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December 1, 2015 / 19 Kislev, 5776
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Sayeret Matkal’

IDF to Install Security Cameras at Judea, Samaria Intersections

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015

Israel says it will install security cameras at all intersections throughout Judea and Samaria — “on the ground and in the air” — as part of its upgraded counter-terror measures.

“We decided today to enact a major plan to employ cameras at all junctions in the West Bank, both on the ground and in the air, with connections to operations room,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. This is an important element of restoring security and foiling terror attacks.

The prime minister made the remarks after he visited the site where Rabbi Eitam Henkin and his wife Na’ama were murdered in a drive-by terror attack last Thursday. Henkin, a U.S. citizen, was also a veteran of the IDF’s elite Sayeret Matkal unit and the son of two well-known Yeshiva University alumni. His mother is the director of a women’s program at the institution.

“There is no question here regarding our support for the military, and everyone knows the truth, in contrast to those who claim otherwise,” Netanyahu said in a reference to lawmakers who have criticized his handling of the recent violence. “There is a certain level of responsibility required from the settlers, and they should be accurate in their claims.”

Netanyahu also said he had plans for vendors in the Old City souk (market) in Jerusalem who laughed at and mocked Adele Lavi as she cried for their help after she was stabbed Saturday night, and ultimately turned their backs on her. “I asked that their stores be shuttered and that they be brought to justice,” the prime minister said. The vendors sneered at Mrs. Lavi, as she begged for help with a knife wound in her shoulder as her husband, baby and a second rabbi were being stabbed and shot.

“The greatest center of incitement in recent years is the [northern] Islamic Movement, and we will take care of them, too,” Netanyahu continued.

“We will break this wave of terror like we broke previous waves of terror. We are in ongoing contact with all our neighbors and are trying to make the facts clear despite the wave of falsehoods that have been disseminated.

“We have no intention of changing the status quo at the Temple Mount, and we have no intention of destroying mosques or building a Third Temple there.

“We have ongoing contact with the Egyptians, the Jordanians and many others,” he added.

“I am not willing to tolerate Israeli citizens joining in the incitement. I cannot tolerate spitting on police or waving PLO and Hamas flags at stadiums – not by Jews and not by Muslims, and I have directed the attorney general to act against the agitators among us.”

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon added advice that “local council heads need to stop hyperventilating. There’s a difference between the situation during Operation Defensive Shield (which took place during the 2002 second intifada) and that of today. Since then, the IDF has been on the offensive in [Judea and Samaria]; these statements just cause citizens to take the law into their own hands.

“This is an unacceptable phenomenon, which sabotages our struggle against Jewish terror and adds fuel to the fire.

“Ministers must remember that the government has collective responsibility,” Ya’alon said.

Tough Guys

Monday, September 21st, 2015

They could make a movie about these guys… A former Russian KGB agent and a former Israeli Special Forces commando team up to fight bad guys in the Middle East, only one of them may be (not so) secretly helping the bad guys…

I’d go see it.

Time-Honored White House Diplomatic Traditions on Israel

Saturday, January 24th, 2015

For those readers who have become avid fans of the soap opera unfolding in the White House around the drama between U.S. President Barack Obama and Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, a tidbit just for you.

On Friday, as the White House press corps was engaged in its usual back-and-forth with spokesperson Josh Earnest, they finally managed to force a truth from his lips: The President and the Prime Minister, he said, have a “fundamental disagreement” about diplomatic talks with Iran.

Netanyahu “doesn’t share [Obama’s] view,” Earnest admitted. But still, he claimed, those “differences of opinion” don’t undermine the “unshakable” American commitment to Israel’s security.

On America’s terms, of course. And if it happens to prove mistaken and an existential threat to the Jewish State, which is about the size of New Jersey, well. . .

<menacing music>

As it happens, most members of Congress also have a “fundamental disagreement” with the President about the diplomatic talks with Iran, it seems. Not just the Republicans, who comprise the majority in both houses, but there are a fair number of Democrats who also believe Iran is using the talks simply to gain more time for its covert nuclear development activities.

And Iranians have long made it clear both in the street and in their mosques that their targets will not be limited to Israel; America is in the cross-hairs as well. Members of the intelligence community are well aware of it, as are members of Congress and the Israeli government.

So as early as last October, U.S. Rep. John Boehner was talking to Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer about inviting Netanyahu to address the Congress on the Iranian nuclear threat. The formal invitation was made public last week – and accepted as well – to the apparent “surprise” of the White House.

It’s a bit hard to believe that any of The President’s Men – or Women – could be caught off guard. But let’s leave that bit for quiet contemplation.

It turns out the annual AIPAC conference is being held in March this year – a “must” for every Israeli head of state, and Netanyahu is no exception. The address to Congress made much more sense scheduled around AIPAC, and was penciled in for the same week.

