On Monday night, hundreds of Palestinian prisoners agreed to end their hunger strike after winning concessions from Israel to improve their conditions, both sides announced. Earlier in the week, concern had been rising about the effect the death of one of the strikers might have on Tuesday's 'Nakba Day' protests.
The regional instability has changed Israel's security outlook in a number of ways, said Chief Intelligence Officer Brigadier General Ariel Karo, most notably in recent months in the Sinai Peninsula. Moreover, he said, the nature of the IDF's enemies is not always entirely clear, with the lines between military and terrorist groups blurred.
Cpl. May Karen serves as a shooting instructor in the IDF Ground Forces. "I knew I wanted to become an infantry instructor even before enlisting," she says. IDF female shooting instructors go through an extensive course where they learn how to use different weapons and specialize in shooting techniques. They then teach combat infantry soldiers who will use it in battle.
JERUSALEM – Natalie says she’s been a dog lover from birth. “I had two dogs when I was younger,” she recalls, “then they mated and we ended up with six more, and we couldn’t give them away.”
Last Sunday night, a Palestinian woman arrived with her 12-day-old baby girl at an IDF post in the Benjamin region of Judea and Samaria. The infant was having trouble breathing and needed immediate first aid. Commanders from the Benjamin Regional Brigade explained that Palestinians in the region know that if they have a life-threatening emergency, they can come to the IDF post for assistance.
Born and raised in LA, Natalie says she had everything she wanted ever since she was a little girl. "All of a sudden, my big sister, who is also my best friend, who's been taking care of me, told me she was joining this military force, to protect an entire country," she says emphatically. "It sounded completely absurd, so I came with her."
When his enlistment order had come in, his mother begged him not to go into a combat unit, and he promised to pick a different direction – even though he had been admitted into the paratroopers unit. His recruiting officer understood, and together they figured a new tract. "I've always had a dream to work on combat planes," he says.
In a letter to IDF soldiers and commanders, the Chief of the General Staff Lt. Gen. Gantz wrote, "Another year passed, another year of standing guard, of relentless, exuberant, hard work ensuring the security of Israeli citizens. A year passed and again we stand at Memorial Day ceremonies, by graves of fallen brothers, facing monuments with a endless and unfathomable rows of names of the fallen."
The Washington Post quoted a Republican congressional aide as saying that the House Armed Services Committee will propose the increase when it convenes next week to formulate the 2013 fiscal year's defense budget. There are currently four operational and actively deployed Iron Dome batteries in Israel, but "at least ten" are needed to defend the whole country.
Jerusalem’s Ammunition Hill museum and memorial were vandalized Sunday night with anti-Zionist slogans, two days before Israel’s Memorial Day.
Israeli Chief of Staff Major General Benny Gantz has ordered Israel Defense Force soldiers to ramp up their covert operations in enemy countries, according to an interview published in Israel’s Yediot Ahronot newspaper.
Aryeh Avner, Chairman of the Ometz (Citizens for Proper Administration and Social and Judicial Justice) movement has complained to Israel's Defense Minister Ehud barak that "According to information reaching the Ometz movement, there has been an increase in the phenomenon where IDF soldiers are forced to listen to talks by rabbis on religious matters."
The donated scrolls are brought to Israel from synagogues throughout the world. They are in a worn or damaged state and donors are found to repair them and rededicate them in honor or in memory of loved ones or on special occasions. Upon their arrival in Israel, the scrolls are placed in different army, navy, and air force bases according to the needs of the IDF.
A delegation of some 60 IDF commanders arrived in Poland on Monday, April 16, as part of the Witnesses in Uniform program. Guided by educators from the Yad VaShem Holocaust Memorial Museum, the officers started a four day study of pre-war Poland, the Holocaust, and contemporary Jewish Polish life.
At least one person has been reported killed and several injured in the collapse of lighting for a stage being assembled at the Mount Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem for Rememberance Day ceremonies.
Last Saturday at 7 a.m., Israeli Border Police detained and beat up a nine-year-old Jewish child in Hebron, after he entered a closed military zone near Machpelah House. The Hebron community's spokesman told the Jewish Press: "The border police acted like animals, attacking a child. They only care about attacking Jews."
Eighty-three reserves officers and soldiers yesterday sent the Defense Minister and the IDF Chief of Staff a letter supporting the Eisner, who had been suspended from his post. Additional support came from Hagit Rein, mother of Major B'naya Rein who was killed in the Second Lebanon War and whose body Eisner retrieved.
We would have expected the IDF brass, as well as Israel's government, to show restraint, perhaps count to 30, before throwing their own man under the media bus. But, alas, both IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned a senior IDF officer for the way he appears on a selectively edited Palestinian video on You Tube.
Egyptian Maj.-Gen. Ahmad Jamal said that Egypt's Interior Ministry decided to send 2,000 officers and soldiers from the Special Forces to the north of Sinai, in order to increase security control of the area. He said the ministry has already sent 150 officers and the rest will be sent soon. The main reason for sending them is to implement security plans, especially plans to protect the natural gas line.
Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz said the rocket fire that hit the city of Eilat Wednesday night was "an extremely severe act of hostility." Head of Military Intelligence Maj. Gen. Kochavi confirmed that "more than ten terror bases in Sinai were revealed and dismantled over the past few months." After the fall of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s, the rule of law has collapsed in much of Sinai, leaving a vacuum where Islamist militant groups are thriving.
As of Thursday, the Military Rabbinate will render all IDF bases kosher for the Jewish holiday of Passover. After weeks of heavy-duty spring cleaning, soldiers across the IDF will be joined in the field by military rabbis who will certify the bases and assist if need be. By the end of the day, with the mission accomplished, the IDF will be declared Kosher for Passover.
Remember the adage about how fences make for good neighbors? It turns out they work quite well for bad neighbors, too. Sunday night, IDF soldiers operating along the security fence in the central Gaza Strip identified a suspicious figure digging in the ground, suggesting he was attempting to plant an explosive device. The soldiers tried to distance him by firing at him, confirming a hit.
The first F-35 is expected to arrive in Israel in 2015, but Israeli pilots will be able to start training on it in the U.S. in 2014. A stealth fighter aircraft, produced by Lockheed Martin, the F-35 is considered to be the most advanced fighter aircraft to date.
The Pentagon will ask Congress for additional funds for the "Iron Dome" missile shields for Israel, based on their success in intercepting rockets launched from Gaza. Coming one day after drawing fire for his open-mic remarks, President Obama is winning points from pro-Israel Congress members for his increased support. Rafael, which manufactures the Domes systems, just reported $111 million in net earnings for 2011.
This week the 124th class of IDF Naval Officers, including three women, completed their training and were stationed on deck Israeli Navy vessels. While most IDF women serve only two years, these three officers have already served through the 36-month naval officers' course, as graduates will be required to sign up for at least an extra 16 months.