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August 28, 2016 / 24 Av, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Mediterranean’

French PM: It Is Urgent to Reconstruct French Islam, Expel the Threats from Within

Sunday, July 31st, 2016

“Through its history and its geography—open as it is to the Mediterranean and Africa, and through its immigration, France maintains very strong ties with Islam,” French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, wrote in a lengthy article in the Journal du Dimanche Sunday. “This is the second-largest religion in our country. Millions of French Muslims live here without necessarily identifying themselves as an Arab-Muslim culture.”

“It is for these very specifically French conditions, in addition to our old Christian roots, the long Jewish presence, the important role of Freemasons, and because our country was the inventor of secularism, that France has become the target of the Islamic State,” Valls argues.

Further down the piece, Valls suggests that “all is not so bad … but all is not well either. This period requires, more than ever, a lucidity of having to face the rise of global Islamism and jihadism with its apocalyptic vision.”

“A terrible poison is spreading,” he cautions. “Slowly, insidiously, against the background of influences from abroad and rising communalism, developed against a model of society which contradicts the Republic and its values. Many Muslims in France are taken hostage by the fundamentalist Salafism, the Muslim Brotherhood, who use their worship as a banner, a weapon against others.”

“It is a mechanism of confinement, intimidation, infantilism, which targets very often, but not only the vulnerable populations. And in the end, it’s a mechanism of radicalization, made up of violence and death, compounded by the Internet and social networks. Because we cannot develop a literal and rigid vision that ignores the diversity and richness of Islam, but [our recognition of Islam’s good values] should not lead to [ignoring some Muslims’] rejection of democracy and their fight against its values,” Valls continues.

He declares that the “fight against radicalization requires an unprecedented mobilization of public authorities in prevention and de-radicalization programs, to support individuals, particularly in suitable structures that will be centers of rehabilitation and good citizenship. We need a general mobilization of all public and civil society as a whole. But beyond that, we envision the [reconstruction] of Islam in France, in which Muslims have a huge responsibility.”

In his conclusion, Valls writes: “We must beware of paternalism, but must have the lucidity to recognize that it is urgent to help Islam in France get rid of those that undermine it from within. For this, it behooves us to build a true pact with Islam in France, giving this foundation a central place. As the fathers of the law of December 9, 1905 [on the Separation of the Church and State], we must invent a balance with Islam in France under which the Republic offers a guarantee of free exercise of religion. If Islam is not helping the Republic to fight against those who undermine public freedoms, it will be increasingly hard for the Republic to guarantee this freedom of worship.”

Valls ends his very aggressive essay with an optimistic note: “The war against terrorism will be won, and it will further strengthen the foundations of our society, so that the poison of radicalization be forever neutralized. This is the challenge facing our generation.”

Those who have warned that radical Islam would eventually lead to the creation of concentration camps across Europe might find an echo of those expectations in Valls’s call for “rehabilitation centers,” which are only a shade away from those infamous Vietnamese “re-education camps” that sprouted after the fall of Saigon.

In renegotiating Islam’s place in a secular France, Valls will also do well to look into early Muslim history, specifically the 10-year truce Muhammad signed at Hudaybiyyah with the tribes of Mecca, a truce he broke two years later, attacking and conquering the poor fools. Indeed, back in 2013, PA Minister of Religious Affairs Al-Habbash, with Mahmoud Abbas listening, compared PA agreements with Israel to that ancient pact that led not to peace but to victory over his peace partners. “This is the example and this is the model to emulate,” Al-Habbash recommended.

JNi.Media

First Philistine Cemetery Discovered in Israel

Sunday, July 10th, 2016

By Michael Bachner/TPS

Ashkelon (TPS) – A Philistine cemetery has been discovered for the first time in Israel, possibly shedding light on the mystery of the Philistines’ origins. According to biblical accounts, the Philistines were the arch-foes of ancient Israel.

“After decades of studying what the Philistines left behind, we have finally come face to face with the people themselves,” said Daniel Master, a professor of archaeology at Wheaton College. “With this discovery we are close to unlocking the secrets of their origins.”

Archaeologists and scholars have long searched for the Philistines’ origin. Artifacts found in the cemetery, which date back 2,700 to 3,000 years, may support the biblical account of the Philistines as migrants who arrived on the shores of ancient Israel from western lands in approximately the twelfth century BCE.

