On March 1, 2011 an Israeli Merkava IV tank on patrol along the Gaza periphery was fired upon by Hamas terrorists from concealed positions within Gaza. Using a deadly RPG-29, a more advanced version of the RPG-7, the terrorists waited for impact. But their moment of glory never transpired. As the anti-tank projectile neared its target, a revolutionary platform – the Trophy Armor Protection System (APS) – deployed on the Merkava IV detected the threat and instantly fired a number of pellets at the deadly menace, destroying and rendering it inert yards from the tank.
Barely three weeks later, Hamas terrorists experienced further failure. They once again attempted to engage a Trophy-equipped Merkava IV. This time, the Trophy calculated the missile’s trajectory and determined that the missile posed no threat, allowing it pass along harmlessly. But that wasn’t the end of the story. Based on the missiles flight path, the Trohy was able to determine the source of fire and transmitted the coordinates to the tank’s crew as well as to nearby units who instantly directed their accurate counter-fire toward the source of the attack, causing at least one terrorist casualty.
The Israeli made Trophy APS had instantly revolutionized armored warfare. It was the first time that such a system had been successfully deployed in battle and the results elated the army’s top brass as well as Trophy’s designers, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries’ Elta Group. No longer would an armored vehicle have to rely on its own armor to defend against anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM) and other forms of anti-tank threats. Tanks and other vehicles, such as armored personnel carriers and even HUMVEEs would henceforth go into battle with an active protection system designed to swat anti-tank missiles, shells and rockets as though they were pesky mosquitos.
Trophy works like a mini Iron Dome, another Israeli wonder weapon that intercepts and neutralizes short-range rocket threats, like Russian GRAD rockets, from the skies. It utilizes a combination of sensors and radar along with fire control technology and intercepting pellets to detect and neutralize incoming missile threats. A secondary feature enables the Trophy to accurately determine the source of fire and transmit the coordinates to nearby ground and air units through the Tzayad battlefield management system. All friendly units in the theater are instantly apprised of the enemy’s position making escape and evasion difficult.
Trophy proved its mettle once more during Operation Protective Edge, a seven-week counter insurgency campaign undertaken by the Israel Defense Forces against the Hamas terrorist organization in Gaza during the summer of 2014. During the operation, Trophy succeeded beyond all expectations, intercepting a variety of anti-tank threats. In fact, according to IDF sources, the Trophy system intercepted no less than 15 anti-tank missiles and rockets including the deadly Russian Kornet missile which is believed to be capable of penetrating 3.9 feet of armor and has a range of about 5,500 yards.
These missiles were used by the Iraqi army against American M1 Abrams tanks during Operation Iraqi Freedom and by Hezbollah against Israeli Merkava tanks during the Second Lebanon War. The Trophy system is an outgrowth of the Israeli experience during the Second Lebanon War and became operational some four years later. By 2010, an entire battalion of Merkava IV tanks had been outfitted with the Trophy. The Trophy has also been adopted for use in Israeli Namer & Eitan armored personnel carriers and there are plans in the works for deployment on naval craft.
Despite its revolutionary design features and battle-tested capabilities, the United States Army was initially hesitant in adopting the Trophy APS, preferring instead to see how a locally produced variant performed. But a confluence of emerging threats coupled with a new, no-nonsense attitude adopted by Trump’s secretary of defense, James Mattis, has finally convinced the U.S. Army to adopt the Trophy APS for its M1A2 tanks, at least in limited numbers.
A Trophy-equipped brigade of over 80 Abrams tanks is slated to be deployed to the European theater by 2020 to counter recent Russian aggressive actions, which include the seizure and occupation of Crimea and parts of eastern Ukraine as well as menacing, large-scale military exercises including one ominously code-named, “Zapad 17.” Zapad is Russian for “West.”
Some U.S. Army Abrams tanks are fitted with reactive armor tile, which is designed to deflect the penetrating blast away from tanks. That system has proved to be effective against some rocket and missile threats but later generation missiles, such as the Kornet, are equipped with tandem or dual warheads. The first charge destroys the tanks protective reactive armor allowing the second and more lethal charge to hit the tank.
According to Col. Glenn Dean, the Project Manager of the Stryker Brigade Combat Team at Combat Ground Systems, of live-fire testing at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama, the Israeli Trophy APS “exceeded [his] expectations.” He noted that during testing, he “tried to kill the Abrams tank 48 times and failed.” New procedures adopted by the Department of Defense allowed for a streamlined acquisitions process, bypassing the usual bureaucratic red tape resulting in quicker deployment of the Trophy.
The U.S. and Israeli militaries have always maintained close ties despite malevolent efforts by the Obama administration to sour relations. The two militaries share common symmetrical and asymmetrical threats and represent beacons of strength and stability in a world threatened by apocalyptic mullahs and petty dictators with imperialistic designs. The acquisition of the Trophy by the U.S. military further underscores the closeness of the relationship and advances the shared interests of two great democracies with winning traditions.
Israel’s National Labor Court this week ruled that a Bedouin woman, divorced and living in a polygamous family (with her husband and his second wife), is entitled to National Insurance Institute income support benefits in addition to her ex-husband’s income – even though she continues to live near his home with her mother-in-law and their children, Globes reported.
