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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, MARCH 15, 2013 Essential From page 1A exist within Israel's political and security establishments as well. When he goes to Israel, Obama plans to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Ben- jamin Netanyahu, who has apparently cobbled together a government after January's election. Obama also will meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and will travel to Jordan to meet with King Abdullah. Obama told the Jewish par- ticipants that he thinks pros- pects for peace are "bleak," but added: "That doesn't mean six or nine or 12 months from now we won't be in the midst of a policy initiative." Obama said he would tell the Israelis that "the pros- pects for peace continue to go through the Palestinians." A White House official confirmed that the president would not be seeking a specific outcome from this visit. "The president noted that the trip is not dedicated to re- solving a specific policy issue but is rather an opportunity to consult with the Israeli government about a broad range of issues--including Iran, Syria, the situation in the region and the peace pro- cess," the official said. "He also underscored that the trip is an opportunity for him to speak directly to the Israeli people about the history, interests, and values that we share." Obama seemed more en- thusiastically engaged, par- ticipants said, when he was seeking input from them on how best to reach out to Israelis and make them feel secure about the U.S.-Israel alliance. The exchange took up the bulk of the meeting, with Obama fielding more than a dozen questions and suggestions over 45 minutes. Nathan Diament, the Wash- ington director of the Or- thodox Union, said that he counseled the president to emphasize the Jewish con- nection to the land. "I underscored the need for him to go to a place where he can both symbolically and in his statements speak about the millennia of connection between the Jewish people and Israel," said Diament, who spoke under conditions that allowed participants to relay their own words to reporters. Israeli and U.S. officials for weeks have grappled with which venues would best "young people," White House convey Obama's outreach officials have said, and Israeli effort. One factor is security; officials reportedly are work- Israeli officials have told their American counterparts that securing Obama outside the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv corridor is daunting, which limits his options. Aside from the official meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, avisit to the Yad Yashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem and dinner at the home of Presi- dent Shimon Peres, who will present Obama with a medal, nothing has been confirmed. A visit to Jerusalem's Old City is still under consideration, as is a tour of an Iron Dome mis- sile defense battery, a system Obama funded and which successfully protected Israel from rocketattacks during the Gaza Strip war last November. Obama wants to speak to ing on a venue that could ac- commodate a large crowd of university students, probably in Jerusalem. In a separate interview with JTA, Michael Oren, Israel's ambassador to Washington, said Israelis are looking for- ward to the visit because of the message it will send. "In terms of Israel, the tim- ing of the trip could not be bet- ter because it reassures us in a period of profound instability throughout the region, and sends an unequivocal mes- sage throughout the region about the strength and vitality of the U.S.-Israel alliance," Oren said. In addition to the Orthodox Union, participants at the meeting included representa- Drones PAGE 19. A. rives of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the Jewish Federations of North America, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, J Street, Americans for Peace Now, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, B'nai B'rith In- ternational, the Conservative and Reform movements, the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee, Hadassah, the National Coun- cil of Jewish Women, Jewish Women International, the National Jewish Democratic Council, the World Jewish Congress and the Simon Wiesenthai Center. Influential supporters of the president also were in attendance, including Robert Wexler, Mel Levine, Steve Rabinowitz and Alan Der- showitz. From page 2A client list also reportedly in- cludes some U.S. rivals, such as Russia, and developing countries like Nigeria. About one-fifth of IAI's drones stay in Israel. They range from the 5-ton Heron TP, which can fly as high as 45,000 feet and stay in the air for 52 hours, to the handheld Mosquito micro-drone,which weighs less than a pound and travels nearly a mile. The Heron looks like an oversized, gray remote-control airplane, with a radar sticking out of its top and, of course, no space for a pilot. AlongwithAir Force drones, the Israel Defense Forces plans to incorporate drones in infantry units. Soldiers may carry a disassembled mini-drone in two backpacks and, when patrolling cities, assemble the drone, launch it by slingshot and monitor it by remote control. The Ghost, as this drone is known, weighs nine pounds and can help the unit eliminate blind spots and, according to IDF spokesman Eytan Buchman, overcome the "fog of war." "You can't see around the comer, you don't know what's on the other side of the hill," Buchman said. "It's definitely helpful when you're facing guerrilla opponents and rely heavily on the element of surprise." He added that drones help save civilian lives by identify- ing civilians near a bomb's targetand helping reroute the bomb to avoid them. The Ghost's only protrud- ing feature is its most ex- pensive part: a small, round camera that sticks out of the drone's underbelly. To protect the camera, the Ghost flips upside-down before it lands. Kalron said IAI hopes to Peace From page 4A and Lebanese killedby the Israeli security forces responding to various incidents since the year 2000 amounts toa fraction of the estimates (100,000 to more than a million) ofhaqiswho have died since the U.S. invasion in 2003. The true numbersareelusive, but those available appear to indicate that Israel has little to be ashamed of in terms of failing to achieve the peace that has appeared to be possible. Can Israel do more? Should it be pressed by the United States and others, or Israelis and over- seas Jews whose values demand more effort? How