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Posts Tagged ‘Israeli Navy’

IDF to Protect Israeli Gas Fields

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

Israel’s new offshore natural gas platforms can turn out to be an easy target for terrorist organizations and so according to Reuters, Israel’s navy, the IDF less frequently mentioned branch, will be seeing a boost in the range of its operations and in its future budgets.

Captain Ilan Lavi, head of the navy’s planning department, told Reuters: “We have to build an entire new defensive envelope. But you can’t have a defense system that costs more to build than the gas itself.”

The Tamar natural gas field, which became operational this week, is located 50 miles west of Haifa, in water that’s 5,600 ft. deep. It was the first large-scale hydrocarbon resource claimed by Israel.

The Leviathan gas field is a much larger field, located 8o miles west of Haifa, in water that’s 4,900 ft. deep. The discovery of that gas field has created the foundation for close collaboration between Israel, Cyprus and Greece.

Estimates are of close to a trillion cubic meters of gas underwater overall, with drilling costs coming to more than $2 billion. A defense system for the platforms (there will be as many as 20) will cost $700 million to build and $100 million to maintain each year, according to Lavi. “We can do it with less, but it means the system will be less adequate,” he said.

The fast patrol boats can reach the platform from Ashdod harbor in 40 minutes, carrying a squad of soldiers armed with M-16 rifles.

The Gaza Strip is at about an equal distance from there, and as the Reuters’ story notes, the same mid-range rockets that hit Tel Aviv last November could be trained on the drilling platforms.

Then there’s the Hezbollah in Lebanon, which sits on an estimated 50 thousand rockets, itching to be launched.

Oil platforms off Nigeria have been hit repeatedly, according to Reuters, and suicide bombers launched coordinated boat attacks on an Iraqi oil export terminal in 2004.

“These incidents illustrate that terrorist organizations have become aware of the potential damage that may be inflicted through attacks on the offshore oil and gas industry,” Assaf Harel, a legal adviser to Israel’s Military Advocate General’s Corps, wrote last year in a Harvard security journal.

The two Israeli gas platforms already employ private security teams, but the scope of their activity is obviously limited to the immediate area. And as the platforms start to be frequented by tankers, an entirely new kind of protection will be called for.

Using the Israeli navy will mean utilizing not just its swift boats, but the IDF intelligence and strategic capabilities as well. As Captain Lavi put it: “We have a response for every scenario.”

Three Females Among IDF Naval Officer Course Graduates

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

This week the 124th class of IDF Naval Officers, including three women, completed their training and were stationed on deck Israeli Navy vessels. One of them, Lieutenant (junior grade) Or, has been a professional swimmer for seven year before enlisting, and Lieutenant (junior grade) Omer’s father has been a skipper for many years and she has been sailing since she was ten years old.

As to the dynamics on board a Navy ship, the female naval officers know they are expected to flawlessly overcome every challenge, exactly like their male counterparts.

“In the beginning you have to prove you are here because you deserve to be here, without any favors or shortcuts,” said Omer. “Once you complete the training, the male soldiers treat you like one of the guys, the differences are barely noticeable. We feel extremely comfortable.”

While most IDF women serve only two years, these three officers have already served through the 36-month naval officers’ course, as graduates will be required to sign up for at least an extra 16 months.

“Some people don’t understand why I’m here, since right now I could already be released from the army and start my life,” Or said, smiling. It turns out there’s an unexpected upside to her extraordinary commitment: “Boys ask me about my military service, what it’s like to succeed and complete the course. It’s extremely encouraging,” she said.

Who can resist a woman in uniform?

Germany Sells Israeli Navy its Sixth Submarine, 1 Year After Netanyahu Released PA Funds

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

Israel and Germany signed a contract purchasing the Israeli Navy’s sixth submarine Wednesday. It is an SSK Dolphin Class submarine.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Defense Ministry CEO Maj. Gen. (res.) Udi Shani and secretary of state of the German Federal Defense Ministry, Wolf Rudiger attended the signing ceremony for the purchase.

