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Posts tagged ‘israeli’

Nearly 50 Percent of Freed Palestinian Terrorists Return to Fight.


Although nearly half of the 13,000 terrorists Israel has released since 1985 have returned to the battlefield, Secretary of State John Kerry is pushing Israel to free more imprisoned militants in the hope of bolstering Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, Israel Hayom reported.
Israeli authorities say the high terrorist recidivism rate is because many of those released have long had a strong ideological belief in violence, and that this is reinforced by a culture of officially sanctioned anti-Israel incitement in both the West Bank and Gaza.
Earlier this month, for example, terrorists convicted of murdering Israelis received certificates of citation at a cultural event hosted by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.They were released from prison several months ago, according to veteran Israeli journalist Nadav Shragai, author of the Israel Hayom piece.

Footage of the event depicts a gun battle in which members of Hamas and Abbas’ Fatah organization unite to kill a group of “Israelis” opposing them.
Many Israelis who oppose further prisoner releases cite the 2011 Gilad Shalit prisoner deal in which a kidnapped Israeli soldier was freed in exchange for about 1,000 Palestinian prisoners.
During the last two years, Israel’s Shin Bet security agency has intercepted at least 80 attempted terrorist attacks in the West Bank that were masterminded by Gaza-based Hamas operatives freed in the Shalit deal.
One individual involved in these operations was Omar Abu-Sneina,  who mailed a computer disk drive from Gaza to his family in the West Bank with detailed instructions on carrying out a kidnapping.
The Shin Bet intercepted the mailing.
Even as Washington has urged Israel to free additional prisoners with Israeli blood on their hands, it unsuccessfully opposed the Israeli government’s decision to release Othman Omar Mustafa, a Palestinian convicted of the 1989 murder of Frederick Steven Rosenfeld, a former Marine and U.S. citizen, according to Israel Hayom.

Rosenfeld was stabbed to death by Mustafa and two other men who befriended him as he hiked near the West Bank settlement of Ariel, the Daily Beast reported.

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© 2013 NewsmaxWorld. All rights reserved.

By Joel Himelfarb

How an Israeli With Cerebral Palsy Beat the Odds and Became an IDF Officer.


IDF Captain Yehonatan Cohen
Israeli Defense Forces Captain Yehonatan Cohen (IDF.il)

Captain Yehonatan Cohen is noticeably different from other officers in the Israeli army. As a result of a severe disability, he is bound to a wheelchair and unable to move his hands.

He needs help with most day-to-day functions—including eating, drinking and bathing. With significantly impaired vision, he relies on others to read aloud to him. Cohen was born two months premature, and because oxygen was cut off from his brain at birth, he developed cerebral palsy—a condition that left him physically disabled.

Despite his physical limitations, Cohen’s exceptional intellect and determination have allowed him to succeed.

“My parents are people who didn’t give up on me along the way,” he says, joking that his use of the phrase “didn’t give up” may be an understatement. “They really taught me that I’m capable, and I grew up with that feeling.”

At his parents’ insistence—and driven by a deep desire to integrate into Israeli society—Cohen attended high school with non-disabled students and graduated with honors.

A Struggle to Serve

Like many Israeli teenagers, Cohen eagerly reported to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) enlistment office, determined to join the military and serve his country.

“When all of my friends received their orders to enlist, I decided that despite everything, I wanted to enlist too,” Cohen recalls, explaining his devotion to the IDF and the Jewish state. “The truth is that it’s something that’s been with me since childhood. We are a family that believes that the state of Israel is above everything. Before everything else, you have the state of Israel; this is something that was very important in our education and in the values of our family.”

Accompanied by his medical aide, Cohen approached an officer in the enlistment office but was immediately told that his condition would prevent him from serving.

“In my family, there was no such thing [as not enlisting],” Cohen says. “We enlist—no matter what. It’s true that I wasn’t obligated to enlist in a formal or legal sense, but from an ethical and Zionist standpoint, I certainly was.”

Although the IDF exempted him from service, Cohen insisted the army accept him as a volunteer.

“That’s how the process of my enlistment began,” Cohen says of that first day in the IDF office.

Over the next year and a half, he wrote letters and made his case to officials throughout the IDF, speaking with some of the army’s most senior officers about his commitment to serve. He eventually met the head of the IDF’s manpower branch, who spoke with him about opportunities to enlist as a volunteer. After a long and determined struggle, Cohen finally fulfilled his dream and received the order to join the Israeli army.

