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Latest Israel News – 1st September

Security Council resolution to combat Hezbollah a ‘victory for Israel’

Ambassador Danny Danon announced a “victory for Israel in the Security Council” regarding the adoption of a new resolution forcing the UN peacekeeping mission to act against Hezbollah’s buildup.

Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon on Wednesday welcomed the adoption of a new Security Council resolution regarding UNIFIL’s mandate.

According to the decision made upon the annual renewal of this mandate, UNIFIL, the UN’s peacekeeping mission, is now required to expand its reports to the Security Council and take deliberate action against Hezbollah’s violations. UNIFIL’s presence on the ground will increase significantly, and troops will be required to tour the Hezbollah-controlled areas of southern Lebanon.

UNIFIL must also report all instances of Hezbollah’s violations and attempts to deny access immediately.

“This is a significant diplomatic achievement that could change the situation in southern Lebanon and expose the terror infrastructure that Hezbollah set up on the border with Israel,” Danon stated. “The resolution requires UNIFIL to open its eyes, and forces it to act against Hezbollah’s terror buildup in the area. We will continue the fight against Hezbollah and ensure that UNIFIL fulfills its duties on the ground.”

The Security Council’s decision includes two main elements: higher presence of forces on the ground and reliable and timely reporting. Until now, and especially in the last few years, UNIFIL forces have rarely patrolled the area in southern Lebanon, refrained from entering villages widely agreed to be Hezbollah terrorist strongholds, and failed to report Hezbollah’s violations in real time. As such, from now on, UN forces will be required to demonstrate a robust physical presence on the ground, to enter every village and to report, in real time, Hezbollah’s violations of Security Council Resolution 1701.

In addition, this landmark decision will dissolve Hezbollah’s longstanding attempt to be seen as a legitimate organization within the international arena.

The approval of this decision comes after many months of intense diplomatic activity by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Permanent Mission of Israel to the UN, led by Ambassador Danon. This past June, U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley visited the Lebanese border and was briefed on UNIFIL’s limited operations and the arming of Hezbollah by Ambassador Danon and Deputy Chief of Staff of the IDF, Aviv Kochavi. Since the visit, Ambassadors Haley and Danon have insisted on changing the mandate to the other members of the Security Council. As part of these efforts, Israel revealed classified materials to representatives of the various member states, and senior IDF intelligence officials delivered security briefings to UN ambassadors according to Danon’s request.

“I thank the United States for leading this important effort, and for standing up for Israel’s security interests,” Danon stated. “I also thank France for facilitating the negotiations along with the passing of the resolution. The United Nations Secretary-General and Security Council members have made the right decision to serve the most fundamental principle of the United Nations: combating terrorism and maintaining stability and tranquility.”     (WIN: World Israel News)

Israeli Government ‘interested in the stability of Hamas rule in Gaza’

In the wake of resignation of PMO’s coordinator for POWs and MIAs and harsh criticism from Shaul and Goldin families, senior official clarifies Israel is not putting more economic pressure on the Gaza Strip because it ‘is interested in the stability of the Hamas rule in Gaza, as the alternative is far worse.’

Negotiations between Israel and Hamas on the return of three Israeli citizens and the bodies of two IDF soldiers have been defined by high rank intelligence officials as “really stuck” and a “non-starter.”

The bleak assessment comes following the recent resignation of Col. (res.) Lior Lotan, the coordinator for POWs and MIAs in the Prime Minister’s Office, and the harsh criticism from the families of the two soldiers against Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who they dubbed as a “coward” and “weak.”

Over the last year, efforts have been made to clarify the situation of the POWs and MIAs being held by Hamas in Gaza.

Israel’s intelligence community determined with high certainty that Hamas is holding two Israeli citizens: Abera Mengistu, 30, from Ashkelon, who has been in the strip since September 2014, and Hisham Shaaban al-Sayed, a Bedouin man from Hura, who crossed into Gaza in April 2015. Both are alive but suffering from physical and mental problems and need to be on medication on a regular basis. Israel has tried, with an unknown measure of success, to transfer the medications they need through several different intermediaries and channels.

