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May 24, 2016 / 16 Iyar, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Israel’

NIS 900 Million Approved for Bedouins in the North

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

By Jonathan Benedek/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – The Ministerial Committee of the Arab Sector headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu approved on Tuesday a 900 million shekel (US$235 million) program for the Bedouin towns in the north through 2020, in an effort to further integrate Israel’s Bedouin population with the broader Israeli society.

“We are partners,” said Netanyahu. “There is no reason for an entire community that contributes to the state not to share in education, infrastructure, law enforcement, and personal security.”

“The Bedouin population in the north is serving in the army, paying taxes, and bearing the burden,” acknowledged Minister for Social Equality Gila Gamliel (Likud).

“The proposal that I submitted to the ministerial committee today is a move that is uniquely designed to help close the gaps between the Bedouin sector and Israeli society and to address the many issues where the quality of life of the population must be improved,” added Gamliel.

Netanyahu also acknowledged existing gaps between the Bedouin community and the rest of Israel, as well as a strong desire to see such gaps closed.

“I know that people are suffering and it should not have to be that way,” remarked Netanyahu. “In the 21st century, people need to live.”

“I want to see young men and women join society, the economy, education and everything else,” added Netanyahu.

The prime minister also emphasized a desire to see an increase in the number of Bedouins enlisting in the IDF, arguing that it will help their communities integrate more with the rest of Israeli society.

“The topic of military recruitment is important to me,” Netanyahu noted. “I would like to work together with you to boost military enlistment recruitment. It will advance you, and the north in general, and it will bring integration with society.”

The developmental program for Israel’s Bedouins in the north will provide a number of tools designed to help jump-start and advance both economic independence and the standard of living in the Bedouin communities. A significant portion of the program’s budget will be invested in education and welfare programs as well as in the development of physical infrastructure such as sewage, water, transportation, and housing.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Israel, Austria Celebrate 60 years of Diplomacy

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

Austrian Ambassador to Israel Martin Weiss tweeted his thanks for an evening at the Israel Museum celebrating 60 years of Austrian-Israeli relations. The evening event featured a speech by Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz, who began the week in Jerusalem, meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Israel Ambassador to Austria Talya Lador was present Sunday to greet the foreign minister upon his arrival in the country. For his part, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met this week with a group of young Austrians. “We really appreciate that you took the time!” tweeted Ambassador Weiss.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with a delegation of young Austrians.

Kurz took time Monday to visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial museum, and spoke with Austrian Holocaust survivors in Jerusalem. He tied up the day by laying a wreath in a memorial ceremony at the Mount Herzl military ceremony in the capital.

Netanyahu and Kurz also met to sign a “working-holiday agreement” that provides easy access for the young to work in each others’ country,” Weiss said.

Kurz also met with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah during the day on Monday as well.

Hana Levi Julian

France Postpones May 30 Conference on ‘Peace Initiative’ Postponed

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

France has postponed the May 30 ‘peace initiative’ conference scheduled to be held in Paris, due to a “scheduling problem” with the United States. Although the conference is intended to work on the knotty issues facing final status negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, neither party is invited to attend the conference.

However, Secretary of State John Kerry informed France he too would be unable to attend due to “scheduling conflicts.”

President Francois Hollande made the announcement Tuesday on French radio, saying that because Kerry “cannot come on May 30… it has been delayed. It will take place in the summer.”

Hollande explained his country must take “a strong initiative” in the dispute, else “what will happen? Settlement building, attacks.”

French foreign minister Jean-Marc Ayrault visited Jerusalem and Ramallah this past Sunday to discuss the French initiative with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas.

Netanyahu made it clear that Israel has no interest in any multilateral “peace initiative” as they are simply ineffective. He is perfectly willing, he said, to engage in direct talks with Abbas “anywhere at any time.”

Moreover, Netanyahu bluntly said the impartiality of France was questionable at best following its support for the UNESCO resolution that removed the mention of any historic Jewish ties to Jerusalem, the Temple Mount and the Western Wall. The resolution also referred to Israel as an “occupying power” and the Old City of Jerusalem as “occupied.”

