‘There won’t be equal burden, but rather a reduction in inequality’

MK Ayelet Shaked is pinning her hopes on integrating the ultra-Orthodox community into the workforce • “Whoever talks about equalizing the burden is wrong — enlisting in the military is a privilege, not a burden.”

Ayelet Shaked from Habayit Hayehudi

Ayelet Shaked from Habayit Hayehudi

Habayit Hayehudi MK Ayelet Shaked, the head of the Knesset’s Special Committee for the Equal Sharing of the Burden, responded on Tuesday to criticism committee’s bill.

Shaked said the bill would not bring about complete equal sharing of the burden. “It is not a law of equality, but it is meant to reduce the inequality,” Shaked told Israel Hayom in an interview.

Shaked said targets for enlisting ultra-Orthodox men into military and civil service — some 5,200 men according to proposals in the new law — are no different than what is actually happening in reality. “If the state would budget ultra-Orthodox enlistment, and the army would take the situation seriously like it did last year — the new law would be unnecessary and there would be no need to replace the Tal Law.

“Whoever talks about equalizing the burden is wrong. There isn’t equality, there is a reduction in the gap of inequality, and there is no burden because serving in the army is a privilege. Our goal is to make sure the ultra-Orthodox sector will integrate into the workforce, which is a very important goal.”

Shaked said she had asked the army to look into alternatives to extending women’s military service, and that she would not give up on shortening the time for men.

Discussions continued Tuesday as the committee argued over the military service of Zionist yeshiva students. Representatives of the ultra-Orthodox community, MKs Moshe Gafni, Meir Porush, and Ariel Atias actually came to the defense of the Zionist yeshiva students who serve in the army, after learning that the new law allows them to study until the age of 23 before enlisting.

“You want to destroy the rabbinate and the judgeship. If they enlist in the Israel Defense Forces at age 23, they won’t have rabbis and teachers at an advanced level. Why not let them continue studying?” MK Gafni said.

“If you pass this law, we will not obey it,” Porush said.

On the other hand, Yesh Atid MK Ofer Shelah said he has great respect for Zionist yeshiva students because 80 to 85 percent of them serve in combat units.

After a heated debate, the committee approved the clause that would allow yeshiva students to defer their military service, and continue studying, until the age of 23 — with the exception of 300 students that can delay their service until age 26.

The committee also discussed the enrollment of Chabad men. “Every year, dozens of Chabad students evade the military by going abroad at age 17 or 18 for a few years. Those who come back are sentenced and forced to serve,” the Israel Defense Force representative, Brig. Gen. Gadi Agmon said.

The committee decided to vote some time next week on further reservations to integrating yeshiva students in the IDF.

“After cancelling the Tal Law that was not equal, we are heading towards an agreement which is even less equal. What is being done here is in legal doubt,” said Professor Yedidia Z. Stern, Israel Democracy Institute vice president of research, adding that talks of criminal penalties can’t hide the fact that next year there will be fewer haredim enlisting.

At a graduation ceremony for the IDF Ground Forces officer training course on Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “I want to see on this parade ground a more equal representation of all parts of our society. This is true and correct for everyone and we are currently working in this direction.”

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Iran threatens U.S, Israel

Chief of staff warns Tehran’s enemies and regional states against military action, calling American threats ‘political bluff’

In the latest in a series of warnings against the US, Iran’s chief of staff Hassan Firouzabadi warned the Islamic republic’s foes that Iran is prepared for a “decisive battle” if attacked.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on stage during a meeting with Iranian air force commanders in Tehran

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on stage during a meeting with Iranian air force commanders in Tehran

“We are ready for the decisive battle with America and the Zionist regime (Israel),” Fars news agency quoted Firouzabadi as saying Wednesday.

He also warned neighboring nations not to allow any attack to be launched on Iran from their soil.

“We do not have any hostility toward regional states, but if we are ever attacked from the American bases in the region we will strike that area back,” he said.

Washington has many military bases in the region, including in Bahrain, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said late last month that if diplomacy with Iran fails, “the military option of the United States is ready and prepared to do what it would have to do.”

But Firouzabadi accused the US of bluffing.

“Over the past decade, they brought their forces but came to the conclusion that they can’t attack us, and left,” he said, dismissing the US military threat as nothing but a “political bluff.”

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday that the West should not have any delusions about using a military option.

“I say explicitly, if some have delusions of having any threats against Iran on their tables, they need to wear new glasses. There is no military option against Iran on any table in the world,” he said.

