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April 29, 2009

Deport Them All

Neturei Karta burn flags on Independence Day

Believers in faith denouncing Israel's existence gather in Beit Shemesh to protest its anniversary

Members of the Neturei Karta sect were burning Israeli flags Wednesday in protest against Israel's 61st anniversary of statehood.

The protest took place during a ceremony in Beit Shemesh, near Jerusalem. Protestors carried signs saying: "We mourn Israel's 61 years of existence".

Beit Shemesh is home to dozens of families belonging to the Neturei Karta faith, which does not recognize Israel's legitimacy. Followers of the faith believe a sectarian Jewish state is blasphemous and detrimental to the coming of the Messiah.

Last week, while the people of Israel honored those who perished in the Holocaust with a moment of silence, dozens of Neturei Karta members protested in Jerusalem.

At around 10 am the protestors gathered in the city's Sabbath Square, and as the siren sounded for a moment of silence began crossing the busy street. They held signs condemning "the Zionist Holocaust Day" and clashed with police and passersby.

I say, deport every single one of these scum.

While my children risk it all, in service to Israel these scum burn Israeli flags, fly to Iran to hob nob with the Jew hating scum that is in the leadership of Iran.

So I say round them up and throw them out of Israel they do not deserve to live in the Land that G-D gave us.

These people are not fit to clean the bottom of an Israeli soldiers combat boot if he should happen to step in something nasty.

Make every Arab and Jew sign a document testifying that the Land of Israel was given to the Jews by G-D and that they support the State of Israel as the State developed by Jews to govern in our Land.

If you refuse to sign, you and your family are deported and all your property belongs to the State to be sold off to help support disabled vets of the IDF or victims of terrorism.

April 28, 2009

Happy Birthday Israel

israel 61.jpg

Israel celebrates 61st Independence Day

Hundreds attended Tuesday's ceremony and welcomed Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, the evening's first speaker to the stage.

"The pride each and every one of us feels, here and everywhere a Jewish heart beats, when we make the transition from the sanctity of mourning to joy, is the true story of this day. This story is not just that of the redemption of the 1948 generation, but that of 2009's generation, which is still paying for its freedom and liberties, daily," he said.

Thanking the Israeli armed forces, he added that "it was only recently that we stood in awe of those who gave their lives during Operation Cast Lead, those exemplary characters living among us, in Israel of 2009, which more than anything aspires to peace and quiet. Their heroism reminds us of the strength needed to have a normal life in the midst of an abnormal reality."

Israel of 2009, he added, "is no less impressive than that of 1949 – it's more democratic, more open and tolerant and more Jewish in its nature and culture. Israel now is more sophisticated and less demagogic. It may be less ideological, but it is home to more idealists. This (new) ideology may be less pious, but it is more humane and loving," he concluded.

The crowd roared as Rivlin turned to light the traditional Knesset torch, in honor of Israel's parliament. The ceremony was dedicated to Tel Aviv's centennial year, as all those honored with lighting a torch "for the glory of Israel" were prominent city figures.

For the glory of Israel

The first torch was lit by Shlomo Lahat, Tel Aviv's seventh mayor, who held the position for 20 years. A retired IDF major-general, Lahat lit the torch flared "in honor of the first flourishing 100 years of the city of Tel Aviv-Jaffa, in honor of the people of Tel Aviv, young and old… for the constant effort, in the past, present and future, to base our lives on the principles of moral and justice both in the armed forces and civilian society."

The second torch was lit by Rabbi Avraham Chaim Adler, cantor of the City of Tel Aviv. Renowned worldwide, he holds the annual prayer service at the March of the Living in Auschwitz. Adler lit the torch flared "in honor of those who preserve the traditions of Jewish prayer and poetry in all of Israel's denominations and for the bond between the first Hebraic city and its Jewish roots."

The third torch was lit by esteemed artists Lea Mejaro-Mintz, the granddaughter of Shimon Rokach, one of the founders of the Neve Zedek neighborhood in Tel Aviv. Assisted by her granddaughter Nitzan, Mintz lit the torch flared "in honor of all artists and creators in the city, for the preservations of its heritage and for us as a society which fulfills the ordinance of 'love thy neighbor' regardless of race, gender, religion or creed.'"

The fourth torch was lit by biophysics Prof. Menachem Gutman of the Tel Aviv University and son famed writer and artist Nahum Guttman, who designed the city's official insignia and centered many of his writings on its evolution. Guttman lit the torch flared "in honor of the pioneers of settlement, for the cultivation of curiosity, the encouragement of creative thinking and for all research and science institutions, whose prosperity hold the key to our future."

The fifth torch was lit by third-generation Tel Aviv industrialist Yair Rotlevi. Rotlevi lit the torch flared "in honor of the ambition and ability to incorporate the needs of the community with the business vision and for the organizations and groups which assume the responsibility of improving the surroundings we live in."

The sixth torch was lit by Shula Vidrich, a historian and tour guide who dedicated the past 25 years to the study of Tel-Aviv's history. Vidrich lit the torch flared "in honor of the tens of thousands of righteous, hardworking people who gave Tel Aviv its physical and cultural character, for the education which allows us to learn of our past roots in order to nourish the present and the future and for all educational systems."

The seventh torch was lit by Actress Yevgenia Dodina of the Gesher and Habima theaters. Dodina lit the torch flared "in honor of the cultural freedom and richness found in Tel Aviv and for the success of all immigrants in finding a feeling of home in Israel."

The eighth torch was lit by radio personality Amikam Gurevitch, who has been the announcer for the ceremony for over 50 years. Gurevitch lit the torch flared "in honor of all forms of culture, written, preformed and broadcast and for the rejuvenating Hebrew language."

The ninth torch was lit by philanthropist Nazarian Joseph Vince, who was smuggled into Israel as a child in 1949. Vince lit the torch flared "in honor of all those who generously and lovingly offer what they have to help solve social problems."

The tenth torch was lit by musician, author and lead singer of the group Teapacks Kobi Oz. The flare was lit "in honor of all creators, in all avenues of composition and for our divers reality, which brings together tradition with innovation and east and west."

The 11th torch was lit by IDF representative, Lieutenant-Colonel Oren Cohen, commander of the Golani Brigade's 13th battalion. Cohen lit the torch flared "in honor of the Israeli Defense Forces, which spreads its wings in protection of the nation united as one, for all members of the armed forces, for the safe return of out missing and captive soldiers, for the recovery of our injured and for the comfort of all bereaved families."

The 12th and last torch – the youth torch – was lit by Michal Meron and Angelica Yoavov from Tel Aviv. The two lit the torch flared "in honor of understanding, patience and the hope of a better future."

Our wonderful country

Israelis like to whine, but Independence Day a chance to recognize how well we’re doing
Hanoch Daum

Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak Hacohen Kook, who established Israel’s Chief Rabbinate, once asked what was the deal with all those Holy Days and Shabbats.

If this world is holy, he wondered, why can’t it be holy all the time? Why do we need to set aside only a few specific days to that end? Why are we like sons of angels only on Rosh Hashana? Why do we pray the whole day only on Yom Kippur?

The rabbi asked these questions, and also offered an answer: Any day should have been a holiday. Any day should have been holy. The potential exists, yet we are unable to recognize it. We’re not built to celebrate every day and be merry every day. The holidays, said the rabbi, are our opportunity to be exposed on a one-time basis to the true holiness and true power of all days of the year. The Shabbat is our opportunity to recognize the potential inherent in all other days of the week.

If I may continue with Rabbi Kook’s logic, Independence Day is also a day where we are allowed to feel what we have been repressing the whole year. A day where we are allowed to recognize what is hidden from view during our daily life. We are allowed to be a little more optimistic, and look at our country in a somewhat different way.

Indeed, this goes against our nature: After all, we are unable to wake up every morning and admit that things are going well. Not us. We prefer to whine.

We prefer to talk about unemployment, and forget that once upon a time we had food rations here; we lament the state of education, but forget that Israel is the world’s number one exporter of scientists and men of letters; we whine about the absence of morals here, but forget that our crime rate is among the lowest in the world.

We prefer to whine about the state of our culture, but ignore the international achievements of Israeli film and Israeli literature. We talk about the Iranian threat, without mentioning that for the time being, we are in fact the only nuclear power in the region.

Independence Day is an opportunity; an opportunity to admit that something beautiful is being done here. That something touching has been built here. That we only become better with the passage of time. We have an ultra-Orthodox deputy health minister, a religious science minister, and a secular Knesset speaker, who holds his first tour in an Arab town.

We have camaraderie here and people help each other during times of crisis, we have a special culture and diversity of opinion, and we have quite a bit of love and spirituality around here, hiding behind the veneer of our hurried routine.

We have plenty of time during the year to look into what is still missing. Independence Day is the opportunity to admit that we already achieved most of it. Chag Sameach.

