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April 17, 2014 / 17 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘electricity’

Israel Discriminates ‘against’ PA by Charging Less for Electricity

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

The Palestinian Authority debt to the Israel Electric Corp (IEC) stands at $400 million and the quasi government company’s chairman Yiftach Ron-Tal told the Knesset Finance Committee Tuesday, “If we were a private company, we would have stopped supplying electricity to the Palestinian Authority and the Gaza Strip long ago.”

The PA debt for electricity is an old story, but the difference now is that Israel no longer is talking common sense – and cents – probably as another show of weakness  in the lose-lose game of “don’t blame me for the failure of John Kerry’s Frankensteinian peace.”

In the past, when the Electric Corp. said it had enough of financing the Palestinian Authority by giving it electricity without payment, the Israeli government would stop sending to Ramallah monthly payments of taxes the government pays for the PA on goods from Israel.

The usual tactic has been discarded since Kerry came to town.

In December, the Israel Electric Corp. said the debt had climbed to more than $300 million and would continue to rise. Right they were.

Most of the debt is owed by none other than something called the Jerusalem District Electricity Company, a private Arab distributor of electricity that it receives from the IEC and then supplies to Arab parts of Jerusalem the Palestinian Authority want as part of the new country Kerry is trying to help them create.

The IEC said in December that the Palestinian Authority was beginning to pay back the debt bit by bit, but not even enough keep the debt from increasing.

The IEC has given the Palestinian Authority the option of paying back the money or getting slapped with an increase in the price of electricity, which is a bit silly since that simply would raise the debt.

More interesting is that Arabs in the Palestinian Authority pay less than Israelis for power, according to the Bethlehem-based Ma’an News Agency. Perhaps that is the criminal discrimination to which Richard Falk, the United Naitons’ chief anti-Israel official, was referring to on Monday when he issued his last – thank God – report as chairman of the U.N. Human Rights Council.

IEC chairman Ron-Tal told the Knesset Finance Committee Tuesday, “If an ordinary person does not pay his electricity bill, we disconnect him within a week. Here, despite the huge debt to the company, we are forced to continuing supplying electricity to the Palestinian Authority. Our owners are the government, and it has to make a decision on this matter. This debt must be collected.”

Weekend Snow Update: Jerusalem Lock-down, Blackouts, and Lots of Snow (+ Photos)

Saturday, December 14th, 2013

Jerusalem spent Shabbat in lock-down as the largest snow storm in decades, and perhaps 50 years, hit the country. The main highways to Jerusalem were closed. Thousands of people found themselves stranded on the highway.

Some 35,000 households, including 13,000 in  Jerusalem, as well as 2400 in Tzfat didn’t have electricity for at least part of Shabbat. Gush Etzion, where at least 2 (possibly 3) feet of snow fell,  was without electricity for significant parts of the day, as well as parts of the days before.

The army was called in to assist in helping restore electricity to parts of Jerusalem.

In the Binyamin region, many homes were without electricity and water throughout much of the night. Some of the Settlements found themselves cut off without electricity for 3 days, since the beginning of the storm.

On Saturday night, the main highway into Jerusalem is slowly being reopened to public transportation, and some buses are expected to begin running soon.

The Jerusalem Light Rail is shut down due to damage to the rails from the snow storm, and may reopen on Sunday.

Temperatures are expected to drop tonight to below freezing, increasing the risk of icy roads.

On the positive side, children were having a great time in the massive snow storm.

SNOW IN JERUSALEM

 

SNOW IN JERUSALEM

 

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Palestinian Authority Owes Israel Electric $350 Million

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

The Palestinian Authority continues to operate on the back of Israeli consumers, whose rates for electricity constantly rise while PA Arabs simply don’t pay to the extent that their debt to the Israel Electric Corp. now stands at $750 million.

In the past, Israel simply used Value Added Tax revenues, collected for the Palestinian Authority, to pay off the debt.

That no longer is feasible diplomatically because it would punch another hole in the Obama administration’s cherished peace talks.

Globes business newspaper noted that the Palestinian Authority could reach energy self-sufficiency if it were to take advantage of off-shore natural gas fields, which Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu ha offered to help develop for the regime.

