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Thursday, December 31, 2015

From Ian:

This Is What Happens When BDS Infiltrates Social Causes That Have Nothing to Do With Israel
If intersectionality, as applied to Israel, sounds like a contrived excuse to blame the Jewish state for everything under the sun, that’s because it is. Anti-Israel circles understand that their cause isn’t even on the radar of the average college student. By hitching their wagon to issues with greater popular appeal, pro-Palestinian activists seek to expand their tent and build a coalition larger than the handful of students fanatic enough to spend their college years slandering Israel.
Ironically, this disturbing phenomenon is hardest not on conservative-leaning Jewish students, but on left-wing Jewish activists who don’t support BDS. Social justice work is increasingly seen as a “package,” and one cannot be for racial justice, gender equality or humanitarianism without also swearing allegiance to the cult of Israel-despisers.
Left-wing Jews hew to the same social vision as the progressive community – but Israel and BDS are thorns for those who still believe in Zionism. An anecdote is instructive. At Brown, where this author is a freshman, student groups organized several events around the Syrian refugee crisis. One of the events was to take place at Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream store, but had to be moved to a new venue after a member of Students for Justice in Palestine circulated a report accusing the ice-cream company of doing business in Israeli settlements. Jewish activists found it particularly uncomfortable being invested in this sundry activist cause while at the same time weathering the rising tide of anti-Israelism.
This discomfort is particularly dangerous because left-leaning young Jews are a weak link in the American-Jewish community’s relationship with Israel. As any exit poll can tell you, American-Jews do not, on the whole, vote based on Israel. American Jews vote for candidates who share their liberal social values. Thus, liberalism trumps pro-Israelism for most secular Jews. What will be when liberal Jewish students are forced to choose between their allegiance to Israel and their commitment to social justice? What will happen when not supporting BDS is seen as a fatal tribal weakness? The answer should frighten anybody concerned with the future of the Diaspora’s relationship with Israel.
The stench of imperialism
If anyone is still unsure that Europeans have difficulty coming to terms with the fact that Israel, as a sovereign nation, will not let the European Union meddle in its internal affairs, the debacle over the NGO bill should remove all doubts.
Army Radio reported on Sunday that the EU furiously protested the proposed legislation. According to the report, based on what Army Radio said was a leaked internal EU document, EU Ambassador Lars Faaborg-Andersen met with Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked several weeks ago. He called upon Israel to refrain from taking actions that will "make more complicated" the space in which Israeli nongovernmental organizations operate, claiming that this would impinge on freedom of expression and association. According to the report, the ambassador said that while the request for transparency was legitimate, the draft law is aimed at organizations critical of the government.
"This will have a negative impact on Israel's image and on Europe's relating to it as an open and democratic society," he was quoted as saying. Faaborg-Andersen also reportedly said that placing restraints on civil society is something "we see mostly in tyrannical regimes. We call on Israel to remain in the family of democratic states and not to join this worrying trend."
Naturally, the EU is very unhappy with having its meddling in the internal affairs of Israel limited in any way, especially since it has been able to do so with impunity up until now. However, to claim that Israel would be breaching any human rights, such as freedom of expression or association, by implementing the NGO bill is taking the hyperbole beyond all red lines.
UN Watch: The Top 10 Biggest UN Watch Moments in 2015
10. Head of Gaza Inquiry forced to resign
On the same day that the UN appointed William Schabas to head its Gaza probe, UN Watch released videos of his anti-Israel statements—and led a 6-month campaign demanding his removal. “I have opinions like everybody else about the situation in Israel,” Schabas insisted to the media, only “they may not be the same as Hillel Neuer’s or Benjamin Netanyahu’s, that’s all.” Yet by February 2015——after his paid legal work for the PLO was exposed—Schabas resigned in disgrace.
3. Under pressure, UNRWA suspends employees for incitement.
In an unprecedented acknowledgment of wrongdoing, UNRWA was recently forced to suspend several employees, after UN Watch published three reports documenting how UNRWA teachers regularly incite to racial hatred, anti-Semitism and terrorism on social media. UN Watch identified more than 30 perpetrators, and organized petitions to pressure key governments.
2. Top commanders refute UN Gaza Inquiry
When the UN inquiry into the 2014 Gaza war presented its biased report in June, UN Watch was there to respond with a counter-report, and gave a UN platform to top military experts. Major General Mike Jones and Lt. Col. Geoffrey Corn from the U.S. military, and British Colonel Richard Kemp, all took the floor in the UN debate. The distorted findings of the UN probe—falsely accusing Israel of war crimes—were contrasted with those of the experienced military officers, who explained how Israel acted in self-defense, and to minimize casualties.