In addition, Hamas is holding the bodies of IDF soldiers Lt. Hadar Goldin and Sgt. Oron Shaul, who were declared dead based on forensic, medical and intelligence assessments, as well as Jewish law.

Top: Jumaa Ibrahim Abu-Ghanima, Sgt. Oron Shaul; Bottom: Lt. Hadar Goldin, Abera Mengistu

Hamas is also holding an additional Israeli citizen, Jumaa Ibrahim Abu-Ghanima, whose presence in Gaza is defined as a “security affair” by the intelligence community, and he is not included on the list of POWs and MIAs. There is also doubt as to whether he really wants to return to Israel.

The negotiations with Israel are being led by two Hamas officials: Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip Yahya Sinwar and his aide Jihad Yaghmur, who were both released as part of the 2011 Shalit deal. Both were sent to prison, among other things, for planning the kidnapping of IDF soldier Nachshon Wachsman. In a cruel twist of fate, it was during Wachsman’s failed rescue attempt in 1994 that the same Lior Lotan was seriously wounded. He was awarded a military citation for his actions in that mission.

When they were released from prison, the two promised the prisoners left behind that they would not abandon them. Sinwar sees it as his duty to keep that promise.

Following what Hamas and the Palestinian public view as the great success of the Shalit deal—which saw the release of 1,027 Palestinian imprisoned in Israel for terror offenses, some of them very severe, in return for one soldier—it is considered the starting point for any future deal. To make that clear, Hamas conditioned merely information on the fate of the POWs and MIAs with the release of the Shalit deal prisoners who have been arrested again since.

Hamas has already given Israel—through intermediaries—its main conditions for a full deal, and they are more or less similar to the Shalit deal as far as the numbers go: The release of some 1,000 living prisoners, as well as the return of bodies and other terms.

Israel unequivocally rejected these conditions. “There’s nothing to talk about,” said the Israeli negotiation team, led by Lotan, after taking the Hamas terms to the prime minister, defense minister, and Security Cabinet.

“Israel of today is not the same Israel that existed on the eve of the (October 2011) Shalit deal,” explained a senior Israeli official. “Primarily, because the deal that was signed had already carried with it strong criticism from the public. Secondly, because living citizens who were taken by Hamas, partially due to their own fault, are not considered by the public to be soldiers who were taken captive while defending the country. This is why the public is only willing to pay a lower price for them. Third, because in light of the Shamgar Commission’s conclusions on the price that should be paid for POWs and MIAs, there are those in the political ranks, the intelligence and military ranks, and among the public, who want to exchange bodies for bodies rather than pay the price of living prisoners, certainly not prisoners with blood on their hands.”

Col. (res.) Lotan realized that in the current state of affairs, there is no chance of reaching a deal, and after three difficult and exhausting years doing the job voluntarily, he decided to resign his post.

The families demand taking other measures against Hamas, such as military operations to release the bodies and the captives, or economic and internal pressure on the Gaza terror group.

It is safe to assume the defense establishment would not rush to any military operation to release the citizens and return the bodies of the soldiers that could risk soldiers’ lives.

As for economic pressure in the form of a complete and air-tight closure of the strip, preventing the transfer of merchandise, equipment, food etc. inside, the senior Israeli official noted it was “Undesirable to impose a boycott similar to what the Defense Ministry put on Gaza in order to pressure Hamas to release Shalit. Primarily, because it didn’t work last time either. We didn’t get Shalit despite all of the steps we took, including the arrest of Hamas leaders, more bombardments, or imposing a stricter blockade on Gaza. Second, the humanitarian crisis in Gaza is so severe and the population’s situation is so bad that any change could lead to an explosion, the collapse of the Hamas rule, chaos and war against Israel.”

