Israel Claims Easing Gaza Fishing Restrictions

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Israel Claims Easing Gaza Fishing Restrictions

Tuesday, 21 May, 2019 – 10:00
Gaza fishing boats. (AFP Photo/MOHAMMED ABED)
Gaza – Asharq Al-Awsat

Israel announced Tuesday it had eased fishing restrictions off the blockaded Gaza Strip after a ceasefire with Hamas ended a deadly escalation earlier this month.

Israel extended the fishing limit to up to 15 nautical miles, said COGAT, the defense ministry unit that oversees such regulations.

The move restores the fishing zone to the limits set in April ahead of Israel’s general election.

Gaza fishing union official, Zakaria Bakr, however told AFP on Tuesday morning it had yet to be informed of any changes.

COGAT did not provide further details, but in April the limit was set at six nautical miles in the north near the Israeli border, 12 off central Gaza and 15 in the south near the Egyptian border, according to the fishing union.

Israel banned fishing completely when the two-day flare-up of violence began earlier this month, but lifted the ban with a restriction of up to 12 nautical miles following the truce, AFP said.

According to the news agency, the 15-nautical-mile limit is the largest allowed in years by Israel, which has fought three wars with Palestinian militants in the enclave and has blockaded it for more than a decade.

But human rights activists note that it still falls short of the 20 nautical miles agreed under the Oslo accords of the 1990s.

Israeli authorities did not say the move was linked to the truce reached earlier this month with Hamas.

But Palestinian officials said at the time of the May 6 ceasefire that it included Israel taking steps to ease its blockade.

Israel media reported late Monday that the ceasefire, brokered by Egyptian and UN officials, is a six-month deal that includes the expansion of the fishing zone as well as the transfer of medicines and other aid to Gaza.

Negotiations are to also take place on issues including Gaza’s severe electricity shortage and border crossings, the reports said.

In return, Hamas would calm protests along the border and halt maritime demonstrations aimed at breaking the blockade.

According to AFP, Hamas denied the reports and Israel did not immediately comment.

Likud plans to revive bids to expel migrants, terrorists’ families

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Likud plans to revive bids to expel migrants, terrorists’ families – report

Party source says legislation to overrule High Court will be put to use in passing laws aimed at pushing out African migrants and relocating the relatives of terror perpetrators

Detained African migrants inside the Holot detention center, located in Israel's southern Negev desert near the Egyptian border, on February 4, 2018. (Menahem Kahana/AFP)

Detained African migrants inside the Holot detention center, located in Israel’s southern Negev desert near the Egyptian border, on February 4, 2018. (Menahem Kahana/AFP)

The Likud party is reportedly demanding that prospective coalition partners support two controversial bills, one of which was previously struck down by the High Court of Justice as unconstitutional and another that the attorney general described as an infringement of human rights.

Likud is including the bills, allowing the detention of migrants for up to three years and enabling the forcible relocation of relatives of Palestinian attackers from their homes, in a legal annex to coalition agreements, the Ynet news site reported Monday.

The bills are to be passed into law by making use of additional proposed legislation that would allow the government to overrule the High Court of Justice, a Likud source was quoted as saying.

“The purpose of the override clause is to enable the Knesset, which was elected by the people, to legislate the policies for which it was elected,” the source said, according to the report. “We will do this on many levels, among them the campaign against terror, and also removing migrants from Israel.”

In 2013 the High Court ruled unanimously that an amendment allowing the state to detain illegal migrants for up to three years without charging them with a crime was unconstitutional. The Knesset in December 2014 eventually approved a watered-down bill easing detention procedures for African migrants, but also motivating those in the country to leave by enabling their incarceration in a detention facility for up to 20 months.

As part of a series of measures targeting Palestinian perpetrators of attacks, the Ministerial Committee for Legislation voted in December 2018 to advance a bill that would permit the IDF’s Central Command to expel the relatives of Palestinian assailants from their hometowns to other parts of the West Bank within a week of an attack or attempted attack. The next day, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit announced his official opposition to the bill, warning that the proposal could infringe on human rights and spark international condemnation of Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara addresses their supporters as the results in the elections are announced, at the party headquarters in Tel Aviv, on April 09, 2019 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Earlier Monday the Haaretz daily reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu planned to promote a bill that would allow the government tooverride the High Court of Justice on administrative as well as legislative matters.

Last year the government gave its approval for a so-called override bill that would give a majority of 61 MKs the ability to overturn High Court decisions to strike down Knesset legislation as unconstitutional. Supreme Court Chief Justice Esther Hayut warned at the time the law would cause “constitutional chaos” in Israel and hamper efforts to safeguard human rights.

Although the bill advanced no further, following last month’s elections Netanyahu is likely to form a new coalition relying on right-wing nationalist parties that generally support the legislation.

Since 2006, some 50,000 Eritreans and Sudanese have entered Israel illegally via the Sinai desert, prompting authorities to construct a fence along the border and build the large Holot detention facility in the Negev desert to house them.

For the past eight years, Israel has struggled to establish and implement a clear legal framework to deal with the influx of migrants, many of whom settled in south Tel Aviv, which has resulted in confusing and often conflicting ad hoc immigration policies.

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Israeli minister fears Tehran ‘may fire rockets at Israel’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Amid US-Iran tension, Israeli minister fears Tehran ‘may fire rockets at Israel’

‘Things are heating up,’ Yuval Steinitz warns as US aircraft carrier sails toward Persian Gulf; Iranian Guards chief dismisses US ‘psychological war’

Iranians visit a weaponry and military equipment exhibition in the capital Tehran on February 2, 2019, organized on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Iranian revolution. (Atta Kenare/AFP)

Iranians visit a weaponry and military equipment exhibition in the capital Tehran on February 2, 2019, organized on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Iranian revolution. (Atta Kenare/AFP)

Israel’s energy minister, a confidant of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, warned Sunday that escalating tensions between the US and Iran may lead the Islamic Republic to launch a missile assault against Israel.

“Things are heating up,” Yuval Steinitz told the Ynet news site. “I wouldn’t rule anything out. Iran may fire rockets at Israel.”

Steinitz added that Iran may also choose to attack Israel by activating its proxies, Lebanon’s Hezbollah or Gaza’s Islamic Jihad.

“The American sanctions are breaking the neck of the Iranian economy, and a new and stronger wave [of sanctions] is still to come,” he warned, suggesting that the danger was unlikely to pass in the near future.

Speaking later Sunday to the Kan state radio station, Steinitz stressed that he was not privy to any particular intelligence information on Iranian plans, but noted that Iran was facing drastic economic pressure and “anything could happen” in such a climate.

