December 7, 2018

Hizbullah’s ‘Grand Plan’ Takes Major Hit – Brig. Gen. Dr. Shimon Shapira

One of the main lessons Hizbullah learned from the 2006 Second Lebanon War was the need to revise its objectives in the next war with Israel, alongside the need to devise advanced defensive and offensive capabilities that would allow it to wage war on Israeli soil.

This process was led by Imad Mughniyeh, Hizbullah’s infamous military chief whose 2008 assassination is attributed to Israel.  At the time, Mughniyeh determined that the next war would see Hizbullah’s operatives rush the Galilee area, and to do so, the Shiite terrorist group earmarked areas near the border where it has the topographical advantage over Israel.

To achieve these objectives, Mughniyeh outlined an operational plan he personally supervised until his death, and afterward, Hizbullah’s special forces continued developing this plan.  It was delayed perhaps only because of the Syrian civil war, which erupted in 2011 and in which Hizbullah fought alongside Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces.

This plan included training Hizbullah’s special forces to take control of isolated Israeli communities along the Israel-Lebanon border, something referred to in Hizbullah circles as “conquering the Galilee.”

The plan also included digging cross-border tunnels under the security fence that would snake under Israeli border-adjacent communities.  These tunnels were intended to accommodate several hundred of Hizbullah’s fighters.

In addition, Hizbullah’s operational plan included developing its missile arsenal, which Israel intelligence believes comprises 150,000 projectiles, to target Israeli population centers and strategic assets nationwide.

Hizbullah’s grand plan was to use the tunnels and missile firing capabilities to demand the IDF’s full attention, distracting Israeli forces long enough to allow Hizbullah’s operatives to execute their plot to “conquer the Galilee.”  

Operation Northern Shield, however, has put a serious dent in this scheme.

The writer is a former military secretary to Prime MInister Benjamin Netanyahu and a fellow at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.



IDF Footage Shows Hizbullah’s Operatives Fleeing Rigged Tunnel

The IDF on Tuesday (4th) released footage of tunnels and earth-moving equipment at work, carrying out what it said were “tactical preparations to expose Hizbullah’s offensive cross-border project.”

In one video, taken inside an underground tunnel snaking under the Israel-Lebanon border, two Hizbullah terrorists can be seen detecting and approaching a video camera put in place by IDF soldiers.  The camera, which was booby-trapped with a small explosive device, detonated only after the startled terrorists were able to flee. The tunnel was later blown up with a more powerful blast.

The IDF said the tunnels were not yet operational but posed “an imminent threat,”  IDF Spokesman in Arabic, Maj. Avichay Adraee posted a message on Twitter warning the Lebanese army and Hizbullah to stay away, saying: “Your lives are in danger, you have been warned.”  

There was no immediate comment from Hizbullah.

“These cross-border terror tunnels were built by Hizbullah with funding from Iran.  They were built with one purpose in mind – to attack and murder innocent Israeli men, women and children,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.



Rivlin: Hizbullah Will Cause Lebanon’s ‘Downfall’

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin told Air Force soldiers on Tuesday (4th) that the terror group Hizbullah will drag Lebanon into permanent war with Israel, “bringing about its eventual downfall.”

“We see the government of Lebanon as responsible for what happens in Lebanon,” Rivlin said, amid rising tensions along the northern border after the IDF announced earlier Tuesday (4rd) the start of Operation Northern Shield to destroy multiple Hizbullah attack tunnels extending into Israeli territory.

“We want Hizbullah not to subjugate Lebanon to an Iranian agenda, or to use Lebanon as a base for attacking Israel,” Rivlin said at a Hanukkah candle lighting ceremony with the Israel Air Force’s 25th Wing at the Ramon Air Force Base in the south of the country.

“Hizbullah, which portrays itself as the ‘shield of Lebanon,’ will bring its eventual downfall,” Rivlin warned.  “The discovery of these tunnels only proves the depth of Iranian involvement in Lebanon, in terms of both funding and political direction.”

