Israel Political Brief August 20, 2012: US Joint Chiefs’ Martin Dempsey: Israel and U.S. see Iran threat differently

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Joint Chiefs’ Dempsey: Israel and U.S. see Iran threat differently

Source: JTA, 8-20-12

Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Israel is facing an “existential” threat from Iran that the United States does not view with the same urgency….READ MORE

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Israel Political Brief August 20, 2012: Iron Dome battery positioned near Eilat

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Iron Dome battery positioned near Eilat

Source: JTA, 8-20-12

Israel installed an Iron Dome anti-missile system battery outside of Eilat days after a long-range rocket attack on the city….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief August 19, 2012: New Israeli home front chief Avi Dichter: Iran’s nukes threaten Israel’s existence

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New Israeli home front chief Dichter: Iran’s nukes threaten Israel’s existence

Source: JTA, 8-19-12

“Israel’s existence is threatened” by Iran’s nuclear weapons program, Avi Dichter said upon taking over as Israel’s home front defense minister….READ MORE

 

Israel Political Brief August 19, 2012: Nathan Sharansky: Iran fears delaying immigration plans

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Sharansky: Iran fears delaying immigration plans

Source: JTA, 8-19-12

Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky said the fear of a war with Iran has caused Jews in the Diaspora to delay their aliyah plans….READ MORE

 

Israel Brief August 19, 2012: Parts of Grad missile found north of Eilat

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Parts of Grad missile found north of Eilat

Source: JTA, 8-19-12

Parts of a long-range Grad rocket were found north of Eilat….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief August 19, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu calls PA President Mahmoud Abbas to discuss firebomb attack at Ramadan end

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Netanyahu calls Abbas to discuss firebomb attack at Ramadan end

Source: JTA, 8-19-12

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a phone call to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas promised an all-out effort to bring to justice the perpetrators of a firebombing that wounded six Palestinians….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief August 17, 2012: Shimon Peres: Israel cannot strike Iran on its own

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Peres: Israel cannot strike Iran on its own

Source: JTA, 8-17-12

Israeli President Shimon Peres has said that Israel cannot attack Iran on its own….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief August 16, 2012: Knesset confirms Avi Dichter as home front defense chief

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Knesset confirms Dichter as home front chief

Source: JTA, 8-16-12

Israel’s Knesset approved the appointment of former lawmaker Avi Dichter as home front defense minister….READ MORE

 

Israel Brief August 16, 2012: Sinai-area terror group claims responsibility for Eilat explosions

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Sinai-area terror group claims responsibility for Eilat explosions

Source: JTA, 8-16-12

An Islamist terror group operating in the Sinai claimed responsibility for firing rockets into southern Israel….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief August 15, 2012: Michael Oren: Iran targeted Israeli Embassy in US

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Oren: Iran targeted Israeli Embassy

Source: JTA, 8-15-12

Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, said Iran targeted his embassy….READ MORE

 

Full Text Israel Political Brief August 15, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of the Cabinet Meeting on the Defense Budget

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PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of the Cabinet Meeting on the Defense Budget

Source: PMO, 8-15-12

Following are Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks at the start of the Cabinet meeting today on the defense budget:

“Today, we are starting a discussion the likes of which, until today, have not been held in a forum of Israeli Government ministers, certainly not in the overall forum of the Cabinet plenum. At the end of this discussion, we will be asked to decide not only on how much money to invest in defense but where to invest the money within the defense establishment.

This is discussion concerns not only priorities between the defense budget and other ministries represented here.

This is a discussion about the priorities within the defense budget, not down to the last penny, not within each individual section, but about the main questions regarding building the force related to the multi-year plan, for the next five years, perhaps the next decade.

We will make complicated decisions about the size of the budget and the channeling of the budget to the main components of the force. This is a complex and serious discussion. I doubt that we will finish it today but we must finish it in order to move forward on the 2013 budget, to chart a path to the 2013 defense budget, to chart a path to the defense budget for the next five years, with consequences for the next decade. Therefore, we must also respond to the historic changes that are taking place around us.

