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May 31, 2016 / 23 Iyar, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘IDF’

Cutting Edge Army: IDF Issues Vegan Combat Rations, Shoes, Berets

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

The IDF Central Food Technology and Logistics Division recently completed the development of the first Vegan combat rations, following years during which Vegan soldiers have had to settle for a portion of the military issue meal, mainly corn preserves, olives and peanuts. While Vegetarians do not eat meat, fish, or poultry, Vegans, in addition, do not use other animal products and by-products such as eggs, dairy products, honey, leather, fur, silk, wool, cosmetics, and soaps derived from animal products.

Back in 2013, two members of the Israeli animal rights organization Anonymous approached the military prosecutor’s office asking to absolve Vegan soldiers from wearing leather shoes during their service, on conscientious grounds, since making leather shoes involves the “cruel murder of animals.” Apparently, they could not tolerate the thought of killing people while wearing shoes made from killed animals. Since then, the IDF has been supplying declared Vegan soldiers with non-leather shoes.

Also in 2013, the IDF has begun to supply Vegan berets, made from synthetic material, to soldiers who asked for them. Currently the inoffensive berets are available only in green (for the infantry) and black (for the armored troops). Paratroopers (red berets) are still required to wear head cover made from the sheared coats of innocent barnyard animals.

Vegan soldiers are encouraged to file their complaints with the military ombudsman by fax or email, whenever their military assignments clash with their core Vegan beliefs.

The new combat rations are due to reach over the next few months the 600 or so declared Vegans currently serving. The promised rations will include raw tehini, bernflex, energy bar, natural almonds, walnuts, dried fruits, roasted peas and chickpeas, peanuts, and preserved beans. One ration should last one soldier two weeks or two soldiers one week, provided they trust each other.

Combat Zone Cooking Competition: IDF base chef preparing and serving his unit's competition dish / Photo Credit: Gadi Yampel, IDF Spokeserson's Unit

Combat Zone Cooking Competition: IDF base chef preparing and serving his unit’s competition dish / Photo Credit: Gadi Yampel, IDF Spokeserson’s Unit

The IDF HR insists that new recruits declare their Vegan status upon enlisting, otherwise they must wait six months before they can be granted Vegan status. The reason is economic, since the army spends much more on the preparation of Vegan food at the military bases and on the rations than it does on normal food. According to the Central Food Technology and Logistics Division, everybody enjoys the Vegan delicacies: last year they budgeted about $80,000 to purchase Vegan goodies for the general military population, but the stuff was consumed in a single quarter and the budget had to be increased.

In 2013 there was a wave of protests regarding the sandwiches IDF soldiers were given on field trips. There were Facebook pages dedicated to the fact that Vegans had to work their way around the cold cuts in their food supplies, there were online petitions, and the military ombudsman was bombarded with complaints, both by fax and email. So now every base kitchen is equipped to provide healthy, nutritious and cruelty-free sandwiches to Israel’s heroes.

JNi.Media

That Was Just a Drill – No Rockets Were Launched at Israel

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

If you just heard a rocket siren go off up north in the Galil region – don’t get worried – it is only a drill.

The army was just testing the sirens and rocket alert system in case a real attack was launched.

Jewish Press News Briefs

New Terror Tactic: Hamas Uses Postal System to Smuggle Drones and Weapons

Monday, May 30th, 2016

By Joshua B. Dermer/TPS

Erez Crossing (TPS) – Dozens of weapons smuggling attempts by way of the postal system were foiled this week by Israeli Crossing Points Authorities on the border of the Gaza Strip. Erez Crossing officials confiscated ten motor skimmers, apparently for the use of drones, on Monday morning sent by mail to Gaza.

In particular, attempts have been made to smuggle dismantled weapon and drone parts to be reassembled within Gaza.

With increased pressure by the Coordinator of Governmental Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the Shin Bet, Israel Police, and the Office of Border Control, terror organizations in the Gaza Strip are seeking more innovative methods to transfer weapons.

Gyroscopes for accuracy enhancement, range magnifiers, and signal strength augmenters used remotely by cell phones were seized along with the drone parts. These transmission devices operate at 5.8 GHz, a video signal not approved for use by Israel or the Palestinian Authority.

Israeli police seized pipe bombs, ammunition, and thousands of springs for grenades and rockets in May 19 home raids in Qalansuwa, an Israeli-Arab city in central Israel. According to police officials, the weapons were to be used for attacks both within Israel and remotely from the Gaza Strip.

Additionally, IDF and police forces discovered arms and ammunition hidden in houses in Nablus on Sunday night. Four rifles and two pistols were found, along with many weapon parts, magazines, and a large amount of ammunition. The weapons were confiscated, and 11 terror operatives who held them in their homes were arrested.

