MEN: Eliezer David HaCohain ben Naomi, Asher ben Malka, Avraham ben Devorah, Zvi Yechezkel ben Leah, Aharon ben Rishol, Chaim Zev ben Faige Tova, Naphtali Moshe ben Tziporah, Shalom Charles ben Gracia, Yoel ben Esther, Zev ben Rachel, Binum Benyamin Tuvia ben Chana Friedel, Shalom Yosef ben Chaya Moosha, Aaron ben Sara Chana, Chaim Yisrael ben Chana Tzirel
Women: Karen Neshama bas Esther Ruth, Chaya Melacha Rachel bas Baila Alta, Zvia Simcha bas Devora Yached, Bryna bas Gina Sara, Rachel bas Chana, , Hodaya Nirit bas Mazel, Rivka bas Idit, Kayla Rus bas Chaya Rachel, Chiena Sora bas Chaya Gitel, Necha bas Chava,
9:1 And it came to pass on the eighth day, that Moses called Aaron and his sons, and the elders of Israel;
Although the Parsha starts off with a death we maintain our physical health through the right types of food. Our Pasha ends discussing Kosher animals and birds.
Every Jew is commanded to give half a silver shekel (the weight of at least 160 grains of barley) each year [for the support of the Temple, as it says "This shall they give, all those who are counted: half a shekel, an offering to Ha-Shem"1]; this commandment applied only when the Temple existed. The annual donation was made in the month of Adar (the twelfth month); the coins were collected in every community and sent to the Temple. a Part of the money was used to pay for the communal sacrifices, the incense and showbread, the red cow and the scapegoat, the priestly garments, the libations accompanying ownerless sacrifices, the inspection of sacrifices for blemishes, the teaching of the sacrificial laws, and scribes and criminal courts in Jerusalem. The rest was used to repair the Temple and the city; if any remained it was used to buy animal burnt-offerings. b
1. Ex. 30:13 a. Shekalim 1:1,5,8-9; 2:4 b. 4:1-4,7-9
Russians up to their old tricks: http://www.debka.com/article/21886/
Iranian and Russian tricks: http://www.debka.com/article/21888/
Eilat gets hit with grad rocket. http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/154530
Ah a way to get to the Chinese is through their pockets: http://www.jpost.com/IranianThreat/News/Article.aspx?id=264910
Iran and Nukes: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4212830,00.html
ISRAEL’S SECRET STAGING GROUND by MARK PERRY - Foreign Policy 3/28/12
BOLTON ACCUSES ADMINISTRATION OF LEAKING STORY ON ISRAELI PLANNING ALONG IRAN BORDER http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4209836,00.html
forwarded by Gail Winston, Middle East Analyst & Commentator
ISRAEL’S SECRET STAGING GROUND by MARK PERRY - Foreign Policy, 3/28/2012
In 2009, the deputy chief of mission of the U.S. embassy in Baku, Donald Lu, sent a cable to the State Department's headquarters in Foggy Bottom titled "Azerbaijan's discreet symbiosis with Israel." The memo, later released by WikiLeaks, quotes Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev as describing his country's relationship with the Jewish state as an iceberg: "nine-tenths of it is below the surface."
Why does it matter? Because Azerbaijan is strategically located on Iran's northern border and, according to several high-level sources I've spoken with inside the U.S. government, Obama administration officials now believe that the "submerged" aspect of the Israeli-Azerbaijani alliance — the security cooperation between the two countries — is heightening the risks of an Israeli strike on Iran.
In particular, four senior diplomats and military intelligence officers say that the United States has concluded that Israel has recently been granted access to airbases on Iran's northern border. To do what, exactly, is not clear. "The Israelis have bought an airfield," a senior administration official told me in early February, "and the airfield is called Azerbaijan."
Senior U.S. intelligence officials are increasingly concerned that Israel's military expansion into Azerbaijan complicates U.S. efforts to dampen Israeli-Iranian tensions, according to the sources. Military planners, I was told, must now plan not only for a war scenario that includes the Persian Gulf — but one that could include the Caucasus. The burgeoning Israel-Azerbaijan relationship has also become a flashpoint in both countries' relationship with Turkey, a regional heavyweight that fears the economic and political fallout of a war with Iran. Turkey's most senior government officials have raised their concerns with their U.S. counterparts, as well as with the Azeris, the sources said.
The Israeli embassy in Washington, the Israel Defense Forces, and the Mossad, Israel's national intelligence agency, were all contacted for comment on this story but did not respond.
The Azeri embassy to the United States also did not respond to requests for information regarding Azerbaijan's security agreements with Israel. During a recent visit to Tehran, however, Azerbaijan's defense minister publicly ruled out the use of Azerbaijan for a strike on Iran. "The Republic of Azerbaijan, like always in the past, will never permit any country to take advantage of its land, or air, against the Islamic Republic of Iran, which we consider our brother and friend country," he said.
But even if his government makes good on that promise, it could still provide Israel with essential support. A U.S. military intelligence officer noted that Azeri defense minister did not explicitly bar Israeli bombers from landing in the country after a strike. Nor did he rule out the basing of Israeli search-and-rescue units in the country. Proffering such landing rights — and mounting search and rescue operations closer to Iran — would make an Israeli attack on Iran easier.
"We're watching what Iran does closely," one of the U.S. sources, an intelligence officer engaged in assessing the ramifications of a prospective Israeli attack confirmed. "But we're now watching what Israel is doing in Azerbaijan. And we're not happy about it."
Israel's deepening relationship with the Baku government was cemented in February by a $1.6 billion arms agreement that provides Azerbaijan with sophisticated drones and missile-defense systems. At the same time, Baku's ties with Tehran have frayed: Iran presented a note to Azerbaijan's ambassador last month claiming that Baku has supported Israeli-trained assassination squads targeting Iranian scientists, an accusation the Azeri government called "a slander." In February, a member of Yeni Azerbadzhan — the ruling party — called on the government to change the country's name to "North Azerbaijan," implicitly suggesting that the 16 million Azeris who live in northern Iran ("South Azerbaijan") are in need of liberation.
And this month, Baku announced that 22 people had been arrested for spying on behalf of Iran, charging they had been tasked by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to "commit terrorist acts against the U.S., Israeli, and other Western states' embassies." The allegations prompted multiple angry denials from the Iranian government.
It's clear why the Israelis prize their ties to Azerbaijan — and why the Iranians are infuriated by them. The Azeri military has four abandoned, Soviet-era airfields that would potentially be available to the Israelis, as well as four airbases for their own aircraft, according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies' Military Balance 2011.
