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May 5, 2016 / 27 Nisan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Israel’

Does an ISIS Affiliate Have Chemical Weapons on Israel’s Syrian Border?

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

By Jonathan Benedek/TPS

Israel is currently investigating the possibility that the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade, an ISIS-affiliated group fighting in Syria’s civil war in the southern Golan Heights region, possesses chemical weapons, according to a report by Israel’s Channel 10.

Israel’s concern is largely based on reported chemical weapons attacks by ISIS in eastern Syria and western Iraq, two regions where the border is porous between both countries. However, there is also some concern that the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade might have also been able to get hold of remnants from the Syrian government’s chemical weapons arsenal.

The Syrian government had agreed to relinquish its chemical weapons as part of an arrangement initiated by Russia in September of 2013. In return, the US agreed to abort a potential strike against Syria in response to a chemical weapons attack by regime forces a month earlier.

There is speculation that the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade intends to conduct tests with tactical chemical weapons such as artillery shells with mustard gas.

The Yarmouk Martyrs Brigades continues to concentrate its focus on fighting with the other rebel groups in the surrounding areas, including the Al-Qaeda Syrian affiliate Al-Nusra Front.

However, the prospect of an ISIS affiliate possessing weapons on the Syrian-Israeli border is no doubt concerning to Israel’s defense establishment, which reportedly intends to prepare for the possibility that the group will shift its attention towards Israel.

ISIS has repeatedly threatened to attack Israel. In a menacing video released in October, a masked ISIS fighter speaking fluent Hebrew warns that the terror attacks Israel has suffered from the Palestinians will be “child’s play” compared with what ISIS is planning, and that “not one Jew will remain in Jerusalem or the entire country.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Report: Israel McDonalds Offering Passover Meals in Leavened Restaurants

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

The owners of the fast food chain McDonalds’ Israeli concession have been selling on the week of the holiday “Passover Meals” which website Kikar Hashabbat claims are simply not so, thus apparently misleading customers who believe their restaurants have been cleaned for Passover.

Cleaning a restaurant (or any kitchen) for Passover requires a thorough removal of all traces of leavened substances in the manner by which they had been absorbed — so that stoves and ovens must be scrubbed and then fired, metal utensils dipped in boiling water, wood utensils and clay vessels removed completely and replaced, and preparation surfaces made from marble or wood completely covered — and that’s the bare minimum required to make a kitchen “kosher l’Pesach.”

Instead, according to Kikar Hashabbat, McDonalds is selling its customers hamburgers in unleavened buns, using their year-round utensils and vessels, in spaces that have not been cleaned for Passover. In other words, the chain is apparently serving meals which aren’t kosher for Passover to clients who believe they are in keeping with Jewish law. In addition, the chain offers its year-round condiments, declaring that they are not kosher for Passover, and letting the customer decide whether or not to use them.

That last part would suggest that the average McDonalds customer is not really expecting a kosher meal, and the entire presentation is a legal fiction intended to allow the chain to operate on Chol Hamoed (intermediary days) Pesach without violating Israel’s Chametz Law, which prohibits selling leavened products in public during the seven-day holiday. Most Israeli non-kosher restaurants, especially in the more secular-leaning cities, simply ignore the law, and Israeli Jews who want to can get their pizza and falafel in pita on Passover, too. McDonalds might be too big to fail, so to speak, and cannot risk violating state law.

The chain issued a statement saying it runs two kinds of restaurants on Passover: those which are marked in blue have actually been kashered by rabbis and are, indeed, kosher for Passover. The other restaurants have merely switched to buns made from potato flour and to chicken from kosher for Passover plants, and all those good are turned thoroughly chametz on the customer’s plate.

It should be noted that while year-round kashrut requires a minimum portion of non-kosher ingredients to declare a food un-kosher, the Passover requirements are absolutist and forbid any presence whatsoever of leavened food.