April 27, 2009

Turkish army unhappy over drill with Syria

The Jerusalem Post Internet Edition

Apr. 27, 2009

Turkey's joint military drill with Syria has not only disturbed Jerusalem, it has also riled the Turkish military, a senior Israeli strategic analyst told The Jerusalem Post on Monday.

"The Turkish military is not happy about this. It does not like Syria, and views it as a problematic state," said Prof. Efraim Inbar, director of the Begin-Sadat (BESA) Center for Strategic Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Inbar added that he was in touch with a number of Turkish army officers.

Tensions between the secular Turkish military and the ruling Islamist AKP party are high following the arrests of more than 200 people, including dozens of senior army officers, over an alleged coup plot to overthrow the government.

Last week, four additional army officers were arrested and an arms cache was seized by the Turkish authorities.

"The army has to be very careful with intervention. The investigation into the army coup plot has raised tensions. The army will only get involved if it feels there is a threat to the secular character of the state," Inbar said.

He added that "a joint simulation with Syria will be seen as a marginal event" that would be insufficient to push the army to intervene. "They [Turkey's military leaders] will allow the diplomats to maneuver," he said.

Internationally, however, the drill raised many questions over Turkey's relationship to NATO (of which Turkey is a member), the West and Israel, Inbar said, and represented another milestone in Turkey's journey to move closer to Muslim countries in the region.

"Syria is an ally of Iran. Its army is armed by the Russians. The drill should be raising questions in [NATO headquarter in] Brussels and in Washington. I am sure both Israel and the US are requesting clarifications," he added. "We have to wait to see what the nature of the drill is."

Responding to news of the joint exercise, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Monday that it was "definitely a disturbing development. But I believe that the strategic relationship between Israel and Turkey will overcome Turkey's necessity to participate in this drill as well."

The Turkish-Syrian drill represents a paradigm shift in relations between Ankara and Damascus. In 1998, Turkey massed troops on its border with Syria and threatened to invade unless Syria ejected PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan and closed down PKK training camps within Syria.

Facing the might of the Turkish military, Syria backed down and threw out Ocalan. Inbar said Ocalan's capture by Turkish forces in 1999 was "apparently aided by Israeli intelligence."

Relations between Ankara and Damascus were further strained by what Syria views as Turkey's occupation of the Alexandretta province, known to Turks as Hatay.

"We can tell the Syrians: Turkey is occupying a whole section of Syria, and yet Syria is willing to hold joint military drills with Turkey. So there's no reason why Syria can't cooperate with us while we're sitting on the Golan Heights," said Dr. Mordechai Kedar, an expert on Arab political discourse at BESA.

"This exercise is not necessarily to our detriment. We certainly have a case to put to the Syrians as a result of it," he said.

Kedar, who served for 25 years in IDF Military Intelligence, added that the exercise came about due to a convergence of Turkish and Syrian interests.

"Turkey appears as a regional power, and Syria is willing to play this game to give Turkey that recognition, because it wants to prove that it is Turkey's friend," Kedar said.

Kedar stressed that it was important to pay attention to the type of exercise the countries would be holding.

"If they're practicing saving people in the water, that's one thing, but if they're drilling combat against a joint enemy, that's very different. Each drill has a theoretical basis, and the question will be what is the basis in this exercise.

"Israel must ensure that this drill doesn't come at our expense. It doesn't have to do that," he said.

I think by the end of the year the military will have removed the government from office and will restore Turkey on the correct path that was started by the father of modern, Turkey Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. As a result Turkey will remain friendly with Israel.

Abbas won't recognize Israel as a Jewish state

Palestinian President delivers harsh speech in Ramallah in which he says Israel can define itself as a Jewish state, ' but I don't accept it and I say so publicly.' Abbas also says talks cannot be resumed without Israeli settlement freeze

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said on Monday that he will not recognize Israel as a Jewish state, as demanded by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

"A Jewish state, what is that supposed to mean?" Abbas asked in a speech in the West Bank's political capital of Ramallah. "You can call yourselves as you like, but I don't accept it and I say so publicly."

He said it's not his job to define the state of Israel. "Name yourself, it's not my business," He said. "All I know is that there is the state of Israel, in the borders of 1967, not one centimeter more, not one centimeter less. Anything else, I don't accept."

Abbas said that the topic was "extensively discussed" and rejected by the Palestinians during the November 2007 international conference in Annapolis, Maryland during which the two sides relaunched their negotiations.

Netanyahu has demanded that Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state as part of an eventual peace deal.

Such a move would amount to an effective renunciation of the right of return of refugees from the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, when Israel was created, one of the most cherished and visceral principles to the Palestinians.

Abbas also said a complete construction freeze is a prerequisite for resuming talks. Netanyahu supports settlement construction and has not committed to the idea of Palestinian statehood.

In his speech, Abbas said he would not give in to possible Israeli or international pressure on the Palestinians to resume negotiations even if settlement construction continues.

"For sure, we won't submit to pressures. For example, if they say 'come and then we'll see, come.' No, we won't accept. Regarding the peace talks, this is our position, even if someone, if anyone in the world says 'you're wrong,"' he said.

AFP and The Associated Press contributed to this report

New book questions Israel's survival

Jerusalem-based journalist Aaron Klein releases new book titled, 'The Late, Great State of Israel', in which he asserts that Israel's policy is leading the country to its demise
Josh Lichtenstein

Israel's current policy is leading toward the country's demise, journalist and head of the WorldNetDaily Jerusalem bureau claims in his newly-released book, "The Late, Great State of Israel" and subtitled, "How enemies within and without threaten the Jewish nation's survival" (WND Books).

Klein is the author of the 2007 book, “Schmoozing with Terrorists”, and a regular guest on cable news networks Fox News and Al Jazeera English.

Klein became motivated to begin this project following Israel's 2005 disengagement of Gaza under Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's helm. He could not accept the International media's portrayal of Jewish settlers in Gaza being fundamentalists living on stolen Arab land.

This book is the culmination of four years of reporting in former Jewish communities within the Gaza Strip and on the Israel-Lebanon-Syria border.

To write this book Klein conducted 100 hundred interviews with top leaders in Lebanon, Syria, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas. Klein also sought the opinions of Israeli and US officials.

Klein analyzes the result of Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and determines that land-for-peace policies only increase attacks on Israeli citizens. The book takes place within the context of the 2005 withdrawal from Gaza, the war in Lebanon, and the most recent 22 day operation against Hamas in Gaza. In his book Klein places much of the blame on the government of Israel.

'Israel legitimizing Hamas'

In an interview to Ynetnews, Klein said: “It was Israel that led the charge in legitimizing Yasser Arafat, bringing him out from exile in Tunis and providing him and his Fatah gang with a fiefdom in the West Bank and Gaza Strip from which to wage jihad against the Jews.

"Now, Israel's policy is enhancing the same Fatah movement while also working to legitimize Hamas, by, among other things, negotiating with the Islamist group and failing to defeat Hamas militarily”.

Klein is also very critical of the United States funding and legitimizing Hamas in the International community. “Israel remains committed to negotiating a Palestinian state- in talks strongly urged on by the Obama administration- with a 'peace partner' whose official institutions indoctrinate its citizens with intense anti-Jewish hatred and violence” Klein told Ynetnews.

The book presents a very grim evaluation of the last four years of Israeli policy. “Unless these and other outlined perils are countered soon, the only remnant of the Jewish country may soon be an epitaph: 'The Late, Great State of Israel'”.

April 26, 2009

Report: Iranian arms ship sunk off Sudan coast

Egyptian weekly says missiles fired by 'unidentified boat which may have been Israeli or American'

An Egyptian weekly reported Sunday that an Iranian ship carrying weapons traveling en route to the Gaza Strip has been sunk in the Red Sea, off the coast of Sudan.

Al-Usbua's report quotes sources from Sudan's capitol Khartoum, who say missiles were fired towards the ship from "an unidentified boat, which may be Israeli or American."

The report says the Iranian ship was headed for Sudan in order to unload the weapons, which would then travel by land to the Gaza Strip. But the ship was sunk by the missiles, along with its crew.

Last month CBS reported that in January the Israeli Air Force (IAF) struck a Sudanese convoy attempting to deliver arms to Gaza. The report said 17 trucks had been bombed, killing 39 people.

Two Israeli security officials interviewed by Time Magazine denied other reports saying Israel had bombed an Iranian weapons ship and another convoy. "There was one strike and it was significant," one of the officials said.

"This is not the first time the Iranians have tried to send Hamas a shipment of this size through Sudan, and this was probably also the last time," he added.

April 24, 2009

MERF Appearence

For those who would like to hear me on the radio, I am very pleased to announce that I will be having a weekly appearance on the Middle East Radio Forum, the show is hosted By William Wolf.

