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Sivan 3, 5772 / Thursday, May. 24 ’12
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- 1. Iran Declares ‘Impasse’ in Nuclear Talks
- 2. New IAEA Report: Iran Installing Centrifuges in Fordow
- 3. Rivlin: ‘Lawmakers Must Guard Their Words!’
- 4. Eilat Mayor Presses for Immigration Enforcement
- 5. Rachel Atias Released from Hospital
- 6. IDF Official: 20 Kidnap Attempts So Far This Year
- 7. Israel Day Concert Theme: Let Your Voice be Heard for Jerusalem
- 8. Republicans Now Believe That The White House Is Winnable In 2012
1. Iran Declares ‘Impasse’ in Nuclear Talks
by Gabe Kahn
Iran on Thursday rejected the proposal from the P5+1 in talks over its controversial nuclear program.
Tehran and the P5+1 – the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany – were in the second day of talks in Baghdad seeking to resolve international concerns over Iran’s nuclear program.
The P5+1 plan reportedly called on Iran to halt enrichment past 3.5%, ship its stores of 20% enriched uranium out of the country, and shut down its heavily fortified Fordow enrichment facility.
They had also called on Iran to live up to its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and allow IAEA inspectors unrestricted access to its nuclear sites.
In exchange, the group offered benefits including medical isotopes, some nuclear safety cooperation, and spare parts for civilian airliners – much needed by Iran.
Iran criticized the proposal from the six-nation group, saying it makes too many demands of Iran while offering too little in return. Namely, Iran has said the only way forward in talks is the easing of sanctions on its vital oil industry.
Western powers rebuffed Tehran’s call for an immediate easing of economic sanctions, saying they will not give up their key lever in negotiations with the Islamic Republic.
In turn, Iran accused world powers Thursday of creating a “difficult atmosphere” with its demands.
Talks were scheduled to continue into late afternoon, but Iran is signaling the impasse is significant and could derail further talks.
AFP quoted an Iranian official as saying “the basis for another round of negotiations does not exist yet.”
Of key international concern is Iran’s secretive uranium enrichment program, especially its enrichment of uranium to 20 percent purity – a key jumping off point for enrichment to 90% weapons grade material.
Iran says its enrichment work is meant for medical research and generating electricity.
However, proliferation experts have noted that 3.5% enrichment is all that is needed for power generation, and that Iran has enriched far more uranium to 20% than is needed for medical isotope research.
Nor, they say, is Iran’s nuclear medicine research industry advanced or robust enough to justify the claim.
In November 2011, the IAEA released a report citing credible Western intelligence indicating Iran had engaged in – and likely continues to engage in – nuclear research of a military nature.
The report cited the construction of a high-explosives test chamber at the Parchin military base near Tehran, where IAEA officials believe Iran has been attempting to develop a charge that can detonate nuclear material.
IAEA chief Yukiya Amano in March charged Iran was engaged in an attempt to cover up nuclear activity of a military nature saying, “Iran is not telling us everything.”
2. New IAEA Report: Iran Installing Centrifuges in Fordow
by Elad Benari
Western diplomats said on Wednesday that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has concluded that Iran installed 350 new centrifuges at the Fordow underground facility since February.
The diplomats said, according to reports in the Israeli media, that the IAEA will reveal this information in a new report to be released on Friday. The installation of more centrifuges has increased the Islamic Republic’s potential to enrich uranium.
The remarks were made after Iran and the P5+1 traded proposals in Baghdad on Wednesday, as a new round of talks over Tehran’s controversial nuclear program got underway.
Iran is keen to ease sanctions on its vital oil ministry and central bank by Western nations, who have said they are unwilling to give up their key leverage point without a comprehensive agreement.
Ahead of talks the P5+1 – the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany – indicated they may be willing to limit their demands to Tehran halting enrichment to 20%, shipping all uranium enriched to 20% out of the country, and closing the highly fortified Fordow facility.
The Islamic Republic admitted last year it was moving more centrifuge machines for enriching uranium to the underground facility, which is carved into a mountain to protect it against possible attacks.