Inspiring Others

Cohen earned a distinguished position in the Education Corps, where he became an adviser for Israeli teenagers about to start the army. He immediately connected with the role, realizing it would allow him to impart his passion to other people his age. Through presentations to groups of students, he helped hundreds of young Israelis understand why they should be motivated to serve in the IDF.

“There is the official requirement to serve,” Cohen explains, referring to the obligation of all Israelis to enlist in the army, “but there is another stage, another level, which is the privilege to serve.

“There are a lot of obligations in the state of Israel—paying taxes and stopping at a red light, for example—but here you have a privilege to come and say, ‘I am serving the state of Israel; I am serving the IDF,’ or, as I would say, ‘I contributed, I acted, and I didn’t leave the fate of my country in the hands of others.’”

These moving words became a central part of Cohen’s message to Israeli youth during his time as an adviser. Today those words still motivate him to serve and contribute as a full member of Israeli society.

Becoming a Leader

After nine months in the army, Cohen left for the officers’ course and returned to his unit as a lead adviser. Recognizing his talent for teaching, the IDF later promoted him to an elite intelligence role, where he taught Islamic history to soldiers.

After more than a year, Cohen left the army to earn a degree, but he stopped his studies in the middle and came back to the military.

“I had an enormous hunger to return to the IDF—a hunger that returns every time I find myself at a crossroads, and I tell myself, ‘Good, I want to leave the military because I’m a little tired.’ Suddenly, this hunger comes back.”

He returned to IDF Intelligence and after several promotions reached his current role as a senior officer in the spokesperson’s unit.

“Until today, every time I’m about to sign an extension of my service, I say, ‘OK, maybe it’s enough,’” he explains and laughs, but suddenly becomes very serious. “But, no, I had this hunger, and I continued.”

When asked if he has a message for others with disabilities, he doesn’t hesitate for a second: “I think that we disabled people have to try as much as we can to enter the so-called ‘normal’ society and try hard to continue the revolution that we are starting in Israel and all over the world. We are part of this society. Just keep going and keep fighting.”

For the original article, visit idf.il.

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ STANDING WITH ISRAEL.

IDF.IL STAFF

Al-Qaida Terror Cell Takes Foothold in West Bank, Members Killed.


RAMALLAH, West Bank  — An al-Qaida-linked group said three militants killed in the West Bank by Israeli forces last week were its members, and that their presence there showed that the Islamist network had taken root in the occupied Palestinian territory.

Al-Qaida has struggled to build up significant support in the West Bank, analysts say, and the Palestinian Authority that administers the area last week denied an Israeli report the men were linked to the organization.

“By the will of God Almighty, the global jihadi doctrine has reached the bank of pride, the West Bank, planting its foothold after all attempts to thwart its presence,” said a statement posted by Majles Shura al-Mujahideen, or Holy Warriors’ Assembly, on an Islamist web forum.

Such groups have some grassroots support in the other Palestinian territory of Gaza, which is governed by the Islamist faction Hamas.

Israeli officials had said the three Palestinians killed on Tuesday belonged to an al-Qaida-linked cell plotting attacks.

They said the men were shot after opening fire at Israeli troops who tried to arrest them. The West Bank is policed by Israel in often close cooperation with the U.S.-backed Palestinian Authority (PA).

On Sunday, PA security forces spokesman Adnan Damiri said he had no information about the presence of al-Qaida-linked groups in the West Bank but that Palestinian investigators were looking into Tuesday’s incident.

Many Palestinians chafe at security ties between the PA and Israel given the lack of clear progress in U.S.-sponsored peace talks between the sides. Those negotiations are billed as leading to Palestinian statehood in the West Bank, a territory extensively settled by Israel, as well as in the Gaza Strip.

In its online statement, Majles Shura al-Mujahideen denounced the peacemaking efforts and threatened attacks on Israel and the PA.

“We call on every sincere person to cut off what is called ‘negotiations’, which causes one’s nose to turn away with its foul stench of collaboration,” the statement said. “We are serious about fighting the aggression against religion by the blaspheming Jews and the hypocritical collaborators.”

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.
Source: Newsmax.com

The Iranian Deal: What Happens Next?.


Barack Obama
President Barack Obama (Facebook)

The deal is done. The Iranian leaders are claiming victory. The White House is claiming victory. Most European governments, as well as Russia, are claiming victory.

The Israeli government, meanwhile, is horrified. They, and many of their citizens, feel more isolated than ever. As I reported from Jerusalem, this was true before the deal was struck. It is even more true now.

