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We are confronted with choices hundreds of times each day. Most of those decisions are about small things, like what to wear, what to eat, and what to do with free time. Nobody worries too much about those small decisions. However, sometimes in the midst of all that minutia a really big decision makes its way to the surface, taking us completely off-guard. Those big decisions are the ones we worry about. We have a lot more at stake and our emotions can be thrown into conflict. Decisions like that may involve conflicts of interest, looming undesirable realities, and even possible pain and suffering for the decision-maker or for others they care about. How do you make decisions like that?
Leviticus 13 + 14, which we are discussing in our latest Midrash, offers a reliable template for dealing with those really hard choices. Don't miss it!
Blessings and Shalom!
Eliyahu ben David
PS - Below I've reprinted articles about the Middle East as follow up on last week's Tsiyon News. Check these out.
threaten nuke attack on Israel
Reprint Posted By F. Michael Maloof On 06/23/2014 WND,Politics,U.S.,World
WASHINGTON – The well-organized army of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, claims it has access to nuclear weapons and a will to use them to “liberate” Palestine from Israel as part of its “Islamic Spring,” according to a WND source in the region.
Franklin Lamb, an international lawyer based in Beirut and Damascus, said the move is part of the ISIS aim of creating a caliphate under strict Islamic law, stretching from the Mediterranean Sea to Iraq.
Lamb, who has access to ISIS fighters and sympathizers, said ISIS has been working with a “new specialized” unit organized at the beginning of 2013 to focus “exclusively on destroying the Zionist regime occupying Palestine.”
Lamb added that the ISIS “Al-Quds Unit” is working to broaden its influence in more than 60 Palestinian camps and gatherings from Gaza, across “Occupied Palestine,” or Israel, to Jordan and from Lebanon up to the north of Syria “seeking to enlist support as it prepares to liberate Palestine.”
ISIS is also know as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham. “Sham,” or “Greater Syria,” refers to Cyprus, Palestine, Jordan, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and southern Turkey.
ISIS also is known as DAASH, the Arabic acronym for al-Dawlah al-Islamiyah fi al-Iraq wa-al Sham.
The Sunni militant group, which has taken over much of the Sunni region of Iraq, could leave the Shiite-dominated region of the country and head toward Jordan and Turkey.
Lamb said that in Iraq alone, some 6 million Iraqi Sunnis recently have become supportive of the ISIS lightning strikes in the Sunni portion of the country.
Some of the Sunni supporters are secular, such as the Naqshbandia Army of former top officials of executed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. As WND reported, the Sunni group may have given ISIS access to its ongoing sarin production facility in northwestern Iraq.
WND also reported ISIS already has captured towns bordering Iraq and Turkey.
The militant group also has steamrolled through the Iraqi desert in the west and taken over the major al-Walid crossing with Syria and the Turaibil crossing into Jordan.
Lamb said ISIS has established a capital for its caliphate in the Syrian city of Raqqa.
“The Islamist organization believes it currently has massive regional support for its rapidly expanding ‘revolution of the oppressed,’” Lamb said.
ISIS estimates it will take 72 months to “liberate” “Occupied Palestine,” or Israel, according to Lamb.
Lamb quoted an ISIS member as saying: “Zionists call us masked, sociopathic murderers, but we are much more complicated and representative of those seeking justice than they portray us.
“Are we more barbaric than the Zionist terrorists who massacred at Dier Yassin, Shatila, twice at Qana, and committed dozens of other massacres? History will judge us after we free Palestine.”
Lamb said ISIS can do what no other Arab, Muslim or Western backers of resistance have been able to accomplish.
He quoted the ISIS member as saying: “All countries in this region are playing the sectarian card just as they have long played the Palestinian card, but the difference with ISIS is that we are serious about Palestine and they are not. Tel Aviv will fall as fast as Mosul when the time is right.”
The WND source said ISIS appears “eager” to fight Israeli armed forces “in the near future despite expectation that the regime will use nuclear weapons.”
“Do you think that we do not have access to nuclear devices?” Lamb quoted the ISIS member as saying. “The Zionists know that we do, and if we ever believe they are about to use theirs, we will not hesitate. After the Zionists are gone, Palestine will have to be decontaminated and rebuilt just like areas where there has been radiation released.”
ISIS access to nuclear weapons could come from Sunni Pakistan, which is home to more than 30 terrorist groups. Pakistan possibly has transferred nuclear weapons to the chief bankroller of its nuclear development program, Sunni Saudi Arabia, as WND previously has reported.
The Saudis, who also have provided billions of dollars to ISIS, have threatened to acquire nuclear weapons if Iran were to develop its own.
The WND source said ISIS denies any interest in training and directing foreign fighters to attack Europe, claiming its goals are to establish the al-Sham caliphate and “liberate Palestine.”
The source said the West, and especially the Israelis, may already be aware of ISIS plans and tactics to take over “Palestine.” He said Western intelligence sources were in possession of an “encyclopedia of information” obtained by Iraqi intelligence less than 48 hours before Mosul fell two weeks ago.
