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October 25, 2016 / 23 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘India’

Indian PM: Our Army as Brave as the IDF

Wednesday, October 19th, 2016

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday praised his country’s Special Forces paratroopers, which crossed the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir in late September, carrying out “surgical strikes” against terrorist camps in the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. Modi said proudly that the Indian troops were as good as the IDF.

“Our army’s valour is being discussed across the country these days,” Modi told a rally at Mandi in Himachal Pradesh, according to The Telegraph. “We used to hear earlier that Israel has done this, now the nation has seen that the Indian army is no less than any other.”

Retired Brigadier Gurmeet Kanwal, of the Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses (IDSA), told The Financial Express of India he believes the Indian Army is better than the IDF, because it has had to deal with a better organized enemy and tougher terrain. “In my opinion, what the Indian Army did was far better than an Israel Army operation. Across the LoC, what the Indian Army has to face the a regular, well-organized army of Pakistan. The situation is completely different from that of an Israel Army operation. Our Army had to find gaps in Pakistan’s Army’s forward positions to conduct those surgical strikes,” Kanwal told FE Online.

“Also, in India’s case the terrain involved was jungle-mountain. Israel mainly has conflicts with Palestine and with terrorists in Lebanese territory. So, to that extent it is a fight on plains,” he noted. “So yes, the Prime Minister was right in conceptually comparing the strikes of the two armies, in fact it is a good comparison. But, as I pointed out, given the extremely tough terrain and the Pakistan Army that had to be faced, I think it is remarkable that the Indian Army came back without any casualties. In that sense, our operation was actually better,” Kanwal concluded.

India and Israel have increased military and intelligence cooperation since the rise of Islamic terrorism in both countries. In December 2009, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi visited India and pledged to help India in fighting terrorism. In March 2011, PM Modi’s government announced plans to purchase $1 billion worth of Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Spike anti-tank missiles, launchers, training simulators and peripheral equipment. In September 2015, the Indian government announced the purchase of 10 Heron TP drones from Israel Aerospace Industries. In October 2015, The Pioneer reported that India and Israel were planning to hold their first joint military exercise.


Far East Meets Middle East in Summit for Religious Leaders

Monday, September 12th, 2016

By Michael Zeff/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – Over 20 religious leaders from east Asia arrived in Israel Monday for a four-day summit in Jerusalem. Participants came from countries such as China, South Korea, India, and Japan, representing spiritual traditions of Taoism, Buddhism, Shintoism, Jainism, Sikhism and Zoroastrianism. Throughout the upcoming week, they will come face to face with Arab and Israeli religious leaders of Judaism, Islam and Christianity.

“It is time to expand the Israel-Asia dialogue from only diplomatic and economic spheres to religion, spirituality and faith,” summit coordinator Simona Halperin told Tazpit Press Service (TPS). “This is a first meeting in history between the religious leaders of Judaism and those of the eastern faiths.”

The summit was a joint project between the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), the American Jewish Committee and the World Council of Religious Leaders (WCRL). Notable guests included the president of the Buddhist Association of China, Xuecheng, Swami Avdeshanand Giri, spiritual leader of millions of Indian Hindus, and Bawa Jain, Secretary-General of the WCRL.

President Reuven Rivlin greeted summit participants.

“Welcome to Jerusalem, the holy city to the religions of the sons of Abraham,” Rivlin told the guests. “Your arrival is a very special event, for many years the interaction between our religions hardly even existed.

“This is no longer the situation, as your visit today shows,” Rivlin said.

Xuecheng and Swami Giri also addressed the summit, saying religious leaders should take a leading role towards solving worldwide social and environmental challenges.

“I’m very happy to be here,” said the Swami. “We have a saying in our colloquial tongue: ‘When you have dialogues, then the wisdom dawns and knowledge comes.’ Dialogue imparts clarity.”

Xuecheng expressed his hope to make lasting friendships among religious leaders in Israel. “Only if we make true friends we can really set the goal of mutual respect and understanding. the Chinese religions are working very hard to call out other religions to help in the construction of a peaceful world,” he said.

