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Israel Now Has a Supersonic Air-Launched Ballistic Missile and Why Iran Should Worry.

By The National Interest
For a country such as Israel with fewer launching platforms, a very fast and hard-to-intercept ballistic weapon — however modest its explosive power — might be just what it needs to hold at risk certain kinds of distant targets. Two Israeli companies together have tested a new, supersonic air-launched ballistic missile with a conventional warhead that could allow fighters to strike heavily-defended targets at long range. But the new Rampage ALBM isn't without its drawbacks. The weapon is bulky. Its warhead is probably small compared to other missile types. Israel Aerospace Industries and Israel Military Industry Systems announced in June 2018 they had tested, from an F-16, the 15-feet-long, 1,200-pound, GPS-guided Rampage — and had already inked a sale contract with one customer, presumably the Israeli air force. With Rampage, the Israeli air force could join a slowly growing number of air arms developing ALBMs for non-nuclear attacks. Russia has introduced its own, much larger ALBM. China reportedly is working on one, too. But the United States apparently doesn't see the value in an air-launched ballistic missile. Existing cruise missiles — which already are available to U.S. forces in very large numbers — are perfectly capable of striking, in large salvos, a wide range of distant targets. IAI said speed, range and cost are the ALBM's main advantages. Eli Reiter, manager of IMI's firepower division, praised Rampage's "extraordinary cost-effectiveness ratio" but did not disclose the missile's cost. "It can be detected, but it is very hard to intercept," Amit Haimovich, director of marketing for IAI's Malam engineering unit, told The Jerusalem Post. The Israeli air force operates a wide range of conventional guided air-to-surface munitions. But none are supersonic. And it's likely none can match Rampage's range. "The whole point of this missile is that it can hit targets within standoff ranges," Haimovich said.

While IAI didn't specify the new weapon's reach, a similar but larger Russian weapon reportedly can strike targets as far as 1,200 miles away. It's reasonable to assume Rampage can travel hundreds of miles.

By the same token, it's also reasonable to assume Rampage comes with a relatively small warhead. Israel's Popeye cruise missile, which is roughly the same length as Rampage is, weighs 3,000 pounds — twice as much as Rampage does — and boasts a 750-pound warhead and a 50-mile range. At half the weight of Popeye and likely devoting a greater proportion of its internal capacity to fuel, Rampage probably boasts a much smaller warhead than Popeye does. To be fair, Rampage's high speed could lend it kinetic energy that partially compensates for the comparatively small warhead size.

But Rampage's size means that an F-15 or F-16 probably wouldn't carry more than two at a time. That limits the size of the missile salvos the Israeli air force could launch at some distant hard target — say, an airfield or chemical-weapons site. This is a familiar problem for the first operator of ALBMs. In March 2018, Russian president Vladimir Putin introduced Kinzhal, an apparent air-launched version of the Iskander surface-launched rocket. China began testing its own ALBM in December 2016, according to press reports. The Russian air force has modified six MiG-31 long-range fighters to carry the 25-feet-long Kinzhal, according to air-power expert Babak Taghvaee. The Kremlin will modify, before the end of 2018, as many as six more MiG-31s to carry the ALBM, Taghvaee claimed. The squadron-size force of ALBM-armed MiGs gives Russia the ability to strike heavily-defended targets at long range. But not very many targets. "We're talking about isolated launches — two or three or six missiles at a time," said Pavel Podvig, an expert on the Russian military. The same limitations could apply to Israeli warplanes lobbing Rampages. When it comes to long-range strikes, it clearly isn't worth it to the U.S. military to trade warhead- and salvo-size for the protective benefit of speed, when it can simply launch lots of relatively slow weapons to compensate for their comparative vulnerability. But for a country such as Israel with fewer launching platforms, a very fast and hard-to-intercept ballistic weapon — however modest its explosive power — might be just what it needs to hold at risk certain kinds of distant targets.

