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December 9, 2016 / 9 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Mediterranean’

Escalation: Russian Aircraft Carrier Headed for the Mediterranean

Saturday, October 15th, 2016

The aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, part of Russia’s Northern Fleet, has embarked on a long voyage through the north-eastern Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, the fleet’s press service announced on Saturday.

According to the announcement, the force on its way to the Syrian shore “consists of the aircraft-carrying heavy cruiser Admiral Kuznetsov, the Pyotr Velikiy battlecruiser, large anti-submarine ships Severomorsk and Vice-Admiral Kulakov and support vessels.” Once in the Mediterranean, according to the Telegraph, the Kuznetsov will take up position off the coast of Syria for four to five months, possibly using its complement of 20 MIG 29, 12 SU-33, and Kamov helicopters to carry out airstrikes.

The first announcement regarding the combat deployment of the Kuznetsov was made by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on September 21. On Oct. 10, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Nikolai Pankov announced the establishment of a permanent Russian naval base in the Syrian city of Tartus,.

According to the fleet’s statement, the goal of the Kuznetsov’s voyage is “to ensure naval presence in the important areas of the World Oceans. Special focus will be made on safeguarding security of maritime traffic and other types of maritime economic activity of Russia and also on responding to the new kinds of modern threats such as piracy and international terrorism.”

The Admiral Kuznetsov and Pyotr Velikiy’s previous voyage through the Atlantic and into the Mediterranean took place in 2014. This is the Admiral Kuznetsov’s eighth voyage.

A NATO naval source told the Telegraph that the Russian vessels could pass Britain as early as next week, claiming that the Russian move is “not catching us by surprise, we are working up what to do and we are all over it. The most likely thing is that they will go through the North Sea, down the Dover Strait and through the Channel. They might even stop off the North East coast to fly for a bit.”

The Admiral Kuznetsov is the only Russian aircraft carrier. According to world media, this 55,000-ton carrier is no match for the 100,000-ton US Nimitz-class carriers.

Russia has had a naval facility in Tartus since the mid-1980s, and it remained intact despite the collapse of the Soviet Union. “At the time, defense ministers were busy winding down the Russian presence abroad,” retired colonel-general Leonid Ivashov, head of the International Center of Geopolitical Analysis, a Moscow-based think tank, told Russia Beyonf The Headlines. “Over the past 25 years, we have lost bases in Qatar and Yemen, whereas Tartus has miraculously survived.”

According to Ivashov, the Russian naval facility in Syria currently consists of a floating workshop, which can provide only basic maintenance and repairs to ships. “It houses very basic facilities for ships passing through the Mediterranean. In Tartus, crews can replenish their food and ammunition supplies as well as carry out basic repairs of their ships,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Mount Whitney command ship of the US Navy entered the Black Sea on October 11, and the Russian Black Sea fleet and Russian missile complexes have immediately drawn a bead on it. The Command of the US Sixth Fleet is yet to reveal the goals of the Mount Whitney’s journey. According to the US military doctrine, the Black Sea is within the US operational Sixth Fleet’s area of responsibility. But international conventions dictate that foreign ships may not remain in the Black Sea for more than 21 days.

JNi.Media

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

Google under Attack for Deleting Palestine from Maps App

Sunday, August 7th, 2016

Internet giant Google has been under fierce attacks from around the world this week, after replacing the name of Palestine on its maps application with Israel.

The Palestinian Journalists Front slammed Google for the move, stating that the removal of Palestine’s name from the maps was an attempt by the “Israeli scheme to establish its name as a legitimate state for generations to come” while obliterating Palestine forever.

PJF claimed the move was part of an effort to distort history and geography “as well as the Palestinian people’s right to their homeland,” and “a failed attempt to tamper with the memory of Palestinians and Arabs.”

PJF demanded that Google reverse the changes made in the maps application, since the move was “contrary to all international norms and conventions.”

The fact that there is no such entity as the State of Palestine did not come up in the attack.

A search for “Palestine” in Google Maps does yield a proper reference to the entity, but with a blank map of Israel, with the areas of Gaza, Judea and Samaria marked with a broken borderline but not mentioned by name. The information provided on the left under the title “Palestine” is:

Quick facts

The State of Palestine, also known simply as Palestine, is a de jure sovereign state in the Middle East that is recognized by 136 UN members and since 2012 has a status of a non-member observer state.

