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Israel News Update for May 23, 2008


May 23, 2008
18 Iyar 5768
The Lekarev Report
Today's Issue:
  • Police Confront Olmert with New Evidence
  • Meridor: Iran Winning the Nuke Race
  • Likud Will Not Honor Any Olmert Agreement
  • Syria's Shopping Trip to Moscow 
  • Protestors Storm Olmert Speech
  • Anti-Tank Missiles and Launcher Found in Gaza School

Police Confront Olmert with New Evidence

At 9 am this morning, Israeli police arrived at the residence of Prime Minister Olmert for yet another round of questioning regarding the criminal charges being investigated against him. money.jpg

Police planned to confront Olmert with new evidence gained from the testimonies given earlier this week by his lawyer, Uri Messer and American businessman, Moshe Talansky.  According to police, the new evidence incriminates the Prime Minister who will no doubt be subject to further questioning after today's session.

A senior official at Olmert's office told reporters that "the prime minister will continue to act in line with the law and cooperate with his investigators and with the Israel police."

Meanwhile, the political furor over his alleged crimes and the Syria-Israel negotiations continues unabated.  MK Yuval Shteinitz, who chaired the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee during the Sharon government, spoke with Israel National TV, declaring that the talks between the Olmert and Assad regimes are aimed at saving both men's skin from legal troubles.

What we have here are two corrupt leaders trying to escape indictment," MK Yuval Steinitz told Arutz Sheva TV. "In Damascus, we have corrupt dictator Bashar Assad trying to escape indictment for the assassination of the late Prime Minister of Lebanon Rafik Hariri. In Jerusalem we have Ehud Olmert, trying to escape criminal indictment for accepting cash-filled envelopes and other things. Both of them are using the wonderful word 'peace' for advancing their own goals. They have come together to help each other escape their investigations."

"This is totally immoral. First of all, because Olmert is totally willing to trade the Golan Heights and national interests for his own personal gain. Secondly, because this betrays all those who are standing up for democracy in Lebanon by breaking ranks and helping Syria with its image."

We have also learned that a team of National Fraud Unit detectives will fly to the US to identify other donors to Olmert, a number of sources said on Thursday.
A senior law enforcement official confirmed that police officers would head for the US shortly "as part of the investigation."

"They are not just on the trail of Talansky's money. They're looking for the other donors who gave to Olmert," a senior former police source said. "Talansky collected the cash of these additional donors [in addition to his own money] and transferred it to Olmert. Special bank accounts were created for this purpose, and credit card accounts were also used."

Meridor: Iran Winning the Nuke Race
meridor.jpgDespite years of economic sanctions, Iran is winning the race to acquire nuclear weapons, posing an unprecedented threat to the future of the West, Ambassador to the US Sallai Meridor said Thursday.

"If we want to avoid the juncture of Iran with a bomb or bombing Iran than the world must act decisively in a much more serious way," Meridor told a group of Christian parliamentarians from around the world at a Capitol Hill conference organized by the Congressional Israel Allies Caucus.

Meridor said it was imperative for the West to unite against the nuclear intentions of the Islamic Republic, which he called the single greatest threat facing the world today, and stop looking for commercial gains at the expense of future stability in the world.
 
His comments come just weeks after Switzerland announced a huge gas deal with the Islamic Republic which has been criticized by both the US and Israel.

"So far, in the race between the world and Iran, Iran seems to be ahead and continues with its efforts to attain nuclear weapons," he said, adding that it was "criminal" not to learn the lessons of history, recalling that the lead-up to the Holocaust did not begin overnight but over years.

"The challenge to our generation is not to ignore again the writing on the wall," he said.

Likud Will Not Honor Any Olmert Agreement
netanyahu_bibi.jpgThe Likud will not be obligated by any peace agreement reached between Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's government and Syria if party chairman Binyamin Netanyahu wins the next election and returns to the Prime Minister's Office, Likud faction chairman Gideon Sa'ar said Thursday.

The faction met Thursday at the party's Tel Aviv headquarters to respond to Olmert's overtures to Syria and the ongoing criminal investigations against him.

"There is wide agreement from Right to Left that the diplomatic process cannot be used to shelter politicians in distress," Netanyahu said. "Most of the public knows the prime minister expedited the talks with Syria and set the exact time for revealing them to distract the public from the investigations against him. Olmert, who is up to his neck in investigations, has no moral or public mandate to conduct fateful negotiations on Israel's future."

Netanyahu said Syria was "an inseparable part of the axis of evil" that would not disconnect from Iran. He warned that conceding the Golan would allow Iran to use it as a command post to endanger the entire country.