The IDF released video on Monday of the Nablus raids and the weapons seized:

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Russia to Return Israeli Tank Captured 34 Years Ago in the Battle of Sultan Yacoub

Sunday, May 29th, 2016

By Jonathan Benedek/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his gratitude to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday for signing a presidential decree ordering the return to Israel of an IDF tank that was captured 34 years ago during a ferocious battle in the First Lebanon War.

“I thank the president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, that he responded to my request to return the tank from the Battle of Sultan Yacoub to Israel,” Netanyahu said.

The tank, used by the IDF during the Battle of Sultan Yacoub during the First Lebanon War on June 10, 1982, was captured by the Syrian army and eventually transported to the Soviet Union, then a Cold-War ally with Syria. The tank has since remained in Moscow, stored in a museum of armored tanks.

MK Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan, the former deputy defense minister, was an officer in artillery unit 7054 that helped rescue a battalion of Israeli tanks trapped by a Syrian ambush in Sultan Yacoub, Lebanon.

“We fired the whole night, and in the morning the battalion was rescued – except for that one tank and the three missing soldiers, whose fate is still unknown today,” Ben-Dahan recalled to Tazpit Press Service (TPS), referring to the continued mystery behind three IDF soldiers, Zachary Baumel, Zvi Feldman, and Yehuda Katz, who went missing in action during the Battle of Sultan Yacoub. During the entire battle, 30 Israeli soldiers were killed and eight tanks were lost.

“Hearing about the return of the tank sends me back 34 years,” Ben-Dahan told TPS. “It gave me chills.”

Ben-Dahan also expressed hope that the tank’s return might bring news about the fate of the missing soldiers, though he said he cannot comment on any discussions or progress toward that goal.

Netanyahu raised the issue of returning the tank with Putin last month, after having received a request from IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot.

“For the families of the soldiers missing in action, Zachary Baumel, Zvi Feldman, and Yehuda Katz, there is no trace of the boys nor a burial plot to go to for 34 years now,” noted Netanyahu. “The tank is the only evidence of the battle, and now it will be returned to Israel thanks to President Putin’s response to my request.”

A delegation from the IDF’s Ordnance Corps is in Moscow working with representatives from the Russian army to transport the tank back to Israel as soon as possible.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Terrorist Arrested After Throwing Firebomb Bag Into Kochav Yaacov

Sunday, May 29th, 2016

An Arab man has been arrested after he threw a bag containing Molotov cocktails over the fence,and into the community of Kochav Yaacov, in the Binyamin region, on Sunday afternoon.

As the bomb squad approached the bag, the man tried to run and was caught by the IDF.

In separate incidents, one person was injured from stone throwing in Pisgat Ze’ev.

Arabs threw firebombs at one of the entrances to Beit El, causing a brush fire,

Jewish Press News Briefs

IDF Sets Up Emergency Roadside Location Markers, Don’t Tell the Police

Sunday, May 29th, 2016

In order for different security forces to be able to communicate with one another, they need to define a common language. What usually happens is that security and emergency forces, operating in their own vacuums and from their own needs, develop their own unique names for locations and situations.

For instance, locals may call a nearby forest next to a gas station, “the forest”, police may call it “gas station north”, the army may call it “Hill 223”, and the ambulance service may call it “that sharp curve with all the accidents” – which can get all confusing if an emergency coordinator needs to send multiple emergency services over to the same location.

Furthermore, when you’re dealing with a transitory units that change locations often, such as in the army, you need something simple and quickly recognizable, so that when a unit gets transferred to a new location, it doesn’t need to spend too much time learning the local layout.

The IDF came up with a solution for Judea and Samaria. It’s not overly unique, simply some very large and recognizable road markers.

Each region in Judea and Samaria gets its own letter. Each section of the road, its own number.

If something happens, a civilian merely needs to contact the local security center at telephone number 1208 and say, “Firebomb near Ayin 216” and the army will know where to go.

To make sure civilians know how to properly report incidents, flyers were sent out explaining how to use the new system.

With one caveat.

IDF Road Marker Flyer

The flyers explicitly says, don’t use these markers when communicating with the Israeli police.

The police are not on board with this project, and they won’t have any idea what or where you’re talking about.

Remember that part about developing a common language?

It seems that before different forces can develop a common language, they first have to be actually communicating with one another.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Gaza – A Port is No Panacea for Poverty

Saturday, May 28th, 2016

Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.

Attributed to Albert Einstein

 Just when you thought that you could not possibly hear anything more preposterous on how to help resolve the  conflict with the Palestinian-Arabs, somehow someone always manages to prove you wrong—and comes out with a policy proposal so glaringly absurd that it transcends what you  mistakenly believed was the pinnacle of imbecility.

