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September 30, 2014 / 6 Tishri, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘ariel’

MKs to Submit Bills to Annex Jewish Blocs in Judea, Samaria

Monday, May 26th, 2014

Two Knesset members are set to formally propose the annexation of Jewish blocs in Judea and Samaria today (Monday) in the Israeli parliament.

The bills will reportedly be submitted Monday by Likud MK Yariv Levin and Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) MK Orit Strook.

Bayit Yehudi party chairman Naftali Bennett has already gone on record saying he supports annexation of Jewish blocs in Judea and Samaria. He said in a statement last Friday, “We are pushing to apply Israeli law unilaterally over Gush Etzion, Ariel, the Jordan Valley, Ma’aleh Adumim, Ofra, Alfei Menashe, the Ben Gurion envelope, Samaria, Judea and the rest of the Jewish settlement enterprise. It is time to do what is best for Israel.”

Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz meanwhile said that he plans to present a bill to expand the Jerusalem municipal boundaries to include surrounding Jewish suburbs in “Area C” under the Oslo Accords.

Specifically, Katz wants to absorb the communities into a “greater metro Jerusalem” region similar to the Los Angeles or New York city models. Under the Katz bill, the city of Jerusalem would grow to include the Gush Etzion bloc and Beitar Illit to the south, and Givat Ze’ev and Ma’aleh Adumim to the northeast. The move would add more than 150,000 residents to the capital’s growing population.

Last Thursday, Justice Minister and former Israeli chief negotiator Tzipi Livni, head of the Hatnua party, slammed Bennett’s unilateral annexation plan. She threatened to leave the coalition over it, claiming it would lead to “the end of Zionism.”

But there is a growing movement to support the idea and it may finally outshout her.

The united capital itself has never been recognized by international leaders — though the millions of tourists who come to Israel each year to visit the holy city don’t seem to be bothered much by that. More than 60 percent of those who visit the country, in fact, are Christians, according to the latest statistics, underlining the freedom of worship guaranteed to all faiths since Israel reunited the city after the 1967 Six Day War.

But since the Jewish State is anyway roundly condemned for what it does — despite the defense of its citizens or benefit to visitors — it appears Israeli lawmakers have realized annexation is not optional and the sooner to get it over with, the better.

In fact, the idea gained a great deal of traction after the collapse of talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority last month – and the PA’s instant embrace of the Hamas terror organization. Although Hamas has ruled Gaza with an iron grip since 2007, the Iranian-backed group has also long since slowly infiltrated the PA-controlled areas of Judea and Samaria. Hamas is now set to present a strong challenge to Ramallah-based PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in his Samaria capital come the next election — and PA Arabs may soon find themselves ruled by Hamas regardless of where they live, with a side order of the Iranian-backed Islamic Jihad terrorists helping out for good measure.

The current situation presents a deep and pervasive security threat to Israeli citizens throughout Judea and Samaria in their current situation, without the protection of a national status. It also presents a dangerous threat to Israeli citizens living within the 1949 Armistice Line, the area of Israel that existed prior to the 1967 Six Day War, many of whom travel daily on roads in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria to reach work places.

The Arab population in Area C — which probably has also been infiltrated — totals approximately 300,000 residents, including 74,000 in Jerusalem – some of whom also carry blue Israeli identity cards. That population has the right to vote in two elections; those of Israel and the Palestinian Authority. United Nations officials estimate that some 67,000 Arabs also live in the Area C section of the Hevron area as well.

Naftali Bennett Urges Netanyahu, ‘Annex Settlement Blocs Now!’

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Naftali Bennett, head of the Jewish Home (Bayit Yehudi) party, is urging Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to annex Area C, which encompasses all of the Jewish settlement blocs in Judea (Yehuda) and Samaria (Shomron.)

“It is clear that the diplomatic process has run its course and that we are entering a new era,” Bennett wrote to the prime minister in a letter sent Wednesday. “We have been hitting our heads against the wall of negotiations over and over again for years and we keep getting surprised when the wall did not break. The time has come for new thinking.”

Bennett’s “Settlement Blocs First” plan calls to annex Area C, which is controlled entirely by the State of Israel, and offering Israeli citizenship to Arabs living there. Area C, which comprises 60 percent of the Judea and Samaria regional sector, is home to at least 350,000 Jews – none of whom live in Area A (under full PA control) or Area B (under PA civil control and Israeli military control.)

