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July 31, 2015 / 15 Av, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘defense’

Britain and France Boycott Israeli Military Expo

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015

Britain, France and several Scandinavian countries have prohibited their countries’ defense officials and private contractors from exhibiting at the 7th annual Israel Defense Expo that opened today at Tel Aviv.

Maariv reports that the Foreign Ministry officials warned that the boycott is only the first reaction to last week’s FIFA debacle in which the Palestinian Authority failed to win its campaign to force Israel to ban soccer teams in Judea and Samaria or be ousted from the corrupt organization.

The problem with the theory of Israel’s answer to the U.S. State Dept.’s Foggy Bottom foreign policy pencil pushers is that there is no way that Britain and France acted so quickly between last Friday and today.

The more likely explanation is that the countries indeed are sending a message to Israel that they are steadfast in their belief that if Israel simply would hand over Judea and Samaria to the Palestinian Authority, the world would be a better place for London and Paris, and never mind Jerusalem and Ramallah.

But that has nothing to do with the soccer silliness. In fact, the European Union voted not to expel Israel from FIFA.

It is true that Israel is losing potential deals with defense contractors at the exhibition, but it is equally true that the countries that are boycotting Israel are shooting themselves in the head. They are losing out on possible sales and contacts with companies from all over the world.

They may be hurting exports from Israel, but trade works in two directions.

One Spanish contractor, banned by Spain from exhibiting in Israel, simply appeared in Tel Aviv under a different name, a security official told Maariv:

They have no will to be identified as a company selling offensive weapons to Israel.

But when asked if their absence damages Israel, the official did not answer.

The reaction of the Foreign Minister officials is not surprising in light of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s recent moves to put some common sense and unity back into the ministry that is over-staffed with people from the days of the Rabin-Peres government, when the Oslo Accords were supposed to bring eternal peace to the Middle East.

His selection of Tzipi Hotovely as Deputy Foreign Minister and former Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Dore Gold to direct the ministry have thrown Israel’s establishment media into a trauma.

Hotovely absolutely shocked some of the Foreign Ministry middle-tier staff when she gave them a short lesson of Torah and said that the policy to explain Israel’s position to the world should be based on God’s having granted the Land of Israel to the Jewish People.

The idea of re-inventing the wheel is so revolutionary, or in the minds of the lefties so archaic, that Israel’s leftist oriented establishment media went all out last week to try to convince its readers that Prime Minister Netanyahu is destroying the Foreign Ministry.

Netanyahu Wants US $45 Billion in US Military Aid by 2028

Thursday, May 28th, 2015

The Netanyahu administration is holding talks with American officials for a 13-year military program of $45 billion in aid, Defense News reported.

The current American military aid program for Israel amounts to $3.1 billion a year following an increase from the original $2.4 billion a year from 2007 to 2017.  The new request would grant Israel “$4.2 billion to $4.5 billion,” according to a security source.

The military aid package does not include annual funding for anti-missile systems being developed by the United States and Israel.

A healthy part of American aid ends up in the hands of American defense contractors.

The preliminary talks for a new agreement for military aid also do not take into account aid that President Barack Obama may offer Israel to sugar-coat a deal an agreement with Iran over its nuclear program.

The request for a hike in aid reflects the arms race in the world and especially in the Middle East, where Arab countries have developed or bought sophisticated weapons that can threaten Israel.

Howard Kohr, chief executive officer of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), “estimates that Israel may have to spend $160 billion on defense in the decade to come,” according to Defense News.

Kohr told the House Appropriations subcommittee on foreign operations last month that Israeli defense spending coincides with “accelerated military investment fueled by the oil revenues of Israel’s Arab neighbors.”

In addition, economic sanctions have not stopped Iran from doubling its military spending and development of new weapons. The Islamic Republic also is preparing to receive the advanced S-300 anti-missile systems from Russia, which has indicated it will not be in a rush to deliver the systems to Iran.

 

Saudis Hold Body of U.S. Elbit Subcontractor After Mysterious Death in Tabuk

Sunday, February 1st, 2015

Saudi Arabia has yet to release the body of a U.S. defense subcontractor who was working for Israel’s Elbit Systems when he died under mysterious circumstances after being sent to the country to help complete a weapons deal.

