Israel short on gas masks as war looms

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1 Feb 2012
Israel short on gas masks as war looms

Amid reports that the Israeli government has essentially given up on the extremely expensive and often delayed project of providing gas masks to the public, the IDF Home Front Command sent letters to reservists this week urging them to get a mask as soon as possible. “There are a limited number of gas masks left and if you do not get one now you could be left without one,” Col. Sagi Tirosh wrote in the letter. A little more than half of Israel’s citizens have received a gas mask since the collection and refurbishment effort was launched in 2006, even as the threat of unconventional attack’s on the Jewish State from Iran or the crumbling Syrian regime have escalated. Meanwhile, the IDF is reported to have increased training for mobilization and action under rocket fire, as a growing number of assessments project that a surprise attack by large numbers of rockets and missiles on Israeli cities is the most likely scenario in the next war.

Iranian opposition looks for renewal
An Iranian opposition group calling itself the Coordination Council of Green Path of Hope has called for silent rallies in Teheran and other major Iranian cities on 14 February, hoping to revive the revolt against the clerical regime which raged for several months in late 2009 and into early 2010 before being brutally crushed by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.  The group is accusing the government of wasting the countries resources on a futile and pointless struggle against the West, even as the poverty rate among ordinary Iranians has skyrocketed. “We're in a very difficult and dangerous situation," Green Path of Hope spokesman Ardeshir Amir Arjomand told Radio Farda. "The economy is mismanaged, there’s growing poverty, [and] economic structures are collapsing."

Saudi Arabian police raid Christian prayer group
The BBC reported on Tuesday that a group of 35 Ethiopian Christians, among the millions of guest workers in Saudi Arabia, have been arrested by police and face deportation for the crime of “illicit mingling” of unmarried men and women, although there is no law in Saudi Arabia prohibiting such gatherings and the government publicly promised in 2006 to end official harassment on non-Moslems. The Ethiopian group, including 29 women and 6 men, were arrested while taking part in a prayer meeting in a private residence in the city of Jedda in Western Saudi Arabia. According to the report, the Saudi police strip searched the women while the men were beaten and cursed for being “unbelievers.”

Heavy rains raise level of Sea of Galilee
A wet January which saw several days of heavy rain and snow have raised the level of the Sea of Galilee by 55 centimeters, although it remained 10 centimeters below the “bottom red line” and is not yet out of danger. Rains continued in many parts of the country on Wednesday giving Israelis hope that the Sea and other main sources of fresh water in the country will make a further recovery from years of severe drought.

Ban urges Israel to make ‘goodwill gestures’ to PA
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Israel on Wednesday fresh from a trip to neighboring Jordan, where he urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to give the Palestinian Authority some “goodwill gestures” in order to coax the PA back to the low-level talks that began in Amman last month but were abruptly cut off by the PA last week. “Of course, it will also be required that the PA comes to [the] dialogue table,” he added. Israeli officials responded by issuing a statement that they were studying reciprocal gestures, primarily in the economic sphere. Meanwhile, the Palestinian news agency Ma'an reported Wednesday that there was a clash between Palestinian stone throwing youth and Israeli security forces in the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya Tuesday evening. Several Israelis and Palestinians were wounded in the exchange.

Israelis honor Ramon
In honor of the life and death of Ilan Ramon, Israel’s first astronaut who was killed nine years ago Wednesday in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster , the Fisher Institute in Tel Aviv hosted the Seventh International Ilan Ramon Space Conference this week, bringing space related scientific delegations from around the world together to share knowledge and experience. "I am very excited to partake in a conference in memory of a true Israeli hero," said General William Shelton, Commander of the US Air Force Space Command."As one of only ten nations on the planet capable of indigenous space launch, Israel is well aware of the advantages that space provides." IAF Commander Maj. Gen. Ido Nechushatan also addressed the conference, along with several Israeli engineers, scientists and industrial leaders.


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