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The Lekarev Report - Israel News July 11, 2008


July11, 2008

Police Grill Olmert This Morning
Police investigators arrived at the residence of Prime Minister Olmert this morning for the third round of questioning in the corruption cases launched against him.  Yesterday police had said this session would be intense and they would demand clear answers, particularly in light of new information that was gathered by a team of investigators who traveled to the United States seeking evidence in the case.

Morris Talansky testified in May that he gave Olmert hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash-stuffed envelopes, and that some of those funds went to fund expensive cigars, hotels and other extravagances.  The testimony sparked a public outcry and several demands for his immediate resignation, demands which he ignored.   Olmert has faced FOUR previous investigations in the two years since he was elected.

The current questioning session is expected to last at least two hours, and police officials said they hope to conclude the investigation within a number of weeks.
The State Prosecutor's Office told Olmert's attorney that police have gathered substantial material indicating that the PM accepted significant sums of money from Talansky, and not a few hundred dollars as he recently claimed.

79% of Kadima Want Olmert OUT

Most registered Kadima voters believe Prime Minister Ehud Olmert should not run in the primary elections for party chairmanship scheduled for mid-September, according to a poll published this morning by Yedioth Ahronoth, Israel's leading daily Hebrew newspaper.
The survey of 508 registered Kadima voters, which was conducted by the Dahaf Institute, showed that 79% of them believe Olmert should resign amid the ongoing corruption investigation against him, while only 17% of the party's registered voters believe he should not step down.  

According to the poll, a total of 57% of the registered members believe the prime minister, under criminal investigation, should not run in the primaries and should not take part in the primary elections.
The survey further revealed that should Olmert decide to run for party leadership, he would lose to Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who, according to the poll, enjoys the support of 37% of the voters as opposed to 18% who back the PM. Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz is expected to gain 22% of the votes, the poll showed.
Two Years Exactly

This Sabbath marks exactly two years since kidnapped IDF soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev were kidnapped. A Cabinet decision 12 days ago declared the soldiers, who the government has said are dead, would be returned to Israel within 10 days.

Latest reports are that the exchange of terrorists for the bodies will take place next Wednesday. Relatives of Goldwasser and Regev have said they still are holding on to a faint hope that the soldiers are alive.

The government-approved deal two weeks that calls for freeing Arab terrorists, including convicted murderer Samir Kuntar, for kidnapped soldiers Goldwasser and Regev, completed a total reversal of previously stated policies.

Following the kidnapping of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit in late June of 2006, three weeks before the Hizbullah attack and kidnappings, Prime Minister Olmert stated, "This is not a matter of negotiations; this is not a matter of bargaining." Release of prisoners is absolutely not on the agenda of the Israeli government."

On July 17, 2006, Olmert told the Knesset: "We will insist on compliance with the terms stipulated long ago by the international community: The return of the hostage; A complete cease fire; Deployment of the Lebanese army in all of Southern Lebanon; Expulsion of Hizbullah from the area.  Israel will not agree to live in the shadow of missiles or rockets aimed at its residents."
By August 14, 2006, he was beginning to change his position.  Defending the ceasefire, he told the Knesset  "I believe that the realization of the U.N. Resolution creates good conditions for their [kidnapped IDF soldiers] return.

Despite repeated reports that Hizbollah has triple the arsenal it had in 2006, Olmert continues to insist that the 2006 war weakened Hizbollah.

Doesn't he listen to the intelligence reports?  Apparently not.
Not True!

It was reported in some media outlets yesterday that the American military chiefs who recently visited Israel, did so in order to dissuade Israel from attacking Iran.  According to yesterday's articles, they wanted to avert a unilateral strike that would expose US forces in Afghanistan, Iraq and other parts of the Middle East to a backlash from the Islamic Republic.

If that was indeed their message, it could have very easily been communicated by a couple of phone calls from President George W. Bush at the White House to Olmert in Jerusalem, or from defense secretary Gates to Barak, telling them that there was no green light for a lone Israeli attack.

I have it on excellent authority - Those calls were not made.  (Good reminder that you can't believe everything you read in the newspapers or hear on the radio!!!)

