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April 30, 2012

No Honor

Olmert: I don't trust Netanyahu on Iran issue

Former PM tells CNN's Amanpour Iran aware of nuclear program's ramifications, but Israel must 'create capacity' to defends itself
Attila Somfalvi

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said he does not trust Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to reach the right decision for Israel regarding Iran's nuclear program.

In an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour, which will be aired Monday night, Olmert said, "The Iranian regime has not gone beyond a certain line of developing (its) nuclear program. That shows that they are at least thoughtful, which means that they are not rushing, but they are calculating their steps – being aware of the possible ramifications of what they do to Iran itself – which is what we want them to understand.

"At the same time, we have to create a capacity to defend ourselves in the event that they will not (halt the nuclear program)," he told Amanpour. "And at the same time we have to encourage the international community, quietly by the way, without talking so much, (…) to take measures, sanctions (…) but also not to rush (to) certain military actions which are not essential at this point."

Olmert told CNN that according to many Israeli intelligence estimates, Iran would retaliate to an Israeli strike. Attacking at an inopportune time could be a terrible mistake, the former PM said, while hinting that he does not trust Israel's current leaders to make the right decision.

Addressing US-Israel relations, Olmert accused Netanyahu of failing to effectively cooperate with US President Barack Obama.


This is from the man that not only is a criminal, in several different ways. The first and most important is a tie, the retreat from Gaza and the Second Lebanon war.

How many Jewish lives has Olmert destroyed?

It goes beyond just the dead and maimed from the Second Lebanon war, what about all the lives thrown into chaos and ruin from Olmerts retreat from Gaza.

Then he is, corrupt.

Some days I wish we were Japanese, not Jews.

But never mind.

Olmert, even if he was a leader that lost face in feudal Japan, would still not have the honor to do the right thing.

April 29, 2012

'Israel is a startup paradise'

Special interview: Minister of Science and Technology talks about Israel's vast potential
Tomer Avital, Calcalist

Amid the socioeconomic protests and wide publicity of Israel’s numerous social problems, something different has been set in motion – something that signals progress and the future, like Minister of Finance Yuval Steinitz’s decision to increase the Israel Space Agency’s budget by hundreds of millions of shekels, a move welcomed by Minister of Science and Technology Daniel Hershkowitz.

“We’re already a superpower and leader in the field of light satellites,” Hershkowitz said in a special interview to Calcalist. “We mobilized the prime minister and the president for this cause because they are both men of vision and have a grasp of technology."

Israel named world's 2nd-best cleantech innovator / News agencies
Cleantech Group, World Wildlife Fund release first-ever global cleantech innovation ranking. Denmark, Israel and Sweden dominate top-three slots
Full story
The minister says Israel's current government has been putting greater emphasis on science.

“The trend has changed. Not only has the government stopped cutting budgets, it is now constantly increasing them. From the moment I got the science budget, it has climbed from NIS 70 million to NIS 350 million and it’s still not enough. But you can look at it from a different angle – Israel has the largest R&D investment in the world relative to its GDP – 5%. The Swedish and Americans fall behind with a 3.6% investment of their GDP. This attests to Israel approach – we’re a startup paradise.”

Addressing some of Israel's latest initiatives, Hershkowitz points to the Jewish state's growing focus on the space industry.

"The global space industry generates about $250 billion a year. We presented them with a business plan whereby with an initial NIS 500 million investment (roughly $140 million) we could reach a $2.5 billion stake in the earnings. But it was clear that we couldn’t obtain such numbers right off the bat so we decided on a NIS 180 million investment for the first two years.

“One example is a satellite that uses heavy lenses to photograph earth from an altitude of several kilometers and weighs two and a half tons. The US was able to cut that weight in half. An Israeli observation satellite with equal if not better abilities weighs only 250 kilos. This is just one area in which Israel has the lead and we intend to keep improving," the minister said.

'China worships Israeli science'

Hershkowitz says he is extremely proud of Israel’s initiatives and believes that the Jewish state's standing in global science contributes to curbing international animosity toward the country.

“The world is governed by interests. We have no natural resources whereas our enemies have an abundance of them, and thereby elicit a majority at the UN," he said. "Whenever I’m abroad, I get the sense that the relations between Israel and other countries stem from scientific interests. The Chinese literally worship Israeli science."

"Most of the world cares little about the conflict and the entire world enjoys Israel’s high-tech and agricultural research and development," Hershkowitz said. "We are the world’s leading exporter of science and technology; IBM’s largest research center is located in Haifa.”

The minister added that scientific interests can help Israel overcome the current diplomatic impasse in relations with the Palestinians.

“Since Israel has so much to offer, we must reach economic and scientific cooperation. The Palestinians won’t open up but they could enjoy our scientific achievements, in agriculture, for instance," he said. "Israel and Jordan cooperate in the field of pest control – it’s a necessity because pests need no passport and when both sides collaborate, both benefit. There is no reason why the region shouldn’t develop like Israel has.”

Hershkowitz, who is a member of Israel's National Religious camp, holds a PhD in Mathematics and has published over 80 scientific articles. He also continues to volunteer as the Rabbi of the Ahuza congregation in Haifa where he teaches Judaism classes, among other subjects. He said that he has no trouble combining his religious views with his ministerial duties.

“These are not two distinct realms. My way of life is part of who I am and this integration is natural," he said. "I sometimes bring up religious issues during government sessions and I receive excellent response."


Socialism was needed for Israel to move ahead in her first 50 years.

Now capitalism combined with the technology developed in Israel will drive us forward for a long time to come.

What a great country!

April 27, 2012


For those who would like to hear me on the radio, I am very pleased to announce that I will be having a weekly appearance on the Middle East Radio Forum, the show is hosted By William Wolf.

The time of the show is 3pm EDT, 12 am Pacific, 10pm Israel, every Sunday. Please feel free to call in if you have any questions about my weekly comments. If you should happen to miss the show then you can go to the MERF web page and listen to me and other guest in the archives.

You can listen to the show by going to the MERF web page

Israeli export 15K times greater than in 1948

Central Bureau of Statistics, Israel Export Institute say nation's export totaled $90 billion in 2011 compared to $6 million in 1948, noting growth of 1,400,000%
Tani Goldstein

Current Israeli exports per capita are 173 times greater than they were 64 years ago.

According to the institute's data, in 1948 Israeli exports totaled $6 millions. In 2011 Israeli exports grew to $90 billion – a growth of 1,400,000%. The IEI qualified its data, noting the impact of fluctuating population growth, inflation and changing in purchase power. But even with all these factors together, the growth factor is still phenomenal.

The data also showed that exports shrunk only five times in the past 64 years: In 1982, during the first Lebanon war and the inflation crisis, in 1988 over the Intifada, during the 1991 Gulf War, during the 2001 dot.com crisis in Israel and the United States, and during the 2009 global credit crunch.

Changing trade partners

Israel signed its first trade agreement with Hungary in January 1949. Today, Israel is party to free trade agreements with 39 countries, including the US and all EU countries.

Since 1948 and until the 1970's Britain was the primary export destination for Israeli goods. The US claimed the top spot in the 70s and has remained the primary target market for Israeli export to this day. During the 1970's, Iran too was one of the 10 most important export destinations for Israeli goods.

Since Israel's inception, exports have not only grown steadily, but the entire economic activity has improved as well. Over the past 64 years the nation's gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 500% - more than many other countries but les than the export per capita.

IEI Chairman Ramzi Gabay said that exports serve as the primary growth engine for economy in the small Israeli market.

Many analysts attribute Israel's remarkable growth to the human factor – the high level of education, knowledge, work ethics and entrepreneurship. "In the long run, the human capital is the most important growth engine, and the Jewish human capital is one of the highest in the world," Prof. Natan Zusman form the Hebrew University, explained.

War as a growth engine

An additional important factor in the Israel's economic growth over the years was the nation's wars and the constant need for technological advancement.

The Israeli military industry now cradles many leading industries, military and civilian, including hi-tech, textile and even diamond polishing workshops.

Another important factor is the government's policy that favors industry and entrepreneurship for many years. "In the past, when someone wanted to build something new – they let him do it without many questions. I know this have faults as well as advantages, but in the past 15 years the bureaucracy and eroding investment in education is harming the growth," said Gabay.

In spite of all the wars and terrorism, Israel has such growth.

It is nothing short of a miracle, yes divine intervention, or maybe better stated as nothing short of a sign of G-D's blessing on both the Jewish people and the State of Israel.

April 26, 2012

Love of Torah = Service to Israel

Liberman submits Tal Law alternative
Kicks off Knesset summer session with bill requiring all to join IDF, civilian service; 1,000 yeshiva students can be exempt.

Yisrael Beytenu fired the opening shot for the Knesset’s summer session, which starts Monday, submitting the first of many Tal Law alternatives expected in the coming months.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman called for all MKs who believe in equality in the national burden, whether they are in the opposition or coalition, to vote for his party’s bill on the ninth of May.

Liberman wrote on his Facebook wall that he hopes by next year, the soldiers given awards on Independence Day will be secular, haredi, Druse, Arab and Beduin.

“All groups, organizations and people involved in this issue to contact all MKs from Likud, Labor, Kadima, Independence, National Union, Habayit Hayehudi and Meretz and demand they support our proposal,” he added. “No gimmicks, no excuses. Whoever wants everyone to serve in the army should just come and vote.”

The Tal Law, which was declared illegal by the High Court of Justice in February, provided the legal framework for haredi men to defer IDF service indefinitely. Currently, there are about 60,000 full-time yeshiva students of army service age that received exemptions through the Tal Law.

Calling military service an “existential necessity,” Yisrael Beytenu’s alternative to the Tal Law would require almost all 18-year-olds, regardless of faith or religious observance, to enlist in either the IDF or do national service.

The bill, written by Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee chairman David Rotem (Yisrael Beytenu), brings a quote from Maimonides, which says that those who do not work for a living are desecrating God’s name, and that it is forbidden to receive payment for learning Torah.