The U.S. intelligence and diplomatic officials told me they believe that Israel has gained access to these airbases through a series of quiet political and military understandings. "I doubt that there's actually anything in writing," added a senior retired American diplomat who spent his career in the region. "But I don't think there's any doubt — if Israeli jets want to land in Azerbaijan after an attack, they'd probably be allowed to do so. Israel is deeply embedded in Azerbaijan, and has been for the last two decades."
The prospect of Israel using Azerbaijan's airfields for an Iranian attack first became public in December 2006, when retired Israeli Brig. Gen. Oded Tira angrily denounced the George W. Bush administration's lack of action on the Iranian nuclear program. "For our part," he wrote in a widely cited commentary, "we should also coordinate with Azerbaijan the use of airbases in its territory and also enlist the support of the Azeri minority in Iran." The "coordination" that Tira spoke of is now a reality, the U.S. sources told me.
Access to such airfields is important for Israel, because it would mean that Israeli F-15I and F-16I fighter-bombers would not have to refuel midflight during a strike on Iran's nuclear facilities, but could simply continue north and land in Azerbaijan. Defense analyst David Isenberg describes the ability to use Azeri airfields as "a significant asset" to any Israel strike, calculating that the 2,200-mile trip from Israel to Iran and back again would stretch Israel's warplanes to their limits. "Even if they added extra fuel tanks, they'd be running on fumes," Isenberg told me, "so being allowed access to Azeri airfields would be crucial."
Former CENTCOM commander Gen. Joe Hoar simplified Israel's calculations: "They save themselves 800 miles of fuel," he told me in a recent telephone interview. "That doesn't guarantee that Israel will attack Iran, but it certainly makes it more doable."
Using airbases in Azerbaijan would ensure that Israel would not have to rely on its modest fleet of air refuelers or on its refueling expertise, which a senior U.S. military intelligence officer described as "pretty minimal." Military planners have monitored Israeli refueling exercises, he added, and are not impressed. "They're just not very good at it."
Retired Air Force Col. Sam Gardiner, who conducted a study for a think tank affiliated with the Swedish Ministry of Defense of likely Israeli attack scenarios in March 2010, said that Israel is capable of using its fleet of F-15I and F-16I warplanes in a strike on Iran without refueling after the initial top-off over Israel. "It's not weight that's a problem," he said, "but the numbers of weapons that are mounted on each aircraft." Put simply, the more distance a fighter-bomber is required to travel, the more fuel it will need and the fewer weapons it can carry. Shortening the distance adds firepower, and enhances the chances for a successful strike.
"The problem is the F-15s," Gardiner said, "who would go in as fighters to protect the F-16 bombers and stay over the target." In the likely event that Iran scrambled its fighters to intercept the Israeli jets, he continued, the F-15s would be used to engage them. "Those F-15s would burn up fuel over the target, and would need to land."
Could they land in Azerbaijan? "Well, it would have to be low profile, because of political sensitivities, so that means it would have to be outside of Baku and it would have to be highly developed." Azerbaijan has such a place: the Sitalcay airstrip, which is located just over 40 miles northwest of Baku and 340 miles from the Iranian border. Prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union, Sitalcay's two tarmacs and the adjacent facilities were used by a squadron of Soviet Sukhoi SU-25 jets — perfect for Israeli fighters and bombers. "Well then," Gardiner said, after the site was described to him, "that would be the place."
Even if Israeli jets did not land in Azerbaijan, access to Azeri airfields holds a number of advantages for the Israel Defense Forces. The airfields not only have facilities to service fighter-bombers, but a senior U.S. military intelligence officer said that Israel would likely base helicopter rescue units there in the days just prior to a strike for possible search and rescue missions.
This officer pointed to a July 2010 joint Israeli-Romanian exercise that tested Israeli air capabilities in mountainous areas — like those the Israeli Air Force would face during a bombing mission against Iranian nuclear facilities that the Iranians have buried deep into mountainsides. U.S. military officers watched the exercises closely, not least because they objected to the large number of Israeli fighters operating from airbases of a NATO-member country, but also because 100 Israeli fighters overflew Greece as a part of a simulation of an attack on Iran. The Israelis eventually curtailed their Romanian military activities when the United States expressed discomfort with practicing the bombing of Iran from a NATO country, according to this senior military intelligence officer.
This same senior U.S. military intelligence officer speculated that the search and rescue component of those operations will be transferred to Azerbaijan — "if they haven't been already." He added that Israel could also use Azerbaijan as a base for Israeli drones, either as part of a follow-on attack against Iran, or to mount aerial assessment missions in an attack's aftermath.
Azerbaijan clearly profits from its deepening relationship with Israel. The Jewish state is the second largest customer for Azeri oil – shipped through the Baku-Tibilisi-Ceyhan pipeline — and its military trade allows Azerbaijan to upgrade its military after the Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe (OSCE) slapped it with an arms embargo after its six-year undeclared war with Armenia over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region. Finally, modernizing the Azeri military sends a clear signal to Iran that interference in Azerbaijan could be costly.
"Azerbaijan has worries of its own," said Alexander Murinson, an Israeli-American scholar who wrote in an influential monograph on Israeli-Azeri ties for Tel Aviv's Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies. "The Baku government has expelled Iranians preaching in their mosques, broken up pro-Iranian terrorist groups, and countered Iranian propaganda efforts among its population."
The deepening Azeri-Israeli relationship has also escalated Israel's dispute with Turkey, which began when Israeli commandos boarded a Turkish ship destined for Gaza in May 2010, killing nine Turkish citizens. When Turkey demanded an apology, Israel not only refused, it abruptly canceled a $150 million contract to develop and manufacture drones with the Turkish military — then entered negotiations with Azerbaijan to jointly manufacture 60 Israeli drones of varying types. The $1.6 billion arms agreement between Israel and Azerbaijan also left Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan "sputtering in rage," according to a retired U.S. diplomat.
The centerpiece of the recent arms deal is Azerbaijan's acquisition of Israeli drones, which has only heightened Turkish anxieties further. In November 2011, the Turkish government retrieved the wreckage of an Israeli "Heron" drone in the Mediterranean, south of the city of Adana — well inside its maritime borders. Erdogan's government believed the drone's flight had originated in the Kurdish areas of northern Iraq and demanded that Israel provide an explanation, but got none. "They lied; they told us the drone didn't belong to them," a former Turkish official told me last month. "But it had their markings."
Israel began cultivating strong relations with Baku in 1994, when Israeli telecommunications firm Bezeq bought a large share of the nationally controlled telephone operating system. By 1995, Azerbaijan's marketplace was awash with Israeli goods: "Strauss ice cream, cell phones produced by Motorola's Israeli division, Maccabee beer, and other Israeli imports are ubiquitous," an Israeli reporter wrote in the Jerusalem Post.