Does the UN do any good?
The UN’s strenuous production of commemorative propaganda this year, to mark the 70th anniversary of its founding proceedings in San Francisco, have not helped matters. There were roving photo exhibitions, high-minded addresses to conferences and performances of the United Nations Symphony Orchestra (there really is such a thing), and the Egyptian pyramids, the Empire State Building in New York, the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lampur were all lit up in blue light. Lovely.
But none of it, not the performances of Chinese concert pianist Lang Lang, not the Sept. 21 celebrations of the International Day of Peace, nor the grand United Nations Day concerts on Oct. 24, could conceal that the UN is looking more and more like its predecessor, the League of Nations, in its twilight years. The League was sustained by delusions right up until 1939, putting the cause of global peace and security into hiatus until the Axis Powers were finally crushed in 1945.
To imagine that the happy Canadian enthusiasm for the UN is universal is to ignore not only the grievances of Israel, which is routinely and ritually traduced by the UN’s absurdly named Human Rights Council, which is itself is little more than an arrangement of cushions for the big backsides of some of the world’s most notorious torturers. It is also to ignore the UN’s squandering of its credibility, noticed most loudly and acutely among the world’s 350-million Arabs, more than a billion South Asians and another billion Africans.
What is the "Mandate for Palestine"? And what was "Palestine"?
The “Mandate for Palestine,” an historical League of Nations document, laid down the Jewish legal right to settle anywhere in western Palestine, a 10,000-square-mile area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, an entitlement unaltered in international law and valid to this day.
The legally binding document was conferred on April 24, 1920, at the San Remo Conference, and its terms outlined in the Treaty of Sèvres on August 10, 1920. The Mandate’s terms were finalized and unanimously approved on July 24, 1922, by the Council of the League of Nations, which was comprised at that time of 51 countries.
The Mandate weathered the test of time: On April 18, 1946, when the League of Nations was dissolved and its assets and duties transferred to the United Nations, the international community, in essence, reaffirmed the validity of this international accord and reconfirmed that the terms for a Jewish national home were the will of the international community, a “sacred trust.”
Some may confuse the “Mandate for Palestine” [The Trust], with the British Mandate [The Trustee]. The “Mandate for Palestine” laid down the Jewish legal rights in Palestine. The British Mandate, on the other hand, was entrusted by the League of Nations with the responsibility to administer the area delineated by the “Mandate for Palestine.”
The name "Palestine" was the name given by the Romans to the area when they conquered Judea and tried to erase the memory of Jewish independence; it is a geographic name, not a national one, and during the Ottoman Empire period and the ensuing British Mandate, those living in it were Palestinian Jews and Palestinian Arabs.
Douglas Murray: Will politicians finally admit that the Paris attacks had something to do with Islam?
Written after the Charlie Hebdo shooting in January and revised after the Paris attacks in November, Douglas Murray’s piece on politicians’ responses to Islamic terror attacks was The Spectator‘s third most read article of 2015:
The West’s movement towards the truth is remarkably slow. We drag ourselves towards it painfully, inch by inch, after each bloody Islamist assault.
In France, Britain, Germany, America and nearly every other country in the world it remains government policy to say that any and all attacks carried out in the name of Mohammed have ‘nothing to do with Islam’. It was said by George W. Bush after 9/11, Tony Blair after 7/7 and Tony Abbott after the Sydney attack last month. It is what David Cameron said after two British extremists cut off the head of Drummer Lee Rigby in London, when ‘Jihadi John’ cut off the head of aid worker Alan Henning in the ‘Islamic State’ and when Islamic extremists attacked a Kenyan mall, separated the Muslims from the Christians and shot the latter in the head. It was what President François Hollande said after the massacre of journalists and Jews in Paris in January. And it is all that most politicians will be able to come out with again after the latest atrocities in Paris.
IDF Reservists Call Comrade From Breaking the Silence ‘a Liar’
A group of Israel Defense Forces reservists who served in the army with Avner Gvaryahu, a leading member of whistle-blowing group Breaking the Silence, released a video in which they “tell the truth” about what really went on in their unit, the Israeli news website 0404 reported on Wednesday, and posted the clip on its Facebook page.
“I was there every night during the period he [Gvaryahu] talks about,” says one former member of Gvaryahu’s staff, at the opening of the video. Nothing happened “the way he describes,” he said.
Another former soldier bemoans the harm done to Israel when Gvaryahu goes around the world recounting stories about the IDF, without giving the full picture of what the soldiers are up against, and how they often “endanger their lives” precisely in the sincere effort to prevent harming innocent people.
A third says that even the argument about how “moral” the Israeli army is — or is not — should take place at home, not abroad.
A fourth says that Gvaryahu’s stories are false, and this causes him to question the rest of the “evidence” provided by Breaking the Silence.
Disrupt 'Breaking the Silence' - get a pizza pie!
Following yesterday’s arrival of “Breaking The Silence” at Tel Hai College, located near the city of Kiryat Shmonah, one enterprising pizzeria owner from the town promised a free pizza to anyone who interfered with the extremist left wing organization.
Eran Bitton posted on the internet that he would give a free pizza to any student who photographs or films himself interrupting or interfering with Breaking the Silence's lecture at the college. “Call me and the pizza is on the way," wrote Bitton.
In an interview with Channel 20, Bitton said “the college did not notify anyone that the organization was coming to give a lecture. They did it quietly, and underhandedly. That is what really upset us. I was furious, so I said that anyone who goes and interferes will get a free pizza.”
Bitton reported that there was a lot of interests generated and that a demonstration involving 300-400 people was held outside the college to protest the lecture.
People called Bitton to tell him that they were going to protest, but that they didn’t want the pizza. They were going to protest for the betterment of the country and to remove these people from their town and college.
 Israeli Government Approves Huge Budget to Improve Condition of Arab Sector
The Israeli government approved a NIS 15 billion budget on Wednesday to reduce the socioeconomic gap between the country’s Jewish and Arab sectors, Israeli news site Walla reported.
The money will fund a five-year plan aimed at improving the Israeli Arab community’s access to welfare and police services, as well as improving transportation and infrastructure in Israel’s Arab towns and cities.
The program, proposed by Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, along with Budget Department Director Amir Levi and Social Equality Minister Gila Gamliel, was approved after three cabinet hearings, one on Sunday and the other two on Wednesday.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the budget “a significant increase” in the state’s allocations for assisting the Arab minority.
Sadat in Jerusalem: Behind the Scenes
On November 9, 1977 Egyptian President Anwar Sadat surprised the Egyptian People’s Assembly and all those in attendance (including, as it happened, PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat) by setting aside his prepared text and declaring that he was “ready to travel to the ends of the earth” to protect Egyptian lives and that “Israel will be surprised to hear me say that I am willing to go to their parliament, the Knesset itself.” Ten days later, on November 19, Sadat landed in Israel for his historic two-day visit.
Sixteen months before Sadat’s visit, I had returned to active duty with the IDF after many years immersed in the study and teaching of Arabic literature at The Hebrew University. At the request of then-Minister of Defense Shimon Peres I became the head of the Department of Arab Affairs for the military government of Judea and Samaria.
At that time, Palestinian public life was dominated by the October 1974 resolution of the Arab Summit in Rabat, according to which the PLO was the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people everywhere. We at the Department of Arab Affairs in Judea and Samaria were keenly aware of the momentous implications of this decision, but the significance was less clear to Israel’s decision makers at the time. Perhaps their failure was the innate tendency of self-proclaimed pragmatists to underestimate the importance of programmatic, ideological declarations. Or maybe it stemmed from the simple fact that so many Arab summit resolutions were never implemented.
Paris attacks ‘coordinated from Belgium’ by unknown terror leader
The Paris attacks may have been coordinated by phone from Belgium by at least one terrorist leader whose identity remains a mystery, it emerged on Wednesday from the ongoing investigation.
The French newspaper Le Monde has been given access to some 6,000 reports and documents compiled by investigators, showing that the terrorists in Paris were being commanded and controlled by mobile phone from the Brussels area “in real time” while the attacks were being carried out.
Two of the teams were in contact with two different Belgian mobile phone numbers during the evening of the attacks. Both phones were at the same location in the Brussels area that evening, phone records show.
Meanwhile, the third team, which targeted the national stadium in the suburb of Saint-Denis, maintained phone contact with at least one of the other two terror squads, who gunned down people at cafes, bars and at the Bataclan concert hall in central Paris.
Investigators have concluded that “at least one man was overseeing the operations” from Brussels, Le Monde reported. “This suspect has not yet been identified.”
Charlie Hebdo to run special issue on anniversary of attack
French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday said it would release nearly a million copies of a special issue to mark a year since jihadists killed a dozen people in its Paris offices.
The 32-page double issue — featuring a selection of drawings by the cartoonists who died in the attack, as well as by current staff and messages of support — will be released on January 6.
The provocative weekly became a household name when two Islamist brothers gunned down 12 people at its offices over its cartoons lampooning the Prophet Mohammed.
A survivors’ edition released a week after the January 7, 2014, attacks sold a record 7.5 million copies and boosted the magazine’s circulation.
Charlie Hebdo said it had already received large orders for the new special issue from overseas, including 50,000 from Germany.
Cancellations, Restrictions, Tightened Security Worldwide for New Year's Eve
