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April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘terrorism’

The Clown Therapist Who Sees No Borders

Monday, March 17th, 2014

Reuven Singer can often be seen wearing two very different uniforms that seem worlds apart.

The 33-year-old father, who lives in Karnei Shomron in northwestern Samaria, dons his bullet-proof vest and carries his M16 to protect his community in an event of a terrorist attack, as a volunteer in his neighborhood security watch team. But Singer’s other uniform – a far jollier one – consists of a red rubber nose, clown shoes, and a colorful tie and crazy hat that he wears during clown therapy sessions at a Tel Aviv hospital.

The religious settler travels once a week to the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center (Ichilov Hospital), where he works to uplift patients, through jokes, laughter and improvisation.

“A hospital is not a fun place,” Singer tells Tazpit News Agency. You want the patients to feel more comfortable.

“I’ve worked with children and parents who are hysterical before blood infusions, check-ups, or surgery. My job is to relax the parents and help the child overcome the pain and tension. That helps the staff and doctors too. Once you give the parent and child a chance to smile and breathe more easily, it helps everyone,” Singer told Tazpit News Agency in an exclusive interview.

Singer, who has been volunteering as clown therapist for three years, has worked with many different sectors of Israeli society including Palestinian children from Gaza who have been brought into Israel for treatment. “You don’t look at the person before you – I don’t see an Arab, Eritrean, Russian, or whatever ethnicity person is – all I see is the pain.”

“To me, it doesn’t matter if it’s an Arab child or a Jewish child – I want to help bring that person out of the pain and give him or her some positive energy,” Singer explains.

“Sometimes, I throw in a word in Russian or Arabic during a joke and the smile in return is worth everything.”

Singer has found himself in situations where rocks have been thrown at his vehicle on his way home to Samaria from the hospital.

“Palestinians throwing rocks at my vehicle won’t stop me,” he says. “I believe that when Arab patients see me, it will give them a chance to see that a religious settler is not a monster and maybe in turn it will make them stop throwing rocks.”

Singer’s day job is aerial photography but he says that it’s his volunteer work that is most meaningful. “I volunteer in two very different professions, but both save lives in different ways.”

He describes a unique Purim two years ago in Karnei Shomron when he dressed up in the clown costume he usually donned for clown therapy session. Suddenly in the middle of the Purim seuda (festive holiday meal) the community was alerted to a potential terror threat.

“Here I was, dressed as a clown with a red rubber nose, and I had to go out with my M16 for a security check,” he says. “That was truly a bizarre experience.”

Today an estimated number of 320 clown therapists operate across Israel. Following a chance meeting with a clown therapist who treated Singer’s daughter when she was hospitalized five years ago, Singer decided to take a six-month clown therapy course where he learned how to be a medical clown himself.

“I go to the hospital every week and act as a clown to make someone feel better. I want to change a child’s reality for good and this is how I do it.”

Rocket Lands Near Sderot Library; 70 Rockets Fired at Israel

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

In what was the heaviest rocket barrage against Israel in two years, 55 projectiles were fired from Gaza into Israel on Wednesday evening, March 12. The rockets were reported to have been launched from east Gaza City neighborhood of Shuja’iyya. Islamic Jihad’s military wing, Al-Quds Brigades claimed responsibility for the rocket attacks.

In Sderot, several sirens were sounded warning residents of impending rockets. One rocket reportedly landed near a municipal library. “We heard four Color Red sirens and an explosion,” Meital Ohayon of Sderot told Tazpit News Agency. Ohayon had been dressing her children in Purim costumes at the time of the attacks.

Elsewhere in southern Israel, a 57-year-old woman broke her hip as she raced to make it to a shelter in time.

The IDF stated that eight rockets had hit urban, civilian areas including Sderot. The IDF Spokesperson’s Office added that the Iron Dome rocket defense system intercepted three rockets.

Rocket warning sirens were heard across Israeli communities bordering the Gaza Strip including the Eshkol Regional Council and Sdot Negev Regional Council as well as Netivot and Beer Sheva.