In March 1996, then-Health Minister Ephraim Sneh became the first senior Israeli official to visit Baku — but not the last. Benjamin Netanyahu made the trip in 1997, a high-level Knesset delegation in 1998, Deputy Prime Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni in 2007, Israeli President Shimon Peres in 2009, and Lieberman again, as foreign minister, this last February. Accompanying Peres on his visit to Baku was Avi Leumi, the CEO of Israel's Aeronautics Defense Systems and a former Mossad official who paved the way for the drone agreement.
U.S. intelligence officials began to take Israel's courtship of Azerbaijan seriously in 2001, one of the senior U.S. military intelligence officers said. In 2001, Israeli arms manufacturer Elbit Systems contracted with Georgia's Tbilisi Aerospace Manufacturing to upgrade the Soviet SU-25 Scorpion, a close air-support fighter, and one of its first customers was Azerbaijan. More recently, Israel's Elta Systems has cooperated with Azerbaijan in building the TecSar reconnaissance satellite system and, in 2009, the two countries began negotiations over Azeri production of the Namer infantry fighting vehicle.
Israeli firms "built and guard the fence around Baku's international airport, monitor and help protect Azerbaijan's energy infrastructure, and even provide security for Azerbaijan's president on foreign visits," according to a study published by Ilya Bourtman in the Middle East Journal. Bourtman noted that Azerbaijan shares intelligence data on Iran with Israel, while Murinson raised the possibility that Israelis have set up electronic listening stations along Azerbaijan's Iranian border.
Israeli officials downplay their military cooperation with Baku, pointing out that Azerbaijan is one of the few Muslim nations that makes Israelis feel welcome. "I think that in the Caucasian region, Azerbaijan is an icon of progress and modernity," Sneh told an Azeri magazine in July 2010.
Many would beg to differ with that description. Sneh's claim "is laughable," the retired American diplomat said. "Azerbaijan is a thuggish family-run kleptocracy and one of the most corrupt regimes in the world." The U.S. embassy in Baku has also been scathing: A 2009 State Department cable described Aliyev, the son of the country's longtime ruler and former KGB general Heydar Aliyev, as a "mafia-like" figure, comparable to "Godfather" characters Sonny and Michael Corleone. On domestic issues in particular, the cable warned that Aliyev's policies had become "increasingly authoritarian and hostile to diversity of political views."
But the U.S. military is less concerned with Israel's business interests in Baku, which are well-known, than it is with how and if Israel will employ its influence in Azerbaijan, should its leaders decide to strike Iran's nuclear facilities. The cable goes on to confirm that Israel is focused on Azerbaijan as a military ally — "Israel's main goal is to preserve Azerbaijan as an ally against Iran, a platform for reconnaissance of that country and as a market for military hardware."
It is precisely what is not known about the relationship that keeps U.S. military planners up at night. One former CIA analyst doubted that Israel will launch an attack from Azerbaijan, describing it as "just too chancy, politically." However, he didn't rule out Israel's use of Azeri airfields to mount what he calls "follow-on or recovery operations." He then added: "Of course, if they do that, it widens the conflict, and complicates it. It's extremely dangerous."
One of the senior U.S. military officers familiar with U.S. war plans is not as circumspect. "We are studying every option, every variable, and every factor in a possible Israeli strike," he told me. Does that include Israel's use of Azerbaijan as a platform from which to launch a strike — or to recover Israeli aircraft following one? There was only a moment's hesitation. "I think I've answered the question," he said.
US THWARTING ISRAELI STRIKE ON IRAN - ISRAEL NEWS, Ynetnews by Ron Ben-Yishai 3/29/2012
Obama betraying Israel? US making deliberate effort to hinder Iran strike by leaking classified info, intelligence assessments, says Ron Ben-Yishai in special Ynet report
The United States is leaking information to the media in order to avert an Israeli strike in Iran: The US Administration recently shifted into high gear in its efforts to avert an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities by the end of the year. The flood of reports in the American media in recent weeks attests not only to the genuine US fear that Israel intends to realize its threats; moreover, it indicates that the Obama Administration has decided to take its gloves off.
Indeed, in recent weeks the Administration shifted from persuasion efforts vis- -vis decision-makers and Israel’s public opinion to a practical, targeted assassination of potential Israeli operations in Iran. This "surgical strike" is undertaken via reports in the American and British media, but the campaign’s aims are fully operational: To make it more difficult for Israeli decision-makers to order the IDF to carry out a strike, and what’s even graver, to erode the IDF’s capacity The first and most important American objective is to eliminate potential operational options available to the IDF and the State of Israel. I have no intention of detailing or even hinting to the options which the US government aims to eliminate by exposing them in the media. A large part of the reports stem from false information or disinformation, and there is no reason to reveal to the Iranians what’s real and what isn’t. However, it is blatantly clear that reports in the past week alone have caused Israel substantive diplomatic damage, and possibly even military and operational damage.
Another Administration objective is to convince the Israeli public that an Iran strike (including a US attack) will not achieve even the minimum required to justify it; that is, a delay of at least 3-5 years in Iran’s nuclear program. A lengthy postponement would of course justify the suffering on Israel’s home front, while a six-month delay – as argued by a US Congress report – does not justify the risks.
The six-month figure was meant for the Israeli public, so that it would press Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak to avoid a strike, whose futility the Americans are trying to prove in every way possible. At the same time, the campaign aims to erode the validity of demands voiced by many members of Congress and Senate – both Democrats and Republicans - who criticize the American president’s inaction.
The Congress report published Wednesday is maligned by several inaccuracies, in terms of both analysis and information. However, this makes no difference. The aim was to make headlines in the Israeli and Washington media, rather than an in-depth analysis, which isn’t possible as Congress researchers in Washington do not have access to all the relevant information, fortunately.
Congress in Iran’s service
The third objective of the recent publications is to scare the Israeli public via an apocalyptic account of possible retaliation by Iran and its "clients." This effort also aims to press Israeli decision-makers not to act (including the mention in the Congress report of the accurate fact that Israel’s home front is not adequately prepared to sustain a blow.) Some observers would argue that these reports are not damaging, but rather, grant the Israeli threat validity, thereby serving Western representatives in upcoming negotiations with Iran. So what’s wrong with that?
The damage has to do with the revelation of secret information and assessments that would require an expensive, risky intelligence effort for the Iranians to acquire. Indeed, the Iranians already realize that the West and Israel possess plenty of up-to-date information on Iran’s nuclear project, including centrifuge workshops in Tehran homes. The Ayatollah regime can also predict possible attack routes and methods by Israel and the US.
However, any rookie intelligence officer knows that there is a huge difference between unconfirmed estimates and solid facts or IDF aims and capabilities. Any Iranian intelligence analyst who reads the latest US Congress report or the Foreign Policy report will find invaluable information there. The overwhelming majority of the information has already been published, yet instead of forcing the Iranians to piece together all the assessments themselves, the Congress report offers them everything in one place, including detailed analysis.
