Google Search

Newsletter : 13fx0516.txt

Directory | Previous file | Next file

Israel `Will Bring Down Assad' If He Retaliates for Future Airstrikes

By The Times of Israel

Israel has warned Damascus that if President Assad chooses to hit back at Israel for any further Israeli military strikes, Israel will bring down his regime. An Israeli official confirmed Wednesday night that a dramatic and unprecedented message to this effect had been conveyed to Damascus,

The report said that Israel's position to this effect also came up during Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's emergency meeting in Russia on Tuesday with President Vladimir Putin, during which Netanyahu also told Putin of Israel's profound opposition to Russia's sale of sophisticated S-300 missile defense batteries to Assad.

The warning came hours after mortar shells hit the Mount Hermon area for the first time in the two-year Syrian civil war, and as Arabic newspapers reported talk of Hizbullah opening "a new front" against Israel on the Golan Heights.

Syria vowed last week to respond "immediately and harshly" to any further Israeli airstrikes, after Israel carried out two early morning attacks earlier this month on weapons consignments being stored in and around Damascus en route from Iran to Hizbullah in Lebanon. The shipments contained highly sophisticated Fateh-110 missiles.

Confirmation of Israel's warning to Assad came soon after the New York Times quoted an Israeli official issuing the same threat. The New York Times said Israel was "considering further military strikes on Syria to stop the transfer of advanced weapons to Islamic militants," and that an unidentified Israeli official had contacted the paper to warn: "Israel is determined to continue to prevent the transfer of advanced weapons to Hizbullah. The transfer of such weapons to Hizbullah will destabilize and endanger the entire region. If Syrian President Assad reacts by attacking Israel, or tries to strike Israel through his terrorist proxies, he will risk forfeiting his regime, for Israel will retaliate."

The New York Times report speculated that Israel "could be trying to restrain Syria's behavior without undertaking further military action, or alerting the international community to another strike. That would ratchet up the tension in an already fraught situation in Syria, where a civil war has been raging for more than two years."

Channel 2 on Wednesday night showed satellite images of what it said was a surgical strike, reportedly carried out by Israel at Damascus airport to target the Iranian missile consignments. It showed before and after pictures of specific buildings that had been blown up, while neighboring buildings remained intact. Israel has not formally confirmed either of this month's attacks.

Channel 2 also said that some in the Israeli security establishment were assessing that the unprecedented firing of mortar shells into the Mount Hermon area from across the Syrian border earlier Wednesday may have been deliberate, rather than a case of fallout from fighting between Assad's forces and Syrian rebels.

Also Tuesday, several Arabic media sources reported that Syria was prepared to give Hizbullah leeway to open a "new front" against Israel in the Golan Heights. Iran, a report in the Palestinian Al-Quds daily said, had persuaded Assad "to open the door to jihad" in the Golan Heights in an effort enable Arab and Muslim fighters to unite and confront Israel, so that they're "ready" if Israel strikes Syria again.

In the comments quoted by the New York Times, the Israeli official said "Israel has so far refrained from intervening in Syria's civil war and will maintain this policy as long as Assad refrains from attacking Israel directly or indirectly. Israel will continue its policy of interdicting attempts to strengthen Hizbullah, but will not intercede in the Syrian civil war as long as Assad desists from direct or indirect attacks against Israel."

Netanyahu, who sought the meeting in part to persuade Putin not to sell advanced S-300 missile defense systems to Assad, told the Russian president that the S-300 was not a weapon of relevance to civil war, but was rather a system that, if acquired by Syria, "is likely to draw us into a response, and could send the region deteriorating into war," Channel 2 reported.

Right-Wing Group Takes IDF Soldiers on Tour of East Jerusalem

By Ha'aretz

Israel Defense Forces cadets in officer training school spent the weekend at a "leadership Sabbath" in East Jerusalem, hosted by the right-wing organization Elad - which works to increase the Jewish presence in the city's Arab neighborhoods.

The event was the culmination of a week of leadership training, initiated and planned by the IDF's Education Corps. As part of the experience, the cadets, who are in the first phase of their training as combat officers, were brought to the Seven Arches Hotel on the Mount of Olives, where they attended lectures by rabbis, Elad officials and others invited by Elad.

Cadets who took part said the speakers tended to avoid outright political statements, but that the lectures contained a clear ideological message for strengthening the Jewish presence in the eastern part of the city.

According to the IDF Spokesman's Office, "Educational activities in the IDF include a broad variety of opinions and viewpoints in Israeli society, as part of enrichment for commanders and strengthening Israeli-Jewish identity. Cooperation with Elad is part of achieving this concept and does not involve political content."

In recent years the number of young religious field officers has risen, and there has been a more moderate rise in the number of skullcap-wearing brigade commanders. Although claims of a religious takeover of the army are exaggerated, it seems hard to blame religious-nationalists for teaching their children to contribute their best during their military service.

Changes have been great; for example, in officers training for the Infantry Corps, more than 30 % of cadets are Orthodox. But do commanders rein in the preaching of extremist ideological positions? The state comptroller's report two years ago depicted chaos in the army's educational work, and that rabbis are taking advantage of the situation.

Turkish Airlines Reverses Ban on Lipstick


Turkish Airlines has reversed a ban on air hostesses wearing brightly-colored lipstick following accusations it was trying to Islamize the company under government influence.

The airline's chief executive officer Temel Kotil announced the move in the Turkish media, accusing overzealous lower-level airline executives of having imposed the ban. "Staff can use the color they want. This measure was not approved by the hierarchy," Kotilo said, according to Hurriyet and Milliyet newspapers.

Earlier this month, the airline defended the ban, saying in a statement that "simple make-up, immaculate and in pastel colors, is preferred for staff working in the service sector." Numerous women had posted pictures of themselves wearing bright red lipstick on social media websites to protest at the measure.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party, in power for over a decade, is often accused of creeping efforts to coerce the country to be more conservative and pious. Turkey is a fiercely secular state, despite being a majority Muslim country. Under Erdogan's rule, headscarves – banned in public institutions – have become more visible in public places and alcohol bans are more widespread.

Home Search

(All material on these web pages is © 2001-2012
by Electronic World Communications, Inc.)

Read today's issue
Who is Don Canaan?
IsraelNewsFaxx's Zionism and the Middle East Resource Directory