The Day In Israel: Sunday April 25th, 2010

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The Syrians are threatening Israel.

Syria  has threatened to “send Israel  back to the era of prehistoric man” if the Jewish state attacks it with unconventional weapons.

A source close to decision-makers in Damascus was quoted by Kuwaiti newspaper al-Rai on Saturday as saying that “If Israel uses unconventional weapons, we’ll respond in a similar fashion.”

Earlier this week, an Israeli minister told the Sunday Times that Syria would be “sent back to the Stone Age” if Hezbollah launches ballistic missiles.

What’s next? Hizbullah saying they will send Israel “back to a very, very long time ago”? A bit of originality, please!

The Syrian official said Damascus has upgraded its military capabilities and has prepared for a number of possible scenarios in case a war against Israel breaks out.

“Despite the fact that Syria has been outside the cycle of war since 1973, it did not sit idly by for even one day and is still working to develop its capabilities via missiles,” he was quoted by the Kuwait paper as saying.

The official said Syria has drawn lessons from Hezbollah’s “success” during the Second Lebanon War and has since then developed “advanced methods of warfare.”

The Syrian source said Damascus’ wartime strategy is based in part on the possibility of opening a broad front against Israel – from Rosh Hanikra to the Golan Heights. In addition, said the official, Syria is capable of launching 60 ballistic missiles deep into Israeli territory if the Jewish state will “dare to try and undermine Damascus’ sovereignty.”

“Syria can also launch 600 short-range tactical missiles into Israel in one day,” he said, while detailing plans to attack Israel’s coastline if a war breaks out. In this framework, he said, Syrian forces would employ sea-to-surface missiles against Israeli civilian and military targets, including ports.

The official did not address claims that Syria was transferring Scud missiles to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Thank goodness for the IAF.



Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)?

7:55PM: The PMO has responded to the Hamas animated film on Gilad Shalit.

The Prime Minister’s Office commented on the animated film, saying that “the cynical use of the Shalit family’s sentiments by the Hamas leaders, only two days after Israel allowed the transfer of a child to a live-saving operation outside Gaza, testifies more than anything to the nature of this terror organization. This is another cowardly action by Hamas aimed at helping its leadership avoid making a decision about the recent mediation proposal.”

5:38PM: While Israel is making humanitarian gestures towards Hamas (see 3:12PM update), this is the response.

Hamas released an animated cartoon on Sunday showing abducted Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit, who has been captive in Gaza for nearly four years, returning to Israel in a coffin.

The three-minute 3D animation, shown on the website of Hamas’ armed wing, warns that Gilad Shalit would face the same fate as Israeli airman Ron Arad, whose whereabouts are unknown since he was captured in South Lebanon in 1986.

The voice-over in the clip is that of Gilad Shalit, as heard in a video released by his captors last September.

In the cartoon, the soldier’s father Noam Shalit is seen walking aimlessly, before picking up a newspaper with a front-page advertisement offering a reward of $50 million for information on his son.

It’s also good to see that instead of spending money that could be spent on the “starving” people of Gaza, Hamas has decided to spend it on this obviously expensive propaganda video.

4:54PM: Richard Goldstone is to attend his grandson’s bar mitzvah after all, with the SA Jewish Board of Deputies agreeing not to mar the celebration with protests. Instead, Goldstone has agreed to attend a community gathering in which grievances will be aired (Kind of like a Goldstone Festivus).

Meanwhile, everyone’s favorite decrepit anti-Israel blogger is taking credit for this new development.

4:28PM: Israel’s iPad ban is no more.

The ban has been lifted: The Communications Ministry announced Saturday evening that starting Sunday it will allow Apple’s iPad tablet computer into the country, following two weeks of confiscations and confusion.

The order came from Communications Minister Moshe Kahlon, who apparently hadn’t been appraised of the initial decision to ban the devices due to their wireless specifications.

A lower-level decision made without the knowledge of the minister responsible. Sounds familiar.

3:12PM:  Israel has made a gesture towards a senior Hamashole that doesn’t involve raising the middle finger.

Just don’t expect it to be followed by any humanitarian gestures on the part of Hamas.

10:56AM: T-shirt of the day:

palestinian protestor
A Palestinian demonstrator runs past burning tires during a protest over water supplies in the West Bank village of Nabi Salah, Friday, April 23, 2010. The water supply is used by Jewish settlers from the nearby settlement of Halamish and is claimed by both sides.(AP Photo/Tara Todras-Whitehill)

Funny, but he doesn’t seem like the party animal type. After all, he looks like he would rather stone others than get stoned himself. And if he’s Muslim, he won’t be touching alcohol.

What makes his t-shirt choice even more interesting is he’s apparently protesting over water supplies. So I would have thought his t-shirt, which implies people are drinking, is counterproductive.

6:20AM: Is this object that landed on Bat Yam beach yesterday a meteorite?

There are those who say it isn’t.

Whatever it is, I’ll take it over one of these any day.

6:10AM: An Iranian nuclear scientist is reportedly seeking political asylum in Israel.

A senior Iranian nuclear scientist sought political asylum in Israel, Deputy Minister Ayoob Kara said Saturday.

Kara refused to reveal the scientist’s identity and exact role, and also the identity of the mediator who helped him contact Israeli authorities.

Speaking at a panel in Ramat Gan, the deputy minister said the scientist is currently staying in a “friendly country” and that he turned to a Jewish former resident of Iran for assistance. The Jewish female turned to Kara himself, he said.

Kara added that at this stage it was too early to reveal all details of the story.

“I will assist anyone in order to lift the strategic and nuclear threat faced by Israel and by the enlightened democratic world,” he said.

Kara’s office said that the Jewish woman contacted by the Iranian scientist is an Israeli national of Persian decent who currently lives in central Israel.

“The woman was at the office on Wednesday and spoke to us. The information was handed over to the relevant officials at the Prime Minister’s Office for further handling,” Kara’s office said.

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