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September 30, 2014 / 6 Tishri, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘SITE’

Analysts: Iran Launched New Site to Test Ballistic Missiles

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

Weeks after the Iranian government had announced it was building new launch bases for its domestic satellite program, newly published pictures of one such site have led analysts to conclude it was designed to test ballistic missiles rather than launch space rockets, the Daily Telegraph reported.

The new site is close to Iran’s first space center in the northern Semnan province. A picture of the base published by IHS Jane’s Military and Security Assessments shows a 70 ft. tall launch tower sitting on a 600 by 420 ft. launch pad. The picture also shows a 375 ft. long exhaust deflector.

The Telegraph quotes analysts who say they base their speculation on the fact that the unfinished site, located 25 miles south east of the city of Shahrud, does not include a storage facility for the liquid rocket fuel which is used in the Iranian space program. This would suggest that the base is being built for ballistic missiles, which use solid fuel.

Matthew Clements, who edited these assessments, said: “This site could be a facility for launching satellites into orbit. However, Iran is already building at least one other site for this purpose and, looking at the satellite imagery we have got, we believe that this facility is most likely used for testing ballistic missiles. Its location and orientation would be suitable for long-range missile tests as they would fly over Iranian territory for 870 miles, meaning large quantities of flight data could be gathered before they drop into the Indian Ocean.”

“At the same time,” Clements added, “we can’t see any storage facilities for the liquid fuel needed for the rockets that launch satellites, suggesting it will be used for solid-fuel ballistic missiles.”

He also said there was no indication that the base was a nuclear facility.

In July, Iranian Minister of Communication and Information Technology Mohammad Hassan Nami announced that Iran is planning to launch several new space centers to “monitor and observe different space objects and satellites passing through the country’s atmosphere,” and introduced the new space center in Semnan province.

“We are building other centers too and we are trying to have a powerful start,” he added.

But if the entire project turns out to be a ruse intended to hide Iran’s efforts to produce a missile with the range to hit Tel-Aviv, it would be the first time such a ruse was attempted using a monkey.

In January, Iran’s Aerospace Industries announced that it has sent a monkey into space on the back of Pishgam (Pioneer) explorer rocket, and that the monkey came back.

Aerospace Industries said it was planning to send humans into space.

But Shashank Joshi, a research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute who has written about the Iranian missile program, told the Telegraph Iran’s actual plans are far more sinister: “We often talk about Iran’s nuclear program,” Joshi said, “but what really spooks countries in the region is the ballistic missiles that could act as a delivery system.”

He said Iran had been laboring to develop solid fuel rockets which are quicker to deploy than liquid fuel versions. He commented: “If you look at why their missile program has been so slow, one reason is their difficulties with solid fuel. A testing site which helps in that regard is concerning. Testing is critical. You don’t improve missiles until you test them.”

Protesters: Police in Cahoots with Arabs over Jewish Access to Mount

Monday, August 5th, 2013

The Joint Committee of Temple Mount Organizations has announced a protest vigil this Wednesday, August 7, at 7:30 AM, by the Mugrabi Bridge connecting the Western Wall plaza with the Mughrabi Gate of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

According to the organizers, which include journalist Arnon Segal and Women in Green founders Nadia Matar and Yehudit Katsover, the vigil will be held in response to an announcement last Tuesday by the Police official in charge of the holy sites, Commander Avi Bitton, that the Temple Mount would remain open only to Muslims and closed to Jews and to tourists at least until after the Muslim holiday of Idl-Fitter, next Sunday, the fifth of Elul or August 11.

This is breaking the rules, cry out the organizers, members of organizations promoting Jewish presence on the Temple Mount, warning that Jerusalem Police has already violated the long held status quo by shutting off the Temple Site to non-Muslims throughout the month of Ramadan.

This past month, the vigil organizers complain that on those few days when Jews were allowed to go up to the Mount, they suffered constant abuse by the Muslims and by the police.

Two weeks ago, Deputy Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin was chased away from the Temple Mount by a crowd of Muslims. According to the vigil organizers, police did not intervene to prevent the “screaming and harassment and threats by the Muslims against Elkin and his family.”

But the biggest complaint of the organizers has to do with the fact that the Arabs have, apparently, discovered the surefire method of keeping the Jews off the Mount – all they have to do is threaten violence, and the police immediately folds, and rather than responding to the bullies by imposing law and order—a fairly basic expectation of our law enforcement agencies—they join forces with them to block Jewish access.

