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December 19, 2014 / 27 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘military’

Israel Finalizes Trimmed F-35 Order From US

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

Israel’s cabinet voted Sunday to approve a reduced order to purchase 14 Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter jets.

The government has been discussing the issue of how many of the warplanes to buy since January.

Also approved was an option to order another 17 of the F-35s in 2017.

The original deal approved by U.S. and Israeli defense chiefs in October 2014 included the purchase of 50 of the warplanes for two squadrons, with two of the jets to be used in experiments by the IAF.

Since then, U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel tendered his resignation to President Barack Obama, although he agreed to remain at his post until a replacement is found and confirmed by the Senate.

And although Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon remains in his position, Israel’s entire government coalition is likely to change due to what appears to be a collection of irreconcilable differences leading the country to early elections.

Israel already had ordered 19 F-35s in 2010 for $2.75 billion, which are due to arrive in December 2016.

This week’s decision brings the total number of planes purchased to 33 instead of the original 50 agreed upon, all of which were to be acquired with U.S. military aid.

Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz was particularly opposed to the purchase, questioning the need for the plane due to manufacturing setbacks in the past. The high cost of the fighter jet was another factor raised by Steinitz and several others, who expressed belief there were better ways to spend their military dollars.

In the United States, the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps all grounded their F-35 squadrons on July 3 after a fire in the rear of a plane forced a pilot to abandon takeoff at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.

However, South Korea purchased 40 of the aircraft for its F-X fighter acquisition program in September, to be delivered starting in 2018. The contract, worth $7.1 billion, marked the country’s biggest weapons deal.

Meet Gadi Eizenkott, the Next IDF Chief of Staff

Saturday, November 29th, 2014

Gadi Eizenkott will replace IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz in February, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon announced Saturday night, with the blessing of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Eizenkott, now Gantz’s deputy, took over the Northern Command after his predecessor quit in 2006 after sharp criticism of his conduct in the 34-day Second Lebanon War that summer, a war which was arguably one of the most embarrassing for Israel in terms of the military’s lack of preparation, poor intelligence, logistic fiascos and loss of life.

Eizenkott has restored some dignity to the IDF following the Second Lebanon War and is backs a policy to show “no mercy shown when it comes to hitting the national infrastructure of a state that, in practice, is controlled by terrorist organization Hezbollah.”

After an 18-month leave of absence to serve as a researcher in an Israeli think tank, Eizenkott returned to the army as Gantz’s deputy in 2013.

“Maj.-Gen. Eizenkott has been chosen from an excellent group of major generals to lead the IDF in the face of the complex security challenges facing the State of Israel. On behalf of the citizens of Israel, I wish him success,” Prime Minister Netanyahu said.

That would seem be a given, but given the recent years of the IDF commanders anxious to please the Obama administration, it is a “revolution” to think that that enemies should be killed and not “engaged.”

Eizenkott is not considered trigger-happy and will not send soldiers into war unless diplomacy does not work, Yediot Acharonot observed. But when the army has to hit, it will do it the way it should.

He enlisted in the Golani unit, which has produced many of IDF Chiefs of Staff.

Reserve Maj.-Gen. Ilan Biran, who worked alongside Eizenkott and was his senior commander, told Yediot, “After the Oslo Accords, as the GOC Central Command, I was looking for a brigade commander who knew how to handle a complicated and complex area – on the one hand there were the settlers and on the other hand militant cities like Tulkarem and Kalkilya. Eizenkott showed qualities of a model brigade commander, he showed common sense, restraint, unusual responsibility and creativity. He managed to avoid unnecessary conflicts and controlled these cities successfully in what was an extremely delicate task.”

In the recent Protect Edge operation against Hamas this past summer, Eizenkott favored a policy of not trying to destroy Hamas or take over Gaza.

He is known not to be afraid to say what he thinks, a rarity among recent senior military leaders.

The hope is that the Peter Principle will not change him when he takes over from Gantz and that he will continue to be homiest, tough and modest, characteristics sorely lacking in the top military echelon where commanders often worry more about being politically correct rather than protecting the country.

 

 

 

IDF to Stop Persecution of Observant Soldiers With Beards

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

The Israel Defense Forces has allegedly taken action to end its persecution of observant soldiers exempted from shaving facial hair for religious reasons.

The IDF announced Tuesday it would change its procedures following the imprisonment of Yaakov Biblau, a soldier from a Chabad-Lubavitch family who refused to shave his beard.

Biblau was serving as a computer and electronics engineer in the air force when he arrived at a new IAF base and was ordered by his commander to shave. Biblau explained that he had a permit to grow the beard, which he had worn since beginning his service and which the military rabbi knew of. His commander was unmoved and revoked the permit. He also prosecuted Biblau for refusing to obey a direct order.

The soldier argued in return that it was not reasonable to force him to remove the beard prior to clarification from higher authorities. He called the hotline of the IDF Chief Rabbinate, which informed him that he had a right not to shave. Regardless, the IAF commander placed Biblau on trial and convicted him of refusal to obey an order. He was sentenced to 10 days in prison.

That same commander has been known to harass other observant soldiers as well, according to Bayit Yehudi MK Moti Yogev, who contacted Chief IDF Rabbi Brig.-GEn. Rafi Peretz about the case. Yogev wrote in his letter that the relevant commander should be reprimanded for his “unwise conduct.” In response, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit replied that “the Air Force procedures have been changed following the incident.”

At present, any officer at lieutenant-general rank and above has the right to reject a soldier’s exemption from shaving, according to a report by the Hebrew-language Yediot Aharonot daily newspaper.