According to Halperin, during the four days of the summit the religious leaders will meet with rabbis from all Jewish streams, as well as with Muslim, Druze and Christian leaders. The group will tour holy sites and discuss current events including global warming, the environment, the status of religion in contemporary society, the role of religion in peacemaking and more.

“Our spiritual worlds are very close to each other in that they are not missionary religions which makes them very open and tolerant,” Rabbi Daniel Sperber, a professor of Talmud at Bar-Ilan University and Orthodox rabbi. “I feel a unity and comradery between our peoples, more so than with the western world and Christianity.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Head of Mid-East Think Tank Suing Obama over Aid to Nuclear Israel

Friday, August 12th, 2016

Grant Smith, director of the Institute for Research: Middle East Policy (IRMEP), has filed a lawsuit against the entire US government, including President Obama, Secretary Kerry, CIA Director Brennan and Defense Secretary Carter, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief for the $234 billion the US has given Israel in military foreign aid since 1976 — in violation of US law that prohibits aiding countries with nuclear capability who are non-signatories to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Smith insists that his lawsuit is not about foreign policy (which the court would have dismissed outright), but “about the rule of law, presidential power, the structural limits of the US Constitution, and the right of the public to understand the functions of government and informed petition of the government for redress.”

In an article Smith published in Sept. 2014, when the current lawsuit was initially launched (Lawsuit Challenges U.S. “Ambiguity” Toward Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal), he explains his real reasons why Israel must not be allowed to have a nuclear arsenal:

“In a crisis or time of increased tension, Israel can threaten to use its arsenal as a lever to coerce the transfer of US military supplies and other support rather than pursue peaceful alternatives,” Smith argues, adding that “the international community views the US as hypocritical when it cites the NPT in reference to Iran or North Korea.”

Actually, we’ve seen up close how the international community views this “hypocrisy” just a year ago. As soon as it became clear in the summer of 2015 that Iran was going to be allowed to develop its nuclear weapon, Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Gulf states went on a mad dash to acquire their own nukes. Why hadn’t they done the same in all the decades since Israel had allegedly first acquired its own nuclear device? Because they couldn’t imagine a situation whereby Israel would use it against them.

The lawsuit cites the fact that the White House and Israeli government are currently negotiating a new ten-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to serve as the basis for a FY2019-2028 foreign aid package of 4 to 5 billion dollars annually (actually, that’s the Israeli request, so far the most the White House has mentioned is $3.5 billion). In addition, the suit claims, “Congress will soon pass and the President will sign into law the final installment of the current FY2009-2018 foreign aid package. The US Treasury will provide an interest-bearing cash advance in October 2017 that Israel can use to fund its own military-industrial programs and purchase US arms.” That, too is more what Israel has been hoping for and less what the Administration is willing to give. At the moment, the US wants the entire military aid package to be used in American factories.

Smith claims the US aid deal with Israel is in violation of the Symington and Glenn amendments to the Foreign Aid Act of 1961.

The Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 was modified by the Symington Amendment (Section 669 of the FAA) in 1976, which banned US economic and military assistance, and export credits to countries that deliver or receive, acquire or transfer nuclear enrichment technology when they do not comply with IAEA regulations and inspections.

The Glenn Amendment was later adopted in 1977, and provided the same sanctions against countries that acquire or transfer nuclear reprocessing technology or explode or transfer a nuclear device.

Noam Chomsky, a vociferous anti-Israel critic, has blamed successive US presidents of violating the law by granting an exception for Israel. The fact is that US presidents have granted similar benefits to India and Pakistan as well.

Smith’s suit says “Defendants have collectively engaged in a violation of administrative procedure … while prohibiting the release of official government information about Israel’s nuclear weapons program, particularly ongoing illicit transfers of nuclear weapons material and technology from the US to Israel.”