It’s been ten years, the protesters say, since the Temple mount was re-opened to Jewish visitors—not for prayer, mind you, God forbid—and now they fear the permanent sealing off of the holiest Jewish site bar none appears closer than ever.

“It seems the police is throwing a trial balloon,” reads the organizers’ email. “They try to see if the Temple Mount is important to a large Jewish population, or only to some ‘crazies.’ It is obvious that if this passes quietly, it will get worse for the Jews.”

And so the Joint Committee of the Temple Mount Organizations have decided to hold a mass protest vigil to remind the police, the politicians, and—most important—ourselves, that the holiest place for the Jewish People is not the Kotel, with all due respect, but the Temple Mount.

As one organizer put it, according to Matar, celebrating Rosh Chodesh at the Kotel and not on the Temple Mount is tantamount to celebrating Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day, in the Knesset parking lot, while the building itself would be chock full of Arabs.

They invite “all to whom a Jewish presence at the Jews’ most holy site in the world is important, to wake up early Wednesday morning and come.”

Wouldn’t it be interesting if, this coming Rosh Chodesh Elus, Wednesday morning, all the Jews will find their way up to the Temple Mount, leaving down below only the Women of the Kotel?

Don’t forget to dip in the Mikvah first, in case they actually let everybody up.

Third Time this Ramadan – Tomb of the Patriarchs Desecrated by Muslims

Sunday, August 4th, 2013

For the third time this month of Ramadan, Muslims visiting the Tomb of Patriarchs in Hebron have desecrated Jewish religious objects at the site, tearing the Mezuzahs off the doorposts and stealing them. They took advantage of the special visiting privileges the Muslims receive from the IDF during the month of Ramadan, during which, on Fridays and a few special days, the Tomb of Patriarchs is open only to Muslims.

Local police announced they have arrested two Palestinians in connection with the vandalism, but are still searching for the thieves. The act was recorded by surveillance cameras. A member of the Waqf was nearby during the act of vandalism.

In response to the repeated attacks, the site management has decided to limit the access of Palestinians. Muslims aged 18 – 35 will not be permitted in on the special days allocated to Muslims only. Further actions are being considered to prevent these attacks in the future.

Following the previous attack, Member of Knesset Orit Struk, a resident of Hebron, told Tazpit News Agency: “The Arabs used the opportunity they had on Friday to desecrate the Mezuzot. We cannot be silent about this incident. During the 700 years of Muslim occupation, the Tomb of the Patriarchs was completely closed to Jews. Today, when the State of Israel is considerate of Muslim holidays and permits them full use of the site – they exploit it to harm Jewish symbols. I expect the Muslim leaders in Hebron and Israel to apologize to the Jewish People and condemn this heinous episode.”

Machtesh Ramon

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

Machtesh Ramon is considered by some to be the most exquisite site on the planet. Located south of Beersheba in the Central Negev, not only is Machtesh Ramon the most spectacular geological sight in Eretz Yisrael, it contains within it some unique geological formations that are not found anywhere else on earth. A machtesh (erosion cirques or box canyon) is a geological window, giving us a look into the Earth’s crust. Unique to the Negev and Sinai deserts, only 7 machteshim have been identified, Machtesh Ramon, Machtesh HaGadol, Machtesh HaKatan and two even smaller ones on Har Harif in the Negev; there are also two in the Sinai.

The term machtesh is a geological term borrowed from the word machtesha “mortar” (as in mortar and pestle). Both the Machtesh Katan (Small) and the Machtesh Gadol (Large) look like mortar bowls in which grains are pounded with a pestle. This “look” holds true for both the Small and the Big Machteshim, but not for Machtesh Ramon which is stretched out and narrows at one end – resembling the shape of an elongated heart.

These enormous, craterlike machteshim are neither meteorite craters nor volcanic calderas, although they are frequently described as craters. Machtesh Ramon is an erosion landform, actually a valley surrounded by steep walls and drained by a single wadi (riverbed). The name Ramon is probably from the Arabic “Ruman” meaning “Romans,” and probably linked to a trail that the Romans built here.

