Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Russia vs Israel in Syria

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Much talk has centered on Russia and the United States and how they might butt heads in and around Syria.

Leaders from Russia and the US are seen standing in front of the United Nations and appearing on television announcing contradictory plans for Syria.

But his relationship with the United States vis a vis Syria is not the only pressing diplomatic situation for Putin.

In a press briefing on Tuesday, Vladimir Putin addressed the issue of Russia and Israel in Syria. Putin said that they, the Russians, "must respect Israel's interest" in Syria. But Putin continued saying that he was "worried."

Putin is clearly worried about Israeli strikes into Syria as happened only days ago as a result of rockets being fired into Israel from Syria.

Last week Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu flew to Moscow to speak with Putin. It was a cordial encounter. By the time their meeting came to a conclusion - with the clock ticking closer and closer towards Yom Kippur, the two leaders were able to cobble out a workable solution, but the situation is still potentially explosive. 

Read my latest book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.
To reprint my essays contact sales (at)

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Russia Iran & Syria Team Up to Fight ISIS

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Reports are circulating about close cooperation between Russia, Syria, Hezbollah and Iran on directly fighting ISIS.

These reports are worrisome to the United States. It further demonstrates Russia's involvement, and even leadership, in the region and underscores how the Russians are playing a major role in confronting an issue that the United States considers extremely important.

Adding to that - it brings Iran, Syria and Hezbollah onto a team that is part of the solution where, until now, they have been portrayed as the problem.

If these groups successfully put together a crack A team set of commandos with air support and on the ground real time intelligence, they may be able to attack, hurt and even cripple ISSI in a matter of weeks.

The results will be very positive - but the US will be absent from the game.
The entire situation is a big loss for the United States. A scenario is under construction in which Russia and Iran destroy ISIS and, in so doing, help Syria's Assad stay in power. 

Read my latest book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.
To reprint my essays contact sales (at)

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Iraq Rejects Iran's Influence

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Iran has been at the front fighting against ISIS. This is true in Syria and it is especially true in Iraq. So when the US prods the Iraqis about their relationship with Iran --- the Iraqis get testy.

Iraqi foreign minister, and former prime minister, Ibrahim al Jaafari spoke at the Council of Foreign
Relations in NYC. He said "Iraq is not part of Iran. Iraq is not an Iranian province," he said. "Iran has no right to make decisions on behalf of Iraq. We accept help, but we do not accept interference or violations of our sovereignty."

Jaafari is responding to the US wondering what kind of role and what level of influence Iran has and will have in Iraq's future. Jaafari insisted that the answer is - no role. But it gets more complicated. Jaafari is a Shiite as is Iranian leadership.

There is much hatred between the Shiites of Iran who are Persians and the Shiites of Iraq who are Arabs. Tensions between the groups are almost insurmountable.

But for the time being the mutual animus between these two Shiite groups has been set aside in order to fulfill their common goal - fighting ISIS. 

Read my latest book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.
To reprint my essays contact sales (at)

Friday, September 25, 2015

Hezbollah will Scale Back in Syria

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:
The Daily Star, which is a Lebanese newspaper, reported yesterday that Hezbollah is scaling down their activity in Syria.

The source told the paper that Hezbollah would be involved in defensive activity only. That activity will begin after the battle of al Zabadani is completed.

Al Zabadani is situated about 30 miles from Damascus and it is the battle ground of the conflict between Hezbollah and anti Assad forces. A ceasefire was reached at the end of the day yesterday - but that will only hold for a few hours.

This move by Hezbollah into defensive mode coincides with increased Russian and Iranian boots on the ground in Syria. Hezbollah, it seems, is using the situation to regroup and recuperate. According to the announcement they will still help Assad, but from a different and more secure position.

Honestly, I can't really believe that Hezbollah is about to make such a dramatic shift in their activities and operations, so it is very important now to track not only what they do and how they behave, but what they say.

Another source, this one in a Kuwaiti newspaper named Al Rai, said that Hezbollah has been "dealing" with informants who have been reporting to Western nations. This scaling down of activity could be the Hezbollah way of removing themselves from the center of the conflict in order to flush out those informants.

