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Israel can't dally on stronger homeland security.
s Israel, a nation of 7.8 million people, ready for
war with Iran, 25 million strong?
The answer is an unequivocal no.
So says the guy who chairs the Knesset subcom-
mittee on Israel's national security. He should know.
"The home front is not ready:' Zeev Bielski told
former Jerusalem Report Editor Eetta Prince-Gibson
in an interview released March 6 by JTA, the New
York-based Jewish news service. "We have made
improvements over the situation since the Second
Lebanon War, when the home front was completely
unprepared, but the situation is not good:'
That's an indictment of Israel's porous defense
against missile and rocket fire. American Jews should
weigh in unceasingly.
At least Israel readily admits the defensive shortfall
in Prince-Gibson's sobering analysis following the
American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)
policy conference in Washington. Iran and the global
danger it would possess should it acquire nuclear
weapons capability was topic No. 1 on the AIPAC
agenda, considered by 200 Detroiters among the
record 13,000 delegates.
Concern has sharpened as security analysts evalu-
ate Iran's potential counter to an Israeli
attack on a Tehran-run nuclear weapons
site. The response could well take the
form of Iran and its rogue proxies Hamas,
which rules the Gaza Strip, and Hezbollah,
which is based in Lebanon, peppering
Israel with missiles and rockets, and even
chemical or biological weapons, while
also authorizing terrorism against Israeli,
Jewish and Western targets worldwide.
With both President Barack Obama and
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threaten-
ing war in their AIPAC remarks if economic, energy
and other tough U.S. and international sanctions
don't halt Iran's nuclear weapons quest, the burden
clearly falls on Israel's missile defense systems to be
We've heard about the impressive high-percentage
yield of Israel's three Iron Dome installations, built
with the assistance of a $205 million grant from the
Obama administration. They continue to intercept
short-range missiles fired from the Gaza Strip into
Israel's Negev towns. Still, estimates peg Israel's oper-
ational need at 12 domes.
The Israeli David's Sling, developed to bring down
medium-range missiles, isn't expected to be avail-
able until next year. Israel's Arrow, a $1 billion system
designed in collaboration with the U.S. to topple
Iran's hundreds-strong Shehab-3 missiles, which
potentially have longer range, has not been com-
bat tested. The Arrow also could shield Israel from
Hezbollah's arsenal of 40,000 missiles and rockets;
many are sophisticated, long-range weapons that can
reach almost any part of Israel, according to the JTA
March 29 • 2012
"The home front
is not ready."
- Knesset member
Make no mistake about it: Some of the missiles
and rockets launched by Iran and its henchmen
would reach Israeli population centers although
Israeli defense systems as they now stand certainly
would limit the damage.
Disturbing Sight Lines
In the event of war with Iran, Israel should be ready
for prolonged attacks, even months — a scenario
that could stifle Israeli commerce and everyday life.
"Israel's major cities have never come under attack:'
Yiftah Shapir of Tel Aviv University's Institute for
National Security Studies told JTA. "This will be a
very different and difficult experience for Israeli civil-
Given Israel's stretched budget as the
drumbeat of war on multiple fronts has
intensified, it's not surprising to learn that
Israel's home-front preparedness is sorely
lacking even while the Jewish state's mili-
tary forces are unparalleled in the Middle
Other troubling Bielski home-front
•About 1.7 million Israelis aren't in
range of a reinforced room that can with-
stand rocket and missile fire despite a
1992 law requiring all new residential construction to
have such access.
•About 40 percent of Israelis don't have gas masks,
an obvious necessity to stave off a chemical or bio-
logical attack. The state is holding 1 million masks in
storage, to be distributed once a state of emergency
is declared, but 2 million people would still be left
without a mask.
Bielski said it would cost $330 million to properly
equip everyone — and reasserted it's the govern-
ment's responsibility to do so. Interestingly, JTA
quoted Defense Minister Ehud Barak saying on Army
Radio last December that Israel could dramatically
limit casualties of war if Israelis just stay home if
actual warheads start flying.
Iran may consider terrorist attacks such as the bomb-
ings that destroyed the Israeli Embassy in Buenos
Aires in 1992 and the AMIA Jewish community cen-
ter in the Argentina capital two years later, the JTA
report indicated. The two attacks killed 114 people.
At issue is the vigor of Iran's might.
Stymie Iraq! on page 49
Jews Can't Ignore
s so-called preachers go, the
hate-monger Louis Farrakhan
is captivating among his
legions of followers – the absurdity of
his anti-Semitic rants notwithstanding.
Fair-minded people reject his outra-
geousness. But he commands "respect"
among a lot of impressionable black
Muslims in particular. That's both daunt-
ing and dangerous.
The Nation of Islam leader plied his anti-Jewish/anti-
Zionist rant at his organization's 82nd annual Saviors'
Day celebration in Chicago. It would be easy to ignore
the hate-driven event. But when Farrakhan once more
tells tens of thousands of supporters that Jews control
America's public corridors and that Zionists are trying to
push America into war with Iran, ignorance is not bliss.
It's important that Jews know what this divisive bigot
has to say – a powerhouse of prejudice who has branded
Judaism a "gutter religion" and declared that Jews are
the "worst enemy" of blacks. The Nation of Islam's "The
Secret Relationship of Blacks and Jews" – a two-volume
"historical" paperback – is long on conspiracy theories
about Jews and Israel and about Jewish control of gov-
ernment, finance, communication and Hollywood.
In his March 4 address, Farrakhan asserted: "I'm
not anti-Semitic. I'm just telling the truth." The Anti-
Defamation League has a different take, saying Farrakhan
has turned his message and his organization's mission
"into a wide-ranging campaign to demonize and scape-
On Iran, Farrakhan said: "I advise white and black
America, Hispanic and Asian America, why would you
send your children to die in a war engineered by Zionists
who love Israel more than they love the United States of
America? Don't send these children to war for the sake
of Israel." He sidesteps the reality that a nuclear arms-
equipped Iran would present an international crisis for
the civilized world, not just Israel or the U.S.
Farrakhan argued that President Obama has relented
to every Israeli request yet Israelis are still not happy.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would be surprised
to learn about that given Obama's intransigence on
settlements, borders and other key issues of the Israeli-
Saviors' Day included a study session that bore the
name of the "historical" paperback volumes and that
claimed Jewish exploitation of blacks during the trans-
Atlantic slave trade caused deep and lasting reper-
cussions for African Americans. The Nation of Islam's
"historical research department" wrote and published
the book set. If that's a reputable department, research
has hit a new low. Yes, some Jews unfortunately were
involved in the slave trade. But most Jews of the time
were abolitionists and supported Abraham Lincoln.
Later, many Jews became champions of the Civil Rights
Farrakhan has a constitutional right to rant on Saviors'
Day. But to not drill into his rhetoric is to effectively allow
his invective to seriously damage the fragile relationships
with blacks that Jews have fought hard to build. ❑