The suit claims that “these violations manifest in gagging and prosecuting federal officials and contractors who publicly acknowledge Israel’s nuclear weapons program, imposing punitive economic costs on public interest researchers who attempt to educate the public about the functions of government, refusing to make bona fide responses to journalists and consistently failing to act on credible information available in the government and public domain. These acts serve a policy that has many names all referring to the same subterfuge, ‘nuclear opacity,’ ‘nuclear ambiguity,’ and ‘strategic ambiguity.’”

The Institute for Research: Middle East Policy is an enormous archive of newspaper articles, books, audio, video, lawsuits, and surveys, dedicated to Israel, or, rather, the vilification of the Jewish State. Despite the institute’s name’s reference to being about Middle East policy, it’s all Israel, mostly about the secrets and clandestine policies of Israel. But it’s doubtful the current lawsuit, almost two years in the system by now, will go anywhere in federal court. In the end, the president is permitted to do whatever he or she wants in foreign policy, using good advice and their own intellectual faculties.

Let’s all vote for a president who is endowed with both.

David Israel

Analysis: At Last, Potential Buyer for Iron Dome System: the Pentagon

Thursday, August 11th, 2016

One of the problems with Iron Dome, the short-distance anti-missile system developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Raytheon and battle tested successfully in two Gaza wars was that, despite its stellar reputation and the great interest in it by high profile visitors to international weapons shows, no country so far has actually purchased the system. Israeli newspapers have reported on state visitors who expressed an interest in the system: NATO, South Korea, the US, Azerbijan, and India. But in the end all these interested buyers ended up going for something else.

The reason must be that Iron Dome was tailor-made to fit the bizarre, even grotesque relationship between Israel and Hamas. The system functions as a means of perpetuating an intolerable reality whereby an entity much weaker militarily than its neighbor nevertheless deigns to shoot hundreds, even thousands of rockets into its neighbor’s civilian centers without fear of annihilation. The Iron Dome does nothing to discourage the firing of rockets, it only works to keep the casualties to a minimum. Where else on the planet would such a relationship exist between two bordering countries?

But now, Defense News reports, the Pentagon wants to purchase a modified version of the Iron Dome’s Tamir interceptors for the US Army, to defend against a variety of threats, including rockets, artillery, mortars, and even cruise missiles and UAVs.

According to Defense News, the Israeli-designed Tamir interceptor has already been adapted for launch from a US Multi-Missile Launcher (MML), and last April, at the Army’s missile range in New Mexico, the MML-launched Tamir scored its first intercept on US soil against a target drone.

It turns out that the Iron Dome, too, much like most US military aid package components, is generating mostly American jobs, as half of the funds for the development program are already going to Raytheon, which operates many facilities in the US.

Yosi Druker, head of Rafael’s Air Superiority Systems division told Defense News that the Tamir would be modified to meet US standards, and would be produced entirely in the US. It would be “100 percent Raytheon,” he said, adding, “The minute that the US decides to procure Iron Dome, we will transfer all the knowledge and production file to Raytheon.”

Mind you, that purchase is yet to be made, and, judging by the Iron Dome’s track record so far, the deal could still go south. Still, Druker is hoping the low cost and excellent performance record of the Iron Dome should give it an advantage over the competition. “It’s clear that according to price and capability and maturity of the system, Iron Dome has advantages,” he said.

But John Patterson, a public relations director for Raytheon Missile Systems who spoke to Defense News, declined to comment on the chances of the system to sell to the Pentagon, and only stated that Raytheon has “an excellent working relationship with Rafael.”

Incidentally, if no other state in the world envisions a situation where they would be facing an absurd battle theater such as the one Israel has faced with Hamas since 2006, could it be that Israel is doing something wrong?


President Rivlin Receives New Ambassadors from India, Chile, Myanmar, Estonia, Lesotho

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016

President Rivlin this morning (Wednesday) at his residence received the diplomatic credentials of new ambassadors to Israel from the India, Chile, Myanmar, Estonia, and Lesotho. Each ceremony began with the raising of the flag and the playing of the national anthem of the visiting country, included an honor guard, and – after the presentation of the credentials – the signing of the guest book, before the playing of Israel’s national anthem ‘Hatikva’.

