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Steve Kramer – Golan Heights Adventure

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The Golan Heights is a great place for Israelis and tourists to visit, but its truly superb in the summer, when the usual hot days are followed by cool evenings. The Israeli-controlled Golan encompasses an area of only 690 sq miles, smaller than Butte, Montana. The population is about 40,000, equally divided between non-Muslim Druse who previously lived under Syrian rule (most of whom have not chosen to become Israeli citizens) and Israelis. The Golans political and security aspects dwarf its small size and population.

The Golan Heights tower over the Hula Valley in Israels Upper Galilee. Its strategic location allowed Syrian troops to fire at will upon Israeli farmers in the valley below. That is, until the Six Day War, when the IDF overwhelmed the invading Syrians and conquered the verdant plateau, which is known for its cattle ranches and wineries. (The Golan Heights was under Syrian sovereignty only from1946, when the British colonizers gave it independence until 1967, when Israel repulsed the invaders and took control of the strategic highlands.)

Following a recent trip to Mitzpe Ramon in the Negev Desert, where we watched the fabulous lunar eclipse, we decided to see the Perseid meteor shower up north on the Golan Heights during the week when it was at its height. Michal and I left early in the day to meet our friends at our first stop on the Golan.

But getting there is half the fun. While the Golan is only about 2.5 hours away, the scenery is terrific, especially when you are traveling through the Galilee region. There are lovely mountains and valleys in Israel, with winding roads and superb vistas. Though Israel has only two real lakes (Sea of Galilee and Dead Sea), there are many reservoirs which can pass for lakes from a distance.

We and our friends made a brief stop for a breakfast picnic at Mitzpe Ofir, a scenic lookout funded by the JNF and the family of a young, deceased teen who loved to hike in that area. This is a wonderful lookout and rest area in the southern Golan Heights that overlooks the eastern shore of the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) from a height of some 1,500 ft.One can see the entire Kinneret, and beyond, the Lower Galilee mountains and the Upper Galilee. We shared the site with a busload of young people from North American and Europe, all veterans of a previous Birthright experience. They were doing a repeat visit, with the emphasis on history and more engagement than they experienced during their super jam-packed Birthright tour.

We again saw the group at our next stop, the Tel Saki War Memorial, at the site of one of the first, important and devastating battles of the 1973 Israeli Yom Kippur War. The site was a tell (a hill resulting from a number of communities built one on top of each other over thousands of year) easily seen from the distance. It had a patch of green on its side, which turned out to be a large group of soldiers hearing the courageous story of a small band of Israelis against a huge Syrian force.

It is difficult to explain the battle of Tel Saki in military terms. Fewer than 60 paratroopers and 45 tanks stood against the immense Syrian force consisting of 11,000 infantry soldiers, 900 tanks and countless armored vehicles and delayed them for three whole days. It is a story of individual determination, of not giving up on oneself, on ones friends and on ones country. A country they all loved so much and persevered. (The whole story is told at http://www.gal-ed.co.il/ )

In brief, A small core of soldiers was in the trenches at the top of Tel Saki when the battle began. In a short time, they began to run low on ammunition. Two unsuccessful attempts to rescue the soldiers or reinforce the unit were attempted, and more lives were lost. One of the soldiers surrendered to the Syrians, claiming that he was the last soldier alive; he was taken to prison in Damascus. The third rescue attempt was finally successful, and the Syrians begin to retreat. 35 soldiers lost their lives in this battle, three were taken as prisoners of war, and almost everyone else was injured. This memorial honors them. (http://www.attractions-in-israel.com/golan-heights/)

We had a chance to wander through the extensive bunkers at the site, wondering what it must have been like for the brave young men who faced an impossible task, but stood their ground despite losing so many comrades.

On our way to the Golan Volcanic Park overlook, we stopped at one of the several officers pools which dot the Golan. These relatively small concrete pools were built for the Syrian officers to use.The pool was at the top of a steep hill with many ruts and rocks. We were able to navigate it easily in our small SUV, but when we arrived at the top, we were surprised to see many sedans with tents and mattresses tied to the roofs.

Sitting around and in the pool were a number of ultra-Orthodox families on family outings, who planned to camp out at the site. We struck up a conversation with one family, whose patriarch was from America. The grandfather told me that he had arrived in Israel alone, but now had 48 children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren! We were invited to visit them sometime in their community in the Samarian hills.

While Michal and Rimona both enjoyed a swim of sorts in the cool water, Ephraim and I were content to sit on the edge of the pool, dangling our feet in it a cool interlude on a hot day.

Next we traveled to Kibbutz El Ram, where we saw a film about another famous battle from the Yom Kippur War (1973), a conflict which took Israel by surprise on the morning of Judaisms most solemn day. The invasion by Syria in the North and Egypt in the South threatened the destruction of Israel until its reversal several days later at engagements such as at the Valley of Tears. This heroic Israeli victory prevented the Syrians from overrunning the Golan Heights and pouring into Israel.

The short documentary describes the heroic story of the Battle of the Valley of Tears, highlighting the bravery of Battalion commander Avigdor Kahalani, who had already won Israels highest honor for courage in the Six Day War. The film is an awe-inspiring story of the tactics and bravery of the battles, a lesson of history and heritage that stresses the soul of the IDF, whose enduring spirit is led by personal example.

In brief: At the Valley of Tears around 200 Israeli tanks held off about 1400 Syrian tanks over the course of a few days, breaking the momentum of the Syrian attack and giving Israel time to organize. In many ways the exploits of the 77 Battalion of the 7th Brigade saved much of Israel from the Syrian invasion. Their story has fittingly passed into Israeli legend. The tales of battalion commander Kahalani jumping from tank to tank [3 tanks confronting hundreds of Syrian tanks], during the Israeli counterattack, are known to every child. He later became an Israeli politician [after retiring from the IDF as a Brigadier-General]. (https://www.timesofisrael.com/a-valley-of-tears)

That night we had a delicious dinner at one of the Golan restaurants specializing in cattle raised on one of the nearby ranches. We stayed at a zimmer (a small tourist accommodation usually attached to a home) and in the morning descended from the Golan. But we soon started ascending the Galilee Mountains to the Open Museum at the Tefen Industrial Park, a location which we had never visited.

Tefen is one of four industrial parks established by the industrialist Stef Wertheimer. Its aim is to create a place that links industry with art and promotes creativity in all its forms. Wertheimer is a German-born Israeli billionaire industrialist, investor, philanthropist and former politician. He was only 11 when his family fled the Nazis and settled in Tel Aviv (1937). After serving in the Haganah during Israels War of Independence (1948-9), he began a job at Rafael, today one of Israels premier military industrial companies, but was soon let go because of his lack of formal education!

Wertheimer moved his family to Israels north and settled in Nahariya, on the Mediterranean Sea close to the Lebanese border, a community initially populated by many German immigrants. In 1952, Wertheimer started his own business in the backyard of his home, a small metal shop and tool making company he named ISCAR. His company grew to become one of the worlds premier tool-makers. In the last decade, the Wertheimer family sold the business for more than $6 billion to Warren Buffet, one of the worlds preeminent financial gurus.

The Tefen Industrial Park contains an open museum that exhibits temporary exhibitions of Israeli artists, a permanent exhibit depicting the history of the German Jewish Aliyah, a large sculpture garden containing sculptures of numerous styles, an exhibit dedicated to the development of Israeli industry, and a collection of automobiles, European and American.

We particularly enjoyed the German-speaking Jews Heritage Museum, where we saw a very interesting short film about Jewish life in Germany and in the British Mandate period, when Palestine was basically a British colony. Afterwards, we visited one of the dozen or so enterprises in the park, the Nurit and Uri Pottery Workshop and Studio. Most of their hand-made products are bought by some of Israels many chef restaurants.

I almost forgot to mention the meteor shower, which we watched the previous evening from 11 oclock to 1 am. It was mostly a disappointment, with a small number of falling stars, not a shower by any means. But our short holiday was not dampened at all by that minor disappointment. A holiday in the Golan Heights is always an adventure!

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Siren heard in Golan Heights – Israel National News

A siren was heard overnight Tuesday, shortly after 12:30 a.m., in the Golan Regional Council in northern Israel.

The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit clarified that the siren was a false alarm.

