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IDF Prepares Following Events in Egypt

 

The IDF is preparing for the possibility that terror organizations will take advantage of uprisings in Egypt to transfer arms and weaponry to the Gaza Strip

Jonatan Urich
Israeli security forces have assessed the security situation over the past few days following the development of events in Egypt where the masses continue to protest against the thirty-year reign of the current president, Hosni Mubarak. According to reports from the country, more than 100 people have been killed thus far.
On Saturday (Jan. 29), the IDF Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, held a meeting to assess the security situation headed by Commander of the Intelligence Corps, Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi and with other Intelligence Corps personnel, as well as Southern Command personnel. At the same time, the Ministry of Defense chamber held its own meeting to assess the situation. The Prime Minister, Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu, too, immediately held a conference with security personnel regarding Israel’s stance on the events in Egypt.
Army Radio reported on different IDF evaluations. According to some, the uprisings in Egypt endanger balance in the Middle East, and the army is preparing for the possibility that terror organizations in the Gaza Strip will take advantage of the chaos in Egypt and transport arms and weaponry from Sinai to the Gaza Strip – this as a result of reports from the Al Jazeera news network, according to which Egyptian soldiers have abandoned their posts on the border with the Gaza Strip.

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"Combined efforts ensure that the extremists who wish to destroy our way of life will never succeed in doing so"

 

 

Lt. Gen. Ashkenazi Delivers a Speech at the NATO Mediterranean Dialogue

"Extremist regimes and terrorist organizations have introduced high and low quality weapons, exploitation of civilian human shields and misinformation to the current battlefield. All these tactics have altered the battlefield as we know it," said IDF Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi at the Mediterranean Dialogue, during the NATO conference of the Chiefs of Defense of member countries.

"NATO currently faces the very same challenges in Afghanistan, and its member countries encounter complex strategic, tactical and logistic issues in different arenas of war."

Lt. Gen. Ashkenazi also noted his deep appreciation of NATO achievements, "under whose command over 40 countries operate united against these terrorist threats. These combined efforts ensure that the extremists who wish to destroy our way of life will never succeed in doing so. If we wish to completely eradicate this phenomenon, we must stand strongly before it, overcome the legal, operational and intelligence obstacles... we must put to use all possible means in order to avoid the dangerous spread of unconventional weapons."

Lt. Gen. Ashkenazi thanked the Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, Admiral Giampaolo Di Paola, and his counterparts for their friendship and partnership.
During the conference, Lt. Gen. Ashkenazi is scheduled to hold work meetings with his military counterparts from around the world.

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Marmara Soldiers’ Testimonies, “They were ready to kill us”

 

The soldiers and commander sent to intercept the provocation flotilla to Gaza recount the brutal violence they encountered on the Mavi Marmara

 

The Turkel Committee, investigating the events of the provocation flotilla to Gaza, has published its interim report conclusions and with it testimonies of those soldiers who took part in the interception of the ship. The testimonies paint a picture of violent clashes between soldiers and bloodthirsty terrorist operatives who waited for them on the Mavi Marmara.
The interception crew’s commander testified for the committee over the past few months. He explained that, already, upon first contact with the Marmara, a number of violent operatives were identified.
"I recognized a large number of operatives waiting for us”
"I recognized a large number of operatives waiting for us along the sides of the ship and on every floor. Most wore masks, some gas masks. They all wore orange protective vests, some held metal rods, slingshots and chains," he said.
The commander added that, "the closer we got, I instructed the soldiers that we are absolutely to abstain from using life fire at this time. As we approached the ship [arriving on boats that flanked it], a torrent of objects began being thrown at us from all directions - mainly metal rods and metal chairs, large cans of food and large screws that injured the soldiers and damaged the boat. One of the soldiers was struck in the fact by a dark object that cut him under the eye.
“Another soldier was hit in the head and I gave the order to use non-lethal fire toward those exhibiting violence. The soldiers asked for permission to use live fire and I did not allow it. The people on the ship began to disperse so I believe the non-lethal fire was effective."
According to the commander, the collision with the violent activists continued with the forces’ climb onto the ship. "I began climbing up the ladder first. The hook at the top of the ladder flew up at my face. I then realized it had been cut with an electric chainsaw…”
“The operatives that had backed away returned to where we were climbing. At this point they were above us, in effect controlling what was happening from above. They begin throwing objects again. I heard them yelling "Allah Akbar!" [or God is Great].
“The torrent of objects continued to be hurled down at us and at this point we were at close range, it had become very dangerous for us to be there. I considered whether or not to use live fire but decided to retreat with the boat and report that there was heavy violence on the ship. I got the report that the same thing was happening on the other side, against the other crew trying to board.”

