Record Quake Before the Sixth Seal: Revelation 6:12

Buzzards Bay earthquake felt on island

By ohtadmin | on November 12, 2020

The quake’s epicenter is indicated by the star on this map from the U.S. Geological Survey.

About 15 seconds of shockwaves were felt from New York to New Hampshire when a 3.6-magnitude earthquake rattled the region at 9:10 a.m. Sunday.

The epicenter in Buzzards Bay was roughly 9 miles off the coast of New Bedford in Bliss Corner, Mass., according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Evidenced by dozens of posts on Facebook, temblors were felt on Conanicut Island about 25 miles east of the epicenter.

“Did we just have an earthquake?” Susanne Vieira asked.

“It sure felt and sounded like one,” responded Richard Hitt.

Devin Bridgman said it “shook” his house, and Kathy Fitzgerald said her “cat jumped off the couch” on Capstan Street.

“My house felt like a train was going by five feet away,” said Jamie Hainsworth, town administrator.

Despite the social excitement that followed the quake, Police Chief Ed Mello and Fire Chief Jim Bryer said there was no reported damage.

The Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority, which maintains the four saltwater spans that connect Conanicut and Aquidneck islands to the mainland, said engineers were dispatched to assess the Pell, Mount Hope, Sakonnet River and Verrazzano bridges. They found no issues after utilizing protocols developed specifically for post-earthquake assessments As part of those studies, particular attention was given to the alignment of the joints on the bridges.

Lori Caron Silveira, executive director of the quasi-public agency, said the safety and structural integrity of the four spans is the authority’s “top priority.”

In an interview with The New York Times, geophysicist Paul Caruso said there have been 26 earthquakes in Southern New England since 1963, but this was the largest since the 5.6-magnitude quake that shook central New Hampshire in 194

“Earthquakes in this area are commonly felt very far away because the rocks in this area are very contiguous, very old, so they transmit the energy very well from earthquakes,” he said.

Small temblors strike New England and Long Island roughly twice a year, while moderate quakes hit the region every few decades, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The Iranian Horn Has Grown 12-fold: Daniel 8

A satellite image shows Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility in Isfahan on Oct. 21.

Photo: maxar/Reuters

Iran’s Enriched Uranium Stockpile Is 12 Times Nuclear Accord’s Cap, U.N. Agency Says

Stockpile, along with advanced centrifuges and nuclear research, underscores challenge Biden would face in persuading Iran to return to 2015 deal

By Updated Nov. 11, 2020 5:12 pm ET

Iran is continuing to build up its stockpile of low-enriched uranium and now holds roughly 12 times the amount permitted under the 2015 nuclear agreement, the United Nations Atomic Agency said in a report.

The report’s findings underscore the challenge the incoming Biden administration faces in persuading Iran to fully return to the 2015 nuclear deal: Besides the stockpile of low-enriched uranium, which when further refined can be used to fuel a nuclear weapon, Iran is also taking steps to potentially accelerate its production of low-enriched uranium and is continuing its nuclear research.

President-elect Joe Biden has said he is prepared to take the U.S. back into the 2015 nuclear deal provided Iran returns into full compliance with that deal and agrees to future negotiations for longer and more stringent constraints on its nuclear activities.

Mr. Biden, who was vice president when the Iran deal was struck, has criticized the Trump administration’s decision to quit the nuclear deal in May 2018 and impose sweeping sanctions on Tehran. In September, he said that approach “recklessly tossed away a policy that was working to keep America safe and replaced it with one that has worsened the threat.”

Iran has said it is open to negotiation but has placed various conditions on returning to the accord’s terms, including compensation for the U.S.’s withdrawal and sanctions. On Wednesday, Iran’s deputy foreign minister, Abbas Araghchi, was quoted in Iranian state media saying “the way back is open” for the U.S. to the deal.

The Russian Horn Prepares for Nuclear War: Daniel 7

The Kremlin

Putin Reveals Existence Of New Nuclear Command Bunker

Russia already has two very large bunker complexes built underneath mountains, including one housing a key nuclear doomsday command system.

