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May 1, 2016 / 23 Nisan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Negev’

Kuseifa Arab Questioned for Incitement on Facebook

Wednesday, October 14th, 2015

An Arab resident of the Bedouin town of Kuseifa was arrested Wednesday afternoon on charges of incitement to violence.

Kuseifa is a 10-minute drive west of the Negev city of Arad along Highway 31, just past the ancient Biblical city of Arad, where tourists can view the archaeological excavation of Tel Arad.

The 20-year-old, an employee at a factory at the Dead Sea in southern Israel, was taken into custody by police in the area, according to the Walla! website.

“The intifada has started, and I am sure that afterwards there will not be one Jewish pig here,” the worker reportedly wrote on his Facebook page.

He was taken for questioning by police to the precinct in Arad.

Kuseifa is comprised of Bedouin and Palestinian Arabs who have intermarried together, most of whom originate from the Hebron area.

Jewish Press Staff

Violent Virus Destroying Israeli Tomatoes

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015

(JNi.media) The tomato mosaic virus disease, which is raging these days in the Negev, is destroying entire tomato greenhouses, Yediot Ahronot reported. In tomatoes, the virus causes the foliage to show mosaic (mottled) areas with alternating yellowish and dark green areas. Leaves are sometimes fern-like in appearance and sharply pointed. Infections of young plants reduce fruit set and occasionally cause blemishes and distortions of the fruit. The dark green areas of the mottle often appear thicker and somewhat elevated giving the leaves a blister-like appearance. Often the entire plant is dwarfed and flowers are discolored (Source: University of Minnesota).

Since Rosh Hashanah eve, Israeli consumers have been suffering from a shortage of some vegetables—most notably tomatoes and cucumbers—and a sharp rise in prices. The exceptionally hot weather in Israel in August and early September, in addition to the virus, has hit tomato and cucumber crops. A special government fund that compensates farmers in times of natural disasters, has received 350 complaints about the damage to tomatoes, three times the number in previous years during the same period. However, complaints about heat damage to cucumbers were equal in number to last year—about 100. According to the Farmers Association, tomato yields have decreased by 40% due to the heat wave and 10% more because of the virus. Low supply and high demand for the holidays led to the rise in prices.

Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel (Bayit Yehudi), acted only after produce prices had begun to rise, and the newspapers were predicting a shortage before the holidays, according to Israel Channel 2 News. In early September, Ariel announced the removal of restrictions on duty-free imported vegetables from Jordan and elsewhere. Ultra-Orthodox Israeli consumers have been relying on produce from Gaza throughout the previous year, in compliance with the Shmitay year restrictions.

Israeli farmers blame the government, particularly the Ministry of Agriculture, for a lack of planning. They also accuse the wholesale chains of aggressively pressing farmers to reduce prices, leading to some of the farmers leaving the industry altogether. The government blames the weather.

JNi.Media

Showers Expected Day after Prayers for Rain

Sunday, October 4th, 2015

The first rains of the winter season are expected on Tuesday, one day after Jews around the world begin adding to daily prayers that God “brings the wind and rain.”

The change is made during the prayers on Shemini Azereth, the same day that Simchat Torah is celebrated in Israel. In the Diaspora, the two holidays are marked on separate days, ending Tuesday night.

In Israel, a special request for rain is added to prayers two weeks later, while Jews in Diaspora make the change on December 4.

Precipitation is expected to begin after noon in the north and center of the country on Tuesday and spread to the Negev at night and on Wednesday. The heaviest rainfall is predicted for the Galilee area, in the north.

Weather models indicate another warming trend at the end of the week, but is may be followed by a longer respite from the long hot summer, one of the hottest on record.

Temperatures will rise on Friday through next Sunday, according to longer term indications, but cooler weather is possible from next Monday through the entire week.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Economic Crisis Driving Hundreds to Cross Over from Gaza into Israel

Monday, September 28th, 2015

(JNi.media) Some 15 Arabs on Monday crossed the border fence into Israel from the Gaza Strip in six different attempts. It was the highest number of infiltrations across the fence in one day since the end of Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014, Walla reported.