First to present his credentials was Ambassador of India, H.E Mr. Pavan Kapoor. President Rivlin welcomed the Ambassador, his wife, and delegation and said, “The relationship between our two nations and our two states is being spoken about all over, and the cooperation between us is not only about innovation where we are trying our best to tackle problems in agriculture and water, energy, but also cyber and the need for security. I know that we can expand this cooperation and your appointment is an opportunity to look at ways we can do so. I convey my best regards to the President and Prime Minister, and I hope that the Prime Minster will be able to visit Israel and that I will be able to visit India in the coming months.”

Ambassador Kapoor thanked the President and said, “We are working to take our relationship further. We have received Israel’s help in a number of areas including defense, agriculture and water where we suffer a lot – in our country we either have droughts or floods, and we have a lot we can learn from Israel.” The Ambassador added, “We are looking forward to your visit and are working on dates for what I believe will be a landmark visit.”

President Rivlin thanked him and concluded, “The Indian and Israeli people have a lot in common, we know how to respect tradition and to be ready to learn and bring innovation to our lives for the benefit of our people and the whole world.”

Next the newly appointed Ambassador of Chile, H.E Mrs. Monica Jimenez De La Jara presented her credentials. The President welcomed her and showed her a picture of him as Speaker of the Knesset together with former President of the Chilean Senate and daughter of former Chilean president Isabel Allende taken at an international conference in Santiago. The President congratulated the Ambassador on her appointment and said, “I know that coming here from having served as Ambassador to the Vatican, you will feel at home in Jerusalem which is the center of the Holy Land. I welcome you also as a former education minister and we know that everything one can bring to our people begins with education. We are doing all we can in Israel; while 90 years ago we had only one university, now we have more than 6 universities and many colleges that are giving the opportunity to every citizen of Israel to study. We believe that the future of all people is together with education.” The President spoke of the relationship between the two governments and added, “From time to time we have some differences of opinion but we know that the relationship between our two nations and governments is strong. We can accept criticism – we do not accept boycott – but we can accept criticism.”

The Ambassador of Chile thanked the President for his warm welcome and said, “I am honored to have come from the Holy See to the Holy Land. I greatly appreciate being in a country with so much university activity. We have visited the Weizmann Institute, and the Hebrew University and we have plans to visit many more. We would like to have an academic delegation from Chile to reinforce the academic and research relations.”

She added, “I have worked all my life for peace. I know the situation in the Middle East is very difficult but Chile is ready with an open hand to do all it can to advance peace.”

Next, Ambassador of Myanmar, H.E Mr. Maung Maung Lynn arrived to present his credentials. The President welcomed him, his wife and delegation and said, “Mr. Ambassador, I remember as a student in High School when the Prime Minister of your country, U Nu, came to visit Israel, and then as a soldier in the IDF I remember Israel’s first Prime Minister Ben Gurion visited your country and brought back a great appreciation for your people and your culture. We are very proud of our connection and our relationship with your people. The Foreign Ministry started the idea of MASHAV in your country, the idea of connecting with other nations through learning together and sharing our knowledge about water for example. We also know that many Jews found shelter in your country until the outbreak of war. I want to congratulate you on the recent democratic elections in your country, which make Myanmar stronger.”

Ambassador Lynn thanked the President and noted, “It is a great pleasure to be here. I am here with my family and my daughter who will study here, and we have visited much of the country.”

Next, Ambassador of Estonia, H.E Mr. Sulev Kannike presented his credentials. The President congratulated him on his appointment and said, “We appreciate the wonderful relationship between our states and governments, and we appreciate your support for Israel in the international arena on so many issues, as well as the participation of Estonia in peace keeping efforts in the region. We appreciate also the understanding of Estonia on Holocaust education in your schools and among your people. In the field of cyber we are working together, in order to keep safe people in the region, and across Europe and the world.” The President added, “Please send my special wishes to your Foreign Minister who served as Ambassador of Estonia in Israel.”

