Newsletter : 14fx0410.txt
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#If Today's Media Told the Story of Passover
Israel Air Force's New Super-Hercules Can Reach Any Point in Iran
By DEBKAfile & IsraelNationalNews.com
The Israel military spy satellite Ofek-10 was launched into orbit around earth
Wednesday night from the Palmachim air base.
And in a ceremony inaugurating the entry into service of the Israel Air Force's new
"Samson" air transport plane, Lockheed-Martin's new generation C-130J Super Hercules, was
attended Wednesday by Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny
Gantz, Air Force chief Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel and US Ambassador Dan Shapiro.
Another five Super Hercules are due for delivery by the end of the year. With a range
of 4,000 km, Samson can reach any point in Iranian air space. It can carry four SUVs and
129 combat personnel or 92 paratroops with full combat gear, as well as 97 gurneys for
evacuating casualties. The new plane is equipped with systems designed by Israel that
streamline aircraft maintenance work. More Israeli-designed computers will be added. The
Samson will also ease the function mid-air refueling.
The launch was conducted by the Ministry of Defense and upon entering orbit, "Ofek 10"
will conduct a series of tests to verify that it is up to the excepted levels of
performance. "Ofek 10" is an observation radar-based satellite, with advanced photo
capabilities in both day and night and in all weather conditions. The satellite is capable
of photographing objects the size of half a meter and it will circle the earth once every
The last spy satellite that Israel launched into space was the "Ofek 9" and that
launching took place in June of 2010. The "Ofek 10" is the sixth spy satellite operated by
Israel and it can be very helpful in monitoring sites across the world.
Syrian-Hizbullah-Iraqi Force to Recover Forward Golan Position Opposite Israel
The Syrian army's 90th Brigade's loss of its forward Golan position at Tel Al-Ahmar to
rebel forces including al Qaeda's Nusra Front was Bashar Assad's most humiliating military
setback in the past year. Situated on the Israeli border, it is the key to the Golan town
of Quneitra which faces Israeli army positions on the other side. To recover this
strategic position, Assad has mustered a combined Syrian-Hizbullah-Iraqi Shiite
expeditionary force, the recipe for most of his victories against rebel forces in the past
DEBKAfile military sources also disclose that for the capture of Tel Al-Ahmar, the
rebels for the first time deployed units the size of battalions, drawing 350 fighters from
ten local militias from southern Syria and elements of al Qaeda's Jabhat al Nusra. Among
them too were local Syrian fighters trained by American instructors at a camp deep in the
desert of southern Jordan. This was the trainees' first taste of combat inside Syria.
Our military sources add that the battle for the Golan key point was the first rebel
operations that was professionally planned, organized and executed. They used heavy 120mm
mortars to pound their target into submission.
Iraqi Shiite fighters are pouring into Syria in a swelling stream to join Assad's
expeditionary force for the Golan. Most are believed to be members of the Asaib Ahl al-Haq
under the command of Abu Mahdi Mohandes, the deputy of the Iranian Al Qods Brigades chief
Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
In his speech on April 4, Hassan Nasrallah said that henceforth his Hizbullah fighters
would strike Israel from their positions on the Syrian Golan.
This confronts Damascus with a difficulty. The Syrian army is legally constrained from
deploying tanks and armored vehicles for operations against the rebels under the
Syrian-Israeli 1974 ceasefire agreement which ended the war of attrition following the Yom
Kippur war. This agreement restored 5% of the plateau to Syrian control provided it was
incorporated in a demilitarized zone to the east and policed by UN peacekeepers.
But on Tuesday evening, the Syrian air force bombarded the rebels holding Tel al-Ahmar,
with Iranian-made explosives in breach of that agreement. The response to that violation
poses Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon and IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz
with some major decisions: Should the Syrian Army be allowed to drive the rebels from Tel
al-Ahmar?;. To achieve this, Syrian forces would have to use heavy weaponry, a further
violation of the Syrian ceasefire agreement with Israel. How many violations can the IDF
Should Israel permit hostile foreign troops, such as the Lebanese Hizbullah and the
Iraqi Shiites to take up positions on its northern border?; How will the IDF deal with
the almost inevitably spillover of battles, explosions and bombardments taking place in
this tiny area into Israel?
And will Israel continue to provide medical care for wounded rebels in the battle for
Tel al-Ahmar? If so, Israeli medical teams and hospitals may find they are treating
jihadis associated with Al Qaeda. Israelis living in the north and trippers to favorite
resorts there had better not expect the coming eight-day Passover festival to pass
First Resettlement Agreement Reached Between Israel and Bedouins
Israel's agriculture ministry has reached an agreement to relocate the majority of
families in the Bedouin Azzama tribe from their current residences to a recognized
settlement near Be'er Sheva. The Jerusalem Post provided some details of the
According to the agreement, the tribe of Azzama, made up of 900 families, will be given
the option to move to a designated area for resettlement. The families are each to be
given a plot of 0.4 to 0.5 hectares (1 acre), under the condition that they move within 45
days. At the end of this period, residents who refuse to resettle will face enforcement
measures. According to the report 486 of the families who make up the tribe have agreed to
resettlement. Those who do not move within the designated time will be evacuated.
After protests forced the government to shelve the Prawer-Begin plan for integrating
the Bedouin into society, responsibility for working with Bedouin and revising the plan
fell to the agriculture ministry. At the time, Agriculture Minister Yair Shamir said that
he wanted to "gain the Bedouin's trust and negotiate with them" before agreeing on a new
plan. The recent agreement was concluded after two years of negotiations.