The time of the show is 3pm EDT, 12 noon Pacific, 10pm Israel, every Sunday. Please feel free to call in if you have any questions about my weekly comments. If you should happen to miss the show then you can go to the MERF web page and listen to me and other guest in the archives.

You can listen to the show by going to the MERF web page

Can We Keep Oour Country?

Poll: 69% of Israelis Want Israel to Join the EU

Israel Public Opinion Update

Thursday, 23 April 2009
To view the full results of the survey

In 2007 the Israel office of Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung asked us to do a
comprehensive benchmark survey of Israeli attitudes towards Germany, the EU
and its member states. At the time the survey was widely covered and served
as the foundation for many Israel-EU policy discussions.

This month we conducted a similar survey for them. It is of special
interest particularly in the year celebrating 50 years of diplomatic
relations between Israel and Europe, the growing role of the EU in the
region and the upcoming elections for the European Parliament.

What follows are the results of our survey.

Survey reveals Israeli support for the European Union, its leaders and NATO
69% Want Israel to Join the EU
54% Would Join NATO and support their Peace-Keepers in the West Bank and

The survey revealed that Germany and its leader Chancellor Angela Merkel
have a very favorable image among Israelis (56% and 65%). Israelis also
believe that Merkel's election as the first woman Chancellor improves
Germany's image throughout the world (62%). Regarding Israeli relations
with Germany, most of the respondents want to see deeper cooperation in the
fields of culture, education and youth in particular.

In addition, 69% of Israelis would like to see Israel join the EU, 76% of
Israeli Jews support Israel joining the EU (2007: 75%) while only 40% of
Israeli Arabs support it. In general, 60% of Israelis see the EU favorably.

54% of Israelis support joining NATO while there are significant differences
between Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs (61% vs. 19% support). 54% of
Israelis were also supportive of NATO sending troops to the West Bank and
Gaza in a peace-keeping capacity. Here too there were significant
differences in support among the Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel (62% vs.

Israelis overwhelming feel that the main priority of the new Israeli
Government should be the economy and not foreign policy (61% vs. 12%).

60% of Israelis think that Germany has a special obligation to support
Israel because of the Shoah while 31% think they do not. Interestingly, 36%
of Israeli Arabs also feel that Germany has a special obligation to support

The survey also found that 40% of Israeli Jews might be eligible for EU
citizenship with at least one grandparent being born in an EU country.

For 54% of Israeli respondents the European Union's support for a
two-state-solution as the only framework for resolving the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict increases the possibility that they will
support the EU.

Dr. Lars Hänsel, Director of the KAS Israel office: "The results show that
Germany and the EU member states continue to play an important and central
role in Israel. We were delighted to see significant support for EU
countries and initiatives. We are looking forward to sharing the results
with relevant policy makers in Israel and Europe. We are confident of the
very deep German-Israeli bond and will continue to work towards
strengthening it even more."

Poll Methodology

500 Israeli Jews
100 Israeli Arabs
Over 18 years old
Representative sample
4.1% margin of error
1-5 April 2009

The Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung has been very active in promoting
Israeli-German relations and educational causes in Israel ever since its
foundation. KAS has been running projects in Israel through its office in
Jerusalem for the past 27 years. The Foundation is dedicated to the legacy
of the late German chancellor Konrad Adenauer who was the founder of the
strong German-Israeli bond following the Second World War. He laid together
with Israel's first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion the foundations for the
diplomatic relations between the two countries.

About Us

KEEVOON provides companies, organizations and individuals with Survey
Research services.

KEEVOON is pioneering the survey research field in Israel by utilizing
moment-to-moment instant response technology in all of their focus groups.
Founded by Mitchell Barak, KEEVOON is based in Jerusalem, Israel.

For more information

I can't see how anything good could come from Israel joining the EU.

Could it maybe open up markets for Israeli products that are not currently open, yes but at a price.

The price would be giving up Judea, Samaria and dividing Jerusalem.

It is bad enough that 69% of Israeli's want to join the EU, but this is less troubling than the figure that 54% that want to join NATO.

But the last figure that makes me wonder if Israeli's still want the burden of having our own country 62% of Israeli's want to see NATO troops placed in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

Are they kidding?

As a father of a combat soldier, I know what it means to send your sons to fight and protect Israel but to turn that over to a third party even NATO means Israel is loosing. Israeli's are loosing the will to fight for their country.

This will lead to the religious carrying an even greater burden in the IDF in the future, all the while the rest of Israeli's are seeking to give away the country.

April 23, 2009

'Don't Execute Arab for Selling Land to Jew'

Nisan 29, 5769, 23 April 09 10:26
by Hillel Fendel

(IsraelNN.com) As a Palestinian Authority Arab faces the death sentence for selling land to Jews, a civil rights group asks Prime Minister Netanyahu to demand that PA rescind death penalty for the “crime.”

The Yesha (Judea and Samaria) Civil Rights Organization has written an urgent letter to Binyamin Netanyahu and ministers in his government in light of the opening of the trial this week. According to PA law, the defendant faces the death penalty if convicted.

The letter, addressed to Netanyahu and the Ministers of Justice, Defense, and Public Security, states, “The Land of Israel is now the only place in the world where the law officially bans the sale of land to Jews because they are Jews. Even worse, the punishment for violators is actually death.”

The organization says that Netanyahu’s government must set an ultimatum: “No negotiations with the Palestinian Authority until this anti-Semitic law is rescinded. This demand takes precedence even over the insistence that the PA recognize Israel as a Jewish state.”

The trial of the Hevron resident in a special PA court began on Tuesday, with the defendant accused of having sold land in the Hevron area to Jews. The Yesha group asks Netanyahu and the ministers to step in to save the man, who is being charged with treason.

Israel’s intervention in the past has caused the PA to release others who had been jailed on suspicion of selling land to Jews. These include Arab-Israelis living in eastern Jerusalem.

Strook: "Such a Law is a Red Light for Diplomatic Relations"
Orit Strook of the Jewish Community of Hevron, the director of the Yesha Civil Rights group, says, “Israel would never have diplomatic relations with any country that has on its books a law forbidding the sale of land to Jews.”

Her organization’s letter states that the confiscation of Beit HaShalom (Peace House) from its rightful Jewish owners in Hevron several months ago is directly related to the fact that Arabs must fear for their lives when selling to Jews: “The Israeli authorities act as if the Arab sellers are free people, when in fact a gun is pointed at their heads and they must do everything they can to hide their actions – and this is why they claimed after the sale of Beit HaShalom [to Jews] that they never sold it.”

“So long as the ‘Palestinian rule of law’ is not uprooted from its source,” the letter concludes, “all the talk about Israeli rule of law in Judea and Samaria has no foothold in reality.”
© Copyright IsraelNationalNews.com

April 22, 2009

Hamas smuggling new arsenal into Gaza

By Amos Harel, Haaretz Correspondent Last update - 07:16 22/04/2009

Hamas has smuggled a new arsenal into the Gaza Strip that would upset the
balance of power, despite increased tensions between Cairo and the Islamic
organization's allies Hezbollah and Iran, Israel believes.

Militants currently have 160 tunnels beneath the Sinai border that they are
using to smuggle longer range rockets, anti-tank missiles and perhaps even
anti-aircraft missiles, security sources say. Some of the tunnels are large
and sturdy enough to let small all-terrain vehicles pass.

The Fatah-led Palestinian Authority, which severed ties with Hamas in 2006,
believes Iran has smuggled a large number of weapons into Gaza by sea.
Israeli officials, however, believe the bulk of arms are being brought
through tunnels.

Iranian technology has been used to increase the range of Qassam rockets
Hamas is producing in the Gaza Strip to more than 20 kilometers, they said.

Tensions between Cairo and Hamas allies have mounted since Egypt uncovered a
spy network this month that was planning attacks on Israeli and foreign
targets on Egyptian territory.

Still, Israeli officials believe Egypt has not managed to reduce the flow of
arms into Gaza.

They said Egyptian soldiers' recent seizure of 900 kilograms of explosives
at the Gaza border did little to stem the flow of weapons, and that Hamas
was more interested in smuggling rockets and missiles.

Hamas has been studying its mistakes from Israel's Operation Cast Lead in
Gaza. It failed to obtain its major objectives of abducting Israel Defense
Forces soldiers, downing an Israel Air Force helicopter or seriously
damaging an Israeli tank.

With the help of the Hezbollah, it has drawn up a new strategy of engagement
with the IDF based on anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles, instead of
mining roads or booby-trapping houses.

Hamas is currently training units to operate its new missiles.

Israeli officials say Hamas military commanders have recognized that their
militants' decision to take off their fatigues and don civilian clothing a
few days into the fighting was a mistake. The Islamic group believes the
decision damaged morale and was perceived by Gazans as indicative that they
had lost control of the territory.

Hamas militants are now under orders to stay in uniform even if this makes
them more easily targeted in Israeli air strikes.

