Israel News for October 30, 2015

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More Terror
Breaking news: Two Palestinians arrived at the Tapuah intersection a short time ago and attempted to stab Border Police officers protecting the site. The officers shot and killed the terrorists.

A pregnant 26-year-old woman was hit in the face by shrapnel on Thursday evening when Arabs threw rocks at her car near Karmei Tzur on Highway 60, in Gush Etzion.

In another attack on the same highway, a rock thrown by Arabs damaged a car driven by Rabbi Re’em Hacohen, head of the yeshiva in Otniel and Yehuda Glick, the chairman of the Temple Mount Heritage Foundation. They were not injured.

Also last night, terrorists carried out a drive-by shooting at a hitchhiking station near the town of Ofra (Samaria). IDF troops fired at the car, which escaped. No one was hurt at the station.

Ahmed Mansara, the 13 yr. old Palestinian who stabbed and wounded two Israelis in Pisgat Ze’ev earlier this month, was charged today with attempted murder and possession of a knife. According to Israeli law a minor cannot be imprisoned. He can only be transferred to a probation officer at a rehabilitation center.

For further reading click here.

Suing Facebook
Richard Lakin, the American educator and peace activist who died from the wounds he sustained in a Jerusalem bus terror attack this month, is still in the fight.

Days before he died, the Israel-based rights group Shurat Hadin filed a lawsuit in the US against Facebook naming Lakin as the lead plaintiff. The suit accuses Facebook of allowing “gruesome Palestinian pages that incite violence”.

Lakin’s son Micah Avni said his father was shot in the head and then stabbed multiple times – in much the same way as described in some of the videos posted online. He added that one of the Palestinians who killed his father had previously made his intentions clear on Facebook and his posts were widely reposted on social media afterward.

Shurat Hadin say that 20,000 Israelis are suing Facebook over the Palestinian incitement.

Upshot
Social media companies need to start taking responsibility for keeping all incitement to violence off their sites. They obviously have an ethical and moral obligation to do so. Now the courts will decide whether they have a legal responsibility too.

For further reading click here.

Demolition Delays
The High Court of Justice has ordered the State to produce records of all the demolition proceeding against the homes of terrorists for the past two years. It seems as though the government has been lax in carrying out the actual demolitions after acquiring the legal judgements to do so.

High Court Justice Noam Sulberg echoed the feelings of two of his colleagues saying, “There are cases in which the verdict is handed down, and plenty of time passes until its execution. It has a negative effect on the stated urgency. A verdict is given then many months pass.”

Upshot
What is holding up these demolitions? Let’s hope the judges can figure it out and get the process back on track.

For further reading click here.

Protectsia
If you’re looking for a high level position in a prominent international zionist organization, you better make sure that you’re a member of a select group of major Israeli political parties.

At last week’s World Zionist Congress conference in Jerusalem, the major political parties and movements including Likud, Labor, Kulanu, Meretz, Shas, National Union, Yisrael Beiteinu and Mizrahi, signed a secret agreement to distribute jobs at Zionist institutions. Yesh Atid was the only major party not to sign the agreement.

According to the agreement revealed by Globes, Labor and Meretz obtained the posts of Jewish National Fund (JNF) chairman, head of the Zionist enterprises department in the Jewish Agency, and head of the education department, which is responsible for many activities of overseas emissaries and the budgets for the Reform and Conservative movements. Likud and Shas are keeping the posts of Jewish Agency chairman (occupied by Natan Sharansky), vice-chairman of the World Zionist Organization, and a bunch of other positions relating to PR and Anti-Semitism.

The Mizrahi movement, together with Yisrael Beiteinu and the National Union Party, received the positions of World Zionist Organization chairman, head of the settlement division, JNF vice-chairman, and the Aliyah department.

Apparently, it pays to be connected.

For further reading click here.

Culinary Pressure
The BDS movement is calling on world renown chefs who are scheduled to participate in a major culinary event in Tel Aviv to boycott it.

Some 26 top chefs and restaurateurs from famous restaurants around the world are expected to participate in the event, Open Tables, and cook in upscale restaurants in Tel Aviv throughout the month of November.

The BDS movement sent the chefs a letter signed by more than 130 civil society groups, stating: “We urge you to reconsider your involvement in this initiative aimed at using haute cuisine to mask Israel’s denial of Palestinian basic rights. Please cancel your participation in the Round Tables event until everyone has a place at the table.”

The letter went on about what they consider to be Israel’s war crimes, civil rights abuses, expulsions, apartheid … you name it and it was there. It ended with, “We urge you not to lend your culinary talents to mask Israel’s crimes.”

The organizers of the event wrote this in response: “The project will take place as planned. All the guest restaurants and chefs are on their way to Israel. Some of them have already landed in the country and have begun their activity in the hosting restaurants. All the international chefs are happy to take part in the initiative out of great interest and an acknowledgement of the developing culinary scene in Tel Aviv and Israel.”

Sounds amazing! Who wants to go to Tel Aviv?

For further reading click here.

Raining rats and dogs
Record breaking amounts of rain have fallen on Israel’s coastal towns and surrounding areas. Some areas received more than six times their average amount of rain for October.

The weather system that has barraged Israel with rain for the past few days has caused extensive damage, flooding and power outages. According to Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, the damage caused by the storm is the worst in the history of Israel. Tens of thousands were left without power for days. A labour dispute with electric company employees did not help the situation.

In Tel Aviv, sewers overflowed creating huge (smelly) puddles and forcing hordes of rats to the surface. Yuck.

The floods even reached the Negev, where a couple had to be rescued by helicopter yesterday and highways and roads were closed due to flash floods.

Unfortunately, the storm did not hit the more mountainous areas or the Kinneret, so it didn’t do much to replenish the water supply.

More rain is in the forecast.

For further reading click here.

New Israel App
Talk Israel is the first mobile app to bring you pro-Israel digital content from dozens of sources tailored to your personal preferences and interests using machine learning. It’s available for iPhone and Android, so look for it in the app store.
Read more about it here.

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Israel News for October 29, 2015

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More Terror
A Palestinian attempted to stab a soldier in Hevron today but was shot and killed before harming anyone.

