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September 18, 2014 / 23 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘us army’

Texas Official Cites Jewish Chaplain’s WW II Dedication

Monday, May 27th, 2013

A Texas state official spoke at a Memorial Day service and quoted a Jewish chaplain’s dedication of a temporary cemetery on Iwo Jima in World War II.

Jerry Patterson, the state’s Land Commissioner and candidate for Lieutenant Governor, said that whenever he speaks at a Memorial Day service, he quotes Lt. Roland B Gittlesohn, a Jewish chaplain who spokes on March 21, 1945 at the dedication of a temporary cemetery on the island of Iwo Jima for Marine and Navy personnel killed during that battle.

“Here lie men who loved America because their ancestors generations ago helped in her founding and other men who loved her with equal passion because they themselves or their own fathers escaped from oppression to her blessed shores,” the chaplain was quoted as saying.

“Here lie officers and men, blacks and whites, rich men and poor — together. Here are Protestants, Catholics and Jews — together. Here no man prefers another because of his faith or despises him because of his color. Here there are no quotas of how many are allowed. Among these men there is no discrimination.

“No prejudices. No hatred.

“Theirs is the highest and purest democracy.”

Chemical Weapons Expert: Russia Is Key to Avoid War with Syria

Sunday, May 5th, 2013

Russia is the only key to end the bloodshed in Syria and to neutralize the chemical weapons threat without a foreign military intervention, according to a former Israeli Dense Ministry chemist who is considered perhaps the country’s best expert on chemical weapons in Syria.

It is totally inconceivable to bomb the chemical and biological weapons because an attack could cause exactly the horrid result that everyone outside of Syria wants to prevent – a large scale humanitarian disaster, retired Lt. Col Dr. Dany Shoham told The Jewish Press Sunday. He is a former macro-biologist and chemist for the Defense Ministry and specialized in chemical and biological warfare in the Middle East.

There are two ways to make sure their chemical and biological weapons will not be used – either by foreign military intervention, which would entail getting rid of Assad and replacing him temporarily with a non-Syrian; or ending the bloody civil war by diplomacy, an approach that is virtually impossible without Russia’s cooperation, he said.

There is no doubt that chemical weapons have been used in Syria, and it is “99 percent certain” that it is Assad and not the rebels who have committed a war crime by unleashing them, in violation of the Geneva Convention and all rules of war, Dr. Shoham stated. “In my opinion, there is only the slightest chance that rebels have used chemical weapons, but that doesn’t mean they won’t do so,” said the former macro-biologist for the Defense Ministry.

Syria is manufacturing the chemical and biological weapons within Syria, but Russia may be assisting Syria, he added.

As for the military option, he pointed out that the United States is “planning and practicing for an operation” in Jordan, using its own officers and soldiers as well as Jordanians.

“Whoever wants to prevent danger ideally should replace Syrian guards,” he said. Dr. Shoham  did not say what would happen next, but it is clear that any foreign invader would be stuck with local resentment far worse than what the United States faced in Iraq after its invasion. A foreign takeover also would likely plant the seeds for an eventual radical Muslim regime that could make the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood look like bleeding heart liberals.

However, the invading force at least would be able to confiscate the chemical and biologic weapons, according to Dr. Shoham. “We know where most, but not all, of them can be found,” he said.

The diplomatic option so far has not taken hold for the simple reason that without Russia, it can’t happen.

“The solution has to come from Russia. Russia has to force Syria diplomatically,” he said, and “America knows it.”

How and when they might happen is conjecture, but Dr. Shoham pointed out that President Barack Obama will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in five weeks.

The two leaders spoke by phone last week, and the White House stated, “President Obama and President Putin reviewed the situation in Syria, with President Obama underscoring concern over Syrian chemical weapons,” and they agreed to “stay in close consultation” by instructing their foreign ministers to continue discussions on Syria.

President Obama and Putin are due to meet in June during the Group of Eight industrialized nations meet in Northern Ireland.

Moscow is invested up to its neck in the Syria military arsenal, and if it does not want to see it boomerang on itself by letting it fall in the wrong hands, Putin will have the opportunity to play the role as world leader and twist Assad’s arm – if it is not too late.

US Plans Missile Attack on Syria, but Obama Waits for ‘Hard Facts’

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

The U.S. Armed Forces is preparing for sea-to-land missiles on Syria, with no ground invasion in the cards, according to CNN. President Barack Obama admitted at a press conference Tuesday morning that chemical weapons are being used in Syria, but he added that there still is no evidence showing exactly who used them.

