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June 26, 2016 / 20 Sivan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Chief of Staff’

Liberman: Let No Terrorist Come Out Alive from Any Attack

Thursday, June 9th, 2016

Last year, nine months before he was appointed Defense Minister, MK Avigdor Liberman posted on his Facebook page his expectations of the cabinet meeting to be convened at noon following the terrorist attacks. Liberman listed his expectations as follows:

1. No male or female terrorist comes out alive from any terrorist attack.

2. Adopt the rules of engagement common in the United States.

3. Revoke the residency of every eastern Jerusalem resident involved in terrorist activity.

4. Activate emergency laws and impose martial law wherever needed in order to defeat terrorism.

Liberman concluded: I remind the Prime Minister and members of the cabinet, words don’t stop terrorists. Security is achieved through an iron fist.

Avigdor Liberman's recommendations on dealing with terror - before he became Defense Minister

Avigdor Liberman’s recommendations on dealing with terror – before he became Defense Minister

This vehement call for an unabashed, strong-armed treatment of terrorism was posted on October 13, 2015, one of the toughest days in the current wave of terror, when MK Liberman was still just another member of the opposition. In the Aramon Hanatziv neighborhood of Jerusalem, two Arab terrorists boarded a bus, one carrying a gun the other a knife, and started attacking passengers at random until police overtook them. Two passengers were killed and seven injured, among them two women who were in critical condition.

A short while later there was a car ramming attack on Malchei Israel Street in Jerusalem, where one man, 59, was murdered and three injured. The terrorist exited his car and started stabbing pedestrians, until police finally arrived on the scene and neutralized him.

Then, in Ra’anana, an Arab terrorist, 22, from eastern Jerusalem arrived at the central bus station and stabbed one person, 32. Local civilians managed to subdue the terrorist.

It’s possible that Liberman and Netanyahu are implementing at least some of the points the defense minister posted some nine months ago. Israeli media on Thursday morning, following the massacre of four innocent Israelis in a downtown Tel Aviv café, reported a few stern steps which are being taken by security forces and the government.

Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) Gen. Yoav Mordechai announced the freezing of 83,000 entry permits issued to Judea and Samaria Arabs to visit their families inside the green line, as a show of good will for the month of Ramadan. In addition, all the gestures given residents of Gaza, including permits to pray on the Temple Mount were frozen. And 204 visitation permits issued to the families of terrorists in Israeli prisons were revoked.

Issuing those gestures of good will were, in fact, the first act in office of the new defense minister, on the recommendation of the IDF chief of staff, as part of the policy of improving the quality of life of the Palestinian population.

The two terrorist cousins, 21, who last night attacked the heart of Tel Aviv’s nightlife came from Yatta village south of Hebron. Overnight the IDF raided their homes and interrogated their families. The security apparatus is investigating how the pair made it through the green line and who helped them.

David Israel

Report: Israel Attacked Missile Stocks at Syrian Military Base

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

Syrian website Zaman Al Wasl reported Tuesday that the Israeli air force over the weekend attacked a military installation south of Homs, with an air defense division and a compound of an air defense school of the Syrian Army. According to the report, the Israeli planes did not train their rockets at the air defense systems but focused on the base warehouses, which were stocked with anti-aircraft missiles. The attack resulted in major damage to the stocks.

According to reports, the Israeli airforce planes flew very low above the region, and were exposed throughout the attack to the defense systems, but the Syrians apparently held back and did not fire at the attackers.

The Homs area is a war theater involving President Assad’s forces, rebel forces and ISIS troops, but Zaman Al Wasl, which has a reputation for reliable reports, insists the attackers were Israeli.

Defense Minister Liberman visits the northern front

Defense Minister Liberman visits the northern front

This would be the first attack ordered by the new defense minister Avigdor Liberman, who on Tuesday visited the northern front with Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, GOC Northern Command Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, and senior officers in the Northern Command.

