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August 27, 2016 / 23 Av, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘island’

Shiloh Musings: Great Britain Reverts to its Island Isolation

Friday, June 24th, 2016

‘Leave’ scents victory as EU vote divides Britain

With results declared from 206 of 382 voting districts plus parts of Northern Ireland, Leave was ahead by 51.3 percent to 48.7 in the referendum, in which a vote to break with Europe could usher in deep uncertainty over trade and investment and fuel the rise of anti-EU movements across the continent. Initial results suggested those in favor of quitting the EU were outperforming pollsters’ expectations. They scored close to 70 percent of the vote in Hartlepool in northeast England and in Basildon, near London. It was not clear whether an expected pro-EU vote in the capital and across Scotland would be sufficient to redress the balance. In the London district of Haringey, 76 percent voted to remain. (Reuters)

I’m not really surprised. Great Britain is an island off of Europe and always treasured its independence. That is what saved it from invasions, such as the Nazis less than a century ago. Also, in terms of the demography, cultural/ethnic politics in Britain, this is probably the last chance to get a majority to leave. As in Europe, the open borders have enabled a cultural diversity unprecedented in most of Europe and Great Britain for sure.

Don’t forget that the European Union is much larger and more diversified than most people had ever expected it to be. For those who mourn the relatively monochromatic Christian Britain and Europe, they find themselves living in a nightmare, like a Twilight Zone episode.

The vote seems pretty close, so it could change directions, and then Great Britain will remain in the EU, and it will then find itself a totally different country in another couple of decades. And if it leaves, the transformation will just take a bit longer…

Batya Medad

Netanyahu’s Can Do Minister Plans Gaza’s Offshore Island Harbor

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

Yisrael Katz (Likud), who currently wears two ministerial hats: Transportation and Road Safety and Intelligence and Atomic Energy, has probably the most productive minister in Benjamin Netanyahu’s three consecutive cabinets, being responsible for an unprecedented network of new, modern highways crisscrossing Israel and an ever-improving train service — all of which means that if he has made up his mind to carry out a project, it’s probably going to happen, and sooner than you may think. The project in question is the Gaza harbor island, which Katz has recently begun to promote.

Speaking at the 2016 Herzliya Conference last week, Minister Katz described his plan for an island with a port off the Gaza Strip, connected to the mainland with a three-mile bridge, with no residential buildings, and, most important—no place for Hamas to dig terror tunnels. According to Katz, an artificial island to be built on the high seas would also be a spot which was “not promised by God to anyone,” with no ideological ties to any of the warring parties in the region. This island would be built strictly for humane and financial purposes: permit the monitored, daily flow of traffic in and out of Gaza, provide construction jobs for the people of Gaza, and, eventually, who knows, there’s room for many imaginative ventures once you’ve gotten yourself an island.

“We can practically change the current reality,” Katz promised last week. And on Monday he told reporters: “I do not think it is right to lock up two million people without any connection to the world. Israel has no interest in making life harder for the population there. But because of security concerns we can’t build an airport or seaport in Gaza [proper].”

This week, Minister Katz raised the heat under his proposal, announcing that Israel is actively seeking foreign investors to construct a $5 billion artificial island with a seaport, hotels and an airport just off the coast of the Gaza Strip. The island, comprising an area of three square miles (although once you start making islands in the sea, what’s to stop you from making them even bigger), would “ease the blockade it imposed on the Palestinian enclave a decade ago.”

Up until last week’s announcement, there were several alternative harbor proposals being discussed by the Israeli leadership, to help ease the pressure on Gaza’s civilian population without harming Israeli security. One was what seemed like an exotic idea a few months ago, of building an artificial island that would face the Gaza shore, where ships would unload their goods under strict Israeli control. One called for the harbor to be built in El Arish, a sleepy Egyptian town in the north-eastern Sinai, which is under Egyptian rule. There was also an idea to build a Gaza harbor in Cyprus. And, of course, there was the more intuitive idea of building the Gaza harbor in Gaza, but conditioning its operation on long-term ceasefire deals. Naturally, as soon as Hamas starts shooting rockets at Israel, Israel could wipe out their nice harbor.

Katz insists his man-made island proposal is under review by Netanyahu’s security cabinet, and showing “a lot of potential.” The experts are drafting plans on ways to maintaining security on the offshore island and inside the off-shore harbor. One tactic being proposed is closing down the bridge when hostilities flare up on the mainland. But with Hamas investing in training its Navy SEAL commandos, closing down the bridge may not necessarily secure the island.

Minister Katz wants the island to be built with foreign investments, and he would like to see the Saudis and the Chinese, as well as private Israeli investors picking up the tab for his project. Katz said Israel would allow foreign construction workers into its territorial waters for the project.

According to the Washington Post, citing a high level Israeli official, Prime Minister Netanyahu is “exploring the option but has not yet made a determination.”

The Palestinian Authority folks hate the plan, which they called “dubious.” The PLO fears that the man-made island would bring about “the final severing of Gaza” from the PA.

JNi.Media

Staten Island JCC Receives Anti-Semitic Messages over Basketball Score

Tuesday, May 24th, 2016

When the Jewish Community Center of Staten Island opened its beautiful bronze doors on Victory Boulevard in 1929, its mission was to provide a home for the Jewish community for social, recreational and educational activities where people of all races and religions would feel welcome.

The JCC founders certainly did not anticipate that, 90 some years in the future, an irate individual who was terribly unhappy with the score of a youth basketball game would be sending a torrent of vicious, anti-Semitic text messages to a 53-year-old woman who takes care of the athletic program at the JCC of Staten Island.