On Sunday, Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps Navy Commander Ali Fadavi said the US knows that its aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf would be sunk if it launched a military strike on Iran.

“The Americans can sense by all means how their warships will be sunk with 5,000 crews and forces in combat against Iran and how they should find its hulk in the depths of the sea,” said Fadavi, according to Fars news agency.

“They cannot hide themselves in the sea since the entire Middle East region, Western Europe, the Persian Gulf, the Sea of Oman and the Strait of Hormuz are monitored by us and there is no place for them to hide.”

Also Sunday, Defense Minister Hossein Dehqan touted the Iranian military’s ability to respond to an American attack, Fars reported.

“The Iranian Armed Forces are an intertwined and coherent complex that can give a decisive response to any threat at any level and any place under the command of the commander-in-chief,” Dehqan said in a ceremony marking the 35th anniversary of the revolution that brought the current Islamic regime to power.

“The enemy can never assess and think of the range of the response given by the powerful and mighty Armed Forces of the Islamic Iran,” he added.

The bellicose rhetoric follows Saturday’s announcement by an Iranian admiral that Iran had dispatched warships to the North Atlantic, while Iran’s spiritual leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei denounced the Americans as liars who, while professing to be friends of Tehran, would bring down his regime if they could. He also said it was “amusing” that the US thought Iran would reduce its “defensive capabilities.”

On Friday, Iranian state TV ran a documentary featuring a computerized video of Iran’s drones and missiles bombing Tel Aviv, Haifa, Ben-Gurion Airport and the Dimona nuclear reactor in a simulated retaliation for a hypothetical Israeli or American strike on the Islamic Republic.

Iran is due to resume talks on Monday in Vienna with the P5+1 — Britain, France, the United States, Russia and China plus Germany — aimed at reaching a comprehensive nuclear accord following a landmark interim agreement struck in November.

Western nations have long suspected Iran of covertly pursuing nuclear weapons alongside its civilian program, allegations denied by Tehran, which insists its nuclear activities are entirely peaceful.

Neither the United States nor Israel has ruled out military action to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, if diplomacy fails.

Strike inevitable as Iran mocks World Powers

With an interim agreement reached and signed in Geneva between the P-5+1 and Iran on Saturday, the US Government seems content while subsequent events clearly indicate Iran is not planning on keeping its end of the bargain leaving Netanyahu no option but to order a strike.

A couple of quick pen strokes signaled the sealing of the (interim) agreement in the early hours of Sunday after four long days of negotiations. Soon thereafter, near-euphoric headlines emerged around the world notifying the international community of this happening. Yet there is little to rejoice about.

Read the rest of the article at:

blogs.timesofisrael.com/strike-inevitable-as-iran-mocks-world-powers/

Historical IDF tweet sends oil soaring

Traders mistake 40-year-old commemoration of attack on Syrian airports for actual news, setting off buying rally

Wall Street on Thursday

Wall Street on Thursday

Twitter message by the Israel Defense Forces commemorating an Israeli bombing raid 40 years ago spooked oil traders Thursday, sending prices spiraling upward on the old news.

The tweet reported on Israeli bombing raids on Syrian airports to stop Soviet weapons transfers and carried the hashtag #YomKippur73, intended to clue readers in that this was part of a series of messages by the IDF commemorating the war.

Instead, international Brent traders misread the tweet as a clue that oil would soon become scarcer, and began buying, sending the price from $110.40 a barrel to $111.50, according to Reuters.

Oil prices in the US also rose by over a dollar to close at $103, spurred by the tweet and other news out of the Mideast and Washington.

John Kilduff, a founding partner of hedge fund Again Capital, told AFP he saw the news on an online energy trading forum without the hashtag, making it look like a fresh attack.

“There was confusion on that tweet and it got bandied about as a new attack,” he said.

The IDF indicated it believed the confusion was unwarranted.

“Obviously this was part of our Yom Kippur Twitter series. The facts are there and simple to read. It was apparent within the tweet itself,” IDF Spokesperson Peter Lerner told Reuters.

Prices did not go any lower once traders realized their mistake, staying high and gaining a few more cents on the rally, which began earlier in the morning on the news that Libya’s prime minister had been kidnapped. The price eventually closed at $111.80, up $2.74 for the day.

“The rumor seems to have got stuff going,” one trader told Reuters.

The actual Yom Kippur War in 1973 sent oil costs surging as well, after OPEC nations decided to embargo the US in response to Washington’s decision to arm Israel.