The Iranians could “go crazy” and “declare war on the whole Middle East,” he said.

There were some in Iran who recognized the imperative to dismantle their rogue nuclear program, and others who would seek to retain it in the hope that the regime could weather the current economic crisis.

Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz at a conference in Tel Aviv on February 27, 2019. (Flash90)

Steinitz’s comments follow a report on Israel’s Channel 13 on Friday that said Israel had warned the US that Iran was contemplating targeting Saudi oil production facilities.

The unsourced report said the Iranians were “considering various hostile acts” against American or American-allied targets. Tehran had looked at targeting American bases in the Gulf, but that had been deemed too drastic a step, it claimed.

The main target then became “Saudi oil production facilities,” the report said. Such a strike would also send world oil prices soaring and enable Iran to get more income from its oil sales, the report added.

Channel 13 also quoted unnamed Arab intelligence sources as saying there was a debate raging in the Iranian leadership about striking US and US-allied targets, with some in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps pushing for attacks, including against Israeli targets, while others cautioned that it would be “suicidal” to get into a serious military conflict with the US.

Earlier last week, the same channel was the first to report that the Israeli Mossad had tipped off the White House two weeks ago about an Iranian plan to attack either a US or US-allied target. That earlier report did not specify potential targets for such an ostensible attack.

The US responded to the reported message, and to escalating rhetoric from Tehran, by saying it was moving significant military assets into the region, including an aircraft carrier strike group and nuclear-capable bombers. The aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, leading a larger naval strike group, sailed through the Suez Canal toward the Persian Gulf late last week.

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On Friday, the US Maritime Administration warned that Iran could try to attack American commercial vessels, including oil tankers, Reuters reported.

On Sunday, the move was dismissed by the head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as “psychological war.”

The Pentagon’s deployment of the USS Lincoln, Major General Hossein Salami told lawmakers at a parliament session in Tehran, was part of the American military’s regular rotation schedule.

“Commander Salami, with attention to the situation in the region, presented an analysis that the Americans have started a psychological war because the comings and goings of their military is a normal matter,” Reuters quoted parliamentary leadership spokesman Behrouz Nemati as saying, summarizing Salami’s comments to the parliament’s ICANA news site.

On Thursday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo threatened a “swift and decisive” American response to any attack by Iran.

In this undated photo released by Sepahnews, the website of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Gen. Hossein Salami speaks in a meeting in Tehran, Iran (Sepahnews via AP)

“The regime in Tehran should understand that any attacks by them or their proxies of any identity against US interests or citizens will be answered with a swift and decisive US response,” Pompeo said in a statement.

“Our restraint to this point should not be mistaken by Iran for a lack of resolve,” he said.

The Pentagon also said Friday that the US would move a Patriot missile battery to the Middle East to counter threats from Iran.

An American official said the decision to send in more forces was based in part on intelligence indicating that Iran had moved short-range ballistic missiles by boat in waters off its shores.

The moves have frightened some European allies as well as US President Donald Trump’s Democratic rivals, who fear the administration is pushing for war based on overhyped intelligence.

Illustrative: Iranian Navy exercise in 2011. (CC BY, Mohammad Sadegh Heydari, Wikimedia Commons)

Pompeo, who canceled a trip to Greenland to rush back to Washington last week, said, “We do not seek war. But Iran’s 40 years of killing American soldiers, attacking American facilities, and taking American hostages is a constant reminder that we must defend ourselves.”

Meanwhile Vice Admiral Jim Malloy, commander of the United States Naval Forces Central Command, told Reuters he would bring the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln through the Gulf’s sensitive Strait of Hormuz if need be.

“If I need to bring it inside the strait, I will do so,” Malloy said. “I’m not restricted in any way, I’m not challenged in any way, to operate her anywhere in the Middle East.”

Iran on Wednesday said it would suspend some commitments under a 2015 nuclear accord rejected by Trump, frustrated that renewed US sanctions have prevented the country from enjoying the economic fruits of compliance with the deal.

Earlier Thursday, Trump said he sought talks with Iran.

“What I would like to see with Iran, I would like to see them call me,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “We don’t want them to have nuclear weapons — not much to ask.”

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Trump also said Washington was not looking for a conflict with Tehran, but refused to divulge why the carrier had been dispatched.

“We have information that you don’t want to know about,” Trump said, according to Reuters. “They were very threatening and we have to have great security for this country and many other places.”

Asked about the possibility of a military confrontation, he said, “I don’t want to say no, but hopefully that won’t happen.”

Iranian judo agrees to end decades-long boycott of Israeli athletes

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Iranian judo agrees to end decades-long boycott of Israeli athletes

Historic commitment comes after talks with International Judo Federation over ‘disturbing phenomenon’ of Iranians throwing matches

Uzbekistan's Bekmurod Oltiboev, in white, competes against Iran's Javad Mahjoub during their men's +100 kg judo bronze medal match at the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia, Friday, August 31, 2018. (AP/Dita Alangkara)

Uzbekistan’s Bekmurod Oltiboev, in white, competes against Iran’s Javad Mahjoub during their men’s +100 kg judo bronze medal match at the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia, Friday, August 31, 2018. (AP/Dita Alangkara)

In a historic move, Iranian judo officials have agreed to stop boycotting Israeli athletes on the mat, ending a practice that had drawn criticism against Tehran in the sporting world.

In a letter to the International Judo Federation published Saturday, Iran’s Olympic Committee and local Judo Federation agreed to “fully respect the Olympic Charter and its non-discrimination principle.”

In a statement, the IJF said the letter came after several rounds of talks regarding the “disturbing phenomenon, which involves the sudden ‘injury’ or failure of weigh-in of Iranian athletes,” which it said was related to Iran trying to avoid meeting athletes from certain countries.

Neither Iran nor the IJF specifically mentioned Israel, but Iranian athletes have on several occasions forfeited matches to avoid facing Israelis, who have become increasingly relevant in the sport on the world stage.

Iran’s sports policy is an outgrowth of the country’s official refusal to recognize Israel. Its leaders routinely encourage the demise of the Jewish state and the countries are considered arch foes.

In February, Iranian judoka Saeid Mollaei threw a match at the Paris Grand Slam to avoid facing Israeli Sagi Muki in the next round by feigning an injury, ending his chance at a gold medal. He then recovered to win his bronze medal match, but feigned another injury to avoid standing on the podium with Muki.

According to Israel’s Army Radio, the IJF had threatened to ban Iran from international competitions, including the Olympics, if it did not agree to fight Israelis.