Ambassador Kannike thanked the President and said, “I am happy to convey the greetings of my President who visited Israel in 2012. Bilateral relations between Israel and Estonia are almost without problems. We understand each other very well, and this is important for us. In July next year Estonia is taking over the Presidency of the European Union and I hope this will help us improve not only our bilateral relations but also our multilateral relations. I also express my appreciation for Israel’s work in cyber security and startups – an area in which Estonia is also working hard.”

Ambassador of Lesotho, H.E Mrs. Lineo Irene Molisa-Mabusela then presented her credentials as non-resident Ambassador to Israel. President Rivlin congratulated the Ambassador on her appointment and stressed, “The relationship between our two nations is very important to us and despite any crises, we have maintained uninterrupted relations.” The President spoke of the important cooperation between the nations in the fields of agriculture and water innovation, he said, “We would like to see more of your students come to study through MASHAV especially here in Israel.” The President added, “Israel would be pleased to return to its observer status at the African Union.”

Ambassador thanked the President and said “Allow me to pass the warmest wishes of His Majesty and the people of Lesotho. We are appreciative of the wonderful relations between our two countries, and we would like to work to open new channels of communication including in the fields of healthcare, agriculture, water and many others.”

Jewish Press Staff

Israel & India: Be Wary of Arabian Friendliness

Thursday, June 30th, 2016

The good news is Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon will now be chairing the General Assembly’s legal panel that deals with counter-terrorism. The other day, the Danon candidacy for this post received “ayes” from 109 ambassadors out of 193 from the UN member states eligible to vote. Some analysts may be tempted to view this development as reflective of a growing positive mood among Muslim states towards Israel. They may argue the number of votes Danon got in the election could not have been possible without the support of some Arab states.

However, Jerusalem would do well to refrain from allowing any such apparent Arab positivism to cloud its strategic planning in future. Knowledgeable sources say the Arab states’ support, whatever, for Danny may not be treated as any good will towards Israel. Palestinian Permanent Observer to the United Nations Riyad Mansour has already been threatening around “the Sixth Committee will grind to a halt.” He has alleged Israel has won this election “only thanks to the efforts of the U.S., Canada, and Australia, which used all manner of blackmail and threats to guarantee a vote for Israel.” Mansour does not represent a full UN member state. He cannot vote at the United Nations. But his threat cannot be ignored in view of the Arab world’s well established linkages with Palestine.

Sources say all goodwill gestures that Arab states have displayed in the recent past are attributable to their present assessment that Israel can be their best partner in checkmating Iran’s well-established imperialist designs in and the rise of the Islamic State and the Muslim Brotherhood in the region. Also, the Arab states may be calculating Israel can be of an asset at a time when the United States’ traditional commitment to their security cannot be taken for granted.

Pertinently, Bahrain has of late been upset with Iran. Head  of the elite Qods Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani has threatened Bahrain’s ruling family with an armed uprising. The threat to the Gulf kingdom has been issued in the wake of Bahrain’s decision to strip its top Shiite cleric Sheikh Qassim of his citizenship over charges of fomenting sectarian divisions. Bahrain has a majority Shiite population but is ruled by a Sunni-led government heavily dependent upon Saudi Arabia.

The sources stress Jerusalem must never lose sight of the fact that most of the Muslim states remain ideologically dead opposed to the Jewish state. The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation resolution ( Indonesia, March 7, 2016) urged “member states and the wider international community to ban products produced in or by illegal Israeli settlements from their markets.”

Significantly, I find , most of the Arab leaders have had a similar approach towards secular India. Notwithstanding the occasional bonhomie displayed by some Arab rulers in their bilateral meetings with Indian leaders, they keep opposing New Delhi in their forum of the Organization of Islamic States. In its 13th Summit held in Istanbul (April10-15) the OIC called on India to implement the United Nations resolutions on  Kashmir. It expressed concern at the “violations of human rights” in the state and ”affirmed support to the Kashmir struggle.” It said this struggle could not be equated with terrorism and called upon the UN for implementation of the Security Council’s resolutions that called for “the resolution of the dispute and guarantee Kashmiris’ (inalienable) right to self-determination through a UN supervised plebiscite.” The OIC reaffirmed that Jammu and Kashmir was “the core dispute between India and Pakistan and its resolution “imperative for bringing peace in South Asia.”