Terrorist threats hang especially heavy over major cities as 2015 draws to a close.
Memories of the atrocity in Paris are fresh, along with fears of what a comparably armed and motivated terrorist squad could do to a huge throng of revelers at the New Year’s Eve celebration in a major city. Intelligence agencies in the U.S. and Europe are reportedly nervous about a terrorist threat of some kind.
Following is a list of major New Year’s Eve cancellations and restrictions:
Brussels: Belgian authorities decided to cancel the annual New Year’s Eve fireworks display in Brussels, following a string of counterterrorist raids across the country. These raids resulted in the arrest of two men from a biker gang “inspired” by ISIS who were planning a New Year’s attack, but they evidently did not represent the full extent of the threat.
Paris: The city of Paris also decided to ban fireworks, replacing them with a mere 10-minute light show projected onto the Arc de Triomphe. Citizens are reportedly choosing to stay home on New Year’s Eve in unprecedented numbers. Parisian hoteliers and restaurant owners reported a stunning 50 percent drop in bookings for the holiday night. A hotel manager is quoted by The Local saying it’s the first time in 15 years his establishment will not be fully booked for New Year’s Eve, while a caterer reported a “catastrophic” number of cancellations.
Russia Pushes Back Against Designating Hezbollah, Hamas Terrorist Organizations
While Washington and Moscow agree that ISIS, al-Qaeda and Jabhat al-Nusra constitute the main terrorist threats in Syria, Russia has pushed back against a similar designation for Lebanese Hezbollah and the Gaza-ruling Hamas, Russian news agency Interfax reported on Tuesday.
“We are not even discussing Hezbollah and Hamas with the Americans,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said.
“Our opinions coincide as regards the main terrorist organizations. These are ISIS, al-Qaeda and Jabhat al-Nusra. These are the main ones, and there is a definite consent about them,” said Gatilov, and according to the report, Russian officials repeatedly deny that Hezbollah and Hamas will be added to that mix.
The comments come as Russia continued its military campaign in Syria, battling terrorist groups while simultaneously helping preserve the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, one of Russia’s closest Mideast allies.
US said to prepare new Iran sanctions for missile test
The Obama administration is preparing new sanctions against companies and individuals for Iran’s ballistic missile program, Reuters cited unnamed sources saying Wednesday.
The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that the US Treasury Department was preparing sanctions against several individuals and companies in Iran, Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates related to Iran’s ballistic missile program. Treasury and the White House declined to comment on the Journal report, which was attributed to anonymous US officials.
The US on Wednesday accused Iran of launching a “highly provocative” rocket test last week near its warships and commercial traffic passing through the Strait of Hormuz, exposing how tensions between the two countries could escalate even after a landmark nuclear deal.
The strategic Persian Gulf waterway, which sees nearly a third of all oil traded by sea pass through it, has been the scene of past confrontations between America and Iran, including a one-day naval battle in 1988.
Iran blasts reported new US sanctions on missile program as illegal
Iran condemned on Thursday as arbitrary and illegal reported US plans for new sanctions on international companies and individuals over Tehran's ballistic missile program.
"As we have declared to the American government ... Iran's missile program has no connection to the (nuclear) agreement," state television quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossein Jaber Ansari as saying.
In Washington, sources familiar with the situation said on Wednesday the US government was preparing the sanctions, which the Wall Street Journal said would target about 12 companies and individuals in Iran, Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates for their suspected role in developing Iran's missile program.
"Iran will resolutely respond to any interfering action by America against its defensive programs," said Jaber Ansari, rejecting any new sanctions as "arbitrary and illegal".
Being Jewish and Pro-Israel in College: 2010 vs. 2015
I graduated from college just about a year and a half ago, and although much has stayed the same, it’s getting more difficult for Jewish students.
When I entered college in 2010, my professors were accommodating when I needed to miss class for the high holidays. Yet there always seemed to be a bonding event on Yom Kippur, and I had to miss tennis practices if I wanted to be on the Hillel board and attend Shabbat services and dinner. These little things made me feel different from the other students, but by far the greatest source of difficulty as a Jewish student on campus was the way I related to Israel.
I remember receiving a terribly inaccurate email, passed through my school’s list serve, calling Israel an apartheid state that commits war crimes. I remember getting an eviction notice put on my door, “mocking the eviction notices sent to Palestinians by the IDF.” I remember someone coming up to me in the dining hall asking me how “you [Jews] could do all of those terrible things to the Palestinians.” I remember being ostracized in a class and receiving a grade less than I deserved because the paper had pro-Israel content. I remember sitting in a meeting hosted by Students for Justice in Palestine, the group leader asking all the other students to disregard my opinion and that of my friend because we were from the pro-Israel group. I remember when I found swastikas drawn in the bathroom stalls on multiple occasions.
It was difficult being on a campus that was dogmatically critical of Israel, with an undercurrent of anti-Semitism. I have surmised that nearly all Jews around the world face the same problems that I faced in college. And on my campus, the Claremont Colleges, it is only getting worse.
BDS’s Economic Impact Isn’t The Point
The argument that an anti-Israel boycott is doomed to failure because Israel provides goods integral to the global economy is a good one.
However, this does not address BDS’s divestment and sanctions components. Sanctions would be economically damaging to Israel and the sanctioning nation alike, but are very unlikely at least in the United States, and even in Europe.
Divestment is more plausible and potentially quite destructive. Many Israeli companies are publicly listed and enjoy a variety of partnerships with international companies, universities and other institutions. Many international companies have facilities in Israel, or partnerships, joint ventures or other on-going relationships with Israeli companies. If, for instance, public retirement systems or mutual fund companies in the United States that have assets in the trillions of dollars divested from all Israeli companies, companies doing business in Israel and companies with cooperative agreements with Israeli companies, the economic impact is potentially enormous.
HonestReporting’s Top Content of 2015
We had a busy year, with media critiques, news roundups, videos, graphics, social media posts, highlighting our growing community. As 2015 draws to a close, here’s a lookback at what HR readers were buzzing about.
1. Most-Read Media Critique: This January meltdown led to Jim Clancy’s firing from CNN. Readers were outraged. In terms of our most-read posts, this won by a landslide.
2. Most Popular Shareable Image: Palestinian journalist Khaled Abu Toameh explains the real agenda behind the BDS movement. This graphic struck a chord with readers. And if you haven’t shared it yet, it’s not too late . . .
Top Ten MidEast Media Mangles for 2015
Top Ten MidEast Media Mangles for 2015
1. Wave of Palestinian Violence Accompanied by Spate of Bad Journalism
Some correspondents and headline writers are doing a fine job reporting the terror attacks in Israel, but all too many others are failing at this task, relying on the passive voice, euphemism, and imprecision to obscure Palestinian terror attacks and even recast terrorists as victims of arbitrary Israeli violence. In a particularly noxious example, The New York Times incorrectly and absurdly described a butterfly knife wielded by a Palestinian attacker – a type of knife known to be used by street gangs and illegal in a number of countries and U.S. states – as a "Boy Scout"‑type knife. This was the third New York Times article mentioning the incident. In all three pieces, the brandishing of a knife was described merely as an Israeli allegation. In the latter two articles, Palestinian allegations that the knife was planted were given equal weight to Israel's description of the man holding a knife, despite the fact that he is shown on video wielding the knife. The Times issued a peculiarly worded and weak “correction.”
UK Media Watch’s most popular posts in 2015
Here’s a look back at our most popular posts in 2015.
UK Media Watch would like to wish you and your family a happy and healthy new year!
1. Telegraph and Daily Mail retreat in face of Pallywood story about child ‘activist’
2. Is Guardian cartoon on Charlie Hebdo blaming the victims?
3. Yes, George Galloway is Antisemitic
4. Daily Express bizarrely puts Israel atop list of worst places to be Christian this Christmas
5. Sky News commemorates Auschwitz by suggesting that Jews fuel antisemitism.
Daily Telegraph: Jerusalem’s Old City ‘Under Threat’
Israel’s doing a very fine job of caring for its UNESCO Heritage Sites, thank you very much.
There’s no reason for a Daily Telegraph slide show to include Jerusalem’s Old City in a slide show of heritage sites under threat.
The Telegraph will likely defend itself by saying the under threat label follows UNESCO’s lead: the Old City is on UNESCO’s List of World Heritage in Danger.
Whatever urban development issues supposedly threaten Jerusalem’s Old City don’t remotely compare with Islamic State’s looting and destruction of Syrian, Iraqi and Libyan, sites and antiquities. Or Saudi airstrikes damaging the Old City of Sa’na (Yemen). Or the Lord’s Resistance Army poaching elephants on a wide scale in Garamba National Park (Congo).
When will NY Times Break the Silence about its implicit anti-Israel bias?
The Times also doesn’t cover military groups that praise Israel. Earlier this month a group of generals from around the world found that Israel’s conduct of Operation Protective Edge last year was “exemplary.” Ben Cohen reported for The Tower:
The High Level Military Group (HLMG), which authored the report, was established earlier this year with a remit to examine “the implications for warfare where democratic nations are engaged in fighting enemies who disregard the Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC) but exploit our own nations’ adherence to LOAC for their gain.”
Rafael Bardaji, a spokesman for the group, emphasized that “In the absence of the appropriate military and legal expertise, the cumulative failure of international institutions and organisations to come to a more accurate assessment of events during the 2014 Gaza Conflict, their attempt to impose unwarranted legal norms, and their failure to make important moral distinctions between the adversaries is a problem not just for Israel.”

