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September 29, 2016 / 26 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Jerusalem’

Gush Etzion Council Plenum to Debate Removal of Council Head

Monday, September 19th, 2016

The full membership of the Gush Etzion Council will convene on Wednesday to debate the removal of Gush Etzion Council Head Davidi Pearl, over reports that Pearl was forced to pay hundreds of thousands of shekels to a young woman from Jerusalem who complained against him. An email sent out to the Council members called for restraint in conducting the session over whether or not Pearl should be removed from office.

David Israel

Jordanian Foreign Ministry Condemns Killing of Their Terrorist

Sunday, September 18th, 2016

The Jordanian Foreign Ministry condemned the killing of their citizen, Sayid Amro, who traveled to Jerusalem and committed a terror attack on Friday.

The terrorist’s family in Jordan is demanding his body be returned from Israel, according to a YNet report.

Amro attempted to stab some policeman at Jerusalem’s Old City Damascus Gate (Sha’ar Shechem).

He yelled “Allahu Achbar” during his stabbing attack and wounded one policeman.

The police then shot the terrorist to death.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Terrorist Eliminated in Old City Attack [video]

Friday, September 16th, 2016

A stabbing attempt was foiled at Sha’ar Shechem (Damascus Gate) in Jerusalem just after noon on Friday, according to police.

The terrorist attempted to stab a policeman.

The terrorist was neutralized and is now dead. A second knife was found on his body, besides the one he was holding.

No one was injured in the attack.

Update: The terrorist was a Jordanian citizen.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Rare Roman Gold Coin Found in Jerusalem Dig

Friday, September 16th, 2016

The discovery of a rare gold coin bearing the image of the Roman Emperor Nero at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s archaeological excavations on Mount Zion in Jerusalem, has just been announced by the archaeologists in charge of the project, Drs. Shimon Gibson, James Tabor, and Rafael Lewis.

“The coin is exceptional,” said Gibson, “because this is the first time that a coin of this kind has turned up in Jerusalem in a scientific dig. Coins of this type are usually only found in private collections, where we don’t have clear evidence as to place of origin.”

The gold coin (aureus) bears the bare-headed portrait of the young Nero as Caesar. The lettering around the edge of the coin reads: NERO CAESAR AVG IMP. On the reverse of the coin is a depiction of an oak wreath containing the letters “EX S C,” with the surrounding inscription “PONTIF MAX TR P III.” Importantly, these inscriptions help to work out the date when the coin was struck as 56/57 CE. Identification of the coin was made by the historian and numismatist Dr. David Jacobson from London.

The coin dates to a little more than a decade before the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 CE, and was found in rubble material outside the ruins of the 1st Century Jewish villas the team has been excavating. The team has hypothesized that the large houses may have belonged to wealthy members of the priestly caste, and it may have come from one of their stores of wealth.

“The coin probably came from one of the rich 2000-year old Jewish dwellings which the UNC Charlotte team have been uncovering at the site,” said Gibson. “These belonged to the priestly and aristocratic quarter located in the Upper City of Jerusalem. Finds include the well-preserved rooms of a very large mansion, a Jewish ritual pool (mikvah) and a bathroom, both with their ceilings intact.”

This mansion and others like it, were destroyed by Titus and the Roman legions, when Jerusalem was razed to the ground. It is likely, owing to the intrinsic value of the gold coin, that it was hidden away ahead of the destruction of the city, and was missed by the marauding Roman soldiers.

“It’s a valuable piece of personal property and wouldn’t have been cast away like rubbish or casually dropped. It’s conceivable that it ended up outside these structures in the chaos that happened as this area was destroyed,” Gibson said.

The image of Nero is significant in that it shows the presence of the Roman occupation and provides a clear late date for the occupation of the residences. There is no historical evidence that Nero ever visited Jerusalem. Last of the Julio-Claudian line, Nero was Roman emperor for fourteen years (54-68 CE). He had the reputation of a tyrant, and some believed he was responsible for the devastating fire of 64 CE, which resulted in the burning of much of Rome.

