Am Ultra-Orthodox Jewish man, 60, was stabbed by an Arab terrorist Monday night, around 10:30 PM, on Haldia Street in the Muslim quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. The terrorist, dressed in jeans and a black coat fled the scene and police have begun a manhunt.
The victim made his way over to the Lion’s Gate after the attack, where he reached security forces.
The knife used by the terrorist has been located.
Israel Weingarten, an MDA paramedic, told reporters: “A man of 60 was sitting near the Lions’ Gate, after having been stabbed in his upper body. He was fully conscious and told us he had been stabbed over in the alleys and ran towards the Lions’ Gate to seek help from the security force there. We gave him first aid, dressed the wound and stopped the bleeding and evacuated him to the hospital in moderate and stable condition.”
Update: Tuesday, 12:51 AM: Police believe they have caught the suspect.
Update: Tuesday, 1:01 AM: Police have confirmed they have caught the terrorist – an 18-year-old Arab from the territories. The terrorist was hiding in a basement and had changed his clothing. Police used security cameras in the Old City to track him down. He confessed during the interrogation.
On Tuesday morning it looked as if, at long last, the moment everyone had been waiting for came, igniting Arab anger like a lit fuse reaching the dynamite stick: two young religious Jews in white, knitted yarmulkes dared to bow on the stone floor of the Temple Mount, the way Jews had done it there from around 1,000 BCE until 70 CE, with a few interruptions.
Of the 90-second video, only the first 10 or so show the Jews bowing. The rest is about the rush of police to meet Arab rioters who are going hoarse with a level of screaming reserved for special occasions. They shout Allahu Akbar, which is close to what we used to cry out on Yom Kippur when we bowed there, on the stone floor, as the high priest sounded the explicit, 72-letter name of God.
The two Jewish offenders were arrested on the spot, and the Arabs, who, frankly, seemed way more offensive, were left to clash and scream and beat on the cops to their hearts’ content.
This was the third day in a row in which Israeli Police removed Jews from the Temple Mount, and so, every day so far this week Jews have been kicked out and arrested on and off the grounds of the Temple Mount by the security forces of the Jewish State, often instructed by the Jordanian Waqf, which runs the show.
Online visitors to the Binyamin Regional Council virtual tour can fly over the gorgeous landscapes and get a real feel for the region, then click on whatever grabs their fancy for an in-depth explanation.
In recent months the increase of tourism to Judea and Samaria has made international headlines with talk of the over 200 hundred Bed and Breakfasts options available, fifty of which are just in the Binyamin Region, north of Jerusalem. In the last five years, tourism has increased significantly across Judea and Samaria, and tourism-related businesses have more than doubled. Fifteen new visitors centers have opened, all of which offer presentations in multiple languages. The wine industry has also blossomed with more than 20 boutique wineries, making internationally acclaimed wine.
An estimated 1.5 million tourists visit sites across Judea and Samaria annually. The major demographic is faith-based tourists, both Jewish and Christian, with a special interest in Judeo-Christian history. A record number of Biblical sites have recently initiated new and extremely high-quality audio-visual presentations in multiple languages, including Shiloh, Hebron and the Herodian.
In recent years the Yesha Council together with the 6 regional councils and 13 local councils that it represents has invested a great deal of funds in telling its story to the world. Finding that the best way to explain the Israeli resettlement of Judea and Samaria is to invite people on life-changing visit of the area.
Talmonim Bicycle track, West Binyamin / Photo Credit: The Binyamin Regional Council
The Binyamin Regional Council has launched two new initiatives to highlight the abundance of new tourist attractions and internationally accessible programs this Passover. One is a video showcasing some of the 36 activities available from visiting ancient Shiloh to swimming in the 9 springs and riding camels at Eretz Bereshit to visiting internationally acclaimed wineries and breathtaking hikes across multiple nature reserves.
In addition, the council has launched a new website to showcase its wares, which includes a state of the art new virtual tour (still in beta version) which offers viewers a birds-eye view of Western Binyamin with the aid of hours of interactive drone footage.
