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December 8, 2016 / 8 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Israel Defense Forces’

‘From Uniform to Studies’ IDF Program Kicks Off

Thursday, November 3rd, 2016

This week the IDF and Defense Ministry kicked off a new plan to pay two-thirds of a veteran’s tuition at college or university after he or she completes military service.

The new project is called “From Uniform to Studies” and is geared for now to soldiers in combat units from special backgrounds, specifically those who are new immigrants, lone soldiers and those from minority populations.

The IDF plans to eventually expand the program to include veterans from non-combat units as well.

The program is modeled after the U.S. ‘G-I Bill” that offered benefits to millions of American soldiers after World War II.

Hana Levi Julian

Liberman Appoints New IDF Deputy Chief of Staff, Air Force Commander

Thursday, November 3rd, 2016

by Michael Bachner
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman approved a series of appointments of high-ranking IDF commanders to new positions on Thursday, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit announced. Among the new appointees were Major General Aviv Kochavi as the new deputy chief of staff of the Israeli military, and Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin as Israel’s new Air Force commander.

The appointments, all recommended by IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot, will take effect during 2017. After interviewing all the candidates, Liberman accepted Eizenkot’s recommendation that Kochavi be named the army’s second-in-command.

Kochavi, who currently serves as head of the IDF Northern Command, will replace Maj.-Gen. Yair Golan who has served for the past two years as deputy chief of staff.

The new Air Force commander will be Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin, who until 2015 held the position of Deputy Air Force commander. He will replace Maj.-Gen. Amir Eshel who was the Air Force commander for the last four and a half years.

Maj. Gen. Yoel Starik, who currently serves as head of the Home Front Command, will replace Kochavi as head of the Northern Command. Starik will be replaced by Brigadier General Tamir Yadai, who will be promoted to major-general.

Norkin, the current commander of the military’s Planning Directorate, will be replaced in that position by Brig. Gen. Amir Abulafia, who currently commands the IDF’s 162nd Armor Division (also known as the Steel Formation).

In addition, Brig. Gen. Moni Katz will become the new commander of the army’s Depth Corps, which coordinates long-range operations deep in enemy territory. Katz will be promoted to major-general and replace the previous commander, Maj.-Gen. Tal Russo.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Now They are Going After Jewish Summer Camps

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016

Camp Mesorah is a co-educational Modern Orthodox sleep-over camp sprawling across more than 100 acres in New York State’s Catskill Mountains.  The camp focuses on sports, Torah, Jewish unity and love for Medinat Yisrael. Some people can’t stand that last part – especially any suggestion that the Israeli Defense Forces should be respected and emulated.

Why? Because the IDF, you know, is a military force and if Jewish campers in upstate New York emulate IDF troops while engaging in team-building and obstacle courses, that really is akin to glorifying torture and violence. In fact, “it’s like the Hamas camps.” At least that’s what some non-affiliated busybodies are claiming.

It’s absurd, but that’s how some Israel-denigrators – even Jewish ones – play the game. Even when it comes to attacking a team-building summer activity for Jewish campers.

Founded in 1990, Mesorah hosts approximatly 800 campers throughout the summers, starting from rising fourth graders through the tenth grade. Nearly one hundred of those Mesorahans come from Israel, and the camp has strong Zionist roots. Campers are encouraged to learn about and learn to love Israel, and making Aliyah is viewed as a positive aspiration. As Joseph Stansky, Mesorah’s co-owner, told the JewishPress.com on Tuesday, “many campers have IDF t-shirts and sweatshirts which they bought at novelty shops on Ben Yehudah [Street in Jerusalem].”

A brief visit to the camp’s website reveals hockey rinks and basketball courts, baseball diamonds and tennis courts, a lake for boating, and two shuls, a kollel, learning gazebos and a library. The owners have brought the camp into the digital age with a section on the website for parents and other family members to regularly see pictures and videos of the campers. There are also promotional videos for interested families.

The promotional videos are rolled out one at a time over the course of the post-summer year, in anticipation of the next summer’s season. One video rolled out just after the Jewish holidays this year focused on the camp’s “IDF-Paintball Program,” which shows campers in camouflage gear engaged in an intensive (by American Jewish camp standards) obstacle and team building course. Many of the campers are wearing their IDF t-shirts.

mesorah-rope-swingmesorah

Imagine that.