Highway 60, a favorite target for road terror attacks by Palestinian Authority Arabs, is the main artery that runs from the north to the south from Samaria (Shomron) through Judea (Yehuda) to Be’er Sheva and is routed mostly through Area B.

Under Bennett’s proposal, Areas A and B would receive increased autonomy and a massive infusion of financial investment to upgrade the quality of life in those areas.

He explained the plan on the U.S.-based CNN network last night (Wednesday) and said he will begin to publicize it in the international forums. Bennett contended that since Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights and its reunification of Jerusalem was never recognized internationally anyway, another annexation will not make a difference.

Included in the blocs to be annexed would be Gush Etzion, Ma’ale Adumim, Beit El, Ofra, Ariel and the communities overlooking Ben Gurion International Airport.

Bennett Asks Netanyahu to Annex Large Jewish Settlements

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

Jewish Home party chairman Naftali Bennett announced Wednesday night that he is urging Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in writing to annex large Jewish population centers in Judea and Samaria and take them out of the status of “military rule.”

He explained his timing is directly related to the  Palestinian Authority’s “new record of extortion” throughout nearly nine months of “negotiations” that have been nothing more than drawn out period of demands in return for Israel’s sitting down to hear more demands.

“The Palestinians broke the principles of negotiations and applied for membership” in U.N. agencies, Bennett wrote, adding that the Palestinian Authority continues to incite for the murder of Jews.

“We  have been beating our heads against the wall repeatedly during negotiations – and not surprisingly the wall is not broken,” Bennett continued.

His proposal would place Gush Etzion, which includes Efrat, Neve Daniel, Elazar, Beitar Illit and several kibbutzim under Israeli sovereignty, as Israel did in 1980 when it annexed areas of Jerusalem that were restored to the country in the Six-Day War in 19767. Similar, Israel annexed the Golan Heights.

Almost all foreign media and foreign governments refer to the areas as “occupied.”

The city of Ariel, in central Samaria, Beit El in northern Samaria, and Ma’aleh Adumim, east of Jerusalem, also would be annexed under Bennett’s plan.

“It is clear that the current process has run its course and we are entering a new era,” Bennett stated.

Momentum for placing the large population enters of Jews under Israeli sovereignty has been building up for at least two years.

Last year, a government-appointed commission of three legal experts, including retired Supreme Court Justice Edmund Levy, concluded that Israel is not an “occupier” and that Jews have the right to live anywhere in Judea and Samaria under international law.

Prime Minister Netanyahu shelved the report, but the recent collapse of the illusion of trust between the  U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Mahmoud Abbas and the Israeli government has opened the way for both the Palestinian Authority and Israeli to stake out claims.

Abbas already  has said he will ask for membership in U.N. agencies , with an eye on the International Court, where he wants to file “war crimes” claims against Israel.

Bennett Urges Annexing Major Jewish Centers in Judea and Samaria

Sunday, December 8th, 2013

Naftali Bennett, chairman of the Jewish Home party and a key government coalition partner, has publicly proposed that Israel annexing Maaleh Adumim, Gush Etzion and other areas in Judea and Samaria where there are large Jewish population centers.

“I favor implementation of Israeli sovereignty over the zone where 400,000 [settlers] live and only 70,000 Arabs,” Bennett, who also is Minister of Economy, said on Israeli radio Sunday. His numbers are way off the mark, unless he was including approximately 250,000 Jews who live in areas of Jerusalem that have been under Israeli sovereignty since 1980. The United States and the United Nations still refer to them as “settlements.”

Bennett did not refer to any specific communities, but Maaleh Adumim, east of Jerusalem, Beitar Illit, Efrat and neighboring communities in Gush Etzion, and the city of Ariel are home to approximately 150,000 Jews, about half of those living in Judea and Samaria.

Even talking about annexing parts of Judea and Samaria could be enough to scuttle U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s “Peace Talk Road Show,” which played another round last week.

Kerry left Israel with triumphant statements, such as “I believe we are closer than we have been in years to bringing about the peace and the prosperity and the security that all of the people of this region deserve.”

Bennett could not have been more negative about Kerry’s cheerleading.

“This is all a joke. It’s as if we’re discussing the purchase of a car with only half of its owners,” Bennett said Sunday.

Add to that juicy comments by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and then ask if Kerry knows what is going in the Israeli government, or ask if chief negotiator is preparing to blow up the whole works by destroying the coalition.

