Newsletter : 15fx0612.txt
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Gaza Terrorists Fire a Rocket at Ashkelon
Late on Thursday night "color red" rocket sirens were sounded in the southern coastal
city of Ashkelon, as well as throughout the Ashkelon Coast regional council. At least one
rocket was identified as having been fired from Gaza, but IDF officials said it is
believed the rocket exploded inside Gaza. No rockets were found in Israeli territory.
There were no reports of injuries or damages on the Israeli side.
The siren, which was sounded just after 10 p.m., comes just over a week after
terrorists in Gaza fired a rocket at Israel last Wednesday.
Members of the Salafist group "Sheikh Amar Hadid Brigades" affiliated with the Islamic
State (ISIS) claimed credit for the attack, just days after they claimed a Grad rocket
attack on Ashdod.
Hamas contacted Israel after the rocket strike last Wednesday and said the ISIS
affiliate had conducted it so as to cause conflict between Israel and Hamas, as an act of
revenge after the Salafists and Hamas have been clashing in Gaza.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon (Likud) responded to the message last Thursday, saying,
"even if those firing on Israeli territory are gangs of rebels from global jihad
organizations interested in challenging Hamas by firing at us, we view Hamas as
responsible for the goings-on in the (Gaza) Strip, and we won't tolerate attempts to harm
Israel's Druze Dilemma: Arm Imperiled Syrian Druze Community or Open Door to
By DEBKAfile (Special Report)
Israel has a unique, historic commitment to its Druze citizens and so the dangers
besetting more than half a million of their Syrian brethren, on Jabal Druze, 88 km from
its border and 38 km from Jordan, confronts the Netanyahu government with a grave
Israeli Druze leaders are pressing the government to provide Jabal Druze towns and
villages with weapons for their defense against the enemies closing in on them: The
Syrian-Hizbullah army; the Syrian opposition coalition including the Nusra Front
now in control of large parts of southern Syria; and the Islamic State of Iraq and the
Levant - ISIS, which has sent a small force up to the eastern approaches to the
At a reception for visiting Chairman of the Joint US Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin
Dempsey Wednesday, President Reuven Rivlin said: What is going on just now is
intimidation and threat to the very existence of half a million Druze on the Druze Mount,
which is very close to the Israeli border."
Officials in the Pentagon denied that this issue had come up in Dempsey's talks during
his farewell visit to Israel this week, although Syria had been discussed. One official
remarked: "It's the Druze who are asking everyone to arm them. The Druze in Israel have
been raising it with Israel with the US, with Jordan everyone."
DEBKAfile's military sources note that this dilemma is the hardest Israel has faced
since the Syrian conflict began more than four years ago. Sending arms to the Syrian Druze
would mean abandoning the consistent policy of abstaining from direct involvement in that
war. It would moreover entail setting up new machinery for establishing, training and
arming a Druze army of 20,000 to 30,000 fighting men.
But by withholding support, Israel would make itself responsible for whatever befalls
the beleaguered Syrian Druze community, including possibly mass executions by Islamic
extremists for their unique faith.
Also taken into account is the proposal Tehran, Damascus and Hizbullah put before the
Druzes this week: to build them an army and provide it with weapons, against a pledge
never to raise arms against Syrian President Bashar Assad or his troops. No other strings
were tied to the offer. The Druze army would not be given any tasks other than to defend
Jabal Druze and its hundreds of small towns and villages.
Druze acceptance of Tehran's proposition would have the effect of strengthening Iran's
hold on Damascus and weakening the Syrian opposition forces fighting in the south, with no
guarantees about where this equation would end up in terms of new threats to Israeli
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon and IDF Chief of
Staff, Lt. Gen. Gady Eisenkott, are being intensely lobbied by the leaders of Israel's
Druze community, some of them high-ranking officers in IDF and Border Police units, to
come to the aid of their distressed Syrian brethren. They hold up their valuable
contribution to the Jewish state's national security as deserving of Israel's
reciprocation to step up when their community is in peril.
No one is saying this, but the awareness is there that the many Druzes serving in
Israeli combat units may decide to simply cross the Golan border and take up arms in
defense of Jabal Druze.
The Syria community's plight is complicated by the sharp internal division among its
leaders: One group urges taking up the Iranian offer; a second would rather join forces
with the Syrian rebels; and a third, wants to stick to their long-held neutrality in the
The Lebanese Druze leader Walid Jumblatt, once accepted as such by the entire
community, urges Jabal Druze inhabitants to throw in their lot with the rebel groups
fighting to topple Assad. Some Druze sources claim that Israel has promised admission to
any fleeing Druze reaching the Golan border fence, an assurance also offered by Jordan.
This is not confirmed by any official in either government.
However, it is hard to see how Israel can bar its border if thousands of Druze refugees
were to stand at the fence and demand shelter - any more than Jordan could. This may still
happen - even if Jerusalem and Amman were to decide to supply the Syrian Druzes with
Haifa Arabs Physically Assault Holocaust Survivors
Police announced Thursday that seven Arab residents of Haifa, all members of the same
family, were arrested for abusing and assaulting elderly Holocaust survivors. The seven
reportedly physically struck the residents of a home for survivors in the Hadar
neighborhood of Haifa, and likewise stole from them, verbally abused them, and made them
walk in the street according to Yedioth Aharonot.
