Tag: Nuclear



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.


On Topic Links


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)




MEMORIAL CEREMONY AT YAD LABANIM                                                     

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.                                   





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. 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."                




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. 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.]





On Topic Links


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.

























The Billion-Dollar Deal That is Stirring up Israeli Army: Ben Caspit, Al-Monitor, Oct. 31, 2016— On Oct. 26, the Israeli Cabinet secretly authorized a huge weapons transaction that developed under the radar over the recent year…

The New IDF: Editorial, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 20, 2016— Two discernible and potentially conflicting trends arise from the manpower data published this week by the IDF on the percentage of eligible young men and women who are conscripted for mandatory military service.

UN Ranks IDF Emergency Medical Team as ‘No. 1 in the World’: Judah Ari Gross, Times of Israel, Nov. 13, 2016— The United Nation’s World Health Organization recognized the Israeli army’s field hospital,

Rationality, Irrationality and Israel's Changing Order of Battle: Louis René Beres, Israel Defense, Oct. 30, 2016 — In every traditional military lexicon, strategies of international deterrence automatically assume enemy rationality.


On Topic Links


Submarines and Advisers: Editorial, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 20, 2016

Israel Puts the Spike Missile on its Apache Helicopters: Shoshana Bryen, Jewish Policy Center, Nov. 21, 2016

Behind the Scenes of the Israeli Army: Tsivya Fox, Breaking Israel News, Nov. 22, 2016

Women Increasingly Join the Fight in Israel's Army: Michael Blum, Yahoo News, Nov. 20, 2016





Ben Caspit

                                                 Al-Monitor, Oct. 31, 2016


On Oct. 26, the Israeli Cabinet secretly authorized a huge weapons transaction that developed under the radar over the recent year: Three additional Dolphin-class submarines will be purchased from a German shipyard in the port city of Kiel. A memorandum of understanding between Israel and Germany is expected to be signed this month in Berlin. The deal is assessed at about 1.2 billion euros ($1.3 billion), approximately 400 million euros ($439 million) per submarine, after a discount of about 30% financed by the German government.


The clandestine negotiations between Israel and Germany were relatively brief. Many Israelis are strongly criticizing the deal, from various aspects. One clear conclusion can be reached regarding the policies and strategic mindset of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: The Iranian threat, including concern regarding a nuclear Iran, continues to preoccupy Netanyahu and assume center stage in his very essence.


According to foreign reports, these submarines (Israel already possesses five of them; the sixth will arrive in 2019) are viewed as the Israeli answer to the Iranian threat, as they are capable of carrying and launching ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads. According to foreign reports, the impressive submarine fleet Israel is building will give the country a significant “second strike” capability even in the event that it absorbs an Iranian nuclear attack. These submarines transform Israel from a “one-bomb country” (which would be so devastated from one nuclear attack that it could not respond in kind) to a state that could respond and cause great destruction to any country that would dare attack it.


In a conversation with Al-Monitor, an Israeli military source emphasized that Israel has no intention of enlarging its fleet of submarines from six to nine, but to gradually replace aging submarines with new ones. According to the source, the life span of a submarine is 20-30 years. Over the next decade, the three oldest submarines in the Dolphin fleet will become obsolete, and will be replaced gradually by the new submarines.


This argument does not convince the naysayers, many of which come from within the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). They believe the tremendous sum of money wasted on the submarines should have been earmarked for more urgent needs. “The first Dolphin submarine will begin to become obsolete only in 2030,” an Israeli security source told Al-Monitor on the condition of anonymity. “Until then, it’s not certain that we will need such a large quantity of submarines. The current commitment to pay billions of shekels in a huge deal for products that may not be absolutely necessary is rather strange, to say the least.”


Critics of the transaction feel that the monies should have been used to upgrade the IDF in more important spheres. “The submarines are not effective in the war against terror,” a high-level Israeli security source told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity. “Submarines are ineffective in fighting against the Islamic State and Hamas; even the third Lebanon war [if this happens] will not be decided in the ocean depths. It would have been better to spend all this money to provide armored shield protection for all of the army’s armored personnel carriers, or for unmanned aircraft [drones], for cyber strengthening, and other spheres that are critical to the war against terror. Unfortunately, Israel is making its traditional mistake: It is once again preparing for yesterday’s wars and not tomorrow’s conflicts.”