Read my latest book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.
To reprint my essays contact sales (at)

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Iran Caught By Surprise by Russia in Syria

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

The Financial Times ran a piece on Wednesday entitled "Russia's Syria Build -Up Takes Iran By Surprise."

I was very excited to see that the US was not the only nation involved in the conflict to be totally surprised by Russia's return to Syria.

But the article was very disappointing. It was mostly feedback. A catchy title, but nothing new or interesting in the article itself. No quotes and no thoughts from Iranians who were surprised.

I think that Iranian leadership was surprised but not because of the article in FT. They were surprised because Russia does not telegraph their actions - especially their military actions.

Russia is in charge in Syria and they do not need to tell Iran or the United States what they plan on doing. 

Read my latest book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.
To reprint my essays contact sales (at)

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Soda Stream Offers to Take 1000 Syrian Refugees

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

The internationally famous bubbly water maker, Soda Stream, has said that they will employ up to 1,000 Syrian refugees.

Soda Stream recently relocated to a brand new set of facilities in the city of Rahat which is in
Southern Israel. Rahat is a city of 55,000 people. It is a Bedouin Arab city - a city where Bedouins live, not nomadically migrate and move as most Bedouin communities do. About 33% of the Soda Stream employees are from Rahat.

Daniel Birnbaum, the CEO of Soda Stream, said in a press release that was quoted in The Calcalist, an Israeli daily business paper:

"As the son of a Holocaust survivor, I refuse to stand by and observe this human tragedy unfold right across the border in Syria."

"Just as we have always done our best to help our Palestinian brothers and sisters in the West Bank, the time has come for local business and municipal leaders to address the Syrian humanitarian crisis and take the initiative to help those in need. We cannot expect our politicians to bear the entire burden of providing aid for the refugees."

There is little chance that Soda Stream's offer will be accepted. As of now, Israel's PM Netanyahu has been firm and clear on not accepting any more refugees from Syria. Use of the term "any more" means that Israel has already accepted many of the wounded Syrians that Israeli has rescued and treated in Israeli hospitals. 

Read my latest book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.
To reprint my essays contact sales (at)

Monday, September 21, 2015

Egypt Floods Hamas Tunnels

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:
Once again, Hamas made a public denouncement of Egypt's "Operation Fish Farm" program because, according to them, it poses a "great danger to Gaza and to the ground water."

The Fish Farm is a program through which Egypt dug a huge mote next to their border with Gaza and repeatedly floods the mote with sea water.

Last week the Egyptians flooded the mote and in so doing, they significantly damaged several of Hamas' smuggling tunnels.

Hamas is upset because the tunnels that smuggle weapons and fighters back and forth between Gaza and Egypt are being destroyed.

Since Hamas took over Gaza in 2007, Egypt has blocked the border.

The Egyptians do periodically open the border for humanitarian purposes. But since Sisi took over as president of Egypt, he has been very serious about stopping terrorists from crossing the border.

Those terrorists that are now being stopped are the terrorist who attack Egyptian army personnel and civilians.

Operation Fish Farm is a low tech response to the smuggling tunnels - and from the point of view of Egypt, the operation is working well.
To reprint my essays contact sales (at)

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Bibi to Moscow

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

I just watched a video post by a Syrian rebel group called the Islamic Army. The video showed members of the group shooting rockets from the mountains supposedly down onto the newly established Russian air-force base.

In the video the group explains that Russia will not experience a peaceful stay in Syria.

This week more Russian manpower, materials and weapons arrived in Syria, including tanks and armored personnel carriers.

Many people are worried about Russia's renewed presence in Syria. So much so that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is visiting Moscow this week to sit down with Putin.

This is a very busy time in Israel. The holidays, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot, sap huge time out of the 24/7 work week…so taking a half day and flying in and out of Moscow to have a meeting with Putin says it is important. 