Despite the increase in weapons entering Gaza, Palestinian militants have
fired far fewer rockets at Israel over the past month. Israeli officials say
Hamas is interested in reducing the number of retaliatory attacks against
its tunnels in order to concentrate on stockpiling arms.

The Israel Air Force has not carried out an air strike against tunnels
between the Gaza Strip and Egypt for more than a month.

The relative calm with Israel has led Hamas leaders to be less fearful of
airborne assassination attempts. Last week, former Palestinian Authority
prime minister Ismail Haniyeh and Mahmoud Zahar emerged from hiding to speak
at an open rally in Gaza.

Both leaders had gone underground at the start of the Israeli incursion into
the Gaza Strip. Israel has killed several Hamas leaders in air strikes,
including Hamas cofounders Ahmed Yassin and Abdel Aziz Rantisi.

April 21, 2009

At the weekly Cabinet meeting (Sunday), 20.4.09:

1. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the following remarks:

"This evening, the State of Israel marks Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes'
Remembrance Day. Six million of our brethren were massacred during the
Holocaust. Sadly, not everyone learned the lesson. While we gather to
honor their memory, in Switzerland there will assemble a conference
allegedly aimed against racism. Its guest-of-honor is a racist
Holocaust-denier who does not hide his intentions to wipe Israel off the
face of the earth. I commend the countries that are boycotting this show of
hatred. As opposed to those dark days, today a strong Jewish state stands
to ensure the continued existence of the Jewish people in the face of this
new anti-Semitism.

We do not forget the survivors. In a joint proposal with my colleagues,
Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz and Social Welfare and Social Services
Minister Isaac Herzog, we have decided to allocate NIS 20 million from the
basket of services intended for Holocaust survivors and NIS 10 million in
additional funds from the Company for Restitution of Holocaust Victims
Assets, NIS 30 million which we want to earmark to subsidize medicines for
survivors. I am glad that we have found a solution for this vital need of
Holocaust survivors who live among us. It is suitable that they should live
out their lives in honor and in health.

In the final reckoning, the State of Israel is the answer and the key to
ensuring the existence of the Jewish People, to ensuring its security as
well as its welfare and the welfare of the survivors.

My Government will check the dangers to the security of the state even as we
move forward in a responsible and realistic diplomatic process."

2. Regarding reports in the media, Prime Minister Netanyahu said:

"We are currently formulating security-diplomatic policy. This process will
conclude ahead of my trip to Washington in four weeks. In the framework of
these deliberations, we will hold Cabinet and Government discussions. I
would like to set one thing straight in advance simply because it has been
in the media incorrectly today. We insist that the Palestinians - in any
diplomatic settlement with us - will recognize the State of Israel as the
national state of the Jewish people. The entire international community
demands that we recognize the principle of two states for two peoples and we
are discovering that this is two states but not for two peoples but two
states for one people, or two states for a people-and-a-half. That is to
say, there is no doubt that we are being asked to recognize the Palestinian
state as the national state for the Palestinian people but there is doubt
and not just doubt, it is clear from the quick check that we carried out
that the Palestinians have no intention of recognizing the national state of
the Jewish People. Of course, this is completely unacceptable. I will not
now respond to the question of what will be the nature of the settlement,
what will be its components and what authority the Palestinians will have.
We reiterate that we have no intention of ruling over the Palestinians. We
want for them to rule themselves, except for those powers that could
threaten our security and our existence. But there is no doubt that we
insist that they recognize the State of Israel as the national state of the
Jewish People. We have never conditioned the start and existence of talks
on advance agreement about this but neither can we see progress on a future
settlement without their agreement to this condition. Therefore, not only
have we not backtracked from it, we stand behind it strongly and I think
that in this regard, we reflect a very broad consensus, not only around this
table but among the entire nation, a great part of the nation, and rightly

3. GOC Intelligence Maj.-Gen. Amos Yedlin briefed ministers on various
security issues.

4. Pursuant to Article 31(a)-(c) of Basic Law: The Government, the Cabinet
decided to divide the Science, Culture and Sports Ministry. Scientific and
technological matters will be the responsibility of the Ministry of Science
and Technology; cultural affairs and sports will be the responsibility of
the Ministry of Culture and Sports. Minister Limor Livnat will be Culture
and Sports Minister; Minister Daniel Hershkovitz will be science and
technology Minister. Click here for further details.

5. The Government decided which ministers will serve on the Ministerial
Committee for Immigration and Absorption Affairs, the Ministerial Committee
for Symbols and Ceremonies, the Ministerial Committee on Earthquake
Preparedness, the ministerial Committee on the Non-Jewish Sector and
Ministerial Committee on the Struggle against Violence. Click here for
further details.

Arab MKs vocal in support of Durban II

Rebecca Anna Stoil , THE JERUSALEM POST Apr. 20, 2009

Although the government is boycotting the UN Durban Review Conference
(Durban II) that opens Monday in Geneva, members of Israel's Arab opposition
parties voiced their support for the conference.

Balad chairman MK Jamal Zahalka, who will attend Durban II, addressed the
crowd at the NGO Civil Society Forum March in Geneva on Sunday, presenting
himself as a Palestinian victim of "Israeli racist apartheid" and concluding
his speech by proclaiming: "No peace without justice."

Zahalka said he planned to raise the issue of the "official racism" with
which, he argued, Israel discriminated against Palestinian residents, citing
Israel Beiteinu's election victory as evidence of the racism in Israeli

"Any conference against racism is welcome, especially when it is held under
the auspices of the UN," said Zahalka's fellow Balad MK Said Nafa. "All
countries in the word should be concerned by racism, and everybody is
participating other than those who have something to fear."

"There are dangerous signs of racism in Israel, including a party that is
super racist," Nafa added, referring to Israel Beiteinu. "Such a party is
dangerous first and foremost to the Jews. In the past, racist movements
first brought tragedy to their own nations and only later to others."

Nafa said that he was satisfied that both his party's chairman and its
secretary-general were participating in the conference, but said he was
disappointed that the government had decided to boycott the conference, and
that no members of the coalition were present in Geneva.

"Since the last elections, there has been an increase in racism, which has
become mainstream in Israeli society," said United Arab List-Ta'al MK Ahmed
Tibi. "I can understand the shame of Israel - which is why they fled and
aren't participating. It wouldn't be pleasant for Israel to be present

Tibi added that those who seek to boycott the conference on the basis of
anti-Semitism were simply looking for a convenient excuse. "Israel's lack of
participation is a form of running away. Israel is being accused there, and
Israel solves the problem by claiming anti-Semitism. But not everything that
is critical of Israel is anti-Semitism," he added.

It appeared that the Arab MKs' trips were paid for by their parties.

April 16, 2009

Fatah Terrorists Planned Major Tel Aviv Bombings

Nisan 22, 5769, 16 April 09 05:07
by Maayana Miskin

(IsraelNN.com) Two Fatah terrorists from Gaza who were recently arrested in Egypt have admitted to planning major attacks in Tel Aviv, Egyptian police say. The Fatah men's testimony was reported in the Egyptian daily Al-Masri Al-Youm.

The two were identified as Mohammed Ramadan Abdul Fatah Baraka and Nadal Fathi Hassan.

Baraka and Hassan were among 49 terrorists from a range of Middle Eastern countries who were arrested in the Sinai Peninsula. Egyptian police believe that the 49 formed a cell led by Hizbullah operative Sami Shihab. Shihab has allegedly confessed to coordinating Hizbullah activity in Egypt.

Police say Baraka and Hassan joined the Hizbullah-led cell more than a year ago. The two entered Egypt along with hundreds of thousands of other Gaza residents when Hamas blew up large segments of the Egypt-Gaza security barrier, met Shihab, and agreed to join him.

The two were caught and forced to return to Gaza, but quickly re-entered Egypt through a tunnel under the border, and returned to the cell. They planned to continue their terrorist training in Sudan and Syria, then to infiltrate Israel and carry out major suicide attacks in Tel Aviv.

The defense attorney representing Baraka, Hassan and other members of the cell argues that the two were not involved in terrorism, but rather, were living with a smuggler who helped citizens of various African nations to illegally enter Israel.
© Copyright IsraelNationalNews.com

April 14, 2009

Mossad tip led to capture of Hezbollah cell in Sinai

By Yossi Melman, Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff Haaretz Last update - 06:56

Lines separating warring camps in the region are becoming increasingly
clearer as news emerged Monday that foreign intelligence services -
including Israel's Mossad - provided Egyptian authorities with intelligence
that contributed to the uncovering of a Hezbollah-run terrorist ring and led
to the arrest of dozens of suspects.

Meanwhile, Egyptian sources upped the tone of the charges against Hezbollah
Monday by claiming that the aim of the underground activity was not limited
to plans for terrorist attacks against tourist areas frequented by
foreigners, but also against targets in the Suez canal.

