Written by Right Side News
7 Av 5768
August 8, 2008
5th Round of Questioning for Olmert
It's becoming a familiar news item every Friday of late. Prime Minister Olmert is once again being questioned this morning by the Fraud Unit of the Israeli police. Police are investigating allegations that the embattled leader took bribes from American businessman Morris Talansky and will also question him further on the double claims for travel expenses while he served as trade minister and mayor of Jerusalem.
A light plane crashed during landing on Thursday afternoon, in an airfield near Haifa. Three passengers were killed, among them Doron Amir, a Lt. Col. in the reserves who commanded the navy's submarine fleet and later served as the army's attachÃ© to Holland and Scandinavia.
Amir (photo right) is survived by a wife, a son and daughter, and five granddaughters.
Reuben Zigler (left), who was a naval construction expert, was also killed and the third victim was identified as 58-year-old Uri Levy of Kfar Shariyahu.
Another passenger was seriously wounded and two others emerged unscathed and were treated for shock. A massive fire broke out at the scene, but was subdued by firefighters who alerted to the airfield.
The aircraft, reportedly of Beechcraft Bonanza make, was preparing to land in Haifa's small airfield after taking off from Cyprus. As the plane attempted to land it skidded off the runway and hit a nearby structure, an abandoned building that once served as living quarters for a nearby military base.
Rescue services rushed to the scene after receiving the report, and initially declared it a mass casualty event as there was no immediate information confirming the size of the aircraft that crashed.
The site of the crash was only a short distance from a large ammonia plant. Reports from the scene took note that had the plane crashed into the plant instead of into the empty building, a major catastrophe would have ensued.
'We'll Neutralize S-300 If Russia Sells It to Iran
If Russia goes through with the sale of its most advanced anti-aircraft missile system to Iran, Israel will use an electronic warfare device to neutralize it and as a result present Russia as vulnerable to air infiltrations, a top defense official has told The Jerusalem Post.
The Russian system, called the S-300, is one of the most advanced multi-target anti-aircraft-missile systems in the world today and has a reported ability to track up to 100 targets simultaneously while engaging up to 12 at the same time. It has a range of about 200 kilometers and can hit targets at altitudes of 27,000 meters.
While Russia has denied that it sold the system to Iran, Teheran claimed last year that Moscow was preparing to equip the Islamic Republic with S-300 systems. Iran already has TOR-M1 surface-to-air missiles from Russia.
Mixed media reports have emerged recently regarding the possible delivery of the system to Iran. Two weeks ago Reuters quoted a senior Israeli official who said the system would be delivered to Iran by the end of the year. In response, the Pentagon released a statement rejecting the assessment and saying that the US did not believe Iran would get it in 2008.
According to the Israeli defense official who spoke to the Post, "no one really knows yet if and when Iran will get the system."
A top IAF officer also said this week that Israel needed to do "everything possible" to prevent the S-300 from reaching the region.
"Russia will have to think real hard before delivering this system to Iran, which is possibly on the brink of conflict with either Israel or the US, since if the system is delivered, an EW [electronic warfare] system will be developed to neutralize it, and if that happens it would be catastrophic not only for Iran but also for Russia," the defense official said.
Neutralization of one of the main components of Russian air defense would be a blow to Russian national security as well as to defense exports. "No country will want to buy the system if it is proven to be ineffective," the official said. "For these reasons, Russia may not deliver it in the end to Iran."
Team Israel Ready to Compete
The Israeli Olympic Team is poised and ready for competition.
President Shimon Peres visited the delegation in the Olympic Village on Thursday and helped raise their spirits, which were dampened earlier in the day by the tragic news of the accidental death of the father of swim team member, Alon Mandel of Netanya. Mandel's family urged him to stay in Beijing and compete for it is what his father would have wanted. He has agreed to do so but will return to Israel early to sit shiva for his father, leaving Beijing just as soon as his particular competitions are completed. He said that his father was his greatest supporter.
Judoka Gal Yekutiel will be the first Israeli to take part in the Games, facing Athens 2004 bronze medalist Tsagaanbaatar Hashbaatar of Mongolia on Saturday afternoon in the first round of the under-60kg event at the University of Science and Technology Gymnasium.
A little later in the day, gymnast Alex Shatilov will compete at the National Indoor Stadium, while Gal Nevo, Anya Gostomelsky and Tom Be'eri will swim for the first time in the evening at the National Aquatics Center.
Israel's sailors are preparing to take to the sea in Qingdao, with six of them beginning their competitions on Sunday.
