Posts Tagged ‘Passover’
Israeli customs agents in collaboration with Shabak foiled a Hamas attempt to smuggle four tons of ammonium chloride hidden in a shipment of salt before the Passover holiday, Israel announced on Tuesday. Ammonium chloride is used in hair shampoo, in the glue that bonds plywood, and in cleaning products, but as ammonium perchlorate composite propellant (APCP) it is typically used in aerospace propulsion applications, including in building rockets in Gaza intended hit civilian populations inside Israel. According to the announcement, the amount seized could be used to manufacture hundreds of long-range rockets.
About a week before the holiday, a special shipment of 40 tons of salt arrived at the Nitzana crossing which is used for moving goods from Egypt to Israel, the PA and the Gaza Strip.
The unusually large amount of salt being transferred raised a red flag.
A thorough examination by the Nitzana customs agents revealed that some of the bags of salt were actually ammonium chloride weighing 4 tons altogether. Ammonium chloride is a dual-use substance requiring an import license, because of its potential use by Hamas and the Islamic Jihad in manufacturing long-range rockets.
Recently, the Shabak has noted a vast increase in salt shipments to Gaza, and soon figured out it was being used to conceal smuggled illegal chemicals. In the reported case, Shabak believes the importer, a Gaza resident, was indeed seeking to provide the chemical to the Hamas, under the guise of merchandise intended for the civilian population and rehabilitation projects.
To date, the collaboration between the customs service and Shabak has led to the thwarting of dozens of smuggling attempts that included shipments of sulfuric acid, diving Suits, polyurethane propellant for rockets, sulfur rods, fiberglass rolls, and a special coal used to fuel iron furnaces for processing metals.David Israel
The FBI arrested a man who was planning to throw an explosive device into an Aventura, south Florida synagogue, WSVN reported. The arrest followed an FBI sting intended to foil a terror attack at the Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center, last Friday evening. According to WSVN, FBI agents posing as terrorists stopped the suspect, who may have converted to Islam.
According to sources, the suspect wanted to throw “some type of explosive device” over the wall of the center on Friday night, which was the last day of Passover and the center was crowded.
“I think about, before we had a baby, that we used to go there for services, and God forbid, it could have been us,” local resident Stephanie Levine told WSVN. “Thank God they stopped him, but had they not, it would have been such a horrible thing to happen to this neighborhood.”
But the same sources said the center was not in danger at any time, because the suspect was taken into custody before he was able to cause any damage.
“Of course it surprised me,” local resident Richard Levinson told WSVN. “Everybody says, ‘I live in a small town. It doesn’t happen here,’ but the sad part is, it happens everywhere.”
And local resident Kim Tepper said she was not surprised, because “it’s a very scary world, and you know what? I don’t think that anybody is safe anywhere. We’d always thought, living in this area, that we could be targeted, so now you’re kind of confirming that for me. Not happy.”
The suspect will appear in federal court this week.David Israel
If there is one tradition that Moroccan Jewish Israelis wait for at the end of the Passover holiday, it’s the sweet pastries and music that mark the traditional ‘Mimouna’ celebrations.
One does not have to be Moroccan to attend a Mimouna festival, of course — but it helps to at least have a Moroccan acquaintance to steer you in the right direction.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sarah went straight to the Dahan family home in Yavne to tuck in with delicious mufleta, a special Moroccan pastry.
“We’ve had a peaceful and joyful holiday, thanks to the IDF soldiers and the Shin Bet (domestic intelligence agency) who kept us safe, and thanks to the government led by the Likud party,” Netanyahu said.
The prime minister’s host, Attorney Meir Dahan, said prior to the celebration that he was expecting “over 2,000 people,” according to the Hebrew-language Ynet site.
“We’ve invited people of all ethnic groups and all nationalities,” he said. Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein were also expected to arrive at the Dahans’ celebration as well.
Culture Minister Miri Regev headed to Ashkelon for Mimouna celebrations.
“I’m glad that the Moroccan ethnic group was able to turn the Mimouna into a national holiday in which we open our homes to the entire nation of Israel,” Regev said. “The abundance and the hospitality of this holiday lead to unity and joy among the people of Israel.”
Regev was joined by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, who thanked the thousands of police officers who were out on the job throughout the holiday. “Even now, during the Mimouna, they’re out on the streets of Israel protecting us,” he pointed out.