A 23 year old Palestinian stabbed a soldier near Hevron today. The terrorist was shot and killed.

An Israeli woman was stabbed and moderately wounded in a supermarket parking lot in Gush Etzion yesterday. Soldiers arrested the attacker.

Haredim Beg Arabs
Aryeh Erlich, the associate editor of the Haredi magazine Mishpacha, published a special message in Arabic for the Arab population.

The basic gist of the message, loosely translated, is: “We, the Haredi community, take no part in going up to the Temple Mount. We are fiercely against doing so.” He goes on to explain that halachic reasons forbid Haredim from visiting the Mount.

He concludes with, “If you have information that Israel is trying to change the status quo on the Temple Mount — which to our knowledge is incorrect — the Haredi community has no connection to it. So please, stop killing us.”

Readers, including Haredi ones, have slammed the magazine for pleading with terrorists not to kill “them”, implying that they should rather kill other Jews.

Upshot
Terrorists don’t differentiate between religious levels of Jews, and treat all Jews equally. Maybe Mishpacha Magazine, and some in the Haredi community, can learn a lesson from that.

For further reading click here.

Lynching Defense
In an interview with Walla! News, Ron Cohen, the Israel Prisons Authority Officer, defended his role in the alleged lynching of an Eritrean man mistakenly identified as a terrorist during a terror attack in the Beersheva central bus station earlier this month.

Cohen said, “I kicked him in the back, we threw a bench on him so that he couldn’t move. I’m not embarrassed nor do I regret what I did. I did it all in order to neutralize a terrorist, who only later turned out not to be a terrorist.”

Cohen is one of two prison authority officers, along with two other men, accused of participating in the lynching. According to his account of the events, he was walking by the station when he heard shots. He ran in and saw the Eritrean man on the floor, wounded and surrounded by police and soldiers. Then there was more shooting and the police and soldiers ran off in the direction of the shots. When the Eritrean started to move, Cohen and the other men around feared that he might have a weapon and would try to attack, so they “neutralized” him. Cohen reiterated that he was under the impression that the man was a terrorist and that he acted in order to safeguard the people around him.

Police investigators have determined that the Eritrean man died of the gunshot wounds he sustained.

Cohen feels that he is the one being lynched by law enforcement and treated like a criminal for doing the right thing.

For further reading click here.

Non Terrorist
The Arab woman who tried to stab a police officer at the central bus station in Afula earlier this month and was shot and wounded by police will apparently not be tried as a terrorist.

The prosecutor in the case has determined that the 30 year old mother from Nazareth, Isra Abad, was mentally unstable and wanted to commit suicide by forcing police to kill her. This is proven by the fact that Abad stood right next to a young Haredi man in the station and had the opportunity to stab him but instead decided to confront the police at the scene, draw her knife and scream “terrorist!” at them. The police then shot her in the legs, lightly wounded her.

The woman’s father, a local Sheikh, claims that the police could have subdued her without shooting at her six times and that the case reveals how police discriminate against Arabs.

Watch the video and judge for yourself.

Life and Death
A Magen David Adom (MDA) paramedic asked Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, the chief Rabbi of Safed, a halachic (Jewish law) question: Is she permitted, according to Jewish law, to treat and save the life of a terrorist before treating a Jewish victim? The question was based on the policy of MDA which requires paramedics to treat terrorists and victims equally.

Rabbi Eliyahu answered that she should ignore her orders and treat the Jewish victim first and that she should continue treating the Jew even if it means that the terrorist will die. There is no mitzvah (commandment) to save the life of a terrorist.

He added, “they desperately want to ascend to heaven as martyrs (shahids), so why prevent them from doing what they so desire?”

The rabbi also said that even if there is no Jewish victim, the paramedic should wait until the terrorist is checked for explosives or other weapons before treating him/her.

The MDA responded to the rabbi’s ruling in a statement saying, “paramedics treat all wounded when they arrive at the scene without discriminating or weighing other factors. This is our duty…”

Upshot
Question for you: if you came to a scene and saw a wounded victim and a wounded terrorist, who would you treat first? That’s what I thought.

For further reading click here.

Taxpayer Beware
As if taxes in Israel weren’t high enough, the state comptroller has discovered that the Israeli Tax Authority has failed to refund billions (yes, that’s Billions) of shekels to taxpayers over the last three years.

His findings show that the Tax Authority is great at collection, with this year’s collection already above projections by NIS 9 billion. But if someone overpays, it doesn’t bother informing them and simply “holds on” to the money in the state coffers.

The Tax Authority also didn’t inform the public about a new tax deduction which could have saved taxpayers millions.

So basically, if you’re a taxpayer in Israel, you better be on your toes and on top of your case. Taxpayer beware.

For further reading click here.

Walmark Reverses
Yesterday we reported that Walmart was selling an IDF uniform costume for kids on its website. Well, if you didn’t get it already, you lost your chance. After several US Muslim groups threatened to boycott the retailer and after taking lots of flak from some customers, Walmart halted sales of the costume. You think they’ll be back on sale for Hanukkah?

For further reading click here.

Israel Events – NYC
If you’re in New York City, check out a huge Kumsitz on the red steps in Times Square to raise awareness and support for Israel in these tense times. Invite your friends and bring your flags!

There are already over 1000 people confirmed to be there. It should be an amazing and super meaningful experience.
This Sunday at 6:00pm, the Red Steps in Times Square, NYC.

For details check out this Facebook page.

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Israel News for October 28, 2015

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More Terror
Two Palestinians approached two Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint in the Jewish area of Hebron last night. One of them tried to stab one of the soldiers. The other soldier shot and killed both attackers. The soldiers were not injured.

Several hours earlier, two Palestinians stabbed a 19 year old Israeli soldier in Gush Etzion. Another soldier shot and killed both attackers. The wounded soldier is in stable condition at Sharei Tzedek Hospital in Jerusalem.

For further reading click here.

Jail for Leader
The head of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, Sheikh Raed Salah, will start serving his 11 month prison sentence on November 15th. Salah’s appeal was rejected yesterday by the Jerusalem district court. The court also rejected the state’s appeal to extend his sentence to three and a half years.