Salami al-Zayadneh, a Bedouin woman, sought to receive income support benefit as she would be entitled to if she lived apart from her husband whom she had divorced. Except that she never left the family compound – which was noted by both the National Insurance Institute and the Regional Labor Court in rejecting her claim, ruling that there was no change in her way of life, and that she continued to maintain a common household with her “ex” husband.
A billboard in Toulouse commemorating the victims of Mohammed Merah’s gun attack on the Ozar Hatorah school in March 2012. Photo: File.
Chaotic scenes broke out on Wednesday at the trial in France of the brother of an Islamist extremist who carried out a spree of terrorist attacks around the southern city of Toulouse in March 2012, including a gun assault on a Jewish school that resulted in the brutal murders of a rabbi along with three young children.
Shouts and jeers erupted from the gallery at the court in Paris during the testimony of Zoulika Aziri — the mother of 35-year-old Abdelkader Merah, who could face a life sentence if he is found guilty of having aided his brother, Mohammed, in carrying out three separate terror attacks between March 11-19, 2012. Mohammed Merah was shot and killed by French police on March 22 of that year at the culmination of a 30-hour siege after he was tracked down.
The evidence is mounting that Iran is not only violating the spirit of the no-nukes deal, but that it is also violating its letter. The prologue to the deal explicitly states: “Iran reaffirms that under no circumstances will Iran ever seek, develop or acquire any nuclear weapons.” This reaffirmation has no sunset provision: it is supposed to be forever.
Yet German officials have concluded that Iran has not given up on its goal to produce nuclear weapons that can be mounted on rockets. According to Der Tagesspiegel, a Berlin newspaper:
“Despite the nuclear agreement [reached with world powers in July 2015], Iran has not given up its illegal activities in Germany.
An outbreak of bubonic plague in Madagascar is quickly becoming an epidemic, giving a grim look into how this dreaded disease, once known as the Black Death, killed off one-third of the entire world population.
Madagascar, a poor country in the Indian Ocean, suffers annual outbreaks of the plague with an estimated 400 cases every year. This current outbreak threatens to be much worse than the usual annual outbreak. In the past two months, at least 74 people died from the disease and over 800 more have been infected.
St. Catherine’s Monastery is a popular destination for Christian religious tourism, South Sinai, Egypt. Posted July 14, 2017.
CAIRO — Pope Francis has confirmed that Egypt will be included as an official Roman Catholic Church pilgrimage destination next year, sparking hope that the country’s tourism industry can be revived. The first pilgrims should begin arriving in Egypt in May, according to Tourism Minister Yahya Rashed.
The pope endorsed the designation Oct. 4 during his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican. The Egyptian Ministry of Tourism then announced Oct. 5 that the path of the Holy Family (Jesus, Mary and Joseph) in Egypt more than 2,000 years ago will be part of the Vatican pilgrimage program for 2018.
On Friday, US President Donald Trump initiated an important change in US policy toward Iran.
No, in his speech decertifying Iran’s compliance with the nuclear accord it struck with his predecessor Barack Obama, Trump didn’t announce a new strategy for preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, or stemming its hegemonic rise in the Middle East, or limiting its ability to sponsor terrorism.
Trump’s move was not operational. It was directional.
One month after Islamic militants bombed two Egyptian churches during Palm Sunday and killed nearly 50 people in April 2017. On Friday, May 26, several SUVs stopped two buses transporting dozens of Christians to visit and pray at the ancient Coptic Monastery of St. Samuel the Confessor, in the desert south of Cairo. According to initial reports, about ten Islamic militants, heavily armed and dressed in military fatigues, “demanded that the passengers recite the Muslim profession of faith”—which is tantamount to converting to Islam—and when they refused, the jihadis opened fire on them, killing 29 Christians, at least ten of which were young children (including two girls aged 2 and 4). Mohsen Morkous—an American citizen described as “a simple man” whom “everyone loved”—his two sons, and his two grandsons were among those killed.
Even now, polls suggest that about 40 percent of Americans regard Donald Trump as a suitable president. In essence, this preference has little to do with job performance and must be explained by the nature of the wider society from which this president was drawn.
For the most part, Americans have forsaken every once-residual aspect of an authentic intellectual life. This near-total abandonment of a national “life of the mind” was not fashioned in a cultural vacuum. Rather, it was fostered by an unrelenting barrage of crude and voyeuristic entertainments, most of which now center on sex, sadism, torture, murder and dreary profanity.
On Sunday, a delegation of young Israeli Arabs joined the battle against the apartheid lie and the BDS libels. Such a delegation—on behalf of Reservists on Duty, an organization which is already active on US campuses—is definitely a refreshing change, which sparks not only curious and sympathetic reactions but also threats and a smear campaign. One of the delegation members was forced to leave his home, and another member nearly quit following the pressure.
After weeks of Egyptian-sponsored pre-talks, and a very short “cabinet meeting” in Gaza, “formal reconciliation talks” are now being held between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority (P.A. or Fatah) in Cairo under the direct auspices of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
For some Middle East-watchers, the talks are a form of progress. There are presently three functional governments between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, and this is about getting rid of one of them. Progress here is that Israel is not the government they’re talking about getting rid of. Yet. This is about whether Hamas or Fatah will lead the Palestinians – whether to peace with Israel or to war with Israel is less important for them right now than simply who between them is top dog.