The head of the Eshkol Regional Council, Haim Yellin stated that “since Operation Pillar of Defense, we have experienced quiet and we are finally living normal daily routines. This was the most significant escalation since that operation. The government of Israel must act accordingly both militarily and on a state level so that the quiet will return.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded saying that “It seems that the rocket fire came in response to our counter-terrorism operations yesterday. We will continue to thwart and harm those who wish to harm us and will against them with great intensity.”

Islamic Jihad declared that the firing of the rockets was in retaliation for Israel’s targeting and killing of three Islamic Jihad operatives as they prepared to fire at Israel from the Gaza Strip the previous day, on Tuesday, March 11.

Israel also recently intercepted an Iranian shipment of rockets heading to the Gaza Strip last week. Israeli military sources said that the 409 rockets on that shipment which also included arms were intended for Islamic Jihad.

Jerusalem Gas Leak Terrorist Captured

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

The police and Israeli security services have captured the alleged terrorist who tried to blow up three buildings in Armon HaNatziv in Jerusalem, in a mega attack in March.

It’s now been revealed that he had tried to blow up a total of eight buildings in an attempted terror attack just 2 days before.

The man was identified as Aziz Musa Salam Awisat, age 49 and father of 6. Awisat holds Jerusalem Resident status. He lives in Jabal Mukaber.

Awisat admitted to police that after hearing of the gas explosion in Gilo that killed a family and destroyed a building, he was inspired to commit a terror attack that would do the same.

Awisat allegedly cut the gas pipes inside a total of eight buildings on February 28 and March 2, and lit a flame next to them, hoping it would set off a massive explosion, blowing up the buildings and everyone inside.

The gas leak was detected and the Jerusalem fire department evacuated the buildings in time.

DNA left behind at the scene of the attacks was used to find Awisat.

During the investigation police discovered that Awisat also attacked an elderly Haredi Jew on HaNeviim Street in Jerusalem in 2012, hitting him with an ax.

Content from Tazpit New Agency was used in this report.

Carney: US to Continue Iran Talks Despite Ship Seizure

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

The United States will continue taking part in negotiations with Iran over the Iranian nuclear program, despite a recent Israeli seizure of an Iranian ship carrying weapons to Gaza.

White House Spokesman Jay Carney acknowledged Wednesday that Iran’s state sponsorship of terror has continued during the talks. He also said that the U.S. “will continue to stand up to Iran’s support for destabilizing activities in the region, in coordination with our partners and allies, and [make] clear that these illicit actions are unacceptable to the international community and in gross violation of Iran’s [United Nations] Security Council obligations,” according to the Times of Israel.

But Carney said that despite Iran’s terror sponsorship, “it’s entirely appropriate to continue to pursue the possibility of reaching a resolution on the nuclear program,” in negotiations between Iran and Western powers.

On Wednesday, the Israel Defense Forces intercepted an Iranian ship laden with weaponry and bound for terrorist organizations in Gaza. Carney confirmed that U.S. intelligence had cooperated with the IDF on the operation.

I Was Baruch Goldstein’s Friend

Friday, February 28th, 2014

The past week or so has witnessed a spate of “Remembering Baruch Goldstein” articles and videos in the international media. That’s because the past week marked the 20th anniversary of his attack at Ma’arat HaMachpela, the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs in Hebron.

First, to be clear, I do not agree with, or justify what Baruch Goldstein did twenty years ago. I believe I can say, as I have stated many times before, that the Jewish Community of Hebron also rejects such violence and bloodshed as a means to deal with the issues plaguing us. The reason I am so sure is simply because our people do not do it. Our people do not go out and randomly shoot at other people who are not endangering their lives.

People here are armed. We are licensed, either by the Ministry of the Interior or by the IDF, to carry small arms and rifles for reasons of self-defense, and self-defense only. Once a pistol or a rifle is in the possession of any given person, they can, theoretically, do with it whatever they want. If a person wants to go outside and start shooting people, there is nothing to stop him. The fact is that Jews don’t randomly attack and shoot people, not in Hebron, and not anywhere else. This is not the way to achieve whatever aims we might have. It is not right legally, morally or ethically. It is wrong.

As a result there are very few people who have illegitimately used weapons against Arabs for reasons other than self-defense. And those who have are imprisoned for very lengthy periods of time.