Foreign intelligence services, including the Mossad and the CIA, contributed
information to Egypt that led to the uncovering of the Hezbollah terror cell
in that country, Philippe Vasset, editor of Intelligence Online told

In its latest edition which comes out tomorrow, the online biweekly reports
that the Egyptian security forces operated on the basis of intelligence
"provided to them by several foreign intelligence services."

According to the report, the head of the ring operating in Egypt, Lebanese
citizen Sami Shihab, had been in touch for some time with a special branch
of Hezbollah. The report also states that following the assassination of
Hezbollah's terrorist mastermind Imad Mughniyeh over a year ago in Damascus,
the special branch has been led jointly by three senior operatives: Nawaf
al-Mussawi, Wafic Safa and Sheikh Ali Dugmush. The three operate in
coordination with General Faisal Bagherzadeh, head of Iran's Revolutionary
Guard mission to Lebanon.

Western sources told Haaretz that in recent years cooperation between the
intelligence services of a number of western countries has intensified with
regard to Iran. Israel is a leading player in this cooperation.

The issue of Iran is divided into two: Tehran's nuclear program and its role
in international terrorism.

Iran's intelligence and security service, and Al-Quds, an elite unit of the
Revolutionary Guard whose mission is to assist Shi'ite militias and
organizations throughout the world, have deployed "sleeper cells" of agents,
who are activated according to need. In some cases the cells were activated
directly by Iranian agents, while in other cases Hezbollah was used,
especially through a special branch originally set up by Mughniyeh.

The CIA, Mossad, Britain's MI6, the German BND and other intelligence
services - like those of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan who have suffered
attacks by terrorist cells operated by Iran - have stepped up collaboration,
information sharing and joint assessments. Egypt's chief of intelligence,
General Omar Suleiman, is a frequent visitor to Israel and the doors of his
counterparts in Israel are always open, as are those of the Prime Minister's

Security sources in Israel have issued warnings on a number of occasions
that Hezbollah will try to avenge the killing of Mughniyeh, which it blames
on Mossad agents, thereby fulfilling a promise made publicly by Hezbollah
leader Hassan Nasrallah. In response to these concerns, Israeli diplomatic
missions were placed on high alert on a number of occasions, and the London
Times reported that several weeks ago an attempt against an Israeli target
in Baku, Azerbaijan, was foiled.

Meanwhile, Egyptian security sources said yesterday that the Hezbollah
agents arrested in Egypt had planned a series of terrorist attacks against
tourist sites in Sinai where Israeli and western tourists vacation. However,
the Egyptian sources also noted that the Suez Canal was a target of the
ring - possibly one of the larger ships passing through the strategic

Incapacitating a large ship in the canal would have had a serious impact on
the country's economy, as the canal is a major source of revenues for the
local economy, worth several billion dollars a year. An attack on the Suez
Canal and tourist sites in the country would have undermined the Egyptian
economy sufficiently to destabilize the standing of the regime in the Arab

A senior Egyptian source told Haaretz yesterday that "Egypt will take active
measures against anyone who threatens its national security. We will not
allow anyone to do this: Hezbollah, Iran or others. They sought to strike at
the national security of Egypt, but luckily we stopped them and uncovered
their plot."

The same source also said that "it is not unlikely that Hezbollah sought to
strike at the Egyptian regime. They wanted to undermine our position in the
region, and harm our economy and our ties with countries in the area."

Senior Israeli security sources said yesterday that Hezbollah appears to
have been aiming to strike at the regime of Hosni Mubarak. They note that
the tourist sites where Israelis visit were a secondary target for the
group. The same sources assessed that Mubarak is now fully aware of the
severity of the threat posed to Egypt's security. "Mubarak understands that
Iran has turned Egypt and Sinai into a forward base of operations. It is no
wonder he is concerned," a senior source said.

The uncovering of the ring will result in greater understanding in Egypt of
Israel's considerations, however no one should expect an immediate
improvement in Egyptian efforts to counter arms smuggling into the Gaza
Strip, the same source said.

April 13, 2009

Hundreds of Kilograms of Explosives on Fishing Boat

(Communicated by the IDF Spokesperson)
13 April 2009

"The fishing boat that was identified this morning by Israel Navy boats was
booby-trapped with hundreds of kilograms of explosives," estimated the IDF
Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, speaking about the
incident that occurred on Monday morning, April 13, 2009, near the Gazan

In the early morning hours, Israel Navy boats had noticed an unmanned boat
near the Gazan coast. When the forces were situated a few hundred meters
from the fishing boat, a very large explosion occurred on the boat. No
damage was caused to the Israeli naval boat.

"We assume that this was an attempt to attack one of the Israel Navy boats,
an attempt that fortunately was not successful, thanks to the soldiers
correctly implementing the regulations," said the Chief of the General Staff
at the signing of his organ donation card, and added that this kind of
threat is not new, as a similar incident happened several years ago. "We are
examining all our arrangements, and we will carry on dealing with threats of
this kind also in the future."

When asked about whether this incident disturbs the relative quiet in the
area of the Gaza Strip lately, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi confirmed, and also
reminded of the incident about one week ago, in which Golani Brigade
soldiers encountered a group of terrorists attempting to plant an explosive.
"I think that Hamas has been intimidated, and it is not by chance that there
is no direct firing," he pointed out, but clarified, "We know that hostile
terror activities or terror attacks along the security fence, by sea or
through the Sinai are still taking place, and therefore we examine and
adjust our arrangements all the time."

April 12, 2009

Judge Frees Protesters, Blasts Police for Bringing 'Dark Days'

Nisan 18, 5769, 12 April 09 09:14
by Gil Ronen

(IsraelNN.com) Judge Nechama Netzer of the Kiryat Gat Magistrates’ Court ordered the immediate release Sunday of seven activists arrested by police at a rally in Sderot earlier in the day. The judge had exceedingly sharp criticism for the police’s actions.

“The use of the power of government and the authority to arrest in order to prevent this right of expression, besides being an act of censorship, shows us that very dark days are upon the State of Israel,” she determined.

Sderot police detained more than 20 activists Sunday morning, including children, who participated in a rally at Sderot. The activists were among some 400 people who took part in the rally, and were planning to participate in a protest march from Sderot to Gaza. However, dozens of police, including mounted police and Yasam units, blocked the activists’ way and prevented the march from taking place. Despite the detentions, some activists were able to reach the edge of Gaza, opposite the remains of Jewish communities that were uprooted in the Disengagement of 2005.

Seven of the detainees were brought before the judge because they had refused to sign orders distancing them from Sderot and the Gaza Belt.

On the night before the demonstration, police in Judea and Samaria placed three organizers of the event under arrest.

The right to protest is among the most basic rights, the judge said. “Is it conceivable that the [protesters], whose only sin was that they were in the town of Sderot or intended to arrive there, would be detained, arrested and possibly find themselves held under arrest for another night just because of this wish? It seems that the answer to this is clear,” she stated. “Woe to us if we reach days in which people are afraid to express their opinions legally.”

Netzer said that the arrests were apparently carried out with the sole purpose of preventing the activists from exercising their right to demonstrate and express their “legal and legitimate protest” and added that she was sorry that the police succeeded in this.

MK Ben Ari wants inquiry
Ichud Leumi (National Union) MKs Yaakov Katz and Michael Ben-Ari participated in the demonstration in Sderot. Katz said that he expects the IDF to launch Operation Cast Lead 2, conquer Gaza and “bring the settlers back to the Gaza Strip.”

Ben Ari wrote a letter to Minister of Public Security Yitzchak Aharonovich requesting that he establish a commission of inquiry into the arrests of the protesters and all of the day’s events.
© Copyright IsraelNationalNews.com

Activists Handcuffed Before Gush Katif March

Nisan 18, 5769, 12 April 09 01:05
by Hana Levi Julian

(IsraelNN.com) Sderot police arrested more than a dozen activists on Sunday morning, including children, just hours before a protest march was scheduled to step off from the Gaza Belt city of Sderot, about a kilometer from the security barrier.

Attorney Ariel Groner, who represents several of the arrested activists, slammed the action, saying, "You're not allowed to arrest someone for their thoughts." He added that the police were advised to release a number of the would-be demonstrators with a restraining order instead, but said it was unlikely they would comply.

Kiryat Arba Chief Rabbi Dov Lior, former Kedumim mayor Daniella Weiss and Ichud Leumi (National Union) MKs Yaakov "Ketzaleh" Katz and Michael Ben-Ari were among those who had planned to participate.

The marchers planned to head at 12:00 noon for the former Jewish region of Gaza, Gush Katif, and begin to rebuild the communities in response to what the activists are calling the "abandonment of the south."

Thirteen organizers of the event were rounded up from Sderot, Kiryat Arba and Shevut Rachel in what police said were "legal preventive arrests" despite the fact that no one had committed any crime. Last week police had visited the organizers in an attempt to dissuade them from carrying on with the march.