“Ninety-nine percent of the chapters and articles written about Philistine burial customs should be revised or ignored now that we have the first and only Philistine cemetery found just outside the city walls of Tel Ashkelon, one of the five primary cities of the Philistines,” said Lawrence Stager, Dorot Professor of the Archaeology of Israel at Harvard University.

The discovery was made by the Leon Levy Expedition to Ashkelon more than thirty years after the excavation began. The digs that took place in Ashdod, Ekron, Ashkelon, and Gath have shown how culturally distinct the Philistines were from their Israelite contemporaries.

Philistine burial practices were not like those of the Bronze Age Canaanites, nor were they similar to burial practices in later Iron Age Judea. The Philistines buried their dead primarily in pits that were dug for each deceased individual: male or female, adult or child. Later, more bodies were sometimes placed in the same pit, which was dug again along roughly the same lines, but the new remains were interred with their own grave goods. The cemetery was also found to contain evidence of cremations, together with pit interments and multi-chambered tombs.

After quelling Bar Kochba’s revolt in the Roman province of Judaea in 135 CE, Emperor Hadrian renamed the area Syria Palaestina, for the Israelites’ ancient enemies.

Research on artifacts found at the site, including bones, ceramics, jewelry and weapons, may connect the Philistines to related populations elsewhere in the Mediterranean Basin. Bone samples taken from the site are also being tested in order to ascertain the Philistines’ origins.

Most of the items found in the graves were storage jars, small bowls, and decorated juglets filled with what is believed to have been perfumed oil. While bracelets and earrings were found upon some of the remains and weapons with others, most of the individuals seem not have been buried with personal items.

The discovery was made in Ashkelon, a key port and maritime trade center from the Bronze Age to the Crusades, when it was destroyed and left uninhabited until modern times.

The excavation was organized and sponsored by the Leon Levy Foundation; the Semitic Museum at Harvard University; Boston College; Wheaton College; and Troy University, under license from the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Israel Nature and Parks Authority.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Spanish, Portuguese Jews Support Sephardi and Mizrahi Heritage Empowerment Program

Friday, July 8th, 2016

Reconectar, the movement to reconnect the descendants of Spanish and Portuguese Jewish communities and the Jewish world, welcomed the recommendations made by Israel’s Ministry of Education’s Committee to Empower the Heritage of Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews in the Education System, led by Chairman Erez Biton.

“It is an important day for Sephardi Jews where our history, culture and tradition will be recognized and taught in the Israeli school system,” President of Reconectar Ashley Perry (Perez) said. “This has taken far too long, but it is vital that the scope of Jewish history and culture be widened to include Jews from the Mediterranean, North Africa and the Middle East.”

“However, there is still more work to be done and it should be widened further to include our millions of Sephardi brothers and sisters who were forcibly disconnected from us over the centuries and are seeking a reconnection to the Jewish world. Our education system should be preparing the formal Jewish world for the immense and necessary challenge of reconnecting our people,” Perry said.

Beginning in the 14th Century, hundreds of thousands of Jews were forcibly converted, or otherwise disconnected from the Jewish People, and many among their descendants, numbering around 100 million, are seeking different levels of reconnection with Israel and the Jewish world.

Perry, who is also Director General of the Knesset Caucus for the Reconnection with the Descendants of Spanish and Portuguese Jewish Communities, Chaired by MK Robert Ilatov, said that the more Israeli children travel to Spain, as the recommendations state, the more they will encounter the story of the Anousim who are becoming more and more aware of their Jewish roots.

“We have an enormous opportunity to use our shared history and traditions, to empower and embolden relations with those who share our roots and heritage whether in the Iberian Peninsula, Latin America or among Latinos and Hispanics in the US,” Perry said. “We have a moral, ethical and even a halakhic mandate to do so, and the more we learn about our roots in the Hispanic world and the more the Hispanic world learns about their possible Jewish roots, the closer the potential relations between our communities will grow.”

Perry was also heavily involved in placing the issue of the Jewish refugees from Arab countries on the national and international agenda while he worked in government as advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and other politicians, including former MK Dr. Shimon Ohayon, who passed a law to create a day of commemoration in the official Israeli calendar.

“The history of the Jews of the Middle East and North Africa is sadly overlooked, even though every other Jew in Isr

ael comes from this region,” Perry said. “It is vital for Jewish Peoplehood that the vibrant and ancient Jewish communities of the Middle East and North Africa and their subsequent ethnic cleansing in the Twentieth Century are understood and studied.”