Up to 1,000 yeshiva students be able to receive an exemption from military service, in order to encourage those with exceptional talents. The same amount of excellent university students, athletes and artists may receive an exemption, as well.

Anyone who serves in national or civilian service will receive full rights and benefits, equal to those who served in the IDF, the bill states. Civilian service will be administrated through the Prime Minister’s Office and under his direct supervision.

Those who do not serve the state may not receive any grants or payments from the government, “in order to prevent those who dodge service from relying on funding from the government, so they will have to earn a living,” according to the legislation’s explanatory portion.

Passage of this law, will be the best thing that can happen to the ultra orthodox community.

Come join all of the citizens of Israel to make Israel a better place.

Engage your fellow Jews with love during your service, you might just be surprised how many will come to love of Torah.

I hope the law has stiff penalties for refusing to serve up to and including jail time and then deportation.

April 25, 2012

COS Gantz: Special operation overseas in high gear

Dr. Aaron Lerner Date: 25 April, 2012

Translated from Independence Day interview of COS Gantz published on 25
April 2012 in Yediot Ahronot:

“This [special operations] is not the invention of Benny Gantz. I don’t
take the credit. I am simply increasing the special operations. We don’t
have the luxury to wait for the war. We are preparing for the war today so
that it will be easier when it takes place.

These special operations are geared to minimize dangers in the future or
give us an advantage in operational achievements in the future.

This year we carried out a number of war games in order to advance the
ability of the IDF to give decisive victories. One of the products of these
war games is these special operations that were created in order to provide
a solution to problems that were discovered…

I don’t think that you can find a point in time when something isn’t
happening somewhere in the world. The level of danger has also increased.”

Commenting of a Special Forces soldier receiving an award for excellence:

“His unit recommended him for his achievements over the years and his
activities recently. And I can tell you that this was not only simply work
abroad – it was also very dangerous. It [the award] indicates the
importance of breaking the operational performance limits.”

Today things are being done that are different than what we saw on the past.
Today we are contending with a more sophisticated enemy than ever before,
more complicated systems, more professional, very advanced technologies.
Therefore the operational challenge is considerably more complicated than it
was in the past.”

B. Shemesh residents hang flags after city refuses

Concerned over haredi reaction to Zionist symbols, municipality refuses to put up flags along main road for Independence Day.

Residents of Beit Shemesh have had to string up Israeli flags down a central Beit Shemesh thoroughfare for Yom Haatzmaut because, they say, the municipality refused to do so.

Although many streets throughout Beit Shemesh have been generously festooned with flags and bunting, Herzog Street, which runs directly between the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Ramat Beit Shemesh Bet and the more modern neighborhood of Givat Sharet, was not included in the patriotic street decorations.

The municipality does not hang flags inside the city’s haredi neighborhoods at all.

According to anti-extremism community activist Rabbi Dov Lipman, an official in the Beit Shemesh Municipality said that there was no point putting flags along the streets since extremists would simply burn them.

The Beit Shemesh Municipality spokesman could not be reached to verify the comment.

Herzog Street has become something of a fault line in the city’s struggle between ultra-Orthodox extremists and residents fighting what they see as the “haredification” of Beit Shemesh.

Extremists last year regularly picketed the Orot Banot elementary girls school, which is on Herzog Street, in protest at what they said was the pupils’ “immodest” dress and the close proximity of the school to their neighborhood.

“When the girls left school this morning, they could see and feel that they are living in a Zionist city and not one under the control of extremists,” said Lipman “The time has come to do what’s right and not to give these extremists any control whatsoever. By refraining from putting the flags up along this street it reinforces the notion they have that ‘this is our turf’.

“Whatever happens in this city, if the municipality won’t stand up to the extremists then the residents will.”

I can not understand why any city in Israel would bend over like this, to appease these anti Israel thugs.

Hnag the flags and then hang the thugs that try and take them down.

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Tears of sorrow, tears of joy

As night falls on Wednesday, the atmosphere in Israel will transform from one of somber mourning to elation as Memorial Day gives way to Israel's 64th Independence Day • Flags brought to half-mast will be hoisted back to full mast and the country will rejoice with fireworks and celebrations.
Shlomo Cesana, Yori Yalon and Gideon Allon

As night falls in Israel on Wednesday, the atmosphere across the country will transform from one of somber mourning to overwhelming joy as Memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism gives way to Israel's 64th Independence Day celebrations.

Beginning at sundown on Tuesday and continuing into Wednesday, Israelis remembered the 22,993 soldiers who fell during the country's short but war-torn history as well as the 2,477 civilian victims of terrorism.

Memorial Day events got underway Tuesday with an event at the Jerusalem chapter of Yad Lebanim (which preserves the memory of fallen soldiers and helps care for their families), followed by a one-minute siren across the country and the official state ceremony at the Western Wall plaza at 8:00 p.m.

Another two-minute siren sounded across the country at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, preceding a string of nationwide memorial services at military cemeteries that were expected to be attended by some one million Israelis.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, Deputy Chief Justice Eliezer Rivlin, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, Israel's Chief Sephardi and Ashkenazi rabbis, Shlomo Amar and Yona Metzger and the Israel Defense Forces' top brass took part in the Yad Lebanim event.

"When the siren goes off this evening, we will all become one family," Netanyahu said at the ceremony Tuesday. "The citizens of Israel will grieve and unite in the memory of the fallen, bowing to those who sacrificed their lives to defend our people. We are indebted to them, for they have given us independence and the privilege to live securely in our country."

Netanyahu, who lost his brother Yonatan in Operation Thunderbolt, the 1976 rescue mission to free Israeli passengers taken hostage by PLO terrorists in Uganda, shared his experience as a bereaved brother. "Just like you, my sisters and brothers, with every day that passes I think about my lost loved one, I think about my parents, who lost their beloved son and my brother Iddo, who lost his eldest brother. Like many citizens, I think of my brothers-in-arms who served next to me but are now gone."

Earlier on Tuesday, the Prime Minister's Office released a special video message to the bereaved families. Praising their sacrifice and their resilience, Netanyahu painted an optimistic picture for the road ahead. "After this Memorial Day, the State of Israel will celebrate its 64th birthday. The unbreakable bond between this day and Independence Day underscores the fact that our loved ones did not fall in vain. Thanks to them, the state reached new heights. Thanks to them, the State of Israel will continue to develop and prosper, and thanks to them younger generations will also be able to live their lives with peace and security."

Quoting the prophet Isaiah, Netanyahu sought to ease the pain of the families, telling them, "Be consoled my people, in the building of Zion, know no more sorrow."

Meanwhile, the Knesset held its traditional sing-along "Songs in their Memory" at the legislature's plaza on Tuesday, with thousands of bereaved family members, private citizens and soldiers participating. This year, in addition to the singing, special segments were also dedicated to the life of Gad Marsha, the first Jewish IDF tracker, and to the story of Adam and Gideon Weiler, two brothers who were killed in battle. Among the victims of terrorism commemorated were five members of one family, the Almogs, who were killed when a suicide bomber blew herself up in a seaside restaurant in Haifa in 2003 and the five members of the Fogel household from Itamar, who were murdered last year by two Palestinian terrorists who entered their home.

President Shimon Peres and IDF Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz were the keynote speakers at the Western Wall ceremony, the official event marking the beginning of the day of commemoration. "This is a heart-wrenching moment, and it does not get better," the president said, as he lit the special commemorative torch. "We can look for words day and night, browse every lexicon, consult with experts, try every expression, every sentence, every single word. I know -- the word that could heal pain has yet to be found," Peres said.

"The State of Israel, for which your children had to pay the highest and most painful price to found, to safeguard and to ensure its existence, may no longer be under existential threat but there might still be a threat to its peaceful existence. There are those who lie in wait to attack our state, and if necessary, we will know how to defend it again, but next time we be greater in number, and we will be stronger and better prepared."

"We will forever be indebted to your children and our children. No action or gesture on our part can remedy your constant pain," Peres told the bereaved families.

The chief of general staff also spoke to the bereaved families, saying, "The pain that beats in the gaping hole in your hearts has no date or time of day. No one beside you can attest to how deep and unnerving it is. We lost our friends and commanders, and later, our subordinates, and many years later, we unfortunately lost their sons who had chosen to follow in their footsteps. This is a chain that is both fantastic and horrible, and that sends chills down our spines each time we hear the siren ripping through the silence and tearing our hearts."

Meanwhile, on Wednesday evening, at 7:45 p.m. (Israel time), Israelis will take leave of Memorial Day and usher in the country's 64th Independence Day. Flags brought to half-mast for Memorial Day will be hoisted back to full mast and the country will rejoice with a hail of fireworks and celebrations.

The Knesset Guard earlier Wednesday completed its rehearsals for the official torch-lighting ceremony which, in accordance with tradition, will take place at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem.

During the ceremony, Sigalit Betzaleli will light a torch in honor of her daughter, Lt. Hila Betzaleli, who was killed last week when a lighting rig collapsed on a stage where she and other soldiers were rehearsing for the torch-lighting event. Sigalit will light the main torch with Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin.

The Knesset Guard will be led this year by two veteran guards whose backgrounds are an integral part of Israel's history. The commander of the guards will be Shmuel Tzabari, who was born on the fifth day of the Hebrew month of Iyar, the same day the state was established.

"I am truly proud to have the privilege to lead the guards, but this year, due to the tragedy [of Betzaleli's death], the pride is mixed with sadness and the traditional memorial prayer will have a special meaning because I am aware that an officer who was supposed to join us in the show was killed," Tzabari said.

The second veteran is Master Sgt. Yosef Shabbat, who will be participating in his 34th ceremony. Shabbat had the honor of taking part in every official military ceremony that was held at Mount Herzl.

On Thursday morning, the official Independence Day ceremony will take place at the President's Residence, which will be attended by senior government and military officials, including the prime minister, defense minister, chief of general staff, and other past and present army officials.

Peres will also host the "Songs for Independence" event at his residence and will sing "Halleluya", the song that came in first place in the 1979 Eurovision song contest, together with music school students.

At the same event, Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, and Gantz will sing duets with other well-known Israeli singers.