Despite only landing a couple of hours earlier on an overnight flight from Tel Aviv, Peres seemed genuinely happy to meet the athletes, who all came with their cameras to document the moment.
"We are competing against giant countries with thousands of professional athletes, but I believe in you and I'm certain you will succeed," Peres told the delegation. "You're young, talented and your efforts deserve success. The people of Israel are following you closely."
Peres, who sent his condolences to the Mandel family, spoke of his fundamental belief in Israelis. "In every aspect of life Israelis have started from nothing and have reached the very top," he said. "They did so in agriculture, in cinema and I believe they will do so in sport as well. You are role models to Israel's youth and I'm proud that you're representing the country."
The Israeli President met with his counterpart, Chinese President, Hu Jintao, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing today.
Peres plans to tell his host that Iran constitutes a world danger but said "Israel should not make Tehran an Israeli problem but a global problem. It is important to reach an East-West understanding regarding Iran."
PRC: Ramadan Could End Gaza Truce
The Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) in Gaza warned yesterday that the temporary ceasefire with Israel may end in three weeks, when the Muslim holy month of Ramadan begins. The month is frequently marked by an increase in terrorism. PRC official Abu Mujahed charged that Israel is violating the agreement by not making progress in freeing terrorists and prisoners or opening up the border at Rafiah. He also said Israel must allow free movement at Gaza crossings.
Israeli security sources said they have relaxed examinations of goods and merchandise passing through Gaza crossings as the temporary ceasefire enters its eighth week, although several rockets have been fired on Israel.
Abu Mujahed told Reuters that "politicians will stop talking and military men will act" if Israel does not show progress in freeing hundreds of Arab terrorists and prisoners and allowing free movement of good at Gaza crossings.
Politicians will stop talking and military men will act.
"The Zionist occupation has not yet agreed to the demand to release our prisoners so our fighters are preparing for the next round in which we will try to abduct more Israeli soldiers to swap them for our hero prisoners," a PRC spokesman told Reuters.
Ehud Goldwasser's Mother Speaks Out
Miki Goldwasser has written a letter to Prime Minister Olmert that has been published on Ynet. I include it here because it represents not only her feelings, but the widespread atittude of many in Israel.
On Wednesday I met with Noam Shalit, the father of abducted IDF soldier Gilad. Yet the very same day, we heard about Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas' delusional request to our prime minister: As a goodwill gesture, Abbas asked that Israel release 150 prisoners, including Marwan Barghouti and Ahmad Saadat, the man who planned Minister Rehavam Ze'evi's assassination.
A gesture for what? I was crying after I heard it. The grave of my son is still fresh. The pain is terrible. Yet despite this, I cannot but think all the time about Aviva Shalit, Gilad's mother, who needs to cope with oh-so-humanitarian Israeli gestures while her own son is held in cellars of horror.
Does PM Olmert also have Aviva Shalit on his mind? I hope that our own people will make it clear to our prime minister that we cannot make any more gestures. No more. We too want gestures.
For example, we want negotiations on Gilad Shalit's release to be accelerated. For example, we want Gilad to be handed over to the Egyptians. For example, we want Gilad to be granted the basic humanitarian right of Red Cross visits. Don't we deserve it?
We have made plenty of gestures already. Sick Gazans receive medical treatment in Israel, and Israeli doctors have been saving lives in Gaza without asking whose children they are saving. The children of Hamas men have also been treated. Yet somehow we do not get any gestures.
Therefore, Mr. Olmert, I hope that you come back to your senses and realize that even goodwill gestures must secure something in exchange. And if Mahmoud Abbas cannot give us Gilad Shalit in exchange for those gestures, then make no more gestures, Mr. Olmert.
Gilad Shalit comes first; only then you can think about Mahmoud Abbas.
Shabbat Shalom & Tisha B'Av
We begin the fifth and final book of the Torah this week, Deuteronomy. Moses is intent on delivering his final exhortation before his approaching death.
This is also the portion normally read just before Tisha B'Av which this year falls on Sunday. Throughout Jewish History, several tragic events befell the Jewish people on the 9th of Av, in Hebrew Tisha B'Av. The destruction of the first Temple built by Solomon and the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE both occurred on Tisha B'Av, in addition to several other historical disasters.
Tisha B'Av is a painful day for Jewish people, a day of mourning and of fasting.
Why? Is there a relationship between the Torah portion and Tisha B'Av?
Click below for this week's Torah study.
Shabbat Shalom and blessings,