Salah was convicted of incitement last March, based on a sermon he delivered back on 2007. Arab leaders, including Knesset members, are calling the sentence unjust and discriminatory. They claim that Jewish leaders and rabbis have made statements that they consider incitement against Arabs, but they have not been arrested and tried for them.

Israeli defense officials believe that keeping Salah behind bars will reduce incitement and help curb the wave of violence and terror. However, his imprisonment could provoke demonstrations that could turn violent. There’s also some fear that Salah’s replacement, who is considered to be even more radical, might stir up trouble.

By the way, this won’t be Salah’s first prison experience. He was previously imprisoned for funneling money to Hamas. So maybe he’s not such a good guy after all.

For further reading click here.

Amir’s Brother
After serving more than 16 years in prison for his involvement in the conspiracy to murder Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Hagai Amir, the brother of Rabin’s assassin Yigal Amir, is up to no good again.

Twenty years after Rabin’s murder, Hagai Amir has been detained by Israeli police on suspicion of incitement following a Facebook post claiming that Rabin’s murder was preordained and predicting that God would also cause Israeli President Rivlin to “pass from the world”. His post was in response to Rivlin’s recent statement that Rabin’s assassin would never be released as long as he was president.

Amir stands by his statement with no regrets.

For further reading click here.

Boy Recovers
The 13 year old Jewish boy who was stabbed and critically wounded in a terror attack in Pisgat Ze’ev earlier this month was discharged from Hadassah Hospital yesterday in “good condition”. The boy was initially hospitalized with no pulse, and hovered between life and death for days.

The second victim of the same terror attack, a 21 year old man, who was seriously wounded was discharged from the hospital on Sunday.

For further reading click here.

Return to Wall
Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch, the Chief Rabbi of the Western Wall (Kotel), urged Jews to continue visiting the Kotel. The number of visitors has dropped dramatically since the beginning of the terror wave.

The rabbi assured people that the way to the Kotel through the Jewish quarter was extremely secure and safe. He added,”I believe that during this period it is our duty to visit the Western Wall, hold the planned bar mitzvahs and pray to God. Let’s be strong and avoid rewarding terror.”

For further reading click here.

Live Streaming
Israeli and Jordanian officials said yesterday that new surveillance cameras should be installed within days at the Temple Mount, with the goal of streaming the footage live on the Internet for maximum transparency.

A Jordanian official said that both Muslim clerics and Israeli officials will monitor the images for now, but that “the ultimate goal is for the footage to be seen on the Internet, by everyone.”
Israeli officials confirmed the plan, and in a statement, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s office said it hopes to start the process “as soon as possible.”

The sooner everyone can see exactly what happens on the Temple Mount, the better for everyone. Well, maybe just for Israel.

On a related note, Israeli Arab Knesset member Basel Ghattas visited the Temple Mount today, in defiance of PM Netanyahu’s directive prohibiting lawmakers from visiting the site. Ghattas, who is Christian, claims to have seen Jews praying on the Temple Mount. It won’t be long before we can go to the video tape to see for ourselves.

For further reading click here.

Israel Supports US
The UN General Assembly voted 191-2 in favor of a resolution to condemn the commercial, economic and financial embargo against Cuba by the US. The only country to join the US in voting against the resolution was Israel. What else is there to say?

For further reading click here.

German Army
Who would’ve ever thought this could happen? Three weeks ago 110 soldiers from the German Army’s 1st Panzer Division, led by Brig. Gen. Ernst-Peter Horn, arrived in Israel for joint urban warfare training exercises with Israeli troops. The general visited Yad Vashem and the soldiers toured Jerusalem and joined Israeli families for Shabbat dinner.

A lot of dead men are turning over in their graves, both German and Jewish.

For further reading click here.

Trick or Treat
This Halloween, don’t be surprised if you’re greeted by an IDF trick or treater. That’s because Walmart is selling Israeli soldier costumes for kids. Walmart’s website displays a child wearing the uniform with the Hebrew word for IDF (Tzahal) on the shirt and a red beret with an Israeli army insignia on it. The kid is holding a toy Uzi machine gun, which is not included with the $27 costume. I guess a lot of Jewish kids are going trick or treating this year. But maybe they should consider skipping Arab neighborhoods.

For further reading click here.

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Israel News for October 27, 2015

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Gaza Strike
The Israeli Air Force struck Hamas targets in Gaza last night in response to a rocket fired into an empty area of Southern Israel.

In Jerusalem, a third victim of the terror attack on bus #78 in Armon Hateziv died of his wounds. The man was 76 year old Richard Lakin, an educator and writer originally from Massachusetts.

Cameras Removed
In the wake of US Secretary of State John Kerry’s announcement that Jordan and Israel had agreed to install video surveillance cameras on the Temple Mount, Israeli police removed cameras installed by the Waqf, the Muslim religious trust that runs the site. The PM’s office issued a statement defending the move and confirmed that cameras would be installed by professional technicians approved by both Jordan and Israel.

Facebook vs. Hamas
Facebook has taken a stand against incitement to violence by Hamas and shut down numerous Hamas related pages and groups. According to a statement by Hamas, “Facebook has closed, over the past two days, a large number of pages run by and close to the Hamas movement’s media in the occupied West Bank…that played a key large role in supporting the Al-Quds intifada.”

The closures included pages based in Ramallah, Galilee, Nablus, Bethlehem, Qalqilya, Salfit, Tubas and Jenin, as well as the page of Muslim Youth League in the West Bank and some Palestinian university pages. Facebook also froze the accounts of dozens of publishers and administrators who run the pages. Hamas also announced that the page of its official spokesperson, Husam Badran, had been shut down.

Way to go Facebook! There’s no excuse for allowing pages that incite violence against anyone to continue. Let’s hope they keep up the good work.

For further reading click here.

Terror and Food
The recent terror wave has affected Israeli stomachs. According to figures just released, supermarket sales dropped by 7% in the first two weeks of October as more Israelis chose to stay home because of the security situation. Online sales increased by 30% in the same period, but the increase didn’t make up for the in-store sales drop.

Retail clothing stores have also been badly hit during the past two months. Jerusalem has taken the worst hit with significant sales drops in the city center, Mamilla and the Malcha Mall. Large malls in Tel Aviv, Petach Tikvah, Ashdod and Beersheba have all seen drops of around 40%.