Peres will also award 119 soldiers a certificate of excellence and the ceremony will conclude with a group photo of Peres, Netanyahu, Barak, Gantz and the decorated soldiers.

Israel Police have raised the level of alert for Independence Day and plan to deploy a large number of officers in city centers and other densely populated areas. Roadblocks will be set up at the entrances to cities and officers will conduct more stringent border-crossing checks. Additional emergency telephone operators will be available, and traffic authorities will also be out in force.


April 23, 2012

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ammunition hill.jpg

Fourth IDF memorial site vandalized in less than a week

Anti-Israeli slogans, including one citing Gunter Grass' controversial poem, spray-painted at Ammunition Hill • Director believes large Israeli flag almost set on fire • Officials scrambling to erase graffiti ahead of this week's commemoration events.

Israel Hayom Staff

Graffiti at Ammunition Hill. Was it the work of Jews?

One of the Six-Day War's most famous landmarks, Ammunition Hill, was vandalized early Monday morning. This is the fourth related incident in less than a week, just days before Israel marks its Memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism.

According to Army Radio, the vandals spray-painted anti-Israel slogans, including "Gunter Grass was right," [referring to the German Nobel laureate's recently published poem in which the former SS officer said Israel was a danger to world peace] and "Zionism -- the root of all evil" as well as "lame Zionists."

Ammunition Hill site director Kitri Maoz told the radio station Monday that the graffiti included attacks on President Shimon Peres and Interior Minister Eli Yishai (Shas). The perpetrators reportedly also tried to set fire to the large Israeli flag flying above the monument and to deface the writings on the main monument there. Yishai has recently labeled Grass a persona non-grata because of his poem, in which he claims Israel is a greater threat than Iran.

"Unfortunately, it looks like the work of Jews," Maoz said, adding that the site is very popular with the ultra-Orthodox, despite that community's rejection of Zionism and the state of Israel. "I must also add than many ultra-Orthodox groups visit Ammunition Hill as we are situated in close proximity to haredi neighborhoods," Maoz said.

Ammunition Hill, an array of bunkers and trenches in northern Jerusalem, saw some of the fiercest fighting during the Six-Day War, when Israel Defense Forces paratroopers and other forces engaged the Jordanian Arab Legion in the battle over Jerusalem. Twenty-four Israeli soldiers lost their lives in the battle. The site has since served as a memorial and museum. Over the years it has become a symbol of IDF heroism and a major stop for many school field trips. An estimated 200,000 people visit the site each year. The site will also host one of Jerusalem's main events this week in honor of 'the missing soldier.'

Last Friday, several memorial sites in the Jordan Valley were similarly defaced. One monument, near the village of Petzael, was spray-painted with the words "End the occupation" and "The end of Zionism." On a large memorial wall at the site, some names of soldiers killed in battles that took place in the valley were blacked out with spray paint.

A Palestinian flag was drawn on another monument near the village of Mehola. The monument was erected to honor the memory of village resident Salit Shitrit, who was murdered in a terrorist attack in 2001. The third vandalized monument, located near the Jordan Valley Regional Council, was erected in memory of two policemen who were killed in an attack in 2009.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat condemned the latest incident and instructed his employees to restore the site to its previous condition to allow this week's events to go ahead as planned.

As the site is usually closed at night, the would-be attackers had to have breached the surrounding fence to carry out their act.


April 22, 2012

US Congressional Committee: Increase Iron Dome Funding by $680 Million

The Armed Services committee announced a proposal aimed at significantly
enlarging funding for the active defense system. The funds will help Israel
acquire additional system batteries and interceptor missiles

Michael Kadichevski 22/4/2012

The Armed Services Committee of the US Congress announced a proposal aimed
at increasing the funding to Israel’s Iron Dome anti-rocket active defense
program. A congressional aide stated that the committee would seek the
approval of $680 million for the system’s continued development and
deployment, beginning with the current fiscal year up through 2015.

This sum will be in addition to the $205 million special budgetary request
previously authorized in 2011 by the Obama administration and the US
Congress. The request was approved to aid in funding Israel’s development of
the Iron Dome program.

The committee’s announcement follows the Pentagon’s statement regarding its
intention to request that Congress approve the transfer of supplementary
funds to Israel, to aid in its procurement of additional Iron Dome

As previously reported on IsraelDefense, the US Department of Defense stated
that Israel’s existing batteries were of crucial significance during last
month’s escalation, and that Israel and the Pentagon had discussed
increasing US foreign aid in order to obtain more systems.

Israel’s Minister of Defense, Ehud Barak, met with US officials in recent
weeks, including US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, the heads of the US
intelligence services, and senior officials from the National Security

The development and success of the Iron Dome system has resulted with the
system establishing itself as a vital component in Israel’s defense,
especially over the past few months. It has also met increased global
interest due to its higher-than-anticipated success rate at intercepting

The previous round of fire between Israel and the Gaza Strip in March saw
the launch of more than 300 rockets towards Israel’s southern region and
cities. With the deployment of three operational batteries, the system
achieved a success rate of 80% at intercepting targeted rockets. Israeli
officials have stated that additional batteries would be needed in order to
ensure that the system offer full coverage over all of Israel.

April 20, 2012


For those who would like to hear me on the radio, I am very pleased to announce that I will be having a weekly appearance on the Middle East Radio Forum, the show is hosted By William Wolf.

The time of the show is 3pm EDT, 12 am Pacific, 10pm Israel, every Sunday. Please feel free to call in if you have any questions about my weekly comments. If you should happen to miss the show then you can go to the MERF web page and listen to me and other guest in the archives.

You can listen to the show by going to the MERF web page

April 18, 2012

I remember

I remember when, it was illegal to fly the Palestinian flag .

I remember when, national sovereignty mattered.

I remember when, the rule of law mattered and blocking roads was dealt with.

I remember when, IDF officers were tough.

I remember when, the Israeli government was tough.

I remember when, the Israeli government backed the IDF and it's officers and soldiers.

I have like so many people seen the video of Lt. Col Shalom Eisner, hitting a Danish member of International Solidarity Movement.

In the days that have passed since the incident I have reflected on, what the incident says about the current mental state of Israel.

We allow, Palestinian flags to be waved.

We allow, the scum of the earth into Israel. Our so called leaders say they have a right to side with our enemies, as long as they are peaceful.

We allow, our enemy the Palestinians along with ISM trash to block our roads and we force the IDF and police to look weak, we don't allow the roads to be cleared.

With all due respect to Eisner, are you a wimp?

You hit this euro trash, in the face with your rifle, and all you could do is split his lip.

We watch our leaders grovel like dogs in front of the cameras, falling all over each other to try to apologize for this officers actions.

Then we hope that these same leaders, are of the stature that they need to be to take on Iran.

Eisner should have butt stroke this Euro trash, broke his jaw and knocked out some teeth and then the leaders of the IDF and the government told the world. You want to send your terrorist supporting scum into Israel to support our enemies and block our roads, it just might cost them some blood and teeth.

Possible Russian Responses to an Attack on Iran

INSS Insight No. 327, April 17, 2012
Magen, Zvi

As international activity surrounding the Iranian nuclear program
intensifies, it seems that the question of a possible war on Iran is taking
center stage on Russia's agenda as well. There is evidence of heightened
diplomatic activity, along with military preparations and an expanded public
debate reflecting differences of opinion within the Russian establishment.

On the diplomatic and political levels, there has been extensive Russian
activity for quite some time, but the pace is accelerating to match the
heightened international pressure. Amidst this, the Russian stance on the
Iranian nuclear program has undergone several changes, in particular since
the publication of the most recent IAEA report. If before the report was
published Russia refused to recognize the existence of the Iranian program,
the current stance is as follows: Russia views the nuclear program in a
negative light and sees it as a threat to the international system and
Russia itself, but there is still no unequivocal evidence on the existence
of such a program (although some say that Iran is well on its way to
becoming a threshold state or has in fact already become one); the
international community must act to contain the program, but not by means of
sanctions, which are in any case ineffective and will not achieve their
goal; and of course, there should be no military action, which is deemed
catastrophic and harboring the seeds of destruction, both for the region and
on the global level. The only solution is the diplomatic one, and Russia
currently supports holding negotiations between the international community
and Iran, with Russia and the West cooperating in this endeavor. Russia
believes that it has a definite capacity to influence Iran, and it is likely
that Russia expects to translate this into bonus points on the international
arena. Indeed, Russia is expected to take an active part in the upcoming
P5+1 talks.

Thus for the diplomatic level. In tandem, there are Russian voices – fairly
authoritative ones, it should be said – averring that an attack on Iran is
already a done deal and will take place within the next few months. Some
identify an American intention to start an all-out war against Iran, even if
the attack is carried out by Israel. This is understood as a threat to
Russian interests because it is an attack on a Russian ally and a member of
the political axis headed by Russia. Moreover, such a war can be expected to
spill across Iran’s borders into the sphere of Russia’s geopolitical
interests, especially the Caucasus, and to draw regional states into the
conflict. At issue specifically are Azerbaijan and Georgia, together
representing one component of a Western strategic axis (it is customary to
mention Israel too in this context) blocking Russia’s access to the south,
as well as the Iranian border. Armenia is further south and is presented as
a member of the Russian-Iranian axis; Russian army units are currently
deployed there. In this setting one also hears of a scenario in which a
conflict between these Caucasus states can be expected (several reasons for
this have accumulated in recent years), in which Russia would be forced to
become involved and make its way south, through their territories, in order
to extend help to its allies – Armenia and Iran. Beyond this, dire warnings
about a large influx of refugees that would for some reason flee northwards
from an Iran under attack towards the Caucasus and eventually Russia itself
have been sounded from many quarters for quite some time. Even if this last
scenario is highly dubious, it has become a major (propaganda) justification
in Russia's regional military preparations.