Another debate raging between the sides is connected to the price of the deal. Netanyahu’s main concern, when he pushed for a speedy agreement with the Germans, was that German Chancellor Angela Merkel might not survive the elections awaiting her in 2017. Those close to Netanyahu say that Merkel’s replacement might not be as generous as she is and might not approve a discount of 30% on the submarines to Israel. Better to close the deal now, before it’s too late, they say.


This argument does not satisfy the critics. The German discount is fictitious, they claim; instead, they say, the Germans upped the price and then gave a discount on the higher amount. Not long ago, that same German shipyard sold four similar submarines to Egypt at a much lower price. No one in Israel did the necessary preparatory work; no one conducted the kind of negotiations that are necessary for a transaction of such magnitude. There are other, more experienced shipyards in the world that produce the kind of submarines that Israel needs. To the final price, the Germans added their investment in research and development (R&D), but no one checked if this R&D hadn’t been carried out in any previous transaction it signed with other countries. The additional characteristics that are supposed to be added to the new submarines belong to the specialized fields of other shipyards, mainly in France, and common sense would dictate that additional price quotes be obtained from French shipyards as well (before deciding from whom to buy). Instead, someone was in a very big rush to complete this transaction and threw away Israeli taxpayer money with a very ready hand — so say the critics…                                                                 [To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]           



THE NEW IDF                                                                                                                        


Jerusalem Post, Nov. 20, 2016


Two discernible and potentially conflicting trends arise from the manpower data published this week by the IDF on the percentage of eligible young men and women who are conscripted for mandatory military service. On one hand, there has been a sharp rise in the number of religious women who are opting to enlist in the IDF instead of performing National Service or receiving an exemption. In all, 2,159 enlisted in 2015 compared to 1,853 in 2014. Women as a whole – both religious and non-religious – are enlisting at a rate of 58%, the same as in 2012. Also, more and more women are being integrated into combat units. There has been a 400% rise in the number of women serving in combat roles, with more mixed-gender battalions opening every year.


Brig.-Gen. Eran Shani, speaking before the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Monday, noted that the IDF is considering allowing women to serve in the Armored Corps and in the elite 669 air force rescue unit. In parallel with the increasing integration of women in the IDF, there is a potentially conflicting trend. The number of religious soldiers is growing. In 2015, 2,475 haredi young men were conscripted. And religious soldiers as a percentage of the total number of IDF soldiers is also growing due to demographic changes.


A weakening of rabbinic authority seems to be one of the causes of both trends – both the higher conscription rate of religious women and of haredi men. Though a majority of religious Zionist rabbis opposes IDF service for women, a number of institutions have been created to give support to religious females who choose to enlist. For instance, the NGO Alumah provides religious women with advice and intervenes on their behalf vis-a-vis the IDF command. Tzahali, a pre-military academy, prepares religious women for military service not unlike the many academies that exist for religious men. Few rabbis openly support these bodies.


Haredi men who enlist are also bucking rabbinic leadership’s authority. They often face stiff opposition from family members, friends and neighbors. And despite rabbinic opposition, large percentages of religious Zionist or modern Orthodox Israeli men enlist without first attending a yeshiva, a pre-military academy or joining a hesder yeshiva that combines military service and religious study.


These two distinct trends – the increasing integration of women and the rise in the number of religious men – could potentially result in a clash of interests. Integrating larger numbers of women in the IDF entails opening more avenues of service. The sharp rise in the number of women who serve in combat units is one example. But in order to make the IDF truly gender egalitarian, the length of service of IDF soldiers must be based on the role they serve and not their sex. Because they serve only two years, women are prevented from serving in many IDF positions unless they agree to volunteer. Also, exemption criteria should be identical for men and women. Women need to be part of the decision-making process on the highest levels within the IDF.


But religious men are the main force within in the IDF preventing the full integration of women – both religious and non-religious – into the IDF. As the number of religious men in the IDF grows as percentage of the total, opposition to the integration of women will grow as well. Accommodating these conflicting trends is one of the major manpower challenges facing the IDF. The IDF has long ago abandoned the “melting pot” model for conscription in parallel with a change in Israeli society as a whole toward a more multicultural mosaic of groups – haredi, Arab, religious Zionist, secular, Sephardi, Druse, and Beduin. This shift has created opportunities and challenges.


The IDF has become both more gender egalitarian and open to the special needs of haredi and religious men. As long as Israel maintains the ideal of universal conscription or “the people’s army,” the IDF will have to find ways of integrating diverse segments of the population. Succeeding in navigating conflicting interests will make the IDF stronger. Talents that previously went untapped can be enlisted in the concerted effort to defend Israel from its many enemies. This week’s data seem to prove that it possible to accommodate the needs of diverse groups, providing yet another reason to be optimistic about Israel’s future.                                                                     



UN RANKS IDF EMERGENCY MEDICAL TEAM AS ‘NO. 1 IN THE WORLD’                                                      

Judah Ari Gross                                                                                                            

Times of Israel, Nov. 13, 2016


The United Nation’s World Health Organization recognized the Israeli army’s field hospital, which is regularly sent abroad to provide aid at natural disaster sites, as “the number one in the world” in a ceremony last week, classifying it as its first and only “Type 3” field hospital, according to its commander, Lt. Col. (res.) Dr. Ofer Merin. As reported in The Times of Israel last month, the WHO and the Israel Defense Forces had been in talks to determine if the army unit met the demands of a “Type 3” medical team, a status no medical team had ever reached before.


Last Wednesday, the IDF’s field hospital team received the “Type 3” designation, along with some additional “specialized care” recognitions, which technically made it a “Type 3 plus,” though the army kept the information quiet until Sunday. “We’re going to recommend the director-general verifies [Israel’s team] as a Type 1, Type 2, and also Type 3 and multiple different types of specialty cells,” Dr. Ian Norton, the lead author of the classification system and head of the WHO delegation, said Wednesday at the ceremony in the Medical Corps’ base in Ramat Gan, outside Tel Aviv. “We haven’t had that ever before,” Norton said, praising the months of work put in by the Israeli team to receive the designation.


Israel will receive official WHO patches noting the new designation, and members of the IDF’s Medical Corps, including Merin, will meet with the head of the international organization at a formal ceremony in Hong Kong at the end of the month, the army said. The United Nations is generally seen as having a negative attitude toward Israel, giving this recognition of the IDF’s abilities some additional weight, Merin said. The representatives from the World Health Organization were “not biased, not one bit,” he said.


In 2013, the United Nation’s WHO created a set of criteria to classify foreign medical teams in sudden onset disasters, on a scale from one to three. Israel is now the only country to receive the top mark. “Only a handful in the world could even think of” doing so in the future, Norton said in a conversation with The Times of Israel last month. In a phone conversation with reporters on Sunday, Merin, who has personally invested “hundreds of hours” in the recognition process, described the experience of having the work he and his team have done be classified as the best in the world as “emotional.”


“I wish I could sit here and say it’s a ‘Mazal tov’ for me, but it’s a ‘Mazal tov’ for the army, for Israel,” Merin said, using a Hebrew term that literally means “good luck,” but is used as “congratulations.” The recognition process took nearly a year, beginning in January 2016, most of that meticulously reviewing manuals and ensuring that Israel met the criteria, Merin said. In the past two months, WHO delegations also visited Israel and met with Merin and his team in order to assess the IDF Medical Corps’ field hospital, a sprawling structure that can comprise up to 30 tents, according to the IDF. However, the version seen by Norton’s team during an exercise in northern Israel in September contained just 26.


The military’s field hospital is “not just some medics and doctors spread out in the field”; rather it is a “national treasure” that has the capabilities of an advanced, permanent hospital but can be set up almost anywhere in under 12 hours, Merin told The Times of Israel last month. Israeli disaster relief delegations — some of them led by Merin — have been some of the first and largest to arrive at the scenes of natural disasters. Teams from the IDF Medical Corps and Home Front Command provided rescue and medical services after an earthquake in Turkey in 1999, an earthquake in Haiti in 2010, a typhoon in the Philippines in 2013 and, most recently, an earthquake in Nepal in 2015.


This Type 3 classification ensures that Israeli teams will continue to be the first allowed on the scene of future disasters and further cements Israel’s position as a world leader in emergency medicine, proving to friends and foes alike that the Jewish state knows how to handle catastrophes. “This recognition isn’t just international. It’s also recognition for ourselves, showing us what we can do,” the army spokesperson said Sunday.


While Israel’s emergency medical teams may be best known for their work abroad, Merin stressed that this takes a backseat to its primary directive. “Our role is, first of all, to deploy and assist in either — God forbid — a natural disaster, which can happen because Israel’s on an active [fault line] or in cases of war,” he said. Israel’s regular humanitarian relief efforts have drawn both international praise and accusations of “rubble-washing” — or using its disaster relief effort to boost its international standing. Helping other countries in need is “the most effective kind of diplomacy,” then-foreign minister Avigdor Liberman said in 2015, after Israel sent a team to Nepal. “In crafting a country’s image, nothing is more effective than providing aid.”


However, diplomats insist the drive is mostly altruistic. “If we’re sending aid to Haiti, the Philippines and Nepal, we’re obviously not looking to reap great diplomatic benefits from these countries, which I might be allowed to describe as not superpowers,” said a former senior diplomat in 2015, responding to a question about Liberman’s comment…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]    





CHANGING ORDER OF BATTLE                                                                           

Louis Rene Beres                                                                   

Israel Defense, Oct. 30, 2016


In every traditional military lexicon, strategies of international deterrence automatically assume enemy rationality. In the absence of rationality – that is, in those more-or-less residual circumstances where an enemy state might rank order certain preferences more highly than “staying alive” as a nation – deterrence is necessarily expected to fail. Regarding those inherently more serious and complex circumstances involving nuclear deterrence, the plausible consequences of failure could be catastrophic. They could even prove to be unprecedented.


Dealing with sub-state or terrorist adversaries presents a somewhat different and potentially even more hazardous set of nuclear deterrence risks. By definition, these increasingly hard-line adversaries (e.g., ISIS, Hezbollah) generally do not have sovereign national territories to protect (Palestinian Hamas has a sort of quasi-sovereign status in Gaza). Their core objectives are also apt to include “martyrdom,” a faith-driven preference that is plainly inauspicious for maintaining orthodox Israeli deterrence strategies. The basic problem is easy to recognize. Certain beleaguered states in the Middle East already have to deal with ISIS, Hezbollah, and related adversaries that may never habitually conform to the ordinary definitions of decisional rationality in world politics. This quality is far more portentous than a merely inconvenient truth. It represents a potentially existential peril.


For the most part, at least for now, nuclear deterrence should continue to be examined and assessed in Israel vis-à-vis national or state adversaries, not sub-state enemies. Moreover, irrationality, it must be understood, is not the same as “crazy,” or “mad," and must always be systematically differentiated from these imprecise and common-sense terms. Israeli strategic planners must expressly understand that even an irrational enemy leadership could still maintain a distinct and identifiable hierarchy of preferences, albeit one in which national survival does not predictably rank at the top.


Using correct strategic terminology, professional military analysts would likely report that such irrational state actors still exhibit an ordering of preferences that is “consistent,” "instrumental," and “transitive.” In principle, therefore, even certain "irrational" states could be rendered subject to alternative forms of deterrence. For any state that must rely more-or-less on threats of retaliatory destruction, correctly recognizing such "forms" could prove indispensable to its core national security.


By definition, a genuinely “crazy” or “mad” leadership would have no discernible order of preferences. Its strategic actions and interactions would expectedly be random and unpredictable. It follows that facing a crazy or mad adversary in world politics is substantially “worse” than confronting "just" an irrational adversary. Although it might still be possible and even reasonable to attempt deterrence of an irrational enemy, there would be little or no point to seeking such protections against a seemingly “mad” one. "Do you know what it means to find yourselves face to face with a madman," inquires playwright Luigi Pirandello's Henry IV. "Madmen, lucky folk, construct without logic, or rather with a logic that flies like a feather."


What is true for individuals is sometimes also true for states. In the bewildering theater of modern world politics, a drama that routinely bristles with absurdities, strategic decisions that rest upon logic can quickly crumble before madness. Corresponding dangers may reach the most singularly threatening or existential level. This is the case whenever madness and a nuclear weapons capability would overlap. Pertinent strategic questions of rationality and irrationality are not narrowly theoretical. On the contrary, they are profoundly real and current, especially in the still- adversarial dyad of Israel and Iran.  Because the “international community” could never agree to undertake an appropriately preemptive action (“anticipatory self-defense,” in the formal language of law), and had committed itself, instead, to the futile diplomacy of the July 2015 Vienna Pact, Jerusalem could still have to face an effectively genocidal Iranian nuclear adversary.


All along, Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has understood that Iran’s senior leadership could, at least at some point, value Israel’s physical destruction more highly than its own national survival. Should this calculation actually happen, the “play” would end very badly for all the “actors," including the "victorious" Iranians.


For the foreseeable future, Israel’s ultimate source of national security will assuredly have to lie in some pattern or other of sustained nuclear deterrence. Whether still deliberately ambiguous or newly disclosed, this Israeli “bomb in the basement” could expectedly “crumble before madness.” This suggests that in certain easily-imaginable instances involving aberrant enemy behavior, the outcome of failed Israeli retaliatory threats could sometimes include irremediable harms. All things considered, while the logic of deterrence has traditionally required an assumption of rationality, history also reveals the persistent fragility of any such theoretical expectation. We already know all too well that nations can behave in ways that are consciously and conspicuously self-destructive…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]    


On Topic Links


Submarines and Advisers: Editorial, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 20, 2016—Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s successful navigation of a turbulent Middle East is undoubtedly one of the reasons he may soon surpass David Ben-Gurion to become the nation’s longest-serving prime minister.

Israel Puts the Spike Missile on its Apache Helicopters: Shoshana Bryen, Jewish Policy Center, Nov. 21, 2016 —Sometimes when decisions do not work out exactly as intended, they work out just fine. In the midst of Operation Protective Edge — Israel’s response to 182 Hamas rockets and mortars fired at Israeli towns and villages in the first week of July 2014 — the Obama administration accused Israel of “heavy handed battlefield tactics,” including the use of artillery instead of precision-guided munitions. U.S. President Barack Obama halted the supply of Hellfire missiles and announced that all military equipment supplied to Israel would be vetted individually in the White House, instead of shipped, according to prior agreements, by the Pentagon to Israel.

Behind the Scenes of the Israeli Army: Tsivya Fox, Breaking Israel News, Nov. 22, 2016—The Israeli army (IDF) is known for its prowess and advanced technology. Lesser known is the wide range of projects which maintain soldier welfare and morale. These programs might just be the secret to the IDF’s outstanding success.

Women Increasingly Join the Fight in Israel's Army: Michael Blum, Yahoo News, Nov. 20, 2016—Her face covered in mud, 18-year-old Smadar crawls beneath thorny brush, her automatic rifle around her neck. She smiles despite the intensity of the training, and her commander, also a woman, shouts encouragement. "I don't regret choosing this unit," said Smadar, who was not allowed to provide her last name under Israeli army rules. "I wanted to do my military service in the most combative unit possible."




Prof. Frederick Krantz: Obama, Kerry Threaten Israel’s Security By Linking “Peace Process” & Geneva P5+1 Negotiations With Iran

As the US and the UN P5+1 foreign ministers resume negotiations in Geneva with Iran over its  nuclear status,  Israel’s fate hangs  in the  balance.   The fix seems to be in–Obama clearly is ready to make a deal with Teheran “moderates”, one which Israel’s Netanyahu (seconded, mirabile dictu, by the Saudis) has already clearly denounced as a sell-out. 

   (As I write, news of the French foreign minister’s surprising withdrawal from what he terms a “con game” is being carried by the media—but will this opposition be enough to derail the deal?)

    In apiece published three months ago, I examined Foreign Secretary Kerry’s odd nine-month ultimatum-limit for an agreement with Abbas and the Palestinians, and related it to the growing crisis over Teheran’s rapidly accelerating nuclear program.

   It already was clear that containment, alluded to both by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Hagel Obama, and not military intervention, was Obama’s decided policy.  And, despite pious affirmations of Israel’s right to make its own defense decisions, President Obama and Administration officials  repeatedly underlined US unhappiness with any prospective unilateral Israeli action against Iran.

   I concluded then that what was really at stake between Jerusalem and Washington, was not direct US military action, but the US stance towards Israel if Israel in fact acted against an Iranian nuclear capacity.  In other words, a threatened US lining-up with the already-negative European Union states and their increasing delegitimation campaign against Israel.

   Such a threat, I argued, would also explain another mystery, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s sudden caving in to US Secretary of State Kerry’s pressure to agree to resume negotiations with the hostile Palestinians, as well as his striking pledge—despite almost unanimously negative Israeli public opinion–to release up to 104 convicted Palestinian terrorist murderers, as an unreciprocated initial concession. 

   My earlier analysis has now been borne out by a series of statements Kerry recently made: in Rome with Netanyahu at the end of October, again last week while he was in Jerusalem, Ramallah (wearing a green tie!) and Jordan, and in a joint Israeli-Palestinian television interview just before the resumption of the Geneva P5+1 negotiations with Iran.

   In all these venues, Kerry repeatedly threatened Israel, but not the Palestinians, with dire consequences  were the peace talks to break down.

   Kerry clearly warned that failure of the peace process risked European political and economic marginalization of Israel (and, implicitly, US support for it), and would also create a third Palestinian intifada. In the TV interview, Kerry came down hard on Israel, urging it to end its West Bank “settlements” and “perpetual military occupation” of Judea and Samaria, and explicitly noting that a direct consequence of the talks’ failure “will be an increasing campaign of delegitimization of Israel that has been taking place in an international basis”. 

    In all these remarks, there were no strictures against Palestinian obduracy, the PA’s antisemitic media propaganda, refusal to relinquish insistence on “the right of return”, or to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. (Indeed, so unbalanced were his remarks that one observer wondered if he had become Abbas’s Foreign Minister.)

    Obama now is seen by Israel (and by Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states) as having  compromised his clear pledge that there would never be an Iranian nuclear weapon (just as he reneged on his “red line” post-poison gas attacks commitment to bomb Syria). Instead, he and Kerry—again in concert with Russia–have rushed into direct negotiations with the mullacratic dictatorship, and actively cooperated with Iranian President Rouhani’s diplomatic “charm” campaign.

   (Details leaking our of Geneva indicate a first-stage deal which would see Teheran cease production of 90% enriched uranium but continue refining 3% uranium and    bomb-grade plutonium [while the heavy-water reactor at Arak , for more plutonium, continues to be built]. In return, the U.S. and allies would, as a first step, release some currently escrowed Iranian funds and ease banking restrictions. 

   Netanyahu, as noted earlier [and, evidently, the French foreign minister] denounced this as a sell-out, not least because it leaves Iran’s nuclear facilities intact—achieved stockpiles of fissionable materials are untouched, and 3% uranium can quickly be ginned up to “break-out” weapons-grade by the Iranians’ increasing, and increasingly efficient, centrifuges, 10,000 of which would remain in place).

  That these two processes—peace-process pressure on Israel and the rush to a negotiated diplomatic “settlement” with Iran—are connected and overlap is shown precisely by the nine-month ultimatum given Israel.  Obama wants a diplomatic victory before Israel feels it must move against Teheran: and nine months from the July, 2013 beginning of Israeli-Palestinian talks will put us at  March, 2014. This is the date by which most informed experts see Teheran as achieving clear nuclear break-out, with enough enriched uranium for one or more nuclear weapons. Hence  March, 2014—five months away–is also Israel’s own terminus ad quem for a decision on military action.