In one case Monday morning, an IDF force arrested four Arabs who had crossed the fence in southern Gaza. The four were interviewed and transferred to Shin Bet custody. Towards the evening, three unarmed Arabs were arrested, having crossed the fence at the Eshkol Regional Council in the western Negev. They too were taken for questioning. Additional cases were recorded throughout the day.

In recent weeks, there has been a growing stream of infiltrators from the Gaza Strip into Israel, because of the difficult economic situation in Gaza. This year more than 200 have crossed the fence, were arrested and interrogated by the Shin Bet. Adult infiltrators are imprisoned, while minors are returned to the Gaza territory.

The IDF Gaza Division treats the phenomenon with great sensitivity. After identifying a penetration attempt, IDF forces are rushed to the area and treat the crossing Arabs as terrorists, until they are inspected and interrogated. After passing a security screening, they are turned over to the Shin Bet. In some cases, the infiltrators have been armed with grenades and knives. However, in the vast majority of cases the infiltrating Arabs have come seeking work—or to be arrested and be sent to jail. According to security sources, they come armed with a knife or a grenade in order to extend the duration of their detention.

The defense establishment believes that the more the economic hardship in the Gaza Strip increases, so will infiltrations increase. Hamas has deployed along the border to prevent infiltrators, has not hesitated to use live ammunition to stop them.

A June, 2014 local poll reported that more than half of Gaza Arabs would leave the strip if they had the choice, the highest number ever recorded. It is estimated that close to 1.8 million live in the Gaza Strip. A UN development agency report in September 2014 warned that Gaza could become uninhabitable by 2020.

JNi.Media

Israeli Drip Irrigation Company Gives Global Answer to Water Scarcity

Thursday, September 17th, 2015

By Alexander J. Apfel

Fifty years ago, Naty Barak was just one of several farmers in Kibbutz Hatzerim located in the Negev desert of Israel. Infamous for its merciless heat and arid land, the Negev was in need of solutions to problems facing much of the world.

Israel’s first prime minster of Israel, David Ben-Gurion, had been one of the staunchest proponents of settling and developing the Negev. “The ultimate test of Israel in our generation…” he claimed, was the “takeover by force of science and pioneering, the wilderness land spaces of the south and the Negev.”

But if such a dream stood any chance of success, the dry conditions of the Negev had to be remedied.

Thus, Naty Barak and his small group of farmers began their quest to fulfill Ben-Gurion’s dream when they founded Netafim in 1965.

Barak, the current chief of sustainability officer, explained to Tazpit the challenging environment of the Negev: “We were struggling with the same challenges some of the world faces today.

But being in the Israeli Negev desert, we faced water scarcity and the land was very poor.”

After a series of initial trials, experiments and 50 years of dedication, Netafim is now a leading global supplier of drip irrigation (DI) technology.

The company is comprised of 16 manufacturing plants and 27 subsidiaries operating across dozens of countries including India, the US, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Mexico, South Africa and Australia. The innovative methods of utilizing water to its maximum capacity has enabled such countries to significantly increase their yields using half the amount of water.

Barak told Tazpit that drip irrigation “gives an answer to the most pressing challenges today including water scarcity, arable land, food security, energy, soil degradation etc. More importantly it has an excellent impact on social issues, capacity building among small farmers, women empowerment and so on.”

When asked whether his technology has ever been rejected on political grounds, Barak explained: “There are still some countries in which we are not active for political reasons.”. However he still views his project as a bridge for peace. “In general we leave politics aside and we use the platform for drip irrigation working farmer to farmer. We don’t talk politics. We talk farming.”

He further expressed his desire to expand further into Egypt and Jordan where he believes that with the food and economic challenges, Netafim “could perform miracles. We could do so much more for them.”

Alluding to the new Jewish Year, Barak offered his own words of inspiration.

