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April 17, 2014 / 17 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘security’

Second ‘Prisoner X’ Identified as Palestinian Authority Arab

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

An Israel court partially lifted a gag order Wednesday on the case of a second “prisoner X,” held in secret in a high-security prison, and identified him as Wael Abu Reda of Gaza. He is charged with committing “crimes against the security of the country.”

Australian media earlier this year exposed the secret incarceration of a an immigrant from the country who worked for the Mossad and hanged himself in prison. Security officials arrested him after he carried out an unauthorized mission that crippled a Mossad attempt to return three dead bodies of Israelis killed in the First Lebanon War and also exposed one of the intelligence agency’s most important agents in Lebanon.

The Australian, Ben Zygier, was thrown into the highest security cell in Israel, in the same area of the cell of Yigal Amir, who assassinated Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin.

Like Zygier, Abu Reda disappeared mysteriously. He had last been seen in Egypt last month. The gag order on details and background of his arrest remains in effect for at least 10 more days.

His wife, Amani Abu Reda, told the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency last week that her husband disappeared during a visit to Egypt for medical treatment. The International Committee of the Red Cross informed the family that he was the in custody of Israel.

Open Skies Ahead for Israel

Monday, June 10th, 2013

Minister of Transportation Yisrael Katz signed an Open Skies agreement with the EU on Monday in Luxembourg. The agreement which is to be gradually implemented over the next 5 years, until it goes fully into effect in 2018, should lower prices significantly on flights between Israel and Europe.

Open Skies will allow EU and Israeli airlines to operate direct flights to each others airports, and not be restricted to specific routes or airports.

When first introduced, the plan was very controversial in Israel, as El Al needs to expend a large sum of money on security that European airlines don’t need to, and that would have made it impossible for El Al to compete.

The Israeli government decided to shoulder almost the entire cost of El Al’s security expenses, which should allow the Israeli airline to be competitive.

In Hebrew: ‘Intelligence Agency’

Friday, May 31st, 2013

סוֹכְנוּת בִּיּוּן Yesterday we saw some information about הַמּוֹסָד- the Mossad.

Today we’ll look at the general term for intelligence agencyסוֹכְנוּת בִּיּוּן.

The Hebrew word for agency is סוכנות, most recognizably in the Hebrew name of The Jewish Agencyהַסּוֹכְנוּת הַיְּהוּדִית, or simply הסוכנות- The Agency. A סוֹכֵן(male) or סוֹכֶנֶת(female) is an agent, so סוכנותmeans agency. This term comes from Biblical Hebrew.

The word for intelligence in the context of an intelligence agency is בִּיּוּן. This word comes from the Biblical root ב.ו.נ (b.w.n) or ב.י.נ (b.y.n), internalization.

You may recognize this root in the word for to understandלְהָבִין. But whereas in להבין, the root is plugged into the active-causative הִפְעִיל verb form, in ביון, the root is plugged into the active-intensive פִּעֵל form yielding the verb לְבַיֵּןand its noun form ביון.

So what do לבייןand ביון mean, specifically? In mathematics there is a concept called interpolation, which involves estimating the location of various data points within a range – a precise, sophisticated game of connect the dots. Which is exactly what an intelligence agency – a סוכנות ביון- does – it “connects the dots” in a real-life political, often international scenario to create a plan of action.

You may be familiar with the word מוֹדִיעִין, also referring to intelligence (as well as to a city situated between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem), as in חֵיל הַמּוֹדִיעִין- the IDF’s Intelligence Corps. In that phrase, intelligence refers to gathering information rather than interpoling, so מודיעין, of the root י.ד.ע meaning knowledge, is used.

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In Hebrew: ‘Security Check’

Monday, May 27th, 2013

בִּדּוּק בִּטְחוֹנִי I’ve had guests visiting from Europe the last few days. For both of them it’s the first time in Israel, and therefore the first time encountering the psychologically-astute Israeli security team at the airport.

A security check is a בִּדּוּק בִּטְחוֹנִי.

Let’s break that down.

בידוק The verb for to check is לִבְדּוֹקof the active-simple פָּעַל form and the root ב.ד.ק (b.d.k). And a check or a checkup is a בְּדִיקָה.

But since a security check is a more involved process than a simple checkup, we invoke the noun form of an intensive verb, yielding the word בידוק.

בטחוני בטחוניcomes from the word בִּטָּחוֹן- security. בטחוני is an adjective, so we add a י (y) to the end of the word בטחון.

Putting these two pieces together, we get a security checkבידוק בטחוני.

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Keep Jerusalem United!

Monday, May 13th, 2013

From the United States to the European Union to the developing countries, political leaders are calling for the division of Jerusalem. Such proclamations disregard the deep historically Jewish attachment to the city and the fact that true freedom of worship for all three monotheistic religions has only occurred under Jewish rule. They ignore the fact that Jerusalem has had a Jewish majority, not an Arab one, for over 100 years and that even a majority of the city’s Arab population prefer Israeli rule to the Palestinian Authority’s dictatorship.

