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April 16, 2014 / 16 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Jerusalem’

Preparations Completed for Priestly Blessing from Jerusalem

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

Rabbis have been busy preparing the traditional Birkat Kohanim, the Blessing of the Priests, set for Thursday.

One of the most moving events in the entire holiday, Jews and Gentiles alike flock to the Western Wall from around the world to be present for the blessing.

The benediction is given solely by Jewish males who are descended from kohanim – those who are in the patriarchal line from members of the priestly class dating all the way back to the time of the ancient Holy Temples. Those who recite the blessing cover themselves (and any children they may have with them) with their prayer shawls, spreading out the shawl in such a way so that they are unseen by others as they recite the benediction.

The blessing at the Western Wall is recited during the morning service by thousands of Kohanim during Chol Hamoed, the intermediate days of the festival of Passover. It is also recited during the intermediate days of the festival of Sukkot.

Hundreds of thousands of Jews come to visit and pray at the Western Wall in the Old City in Jerusalem during this holiday, and many arrive only for the purpose of being present to receive this special blessing.

A Third Intifada to Begin at the Temple Mount?

Monday, April 14th, 2014

Once again, on the eve of a major Jewish holiday, Israel Police have  closed access for Jews and Christians to the Temple Mount due to intelligence “there would be disturbances” if Jews were allowed to ascend to the site.

Hundreds of tourists who flocked to the site on Monday were turned away due to violence spawned by Muslim rioters the previous day.

Police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld told The Jewish Press in a telephone interview Monday morning, “Police officials made the decision to close access to the site based on information there would be disturbances similar to those that occurred yesterday, and which caused injuries to two police officers. As a result, access to the site was restricted solely to Muslim men age 50 and above, and to Muslim women of all ages.”

Asked whether Muslim women had never caused any disturbances at the Temple Mount – which they have on numerous occasions — Rosenfeld responded: “Muslim women do not pose any problem for Israel Police. It is Muslim men under age 50 who are the most dangerous to the general population and to police officers during disturbances at the site.”

On Sunday police closed the Temple Mount to visitors — but not to Muslim worshipers — after Muslim rioters hurled rocks and firebombs (Molotov cocktails) at police officers posted at the Mughrabi Gate near the Western Wall Plaza.

Two Israel Police officers were injured in the riot which started when the site was opened to visitors.

Rosenfeld claimed he had “no idea what [you] are talking about” when asked about a report posted on the Arutz Sheva website describing a virtual takeover of the Temple Mount by “dozens of Hamas men… waving Hamas flags and ‘not allowing Jews and tourists into the Mount.’

The site has always been a flash point of contention between Jews and Muslims. There is no holier site in the Jewish faith, and it ranks third in importance in Islam.

The Temple Mount encompasses the Western Wall – the last remnant of the Holy Temple, the western retaining wall of the Temple Mount. It is the wall that was the closest to the Holy of Holies when the Holy Temple once stood in Jerusalem.

In Judaism, the Temple Mount is also known as Mount Moriah, which according to Jewish tradition is the place where the creation of the world began from the Foundation Stone at the peak of the mountain, and is where Adam, the first human being, was created.

It is also the site where the Biblical patriarch Abraham was commanded to prepare his son Isaac for sacrifice, (by the way, the Muslims believe it is Ishmael who was nearly sacrificed) and where the binding of Isaac – the Foundation Stone – took place. The Holy of Holies, around which both the First and Second Holy Temples were built, is set around the Foundation Stone.

Known to the Muslims as Haram al-Sharif, the Temple Mount site is believed to be that from which Islam’s prophet Mohammed ascended to heaven to speak with God about the details of prayer rituals after a night-long journey to Jerusalem, “the farthest mosque,” on his steed Buraq. For this reason, Islamists fight with particular ferocity over the site and do what they can to claim sovereignty over the Temple Mount.

Israel’s willingness to allow the Islamic Waqf Authority to administer the site has backfired dozens of times as increasing violence by Islamist extremists on the eve of every Jewish holiday makes it clear it is impossible for the status quo to continue.

A similar scenario was deliberately used by Hamas to ignite the Second Intifada in the year 2000 when MK Ariel Sharon made a visit to the Temple Mount just prior to the Jewish new year holidays, setting off violent Muslim riots and sparking a lethal police response. It seems likely that plans are afoot to recreate the same scenario again.

Israel-PA Negotiators Back to Work in Jerusalem

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

U.S. mediators are in Jerusalem “helping” Israeli and Palestinian Authority negotiators get back to the table and back to work. Again.

Chief negotiators Tzipi Livni for Israel and Saeb Erekat for the PA are scheduled to meet today with U.S. envoy Martin Indyk and others. Indyk, Livni and Erekat have already met three times this week. Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman is in the United States, and met last night in Washington D.C. with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

“We note that the contact in meetings between the negotiators is continuing and note that they are engaging in serious and intensive efforts to find a way out of the current impasse,” said U.S. State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki at a briefing Wednesday night. She was careful not to confirm that a meeting between the two sides would actually take place Thursday in Jerusalem. One cannot ever predict what will happen in Jerusalem and the Obama administration is now sadder and wiser.

