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December 4, 2016 / 4 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Negev Desert’

Israel to Buy 17 More F-35 ‘Adir’ Stealth Fighter Jets

Monday, November 28th, 2016

Israel will purchase 17 more F-35 “Adir” Stealth fighter jets from the United States, at a cost of approximately $85 million apiece, after a unanimous vote of approval Sunday by the Security Cabinet.

The purchase will bring up Israel’s force to a total of 50 new F-35 fighter jets by the end of the next decade. The force is to be purchased with the military foreign aid received from the U.S. via the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed this past September.

A group of Israeli pilots has already been undergoing special training for the F-35 at a U.S. Air Force base in Arizona, with the first two F-35s set to arrive at Israel’s Nevatim Air Force base in the Negev desert by December 12.

Starting next year Israel is expected to receive six or seven of the new fighter jets each year until all 50 have arrived.

The entire force — two squadrons of 25 fighter jets each — are to be in place in the Jewish State by the early 2020s. Israel is expected to be the first nation in the world outside of the United States to receive the F-35 stealth fighter jet.

The high cost of flying the F-35, produced by Lockheed Martin, means that at least 50 percent of the training on the stealth fighter must be done in simulators.

Israeli defense firm Elbit Systems Ltd. recently won the tender to operate the F-35 new training center, which will be built at the Nevatim air base, Globes reported earlier this month. Construction of the new center will be completed in the coming year.

Lockheed Martin said in a statement that over the past three decades, Elbit “has acquired a great deal of experience in trainers and simulators, and is a world leader in high-tech display. Its advanced systems are in operational use by leading armies around the world.”

Israel’s Defense Ministry said in a statement that F-35-related cooperation between Lockheed Martin and Israeli defense companies has reached $993 million. Elbit produces advanced pilot helmets for F-35 pilots, and Israel Aerospace Industries produces the aircraft’s wings.

Hana Levi Julian

Winter Rains Arrive in Israel, Flash Flood Warnings Issued

Thursday, October 27th, 2016

“…. I will give rain for your land at the proper time, the early rain and the late rain, and you will gather in your grain, your wine and your oil.” (Deuteronomy 11:13-21)

The winter rains arrived right on schedule this Thursday, sweeping through northern Israel and then spreading to the central region before reaching the Negev.

In the south and eastern parts of the country, forecasters warned residents to beware of flash floods, in particular in the dry desert areas around the Dead Sea, where low-lying roads are easily flooded.

Foreign hikers and tourists driving through the area are often suddenly caught unawares during such rainstorms.

The rain was expected to be accompanied by a rise in the temperatures, and high winds, but forecasters said the mercury would drop to seasonal levels by Friday with the rain tapering off.

Hana Levi Julian

Israeli Arab Teen, 15, Shot and Killed at Israeli-Egyptian Border [Updated]

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

An Israeli teen was shot and killed Tuesday afternoon near Mount Harif in the Negev Desert, along the border between Egypt and Israel, according to Israel’s Defense Ministry.

The victim, 15-year-old Namer Bassem Abu Amar, was a resident of the southern Israeli Bedouin town of Lakiya. The teenager was the son of a man working for a company that had won a Defense Ministry contracting bid to carry out civilian maintenance work on the security fence along Israel’s border with Egypt.

The fathehr was working on the security fence when the son was hit by gunfire from the Egyptian side of the border.

He was airlifted from the scene in an IDF helicopter and rushed to Soroka Medical Center in Be’er Sheva, but he died of his wounds within minutes.

The source of the gunfire is not yet clear.

“The Defense Ministry shares the grief of the family,” said a ministry spokesperson. “The ministry has asked the company for more information about this employee, including details about how he was hired, given his age, and we will continue to review this incident.”

Egyptian military personnel have been battling terrorists in the Sinai Peninsula for years.

According to the A-Sharq Al-Awsat newspaper, there are eight to 14 different terrorist groups with a “marked presence in Sinai,” including the Sinai Province branch of Da’esh, or ISIS, also known as Ansar Beyt al-Maqdis.

There are also a number of Al Qaeda-linked extremist groups such as Tawhid Wal Jihad, Ansar al-Jihad and Ajnaf Bait al-Maqdis — all of which are also “linked to Palestinian extremist groups that fight Israel and consider the Egyptian army an enemy.”

The Muhammad Jamal Network, linked to Al Qaeda and also based in the Sinai Peninsula, was listed by the United States as a terrorist organization in October 2013. Jamal was arrested in 2012 but his followers carried on; the group is also known as the “Al-Jihad al-Islami” group.

Numerous other terrorist groups are also operating in the area, including the Iranian-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), Hamas, the Fatah-linked Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, Iranian proxy Hezbollah, and a number of Salafi Islamist groups such as the Army of Islam.

Update: The teenager was not a worker as originally thought, but the son of one of the workers. His father brought him to work that day.