“One [Israeli] radio host on Sunday repeatedly played clips of President Obama, during his visit here in March, reassuring Israelis, in Hebrew, that ‘you are not alone,’ and then said ominously, ‘We are in fact alone,’” reports The New York Times.

Below, you’ll find a selection of key articles I’ve found helpful over the past 72 hours to understand the deal and the reaction to it from various quarters. Above all, I encourage you to read the full text of the interim deal for yourself, along with President Obama’s statement, the Ayatollah Khamenei’s comments and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s comments. These primary source documents will give you the basic facts and contours of the debate:

Then we need to ask two critical questions:

  1. What will the Saudis do now?
  2. What will the Israelis do now?

The Saudis have been signaling in recent weeks they are losing confidence in their alliance with the U.S., they are increasingly prepared to buy nuclear weapons from Pakistan, and they might even create a tacit alliance with Israel and the Gulf states as a bulwark against Iran. Is all that bluster or is Riyadh serious?

Meanwhile, the initial consensus among most Mideast analysts is that Israel is now constrained from launching a preemptive military strike lest the Netanyahu government risk a massive backlash from the international community that has just agreed to an interim agreement with Iran, pending a comprehensive agreement in 2014. But I’ve also seen several examples of Israelis saying this deal makes a preemptive strike more likely, and possibly even inevitable, especially if the Saudis will help. Is this true or just the bluster of those frustrated by what they perceive as the world’s betrayal?

To be candid, I don’t have the answers to these questions. Not yet. In part, this is because I don’t think the Saudis or the Israelis at the highest levels have come to clear answers about how to proceed from here. At the moment, I would lean toward agreeing with those who believe Israeli won’t take any military action during these next six months, but there are many factors I cannot see from this angle.

I don’t want to see a scenario like the one I portrayed in Damascus Countdown unfold. I’d much rather see a diplomatic solution that truly worked. That said, I’m deeply concerned that the world powers just let themselves be hoodwinked by the mullahs in Iran and that the world has suddenly become a much more dangerous place with Iran in a better position to build and deploy nuclear weapons.

There are many variables here. And there are likely to be many twists and turns on the road ahead. The best I can do is promise to keep you posted on developments as they unfold. Let’s keep praying for the Iranian nuclear threat to be neutralized peacefully, if at all possible.

Source: STANDING WITH ISRAEL.

Joel C. Rosenberg is the author of numerous New York Times best-selling novels and nonfiction books, with nearly 3 million copies sold. He is also the founder of the Joshua Fund. His books include The Last Jihad (2002), The Last Days (2003), The Ezekiel Option (2005) and The Copper Scroll (2006).

For the original article, visit joelrosenberg.com.

Yom Kippur: Should Israelis Pray for Backbone and Stability?.


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Israelis should pray that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continues to stick to his principles. (Reuters/file photo)

As we enter the holy day of Yom Kippur, it is clear we are not really in control. Our health, happiness and security are vulnerable to whim and miscalculation, to the sudden, unexpected and absurd. Life is fragile and unpredictable, especially in the Middle East.

We have irredentist Palestinians, Egyptian Islamists, Syrian chemical weapons, Hezbollah’s missiles and the Iranian nuclear project to cogently remind us of our vulnerability.

So as you settle back in the synagogue pew or your living room armchair to contemplate life on the Day of Atonement, you might want to pray for stability—for a predictable year.

Join me in the following prayers:

Pray for our soldiers lying in ambush opposite Hezbollah fighters on the Lebanese border or jihadi fighters on the Egyptian border. Pray for quiet.

Pray for the residents of the Golan Heights, whose homes are minutes away from the civil war that is raging in Syria. Pray for Israelis in Judea and Samaria, who have been outlawed by the world, boycotted by the EU, demonized by the Israeli left and are subject to a rising number of Palestinian attacks.

Pray for the residents of Tel Aviv, now well within enemy missile range.

Pray that the recent release of Palestinian terrorists (and the next planned releases) do not come back to haunt us.

Pray that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sticks to his self-declared red lines in the current negotiations. Pray that Netanyahu is given the stamina and courage to make the difficult but right decisions with regard to Iran. Pray that we don’t get caught (again) flat-footed and surprised by an enemy assault.

Pray for Jerusalem, that it remain under Israeli control. Pray that we have the national backbone to reassert our sovereignty in the face of increasing Palestinian Authority encroachment throughout the city and on the Temple Mount.

Pray for U.S. President Barack Obama’s backbone. May the Lord grant him one.