But, according to the camp owners, one person unaffiliated with the camp watched the video. He then attacked the video (yes, an adult attacking a children’s sleep-over camp) on Facebook. Why, the camp dared to glamorize Israeli soldiers! His horror at seeing Jewish children who, at least in exercises, are emulating IDF soldiers who defend the Jewish state from terrorists led to a comparison between this Jewish camp where Torah is taught alongside tennis and ceramics to the Hamas terrorist camps in which children are taught to murder Jewish civilians.

The Facebook ranter, Yehuda Kurtzer of the Shalom Hartman Institute, wrote: “Yes, I believe there is a giant moral chasm between the IDF and Hamas but no – there is not much of a difference between ‘their’ videos which promote violence and hate to their children and ‘our’ videos which glorify the same violence to children.” Really? The same violence?

The Facebook rant led to a few people leaving hate-filled talkback comments on the Mesorah video page. The commenters, camp owners told JewishPress.com, have “no connection whatsoever to the camp.”

“We’re not portraying Tsahal (the IDF) as bloodthirsty, that’s not what we are glorifying,” said Rabbi Ari Katz, Camp Mesorah’s owner, shocked at the association, “we’re proud of the Israeli Defense Forces, and we encourage our campers to identify with the IDF as Jews who strive to protect and perfect our Homeland.”

One would have hoped it would be needless to say, but there is absolutely no demonization of Arabs, or suggestions that Arabs be murdered, or that becoming a martyr by killing an Arab is condoned in the Torah anywhere in the video, yet the Facebook critic suggests otherwise.

Parents were concerned by the comments on the video site, according to a camp representative; they didn’t want their children exposed to the hateful comments. The video was temporarily removed from the Internet overnight and then restored, this time with commenting disabled. But no parents, campers or alumni have had anything but positive feedback about the IDF exercise program itself, Stansky and Katz stated.

“That people who have nothing to do with the camp would compare what we do at Mesorah with the glorification of violence, and who become outraged by Jewish children doing what children at many camps do all over the world, simply because they do it with pride in Medinat Yisrael, was shocking,” Katz said.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Israel Warns Google, Apple: New Game on Gaza War Could Endanger IDF Soldiers

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan has called on Apple and Google to remove a new “free to play” game from their online stores, called “Liyla and the Shadows of War.”

The minister contends that the mobile app is being used to incite players to kill IDF soldiers, by having them take on the role of a girl in Gaza during the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas, ‘Operation Protective Edge.’

The Israel Defense Forces are seen as “the bad guy” in the game, and are portrayed as particularly cruel and filled with murderers.

Erdan has warned both Google and Apple that the game could endanger the lives of IDF soldiers became of the incitement it generates. But neither company has responded to his concern.

Gaza resident Rasheed Abueida, the creator of the game, says it’s based on “actual events” and calls it a “cry for help.”

The promotional kicker line on the game’s website says, “When you live in a war zone and death is hunting everyone, things will look different and choices become harder. Face your fate in an unjust war to survive with your family from the shadows of war.”

Reviewer Rami Ismail, co-founder of Vlambeer, is quoted on the site as saying, “Liyla is a brave personal game about the invasion of Gaza, both an exploration of what games can communicate and a plea for help from someone actually affected by the reality the game sketches.”

Abueida explains on the site that he made the game because he is a father of two children, and “I can’t imagine my life without them, but in Palestine nobody is safe.

“When the war started in Gaza and I saw the images of the killed kids in their parents hands I was shocked, I had a weird feeling, it’s a combination of sadness, fear, empathy and anger. All what I was thinking of is ‘What if this happened to me.’ I have chosen to share those feelings in a game to deliver a message of how we are living as Palestinians under this situation. It’s not just a Game, it’s a case and call for help.”

The game won the Reboot Develop Indie Award in the category of “Visual Excellence,” according to the website.

Under “Resources” the site lists the Human Rights Watch “World Report 2015: Israel/Palestine Events of 2014” and the “Gaza Emergency Situation Report” released by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA).

Neither was an example of professional objectivity.

Also listed is a link to ABC News, which leads to an article by Middle East correspondent Matt Brown, beginning with the sentence, “An Israeli military spokesman says the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) should have been able to tell that four boys it killed on a Gaza beach last week were not Hamas operatives.”

There are also two videos on the page, one from Qatar-based Aljazeera, “Israeli strike kills children on Gaza beach,” and the other, a 67-second report from a Palestinian Authority-generated news source, TOMO, “Israel-Gaza conflict: another UN school hit by Israel, at least 16 dead.”