The summit welcomed the establishment of a standing mechanism by the OIC Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) for monitoring the human rights situation in Kashmir and called upon India to allow the OIC Fact Finding Mission and the international human rights groups and humanitarian organizations access to Kashmir.

I would just suggest the OIC the devils do not preach gospels. Most of the OIC states are absolutely sectarian at the cost of many sections of society. They treat women inhumanly. Their support to the state of Pakistan on Kashmir is absolutely immoral and criminal. Pakistan hardly respects human rights in the part of Kashmir occupied by it. In contrast, citizens in Jammu and Kashmir are as free as in the rest of India. Pakistan has no legal basis to hold on to PoK. The UN resolution clearly demands Pakistan to vacate first the Kashmir occupied by it so that a referendum could be held to determine the wishes of the people in the entire Valley.

Jagdish N. Singh

Alexander In India

Friday, June 3rd, 2016

Alexander the Great conquered scores of lands and many nations. From the shores of his native Macedonia, he sailed into Asia Minor and even beyond. He was fearless in battle and never shrank from the enemy. He encountered numerous strange peoples and languages and this appealed to his sense of intellectual curiosity.

Alexander went beyond the land of Israel, past the Tigris and the Euphrates Rivers, through the Persian plains, past Afghanistan until he reached the fabled land of India, led by the mighty King Purus.


The Warning

When Purus heard that the mighty Greek King Alexander was coming, he sent word to him: “Do not enter my land lest I destroy both you and your armies with the sword.”

Alexander was not deterred and replied that he was unafraid. Purus thereupon gathered together his mighty army and a vast number of elephants and other specially-trained wild beasts famous for their discipline in battle and ferociousness.

When Alexander heard of the horde of wild beasts, he grew worried, for his soldiers had never before faced animals in battle. He decided to disguise himself and enter the enemy camp to see what he could discover that might be of some help to him against the enemy.

Approaching the Indian camp, Alexander was seen by the sentries and captured. He was taken before Purus who asked him:

“Who are you?”

“I was a soldier in the camp of Alexander, and I fell out with him,” he said. “After years of serving him faithfully and following him about, he treated me like a dog. I have come to you mighty King Purus to offer you my services as a soldier against Alexander and the Greeks.”

“Very well,” answered Purus, “you may join my armies and watch as we destroy Alexander with our animals.”

Alexander joined the Indian camp and became friendly with the soldiers. He had taken a great deal of money and precious jewels with him and these he lavished generously on the soldiers with whom he became acquainted.

The soldiers came to like the Greek stranger very much and accepted him as their own. Alexander was using this comradery, however, as an attempt to pry information from the soldiers on how to fight against wild animals.

One day, as he lounged in a tent with some of the Indians soldiers, he said:

“I have seen the vicious animals that are gathered in the camp waiting for the battle against the Greeks to begin and I was very happy. For I said to myself, Alexander and his armies will taste defeat for the first time.

“I have been thinking, however, of the cunning mind that Alexander possesses and I have been fearful that he will find some way of coming up with a means of defeating them.”


The Secret

The soldiers laughed and said: “Listen, friend, these animals that you have seen in the camp are all vicious and well-trained animals. They fear nothing except one thing, and that not even Alexander will be able to find out.”

Alexander, hearing these words, knew that he was on the verge of discovering the secret. Feigning indifference, he said:

“You do not know Alexander, though. Unless the secret is very, very difficult, he may discover it after all.”

“It is impossible,” said the soldiers. “The one thing that can defeat these animals is fire and there is none among us who would tell the Greeks that secret.”


Alexander Escapes

That night, when darkness had fallen on the camp, Alexander stealthily went through the lines, past the sentries and made his way back to the Greek camp. His soldiers were overjoyed to see him for they thought that he had surely been killed.

Rabbi Sholom Klass

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/kidz/midrash-stories/alexander-in-india/2016/06/03/

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