Pray that you never have to walk into a pediatric oncology hospital ward. Pray for friends and strangers alike who spend their days and nights in these tragic places. Ask G-d to keep you and your children out of emergency and operating rooms, cardiac units and psychiatric wards.

Pray that you do not become a victim of this country’s more than 74,000 annual burglaries; 28,000 annual traffic accidents, including 300 fatalities; 21,000 car thefts; 22,000 crimes against the elderly; 15,000 incidents of serious violence; or 150 non-terrorist murders.

Pray that classroom violence—experienced by 1 out of every 3 school children—does not affect your son or daughter and that they get to be part of the lucky 48 percent of Israeli kids who actually complete high school matriculation.

Pray for rain.

Pray for all the incredible volunteers in our society who run thousands of nonprofit organizations devoted to social welfare, making Israel one of the most altruistic societies in the world. May they all be strengthened and rewarded!

Pray for the patience and humility that we need to treat our elderly parents as we would like our children to treat us.

Pray that all the international businessmen and government officials who visit Israel to marvel at our high-tech triumphs will one day be equally impressed by our moral and spiritual accomplishments.

Pray for a “good news” media, for the emergence of Israeli journalists who make a point of highlighting and showcasing the beauty of Israel’s society.

Pray for more amazing archaeological discoveries, like the Torah scroll gold ornaments unearthed near the Temple Mount last week and the Hebrew inscriptions from the Canaanite period found in the Ophel last year, which demonstrate to the world our rootedness in this land.

Pray for all the Israelis who aren’t praying—those gambling the day away in Greece, cycling aimlessly through Tel Aviv or, unfortunately, just plain turned off by this country’s noxious mix of religion and politics. Pray for Jews who are in synagogue but who pray only for themselves.

Pray that we can tame our tendency to all too often harshly judge and stereotype each other.

Pray for your own faith and spiritual world. May it be enriched and deepened.

Pray, if you can, like Rabbi Yishmael Ben Elisha, the high priest who, according to legend, was granted an audience with G-d and asked to bless the Almighty. “May it be your Divine will,” intoned the priest, “that your mercy overcome your anger; that you treat your children with compassion and forbearance; and that you judge them with leniency.” Amen.

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ STANDING WITH ISRAEL.

DAVID M. WEINBERG/FOR ISRAEL HAYOM

David M. Weinberg is a spokesman, speechwriter, columnist and lobbyist who is a sharp critic of Israel’s detractors and of post-Zionist trends in Israel.

Israel Wants Dozens of Jewish Settlements, Military Bases in West Bank.


RAMALLAH, West Bank  — Israel has proposed leaving intact dozens of Jewish settlements and military bases in the West Bank as part of a package to establish a Palestinian state in provisional borders, a Palestinian official told The Associated Press on Wednesday, in the first detailed glimpse at recently relaunched peace talks.

The official said the proposal is unacceptable to the Palestinians, underscoring the tough road ahead as the sides try to reach an agreement ending decades of conflict.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because Israel and the Palestinians have pledged to Secretary of State John Kerry not to discuss the content of their talks with the media — a pledge that has largely held up until now.

For their future state, the Palestinians seek the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza Strip, territories captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war.

With Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opposed to a return to the pre-1967 lines, the idea of a Palestinian state in temporary borders has gained appeal with the Israelis.

Such a deal could give the Palestinians independence, while leaving the thorniest issues, such as the fate of Jerusalem and the status of millions of Palestinian refugees and their descendants, to later negotiations.

The Palestinians reject any notion of a provisional agreement, fearing that a temporary arrangement that falls short of their dreams will become permanent.

Talks resumed in late July after a nearly five-year break stemming largely from Israeli settlement construction. The Palestinians have objected to Israeli construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

The Palestinians say these settlements, now home to more than 500,000 Israelis, make it increasingly difficult to partition the land between two people.

After months of U.S. mediation, the Palestinians agreed to resume talks. Although Israel did not pledge to freeze settlement construction, U.S. officials have said they expect both sides to avoid provocative moves. Negotiators have been quietly meeting once or twice a week for the past month or so.

The Palestinian official said formal talks on borders have not yet started, and that negotiations have focused on security matters. He said the Israelis want to retain control of the West Bank’s border with Jordan, keep early-warning stations on hilltops, and retain military bases near the Jordanian border.

“Israel is using the issue of security to take land,” he said. “From the general discussions we had in the last couple of weeks, the Israelis have shown no intention to dismantle any settlement.” He said the current proposals indicated that Israel would seek to retain control over about 40 percent of the West Bank.

