Newsletter : 12fx0613.txt
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Missile Attack on Tel Aviv Might Force Evacuation
The entire population of Tel Aviv would be evacuated if unconventional missiles were to
strike the city; a Home Front officer told the AFP news agency in an interview.
Col. Adam Zusman, chief of the Home Front Command in metropolitan Tel Aviv, told the
interviewer, "In case of a missile attack on the center of Israel, especially
unconventional, the population from Tel Aviv and other cities will be evacuated and
relocated in other areas of the country."Massive evacuations will take place in case of
unconventional attacks and if buildings are destroyed by a missile."
With a population of just over 400,000, Tel Aviv is Israel's second-largest city. The
Tel Metropolitan Area, or Gush Dan, boasts over 3 million people, some 42%t of the
country's entire population, making such a mass evacuation a potential logistical
The last time Tel Aviv was hit by missiles was in 1991, when Saddam Hussein hit the
city with Scud missiles. Miraculously, no one was killed, although one elderly man died
from a heart attack immediately after a strike. In an ironic twist, hundreds of families
moved to outlying areas often viewed as more dangerous, including Judea and Samaria, to
escape the missile threat. Missiles struck north of Tel Aviv in the Second Lebanon War in
If Israel is attacked again in a war, Zusman estimated that "hundreds of missiles will
hit Tel Aviv and its nearby cities. As a result of these attacks, there will be hundreds
of Israeli casualties. In the next war, nobody will be able to drink a coffee in
Dizengoff," referring to the downtown area named after the first mayor of the city.
"Israeli civilians will have to face the threat. Today, every civilian is threatened in
Despite his dire forecast in the case of a missile attack, he added that Israel's
defenses include some of the "most sophisticated" anti-aircraft system in the world,
although there is no total protection.
Hizbullah is estimated to possess more than 60,000 missiles, three times the number it
had stockpiled before the Second Lebanon War. In addition, Hamas is known to have smuggled
from Iranian and Syrian sources missiles that can strike Tel Aviv.
"We are getting ready for the worst-case scenario." He acknowledged that gaps in
preparedness remain, with around 30% of the residents in the area under his command
lacking gas masks. But in other areas, he said, precautions had been taken, including the
running of regular drills and the preparation of hospitals to deal with the potential of
treating casualties while under attack.
However, Zusman made no mention of the fact that any Iranian attack against Israel would
likely be retaliatory, as the country's Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned "the
threat of a nuclear Iran must be turned aside." Netanyahu further intonated that such a
strike "is not days or weeks away, but neither is it years away."
Iranian Media: Islamic World Needs Nuclear Weapons
Iranian state-run media has published a commentary that stated, "The Islamic world
should rise up and shout that a nuclear bomb is our right." The regime under Iranian
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has constantly stated that its nuclear program is for
The commentary was published by Fars News Agency, which is run by the Revolutionary
Guards tightly and usually publishes official opinion. It indicates that Iran is changing
gears, said Erick Staklebeck, who writes for the Christian Broadcasting Network.
Staklebeck noted that the Islamic world already has nuclear weapons because Pakistan is
known to have approximately 110 such weapons. "If Pakistan uses one of its nukes, it will
be to the East, against its arch-rival, India. Iran, on the other hand, clearly has its
sights set on the United States, Europe and Israel," he wrote.
The commentary, which he said he received from a friend, was written by Alireza
Forghani, a former governor of southern Iran's Kish Province and an analyst and a strategy
specialist "in the camp of the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei."
Iran could possibly rationalize its "peaceful objectives" for nuclear power by arguing
that a nuclear bomb would create peace if it were to be used on Israel to achieve
Ahmadinejad stated objective of annihilating Zionism. Forghani wrote in February that Iran
should stage a "pre-emptive" strike on Israel.
Forghani wrote on Sunday, "The fatwa from Imam Khomeini [the founder of Iran's Islamic
revolution -- ed.] said `all Islamic countries have Islamic blood.' Therefore the Islamic
world should rise up and shout that a nuclear bomb is our right, and disrupt the dreams of
America and Israel."
"Having a nuclear bomb is our right. Israel would have been destroyed completely 30
years ago" but remains because of its assumed possession of nuclear warheads. "The Islamic
republic, after the victory of the 1979 revolution, faced a hard reality of its enemies
trying to overthrow the only true Islamic republic in the world," he wrote. "The enemies
of the Islamic Republic of Iran, headed by America with cooperation by its European allies
and some in Asia [and] using the tools such as the United Nations, other
international organizations and NATO have continuously pursued their goal of
Staklebeck commented that the article indicates that Iranian leaders are "telegraphing
their intentions towards us and are very close to acquiring nuclear weapons that will make
their apocalyptic visions a reality."