“It is absurd that it has taken 68 years for Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews to be able to learn about their own history and culture, and it is hoped that their history will be placed on an equal plane to the history of other Jews from around the world,” Perry said.

Jewish Press Staff

Netanyahu And NATO Representatives Commit To Mutual Cooperation, Fighting Terror Together

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

By Jonathan Benedek/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with ambassadors from NATO countries earlier on Tuesday to discuss expanding cooperation between Israel and NATO against the common threat of global terrorism.

“There are so many threats that are facing NATO that are similar to the ones facing Israel,” said Danish Ambassador to Israel Jesper Vahr whose embassy is currently NATO’s contact point embassy in Israel.

During the press conference, Ambassador Vehr shared a message with Prime Minister Netanyahu on behalf of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg who said that Israel and NATO face common threats.

“Today our nations face greater, more complex threats than they have in many years,” Vehr said on behalf of Stoltenberg. “It is right that those countries that share common values of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law work together for the good of us all.”

Netanyahu concurred with Ambassador Vehr and Secretary General Stoltenberg and also expressed his belief in mutual cooperation between Israel and NATO.

“Israel has much to contribute to NATO. I believe NATO has much to contribute to Israel,” said the prime minister. “We’ve already begun that process, but I think we can extend and increase our cooperation.”

Although not a member of the NATO alliance, Israel has already played an integral role as a member of NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue, a working group between NATO and seven Mediterranean countries focused on maintaining security in the Mediterranean region.

“Israel for many years has been an active member of NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue, the only security forum that brings together NATO allies with Israel and Arab countries. Last month, NATO and Israel went further, agreeing to establish an Israeli mission at NATO,” Ambassador Vehr said. “Having a mission will help us to take our political and practical cooperation to a higher level.”

Official authorization for such an office had been delayed by Turkey, a NATO member that has had strained bilateral ties with Israel since 2010. Turkey’s eventual lifting of its rejection to an Israeli mission was viewed by some as a sign on Turkey’s part of reconciliation with Israel.

Prime Minister Netanyahu immediately welcomed the establishment of the office on May 4, referring to it as a critical step in the advancement of Israel’s security and as a demonstration of NATO’s desire to cooperate with Israel on security matters.

“We’re in the process of opening up the office as soon as possible,” remarked Netanyahu at the press conference. “We attach great importance to that.”

Netanyahu’s meeting today preceded an upcoming NATO summit in Warsaw scheduled for July 8-9, which NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg referred to last week as a “landmark summit” addressing “a changed security environment” around NATO.

Netanyahu assured NATO ambassadors that Israel is prepared to help the military alliance cope with global terrorism.

“In three weeks, you’re going to have an important summit in Warsaw and I believe the combat against global terrorism should be and probably is already a central part of your agenda,” Netanyahu told the NATO ambassadors. “Know that Israel stands ready to advance that agenda and I have no doubt that if we work together, we can roll back this terror.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

New Legislation Would Free Up $1.5 Billion in Credit for Israeli Housing Starts

Thursday, June 9th, 2016

Construction companies are no longer allowed to charge their customers fees for their own legal services, according to a key item in a new amendment to the Sales Law being promoted by the Ministry of Housing and Construction, Calcalist reported Thursday. Another significant change in the law would remove the requirement that contractors post a bank guarantee for the VAT portion of the cost of the apartment, and instead the state would set up a special fund to cover the buyers’ outlay. This would save contractors millions of dollars, releasing more than $1.5 billion in bank credit to the real estate market. The construction firm would still have to insure the rest of the buyer’s investment, in case said firm goes out of business.

The Housing Ministry, which began the move to amend the law nine months ago, is hoping the changes would pass by the end of the Knesset summer session in August. The move was spurred by the common understanding that the construction section of the current Sales Law is outdated, and has led real estate companies to develop their own ways of bypassing it, at the expense of their customers. The amendments were forged by an inter-office team that included Deputy Attorney General Erez Kamenetz, the Consumer Protection Authority, the Finance Ministry, and the Tax Authority.

“It is our responsibility to help the Israeli public get accessible housing, while legally protecting the buyers and maintaining fairness in all processes,” Minister of Housing Yoav Galant told Calcalist. One of the problems in the way housing business is done in Israel has to do with the buyer paying the contractor’s attorney for processing the new apartment at the Land Registry Office (the local word for the office is Tabu — no relation to taboos, the word is simply the Arabic mispronunciation of the Turkish word Tapu, or title-deed). A recent legislation limited the fees paid to said attorney to about $1,300, but even so, the clients may believe that by paying his fees the attorney is now working for them, which he certainly isn’t — he remains in the service of the contractor.