Kerry kept his words upbeat while speaking to media ahead of his meeting with Liberman. “We are working hard to find a way forward. And both parties indicate they would like to find a way to go forward in the talks.”

Since the talks have yet to make any real progress at all, let alone move the “peace process” even one concrete inch on core issues, one questions exactly where “forward” each party means to go when they make that statement to the United States. It seems that Israel has made all the concessions – like freeing dozens of bloodthirsty terrorists in repeated “good will gestures” – and no visible reciprocal moves have been made by the Palestinian Authority.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu finally ordered all government ministries except those related to defense, and all negotiators except Tzipi Livni, to cease civilian and economic contacts with the PA. The move came Wednesday in response to the PA’s brazen violation of its commitment not to sign membership for international agencies, treaties and organizations until the end of talks with Israel, slated for April 29.

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas signed on to 15 global treaties, as head of the ‘State of Palestine,’ four days after Israel failed to release a group of 30 terrorist prisoners, among them 20 Israeli Arab citizens over which Abbas actually has no jurisdiction whatsoever.

That group was the last of four whose releases were supposed to be linked to progress in the talks and the active participation of Abbas at the negotiating table. But Abbas had not been present since last November, and no progress had been made.

Israeli ministers balked at releasing the final group of prisoners in the face of no progress, a month ahead of a deadline for talks that had accomplished nothing. Instead, Israel advanced a proposal to extend the talks until the end of 2014 and release 400 more prisoners in addition to the group of 30 scheduled to be freed – but the PA rebuffed the offer and instead walked away.

When talking to media in Washington, Liberman was blunt but polite about his view of what crashed the negotiations, choosing his words carefully.

“Unilateral steps,” he said, would only “undermine all our efforts.” A final status deal that would bring peace means a lot to Israel. The Jewish State is “ready to sacrifice a lot for this goal.”

Kerry Tells Senate Hearing Israel Busted the Peace Talks

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

Israel’s announcement last week of new homes for a southern Jerusalem neighborhood in an area claimed by the Palestinian Authority was the trigger that caused the blow-up in the American-led effort to extend peace talks, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told a Senate committee Tuesday.

He told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that after Israel refused to release a fourth batch of terrorists, and then followed that decision with the housing tender in the Gilo neighborhood of Jerusalem, “poof, that was sort of the moment,” Kerry said. “We find ourselves where we are.”

Poof?

Just like that, with a snap of the fingers, after eight months of charades in which the Palestinian Authority and Israel made no headway, in which Israel demanded that Mahmoud Abbas declare that Israel is a Jewish State, in which Abbas continued to negotiate not to negotiate, it went “poof”?

Kerry is the same man who a few days said it’s time for a “reality check.”

After his “poof” puff, Republican Sen John McCain of Arizona told Kerry that concerning the peace process, “It is stopped. Recognize reality!”

But Kerry can’t. When Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said a couple of months that Kerry is “obsessive” with the peace process and is “messianic,” he was 100 percent on the money.

Only a few days ago, after the “poof,” Kerry said he wanted to focus on rescuing his pet nightmare rather than try to blame one side or the other.

“Look, to be clear, over the last 24 hours, there have been unhelpful actions taken on both sides here, and we didn’t think it was a productive time for the secretary to return to the region,” U.S. State Dept. spokeswoman Marie Harf said. “But we’re not playing the blame game.”

That was five days ago.

Since then, Abbas has insisted there is no turning back the clock. He will go through with his requests to join 15 U.N.-related agencies. He justified the action, a violation of the rules of the game Kerry laid down eight months ago, by charging that Israel reneged on a promise to release the fourth batch of terrorists.

The real cause of the ”poof” that blew up Kerry’s Peace Talks Follies was his dangling the release of Jonathan Pollard as bait to get Israel to agree to Abbas’ terms for releasing more terrorists That is what “poofed” the Arabs, who were enraged at the idea of Pollard going free while arch-terrorist Marwan Barghouti remains in jail..

The media parrots have forgotten all about that because it is more convenient to blame someone else, and guess who?

It no longer makes any difference what the facts are.

What matters is what they are perceived to be. So you can leave aside the fact that Israel and the Palestinian Authority were unable to agree on which terrorists to release.

And you can leave aside the fact that Israel made it clear, before “poof,” that any limited and unofficial building freeze, as part of a deal to extend peace talks, would not include Jerusalem.

Housing Minister Uri Ariel’s announcement of the new homes was the official stamp of that policy.

Kerry is desperate, and Abbas knows it.

That is why five days after he said he does not want to blame either side, he told the Senate hearing that, yes, the Palestinian Authority took an “unhelpful” action by its latest  ploy for attention in the United Nations, but it was Israel that “poofed” his peace talks.

Spokeswoman Harf tried to cover up her boss’s diplomatic faux pas at the Senate hearing.

“Both sides took ineffective steps. Kerry is not playing the blame game,” she told reporters at the daily media question and answer session.

