Israel Current Affairs - 2020

United Nations releases 6 million USD in response to Beirut Explosion

The United Nations released 6 million USD in response to the explosion at Beirut port. With this, the total UN funding towards relief operation of the explosion has come to 15 million USD.

A catastrophic blast occurred at the Lebanon capital, Beirut. It was driven by tonnes of Ammonium Nitrate.

Highlights

The 6 million USD was released from the Central Emergency Relief Fund. Previously, 9 million USD was released from UN Lebanon Humanitarian Fund to address primary health needs and also to provide food assistance.

The blast devastated the country that is already facing economic crisis, unrest and hardships.

Why is Lebanon in deep crisis?

Lebanon is currently the third most indebted country in the world next to Japan and Greece. The interest payments in the country consume almost half of the government revenues. Public sector wage increase in 2017 and increase in interest rates led to increased budget deficit.

The post war reconstruction in Lebanon led to the current financial problems.

Lebanon War

The 2006 Lebanon War also called the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah War was military conflict in Northern Israel, Lebanon and Golan Heights. The principal parties of the war were Israel Defence Forces and Hezbollah paramilitary forces.

Why is Lebanon highly vulnerable?

There are 18 different religious communities in Lebanon. This includes four Muslim, 12 Christian, Judaism and the Druze Sect. The three main political offices in the country namely President, Prime Minister and the Speaker of the Parliament are divided based on religion. They are Maronite Christian, Sunni Muslim and Shia Muslim. Also, there are 128 Parliament seats in the country that are divided between Muslims and Christians equally.

This huge religious diversity in the country makes it highly vulnerable and an easy target for interference by external powers. For instance, the Hezbollah movement in Lebanon is backed by Iran and is seen as the most powerful

Lebanon is ranked 137th out of 180 countries on Transparency International 2019 Corruption Perception Index.

DAC on talks to acquire ‘Raven’ and ‘Spike Firefly’ for the Indian Army

Talks on sharpening the infantry of the Indian Army continues as the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) is likely to acquire the remotely controlled unmanned aerial vehicle- Raven from the United States and Israel’s Spike Firefly.

As per media reports, procurement of 200 pieces of AeroVironment RQ-11 Raven and talks for purchase of Israeli flying ammunition- Spike Firefly is in advance level.

AeroVironment RQ-11 Raven

The RQ-11 Raven is a remotely controlled unmanned aerial vehicle that is launched with hand. It is manufactured by AeroVironment (U.S. California based Defence Contractor).

RQ-11 Raven can fly up to an altitude of 500 feet from the ground level with a speed of between 45-97 Kilometers per hour. RQ-11 Raven can fly up to 10 Kilometres.

Spike Firefly

The Spike Firefly is developed under a joint venture of Israeli company- Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Israel’s Ministry of Defence. The Spike Firefly has loitering capability and can be carried by a soldier as a part of his kit.

The Spike Firefly can be operated from a table by a single user without requiring any special skills to operate.  It was the capability to identify and track the target and also to a unique abort/wave-off capability in which the operator can call the Spike Firefly back to the command safely. The weight of the Spike Firefly is 3 Kg.

It is one of the newest technology developed by Israel, it has been ordered for the first time by Israel’s Ministry of Defence for their Defence Forces in the month of May 2020.