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Pentagon abandons plans to buy more Israeli missile defense systems – Defence Blog


The U.S. Department of Defense abandons plans to buy Israeli-made missile defense systems due to cyber vulnerabilities and other problems. according to The Times of Israel.

The Israel-based, English-language online newspaper has reported that U.S. military curbing its plans to adopt the Iron Dome missile defense system due to concerns about its compatibility with existing US technologies, scrapping its plans to buy two more batteries.

A central problem was Israel’s refusal to provide the U.S. military with Iron Dome’s source code, hampering the Americans’ ability to integrate the system into their air defenses.

Gen. Mike Murray, head of Army Futures Command, said the service identified a number of problems — including cyber vulnerabilities and operational challenges — during efforts last year to integrate elements of Iron Dome with the US Army’s Integrated Battle Command System.

“It took us longer to acquire those [first] two batteries than we would have liked,” Murray told the House Armed Service tactical air and land forces subcommittee on Thursday. “We believe we cannot integrate them into our air defense system based on some interoperability challenges, some cyber challenges and some other challenges.”

Last year, U.S.’s military magazine, Defense News, quoting the deputy in charge of the service’s air and missile defense modernization efforts, has announced that the contract to purchase two Iron Dome batteries for the U.S. Army’s interim cruise missile defense capability has been finalized.

“Now that the contract is set in stone, the Army will be able to figure out delivery schedules and details in terms of taking receipt of the systems,” Daryl Youngman told Defense News at the Space and Missile Defense Symposium in Huntsville, Alabama, on Aug. 8.

The Iron Dome is the world’s most-used system, intercepting more than 1,900 incoming targets with a success rate exceeding 90 percent since being fielded in 2011.

Iron Domedetects, assesses and intercepts a variety of shorter-range targets such as rockets, artillery and mortars. It is effective day or night and in all weather conditions including low clouds, rain, dust storms and fog. It features a first-of-its-kind multi-mission launcher designed to fire a variety of interceptor missiles.

The system can protect deployed and maneuvering forces, as well as the Forward Operating Base (FOB) and urban areas, against a wide range of indirect and aerial threats.

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Israeli PM Netanyahu defiant after being charged with corruption | Israel News


A defiant Benjamin Netanyahu rejected all allegations of fraud on Thursday, vowing to stay on as the leader in Israel despite being indicted on a series of corruption charges.

Netanyahu denounced what he called the “false” and “politically motivated” allegations, hours after being charged by the attorney general with bribery, fraud and breach of trust. He denied all wrongdoing.

“What is going on here is an attempt to stage a coup against the prime minister,” Netanyahu said. “The object of the investigations was to oust the right-wing from government.”

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit announced the indictment earlier on Thursday, calling it a “heavy-hearted decision” based only on solid legal evidence.

But Netanyahu said the investigators “weren’t after the truth, they were after me”.

In a 15-minute speech, Netanyahu railed against his political rivals and state institutions, accusing the police and judiciary of bias. The veteran politician argued it was time for an “investigation of the investigators”.

He vowed to continue on as prime minister despite potential court dates and intense political pressure.

“I will continue to lead this country, according to the letter of the law,” he said. “I will not allow lies to win.”

Political chaos

The charges raise more uncertainty over who will ultimately lead a country mired in political chaos after two inconclusive elections this year. 

Israeli law does not require Netanyahu to step down from the post of prime minister if indicted. The entire process of an indictment and trial could take two years.

As prime minister, he would only be forced to resign from the post if he is eventually convicted, where he could face up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine for bribery charges alone, while fraud and breach of trust carry a prison sentence of up to three years.

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Hugh Lovatt, an Israel-Palestine analyst at the European Council on Foreign Relations, said the indictment may still not be “the end of the story”.

“Israel will now have to brace for a political roller-coaster ride over the coming months. Now more than ever Netanyahu will be fighting for his political and personal life,” said Lovatt.

What are the charges?

In February, Mandelblit announced his intention to indict Netanyahu on charges of fraud, breach of trust, and bribery, following up on police recommendations.

The investigations were listed as Cases 4,000, 1,000, and 2,000.

The allegations against Netanyahu range from receiving gifts worth thousands of dollars to a deal to change regulatory frameworks in favour of a media group in exchange for favourable press coverage.

Case 1,000 alleges Netanyahu and his wife wrongfully received gifts from Arnon Milchan, a Hollywood producer and Israeli citizen, as well as from Australian billionaire James Packer, in return for political favours.

The gifts included champagne and cigars, according to reports.

In Case 2,000, Netanyahu is suspected to have struck a deal with the owner of Israel’s daily newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth to receive favourable media coverage in return for legislation that would slow the growth of competing newspaper Israel Hayom.

Of the investigations against Netanyahu, Case 4,000 is seen as the most serious.

He is alleged to have negotiated with Shaul Elovitch, the controlling shareholder of Israeli telecommunications giant Bezeq, to get positive coverage on his Walla! news site in exchange for policies benefitting Bezeq.

Wide-reaching impact

The attorney general’s decision is expected to have a wide-reaching effect not just on the embattled leader but on Israeli politics in general, as the country has been without a government for nearly a year because of political infighting.

Neither Netanyahu nor his centrist rival Benny Gantz has been able to form a coalition government following deadlocked elections in September, with the country edging closer to a third election within 12 months.

Gantz’s Blue and White party has said it will not sit in a government whose leader is facing such charges.

“A prime minister up to his neck in corruption allegations has no public or moral mandate to make fateful decisions for the state of Israel,” the party said after the announcement by the attorney general in a statement.

“There is concern, whether or not the charges prove to be true or without merit, that Netanyahu will make decisions in his own personal interest and for his political survival and not in the national interest.”

‘Sad day for Israel’

Gantz said on Thursday the indictment was “a very sad day for the state of Israel”.

The indictment might permanently damage 70-year-old Netanyahu’s political career and cause allies to break away from him, whereas a reprieve would likely give him a new lease of life.

The right-winger Netanyahu, who has been in power since 2009, is Israel’s longest-serving prime minister and dominates the country’s political scene.

The other thing is the political question: whether given the seriousness of these charges, will he be able to maintain his support, especially within his own Likud party?” said Al Jazeera’s Harry Fawcett, reporting from West Jerusalem. 





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