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December 8, 2016 / 8 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘test’

Putting The Saudis To The Test

Thursday, October 6th, 2016

We applaud the overwhelming congressional override of President Obama’s veto of the 9/11 victims bill. The Senate voted 97-1 and the House 348-77 in the override effort. The bill, which has now become law, allows families of those killed on 9/11 to sue Saudi Arabia over what many believe to be the involvement of Saudi officials in the attack. It creates a 9/11 exception to a 1976 law that gives foreign countries immunity from being sued in federal courts. While the families would still have to prove their cases in court, the new law revolutionizes the process by empowering plaintiffs to request documents from the Saudis under the threat of federal court legal sanctions.

In addition to providing for some possibly serious justice, the bill puts a dent in Mr. Obama’s imperious habit of treating foreign affairs as his exclusive plaything. Secret deals accompanying the wildly unpopular Iran nuclear deal, to cite just one example, seem to surface almost on a regular basis, to say nothing of undisclosed codicils to the deal itself.

Predictably, several senators are having second thoughts after being exposed to Mr. Obama’s legendary blandishments. He continues to insist that all sorts of bad things could happen to American citizens if the Saudis were to adopt laws similar to the 9/11 legislation. It would also, the argument goes, negatively affect the Saudis’ relationship with the United States. A particular concern, it is said, is that the Saudis will pull billions of dollars in assets from the U.S. out of fear they would be seized in order to satisfy any judgments that may be granted.

Yet back in 1990 when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait and had his eyes on the vulnerable Saudis and their huge undefended oil fields, to whom did the Saudis turn for help? The United States, of course, and nothing has changed in that regard. Saudi threats are presumptively empty.

Even those supportive of the legislation are concerned by a provision that allows the attorney general to intervene in any lawsuit and halt the proceedings by informing the presiding judge that serious settlement talks are being conducted by the U.S. government and the Saudis. They say this is the same Trojan horse-type device that has allowed various administrations to perfunctorily assert that progress is being made in negotiations and trigger so-called presidential waivers of congressional conditions – respecting, say, U.S. aid to the Palestinians. But this does not take into account that for the first time we know of, a judge will have independent authority to accept or reject the government’s request.

In a general sense, our leaders cannot allow Americans to be wantonly killed with impunity. If cases for Saudi complicity are made, consequences must follow.

Editorial Board

F-35 and Aegis Combat System Integrate Successfully in First Live Missile Test

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016

Two pre-eminent weapon systems, the F-35 Lightning II and Aegis Weapon System, worked together for the first time during a live fire exercise. The joint Lockheed Martin, US Navy and US Marine Corps exercise was the first live fire missile event that successfully demonstrated the integration of the F-35 to support Naval Integrated Fire Control-Counter Air (NIFC-CA).

The Aegis Combat System is an integrated naval weapons system developed by the Missile and Surface Radar Division of RCA, and now produced by Lockheed Martin. It uses powerful computer and radar technology to track and guide weapons to destroy enemy targets.

The F-35 Lightning II (“Adir”) represents the largest purchase in Israel’s history, and IAF Chief Brig. Gen. Tal Kelman sees the first 50 jets Israel will be receiving over the next few years as only a beginning. “We want to reach 75 jets,” Kelman told the IAF blog. “The Israeli F-35 is the first fifth generation fighter to arrive in the Middle East, and it will allow us to open a significant gap in our abilities when facing all of the elements in the area.”

During the Sept. 12 test, an unmodified US Marine Corps F-35B from the Marine Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron 1, acted as an elevated sensor and detected an over-the-horizon threat. The F-35B sent data through the aircraft’s Multi-Function Advanced Data Link (MADL) to a ground station connected to the Aegis Weapon System on the USS Desert Ship (LLS-1), a land-based ship. The target was subsequently engaged and intercepted by a Standard Missile 6.

“One of the key defining attributes of a 5th Generation fighter is the force multiplier effect it brings to joint operations through its foremost sensor fusion and external communications capabilities,” said Orlando Carvalho, executive vice president, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics. “Those attributes were successfully proven at White Sands Missile Range in a very realistic demonstration of distributed lethality leveraging a US Marine Corps F-35B and the US Navy’s Aegis Weapon System. This only scratches the surface of the potential warfighting capabilities F-35 aircraft will ultimately enable across our military forces.”

This capability, when fully realized, will significantly increase the warfighters’ situational awareness using Aegis and the F-35 together to better understand the maritime operational environment. Using any variant of the F-35 as a broad area sensor, the aircraft can significantly increase the Aegis capability to detect, track and engage.

“NIFC-CA is a game changer for the US Navy that extends the engagement range we can detect, analyze and intercept targets,” said Dale Bennett, executive vice president, Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems. “The F-35 and Aegis Weapon System demonstration brings us another step closer to realizing the true potential and power of the worldwide network of these complex systems to protect and support warfighters, the home front and US allies.”