On Saturday, Muki won gold at the Baku Grand Slam, likely securing his place at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

Israel’s Sagi Muki poses on the podium with his gold medal following the men’s under 81 kg weight category competition during the European Judo Championship in the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv on April 27, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ)

The IJF has in recent years stepped up pressure on Muslim boycotts of Israeli athletes, including refusals to host them or shake hands.

In 2018, the body stripped international competitions from the UAE and Tunisia over their refusal to allow Israelis to compete as Israelis.

The UAE later relented, resulting in the anthem Hatikvah being played in the country for the first time last year after Muki won the gold in the under-81 kg category.

Israeli Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev and Israel Judo Association President Moshe Ponte with medal winners during the women 52 kg medal ceremony at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam Judo tournament in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)

Iran has had a long-time policy of avoiding Israelis in athletic competitions, frequently at the expense of its own competitors. An Iranian swimmer refused to enter the same pool as an Israeli at the Beijing Olympics and in the 2004 Athens Games, an Iranian judoka refused to face an Israeli, resulting in his disqualification.

In February, after Mollaei threw the match in Paris, Iranian athletics chief  Davoud Azarnoush said he hoped “Israel will be wiped out and annihilated before the next Olympic games, and all of us will breathe a sigh of relief,” according to Radio Farda.

A letter from Iranian judo officials to the IJF, published on May 11, 2019. Click to expand. (IJF)

In the letter to the IJF, the Iranian sports officials said they were negotiating with Iran’s parliament “to identify proper legal resolutions,” seemingly in order to rescind the unofficial ban on competing against Israelis.

Iranians athletes have increasingly found themselves caught between domestic officials, who may punish them for competing against Israelis, and international officials, who will punish them if they forfeit matches. In recent years, an increasing number of Iranian athletes and coaches have spoken out against the policy.

The last competition between Iranian and Israeli teams on the international level dates back to a wrestling match in 1983 in Kiev, Ukraine.

The regime in Iran routinely encourages the demise of Israel, and funds, arms and trains terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah in Lebanon and Islamic Jihad in Gaza that avowedly seek the annihilation of the Jewish state. Israel has led international opposition to the 2015 P5+1 powers’ deal with Iran, which was intended to prevent Iran attaining a nuclear weapons arsenal, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accusing the Iranians of lying about their nuclear weapons program and successfully lobbying US President Donald Trump to withdraw from the accord.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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Yom Ha’Zikaron

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE FIDF)

 

Dear Friend,

Today we stand together, bowing our heads with flags flown at half-mast. We pay tribute to the memory of 23,741 soldiers and 3,150 civilians who have paid the ultimate price for the Jewish homeland to exist. We also stand with their families whose suffering and heartbreak we share.

Yom Ha’Zikaron, the Israeli Memorial Day, reminds us of the cost of having a Jewish State. It is always a particularly poignant and emotional day for me. As a soldier, commander, and an Israeli, I lost fellow soldiers and friends. Commanders who led by example, who always went ahead shouting, “follow me,” are no longer with us and their voices are no longer heard.

Our fallen soldiers sacrificed their lives with full commitment to their mission; their lives were tragically cut short in defense of the State of Israel. They fought for our freedom and our democracy. I’ll forever remember their smiles, their voices and their faces, which will remain young forever. Their loss is felt by everyone they left behind.

Soldiers of the IDF

Tomorrow evening, our emotions will be shifting from the pain and sadness of Yom Ha’zikaron to the pride and elation of our 71st Independence Day, Yom Ha’atzmaut. It is this range of emotions that reflects the essence of the Jewish history; we commemorate our tragedies, but we also honor our heroes and celebrate in our victories.

I know I am not alone in rejoicing in the miracle that is Medinat Yisrael, the beautiful and accomplished Jewish homeland, and yet, I understand that this joy comes with a heavy price. As we face many challenges, I want to reassure you that Israel will do whatever she must do to protect her people and her country.

Today we are fortunate to have the strength and will to defend ourselves against those who continue to seek our destruction.

The memory of the fallen will forever be a part of our hearts and our lives. May our prayers for peace be answered as we remain a strong and independent nation forever.

With respect and admiration for our brave heroes,

Maj. Gen. (Res). Meir Klifi-Amir
National Director and CEO
Friends of the IDF (FIDF)

Who Was The Prophet Malachi

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CHABAD.ORG)

 

Malachi (d. 312 BCE) was a member of the Great Assembly during the beginning of the second Jewish commonwealth and was considered the last Jewish prophet.

Who Was Malachi?

Some opinions in the Talmud maintain that Malachi was Mordechai,1 the hero of the Purimstory, but referred to as Malachi because of his position as viceroy of Persia—a designation similar to that of an angel (“malach”) who is subordinate to G‑d.2 Another view, supported by many authorities,3 is that Malachi is a pseudonym for Ezra the Scribe,4 while a third perspective identifies Malachi as neither Mordechai nor Ezra, but a third prophet entirely.

Some contemporary authors suggest that the name Malachi is a reference to the final prophecy of his book which opens with the words, Hineni sholeach malachi (“Behold I send My messenger”).5

The Book of Malachi

The Book of Malachi comprises three chapters of prophecies exhorting the Jewish people to better their ways and portending future upheavals should they fail to do so. It is the last of the series of 12 prophets known collectively as Trei Asar (“twelve”) or Minor Prophets.

Some suggest that the prophecies ascribed to ChaggaiZechariah, and Malachi were actually transmitted to the prophets of preceding generations but publicized by Chaggai, Zechariah, and Malachi who had received them by tradition.6 In the interim, Jeremiahprophesied and was the last to do so.7 Nevertheless, the Talmud still ascribes the conclusion of the prophetic period to Malachi because his prophecies were published at a later date.8

An alternate perspective is that prophecy continued, albeit in minute measure, during the lifetime of Chaggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. Indeed, the Talmud teaches that these prophets prophesied during the second year of King Darius’ reign9 regarding the rebuilding of the Temple.10

The Withdrawal of Prophecy

The life of the prophet Malachi is an important turning point in Jewish history, as it marks the close of the glorious era of Jewish prophecy.11 The Talmud teaches, “After the last prophets Chaggai, Zechariah, and Malachi died, the Divine Spirit of prophetic revelation departed from the Jewish people.”12

Nevertheless, the works of the Talmudic era testify to the continued presence of Divine inspiration amongst the Jewish people well after Malachi’s demise. Moreover, many medieval Jewish works point to the possibility of achieving Divine inspiration should one be worthy of it.13 Although varying in degree and intensity from that of the prophets, Divine inspiration is a subcategory of prophecy,14and the Talmud’s statement limiting prophecy to the pre-Malachi era therefore implies only a general decline in the spiritual efficacy of subsequent generations without precluding the possibility of exceptional individuals attaining prophecy.15

Read: Why Are There No More Prophets?

