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November 10, 2012

Isracast Weekend Report: Now to Israel's Election Campaign!

 Will Barack Obama now retaliate against Israel for Bibi Netanyahu's betting on Mitt Romney? Netanyahu's rivals are attacking the Prime Minister for acting irresponsibly by showing his preference for the defeated Republican candidate. Although Netanyahu bet and he bet wrong, the issue is unlikely to be a game-changer in Israel's election campaign that has yet to move into top gear for January 22. First Likud and labor must hold their primaries for the party list of candidates and Shimon Peres, Ehud Olmert and Tzipi Livni must decide once and for all whether to throw their hats into the ring. Meanwhile Netanyahu is trying vigorously to repair some of his damaged bridges with Obama with statements like: "I will continue to work with President Obama to protect the security interests of Israeli citizens". And the PM stressed:"The strategic alliance between Israel and the U.S. is stronger than ever'. (In all fairness it should be said that the much maligned Defense Minister Ehud Barak deserves most of the credit for the 'unprecedented' military collaboration between the two countries. Netanyahu often dispatched Barak on special missions to Washington to smooth over the not infrequent tiffs with the White House and keep relations on the rails with the Pentagon. But the overbearing Barak is often his own worst enemy when it comes to Israeli politics and his Independence party might not win even one seat in the election).

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November 05, 2012

Kahlon's Cold Feet and Abbas's Hot Tip

 What is the impact of Likud Cabinet Minister's Moshe Kahlon's final decision not to form a new party to run against the Likud in the upcoming election? Kahlon's shooting star has now burned out and the campaign will now turn to whether former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will again throw his hat into the ring to lead a new Center bloc or whether he will succumb to his numerous legal problems. From another quarter, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has also got into the action by trying to stir up interest in the moribund Palestinian issue. Analyst David Essing has this election update.

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October 31, 2012

Israeli Election - 'Biberman' Off and Running

 Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's gamble has paid off, so far. His proposal to merge the Likud with Avigdor Lieberman's was approved by a sea of yellow party cards at the Likud Convention in Tel Aviv. In the general election on January 22, they will run on a united party list called Likud - Betaynu, 'Likud is our home'. Although Netanyahu is off to a fast start leaving the Left still in the starting blocks, analyst David Essing is of the view that the dust has yet to settle in the election race.

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October 27, 2012

Why Netanyahu Did It!

 Why has Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu shocked Israel by running on the same ticket with Avigdor Lieberman, probably the most controversial Right-wing politician in the country? And how will this surprising partnership affect the general election slated for January 22. Netanyahu and Lieberman are selling their deal as a means to improve 'governance and political stability' at a time the state is facing the Iranian nuclear threat and economic challenges. However analyst David Essing is of the view that Netanyahu studied recent opinion polls and was alarmed by what he saw.

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October 25, 2012

Iran, Sudan, Gaza and Israel

 The Israeli-Gaza border: Hundreds of thousands of Israeli civilians have come out of their bomb shelters this morning after being bombarded by some eighty rockets and mortars. Kids went back to school and their parents left for work. But for how long? During the flare-up, Israeli aircraft and tanks targeted the Palestinian rocket teams. Amid the cross border fireworks, a mysterious explosion demolished a munitions plant in Sudan that was supplying weapons to the Palestinians. Khartoum pointed the finger at Israel - four Israeli jets had bombed the site. Jerusalem did not confirm or deny. Analyst David Essing concludes there are more questions than answers after the latest conflagration.

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August 14, 2012

Morsi Inaugerates New Egypt

The shock waves are still reverberating and will for some time to come in Egypt, Israel and the entire Middle East. In a stunning coup, Egypt's newly elected President Mohamed Morsi has purged the all-powerful top brass of the Egyptian Army that has ruled the country since 1952. After his election, most pundits jumped the gun - take TIME magazine's cover story of July 9: 'The Revolution That Wasn't, Why The Generals Remain Egypt's Real Rulers'. Analyst David Essing has this assessment from Jerusalem of what is being viewed as an historic development in the country along the Nile.