Researchers: Radioactive Sheep Bolster Nuclear Weapon Test Claim against Israel

By Fox News
Newly discovered data from radioactive sheep provides strong evidence that a mysterious "double flash" detected almost 39 years ago near a remote island group was a nuclear explosion. Ever since the flash was observed by a U.S. "Vela" satellite orbiting above Earth in September 1979, there's been speculation that it was produced from a nuclear weapon test by Israel. International researchers in the journal Science & Global Security analyzed previously unpublished results of radiation testing at a U.S. lab of thyroid organs from sheep in southeastern Australia in order to make their determination. The flash was located in the area of Marion and Prince Edward islands, which are in the South Indian Ocean about halfway between Africa and Antarctica. "A new publication sheds further light on the Vela Incident of 1979," said Prof. Nick Wilson, of Otago University at Wellington, who highlighted the findings but was not involved with the study itself. "[The research] adds to the evidence base that this was an illegal nuclear weapons test, very likely to have been conducted by Israel with assistance from the apartheid regime in South Africa."

Wilson, an epidemiologist and member of the Australia-based Medical Association for the Prevention of War, said the test would have violated the Limited Test Ban Treaty signed in 1963 and urged the United Nations to mount a full inquiry. "This was an illegal nuclear weapons test, very likely to have been conducted by Israel." Wilson said. The researchers conclude that iodine-131, which is an unstable radioactive form of the element iodine found in the thyroids of some Australian sheep, "would be consistent with them having grazed in the path of a potential radioactive fallout plume from a [Sept. 22, 1979] low-yield nuclear test in the Southern Indian Ocean." Thyroid samples from sheep killed in Melbourne were regularly sent to the U.S. for testing—monthly in 1979 but also in the 1950s and 1980s, researchers say. According to a report in the New Zealand Herald, the sheep had been grazing in an area hit by rain four days after the flash incident was observed, which would have been in the downwind path from the suspected explosion site. Israel, which has neither confirmed nor denied the existence of a nuclear program, dismissed the claim that it was responsible for the 1979 incident. Israel's Ambassador to New Zealand, Itzhak Gerberg, told the Herald, when asked if Israel was responsible for the explosion: "Simply a ridiculous assumption that does not hold water." However, the country's former Knesset Speaker, Avrum Burg, told a conference in 2013 that "Israel has nuclear and chemical weapons" and called for public discussion. Commenting on the findings, U.S. nuclear weapons expert Leonard Weiss of Stanford University said in the online Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists that the "important" new evidence "removes virtually all doubt" that the flash was a small-yield nuclear explosion. Weiss added that there was "growing circumstantial evidence" that it was conducted by Israel. "Israel was the only country that had the technical ability and policy motivation to carry out such a clandestine test," he said.

Be Fruitful and Multiply: Israeli Women Comply

By the Jerusalem Post
"I will make your offspring as the dust of the earth, so that if one can count the dust of the earth, then your offspring too can be counted." Genesis 13:16 (The Israel Bible™) The divine promise to increase the number of Jews is coming to fruition, as maternity departments in numerous medical centers are overflowing. Three hospitals in particular – Emek Medical Center in Afula, Soroka Medical Center in Be'er Sheva and Sourasky Medical Center in Tel Aviv – have just reported a record number of births in the past few weeks. The number of Israeli deliveries is typically higher during the summer months, maybe because of the colder months of winter during which the babies are conceived. But no one is sure what the real reason is. Some suggest that teachers plan pregnancies in late summer so they can get their three months of maternity leave during the beginning of the school year… There were 1,518 deliveries at Soroka in July, breaking its all-time record. Since 2012, the average number of July births has been nearly 1,400, so this year, the figure is almost 10% higher. The Be'er Sheva hospital has many Bedouin births in addition to those of Jewish mothers, bringing the annual total of about 17,000. Soroka has more deliveries in Israel except for Jerusalem's Shaare Zedek, whose main campus and Bikur Cholim Hospital branch together deliver some 22,000 babies annually – reputedly more than any other hospital in the world. Sourasky's Lis Maternity and Women's Hospital recorded 1,014 births in July – also a nearly 10% increase over last July; since then, the hospital opened a luxurious new maternity ward with private rooms and a new neonatal unit. Emek Medical Center produced 392 infants last month, compared to 341 in July 2017. The Israeli fertility rate is 3.11 children per woman of childbearing age. This is significantly higher than that of other members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) that represents 34 developed countries, who have an average fertility rate of 1.7 children per mother. In the past, Israeli women have given birth to more babies following wars, but there was no such major military clash in the past year. Obstetrics departments around the country are very eager to attract women to give birth because the National Insurance Institute provides a generous allotment to hospitals for delivering babies; multiple births mean a much higher grant due to the extra costs of treating premature infants. As a result, the hospitals compete with each other by offering free birthing classes, comfortable delivery rooms, a free night in a "baby hotel" and even meals prepared by chefs.