Lieberman told the Saban Center for Middle East Policy in Washington Friday, “Today the trust between the two sides is about zero. It’s impossible to create peace if you don’t have any credibility. I don’t believe it is possible in the next year… to achieve a comprehensive solution to achieve some breakthrough but I think it is crucial to keep our dialogue.”

Ya’alon told the annual Globes Business Conference Saturday night, “As someone who supported Oslo [Accords], I’m learning that on the other side we have no partner for two states for two people. There is no one on the other side, and hasn’t been since the dawn of Zionism, a leadership that is prepared to recognize our right to exist as a nation-state for the Jewish nation, and to recognize an agreement as the end of the conflict and the end to demands.”

Leftist ‘Pro-Israel’ Anti-Zionists Hurting Federations Donations

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

American Jews are debating where Jewish federations in their communities draw the line on funding programs associated with varying opinions about Israel, especially activities by “Zionists” who are nothing but anti-Zionists.

Boston

In the Boston area, a recent test case for the local Jewish federation—Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP)—revolves around its relationship with Leonard Fein, the founder of organizations including the National Coalition for Jewish Literacy, Moment Magazine, and MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger.

In an Aug. 24 column for the Forward, Fein called for a boycott of the Israeli city of Ariel, which is located beyond the 1949 Temporary Armistice Lines that existed until the Six-Day War in 1967.

“Specifically, I believe American Jews visiting Israel should stay away from [Ariel], treat it as an offense against peace,” Fein wrote.

He had been a guest speaker for CJP and has a long-term relationship with that federation’s leadership groups. Asked if that relationship would change due to Fein’s stance on Ariel, CJP Executive Director Barry Shrage said it would not, and regarding whether CJP is willing to continue to invite Fein as a speaker, Shrage said, “Sure.”

“Certainly an argument about settlements, and how to protest settlements and how to support settlements, is part of the daily life of the Jewish community that has a healthy ongoing debate about important issues,” Shrage told JNS.org.

While Shrage believes Fein’s call for a boycott of Ariel was “a very poor tactic,” he stressed that Fein is “a highly respected member of our community.”

“We’d be so much poorer a community if we drive out people like Leonard Fein,” Shrage said. “The future of the community is about binding people together.”

But Charles Jacobs, head of the Boston-based advocacy group Americans for Peace and Tolerance, believes CJP crosses a red line by continuing to work with Fein. Jacobs called the policy of welcoming a “big tent” of organizations and individuals with varying views on Israel a “slippery slope.”

“The CJP-certified Leonard Fein is now one more slip down the slope,” Jacobs told JNS.org. “Leonard Fein, who in the midst of Middle East madness, where Arabs are murdering and gassing and torturing each other—and each other’s wives and children, from Cairo to Damascus to Baghdad—Fein blames Israelis for the lack of peace in the region.

“Beholden to major donors, many of them on the left, it seems that some federations have become disconnected from the larger Jewish community. So if CJP does not excommunicate Fein—if it has no red lines—it will show just how disconnected it has become.”

Shrage said CJP does have red lines. Advocating for the destruction of Israel or harming Israel are “stances that place people outside the community,” but Fein is “a Zionist” and working with him does not cross a line, despite his stance on Ariel, according to Shrage.

“The line here is whether you are anti-Zionist, anti-Israel,” he said.

Fein told JNS.org that while he called for a boycott of Ariel because its location 10 miles beyond the 1949 armistice line presents “a very distinctive problem” and “essentially destroys the possibility of a two-state solution,” he opposes the broader Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.

“I think each potential target of that kind of approach of boycott, divestment and sanctions needs to be treated on its own terms, on its own merits, or lack of merits,” Fein said, explaining that he disagrees with a movement that issues boycott calls “with a broad brush,” like the BDS movement does.

New York

Shrage called hosting Fein a “far cry” from hosting BDS activist Alice Walker, author of “The Color Purple, who appeared at New York’s 92nd Street Y in May, a story that The Jewish Press exposed here.

The Y also scheduled an event this spring with Roger Waters, the anti-Israel Pink Floyd band member, which was ultimately canceled after The Jewish Press revealed it here.

On Sept. 12, JCC Watch and Americans for a Safe Israel partnered on a protest outside the UJA-Federation of New York building that called for Jews to stop donating to the federation, due to a lack of guidelines preventing federation funding of programming that gives a platform to anti-Israel voices like Walker and Waters. The Y receives $900,000 annually from the federation.

