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Netanyahu: Israel Ponders Pre-emptive Operation to Prevent Iranian Cruise Missile Strike

By DEBKAfile.com, World Israel News & TPS

Israel's quandary over whether to launch a pre-emptive strike to deter Iran from a missile assault, like its attack on Saudi Arabia, was revealed by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Thursday, Oct. 10, at a memorial ceremony for the fallen in the 1973 Yom Kippur war. The pre-emptive option is very rarely mentioned publicly by the prime minister, who also serves as defense minister. This time, it indicated that Israel may decide not to wait for an attack before initiating a preventive strike against missile bases in Iran, where preparations are going forward to launch those weapons against Israel. DEBKAfile's military sources add: The IDF chiefs who attended the ceremony are fully aware that a preventive operation on those bases would unleash an all-out Israel-Iran missile and drone war that could go on for weeks or months, with deadly escalations. Iran's satellites, Hizbullah in Lebanon, Iraqi Shiite militias in Syria and Iraq and the Palestinian Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza, would play active roles in this conflict. Netanyahu went on to assert that, while we do not aspire to stand alone, we must remember our situation in the 1973 war when US assistance arrived only when it was nearly over. Today, too, while we appreciate the important US assistance, which has gained in recent years, and the immense economic pressure the US clamps on Iran, "at the same time, we must never forget to apply this fundamental guideline: Israel will defend itself with its own forces against any threat." The IDF, he said, is fully prepared to stand up to any threat, whether by defensive or offensive action. "We are armed with overwhelming strength in weaponry and spirit. That is the immensely valuable legacy bequeathed to us by the generation that fought in the Yom Kippur war." Netanyahu also said in a statement that "Israel is prepared to extend humanitarian assistance to the gallant Kurdish people," adding that he "strongly condemns the Turkish invasion of the Kurdish areas in Syria and warns against the ethnic cleansing of the Kurds by Turkey and its proxies." Amid the close relationship with President Donald Trump, Israeli officials appear apprehensive to criticize his decision to pull U.S. troops out of Syria and lay the groundwork for a Turkish incursion against the Kurds. However, the relationship between Israel and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an has been stormy. In addition to their fears about the Turkish president's intentions regarding the Kurds, alarm bells are sounding among Israeli officials over the concern that if the U.S. president could leave the Kurds to their own devices against Erdo?an, who views them as terrorists, what would happen if Trump decides one day that helping Israel in its fight against Iran, or regarding some other crucial issue for the Jewish State, does not serve his own domestic interests. Turkey on Wednesday launched a ground incursion and an air campaign against Kurdish-held areas in Syria, and fierce battles have reportedly been taking place at several locations in the province. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported Thursday that Turkish commandos entered Bir Abyad village east of Tal Abyad city at the border with Turkey while it also reported the failure of the Turkish ground offensive in other areas. Turkey claims it killed at least 110 Kurdish fighters in battle, and there are reports of heavy Turkish losses as well. Turkey launched its offensive after President Donald Trump announced he was withdrawing US forces from the area, essentially giving the Turks a green light to attack.

Iran's New Guided-Rocket System is Bad News for Israel, Saudis

By the National Interest

Iran has unveiled a kit that appears to convert unguided surface-to-surface rockets into guided weapons. The Labeik kit "looked similar to the guidance units used with the Fateh-110 family of solid-propellant missiles, although its four triangular control surfaces were inverted," according to Jane's Defense Weekly, which based its analysis on Iranian television footage of a military parade earlier this month. "As with the Fateh-110 family, these would be attached between the rocket motor and warhead to steer the projectile. They appeared to be compatible with the 610-millimeter diameter of the Zelzal heavy artillery rocket." This development worries Israeli military experts, who note that Hizbullah – Iran's proxy army in Lebanon – has an estimated arsenal of 150,000 rockets aimed at Israel. Currently, most are "dumb" weapons. "There is nothing new in the conversion itself, they have been doing it for years, and they already showed conversion kits for the Fateh-110 family of missiles," missile defense expert Uzi Rubin told the Times of Israel. "What's new here are the aerodynamics of the winglets — very unique, unseen in Iran to date and unseen in any other country. Going to indigenous design rather than copying others indicates self-confidence. The purpose of the new and unique aerodynamics is probably to increase the maneuverability of the converted rockets." Unguided rockets have become a fixture of warfare since World War II, when Russia's legendary Katyusha pulverized Nazi troops. Though capable of generating fearsome and impressive destruction with a fiery multi-rocket salvo from a single launcher, artillery rockets have been inaccurate weapons that rely on saturating a target with massed fires. Precision fire would be the job of the howitzers and mortars.

