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December 27, 2014 / 5 Tevet, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Mediterranean’

Israel is Energy Exporter in $15b Gas Deal to Jordan

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

Israel became an energy producer for the first time today with the closure of a deal to export natural gas to Jordan from the mammoth Leviathan gas field.

Leviathan will become Jordan’s main supplier of natural gas in the coming years. Months of discussions in the Israeli government eventually ended earlier in the year with a decision that the country would be allowed to export 40 percent of its offshore natural gas reserves.

Noble Energy Inc., Delek Group Ltd, Avner Oil and Gas LP and Delek Drilling Limited Partnership and Ratio Oil Exploration were expected to sign a $15b Memorandum of Understanding today (Sept. 3, 2014) to export natural gas for the next 15 years to Jordan.

Israeli Minister of Natural Infrastructures, Energy and Water Resources Silvan Shalom, and the U.S. State Department were both involved in the deal.

The Leviathan gas field is a large natural gas field located in the eastern Mediterranean Sea off Israel’s coastline, about 47 kilometers (29 miles) southwest of the Tamar gas field. It is located approximately 130 kilometers (81 miles) west of Haifa, in waters about 1,500 meters (4,900 feet) deep.

In Israel, A Prosthetic Tailored for a Turtle

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

The Israeli mind just cannot tolerate an unsolved medical problem, even in a turtle.

For an injured green sea turtle named “Hofesh” (the word in Hebrew means “freedom”) that nature resulted in a new lease on life.

Hofesh was snarled up in a fishing net off Israel’s Mediterranean coast early in 2009, his two left flippers completely mangled.

The nearly-dead turtle was brought to Israel’s Sea Turtle Rescue Center, where it became clear amputation was the only option.

The poor turtle was left with two stumps; attempts to fit clumsy divers’ flippers did him little good as he tried to swim.

Enter Shlomi Gez, an industrial design student at Hadassah College in Jerusalem, who read about ‘Hofesh’ one day on the Internet.

The challenge of helping the turtle intrigued him, and the tragedy bothered him – as it had the staff at the rescue center.

It didn’t work.

Gez first tried a prosthetic dorsal fin – but that didn’t work either, because it impeded the turtle’s ability to rise to the surface to breathe.

Unperturbed, the scientist tried again, this time with a dual fin prosthetic. Gez told SciTech Today it is based on the design of Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-22 Raptor warplane.

The prosthetic resembles the aircraft’s wings, he said. “It worked better than one fin on the back. With two fins he keeps relatively balanced, even above the water.”

Last Thursday, ‘Hofesh’ tried out his new prosthetic and was free for the first time since being trapped in the net, swimming easily around in his tank at the Rescue Center.

Yaniv Levy, director of the Center, told the journal, “We have great plans for this guy.”

‘Hofesh’ is too badly injured to ever be able to be returned to the wild — but he shares his tank with a blind female turtle named ‘Tsurit.’ Researchers are hoping a romance will blossom, and if the two mate, they will add to the local population of the endangered green sea turtles.

Both turtles are still young – researchers estimate they are about 20 to 25 years old – and approaching the age to mate. Their offspring can be released back to the sea as soon as they hatch, although the parents will never return.

Beaches are Open, Time for Sand and Fun in the Sun!

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

Israel’s beach season began officially Thursday morning, May 1, with a bright sunny day and breezy skies.

Lifeguards are out in force at 140 beaches, according to government officials, all of which are open to the public across the country. In many areas, separate beaches are available for observant Jews.

Recently a new separate beach opened up at the Dead Sea in Ein Bokek, according to Chabad-Lubavitch emissary Rabbi Shimon Elharar. (For more information about that beach and kosher facilities in the Dead Sea area, Rabbi Elharar can be reached at +972-54-777-0695.)

The season this year is scheduled to end after the High Holidays, on October 23, 2014.

Health officials remind Israelis, new immigrants, visitors and tourists to use an effective sun block when at the beach. The sun’s rays in the Mediterranean region can be stronger than one might be used to elsewhere, and the risk of a burn or other damage could be higher. The strongest and most damaging “sun hours” of the day are between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.

Enjoy yourselves and have a great season!