Nor has the subject remained entirely theoretical, and in recent months
Russia has prepared in practical terms for just such a war. This includes
formulating operational and logistical solutions to prepare Russia's
southern regional district, via staff and troop exercises and including ABC
warfare, for a possible confrontation. The forces deployed across from the
likely arena of conflict – supposed to encompass regions beyond the
Caucasus, including the areas of the Caspian Sea, the Black Sea, and the
Mediterranean – are being beefed up. The current Russian-Turkish tension is
also relevant in this context, as Turkey is liable to become an active enemy
of Russia. Also noteworthy is the activity of the Russian Navy in the
eastern part of the Mediterranean, which involves friction with the Turks in
the waters of Cyprus, and the constant presence across the coast of Syria,
Russia’s ally in the same axis (and Russia’s conduct on the Syrian issue
over the past year figures in this calculation as well).

All of the above has recently begun to surface in the media, and at the same
time there seems to be a kind of debate in Russia about the Iranian issue
among senior politicians, military personnel, and academics. Generally
speaking, one may discern two camps in this debate: the camp supporting a
war, spouting anti-Western slogans, and calling for violent action to
advance Russian regional and global interests while exploiting the situation
to solve ancillary geopolitical issues both in the Caucasus and the Middle
East. Some are calling to remove the threat from Iran, Russia’s ally, by
undercutting the sanctions, consolidating an anti-Western coalition, and
even threatening the use of strategic weapons. A few even view Iran’s desire
for nuclear weapons in a positive light – as a means of increasing regional

On the other hand, there are academic and public figures vehemently opposed
to these drums of war. Discerning elements that are interested in seeing a
war erupt in Iran that involves Russia, this camp warns of the destructive
ramifications of this scenario and calls for more modest Russian
international aspirations, with Russia taking a firm stand within the
international community and acting in concert with the other nations to
contain Iran’s nuclear program, whether through dialogue or through the
application of coordinated international pressure.

The impression has thus been created that Russia as yet has no clear,
unequivocal stance, at least externally, on how it would react if and when
Iran comes under attack. Internal disagreement reflects both indecisiveness
and various ambitions. Nonetheless, the preparations for a military response
to an attack on Iran seem genuine enough. At the same time, it appears that
Russia is not keen on direct military intervention on Iranian soil, but
would rather deal with one of the following scenarios:

a. One scenario would be meant to display power, perhaps by
moving military units to the Iranian border or by flying the flag around the
Caspian, Black, and Mediterranean Seas, while making use of bold rhetoric in
order to gain points on the international arena (suffice it to remember
Russia’s need to recover from damages incurred due to the Arab Spring).

b. In a second scenario, Russia could exploit an attack on
Iran – should the proper circumstances present themselves – to promote its
geopolitical interests in the Caucasus, while moving forces towards
Azerbaijan and Georgia to help its allies, solve humanitarian problems (such
as the flood of refugees), and engage in similar activities.

In any case, it seems that Russia is facing a dilemma over which there is
now a charged debate with implications for all sides involved.


The Institute for National Security Studies • 40 Haim Levanon St. • Tel
Aviv 61398 • Israel • 03-640-0400 • e-mail: info@inss.org.il

April 17, 2012

Weapons from Iran To Syria

The Mystery of the Atlantic Cruiser
Questions Surround German Ship Bound for Syria
By Veit Medick

A German-owned ship tried to deliver weapons from Iran to the Syrian regime.
Once reports emerged, though, the Atlantic Cruiser disappeared for hours on
end. The case is dubious and has alarmed politicians in many countries. The
German government is demanding an explanation from the shipping company.

Officials in Germany are still seeking information about a German-owned ship
believed to be carrying a load of weapons and military equipment that had
been destined for the despotic regime of Syrian leader Bashar Assad. Since
the revelation on Friday, it appears that transponder used to broadcast the
ship's whereabouts has been turned off repeatedly. On Monday, though, it
appeared to be on again, with the 6,200 ton freighter ship apparently on a
course towards Turkey.

The ship had been stopped near the coast of Syria on Friday afternoon, but
then disappeared from sight for around 24 hours. Then, on Sunday night, the
Atlantic Cruiser's transponder was turned off again.

After having attracted international attention, the captain has been
maneuvering the ship through the eastern Mediterranean for days now. SPIEGEL
has obtained information indicating that the ship is carrying heavy military
equipment from Iran that had been intended to reach the forces of Bashar
Assad, despite a European Union weapons embargo that has been placed against
his repressive regime. German government officials expressed alarm over the
development this weekend. It's no wonder, either: If the suspicion is
confirmed, it would mean that a German ship is violating the weapons
embargo. It might also lead the international community to question whether
Germany is taking decisive enough steps to enforce sanctions against the
Assad regime.

German government officials have been investigating the sensitive
development since Saturday and it has also intensified its efforts to
resolve the case. A source within the German Economics Ministry, which is
leading the investigation, told SPIEGEL ONLINE that the government had
"requested that embassies in the region make the governments of which they
are guests aware of the occurrence because of a possible violation of the
embargo provisions." The governments of Cyprus, Lebanon and Turkey have
reportedly been informed about the incident.

Dispute Between Shipping Company and Charter Company

The government has also established contact with Bockstiegel, the German
shipping company that owns the Atlantic Cruiser. "According to information
from the shipping company, there is no intention of continuing on to Syria,"
the Economics Ministry source said. Instead, the ship was stopped by the
shipping company and is now expected to travel to a safe third port in the
Mediterranean, where its cargo can then be inspected.

But many questions still persist about the ship -- and the shipping
company's version of events has been filled with contradictions for some
days now. On Sunday, officials with Bockstiegel would not comment to SPIEGEL
ONLINE on the events. Initially, the German freighter was supposed to call
at the Syrian port of Tartus at the end of last week. Earlier, the ship had
reportedly loaded heavy military equipment and munitions from an Iranian
cargo ship in Djibouti that had been intended for Assad's henchmen.

After defectors within the Syrian government apparatus became aware of the
delivery and the deal threatened to be exposed, the Atlantic Cruiser
suddenly changed its target port on Friday afternoon and instead headed in
the direction of Iskenderun. But then, around 80 kilometers (about 50 miles)
southwest of Tartus, the ship began steering in circles. "We stopped the
ship as soon as we obtained tips it was carrying weapons," said shipbroker
Torsten Lüddecke of C.E.G. Bulk Chartering, whose firm is responsible for
freight operations on the Atlantic Cruiser.

Officially, both the shipping and freight companies say they knew nothing
about the transport. The Atlantic Cruiser had been chartered by the
Ukrainian firm White Whale Shipping in Odessa, Lüddecke said. The company
had declared the freight as "pumps and similar things." The Ukrainian firm
stands by this version of events and has accused Lüddecke of lying. "The
vessel is not carrying any dangerous or military related cargo to Syria,"
the agency of White Whale Shipping stated in an email to SPIEGEL ONLINE. "In
fact, the vessel is not even calling in Syria at all!"

Ship Untraceable for 24 Hours

But the behavior of those in charge raises a number of questions. It remains
a mystery why the shipping company didn't immediately order the ship to head
to a port so that the cargo could be swiftly investigated. The shipping
company also could have ordered the ship's captain to make a closer
inspection of the freight it is carrying. A quick check of the freight could
have quickly answered some of the most pressing questions and also might
have exonerated all parties involved. But it appears they didn't want to do

Instead, it appears the captain was instead prompted to turn off the ship's
transponder so that the Atlantic Cruiser's location could no longer be
traced. For 24 hours, the ship could no longer be tracked as it traveled on
the high seas. It will also be difficult to determine what happened on the
ship during that time. The same applies to Sunday night, when the
transponder was yet again turned off. What has been happening on the ship
since then?

The shipping company has said off the record that it is normal for the
transponder to shut down as soon as the freighter ship stops moving. But
ship brokers claim the move is extremely unusual. Experts said that even
when a freight ship is at port or in open seas, the transponder is usually
in operation, making it possible to track the vessel's whereabouts.

Because the ship is registered in Antigua and Barbados and is flying the
country's flag, the German government is limited in terms of what it can do
to investigate. "Following a legal review of the issue and based on the
information currently available, there are no possibilities of action or
intervention under German law," the Economics Ministry source said. In order
to stop or inspect the ship, a request for judicial assistance would have to
be submitted to the Caribbean nation.

It would be awkward, but also possible. The Economics Ministry source said
"contact has already been established with the flag state."

As of early Monday afternoon, there was still no information about its
ultimate destination.

Lt. Col. Eisner: I didn't put anyone's life at risk

Deputy brigade commander suspended for striking pro-Palestinian activist with M-16 says, 'What's more important, fulfilling the task or looking good for the camera?'

Lt. Col. Shalom Eisner, the IDF officer who was suspended for striking a pro-Palestinian protester from Denmark with an M-16 rifle, said in a conversation with a supporter that he never put "anyone's life in danger."

"What's more important, fulfilling the task or looking good for the camera?" he said in a chat that was broadcast on Channel 10 News. "I am familiar with these anarchists' history. They came with sticks and broke my hand, but no one talks about that or films that. It's true; some of the pictures look bad. I used my weapon coldly, like a stick. I didn't kill anyone, and didn't put anyone's life at risk."

The altercation occurred Saturday when dozens of foreign activists and Palestinians on bicycles and on foot left Yitav, located near the Palestinian village of Ouja, and headed towards join Route 90, a major north-south artery. Access to the road was blocked by a group of IDF soldiers.

The activists said they sang and chanted peacefully for about half an hour, then decided to march toward the soldiers in an effort to reach Route 90. That is when Colonel Eisner became violent, they said.

"I believe the protesters themselves said after the incident that they cut the rally short and decided not to block the road only because of the way I handled the situation. But all these stories do not interest our chief of staff (Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz) or the head of my command (GOC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Nitzan Alon)," Eisner said. "I believe that completing the mission is more important than looking good for the camera, but they (his commanding officers) claim it isn't.

"I told (162nd Division Commander Brig. Gen. Agai Yehezkel) that in no way do I accept the claim that my conduct constituted as moral failure," he added.

