Thursday, August 6, 2020

Beirut Explosions

By Micah Halpern

Thursday August 6, 2020

I've Been Thinking:

The explosions in Beirut at the port were cataclysmic. According to experts, this explosion was the closest in size to a nuclear explosion that has yet to occur.

The numbers of victims and injured will continue to climb.

The estimated cost of the damage is $15 billion, that too will climb. Given that Lebanon has only 6.8 million people and a GDP of $58 billion that number is bigger than huge.

Ammonium Nitrate has been used regularly for bombs. The IRA used it in London.
The Oklahoma City Bomber used it. It was used in Bali and used in India. Just about anywhere a huge explosion takes place, it can be traced to ammonium nitrate - often placed in a car or truck.

Stored properly ammonium nitrate is safe. But the more you have and the longer it sits, the more unstable it becomes.

2,750 tons is a recipe for an explosion. 2,750 tons is 5,500,000 pounds.

That’s what exploded in Beirut. It is dangerous by any estimate and was an explosion waiting to happen.
If this was an accident, it could – and should, have been avoided.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com

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Huge Wedding in Jerusalem

By Micah Halpern

Wednesday August 5, 2020

I've Been Thinking:

On Wednesday the wedding of the grandson of the Belzer Rebbe took place in Jerusalem. The wedding was held in the Belz synagogue in Jerusalem which is enormous. The building can be seen from miles away. After it was built, the synagogue was jokingly referred to as the 3rd Temple by many of those who live in Jerusalem.

Thousands of people were invited to participate in the wedding. Thousands accepted the invitation and they were all in close contact.

Police officials met with Belzer leadership and explained how unsafe and unwise such a gathering would be. But the wedding went on as planned. The new head of Israel’s National COVID Task Force called the wedding a huge potential center for contamination. He was so upset he even went so far as to say that events like this play “Russian Roulette” with people’s lives.

Police fined the organizers 5000 NIS that is about $1400 for violating COVID laws and having such a large gathering.

We pray that no one gets infected. But mathematics may prove the opposite.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com

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Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Israel Launches New Hit Tech Sat

By Micah Halpern

Tuesday August 4, 2020

I've Been Thinking:

On Monday Israel launched the Ofek 16 Spy Satellite.

Prime Minister Netanyahu said in a Cabinet meeting: “The success of the Ofek 16 satellite very much increases our ability to act against Israel’s enemies, near and far alike. It greatly expands our ability to act on land, at sea, in the air, and also in space.”

The prime minister even hinted that Israel was responsible for the recent explosions and fires in Iran.

Israel has been using satellites for over 20 years. They are an enormously important part of their intelligence gathering.

Every new satellite that is launched has better technology than the ones that were launched before. Not just a little better - exponentially higher tech, higher speed transmission, better resolution with pictures and video that are immediately sent.

From high up in space, these satellites can even read the license plate on a car parked in a dark alley.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com

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Monday, August 3, 2020

India Cutting Iran Off of Rice & Tea

By Micah Halpern

Monday August 3, 2020

I've Been Thinking:

Indian companies are about to stop exporting tea and basmati rice to Iran.

Their complaint is that it is very difficult to get payment from Iran.

The CEO of a rice company in India said “The payment is very slow and it is coming in small batches. It is becoming impossible to do trade with Iran. The Indian government should work out a deal with Tehran so that exports can be carried out smoothly.”

Iran loves basmati rice and Indian tea and they are very large importers of both.

But when a client cannot send you money, the supplier shuts down the supply.
Once again, sanctions are hurting Iran.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com

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Sunday, August 2, 2020

PA is Teetering

By Micah Halpern

Sunday August 2, 2020

I've Been Thinking:

The Palestinian Authority looks to be teetering. Actually, even on the verge of imploding.

The chaos that will emerge if or when this happens is not good news for anyone in the region – not just for Palestinians and for Israel.

If the PA falls the only power poised to fill the void is Hamas.

That is a 100% inevitability. And if Hamas takes charge in the West Bank, they will turn the area into an even bigger and failed mess than Gaza. they will make it into an even bigger failure than Gaza. If you think the West Bank is dysfunctional now, imagine if Hamas was in charge.

There are several indicators of the instability in the PA. It is apparent that PA President Abbas is no longer leading and directing. COVID plus economic difficulties plus Israel’s annexation threats are huge obstacles that Abbas is not properly embracing.

Rather than inspiring the masses, Abbas has activated his traditional tropes whereby he automatically turns Israel into an enemy and the root of all problems.
He has called out to the world to condemn Israel and called for aid and assistance.

This old strategy is no longer working.

In order for Abbas to build a stable society and transition and transfer power to a successor, whoever that may be, he needs to work together with Israel, especially in terms of security and safety.

Israel has a vested interest in keeping Abbas in power. Israel is working to maintain the PA president’s safety and to protect him from Hamas. Abbas, however, is not working with Israel.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com

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Friday, July 31, 2020

Eid al Adha Changed

By Micah Halpern

Friday July 31, 2020

I've Been Thinking:

Eid al Adha is one of two most important holidays in Islam. The other is Eid al Fitr, But Eid al Adha takes precedence, it is actually the more important of the two.

Eid al Adha translates from Arabic as the Festival of the Sacrifice, it is found in the Koran in section 30, or Sura 30, lines 100 to112. It is the parallel story of the Binding of Isaac from Genesis 22. This holiday is also known as Eid al Qurban. Qurban is a synonym for sacrifice.

In the Koranic version of the story, Allah challenges Ibrahim’s faith and commands him to take Ishmael, his son, and offer him as a sacrifice. In the end, Allah intervenes and stops the sacrifice. and Ibrahim’s faith has been proven. The Koran’s rendition is a near exact replica of the story of Abraham and Isaac in the Bible.

At the end of the Koranic story, a sheep is replaced for Ishmael. In the Bible, a ram takes the place of Isaac.

Eid al Adha is as much a feast as it is a holiday. The feast is traditionally a four day celebration of food and prayers with family. An entire sheep is slaughtered and prepared. Two thirds of the sheep is eaten by the family, the third share is gifted to the poor.

But we are not living in normal times. And many Islamic traditions, like almost all other traditions and behaviors, have had to shift and morph to accommodate COVID-19. This year, because of COVID coupled with a crippling financial crisis, the Islamic population on the West Bank has scaled down their celebrations.

The sale of animals has dropped more than 50% according to some slaughterhouses and animal sellers. Some families are abandoning the traditional sheep and instead, pooling their funds and buying a larger animal, such as a cow. The celebration and the tradition has been changed.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com

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Thursday, July 30, 2020

Iran & Turkey Make Friends

By Micah Halpern

Thursday July 30, 2020

I've Been Thinking:


In a formal agreement, Turkey and Iran have decided to let us know that they have decided share information.

The official spokespeople of Iran and Turkey had a video conference and agreed to share this news and other materials.

These two countries, which share a border, are taking serious steps to coordinate.
They want to set up a block against the West, especially against the United States and Israel.

Iran has been expanding their foreign policy efforts. They are trying to pry people away from the West. Turkey is perfectly poised as a partner. Over the last two years Turkey has been moving further and further away from the West and the US and Israel.

Iran realizes this and is extending a hand in friendship to Turkey.

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