The website offers additional resources and information to maximize and personalize tours.
“This Passover we are expecting a huge rise in tourism to the Binyamin region in particular and Judea and Samaria in general, because there is just so much more for people to do here. We are especially looking forward to welcoming all of our supporters from abroad that are visiting Israel for the holiday and understand the importance of visiting the Biblical heartland of Israel” Said Miri Maoz-Ovadia, spokesperson for the Binyamin Regional Council.
If we were to describe the following scene as having taken place anywhere else on the planet, the report would have been followed by several news cycles involving angry Jewish organizations, rabbis, Israeli rightwing politicians and, undoubtedly, Prime Minister Netanyahu, condemning the blatant act of anti-Semitic repression on the part of police, carrying out the anti-Semitic policies of the national government. (See American Jew Arrested for Murmuring Prayers, 2nd Warned to Close Prayer App)
On Sunday morning, a Jewish American tourist wearing a yarmulke stood with a group of fellow Jewish tourists and spoke about the meaning of a biblical verse. A group of black-uniformed police converged on him and accused him of engaging in Jewish prayer, which is against the law in that country. The Jewish man tried to defend himself, arguing that he was merely explaining a biblical verse, “Please, God, save [us], Please God, give [us] success” (Psalms 118:25).
The cops rushed to the man and his group as soon as they heard the words “Please, God” pronounced in Hebrew. The rest of the lecture was in English. The man insisted, in English, that he was merely explaining the verse and not praying. The cops had no patience for lengthy arguments with a Jew and arrested him.
Several other Jewish tourists tried to intervene, explaining that it was a misunderstanding, they wouldn’t have even dreamed of praying there, in a country that punishes Jews who engage in public prayer, it was merely a mention of a verse in the context of a talk. At which point the arresting officer declared:
“On the Temple Mount I decide what’s prayer.”
Yes, the entire scene took place in Jerusalem, the eternal capital of the Jewish State, where black uniformed police decide what’s prayer and what’s not. On Temple Mount, as part of decades of government policy, state police violate the human right to free worship Jews are entitled to like all the other humans on the planet.
The legal aid society Honenu said in a statement: “The conduct of the State of Israel and Police regarding the suspicion of Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount is, first of all, ridiculous, and in addition it is discriminatory and predatory. It is inconceivable that a law-abiding man would be arrested like the lowest criminal for explaining a verse from Psalms. In any other country such an arrest would have been called anti-Semitic.”
We now begin waiting for the angry condemnations from Jewish as well as from human-rights organizations demanding an apology and a quick mending of the gross violation against Jews by the local government.
State Dept. Spokesperson John Kirby’s daily press briefing on Thursday touched on the ominous possibility that the Obama Administration will wait until after the November election, so as not to steer Jewish votes away from the Democratic candidate, and then, in a final splash of power, just before going down from the world’s stage, blow up a landmine in Prime Minister Netanyahu’s face and support or fail to veto a UN Security Council resolution creating a Palestinian State and ordering the hasty removal of all Jewish presence on the “wrong” side of the 1967 border.
We redacted and edited the exchange to make it a tad more entertaining. But one can smell the danger hidden in the spokesman’s evasions. Barring divine intervention, the Obama gang is planning to install a Palestinian State and create facts on the ground so that the next Democrat in the White House will have to start from that point, rather than with today’s murky uncertainty.
We join the conversation that’s already in progress…
Reporter: On Security Council resolutions – will you consider either supporting or failing to veto a resolution on settlement activity in the West Bank?
Kirby: …We are very concerned about trends on the ground and we do have a sense of urgency about the two-state solution. We will consider all of our options for advancing our shared objective of lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians, but I’m not going to comment on a draft Security Council resolution. Okay?
Reporter: What does that mean, we do have a sense of urgency for a two-state solution?
Kirby: It means exactly what it says and what I’ve been saying from the podium here for months and months and months.
Reporter: So you see a sense of urgency to get to a two-state solution?