The Arab family lives on the same street as the Holocaust survivor residence and the
offices of the facility, and some have a prior criminal record according to police.
Members of the Holocaust survivors residence organization complained to police after
members of the Arab family previously vandalized property that belongs to the survivors,
but police reportedly took no action on the complaint. Another complaint filed this
Wednesday finally got the police to get involved and arrest the culprits.
"What we heard there was simply horrendous," said one of the senior officers involved
in the case. "Elderly Holocaust survivors, some not mentally well, went through a series
of abuses. Their credit cards were stolen, they were forced to step off the sidewalk and
walk on the road, they were beaten, and their property was vandalized."
Police asked for an extension of the detention of the suspects on Thursday at the Haifa
Magistrate's Court. Aside from assaulting the survivors, the assailants also are said to
have threatened and attacked employees of the residence, and damaged their vehicles as
well. Police found jewelry, cell phones and tools thought to have been stolen in the homes
of the suspects, and went on to seize vehicles belonging to the family.
IDF Unveils Orders for 1982 Lebanon War
Thirty-three years after the First Lebanon War, the IDF has published hitherto-secret
documents detailing the orders issued to the IDF at the launch of the war, in the first
week of June 1982. The documents are a reminder of the time in which the IDF was able to
fight short, tough wars and defeat its enemies.
Then-Defense Minister Ariel Sharon and IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Refael Eitan told
the IDF to conquer southern Lebanon and join with Maronite Christian forces in Beirut 96
hours into a lightning invasion. In reality, this was achieved within a week's time. The
military was also instructed to annihilate any Syrian force that stood in its way
and achieved this, too, when a Sayeret Matkal commando unit encountered a Syrian commando
unit and destroyed it with the aid of artillery. The IDF was told to place Israeli
communities out of the range of terrorist missiles and did so successfully.
The conquest of Beirut forced Yasir Arafat and his PLO terrorist forces to leave the
city and go into exile, in faraway Tunisia. In 1985, the IDF withdrew the forces in
Lebanon southward, to occupy a swathe of southern Lebanon it called the Security belt.
All this had changed some years later. In 1987, the First Intifada broke out, and
Israel faced an extended uprising in Judea and Samaria. In 1993, Israel under Yitzhak
Rabin agreed to let Arafat into Judea and Samaria and establish an armed network. Seven
years later, under pressure from a demoralizing leftist media campaign, the IDF withdrew
from the Security Belt in southern Lebanon in a hurried fashion, motivating Arafat to
launch an awful terror war that killed over 1,200 Israelis.
By 2006, when the IDF launched the Second Lebanon War, it was a weaker army, which
found it difficult to overpower a far inferior Hizbullah guerrilla army. Today, Hizbullah
has over 100,000 missiles aimed at Israel and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has said
it seeks to cover all of Israel with intense fire. Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak
recently warned Israel was unprepared for such an attack, which would involve accurate
Spain's Parliament Approves Citizenship for Descendents of Expelled Jews
After months of speculation, Spain's lower house approved a new citizenship law on
Thursday that allowing descendents of the Jews forced to flee the country in 1492 to
receive Spanish passports.
The Sephardic Ancestry Bill will enable an estimated 2.2 million descendents of the
expelled Jews to apply for Spanish citizenship, which they could hold alongside an
additional citizenship. So far, only citizens of South American countries, Andorra,
Portugal and Spain's colonies enjoyed these rights.
Spain's vote on Thursday afternoon followed the approval in March of a similar
citizenship plan in Portugal for Sephardic Jews whose ancestors were forced to leave that
country. While some hoped a "Spanish sounding" last name would be enough to receive
Spanish citizenship, the process itself is not so simple.
The conditions required to submit a request for citizenship have been thought out by
Spanish authorities to the most minute detail and span over 10 pages, including a detailed
description of a requirement to prove a family connection to the Jews that were expelled
523 years ago.
Citizenship applications could be based on family documents kept throughout the
generations, such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, a Ketubah (Jewish marriage
contract) written according to the tradition of the Castile Jews, and other similar
Requests can also be based on the demonstration of control of Ladino (a Judaeo-Spanish
language) or Haketia (an endangered Jewish-Moroccan Romance language). On the list of
conditions, which will be examined as a whole, the legislation details what documents
could strengthen the application further, including documents from the Federation of
Jewish Communities in Spain, an approval from a certified rabbinate authority or any other
documents to show the descendents kept Spanish tradition.
Those seeking Spanish citizenship will also be asked to prove links to Spain with
documents confirming the applicant took classes in Spanish history or culture. Applicants
will also be asked to pass what is described as an "integration" test of familiarity with
the Spanish language.
After its approval, the law will come into effect on October 1. The process - from
submitting the request until a decision is made - is supposed to take about a year. The
website of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Spain has a detailed explanation on how
to file the application.
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