Syrian rebel sources claimed that chemical weapons were used again Tuesday morning, this time in northern Syria, but there have been no details concerning casualties.

“We have evidence that chemical weapons have been used in Syria, but we don’t know when, where, how and who used them,” President Obama said at the press conference.

“We don’t; want this genie [of chemical weapons] out of the box,” the president stated. When I make a decision for additional action [emphasis by the president], I have to have the facts…. If we rush into judgment without hard, effective evidence,” the United States will not have international support.”

The last think President Obama wants is another case of getting involved in foreign wars without international support, which was expected on the basis of America’s trying to save a foreign country from oppression and then achieving results that were exactly the opposite.

Once it is proven that Assad is guilty of using chemical weapons, the United States not only would be freer to act but also would have the opportunity to regain its image of leading to fight against evil.

If and when the United States attacks, thousands of soldiers will participate in the attack that is on the drawing boards, a senior government official told CNN.

The international community, which has done its best to snub the United States, would be forced to do an about-face and back the Obama administration if it produces evidence that Assad has used weapons of mass destruction, which could cause horrible injuries and deaths and also give the green light to terrorist organizations to do the same.

A Lebanese newspaper reported that an Egyptian diplomat has said that that the United States is prepared to deliver a “severe blow” to Syrian President Bashar Assad, with the possibility of participation of an international force, Voice of Israel public radio’s Arabic station reported Tuesday.

It said the decision to get ready for a direct military intervention was taken after a meeting two days ago between the Russian Foreign Minister and Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, who is to deliver a speech Tuesday night.

Nasrallah has said that Hezbollah is prepared for an “Israeli attack.”

US Likes New Israel Radar That Detects Mortar Fire

Sunday, April 28th, 2013

Rada, an Israeli company, is gearing up for production of its new tactical radar that the U.S. Army and the IDF may use to pinpoint the source of mortar fire and rocket fire.

Rada has successfully tested its Multi-mission Hemispheric Radar (MHR), the independent Israel Defense website reported.

The U.S. Army asked Rada to carry out the test in the Negev last November, and the radar identified a mortar and a rocket, allowing rapid identification of the source, which then could be fired on immediately.

The radar tracks the trajectory of the fire and can locate the source of enemy fire and ground incursions.

Kerry Beats the Drum for Talks on Iran but War Drums Grow Louder

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told ABC that Iran’s failure to negotiate makes “confrontation more possible,” and hours later, the American delegate to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) accused Iran of “deception, defiance and delay” while it enriches uranium.

Kerry has jumped into his new position with the full character of the State Dept. to solve the world’s problems with talk, but the unusually harsh comments from Joseph Macmanus, the chief U.S. delegate to the IAEA, indicates that the noose is tightening around Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

So far, he seems to believe that the United States is bluffing about a military strike and is making a show to keep Israel quiet.

However, the more the Obama administration, sees Iranian nuclear capability as a threat to the United States, the closer everyone gets to the red line to talk with action and not words.

“I’m not going to get into red lines and timing publicly except to reiterate what the president has said again and again, which is he prefers to have a diplomatic solution,” Kerry told ABC News in Qatar.

“If they keep pushing the limits and not coming with a serious set of proposals or are prepared to actually resolve this, obviously, the risks get higher and confrontation becomes more possible,” he said.

Joseph Macmanus’ comment blew holes into the recent complacency of the international community, which was soothed by Iran’s expression of being interested in  proposals by the world’s six powers.

Even the European Union appears to be getting fed up with Iran.

The EU told the IAEA board in Vienna Wednesday that it “considers … Iran’s procrastination to be unacceptable.”

Iran has refused IAEA requests to visit the Parchin military site, where satellite pictures have shown explosive tests probably were carried out for  nuclear weapons capability.

Prime Minister Netanyahu said this week, not for the first time, that Iran is using the negotiations and talks of negotiations as a camouflage for its nuclear weapons program.

Tehran, of course, insists its nuclear development is only for peace and is counting on more talks to erase any American red lines.

“We are committed to continue our dialogue with the IAEA but at the same time we can’t give a blank check” because of Iran’s national security concerns, Iranian Ambassador Ali Asghar Soltanieh told reporters in Vienna.

Kerry notwithstanding, louder voices are being increasingly heard from the most senior American officials.

Gen. James Mattis, head of U.S. Central Command, told a Senate committee on Tuesday, “I’m paid to take a rather dim view of the Iranians, frankly.”

Looking at the future of a military strike, he stated, “There are number of means to do that, perhaps even short of open conflict. But certainly that’s one of the options that I have to have prepared for the president.”