Fortunately, as noted, Congress researchers and those who leaked the information to them apparently have some trouble in terms of reading comprehension.
Betraying an ally
To sum up, the American publications caused the following damage:
Iran now has a decent picture of what Israel’s and America’s intelligence communities know about Tehran’s nuclear program and defense establishment, including its aerial defenses.
The Iranians now know about the indications that would be perceived by Washington and Jerusalem as a "nuclear breakthrough". Hence, Iran can do a better job of concealment.
The reports make it more difficult to utilize certain operational options. These options, even if not considered thus far, could have been used by the US in the future, should Iran not thwart them via diplomatic and military means.
Needless to say, this is not how one should be treating an ally, even if this is a relationship between a superpower and a satellite state. The targeted assassination campaign currently undertaken by the US government also sharply contradicts President Obama’s declaration at the AIPAC Conference, whereby he and the US recognize Israel’s sovereign right to defend itself by itself. One cannot utter these words and a moment later exposes Israel’s vulnerabilities and possible strike routes to its enemies.
Indeed, there is a difference between legitimate persuasion efforts and practical steps to thwart Israeli plans and eliminate them.
For a total of seven years, I served as Yedioth Ahronoth’s reporter in Washington, so I know very well that with a few exceptions, the US Administration knows how to prevent leaks to the media if it so wishes. This is the case even when dealing with former officials, and most certainly when dealing with current government officials. What we are seeing here is not a trickle of information, but rather, a powerful current, a true flood that leaves no doubt as to the existence of an orchestrated media campaign with clear aims.
There is another interesting aspect to this story from an American point of view: In 2002, when President George W. Bush sought to embark on war in Iraq, US intelligence agencies provided him with all the "evidence" that Saddam Hussein is developing large quantities of nuclear and chemical weapons. Following the war, when no traces of such weapons were discovered in Iraq, a Congress inquiry found that US intelligence officials were so eager to satisfy their president that they cut corners and relied on unsubstantiated information. [Inside information indicates that Saddam's WMD (Nuclear, Chemical and Biological) Weapons of Mass Destruction) were shippied through Syria and buried in Lebanon. GW]
Given American media reports in recent days, one must wonder whether history is repeating itself. Could it be that the US intelligence community is providing President Obama with what he needs for political reasons – that is, information meant to curb an Israeli or American strike on Iran?
BOLTON ACCUSES ADMINISTRATION OF LEAKING STORY ON ISRAELI PLANNING ALONG IRAN BORDER FoxNews.com, 3/29/2012
Former U.S. diplomat John Bolton alleged Thursday that the Obama administration leaked a story about covert Israeli activity in order to foil potential plans by the country to attack Iran's nuclear program.
Bolton, who served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in the George W. Bush administration, was responding to an article in Foreign Policy magazine that quoted government sources claiming Israel had been granted access to airfields in Azerbaijan — along Iran's northern border.
The article did not state exactly what the Israelis' intentions were, but it suggested it could point to a possible strike on Iran.
"I think this leak today is part of the administration's campaign against an Israeli attack," Bolton claimed on Fox News.
The White House did not respond to Bolton's claims Thursday.
Bolton, a Fox News contributor, noted that a strike launched from Azerbaijan would be much easier for the Israelis than a strike launched from their own country — jets could stay over their targets longer and worry less about refueling. But he said tipping the Israelis' hand by revealing "very sensitive, very important information" could frustrate such a plan.
Speaking afterward to FoxNews.com, Bolton said he didn't have hard proof that this was an intentional administration leak to halt an Israeli attack.
But he noted widely reported comments from Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in February that he thinks the Israelis could strike as early as April. If that's the case, Bolton said, then it would be "entirely consistent" for the administration to try to avoid that impending outcome.
The Foreign Policy article quoted what were identified as "high-level sources … inside the U.S. government." It specifically mentioned "four senior diplomats and military intelligence officers." [WHY ANONYMOUS??]
One intelligence officer, who was unnamed, told the magazine that the U.S. was "watching" the activity and was "not happy about it."
The Foreign Policy article did not specify whether any of the information came from the White House, and there is no direct evidence that this was a coordinated leak.
"Clearly, this is an administration-orchestrated leak," Bolton told FoxNews.com. "This is not a rogue CIA guy saying I think I'll leak this out."
"It's just unprecedented to reveal this kind of information about one of your own allies," Bolton said.
RED ALERT: Former Marine Strike Planner on Obama's Azerbaijan Leak: "Start viewing this administration as an existential threat to Israel"
Got our back? More like stabbing us in the back by David M. Weinberg
OBAMA - PLEASE LET US HAVE OUR BACKS BACK!
By GAIL WINSTON
Obama Makes The Case for an Israeli Strike On Iran by Caroline Glick
forwarded by Gail Winston, Middle East Analyst & Commentator
I’ve received this report and several other supporting analyses and one negative story by Ehud Ya’ari. What conclusions are we to accept?
COMMENTS BY GAIL WINSTON
Subject: Fmr Marine - "Start viewing this admin as an existential threat to Israel"
RED ALERT: Former Marine Strike Planner on Obama's Azerbaijan Leak: "Start viewing this administration as an existential threa
RED ALERT: Former Marine Strike Planner on Obama's Azerbaijan Leak: "Start viewing this administration as an existential threat to Israel"
Doug Ross, DirectorBlue.Blogspot.com
Four senior American diplomats -- most likely in the State Department -- as well as senior intelligence officers appear to have leaked a key military relationship between Azerbaijan and Israel.
http://news.yahoo.com/israelis-suspect-obama-media-leaks-prevent-strike-iran-172438650--abc-news-topstories.htmlA highly knowledgeable Democratic friend emails Ron Ben-Yishai’s YnetNews report "US thwarting Israeli strike on Iran." The report asserts that the Obama administration is leaking information to the media in order to avert an Israeli strike in Iran. Ben-Yishai observes that in recent weeks the administration has "shifted from persuasion efforts vis- -vis decision-makers and Israel’s public opinion to a practical, targeted assassination of potential Israeli operations in Iran." My friend comments succinctly on the report: "Wow. Ron Ben-Yishai is considered to be one of the most serious Israeli defense correspondents."
Ben-Yishai gives few examples of the Obama administration’s efforts to thwart an Israeli strike on Iran, but the news this week provides what seems to be a case study supporting his thesis. Foreign Policy reports that, according to "four senior diplomats and military intelligence officers," Azerbaijan has granted the Israelis access to airbases in that country. Such access would dramatically mitigate the difficulty of an Israeli strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities.