The United States has continued to support Israel in its determination to return to direct negotiations with the PA, as set forth in the internationally-recognized Oslo Accords.

“We’re in discussions right now with the French about any possible alternative date that might better work for the secretary,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said Monday. He added, however, that Kerry’s agenda is “jammed.”

Hana Levi Julian

Death of Terrorist Mustafa Badreddine May Result In New Hezbollah Attacks On Israel

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

{Originally posted to the author’s website, The Lid}

Back in January 2015  Former Israeli National Security Adviser, Maj. Gen. (ret.) Yaakov Amidror, outlined the threats to the Jewish State from non-state entities in a report released by the Begin Center for Strategic Studies ​ (BESA). The most serious existential threat to the Jewish State by non-state entities is the terrorist group Hezbollah, with 150,000 missiles, that according to the General is a “rare and substantial firepower apparently even exceeded the firepower possessed by most of the European states combined.” After having been accustomed to a situation in which large regular armies with armor, artillery, hundreds of aircraft and thousands of troops were arrayed on Israel’s borders, there can be no doubt that Israel has moved into a different world.

Hezbollah also has long-range surface-to-sea missiles, anti-aircraft missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, and modern anti-tank missiles. It is well organized into a military-style hierarchy and appears to possess command and control systems of high quality. It was established by Iranian leaders, but its leadership has always consisted of Lebanese people who were closely linked to Iran’s interests. Hezbollah assisted the Shiites by providing for their needs in the civilian sphere as a base for building its military power.

An event yesterday may have moved Hezbollah closer to using those missiles against Israeli civilians.  In the middle of the night Middle East time – Hezbollah confirmed that their top military commander, Mustafa Badreddine and the man leading their terrorists in Syria, had recently been killed in an explosion. The incident happened sometime in the last few days, though the exact day still isn’t totally clear.

The strike that killed Badreddine is being widely attributed to Israel. But the Jewish State is not the only country who may have wanted this terrorist dead as he murdered people from many different countries.  The Hezbollah commander was prosecuted for the 1983 truck bombings of the U.S. and French embassies in Kuwait City, and involved in the 1983 bombing of the U.S. Marines barracks in Beirut that killed 241 people. He was later tried for the attempted murder of the Emir of Kuwait, escaping to Iraq before he could be executed,  was also accused of being the main organizer of the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, and of organizing numerous Hezbollah attacks against Israel. Badreddine was designated a “global terrorist” by the U.S. During the Syrian civil war, and he has been leading Hezbollah forces fighting on behalf of Bashar al-Assad in the area of al-Qusair. Badreddine was very unpopular inside Hezbollah. According to  Matt Levitt, Middle East scholar whose book about  Hezbollah: The Global Footprint of Lebanon’s Party of God was published three years ago,  tweeted that Badreddine was “rash, hot tempered, impetuous, even unstable,” and “was very close [to] Nasrallah, but widely disliked within Hezbollah,” and was “a philandering playboy, not particularly religious.” But in the end he was tolerated because he “got the job done.”

The Lebanese media is blaming Israel for killing Mustafa Badreddine as are Hezbollah officials so whether they were responsible or not Hezbollah sees Israel as behind the attack and if they take revenge it will be against Israel (per their standard practice, the Israeli government is not denying or confirming they were behind the attack).  Either way the Iranian-funded terrorist group has been looking for an excuse to attack Israel for a long time.

For the last few years Iran and Hezbollah have been trying to establish a military foothold on the Israeli-Syrian border, the aim being to open a new front against Israel. In January 2015 that effort was set back when Hezbollah and Iranian commanders in charge of those plans rolled up to the border to map out what the Israelis described as “deadly terror attacks,” and their two-car convoy was destroyed by air-to-surface missiles broadly attributed to Israel.

