Tag Archives: B’nai Brith

Eye in the Sky: IAI Heron UAV to fly with Canadian troops (Video)

Via the Jewish Tribune:
Canada ends absurd Israeli military ban, chooses to arm Canada with the best..

Israel had loaned drones to NATO allies previously in Afghanistan, and Iraq. I believe even to Canadian armed forces in the Afghani theatre. The reports from the field have been glowing, the hardware was making a huge difference. The little hand launched Skylark drone was rumored to be in great favor with American forces and Israeli hardware was quickly being looked at in greater quantity by the US DOD. Now this success in the field may have broken open a Canadian dam, the ban on purchases of hardware from the holy land..

TORONTO – Canada’s decision to supply its troops in Afghanistan with two Israeli models of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), starting in February 2009, brings to an end a long-standing policy in the defence ministry that had prohibited the purchase of Israeli equipment. Indeed, the policy was so rigorously enforced that even camping equipment that could be used for military purposes had been banned.

Two years ago, at a meeting between B’nai Brith Canada leaders and Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Frank Dimant, executive vice-president of the organization, had asked why Canadian troops weren’t being supplied with the absolute best military equipment available. The prime minister indicated he would look into the matter.

As a result of the new policy coming into effect after considerable debate among Canadian parliamentarians, the French Sperwer that’s currently in use will be replaced by the Israeli Heron and Skylark drones, which are designed to better withstand Middle Eastern weather and environmental conditions, in particular the heat, wind and sandy dust, known as hamsin.

According to analysts, it also has a quieter engine, flies higher, carries more weight and can operate for a longer period. Some MPs have questioned the decision after more than $250 million had been spent on the French product.

“As Canadians, we are now relieved knowing that our frontline soldiers will have the best equipment, and we’re pleased that a biased policy has been removed from the government,” Dimant said. Canada’s decision came at the end of a year of negotiations with Israel Aircraft Industries (AIF), and the deal could total $125 million over six years.

The 998-kilogram Herons – Israel’s first long-rage UAV with an estimated range of up to 3,300 kilometres – will be delivered to the Canadian air force, while the Skylark mini-UAVs – launched by hand and used for close-range surveillance and reconnaissance – will be used by ground troops.

The Heron is deployed and tested by Israel, a newer version known as Eitan that is based on the huge Heron platform is now also in use by Israel with even more advanced electronic systems. Both platforms may be able to do more than just look around, rumored to be able to uhh.. deliver payloads.

The tiny Skylark looks like a model airplane, while the Heron is nearly the size of a small fighter. Good news for brave Canadian forces taking the fight to terrorists far from home, and yet another fine example of Harper’s responsible leadership – Putting Canadian forces above previous Liberal government idiocy which slashed budgets, gave little moral support, and evidently kept top notch hardware out of Canadian hands. One can only hope this is the start of a fruitful relationship benefiting both nations going forward.

Video of the Heron & capabilities


B’nai Brith: PM Harper has reached out over Sukkot election call

Will the Tories pick up a Parliamentary majority in the snap elections called for October 14th?

B’nai Brith says Orthodox voters can and should participate. Canadian Jews were a bit miffed that the snap election call in Canada set for mid October falls in line with Sukkot this year, making it more difficult for Orthodox Canadians to head out to polling stations. It would be a big stretch however to paint Harper & the conservatives as anything but welcoming and friendly to the Canadian Jewish community and by extension Israel.

Canada has made big strides in its Israeli relationship over the past 2-3 years with Harper at the helm of a minority govt, compared to a 12 year plus Liberal reign that was at times nearly hostile.. Under Harper the Hezbollah conflict and a much more balanced stance at the UN come to mind.

B’nai Brith has issued a statement on the matter of the elections, highlighting new electoral options to ensure full & fair participation by Orthodox Canadians to the process..

OTTAWA, September 5, 2008 – Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been in ongoing discussion with B’nai Brith Canada over his decision to hold an election on October 14, 2008, the Jewish holiday of Succot. The Jewish human rights organization, which would have preferred an election date that did not coincide with a significant day on the calendar of the Jewish religion, nevertheless characterized the Government’s decision as “understandable” in light of electoral campaign laws and international obligations. 

Prime Minister Harper has personally reached out to the Jewish communityand contacted B’nai Brith regarding his decision to hold the upcoming federal election on a date that falls on a Jewish holiday,” said Frank Dimant, Executive Vice President of B’nai Brith Canada. “While it is regrettable that the Prime Minister ultimately settled on the date of Succot, we understand that the government had only the narrowest window of opportunity to schedule an election. We also recognize that the Prime Minister has made every sincere effort to arrive at a resolution that would not impose limitations on Orthodox Jews.

“Unlike previous elections, there is currently in place a new set of electoral laws that provide ample alternatives for voters to cast their ballot on days other than the scheduled election date. We appreciate the careful deliberation of the Prime Minster Harper on this sensitive matter to the Jewish community. B’nai Brith will work with Jewish community members to ensure their full participation in the election process.”

B’nai Brith Canada will be convening Town Hall pre-election debates across the country to bring issues of Jewish community concern to the fore. The first is to take place in Toronto on Wednesday, September 10 in the riding of Don Valley West. B’nai Brith will shortly release an Election Task Force Guide titled, ‘Issues of Concern and Recommendations for Action’ that will be accessible on the organization’s website www.bnaibrith.ca.

I will be voting by mail myself but not so much because of Sukkot per say, but because I’m in the holy land. It’s no secret who will be getting my vote either, despite the fact that Liberal opposition leader Stephan Dion is my riding’s representative / minister in Canada. Wouldn’t it be nice to see Canada hold conservative, the US hold conservative, and Israel usher in a new Likud govt? Trifecta.