“In fact,” the official concluded. “Israel is interested in the stability of the Hamas rule in Gaza, because the alternative is far worse. This is why there isn’t a more intense pressure put to return the captives and soldiers’ bodies.” (Ynet News)

IDF hunts for guns in overnight West Bank raids

Security forces continue to crack down on illegal weapons in the West Bank, carrying out a several raids overnight Tuesday, confiscating assault rifles and shutting down an arms factory.

The ongoing raids of weapons factories have greatly reduced the number of illegal weapons that could end up in the hands of attackers, and has driven up the price of a Carl Gustav-type submachine gun – the most popular weapon – from NIS 1,500 in January 2015 to NIS 4,500 in December 2016 and approximately NIS 7,000 in May 2017.

The IDF, Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and Border Police found M-16s rifles in Azun, near Kalkilya, and an illegal weapons factory and more M-16s in Abud, 22 km. northwest of Ramallah. More homemade weapons were found in Beit Fajar, south of Bethlehem, the army said.

During operations in the West Bank over the past week, the IDF had found a pair of M-4 carbines and several other M-16s. Troops seized one M-16 on Monday found in a home in Abu Dis near Jerusalem, and another was found along with a homemade gun in Bir al-Basha, 15 km. southwest of Jenin, the army said.

The IDF has closed down 35 weapons factories and confiscated more than 220 illegal weapons since January, according to army figures.

In 2016, 40 gun-making workshops were shuttered and 445 illegal weapons were confiscated, a significant increase from the 170 weapons seized in 2015.

The effect of such closures has been felt in the sales of assault rifles such as the M-16, which, since they cost tens of thousands of shekels, are less popular than the relatively cheap Carl Gustav knockoffs.

The IDF believes it is getting to the root of the problem of illegal weapons in the West Bank by carrying out near-nightly raids.

Lt-.Col. Benny Meir, commander of the Shahar Battalion, said in a recent interview with The Jerusalem Post that the raids have given the IDF the upper hand against Palestinian weapons dealers, adding that “we are always in action and this is leading them to make many mistakes” that lead to their eventual arrests.

“It’s like the roots of the tree; we might only get the branch on top at first, but in the end we get to the roots and get everyone involved,” Meir said.

Also overnight on Tuesday, security forces arrested 16 wanted Palestinians across the West Bank suspected of involvement in terrorist activities and in violent disturbances against civilians and soldiers.

Security forces arrested one Palestinian in each of the following places: Beita, Tulkarm, Azun, Kafr Abbush, Kafr a-Tabka, Kobar and Kafr Ein. Another two wanted Palestinians were arrested in each of the villages of Dura, Husan and Beit Rima, and three others in Beit Fajar.

All were transferred to the Shin Bet for questioning. (Jerusalem Post)

Greenblatt visits Gaza border, reaffirms US support for PA

US Special Envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt reaffirmed Washington’s support for the Palestinian Authority’s push to regain control of the Gaza Strip Wednesday, after touring the region with Major General Yoav Mordechai.

“It is clear that the PA must resume its role in managing the Gaza Strip,” Greenblatt said, “since Hamas has severely harmed the residents and failed to meet their most basic needs.”

Mordechai, the coordinator of government activities in the territories, briefed government ministers on the security situation and existing threats in Gaza, as well as on humanitarian measures taken by Israel to help residents of the Strip, according to Ma’ariv.

The Iran-backed Islamist group Hamas has controlled Gaza since it ousted Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ more moderate Fatah party in June 2007.

Greenblatt urged Hamas to return the bodies of Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, who were killed in action by the terrorist group during Operation Protective Edge in 2014, and to release Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed, who are believed to still be held captive by the group.

Mordechai and Greenblatt visited the Kerem Shalom crossing, a central route for transporting food, equipment and supplies to and from Gaza, and Erez Crossing, where they met and spoke with Palestinian residents of the Strip.

They also toured a Hamas tunnel in the region.