Would-be marchers told the Hebrew-language daily newspaper Yediot Acharonot they intended to "re-establish the Jewish settlement in the Gaza Strip."

Sderot Mayor David Buskila, who was not pleased by the prospect of a group of marchers descending on his town, said he had spoken with his police chief about the impending event.

"He said they had asked the organizers why they had not requested a permit, and the rightists answered that they didn't want a permit," Buskila said. "In my opinion, this is inconsiderate of city residents who want peace and quiet during the holiday," he said.

Organizer and rights activist Itamar Ben-Gvir confirmed Buskila's claim. "I don't think you need a permit in order to travel in Israel. We're not members of the Yesha (Judea, Samaria, Gaza -ed.) Council, who ask for permits in order to be fenced in like they are in Kfar Maimon. That's why we did not ask for a permit," Ben-Gvir explained. The activist asked regional police to free those who were arrested and threatened court action if they remained incarcerated.

"I don't remember any times in which leftists were arrested prior to demonstrations -- such as those in Bil'in or in other places -- as a preventive measure," he commented. "When it comes to us, police take steps reminiscent of foul regimes."
© Copyright IsraelNationalNews.com

MERF Appearence

For those who would like to hear me on the radio, I am very pleased to announce that I will be having a weekly appearance on the Middle East Radio Forum, the show is hosted By William Wolf.

The time of the show is 3pm EDT, 12 noon Pacific, 10pm Israel, every Sunday. Please feel free to call in if you have any questions about my weekly comments. If you should happen to miss the show then you can go to the MERF web page and listen to me and other guest in the archives.

You can listen to the show by going to the MERF web page

April 09, 2009

Israeli Science Breakthrough Extracts Fuel from Water

Nisan 13, 5769, 07 April 09 05:17
by Baruch Gordon

(IsraelNN.com) Among the most important challenges facing science today is designing an efficient system for splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen. The ability to do so will introduce hydrogen into the market as a clean, sustainable fuel. But man-made systems for getting to the root of water that exist today are very inefficient and often require additional use of sacrificial chemical agents.

Now, a unique approach developed by Prof. David Milstein and colleagues of the Weizmann Institute’s Organic Chemistry Department, provides important steps in overcoming this challenge. Their research demonstrated a new mode of bond generation between oxygen atoms and even defined the mechanism by which it takes place. It is the generation of oxygen gas by the formation of a bond between two oxygen atoms originating from water molecules that proves to be the bottleneck in the water splitting process. Their research has recently been published in Science.

Nature, by taking a different path, has evolved a very efficient process: photosynthesis, carried out by plants. Photosynthesis is the source of all oxygen on earth. Although there has been significant progress towards the understanding of photosynthesis, just how this system functions remains unclear. Vast worldwide efforts have been devoted to developing artificial photosynthetic systems based on metal complexes that serve as catalysts, but with little success. (A catalyst is a substance that is able to increase the rate of a chemical reaction without getting used up.)%ad%

The new approach that the Weizmann team has recently devised is divided into a sequence of reactions, which leads to the liberation of hydrogen and oxygen in consecutive thermal- and light-driven steps, mediated by a unique ingredient – a special metal complex that Milstein’s team designed in previous studies. Moreover, the one that they designed – a metal complex of the element ruthenium – is a “smart” complex in which the metal center and the organic part attached to it cooperate in the cleavage of the water molecule.

The team found that upon mixing this complex with water the bonds between the hydrogen and oxygen atoms break, with one hydrogen atom ending up binding to its organic part, while the remaining hydrogen and oxygen atoms (OH group) bind to its metal center.

This modified version of the complex provides the basis for the next stage of the process: the “heat stage.” When the water solution is then boiled, hydrogen gas is released from the complex – a potential source of clean fuel – and another OH group is added to the metal center.

“But the most interesting part is the third ‘light stage,’” says Milstein. “When we exposed this third complex to light at room temperature, not only was oxygen gas produced, but the metal complex also reverted back to its original state, which could be recycled for use in further reactions.”

These results are even more remarkable considering that the generation of a bond between two oxygen atoms promoted by a man-made metal complex is a very rare event, and it has been unclear how it can take place. Yet Milstein and his team have also succeeded in identifying an unprecedented mechanism for such a process. Additional experiments have indicated that during the third stage, light provides the energy required to cause the two OH groups to get together to form hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), which quickly breaks up into oxygen and water. “Because hydrogen peroxide is considered a relatively unstable molecule, scientists have always disregarded this step, deeming it implausible; but we have shown otherwise,” says Milstein.

Moreover, the team has provided evidence showing that the bond between the two oxygen atoms is generated within a single molecule – not between oxygen atoms residing on separate molecules, as commonly believed – and it comes from a single metal center.

Discovery of an efficient artificial catalyst for the sunlight-driven splitting of water into oxygen and hydrogen is a major goal of renewable clean energy research. So far, Milstein’s team has demonstrated a mechanism for the formation of hydrogen and oxygen from water, without the need for sacrificial chemical agents, through individual steps, using light. For their next study, they plan to combine these stages to create an efficient catalytic system, bringing those in the field of alternative energy an important step closer to realizing this goal.

Participating in the research were former postdoctoral student Stephan Kohl, Ph.D. student Leonid Schwartsburd and technician Yehoshoa Ben-David all of the Organic Chemistry Department, together with staff scientists Lev Weiner, Leonid Konstantinovski, Linda Shimon and Mark Iron of the Chemical Research Support Department.

The Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, is home to 2,600 scientists, students, technicians and supporting staff. Institute research efforts include the search for new ways of fighting disease and hunger, examining leading questions in mathematics and computer science, probing the physics of matter and the universe, creating novel materials and developing new strategies for protecting the environment.
© Copyright IsraelNationalNews.com

April 08, 2009

Happy and Kosher Passover

Arabs Attack Bat Ayin Jews Who Recited Blessing of the Sun

Nisan 14, 5769, 08 April 09 11:32
by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

(IsraelNN.com) Dozens of stone-throwing Arabs attacked Jews of the Bat Ayin community, south of Jerusalem, on Wednesday morning. The Jews had gathered on a hill known as Mukhtar Mound, adjacent to Bat Ayin to recite the Blessing of the Sun and to place a cornerstone for the synagogue of a new community on the Jewish-owned land.

The prayers and ceremonies were coordinated with the local regional council and army, which escorted the Bat Ayin residents, Bat Ayin Yeshiva Dean Rabbi Natan Greenberg told Israel National News.

Trouble started after the Jews concluded the Blessing of the Sun at the site, now called Arzei Shlomo (Cedars of Solomon), in memory of 13-year-old Shlomo Nativ, who was murdered in an Arab axe attack last week, and Erez Levanon who was killed by Arab terrorists two years ago. The site was purchased by Jews in the 1930's.

More than 200 Bat Ayin residents walked away from the ceremony and to the site of the planned synagogue, where Chaim Nativ, father of the young terror victim, drove cornerstones into the ground with an axe, the same tool used to murder his child a week earlier. Daniel Winston, said his son, who was a classmate of Shlomo, made the axe handle out of a fig tree.

The participants in the ceremony built three walls, approximately three feet high and three feet wide, out of stones they gathered at the scene until Arabs began to attack them with rocks. The soldiers refrained from escalating the confrontation and held fire until the Arabs called for reinforcements over a loudspeaker system and began shouting in Arabic "Death to Jews" while the Jews retaliated with rock throwing.

As the Arab crowd approached the Jews, the soldiers shot and wounded at least one person critically. Arab sources reported that more than a dozen others suffered lesser wounds, mostly from tear gas. Rabbi Greenberg said that Arab claims that the Jewish residents shot and caused property damage at a nearby village were "total lies."

Reuters told its readers around the world that that "dozens of Israelis...rampaged..., smashing car windows and damaging homes." It quoted Arabs that the Jews smashed car windows but did not offer any evidence and did not quote Jewish denials.

Winston said that the community plans to return to the site for afternoon prayers at 1:30 (6:30 a.m. EDT) on Wednesday.

Rabbi Greenberg explained that the construction of a synagogue as the first step for the new community is based on the teachings of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, who said that one should pray on land where one wants to establish a community.

The location of the planned community is adjacent to a lookout point that Bay Ayin residents say Arab terrorists use to observe the movement of the Bat Ayin residents.

Following the Arab attack, the Jews returned to Bat Ayin for a ceremony marking the seventh day since the gruesome murder of the 13-year-old. A seven-year-old child also suffered moderate wounds in the attack. The terrorist escaped, and no arrests have been made.
© Copyright IsraelNationalNews.com

April 07, 2009

Netanyahu to transfer NIS 100M to Gaza

Sum, coordinated with United Nations, intended to pay salaries of PA and UNRWA employees in Gaza; sources fear it will end up in Hamas hands
Roni Sofer

Israel will transfer some NIS 100 million (about $24 million) to banks in the Gaza Strip Tuesday afternoon in order to pay employees of the Palestinian Authority and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).

