Killing By Drone: Hunting Enemies In Urban Combat

A new drone from Israel’s Elbit Systems called Lanius combines a number of technologies that put it at the forefront of how drones are transforming war.

At the same time, reports about the drone may raise questions about how this technology may make war more controversial as “robots” play a larger role in it.

The more armies and defense companies invest in new technology that enables combat to take place remotely — without soldiers interacting with civilians, for instance — the more it seems like “robot wars.”

Elbit Systems has said that Lanius is “part of the Legion-X robotic and autonomous combat solution.” Elbit is one of Israel’s three largest defense companies and is at the forefront of defense technology.

Its website says the drone “is a highly maneuverable and versatile drone-based loitering munition designed for short-range operation in the urban environment.”

The drone can scout and map buildings, flying around small corridors and through doorways. This means it can help a user find “points of interest for possible threats, detecting, classifying and syncing to Elbit Systems’ Legion-X solutions. Lanius can carry lethal or non-lethal payloads, capable of performing a broad spectrum of mission profiles for special forces, military, law enforcement, and HLS.”

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Why the US & Israel are preventing aid from reaching one of the poorest countries in the Middle East

Despite the recent signing of a historic maritime border agreement, tensions continue to remain high, with both Israel and the United States attempting to force Lebanon into compliance with their regional agenda.

Although Israeli and Lebanese leaders signed letters of intent earlier this month ending their long-standing maritime border dispute and averting a major escalation in their ongoing conflict, the two sides still remain technically at war. Beirut refuses to recognise the Israeli state, maintaining the stance that first the Palestine issue must be resolved, as Israel maintains control over the Shebaa Farms area which Lebanon claims to be its territory.

Last week, drone strikes were reported to have killed up to 25 people after targeting a fuel aid convoy that had just passed the Al-Qaim crossing into Syria from Iraq. There are conflicting reports on who actually carried out the attack, with both Israel and the United States accused of having been behind it. The US military instantly distanced themselves from the incident, by denying they had carried out any strikes, whilst the Israeli government refused to comment and is now widely assumed to be culpable. According to Iraqi authorities, the fuel trucks, numbering 22 according to Iranian state-media, were approved for heading out of the country and seemed to be part of Iran’s new agreement with Lebanon to provide free fuel.

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Cannabis found in ancient Israeli temple called ‘revolutionary’ discovery

Holy smokes!

Archaeologists have discovered cannabis residue on artifacts in a temple in southern Israel, marking the first known use of hallucinogenic drugs in the Jewish religion, reports the Associated Press.

The study, which was published Friday in the Tel Aviv: Journal of the Institute of Archaeology of Tel Aviv University, notes that the “revolutionary” findings from an eighth-century BC shrine at Tel Arad suggest “the use of mind-altering substances as part of cultic rituals in Judah.”

“Here, the official state religion of the kingdom of Judah was using this substance,” study author Eran Arie said of the psychotropic samples, which were found on two limestone altars. The synagogue was first unearthed in the 1960s at the Tel Arad excavation site near Jerusalem, however, archaeologists hadn’t identified the ancient marijuana until now.

Chemical analysis also revealed that the hashish was likely burned atop dried animal droppings.

However, it’s unlikely that the ancient Hebrews were smoking pot to get stoned. Yossi Garfinkel, an archaeology professor from Hebrew University, postulated that they took various mind-altering substances, including opium and wine “to get into ecstasy and connect with God.”

The marijuana milestone marks the “first time we see psychoactive substances in Judahite religion,” according to Arie, who hopes the discovery will shed more light on how ancient Israelites conducted worship.

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Ukrainian Army Spotted Using Israeli-Made Armored Vehicles

The Ukrainian Army was spotted using several Israeli-made armored vehicles for the first time in the newly-liberated city of Kherson.

A Twitter account that tracks weapons and equipment supplied to Ukraine showed photos of the Gaia Amir Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles used in the invasion.

They were parked along residential buildings in an unspecified village in the Kherson region and are believed to have taken a large part in Ukraine’s retaking of the city.

While there is no information on how these vehicles appeared in the war-torn nation, Israel has made it clear that it would not supply military aid to Kyiv.

The Middle Eastern country only agreed to send humanitarian aid and early warning systems due to “operational restrictions.”

Meanwhile, a video released by a Russian Telegram channel showed a Gaia Amir MRAP vehicle targeted and destroyed by a Lancet suicide missile.

This fueled speculation that the unreported delivery of Israeli-made armored vehicles to Ukraine has been going on for a while.

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Court Orders Israeli Ministry of Health to Disclose Vaccination Status of Deceased People During Pandemic

In September, an Israeli health researcher and health journalist Dr. Yaffa Shir-Raz released shocking new information about her findings and exposed Israel’s cover-ups in reporting the adverse events related to Covid-19 vaccinations.

The Israeli Ministry of Health (MoH) discovered major safety issues with the COVID vaccines and hid the information from the public intentionally. MoH distorted the findings of the expert.

Dr. Yaffa took to Twitter to expose a leaked video where Prof. Mati Berkowitz, head of the research team appointed by the Israeli Ministry of Health (MoH) to examine the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine, was caught lying and manipulating an expert report on adverse events.

“Here we will have to really think medical-legal. Why medical-legal? Because for quite a few adverse events we said: ‘OK, it exists, and there is a report, but still get vaccinated’. I mean, we have to think about how to write it and how to present it correctly. So this will not yield lawsuits later: ‘Wait, wait, wait, you said everything will pass and you can get vaccinated. And now look what happened to me. The phenomenon continues’”.

A recent study in Israel revealed more than a 25% increase in calls in Israel’s National Emergency Medical Services (IEMS) concerning emergency cardiovascular events in the 16 to 39 age group during the Covid-19 vaccination rollout.

