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July 6, 2015 / 19 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Asia’

No Ramadan Fasting Allowed for Muslims in Xinjiang, China

Sunday, June 21st, 2015

Residents of the majority- Muslim province of Xinjiang in China are not being allowed to celebrate their religious holiday this year.

The Chinese government posted statements banning the traditional month-long daily fasts on the websites of schools, government agencies and local party organizations.

“No teacher may participate in religious activities, instill religious thoughts in students, or coerce students into religious activities,” read a statement on the website of the No. 3 Grade School in Ruoqiang County in Xinjiang, according to the Virtual Jerusalem website.

“Students shall not participate in religious activities; they shall not study scripts or read poems at script and choir classes; they shall not wear any religious emblems; and no parent or others can force students to have religious beliefs or partake in religious activities,” another post on the website read.

Restaurants have been ordered to stay open in the province, including those owned and operated by Muslims, according to the Saudi Arabian Arab News website. Shops have been threatened with closure if they do not continue selling cigarettes and alcohol throughout the month of Ramadan.

According to the post, the ban is intended to “protect students’ well-being” and “prevent the use of schools and government offices from promoting religion.” But the ban may be adding fuel to a fire that is already beginning to blaze in the province against the Han ethnic majority in China, the largest such group in the country.

Dilxat Raxit, the Sweden-based leader of the Uighur people, however, warned in a statement last Friday, “The faith of the Uighurs has been highly politicized and the increase in controls could cause sharp resistance.” The second-largest ethnic group in China is comprised of the Uighurs, who largely identify with Islam. All told, there are some 56 recognized ethnic groups in the country.

“China’s goal in prohibiting religious fasting is to forcibly move Uighurs away from their Muslim culture during Ramadan,” said Raxit, a spokesperson for the exiled World Uighur Congress. “Policies that prohibit religious fasting are a provocation and will only lead to instability and conflict.”

The ruling party, which officially is atheist, is “encouraging” its members to avoid daytime fasting – a direct slap at the Islamic practice during Ramadan.

“They are extracting guarantees from parents, promising that their children won’t fast on Ramadan,” Raxit said in an interview with Radio Free Asia.

In December 2014, China prohibited the wearing of burkas – Islamic full-body, veiled robes – in public in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang province, referred to by some as East Turkestan. Some eight million Turkish-speaking Uighur Muslims populate the northwestern Xinjiang region, which has been autonomous since 1955, but remains subject to security restrictions by Chinese authorities.

Last month violence in a Xinjiang open air vegetable market left 43 people dead. A year ago 13 radical Islamic terrorists were killed in a clash with police. Attacks at train stations in Urumqi and in southwestern China were also blamed on Muslim extremists.

The most populous nation in the world, China is also the third largest country in size geographically. Its role as a leader in world politics as one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council is also bringing China to global prominence as well.

Up to this point, China has maintained a relatively low profile on the world stage with regard to the issue of terrorism driven by radical Islam. But its obvious return to the traditional Communist government intolerance for any religious practice, however – particularly timed to coincide with Ramadan — indicates a likely change in that attitude.

What remains to be seen is how local Muslims will respond to the whip, and whether – and how – fellow Muslims around the world will protest on their behalf.

Israel to Allow 1,500 Jordanians to Work in Eilat

Sunday, June 14th, 2015

Israel and Jordan have agreed to a plan for 1,500 Jordanians to partially replace foreign workers from Asia and Europe to work in Eilat.

The agreement was signed on Friday, Israeli Deputy Minister of Regional Cooperation Ayoob Kara told the Bethlehem-based Ma’an News Agency. Until now, Jordanians with permits to work in Israel have been excluded from Eilat.

More permits also have been given e to Palestinian Authority workers to be employed in Israel. This would seem to be good news for the economy in the Ramallah-based regime, but leave it to the left-wing B’Tselem to find a cloudy lining in a silver cloud.

The organization claims that tens of thousands of Arabs from Judea and Samaria are “forced” to seek a living by working in Israel because the Zionist’ occupation stifles the economy, Ma’an reported.

Wages paid by Israeli firms are far higher than those paid by Arab employers.

Jerusalem Day in DC; An Israeli Hero; and a Liberal Palestinian

Thursday, May 14th, 2015

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In the lead-up to Jerusalem Day, Yishai hosts three relevant guests: one American, another Israeli and a third Palestinian. Yishai is joined by Josh Reinstein, director of the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus and founder and producer of the hit TV show “Israel Now News,” broadcast to 35 million viewers in a 191 countries around the world. He discusses the Jerusalem Day celebration that will be held on Capitol Hill in Washington DC by the Israel Allies Foundation. Does this conflict with the US administration’s stance on the Holy City?

Then, Yishai is joined by Oded Tira, former president of the Israel Manufacturers Association. Tira, a retired brigadier general in the IDF who served as a paratrooper in the Six Day War and subsequently became the army’s Chief Artillery Officer, is one of Israel’s key industrialists. What is it like to be a liberator of Jerusalem and then a captain of industry? How has Israel grown since 1967, and what are its future dangers?

Finally, Yishai is joined by 22-year-old Haya Tarawa, a Muslim living in Hebron, who teaches Arabic to foreigners and is completing her BA in English literature. A proud Palestinian, she nevertheless has a liberal attitude towards Israel, and hopes to see Islam liberalize as well.

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Gulf Arab Leaders to Confront Obama on Iran

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

U.S. President Barack Obama just can’t catch a break.

First he is questioned about Iranian aggression by Israel or members of the U.S. Congress, and now he’s about to be confronted by Arab leaders at a summit.

