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July 30, 2016 / 24 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘israeli’

Israeli Leftwing Hooligans Attack Pro-Azaria Rally with Tear Gas

Thursday, July 14th, 2016

A group of extreme leftwing activists who identified themselves as “Antifa,” the Antifaschistische Aktion, a militant extremist extra-parliamentary network in Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark and other countries, whose stated goal is to “smash fascism in all its forms,” on Wednesday night attacked a rally of twelfth-graders and a few adults who were marching in support of the medic Sergeant Elor Azaria [who is on trial for shooting a neutralized terrorist] from the Habima theater to the Kirya, where the IDF headquarters are located. Among the injured in the attack was former MK Dr. Michael Ben-Ari who was evacuated to the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center.

According to a police statement, the rally was attacked near the Kirya area by “five suspects who masked their faces, as one of them sprayed the marchers with tear gas.” The five attackers were eventually apprehended.

Ben Ari told Walla that “at the Sarona plaza we were suddenly attacked by ten leftwingers. They started to yell at us, they came with a megaphone and yelled, ‘Azaria is a murderer’ and attacked us with tear gas. They poured purple paint on my clothes, something acidy, my whole body was burning. I was smashed on the head with a stick. I’m suffering dizziness now. I hope the police will know how to take care of this leftwing hooliganism.”

Ben Ari accused police of incompetence in handling the attack, saying he had alerted them well in advance of the attack, after seeing the masked men approaching. He said police ignored his warnings that a provocation was about to take place.

The Antifa group boasted on its Facebook page Wednesday night: “Fascists who arrived in Tel Aviv to demonstrate support for Elor Azaria, the murdering soldier from Hebron, were received with a traditional antifascist reception. Kahanism is fascism. The army is a murderer. Those who kicked them away did well. And it’s not the first time. It’s interesting to know when will they learn.”

Ben Ari’s Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Might) group released a statement saying the attack Wednesday “crossed a very serious red line. Were the case reversed (meaning if rightwingers had done the spraying) all the knights of the rule of law would have been shocked and demanded police to apply the full wrath of the law to the rioters. We will not stop acting on behalf of releasing the soldier and hooliganism will not win.”

Attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir on Wednesday night appealed to the Attorney General to outlaw the Antifa organization. Ben-Gvir wrote: “There is no doubt that police incompetence regarding the activities of leftwingers is encouraging them to attack and to riot. If these were [rightwing organization] Lehava activists there is no doubt they would have been held in jail until the end of the proceedings.”

Ben-Gvir added, “At a time when the Shabak is investing the bulk of its efforts in locating 15-year-olds who walk around with magic markers writing slogans, it would be appropriate to take action and to outlaw the band of thugs who attack youths wishing to march in support of IDF soldiers.”

JNi.Media

Does The Israeli Family Have A Future? Notes from the Ramle Conference

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

What is the most important challenge facing Israel today? Most of us can recite by heart the usual answers: Terrorism, lack of unity, anti-Semitism. But according to virtually every one of the twenty speakers at last month’s ninth Ramle Conference, the answer appears to be the threats facing the nuclear Jewish family.

Organized by several groups, principally Hotam and Komemiyut, the conference brought together experts from various fields, all of whom had a significant take on the subject. Attendees represented a varied cross-section of the population, from Ramle pensioners to policewomen, as well as National Service girls, social workers, legal experts, a Hesder yeshiva dean, yeshiva students and rabbis, grandmothers, and others.

What are the threats to the family that render the topic so critical? The most immediate threat has apparently been neutralized – for now – but many of the speakers feel the ideology that drove it is still very much in force. The reference is to a proposed drastic change in Israel’s “Parents and Children Law” – and it was only intense lobbying by pro-family activists that prevented the change from being voted on in the Knesset.

The proposal would have stricken the clause defining parents as a child’s legal guardians (authorized to represent the child before the authorities, to decide where the child will live and go to school, etc.), replacing it with one defining a new concept of “parental responsibility” consisting mainly of parents’ obligation to respect and uphold a series of “children’s rights” as defined by the bill. This “parental responsibility” could be limited or obviated by a court, should the authorities decide a parent is not carrying out his or her “parental responsibility” properly.

Social worker Ronit Smadar-Dror, founder of an organization called L’tzidchem (By Your Side), spoke of another threat to normative family life.

“Contrary to common misconception,” she noted, “it is not mainly women who are the victims of male violence but the opposite: In 50 percent of the cases of family violence, both spouses are violent, while in 26 percent of the cases it is the woman who is violent; only in 24 percent is it the man alone who is violent.