“Information indirectly obtained by the media indicate that the Palestinians are largely responsible for the problem,” the left-leaning Globes wrote this week. “Their conduct, according to this partial information, has been amateurish, if not actually childish, and is mostly defamatory and slanderous.

Greenpeace Infiltration May Have Prevented Terrorist Attack

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

Israel can thank Greenpeace activists for unintentionally alerting the country to a security lapse that terrorists could exploit to throw Israel into a blackout by blowing up the site, causing mass casualties and shutting down the electricity grid

Six Greenpeace activists managed to infiltrate Noble Energy’s off-shore gas terminal in the port of Ashdod Monday morning, and the pro-environment group said two of its members roamed freely within the sensitive site for an hour and a half.

They entered the 25-acre site by climbing ladders to bridge the fence around the terminal, setting off the warning system. Globes reported that the activists could have caused a shut-down of electricity to a large area of the country if they had done extensive damage.

The infiltrators were demonstrating their support for energy and opposition to Israel’s reliance on natural gas from the giant offshore energy fields discovered in the past three years off the Mediterranean Coast. Israel now produces more than half of the country’s electricity with natural gas.

Police arrested and then released all six activists, who were dressed up as the sun to show their support for solar energy.

But what if terrorists and not environmentalists had scaled the fence around the terminal?

It would have taken only a small amount of explosives to blow to smithereens the only network that carries gas to the terminal.

Anyone in the area probably would have gone up in smoke during an explosion, which would have severely crippled Israel’s dream of energy independence. Damage to the site would have forced a shut down to electricity in a large part of the country, causing financial and social chaos.

Nobel put on the stiff upper lip after the infiltration and stated, “The Greenpeace activists were handed over to the police. The matter is being investigated with the appropriate parties.”

Gaza Terrorists Trying to Destroy Power Plant That Supplies Them

Monday, March 4th, 2013

Turns out that GRAD rocket about which we reported this past Tuesday morning was intended to hit the Israel Electric Corp.’s power plant in Ashkelon on Israel’s southern coast. And as happens frequently there are competing claims of ‘credit’ for the failed attack:

The al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade initially claimed responsibility for firing the rocket, saying it was retaliation for Palestinian prisoner Arafat Jaradat’s death in an Israeli prison on Saturday. The terrorist group, associated with Fatah, had published a leaflet on Monday urging a harsh response against Israel for Jaradat’s death. On Thursday, though, Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack — a claim Israeli officials said was more credible. [IDF Chief of Staff Benny] Gantz, speaking Thursday with high school students in Rosh Haayin, said that Israel knew who was behind the shooting. He added that the IDF was working tirelessly to prevent further such attacks. “More information about our deterrence methods exists, but cannot be revealed,” he said. He said there was a possibility of more clashes with Gaza in the future, but rejected suggestions that Israel was facing a third Intifada. “I do not think we see such a thing unfolding before our eyes,” he said, referring to the recent upsurge of violence in the West Bank. “But the conflict level may rise, so we are prepared and we are convinced that we will know how to contain such events properly.” [Source: Times of Israel]

November 2012 report said Israel was supplying 125 megawatts of electricity to the Gaza Strip from that same power station in Ashkelon, the one that has come under repeated rocket fire over the past six years. There is a power shortfall in Gaza, chiefly because the Hamas regime which rules Gaza has, as a matter of deliberate and very cynical policy, refused to allow the import of fuel from Israel, resulting in its one and only power station operating at 20% capacity.

Visit This Ongoing War.

Behind Salam Fayyad’s Call for ‘Economic Intifada’

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

Salam Fayyad, the prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, this week called for an economic Intifada against Israel.

See related Cartoon

Fayyad, whose government is facing a severe financial crisis, wants Palestinians to boycott all Israeli goods in response to Israel’s decision to seize tax revenues belonging to the Palestinian Authority.

The revenues were seized and transferred to the Israel Electric Company to cover Palestinians’ debts to the firm.

Fayyad is angry because the Israel Electric Company finally collected its debts from Palestinian consumers. Speaking to Palestinian reporters in Ramallah, he denounced the transfer of the funds to the company as “illegal and immoral.”

