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April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘defense’

Israeli Election Results Put Focus on Domestic Front

Monday, January 28th, 2013

The Israeli elections last week saw a meteoric rise of a centrist party, and disproved near-universal forecasts of a rise of the religious right.

What do last week’s elections say about Israel’s future defense policies?

Israelis returned Netanyahu to the prime minister’s seat, meaning that the electorate would like him to continue to steer the country through this chaotic and dangerous era. The elections results also showed that voters backed Netanyahu’s hard work on tackling the Iranian threat, but remained deeply concerned over domestic issues, which Netanyahu’s last coalition of ultra-Orthodox and nationalist parties failed to address.

Lapid, located on the center-right of the political map, is no dove. He is pragmatic; he does not hold ideological or religious objections to an Israeli withdrawal from Judea and Samaria, but has recognized, rather, that Israel has no peace partner.

At the same time, Lapid and his party have expressed displeasure over the fact that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has been able to score victories over Israel in the diplomatic arena. Lapid has therefore called for reopening talks with Abbas, if only to prove Israel’s willingness to pursue a peace plan.

Lapid has also advocated a unilateral dismantling of far-flung outposts in Judea and Samaria, while consolidating the major settlement blocs — with or without a peace agreement.

On the most critical question of all — whether Israel should launch a military strike on Iran — Lapid has limited himself to calling on Netanyahu to do a better job of coordinating Israel’s position with that of the U.S.

He expressed concern over the dysfunctional state of relations between Netanyahu and President Barack Obama, and the ramifications of poor relations on future efforts to stop Iran.

In all likelihood, Lapid and his new party will join Prime Minister Netanyahu in forming the next coalition. If he joins the government, Lapid is expected to support Netanyahu’s main focus — stopping the Iranian nuclear program.

How did Yair Lapid and his Yesh Atid [There Is a Future] party — whose members have never sat in parliament — overnight become the second largest political force in Israel?

The answer resides in the quiet and growing alarm mainstream Israelis are feeling over the way the country’s resources are diverted to serve narrow minority interests at the majority’s expense.

Lapid merely pointed out problems that were known to all, but also promised to repair the glaring flaws, while enjoying a clean-cut image, free of the political baggage that had tarred the old guard in the eyes of much of the electorate.

Lapid’s campaign highlighted the fact that middle class Israeli families — the engine of the country’s economy — are struggling to make ends meet, yet significant funds are being diverted to support a parallel ultra-Orthodox society, which has its own education system. Many of those who study at ultra-Orthodox seminaries do not end up joining the workforce, and remain dependent on state subsidies.

While a majority of secular and Orthodox national-religious Israelis risk their lives to serve in the military and protect their families, most ultra-Orthodox do not (although a growing number are.)

Lapid’s proposed solutions: A universal draft to the army or civilian national service for all Israelis, and limiting the number of state-sponsored seminary students to 400 (the current number of students is 60,000).

Lapid has also called for a change to Israel’s proportional representation system, to decrease the number of political parties, thereby limiting the ability of small parties to extort special privileges from ruling coalitions.

Israelis are also outraged by economic oligopolies, which are inflating prices of basic commodities, as well as the failure of past governments to protect citizens from exploitative corporations. The only exception to this is the outgoing communications minister, Moshe Kahlon, who reformed regulations and introduced new competition into the mobile phone industry, resulting in plummeting prices, and as a result became a national hero.

A significant numbers of hardworking Israeli families are in perpetual debt, while others — due to the inflated housing prices as a result of the state owning 93% of all lands, as well as bureaucratic red tape slowing down the construction process — are unable even to dream of owning their own home.

The old guard of Israeli politics is perceived as being out of touch, and tinged by cronyism, as well as by apathy to the common person.

US Senate Approves Massive Defense Budget

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

The US Senate approved a massive $631 billion defense bill authorizing new funds for weapons, air and sea craft, and pay raises for military officials.

Of the money approved – in a sweeping vote of 98-0 – $526 will go to current defense programs, $17 billion to Energy Department defense projects, and $88 billion to the ongoing US war in Afghanistan.