Love by Choice

Although small in size, the prophecies of Malachi are noted with great interest in Jewish thought, beginning with the very first line—a sententious statement that is most telling of G‑d’s unique relationship with the Jewish people:

I have shown you [Israel] love, said the L‑rd. But you ask, “How have You shown us love?” After all—declares the L‑rd—Esau is Jacob’s brother; yet I have accepted Jacob and have rejected Esau.

This declaration conveys a fundamental principle of Jewish thought: While from a human vantage point it may appear that Esau and Jacob are brothers—equals—and that Jewish identity and Jewish destiny are not guided by Divine preference, Malachi informs us that the Jewish people were singled out by G‑d to be His people. Rabbi Yosef Albo explains that the love described by G‑d in these verses is supra-rational; it cannot be justified by logic alone. It is a love of choice.16

The Chassidic masters further develop this teaching, considering the unique qualities of Divine choice. Unlike human choice, which is an exercise in decision-making based on specific advantages and characteristics of an object or experience, G‑d’s choices are made within His essence which is not contingent upon anything else.17 As such, His love of the Jewish people is unconditional and eternal; as G‑d is eternal so is His chosen people.

Read: Who Is a Jew? Solving the Mystery of Jewish Identity

No Changes

Another of Malachi’s noteworthy prophecies speaks to the heart of Jewish theology:

For I am the L‑rd—I have not changed; and you are the children of Jacob—you have not ceased to be.18

The prelude to the daily prayers includes the following declaration of Malachi’s:

You were the same before the world was created; You are the same since the world has been created.19

G‑d’s enduring and unchanging existence is the fundamental principle of faith upon which the entire edifice of Judaism stands. More specifically, it involves the recognition that the act of creation does not redefine G‑d in any way.

Maimonides writes:

He who is everlasting, constant, and in no way subject to change; immutable in His Essence, and as He consists of naught but His Essence, He is mutable in no way whatever; not mutable in His relation to other things: for there is no relation whatever existing between Him and any other being . . and therefore no change as regard; such relations can take place in Him. Hence He is immutable in every respect, as He expressly declares,” I, the L‑rd, do not change”20: i.e., in Me there is not any change whatever.21

Chassidic teachings expound upon this and explain that since the world is truly nullified in its entirety in relation to G‑d, and is wholly united with Him, He remains one after the world was created as He was prior to its creation.22

Malachi also implies that G‑d’s immutability is what drives the eternal nature of the Jewish people (“And you are the children of Jacob—you have not ceased to be”). Even if worldly affairs seem to indicate that G‑d has abandoned His people, we are reminded by Malachi that G‑d does not change and His love for His people always remains intact. And just as it is impossible for Him to cease to exist, so will the Jewish people eternally endure.23

The eternality of the Jewish people leads us directly to the final lines of Malachi’s prophecy, which tell of the Messianic redemption:

Lo, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord, that he may turn the heart of the fathers back through the children, and the heart of the children back through their fathers…24

FOOTNOTES
1.

Megillah 15a.

2.

Maharsha, ibid.

3.

See Targum Yonatan, Malachi 1:1; Rabbeinu Chananel, Megillah ibid. Rashi, Malachi 2:11. Tosafot, Ketubot 16a, Bosar d’Kansinu; Yevamot 86b., Mipnei Mah. Kuzari, 3:65. Meiri, Avot 1:1. Cf. Radak, Malachi, ibid.

4.

Megillah 15a.

5.

See Otzar Yisrael (Eisenstein), Malachi (vol. VI p. 209). Encyclopedia l’Toarei kavod b’Yisrael, p. 1550.

6.

This is in line with the teaching of the Midrash that all prophecies were initially transmitted at Sinai and were later revealed by the prophets when the time was ripe (See Rashi, Malachi 1:1).

7.

Midrash Aggadah, Bamidbar 30:15. Pesikta d’Rav Kahana, p. 116a.

8.

See Midrash Aggadah ibid. stating, “The prophecies were deposited with them [for safekeeping].”

9.

Megillah 15a.

10.

See Chaggai 1:1. Radak, ibid.

11.

Bava Batra 14b.

12.

Yoma 9b. Sotah 48b. Tosefta ibid, 13:4; Sanhedrin 11:1.

13.

See Pirkei Giluyim, introduction to She’elot uteshuvot Min Ha-Shamayim (Margolis), pp. 25-41.

14.

Likutei Sichot, vol. XIV, p. 73, note 20.

15.

See Likutei Sichot ibid. where the language of the Talmud is demonstrated to be most precise in that the word chosen for the removal of prophecy is nistalkah, meaning withdrawn, as opposed to batlah (“annulled”), or paskah(“curtailed”). Cf. Griz Ha-Levy, Malachi ibid.

16.

Sefer Ha-Ikarim 3:37.

17.

See Torah Ohr p. 120c, Likutei Torah (Gimel Parshiyos) 37a, Ohr Ha-Torah Bereishit vol. III, pp. 565a, and Likutei Sichot vol. IV p. 1341, vol. VII p. 25, vol. XXXVI p. 50.

19.

See Yalkut Shimoni, Va-Etchanan sec. 836.

21.

Guide to the Perplexed I:XI.

22.

See Sha’ar Ha-Yichud Ve-Ha-Emunah ch. VII.

23.

Rambam, Igeret Teiman, sec. U’kvar hivti’ach.

Israel’s population tops 9 million, including 45% of world Jewry

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Israel’s population tops 9 million, including 45% of world Jewry

Independence Day eve statistics show 2% increase since last year; population expected to reach 15.2 million by 2048

Israelis watch an air show during the festivities of the 70th Independence Day, on April 19, 2018, in Tel Aviv. (AFP PHOTO / Ahmad GHARABLI)

Israelis watch an air show during the festivities of the 70th Independence Day, on April 19, 2018, in Tel Aviv. (AFP PHOTO / Ahmad GHARABLI)

On the eve of its 71st Independence Day, Israel’s population stands at 9,021,000, crossing 9 million for the first time, according to figures released on Monday by the Central Bureau of Statistics.

The data show that 6,697,000 Israelis are Jewish (74.2 percent) and 1,890,000 are Arab (20.9%). In addition, there are 434,000 people who are non-Arab Christians or members of other ethnic groups. Seventy-five percent of the Jews in Israel were born in the country.

Since last Independence Day, the population of Israel has grown by 177,000 (an increase of 2%). During that period, 188,000 babies were born, 47,000 people died and 31,000 immigrants arrived in the country.

Since the establishment of Israel in 1948, 3.2 million immigrants have moved to Israel, with around 43% of them arriving after 1990.