President: Mahmoud Abbas

Capital: Ramallah

Prime minister: Rami Hamdallah

For comparison, the data regarding “Israel” is:

Quick facts

Israel, a Middle Eastern country on the Mediterranean Sea, is regarded by Jews, Christians and Muslims as the biblical Holy Land. Its most sacred sites are in Jerusalem. Within its Old City, the Temple Mount complex includes the Dome of the Rock shrine, the historic Western Wall, Al-Aqsa Mosque and Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Its financial hub, Tel Aviv, is known for Bauhaus architecture, beaches and nightlife.

Founded: May 14, 1948

Prime minister: Benjamin Netanyahu

President: Reuven Rivlin

JNi.Media

French PM: It Is Urgent to Reconstruct French Islam, Expel the Threats from Within

Sunday, July 31st, 2016

“Through its history and its geography—open as it is to the Mediterranean and Africa, and through its immigration, France maintains very strong ties with Islam,” French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, wrote in a lengthy article in the Journal du Dimanche Sunday. “This is the second-largest religion in our country. Millions of French Muslims live here without necessarily identifying themselves as an Arab-Muslim culture.”

“It is for these very specifically French conditions, in addition to our old Christian roots, the long Jewish presence, the important role of Freemasons, and because our country was the inventor of secularism, that France has become the target of the Islamic State,” Valls argues.

Further down the piece, Valls suggests that “all is not so bad … but all is not well either. This period requires, more than ever, a lucidity of having to face the rise of global Islamism and jihadism with its apocalyptic vision.”

“A terrible poison is spreading,” he cautions. “Slowly, insidiously, against the background of influences from abroad and rising communalism, developed against a model of society which contradicts the Republic and its values. Many Muslims in France are taken hostage by the fundamentalist Salafism, the Muslim Brotherhood, who use their worship as a banner, a weapon against others.”

“It is a mechanism of confinement, intimidation, infantilism, which targets very often, but not only the vulnerable populations. And in the end, it’s a mechanism of radicalization, made up of violence and death, compounded by the Internet and social networks. Because we cannot develop a literal and rigid vision that ignores the diversity and richness of Islam, but [our recognition of Islam’s good values] should not lead to [ignoring some Muslims’] rejection of democracy and their fight against its values,” Valls continues.

He declares that the “fight against radicalization requires an unprecedented mobilization of public authorities in prevention and de-radicalization programs, to support individuals, particularly in suitable structures that will be centers of rehabilitation and good citizenship. We need a general mobilization of all public and civil society as a whole. But beyond that, we envision the [reconstruction] of Islam in France, in which Muslims have a huge responsibility.”

In his conclusion, Valls writes: “We must beware of paternalism, but must have the lucidity to recognize that it is urgent to help Islam in France get rid of those that undermine it from within. For this, it behooves us to build a true pact with Islam in France, giving this foundation a central place. As the fathers of the law of December 9, 1905 [on the Separation of the Church and State], we must invent a balance with Islam in France under which the Republic offers a guarantee of free exercise of religion. If Islam is not helping the Republic to fight against those who undermine public freedoms, it will be increasingly hard for the Republic to guarantee this freedom of worship.”

Valls ends his very aggressive essay with an optimistic note: “The war against terrorism will be won, and it will further strengthen the foundations of our society, so that the poison of radicalization be forever neutralized. This is the challenge facing our generation.”

Those who have warned that radical Islam would eventually lead to the creation of concentration camps across Europe might find an echo of those expectations in Valls’s call for “rehabilitation centers,” which are only a shade away from those infamous Vietnamese “re-education camps” that sprouted after the fall of Saigon.

In renegotiating Islam’s place in a secular France, Valls will also do well to look into early Muslim history, specifically the 10-year truce Muhammad signed at Hudaybiyyah with the tribes of Mecca, a truce he broke two years later, attacking and conquering the poor fools. Indeed, back in 2013, PA Minister of Religious Affairs Al-Habbash, with Mahmoud Abbas listening, compared PA agreements with Israel to that ancient pact that led not to peace but to victory over his peace partners. “This is the example and this is the model to emulate,” Al-Habbash recommended.

