PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Memorial Ceremony at Yad Labanim: Prime Minister’s Office, Apr. 30, 2017 — A cloud of grief hangs over the State of Israel today.
Where is World Outrage Over Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul?: Richard Kemp, Jim Molan & Arsen Ostrovsky, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 30, 2017— On May 1, Israelis will observe Remembrance Day, honoring soldiers who fell in defense of the Jewish state, and victims of terrorism.
Israel's Covert War Against Hezbollah's Artillery: Ron Ben-Yishai, Ynet, Apr. 28, 2017 — Reports of attacks in Syria attributed to Israel may indicate—one could certainly assume—a new stage in Israel's defense against Hezbollah and Iran.
No Nuclear Weapons in Syria? Go Thank Israel: Louis René Beres, Israel Defense, Apr. 27, 2017 — Plausibly, it is only because of Israel's earlier preemptions against Iraqi and Syrian nuclear facilities that the Middle East is not presently awash in Arab nuclear weapons.
Tell the UN: Jerusalem is Israel’s Eternal Capital (Petition): The Israel Project, May 1, 2017
Such a Moving Video Commemorating the Fallen Heroes of the Israel Defense Forces: Israel Video Network, May 1, 2017
In Our Forgetfulness, We Turned Our Children Into Heroes: Haviv Rettig Gur, Times Of Israel, Apr. 30, 2017
Honoring Our Fallen Soldiers: Tami Shelach, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 30, 2017
AS WE GO TO PRESS: UNESCO TO FIRE ANOTHER VOLLEY AT ISRAEL – ON INDEPENDENCE DAY — The UN cultural agency is set to pass a resolution on Tuesday — Israel’s 69th Independence Day — that indicates rejection of the Jewish state’s sovereignty in any part of Jerusalem. The resolution also harshly criticizes the government for various construction projects in Jerusalem’s Old City and at holy sites in Hebron, and calls for an end to Israel’s blockade of Gaza without mentioning attacks from the Hamas-run Strip. Submitted to UNESCO’s Executive Board by Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar and Sudan, the resolution on “Occupied Palestine” will most likely pass, given the automatic anti-Israel majority in the 58-member body. According to Israeli officials, Germany was a driving force behind a deal that would see all EU states abstain in exchange for the removal of the most incendiary anti-Israel passages. But on Monday, Italy announced that it would vote against the resolution, apparently ending the effort to forge a European consensus. (Times of Israel, May 1, 2017)
Prime Minister’s Office, Apr. 30, 2017
A cloud of grief hangs over the State of Israel today. It always hangs over the families, the parents, the widows and partners, the brothers and sisters. Our loved ones fell in Israel’s battles in the line of duty, in battles and in brutal terror attacks. Ever since the dagger of bereavement pierced our hearts, the course of our lives has been forever changed, but today we commemorate our mutual guarantee and shared fate, which connect all parts of the nation to the family of bereavement. This is the true source of our strength, and to a high degree unique to the State of Israel. It is our unique source of resilience and strength.
Together we bow our heads in memory of the 23,544 who fell in our nation’s battles and the thousands more who were killed by murderous terrorists. We are one people, and it is clear to all of us that were it not for the sacrifice of these men and women – we would not be free in our own land. In fact, we would not be here at all. It is thanks to them that we exist, thanks to them that we live.
This morning at Mount Herzl we inaugurated the new National Hall of Remembrance. It is a splendid building that commemorates all the fallen. I see it as an important symbol emphasizing the foundations of our existence in our land. I see it as an important symbol expressing the unity of bereavement. This small country is all we have – home and homeland, future and hope. Our roots were planted deep into this land thousands of years ago, and for generations we were loyal to it. We renewed our national sovereignty in this land seven decades ago.