Joseph TrevithickNovember 11, 2020

The Kremlin has released an unusual transcript of a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and senior defense and other government officials, as well as representatives of Russia’s defense industries, regarding the modernization of the country’s nuclear command and control infrastructure. In it, among other things, Putin disclosed that work on a new hardened strategic command post, possibly a deeply buried underground bunker, is nearing completion.

Putin held the meeting in Sochi on Nov. 11, 2020. Russian Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu and Russian Army General Valery Gerasimov, Chief of the General Staff of the country’s military, were also in attendance, among others. The day before, the Russian President had held another meeting, which touched on the country’s general nuclear deterrence policy, where he indicated that he would only authorize a nuclear strike in response to one against Russia. This apparent declaration of a so-called “no first use” policy would seem to conflict with previous official statements in recent years.

“It is absolutely clear that the combat capability of the nuclear triad, and the capability of the army and navy on the whole to adequately and quickly respond to potential military challenges directly depend on the stability, effectiveness and reliability of these systems under any circumstances,” Putin said at the Nov. 11 gathering. “I would like to point out that a great deal has been done during the past few years to maintain all the command elements of our strategic nuclear forces at the highest possible level.”

The Kremlin

An official picture from the Nov. 11, 2020 meeting in Sochi, with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the head of the table.

The Russian President made note of improvements to multiple “stationary and mobile command posts” in use across the country. The “analytical and operational capabilities have been expanded, including in terms of information support, monitoring and situation analysis” he explained, adding that “all command posts can receive comprehensive updates in real-time and use them to assess the situation and make substantiated decisions.”

“All equipment, hardware and communication systems of the nuclear forces control systems are regularly upgraded yet remain as simple and reliable as a Kalashnikov rifle,” he continued, making a reference to Mikhail Kalashnikov’s iconic AK-47 assault rifle, famous for its reliability under the toughest conditions, and its subsequent variants and derivatives.

However, Putin outlined further steps that he felt should be taken to make sure that Russia’s nuclear command and control architecture remains intact, “even in the event of a nuclear strike,” thus ensuring the country could launch a retaliatory strike, if necessary. The ability to carry out this kind of a second strike under any circumstances, even after a surprise attack, is a core underpinning of deterrence theory.

The Russian president highlighted three specific areas of interest. One was the need for continued constant exercises and other events to make sure command and control systems are working as intended and that the people trusted with running them know how to properly operate them. Putin also called for efforts to modernize the country’s nuclear command and control architecture.

Most notably, he emphasized a need to ensure the survivability of the country’s nuclear command and control infrastructure. “We are aware that a lot depends on the survivability of these systems and their ability to continue operating in a combat environment,” he said. “They have told me that the creation of an absolutely secure facility for controlling strategic nuclear forces, among others. is nearing completion, and that it will have a very high safety margin.”

It’s not completely clear from these comments whether Putin was talking about an entirely new facility or the refurbishment, improvement, and/or expansion of an existing one. His remarks about the need to protect the overall command and control infrastructure against any threats, including a nuclear attack, strongly point to the site he’s talking about being deeply buried underground bunker of some kind. Russia already understood to have two sites that would match this general description, one at Kosvinsky Kamen in the Northern Ural Mountains and another under Mount Yamantau in the Southern Ural Mountains.

The construction of both sites reportedly began in the late 1970s. It’s worth noting that no facility on earth is totally survivable in the face of strikes by modern nuclear weapons, but deeply buried sites offer probably the best possible defense. As such, the Soviets and the United States both, among others, invested heavily in such bunker complexes during the Cold War, as you can read about more in this past War Zone feature.

Наумов Андрей via Wikimedia

Kosvinsky Kamen as seen from afar.

Kosvinsky Kamen, at least some portions of which are believed to be buried under around 1,000 feet of solid granite, is probably the better known of the two, due to its connection to a semi-automated nuclear command and control system first developed under the Soviet Union called Perimeter. This system was long described as a “dead hand” doomsday machine akin to the fictional one in Stanley Kubrick’s famous Cold War black comedy film Dr. Strangelove that could carry out an entirely automatic retaliatory launch of Russian nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) after an attack.

