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August 4, 2015 / 19 Av, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Israel Defense Forces’

Behind Breaking the Silence: Foreign Funding, Bounty Hunting, and Hypocrisy

Monday, May 11th, 2015

On May 4 the organization which has given itself the courageous moniker of “Breaking the Silence” issued a harshly critical report about the IDF’s performance in last summer’s Operation Protective Edge in Gaza. It claimed indiscriminate shooting by Israeli soldiers caused the deaths of hundreds of Palestinian Arab civilians.

In the days following, that report has itself been criticized, debunked, dismantled and discredited. It’s worth understanding why.

The name of the organization issuing the scathing report, “Breaking the Silence,” suggests no one else has been willing to criticize the IDF. In reality, of course, that is the primary global discourse about the IDF.

And it is not as if IDF soldiers are uncritical of their experiences. But most of that criticism is internally directed, with the goal of actually improving conditions and procedures. BtS’s effort, in contrast, is a public relations exercise in demonizing Israel and its military apparatus.

The international media pounced on what was promoted by BtS as scorching criticism based on more than 60 interviews with unnamed active duty and reserve IDF personnel who participated in last summer’s OPE. (Anonymity of critics is a hallmark of Breaking the Silence’s many reports.)

A report based on testimony from Israeli soldiers who directly participated in the conflict would appear to be unimpeachable.

Except this one is and has been impressively impeached in a series of reports and public comments by a wide range of critics. Those reports have not received the extensive publicity the Israel-bashing original report has.

And why should anyone doubt the veracity of this report?

Well, for one thing, Breaking the Silence has been subject to intense criticism for years, including from such venerable bastions of Israel criticism as Haaretz, Israel’s flagship far leftist media outlet. In 2009, a Haaretz writer said of Breaking the Silence, it “has a clear political agenda, and can no longer be classified as a human rights organization.”

Other critics include former Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Dore Gold, former Associated Press reporter Matti Friedman, the well-respected non-governmental watchdog group NGO Monitor and Im Tirzu, a staunchly Zionist Israeli organization.

The various critics offered substantive and persuasive reasoning for rejecting the claims contained in BtS’s latest report.

FOREIGN FUNDING AND BOUNTY HUNTING

First, the funding of Breaking the Silence suggests it has a clear political bias. Despite its claims, including one during a BBC interview, that its organization “are not subcontractors to anybody,” BtS is highly subsidized by foreign entities and governments. That in itself may not be problematic. But bounty hunting, where funding will only be provided if a set level of “scalps” are supplied, reaps malevolently skewed results.

And contrary to BtS’s claim that “the contents and opinions in this booklet do not express the position of the funders,” NGO Monitor research revealed that a number of funders made their grants conditional on the NGO obtaining a minimum number of negative “testimonies.”

Got that? We call that bounty hunting.

“This contradicts BtS’ declarations and thus turns it into an organization that represents its foreign donors’ interest, severely damaging the NGO’s reliability and its ability to analyze complicated combat situations,” observed NGO Monitor’s analysts.

Gerald Steinberg, the executive director of NGO Monitor, told the JewishPress.com that while “the leaders of Breaking the Silence claim to promote Jewish values, they are impostors.”

“From Biblical texts through modern times, Judaism has emphasized political realism and not pacifist myths. Abraham had to show that he had the power to defend his interests, and the same is true for Jacob, and so on. In addition to this distortion, [the authors of the report] are self-promoting messianists who immorally promote themselves through money given by church groups and foreign governments which seek to deny the right of the Jewish people to sovereign equality.”

New IDF ‘Snake Pit’ Detects Terror Tunnels

Sunday, May 10th, 2015

While Hamas and Hezbollah continue to dig terror tunnels in the hope of catching Israel unawares, the IDF has created the means of stopping the threat.

Project “Snake Pit” – used at the tail end of last summer’s Operation Protective Edge – is at least part of the answer to IDF prayers, experts say.

The Defense Ministry’s MAFAT research and development division teamed with operational teams at Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and the IDF to create the new secret weapon.

Snake Pit combines “a number of technologies” and “off the shelf” components, according to a Defense Ministry promotional video posted on the Hebrew language hareidi religious website, Rooms of the Hareidim.

The MAFAT video was part of a presentation at a closed-door ceremony honoring excellence in breakthrough technologies and developments in the field of Israeli security.

Also honored at the ceremony was IDF Col. Ofer Winter, commander of the IDF Givati infantry brigade that fought so hard and suffered losses during anti-tunnel combat in last summer’s war in Gaza.

Winter praised the ability of military researchers to “bring a real solution that contributed and achieved operational results” in anti-tunnel technology.

“You are going out to battle a specific enemy and you don’t want to get dragged into combat the way he planned it – so you need to know how to create an advantage over that enemy.

“It’s hard to imagine what would have happened, had we not had that technology and this solution,” he added.

Israeli defense contractor Elbit Systems is also actively engaged in the development of anti-tunnel technology and has been working on a system to ferret out signs of the deadly underground networks used by Iranian-backed Hamas terrorists in Gaza.

The Elbit system can uncover and pinpoint ongoing underground excavations via its advanced sensor system, and at last report was about to be deployed along the border with Gaza.

Infantry Unit Spots Syrian Terrorists, IAF Neutralizes Them

Sunday, April 26th, 2015

The IDF killed 4 terrorists on the Israel-Syrian border on Sunday evening around 9:30 PM.

The 4 terrorists were spotted trying to plant explosives along the border with Israel, near Majdal Shams.

The terror cell were taken out by an IAF aircraft once they tried to place the bomb on the Israeli side of the border on the northern Golan Heights.