The F-35 Lightning II combines advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, advanced mission systems, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and cutting-edge sustainment. Three distinct variants of the F-35 will replace various aircraft for the US Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy, and 11 allied nations, including Israel.

JNi.Media

North Korea Tested Nuclear Warhead on Ballistic Missile, Is Iran Next?

Friday, September 9th, 2016

North Korean TV confirmed that the seismic event recorded Friday morning had been a nuclear test. The Yonhap news agency cited a Pyongyang government announcement that the test proved it is capable of mounting standardized nuclear warheads on strategic ballistic missiles.

Back in 1994, after North Korea had announced its intent to withdraw from the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), the United States under President Bill Clinton and North Korea signed the Agreed Framework, under which Pyongyang committed to freezing its illicit plutonium weapons program in exchange for aid. In 2002, North Korea reneged on the agreement.

In August of 2003, the US under President GW Bush entered the six-party talk with China, Japan, Russia, South Korea, and North Korea, and in 2005 North Korea pledged to abandon “all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs” and return to the NPT.

In 2009, though, under President Barack Obama, North Korea launched a ballistic missile and has since refused to abide by any of the agreements.

That was the US track record on negotiating treaties with a rogue nuclear state when President Obama embarked on his nuclear negotiations with Iran. So far, Iran has already launched its ballistic missile, and it appears that secret clauses in its nuclear deal will make it particularly easy to renew plutonium enrichment in 5 to 9 years, depending on who interprets the agreement.

David Israel

Earning A Living: The Great Life Test

Thursday, August 25th, 2016

“Who feeds you manna in the wilderness, which your forefathers knew not, in order to afflict you and in order to test you to do good for you in the end?” – Devarim 8:16

 

For forty years living in the midbar, the Jewish people ate mon. The Torah explains that one of the reasons the mon was given to the Klal Yisrael was in order to test them. The Sforno explains the test: “Will you do His will when He gives you your sustenance easily without pain?”

It seems the Sforno is telling us that the fact that the Jewish nation didn’t have to work was one of the great trials it faced.

This Sforno is very difficult to understand. We know that Hashem metes out many life tests. But where have we seen that not having to struggle is a challenge?

This question can be answered by focusing on why Hashem wants man to work. The ox was created to plow, the donkey to haul loads, the beaver to dam streams. But, man was created for a very different purpose. Man was not created to be a beast of burden. So, why does Hashem want man to work for a living?

One of the reasons can be best understood with a mashol. Imagine that a man recognizes his eight-year-old son has difficulty getting along with his peers. The little boy is constantly getting into fights, and in general seems to miss social cues. The school psychologist tells the father his son has social integration issues. He just doesn’t understand the rules of social conduct.

The father takes it on himself to help his little Moishe become a mensch. As part of the plan, he takes time off from work and invites Moishe and his friends to a play date. They are on the floor playing Monopoly when an ambulance passes outside, siren blasting. As the boys look to the window, the father notices Moishe reach into the “bank” and take out a five-hundred-dollar bill. The father doesn’t say anything. A few moments later, the doorbell rings. Again, all the boys look up, and Moishe reaches into the box and takes out two thousand dollars. When this happens again a few moments later, the father asks Moishe to join him in the kitchen.

“Moishe,” says the father, “I couldn’t help but notice that some of the money that belongs in the bank somehow ended up in your pocket. Can you explain this to me?”

“Sure,” Moishe answers. “Last night I heard you and mommy talking about how you need a lot of money. So here, I took this for you!”

While the sincerity of the little fellow might be touching, he is missing the point. The only reason the father was involved in this activity was to teach him how to be a mensch. The father doesn’t need the money, and certainly isn’t taking time off of his busy day to earn Monopoly money. But Moishe in his naiveté missed the entire point of the exercise.

This is an apt mashol to man working. Hashem doesn’t need man to work to earn a living. Hashem has lots of money. Hashem created the situation that man has to work to earn his daily bread. Now man is dependent. Now man can go through one of the greatest of life’s tests: how will he go about this activity called earning a living? Will he be honest? Will he be ethical? When he has difficulty in earning a living, will he learn to trust in Hashem, or will he make that ultimate mistake – thinking it is the sweat of his brow and the strength of his hand that earns him his bread?

Man Needs Needs

This seems to be the answer to the Sforno. The generation of the midbar was on a lofty level. They had received the Torah from Hashem and were living in a virtual yeshiva. While the mon took care of their daily needs, it was also as a great social experiment: would they attain the same closeness to Hashem without having to earn a living? Would they still reach out to Hashem if they didn’t lack for anything? Would they still come to recognize their dependence on Hashem if they didn’t need to struggle to survive? The mon was a test to see if they could reach greatness without the normal life settings – without needs.

Rabbi Ben Tzion Shafier

Liberman to Hamas: Don’t Test Us — It’ll Be your Final Round

Wednesday, June 15th, 2016

The still new Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beiteinu) on Wednesday delivered a clear message to Hamas: if you mess with Israel again — it would be your last round of fighting, since Israel would collapse the organization.