During the tour, Liberman said, “I’ve been hearing today reviews of this region, which is always sensitive, and I can say that our northern border is in good and secure hands.” He noted: “We have no plans here other than to maintain the quiet, I hope everyone understands this well enough, including our neighbors, and in any case I don’t suggest for anyone to try and test us.”

David Israel

UPDATED: Ya’alon Uses Last Crumbs of Authority to Lock Out Habayit Hayehudi Deputy

Sunday, May 22nd, 2016

According to TPS, access to Sunday’s farewell ceremony for departing Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon has been revoked from Deputy Defense Minister Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan (Habayit Hayehudi) and his staff, who were told they had to leave the IDF Kirya compound in Tel Aviv by 4:30 PM Sunday.

According to Rabbi Ben-Dahan, Ya’alon’s chief of staff informed Ben-Dahan’s staff, seven employees altogether, that their entry permits would be revoked as of 4:30 PM. Ben-Dahan noted that, according to the law, when a minister resigns, his or her deputies automatically lose their positions as well, but the same does not hold for their entry permits. Someone in Ya’alon’s office had to go out of their way to revoke those.

Ben-Dahan’s position as Deputy Defense Minister is anchored in Habayit Hayehudi’s coalition agreement with PM Netanyahu, and it is expected that once the new defense minister is sworn in, presumably this Tuesday, Ben-Dahan will receive his commission back. So someone under Ya’alon wanted to make sure the Deputy and his staff not be allowed in between ministers.

Petty? You bet. Ya’alon maintained a cool relationship with Ben-Dahan throughout the current coalition term, and would not permit him to run the office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), as was his assignment in the coalition agreement. According to TPS, Ya’alon’s people also personally harassed Ben-Dahan’s staff whenever they could.

UPDATE: Prime Minister Netanyahu has stepped in, according to an A7 report, and cancelled the eviction orders against Deputy Minister Dahan and his staff.

David Israel

Analysis: An Afternoon of Hard Maneuvering May Yield New Defense Minister and 67-Member Rightwing Coalition

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

Israeli media reported Wednesday evening that MK Avigdor Lieberman (Yisrael Beiteinu) has accepted the Prime Minister’s invitation to join his government and receive the portfolios of Defense and Immigrant Absorption — which is a nice package considering Liebrman is only adding six seats to the coalition.

But what a difference six seats make. With the budget vote coming up this Summer Session, Netanyahu will be able to breathe easy. Last session, three rogue members of his Likud faction chose to abstain from voting just to make a point, which helped derail some government legislation, awarding undeserved wins to the opposition. With 67 members, the fourth Netanyahu government can live out its entire four-year term.

Also, unlike the earlier potential coalition partner, Isaac Herzog’s left-leaning Zionist Camp, Lieberman is a natural fit in the current government. When he ended his 90 minute private meeting with the PM (which followed the PM’s meeting with Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, where the latter was given his walking papers), most of Likud’s senior ministers were quick to congratulate and welcome him back into the fold. Liebrman really is no stranger to Likudniks — from 1993 to 1996, with Netanyahu in place as party chairman, Lieberman served as the Likud party’s director-general. When Netanyahu was elected to his first term as prime minister, Lieberman served as director-general of the prime minister’s office, the equivalent of the White House chief of staff, from 1996 to 1997. With a few noted exceptions, Lieberman has been to the right of Netanyahu, and left his side to start Yisrael Beiteinu in 1999 over concessions Netanyahu granted the Palestinians in the 1997 Wye River Memorandum. But these days there’s very little daylight between Lieberman and the majority of the Likud Knesset faction.

In addition to Netanyahu’s need for coalition stability, the other issue behind Wednesday’s dramatic change was the growing gap between Defense Minister Ya’alon and the rest of the Likud party, which could have put Netanyahu’s future in danger had he continued to be associated with his DM. In several key episodes in the country’s fractious confrontations with Arab terrorists, Ya’alon appeared to be going out of his way to drag the Netanyahu government to the left.

Last Purim, an IDF medic in Hebron shot and killed a terrorist who had already been neutralized by six bullets to his body. The soldier’s commanders on the ground planned to give him a disciplinary hearing at the time, but an Arab B’Tselem agent shot and released a video of the event, and shortly thereafter military police picked up the medic on murder charges. Ya’alon supported the MP and the military prosecutors, despite an unprecedented wave of protest against the IDF brass that frightened Netanyahu. The PM met with the Medic’s father, the charges were reduced to manslaughter and the case may yet be dismissed, but the PM felt that his DM had stuck him in an untenable spot with the Likud diehard rightwing voters.

Then came the notorious Holocaust Memorial Day speech of the IDF deputy chief of staff, who compared, albeit not directly, episodes such as the Hebron shooting of the terrorist to the rise of Nazism in 1930s Germany. Again, Netanyahu’s core voters were outraged. He ordered his DM to extract and apology from the general, but the IDF would not apologize, and denied the charges instead.

Finally, there were the terrorists’ bodies. On several occasions, Netanyahu opposed returning the bodies of killed terrorists to their families for burial without some cost, the least of which would be to let them wait a few days, or weeks, as a deterrence to others. In early May, against Netanyahu’s explicit request, Ya’alon ordered the return of the body of a terrorist who had been killed after attacking and wounding three IDF soldiers, one critically, with his car. Then the IDF said something preachy about having no interest in detaining the bodies, ostensibly as political chips.Netanyahu was livid. Anyone who was following those events and understood the growing resentment in Likud against Ya’alon, could see that his days at the helm were numbered.

It isn’t clear whether Netanyahu was very smart or just very lucky when he allowed himself to be talked by his finance minister Moshe Kahlon (Kulanu) into inviting MK Isaac Herzog to join his coalition government. On its face the move looked crazy if not stupid: for one thing, it wasn’t at all certain that more than half of the Zionist Camp MKs would make the switch over, seeing as they view Netanyahu as the poison tree that must be uprooted, not the shade tree for their top members to sit on lucrative portfolios. So the most Bibi would have gotten were 15 or 16 new MKs, but at the cost of Naftali Bennett’s Habayit Hayehudi 8 seats, which would have netted him only 7 or 8 additional seats — but would have alienated his rightwing voters. So why did he embark on this apparent fool’s errand? Like we said, either because he is frighteningly clever or frighteningly lucky.

Avigdor Liebrman’s mission from the first day of the 20th Knesset has been to topple Netanyahu’s government and come back after the next elections as the most viable rightwing leader. This is why he refused Netanyahu’s repeated courting in the spring of 2015, and continued to bide his time in the opposition, together with Arabs and leftists, the people he dislikes the most—waiting for his chance. He figured, when the time came, with a big enough issue, and with Bibi’s rogue MKs doing their bit, Lieberman could deliver the deadly blow to Netanyahu, with a resounding vote of no confidence.

But when it started to look as if the Zionist Camp was going to boost Bibi’s numbers beyond the point of toppling, Lieberman realized it was time to shelf his revenge plan and get inside the tent before he’d lose any hope of leaving an impression on his voters this term. And so, seemingly out of the blue, Lieberman gathered a press conference in the afternoon, even as Bibi was scolding Bogie (Lauren Bacall’s nickname for Humphrey Bogart which somehow stuck with Ya’alon during his long and decorated military service) — and the Russian refusnik of yesterday suddenly started to play a serenade to Bibi on his balalaika. For the right price—defense and absorption, and the right terms—the death penalty for terrorists, for instance, he and his Yisrael Beiteinu are definitely ready to jump in.

Netanyahu may have been clever or lucky, but Lieberman was, without a doubt, brilliant. He may appear from this day on as serving Netanyahu, but it will be the PM who’ll be forced to do his bidding on security, because it is Lieberman and not Netanyahu who speaks for the rightwing Likud voters. If Bibi flinches at one of Lieberman’s calls (which the latter will issue politely and calmly) — then Bibi’s voters could easily go for the alternative. Say what you will about Avigdor Lieberman, but he could teach a class on maneuvering to a school of sharks.