The State of Israel is a miracle of history – in its rebirth and in its tremendous achievements. This miracle and these achievements are also especially notable given our ongoing resilience in the test of fire and blood. We stand as a fortified wall against our enemies. We do not show weakness. We do not loosen our grip from the weapons in our hands because we know that this is the only way to push back the thickets of evil that refuse to accept our existence. This is the only way we will achieve peace with those of our neighbors who want peace. At the same time, during this long campaign, we maintain our humanity. We just heard the tremendously moving stories of the fallen. One feels not only the loss, but also their humanity. Simultaneously, we maintain our democratic, free, vibrant and moral society. However, there is a heavy price for this – a personal price for you, the families, and a national price for all of us. We have experienced it personally, and you know: each family and its pain.
It is actually our loved ones who went to battle from whom we draw comfort. The wick of their lives was cut off in a moment, but the spark of the sense of mission that burned in them still glows. During the War of Independence, before he died, Zvi Guber wrote, “Can a lead bullet kill courage and purity of spirit?”
Sixty-nine years have passed and that purity of spirit has remained unchanged: Each generation and the magnificence of its spirit, each generation and the discovery of its strength. Brothers and sisters in the family of bereavement, you are the foundation of Israeli society. You raised exemplary sons and daughters, you instilled in them the values of man and nation, and you serve as a bridge between all sectors of Israeli society: Jews, Druze, Christians, Muslims, Bedouins, Circassians – citizens of Israel are profoundly grateful to you.
Together, we will continue to defend our land, protect it, build it. This is the true legacy of the fallen. The people of Israel hold its fallen soldiers in their hearts, and every day we pay them honor and wish them eternal glory. May the memory of our children be forever blessed. We will remember them all forever.
Richard Kemp, Jim Molan & Arsen Ostrovsky
Jerusalem Post, Apr. 30, 2017
On May 1, Israelis will observe Remembrance Day, honoring soldiers who fell in defense of the Jewish state, and victims of terrorism. At an age when most teenagers are getting ready to go off to university or travel abroad, Israelis devote at least two to three years of their lives to defending and protecting their country, the only Jewish state, and by extension the West’s front line of defense in the global war against Islamic terrorism.
Two such soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of the State of Israel were Lt. Hadar Goldin and Sgt. Oron Shaul, who were killed in action by Hamas during Israel’s defensive 2014 war with the terrorist group, Operation Protective Edge. On August 1, 2014, hours after a United Nations- and US-brokered humanitarian cease-fire between Israel and Hamas went into effect, Hamas terrorists emerged from a tunnel in Gaza, ambushed an IDF unit and killed Hadar, who was only 23 years old. Hamas then took his body and have been holding it hostage in Gaza since, treating it contemptuously as both a bargaining chip and an instrument to torment his family.
Shaul, who was only 20 years old at the time, was also killed by Hamas, when he left his armored personnel carrier to repair the vehicle and Hamas fired on his unit, killing him, and likewise taking his body and malignly holding it in Gaza. Holding the bodies of soldiers killed in action and refusing their return to their next of kin for burial is a serious violation of the Geneva Conventions and international humanitarian law. As is using the soldiers’ bodies as bargaining chips, which Hamas continues to do. Only last week, the terrorist group released a morbid video including a song in Hebrew, taunting the families of Goldin and Shaul, again in breach of international law. To this day, almost three years since their abduction, Hamas refuses even to grant the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) access.
That Hamas, a fanatical Iran-funded Islamist terrorist organization, does not abide by even a modicum of international law and basic human decency is beyond dispute. But where is the international outcry? Only last week, the international community was up in arms over a large group of Palestinian prisoners on a hunger strike in Israel. These were however violent murderers convicted of terrorism-related offenses. Moreover, Israel affords these prisoners full rights under international law, including access to ICRC, and returns bodies of terrorists killed attacking Israelis.
Yet the same international community, overflowing with concern over the welfare of Palestinian terrorists, can’t even feign interest in the Israeli soldiers held hostage by Hamas. Where is the Red Cross? Virtual silence. Where is the UN, under whose auspices the cease-fire during which Hadar was killed and kidnapped was brokered? Silence. Awaking only occasionally to condemn Israel in New York or Geneva, but turning a blind eye to Palestinian terrorism. Where are self-professed human rights groups like Amnesty and Human Rights Watch? Silence again.
Perhaps to them the human rights of Jews and Israelis are not worthy? What about Mahmoud Abbas? The Palestinian Authority president claims he wants peace, yet instead seeks to embrace Hamas and glorify those who kill Israelis. You can be certain that if Goldin and Shaul were British, Australian, American, French or Russian soldiers, there would be an international outcry. But only silence and sheer neglect when it comes to the lives of Israelis.
We understand there are many pressing humanitarian concerns facing the world today, not least in the Middle East, but the world must not forget Hadar Goldin, who was killed and taken hostage during a UN cease-fire, as well as Oron Shaul. This is not only a matter for Israelis, but a basic humanitarian issue. These young soldiers, who made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom, could be any of our soldiers, defending the West from global jihad.
The international community, which is seeking to rebuild Gaza and promote peace in the region, should make any further efforts conditional upon the immediate and unconditional release of the Israeli soldiers’ bodies. The Red Cross also has a fundamental duty to speak up. Meantime, the UN, aided and abetted by the Obama administration, exerted great pressure on Israel to accept this cease-fire, and therefore bears primary responsibility for ensuring the return of the bodies of Goldin and Shaul. The families of these young men deserve, and by law are entitled to, a proper decent burial at home in Israel. It is time the world showed that Israeli lives matter too.
Ynet, Apr. 28, 2017
Reports of attacks in Syria attributed to Israel may indicate—one could certainly assume—a new stage in Israel's defense against Hezbollah and Iran. This self-defense has lasted for more than a decade, but now it seems that it focuses on one particular thing: defense against artillery; mainly, the missiles and rockets that Iran provides the Hezbollah to strike a critical blow against Israel's home front. Hezbollah and Iran's goal is to be able to threaten vital infrastructures—water, electricity, healthcare services, transport, airfields and emergency supplies—in a way that Israel will have a difficulty to recover from should a strike occur.
The new stage in Israel's strategic defense may have not started today, but is now picking up pace as Israel has completed its multi-layer missile defense system David's Sling, which became operational several weeks ago—completing what may be the most important layer in Israel's defense system. This system, formerly known as Magic Wand, is designed to intercept enemy planes, drones, tactical ballistic missiles, medium- to long-range rockets and cruise missiles, fired at ranges from 40 km to 300 km, which essentially covers most of Israel's territories.
The Iranians and Hezbollah understand that the IDF's missile defense system, which is the first and only of its kind, challenges them and their ability to threaten and deter Israel. Even if they are not interested in starting a war with Israel at the moment, they always seek to preserve their level of deterrence against it. For that reason, Iran has decided to change course and instead of arming Hezbollah with hundreds of thousands of imprecise missiles, they are now transitioning to an arsenal comprised mostly of precise missiles and rockets, some of which are even GPS-guided.
The explanation for that is simple: The Iranians and Hezbollah understand that David's Sling is capable of intercepting more than 80% of their rockets, and so they intend to battle it using sheer volume—making it so that the IDF's defense system has too many threats to defend against than it possibly could. The Iranians also want to make sure that at least some of the missiles that will manage to pierce through Israel's defense system will not just land in open fields, and so they are upgrading Hezbollah's massive artillery—which is estimated to have more than 130 thousand missiles and rockets.
The aim is for the arsenal to be comprised of a larger percentage of guided and precise missiles and rockets, which even if only a few of them manage to avoid being shot down they will still inflict massive amount of damage. This strategy is obvious to the IDF and worries Israel's security operators a great deal. In fact, due to Iran's increasing potential of nuclear capabilities it is now considered to be the main and most dangerous threat to the State of Israel due to its potential for large devastation in Israel's home front.
Israel is fully aware of these threats, and is therefore making efforts to gain intelligence on Iran's attempts to arm Hezbollah with precise artillery and prevent Israel from stopping those shipments, sent to Hezbollah forces through Syria. The attacks attributed to Israel on arms depots in Syria, if indeed carried out by it, show the increases efforts by both the Iranians to arm Hezbollah and by Israel to prevent it from taking place. Iran is sending these shipments by—among other methods—commercial flights of Iranian or Iranian-owned airlines out of the assumption that Israel won't know that a regular commercial flight from Tehran to Damascus will also carry missiles and rockets, most of which in pieces.
It is not unthinkable that Israel's intelligence is working to learn of these attempts. The battle between Iran and Israel's intelligence systems is held behind a thick cover of secrecy. The Iranians don't want to admit that they are arming Hezbollah through Syria since it breaches rules made by the United Nations Security Council. On its end, Israel is not admitting or denying that it is sabotaging these shipments. And so, both sides are exploiting plausible deniability for their own interests, even if these "military installations" are hard to hide or ignore once they catch fire do to some "unknown missile strike."
Louis René Beres
Israel Defense, Apr. 27, 2017
Plausibly, it is only because of Israel's earlier preemptions against Iraqi and Syrian nuclear facilities that the Middle East is not presently awash in Arab nuclear weapons. In this connection, US President Donald Trump might have had to make far more risky calculations in launching his recent retaliation for the Syrian chemical weapons attack if Bashar al-Assad had already acquired a recognizable nuclear counter-retaliatory capability. Also worth noting is that if the long-lasting Damascus regime had not been the object of very successful Israeli defensive strikes back in 2007, nuclear weapons could eventually have fallen into the fanatical hands of Shi'ite Hezbollah, or – if the al-Assad regime should fall – Sunni ISIS.
Israel's first use of anticipatory self-defense against a potentially nuclear Middle Eastern adversary was directed at Saddam Hussein's Osiraq reactor near Baghdad on June 7, 1981. Precisely because of Israel's courageous and correspondingly international law-enforcing operations in both Iraq and Syria, America and its allies do not currently have to face enemy nuclear regimes or their terrorist nuclear proxies. Significantly, as corollary, it was the world community's failure to act in a similarly timely fashion against North Korea that contributed mightily to our now expanding security woes regarding Kim Jong-un.
In essence, thanks to Israel's Operation Opera on June 7, 1981, and also its later Operation Orchard on September 6, 2007, neither Iraq nor Syria will be able to provide Islamist terrorists with game-changing kinds of destructive technology. To be sure, nuclear weapons in these countries could conceivably have made End Times theology a meaningfully palpable strategic reality. We may now be more operationally precise. On June 7, 1981, and without any prior forms of international approval, Israel destroyed Osiraq. Left intact, this Saddam Hussein-era reactor would have been able to produce enough fuel for an Iraqi nuclear weapon. Moreover, had Prime Minister Menachem Begin first pleadingly sought formal approvals from the "international community," that residually vital expression of self-defense would assuredly have failed.
Law also matters. Under international law, war and genocide need not be mutually exclusive. Although it had been conceived by Mr. Begin as an indispensable national security corrective for Israel, one desperately needed to prevent an entirely new form of Holocaust, Operation Opera ultimately saved the lives of thousands or perhaps even tens of thousands of Americans. These were and still remain US soldiers fighting in all the subsequent "Iraqi wars."
During the attack on Osiraq, Israeli fighter-bombers destroyed Iraq's nuclear reactor before it was ready to go "on line." Ironically, immediately following the attack, the general global community reaction had been overwhelmingly hostile. The UN Security Council, in Resolution 487 of June 19, 1981, expressly indicated that it "strongly condemns" the attack, and even that "Iraq is entitled to appropriate redress for the destruction it has suffered."
Officially, the United States, perhaps not yet aware that it would become a distinctly primary beneficiary of this unilaterally defensive Israeli action, issued multiple statements of conspicuously stern rebuke. Today, of course, particularly as we worry about both al-Assad war crimes and prospective ISIS advances, matters look very different. Indeed, in June 1991, during a visit to Israel after the first Gulf War, then-Defense Secretary Richard Cheney presented Maj. Gen. David Ivry, commander of the Israel Air Force (IAF), a satellite photograph of the destroyed reactor. On the photograph, Cheney inscribed: "For General David Ivry, with thanks and appreciation for the outstanding job he did on the Iraqi nuclear program in 1981, which made our (American) job much easier in Desert Storm."
