Israel Resource Review 25th August, 2006


Middle East News Line

Israel has assessed that Hizbullah, prodded by Iran and Syria, is preparing to renew its war against Israel.

Israeli officials said the intelligence community has tracked Hizbullah efforts to rearm in wake of the 33-day war with the Jewish state. They said Israeli military intelligence has detected a flow of Iranian and Syrian weapons sent by Damascus into Lebanon.

At this point, most of the weapons shipped to Hizbullah have been of Syrian-origin, officials said. They cited medium-range 333 mm rockets, fired deep into Israel from central Lebanon.

"[Hizbullah secretary-general] Nasrallah is very busy with rehabilitating Hizbullah's military and civilian force in Lebanon," parliamentarian Ran Cohen, a member of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, said.

Officials said Hizbullah fired about 4,000 rockets into Israel during the war. They said the Shi'ite militia was believed to have another 8,000 rockets in its arsenal, most of them the 122 mm Katyusha, with a range of 22 kilometers.

On Thursday, Israeli military intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that most of the weapons used by Hizbullah during the war against Israel came from Syria. Yadlin said Hizbullah hardly used weapons and systems supplied by Iran.

"Yadlin said most of the Hizbullah weapons are obtained in direct deals with Syria and financed by Iran," a source on the Knesset panel said.

Hizbullah has also been preparing for deliveries of advanced anti-tank guided weapons, officials said. They said Iran has been shipping a range of Russian-origin ATGMs to Syrian military bases for transfer to Hizbullah bases in Lebanon.

At the same time, Hizbullah has been expecting delivery of Russian- and Iranian-origin anti-aircraft missiles from Syria. Officials said Iran has sought to supply Hizbullah with the SA-16 and SA-14 man-portable systems.

Israel Defense Minister Amir Peretz has ordered an Israeli military buildup to prepare for any war with Hizbullah, officials said. Officials said the buildup would include bolstering weapons, supplies and munitions as well as accelerated training of troops.

Peretz was also said to have ordered state-owned defense contractors to help design an anti-rocket defense system to protect northern communities from Hizbullah attack. The defense minister has directed an examination of the Sky Guard laser anti-missile system, developed by the U.S. firm Northrop Grumman.

At the same time, Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz has appointed the commander of the air force to prepare for a regional war. Halutz named air force commander Maj. Gen. Eliezer Shkeidy to plan for operations against Iran and other countries that do not border Israel.

"He will oversee battle plans and manage the forces if war breaks out," the Israeli daily Haaretz reported on Friday.

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Commentary on the trying times for Israel
Arlene Kushner

These are serious and somber times for Israel. No question about it. And to make light of it would be foolish and shortsighted.

Is the situation hopeless? Absolutely not. I was, in fact, quite irritated by the piece called "Israel's terminal illness," written by Joseph Farah of WorldNetDaily, whom I have long respected. He simply does not understand the "Never Again" mentality of the Jewish population here. But making sure we are NOT suffering from terminal illness means confronting our national weaknesses and failures and being strong enough to fix the problems.

For me there is hope in part because of what I am seeing in the people of Israel right now, in comparison to the leaders. We as a nation have shown ourselves to be strong, brave, unselfish, caring of one another, and unified in national purpose. How, I ask myself, did such good people end up with such leaders? (And I use the words "leaders" advisedly -- they are no more than purported leaders.) Figuring this out and fixing it is part of what needs to be done.

Our military/security situation is now worse than it was before the Lebanon war -- which we needed to win decisively and did not. As Barry Rubin has pointed out, the cause of genuine peace in the region has been set back seriously because we have come off appearing weak, and thus vulnerable. Why negotiate with us when we can be taken down?

Some of the major problems:


Just today the Post has reported that Israel has now come to the conclusion that disarming Hezbollah is not a realistic goal -- although there will be attempts to stop the rearming of Hezbollah via an embargo. What is more, Israel has likewise come to the conclusion that freeing the area south of the Litani of a Hezbollah presence is impossible because Hezbollah is so very entrenched there that it would mean evacuating the whole region. (This speaks whole volumes about the Hezbollah involvement of the so-called civilians in the area, and relates to charges that we killed numerous "innocent civilians.") Israel expects, instead, that the Lebanese army and the new UNIFIL forces will make sure Hezbollah doesn't have offensive weapons. Quite a pathetic come down from our stated intention of protecting ourselves: we should know that we can depend on no one but ourselves.


We are undoubtedly facing some very serious times in Gaza. PA President Mahmoud Abbas says he is now prepared to join a Hamas gov't even if it doesn't recognize Israel. This is an official turn around: There is no longer even the pretense within Fatah of having deals with Israel and working to negotiate with Israel. They are amassing serious weapons and absorbing the lessons of the Hezbollah guerilla approach.


It is likely that things will heat up with Syria. The pity is that we didn't bomb Damascus while we were still fighting the Hezbollah war -- for Syria is the conduit for Hezbollah arms. Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin, of Military Intelligence, reported to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee yesterday that Syria would try to recover the Golan Heights, either by diplomatic or military means and is studying the Hezbollah war for guidance as to how to proceed.


There have been painful reports of the lack of preparedness of the army with regard to simple matters of equipment and supplies. Reservists are speaking out about lack of bullet proof vests and lack of training, and (incredibly!) insufficient food sent into the arenas of battle.


Most significant: Giora Eiland, a former national security advisor, has said that if Ahmadinejad were calling the shots he would be willing to "sacrifice half of Iran for the sake of eliminating Israel." Right now, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who is "more reasonable" is in charge, but things could change.