More recent reporting has indicated that actual humans, who could be pre-authorized in a crisis to launch nuclear strikes if certain conditions were met, were still very much involved in the operation of Perimeter and operated its central components from within the Kosvinsky Kamen complex. That being said, reports still indicate that this main Perimeter bunker was like something you’d find in a villain’s lair in a James Bond movie.

Its main control system was, at least “briefly” situated in “a deep hardened underground bunker in the shape of a sphere, very deep and very hardened, probably the most secure place of all time in the Cold War,” a David Hoffman, a longtime journalist and author of the 2009 book Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and Its Dangerous Legacy, explained in a podcast in 2015. Duty officers at their posts inside this structure would wait out their shifts watching for three lights to come on.

One would come on when they had received their “predelegation” of authority. The next would confirm a complete “decapitation” of senior Soviet leadership. The last one would become illuminated after confirmation of an incoming nuclear strike. If all three became lit, they would begin initiating the ICBM launches via a secure communications network that included ballistic missile-like rockets carrying transmitters to broadcast launch codes remotely to personnel in silo complexes down below. An actual fully-automated doomsday system was reportedly also considered, but ultimately rejected.

The Soviets reportedly switched on Perimeter operationally for the first time in 1984. At least some portion of the system was reportedly still in operation in post-Soviet Russia as of 2011.

It’s also worth noting that the construction of Kosvinsky Kamen, which is often compared in form and function to the U.S. Air Force’s famous Cheyenne Mountain complex, was not declared to be totally finished until 1996. This was notably followed the next year by the U.S. military’s introduction of the B61-11 nuclear bunker buster bomb. The timing of the introduction of that weapon was widely seen as a direct response to the completion of the Russian bunker complex. You can read more about that bomb and the rest of the B61 series in greater detail in this past War Zone piece.

“Kosvinsky is regarded by U.S. targeteers as the crown jewel of the Russian wartime nuclear command system, because it can communicate through the granite mountain to far-flung Russian strategic forces using very-low-frequency (VLF) radio signals that can burn through a nuclear war environment,” Bruce Blair, who had previously served as an ICBM launch control officer and had worked on communications issues regarding strategic nuclear forces as part of the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment, wrote in The Washington Post in 2003. “Kosvinsky restores Russia’s confidence in its ability to carry out a retaliatory strike.”

Blair, who died in July, had been first to publicly reveal details about Perimeter in 1993 and had gone on to work in the think tank and advocacy communities, including co-founding Global Zero, which advocates for the total elimination of nuclear weapons worldwide.

Less is known about the facility at Mount Yamantau, which reportedly lies, at least in part, under some 3,000 feet of rock, primarily made up of quartz, and has been said to be absolutely massive, encompassing an area “as big as the Washington area inside the Beltway,” or around 400 square miles. The complex is situated within Mezhgorye, which is what is known in Russia as a closed town, where only authorized individuals are allowed to live and work.

This facility is believed to be primarily a so-called continuity of government site for Russia’s top leadership to relocate to during any kind of major crisis, similar to the U.S. military’s Raven Rock Mountain Complex, or Site R, as well as the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Mount Weather Emergency Operations Center. Raven Rock is generally described as an underground Pentagon, while Mount Weather is meant to provide a hardened location for the U.S. government’s top civilian leadership to operate from.

Yamigos via Wikimedia

“It is more a shelter than a command post, because the facility’s communications links are relatively fragile,” Blair had written in 2003. “As it turned out, the quartz interferes with radio signals broadcast from inside the mountain.”

The Russians have been very tight-lipped about this complex, construction of which was still ongoing, at least on some level, as of 1996. “The project has been variously described by present and former Russian officials as a mining site, a repository for Russian treasures, a food storage area, a dump for nuclear materials and a bunker for Russia’s leaders in case of nuclear war,” according to a report that year from The New York Times.