Incredible Speech by Netanyahu at United Nations

Diplomats laud Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to the U.N. General Assembly, saying it brought honor to Israel  • Professor Alan Dershowitz calls it one of the best speeches ever heard at the U.N.

Dozens of U.N. ambassadors and representatives from many countries approached Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday following his address before the General Assembly, to offer him their congratulations on a speech they said honored the State of Israel.

“This is the best combination of solid facts and reason ever spoken in the U.N.,” prominent law professor Alan Dershowitz said.

“This is one of the most brilliant speeches and best performances I have ever seen. As a law professor, I would give his speech an A+. He is sending Iran an important message that Israel will never let it develop nuclear weapons and as a last resort will even take military action. He also sent an important message to the Europeans, that they can’t allow Iran to do what North Korea did. And it also sends an important message to the Americans that they are not acting alone and that Israel is an independent country that won’t outsource its use of force or defense to American citizens.

“The speech also sent a message to The New York Times,” Dershowitz said. “You were wrong about North Korea and you were wrong about Iran, and the world has learned to ignore your opinion pages.”

Members of the Israeli delegation who accompanied Netanyahu to the U.N. also responded to the speech.

“The gimmick of this entire speech was is that you don’t need any gimmicks when you have facts. Any solution will have to stand the test of Netanyahu’s four conditions,” Homefront Defense Minister Gilad Erdan said.

“This was a speech that told the truth, the facts,” Deputy Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin said. “There is symbolism in the fact that the last sentence spoken at the U.N. General Assembly, in the face of all the lies and phony smiles, was that ‘the people of Israel will never be uprooted again.’ The president of the United States and the West speak about the fact that they intend to wait for actions. Let us all hope this happens.”

Facts versus smiles

Netanyahu told his advisors on Tuesday that the purpose of the speech was to counter smiles with facts and to illustrate the contradictions behind Hasan Rouhani’s charm offensive at the U.N.

“I feel we can puncture the Iranian balloon,” Netanyahu said on Tuesday.

Netanyahu said he was certain that it would be his message, and not Rouhani’s, that would resonate with the world’s governments and global public opinion. After his address, many representatives from different nations came to shake Netanyahu’s hand, expressing their appreciation for his words.

Netanyahu found a receptive audience during his meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday, but Obama is still undecided about his plan of action. The Americans have the upper hand, but the question of what they will do with it still remains. Netanyahu believes that now is the time to decide on a joint U.S.-Israeli policy to stop the Iranian nuclear program. Israel and the U.S. have a common goal and need to make sure that actions and not words are what decide the outcome.

Making life difficult for the Iranians

Netanyahu’s activities vis-à-vis Obama, the U.N. and the U.S. media in the coming days are meant to deflate Rouhani’s momentum, and he intends to combine reason with facts in a way that resonates.

The prime minister’s advisors this week recalled Netanyahu’s first meeting with Obama, which preceded the sanctions on Iran. It took place in 2007 in the janitor’s office at Reagan National Airport. Netanyahu was a candidate for prime minister and opposition MK and Obama was serving on the Illinois Senate. At the time, Obama asked, “What is most important to you?”

“Sanctions combined with a credible threat will stop Iran from becoming a nuclear state,” Netanyahu responded. Two weeks later, Obama proposed a Senate bill to step up the sanctions imposed on Iran.

Netanyahu believes that his recent actions has made life harder for the Iranians. His pressure is helping the Americans decide, the prime minister’s associates hedged.

Netanyahu said that Rouhani wants to turn Iran into a threshold country — a country that would be able to produce a nuclear bomb within three weeks if deciding to do so. Thus, the prime minister believes there is no change in Iran’s approach and that Rouhani is simply Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s lackey. A senior diplomatic source told Israel Hayom on Tuesday that at present, there are three significant players in the arena: Israel, Iran and the United States.

In the past the Europeans and Americans decided to impose economic sanctions on Iran as a result of Israel’s threat that if no such sanctions were imposed, it may take military action.

The Europeans’ real concern is that Israel will act alone. Netanyahu once again raised the specter of a military threat, to advance a diplomatic solution, one that will allow the negotiations with Iran to progress in the right way, without lifting the sanctions. At present, the goal of Netanyahu’s military threat is to keep the sanctions in effect.

Among Israeli politicians, reactions to the speech were mixed.

“Standing there, he honorably represented the entire nation,” said MK Eli Yishai (Shas). “I hope that his cry rouses those who are sleeping.”