This leak destroyed any capability of a surprise attack by Israel using these bases. And it came from Obama administration officials.
"Bill", a former Marine Corps strike planner, weighed in on the implications of this leak Friday on The Mark Levin Show. Read every word.
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-Cc7ss4HJNyg/T3eCDcVIXeI/AAAAAAAAs1s/SXa3FXjqbHc/s1600/120331-baku-tehran.jpgI just want to comment on this revelation by the State Department regarding this Israel-Azerbaijan connection. A few years ago, I was writing an article and studying how Israel might go about attacking Iran with the assets we knew they had...
I've got experience as a Marine F-4 Phantom Radar Interceptor Officer. I've planned strike missions. I've got a thousand hours in the Phantom. So I'm familiar with the problems strike planners have in attacking a target or multiple targets like Iran. And as I looked at the map, I thought: 'Boy, oh, boy, if the Israelis had an alliance with Azerbaijan, that would be the perfect place to launch a strike.
They've got this beautiful, 10,000-foot concrete runway in Baku. You take off, you come right out over the Caspian Sea. The pilots flip on their radar altimeters, drop down 25-feet off the deck, and they just race in a straight line.
They pop up over some hills, and they're in Tehran before the Iranians even know what hit them. They could then go hit the other targets. It reduces the distance for this strike by, oh, six, seven hundred miles. It might alleviate the need for tankers. Or, if they do need tanker support, you could put them over the Caspian Sea...
...The beauty of Baku is that the Caspian Sea is right at the end of the runway. It's a straight shot, maybe 300 miles, from that base to Tehran. A good radar altimeter will get an F-4, F-16, F-15 strike fighter maybe 25 feet off the water. Going in at that altitude, you're not going to be picked up by radar.
But there's something even more important here. The Iranians are not expecting an attack from the north. Now, with the revelation of this relationship, they are. And that has a lot of implications beyond the tactical.
Think of it this way. Prior to this revelation, the Iranians -- although they noticed some connections between Israel and Azerbaijan -- didn't know how deep that connection was.
Now the Iranians can start bullying the Azerbaijanis. They can send a diplomat up to Baku and say, basically, 'if any Israeli plane hits us from the north, when we get our nuke, we are going to test it on Baku. Of course that will all happen behind the scenes, but the threat will be made.
Now, I want you to consider this: there are many ways to attack Iran. You can go for the nuke sites. Or you can go for a decapitation strike. A decapitation strike is a much easier operation if you're coming from Azerbaijan.
Think of it this way: every once in a while, the Iranians have a little get-together. They bring all of the Mullahs together in one place... Why not? They'd be doing us and the world a tremendous favor if they did that.
And it's not going to happen now.
I can guarantee that all of those new Soviet anti-aircraft missiles that the Iranians bought are all going up north now, pointed and waiting for something there. In fact, they'll probably put radars on the Caspian from the mountaintops there, just to see if there'sanything come up off the water.
Strategic, tactical surprise: gone.
You have to ask for the motivation behind the leak. I mean, if the Israelis can do this operation, it's to our benefit! From a diplomatic standpoint, if you wanted to tell the Iranians that the Israelis did this, it's without our permission. And then try to butter up the Iranians after the strike, so they don't close the Strait of Hormuz, that's one thing.
But giving away all of the secrets of an ally? When you're doing that, you have to ask whether we still have Israel as an ally. We are not acting like an ally. In fact, if you ask me, based on the amount of time I expect the Israelis put in this relationship with Azerbaijan, I would start viewing this administration as an existential threat to Israel.
This administration is not going to do anything to stop the Iranian terror state from acquiring nuclear weapons. They are actively working against America's closest allies to prevent a strike against Iran. They are, under Obama's orders, leaking highly classified information to America's enemies through the media.
Who leaked this information? And when are we going to prosecute them?
Where is the House Foreign Affairs Committee? Do we still have one?
I urge you to contact Chairman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen at (202) 225-5021 and ask the committee what it is doing to find the sources of these leaks.
HERE IS ANOTHER ONE:
No surprise here; the Obama administration has been and is full of Muslim and Left-wing anti-Israel ideologues; Samantha Power, Robert Malley, Ingrid Matteson, Dalia Mogehed, etc. Should Obama be re-elected expect that Israel will be abandoned, diplomatically at the UN and by DoS, economically, militarily, with the strategy to essentially have the US 'wash their hands' of Israel and set them to be destroyed by their neighbors; Iran, Hezb’Allah controlled Lebanon, Hamas controlled Gaza, Iranian supported Syria, and the newly Islamofacist Egypt among others, perhaps even Turkey will join in. What's interesting is the expressed opinion of a unconfirmed source who has articulated something many military and foreign policy analysts have believed. Especially in the wake of the Obama administration 'outing' a possible Israeli attack plan.
AND A THIRD:
Subject: Got our back? More like stabbing us in the back http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_opinion.php?id=1659
Got our back? More like stabbing us in the back by David M. Weinberg
"There should not be a shred of doubt by now that when the chips are down, I have Israel’s back," proclaimed U.S. President Barack Obama at the AIPAC conference earlier this month. "There is no good reason to doubt me on [Israeli] issues," he similarly grumbled to The Atlantic. "I have made a more full-throated defense of Israel and its legitimate security concerns than any president in history ... I have kept every single commitment I have made to the state of Israel and its security ... We’ve got Israel’s back."
Well, Obama definitely has a thing with Israel’s back. But he doesn’t seem to "have" our back. He is "at" our back. Stabbing us in the back, it appears.
How else can one explain the blatant and bold sabotage of Israel’s security that the Obama administration is engaged in? All the adamant protestations of support for Israel don’t weigh up against the concrete damage that administration officials are doing to Israel’s deterrent power and operational military capabilities through purposeful leaks of information relating to Israel’s strike abilities against Iran.
In a deliberate American campaign to scuttle any planned Israeli hit on Iran, Washington is leaking classified intelligence assessments and documents that rip deep into our most sensitive military zones.
Worst of all is the revelation (through Foreign Policy Magazine, yesterday) of State Department documents and CIA-provided details of Israel’s secret "staging grounds" (air bases) in Azerbaijan, from which the IAF can more readily strike into Iran. In the article, "senior intelligence officers" and former CENTCOM commanders name specific Azeri airstrips from whence Israel is apparently operating; name Israeli officials involved in managing the secret relationship with Azerbaijan; and provide astonishing detail on the air staging logistics that would be involved in an Israeli military operation there.
