This upcoming weekend is celebrated in America as Memorial Day.  Memorial Day is one of the oldest celebrations in America.  It is a time when we pause to remember and to give honor to brave men and women who have died while serving to protect the freedoms that we too often take for granted.  According to History.com, the first known Memorial Day celebration occurred in Charleston, South Carolina, on May 1, 1865, as a group of freed slaves, who were part of one of the United States Colored Troops, gathered to bury the bodies of Union soldiers.  In 1868, Union General John A. Logan declared that on May 30, people stop and remember those who died during the Civil War.  Interestingly enough, he chose that date because May 30 did not commemorate any battle of the Civil War.  In 1950, Congress passed a resolution for the President to ask Americans to remember the fallen on Memorial Day, May 30.  In 1968, the Uniform Monday Holiday Act was passed which set Memorial Day to be the final Monda…

Babies from Skin Cells and Other News of End Times

Yesterday our Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met in Sochi with Russian Foreign Secretary Sergei Lavrov.  High on their agenda was the increasing tensions in the Persian Gulf region.  Two US aircraft carrier strike forces have now entered the Persian Gulf.  B-52 bombers have arrived at US airbases in Qatar.  This in response to highly placed intelligence reports of an imminent Iranian attack upon American interests in the Middle East.  Iran has also begun the process of blackmailing the European Union with threats of renewing their uranium enrichment program if the EU does not remove some of its sanctions.  We know the Iranian economy is almost in a free-fall position right now because of the increased American sanctions.  And the United States has declared that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard is a terrorist organization.  Iran is like a wounded animal ready to lash out at anyone.  Our President has decided that a show of strength now is better than appeasement later.  I have not heard…

Turmoil in the Middle East: Is War Inevitable?

A tense ceasefire remains in effect along the Israeli-Gaza Strip border today.  Both sides seem poised for a protracted war like that which occurred in 2014.  Over the past week, hundreds of rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel causing serious injuries, property damage, and even a few deaths.  Israeli forces responded with an air attack that targeted strongholds of both Hamas and Islamic Jihad, both viewed as the persistent perpetrators of violence against Israel.  The Egyptians have worked diligently to broker the present ceasefire, but it is very fragile.  As long as Hamas remains in control of the Gaza Strip, and as long as Hamas continues to receive financial and military support from Iran, the threat of war will always exist.  From what I have heard leaked from President Trump's "Deal of the Century" peace agreement for the Middle East, he would like the Gaza Strip to be separated from the Palestinian West Bank and made its own autonomous e…

The Venezuelan Nightmare; The Prowling of the Russian Bear

Eyes are focused these days on the country of Venezuela.  Once one of the richest countries in South America, it has become one of the poorest.  Its economy is in a shambles with an inflationary rate that has sky-rocketed to astronomical proportions.  Food and medical supplies are scarce and, if found, are very expensive.  Venezuelans have fled their country in great numbers to neighboring Brazil and Colombia where refuge camps have been created.  The cause for this devastation is the dictatorial reign of President Nicolas Maduro.  He was recently re-elected in an election that most of the world viewed with great suspicion of its being rigged.  The United States took the leadership in recognizing Juan Guaido as the legitimate leader of Venezuela.  Dozens of other nations have joined in that recognition.  However, Russia and Cuba have sent military advisers and military personnel to prop up the Maduro regime.


Yesterday Juan Guaido encouraged his supporters to begin a strong campaign to…