The archaeological project has brought to light many other significant finds during the 2016 summer season, and work at the site will be resumed next year.


Czechs Restore Jerusalem As Jewish Capital

Friday, September 16th, 2016

Thanks to alert and vigorous activity on the part of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, future generations of Czech students in the heart of the European Union will grow up knowing that Jerusalem is the capital of the Jewish people.

The latest chapter in the millennia-old story of the world’s attempts to detach Jerusalem from the Jews – and vice-versa – began last month. The Ministry of Education of the Czech Republic decided one day that its school atlases should no longer mark Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

This decision came as a result of one thing – Palestinian Authority pressure and threats – and flew in the face of many others, such as truth, traditional Czech loyalties, and history.

The Czech Foreign Ministry announced that the publishers of atlases used in schools would lose their license to publish such works if they did not stop marking Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Old copies of the books must be permanently shelved, the new directive ordered. Why? What changed?

It seems the Palestinian Authority mission in Prague issued a protest. A Czech Foreign Ministry spokesperson quickly announced that the Republic does not consider eastern Jerusalem part of the State of Israel, and the order was given to strip Israel of its capital.

Israel immediately went into action. The Foreign Ministry, working the diplomatic channels, issued this sharp but incisive statement: “There is no limit to the Palestinian incitement. It does not suffice with poisoning with the souls of young Palestinians, but wishes to plant falsehood among the youth of the Czech Republic as well. We hope that the Czech authorities change their minds and do not lend a hand to this attempt to negate Israel’s bonds to its capital.”

And in fact, after a week, the Czechs announced that its schools’ atlases would remain as they are, denoting Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

It is stunning to see the power exerted by the hate-filled propaganda of the Palestinian Authority – and how it so easily overcomes not only simple historic truths, but also traditional ties of friendship between Israel and other countries.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, in a letter to the prime minister of Czech Republic, outlined the bonds of friendship Israel and the Czechs have enjoyed over the past decades and centuries.

“Dear Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka,” Barkat wrote. “The friendship between our peoples has deep historical roots. After Jerusalem’s destruction, Jews made Prague the Jerusalem of Europe – a center of Jewish thought, history, and culture. Prague shaped Jewish life, and Jewish thinkers, writers, and artists shaped Prague.”

Barkat then jumped to the 20th century: “When we returned to our homeland, the Czech government supported our fight for independence and Israel’s rebirth.”

Between January 1948 and October 1949, the Jewish Agency purchased huge shipments of weapons from Czechoslovakia, including former German army weapons that had been captured by the Czech army. The deliveries from Czechoslovakia, in which Foreign Minister Jan Masaryk played a very significant role, proved critically important for Israel’s establishment.

Israel knew how to reciprocate, as well: “When the Czech people won back their freedom,” Barkat wrote, “Israel was among the first countries [your] President Václav Havel visited. Our capitals represent our countries’ strong and steadfast alliance. Just as Prague is the capital of the Czech Republic, so too is Jerusalem the eternal capital of Israel.”

Mayor Barkat expressed his deep disappointment “that the Czech Ministry of Education has yielded to those seeking to use lies and hatred to deny Jerusalem’s status as the capital of the state of Israel…. Future generations of Czech students deserve nothing less than the truth: Jerusalem’s rightful place as the capital of Israel, and the heart and soul of the Jewish people, cannot and should not be denied.”

The ultimate reversal of the decision is gratifying, of course – but the bad taste still remains of the unfathomable statement that eastern Jerusalem is not considered part of the state of Israel.

After all, what is eastern Jerusalem? It begins in what we know today as the City of David, prominently featuring the hill on which sits the Holy Temple built by King Solomon, the Shiloach Spring below from where water was drawn for the residents’ drinking needs and for the festive joy of the Sukkot Beit HaShoevah festival, and the steep mountainsides in between. Though today most of its residents are Arab, to deny its Jewish origins and nature is beyond absurd.

