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The Lekarev Report Israel News August 12, 2008

Written by Right Side News

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August 12, 2008
El Al Enroute to Rescue Israelis Caught in Georgia
El Al Airlines dispatched a special flight to the Georgian capital of Tbilisi this morning to evacuate Israelis who were trapped in the war-battered country.
The flight was dispatched at the Foreign Ministry's request and is expected to return to Israel this evening.


Foreign Ministry Director-General Aharon Abramowitz convened an emergency meeting overnight to orchestrate the rescue of some 230 Israelis in Georgia.  The Tbilis airport is still operational, but should efforts to evacuate Israelis by plane fail, the Ministry will consider evacuating them to neighboring countries by land. 

The war in Georgia has also sparked an increase in Aliya.  60 Jews residing in Georgia have appealed to the Jewish Agency during the past few days, requesting that it assist them in immigrating to Israel. The agency's chief in the former Soviet Union left Monday for the conflict-ridden city of Gori in order to search for Jewish families and move them to Georgia's capital, Tbilisi.

"We have so far received 60 appeals from Jews who want to make aliyah and we have begun investigating all of the families," delegation head Alex Katz told Ynet. "We will do everything possible in order to bring them here as soon as possible. We predict the number of applicants will rise, and we are happy to help anyone who needs us." Katz is currently in Tbilisi.

Jewish Agency Head, Zeev Bielski said that aside from the 60 Jews that requested to make aliyah, 200 others have asked to receive information on the option of doing so in the near future. "We will not rely on regular flights and the agency will charter its own flights from Tbilisi," he said.
 
troops.jpgSarkozy Heads to Russia

French President Nicolas Sarkozy will lead efforts on Tuesday to end hostilities between Russia and Georgia as the conflict appeared to widen with pro-Moscow rebel forces opening a fresh offensive against Georgian troops.

Sarkozy was due to arrive in Moscow at 0910 GMT and meet President Dmitry Medvedev before flying to Georgia on a day of intense diplomacy aimed at ending violence in a region key to international oil transit. 

Pro-Western Georgia and Russia came into direct conflict over South Ossetia last week after Tbilisi launched an offensive to regain control over the pro-Moscow breakaway separatist region. 

Hostilities appeared to broaden as Abkhazia, another Russia-backed rebel region, launched an offensive at dawn on Tuesday to force Georgian troops out of the disputed Kodori gorge, Abkhaz Foreign Minister Sergei Shamba said.

US President George W. Bush demanded Russia end its armed conflict with Georgia and accused the Kremlin of trying to topple Georgia's leadership. 
"Russia has invaded a sovereign neighboring state and threatens a democratic government elected by its people. Such an action is unacceptable in the 21st century," Bush said.   He said a "dramatic and brutal escalation" of Russia's push into Georgia would jeopardise relations with the West. 

Georgia hosts a key oil pipeline supplying the West and the fighting has unsettled oil markets. It has alarmed investors in Russia and has raised fears of a wider conflagration in the volatile region bordering Iran, Turkey and Russia.

Russia has thus far snubbed all international demands for a cease-fire.
 
shalit.jpgParents of New IDF Recruits Rally for Shalit

Hundreds of new IDF recruits boarded buses in Haifa this morning en route to the Military Induction Center in Tel Hashomer, while some of the enlistees' mothers held a rally nearby, calling for the release of captive soldier Gilad Shalit.
 
The parents, all residents of the Western Galilee region, chose their sons' first day in the armed forces to support their neighbor from Mitzpeh Hila.

"Our sons went to the same high school as Gilad," said protestor Shlomit Savir of Moshav Neve Ziv near Ma'alot. "We live near Mitzpeh Hila and some of us are acquaintances of the Shalit family. 

"We decided that this was the time to remind the State of its obligation to its soldiers in general and to Gilad in particular," she continued, "Every parent and soldier here today is wondering what the State will do in the event of another kidnapping."

Savir said the motivation among the Galilee's teens to enlist in combat units remains "very high" despite Shalit's kidnapping.

Meanwhile, Hamas has let it be known that it is not interested in renewing talks to free abducted soldier Gilad Shalit.  A Hamas official said yesterday that as long as Israel fails to completely lift the siege on the Gaza Strip and to remove obstacles to the free transfer of goods between Israel and Gaza, Hamas would not participate in any talks.

Israeli defense sources Monday confirmed that Hamas was toughening its stance and had suspended talks on Shalit's release, infuriating Egypt and causing it tension with Hamas.


barakashkenazi.jpgBarak: Syria, Hizbollah Gaining Strength

Defense Minister Ehud Barak said today that "it is not a coincidence that the IDF is holding intensive drills in the Golan Heights."   Barak, who was speaking during an Armored Corps drill in the North, said that UNSC Resolution 1701 was not accomplishing what it set out to do.

