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Thursday, Jul. 28 '16, כ"ב בתמוז תשע"ו



HEADLINES:
1. 'OBAMA INCREASED AID TO ARAB COUNTRIES, BUT NOT TO ISRAEL'
2. IS RUSSIA A BETTER FRIEND THAN THE U.S. TO ISRAEL?
3. 'I DON'T WANT TO SEE ARABS IN OUR SWIMMING POOLS'
4. WATCH: JOINT EXERCISE OF ISRAELI NAVY AND US MARINES
5. MOTHER OF 8 GIVES BIRTH TO STILLBORN BABY IN HER HOME
6. OREN, LIPMAN JOIN FORCES TO IMPROVE ABSORPTION OF ANGLOS
7. MOTHER OF WOUNDED SOLDIER: MY SON DESERVES TO GO HOME
8. ISRAEL'S NEW F-35 'ADIR' TAKES TO THE SKIES


1. 'OBAMA INCREASED AID TO ARAB COUNTRIES, BUT NOT TO ISRAEL'
by David Rosenberg

South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham blasted President Obama this week, condemning his refusal to increase American aid to Israel, as well as his efforts to bar Israel from spending the aid money within the Jewish state.

Speaking to Haaretz, Graham revealed that Israel had previously requested an increased aid package from the White House, with $4 billion a year for regular military funding, plus $600 million towards Israel’s missile defense network.

But, Graham said, the administration rejected the request, despite similar increases to Arab states, such as Jordan.

"I made a decision, given the deterioration in the region, that Israel needs more funding," said Graham. "In the last three years, we increased funding to Jordan by $275 million outside of the MoU, because Jordan was under siege."

"The administration didn’t object to that increase, but they are objecting to the increase to Israel for 2017."

In 2015 the White House announced plans to raise the amount of aid to Jordan by more than 50%, topping $1 billion per year.

Despite Obama’s rejection of Israel’s aid request, Graham noted, Congress is under no obligations to abide by any agreements the White House makes with Israel.

"I am not bound by the MoU as a member of Congress. Congress is not a party to the MoU and the MoU can’t bind Congress. Everybody in Congress wants to be generous to Israel like we did with Jordan."

Graham added that Congress overwhelmingly backed not only an increase in funding for Israel, but opposed the president’s goal of ending the convertibility of a portion of the aid package to shekels, allowing Israel to use the money to pay for fuel or purchase arms from domestic producers.

While Israel is currently allowed to spend a portion of the aid money in Israel, Obama has sought to gradually end the practice, requiring that the aid be spent entirely within the US.

"Eighty-three senators signed a letter to the president that we be generous towards Israel. It is my belief that there are not even 10 members of Senate who object to allowing the IDF to buy fuel from U.S. aid money or [object] that the money be used to boost Israeli defense industries. I have never heard one member of Congress concerned about this."

In voicing his support for elevated levels of military aid to the Jewish state, Graham noted the increased geostrategic threats facing Israel.

"Netanyahu told me Hezbollah received from Iran precision-guided missiles that are military game-changers," he said. "According to the prime minister and his team, these missiles present a greater threat than presented previously."

"I want Iran to see that Israel gets more support from the U.S. and not less. I want to send a signal to Iran that while they get stronger, our allies in the region also get stronger. I don’t think it is an American interest for Iran to think we are negotiating a deal with Israel that is less generous."


2. IS RUSSIA A BETTER FRIEND THAN THE U.S. TO ISRAEL?
by Hillel Fendel

It happened again this week: The Israel Air Force attacked a Syrian target in Kuneitra in response to mortar fire that "leaked out" from the Syrian civil war to Israel's Golan Heights. The attack was barely noted internationally – and can be considered a significant achievement for Israel.

The Israeli response is a clear signal to Syria to make sure it does not take advantage of the chaos there to attack Israel. No one was hurt on the Israeli side, and neither were casualties reported in Syria.

However, as analyst Dr. Aaron Lerner of IMRA (Independent Media Review and Analysis) noted, Israel could have been heavily criticized in the international arena for its attack – but it wasn't. This "reflects a significant achievement by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that is mostly ignored" Lerner writes.

Netanyahu, who visited Russia last month, has apparently reached an understanding with Russian President Putin, Lerner writes, "that allows [Israel], under various circumstances, to attack both Syrian and Hezbollah military targets within Syria - despite the deployment of a protective Russian anti-aircraft umbrella covering the entire country."

Lerner added that he "doubts" Israel would have had a similar understanding with the U.S. if it was an American umbrella.