Incidentally, let us try to imagine the excitement felt by diggers and researchers in 2008 just below what is now Dung Gate, in what started out as the City of David, when they found the following: A 2,600-year-old clay seal impression bearing the name Gedaliah ben Pashur. The name appears in the Book of Jeremiah (38:1) together with that of Yehuchal ben Shelemyahu, whose name was found on an identical clay seal in the same area in 2005! The two men were ministers in the court of King Zedekiah, the last king to rule in Jerusalem before the destruction of the First Temple. Archaeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar said at the time that this was first incident in the annals of Israeli archeology that two clay seals with two biblical names that appear in the same biblical verse were unearthed in the same location.

And who are the Arabs who live there today and claim to be “natives” in what they call “Silwan”? Let’s put it this way: They’re not as ancient as they claim. In fact, just several decades ago, the Arab population was sparse, to put it mildly. Photos from the mid-19th century show the City of David ridge planted with olive trees and devoid of housing. Modern settlement began in the 1870s when the Meyuchas family – a rabbinical and merchant family that had lived in Jerusalem since being expelled from Spain nearly 400 years earlier – moved into the area. The Turks and British recognized the area as a Jewish neighborhood. When the area fell under Jordanian occupation in 1949, Arab families began building apace.

On the other hand, as of now, the Jewish population there is growing nicely, renewing its presence by moving into plots that were either owned by Jews before the pogroms of 1929, or those they have recently purchased.

The short-lived Czech refusal to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is yet another opportunity to disseminate these simple, eternal truths:

Jerusalem has been central to Judaism and the Jewish nation for four millennia, beginning when Abraham nearly sacrificed his son Isaac on Mt. Moriah. A thousand years later, King David made it Israel’s capital, and it has ever since been the center of our national and spiritual existence. It is mentioned in the Bible some 650 times – zero times in the Koran. Non-Jewish Canadian lawyer Jacques Gauthier spent 20 years researching the issue of Jerusalem in international law, and concluded that once the League of Nations and the United Nations assigned the city to the Jewish people, “Jerusalem belongs to the Jews, by international law.”

Neither the Czechs nor the Palestinian Arabs nor anyone else can take the Jewish people from Jerusalem – nor Jerusalem from the Jewish people.


For more information on how to participate in keeping Jerusalem Jewish, via updates, bus tours of critical parts of Jerusalem, and more, email tours@keepjerusalem.org or visit Keep Jerusalem-Im Eshkachech’s website, www.keepjerusalem.org

Hillel Fendel and Chaim Silberstein / KeepJerusalem.org

Israeli Envoy to UN Slams Ban’s ‘Outrage’ Over Netanyahu ‘Ethnic Cleansing’ Video [video]

Friday, September 16th, 2016

Israeli UN envoy Danny Danon categorically rejected an address by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in which he expressed “outrage” over a video showing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussing the issue of Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria.

In his statement, issued Thursday, Danon slammed Ban’s remarks, calling them a “distorted vision of the situation in Israel.”

“The failure of the peace process begins and ends with Palestinian [Authority] incitement to terror and Mahmoud Abbas’ refusal to meet Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu,” Danon said.

“Instead of directly condemning Hamas and the building of terror tunnels…the Secretary-General chooses to regularly censure Israel,” he added.

The outgoing UN leader expressed outrage over a video in which the prime minster commented that insisting on ensuring territories are without Jews, constitutes “ethnic cleansing” on the part of the Palestinian Authority. Those who support the PA in this viewpoint likewise support such “ethnic cleansing,” he pointed out, noting that the same definition applies in other places around the world too.

For some reason, however, the prime minister’s logic infuriated Ban, and in an address to the UN Security Council on the “Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question,” he went on and on how the “leaders on both sides have failed to take the difficult steps needed for peace.”

Only, somehow, it has always been the Israeli leader who seems to be the one with more despicable activities, in more grim detail, and more”oppressive” and “outrageous.”

“I am disturbed by a recent statement by Israel’s Prime Minister portraying those who oppose settlement expansion as supporters of ethnic cleansing,” the UN leader said. “This is unacceptable and outrageous.

“Let me be absolutely clear: settlements are illegal under international law. The occupation, stifling and oppressive, must end.