We must be ready for the changing threats that are being directed at the State of Israel. We must see to it that the security which Israelis have enjoyed over past three-and-a-half years continues under the changing conditions. Around the Cabinet table, we will listen to the professional elements and we will decide according to the defense concept that fits these changes.

This is a unique discussion. It usually takes place once every five years in a smaller forum and it may be that at a certain stage we will decide to reduce this forum, but I would like all ministers, to the best of our abilities, be party to the decisions that I think will greatly determine the Government’s budget for the State of Israel. This is a necessary condition to pass the 2013 state budget. This is, first of all, because it is necessary to finish with the defense budget; it is always like this. This is a necessary condition for wise decisions regarding the defense budget and the multi-year plan. There is a second condition without which we cannot submit the budget and that is to maintain economic responsibility.

We have gone through a decade of scrupulously maintaining the budgetary framework and our ability to do so has guarded the Israeli economy from the global crisis, until now with exemplary success. This is also how we acted over the past three years and we intend to act this way now as well.”

Israel Political Brief August 14, 2012: Avi Dichter quits Knesset to take home front defense ministerial position

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Dichter quits Knesset to take home front defense ministerial position

Source: JTA, 8-14-12

Israeli lawmaker Avi Dichter resigned from the Kadima Party and the Knesset in order to join the government as minister of home front defense….READ MORE

 

Full Text Israel Political Brief August 14, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Speech at the Nefesh B’Nefesh Welcoming Ceremony at Ben-Gurion Airport

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PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Nefesh B’Nefesh Welcoming Ceremony at Ben-Gurion Airport

Source: PMO, 8-14-12

Welcome to the Land of Israel; welcome to the State of Israel; welcome home.

Today we have with us 127 immigrants who are joining the Israel Defense Forces.  Well done.  You are coming here to defend the State of Israel, the people of Israel, the future of the Jewish people.  We defend the Jewish people here in the State of Israel, and you are joining the IDF ranks.  I take my hat off to you, as does Natan Sharansky and the entire nation.  Well done to all of you.

Ninety-three children are here with you today out of 350 immigrants.  In the ten years Nefesh B’Nefesh has operated, they have brought 33,000 new immigrants to Israel, mostly from North America.  This is a tremendous achievement – tremendous – and it is yours.  It is not that the country does not have any tasks to carry out; there are many.  However, we have a dynamic, developing society, a strong country, a country with confidence in itself, and we must defend this country as you are doing by joining the IDF, as well as by other means.

Today, I decided to appoint MK Avi Dichter to serve as the Minister for Home Front Defense.  He previously served as Minister of Internal Security; he was also the head of the Shin Bet.  I remember him from 40 years ago when we served together in the IDF Special Forces.  He has many virtues and he is now charged with a very important mission: to continue doing what he has been doing his whole life – contributing to the security of the country.

Because I attribute great importance to home front defense, my government has invested a great deal in it, as no other government before ours has.  We have done a great deal already, but there is a great deal more to do and Avi Dichter, as Minister of Home Front Defense, will do so in his new position.  I am certain that you join the entire nation in congratulating him on this important new appointment.

I would like to say a few words to you in the language that is still customary for you – in English.  I am certain that in time, Hebrew will become no less customary.

Transcription

Welcome to Israel.  Welcome home.

I was given a list of all the places you come from.  You come from California, from New Jersey, from Ohio, and from over two dozen states across America.  And I understand you also come from Alberta and from Quebec.

But the truth is you all come from one place – Israel.  This is the land where we all come from.  This is the land where our ancestors lived.  And this is the place where our identity as a people was forged.  And this is the country where the Jewish people are building the Jewish future.

I want to talk to the 127 olim who are joining the IDF today.  Each of the 350 people who have made Aliyah today have decided to link their personal future with the future of the Jewish State and the Jewish people.  But you’ve decided to do something else.  You’ve decided to defend the Jewish future.

