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Friday, Sep. 28 ’12, Tishrei 12, 5773
1. IRANIAN SATELLITE BLEW UP AFTER LIFTOFF
2. OBAMA SLAMMED FOR ‘LIBYA LIES’
3. JEWISH CENTER BOMBED IN SWEDEN
4. THE CHIEF RABBI WHOSE LEGACY LIVES ON – RABBI AVRAHAM SHAPIRA
5. REPORT: LIEBERMAN NOT AVERSE TO UNILATERAL WITHDRAWAL
6. MAJOR POWERS DEMAND URGENT ACTION FROM IRAN
7. U.S. UNIMPRESSED BY NETANYAHU SPEECH, WON’T SET RED LINES
8. NETANYAHU, CLINTON MEET AFTER UN SPEECH
1. IRANIAN SATELLITE BLEW UP AFTER LIFTOFF by Gil Ronen
An Iranian attempt to launch a satellite into space failed when the missile carrying the satellite exploded shortly after liftoff, completely destroying the satellite.
HIS Janes reported that the accident took place in May, and that Iran’s space agency has made great efforts to hide it from the public’s knowledge.
The failure is expected to set back Iran’s space program considerably.
Western experts said that the mishap shows Iran is facing difficulties in ballistic missile development. Janes revealed that U.S. spy satellites followed the attempted launch, which took place at the space center near Tehran. Black spots were seen covering the area around the launching pad immediately after the accident.
Iranian officials announced that the Safir-1B satellite launch vehicle would be launched on May 23, but subsequently announced that the launch had been delayed for up to 10 months without saying why.
2. OBAMA SLAMMED FOR ‘LIBYA LIES’
by Maayana Miskin
The United States media is increasingly criticizing U.S. President Barack Obama for his statements regarding the mob attack in Benghazi, Libya, in which four Americans were killed, including the ambassador. An editorial printed Thursday by the Washington Examiner accuses Obama of lying to cover the true motive of the attack.
The Obama administration”s own statements “clearly demonstrate Obama has been lying about the incident for political gain from day one,” writes Conn Carroll.
Carroll pointed to a timeline of statements published by the Washington Post. The Post called the statements “a case study of how an administration can carefully keep the focus as long as possible on one storyline – and then turn on a dime when it is no longer tenable.”
“For political reasons, it certainly was in the White House”s interests to not portray the attack as a terrorist incident, especially one that took place on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks,” the Post report noted. “Instead the administration kept the focus on what was ultimately a red herring — anger in the Arab world over anti-Muslim video posted on You Tube.”
The Wall Street Journal joined the criticism as well. An article titled “The Libya Debacle” noted, “None of the initial explanations offered by the White House and State Department since the assault on the Benghazi consulate has held up.”
“Four Americans lost their lives in Benghazi in a terrorist attack that evidence suggests should have been anticipated and might have been stopped. Rather than accept responsibility, the Administration has tried to stonewall and blame others,” it accused.
The Obama administration initially said the attack was sparked by Muslim outrage over an amateur anti-Islam film, the trailer for which had been posted on YouTube. UN Ambassador Susan Rice termed the assault “a spontaneous reaction… as a consequence of the video.”
While several senior officials in the Obama Administration, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, have since termed the Benghazi slayings terrorism, Obama has avoided the term. On Monday he said the attack “wasn’t just a mob action.”
In his UN address Tuesday, Obama referred to “a crude and disgusting video” which, he said, “sparked outrage throughout the Muslim world,” a statement taken by many to imply a link between the YouTube trailer and the Benghazi assault.
3. JEWISH CENTER BOMBED IN SWEDEN
by Maayana Miskin
An explosive device was set off outside a Jewish community center in Malmo, Sweden late on Thursday night. Nobody was hurt in the blast, but the building sustained damage.
Local police said it appeared that someone had tried to break in the door.
Two 18-year-old men have been arrested in connection to the attack. The men were nabbed after police successfully traced one of two cars that witnesses saw speeding away after the blast; the second car has not yet been found.
The attack comes just one week after a delegation of Jews from Copenhagen came to visit the city and express support with Malmo”s Jews in the face of anti-Semitic hate in the city. Local Jewish leaders say most of the hate comes from Muslim immigrants, who make up one-fifth of the city”s population.
The city leadership does not help matters. Mayor Ilmar Reepalu has responded to anti-Semitism by asking local Jews to disassociate themselves from Israeli policy, and has referred to Zionism as “unacceptable extremism.”
Local leader Rabbi Schneur Kesselman says he has suffered many verbal assaults and threats. In one case, he and his wife were nearly run down by a speeding car.
Just one day before the attack, a guard at the city”s Jewish cemetery told the Jewish Chronicle, “You don”t wear a kippah in this city. That would be suicide.”
4. THE CHIEF RABBI WHOSE LEGACY LIVES ON – RABBI AVRAHAM SHAPIRA by Arutz Sheva Staff
His twinkling eyes were always understanding and full of humor, except when the Land of Israel or the Jewish identity of the state were endangered. Then the diminutive Talmudic genius, the undisputed leader of religious Zionism for decades – along with his close friend the late Sephardic Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu – became an fearless and indomitable lion.