Hana Levi Julian

IDF Huge Data Consolidation Tender to Complement Future IDF Cloud

Friday, September 23rd, 2016

Israel’s Defense Ministry has issued the largest ever technology tender, aiming to consolidate all the IDF data centers, in conjunction with the future project developing an IDF cloud, to the tune of an estimated $270 million. The plan calls for the winner, which must be an Israeli company, to contract with a foreign partner for the project of consolidating the entire IDF data into a few computer centers which will serve the IDF land, air and sea units.

The move, according to the Defense Ministry’s statement, is crucial to enabling the IDF to maintain the ongoing upgrading of its systems over the next decades. The migration of all this data will require a detailed examination of the existing systems, involving millions of decisions regarding what to keep and what to discard. Which is why the ministry is encouraging local IT companies to coalesce in order to qualify for the bid, and to then work in collaboration with one chosen foreign company.

The ministry is not interested in using the services of local data farm companies, at least not directly. The IDF wants to build its own data farms. Also, the new tender does not deal with buying cloud technology, because the military is already engaged in defining a tender for an exclusive IDF cloud. In their meeting with the press Thursday, IDF and Defense Ministry spokespersons assured reporters the two projects will remain distinct, so that the development of one will not hinder the other’s. At the same time, they expect the two systems — the future IDF data farms and the future IDF cloud — to act together eventually.

As the IDF is in the process of clearing out of its very expensive real estate in downtown Tel Aviv and moving to a new military city near Beer Sheva in the south, it is safe to assume that at least part of the new storage system will also be erected there, in the Negev desert.

Many in Israel’s technology media have noted that the biggest challenge facing the new data storage system would be the requirement that the Infantry, Armored Forces, IAF, and Navy be able to share it effectively, making the system work for them instead of against them. The challenges in this case have less to do with technology and more with ego. Back in 2006, the IDF decided to kill its Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, one year after the $200 million project had been launched. The problem, according to a Globes report at the time, was that each corps selected a system that was specifically tailored to its requirements (either SAP- or Oracle-based), without regard for the need for a uniform technological and operating capacity across all branches.

Hopefully, the planners of the new tender have taken those issues into consideration. The IDF insists that the 2014 Gaza war marked a watershed in the new collaboration among the branches, and, besides, the IDF Chief of Staff has ordered collaboration as a priority, so they better collaborate.

JNi.Media

Dead Sea to Yield 7 Million Oil Barrels

Sunday, May 1st, 2016

The Hatrurim oil and gas exploration license in the Dead Sea area contains an oil reservoir worth $321 million, according to a resources report published Sunday morning by the companies holding the license, Globe reported. The report states with 100% geological certainty that the reservoir could contain between 7 and 11 million barrels of oil. Some oil has already been produced from the reservoir, according to Globes.

The Hatrurim Formation or Mottled Zone is a 36 sq. mile geologic formation with outcrops all around the Dead Sea Basin, including the Negev Desert, the Judaean Desert, and western Jordan. It includes impure limestone along with coal-bearing chalk and marl. The rocks have been subjected to pyrometamorphism resulting from combustion of contained or underlying coal or hydrocarbon deposits. The formation is named for exposures in the Hatrurim Basin which lies west of the Dead Sea.

In 1995, Delek Group Ltd. carried out an initial drilling in the license, to a depth of two kilometers, and found oil. It was decided at the time not to pursue drilling oil there because prices at the time were too low to justify the endeavor, and Delek and Avner Oil embarked on off-shore digging instead.

25% of the Hatrurim license was awarded last year to Israel Opportunity Energy Resources LP and its partners.

David Israel

Stars in the Negev

Tuesday, July 14th, 2015

Long exposure of the stars and the Milky Way galaxy from the Negev Desert. Photos by Matthew Hechter/Flash90.

Photo of the Day

Plague of Locusts Returns to Israel for Shavuot

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

The plague of locusts that Israel defeated just as the Passover holiday approached has come back in a fury seven weeks later on the eve of Shavuot.

Approximately 30 million locusts have landed in the Western Negev and threatened to wipe out Israeli farmers’ crops. The Agriculture Ministry is using helicopters and pickup trucks to combat the insects with spray and prevent a total disaster to farms that have carried out the dream of Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, by making the desert bloom.

“They are easy targets now, but in two or three days when their wings develop, it will be a disaster,” Lior Katari, one of the Agriculture Ministry’s coordinators, told NBC.

Experts think that despite the spraying of the locusts two months ago, the insects already had mated and laid eggs in the sand and which now are hatching.

The appearance of the Biblical plague has ironically made the desert green, the color of the locusts.

Organic farmers have little hope. NBC quoted organic farm owner Golan Cohen as saying that volunteer workers have helped  out at the herb farm by banging on pots to keep the pests away.

“They were eating the weeds at first, they were small, so we ignored them,” said Golan Cohen,

After the threat of devastation grew worse, workers tried the noise-making method. “It worked,” said Dror Cohen-Chen, a worker on the farm. However, “The next day we came back and they had destroyed everything.”

“Three thousand years ago God sent the Egyptians a plague of locusts; now we are getting them back,” said a one local resident.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/plague-of-locusts-returns-to-israel-for-shavuot/2013/05/14/

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