Family members embrace at Ben Gurion Airport as 72 new immigrants from Ethiopia arrive on June 6, 2017. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

According to the data, the country’s population is expected to reach 15.2 million people by Israel’s 100th Independence Day in 2048.

In 1948 there were just 806,000 people in Israel and at the time, the global Jewish population was 11.5 million, and just 6% were in Israel. Today, 45% of the world’s Jews live in Israel.

Independence Day celebrations begin on Wednesday night, as the country transitions from Memorial Day — 24 hours of mourning for its fallen soldiers and terror victims.

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MAY 6, 2019
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MOSHE FEDER, 68, WAS FATALLY WOUNDED IN THE ATTACK

IDF probing why road where man killed by Gazan anti-tank missile was kept open

Military says it hadn’t believed a Kornet attack could reach highway from Strip even though it was within range, promises to release investigation findings

The scene of a car hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip near the Israel-Gaza border on May 5, 2019. (Noam Rivkin Fenton/Flash90)

The scene of a car hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip near the Israel-Gaza border on May 5, 2019. (Noam Rivkin Fenton/Flash90)

The Israeli military said it failed to recognize the risks posed to Israeli drivers on a road north of the Gaza Strip where a man was killed Sunday when a Kornet anti-tank guided missile fired from the enclave struck his car.

Earlier in the day, the Israel Defense Forces ordered some roads around the Gaza Strip closed in light of the threat of sniper and missile attacks from the enclave. However, the Route 34 highway, north of the Strip, near the community of Kibbutz Erez was left open.

“The specific road where the civilian’s vehicle was hit was not closed due to the distance. At the time, we didn’t see that threat,” IDF spokesperson Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said Sunday evening.

Route 34 runs about 2.5 kilometers from populated parts of the Gaza Strip in some sections. A train route which runs along Route 34 on an elevated track in the same area of the attack was shut for fear of attacks, but the highway was kept open.

The Russian-designed Kornet anti-tank guided missile has an effective range of up to 5.5 kilometers. Unlike the rockets used by terror groups in the Strip, the laser-guided Kornet is highly accurate.

Ilustrative. A Kornet anti-tank guided missile is fired in a Russian military exercise. (Russian military/Wikimedia)

The spokesman said the military was investigating the matter and that it is “very much an ongoing event.” Conricus added that once the IDF completes its probe of the deadly missile attack, it will release the findings to the family of the victim and the public.

Moshe Feder, 68, was fatally wounded when an anti-tank guided missile slammed into his car as he was driving along Route 34. He sustained a serious shrapnel wound to the leg, causing significant blood loss, and was pronounced dead at Ashkelon’s Barzilai Medical Center after CPR efforts failed. The Hamas terror group claimed responsibility for the attack.

Feder, a Kfar Saba resident, was survived by two children and his partner Iris Eden. Eden lost her first husband, Yashish Eden, in a deadly helicopter crash in 1997. Known as the “helicopter disaster,” that incident saw 73 IDF servicemen lose their lives when two aircraft collided near the northern border with Lebanon.

Moshe Feder, 68, was killed in an anti-tank missile attack on May 5, 2019 (Courtesy)

Speaking to the Ynet news site, Eden said she knew intuitively that Feder was the Sunday morning casualty.

“I’ve been through a few things in my life and I did not need an official statement [to learn] about his death,” she said. “He was my second love — a kind and generous man. We had established a family together with the children and grandchildren over the last three years.”

While Hamas and other terror groups have long had Kornet missiles in their arsenals, the weapon’s high price tag means they are typically used against higher profile military targets, not against civilians.

Kornet missiles were used repeatedly against Israeli tanks throughout the 2014 Gaza war, through they were relatively ineffective as the projectiles were intercepted by tanks’ Trophy active defense systems.

A picture taken on November 12, 2018, shows a bus set ablaze after it was hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip, at the Israel-Gaza border near the kibbutz of Kfar Aza, on November 12, 2018. (Menahem KAHANA / AFP)

A Kornet missile was last used in November, when one was fired at a bus that had just been full of soldiers east of the Gaza border at the Black Arrow memorial site, sparking an intense two-day battle. One serviceman, who had remained on board, was seriously wounded in the attack.

In April 2011, the Hamas terror group fired a Kornet missile at a yellow school bus in the Sha’ar Hanegev region of southern Israel, east of Gaza, killing a 16-year-old student on board, Daniel Viflic.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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Islamic Jihad threatens to escalate Gaza violence to all-out war

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Islamic Jihad threatens to escalate Gaza violence to all-out war

The spokesman for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad says the armed terror group in the Gaza Strip is poised to escalate deadly violence against Israel to an all-out war.

“The resistance is on the verge of a new level in facing aggression; a level that could lead to open war,” Mosab Al Braim tells the Hamas-linked al-Risala daily. “It will hurt the enemy like our people are hurting.”

Israel: Hamas Fires 200 Rockets Into Israel: IDF Strikes Targets In Gaza

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Army says 200 rockets fired toward Israel, injuring 2; IDF hits targets in Gaza

IDF says dozens of projectiles intercepted by Iron Dome; Army strikes 30 targets as sirens sound in border communities, Rehovot, Ashdod, Ashkelon and Beit Shemesh

Women look at the damage caused by a rocket fired from Gaza that hit a house in southern Israel near the border with Gaza, Saturday, May 4, 2019 (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)

Women look at the damage caused by a rocket fired from Gaza that hit a house in southern Israel near the border with Gaza, Saturday, May 4, 2019 (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)

The Israel Defense Forces on Saturday afternoon launched a series of strikes on the Gaza Strip from both land and air, as around 200 rockets were fired toward Israel from the Palestinian enclave.

The army said dozens of the projectiles were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.

A woman, aged around 80, was in serious condition after being hit by shrapnel from a rocket in Kiryat Gat, about 20 kilometers (12 miles) northeast of the Gaza Strip. She was treated by medics at the scene and taken to hospital, where she was in stable condition.

A man was in a moderate condition after he was injured by shrapnel after a rocket attack on the coastal city of Ashkelon.

Shortly after 3 p.m. the army said fighter jets and tanks had struck 30 “terror targets” in the Strip belonging to the Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror groups. The operations were ongoing.

Medics treat a woman hurt by rocket shrapnel in Kiryat Gat on May 4, 2019 (Channel 12)

The army said it targeted several Hamas compounds in Gaza City used for training and for weapons production. It said one of the sites was used by the organization’s naval force.

It also struck several Islamic Jihad compounds throughout the Strip, and a number of rocket launchers and outposts near the border.

The strikes came after IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi held talks with Shin Bet chief Nadav Argaman, Southern Command chief Herzi Halevi and other top brass. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is also defense minister, was set to hold consultations at the IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv as well.