“We have a pattern of forces within the UJA-Federation diverting charitable dollars to further political purposes, and these purposes are anti-Israel,” Richard Allen, head of JCC Watch, told JNS.org.

When a UJA donor and volunteer told Allen at the protest that the funding in question is “only a small part” of the federation’s budget, Allen said he replied, “Even if it’s one penny, it’s wrong, and it makes the whole organization basically treif.”

The UJA-Federation declined to comment for a JNS.org article on the Sept. 12 protest and did not return a comment request for this article.

Washington, DC

Like JCC Watch, Citizens Opposed to Propaganda Masquerading as Art (COPMA) is calling for a halt to donations to its local federation, citing the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington’s funding of the Washington DC Jewish Community Center’s Theater J.

COPMA was formed in 2009 as a response to Theater J’s work on “Seven Jewish Children: A Play for Gaza,” a series of short plays in which parents repeat anti-Israel narratives while mulling how to speak to children about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. One actor advises a parent not to tell a child that “Arabs used to sleep in her bedroom.”

Robert G. Samet, COPMA’s chairman, said his group does not intend to impede artistic freedom, but rather specifically opposes the federation’s support of Theater J.

“It’s just, don’t do it on our nickel,” Samet told JNS.org. “Don’t do it on [federation] contributors’ support, it’s not appropriate. It’s a fringe view that’s being supported by mainstream contributors.”

Four days after The Jewish Press exposed Jewish funding for Theater J here, Robert Levi, chairman of the board of the National Council of Young Israel, wrote an an Aug. 26 letter to the DC Federation and joined COPMA’s call for the discontinuation of federation support for Theater J, due to the theater group’s planned performance of Motti Lerner’s “The Admission” from March 20-April 27, 2014.

“As you may be aware, [‘The Admission’] reflects a neo-anti-Israeli perspective, which is contrary to the mission of the Federation,” Levi wrote. “The climatic scene of play implies a fictitious 1948 massacre conducted by a colonel in the Israeli defense brigade. You may not be aware that many of Mr. Lerner’s dramas are not performed in Israel due to their harmful message.”

Last week, the federation responded to COPMA with an “open letter to our community.”

“Love of Israel and openness to a diverse array of thought are compatible goals,” the federation’s letter stated.

Ari Roth, artistic director of Theater J, told JNS.org that “The Admission” is all based on “actual research done by three historians,” rather than implying the “fictitious 1948 massacre” that Young Israel’s Levi described in his letter. “The Admission” was also featured in an April 2013 workshop that was underwritten by the Israeli Consulate of New York, which Roth called an Israeli “hechsher” on the play.

COPMA does not acknowledge Theater J’s slate of more than 35 plays and workshops relating to Israel over the last 16 years, said Roth, who among other plays the group has performed cited “Dai” (“Enough”), which details the experiences of 14 different Israelis in the moments before a suicide bombing.

Theater J also never actually produced “Seven Jewish Children,” explained Roth. Instead, the group held a “critical dissection” of the play, featuring readings of “Seven Jewish Children” and response plays, as well as a talk to start the event that included “what troubled me about the play,” Roth said.

The DC federation, in an April 2011 statement, said it would not fund “any organization that encourages boycott of, divestment from, or sanctions against the State of Israel in pursuit of goals to isolate and delegitimize the Jewish State.” Theater J “stands squarely” against the BDS movement, Roth told JNS.org.

“We are all about bringing Israeli art over here, engaging with Israel,” he said. “We are a leading importer of Israeli cultural talent to Washington.”

In its letter on COPMA last week, the federation said it was not its job to meddle in the “autonomous decision making” of its partner agencies, or to “single out a few programs from the thousands we support that may make some uneasy.”

Samet, chairman of COPMA, told JNS.org that it was “only with great reluctance that we went to a mass email campaign urging people to suspend or terminate contributions until such time as [the] federation does something about [the Theater J issue].” But the federation ultimately crossed COPMA’s red line.

“We didn’t want to take it that far, but they pretty much forced our hand by ignoring us, and ignoring the issue,” he said.

