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January 19, 2017 / 21 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘USA’

President Rivlin Bids ‘Farewell’ to US Ambassador Shapiro

Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

President Reuven Rivlin met Tuesday at his residence with U.S. Ambassador Dan Shapiro who was in the last days of his term in the post of U.S. Ambassador to Israel.

President Rivlin thanked Ambassador Shapiro for his work and said, “Mr. Ambassador, it is a farewell party; nevertheless we know we will meet you many times. As one who will live with us in Israel for few months, and of course afterwards as one who will come to Israel from time to time.”

He went on to ask that Ambassador Shapiro convey his appreciation to President Obama, and said, “Although from time to time we have had some differences of opinion, friends will take care one of each other, and sometimes criticize one of each other, but we have done that as friends, and the people of Israel appreciate this very much. We know that for eight years the President helped Israel carry the burden of security, which we have to carry all the time.”

The President concluded by noting and thanking the Ambassador for his efforts to ensure the signing of the Memorandum Of Understanding between Israel and America.

Ambassador Shapiro thanked the President for his warm words and said, “It is a great honor in my final week as U.S. Ambassador to Israel, to come and see you, and to express my deep gratitude to you for your leadership, for your friendship, for the good advice and support you have given me personally, and you have given to our efforts led by President Obama and our whole administration, to work with the Israeli Government and make this relationship as strong as it can possibly be.”

President Rivlin passed to Ambassador Shapiro a letter to President Obama. In it, President Rivlin wrote, “Mr. President, as you come to the end of your second term in office as President of the United States of America, I would like to send you my greetings. May I take this opportunity, on behalf of the State of Israel, to extend to you our thanks and appreciation for your continuing concern over the last eight years, for Israel’s safety and our ability to carry the burden of security. You ensured that we could always feel confident that our needs in this area were a priority for your administration.

“I know that both Israel and the United States will continue to be faithful to those shared values which underpin our two wonderful democracies. Allow me to wish you continuing success and personal satisfaction in all your future endeavors.”

Hana Levi Julian

UK to Loan Bust of Winston Churchill After Trump Requests Its Return to White House

Saturday, January 14th, 2017

After an exile of nearly eight years, a bust of Sir Winston Churchill created by artist Sir Jacob Epstein will be returned “on loan” to the White House upon the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump.

The bust was originally presented as a gift to former President George W. Bush in July 2001 by then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and displayed by President Bush in the Oval Office for the length of both of his terms in office, from 2001 to 2009.

But President Barack Obama handed the famous sculpture back to the United Kingdom in 2009, replacing it instead with one of Dr. Martin Luther King.

Although Mr. Obama said at a press conference that he had a second one in his private residence at the White House, the move was seen by outraged British citizens and lawmakers as a “snub to Britain.”

Since that time the Churchill bust has remained at the British Embassy in Washington DC.

Sir Winston Churchill, a Tory politician, served as the prime minister of the United Kingdom during the Holocaust of World War II — from 1940 to 1945 — and again from 1951 to 1955. He led England through the bombing raids by the German war machine, among other difficult moments in history.

Sir Winston had an American mother, and is the only person ever to have been granted an honorary U.S. passport. He passed away in 1965 at the age of 90 on the anniversary of the death of his father, Lord Randolph Churchill, also a Tory politician.

President-elect Trump is said to be a great admirer of the late British prime minister, and has read British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson’s biography of Churchill. During talks at Trump Tower in New York a week ago, Trump advisers Jared Kushner and Steve Bannon asked the British foreign minister on behalf of the president-elect to return the bust.

A spokesperson for British Prime Minister Theresa May responded in a statement quoted by The Sun, “The prime minister is happy to loan the Churchill bust to the White House and will be delighted to view it on display when she visits this spring.”

Hana Levi Julian

Defense Ministry to Buy 200 Advanced Tactical Trucks From Oshkosh

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

Israel’s Defense Ministry says it has closed a deal to purchase 200 advanced tactical trucks for the Israeli army from the Oshkosh Defense firm in Wisconsin.

The $200 million deal is to be paid for with Foreign Military Financing (FMF) grant aid funds, according to the ministry, and will include logistics and maintenance services that will take place in Israel.

The ministry announced Wednesday (Jan. 11) it will acquire the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV) in a contract valued at $200 million. The agreement followed months of field testing on an initial set of six trucks to ensure they met Israeli requirements, according to Defense News.

The announcement included the information that the contract is likely to be followed by additional orders as the IDF Technology and Logistics division continues to replace its tactical truck fleet, which is nearly 60 years old.

“We’re talking about an initial deal, after which the defense establishment is expected to decide to acquire hundreds more trucks until our entire antiquated fleet is replaced,” the ministry said in its statement.

Delivery of the new trucks begins this year, according to Itzik Levy, deputy chief of purchasing for ground systems. The last truck is to arrive by mid-2018.

Hana Levi Julian

Shiloh Musings: USA, Israel and The F-35

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

According to many, there’s some unique and super-advanced Israeli technology in the   F-35s, which are now part of the Israeli Air force.

