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November 30, 2015 / 18 Kislev, 5776
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘government’

‘US and Iranian Cartoon Doves’ Shown Defecating on Bibi by Swiss Amb to Iran

Friday, August 28th, 2015

Guilio Haas is the Swiss Ambassador to Iran.

Switzerland has been in a great hurry to get the other nations of the world to join it in treating Iran as if it is an upstanding member of the world community. The Swiss began lifting sanctions on Iran earlier this month.

In accordance with this position, Ambassador Haas revealed Switzerland’s true progressive nature at a meeting attended by hundreds of Swiss and Iranian businesspeople at a Zurich hotel on Thursday, Aug. 27.

Haas was encouraging the businesspeople to invest in Iran, referring to the world’s greatest sponsor of terrorism as a “pole of stability in the Middle East,” and that in his two years in Iran, while he has seen gray-haired men in turbans, “there aren’t a lot of them” and that Western perceptions of Iran as a belligerent nation was about to change as soon as sanctions are lifted. This is what the World Tribune reported about the event.

What the World Tribune did not report was that as part of his effort to encourage the businesspeople to invest in Iran, the Swiss Ambassador projected a cartoon on a huge screen. The cartoon was titled “Iran: now or never.”

That cartoon showed two doves defecating on the head of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. On the chest of one of the doves defecating on Netanyahu is an American flag and on the other the Iranian flag.

Read those two sentences again.

So, you may ask, if the World Tribune article did not mention the cartoon, maybe it is not true?

A reasonable thought, but dashed by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs acknowledgement of the incident.

Reuters reported that the FDFA said the “questionable cartoon” was used, BY THE AMBASSADOR OF SWITZERLAND HIMSELF, without its knowledge and “regrets the use of the cartoon and considers it tasteless.”

“Questionable”? As in some might find it acceptable? “Tasteless”? As in simply in poor taste, but the meaning behind it is acceptable?

According to the Reuters report, the cartoon was intended to portray Israel as the sole holdout against the Nuclear Iran Deal, and the doves, Iran and the U.S. are the lovers of peace.

The FDFA said that “Ambassador Haas did not intend to insult anybody with the cartoon,” Reuters reported. “If that is the case,’ – meaning, if there is someone out there who could possibly be insulted by this – “however, he regrets it and seeks the pardon of everyone who could have felt insulted.”

The businessmen present were not all persuaded by Haas’s blinding diplomacy. Some grumbled that the “level of corruption” IN IRAN was still “unbelievable.” Imagine that.

UPDATE: According to the website of the Swiss Embassy in Iran, Switzerland represents the U.S. in Iran because the U.S. does not currently, officially, have diplomatic relations with Iran. As Ambassador Haas explains in his welcome message:

In the absence of diplomatic or consular relations of the United States of America with the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Swiss government, acting through its Embassy in Tehran, serves as the Protecting Power of the USA in Iran since 21 May 1980. The Swiss Embassy’s Foreign Interests Section provides consular services to U.S. citizens living in or travelling to Iran.

Think anyone at the White House or State Dept. press briefings will ask the spokespeople about this?

Israeli Cabinet Approves Gas Deal With Noble Energy, Delek Ltd.

Sunday, August 16th, 2015

Government ministers passed the long-awaited, controversial gas deal on Sunday afternoon, giving the Noble Energy and Delek Ltd. consortium the rights to the large gas fields they had discovered and begun to develop beneath the waters of the Mediterranean – while giving Israeli citizens a future income of hundreds of billions of shekels in the process.

“This money will benefit education, health, social welfare and other national needs,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting.

“I would like to commend the work done by Minister Steinitz’s team which has led to a very significant reduction in the price the state will pay for gas and to other changes that will greatly improve the outline.

“I am not impressed by populism – to me it is only populism, even though people could possibly believe in what they are saying, but the country needs gas. Gas resources in our region will be developed, unfortunately, either way, and we need to see to it that our resources work at full capacity.

“We need to extract the gas from the sea,” Netanyahu went on.

“This decision is an important milestone. We are overcoming the obstacles step by step. This process will not be stopped,” he said, making an oblique reference to the myriad attempts by various groups to stymie the agreement that was finally approved.

“The gas will be extracted from the bottom of the sea and will reach Israeli citizens, Israeli industry and the Israeli economy – for the benefit of the citizens of Israel.

“Every objective test proves this outline is a significant improvement over the existing situation. But one more thing must be understood – it cannot be stopped.

“When the right thing needs to be done, and it is so crucial to Israel’s economy and strategic situation, that thing will not be stopped. They will look for another way to delay, another excuse, another reason – and that will not work.

This outline will pass one way or another, and it is about time that it does. The true interests of the State of Israel require the passage of this outline as quickly as possible.”

Negotiations between the government and the consortium comprised of Texas-based Noble Energy and the Israeli company Dekel Group Ltd. have been dragging on for months.

Israel’s Antitrust Authority last year decided the consortium could not continue operations as the sole owners and operators of the massive Leviathan gas field, and the somewhat smaller but also large Tamar gas field – both of which were discovered and have been developed at considerable expense by the group.