The Senate also overwhelmingly voted for an investigation into the possibility of instituting a no-fly zone over civil war-torn Syria. The Obama administration has warned Syria not to use chemical or biological weapons against its citizens. The bill faces a possible veto by the president.

Last year, Obama and congressional Republicans agreed to a half a trillion dollars in defense cuts over the next decade. The bill also added new stringencies to sanctions against Iran, targeting the Islamic republic’s energy and shipping sectors. Though some sanctions are already in place, Iran has continued to work on developing its nuclear program.

Don’t Just Stand There, Get Out your Candles!

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

The cards seem to be falling, almost as planned. Our Arab neighbors asked the international anti-Israel organization, otherwise known as the United Nations, for recognition in their efforts to delete Israel from the world map. They approached the number one warrior, General Assembly, who consulted with his Defense cabinet, the Security council, which vetoed the idea, realizing the negative consequences. So the General decided to go it alone. As such, Palestine was created by General Assembly and his friends.

The key word in that last sentence is, of course, “created.” From scratch. Because it never really existed. At least, not as an Arab entity. So, we’re going back to the days of “Creation” when God created the heavens, the earth, and of course, now, palestine. Israel did as expected. The UN’s greatest nemesis declared parts of “Palestine” to actually be part of Israel.

Actually, everyone already knew that the four and a half mile area labeled E1 is as much part of Israel as is Tel Aviv. The land, on the outskirts of Jerusalem, extending to Ma’aleh Adumim, is as Jewish as Rye bread. Well, almost everyone. Jodi Rudoren, in the NY Times, labels the area “contentious.” Others call this “illegal Israeli settlement.”

Then again, what is considered “Israeli settlement” in “conquered” “Palestinian” land? Again, Ms. Rudoren serves as a faithful messenger of world opinion. Writing about “East Jerusalem,” she mentions neighborhoods such as French Hill, Ramot. Also, Har Homa, Givat HaMatos, and Pisgat Zeev.

Not too long ago, when VP Biden visited Israel, the White House flipped over when it was announced that some 1,500 new apartments would be built in Ramat Shlomo, also classified a “settlement.” The plan was quickly scrapped. Until yesterday.

Of course, anyone who has ever visited Jerusalem knows that these are all normal neighborhoods in Israel’s capitol city. Any thought of “withdrawal” from Ramot or French Hill or Ramat Shlomo is about as far-fetched as whatever your head can come with.

The resulting uproar, from Israel’s front and backyard, was expected. After all, who cares that just north of us, a desperate Arab mass murderer is arming chemical weapons for use on “rebels.” If the wind’s blowing in the right direction, maybe some of the gas will float over (God forbid) into “enemy territory.”

But that takes back seat to Jewish imperialism and expansionism. Ambassadors are being recalled. Israeli envoys are being scolded. And Israeli political leftists are decrying Netanyahu’s outrageous move. Ha’aretz newspaper: Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert says he was dismayed by Israel’s “offending” response to the “extraordinary courage” shown by President Obama’s Administration in their defense of Israel at the United Nations. “I was utterly surprised,” he said.”

Ok, so what’s next? It seems that the whole world is against us. Again. There are those who suggest that Obama and the Europeans will “use this” against our attempts to end Iran’s nuclear threat.

What should Israel do next? Buckle under to world pressure or tell them all to jump in the lake?

In a few days we begin celebrating Hanukkah, the festival of lights. During the days of the Maccabees, there was tremendous pressure on the Jews to fold to Greek pressure, and assimilate into Hellenistic culture. The Maccabees refused, declaring war on this attempt to spiritually destroy Judaism. Then too, the few fought the many. And they won. As such, we celebrate Hanukkah, marking eight days with candles lit every evening. There were many miracles. A tiny drop of pure olive oil lasted for eight days. And the military victory was no less a Divine phenomenon.