“This may be Netanyahu’s most important speech of the past several decades,” said Deputy Minister Ofir Akunis.

Opposition Chairwoman Shelly Yachimovich (Labor) said that she agreed with Netanyahu’s facts but not with his presentation. “The international community must not form the impression or come to believe that the Iranian problem is solely Israel’s problem.”

“Netanyahu is going back to the old rhetoric of threats and fear-mongering,” Meretz Chairwoman Zehava Gal-On said.

————————————————————————–

Full text of speech:

I feel deeply honored and privileged to stand here before you today representing the citizens of the State of Israel.

We are an ancient people. We date back nearly 4,000 years to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. We have journeyed through time, we’ve overcome the greatest of adversities, and we re-established our sovereign state in our ancestral homeland, the Land of Israel.

The Jewish people’s odyssey through time has taught us two things: Never give up hope. Always remain vigilant. Hope charts the future. Vigilance protects it.

Today, our hope for the future is challenged by a nuclear-armed Iran that seeks our destruction. But I want you to know that wasn’t always the case. Some 2,500 years ago, the great Persian King Cyrus ended the Babylonian exile of the Jewish people. He issued a famous edict in which he proclaimed the right of the Jews to return to the Land of Israel and rebuild the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. That’s a Persian decree, and thus began a historic friendship between the Jews and the Persians that lasted until modern times.

But in 1979, a radical regime in Tehran tried to stamp out that friendship. As it was busy crushing the Iranian people’s hopes for democracy, it also led wild chants of “Death to the Jews!” Now, since that time, presidents of Iran have come and gone. Some presidents were considered moderates, others hardliners. But they’ve all served that same unforgiving creed, that same unforgetting regime — that creed that is espoused and enforced by the real power in Iran, the dictator known in Iran as the Supreme Leader, first Ayatollah Khomeini and now Ayatollah Khamenei. President Rouhani, like the presidents who came before him, is a loyal servant of the regime. He was one of only six candidates the regime permitted to run for office. Nearly 700 other candidates were rejected.

So what made him acceptable? Well, Rouhani headed Iran’s Supreme National Security Council from 1989 through 2003. During that time, Iran’s henchmen gunned down opposition leaders in a Berlin restaurant. They murdered 85 people at the Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires. They killed 19 American soldiers by blowing up the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia. Are we to believe that Rouhani, the national security adviser of Iran at the time, knew nothing about these attacks?

Of course he did.

Just as 30 years ago, Iran’s security chiefs knew about the bombings in Beirut that killed 241 American marines and 58 French paratroopers.

Rouhani was also Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator between 2003 and 2005. He masterminded the strategy which enabled Iran to advance its nuclear weapons program behind a smokescreen of diplomatic engagement and very soothing rhetoric. Now I know Rouhani does not sound like Ahmadinejad. But when it comes to Iran’s nuclear weapons program, the only difference between them is this: Ahmadinejad was a wolf in wolf’s clothing and Rouhani is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, a wolf who thinks he can pull the wool over the eyes of the international community.

Like everyone else, I wish we could believe Rouhani’s words. But we must focus on Iran’s actions.

And it’s the brazen contrast, this extraordinary contradiction between Rouhani’s words and Iran’s actions that is so startling. Rouhani stood at this very podium last week and praised Iranian democracy. Iranian democracy, he said.

But the regime that he represents executes political dissidents by the hundreds and jails them by the thousands. Rouhani spoke of “the human tragedy in Syria.” Yet Iran directly participates in Assad’s murder and massacre of tens of thousands of innocent men, women, and children in Syria, and that regime is propping up a Syrian regime that just used chemical weapons against its own people.

Rouhani condemned the “violent scourge of terrorism.” Yet in the last three years alone Iran has ordered, planned or perpetrated terrorist attacks in 25 cities on five continents.

Rouhani denounces “attempts to change the regional balance through proxies.” Yet Iran is actively destabilizing Lebanon, Yemen, Bahrain, and many other Middle Eastern countries.

Rouhani promises “constructive engagement with other countries.” Yet two years ago, Iranian agents tried to assassinate Saudi Arabia’s ambassador in Washington, D.C.

And just three weeks ago, an Iranian agent was arrested trying to collect information for possible attacks against the American Embassy in Tel Aviv. Some constructive engagement!