On Tuesday afternoon, Syrian refugees moved in towards the Israeli frontier, requesting permission to cross the border into Israel.

Dozens of Syrians were spotted approaching the Israeli border on the Golan Heights, converging on the border fence from the Kuneitra area, on the Syrian side of the Golan.

The Syrians waved white makeshift flags and requested they be permitted to enter Israel.

Israeli security forces stationed along the border ordered them to halt, stopping the group of Syrians roughly 200 yards from the border checkpoint.

IDF soldiers on the border then ordered the Syrians to move away from the Israeli border.

Last month, tens of thousands of Syrian refugees were spotted heading towards the Golan Heights, fleeing violence in the southern Syrian Daraa region amid a new campaign by Assads forces to crush rebel forces in the area.

Israeli officials reiterated that Israel would not permit Syrians to enter the country, though Israel would continue its policy of providing humanitarian aid to refugees and medical treatment to injured Syrian civilians.

In late June, Israel transferred large quantities of humanitarian aid to Syrian refugees living in camps along the border, including 13 tons of food stuffs, 15 tons of baby, hundreds of tents, and 30 tons of clothing and footwear.

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Congress Wants Recognition of Israeli Sovereignty Over Golan …

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BY: Adam KredoJuly 16, 2018 2:40 pm

Congress is renewing efforts to press the Trump administration into recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the contested Golan Heights region on Israel’s northern border with Syria, bucking efforts by GOP leadership to kill the effort, according to conversations with lawmakers.

The House’s National Security Subcommittee, led by chairman Rep. Ron DeSantis (R., Fla.) will hold a hearing Tuesday to examine how recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the territory could bolster U.S. national security efforts to stem the flow of terrorists in the Jewish state and elsewhere in the region by giving the Jewish state unilateral control over the Syrian territory, where Iranian-backed fighters and other jihadists have been spotted since the start of a bloody civil war.

The push to have the Trump administration formally recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the territory comes following a Monday afternoon press conference between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladamir Putin, where the two leaders discussed efforts to decrease tension in Syria.

When DeSantis and other Republicans pushed a congressional resolution recognizing Israeli control over the Golan Heights in May, it was nixed by GOP leadership who were seeking to prevent such a vote on the heels of the Trump administration’s successful effort to relocate the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The resolution had won support from Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) and others.

DeSantis expressed disappointment at the time in comments to the Free Beacon.

“I don’t know why my Golan Heights amendment was not made in order and thus denied a vote,” DeSantis said. “It was a germane amendment that would have provided the House with a chance to add clarity to the broader U.S. policy vis-a-vis Syria. How could we even contemplate supporting anything other than the application of Israeli sovereignty to such a strategically significant area, especially given the plethora of malevolent forces that undermine security in the region?”

DeSantis, who will chair Tuesday’s hearing, told the Washington Free Beacon he will not stand down despite opposition by some to formally recognizing Israeli control over the territory, which Israel annexed in 1981.

“U.S. recognition of the Golan Heights is overdue and I hope this hearing demonstrates that the time is right for the Trump administration to do so,” DeSantis told the Free Beacon.”As we’ve seen with the successful relocation of our American embassy to Jerusalem, when the U.S. leads with purpose and conviction good things happen.”

The United States has declined for decades to take a position on the status of this territory, but lawmakers such as DeSantis argue the time is right for this effort, particularly in light of the chaos in Syria and the threat it poses to Israeli and U.S. security assets in the region.

Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have supported such efforts and also have requested the Trump administration move to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the territory. Public calls for the recognition increased after the Free Beacon first reported on the now-dead congressional resolution on the matter.

The Tuesday hearing will focus on Iran’s destabilizing efforts in Syria and how it has impacted regional security, according to information viewed by the Free Beacon.

Congressional officials and other supporters argue that U.S. recognition of Israeli control of the Golan Heights could thwart Russia and Iran’s growing influence in Syria and also send a powerful message that the United States sides with the Jewish state’s security interests as regional tensions grow.

The United States, under numerous governments, has assured the Israeli government that it supports Israel’s annexation of the territory, but has declined to go as far as backing a full recognition of sovereignty. The area remains a key territory that could help Israel defend itself from attacks by Iranian forces and others operating in Syria, supporters argue.

Iranian militants who are still operating freely in Syria as they defend embattled President Bashar al-Assad have used the Golan Heights and areas near it to target Israel.

In February, for instance, Israel intercepted an armed Iranian drone that had entered its airspace via Syria.

In May, Iranian forces in Syria fired at least 20 rockets at Israeli military personnel stationed in the Golan Heights, leading the Trump White House to issue public statements supporting Israel’s right to self-defense in the face of such attacks.

Witnesses testifying at the Tuesday hearing include Dore Gold, a veteran Israeli official who most recently served as director general of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 2015 to 2016; Michael Doran, a former senior director of the White House’s the National Security Council during the George W. Bush administration; Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America; and Eugene Kontorovich, a Northwestern University professor of law who has studied Israel’s legal claims to the Golan Heights.

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Syrian government targets rebels near Israel-occupied Golan …

Syrian government forces unleashed hundreds of missiles on a rebel-held area near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights on Sunday, activists said, the latest phase in an offensive to clear southern Syria of insurgents.

The government’s push came after it had secured control of most of Daraa province in an offensive that began in June. On Sunday, the first batch of armed fighters and their families were preparing to leave from the city of Daraa, the provincial capital, in buses that would take them to the rebel-held Idlib province in the north.

Similar deals in other parts of Syria resulted in the evacuation of thousands of opposition fighters and civilians evacuations that the United Nations and rights groups have decried as forced displacement.

Syrian President Bashar Assad said Sunday the success in driving the opposition out of Daraa embodies the will of his army and allied forces to “liberate all of Syrian territories” of “terrorism.”

In recent months and backed by Russian air force, the Syrian government has restored control of over 60 percent of previously rebel-held territory across the country.

Assad spoke during a meeting on Sunday with visiting Iranian foreign ministry’s official Hossein Jaberi Ansari. Assad’s office said the two agreed that the “elimination of terrorism in most of the Syrian territory has laid the most appropriate ground to reach results at the political level” that could put an end to Syria’s war.

Syria’s government refers to all armed opposition groups as “terrorists” and accuses the West, Turkey, Israel and regional countries of supporting them.

The statement came a day before President Donald Trump and Russia’s Vladimir Putin are to meet in Finland. Syria is expected to feature highly on the agenda. Russia is a major Assad ally.

In Daraa, the evacuation deal will hand over areas held by the rebels for years back to government control. Daraa, which lies on a highway linking Damascus with Jordan, was the cradle of the 2011 uprising against Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Since early Sunday, government forces turned their missiles toward a stretch of land controlled by the armed opposition in northern Daraa and the countryside of adjacent Quneitra.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said government forces fired more than 800 missiles at an area between northern Daraa and the Quneitra countryside, about 4 kilometers, or 2.5 miles, from the frontier with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. The Observatory said government forces advanced on Massharah, a village in Quneitra, and rebels fought back in intense clashes that killed several pro-government fighters. The pro-Syrian government Central Military Media said a number of insurgents were killed in the clashes.

The Observatory reported airstrikes in Massharah, the first in over a year to hit the Quneitra countryside. It also reported airstrikes in a nearby village in northern Daraa, where government forces have been trying to retake a key hill there after failing to reach a deal with the rebels. Capturing the hill would enable them to advance on militants in the area linked to the Islamic State group.

Daraa activist Abou Mahmoud Hourani said an estimated 400 members of the armed opposition and their families will be evacuated out of Daraa. Syrian state TV al-Ikhbariya said the evacuation of nearly 1,000 people will likely be completed by Sunday.

Associated Press writer Albert Aji in Damascus, Syria, contributed to this report.

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See the view from the strategic Golan Heights – CNN Video

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See the view from the strategic Golan Heights – CNN Video

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Syria and Israel exchange artillery fire over Golan Heights

ISRAEL hit some 50 military targets in Syria after Iranian rockets fired towards its forces sparked a sharp escalation between the long-term enemies.

The incident came after weeks of rising tensions and followed US President Donald Trumps decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal on Tuesday, a move Israel had long advocated.

It was one of the largest Israeli military operations in recent years and its biggest such raid against Iranian targets.