JNi.Media

France Snubbed Israeli Offer of Advanced Counter Terror Technology

Tuesday, April 26th, 2016

Nearly a year before Da’esh (ISIS) terrorists tore apart a beautiful Paris night, an Israeli company offered terrorist tracking software to France.

It was just after the January 2015 slaughter by a dual Da’esh (ISIS) and Al Qaeda terrorist cells at the Paris offices of the satiric Charlie Hebdo magazine, where 12 people were killed, and the Jewish Hyper Cacher kosher market, just before the start of the Sabbath, where four people died.

Nearly a year prior, four people died at the Jewish Museum of Brussels in a similar attack, also by a Da’esh (ISIS) terrorist with French citizenship.

The advanced technology could have allowed French security officials pick up the signals that would have red-flagged the terrorists who murdered 130 people and wounded 368 more on November 13, 2015.  It was only last month that the mastermind of that attack was finally tracked down and caught.

According to a report this week on the U.S.-based Fox News network, the data-mining technology would have helped French authorities “connect all the dots” in the Islamist extremist community, because it works by analyzing and matching up fragmented intelligence reports from several different national and international databases. The software then provides the most up-to-date information available on potential terrorists for its clients, such as counter terrorism agents.

The offer was made to the Directorate-General for Internal Security (DGSI) of France, the country’s main intelligence agency, in accordance with a pledge made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to work closely with Europe on enhancing security following attacks in France and Brussels. In Israel, that was seen as a call to share intelligence and technology.

“In Paris or Brussels or San Bernardino or Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, terror must be condemned equally and it must be fought equally,” Netanyahu warned at the time.

But Israel’s offer was rejected.

An Israeli counter terror specialist familiar with the technology and the company told FoxNews.com, “French authorities liked it but the official came back and said there was a higher-level instruction not to buy Israeli technology.

“The discussion just stopped.”

Instead, Da’esh (ISIS) terrorists carried out a series of eight attacks terror attacks, including several suicide bombings, on November 13, 2015, in central Paris. President Francois Hollande called the attacks an “act of war” by ISIS. They were planned in Syria, organized in Belgium and carried out with help from citizens of France. All of the known attackers were EU citizens who had fought with Da’esh in Syria.

The European Union is now paying the price for its unswerving commitment to uphold the “rights” of the Palestinian Authority, right or wrong, against Israel even at the cost of its own security. The EU has been directly involved in the funding and construction of infrastructure, homes and schools by Palestinian Authority Arabs on Israeli-controlled land in Area C under the Oslo Accords, despite its illegality. The EU has also been supportive of a boycott against Israeli-produced goods, even going so far as to issue guidelines urging its member states to label products manufactured in post-1967 Jewish communities as non-Israeli, regardless of the citizenship of the producers.

The European Union has just barely avoided an outright stance supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

France complied – it obviously agreed with the stance, nor is President Hollande’s dislike for Prime Minister Netanyahu any national secret – and the bill has now come due for French hatred at the top.

The British Labour Party is similarly afflicted with rampant anti-Semitism. What price will the UK end up paying for its love of Arab hatred?

Hana Levi Julian

InterNations Report: Israel Fourth Best Place to Raise your Children

Tuesday, April 26th, 2016

According to the InterNations survey’s Family Life Index, in a roundup of the world’s 41 top countries to raise a family in, the best three countries are Austria, Finland, and Sweden. And right behind those wealthy, industrialized European nests of socialized everything and the baskets of goodies from the nanny state, in fourth place, you’ll find a country that’s been fighting for its life for almost 70 years, with a huge security budget, supposedly enormous gaps between rich and poor, and ceaseless ethnic strife — and there, according to the survey’s criteria, is the fourth best place on the planet to raise your children. Go figure.

For comparison — the UK came in at 22nd place. The US in 25th place. France in eighth. New Zealand came fifth. Saudi Arabia is in 41st place, so, in case you were planning to go raise your kids in the Kingdom, we can advise you, based on these findings — don’t.

