IDF

Fighter pilot’s death re-ignites combat debate

By Anshel Pfeffer, September 18, 2009

The death of Captain Asaf Ramon in a jet fighter accident on Sunday has reopened the question of whether children from bereaved families should be allowed to serve in combat units.

Captain Ramon was the son of Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon, who died in the Columbia Shuttle disaster in 2003.

The IDF regulations state that a child or sibling of a fallen IDF soldier is exempt from service in a combat unit unless their parent signs an authorisation. On average, about 80 members of bereaved families join the IDF each year and serve in combat units with their parents’ consent.

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Asaf Ramon to be buried next to astronaut father

By Jessica Elgot, September 14, 2009

Israel air force captain Asaf Ramon, son of Israel’s first astronaut Ilan Ramon, will be buried today after being killed in an air crash.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has postponed a meeting with US envoy George Mitchell in order to attend the funeral of the 21-year-old pilot.

He will be buried at a military cemetery next to his father.

Captain Ramon was killed when the F-16A Falcon jet he was flying during a training exercise crashed near the Hebron hills.

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IDF band to play in Moscow

September 4, 2009

The Israeli army’s marching band will perform in Moscow’s Red Square this Saturday for the first time.

The Jerusalem Post reports that 45 IDF soldiers will join dozens of military orchestras from around the world at the annual Moscow Day celebration. The event , organised by the Kremlin , will take place in Red Square, the traditional parade ground of the Russian army.

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Analysis: Plot to assassinate IDF head reveals Hizbollah's real aims

By Anshel Pfeffer, September 3, 2009

An Israeli Arab man has been indicted for allegedly passing on information about the IDF Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Gabi Ashkenazi, to Hizbollah, in a plot to have him assassinated.

Rawi Sultani, 23, is a law student from Tira in central Israel, who worked out at the same gym as Lt Gen Ashkenazi. He was first contacted by Hizbollah when he attended a summer camp in Morocco organised by Israeli-Arab party Balad.

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Law student held over assassination plot

By Anshel Pfeffer, September 1, 2009

Rawi Sultani, 23, passed on information about Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Gabi Ashkenazy's movements. His arrest is probably the nipping in the bud of Hizbullah's plan to assassinate Israel's most senior soldier. It also serves as a reminder of the Lebanese organisation's true motives.

Last week, the IDF released surveillance footage of Lebanese citizens repelling Hizbollah members from their village near the border with Israel. Their intention had been to rebuild fortified positions and replenish arm caches that had been used to shell the Galilee during the Second Lebanese War.

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How not to handle international blood libel

By Miriam Shaviv, August 27, 2009

Last week, Aftonbladet, a Swedish tabloid, carried a story alleging that the IDF killed Palestinians in order to harvest their internal organs.

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Public outcry over IDF initiation ‘abuse’

By Anshel Pfeffer, August 13, 2009

“The truth is that neither officers nor soldiers really want to hear me when I tell them not to do initiation ceremonies,” admits Colonel Yigal Slovik, commander of the 401st Armoured Brigade.

“Everyone wants a bit of tradition. They want it to be like it was in their day, or in the days of their predecessors. If not, they feel unfulfilled. But if we let these things carry on, we will see more scenes of worsening brutality. I don’t want us to be like the Russian Spetsnaz, where soldiers die at the hands of their comrades.”

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Is this man the IDF’s best British friend?

By Leon Symons, July 23, 2009

Speaking up for the Israel Defence Force is unlikely to win many friends — but it has turned one man into the most unlikely new star on YouTube.

Colonel Richard Kemp was the commander of British forces in Afghanistan in 2003 and even he admits he is surprised by his new-found fame.

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Soldiers defend IDF’s conduct

By Anshel Pfeffer, July 23, 2009

IDF soldiers have responded to criticism of the army’s conduct in Operation Cast Lead by producing a website describing how the army did everything in its power to minimise civilian casualties.

Soldiers Speak Out was created by Stand With Us, a Los Angeles-based pro-Israel advocacy organisation, and includes videos of IDF reservists who fought in the Gaza operation.

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UK embassy gives £35k to Gaza report

By Jessica Elgot, July 17, 2009

Britain’s embassy in Israel is one of the financial backers of the human rights group, Breaking the Silence, it was revealed today.

The organisation, whose controversial report on the actions of the IDF during the Gaza conflict in January this year has just been issued, is said to have been given more than £35,000 by the UK, according to the 2008 donors’ list, published by the Jerusalem Post.

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