Two years later, it was reported to be abandoned. This raises the question about whether work there subsequently resumed, if any technical issues regarding communications links to the outside world were resolved, and if this is the facility Putin may have been referring to in his remarks today.

Of course, Putin may well be describing another previously unknown site that is now close to being completed. Inc

No matter what, it’s not necessarily surprising that there has been a revival of interest in at least a new-ish, deeply buried nuclear command and control bunker in Russia. For years now, the United States has been pushing ahead with a broad nuclear modernization effort, which includes the new B61-12 nuclear gravity bomb. This is the first variant in that series to feature precision guidance and reportedly has its own bunker-busting capabilities, though it’s unclear how it compares to the more specialized B61-11. The U.S. government has said that it will retain the B61-11 until it had confidence that the B61-12 can supplant it in this role.

President Donald Trump’s Administration also announced in 2018 that it had decided to maintain an operational stockpile of B83-1 nuclear gravity bombs, which have very large yields, reported to be around 1.2 megatons, as an alternative nuclear means of striking at especially hardened facilities. These weapons had previously been slated for retirement.

The U.S. Air Force also has the GBU-57/B Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP), a 30,000-pound class conventional bunker-buster designed specifically strike deeply buried targets. You can read more about that weapon and the improvements that have been made to its design in this past War Zone piece.

At the same time, the United States is actively pursuing a variety of conventionally-armed hypersonic weapons. These could be employed in short or virtually no-notice strikes on time-sensitive and other high-value targets, such as less-well-protected sites where the senior civilian and military leaderships of various countries operate on a day-to-day basis.

It is worth noting that there are understood to be at least two underground bunker complexes in Moscow, one under the Kremlin and another nearby, similar to ones in Washington, D.C., plus to more nearby in the Russian capital’s suburbs, but these are nowhere near as deeply buried as the ones at Kosvinsky Kamen and Mount Yamantau. In 2016, there was also a report that Russia was building “dozens” of new bunkers under the Kremlin and elsewhere to support its nuclear command and control infrastructure.

Efforts to develop hypersonic, or kinds of longer-range conventionally-armed strike weapons, look set to further expand in the United States with the collapse of the Cold War-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, or INF, last year. Putin and other senior Russian government officials could have concerns that this change in the balance of power presents new threats to the country’s leadership and, by extension, their ability to initiate a nuclear strike.

Just last year, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev reiterated in an interview with the Moscow Times that there had been a very real belief that the intermediate-range missiles that the INF banned the United States from fielding had presented “the possibility of weapons capable of a ‘decapitation strike’…near our borders.” These kinds of fears have also been cited as possible reasons for the Russian government’s long-standing concerns that the United States could repurpose its Aegis Ashore missile defense sites in Europe to fire offensive strike weapons.

All of this could further underscore the need in the minds of Putin and others in the Russian government for new hardened facilities, as well as the other improvements to the country’s overall nuclear command and control architecture that the Russian President called for in his meeting today. No matter what, with such relatively limited information available to this day about Kosvinsky Kamen and Mount Yamantau, it will be interesting to see what we learn about this newly disclosed bunker, wherever it might be located.

Contact the author:

As Eta nears its end, another Wind of God’s Wrath: Jeremiah 23

Tropical Update: As Eta nears its end, Iota is on the verge

Thursday, November 12th 2020

Soon-to-be Iota Satellite

StormWatch7 has been watching Eta for almost two weeks (!) since it first formed in the Caribbean on November 1st. Now, the long-lived storm is nearing its end, leaving behind a wake of flooding and damage across Florida.

Thankfully, Eta impacted the U.S. as a Tropical Storm. Central America saw the strongest part of Eta’s life when it made landfall in Nicaragua as a Category 4 hurricane.

Eta’s Path So Far

Eta’s path has been fascinating to say the least, with several stationary reports and changes in direction.  As of 1 p.m. Thursday, the storm is centered just 40 miles NNE of Jacksonville. Max winds are down to 40 mph, and once they drop below 39 mph, Eta will be downgraded to a Tropical Depression.