However, strangely enough, many of these same political leaders who make these proclomations are not inherently hostile towards Israel. Indeed, the very same people who often claim that they respect Israel’s security needs and state that they support Israel’s right to exist as Jewish state will also proclaim that Israel needs to accept the establishment of a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders and the division of Jerusalem.Yet, what many fail to grasp is that the division of Jerusalem is contrary to the security and sovereignty of the State of Israel.

Anyone who has any doubt what a future Palestinian state will look like need look no further than Gaza. When Israel controlled Gaza, the coastal strip was full of beautiful Jewish agricultural communities with lovely greenhouses full of beautiful plants. When Israel withdrew from Gaza, she left the greenhouses in place, thinking that they would assist the local Palestinians economically. The first thing that the Palestinians did upon the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza was to destroy them and convert them into rocket launching sites. As a result, all Israeli communities that live close to Gaza have been under a constant barrage of terror attacks ever since.

A Jewish withdrawal of half of Jerusalem would make the situation in Sderot look like paradise. For starters, the Jews would be cut off from the Kotel–one of the holiest shrines in Judaism, as well as the Old City’s numerous historic synagogues, such as the Hurva and Four Sephardic Synagogues. Jews would also be cut off from the Mount of Olives Cemetery, where Menechem Begin and many prominent Jewish thinkers are buried, as well as The Hebrew University of Jerusalem in the French Hill neighborhood. Additionally, this places the great archaeological finds of the City of David Archaeological Park into the hands of people who don’t even respect the preservation of Islamic history, much less the history of others.  Jews would also be barred from visiting the grave of Shimon Ha-Tzadik or King David.

If this were not enough, the entire nation of Israel would be within the reach of Palestinian terror organizations. The hills of Judea and Samaria right outside Jerusalem would be utilized to launch rockets at Ben-Gurion International Airport, Tel Aviv, Herzliya, Netanya, and even Haifa. Thus, almost all of Israel, and not just the southern part, would be living under rocket fire.

No Israeli citizen would be out of the reach of the Palestinian terror organizations should Israel withdraw to the 1967 borders and re-divide Jerusalem. For these reasons, it is pivotal that Jerusalem remain the undivided capital of the Jewish people.

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Israel’s Semi-Automatic Tavor Rifle May Replace M-16s at Airport

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

Tourists landing at Ben Gurion Airport soon may see guards toting the Israel-made Tavor rifle instead of the traditional M-16, according to Israel defense,

The Micro Tavor is shorter but heavier than the M-16, and started replacing the M-16 in IDF combat units approximately three years ago.

China’s Peace Plan: Outrageously One-Sided

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

I’ve heard suggestions that Israel should be looking east for allies, rather than toward the U.S. and Europe. Judging by the four point “peace plan” proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping while both PM Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas were in China, maybe that wouldn’t be such a good idea. Do we really need another plan that doesn’t mention recognition of Israel as a Jewish state?

Here are the four points, with a few comments interspersed. You can decide for yourself if this represents a positive breakthrough.

First, the right direction to follow should be an independent Palestinian State and peaceful co-existence of Palestine and Israel. To establish an independent state enjoying full sovereignty on the basis of the 1967 borders and with East Jerusalem as its capital is an inalienable right of the Palestinian people and the key to the settlement of the Palestinian question. At the same time, Israel’s right to exist and its legitimate security concerns should also be fully respected.

Just in case we have any question about whether the Chinese are taking sides, the “Palestinian people” have “inalienable rights” to specific territory while Israel has only a “right to exist.” The word “legitimate” is ambiguous, too — does it mean that Israel’s concerns are legitimate, or does it mean that only “legitimate” concerns should be ‘respected’?

As we know, there are no “1967 borders,” only 1949 armistice lines which neither side accepted as having any permanent significance, and which were understood by the drafters of UNSC resolution 242 as needing to be replaced by “secure and recognized” boundaries. And if “full sovereignty” includes militarization and control of airspace, then that is simply inconsistent with Israel’s security.

Second, negotiation should be taken as the only way to peace between Palestine and Israel. The two sides should follow the trend of the times, pursue peace talks, show mutual understanding and accommodation, and meet each other half way. The immediate priority is to take credible steps to stop settlement activities, end violence against innocent civilians, lift the blockade of the Gaza Strip and properly handle the issue of Palestinian prisoners in order to create the necessary conditions for the resumption of peace talks. Comprehensive internal reconciliation on the part of Palestine will help restart and advance the Palestinian-Israeli peace talks.

Ending violence against innocent civilians, if this means stopping Arab terrorism, would be great. But keep in mind that the PLO promised — when it signed the Oslo accords, and received weapons, money and training for its “police force” — to do just that. PLO-supported terrorism continued, before, during and after the murderous Second Intifada, under Arafat and Abbas, on both sides of the Green Line, and is even increasing today, giving rise to fears of a third intifada. So any agreement must include a way to ensure that the PLO would honor it, as well as a way to restrain Hamas and the other extremist factions.