But many sources, including the Legal Forum for the Land of Israel, warned that these workers actually serve the Hamas government and expressed concern that it would end up in the hands of terror operatives.

The transfer was coordinated between Israel and the UN, in an effort to mitigate the shortage of ready cash in the area, which impedes the activities of UNRWA and PA workers. At the request of the UN, the sum will be transferred in dollars.

The money belongs to the PA according to existing arrangements with Israel in which Israel collects taxes levied on Palestinian wares. As such, the Authority will be responsible for handing out the money to UN employees as well as their own.

About half of the amount will go to paying PA workers, despite Israeli complaints that PA workers in Gaza are actually affiliated with Hamas.

Israel has transferred similar sums to Gaza banks several times in the past two years. Part of the funds are being exchanged for damaged money currently in the possession of Gaza banks and the rest is a standard transfer by the Israeli government of the tax earnings owed to the PA.

At the beginning of February, a short while after Operation Cast Lead, former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert ordered the transmission of NIS 175 million (about $42 million) to pay PA salaries, as coordinated with the government of Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

A few weeks later, Ynet reported that about half of the sum meant to pay these salaries was distributed as compensation to Gazans whose homes had been damaged in the IDF operation rather than passed on to the accounts of PA employees.

This was done at the request of Fayyad, who transferred NIS 90 million (about $21 million) to these people, not necessarily affiliated with Fatah, through the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), despite the fact that the Israeli government had calmed detractors by assuring that the entirety of the NIS 175 million would be transferred to pay PA salaries.

So someone please tell me how Bibi is any different from the rest of the Cowards, Scum and Traitors that have been the Prime Minister for the last twenty years?

Sur Baher: Man shot dead after running over officers

20-year-old Iyyad Azmi Awisat of Jabel Mukaber shot dead after attempting to run down Border Guard officers at village checkpoint; three officers lightly wounded. Sur Baher mukhtar vows to no longer maintain calm in village
Efrat Weiss

A man attempted to run down Border Guard officers stationed at the east Jerusalem village of Sur Baher Tuesday afternoon. The forces opened fire, critically wounding the driver, who died of his wounds a short while later. Three Border Guard officers sustained light wounds to their legs.

The attack occurred as police and Home Front Command personnel were in the process of destroying the Sur Baher residence of the terrorist who killed three people in the first bulldozer attack in Jerusalem last July.

Twenty year-old Iyyad Azmi Awisat, of the village of Jabel Mukaber, left Sur Baher in a white Seat vehicle and approached the Border Guard officers stationed at the checkpoint at the entrance to the village at high speed.

Awisat managed to hit three officers, causing light injuries to their legs, before being shot by their company commander.

Chief Inspector Noam Shavit, the Border Guard officer who shot the terrorist, said he had been standing with his soldiers at Sur Baher junction when the attack took place.

"Suddenly we saw a vehicle driving towards us quickly and run over three officers. I realized immediately that it was a terror attack," he recounted. "I cocked my M16 and fired a number of bullets at the terrorist."

Shavit, the deputy commander of the Border Guard's Eitan Company, said the proper level of preparation among security forces had prevented more dire consequences.

"We didn't hear the terrorist yell anything, he just drove into the junction where the officers were standing very quickly and without any intention to stop," he said.

"We thought maybe someone would try to hurt us while the terrorist's home was being destroyed so we didn't stand together, we separated into threes and this could be what prevented a larger attack."

Shavit said the response to the attack had been quick. "We did what was expected of us. We had to stop the terrorist in any way possible," he said.

Additional police officers were later dispatched to the scene, and the three wounded Border Guard officers were evacuated to the Shaare Tzedek Medical Center in Jerusalem.

Residents of the village said that they were unsure the attack at the checkpoint was intentional.

Jerusalem District Police Chief Aharon Franko said, "Three officers have been lightly wounded. The terrorist is a resident of Jabel Mukaber in east Jerusalem. The police are prepared for disturbances of the peace that may break out."

Franko added, "The police fire was justified."

In reference to the upcoming Pesach holiday, Franko said, "I call all citizens of Israel to come to Jerusalem. We are deployed throughout the year, especially on the eve of Pesach, and are committed, as the police, to provide the maximum amount of security."

Franko added, "We are prepared for any additional disturbances of the peace that may take place in the village and other locations. Large forces are deployed in the village and others and in the west of the city." He said police were maintaining contact with the village leaders in the area in order to maintain the calm.

Police reported that residents clapped and cheered, calling out "God is great" as the body was removed from the scene.

Zuhir Hamdan, the mukhtar of Sur Baher, called the killing of the terrorist "cold-blooded murder."

On the attack itself, Hamdan commented, "It's a lie. They treat us like dogs." The mukhtar explained, "Up until now, I have controlled the village. From today, I no longer will. The response will come in the form of disturbances of the peace."

Not far from the checkpoint, Home Front Command personnel, with the help of Jerusalem Police, demolished only the part of the split-level home in which terrorist Hossam Dawyyat resided, while the section connecting his dwelling to the rest of the family home was sealed off.

Police told Ynet that the family was aware that the demolition would take place Tuesday and even removed their belongings ahead of time. The High Court authorized the demolition a few weeks ago, citing it as a deterrent against future attacks.

April 06, 2009

IDF Battle Citations for Avoiding Wounding Innocents

Reported: 08:36 AM - Apr/06/09

(IsraelNN.com) GOC Central Command Gadi Shamni presented an Israel Defense Forces officer and three soldiers, all from the Duvdevan Special Forces unit, with a citation on Sunday for avoiding innocent civilian injuries during clashes with Arab fugitives in the densely crowded Nablus casbah.

In one incident the officer and soldiers broke into a house as fugitives they were pursuing opened fired and fled through a tunnel. They wounded him without hurting his wife who was with him.

IDF Promotes its First Ethiopian Regiment Commander

Nisan 11, 5769, 05 April 09 04:41
by Hillel Fendel

(IsraelNN.com) Lt.-Col. Tzion Ankur, who arrived in Israel at age 4 in 1980 after walking to Sudan, is the first Ethiopian-born Israeli to reach the high post of Regiment Commander.

The IDF held a large ceremony several days ago to mark the appointment of Ankur as head of the Shimshon Regiment in the Kfir Brigade.

Ankur, 33, served in the past as a paratroopers platoon commander, a team leader in the Bahad-1 Officers Training Base, and a battalion commander in the Haruv Regiment.

He and his family, including grandparents and great-grandmother, walked to Sudan from northern Ethiopia in 1980, and were then flown by the Israel Air Force to Israel. “When we arrived, we kissed the ground,” Tzion later recounted. “All of our dreams and longings had been linked to Israel. Along the way, when things got hard, those who were old or ill said that they could die only after they reached the Holy Land and Jerusalem.”

Ankur grew up in Be’er Sheva, and later studied, as did many young Ethiopian immigrants, in a religious boarding high school in Yemin Orde, near Haifa. “My parents didn’t want to send me to a dorm,” he said, “but I insisted, because I wanted a place where I could study the best way I possibly could.”

Many people attended the promotion ceremony, at which Tzion said, “I am excited at having merited this special opportunity. I feel that I am fulfilling the desire of the members of the Ethiopian community to live in a Jewish place as a free people, and to be part of the leadership of this place. I look forward to cooperation with the officers and soldiers of this regiment, so that we will succeed and become even more professional than we already are.”

Senior IDF officials expressed satisfaction with the fact that most of the Kfir Infantry Brigade's regiment commanders have sprouted within the brigade, even though Kfir is only two years old. The cadre of young officers includes four regiment commanders who are to be appointed this coming summer.

Ethiopian Statistics
Some 4,000 officers and soldiers of the Ethiopian community serve in the IDF, 5% of whom are officers. Over 85% of the males in the community enlist in the army, and some 50% of the females. Over a third of the Ethiopian soldiers are in combat positions, and 20% are drivers. On the other hand, 23% of the males drop out of the army before their term of service has ended, and10.7% of the inmates in army prison are Ethiopian.
© Copyright IsraelNationalNews.com

Lt.-Col. Tzion Ankur, job well done, I am proud of you and what you have achieved.
Now for the hard part you now command my son, so command with wisdom and do not risk the lives of your soldiers by being PC.
May G-D give you strength in your duties and give me my son back in two years in the same condition as I gave him to you.
As a matter of fact if you could get your soldiers to stop smoking including my son it would be a great thing.

April 05, 2009

IDF chief: Troops' Gaza testimonies are completely unfounded

Last update - 22:19 05/04/2009
By Haaretz Service

Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi on Sunday dismissed as "completely unfounded" accounts by Israeli soldiers of wrongdoings in the recent offensive against Hamas in Gaza.

