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February 9, 2016 / 30 Shevat, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Israel’

Iran’s Holocaust Denial Film Strikes Deep Chord

Thursday, January 28th, 2016

Iran’s Supreme Leader is once again working hard to incite the haters of the world against global Jewry.

On the day the United Nations marked for commemoration of the world’s worst genocide, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei uploaded a three-minute, English-subtitled video denying the Holocaust to his website called “Are the Dark Ages Over?”

The film features audio of a March 2014 speech during which Khamenei claimed that “No one is European countries dares to speak about the Holocaust, while it is not clear whether the core of this matter is reality or not.

“Even if it is reality, it is not clear how it happened.”  Images of infamous British Holocaust denier David Irving and others are featured in the film.

In June, Iran has announced a contest for satirical cartoons relating to the Holocaust as part of the Teheran International Cartoon Biennial. The winner is to be awarded a prize of $50,000 – a sum four times that of the previous year.

Last year, Iran announced a similar Holocaust denial cartoon exhibit just days before the Al Qaeda/Da’esh terrorist attack on the offices of the Charlie Hebdo satire magazine in Paris.

Israeli officials and Knesset members expressed their disappointment with France and Italy for inviting and hosting Iranian President Hassan Rouhani – of all people – to visit on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

“We all learned yesterday that the president of Iran, who we thought was a cruel and insensitive man who holds Holocaust denial exhibits, is actually such a sensitive person that the statues in Rome were covered in his honor, so as not to offend him,” Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein noted with sarcasm from the podium.

U.S. President Barack Obama was also blunt about the rising anti-Semitism around the world Wednesday in his speech at the Israel Embassy in Washington DC.

Obama declared that it would be necessary for American to take the lead in fighting the phenomenon. “We must confront the reality that around the world, anti-Semitism is on the rise,” Obama said. “We cannot deny it… I’ve made sure that the United States is leading the global fight against anti-Semitism,” he said.

Ira Forman, the US State Department’s special envoy to combat and monitor antisemitism, told JNS.org, “We’re really concerned this contest is used as a platform for Holocaust denial…and antisemitic speech,” Forman told JNS.org.

Yet in Europe, where Rouhani is being welcomed with open arms, at least some government leaders are still awake enough to warn others about what is coming.

Speaking in Brussels Wednesday, European Parliament President Martin Schulz told Jewish and European leaders, “It pains me that in today’s Europe Jews again fear for their lives; that they ask themselves ‘will I be safe going to a synagogue, or a Jewish job? Will my children be safe in a Jewish school… some consider leaving Europe for good because they no longer feel safe.”

It is the responsibility of Europe’s leaders to fight the “demons of anti-Semitism… intolerance” he said. “Some deny the Holocaust ever happened, they try to convince us that the pain and loss inflicted on innocent victims are illusions, are lies. What makes me angry every day is that these people are sitting in the parliament here. The Holocaust deniers are electted to the European parliament.”

At the start of January, following reports of the latest cartoon contest in Iranian media, Israel’s envoy to UNESCO, Carmel Shama-HaCohen wrote to Irina Bokova, director-general of the UN agency, to bring the issue to her attention. “It is time for UNESCO to demand accountability from the Iranian regime with regard to its malicious rhetoric, Holocaust denial and global negative activity.”

Downpour Sinks Another Terror Tunnel, Buries Gaza Diggers Alive

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

While Israelis were welcoming the rain to feed the parched earth — even though it caused power outages and shut down operations throughout the country — Gaza’s water-logged sands became a muddy mass grave for cold, wet Hamas terror tunnel diggers.

Jews pray three times a day for rain to assure the Creator’s promise to give “rain for your land at the proper time, the early rain and the late rain.” Otherwise, God warns He “will close the heavens so that there will be no rain and the earth will not yield its produce…” (Deuteronomy 11:13-21)

It’s more than enough reason to pray, and pray they do. In return, Heaven sent a three-day howler this week that showered down everything with gale-force winds, from snow to sleet to hail to rain, from Metullah and the Golan Heights straight down south to the Negev, and Gaza.

Officials at Israel’s Water Authority were pleased to see that the water level in Lake Kinneret (Israel’s primary source of drinking water) rose three centimeters. Elsewhere around Israel green things began popping up as well.

But there was a holy disaster down south where the water-logged sands of Gaza sank under the weight of the downpour. A second terror tunnel being built in the area of Jabalya collapsed on the hapless diggers who were being forced to continue their labors despite the bad weather.

Numerous local sources confided in tweets on social media that the worsening weather had also caused flooding in nearly all the homes and caravans in the area.

Eight are reported dead so far, three others were dragged out, badly injured. Contact with the Hamas diggers was lost Tuesday night, according to Palestinian Authority media. Their bodies were dragged out from the mud and brought to Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, Walla! News reported.