In other words a group of military professionals from U.S., Europe, South America, and Asia reviewed Israel’s conduct and found it above reproach, unlike the way the war was reported in the Times.
The New York Times reported on an advocacy group, Breaking the Silence, but failed to investigate its funding, and would not normally report on a similar advocacy group in America. And it also failed to report on a group that offered different conclusions than Breaking the Silence.
So why did it report on Breaking the Silence? Because it makes Israel look bad. I can’t think of any other reason.
Lab-made chicken, impossible technologies and bouncy chairs for school
It’s been a phenomenal year for ISRAEL21c. We’ve broken every record for Internet hits since we were founded in December 2001, and have seen our social-media traffic rise by 60 percent in the last year alone.
In July, we launched our newly designed website, and in November launched two unique and exciting new projects – ISRAEL21c Español, our new Spanish language site, and EDUCATORS21c, a monthly e-newsletter designed for educators who want to make today’s Israel vibrant and alive for their students.
A cursory glance at some of the main headlines on Israel in the mainstream press this year would make for chilling reading, but at ISRAEL21c we focus on the technological advances, the cultural developments and the incredible humanitarian projects emerging from Israel that are making life better for millions of people around the world.
This is the Israel that the world rarely sees, and it’s our mission to bring these stories into focus. Thanks to your help, that’s exactly what we are doing.
2015 was red-hot year for Israeli high-tech scene
Israeli high-tech startups were red hot in 2015, and are entering 2016 as exciting commodities for investors worldwide, according to numerous end-of-year market reports.
Forbes, the World Economic Forum and the Heritage Foundation all rank Israel among the 30 best economies in the world in which to do business.
“2015 was a strong year for exits and investments in Israeli startups,” according to the Ethosia Human Resources report.
The “Israel 2015 High-Tech Exit Report” published by PwC showed that the total deal value from acquisitions increased by 44 percent.
In 2015, Israeli high-tech mergers and acquisitions (M&As) rose to $7.2 billion from $5 billion in 2014, according to PwC.
Best New Restaurant in US is Israeli
Many people come to New York City with big dreams. Many of them return home disappointed, others work for years before seeing results, and very few make it within a year.
Meet the exception: Chef Nir Mesika from the northern Israeli town of Kiryat Motzkin, who has made it big time. Eight months ago, Mesika opened a restaurant called Timna in the East Village. Last week, it was chosen as the Best New Restaurant in the United States by the readers of USA Today and 10Best.
The 10Best Readers' Choice Awards is one of the most popular year's end summaries in the American mainstream media.
"When we heard we were selected, I actually had trouble breathing for a few seconds," Mesika said Monday, his only free day during the week. "It's an insane feeling, completely delusional.
"Now that I have calmed down a bit, I can honestly say that it's not that surprising. Not after all the hard work we put into this place. We invested our entire souls in here. But for someone to say that I, Nir Mesika of Kiryat Motzkin, am the chef of the best new restaurant in the US? That's unbelievable."
Israel To Open First College For Students With Autism And Learning Disabilities
The first Israeli college designed to accommodate students on the autism spectrum and with learning disabilities is set to open in March 2016.
The college, to be called BE Academic College, which will be run jointly by Beit Ekstein, an organization devoted to helping people with learning and developmental disabilities, and the Open University, a distance-learning school with multiple branches across Israel. BE Academic College will be based at Beit Ekstein’s campus in the Tel Aviv suburb of Givatayim. The school will offer three programs designed to give its students a boost to enter the workforce: psychology and education, psychology and communications, and economics and computer science.
“Out of close familiarity with the world of graduates with learning disabilities comes the establishment of the BE Academic College, whose goal it will be to make academic learning possible by building a supportive and adapted curriculum,” Beit Ekstein said in a statement.
In order to serve its target population, the college will not have entrance requirements, and will offer specialized career guidance for the students. Upon completing the four-year program, students will receive a degree from the Open University, an institution accredited by the Israel Council for Higher Education.
Iraq’s Last Jews Need Our Help
The violent persecution and near genocide of Iraq’s Yazidis and Christians have made headlines around the world. Less well-known is the story of Iraqi Jews, who face near eradication. As millions flee Islamic militants in Iraq, one man has emerged to help rebuild the Jewish remnant.
When I met with Sherzad Omar Mamsani, the Jewish representative to the Kurdish government, in December 2015, he proudly wore his kippah in public — an act of bravery and defiance against those who would see him and his people wiped out in Iraq. He told me that, contrary to reports of only a half dozen, there are as many as 430 Jewish families left in the Kurdish region of Iraq.
Although most of these Jews have kept a low profile in public, they experienced a renewed sense of hope with Sherzad’s appointment by the Kurdish government. Sherzad is working in the relative safety of the Kurdish zone to rebuild Iraq’s remaining synagogues and Jewish holy sites, and is helping rewrite the Jewish portion of Kurdish school lessons on Iraq’s religious history.
That history matters because Iraqi history is Jewish history, too.
Roman Aqueduct Excavated in Arava Region
An aqueduct which transported water into agricultural land was excavated at the “Biblical Tamar” site near Ein Hatzeva, a cooperative village in the central Arava valley. According to legend Tamar, which is mentioned as part of the southern border of the Promised Land, was built by King Solomon.
The ancient aqueduct is more than 1,000 years old, and it is possible that it was built as far back as the Roman period (63 BCE to 324 CE). It was discovered during archaeological excavations conducted by the Israel Antiquities Authority at the Biblical Tamar site in the Arava in recent weeks. The aqueduct was initially uncovered during works by the Arava Drainage Authority to regulate the flow of the Hatzeva spring.
The aqueduct is located in one of the largest archaeological sites in the south, which spans across ten acres. According to legend, “Biblical Tamar” was built in the wilderness by King Solomon, near today’s Ein Hatzeva. It is mentioned in biblical descriptions of the southern border of the Promised Land.
Hatzeva, or Biblical Tamar, developed around an abundant spring called Hatzeva Spring (Ein Husob). The spring is located at the intersection of roads going west toward Ma’aleh Akrabim and the Negev Mountain, east to the copper mines of Edom, north towards the Dead Sea and south to Yotvata and the Red Sea. During the First Temple a major citadel was built here alongside a settlement, and later another fort accompanied by an Edomite temple next to it, whose ritual vessels were discovered on the site.
A reason to celebrate
When Israel was ranked 18th out of 188 countries and territories in the world on the United Nations Human Development Index a few weeks ago, it didn't make nearly big enough of a splash. Since 2013, Israel has climbed from number 19 on its way to the coveted top 10 First World democracies (the very high human development group).
According to the 2015 Human Development Report, titled "Work for Human Development," the Human Development Index is a summary measure for assessing long-term progress in three basic dimensions of human development: a long and healthy life, access to knowledge and a decent standard of living.
How ironic that the U.N. is the author of this report. Being one of Israel's worst detractors, it still must acknowledge and publicize the facts indicating Israel's great success.
We are currently facing difficult times here in Israel. Certain events at times spark disunity and contention, eroding what should be a united front against those that wish us only harm. Jews everywhere -- among them many Israelis -- love to criticize Israel and point out every possible flaw. Well, here is a suggestion: If the urge to look for the negative grips you, stop and take a deep breath. Remember how far Israel has come -- how the story of Israel's rise to the top of the world once sounded like an impossible madman's dream to every Jew on the planet, never sounding more far-fetched than when the Nazi extermination camps were liberated a little over half a century ago.
Royal Mail to issue stamp honoring ‘British Schindler’
Britain’s Royal Mail announced it will issue a commemorative stamp featuring Sir Nicholas Winton, known as the “British Schindler,” in March.
It will be part of a set of six stamps honoring British humanitarians, the Jewish News website reported.
Winton, who helped rescue 669 children from Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia, died July 1 at 106. An online petition calling for the stamp set up later that month by the Jewish News garnered nearly 106,000 signatures.
Hundreds of recommendations for new stamps are received each year, with the process usually taking around two years, according to the Jewish News, which said it was expedited in Winton’s case due to the intense public interest. The Royal Mail commissions 12 new stamps each year. Final approval for the stamp must be given by the queen.
The baptized son of Jewish parents, Winton was a 29-year-old stockbroker when he arrived in Prague in December 1938. He was planning to go on a skiing holiday in Switzerland, but changed his plans when he heard about the refugee crisis in Czechoslovakia, which had just been occupied by the Nazis. In the following nine months, he organized eight trains that carried children, the vast majority of them Jewish, from Czechoslovakia to safety in Britain.