“Yet the wrong picture is constantly promoted. The problem with this misrepresentation of reality is that it causes men not to seek help because they know they will be mocked, disbelieved, and/or likely distanced from their families by the police and courts – and thus the families continue to suffer. What is a child to do or feel when he sees his father being victimized, yet is taught everywhere that men are violent?”

Another problem was highlighted by Rabbi Azriel Ariel of Ateret. “In my role as a marriage counselor I see that many couples simply don’t have time for their marriage or to deepen their relationship,” he said. “This requires not only work on their part, but also a public policy change. For instance, the Ministry of Economic Affairs forces its female employees to work full-time – meaning that the government does not allow them to invest in their families. This has to be changed.”

Moderator Aya Kramerman and a panel. Gil Ronen is on the far left.

Moderator Aya Kramerman and a panel. Gil Ronen is on the far left.

Gil Ronen, founder of the Femilistim pro-family organization, posited that the above examples, and others, are driven by nothing less than a Communist agenda, and that feminists in Israel have, wittingly or not, bought into a wide-ranging campaign to destroy the family unit.

“The dialogue in the country has changed, by design: Every flirting or untoward remark is reported as sexual harassment, and men are constantly portrayed as violent, instead of as protective. This is all part of a campaign to change the way we think.”

Predictably, those remarks elicited some strong objections, but Ronen was not deterred. He noted that some weeks ago, the gang assault of a Jewish woman by five foreign workers in Tel Aviv “was barely covered in the press, because it did not fit the agenda… while not long before that, an offensive remark by former MK Yinon Magal at a party [was dragged out in] headlines until Magal finally surrendered to the media charges of ‘sexual harassment’ and resigned.”

Michael Puah, father of 12 and a leader of the Manhigut Yehudit (Jewish Leadership) organization, told the audience that is “unfortunate that the religious-Zionist public does not take part in the struggle on behalf of the family the same way it did against the Oslo agreements. There are forces at work that wish to dismantle the family structure. These forces soon concluded, however, that if they could not beat them they would join them, and instead of destroying the family unit they would just call everything a family: two mothers, two fathers, etc. They are trying to replace the ‘biological family’ with the ‘contractual family,’ so that it can be dismantled at will…”

Rabbi Dr. Eliyahu Zini, former rabbi of the Technion and now the dean of Yeshivat Ohr V’Yeshuah, related a story of a Muslim preacher who “told his flock of worshipers one Friday how dangerous and terrible the Jews are, but then said that in reality, the Jews are really only the agents of our real enemies, the Americans – who want to destroy our family structure.”

“Traditional Jews are therefore in a precarious position,” Rabbi Zini continued, “because we are fighting simultaneously against Western culture and against extremist Islam – and both of them are distorted versions of what we Jews gave the world.”

After the audience digested this point, Rabbi Zini added, “The Western world…believes in only one thing: the individual. But this is poison to our belief system, which believes in the community and family structures…”

One of the conference’s two panel discussions dealt with the matter of work environments vis-à-vis the family unit. Rabbi Ariel agreed with some of the other speakers that the danger of extramarital relationships is enhanced in mixed-gender workplaces:

“Great caution is required. It must be remembered that while work is an important value, it is not an obligation – whereas adultery is a capital crime. One goes to work to support his family, and he must be careful that he does not do the opposite – causing the collapse of his family by what he does at work.”

The rabbi enumerated some guidelines, drawing nods of agreement in the audience but not necessarily on the panel. Police Brig.-Gen. Yael Idelman, who has served for three years as the Israel Police Department’s first adviser on women’s affairs, said she could not accept this approach:

“When I agreed to sit on this panel, I had no idea we would be talking about things like separation between men and women and the like. I view my role as creating the conditions to bring about equal opportunities for women serving on the police force, and to thus bring out their abilities – and I believe that we have done this successfully. Regarding marital infidelity and the like, this can happen anywhere, not just in the police force, and it is up to each individual.”

Asked why male and female police officers serve together on night shifts, she said, “This is how it must be, because they sometimes have to deal with women who will only open up to a policewoman.” The questioner was not satisfied with the response, saying afterward, “The police department just recently experienced a rash of sexual harassment cases on the part of senior police officers, and yet they continue on as if nothing ever happened.”

MK Betzalel Smotrich (Jewish Home) presented a general approach of “thinking positively” and doing what we can now to avoid problems later: “If we see that the divorce rates are very high, let us provide government-subsidized pre-marital counseling. If we want to encourage large families, how about subsidizing larger cars for those with four or five children or more?”