Once this wave of terror is over, there might be a big surge of spending as Israelis who’ve lost weight by not eating as much are forced to buy new clothing that fits. Let’s hope.

For further reading click here.

Yigal Amir
Yigal Amir, the assassin who murdered Israeli Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin, is serving his life sentence in solitary confinement in the Rimonim Prison. According to the rules of his incarceration, he is permitted to walk in the prison yard and to study, as long as he is accompanied by another prisoner.

The prison authority has approved two prisoners to be allowed the “honor” of serving as Amir’s escorts. One is a convicted rapist and the other is a kidnapper. They’ll be accompanying him for an hour and half on his walk and for a two hour Talmud study session. That’s quite an image.

In a disturbing survey of 480 participants in the National Religious (Zionist) community, 55% believe that Yigal Amir did not kill Rabin while 68% think that his life sentence should be commuted.

This week marks the 20th anniversary of Yitchak Rabin’s assassination.

For further reading click here.

Prison Warden Fired
The Israel Prison Service (IPS) fired Colonel Shimon Bibas, the warden of the maximum security Nafha prison after terrorist prisoners were found with cell phones.

Dozens of prisoners managed to smuggle in the cell phones, which they allegedly used to help coordinate terror attacks. The IPS asserted that it is “waging an all-out war” on contraband cell phones, “through technological means, undercover agents,” and other measures.

For further reading click here.

The Flag
Knesset member Yoel Hason of the Zionist Union party is calling on the Prime Minister to fire Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely for stating in a recent interview that she believes that the Israeli flag should fly over the Temple Mount. He thinks that saying that in these tense times is wrong and dangerous. She obviously disagrees, but says that her personal opinions do not affect her commitment to carrying out government policy.

For further reading click here.

Haredim Demonstrate
The Haredi community is usually viewed as siding with the Right on the political spectrum. But not when it comes to the Temple Mount.

Haredi extremists (it’s all relative) held a demonstration in front of the home of Rabbi Yosef Elboim, a Belzer Hasid, after they discovered photos of him with a group of Jews on the Temple Mount. The photos were in an article by a Reuters correspondent who tweeted the link. Evidently some of the extremists are on Twitter.

The demonstrators called Elboim a “murderer” and held up signs publicizing the prohibitions issued by most Haredi rabbinic leaders prohibiting Jews from visiting the Temple Mount because of the fear that they might enter areas of the mount that are considered too holy to enter according to Jewish law.

Rabbi Elboim will apparently be curbing his Temple Mount visits until further notice.

On a related note, Shas MK Deputy Finance Minister Yitzhak Cohen attacked Deputy Foreign Minister Hotovely and other politicians who openly advocate Israeli sovereignty on the Temple Mount, claiming that they are “fanning the flames” of violence and endangering Jewish lives.

For further reading click here.

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Israel News for October 26, 2015

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More Terror
This morning a 19 year old Israeli man was stabbed and seriously wounded by a 17 year old Palestinian man near Kiryat Arba. The attacker was shot and killed by soldiers.

Read more here.

Yesterday Ohad Hertz, a 25 year old Israeli man, got of a bus at a hitchhiker station on his way to his yeshiva in Elon Moreh. He noticed a suspicious 26 year old Palestinian waiting there and told him to move along to a nearby bus stop that was for Palestinians. The Palestinian said “It’s alright, don’t worry”, then turned on Ohad and kicked him to the ground. There was a fierce struggle during which the Palestinian stabbed Ohad several times. Ohad was able to throw the attacker off and draw his weapon, at which point the assailant fled towards nearby Arab villages. He was apprehended by Israeli forces soon after. Ohad sustained moderate wounds and is recovering.

Earlier in the day, at a checkpoint near the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, a 17 year old Palestinian girl was asked for her ID by border police. She pulled out a knife and ran towards them. The officers shot her. She later died from her wounds.

Yesterday morning, a 58 year old man got out of his car after it was hit by stones and was then stabbed by a Palestinian at the Sair Junction in Gush Etzion. The man shot the Palestinian, who succeeded in escaping. The Israeli man’s gun was confiscated and has yet to be returned. The search for the Palestinian continues. According to Palestinian news reports a 20 year old Palestinian is in critical condition in Hebron Hospital after being shot at the Sair Junction Gush Etzion. The IDF is investigating whether it’s the same incident. Hmm, sounds about right.

On Saturday a 16 year old Palestinian disguised as a chocolate seller and holding a box of chocolates approached soldiers at a checkpoint north of Jenin in the West Bank. He suddenly threw the box down and tried to stab a security guard. He was shot and killed. No one else was hurt.

For further reading click here and here.

Rabbi Haim Yechiel Rothman, the sixth victim of the terrorist attack on the Har Nof synagogue last November, died of his wounds on Saturday and was buried yesterday in Jerusalem. He was survived by his wife, ten children and numerous grandchildren. May his memory be a blessing.

Glide to Syria
Israeli forces on the Syrian border are focused on making sure nothing comes into Israel from the Syrian side. But they’re evidently not that focused on things going the other way.

On Saturday afternoon a 23 year old Israeli Arab citizen from Jaljulya (Galilee) paraglided over the border into Syria. Israeli lookouts spotted the glider and sounded the alarm, assuming that a recreational paraglider had gone off course and accidentally blown over the border. A large number of troops converged on the area and aircraft flew over to identify the landing site.

It turns out the Arab man had recently become religious and apparently had become enamored with ISIS philosophy. The man’s father received a call from an unidentified man with a bedouin accent who assured him that, “Your son is fine. He’s with us. Don’t worry.”

Over the past two years 50 Israelis have left Israel to join ISIS forces. Ten of them have returned and been arrested.

Maybe Israel should open the border one way (out) and let anyone who wants to, leave and forfeit their citizenship? Let their people go!

For further reading click here.

Mounted Cameras
Arab leaders, including PA President Abbas, have used the Temple Mount as their main source of incitement, claiming that Israel is attempting to change the “status quo” and take over the site of the Al Aqsa mosque. Israel has consistently asserted that is has done no such thing, and has meticulously enforced the existing prohibition preventing non Muslims from praying on the Temple Mount.

