WHAT THEY ARE SAYING
The mid-week review for Wednesday, September 30, 2009.
Hezbollah ranked superior to Israel
The Palestine Telegraph reports today from Beirut, “Hezbollah had better intelligence information than Israel and better control of its forces during the Second Lebanon War, according to an official Israeli military scorecard compiled recently by a top navy officer. The article – which was given an award by Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi – was written by Lt.-Col. Robi Sandman, and was published in the latest edition of Ma’arahot, a monthly journal on military issues. During his research for the article, titled ‘How the Arabs are preparing for the next war,’ Sandman asked 24 senior Israeli occupation officers to grade the occupation army and Hezbollah in 10 categories, on a scale of 1 to 10. While the Israeli military enjoys superior technology, the scorecard revealed that the army performed poorly in gathering intelligence on Hezbollah, did not command its troops effectively during the month long war and lacked motivation to win. In intelligence, Hezbollah received a 7 and the Israeli occupation forces a 6; in military doctrine and strategy Hezbollah received a 9 and the Israeli military a 5; In technology, the Israeli occupation received a 9 and Hezbollah a 5; in training and organization, Hezbollah received a 8 and Israel 7, and in tactical command Hezbollah received a 8 and the Israeli military a 6. The 24 officers also ruled that Hezbollah had greater motivation to win than the Israeli army. Hezbollah received a score of 8 in the motivation category, while the Israeli military scored only 4. In the article, Sandman claims the Israeli army is currently structured in a way that it will not be able to prevent thousands of resistance fighters – from Hezbollah or Syria – from infiltrating deep into the Palestinian occupied territories. The next war, he wrote, will likely include Hezbollah sending hundreds of teams comprised of 4-5 fighters each, armed with anti-tank missiles and sniper rifles, into the ‘Galilee’. ‘We need to recognize that the Israeli army with its current structure cannot provide a response to the unbelievably well-equipped force that is rising up to destroy the State of Israel,’ he wrote. ‘These hundreds of squads will be able to rely on local Israeli-Arab infrastructure in the Galilee’, Sandman wrote. He recommended that the Israeli army immediately establish small, elite reconnaissance squads capable of countering this ‘threat’.”
Jewish faith schools in the UK introduce religious observance tests
The Guardian (UK) reports that in Britain a “new points system has been brought in following a ruling by the Court of Appeal, in June, that it was unlawful to prioritise applications from children with Jewish mothers because this discriminated on grounds of race. There was shock and anger from the school and from the community – that an English secular court should decide who was Jewish was unthinkable. The decision threw the Jewish education system into chaos because, in effect, the ruling said such an admissions policy was racist. At breakneck speed, and with virtually no time for consultation with parents, JFS [Jews’ Free School] and other schools like it introduced a religious practice test. Being born to a Jewish mother was no longer enough to get a place – now people had to prove they were Jewish by acting Jewish. Earlier this month, a senior figure from the Jewish community called the new rules ‘a fiasco of the highest order’. . . The impact of the court ruling has put Jewish schools in a similar position to other faith schools, which require religious observance or practice for entry. Broadly speaking, for Church of England and Catholic schools this means baptism, and for Muslim schools it is proof that a child’s family and home environment is suitably halal. In the event of oversubscription, the bar is higher among schools with a Christian denomination and regular church attendance can be a deciding factor. Some Muslim schools – like Islamia, the independent secondary in north-west London – pull up parents who derive their income from forbidden activities such as the sale of pornographic material or alcohol – and give them a year to pursue more salubrious employment.”
Illinois high court OKs ‘Jews only’ inheritance
WorldWide Religious News reports: “Proud of his religion and worried about its future, Chicago dentist Max Feinberg wrote a will with an unusual catch: His grandchildren wouldn’t inherit a penny if they married someone who wasn’t Jewish. His decision led to family feuds, lawsuits, counterclaims and, on Thursday, a unanimous ruling by the Illinois Supreme Court that Feinberg and his wife were within their rights to disinherit any grandchildren who married outside the faith. ‘Equal protection does not require that all children be treated equally … and the free exercise clause does not require a grandparent to treat grandchildren who reject his religious beliefs and customs in the same manner as he treats those who conform to his traditions,’ Justice Rita Garman wrote in a ruling that overturned decisions by two lower courts. One disinherited granddaughter had argued it was improper for a will to set up conditions that promote religious intolerance in people’s marriage decisions or even encouraged couples to divorce. ‘It is at war with society’s interest in eliminating bigotry and prejudice, and conflicts with modern moral standards of religious tolerance,’ said Michele Feinberg Trull’s brief to the Supreme Court. The court’s ruling was based partly on technicalities in the way this estate was arranged. . . . Feinberg’s will gave control of the trusts to his wife, Erla. When she died and the grandchildren were to inherit $250,000 each, she followed her husband’s wishes and imposed the same restrictions. By that time, four of the five grandchildren had married gentiles.”
The Gaza Strip: Rocket and mortar shell fire continues
Israel’s Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, states: “This past week the increase in rocket and mortar shell attacks from the Gaza Strip continued. Three rocket hits were identified in open areas near communities in the western Negev (The Palestinians fired other rockets which landed inside the Gaza Strip.) One mortar shell was fired. There were no casualties and no damage was done. Shots were fired at IDF patrols and Israeli civilians working near the security fence. Since the beginning of August 2009 there has been a certain increase in the amount of rocket and mortar shell attacks on western Negev communities and in the number of shooting attacks targeting IDF forces and Israeli civilians near the security fence. So far the increase has been moderate because Hamas does not, at present, participate in rocket fire into the western Negev and continues its policy of restraint.”
Egypt-Israel: How many migrants are dying at the border?
IRIN, a project of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports “that rights groups such as Amnesty International have called on the Egyptian authorities to ‘urgently rein in their border security forces’ after seven African asylum-seekers were killed in September trying to cross into Israel on foot, but some Israeli NGOs and soldiers say the death toll at the border is far higher. ‘I strongly believe there are hundreds of unreported dead and wounded [at the border],’ Sigal Rosen, public activities coordinator at the NGO Moked, a hotline for migrants, told IRIN. The Sons of Darfur, an NGO assisting asylum-seekers in Israel, concurred that many more were being killed than reports suggested. ‘We expect Israel to pressure the Egyptians to stop shooting at asylum-seekers at the border,’ said the NGOs director, Yassin (his only name). Some 24,000 asylum-seekers have illegally entered Israel through its southern border in the past five years, according to estimates by Israel’s Ministry of Interior.”
Syrian official invited for talks in Washington
The Kuwait Times reports, “A senior Syrian official has been invited to Washington for talks, a US Embassy official said yesterday, in the latest signal of the Obama administration’s efforts to improve relations with a country deemed a state sponsor of terrorism. The upcoming visit by Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Fayssal Mekdad is the first in about five years and is part of US efforts to improve strained relations with Damascus. Mekdad, who is currently in New York as part of the Syrian delegation to the UN General Assembly meetings, will fly to Washington yesterday for talks with US government officials on ‘a range of issues,’ the embassy official said. Mekdad’s visit is part of ‘a continuing dialogue’ with the Syrian government that began in March, the official said, without giving details. The official spoke on condition of anonymity in line with government regulations.”
(Photo credits: Hezbollah-Palestine Telegraph; Egypt-Israel – IRIN)
For a selection of abridged topics originally published in jewishinfoNews, click here