"If you believe the Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Mualem that Olmert has already promised to give up the Golan up to the banks of the Galilee before the negotiations have begun, it is unprecedented diplomatic and security abandonment," Netanyahu said. "This irresponsibility joins the failures of running the Second Lebanon War, preventing the rearming of Hizbullah and preventing Kassam fire on the people of southern Israel. It is forbidden to allow the Kadima government to continue failing."

Netanyahu called upon all the parties to agree on a date for elections that would allow a new government to receive a "new, clear and clean mandate from the people."

Syria's Shopping Trip to Moscow
 sub.jpgA Syrian military delegation carried a rather long shopping list to Moscow this past Monday, May 19 - a list which clearly demonstrates the transformation in military strategic thinking in Damascus since Israel destroyed the Syrian plutonium reactor last September.

With $ 5 billion to spend - mostly put up by Tehran - the list features sophisticated surface missiles, air force fighter-bombers, light fighter planes, short-range cruise missiles, submarines and short-range anti-air missiles for defense against missile attack including the cruise variety.

Historic Syrian military doctrine has focused on defense against an Israeli armored invasion. But the new thinking introduces tactics and hardware elements to enable Syria's air force, missile units and navy to mount counter attacks. A Russian-made short-range air arm would protect Syria's armored divisions, rival the superiority of Israel's air force and helicopter-borne anti-tank rocket capabilities, and go on the offensive against Israeli tank columns.

Syria's air force and air defense chief, Gen. Akhmad Al Ratyb, headed up the delegation to Moscow, accompanied by Syrian missile, armored combat and air defense experts and high-ranking naval officers.

For their five-day mission, they split up into five sub-groups for visits to Russian munitions factories and bases where the weapons on their list are manufactured or deployed.

Syria is eager to get its hands on a number of Russian made armaments:

  • Russian Iskander-E surface to air missile, one of the most advanced today
  • Fifty of the latest MiG-29SMT fighter-bombers
  • The Pantser SIE air defense missile systems
  • 800 Strelets, short-range anti-air missiles
  • 75 Yak-130 light combat & training planes which outclass Israeli choppers
  • Two Amur-1650 submarines capable of firing cruise missiles

Quite the shopping list!  Quite the budget! 
 
Protestors Storm Olmert Speech 

Several protestors interrupted Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's speech at a Jewish Agency ceremony near Jerusalem last night after storming the stage area. protest.jpg

The demonstrators, who were carrying "The Nation is with the Golan" signs, were reportedly encouraged by the crowd on hand. Olmert was forced to stop his address, as the protestors reached within a few meters of him. 

The prime minister, who was booed when he arrived at the ceremony, told the protestors: "The most beautiful place I visited recently is the Golan Heights. Let's put politics aside." He later added that "we have no other country aside from the Jewish State."

Meanwhile, Olmert is being reminded that in 2006 he said, "the Golan Heights will remain in our hands forever." He made the statement in the wake of the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon after a ceasefire failed to win the release of IDF soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, whose kidnapping by Hizbullah terrorists ignited the Second Lebanon War.


Anti-Tank Missiles and Launcher Found in Gaza School

IDF soldiers uncovered an anti-tank missile launcher and a stack of anti-tank missiles in the backyard of a school in northern Gaza late yesterday.  Where is the international outcry at such weaponry being stored at a children's school???

The Israel Air Force reports hitting two members of a terror cell carrying anti-tank weapons in southern Gaza, after an IDF soldier was moderately wounded in a firefight with terrorists in the area early Friday morning. The soldier was struck down when terrorists fired anti-tank shells at the troops. He was airlifted to Soroka Medical Center in Be'er Sheva.

Soldiers from the elite Givati Brigade, tank corps and engineering units have been carrying out counterterrorism operations throughout Gaza since Thursday, when Islamic Jihad operatives attacked the Erez Crossing..
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Shabbat Shalom
If anyone has ever entertained the notion that the commandments of Hashem were "suggestions" and not commandments, this week's Torah reading should put that thought to flight for good. 92042516_228c107688.jpg

One cannot read this portion of Torah without being soberly reminded of the value that Hashem places on obedience.  And what gets in the way of our obedience?  Our own self-will, stubborness?  I am reminded of the words of the Prophet Samuel: "Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.  For rebellion is the same as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is the same as idolatry."   Quite a wake-up call for those who consider 'stubborness' to be "just the way I am".  Not in Hashem's eyes!  Stubborness requires repentance.  When the consequences of stubborness are considered, there is no alternative than to repent and change.

Click below for this week's Torah meditation.


Shalom and blessings,

Leah

This Week's Torah Study
 

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