Read my latest book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.
To reprint my essays contact sales (at)

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Iceland and Its Boycott of Israel

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

The boycott of Israeli products by Iceland's capital Reykjavik has not garnered headlines. I have written about it and have spoken about it, but almost nobody else has.

The ADL has asked Jews not to visit Iceland and Ronald Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, has proclaimed his shock that Icelandic leadership has not condemned the decision of their capital to boycott Israel. He has termed it: "[T]he silence of Iceland's political leadership on this important matter."

Lauder said: "We urge the government of Iceland to act against this boycott."

"It is unfair, and it could have negative repercussions for Iceland's good name on the international stage. We need to know what the official position of the Government of Iceland is in that regard, and what it intends to do about this boycott call."

There are about 150 Israelis who live in Iceland, almost all in Reykjavik. Most of them are either married to Icelanders or are students.

There are almost no imports of Israeli products to Iceland, so a boycott will not mean much economically. But that is not the point.

Boycotts are illegal. The European Jewish Congress is investigating legal procedures to right this act of anti-Semitism. That may serve as a lesson to prevent others from joining the boycott movement. 

Read my latest book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.
To reprint my essays contact sales (at)

Friday, September 18, 2015

Obama Speaks w/ Saudi King

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

President Obama spoke with King Salman of Saudi Arabia yesterday.

They discussed Yemen, the tensions in Jerusalem and other regional issues.
A statement from the White House said that the two leaders spoke and ...

"They reaffirmed their commitment to work expeditiously to allow for unfettered access to all forms of humanitarian assistance, including fuel, into Yemen, and the opening of Red Sea ports."

The two countries are allotting $90 million in humanitarian aid for Yemen.

It looks like both the US and the Saudis are trying hard to resurrect their relationship.

They are working together on issues of common interest.

Read my latest book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.
To reprint my essays contact sales (at)

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Iceland Capital Boycotts Israeli Products

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

The capital of Iceland, Reykjavik, has just passed a resolution to boycott all Israeli products.

The city council just passed the matter.

Emanuel Nachson, Israel's foreign ministry spokesman said, "A volcano of hate is currently exploding in Reykjavik’s city council building. There is no reason or justification for this move, besides hate itself, which is being heard in the form of calls for a boycott against Israel, the Jewish state. We hope that someone in Iceland will wake up and stop this blindness and one sidedness which is aimed against the only democracy in the Middle East, Israel."

Iceland does not import much from Israel, - so this boycott is not likely to have any significant economic impact.

It is the principle behind this action that is crucial. Having a European capital, any European capital, boycott Israel is very troubling. This must be stopped before it becomes trend setting. 

Read my latest book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.
To reprint my essays contact sales (at)

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Inspectors in Iran

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:
Iran's top nuclear official, Ali Akbar Salehi, announced that the head of the UN agency that monitors nukes will be visiting Iran this week.

Yakiya Amano, head of the IAEA (the International Atomic Energy Agency) sent 13 inspectors to Iran earlier this week and according to the Iranians, Amano is to arrive later this week.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also called the Iranian Nuclear Deal, is intertwined with IAEA agreements. The agreements require Iran to stop nuclear development in order for the sanctions to be lifted. In order to make sure that happens, inspectors must be on the ground.

"About 12 or 13 IAEA experts are going to Tehran tonight and Amano will visit in the next three or four days," Salehi said on state television. "We hope the remaining issues are resolved by December 15 so the implementation of the JCPOA can start."

Salehi was referring to the deadline set in a 'road-map' deal Iran reached with the agency alongside the JCPOA.

This is an important visit and we will monitor it closely. 

Read my latest book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.
To reprint my essays contact sales (at)

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Refugees Living in Buchenwald

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Buchenwald, a place synonymous with Nazi horrors, is now housing 21 Middle East refugees.

The town explained that it is an emergency situation and they converted one of the only remaining buildings of the camp into a residence for the refugees. The refugees will get 135 Euros each ($150) as a stipend.

It sounds very unusual. Buchenwald is a memorial and a museum today. It is located 5 miles from Weimar on the outskirts of a small town named Schwerte.

