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December 11, 2016 / 11 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Germany’

Attorney-General to Probe Submarine Purchase

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016

The office of Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit has announced he will order an investigation into Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s personal attorney, David Shimron’s connection to Israel’s purchase of three new German submarines.

A statement by the Justice Ministry said, “Following new information received… from Israel Police and in view of other developments in connection with the matter… the Attorney-General has ordered an investigation to be carried out by police concerning various aspects of the issue.”

The probe is being held to determine if Shimron acted out of a conflict of interest, among other issues.

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said Wednesday that the purchase of the submarines, which will brings Israel’s fleet up to nine, was the right decision for the country. He added that the move was supported by “a large consensus in the security and political establishment.”

The decision to purchase the subs was made by the government after recommendations by the security cabinet, the National Security Council and the Foreign Ministry. Israeli media have been focused on scrutinizing the move, with Israel’s Channel 10 TV news among those who have been accused of seeking ways to undermine the prime minister.

Shimron has been the prime minister’s personal lawyer for many years, but is also representing the German company that sells the submarines. Channel 10 has alleged the sale was opposed by the IDF and former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon.

An IDF spokesperson said earlier this month, however, that the military had informed the cabinet of a “need” for new submarines. The National Security Agency (NSA), said in a statement that there was been a “wave of false reports” and that in fact, the deal with Germany to purchase the latest group of new submarines was fully supported by Ya’alon.

Hana Levi Julian

IDF Told Israeli Cabinet New Submarines ‘Needed’

Thursday, November 17th, 2016

Israel has decided to purchase at least three more submarines from a German shipbuilder in order to protect its growing natural energy assets.

But the decision, made by the government after recommendations by the security cabinet, the National Security Council and the Foreign Ministry, is under scrutiny by some Israeli media that has been said to be seeking ways to undermine Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Attorney David Shimron, who has been the prime minister’s personal lawyer for many years, is also representing the German company that sells the submarines — a sale Israel’s Channel 10 has alleged was opposed by the IDF and former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon.

An IDF spokesperson said Thursday, however, that the military had informed the cabinet of a “need” for new submarines. The National Security Agency (NSA), said in a statement that there has been a “wave of false reports” and that in fact, the deal with Germany to purchase the latest group of new submarines was fully supported by Ya’alon.

Israel’s Channel 10, accused of a vendetta against Netanyahu, reported Tuesday night that Shimron is being accused of a serious conflict of interest because he represents both the German shipbuilder and has held high-level meetings with its Israeli representative, Miki Ganor.

Shimron told media in a statement, “I have not spoken with any state officials about the privatization of the naval shipyard nor have I dealt with any state officials about vessels purchased by the State of Israel.”

Likewise, Netanyahu told Channel 10 that he has never discussed Shimron’s private clients with him. “The only reason for the deal with the Germans is strategic and economic considerations,” he said.

In a statement on his Facebook page late Wednesday, the prime minister noted that the agreement on the submarines was carried out “in an orderly, professional manner with no outside influence and with the recommendation of all the professional bodies in the Defense Ministry, the IDF and the National Security Agency.”

The Israel Navy currently has a fleet of five submarines, plus a sixth that is to be delivered within the next two years.

Netanyahu announced at a cabinet meeting last month that negotiations were close to completion for the purchase of three more submarines for the Israel Navy, at a cost of NIS 6 billion ($1.5 billion), pointing out the acquisition was a strategically important move.

The prime minister has said the submarines will play an important part in the protection of Israel’s natural gas fields, and in the defense of the Jewish State against a nuclear-armed Iran.

“The acquisition of ships was done in a professional, organized way without any external influences,” said the National Security Council in a statement.

“In the course of preparations to protect natural gas fields and installations the government decided to purchase four ships. The decision was taken on recommendation of the security administration, the National Security Council and the Foreign Ministry. During the course of our investigation, a number of possibilities were suggested for acquiring ships in accordance with the operational requirements of the IDF. At the end of our professional investigation it was decided based on political, operational, technological and budgetary considerations to base the acquisition on the agreement between the Israeli and German governments.”

The Council also underlined the fact that then-Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon was involved in the decision-making process.

“The decision was supported by then-Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, the Finance Ministry, and various officials from other government offices. It was also supported by then-Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon in accordance with the IDF’s position. Within the framework of the deal, Israel was granted a significant grant from the German government by virtue of the special relationship between the two nations, rendering the cost of the project lower than any of the other alternatives.”