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The strikes were in response to around 200 rockets launched at Israeli communities from the Strip since the morning, with thousands of Israelis forced into shelters throughout multiple towns and cities near Gaza, including in Rehovot, Ashkelon, Ashdod and Sderot.

And at 3 p.m. sirens sounded for the first time as far as Beit Shemesh, a city 20 kilometers (12 miles) west of Jerusalem.

Objects are scattered in a house that was hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip in the southern Israeli village of Netiv Ha’asara, on May 4, 2019. (Jack GUEZ / AFP)

The Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted dozens of projectiles.

A home in a community in the Eshkol Regional Council suffered a direct hit, without reported casualties, as the residents had run to a nearby shelter moments earlier once sirens were heard. Police were at the scene.

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Also in Eshkol, a rocket fell inside a community but did not cause damage. Another rocket impacted on Route 4, a major highway, near Ashkelon. Sappers handled the rocket remains.

Magen David Adom said none were injured by the rocket barrages. However, a 15-year-old boy was lightly hurt running to a shelter, and two people suffered from shock.

A picture taken from the Gaza Strip on May 4, 2019, shows smoke billowing following an airstrike by Israel in response to rockets fired by Palestinian terrorists. (Mahmud Hams/AFP)

In its initial response to the attacks in the morning, the IDF said the air force struck at least two rocket launchers in the Strip, and tanks fired at several posts belonging to the Hamas terror group, which rules Gaza.

The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry said a 22-year-old man was killed and four people were injured by the Israeli strikes. It did not say whether the casualties were people affiliated to any terror group. Channel 12 news reported that the dead man may have been a member of a rocket-launching squad that had fired at Israel, but there was no official confirmation.

No Gaza terror group immediately claimed responsibility for the rocket fire. However, Hamas in a statement said it was “prepared to respond to Israel’s crimes” and vowed to stop it from “spilling the blood of our people.” Gaza’s second-largest terror group, Islamic Jihad, warned that “If Israel continues the aggression it will face surprises.” And a spokesperson for the Popular Resistance Committees said “The resistance groups are breaking the formula that Israel tried to create, whereby it could attack without there being a response.”

An unidentified Hamas source told the Haaretz newspaper that the group had “warned of escalation for the past two weeks due to the delay in carrying out the understandings of the ceasefire. In Israel they asked for calm and got it, and in the Strip we didn’t get any improvement.”

According to the Walla news site, IDF troops in the region were alert to possible attempts to snipe at or launch anti-tank missiles at forces near the border, as well as possible abduction attempts.

An Israeli soldier at the scene where a house was hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip in southern Israel on May 4, 2019 (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

In light of the ongoing attacks, the IDF’s Home Front Command issued instructions for residents in affected areas to remain near protected spaces. It also limited public gatherings to 300 people in enclosed spaces only and halted agricultural work. Many municipalities opened public shelters. Beaches and national parks in the south were closed, and sporting events canceled.

The instructions applied to communities in the border area near Gaza, the central Negev, Lachish region and southern Shfela plain.

The rocket attacks came a day after two soldiers were shot and injured while on patrol near the border in southern Gaza. One soldier was moderately wounded in the attack and a female soldier was lightly hurt, the IDF said.

In response to the shooting, an IDF aircraft attacked a nearby Hamas post, the army said. The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry said two people were killed in the strike and two others were wounded.

Hamas confirmed the two men killed in the airstrike were members of its military wing and pledged to respond to what it called “Israeli aggression.”

The Hebrew-language Twitter account of the Hamas-affiliated Shehab news agency issued a threat to Israel Friday night: “We will respond to the crimes of the occupation and the killing of our people.”

The Islamic Jihad also said it held Israel responsible for the deaths.

The incidents, which marked a serious escalation, came during weekly border protests in which several thousand Gazans gathered at five sites. Some of the demonstrators rioted, throwing rocks and makeshift explosive devices at soldiers, who responded with tear gas and occasional live fire.

Palestinianss clash with Israeli troops during protests at the Israel-Gaza border, on May 3, 2019 (Hassan Jedi/Flash90)

A third Palestinian was killed during the border riots, the Gaza health ministry said, identifying him as Ra’ed Khalil Abu Tayyer, 19, adding that 40 protesters had been injured. The IDF said troops had identified several attempts to breach the fence. Overnight Friday, a fourth Palestinian died from injuries sustained during the riots, according to Hebrew media reports.

On Thursday, a Hamas delegation led by the group’s Gaza chief Yahya Sinwar traveled to Cairo for talks with Egyptian officials on a truce with Israel, Hamas officials said.

That agreement has appeared to be under stress in recent days, with Palestinians launching arson balloons and rockets into Israel and Israeli warplanes striking Hamas targets.

A picture taken from Moshav Netiv Ha’asara in southern Israel shows rockets fired from the Gaza Strip toward Israeli territory on May 4, 2019. (Jack Guez/AFP)

Hamas has said the incendiary balloons were a message to Israel not to hold up the transfer of millions of dollars in Qatari aid funds to the cash-strapped Hamas government in Gaza.

Israel and Egypt have maintained a crippling blockade on Gaza since Hamas, which seeks to destroy Israel, seized control of the territory in 2007. Jerusalem says it is necessary to prevent terror groups from rearming and becoming an even greater menace.

The sides are bitter enemies and have fought three wars and engaged in numerous smaller flare-ups of violence.

Tensions have been rising in recent days amid allegations from Hamas that Israel has been delaying implementation of last month’s ceasefire understandings.

Following heavy fighting in early April, Israel agreed to ease the blockade in exchange for a halt to rocket fire. This included expanding a fishing zone off Gaza’s coast, increasing imports into Gaza and allowing the Gulf state of Qatar to deliver aid to cash-strapped Gaza.

Hamas has hoped that Egyptian mediators could further ease the blockade, which has ravaged Gaza’s economy. For over a year, the Islamic group has orchestrated mass demonstrations each week along the Israeli frontier to draw attention to Gaza’s plight.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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Israel comes to a standstill in somber remembrance of Holocaust Victims

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Israel comes to standstill in somber remembrance of Holocaust victims

Sirens sound at 10 a.m., followed by wreath-laying ceremony at Yad Vashem, March of the Living in Poland

People stand still in Tel Aviv, as a two-minute siren is sounded across Israel to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day on May 2, 2019. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

People stand still in Tel Aviv, as a two-minute siren is sounded across Israel to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day on May 2, 2019. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Israel came to a standstill at 10 a.m. Thursday as sirens wailed throughout the country in memory of the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis during World War II.

