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Belarusian, North Korean Missile Engineers Killed or Injured in Israel's Air Raid of Masyaf

By DEBKAfile

The Israeli air strike on the Scientific Studies and Research Center in the Syrian town of Masyaf on Saturday, April 13, is reported by Western intelligence sources to have killed and wounded in addition to Iranian and Syrian military officers, a number foreign missile experts hired to upgrade their missiles. Among them were missile scientists from Belarus and North Korea who were employed in different departments of the large industrial complex outside Masyaf in western Syria. Those sources disclose that, whereas Israeli has raided the complex before, this time the attack was massive and, unlike before, gutted most of its installations. Especially targeted were the sections working on the upgrade of Syrian and Hizbullah surface missiles, the production of solid fuel for those missiles and the departments focusing on installing new guidance instruments to enhance their precision. North Korean engineers were working on the production of solid fuel, while Belarusians were in the pay of Syria's Organization of Technological Industries. Behind the fancy title is an organization that specializes in breaking the UN-US embargo against the employment of expert manpower in Syria's military production and the sale of military hardware to the Assad regime. Most of the Belarussians working at Masyaf were provided by the Belvneshpromservice whose military ties with Damascus go back years. On Feb. 27, Israel struck Iran's newly established command centers and weapons stores in Aleppo.

Despite Successful Pilot, IDF Says No to All-Female Tank Units

By i24NEWS and Israel Hayom

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi has decided against integrating women into combat Armored Corps units, despite the military last year declaring a pilot program for all-female tank units a success, the military reported Sunday. Kochavi decided that due to "personnel considerations," the army would instead focus on integrating women into existing mixed-gender combat units. "It was decided that at this time it is appropriate to strengthen the integration of female combat soldiers into existing units and not to establish new combat units," an IDF spokesperson said. Women currently serve in various combat capacities in the infantry, air force, Artillery Corps and Special Forces. Last year, a record number of women were inducted into the IDF to serve in combat units, continuing a steady increase in the number of female combat soldiers in recent years. The increase in female enrollment in combat units has come about both because of changes in society and a shortage of available personnel over reductions in the amount of required service time for men. The IDF has made several modifications that have enabled more women to complete combat training successfully, including allowing female recruits more time to achieve minimum physical fitness levels, introducing more calcium-rich diets for female trainees and modifying certain equipment.

One-Third of Americans Don't Believe Six Million Jews were Murdered in the Holocaust

By YnetNews

One-third of Americans believe only 2 million Jews were murdered during the Holocaust and 66% of millennials have never heard of Auschwitz, according to a comprehensive national survey of Holocaust awareness and knowledge among adults in the United States, released by the Claims Conference, founded to deal with restitution for Holocaust survivors. Forty-five percent could not name any of the 40 ghettos or concentration camps present in Europe during the Second World War. That number increases among people born in the '80s and '90s of the 20th century. The study reveals 68% of Americans believe there is anti-Semitism in the US and 37% say neo-Nazi's exist in large numbers. Seven out of 10 say fewer people care about the Holocaust than in the past. A majority (58%) believe a similar event could take place again. According to the study, Americans are not educated enough about the Holocaust, and reports agreements schools must do more. However, not all results were negative. Nine out of 10 surveyed (93%) believe all students should learn about the Holocaust in school and eight out of 10 say it is important to keep teaching about the Holocaust so it does not happen again.

NY Times Attacks Netanyahu: States PM Will Make Israel `Apartheid State'


The New York Times editorial board has unleashed a scathing attack on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. The editorial comes in response to Netanyahu's decisive victory in last week's national elections. The editorial claims that "Mr. Netanyahu has set a course that could end Palestinian chances for statehood," neglecting to take into account the 25-year history of failed US-brokered attempts to achieve a viable Israeli-Palestinian peace deal. In July 2000, President Bill Clinton hosted talks at Camp David between arch-terrorist Yasir Arafat, former head of the Palestinian Authority (PA), and then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak. Barak offered Arafat a Palestinian state on 92% of the area of Judea and Samaria and 100% of the Gaza Strip. He also agreed to consider giving the Palestinians a capital in eastern Jerusalem and sovereignty over half of the Old City, including the Temple Mount. Two years after Camp David, the UK-based Guardian recalled: "Arafat said no. Enraged, Clinton banged on the table and said: `You are leading your people and the region to a catastrophe.'" Some years later, former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert dedicated his last cabinet meeting in 2009 to blame the PA for its failure to accept his terms for a peace deal. Olmert told The Jerusalem Post at the time: "We were ready to sign a peace agreement; the Palestinians, to my regret, did not have the courage to do so." Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, has just re-elected Netanyahu in response to what its citizens believe are his accomplishments in the areas of economy, security and diplomacy. Yet the Times sees little hope in a Netanyahu-led nation. "Under Mr. Netanyahu," write the editors, "Israel is on a trajectory to become what critics say will be an apartheid state like the former South Africa." Claims of apartheid are prevalent among supporters of the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and other anti-Israel organizations. Rev. Kenneth Meshoe, president of South Africa's African Christian Democratic Party, for example, has said that after numerous trips to Israel, he has yet to encounter apartheid. He recounted an incident concerning a friend, a South African pastor, who was hospitalized briefly during a visit to Israel. After hearing much about Israeli apartheid before his trip, the pastor reported: "There I lay in an Israeli hospital, a Palestinian Muslim on my left and a Jewish Israeli on my right, with this black South African in the middle. And I thought, what apartheid?!"

