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The Lekarev Report Israel News August 15, 2008

14 Av 5768
August 15, 2008
nasrallah.jpgNasrallah's Latest Speech

In a speech commemorating the 2 year anniversary of the end of the Second Lebanon War, Hizbollah chief Nasrallah mocked Israel's political and military leadership.

"The entire front line of the army's brass stepped down because of the war. Gal Hirsch, who was defeated in Lebanon, went to Georgia and they too lost because of him," laughed Nasrallah.
 
Hirsch, a brigadier-general in the reserves, served as commander of the IDF's Galilee Division during the war and resigned in its wake. In recent years he was a consultant to the Georgian army on the establishment of elite units and rearmament, and gave various courses in the fields of combat intelligence and fighting in built-up areas.
 
"Relying on Israeli experts and weapons, Georgia learned why the Israeli generals failed," proclaimed Nasrallah, "what happened in Georgia is a message to all those the Americans are seeking to entangle in dangerous adventures."

The Hizbullah chief also addressed recent comments by Defense Minister Ehud Barak regarding the importance of having an experienced leadership. "Ehud Barak admits that the reason for losing the war was a lack of military experience. So who is there left in Israel with military experience if not all those failed generals? Those who stand against us today are the same failures who have already suffered blows from us before."
 
He also ridiculed Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, quoting an Israel newspaper as saying Olmert "died two years ago in Lebanon and will be brought to political burial in two months."

He declared that Hizbollah's arsenal will remain secret and that is part of Hizbollah's war of nerves against Israel.

barak.jpgLikud Seeking Bond with Shas

Senior Likud members have been holding intensive talks with top Shas officials in an effort to prevent the establishment of a new government after the Kadima primaries in September.

Party sources said Thursday evening that Likud Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu is keeping his distance from the political squabbles surrounding the primaries, and that most efforts are aimed at wooing Shas Knesset members and sources close to the ultra-Orthodox party's spiritual leader, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, and involved in the Council of Sages.

The goal is to convince Shas not to join the new government which the new Kadima chairperson will attempt to form after the primaries. As part of the efforts, Likud officials are interested in creating an alliance with the haredi party, similar to the one which existed between the two parties in the past. 

Senior Likud sources have said that in light of the recent remarks made by Labor chairman, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, the party may also have to look into the possibility of working with Labor in a bid to convince the party to announce general elections rather than join a new government. 

"With Ehud Barak one can never know what will happen, but the main goal is to lead to elections in February or March," a Likud official told Ynet.
 
livini.jpgPoll:  Livni Will Easily Beat Mofaz 

According to one of the latest polls obtained by the Jerusalem Post yesterday, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni will easily defeat her competitors in the September 17 Kadima leadership race without requiring a run-off contest a week later.
 
The Smith Research poll of more than 1,200 registered Kadima members found that among those who said they were 90 percent sure they would vote, 48% said they would support Livni, 38% Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz, 10% Public Security Minister Avi Dichter and 5% Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit.

The poll was sponsored by Immigrant Absorption Minister Eli Aflalo, who used it as one of the factors in deciding to endorse Livni on Thursday and to volunteer to chair her campaign in the field. Aflalo also received assurances from Livni that she did not negotiate a division of the Old City of Jerusalem in the diplomatic talks she leads with the Palestinian Authority.

"Morally, I cannot go against the majority of Kadima members and voters who want Livni," Aflalo told 150 party activists loyal to him in Tel Aviv. "I see myself responsible for bringing enough people out to vote so that the advantage we have on paper will translate into results at the polls."


rockets.jpg'Our Rocket Can Reach Ashdod'
 
The Gaza-based Popular Resistance Committees has unveiled what it calls a new missile capable of reaching the nothern Negev cities of Ashdod and Ashkelon, according to media reports released this week.

The Nasser-4 missile, which the PRC displayed last week to journalists in a public relations move, is apparently an upgraded version of the existing Nasser-3.

The group said the improved rocket can travel up to 26 kilometers, double the range of the previous version.   They showed the rocket to journalists from CNN and other agencies, whom they blindfolded before the display to keep their location secret.

According to CNN, the group gave journalists a tour of its rocket factory and training grounds in a PR maneuver to give Israel a peek at its apparent strengthening.


terrorist.jpgStranded Terrorists Seek Refuge at IDF Checkpoint

Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas has left eight Fatah-aligned Hilles clan terrorists stranded in Gaza, where they fear death at the hands of Hamas. They are remaining close to the IDF's Erez Crossing checkpoint, at the northern edge of Gaza, where Hamas is more reluctant to fire at them and incur the danger of encountering return fire from the IDF.

Three weeks ago, the group, aligned with Fatah, suffered heavy casualties in a Hamas onslaught, and most of the nearly 180 survivors managed to flee to an IDF checkpoint at a Gaza crossing. Israel originally agreed to Abbas's request to rescue the terrorists, despite coming under Hamas machine-gun fire, but Abbas then changed his mind out of fear that moving them to Ramallah would be considered by Hamas as another victory over Fatah.

Israel returned more than 30 of the terrorists to Gaza before pressuring Abbas to accept the remainder of the clan after human rights groups threatened action against Israel. The government also treated more than 22 of the terrorists at hospitals in Ashkelon and Be'er Sheva.

Human rights activists again have taken up the cause of the eight terrorists still stranded in Gaza and who are in the sights of Hamas guns. "Hamas wants us dead. They will kill us if we return, and Israel is not letting us in," one of the men, who gave his name as Ahmed, told Reuters News Agency by telephone. "If that happens, Abu Mazen (Abbas) bears responsibility for our deaths."

talansky.jpgTalansky Won't Come Back

Morris Talansky's attorney, Jacques Chen, informed the Justice Ministry Thursday that his client will not be returning to Israel for his second testimony, scheduled for late August.

The American businessman is the State's key witness in the case against Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in its investigation into him allegedly receiving illicit funds.
 
In a letter sent to the ministry, Chen claimed that although he asked his client to return to Israel, his American counsels have advised him against it; citing Talansky may incriminate himself during his testimony.
 
"Since Mr. Talansky returned from Israel, in connection with the ongoing investigation of Prime Minister Olmert, we have learned that he is the subject of a grand jury investigation in the United States District Court for the East District of New York," attorneys Bradley Simon and Neal Sher wrote.  By cooperating with Israeli authorities, they said, Talansky "has placed himself in legal jeopardy in the United States."

A source in the State Prosecutor's Office said Thursday that Talansky's decision in unlikely to affect the State's final decision on whether or not to indict the prime minister.


Shabbat Shalom

candles.jpgThis week's Torah portion is one of my favorites for it contains the Shema (Hear, O Israel) and the Ten Commandments.  The Shema is Israel's profession of faith, a declaration that begins our every day and brings it to a close as well.

The commandment to love Hashem is accompanied by an exhortation to fear Him as well and while at first glance it may seem that the two contradict each other, that is certainly not the case.  'The fear of Hashem', wrote Solomon, 'is the beginning of wisdom.'

Click below for this week's Torah study.

I'm sorry that I was not able to meet with the mayor this week as the schedules did not allow it.  Next week I should have an updated report for you.

Shabbat Shalom and blessings,
Leah
 
 Hear, O Israel, Hashem is our G-d; Hashem is One.  And you shall love Hashem your G-d with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your possessions.

Deut. 6:4-5

This Week's Torah Meditation
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