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Israel in the 21st Century


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Since there is no thread that seems to deal with Israel directly, I am taking the time to start one now. Recent decades of demonization by the Legacy media have perhaps obscured the true situation from us. The re-election of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seems to have come as a shock to the western press, but some (admittedly after the fact) Googling should have primed everyone that while the election may have been a tough go, "Bibi" was in a strong position going in. Other indicators, as outlined in this article, demolish many of the "facts" that the legacy media and anti-Israel crowd like to present to us as their "narrative":


Lawrence Solomon: Western press hasn’t noticed Israel’s rapidly growing clout around the world
Lawrence Solomon | March 19, 2015 | Last Updated: Mar 19 5:29 PM ET

“Two years from now, Obama will be gone, to be remembered as the worst president in American memory”

Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu’s triumph in Israel’s election this week, so shocking and appalling to the Western press, is many other things, too.

It is a recognition by Israelis of Netanyahu as the Churchill of our times, a statesman who stands apart from virtually all other Western leaders who, whether out of cravenness or wilful blindedness, downplay the gathering storm from Iran.

It is a repudiation by Israelis of those same Western leaders, who funded the “anyone-but-Netanyahu” campaign that tried to install in his place a compliant Jew to endorse their policies of appeasement.

And it is a back of the hand to monopolies and other special interests that oppose Netanyahu’s march to freer markets. At root, Israelis understand that they’re better off with Bibi.

Israel under the rule of socialist parties, which dominated the country’s first half century of existence, was a country of heavy handed state control and of Big Labour — the Histradrut labour federation represented 85 percent of all wage earners in the 1980s. Under Netanyahu’s influence, starting in the late 1990s with his first term as prime minister, Israel systematically began dismantling the welfare state, tackling both the social safety net and the vested corporate interests.

He sold off Israel’s interests in state enterprises, abolished foreign exchange controls and otherwise liberalized the economy, attracting foreign capital and turning Israel into an entrepreneurial marvel that, according to The Economist, has the world’s highest density of startups and, next to Silicon Valley, the largest number of startups. High tech companies now beat a path to this Start-Up Nation’s door — an astonishing 250 from the U.S. alone have made Israel home to their R&D centres.

2014 set records for Israeli high-tech and biotech startups — 52 Israeli startups sold to the tune of some $15-billion plus 18 IPOs worth another $10-billion — according to end-of-year reports by accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers and Ethosia Human Resources, who expect 2015 to be even bigger. This January alone saw foreign giants such as Microsoft and Amazon shell out $900-million for companies rich in Israel’s only abundant renewable resource: ingenuity.

The Western press, operating as it does from its echo chamber, likes to describe Israel as increasingly isolated in the world due to its supposed failure to make peace with the Palestinians. Israel has never been less isolated, never been more embraced. In its immediate neighbourhood, Israel for the first time has de facto allies in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, the leaders of the Arab Sunni world.

In black Africa, Israel now is tight with countries such as Nigeria, Kenya and Rwanda. In Asia, Israel is becoming tight with India, the world’s largest democracy, and with China, the world’s second largest economy, both of which are establishing free trade deals with Israel. Israel has been expanding trade with Japan, the world’s third largest economy. And Israel has close relations with countries of the former East Bloc, including Russia, once a Cold War adversary, now a partner in countering Islamic terrorism.

The watchful Arab press knows exactly why Israel has become so welcome around the world, even if the blinkered Western press doesn’t. As explained earlier this year in Al-Araby al-Jadid, a London-based Qatari daily, “Israel’s advanced technology developments have become its most prominent soft power tool for boosting diplomatic ties and improving its position in the world, enhancing its own security in the process.”