Eta Observations Thursday Afternoon

The 1 p.m. track update from the National Hurricane center shows Eta hugging the southeast coastline and maintaining its Tropical Storm status through Friday, before finally heading out to sea and losing its steam.


Eta NHC Forecast Track

Tropical Storm Theta is currently in the eastern Atlantic, with no direct threat to land. When Theta formed, however, it set a record as the 29th named storm of the season. The previous record was 28 storms in 2005.

2020 Hurricane Names

Next up will be Iota, the 30th named storm of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season. It is very likely that Iota will form in the Caribbean in the next two days.  Unfortunately for Central America, the initial track looks to be similar to that of Eta, with landfall again possible in Nicaragua.

Tropical Activity

It is unlikely as of now that Iota would repeat Eta’s twists and turns to the U.S. But make sure to stay tuned to StormWatch7 as our record-setting Atlantic hurricane season continues!

Antichrist-linked Twitter account slams protesters’ slogan as unpatriotic

Sadr-linked Twitter account slams protesters’ slogan as unpatriotic | | AW

Iraqi Twitter user “@trend_althuraa” posted: “We want a homeland devoid of your political parties. We want a country free of your corruption. We want a homeland free of your militias. We want to restore the prestige of the state after you hijacked everything, including our dreams.”

While Iraqis’ reactions varied, most users criticised the political class and its management of state affairs.

Twitter user “@TISHRIN” wrote, “Do you know why the slogan # We_want_a_homeland bothers them? It is because they are fearing to lose their privileges.”

“56 deputies, 6 ministries, the General Secretariat of the Council of Ministers, Deputy Speaker of Parliament, 4 governors, more than 120 general directors, armed militia, ambassadors and agents. What reform are you talking about? Give up your self-proclaimed role in reforming people and reform yourselves,” he added.

Online campaigns targeting the Tishrinya, one of the appellations of the Iraqi protest movement, have grown on social media websites. These campaigns, aimed at dispiriting and intimidating protesters, are allegedly being conducted by Sadr’s electronic army and supported Iran-backed militias’ own online operations.

Several hashtags branding protesters as “traitors” have made the rounds in recent days.

The social media influence war is part of religious parties’ efforts to regain influence online after they were sidelined by protesters. The loss of influence threatens the rule of the turbanis or Shia clerics, who have long used social media sites to promote myths of “sanctities” and “resistance.”

The leader of the Sadrist movement allegedly ordered the formation of a group of bloggers to work as part of a “reform project” on social media.

The project, revealed in an official letter sent by Sadr’s private office, is documented proof of his official support for an “electronic army.”

Most prominent Iraqi political and religious figures deny any association with bloggers accused of leading online campaigns against their opponents.

Rifts on social media often reflect Iraq’s sectarian divide.

“The majority of social media users are young people and adolescents who were born after 2003 or a few years before it,” said Irada al-Jubouri, assistant dean of the College of Mass Communication at Baghdad University.”

“Politicians contribute to inflaming emotions to create negative judgments, taking advantage of ignorance,” she said.

“The idea to create a permanent enemy existed for decades to distract citizens from basic issues such as providing security and services and curbing corruption,” she added.

In the past, Iraqis engaged in a large-scale electronic battle against “agents of Iran” in Iraq, especially clerics, whose criticism was a taboo. Many Iraqi Twitter users believe their country has been ruled by thieves and charlatans since 2003 and claim that the only path to recovery is getting rid of Iran’s agents.

Activists’ recent bold rhetoric seems to have annoyed Sadr and his clique. In a televised interview earlier this year, Sadr said protesters had “deviated from the right path and needed an ear-tip,” which many considered a veiled admission of responsibility for violence and killings against demonstrators.

Sadr, whose public statements often draw criticism, rarely appears in popular gatherings or in the media. When he is featured on television programmes, he asks for the interview to be recorded in advance, because, as he put it, he “sifts through speech.”