In the Army Now: An Orthodox Jew’s US Army Experience

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

The call from the Department of the Army came to me on a random day in the summer of 2012, an unexpected offer to serve our country as an Army civilian. The opportunity presented to me that afternoon had all the perks that any young professional would dream of: on the job training, continuing education, mentorship and apprenticeship in addition to job stability and security with lifelong benefits and opportunity for job growth with the federal government. The catch, however, would be a commitment of two years of public service to our military – anywhere in the world.

The offer came from the Office of the Chief of Public Affairs, known within the Army as OCPA. Headquartered in Washington D.C., OCPA is the United States Army command responsible for explaining and justifying the intricacies of the army to the public. OCPA fulfills the army’s obligation to keep the American people and the army informed. The job is not an easy one. One must explain and balance the intricacies of the United States Army while protecting national security interests. Upon learning more about the position and its responsibilities, I began to realize what an honor and privilege it would be to join a group of unique individuals who undertake such a complex mandate with integrity and pride. Who was I to turn down such an offer?

The average young professional fresh out of graduate school with limited job experience, especially in today’s economy, would more than likely not think twice of accepting this job offer. I however, as an Orthodox Jew, had to think twice about it. Once I realized I would be fulfilling my lifelong dream of public service to my country, which has given so much to me, my family and community, I graciously accepted the Army’s offer, a decision I will never regret.

At the time of the offer, I was living on New Yorks’ Upper West Side; a bastion of Modern Orthodoxy and the place to live if you are young, single, and Jewish. At the time I was working for a Jewish not-for-profit where I gained valuable work skills, but yearned for higher job growth. I was told by OCPA officials told me I would have to leave New York as the initial assignment by would be in Philadelphia with later assignments in Maryland and Washington, D.C. Upon completion of my training I would be assigned to a yet to be determined location based on the needs of the U.S. Army. Not originally being from New York, I welcomed the opportunity to move back home to Philadelphia, where I was born and raised. While many would probably hesitate to move multiple times over two years, I saw it as a unique chance to live in and explore other cities while serving the needs of our country.

AS I BEGAN WORK at the Department of Army, I quickly came to realize, just as I had realized previously, when I was interning at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, just how few Orthodox Jewish people there are working for our federal government. This is especially apparent in national security agencies like Defense, Homeland Security and State. As a student in Yeshiva University, I remember being encouraged to understand political developments and realities via working through the dozens of Jewish organizations that exist, but never to help shape policy decisions directly from inside the government. Why is there such apathy within our community towards participating and working within our government? Here is a thought: Perhaps, relationships and trust are fostered from within, not without?

There is, I believe, an unspoken fear by many Orthodox Jewish people that leaving their communities would mean risking the loss of their Jewish identity and potentially losing their religious observance. I can tell you from personal experience this fear has no basis. I have found that since taking on my new role, quite the opposite has occurred. If one has been empowered with a tightly rooted Jewish identity by family, school and community, working then in the secular realm, in a country that allows freedom of religion, should assuage any fears of alienation.

My Jewish identity has been strengthened in my new career and I have not changed who I am and what I believe nor been swayed by anyone. The non-Jewish community, and in particular, the military community, has treated me as an equal and has welcomed me into their ranks. I am respected for who I am and what I believe in. Since many of my co-workers have not worked with Orthodox Jews in the past, I am many times seen more as a curiosity. I am asked many questions about my practices simply because most people are unaware of what we believe and why we practice the way we do. I find it sad that many members of our community have isolated themselves to the point where we are aware of our secular neighbors, yet they know nothing about us. How can we in this country create unity and religious tolerance if we refuse to proudly show who we are?

For me, working for the U.S. Army is much more than just a paycheck. In addition to an exciting and fulfilling career, my job is filling what I consider to be a real void within the Orthodox Jewish community. The federal government invests a significant amount of money into training individuals for fellowships and internships in all branches of the government with the promise for enriching and rewarding careers. But by and large, the government does not go to Orthodox Jewish colleges such as Touro and Y.U. to recruit new talent. This is largely in part because our community does not show an active interest in partaking in public service.

It is vital for religious Jews of all ages to be involved in public service in some form or another. Yet the numbers of those opting to pursue professional career paths in this field are embarrassingly low. I believe and hope that by educating my peers in the Orthodox community I can show them one is capable of working in a government position while maintaining their religious practices.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/in-the-army-now-an-orthodox-jews-us-army-experience/2013/01/15/

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