US Special Envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt (L) and Major General Yoav Mordechai (R)

“One kilometer of such a tunnel costs about $200,000,” Mordechai said. “This means that instead of a tunnel, hospitals in the Gaza Strip can be built, but Hamas’ priorities are the primary interests of the military wing and terror.”

“Hamas is acting cynically and exploiting civilian humanitarian assistance to strengthen itself, and the Palestinian population in the Gaza Strip is paying the price,” he said.

The special envoy also visited the Iron Dome battery and Kibbutz Nahal Oz, where he met with Alon Shuster, head of the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council, and residents of the kibbutz who spoke about their lives near the Gaza border.

“I visited the Gaza border today. I learned a lot about the difficult challenges facing the IDF, Israeli residents living in the nearby areas and the residents of Gaza, as a result of Hamas’ misuse of humanitarian aid and its commitment to terrorism and violence,” Greenblatt said     (Jerusalem Post)

As Iran expands its military influence in Syria, Israel puts the world on notice

Iran is expanding into Syria, converting the country into a military and weapons base, filling it with heavily armed Shi’a proxy forces, and earmarking it as a launchpad for future attacks on Israel.

Israel, in turn, has recently put the international community on notice, warning that a failure to stop the Iranian push into Syria will result in Israeli military action.

In this context, Israeli officials have traveled to the U.S. and Russia in recent weeks, to share information on Iran’s military moves into Syria, and to sound out the alarm over what may come next.

Yet it remains far from clear that either Moscow or Washington can or will pressure the Iranians to stop. According to one report, Russia has placed its advanced S-400 air defense system near Iranian weapons factories in Syria. The factories purportedly produce long-range guided missiles for the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah to use against Israel. Russia has not confirmed the report.

In August, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu traveled to Sochi, Russia, where he met with President Vladimir Putin at his summer residence for an urgent meeting on Iran’s activities in Syria.

Iran, which runs the ground war in Syria on behalf of the Bashar al-Assad regime, has become an important regional ally of Russia, which oversees air operations in support of the Iranian-led axis. Together, they have managed to turn the tide in the Syrian war against the Sunni rebel organizations. The Assad regime has been regaining increasing amounts of territory, into which Iran and its agents pour in. Islamic State’s collapse is also leaving behind a vacuum that is being filled by Iran.

Meanwhile, a senior Israeli defense delegation, made up of the head of the Mossad, Yossi Cohen, and the leader of the IDF Military Intelligence Directorate, Maj.-Gen. Herzi Halevi, landed in Washington in mid-August to discuss what Iran is doing in Syria with U.S. National Security Adviser, H. R. McMaster.

Israeli delegation members noted “a kind of embarrassment and lack of a clear position” among Trump administration officials regarding America’s commitments in the Middle East, particularly in regards to preventing the spread of Iranian influence in Syria, Yedioth Ahronoth reported.

U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman told The Jerusalem Post that “the Americans fully support the Israeli objectives…at least from a macro perspective, the Americans and Israelis are of the same mind.” Yet the newspaper reported that Friedman was “unwilling to discuss…how this objective of keeping Iran out of a post-civil war Syria can be reached.”

According to Professor Eyal Zisser, an expert on Syria from Tel Aviv University, the U.S.  is prepared to hand off Syria to Russia. “As part of this package deal, which will free the Trump Administration from the burden of Syria, the U.S. is willing to accept the Russian willingness to grant Iran a grip on Syria,” he added.

Zisser said that Russia is aware of Israel’s concerns, and is willing to move Hezbollah and Iran back from the Israeli border by a few kilometers, but that ultimately, Moscow views Iran as a legitimate force. Moscow also thinks that Israel has to come to accept Iran as such, so long as the Iranian presence does not turn into a missile attack on Israel.

“The bottom line is that neither Russia nor the US are accepting Israel’s outcry, and are unwilling to push Iran out of Syria. They even view it as a stabilizing factor, and apparently they do not take Israel’s threats very seriously,” Zisser added.