For those who are still trying to figure out how ‘Mimouna’ connects with Passover, the tradition dates back to Rabbi Maimon ben Yosef, the father of Maimonides, the RaMBaM, who passed away on the day after Passover, and who was greatly revered by North African Jewry in particular.
Another tradition, also traced back to the Jewish communities in Morocco, derives the Mimouna from the Hebrew word “emunah” – faith or belief – reflecting the faith not only in the past redemption from Egyptian slavery, but also that which will come through Moshiach (the Messiah) in the future during the Hebrew month of Nisan, during which Passover falls.Hana Levi Julian
In 2016, RAVSAK and the Technion challenged Jewish Day School students around the world to create a Rube Goldberg machine that tells the story of Passover.
Here is the video announcement of the four winning schools and the students’ reactions.
Video of the Day
In the closely contested High School category, first place went to the team from Abraham Joshua Heschel High School, in New York City. The judges cited their use of successful energy transfer elements and high creativity level as main reasons for their selection. Second place went to The Weber School in Atlanta, whose entry showed a true understanding for the mechanics involved to create a visually stunning display.
There was a tie for first place in the Middle School category. The entry from the 7th grade team from Bialik College, in Melbourne, Australia, was well-thought out, with many different types of energy transfers – some of which were very unusual for Rube Goldberg machines. The submission of the 6th grade team from Scheck Hillel Community School (North Miami Beach, Florida) was lauded for its creativity, and for energy transfer aspects that were executed properly and efficiently.
By Jesse Lempel/TPS
The Palestinian Authority governor of Shechem (Nablus) was dismissed “without warning” by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday, according to a post on the governor’s personal Facebook page. General Akram Rajoub, the now ex-governor who recently made headlines for staging a walkout in protest of Jewish settlers attending a Samaritan Passover sacrifice, then took to social media to blast Abbas.
In an unusually bitter and snarky attack, Rajoub derided Abbas for “considering himself a mighty Fatah leader and bragging that he knocked me out,” referring to Abbas’ Fatah party. “Patience has its limits,” Rajoub ominously concluded.
It is not yet clear whether the dismissal is related to Rajoub’s dramatic walkout last week in protest of Jewish settlers attending a Samaritan Passover sacrifice or is due to internal political wrangling within the Palestinian Authority leadership.
Rajoub himself told the Palestinian Authority Ma’an News Agency that he had “no idea” why he’d been fired.
Rajoub, a former high-ranking Palestinian Authority intelligence figure, has criticized Abbas in the past for allowing Abbas loyalists in Nablus too much leeway.
“My positions and principles are not up for negotiation,” Rajoub wrote in a Facebook post after being dismissed, adding that he “will not retract a single political, national, or party position” he has taken.
In a sign of recent tension, a firefight erupted several weeks ago in Nablus between Palestinian Authority police forces and gunmen of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, the military wing of Abbas’ Fatah party, after the police attempted to arrest a murder suspect in the Old City of Nablus. The incident and subsequent pressure from Abbas loyalists in Nablus may have contributed to Rajoub’s ousting as governor of the city.
Rajoub’s dismissal comes on the heels of his walkout during a Samaritan Passover ceremony held in Nablus in protest of the presence of local Jewish settlers attending the event. The Samaritans are a tiny, ancient sect who practice a unique form of Judaism. They live mostly above Nablus on Mount Gerizim, the holiest site in their religion and the place where they conduct the annual Passover sacrifice.
The ceremony, officiated by the Samaritan high priest, was attended by local Jewish settlers and a Palestinian Authority delegation, including Rajoub. However, Rajoub and several other Arabs dramatically walked out in protest as Samarian Regional Council Chairman Yossi Dagan began to speak.
“We respect and appreciate the Samaritans and consider them part of the Palestinian people, but we cannot accept the presence of settlers,” Rajoub told the Palestinian Authority Ma’an News Agency. “We are unwilling to talk to settlers because their presence is illegal and unacceptable.”
Meanwhile, Dagan posted a video of his speech on Facebook, commenting that he wished a happy holiday to “the Samaritan community, IDF soldiers, and anyone who wishes to live alongside us in tranquility.”
Dagan added that Rajoub and the other Palestinian Authority representatives “fled the ceremony” because “they apparently didn’t really like hearing the simple truth—the nation of Israel lives.”TPS / Tazpit News Agency