This follows upon the Congressional Research Service study leaked earlier in the week, which pans Israel’s ability to do much damage to Iran, and suggests that an Israeli strike would uselessly stir up a hornets’ nest. Great cost, with little gain, the report said. Two weeks ago, the Obama administration leaked to The New York Times results of a classified Pentagon war game dubbed "Internal Look" which forecast that an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities would likely draw the U.S. into a wider regional war in which hundreds of American forces could be killed. This is to say: Don’t you dare act, Israel, or the Obama administration will blame you for getting Americans killed. And to make sure that Israel understood just how directed this leak was, the newspaper was allowed to publish the exact location, date, parameters and some names of participants in this war game. A fully authorized leak. A targeted kill.
So, for all the talk of "complete coordination" between the U.S. and Israel on the Iran file, it seems that Obama is playing rough with Jerusalem. Obama said that he "is not bluffing" when it comes to stopping the Iranian drive for nuclear weapons. "Not bluffing," perhaps, but it seems that he meant that meant not bluffing about stopping Israel from acting against Iran.
Obama boasts at length at every opportunity about upgrades in U.S.-Israel intelligence sharing and weapons development that he has authorized. Aside from being benefitting America well as Israel, these upgrades are, of course, primarily aimed at holding us back from attacking Iran. The enhanced security cooperation is a bear hug designed to handcuff Israel. And it is counterbalanced and canceled out by security sabotage such as the Azerbaijan expose.
Obama is at our back, indeed.
Freeman Note: Learn how to combat ignorance with the knowledge in Bernard's new book. It is jam packed with history, political, Judaic and military/strategic wisdom.
E-book only 3.99
Best URLs for my book:
THE BATTLE FOR ERETZ YISRAEL
Jews, G-d and Israel
Winston Mid East Analysis & Commentary March 6, 2012 Email: email@example.com Please disseminate & re-post. If you publish, send us a copy. Many of our articles appear on Websites at http://www.JewishIndy.com, freeman.org & gamla.org.il/english. Outgoing mail is virus-checked. To be removed from this list, please send your Email address
OBAMA - PLEASE LET US HAVE OUR BACKS BACK!
By GAIL WINSTON, Winston Mid East Analyst & Commentator
President Barack Obama’s biggest claim to support of Israel is: "When the chips are down, I have Israel’s back." Sorry, Mr. Obama, that’s not what America needs to "have". We don’t need you at our Backs, pushing us. We are not human shields which you can hide in "back" of. We need America to stand side-by-side with Israel - and our other Western allies - to defend all Western Civilization from Nuclear Holocaust.
Susan Rice, US Ambassador to the UN says: "We remain determined not to rest until a democratic and peaceful state (sic) of Israel lives side-by-side with a viable and secure Palestinian state." All their maps show their "Palestine" with the Terror flag over, on top of, eliminating the Jewish State of Israel. Their letterheads, army uniforms, big pictures on the wall in front of where they host their guests for Television photo Ops...all show their map wiping Israel away.
We in Israel don’t need to live side-by-side with a Terror organization who unites with other Terror organizations like Hamas and Hezb’Allah. They threatens to wipe us off the map - and do so in all their public displays - supported by the Terror States of Iran (soon-to-be-nuclear), Syria (killing her own people) and the rest of the "POISONED NECKLACE"*** of the Arab Crescent.
Mr. Obama has lots of nice sound bytes in his speech for AIPAC (American-Israel Public Affairs Committee), but, for those in the know who examine his speech for trustworthiness and veracity, there is much to pick apart. See Caroline Glick below for just such an astute dissection of Obama’s speech.
Ms. Rice spoke about the (U.S.’s) "unshakable" relationship with Israel. Doesn’t she know that the very word for "Intifada" means to "shake off" (the Jewish State of Israel)? An Ambassador should be careful with the words she uses. They may have other meanings - especially to the hostile "Other" group she wants Israel "to live together with in peace and security".
By Obama and Rice, ‘et al’ "Having Israel’s Back", they are literally pushing Israel into defending not just herself but also America and the rest of the West. Israel is expected to take the existential (life-threatening and State-threatening) risks to get the job done. Hurray for our side! But, where is America and the rest of the West? Are they "resting" on Israel’s "Back"?
So, Mr. Obama, Let us have our backs back! Get off our backs! Don’t push Israel into fronting for the United States. We are NOT your human shields!
Commentary by Gail Winston
***"The first "POISONED NECKLACE" article by Emanuel A. Winston, z’l May 23, 2001
The neo-terror state of Palestine will be the centerpiece in a deadly necklace stretching from Iran, Iraq, Syria to Jordan and Lebanon. Lebanon will be absorbed by Syria just as quickly as Jordan is being subverted by its majority population of Palestinians who are loyal to Arafat. From there the necklace spreads to Sudan where the Muslims are decimating the Christians.
Saudi Arabia will fall to Egypt which itself is under pressure by the Muslim Brotherhood to become another strictly Islamic State. Only this time Egypt, with its full complement of American arms will become an Islamic military colossus in the South, just as Iran is in the North.
Then there is the American State Department which is actually a "Shadow Government" only concerned with its own vested interests. Unfortunately, their misguided foreign policy and their blunders will probably lead to the Third and last World War. Historians will look back and identify the time frame where the U.S. State Department played a leading role in the destruction of Israel and coalescing the militant forces of radical fundamentalist Islam to face the West in a war to end all wars.
Israel’s demise will be the lynchpin that will release all the accumulated military energies of the Arab nations - all with our American help. We Americans have always looked off-shore for our enemies. Indeed, they were there. First the Soviet Union (now called Russia) and a growing China to whom we have transferred some of our most terrible technology - as well as North Korea, Iraq, Iran, Syria, etc.
If ever there was an evil empire, our State Department’s "Shadow Government" fits that description insofar as the Jewish State of Israel is concerned. Clearly, it is a dark castle that needs airing. Israel is and remains a high profile target on their firing range, despite deep and genuine support by the American people and the American Congress for the only democracy in the Middle East.
AS ALWAYS, CAROLINE GLICK GIVES THE BEST, FULLEST DESCRIPTION OF WHAT’S WHAT, WHO’S WHO AND WHO SAID WHAT TO WHOM:
Obama Makes The Case for an Israeli Strike On Iran by Caroline Glick
March 5, 2012.
forwarded by Gail Winston, Middle East Analyst & Commentator
Obama tough talk
In his commentary in Maariv’s Friday news supplement, the paper’s senior diplomatic commentator Ben Caspit laid out a hypothetical lecture that if Israel’s supporters discuss Obama’s hostile treatment of Israel in the context of the election, they can expect to suffer consequences if Obama is reelected.
It is important to keep Blinken’s threats and Caspit’s scenario in mind when considering Obama’s speech to AIPAC on Sunday morning.
Obama’s speech was notable for a number of reasons. First, this was the first speech on an Israel related theme that Obama has given since the 2008 campaign in which he did not pick a fight with Israel. And it is due to the absence of open hostility in his address that Obama’s supporters are touting it as a pro-Israel speech.
