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

Posts Tagged ‘Tazpit News Agency’

Google Street View in Israel: Tourists Vs. Terrorists?

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

Google Street View, launched five years ago in the United States and has since then expanded to Europe, Australia, Asia and parts of Africa, has finally made its way to the Middle East. Israel has become the first country to be added to Street View services last week, when images of the Holy Land officially went up on Sunday, April 20.  Although the National Museum of Iraq in Baghdad is available on Street View, Israel is the only country to show its streets and cities which thus far include Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Haifa.

 The Google Street View cars and tricycles could be seen snapping photos on the streets of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Mitzpeh Ramon, the Kinneret, and the Dead Sea since last September. In a technical process that took several months, the 360 degree images that were captured were processed and carefully stitched together in the US. Google is planning to release many more images of Israeli cities and streets in the future.
But Israeli government approval for Google Street View did not come easy.
Prior to the launch, Google consulted with Israeli security officials for months in light of concerns that terrorists could use the services to target civilians. In August 2011, Israel’s Justice Ministry allowed Google to start photographing streets but asked that Street View provide the public a reliable way to request that further details be blurred after images were published on-line. Google Israel CEO Meir Brand explained that the Google images do not show sites in real-time and that Street View only photographed “public areas accessible to anyone.”  In addition, faces and license plates are automatically blurred before being published on Google Maps and users can always request additional blurring.
Military headquarters in Tel Aviv and the Prime Minister’s residence in Jerusalem have been blurred for security reasons. In 2008, US Pentagon banned Google Street View from photographing US military bases, when it was discovered that up close imagery of the Fort Sam Houston army base in Texas were available on Google Maps.
In the past, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) has indicated that it made use of Google Earth technology to fire rockets into Israel.  In an interview with the Beirut news agency, MENASSAT in June 2008, PIJ spokesman Abu Hamza explained that “when militants fire missiles on Israeli targets, they do so in collaboration with the experts in the unit who specify the military and political positions. They also use Google Earth, which helps a lot.”
PIJ contributed to the firing of thousands of rockets against Israelis in the south in past years and was responsible for numerous suicide bombings. The PIJ unit that makes use of Google Earth for rocket launchings is the cyber-war division of the PIJ’s armed Al-Quds brigades.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, however, emphasized the positive aspects of the service stating that, “more than three billion people of faith around the world are interested in Jerusalem and wish to visit at least once in their lifetime. The service will allow everyone who wants to come to Jerusalem to better plan their visits and to taste the city before they even arrive.”
“Google Street View is an important tool to increase the number of tourists to Jerusalem,” the mayor added. Jerusalem received a record amount of more than 3 million tourists in 2010.
According to a Google statement, the imagery of “Jerusalem, Tel Aviv-Jaffa and Haifa includes sites of interest such as the Muslim, Christian, Jewish and Armenian quarters of Jerusalem’s Old City, the Via Dolorosa, Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Western Wall, Mount of Olives, old port of Jaffa, and the Baha’i Gardens.”
Residents in Jerusalem exhibited mixed feelings about seeing the Google Street View vehicles throughout the city. “Hopefully, Street View will give the world the chance to see Jerusalem beyond the conflict,” Itzik Yarkoni told Tazpit News Agency. “The headlines always like to show the tensions in this city. Now people will get the chance to see aspects of normal life here and what we usually experience.”
Sarah, who recently moved to Jerusalem in the past year, disagrees “I was freaked out when I first heard about Street View in Israel. It makes me nervous for security reasons. I’m sure there will be tourists who will make good use of this technology but what about the terrorists who can also use it?”

Old School Zionism in a Modern Form: The New Israeli Guardians

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

Back at the turn of twentieth century, when Jewish settlers and farmers began to return to their land, no law existed in the area, and there was no sovereign to enforce it. In 1909, “Ha’Shomer” – “The Guardian” – was established to protect these pioneers and their endeavors. They were the forerunners of the Haganah, which subsequently developed into the IDF. They were warriors, horse-riding, gun-carrying, Arabic-speaking Jews who decided to protect what was theirs, understanding that only steadfastness would enable the Jews returning to their land to survive. They fought, and in many cases, they won.