Machtesh Ramon has pretty impressive measurements, making it the largest machtesh in Eretz Yisrael. This makes it the largest on earth as no other part of the globe has this phenomenon. The crater is 45km long, 2-10 km wide (28 miles long and five miles wide) and 500 m deep. Its deepest point is Ein Saharonim (Saharonim Spring) – which also contains the Machtesh Ramon’s only natural water source and sustains much of the wildlife in the machtesh including ibex and onagers.

The onager, or wild ass (the biblical pereh), was an animal that had disappeared from Israel. In 1983, two herds of onagers were successfully re-introduced at two locations: Machtesh Ramon and at another site in the Arava Desert. They are the smallest of wild horses and cannot be domesticated. In Roman times, the meat of an onager was considered a delicacy. Some other animals in the vicinity are leopard, striped hyena, sand fox, Dorcas gazelle and the fat desert rat. A variety of plants grow in the Ramon area, including Atlantic pistachio trees, buckthorn, globe daisy, tulips and other bushes and shrubs.

Machtesh Ramon contains many types of rocks including clay hills – known for their fantastic red and yellow colors – as well as forms and diverse colorful sandstone.

At the borders of the crater impressive mountains rise. Har Ramon (Mt. Ramon), at the southwest corner of the machtesh, is one of the highest peaks in the Negev (3,400 feet – 1,037 m.), Har Ardon (Mt. Ardon) at the north-eastern end, and two table-like mountains – Har Marpek (Mt. Marpek – “Elbow”) and Har Katum (Mt. Katum – “Chopped”) are along the southern wall. Giv’at Ga’ash, a black hill in the north of the machtesh was once an active volcano.

Shen Ramon (Ramon’s Tooth) is made of molten rock which hardened while underground. This black sharp-edged rock later rose up through cracks in the Earth’s surface, and today stands in striking contrast to the nearby creamy colored southern wall of the crater. In the centre of the machtesh is Ha-Minsara (The Carpentry Shop), a low hill made up of black prismatic rocks. It is the only place in the world where prisms made of heated sand turned into liquid – and then when cooled naturally formed rectangular and hexagonal prisms that look like woodchips left behind by an indifferent carpenter. Also, vertical dikes of magnum that squeezed upward through fissures can be seen at various spots through the machtesh.

The ruins of a large prehistoric stone structure known as Khan Saharonim are found in the Machtesh. It lies along the ancient Incense Route, a trade route used by the Nabateans, and is the remains of a caravanserai, a roadside inn where the travelers would rest and recover from the day’s arduous journey. Dozens would gather and camp together and regroup before moving forward in an effort to protect themselves from bandits hiding out in the desert. These ruins acted as a way station for the traders and their animals (khan is the Arabic word for a caravansary) as they proceeded further westwards to the Mediterranean seaport city of Gaza. Not far away to the north are the ruins of the ancient Nabatean city of Avdat.

ADL Criticizes Anti-Abortion Center’s Western Wall Motif

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

The Anti-Defamation League blasted a plan by evangelical pastors in Kansas to build a replica of the Western Wall as part of an anti-abortion monument as “an outrageous affront to the Jewish people.”

The International Pro-Life Memorial and National Life Center is being planned by pro-life activists in Wichita. According to its website, http://www.prolifememorial.com, the wall will be “an exact replica of the Western Wall at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.”

The wall will be fronted with 60 white cross that “symbolize 60 million abortions…60 million little baby boys and girls have been murdered since 1973 in America alone. The International Pro-life Center will endeavor to stop this world wide genocide.”

The activists behind the initiative view the Western Wall – which is also referred to as the Wailing Wall on the website – as the symbol that commemorates Jewish suffering during the Holocaust, and want their replica to memorialize the 60 million aborted fetuses.

“The International Pro-life Center will be a national and international focal point to connect and integrate a variety of services which have the goal of promoting, bring healing, and enhancing human life,” the website says.

The ADL called the proposed center and a perversion of Judaism’s holiest site.

“Over the years we have seen a number of anti-abortion groups compare abortion to the Holocaust, but this takes the misuse of Jewish symbolism and history to another level,” Abraham Foxman, ADL’s national director, said in a statement issued Monday. “The Western Wall, this monumental symbol of Jewish grief and redemption is being co-opted and distorted to promote an anti-abortion agenda and message. Members of the pro-life movement are entitled to their opinions, but we wish they would not express them at the expense of Judaism’s holiest site and the Holocaust.”