Denmark Won't Ban Circumcision

Danish Health Minister Ellen Trane Norby on Sunday said that the Danish government would work to combat a bill proposing to ban circumcision in the country. Earlier this year, a petition calling for a ban on male circumcision in Denmark went to parliament after organizers amassed more than the 50,000 signatures required to bring it to a vote. In a letter to European Jewish Association Chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin, Norby wrote, "The Danish government is in close contact with the Danish Jewish community regarding this issue, and will remain that way. You can be sure that the Jewish community's perspective is known to the government." She also noted that there are other aspects to circumcision as well, such as the child's welfare and health. The current government, she emphasized, will have no hand in banning the ancient Jewish tradition. Rabbi Margolin has worked to prevent circumcision bans from passing in Denmark, Norway, Germany and other European Union member states.

Israeli Breakthrough Could End Cancer Recurrence

By United with Israel
Israeli scientists may have found a way to treat cancer-once and for all. No more relapses-just a healthier, happier tomorrow. For people fighting cancer, the thing they frequently fear most is a recurrence or relapse of the cancer after treatment. But thanks to Israeli science and ingenuity, this fear may be a thing of the past. A group of researchers at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev developed a new molecule that they say inhibits the growth of cancer cells and also reprograms them to be noncancerous, potentially eliminating the risk of relapse. This discovery may change the way cancer is treated leading to a happier and healthier future for all. "We want to save the idea itself from death. The images of torn limbs, wounded people, blood, and martyrs are very painful, and must drive us to reexamine all our tactics and to invent new ones," a BGU spokesperson said.

EBU: Eurovision to Take Place in Israel as Planned

The 2019 Eurovision Song Contest will take place in Israel despite concerns over a lack of funds, Israel Hayom reported Monday evening. Alon Amir, an expert on Eurovision, a public relations manager and a close associate of the European Broadcasting Union, told the paper that he was told unequivocally that the competition would take place in Israel. "It would be unrealistic if we relinquished an event of such a scale that allows us to show the country from a different angle. "Today, in the morning, when I spoke with senior members of the European Broadcasting Union, I was told unequivocally that the Eurovision 2019 will take place as planned in Israel. I am not sitting in the Israeli Broadcasting Corporation here or in the Prime Minister's Office, but it does not occur to me that these two bodies do not understand the national and international importance of hosting the Eurovision Song Contest in Israel. On Sunday, Israel Broadcasting Corporation (IBC) head Gil Omer warned Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that the corporation must secure a guarantee of 12 million euros ($13.7 million) or be forced to cancel the Eurovision contest. Amir dismissed Omer's warning as "nothing more than an attempt to obtain political capital" from the prime minister to prevent the government from acting against the IBC. However, he also said that there was no reason the government should not help fund the holding of the contest, which would be an economic and public relations boon for the Jewish State. I'm betting that the Eurovision will take place in Israel. Really, you'd have to be extraordinarily stupid in order to give it up."

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