"Hizbullah has gained significant strength in the last couple of years", he said, adding that "we are closely following a possible violation [of the resolution] caused by the transfer of advanced weapons systems from Syria to Hizbullah. The necessary preparations have been made, and regarding all the rest - I always prefer not to talk, rather to take action when the time comes."

Barak expressed optimism with regards to the IDF's capabilities. "The army is regaining its strength, and coming back to the right morals, undergoing the right exercises and it is our obligation as the government to ensure that the proper means are available to carry out such drills in a correct and intensive manner."

In response to a proposed budget cut to the defense ministry, Barak said: "We live in a country where security and defense consist not just of tanks and planes, but also of fostering excellence and caring for the population through education and social welfare."  Nonetheless, Barak emphasized that "security and defense take precedence over quality of life and in a country such as ours, we do not have the luxury of cutting the defense budget."

The defense minister was accompanied by IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, OC Ground Forces Command Maj.-Gen. Avi Mizrahi and other senior IDF officers.

"I am pleased with what I see and think that we are headed in the right direction," said Ashkenazi, adding "the training and the drills serve to restore the army's readiness to act when necessary. Furthermore, we are talking about a process. There is still work to be done, there are no shortcuts, it is very hard work. I think that people understand this, I think that officers understand this. We are all working hard and use every day to strengthen our capabilities and readiness to execute our tasks."
 
mandel.jpgMandel Breaks Record in Courageous Swim
 
Just four days after the tragic death of his father, Alon Mandel broke the Israeli record in the 200 meters butterfly in Beijing, displaying unimaginable mental strength.

Mandel lost his father Costya after he fell off a ladder at the garden of his home in Netanya, but decided at the urging of his family to remain at the Games after hearing of the news in order to fulfill the dream of his greatest supporter, his Dad.
 
On Monday, he did exactly that and with his time of 1:59.27 minutes set a new national (Israeli) record and finished in a respectable 28th place overall.

"At the end of the swim I raised my finger to the sky and pointed to my father," said an emotional Mandel, who will return to Israel on Thursday after swimming the 100m fly. "I'm proud that I swam at these Olympics. The easiest thing to do was to break down and drag all the other swimmers with me, but I'm postponing that until I return to Israel.

"I could have swan better, but I realized my potential. My expectations were slightly higher, but I met my first goal which was to break my personal best record.

"The first thing I'll do when I get home is hug my mother and sister." 
 
olmertabbas.jpgReport: Olmert Offered Abbas 93% of Judea, Samaria

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has presented Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas with a detailed proposal for an agreement in principle on borders, refugees and security arrangements between Israel and a future Palestinian state.

Olmert, who met with Abbas this week, feels there is time to reach an agreement during his remaining few weeks in office. He is now awaiting a decision from the Palestinians.

The centerpiece of Olmert's proposal is the suggested permanent border, which would be based on an Israeli withdrawal from most of the West Bank. In return for the land retained by Israel in the West Bank, the Palestinians would receive alternative land in the Negev, adjacent to the Gaza Strip. The Palestinians would also enjoy free passage between Gaza and the West Bank without any security checks, the proposal says.

A senior Israeli official said the Palestinians were given preliminary maps of the proposed borders.

Despite Olmert's efforts to create for himself this "legacy", it is basically unrealistic.  A number of Knesset members have already said in past weeks that no agreements Olmert tries to come up with will be honored by the next governmnet and the large Jewish population of Judea and Samaria are adamantly determined NOT to become the next "Gush Katif".

The fact of the matter which is common knowledge is that Hamas is just waiting for the opportune time to move in and take over the so-called "West Bank" (Judea and Samaria) and unseat the Palestinian Authority. 

Lekarev Report Subscriber Family Arrives oel20al20plane.jpgn Aliya Tomorrow

Tomorrow morning I will be at Ben Gurion Airport before 7 am to participate in the Welcome Ceremony on the arrival of another Nefesh B'Nefesh flight bringing Israel's newest citizens to their homes in Israel.  Among them will be a family from Arkansas (USA) who have been Lekarev subscribers for quite some time.  Having no family in Israel, they invited me to be their 'welcoming' party, which I am delighted and privileged to do. I will go with camera in hand and give you a full report on Thursday.  Because I will be at the airport early in the morning, there will be NO REPORT tomorrow as I have no idea what time I'll get back home.

Til Thursday, shalom and blessings,
Leah

O Hashem, do not keep silence; do not hold Your peace, and do not be still.  For, see, Your enemies are in an uproar; and those who hate You have lifted up their heads. They hold crafty negotiations against Your people, and take counsel against Your treasured ones.

Psalm 83:1-3
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