The army said it will not tolerate any attempt to breach or harm Israel’s sovereignty.

The terrorists were spotted by an infantry unit who called it in.

New US, Canadian Immigrants Arrive, Undeterred by Gaza Terror

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

North Americans are ignoring the largely skewed news coverage they are being fed by mass media abroad and continuing to ‘come home to Israel’ regardless of the grim news headlines around the conflict with Gaza.

One of the special Nefesh B’Nefesh aliyah flights from New York that takes place each summer arrived bright and early Tuesday, bringing 338 new “olim” to Ben Gurion International Airport on the wings of Israel’s national carrier, El Al Airlines.

The 38 new Israeli families included 107 children and 108 young men and women who are soon to become soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces.

The new immigrants, who came from the United States and Canada were welcomed by top government officials at a special ceremony held under tight security inside the airport.

A Soldier’s Account of Grief to Happiness

Monday, May 5th, 2014

Every year the moment comes when sadness and happiness have a strange meeting. I ask: Have I mourned enough for those who have sacrificed their lives? What is the width of the line that separates Israel’s Memorial Day and the Jewish State’s Independence Day?

In Israel, two special days take place one after the other – the very second that Memorial Day comes to an end, Israel Independence Day begins. It often feels as though there isn’t enough time to feel the sadness of Israel’s Memorial day–Yom Hazikaron, yet the celebrations of Independence day have already begun. Sometimes there is a inner-conflict in which the feelings of sadness have already faded and there is a restless wait until the celebrations begin.

This year, I experience this transition as a soldier for the first time. I joined the army just a few months ago, and am still trying to figure out how to carry the huge responsibility of protecting my family and country. Today, two contrasting moments come together and for me, raise many questions.

Why would someone make the decision to put these days together? I think that maybe it’s because it is the only way to really recognize why Israel is so precious to the Jewish people. The two days complete each other–the happiness rising from the grief.

Many times in life, you can only reach the top after you’ve been in the lowest place. My mother said to me once, “You can only become a complete person once you’ve had your heart broken in two.” That’s exactly the contrast I’m talking about–the juxtaposition of pain and joy – when remembrance becomes happiness. These days can only come together.

Grief and Independence

Now that I am part of IDF, I feel even stronger my personal connection to those fallen soldiers. They were mostly young soldiers just like I am and that realization is quieting. In their death, these soldiers pass on the heritage of loyalty and pride in the values of the IDF. I owe my life to them. We all do. These soldiers have motivated me to build a better future for Israel.

And here I am. With pride I bear my heritage. Now I’m the soldier who is defending Israel. I’m one of those who look after my nation. Now it is me who carries the responsibility on my own shoulders.

Grief and Independence

Israel Independence Day for me is pride in living. Here is the only place in the world where being a Jew is normal. We are living by our own rules, under our own principles and beliefs, not dependent on anyone else–that’s what it means to be independent. If those soldiers hadn’t fought and died with bravery, the present would be completely different. We wouldn’t have a reason to celebrate the great gift that they’ve given us. A dream of 2000 years that the Jewish people hoped would come true. This is the gift of Israel’s fallen soldiers, and this is why on Israel Independence Day–we celebrate!

Israeli Army Calls Seton Hall Basketball Player’s Number

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

An Israeli playing basketball at Seton Hall University was ordered to return home to serve in the army.

The Israel Defense Forces told Tom Maayan, a sophomore guard at the New Jersey college, to return by Jan. 2 to be drafted.

Maayan had spent several months over the summer in basic training with the Israeli army but received a 120-day exemption to start the season at Seton Hall. He reportedly had expected another after lobbying for the exemption granted to exceptional athletes.

Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard said the Pirates’ game on Tuesday against the New Jersey Institute of Technology was Maayan’s last with the team. He is set to finish his final exams this week before returning to Israel, according to The Star-Ledger.

Maayan did not speak after the game but sent out a tweet that read, “unfortunately It was my last game as a pirate.Love my teamates coaches and the Shu fam! Thanks for all the love! #SHUBB#PIRATE4LIFE”

Maayan, his family and the university all reportedly lobbied the IDF to allow him to finish his college career at Seton Hall before re-enlisting. He will serve out his full three-year commitment to the military.

“Tommy has been and will always be a beloved member of the Seton Hall community,” Willard told The New York Times last month. “We will certainly miss him, and while we understand and respect his responsibility to serve his country, we are disappointed with the timing.”

Maayan would still have eligibility to play college basketball, but it is unclear if h’s scholarship at Seton Hall would be available after completing his army service.

Playing 20 minutes a game over his season-plus at Seton Hall, a Roman Catholic university, he averaged nearly 2 points and 3 assists.

American Oleh Improving after Collapse during IDF Training

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

An immigrant to Israel who collapsed during army training and was placed on life support spoke and started breathing on his own.

Matthew Klein, 20, formerly of Los Angeles, opened his eyes in a Tel Aviv hospital on Monday and spoke for the first time in more than a week Yediot Achronot reported. His friends and army buddies were at his bedside.

Klein had collapsed Aug. 18 while on a training run with his Nahal Brigade unit.

The Israeli military determined that despite the heat and humidity, the run was within the protocol for health and safety guidelines for training in hot weather.

Klein’s mother arrived in Israel the day after his collapse.

Klein made aliyah more than a year ago after participating in a gap-year Young Judea Israel Program, the Los Angeles Jewish Journal reported. He is a graduate of the Shalhevet high school in Los Angeles.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/american-oleh-improving-after-collapse-during-idf-training/2013/08/28/

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