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Former CIA Chief: Iranians Too Close to a Nuclear Weapon

By Israel Hayom, DEBKAfile & The Times of Israel

The preliminary nuclear deal reached in Geneva has left the Iranians on the brink of achieving nuclear capability, the former head of the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency Gen. Michael Hayden said on Sunday. "Right now, the Iranians are far too close to a nuclear weapon," Hayden told Fox News.

"At the end of the day, Iran is going to be a nuclear threshold state. We have accepted Iranian nuclear enrichment," the former CIA and NSA director said, noting the agreement conflicts with U.N. resolutions. "What we have to do is push that threshold back as far as possible, and that will define whether this is a good idea or a bad idea. We've hit the pause button, now we have to avoid hitting the delete button."

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif arrived in Kuwait for his first official visit in the Gulf state. Regarding concern in the Gulf region over a nuclear Iran, Zarif said, "The solution to this issue serves the interests of all countries in the region. It is not at the expense of any state in the region." He added that he also intends to visit Saudi Arabia, one of Iran's enemies and among the states most concerned about the Islamic republic developing a nuclear bomb.

Meanwhile, Iran's semi-official Fars news agency reported that Israel and Saudi Arabia have agreed to collaborate on disrupting the Iranian nuclear plan. A source close to Saudi intelligence claimed that representatives from both countries considered creating spyware to upset the progress of the Iranian nuclear program as the Stuxnet virus did in 2010. Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said that talks between Iran and the world powers will continue in the coming days and will focus on the details of the interim agreement.

General Amos Yadlin, the former chief of AMAN, Israeli military intelligence indicted their respective governments of the US and Israeli for their failure to stop this happening. Yadlin, who heads a national security think tank, had this to say: "Iran is approaching breakout point to a nuclear bomb." On the Geneva accord, he commented: "… this is only a first step, not a final agreement, although it contains elements which predetermine the final accord."

Speaking in Tel Aviv, Yadlin said: "The fact that Iran is a nuclear threshold state is not the fault of this agreement. Iran spent many years developing this capability and no one managed to stop it. Iran is a step before breakout to a bomb. This is unfortunate but true."

It was the first time that a former high-ranking Israeli intelligence officer had admitted the responsibility of successive Israeli governments, defense ministers and heads of its various intelligence agencies for the failure to pre-empt Iran's drive for a nuclear weapon.

MK Tzahi Hanegbi , a senior lawmaker who has the ear of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, expressed concern that the interim deal with Iran would be left standing as the final accord, and so leave the Islamic Republic in place as a nuclear threshold state with the capability to assemble a bomb within six to seven weeks.

In Rome, Netanyahu was heard to say for the umpteenth time that Israel would not allow Iran to attain a nuclear bomb. He seemed to have forgotten the diagram he exhibited to the UN General Assembly in September 2012 accompanied by a resounding pledge not to let Iran accumulate enough enriched uranium for a weapon. Hanegbi, in his comments Sunday, put the record straight: Iran has built a uranium stockpile of 7.2 tons, enough for several bombs."

Hanegbi, a former minister for nuclear affairs and current member of the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, made the remarks Sunday evening during a panel discussion at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv. During the event, Ehud Olmert, who was prime minister from 2006 until 2009, launched a bitter attack against Netanyahu, saying he had "declared war on the American government" through his vocal opposition of the Geneva nuclear deal with Iran.

Olmert also didn't spare criticism for Hanegbi, who defended the prime minister's stance to speak out publicly and lobby Congress against President Barack Obama's Iran policy. "I am very worried, because Tzachi Hanegbi is perhaps the best and most credible person to talk about what the prime minister thinks. And therefore I am worried that he again talks about a military operation," Olmert said.

The former prime minister, who is rumored to be considering a political comeback in time for the next elections, then added that he is not really concerned about the current government launching a strike on Iran's nuclear facilities, because it "doesn't have the ability to take such a decision." Olmert added that he was actually happy about that. "It's also not good to talk about it [a military strike]. It doesn't lead anywhere. It didn't help until today," he said, adding that Netanyahu's constant saber-rattling did not achieve anything, and had eventually led to the less-than-satisfying interim deal with Iran.