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Posted By Ian to Elder Of Ziyon - Israel News at 12/31/2015 08:00:00 PM
As I read other websites showing off their best accomplishments of the year (and asking for money), I realized that I have many categories of things I posted that each deserve their own "Best Of" post.

So here are my best posters of 2015. Click to enlarge.

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Posted By Elder of Ziyon to Elder Of Ziyon - Israel News at 12/31/2015 06:00:00 PM
Palestine Press Agency reports that Saudi Arabia will provide "generous financial support" for the Palestinian Authority to pay off its deficit.

Sources indicated that the Saudis promised to provide financial and political support and the money transfer is likely within the next few days.

Mahmoud Abbas met yesterday in Riyadh Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz and gave him an award, the Grand Medal of the Order of the State of Palestine.

The Saudi monarch reiterated the Kingdom's unwavering support for the Palestinian rights, stressing Riyadh to continue to provide political and financial support for the Palestinian people.

Abbas then returned to Ramallah and is taking part in celebrations of the 51st anniversary of Fatah's first terror attack on Israeli soil. He issued a statement for the occasion with his usual threats of no security for Israel as long as his demands aren't met in full, including the "right of return."

Here's a poster of him laying a wreath for Yasir Arafat for the occasion. Note, as always, that the map  replacing the "1" eradicates Israel.

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Posted By Elder of Ziyon to Elder Of Ziyon - Israel News at 12/31/2015 04:00:00 PM
Vic Rosenthal's weekly column:

In a dramatic development, a district judge ordered the police and Shabak to release a suspected Jewish extremist who had been held in administrative detention for a month, not allowed to speak to a lawyer for almost three weeks, and who claimed (persuasively) to have been tortured. The police and State Prosecutor refused to obey the court order to release him for several hours, saying that they would appeal the district court’s decision to the Supreme Court, but finally relented. The youth was let go to house arrest on bail. 

The detainee (his name is apparently still under gag order) was detained as a suspect in the triple arson murder in the Arab village of Kfar Duma (previous Abu Yehuda posts on this incident are here). But after the authorities finally admitted that they had no evidence of his connection to this crime, they decided to charge him for an assault on a Bedouin that he had allegedly committed two years ago (he says it was in self-defense). The district court decided that this didn’t justify continuing to hold him.

The hysteria – it’s the only possible description – over so-called “Jewish terrorists” that’s overtaken the political Left, Right and Center in Israel and their associates abroad is puzzling. Keep in mind that the arson/murder is unsolved, even after the Jewish suspects, members of the so-called “hilltop youth” have undergone very heavy pressure. There is a hypothesis that Arabs feuding with the Dawabshe clan were responsible, but this line of inquiry has not been followed up.