56,000 Jews were murdered or died at the hands of the Nazis in Buchenwald. 250,000 prisoners were interned there from the time it opened in 1937 until it was liberated by the US army in 1945.

It was one of the largest camps and one of the only camps of its kind in Germany itself.

There were 168 sub-camps in the region affiliated with Buchenwald.
Is the local Schwerte government doing the correct thing by housing these refugees in Buchenwald?
Or is that camp a holy site for memorializing and for teaching.

And do the refugees being housed there know the history of the place they are now calling home? 

Read my latest book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.
To reprint my essays contact sales (at)

Saturday, September 12, 2015

85% of Jews in Europe Afraid to Attend Synagogue

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

A new study about Jews of Europe was just released and after reading the findings, I was speechless.

85% of the Jews of Europe will not attend synagogue during these High Holidays out of fear of Anti-Semitism. This figure is up from 70% last year.

The Jews of Europe are afraid of a terrorist attack.

70% of those asked report that they conceal their Jewish-ness. That statistic, too, is a marked increase from last year when the figure was 40%. When you do the math you see that there is a 75% increase in those European Jews who feel it necessary for their safety to hide their Jewish-nesss.

187 Jewish community leaders in Western and Eastern Europe participated in the study which was sponsored by the Rabbinical Center of Europe (RCE) and the European Jewish Association (EJA), which is connected to Chabad.

These numbers are simply frightening. While it is hard to fathom that these are true figures, the EJA asserts that these are the true

If fear and hiding have once again become significant characteristics of Jewish life and Jewish living in Western and Eastern Europe, it means that the Jews of Europe have no future in their host countries - not in the long term and certainly not even in the short term.

Wishing everyone a safe and sweet New Year. 

Read my latest book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.
To reprint my essays contact sales (at)

Friday, September 11, 2015

9-11 14 Years

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

It's 9-11. 14 years have passed.

9-11 changed us all. It changed the society we live in and it changed how we approach the world.

Today, 14 years later, we understand that there are people - many people, major swaths of the world, who despise and hate almost all that the United States of America stands for. Their numbers are large, approximating 100 million - most are silent supporters. They show disdain and go about their lives.

But what about those who are not silent? Those who not only despise us and harbor hatred toward us and put that hatred on display? Those who train in ways to hurt us, who plot against us and who plan to attack Western targets?

Many of those haters are volunteers in militias in Iraq and Syria, Some have joined ISIS, others al Qaeda.

We learned our lessons from 9-11. Our haters learned lessons, too. One crucial lesson they learned is that they can attack the United States and it will hurt us.

This is a lesson they are putting to good use. 

Read my latest book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.
To reprint my essays contact sales (at)

Thursday, September 10, 2015

US - Russia in Conflict

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Russia called US diplomatic requests "boorish."

The Russians are livid at the United States and I'll explain why.

Russia has stationed over a thousand troops, a few dozen pilots and fighter jets on the outskirts of Damascus.

The United States warned that this action on the part of Russia could lead to conflict between the coalition forces and Russian forces.

Russia responded that they are there protecting their own interests.

In response to the Russian troop deployment, the US asked Greece and Bulgaria to restrict - more accurately, to forbid Russian aircraft from their airspace. Greece and Bulgaria have yet to respond but the request itself is seen as a response that is way out of proportion to the situation.

Granted, the United States was and is still upset. But there are ways of countering the situation without asking 3rd parties to intervene and punish Russia. Asking Greece and Bulgaria to help fight their battle was not at all appropriate on the part of the United States.

Russia has had troop on the ground in Syria from the very start of this conflict. For several months Russia's only aircraft carrier and all its ancillary ships and crew were anchored just outside the port of Latakia. Russia actually built and modernized the port investing $300 million of their own dollars.

About 16 months ago Russia withdrew its troops from the area.

Now Russia has returned. This entire move should not have surprised anyone. Certainly, it should not have surprised the United States military or diplomatic corps. 

