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.”
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.
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.
The long-planned and long-delayed high-speed train between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem is getting closer Israel Railways has begun to lay tracks for the western section of the line in the Ayalon Valley, west of Jerusalem.
The target date for launching passenger train on the new line is January 2018, 17 years after construction began.
The project is costing approximately $2 billion and includes five tunnels and 20 bridges. Israel Railways also announced that the new passenger line between Be’er Sheva and Ashkelon will begin operations in September.
Israel Railways CEO Boaz Tzafrir said Monday:
The Negev railway is first and foremost a Zionist project. The direct line between Ashkelon to Be’er Sheva through Sderot, Netivot, and Ofakim – will boost employment in southern Israel, attract young couples to the region, and increase the quality of life of hundreds of thousands of southern Israelis.
A fictional Palestinian Authority village is on the throes of becoming a reality that threatens a Jewish presence next to the Talmudic-period Jewish village of Susiya and which would be a catalyst to support the blood libel that all of Israel was stolen from Arabs.
Arab Susiya, with several dozen tents and structures, has been built like a Broadway stage, complete with props that enable the Arabs to spin the yarn that it has existed for centuries but that the mean IDF is trying to destroy their ancient lifestyle.
The U.S. State Dept., the European Union and lazy and inherently biased international media have swallowed the tale that is chock full of romanticism and anti-Zionism.
The southern Hebron Hills until recent years was a forgotten rural region. Archaeological evidence clearly proves that Jews lived in Biblical and Talmudic times until as late as the 9th century, coinciding with the birth and rise of Islam.
Modern aerial photographs and academic researchers have categorically established that Arabs never lived in Susiya, but the world prefers to believe starry-eyed fairy tales that Jews are land thieves.
For centuries, only a few thousand Arabs populated the relatively vast southern Hebron Hills. Other Arabs came from the Hebron area to stay in caves for two months during the season for planting and reaping wheat or to grave sheep and goats.
Other than that, they were never to be seen because their homes were elsewhere.
All of that changed soon after the early 1980s when the Jews returned after 1,500 years.
The presence of Jews in the southern Hebron Hills woke up the Arab neglect of the region, where the Ottoman Empire, the British Mandate and the Jordanian occupation after the War for Independence in 1948 never issued a solitary deed of land ownership.
Yasser Arafat in Ramallah and Arabs in Hebron started getting antsy about the Jews moving into a strategic area from which Arabs staged several deadly terrorist attacks before the Six-Day War in 1967, but they had a problem. Arabs did not want to move from the urban areas of Hebron and adjacent Halhoul and Yatta and into the mountain desert where the biggest crop is rocks.
The European Union and leftist organizations came to the rescue. They pay Arabs to live in the region and to claim that their families have done so for centuries.
B’Tselem, the EU and other pro-Arab group built structures for Arabs, gave them tents, solar power and water purification systems.
They have built new villages that never existed before, dotting the hillsides with a nearly contiguous presence trumpeted with a fictitious “historical claim.” For the record, the Jews have an older historical claim, as evidenced by the ancient synagogues in Susiya and in neighboring Samoa.
The focus of the creation of this lie has been Susiya, the largest Jewish community in the area, although less than 200 families live there. It is located several hundred yards from the Talmudic=period village, which is protected as a natural park.
The European Union and leftist groups have invested tens of thousands of dollars to bring Arabs to the narrow stretch of land separating modern and ancient Susiya. The IDF, with the approval of the Supreme Court, has issued demolition orders for some – but not all – of the illegal Arabs structures.
Most of them exist with the classic Bedouin and Arab ruse of cement buildings covered by tents to give the romantic impression they are inhabited by a group of Arabs whose love for the land is greater than the temptations to live a life of convenience in the city.
Their love for money and the love for hating Zionists are even greater.
The EU and leftists fund the Arabs to allow them to live through cold, windy and sometimes snowy winters, as well as the hot and sultry days of summer.
There are aerial photographs from two decades ago showing that not one Arab lived in Susiya, but the European Union is giving away free tickets to a play that is being billed as reality.
It has all of the elements that the anti-Israel establishment needs to beat their breasts and berate Israel for being so cruel as to destroy the lifestyle of Arabs and expel them from their ancient lifestyle, which in truth dates back to approximately 10 years.