The officer said the damage caused to the image of the IDF and Israel would have been greater had he not acted with resolve against the demonstrators: "Would it have been better if they had filmed IDF soldiers caving in to a rioting gang? The brigadier general did not even understand the significance of anarchists breaking the arm of a lieutenant colonel in the army. No one did."

Some of the soldiers who witnessed the incident said the foreign activists had assaulted Eisner and even hurled a bicycle at him. However, other soldiers told Ynet they did not see their commander being attacked with sticks, as he claimed.

Eisner was examined at the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem Tuesday evening after he complained of wrist pain.


April 16, 2012

Yoni Reflects on the Use of Force

According to Lt. Col. Shalom Eisner, the man he butt stroked in the face with his M16 had earlier used a stick to strike him.

If this in fact is true and can be documented that Andreas Ias of Denmark, did in fact strike an officer of the IDF. Then at a later point in time, approached the same IDF officer and was ordered to stop, but kept coming at the officer.

In any normal country, the butt stroke to the face would be viewed, as justifiable force.

But since this is Israel, I am afraid, Lt. Colonel is going to pay a heavy price.

I pray that justice is done.

I will go on record, any use of force against International Solidarity Movement thugs, is justified.

You come into my country and side with my enemy that wants to destroy my State, my people and let's get down and dirty my children. Then I hope you will pay with a good beating or more.

I would like to see Israel carry out a covert war against ISM, no different than Iranian scientist.

Praise from the Right, condemnation from the Left

Netanyahu: This behavior is not characteristic of IDF soldiers and commanders • MK Ben Ari praises lieutenant colonel "for doing what Netanyahu and Aharonovitch lack the nerve to do" • MK Orlev: It was only the determined action of the deputy commander that prevented the continuing rampage by a gang of anarchists.
Gideon Allon, Yori Yalon and Dan Lavie

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel will not tolerate such behavior from its officers. [Archive]

Lt. Col. Shalom Eisner's filmed assault on an unarmed left-wing activist from Denmark, which gained large-scale exposure on Sunday, has won praise from the Right and harsh condemnation from the Left.

The incident occurred near the Palestinian village of Ouja in the Jordan Valley, as pro-Palestinian activists staged a protest bicycle ride in the area. A confrontation between protesters and IDF soldiers was filmed, catching Eisner smashing the activist in the face with his M-16 rifle.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the officer's actions on Sunday. "This behavior is not characteristic of IDF soldiers and commanders and it has no place in the IDF or in the state of Israel," a statement from Netanyahu's office said.

MK Zevulun Orlev (New National Religious Party), however, praised Eisner's actions, saying that "It was only the determined action of the deputy commander that prevented the continuing rampage by a gang of anarchists. It is a shame that the Left is quick to attack a senior IDF officer, instead of attacking a band of outlaws, mostly comprised of professional anarchists. It is sad to see the belligerent responses against this senior army officer, who was only carrying out a national mission to protect us from provocateurs, whose sole purpose is the putrefaction of the IDF and the state of Israel."

MK Michael Ben Ari (National Union) offered praise: "Way to go lieutenant colonel, for doing what [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu and [Public Security Minister Yitzhak] Aharonovitch lack the nerve to do. One has to employ an iron fist in dealing with these radical leftists who provoke IDF soldiers. There was a real threat to the safety of the soldiers, and the deputy commander of the Jordan Valley didn't have any other choice."

Danny Dayan, the head of the Yesha settler council [the umbrella body of the Jewish communities of Judea, Samaria], echoed Orlev's and Ben Ari's sentiments, defending Eisner's actions. "I call on the belligerent politicians on the Left, who have already passed judgment on the deputy commander, to calm down and stop sticking their noses into the business of the defense establishment. I don't understand their eagerness to crucify a senior IDF commander who came face to face with a group of Israel haters."

On the opposing side of the political spectrum, Meretz chairwoman Zahava Gal-On called on Defense Minister Ehud Barak to remove Lt. Col. Eisner from his post, saying "This was a brutal attack that runs contrary to IDF orders and to the army's ethical code. The military advocate-general must order an internal investigation."

Peace Now General Director Yariv Oppenheimer insisted that Eisner be removed from the IDF. "The state of Israel cannot ignore violent and inappropriate behavior from senior officers. All of our public diplomacy efforts are wiped out in a second with one glimpse of the occupation's worst ugliness."

The International Solidarity Movement, which staged the protest bicycle ride and subsequently posted the video in question to the internet, is a radical left-wing movement established in 2001.

According to the organization's website, the ISM is a "Palestinian-led movement committed to resisting the Israeli apartheid in Palestine by using nonviolent, direct-action methods and principles." The group's actions aim to raise awareness in the world to the suffering of the Palestinians.

The website also says that, "Israelis and Palestinians are portrayed as two equal sides which can’t live together, fighting over a piece of land. In reality, Israel’s apartheid regime challenges Palestine’s right to exist, and is met with a Palestinian struggle for freedom, self-determination and human rights."

In the past, several ISM members have been linked to terror organizations. The IDF emphasizes that ISM activists have been used in the past as "human shields" by Palestinian terrorists. During the IDF's 2002 Operation Defensive Shield, ISM members barricaded themselves with late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in the Mukataa presidential compound in Ramallah.

In addition, according to a 2006 Front Page magazine research piece, "In March 2003, fugitive Islamic Jihad terrorist Shadi Sukiya was arrested in a house the ISM rented in Jenin. Two suicide bombers from the U.K. met with the ISM in Gaza before blowing up Mike’s Place, a bar in Tel Aviv, killing three people and wounding more than 50 in the process."

In 2008, ISM movement leaders joined the Free Gaza Movement coalition, which was involved in the flotilla attempt to breach the naval blockade Israel imposed on the Gaza Strip.

The ISM movement has also been active in protests against the security barrier between Israel and the West Bank, especially in the village of Bil'in. ISM activists were sent "to help protect the Palestinian population," in their words, from further suffering due to irritations from settlers and IDF soldiers. They have also joined forces with radical leftist organizations, such as Ta'ayush: the Arab Jewish Partnership" and "Anarchists Against The Wall."

Censure of IDF officer averts diplomatic row with Denmark

IDF's quick disciplinary action against officer filmed hitting Danish protester with rifle, and condemnation of act from Netanyahu help stem tensions with Denmark, who immediately asked for explanation of incident.

A diplomatic incident with Denmark over an IDF officer's slamming the face of a Danish protestor with his M-16 rifle was averted by the IDF's quick disciplinary action and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's immediate condemnation, diplomatic officials said Monday.

Danish Foreign Minister Villy Sondal said in a statement posted on the Danish Foreign Ministry's web site that "we do not yet know the circumstances surrounding the incident," and that Denmark's ambassador to Israel Liselotte Kjærsgaard Plesner had "immediately asked the Israeli authorities for an explanation."

"I can see that the soldier involved was immediately suspended and the matter is now being investigated," Sondal said.

Sondal noted that Netanyahu had already condemned the incident. "We must all condemn the use of force, which apparently has occurred against the demonstrators," he said. Within three hours after the incident aired on Channel 2 Sunday night, Netanyahu condemned it and said that behavior such as this had no place in the IDF or in Israel.

According to foreign Ministry officials, Kjærsgaard Plesner phoned the ministry in the morning and asked for information about the incident, and what steps Israel was taking. She said she would relay back to Copenhagen Netanyahu's condemnation, as well as the IDF's decision to remove the officer -- Lt.-Col. Shalom Eisner, the deputy commander of the Jordan Valley Brigade -- from his post and open an investigation into the matter.

Let me be clear on this incident.

The officer was 100% wrong, for doing this.

He needs to be disciplined, but he should not go to jail, loose his pension, over this.

He needs to be retired from the IDF.

Now having said that.

I am not going to shed any tears, if the protestor lost some teeth.

I would not cry if Israel adopted a covert war, against these Euro trash scum.

Hunt them down outside of Israel and kill them, just don't get caught.

April 15, 2012


For those who would like to hear me on the radio, I am very pleased to announce that I will be having a weekly appearance on the Middle East Radio Forum, the show is hosted By William Wolf.

The time of the show is 3pm EDT, 12 am Pacific, 10pm Israel, every Sunday. Please feel free to call in if you have any questions about my weekly comments. If you should happen to miss the show then you can go to the MERF web page and listen to me and other guest in the archives.

You can listen to the show by going to the MERF web page

April 11, 2012

Check Points Save Lives

Palestinian nabbed on way to Passover terror attack

Soldiers manning Jordan Valley checkpoint find bombs, knives during search of Palestinian's belongings after metal detector alarm triggered
Yoav Zitun

A Palestinian was apprehended Wednesday while trying to pass through the Bekaot checkpoint in the Jordan Valley with seven improvised explosive devices, three knives and rifle shells.

Security establishment officials believe the 19-year-old Palestinian, who arrived from the Nablus area, planned to attack Israeli civilians or soldiers during the Passover holiday.

Military Police soldiers manning the checkpoint discovered the weapons during a search of the would-be terrorist's belongings after he had aroused their suspicion.

According to an initial army investigation, the Palestinian was caught after the metal detector's alarm was activated, indicating he was carrying suspicion objects. The explosive devices were neutralized by Border Guard sappers who were alerted to the scene.

The incident marks the third time a would-be terrorist was caught at the Bekaot checkpoint over the past few months. Some three months ago a Palestinian carrying a pipe bomb was shot dead as he was approaching IDF soldiers while yelling "Allahu Akbar (Allah is great)."

In another incident, IDF soldiers shot a Palestinian suspected of attempting to carry out a stabbing attack at the checkpoint with a broken glass bottle. He died of his wounds a short time later.

April 09, 2012

Why Jews demonize Israel

Op-ed: Persecution complex prompts some Jews to align themselves with ill-advised partners
Dan Calic

Why are some Jews willing to stand side by side with the Palestinians and demonize Israel? What motivates them to think that slicing up Israel is the way to resolve the conflict?

No other people come close to suffering as much persecution throughout history as the Jews. They were held in bondage in Egypt, exiled to Babylonia, conquered, persecuted and exiled by Rome, persecuted and exiled by the Crusaders, by England and by Spain. The Holocaust destroyed two thirds of Europe's Jews.