Read my latest book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.
To reprint my essays contact sales (at)

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Austrian President Visits Iran

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

The first Western head of state to visit Iran arrived on Tuesday.

The visit marked the first time in over a decade that the head of a Western country was in Teheran.
Austria's President Heinz Fischer went to Teheran to seal a series of trade deals that have been in development since the signing of the Nuke Deal in July.

Fischer told the joint news conference that he held together with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani that --- "We expect to boost our volume of trade to 300 million Euros in the short term, and we then look forward to markedly increasing our economic relations."

The gates are now open. Exports all forms of trade will be spilling out and in to Iran. But make no mistake about it, the balance will definitely be in Iran's favor.

Iran is officially out of the doghouse. In answer to that popular question: Who let the dogs out? We did. Woof, woof! 

Read my latest book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.
To reprint my essays contact sales (at)

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Iran Backs Assad --- Again

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Iranian Foreign Minister Jarif said yesterday that calling for Syrian leader Assad's removal is wrong.

He said Assad's departure will only cause more death and devastation.
The importance of these comments is that they indicate how the lines are drawn and how each side sets up.

In the West it is simply assumed that Assad is bad and that he must go. But Iran and Russia disagree with us. Remember, Russia just re-established a very large presence in the Middle East that includes fighter jets to attack ISIS and al Qaeda. The Russians have moved into a base outside of Damascus and their pilots and jets are all there.

We should never forget that Russia, together with Iran, have significant boots and weapons on the ground.

The West talk as much as it wants about ousting Assad -- but Russia and Iran are propping him up and making it more and more difficult to dislodge him. 

Read my latest book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.

To reprint my essays contact sales (at)

Monday, September 7, 2015

Crooks Beat Up Holocaust Survivors in Amsterdam

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:
Crooks beat up and tied up two Holocaust survivors, aged 86 and 97, in their own home in Amsterdam. The perpetrators called their victims "dirty Jews" and then stole their jewelry.
The thugs knocked on the elderly couple's door and declared "police, open up." The thugs then badly beat the pair and threatened to cut off the wife's fingers to steal her rings.

It all happened on August 4th - and the story is only now becoming known. The son of this elderly couple has offered a reward of 10,000 Euro for information that leads to the capture of the criminals.
He has posted pictures of his parents and their wounds on the internet so that people can see how heinous and brutal the attack was. The pictures are very disturbing.

The survivors who were once independent are now confined to wheel chairs.
Attacking the weak and the aged in their homes is vile and heartless. Attacking Holocaust survivors is a new low - even for European anti-Semites.

The police have promised to take the case and all it symbolizes seriously but now, more than a month later, the authorities have still not arrested the evil perpetrators.

This is what you call a "shanda." Shame on them! 

Read my latest book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.
To reprint my essays contact sales (at)

Sunday, September 6, 2015

US Congressman Calls It "Peace in Our Time"

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

US Congressman Patrick Murphy of Florida said he supports President Obama's Iran deal because, among other things, it will bring "peace in our time."

Murphy used the infamous Chamberlain quote to explain his support of the Nuke Deal.

When I heard about it - I couldn't believe it. So I checked it out and it was true. Here is the exact quote:

"I believe deeply in the unbreakable bond between the United States and Israel."

"This debate has proven to me that America and Israel are fortunate to have so many passionate, diverse voices who all want the same things: a nuclear-free Iran, a secure Israel, and peace in our time. In the interest of all three, I will be supporting this deal and voting against a Resolution of Disapproval in September."

In 1938 worried about the advances of Hitler's Germany, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain went and signed the Munich Pact which forced Czechoslovakia to give Germany the Sudetenland.
And that was supposed to appease Hitler's desire to conquer Europe. Chamberlain returned from the meeting with the Munich Paper in his hands and announced at the foot of the stairs of his plane. "We have achieved peace in our time."

Actually, that was just part of Hitler's plan which duped Western leaders. Murphy should brush up on his history before making such grandiose statements. 

Read my latest book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.
To reprint my essays contact sales (at)

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Iranian Plane Flies Up To US Carrier and Flims It

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

An Iranian plane flew right up to a US air craft carrier and filmed it.