“Ten people jumped on me and started beating me brutally”
In his testimony, the commander continued to describe how later there was also an attempt to descend onto the ship with a helicopter.
"The first helicopter threw down a rope and two shock grenades [or non-lethal electric explosives] after seeing dozens of people wearing gas masks on the deck. The operatives on the ship tied the rope to the radar antenna on the ship’s roof. As a result, another rope was dispatched from the other side of the helicopter, another shock grenade was thrown and additional troops slid onto the ship on the other rope," said the commander. According to testimonies, at this point, the combat soldiers were beaten with metal rods, knives, chairs and shot at with live fire.
The defiant violence reached its peak when three IDF soldiers were attacked, beaten and kidnapped to the hull of the ship. At this point the true lynching began.
“When I got two meters away from the ship, people grabbed what was left of the rope, ripped me off and threw me aside. Ten people jumped on me and started beating me brutally from every side using clubs, metal rods and their fists - using anything available,” said one of the soldiers.
“I felt like I was going to die"
The soldier described how he was beaten and injured on every part of his body, mainly his head. "I felt that my life was in real, immediate danger. I tried to find the weapon on my back. The attackers pushed me to the side of the ship, a number of the attackers grabbed my legs and my body and threw me from the side of the ship to the bottom deck - a distance of 3.5 or so meters," he explained.
According to the soldier, as he landed at the lower deck his hand broke and a mob of people crowded him. "I was simply lynched. They pulled my helmet off and choked me, stuck fingers in my eyes to pull them from their sockets, pulled my body in all directions. I felt like I was going to die."
The soldier described how at some point he managed to reach his weapon. "I cocked it and shot one of the attackers in the leg but immediately after, a metal rod hit my head hard. It caused a short concussion and in that second, my weapon was taken from me. Blood started gushing from my head and the mob continued beating me and pushed me in to the hull of the ship,” explained the soldier.
As mentioned, the Turkel Committee has ruled that “IDF soldiers acted professionally and considered all options faced with heavy violence they did not expect.” In the report’s conclusions read by Judge Jacob Turkel it was stated that IDF soldiers acted professionally, continually using non-lethal weapons as opposed to lethal ones in a reaction appropriate to the type of violence they were faced with.

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Jewish News - Museum of the History of Polish Jews to open Friday

This complex coexistence is laid out in a 43,000 sq foot core exhibition with eight themed halls

WJC, In Warsaw, a museum on the history of Polish Jewry will be inaugurated on Friday, on the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising against Nazi Germany in World War II. The Museum of the History of Polish Jews aims to reclaim the rich 1,000-year heritage which has been overshadowed by the Holocaust. The glass building stands on the site of the former ghetto, where 200 poorly-armed Jews rose up in Europe's first urban anti-Nazi revolt.

Jews first emigrated to Poland from western Europe to escape 11th Century pogroms. According to Jewish legend, the refugees heard a voice from heaven say "Po lin" or "rest here" in Hebrew -- and Poland was given its name. "For centuries, Poland hosted the world's largest Jewish Diaspora," museum director Andrzej Cudak said. While Jewish culture flourished, religious tolerance had its limits.

This complex coexistence is laid out in a 43,000 sq foot core exhibition with eight themed halls. Funded by private donors, German foundations, the Polish government, the city of Warsaw and the EU, the entire project cost PLZ 200 million (US$ 65 million). Finnish architects Rainer Mahlamaeki and Ilmar Lahdelma beat out more than 100 competitors to design the structure, which took four years to complete. The space is defined by a glass facade split by a wide fracture directly opposite the imposing monument to the Jewish ghetto fighters.

"The design refers to the 1,000 years of Jewish presence in Poland, a presence that was broken by the Holocaust," said Mahlamaeki.

Ninety percent of Poland's pre-war Jewish population of 3.3 million was wiped out in the Shoah. By the end of World War II only around 300,000 Polish Jews remained. Many of them emigrated to the United States or Israel, either immediately after the war or during waves of anti-Semitism driven by Poland's communist regime in the 1950s and 1960s.

In the 2002 census only 1,133 people claimed Jewish roots, while last year the number had grown to around 8,000 people. But according to various estimates, the true number could be as high as 20,000 to 50,000. "We don't know (the exact figure) but tomorrow it'll be more," Poland's Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich told the news agency AFP.

The museum, whose main exhibition will be ready early next year, launches a roster of cultural events this weekend. "The Germans attempted to wipe out the Jewish community of Poland, they almost succeeded, and here this museum is a tribute to those who created Jewish life for over a millennium," Schudrich said. "And in some ways also to show the continuity, that it still goes on."

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