A senior Defense Ministry official delivered the message via the media following a briefing he had given military reporters. “A confrontation with Hamas is unavoidable and therefore it must be the final one in the Strip — the final confrontation for the Hamas regime in the Strip,” the senior spokesperson said, directing his message to the terrorist government in Gaza.

As to the northern front, the same senior official said war with Hezbollah is not expected soon, suggesting the organization’s Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah has no interest to draw Israel into a war, since it’s clear his group would sustain a heavy blow in such a confrontation.

Meanwhile, Minster Liberman’s takeover at Defense has not calmed down the new eruption of Arab violence in Judea and Samaria, with a rise of 27% in stone and Molotov cocktail throwing incidents around Samaria. Shomron Regional Council head Yossi Dagan said in a statement that there has been an escalation in the number of terrorist acts on Hawara road last month, with 11 terror attacks on the road in the past two months alone.

“If there’s no clear policy of a painful blow to the attacker and to his support environment, these events will only increase,” Dagan warned. “We demand that government treat these cases with a firm hand and act decisively so that we won’t have to continue accompanying our injured to hospital, if not worse.”

David Israel

Chief Rabbinate Tests Female Kashrut Supervisors

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

The Chief Rabbinate of Israel today (Wednesday) administered the first official certification exam for women who wish to become kashrut supervisors (mashgichot).

The test, which took place at the International Convention Center (Binyanei Ha’Uma) in Jerusalem, was administered only to those who had first passed a special course approved by the Chief Rabbinate.

In the Gush Etzion city of Efrat, located barely ten minutes away from Jerusalem, female kashrut supervisors have already been employed in some establishments for some time.

The women taking the test on Wednesday have studied materials and undergone a training program that was designed to meet the standards of supervision by the Chief Rabbinate.

Israel Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Landau said at the time the course was designed that he saw no reason why women could not serve as kashrut supervisors.

Those women who pass the test on Wednesday will be awarded a certificate enabling them to seek employment as kashrut supervisors.

Hana Levi Julian

Aliyah and the Gifted Child

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

As an education writer for the nonprofit organization, Kars4Kids, and as someone who made Aliyah from Pittsburgh 34 years ago, I decided to write about the challenges of Aliyah from western countries with school age children. See the previous piece in this series, Aliyah and the Special Needs Educator. Today I interview Rachel Moore of Neve Daniel.

Varda: Tell me about yourself, Rachel.

Rachel Moore

Rachel Moore

Rachel: I am 41 years old, expecting my 8th child. I have been working in PR and communications for the past 17 years in government and the non-profit world. I blog, sing, and study Torah whenever I can grab an opportunity.

Varda: When did you make Aliyah? How many children did you bring with you and what were their ages?

Rachel: I made Aliyah in 1995 at 22. However, I left again in 2000 and spent 12 years back in the U.S. for personal reasons, and only moved back in July of 2012.

My second time settling here was truly Aliyah for my children, who at the time were 12, 11, 11, 9, 7 and 4.

My eldest is my stepson, 19, who is a sophomore at Rutgers University in the U.S. He did not move here with us. My other 6 children are now 13, 12 year-old twins, 10, 8 and 5, and I am due with another one – today, actually[Rachel had her baby that evening, a little boy! V.E.].

Varda: Tell me about your children. What are their difficulties?

Rachel: We have at least two children who have been classified as “gifted” outside of Israel, and meeting their needs is a challenge, and also requires learning the system. In addition, I have one daughter who I suspect as having ADHD, but she hasn’t been classified – yet.

Varda: Where do they go to school?

The newest addition to the Moore family.

The newest addition to the Moore family.

Rachel: My 13 year-old daughter attends Orot Etzion girls’ school. My 12 year-old twin boys attend Horev High School (7th grade), my 10 year-old son attends Carmei Yehuda, Mamad Hativa Bogeret boys’ school in Alon Shvut, my 8 year-old daughter attends Shirat Chanan, Mamad Hativa Tzeira in Alon Shvut, and my 5 year-old attends the Mechina of Orot Etzion in Neve Daniel.

Varda: Do your children receive additional help outside of school?

Rachel: My daughter with [suspected] ADHD sees a therapist (in English) outside of school that specializes in children with this disability. My 10 year-old son is now enrolled in a gifted pull-out program in Efrat once a week called Afikim [Eligibility is determined by both written and oral tests and only 1.5% of students are accepted], and is in mitzuyanut [gifted class]within school. We had to get him special permission to take the test to qualify for Afikim at the beginning of 5th grade, because the test is usually given in 2nd grade.

We believe that our 2nd grader would have qualified [as gifted] the year we moved here, but we didn’t know she had the option to take the test in English or with translation help. No one had explained this to us, so she took it with the rest of the class. We may still pursue an appeal so that she can retake the test, but it will probably be an uphill battle.

Varda: What out-of-pocket expenses do you have in educating your children and what is covered by the state?

Varda Meyers Epstein

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/ear-to-the-ground/aliyah-and-the-gifted-child/2013/12/10/

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