The annual remembrance is one of the most solemn days on Israel’s national calendar, with much of the country all but shutting down to honor those who suffered under the Nazi killing machine.

The sirens will be followed by ceremonies marking Holocaust Remembrance Day in schools, public institutions, and army bases, including a wreath-laying ceremony at Yad Vashem’s memorial for the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, and the Knesset’s annual recitation of victims’ names. The March of the Living at the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp in Poland will begin at 1 p.m.

Events will officially come to a close in ceremonies at Kibbutz Lohamei Hagetaot (Ghetto Fighters) and Kibbutz Yad Mordechai, named after those who resisted the Nazis in Warsaw and the leader of the uprising, Mordechai Anielewicz.

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The national day began Wednesday evening at sundown, as ceremonies were held throughout the country, with solemn songs, candle-lightings and remembrances from survivors and their descendants. TV channels and radio stations switched to exclusive programming about the Holocaust and stores and restaurants shuttered early in deference to the commemorations.

At Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial and Museum, an official state event featured six torch lightings from those who lived through the genocide.

People stand still in Tel Aviv, as a two-minute siren is sounded across Israel to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day on May 2, 2019. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Speaking at the ceremony, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed that Israel “will not present its neck for the slaughter in the face of threats of destruction,” criticizing the Iranian regime and rising anti-Semitism, which he said was often dressed up as criticism of Israel, as the chief dangers to the Jews and the Jewish state today.

This year’s remembrance day came amid a sharp rise in anti-Semitic incidents, attacks and rhetoric worldwide and particularly in the United States and Western Europe, a theme that featured prominently in Israeli officials’ speeches at Yad Vashem.

Israelis stand still during a two-minute siren in memory of 6 million Jews murdered in the Holocaust as Israel marks the National Holocaust Memorial Day, on May 2, 2019, in Tel Aviv.(Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Hours before the ceremony, researchers at Tel Aviv University said that 2018-2019 saw “an increase in almost all forms of anti-Semitic manifestations, in the public space as well as in the private one.” Many Jews in the Diaspora feel increasingly insecure and are questioning their place in society, they said.

Capped by the shooting that killed 11 worshipers at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue on October 27, assaults targeting Jews rose 13 percent in 2018, according to the study.

Congregants and other members of the public attend a funeral service at the Chabad of Poway Synagogue for Lori Gilbert-Kaye, who was killed in a shooting at the synagogue, in Poway, California, on April 29, 2019. (Sandy HUffaker/AFP)

A separate study by the Anti-Defamation League released this weekshowed a decrease in overall anti-Semitic incidents but an increase in violence against Jews in the United States.

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MAY 2, 2019
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Ex-official tells US academic: ‘I had in my control first Israeli nuclear core’

Former Israeli atomic official Elie Geisler describes guarding a plutonium core, as well as plans to turn it into a nuclear bomb, during the 1967 Six Day War

Illustrative. A plutonium core from the Los Alamos National Laboratory in the United States in 1946. (US government/Wikimedia)

Illustrative. A plutonium core from the Los Alamos National Laboratory in the United States in 1946. (US government/Wikimedia)

In the lead-up to the 1967 Six Day War, Israel hid a plutonium core in an old British-built police station outside the town of Gedera, with plans to turn it into a functioning nuclear bomb if necessary, according to testimony from a former Israeli official who guarded the site, which was published Wednesday.

The article was published as part of a new series on the nuclear aspect of the Six Day War in the Nonproliferation Review, a journal run by the Middlebury Institute of International Studies that describes itself as focusing on the “causes and consequences of the spread of weapons of mass destruction.”

The testimony of Elie Geisler, the former atomic official, was collected by Avner Cohen, one of the premier researchers of Israel’s nuclear history. Cohen is a contentious figure within Israel, as much of his writings deal with Israel’s alleged nuclear weapons, which is at odds with the Israeli government’s stance of ambiguity — neither confirming nor denying the existence of such capabilities.

In the article series, Cohen delves deeper into his belief that Israel sought to create and potentially detonate a nuclear bomb during the war if necessary as a show of strength against the attacking Arab armies. This view is not universally accepted among scholars of the war.

Professor Avner Cohen (James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies)

Cohen’s assessment is based largely on interviews he conducted in 1999 and 2000 with Col. (res.) Yitzhak Yaakov, who oversaw the military’s weapons program and claimed to have been behind the plan. The interviews were not published until 2017, four years after Yaakov’s death, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the war.

These nuclear plans were “the last secret of the 1967 war,” Cohen told The New York Times in 2017, when he released Yaakov’s interview transcripts.

According to Cohen, this view is further supported by this new testimony, in which Geisler recounts his role in defending what he says was one of the few plutonium cores in Israel’s possession at the time.

“During my inspections, I reflected on the fact that I had under my control the first Jewish, Israeli nuclear core,” he wrote.

Elie Geisler, a former Israeli atomic official who claims to have guarded a plutonium core during the 1967 Six Day War in an undated photograph. (Wilson Center)

In his testimony — parts of which were published in a book under a pseudonym in 2017 — Geisler describes a mini-civil war that nearly took place at the site, as  Col. Yaakov demanded access to the technically civil-run facility.

Due to an apparent mix-up, his permission to enter the site never arrived, and a standoff ensued — Yaakov backed by IDF cadets and Geisler by a contingent of border guards.

Geisler recalled telling Yaakov that “if he tried to use force, we would unnecessarily spill Israeli blood.” To avoid violence, Geisler called one of his superiors, which would normally amount to a breach of protocol, and was told that they “knew about Colonel Yaakov and his visit, but for some reason — someone forgot or something else — had not informed me.”

According to Cohen, Geisler’s account matched a claim made by Yaakov in his 1999 interview that “there was some problem” in gaining access to the site.

Geisler apparently believes that Yaakov’s attempt to enter the site amounted to “an illegitimate effort by the IDF to claim custody over the nation’s nuclear weapons,” according to Cohen.

“I just happened to be there and was an eyewitness to events, some of which I understood their powerful historical footprint, and some I did not. This is why it took me several decades before I could put these memories to paper,” Geisler told Cohen, who compiled the account into one cohesive article from multiple interviews and conversations.

However, Cohen disputes this view, saying he believes that Yaakov’s actions were not an attempted military coup, but rather derived from real confusion and unclear organizational structure, “genuine growing pains of Israel’s abrupt, improvisational entry into the nuclear age.”

‘The package’

From 1963 to 1973, Geisler worked in Israel’s nuclear program as part of the classified Scientific Authority, a civil organization responsible for the country’s weapons development efforts, according to the testimony.