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July 23, 2012

Israel Will Bar Syria's Chemical Weapons From Hezbollah

Israel will act militarily to prevent Hezbollah from transporting Syria's chemical weapons across the border to Lebanon - that was the message from Defense Minister Ehud Barak. Interviewed on July 20th, Barak told Channel 1 TV that Israel was 'very concerned' about terror groups exploiting the current chaos to take control of Syria's chemical weapons. The New York Times had reported that Israel has raised such a contingency with the U.S. On the Hezbollah bus bombing in Bulgaria that killed five Israelis and injured more than 30 others, Israel would find out 'exactly' who had sent the lone terrorist to Burgas Airport. Analyst David Essing is of the view that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will order the Mossad to track down and execute the perpetrators, as did Golda Meir after Palestinian terrorists massacred eleven Israeli athletes at the Much Olympics in 1972.

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July 19, 2012

Syria - Beginning of the End?

 Does the deadly bomb blast in Damascus that killed three of President Bashar Assad's three top officials spell the beginning of the end? That is the question that is now being asked in Israel. Just twenty-four hours earlier, IDF Maj.Gen. Aviv Kochavi gave a closed-door briefing on the situation in Syria. Kochavi, the commander of the IDF Intelligence Branch stated: 'Syria is going the way of Iraq: the demise of the central government and the breakup of the state into various tribal regions'. In the Knesset Foreign Affairs & Defense Committee, Gen. Kochavi reviewed the latest developments on Israel's various fronts. Analyst David Essing is of the view that not only Iranian A-Bombs pose a future threat, Syria's massive chemical weapons may now be a 'clear and present danger!'

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June 10, 2012

Netanyahu - Settler Showdown

 The recent inclusion of the Kadima party into the coalition has already paid dividends for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. With Kadima's support, the PM was able to sail through Right wing opposition, even from inside his Likud party, and comply with a Supreme Court ruling to evict Israeli residents from five buildings built on West Bank land that belonged to a Palestinian owner. Meanwhile just over the borders in Egypt and Syria, Analyst David Essing is of the view that the term 'Arab Spring' has obviously become a media oxymoron.

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June 07, 2012

Israeli Commander - Israel is Super Ready for Iran

 In advance of new nuclear talks with Iran, IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz has assessed the current range of threats now facing Israel. With the 'Arab Spring' raging in Egypt and elsewhere, the probability of a planned war against Israel was low. But on the other hand, the Arab Street was 'very volatile' and could spark a spontaneous flare-up. First and foremost there was Iran's drive for nuclear weapons and although Syria was rent by internal strife, Syria's military capabilities have not been downgraded. Analyst David Essing reports on the closed door briefing of Israel's top soldier to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

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April 07, 2012

'First Passover In Israel'

 On April 28th at the Armored Corps Base at Latrun, twin sisters from Long Island, New York will be promoted to Second Lieutenants in the Israel Defense Forces, after successfully completing the officers training course. Sapir and Inbar Baumwohl, like many other Jewish young men and women from around the world, leave their families and come on 'aliya' to Israel in order to serve in the IDF. Their stories are as varied as the countries they came from. During the Passover holiday, reporter Sigal Arbitman in the newspaper 'Yisrael Hayom' wrote two articles on these 'solitary soldiers', who come on their own to Israel. IsraCast's David Essing sums up the interviews with these idealists.

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April 01, 1925

Opening Ceremony of the Hebrew University

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem is Israel's oldest and largest university. It has been ranked as one of the 100 most outstanding academic institutions in the world. The First Board of Governors included Albert Einstein , Sigmund Freud , Martin Buber and Chaim Weizmann.

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March 15, 2012

Israel's Iron Dome Trumps Gaza's Rockets

 After five days of intense exchanges, quiet is returning to southern Israel and Gaza. The question is for how long. Both Israel and the Islamic Jihad, the two protagonists, claimed victory while the Hamas government of Gaza looked on from the sidelines. The Egyptian military again played fireman in dousing the flare-up while the rest of the Sunni Arab world was enveloped in its own Arab Spring, the carnage in Syria and its own looming confrontation with a rival Shiite Iran bent on acquiring nuclear weapons. Although there have been frequent firestorms along the Gaza-Israel frontrier, analyst David Essing says this time may have longer lasting implications.