The Housing Ministry believes that registering the apartment and providing a legal deed is part of the overall product the contractor is expected to provide, and so they now want to go one step further and eliminate altogether the requirement for buyers to pay for this service.

There are other amendments which are not as crucial economically, but certainly add transparency to the process of buying an apartment in Israel. Companies would have to inform buyers of every change they intend to make in the original construction plan, for instance, if they want to add apartments. They also must inform buyers of changes in nearby lots, so that, if, for instance, their magical view of the Mediterranean would now be blocked by a 48-story tower, buyers would have the opportunity to get out of the deal and look elsewhere.

Contractors may no longer be permitted to sell apartments on land that is yet to be re-zoned for construction. If a plan for a new housing construction exists but the permit for building has yet to be issued, firms may sell units to buyers, but only with the proviso that the project is not yet legally authorized, providing the date for the expected authorization, and that buyers can get their money back in its entirety should the permit not be issued.

Also, any significant change in a purchased apartment’s layout, including in common areas such as storage spaces and lobbies, would be considered legally as failure to fulfill the contractor’s commitment and buyers may recoup their investment.

JNi.Media

EgyptAir Flight MS804 Disappears Over Mediterranean

Thursday, May 19th, 2016

Egypt Air Flight MS804 en route to Cairo from Paris disappeared over the Mediterranean Sea early Thursday morning.

The plane was an Airbus 320 manufactured in 2003. It went off the radar 10 minutes out of Egyptian airspace at 02:45 local time (CLT), as it was cruising at an altitude of approximately 37,000 feet.

The aircraft departed Charles de Gaulle airport at 23:09 CEST. Civil aviation officials in Egypt were quoted by Vice News as saying the aircraft ‘probably crashed into the sea.’ A French airport official who requested anonymity told Reuters, “It did not land. That is all we can say for the moment.”

Government officials in Greece are investigating a report by a merchant ship’s captain who said he saw “a flame in the sky” over the area in the Mediterranean in which the plane disappeared.

The pilot, identified as Captain Mohamed Shokeir, was highly experienced with more than 6,000 flight hours, according to the Al Ahram daily. The copilot had more than 2,000 flight hours.

At the time, the aircraft was carrying 56 passengers with three security personnel and seven cabin crew, Gulf Business.com reported. The passengers included 15 French nationals, 30 Egyptians, two Iraqis, one from the UK and a Canadian, as well as a Belgian, a Saudi, a Sudani, a Czech national, one Portuguese and an individual from Algiers.

Egyptian Army fighter jets and Greek ships are searching together for the missing EgyptAir plane, according to Al Ahram.

Hana Levi Julian

Noble Energy, Delek to Speed Up Israeli Gas Production at Leviathan

Thursday, February 25th, 2016

The developers of the mammoth Leviathan natural gas field filed an expanded development plan Wednesday with the Petroleum Supervisor at Israel’s Ministry of Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources.

Texas-based Noble Energy Inc., Delek Group Ltd., and Delek Drilling LP now plan to speed up development to bring gas and condensates on stream by 2019, Globes reported.

There’s good reason to move as fast as possible: until the gas begins flowing, the cost of development is $5-6 billion. Still, the first estimate for what has become Israel’s largest infrastructure project was originally $6-7 billion.

Eight drilling sites are to be connected by an underground pipeline to the platform and rig where all the gas management systems will be installed. This platform will be linked to the coast by another pipeline to be built by the Israel Natural Gas Lines Company. From there, the gas will be sold to Israeli customers at home and exported to neighboring countries as well.

Production capacity will reach 21 billion cubic meters (bcm) per year in order to meet market demand. This is five bcm more than the original development plan, which capped at 16 bcm.

The annual pipeline capacity will only be 12 bcm; however there will be an additional outlet on the platform at sea, which could be used to export directly to a regional nation as needed. That outlet will also be able to handle a 12 bcm per year pipeline as well.

All the gas treatment which is to take place at sea, will be carried out in accordance with the national master plan that was approved by the relevant authorities.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/noble-energy-delek-to-speed-up-israeli-gas-production-at-leviathan/2016/02/25/

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