JNi.Media

First Philistine Cemetery Discovered in Israel

Sunday, July 10th, 2016

By Michael Bachner/TPS

Ashkelon (TPS) – A Philistine cemetery has been discovered for the first time in Israel, possibly shedding light on the mystery of the Philistines’ origins. According to biblical accounts, the Philistines were the arch-foes of ancient Israel.

“After decades of studying what the Philistines left behind, we have finally come face to face with the people themselves,” said Daniel Master, a professor of archaeology at Wheaton College. “With this discovery we are close to unlocking the secrets of their origins.”

Archaeologists and scholars have long searched for the Philistines’ origin. Artifacts found in the cemetery, which date back 2,700 to 3,000 years, may support the biblical account of the Philistines as migrants who arrived on the shores of ancient Israel from western lands in approximately the twelfth century BCE.

“Ninety-nine percent of the chapters and articles written about Philistine burial customs should be revised or ignored now that we have the first and only Philistine cemetery found just outside the city walls of Tel Ashkelon, one of the five primary cities of the Philistines,” said Lawrence Stager, Dorot Professor of the Archaeology of Israel at Harvard University.

The discovery was made by the Leon Levy Expedition to Ashkelon more than thirty years after the excavation began. The digs that took place in Ashdod, Ekron, Ashkelon, and Gath have shown how culturally distinct the Philistines were from their Israelite contemporaries.

Philistine burial practices were not like those of the Bronze Age Canaanites, nor were they similar to burial practices in later Iron Age Judea. The Philistines buried their dead primarily in pits that were dug for each deceased individual: male or female, adult or child. Later, more bodies were sometimes placed in the same pit, which was dug again along roughly the same lines, but the new remains were interred with their own grave goods. The cemetery was also found to contain evidence of cremations, together with pit interments and multi-chambered tombs.

After quelling Bar Kochba’s revolt in the Roman province of Judaea in 135 CE, Emperor Hadrian renamed the area Syria Palaestina, for the Israelites’ ancient enemies.

Research on artifacts found at the site, including bones, ceramics, jewelry and weapons, may connect the Philistines to related populations elsewhere in the Mediterranean Basin. Bone samples taken from the site are also being tested in order to ascertain the Philistines’ origins.

Most of the items found in the graves were storage jars, small bowls, and decorated juglets filled with what is believed to have been perfumed oil. While bracelets and earrings were found upon some of the remains and weapons with others, most of the individuals seem not have been buried with personal items.

The discovery was made in Ashkelon, a key port and maritime trade center from the Bronze Age to the Crusades, when it was destroyed and left uninhabited until modern times.

The excavation was organized and sponsored by the Leon Levy Foundation; the Semitic Museum at Harvard University; Boston College; Wheaton College; and Troy University, under license from the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Israel Nature and Parks Authority.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Spanish, Portuguese Jews Support Sephardi and Mizrahi Heritage Empowerment Program

Friday, July 8th, 2016

Reconectar, the movement to reconnect the descendants of Spanish and Portuguese Jewish communities and the Jewish world, welcomed the recommendations made by Israel’s Ministry of Education’s Committee to Empower the Heritage of Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews in the Education System, led by Chairman Erez Biton.

“It is an important day for Sephardi Jews where our history, culture and tradition will be recognized and taught in the Israeli school system,” President of Reconectar Ashley Perry (Perez) said. “This has taken far too long, but it is vital that the scope of Jewish history and culture be widened to include Jews from the Mediterranean, North Africa and the Middle East.”

“However, there is still more work to be done and it should be widened further to include our millions of Sephardi brothers and sisters who were forcibly disconnected from us over the centuries and are seeking a reconnection to the Jewish world. Our education system should be preparing the formal Jewish world for the immense and necessary challenge of reconnecting our people,” Perry said.

Beginning in the 14th Century, hundreds of thousands of Jews were forcibly converted, or otherwise disconnected from the Jewish People, and many among their descendants, numbering around 100 million, are seeking different levels of reconnection with Israel and the Jewish world.