 

Harebrained and hazardous

Disturbingly, precisely such a hopelessly hare-brained scheme is now being repeatedly bandied about by Israelis in positions of influence.

This is the idea of providing Gaza with what, in effect, will be a detachable civilian port under Israeli supervision , built on an off-shore artificial island, connected to the mainland by a bridge over 4 kilometers long, which can, according to its proponents, easily be disconnected should the Gazans “misbehave”.

Actually, this nonsensical notion has been around for quite some time. Indeed as early as 2011 the British daily, The Guardian, reported that Yisrael Katz, Israel’s minister for transport, was pursuing the idea, which he estimated would cost $10 billion and take about a decade to complete.

Lately, however, it has been raised with increasing frequency in the media, and publically endorsed by both government ministers and senior IDF brass.

Thus, earlier this year, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yoav Galant, currently Construction Minister, formerly head of Southern Command expressed his support for the idea in an interview with Bloomberg (March 1).

Just prior to that, Haaretz (February 24) reported that “Senior Israel Defense Forces officers are in favor in principle of a port for the Gaza Strip”, and just last week the Jerusalem Post (May 21) wrote: “High up within the defense establishment, some believe that the time has come for Israel to set up a civilian seaport for the Gaza Strip”.

 

Detachable port? Detached from reality!

Indeed, at a conference held this weekend in New York, Yisrael Katz, who now, in addition to his former transport portfolio, holds the newly created post of intelligence minister, reiterated his previous support for the construction of a port of Gaza on an artificial off-shore island,: “The off-shore project could provide Gaza with an economic and humanitarian gateway to the world without endangering Israeli security.”

This, of course, is demonstrably detached from reality—but more on that a little later.

I confess that the first time I heard of this appallingly absurd idea was in a private conversation several months ago with someone (whom I shall leave nameless) recently designated as a serious contender for the position of head of the Mossad, to replace previous director, Tamir Pardo.

I remember at the time being taken aback by an idea, so clearly ill-conceived and  ill-fated, being promoted by someone so senior – but took (false) comfort in the belief that it was so wildly outlandish that it would never be given serious consideration by those in authority.

As it turns out, I was sadly mistaken—as this perilous proposal continues to enjoy sustained attention in the discourse.

 

Soldiers turned sociologists?

Perhaps most disturbing are the reports of the support the idea received from senior IDF officers – both past and present—and the rationale that this support appears based on.  For typically, it has nothing to do with any military considerations or operational advantage Israel might gain from the provision of such port facilities to the terrorist-controlled enclave—but rather on a (highly questionable) assessment of socio-economic trends in Gaza, the ramifications this may have for the Gazan public, and how a port might allegedly address it.

Thus one well-informed correspondent on military affairs describes reasons that underpin that “rationale” for want of a better word: “Hamas, the argument goes, would be hard pressed to careen down the slope of a new war with Israel, even if it wanted to, if the Gazan economy were to begin to take off, enjoying imports and exports, allowing for jobs and income, and giving the civilian population something to lose. While there is no doubt that Hamas is responsible for Gaza’s dire economic state by insisting on jihad with Israel rather than investing in its people’s welfare, Israeli defense officials still feel that they can and should assist the Gazan people attain a better life.”

While some may find this professed concern for the welfare of enemy civilians both noble and a reflection of “enlightened self-interest”, in truth it portends ominous outcomes for Israel and Israelis.

For it is a position that is so diametrically at odds with past experience, and flies so directly in the face of the facts of recent decades that it is difficult to know what is more disturbing: Whether the supporters of the proposal really believe what they are saying; or whether they are saying it despite the fact that they don’t.

 

Reinforcing the rationale for terror

Of no less concern is that this position echoes the sentiments expressed by both Ministers Katz and Galant  that “The biggest danger to Israel is a humanitarian crisis in Gaza…If Gaza had the ability to bring ships, and goods, without posing a security problem, that is in everybody’s interest.”

For it is a message that strongly reinforces the rationale justifying terror, implying that it is largely economic privation that is the primary cause of the Judeocidal terror emanating from Gaza, and if the residents of that ill-fated strip were afforded greater prosperity, this would operate to stifle the motivation to perpetrate acts of terror.

This is a thesis that is wrong on virtually every level. Firstly, it is risible to believe that Hamas, that has deliberately put its own civilians in harm’s way, gives a hoot about their economic well-being. After all, if it has scant regard for their lives, why should their livelihood be of greater concern?

Indeed, it is far more likely that if the general economic situation were to improve, Hamas would coercively appropriate much of this new found wealth for its own belligerent needs–with prosperity thus making it more potent–not more pacific.

