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Netanyahu: Yom Kippur War Shows Importance of Preemptive Strike

By YnetNews.com

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at a memorial ceremony for fallen soldiers of the 1973 Yom Kippur War on Thursday that Israel had a responsibility to undertake all efforts to avoid war, but that a but warned it would act "with full force" if it is forced upon it by "those who seek to kill us, first and foremost by Iran."

Iran, the prime minister noted, openly calls for Israel's destruction. "It is our obligation to defend ourselves against this danger and we will continue to do so," he said while delivering his remarks at the memorial ceremony held on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem. Netanyahu also spoke about a telegram from the Yom Kippur War that was posted on the Israel State Archives website on Monday, which was sent by the former head of the Mossad, Zvi Zamir, warning that war was imminent and suggesting a plan to prevent it.

"You all saw this week the urgent telegram written by Zvi Zamir hours before the war. This made clear in black and white the clear and immediate danger. Even the greatest skeptics should have acted accordingly," Netanyahu asserted. "The required decision to launch a preventative strike was the harder decision for the whole government because it could never have proven what would have happened if it had not acted. Israel should have delivered a preemptive strike."

The lessons learned from the Yom Kippur War, he said, have been engraved on Israel, which he said will always uncompromisingly safeguard its own security interests and "scour the horizon in order to diagnose the dangers that lie ahead."

"Within the Middle East in our days, saturated with dangers, there are rays of light—our relations with the moderate Arab world. So many countries understand the great value in strengthening relations with Israel and the gradual rapprochement with yield fruit of normalization and peace. This goal guides me, and we will continue to guarantee that the quality of our lives will never be broken," Netanyahu added.

Israel Fortifies Nuclear Facilities in Response to Iran's `Outrageous Threats'

By World Israel News

At the annual meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, Israel's atomic energy chief Zeev Snir addressed recent threats issued by the Iranian regime. "We cannot ignore the repeated and explicit threats, made by Iran and its proxies, to attack Israel's nuclear sites. These outrageous threats, require Israel to take action and continue to protect and defend its nuclear facilities."

About the potential for Iranian strikes, Snir noted, "These facilities are constantly upgraded and reinforced, in line with IAEA safety guidelines, in order to withstand any attack." In addition to highlighting Israeli preparedness for strikes from the Islamic Republic, Snir also challenged the IAEA to investigate Iran's secret nuclear activities.

To that end, Snir referenced Iran's purported "lies and concealment efforts," demanding that the IAEA "conduct a robust verification of Iran's clandestine activities" and its "covert nuclear weapons program," which he referred to as "a documented fact."In reference to the Iranian nuclear threat, Snir concluded, "Iran lied to the Agency, and to the world. These were not `possible' military dimensions, but concrete ones."

Hizbullah Leader Threatens Israel with `Advanced and Accurate Missiles'

By United with Israel, World Israel News, Israel Hayom & Reuters

Hizbullah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah threatened Israel with war, claiming that "the entire balance of power" between the Lebanon-based terror group and Israel "has changed." Speaking on the occasion of the Muslim Ashura holiday on Thursday, Nasrallah addressed Israel directly and asserted that all its attempts to prevent Hizbullah from "possessing advanced and accurate missiles have been foiled," stressing that the issue "is all over" and that the Israelis themselves "can't imagine their fate if these missiles are used in any future war."

Iran over the past years has been trying to arm Hizbullah, its proxy terror organization, with advanced weapons through Syria, and Israel, in turn, has been trying to prevent Hizbullah's armament, mostly through airstrikes.

A Fox News report earlier this month revealed that Iran is utilizing civilian airlines to transport weapons to the Hizbullah terror organization in Lebanon. Western intelligence sources have uncovered "unexpected routes" taken by Iran in an apparent attempt to avoid detection of its arms-smuggling into Lebanon, the report said. "The Iranians are trying to come up with new ways and routes to smuggle weapons from Iran to its allies in the Middle East, testing and defying the West's abilities to track them down," the source told Fox News.