Russian Navy’s First Port Visit to Egypt in 21 Years

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

Suddenly, even Vladimir Putin looks more attractive.  He looks, at least, like he actually intends to fight radical Islamism – in some of its varieties anyway.  In theory, he has some pull with Iran.  He can exert a certain level of “check” on the Syria crisis.  His relatively well armed nation sits on the other side of Erdogan’s wild-card Turkey, which keeps bouncing from China to Iran to NATO and back again.  He’s not “Europe” – not really – but “Europe” acknowledges that he has to be given a place at the table.

Maybe he doesn’t look attractive, exactly; maybe the word is interesting.  Whatever it is, it’s showing up in real forms now, in regional nations’ decisions in the Eastern Mediterranean.  Last week came the flurry of reports that Putin would visit Egypt in November and announce a major arms sale, which will inevitably serve as something of a counter-smack to the U.S. decision to halt arms deliveries to Egypt a few weeks ago.

The newer news is from Monday, November 11, when Russia’s Slava-class missile cruiser Varyag pulled into Alexandria for the Russian navy’s first port visit in Egypt since 1992.  Pundits of varying quality have rushed to speculate that Moscow will soon have the use of Egyptian ports as bases in the region.  I doubt that; Egypt is too anxious to retain her stature and independence of action – properly so – and doesn’t “need” to accord Russia such privileges to keep useful ties going between the two of them.

In the current, comparative disarray of some Arab governments in the region, Egypt’s actually looks solid and moderate, and has the overt support of Saudi Arabia and Jordan, as well as the tacit support of Israel – all of which are well armed, well connected regional powers with common interests in a status quo.  The situation over which Al-Sisi presides is different from that of the Nasser regime in the 1950s and 1960s, when it was so eager for the great-power patronage of the erstwhile Soviet Union.

Russia, for her part, is unlikely to press this issue.  Between Syria, Greece, Cyprus, Montenegro, and Malta, the Russian navy has a lot of options now for making temporary landfalls for logistics.  Moscow wouldn’t necessarily even save money by concluding more literal “basing” agreements in the Mediterranean.

But I’m sure we can expect to see the Russian navy welcomed in Egyptian ports.  This makes a noteworthy, and regrettable, contrast with the U.S. Navy, which has been scarce in Egyptian ports in recent years – in spite of our two nations’ close relationship – largely because of the threat of terrorism.

Egypt, meanwhile, isn’t the only nation to roll out the welcome mat for the Russian navy in the past year.  In May, the Russian amphibious ship Azov arrived in Haifa for the first port visit ever by a Russian navy ship to Israel.  Russia and Israel have of course found some common ground in their opposition to radical Islamism, and the Netanyahu government has had a robust program of diplomatic outreach to Russia since it took over in the spring of 2009.  After Putin visited Jerusalem in June 2012 to pray for the rebuilding of the Temple, a naval port visit could hardly have been far behind.

Russian warships also visited Lebanon in March 2013, an exceedingly rare occurrence.  According to Russia’s defense ministry, the visit involved a frigate and two amphibious ships, and signified no intention on Moscow’s part to establish any permanent basing arrangement.

Cyprus hosted multiple visits by Russian warships in 2013, fueling the usual speculation that Moscow is negotiating for basing rights on the island.  (See here for more on Russia’s strategic approach to Cyprus.)  It has become routine in the last few years for Russian navy ships to visit ports in Greece and Malta.  Russian officials announced earlier this year that the navy’s newly constituted (or, in effect, reconstituted) Mediterranean squadron would use a port in Montenegro as well, referring to the port of Tivat (which for many years during the Cold War was a Yugoslav navy base, used as a Mediterranean base by the Soviet navy).  A September 2013 press release on the upcoming activities of amphibious landing ship Yamal indicated the ship would visit Greece and Montenegro this fall.

US to Question Al Qaeda Suspect Terrorist on Ship in Mediterranean

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

American authorities said Monday they will question an Al Qaeda terrorist,  re-captured in Tripoli over the weekend, while he is on a Navy ship in the Mediterranean Sea and without reading him his rights, making it impossible to use the information at a trial.