Perversely, perhaps a more effective, but heretically politically-incorrect, suggestion for removing Hamas would be to allow socio-economic conditions to deteriorate so drastically that the general populace would rise up against it, depose it and ensconce a hopefully more amenable regime, with greater sensitivity for its needs.

But I digress.

To suggest that by alleviating economic hardship, Israel could alleviate terror is, in effect, not only inverting the causal relationship between the two, but it also implies that the victim of terror is to blame for his attackers’ aggression against him. Little could be more counterproductive—and misleading for Israel.

 

Port no panacea for poverty

Of course, as I have demonstrated at length elsewhere, the allegedly dire situation in Gaza is not the cause of the terror that emanates from it. It is the consequence of that terror. The onerous measures that Israel is compelled to undertake to ensure the safety of its citizens is not the reason for, but the result of that terror. If the latter were eliminated, there would be no need for the former—and far more rational solutions than a multi-billion dollar artificial island could be found to facilitate the flow of goods and people to and from Gaza.

Indeed, no great analytical acumen should be required to swiftly bring us to the conclusion that a port in Gaza will never be a panacea for the poverty of the population.

Hamas, and its other terrorist cohorts, are not burrowing tunnels because Gaza has no port. They are burrowing them despite the fact it does not have one.

After all, Gaza does have a modern port, under Israeli supervision, at its disposal barely 35 km. north of it, in Ashdod.

Under conditions of peace (or even credible non-belligerency), Ashdod can supply all Gaza’s supervised civilian needs, without squandering billions on a fanciful floating island port.

However, under conditions of on-going belligerency, even under the strictest Israeli supervision, there is no way—short of taking control of Gaza—to ensure that dual purpose material such as cement, fertilizer and steel will not be used for belligerent objectives

.

“Hamas stealing 95% of civilian cement…” The intensity of this problem—and the futility of a Gaza port as a means of solving ,or even alleviating it, was vividly highlighted  by a recent report in the International Business Times (May 26).

It cited the director-general of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, Dr. Dore Gold, who speaking at the UN World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, revealed that Hamas has been siphoning off 95% of the cement transferred into the Gaza Strip intended to rebuild homes, so that it can use it for military purposes and tunnel construction. Gold told the conference: “From our own investigations we found that out of every 100 sacks of cement that come into the Gaza strip … only five or six are transferred to civilians.”

So, even if the island port were under tight inspection, how could Israel ensure that the building materials that went to construct the recently discovered tunnels would be used for more benign purposes? How could it ensure that steel was not being used to fabricate missiles and the means to launch them? Or fertilizers being diverted for the manufacture of explosives?

Moreover, one might also ask how, as opposed to the case of Ashdod port,  is Israeli supervision to be maintained, and the safety of the Israeli personnel be ensured in the isolated off-shore port, should they–as is far from implausible–be set upon by a bloodthirsty local mob?

 

Humanitarian solution for humanitarian crisis The grave economic situation that plagues Gaza will not be alleviated by giving Gaza access to port facilities, which it, in principle, already has available to it.

As noted earlier, Israeli restrictions on the flow of goods are not the cause of Arab enmity, but the consequence thereof. The crippling unemployment, reportedly above 40%, will not be alleviated by transferring Israeli supervision from Ashdod and the Gaza border crossings to an off-shore islet.

There is soaring unemployment because any creative energies that might exist, are not channeled by those who rule Gaza toward productive/constructive goals, but into fomenting violence against the hated “Zionist entity.” A port will not change those realities.

Indeed, it is likely to exacerbate them.

The penury of the enclave is not due to lack of resources, but to the preferences and priorities of the brigands who govern it, and as events have shown, the only way Israel can determine who governs Gaza – and who does not – is by governing it itself.

Katz, Galant and IDF senior brass are , of course, right that Israel should defuse the brewing humanitarian crisis in Gaza – which is demonstrably the consequence of the ill-conceived two-state approach and misguided attempts to foist statehood on the Palestinian-Arabs.

But it is a humanitarian crisis that requires a genuine humanitarian solution: Generously funded humanitarian relocation of the non-belligerent Arab population elsewhere, out of harm’s way, and extension of Israeli sovereignty over the region.

 

“Perhaps now would be a good time…

Indeed, there is no other approach –whether with a port or without it — that can:

• Provide a durable solution to the problem of Gaza;

• Eliminate the threat to Israel continually issuing from Gaza; and

• Preclude the need for Israel to “rule over another people.”

Indeed, as one appraisal of the port proposal in the Jewish Press (March 24)  concluded its critique “Perhaps now would be a good time to put into action one of those programs that advocate paying local Arabs to [e]migrate to better places..”

Indeed, perhaps it is.

Dr. Martin Sherman

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/into-the-fray-martin-sherman/gaza-a-port-is-no-panacea-for-poverty/2016/05/28/

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