 
Former head of the National Security Council General Yaacov Amidror (res.) explains to Channel 2 how the process of deciding to buy the submarines was made (in Hebrew):

Hana Levi Julian

German Police Raid 200 ISIS Cells in 10 States

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016

German police on Tuesday morning carried out more than 200 raids against the “True Religion” Salafist group, Deutsche Welle reported. The raids took place in more than 200 homes and offices across 10 federal states.

According to Soeren Kern, Salafists make up only a fraction of the estimated five million Muslims in Germany, but authorities believe they attract impressionable young Muslims who are potential candidates for carrying out terrorist acts in the name of Islam. The Salafists, a movement that originated in Saudi Arabia, openly promote replacing German democracy with an Islamic government based on sharia law.

The Interior Ministry at 6:30 AM local time Tuesday confirmed the raids in a tweet, and announced a ban of the organization. Out of the 200 cells, 65 raids were carried out in the state of Hesse, 15 of them in Frankfurt.

Last week, German authorities arrested five men accused of aiding the Islamic State in Germany by recruiting members and providing financial and logistical help. The arrests were made in raids in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia and the northern state of Lower Saxony. German Justice Minister Heiko Maas called the arrests “an important blow to the extremist scene in Germany.”

Among those arrested a week ago was Ahmad Abdelaziz, an Iraqi citizen known as Abu Walaa, 32, a preacher who has been a leading figure of the Jihadi movement in Germany. Walaa has been at the center of a year- long investigation, which also yielded arrests in the city of Hildesheim in July 2016.

Abu Walaa’s arrest was likely based on information provided by a former ISIS fighter, Anil O., 22, who identified Walaa as Germany’s ISIS leader. The mass raids that followed on Tuesday most likely were based on information received through last week’s arrests.

David Israel

Report: Israel to Purchase New German Submarines Targeting Iran, Syria

Friday, October 14th, 2016

Israel and Germany have begun top echelon political and security negotiations of the purchase of new Dolphin class submarines, Israel Defense reported Friday. The IDF’s five-submarine fleet, its most expensive weapons system, is its longest arm in a potential war with a nuclear Iran. The purchase of the sixth submarine was an option that was part of the 2012 deal signed between the two countries, with Germany paying for about a third of the cost of each sub — $180 million out of half a billion dollars.

In the past the IDF’s strategic thinking regarding the submarine fleet was in dispute between former Defense Minister Ehud Barak and former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Olmert accused Barak of planning to buy a sixth submarine not because this was what the IDF needed (then Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi was vehemently against such a purchase) but because the Germans bribed him. Eventually, it was Olmert who ended up being sentenced to prison over  taking a bribe. Takes one to know one?

The reason Lieut. Gen. Ashkenazi was against the deal was that it was being paid for out of the shekel part of the IDF budget, rather than the US aid dollars.

As the new Dolphin class submarine arrives, in 2018, one of its older sisters will be decommissioned. Despite past IDF reluctance, the Israeli Navy has now developed a five-submarine strategy, and will buy two more new Dolphins to replace older ones, all with German subsidies.

The diesel-electric Dolphin 2-class submarines, developed and constructed by Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft AG for the Israeli Navy, are the largest submarines to have been built in Germany since World War II. Each Dolphin-class submarine is capable of carrying a combined total of up to 16 torpedoes, as well as cruise missiles with a range of 930 miles. This means the Israeli subs can hit anywhere in Iran should the need arise, including with nuclear warheads.

According to Jane’s Defence Weekly, the Dolphin class submarines are nuclear armed, offering Israel a sea based second strike capability, in case its own territory had been struck by nuclear weapons and its land bases had been destroyed. It could still wipe out Iran, for instance.

Most of Israel’s Dolphins are normally based in the Mediterranean, but at least one was sent through the Suez Canal to the Red Sea for exercises in June 2009, and docked in the naval base in Eilat, probably as a warning to Iran. According to Haaretz, the Eilat naval base is strategically unsuited for Dolphin class boats, and getting them out of the Red Sea at a time of war would necessarily involve the consent of Egypt and Saudi Arabia who both control the Straits of Tiran.