Israel’s diplomatic warning campaign is in full swing, but it is reasonable to believe that the real objective is to create legitimacy for future Israeli action, Israel’s former National Security Adviser, Maj.-Gen. Yaakov Amidror, told JNS.org.

“The Israeli warning regarding an intention to set red lines is important, not because the two powers (the U.S. and Russia) will act, but because when Israel acts, it will have much more legitimacy,” said Amidror.

Col. (ret.) Reuven Erlich, director of Tel Aviv-based Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, which has been monitoring events in Syria, said that America’s goal is to dismantle Islamic State’s control in areas of Syria—not to engage in nation-building there or prevent the buildup of Iranian-backed Shi’a forces.

“The U.S. policy in Syria is to destroy ISIS’s territorial control,” he said, explaining that other issues, like the Syrian regime’s relations with others, are out of the range of American policy or capabilities in Syria.

“So if we suddenly see Shi’ite militias and Hezbollah in the Syrian Golan Heights, they (the Americans) will not be able to do much,” Erlich said.

He added, “But the U.S. can activate pressure levers that it has with Russia, which is and will continue to be a strong player in Syria, and which can pressure the Syrian regime. The U.S. is not, however, building a position on the ground that would enable it to come to our assistance if we need it.”

Russia does have a presence in Syria, and therefore, an ability to influence the Damascus regime and Iran, Erlich argued. Still, he said, “The Russians will not enter into a confrontation with Iran because of us. But if they realize that an Iranian presence in the Golan Heights will have a price, the Russians can be a restraining factor. That too, however, is in doubt.”

Ultimately, Erlich said, Israel must rely on its own ability to defend itself. Quoting Hillel the Elder, he said, “There is a saying: If I am not for myself, who will be for me?”

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman Aug. 24 released a statement that was both unusual and littered with clues about the seriousness of the latest developments.

“The fact that Iran is trying to turn the whole of Syrian territory into a forward outpost against the State of Israel, with military bases, with thousands of Shi’ite mercenaries that are brought in from all over the Middle East into Syria, with an Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) air force base, with an IRGC naval base, the attempt to manufacture precision weaponry in Lebanon—this is a reality that we do not intend to accept,” he said.

Lieberman said Netanyahu’s meeting in Sochi was part of an attempt to use every available diplomatic avenue, hinting heavily that military action would follow if diplomacy failed.

“All that we are trying to do right now is to use all of these avenues to solve the problem,” he said.

In a clearly veiled warning, Lieberman added, “I hope that we can solve it through the diplomatic channels, through the international community, with vigorous activity in every direction. I hope we will not have to think otherwise.”  (JNS)

PA’s Botched Attempt to Manipulate UN Chief Was Prompted by International Condemnation of Terror Glorification, Israeli Analyst Says

The Palestinian Authority’s unease over growing international frustration with its stance on terrorism lay behind its botched attempt to portray visiting UN Secretary-General Antonio Gutteres as having shown empathy for imprisoned terrorists, one of Israel’s leading analysts of Palestinian affairs said on Thursday.

“In all likelihood, the current PA presentation of Guterres as sympathetic to Palestinian prisoners is intended to break the uniform international condemnation of PA terror support, by making it seem the UN Secretary-General supports their claims,” Itamar Marcus of research institute Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) stated in a report detailing the PA’s effort to manipulate Guterres.

On Tuesday, following his meeting in Ramallah with PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, Guterres was doorstepped by a group of relatives of Palestinian terrorists serving life sentences in Israeli prisons. According to a UN spokesperson, PA officials presented the group to Guterres as “Palestinian mothers of detained children” who wanted to present him with a petition.

“Confronted with the situation, [Guterres] received the group which presented him a petition,” the UN spokesperson said.

The spokesperson flatly denied PA reports that Guterres had expressed support for the prisoners. “Any quotes attributed to the Secretary-General in this regard are fabricated,” the spokesperson said.