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard said that it was part of normal activities in the Straits of Hormuz and was one of several ways in which they regularly patrol the entire region.

The report said: "The latest Revolutionary Guard operation is a mission to identify an American aircraft carrier passing through the region, carried out by a navy reconnaissance plane called the Harbin Y-2."

And then it added: "For some time, the Revolutionary Guard has had modern drone technology, and it is carrying out missions to identify foreign vessels in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz."

According to Tasnim, the Persian media outlet: "The most well-known example of this is a
Revolutionary Guard drone's reconnaissance mission to identify an American aircraft carrier in the Strait of Hormuz; images from this were broadcast live to a Revolutionary Guard commanders' conference in Mashhad province."

One part of the video that was released by the Iranians was hilarious. The Crew on the carrier was seen staring at the plane and looking right into the camera. It was almost as if they were asking: What are you doing here?

The United States did nothing. They just stood and watched as they were being filmed. 

Read my latest book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.
To reprint my essays contact sales (at)

Friday, September 4, 2015

Iran Nuke Deal

By Micah Halpern

The Iran deal was in the bag from the start. Anyone who surveyed the landscape of Washington, DC knew that.

But even though we knew it, whichever side of the debate you are on, some things are worth fighting for. And they are worth fighting for not only when you know you will win, but even, and even more so, when you know you are going to lose.

Everyone involved in the debate over the Iran Nuke Deal knew that the chances of getting 67 senators to override the president's commitment to the deal was nearly impossible. Barbara Mikulski, the democratic senator from Maryland, was simply the last senator to confirm what we already knew. For some, Mikulski's vote was the cherry on top of the sundae, for others it was the last nail in the coffin.

So why the rage? The storm? The fundraising? The speakers? The ads? What was all the hullabaloo surrounding the vote about? And was it worth it all?

The answer is twofold.

Most importantly, President Obama needs to understand that this deal with Iran is a bi-partisan issue - even though he won. The president needed to hear, to feel in his kishkes, that critique of the deal was not meant only as a way of telling him to goose step around Israel's prime minister and supporters of Israel but to let him know that Americans across a broad spectrum of the country were also wary of
the deal.

The president needed to - and still needs to understand, that people who support him are very uncomfortable with this deal.

Senator Chuck Schumer did not commit political suicide by standing up to Obama. On the contrary.

The democratic senator from NY, the man who would be the next senate minority leader, made a cold calculation. And he almost certainly cleared it with the White House before going public. Schumer said the deal is a done deal, but -- let me appease my constituency and let me help the Democratic Party down the road so that this does not become a republican democrat split. And that's why Chuck Schumer chose to oppose the deal.

Schumer's decision was at the same time a gift to his constituents and a gift to his party.
The other reason it was important to debate the deal was to enable Israel to fight to get the best "swag bag" of treats they could as a result of the implementation of the Iran Nuke Deal.

There is definitely a list, a Chanukah list of goodies -- if you will -- that Israel wants and expects to receive once the deal that so definitely endangers their country is implemented.

The list has been in formation for months. The longer the time frame between the signing of the deal in July and the 100% certainty of the deal going through, the more Israel can add on. U.S. Undersecretary of the Treasury Adam Zsubin was just in Israel and it is this list that took him there.
He spent four days on this very issue.

The deal was always done. Now Americans across the divide - those cheering and those weeping - must accept that the time to debate is over and done with. And now the real work begins.

Keeping Iran's feet to the fire and making certain that the United States has the wherewithal to enforce the agreement will be another struggle.

In this case, there are no foregone conclusions. Iran is notorious for not living up to their nuclear commitments and the United States is famous for looking forward to future goals, making peace and infamous for not focusing and nit picking and policing agreements.

Good luck to us all. 

Read my latest book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.
To reprint my essays contact sales (at)

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Hajj Pilgrim on Hover-Board

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

It is the season of the Hajj. Muslims from all over the world make pilgrimage to Mecca and circle the Kabba 7 times.