Sadr resides in the Iranian city of Qom, and is viewed by Iraqis’ as the embodiment of Iranian influence in their country.

The Twitter account linked to him is a striking example of this, with its content derided by activists as exploiting religion and resistance for political gains.

Activists say the turbaned cleric’s tweets no longer fool Iraqis who now largely view him as an “Iranian pawn.”

People familiar with Sadr say he is “of a simple mentality and a limited thinking,” as the man did not complete his education and did not even pass the elementary school stage.

“He cannot formulate an understandable sentence,” one source said on condition of anonymity.

4.0 magnitude earthquake strikes before the Sixth Seal: Revelation 6:12

4.0 magnitude earthquake strikes near Bliss Corner, Massachusetts, USGS says

By Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN Nov 8, 2020

According to a USGS map, the quake struck off Mishaum Point, a peninsula in southeastern Massachusetts that extends into Buzzards Bay.

A 4.0 magnitude earthquake struck near Bliss Corner, Massachusetts, on Sunday morning, according to preliminary information from the US Geological Survey.

The temblor was felt more than 100 miles away, in Burlington, Connecticut, Manchester, New Hampshire and Sound Beach, New York, on Long Island, the USGS says.

According to a USGS map, the quake struck off Mishaum Point, a peninsula in southeastern Massachusetts that extends into Buzzards Bay.

The epicenter appears to be about 4 miles south-southwest of Bliss Corner, which is located in the town of Dartmouth, just south of New Bedford and about 35 miles southeast of Providence, Rhode Island.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage, and the USGS said there is a low likelihood of casualties or economic losses.

There is no threat of tsunami, the National Weather Service says.

Small temblors strike New England and Long Island roughly twice a year, while moderate quakes hit the region every few decades, the USGS says.

The most recent New England quake to cause considerable damage was a 5.6 magnitude that shook central New Hampshire in 1940, the survey says.

CNN’s Amanda Watts contributed to this report.

Joe Biden Will NOT Help Israel

President Trump accomplished a lot for Israel. Can Joe Biden do the same?

Binyamin Rose

November 10, 2020 3:30 pm

JERUSALEM (JTA) — American presidents often vie for the designation as the best friend Israel ever had in the White House. 

That competition sometimes starts early. Joe Biden first brandished his pro-Israel credentials to me at a Christmas party in December 1981 that he and his wife, Jill, threw in their Wilmington, Delaware, home for members of the Delaware press corps.

Biden and I were not strangers. As news director of WDOV Radio in Dover, the state capital, I had interviewed him many times that year, including after Israel’s surprise attack on Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor. Biden, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was disturbed that Prime Minister Menachem Begin acted without giving the U.S. advance warning, but he understood why Begin launched the attack.

That evening in his living room Biden — who knew I was Jewish — thanked me for attending even though it was a Christmas and not a Hanukkah party. Perhaps thinking that I was feeling a bit uncomfortable (I wasn’t), he added: “I want you to know I’m Israel’s best Catholic friend.” 

This is the type of quote a journalist never forgets, especially now that Biden was just elected America’s 46th president.    

While approximately 70% of Jewish-American voters chose Hillary Clinton in 2016, supporters of Israel found much to celebrate during the Trump presidency. Crass as President Donald Trump could be, when it came to Israel, his actions spoke louder than his words.

Now that Biden has been elected, it’s his turn to prove his friendship with deeds, not just words. And he has a tough act to follow.

In Jerusalem, there is much trepidation that a Biden administration will be indistinguishable from what a third term for President Barack Obama would have resembled. 

While most American Jews voted for Obama, he had a tenuous relationship with the pro-Israel community. His Iran nuclear deal alarmed Israelis of all political stripes, who are unified in the view that Iran poses an existential threat to Israel and will gladly cheat on any agreement it signs with Western powers. Obama outraged right-wing Israelis with the cold shoulder he turned to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and exasperated the political left for his failure to exert heavy pressure on Israel to make sacrifices for peace with the Palestinians. 

