Soldiers die in copter crash
An elite Israel Defence Forces unit identified and collected body parts of the seven military personnel killed in the crash of an Israeli military helicopter in central Romania. The search-and-rescue unit on July 28 also collected pieces of the crashed helicopter, which will aid the investigation into the cause of the July 26 accident, in which six Israeli soldiers and a Romanian liaison officer died. A Romanian official said July 27 that all seven bodies had been located. The IDF and the Romanian army held a memorial ceremony last Thursday afternoon at the nearby military base from where the doomed helicopter took off. Israeli Air Force investigators suspect human error stemming from poor visibility caused the crash of the CH-53 helicopter during joint military exercises between the Israeli and Romanian militaries. All possibilities are being investigated, the Air Force said, including the chance the helicopter had a technical problem. Its black box was found at the site and sent to Israel for inspection.
Canadian air force head visits
Canada’s air force commander, Lt.-Gen. Andre Deschamps, was recently in Israel on a four-day visit. He held discussions with his Israeli counterpart, Gen. Ido Nechushtan, and other senior Israeli Defence Forces staff. The generals discussed intelligence matters, strategic challenges and the operational experience of the Israeli Air Force.
Israelis, Canadians equally happy
Israel was tied for eighth among the happiest countries in the world, according to a new survey. In a Gallup World Poll of 155 nations, the Jewish state tied with Canada, Switzerland and Australia. Forbes, which posted the list July 29, said the richest countries were by and large the happiest. Scandinavian countries dominated – Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands took the top five spots. The United States ranked 14th, three spots ahead of Britain, in a survey that asked thousands of respondents to give a “life evaluation” score from one to 10. The survey, taken between 2005 and 2009, catalogued their daily feelings to decide what percentage of people in each country were “thriving, struggling or suffering.” African nations fared poorly, with Sierra Leone, Comoros, Burundi and Togo ranking in the bottom five. They were joined by Cambodia as the unhappiest countries on earth. Israel finished well ahead of its neighbours in happiness, with Jordan ranking 52, Lebanon 73, and Egypt and Syria 115. The Palestinian territories ranked 88th.
Rape appeal keys on deception
An Arab man convicted in a Jerusalem court of rape by deception after posing as a Jew has appealed his sentence to Israel’s Supreme Court. Saber Kushour, 30, who was sentenced last week in Jerusalem District Court to 18 months in prison as part of a plea bargain, appealed July 29 to the High Court of Justice, the Jerusalem Post reported. His conviction and sentencing has made international headlines, and the Israeli legal system has been accused of racism. Both were noted in the appeal by Kushour’s defence. Kushour, a married father of two from eastern Jerusalem, does not deny that he had a one-time sexual encounter with a Jewish woman, who was identified as Maya, but says he did not misrepresent himself as being Jewish in order to sleep with her. The woman filed a complaint after realizing that Kushour wasn’t Jewish. The court ruled that the consent for sex was obtained under false pretenses.
New Iran sanctions from Australia
Israeli media reported that Australia approved new sanctions against Iran in a bid to halt its nuclear program. The new sanctions, announced by Foreign Minister Stephen Smith, follow similar restrictions issued by the United States, the European Union and Canada. For the first time, the sanctions include restricting business dealings with Iran’s oil and gas sector.
– Files from JTA