When journalists ask me about our reaction to Baruch Goldstein, after replying, I inquire as to whether they ask my Arab neighbors what they think about Yahya Ayyash. About 99% of them don’t know who I’m talking about. Ayyash was nicknamed ‘the engineer.’ Bombs he assembled killed more than 70 Israelis in numerous terror attacks in the 1990s. He trained his successors to follow in his footsteps after his death at the hands of Israeli intelligence. At his funeral, attended by well over 100,000 people, Arafat called him a saint. (Two days after Goldstein’s attack, Yitzhak Rabin, in the Knesset, said, “I am ashamed to be a Jew.”)

How many Jews have committed such acts? Five, six, maybe seven. How many Arabs? Between 1989 and 2008, more than 800 Arab suicide-homicide killers have murdered Jews. Who is the only one remembered? Baruch Goldstein.

I asked former MK Mossi Raz, demonstrating in Hebron this week, if he would also demonstrate to mark the 18th anniversary of Israel’s killing of Ayyash. Of course, the answer was a stark No.

I knew Goldstein. He was my friend. He was also a doctor. A very good one. He treated both Arabs and Jews. His trauma treatment was legendary in Israeli medical circles. His on-the-spot diagnoses were, after weeks of hospital tests, found to be 100% on the mark.

He was also the only on-duty doctor in Kiryat Arba, just about 24 hours a day, seven days a week. During the first intifada, following drive-by shootings and terror attacks, he was frequently the first medical person at the scene. As such, he witnessed horrible sights. It is said that he would sleep at night with earphones in his ears, allowing him to hear reports of attacks, without disturbing his wife’s’ sleep.

Why did he do what he did? This is a question to which, as far as I know, nobody really knows the full answer. To the best of my knowledge, he didn’t leave behind any notes or messages. However, only two months earlier, I was present at the scene of the murder of his close friend, Mordechai Lapid and his son Shalom, just outside the gates of Kiryat Arba. He tried to save Mordechai’s life, in vain.

Baby Injured in Jerusalem Terror Attack

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

According to a MDA spokesperson, a baby was injured after being hit in the head with a glass marble that was shot at a group of tourists near the Kotel, in the Old City of Jerusalem.

The group of French tourists had just exited the Kotel Tunnels when Arabs fired at least one glass marble at the group. The marble hit a year and a half old baby girl in the head.

The baby, who was lightly injured, was was treated by MDA, and then transferred to Hadassah Ein Karem hospital.

PA Pays Terrorists on Time but in Debt to Gas Stations

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

Arab gas stations in Judea and Samaria have refused to fill tanks of Palestinian Authority security vehicles because of six months of unpaid bills, according to the Bethlehem-based Ma’an News Agency.

The accumulated bill for unpaid fuel now stands at nearly $16 million, according to an official of the union of gas station owners,

The union said the Palestinian Authority Finance Ministry has ignored a warning of two weeks ago that gas stations would stop pumping gas for security vehicles as of this past Saturday.

However, the regime in Ramallah continues to pay terrorists their monthly “salaries” for being arrested for terror and serving time in Israelis jails.

And the European Union, some of whose member countries are suffering bloated debts and near-bankrupt economies, continues to pay the Palestinian Authority, despites its priorities.

Gaza Firm Offers Private Bodyguards

Monday, February 17th, 2014

Gaza’s first personal security business has opened up, but its owner says terrorists will not be accepted as customers.

“Secure Land” director Abdul Qader al-Arbid told the Chinese news agency Xinhua that clients will; include banks, hotels, celebrities and banks but not terrorists looking for protection from rival gangs.

“We only work with the private sector,” Arbid said. “This is how security companies work across the world.”

The company’s bodyguards’ first assignment last week was to protect Mohammed Assaf, the winner of the Arab Idol singing competition. Hamas has allowed the company’s 32 security officers to use light weapons, when necessary,

Secure Land also will not provide bodyguards for international aid organizations, meaning that UNRWA, which has increasingly been confronted by Hamas, will have to find its own solution to keep its workers alive.

“We have no problems to have such companies here. We are ready to support and help them in their job,” said Islam Shawan, spokesman for the Interior Ministry of Hamas.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/gaza-firm-offers-private-bodyguards/2014/02/17/

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