Having endured two millennia of being history's scapegoat, it should come as no surprise many Jews have been so deeply affected, they have developed a "persecution complex."

Most people, including Jews, view themselves and others as inherently "good," rather than "evil." However, when factoring in the persecution complex built into the DNA of many Jews, this becomes a game changer.

Having been ridiculed, exiled, tortured, discriminated against and killed for so long, Jews understandably prefer to be seen as making positive contributions to society. Indeed, Jewish contributions in the fields of medicine, technology, education, science, business, entertainment and so on are proportionately higher than any other group of people, by far.

The true underdog is Israel

The last thing Jews want is to be unjustly accused of doing to others what has been done to them. Sadly, some have taken advantage of this mindset. For example, how many times have you seen Israel compared to Nazi Germany, when it comes to the Palestinians? This is a vitriolic attempt at reverse psychology designed to label Jews as hypocrites.

No Jew wishes to be seen as persecuting a perceived underdog, or viewed as an obstacle to "peace, justice and reconciliation." Indeed, Jews have been leading advocates of these noble goals for generations.

However, when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, some Jews in their zeal to be considered champions of the "underdog" have either failed to realize or are unwilling to accept something quite important.

Those whose cause they are promoting have no interest in reciprocating. The Muslims are not going to extend their hands in gratitude if Israel turns over land to them for a state. They will not suddenly see Jews as their friends and willingly agree to peaceful coexistence with Israel.

Indeed, at this time Arabs live in a world where many parents, schools, political and religious leaders as well as the media have convinced them the Jews are responsible for all their problems.

What's tragic is that the Jews who are demonizing Israel are playing directly into the hands of people who will turn on them the moment their dream becomes reality. In reality, the actions of these Jews are a misguided attempt to endear themselves to others by taking up the popular cause of the "underdog," at times to their own detriment.

This is one of those times. While championing the underdog is noble, this is the wrong "underdog." The true underdog is Israel. Hopefully these Jews will realize this before it's too late.


April 08, 2012

Egypt sends 7 battalions into Sinai with Israeli approval, sources say

Thousands of soldiers and hundreds of armored vehicles deployed in the Sinai Peninsula in bid to increase deteriorating security in the area • Forces instructed to protect gas pipeline, crack down on terrorists • Israeli defense sources say approval was given last year, and there were no new deployments.
Daniel Siryoti, Shlomo Cesana and Lilach Shov

Egypt announced on Saturday that thousands of soldiers and hundreds of armored vehicles have been deployed, with Israel's approval, in the Sinai Peninsula over the weekend in an effort to increase the general security in the area.

Egyptian regional commander in the Sinai, Gen. Salah al-Masri, said, on behalf of the Interior Ministry in Cairo, that additional forces were deployed to stop terror activity from increasing in the peninsula. He said that 150 officers from the police's special forces were also sent into northern Sinai. The forces were also instructed to secure the pipeline delivering gas to Israel and Jordan, which was hit by terrorists several times over the last year.

A total of seven Egyptian battalions were allowed to enter Sinai in complete cooperation with Israel, according to the Palestinian Ma'an news agency quoting Egyptian sources.

In Israel, officials claimed on Saturday that the forces entered Sinai under approval that was granted in August, after the cross-border terror attack in Ein Netafim, near Eilat, which left eight Israelis dead.

"Everything is coordinated," one diplomatic source said.

In light of the deteriorating security situation in Sinai, one Egyptian official told Ma'an that Israel is to be blamed for the increased terrorist activity in the peninsula "as it forbids an Egyptian military presence in the demilitarized areas and so gives terrorists a safe haven in the northern Sinai."

Israel relinquished control of the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt in 1979 after the two countries signed a peace treaty stipulating that the entire area would remain demilitarized. In February 2011, Israel allowed Egypt to deploy soldiers in Sinai to crack down on hostile Bedouin in the area and protect a vulnerable pipeline that delivers natural gas to Israel. Upon request by Israel, Egypt later recalled its troops.

News of the Egyptian military deployment in the Sinai on Saturday came as Hosni Mubarak's former intelligence minister announced he is entering Egypt's presidential race, while other politicians battled to keep their candidates from being disqualified on technical grounds.

The moves shook up Egyptian politics and raised passions one day before the deadline on Sunday for candidates to nominate themselves in the country's first free presidential vote, scheduled to take place in two rounds in May and June.

Are you kidding me?

How can this be a smart move, in light of what is happening in Egypt?

A government that has proven to be hostile and Israel lives in the past and allows Egyptian troops in mass into the Sinai.

Why not put the IDF into the Sinai and call Camp David DOA?

Today on MERF

I forgot to post that on today's MERF, I will be the guest for the whole hour.

Once again acting in the role of Prime Minister of Israel.


For those who would like to hear me on the radio, I am very pleased to announce that I will be having a weekly appearance on the Middle East Radio Forum, the show is hosted By William Wolf.

The time of the show is 3pm EDT, 12 am Pacific, 10pm Israel, every Sunday. Please feel free to call in if you have any questions about my weekly comments. If you should happen to miss the show then you can go to the MERF web page and listen to me and other guest in the archives.

You can listen to the show by going to the MERF web page

Diplomats vow to bring Israeli agriculture home

Foreign ambassadors visit research sites, forests of KKL-JNF in the Negev.

After a day touring Negev research sites and planting trees with fellow diplomats, the Kenyan ambassador to Israel is eager to bring seeds produced here back to the arid lands of his eastern African home.

“We would like to plant trees in some areas but the seeds we have are not withstanding drought,” Kenyan Ambassador Lt.-Gen (Ret.) Augostino S.K. Njoroge told The Jerusalem Post last week. “We want to get seeds from here that will be able to withstand harsh climate, to increase acreage.”

In addition to Njoroge and his wife, about 20 foreign diplomats to Israel and their spouses joined Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF) on Wednesday for a tour of several different Negev development sites. After learning extensively about desert plant growth and park development, they also rode a safari truck through rugged – but green and blossoming – desert terrain and planted trees themselves in the Ambassadors Forest.

The tour began with a morning visit to the “MOP Darom” Negev Research and Development Center, located next to Moshav Yesha and near the town of Ofakim, a few kilometers from the Kerem Shalom border crossing with Gaza.

The station is funded 60 percent by governmental sources, 25% by KKL-JNF, 10% by competitive research funds and 5% by the local growers themselves, according to Myron Sofer, director of Negev R&D Center, who is also a plant pathologist and farmer.

While the station grows a number of flowers, vegetables, herbs and strawberries, the main crops of the location are tomatoes, as tomatoes from this region account for 48% of the country’s tomato needs, explained Liana Ganot, a staff member of the station. Ganot demonstrated to the visiting diplomats how all the tomatoes grow successfully in desert sand and survive without much pesticide spraying, as they are surrounded by protective nets.

Next door, blossoming lisianthus flowers of all colors sat in vases to test shelf life, as most of these flowers from the region end up being exported abroad, primarily to Holland, Ganot said.

In a third greenhouse, the diplomats munched on fresh strawberries, which had been hanging from the ceiling in baskets of coconut soil.

The techniques, which have been developed at this station since 1973, could be beneficial to many of the countries from which the diplomats hail, Sofer told them. While some of the visiting ambassadors and staff members were from Eastern Europe, most came from dry climates in South America, Africa and southeast Asia.

“We are happy to help other countries to the extent to which they want to cooperate with us,” Sofer said. “We believe that this kind of agricultural cooperation builds strong relations between countries and people.”

After their stop at MOP Darom, the diplomats visited the developing Nahal Beersheba Park, where they saw a land that was once mostly filled with solid waste becoming green with flowers and grass.

The park has been under restoration for 10 years, and by summer 2013 will feature a 12,000-seat amphitheater, and a couple years later, a 2.2- hectare (5.4-acre) lake, explained Itai Freeman, the park director.

“This area for many years was neglected and we’ve been developing it for the public,” he told the diplomats.

The park, which will span 500 hectares and stretch across eight kilometers, will require a lot of water – a need that officials will be fulfilling through recycled water from a KKL-JNF reservoir being constructed in the valley, Freeman said.

“What was neglected for many years will be the center of the city,” Freeman said, calling the park an “urban generator” for the city’s future economy.

To Hector Palacios, Guatemala’s deputy chief of mission to Israel, the rehabilitation of such a wasteland into a blooming park is particularly relevant.

“We have a lot of needs to start parks like this in our cities,” said Palacios, who has been in Israel for three-and-a-half years and will soon leave to become the Guatemalan ambassador to Costa Rica.

“In some of the areas around the cities – like Guatemala City – it’s something like this,” he continued. “It’s lost land and you cannot do anything with this land.”

While Guatemala receives excessive amounts of rain in comparison to Israel, sewage treatment remains a problem and affects potential arable lands, according to Palacios.

Having more contact with KKL-JNF to explore ways of transforming such land into parklands could therefore be “tremendous” for his country, he said.

While Guatemala may have ample rains, much of the world does not, and KKL-JNF world chairman Effi Stenzler reminded the guests that in the next couple decades, at least 30% of the globe will become desert.

“[KKL-JNF] will be more than happy to bring to your countries the knowledge of how to plant where we don’t have enough rain,” Stenzler told them.

As he sent off the diplomats to plant trees in the Ambassadors Forest themselves, Stenzler reminded them that already 240 million such trees have been planted throughout Israel. Such tree-planting on a regional basis beyond the bounds of Israel, he said, could lead to positive cooperation.

“Green as you know has no border,” Stenzler said. “We would like to plant trees on the border with Jordan, on the border with Lebanon and on the border with Egypt. I think it would be more than a sign of peace if we would plant trees with them.”

The ambassador of Belarus to Israel, Igor Leshchenya, echoed Stenzler’s sentiments, noting that Israel is a country of “intense impressions.”

“One of the most intense impressions is that we have to accept the fact that most of the forests on this land were planted or restored by the Israelis,” Leshchenya said.