I wish I could be moved by Rouhani’s invitation to join his “WAVE” — a world against violence and extremism. Yet the only waves Iran has generated in the last 30 years are waves of violence and terrorism that it has unleashed on the region and across the world.

Ladies and gentlemen, I wish I could believe Rouhani, but I don’t, because facts are stubborn things. And the facts are that Iran’s savage record flatly contradicts Rouhani’s soothing rhetoric.

Last Friday, Rouhani assured us that in pursuit of its nuclear program, Iran has “never chosen deceit … and secrecy.” Never chosen deceit and secrecy?!

Well, in 2002, Iran was caught red-handed secretly building an underground centrifuge facility at Natanz. Then in 2009, Iran was again caught red-handed secretly building a huge underground nuclear facility for uranium enrichment in a mountain near Qom.

Rouhani tells us not to worry; he assures us that all this is not intended for nuclear weapons. Do any of you believe that? If you believe that, here are a few questions that you might want to ask:

Why would a country that claims to only want peaceful nuclear energy, why would such a country build hidden underground enrichment facilities?

Why would a country with vast natural energy reserves invest billions in developing nuclear energy?

Why would a country intent on merely civilian nuclear programs continue to defy multiple Security Council resolutions and incur the costs of crippling sanctions on its economy?

And why would a country with a peaceful nuclear program develop intercontinental ballistic missiles whose sole purpose is to deliver nuclear warheads? You don’t build ICBMs to carry TNT thousands of miles away. You build them for one purpose — to carry nuclear warheads. And Iran is now building ICBMs that the United States says can reach this city in three or four years.

Why would they do all this? The answer is simple. Iran is not building a peaceful nuclear program. Iran is developing nuclear weapons.

Last year alone, Iran enriched three tons of uranium to 3.5%, doubled its stockpile of 20% enriched uranium, and added thousands of new centrifuges, including advanced centrifuges. It also continued work on the heavy water reactor in Arak. That’s in order to have another route to the bomb — a plutonium path.

And since Rouhani’s election — and I stress this — this vast and feverish effort has continued unabated.

Ladies and gentlemen: underground nuclear facilities?

Heavy water reactors?

Advanced centrifuges?

ICBMs?

It’s not that it’s hard to find evidence that Iran has a nuclear weapons program. It’s hard to find evidence that Iran doesn’t have a nuclear weapons program.

Last year when I spoke here at the U.N., I drew a red line. Iran has been very careful not to cross that line. But Iran is positioning itself to race across that line in the future at a time of its choosing. Iran wants to be in a position to rush forward to build nuclear bombs before the international community can detect it, much less prevent it.

Yet Iran faces one big problem, and that problem is summed up in one word: sanctions.

I have argued for many years, including on this podium, that the only way to peacefully prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons is to combine tough sanctions with a credible military threat. And that policy is today bearing fruit. Thanks to the effort of many countries, many represented here, and under the leadership of the United States, tough sanctions have taken a big bite out of Iran’s economy. Oil revenues have fallen. The currency has plummeted. Banks are hard pressed to transfer money.

So as a result, the regime is under intense pressure from the Iranian people to get the sanctions removed. That’s why Rouhani got elected in the first place. That’s why he launched his charm offensive.

He definitely wants to get the sanctions lifted, I guarantee you that, but he doesn’t want to give up Iran’s nuclear weapons program in return.

Now, here’s the strategy to achieve this:

First, smile a lot. Smiling never hurts. Second, pay lip service to peace, democracy and tolerance. Third, offer meaningless concessions in exchange for lifting sanctions. And fourth, and the most important, ensure that Iran retains sufficient nuclear material and sufficient nuclear infrastructure to race to the bomb at a time that it chooses to do so. You know why Rouhani thinks he can get away with this? I mean, this is a ruse, it’s a ploy. Why does Rouhani think he can get away with it? Because he’s gotten away with it before. Because his strategy of talking a lot and doing little has worked for him in the past. He even bragged about it. Here’s what he said in his 2011 book about his time as Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator: “While we were talking to the Europeans in Tehran, we were installing equipment in Isfahan.”

For those of you who don’t know, the Isfahan facility is an indispensable part of Iran’s nuclear weapons program. That’s where uranium ore called yellowcake is converted into an enrichable form. Rouhani boasted, and I quote: “By creating a calm environment, we were able to complete the work in Isfahan.”

He fooled the world once. Now he thinks he can fool it again. You see, Rouhani thinks he can have his yellowcake and eat it too.

And he has another reason to believe that he can get away with this, and that reason is called North Korea.