If the terrorist, Abu Anas al-Libi, reveals the same information after later hearing his rights when questioned again in the United States, the information can be used at his trial, NBC reported.

Interrogators from the CIA, the FBI and Navy officers aboard the USS San Antonio will question al-Libi to learn more about Al Qaeda activities both inside Libya and elsewhere.

Al-Libi has been in custody before for bombing attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Libya 15 years ago. Two other terrorists are at large for the attack, while eight others, including Osama bin Laden, have been killed. Nine are in custody and one has died while awaiting trial.

 

US Navy Fleet Moving Closer to Syria

Saturday, August 24th, 2013

President Barack Obama is under increased pressure from within his administration and from Congress to intervene in Syria, especially following the most recent allegations that President Bashar al-Assad’s army used chemical weapons on its own civilians.

A White House official told the Voice of America on Saturday that the U.S. has a “range of options” if it decides to act against Syria’s alleged use of chemical weapons.

The official commented as President Barack Obama met with his top national security advisers to discuss the Syrian government’s alleged use of chemical weapons on civilians in a Damascus suburb. Obama’s team is considering a repeat of the NATO air war in Kosovo, and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said U.S. forces are positioned in the Mediterranean and ready to act.

”The Defense Department has a responsibility to provide the President with options for all contingencies,” Hagel said. ”That requires positioning our forces, positioning our assets to be able to carry out different options, whatever option the President may choose.”

Secretary Hagel’s comments came as a defense official said the U.S. Navy would expand its presence in the Mediterranean with a fourth warship armed with cruise missiles. The Sixth Fleet, with responsibility in the Mediterranean, has decided to keep the USS Mahan in the region instead of letting it return to its home port in Norfolk, Virginia.

U.S. Defense officials said the additional warship was moved into the eastern Mediterranean Sea.

There are no orders for the time being for any missile launch into Syria, said the officials. But if the U.S. wants to send a message to the Syrian president, the most likely military action would be a Tomahawk missile strike, launched from a ship in the Mediterranean.

Three other destroyers are currently deployed in the area: the USS Gravely, the USS Barry and the USS Ramage. All four warships are equipped with several dozen Tomahawk cruise missiles. The reinforcement would allow the Pentagon to act more rapidly if President Obama decides on a military strike.

”If the U.S. attacks another country without a UN mandate and without clear evidence that can be presented, then there are questions in terms of whether international law supports it. Do we have the coalition to make it work?” Obama told CNN on Friday.

In his first comments since the alleged Wednesday chemical attack, the president said he is still trying to find out what happened.

He said Americans expect him to consider “what is in our long-term national interests” in deciding what to do.

Referring to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, President Obama added: “Sometimes what we’ve seen is that folks will call for immediate action, jumping into stuff that does not turn out well, gets us mired in very difficult situations, can result in us being drawn into very expensive, difficult, costly interventions that actually breed more resentment in the region.”

UPDATED: Lebanon Rockets Hit Israel. One Intercepted.

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

5:58 PM Four missiles were launched at Israel from Tyre (Tzur), Lebanon. Three of the rockets fell outside of Israel. One rocket was intercepted by the Iron Dome system. Part of the Iron Dome intercept rocket fell in a residential area in Israel’s north. Global Jihad (not Hezbollah) is now believed to be responsible for the attack.

Four missiles were launched on northeastern Israel around 4:30 p.m. (9:30 a.m. EDT) Thursday. And the IDF intercepted one of them.

No damage or injuries were reported.

One or two of the missiles landed in the Galilee, and the fourth rocket overshot its target and landed in the Mediterranean Sea.

Residents in the coastal city of Nahariya and in the Western Galilee ran for shelters as sirens blared, warning of the incoming rockets. Bomb shelters in Acre (Acre), immediately south of Nahariya, were opened.

The Hezbollah-run Al Manar network in Lebanon said that the rockets were launched by Hezbollah terrorists from Tyre.

IDF has increased force preparedness in Tzfat an Kiryat Shmoneh as a result.

There have been multiple siren alerts since the launches.

Israel has closed all the airspace in northern Israel.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/bulletin-enemy-missile-blasts-heard-in-northeast-israel/2013/08/22/

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