“I am about to put the JCC back in the concentration camp,” said one message, and another spoke of “Hitler Nation,” police sources told The NY Daily News.

OK, it’s true that those 1929 JCC founders would have been equally baffled by both notions — vile text messages and concentration camps. Still, considering their high aspirations at the time, neither concept would have gladdened their hearts.

Police said the texts were reported last Friday night, and a hate crime investigation has been launched. According to the News, Police already believe they know who sent those messages, but for now the investigation is still ongoing.

JCC spokeswoman Ruth Lasser told the News the texts had been sent in reaction to a teen basketball league game at the JCC Avis/South Shore center on Arthur Kill Rd. in Arden Heights, SI, but she is not certain which specific game result got this person’s goat.

“I do know that there was a dispute of some sort that came as a result of it,” she said. “The texts that followed were about some sort of unhappiness about that game.”

That’s the Hitler Nation kind of unhappiness. Lasser said the texts were “very disturbing.”

“The JCC has a long history, sports and activities that teach you not only the programs, not only the sport, but also sportsmanship,” Lasser said. “We work very hard to make sure we instill the right values, so it is disturbing.”

JNi.Media

Ship’s Captain Reports He ‘Saw Flame in the Sky’ South of Greek Island

Thursday, May 19th, 2016

A source in the Athens defense ministry says the government is investigating a claim by the captain of a merchant ship who said he “saw a flame in the sky.”

The ship’s captain reported seeing the “flame” about 130 nautical miles south of the Greek island of Carpatos, according to the British Daily Star.

The site is close to where Egypt Air flight MS804 en route to Cairo from Paris disappeared from radar at 02:45 local time early Wednesday morning.

The plane was carrying 56 passengers, three security personnel and seven cabin crew.

Egyptian Army fighter jets and Greek ships are searching the area in the Mediterranean where the aircraft was last seen on the radar.

There was no explosion and no emergency call for help before the aircraft disappeared.

Hana Levi Julian

Counter-Terrorism Bureau Issues Travel Advisory Against Visiting Djerba Island on Lag B’Omer

Monday, May 9th, 2016

The Counter-Terrorism Bureau in the prime minister’s office has issued a warning on Monday that Israelis should not attend the Lag B’Omer celebrations on the Island of Djerba, Tunisia, because of credible terror threats.

Djerba is a 198 square mile island off the coast of Tunisia, North Africa, in the Gulf of Gabes. A Jewish community has existed on the island continuously for more than 2,500 years. It is unique for its unusually high percentage of Kohanim (the Jewish Priestly caste), direct Patrilineal descendants of Aaron, the first Biblical high priest. Djerba island is known among Jews as the island of the Kohanim.

Lag B’Omer will be celebrated this year starting Wednesday evening, May 25, through Thursday evening, May 26. The Counter-Terrorism Bureau’s travel advisory says terrorist elements, most notably global Jihadists, “continue to operate in Tunisia and carry out attacks,” making the threat level against Jewish sites high. Israelis should “refrain from visiting” the Island.

On April 11, 2002, Al-Qaeda blew up a truck bomb near El Ghriba synagogue in Djerba, one of the oldest and most famous synagogues in the world, killing 21 people (14 German tourists, 5 Tunisians and 2 French nationals).

David Israel

US Lawmakers Meet with Cuba’s American Jewish Prisoner, Alan Gross

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

Four U.S. lawmakers met in Cuba on Monday with imprisoned American Jewish hostage Alan Gross. The legislators visited the jailed social worker at a prison hospital due to his medical condition, which is precarious.

Gross was arrested in December 2009 while visiting Cuba to provide internet access for the Jewish community there. According to a report posted by the Havana Times he was employed at the time by Development Alternatives, Inc., and contracted by USAID, an American government agency.

Gross was subsequently sentenced to 15 years in prison for “crimes against the integrity of the State.” Cuban authorities said he was caught “carrying sophisticated telecommunications equipment prohibited on the island, working for a well-funded, secret USAID program designed to topple the Cuban government.”

Speaking to reporters in Havana following their visit, delegation leader U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee said in a brief statement, “It is in the interests of both our countries to start negotiations, not just talks. It is time for both countries to make a serious commitment to enter into negotiations without preconditions.”

For years, Cuban leader Raul Castro has been trying to persuade the Obama White House to enter negotiations to free the “Cuban Five” — spies who were caught and jailed for espionage in the United States in 1998. Two have already been released, having served their terms. One is serving a double life sentence. President Barack Obama has reportedly shown no inclination to discuss the matter with Cuban officials, and no apparent interest in a swap deal for Alan Gross.

(Likewise Obama has had no interest in discussing a deal to commute the sentence of American-Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard to time served. After having agreed to a plea bargain, Pollard was nevertheless sent to prison on a life term in 1987 on a single count of passing information to an ally. Often jailed under harsh conditions at the prison where he is held in North Carolina he is presently in extremely frail health. Hundreds of appeals to U.S. presidents through the decades have left all unmoved — including Obama, who has been approached by the current Israeli government.)

U.S. Representatives Gregory Meeks (D-NY), Sam Farr (D-CA) and Emanuel Clever (D-MI) also took part in the delegation to Cuba. They met with Alan Gross for 90 minutes, according to the report. The delegation reportedly then met with Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez.

There have been no diplomatic relations between Washington and Havana in more than half a century. But Gross, age 65, has vowed that by the end of this year, he is determined to return home to the United States, either “dead or alive.”

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/us-lawmakers-meet-with-cubas-american-jewish-prisoner-alan-gross/2014/05/06/

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