Like Iran, North Korea also said its nuclear program was for peaceful purposes. Like Iran, North Korea also offered meaningless concessions and empty promises in return for sanctions relief. In 2005, North Korea agreed to a deal that was celebrated the world over by many well-meaning people. Here is what The New York Times editorial had to say about it: “For years now, foreign policy insiders have pointed to North Korea as the ultimate nightmare … a closed, hostile and paranoid dictatorship with an aggressive nuclear weapons program. Very few could envision a successful outcome. And yet North Korea agreed in principle this week to dismantle its nuclear weapons program, return to the NPT, abide by the treaty’s safeguards and admit international inspectors. … Diplomacy, it seems, does work after all.”

End quote.

Ladies and gentlemen, a year later, North Korea exploded its first nuclear weapons device.

Yet as dangerous as a nuclear-armed North Korea is, it pales in comparison to the danger of a nuclear-armed Iran. A nuclear-armed Iran would have a chokehold on the world’s main energy supplies. It would trigger nuclear proliferation throughout the Middle East, turning the most unstable part of the planet into a nuclear tinderbox. And for the first time in history, it would make the specter of nuclear terrorism a clear and present danger.

A nuclear-armed Iran in the Middle East wouldn’t be another North Korea. It would be another 50 North Koreas!

I know that some in the international community think I’m exaggerating this threat. Sure, they know that Iran’s regime leads the chants of “Death to America!” and “Death to Israel!”, that it pledges to wipe Israel off the map. But they think this wild rhetoric is just bluster for domestic consumption. Have these people learned nothing from history?

The last century has taught us that when a radical regime with global ambitions gets awesome power, sooner or later, its appetite for aggression knows no bounds. That’s the central lesson of the 20th century. Now, we cannot forget it.

The world may have forgotten this lesson. The Jewish people have not.

Iran’s fanaticism is not bluster. It’s real. This fanatic regime must never be allowed to arm itself with nuclear weapons.

I know that the world is weary of war. We in Israel, we know all too well the cost of war. But history has taught us that to prevent war tomorrow, we must be firm today.

This raises the question: Can diplomacy stop this threat?

Well, the only diplomatic solution that would work is one that fully dismantles Iran’s nuclear weapons program and prevents it from having one in the future. President Obama rightly said that Iran’s conciliatory words must be matched by transparent, verifiable and meaningful action, and to be meaningful, a diplomatic solution would require Iran to do four things. First, cease all uranium enrichment. This is called for by several Security Council resolutions. Second, remove from its territory the stockpiles of enriched uranium. Third, dismantle the infrastructure for a nuclear breakout capability, including the underground facility near Qom and the advanced centrifuges in Natanz. And fourth, stop all work at the heavy water reactor in Arak aimed at the production of plutonium.

These steps would put an end to Iran’s nuclear weapons program and eliminate its breakout capability. There are those who would readily agree to leave Iran with a residual capability to enrich uranium. I advise them to pay close attention to what Rouhani said in a speech to Iran’s Supreme Cultural Revolutionary Council. This was published in 2005: “A country that can enrich uranium to about 3.5% will also have the capability to enrich it to about 90%. Having fuel cycle capability virtually means that a country that possesses this capability is able to produce nuclear weapons.”

Precisely. This is precisely why Iran’s nuclear weapons program must be fully and verifiably dismantled. And this is why the pressure on Iran must continue.

So here’s what the international community must do. First, keep up the sanctions. If Iran advances its nuclear weapons program during negotiations, strengthen the sanctions.

Second, don’t agree to a partial deal. A partial deal would lift international sanctions that have taken years to put in place in exchange for cosmetic concessions that will take only weeks for Iran to reverse. Third, lift the sanctions only when Iran fully dismantles its nuclear weapons program.

My friends, the international community has Iran on the ropes. If you want to knock out Iran’s nuclear weapons program peacefully, don’t let up the pressure. Keep it up.

We all want to give diplomacy with Iran a chance to succeed. But when it comes to Iran, the greater the pressure, the greater the chance.

Three decades ago, President Ronald Reagan famously advised: Trust but verify. When it comes to Iran’s nuclear weapons program, here’s my advice: Distrust, dismantle, and verify.