Israeli news service Haaretz reports a military source as saying this attack was the largest carried out by Israel since it signed on a disengagement agreement with Syria in May 1974.

THINGS GET OUT OF CONTROL

In an interview with Greek media shortly before the attacks, Syrian President Assad said he was concerned recent strikes by Israel, Britain, France and the United States could lead to a serious escalation.

I hope we dont see any direct conflict between the great powers, for this is where things get out of control, he said.

(But) there is no worry of a 3rd World War starting in Syria, thanks to the wisdom of the Russian leadership.

Russian state media is reporting that Israel informed Moscow of its intentions ahead of the air and missile strikes today. Israel carried out the raids this morning in what it says was a response to about 20 rockets fired at its forces at around midnight in the occupied Golan Heights from Syria.

It blamed the rocket fire on Irans Al-Quds force, adding that Israels antimissile system intercepted four of them while the rest did not land in its territory.

No Israelis were wounded.

We know that comes from the al-Quds force, a defence spokesman said, referring to the special forces unit affiliated with Irans Revolutionary Guard.

The Israeli army takes very seriously this Iranian attack against Israel.

Later in the early morning hours, explosions could be heard in Damascus while live images were broadcast on television showing projectiles above the Syrian capital and several missiles destroyed by Syrian anti-aircraft systems.

Syrian state media reported that Israeli missile strikes hit military bases, as well as an arms depot and military radar, without specifying the location.

Israels military has since stated it attacked intelligence sites, logistic headquarters, military compounds, and weapons storage sites for Iranian forces inside the al-Kuswa and International Damascus Airports, along with an Iranian military base north of Damascus.

NOT LOOKING TO ESCALATE

The official SANA news agency stated that dozens of missiles were shot down by anti-aircraft systems in Syrian airspace, saying a number of missiles had reached their targets.

Israels military later confirmed it had carried out the raids, saying dozens of Iranian military targets had been struck and all its aircraft had returned safely.

Lt Colonel Jonathan Conricus said intelligence, logistics, storage and vehicles as well as the origin of the rockets were targeted.

Syrian air defences that fired on Israeli forces were also targeted, he said. There had been no comment from Iranian officials.

We are not looking to escalate the situation, Conricus said, but warned Israel would respond forcefully if attacked.

Israel has been warning for weeks that it will not accept Iran entrenching itself militarily in neighbouring Syria, where Tehran is supporting President Bashar al-Assads regime in the civil war.

Israel has been blamed for a series of recent strikes inside Syria that have killed Iranians, though it did not acknowledged those raids.

Israel had been preparing itself for weeks for possible Iranian retaliation. Trumps withdrawal from the nuclear deal has added to tensions and led to a new level of uncertainty over how Iran will respond.

ISRAEL STRIKES IRANIAN DEPOT

The artillery exchange follows a suspected Israeli air strike inside Syria near Damascus yesterday.

Eight Iranians were among 15 foreign pro-regime fighters killed when a weapons depot of Irans elite Revolutionary Guards was hit.

The raid struck the area of Kisweh south of Damascus late on Tuesday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said.

Syrias official news agency SANA said the army had intercepted two Israeli missiles fired towards Kisweh, with state television broadcasting images of fires in the nearby area.

The death toll of the missile strike has risen to 15 pro-regime fighters eight from Irans Revolutionary Guards and others not of Syrian nationality, Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said.

The monitor previously reported nine pro-regime combatants had died in the raid, without specifying their nationality.

SANA quoted a medical source saying that two civilians had died on a highway linking Damascus with the southern city of Deraa as a result of an explosion linked to the Israeli aggression.

It is not the first time that Kisweh has been targeted. In December, Israel reportedly bombed military positions in the area south of Damascus, including a weapons depot.

Since the start of Syrias civil war in 2011, Israel has repeatedly targeted positions of the Syrian army and the Lebanese Hezbollah movement backing it inside the country.

On April 29, missile strikes probably Israeli fired on regime military positions killed at least 26 mostly Iranian fighters, according to the Observatory.

On April 9, missiles targeted the T-4 air base in the central province of Homs, killing up to 14 fighters, including seven Iranians, two days after an alleged chemical attack carried out by the Syrian regime.

Damascus accused Israel of carrying out the strike.

Israel and Syria are still officially in a state of war, though the armistice line on the sector of the Golan Heights which the Jewish state seized from its Arab neighbour in 1967 was largely quiet for decades until the Syrian civil war broke out in 2011.

In an interview late last month, Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman vowed to strike at any attempt by Iran to establish a military foothold in Syria.

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Syria and Israel exchange artillery fire over Golan Heights

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Golan Heights: Scene of new turmoil between Syria, Israel …

The Israeli military says it has attacked dozens of Iranian targets in neighboring Syria in response to an Iranian rocket barrage on Israeli positions in the long-contested Golan Heights.

Here are some facts about the area and why it matters today:

The Golan Heights is a plateau at the southwestern corner of Syria overlooking the Sea of Galilee and northern Israel, roughly 40 miles (65 kilometers) long and 15 miles (25 kilometers) wide. Militarily, it is strategic high ground, with broad views of both Israel and Syria below.

Syria shelled northern Israel from the Golan Heights between 1948 and 1967. Israel captured the territory in the 1967 Mideast War and annexed it in 1981, but the world still considers it occupied.

In 1974, Israel and Syria agreed to a cease-fire and a disengagement and U.N. peacekeepers deployed to the area. After the Syrian civil war, the peacekeepers left the area for several months after dozens of them were taken hostages by Syrian rebels. In 2016, the peacekeeping force returned with 1,100 troops currently deployed in the area.

Israel and Syria held peace talks starting in 1991 and even appeared close to a deal in 2000. Disagreement over the fate of the Golan Heights foiled the talks.

Syria fought in three wars against Israel in 1948, 1967 and 1973, and battled Israel when it invaded Lebanon in 1982. Israel also acknowledged this year it carried out a 2007 airstrike in eastern Syria targeting an unfinished nuclear reactor built by North Korea. Syria and Israel have never made peace.

During Syria’s civil war, Israel has carried out more than 100 airstrikes in Syria, targeting suspected weapons shipments by Iran to the Lebanese Hezbollah group. As the war now looks to be winding down, Israel has stepped up its tempo of strikes against Iran, viewing any permanent Iranian military presence in Syria as a threat.

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Golan Heights: Scene of new turmoil between Syria, Israel …

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Iran Fires Rockets Into Golan Heights From Syria, Israelis …

In remarks broadcast earlier this week, Mr. Netanyahu said the Revolutionary Guards had moved advanced weapons to Syria, including ground-to-ground missiles and Iranian antiaircraft batteries that would threaten air force jets.

Analysts say that any new conflict between Israel and Iran could mobilize Irans network of proxies from Syria and Lebanon, where the Iranian-backed Hezbollah militant movement is based, for a multiple-front attack on northern Israel. Iran is building what Israeli and American officials refer to as a corridor from Iran through Iraq and Syria to Lebanon.

Iran refers to the alignment as the axis of resistance, and its defenders say it needs the ability to strike Israel to deter what Iran sees as an Israeli threat. Mr. Netanyahu has previously advocated military strikes on Iran to destroy its nuclear program.

Israel has long accused Iran of carrying out attacks on Israeli targets outside of Israel. The most notorious was the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, which killed at least 85 people and wounded hundreds, regarded as the worst terrorist attack in Argentina.

The Israelis also have accused Irans leaders of complicity in attacks targeting Israeli diplomats in India and Georgia in 2012. And they have accused Iran of involvement, through the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, of attacking a bus full of Israeli vacationers in Bulgaria in 2013.

Iran, which considers Israel an illegitimate country, has called Israels accusations specious and has blamed Israeli operatives for attacks inside Iran, notably the assassinations of five nuclear scientists, mostly by car bombs.

In interviews on Israeli television on Wednesday night, Israels defense minister, Avigdor Lieberman, tried to dispel fears of all-out war.

The Israeli security establishment, he said, was operating responsibly and no one is looking for an escalation or war. But, he said, whatever needs to be done in order to defend the citizens of Israel, we will do.