Rabbi Menachem Burstein, head of the Puah Institute, which works with couples who have fertility problems, urged that every teen register with a genetic testing service to prevent genetic diseases and strongly recommended that unmarried women over the age of 30 undergo a relatively new process to freeze egg cells, which can later be fertilized by their husbands and transferred to the uterus as embryos.

Demographer Yaakov Feitelson, who served as the first mayor of the Shomron city of Ariel over 30 years ago, presented encouraging statistics and charts showing that Israel’s Jewish population growth is positive in comparison not only with the rest of the world but also with its Arab population.

In terms of average first-marriage age, Israel is in second place in the 41-member OECD; first-marriages in Sweden, Iceland and Chile, for example, typically take place when the bride and groom are in their mid-30s – eight years older than in Israel. Similarly, Jewish fertility rates are climbing while the Arab numbers are slumping, and equality has nearly been reached.

Feitelson, who is not outwardly religiously observant, says he is in favor of ending the compulsory military draft of women, for three reasons: “It will help the country economically if they can go out to work earlier, religious men will have no reason not to serve, and it will lower marriage age and increase Jewish population growth.”

Highlighting the optimism of those fighting the battle on behalf of the nuclear family in Israel, conference organizers awarded plaques of recognition to two Israeli organizations for their success in imbuing and preserving family values: Internet Rimon, which filters out unacceptable Internet sites and content, thus enabling families to use the Internet without fear, and Binyan Shalem, whose annual three-day seminar is attended by thousands of men and women, with many dozens of classes on topics related to the Jewish family and its values.

“It all started in a living room one day several years ago,” said the Binyan Shalem representative accepting the award, “which shows us how much can be done simply with patience, perseverance, and the desire to do good.”

Hillel Fendel

The Real Threat to Israeli Democracy

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

{Originally posted to the Commentary Magazine website}

After a year of talking about it, the Knesset has finally passed a watered-down version of its controversial NGO law. The vote has unleashed a torrent of criticism from left-wing critics of the Netanyahu government, defenders of the NGO’s who are targeted by the bill, and the European governments whose funding of these groups is at the heart of the controversy. For its supporters, the bill is a long overdue attempt to expose an ill-intentioned effort to undermine Israeli self-defense and back Palestinian attacks on the Jewish state. Opponents consider it a blow to Israeli democracy and an attempt to suppress dissent. But for all of the hot air and ink expended on this topic, the truth is that it is really neither.

What exactly does the bill that finally passed the Knesset do? The short answer to that is not much. The sum total of its impact on affected groups is to marginally increase requirements about transparency. Non-profit groups that receive more than half of their funding from foreign governments must now include a disclaimer of the sources of their support in all communications much like the warnings on cigarette packs. That’s it. In the end, a much-criticized provision of one of its original drafts that would have required representatives of such groups to wear an ID badge noting their status (something that is required on Capitol Hill and most state legislatures in the U.S.) was dropped. They aren’t prevented from receiving such funds and their activities are not in any way restricted.

All of which is to say that the effort expended on debating the bill seems like a tremendous waste of time for both sides. But it would be wrong to merely dismiss the topic as much ado about nothing. The issue isn’t a meaningless bill but how one feels about foreign-funded left-wing groups that work to oppose Israel’s presence in Jerusalem and the West Bank as well as to buttress Palestinian claims of ill treatment at the hand of the Jewish state. The issue here is democracy but not the right-wing conspiracy to suppress dissent alleged by the left. Rather, it is an understandable backlash from the center-right majority about the efforts of the Israeli left to leverage foreign backing in order to make up for the fact that it has been marginalized at home.

Of the 27 groups that would be affected by it, 25 are left-wing advocacy groups. But many more groups supported by the political right are not touched by it because they get their foreign funding from private donors or foundations. The modern Jewish state was built in large measure on foreign donations largely raised by Diaspora Jews for philanthropies like the Jewish National Fund. As J.J. Goldberg also notes in the Forward, there is also nothing unusual foreign governments funding NGOs. The U.S. and other Western governments have been supporting NGOs around the world that promote cultural exchanges and democracy ever since World War II. So what’s the real issue here?

The problem with the NGOs in question is that, unlike the sorts of groups that get U.S. funding in Eastern Europe or Asia, the Israeli left is not really interested in promoting democracy. Their basic goal is to delegitimize the Jewish presence in parts of the country and to undermine the efforts of the government and the army to keep tabs on and to suppress Palestinian terrorism. The funding they get from the European Union and other largely hostile foreign governments is not about making Israel more democratic. It’s about building support for pressure on Israel to make concessions to the Palestinians, to undermine its claims to disputed territory and to handicap its counter-terrorism work, as the support for the anti-Israel Defense Forces group called Breaking the Silence attests.