While he didn’t pick a fight with Israel on Sunday, his speech did mark a clear attempt to undermine Israel’s strategic position in a fundamental – indeed existential – way. As many commentators have noted in recent weeks, Israel and the US have different red lines for the Iranian nuclear program. These divergent red lines owe to the fact that the US has more options for attacking Iran’s nuclear installations than Israel.
From Israel’s perspective, Iran’s nuclear program will reportedly become unstoppable as soon as the Iranians move a sufficient quantity of enriched uranium and/or centrifuges to the Fordow nuclear installation by Qom. Since Israel reportedly lacks the ability to destroy the facility, Israel’s timeline for attacking Iran will likely end within weeks. The US reportedly has the capacity to successfully bomb Fordow and so its timeline for attacking Iran is longer than Israel’s.
. The reason this is important is because it tells us the true nature of Obama’s demand that Israel give more time for sanctions and diplomacy to work. When one recognizes Israel’s short timeline for attacking, one realizes that when Obama demands that Israel give several more months for sanctions to work, what he is actually demanding is for Israel to place its survival in his hands. Again, once Iran’s nuclear project is immune from an Israeli strike, Obama will effectively hold the key to Israel’s survival. Israel will be completely at his mercy.
To understand just how dangerous this would be it is worth considering the other issues Obama covered in his speech. Obama’s speech essentially boiled down to three assertions, which he argued prove that he is the best friend Israel has ever had and therefore can be trusted to ensure its survival.
First, Obama asserted that military cooperation between Israel and the US has grown to unprecedented levels under his leadership. Second he claimed that his administration has served as Israel’s stalwart defender in the UN and generally when it comes to the Palestinian issue. Finally, he argued that he can be trusted to defend Israel from a nuclear armed Iran because of the sanctions that have been imposed on Iran by the US and the international community since he entered office.
The alleged expansion of US-Israel military cooperation under Obama’s watch has served as a regular talking point for Obama administration officials. The claim is convenient because it is based on classified information unavailable to the general public. You and I have no way of knowing if it is true.
But what we do know is that under Obama’s leadership, senior US military and defense officials have made repeated statements that are openly hostile to Israel. Then defense secretary Robert Gates called Israel "an ungrateful ally." Current Defense Secretary Leon Panetta demanded that Israel "get back to the damned table" with the Palestinians. General Dempsey and his predecessor Michael Mullen have spoken disparagingly of Israel and its military capabilities and so, at a minimum gave comfort to its enemies.
Aside from these rather uncooperative comments, under Obama the US has adopted policies and taken actions that have endangered Israel militarily on all fronts and in fundamental ways. With Obama at the helm the US not only stood back and allowed Hezb’Allah and Iran to take over Lebanon. The US has continued to supply the Hezb’Allah-controlled Lebanese military with sophisticated US arms.
Under Obama, the US intervened in Egypt’s internal politics to empower the Muslim Brotherhood and overthrow Hosni Mubarak. The transformation of Israel’s border with Israel from a peaceful border to a hostile one is the direct consequence of the US-supported overthrow of Mubarak and the US-supported rise of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists. These are indisputable facts. Their military repercussions are enormous and entirely negative.
Then there is Syria. For more than six months, Obama effectively sided with Bashar Assad against his own people who rose up against him. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Assad a reformer. Now, as Assad butchers his people by the thousands, the US has still failed to send even humanitarian aid to the Syrian people. Almost unbelievably, Clinton said that Assad would have to agree to any US assistance to the people who seek to overthrow.
There have been reports that the US has warned Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Saudi Arabia about the possibility that Assad’s ballistic missiles and chemical and biological arsenals may be transferred to terrorists. Such a prospect constitutes a clear and present danger to US national security – as well as Israel’s national security. Indeed, the threat of proliferation of WMD is so dangerous that the administration could be expected to take preemptive steps to destroy or commandeer those arsenals. Certainly it could be expected to support an Israeli operation to do so. But according to reports, Obama has sufficed with empty warnings to the Arabs – not Israel – that this could perhaps be a problem. By failing to act against Assad, the Obama administration is effectively acting as the guardian of Iran’s most important regional ally. That is, far from enhancing Israel’s military posture, Obama’s behavior towards Syria is enhancing Iran’s military posture. He is acting in a manner one would expect Iran’s ally to behave, not in the manner that one would expect Israel’s ally to behave.
As to Iran, while Obama touts the new anti-Iran sanctions that have been imposed since he took office as proof that he can be trusted to take action against Iran, the fact is that Obama has been forced to implement sanctions against his will by the US Congress and Europe. So too, Obama still refuses to implement the sanctions against Iran’s Central Bank that Congress passed against his strong objections earlier in the year. As with the case of Syria – and Hezb’Allah in Lebanon – on the issue of sanctions, Obama’s behaviour has served to help rather than hinder Iran’s pursuit of nuclear capabilities. Beyond Israel’s immediate borders, and beyond Iran, Obama’s behavior towards Turkey has had a destructive impact on Israel’s military position and strategic posture. Obama has said that Turkey’s Islamist, anti-Semitic Prime Minister Recip Erdogan is one of the five foreign leaders he is closest to. He reportedly speaks to Erdogan at least once a week. The Turkish leader is the Middle Eastern leader that Obama trusts the most. Erdogan gained Obama’s trust at the same time that he ended his country’s strategic alliance with Israel and began directly funding the Hamas terrorist organization and providing aid and comfort to Hamas by seeking to end Israel’s lawful maritime blockade of Gaza’s coastline. What is notable about Obama’s relationship with NATO member Turkey is that he has not used his relationship with Erdogan to influence Erdogan’s behavior. Instead he has rewarded Erdogan’s behavior. Obama’s self-congratulatory statements about US assistance to the development of Israel’s missile defense systems ring depressingly hollow for two main reasons. First, the military cooperation agreement between Israel and the US for the development of the Iron Dome anti-mortar and rocket shield was concluded and financed under President George W. Bush due to the peripatetic actions of Senator Mark Kirk. Obama inherited the program. And in his 2012 budget, Obama reduced US funding of the project.
The second reason his statements ring hollow is because his actions as President have increased Israel’s need to defend itself from Palestinian mortars and rockets from Gaza/ Obama has empowered the Palestinians to attack Israel at will and pressured Israel to take no offensive steps to reduce the Palestinians’ ability to attack them.