In November 2016, Israel's Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon warned the Security Council that Iran was utilizing civilian airlines to transport weapons to Hizbullah. In a letter to the Council, Danon said it was the IRGC that was responsible for the smuggling, and he outlined how they were doing it. "Iran is using airlines such as `Mahan Air' to supply Hizbullah with the capacity to enhance its missile arsenal. The arms and related materials are packed in suitcases by the Quds Force in Iran and transferred directly to Hizbullah operatives." He charged that Iran's actions are "in blatant violation of numerous Security Council resolutions," including resolutions 2231 and 1701.

Hizbullah was in possession of roughly 7,000 rockets in 2006, and the Lebanese terror group now has more than 120,000 missiles aimed at Israeli cities, hidden behind human shields in the towns under their control. Addressing attendees of the Ashura march in Beirut's Hizbullah-controlled Dahiyeh suburb, Nasrallah said that the Israelis are worried because "their scheme in the region has been foiled."

He also declared that Hizbullah stands by the Islamic Republic of Iran "in face of all kinds of economic and political pressure," apparently referring to the US' renewed sanctions on the country, which have already hurt Hizbullah as well.

Lebanon's Hizbullah group has obtained precision rockets despite hundreds of Israeli strikes in recent years aimed at cutting off the supply route through Syria, the group's leader Hassan Nasrallah declared Thursday. "No matter what you do to cut the route," Nasrallah said, addressing Israel in a televised speech, "the matter is over, and the resistance possesses precision and non-precision rockets and weapons capabilities."

Nasrallah spoke in a televised speech on Thursday to supporters commemorating Ashoura, one of the most important religious holy days for Shiite Muslims. "If Israel forces a war on Lebanon, Israel will face a fate and a reality it has never expected on any day," he added, stressing that Hizbullah's precision weapons were "highly accurate." Hizbullah, backed by Iran, has played a critical role in supporting Syrian President Bashar Assad during Syria's seven-year civil war.

Israel regards Iran and Hizbullah as the biggest threats on its borders and has uncharacteristically admitted to carrying out repeated strikes in Syria to prevent Hizbullah from getting Iranian arms deliveries.

Nasrallah said Israel knows the regional balance of power has changed, and that recent Israeli strikes in Syria to prevent Hizbullah from acquiring those weapons failed because this "has already been achieved. If he confronts us, he will receive a crushing blow that he cannot even imagine," Netanyahu stated in response to Nasrallah's boast of "accurate missiles."

Speaking earlier in the day, Nasrallah addressed Israel directly, boasting that "the entire balance of power has changed." Hizbullah has "accurate missiles that if used in any future war will change the entire equation," Nasrallah said. Adding the Israelis "can't imagine their fate if these missiles are used in any future war," he declared.

"I heard the arrogant words that came from the direction of Hizbullah. This comes from the same man who said after 2006 that if he had known what Israel's response would be to the abduction of three of our soldiers, he would have thought twice about doing it," Netanyahu said.

Is Israel in Putin's Sights, as its Air Force Chief is Cross-Examined in Moscow?

By DEBKAfile and IsraelNationalNews.com

The Russian Embassy in Tel Aviv issued the following statement on Thursday: "Moscow views as irresponsible and unfriendly actions of Israeli Air Force, which exposed Russian Il-20 aircraft to danger and led to the death of 15 servicemen. Russia would take all necessary measures to eliminate the threat to life and security of our military fighting against terrorism."

Maj. Gen. Amikam Nurkin, Israel's Air Force chief, endured hour after hour of quizzing in Moscow Thursday, 20 about the Russian plane shot down by Syria on Monday. At home, Israeli officials and army chiefs made an effort to cool the crisis which sprang up in Russian-Israeli relations over the incident.

In Moscow, the Israeli officers produced electronic and other evidence showing Syrian air defense missile fire to be haphazard and unfocused. "It's a wonder that the Syrians have not accidentally shot down other airplanes before," they said.

One of the key points which emerged was that Syria teams habitually let loose with their anti-air missiles against any incoming missiles, whether or not they are airborne – even if they are ground-to-ground or ship-to-shore weapons. However, how Syria conducts its air defenses has nothing to do with Israel.

DEBKAfile's sources report that the Israeli officers answered the endless Russian interrogation professionally and to the point, although the interviews went on all day and appeared to be continuing into the night. The Israeli officers had the unpleasant sense of being put on the carpet and expected to provide answers on the spot. The decision to send an Israel officer to Moscow with the high rank of the air force chief has therefore been widely criticized in many circles in Israel.