Kirby: Sure we do. We very much would like to see a two-state solution realized, yes.
Reporter: I don’t understand.
Kirby: I don’t know what’s not to understand about “we have a sense of urgency.”
Reporter: Well, because there’s only, like, eight months left of the Administration. … You had a sense of urgency back in 2009; you had a sense of urgency when Secretary Kerry took over in 2012.
Kirby: So as time gets shorter, we shouldn’t have a sense of urgency?
Reporter: But if you had a real sense of urgency, you would’ve done something already, right?
Kirby: We have consistently had a sense of urgency.
Reporter: Does that mean, when you say you have a sense or urgency about this, that you’re going to try to cram something in that results in a two-state solution by the end of this Administration?
Kirby: I’m not going to hypothesize on future actions, whatever we continue to do or continue to consider, I don’t know that I would say it’s about cramming. It is about trying to move forward in a productive way towards a two-state solution. And as I’ve said before, we also look to the sides to enact the right kind of leadership to get us there, because ultimately it has to be done by them.
Reporter: But you’re not automatically opposed to a UN Security Council resolution that would call for a two-state solution?
Kirby: We’re not going to comment on this informal draft resolution.
Reporter: I’m not asking you to comment on this informal one. I’m saying that if a resolution presented itself that was evenhanded, in your view – not one-sided or biased against Israel – that called for an end of settlements, called for an end of incitement, and also called for the creation of two states, would you automatically oppose?
Kirby: Well, without getting into those provisions that you listed out there and making a judgment about that, I’d go back to what I said before, and that’s we will consider all of our options for advancing a shared objective, a two-state solution.
Reporter: And that would include a resolution?
Kirby: We’ll consider all options to advance a two-state solution.
Reporter: When you spoke of urgency, did you mean that the urgency comes from the possibility that the two states [solution will go] beyond reach?
Kirby: A sense of urgency about the importance of getting to a two-state solution, which has been a consistent point that we’ve made.
Reporter: But there’s a difference between consistency and urgency.
Kirby: What’s the difference?
Reporter: Well, if it’s always urgent, then it’s never more urgent than before.
Kirby: Well, I don’t know that I’d agree with that. Sometimes something can be always urgent and consistently urgent —
Reporter: You sound like a Foreigner song. (Laughter.) … There’s a song called Urgent. Maybe you’re too young to remember —
Kirby: No, I remember that. (Laughter). I know – I remember the song. I didn’t like it.
For the record, here’s the refrain from Foreigner’s memorable ending to Urgent:
“It gets so urgent / So urgent / You know it’s urgent / I wanna tell you it’s the same for me / So oh oh urgent / Just you wait and see / How urgent our love can be / It’s urgent.
“You say it’s urgent / Make it fast, make it urgent / Do it quick, do it urgent / Gotta rush, make it urgent / Want it quick / Urgent, urgent, emergency / Urgent, urgent, emergency / Urgent, urgent, emergency / Urgent, urgent, emergency / So urgent, emergency / Emer… emer… emer… / It’s urgent.”
Reporter: There are those within the President’s party, certainly the former Secretary of State, that say that simply the venue itself is not the place to impose a solution from without. I just want to be clear that you think that, because you’re considering all of your options, you may consider the UN Security Council to be the venue to impose —
Kirby: I don’t – I’m not going to elaborate on my answer to you. I think I’d point you back to what I said before.
Reporter: Let me just follow up on this just for a second, okay? I mean, seeing how time after time you call on the Israelis to refrain from settlement activities, to cease settlement activities, you call them illegal and so on, but in fact they don’t really listen much to what you have to say. So in that case, in that situation, why not have a forum in the United Nations where the world can collectively come up with some sort of a resolution that they all agree on, which is the cessation of settlement activities? Why would you be opposed to that? Why can’t you say that you would support this at the United Nations?