After the success of InterNations’ first Expat survey in 2014, the second annual survey report involved 14,400 expatriate respondents, in one of the biggest topical surveys worldwide. The information benefits mainly the group’s 1.8 million members, who are interested in moving, living, and working abroad. By providing insights into expat life in 64 countries, from Argentina to Vietnam, the report is a valuable resource for people seeking temporary or long-term relocation.

The Expat Insider survey included questions on demographics, basic facts about moving abroad, and daily life in the respective country. The questionnaire especially emphasized individual satisfaction with various aspects of expat living. Survey participants cover a variety of people from 170 countries of origin and all kinds of backgrounds. The section regarding the “family life index” evaluates the best places to raise children, based on three categories:

Availability of Childcare and Education — Israel was ranked 4th, behind Austria, Finland and Sweden. The US ranked 12th, France 13th, the UK an abysmal 24th.

Cost of Childcare and Education — there Israel was ranked 13th, with Sweden, Austria, Finland and Denmark at the top of the list for state-paid education for everyone. France was ranked 8th, the US 37th, right behind the United Arab Emirate, and the UK was in 31st place.

Quality of Education — OK, Israel was ranked only 16th on that one, which could, to be honest, bring into question the entire celebration we’ve been having here. So, it’s available and it’s relatively cheap, but maybe you get what you pay for? Finland, Austria and Singapore—where they cane you for spitting on the sidewalk—lead the bunch, with Kenya, surprisingly, in 7th place (it’s where US presidents get their diplomas, after all). The UK is in 9th place (which is still behind Kenya), France is 11th, the US is 25th. ‘Nuff said.

Finally, there’s the category of Family Well-Being — Israel is ranked 3rd on that one, behind Australia and Austria. Because, let’s face it, Israel is essentially one big family, occasionally happy. The US is 16th (better than we expected, to be honest), Sweden is 10th (on account of the suicides and those truly depressing movies), The UK is in 21st place, and France in 24th.

So the result of the survey, in terms of recommendations to Jews wishing to move abroad with their families, has to be Israel, because, let’s face it, if you’re making the move because you fear the growing anti-Semitism in your country, are you really going to move to Austria or Sweden?

JNi.Media

Robots, Drones, Bionic Men Descend on Jerusalem During International Tech Fair

Tuesday, April 26th, 2016

By Michael Zeff/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – Geek Picnic, the largest pop-science, tech, and arts festival in Eastern Europe, opened its gates to the Israeli public on Monday, molding science, fantasy, and entertainment together for the first time outside Europe.

As soon as visitors entered the open-air venue at Jerusalem’s Sacher Park, they were greeted by a towering robotic dragon breathing fire, flailing its tale, and attempting to take flight. The only thing perhaps more surprising than the outlandish greeting was the fact that the dragon was operated by a small child.

“Our dragon has been featured in the American and English robotic-fight shows; he is quite popular and friendly. Children always line up for a chance to ‘drive’ it with our help,” Anastasia Shamina, a student from the Moscow Art-Industrial Institute told Tazpit Press Service (TPS).

The Students of the Moscow Art-Industrial Institute have built the robotic dragon using machinery, scrap metal, and parts from a Soviet era Sukhoi fighter jet.

The mechanical dragon was just one of over 150 attractions offered by the festival and appealing to children and adults alike. “While my teenage son is hanging out at the gaming tent, my wife is with the younger ones chasing robots around the park and I am heading to the next drone race,” David Ezra from Haifa told TPS.

Other attractions included high speed drone races, Steampunk art workshops, a Makers’ Market, and off course exhibitions showcasing the latest innovations in the world of technology and applied science. Anything that is geek chic – from robotics to space, science and science fiction, 3d printing, VR, tech breakthroughs, scientific research and the latest and innovations – was open for all to see.