Israel in Secret Pact with Vatican
A special meeting was held at the Pope's palace on Tuesday, attended by delegations
from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Vatican. During the meeting, the
sides discussed some of the unresolved issues between them.
At the conclusion of the meeting, which was led by Deputy Foreign Minister Danny
Ayalon, the Foreign Ministry released a statement saying, "The talks took place in an
open, balanced and constructive environment, during which significant progress was made
towards an agreement."
There have been disagreements between the Vatican and Israel on several economic issues
and on the status of the Church and priests in Israel. Among the economic issues for which
a solution has yet to be found is the question of property tax of churches and land owned
by the Church, especially around the Kinneret, the tax status of churches and more.
Another controversial issue between the two sides is the Vatican's request that Israel
give it sovereignty over King David's Tomb in Jerusalem. The Catholic Church has claimed
ownership of a room in the compound, in which it says the "Last Supper" occurred. Ayalon
has promised in the past he would defend Israel's sovereignty there.
Bahij Mansour, director of the Department for Religious Affairs in the Foreign Ministry
who has been responsible for the talks with the Vatican for the past two years, confirmed
in a conversation with Arutz Sheva that the two sides are nearing an agreement. He added,
however, that for the time being the parties have agreed not to make public any
information regarding the understandings reached.
Asked by Arutz Sheva whether the issue of King David's Tomb would be included in the
agreement, the Foreign Ministry said that the issue will indeed be included but would not
reveal exact details. "The details do not matter at the moment, but the subject of the
room of the Last Supper will be included in the agreements," the Foreign Ministry said.
Mansour told Arutz Sheva that both sides made gestures and concessions in order to
reach an agreement. "At this time there are almost no differences. There was great
openness between the parties and we are ahead of signing an agreement," he said, adding
that the sides will meet again in six months.
In a speech a in the Knesset a few weeks ago, Ayalon said that Israel does not intend
to give up its sovereignty over King David's Tomb. His remarks came in response to a
question by Shas Knesset member Nissim Ze'ev, who said that the Foreign Ministry is
holding talks over giving up its sovereignty. Ayalon, in turn, said this "never happened,"
but agreed to a request by Ze'ev to bring the issue up for discussion at one of the
Ze'ev told Arutz Sheva he knows for a fact that there are indeed negotiations over the
Vatican's demands for sovereignty of King David's Tomb, despite the fact that historians
and archaeologists have stated that without any doubt, there is no evidence to suggest
that the compound was in place 2,000 years ago or even half that time, a fact that
nullifies the Church's claims.
Ze'ev said that he believes the Church would allow the State to nationalize some of the
land it owns around the Kinneret in exchange for obtaining sovereignty of the compound in
question. It is not known how accurate Ze'ev's claims are since, for the time being, both
parties are being careful not to disclose any information regarding the agreement being
Israeli Robot Performs Brain Surgery
By Audrey Quinn (SmartPlanet.com)
When it comes to smarty-pants career tropes, brain surgeon falls right up there with
rocket scientist. But brain surgeons could be taken down a notch by a new robot developed
by the Israel-based Mazor Robotics.
The company announced this week it has completed the first successful robot-guided
brain surgical procedures. The two German neurosurgeons who carried out the three trial
procedures report excitement over the precision of the robot's work. "We see great
potential in the application of robotic technology to brain and spine surgeries. Our
patients have been the best testament to its clinical success," said one of the surgeons
in a press release.
Mazor Robotics' device can be used for brain biopsies, shunt placements, and
neurostimulation electrode placement as used for deep brain stimulation.
Given the 25,000 brain biopsies completed in the United States each year, and the
several hundred million dollars spent on deep brain stimulation annually, brain surgical
work is a lucrative market.
Mazor Robotics already has one of the world's first hands-free robotic spine surgery
products, called the Renaissance System, and company directors saw brain surgery robotics
as a logical next step.
The US Food and Drug Administration and EU CE Mark are currently reviewing the new
product, and a decision is expected by the end of the year. Mazor Robotics plans to begin
sell the brain surgery robot as an add-on to the Renaissance System in early 2013.
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