According to The London Sunday Times, the Israeli Navy keeps at least one submarine equipped with nuclear missiles permanently of the Lebanese and Syrian coast.

David Israel

Jewish Runners Take On Berlin Marathon Proudly Wearing Israeli Flags

Sunday, September 25th, 2016

When 36-year-old Levi Levine crossed the finish line at today’s BMW Berlin Marathon, his emotions far exceeded his personal pride at having successfully finished the 42-kilometer course.

“This was my tenth marathon, but my first time running in Berlin,” said Levine, a nurse atShaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem who made aliyah to Israel from Manhattan. “We crossed the finish line representing Israel with a lot of pride – I mean, to take part in a marathon as Jew in Berlin with the Israeli flag on my back was very exciting.”

“To think back to what the Jewish people experienced under the Nazis, of a day when they were forced to march to their deaths… to flash forward to where we stand today as a country that can provide the best of care for the most vulnerable of our society, is nothing short of miraculous,” said Levine, who is married with four children.

Levine was part of a team of Jewish runners representing Israel’s ALEH organization, a network of residential facilities for children with severe physical and intellectual disabilities. The team included native Israelis, North American and South African immigrants to Israel and a resident of New Jersey, who started and finished at the iconic Brandenburg Gate, the German landmark used by the Nazis as a party symbol during their rise to power.

“We looked at major international marathons and decided to run in Berlin because we felt it would be particularly meaningful to race there as a team from Israel,” captain Jason Gardner told Tazpit Press Service (TPS). Gardner, who is ALEH’s Director of Development in the USA and Canada, commented that some of the team members have relatives who are Holocaust survivors.

“The team has trained really hard,” said Gardner.

This was ALEH’s first international marathon and the team of runners raised over $15,500 towards their the organization. ALEH runs four residential facilities across Israel, providing rehabilitative and therapeutic treatment, special education and specialized services for over 700 vulnerable children and young adults with disabilities.

ALEH Ascend team members who took part in the Berlin Marathon included Shmuel Shani, Marc Romain, Trevor Solomon, Amir Zuker, Moshe Klaiman, Danny Marx, Sharon Marx, and Lillesol Kane.

“This was a great way to raise awareness for Israel’s disabled, as well as an opportunity to fundraise for ALEH,” added Gardner. “We plan to take on the New York City Marathon next year.”

Anav Silverman, Tazpit News Agency

Holocaust Survivor, Speaker Max Mannheimer, 96, Passes Away

Saturday, September 24th, 2016

Holocaust survivor and speaker Max Mannheimer passed away Friday at the age of 96 in a Munich hospital, Gabriele Hammermann, director of the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial said in a statement.

“The memorial and its employees are mourning a good friend,” Hammermann said.

Steffen Seibert, a spokesperson for German Chancellor Angela Merkel wrote on Twitter that she was “mourning Max Mannheimer — Holocaust survivor, reminder against oblivion and great reconciler. We owe him thanks.”

Mannheimer had been an adviser to the German government on the design and conception of its commemorative works on the Holocaust.

He dedicated his entire life to serving as a witness to the atrocities of the Nazi Third Reich and the memories of the six million Jews whose lives were stolen by them in the Holocaust they perpetrated during World War II. After the war, he painted under the name “ben jakov” — his Hebrew name — to cope with the terrible memories, later writing a book “Late Diary.”

Of his entire family and a new wife, only he and his brother Edgar survived.

Born in the Czech Republic in 1920, he personally survived two death camps, Auschwitz and Dachau, and was a transient resident of Theresienstadt concentration camp prior to those.

After seeing a swastika during a trip to the United States in 1986 and in response, suffering a nervous breakdown, Mannheimer spent the rest of his life giving speeches in schools, universities and concentration camp memorials to ensure that the world never forgot the horror humanity was capable of. Until that point, he had remained silent about the nightmares and depression he suffered, never speaking about his experiences.

Mannheimer was a recipient of the German cross of merit and the French Légion d’honneur. To the younger generation of Germans, his message was simple:

“You aren’t responsible for what happened. But you are responsible for ensuring that it won’t happen again.”

Boruch Dayan HoEmes.