Israelis are free to support those positions and some do. But their problem is that while the majority of Israelis may not be happy with the current stalemate with the Palestinians, they also view Western pressure to force their country into more suicidal territorial retreats as unreasonable and unfair given the intransigent nature of the Palestinian Authority and its Hamas rivals. Moreover, they view groups like Breaking the Silence and others like them as crossing the line between loyal opposition into sympathy for their country’s avowed enemies. They also keep electing Benjamin Netanyahu and his coalition partners and have relegated left-wing parties that sympathize with the NGOs to marginal status. So the left must rely on foreign governments rather than Israelis or even Diaspora Jewish donors to keep their groups going. If most Israelis, including the majority that elected the current government as well as some opposition parties that are equally hostile to groups like Breaking the Silence, resent such efforts, who can blame them?

So while the NGO bill does nothing, the arguments about foreign funding are about something important: respecting democracy. Right-wingers who obsess about foreign involvement in Israel’s affairs are a bit hypocritical since their side also benefits from money raised elsewhere. But the Israeli left needs to stop looking abroad for support they can’t find at home. They should concentrate their efforts on persuading Israelis, not the EU, to back their positions. Until they do, they will remain a permanent and increasingly unpopular minority. And that is something that no legislation can save them from.

Jonathan S. Tobin

Report: Israeli Drones Attack Sinai Terrorists with Egypt’s Approval

Monday, July 11th, 2016

A former senior Israel official who spoke on condition of anonymity said that his country has conducted numerous drone attacks on Islamist terrorists in the Sinai in recent years, with Egypt’s blessing, Bloomberg reported Monday.

Terrorist activities in the Sinai have increased sharply since the ouster of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak in 2011. The terrorist group Ansar Bayit al-Maqdes, which is active in the Sinia, has pledged allegiance to ISIS a year ago and has been targeting Egyptian security forces in the northern Sinai.

Israel has been claiming for some time that Hamas supports the Sinai ISIS terrorists, and that Gaza hospitals provide medical care for wounded terrorists smuggled into Gaza through underground tunnels.

The IDF has said in the past that it’s “only a matter of time” before Sinai based terrorists strike at Israel, which is why it has become involved in denying them increased capabilities.

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has acted with a vengeance against the Gazan’s ability to smuggle goods into the Sinai, destroying and flooding hundreds of tunnels, Bloomberg reported, adding that Israel has responded to El-Sisi with financial gestures and, according to the Israeli military’s deputy chief of staff Major-General Yair Golan, increased intelligence-sharing.

“The level of cooperation is something we’ve never experienced before,” Golan said. “It’s not about love, it’s not about common values. I wouldn’t describe it as the relationship we have with the United States of America, but I think it’s a good starting point.”

David Israel

Baylor University Group Helps Unearth Ancient Mosaics, Coins, in Israeli Synagogue Ruins

Monday, July 11th, 2016

Ancient mosaics depicting Noah’s ark and the parting of the Red Sea have been discovered by university scholars and students excavating a synagogue in Israel that dates to the fifth century.

They also have uncovered coins spanning 2,300 years, says Nathan Elkins, Ph.D., an assistant professor of art history in Baylor University’s College of Arts & Sciences, Waco, Texas. He specializes in the study of coins and serves as numismatist at the site in a former village called Huqoq.

“The ancient coins . . . are critical for our knowledge of the monumental synagogue and the associated village,” Elkins, a member of a team of staff and students from Baylor, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Brigham Young University and the University of Toronto.

The mosaics decorate the floor of a synagogue that dates to the time when the area was ruled by the Roman Empire and when Christianity had become the empire’s official religion. The mosaics show an ark and pairs of animals including elephants, leopards, donkeys, snakes, bears, lions, ostriches, camels, sheep and goats.

The images also portray Pharaoh’s soldiers being swallowed by large fish, surrounded by overturned chariots with horses and chariot drivers.

Donkeys in Noah’s ark mosaic, Huqoq. / Courtesy

Donkeys in Noah’s ark mosaic, Huqoq. / Courtesy

Excavations have continued in the synagogue every summer since the first mosaics were found in 2012. Since then, mosaics depicting Samson and the foxes (as related in the Bible’s Judges 15:4), Samson carrying the gate of Gaza on his shoulders (Judges 16:3), and a scene containing a Hebrew inscription surrounded by human figures, animals and mythological creatures have been uncovered.