As a result of all of the above, and should the coalition talks between Bibi Netanyahu and Yvette Lieberman be successful, Israel will have its first truly rightwing government ever. The Haredim are concerned about the draft, but it’s doubtful the new DM will focus on that hornet’s nest at this stage of his new career. If he does, it would bring a quick and unhappy ending to the 20th Knesset.

The one remaining unknown at this point is Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, who really wanted to bring the Zionist Camp into the government and is now stuck to the left of Netanyahu, and with polls that show his Kulanu party dropping from 10 to 7 seats come next elections, while his identical twin, Lapid, is projected to win 19 or 20 seats next time around. Kahlon could kill this latest coalition deal in a kamikaze departure followed by resounding vote of no confidence, at which point nothing could save Bibi’s fourth government.

Oh, what interesting times we’re having.

David Israel

Dozens of Haredi Rabbis Call on Israel to Kill Every Terrorist ‘As Soon As He Leaves the House’

Monday, May 16th, 2016

Several dozen rabbis, many of them Haredi and Hasidic, on Sunday attended an emergency conference at the study hall of the Bostoner Rebbe, Rabbi Meir Alter Horowitz, in the neighborhood of Har Nof in Jerusalem, Kippa reported. Dubbed “emergency conference for the security of Israel in the Holy Land,” the assembly ended with a uniform call against a national unity government with the Zionist Camp (Labor) or with any other politicians who declare openly that they want to hand over areas of historic Israel.

Besides the host, the Bostoner Rebbe, the conference included Haredi “celebrities” such as the Chief Rabbi of Bnei Brak, Rabbi Moshe Landau, the Chief Rabbi of Tsfat, Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, and the head of the Temple Institute, Rabbi Yisrael Ariel.

The statement the assembled rabbis issued after their conference said in no uncertain terms that there must be no negotiations over territory across the “green line,” nor any mention of the “two state solution.” The announcement suggested that “the only way to uproot the wave of terror by Arab murderers in the Holy Land would by through a firm stand of the Israeli government that there will never be a negotiation over parts of the Holy Land, by expressing regret for past withdrawals and regret for the ‘miserable declaration’ of two states for two peoples.”

The assembled Haredi rabbis also said that “the areas of Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem are all part of the Land of Israel and we must continue to build there in accordance with the needs of the population without interruption. The rabbis have ruled according to Halakha that maintaining the security forces’ deterrence is more important than any holy object.”

The Haredi rabbis also mentioned what they called “stupid” statements by senior officials in government and the military which, they said, dishonor the nation of Israel and the IDF soldiers—referring to Deputy Chief of Staff General Yair Golan who compared the behavior of some IDF soldiers to that of German Nazis in the 1930s.

The rabbis added that every Arab terrorist must be executed. “Every Arab terrorist who leaves his house with the intent to hurt Jews has lost his right to live and must be shot without needless calculations,” they stated. They noted that whomever refuses to follow their directions should not be placed in charge of the security of Israel, citing Deut. 20:8 — “What man is there that is fearful and fainthearted? let him go and return unto his house, lest his brethren’s heart faint as well as his heart.”

JNi.Media

Netanyahu Confronts Ya’alon Over Call to IDF Officers to ‘Speak their Minds’

Monday, May 16th, 2016

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon on Sunday night got on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s wrong side when he urged IDF leaders to speak their mind in public and not fear reprisal. At this point it appears that some reprisal may be coming Ya’alon’s way from the Prime Minister, who summoned him to what the Israeli media described as a “rebuke meeting” Monday morning. Neither side in the meeting has issued a statement yet, which suggests that the meeting may not have ended in a compromise.

Ya’alon spoke at an event in Tel Aviv Sunday night and referred to the public storm around the speech by Deputy IDF Chief of Staff Gen. Yair Golan, which in turn had alluded to the episode of the IDF soldier who shot a neutralized terrorist on the ground in Hebron last Purim day. Golan, speaking at a Holocaust Remembrance Day event, compared episodes such as the Hebron shooting to the events in 1930s Germany which later resulted in the European Holocaust. At the time, Netanyahu was critical of Golan, and demanded that he apologize, since it sounded as if he was saying the IDF was a proto-Nazi army. Golan came close to saying just that, as many on the right suggested, while the IDF denied any such allegation.