Last year the newspaper The Welt am Sonntag reported that German chancellor Angela Merkel conditioned the sale of the sixth Dolphin on Israeli concessions to the Palestinians. The sale of the submarine, from a German high-tech dockyard to the Israeli Navy had been held up for a year, until the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanjahu released $100 million in blocked funds which it passed over to the Palestinian Authority in April, 2011.

Navy Commander, Maj. Gen. Ram Rothberg addressed the purchase of the new submarine while speaking at the naval officers’ graduation ceremony: “Strategically, especially today, I am pleased with the approval and signing of a contract purchasing the Navy’s sixth submarine, 54 years after submarines were first put into use in the Israeli Navy. The strength of IDF and the State of Israel, and its operational flexibility, will grow ten fold,” said Maj. Gen. Rothberg.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that “the sixth submarine multiplies the force and capability of the IDF and the State of Israel in the face of the growing challenges. The agreement indicates our cooperation with Germany and the German government’s obligation to the security of Israel.”

Barak stressed that “the Israeli Navy has been undergoing strategic changes over the past few years, placing it at the helm of Israel’s security and the extent of the IDF’s capabilities.”

Poetic Art And Biblical Illustration: A Study In Contrasts

Wednesday, May 30th, 2007

Poets’ Portraits: Lines For My Image: Drawings


and Sculpture by Zvi Lachman


Through August 30, 2007


 


The Illuminated Torah: Yonah Weinrib,


The entire Book of Exodus, Illustrated


Through May 27, 2007


 


The Yeshiva University Museum


15 West 16th Street, NY


 

 

 


         One of the advantages museums hold over galleries is that their exhibits need not focus on one theme. In the wide array of artists, movements and time periods, viewers can experience art within a larger context whereas galleries generally have to specialize and present simply one artist’s vision in isolation. But those comparisons can sometimes become popularity contests, and some works suffer when juxtaposed with superior art. The two artists exhibiting at the Yeshiva University Museum are a perfect example. Zvi Lachman’s pastel portraits and Yonah Weinrib’s paintings are about as different in their approach to mark-making as any two artists can get.

 

         Lachman was born in 1950 in Tel Aviv, and he pursued sculpture (studying with Chaim Gross, among others) after obtaining degrees in engineering and architecture. He did construction work for the Israeli Navy, and served as a military architect in Sinai following the Yom Kippur War. Lachman moved to New York in 1978 with his wife Lilach and two young children, and studied at Parsons School of Design (earning an MFA) and the New York Studio School. He then moved back to Israel and taught at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design. He now teaches painting and sculpture at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art.

 

         His portraits, for which he uses charcoal, pastel, paint, pencil, chalk and bronze, evoke a cross between the portraits of Anna Ticho and Francis Bacon. Like Ticho, who used to draw the patients who sat in her husband’s, Dr. Avraham Albert Ticho’s, ophthalmology clinic, Lachman’s drawings of famous poets capture the less than happy sides of his subjects. In the catalog introduction, curator Shva Salhoov refers to the “horror [which] bursts forth” in Lachman’s work. Salhoov identifies the Hebrew word for horror as always attached to the visual. “Horror is a visible event, the core of which resides in its actual presence as a shadow.”

 

         Salhoov writes, “For well over a dozen years, Zvi Lachman has drawn portraits of poets that strive to duplicate the visionary essence of the shadow of horror.” She gets bogged down by the shadows she sees in the “faces, that are not faces,” and the “darkening expanses, sealed mouths, perforated eyes, seeing and unseeing, singed eyes, glittering with the light of dim charcoal.”

 

         Salhoov might be right that the works look eerie, but her interpretation is far too psychological (and poetic), where it ought to be more visual. Take Lachman’s 2006 portrait (image one) of Dalia Rabikovitch (Dalia Maria): In the drawing, Israeli poet Rabikovitch (1936-2005) holds up what is perhaps a clenched fist. Salhoov is correct that the poet’s eyes and lips are closed, but many of Modigliani’s subjects exhibit similar poses, and yet “horror” is hardly the first word that they evoke.

 


Zvi Lachman, Dalia Rabikovitch – Dalia Maria, 2006, charcoal and dry pastel on paper.