After planting his own tree, Kenyan ambassador Njoroge reiterated to the Post how he was planning on connecting his country’s director of forestry with that of KKL-JNF, to bring such a bloom home – for both the benefit of his country’s massive lands and his own 200-acre farm.

“This is my personal and governmental interest,” Njoroge said.

Light unto the nations, once again.

Big Surprise, not.

April 06, 2012

'US to accept civilian nuke program in Iran'

'US to accept civilian nuke program in Iran'

President Obama signals Iran that US would endorse nuclear program if Ayatollah Ali Khamenei backs up claim that Islamic Republic won't purse atom bomb, US paper reports
Yitzhak Benhorin

WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama has signaled Tehran that the Washington would accept an civilian nuclear program in Iran if Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei can back up his recent claim that his nation “will never pursue nuclear weapons,” the Washington Post reported Friday.

According to the report, the verbal message was sent through Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who met with Khamenei last week. A few days prior to leaving for the trip, Erdogan held a two-hour meeting with Obama on the sidelines of the nuclear security summit in Seoul, in which they discussed what the Turkish leader would tell Khamenei about the nuclear issue.

Washington Post columnist David Ignatius wrote that Obama advised Tehran, via Edrogan, that time is running out for a peaceful agreement. Obama didn’t specify whether Iran would be allowed to enrich uranium domestically. The issue evidently is to be discussed during the talks between the Islamic Republic and the West, which are slated start on April 13 at a venue yet to be decided.

Words into actions

Edrogan is said to have agreed with Obama that the primary challenge faced by the negotiators is turning Khamenei’s public rhetoric into a serious and verifiable commitment not to build a bomb.

Erdogan reportedly conveyed Obama’s message to Khamenei when he met the Iranian leader on Thursday. Erdogan also met President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and other senior Iranian officials during his visit.

Western diplomats remain skeptic about the success of the diplomatic path, especially in light of the recent disagreement over the venue for the upcoming negotiations. According to the report, Istanbul was expected to host the talks, but the Iranians last weekend balked and suggested instead to meet in Iraq or China.

US officials consider this foot-dragging a sign that the Iranian leadership is still formulating its positions ahead of the talks.

Meanwhile, the US pressed on with sanctions that aim to deprive Tehran of revenue needed to develop its nuclear program.


How any Jew can vote for Obama is beyond me.

No, strike that, how any American can vote for Obama is beyond me.

Since tonight starts Passover, maybe it is a good time to add a prayer for deliverance from this Pharaoh.

April 05, 2012

'IDF has recently thwarted 10 terror plots from Sinai'

Military Intelligence chief Kochavi says firing of Katyusha rocket into Eilat from Egyptian territory is a demonstration of the changes that are sweeping through Middle East.

The IDF has thwarted 10 different terrorist plots to attack Israel from the Sinai Peninsula in the past two months, head of Military Intelligence Maj.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi revealed on Thursday.

Speaking at a graduation ceremony for new Military Intelligence officers, Kochavi said that the firing of a Katyusha rocket into Eilat from the Sinai late Wednesday night was a demonstration of the changes that are sweeping through the Middle East.

“It could be that the change will bring new opportunities but in the short term the risks are increasing,” Kochavi said.

The intelligence chief said that terrorist groups were working to establish a stronger presence in the Sinai. In December, The Jerusalem Post reported how Hamas had established rocket production lines in the Sinai and was also moving some of its weapons caches there to protect them from Israeli airstrikes.

“As a result, we will need to prepare for new challenges and fronts, for an increase in the threats and for more instability throughout the region in the coming years,” Kochavi said.


How can Kochavi, even say that the situation in the Sinai could bring new opportunities?

New opportunities for what?

Terrorist, tourism, or getting Israeli's killed.

Very shortly after the revolution in Egypt, I called on Israel to send the IDF back into the Sinai.

It is true Israel has a new opportunity to fix the error of the Camp David Accords and to get the Sinai back.

April 04, 2012

Modi'in charity: Don’t destroy, donate hametz

04/04/2012 13:13
Biur Hametz Project organizers call for people to donate hametz to African migrants, asylum seekers rather than burning it ahead of Passover.

A Modi’in based charity project is calling this year for people to donate the hametz, or leavened products, which they would otherwise throw out or burn before the Passover festival, to the many African migrants and asylum seekers currently residing in Tel Aviv.

Jewish law prohibits the possession and consumption of leavened food products over Passover. Such food is therefore disposed of before the holiday commences, but the Biur Hametz Project is urging people to take their leftover hametz to one of six collection points in Tel Aviv, the Center and Jerusalem instead.

The food items will then be distributed on Thursday night in Levinsky Park, Tel Aviv, where many of the African refugees and migrants sleep.

Project Biur Hametz is also working in conjunction with the “Ezer Modi'in” charity, which is collecting non-perishable hametz products that will be technically sold for the duration of Passover and then distributed to Jewish needy after the festival.

“If we donate our hametz in these two ways, we can fulfill what it says in the Haggadah: “all who are hungry, let them come and eat,” the project’s organizers said.

What a bunch of idiots.

I can bet they have not spent any more time in Africa than what a photo safari takes, if that long.

I spend time in Africa because of business living there for as long as 7 months at a stretch.

Many African cultures have values that are not good for Israel.

As a result, I do not want to Israel Israel to become a safe haven for Africans.

In swift surprise, Barak evacuates Hebron house

As government debates fate of Beit Hamachpelah, defense minister pulls rug out from under everyone's feet • Vice Prime Minister Ya’alon demands authority over Judea and Samaria settlement be removed from Barak's hands.
Yori Yalon, Shlomo Cesana and Mati Tuchfeld

Security forces outside Beit Hamachpelah on Tuesday. An ultimatum to evacuate the building passed with the settlers still inside.

Israeli security forces in large numbers evacuated a disputed building in the predominantly Palestinian city of Hebron Wednesday afternoon shocking the Israeli political system, which was under the uniform impression that the evacuation – initially planned for Tuesday but consequently postponed – had been delayed until the end of the month.

The evacuation was carried out swiftly after Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein informed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of his position that the house had to be evacuated immediately. In a statement, Weinstein said there was no need for a governmental decision to evacuate the building, as its evacuation was a necessary condition if law and order were to be upheld. In a statement, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said the order to evacuate came from him, after the "infiltrators" were given eviction notices.

The inhabitants of the house in question – settlers who had entered the home in the dead of night at the beginning of the week without obtaining the proper authorization from the Judea and Samaria Civil Administration – cooperated with the evacuation and no significant clashes were reported.

"I will continue to safeguard democracy and the rule of law, as well as the government's authority over its citizens," Barak said. He added that the legal examination of the residents' claims of legal purchase would continue, but that he would "not allow illegal acts that present the government with facts on the ground."


Move on, nothing to see here .

This is nothing more than the latest chapter, in a game.

The game is called pandering to the base.

Barak wants to prove to the left, he is still a tough guy.

While Bibi and other conservatives, want to prove to the settlers they have their back.

I find the whole game boring and counter productive, on both sides.

The right is not serious, for if they were they were, they would work to rally the majority of Israeli citizens behind the cause. Instead they allow a minority of thugs to spoil their image.

While the left cares little for their image, they just seek to weaken Israel.

April 03, 2012

Ethiopian olim celebrate Seder amid controversy

Issue of Ethiopian aliya and the state’s ability to successfully absorb the new immigrants is still a point of contention.

Gearing up to spend their first-ever Passover in Israel, more than 60 recently-arrived Ethiopian olim gathered on Monday at the Jewish Agencyrun Absorption Center in Mevaseret Zion for a “mock Seder,” to learn about some of the religious and cultural traditions of the upcoming festival of freedom.

In addition to following the traditional service, the new immigrants – some of whom had been waiting in Ethiopia for more than ten years before being permitted to make aliya – heard speeches from Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky and Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, founder and head of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, which provides funding for many programs in the immigrant community.

Sharansky shared his own personal story of escape from the Soviet Union with participants, and said he could identify with the new immigrants’ feelings upon starting their new lives in the Jewish homeland.

While Monday’s celebration – which also included Israel’s incoming ambassador to Ethiopia, Belaynesh Zevadia – was moving, the issue of Ethiopian aliya and the state’s ability to successfully absorb the new immigrants is still a point of contention.

Just over a month ago, the government finally agreed to dramatically increase the number of new immigrants arriving in Israel on a monthly basis – from 110 to 250 people.

Activists and supporters of this move say it will help alleviate the suffering of those forced to wait for years in poor humanitarian conditions in Gondar, a town in northern Ethiopia.

While the announcement was well-received by those working with the Falash Mura – Ethiopian Jews whose ancestors were forcibly converted to Christianity more than a century ago – advocates say the promise has yet to be fulfilled.

On Monday, Jewish Agency spokesman Haviv Rettig Gur explained that roughly 150 new immigrants from Ethiopia arrived in Israel last month, with another 200 expected in April.

“While the government approved an increase to 250 in late February, it takes a few weeks to implement that increase,” he said. “We did not have 250 seats reserved for March on the Ethiopian Airlines flights that facilitate the aliya.”

Rettig Gur said that the standing agreement with the airline is currently being renegotiated in order to increase the number in keeping with the government’s commitments.

“It is not a problem for us to bring in any number that the government asks us to bring in,” Rettig Gur said. He confirmed to The Jerusalem Post that a Jewish Agencyowned facility in the South is already being eyed as an additional absorption center, to house the increased number of new olim slated to arrive over the next few months.

However, another Jewish Agency source said the onus was on the government to provide additional funding for absorption programs. A spokesman for the Prime Minister’s Office declined to comment on the matter on Monday.

In November 2010, the government declared a “historic” push to wind up the flow of group aliya from Ethiopia within three years. To date, 6,000 Falash Mura have been officially approved for immigration – and while half of the group has already arrived in Israel, the rest continue to wait.

Sephardic Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar officially recognized the Falash Mura as part of the Jewish people in 2002, and they were granted the right to make aliya under a special clause in the Law of Entry. As part of this, they are required to undergo conversion to Judaism upon arrival.