“In Hebrew we say tikun olam, fixing the world, and I really think that drip irrigation is fixing the world. It was clear from day one that drip irrigation was the answer to water scarcity, food security etc. It has social implications including capacity building and working with poor farmers etc.”

“I think that this nice Jewish term describes what we do and I would like to see more of that. I am sitting in my office and we are very fortunate that our business is actually doing well by doing good.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Lockheed Worried about IDF Unauthorized ‘Modifications’ in F-35

Sunday, September 6th, 2015

Israel is in the process of preparing the infrastructure and capabilities needed to start operating its first F-35 Adir (Heb = Great) stealth strike fighters by the end of 2017, Defense News reported. The first pair of Adirs will arrive by December 2016, and fly out of the IAF Nevatim Air Base in the Negev.

According to the IDF blog, the new squadron of 19 F-35 jets will be incorporated into the Israeli Air Force beginning in 2019. The newly engineered fighters are a step up from the F-16I, especially with the addition of new state-of-the-art stealth technology and avionics. Each F-35 unit costs around $110 million, according to the Israeli defense ministry.

Steve Over, Lockheed Martin director for F-35 International Business Development, said that even though Israel will have “plenty of capability to do light maintenance in-country,” heavy maintenance of the Adir airframes and engines will be done at Joint Program Office-managed, company-established facilities “just like we do with all our other partners.”

“When you tear an airplane down, you expose its magic,” Over said bluntly. “So that type of work must be performed in designated places.”

Perhaps betraying their reservations about what usually happens the American weapons after the Israelis lay their hands on them, Lockheed executives said Israel would be able to add specific capabilities or upgraded functions—which the Israelis love doing—as long as it did not affect the overall design or the aircraft software. As Over put it:

The Israelis have an ability to do some unique things. But anything wholesale that would impact the design or capabilities driving all the airplanes for all the countries would have to be done by consensual agreement.

The IAF is preparing to send its first group of pilots to train in Arizona next year, at the Luke Air Force Base. At the same time, the IAF will be sending dozens of maintenance professionals to train at US Air Force logistics bases at Eglin, Florida, according to Defense News.

Washington has approved 75 F-35s for export to Israel, of which the IDF has contracted for 33, hoping to be able to absorb another 17 planes by 2020, according to Defense News.

According to the IDF blog, The stealth technology allows the aircraft to fly practically unnoticed by any enemy. For many years, these systems were too expensive to be deployed on small aircraft; therefore they could only be used on larger and more expensive bombers such as the B-2 or the F-117. The newly developed F-35 allows the incorporation of these features at a low maintenance price.

The F-35 is also manufactured with improved electronic systems onboard. Sensors including various radars, infrared systems, and active electronic warfare systems are all mounted on the aircraft during production. They serve as an integral part of the plane and not as “add-ons” which is common in other aircraft.

With these improvements, the IAF pilots will receive a more precise and complete picture of the battlefield in real-time. It will allow them to better position themselves and give them the advantage to come out on top of every mission they must face.

JNi.Media

Egypt Re-Imposes Blockade on Gaza Crossing

Sunday, August 23rd, 2015

Egypt again has shut down the crossing at the city of Rafah, which straddles the border between Gaza and the northern Sinai, after having re-opened it four days for emergency cases.

Egyptian officials said they prevented nearly 150 Arabs from leaving Gaza for the Sinai on Friday. The crossing has been closed since last October, except for brief periods, as part of the al-Sisi regime’s campaign against Hamas.

Israel also has restricted passage, primarily to bar three Be’er Sheba area-based sisters of Hamas’ de facto Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh from attending their nephew’s wedding because Hamas continues to hold two Israelis as captives.

One of them is a Bedouin from the northern Negev city of Hura, and the second man is Avera Mengistu, who has a mental condition and crossed the security fence in Gaza last year.

Israel has not commented on the Bedouin, but he reportedly has had previous contact with Gaza Arabs and may be involved in crime.

 

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/egypt-re-imposes-blockade-on-gaza-crossing/2015/08/23/

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