The original "Ha'Shomer"

It seems that in Israel circa 2012, some things haven’t changed. Many of the farmers face the same challenges as their precursors, including repetitive land seizures, theft and destruction of crops, theft of livestock, physical assault, ongoing threats, and damage to property. Since 2004, over one thousand heads of cattle have been stolen.

Seeing the dire necessity on the ground, a few young men have gotten together and established “Ha’Shomer Ha’Chadash,” -”The New Guardian” – with the same objectives as the original. They have taken upon themselves the task of providing security to farmers and ranchers, primarily in the Negev and the Galilee. Maintaining a continuous physical presence, 700 volunteers at 21 locations help farmers secure their lands and property. Areas patrolled by the volunteers have experienced a significant drop in violent actions against farmers.

New Guardians protecting farmland

The organization’s objective is to create a strategic change in Israeli society, developing awareness about the adversities landowners and farmers face, strengthening the weakened connection of Israelis to their land, and stressing the significance of ownership over open territory in the Negev and Galilee. These ideas are implemented by volunteers who stand guard, protecting farms and grazing lands. The volunteers also promote these Zionist ideals through educational ventures.

According to the organization, the motives for their antagonists’ actions are not only financial, but ideological as well. Their aim is to exhaust the farmers and drive them off the land, so that they can claim it for themselves, thus weakening the Jewish presence.

The New Guardians poring over a map

The police and authorities are working to eliminate the problems, but are understaffed and have difficulty responding properly. The New Guardian cooperates with law enforcement, filling in gaps left by the police.

The organization also has an educational program which trains young men and prepares them for leadership positions. An activist in the organization told Tazpit that the New Guardian has had a number of successes. Wherever they have a presence, attacks lessen, although harassment has not ceased completely. Her feelings are mixed. On one hand, the “other side” knows the New Guardian exists and is wary of the organization’s volunteers, but lately there has been an increase in hostilities. The aggressors have become bolder. The New Guardian will continue its activities, and has even attempted to meet the other side to learn its needs and perhaps come to some sort of understanding.

She says that the key is in how we perceive ourselves – “we must behave as owners of land and conduct ourselves with pride. We should internalize the notion that this is our country. If we do so, the other side’s attitude will change as well.” The focus is not the attackers, but on strengthening our roots in our land.

Based on these vital concepts, the organization has plans to broaden its educational activities, becoming a social movement that endeavors to present the ideas of courage, land, fraternity, dedication, and mutual responsibility to Israeli society. The New Guardian will work to create a public discourse on these issues, hoping to have an influence on individuals who will internalize these ideals and act upon them.

In conclusion, she said: “I grew up in a very Zionistic home, where I was educated to believe in the good in every human being, and where I was imbued with a love of the land. Hashomer Hachadash wants to direct Israelis towards these values, reconnecting them to their land and their country. There is a general feeling that these good old basic values are lacking now, and we want to return to them.”

Tazpit News Agency Launches Tazpit Recon Unit

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

Tazpit News Agency has been monitoring and documenting news events in Israel for over two years, focusing on news coming out of Judea and Samaria. The extreme left wing and anti-Israel protests are characterized by the presence of many activists documenting these events. The footage is then edited and used to present a biased and one-sided account of the event.

In order to provide a proper response to these ambushes staged against the security forces, Tazpit News Agency is establishing a team of photographers – veteran soldiers from combat units – who will have a presence at all flashpoints in Israel. They will arrive on scene pursuant to prior intelligence, or will be called out at real time. Their primary objective will be to document these events and present a complete picture to the media.

The unit will be comprised of 20 members, armed with video and still cameras. The members will also be supplied with motorcycles, to permit greater mobility and access; one photographer alone can present a different and unbiased picture, eliminating the potential of forgery and sham editing by anti-Israel organizations.

An intelligence collection desk will be established to monitor anarchist and anti-Israel websites and publications and provide the recon unit with up-to-date and accurate information about the events and the people involved in them.

Amotz Eyal, CEO of Tazpit: “Tazpit News Agency has been operating for over two years to uncover and document the truth. Since more than a few of the confrontations occur in areas that are difficult and dangerous to access, we established ‘Sayeret Tazpit’ – veterans of elite military units serving in the communications battle, to document the truth.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/tazpit-news-agency-launches-tazpit-recon-unit/2012/04/24/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: