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October 25, 2016 / 23 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘defense’

Israeli Defense Companies Converge on Industry’s Next Big Market — Poland

Wednesday, September 7th, 2016

Poland is developing an ambitious, multi billion dollar program of modernizing its armed forces, which is attracting several Israeli-based companies, including Elbit Systems, Rafael and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), all of which are attending this year’s MSPO exhibition in Kielce in south central Poland (halfway between Częstochowa and Lublin).

Israel Sharon, IAI’s marketing manager for Poland, told Shephard Media that Israel’s defense strategy “seems to be similar to Polish strategic thinking. More emphasis is put on the national indigenous defense capacity, strongly embedded in an alliance, but able to stand alone in deterring any aggression.”

Elbit Systems is looking to sell Poland its Hermes 450 medium size multi-payload unmanned aerial vehicle, designed for tactical long endurance missions.

The Raytheon Company, a major US defense contractor, announced on Tuesday that it had offered to sell to Poland the SkyCeptor interceptor, a modified version of the Stunner interceptor, jointly developed by Israel and the US, which is in production and field testing by the IDF as part of the David’s Sling system, Shephard reported. Skyceptor will be integrated with the Patriot air and missile defense system.

Poland would be using its version of the David’s Sling system as part of the Wisla missile defense program. In July, Poland’s state-run defense group PGZ signed a letter of intent with Raytheon to cooperate on Poland’s new missile defense program Wisla, which included acquisition of Patriot missiles. Now Raytheon expects Wisla to be getting the green light from the Polish Ministry of Defense, which will submit a formal letter of request (LOR) to the US to purchase the Patriot.

John Baird, Raytheon’s VP of Poland programs, told reporters in Kielce that the inclusion of the SkyCeptor interceptor as part of the Patriot package is a cheaper option against “short-to-medium-range ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and advanced air defense threats.”

“We have embarked over the past three years to produce and develop a US-compliant variant of Stunner,” Raytheon’s Dave Orr explained, adding “we think we can develop within 36 months of contract award SkyCepter missiles for the Polish Armed Forces.”

IAI is also bidding for the modernization of the Polish MiG-29 fighter jets and legacy helicopters. According to Shephard, IAI has already entered into an agreement with the Czech company Retia to produce air defense radar systems.


Deputy Defense Minister Blocks Judea and Samaria Home Demolitions

Wednesday, September 7th, 2016

Deputy Defense Minister Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan (Habayit Hayehudi) on Tuesday issued a directive changing the protocol of evacuation of Jewish residents from illegal structures in Judea and Samaria. Following evacuation operations by security forces on Monday in the community of Eish Kodesh and on Tuesday in Mitzpeh Avichai near Kiryat Arba, Ben-Dahan sent a letter to the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) instructing them that, starting Tuesday, the new invasion protocol in the evacuation of illegal structures must be approved by Ben-Dahan before it is carried out.

The protocol for these invasions and evacuations under former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon (Likud) permitted COGAT to evacuate illegal structures without government authorization in the first 60 days following their construction.

On Tuesday morning COGAT inspectors demolished temporary units that had been erected on Avichai hill in commemoration of the murdered teen girl Halel Ariel hy”d. Her family arrived at the area but were pushed off by police.

Following the evacuation, Halel’s mother issued a statement saying: “Some two months after the murder of our daughter Halel I woke up to another ordinary morning, trying to carry on with my life from within the loss. To cry and to live. Another ordinary day. Suddenly, an announcement: they’re evacuating Mitzpeh Avichai! We rushed to the area. There, at the spot where the terrorist had infiltrated, police forces were standing. The gate was locked, personal effects were outside. No people. The site had been evacuated.”

Halel’s mother added, “Two months after the murder, Halel is gone and the community that was built near that terrible site is also gone. A double destruction. All we want is to add building, increase the light. Today Halel was murdered a second time. Right now darkness is covering. We need so much strength to carry on. So much faith to fight the darkness. So much patience. God, please give us the strength to continue against the concealment inside the concealment [of the Divine].”

David Israel

Defense Witnesses in Hebron Shooting Trial Accuses Ya’alon of Meddling

Sunday, August 28th, 2016

The trial of IDF medic Elor Azaria, who shot dead an Arab terrorist in Hebron last Purim after the latter had already been felled to the ground, was resumed Sunday morning after a month’s break. The defense plans to introduce four new witnesses, most likely local civilians who were present at the scene at the time of the shooting.

The first defense witness to take the stand Sunday morning was Eliyahu Liebman, Hebron’s Security Officer for the past 22 years, who received a commendation from the IDF chief of staff back in 2002 for his role in protecting Jewish worshipers from Arab attackers during the second Intifada. Liebman said the IDF and the media presented an inaccurate picture of reality at the time of the shooting. He accused them of painting a target around Azaria after the fact. He recalled a phone conversation from a person in former defense minister Moshe “Bogie” Ya’alon’s circle who told Liebman that “Bogie told him even the Hebron Security Officer thinks the shooting was invalid. He asked if this was true, I answered it was a complete lie.”

Liebman testified that he had not been questioned by military police following the incident, and that other security officers had been skipped by investigators. He told the court, “I suspect that in this case we weren’t just accidentally not summoned for questioning, and it looks like it had to do with the comments by then Defense Minister Ya’alon following the shooting incident.”

Ya’alon, as well as IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot, openly chastised the defendant well before the investigation of the case had even begun.

Liebman testified that the removal of the terrorist’s body was done in a manner contrary to protocol. “The terrorist was taken away without being checked and contrary to the professional opinion of the sappers. It put in risk anyone who carried him until the moment the sappers checked him and ruled him clear.”

Azaria’s defense team has announced it would present several witnesses the prosecution opted to skip, noting that “the indictment mentions 77 witnesses, out of whom the prosecution chose to hear 22, when it realized that its own witnesses … utterly contradict its version of events.” The defense will endeavor to complete the picture as the prosecution should have done, suggesting it is “convinced once the full picture and not a partial and twisted picture is presented, things will be clarified at the court room.”

The task of the defense is to repair the damage caused by the confrontational testimony given by the defendant Azaria. He was baited by the chief prosecutor and was unable to explain blatant contradictions between different statements he had given regarding the shooting. He introduced a new claim, an accusation that his company commander slapped him after the shooting, an element he had never before mentioned. He also accused his battalion commander of lying but was unable to offer a coherent reason as to why he would do so, other than “fear of the media.”

Still, an unconvincing testimony by the defendant does not necessarily mean the judges would hold it against him should the defense be able to poke holes at the prosecution’s version of events. Much of the debate will circle around whether or not there was a reasonable expectation that the terrorist on the ground, who was severely injured but not fatally so, still posed a lethal danger. In that context, the fact that the terrorist was wearing a heavy coat on a sunny day — a telltale sign of a potential suicide bombing — combined with mismanagement of the potential danger, could advance the defendant’s cause.


Potential Flaws of the US-Israel Defense Package

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016
Israel’s apparent desire to conclude, as soon as possible, a generous, ten-year defense package MOU (memorandum of understanding) with the USA – in order to enhance short and medium-term economic and national security certainty – could result in severe long and short-term injuries to Israel’s ties with the USA and Israel’s national security.
Should Israel accept President Obama’s terms (as reported by the media), then the new 10-year-defense package could be dramatically different from the previous one, which was concluded in 2007.
The 2007 package was lower in scope – $3.1bn annually – but did not prohibit independent initiatives by the US Congress, which has demonstrated awesome muscle in determining domestic, as well as international relatons and national security policies. Also, the 2007 package included annual funding of Israel’s groundbreaking missile defense research, development (shared with the US government and defense industries) and US-Israel co-production. It expected Congress to increase the funding of US-Israel’s cost-effective missile defense projects, and allocated 25% of the package to Israeli game-changing defense research and development initiatives, which have been shared with the US.
Since 2007, there has been a dramatic surge in Israel’s contributions to the US in the areas of intelligence, research and development, training, operations, supporting pro-US Arab regimes, and extending the strategic hand of the US, while the US military-footprint and defense budget have been reduced drastically, and the US’ European allies are consumed with Islam-driven terrorism and potential anarchy on the home front.
On April 25, 2016, Congress demonstrated its inherent appreciation of Israel when 83 Senators signed a letter to President Obama, demanding a larger US-Israel defense package. An Israeli acquiescence to the exclusion of Congress as a key initiator of future US-Israel cooperation, would amount to a self-defeating downgrading of the co-equal, co-determining Congress, which has the power-of-the-purse, and is the most authentic representative of the American people, and therefore has been a systematic ally of Israel, while all US presidents since 1948 (with the exception of President George W. Bush) have pressured Israel economically, militarily and diplomatically.
Representing the pro-Israel sentiments of most Americans (71% according to the latest Gallup poll), Congress has, traditionally, counter-balanced the multilateral, Third World and UN-oriented, pro-Arab worldview of the Department of State bureaucracy, which opposed the establishment of Israel in 1948 and has been critical of Israel since then.
From a co-driver of the US-Israel high-speed train, Congress would be demoted to a backseat-driver, as if it were an Israeli Knesset or a European Parliament, which are overshadowed by the Executive. It would be a slap in the face of the Federal System, the US Constitution, the US constituency and its representatives in the US House and Senate.
Moreover, Congress played a central role in upgrading US-Israel strategic cooperation, jointly with – and in defiance of – US presidents, especially during global uncertainties, violence and intensified threats.  For example, in defiance of President Bush’s and Secretary of State Baker’s misreading of regional and global trends, coupled with their adversarial position on Israel, Congress was the key player/initiator of the unprecedented expansion of US-Israel defense cooperation following the collapse of the USSR (when Bush/Baker were oblivious to the rising threat of rogue regimes), before Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait (when Bush/Baker embraced Saddam Hussein and viciously criticized Israel), and before/following the First Gulf War (when the White House ignored Israel’s role as America’s most reliable, effective and unconditional strategic ally).
The assumption that the new defense package will prevent Israel from collaborating with Congress and submitting new initiatives and requests – as required by the increasingly stormy, unpredictable globe – for the next ten years, should be assessed against the realistic, worst case global and Middle East scenarios. Thus, as tectonic as has been the Arab Tsunami since 2010/11, it will probably be dwarfed by the intolerant violence around the corner, especially in (and from) the Middle East, which has been – since the seventh century – the most fragmented, unstable, unpredictable, volcanic, intolerant, violent, anti-Western region in the world, religiously, ideologically, politically and militarily.
The US and Israel cannot afford to base their strategic cooperation on a fixed, or linear, framework, ignoring global herky-jerky trends.  The US and Israel should not demote and exclude the co-equal Congress from the process of strategic cooperation, at a time of a potential European collapse, swift proliferation of Islam-driven terrorism, an emboldened regime of the Ayatollahs, and a possible toppling of pro-US regimes in the Middle East, which will further exacerbate threat-assessment and security requirements.
A rush to conclude an MOU before January 20, 2017, in order to spare the uncertainties surrounding the next president, and the expected delay of a few months or a year, in finalizing the defense package by the incoming president, would sacrifice long-term strategic interests on the altar of short-term strategic convenience. It would write off effective congressional muscle, and therefore the full potential of the American goodwill.
In addition, both presidential candidates are at least as pro-Israel as is President Obama, and would therefore support a defense package at least as generous as is currently proposed, receiving a thunderous support on Capitol Hill.
The supposed demand, by President Obama, to deny Congress the capability to upgrade/initiate future US-Israel strategic cooperation undermines the US Constitution, and may reflect an intention to constrain future enhancement of such cooperation, which has contributed, uniquely, to the US economy, national security and homeland security.
Finally, when it comes to US MOUs, guarantees and treaties, one should note their three critical and legitimate attributes: non-specificity and ambiguity, intended to facilitate partial-implementation; non-automaticity, enabling delay, suspension and non-implementation; and avoiding implementation if it harms US interests. For example, in 1957, President Eisenhower issued an Executive Agreement – in exchange for Israel’s full withdrawal from the Sinai Peninsula – supposedly committing US troops on behalf of Israel should Egypt violate the ceasefire. However, in 1967, Egypt violated the ceasefire and established an anti-Israel Arab military front, but President Johnson contended that the agreement was non-binding.
US and Israeli policy-makers may benefit from Benjamin Franklin’s advice: “He that can have patience can have what he will.”
Yoram Ettinger

2 Dead in Blast at Azerbaijan Defense Plant

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016

Two plant workers died and 24 others were injured Tuesday afternoon in an explosion at a defense plant in oil-rich Azerbaijan, according to a statement from the Defense Industry Ministry, RT.com reported.

The cause of the blast has not yet been determined, officials said. . The plant is located in Shirvan, 100 kilometeres (60 miles) southwest of the capital city of Baku.

Israel values the close diplomatic relations it enjoys with the Caucasus state, which has a Muslim majority.

Israel recognized Azerbaijan shortly after it declared its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

Hana Levi Julian

Police Continue Nightly Harassment of Minor Targeted by Outgoing Defense Minister

Tuesday, July 26th, 2016

“The minor from Yitzhar” has become its own paradigm in rightwing Israeli media (leftwing outlets are yet to report this outrage).

A 15-year-old boy who, by decree of the former defense minister, Moshe Yaalon, was ordered out of Judea and Samaria, where his parents live, in the settlement of Yitzhar. It was an administrative decree, issued at the whim of the permanent martial law authorities that have governed the Jewish communities in the “territories” for fifty years.

Said decree was not required to specify what the minor from Yitzhar had done to bring on himself the wrath of the minister, it was simply issued, and turned into a living hell the life of the boy, his parents and his family and family friends inside the “green line” where he was forced to seek shelter.

The latter part, about the living hell, has to do with the requirement of Israel police to check on civilians who are removed from Judea and Samaria by administrative decree. Police show up around three in the morning, the preferred time for action by police everywhere, ring bells, bang on doors, wake up entire neighborhoods, because it’s what police do. And so, it shouldn’t surprise anyone to discover that the minor from Yitzhar faced a hard time convincing his parents’ family and acquaintances — including his grandparents who live in Petach Tikvah — to give him shelter for too many nights in a row, because they need their sleep.

Take for instance last Monday morning, that’s very early Monday morning, when policemen and detectives arrived at a home in Karmiel, in northern Israel, where the minor from Yitzhar was staying, and picked him up for interrogation at the local police station. The reason was that the fax (what decade is this?) he was supposed to send police, telling them his address that night, had been sent just after the required time.

Ah, police harassment, that unique combination of abuse of power and contempt for civilians, it’s why Israeli police patrol cars don’t say silly stuff like the LAPD’s “To protect and to serve,” or the NYPD’s CPR: “Courtesy, Professionalism, Respect.” It just says “Police,” and if you’re a minor from Yitzhar tormented by the remnant ire of an already deposed defense czar, you know that patrol cars only spell harassment.

At noon on Monday, the legal aid society Honenu represented the minor from Yitzhar against the police’s attempt to keep him in jail until they’re done prosecuting him for that late fax.

Petach Tikvah Peace Court Judge Hannah Schnitzer-Zaga refused to proceed with the silly hearing and compelled the prosecution to reach a livable compromise with the defense. So they did, and the minor from Yitzhar was released on the same terms as before, including having to send those faxes on time. Also, police were warned not to carry out those late night surprise visits they enjoy so much.

Honenu attorney Chai Haber who represents the minor from Yitzhar noted that “it looks like all of the country’s security issues have been resolved, because otherwise it’s hard to understand why law enforcement is investing so many resources in harassing a 15-year-old boy with no priors.”

No one doubts that police harassment of the boy will continue. Attorney Haber related an incident when one night, when the minor from Yitzhar found himself without a place to sleep, he walked into a police station asking for help finding shelter for the night — so they opened a new case against him for breaking the terms of his release.

MKs Bezalel Smotrich (Habayit Hayehudi) and Yehuda Glick (Likud) have requested an urgent Knesset discussion of the case of the minor from Yitzhar, whose life has been interrupted and uprooted for several months now by what appears to be Moshe Yaalon’s sheer vindictiveness. One man has the power to put an end to this cruelty is Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan (Likud). His email is gerdan@knesset.gov.il.

David Israel

Nat’l Security Chief Heads to Washington Defense Memorandum of Understanding

Monday, July 25th, 2016

The Acting Head of the National Security Council, Brig. Gen. (Res.) Jacob Nagel, will travel to Washington on July 31, 2016, for meetings with his White House counterparts.

Nagel is being sent to ensure a new memorandum of understanding is signed between the two countries as soon as possible.

“Israel places great value on the predictability and certainty of the military assistance it receives from the United States and on honoring bilateral agreements,” the prime minister’s office said in a statement.

“Therefore, it is not in Israel’s interest for there to be any changes to the fixed annual MOU levels without the agreement of both the U.S. Administration and the Israeli government.”

For FY2017, Israel said it remains committed to the FMF level specified in the current MOU, which is $3.1 billion, and is not seeking additional funding.

Israel is concerned by White House demands that none of the FMF money will be allowed to be spent in Israel, unlike previous agreements which allowed a certain percentage of the funds to be used in Israel, and not just in the US.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/natl-security-chief-heads-to-washington-defense-memorandum-of-understanding/2016/07/25/

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