It was also reported that Defense Minister Ehud Barak and IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi are traveling to the USA next week to "change the Administration's mind".  Nonsense!

The Bush administration's view on the subject can be summed up in this sentence: Despite hints of discouragement from top level administration officials, especially Pentagon officers, the administration would not deny Israel permission to strike.

So why the disinformation?

There's something entirely different afoot.  In brief, Plan A would be to attack Iran's nuclear reactors.  Then what?

Though Iran may not have the military power to thwart an Israeli or even an American attack, we must not forget that it relies not only on its army, but also on its surrogates - Syria, Hizbollah, Hamas.  Suppose with me that Iran suffers a devastating blow in an Israeli attack and is not able to respond immediately.

Hizbollah and Hamas would - on Iran's behalf.  And they would do so, not just in Israel, but also in the United States.

Some intelligence experts argue that crippling Hizbollah and Hamas would be a far more effective first step.   It would seriously unravel the hostile noose which Tehran is constantly tightening around Israel's borders. This is long overdue, in the view of Israel's military chiefs.

Is this what Barak and Askenazi are going to discuss with their American counterparts?

It could well be, particularly in light of the recent assessment out of the Pentagon; namely, that Iran's combined military might - Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) plus regular army, including their missile, air and naval forces - lacks the firepower for tackling the US or the Israeli army, even one at a time.

The problem with this evaluation is that the Pentagon's calculations have only taken Iran's military forces into account.  They have left out Tehran's ability to stretch its military might by activating covert terrorist networks in the Persian Gulf and Middle East for a-symmetrical warfare against American targets, in addition to the Hizballah, Hamas and Jihad Islami groups poised on Israel's borders.

Wouldn't you love to be the proverbial "fly on the wall" in the upcoming meetings? 

Israeli Planes Training Over Iraq

According to Iraqi news reports today, Israeli fighter jets are "practicing" in Iraqi airspace for a strike on Iran's nuclear facilities. 

The report, carried also by Iranian news outlets, claimed that recently massive nocturnal activity by IAF craft was noted in several American held airbases, including measures by the US army to increase security around the bases.

The Jerusalem Post stated specifically that it could not confirm the veracity of the report.

According to the sources, former military officers in the Anbar province said IAF jets arrive during the night from Jordanian airspace, enter Iraq's airspace and land on a runway near the city of Hadita. The sources estimated the jets were practicing for a raid on Iran's nuclear sites.

The sources also said the American bases in Iraq might serve as a platform for the IAF from which to attack Iran. If Israeli warplanes will take off from Iraq, they can reach Bushehr in five minutes - a "record time," the sources said.

300 New Immigrants Arrive in Israel

Nefesh B'Nefesh's (NBN) first chartered aliyah flight arrived yesterday, hours after the arrival of a group aliyah flight from the UK.
The organization's 15,000th new immigrant was amongst 300 North American and British Jews who made aliyah with Nefesh B'Nefesh from the USA, Canada and the UK in the past few days.

Two thousand North American and British Jews are expected to move to Israel this summer, on 13 Nefesh B'Nefesh charter and group aliyah flights. In addition to five specially chartered aliyah planes arriving July through September, there will be two group aliyah flights from the USA, two from Canada and four from the UK. 

"Although bringing our 15,000th oleh (new immigrant) is an exciting and significant milestone, we look towards the future with growing excitement as we anticipate facilitating the expansion of western aliyah" commented NBN Co-Chairman and former Israeli Ambassador to the US Danny Ayalon.
"We are honored to be taking such an active role in the revitalization of western aliyah and to witness the revival of modern day Zionism which is helping strengthen the State of Israel," he added.
Nefesh B'Nefesh's 15,000th newcomer is 24 year old Tracy Levy from Houston, Texas who works in journalism and is writing a book on graffiti in Israel. After arriving in Israel, Tracy, who is a competitive horseback rider, plans to complete a Master's degree and pursue her dream of being a photo journalist. 
Shabbat Shalom

It's hard to ignore being hit in the face, isn't it?  That is an issue in this week's Torah reading, believe it or not.

Curious?  Click HERE for this week's
Torah meditation.  I hope it's a blessing to you.

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