Yes, a truly horrifying murder was committed in which three members of an Arab family including an 18-month-old baby died. And some people danced at a hilltop youth wedding with weapons and photographs of the murdered child (but it still isn’t clear how the pictures got there). The wedding was reportedly crawling with agents of the security forces, and the Shabak has used agents provocateurs before. The bride’s father, Lenny Goldberg, said,

I really don't know who brought those pictures anyway. Knowing the hilltop youth, I can tell you that photographing pictures and mounting them on signs is not their specialty. If you look closely, everyone dancing is wearing white shirts, but the guys holding the signs are wearing jackets and their faces are blurred.

The official story is that one of the hilltop youth – there may or may not be several hundred in this category – wrote a manifesto in which he expressed a desire to commit terrorist acts against Arabs in a Charles-Manson-like attempt to destabilize the country, so that they could replace the government with one operating according to (their idea of) Jewish law and governed by a king.


According to almost everyone in the government and media including the religious-rightish Naftali Bennett, the Shabak was entirely justified in using exceptional measures including administrative detention and “aggressive interrogation techniques” which may or may not constitute torture, to eliminate this threat. Isi Liebler, usually a voice of moderate Zionism, said the radicals were “like a cancer,” “religious lunatics” and “fanatical thugs,” and, calling for the government to use an “iron fist” against them, wrote that

Despite the appalling disgrace and besmirching of our name by such demonic behavior, this pales in significance to the impact that such horrific acts can have on our society if not ruthlessly expunged.

I’m not so sure. Arcane cult murders are bad things, but they tend to be isolated, not metastatic, like for example the suicidal stabbings of Jews because “Al Aqsa is in danger” which seem to have turned all of Palestinian society into a murderous cult.

Eric Yoffie, former head of the Union for Reform Judaism and a reliable indicator of liberal American Jewish opinion (at least, among liberal American Jews that still have an interest in events in Israel), wrote this:

Suspected Jewish terrorists  — in particular, those involved in the killings of the Dawabsheh family in Duma — are now being defended by those who claim that the civil rights of the suspects are being violated by Israel’s security services.  As a left of center American Jew, I would like to say plainly: There are times when human rights and civil liberties are not the most important thing for a democratic country that is fighting for her very survival.  For Israel, now is such a time.

The question is not: Is Israel violating the human rights of the Jewish terrorists and their supporters who exult in the murder of babies?  The question is: Why have the security services not already put an end to this network of murderers and monsters who threaten the very foundations of Zionism?

Leaving aside his unjustified certainty that the suspects “were involved” in the murder, I wonder if Yoffie would have written this if Americans – particularly blacks or Muslims – were being ‘aggressively interrogated’ by the police and FBI? I think we know the answer to this question. Indeed, Daniel Greenfield notes that Yoffie opposed torture of al Qaeda terrorists in Guantanamo.

Yoffie’s sudden lack of concern for democracy and civil rights in Israel is in contrast to the view he expressed several years ago when the question of limiting and documenting the flow of foreign money into left-wing NGOs was first raised:

When rabbis and Jewish leaders speak in communities and synagogues about the Jewish state, what they emphasize, with great pride, is Israel's democratic character. But what will they say if these anti-democratic laws are approved in the Knesset?

What will (American) rabbis and Jewish leaders say about the Israeli democracy that imprisons suspects without charging them, denies them legal counsel and applies “aggressive interrogation techniques?” I presume the ‘progressive’ ones like Yoffie will be on board as long as the suspects are right-wing extremists. But just as free speech in a democratic state is not only for speech with which you agree, civil rights are particularly important for those suspected of having committed crimes.

I may be under-reacting, but the threat of a small group of extremists imposing a theocratic monarchy is not high on my list of scary scenarios. I don’t know a lot of Israelis who would sit still for a coronation. Although three innocent people were murdered at Duma in July, 25 Jews have been slaughtered in Israel since October 1 by Arab terrorists. This doesn’t make it acceptable, but it does put the magnitude of the danger in perspective. And I don’t see how they threaten the “foundations of Zionism” when 99.98% of Zionists (assuming 6 million Zionists and 1000 hilltop youth) reject their goals and their methods.

To those like Liebler who insist that the damage to Israel’s image done by “Jewish terrorists” is enormous, I can only say that far more damage is done by the massive anti-Zionist industry in every Muslim nation, in Europe and in universities everywhere, which is dedicated to besmirching Israel’s image. Here is where the limitations on foreign money feeding the anti-state NGOs that Yoffie opposes would do a lot more to improve Israel’s image than beating up extremists.

So why the hysteria?  In my opinion, the cause is an atavistic Diaspora-Jewish reaction to extirpate the source of the shanda fur die goyim [disgrace before non-Jews]. But haven’t we learned yet that self-flagellation just provides more material for the anti-Zionists to use against us?

Let’s calm down. Let’s keep the rule of law, obey court orders and ensure that everyone’s rights, even those of suspected theocratic monarchists, are preserved. Let’s employ careful forensic police work, solve the Duma murders and punish the murderers. Punish the theocratic monarchists too, if they have committed crimes from vandalism to assault to arson and murder. But these people are not ‘ticking bombs’ and there is no need or justification to beat confessions out of them.

Just to forestall the inevitable question: yes, everything I said applies to Arabs too. Although there are a lot more ticking bombs there.

If we are going to tell everyone that we are the only democracy in the Middle East, we ought to be one.

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Posted By Elder of Ziyon to Elder Of Ziyon - Israel News at 12/31/2015 02:00:00 PM
From Ian:

Terror thwarted: 'East Jerusalem men planned to set off bomb in Eilat hotel'
Two Israeli citizens of east Jerusalem were indicted Thursday on charges that they plotted to blow up a hotel in the southern resort town of Eilat.
According to the indictment, the two suspects, Halil Nimri and Ashraf Salaimeh, met while working at the same hotel in Eilat. Some two months ago the pair met and decided to carry out a terror attack against Jews in order to "get revenge" against Israel for its actions during the current terror wave, the indictment added.
One of the suspects wished to avenge the death of his childhood friend, Fadi Elon, who was killed while carrying out a stabbing attack in Jerusalem on October 4. Halil first suggested carrying out a stabbing attack aimed at killing a religious Jew. Ashraf argued that the two could be apprehended while carrying out such an attack and therefore the act would have no meaning. Therefore, he suggested carrying out a terror attack by placing a bomb at a hotel in Eilat. Halil agreed to the plot, according to the indictment.
The two began carrying out surveillance of the hotel and following the movements of groups of religious Jews who checked in. One of the suspects searched the Internet for information on preparing an improvised explosive device.
PMW: Abbas' Fatah celebrates 51 years of murder and vows to continue
Abbas' Fatah movement chose to celebrate 51 years of violence and killing to mark the 51st anniversary of its founding. It posted the above image on its Lebanese website, where the number 51 is made up of a knife, a bullet and a rifle. The text says "Revolution until victory."
[Falestinona, website of Fatah's Information and Culture Commission in Lebanon, Dec. 12, 2015]
On Facebook, Fatah's official page cheered the results of its terror attacks - what it calls "sowing terror" among Israelis - and posted a picture of a masked Fatah fighter with the words:
"Half a century of sowing terror in the eyes of the sons of Zion"
[Official Facebook page of the Fatah Movement, Dec. 29, 2015]
Another post, this time with a masked Fatah fighter with a rifle, vowed to "redeem the homeland with blood":
"We march, we are not afraid of the fire and we do not fear death. With blood we will redeem the homeland and saturate its ground. The anniversary is approaching."
[Official Facebook page of the Fatah Movement, Dec. 26, 2015]
The knife in the logo above is particularly relevant at the current time amid the surge of Palestinian terror attacks, many of which have been stabbings. Since October, 10 Israelis have been killed and 72 wounded in stabbing attacks. In total, 25 Israelis have been murdered and 259 have been injured during the current terror wave.
Throughout the surge in violence, Fatah has emphasized its support for violence against Israelis in general and for stabbings in particular.
Other posters and images glorifying the rifle and violence have been posted recently by Fatah on Facebook, Twitter, and on Fatah's official websites.
Official PA TV accuses PMW director Itamar Marcus of “incitement against Mahmoud Abbas”

Samir Kuntar: ‘Resistance hero’ or sex monster?
Some new disturbing facts are emerging about the character of Lebanese terrorist Samir Kuntar who was assassinated in an airstrike attributed to Israel earlier this month.
Sources that were were familiar with Kuntar have described him to Lebanese daily newspaper, The Beirut Observer as no less than a “sex monster.” The report, that was later confirmed to The Jerusalem Post by Syrian rebel sources, says that since his release from Israeli prison in 2008, he has has had a series of sexual affairs – some with the women being pressured and intimidated by Kuntar.
The website for The Beirut Observer ceased to operate following the publication of the report and sources in Lebanon suspect that a deliberate hacking attack took down the site to prevent the report from being seen.
The sources say that when Kuntar visited his “working office” on the outskirts of Damascus, women were brought to him to “release his stress.”' One of the women who was involved with Kuntar was the widow of a terrorist who fought with the arch-terrorist and was killed after a bomb exploded in his car (an action that was also attributed to Israel).
Even inside Hezbollah, fighters were surprised to hear the warm words that Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said after Kuntar's death, and the promises to avenge him. “Is this a way that a ‘hero of the resistance’ behaves?” the sources asked.

