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IDF: `Iron Dome' was Down as Iran Threatened Israel

By IsraelNationalNews.com

An Iron Dome rocket defense installation positioned in northern Israel was out of service for six weeks, Army Radio (Galei Tzahal) reported Tuesday. The system was damaged when the building it was stored in, in the Air Force base in Hatzor, was flooded during the major rainstorm that hit the country in January. The Haelah River near the base overran its banks during the storm and flooded the base.

The Iron Dome was so badly damaged that it could not be used. It has since been repaired and is now operational. During the weeks that it was down, Iran threatened to attack Israel in retaliation for the destruction of a chemical weapons processing center near Damascus. The Iranian regime threatened a response via Syria.

The pro-Syrian Lebanese terrorist group Hizbullah threatened Israel during the same time period as well. Hizbullah has primarily targeted northern Israel in past large-scale attacks.


For Third Time in Two Years, `Iran Fails to Launch Satellite'

By The Times of Israel

For the third time in two years, Iran failed in an attempt to launch a satellite into space, western intelligence sources said Tuesday.

Iran was attempting to launch a home-produced satellite with photographic capabilities, but the rocket carrying it failed to perform as expected, and all contact with both the rocket and the satellite were lost after launch, according to the sources, quoted by Israel's Channel 2. Iran attempted the launch in secret about 10 days ago, and has been trying to cover up the failure, but the launch was registered by the western intelligence agencies, the report said.

News of the failed launch came on the day that Iran and the so-called P5+1 powers resumed negotiations over Iran's controversial nuclear program, and the day after Israel successfully tested a new long-range missile interceptor in a joint drill with the US.

It also coincided with the first rocket fire into Israel from Gaza in three months — an upgraded Fajr-5 rocket which slammed into Ashkelon on Tuesday morning, causing no casualties.

Life continued as usual in Ashkelon. Mayor Benny Vaknin said "Schools are open as usual, and the city is operating according to routine," however, he said, "We have our hand on the pulse. We're in close touch with the army, and we have increased our level of alert in the city. According to the reports there is no change in direction, or plan to turn up the heat in the area," he added. "Things need to calm down."

The rocket attack was the first of its kind for months. Gaza terrorists had held their fire since the ceasefire deal that ended the Pillar of Defense counter-terror operation in Gaza in late 2012.

Terrorists fired two rockets, one of which hit the city but failed to cause injury. The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades claimed responsibility for the attack. The rocket fired was an upgraded M-75.

The attack was apparently a show of support for rioters in Judea and Samaria. Several riots broke out in recent days over the death of a terrorist imprisoned in Israel. The Palestinian Authority has accused Israel of murdering the 30-year-old man, who died of a heart attack.


Some reports claimed Tuesday that Iranian experts are in Gaza helping Hamas and other Islamist terror groups improve their rocket and missile technology for use against Israel.

Monday's trial of the Arrow 3 was described as a further improvement in Israel's capacity to fend off an Iranian threat. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu hailed the Israeli technical skill, and the partnership with the US, involved in the system, which he said enabled the Israeli government to better protect its citizens.

Uzi Rubin, who oversaw the development of the entire Arrow system, said the Arrow 3 represented "the most sophisticated system of its kind" in the world. The primary advantage of the Arrow 3 over its predecessor, the Arrow 2, is its ability to intercept enemy missiles at higher altitudes and to target non-conventional weapons of mass destruction. This is seen as particularly relevant amid concerns over the progress of Iran's nuclear program.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak said the test was an "important milestone in Israel's multi-layered protection system."

The Defense Ministry said the Arrow 3 "flew an exo-atmospheric trajectory through space, in accordance with the test plan." The rocket, still in early stages of development, was not given a target to intercept. Arrow 3 joins Arrow 2, Iron Dome and Magic Wand (also known as David's Sling) in Israel's "umbrella" defense against rocket threats. The Arrow 3 is expected to be deployed in 2016. The interceptor system is being developed by Israel Aerospace Industries in conjunction with Boeing.

