"The Hidden Scroll has the feel of Dan Brown set in a much more interesting setting, and from the writing in the first chapter, it's better than Dan Brown's prose too!.....Very intriguing stuff!".....Simon Betterton, author of 'Back to Life".
 


 

Avraham Anouchi

 

 

The book "From Timna to Mars" has won the Bronze/3rd Place award in the 2015 Feathered Quill Book Awards Program for the Science Fiction/Fantasy category! 

Events and Recent Articles

INTERVIEW ON "FROM TIMNA TO MARS" BY FEATHERQUILL AMY LIGNOR

 

 

Let me begin by thanking you for the opportunity to read your book. It was truly incredible.

 

1) You are an engineer yourself, and I was wondering, from your professional perspective, if you find this particular subject matter - metals that perhaps will decline and disappear if we are not careful - could very well be fact and not fiction? If so, how do you think the scientific community can change minds in the Oval Office and elsewhere to take this subject more seriously?

 

ANSWER-1:

 

Although my book From Timna to Mars is a fictional work of my imagination, it is based on a real potential crisis for all humans on Earth. There has been a lot of publicity on the subject.

 

In 2011, the Pentagon issued an alarming report spotlighting the military dependence on rare-earth metals. It included a section on a potential Achilles’s heel for the US military’s reliance on rare earths used in manufacturing weapons. It highlighted high-end weapons, such as precision-guided bombs, advanced fighter aircraft, night-vision goggles, and targeting lasers, which depend on components built with rhenium, neodymium, europium, ruthenium, and other rare-earth metals. It even addressed nonmilitary threats to oil refineries and consumer technologies  found in everything from smartphones to hybrid-car batteries.

The report stated that China has achieved an almost-complete monopoly on processing rare-earth oxides by producing more than 80 percent of the world’s needs. When the Chinese placed export quotas on rare-earth metals and oxides, the Pentagon expressed its concern about the potential supply interruptions. It urged the president and the Congress to allocate the funding to encourage United States–based companies to construct facilities for processing rare-earth oxides in the United States.

In my book, I highlighted only three elements that are crucial.   

Rhenium is used in small rocket thrusters for positioning satellites, drugs for treating liver cancer cells, and wires in photoflashes. With a melting point of 3,180 degrees Celsius, it enables the manufacturing of super alloys to operate at high temperatures in aircraft turbine blades and gas turbine engines.

Ruthenium is used to enhance the strength of jet engine blades.

Neodymium has high magnetic strength, which is critical in manufacturing small and efficient magnets used in many applications from large electric turbines, motors, generators, and windmills to miniature transformers in smartphones.

 

 

2) Along the same lines, is it farfetched to believe that our economic destruction could come in this way? Is this a lot like the ‘green’ areas of this world where greener fuels, power sources, etc., need to be taken seriously by all? Because, although there was a rise in interest a few years back, it seems that the green movement has been buried deep under other issues.

 

ANSWER-2:

 

I don't believe that an economic destruction will occur as a result of fast depletion of rare earth metals. But it could certainly impact the global industrial operations. I contend that the term "Rare-Earth Metals" is a misnomer. Some should be labeled "Hard to Extract Metals".  The process for purifying some raw rare earths is difficult and dangerous due to radio-activity. China has mastered that ability and now supplies more than 80 percent of the global needs. The United States and  other countries have already started to develop that process.      

 

 

3) There is an idea in the novel that beginning at home might be the thing to do for all industries, especially considering our space program has become non-existent. Do you believe that there are people focusing on just that? And, if so, could another horrible depression be avoided?

 

 ANSWER-3:

 

This is a great question. The scientific community has already written off the option of space mining. Many universities and Institutes of Technology have extensive research programs for finding on Earth solutions to many technological problems. They range from nanotechnologies, to understanding DNA, to producing new drugs, to creating better metals and many others. A horrible depression is not foreseeable unless a nuclear war erases all options.            

 

 

4) The spy game you write about is extremely interesting and thrilling. With all the news regarding bugged telephones, drones, etc., do you believe that the ‘old spy game’ - most especially between Russia and the USA - still very much exists today? If so, what are your views on Russian interests in 2014, considering they are back in the news with Crimea and reporting on their ‘tensions.’ Could Russia be bringing back the USSR?

 

 ANSWER-4:

 

This is political question. The spy game has developed to be much more extensive that the old one. Bugged telephones and drones are the minor players. Cyber spying is the master with satellites, military versions of Google Earth, GPS, Facebook, Twiter, and other social websites are tools the KGB and CIA never dreamt of fifty years ago.  I won't speculate on the intentions of Vladimir Putin after annexing Crimea to Russia. I leave it to the Oval Office.    

 

 

5) Israel, in your book, is seen as a junior country when it comes to technology, as well as going up against such a power as Russia; has technology improved in Israel? Because it seems a great deal like there is more scientific explorations, discoveries and even help being given to America regarding the future?