“The international community, including the Security Council and the Middle East Quartet, universally view the expansion of settlements as an obstacle to peace.”

But he calls the “glorification of terror” simply “disgraceful” and just comments that “the Palestinian leadership must put an end to it.”

Oh, you mean it’s not illegal under the internationally-recognized Oslo Accords that gave birth to the Palestinian Authority that is now claiming statehood under the UN? It’s not incitement to violence and more terrorism? It’s not an obstacle to peace, like building homes in areas that would pose a clear security risk to Israel, were they to be left open to occupation by enemy forces – the same territory that was once occupied by Jordan?

Likewise, Ban noted the Palestinian Authority’s High Court decided last week to suspend preparations for the upcoming local elections, but again ducked the real reasons behind it.

He warned that if the pattern does not changed, the trajectory is heading towards “a one-state reality and urged all parties in the Palestinian Authority to find a way to create a unity government, and then to find a way to work together with Israel to create a new Arab state, in peace.

This, after half a century of fratricide, anti-Semitic incitement, hatred and terrorism. War.

It is said that when the Messiah comes, there will be peace on earth…

Hana Levi Julian

Analysis: Obama $38 Billion MOU Designed to Shackle Congress, Fight Not Over

Thursday, September 15th, 2016

Late Wednesday night, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a statement regarding the memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the US, saying: “In a short while, in Washington DC, a historic agreement will be signed between the United States and Israel. This agreement will ensure an unprecedented level of security assistance to Israel over the coming decade. This is the largest military assistance package that the United States has ever given to any country.”

A few lines down, Netanyahu wrote: “I would like to thank President Obama and his administration for this historic agreement,” and, “I also thank our many, many friends in the American Congress and among the American people for their great support, which crosses party lines and embraces the length and breadth of the United States.”

There, in the cross-section between the President and Congress, is where the drama over the US aid package to Israel will be taking place in the coming months. It also explains why the PM has embraced a deal that is, clearly, a step back in terms of Israel’s ambitions for US military aid.

According to Ha’aretz, citing senior defense ministry officials, as recently as last July US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and then Defense Minster Moshe Ya’alon have reached an agreement in principle on a $45 billion aid package over ten years. Why is Israel now willing to settle for $7 billion less? Ha’aretz, typically, blames the cut on Netanyahu’s refusal to toe the line on the Iran nuclear deal, and his insolent battle against the President in Congress over it. But that doesn’t explain why Sec. Carter was offering the larger amount months after Netanyahu’s March 3, 2015 speech in Congress.

Like all deals, the $38 billion MOU must still be confirmed in the Senate, first by the Appropriations Committee and then by the full Senate. One key member of the committee is Senator Lindsey Graham (R – SC), who earlier this week told the Washington Post: “The Israeli prime minister told me the administration is refusing to sign the MOU until I agree to change my appropriation markup back to $3.1 billion. I said, ‘Tell the administration to go [expletive] themselves.’”

The 10-year aid package reaching its conclusion in 2017 was set at “only” $31 billion, but, in addition, Congress has been awarding Israel additional funds: $729 million in 2014 to help with the acquisition gaps caused by the Gaza War, as well as to help the development of the Iron Dome system. In 2015 Congress gave Israel $620 million in addition to the aid package, and this year the estimates are around $600 million. So that the aid Israel currently receives from the US is pretty close to the MOU’s $38 Billion. Israel will only benefit from an additional $100 million annually. For a country boasting a $300 billion annual GDP, this is the definition of chump change.

Why, then, did Netanyahu agree to an MOU that compels Israel to pay back whatever amount Congress adds in military aid, which would include an attempt by, say, Senator Lindsey Graham, to tack on an extra $7 billion to the proposed package?

“I’m offended that the administration would try to take over the appropriations process. If they don’t like what I’m doing, they can veto the bill,” Graham told the Post. “We can’t have the executive branch dictating what the legislative branch will do for a decade based on an agreement we are not a party to.”

