Auschwitz museum balks at Israeli flyover

September 04, 2003

* Auschwitz museum balks at Israeli flyover.

* Israel makes plans for broad space capabilities.

CONTENTS

1. "Auschwitz Museum Balks at Israeli Flyover" (AP, Warsaw, Sept. 3, 2003)
2. "IAF jets to stage fly-over at Auschwitz despite museum ire" (Ha'aretz, Sept. 4, 2003)
3. Israel Makes Plans for Broad Space Capabilities (Space News, Business section, August 25, 2003)



[Note by Tom Gross]

This is one of six emails I am sending today, detailing recent "human interest" stories from Israel. [You will not usually receive so many emails in a single week. Next week I am away and there will be no dispatches.]

This email contains three stories relating to Israel's military strength, with summaries first:

1. "Auschwitz Museum Balks at Israeli Flyover" (The Associated Press, Warsaw, September 3, 2003). "The museum at the former Auschwitz death camp today criticized a planned flyover by Israeli F-15 fighter jets during this week's ceremony in remembrance of victims. "It's a cemetery, a place of silence and concentration," a museum spokesman, Jaroslaw Mensfelt, said. He called the planned flyover "a demonstration of military might which is an entirely inappropriate way to commemorate the victims." The Israeli Embassy in Warsaw said three Israeli jets piloted by descendants of Holocaust survivors would fly over the former camp at noon on Thursday. They were to be joined by two Polish MIG-29 jets."

2. "IAF jets to stage fly-over at Auschwitz despite museum ire" (Ha'aretz, September 4, 2003) "Israeli Air Force pilots, descendents of Holocaust survivors, are to fly warplanes over the wartime Nazi extermination camp of Auschwitz Thursday, despite criticism by the Polish museum located at the site. In a step intended to honor the memory of the millions of Jews killed in the World War II Holocaust, three IAF F-15 jets are to fly over the site in southern Poland. ... During the fly-over, organizers planned to read off the names of victims who arrived at Auschwitz exactly 60 years ago, on September 4, 1943. Pages of testimony on the victims are to be carried by the pilots in their planes, Feingold said. Israel's ambassador to Poland, Shevach Weiss, said "They will fly over the camp for about a second to honor the ashes of their fathers and grandfathers. This will be a very emotional moment for them. They will probably be crying in the planes" ... Some 200 IDF soldiers also are to take part in a ceremony at Birkenau, the former death camp adjacent to Auschwitz, according to Israeli officials."

3. Israel Makes Plans for Broad Space Capabilities (Space News, Business section, August 25, 2003). "Israel's Ministry of Defense (MoD) is overseeing development and production of four separate satellites, all of which are planned for completion by 2008, along with technologies and subsystems for a constellation of small, modular spacecraft capable of working as a team to satisfy multiple mission requirements. According to the MoD roadmap, an unclassified portion of which was provided to Space News, Israel will complete its Ofeq-6 imaging satellite -- a follow-on to the Ofeq-5 electro-optical system launched in May 2002 -- in late 2004 or early 2005. By 2008, MoD expects to complete the Ofeq-7 satellite, which officials here described as an entirely new generation of optical remote sensing, with extremely high resolutions... In addition to electro-optical satellites, Israel plans to complete a technology demonstrator satellite equipped with synthetic aperture radar (SAR) sometime in 2005 or 2006. The estimated 250 kilogram SAR demonstrator, dubbed TechSAR, will expand Israel's imaging options in all weather conditions and at night. Elta Systems Ltd., Israel's leading radar development house, is developing the SAR payload."

 



FULL ARTICLES

AUSCHWITZ MUSEUM BALKS AT ISRAELI FLYOVER

Auschwitz Museum Balks at Israeli Flyover
The Associated Press
September 3, 2003

The museum at the former Auschwitz death camp today criticized a planned flyover by Israeli F-15 fighter jets during this week's ceremony in remembrance of victims.

"It's a cemetery, a place of silence and concentration," a museum spokesman, Jaroslaw Mensfelt, said. He called the planned flyover "a demonstration of military might which is an entirely inappropriate way to commemorate the victims."

The Israeli Embassy in Warsaw said three Israeli jets piloted by descendants of Holocaust survivors would fly over the former camp at noon on Thursday. They were to be joined by two Polish MIG-29 jets.

Israel defended the flyover, citing cooperation between Israel and Poland to remember those who perished at the Auschwitz-Birkenau complex.

"It's a joint Israeli-Polish initiative and for a noble cause," a Foreign Ministry spokesman, Jonathan Peled, said.