 

 ANSWER-5:

 

Israel's technological prowess is incredible, especially as a small country the size of New Jersey and only 66 years old. With only eight million inhabitants, Israel built universities whose eight professors won Nobel Prizes in technology during the last ten years. Its high technology industries has puzzled every country. The creation of the Cornell-Technion Research Center in New York City was followed by a similar joint program of the Technion Institute of Technology with a Chinese university.  Israel's development of the Iron-Dome missile defense system is demonstrated often when it stops enemy rockets. Even Intel has chosen Israel as the only country in which it built five research and manufacturing centers employing thousands of engineers and scientists.      

 

6) The cat-and-mouse games are to the nth degree in this fascinating book. Were you always interested in, say, the spy game that was far more mystifying in the 1980’s?

 

ANSWER-6:

 

Cloak and dagger games are not my specialty. I created the KGB-SVR-CIA-MOSSAD plots to enhance the novel's action of the space race between the United States, the Soviet Union, Russia and Israel.

 

7) Your historical novels are truly engrossing. I would assume you are a researcher at heart? Are there certain subjects you are interested in, and delving into history is a joy of yours?

 

ANSWER-7:

 

I am a researcher at heart, in my profession as an electronics engineer, as an inventor and as a historical buff. I am especially interested in archaeology, which seems to be the only way to learn about ancient history. In my last book - "The Hidden Scroll" - I wrote about a search of parchments written in ancient Judea. It was also a fiction, but it required a lot of research.  

 

 

8) Is there any way you could perhaps hint to readers about the next book regarding Queen Shlom-Zion?

 

ANSWER-8:

 

The  idea of writing a novel on rare-earth metals was an unexpected one. After the publication of The Hidden Scroll,  I was writing another historical novel on Queen Shlom-Zion when two articles attracted my attention. One was on the forecasted depletion of special metals designated as rare-earth elements. The other was on the potential of space mining. I placed the first ten chapters of my yet-to-be-written historical creation in a bottom drawer of my desk and started to gather material on rare elements, asteroids or planets. Last month, I retrieved the ten chapters and I am working on the Queen's story, especially as it was observed by her brother Shimon Ben Shetach. This project will require very extensive research.    

 

 

9) I always ask this of every author (a signature question, if you will), but I am extremely interested to hear your answer. If there was one person (alive or dead) who you could sit down and have a cup of coffee with and ask questions of, who would that be and why?

 

ANSWER-9:

 

This is a difficult one. I have ten individuals who would have made me happy and excited if I could meet with them, but you won't believe it. Queen Shlom-Zion is the winner.

 

 

Again, thank you for time and your words.

 

Amy Lignor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

REMEMBER THE STRUMA               by Avraham Anouchi        

Guest Columnist                    TheJewish Chronicle



As we read about the “apology” the Turkish prime minister demanded and was delivered by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu under the pressure of President Obama, it is incumbent on every Jew and Gentile to remember the shameful event during World War II for which the Turkish government was responsible. It should not be forgotten.

On Dec. 16, 1941, an old ship called Struma departed from a Rumanian port on the Black Sea heading to Haifa through the Dardanelles. Its cargo was a group of Jewish refugees — 103 children, 272 women and 393 men who escaped from the harsh rule of the Antonescu fascism in Rumania.

Near the coast of Turkey, when its engine failed, the ship rocked back and forth by the waves. The Turks pulled it to a port, but kept the passengers locked in the ship without offering them any shelter or food. During the following two months, the Jewish community of Istanbul provided food to the refugees, but the food supply ended. While Jews from other countries tried to find a solution to the problem, the Turkish government instructed the ship’s crew to leave the port.  Without a functioning engine, when the ship did not move, it was tied to a Turkish towing vessel and taken out to the open sea outside the territorial waters of Turkey in the Black Sea — five miles from the shore. With its hundreds of passengers, the ship was left without any food and water. The crew tried but failed to repair the engine and the passengers were left in the middle of high waves of a storm.

On the next day, a loud explosion was heard. Turkey claimed that the ship hit a mine, or torpedoed by a Russian submarine. The ship sunk with all its passengers except for one refugee, David Stoliar, and a crew officer who died a few hours later. David was saved by a fisherman’s boat that happened to be in the area.  He was the only refugee who survived to tell the world about the disgraceful actions of the Turks.  

The Jews did not demand an “apology” from the Turks, but they should not forget Struma.

Avraham Anouchi                       Squirrel Hill

 

Historical background Addendum:

 

Anti-boycott law is demogratic and fair         

by  Avraham Anouchi         Guest Columnist      TheJewish Chronicle

 

I respect others with different opinions and listen to their arguments. I even invited a J-Street member to try convincing me that my views are wrong.  But I know I am right on the subject of the anti-boycott and Nakba laws recently passed by the Israeli Knesset and labeled undemocratic by J Street.