Ladies and gentlemen, Israel will never acquiesce to nuclear arms in the hands of a rogue regime that repeatedly promises to wipe us off the map. Against such a threat, Israel will have no choice but to defend itself. I want there to be no confusion on this point: Israel will not allow Iran to get nuclear weapons. If Israel is forced to stand alone, Israel will stand alone. Yet in standing alone, Israel will know that we will be defending many, many others. The dangers of a nuclear-armed Iran and the emergence of other threats in our region have led many of our Arab neighbors to finally recognize that Israel is not their enemy. This affords us the opportunity to overcome historic animosities and build new relationships, new friendships, new hopes. Israel welcomes engagement with the wider Arab world. We hope that our common interests and common challenges will help us forge a more peaceful future.

And Israel continues to seek a historic peace with our Palestinian neighbors, one that ends our conflict once and for all. We want a peace based on security and mutual recognition in which a demilitarized Palestinian state recognizes the Jewish state of Israel. I remain committed to achieving a historic conciliation and building a better future for Israelis and Palestinians alike.

Now, I have no illusions about how difficult this will be to achieve. Twenty years ago, the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians began. Six Israeli prime ministers, myself included, have not succeeded in achieving peace with the Palestinians. My predecessors were prepared to make painful concessions. So am I.

But so far, Palestinian leaders haven’t been prepared to offer the painful concessions they must make to end the conflict. For peace to be achieved, the Palestinians must finally recognize the Jewish state and Israel’s security needs must be met. I am prepared to make an historic compromise for a genuine and enduring peace. But I will never compromise on the security of my people and of my country of the one and only Jewish state.

Ladies and gentlemen, one cold day in the late 19th century, my grandfather Nathan and his younger brother Judah were standing in a railway station in the heart of Europe. They were seen by a group of anti-Semitic hoodlums who ran towards them waving clubs, screaming, “Death to the Jews!”

My grandfather shouted to his younger brother to flee and save himself. And he then stood alone against the raging mob to slow it down. They beat him senseless. They left him for dead. Before he passed out, covered in his own blood, he said to himself: “What a disgrace! What a disgrace! The descendants of the Maccabees lie in the mud, powerless to defend themselves.”

He promised himself then that if he lived, he would take his family to the Jewish homeland to help build a future for the Jewish people. I stand here today as Israel’s prime minister because my grandfather kept that promise.

So many other Israelis have a similar story: a parent or a grandparent who fled every conceivable oppression, and came to Israel to start a new life in our ancient homeland.

Together, we’ve transformed a bludgeoned Jewish people left for dead into a vibrant, thriving nation, defending itself with the courage of modern Maccabees, developing limitless possibilities for the future.

In our time, the biblical prophecies have been realized. As the prophet Amos said:

They shall rebuild ruined cities and inhabit them,

They shall plant vineyards and drink their wine,

They shall till gardens and eat their fruit.

And I will plant them upon their soil, never to be uprooted again.

Ladies and gentlemen, the people of Israel have come home, never to be uprooted again.

Two Israeli scientists short-listed for Nobel Prize in medicine

Hebrew University biochemists Professor Aharon Razin and Professor Haim Cedar, both past winners of the Israel Prize, are considered favorites to win 2013 Nobel Prize in the fields of medicine or chemistry for their research on the DNA sequence.

Professor Aharon Razin (left) and Professor Haim Cedar | Photo credit: Photo courtesy of Hebrew University

Professor Aharon Razin (left) and Professor Haim Cedar
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Photo credit: Photo courtesy of Hebrew University

World-renowned Hebrew University biochemists Professor Aharon Razin and Professor Haim Cedar are the frontrunners for the 2013 Nobel Prize in the fields of medicine or chemistry.

The two have been named the leading candidates for their research on the DNA sequence. The Nobel Prize winners are officially announced in early October. The winner or winners share a prize totalling about $1.25 million.

Razin and Cedar jointly won the 2008 Wolf Prize for their research. Cedar is the recipient of the 1999 Israel Prize for biology, while Razin was awarded the 2004 Israel Prize for biochemistry.

The research that has garnered Cedar and Razin their Nobel Prize nomination, which they pursued along with Scottish scientist Adrian Bird, studies the changes in the DNA sequence as a result of the methylation process — a chemical reaction in which methyl joins the genetic sequence. This molecular process affects approximately 40,000 genes in the human body.

Cedar, 70, was born and studied in the United States until 1970, when he immigrated to Israel. He studied at the Hebrew University’s School of Medicine and has been a member of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities since 2003. Cedar has won several awards for his work, including the 2009 Emet Natural Science Prize, the Gardener Prize and the Rothschild Prize and the 2011 Canada Gairdner Award.

