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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 our citizens."

Israel's Druze Dilemma: Arm Imperiled Syrian Druze Community or Open Door to Refugees

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 dilemma.

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 mountain.

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 security.

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 Syrian arena.

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 weapons.

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 missiles.

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 documents.

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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