But the official Gaza government is trying to keep the news of the deaths under wraps. Not even one new announcement of an al-Qassam “wedding” appears on the Hamas military wing’s Iz a-Din al-Qassam website — unlike the death of its lone digger on Saturday. On Sunday, Hamas proudly posted a notice about the death of Mohammed Ashour al-Naj’ar, 31, on the homepage of its military website. “Al Qassam Brigades wed Mukahid Mohammed al-Najjar, who ascended after the collapse of the tunnel for the resistance,” the group announced.

After Tuesday’s cave-in a spokesperson for the Gaza Ministry of Health entirely denied the deaths, saying no bodies were brought to the hospital after the collapse.

Likewise, a security source linked to Hamas told foreign journalists the eight diggers were still missing, according to a report published Wednesday in Lebanon’s Daily Star. “The resistance tunnel collapsed last night due to the weather and flooding,” the source said. “There were 11 resistance men inside. Three of them escaped in the first hour after the accident, but the security operation… continues to search for the eight others.”

It’s important for Hamas to keep its “fighters” building those tunnels. Iran has sent tens of millions of dollars to help rebuild its underground terror tunnel network. This way Hamas and its ally, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad can wage another proxy war against Israel on behalf of Tehran.

 

Who loves you, baby?

Retaliation: El Salvador May Move Israeli Embassy to Ramallah

Sunday, January 17th, 2016

(JNi.media) A severe diplomatic crisis is brewing between Israel and El Salvador, as the latter is not happy with the former’s decision to close down its embassy in San Salvador as part of a decision to eliminate five embassies altogether as a belt-tightening measure, Ynet reported. El Salvador is considering a retaliatory step — moving its embassy from Herzliya Pituach to Ramallah, inside the Palestinian Authority. This may be the most creative—and effective—diplomatic maneuver against the Jewish State this year. It also marks yet another Latin American country with whom the Netanyahu government is feuding (Brazil is another).

The Salvadoran foreign ministry sent Israel a stern message saying the Central American republic was shocked, dismayed and surprised by the proposed step. They were particularly hurt by the fact that they found out about it in the press, rather than receive a proper advance notice through diplomatic channels. There’s more: El Salvador had apparently been so interested in improving relations with Israel, it sent a senior official, the foreign office’s former director Werner Matias Romero, to serve as its new ambassador to Israel to enhance the friendship and cooperation.

The insulted Romero said he was still hoping Israel would reverse the decision, warning that otherwise it would “open a Pandora’s box,” adding, “What Israel has done is bite the friendly hand we extended to her. That’s not a way to treat your friends. This could definitely bolster the element in El Salvador who are opposed to our ties with Israel.”

Romero also reminded his hosts of the fact that El Salvador voted in favor of the 1947 UN Partition Plan; José Castellanos, a Salvadoran diplomat, saved thousands of Jews during the Holocaust—and was recognized by Yad Vashem, and El Salvador even kept its embassy in Jerusalem for a couple of decades—until the second Lebanon war.

According to Ynet, it costs Israel about a million dollars a year to keep each embassy open. This may turn out to be an acceptable cost of doing business, when the alternative is seeing the Salvadoran embassy be consolidated with the Cairo mission, or, even worse, reopening in Ramallah, forcing Israeli visa seekers to armor their cars first before applying.

Israel is also planning to close its embassy in Minsk, to be followed by the closing down of the Belarus mission to Tel Aviv. Now, that’s something that would not have happened while Minister Avigdor Lieberman was in charge.

More Than Three Million Tourists Visited Israel In 2015

Monday, January 11th, 2016

By Michael Bachner/TPS

A total of 3.1 million tourists visited Israel in the year 2015, according to figures released on Monday, January 11 by the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. Additionally, an all-time record was set in the number of Israeli departures abroad with almost six million departures.

The number of tourist arrivals represents a 4% decrease compared to 2014. The number of incoming tourists gradually increased between January and September, but the number plummeted from October to December due to the security situation caused by the upsurge in terror attacks by Palestinians.

“This past year was challenging because we were still recovering from Operation Protective Edge,” Tourism Ministry Spokesperson Anat Shihor-Aronson told Tazpit Press Service (TPS) last week, referring to the Gaza operation in the summer of 2014. “But we were also very successful as we almost reached the numbers we had in 2013.”

The largest number of incoming tourists in 2015 came from the United States with 637,000 arrivals, representing a 2% increase compared to the 2014 statistic.

A total of 415,000 tourists visited from Russia, representing a 25% decrease compared to the previous year. “We have to take into consideration that Russia is facing an economic crisis so we are still increasing our budget in regards to promoting Israel as a Russian tourist destination,” said Shilor-Aronson to TPS.

Other countries serving as the origin for the largest numbers of tourists visiting Israel in 2015 were France, Germany, the UK, Ukraine and Italy, respectively.