He currently serves as a professor of the biochemistry and genetics of the human cell at the Hebrew University and chairs the developmental biology and cancer research department at the Institute for Medical Research, Israel-Canada.

Razin, 78, studied physics and mathematics at the Hebrew University, where he also earned his master’s and Ph.D. degrees in biochemistry. Upon completing his studies, he went on to become a research fellow at the California Institute of Technology. He returned to Israel in 1971, serving as a professor of cellular biochemistry and human genetics at the Hebrew University School of Medicine. In 2001, he shared the Canada Gairdner Award with Cedar for their “pioneering discoveries on DNA methylation and its role in gene expression.”

 

Netanyahu to world: Don’t be fooled by Iran

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: International community must judge Iran by its actions, not its words • Netanyahu says Iranian President Hasan Rouhani’s U.N. speech was “cynical and full of hypocrisy” • Netanyahu to depart for U.S. on Saturday night.

Benjamin Netanyahu

“We will not be fooled by half-measures that merely provide a smokescreen for Iran’s continual pursuit of nuclear weapons, and the world should not be fooled either,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday in a statement following U.S. President Barack Obama’s address to the U.N. General Assembly.

“I appreciate President Obama’s statement that ‘Iran’s conciliatory words will have to be matched by action that is transparent and verifiable,’ and I look forward to discussing this with him in Washington next week,” Netanyahu said.

“Iran thinks that soothing words and token actions will enable it to continue on its path to the bomb,” Netanyahu continued. “Like North Korea before it, Iran will try to remove sanctions by offering cosmetic concessions, while preserving its ability to rapidly build a nuclear weapon at a time of its choosing.”

“Israel would welcome a genuine diplomatic solution that truly dismantles Iran’s capacity to develop nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu noted.

Netanyahu also responded to Iranian President Hasan Rouhani’s U.N. speech on Tuesday, calling it “cynical and full of hypocrisy.”

“Rouhani spoke about human rights at a time when Iranian forces are participating in the slaughter of innocent civilians in Syria,” Netanyahu said. “He condemned terrorism at a time when the Iranian regime carries out terrorism in dozens of countries worldwide. He spoke of a peaceful nuclear program at a time when the IAEA has established that the [Iranian] program has military characteristics, and when it’s plain to all that one of the world’s most oil-rich nations is not investing a fortune in ballistic missiles and underground nuclear facilities in order to produce electricity.”

“It was not for nothing that his speech had no realistic offer to halt Iran’s nuclear program and contained no commitment to uphold U.N. Security Council resolutions,” Netanyahu said. “This is exactly the Iranian plan — to talk, and buy time, in order to advance Iran’s capacity to attain nuclear weapons.”

“Rouhani knows this well — he is proud of how he fooled the West ten years ago [as Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator], when Iran was negotiating while simultaneously advancing its nuclear program,” Netanyahu said. “The international community must judge Iran by its actions, not its words.”

Regarding his decision to order Israel’s U.N. delegation to not attend Rouhani’s speech, Netanyahu said, “As the prime minister of Israel, the state of the Jewish people, I won’t allow an Israeli delegation to be part of a cynical public relations show put on by a regime that denies the Holocaust and calls for our destruction.”

Because of the Sukkot holiday and Shabbat, Netanyahu will only depart for the U.S. on Saturday night. He will address the U.N. on Tuesday, the final day of the General Assembly meeting.

Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon (Likud) said in response to Obama’s speech, “If this is the wind now blowing in our direction from the White House, we should expect enormous pressure from [Obama] later.”

Labor MK Isaac Herzog said, “Even without Obama, we must understand that the lack of a diplomatic solution between Israel and the Palestinians and the continued nuclearization of Iran are two problems that could endanger Israel.”

Intelligence, International Relations and Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz (Likud) represented the government at the opening of the U.N. General Assembly meeting. Steinitz held meetings with a number of officials, including the Norwegian and Czech foreign ministers and Middle East Quartet envoy Tony Blair.

Following Rouhani’s speech, Steinitz met with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. During the meeting, Steinitz emphasized that the mistakes made during past nuclear negotiations with North Korea should not be repeated with Iran.

Speaking to Ban, Steinitz said, “As a citizen of South Korea which is under a real nuclear threat, you understand better than us all the disastrous consequences of agreements based on gestures and illusions.”

“North Korea acquired nuclear weapons despite two signed agreements that were celebrated enthusiastically by the entire world,” Steinitz said.