Israel hopes the unpleasantness will soon blow over and relations will return to normal. But it is certainly realized that Putin is an exceptionally cool pragmatist, and if he decides it is in his interest to level his aim against Israel, he will not hesitate to do so.

Chabad Airlifts Kosher Food to Hurricane-Affected Jews

By JTA

Jewish families in Wilmington, North Carolina were able to eat a kosher meal before the start of Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) after the Chabad synagogue in nearby Charlotte was able to arrange the arrival of a helicopter carrying 150 pounds of kosher food. There are between 800 and 1,000 Jewish families living in Wilmington.

After days with no contact due to Hurricane Florence, Rabbi Yossi Groner of Charlotte's Ohr HaTorah was able to speak by telephone to Rabbi Moshe Leiblich of Chabad of Wilmington on Monday. Leiblich requested that he find a way to send kosher food, the Charlotte Observer reported on Wednesday.

A truck full of kosher food sent from Raleigh after the hurricane first hit had been turned away by authorities because of dangerous road conditions.

Groner's son, Ben Tzion, contacted a friend who is a helicopter mechanic and was able to secure a helicopter for Tuesday morning. It arrived at the airport in Wilmington at 1:30 p.m. carrying kosher chicken and dairy products as well as ready-to-eat meals, which were delivered to families preparing for Yom Kippur, the newspaper reported. "It was tremendous, and certainly a relief," Leiblich told the Observer. "It gave us kosher meat until the stores are back to normal."

Holocaust Films Dominate Foreign Oscar Race

By JTA

Russia nominated a film about the Nazi death camp Sobibor as its entry for the Academy Award for best foreign language film. "Sobibor," a multimillion-dollar production with state funding, centers on the 1943 escape by Jewish inmates from the camp under the leadership of Russian inmates. It was one of only two such occurrences during the Holocaust, with the other happening that same year in Treblinka.

The two-hour film features Konstantin Khabenskiy, one of Russia's best-known actors, along with an international cast as well as unusually gory visuals. It is based on historical research of the history of the camp in Poland, where SS guards and Ukrainians murdered 250,000 Jews.

The Holocaust and anti-Semitism featured in the submissions of five other European countries: The Netherlands, Austria, Romania, Slovakia and Switzerland.

The Dutch submission is "The Resistance Banker," based on the actions of Walraven van Hall, a banker who financed the resistance during the Nazi occupation, including efforts to save Jews. He was recognized as a Righteous Among the Nations — Israel's title for non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust – in the 1970s.

Austria's "The Waldheim Waltz," by the Austrian-Jewish director Ruth Beckermann, is a biographical drama about former U.N. Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim, and the controversy of his participation and role in the Nazi regime during World War II.

"I Do Not Care If We Go Down In History As Barbarians" tells the story of a theater director seeking a re-enactment of the barbaric massacre of thousands of Jews in Odessa by occupying Romanian troops. Slovakia's "The Interpreter" follows a Jewish man's efforts to find the Nazi officer who may have killed his parents.

"Eldorado," the Swiss submission, looks at the hardships faced by modern-day immigrants to Europe but juxtaposes their situation with the realities experienced by asylum seekers during World War II, including many Jews.

Hungary's submission, "Sunset," was directed by Laszlo Nemes, a Jewish-Hungarian filmmaker whose previous feature, "Son of Saul," won the category's 2016 Oscar. The later film is set in 1913 Budapest and follows the trials of Irisz Leiter, a newcomer to the city whose parents' shop is burned.

"Throughout the film, Irisz and those around her make so much of her name that one wonders if the Leiters were Jewish, casting a dark shadow over" the fire, The Hollywood Reporter wrote in a review this month. "But this is never explicitly stated in the film and remains only a possibility."

Israel's submission is "The Cakemaker," which centers on a German pastry maker who travels to Jerusalem in search of the wife and son of his dead lover. It is Israel's 51st submission to the award; the country has received 10 nominations but has yet to win.

The Palestinian submission is "Ghost Hunting," a documentary about prisoners from Israeli detention reliving their incarceration and alleged torture.


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