“Facts” are graphic images of the war that are part of the game. The game uses sounds from freesounds.org, and the melodic music, “Cold” by Jorge Mendez.

The skewed way in which so many residents of Gaza and the rest of the Palestinian Authority view the events of the summer of 2014 is displayed in all its tragedy and misery in this game.

The biggest tragedy of all is the destruction caused by the vicious Hamas leaders of Gaza who used them all as human shields, who forced them into bloodshed and war, and who then prevented them from fleeing to safety even when Israel did its best to allow them safe passage out of the combat zones.

It is Hamas who has misdirected and outright stolen their supplies to create more instruments of war, rather than the homes and hospitals and neighborhoods for which they were intended. And it is Hamas who has held them hostage and prevented them from doing anything else with their lives, other than working as slaves for the cause of hatred and death, from the very youngest ages to the grave, sometimes in a collapsed tunnel, and sometimes in a teenage attempt to murder a Jew.

“Sadness, fear, empathy and anger?”

Understandable, and matched by the endless frustration of those on the other side of the security barrier who have done everything possible to create the reality of a reasonable co-existence with their Arab neighbors.

Hana Levi Julian

Pro-Israel Students Penned-in “like Warsaw Ghetto” on UK Campus

Friday, October 28th, 2016

An Israeli speaker’s talk at a London college campus scheduled for this week was canceled on Wednesday. Why? Because, according to the cancelation notice sent by the student union, “there had been controversy” when he spoke at the campus two years prior, and the hosting organization failed to disclose that when the room was booked for the talk.

After cries of suppression of speech and vehement protests, the university stepped in and “un”canceled the talk. Hen Mazzig’s talk at University College, London, was reinstated. It would take place, as scheduled, on Thursday evening, Oct. 27.

The response by the anti-Israel mob was swift and the attack was vicious. A protest was called. Outside the room where Mazzig was scheduled to speak, livid demonstrators screamed for murder and the end of Israel. “Intifada, Intifada!” and “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!” They barred the entrance to the talk while pummeling the doors and windows, leering malevolently. Two thugs yanked open a window, hurling themselves into the room, launching several students inside into panic attacks. A woman inside kept repeating: “This is like the Warsaw Ghetto!”

UK protesters barreling through the window at Hen Mazzig event

UK protesters barreling through the window at Hen Mazzig event

Anti-Israel students yelling and banging on windows at Hen Mazzig UCL event. Oct. 27, 2016

Anti-Israel students yelling and banging on windows at Hen Mazzig UCL event. Oct. 27, 2016

The prelude and the coda of this minuet reveals volumes about the campus wars being waged against anything Israel these days.

Let’s start at the beginning: Hen (pronounced Khen, with the throat-scraping sound most non-Israelis find unpronounceable) Mazzig is a 27 year old Israeli who completed his army service four years ago. Since that time Mazzig has been speaking to audiences, especially on U.S. college campuses, about Israel. Mazzig is an educator who wants non-Israelis to understand his tiny country and his fellow countrymen. He is soft-spoken with a recognizable, but comprehensible, Israeli accent.

When Mazzig first started speaking to college students back in 2013, he was shocked by the vitriol directed against Israel by some American college students, professors and community members. Even Jewish ones.

In 2013, Mazzig wrote an epic cri de coeur, calling on American Jews to “Wake Up!” He was horrified to learn that Israel’s enemies are not just the hostile Arab nations surrounding his tiny country. “It is also here in America, where a battle must be waged against prejudice and lies. I implore American Jews to do more.”

This time around Mazzig is more sanguine about the atmosphere on U.S. campuses. He told the JewishPress.com that he is “happy that I was able to bring my voice into the conversation, to help raise  awareness.”

There is now ample funding to fight the scourge he urged Jewish leadership to recognize a few years back, the movement known as BDS, Mazzig told the JewisPress.com.  But the recognition of BDS as a symptom of the underlying illness is still too attenuated, including by Jewish leadership. “BDS is only a symptom of the disease which is the same old hatred – anti-Semitism.”

That hatred of Jews and, by extension the Jewish state, is what fuels BDS and other symptoms is made clear by the response to Mazzig in London last night.

The original effort to shut down Thursday night’s speech was based on a “controversy” surrounding a talk he gave in 2014 at Kings College, London. But that controversy was one created solely by anti-Israel protesters, not by Mazzig. In fact, the video and public statement posted by the protesters reveal that disrupting Mazzig’s talk and the walkout were planned in advance. The protest was not about anything Mazzig said — it was about the fact that any former IDF soldier was allowed to speak on campus at all.