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Iran Fires Rockets Into Golan Heights From Syria, Israelis …

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Israel and Iran trade fire in most direct confrontation …

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CNN’s Barbara Starr reports. “,”descriptionText”:”Israeli Defense Force officials say Iranian al-Quds forces on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights have fired more than 20 rockets at Israel. CNN’s Barbara Starr reports. “},{“title”:”How will US pulling out of deal impact Iranians?”,”duration”:”01:39″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”http://money.cnn.com/ “,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/cnnmoney/2018/05/09/us-iran-deal-impact-people-economy-sje-lon-orig.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”cnnmoney/2018/05/09/us-iran-deal-impact-people-economy-sje-lon-orig.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180509163630-iran-citizens-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/cnnmoney/2018/05/09/us-iran-deal-impact-people-economy-sje-lon-orig.cnn/video/playlists/iran-in-the-news/”,”description”:”CNN’s Fred Pleitgen explains how the average Iranian citizen could face skyrocketing prices as the US withdraws from the Iran deal.”,”descriptionText”:”CNN’s Fred Pleitgen explains how the average Iranian citizen could face skyrocketing prices as the US withdraws from the Iran deal.”},{“title”:”Watch: US flag set alight in Iran’s parliament”,”duration”:”00:38″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:””,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/world/2018/05/09/iran-us-flag-on-fire-parliament-sje-lon-orig.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”world/2018/05/09/iran-us-flag-on-fire-parliament-sje-lon-orig.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180509102229-iran-us-flag-on-fire-in-parliament-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/world/2018/05/09/iran-us-flag-on-fire-parliament-sje-lon-orig.cnn/video/playlists/iran-in-the-news/”,”description”:”Iranian MP’s set fire to a US flag in parliament and chanted “death to America” after US President Donald Trump pulled out of the nuclear pact.”,”descriptionText”:”Iranian MP’s set fire to a US flag in parliament and chanted “death to America” after US President Donald Trump pulled out of the nuclear pact.”},{“title”:”Risking it all by rejecting the hijab”,”duration”:”02:15″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:””,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/world/2018/03/02/as-equals-iran-hijab-protests-lon-orig-ejk.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”world/2018/03/02/as-equals-iran-hijab-protests-lon-orig-ejk.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180302142930-asequals-iran-hijab1-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/world/2018/03/02/as-equals-iran-hijab-protests-lon-orig-ejk.cnn/video/playlists/iran-in-the-news/”,”description”:”After women in Iran were arrested for removing their headscarves in protest a motion designer in Tehran created this animation to show her support for their cause.”,”descriptionText”:”After women in Iran were arrested for removing their headscarves in protest a motion designer in Tehran created this animation to show her support for their cause.”},{“title”:”Outrage after ‘morality police’ confront woman”,”duration”:”01:32″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”https://www.cnn.com/”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/world/2018/04/20/hijab-iran-morality-police-orig-lon-bks.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”world/2018/04/20/hijab-iran-morality-police-orig-lon-bks.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180420120508-01-iran-hijab-attack-grab-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/world/2018/04/20/hijab-iran-morality-police-orig-lon-bks.cnn/video/playlists/iran-in-the-news/”,”description”:”An amateur video shows a member of the “morality police” physically confronting a woman in Iran. The video went viral, triggering a response from the Iranian government.”,”descriptionText”:”An amateur video shows a member of the “morality police” physically confronting a woman in Iran. The video went viral, triggering a response from the Iranian government.”},{“title”:”Dashed hopes: Reasons Iran protests kicked off”,”duration”:”01:32″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:””,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/world/2018/01/03/iran-protests-why-they-all-began-lon-orig-mkd.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”world/2018/01/03/iran-protests-why-they-all-began-lon-orig-mkd.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180102093610-03-iran-protest-1230-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/world/2018/01/03/iran-protests-why-they-all-began-lon-orig-mkd.cnn/video/playlists/iran-in-the-news/”,”description”:”Protests have gripped multiple cities in Iran for the past week, with pro-government protests on the seventh day. CNN’s Nick Paton Walsh explains how they started in the first place. “,”descriptionText”:”Protests have gripped multiple cities in Iran for the past week, with pro-government protests on the seventh day. CNN’s Nick Paton Walsh explains how they started in the first place. “},{“title”:”DOJ: Iranians hacked US professors”,”duration”:”01:39″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”http://www.cnn.com/”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2018/03/23/rod-rosenstein-iranian-hackers-indicted-sot.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”politics/2018/03/23/rod-rosenstein-iranian-hackers-indicted-sot.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180323095301-rod-rosenstein-0323-screengrab-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/politics/2018/03/23/rod-rosenstein-iranian-hackers-indicted-sot.cnn/video/playlists/iran-in-the-news/”,”description”:”The Trump administration alleged Friday that Iranian government-linked hackers broke into the accounts of roughly 8,000 professors at hundreds of US and foreign universities, as well as private companies and government entities, to steal massive amounts of data and intellectual property.”,”descriptionText”:”The Trump administration alleged Friday that Iranian government-linked hackers broke into the accounts of roughly 8,000 professors at hundreds of US and foreign universities, as well as private companies and government entities, to steal massive amounts of data and intellectual property.”},{“title”:”Protests turn violent in Iran”,”duration”:”01:41″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:””,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/world/2018/01/02/iran-anti-government-protests-sje-lon-orig.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”world/2018/01/02/iran-anti-government-protests-sje-lon-orig.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180101115904-cnnmoney-iran-protests-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/world/2018/01/02/iran-anti-government-protests-sje-lon-orig.cnn/video/playlists/iran-in-the-news/”,”description”:”Anti-government protests in Iran have left multiple people dead and led to the arrest of hundreds of protesters, according to state media. “,”descriptionText”:”Anti-government protests in Iran have left multiple people dead and led to the arrest of hundreds of protesters, according to state media. “},{“title”:”Iranian officials: ‘Provocateurs’ to be targeted”,”duration”:”02:08″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”http://www.cnn.com”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/world/2018/01/02/iran-anti-government-protests-provocateurs-targeted-npw.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”world/2018/01/02/iran-anti-government-protests-provocateurs-targeted-npw.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180101084001-cnnee-iran-protestas-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/world/2018/01/02/iran-anti-government-protests-provocateurs-targeted-npw.cnn/video/playlists/iran-in-the-news/”,”description”:”Iran’s intelligence ministry says so-called “provocateurs” will be targeted if anti-government protesters return to the streets. CNN’s Nick Paton Walsh reports.”,”descriptionText”:”Iran’s intelligence ministry says so-called “provocateurs” will be targeted if anti-government protesters return to the streets. CNN’s Nick Paton Walsh reports.”},{“title”:”Protesters angry over economy, corruption”,”duration”:”01:47″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”http://www.cnn.com/”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/world/2018/01/01/iran-tehran-protests-roberston-lklv.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”world/2018/01/01/iran-tehran-protests-roberston-lklv.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/171230172246-04-iranian-student-protests-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/world/2018/01/01/iran-tehran-protests-roberston-lklv.cnn/video/playlists/iran-in-the-news/”,”description”:”Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani is warning protesters that violence won’t be tolerated after massive anti-government protests turned deadly over the weekend. CNN’s Nic Robertson reports. “,”descriptionText”:”Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani is warning protesters that violence won’t be tolerated after massive anti-government protests turned deadly over the weekend. CNN’s Nic Robertson reports. “},{“title”:”Why are citizens protesting in Iran?”,”duration”:”01:45″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”http://www.cnn.com”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/world/2017/12/30/iran-protests-rouhani-ayatollah-khamenei-damon-newday.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”world/2017/12/30/iran-protests-rouhani-ayatollah-khamenei-damon-newday.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/171230123643-iran-protests-mashhad-youtube-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/world/2017/12/30/iran-protests-rouhani-ayatollah-khamenei-damon-newday.cnn/video/playlists/iran-in-the-news/”,”description”:”Anti-government protests have spread into several cities in Iran and President Trump is vocally supporting the protesters.”,”descriptionText”:”Anti-government protests have spread into several cities in Iran and President Trump is vocally supporting the protesters.”},{“title”:”Trump applauds Iran’s anti-government protest”,”duration”:”00:59″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”http://www.cnn.com”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/world/2017/12/30/iran-protests-trump-tweets-sot.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”world/2017/12/30/iran-protests-trump-tweets-sot.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/171230044528-02-iran-protests-youtube-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/world/2017/12/30/iran-protests-trump-tweets-sot.cnn/video/playlists/iran-in-the-news/”,”description”:”President Trump tweeted about the recent protest in Iran and said the “Iranian govt should respect their people’s rights”. CNN’s George Howell reports.”,”descriptionText”:”President Trump tweeted about the recent protest in Iran and said the “Iranian govt should respect their people’s rights”. CNN’s George Howell reports.”},{“title”:”Why are Iran and Saudi Arabia so at odds?”,”duration”:”02:15″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:””,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/world/2017/12/22/iran-saudi-relationship-anderson-expl-mkd-lon-orig.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”world/2017/12/22/iran-saudi-relationship-anderson-expl-mkd-lon-orig.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/171228161652-iran-and-saudia-arabia-flag-split-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/world/2017/12/22/iran-saudi-relationship-anderson-expl-mkd-lon-orig.cnn/video/playlists/iran-in-the-news/”,”description”:”Iran and Saudi Arabia: Two regional superpowers going head-to-head across the Middle East. CNN’s Becky Anderson explains the tense relationship between the two countries.”,”descriptionText”:”Iran and Saudi Arabia: Two regional superpowers going head-to-head across the Middle East. CNN’s Becky Anderson explains the tense relationship between the two countries.”},{“title”:”Haley: This is concrete evidence against Iran “,”duration”:”02:00″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”http://www.cnn.com/”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2017/12/14/nikki-haley-us-evidence-against-iran-weapons-sot.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”politics/2017/12/14/nikki-haley-us-evidence-against-iran-weapons-sot.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/171214133446-nikki-haley-us-evidence-against-iran-weapons-sot-00013621-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/politics/2017/12/14/nikki-haley-us-evidence-against-iran-weapons-sot.cnn/video/playlists/iran-in-the-news/”,”description”:”US Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley presented what she called “concrete evidence” of Iran’s weapons proliferation and called on the international community to join “a united front in resisting this global threat.””,”descriptionText”:”US Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley presented what she called “concrete evidence” of Iran’s weapons proliferation and called on the international community to join “a united front in resisting this global threat.””},{“title”:”Moment Iran-Iraq earthquake struck”,”duration”:”01:08″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:””,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/world/2017/11/13/iraq-iran-border-deadly-earthquake-sdg-lon-orig.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”world/2017/11/13/iraq-iran-border-deadly-earthquake-sdg-lon-orig.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/171113092250-03-iraq-iran-earthquake-1113-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/world/2017/11/13/iraq-iran-border-deadly-earthquake-sdg-lon-orig.cnn/video/playlists/iran-in-the-news/”,”description”:”Hundreds of people are dead and thousands are injured after a powerful 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck the border region between Iran and Iraq.”,”descriptionText”:”Hundreds of people are dead and thousands are injured after a powerful 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck the border region between Iran and Iraq.”}],’js-video_headline-featured-65vyfz’,”,”js-video_source-featured-65vyfz”,true,true,’iran-in-the-news’);if (typeof configObj.context !== ‘string’ || configObj.context.length