“They said, ‘Let’s discuss a state with provisional borders.’ We said, ‘Let’s agree on a state based on the 1967 borders first, and then we can agree on having this state in phases.”

In the previous round of talks, conducted in 2008 under then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Israel offered to withdraw from roughly 94 percent of the West Bank, and compensate the Palestinians with the equivalent of 6 percent through a “land swap” that would allow Israel to keep major settlements.

Olmert also proposed international administration of Jerusalem’s holy sites.

The official said the Palestinians have proposed resuming peace talks from the point they broke off. Netanyahu has said he is not obligated to accept Olmert’s proposals.

A senior Israeli official refused comment on the Israeli proposal, citing the commitment to keep the talks secret.

“It was agreed between the sides that all public discussion about the negotiations would be through the Americans,” the Israeli official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media about the issue.

Netanyahu’s office declined comment, citing the pledge not to discuss the negotiations in public. Likewise, there was no immediate U.S. comment.

In a statement released for the Jewish new year holiday that began Wednesday evening, Netanyahu said he hoped the talks would succeed.

“We seek to advance peace with the Palestinians while maintaining our security and ensuring that the peace will be a real and enduring peace. Not a ceremony, not an agreement that we celebrate for two minutes and then collapse,” the statement said. “We want a real, genuine and enduring peace and this must be anchored in recognition of Israel as a Jewish state and in our security. This is what ultimately is needed.”

Yasser Abed Rabbo, a top aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, would not discuss the specifics of the talks. But speaking on the Voice of Palestine radio station, he said, “Until now, there are no signs of progress. The Israeli position has not changed. It’s the one that we know on the ground, through daily settlement expansion.”

He urged the United States to put pressure on Israel. Otherwise, he said, “there will be no progress.”

Earlier Wednesday, Israeli police arrested seven Palestinians after clashes between stone-throwing demonstrators and Israeli security forces in Jerusalem’s Old City.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the clashes erupted when about 300 Palestinians tried to block a group of visitors from reaching a sensitive hilltop compound revered by both Jews and Muslims. He says masked demonstrators began to throw stones, prompting security forces to move in.

He says some demonstrators sought refuge inside the nearby Al Aqsa Mosque. Police did not enter the mosque, and no one was injured.

The compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount, is the holiest site in Judaism. Known to Muslims as the “Noble Sanctuary,” it is Islam’s third-holiest site.

Rosenfeld said security has been heightened for the Jewish New Year holiday.

© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Source: NEWSmax.com

Israel and India: A Sensible Alliance?.


Israel and India
Would Israel and India make a good diplomatic pair?

At first glance, Hindu-majority India, with approximately 1.2 billion people and an entire subcontinent, would seem to have little in common with Jewish-majority Israel, which has only about eight million people living on territory that’s roughly 15 times the size of India’s capital city.

While full diplomatic relations were established between Jerusalem and New Delhi only in 1992, the two countries actually have much in common.

Both countries are homelands for ancient peoples who gained their independence from the British in the 1940s. Both states have gone on to create vibrant, multicultural democracies that have experienced dynamic, technology-driven economic growth. India and Israel each also has a large Muslim minority population, and each faces an ongoing terrorism threat from foreign and domestic Islamic extremists; indeed, both Israelis and Indians were targeted and killed in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.

Even more serious, India and Israel each faces ballistic missile threats from at least one close, hostile Muslim state. India already faces the nuclear threat posed by Pakistan, and Israel may soon confront the same threat from Iran, if Iranian nukes aren’t stopped.

There is also a blossoming military and commercial relationship between India and Israel. Israel is India’s second largest arms supplier after Russia, and Israeli-Indian military cooperation extends to technology upgrades, joint research, intelligence cooperation, and even space (in 2008, India launched a 300-kilogram Israeli satellite into orbit). Israel has upgraded India’s Soviet-era armor and aircraft and provided India with sea-to-sea missiles, radar and other surveillance systems, border monitoring equipment, night vision devices, and other military support. Bilateral trade reached US $6 billion last year and negotiations began this year for a free trade agreement.

Israeli-Indian cooperation in agriculture and water technology is growing both through government-sponsored initiatives and private business deals. Last year, Israeli and Indian government institutions jointly launched an online network that provides real-time communications between Indian farmers and Israeli agricultural technology experts, and Israel is in the process of setting up 28 agricultural training centers throughout India.

