A Pentagon spokesman has denied an Israel report that Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff is in Israel to discuss Syria and Iran strategy with Israeli leaders but confirmed that he will visit Israel and Jordan within two weeks.
Posts Tagged ‘defense’
In Brad Pitt’s latest offering, World War Z, a virus transforms human beings into zombies determined to overtake the world and destroy every country on Earth. In the film, only Israel has the foresight to build a massive zombie-repelling wall.
One of the film’s central characters, Mossad agent Jurgen Warmbrunn, explains, “In the ’30s, Jews refused to believe we could be put in concentration camps. In the ’70s, we didn’t believe we could be massacred at the Olympics.” Warmbrunn notes that based on these experiences, Israel remains ready for any security threat, maintaining a defense infrastructure that surpasses all other nations.
Some observers see the zombie-resistant wall as representative of the real life Security Barrier that keeps Palestinian suicide bombers out of Israel. In addition to being proactive in security, the movie portrays Israel as a humanitarian country that permits uninfected Palestinians to enter so that they will not be harmed by zombies. “Every human being we save is one less zombie to fight,” remarks Jurgen. He adds that saving Palestinian lives is good for peace. This too reflects an Israel that honors the rights of its Arab citizens, works to save Palestinian lives, and serves as an inspiration to the Islamic world by treating persecuted minority groups, such as Ahmadi Muslims and Bahais, with dignity.
In World War Z, Israel is also portrayed as a country in which women are given equal opportunities. For example, the film features an Israeli warrior named Segen, played by Israeli actress Daniella Kertesz, who saves lives and helps distribute the zombie vaccine.
In reality, Israel is a pioneer in women’s rights, a country where women proudly serve in the Israel Defense Forces. It is also engaged in humanitarian missions that help other countries across the world, including fighting against gender-based violence in South Sudan, sending agricultural and medical assistance to Haiti, rescuing people trapped under a collapsed shopping mall in Ghana, bringing relief to victims of an Oklahoma Tornado, helping Hurricane Sandy Victims, treating victims of the Boston Marathon Bombing, and assisting first-responders at the Newtown Massacre. In a fictionalized form, World War Z highlights Israel’s innumerable contributions to the world and represents one of the most pro-Israel films ever made.
Visit United with Israel.
Three thoughts as the U.S. Senate gears up to consider on Jan. 31 the nomination of Chuck Hagel for the position of secretary of defense:
(1) It’s more than a bit curious that Barack Obama should nominate a politician of no distinction, with no significant bills to his name, no administrative accomplishments, and no known ideas, to the hugely important post of secretary of defense. It’s even more curious that Hagel is known for only two foreign policy/defense views: being soft on Iran and hostile to Israel. This certainly sends a strong signal to Israel.
(2) It’s been dismaying to note that, after an initial expression of skepticism, American Jewish institutions have taken a pass on the Hagel nomination. It would appear that, for them, access trumps other considerations.
(3) In contrast, Christians United for Israel (CUFI), released a statement expressing opposition to Hagel on account of his “unacceptable blindness to the greatest security threat of our day,” namely Iran and Hezbollah. In addition, CUFI announced that at least 400 Christian leaders will travel to Capitol Hill this week to lobby representatives of all 100 senators.
Comment: Odd that CUFI is out there swinging and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee is silent.
Sending women into combat, like the end of the ban on official homosexuality, has been met with worried remarks about its impact on the “warrior culture.” But the new military that the left has been building for some time now is not interested in warriors; it wants peacekeepers.
The old army fought for a nation. The new one fights for vague concepts such as human rights or international law. Its goals are as intangible as those of the ideology it serves. It doesn’t fight actual enemies, but concepts and social problems. It fights against climate change, poverty and obesity. It fights for education, tolerance and the right of everyone to the gender of their choice. It isn’t really the army, it’s the hall monitors of the United Nations, the State Department, NATO and every liberal group on the planet.
Their ideal new soldier is not a warrior; he speaks three languages, appears non-threatening and can direct refugees, hand out aid to them and quickly pick up the local culture and religion. He is uncritical when witnessing child molestation, human sacrifice or any other quaint local custom. He is willing to die, not for his country, but to win the hearts and minds of the locals. He will not fire in self-defense if there is a single unarmed man, woman or child within twenty miles.
American soldiers have played the role of peacekeepers before, but in the new military that is their only role. They are the Peace Corps, riding in under a U.N. flag when the video game boys back across the ocean have used remote drones to take out that portion of the enemy force that didn’t manage to find a human shield in time. Their mission is to set up generators, dig wells, patrol roads and smile a lot, unless smiling is not approved of by the local culture.
A warrior culture is supplementary to peacekeeping requirements. Warriors try to kill things. They want to win wars, instead of accepting that conflicts can only be resolved through negotiations and that their presence is a negotiating tactic, not a fight for survival.
The new soldier is a policeman of the world, watching crimes that he isn’t allowed to stop. He is a diplomat with a gun. He isn’t there to shoot anyone, except as an absolute last resort. Rather he is there to represent the United States on that great mission that is the only task of worth in a fatherless country, to be a role model. He is there, smiling and handing out candy, to convince the locals that even though we bombed their country, frightened their sheep and wiped out a lot of their smuggling income, that they should not hate the United States of America.
The old army projected the hard power of killing the people who wanted to fight us until they were either dead or willing to switch to competing with us by making transistor radios and electric shavers. The new army projects the soft power of winning over the locals so that they don’t want to fight us anymore. It’s not about winning wars, it’s about preventing the need for wars; even when already in the middle of a war.
To do all this our military has to become less American and more European, less imperial and more multilateral, an international consensus building exercise with bullets that aren’t meant to be fired. It has to become more tolerant and accepting. It has to lose the “warrior culture” and swap it in for the urban liberal culture that values consensus over performance and ideological conformity over all else.
The left is not comfortable with an army that is out of step with its values. A large standing army is a dangerous thing. Neutering it will take generations, but the left just won another four years in which it can have its way with national defense. And its way is to hollow out every institution, religion, workplace and family until they exist for no other reason than to pass on and implement its ideas.
The only way that liberals will ever accept the military is through the liberalization of the military into a force that projects their social values and fights to promote them abroad through human rights peacekeeping operations, rather than national defense. And when the peacekeeping force arrives in Timbuktu, Aleppo or Ramallah, it has to carry with it the liberal standard and convey to all the natives that the United States is wonderful because it represents gay rights, girl power and the wars on obesity, poverty and cholera.
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.
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.
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.