The first non-biblical mosaic found in an ancient synagogue also was discovered at Huqoq, showing the legendary meeting between Alexander the Great and the Jewish high priest.

The mosaics have been removed from the site for conservation, and the excavated areas have been backfilled. Financial support for the 2016 excavations was provided by the National Geographic Society and the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture.

Excavations are scheduled to continue in the summer of 2017. For information and updates about the site and excavation, visit www.Huqoq.org.

Nathan Elkins, Ph.D. / Courtesy

Nathan Elkins, Ph.D. / Courtesy

In addition to working with the excavation, Elkins has advocated for protecting ancient coins from looting and smuggling. He recently spoke at the Public Hearing of the Cultural Property Advisory Committee at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, DC He urged that the Memoranda of Understanding be renewed to prevent thefts of undocumented ancient coins and antiquities from Greece into the United States.

JNi.Media

Israeli Security Captures Shechem Cell of Arms Manufacturers and Dealers that Includes PA Officers

Monday, July 11th, 2016

A collaborative effort of the Shabak, IDF special forces unit Duvdevan and Israel Samaria police on Sunday night captured a cell of manufacturers and dealers of improvised weapons in Oreef Village near Shechem. The operation netted various types of improvised weapons, and four Lathes that were used to make the weapons.

The home-made weapons made in the Oreef facility were being sold in other parts of Judea and Samaria, and included Carlo (a simplified version of the Swedish Carl Gustav submachine-gun), the originally US-made M-16 rifles, and Uzis.

Four Lathes were captured

Four Lathes were captured

Security forces believe the four cell members, ages 24 to 46, collaborated with Israeli weapons dealers. Two of the arrested cell members, Assam Najam Sharif Safadi, 39, and Ali Najah Sharif Safadi, 41, are also members of the Palestinian Authority Intelligence Services.

Al Monitor columnist Shlomi Eldar cited a PA Arab source who told him, “You don’t need a lot of imagination, professional skill or resources to manufacture the Carlo. All you need is a piece of pipe. With a lathe, you can convert it into the barrel, chamber and firing pin of a rifle.”

Home-made handgun

Home-made handgun

There are two prototypes of the Carlo, one with a short barrel, the other with a long barrel, selling for between $770 and $4,400, depending on the reputation of the gun maker. Eldar cited another Arab source who told him that “a few hundred of these rifles are making the rounds in the territories,” and “can be found in quite a few homes, mainly for self-defense, but also just to boost people’s egos. In our society, if you don’t have a gun, you don’t count, and that’s especially true in the refugee camps. Even an old, unreliable Carlo is better than nothing.”

David Israel

Housing Ministry to Ease Requirements for Foreign Companies Building in Israel

Monday, July 11th, 2016

Minister of Construction and Housing Yoav Galant has called on foreign construction companies to build in Israel new housing compounds of 1,000 units and more, in collaboration with local companies, and the Ministry of Housing will ease the requirements for the foreign builders’ integration in the Israeli market, Yediot Aharonot reported Monday. Some of the eased conditions are: the requirement for a company’s annual business cycle was lowered from $500 million to $300 million; the requirement to prove the minimum volume of construction will be spread over five rather than three years.; and building for housing only will be expanded to include proposals for office space construction.

The companies will be required to show that they’ve built at least one 25-story or two 15-story towers outside their own home country.

Dozens of foreign construction companies have already responded with interest to the call, including builders from China, Turkey, the US, Canada, and several European outfits. The Housing ministry plans to accept only two companies from the same country.

“One of the main areas of economic activity in the State of Israel is the construction industry, whose importance is reflected in its significant scope, investments and accumulated capital,” Minister Galant wrote in his ministry’s report, Israel Housing Market Emerging Opportunities, May 2016. “The industrialization and productivity levels in this area are relatively low compared to other sectors of the Israeli economy and worldwide. As a growing state, with one of the highest rates of population growth in the developed world, increasing housing construction capacity is of crucial importance, both as an answer to an immediate need for new homes as well as a contributing factor to the growth of the Israeli economy.”

“The key factor for resolving the housing crisis is a conceptual change in the planning process, the land development and the construction methods. A fundamental change is required, which, at the end of the process, will enable the entire population of the State of Israel to obtain appropriate housing solutions within a reasonable time and at reasonable prices,” Galant wrote.

But Roni Brick of the Israel Builders Association told Yediot that flooding the Israeli construction industry with foreign competition is not the right way to increase production, and that what the field needs desperately is an infusion of foreign labor, not foreign companies.

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/israeli-housing-ministry-to-ease-requirements-for-foreign-companies-building-in-israel/2016/07/11/

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