Perry, who is also Director General of the Knesset Caucus for the Reconnection with the Descendants of Spanish and Portuguese Jewish Communities, Chaired by MK Robert Ilatov, said that the more Israeli children travel to Spain, as the recommendations state, the more they will encounter the story of the Anousim who are becoming more and more aware of their Jewish roots.

“We have an enormous opportunity to use our shared history and traditions, to empower and embolden relations with those who share our roots and heritage whether in the Iberian Peninsula, Latin America or among Latinos and Hispanics in the US,” Perry said. “We have a moral, ethical and even a halakhic mandate to do so, and the more we learn about our roots in the Hispanic world and the more the Hispanic world learns about their possible Jewish roots, the closer the potential relations between our communities will grow.”

Perry was also heavily involved in placing the issue of the Jewish refugees from Arab countries on the national and international agenda while he worked in government as advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and other politicians, including former MK Dr. Shimon Ohayon, who passed a law to create a day of commemoration in the official Israeli calendar.

“The history of the Jews of the Middle East and North Africa is sadly overlooked, even though every other Jew in Isr

ael comes from this region,” Perry said. “It is vital for Jewish Peoplehood that the vibrant and ancient Jewish communities of the Middle East and North Africa and their subsequent ethnic cleansing in the Twentieth Century are understood and studied.”

“It is absurd that it has taken 68 years for Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews to be able to learn about their own history and culture, and it is hoped that their history will be placed on an equal plane to the history of other Jews from around the world,” Perry said.

Jewish Press Staff

Netanyahu And NATO Representatives Commit To Mutual Cooperation, Fighting Terror Together

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

By Jonathan Benedek/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with ambassadors from NATO countries earlier on Tuesday to discuss expanding cooperation between Israel and NATO against the common threat of global terrorism.

“There are so many threats that are facing NATO that are similar to the ones facing Israel,” said Danish Ambassador to Israel Jesper Vahr whose embassy is currently NATO’s contact point embassy in Israel.

During the press conference, Ambassador Vehr shared a message with Prime Minister Netanyahu on behalf of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg who said that Israel and NATO face common threats.

“Today our nations face greater, more complex threats than they have in many years,” Vehr said on behalf of Stoltenberg. “It is right that those countries that share common values of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law work together for the good of us all.”

Netanyahu concurred with Ambassador Vehr and Secretary General Stoltenberg and also expressed his belief in mutual cooperation between Israel and NATO.

“Israel has much to contribute to NATO. I believe NATO has much to contribute to Israel,” said the prime minister. “We’ve already begun that process, but I think we can extend and increase our cooperation.”

Although not a member of the NATO alliance, Israel has already played an integral role as a member of NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue, a working group between NATO and seven Mediterranean countries focused on maintaining security in the Mediterranean region.

“Israel for many years has been an active member of NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue, the only security forum that brings together NATO allies with Israel and Arab countries. Last month, NATO and Israel went further, agreeing to establish an Israeli mission at NATO,” Ambassador Vehr said. “Having a mission will help us to take our political and practical cooperation to a higher level.”

Official authorization for such an office had been delayed by Turkey, a NATO member that has had strained bilateral ties with Israel since 2010. Turkey’s eventual lifting of its rejection to an Israeli mission was viewed by some as a sign on Turkey’s part of reconciliation with Israel.

Prime Minister Netanyahu immediately welcomed the establishment of the office on May 4, referring to it as a critical step in the advancement of Israel’s security and as a demonstration of NATO’s desire to cooperate with Israel on security matters.

“We’re in the process of opening up the office as soon as possible,” remarked Netanyahu at the press conference. “We attach great importance to that.”

Netanyahu’s meeting today preceded an upcoming NATO summit in Warsaw scheduled for July 8-9, which NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg referred to last week as a “landmark summit” addressing “a changed security environment” around NATO.

Netanyahu assured NATO ambassadors that Israel is prepared to help the military alliance cope with global terrorism.

“In three weeks, you’re going to have an important summit in Warsaw and I believe the combat against global terrorism should be and probably is already a central part of your agenda,” Netanyahu told the NATO ambassadors. “Know that Israel stands ready to advance that agenda and I have no doubt that if we work together, we can roll back this terror.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/netanyahu-and-nato-representatives-commit-to-mutual-cooperation-fighting-terror-together/2016/06/14/

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