The Israeli response was not totally overlooked on the Arab side: Iranian commander Brig.-Gen. Khosro Orouj of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) criticized Russia earlier this month because "the anti-aircraft systems that Russia has brought to Syria shouldn’t allow even one single [enemy[] aircraft to fly over the country - but this is not happening."

Syria continues to bleed heavily from its 50-month-old civil war. Just this week, 38 soldiers were killed in a tunnel blast, eight people were killed by mortar fire in Damascus, and 19 civilians were killed in fighting in Haleb. It was also reported today that Syrian President Assad made a secret visit to Russia prior to Netanyahu's visit, and discussed with Putin a plan by which Israel would withdraw from the Golan Heights.

Given the inroads that ISIS has made in Syria, even those on the far left of the Israeli political spectrum are no longer seriously considering this option.


3. 'I DON'T WANT TO SEE ARABS IN OUR SWIMMING POOLS'
by David Rosenberg

Lower Galilee Regional Council head Motti Dotan stirred up controversy on Thursday after he defended the practice of barring access to local swimming pools to non-residents, which some claim is used to prevent Arabs from using facilities in Jewish communities.

The former Labor member turned Likudnik said he "didn’t want to see them in our pools", rejecting suggestions the desire for separation was rooted in racism.

Speaking to Kol Rega on Thursday, Dotan insisted he bears no malice towards Israel’s Arab population, but recognizes there are different cultural norms.

"I don’t hate Arabs," said Dotan, "but I don’t want to see them in our pools."

"I don’t go to their pools," he added, saying that there is a clear difference between the two cultures. "Why is that racist?"

"If they would behave according to our norms, then I’d have no problem. But that doesn’t happen, so I generalize. When Jewish men and women will feel comfortable in an Arab town, then I will be happy to have them over. But until that happens, I don’t want them."


4. WATCH: JOINT EXERCISE OF ISRAELI NAVY AND US MARINES
by Arutz Sheva

[youtube:2017631]

[album:open


5. MOTHER OF 8 GIVES BIRTH TO STILLBORN BABY IN HER HOME
by Arutz Sheva Staff

In a rare case, a mother of eight in her 40s, 35 weeks pregnant, started feeling unwell while in her Petah Tikva home yesterday (Wednesday). When the pain became severe, accompanied by bleeding, MDA were called. The arriving paramedics performed CPR on her baby for some time to no avail, and were forced to pronounce the baby dead on the spot, according to a Kikar Hashabbat report. The woman herself was evacuated to the Beilinson hospital in stable condition.

Medical staff in the hospital assessed that it was a natural complication in the pregnancy that brought on the unplanned birth, with the baby stillborn, with no pulse. Cases of unplanned home births where the baby is stillborn are considered rare.

A year ago a woman from a town in the Galilee arrived at a hospital with her baby, born in a home birth. The baby was also lifeless, but in that case it was a planned home birth that went tragically awry. The woman only went to the hospital after the midwife had seen that the baby had no pulse.

In another case occurring three months ago, a baby died during a home birth in another town in the Jezreel Valley. MDA paramedics arriving at the scene performed CPR, but the baby was pronounced dead upon arrival at the Rambam hospital in Haifa.


6. OREN, LIPMAN JOIN FORCES TO IMPROVE ABSORPTION OF ANGLOS
by Arutz Sheva Staff

MK Michael Oren and former MK Dov Lipman have announced a new Knesset-based initiative to address some of the challenges that face English speaking immigrants to Israel. These issues include the immigrant benefit package, tax problems, professional and driving licenses, struggles of lone soldier and national service volunteers, and the need for English speaking clerks and representatives in government agencies and ministries.

The new initiative will kickoff with a hearing in the Immigration and Absorption Committee on Monday August 1. This specific hearing will address specific challenges regarding national service for young people from overseas which create obstacles for their immigration and absorption process. Representatives of various absorption organizations will present these challenges to the committee and to the government representatives who will be invited to attend with a goal to work towards legislation which addresses these issues.

MK and former Ambassador to the US Oren: "I'm delighted to join with former MK Dov Lipmann in inaugurating the Knesset's first caucus for English speaking olim. Immigrants from English speaking countries contributed immensely to building this country and continue do so today. Yet they still face formal challenges in integration and absorption. The caucus will address these difficulties and adopt concrete solutions."

Former MK Lipman: "This committee hearing is just the beginning of the process. MK Oren and I have decided that we will not rest until we solve the many problems and challenges related to the absorption of English speaking immigrants. I am thrilled to be working with MK Oren on this effort and am confident that this 'bipartisan' effort will bear fruit."