Israel is watching the situation closely, uneasy about whether the U.S. will move to take out Iran's nuclear capability. The absolute consensus within the military here is that we cannot let Iran go nuclear. We will be what we may be forced to do -- not having a choice.


But the good news is that we DO have a "Never Again" mentality, and we are taking preliminary steps to correct the problems.

Members of the military are speaking out about lack of preparedness and expressing a desire to rectify the situation. This failure to be prepared came from the left-wing, "all will be well because we are giving land away and negotiating, and besides, the international community is happy with us" mentality that was no longer addressing a need to be ready for war. Ehud Olmert, in statements he made over a period of time, quintessentially expressed this foolish mentality, as he spoke about being tired of fighting our enemies and how the people want to have fun. We MUST be prepared to do battle. This is painful, but it a reality that must be faced if we are to survive. We are NOT a normal nation, we are beleaguered.

Polls show that the populace is moving strongly to the right -- with both Kadima and Labor potentially losing many seats. What has to happen is that this gov't must fall, and be replaced by a right-wing coalition of Likud, Yisrael Beteinu, National Union-NPR. We need a gov't that will address the problems seriously, responsibly, with concern for the nation, and with integrity.

What is more, the war in Lebanon has had the effect of uniting the population in its resolve and sense of shared concern. Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin (above) said: "Syria and Hezbollah were surprised by the determined stand made by the Israeli home front during the course of the war. They expected Israel to sustain more casualties . . . and they expected greater chaos and disorder within Israeli society." THIS, then, is our first strength and it has been broadcast.

It should be noted that Yadlin also said that while Hezbollah is observing the ceasefire at present, tensions between their guerillas and IDF still in the field is high; the longer it takes for the multinational force to deploy, the greater the likelihood that Hezbollah will break the ceasefire. It's possible that we're not done here yet.

More after Shabbat . . .

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Figs on RoshHodesh: A personal note
David Bedein


A simple request from my wife, Sara, before Shabbat. "Would you pick some figs off the tree in our yard for Shabbat"?.

This was the first time that our tree in the yard of our home in Efrat had borne fruit.

Sara had planted seven fruit trees on that auspicious day on the White House lawn in September, 1993 when Rabin and Arafat signed their lethal "declaration of principles" against violence and for mutual recognition. - a pact approved a week the Knesset and rejected on October 6th by the PLO - unbeknown to the media who by and large preferred not to report any bad news about the Oslo process. That was the ultimate cease fire. Israel would cease and the PLO would fire.

Sara's decision to plant the trees was a statement of optimism, that we would be here when the trees would bear fruit, and that they would outlive the decree of Rabin and Arafat.

And so it came to be. On Rosh Hodesh Elul, we will sit with our family in our garden for Shabbat dinner, fulfilling the prophecies of old, that foresaw a time when we would all sit in peace under our fig trees and appreciate the peace of mind that the land of Israel can at times provide.

Rosh Hodesh Elul is a special day for me.

It is the day that I came to Israel 36 years ago, which coincided with my Gregorian calender birthday of twenty.

The decision to come to Israel was not easy. I loved the life in America, especially in Madison, where I was going to school.

Yet on one crucial day in May that year I made a life decision.

It happened at the UW Student Union, watching CBS Evening News.

Walter Cronkite's two lead stories said it all.

The US had "succeeded" in wiping out a few villages in Cambodia.

The PLO had "succeeded" in attacking a school bus bear Avivim, in northern Israel, and took "credit" for killing a dozen Israeli school children.

It was then and there that the decision was made: There was a land that I could not and would not live in and fight for, and a nation whom I could live in and fight for.

I called and confirmed my ticket to Israel. My non-Jewish friends knew that I would not come back to Madison. My Jewish friends could not understand. As my native Croatian friend said to me that day in the UW Student Union, "You are acting as if these were your kids that they killed today in Israel". And he was right. That was how I saw it. That is how I still see it, 36 years later.

We sit down at our Shabbat table after travelling through the North. Tiberias, Tzfat and Nahariya. What we saw was lingering fear in people's faces, after the first war since 1948 claimed casualties in Israel's cities.

We will now finish our figs and wine and special challah bread for Shabbat, each of our family will head in different directions.

Sara will resume her work with the Koby Mandel a foundation that provides self-help groups for people whose loved ones have been killed. She has entered another 159 names on the registrar of people to help, because of those killed this summer.

Noam, 24, will move to Sderot to go to business school, where he will also work with the media. Rivka, 23, will continue her studies in Special Ed at Orot College in El Khana in Samaria, and resume her work as a clown therapist with so many people who now suffer post traumatic stress from what they have been through this summer. Elchanon, 20, will return to his army base, with the full expectation that he will fight in Lebanon in the next round. Leora, 18, will begin her National Service Volunteer Service as a school teacher's aide in a secular school in Tel Aviv. Meira, almost 12, enters seventh grade and awaits her Bat Mitzvah with friends and family in the Fall, and Ruchama, 6, looks forward to entering first grade.

These are our fig leaves from the vine in the land of Israel, whom we savor on the first day of Elul, also known as the month of repentance. If there was anything that came out of this summer's conflict in Israel, it was the reaffirmation of the determination of the people of Israel to stand up to an enemy whose purpose was so clearly stated : to kill Jews wherever they are. To paraphrase what we say at the Passover Seder, "When they is are oppressed, they become stronger".

This summer, all of the people of Israel stood together on the battlefield with common resolve to fight to kill that enemy. Kibbutz farmers, University students, People expelled from their homes last year by Sharon, The new fighting unit for traditional Orthodox Jews - a band of Jewish brothers with one shared goal: to sit under their fig trees on Shabbat and on the first day of the Jewish month, with a defeated enemy on the borders of Israel. Totally defeated.

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