Despite the fact that every Zionist MK, general and decision maker found the way to his modest home, a stone’s throw from the yeshiva, it was open and filled with ordinary people who came for advice, blessings, encouragement, to ask him to officiate at weddings and circumcisions, from dawn to dark.
He would go by the yeshiva kitchen in the morning to say a good word to the staff and to make sure his “children” were going to be well fed so they could learn Torah properly.
At over ninety, after fasting all day, he led the Neilah service and the rafters shook from his cries to the Almighty. This he did barefoot, because he would bless the congregation as a Kohen during the service, and after his students accompanied him home singing “This is how the High Priest looked when he left the Holy of Holies” would wait almost another hour to break his fast as did the medieval Tosafist Rabbenu Tam.
He respected Israel’s government and loved the IDF as living symbols of Jewish resurgence, but fought the disengagement bitterly -prophetically prescient in his warnings of its aftermath.
Rabbi Avraham Elkana Kahane Shapira, head of the flagship Merkaz HaRav yeshiva in Jerusalem after Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook’s passing and head of the Supreme Rabbinic Court, passed away Erev Sukkot five years ago.
Almost everyone who knew him, can tell personal stories of how he touched their lives. And so the Merkaz HaRav Beit Medrash was packed as religious leaders memorialized him – first among them his eldest son, well- known scholar Rabbi Yaakov Shapira who heads the yeshiva today , at the forefront of the religious Zionist Torah world.
“It is not as if five years have already passed”, he said, “because we feel his presence constantly, try to follow in his path, as Joshua did when Moses died. It is our hope that many more students will strengthen the glory of Torah in his memory.”
Members of the audience recalled the glorious days of the Chief Rabbinate under Rav Avrum and hoped that Merkaz HaRav yeshiva would take an active role in renewing that spirit.
Venerable sage and former Sephardi Chief Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, founder of the Shas party, accompanied by Minister Eli Yishai, attended and spoke affectionately and humorously of his fellow member of the Supreme Rabbinic Council. He told of the book Rav Avrum (as his students loved to call him) borrowed and returned it in tatters six months later – which Rabbi Ovadia jokingly compared to the Purim story’s Esther’s six months in oil and perfumes before seeing the king – and how Rav Avrum, laughing, claimed it “died a work-related death” which in Jewish law, absolves the borrower of a farm animal from replacing it.
MK Zevulun Orlev (HaBayit HaYehudi) had a close relationship with Rav Avrum and spoke of the sage advice he received from the Chief Rabbi who saw the Chief Rabbinate as a step in the direction of Israel’s redemption. He recalled how when the MK told him that he doesn’t wear a black hat and sport a beard because his wife doesn’t approve, Rav Avrum told him that his wife comes first.
Rabbi Zalman Melammed, founder and dean of the Beit El yeshiva, whose initiatives were guided by Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook, praised Rav Avrum’s leadership, vast knowledge and unassuming modesty.
He succeeded in recreating the awe students of the yeshiva had felt as the High Holy Days approached, while today’s students listened raptly to his every word.
5. REPORT: LIEBERMAN NOT AVERSE TO UNILATERAL WITHDRAWAL by Maayana Miskin
Foreign Minister Lieberman has not ruled out the possibility of a unilateral Israeli withdrawal from much of Judea and Samaria, Yisrael Hayom reports.
Lieberman”s stance – as expressed in closed-door meetings – was compared to that of Defense Minister Ehud Barak. Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert also raised the possibility of a major withdrawal in the region.
Lieberman, however, conditioned his approval for a withdrawal on two things: that Israel”s security interests would not be harmed, and that the international community would recognize the move as legitimate.
He rejected the idea, raised by Barak, that Israelis living in areas affected by the withdrawal could choose to remain in their homes as citizens of the Palestinian Authority.
Shortly before Yom Kippur, Defense Minister Barak shared his plan for a Judea and Samaria withdrawal in an interview with Yisrael Hayom. Barak said he would keep the “settlement blocs,” including Maaleh Adumim, Gush Etzion, and Ariel, allowing roughly 90% of Israelis living east of the 1948 armistice line to remain in their homes.
The IDF would remain in strategically important areas, Barak said.
Barak”s plan would mean evicting tens of thousands of people from dozens of Israeli towns and villages. He proposed easing the process by offering financial incentives to leave, and by providing new towns so that entire communities could move together. A similar initiative prior to the expulsion of Israelis from Gaza in 2005 was made less successful by the fact that most of the new communities remain incomplete.
6. MAJOR POWERS DEMAND URGENT ACTION FROM IRAN by Elad Benari
Iran must take urgent action to allay mounting international concerns over its nuclear drive, EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton said Thursday after talks among the major powers.
“We discussed at length the need for Iran to take action urgently as we considered the Iranian nuclear issue,” AFP quoted Ashton as having told reporters after the talks with the foreign ministers of Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and United States.
The European Union’s foreign policy chief, who engages with Iran on behalf of the international powers, said she updated the foreign ministers on her talks with Iran’s chief negotiator Saeed Jalili in Istanbul last week.