The spokesman for the fake Arab Susiya is Nasser Nawaja, the author of today’s fiction presented as “opinion” by The New York Times. He wrote, and is quoted over and over by dummy journalists, that his mother was born in Khirbet Susiya.
And I was born in Antarctica, and you, dear reader, were born in Saudi Arabia.
Nawaja makes his living as a paid servant for B’Tselem and the European Union and whose job is to dupe the United States to adopt the illusion on which is based the Palestinian Authority claim to the rest of Judea and Samaria as well as all of Israel.
The oft-documented reports that the Palestinian Authority teaches that Haifa and Jaffa (Yafo) are part of “ancient Palestine” always were laughable and ridiculous, so thought the Israel government.
It now has woken up, years too late, and Foreign Minister spokesman Emmanuel Nachson shared with The JewishPress.com a directive it issued to its emissaries around the world to put a finger in the dike to stop the flood of fabrications.
Unfortunately, the Foreign Ministry is using logic, which is of no use, and rests its case on “long-standing agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, including the Oslo agreements,” which no longer are a reference point for anything except for a study of idiocy.
The Foreign Ministry also told its foreign staff:
These clusters of structures… were built illegally and adjacent to an ancient Jewish archeological site.
Contrary to Palestinian claims that these structures have been permanently inhabited for decades, in fact, only a handful of families resided there in the 1980s and they only used the structures on a seasonal basis….
On 4 May 2015, the Supreme Court declined to issue another temporary injunction preventing demolitions.
The government is not taking to heart Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely’s advice to emissaries when she took office two months ago and said that the world needs to be reminded that Israel – all of Israel – belong to Jews by Biblical birthright. Anyone who does not agree can take his complaint to God.
The European Union the United Nations and especially the Obama administration do not care about the logic of legal or illegal buildings because they have adopted the entire Palestinian Authority hate libel that Israel is an “occupier” and that Jews have no right to live where Arabs want to live.
This has nothing to do with the “West Bank.” It has to do with all of Israel.
The “government of Tel Aviv” has closed its eyes for decades to the Bedouin and Arab rape of the Negev, well inside the “Green Line.” The squatters, many of whom have been imported from Judea and Samaria, have stolen tens of thousands of acres of state land – their “ancient land” – and the government has done nothing except to pay them to procreate their population bomb by winking an eye at polygamy and doling out outrageous child benefits.
“Arab Susiya” will be Israel’s Waterloo if it falls to international ignorance, in which the State Dept. has a stake.
When Indian reporter Goyal Raghubir, supposedly one of the better journalists covering Foggy Bottom, asked State Dept. spokesman John Kirby last week if he has “a reaction to reports that Israel may demolish part of a village called Susiya in the West Bank for expanding settlements,” the spokesman was ready with a prepared answer:
We’re closely following developments in the village of Susiya in the West Bank, and we strongly urge the Israeli authorities to refrain from carrying out any demolitions in the village. Demolition of this Palestinian village or of parts of it, and evictions of Palestinians from their homes would be harmful and provocative. Such actions have an impact beyond those individuals and families who are evicted. We are concerned that the demolition of this village may worsen the atmosphere for a peaceful resolution.
A “peaceful resolution” in the eyes of the Palestinian Authority, the European Union and the Obama administration is the expulsion of every Jew from all of Judea and Samaria, the Golan Heights and half of Jerusalem.
The “peaceful resolution” is build on the foundation of the lies of the “Palestinian people” and of Israel as “ancient Palestine.”
The international community has hidden its inherent anti-Semitism under propaganda spewed out as the truth by such groups as B’Tselem and Rabbis for Human Rights, who hand out to the media a perfume bottle full of a poisonous potion.
The Palestinian Authority-based Ma’an News Agency, one of the foreign media’s favorite sources for lies, told its readers last week that “Susiya villagers reportedly built homes in 1986 on agricultural land they owned, after being evicted by Israel from their previous dwellings on land declared as an archaeological site.”
I have been living in this area since 1991 and frequently visited the archaeological site of Susiya. There never was a single structure in “Arab Susiya” until the late 1990s.
The State Dept. will not believe me. The European Union will not believe me. The United Nations will not believe me.
It is not because I am an “occupier;” it is not because I am a “settler'” and it is not because they care about Arabs, or “Palestinians.”