In the weeks preceding the war, Geisler was sent with a contingent of border guards to the British Mandate-era Qatra police station outside Gedera and tasked with guarding a “package,” a wooden crate containing a radioactive “metallic half-sphere.”

“My primary job was to take care of the ‘package’ by using Geiger and other counters to verify the safety and security of the object — the core — and to ascertain that no radiation leakage was present,” Geisler wrote.

As the device released both gamma and alpha radiation, he was convinced that this was the “real thing,” a plutonium core.

The abandoned British Mandate-era Qatra police station outside the central Israeli town of Gedera in September 2018. (Dork105/Wikimedia)

Geisler believes that at that time, Israel would have only had enough radioactive material to create one or two cores, though some have claimed two or three were produced.

“I would stand in this small room and stare at the object with much awe, having seen photos and movies of the devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki,” he said.

“I knew perfectly well that the use of the device would be the ‘last resort’ of the political leadership of the country, whose policy was, and remains to this day, not to be the first to introduce nuclear weapons to the Middle East, neither confirming nor denying the Israeli nuclear-weapon capability,” Geisler added.

He developed contingency plans with the commander of the border guards for how they could move the core “to an assembly point, where it would join with the remainder of the device.”

Yitzhak Yaakov (YouTube screenshot)

According to Cohen, in his interviews in 1999 and 2000, Yaakov detailed the plan to detonate such a device, which was code-named “Shimshon,” or Samson, after the biblical character.

Yaakov said this plan derived from deep fear.

“Look, it was so natural,” Yaakov told Cohen. “You’ve got an enemy, and he says he’s going to throw you to the sea. You believe him.”

“How can you stop him?” he asked. “You scare him. If you’ve got something you can scare him with, you scare him.”

According to the Yaakov, the plan would see Israel “scare” Egypt by detonating an atomic device on a mountaintop site about 12 miles from an Egyptian military complex at Abu Ageila.

“The plan, if activated by order of the prime minister and military chief of staff, was to send a small paratrooper force to divert the Egyptian army in the desert area so that a team could lay preparations for the atomic blast,” the report said.

An Egyptian transport burning after a direct hit from an Israeli tank during the Six Day War, June 5, 1967. (David Rubinger/Government Press Office)

“Two large helicopters were to land, deliver the nuclear device and then create a command post in a mountain creek or canyon. If the order came to detonate, the blinding flash and mushroom cloud would have been seen throughout the Sinai and Negev deserts, and perhaps as far away as Cairo.”

As it turned out, Israel’s victory was swift and decisive and there was no need for any doomsday plan, but Yaakov still believed Israel should have gone ahead with it and openly declared its nuclear prowess.

In 2001, some two years after his conversations with Cohen, Yaakov was arrested in Israel and charged with passing secret information with intent to harm state security. Though it was not detailed in the indictment, this offense was tied to a memoir that Yaakov had written.

He was acquitted of the main charge but found guilty of the unauthorized handing over of secret information. Yaakov received a two-year suspended sentence.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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FRIEDMAN: ‘HUMAN LIFE MUST BE DEFENDED FROM HATEFUL REGIMES’

‘Jews once again unsafe,’ Jewish Agency’s Herzog warns at March of the Living

Over 10,000 march at Auschwitz to commemorate Holocaust victims, including youth, survivors and political leaders from 41 countries

Jewish youth from all over the world visit the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland a day before the March of the Living on May 1, 2019 (Yossi Zeliger/Flash90)

Jewish youth from all over the world visit the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland a day before the March of the Living on May 1, 2019 (Yossi Zeliger/Flash90)

AUSCHWITZ-BIRKENAU, Poland — As over 10,000 people joined in the 2019 International March of the Living on Thursday afternoon in the former Nazi death camp at Auschwitz, Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog warned that “Jews are once again unsafe on the streets of Europe.”

The annual march coincides with Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom Hashoah) and marks the murder of 6 million Jews by Nazi Germany in the Holocaust.

“From this place, I call on world leaders to fight rampant anti-Semitism erupting around the world, especially the shocking and dramatic rise of hate crimes in Europe, Latin America, the United States and around the world,” Herzog, one of the few Israeli officials to attend this year, said at the gathering’s main ceremony.

“It is inconceivable that 74 years after that wretched war, Jews are once again unsafe on the streets of Europe. Jews cannot be murdered in Pittsburgh and San Diego or anywhere. Let us heed the warning and take to heart the lessons of the Holocaust. World leaders must unite with zero tolerance for hate crimes, of any kind,” he added.

Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog speaks during the main ceremony of the March of the Living, at the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp at Oswiecim, Poland, May 2, 2019. (March of the Living feed screen capture)

A delegation led by senior officials from around the world joined the three-kilometer walk to the Birkenau death camp, where the central ceremony was held. Youth groups from 41 countries participated in the march, according to organizers.

At the ceremony, participants stood at attention when a commemoration siren sounded, a custom brought from Israel, where a nationwide siren on the morning of Yom Hashoah commemorates those who died in the Holocaust.

This year’s march in Poland comes amid rising anti-Semitism worldwide and organizers said the commemorations are meant to send a resounding rejection of Jew-hatred.

“We are here to say in a clear voice: ‘Never again.’ We march to remind the world of the horrors that occurred during the Holocaust and to lead a global movement to combat anti-Semitism in all its forms,” Shmuel Rosenman, the founder and co-chairman of March of the Living, said in a statement.

US ambassador to Israel David Friedman also spoke at the ceremony.

“There are no words. I have no words to capture the pain, the anger, the sadness, the horror that I feel now at this solemn site,” he said.

“Even if I had the words, they would be drowned out by the shrieks, the cries, the shouts, the agony of the victims in this death camp that have never been silenced, and that are amplified right now, right here, this afternoon.”

He promised that the United States would “give no quarter” to anti-Semitism “anywhere on this planet,” and called Israel “a force for good in the world and a powerful reminder that Jewish life, like all human life, can, will and must be defended from the tyrannical, hate-filled regimes that threaten us.”

Herzog’s speech related the experience of his father Chaim, a future president of Israel, who served in the war as an officer in the British army and was among the liberators of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

“He crossed the River Rhine in one of the most challenging battles of the war, and reached the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in April 1945,” Herzog said. “As a young British officer he walked towards the living skeletons and said to them in Yiddish: ‘I am a Jew, I am from Eretz Israel, and I came to rescue you.’ However, some of them thought that he was actually manipulating them, as Nazis did throughout the period. A few days later, on Friday evening, he led the prayers for those who survived the horror,” Herzog related.

No senior Israeli government officials took part in this year’s march, though former chief rabbi Israel Lau and Herzog joined it. Also attending were Friedman and Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dancila, among others.

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