IDF

Shalit video released to Israeli officials

By Jessica Elgot, October 2, 2009

IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazy has watched the video of Gilad Shalit, and given the green light to release the remaining Palestinian prisoners.

The video is said to show Shalit looking healthy and sounding coherent.

The video is now on its way to the Shalit family, and will also be watched by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Ehud Barak.

Israel agreed to release 20 Palestinian woman prisoners in exchange for the video, the first released of Shalit since his capture in 2006.

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Defence chief in Israel

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 1, 2009

Chief of the UK Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshall Sir Jock Stirrup, has made a three-day visit to Israel.

During the trip — which was not publicised by the British or Israeli defence ministries — Sir Jock met IDF Chief of General Staff Lieutenant General Gabi Ashkenazi and other senior officers. Issues discussed included missile defence, Iran’s nuclear programme and methods of defending ground troops from explosive devices. British forces in Afghanistan have a strategy based on Israel’s experience in dealing with suicide bombers and explosives.

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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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