Hana Levi Julian

Analysis: Thursday the Hon. Judge Joseph Haim Shapira Decided to Outlaw Hate

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

“Racism is baseless hatred of the stranger just for being a stranger, on the basis of difference in race or national ethnicity,” opens the Special Audit Report “Education for a Shared Society and Prevention of Racism,” submitted Thursday by State Comptroller and Ombudsman, the Hon. Judge Joseph Haim Shapira.

That’s not the dictionary’s definition of the term, it is, “Racism is the belief that some races of people are better than others (Webster).” According to this calmer and probably more useful definition, it’s OK for me to believe that my race (or ethnicity or any other form of identity) is better than anyone else’s, and as long as I don’t advocate harm to those others, I am entitled to my belief.

But Israeli law, according to Judge Shapira, defines as racism “persecution, humiliation, debasement, expression of hatred, hostility or violence, or causing a quarrel with a group or parts of the population, all because of color or race or national-ethnic origin.”

It’s a flawed definition, which inevitably leads to bad laws and bad audit reports, which, in the end, will have nothing to do, in the end, with any noticeable shift in people’s behavior. The proof is in the pudding, which in our case are the Auditor’s recommendations. They read like the welcome wall at a re-education camp on the outskirts of Saigon, circa 1975.

For instance, the Ministry of Education must create one body that will be authorized to impose education for a shared society and prevention of racism, complete with a high-level steering committee to set policy and for follow-up on implementation, with established metrics for a methodical examination of racism in the education system. This superior body will prepare a long-term and mandatory system-wide action plan to promote education for a shared society between Jews and Arabs, with the necessary budget and human resource allocation.

Just reading this paragraph, you know there’s nothing real in it. You know not one teacher or one child will actually change the way they examine the reality of their identity, but a small army of teachers and the bureaucrats that watch them will take home a paycheck.

I searched the Shapira report for the word “Arabic.” It is not mentioned once. The fact is that most Arab kids know more Hebrew than do Jewish kids, who aren’t particularly interested in the Arabs’ culture or language. That’s not racism, that’s ignorance. And ignorance is exactly the kind of problem the ministry of education can manage. How about a mandatory five weekly hours of Arabic for the Jewish students? Being versatile with the other’s language is the most essential step towards acknowledging and even understanding the other. If hatred is borne by fear and fear in turn is borne by the unknown, just force those students to learn the other side’s language.

The second auditor’s recommendation brings up education for a shared society and prevention of racism through a required cluster of knowledge courses such as civics, homeland and history, to insure that all students in the education system will be exposed to the issue and its different aspects throughout their years in the system.

What happens when the information in this additional knowledge course conflicts with other courses being taught concurrently? Jews study about the 1948 War of Independence, Arabs about the 1948 Catastrophe. These lessons in history always come packed with identity and with a strong negative notion of the other. Judge Shapira insists that “the Ministry of Education must act and turn the subject [of preventing racism] into an inseparable part of educators’ training process.” Do teachers now obscure the parts of history that may fail to qualify as enhancing the love of the other? How do we teach about the 1929 Hebron massacre without value judgments? Were there hateful people in Nazi Germany? If hate is defined as a value to be discouraged, how should we hate evil?

Judge Shapira has one good idea, which doesn’t really require a whole pro-love administration to make it happen. He recommends that the Ministry of Education increase the opportunities for inter-sectorial meetings and integrate teachers from different sectors in the framework of education of the “other” sector, and especially, increase the number of meetings between Arabs and Jews and the number of Arab teachers employed in the framework of Jewish education and vice-a-versa.

It’s a splendid idea, although not for the faint of heart. Assigning Jewish school jobs to Arab teachers fresh out of college and likewise Arab school jobs to new Jewish teachers would likely make them better teachers—unless they quit because their tires were cut for the fourth time in the school parking lot. They will probably become better citizens as well.

The politics of the left rears its ugly head in several spots along the report, and it is most noticeable in Judge Shapira’s recommendation that the Ministry of Education must cooperate with the numerous NGOs “working for a shared society and prevention of racism. This process should be conducted in partnership with the organizations themselves and in accordance with a consistent, long-term policy,” instructs Judge Shapira.

Because, let’s face it, no one knows better than Israel’s leftwing NGOs how to spread peace and the love of the other — provided he or she are not settlers.

David Israel

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/analysis-thursday-the-hon-judge-joseph-haim-shapira-decided-to-outlaw-hate/2016/09/22/

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