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Israel and Iran trade fire in most direct confrontation …

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May 9, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Golan Heights  Comments Closed

Steve Kramer – Golan Heights Adventure

Share Share Share Email The Golan Heights is a great place for Israelis and tourists to visit, but its truly superb in the summer, when the usual hot days are followed by cool evenings. The Israeli-controlled Golan encompasses an area of only 690 sq miles, smaller than Butte, Montana. The population is about 40,000, equally divided between non-Muslim Druse who previously lived under Syrian rule (most of whom have not chosen to become Israeli citizens) and Israelis. The Golans political and security aspects dwarf its small size and population. The Golan Heights tower over the Hula Valley in Israels Upper Galilee. Its strategic location allowed Syrian troops to fire at will upon Israeli farmers in the valley below. That is, until the Six Day War, when the IDF overwhelmed the invading Syrians and conquered the verdant plateau, which is known for its cattle ranches and wineries. (The Golan Heights was under Syrian sovereignty only from1946, when the British colonizers gave it independence until 1967, when Israel repulsed the invaders and took control of the strategic highlands.) Following a recent trip to Mitzpe Ramon in the Negev Desert, where we watched the fabulous lunar eclipse, we decided to see the Perseid meteor shower up north on the Golan Heights during the week when it was at its height. Michal and I left early in the day to meet our friends at our first stop on the Golan. But getting there is half the fun. While the Golan is only about 2.5 hours away, the scenery is terrific, especially when you are traveling through the Galilee region. There are lovely mountains and valleys in Israel, with winding roads and superb vistas. Though Israel has only two real lakes (Sea of Galilee and Dead Sea), there are many reservoirs which can pass for lakes from a distance. We and our friends made a brief stop for a breakfast picnic at Mitzpe Ofir, a scenic lookout funded by the JNF and the family of a young, deceased teen who loved to hike in that area. This is a wonderful lookout and rest area in the southern Golan Heights that overlooks the eastern shore of the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) from a height of some 1,500 ft.One can see the entire Kinneret, and beyond, the Lower Galilee mountains and the Upper Galilee. We shared the site with a busload of young people from North American and Europe, all veterans of a previous Birthright experience. They were doing a repeat visit, with the emphasis on history and more engagement than they experienced during their super jam-packed Birthright tour. We again saw the group at our next stop, the Tel Saki War Memorial, at the site of one of the first, important and devastating battles of the 1973 Israeli Yom Kippur War. The site was a tell (a hill resulting from a number of communities built one on top of each other over thousands of year) easily seen from the distance. It had a patch of green on its side, which turned out to be a large group of soldiers hearing the courageous story of a small band of Israelis against a huge Syrian force. It is difficult to explain the battle of Tel Saki in military terms. Fewer than 60 paratroopers and 45 tanks stood against the immense Syrian force consisting of 11,000 infantry soldiers, 900 tanks and countless armored vehicles and delayed them for three whole days. It is a story of individual determination, of not giving up on oneself, on ones friends and on ones country. A country they all loved so much and persevered. (The whole story is told at http://www.gal-ed.co.il/ ) In brief, A small core of soldiers was in the trenches at the top of Tel Saki when the battle began. In a short time, they began to run low on ammunition. Two unsuccessful attempts to rescue the soldiers or reinforce the unit were attempted, and more lives were lost. One of the soldiers surrendered to the Syrians, claiming that he was the last soldier alive; he was taken to prison in Damascus. The third rescue attempt was finally successful, and the Syrians begin to retreat. 35 soldiers lost their lives in this battle, three were taken as prisoners of war, and almost everyone else was injured. This memorial honors them. (http://www.attractions-in-israel.com/golan-heights/) We had a chance to wander through the extensive bunkers at the site, wondering what it must have been like for the brave young men who faced an impossible task, but stood their ground despite losing so many comrades. On our way to the Golan Volcanic Park overlook, we stopped at one of the several officers pools which dot the Golan. These relatively small concrete pools were built for the Syrian officers to use.The pool was at the top of a steep hill with many ruts and rocks. We were able to navigate it easily in our small SUV, but when we arrived at the top, we were surprised to see many sedans with tents and mattresses tied to the roofs. Sitting around and in the pool were a number of ultra-Orthodox families on family outings, who planned to camp out at the site. We struck up a conversation with one family, whose patriarch was from America. The grandfather told me that he had arrived in Israel alone, but now had 48 children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren! We were invited to visit them sometime in their community in the Samarian hills. While Michal and Rimona both enjoyed a swim of sorts in the cool water, Ephraim and I were content to sit on the edge of the pool, dangling our feet in it a cool interlude on a hot day. Next we traveled to Kibbutz El Ram, where we saw a film about another famous battle from the Yom Kippur War (1973), a conflict which took Israel by surprise on the morning of Judaisms most solemn day. The invasion by Syria in the North and Egypt in the South threatened the destruction of Israel until its reversal several days later at engagements such as at the Valley of Tears. This heroic Israeli victory prevented the Syrians from overrunning the Golan Heights and pouring into Israel. The short documentary describes the heroic story of the Battle of the Valley of Tears, highlighting the bravery of Battalion commander Avigdor Kahalani, who had already won Israels highest honor for courage in the Six Day War. The film is an awe-inspiring story of the tactics and bravery of the battles, a lesson of history and heritage that stresses the soul of the IDF, whose enduring spirit is led by personal example. In brief: At the Valley of Tears around 200 Israeli tanks held off about 1400 Syrian tanks over the course of a few days, breaking the momentum of the Syrian attack and giving Israel time to organize. In many ways the exploits of the 77 Battalion of the 7th Brigade saved much of Israel from the Syrian invasion. Their story has fittingly passed into Israeli legend. The tales of battalion commander Kahalani jumping from tank to tank [3 tanks confronting hundreds of Syrian tanks], during the Israeli counterattack, are known to every child. He later became an Israeli politician [after retiring from the IDF as a Brigadier-General]. (https://www.timesofisrael.com/a-valley-of-tears) That night we had a delicious dinner at one of the Golan restaurants specializing in cattle raised on one of the nearby ranches. We stayed at a zimmer (a small tourist accommodation usually attached to a home) and in the morning descended from the Golan. But we soon started ascending the Galilee Mountains to the Open Museum at the Tefen Industrial Park, a location which we had never visited. Tefen is one of four industrial parks established by the industrialist Stef Wertheimer. Its aim is to create a place that links industry with art and promotes creativity in all its forms. Wertheimer is a German-born Israeli billionaire industrialist, investor, philanthropist and former politician. He was only 11 when his family fled the Nazis and settled in Tel Aviv (1937). After serving in the Haganah during Israels War of Independence (1948-9), he began a job at Rafael, today one of Israels premier military industrial companies, but was soon let go because of his lack of formal education! Wertheimer moved his family to Israels north and settled in Nahariya, on the Mediterranean Sea close to the Lebanese border, a community initially populated by many German immigrants. In 1952, Wertheimer started his own business in the backyard of his home, a small metal shop and tool making company he named ISCAR. His company grew to become one of the worlds premier tool-makers. In the last decade, the Wertheimer family sold the business for more than $6 billion to Warren Buffet, one of the worlds preeminent financial gurus. The Tefen Industrial Park contains an open museum that exhibits temporary exhibitions of Israeli artists, a permanent exhibit depicting the history of the German Jewish Aliyah, a large sculpture garden containing sculptures of numerous styles, an exhibit dedicated to the development of Israeli industry, and a collection of automobiles, European and American. We particularly enjoyed the German-speaking Jews Heritage Museum, where we saw a very interesting short film about Jewish life in Germany and in the British Mandate period, when Palestine was basically a British colony. Afterwards, we visited one of the dozen or so enterprises in the park, the Nurit and Uri Pottery Workshop and Studio. Most of their hand-made products are bought by some of Israels many chef restaurants. I almost forgot to mention the meteor shower, which we watched the previous evening from 11 oclock to 1 am. It was mostly a disappointment, with a small number of falling stars, not a shower by any means. But our short holiday was not dampened at all by that minor disappointment. A holiday in the Golan Heights is always an adventure! Like Loading… Related