Hezbollah kept running at least two different campaigns in the theater. One campaign – infiltration of Israel – was led by baby-murdering terrorist Samir Kuntar. He was killed in a December 2015 air raid while planning cross-border attacks .  A second campaign – in the same area – put Badreddine physically in near the border. After news came out yesterday that he had had been killed, Tony Badran – a fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, and a top expert on how Lebanon fits into the rest of the region – floated on Twitter that the two campaigns were linked [g][h]:

In Feb 2015, there were claims that Badreddine was leading Hezbollah ops in the triangle of Quneitra/NW Deraa/W Damascus countrysides. Hezb was then leading the push into southern Syria and the Golan. In Jan 2015, the IAF took out senior IRGC-QF and Hezb cadres in Quneitra.

In recent months Hezbollah has been steadily escalating its operations along the border. In December Hezbollah chief Nasrallah threatened to attack Israel and the Israelis responded by telling him to back off at the risk of triggering “hard results.” The same thing happened when he threatened to attack in February. In late April IDF Deputy Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Yair Golan warned that Hezbollah was risking a “full-scale war” if it didn’t cease its provocations. There is no evidence that Hezbollah pulled back on its campaigns in the intervening three weeks.

If Hezbollah triggers a downward spiral, the consensus is that the next Israeli-Hezbollah will likely be brutal. The Israelis describe Hezbollah’s current force structure as “Hezbollah 3.0”: fighters battle-hardened from Syria, has them operating out of civilian areas transformed into military sites, with an arsenal of advanced weapons provided by Iran.

More specifically:

  • Battle-hardened fighters: a few months ago a Hezbollah source bragged “our fighters are getting training and experience through the work they are doing in Syria, and this is a great concern for the Israelis,” and that the experience would be deployed to seize and hold Israeli territory during the next war. Hezbollah has developed an enormous hardened tunnel infrastructure to store tens of thousands of weapons and to invade through.
  • An Israeli source last year sketched out how the incursions are likely to go – and how they will likely impact Israeli population centers – based on Hezbollah’s Syria experience. Hezbollah’s goal is a ground invasion, which could be made up of a number of elements: Using the underground and aboveground area near the border’s wadis; and an entry of many commando and antitank teams… The fighting teams will use explosive devices and antitank missiles like the Kornet, which reaches an efficient rage of five kilometers during the day and three kilometers at night… they will be able to hit vehicles on the Lower Galilee’s roads from the high mountains… it’s the exact same fighting they are now acquiring huge experience in through their battles in Syria.
  • Weapons embedded in Lebanese civilian areas: The bulk of Hezbollah’s arsenal has been embedded across hundreds of villages and probably thousands of homes. Last May the Israelis showed journalists maps, data, and aerial photography outlining the military infrastructure in Shiite villages. The AP described how roughly 200 villages had been transformed into full-blown “military strongholds.” The NYT noted that, as a result, there will likely be significant casualties among the Lebanese civilians being used as human shields. Effectively, the Israelis are warning that in the event of another conflict with Hezbollah, many Lebanese civilians will probably be killed, and that it should not be considered Israel’s fault. “The civilians are living in a military compound,” a senior Israeli military official said at military headquarters in Tel Aviv… “Historically, armed forces have separated themselves from the population, in uniform… This is not the case here or in Gaza.” He accused Hezbollah of cynically using civilians.
  • Advanced weapons arsenal (including unconventional attack threats): As of March Hezbollah had roughly 150,000 rockets and missiles, allowing the group to saturation bomb Israeli population centers with 1,500 rockets and missiles per day for over three months. The arsenal includes sophisticated Scud-Ds that can strike any part of Israel from any part of Lebanon, which means Hezbollah will make all of Lebanon and Israel a battlefield. It includes – since 2014, according to U.S. intelligence – Yakhonts missiles: supersonic, surface skimming, fire-and-forget missiles that will be launched from Lebanon or Syria, touch down in the Mediterranean, and then target Israeli naval assets, energy infrastructure, and ports. Hezbollah has declared it will use that arsenal to create the equivalent of unconventional attacks against Israel. In February Nasrallah threatened to bomb Israeli chemical plants to create the effect of “exactly… a nuclear bomb,” triggering tens of thousands of casualties . Iranian officials have meanwhile bragged about providing Hezbollah with missiles that can reach Israel’s nuclear facility in Dimona, an attack that the UN’s 2005 International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism would define as black-letter nuclear terrorism . In addition to its projectile arsenal, Hezbollah has also developed an arsenal of drones – including offensive “suicide drones” – that it has bragged about deploying against Israel. The group has signaled that it will also use its suicide drones for functionally unconventional attacks against Israel’s nuclear infrastructure.