Christopher Cramer was working for Kollsman Inc., a firm that subcontracted for the Israeli defense electronics company, when he was found dead last month on the ground outside his third-floor hotel room in Tabuk, Saudi Arabia.

“We received a message from Kollsman Inc., Elbit Systems’ subcontractor in America, saying its employee Chris Cramer passed away during a work trip,” said a spokesperson for Elbit Systems.

“The circumstances of his death are being investigated by the American State Department. We have no further details at this stage and we are waiting for the State Department to update our American subcontractor. Cramer worked for the company for 12 years. We cannot provide details on the project he was working on, but this is a Kollsman product, an American product with no Israeli technologies involved in its production.”

Cramer, 50, provided technical assistance for a demonstration and sale of a TOW anti-armor missile system as an employee of Kollsman Inc., Fox News reported over the weekend. Authorities in Saudi Arabia claim that Cramer committed suicide by jumping to his death from the third floor of a hotel – but the facts just don’t add up. His family does not believe he committed suicide; they say he was murdered because he appeared to be a threat to the lucrative arms deal that was in process.

Noah Mandell, the family attorney and a longtime friend of Cramer’s, told Fox News the problem was with the customer. “The missile system was already sold to the Saudi company and they were complaining that it wasn’t working,” Mandell said.

“He was basically sent to see if he could prove that they were firing it incorrectly.” Mandell added that he believes the company that purchased the equipment wanted the missiles to malfunction. “The point of sabotaging equipment is you get a customer who has to buy a new set, and you’ve still got the old equipment,” Mandell said.

A spokesperson for Kollsman Inc. said Cramer had even posted a video of one of the missile firings, showing that everything was operating and fully functional. Mandell received messages from Cramer on the night that he died, saying his life was in danger and asking his friend to contact the State Department.

“I’m at the Marakim Tabuk Hotel in Saudi,” he texted his roommate back in New Hampshire when he could not reach Mandell. “I think something bad is going to happen to me tonight. Please contact State Dept. ASAP. Bad things were said.”

Mandell missed three calls within eight minutes on his voice mail that night. Cramer may not have trusted his own employers as well; the company rushed to inform his family that his death was a suicide. Now Kollsman says it will wait for the outcome of the Saudi probe.

“The question is… Why was Chris calling his dog sitter and his lawyer in America instead of his own company? They sent him into hell and had no plan to get him back,” Mandell charged. More to the point, the delivery of Cramer’s body to the United States has been delayed and has still not arrived on U.S. soil. His family is waiting to be able to send it for an autopsy.

Under American law, it is up to the FBI to investigate the circumstances when an U.S. citizen dies overseas – but the FBI gets involved only “if they are invited to do so by the local authorities,” according to the State Department. “They don’t have the jurisdiction to go into a country and start an investigation. They have to be invited in,” an FBI official told The Daily Beast. “Our standard practice is to neither confirm nor deny FBI investigations.”

Israel Finalizes Trimmed F-35 Order From US

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

Israel’s cabinet voted Sunday to approve a reduced order to purchase 14 Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter jets.

The government has been discussing the issue of how many of the warplanes to buy since January.

Also approved was an option to order another 17 of the F-35s in 2017.

The original deal approved by U.S. and Israeli defense chiefs in October 2014 included the purchase of 50 of the warplanes for two squadrons, with two of the jets to be used in experiments by the IAF.

Since then, U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel tendered his resignation to President Barack Obama, although he agreed to remain at his post until a replacement is found and confirmed by the Senate.

And although Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon remains in his position, Israel’s entire government coalition is likely to change due to what appears to be a collection of irreconcilable differences leading the country to early elections.

Israel already had ordered 19 F-35s in 2010 for $2.75 billion, which are due to arrive in December 2016.

This week’s decision brings the total number of planes purchased to 33 instead of the original 50 agreed upon, all of which were to be acquired with U.S. military aid.

Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz was particularly opposed to the purchase, questioning the need for the plane due to manufacturing setbacks in the past. The high cost of the fighter jet was another factor raised by Steinitz and several others, who expressed belief there were better ways to spend their military dollars.

In the United States, the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps all grounded their F-35 squadrons on July 3 after a fire in the rear of a plane forced a pilot to abandon takeoff at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.