Well, it took US Secretary of State John Kerry to come up with what he believes to be a fool proof way of monitoring the situation: cameras. Kerry announced the placement of the 24-hour-a-day cameras at an appearance before reporters on Saturday with Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh in Amman.

“This will provide comprehensive visibility and transparency, and that could really be a game changer in discouraging anybody from disturbing the sanctity of this holy site,” Kerry said, calling it a “first step” toward bringing Israel and the Palestinians back together to discuss long-term peace.

Yesterday, Netanyahu defended the decision to install the cameras. “Israel has an interest in stationing cameras in all parts of the Temple Mount,” he said. “First, in order to disprove the claim that Israel is changing the status quo. Second, to show where the provocations really come from and to foil them before they ever happen.”

Upshot
So let’s try to understand this. The Arab leaders are going to watch the videos and admit that Israel is doing everything right and that they themselves are to blame for the incitement and violence. Are you kidding?

PA Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki called the plan “a new trap” on Voice of Palestine radio, accusing Israel of planning to use footage to arrest Muslim worshipers it believes are “inciting” against it.

Does John Kerry or his president understand how Arab incitement works or are they just living in a utopian fantasy? I assume PM Netanyahu knows that having cameras on the Temple Mount won’t change anything, but it can’t really make things worse. Can it? Only if the Palestinians control the videos.

For further reading click here.

Editor Fired
Not wanting to be left out of the controversy over PM Netanyahu’s recent statements regarding the Mufti and his role in convincing Hitler to murder the Jews, an editor of the Ynet news English language website decided to do a really stupid thing and post a photoshopped image of Netanyahu wearing an SS uniform on his Facebook page.

Netanyahu discovered it and filed a police complaint. The editor’s bosses found out about it too and fired him. He’ll probably think twice before posting something like that again. Hope it was worth the laugh.

For further reading click here.

It’s Pouring
Rain at this time of year in Israel is considered to be a blessing. But for tens of thousands of Israelis left without power, it might have been too much of a good thing.

The Israel Electric Company said that due to flooding, collapsed trees, and resulting traffic delays, repairing the damage could take quite some time. It’s also blaming the union for not putting their workers into emergency mode. The union says that their workers are going way beyond the call of duty.

The rain is expected to continue throughout the week. How can you complain about that?

Speaking of rain, the Israel Water Authority Council announced yesterday that water charges will fall by 3% from January 1st. Charges have been cut by a cumulative 20% in the past three years. The current cut is thanks to a 16% fall in the price of electricity in Israel in the past year. Electricity is the main cost in water desalination, which produces much of the water consumed in Israel.

So maybe so much rain is not such a blessing anymore after all?

For further reading click here.

Stock up
If you’re in Israel and planning on serving chicken for dinner this week, you better stock up. That’s what the Ministry of Agriculture is advising Israelis to do, in anticipation of a planned strike by veterinarians. All meat and poultry producers in Israel are required to have their facilities inspected by veterinarians of the Agriculture Ministry’s Veterinary Service several times a week. Without those inspections, any “live” food – meat, chicken, or fish – may not be legally sold.
So buy now, or pay up or go hungry later.

For further reading click here.

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Israel News for October 23, 2015

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Another Mistake
A 28 yr. old Haredi man was arrested early this morning in Jerusalem for striking a security guard with an iron bar. He claimed that he thought the guard, who had a handgun in his belt, was a terrorist. A judge ruled leniently due the heightened tension and fear brought about by the wave of terror, and placed the assailant under house arrest.

Four men suspected of beating the Eritrean man in the Beersheva bus station “lynching” were released on bail yesterday.

Looks like a pattern here. If you’re not sure, shoot first, ask questions later, and pick up your “get out of jail free” card. The victims lose but hey, it’s an honest mistake due to the prevailing atmosphere of fear, so it’s all good.

For further reading click here.

Opinion: Troubling Case
The shooting to death of a Jewish man by soldiers in Jerusalem is still under investigation. The case is troubling. The victim, at least from his photos, clearly did not look Arab and, since he was religious, was probably wearing a kippah. Of course, none of that means he couldn’t have been a terrorist.

There was some sort of argument between him and two soldiers, which escalated into a physical scuffle. Witnesses testify that he tried to grab a soldier’s weapon. The bus driver stunned the man with a “shocker rod”. Then a civilian security guard saw the scuffle and shot the man. Then one (or both) of the soldiers shot him and killed him.

Some reports say that the man yelled, “I am Da’ash (ISIS)”. Was he saying that as a threat or maybe he was responding to the soldier’s demand that he identify himself in a sassy (and stupid, but typically Israeli) fashion? According to his former employer, he had a language problem and wasn’t totally fluent in Hebrew.

Does anyone else find this story troubling? Was the man on the ground as a result of the “shocking” when he was shot? Did the security guard have any right to shoot the man, who he couldn’t conclusively identify as a terrorist? Once the guard shot him, did the soldiers need to shoot him again? Did the soldiers feel that their lives were in danger from an unarmed, wounded man? Even if the guy was a nut case, was shooting him to death warranted? Should they have tried to shoot him in the legs?

The whole thing just doesn’t add up, but it’s unlikely that it ever will. The two soldiers will tell their side of the story in their own way, and they’ll probably be believed. In these difficult times, no one wants to accuse soldiers of anything that might make them hesitate in a real life threatening situation. So, just like the lynching of the Eritrean man, this killing will also be chalked up to mistaken identity, chaos and hysteria.

The problem now is that there are 300 soldiers patrolling the public transportation system who are not trained in police work, which is what this incident most likely was. Soldiers are trained to shoot to kill, and not ask questions. That could lead to more unfortunate incidents.

Kerry and Netanyahu
PM Netanyahu met for four hours with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Berlin yesterday. They talked about ending the violence, restoring calm, Temple Mount, status quo, incitement, yeah, yada, yada…you know the drill. Nothing new to say here. But something tells me this isn’t going to bode favorably for Israel. Let’s hope I’m wrong.

Iran Nukes
PM Netanyahu and the Israeli Government have been arguably the greatest opponents of the recent Iran Nuclear deal. But Israel’s top nuclear experts see things differently.