"It greatly disturbed me, and everyone, the 'testimonies' of soldiers that have been published about inappropriate acts and the apparently intentional harming of the civilian population," Lt. Gen. Ashkenazi wrote in a letter to IDF soldiers to mark the upcoming Jewish holiday of Pesach.

"These testimonies have been fully examined and investigated by the Military Police and Military Advocate's Office, and have been found, to my joy, to be completely unfounded and lacking in any evidential basis."

Haaretz published last month accounts by soldiers who fought in Operation Cast Lead saying that Israeli forces killed Palestinian civilians under permissive rules of engagement and intentionally destroyed their property.

The soldiers' testimonies were picked up by other Israeli news outlets and media across the world, sparking a controversy as the troops seemed to confirm Palestinian accounts of IDF behavior during the campaign.

In the letter, Ashkenazi said it was Hamas that hurt Gaza's civilians.

"Our enemies turned their own people into human shields and hostages and chose to launch fire and death from their houses, schools, hospitals and mosques, and forced upon us a war zone packed with civilians," he wrote.

He added that Israel had only embarked on the campaign after a long period of restraint in the face of cross-border attacks by Hamas and other militant groups in the Gaza Strip.

Last week, Military Advocate General Brig. Gen. Avichai Mendelblit instructed the Military Police Investigation unit to close the inquiry into the soldiers' accounts of alleged misconduct.

He said it was unfortunate that the soldiers, who discussed their Gaza experiences in private on Feb. 13 at a military academy session which was later leaked verbatim to the media, had been careless about accuracy.

April 03, 2009

MERF Appearence

For those who would like to hear me on the radio, I am very pleased to announce that I will be having a weekly appearance on the Middle East Radio Forum, the show is hosted By William Wolf.

The time of the show is 3pm EDT, 12 noon Pacific, 10pm Israel, every Sunday. Please feel free to call in if you have any questions about my weekly comments. If you should happen to miss the show then you can go to the MERF web page and listen to me and other guest in the archives.

You can listen to the show by going to the MERF web page

April 01, 2009

Ministers and Senior Officials of the 32nd Government of Israel

31 Mar 2009 Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Shimon Peres - President

Government Ministers

Benjamin Netanyahu - Prime Minister
Minister of Economic Strategy, Minister of Pensioner Affairs, Minister of
Health, Minister of Science, Culture, and Sport
Silvan Shalom - Vice Prime Minister and Minister for Regional Development
and the Development of the Negev and the Galilee
Moshe Ya'alon - Vice Prime Minister and Minister

Ehud Barak - Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense
Avigdor Liberman - Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs
Dan Meridor - Deputy Prime Minister , Minister of Intelligence and Atomic
Eliyahu Yishai - Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior
Yitzhak Aharonovitch - Minister of Public Security
Ariel Atias - Minister of Housing and Construction
Ze'ev Benjamin Begin - Minister
Benjamin Ben-Eliezer - Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor
Avishay Braverman - Minister
Yuli Edelstein - Minister of Information and Diaspora Affairs
Michael Eitan - Minister of Improvement of Government Services
Gilad Erdan - Minister of Environmental Protection
Daniel Hershkowitz - Minister
Isaac Herzog - Minister of Welfare and Social Affairs
Moshe Kahlon - Minister of Communications
Yisrael Katz - Minister of Transportation and Road Safety
Uzi Landau - Minister of National Infrastructures
Sofa Landver - Minister of Immigration Absorption
Limor Livnat - Minister
Yakov Margi - Minister of Religious Services
Meshulam Nahari - Minister
Yossi Peled - Minister
Stas Misezhnikov - Minister of Tourism
Yaakov Neeman - Minister of Justice
Gideon Sa'ar - Minister of Education
Shalom Simhon - Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development
Yuval Steinitz - Minister of Finance

Deputy Ministers
Daniel Ayalon - Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs
Lea Nass - Deputy Minister of Pensioner Affairs
Matan Vilnai - Deputy Minister of Defense

Senior Government Officials
Reuven Rivlin, MK - Speaker of the Knesset
Dorit Beinisch - President of the Supreme Court
Micha Lindenstrauss - State Comptroller and Ombudsman
Stanley Fischer - Governor of the Bank of Israel
Lt.-Gen. Gaby Ashkenazi - IDF Chief of General Staff
Menachem Mazuz - Attorney General
Rabbi Shlomo Amar - Sephardi Chief Rabbi
Rabbi Yona Metzger - Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi

The biggest government in Israeli history, this is going to cost the tax payers of Israel a small or maybe a not so small fortune.

'Palestinians firing Chinese-made rockets'

Yaakov Lappin , THE JERUSALEM POST Apr. 1, 2009

A growing number of Chinese-made rockets are being smuggled into the Gaza
Strip from Sinai and fired at Israel, a senior police sapper told The
Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.

Earlier in the day, at least two rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip at
the western Negev, with no injuries or damage being reported.

During a press conference held Tuesday in Jerusalem, Supt. Kobi Preger,
deputy head of the Israel Police's national bomb disposal laboratory,
identified at least three types of Chinese-made rockets among those being
fired from the Gaza Strip.

"The 107 millimeter [diameter] rocket, often called a 'Grad,' and two types
of 122mm rockets are made in China," Preger said.

He added that one version of the 122mm rocket had a range of 40 kilometers
and had been used by Hamas to target areas such as Yavne, north of Ashdod,
during Operation Cast Lead.

It is widely believed that the group is seeking to obtain rockets that can
reach Tel Aviv.

While a Grad-type 107mm rocket carries 1.2 kilograms of explosives, both
forms of the 122mm rocket can carry 6.3kg, Preger said.

"Regarding improvised rockets made in Gaza, terrorists are trying improve on
the range," he warned. "The rockets are going farther and getting more

Over the years, Palestinian factions have competed against each other to
create their own rocket types. According to the police, the Palestinian
Resistance Committees has produced the al-Nasser, identifiable by its black
and green camouflage colors and red tip. Fatah in Gaza has made and fired
the al-Aqsa rocket, while Islamic Jihad uses the al-Quds 3 rocket. Hamas's
flagship rocket is the Kassam, which in its various forms is usually marked
with red and green colors.

US must end Iran nuke drive, or Israel may attack, PM warns

The Jerusalem Post Internet Edition

Apr. 1, 2009

The primary imperative for the United States and President Barack Obama is to put an end to Iran's nuclear race, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said before his swearing-in Tuesday, adding that if the US failed to do so Israel might be forced to resort to a military strike on the Islamic Republic's nuclear installations.

"The Obama presidency has two great missions: fixing the economy, and preventing Iran from gaining nuclear weapons," Netanyahu told The Atlantic. The Iranian drive for a nuclear weapon was a "hinge of history," he said, emphasizing that all of "Western civilization" was responsible for preventing an Iranian bomb.

"You don't want a messianic apocalyptic cult controlling atomic bombs," Netanyahu said of the Iranian regime. "When the wide-eyed believer gets hold of the reins of power and the weapons of mass death, then the entire world should start worrying, and that is what is happening in Iran."

Netanyahu suggested that Israeli preemptive strikes against perceived threats were the result of the Jewish people learning from a long history of grappling against those who threatened their collective existence. He cited Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's repeated calls to "wipe Israel off the map," as well as a recent remark by the country's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to the effect that Israel was a "cancerous tumor."

However, despite Iran's singling-out of Israel, he said, the rest of the world would be well advised to take the threat emanating from Teheran seriously. He voiced support for Obama's strategy of engaging Iran in dialogue, as long as the negotiations worked swiftly to convince Iran to relinquish its nuclear program.

"How you achieve this goal is less important than achieving it," he said, although he was not optimistic regarding the chances that dialogue could persuade Iran to reconsider its interests. Nevertheless, he said, economic sanctions could still make a difference. "I think the Iranian economy is very weak, which makes Iran susceptible to sanctions that can be ratcheted up by a variety of means," he said.

Iran's leadership, Netanyahu added, was not immune to pressure, but fanatic elements made it extremely dangerous to risk relying on economic sanctions alone.

"Iran is a composite leadership, but in that composite leadership there are elements of wide-eyed fanaticism that do not exist right now in any other would-be nuclear power in the world. That's what makes them so dangerous," he said. "Since the dawn of the nuclear age, we have not had a fanatic regime that might put its zealotry above its self-interest. People say that they'll behave like any other nuclear power. Can you take the risk? Can you assume that?"

Netanyahu cited Teheran's tactics during its protracted war with Iraq in the 1980s as evidence of irrational behavior on the part of Iran. "[They] wasted over a million lives without batting an eyelash," he said. "It didn't sear a terrible wound into the Iranian consciousness. It wasn't Britain after World War I, lapsing into pacifism because of the great tragedy of a loss of a generation. You see nothing of the kind."

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