However, South Korea purchased 40 of the aircraft for its F-X fighter acquisition program in September, to be delivered starting in 2018. The contract, worth $7.1 billion, marked the country’s biggest weapons deal.

Ya’alon: US Defense Secy Hagel is ‘True Friend’ of Israel

Monday, November 24th, 2014

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon was unstinting with his praise of outgoing U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Monday in response to the news that Hagel is stepping down.

Ya’alon called Hagel a “true friend” of Israel, commenting that in recent years, his relationship with the defense secretary had been “very open and honest.”

The U.S. security establishment under his command, said Ya’alon, “is an example of uncompromising support and exchange of information.” Ya’alon also referred to the “extensive and valuable military assistance that the U.S. has provided Israel.”

He thanked Hagel “in the name of the government of Israel and on behalf of its citizens” for his “contribution to the empowerment of Israel and his friendship and willingness to help at any time.

“I wish him well and good luck in his future endeavors,” Ya’alon added.

Hagel handed his formal letter of resignation to President Barack Obama on Monday morning prior to a ceremony at the White House in which Obama told reporters that both men agreed it was an “appropriate” time for him to resign.

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel Calls It ‘Quits’

Monday, November 24th, 2014

U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel handed in his resignation to President Barack Obama on Monday, and the two then announced it officially to the media.

The announcement followed pressure from the top and an extended, failed attempt to break through a presidential team of national security advisers.

In a formal ceremony at the White House, Obama said the decision had been a mutual one with both deciding this was an “appropriate time for him to complete his service.”

Obama noted that Hagel was the first enlisted combat veteran to lead the Department of Defense. “He stood where his soldiers stood,” Obama pointed out. “He sees himself in them. They see themselves in him.”

Hagel’s departure leaves the Obama administration “defenseless” as his national security team faces the continued rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and its march towards a caliphate in the Middle East. Also ongoing is Russia’s escalating encroachment into Ukraine, and an incremental movement backwards towards another Cold War with the U.S.

Hagel, 68, is also a Republican leaving a lonely Democratic Obama administration as it faces a newly powerful Republican House of Representatives and Senate.

The two men grew close when they both served across the aisle from each other in the Senate, prior to Obama’s election as president. Hagel served as a senator from Nebraska after earning two Purple Hearts during the Vietnam War.

“Chuck Hagel has devoted himself to our national security and our men and women in uniform across six decades,” Obama said. But the president’s advisers were not nearly as happy with the defense secretary, whose loyalty they doubted and whose actions they questioned throughout his tenure.

Short-listed to replace Hagel are former deputy defense secretary Ash Carter and the current deputy, Robert Work.

Hagel has agreed to remain at his post until a successor is confirmed by the Senate. But the process may take some time, given the difficulties of finding a candidate the White House and its Republican adversaries can all agree on.

Will Israel Reduce F-35 Order From US?

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

Israel’s ministerial committee is revisiting a preliminary deal to buy 25 to 31 F-35 fighter jets from Lockheed Martin Corp.

The committee allegedly wants to halve the tentative order by Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, according to Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz.

A majority of committee members were opposed to the deal as it currently stands, Steinitz told Reuters on Monday. The ministers suggested a purchase of 10 to 15 planes instead, with a final decision to come in the near future.

Among the reasons cited for the decision was the issue of cuts in the defense budget, as well as questions over whether the F-35’s range, payload and maneuverability really met Israel’s needs.

An original contract signed in 2010 to purchase 19 of the warplanes for $275 billion left open the option to buy 75 of the jets, or three squadrons.

However, there is a growing sense among some Israelis that it is time for the Jewish State to begin producing its own weapons and ammunition — including its own warplanes.

This summer’s block by the White House on delivery of Hellfire missiles during the IDF’s Operation Protective Edge — in fact, its holdup of any military hardware whatsoever — did not sit well with the Israeli public, and served as a wakeup call even to those on the moderate left end of the political spectrum.

“We are not the Defense Ministry’s rubber stamp,” Steinitz told Reuters. Nevertheless, a source in the defense establishment told the news agency the ministerial committee is likely to compromise on the deal, possibly purchasing 13 of the F-35s this year, and another 18 in 2017.

The F35s that were purchased in 2010 are scheduled for delivery between 2016 and 2018.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/will-israel-reduce-f-35-order-from-us/2014/11/18/

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