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Newsletter : 13fx1209.txt

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Netanyahu: Iran with Nuclear Arms Would Change History

By DEBKAfile

In a video broadcast speech to the Saban Forum in Washington Sunday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu replied to President Barack Obama's comments Saturday. Iran's acquisition of nuclear arms would "literally change the course of history," he said, because of its insane ideology and appetite for power.

Israel must be assured that Iran will never be a "threshold nuclear weapons state." The negotiators of a final accord with Tehran must also "demand a change to its genocidal policy, as a minimum." Iran must change its genocidal policy toward Israel, he stressed. Netanyahu thanked Obama for "an indispensable alliance" and "unprecedented cooperation in defense, security and intelligence."

On the Middle East peace talks, he repeated that the "minimal requirement for peace" with the Palestinians was their recognition of the state as home to the Jewish people with equal right to self-determination as themselves.


Burg Panned for Breaking `Nuclear Ambiguity'

By The Times of Israel

A right-wing political group accused former Knesset speaker and Jewish Agency head Avrum Burg of treason Sunday in a letter to law enforcement officials for statements Burg made last week that appeared to confirm that Israel possessed nuclear and chemical weapons.

At a conference advocating a nuclear-free Middle East which took place in Haifa last week, Burg said openly that "Israel has nuclear and chemical weapons" and called for an "open and brave public discussion" on the issue, Ma'ariv reported. Israel's long-standing policy of nuclear ambiguity was "outdated and childish," Burg stressed, and said that only "regional dialogue, including with Iran" could create a nuclear-free Middle East.

Burg is a former member of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, and may be one of the few Israelis who have direct knowledge of Israel's nuclear program.

The Sunday letter from the group, the Legal Forum for the Land of Israel, which was addressed to Israel Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino and Deputy State Attorney Eli Abarbanel, called on the authorities to open an investigation into Burg's statements, accusing him of "treason" for possibly revealing one of Israel's key national security secrets.

Also present at the conference was Tamar Zandberg (Meretz), who called for a "regional perspective" on the issue and for an end to Israel's ambiguity on its capabilities. "Israel must become an integral part of the Middle East," she said, not just connected to the US and Europe.

For decades Israel has maintained a policy of official nondisclosure regarding its nuclear weapons capabilities.


Citing Cost, Netanyahu Nixes Trip to Mandela's Memorial

By The Times of Israel

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will not fly to South Africa on Monday to pay his respects to the late South African civil rights legend Nelson Mandela, a government official told the Times of Israel on Sunday.

Earlier in the evening Netanyahu was "seriously considering going" to the memorial service in Johannesburg, but "when it was clear what the financial and logistic outlays" of a trip would entail, it was decided that it was "unfortunately impossible," the official said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the Prime Minister's Office had no immediate statement regarding Netanyahu's non-attendance.

President Shimon Peres is reportedly considering attending Mandela's memorial service in Johannesburg on Tuesday, a ceremony which will be attended by at least 70 world leaders, including President Barack Obama. All living American presidents will be in attendance, as well as 26 members of Congress, according to NPR, quoting South African officials.

The former South African president, who died on Thursday after months of illness, will lie in state at the Union Buildings in Pretoria from Wednesday to Friday. During these days, official memorial services will also be held in all provinces and regions.

On Sunday, December 15, Mandela will be laid to rest in a state funeral and burial at Qunu, in the Eastern Cape province where he was born.


Iran Report: Saudi Intelligence Chief Met Israeli Officials in Geneva

By YnetNews.com

Iranian news agency cites reports that Israeli officials met with director general of Saudi Intelligence Agency in order to discuss 'containing Iran by any possible means, exercising stronger control over Syria's Jihadist forces and sidelining Muslim Brotherhood.

Director General of Saudi Intelligence Agency Bandar bin Sultan met several times with Israeli officials in Geneva, Iranian news agency Fars reported.

The report is based on a Saudi Twitter account that is "well connected with the inner circles of the Saudi secret service". According to the tweet, the sides have agreed on a number of crucial issues, including "containing Iran by any possible means, exercising stronger control over Syria's Jihadist forces, sidelining Muslim Brotherhood and stopping the waves of the Arab spring."

Last month, it was reported that Israel and the Gulf Arab states, led by Saudi Arabia are increasingly finding common ground – and a common political language – regarding both nations' dismay over Iran's history-making overtures to Washington and the nuclear talks in Geneva.