As we approach these festive days of wonder, again finding ourselves being oppressed by the “Greeks” of today, once more, we should show our independence. Every day during Hanukkah, another seed should be planted. For example, the first night, we should be given permits allowing us to move back into Beit HaMachpela in Hebron. The second night, permits should be issued returning the “Shalhevet neighborhood” – the area of the old Arab market, to Hebron’s Jewish community. Etc. Etc.

Not only in Hebron, but throughout Judea and Samaria. And in Jerusalem. Three thousand new apartments should be transformed into 30,000 new apartment buildings. And let’s not forget: Netanyahu should announce plans to rebuild Gush Katif, thereby ending, once and for all, rocket attacks into Israel.

India May Scrap US Military Deal in Favor of Israeli One

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

India’s army may opt to conduct a $1 billion military defense contract with Israel rather than the United States, showcasing the increasingly strong competition between the two countries in providing defensive solutions throughout the world.

According to an article in the India Times, the Indian Army initially planned to purchase American FGM-148 Javelin anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs), but may instead purchase Israeli ‘Spike’ ATGMs because of a US hesitance to provide “transfer of technology” license (ToT) to India which would enable the country to produce its own anti-tank weapons after the initial purchase.

“The Javelin imbroglio has once again rekindled long-held fears in the Indian defence establishment about the US not being a reliable long-term supplier of cutting-edge military technology. India also detests American conditions on “intrusive end-user inspections” of weapons sold to its armed forces,” the article said.

The defense contract includes the provision of 2,000 launchers and 24,000 missiles.

The report notes that Israel is India’s second largest defense provider after Russia and said this sale would constitute the third major missile program between India and Israel.  Deals between the two countries for military technology are worth approximately $1 billion a year.

The Trial of a Rasha

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

The trial of of accused sexual abuser Rabbi Nechemya Weberman is underway. I thought I would post a few of my thoughts about it. First let me excerpt the following quote by Anna C. Salter PhD from Rabbi Yakov Horowitz’s website:

1. It is perhaps not surprising that predators who have never been arrested are so successful in fooling people. They simply take on the lifestyle and manner of genuinely nice people, and it is understandable, if tragic, that we can’t tell the difference.

2. It is a misconception that child molesters are somehow different from the rest of us, outside their proclivities to molest. They can be loyal friends, good employees, and responsible members of the community in other ways.

3. Offender self-reports have dubious validity, especially when the offender’s self-interest is at stake. The only rule for deception in sex offenders I have ever found is this: If it is in the offender’s best interest to lie, and if he can do it and not get caught, he will lie.

I have little doubt about Rabbi Weberman’s guilt. And I am encouraged by the over 40 people who have so far shown up at the trial to show support for the victim. I am also encouraged by the number of people who have responded to the request by Rabbi Horowitz to post a comment on his website in support of the victim. I encourage everyone to do so. She can use all the support she can get. Her character is being attacked. It is a typical ploy of defense attorneys to attack the character of an accuser at trial so as to undermine their credibility.

I posted a comment of my own there. It isn’t much but it’s the least I can do in support of a victim of sex abuse. I am also glad to see the name of Rabbi Chaim Twersky, one of the Roshei Yeshiva of HTC in that list of commenters. He posted a comment of support for the victim. That takes courage. He is one of my local heroes for many reasons. He just added another one by doing that.

Bearing in mind the American tradition of innocent until proven guilty, I will wait until the end of the trial to pass final judgment. But the facts of the case are so revealing that one would have to be blind, deaf, and dumb to think this man is innocent. And yet his community and its rabbinic leadership is either all of those… or they simply don’t care. That’s why they had a fund-raiser for a supposed defense fund and raised a half million dollars. Which they promptly used to try and bribe the victim to drop the charges and leave the country.

Not only was the victim not tempted to take that money, but the four Chasidim who tried to bribe her were arrested for trying to do that. Thank God! These “good people” will probably serve some time for their “altruism.” And their families will suffer. I’m sure that there will be fundraisers for them too with all kind of appeals to sympathy for the plight of these “Frum” Jews and their families. And of course there will be attendant accusations of Antisemitism that are always attached to the courts if they are convicted and sent to prison. But that’s another conversation.