This brings us to Obama’s statements about his support for Israel at the UN and towards the Palestinians. The fact is that it is Obama’s hostile position towards Israel that fuelled the Palestinians’ rejection of negotiations with Israel. As Mahmoud Abbas told the Washington Post’s Jackson Diehl, Obama’s demand for a Jewish building freeze convinced him that he has no reason to hold talks with Israel. Then there is his "support" for Israel at the UN. The fact is that the Palestinians only sought a UN Security Council resolution condemning Jewish construction in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria because Obama made them think that he would support it. It was Obama after all who called Israeli settlements "illegitimate," and demanded an abrogation of Jewish building rights outside the armistice lines.
The same is the case with the Palestinian decision to have the UN accept "Palestine" as a member. In his September 2010 address to the UN General Assembly Obama called for the establishment of a Palestinian state within a year. It was his statement that made the Palestinians think the US would back their decision to abandon negotiations with Israel and turn their cause over to the UN.
So in both cases where Obama was compelled to defend Israel at the UN, Obama created the crisis that Israel was them compelled to beg him to defuse. And in both cases, he made Israel pay dearly for his protection.
The fact is that Obama’s actions and his words have made clear that Israel cannot trust him, not on Iran and not on anything. The only thing that has been consistent about his Israel policy has been its hostility. As a consequence, the only messages emanating from his administration we can trust are those telling us that if Obama is reelected, he will no longer feel constrained to hide his hatred for Israel.
What these messages make clear is that if our leaders are too weak to stand up to Obama today, we will pay a steep price for their cowardice if he wins the elections in November.
P.S. Don’t be too depressed. Two other recent Jerusalem Post headlines:
"Khamenei Allies Trounce Ahmadinejad In Iran Election." March 5. Khamenei won 75% of Iran’s seats in parliament." A’jad may be a lame duck for the rest of his term, however, he is expected to fight back. What does an irrational dictator do when defeated? He may start a war! Beware!
"Missile Defense Chief: Israel Can Defend Itself Against Barrages from Iran" 2/29/12 That won’t be pleasant but, it does indicate our survival against Iran’s retaliatory powers IF Israel strikes Iran’s nuclear sites.
Good Shabbos, Good Yom Tov Everyone. At an Agudath Yisroel dinner in 1995 commemorating the 50th year since the liberation of Jews from the Nazi death camps, Mr. Yosef Friedenson, editor of the noted magazine 'Dos Yiddishe Vort,' told a moving personal story that lent a historical perspective to the trials and tribulations that Jews have undergone throughout their nearly 2,000 years in the Diaspora.
After being a prisoner and slave laborer in numerous camps, R' Yosef was transported to a steel factory labor camp in Starachowitz, Poland, in 1943, where armaments were made for the German war effort. The brutality of the German officers was unspeakable. Adults and children alike suffered pain and death at the hands of barbarians who roared, "No Jew will escape us, not even a child!"
At this particular camp, however, there was one German factory chief, Herr Bruno Papeh, who was kind to Jews whenever he could be. He would provide them with extra rations of food and was a bit more tolerant when the prisoners failed to complete their labor assignments on time.
While R' Yosef was at Starachowitz, a wine merchant, a Gerrer chassid from Cracow, was brought to the camp. Akiva Goldstoff was close to 40 when he arrived, frightened and disoriented; but before his first Friday night in the camp arrived, he had already organized a minyan for Kabbalas Shabbos.
Akiva and Yosef, who was 20 at the time, became close friends. Despite the difficult circumstances, they exchanged Torah thoughts and encouraged each other in faith and belief.
A few weeks before Pesach, Akiva called Yosef to the side and said, "I think we should ask Herr Papeh if he would allow us to bake matzos for Yom Tov." "You must be mad," replied Yosef. "Herr Papeh has been kind to us in certain circumstances, but he will never allow us such a luxury!"
"I am older than you," said Akiva. "Listen to me; I believe he will be receptive."
After some intense debate, Yosef agreed to go with Akiva to ask the factory chief for permission to bake matzos. When Herr Papeh heard their request, he was incredulous. "Don't you have any other worries? Is this all that is on your minds?" he asked in disbelief. "Yes," replied Yosef. "This is what we are concerned about, and it would mean a great deal to us if you granted permission."
Herr Papeh thought about it for a moment and then said, "All right. If you have the flour, go ahead. Just talk to the Polish workers who are in charge of the smiths' ovens and tell them I gave the consent."
"But we don't have any flour," Yosef said quietly, embarrassed at being granted his wish and not having the means to fulfill it. At that same time, a Polish factory worker was seeking a furlough from Herr Papeh, who controlled the work schedule. Papeh knew that the Polish workers could get the prize commodities of meat and butter from the local villagers and then bring them into the labor camp. Papeh was no saint. He would allow himself to be bribed.
"I'll tell you what," Papeh said, turning to the Polish worker. "You get me a kilo of butter and a kilo of flour, and you can have the time off that you want." The Polish worker agreed, and within a day Yosef and Akiva were called into Herr Papeh's office, where he clandestinely gave them the flour for the matzos.
The two thanked him profusely, but secretly they worried that he could — and with his Nazi temper, would — rescind his permission at any moment.
Several women, including R' Yosef's wife, Gitel, kneaded the dough and baked the matzos in the large melting ovens that had a temperature of 2,000 degrees.
There was an
air of controlled ecstasy in the barrack as the matzos emerged from the ovens, ready for those who wanted them.
On the first morning of Pesach, Herr Papeh walked into the factory and suddenly became furious. As always, at 10 a.m., baskets containing slices of bread were passed around the factory and every worker would take a meager slice.
Each slice was accounted for, and no one would dare take more than his share. But instead of taking them, many prisoners left the bread in the doorway.
Herr Papeh looked around at the people eating matzah and realized they had purposely declined the bread. In a violent, bloodcurdling voice he suddenly yelled, "Your G-d has forsaken you, and you are still loyal to Him?!"
Papeh scanned the room and then roared, "Friedenson! Eat your bread or you will die!" Everyone froze. The fury they had feared had suddenly exploded, and at the worst time. None of the men moved as they waited to see what he would do.
Herr Papeh walked directly over to Akiva and yelled, "Has your G-d not forsaken you?" Akiva, standing tall and ready to accept the worst, replied softly but with certainty, "Not totally and not forever." Papeh was taken aback by the answer. He could not comprehend such conviction. He knew well the suffering and torment of the Jews. "Not totally?" he demanded, raising his voice. "You let us bake matzos, didn't you?" Akiva replied. (Along the Maggid's Journey, Rabbi P. Krohn, p. 168)
Let us be inspired by this story to dedicate our lives to serving Hashem with all of our hearts and all of our souls, especially during the holy holiday of Pesach. Good Yom Tov Everyone. Matis Wolfberg’s stories are sponsored by Refuah Shleima to Reb Mordechai Menachem Mendel ben Tziporah Yitta Refuah Shleima to Tsviah bas Bracha Leah