Again at Thursday night’s event the protest was fueled simply by anti-Israel animus. Pro-Israel female students were assaulted on their way to the event. Many who sought entrance to the speech were barred by the protesters, those who gained admittance were prevented from leaving without a choreographed police escort.

But here’s the rub: while the haters did their best to prevent him from speaking, they did so without realizing that in his message and in his essence, Mazzig is the ultimate slayer of untruths about Israel.

For one thing, Mazzig’s family hails from Tunisia and Iraq – he is one of those “brown bodies” people love to claim Israel oppresses. For another thing, Mazzig was an openly gay commander in the Israeli army, where being gay raises no eyebrows, let alone scaffolds. Next on the list: Mazzig served in the COGAT unit. COGAT works with the Palestinian Authority to coordinate activities in order to improve the lives of the Arabs living in the territories.

During his IDF service Mazzig focused on protecting everyone, “coordinating humanitarian aid, and tending to the needs of civilians” living in the territories, Jewish and Arab, he explained. Mazzig and his unit worked feverishly “in a special operation conducted in the middle of the night” to unite an Arab Gazan orphan with an uncle in Ramallah, so that the boy “would not be left alone on the streets of the Gaza Strip.”

And the title of Mazzig’s speech at UCL, back in 2014? “The Hope for Peace: Promoting Peace While in Uniform.”

When the thugs were pounding on the doors and windows and shouting that Mazzig is a “murderer,” they were, albeit unknowingly, attempting to silence a speaker who understands Israel in ways they really must prevent the world from learning about. Otherwise, anyone who is not automatically a hater will realize that the throngs of illiberal thugs attempting to block free speech are the real roadblocks to peace.

Speaking from London following the event, Mazzig told the JewishPress.com:

I was standing in the room, trying to calm the Jewish students, while the mob outside was banging on the doors, on the windows, and calling for intifada. I knew this was not normal, nobody should have to endure this.

But neither Mazzig nor his talk’s sponsor, the media watchdog group CAMERA, were deterred.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

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

IDF Huge Data Consolidation Tender to Complement Future IDF Cloud

Friday, September 23rd, 2016

Israel’s Defense Ministry has issued the largest ever technology tender, aiming to consolidate all the IDF data centers, in conjunction with the future project developing an IDF cloud, to the tune of an estimated $270 million. The plan calls for the winner, which must be an Israeli company, to contract with a foreign partner for the project of consolidating the entire IDF data into a few computer centers which will serve the IDF land, air and sea units.

The move, according to the Defense Ministry’s statement, is crucial to enabling the IDF to maintain the ongoing upgrading of its systems over the next decades. The migration of all this data will require a detailed examination of the existing systems, involving millions of decisions regarding what to keep and what to discard. Which is why the ministry is encouraging local IT companies to coalesce in order to qualify for the bid, and to then work in collaboration with one chosen foreign company.

The ministry is not interested in using the services of local data farm companies, at least not directly. The IDF wants to build its own data farms. Also, the new tender does not deal with buying cloud technology, because the military is already engaged in defining a tender for an exclusive IDF cloud. In their meeting with the press Thursday, IDF and Defense Ministry spokespersons assured reporters the two projects will remain distinct, so that the development of one will not hinder the other’s. At the same time, they expect the two systems — the future IDF data farms and the future IDF cloud — to act together eventually.

As the IDF is in the process of clearing out of its very expensive real estate in downtown Tel Aviv and moving to a new military city near Beer Sheva in the south, it is safe to assume that at least part of the new storage system will also be erected there, in the Negev desert.

Many in Israel’s technology media have noted that the biggest challenge facing the new data storage system would be the requirement that the Infantry, Armored Forces, IAF, and Navy be able to share it effectively, making the system work for them instead of against them. The challenges in this case have less to do with technology and more with ego. Back in 2006, the IDF decided to kill its Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, one year after the $200 million project had been launched. The problem, according to a Globes report at the time, was that each corps selected a system that was specifically tailored to its requirements (either SAP- or Oracle-based), without regard for the need for a uniform technological and operating capacity across all branches.

Hopefully, the planners of the new tender have taken those issues into consideration. The IDF insists that the 2014 Gaza war marked a watershed in the new collaboration among the branches, and, besides, the IDF Chief of Staff has ordered collaboration as a priority, so they better collaborate.

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/idf-huge-data-consolidation-tender-to-complement-future-idf-cloud/2016/09/23/

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