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March 12, 2012

Iron Dome Game-Changer in New Gaza Conflagration

 It is the most serious flare-up since Israel's Cast Lead Operation into Gaza over three years ago. Rockets are flying from Gaza and Israeli aircraft are pounding the Palestinian rocket squads. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and other Israeli officials have declared they're fed up with the terrorists launching rocket attacks whenever they feel like it and driving one million Israeli civilains racing for their bomb shelters. Analyst David Essing is of the opinion that the remarkable success of the IDF's Iron Dome Missile defense has proven to be a game changer in the confrontation.

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March 08, 2012

Obama-Netanyahu Iran Reconciliation

 Iran must be prevented from acquiring nuclear weapons one way or the other – that was the message from both leaders. But although they agreed on the strategy it's not certain they see eye to eye on the tactics. In the opinion of analyst David Essing the U.S. President and the Israeli Prime Minister agreed on a short-run modus operandi, but if it fails all bets are off.

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February 12, 2012

Israel's Dagan vs. Iran's Ahmadinejad

 The Israeli-Iranian war of words continues in more ways than one. In Israel, former Mossad chief Meir Dagan again crossed swords with Defense Minister Ehud Barak over attacking Iran. Meanwhile in Tehran, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad promised major nuclear achievements in the coming days while vowing that Iran would never give up its uranium enrichment project ... IDF intelligence believes that Iran has enriched enough low grade uranium to produce four A-bombs.

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February 07, 2012

From Auschwitz to Iran?

 After leading an Israel Air Force flight over Auschwitz back in 2003, will Maj.Gen. Amir Eshel command an Israeli air strike on Iran's nuclear weapons facilities? This is an ironic possibility in light of Iran's relentless drive to acquire atomic bombs for 'wiping Israel off the map'. Fighter-pilot Eshel has now been named the new IAF commander. Israeli born Eshel, aged fifty-two, has forged a brilliant career in the Israel Defense Forces. Known as a 'quick study', he has flown an exceptional variety of combat aircraft from the F-15 and F-16 fighters to Apache and Cobra helicopter-gunships in clocking over 5,500 hours in the air. Reacting to the promotion, a former IAF commander Eliezer Skadi said: 'It's the right man in the right place. Amir Eshel is a true professional with very high abilities that will serve him well at a time the Middle East is on the boil and when new threats are emerging from states that have no common border with Israel. I am confident he will fullfil his command with distinction'. For the past four years, Eshel has headed the IDF's strategic Planning Branch that deals with strategic threats to Israel and the IDF's force buildup. In a rare public address on January 17th, Maj.Gen. Eshel analyzed the threat of a nuclear Iran not only to Israel but to the entire globe. Read the following report of his presentation entitled 'Iran & Global Nuclear Jungle'.

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January 18, 2012

Iran & 'Global Nuclear Jungle'

 Gen. Amir Eshel, the commander of the IDF Planning Branch has presented a spell- binding look at the current and future threats to Israel. In a lecture entitled ' Planning for the Unknown - Israel's Ever Changing Strategic Reality', he outlined the challenges he has to face in the wake of the 'Arab Spring'. Speaking at the Institute for Contemporary Affairs in Jerusalem, Gen. Eshel stressed that Iran was at the top of his priority list. Analyst David Essing sums up the major points made by the commander who has responsibility for the IDF's force build-up.

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January 11, 2012

Israel to Grant Refuge to Syria's Alewites

While Syrian President Bashar Assad was talking of his certain victory in Damascus, IDF Chief Of Staff Benny Gantz was predicting his inevitable fall. In a briefing to the Knesset Foreign Affairs & Defense Committee, Lt.Gen. Gantz also disclosed that he is preparing to grant refuge on the Golan Heights to Assad's Alewite supporters. David Essing sums up some other key assessments of Israel's high command for the new year.

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January 09, 2012

Lieberman: 'Russia is No Switzerland'

 Israel's For Minister Avigdor Lieberman, notorious for his tough talk, pulled no punches when he briefed the Knesset's Foreign Affairs & Defense Committee in Jerusalem. Lieberman commented on Russia's controversial election, new Palestinian peace contacts, Iran, Jordan and Turkey. Although Lieberman's diplomatic discourse dealt with the numerous problems, the Foreign Minister rejected any notion that Israel was facing diplomatic isolation on his watch.

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