And that comes after some fast footwork to bring Saudi Arabia back into the loop altogether. Over the weekend King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud decided to excuse himself from Thursday’s upcoming summit, throwing the White House into ‘scramble’ mode.

The king was clearly sending a strong message to Washington: “Stop dithering and making excuses; let’s see some action on Iranian violations and on ending the nightmare in Syria.”

Saudi Arabia itself has led the way in its own mini-war against the Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen. Its disregard for “collateral” casualties and damage in favor of simply “getting the job done” is a typically Middle Eastern way of doing things but in fact also makes it clear that players in the region expect no less from Obama.

Leaders of Persian Gulf nations are arriving at Camp David to meet Thursday with the U.S. president, according to the Saudi state-run SPA news agency.

Discussion at the summit will focus on Iran’s “aggressive” moves in the region, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said Monday.

“We see Iranian support for terrorist organizations and facilitating the work of terrorist organizations, so the challenge will be in how to coordinate US-Gulf efforts in order to collectively face these aggressive moves on the part of Iran,” al-Jubeir told the news agency.

Several weeks ago, Iran captured a cargo ship sailing under the flag of the Marshall Islands and seized its crew of 34 sailors. The ship, its cargo and crew was stopped as it sailed through the Strait of Hormuz and boarded by members of the elite Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. Its captain was forced to navigate the vessel into a southern Iranian port city, where it has remained since.

The United States is obligated under a mutual defense treaty to protect vessels and personnel operating under the flag of the Marshall Islands.

For a number of days after the capture, U.S. warships escorted American and British-flagged vessels traveling through the Strait of Hormuz. The escort, however, has since been discontinued, according to media reports.

At least four U.S. citizens still remain captive in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Chabad Prepares for Nepal’s New Nightmare – Monsoon Season

Monday, May 11th, 2015

Volunteers at Chabad of Nepal are working nearly around the clock as the dark clouds of the approaching monsoon season gather in the skies above Nepal.

Co-directors Rabbi Chezky Lifshitz and his wife Chani are working together with the volunteers to supply thousands of Nepalese with sturdy tents to shelter them from the coming storm.

“Just thinking of what the impending rains will do to those living in makeshift tents makes your heart tremble,” Chani Lifshiftz told Chabad.org on Sunday.

To make their lives easier, she and the volunteers, including many Israelis, are distributing water, food, medicine, warm clothing and waterproof tents throughout the area around the Chabad House in Kathmandu.

Monsoon season, which begins in June and runs through September, is likely to make life even worse for victims of last month’s devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake.

As for those who did not survive the earthquake, Rabbi Chezky Lifshitz and British volunteer Yehuda Rose are still working with foreign embassies and families of the missing to identify and honorably transport home those who are Jews.

Last Wednesday German rescue teams and diplomats helped recover and return the remains of two Jewish German nationals to ensure a proper burial.

But as many as 170 Western citizens – among them a number of Jews – are still missing.

Meanwhile, Mayor Ilan Shohat traveled to Nepal from the Israeli city of Tzefat (Safed) on a fact-finding mission. Shohat spent time at the Kathmandu Chabad House and participated in a Lag B’Omer celebration. He also saw first-hand the growing need for humanitarian aid.

For those readers who wish to help with the earthquake relief effort, Chabad of Nepal has opened a special fund for the purchase of tents and other desperately needed supplies. Click here.

Israel Issues Travel Warning for Nepal

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

Israel’s Foreign Ministry issued a travel warning for Nepal on Tuesday, reminding citizens the country still faces hardships and disease due to recent earthquakes and an avalanche on Mount Everest.

The death toll is still rising in the devastated nation high above in the Himalayas, with more than 7,200 dead and more than 14,000 injured found.

United Nations estimates place the damage and/or destruction of homes at more than half a million, and up to 600,000. Of the country’s 28 million citizens, at least 2 million are completely homeless and in need of tents and basic survival supplies. Up to 8 million are affected and many of those displaced.

The biggest fear now is, how to prevent disease from taking over next.

Despite assistance from the international community – with Israel providing one-third of the total human resource aid – Nepalese are struggling for survival. There are areas with contaminated drinking water, remote villages without food, shortages of medicine and medical aid. Aftershocks are continuing, some stronger than others.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry advises that under such circumstances, it is not wise to travel to Nepal at this time. Those already in the country should take these conditions into consideration before deciding to extend their stay – including those who independently decided to remain as volunteers in rescue efforts.

In the last few days that search and rescue teams were tracking down stranded Israelis, there were reports of attacks against the young foreign trekkers by Nepalese as conditions became more desperate and food, water and other survival necessities were needed.

Israel Energy, Nepal, and Whether Israel Owes Its Birth to the UN

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

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Yishai is joined in-studio by Tamir Druz, director of Capra Energy Group, an independent energy consulting firm advising different governments, among them Israel’s, to answer some key questions. Is natural gas the fuel of choice and why? What about pollution? Is the air in Israel’s third largest city, Haifa, really harmful? And why do gas prices keep fluctuating?

Then, Yishai is joined via phone by Arjun, a Nepalese national, who describes the situation on the ground in Kathmandu following the earthquake.

Finally, Yishai is joined in-studio by Eugene Kontorovich, law professor at Northwestern University and senior fellow at the Kohelet Policy Forum, to discuss how the narrative of Israel’s birth has an impact on its future. He says that If Israel is a product of the UN Partition Plan, then it makes sense for it to be shrunk at some point. On the other hand, if Israel’s original borders clearly encompass Judea and Samaria (the “West Bank”), then maybe its future is to remain there. Kontorovich also lays out the dangers of a potential anti-Israel Security Council resolution.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
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Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/tv/radio/israel-energy-nepal-and-whether-israel-owes-its-birth-to-the-un/2015/04/30/

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