Israeli Professor Yoram Oren has been studying the potential use of nano-filtration to filter out harmful textile dyes from India’s polluted Noyyal River. Last June, a delegation of 16 high-ranking Indian officials from the water authorities of Rajasthan, Karnataka, Goa and Haryana traveled to Israel to visit waste-water treatment plants and meet with some of Israel’s leading environmentalists and agronomists to learn about the desert country’s newest green technologies.

Tata Industries, the multi-billion-dollar Indian company, recently invested $5 million to kick-start the Technology Innovation Momentum Fund at Tel Aviv University’s Ramot technology transfer company. Tata Industries hopes to capitalize on future Israeli innovation, like the algorithm for error correction in flash memory (which is one of the patents filed by Ramot and now inside billions of dollars worth of SanDisk products).

These are but a few examples of the remarkable cooperation between India and Israel. Such a synergistic relationship is unsurprising, given the historically harmonious relations between the peoples of Israel and India.

Judaism was one of the first foreign religions to come to India: the Cochin Jews arrived about 2,500 years ago and settled in the city of Kerala, where they flourished as traders. In addition to the few thousand Jews who live in major Indian cities like Mumbai, there are also some larger Indian communities, like the 8,000 “Bnai Menashe” (from the northeastern Indian states of Mizoram and Manipur) who claim descent from one of the Lost Tribes of Israel.

While Jews have always been a minuscule religious minority in India, they have historically encountered very little anti-Semitism. In Israel, about 1 percent of the Jewish population has Indian ancestry.

In addition to the many historic and economic reasons for India and Israel to strengthen their ties, there are also strong geopolitical motivators. Israel’s tiny land mass (about 21,000 square kilometers) makes the Jewish state particularly vulnerable and compels it to make strategic use of seaborne offensive and defensive military capabilities. A vital component of those capabilities is Israel’s submarine force, which requires friendly waters in which to deploy and maintain such a force—something that the Indian Navy can provide with its dominance of South Asian waters.

With the ongoing security threats posed by India’s nuclear-armed rival, Pakistan, the Kashmir conflict (which recently claimed five Indian soldiers), and potential conflict with the other Asian heavyweight (China), India needs the kind of military edge that Israel can help it to obtain. Insofar as India provides an Asian counterweight to Chinese dominance, a powerful India bolstered by Israeli technological expertise is also in the interest of smaller Asian countries and the United States.

One area where India could deepen its alliance with both Israel and the U.S. is on the issue of Iranian nukes. India, the second largest importer of Iranian crude oil after China, won its third 180-day waiver from U.S. sanctions last June after reducing its oil purchases from Iran. But in 2012, Iran and India agreed to trade in rupees for shipments of oil, rice, sugar and soybeans, to circumvent U.S. financial sanctions on Iranian oil shipments.

And Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals is now reportedly receiving a cargo of Iranian crude, after a 4-month hiatus, with Hindostan Petroleum also restarting imports soon. Iran may also become the top buyer of soybean meal from India for a second straight year, as Iran turns to Asia’s biggest exporter to replace imports disrupted by Western sanctions.

While India has its own commercial interests, India also has a strong interest in a peaceful resolution to the Iranian nuclear issue. India’s economic and diplomatic clout can help to pressure Iran into a compromise that prevents a catastrophic Middle East war. Such a regional conflagration could spread beyond the Middle East and, in any case, would send India’s energy costs skyrocketing, disrupt global trade, and dangerously destabilize India’s geopolitical backyard.

India’s history of religious tolerance stands in stark contrast to that of Iran’s. Indeed, one of India’s religious minorities, the Zoroastrians, have been fleeing persecution in the territory that is today Iran (Persia) for about 1,200 years. Since Iran’s Islamic Revolution of 1979, Iran has been regarded as one of the world’s worst offenders against freedom of religion. Iran’s vicious human rights abuses and undemocratic political system are also well known. Would India want such a country to have nuclear weapons? Isn’t Pakistan enough?

As a responsible member of the nuclear club, a fellow democracy, and one of the greatest rising world powers, India should approach the Iranian nuclear issue as an opportunity to demonstrate how growing Indian clout can promote global security and curb extremist, undemocratic regimes like the Islamic Republic. By deepening India’s ties with other innovative and economically advanced democracies like the United States and Israel, India can better secure its own interests and position itself for continued growth and leadership in a more stable world.

Noah Beck is the author of The Last Israelis, a war novel about Iranian nukes and an Israeli submarine with an Indian Jew on board.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

NOAH BECK

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