Israeli-Arab Lecturer Admits `Part of Our Identity is to Beat Women, to Kill Women'

By Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik, Palestinian Media Watch The preacher of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and head of the Supreme Muslim Council Sheikh Ikrima Sabri recently issued a life-endangering religious ruling (fatwa) prohibiting Palestinian Muslim women from submitting complaints to the Israeli police over their husbands' behavior. Upon hearing this prohibition, the Mufti of the Palestinian Authority, Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, confirmed his support for the ruling: "It is better to leave the matter to the good people and reliable figures [in our society] in order to deal with the issue." [Donia Al-Watan, independent Palestinian news agency, Aug. 3, 2019] Palestinian women's rights groups and others have repeatedly complained about violence against women in Palestinian society and have demanded that the PA enact laws to protect the women from domestic violence. This ruling by two top Palestinian religious figures prohibiting Palestinian women from approaching Israeli police is indeed life endangering for some Palestinian women as it may remove a major deterrent against violence that women need for protection. The serious problem of domestic violence against Palestinian women has been a major concern of women's rights groups, for years: "According to statistics recorded by the Center of Women's Affairs in Gaza about the cases of violence reaching the center, 63% of women suffer from marital violence… 73 % suffer from verbal abuse, 24 % from physical abuse, 29.5 % from mental abuse… Zainab Al-Ghneimi, head of the Women's Legal Counseling Center, said: `Married women are not forthcoming with these details about violence at the beginning, probably out of shame, and because the prevailing culture forbids discussing such secrets…' Al-Ghneimi explained: "the main reason is probably that the man believes he has bought the woman and paid for her, and therefore she has become his property and must obey his orders. She clarified that unfortunately, this is the culture of the entire society, and that [Palestinian] laws give him the right of ownership, based on the man being the guardian, and he is the one who commands and prohibits." [Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, March 29, 2015] Yusuf Jabareen, an Israeli-Arab lecturer, has explained the severity of the problem, stating that it is deeply engrained in Palestinian culture:

Aging Holocaust Survivors in US Try to Sue over Nazi-era Insurance

By Israel Hayom

When David Schaecter was a child in Slovakia in the 1930s, he counted more than 100 people in his extended family. By the end of World War II, he alone had survived. The rest had been killed in Nazi concentration camps or by roving SS death squads. Schaecter lost not only his family, but all they owned, including life insurance covering his murdered relatives. And as time runs out on aging Holocaust survivors, some are trying to recover insurance policies that were not honored by Nazi-era companies, which could be worth at least $25 billion altogether in today's dollars, according to the Holocaust Survivors' Foundation USA. The survivors want to take insurance companies to court in the US to recover the money, but it would take an act of Congress to allow it. For nearly two decades, the foundation members have tried and failed to gain access to US courts. "This is an insult to humanity," said Schaecter, 90, president of the organization and a survivor of the Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps. "I think they are trying to sweep it under the carpet. The fact is, we are a dying breed. There are so few of us left." The Holocaust survivors group is optimistic that a recent hearing before the US Senate Judiciary Committee on the stolen insurance issue may lead to change. They gathered this week in the Miami suburb of Aventura to talk it over. "This is our last hope," said David Mermelstein, also 90, who leads a Miami-Dade chapter of the group. "How can a Holocaust survivor be a second-class citizen under American law?" The answer is complicated: The Nazis under Adolf Hitler's "final solution" killed an estimated 6 million Jews and others deemed undesirable by the German government, including gypsies, homosexuals, and the disabled. It began slowly once Hitler rose to power, with Jews prevented from certain jobs and schools, and then the 1938 attack by Nazi gangs on Jewish homes, stores, and synagogues known as Kristallnacht, the "night of broken glass." Since the war's end, the German government has paid hundreds of millions of dollars in reparations to Holocaust survivors and other victims of the Third Reich. The International Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims, formed in the 1990s with US backing, has paid out $305 million on these issues, plus $200 million in humanitarian aid. Germany, and insurance companies such as Munich-based Allianz SE and Italy's Assicurazioni Generali, say the commission's actions should provide finality – "legal peace," in the terminology of the deal – on the insurance claims. They also say they will repay verifiable claims, but verification is difficult given the passage of time and the wartime destruction of so many records. The companies have demanded original paperwork, such as death certificates, that were simply not available after the war. The insurers had close Nazi ties. A former Allianz chairman in 1933 became Hitler's economics minister. The company today is one of the world's largest insurers and insists it will not shy away from the past. "While we cannot undo any aspect of our company's history, we can learn from it and work to make sure the horrors of the Holocaust are never again repeated," Anja Rechenberg, Allianz's corporate responsibility spokesperson, said in an email. "To this day, Allianz continues to pay any verifiably unsettled claims." Mermelstein recalls as a child his parents having a plaque in their house labeled "Generali", the name of the Italian insurer with which they had a policy. He also recalls an insurance agent coming around to collect the premiums. "Of course we have no documents for obvious reasons," he said. Trieste-based Generali said it's committed to paying claims whenever possible. "Generali's long-standing commitment to resolving claims of victims of the Holocaust and their heirs is well established and unequivocally remains in place today," the company said in an email. In Congress, bills have been filed over the years to allow American Holocaust survivors access to the US courts. None have passed, and other Jewish groups have opposed them. These groups, including the Anti-Defamation League and American Jewish Committee, have decided instead to support the claims arrangement created in the 1990s. In addition to permitting lawsuits against insurance companies, many of the bills would have required the companies to disclose lists of policies held by Jews before World War II. The survivors say given the efficiency and meticulous record-keeping of the Third Reich, it's hard to believe such lists don't exist. "If you know German bureaucracy, there isn't a 'T' that hasn't been crossed. They kept a real strict record,' said Vera Karliner, whose husband Herb was on the ship named the St. Louis that was full of Jewish refugees but was turned away from the US in 1939. Herb Karliner, now 93, survived the Holocaust. As the aging Holocaust survivors await congressional action on their long-ago stolen insurance policies, many are in frail health, in need of assistance for things like prescription drugs and medical needs. All of them say they simply want justice. Their lawyer, Sam Dubbin, says it's time for lawmakers to do something. "Because the current law is a result of court decisions based on misleading and unprecedented executive branch positions, only Congress can provide the necessary remedy – legislation to require the companies to publish policy information and to provide a clear right of action for claimants in US courts," Dubbin said.

Arab Plumbers Charge Holocaust Survivor Zero Shekels for Repairs

By World Israel News

Two Arab plumbers – brothers – recently refused payment from a Jewish client from Haifa after they learned that she was a Holocaust survivor. On a Facebook page called: Good Deeds Day, the story is told of Simon and Salim Matari who came to the home of a 95-year-old woman to "fix a routine problem." During their visit, they engaged in conversation with the woman. She told them her "life story." During the course of the discussion, as the plumbers were continuing their work, the woman revealed that she is a Holocaust survivor, said Simon, according to the Facebook post. She also said that she has a "lone daughter," he added. "Her story touched my heart," said the plumber. "At that moment, I decided not to charge her an agora," he said, as quoted by the Good Deeds Day post. "Money is important," Simon said, "but it's not the most important. It's important to be a human being." The woman was identified in a Channel 12 TV report as Rosa Meir. The amount which the plumbers would have normally charged reportedly was NIS 1,000, the equivalent of $285. On the receipt, the plumbers put the sum total at "0," and in the column for the description of the work that they had done, they wrote: "Holocaust survivor" and added the traditional Jewish greeting wishing her good health until the age of 120, and then included their names on the slip of paper.


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