Mr. Mensfelt said the museum was not consulted about the flyover. He said the International Auschwitz Council, an advisory body to the museum, also "does not support such a way to commemorate the victims."

 

IAF JETS TO STAGE FLY-OVER AT AUSCHWITZ DESPITE MUSEUM IRE

IAF jets to stage fly-over at Auschwitz despite museum ire
By Amiram Barkat, Haaretz Corespondent and Agencies
Ha'aretz
September 4, 2003

Israeli Air Force pilots, descendents of Holocaust survivors, are to fly warplanes over the wartime Nazi extermination camp of Auschwitz Thursday, despite criticism by the Polish museum located at the site.

In a step intended to honor the memory of the millions of Jews killed in the World War II Holocaust, three IAF F-15 jets are to fly over the site in southern Poland.

"The National Museum of Auschwitz-Birkenau deplores the demonstration of Israeli military might in this place," the Polish museum said in a statement issued Wednesday.

"It's a cemetery, a place of silence and concentration," museum spokesman Jaroslaw Mensfelt said by telephone.

"Flying the [F-15s] is a demonstration of military might which is an entirely inappropriate way to commemorate the victims."

A statement from the Israeli Embassy in Warsaw said that the three jets - piloted by descendants of Holocaust survivors - will fly over the former death camp at noon Thursday. They will be joined by two Polish MiG-29 jets, Israel Defense Forces spokeswoman Sharon Feingold said.

During the fly-over, organizers planned to read off the names of victims who arrived at Auschwitz exactly 60 years ago, on September 4, 1943. Pages of testimony on the victims are to be carried by the pilots in their planes, Feingold said.

Israel's ambassador to Poland, Shevach Weiss, insisted that the overflight was not a demonstration of Israeli air power.

"They will fly over the camp for about a second to honor the ashes of their fathers and grandfathers. This will be a very emotional moment for them. They will probably be crying in the planes. This is not a demonstration of military power. Our army simply wants to honor the victims," the envoy told Reuters.

Both the IDF and Foreign Ministry defended the fly-over plans, citing cooperation between Israel and Poland to remember the more than one million people who perished at Auschwitz-Birkenau, the vast majority of them Jews, from 1940 until its liberation on January 27, 1945. A total of six million Jews were killed during the Holocaust.

Some 200 IDF soldiers also are to take part in a ceremony at Birkenau, the former death camp adjacent to Auschwitz, according to Israeli officials.

"It's a joint Israeli-Polish initiative and for a noble cause," Foreign Ministry spokesman Jonathan Peled said. "We share a tragic history, and obviously it's being done in full cooperation."

Organizers said the idea of the overflight was prompted purely by the coincidence of the planes being in Poland for the air show.

Mensfelt said that the museum had not been consulted about the fly-over. He added that the International Auschwitz Council, an advisory body to the museum headed by Wladyslaw Bartoszewski, an Auschwitz survivor and former Polish foreign minister, also "does not support such a way to commemorate the victims."

 

ISRAEL MAKES PLANS FOR BROAD SPACE CAPABILITIES

Israel Makes Plans for Broad Space Capabilities
By Barbara Opall in Rome
Space News, Business section
August 25, 2003

Israel's Ministry of Defense (MoD) is overseeing development and production of four separate satellites, all of which are planned for completion by 2008, along with technologies and subsystems for a constellation of small, modular spacecraft capable of working as a team to satisfy multiple mission requirements.

According to the MoD roadmap, an unclassified portion of which was provided to Space News, Israel will complete its Ofeq-6 imaging satellite -- a follow-on to the Ofeq-5 electro-optical system launched in May 2002 -- in late 2004 or early 2005.

By 2008, MoD expects to complete the Ofeq-7 satellite, which officials here described as an entirely new generation of optical remote sensing, with extremely high resolutions.

Although officials here refused as a matter of security to discuss emerging capabilities of the Ofeq-5 or planned follow-on satellites, a source from Israel's scientific community said Israel was getting closer to the so-called defraction limit where light is defracted to a point where pictures cannot be captured.

"The defraction limit for visual range is close to 10 centimeters resolution. We're getting better resolutions all the time and getting closer to the limit, but we don't disclose details," the source said.

In addition to electro-optical satellites, Israel plans to complete a technology demonstrator satellite equipped with synthetic aperture radar (SAR) sometime in 2005 or 2006. The estimated 250 kilogram SAR demonstrator, dubbed TechSAR, will expand Israel's imaging options in all weather conditions and at night.