I recall the ill-fated “Road Map,” whose full name was, “A Performance-Based Road Map to a Permanent Two-State Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.” It called for “ending terror and violence” and stopping incitement as part of Phase I. Supposedly there would not be a Phase II if this didn’t happen. Of course it didn’t. Along the way, the idea of conditioning Israeli concessions on Palestinian performance seems to have been given up.

Regarding “settlement activities”: the argument has been that even if a “settler” adds a bedroom onto his house within an existing settlement, then he is somehow creating facts on the ground which prejudice a future agreement with the Palestinians. This is illogical, considering that (a) the settlement blocs where most Jews live are expected to remain part of Israel under any reasonable agreement, and (b) there is established precedent for Israel withdrawing from inhabited settlements.

But more important: Arabs, too, are building “settlements,” especially in Area C, the part of Judea/Samaria that is supposed to be under full Israeli control. Will they agree to stop their “activities” as well? Because they are the ones creating facts on the ground today.

Israel’s Surprising Economic and Strategic Position

Sunday, May 5th, 2013

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

Israel’s economic and strategic situation is surprisingly bright right now. That’s partly due to the government’s own economic restraint and strategic balancing act, partly due to a shift in Obama Administration policy and partly due to the conflicts among Israel’s adversaries.

Let’s start with the economy. During 2012, Israel’s economy grew by 3.1 percent. While some years ago this would not be all that impressive it is amazing given the international economic recession. The debt burden actually fell from 79.4 percent of Gross Domestic Product to only 73.8 percent. As the debt of the United States and other countries zooms upwards, that’s impressive, too.

Israel’s credit rating also rose at a time when America’s was declining. Standard and Poor lifted the rating from A to A+. Two other rating systems, Moody’s and Fitch, also increased Israel’s rating.Now not only is gas from Israel’s offshore fields starting to flow but a new estimate is that the fields are bigger than expected previously.

And that’s not all. Unemployment fell from 8.5 percent in 2009 to either 6.8 to 6.9 percent (according to Israel’s bureau of statistics) or 6.3 percent (according to the CIA).

In terms of U.S.-Israel relations, the visit of President Barack Obama and Israel’s cooperation on Iran and on an attempted conciliation with Turkey brought quick rewards. For the first time, Israel will be allowed to purchase KC-135 aerial refueling planes, a type of equipment that could be most useful for attacking Iranian nuclear facilities among other things.

The same deal—which includes sales to Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries to make U.S. allies feel more secure vis-à-vis Iran—includes V-22 Osprey planes that can switch between helicopter and plane mode. Israel is the first foreign country to be allowed to purchase this system. It could be used for border patrols—a bigger problem given the decline in the stability along the Egyptian and Syrian borders—and troop transport.

Finally, there would be more advanced radars for Israeli planes and a new type of missile useful for knocking out enemy anti-aircraft sites, potentially useful against Iran among other targets. In addition, an Israeli company is now going to be making the wings for the advanced U.S. F-35 fighter planes.

The completion of the border fence with Egypt increases security in places where Palestinian and Egyptian Islamist groups are trying to attack. It also has reduced illegal civilian crossings to zero. Ironically, Israel has gotten control of its border while the U.S. government proclaims that task to be impossible for itself.

And of course there is the usual and widely varied progress on medical, agricultural, and hi-tech innovations. Here is a summary of those inventions.That doesn’t mean problems don’t exist, including a budget deficit caused by some boosts in social spending (responding to protests in 2012) and unexpected defense spending to protect the border with Egypt or to handle the Iranian threat. But that deficit will be addressed, unlike in other countries. (Here is a discussion of the problems and likely policies of the new government).

The picture is even bright regarding U.S.-Israel relations, certainly compared to the previous four years. This point is highlighted by Wikileaks publication of a U.S. embassy dispatch of January 4, 2010, describing my article that day in the Jerusalem Post:

“[As far as Israel is concerned] what is important is that Obama and his entourage has learned two things. One of them is that bashing Israel is politically costly. American public opinion is very strongly pro-Israel. Congress is as friendly to Israel as ever. For an administration that is more conscious of its future reelection campaign than any previous one, holding onto Jewish voters and ensuring Jewish donations is very important….

“The other point is that the administration has seen that bashing Israel doesn’t get it anywhere. For one thing, the current Israeli government won’t give in easily and is very adept at protecting its country’s interests. This administration has a great deal of trouble being tough with anyone. If in fact the Palestinians and Arabs were eager to make a deal and energetic about supporting other U.S. policies, the administration might well be tempted to press for an arrangement that largely ignored Israeli interests.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/rubin-reports/israels-surprising-economic-and-strategic-position/2013/05/05/

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