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August 21, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Golan Heights  Comments Closed

Siren heard in Golan Heights – Israel National News

A siren was heard overnight Tuesday, shortly after 12:30 a.m., in the Golan Regional Council in northern Israel. The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit clarified that the siren was a false alarm. On Tuesday afternoon, Syrian refugees moved in towards the Israeli frontier, requesting permission to cross the border into Israel. Dozens of Syrians were spotted approaching the Israeli border on the Golan Heights, converging on the border fence from the Kuneitra area, on the Syrian side of the Golan. The Syrians waved white makeshift flags and requested they be permitted to enter Israel. Israeli security forces stationed along the border ordered them to halt, stopping the group of Syrians roughly 200 yards from the border checkpoint. IDF soldiers on the border then ordered the Syrians to move away from the Israeli border. Last month, tens of thousands of Syrian refugees were spotted heading towards the Golan Heights, fleeing violence in the southern Syrian Daraa region amid a new campaign by Assads forces to crush rebel forces in the area. Israeli officials reiterated that Israel would not permit Syrians to enter the country, though Israel would continue its policy of providing humanitarian aid to refugees and medical treatment to injured Syrian civilians. In late June, Israel transferred large quantities of humanitarian aid to Syrian refugees living in camps along the border, including 13 tons of food stuffs, 15 tons of baby, hundreds of tents, and 30 tons of clothing and footwear.

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July 19, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Golan Heights  Comments Closed

Congress Wants Recognition of Israeli Sovereignty Over Golan …

Golan Heights / Getty Images BY: Adam KredoJuly 16, 2018 2:40 pm Congress is renewing efforts to press the Trump administration into recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the contested Golan Heights region on Israel’s northern border with Syria, bucking efforts by GOP leadership to kill the effort, according to conversations with lawmakers. The House’s National Security Subcommittee, led by chairman Rep. Ron DeSantis (R., Fla.) will hold a hearing Tuesday to examine how recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the territory could bolster U.S. national security efforts to stem the flow of terrorists in the Jewish state and elsewhere in the region by giving the Jewish state unilateral control over the Syrian territory, where Iranian-backed fighters and other jihadists have been spotted since the start of a bloody civil war. The push to have the Trump administration formally recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the territory comes following a Monday afternoon press conference between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladamir Putin, where the two leaders discussed efforts to decrease tension in Syria. When DeSantis and other Republicans pushed a congressional resolution recognizing Israeli control over the Golan Heights in May, it was nixed by GOP leadership who were seeking to prevent such a vote on the heels of the Trump administration’s successful effort to relocate the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The resolution had won support from Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) and others. DeSantis expressed disappointment at the time in comments to the Free Beacon. “I don’t know why my Golan Heights amendment was not made in order and thus denied a vote,” DeSantis said. “It was a germane amendment that would have provided the House with a chance to add clarity to the broader U.S. policy vis-a-vis Syria. How could we even contemplate supporting anything other than the application of Israeli sovereignty to such a strategically significant area, especially given the plethora of malevolent forces that undermine security in the region?” DeSantis, who will chair Tuesday’s hearing, told the Washington Free Beacon he will not stand down despite opposition by some to formally recognizing Israeli control over the territory, which Israel annexed in 1981. “U.S. recognition of the Golan Heights is overdue and I hope this hearing demonstrates that the time is right for the Trump administration to do so,” DeSantis told the Free Beacon.”As we’ve seen with the successful relocation of our American embassy to Jerusalem, when the U.S. leads with purpose and conviction good things happen.” The United States has declined for decades to take a position on the status of this territory, but lawmakers such as DeSantis argue the time is right for this effort, particularly in light of the chaos in Syria and the threat it poses to Israeli and U.S. security assets in the region. Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have supported such efforts and also have requested the Trump administration move to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the territory. Public calls for the recognition increased after the Free Beacon first reported on the now-dead congressional resolution on the matter. The Tuesday hearing will focus on Iran’s destabilizing efforts in Syria and how it has impacted regional security, according to information viewed by the Free Beacon. Congressional officials and other supporters argue that U.S. recognition of Israeli control of the Golan Heights could thwart Russia and Iran’s growing influence in Syria and also send a powerful message that the United States sides with the Jewish state’s security interests as regional tensions grow. The United States, under numerous governments, has assured the Israeli government that it supports Israel’s annexation of the territory, but has declined to go as far as backing a full recognition of sovereignty. The area remains a key territory that could help Israel defend itself from attacks by Iranian forces and others operating in Syria, supporters argue. Iranian militants who are still operating freely in Syria as they defend embattled President Bashar al-Assad have used the Golan Heights and areas near it to target Israel. In February, for instance, Israel intercepted an armed Iranian drone that had entered its airspace via Syria. In May, Iranian forces in Syria fired at least 20 rockets at Israeli military personnel stationed in the Golan Heights, leading the Trump White House to issue public statements supporting Israel’s right to self-defense in the face of such attacks. Witnesses testifying at the Tuesday hearing include Dore Gold, a veteran Israeli official who most recently served as director general of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 2015 to 2016; Michael Doran, a former senior director of the White House’s the National Security Council during the George W. Bush administration; Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America; and Eugene Kontorovich, a Northwestern University professor of law who has studied Israel’s legal claims to the Golan Heights.