One of the things almost always heard – especially in places like Williamsburg (where Rabbi Weberman lives) is that one should never believe an accuser that is no longer observant. Especially when she is rebelling from the very community that she accuses of sex abuse and protecting the abuser. That is in fact the exact argument being made by the defense. From theNew York Times:

Lawyers for Mr. Weberman, however, argue that the young woman fabricated the allegations because she was furious at Mr. Weberman for what she thought was a betrayal of her trust. At age 15, they said, she had revealed to Mr. Weberman that she had a boyfriend — a serious breach of the community’s stringent rules — and then, a defense lawyer said, she concluded that he told her parents about it.

“There was only one answer,” said George Farkas, the defense lawyer, “vengeance and revenge against Nechemya Weberman, and through this, to bring down the entire community that either supported him, or of which he was a part.”

Another Reason Why Barak’s Resignation Spells Relief for Judea and Samaria

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

Here’s an opinion in the New Republic on Ehud Barak’s departure from the defense ministry which…

will have far-reaching implications for Israeli policy. That’s because the man most likely to replace Barak, Strategic Affairs Minister and Vice Prime Minister Moshe “Bogie” Ya’alon, disagrees with him on two of Israel’s most contentious issues: Iran’s nuclear program and West Bank settlements…

Though Ya’alon supported the 1993 Oslo Accords, in recent years he has shifted right on the Palestinian issue. At a 2009 conference, he called the group Peace Now a “virus” and said—regarding U.S. pressure over settlements—that he was “not afraid of the Americans.” “From my perspective,” he was quoted as saying, “Jews can and need to live in all of the Land of Israel for all eternity.”  Ya’alon elaborated on his thoughts in the Ha’aretz interview with Ari Shavit:

Ya’alon: As long as the other side is not ready to recognize our right to exist as the nation-state of the Jewish people, I am not ready to forgo a millimeter. I am not even willing to talk about territory. After land-for-peace became land-for-terror and land-for-rockets, I am no longer willing to bury my head in the sand. In the reality of the Middle East what is needed is stability above all. Stability is achieved not by means of imaginary agreements on the White House lawn but by means of defense, by means of a thick stick and a carrot.

Visit My Right Word.

The Very Impressive Iron Dome

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

Though the international community has been consistent in calling for Israel to stop defending itself from Gazan missile attacks by destroying missile launching sites and parties, Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense systems have gained respect and admiration worldwide, dependably annihilating rockets on their way to targets in Israeli residential areas.

The Associated Press wrote a report touting the success of Iron Dome, and explaining its specs and uses.

In the report, the AP noted that the Israeli-based Rafael Advanced Defense Systems produced Iron Dome, which was intended to shoot down missiles and artillery in an up to 45 mile range.  So far, the five Iron Dome batteries deployed in Israel’s south and outside Tel Aviv have succeeded 8 out of every 10 uses.

The state-of-the-art Iron Dome system calculates the trajectory of each missile, allowing those which are headed toward unpopulated areas to land, and immediately intercepting those which are headed toward populated or important areas using a special warhead.

If there is any downside to Iron Dome, it is the price tag.  Each missile costs $40,000. In 2010, the US put $200 million into expanding the development – a greater budget is being anticipated for 2012.

The Iron Dome system operates under the same principal as the “Arrow” missile defense system, which is meant to protect against long-range missiles from Iran, and is the predecessor of the upcoming “David’s Sling” anti-missile system, being developed by Rafael to neutralize medium-range missiles by 2014.

New Head of Hamas Military Wing Takes Jabari’s Place

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

Marwan Issa has been named the new commander of Hamas’s military wing. Issa was the deputy of Ahmed Jabari who was killed yesterday in an Israeli air strike and buried after public mourning rituals in Gaza.

Issa headed  the Hamas military delegation that traveled to Tehran and Beirut last September and signed secret mutual defense pacts with Iran and Hizbollah.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/new-head-of-hamas-military-wing-takes-jabaris-place/2012/11/15/

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