The MOU awards the Israeli missile defense development effort $500 million per year, more than the $487 million Congress gave it in 2016, but less than the Senate appropriations bill for 2017, which gives Israel $600 million. By the way, Obama asked for only $145.8 million in the budget. So, should the MOU go through the Senate, Israel would lose $600 million right off the bat. And Israel signed a letter, as part of the MOU, that any amount tacked on to the aid package in later years, Israel would be obligated to give back.

A White House official said this is better for Israel, since “the fact that under our offer Israel can count on the administration’s commitment to provide a substantial level of missiledefense assistance for a 10-year period is substantively different from the missile- defense support it has received in previous years.” There’s some truth to it — rather than go lobbying every year for that money, Israel is guaranteed a moderately lower sum, it’s already in the bank.

“You know the White House pressured them into writing that letter,” Graham said. “It is a level of antagonism against Israel that I can’t understand.”

Graham is irate because the MOU was a White House attempt to neutralize the Republican Congress’s ability to forge an independent relationship with the Jewish State. They can continue to invite Bibi to talk to them against the next president, if they so wish, but they can’t give him a penny. Vindictive? Probably. But also understandable. This President spent much of his two terms in office fighting Congress over foreign policy. He’d like to leave his successor a cleaner slate, at least when it comes to dealing with Israel.

The MOU is also better for the Pentagon, which, together with the White House, can keep all the money going to Israel inside one, manageable package. Should the need arise for additional funds, Israel would have to go to the President, not Congress, and when Israel asks for something, Israel also has to give something. Also, in six years, according to the MOU, Israel will lose the right to spend any of the aid package on its own military industrial complex — all the money must stay in the US. Of course, by then Israeli manufacturers would follow Elbit and Rafael and forge partnerships with US corporations, but the jobs in Israel would be lost.

“I’m not pleased with a provision in the MOU which prohibits Israel from using American defense assistance on Israeli defense suppliers,” Senator Graham wrote on his website. “Israel’s homegrown defense technology is some of the best in the world.” He added, “Under our old agreement Israel was allowed to develop cutting-edge military technology and was required to share this technology with the United States. I’m proud to say that many of these advancements helped protect the lives of American service members in uniform. I do not believe this new provision will serve the interests of the United States or Israel. I do fear it will be Americans wearing the uniform of our nation who will pay the price for this short-sighted change in policy.”

So, it’s obvious why the MOU represents a good deal for the Administration. But why was Netanyahu “duped” into signing the MOU? There are two possible explanations, and they both have to do with the coming lame duck session of Congress. Since last summer, there have been persistent rumors in Jerusalem and Washington that, once the November 8 election is over, the Obama Administration would spend its last breath on squeezing a 2-state deal out of Israel. To do that, the rumors went, Obama would join the majority in the UN Security Council to pass resolutions that push Israel against the wall. It would be ugly, it would be painful, there would be no support for the move from either the Democrats nor the Republicans, but it won’t matter. It would be a move that can’t be stopped by Congress, and Israel would, at last, bow to the pressure.

Did Netanyahu sign the MOU in return for an Obama promise to leave him alone between Nov. 9 and January 17? Perhaps. Of course, the above nightmare scenario is not something we would expect from any US president, except for the fact that President Obama has been so capricious and unpredictable about his bizarre “Arab Spring” campaign, that if anyone would dream up something like that it would be him.

The other point has to do with the conversation Netanyahu had with Senator Graham earlier this week, in which, we understand, Graham did most of the talking, and only part of it was taken up by expletives. The Senator from South Carolina, with Bibi’s blessing, can bury the MOU. He has at his disposal several parliamentary means of delaying it until after the start of the new year. It won’t be simple, and there are members on the Democratic side of the Appropriations Committee who are decidedly not friendly to Israel (Senator Patrick Leahy, Dem – Vt comes to mind) who would attack Graham viciously. But if Graham can drag this deal long enough, he could get it tossed and rewritten by the next Administration.


Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/analysis-obama-38-billion-mou-designed-to-shackle-congress-fight-not-over/2016/09/15/

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