According to a Haaretz report, Israel’s Atomic Energy Commission, which advises the government on nuclear issues, has endorsed the deal. It believes that the deal will prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, since any Iranian violation would be easily detected due to the outside surveillance and analysis methods put in place. In fact, a lot of the technology used to detect and analyze nuclear activity was developed by Israel.

The commission members believe that the 24 hour warning required to be given to the Iranians prior to inspection is irrelevant, since any illegal activity can be detected via technology.

According to the commission, even if the Iranians could somehow build a nuclear bomb, it would be too heavy to mount on a ballistic missile that could reach Israel.

This is all based on a Haaretz source. The commission declined to issue an official statement.

Upshot
Even if the commission is right, which is really good news, it doesn’t mean that the Iran deal was a good one. Lifting the sanctions against them gives Iran much freedom and money to finance and perpetrate lots of terror and other evil things. That’s not good for anyone, except the terrorists, and maybe Assad.

For further reading click here.

Israeli Weapons
All the wars and conflicts in the world don’t seem to be helping Israel’s military exports. According to defense experts this could be the worst year for Israeli defense companies in a decade. Israel’s own defense budget won’t be of much help.

It’s so bad that the heads of the leading defense firms in Israel have requested an urgent meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss “a significant crisis in the defense industries.”

In a letter to the PM the defense industry leaders point out that, “there have been major changes in the defense sector – smaller budgets, more competition, less desire for Israeli-made products, and the growing demands to transfer know-how and work abroad.”

I guess peace on earth would put these guys out of business. Unfortunately for the rest of us, they probably don’t have to worry that much.

For further reading click here.

ISIS in Hebrew
ISIS has released its first video in Hebrew, featuring a masked terrorist threatening Israel and the Jews with all sorts of evil tidings. The Hebrew is pretty good.

Watch it for yourself here.

Enough Talk
Despite the incitement that PA President Abbas has been delivering in speeches and statements, Abbas might have to give Israel a huge thank you. Well, at least he should.

It was just revealed that Israel allowed Abbas’s brother-in-law to receive an emergency life saving operation at the Assuta Medical Center hospital in Tel Aviv, where he is currently recovering. Security personnel are protecting him, probably from the other patients.

So, can Israel expect a big thank you and change of heart from Abbas? Ok, back to reality.

For further reading click here.

Drivers Rejoice
Good news for Israeli drivers. Gas prices are continuing to fall, due primarily to the dropping price of crude oil in international markets. A gallon of gas in November will cost around $5.60. That’s pretty darn good for Israel. You can’t really drive very far there anyway, so you can make a tank last a bit longer than in the US. Unless you’re driving to Eilat or the Golan.

For further reading click here.

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Bibi Netanyahu

Did Bibi Propose Limiting Jewish Visits to the Temple Mount?

Yesterday Walla News reported from Arab sources that Israeli diplomats told Jordan’s King Abdullah that Israel would reduce the number of Jewish and non-Muslim visitors to the Temple Mount. Both the King and PA President Abbas rejected the offer, claiming that it was insufficient.

They weren’t the only ones unsatisfied with the proposal. Knesset members from the Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) party called on the PM to clarify whether he instructed the diplomats to make the offer.

Education Minister and head of the Bayit Yehudi party Naftali Bennett said, “I don’t believe that the PM would offer such a proposal.” He added that if the terrorists gain concessions from their terror, then their next wave of terror will be even worse, and that in the Middle East, displays of weakness are not effective diplomacy.

The PM’s office responded that no such proposal ever existed. So I guess it never happened.

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Israeli Soldiers Mistakenly Shoot and Kill Jewish Man

Last night, in another tragic case of mistaken identity, Israeli soldiers shot and killed a 28 yr old Jewish man at a bus stop in Jerusalem.

Background
According to police, two soldiers were waiting to get on the bus when a man getting off the bus asked them to show him their identification. They got suspicious and asked him for his ID. An argument ensued and he allegedly attacked them and tried to grab one of their guns. A civilian security guard in the area saw the scuffle, wrongly identified the man as a terrorist and shot at him. Then the soldiers opened fire, killing the man.

The victim was an immigrant from Russia who had served in the IDF in the Nahal Haredi (Ultra Orthodox) Brigade and had worked as a security guard in a school. He was currently studying at a yeshiva in Har Nof, Jerusalem. The rabbis at the yeshiva interviewed by Walla News couldn’t believe how something like this could have occurred. They all described the victim as a quiet, well mannered person who evidently made a bad mistake by arguing with the soldiers.

shooting Jewish man

Scene of shooting.

Police and IDF investigators are sorting through numerous testimonies that include very different facts. In one account the man shouted, “I am ISIS!” (could it have been like, “what, you think I’m ISIS?”). In another, a girl screamed, “Terrorist! Shoot him!”

The facts of the case will probably become clearer as the investigation continues.

Upshot
So many factors in this case point to a very tragic and deadly mistake. The soldiers were part of the reinforcements sent to bolster security on buses. They weren’t trained to do police work and handle this kind of situation. The security guard shot before positively identifying who he was shooting at. He probably should have let the soldiers handle the situation. Fear and hysteria took over.

In a culture where arguing is commonplace and can often turn violent, this seems to be a case where mistakes were made and shots were fired when they shouldn’t have been. And a man is dead.

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Israel News for October 22, 2015

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Soldiers Kill Jewish Man
Last night, in another tragic case of mistaken identity, Israeli soldiers shot and killed a Jewish man at a bus stop in Jerusalem.

Background
According to police, two soldiers were waiting to get on the bus when a man getting off the bus asked them to show him their identification. They got suspicious and asked him for his ID. An argument ensued and he allegedly attacked them and tried to grab one of their guns. A civilian security guard in the area saw the scuffle, wrongly identified the man as a terrorist and shot at him. Then the soldiers opened fire, killing the man.

The victim was an immigrant from Russia who had served in the IDF in the Nahal Haredi (Ultra Orthodox) Brigade and had worked as a security guard in a school. He was currently studying at a yeshiva in Har Nof, Jerusalem. The rabbis at the yeshiva interviewed by Walla News couldn’t believe how something like this could have occurred. They all described the victim as a quiet, well mannered person who evidently made a bad mistake by arguing with the soldiers.