An examination of the speech text reveals that the overall subject of Golan’s message was the concept of “purity of the weapon,” meaning that he was indeed criticizing phenomena inside the IDF when he made the Nazi Germany comparison.

Instead of an apology, the IDF Spokesperson’s office issued a denial, which Netanyahu probably did not love, but decided to let it go. With the narrowest possible majority in the Knesset, a puny 61 MKs, at least three of whom can be classified as Netanyahu’s enemies inside his own Likud party, the PM did not need another internal battle, certainly not with a national figure such as Ya’alon. But then, instead of the industrial peace Netanyahu needed so badly, on Sunday night his defense minister upped the ante with a new challenge to the boss, under the guise of protecting the freedom of expression of IDF officers.

“Tonight, too, I again demand of you and of your subordinates: continue to say what’s in your hearts. Do it even if your ideas are not part of the mainstream, and even if they challenge the ideas and positions adopted by the high command or the political echelon.”

Was the defense minister calling on his officer to rebel against the political class? Probably not, although he sounded dangerously close to saying just that. In his own mind, Ya’alon was probably hailing the old IDF tradition of encouraging questions from soldiers and officers, which may make the army a little harder to organize, but also encourages it to keep thinking outside the box, at least in some of its units. It should be noted that this tradition of rejecting iron clad “conceptions” dates back to the early, abysmal failure of the political and military leadership in the 1973 Yom Kippur War. The accepted dogma was that the Egyptian and Syrian armies were too fearful of Israel after 1967 and the string of local victories by the IDF that followed, to dare launch another all out war against the Jewish State. A subsequent investigating committee discovered that the intelligence pointing to an imminent attack was all there — it was just discarded by the decision makers.

But, in the end, Ya’alon on Sunday night was not engaged in an educational effort to breed more independently thinking soldiers and officers. He was, in fact, declaring a culture war against rightwing Israel. He described the issue at hand as a struggle “against an extremist minority which is active on the ground and in social media. Some of it has infiltrated the social mainstream, too. Under cover and concealment it is trying to influence the character and values of the IDF. This is a hugely significant fight, perhaps the most vital and important in many years. Not only over the image of the IDF, but the image of Israeli society as well.”

Since the appointment of the new Chief of Staff, Maj. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, the IDF has been engaged in a persistent effort to “de-Jewify” itself. Jewish education was removed from the military chief rabbinate and handed to HR, which in turn made it the purview of the Education corp, guaranteeing that it take on a secular bend. And there were several minor assaults on the traditional Jewish elements in the army, such as when soldiers were ordered to shave their beards. So that when Ya’alon reviles extremism he is not concerned with leftwing NGOs who turn in to the PA for imprisonment and a possible execution Arab land brokers. He is after the Jews.

 

YA’ALON AND THE WINTER AFFAIR

At this point we must pause to relate the story of Givati Brigade Commander Colonel Ofer Winter, who, on July 9, 2014, during the Gaza War, issued a daily “commander’s note” to his soldiers, in which he stated: “History has chosen us to serve at the forefront of the fighting against the terrorist enemy in Gaza, which is taunting, cursing and blaspheming against the God of the Armies of Israel. … I raise my eyes up to the heavens and say along with you, ‘Shema Israel, God is our Lord, God Is one.’ The God of Israel, please make successful the path we take as we prepare to fight for your nation Israel and against an enemy which blaspheme Your Name.”

Needless to say, the text, which refrenced Psalms 44 and Samuel I 17, as well as the She’ma Israel, was not received well by the Israeli largely secular media. It should be noted that Reform rabbi Uri Regev was among the first in Israel to attack the Colonel for mixing his private religious sentiments and the military. Many others continued to target Winter for the six months that followed.