All the president's men
It was only a month ago that the saga of convicted spy Jonathan Pollard was finally laid to rest when, after three decades in a U.S. federal prison, he was "released" under draconian, hurtful and humiliating terms, as though he poses a clear and present threat to the security of the United States.
Though the current American administration, like its predecessors, has made it very clear that it has not forgiven Israel for sending the Jewish analyst to spy on the American intelligence community, it emerged this week just how hypocritical and self-righteous the White House's attitude actually is.
While Pollard was wasting away in his cell, the National Security Agency, at the behest of the White House, was busy eavesdropping on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's conversations with his aides, U.S. lawmakers, and American-Jewish groups.
It seems that the fading echoes of the scandalous Snowden affair, during which the extent of the U.S. surveillance program was revealed to include eavesdropping on other friendly leaders such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel, have not deterred U.S. President Barack Obama, who, despite the embarrassment and apologies, continued to pursue a policy of double standards with the U.S.'s "closest ally," Israel.
Why Team Obama’s Israel spying should be a major scandal
The last is especially critical: Careful rules govern how the National Security Agency can handle such intercepted conversations, and it’s not clear they were followed.
But it’s also significant that Team Obama apparently had no problem with spying on Americans engaged in legitimate political activity — in this case, trying to block the president’s dubious nuclear deal with Iran.
The White House took pains not to leave a paper trail. As one senior official told the Journal: “We didn’t say, ‘Do it.’ We didn’t say, ‘Don’t do it’.”
As former Assistant Secretary of State Elliott Abrams writes in National Review, what happened here is that “the administration faced a battle in Congress and it spied on the other side” — successfully, we’d add, since the Iran deal went through.
Had a Republican administration done this stuff, Democrats on Capitol Hill would be gearing up Watergate-style investigative hearings and talking impeachment. As Abrams notes, it ought to be a major scandal now. (h/t MtTB)
Israeli Intelligence Minister Rejects ‘WSJ’ Report Saying Netanyahu, Advisers Leaked Information About Iran Talks
Israeli Intelligence and Atomic Energy Minister Yisrael Katz rejected a Wall Street Journal report on Wednesday that claimed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his advisers had leaked sensitive information about nuclear talks between Iran and world powers to undermine negotiations, in the run-up to the announcement of the nuclear deal earlier this year.
“Israel doesn’t act in any way to submit information within the US, to any authority in the US. We’re careful,” said Katz. The information used by Netanyahu and his advisers was gathered by Israeli intelligence, the Journal report said. The report also alleged that the National Security Agency had been spying on Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders.
Speaking to Israeli website Ynet, Katz said Israel would submit a formal protest if it turns out to be true that the National Security Agency was indeed spying on Netanyahu or Israeli officials. “Israel does not spy on the United States and we expect our great friend the US to treat us similarly,” the intelligence minister said, according to Ynet. “If this reported information turns out to be true, Israel must submit an official protest to the US government and demand a cessation to all such activities.”
Former Pentagon official Harold Rhode told The Algemeiner on Wednesday that the Journal’s claims indicated that the US was moving away from the principles of its founding fathers.
“If the American establishment believed in the principles of the founding fathers, then something like what appeared in the Wall Street Journal most likely would never have happened,” he said. “America’s founding fathers founded the United States on the Biblical principles of Mt. Sinai. In other words, the US and Israel were founded on the same principles.”
Congress intel committee to probe US spying on Israel
He said his goal would be to “get the facts” about the situation.
“We’re going to play this right down the middle and determine whether or not somebody did something wrong,” Nunes said by phone from California.
Later Wednesday, the chairmen of the House Oversight Committee and its national security subcommittee sent a letter to NSA Director Michael Rogers requesting documents and a briefing about the process.
Congressmen Jason Chaffetz and Ron DeSantis wrote that the Journal report raises “questions concerning the processes NSA employees follow in determining whether intercepted communications involved members of Congress, and the latitude agency employees have in screening communications with members of Congress for further dissemination within the Executive Branch.”
According to the Journal report, some of the exchanges in question involved Israeli strategy around the Iran nuclear deal that Netanyahu ardently opposed, as did congressional Republicans. In some cases the NSA overheard Israeli officials trying to convince undecided lawmakers to oppose the deal, which Congress ultimately failed to block.
Rubio: Spying situation 'might be worse' than what public thinks
Appearing on "Fox & Friends" ahead of a campaign event in Pella, Iowa, Rubio, a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, reiterated on more than one occasion that he wanted to be "very careful" about discussing the politically fraught topic.
"Well, I want to be very careful. I’m on, a member of the Intelligence Committee, so obviously I want to be very careful of what I say about information of this kind. Obviously people read this report, they have a right to be concerned this morning about it," the Florida Republican said of the Journal's story, which had the headline "U.S. Spy Net on Israel Snares Congress."
"They have a right to be concerned about the fact that while some leaders around the world are no longer being targeted, one of our strongest allies in the Middle East — Israel — is," he remarked. "These are all concerns, and they’re legitimate."
Argentinian Author Compares Palestinian Terrorists Who Killed His Israeli Brother to Nazis
Renowned Argentinian author Marcelo Birmajer leveled sharp criticism at the Palestinians carrying out terrorist attacks against Israelis, the Israeli news site nrg reported on Wednesday.
Birmajer, whose brother Rabbi Eduardo (Reuben) Birmajer was murdered in a Palestinian stabbing attack at Jerusalem’s Jaffa Gate last week, said his sibling’s killers were no different from the Nazis who had murdered his grandfather’s family in Europe.
Birmajer made his comments at a memorial service for his brother, held at the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires and attended by diplomats and leaders of the country’s Jewish community.
At the ceremony, Birmajer commented on his filial relationship. “You weren’t the brother of a famous author. Instead, I’ve always said, I’m the brother of a rabbi.”
He went on: “There’s no territorial conflict or political problem. We haven’t done anything bad in the land of Israel. To the contrary, we built the best state in the world. Israel is the most extraordinary state in the world, the most humane, educated, liberal state, the state which has the most respect for its minorities. [Israel] is the best thing that happened in the 20th century.”
Terror victim’s son: 'We will not let our enemies break us'
Genady Kaufman did not want to give up on life, his son David said on Wednesday as he eulogized his father who had succumbed to wounds he sustained in a December 7th terror attack in the West Bank city of Hebron.
“You gave your all to everything you did,” said David as he looked at his father’s shroud covered body. It lay on a gurney in the street in front of the Cave of the Patriarchs where he had worked as a gardener.
The 41-year old man, who had immigrated from the former Soviet Union, was stabbed by a Palestinian as he waited at the bus stop outside the Cave of the Patriarch.
Genady had finished work and was on his way to his home in the nearby Kiryat Arba settlement, where he also worked as a security guard.
David recalled how he his father had struggled to stay alive for over three weeks at the Sha’are Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem. “Even after you were wounded you continued to fight. You didn’t give up, even when the doctors didn’t think you had a chance. You did not want to leave this world easily,” said David.
IDF soldier lightly wounded in West Bank ramming attack; assailant shot
A Palestinian terrorist lightly wounded an IDF soldier Thursday in a vehicular ramming attack targeting Israeli security forces on patrol near the West Bank city of Nablus.
IDF forces shot and killed the attacker at the scene at Habitot Junction, located between the Palestinian town of Huwara and the Israeli settlement of Tapuah.
IDF medics evacuated the approximately 20-year-old victim to the Rabin Medical Center-Beilinson Campus in Petah Tikva.
Security forces cordoned off traffic between Tapuah Junction and Yitzhar Junction in light of the incident.
The Huwara checkpoint has been a flashpoint site for attacks in recent months.
4 Arab Israelis arrested for arms dealing, rioting
Israeli security forces in November arrested four Arab Israelis on suspicion of illegal arms dealing and taking part in riots, the Shin Bet domestic security service said Thursday.
The operation was carried out jointly by the Shin Bet and police special forces, the security service said.
The detainees were named as Yahya Farid Ibrahim Abu Hajlah, 22; Firas Ismail Muhammad Faki, 18; Muhammad Taysir Atman Fiyumi, 22; and Uday Kaid Hassan Kharbosh, 21. All four are residents of the central Israeli town of Jaljulia, near Kfar Saba.
According to the Shin Bet, the operation began with a joint investigation with the IDF, which led to the arrest of Fiyumi as he returned from the West Bank city of Nablus following a meeting with weapons sellers to discuss the purchase of a gun.
The remainder of the detainees were arrested in the wake of Fiyumi’s investigation, during which it emerged that he was both an arms dealer and a supporter of the Palestinian terror group Hamas.
'Hamas activated cells to carry out suicide attacks, target Israeli political figures'
Hamas and other Palestinian factions have decided to resume suicide attacks against Israel, according to a report published by a Lebanese newspaper on Thursday.
Al-Akhbar, which is affiliated with Hezbollah, claimed that Hamas was seeking to undermine the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank through the participation of a large number of Fatah activists in the current wave of terrorism against Israelis.
The paper claimed that Hamas was now considering ordering its “sleeping cells” in the West Bank to carry out attacks inside Israel.
It said that a Hamas terror cell that was recently busted by Israel in the village of Abu Dis near Jerusalem was preparing to carry out suicide bombings inside Israel.
The report also claimed that the cell was uncovered after one of its members contacted a PA security officer and asked for forged documents for the Hamas terrorists.
An unnamed Hamas official was quoted as saying that the suicide attacks were supposed to be carried out soon. The official said that the terror cell was also planning to target Israeli security and political officials.
Huffington Post Blog Distorts the News With Anti-Israel Screed
The Huffington Post blog, which far too often functions as a magnet for Israel haters, has posted another anti-Israel screed. The author is Alex Shams, identified as an Iranian-American journalist and PhD student of anthropology at the University of Chicago. Missing from the Huff Post bio is that he was until recently based in Bethlehem, serving as an opinion editor at the Palestinian Ma'an news agency.
"Killing of Mentally Ill Palestinian Swimming Off Gaza Coast Highlights Maddening Effects of Israel's Siege" is the grotesquely misleading headline of Shams' equally distorted Huffington Post blog post about Egypt's killing of a Palestinian who illegally crossed the border. His post represents the cynical attempt to turn a story about the Egyptian-Gazan border into an anti-Israel hit piece.
Nowhere in the lengthy description of the killing of the "mentally ill Palestinian swimmer" does Shams say that Egyptian troops killed the Gazan. Instead, his clear implication is that Israeli soldiers were guilty of a heartless crime: murdering a mentally disabled Palestinian victim.
USA Today Provides Rare Look at Anti-Israel Terror
Writing for USA Today, special correspondent Shira Rubin provides readers with a brief, but surprisingly direct report on the recent terror attacks by Palestinian Arabs against Israelis—and the effects of these attacks on every day Israeli citizens (“In Jerusalem, living on edge is new normal,” Dec. 24, 2015). Surprising because such “start with the basics” coverage is comparatively rare.
The USA Today article begins by doing something not frequently done by major dailies such as The Washington Post and The New York Times, among others—quoting an Israeli civilian, in this instance a teacher named Talia Malek—who speaks about news worthy developments without equivocation.
Describing Malek’s use of public transport in Jerusalem to get to work—amid three months of “near daily attacks by Palestinians”—Rubin provides readers with an important perspective, one often missed.
“‘This is our city, this is our country, and we need to show that we cannot be intimidated,’ Malek says about her daily trips.
While noting Malek’s defiance in the face of terror, Rubin also quotes her concerns:
“Co-existence in Israel is possible… but this current situation reminds us that Palestinians see us as their enemy….And the moment that they have the chance they will—literally—stab us in the back.”
ISIS plotting 'to slaughter THOUSANDS' in 2016 in bid to spark huge FINAL BATTLE with West
The sick terror group will activate hundreds of sleeper cells in "dozens of countries" in an unprecedented bid to destabilise western governments and spark a huge military retaliation in the Middle East.
The shock claim, from one of the world's leading authorities on the death cult, comes amid fears of a New Year's Eve terror plot in London and other major world cities.
Islamic State has carried out more than 50 attacks in 18 countries that have killed 1,100 people and injured 1,700 since it declared its caliphate in 2014.
And next year will see a huge increase in both the number and scale of major terror attacks, according to Dr Theodore Karasik, a Gulf-based analyst of regional geo-political affairs who has extensively studied ISIS's behaviour.
He warned: "ISIS’s media operation is taunting its enemy to come to fight their Final Battle.
"But first, it wants to show its global reach with zeal...from cells, to lone wolves, to bedroom jihadists – to target landmarks and crowds in dozens of countries across the world."