‘Muslim’ Boy Escapes Arab Village and Holds Bar Mitzvah at Kotel

Monday, April 7th, 2014

A 13-year-old boy born to a Jewish mother and raised in an Arab village celebrated his Bar Mitzvah at the Western Wall last week after she had escaped with him and her two daughters from her “prison at home.”

Details of the dramatic rescue mission cannot be published, said the anti-missionary Yad L’Achim organization, which engineered the escape.

The location of the Arab village is not known, and lips are sealed on how the woman, identified as “R,” was able to contact Yad L’Achim despite prison-like conditions imposed on her by her Arab husband. No information has been released about the ages of her two daughters.

The boy, identified as “S,” recited the blessing over the Torah in a tear-jerking celebration last Monday at the Kotel in Jerusalem. On his way to the Western Wall, a social worker who accompanied him asked what he would have said a year ago if told that he would be celebrating his Bar Mitzvah at the Kotel the following year.

“S” replied, “I would have asked, ‘What’s a Bar Mitzvah.?’ My father forbade my mother to speak anything about it, and I didn’t even know I was Jewish.”

“R” suffered two decades in what is a common story of a young Jewish woman falling into the charms, and usually gifts, of an Arab and then marrying him, converting to Islam and becoming a prisoner in his house and a victim of wife-beating.

Her Arab husband prohibited her from making contact with other women in the village, and he did not allow her to step out of the house alone.

After the rescue, Yad L’Achim took the woman and her children to a “safe” house and helped provide the means to help her rehabilitate back into normal life.

Relying on the organization’s legal advice, she filed a complaint with the police, charging her husband with violence, and she nullified her conversion to Islam in a Rabbinic Court.

Firebombs Thrown at Dance Club near Hebrew U.

Monday, April 7th, 2014

Jerusalem Arabs hurled several firebombs were thrown at a dance club next to Hebrew University’s Mount Scopus campus in French Hill , injuring one person.

Three Arab youths from the adjoining neighborhood of Isawiya were arrested.

Archaeologists Inaugurate King Solomon’s Coronation Site

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

In a secret ceremony held Tuesday, officials inaugurated the  site of King Solomon’s coronation in the City of David.

The massive Canaanite fortress, built some 3,800 years ago, protects the Biblical Gihon Spring by allowing access to the water solely through a western entrance from within the city.

In the Book of Samuel (Shmuel) II, Chapter V, King David conquered the Zion Fortress from the Jebusite king and his men. Archaeologists believe it is possible they have discovered the fortress referred to in the Biblical passage, entered by King David’s soldiers as they conquered Jerusalem from the Jebusites.

At the beginning of the Book of Kings I, the prophet Nathan and Tzadok HaKohen describe the coronation of King Solomon as having taken place “on Gihon.” Researchers believe the ceremony took place at the heart of the Spring House, over the gushing Gihon Spring.

“When we open the Bible and read about King Solomon who was crowned here, on the Gihon Spring, today you can come and see that this is where it all started,” said Oriya Desberg, director of development at the City of David.

It took archaeologists 15 years to uncover the structure in one of the most complex and digs ever undertaken in the State of Israel.

The Spring House is a massive Canaanite fortress built in the 18th century BCE and is the largest such structure ever uncovered from the pre-Herodian period.

The archaeological dig from which the fortress emerged was led by Haifa University’s Professor Ronny Reich and Eli Shukron of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

“In order to protect the water source, they built not only the tower, but also a fortified passageway that allowed the city residents a safe access to the water source,” explained archaeologist G. Uziel. The passageway continued to operate until the end of the Iron Age, the archaeologist said, “and it was only when the First Temple was destroyed that the fortress collapsed into ruins and was no longer used.”

The walls  – 23 feet (seven meters) thick – were built with stones that are about ten feet (two to three meters) wide, and no mechanical tools were used in the construction.

Six Jerusalem Arab Lawyers Aided Jailed Hamas Terrorists

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

Six Arab lawyers, including one woman, have been arrested in recent weeks for receiving money from Hamas and Islamic terrorist cells in return for handing over money and information to jailed terrorists in Israel and outside the country.

The Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) lifted a gag order on the arrests Wednesday.

The suspects include two brothers who set up and managed legal offices in the Arab neighborhood of Issawi in Jerusalem in the name of “Al Quds.” They collected their “wages” from other lawyers living in various areas of the capital.

The suspects received $150-$200 for every visit to a terrorist in jail, where they handed over information.

The suspects, like all Arabs in Jerusalem, receive the same social and welfare benefits from the State of Israel that every other citizen receives, regardless of race, religion or nationalist.

The difference is that they are traitors who work for terrorist groups that have dug deeper into the heart of Jerusalem, where the Palestinian Authority wants to establish its capital in a future state.

If they are convicted and jailed, Israel can consider releasing them next year in exchange for continuing peace talks with the Palestinian Authority.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/six-jerusalem-arab-lawyers-aided-jailed-hamas-terrorists/2014/04/02/

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