Up to this point, such officers also have had the right to place such soldiers on trial, without first checking to see whether the facial hair is legitimately worn.

From this point on, officers will be able to double-check the authorization of a shaving exemption and the legitimacy of a soldier’s contention he is keeping his beard for religious reasons.

However, no officer will have the right to force a soldier to shave; nor will the soldier be punished before a decision is made by authorized officials.

The government has authorized a change in the laws to expand the draft of hareidi religious Jews. But there are still many adjustments that must be made in order to enable both the secular and observant populations to work together seamlessly. Harassment of observant Jews by secular commanders is not a new phenomenon. The myriad problems involved have long been responsible for many hareidim choosing to avoid military service, rather than having to choose between proper observance of Torah law, or disobeying a frivolous order from an unfair commander.

‘Israeli Air Force is Best in the World’

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

Israel ranks at the top of the list in a new study published in Business Insider, listing the 15 strongest military forces in the Middle East. Analysts who conducted the study, however, also ranked Israel’s air force Number One in comparison with other air force worldwide.

“The balance of power in the Middle East is in disarray,” stated the article, which saw more than 720,000 hits on the publication’s website in less than 24 hours.

“Every country in the region is building up its own military.”

Israel’s $15 billion defense budget, 176,500 active front line personnel with 3,870 tanks and 680 aircraft placed the Jewish State at the top of the list.

Turkey’s military force was listed in second place.

Military analysts noted that both Jewish and Druze citizens are drafted to serve in the IDF, and that Israel has defended itself against “a diverse range of enemies” since 1948.

“A close defense relationship with the U.S. and an energetic domestic defense industry give Israel a qualitative edge over all of the region’s other militaries,” Business Insider commented.

A major scoring point was the quality of Israel’s air force, which the publication emphasized has incredibly high entry and training standards.

“Pilot to pilot, airframe to airframe, the Israeli air force is the best in the world,” said Chris Harmer, senior naval analyst at the Institute for the Study of War and an analyst in the study.

“Israel also has one of the region’s most battle-ready armies, a force that has fought in four major engagements since 2006 and has experience securing a few of the most problematic borders on earth.

“Israel’s military has also never attempted a coup or ruled the country directly, unlike several others on this list,” analysts wrote.

Now The War is Over, US Sends Hellfire Missiles to Israel

Sunday, September 28th, 2014

Now that the war has ended with the Hamas terrorist rulers of Gaza, the Obama White House has apparently unclenched its fist and allowed the Pentagon to send Israel some of the Hellfire missiles that were on ‘back order.’

Ammunition used by Israeli tanks and other essential military supplies had also been held up due to a new requirement that any military supplies undergo special review by staff at the State Department and the White House.

The mandate came in mid-August during Operation Protective Edge, while Israel was struggling with half a dozen or more broken cease-fires and more than 300,000 internally displaced citizens fleeing Hamas rocket fire.

The hold on military supplies was dubbed an issue of “bureaucracy” according to a senior military official. A special effort was made to appear as though the process had not been intended to convey disapproval by the Obama administration; but it was clear to most media, at least, that the unprecedented procedure had been instigated by an angry president fuming over Israel’s war with Gaza.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is now preparing in New York to address the United Nations General Assembly on Monday and then to meet on Wednesday with President Barack Obama.

The prime minister is planning to “set the record straight” at the United Nations on Monday. It will be interesting to see what happens at his meeting with Obama.

Iran’s New Missile Launches From Land and Air

Sunday, September 28th, 2014

Iran has announced the development of its new land-based cruise missile, according to the FARS news agency.

Revolutionary Guards commander Brig.-Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh told the news service on Sunday the “Ya Ali” missile has a range of 700 kilometers, or 435 miles.

It can be fired from ground launchers as well as from fighter jets, Hajizadeh said, making it useful either for air strikes or in attacks by ground forces such as those who strike Israel from Gaza.

Iran is Gaza’s largest supplier of military hardware and ordnance.

“It is a land-based cruise missile built by the Iran Revolutionary Guards Command Aerospace Force,” he said. “Another land-based cruise missile has also been built by the defense ministry.”

The air force commander did not reveal what kind of warhead the missile could carry.

US School Bars Military Dad – Army Uniform ‘Might Offend’ Students

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

A security guard at a high school in Rochester Hills, Michigan, stopped a military dad from entering the building this week because he was wearing his Army uniform.

Lt. Col. Sherwood Baker had stopped by Rochester Adams High School to deal with a scheduling issue for his daughter, his wife Rachel Ferhadson told Fox News.

But the guard wouldn’t let him in the door. Baker was told to either take off the uniform or use the phone.

“They told him some kids might not understand, and might be offended,” Ferhadson said. “So they gave him a choice, told him he could phone in to the office or go home and change his clothes.”

Instead, Baker and his wife called the office of the school superintendent – who himself had served as a combat Marine.

A staff member came out to let the Lieutenant Colonel into the school.

The superintendent, Robert Shaner told them he was “appalled” at what had happened. The principal expressed “regret” to the family.

Baker’s wife said the school has “taken steps to correct what happened,” but added that she “doesn’t know what they would have done” if her husband had not been allowed into the school.

Shaner, meanwhile, released a statement to Fox 2 in Detroit, saying, “The district has apologized for any perception that individuals in uniform are not welcome in the school. The district does not have a policy excluding individuals in uniform and will be working with administration and the firm that handles our security to make sure district policies are understood and communicated accurately.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/us-school-bars-military-dad-army-uniform-might-offend-students/2014/09/10/

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