Fayyad knows better than anyone else that, for various reasons, many Palestinians have not been paying their electricity bills.

Many Palestinians refuse to pay water, electricity and other bills because they believe the international community, primarily the Americans and Europeans, should be covering all their expenses. Others refuse to pay because they believe the money eventually falls into the hands of corrupt Palestinian Authority officials.

Earlier this year, the Palestinian Authority announced a series of measures to persuade Palestinian consumers to pay their electricity bills, but to no avail. The Palestinian Authority even announced a new law that allows it to imprison any Palestinian who is caught practicing the widespread phenomenon of “electricity theft.”

Because of the financial crisis, Fayyad’s government has also failed to pay full salaries to its employees, sparking a two-day general strike of the public sector in the West Bank.

The transfer of funds to the Israel Electric Company, and the Arab world’s failure to fulfill promises to support the Palestinian Authority financially, have created a severe financial crisis in the Palestinian Authority.

This is not the first time that Arab countries lie to Palestinians. Over the past two decades, Arab nations have promised the Palestinians billions of dollars in aid. But, according to officials in Ramallah, the Palestinians have received less than 10% of what they had been promised.

Instead of seeking ways to solve the crisis, however, Fayyad chose to call on Palestinians to boycott all Israeli goods. How does that help solve the financial crisis? Fayyad did not have an answer. He just wants to punish Israel for collecting on the debt for the electricity bills.

He is hoping that by calling for an economic intifada, he will succeed in diverting growing anger and frustration on the Palestinian street towards the Israelis. This has always been the Palestinian Authority’s way of avoiding responsibility for anything that goes wrong — by putting all the blame on Israel.

Fayyad wants Palestinians to boycott Israel, but at the same time is unable to provide them with better alternatives. Does he really think that Palestinians will stop buying Israeli-manufactured medicine, for example?

As one Palestinian public servant asked, “How can our prime minister ask us to boycott Israeli goods when we can’t even afford to purchase Palestinian goods because he’s not paying us our salaries?”

Added another Palestinian who has been working as a school teacher for 25 years: “If Fayyad wants us to boycott Israel, why doesn’t he himself set an example? Why is he living in Jerusalem, under Israeli rule, and enjoying, together with his family, most privileges offered to Israeli citizens? Today, I’m ready to go and work in an Israeli settlement to feed my children and I don’t care whether Fayyad likes it or not.”

Originally published at the Gatestone Institute.

What I Learned from Hurricane Sandy

Friday, December 7th, 2012

I am writing this column as Hurricane Sandy is barreling through the greater New York area, after having sorted a load of clean laundry by the light of a group of yahrtzeit candles and having washed my supper dishes with the aid of a clip on barbeque lamp. My electricity went out almost four hours ago and thoughts of what I did right and what I did wrong in preparation for a one of a kind storm that ironically, bears my name are still fresh in my mind.

Hurricane Sandy marks the second time I have had my electricity knocked out by a late October storm, having lost power exactly one year ago for five and a half days during a freak snowstorm that turned my little corner of the world into something that looked more like a war zone than a picturesque hamlet in New York’s Hudson Valley. In light of last year’s storm, I thought I had all my pre-storm preparations under control, but I can tell you right now that I was wrong and I am hoping that as we celebrate the anniversary of last year’s power outage with yet another blackout, I will finally learn my lesson and be better prepared for future meteorological mishaps.

I should add that this is by no means a comprehensive guide to weathering a storm (no pun intended.) Those are available by the dozen on the Internet, although you obviously want to read those before the storm blows through and totally decimates your wireless connection. These are just random tips that I have had the unfortunate opportunity to collect during too many days without electricity.

Lesson Number 1: It doesn’t matter what the season, storms can be very serious business and should be respected, given their ability to wreak havoc with our lives, particularly in this day and age when our lives revolve around numerous items that require electricity. So be it a hurricane, a nor’easter, a blizzard or a tropical storm, don’t underestimate the weather’s ability to do major damage.