And to have the opportunity to do so is a great privilege.  It wasn’t accorded to previous generations of Jews.  In previous times, for almost two millennia, the Jews could not defend themselves.  This is the great transformation that occurred in our time – that we can regain our destiny and defend our future – and this is a privilege that you have now decided to practice personally, thereby altering your lives and the Jewish future as well.

I can tell you that the founders of Modern Zionism did not think that when we amass back in our ancestral homeland, and we restore the capacity to defend ourselves, that anti-Semitism would disappear.  That is not what they thought.  But they thought that we could defend ourselves against anti-Semitic assaults, and those have not been eliminated.  They have not disappeared.  On the contrary, there is a rise of a new anti-Semitism.  As the Jewish State progresses and rises, so does anti-Semitism, but it changes form and we see today a virulent attack on the Jewish people – a virulent new form of anti-Semitism.

And we need to defend ourselves against that and those who give it intellectual support.  This is a job that we all have to do, but the most important job is to defend the Jewish State.  This we are doing – this you are doing.  And I’m proud of you.  I think the whole people are proud of you. The friends of Israel, Jews and non-Jews alike are proud of you.

And I want to encourage you to progress personally, but also as a group.  I’d like to meet all of you in three years time.  Wait until you finish your service.  Tony this is a request that I make with my colleagues here.  I’d like to meet all of you, and when you finish your service to the army, I want to salute you again and I want to encourage you to rise and thrive in the one and only Jewish State.

Welcome to Israel.  Welcome home.  Thank you very much.

Israel Brief August 14, 2012: New olim joining the military land in Israel

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New emigres joining the military land in Israel

Source: JTA, 8-14-12

A charter aliyah flight carrying 127 young men and women who will be joining the Israel Defense Forces landed in Israel….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief August 13, 2012: West Bank outpost Bruchin is legalized

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West Bank outpost is legalized

Source: JTA, 8-13-12

The West Bank outpost of Bruchin received its charter, making it a legal settlement. Read more »

Full Text Israel Political Brief August 12, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of the Weekly Cabinet Meeting on Defense & Israeli-China Relations

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PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of the Weekly Cabinet Meeting

Source: PMO, 8-12-12

Following are Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting today :

“At the start of my remarks, I would like – on behalf of the entire Government – to take leave of Home Front Defense Minister Matan Vilnai, who will conclude his duties this week and leave next week for his new post as Israel’s Ambassador to China. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you, Matan, for your contribution to the State of Israel, to the security of Israel, over the years, from when you were a private until you attained the rank of major-general and afterwards in the framework of the government, including your preset post.

I will wax nostalgic for a moment and tell our friends here that we were together as young officers in the General Staff Reconnaissance Unit, and we would travel together on weekend leaves to Jerusalem. We are Jerusalemites. Our parents were close friends, your father, the late Zeev Vilnai, who researched the Land of Israel, along with my father and your late mother Esther, and my mother. We would meet in our homes. We spoke many times and got to know each other, and I knew you as a man of values, a true Israeli patriot, and also a man who had the great privilege to be a fighter and a commander. Then, let us speak frankly, you had more hair and I was thinner. You stayed thin. You stayed and many things changed and, of course, many things have changed, including – inter alia – the responsibilities that the State of Israel has placed on your shoulders, and you took some of them upon your shoulders, and now you will continue to contribute.

You will continue to contribute to our very important relations with China. They are of decisive economic and international significance. I think that you will have very important tasks there. I am convinced that, as I wish you well ahead of your next contribution, I do so not just on behalf of the ministers in the Government of Israel, but on behalf of all Israelis. Who but you, Matan, knows that, over the years, Israeli governments did not invest enough in home front defense. The missile era began in 1991, during the First Gulf War. There are those who say that it began even earlier.

