Israel Brief May 11, 2012: 5.5 Magnitude Earthquake Rocks Israel



5.5 Magnitude Earthquake Rocks Israel

5.5 earthquake felt in areas from northern Israel to central Israel. Epicenter believed to be in Cyprus.

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Earthquake preparedness drill

Earthquake preparedness drill
Flash 90

An earthquake rocked Israel on Friday evening, shortly before 10:00 p.m. local time, and was felt in areas from northern Israel to central Israel.

According to a Channel 10 News report, the police in the Northern, Central and Tel Aviv Districts said they received hundreds of phone calls from citizens who felt the earthquake. Local residents reported feeling objects and buildings move for about 15 to 20 seconds. There were no reports of injuries or damages.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the earthquake measured 5.5 on the Richter scale and its epicenter was in Cyprus, Channel 10 reported.

More than a 100 calls by concerned citizens were received in the northern city of Tzfat alone, the report said. The quake was felt even in Bat Yam, Kfar Saba, Ramat Hasharon, Ra’anana and other areas in central Israel.

Magen David Adom has sent reinforcements to its stations in northern Israel and is preparing for the possibility of secondary tremors, Channel 10 reported….READ MORE

Magnitude-5.3 quake rocks Israel

Source: YNet News, 5-11-12

Shaken residents note tremors in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa, and Beersheba, among other cities; no injuries or damage were immediately reported

An earthquake was felt across Israel on Friday evening. No injuries or damage were immediately reported.

Residents said they felt tremors in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Beersheba, Haifa, Emek Yizrael, Nahariya, Rehovot and Kiryat Gat among other cities around 9:50 pm. They lasted several seconds.

The US Geological Survey initially reported the quake had a magnitude of 5.5, but according to the Geophysical Institute of Israel it measured 5.3 on the Richter scale. Quakes of such magnitude are considerate moderate.

The quake originated in the Cyprus region, at a depth of 19.8 kilometers (12.3 miles).

“I live in Kiryat Motzkin on the sixth floor. I felt the quake, which lasted a few seconds. I felt the chair I was sitting on move. It was really scary,” Amy Shakedi told Ynet.

The tremor was most widely felt in the north, where residents reported leaving their homes as a precautionary measure.

“I was sitting on the couch when I felt the movement,” a resident of Beit Shean said. “The furniture didn’t move or anything, and there were no damage, but we felt it. We immediately went out on the street, and the neighbors did too.”

A resident of the northern council of Misgav said: “I was sitting at home with my kids. Around 9:52 I felt the floor shaking under my feet. The glass displays started to clink. My six-year-old started to cry. I grabbed the kids and ran outside.”

The last earthquake to hit Israel took place in April 2011, and had a magnitude of 5.9.

Israel Political Brief May 11, 2012: Next Week: Acting Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz — PM Benjamin Netanyahu will be in Prague



Next Week: Acting Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz

With Binyamin Netanyahu headed for Prague next week, Shaul Mofaz will be occupying the Prime Minister’s chair.
Source: Israel National News, 5-11-12
Shaul Mofaz

Shaul Mofaz
Flash 90

Newly dubbed Vice Premier and Minister Without Portfolio Shaul Mofaz (Kadima) is wasting no time in trying out Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s chair.

Mofaz will serve as acting Prime Minister when Netanyahu flies to Prague for a two-day visit next Thursday.

The coalition agreement that ushered Kadima into Netanyahu’s Likud-run government stipulated that Mofaz fill the largely symbolic role when the Prime Minister is abroad.

The title of vice premier is has no legal status, whereas the title of vice prime minister – also symbolic – allows for succession without elections should the prime minister be incapacitated.

For Mofaz the position of vice premier means a reduced protection detail, a less prestigious car and a reduction in diplomatic precedence. As opposition leader, visiting foreign leaders were required to meet with him. As vice premier, they are not.

Mofaz explained his decision to enter the coalition as “a historic opportunity to make meaningful steps for the good of the public,” and dismissed criticism saying “there are times when the leadership must make decisions even if they seem unpopular.”

Kadima’s joining the government gives Netanyahu a 94-seat super-coalition with a stated mission of replacing the Tal Law and restructuring Israel’s electoral system and government in such a way as to “provide stability.”

“In my view, it would have been irresponsible to miss this opportunity,” Mofaz said. “The responsibility is on me, and me alone. Let me be judged by my results – I will stand the test.”

Israel Political Brief May 11, 2012: US Concerned Netanyahu, Mofaz May Attack Iran



U.S. Concerned Netanyahu, Mofaz May Attack Iran

U.S. worried that Israel’s new unity government could result in an attack on Iran at any given moment.
Netanyahu and Mofaz

Netanyahu and Mofaz
Flash 90

The United States is worried that Shaul Mofaz and his Kadima party’s joining a unity government with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu could result in an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities at any given moment, according to a report on Channel 10 News on Thursday.

U.S. government officials told Channel 10 News that they believe a Likud-Kadima joing government could make a decision about an Israeli attack on Iran at any moment and perhaps even before the U.S. presidential elections in November.

The report said that when the Americans believed early elections would be held in Israel on September, they thought it meant the attack in Iran would be postponed at least until after the election. Now, with the stabilization of Israeli politics and the current government likely to end its term on schedule, the situation has changed and the Americans are concerned.

According to the Channel 10 report, in order to try and prevent or at least postpone the Israeli decision on the issue, the Americans recently held marathon talks with Israeli officials at all levels….READ MORE

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