Gas has already been produced from the Tamar field since 2013. Leviathan is considered the largest discovery in the world in the past decade – and certainly the largest field in the Mediterranean.

Negotiations over how pricing will be set for gas in the domestic market and the prices and percentage of reserves to be exported had taken place for months between the government and the group – which has pointed out that without being able to recoup its investment and also to be able to make a profit, there is little point to continuing its operations in the area.

Antitrust Commissioner David Gilo threatened to resign in May over his opposition to what he insisted was the group’s monopoly over the Tamar and Leviathan fields.

The gas deal negotiated with the government this past week allows Delek Group – owned by Yitzchak Tshuva – to sell its holdings in the Tamar field, and also two smaller fields, Karish and Tanin, within six years. Noble Energy will gradually reduce its own holdings in Tamar to a maximum of 25 percent within six years as well. Prices for natural gas will be regulated by the government within that same six-year period as well.


ISIS Allegedly Plots to Attack Britain’s Queen Elizabeth

Sunday, August 9th, 2015

The Da’esh (ISIS) terrorist organization allegedly is plotting to target Britain’s Queen Elizabeth next weekend.

On Saturday the country will mark the 70th anniversary of the World War II victory in Japan (VJ Day).

British jihadists are allegedly planning to attack the queen at that time through a plot similar to the attack by the Boston Marathon bomber, using a pressure cooker in central London.

UK police received notice of a specific concrete threat made against the Queen herself, according to The Sunday Express.

However, despite having been notified about the potential threat, the Queen has reportedly insisted she attend the events to “honor the fallen.”

On Saturday Her Majesty is scheduled to attend a service at St. Martins-in-the-Fields at Trafalgar Square.

The service will be followed by the Horse Guards Parade, a flypast and a wreath-laying ceremony before veterans and current troops are paraded down Whitehall and Westminster Abbey.

A number of other members of the royal family are also expected to attend the events as well, including Prince Charles – another reported target of the terrorist organization.

Thousands of spectators are expected to line the streets around Whitehall and Westminster Abbey during the festivities.

Prime Minister David Cameron, members of the Armed Forces and more than 1,000 veterans of the Far East campaign and their families will be among the attendees, who are also are considered to be possible targets of the terrorists, according to the report.

S01 Specialist Protection, which provides security for Prime Minister David Cameron and other government dignitaries, will be providing coverage for the events, along with Scotland Yard’s Royal Protection unit, SO 14 and the Home Office.

Cabinet Passes 2015-2016 Budget, DM Ya’alon Abstains

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

The Cabinet passed the 2015-2016 budget early Thursday morning after a long day of wrangling and debating.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon was the only holdout, abstaining due to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s support for recommendations by Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon to set the defense budget at NIS 55.3 billion for 2016. Kahlon conditioned on raising the budget to NIS 59 billion on the adoption of the recommendations of the Locker Committee.

The Locker Commission, headed by Maj.-Gen. (res) Yochanan Locker last year issued a 77-page report calling for massive across-the-board cuts to the IDF budget. Included were 53 recommendations on budget savings and “efficiency reforms” totaling NIS 9.6 billion annually between 2016 and 2020 that Locker said could be “reinvested” as new funds by the IDF.

Among the recommendations were cuts to pensions for IDF non-combat officers, capping the defense budget at NIS 59 billion, limiting mandatory service for men to two years and 11 percent cuts in personnel.

The IDF viewed the recommendations as short-sighted, pointing out the new challenges facing the military such as the need for advanced development of cyber defense, Iron Dome anti-missile training and technology and similar cutting-edge financial needs. At the time, Ya’alon also said the commission’s recommendations were incompatible with the threats facing Israel which have not decreased but rather, have only changed.

Additions to Israel’s present budget were made throughout the day on Wednesday to individual budgets in ministries where coalition promises had been made.

The ministers had already been warned ahead of time by Netanyahu that the government would collapse if they did not stop their demands and get behind the budget.

From the outset, on Tuesday, Netanyahu said bluntly, “The State of Israel will have a budget because otherwise it will not have a government and our economic and security situation will deteriorate. Demands always exceed what there is but in the end, the right decisions are made. We will do so this time as well.”

An extra NIS 8 billion ($2.1 billion) had already been pulled together for the NIS 414 two-year budget, but ministers clamored for more spending on education, defense and police. In addition, there was an outcry over value added tax (sales tax) which social activists want eliminated on basic goods.

An addition of NIS 1.7 billion was made, for example, to the budget of Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan over the next two years.

Cutbacks were cancelled in the budget of Sport and Culture Minister Miri Regev, and an additional NIS 50 million was found to sweeten the deal.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett received NIS 290 million for his budget as well, to ease the cutbacks to his ministry’s coffers.

“We have to continue the economic growth and that is why taxes will not increase,” Netanyahu said when introducing the budget on Wednesday. “When the money gets to the citizens, they will make better use of it than the bureaucrats will.