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July 16, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Golan Heights  Comments Closed

Syrian government targets rebels near Israel-occupied Golan …

Syrian government forces unleashed hundreds of missiles on a rebel-held area near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights on Sunday, activists said, the latest phase in an offensive to clear southern Syria of insurgents. The government’s push came after it had secured control of most of Daraa province in an offensive that began in June. On Sunday, the first batch of armed fighters and their families were preparing to leave from the city of Daraa, the provincial capital, in buses that would take them to the rebel-held Idlib province in the north. Similar deals in other parts of Syria resulted in the evacuation of thousands of opposition fighters and civilians evacuations that the United Nations and rights groups have decried as forced displacement. Syrian President Bashar Assad said Sunday the success in driving the opposition out of Daraa embodies the will of his army and allied forces to “liberate all of Syrian territories” of “terrorism.” In recent months and backed by Russian air force, the Syrian government has restored control of over 60 percent of previously rebel-held territory across the country. Assad spoke during a meeting on Sunday with visiting Iranian foreign ministry’s official Hossein Jaberi Ansari. Assad’s office said the two agreed that the “elimination of terrorism in most of the Syrian territory has laid the most appropriate ground to reach results at the political level” that could put an end to Syria’s war. Syria’s government refers to all armed opposition groups as “terrorists” and accuses the West, Turkey, Israel and regional countries of supporting them. The statement came a day before President Donald Trump and Russia’s Vladimir Putin are to meet in Finland. Syria is expected to feature highly on the agenda. Russia is a major Assad ally. In Daraa, the evacuation deal will hand over areas held by the rebels for years back to government control. Daraa, which lies on a highway linking Damascus with Jordan, was the cradle of the 2011 uprising against Syrian President Bashar Assad. Since early Sunday, government forces turned their missiles toward a stretch of land controlled by the armed opposition in northern Daraa and the countryside of adjacent Quneitra. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said government forces fired more than 800 missiles at an area between northern Daraa and the Quneitra countryside, about 4 kilometers, or 2.5 miles, from the frontier with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. The Observatory said government forces advanced on Massharah, a village in Quneitra, and rebels fought back in intense clashes that killed several pro-government fighters. The pro-Syrian government Central Military Media said a number of insurgents were killed in the clashes. The Observatory reported airstrikes in Massharah, the first in over a year to hit the Quneitra countryside. It also reported airstrikes in a nearby village in northern Daraa, where government forces have been trying to retake a key hill there after failing to reach a deal with the rebels. Capturing the hill would enable them to advance on militants in the area linked to the Islamic State group. Daraa activist Abou Mahmoud Hourani said an estimated 400 members of the armed opposition and their families will be evacuated out of Daraa. Syrian state TV al-Ikhbariya said the evacuation of nearly 1,000 people will likely be completed by Sunday. Associated Press writer Albert Aji in Damascus, Syria, contributed to this report.

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July 16, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Golan Heights  Comments Closed

See the view from the strategic Golan Heights – CNN Video

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May 30, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Golan Heights  Comments Closed

Syria and Israel exchange artillery fire over Golan Heights

ISRAEL hit some 50 military targets in Syria after Iranian rockets fired towards its forces sparked a sharp escalation between the long-term enemies. The incident came after weeks of rising tensions and followed US President Donald Trumps decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal on Tuesday, a move Israel had long advocated. It was one of the largest Israeli military operations in recent years and its biggest such raid against Iranian targets. Israeli news service Haaretz reports a military source as saying this attack was the largest carried out by Israel since it signed on a disengagement agreement with Syria in May 1974. THINGS GET OUT OF CONTROL In an interview with Greek media shortly before the attacks, Syrian President Assad said he was concerned recent strikes by Israel, Britain, France and the United States could lead to a serious escalation. I hope we dont see any direct conflict between the great powers, for this is where things get out of control, he said. (But) there is no worry of a 3rd World War starting in Syria, thanks to the wisdom of the Russian leadership. Russian state media is reporting that Israel informed Moscow of its intentions ahead of the air and missile strikes today. Israel carried out the raids this morning in what it says was a response to about 20 rockets fired at its forces at around midnight in the occupied Golan Heights from Syria. It blamed the rocket fire on Irans Al-Quds force, adding that Israels antimissile system intercepted four of them while the rest did not land in its territory. No Israelis were wounded. We know that comes from the al-Quds force, a defence spokesman said, referring to the special forces unit affiliated with Irans Revolutionary Guard. The Israeli army takes very seriously this Iranian attack against Israel. Later in the early morning hours, explosions could be heard in Damascus while live images were broadcast on television showing projectiles above the Syrian capital and several missiles destroyed by Syrian anti-aircraft systems. Syrian state media reported that Israeli missile strikes hit military bases, as well as an arms depot and military radar, without specifying the location. Israels military has since stated it attacked intelligence sites, logistic headquarters, military compounds, and weapons storage sites for Iranian forces inside the al-Kuswa and International Damascus Airports, along with an Iranian military base north of Damascus. NOT LOOKING TO ESCALATE The official SANA news agency stated that dozens of missiles were shot down by anti-aircraft systems in Syrian airspace, saying a number of missiles had reached their targets. Israels military later confirmed it had carried out the raids, saying dozens of Iranian military targets had been struck and all its aircraft had returned safely. Lt Colonel Jonathan Conricus said intelligence, logistics, storage and vehicles as well as the origin of the rockets were targeted. Syrian air defences that fired on Israeli forces were also targeted, he said. There had been no comment from Iranian officials. We are not looking to escalate the situation, Conricus said, but warned Israel would respond forcefully if attacked. Israel has been warning for weeks that it will not accept Iran entrenching itself militarily in neighbouring Syria, where Tehran is supporting President Bashar al-Assads regime in the civil war. Israel has been blamed for a series of recent strikes inside Syria that have killed Iranians, though it did not acknowledged those raids. Israel had been preparing itself for weeks for possible Iranian retaliation. Trumps withdrawal from the nuclear deal has added to tensions and led to a new level of uncertainty over how Iran will respond. ISRAEL STRIKES IRANIAN DEPOT The artillery exchange follows a suspected Israeli air strike inside Syria near Damascus yesterday. Eight Iranians were among 15 foreign pro-regime fighters killed when a weapons depot of Irans elite Revolutionary Guards was hit. The raid struck the area of Kisweh south of Damascus late on Tuesday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said. Syrias official news agency SANA said the army had intercepted two Israeli missiles fired towards Kisweh, with state television broadcasting images of fires in the nearby area. The death toll of the missile strike has risen to 15 pro-regime fighters eight from Irans Revolutionary Guards and others not of Syrian nationality, Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said. The monitor previously reported nine pro-regime combatants had died in the raid, without specifying their nationality. SANA quoted a medical source saying that two civilians had died on a highway linking Damascus with the southern city of Deraa as a result of an explosion linked to the Israeli aggression. It is not the first time that Kisweh has been targeted. In December, Israel reportedly bombed military positions in the area south of Damascus, including a weapons depot. Since the start of Syrias civil war in 2011, Israel has repeatedly targeted positions of the Syrian army and the Lebanese Hezbollah movement backing it inside the country. On April 29, missile strikes probably Israeli fired on regime military positions killed at least 26 mostly Iranian fighters, according to the Observatory. On April 9, missiles targeted the T-4 air base in the central province of Homs, killing up to 14 fighters, including seven Iranians, two days after an alleged chemical attack carried out by the Syrian regime. Damascus accused Israel of carrying out the strike. Israel and Syria are still officially in a state of war, though the armistice line on the sector of the Golan Heights which the Jewish state seized from its Arab neighbour in 1967 was largely quiet for decades until the Syrian civil war broke out in 2011. In an interview late last month, Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman vowed to strike at any attempt by Iran to establish a military foothold in Syria.