Because of Israel’s prowess in both military and civilian fields, it explained, China is cozying up to Israel, India is relying on Israeli instead of U.S. weaponry, and African countries are supporting Israel at the United Nations. Also because of this prowess, Al-Araby al-Jadid expects to see countries that once diplomatically sided with the Palestinians to flip and take pro-Israeli positions.
Israel’s technological prowess, and thus the welcome mat it now enjoys in ever-growing regions of the world, comes as a byproduct of Netanyahu’s dismantling of the welfare state. That dismantling may now accelerate because in this week’s election another dismantler shone — Moshe Kahlon, the Kulanu party leader who ran on an unabashedly pro-business, pro-competition “economic freedom” platform predicated on downsizing government while breaking up Israel’s remaining public monopolies and private oligopolies. The Western press may be surprised to learn that Kahlon, who is widely expected to become Netanyahu’s next finance minister, is considered centrist in Israeli politics.

Israel, once the darling of the Socialist Internationale, is fast becoming the darling of all but Socialist-leaning Europe, Iran and the ISIS wannabe set. Australia is stalwartly in Israel’s corner; Canada’s commitment to Israel is at an all-time high; America’s remains as strong as ever, President Obama and the American left notwithstanding.

Two years from now, Obama will be gone, to be remembered as the worst American president in memory. Prime Minister Netanyahu will remain in power and on the world stage, to be seen as one of Israel’s greatest prime ministers and one of the world’s few true statesmen.
I guess that was written before this happened.



Now this might just be all bark and no bite but...

Israel needs the US.  More specifically its veto vote at the UN.  PM Netanyahu is sounding very much in damage control mode now as he realises that the POTUS might actually back up some of that bark.

And during those 2 years he has left, President Obama can do a lot of damage to Bibi from that perspective. 

American libs have more in common with muslims than Israel.What has always surprised me is the lock stop support American jews have exhibited for the Democrat Party.
tomahawk6 said:
American libs have more in common with muslims than Israel.What has always surprised me is the lock stop support American jews have exhibited for the Democrat Party.

Why would it be surprising?

Wouldn't they support the Dems simply because the Jewish-American community would be distrustful of the Christian right (Protestant, Baptist, Evangelicals etc.) that dominates the US Republican party? Like other religious minorities, they'd oppose any attempt in the US to put more of a Christian influence on policy. The concept of "separation of church and state" applied to keeping the US government secular would be staunchly defended by them. 
A strange IDF exercise scenario, but whatever engages young soldiers should be encouraged. OTOH, as the article points out, there are real threats out there, so these cyberwar scenarios are not *just* fun and games:


The Israel Air Force prevented an 'alien invasion', here's how
APRIL 01, 2015
In a post to the IDF blog labeled 'Top Secret', it was revealed that a few months ago, the Israel Air Force stopped an alien invasion.

“Several months ago a flock of alien spaceships were on their way to invade the planet when advanced Israeli radar systems identified them. It was then up to the technological unit of the Israeli Air Force to thwart the dangerous alien invasion by infiltrating the main spaceship’s technological systems and attacking them from within. The soldiers only had 12 hours to hack the systems, gather intelligence and stop the aliens,” the post reads.

Of course, that was just an April Fools joke. Sort of.

The post then goes on to explain that it was a unique scenario part of the Israel Air Force's cyber defense awareness training.

Teams were competing to hack a previously built system that resembled an alien spaceship. They were also required to gather intelligence about the invading alien ships.

“The participants in the event develop operational technological systems for the Air Force on a daily basis. Our goal was to help them understand the importance of secured program development. We wanted to adapt the training to the young and ambitious members of ‘Generation Y’, therefore we created the story line of an alien invasion to increase their interest,” said Lt. Col. Meir.

Of course, while this scenario is fun, cyber threats to Israel are no laughing matter.  Just recently, the hacker group Anonymous threatened Israel with what they called a 'Cyber Holocaust'.

In a threatening video message with Arabic subtitles, Anonymous says “As we did many times, we'll take down your servers, government websites, Israeli military websites, banks, and public institutions. We’ll erase you from cyber-space as we have every year, 7 April 2015, will be an electronic holocaust.”
In spite of the reported "breakthroughs" in talks with Iran led by the US, it doesn't look like Israel will be taking any chances:


Israel Official: Military Action Against Iran Still Possible

Associated Press | Apr 06, 2015 | by Alon Bernstein

JERUSALEM — A senior Israeli government minister on Monday warned that taking military action against Iran's nuclear program is still an option — despite last week's framework deal between world powers and the Islamic Republic.