“There are reforms here that reduce the cost of living for citizens. It’s important to reduce the price of food, transportation and health, and to increase the supply of housing,” he said.

After having passed the Cabinet, the budget will go to the Knesset plenum for a vote on August 31. Final passage of the budget must be completed in the Knesset by November 19.

FM Moshe Kahlon to Present ‘Cornflakes Reform’ Budget

Tuesday, August 4th, 2015

Israeli Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon made final preparations Tuesday in the Socio-Economic Cabinet to tie up loose ends in the budget for presentation to the full Cabinet on Wednesday (Aug. 5).

Kahlon said, “We are presenting genuinely significant reforms…in the banks and financial sector – the cost of living, food, removing impediments and lifting import quotas that have made things very difficult for consumers in the State of Israel.

“I have no doubt that we will receive the support of the ministers because – I reiterate what the Prime Minister said (at the start of the cabinet meeting) – this is a social and responsible, responsible and social, budget that truly puts people – the citizens of the state – in the center, alongside responsibility for economic growth, job creation, reduction of gaps, bringing the periphery closer to the center, infrastructures, housing and – of course – education.”

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu commented at the start of the cabinet meeting that as a prime minister and finance minister, he had “passed over a dozen budgets” in his tenure, and always sees the same situation: “everyone has demands. Demands always exceed what there is,” he said, “but in the end the right decisions are made. “We will do so this time as well,” he added.

“The State of Israel will have a budget because otherwise it will not have a government and our economic and security situation would deteriorate. I trust the collective responsibility of our ministers. We will pass the budget in the full Cabinet tomorrow,” he said firmly.

“The ‘cornflakes reform’ that we are leading here at the Prime Minister’s Office, will affect many food products on the market,” Netanyahu went on to say.

“We are also enacting changes in what is referred to as ‘housing supply’ to further increase the number of apartments in the State of Israel.

“In the end this is the only way to lower prices. We are doing things to lower the cost of health services in the State of Israel such as supplementary insurance and private insurance.

“This will affect very many families regarding hundreds of shekels, which is not a small thing.

“We are also taking steps to advance the natural gas economy. First of all, we are linking factories to gas; what point is there to having gas if it cannot be utilized? With a side reference to the difficult financial situation faced by nearby Greece, Netanyahu commented, “I think that Israel has seen fit to navigate its economic path with the policy we have led over many years and it did not fall into the pits into which other countries have fallen, some not far away from us.

“We must continue not only to avoid these pitfalls but to scale the heights. The budget, and what we are doing here today, are designed to achieve these goals – continued growth and the continued lowering of prices.”

Hackers Stole Personal Data of All US Federal Workers, Past & Present

Friday, June 12th, 2015

That cyber attack on the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, revealed to the American public just a few days ago, turns out to be a mammoth violation; worse than the White House is willing to admit.

The personal information of every single federal worker, retired, current, past and present has been stolen in one of the biggest heists by hackers the U.S. has ever faced — affecting far more than the initial report of “at least four million government employees,” according to a report in the Friday edition of the New York Post.

It is believed the attack was traced back to China, according to myriad American media reports. The Obama administration has to yet to formally accuse China of the cyber security attack, however.

China has been involved in numerous industrial cyber attacks on corporations in the United States. Hackers traced to Russia have also carried out a number of cyber attacks in the U.S.

In Israel, cyber warfare has long been considered a major threat — one the Jewish State geared up to deal with by creating an entire government division devoted solely to cyber defense and cyber warfare.

The U.S. OPM breach apparently occurred in December; but it was not until April that it was discovered, and the news did not reach the public until this month.

Among the personal details stolen by the cyber thieves were the social security numbers, dates of birth and addresses, according to J. David Cox, head of the American Federation of Government Employees.

Military records, employment histories, gender, race and insurance information was also taken from the records penetrated in the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

In a letter that Cox wrote to OPM director Katherine Archuleta, he charged the agency with not encrypting highly sensitive personal data of those who work for the government.

“We believe that Social Security numbers were not encrypted, a cybersecurity failure that is absolutely indefensible and outrageous,” Cox said.

Personnel data files contain up to 780 pieces of information about each federal employee, according to the NY Post.

OPM has signed a $20 million deal with a private cyber security firm to provide 18 months of identity fraud protection for those who are affected.

Gen. Dempsey Tells Netanyahu ‘Friendship with IDF a Gift’

Thursday, June 11th, 2015

Visiting U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey said Thursday morning with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, “The greatest gift has been the friendship that we’ve managed to forge with the leaders in the IDF, and I know you’re proud of them but we are too. It’s our constitution, and you know that that’s what inspires us as I know service to your nation inspires you.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu told Dempsey, “You’ve been a wonderful friend and a grand champion of America and of America-Israel relations. We appreciate it. I want to take this opportunity to also express our respect and deep admiration for America’s fighting men and women.

“We know you’re extended around the world, including in our region. We know we have no better friends than the American people, the American governments, the American fighting men and women. You fight for America, but you also fight for freedom.”


Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/gen-dempsey-tells-netanyahu-friendship-with-idf-a-gift/2015/06/11/

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