“Mr. Bean” has the answer in his portrayal of someone at the entrance to Hell, where the devil tells the Christians, “Yes, I am sorry. I am afraid the Jews were right,”
The world cannot admit it, and that is why it adopts the lie of an “Arab Susiya.”
One of the IDF’s best weapons is the growing number of Hareidi combat soldiers, which is making the army stronger physically and spiritually.
A new combat unit of Hareidi soldiers is being established in the Givati Brigade, whose national religious commander Ofer Winter was promoted last week to take over the Central Command and continue his successful program to integrate Hareidim into the army, as the JewishPress.com reported here Thursday.
Approximately 45 Hareidim from the ages of 18-22 already have been drafted for a new Tamar unit, and new positions are being opened for Hareidim in combat support units. The first Hareidi soldiers to operate bulldozers are expected to begin serving in four months.
In the Nevatim Air Force Base in the Negev, Hareidim will take combat support positions and be responsible for equipment for paratroopers.
This year, 2,226 Hareidim have enlisted in the IDF, and the number is expected to rise to 2,700 by next July. More than 100 Hareidi soldiers have passed tests, including hand-to-hand combat, to be accepted as combat soldiers in the Hareidi Netzach Yehuda infantry battalion.
An IDF officer told Haaretz that the new Givati company follows the model that IDF thinks is the best way to integrate Hareidi soldiers into the army. Instead of placing them in units with secular soldiers, where one group might dominate the other, the military thinks that all-Hareidi companies are the best model.
Additional Hareidi combat units are expected to open up in the coming years.
The motivation of Hareidi combat soldiers is extremely high, and the Netzach Yehuda has been praised several times for soldiers’ quick reactions that have prevented or minimized terrorist attacks.
The success of Hareidim as combat soldiers is ironical for the secular scoffers who for years have been accusing Hareidim of draft-dodging.
Yeshiva students often capture headlines when they are arrested for not reporting for the draft, but the hundreds of Hareidim enlisting as combat soldiers is nothing short of a quiet revolution in the army as well as in Israeli society.
Within the army, from the foot soldier to top brass, religious practice is not an issue. Winter was promoted to Brigadier-General because of his success as an officer. He was not passed over because he is religious and was not promoted just because he is religious.
When secular soldiers see Hareidim fight just as they do, the social and religious barriers drop. It is more likely that secular Jews will be influenced by Hareidim much more than non-observant soldiers will influence Hareidim to take off their black kippas.
Providing a religious infrastructure for religious soldiers in the army goes back to the days of Prime Minister David Ben Gurion.
When the late Rabbi Shlomo Goren, who was a career IDF officer, complained that there were no kosher facilities for soldiers in the Paratroopers unit, he was told, “Find me one religious paratrooper and we will provide kosher food.”
Rabbi Goren promptly showed up for paratrooper training, passed the test and became the first religious paratrooper.
Kosher food then was served.
More than once, secular paratroopers, before parachuting, have been moved by religious paratroopers saying a prayer before for jumping out of the plane opening the chute.
Many of the secular soldiers, some of whom never said in a prayer in their lives, asked to do the same.
Secular anti-Hareidi politicians, who use to laugh at warnings that the army will become more religious if they insist on drafting more Hareidim, soon may regret their wishes.
The European low-fare Ryanair Airlines announced Tuesday it is launching its first Israel flights with three new routes between Ovda Airport, northwest of Eilat and Budapest, Kaunas and Krakow.
The new service will begin in November, with two flights a week to each of the three European cities.
Ryanair also said that it “will continue to negotiate with the Israeli authorities over future routes.”
The Irish-based company’s chief commercial officer David O’Brien said:
We will strengthen our presence in Israel as time goes by. Eilat is a very unique tourist destination like Morocco and the Canary Islands and we are certain that we will fill the planes.
Negotiations between Israel and Ryanair have been taking place for several years.
The Negev is undergoing a boom with a massive transfer of IDF forces and bases to the southern Israel, the fast-growing change in Be’er Sheva’s becoming a high-tech center, and the extension of the high-speed north-south Kvish 6 (Highway 6) to Be’er Sheva.
Several major corporations, including Boeing, are investing in the new high-tech park next to Ben Gurion University, and Ryanair’s service will be convenient for soldiers and businessmen traveling to Europe.