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Jack Crisler, the Vice President of the F-35 Business Development and Strategy Integration at Lockheed Martin, praised the F-35 fighter plane and the Israeli technology it incorporates at the inaugural ceremony marking Israel’s acquisition of its first F-35s. (Arutz 7)

There was a time in our technological “Camelot,” when we in Israel thought we  had a real chance to play in the big time league of advanced fighter plane development with the Lavi, instead of just “tweaking” American planes.

A multi-role fighter. The Lavi never did make it to operational service, but nonetheless forms an important milestone in the development of the IAF, and even more so – of the IAI. The independent development of a state-of-the-art plane was a first in the annals of Israeli technology. True – the IAI had previously produced the Nesher, Kfir and Tzukit, but those had essentially been upgrades – whereas this was a plane planned and manufactured in Israel from scratch.

The Lavi was intended to become the IAF’s standard-bearer and Israel’s first line plane. It was to be one of the world’s most advanced planes at the turn of the millennium…

Batya Medad

Update: 2 F-35 Adir Stealth Fighter Jets to Arrive Monday in Israel [video]

Thursday, December 8th, 2016

The first two F-35 Adir stealth fighter jets are soon to arrive in Israel — this coming Monday — at Tel Nof in southern Israel, bringing with them a new era for the Israel Defense Forces.

The first two planes are on their way from Texas, with a major welcoming ceremony in the works for their arrival Monday, bigger than any seen in the past 40 years, according to military sources. The fanfare is to include a flyover by the two F-35s before they land on the runway.

Upon landing, senior IDF officers will plant the IAF insignia upon each of the $85 million aircraft, thereby officially enlisting that fighter jet to the Israel Air Force.

They’re flying towards the Jewish State even as this article is being read.

A stopover in Portugal’s Azores Islands on Tuesday was followed by an in-flight refueling that was filmed by a photography crew on Thursday. (see the video below) But the two American pilots who are flying the jets to Israel and their refueling tanker have one more stop to make this weekend — they’ll be in Italy — before their arrival in Israel.

Nineteen more Adir fighter jets are expected to arrive in the near future.

In addition, the Israeli cabinet last month unanimously approved the purchase of 17 more of the stealth fighter jets, bringing the total number of Adir aircraft in the IAF fleet to 50 by the end of the next decade. Each of the jets costs approximately $85 million.

Lockheed Martin produced the stealth fighter jet together with Israeli defense firm Elbit Systems Ltd., the latter to be operating the new F-35 training center at Nevatim. Construction for the center is to be completed by the end of 2017.

In a recent statement, Lockheed Martin said that over the past three decades, Elbit “has acquired a great deal of experience in trainers and simulators, and is a world leader in high-tech display. Its advanced systems are in operational use by leading armies around the world.”

Watch the video as the Adir (Hebrew for “mighty”) Israeli aircraft carries out aerial refueling operations. The aircraft’s refueling capabilities allow for flexibility in missions and the ability to operate in any military theater.

The Adir is the most advanced stealth fighter jet in the world, allowing the Israel Air Force to protect the nation of Israel and carry out operations wherever they are required.

Hana Levi Julian

Israeli Manufacturers Warn New APC to Cost Thousands of Jobs if Made in USA [video]

Thursday, December 8th, 2016

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump is already retrieving jobs for America, while it appears that some Israeli leaders may be outsourcing jobs in the nation’s defense industry. The Israel Manufacturers Association is outraged at a plan to outsource production of the ‘Eitan’ armored personnel carrier in order to purchase the military vehicle with U.S. defense funding.

The wheeled APC was unveiled this past August by the Israeli Defense Ministry. It has an eight-wheel drive and is the first Israeli APC to have wheels instead of tracks; it’s also considered by Israel to be the most advanced armored wheeled combat vehicle in the world.

According to a report published this week by the Globes business news site, the IDF ground forces and Defense Ministry have been considering a plan to limit Israeli production to installation of the systems that will be used in the APC. The vehicle itself would be produced abroad.

But that plan would cost the Jewish State about 2,000 jobs, according to Manufacturers Association President Shraga Brosh, who told Globes, “Israel has to preserve its technological, security and employment interests and manufacture the Eitan APC in Israel.”

The Eitan is an 8×8 wheeled armored personnel carrier (APC) that is expected to weigh 30-35 tons, have a 750 hp engine, and be able to hit speeds of up to 90 kilometers per hour on paved roads. A variant of the vehicle will be able to carry 12 troops, including the commander, driver and gunner, according to Jane’s.

Production of the entire vehicle would add NIS 2 billion to the Israeli economy, according to Manufacturers Association sources. Some 200 industrial companies could be engaged in the process, mostly in the periphery.

The last time the Defense Ministry outsourced production of an Israeli APC was in 2010, when it sent production of the Namer — and 2,000 jobs with it — to the United States, defense manufacturers told Globes.