Liberal US Jewish Groups Bemoan Netanyahu's Win

By JNS and Israel Hayom
Now that the dust is starting to settle after Israel's national elections last Tuesday, the Jewish community in the United States is reacting to the results. Jewish and pro-Israel groups expressed mixed reactions to the re-election of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. The responses highlighted the accomplishments that Jewish groups cheered and jeered over the past two years of the Trump administration. "Most traditional and enthusiastic Zionists Jews admire what Mr. Netanyahu has done for Israel," National Conference on Jewish Affairs spokesperson Rabbi Aryeh Spero told JNS. "True, many of the liberal Jewish leaders in America do not favor him, but they would be equally against any Likud or center-right leader." He added that "it is not for Diaspora Jews outside to force its ways on Israel. Israel is not the place for liberal American Jewish leaders to social engineer how Israel prays or where they pray. Israel cannot be a laboratory for liberal social experimentation from those living outside." On the flip side, J Street, the Jewish Democratic Council of America and the Israel Policy Forum expressed disappointment with the electoral results. Similar to their criticisms of Trump, many liberal U.S. Jewish groups view Netanyahu as undermining Israeli democracy in favor of a strong nationalist agenda. In particular, they have grown dismayed over the nation-state bill passed last year as well as the dispute over an egalitarian prayer plaza at the Western Wall.

"After several months of political upheaval, intensive mudslinging and down-to-the-wire campaigning, it looks like Israel's next government is likely to be fairly similar to its last," said J Street president Jeremy Ben-Ami in an email to supporters. JDCA issued a less aggressive but equally stern response. "Israeli voters have spoken and we respect their decision, but we cannot ignore that Trump put his thumb on the scale to influence Israel's election. We reject his intervention in the strongest terms, just as we reject interference in our election," they tweeted. "The once-and-future Prime Minister Netanyahu has one priority now, which is to form a government that will pass an immunity law allowing him to avoid indictments entirely, or one that at the very least will not pressure him to immediately step down once indictments are served," wrote IPF policy director Michael Koplow.

Remains Preserved by Nazi Doctor to be Buried 74 Years Later


Tissue samples of resistance fighters killed by the Nazis will be buried in a ceremony on May 13, 74 years after the end of World War II, according to a Reuters report quoting the German Bild am Sonntag newspaper. In 2016, tiny tissues samples were found at the estate of anatomy professor Hermann Stieve of the University of Berlin. He had received the dead bodies of German anti-Nazi fighters for dissection purposes, sometimes almost immediately after they were killed at the Berlin-Ploetzensee prison. Stieve dissected the bodies and then cremated and buried them, sometimes in mass graves. Some of the samples were marked with the names of their victims, who were mostly female. Stieve's heirs found the samples in his estate and gave them to Berline's Charite hospital. The hospital hired Johannes Tuchel, director of the Memorial to the German Resistance to perform a study on the samples. "We have discovered that (Stieve) systematically aided the (Nazi) Reich Justice Ministry in obliterating the tracks of these criminal acts," Tuchel told Bild. According to Tuchel, Stieve hired a driver to bring the bodies of the resistance fighters from the prison. The driver salvaged the gold fillings he found in the bodies, pulling them out with a wrench. The doctor dissected 184 bodies, of whom 172 were women.

Report: Body of Israeli Spy Eli Cohen Removed from Damascus


Syrian opposition websites reported on Sunday evening that a Russian delegation had left Syrian territory with an Israeli coffin containing the body of Israeli spy Eli Cohen. Cohen, an Egyptian-born Jew, worked as an undercover Israeli agent in Egypt and Syria before he was discovered and hanged in 1965. By the time of his discovery, Cohen had managed to climb the ranks of the Syrian Defense Ministry, becoming the top advisor to Syria's Defense Minister. Israel is not commenting on the rumors on Cohen that have been running since Sunday morning on social media. Cabinet ministers who spoke to Channel 12 News said they were unaware of such a development at the moment. Middle East specialist Yoni Ben Menachem quoted Syrian opposition sources as saying, "There are unconfirmed leaks from Damascus about a coffin that was passed along with the Russian delegation that left Syria - the leaks speak of the possibility that the coffin contains the body of Israeli spy Eli Cohen. Awaiting confirmation." Last year, Cohen's wristwatch was brought to Israel in a secret operation of the Mossad, and after Eli Cohen was executed, the watch was held by an enemy state. When the watch was returned to Israel, research and intelligence activities were carried out, at the end of which it was determined unequivocally that the watch was indeed Cohen's.

Israeli Team Awarded Million Dollar Prize for Historical Space Mission

By YnetNews

A new Beresheet space project is set to get underway after its benefactor Morris Kahn announced he will finance a second attempt. After its failed attempt to land, SpaceIL's spacecraft Beresheet crashed onto the moon surface Thursday, but the project is not destined to end there. Khan told reporters "We've started, and should complete the mission. Beresheet project engineers worked to understand what had gone wrong in the final, fatal seconds before the spacecraft crashed. Ofer Doron, director of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), described the dramatic moments trying to save the project. "We identified a problem with one of the failed acceleration sensors," Doron explained. "It caused problems on the spacecraft's computers and shut down the engine operating at maximum power to stop the spacecraft. The crew dispatched a re-boot order to restart the engine, but it was too late" he said. Costing $100 million, Beresheet was the cheapest spacecraft to date, to successfully orbit the moon, An achievement only six other countries can claim. While Israel's Beresheet spacecraft did not land intact on the moon, its team will still collect a big check for its formidable accomplishments in space travel. Following Beresheet's crash landing, the XPRIZE Foundation announced that it is still going to award the SpaceIL team the $1 Million Moonshot Award. While Israel's Beresheet spacecraft did not land intact on the moon, its team will still collect a big check for its formidable accomplishments in space travel.

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