Although many of the new immigrants had the opportunity to participate in organized Seders while still in Ethiopia, organizations working within the community have found that most Ethiopian new immigrants are unlikely to hold their own Seders at home, and many participate in group events held throughout the country.

April 02, 2012


Jews, Really?

Sheikh Qaouk Receives Neturei Karta Delegation, Stresses on Palestinian Right to Liberty
Local Editor

Deputy Head of Hizbullah Executive Council His Eminence Sheikh Nabil Qaouk received a delegation from the anti-Zionist Neturei Karta organization, led by Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss. Present at the meeting was Hizbullah official in charge of the Palestinian file Sheikh Atallah Hamoud.

For his part, Head of the Jewish delegation Yisroel Dovid Weiss, who came to Lebanon to take part in the Global March to al-Quds (Jerusalem), stated, "It is very important to be here in Beirut as we believe that the Jewish identity has been stolen, and kidnapped by the Zionists."
"Most of those who are part of this cult [Neturei Karta] descend from Hungarian roots, who resided in Palestine since the beginning of the 19th century," Weiss explained.

Moreover, Weiss greeted the resistance's victories, calling for the downfall of the so-called "Israeli" state.
He stressed that due to the Jews' sins, they were banished from the land of "Israel", confirming that "Israel" cannot build any state "before the return of Jesus (PBUH)". Also, Rabbi Weis reaffirmed that the Palestinian people have the right to establish their own state on their own land.

On another hand, Deputy Head of Hizbullah Executive Council His Eminence Sheikh Nabil Qaouk praised the delegation, indicating, "Your participation in the Global March to al-Quds (Jerusalem) and your visit to South Lebanon represents a blow for the global Zionism and the racist entity, because what is happening in Palestinian today is the biggest crime and organized aggression conducted by this entity."

Sheikh Qaouk clarified that among the Zionist crimes against Palestinians are confiscating their territories, forging facts, spreading corruption, conducting massacres, in addition to possessing nuclear weapons that threaten the region and world.
"This enemy ["Israel"] has historical greed, and if it weren't for the resistance in Lebanon and Palestine, it [the enemy] wouldn't have been defeated in South Lebanon or in Gaza Strip, because it is an expanding entity that doesn't know its borders," Deputy Head of Hizbullah Executive Council went on to say.

Furthermore, Sheikh Qaouk called upon the delegation and anti-Zionist cult to unmask this entity because it represents a global epidemic and cancerous tumor that hits the values and sanctities of the different religions, emphasizing that it does not value Judaism, Christianity or Islam.


Waiting for Jesus, to return before we can have a Jewish State.

Does not sound very Jewish to me.

But then I am a Zionist, and not an ultra Orthodox Rabbi.

'Ministers told 300, at most, would die in Iranian attack'

Security cabinet briefed on worst-case scenario in potential war with Iran, Channel 10 reports; experts estimate relatively low number of Israeli casualties from thousands of missiles launched from multiple fronts.

In the event of an Iranian attack on Israel, less than 300 people would be killed during three weeks of non-stop fighting on multiple fronts, according to estimates delivered to the security cabinet in a briefing, Channel 10 reported on Monday.

According to the estimates, described as a worst-case scenario, thousands of missiles would be launched toward Israel from Lebanon, Syria and Gaza as part of the Iranian attack. The scenario took into account Israel's defenses as of 2012, with the Iron Dome rocket-defense system not yet at its full deployment.

Missiles would also be launched at Israel from Iran, according to defense experts briefing the ministers, however, they added, Tehran's conventional missile capabilities are limited.

The estimates echoed comments Defense Minister Ehud Barak made last year about a potential war with Iran. Jerusalem does not want war, he said in an interview with Israel Radio in November, but even if it is drawn into a war against its will, fears of mass casualties are unfounded. "There's no chance in such a situation for 500,000 killed, not 5,000 or even 500 killed."

Despite Barak's assurances of relatively low casualties in a war with Iran, Kadima MK Ze'ev Bielski warned in February that Israel's civil defenses are not ready to protect the population in a missile war.

Almost one in four Israelis lack access to bomb shelters, whether communal or reinforced rooms in private homes, Bielski, chairman of a parliamentary panel on home defense preparations stated.

"Are we prepared for a war? No," he said. "Things are moving too slowly and we are wasting very precious time."

Such shelters could be vital if Israel were to attack Iran's nuclear facilities and Tehran struck back, either directly or through its allies on Israel's borders.

Israel says 100,000 rockets and missiles are pointed at it, many of these held by Syria, Lebanon's Hezbollah and Hamas, although they may decide to sit out any war between Israel and Iran.

The Civil Defense Ministry, which was set up after Israel suffered thousands of rocket strikes in the 2006 Lebanon war, confirmed Bielski's data while seeking to play down his alarm.

"Our position remains that if everyone does what they are expected to do during an emergency, the situation will be tenable," one ministry official said.

Poll: 60 percent of Israelis favor military strike against Iran

Sixty-five percent of respondents in Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs poll say the price Israel would have to pay for living under the shadow of the Iranian nuclear bomb is higher than the price it would pay for attacking Iran’s nuclear capability.
Shlomo Cesana and Israel Hayom Staff

Sixty percent of Israelis believe that the only way to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon is by military action, according to a poll conducted by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. And 65% of those questioned say the price Israel would have to pay for living under the shadow of the Iranian nuclear bomb is higher than the price it would pay for attacking Iran’s nuclear capability.

The poll shows some gender differences between respondents, with 56% percent of women, compared to 73% of men, agreeing that the price Israel would pay for living with an Iranian nuclear bomb would be higher than the price for attacking.

Eighty percent of those surveyed agree that the American military is capable of damaging Iran’s nuclear program substantially, but their confidence in the Israel Defense Forces is also quite high: 66% believe the IDF could inflict significant damage on Iran’s nuclear program. Some 62% of Israelis think that if the U.S. were to carry out a military strike against Iran, the price Israel would pay would be less than if Israel carried out the attack on its own.

The poll was conducted by Dr. Camille Fuchs of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, headed by former Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. Dr. Dore Gold.

The 505 respondents comprised a representive sample the Jewish population.

In mid-March, a Reuters/Ipsos poll showed that 56% of Americans would support U.S. military action against Iran if there was tangible evidence that Tehran was building nuclear weapons, even if such action led to higher gasoline prices.

Asked whether they would back U.S. military action even if this resulted in higher gasoline prices, 53% said they would, while 42% said they would not. The poll also found that 62% of Americans would back Israel taking military action against Iran for the same reasons.

The poll showed that Republicans were more willing to support military action by the U.S. or Israel than Democrats, with 70% of Republicans saying they would back U.S. action, and only 46% of Democrats and 51% of independents saying the same.

The majority of the Israeli public understands.

You can not talk with Iran, it will come down to military action.

The only question is, will America back Israel?

I think the chance of Obama being forced to back Israel is greater before the election than after the election. This is of course assuming the worse case, that of Obama being reelected.

April 01, 2012

Light Unto The Nations

Israeli scientists in longevity gene breakthrough

Bar-Ilan University team discovers gene that can prolong mammals' life

A team of Israeli scientists has been able to crack the code to mammals' longevity: The team, led by by Dr. Haim Cohen, of Bar-Ilan University's Mina and Everard Goodman Faculty of Life Sciences, has discovered a gene that promotes longer life in mammals.

The team includes researchers from Hadassah Medical Center, the Hebrew University and Carnegie Mellon University, the discovery of the gene – in mice – increases the likelihood that similar activity can be found in a human gene.

According to a Bar Ilan press release, researchers are focusing on a group of genes, known as Sirtuins, which can be found in every species developed over the course of evolution and are, in one way or another, found in single-celled organisms, such as yeast, and in complex organisms, such as humans.

The most highly researched gene in this group is SIR2 (Sirtuin 2) which has been found to prolong life in yeast, worms and flies.

Research of the SIR2 gene in mammals yielded a set of seven genes – Sirtuins 1-7 or SIRT 1-7 – each of which works in key reactions in the process of life.

Dr. Cohen's team examined gene number 6 from the Sirtuin group (SIRT6) in mice. He used two groups of mice. In one group SIRT6 was removed from the mice and in the second group he created an over-expression of the gene in mice.

"Originally in mice without the gene, researchers saw premature aging," says Cohen. "They suffered spinal curvature, calcium deficiency and osteoporosis, immune system problems, and diabetes – conditions which are familiar to us in aging humans. We called the second group, which we created in the laboratory, the 'MOSES' mice (an acronym for mice over-expressing exogenous SIRT6), and compared their lifespan to that of wild-type mice, which possess a normal amount of SIRT6."

Cohen and his team fed two groups of wild-type and MOSES mice a high-fat diet containing 60% more fat calories than average. The wild mice developed the diseases associated with aging, while the MOSES mice remained healthy.

MOSES bodies contained 30% less fat, about 40% fewer triglycerides (which increase cholesterol) and 30% less diabetes compared to the MOSES mice. Concerning lifespan, wild strain female mice usually live longer than males. In the tests conducted by Cohen on 250 wild and MOSES mice, they found that with normal diet the MOSES male mice lived 15% longer than the male wild species. However, among the MOSES females, no change was recorded. What, then, gives the females a longer life expectancy?

"We found that the rise in life expectancy among males is based on the calorie restriction known to us as a basic mechanism of life extension. There is overlap between these pathways, and the SIRT6 gene is involved in it. Females from the very beginning have a longer life expectancy than males because the basic mechanism is already active, so the engineered males just catch up to females," concludes Cohen.

"In the current study, published today, we've made a huge evolutionary leap in the transition from yeast cells to mice. We were the first to show that these sirtuin genes regulate life span in mammals.

"The research was conducted in laboratory animals under very sterile conditions. Is this what happens in nature? It's not clear. The human SIRT6 gene is very similar to that in mice. It could be that drugs designed to activate the gene will have a positive impact on our ability to treat age-related diseases whose frequency increases in the elderly and in the physiological damage caused by obesity."

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