International law is not a suicide pact. Israel did not act illegally at Osiraq. Under the long-standing customary right known as anticipatory self-defense, every state is entitled to strike first whenever the danger posed is "instant, overwhelming, leaving no choice of means and no moment for deliberation." For such manifestly compelling action, it does not require any antecedent approvals by the United Nations.
It was the United States, not Israel, which issued a unilateral policy statement, in 2002, declaring that the traditional right of anticipatory self-defense should immediately be expanded. Here, Washington's strategic and jurisprudential argument hinged, correctly, on the starkly unique dangers of any nuclear-endowed enemy. The National Security Strategy of the United States was issued by the most powerful country on earth. In comparison, Israel, which had claimed a substantially more narrow and conservative view of anticipatory self-defense back in 1981, is small enough to fit into a single county in California, or twice into Lake Michigan.
Serious students of world affairs are more or less familiar with what happened at Osiraq back in 1981. But what about the attack that took place in Syria, during Operation Orchard, in 2007? In this second and later case of an Israeli preemption designed to prevent enemy nuclear weapons, the operational details are much more hazy. In brief, the then Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, consciously reasserted the 1981 "Begin Doctrine," this time within the Deir ez-Zor region of Syria. Several years later, in April 2011, the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) authoritatively confirmed that the bombed Syrian site had indeed been the start of a nuclear reactor. Olmert's decision, like Begin's earlier on, turned out to be "right on the money."
It's not complicated. International law is not a suicide pact. All things considered, Israel's 1981 and 2007 defensive strikes against enemy rogue states were not only lawful, but distinctly law enforcing. After all, in the incontestable absence of any truly centralized enforcement capability, international law must continue to rely upon the willingness of certain individual and powerful states to act forcefully on behalf of the entire global community. This is exactly what took place on June 7, 1981, and, again, on September 6, 2007.
Going forward, Jerusalem and Washington now need to inquire further: What about Iran? Should Tehran sometime agree to provide its surrogate Hezbollah militias with some of its own evolving nuclear technologies, Iran could find itself marshaling considerable and potentially decisive influence in regional terror wars. Then, endlessly sectarian conflicts raging throughout Iraq, Syria, and other places could continue to grow until every remaining flower of human society were irremediably crushed. If that should actually happen – an even more plausible scenario if there should be a simultaneous or near-simultaneous coup d'état in already-nuclear Pakistan – we might then all still bear impotent witness to a world spinning further out of control… [To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
Tell the UN: Jerusalem is Israel’s Eternal Capital (Petition): The Israel Project, May 1, 2017—Jerusalem is Israel’s eternal capital — but the UN is set to ERASE Israel’s right to any of the city. Demand the un stop its war of lies against Israel. Sign the petition here.
Such a Moving Video Commemorating the Fallen Heroes of the Israel Defense Forces: Israel Video Network, May 1, 2017—The 23,144 thousands of Israeli soldiers and citizens who have been killed in the Land of Israel were the best and the finest of Israel’s youth. It is due to their bravery that we live the lives we live today in the Land of Israel. Their sacrifices are a beacon of light for all to learn from. They serve as role models of self-sacrifice to all for what we as an old nation, in an ancient land who have built up a modern-day State – need to do in order to preserve our way of life. May their memories be blessed.
In Our Forgetfulness, We Turned Our Children Into Heroes: Haviv Rettig Gur, Times Of Israel, Apr. 30, 2017—On Yom Hazikaron, the Day of Remembrance, let the politicians and generals talk of “heroes” and “commemoration.” I can speak only of children. Heroes, after all, are just children who grew old enough that we forgot their childhoods. In this forgetfulness, we put rifles in their hands, ran their sore feet through mud and sand, and sent them out to fight.
Honoring Our Fallen Soldiers: Tami Shelach, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 30, 2017—Israeli society is built in such a way that there is no one who is not connected to someone who fell during their IDF service, either during or between wars. Sometimes it’s a loved one from your immediate or extended family, a neighbor, a friend, a co-worker, or a fellow soldier. They may be secular or religious Jews, Druse, or members of other religions.