#IDF

Terrorist tunnel detection has mining applications

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Underground tunnels have been a feature of Hamas’ tactics to create havoc in Israel. An Israeli start-up company has developed a drone with equipment that can detect changes in soil composition, seismic activity and geology with use of hyper-spectral and 4K high definition thermo-imaging cameras. The IDF has deployed the system and used it to seek and destroy offending tunnels on Israel’s side of the fence.

The company claims the technology will be just as useful to mining companies for site testing new deposits as the sensors can breakdown the composition of minerals up to 100 metres below the surface. So instead of millions of dollars and onerous environmental impact studies to drill into the soil using cumbersome heavy equipment, a surveyor can use a drone for a fraction of the cost with zero impact on the planet. Innovation.

Oi vey Australia! Time to develop innovation

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While the Australian school system seems obsessed dealing with LGBT awareness, gender fluidity and social causes, a day in the most up to date Israeli cyber park in the Negev Desert shows just how seriously the small nation deals with the real world and preparing future generations for it.

It should come as no surprise that Israel lives under constant threat. The Jewish State is happy to leave LBGT 20yr celebrations to rainbow flags on the beachfront in Tel Aviv. When it comes to education it is all about working kids hard to be competitive, hungry and innovative. Primary school students learn computer coding and mathematics. They don’t hold cross dressing presentations or participate in Family Day as a replacement for Mothers Day to show inclusiveness for minorities. Survival matters.

Those same primary schoolers learn even more skills when they hit high school. The government monitors 13yo kids for their cyber acumen to screen the best possible assets for the future. By 16yo the weeding out process is all but done.

The notorious IDF cyber unit 8200 is relocating to this cyber centre in Negev where over a dozen buildings are being erected to gather the finest innovators in the world. It’s a $50bn investment. Even the Israeli Defence Force standard cyber units will relocate there. As Israelis have compulsory military service from 18 years of age, the best and brightest get automatically assigned to these cyber teams.

The universities are collaborating with corporates and government. They work on real solutions that matter rather than shoot for research on questions nobody is asking. Companies like Intel are setting up R&D centres in Israel because the talent is there.

Australia may have a Department if Innovation & Science which has a billion dollar budget. The Israeli tech infrastructure organizers in places like the Negev encourage start ups. They award grants thru competitive processes based purely on merit. Instead of cutting grant cheques to all for participating in the Aussie “everyone wins a prize” mentality, the idea is that only the “best” idea out of 500 wins. The rest are forced to make more compelling arguments and work to secure alternative funding. That weeds out waste. If Australia just divvies out with fairness in mind, resources are misallocated and it is more likely the capital allocators are clueless.

The system is impressive beyond words. Listening to a dozen presenttions ranging across medical, cyber and agricultural fields, one cannot be thoroughly in awe of an early-thirties doctor from the neighboring university who has racked up 20+ patents for his inventions.

Then there is the tale of a 17yo intern who was given an asssignment to hack the vulnerability of a mobile phone manufacturer whose PR department lied through its back teeth to cover up a flaw in the system they boasted was secure. They cited the original hack wasn’t done over a secure VPN. In 3 days the 17yo kid hacked that too. Take about a face plant.

The same group told a large American corporate that it’s video streaming had a bug. Instead of admitting the lapse, the tech giant hunkered down and dug in its heels. They put a bandaid on it and were hacked again. They have managed to make a computer that is next to another but not connected in anyway, even via WiFi to make functions purely based on heat.

The answer is simple though. There are many cultural reasons why this type of education system works in Israel. While Australia has no hope of holding a candle to the Israelis there are huge lessons to be learnt about fostering a culture of individual excellence rather than move down the slippery slope that fails to prepare our kids for the future. It maybe too late.

The Western Wall

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This is a picture of Australian Infantry Sergeant Norman Peterson (CM’s grandfather) at the Western Wall in Jerusalem in 1940. In 1948 it was part of Jordan and Jews like the man behind him were not allowed to pray there again until 1967 when three Israeli paratroopers, Zion Karasenti, Haim Oshti and Itzak Yifat were part of a group who liberated the site and restored pride to the newly formed nation. Last year the three soldiers that had the iconic photo taken were there to celebrate the 50th anniversary of that event. This wall is of significance to the Jews as it was originally erected as part of the expansion of the Second Jewish Temple built by Herod the Great in 516BC.

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A tick for Turnbull

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It is a rare occasion that CM praises the Turnbull government. However, the actions taken to say “NO” to a special UN investigation on Israel’s activities on March 14 are worthy of congratulation. Two reasons;

1) the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) is stacked with countries (Cuba, China, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar) with woeful human rights records and have no place dicatating impartiality. When the HRC has looked to investigate Israel more times than the rest of the world combined one doesn’t have to question bias. In the last 3 years, Israel has been the subject of 83 of 97 UN General Assembly resolutions. 86%. The UNHRC has zero credibility – period.

2) Hamas openly came out and admitted that 50 of the 62 dead were its own terrorists. 84% accuracy of those carrying handgrandes and other weapons. Yet honestly, who brings their children to an area where there is risk (and plenty of warning) of live fire? It is pretty simple. If you don’t want to get shot then don’t put yourself in a zone where there is a high likelihood of such. If no one turned up on the border, the body count would have been zero. As written last week, Hamas is far happier with sacrificing lives than Israeli Defence Forces are taking them.  When Hamas websites call for killing Israelis for those that break through, can you honestly blame Israel? The Israelis are not out to make headlines any worse than they already are. They are defending their sovereign borders and the reality is any of us would expect our armed forces to do the same if they were under siege.

