Israel Briefs 2-7-12

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Intelligence Head: 200,000 rockets and missiles pointed at Israel

Israel faces the threat of 200,000 rockets and missiles—located in Lebanon, Syria, Gaza, and Iran—and even Tel Aviv is at risk, according to IDF Intelligence head Aviv Kochavi.

“The warheads on these missiles contain hundreds of kilograms of explosives, not dozens, as in the past. And their firing precision and ability to hit specific targets is also greater,” Kochavi recently said in Herzliya, according to Israel National News.

“Every tenth house in Lebanon is now a weapons depot,” he said.

Kochavi added that Iran has enough uranium for four atomic bombs.

—JointMedia News Service

Fatah denies Gaza rockets despite intelligence to the contrary

Despite IDF intelligence information that shows Israel facing the threat of 200,000 rockets and missiles, Senior Fatah official Nabil Sha’ath has now denied that Israel is being targeted by missiles from Gaza, the Israel National News reported.

Sha’ath spoke just after leaders from Hamas and the Palestinian Authority signed a reconciliation agreement. When asked about the missiles, he told Media Review & Analysis (IMRA): “What missiles? This is propaganda. What about all the Israeli missiles?”

—JointMedia News Service

Madonna to kick off world tour in Israel

Madonna will go on tour from May for the first time in three years, starting in Israel before moving on to Europe, with legs in South America and Australia, where she has not performed for 20 years, tour promotion company Live Nation said on Tuesday.

The 2012 World Tour will be the first for the Grammy Award-winning 53-year-old Material Girl since her “Sticky & Sweet Tour” in 2008 and 2009 and will stop in more than 20 European and Middle Eastern cities including London, Edinburgh, Paris, Milan, Abu Dhabi and Berlin. According to Billboard magazine, Madonna’s “Sticky & Sweet Tour” grossed $408 million.

The tour starts on May 29 in Tel Aviv and then visits Abu Dhabi and Istanbul in early June before moving on to Europe. The European leg concludes on Aug. 21 in Nice, France, and the North American leg will end in Miami, with the date yet to be confirmed, the company said in a statement. The tour announcement follows her soon to be released album, titled “MDNA.”

Madonna performed the halftime show of Sunday’s Super Bowl.

—Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JointMedia News Service

Archeological finds show human activity in time of Jonah

The Israeli Antiquities Authority announced a new archeological find showing that the Hill of Jonah near Ashdod may have been occupied during the time of Jonah the prophet.

Massive walls—remains of a fortress—were discovered and dated to eighth and early seventh century BCE, the Jerusalem Post reported.

“There are two possibilities regarding who inhabited the fortress at that time: one possibility is that it was controlled by the Assyrians who were the regional rulers in the Iron Age. Another possibility is that Josiah, king of Judah, occupied the fort at the time, who we know conquered territory from the Assyrians and controlled Ashdod-Yam in the seventh century BCE,” said Sa’ar Ganor, the Ashkelon District Archaeologist of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

—JointMedia News Service

Canadian foreign minister expresses strong support during Israel visit

Click photo to download. Caption: Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird. Credit: Andrew Rusk.Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird visited Israel and emphasized Canada’s strong relationship with the Jewish state. He also criticized Palestinian terrorism, according to reports.

During his visit, Baird gave several speeches and met with Israeli President Shimon Peres as well as Palestinian Authority leaders. He also met with victims of terrorist attacks at Kfar Chabad.

According to Rabbi Chaim Mendelsohn, director of public affairs for the Canadian Federation of Chabad-Lubavitch, “John Baird has been very responsible for helping shape his government’s vision on foreign affairs.” During a speech at Yad Vashem, Baird said: “Canada does not stand behind Israel. Canada stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Israel.”

—JointMedia News Service



Facebook photo showing IDF soldier attacking Palestinian girl is fake

Click photo to download. Caption: A photo that was published on Facebook that was said to show an Israeli soldier stepping on a young girl lying on the ground and pointing a weapon at her. Credit: Facebook.A photo that was published on Facebook last week was said to show an Israeli soldier stepping on a young girl lying on the ground and pointing a weapon at her. Israeli Facebook users were outraged and claimed that the photo is in fact falsified, Israel Hayom reported.

The photo was later taken down. Even though the caption of the photo identified the soldier as Israeli and the girl as Palestinian, online users said the photo was actually taken in Bahrain during a 2009 protest against the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). Users also pointed to clues indicating that the photo was a fake. These included the soldier’s jacket, which, without a complete zipper would be against IDF regulations, and the AK-47 pointed at the girl (Israeli soldiers carry M-16s). 

The Facebook photo cut the soldier and the girl at the waist, so that their faces could not be seen. The full photo, later also circulated online, showed the two people as clearly acting.

—JointMedia News Service

Israel Air Force gets new commander

After weeks of speculation, a new Israel Air Force commander was appointed on Sunday: Head of the Israel Defense Forces Planning Directorate Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel.

Eshel will replace current IAF Commander Maj. Gen. Ido Nechushtan, who is retiring in May after four years manning the post, Israel Hayom reported.

“Thank you all for your congratulations. I am aware of the magnitude of the responsibility and intend to do everything in my power to be deemed worthy,” was all Eshel was willing to say upon his return home on Sunday.

Eshel’s appointment was expected, as first reported in Israel Hayom last month, as he was clearly the favored candidate of IDF Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz. A source close to the appointment told Israel Hayom on Sunday that the decision was made several days ago, but Defense Minister Ehud Barak tried to give the impression that the position was still unmanned, interviewing several other candidates earlier this week including Military Secretary to the Prime Minister Yohanan Locker and IAF Headquarters Director Brig. Gen. Nimrod Sheffer.

—JointMedia News Service

Israel on high alert for possible Hezbollah attack

Security around President Shimon Peres and other senior Israeli officials has been raised as Hezbollah prepares to mark the fourth anniversary of the assassination of military commander Imad Mughniyeh next week.

Mughniyeh was killed in a car bombing in Damascus, which Hezbollah has repeatedly attributed to Israel. The Shiite terrorist group has vowed to avenge Mughniyeh’s death.

The president’s security detail was put on high alert around the President’s Residence and Peres’ temporary residence in the Mamilla neighborhood of Jerusalem, as well as at all events Peres attends. Peres currently resides in Mamilla due to ongoing repairs at his official residence. Spokesmen at the President’s Residence refused to comment on the subject.

—JointMedia News Service

Posted on February 6, 2012 and filed under Briefs, Israel.