I think that there has been a very great change during our Government’s term in office. First of all, we established a separate ministry to deal with this issue. Second, you and I and the other relevant ministers hold bi-weekly meetings, along with the National Security Adviser, and monitor the necessary steps o upgrade home front defense. We are investing billions in home front defense, in Iron Dome, in the Arrow, and in other systems that are under development. We are investing a lot of money in defending facilities, institutions and homes. We are holding preparedness exercises for various scenarios regarding home front defense; such an exercise is being held today. We are thoroughly upgrading our warning systems, in which Israel is among the most developed in the world and we are doing other things which I shall not detail here. Therefore, I would like, in my farewell remarks, to say that I esteem you Matan for the important work that you have done in this field, as in others. But you leave behind much work for your replacement and I intend to appoint a replacement in the coming days because I ascribe great importance to the post and want there to be continuity, and not a disruption, in dealing with this important area.

There has been a significant improvement in our home front defense capabilities, in Iron Dome, in the Arrow, in structural reinforcements and shelters, in warnings and in other areas. One cannot say that there are no problems in this field because there always are, but all of the threats that are currently being directed against the Israeli home front pale against a particular threat, different in scope, different in substance, and therefore I reiterate that Iran cannot be allowed to have nuclear weapons.

In this context, I spoke with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon over the weekend. According to reports that have reached me, the UN Secy.-Gen. intends to travel to a conference of non-aligned countries in Tehran. I told him that with all his good intentions, he must not give legitimacy to a regime that disseminates horrific anti-Semitism, the likes of which we have not seen in several decades, since World War II, and to a regime that declares its intention to destroy the State of Israel, that violates all UN decisions, not just against its nuclear program, but against the convention against genocide as well. I told him that his place is not in Tehran. He did not give me to understand that he would change his plans, but we will continue to press, and I think that we will also continue to make clear the absurdity of the UN giving legitimacy to a state that violates all UN rules and intends to destroy another UN member state. I think that this effort is a worthy and important step alongside our other efforts in this field.

I would like to express appreciation for the work of the fire and rescue service against the wave of fires, including those which were deliberately set. Not always, but many times there is a suspicion of arson and I would like to bring it to your attention that we are dealing with this effectively because we upgraded the fire and rescue service. First and foremost, we brought firefighting aircraft. This has enabled us, since the Carmel wildfire, to extinguish approximately 250 fires, including forest fires, wildfires that were extinguished successfully thanks to this upgrade in the air and on the ground. I would like to express appreciation for the firefighters and to those ministers who assisted this same upgrade, in financing and organizing, which has seen results in over 2,000 sorties as of today.

Lastly, this week we will hold an additional Cabinet meeting in order to begin discussing the multi-year plan for not only the defense budget but also the question of our preparations for the defense establishment multi-year plan. This is a necessary condition for integrating decisions in this area with decisions on the budget that will be integrated later. We will also need to decide on both of these, on the yearly and multi-year defense budget and also on our budget for next year.

Thank you.”

Israel Political Brief August 10, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu rebukes UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for planned Iran visit

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Netanyahu rebukes Ban for planned Iran visit

Source: JTA, 8-10-12

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu berated U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for agreeing to attend a non-aligned summit in Iran….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief August 9, 2012: Barack Obama’s Choice of Jimmy Carter as Democratic National Convention Speaker Decried

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Choice of Carter as convention speaker decried

Source: JTA, 8-9-12

Former President Jimmy Carter, who has garnered much criticism in recent years for his harsh words about Israel, will address the Democratic National Convention….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief August 9, 2012: Israeli Military Begins Drafting Haredi Orthodox

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Israeli military begins drafting haredi Orthodox

Source: JTA, 8-9-12

The Israeli military has begun drafting haredi Orthodox 18-year-olds without encountering significant protests one week after a new law requiring haredi military service took effect….READ MORE

Israel Brief August 8, 2012: Major Fire Under Control in Jerusalem Area

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Major fire under control in Jerusalem area

Source: JTA, 8-8-12

A major fire in the Jerusalem area believed to be arson is under control.

More than 40 firefighting squads and two firefighting planes came together to put out the fire on Wednesday near the Hadassah Ein-Kerem Medical Center. Some hospital visitors were evacuated, according to The Jerusalem Post….READ MORE

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