much of the responsibil- ity for a stalled peace process should be laid at the feet of Israeli settlers? That's another question im- possible to answer without comparison. The overwhelming propor- tion of the construction has been in neighborhoods of Jerusalem and major settlement blocs (Gush Etzion, Maale Adumim, Ariel) thatno Israeli government is likely to concede as improper. Israeli governments have acted, imperfectly, against Jews who would build outside of those areas throughout the West Bank. Israeli police have also acted, imperfectly, against individual Jews who shame the rest of us by insulting and as- saulting Arabs and destroying their property. Nothing I or anyone else writes will quiet those who re- fuse to compare, and demand maximum effort to maximize what is possible. Een within the concept of %vhaat is possible," however, are also,elements of comparison.An intelligent conversation cannot evade comparison. Inthis case, the comparisonof whatispossible hassornethingto dowithwhat the Palestiniansare willing to do for the sake of peace. You haven't noticed? Take another look at Gaza, and Mah- moud Abbas' recent speeches. Ira Sharkansky is professor emeritus, Department of Poh'ti- cal Science, Hebrew ty of Jerusalem. He maybe reached at irashark@gmail.com. Begin From page 5A judgment when we appointed the commission. There is no other alternative." This was vintage Begin-- emotional, authentic, pro- foundly Jewish. He did not say, "This is the law," because it was not the law. He used the word "din," connoting one of the attributes of Godwhen sit- ting in strict judgment. There was no place for the balancing attribute of "raharnim," or mercy. Begin chose to uphold Isra- el's good name as a democracy and reject Sharon's argument that he should stand with the ews in combat. Right before ceiling Sharon that he had made up his mind, Begin stared at him silently and confessed in his trademark fatherly demeanor,"Whenyou smile with this tad of sarcasm, I am disarmed and can no longer be your accuser." "I only smile when I am shaken up and confused," Sharon replied. This was the sabra moment par excellence, the tough outer shell peeled back to reveal the soft core where the Jewish soul struggles with the mighty questions of the Zion- ist enterprise. And yet, when push came to shove, Begin did the right thing. He chose the rule of law. The only question was whether the military had acted lawlessly by recklessly disregarding the risk. A com- mission headed by the chief justice found that it did, and Begin would stand behind it. We Jews often ask our- selves, "What will the gentiles think?" Begin gave us the answer: If we trust in the strength of our democracy, it does not matter. There are voices at the highest level of the Israeli government who complained recently that movies like "The Gatekeepers" or "5 Broken Cameras"--two failed Oscar contenders that offered scath- ing critiques of Israeli military policy--only fuel the narra- tive of hostile voices. They would be wise to heed thewords of former Israeli Su- preme Court President Aha- ron Barak, who famously said that we must fight with "one arm tied behind our back," a democratic combatant in a sea of sharks. Despite the particularities of our condi- tion, we will only win if we truly learn that skill. As to Sharon, we all know that the people of Israel wound up forgiving him enough to elect him twice to the pre- miership. Perhaps they forgot Sabraand Shatila. Or perhaps, because Begin preserved the soul of the country when he judged him with din, he cre- ated the possibility that we could judge him years later with rahamim. Ari Afilalo is a professor of international law at Rutgers Law School. expand its drone options in the coming years, developing stealth drones that are harder to see and hear, and working on a micro-drone with wings that flap like a butterfly--a concept known as biomim- icry. IAI also is expanding drones' civilian uses, like surveillance of large crowds and stadiums. IAI's drones conduct sur- veillance, take photographs, and record audio and video, accordingto Kalron. Hewould not discuss the drones' com- bat capabilities; IArs website includes the payload limits for drones. Drone expert Arie Egozi of the online publication Israel Homeland Security told JTA that "from a technological standpoint, every drone" can shoot missiles. "You put bombs under the wings and it shoots them," Egozi said. Some critics argue that the use of drones raises serious moral and legal problems. The debate has been particularly heated on the American use of unmanned vehicles for tar- geted killings in Afghanistan and Pakistan. While drones are not with- out their Israeli critics, they have provoked far less contro- versy here than in the United States. For many Israelis, a future where planes fly un- manned and pilots are at less risk of death or capture is a welcome development. "If you can take the pilots out of danger, of Course it's better," said UriAviv, a civilian flight instructorwho spent 15 years in the Israeli Air Force. "The moral question is about hitting the target, not the type of weapon. It doesn't matter if you use a cannon, a tank, a plane or a drone. A pilot can't see who he's hitting--it's the same thing with a drone." The biggest concern raised by drones, says Hebrew Uni- versity philosophy professor Moshe Halbertal, is that their pinpoint accuracy raises the bar for the soldiers operating them. Freed from the stress and uncertainty of flying a plane, Halbertal said, soldiers must take more time to "iden- Tern Who: Everyonel t. ha . Passover Seder! he ,: Tuesi March26 ' 6:00 PM tify who is a legitimate target" and review the decision before launching a strike. Halbertal said he doubts that "those who operate drones will be much quicker in using weapons" than tra- ditional pilots. Egozi said the bigger ques- tion for Israel is about the efficacy of exporting to coun- tries such as Russia, which has provided technology to Israeli adversaries like Iran and Syria. Israel's agreements with Russia have required pledges that Russia not sell certain missile technology to Iran. Every IAI export deal must receive Israeli Defense Min- istry approval before being finalized, according to Kalron. He said he looks forward to a day when 95 percent of army aviation is unmanned and the Israeli Air Force is not needed. "In 20 or 30 years they'll fly drones on commercial flights," Kalron said. "It's a trend that's developing quickly. Technology is supe- rior than all human abilities."