Now on top of the above, add the fact that the Obama administration’s capitulation to the Iranians in the P5+1 deal has emboldened Iran and its terrorist allies, Hezbollah is itching for another chance at killing Israelis. Should war break out it will most probably lead to civilian casualties in Israel and Lebanon. If the attack on Badreddine is eventually linked to the Israelis, it might be seen as a “brushback pitch,” to Hezbollah in an attempt avoid those scenarios, but on the other hand it may give the terrorists an excuse to ramp up the violence.

Jeff Dunetz

Lone, But Not Alone: Lone Soldiers In Israel

Monday, May 16th, 2016

What causes young Jews from all over the world to come to Israel and enlist in the Israeli army? Perhaps it is an echo of “Lech Lecha” from the time of Avraham Avinu? Perhaps it is Jewish pride. Perhaps it is for adventure. Whatever the reason, in the IDF, lone soldiers are a special breed.

Ari Friedman

Ari Friedman

The term “lone soldiers” refers to ordinary conscripts who lack a support network: orphans, Israelis whose parents are abroad for part of or all of the year, Israelis who come from broken homes; chareidi soldiers whose parents have disowned them and those young men and women who come from abroad to enlist in the IDF.

Rosh Tzurim in Gush Etzion is a popular kibbutz for religious lone soldiers. It offers a rural setting close to Yerushalayim and has a small community of approximately 200 families. Each lone soldier is assigned to two or three families, who host them for meals during Shabbatot and chaggim.

Most of the English-speaking lone soldiers who live in Rosh Tzurim seem to gravitate to our home. For instance, there is twenty-year-old Binny Ovadia from San Diego. “I was always interested in the idea of being drafted into the IDF,” Binny stated. “I had many friends who served and I heard a lot of stories, so the idea was floating around in my head for a couple of years prior to my draft. My family was very surprised that I decided to enlist, and, for a while, they were against it. As time went on my family started supporting my decision.

“The families that have taken me in and the kibbutz in which I live have really changed, in a positive way, my experience in the army. Having meals taken care of by other people frees up my time while off base and allows me to go home without the stress of having to prepare three meals for Shabbat,” Binny said.

Binny described a bit of army life. “The army is what you make of it – like most things in life. I’ve gone entire weeks sleeping an hour a night, marching through the rain and knee-high mud, carrying 40% body weight for days on end, and marching 70 kilometers in sixteen hours… Being in the army means doing everything from polishing boots and making lunch, to arresting people, doing riot control and ambushes.”

Sasha Rulev, who was born in Khmelnitsky in the Ukraine in 1994, was inspired to enlist in the army “to thank the land and those who help guard me.” He serves as a combat soldier (parachutist) and is presently on the Gaza border. He and his mother communicate via email or Skype. While she was initially against his joining the army, she is now proud of him.

Last May, Sasha attended an event celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Adopt a Fighter Organization. The army had flown in the mothers of twenty lone soldiers. It was so heartwarming to see the video of twenty soldiers, including Sasha, standing unsuspectingly on the stage as a group of mothers suddenly came towards them. Sasha had not seen his mother for three years!

Religion plays a large part in Sasha’s life. “Religion really helps me during the hard times. It gives me koach,” he explains. He was in the army for Yom Kippur and he was not optimistic that there would be a minyan, but almost all of the soldiers came to services.

