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December 18, 2014 / 26 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘region’

Mercer: For a Good Life, Try Vienna, Avoid Baghdad

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

Vienna retains the top spot as the city with the world’s best quality of living, according to the Mercer 2012 Quality of Living Survey. Zurich, Switzerland, and Auckland, New Zealand, follow in second and third place, respectively, and Munich is in fourth place, followed by Vancouver, which ranked fifth. Düsseldorf dropped one spot to rank sixth followed by Frankfurt in seventh, Geneva in eighth, Copenhagen in ninth, and Bern, Switzerland, and Sydney, Australia, tied for tenth place.

Here’s another common denominator to all the cities above: these are all cities I won’t be caught dead living in. Two of my favorite cities barely made the cut: New York City came in 44th and Tel Aviv 99th. I didn’t see Jerusalem anywhere in the survey, although it could be tucked away in the full list, which you have to buy (not gonna’ happen).

New York came in 30th on the Infrastructure Ranking list (seriously? with the longest and most complex subway system in the world?) and Tel Aviv 58th – hey, ahead of 72nd spot Abu Dhabi!

In the Americas, Canadian cities still dominate the top of the index, with Vancouver (5) retaining the top regional spot, followed by Ottawa (14), Toronto (15) and Montreal (23). Calgary ranks 32nd on the overall quality of living ranking.

Honolulu (28) is the U.S. city with the highest quality of living, followed by San Francisco (29) and Boston (35). Chicago is at 42 and Washington, DC ranks 43rd.

In the Middle East and Africa, Dubai (73) and Abu Dhabi (78) in the United Arab Emirates are the region’s cities with the best quality of living. Port Louis in Mauritius (82), Cape Town (89) and Johannesburg (94) follow, and along with Victoria in the Seychelles (96) and Tel Aviv (99), are the region’s only other cities in the top 100.

The Middle East and Africa have 15 cities in the bottom 20, including Lagos, Nigeria (202); Bamako, Mali (209); Khartoum, Sudan (217); and N’Djamena, Chad (218). Baghdad, Iraq (221) is the lowest-ranking city both regionally and globally.

Defense Min. Barak: We Didn’t Want to Conquer Gaza

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

In an interview with Israel Radio, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that he considered conquering Gaza throughout Operation Pillar of Defense, but did not take the step because he did not want Israel to remain in the region for a long period of time.

In his first interview since Wednesday night’s ceasefire agreement, in which Barak declared that the Israeli military had accomplished its goals “in full” over the course of the eight day operation, Barak said that while Israel could have removed Hamas from power, it would have meant that Israel would be “forced to stay in for years”, and that it would have been difficult to figure out how to withdraw from Gaza again.

Barak boasted that “while our Chief of Staff will soon be talking to the press, their Chief of Staff is in the ground”, referring to Hamas military chief Ahmded Jabari, who Israel killed on the first day of Pillar of Defense.

Barak said Israel hit Hamas with one thousand times the force with which Hamas hit Israel, and praised the “powerful, effective army”.

Netanyahu Accepted a Ceasefire with ‘No Assassinations’ Clause

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

Egypt’s Foreign Minister has announced that a truce between Israel and Hamas will go into effect at 9 PM GMT, 2 PM Eastern.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently spoke with President Barack Obama and accepted his recommendation to give a chance to the Egyptian proposal for a ceasefire, and thus provide an opportunity to stabilize the situation and calm it down before it became necessary to use even more force.

Netanyahu expressed his deep appreciation to the president’s support of Israel during the operation and his contribution to the Iron Dome system.

The prime minister reiterated that Israel will take all necessary steps to protect the citizens of Israel.

An Egyptian official confirmed to Reuters that a ceasefire agreement was reached between Palestinians, Israel. Israel has agreed to a truce in Gaza, but will not lift blockade: Israeli sources. (Reuters)

Hillary Clinton on Egyptian TV Wednesday Night

Hillary Clinton on Egyptian TV Wednesday Night

Secretary Clinton said on Egyptian television tonight: “The U.S. will work with partners across the region, improve conditions in Gaza, provide security for the people in Israel. Every step must move us towards a comprehensive peace for all the people in the region. Egypt is assuming responsibility and leadership of the region.”

Clinton made no mention of Hamas in her short speech, referring only to PA president Mahmoud Abbas.

The Hamas-Israel ceasefire deal has Egyptian “guarantees,” an Egyptian source close to the truce talks told Reuters.

An Egyptian source said the truce includes an end to “assassinations” and “incursions,” and will also ease movement of Palestinians in and out of Gaza. (Reuters)

Palestinians: We Rejected Israel’s 90-Day Ceasefire Offer

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

Sources in the Hamas and Islamic Jihad leadership have told the newspaper Al-Hayat that Israel offered them a cease-fire for 90 days, during which it would examine their goodwill efforts prior to a discussion of Palestinian demands. But the Palestinians said they refused the offer, and stuck by their three points: a mutual ceasefire, an end to targeted assassinations and the opening all the entrances into Gaza as soon as the ceasefire takes effect. Those entrances include the Gaza port, which is blockaded by the Israeli navy.

The rejection came after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in Jerusalem. that “in the days ahead the United States will work with our partners here in Israel and across the region toward an outcome that bolsters security for the people of Israel, improves conditions for the people of Gaza and moves toward a comprehensive peace for all people of the region.”