Left Targeting Jewish Home Housing Minister for Ouster

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

Gush Shalom, which defines itself as the “hard core” of Israel’s peace camp, is going after Jewish Home Housing Minister Uri Ariel, who is, apparently, to blame for anything that has and will surely go wrong in the explosive Middle East.

The reason Gush Shalom, headed by the aging but still very charismatic journalist Uri Avneri, who was the first Israeli newspaper publisher to meet openly with the late PLO chairman Yasser Arafat, is going after Minister Ariel has to do with something he said this month:

“We should make clear to Secretary of State Kerry that Israel will never return to the Auschwitz borders, will not freeze the settlements endeavor, and will not agree to be sacrificed so that he could receive the Nobel Peace Prize. I am sure the prime minister will not be partner to abandoning Israel’s security.”

And on Sunday, on the occasion of the inauguration of the new neighborhood of Leshem in the town of Alei Zahav, a few miles away from the city of Ariel in Samaria, Minister Ariel said:

“It should be clear to any thinking person: there are no two states for two peoples west of the Jordan River, there will be no such thing, even if we’re sitting at the negotiations table, this is not on the agenda.” He then added: “We will build everywhere in the Land of Israel, and certainly in Samaria, and certainly in Judea.”

The reaction from the left was furious:

“With the winds of war blowing in our region, Housing Minister Uri Ariel pours more oil on the flames by establishing the new ‘Leshem’ settlement on the West Bank. In the inflammatory speech which he delivered on that occasion he shows himself a dangerous extreme right provocateur,” reads the Gush Shalom press release, responding to the Minister’s relatively benign, if somewhat excited statement.

The entire press release reads like the stuff Avneri used to dish out on a weekly basis, back in the roaring 1970s. The next paragraph is vintage Avneri:

“This is far from an unexpected development. Ariel’s rampage could have been predicted from the moment when the settler cat was placed in charge of the housing cream. Ariel is not a private individual, he the Minister of Housing in the government of Israel.”

It’s interesting to note that Alei Zahav, established a little over 30 years ago, in 1982, is more likely to vote Likud-Beiteinu than Jewish Home: its 130 families (now a few more, with the opening of the new neighborhood) are 80 percent non-religious. So you can’t quite accuse Minister Ariel of being the cat taking all the cream to himself – not if he shares the cream with other cats…

Also, Deputy Minister Ophir Akonis of Likud Beiteinu, who also graced the inauguration with his presence, repeated everything the minister had said: “There are indeed negotiating with the Palestinians, but that does not stop anyone from building homes in Israel,” he said. “Out of this place, a message is emanating, that a Palestinian state will never be established.”

“Look around you,” Akunis said, “who needs another Arab country in this area?”

Nevertheless, Avneri et al are after Uri Ariel, despite the fact that his message is not different at all from what’s being said these days by the majority of the Likud Beiteinu ministers. The reason is obvious: if you portray the situation as it is, meaning that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Justice Minister and chief negotiator Tzipi Livni are way to the left of the government in which they serve, then you must abandon hope of the two-state solution becoming a reality in the near future.

But if you portray Jewish Home as the extremist, settler holdout in a government eager to plant a second Hamas entity right next door to Ben Gurion International Airport – then you’ve got something to work with.

This is precisely Avneri’s next point:

“There is not one government which is busy building settlements and spitting in the face of the Palestinians, and a different government which is supposed to negotiate and reach a peace agreement with the same Palestinians. It is the same government, and all its ministers are responsible for Ariel’s acts of provocation.”

‘Capital of Samaria’ Ranked As Israel’s Safest City

Friday, August 23rd, 2013

A new poll conducted by Israel’s Ministry of Public Security in order to determine the effectiveness of urban policing programs in 13 different Israeli cities found that residents in the city of Ariel, in Samaria, feel the safest from criminal activity.

Ariel is home to 20,000 residents, of whom 92 percent responded saying that they feel secure in their community.

Following Ariel were two cities located in central Israel that were tied – Givatayim, outside of Tel Aviv, and Bnei Brak. The northern city of Carmiel ranked fourth in that category.

The cities with the lowest sense of security were the mixed Jewish-Arab cities of Lod and Nazareth, with only 70 percent expressing that they felt protected.

“There is no internal crime or violence in Ariel,” said Avi Zimmerman, Executive Director of the Ariel Development Fund to Tazpit News Agency. “Graffiti is as criminal as it gets here.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/capital-of-samaria-ranked-as-israels-safest-city/2013/08/23/

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