He said an ISIS messenger who was captured and “under Iraqi torture” turned over more than 160 computer flash sticks with the detailed information.
“The U.S. intelligence community is still decrypting and analyzing the flash sticks,” Lamb said.
He indicated that the information already has been handed over to members of Congress, some of whom are sharing it with the Israeli Embassy in Washington.
“The current sense on Capitol Hill is reported to be that the Obama administration is not in the mood to share anything with Israel these days and certainly not with the Netanyahu regime which it loathes,” he said.
Lamb said only time will tell whether or not ISIS reaches both of its objectives. He added that if the “Zionist regime” can be ejected from Palestine, it will set in motion “historic currents” that will be “rather different from the Ehud Olmert-Condoleezza Rice fantasy of ‘a New Middle East.’
“In any event,” Lamb said, “it is unlikely that Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Lebanon among other countries in this region are going to look much like what George Bush and Dick Cheney and their still active neo-con advisers had in mind when they were beating the drums for a U.S. invasion of Iraq, Libya and now Syria and Iran.”
Al-Qaeda-linked New Terrorists, DAESH (ISIL), in Gaza Strip
by Khaled Abu Toameh
"This group is much more dangerous and radical than Hamas." — Palestinian journalist, Gaza City
Palestinians are worried that DAESH terrorists will perpetrate atrocities against those who oppose their ideology and activities.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas need to take into consideration the possibility that Palestinian unity on the pre-1967 lines would pave the way for DAESH terrorists to move into the West Bank.
It's official: Al-Qaeda has begun operating in the Gaza Strip.
A video posted on YouTube this week showed terrorists belonging to the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, known colloquially by its Arabic acronym, DAESH, announcing plans to wage jihad [holy war] against the "infidels, traitors and Crusaders."
This is the first time that a group linked to Al-Qaeda announces its presence in the Gaza Strip.
Members of the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant [DAESH] in Gaza. (Image source: DAESH YouTube video)
The announcement is seen as a challenge to the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, which has been in control of the Gaza Strip since July 2007.
Palestinian Authority security officials in Ramallah expressed fear that the Al-Qaeda-affiliated group would try to establish terrorist cells also in the West Bank.
The video features 10 heavily-armed masked terrorists declaring allegiance to DAESH, whose men are responsible for most of the atrocities in Syria and Iraq over the past few years.
In the video, a spokesman for the group announces that in addition to Syria and Iraq, DAESH now has "lions and armies in the environs of Jerusalem."
The spokesman says that the group's goal is to restore the dignity of Muslims who have been "humiliated" by their enemies. He urges Muslims to rally behind his group and support its members in their jihad against the enemies of Islam and "Arab tyrants."
Palestinians have reacted with panic to the emergence of the Al-Qaeda-affiliated group in the Gaza Strip.
According to reports from the Gaza Strip, Palestinians are worried that the DAESH terrorists will perpetrate atrocities against those who oppose their ideology and activities.
"This group is much more dangerous and radical than Hamas," said a Palestinian journalist from Gaza City. "The presence of Al-Qaeda in the Gaza Strip is bad news not only for Hamas, but for all Palestinians. Palestinians see the crimes and massacres perpetrated by Al-Qaeda in Iraq and Syria and fear that they could be repeated in the West Bank and Gaza Strip."
Hamas leaders, for their part, have reacted with skepticism to the announcement by DAESH, describing it as another attempt to "distort" Hamas's image and "resistance."
Salah Bardaweel, a senior Hamas official in the Gaza Strip, said that the Gaza Strip was a "small area with no room for Al-Qaeda-affiliated groups."
Hamas has not hesitated in the past to confront tiny jihadi groups whose members had openly challenged its rule. Like DAESH, these groups believe that Hamas is too "moderate" and is no longer committed to the "armed struggle" against Israel.
In one of the deadliest confrontations, Hamas security forces killed and arrested a number of jihadi terrorists who found shelter in a mosque in the town of Rafah in the Gaza Strip. At least 28 jihadi terrorists were killed and 120 wounded during the 2009 raid on members of a group called Jund Allah [Soldiers of God].
It now remains to be seen whether Hamas will be able to crush the new Al-Qaeda-affiliated group, whose members are also operating in the neighboring Sinai Peninsula.
Those who are talking about "reuniting" the Gaza Strip and the West Bank can no longer ignore the presence of the Al-Qaeda terrorists on the streets of the Gaza Strip.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas continues to talk about the need for Palestinian unity to pave the way for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem. Last week, he even dispatched a senior Fatah delegation to the Gaza Strip to discuss ways of ending the dispute between his party and Hamas.
Now that Al-Qaeda has begun operating in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas needs to consider the possibility that Palestinian unity would pave the way for the DAESH terrorists to move into the West Bank – an outcome U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his team need to take into consideration when they talk about the establishment of an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem.