Israel Tightens Airspace Rules

Hat tip to Irish Anglican, Fr Rob.

Ben Gurion Airport

Jewish Press is reporting:

Israel has tightened airspace rules for aircraft entering Israeli airspace according to a report on Israel Channel 2.

The report said that the rules have been tightened in response to the missing missing Malaysian plane MH370.

Additional unnamed measures have been taken to protect Israel from potential attacks via its airspace from hijacked/sabotaged commercial jetliners.

There is suspicion among some Israeli security experts that Iran is involved in the plane’s disappearance.

 

Christians Serving in the IDF

The Jewish Press:

Father Gabriel Nadaf presents a soldier with an ICRF award.

Nearly 90 Christian soldiers from all over the country and from all IDF units came together earlier this week in Nazareth Illit for an event organized by the Israeli Christians Recruitment Forum. Although it has only been around for a little over a year, its impact has been astounding. Since its founding, the number of Christians enlisting in the IDF has doubled. According to the forum’s data, 84 Christian soldiers have enlisted since June 2013 alone. In previous years, that would be the amount to draft in an entire year and a half.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed and thanked these outstanding soldiers in a special video message. “The purpose of this forum is clear: to engage Christians who serve in the IDF,” he said. “The importance of your actions goes without saying. I was pleased to hear that over the course of the past year, there has been a significant increase in the number of soldiers. I salute and support all of you.”

“I know that the mission is not always easy,” he added. “But we will be with you along the way. All of Israel is proud and thanks you.”

Father Gabriel Nadaf, a Greek Orthodox priest and president of the Forum, addressed the soldiers as well. “As a Christian spiritual teacher living in the Middle East, I understand that human rights are not something to be taken for granted. For that, I thank the Jewish people and the State of Israel,” he said. “I believe in cooperation between Jews and Christians and our shared fate in a Jewish country. I believe that we can contribute to Israel and I call on all Christians to join the army and help us to protect this country.”

The founder of the forum, Major Ihab Shelian, who serves in the Israel Navy, was overwhelmed to see so many soldiers of the faith gathered together in one place for the first time, a crowd which included high-ranking officers as well. Certificates of appreciation were presented to all the soldiers.

HTIrishanglican’s Weblog.

 

Is Hezbollah About to Withdraw From Syria?

One can but hope so…(Photo: wikicommons/ yeowatzup)

Writing at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, retired Israeli Brigadier General Shimon Shapira wonders if the ongoing debate inside Iran on the expenditure on behalf of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad is a portent of an upcoming Iranian disengagement from civil war-torn Syria in the form of pulling out Iran’s client terror organization, Hezbollah:

Although Hezbollah’s leaders claim it is fighting in Syria in order to protect Lebanon, Lebanese Shiites are not convinced and Hezbollah’s supporters are dubious. Hezbollah has now lost almost 350 men in Syria, not all of whom have been brought back to Lebanon for burial, while the number of wounded has passed a thousand. This puts into question Hezbollah’s ability to keep sacrificing its fighters in Syria when its target of jihad is Israel.

 

Israel Foils Al-Qaida Plan to Bomb US Embassy

Well done!

Israel has foiled an Al Qaeda plan to attack the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv, Fox News confirmed.

According to a senior U.S. official who has been briefed on the intelligence shared by Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security agency, about the plot,  “we have no reason to question the Israeli intelligence.”

“Details are still emerging,” he said.

The official described the plot as “audacious” and involving a “small cell.”

Shin Bet said Wednesday it arrested three Palestinians it accuses of plotting to carry out bombings, shootings, kidnappings and other attacks.

It said the men, two from Jerusalem and one from the West Bank, were recruited by an operative based in the Gaza Strip who worked for Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Shin Bet alleges the Palestinians planned on attacking a Jerusalem conference center with firearms and then killing rescue workers with a truck bomb.

It said Al Qaeda also planned to send foreign militants to attack the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv on the same day using explosives supplied by the Palestinians.

 

It’s Taken an American to Expose the Brutal Truth of Britain’s Military Decline

The Telegraph:

Harrier on aircraft carrier

None of these, any more. (Photo: EPA)

Robert Gates’s devastating critique of Britain’s military decline since the Government’s ill-considered 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review is as long overdue as it is welcome.

The former US Defence Secretary, who served under both the Bush and Obama administrations having previously enjoyed a glittering career at the CIA, says the “fairly substantial reductions” to the defence budget undertaken by the Coalition mean that Britain can no longer viewed as a “full partner” by the US.

So far as our national security is concerned, this is simply devastating. Close military cooperation between Britain and the world’s only superpower if essential if we are to stand any chance of defending ourselves, as well as protecting our interests overseas.

But – as I have argued consistently since the SDSR cuts were announced – the Government has blithely pressed ahead with cutting the MOD’s budget without giving the slightest consideration to the damage it has inflicted to our defence capabilities, and the disastrous effect this would inevitably have on our standing as a leading military power.

In response to Mr Gates’s comments, the Ministry of Defence has trotted out its usual formula for defending the indefensible – Britain still has the fourth largest defence budget in the world,  still retains powerful military capabilities, blah, blah, blah…

 

Christmas Spirit Gone Bad

I saw this over at the Rosh Pina Project.

We had mentioned the hijacking of Christmas by anti-Israel activists a number of years ago, this year this bah humbug tradition against Israel continues as the Christmas spirit turns bad toward Israel again, reports Ynet.

The holiday season is traditionally a time for a good cheer, well wishes and fellowship. Season’s greetings, carols and decorations can make even the non-observer smile. Yet, in a new report issued by Jerusalem-based research institute NGO Monitor, “‘Tis The Season 2013: How Anti-Israel NGOs Manipulate Christmas,” a less-cheerful side of the Christmas season is revealed – a pattern of radical non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that exploit the holidays for politicized attacks against Israel.

As shown in the report, these NGOs expropriate traditional Christmas messages and symbols, using offensive, inflammatory, and often blatantly anti-Semitic rhetoric in Christmas carols, holiday cards, nativity scenes, verses, and prayers. These mediums are then used to promote anti-Israel themes and support Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) efforts.

Additionally, these groups often encourage boycotts of specific Israeli goods as part of the exploitation of American consumerism during the holiday season. For example, in 2013, Friends of Sabeel-North America (FOSNA) is running a campaign to “send a Christmas appeal to the SodaStream 14.” The effort sends letters to the chief executive officers (CEOs) of 14 major companies that sell SodaStream devices, asking them to discontinue sales. Going one step further, at its seventh annual “Anti-Apartheid Holiday Caroling at Leviev’s,” a fringe and marginal group known as Adalah-NY replaced lyrics of traditional holiday songs with lines reminiscent of classical anti-Semitism. Aimed at a New York jewelry store owned by Israeli businessman Lev Leviev, Adalah-NY provides an entire songbook of altered holiday songs for activists to use while protesting. The songs accuse Leviev of (to the tune of “Jingle Bells”) of “Building settlements/ On confiscated lands/ Selling di-amonds/ With blood on his hands.” Carols and gift-giving, usually happy symbols of the holiday spirit, are now transformed into vehicles for the promotion of anti-Semitism and blood libels, polarizing Jewish-Christian relations.

‘Wise Men queuing to enter Bethlehem’ This year, distorted stories, sermons, prayers, and the use of biblical figures, are especially prominent. These messages serve as alternative material for spiritual and educational purposes, making them especially pernicious. Indeed, the abuse of Christmas messages is part of a broad international campaign to introduce political warfare against Israel into churches. As seen in NGO Monitor’s “BDS in the Pews” project, Palestinian Christian NGOs consistently provide the theological and ideological frameworks for these attacks.

For example, in 2009, a group of 13 Palestinian Christian clergy drafted the Kairos Palestine Document. It calls for BDS against Israel, denies the Jewish historical connection to Israel in theological terms, and blames Israel solely for the continuation of the conflict. Its purpose is to rally churches globally to support BDS, delegitimization, and demonization directed at the State of Israel. This year, Kairos Palestine published a 50-page “Christmas 2013″ pamphlet, slated to be used as an educational hub for religious groups and gatherings. The pamphlet exploits traditional Christian sources, using religious figures and biblical stories as part of politicized messages: “Mary understands the right of return for refugees. Standing in the shadow of empire, Mary sees and still bears witness, sings to God the Savior… After 46 years of occupation and denial of all basic rights, can I continue joyfully witnessing and singing like Mary?” or “The Holy Family taking refuge in Egypt away from danger and death brings back memories of Palestinian families who sought a similar refuge in nearby villages and countries like Egypt away from the cruelty and destruction of war in 1948.”

Similarly, and perhaps more common is the use of the current political reality projected onto the stories of the New Testament. For example, UK-based Amos Trust in their annual Bethlehem Pack speculate: “If Jesus was born today in Bethlehem, the Wise Men would spend several hours queuing to enter the town…The shepherds, despite being residents of Bethlehem, would struggle to graze their sheep because their land would be annexed by the building of the separation wall and a lack of freedom to travel and restrictions on trade would make it very difficult for them to make a living.” These statements describe a one-sided version of the current political reality, conspicuously omitting the context of deadly terrorism and other violence against Israelis. Many of the NGOs use the image of the Israeli security barrier, in particular surrounding Bethlehem, in their holiday cards and messages, entirely ignoring the role this structure has played in preventing deadly terror attacks against Israeli civilians.

These depictions, messages, and attacks, not only serve to misrepresent a complex political context. They also hijack the messages and warm feelings engendered by Christmas, debasing the very meaning of the holiday.

Well…

 

What Moral Theologians Say About Getting Involved in Syria

Traditionally, moral theologians have argued that to use military force justly, one must have a just cause; the use of force must be the last resort; success must be probable; the means must be proportionate; and the military action must be by a legitimate authority.

As the Obama administration prepares to respond to the use of chemical weapons in Syria, what are the ethicists saying about the morality of military intervention? In this article, I will examine their views about whether intervention in Syria fits the criteria of a just war. Links are provided to the more complete thoughts of each expert.

Just cause?

Do read on here.

 

Israel Fires Ballistic Missiles into the Mediterranean

I’ve long considered myself a ‘friend’ of Israel, but I have to ask: What are they thinking firing ballistic missiles at a time like this?

Reuters reports:

Israel tested a U.S.-backed missile system in the Mediterranean on Tuesday but did not announce the launch in advance, prompting a disclosure by Russia that kept the world on edge as the United States weighed an attack on Syria.

The morning launch was first reported by Moscow media that quoted Russian defense officials as saying two ballistic “objects” had been fired eastward from the center of the sea – roughly in the direction of Syria.

The news ruffled financial markets until Israel’s Defence Ministry said that it, along with a Pentagon team, had carried out a test-launch of a Sparrow missile. The Sparrow, which simulates the long-range missiles of Syria and Iran, is used for target practice by Israel’s U.S.-backed ballistic shield Arrow.

“Israel routinely fires missiles or drones off its shores to test its own ballistic defense capabilities,” a U.S. official said in Washington.

Western naval forces have been gathering in the Mediterranean and the Red Sea since President Bashar al-Assad was accused of carrying out an August 21 gas attack in his more than two-year-old conflict with rebels trying to topple him.

Damascus denies responsibility for the incident. U.S. President Barack Obama had been widely expected to order reprisal strikes on Syria last week but put them off to seek support from Washington lawmakers first.

With U.S. action on Syria delayed as Obama confers with Congress, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has sought to play up the Jewish state’s ability to deal with its foes alone. On Tuesday, the rightist premier spoke of anti-missile systems as a national “wall of iron”.

“These things give us the power to protect ourselves, and anyone who considers harming us would do best not to,” he said in a speech.

Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon shrugged off a question from reporters on whether the launch might have been ill-timed. He said Israel had to work to maintain its military edge and “this necessitates field trials and, accordingly, a successful trial was conducted to test our systems. And we will continue to develop and to research and to equip the IDF (Israel Defence Forces) with the best systems in the world.”

Arrow designer Uzi Rabin said tests of the anti-missile system are planned “long, long in advance” and generally go unnoticed. “What apparently made the difference today is the high state of tension over Syria and Russia’s unusual vigilance,” he told Reuters.

A Russian Defence Ministry spokesman quoted by the Interfax news agency said the launch was picked up by an early warning radar station at Armavir, near the Black Sea, which is designed to detect missiles from Europe and Iran.

RIA, another Russian news agency, later quoted a source in Syria’s “state structures” as saying the objects had fallen harmlessly into the sea.

The Russian Defence Ministry declined comment to Reuters…

‘Ill-timed’ indeed. But perhaps a show of force?

 

IDF Infographic

 

SANDF Soldiers to be Remembered

SABC news:

The memorial service for the 13 SA National Defence Force soldiers, who died in a gun battle with Seleka rebels in the Central African Republic nine days ago, will be held at the Swartkop Air Force Base in Pretoria on Tuesday.

Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula handed over the bodies of the deceased soldiers to their respective families last week Thursday. SANDF spokesperson Xolani Mabanga says funeral arrangements will also be announced on Tuesday.

“I would like to emphasise that there is a senior official that has been appointed in SANDF that will be in charge of each and every family, for the preparation of the funeral and all the administration,” says Mabanga.

It is ill-advised or ill-informed of the DA to call a joint sitting

Meanwhile, the African National Congress’ chief whip’s office says calling for a joint sitting of Parliament to force the withdrawal of troops from the Central African Republic, will not yield any results, this after the Democratic Alliance urged President Jacob Zuma to convene an urgent joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament to discuss the matter.

However, the ANC’s chief whip’s spokesperson Moloto Motapo says only Parliament’s joint committee on Defence can make such a recommendation to either the National Assembly or the National Council of Provinces.


 

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