“Transferring production of the APC to the U.S. will lead to the closing or construction of production lines in dozens of plants around Israel, have a negative impact on exports of systems used in the Eitan and damage the civilian sources of know-how and development based on the technologies used in the Eitan,” warned Merkava tank industries forum chairman Avraham Bar David.

In response to the concerns expressed by the Manufacturers Association, the Defense Ministry issued a statement at the beginning of the week.

‘The Eitan is still in the development stages, and has not yet been approved by the IDF for procurement and mass production,” the statement read. “If and when decisions are taken to produce it, and in what volume, the Ministry of Defense Merkava Tank Administration, which regards the involvement of Israeli industries in the Merkava project as a strategic asset, will take steps to ensure the share of Israeli industries in the project, as it has done up until now.

“We emphasize that after the project is approved, production of the Eitan will take place simultaneously with production of the Merkava and Namer. In view of the increased procurement of armored fighting vehicles following Operation Protective Edge, the Israeli defense industries’ share on all these projects will increase, not decrease.”

According to Brigadier-General Baruch Matzliach, head of the Defense Ministry’s Tank Authority, the Eitan is expected to join the tracked Namer APCs in replacing thousands of aging M113 APCs and other military vehicles still in IDF service.

Matzliach told Jane’s in an August 2016 interview that the Eitan’s main advantage is its “rapid movement on roads and quick mobility between battle sectors without dependence on trailers.”

What he meant was, the APC can move from the north to the south in Israel without the need for a flatbed to shlep it there. That advantage will be particularly important when the IDF next finds itself facing a two-front war with the Lebanon-based Hezbollah in the north, and Gaza-based Hamas in the south.

Hana Levi Julian

Shiloh Musings: Reflections on USA Elections 2016

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016

I’m big on color-coding things, which is one of the reasons that this graphic is so helpful for me.

At this point, it seems that various news sites are still giving conflicting numbers concerning the popular vote, re:Trump vs Hillary. But when you look at this map, and you see the paltry amount of states that gave Hillary Clinton the majority or plurality of its votes, Trump’s victory is much more convincing.

That swath of red which goes almost from coast to coast, certainly from north to south and demonstrates a very convincing show of support among the vast majority of states for Donald Trump.

If you go through the numbers state by state, you will see that many of Hillary’s big popular vote victories/majorities were in the bigger states which gave her a “surplus” of popular votes which cannot be transferred to a different state.

Also in the states that had a close popular vote between Hillary and Trump, the win for Trump came from the fact that there were many who voted for one of the “third parties,” a party that had no chance of winning. They could also be called the “spoiler” or “distorter” parties.

For decades, “middle America,” or “the silent majority” have claimed to be disenfranchised by the mainstream media and also the party establishments of both Democrats and Republicans. Ronnie Reagan and Donald Trump both gave that segment of American society the feeling that somebody understood their concerns.

And in general, when you think of the very low voter turnout in the United States, it seems pretty obvious that people prefer complaining (and rioting possibly) to actual voting.

Also, don’t forget that there’s a shadow or illegal society living in America who have been there illegally, without papers/citizenship procedures sometimes for decades. Children born to them in the USA are citizens which create a very Kafkaesque situation. It’s sad, but it’s complicated and the media has been highlighting stories about them, as if they are innocent victims of American injustice, even though technically they are criminals. Before legalizing the illegals, I think the American Government should speed up citizenship procedures for those who have been so carefully following the rules and not reward those who haven’t.

The pundits have been showing surprise at the higher than predicted Latino/minority/immigrant support for Trump. Those pundits were not listening; they were projecting according to racist ideology and totally misread the situation. The Latino/minority/immigrant sector working at precarious minimum wage jobs live in fear of losing their income to illegals who will work under the table for less. Also they feel like “suckers” having gone through the difficult bureaucracy to become citizens, when Obama/Hillary have been campaigning to make it easier for illegals.

I’m sure that the Clinton team is having major problems trying to figure out why, even after bringing in the most popular cinema and sports celebrities to campaign for her, she still lost. This is just proof of how totally ignorant that segment of American society is of the “other half.”

On BBC I saw a graphic showing the difference in media support for Hillary vs Trump. She had this enormously high pile of newspapers that publicly supported her versus a very low pathetic looking pile for him. But he won. Most voting Americans don’t give hoot about what the media thinks.

Way back when in the mid-1960’s when I was active nationally in NCSY, the youth organization of the Orthodox (Jewish) Union people would try to tell me how New York is not like the rest of the United States. Looking at that colored map on the top of this post, I’m beginning to understand them more and more.

The United States is not united, not at all. There are dangerous divisions, no less than there were in 1860 as the pro-slave-owning south split/seceded from the union. Americans have a lot of thinking to do if they want to remain a united states in North America.

PS I haven’t yet found the final count numbers of the popular vote which includes all the write-ins and “third party” numbers. I want to see if the total of write-ins and “third party” votes top the difference between Hillary and Trump. If you find it, please send to comments, thanks.

Batya Medad

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/shiloh-musings/shiloh-musings-reflections-on-usa-elections-2016/2016/11/15/

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