The true identity of the group was disclosed later on by the official Palestinian news agency WAFA. Among those present at the meeting with Guterres was Latifa Abu Hmeid, the mother of Nasser Abu Hmeid, a regional commander in the Al Aqsa Martys Brigade who is currently serving life in prison for the murder of seven Israelis in 2002. Abu Hmeid’s two brothers are also jailed for life in Israel for terrorist crimes.

According to WAFA, the group “demanded that the UN secretary-general act in a serious and concrete manner to save the lives of more than 6,500 Palestinian prisoners and female prisoners sitting in the Israeli occupation’s prisons from the grave violations that the [Israeli] occupation Prison Service perpetrates against them, such as medical neglect, administrative detentions, and the arrest of women, children, and parliament members.”

It then fabricated the response from Guterres that was later denied by the UN, in which the secretary-general was falsely quoted as having said, “We understand the suffering of the Palestinian prisoners. We will work together with the authorized and relevant parties in order to put an end to their suffering.”

In his first year at the UN’s helm, Guterres has made his opposition to the extolment of terrorism clear on several occasions. Last May, in a statement dissociating the UN from a West Bank women’s center named after notorious Fatah terrorist Dalal Mughrabi, Guterres declared, “The glorification of terrorism, or the perpetrators of heinous terrorist acts, is unacceptable under any circumstances.”

As with its demand that the descendants of Palestinian refugees have a “right of return” to present-day Israel, the PA is similarly determined to present its support for imprisoned terrorists as a non-negotiable article of faith. Families of imprisoned or deceased terrorists receive more than $300 million annually in so-called “martyr payments” from the PA  — a policy that is now the target of a renewed legislative effort in the US Congress. (the Algemeiner)

Israel’s ambassador returns to Egypt after 8 months away

Israel’s ambassador to Egypt has returned to his post, eight months after he and his small staff returned home because of unspecified security threats.

Cairo airport officials say the ambassador, David Govrin, flew back to Cairo on Tuesday with eight staff members. The ambassador and his staff are expected to resume work from the envoy’s suburban Cairo home.

The Israeli Embassy in central Cairo has been closed since protesters stormed it in 2011.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry had no immediate comment. The airport officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Prior to their departure in mid-December, the ambassador and his staff routinely flew home on Thursday and returned to their post on Sunday.

A February report in the British newspaper, The Telegraph, claimed that Govrin was returned to Israel at the end of 2016 and has not visited the Egyptian capital since. He did however continue to perform his duties from Jerusalem.

The report made no mention of specific security threats that abruptly prompted Gavrin’s surprise departure, but the concerns are said to have emanated from the numerous terror attacks that had struck Egypt during the same period.  (Ynet News)

but on the other hand

Jordan refuses to accept Israeli ambassador’s return

Five weeks after the evacuation of the Israeli embassy in Jordan following the attack incident in which an Israeli security guard shot and killed two Jordanians in apparent self defense, Israeli Ambassador to Jordan Einat Shlain and the embassy staff have yet to return to Jordan, and the diplomatic crisis is far from being resolved.

During said incident, Israeli guard Ziv Moyal was allegedly stabbed by a teenaged Jordanian Muhammad al-Jawawdeh. Moyal then opened fire, killing al-Jawawdeh and Jordanian landlord Bassem al-Hamarna, who was apparently present but not part of the attack.

Jordan is currently refusing to accept Shlain’s return to the embassy, after she and Moyal were photographed being received by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who celebrated the guard’s actions upon his return.

Sources estimated that in light of Jordan’s outright refusal, Israel will have no choice but to appoint a new ambassador, if it intends to restore normal relations with Jordan.

In the meantime, the Israel Police’s investigation of Moyal’s actions has not yet ended, although all the signs show that Moyal’s claim of self defense holds up.