“The Picnic started out in Russia in 2011 as a small gathering of friends just sitting around drinking beer and talking about technology and science-fiction experiments,” Alex Tomkevic, one of the Russian founders of the festival recounted to TPS. “By 2013, it became a big festival and we started selling tickets. It became a major summer event and now we are taking it to an international level.”

Two of the major attractions by the Russian originators were an outdoor man-made lightning show produced from large tesla coils and a giant mechanical arm capable of picking up and crushing a large car. The mechanical arm was operated by attendees of the show with a glove worn on their hand.

Tomkevich explained that Israel and Jerusalem in particular were chosen for the event because “Israel is a startup nation and you can see it here. Jerusalem is a mix of spirituality, history, and technology. In Tel Aviv it would have just been ‘okay,’ but having the festival in Jerusalem has a ‘Wow’ effect.”

The founders of the Geek Picnic found Israel to be not only a unique venue but also to be the source of much of the festival’s talent and attractions. According to Uri Aviv, the festival’s content manager, almost two thirds of the technology featured at the festival is made in Israel by Israelis.

“The Russian producers were very impressed by Israelinology, participants their creativity, and innovation. After this edition of the festival is over, Israelis taking part in the Geek Picnic will go on to Russia in July and present at other places around the world where the Geek Picnic is held,” Carmi Wurtman, the Israeli entrepreneur responsible for bringing behind the Geek Picnic to Jerusalem, told TPS.

“We have a lot of presenters here carefully selected from Israel’s many startups. The picnic features 3D printing, virtual reality and wearable technology all created by young Israeli minds. Our chief academic partner is the Hebrew University of Jerusalem,” Aviv explained.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Birkat Cohanim

Monday, April 25th, 2016

Birkat Cohanim

Photo of the Day

Thousands of Kohanim Gather at Western Wall to Bless the People of Israel

Monday, April 25th, 2016

On the second morning on the intermediate days of Passover, tens of thousands of descendants of the Biblical Aharon, the High Priest, gathered at the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem to bless the Nation of Israel.

Thousands more came to be blessed, and millions around the world viewed the events via the “Kotel Kam” that was set up to allow yearning Jewish worshipers at least virtual access to the site.

As in the days of old, so too in present times, the descendants of the Tribe of Levi gather during each of the Biblical holy days and festivals at the material remnant of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem to bless the Jewish People.

The event is called ‘Birkat HaKohanim’ – the Blessing of the Priests – and it takes place several times a year.

A live feed of the events taking place throughout the day at the Western Wall may be viewed by clicking here.

This year more than 3,000 police and other security officers have been deployed in and around the area to ensure the safety of those who came to be blessed, and later on, to pray.

“Security forces and the Police and Border Guard officers around the city, including the Temple Mount (ed. note.: adjacent to the Western Wall) are there to manage with professionalism and sensitivity [the protection] that characterizes the uniqueness of the place and the need to serve the public in a fair and equal basis,” explained the police.

“We will continue to guard the status quo on the Temple Mount to benefit all and to act decisively against anyone who tries to disturb the public peace and safety.”

On the second day of Passover — in Israel, the first intermediate day — 12 Jews were ejected from visitation to the Temple Mount grounds after being accused of violating the rules at the site.

One Jewish boy was questioned by police on suspicion of having prayed within the Temple Mount compound, which is forbidden for Jews under the rules of the status quo guidelines agreed upon by Israel with the Jordanian Islamic Waqf after Israel won the 1967 Six Day War and restored the site to the rest of Jerusalem.

The Temple Mount — upon which both ancient Jewish Holy Temples were built — is the holiest site in Judaism. It is also the third holiest site in Islam. Several hundred years ago, Muslims build two mosques there to mark the sacred events in their tradition that took place on the site.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/thousands-of-kohanim-gather-at-western-wall-to-bless-the-people-of-israel/2016/04/25/

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