Lesson Number 2: Just because you think you are prepared for a storm doesn’t mean you are. I know I have enough flashlights for every member of my family and that I have a basket full of batteries sitting in my closet. Yet, somehow, almost all the flashlights have disappeared and I am almost completely out of AA and D batteries, the two sizes I need for the few flashlights that didn’t mysteriously vanish into thin air. Keep a flashlight next to your bed at night and if you are going out and will be coming back after dark, take a flashlight with you. Unless you have lived through a blackout, you can’t possibly imagine just how dark it can get when there is no power anywhere in your neighborhood.

Lesson Number 3: Flashlights are probably not the only light sources you own. Put your kids to work and have them dig out all the munchkin sized flashlights they have gotten as prizes and those mini booklights they use to read under their blankets at night when they are supposedly fast asleep. A clip-on barbeque lamp has turned out to be the best birthday gift my sister-in-law has ever gotten my husband as it travels from room to room, particularly useful when you don’t want to shower in the dark, and a set of battery operated tea lights we bought as a decorative accent for my daughter’s vort five years ago were the perfect light source to illuminate both the stairs and the upstairs hallway.

Lesson Number 4: You can never have too many yahrtzeit candles in your house. While it is important to only light them on a non-flammable surface, far away from any flammable objects, and it goes without saying that candles are a serious hazard when there are small children around, yahrtzeit candles are easily moved, and with their flames generally confined inside their containers, are far safer than regular candles. Be warned that glass ones have been known to crack, with devastating results, so be sure to buy the metal ones.

The Purpose Of The Melachah

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

The link between the laws of Shabbat and the Mishkan not only defines the 39 Melachot but also determines the conditions for liability. One of these conditions is intent. The other is purpose.

The melachah must be performed for a similar purpose as the act performed in the Mishkan. Accordingly, one might, intentionally, perform the same act performed in the Mishkan and yet be exempt from biblical liability if it did not have a similar purpose.

For example, digging (a derivative of plowing), was performed in the Mishkan for the use of the hole itself, in which tent pegs were sunk. Therefore, one who digs for earth and has no use for the hole has not performed a melachah in the Torah sense of the term, a melachah de’oreita.

Similarly, extinguishing a fire, a primary or av melachah, was performed in the Mishkan to produce glowing embers needed to smelt metal. Therefore, one who turns off the light in order to sleep, or to save electricity, has not performed a melachah de’oreita. Such an act is known as a melachah she’eina tzericha l’gufa. Although biblically exempt from liability once performed, a melachah she’eina tzericha l’gufa is rabbinically prohibited, a melachah derabbanan and should not be performed in the first place.

What is the difference between a melachah de’oreita and melachah derabbanan if both are prohibited? The answer is that generally there is more room for leniency in melachot derabbanan. For example, melachot derabbanan may, mostly, be performed during twilight, bein hashmashot, on Erev Shabbat; they may, with certain restrictions, be performed by a Jew on Shabbat to alleviate substantial pain; they may, in certain situations, be performed by a Jew on Shabbat in order to avert a substantial financial loss; they may, in certain circumstances, be performed for a Jew on Shabbat by a non-Jew; and they are not themselves subject to protective legislation.

Because the melachah she’eina tzericha l’gufa is closest to a melachah de’oreita, in that it only lacks the element of common purpose and because there is a dispute with regard to its definition, the rabbis are less lenient with it than with other melachot derabbanan. Accordingly, it enjoys some but not all of the flexibility described. For example, a melachah she’eina tzericha l’gufa may not be performed bein hashmashot. Such a melachah may, however, for the most part be performed by a Jew on Shabbat for the sick, even the not dangerously sick; and in certain situations may be performed for a Jew on Shabbat by a non- Jew.

Based on these principles, Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Braun, in his work Sha’arim Metzuyanim B’Halacha, writes that sparks ignited by plugging in or out of electricity is akin to a melachah she’eina tzericha l’gufa, in that it is a psik reishe delo neecha lei, which means an inevitable melachah arising from a permitted act that is of no use to its performer.

Accordingly, to avoid substantial financial loss one may ask a non-Jew to reconnect a well-stocked freezer that became disconnected from its electricity on Shabbat. Similarly, one may ask a non-Jew to turn off an appliance which, if left running all through Shabbat, would overheat and burn out.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/halacha-hashkafa/the-purpose-of-the-melachah/2012/11/22/

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