Kirby: Again, I’m going to point you back to my original answer, which made it clear we’re not going to comment on a draft resolution that’s only been informally presented in New York, and that, as I said, we’ll consider all of our options to try to get to a two-state solution. So I think I’m just not going to go any further than that, Said. I know that’s not satisfying for you, but that’s really where we are right now.
(The conversation we refer to starts around min. 43:50)
Hillary and Bernie locked horns, clashed, yelled and smashed into each other almost literally last night in Brooklyn, NY. There were cheap shots and there were deep cuts. It can be safely said that the behavioral gap between the Democratic and Republican debates have narrowed significantly, so neither side can claim the high ground any longer. As to the portion of the debate in which we were most interested, US-Israeli relations, we must agree Hillary made us feel a little safer. Sanders started off from the point of view of B’Tselem and J Street, while Hillary at this point is a little to the right of J Street. After last night’s debate, if you’re a Democrat who cares about Israel, we advise you to buy an industrial size laundry clip, put it on your nose and vote for Bill’s wife. Not because we endorse her, we really really don’t, but she scares us a little less than Bernie does.
And now, to what they actually said last night about how they’d like to finally bring peace to the region…
Blitzer: Senator, let’s talk about the U.S. relationship with Israel. Senator Sanders, you maintained that Israel’s response in Gaza in 2014 was, quote, “disproportionate and led to the unnecessary loss of innocent life.”
What do you say to those who believe that Israel has a right to defend itself as it sees fit?
Sanders: Well, as somebody who spent many months of my life when I was a kid in Israel, who has family in Israel, of course Israel has a right not only to defend themselves, but to live in peace and security without fear of terrorist attack. That is not a debate.
But — but what you just read, yeah, I do believe that. Israel was subjected to terrorist attacks, has every right in the world to destroy terrorism. But we had in the Gaza area — not a very large area — some 10,000 civilians who were wounded and some 1,500 who were killed.
Heckler: Free Palestine!
Sanders: Now, if you’re asking not just me, but countries all over the world was that a disproportionate attack, the answer is that I believe it was, and let me say something else.
Sanders: And, let me say something else. As somebody who is 100% pro-Israel, in the long run — and this is not going to be easy, God only knows, but in the long run if we are ever going to bring peace to that region which has seen so much hatred and so much war, we are going to have to treat the Palestinian people with respect and dignity.
Sanders: So what is not to say — to say that right now in Gaza, right now in Gaza unemployment is s somewhere around 40%. You got a log of that area continues, it hasn’t been built, decimated, houses decimated health care decimated, schools decimated. I believe the United States and the rest of the world have got to work together to help the Palestinian people.
That does not make me anti-Israel. That paves the way, I think…
Blitzer: … Thank you, Senator…
Sanders: …to an approach that works in the Middle East.
Blitzer: Thank you. Secretary Clinton, do you agree with Senator Sanders that Israel overreacts to Palestinians attacks, and that in order for there to be peace between Israel and the Palestinians, Israel must, quote, end its disproportionate responses?
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Clinton: I negotiated the cease-fire between Israel and Hamas in November of 2012. I did it in concert with…
Clinton: President Abbas of the Palestinian authority based in Ramallah, I did it with the then Muslim Brotherhood President, Morsi, based in Cairo, working closely with Prime Minister Netanyahu and the Israeli cabinet. I can tell you right now I have been there with Israeli officials going back more than 25 years that they do not seek this kind of attacks. They do not invite the rockets raining down on their towns and villages.
They do not believe that there should be a constant incitement by Hamas aided and abetted by Iran against Israel. And, so when it came time after they had taken the incoming rockets, taken the assaults and ambushes on their soldiers and they called and told me, I was in Cambodia, that they were getting ready to have to invade Gaza again because they couldn’t find anybody to talk to tell them to stop it, I flew all night, I got there, I negotiated that.
So, I don’t know how you run a country when you are under constant threat, terrorist tact, rockets coming at you. You have a right to defend yourself.