As a result, Israel-Jordanian relations have been in a state of freeze: no visas are being issued, resulting in thousands of Jordanians and Palestinians living in Jordan who cannot enter Israel through the Allenby crossing. In addition, since the incident, 163 passports of Jordanian citizens waiting to receive a visa to Israel have been held in a safe of the Israeli embassy in Jordan.     (Ynet News)

Israel to advance plans for 3,000 settlement homes – report

The Defense Ministry body responsible for authorizing construction of Israeli settlements in the West Bank will reportedly be advancing plans for some 3,000 new housing units when it convenes next month.

The Civil Administration’s High Planning Subcommittee had been scheduled to meet next week, according to a Channel 2 news report Wednesday, but its quarterly session was postponed until after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s upcoming trip abroad.

Sources told Channel 2 that the government did not want to “arm” Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas with another complaint against Israel at the UN General Assembly, which will convene on September 12, and where both Abbas and Netanyahu will be speaking.

Included in the plans set to be advanced by the Civil Administration are 700 housing units in Ariel, 260 and 97 units in the northern West Bank settlements of Tzofim and Rechalim, respectively, 86 units in the Binyamin region’s Migron, and 192 in the South Hebron Hills’ Negohot, the report said.

The Defense Ministry body, which has already approved 3,400 housing units this year, will reportedly also work to shorten the planning process for West Bank settlements.

Currently, building plans require Civil Administration approval at a number of stages throughout the planning process. The government is looking to decrease the number of authorizations necessary for final validation in order to limit the public outcry that typically follows each stage of the approval process.

Much of the international community views settlements as illegal and an obstacle to peace with the Palestinians. (the Times of Israel)

IAI delivers first Barak 8 maritime defense missile to Indian Navy

Israel Aerospace Industries on Tuesday delivered the first Barak 8 long-range surface-to-air missile to the Indian Navy.

Barak 8 is a maritime defense system that has long-range water and land engagement capabilities allowing it to intercept all types of aerial targets, such as subsonic and supersonic missiles, fighter aircraft, maritime patrolling aircraft, helicopter and sea skimming missiles. According to IAI, the Barak 8 interceptor can engage multiple targets simultaneously, “in severe saturation scenarios” and independent of the weather, making it one of the most advanced projectiles of its kind.

Over the past few years, IAI has signed several deals with India for the supply of the Barak 8 family of defense systems. In recent months alone, the volume of transactions reached $2.5 billion.

The first LRSAM missile was presented to Indian Defense Minister Arun Jaitley is a festive ceremony in Hyderabad, the capital of southern India’s Telangana state and a major center for the technology industry.

The projectile was developed jointly by IAI and India’s Defense Research and Development Organization, and is slated to be installed in India’s new missile ships, which have recently became operational.

Jaitley praised the collaboration between India and Israel on the development of advanced technology.

“This is a historic day for India, in which our navy becomes the proud owners of one of the most sophisticated systems in the world. This system will help the Indian Navy protect our country. India needs to be prepared for any scenario. Therefore, we should equip our operational forces with the best of advanced technology. The delivery of the first missile coming out from the indigenous production line is an example of the Indian economy and industry capabilities. We must continue developing the local infrastructure and manufacturing as part of our defense capabilities,” he said.

IAI Executive Vice President and General Manager of Systems, Missiles & Space Group Boaz Levy said that “the delivery of the first missile manufactured in India to India’s defense arms is a technological dream come true. It is another exciting step in the many-years collaboration between IAI, India’s government, India’s DRDO and other partners and one that reflects a technological and engineering effort of the highest level.”

IAI and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems together with Indian defense contractor Baharat Dynamics have established a joint production line in India for the LRSAM program. The local production line, built as part of New Delhi’s “Make in India” policy, integrates Israeli and Indian technology.  (Israel Hayom)

Haredi female psychotrauma pioneer heads to Houston with Israeli medics

(Her husband’s family were  well known in Sydney’s Adass Community    RW )