israelAM for July 31, 2015

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Jerusalem Stabbing
The annual Jerusalem Gay Pride parade ended in tragedy yesterday when Yishai Schlissel, a Charedi man from Modiin Illit, stabbed 6 marchers.

In 2005 Schlissel stabbed 3 participants in a Gay Pride march and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. He was released just 3 weeks ago. Since then he had distributed handwritten pamphlets in Modiin Illit urging people to do whatever they can to stop the parade.

PM Netanyahu stated, “Justice will be dealt to whoever was responsible for this act. In the State of Israel, an individual’s freedom of choice is one of the country’s most basic values. It is up to us to make sure that every man and woman can live in safety at all times in every way that they choose to live. This is how we work and this is how we will continue to do things. I wish a speedy recovery to all those injured.”

President Reuven Rivlin said, “people celebrating their freedom and expressing their identity were viciously stabbed. We must not be deluded, a lack of tolerance will lead us to disaster. We cannot allow such crimes, and we must condemn those who commit and support them. I wish the injured a full and speedy recovery.”

Ministers and officials from across the political spectrum were united in their condemnation of the attack.
Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef said, “It’s unthinkable that a man can lift up his hand against another Jewish soul in the name of religion. I am praying from the bottom of my heart for the full recovery of those who were injured and in the face of this type of hatred I call on the entire Jewish people to return to unity in kindness and tolerance.”

Strangely, the Charedi United Torah Judaism party, remained silent and issued no statements.

The real questions following the attack will be directed at the police. Why didn’t they monitor a man who served 10 years for stabbing people at a Gay Pride parade, distributed anti gay pamphlets promoting violent disruption of the parade after his release, and then showed up at the current parade?
Time to investigate.

Terror in Samaria
A one and half year old boy was killed and his parents and 4 year old brother severely injured when their house caught fire in the Palestinian village of Duma, just outside of Nablus. Jewish extremists are suspected of firebombing the house. Graffiti in Hebrew was found spray painted on the walls of the house saying, “Revenge” and “Long Live the Mashiach”.

The PM and Defense Minister, along with ministers from the settler backed Bait Yehudi party, strongly condemned the terrorist act and promised to bring the perpetrators to justice. The IDF has sent extra forces into the area to search for the terrorists and prepare for potential protests or revenge attacks.

History Robbers Busted
Antiquities Authority inspectors noticed a group of men using a metal detector and digging at an archeological site in the Beit Shemesh area. They alerted the police, who managed to arrest one of them and identify a second one who got away. The apprehended suspect was in possession of 63 coins from the Second Temple and Roman periods, some 2,000 years old. But that’s not the worst of it.

According to Antiquities Authority inspector Uzi Rotstein, “the activities of the suspects caused considerable damage to the site. They dug dozens of shallow pits from which the ancient coins were looted, while disturbing the archeological strata, detaching the archeological findings from their context and leading to a loss of valuable archeological, historical and cultural knowledge to the country’s cultural heritage.”

Facebook Aids Brain Drain
Two weeks ago Facebook bought Israeli startup Pebbles. Out of Pebbles 35 employees, 15 are being let go. The other 20 are being shipped to California. To help ease their pain of having to leave Israel, they’ll be getting $20 million. That should do the trick.

Israel Celebrates Love
Today is Tu B’av, the Jewish version of Valentine’s Day. According to the Talmud, on the 15th day (Tu) in the Hebrew month of Av (today), the single Jewish women would gather in a designated field and dance, while the single Jewish men would watch. Sort of like a huge singles mixer. But it was far from a superficial scene. The women would wear borrowed white garments, so as not to embarrass those who couldn’t afford the latest designer fashions. And they would sing these words from Proverbs 31:30, “Charm is deceptive and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears G-d shall be praised.” Now that’s serious.

The men and women would meet and well, the rest is history.

Happy Tu B’av!!

Have an amazing day and a Shabbat Shalom! See you on Monday!

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