Supporters of Netanyahu's position argue that his constant vocal warnings of the dangers of a nuclear-armed Iran helped establish the sanctions regime that brought the Iranians to the negotiating table, and that his criticism ahead of the Geneva agreement improved the terms of the deal, from Israel's perspective.

In the immediate aftermath of November 24's "Joint Plan of Action" between Tehran and the US, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany, many analysts agreed that an Israeli preemptive strike has become exceedingly unlikely as Jerusalem would not dare attack Iran after the international community decided to test the regime's willingness to solve the nuclear standoff diplomatically.

Officials in Jerusalem, however, have argued that the military option remains on the table. "As to the [Iranian] actual threat, we will act against it in time if need be," Netanyahu said Sunday night during a visit to Rome's Great Synagogue.

"The most dangerous regime in the world must not be allowed to have the most dangerous weapon in the world. As we have warned, and I say this with regret, the sanctions regime has started to weaken and very quickly. If tangible steps are not taken soon, it is liable to collapse and the efforts of years will vanish without anything in exchange. But at the same time," Netanyahu concluded, "we will not allow Iran to receive a military nuclear capability."

Hanegbi, who is rumored to be set to replace Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman as the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee's chairman this week, is known to be among the prime minister's closest confidants. "I know Netanyahu. And nothing will prevent Netanyahu from doing what he believes is right," he told The Times of Israel last month.


Is Islam Suppressing Free Speech?

By Ed Ziegler (Commentary)

It is very simple. Are you willing to give up your constitutional right to freedom of speech? That is exactly what will very likely happen if the world continues to implement anti-blasphemy laws to avoid offending fanatic Muslims in the hope that they will not react violently.

In Islam, if someone is even perceived as having insulted Islam, the individual may be tried and or attacked by a mob, or even sentenced to death.

You might ask if Islam commands that those who insult the religion should be put to death? Under Sharia, those who insult Muhammad or Allah are to be put to death. So are those who desecrate the Qur'an, or commit other insults. Qur'an (6:93) - "Who can be more wicked than one who inventeth a lie against Allah?" If the death penalty is prescribed for lesser crime, then it stands to reason that it should be imposed for the most "wicked."

This tradition began with Muhammad, as recorded by his biographers, and in the Hadith Bukhari (4:241). Those who mocked Muhammad at Mecca were killed after he had retaken the city and asserted his authority.

More recently a leaflet was circulated stating "The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria announced the beginning of the implementation of Islamic law regarding the execution of all those who curse Allah, hurt his sacredness or treat him improperly, and all who curse the Prophet (Muhammad), hurt his dignity or refer to him in an appropriate way."

AsiaNews reported that, in March 2010, in India, a Christian professor (TJ Joseph) at Newman College was accused by an Islamic fundamentalist group (Popular Front of India ) of using offensive questions about Muhammad. Under constant threats, TJ apologized publicly for his "unintentional error. However the apology was not sufficient. A few months later TJ was attacked by a group who cut off his hand and part of his right arm.



In November 2013 CNN reported that a western security contractor was dragged from his car by a dozen men and was severely beaten. The contractor allegedly insulted Islam by tearing down flags of important Imams.

After viewing a you tube video of an Egyptian Muslim destroying a Koran, a white-robed Dr. Mahmoud Sha'ban, was supposedly shaken and said:" Someone like him must receive the punishment he deserves—and it is death."

In England, author Salman Rushdie published "The Satanic Verses," a 1988 novel deemed offensive to Muhammad. The Ayatollah Khomeini pronounced a death sentence that was, and still is, supported by Muslims around the world.

In 2006, when a Danish newspaper published cartoons of Muhammad, Imams whipped up hatred that resulted in deadly rioting on three continents. Demonstrators in London held signs reading "Massacre Those Who Insult Islam."