The comments by Yuval Steinitz, Israel's minister for strategic affairs, reflected the alarm in Israel over last week's deal, which offers Iran relief from economic sanctions in exchange for scaling back its suspect nuclear program. Israeli leaders believe the framework leaves too much of Iran's nuclear infrastructure intact and could still allow it to develop the means to produce a nuclear weapon.

I suspect the goal of Iran is to launch the end times.They can only do that with nuclear weapons which we are offering up on a silver platter.I am somewhat bemused by Russia backing Iran in this matter.Iran could just as easily launch nukes at Russia and or the US.Of course they need a delivery system,which they have been developing.
Considering the "framework" is based on guesswork as to the actual "start state" of the Iraninan nuclear program (there is no clear understanding of the number of centrifuges, amount of raw or enriched uranium or even how many or where all the facilities are, since Iran has consistently denied any sort of detailed inspection of their program), as well as some educated guesswork that the actual assembly of nuclear devices *may* take place off site (perhaps in Pakistan, which already has working knowledge and facilities to do so); Isreal is right to be concerned.

The second order effect of now encouraging Saudi Arabia to start its own nuclear program to offset Iran, and possibly Turkey getting into the game as well (to strengthen their claim to regional hegemony) makes this more of an encouragement to start a nuclear arms race in an already volatile region.
In spite of the current breakthroughs in talks with Iran led by the US, it doesn't look like Israel will be taking any chances:

You are a comedian.
Shaked reminds me of a certain female Italian minister...  ;D

Foreign Policy

The New Face Of Israel’s Hard Right

Ayelet Shaked makes Benjamin Netanyahu look like a liberal. And now she’s the justice minister.



Guns, but not F-35s...

Foreign Policy

Israel: Go Ahead and Give the Gulfies Guns


According to an official with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee — the most powerful pro-Israel lobbying organization in the U.S. — the group is not trying to lobby Congress to block arms deals with the Gulf. The Israeli government has also refrained from weighing in, according to Hill staffers who maintain routine contacts with the Israelis.

“Israelis have been silent,” said a congressional aide familiar with the issue. “AIPAC was asking a lot of questions, but I wouldn’t characterize our interactions on this as lobbying.”

One reason, according to State Department and congressional sources, is that the Obama administration is carefully assessing how it can help Gulf allies deter a threat from Iran without overstepping Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge (QME), a calculus the executive branch is required by law to take into account as it licenses the transfer of weapons to Middle East governments.

Another reason for Israel’s relaxed temperament is its newfound kinship with Arab countries who share its concerns about Iran’s rise in the region. “The Israelis have cared less about the deals happening this week because there’s a feeling in Israel that they now have an undeclared ally in the GCC against Iran,” said David Ottaway, a Gulf expert at the Wilson Center, using an acronym for the six countries that makeup the Gulf Cooperation Council.

But satisfying all sides equally is easier said than done — and at least some of the top weapons systems on the GCC wish list are not expected to be supplied due to QME considerations, including the F-35 Lightning II, a “fifth-generation” fighter jet designed to be virtually invisible to enemy radar, and BU-28 bunker buster bombs, which Washington has only provided to Israel. Instead, the Gulf countries are likely to walk away with promises to expedite the transfers of long-sought munitions and radar equipment


In Israel, Supreme Court judges are appointed and dismissed by a committee made up of professionals, lawmakers and some justices. Levin wants to give lawmakers a majority in the committee, with most coming from the right-wing and religiously conservative ruling coalition.

“It will be a hollow democracy,” said Amir Fuchs, senior researcher at Jerusalem’s Israel Democracy Institute think tank. “When the government has ultimate power, it will use this power not only for issues of LGBTQ rights and asylum-seekers but elections and free speech and anything it wants.”