Utter fury at the White House. Sarcastic remarks from press secretary Josh Earnest, with a reference to the Speaker of the House making a “departure from protocol.” On the Prime Minister’s visit, Earnest was altogether tight-lipped, saying his boss was “reserving judgment.”

Later reporters were told that neither Obama nor Secretary of State John Kerry would meet with Israel’s head of state while he is in Washington for both events.

Imagine. One of America’s “closest allies” comes to the capital and neither the President nor the Secretary of State makes time to meet with him, when the United States shares military, intelligence, economy, academic and who knows how many other priorities with Israel.

Not to mention their “differences of opinion” that are so important to work out – something that one would believe an administration so committed to the process of “diplomacy” would consider a priority.

The White House spokesperson tried to put a good face on it.

“As a matter of long-standing practice and principle, we do not see heads of state or candidates in close proximity to their elections, so as to avoid the appearance of influencing a democratic election in a foreign country,” he explained Thursday.

When Lt. Bibi Netanyahu, Special Forces, Met the President

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

On November 1, 1972, Lieutenant Benjamin Netanyahu, a member of Sayeret Matkal, Israel’s Special Forces, had the privilege to meet the President of Israeli Zalman Shazar.

Netanyahu was one of the elite soldiers who participated in the successful Sabena Airlines Flight 751 hostage rescue operation on May 9, 1972.

The future Prime Minister of Israel was wounded in the operation.

Labor MK Accused of Leaking Classified Info

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

A Labor party lawmaker has been suspended from membership in subcommittees of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee for leaking classified information.

MK Omer Bar-Lev, who at one time commanded the IDF’s elite Sayeret Matkal unit, was accused of handing a copy of a letter he sent to Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon to one of the media outlets.

In his letter Bar-Lev allegedly claimed to have found a discrepancy between an IDF training budget report filed by a senior IDF officer last February and figures presented recently by Ya’alon describing the army’s fiscal needs.

In a statement to journalists Monday evening, Bar-Lev denied the suspension due to his leaking classified information and instead focused on the discrepancy he said he found among the defense establishment’s budget figures.

“As far as we are concerned, the main issue is that the conflicting reports of senior IDF officers to the Foreign Affairs and Defense committee must be looked into and not a minor offense over some procedure that does breach security,” the statement said.

Committee chairman Ze’ev Elkin (Likud) told Bar-Lev the budget reports would be examined closely, according to the statement. It was Elkin who had informed Bar-Lev of the suspension, which extends throughout the summer session.

PM Reflects on First Recording of Brother Yoni’s Voice

Monday, May 5th, 2014

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his brother Iddo sat quietly in his office, together with Ronny Daniel of Channel 2 TV and a camera crew. They listened intently as a technician played for the first time a recording of their older brother Yoni being debriefed following a 1972 operation in which he participated with his elite Sayeret Matkal commando unit. Code named Argaz 3, the undercover unit had grabbed five senior Syrian officers in southern Lebanon. Younger Netanyahu brothers had also participated in the operation.

Save for one television interview, this is the only recording of Binyamin Netanyahu’s older brother’s voice. Channel 2’s report was timed for Israel’s Yom HaZikaron — Israel’s Memorial Day, the Remembrance for Fallen Soldiers.

After asking the Netanyahus about their emotional reactions to the recording, journalist Ronny Daniel had some tougher questions for the prime minister.

The issue of terrorist attacks and abductions and the price paid by Israeli society in return has been a delicate and very sore point in the Jewish State. Israel was known for decades as the one nation that would under no circumstances ever negotiate with terrorists, regardless of cost. Over the past decade, negotiations with terrorists have resulted in freedom for thousands of murderers with Jewish blood on their hands. Some of those were freed by Binyamin Netanyahu himself.

His older brother Yoni Netanyahu died in the 1976 counter terrorist raid on Uganda’s Entebbe Airport in a rescue mission to free hostages being held by terrorists from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and German Revolutionary Cells. The terrorists who hijacked an Air France plane on board had separated Israeli and Jews from the rest of the 248 passengers on board the aircraft, placing them in another room. Ultimately all non-Jewish passengers were let go, with the exception of the pilot, Captain Bacos, who together with the Jews being held hostage was threatened with death.

The IDF, acting on intelligence from Israel’s international Mossad agency, carried out a long distance 90 minute rescue operation involving 100 commandos and support from Kenya. Five soldiers were wounded and the unit commander – Lt.-Col. Yonatan Netanyahu – was killed during the operation. All the hijackers, three hostages and 45 Ugandan soldiers were also killed.

“We used to behave differently, in order to bring back pilots who fell captive,” Daniel commented after hearing the recording. “We abducted, we acted, we blew things up… today it is different. So what has changed? Is it them? Us? Reality?”

Netanyahu’s reply was that of the political leader who dances simultaneously at ten weddings, with more than a few in hidden venues.