That does not mean — that does not mean that you don’t take appropriate precautions. And, I understand that there’s always second guessing anytime there is a war. It also does not mean that we should not continue to do everything we can to try to reach a two-state solution, which would give the Palestinians the rights and…
Blitzer: … Thank you…
Clinton: … just let me finish. The rights and the autonomy that they deserve. And, let me say this, if Yasser Arafat had agreed with my husband at Camp David in the Late 1990s to the offer then Prime Minister Barat put on the table, we would have had a Palestinian state for 15 years.
Blitzer: Thank you, Senator, go ahead — go ahead, Senator.
Sanders: I don’t think that anybody would suggest that Israel invites and welcomes missiles flying into their country. That is not the issue.
And, you evaded the answer. You evaded the question. The question is not does Israel have a right to respond, nor does Israel have a right to go after terrorists and destroy terrorism. That’s not the debate. Was their response disproportionate?
I believe that it was, you have not answered that.
Clinton: I will certainly be willing to answer it. I think I did answer it by saying that of course there have to be precautions taken but even the most independent analyst will say the way that Hamas places its weapons, the way that it often has its fighters in civilian garb, it is terrible.
I’m not saying it’s anything other than terrible. It would be great — remember, Israel left Gaza. They took out all the Israelis. They turned the keys over to the Palestinian people.
Clinton: And what happened? Hamas took over Gaza.
So instead of having a thriving economy with the kind of opportunities that the children of the Palestinians deserve, we have a terrorist haven that is getting more and more rockets shipped in from Iran and elsewhere.
Blitzer: Thank you, Secretary.
Sanders: I read Secretary Clinton’s statement speech before AIPAC. I heard virtually no discussion at all about the needs of the Palestinian people. Almost none in that speech.
Sanders: So here is the issue: of course Israel has a right to defend itself, but long-term there will never be peace in that region unless the United States plays a role, an even-handed role trying to bring people together and recognizing the serious problems that exist among the Palestinian people.
That is what I believe the world wants to us do and that’s the kind of leadership that we have got to exercise.
Clinton: Well, if I — I want to add, you know, again describing the problem is a lot easier than trying to solve it. And I have been involved, both as first lady with my husband’s efforts, as a senator supporting the efforts that even the Bush administration was undertaking, and as secretary of state for President Obama, I’m the person who held the last three meetings between the president of the Palestinian Authority and the prime minister of Israel.
There were only four of us in the room, Netanyahu, Abbas, George Mitchell, and me. Three long meetings. And I was absolutely focused on what was fair and right for the Palestinians.
I was absolutely focused on what we needed to do to make sure that the Palestinian people had the right to self-government. And I believe that as president I will be able to continue to make progress and get an agreement that will be fair both to the Israelis and the Palestinians without ever, ever undermining Israel’s security.
Blitzer: A final word, Senator, go ahead.
Sanders: There comes a time — there comes a time when if we pursue justice and peace, we are going to have to say that Netanyahu is not right all of the time.
Clinton: … you know, I have spoken about and written at some length the very candid conversations I’ve had with him and other Israeli leaders. Nobody is saying that any individual leader is always right, but it is a difficult position.
If you are from whatever perspective trying to seek peace, trying to create the conditions for peace when there is a terrorist group embedded in Gaza that does not want to see you exist, that is a very difficult challenge.
Blitzer: Senator, go ahead.
Sanders: You gave a major speech to AIPAC, which obviously deals with the Middle East crisis, and you barely mentioned the Palestinians. And I think, again, it is a complicated issue and God knows for decades presidents, including President Clinton and others, Jimmy Carter and others have tried to do the right thing.
All that I am saying is we cannot continue to be one-sided. There are two sides to the issue.
Rightwing activists Michael Ben-Ari and Baruch Marzel (Jewish Power), and Bentzi Gopstein (Lehava) on Thursday set a PA flag on fire outside the Rabin Gate of the IDF command camp in midtown Tel-Aviv, near Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon’s office.
The torching was done in retaliation for the disciplinary punishments imposed on two Kfir brigade soldiers who confiscated and torched a PA flag at a check post near Sh’chem.