"The adage about 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend' is playing out over Iran," said Theodore Karasik, a security and political affairs analyst at the Dubai-based Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis. "This situation opens up some interesting possibilities as it all shakes out."

Saudi Arabia, which generally sets the political tone for the rest of Gulf, also sees Iran as a dangerous neighbor. The Sunni-ruled Gulf states routinely assail Shiite power Iran for allegedly backing revolts such as Bahrain's Arab Spring-inspired uprising or supporting coup plots – although no clear evidence has ever been made public.

Saudi Arabia and its Gulf partners are deep-pocket customers of US weapons and aircraft, but also allow the Pentagon extensive footholds in the region, including the headquarters of the Navy's 5th Fleet in Bahrain. The arrangement is meant to buy protection from Washington and intimidate Iran.


Germany Selling Israel Two Guided Missile Destroyers

By The Times of Israel

Germany has signed a multimillion dollar arms deal with Israel, Germany's Bild newspaper reported. Within the framework of the deal, Germany will reportedly supply Israel with two guided missile destroyers, each valued at one billion Euros. The destroyers will be used to protect Israel's gas pipelines.

In April, Der Spiegel reported that Israel may sell technologically advanced attack drones to the German military. According to the German weekly, the German defense ministry proposed the purchase several months ago, and German representatives have already held two meetings with IDF officials to discuss the matter.

Germany has in the past expressed interest in developing drone technology along with France, in order to avoid dependency on American or Israeli technology.


easyJet Announces TA-Gatwick Route

By Ynetnews

British low-cost airline easyJet has announced a second route between Tel Aviv and London with three weekly flights to Gatwick Airport, which is located in south London and is the second largest airport in the United Kingdom.

Flights from Tel Aviv to Gatwick will be on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Service on this route will start on April 1, 2014. easyJet's Tel Aviv-Gatwick announcement comes two weeks after the announcement on its new Tel Aviv-Berlin route.

Tel Aviv-Gatwick will become the seventh route the airline operates from Tel Aviv. Currently it offers flights from Tel Aviv to London Luton (up to 11 frequencies per week), Manchester (two to three a week), Geneva (five times a week), Basel (four times a week), Rome (twice a week) and Berlin (three times a week).

"Increasing the number of travelers for business and leisure between Tel Aviv and our top destinations in Europe is one of our goals," said Hugh Aitken, UK commercial manager for easyJet.


New Meta-Study: `Foreskin Doesn't Increase Pleasure

By The Times of Israel

The conventional wisdom has long been that, to paraphrase Rod Stewart, uncircumcised men have more fun — at least in the bedroom, that is. But a new study examining previous literature on the subject has turned that perception on its head.

A group of Australian scientists combed through almost 40 past studies and came to the conclusion that having a foreskin doesn't enhance the penis's sensitivity. `The scientists say studies that reported impaired sexual pleasure in men simply weren't rigorous enough, while the research that found little difference between the experiences of circumcised and uncircumcised men stood up to stiff scrutiny.

"The health benefits of male circumcision have been well documented, including substantially lower risks of HIV and other viral and some bacterial sexually transmitted infections," Brian Morris, the lead author of the study, told the Daily Mail, about the study, whose conclusions were published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.

"It also lowers rates of penile cancer and possibly prostate cancer — and women whose partners are circumcised have lower rates of cervical cancer and infections such as HPV and Chlamydia," he was quoted as saying. "However, there is continued concern that circumcision may reduce male sexual function and pleasure. Yet the highest-quality studies suggest that medical male circumcision has no adverse effect on sexual function, sensitivity, sexual sensation, or satisfaction."

The researchers said that, by and large, the more rigorous studies of circumcision found "no overall adverse effect on penile sensitivity, sexual arousal, sexual sensation, erectile function, premature ejaculation, duration of intercourse, orgasm difficulties, sexual satisfaction, pleasure, or pain during penetration."

Two of the trials cited by the scientists involved groups of several thousand men in Uganda and Kenya who were circumcised after they were already sexually active. The men reported no significant changes in their sexual pleasure and desire and an overwhelming majority were pleased at having undergone the procedure.

The rub: The authors say men who underwent circumcision for medical reasons were at a higher risk of sexual dysfunction. But hey, it's a small price to pay for a personality, right?

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