Former Israeli Naval Chief: Iran is Leading Weapons Smuggler in Middle East
The former head of Israel's navy told a conference Tuesday that Iran was the leading
arms smuggler to the Middle East, and that Israel was engaged in an "ongoing secret war
between Israel and terrorist organizations and the evil axis led by Iran," to fight that
Vice Admiral Eliezer (Chiney) Marom told participants at the Jerusalem Post Annual
Conference in New York. "Iran is a very, very dangerous country...Iran is leading the
[weapons] smuggling industry in the Middle East, adding that Iranian President Hassan
Rouhani "smiles at your face and lies" while his country continues to build its nuclear
Marom explained that "the IDF had developed a military and intelligence structure over
the past 10 to 15 years to adapt to a changing region." During that time the IDF has
intercepted a number of Iranian sponsored arms-smuggling ships including the Karine A and,
earlier this year, the Klos C.
Marom advocates a strategy of intercepting and destroying potentially game changing
weapons by land or by sea a view he articulated in an op-ed last month.
Anne Frank's Tree Sapling Set for Planting at US Capitol Grounds
A sapling grown from the tree that Holocaust victim Anne Frank wrote about while in
hiding will be planted this month on the US Capitol grounds, congressional leaders
announced Tuesday. "The Anne Frank memorial tree is an offspring of the horse chestnut
tree that was featured in Anne's diary writings," House Speaker John Boehner and Senate
Majority Leader Harry Reid wrote in a letter to members of Congress.
The tree "grew outside of the Amsterdam building where she and her family hid from the
Nazis during World War II," they explained.
The planting on the Capitol's west front lawn will occur during a ceremony April 30.
The young tree is among several saplings created from the original tree, which collapsed
outside the Amsterdam annex in 2010.
Frank wrote her observations from June 1942 to August 1944, while the Jewish girl and
her family remained in hiding during the Nazi German occupation of the Netherlands. She
was captured August 4, 1944, and died seven months later at age 15 at the Bergen-Belsen
Her diary was rescued by a family friend, and through the help of Anne's father Otto
Frank was published and eventually translated into more than 60 languages, including in
English as "The Diary of a Young Girl."
In Japan this February, a series of vandalism attacks at Tokyo libraries targeted
Frank's diary, with roughly 300 copies of the diary and related books being torn or
defaced. In March, a 36-year-old unemployed Tokyo man was arrested in relation to the
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited the Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam shortly
thereafter, calling the vandalism "regrettable," and noting "we would like to face
historical facts in a humble manner and we would like also to pass on the lessons and
facts of history to the next generation."
After the vandalism, the Israeli embassy donated 300 copies of the diary to local
libraries, and the Anne Frank Museum donated 3,400 copies of its catalogue. Many local
Japanese citizens donated copies of the diary to the affected Tokyo libraries following
the attack as well.
Ancient Egyptian Soldier's Letter Deciphered After 1,800 Years
By Live Science
A newly deciphered letter home dating back around 1,800 years reveals the pleas of a
young Egyptian soldier named Aurelius Polion who was serving, probably as a volunteer, in
a Roman legion in Europe. In the letter, written mainly in Greek, Polion tells his family
that he is desperate to hear from them and that he is going to request leave to make the
long journey home to see them.
Addressed to his mother (a bread seller), sister and brother, part of it reads: "I pray
that you are in good health night and day, and I always make obeisance before all the gods
on your behalf. I do not cease writing to you, but you do not have me in mind," it reads.
"I am worried about you because although you received letters from me often, you never
wrote back to me so that I may know how you ..." (Part of the letter hasn't survived.)
Dating back about 1,800 years, this letter was written, mainly in Greek, by Aurelius
Polion, an Egyptian man who served with the legio II Adiutrix legion around modern-day
Hungary. In the letter, discovered more than a century ago in the Egyptian town of Tebunis
and only recently translated, Polion pleads with his family to respond.
Polion says he has written six letters to his family without response, suggesting some
sort of family tensions. "While away in Pannonia I sent (letters) to you, but you treat me
so as a stranger," he writes. "I shall obtain leave from the consular (commander), and I
shall come to you so that you may know that I am your brother
The letter was found in the Egyptian town of Tebtunis more than a century ago by an
archaeological expedition led by Bernard Grenfell and Arthur Hunt. They found numerous
papyri in the town and did not have time to translate all of them.
Recently Grant Adamson, a doctoral candidate at Rice University, took up the task of
translating the papyrus, using infrared images of it, a technology that makes part of the
text more legible. His translation was published recently in the Bulletin of the American
Society of Papyrologists.
Adamson isn't sure if the soldier's family responded to his pleas, or if Polion got
leave to see them (it's unlikely), but it appears this letter did arrive home. "I tend to
think so. The letter was addressed to and mentions Egyptians, and it was found outside the
temple of the Roman-period town of Tebtunis in the Fayyum not far from the Nile River,"
Adamson wrote in an email to Live Science.
Polion, who lived at a time when the Roman Empire controlled Egypt, was part of the
legio II Adiutrix legion stationed in Pannonia Inferior (around modern-day Hungary).He may
have volunteered for the pay and food legions got. However, that doesn't mean Polion knew
that he was going to be posted so far away from home.
"He may have volunteered and left Egypt without knowing where he would be assigned,"
writes Adamson in the journal article. According to the translation, Polion sent the
letter to a military veteran who could forward it to his family.
The situation seen in this letter, a young man serving as a volunteer in a military
unit far away from home, facing tensions with his family and seeking leave to see them
sounds like something that happens in modern-day armed forces.
Although soldiers today have an easier time communicating and traveling back home
(Polion would have had to travel for a month or more to reach Tebtunis from his posting in
Europe), there are some themes that connect both ancient and modern soldiers, Adamson
"I think that some aspects of military service belong to a common experience across
ancient and modern civilizations part of our human experience in general really.
Things like worry and homesickness."
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