Meanwhile, the number of Israelis traveling abroad set an all-time record. A total of 5.9 million departures by Israeli citizens were recorded in 2015, representing an increase of 15% compared to 2014. More than a quarter of all departures were made during the summer months of July and August.

More than 3 million Israeli citizens traveled abroad during the year, representing a 12% increase over the previous year with 1.2 million of them departing the country more than once.

The CBS estimated the sharp increase in the number of departures to be a result of the introduction of low-cost flights in Israel and a result of the high value of the Israeli currency (the shekel) compared to the US dollar and the Euro.

Millions of Jews Inciting Muslims by Praying for Rebuilding Holy Temple

Wednesday, December 30th, 2015

This is a blog post by Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

From the Muslim point of view, millions of Jews are inciting Mohammed’s followers by praying every day that the Holy Temple be rebuilt.

Arab media have made it a daily ritual, almost a prayer, to charge that the Israeli government and Jews visiting the Temple Mount are really plotting to rebuild the destroyed Temple.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has taken a tough stand against Jews who even try to utter a prayer on the Temple Mount, which boils the blood of Muslims who respond with violence, which nevertheless their clerics preach from Temple Mount mosques.

Perhaps the Obama administration is not aware of it, but millions of Jews, including those from the Conservative stream of Judaism, pray every day for rebuilding the Temple.

Arab media occasionally refer to the prayers as proof of the “plot” to destroy the Al Aqsa mosque by archaeological excavations that supposedly are carried out in order to weaken the mosque’s foundations and cause the mosque to collapse, if radical Islamic sacrilege don’t beat them to the punch and bring down the house on themselves

The next step, according to the Arab paranoia, is a construction crew entering and building the Third Temple.

Neither the Palestinian Authority nor Jordan, which is the formal “custodian” of the Temple Mount, has stated that worldwide Jewish prayers are incitement, but it may be just a matter of time.

American-Israeli journalist Maayan Jaffe wrote this week for JNS:

[Is] the current Palestinian uprising is solely political?

Not so, says Adnan Abu Amer, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at the National University for Open Education. From his perspective, some worrying trends indicate, ‘we are regressing into a religious war….

‘We are seeing a politicization of religious values – people using religion for political purposes. This is dangerous.’

She also quoted Ofer Zalzberg, senior analyst with the Middle East Program of the International Crisis Group, as noting that “one-fifth of the Likud membership is national religious” and that Jews following “a Messianic, Temple-focused Judaism” believe they are fighting a “holy war.”

Zalzberg stated, “On both sides, eschatological beliefs are being misunderstood, abused and misused” and express concerns about the links between religious and violence.”

He told Jaffe:

What is the link between religion and violence? One is about things that because of your religious beliefs you want or even need them and therefore you would fight for them, use violence, to secure them….

The other is that you have needs or goals that are in fact not driven by religion, but for different reasons, religious leaders use religious discourse to grant them legitimacy. This is part of the dynamics we are seeing in the current escalation of the conflict.

Now that the Israeli government has more or less crushed the idea of Jews praying on the Temple Mount, radical Islamic leaders, whose existence is dependent on violence, may have to turn to universal Jewish prayer to drive their followers into a frenzy.

The traditional Jewish  prayers in the morning service are preceded by reciting Biblical and Talmudic passages about sacrifices, and conclude with the prayer that may it be God’s will that “the Temple should be built speedily in our days.”

If that is not enough to rankle radical Muslims, Jews recite three times a day in the silent “Amidah” prayer:

Return in mercy to Jerusalem Your city and dwell therein as You have promised; speedily establish therein the throne of David Your servant, and rebuild it, soon in our days, as an everlasting edifice. Blessed are You L-rd, who rebuilds Jerusalem…..

MK Michael Oren Visits Gush Etzion Startup Hub that Combines Business with Zionism [video]

Tuesday, December 29th, 2015

Hub Etzion is a new, vibrant and exciting coworking space located in the burgeoning “Industrial Park” nestled in the Gush Etzion hills just across from the town of Efrat, and 5 minutes from almost every community in Gush Etzion. As coworking hubs go, Hub Etzion is pretty standard – even modest. At 3000 sq. feet, it’s quite small compared to the 15000+ sq. feet WeWork locations in Tel Aviv and Herzliyah.

Yet in the mere two months since opening, Hub Etzion has been receiving national – and international attention. Including, a special visit today from MK and Former Israel Ambassador to the US Michael Oren.

Why such inordinate attention? As any real estate agent will tell you, the answer is location, location, location.

While Gush Etzion has been in the news lately as the address for increased terror attacks, and notably the vicious murder of American yeshiva student Ezra Schwartz, z”l one month ago, it is also the home to a large, independent-minded community of Olim, many of whom live in Israel while owning or consulting for companies overseas, from the comfort, or shall we say, the discomfort of home.