7. MOTHER OF WOUNDED SOLDIER: MY SON DESERVES TO GO HOME
by Hezki Baruch

The Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee convened Thursday morning in response to claims of maltreatment by the Defense Ministry of a severely wounded IDF veteran.

Yehuda Yitzhak HaYisraeli suffered serious injuries during the 2014 conflict with Hamas. Despite the severity of his wounds, HaYisraeli beat the odds and made tremendous inroads towards recovery.

While HaYisraeli, a married father of two, is medically able to leave the hospital, his condition requires significant modifications to his home. But his return home has been hampered by the Defense Ministry’s refusal to fund the modifications, owing to the location of HaYisraeli’s home beyond the Green Line.

Thursday’s meeting was held at the behest of committee member Amir Ohana (Likud). Ohana praised a fundraising campaign on behalf of HaYisraeli, but said the government must ultimately take responsibility for providing for those wounded in the line of duty.

"The wonderful Israeli has enlisted to help the wounded HaYisraeli," Ohana said in a play on words. "But this is the government’s responsibility. We must do everything possible…to help those who sacrificed their lives for us or were severely injured. That many Israelis joined together to help is Israeli comradery at its finest – but we need to say it straight out, this is the government’s responsibility."

A Defense Ministry official explained the ministry’s refusal to fund the renovations, saying that while the ministry itself was prepared to fund the modifications, bureaucratic regulations prevented them from spending state funds on an unauthorized housing unit.

"The Defense Ministry was prepared to fund it, but it [the expenditure] was not authorized by the [National Insurance Institute’s aid committee] because the [house] was never approved".

MK Motti Yogev (Jewish Home) criticized the Defense Ministry’s argument, saying any bureaucratic problems holding back the funds were solvable.

"The defense establishment sent Yehuda into combat, he came back wounded – you knew how to deal with this in other cases, so solve the problem here. The Prime Minister and Defense Minister could solve this problem, but they rely on what officials and advisers in the field tell them. Sit down for two hours and figure out a solution."

"The state knows how to solve building problems when it comes to the Palestinians," Yogev added, "but for an IDF veteran they don’t do what they need to. It’s your moral responsibility to find a solution to return Yehuda HaYisraeli back to his home in Ofra."

HaYisraeli’s mother also spoke at the committee hearing, making an emotional plea for assistance.

"I’m sitting here and suffering. We didn’t choose this. My son deserves to go home. My heart is breaking."

"I call for a revolution in the laws," she added. "The state sent him. I don’t want a house somewhere else. I want to live with my son in Ofra."

Committee chairman Avi Dichter (Likud) added his own frustration with the bureaucratic deadlock.

"This is a paradox. Let’s say that there is a soldier named Avi Dichter who lives in Ashkelon, and a soldier named Avi Dichter who lives in Judea and Samaria. [Or] a 100,000 Avi Dichters in Ashkelon and 100,000 in Judea and Samaria. If, God forbid, one Avi Dichter is wounded, can you imagine that when there are 100,000 who are treated without any problem, and 100,000 others from Judea and Samaria face a hopeless situation? To call it absurd would be an understatement."

Yehuda Yitzhak HaYisraeli
Ofer Amram



8. ISRAEL'S NEW F-35 'ADIR' TAKES TO THE SKIES
by Rachel Kaplan

On its maiden flight at US manufacturer Lockheed-Martin, Israel's first F-35 Lightning II "Adir" (Hebrew for "Great One") passed all tests, and is due to be delivered in December.

A lighter version of the F-22, the F-35 Lightning II Adir has top-of-the-line stealth technology, highly sensitive sensors of every kind, and fuel-optimizing computer systems to keep it in the air.

Israel was the first country to buy the fighter jet under the US's Foreign Military Sales process. A Letter of Agreement was signed in October 2010.

On June 22, 2016, the Israeli Air Force welcomed the first F-35A Adir for Israel at a ceremony at the factory in Fort Worth, Texas. Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman attended the 400-strong ceremony, along with US Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro, and several other military and political figures.

"We’re honored to partner with Israel and help strengthen the deep and lasting partnership between our two nations," said Marillyn Hewson, Lockheed Martin Chairman, President and CEO at the ceremony. "The F-35 will help Israel remain a beacon of strength and stability in the region and support a safe and secure homeland for generations to come."
The F-35 Lightning II Adir takes off on its maiden flight
Lockheed Martin
Below is a demonstration of some of the aircraft's capabilities.

[youtube:2017577]




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