The study analyzed all calls related to cardiac arrest (CA) and acute coronary syndrome (ACS) events from January 1st, 2019 to June 20th, 2021.

The researchers stated in their abstract, “while not establishing causal relationships, the findings raise concerns regarding vaccine-induced undetected severe cardiovascular side-effects and underscore the already established causal relationship between vaccines and myocarditis, a frequent cause of unexpected cardiac arrest in young individuals.”

Now, the Jerusalem District Court has ordered the Israeli Ministry of Health to disclose the vaccination status of the people who died during the pandemic, in response to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request from a citizen.

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Rate of sexual abuse of kids is highest among religious Zionist sector

Students in religious public schools in Israel are at a higher risk of sexual harassment and assault than any other of the Jewish education streams, a new study examining cases of sexual abuse from the religious Zionist sector by the Ne’emanei Torah Va’avodah movement has found.

“[These results] are a first step in the necessary in-depth discussions that oblige us to fight this phenomenon, recognize it, and to wake up from the illusion that a separated society [of men and women] is a guarantee of preventing harm.” Ne’emanei Torah Va’avodah’s Shmuel Shatach

Researcher Ariel Finkelstein analyzed the scope and profile of sexual abuse victims in Israeli local authorities’ social services departments in 2020, by sector or stream.

In Israel, there are a number of educational streams: Secular public school (Mamlachti), religious public school (Mamlachti Dati) and ultra-Orthodox schools, which are either private or semi-private.

The distribution of the data on sexual abuse was filtered by sector, according to the type of educational stream where the victims are currently or were educated in their childhood.

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Israel explains remote-controlled checkpoint gun

The Israeli army has installed a remote-controlled gun turret in the Palestinian city of Hebron in the West Bank, saying it’s to be used for crowd dispersal.

The sci-fi-looking style is positioned at a checkpoint on Shuhada Street, a protest hotspot in the city, Haaretz reported at the weekend.

The system, which is currently being tested, can fire stun grenades, tear gas and sponge-tipped bullets, while being controlled by a remote operator.

“As part of the army’s improved preparations for confronting people disrupting order in the area, it is examining the possibility of using remotely controlled systems for the employment of approved measures of crowd dispersal,” a military spokesman told the Israeli paper.

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US Hints At Preparing Military Option Against Iran To Israeli Officials

An Israeli official said that the US hinted it was preparing a military option against Iran during a meeting between Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz and US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on Friday, The Times of Israel reported.

The Israeli official said that Gantz told Sullivan that Israel “needs” the US to have a credible military option against Iran. The meeting came as Washington and Tehran are engaged in negotiations to revive the nuclear deal.

The official said that Gantz received “good hints” that the US was preparing a military option. The official didn’t offer details but said the idea of the military option that Israel wants would be to get Iran to make more concessions in negotiations. If not, the US could potentially take military action against the Islamic Republic alongside Israel.

Gantz expressed his opposition to the nuclear deal in the meeting with Sullivan, and the Israelis are stepping up pressure on the Biden administration to abandon the talks. As part of the pressure campaign, the head of Israel’s Mossad spy agency, David Barnea, is heading to Washington next week.

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FACEBOOK TELLS MODERATORS TO ALLOW GRAPHIC IMAGES OF RUSSIAN AIRSTRIKES BUT CENSORS ISRAELI ATTACKS

AFTER A SERIES of Israeli airstrikes against the densely populated Gaza Strip earlier this month, Palestinian Facebook and Instagram users protested the abrupt deletion of posts documenting the resulting death and destruction. It wasn’t the first time Palestinian users of the two giant social media platforms, which are both owned by parent company Meta, had complained about their posts being unduly removed. It’s become a pattern: Palestinians post sometimes graphic videos and images of Israeli attacks, and Meta swiftly removes the content, providing only an oblique reference to a violation of the company’s “Community Standards” or in many cases no explanation at all.

Not all the billions of users on Meta’s platforms, however, run into these issues when documenting the bombing of their neighborhoods.

Previously unreported policy language obtained by The Intercept shows that this year the company repeatedly instructed moderators to deviate from standard procedure and treat various graphic imagery from the Russia-Ukraine war with a light touch. Like other American internet companies, Meta responded to the invasion by rapidly enacting a litany of new policy carveouts designed to broaden and protect the online speech of Ukrainians, specifically allowing their graphic images of civilians killed by the Russian military to remain up on Instagram and Facebook.

No such carveouts were ever made for Palestinian victims of Israeli state violence — nor do the materials show such latitude provided for any other suffering population.

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Israel begins its war on cash

Starting August 1, Israelis will not be able to make cash and bank check payments above 6,000 Shekels. According to the country’s Tax Authority, the law is meant to combat tax non-compliance, organized crime, and money laundering.

“We want the public to reduce the use of cash money,” said Tamar Bracha of Israel’s Tax Authority, speaking to The Media Line. “The goal is to reduce cash fluidity in the market, mainly because crime organizations tend to rely on cash. By limiting the use of it, criminal activity is much harder to carry out.”

But some critics have rejected the argument that the law reduces cash in the market.

“We were in the discussions about the bill. The data we brought showed that since the first phase of the law was in effect, the amount of cash on the market only increased. So clearly, something’s not working,” said Uri Goldman, a lawyer who represented plaintiffs who opposed the law in 2018.

Goldman further noted that over one million people in Israel do not have bank accounts. As such the law “would prevent them from conducting any business and would, practically, turn 10% of the population to criminals.”

The new law prevents cash and bank check payments over 6,000 Shekel to a business. Transactions between citizens (not business) are limited to 15,000 Shekel.

There are two exceptions to the law; transactions with Palestinians in the West Bank and charitable institutions.

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