Islamic State Latest Threat to Christians in Nazareth, Childhood Home of Jesus
Christians in Nazareth, already victims of nearly institutionalized Muslim intimidation, need to contend with yet another extremist threat.
Israel’s Shin Bet security agency earlier this month announced the arrest of Israeli Arab youths from Nazareth for declaring allegiance to the Islamic State.
The Shin Bet said that during interrogations “it emerged that, in the past year, the youths obtained firearms and trained with them, while becoming more devout during meetings they held. They expressed support for ISIS [Islamic State], and praised the jihad against infidels.”
Last week, two cousins accused of being Islamic State operatives were arrested in the Nazareth area on suspicion of plotting attacks in northern Israel.
The trend in Nazareth, considered one of the holiest cities for Christians, was spotlighted by the Daily Beast on Tuesday in a piece titled, “ISIS of Nazareth: Terror Group Arrives in Jesus’s Hometown.”
ISIS poster girl 'became sex slave' before being 'beaten to death with a HAMMER'
An unnamed Tunisian woman who also travelled to Syria to join ISIS last year but later escaped, has told officials that she was kept in a house with 17-year-old Samra Kesinovic where they were forced to provide sexual services to ISIS fighters.
She said the girl had tried to escape several times, and after the last attempt, Samra had been beaten with a hammer so severely that she died from her injuries.
The Tunisian woman said they had lived together in the house and were regarded as a "sexual present for new fighters". understands Samra wrote to her family soon after arriving saying she wanted to leave because she was sickened by ISIS brutality, but she was unable to do so.
Now Austrian media sources say Samra was killed when she tried to leave the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa, beaten to death by ISIS thugs.
ISIS Sex Slaves So Glad Rape Rules Have Been Clarified (satire)
Al-Baghdadi presided over the development and release of the guidelines to help his fighters adhere to proper Islamic practice as they battle to make Islam a single political entity spanning the world. Beyond the mere capture of territory, and the forced conversion or massacre of entire populations, Islamic State fighters and functionaries need practical leadership on how to conduct their affairs after the military fight itself, and its bloody aftermath, have concluded. Al-Baghdadi therefore saw fit to help his subjects uphold the details of Sharia, Islamic law, as it applies to the more mundane details of life and administration, especially the disposition, exploitation, and treatment of captive women. Until the issuance of those guidelines, said the women and girls, there was no way to predict what kind of cruel treatment they would receive each day, but now, that uncertainty has been removed.
“I don’t actually know what the new rules are, because I’m not allowed to read, listen to the radio, or otherwise try to get information,” said Isma, a 15-year-old Yazidi girl purchased by an ISIS commander this past June. “But I’ve heard talk of them, so now, at least, when my master and his cronies brutalize and violate me in unimaginable ways, I know they’re following a proper set of rules, even if I don’t know what they are.”
“We can breathe little easier now,” agreed Maryam, 14, a Kurdish girl, “that is, if I could breathe easily at all. My master gave me a cracked rib when I resisted his first few advances, and it hasn’t healed because that keeps happening. Now that I know the beatings aren’t allowed to be arbitrary, but are only justified by Islamic law when I refuse to accommodate his lust and his desire to dominate, a little bit of tension is gone.” Maryam and her sister Ada, 12, were captured at the beginning of the summer and are still being held and raped repeatedly by the same ISIS battalion commander.
Hundreds of Islamic State militants amassed at Israel's border
On Wednesday, IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot toured the border in the Golan Heights along with GOC Northern Command, Maj.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi and Galilee Division Commander Brig.-Gen. Amir Baram.
The IDF has been following the rebel organizations fighting one another in the Syrian Golan, who for a year have controlled around 90 percent of the strip along the border with Israel.
The army emphasizes that these organizations, comprised of extremist Islamists, are not looking to Israel and are currently principally concerned with each other.
However, IS leader Abu Bakr al-Bagdadi's threatening message to Israel last Saturday has given new meaning to the presence of two separate branches of the terrorist group on Israel's borders.
In the south, which the IDF considers to be the greater threat, IS's Sinai branch is active near the border with Egypt. In the north, a smaller – but no less extreme – group, the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade, is operating in the border area.
2 Arab Israelis allege torture by Palestinian police
Two Arab Israelis from central Israel on Thursday claimed Palestinian security forces had tortured them during their month-long detention in a West Bank facility on drug allegations.
The two brothers, from the city of Ramle, were arrested in November in Beitunia, close to Ramallah, by the Palestinian police, and released on Tuesday at a checkpoint near the West Bank settlement of Beit El. Upon their release, they were detained for further questioning by Israeli police.
The brothers were arrested on suspicion of establishing a marijuana growing business. They claimed that they were tortured while they were held in the Palestinian facility, including being hung upside down for hours at a time and tied up in order to pressure them to confess. They also maintained they were not given enough food and were denied the opportunity to shower.
Israel’s Civil Administration, a unit of the Defense Ministry that manages the day-to-day operations of the West Bank, was only notified of their arrest two weeks after the incident. The brothers’ father said that he contacted the Israel Police’s Judea and Samaria Division in the West Bank about his sons’ arrest, but they ignored his request to push for their release.
Khaled Abu Toameh: Fatah officials slam PA for preventing Palestinians from clashing with IDF
For the second time over the past week, Palestinian Authority policemen on Wednesday prevented Palestinian protesters from marching towards the Beit El Junction north of Ramallah.
Wednesday’s protest was organized by Fatah on the occasion of the 51st anniversary of its first attack against Israel.
Last Friday, PA policemen used force to disperse dozens of protesters who were also planning to march towards the Beit El Junction and clash with IDF soldiers stationed there.
That protest was organized by various “national and Islamic” factions in the Ramallah area.
Some of the protesters and journalists accused the policemen of physically assaulting them and called for in investigation. The factions strongly condemned the PA leadership for instructing the security forces to break up the protest.
Senior Fatah officials who participated in Wednesday’s protest expressed anger over the PA police crackdown.
Israel seizes armor plating being smuggled into Gaza
Border officials this week thwarted an attempt to smuggle armor plating into the Gaza Strip through the Kerem Shalom crossing, the Defense Ministry said Wednesday.
An Israeli truck hauling spare car parts aroused the suspicion of workers in the Defense Ministry’s Border Crossing Authority, according to a statement.
When they examined the truck, authorities found several bulletproof plates, which could have been used to fortify terrorist strongholds in Gaza. This was the first time the border crossing authority has discovered an attempt to smuggle armor into the Strip, the ministry said.
The Defense Ministry does not yet know who is responsible for the smuggling attempt. The Israel Police, Shin Bet, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories’ unit (COGAT), the Customs Authority and Border Crossing Authority have opened an investigation into the matter, according to the Defense Minsitry’s statement.
Egypt launches airstrikes on IS affiliate in Sinai, killing 15
The Egyptian air force began intensive airstrikes on Thursday morning against a local branch of the Islamic State group in Egyptian Rafah, near the border with the Gaza Strip, local media reported.
Palestinian sources were quoted by the Walla news site as saying that Egyptian fighter jets were entering Gaza’s airspace in their attacks on the Wilayat Sinaa group (formerly known as Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis), which has claimed responsibility for numerous deadly attacks on Egyptian soldiers and civilians over the last two years.
Sky News Arabia reported that 15 people had been killed in the airstrikes.
Egyptian officials said Thursday that militants in the restive northern Sinai had shelled a home near a security checkpoint in Rafah, killing an entire family of five and wounding a teenage neighbor.
Egyptian Air Force jets enter Gaza airspace in bombing raids
The Egyptian Air Force (EAF) began intensive bombardment near the Gaza Strip this morning in the area surrounding the Egyptian town of Rafah. According to Palestinian media reports EAF planes entered into the airspace of Gaza itself.
The target of the air raids are positions belonging to ISIS's Egypt branch, known as "Sinai Province." Arabic language Sky News reported 15 fatalities thus far due to the bombings.
Hamas at times helps ISIS supporters in the Sinai Peninsula by supplying them with weapons and supplies smuggled out of the strip. Reports of bombings within the strip itself have increased tensions between Egypt and Hamas.
Egypt: President Calls for Islamic Reform Again in Muhammad Birthday Speech
During a speech marking the anniversary of Muhammad’s birth, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi again made historic remarks speaking to Islamic scholars about the need for religious freedom and acceptance of all religions.
According to Egyptian Streets, President Sisi urged reform of Islamic discourse and called on Islamic scholars to send Christmas greetings to Christians. In the televised speech to Islamic scholars, President Sisi stated, “We talk a lot about the importance of religious discourse… In our schools, institutes and universities, do we teach and practice respect for the others?” He continued, “We neither teach or practice it.”
Egyptian Streets quoted President Sisi during the speech, stating, “God did not create the world for the ‘ummah’ [Arabic for ‘nation’ or ‘community’] to be alone. [He didn’t create it] for one community, but for communities. [He didn’t create it] for one religion, but for religions.”
President Sisi continued, “Can I impose upon someone pressure, physically or morally, to change their religion? Would God accept this?… What are we afraid of? Are we custodians of people’s minds or choices? No, we are not. In religion specifically, no. Each of us will be judged independently… and [people] will have to answer [for their choices and what they choose to believe].”
He also stated during the speech that “he does not allow anyone to tell him Christians should be treated differently.”
Egypt jails Muslim scholar for suggesting Islamic reform
An Egyptian court has reduced the jail term for a Muslim scholar convicted of "insulting Islam" on his television show from five years to one, judicial officials and his lawyer said Tuesday.
Islam al-Behairy faced an uproar in April after remarks he made on his program "With Islam," in which he called for reforms in "traditional Islamic discourse."
On his show on private satellite channel Al-Kahera Wel Nas, Behairy often questioned ancient Islamic preachings and centuries-old interpretations of the faith.
That came as President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has repeatedly urged reforms in interpretation of the faith.
But Behairy's views outraged the influential Cairo-based Sunni Islamic learning center Al-Azhar, which claimed the program did not advocate "reforms" but rather "were insults to Islamic heritage."
Santa chased, converts to Islam in anti-New Year celebration demonstration
Men dressed as Ottoman janissaries chased Santa Claus in a street show protesting the celebration of New Year's Eve in western Turkey, which ended with Santa converting to Islam.
As the show proceeded, Santa was brought to face a qadi, an Islamic judge in the Ottoman era, after he was caught by the janissaries, the Ottoman elite infantry units.
The act, staged by members of the nationalist-Islamic Grand Unity Party (BBP) in the province of Bolu, highlights anti-New Year's Eve celebrations sentiments in Turkey, where the festivity is widely deemed to be associated with Christianity.
Turkish media have reported education authorities in some districts of Turkey have sent notices to schools banning New Year's Eve celebrations.
This year's demonstration comes after a similar one by the BBP last year, in which Ottoman janissaries chased Santa on the streets and then took him before the sultan. The sultan then banished Santa from the city.
PLO To Kill 1000’s Of Palestinians So Israeli Genocide Looks Real (satire)
Tired of population statistics not bearing out the oft-repeated charge that Israel is committing genocide against the Palestinians, officials among the various factions of the Palestine Liberation Organization agreed on a plan today to massacre thousands of Palestinians to bring the figures in line with those accusations, and thus lend greater diplomatic, moral, and political weight to their own position.
Representatives of Fatah, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and several other groups voted unanimously to adopt a policy of murdering their countrymen with the aim of making Israel look bad. While some of the participants could only take part via satellite or the internet, given Israeli security measures to keep them away, all were able to register their support for the move.
The plan is slated to take place in up to three stages. In Stage One, Fatah gangs will round up and massacre thousands of Palestinians. If the world fails to react as if Israel has committed genocide, larger gangs will be formed, to bring the death toll into the tens of thousands. If that level of mass murder similarly proves insufficient, other PLO member groups will be recruited to supplement the killing and reach for six figures, which will guarantee that genocide has taken place by anyone’s definition.
Outside staunch anti-Israel circles, the accusations of Israeli genocide have been dismissed as either exaggerations or fabrications, even among those who sympathize with the Palestinian plight. In fact the Palestinian population has steadily increased, and at a much greater rate following Israel’s capture in 1967 of areas previously occupied by Jordan and Egypt, containing the bulk of the Palestinian population. Such statistics gave the lie to previous accusations of genocide.

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Posted By Ian to Elder Of Ziyon - Israel News at 12/31/2015 12:00:00 PM

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