Elta Systems Ltd., Israel's leading radar development house, is developing the SAR payload.

Although MoD officials refused to discuss planned imaging capabilities of the satellite-based SAR system, Elta has advertised similar airborne and ground-based payloads as "producing high resolution radar images which approach photographic quality and operate as true all-weather, day and night sensors capable of penetrating clouds, rain, smoke and a variety of man-made camouflage."

Brig. Gen. (ret.) Haim Eshed, head of space programs at Israel's MoD, said Israel's military users want the ability to image areas of interest in the day, at night and in all types of weather conditions. To satisfy this requirement, MoD aims to exploit the full spectrum of imaging capabilities, including increasingly high-resolution electro-optics, infrared, hyper-spectral, SAR and three-dimensional mapping.

"The idea is to create constellations of many satellites in a wide spectrum of wavelengths," Eshed said of the ministry's vision for future space programs.

A fourth satellite to fall under MoD's purview is a dedicated, secure military communications satellite; a larger and more capable version of the Amos-2 commercial communications satellite planned for launch later this year.

Eshed declined to provide additional details of the military communications satellite program. A uniformed officer from the Israel Defense Forces general staff said the satellite is planned for launch in 2007, provided that MoD continues to fully fund the program.

All four new satellites, as well as the commercial Amos-2, are being built by the MBT Division of Israel Aircraft Industries Ltd., MoD's designated lead contractor for satellite systems.

In the realm of launchers, MoD has improved the reliability and lift capacity of its Shavit series, which Israel will use to loft the planned Ofeq satellites into low Earth orbit, officials here said.

However, Israel's planned military communications satellite -- which is expected to weigh more than two tons -- will have to be launched by a non-Israeli system capable of putting satellites of that size in geostationary orbit.

"We intend to keep improving our own indigenous ground-based launch capabilities for mini satellites," Eshed said, in reference to the class of satellites weighing from 100 kilograms to 500 kilograms.

For the larger satellites, such as Amos-2 and the planned military communications satellite, Eshed noted, "We will not launch geostationary. For this, we will have to go to outside providers."

Regarding Israel's vision for future military space, Eshed said MoD is pursuing multiple developments involving a low-cost satellite bus as well as myriad payloads and associated technologies aimed at deploying a constellation of small, modular satellites capable of satisfying a variety of military requirements.

In a July 30 interview, Eshed said he envisions a period not too long from now -- perhaps within five years -- when the Israel Air Force will be able to use fighter aircraft to launch on demand multiple satellites ranging in weight from tens of kilograms to no more than 100 kilograms.

According to this vision, MoD would hold in inventory a number of common satellite buses -- each costing $10 to $12 million -- whose modular payloads could be deployed for specific missions, depending on need. Ultimately, military users would have the capability to reprogram satellites for different missions through so-called smart software uplinked directly to satellites already in orbit.

"We're looking at multi-mission systems that essentially are plug and play, and we are really serious about this. We believe that in five or 10 years, we will be able to give a full, rapid and flexible response to the multiple needs of our users," Eshed told Space News.

Israel's emerging concept of operations for the constellation of modular, low Earth-orbiting satellites calls for dividing particular mission roles among two or three satellites, so that the sum of the cluster far exceeds the contribution of each individual spacecraft, according to specialists associated with Israel's Technion University in Haifa.

Dividing large payloads into separate pieces -- each of which flies together in clusters and maintains continuous communication and operational links with one another -- is known by professionals in the international aerospace community as formation flying. So far, this concept of operations remains largely theoretical, and has not been deployed for military purposes.

Nevertheless, Eshed said he believes Israel can deploy an effective operational cluster of satellites with shared communications, signals and other payloads within a decade.

In addition to modular, multimission satellites, MoD's ambitions for space include an anti-satellite capability to defend against potential jammers or space-based threats.

"Today, it is inconceivable to go to war without satellites. Therefore, there also is the need to address the future importance of a satellite protection system to defend against the possibility of attack or attempts to harm our own [space] capabilities," Eshed told a gathering of security and aerospace industry officials earlier this year, according to a transcript of Eshed's remarks provided by MoD.

To expedite implementation of MoD's roadmap for space, officials have identified several technologies earmarked for priority attention.

Technologies described by Eshed as "next generation building blocks of micro- and nanosatellites [aimed at] achieving a performance that today only bigger satellites possess" focus on miniaturization, data storage, wireless communications and new means of controlling the satellite in space.


All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.