 

 

         Unlike Modigliani (and the comparison is, of course, unfair to Lachman), Lachman centers his portrait in the middle of the paper, without using the borders. This makes the portrait appear more cartoon-like and illustrative, but Lachman gets beyond that and turns the piece into a more sophisticated work by using abstraction. His vision transcends particular facial features, and the lines of Rabikovitch’s nose continue into the hair, just as the hand becomes the neck. Lachman seems far more interested in triangles and diamonds than in portraits. The same holds for closed eyes and lips, symbolic or otherwise.

 

         Carmela Rubin, Ayelet Danielle Aldouby and Doron Polak refer in the catalog to Lachman’s attempts to capture the subject’s soul: “Each portrait is a human and spiritual identity imprinted upon a face, whose presence cannot be reduced to its tactile contours.” They also view the work as anti-technology in its abstraction. “As electronic media and the boundless reach of the Internet have come to render information instantly available, presenting it in a one dimensional, sterile and simplified form,” they argue, “Lachman remains committed to maintaining contact with nature and with human memory.”

 

         In his portrait (image two) of Lea Goldberg (1911-1970), Lachman does perhaps touch upon the poet’s soul, and rather than capturing Goldberg’s horror, depicts her facial features delicately and gently, even as he depicts the hair more violently. Were Lachman interested in capturing emotion, Goldberg would have been the perfect candidate, as her poetry often refers to loneliness, alienation and failed relationships. But the lines Lachman uses to depict Goldberg’s cheek, nose and eyebrows are rounded, even calligraphic. Even in the sharper charcoal lines of the hair, Lachman finds a soft, velvety texture. The rest of the drawing remains mysterious and cloudy, and Goldberg could be equally pinned to a flag or looking out a window.

 


Zvi Lachman, Lea Goldberg – My Pictures, 2006, charcoal and dry pastel on paper.

 

 

         Yet the move that most ties together the portrait of Goldberg is the white shape (vaguely reminiscent of the map of Montana) that holds up the poet’s head. In the style of Rothko, the large form seems to hover, as it simultaneously rises and falls. These sorts of moves are far more important from a visual perspective than the feelings or symbolism that the picture yields.

 

         Rabbi Yonah Weinrib’s work exemplifies the opposite approach. According to the press release, “Every aspect of his art, from the ornamentation and illumination to the illustrations themselves, is informed by his own profound Biblical scholarship, with written commentary accompanying each piece.” Indeed, Weinrib’s scholarship is commendable, and the works use a “Where’s Waldo?” approach, where every detail contributes to a larger narrative.

 


Yonah Weinrib, Batim, Parshat Bo, The Book of Exodus, 2005, gouache, acrylic, pen and ink, watercolor, acrylic, airbrush on parchment.

 

 

         Yet, works like “Batim” (image three) lack the deep, introspective vision that Lachman so expertly wields. The painting is too literal: Jerusalem houses surrounding the temple with a tefillin box (“for the head”) floating in the air. The verses surrounding the illustration derive from the Shema (“Hear, O’ Israel, our G-d is one” and “You shall love your G-d with all of your heart”). Where Lachman saw lines and shapes extending beyond objects, Weinrib carefully outlines each shape, and the shapes barely interact. The tefillin box looks out of place hovering in the air because it is so literally depicted, and the landscape below feels very flat.

 

         Both artists are worth seeing and engaging, but Lachman’s strength lies in his ability to see visually rather than literarily and symbolically. His portraits are so engaging and dynamic, because their identity as faces is coincidental to their forms. Weinrib’s innovation resides in his ability to interpret the ideas embedded within the texts he explores. He lends visual forms to these texts, but the works convinced this viewer that the artist placed far more value upon the words, and called upon the visual only to assist the words in conveying their message.

 

        Menachem Wecker is a painter, writer and editor based in Washington, D.C. He welcomes comments at mwecker@gmail.com. His painting, “The Windows of Heaven,” will be on exhibit at the JCC of Greater Baltimore as part of an exhibit that closes on June 10.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/poetic-art-and-biblical-illustration-a-study-in-contrasts/2007/05/30/

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