    Here, note that a final Iranian-European-U.S nuclear deal before March, 2014 would, politically, make a subsequent Israeli military move against Iran more difficult.  Such an act would be represented as an aggression threatening “peace” both with the Palestinians and the Iranians, and alienating Europe and the UN and, clearly, Obama’s America as well. 

   To summarize: “Peace” between Israel and the Palestinians, and a diplomatic deal with the Iranians, are related; they are obverse sides of the same coin, the building-blocs of Obama’s (and Kerry’s) second-term foreign policy.  They are also key to Obama’s post-Presidential legacy, offsetting his dismal record of failures elsewhere—Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, Syria, Russia. 

   (They may also be crucial not only to John Kerry’s eligibility for a Nobel prize, but   to his viability, should Hillary falter, for a second run at the U.S. presidency in 2016.)

   Jerusalem, from Obama’s perspective,  stands in the way of both goals. This explains the clear Obama-Kerry readiness to pressure Israel both into an rushed and unstable peace agreement, and into living with the existential threat of an Iranian bomb. Extricating America from Middle East entanglements by playing to Muslim regional interests should also be related to Obama’s wider diplomatic plan, the much-vaunted new “pivot” to Asia.

    Here, if Obama can dissuade Israel from acting against Iran, so much the better; if not, and Israel acts despite his pressure, he can then support European sanctions,  abandon Jerusalem at the UN, and, finally, wash his hands of the uncooperative Jews and their pesky Prime Minister.

   Who is the loser here? Certainly not the Iranians, who would get the easing of sanctions while maintaining their nuclear infrastructure intact. Not the Palestinians, who will either get a sweet, and easily abrogable, “peace” deal (division of Jerusalem, restriction of “settlements”, financial aid, etc.) or an excuse for evading responsibility for a negotiations breakdown. Indeed, as usual, such a breakdown would enable them both to avoid accepting the small, demilitarized state-let they have never wanted and recognizing Israel as a legitimate, and permanent, Jewish state.

   Obama—especially given the weak and divided domestic opposition—is a winner here, not a loser. His appeasement of Iran in solidarity with Western Europe and Russia would be represented, like the Syrian debacle, as a diplomatic triumph, peace in our time. 

   No—the real potential losers are the Jewish state, and the American people.   Were Israel to accept being outmaneuvered it would have to live with the dangers of an eliminationist nuclear Iran as the new regional hegemon; and if it did finally move unilaterally–and remember, the window for such action is closing very quickly–it would, even if successful, face opprobrium and punishment not only from Europe and the UN, but also—and most importantly–from its sole current ally, the U.S. 

   And the American people? Sacrificing democratic Israel would mean they would have to face an inward-turning loss of their own democratic vitality, a declining world role, the rise of increasing tensions and instability in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, and—if domestic economic and social stagnation and political paralysis continue and even deepen—rising internal tensions and divisions as well.

      Still, “winning” in such circumstances is ambiguous.  If Obama and the Europeans  persist in isolating Israel, they may just engender what they are seeking to avoid: forced to choose this spring to choose between possible nuclear destruction at the hands of the messianic and antisemitic Iranian regime and suffering Western sanctions, one assumes (hopes?) Netanyahu will choose sovereign national Jewish survival.  And Israel’s resistance to Western pressures here would, if successful, also   have consequences insofar as the Palestinian issue is concerned.

    Israel going it alone against the Iranians, and in opposition to the US, is a nightmare scenario indeed. That it is even thinkable is a measure of the immense diplomatic-political distance travelled in the last five years of Barack Hussein Obama’s Presidency.  Will Israel find the strength to act alone, despite threats? Will the U.S. Congress find a leader able to rise to the occasion across party lines and oppose Obama’s abandonment of Israel, appeasement of Iran, and weakening of America’s position in the world?

   Finally, will the poorly-led and divided North American Jewish world—remembering in this Hannukah season the valiant struggle of the Maccabees against foreign oppression—now wake up, and come to the defense of the Jewish state?   

                                   (Prof. Krantz is Director of the Canadian Institute for
                                 Jewish Research, and Editor of its ISRAFAX magazine).