It was reported, in July 2013, that a Saudi court sentenced an activist, Raif Badawi, to seven years and 600 lashes for insulting Islam through his website and on television. Yet, Saudi Arabia claims it supports reform.

In January 2013 ABC News reported that a 14 year old boy (Mohammed Qatta) selling coffee in northern Syria was arrested by Islamist rebel fighters for insulting the Prophet Mohammed, beaten and then executed in front of his family. Qatta simply refused to give a customer coffee, saying "Even if [Prophet] Mohammed comes back to life, I won't." I do not understand how his comment insulted Mohammad.

I refuse to give up my freedom of speech here in the United States of America, in fact anywhere, in order not to anger Muslims in hopes they will stop their violence. I pray that you agree with me. We must continuously speak out and remind our elected officials of what is important to the American people. Appeasement has a history of failure.


French Firm to Change Name of Detergent Reminiscent of Zyklon B

By The Times of Israel

A French detergent maker said it will change the name of a product called Cyclone B following complaints that it is offensive to Holocaust victims. "We are aware of the issue and are working to address it," a spokeswoman for the firm IPC-SA from Brest in northwestern France told the media on Monday.

She was referring to complaints that the product's name was too reminiscent of the Zyklon B poison that the Nazis used to murder hundreds of thousands of Jews in gas chambers during the Holocaust.

The issue was brought to attention by Rabbi Menachem Margolin, director of the European Jewish Association, a Brussels-based lobby group promoting Jewish religious interests. "It is horribly ignorant at best and a Guinness world record in evil cynicism if it turns out that the company knew of the horrible use that the Nazis made of the poison," Margolin said.

The detergent was used in the European Union parliament, but EU officials ordered ties with the brand severed following complaints, according to the Jewish Chronicle. Margolin added that IPC-SA officials told him the company was unaware of the name's Holocaust-related connotation.

Report: 25% of Israeli Women are Overweight

By YnetNews.com

Israel is in the 17th place in overweight and obesity rates, similar to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development average, according to figures compiled by the Central Bureau of Statistics and submitted to the OECD as part of the Health at a Glance 2013 report.

The figures, which refer to 2011, point to 20% of men and 24% of women in Israel suffering from overweight, similar to the OECD average – 21% of men and 23% of women. Overall, 15.7% of the adult population in Israel suffers from overweight.

The number of doctors over the age of 55 is the highest in Israel among all OECD countries - 49% of all doctors, while the OECD average is only 32%.

In addition, in Israel only 4.9 per 100,000 inhabitants graduate from medicine school, putting Israel in the last place among OECD countries, where the average is 10.6 per 100,000 population. Israel has been experiencing an upward trend in this field, after the number of students every year increased to 700. The average number of doctors per 1,000 inhabitants is slightly higher than the OECD average – 3.3.

The report further shows that there is a serious shortage of doctors, which is one of the reasons why the Israeli health system is finding it difficult to provide accessible health services for all residents. Another concern stems from the fact that such a small number of people are supposed to care for a high number of patients: In Israel the average occupancy rate of hospital beds is 98%, the highest number among all OECD countries, where the average is 78%.

Despite the shortage of labor and hospital beds, the cancer mortality rate in Israel is relatively low compared to other OECD countries. A total of 219 men and 167 women per 100,000 inhabitants died of cancer, compared to the OECD average of 278 men and 166 women. Overall, Israel is in the eighth place out of 33 countries. In the past 20 years the cancer mortality rate dropped 10% compared to an average drop of 14% in the OECD.

Israel is in the 11th place among 33 countries in deaths from heart diseases – 79.5 per 100,000 inhabitants, compared to 122.2 in OECD countries. The mortality rate fell by 63% in the past 20 years, compared to an average of 42% in OECD countries. In total, 82% of the population over the age of 15 reported being in good health, much higher than the OECD average of 68%.


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