The controversy coincided with another Israel-related Christian initiative – the seventh annual gathering of “Christians United for Israel” (CUFI), which is taking place in Washington, D.C.

The conference, the theme of which was Pro-Israel activity on college campuses, drew 5,000 participants from across the U.S., including Pastor John Hagee, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who spoke via video.

“Without Jerusalem there is no real life in Israel,” Pastor Hagee told a galvanized audience. “The President of the U.S. told people of Jerusalem they can’t build additional homes there. He has no authority to tell them that! They are a democracy!”

JTA content was used in this report.

Jerusalem And The Three Weeks

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

Mourning, repentance – and love of the Land of Israel. These are arguably the major themes of these Three Weeks of Mourning over the destruction of the Holy Temple.

The first two are well known and require little elaboration. But how does love and concern for Eretz Yisrael fit in to the picture?

The answer is based on a watershed event in Jewish history: the notorious sin of the spies, a result of disdain for the Land of Israel. Moses had sent them to scout out the Promised Land, but the Jews, fresh off being rescued from the bondage of Egypt, seemed only too eager to hear and accept their negative report.

What was the divine punishment? The Talmud puts it this way: “You cried for no good reason, so I’ll give you something to cry about. On this day – the 9th of Av – many centuries from now, the Beit HaMikdash will be destroyed.”

And since we are bidden to recognize our mistakes, learn from them, and often go to the other extreme, it is clear there is no better time than these Three Weeks to increase our love and solidarity with the Land of Israel, the holy city of Jerusalem, and the site of the Beit HaMikdash.

We must do this, first of all, by learning about them and their importance – and about the contemporary threats they face. The Beit HaMikdash compound, for instance, is currently facing a multi-pronged attack. Let us briefly list the most recent fronts of hostilities:

* The Temple Mount is under the de-facto control of hostile Muslims who restrict the entry of Jews and do not allow them to pray there.

* The Muslims are currently desecrating the site of the Holy of Holies by placing scaffolding atop the Foundation Stone, so that they can carry out “renovations.”

* Possibly most egregious of all is the ban placed by Israel’s police on Rabbi Yisrael Ariel – head of the Temple Institute in Jerusalem and one of the original liberators of the site during the Six Day War – from even entering the Temple Mount.

The first, of course, has been the case for many decades. Arab control over the Temple Mount became more pronounced right after the Six-Day War when Moshe Dayan literally “returned the keys” to the Muslim Waqf, arousing little Jewish protest. Since then, the Waqf has embarked on a campaign of destruction of all archaeological evidence of Jewish claims to this site. A Waqf sign at the entrance to the site of the Beit HaMikdash reads, “The Al-Aqsa Mosque courtyard and everything in it is Islamic property.”

Can we truly claim Jewish sovereignty over a united Jerusalem if we allow this situation to continue without protest?

Supporters of Jewish Jerusalem were outraged last week when they learned the Waqf had turned the area of the Temple’s Holy of Holies into a construction site. The Temple Mount Loyalists filed suit in the Supreme Court on Sunday. They asked for an immediate restraining order to close the site, prevent those responsible for the desecration from entering, and enable the Chief Rabbinate to remove the scaffolding and end the desecration.

The petition states that the Waqf has taken advantage of its position to “harm the very heart of the Mount, in deepest offense to the emotions of the Jewish Nation…. Since the Early Prophets, the Foundation Stone has been the site of the High Priest’s exclusive service on Yom Kippur – the center of the world, according to Jewish faith, and the site on which the Ark of the Covenant was placed.”

Once again, without an international outcry from world Jewry, it is feared the request for judicial redress in the form of “quick and firm action and intervention” to put an end to this grave religious offense will once again fall on deaf ears.

And finally, many rabbis and other public figures have protested the unexplained police decision to prevent Rabbi Yisrael Ariel from visiting the Temple Mount. How ironic that Israel boasts freedom of religion and access to holy sites but bans a rabbi from Judaism’s holiest site – a rabbi who is the founder of the Temple Institute, which seeks to disseminate the principle taught in The Kuzari that “Jerusalem will be built when the Jews truly long for it.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/keeping-jerusalem/jerusalem-and-the-three-weeks/2012/07/11/

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