Biden’s campaign trail announcements have aroused similar anxieties, with plans to reenter the Iran deal and prioritize Israeli-Palestinian peace, which no U.S. president has been able to broker because neither side seems to want it. 

Israelis are enthused over the recent diplomatic breakthroughs with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan. They were hoping Saudi Arabia would be the next domino to topple, but that’s looking remote, especially if Biden chooses to soothe tensions with Iran and reassess the U.S.-Saudi relationship.   

If Biden tries to roll back the clock to the Obama era in the process of repudiating Trump’s “deal of the century,” this may well deter other Arab nations from reaching agreements with Israel, hindering hopes for a broader, regional peace.  

Having said that, Biden and Obama are two different people. Personality matters in politics. The chemistry that two leaders form or fail to form is a critical element in how relations between two nations will progress.

Biden is not the slightest bit aloof or professorial, as Obama was often accused of being. He’s earned the moniker of “Uncle Joe.” The chatty style we saw from him in debates and on the campaign trail — including his gaffes — is vintage Joe Biden. 

And Netanyahu doesn’t need an introduction to the president-elect. The Israeli leader opened Sunday’s Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem by noting his “long and warm personal connection with Joe Biden for nearly 40 years … as a great friend of the State of Israel.”

Obama and Netanyahu never developed such chemistry. I’m not really sure Netanyahu had that with Trump, either. I’ve covered Netanyahu, in Israel and abroad, in meetings with foreign leaders. He has a lot of swagger, but always appeared off-balance in Trump’s presence. Netanyahu may prefer Trump’s peace plan, but Netanyahu’s cautious nature stood in sharp contrast with Trump’s capricious streak.

All of this assumes that Netanyahu has more years ahead of him politically than Biden does. There was much scuttlebutt during the campaign that Biden would be only a one-term president, or that health issues might force him to step down sooner. His debate performance put many of those rumors to rest, but Netanyahu, as he approaches his 12th consecutive year as prime minister, has never stood on shakier ground. 

Netanyahu’s trial in a Jerusalem District Court on breach of trust and fraud charges will be in full swing just as Biden takes the oath of office in January and will be a major distraction. And even before we turn the page on the calendar year, the Knesset faces a Dec. 23 deadline to pass a budget. Failure to do so means new elections. Recent polls showing the right-wing Yamina party led by Naftali Bennett gaining popularity means Israel’s next government could swing sharply to the right, obstructing any plans that Biden has to prioritize the Israeli-Palestinian track.

During his long U.S. Senate career, and as vice president, Biden has dealt with every Israeli prime minister from Golda Meir to Netanyahu and understands Israel’s security concerns as well as any American leader.

Israeli leaders appreciate that about Biden. Congratulating Biden on his election victory, Israel’s former ambassador to the United States, Danny Ayalon, tweeted “I was Israel’s Ambassador to the US when @JoeBiden chaired the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He and his committee director @ABlinken (who will have a big role in the new administration) were always accessible, helpful, and supportive friends of Israel.”

At the same time, in a Zoom conference call with the foreign press in Jerusalem that I joined a week before the election, Ayalon, who was a member of the Israeli delegations to Israeli-Palestinian peace conferences in Sharm el-Sheikh (1997), at the Wye Plantation (1998) and at Camp David (2000), expressed his strong hope that the Biden administration will not drive in reverse in the Middle East now that the Trump peace process policies have been vindicated. 

“Will we get stuck again, and again see daylight between Israel and the U.S.?” Ayalon asked. “Or will Biden realize, in realpolitik terms, that this issue [the Israel-Palestinian track] is not high on the agenda of the region, except for maybe the Palestinians and the Iranians?”

Binyamin Rose

Binyamin Rose is the editor at large of Mishpacha magazine, the dominant media influence on America’s Orthodox Jewish population today. Based in Jerusalem, Binyamin has traveled to 26 countries to interview leading newsmakers and politicians worldwide.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of JTA or its parent company, 70 Faces Media.