Israel has seen success with anti-missile systems over the past year, especially the Iron Dome short-range rocket interceptor, which was deployed against Gazan rockets during Operation Pillar of Defense. The system proved effective during the November mini-war, intercepting 84% of the rockets fired from the Gaza Strip at residential areas in Israel's south and center.


Survey Shows Israeli Jews Becoming More Superstitious

By Israel Hayom

The number of Israeli Jews who believe in the impending arrival of the Messiah has grown from 33% in 1998 to 44% last year.

Though Israel is the hyper-connected, high-tech savvy start-up nation at the forefront of technologies that are shaping modern life, it seems that a growing number of Israelis are becoming more superstitious, and believe that science brings more harm than good, a study released by the Samuel Neaman Institute for Advanced Studies in Science and Technology has revealed.

The institute is an independent public-policy research body established at Haifa's Technion University in 1978 to help search for solutions to national problems in science and technology, education, economy and industry, and social development.

According to the study, in the past 15 years, the number of Jews who professed belief in irrational concepts — defined as beliefs ungrounded in science — grew from 44% in 1998 to 50% in 2012.

Belief in the "evil eye," as well as in the existence of an afterlife in heaven or hell, grew from 42% to 46%. The number of those who believed that certain people, especially rabbis or other spiritual leaders, possessed mystical powers grew from 22% to 29%.

The number of people who believed that knowledge caused more harm than faith to society grew from 25% to 26%. "These findings should arouse consternation for those worried about Israeli society's rationalism, especially because the data show an increasing trend," said Prof. Efi Yaar, who conducted the study with Prof. Yasmin Elkalai.

Along with the growing belief in mysticism and superstition, the study found a decrease in Jews' adherence to traditional religious principles, including the belief in God. It compared the results of a separate study published by Keren Avi Hai and the Israel Democracy Institute in 2009 with the current results, and found that the number of Jews who had always believed in God fell from 69% in 2009 to 64% in 2012, while the number of number of Jews expressing support for conducting business and allowing public transportation on Shabbat rose.

Some 72% said they supported opening movie theaters on Shabbat, compared with 68% in 2009; 66% wanted public transportation on Shabbat, compared with 59% previously, and 61% wanted malls and shopping centers to remain open, compared with 58% in 2009.

The number of people who wanted the government to recognize civil marriages outside the jurisdiction of the Chief Rabbinate rose from 59% in 2009 to 70% in 2012. The study's authors emphasized that the rise in those seeking a weakening of state religious authority came mostly from the secular community, with ultra-Orthodox and religious communities mostly recording the opposite trend.

The surveys questioned between 550 and 600 Israeli Jewish adults, including some living in kibbutzim and settlements in the West Bank.


After the `Smart-Phone,' Meet the `Smart-Shower'

By IsraelNationalNews.com

SmarTap, an Israeli company, has developed in cooperation with two other companies from abroad, an electronic cartridge that can replace the mechanical-thermostatic unit currently used worldwide in showers. The SmarTap cartridge offers a number of features that the company hopes will make the product attractive to both commercial and residential customers.

Officials at SmarTap note that they have already received certification for their product and have established key industry partnerships that will enable market penetration. "The company is currently piloting the product in several high end commercial installations with excellent preliminary results and aims to begin selling to the commercial market in Q3 2013 and to the residential market by early 2014 via OEM agreements."

"The heart of the system is the E-cartridge", explain the developers at SmarTap. "It is a revolutionary registered patent, in the way the outlet is controlled. Using our patented technology, the output of the system is stable in virtually any inlets conditions. Contrary to the traditional feedback controllers, this controller uses a combined feed-forward - feed-back method that tested to be superior in its field, providing a significantly higher degree of stability."

SmarTap allows each user to get their personalized shower experience, effortlessly, with a press of a button. The developers note that the system also eliminates scalding risk, even in case of a loss of pressure in the cold water pipe.

The system calculates flow rate and temperature as well as enabling online control over all faucets that are part of the network. A central location serves both to monitor water use and, when needed, can control taps remotely.



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