There are two central conflicting positions in Israel between the left and right camps over the issues of land and borders. The first is on territorial concessions to the Palestinians and the other is on a two-state solution. Labeling these camps as left and right is misleading. Both groups include religious sectors and secularists. Both have pro-union and anti-union advocates, those who fight for state control of the economy and those who work to minimize it, those who support stem cell research and those who consider it unethical. Left-wing and right-wing thinkers are active in both groups. It would be more accurate to define the two groups as hawks and doves. The difference between them is not that one desires peace and the other prefers war. Both doves and hawks work to achieve peace. Doves believe that conceding land will bring peace while hawks believe in rejecting any appeasement policy that has failed in the past. In other words, both groups are working to achieve peace, but they disagree on how to achieve it.

I don’t know the composition of J Street members, but on Israeli security issues, J Street is an extremely dovish organization. It is advocating policies of appeasement to meet the demands of the Palestinians, including the division of Jerusalem. Unfortunately, there is no such divide among the Palestinians. Arab pro-peace advocates are often murdered or shot in the knee to cripple them. 

The divide between hawks and doves in Israel can only be resolved by considering the evidence of past actions.  Two decades ago, at the start of the Oslo peace process, doves promised that concessions were the only way to achieve peace, while hawks warned that they would result in new dangers. The reality is that the hawks were right. Every warning of potential dangers was proven right. Appeasing an enemy was proven to be detrimental to Israel’s security. The doves pushed for leaving the Gaza strip. In return, Israel has absorbed more than 10,000 rockets facing Hamas, which is sworn to its destruction. 

Historically, The Jewish Chronicle has acquired a reputation of presenting political opinions on Israel in a balanced way. It must continue to convey the message that it serves all sectors of the Pittsburgh Jewish Community — spanning from Orthodox to Reform congregations, from left to right policies and from super hawks to extreme doves. If it fails, its credibility would be greatly diminished. It is encouraging that I was invited to submit my point of view. 

What is the anti-boycott law?

This new law is not undemocratic; it enhances civil liberties. It allows for civil lawsuits against individuals and groups who publicly call to boycott businesses, educational institutions and individuals in Israel or areas under its control. Those damaged by boycotts are entitled to claim monetary restitutions for economic losses caused by boycott advocates. The law allows the government to stop doing business with companies that comply with such boycotts. Every true democratic society with freedom of speech laws has instituted conditions and limitations. Public calls for incitements and for aiding enemies in times of war are punishable in many countries. Libel laws are strictly enforced in all Western countries. Economic boycott, like terrorism, is a form of warfare. The United States has anti-boycott laws to protect Israel from Arab boycotts. They are much stronger than the one passed by the Knesset.

The Palestinians advocate boycott of all businesses in Jewish settlements of Judea and Samaria. None have been punished. Boycott victims under attack should have the legal right to sue for damages in court, just as they have in libel cases. Israeli citizens and its supporters should reject the call of J Street to participate in damaging the livelihood of Jewish residents anywhere. They should not support this economic warfare. On the contrary, they should fight it. 

“Boycotts are wrong,” said Yuval Steinitz, the Israeli minister of finance. “Boycotting a certain sector of the economy with which you disagree will harm its livelihood. It is an aggressive move to force members of a specific sector to think in a different way. That is not democracy.”

Ever since its establishment in 1948, Israel has been under attack and continues to face existential threats from its neighbors who are supported by Iran. Jewish organizations that defame the anti-boycott and Nakba laws are providing ammunition to Israel’s enemies in their attempts to delegitimize Israel. Unfortunately, J Street, instead of acting to support the oppressed Palestinians who live under the control of Hamas, are providing material to support the publicly stated goal of destroying the Jewish state. 

What is the Nakba law?

The Nakba law is named after the Arabic word Nakba, which means disaster. The word, chosen by Palestinian Arabs, marks the loss of their war against Israel from 1948 to ’49 in which Israel lost 6,000 soldiers. The law allows any ministry in Israel to withdraw state funds from institutions that would mark the Nakba day on the anniversary of Israel’s establishment. It is limited only to “public” or “state supported” institutions organizing events to mourn at the time when the rest of the country celebrates its Independence Day. J Street advocates the repeal of the Nakba law.

I wonder how the American public would have reacted after 1945 if a sector of its citizens had established institutional events to mourn the collapse of the Third Reich on the Fourth of July. The Nakba law was passed to block mass demonstrations supporting Israel’s enemies. Such events are only meant to cause unrest and incitements against the Jewish majority in a country at war.

The Pittsburgh Jewish community should not take part in any activity to defame Israel’s Knesset and its right to pass laws in a democratic process. Supporters of Israel’s security should not interfere with the anti-boycott and Nakba laws. Knesset members are doing the job they were chosen for.

(Avraham Anouchi, an author, engineer and inventor, lives in Squirrel Hill and can be reached at anouchi.org.)

 

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