All those nice things will have to wait. Or, as Prime Minister Netanyahu told Clinton: “If there is a possibility of achieving a long-term solution to this problem with diplomatic means, we prefer that, but if not, I’m sure you understand that Israel will have to take whatever action is necessary to defend its people.”

The Gates of Jerusalem

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

The endless wars with Israel are not really about the Jewish State. Nor are the wars about the Arabs living in the territories that Israel lost in 1948 to Jordan and Egypt and recaptured from them in 1967. The rest of the Muslim world cares no more about them than Hitler cared about the Sudeten Germans or Japan really believed in the rights of Chinese and Koreans.

Israel is a sideline in a regional struggle by fractured populations who are divided by ethnicity and religion, language and natural resources, to unite into a single commonality. It is a natural target because its population consists of a people who are members of a different religious and ethnic group than the dominant religious and ethnic groups of the region.

Unlike the Persians and Turks, the Jews are not Muslims, not even Shiites, and unlike the Christian Arabs, the Jews are not even of the same ethnicity as the regional majority. Jews are neither Muslims nor Arabs and that makes them unique and alien in a region where every country is dominated by either an Arab or Muslim identity. Or both.

To the Arab Nationalist, the Persian and Turk is an alien, but the Christian Arab is a brother. To the Islamist, the Christian Arab is a Dhimmi or an infidel, but the Turk is a brother in faith. But to both, the Jew and the Jewish State are an alien presence in the region that must be removed for their own version of regional unity to flourish.

The Post-Colonial contest in the Middle East has been over how to unite the fractured ethnic minorities and the religious splits together into a single region. What do the tribal oil monarchies have in common with the former colonies ruled by military strongmen? What do any of them have in common with the Persians and the Turks?

Uniting behind something is difficult, as even the Islamists must admit. Islam split over issues of succession not too long after Mohammed’s death. But uniting against something is fairly easy. The Jews are the most alien of all the groups in the region. Unable to unite on love, the Middle East unites on hate and hating Israel gives everyone in the region a feeling of having something in common.

Israel is however only a sideline in the larger struggle between Islamists and Nationalists, Sunnis and Shiites, in a region struggling to define itself around the supremacy of a single defining identity, rather than a harmony between different identities.

Terrorism against Israel is not a continuous enduring phenomenon. The enemies that Israel faced were defined by the political and religious trends of the region, from an early PLO committed to fighting to incorporate Israel into a Greater Syria  to the latter day Hamas which is fighting for its own Islamist superstate in the form of the Caliphate.

Rather than an ongoing resistance by an oppressed people, the terrorists have actually been defined by ideological opportunism.

To the Arab Nationalists, it was nationalism that defined a nation and their terrorists constructed a mythical Palestinian identity to indoctrinate generations into becoming eager soldiers in the endless war being promoted by their Arab Nationalist backers in Egypt and Syria. And so Palestinian nationalism was born, not at all troubled by the lack of any actual national history to go with all the flags and bloody poems about dying for a homeland that had never existed and whose population consisted of economic migrants from Syria, Egypt and Jordan.

To the Islamists, nationalism is at best suspect and at worst, idolatrous. Hamas has never been able to disavow Palestinian nationalism, but its leaders waver between invoking the Palestinian nation and tossing it aside for their true goal of a regional Islamist unity.

The Arab Nationalists needed a national history and identity to lay claim to Israel. The Islamists has no need for such trinkets. To the Islamist, Israel is a Muslim possession by right of conquest. Once Muslims capture a place, whether it is Spain or Israel, it becomes Muslim land in perpetuity. There is no need for a national mythology linking a people to a specific place to allow a Muslim to lay claim to a territory that was once ruled by Muslims.

Iran: Emir of Qatar Worked for Israel, Betrayed Hamas

Monday, November 19th, 2012

Iran’s Fars news agency is alleging that emir of Qatar, King Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani helped Israel kill Hamas terror leaders by placing tracking devices throughout the region.

According to Fars, Sheikh Hamad distributed several watches and ballpoint pens among Hamas leaders when he visited the area in October, and that those items contained transmitters which emit signals to Israeli satellites.

A Thank You from JewishPress.com

Friday, November 16th, 2012

Dear Readers,

We would like to thank everyone who has opened their hearts and offered to open up their homes this coming Shabbat to residents of the south . We received close to 100 hosting offers, and given the short notice this is truly a great accomplishment and a tribute to all our readers.

We have worked very hard with many of the organizations taking part in this to match up households with guests, based on availability and other parameters such as family sizes, region, etc. There are many organizations working on this and we shared lists to try for the greatest chance of success.

If you were not contacted at this point than you will probably not be for this coming Shabbat (I may be wrong).

If you were contacted – lucky you – I am envious. Please write us and tell us how it was.

We will keep all your names on file for a few weeks in case the need is still there. Should you be needed in the future you will be contacted (you can always decline at that point).

Thank you again for being the wonderful people you are and for being loyal readers of the Jewish Press.

Shabbat Shalom

Dovid Schwartz
Publisher
JewishPress.com

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/special-features/israel-at-war-operation-amud-anan/a-thank-you-from-jewishpress-com/2012/11/16/

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