Police and IDF investigators are sorting through numerous testimonies that include very different facts. In one account the man shouted, “I am ISIS!” (could it have been like, “what, you think I’m ISIS?”). In another, a girl screamed, “Terrorist! Shoot him!”

Upshot
So many factors in this case point to a very tragic and deadly mistake. The soldiers were part of the reinforcements sent to bolster security on buses. They weren’t trained to do police work and handle this kind of situation. The security guard shot before positively identifying who he was shooting at. He probably should have let the soldiers handle the situation. Fear and hysteria took over. In a culture where arguing is commonplace and can often turn violent, this seems to be a case where mistakes were made and shots were fired when they shouldn’t have been. And a man is dead.

For further reading click here.

Terror Continues
This morning two terrorists tried to board a school bus in the Israeli city of Beit Shemesh. When people nearby shouted at them they got off. When police arrived they found them stabbing an 18 yr. old Haredi man. Police shot and killed one of terrorists and wounded the other. Both of the terrorists were 20 yr. olds from a village near Hebron who were working at a construction site in Beit Shemesh. They were wearing Hamas t-shirts beneath their clothing.The victim was “moderately” wounded.

A vehicle carrying five Israeli soldiers was stoned in Gush Etzion (West Bank) yesterday. When the soldiers got out they were hit by a Palestinian car. One of the soldiers was seriously wounded, 2 moderately and 2 lightly. The terrorist was shot and seriously wounded.

Earlier in the day a 20 yr. old female soldier was stabbed and seriously wounded, near the settlement of Adam. The terrorist then tried to stab another female soldier from the same unit, but she shot and killed him. Another terrorist who took part in the attack was arrested.

For further reading click here.

UNESCO Vote
We’ve got good news and bad news about yesterday’s UNESCO vote to declare Jewish holy sites to be Muslim holy sites. The good news is that the Western Wall was removed from the resolution after strong protests from UNESCO’s director general and many countries. They also removed the part about Jerusalem being the “occupied capital of Palestine.”

Here’s the bad news. They did vote to declare the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron (where Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca and Leah are buried) and Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem as being Muslim sites. They also condemned Israel for a bunch of things, as usual.

The resolution passed by 26 votes to 6, with 25 abstentions. The countries that voted against the resolution were the US, UK, Germany, Holland, Estonia and the Czech Republic. France was one of the countries that abstained. Hmm.

For further reading click here.

PM Backpedals
After making the outrageous statement in a speech on Tuesday that blamed the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem for giving Hitler the idea to exterminate the Jews, PM Netanyahu backpedaled, a little.

In a press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the PM clarified that the mufti’s role during the Holocaust was to “call on the Nazis to prevent Jews from fleeing Europe and support the Final Solution.”

Even Merkel was taken aback by Netanyahu’s initial statement so much so that she felt compelled to place responsibility for the Holocaust squarely on Germany. She added, “We stand behind our responsibility and I don’t see any need to change our relation to history.”

So now we’re all clear on this. Hitler was responsible for killing the Jews but the Mufti certainly supported and encouraged his evil plans. Now what about all that Arab rhetoric about pushing us into the sea? Sounds like Jewish destruction to me.

For further reading click here.

Temple Mount Visits
Yesterday Walla News reported from Arab sources that Israeli diplomats told Jordan’s King Abdullah that Israel would reduce the number of Jewish and non-Muslim visitors to the Temple Mount. Both the King and PA President Abbas rejected the offer, claiming that it was insufficient.

They weren’t the only ones unsatisfied with the proposal. Knesset members from the Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) party called on the PM to clarify whether he instructed the diplomats to make the offer.

Education Minister and head of the Bayit Yehudi party Naftali Bennett said, “I don’t believe that the PM would offer such a proposal.” He added that if the terrorists gain concessions from their terror, then their next wave of terror will be even worse, and that in the Middle East, displays of weakness are not effective diplomacy.

The PM’s office responded that no such proposal ever existed. Good to know.

For further reading click here.

Kurdistan and Jews
Sherzad Omer Mamsani was recently appointed Jewish affairs representative for the government of the semi autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq. It shouldn’t be a very taxing job, since there are no Jews in the region (also known as Kurdistan). Mamsani’s main role will be to foster relations with the 200,000 to 300,000 Kurdish Jews, most of whom live in Israel.

Kurdish officials say that there are some 200 to 300 families in Iraqi Kurdistan who outwardly converted to Islam over the last decades but who continue to secretly observe certain Jewish traditions. Mamsani is one of those who claim to have Jewish roots. He’s visited Israel several times and has written about Kurdish – Israeli ties. That cost him a hand, lost in a bombing attack against him by Muslim radicals.

His goal is to reconnect Iraqi Kurds to Jewish culture and to relatives they may have abroad. “We work with the government to reunite families, and to help those Kurds who want to find out about their Jewish roots.” Another longer term goal is to rebuild destroyed synagogues in the region.

Upshot
The Kurds seem to really like Israel. Could be because Israel reportedly purchased a large portion of Kurdish oil exports and because they’ve supplied the Kurds with military assistance, secretly of course. Maybe it’s also because there are no Jews in the country, which makes it a lot easier to be a Jew lover (although it didn’t seem to have worked in Poland).

Hey, anyone fighting ISIS is a friend.

For further reading click here.

High Rent
If you think New York City rents are high, wait until you hear what they’re charging in Tel Aviv. According to the Israeli branch of Sotheby’s International Realty, a Russian (non Israeli) just rented an apartment for $45,000 per month (that’s US dollars, not shekels).

The 3,444 sq.ft. apartment takes up a full floor at the top of the Remez Tower, a high end building in the city’s popular “old north” neighborhood. The rent doesn’t include the $1,000 per month management fee.

According to Isidora Fridman, an executive director at Sotheby’s Israel, a similar sized apartment on Fifth Avenue in New York City rents for $50,000 per month. But why would you want to live on Fifth Avenue if you could live in Tel Aviv?

For further reading click here.