It should be noted that Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon led the attacks on his subordinate. “I didn’t love it,” he told a forum of the heads of pre-military preparatory institutions. He said the Brigade Commander should have stuck with language that is common to all his recruits, presumably not language that cites from Jewish sources. He also questioned how a Druz soldier might have responded to the Jewish text, as if non-Jews should be naturally offended by the concept of a Jewish State and a Jewish army.

 

NETANYAHU VS. HIS GENERALS

Netanyahu has had a rough relationship with the military leadership for most of his terms as prime minister. It began in his first term in the late 1990s, with overt confrontations with then Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Amnon Lipkin-Shahak and head of Shabak Ami Ayalon, as well as Netanyahu’s defense minister at the time, Yitzhak Mordechai. Netanyahu dismissed Mordechai before he had a chance to resign, in 1999, and Mordechai left Likud along with several other members to establish a new Center party, which failed miserably and ended up joining Ehud Barak’s new Labor-led government.

If their meeting on Monday did not reach a working compromise, both leaders must be thinking back to the Yitzhak Mordechai episode and wondering how soon before Ya’alon would jump ship to Labor.

Ya’alon’s colleagues in the Likud went after him with a vengeance Monday morning. Culture Minister Miri Regev, who served as the IDF Spokesperson at one time, told Channel 2 News that “It is inconceivable that a serving officer would grab the reigns from the political echelon and conduct himself as if this is an army that also has a state.” She continued: “The defense minister is confused. Military officers should speak what’s in their hearts in the appropriate forum and regarding the issues under their care.”

Infrastructure Minister Yuval Steinitz told Army Radio, “I do not understand what’s driving the defense minister in these statements. His job is to instill discipline in the IDF. There must be a red line between army and state and between army and politics. I think his words were a miserable mistake. Ben Gurion would never have allowed for such a thing to happen.”

And Likud MK Oren Hazan, who often opposes Netanyahu, stood squarely behind the PM in a tweet that went: “Someone should remind Bogy (Ya’alon’s nickname) that we are a democracy and not under martial law. The IDF is not a junta, his job is to carry out the decisions of the political echelon and not oppose it and set a different policy.”

JNi.Media

Watch full Version: Knesset ‘Songs in their Memory’ Event Honoring Israel’s Fallen [video]

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

On Tuesday, the eve of the Day of Remembrance for the Fallen Soldiers of Israel and Victims of Terrorism, the Knesset held the “Songs in their Memory” event in the presence of President Reven Rivlin, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and hundreds of members of bereaved families.

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, Welfare Minister Haim Katz, Deputy IDF Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Yair Golan and Israel Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich recited poems.

Israeli dignitaries at the memorial wall to the IDF fallen / Photo credit: Itzik Harari, Knesset Public Relations Division

Israeli dignitaries at the memorial wall to the IDF fallen / Photo credit: Itzik Harari, Knesset Public Relations Division

The ceremony also featured performances by Shiri Meimon, Ninet Tayeb, Harel Skaat, Idan Haviv, Chief IDF Cantor Lt. Col. Shai Abramson, Uziya Tzadok and military bands.

The main national event on the eve of the Day of Remembrance was a joint initiative of the Knesset, Ministry of Defense’s Families and Commemoration Department and the National Insurance Institute’s Division for Terror Victims.

During the event, the stories of the following fallen soldiers and terror victims were told:

Yair Engel and Matan Polivoda, the Shayetet 13 soldiers who were killed in a diving accident;

Ben Vanunu, who was killed in Operation Protective Edge;

Abie Moses, who lost his wife and son and suffered severe burns during a terror attack near Alfei Menashe;

Lt. Col. Daniel Shipenbauer, the pilot who was awarded a citation for an operation in August 2006 and was killed in the helicopter crash in Romania;

Dafna Meir, who was stabbed to death in front of her teenage daughter inside their home in Otniel;

Border Police Cpl. Hadar Cohen, who was murdered during a terror attack at Damascus Gate outside of Jerusalem’s Old City after preventing the death of a fellow officer.

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/watch-full-version-knesset-songs-in-their-memory-event-honoring-israels-fallen-video/2016/05/11/

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