Meanwhile at the United Nations, Israel’s Ambassador Danny Danon urged the Security Council to meet on Hizbullah’s violations of the Council’s Resolution 1701, which ended the 2006 Second Lebanon War.

“Hizbullah continues to operate with Iranian funding, direction and patronage.  The Security Council behind me had said in a clear voice to Hizbullah that it must not arm itself and continue its terrorist activities against Israel.  Yet, this did not prevent them from continuing their operations and now they are also trying to infiltrate Israel through tunnels,” Danon said.

“It is clear that Hizbullah shows willful disregard toward the Security Council and aggressively violated Resolution 1701,” he said.



Jerusalem Leads World Cities In Tourism Growth For 2018

Jerusalem is poised to become the world’s leading city in tourism growth, according to a new report by leading market research firm Euromonitor.

According to the report, the number of tourists around the world will hit 1.4 billion in 2018, an increase of 5% over last year.  Jerusalem is set to lead in growth, with an expected 37.5% following a “more modest” increase of 32% in 2017. According to the report, Jerusalem owes its increasing popularity to “relative stability and a strong marketing push.”

The Indian cities of Chennai and Agra took second and third place on the list, with 30.4% and 24.3% increase in growth, respectively.

According to the report, tourism to other destinations in the Middle East and Africa, in particular the Tunisian cities of Jerba and Sousse and Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt, which dropped out of the top 100 cities for tourist growth, declined.  Euromonitor said this was largely due to the terrorist attacks that have hit those cities.  One notable exception to this trend is Cairo, where after a decline, tourism appears to be getting back on track.

On a country-by-country analysis, Japan and India are leaders in terms of tourism growth.  In Japan, the cities of Osaka and Chiba have seen an average annual respective increase of 43% and 35% between 2012 and 2017, while in India, New Delhi and Mumbai both saw an average of over 20% in annual growth in the sector in that same period.

Among European cities, the Portuguese city of Porto was expected to close 2018 with a 7% increase in incoming tourism.  Since 2012, the city moved up 42 spots on the list to now be counted among the top 100 cities in tourism growth.



Portugal Approves Memorial Day For Inquisition Victims

Reconectar, the movement to reconnect the descendants of Spanish and Portuguese Jewish communities with the Jewish world, issued a press release welcoming the decision by the Commission for Culture, Communication, Youth and Sports of the Portuguese Parliament to approve the creation of a Memorial Day for the victims of the Inquisition.

It will be held around March 31, the date of the abolition of the Inquisition in 1821.

“This is an extremely important step by the Portuguese Parliament and one that clearly demonstrates the Portuguese authorities’ intention to look critically at its past and show the Jewish world that it is seeking atonement for this reign of terror against our people,” stated Ashley Perez, President of Reconectar and director of the Knesset Caucus for the Reconnection with the Descendants of Spanish and Portuguese Jewish communities.

“The Inquisition was one of the most evil regimes that negatively affected the Jewish people in a way perhaps like no other, because it was during this period of time that our people were disconnected, whose reversal, in some small way, is only being seen now in the 21st Century,” Perez said.  

Reconectar is assisting in the reconnection of the tens of millions of people in North and Latin America, Europe and elsewhere, who are discovering their Jewish ancestry, the organization said.

Modern technology, Internet, genealogy and DNA advances have generated massive interest in discovering hidden Jewish roots, and millions are seeking solutions, Reconectar explained, adding its willingness to assist those who wish to reconnect.

“The State of Israel and the Jewish world should follow the Portuguese lead and institute a day of commemoration for the victims of the Inquisition,” Perez continued.  “Far too little is known about this dark period in our history and it is vital that it is better understood so that we can relate better to the descendants of its victims and extend to them a familiar embrace should they seek a reconnection  with our people, homeland and traditions.”