“Israel” preparing for war with Syria, confirms general
Source: Israeltoday, 17-7-2007
A senior “Israeli” general on Monday confirmed that the army is preparing for a full-scale war with Syria in the very near future.
Speaking at “Israel’s” Institute for National Security Studies, Maj.-Gen. Eyal Ben-Reuven, who served as deputy commander of “Israel’s” northern forces during last summer`s war in Lebanon, said that the army is “preparing itself for an all-out war, and this is a major change in the military`s working premise” following the 34-day conflict with Hizbullah that many “Israelis” feel their nation failed to win.
The general said that when war breaks out, Syria will be prepared to suffer mass military and civilian casualties, while at the same time playing on “Israel’s” sensitivity to civilian losses by striking “Israel’s” home front with as many missiles as possible.
Syria “will try to hit `Israel`s` home front in order to win diplomatic gains in peace talks that will follow, and also cause another split in `Israeli` society,” “Israel” National News quoted Ben-Reuven as saying.
In order to deny Syria this victory, Ben-Reuven said the “Israeli” army is training for a swift and overwhelming invasion of Syria “to knock out the areas from where missiles are launched against `Israel` as quickly as possible.”
He lamented that if “Israel” had responded to Hizbullah`s rocket attacks in such a manner, the Second Lebanon War would have ended much differently.
One in four “Israeli” men dodges the draft
Source: telegraph.co.uk, 18-7-2007
Jerusalem (al-Quds) - One in four “Israeli” men eligible for national service last year dodged the draft, the highest proportion in the history of the Jewish (Zionist) state.
Figures released yesterday by the “Israeli” Army showed that in the 2006 intake, just 75 per cent of eligible men joined up. The figures date from before last year`s Lebanon war, widely viewed in “Israel” as a failure, and there are worries that this year`s numbers could show an even greater rate of non-participation.
The declining participation rate in a country that since its foundation in 1948 has repeatedly had to use its army to fight for its existence led to strong criticism from officers inside the “Israeli” army.
"`Israeli` society has to condemn draft dodgers," an unnamed officer said. "This is not just a military matter, but a social issue as well. Those who do not shoulder their share of the burden have to be made to feel ashamed."
“Israeli” men can avoid service in several ways. The growing number of Ultra-Orthodox Jews have special dispensation to continue religious studies, while convicted criminals are barred from serving, as are the ill and infirm.
But some young “Israelis” travel overseas beyond the reach of the army authorities and there is some evidence of people pretending to have mental illness to avoid service.
There have been calls to reverse the decline either by limiting exemptions, or by allowing those with a criminal record to enlist.
The reduced levels of participation reveal a change in attitudes among young “Israelis” as the memory of the country`s early days, surrounded by hostile, aggressive Arab neighbours, becomes more distant.
With peace treaties signed with Egypt and Jordan, the imminent sense of threat is not as strong for today`s young “Israelis” as it used to be.
(note: the quotatian marks around the words "Israel" or "Israeli" are not mine, but are from the original articles. VS)