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Golan Heights: Scene of new turmoil between Syria, Israel …

The Israeli military says it has attacked dozens of Iranian targets in neighboring Syria in response to an Iranian rocket barrage on Israeli positions in the long-contested Golan Heights. Here are some facts about the area and why it matters today: The Golan Heights is a plateau at the southwestern corner of Syria overlooking the Sea of Galilee and northern Israel, roughly 40 miles (65 kilometers) long and 15 miles (25 kilometers) wide. Militarily, it is strategic high ground, with broad views of both Israel and Syria below. Syria shelled northern Israel from the Golan Heights between 1948 and 1967. Israel captured the territory in the 1967 Mideast War and annexed it in 1981, but the world still considers it occupied. In 1974, Israel and Syria agreed to a cease-fire and a disengagement and U.N. peacekeepers deployed to the area. After the Syrian civil war, the peacekeepers left the area for several months after dozens of them were taken hostages by Syrian rebels. In 2016, the peacekeeping force returned with 1,100 troops currently deployed in the area. Israel and Syria held peace talks starting in 1991 and even appeared close to a deal in 2000. Disagreement over the fate of the Golan Heights foiled the talks. Syria fought in three wars against Israel in 1948, 1967 and 1973, and battled Israel when it invaded Lebanon in 1982. Israel also acknowledged this year it carried out a 2007 airstrike in eastern Syria targeting an unfinished nuclear reactor built by North Korea. Syria and Israel have never made peace. During Syria’s civil war, Israel has carried out more than 100 airstrikes in Syria, targeting suspected weapons shipments by Iran to the Lebanese Hezbollah group. As the war now looks to be winding down, Israel has stepped up its tempo of strikes against Iran, viewing any permanent Iranian military presence in Syria as a threat.

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Iran Fires Rockets Into Golan Heights From Syria, Israelis …

In remarks broadcast earlier this week, Mr. Netanyahu said the Revolutionary Guards had moved advanced weapons to Syria, including ground-to-ground missiles and Iranian antiaircraft batteries that would threaten air force jets. Analysts say that any new conflict between Israel and Iran could mobilize Irans network of proxies from Syria and Lebanon, where the Iranian-backed Hezbollah militant movement is based, for a multiple-front attack on northern Israel. Iran is building what Israeli and American officials refer to as a corridor from Iran through Iraq and Syria to Lebanon. Iran refers to the alignment as the axis of resistance, and its defenders say it needs the ability to strike Israel to deter what Iran sees as an Israeli threat. Mr. Netanyahu has previously advocated military strikes on Iran to destroy its nuclear program. Israel has long accused Iran of carrying out attacks on Israeli targets outside of Israel. The most notorious was the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, which killed at least 85 people and wounded hundreds, regarded as the worst terrorist attack in Argentina. The Israelis also have accused Irans leaders of complicity in attacks targeting Israeli diplomats in India and Georgia in 2012. And they have accused Iran of involvement, through the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, of attacking a bus full of Israeli vacationers in Bulgaria in 2013. Iran, which considers Israel an illegitimate country, has called Israels accusations specious and has blamed Israeli operatives for attacks inside Iran, notably the assassinations of five nuclear scientists, mostly by car bombs. In interviews on Israeli television on Wednesday night, Israels defense minister, Avigdor Lieberman, tried to dispel fears of all-out war. The Israeli security establishment, he said, was operating responsibly and no one is looking for an escalation or war. But, he said, whatever needs to be done in order to defend the citizens of Israel, we will do.

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Israel and Iran trade fire in most direct confrontation …

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CNN’s Barbara Starr reports. “,”descriptionText”:”Israeli Defense Force officials say Iranian al-Quds forces on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights have fired more than 20 rockets at Israel. CNN’s Barbara Starr reports. “},{“title”:”How will US pulling out of deal impact Iranians?”,”duration”:”01:39″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”http://money.cnn.com/ “,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/cnnmoney/2018/05/09/us-iran-deal-impact-people-economy-sje-lon-orig.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”cnnmoney/2018/05/09/us-iran-deal-impact-people-economy-sje-lon-orig.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180509163630-iran-citizens-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/cnnmoney/2018/05/09/us-iran-deal-impact-people-economy-sje-lon-orig.cnn/video/playlists/iran-in-the-news/”,”description”:”CNN’s Fred Pleitgen explains how the average Iranian citizen could face skyrocketing prices as the US withdraws from the Iran deal.”,”descriptionText”:”CNN’s Fred Pleitgen explains how the average Iranian citizen could face skyrocketing prices as the US withdraws from the Iran deal.”},{“title”:”Watch: US flag set alight in Iran’s parliament”,”duration”:”00:38″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:””,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/world/2018/05/09/iran-us-flag-on-fire-parliament-sje-lon-orig.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”world/2018/05/09/iran-us-flag-on-fire-parliament-sje-lon-orig.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180509102229-iran-us-flag-on-fire-in-parliament-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/world/2018/05/09/iran-us-flag-on-fire-parliament-sje-lon-orig.cnn/video/playlists/iran-in-the-news/”,”description”:”Iranian MP’s set fire to a US flag in parliament and chanted “death to America” after US President Donald Trump pulled out of the nuclear pact.”,”descriptionText”:”Iranian MP’s set fire to a US flag in parliament and chanted “death to America” after US President Donald Trump pulled out of the nuclear pact.”},{“title”:”Risking it all by rejecting the hijab”,”duration”:”02:15″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:””,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/world/2018/03/02/as-equals-iran-hijab-protests-lon-orig-ejk.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”world/2018/03/02/as-equals-iran-hijab-protests-lon-orig-ejk.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180302142930-asequals-iran-hijab1-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/world/2018/03/02/as-equals-iran-hijab-protests-lon-orig-ejk.cnn/video/playlists/iran-in-the-news/”,”description”:”After women in Iran were arrested for removing their headscarves in protest a motion designer in Tehran created this animation to show her support for their cause.”,”descriptionText”:”After women in Iran were arrested for removing their headscarves in protest a motion designer in Tehran created this animation to show her support for their cause.”},{“title”:”Outrage after ‘morality police’ confront woman”,”duration”:”01:32″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”https://www.cnn.com/”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/world/2018/04/20/hijab-iran-morality-police-orig-lon-bks.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”world/2018/04/20/hijab-iran-morality-police-orig-lon-bks.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180420120508-01-iran-hijab-attack-grab-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/world/2018/04/20/hijab-iran-morality-police-orig-lon-bks.cnn/video/playlists/iran-in-the-news/”,”description”:”An amateur video shows a member of the “morality police” physically confronting a woman in Iran. 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CNN’s Nic Robertson reports. “,”descriptionText”:”Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani is warning protesters that violence won’t be tolerated after massive anti-government protests turned deadly over the weekend. CNN’s Nic Robertson reports. “},{“title”:”Why are citizens protesting in Iran?”,”duration”:”01:45″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”http://www.cnn.com”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/world/2017/12/30/iran-protests-rouhani-ayatollah-khamenei-damon-newday.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”world/2017/12/30/iran-protests-rouhani-ayatollah-khamenei-damon-newday.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/171230123643-iran-protests-mashhad-youtube-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/world/2017/12/30/iran-protests-rouhani-ayatollah-khamenei-damon-newday.cnn/video/playlists/iran-in-the-news/”,”description”:”Anti-government protests have spread into several cities in Iran and President Trump is vocally supporting the protesters.”,”descriptionText”:”Anti-government protests have spread into several cities in Iran and President Trump is vocally supporting the protesters.”},{“title”:”Trump applauds Iran’s anti-government protest”,”duration”:”00:59″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”http://www.cnn.com”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/world/2017/12/30/iran-protests-trump-tweets-sot.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”world/2017/12/30/iran-protests-trump-tweets-sot.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/171230044528-02-iran-protests-youtube-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/world/2017/12/30/iran-protests-trump-tweets-sot.cnn/video/playlists/iran-in-the-news/”,”description”:”President Trump tweeted about the recent protest in Iran and said the “Iranian govt should respect their people’s rights”. CNN’s George Howell reports.”,”descriptionText”:”President Trump tweeted about the recent protest in Iran and said the “Iranian govt should respect their people’s rights”. CNN’s George Howell reports.”},{“title”:”Why are Iran and Saudi Arabia so at odds?”,”duration”:”02:15″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:””,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/world/2017/12/22/iran-saudi-relationship-anderson-expl-mkd-lon-orig.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”world/2017/12/22/iran-saudi-relationship-anderson-expl-mkd-lon-orig.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/171228161652-iran-and-saudia-arabia-flag-split-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/world/2017/12/22/iran-saudi-relationship-anderson-expl-mkd-lon-orig.cnn/video/playlists/iran-in-the-news/”,”description”:”Iran and Saudi Arabia: Two regional superpowers going head-to-head across the Middle East. 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