Watching a video of this religious act, I observed that in the section reserved for the elderly, the disabled and wheelchairs, a man was on a hover board. Yes - a hover board. Wearing white robes and holding his hands together, there was a blue glow under him as he scooted by the other pilgrims.

The hands free "segway" as it is called, actually has wheels. Wheels but no handles. It forward when you lean forward and slows when you shift weight.

The web was filled with comments and the video went viral.

Can one scoot or hover while performing the "tawaf", the 7 circles around the Kabba. Must one walk? Can anyone use a wheel chair or only someone who cannot walk? The next best thing, one would think, is a motorized scooter - but a hover board?!

Islam meets the future or back to the future - I'm not quite sure. 

Read my latest book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.
To reprint my essays contact sales (at)

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

A Jewish Hero Dies

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

A great Jewish hero has died. His name is Mark Dymshitz and he was 88 years old.

Dymshitz was a prisoner of Zion, a "refusenik". He was one of the leaders of the early years of the struggle by Russian Jews to escape persecution under Soviet rule.

Dymshitz drew attention to Soviet Jewry by attempting to hijack a plane in what was then Leningrad, now St. Petersburg, on June 15, 1970. The plan was called Operation Wedding. 16 refuseniks took part in the plan - 14 Jews and 2 non Jews.

Dymshitz was a pilot and along with fellow dissident Edward Kuznetsov, planned to hijack the plane and fly it to Israel. The group bought up all the seats on the 12 seater Antonov An -2 plane.

The plan failed and Mark Dymshitz was sentenced to death. His punishment was commuted because of world outcry and finally, in 1979, he was freed in a swap with the USSR.

The attempted hijacking and the audacity and daring of the plan drew huge attention to the plight of Soviet Jews.

Dymshitz and the 13 others who collaborated with him on Operation Wedding, even though it failed miserably as a plan, were truly heroes. 

Read my latest book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.
To reprint my essays contact sales (at)

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

A Hassid Fights ISIS

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

This is simply a weird story - but so important to tell. I read it in YNETnews.
Timothy Paul Jacobs Wordsworth aka Batn el Ghoul is fighting with the Kurds against ISIS in Iraq.

His grandparents survived Dachau - but his parents converted to Christianity and he was taught to love Israel.

Timothy was raised to fight for good against evil. He joined the British army and he even moved to Israel where he joined the Bratslav Chassidic sect. Timothy could not become a citizen of Israel, he will try again soon.

Interesting, right? But not the most interesting part of the story.

Here comes the most interesting part.

Every place in which Timothy Paul Jacobs Wordsworth fights and defeats ISIS, he tags with graffiti.
He writes his graffiti in Hebrew. He writes: Na Na Nachman Me'uman. Rabbi Nachman from the city of Uman, the phrase on the lips of all Bratslav chassidim.

Timoathy aka Batn el Ghoul says that he wants to bring sunlight into an area of darkness. According to the interview he ends practically every sentence with the phrase "Am Yisrael Chai" (the nation of Israel lives on).

Now that is interesting. 

Read my latest book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.
To reprint my essays contact sales (at)

Luxembourg Supermarket Boycotts Israel

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

The largest supermarket chain in Luxembourg has just joined the boycott against Israeli products.

The chain has said that until it can be proven that a product is not produced in the West Bank, the product from Israel will not be sold in their markets.

The Cactus Supermarket chain said that it was easier to do business in this way than to suffer the inconvenience of protesters and their impact on the shoppers. Cactus management said that they use very few Israeli products anyway.

They also followed up by saying that they would continue to sell Israeli produced Soda-Stream and other equipment that compose a larger percentage of their sales.

Luxembourg is a tiny country of about 500,000 people with a GDP (gross domestic product) of about $53 billion.

The size of the country and the size of the supermarket chain do not matter. This boycott must be stopped not because it will hurt Israel, but because it is the principle that counts. Boycotts are anti- democratic and anti-freedom. 

Read my latest book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.
To reprint my essays contact sales (at)