IDF women combat

Israel News for March 8, 2017

Defense Meetup
Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman met on Tuesday in Washington with U.S. Secretary of Defense Gen. James Mattis. The two discussed security issues shared by Israel and the US including Iran, Syria and Lebanon. They agreed on the need to act to strengthen the moderate forces in the region and create a coalition to fight terrorism.

Lieberman told Mattis, “We need an active America in the region.” He also said, “The strategic cooperation between Israel and the U.S. is vital and crucial not only for the security of Israel, but for security and stability throughout the Middle East and this also has implications on global security.”

Lieberman also met with US Vice President Mike Pence. According to a White House statement, the vice president underscored the “unbreakable bond between the United States and Israel and reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to upholding Israel’s qualitative military edge.” The two agreed on the need to “counter threats posed by Iran and its proxies as well as terrorist organizations,” and discussed ways in which the American and Israeli militaries could cooperate to address threats. Syria and other issues in the Middle East were also discussed.

Lieberman thanked Pence for his condemnation of recent antisemitic incidents in the United States.

According to a statement by the defense minister’s office, Lieberman told Pence that he expects to see the US embassy move to a new site in Jerusalem soon.

For further reading click here.

UN Discussions
US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley met for the first time with Palestinian UN envoy Ambassador Riyad Mansour. After the meeting Haley tweeted that the Palestinians should “meet with Israel in direct negotiations rather than looking to the UN to deliver results that can only be achieved through the two parties.”

Mansour said that Haley “raised the desire to see the two parties engaging in negotiations” and indicated that the United States was considering a fresh bid to revive talks. He added, “I don’t know at what level they want to do that, but once we receive a request to that effect, we will respond to it accordingly.”

For further reading click here.

Women in IDF
IDF Chief Rabbi Yigal Levinstein condemned the idea of women serving in combat positions in the IDF, during a speech at the Bnei David pre-army preparatory yeshiva in Eli. He called the idea “insane” and questioned the femininity of women who serve in combat. He said that religious women must, under no circumstances, serve in combat roles.

Minister of Defense Avigdor Lieberman responded to Levinstein’s comments Tuesday, saying, “Since the founding of the state, women have served in the IDF and made a tremendous contribution to the security of Israel. Rabbi Levinstein’s tirade is not only an insult to Israeli women, but also to the IDF and its heritage and to the basic values of the State of Israel. When I return from the United States, I will reconsider the position of Rabbi Levinstein in preparing our young men for IDF service.”
Speaking at a meeting of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Wednesday, Netanyahu said Israel was “proud” of its history of integrating females into its fighting forces, going back to biblical times.

He said, “Female Jewish fighters, from the time of Yael the heroine to the present — with Hannah Senesh and the fighters in the Etzel, the Palmach and the Lehi and the IDF, heroic warriors in the police and Border Police that we see here on the streets — are an active, and sometimes very senior, part of our national defense. We are proud of it, and will will further it. It’s important to say this in the most clear fashion.”

For further reading click here.

Eilat Expansion
Under a new agreement signed between the government and Eilat, nine new neighborhoods with a total of 18,372 housing units, 6,930 new hotel rooms and additional industrial zones will be built in the city. The agreement also budgets funds for transportation and other infrastructure, development of the town’s coastal strip, an international sports center, municipal parks, and a waste facility.

Eilat Mayor Meir Yitzhak Halevi commented, “The agreement, which was reached after lengthy negotiations, will cause a dramatic turnaround in construction of major infrastructure. In a city like Eilat, bypass roads, parks, beaches, and so forth will put it on the road to economic independence, and turn it into a metropolis. This is big news for Eilat residents.”

For further reading click here.

PM Smoking
One of the allegations that the Israel Police is investigating the Prime Minister for is that Netanyahu allegedly received pink champagne for his wife and cigars worth hundreds of thousands of shekels from Hollywood mogul Arnon Milchan. But the PM has announced that the cigar accusation cannot be true because he could not possibly have smoked such large quantities of cigars “due to a problem in his nasal cavity.” Apparently, there are several months a year when he cannot smoke at all. Netanyahu has referred the investigators to his personal physician for confirmation.

[If there’s no smoke, there’s no fire, right?]

For further reading click here.