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Israel News for October 21, 2015

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New Terror Attacks
A Palestinian driving a car with Israeli license plates rammed into a police officer at a checkpoint near the settlement of Ofra in the West Bank. The officer was lightly wounded and the assailant fled on foot to the nearby village of Silwad.

Earlier this morning a Palestinian woman approaching the settlement of Yitzhar wielding a knife was shot and wounded by IDF troops.

Two Palestinian terrorists, aged 15 and 17, stabbed an IDF soldier near Beit Hashalom in Hebron last night, lightly wounding him, before a fellow soldier managed to shoot and kill both of the assailants.

Earlier yesterday, a terrorist tried to ram his car into Israelis waiting at a bus stop at the Gush Etzion junction in the West Bank, but was stopped by the concrete blocks placed there for just that purpose. He was, however, able to lightly wound a 20-year-old IDF soldier and a 21-year-old Israeli civilian. The terrorist then left his car with a knife drawn and tried to stab the injured Israelis. Thankfully, an IDF soldier stationed in the area shot and killed him.

Near the Gaza border fence, dozens of Gazans clashed with IDF forces, who fired tear gas and live ammunition. One Palestinian was killed and 14 wounded.

According to a high ranking IDF officer, the man killed was part of a sniper cell that was preparing to fire on IDF forces. The cell was responsible for several recent shootings at Israeli vehicles.

Meanwhile, in Tel Aviv special anti terror police squads are raiding building sites in search of illegal Palestinian workers. The raids are meant to calm the fears of the Israeli public and scare the hell out of Arab workers to dissuade inciters and potential trouble makers. We’ll see how well this strategy works.

For further reading click here.

UN in Jerusalem
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon paid a surprise visit to Jerusalem yesterday to meet with Israeli and Palestinian leaders in an attempt to end the wave of violence. In a press conference with PM Netanyahu, Ban said that he deplored the terror attacks against civilians and hoped to find a way to end the violence. Was he referring to attacks against Israeli or Palestinian civilians? Anything is possible at the UN.

The PM told Ban that PA President Abbas “has joined ISIS and Hamas in claiming that Israel threatens the al-Aqsa mosque,” which he said was a blatant lie. He said that Abbas has incited the violence by saying that he, “welcomes every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem” and that he has not condemned a single one of the attacks.

The PM also reiterated that Israel has always protected the holy sites of all religions and is maintaining the “status quo” on the Temple Mount, whereas the Arabs are breaking it by bringing in explosives and preventing Jews and Christians from visiting.

For its part, the executive board of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is set to vote on a resolution proclaiming the Western Wall as part of the Al Aqsa mosque compound in the Old City of Jerusalem. The Unesco director general, Irina Bokova, reportedly appealed to the UN agency’s organizing committee to postpone the vote after meeting with Israeli and Palestinian UNESCO envoys. The vote was meant to take place yesterday but was postponed until today. Several countries are attempting to postpone the vote further. But the fact that this resolution is even on the table says it all.

What’s next, the Vatican? No, they probably wouldn’t go that far.

For further reading click here.

Silwan Synagogue
Enforcing a ruling by the High Court of Justice, police evicted Arab squatters from the historic Yemenite Great Synagogue in the predominantly Arab neighborhood of Silwan, which is adjacent to the Old City of Jerusalem near the Temple Mount. Silwan is located above the ancient City of David, which is where Jerusalem was in the time of King David. The area now includes an archeological site.

The Yemenite synagogue was built in 1885, three years after 144 Yemenite Jewish families established a village in the area. The Jews were forced to leave in the late 1930’s due to Arab riots and violence. In 2004, Jews began to purchase property in the old Yemenite village from the Arab inhabitants and move back in.

The case to evict the Arab squatters from the legally purchased synagogue lasted for seven years until the High Court’s ruling in February and the final forcible eviction.

The synagogue will be renovated and its main sanctuary will be called Heichal Yonatan, in honor of Jonathan Pollard.

For further reading click here.

No Vigilantes
A Tel Aviv judge ordered police to arrest a man who kicked an Arab woman who was subdued and held on the ground by several people who saw her assault a man and thought that she was a terrorist.

A video of the incident taken by a witness shows one man kicking her in the head as she lay on the ground, her hands held behind her back. The woman wasn’t carrying a weapon and was sent for psychiatric evaluation. The judge said, “Even if the accused were a terrorist, it is unacceptable for Israeli citizens to kick in the head persons who pose no threat.”

Police released a statement saying, “We wish to emphasize to the public, required to be more vigilant these days, that when a danger is over and the suspect is disarmed or incapacitated, there is a strict prohibition on using violence — citizens are expected to refrain from taking the law into their hands.”

For further reading click here.

Christian Victim
One of the victims of the stabbing attack on bus #78 last week was a Dutch Christian woman, Marike Veldman. She left her home in Holland 37 years ago to volunteer in Israel, and never left. A few years after settling in Israel she opened a foster home for Arab children in East Jerusalem where, over the years, she raised 20 children.

Recounting the terror attack, Veldman said that she saw two men, “laughing, exchanging maybe a joke or something, and then all of sudden they got up and started screaming ‘Allahu Akbar,’ and then one of them started stabbing me and he stabbed me several times, I yelled ‘Jesus help me!’”

Feldman was moderately wounded in the attack. She says that although she pities the attackers and understands their frustrations, she feels that their actions were pure evil.

Regarding Arabs she said, “Right now I’m afraid of them. I have a lot of Arab friends, but it will take me some time to trust them, and I need to heal.”

Feldman said that we will not leave Israel. “The terror must not control my life.”

For further reading click here.

PM Blunders
Talk about rewriting history. In a speech to the World Zionist Congress in Jerusalem yesterday, PM Netanyahu made a statement that’s caused just about everyone to say WTF. He basically said that it was the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini who, in late 1941, gave Hitler the idea to exterminate the Jews. Before that, Hitler just wanted to expel them.

Granted the Mufti was an evil fellow who absolutely was in favor of wiping out the Jewish people, but have you read Mein Kampf? Hitler’s war against the Jewish people was one of the foundations of his ideology, if not the primary one. Netanyahu must know that. Everyone does. So why did he say what he said?

We’ll probably hear some sort of apology later today. I doubt he’ll try to explain his way out of this one. He better not.

For further reading click here.

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