What Sasha dislikes in the army is the political side. “There are times when we would like to do something, but our hands are tied. For instance, when I was stationed in Chevron, leftists would come and try to provoke us, but we were not allowed to do anything about it.”

Adena Hershberg

Gaza Fisherman Arrested, Reveals Hamas Used Him to Smuggle Weapons

Monday, May 16th, 2016

By Michael Bachner/TPS

Gaza Border (TPS) – A Gazan fisherman involved in weapons smuggling into Gaza was arrested in April and has revealed detailed information on Hamas’ attempts to utilize fishermen for military purposes, the Shin Bet announced on Monday.

Salim Gamal Hasan Na’aman, 39 years old from the Shati Refugee Camp in the Gaza Strip, worked as a fisherman and was arrested by IDF naval forces after exiting the permitted fishing area.

In his interrogation, Na’aman revealed that he has long been involved in the smuggling of weapons and arms meant for Hamas and other terror organizations in Gaza. His sea-smuggling operation moved ammunition into Gaza, including liquid fiberglass used to produce rockets, the Shin Bet said.

Na’aman also revealed details of Hamas operational maritime plans “to utilize fishermen to conceal its activities,” the Shin Bet said. Additional information revealed by Na’aman pertained to maritime routes used to smuggle goods from Egypt into Gaza, and to the use made of fishermen and smugglers along the routes.

“The information discovered in this investigation, as well as in the investigations of additional Hamas terror operatives recently arrested, reveals another small part of the many efforts by Hamas to advance its violent terror actions,” said a statement by the Shin Bet. “This time, the Hamas efforts exploit the fact that Israel has eased the restrictions on the Gaza fishermen.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Dozens of Haredi Rabbis Call on Israel to Kill Every Terrorist ‘As Soon As He Leaves the House’

Monday, May 16th, 2016

Several dozen rabbis, many of them Haredi and Hasidic, on Sunday attended an emergency conference at the study hall of the Bostoner Rebbe, Rabbi Meir Alter Horowitz, in the neighborhood of Har Nof in Jerusalem, Kippa reported. Dubbed “emergency conference for the security of Israel in the Holy Land,” the assembly ended with a uniform call against a national unity government with the Zionist Camp (Labor) or with any other politicians who declare openly that they want to hand over areas of historic Israel.

Besides the host, the Bostoner Rebbe, the conference included Haredi “celebrities” such as the Chief Rabbi of Bnei Brak, Rabbi Moshe Landau, the Chief Rabbi of Tsfat, Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, and the head of the Temple Institute, Rabbi Yisrael Ariel.

The statement the assembled rabbis issued after their conference said in no uncertain terms that there must be no negotiations over territory across the “green line,” nor any mention of the “two state solution.” The announcement suggested that “the only way to uproot the wave of terror by Arab murderers in the Holy Land would by through a firm stand of the Israeli government that there will never be a negotiation over parts of the Holy Land, by expressing regret for past withdrawals and regret for the ‘miserable declaration’ of two states for two peoples.”

The assembled Haredi rabbis also said that “the areas of Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem are all part of the Land of Israel and we must continue to build there in accordance with the needs of the population without interruption. The rabbis have ruled according to Halakha that maintaining the security forces’ deterrence is more important than any holy object.”

The Haredi rabbis also mentioned what they called “stupid” statements by senior officials in government and the military which, they said, dishonor the nation of Israel and the IDF soldiers—referring to Deputy Chief of Staff General Yair Golan who compared the behavior of some IDF soldiers to that of German Nazis in the 1930s.

The rabbis added that every Arab terrorist must be executed. “Every Arab terrorist who leaves his house with the intent to hurt Jews has lost his right to live and must be shot without needless calculations,” they stated. They noted that whomever refuses to follow their directions should not be placed in charge of the security of Israel, citing Deut. 20:8 — “What man is there that is fearful and fainthearted? let him go and return unto his house, lest his brethren’s heart faint as well as his heart.”

JNi.Media

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