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>Israel News Faxx
>JN May 23, 2013, Vol. 21, No. 97

Israel to Hold Massive Chemical Warfare Drill

By The Times of Israel

The Home Front Command on Wednesday was preparing for a massive military drill next week, to focus on coping with chemical weapons attacks. The nationwide exercise will drill the civilian population as well as military and emergency services.

The exercise was originally scheduled to take place three weeks ago but was postponed due to tension with Syria. The simulation, which is being run in conjunction with the emergency response services, starts Sunday morning as Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announces a week of national emergency preparedness.

The head of the Home Front Command, Maj. Gen. Eyal Eisenberg, said Tuesday that the outbreak of a war in which Israel would be hit with a "large volume of rocket fire" was a certainty. "Our opponents hold long-range missiles with large warheads and a carrying capacity of hundreds of pounds."

The drill will include preparation for possible missile strikes against Israel, particularly in the greater Tel Aviv area. The first few days will center on protecting civilian populations at public institutions and private households. Two alarms will be sounded on Monday, at 12:30 p.m. and 7:05 p.m., and citizens will be requested to go to protected rooms or bomb shelters and to stay inside for 10 minutes.

The drill will mark the first time an entire network of early warning systems will be tested. In addition to sirens, civilians are to receive alerts from various sources, including from cellphones, social networks and television.

Home Front Defense Minister Gilad Erdan warned Tuesday that rockets raining down on densely populated areas in Israel "are only a matter of time" and could happen at any moment. He referred to the threat posed to Israel by Syria and Iran's unconventional weapons stockpiles.

"The question is no longer will rockets be fired at the large populated areas in Israel, the question is when it'll happen," Erdan told reporters during a briefing ahead of a large drill in southern Israel on Wednesday. He said the battles being fought no longer distinguish between the front line and the home front, as missiles and rockets allow strikes far from the battlefield.

Israeli jets reportedly struck sites near Damascus twice earlier this month, aiming to stop the transfer of advanced Fateh-110 missiles to the Lebanese terror group Hizbullah. Although Israel never took official responsibility for the strikes, it has said it will continue to act to stop weapons transfers and an unidentified official even reportedly threatened to topple the regime in Damascus should President Bashar Assad hit back at Israel for any further strikes. Syria, for its part, has threatened to retaliate if it is hit again.

Earlier this week, the Sunday Times reported that Damascus put a number of advanced weapons on standby to strike Israel, should Jerusalem hit targets inside Syria again, the UK's Sunday Times reported. According to the report, satellite images show Syria has readied its stock of Tishreen missiles for use against Tel Aviv.

Secretary of State John Kerry stated recently that "strong evidence" exists that the Syrian regime used chemical weapons against its people. Kerry's comments came the same day that Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu cited tests on Syrian war casualties being treated in Turkey that indicated chemical weapons had been used against them.

Damascus's large stockpile of chemical weapons, and President Bashar Assad's refusal to sign international accords banning them, has become a major international concern as the civil war in Syria rages on.

Two Terrorists Behead a British Soldier on a London Street

By DEBKAfile

Two as yet unidentified Muslin terrorists chanting Allahu Akbar assaulted a British soldier on a street close to the Royal Barracks at Woolwich in southeast London, shot him, hacked him with knives and a machete and finally beheaded him. This happened in broad daylight Wednesday afternoon in the presence of dozens of witnesses, the first such outrage seen in a West European capital.

Witnesses told the police that the two terrorists covered in blood had held up body parts of their victim and shouted: "We swear by Allah never to stop killing you." The terrorists drove up to their victim in a car, jumped out and after the murder wandered about in the area, apparently lying in wait for more soldiers to come out of the Royal Artillery command barracks 400 meters from the scene of their attack.

London police reached the scene after 20 minutes. When the two killers ran towards them brandishing knives and a firearm, the police shot and injured them. They were taken to separate hospitals and placed under heavy guard in case of attempts to rescue them. Police sources said later they were treating the incident as a politically-motivated Islamist terror attack, but have not identified the killers.

Ryanair Mulls Route for Auschwitz Trips


Low-cost European airline Ryanair is looking at introducing flights between Israel and Poland to cater for Israeli schoolchildren visiting the former Nazi death camp at Auschwitz. "It seems that every Israeli child has to go to Poland to go and see Auschwitz. We can help them with that," said the carrier's deputy chief executive, Howard Millar.

Although Ryanair is based in Dublin, it has expanded across Europe and has in the last 12 months become Poland's number-one airline. A Ryanair spokesman confirmed to AFP that the airline "has had discussions with a number of Israeli airports, but they are purely exploratory at this time." He rejected the characterization that Ryanair was trying to cash in on Jewish children's visits to Auschwitz, saying Millar was merely remarking on the potential for growth in the Israeli market.

More than one million people, mostly European Jews, were killed between 1940 and 1945 at Auschwitz-Birkenau, the most notorious of the death camps operated by Nazi Germany. The site, located near Krakow in southern Poland, has become a major visitor attraction and many schools in Israel organize educational trips there for their pupils.

Coming Soon: Smartphones for Haredi Community


A smartphone catering to the haredi community and approved by a rabbinical committee is set to be launched in Israel in the near future, announced Rabbi David Zilbershlag at the Ariel Conference for Ethics in the Media.

Haredi rabbis have in the past strongly opposed advanced mobile devices, claiming that they are a corrupting influence. Zilbershlag however said that the smartphones would not be opposed, saying that they would mostly handle e-mail, Israel's business daily Globes news reported.

Zilbershlag said that such a device was needed, in part because of the need for haredim to earn a living, and that it would provide a solution similar to the "levels of kashrut" in previous generations of mobile phone, according to Globes. He said that while an estimated that 40% of haredim do access the Internet, it is still considered to be one of "the greatest threats of all time" to the insular community.

Zilbershlag said he believes that the haredim will have to establish their own Internet in the future, similar to the closed Internet operated by the Pentagon, in order to create "a clean environment with boundaries," Globes reported.

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