Hub Etzion aims to meet this strong and current market need, providing a sophisticated, professional space in which to work for those who telecommute, run their own businesses, work from home or all of the above.

At the same time, the founders of Hub Etzion perceive their business as a response to the ongoing terror attempts – and to BDS.

“Yesterday, I went to a memorial ceremony at Oz V’Gaon Park in memory of Ezra Schwartz, z”l” Hub Etzion co-owner and founder Rachel Moore told JewishPress.com. “Racheli Fraenkel [JP: mother of Naftali Fraenkel one of the three boys kidnapped and murdered last year] spoke and tried to give comfort to Ezra’s family, who had flown in from the US to be with us, here, in Gush Etzion. She spoke about how the Jewish people respond to a culture of death and destruction by celebrating life and rebuilding. We at Hub Etzion believe that the response to BDS is the same; rather than divestment and negative attacks, we need to build up and ‘INvest’; in people, in enterprise, in technology and advancements for all of the residents of Gush Etzion. That is the only way to bring about progress and solutions. We face the current situation – and our ongoing situation by increasing prosperity and success – locally and proudly.”

This approach to the current attacks on Israel, from terrorism to the rhetoric on campuses and in cities around the world, seems to resonate a great deal with thought leaders.

During today’s visit, it was clear that MK Oren already understood the Hub culture, and the need for a coworking space in Gush Etzion.

But what he wanted to talk about was the decision of the Hub – and more importantly the businesses that reside there – to remain in Gush Etzion, clearly, unapologetically.

As the coworkers gathered for a photo opportunity with Oren, he addressed the crowd and said (in Hebrew) “People have been trying to remove the Jewish presence from this area throughout the history of Israel. Those of you working here, this amazing place, Hub Etzion, is as important to the long term success here as the soldiers out there working hard at the junction and checkpoints, protecting us”

Hub Etzion was also called out recently at a new Lobby at the Knesset for Startups and Hubs, started by MKs Yoav Kish and Yoel Hasson. MK Kish, of the Likud Party, specifically mentioned Hub Etzion as an example of the “need for more Hubs and tech eco-systems outside of the mercaz [Tel Aviv] and in the rest of the country.”

Alan Weinkrantz, “Product Ambassador” from Rackspace, the world’s largest provider of managed cloud storage, has also brought international attention to Hub Etzion. In a recent post, he wrote that “It’s interesting to see workspaces and hubs like…Hub Etzion that are no more than 30 minutes from Jerusalem, and dot landscape and the periphery of the Nation’s Capital. These communities and workspaces are sort of like being in Fairfax, VA or Chevy Chase, MD, but with a slightly longer time line that go back to the cradle of civilization.”

Coinciding with MK Michael Oren’s visit, Weinkrantz came to Hub Etzion today for a day of consultations and help for the co-working /start-up community of Gush Etzion. He had an opportunity to personally present MK Oren with a Rackspace poster that points an arrow at Israel as “The Five-Thousand Year Old Startup”.

“We are a private enterprise that is focused on empowering the people and businesses of Gush Etzion and Efrat to thrive and grow.” co-owner Amy Shuter told JewishPress.com. “We have so much more to do. We know that as long as our region is an area of controversy we will garner attention to what we are doing. But we are going to help the next huge idea turn into the next huge startup, right out of our modest Hub. This is only the beginning. We hope that the international attention continues, but for the benefit of the businesses we serve. “

Below is a short excerpt (in English) from what MK Michael Oren said during his visit to Hub Etzion.


Video courtesy: Alan Weinkrantz

The Snowman Cometh

Tuesday, December 29th, 2015

The long-awaited winter storm, first reported by The Jewish Press.com here yesterday, is strengthening and is turning into a more of a monster than first predicted, with snow possible in Jerusalem.

Weather models still are not in agreement on how far south the snow will fall and if it will accumulate, but most models indicate that there will be snow on the ground in the Jerusalem in areas 900 meters high, which includes Neve Daniel in Gush Etzion and Hebron.

Snow is expected in Safed (Tzfat) and other areas in the upper Galilee and possibly in the central Golan Heights. More importantly, there will be rain, and lots of it, with up to four inches in some areas.

The precipitation now is expected to last through Saturday morning.

Very light and occasional rain fell in several areas of Israel Tuesday afternoon, and more will fall on Wednesday, but the serious stuff begins early Thursday morning.

Rain will fall from the north to the northern Negev with isolated thunderstorms, strong winds, and a strong chance of flash floods in the Arava and Dead Sea areas.

The white stuff will cover the Hermon and the upper Golan Heights and spread to higher peaks in the north and central regions.

If any snow accumulates in the Jerusalem area, it won’t be around for very long caucus temperatures are expected to rise on Sunday, although still below the norm for the season.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/the-snowman-cometh/2015/12/29/

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