“I will from that meeting now be in touch with Iran to continue this process,” Ashton added.
A senior U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP Ashton will discuss “possible next steps” raised by the ministers.
France’s Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said the meeting had been short because the major powers were united in the Iran crisis.
“We agreed that the main word is ‘unity,’ unity and to exert pressure,” Fabius told reporters.
“What is very important is that the five permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany are completely united on the behavior we have to have toward Iran.”
The senior U.S. official also said the international group “is completely united in ensuring that Iran does not acquire a nuclear weapon.”
The six nations have pursued a dual track of applying pressure through sanctions while holding talks with Iran’s government, which denies that it is trying to develop a nuclear weapon.
UN ambassadors for the United States, Britain and France have warned that time is running out for a negotiated settlement.
“We believe it is necessary for Iran to understand that there are consequences to their not addressing the concerns of the international community. And we believe that it also helps create space for diplomacy which is far away the preferred way to deal with this issue,” the U.S. official told AFP.
Earlier this week, diplomats said that Britain, France and Germany have officially called for new European Union sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program.
The foreign ministers of the three countries wrote to EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton calling for tougher measures as the showdown with Iran becomes more tense.
Details of the new measures are still being worked on but EU foreign ministers will discuss the move at a meeting in Brussels on October 15, the diplomats said.
Earlier this month it was reported that EU nations are exploring a new raft of sanctions against Iran.
“We might have to decide soon a new round of sanctions in the European Union,” German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said.
He added, “I see a growing consensus between my colleagues. We will not accept a nuclear weapon for Iran.”
7. U.S. UNIMPRESSED BY NETANYAHU SPEECH, WON’T SET RED LINES by Elad Benari
The Obama administration remained unimpressed on Thursday after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu”s speech to the United Nations and reiterated that the President would not set “red lines” for Iran.
“As the prime minister said, the United States and Israel share the goal of preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon,” spokesman Tommy Vietor of the National Security Council said on Thursday, adding, “We will continue our close consultation and cooperation toward achieving that goal.”
Meanwhile, officials in Washington quoted in the Israeli media praised Netanyahu for the conciliatory approach he took towards Obama but made ??it clear that the United States still opposes placing a red line for Iran.
The officials noted that Obama had been making his way from a campaign stop in Virginia as Netanyahu was making his speech and as such had no time to watch the speech live. While Obama has declined a request for a meeting by Netanyahu, the two are expected to speak over the phone on Friday.
Obama rejected the idea of placing “red lines” for Iran during a phone conversation with Netanyahu several weeks ago, and received backing from Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who said that red lines “are kind of political arguments that are used to try to put people in a corner.”
Earlier this week, Obama likened Israeli pressure on him to draw a clear “red line” over Iran’s nuclear ambitions to “noise” he tries to ignore.
Interviewed for “60 Minutes” on CBS, Obama said, “When it comes to our national security decisions – any pressure that I feel is simply to do what’s right for the American people. And I am going to block out — any noise that’s out there.”
In his UN speech, Netanyahu drew an actual red line with a marker on a chart symbolizing Iran’s uranium enrichment program, and explained that Iran must be told that if it reaches enough uranium enriched to the 90% level in order to make a nuclear bomb, it will be attacked.
8. NETANYAHU, CLINTON MEET AFTER UN SPEECH by Elad Benari
The United States and Israel “share the goal” of stopping Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, a U.S. official said late Thursday after top level talks in New York between U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
AFP reported that the two met for 75 minutes one-on-one, hours after Netanyahu called for the international community to impose a “red line” on Tehran to stop it enriching enough uranium to make a nuclear bomb.
“They had an in-depth discussion on Iran, and reaffirmed that the United States and Israel share the goal of preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon,” a senior State Department official said in a statement quoted by AFP.
“They agreed that we will continue our close consultation and cooperation toward achieving that goal.”
The U.S. official added that the two leaders “discussed regional developments and the peace process. It was an open, wide-ranging constructive conversation.”
In his speech to the United Nations General Assembly earlier on Thursday, Netanyahu drew an actual red line with a marker on a chart symbolizing Iran’s uranium enrichment program, and explained that Iran must be told that if it reaches enough uranium enriched to the 90% level in order to make a nuclear bomb, it will be attacked.
“I’ve been speaking about the need to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons for over 15 years,” he said. “I spoke about it when it was fashionable and when it wasn’t fashionable. The hour is getting late. Very late. When it comes to the survival of my country, it is not only my right to speak – it is my duty to speak. And I believe that this is the duty of every responsible leader who wants to preserve world peace.”
The Obama administration remained unimpressed after Netanyahu”s speech, and officials in made ??it clear that the United States still opposes placing a red line for Iran.
President Obama rejected the idea of placing “red lines” for Iran during a phone conversation with Netanyahu several weeks ago. Earlier this week, he likened Israeli pressure on him to draw a clear “red line” over Iran’s nuclear ambitions to “noise” he tries to ignore.
While Obama has declined a request for a meeting by Netanyahu, the two are expected to speak over the phone on Friday.