“In those places where we can act, we do act. Believe me, we also take action in many things that are not known, and may not become known in another 42 years, either.”

“Yes, but we still release all sorts of murderers from the jails, in order to set a soldier free, and we do not do all sorts of aggressive things in order to make them set him free – taking [former kidnapped IDF soldier] Gilad Shalit as an example.”

Gilad Shalit was held hostage in Gaza by Hamas terrorists for more than five years after being abducted by operatives from three Hamas-affiliated terrorist organizations in a cross-border raid near the Kerem Shalom crossing in southern Israel. He was freed in a prisoner swap deal in October 2011 that required Israel to free more than 1,000 Palestinian Authority Arab terrorists being held in Israeli prisons.

“If you knew, you’d take action,” retorted Netanyahu. “Our main problem is that we did not know,” he said, confirming the reports of various sources throughout the Shalit captive years who told journalists operatives were having a problem fixing a location on the kidnapped soldier. Military sources kept saying quietly that terrorists were moving him around in order to elude Israeli soldiers. “We can send someone in, but by the time we get there, he’s gone. And then what? We’ve endangered our people for nothing. We need better information. We’re having trouble tracking him,” sources kept saying.

A Nation Held Hostage

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

With Sgt. Gilad Shalit safely returned in exchange for 1,027 Palestinian terrorists and murderers, celebration – propelled by wishful avoidance – spread throughout Israel.

It was said that peace in our time, even peace now, might be imminent. The disproportionate exchange could transform the relationship between Israel and Hamas, leading to a final peace agreement. Israel’s relations with Egypt, precarious ever since President Mubarak’s overthrow, and with Turkey, frayed since the Mavi Marmara flotilla confrontation, would improve. Even Shalit himself, interviewed on Egyptian television shortly before his return, envisioned renewed prospects for peace.

But Hamas, whose charter still proclaims the destruction of the Jewish state as its goal, has other plans. It immediately called for more Israeli soldiers to be kidnapped, the better to free 5,000 Palestinian terrorists still imprisoned. A far likelier scenario than peace is the collaborative tightening of the noose around Israel by Hamas, Hizbullah, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and Iran.

There was, understandably,  widespread euphoria among Israelis over the return of Shalit. “Bring Gilad Back,” the five-year campaign run by a well-known public relations firm with unremitting media support, had succeeded. Unrelenting pressure from the Shalit family, backed by public rallies and a tent outside the prime minister’s residence, finally prevailed.

But family members of victims brutally murdered in Palestinian terrorist attacks and suicide bombings, whose perpetrators now roam free, became mourners once again. They include the relatives of fifteen children killed in the Sbarro pizzeria bombing masterminded by Ahlam Tamimi; thirty Israelis killed in the Park Hotel Passover Seder bombing planned by Nasser Yataima; twenty-one Israelis killed at a Tel Aviv nightclub and fourteen diners killed  at a Haifa restaurant, ordered by Husam Badran; and eleven Israelis killed at a Jerusalem café, orchestrated by Waled Anjes.

Now Tamimi, Yataima, Badran and Anjes, with hundreds of others, are free to murder once again.

Palestinian terrorists have a proven strategy: launch attacks; slaughter Israelis by the dozens; kidnap a soldier; and bargain for his release in exchange for prisoners who will then repeat the deadly cycle. The more fervently Israel pursues the return of a captured soldier, the greater his value in the eyes of Hamas and the higher the price that its negotiators will demand in return.

Eliad Moreh, severely wounded in the Hebrew University bombing nearly a decade ago that killed seven, said, “When the government releases these murderers…there is no justice.” Meir Schijveschuurder, whose parents and three siblings were killed in the Sbarro bombing, described the exchange as “madness” and announced the intention of surviving family members to return to Holland. “We have been betrayed,” said Sherri Mandel, mother of a murdered 13-year-old boy. “To pardon terrorists mocks our love and our pain.”

The Shalit deal climaxed forty years of exchanges in which escalating numbers of Palestinians have been released: 1 (1970); 76 (1979); 1150 (1985). Israelis claim the exchanges demonstrate their fidelity to the ancient moral obligation to redeem captives – which, however, is challenged by the Talmudic principle (in Gittin) that “We do not redeem captives for more than their worth, so that enemies will not dedicate themselves to take other people captive.”

In the past decade alone nearly two hundred Israelis have been murdered by terrorists who were released for soldiers, living or dead. The likelihood of more killings has now increased. But, as Yossi Zur suggested, now eight years after his son Asaf was among seventeen high-school students killed by a Hamas suicide bomber, “since the names and faces of the future victims are not known, it is permissible to…fantasize that nothing will happen.” Israelis are left to discover who among them will die from the Shalit exchange.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/a-nation-held-hostage/2011/10/26/

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