The UN has long outlived its usefulness. Robert Mugabe is considered an ambassador for WHO. How he could possibly pass a sniff test on any level is beyond most. Such is the bias within that the UN, in an attempt to strike back at Trump’s intended cuts, considered deploying Blue Helmets in Chicago to help stem gun violence. These people are unreal.

It was once said, “if the Palestinians chucked their weapons into the sea there would be peace. If the Israelis threw their weapons into the sea there would be genocide.”

When they love their children more than they hate us

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If world opinion is to be believed, the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) wants to maximize the Palestinian body count.  The reality is that there is no upside for them to set new records. As awful as such actions are, fence lines and announcements which warn of shooting those who attempt to cross are plain. It should have come as no surprise to all of those protestors what lay in store for them. It is recognized as a sovereign border but this was obviously not a deterrent. The kibbutz of Nahal Oz is less than 2km from the Gaza fenceline. Was the IDF to stand down and allow fenceline intruders to get through, what would we expect them to do once they got to Nahal Oz? Peacefully protest? Even the Washington Post reported in an interview with a 23yo protestor, “We are excited to storm and get inside [Israel]…[we will do] whatever is possible, to kill, throw stones.” If someone crossed your own sovereign border threatening to kill (no matter a veiled threat or not) your fellow citizens, what would you want your border security to do? Exactly.

Such incursions are too numerous. During a trip to Israel in 2011, Nakba Day (the day of Israel’s founding (May 14), also known as the Day of Catastrophe to Palestinians) produced similar results. Not in the numbers killed, but the open encouragement by the Palestinian Authority (PA) for people to die as martyrs. Death triggers higher pension payments to families than does injury. The numbers are not trivial either. What a sad state of affairs that life can be priced so cheaply.

Make no mistake, when the PA gladly insures and encourages loss of life to publicize its independence, the heavier the IDF response the more welcome it is to the Hamas leadership. So contrary to public opinion, Hamas is far more eager to sacrifice Palestinian life than the Israelis are to take it. After all Gaza kindergartens and children’s TV programs go to great lengths to teach hatred of Israel. When countless wars have been waged by neighbors that outnumber it 30:1 and threaten to ‘wipe Israel off the map’ forgive it for living in a state of paranoia. We should remind ourselves when Egypt made a peace treaty with Israel in 1973, President Anwar Sadat ended up getting assassinated for it.

How is that even with the 1993 Oslo peace accords, the PLO carried out 4,000 attacks in the six years that followed? The Israelis under PM Ehud Barak were so desperate for peace that they offered to give the PLO 95% of their territorial demands yet more than 1,000 Israelis were killed, a total exceeding the previous 25 years combined. Arafat never wanted peace with the State of Israel. Every time Israel has extended the branch of peace with Palestine it is rejected. What a surprise when Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, said several weeks ago,

In the last several decades, the Palestinian leadership has missed one opportunity after the other and rejected all the peace proposals it was given…It is about time the Palestinians take the proposals and agree to come to the table or shut up.”

Jews have lived in the West Bank area continuously for 3,700 years, even after the destruction of Judea by the Romans in 70AD. Arabs became the dominant local population for the first time from 700AD only after Muslim invasions of the land.

What is missed on most people when bashing Israel, is that Palestinians have automatic rights to Jordanian citizenship yet they only covet Israel. There are 21 Arab nations which share a common language which openly refuse to offer asylum to Palestinian refugees which provides a convenient excuse to maintain a hostile posture toward Israel using their suffering as bait. The Jordanians don’t actively push Palestinians to take up citizenship which is their right to do so. As a side note to history, why was it that King Hussein’s Jordanian army was able to murder thousands of PLO militants in the 70s yet the PLO never called for the overthrow of the Hashemite monarchy?

At the time of the founding of the State of Israel in 1948, 90% of Palestinian Arabs lived in Transjordan. At the time there was no movement to create a Palestinian state. It is somewhat ironic that no Arab outrage ensued when Jordan annexed the West Bank (what we know as the occupied territories) in 1950 blatantly disenfranchising the Palestinian Arabs in the process. Even then they never fought for self-determination. In fact it wasn’t until the PLO was first established in 1964, a time the West Bank belonged to Jordan.

Israel remains an open, democratic and multi-ethnic society. It’s 1.3mn Arab minority have full rights and can serve in the Knesset.  On the other hand, the PA has proven itself to be an intolerant, self-serving and corrupt dictatorship.  An independent audit discovered that international aid money lined the pockets of the Palestinian leadership. Money laundering authorities in France discovered that Arafat’s wife’s bank account had amassed $3bn over 20 years. It is ironic that most of the original founders of the PLO didn’t even live in the Palestinian Mandate when the State of Israel was created. Even Arafat was born in Egypt. 

People seem to blame these unfortunate and avoidable events on the shift of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. However that decision was made clear many months ago and many other countries have decided to follow suit. These events are only going to end when, as Golda Meir once said, “We will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us.

Afterall how can Israel make peace with people who can’t even make peace with themselves? Ask the majority of Jews, Christians and Muslims who live inside Israel and you can be assured that they want an end to all this violence but the media will never want to push that agenda.