The existence of the facility near Qom only came to light after it was identified by Western intelligence agencies in September 2009. The UN’s nuclear watchdog has confirmed that Iran begun enriching uranium at the plant.
In March, IAEA chief Yukiya Amano said that a tripling on the enrichment of uranium at the Fordow nuclear site, along with Iran’s rejection of IAEA attempts to inspect nuclear facilities, point to concern that the Islamic Republic might be developing nuclear capability for other than peaceful purposes.
On Tuesday, it was reported that Iran will sign an agreement to cooperate with the IAEA nuclear watchdog agency.
Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, returned to Vienna after a one-day visit to Tehran and announced that “a decision was made to conclude and sign the agreement. I can say it will be signed quite soon.”
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman expressed skepticism over the agreement, saying the Iranians are trying to create a more pleasant and relaxed atmosphere during negotiations but that their goal remains the same – to obtain nuclear weapons.
“While sanctions on Iran have an impact, it is not enough of an impact to bring a real change in the situation,” Lieberman said. “We should also pay attention to the negative Iranian involvement in every possible place in the Middle East.”
Earlier, Defense Minister Ehud Barak also expressed doubt over the value of an agreement between the IAEA and Iran.
“It appears that the Iranians are trying to reach a ‘technical agreement’ which will create the impression of progress in the talks, in order to remove some of the pressure before the [P5+1] talks tomorrow in Baghdad; as well as to put off the intensification of sanctions,” Barak said.
3. Rivlin: ‘Lawmakers Must Guard Their Words!’
by Gabe Kahn
Knesset speaker Reuven Rivlin on Thursday called for lawmakers to moderate their language and avoid incitement when dealing with emotionally charged issues of public policy.
“There is no doubt that Israel faces a serious problem regarding illegal aliens and asylum seekers, and the government must find a solution and act,” Rivlin said.
“Our duty to society is to protect our national interests, but difficult and emotional social issues must still be approached with Jewish values, which also seeks to protect and help the helpless,” Rivlin said.
The people “may demonstrate and protest and demand the government formulate a solution, but there should be no incitement – and it is forbidden to use the same tactics anti-Semites used against us [in the Exile].”
“We suffered greatly from incitement and harassment,” Rivlin said. “We must be committed to sensitivity and finding just solutions. The main problem is not the infiltrators and refugees, but the lack of a clear policy from the government of Israel.”
He then presented Likud MK Miri Regev as a positive example of good leadership in her approach to Israel’s illegal immigration problem.
“I compliment my friend Miri Regev who has been vigorous and active in her efforts to demand from the government clear policies and workable solutions to the problematic reality of illegal aliens in Israel,” Rivlin said.
“The anger of residents and business owners in south Tel Aviv is completely understandable,” he added. “But when an angry mob takes to the streets it is too much!”
“Leaders must guard their words, restrain their anger, and find solutions rather than inflame passions,” he said.
While Rivlin did not single anyone out by name, he appeared to be referring to Likud’s firebrand MK Danny Danon.
Danon – who chairs the Knesset committee tasked with preventing illegal immigration to Israel – declared at Wednesday’s rally, “The state of Israel is at war with an enemy state that has formed within Israel and has its capital in southern Tel Aviv!”
However, Danon was joined by fellow Likud lawmakers Miri Regev and Yariv Levin, and Michael Ben Ari of the National Union party.
Regev told those in attendance that “we will not allow” illegal immigration to “spread like a cancer in our society.”
After the rally some protesters smashed windows, lit garbage cans on fire, and damaged a car that had three illegal aliens in it. No one was hurt in the incident. On Thursday police arrested 12 people on suspicion of attacking the vehicle, and running riot.
However, witnesses say vast majority of those who attended the rally both arrived and departed peacefully.
4. Eilat Mayor Presses for Immigration Enforcement
by Gabe Kahn
Eilat mayor Yitzhak Halevi warned Monday that the deluge of illegal aliens passing into Israel from Sinai poses both a strategic and demographic threat to the state.
He called on the government to implement the decisions it has already made to deal with the matter.
Halevi said the security fence on the Egyptian border needs to be completed within a short time, and that the government needed to expedite the construction of a detention center for illegal aliens. He also called on the government to fine those who employe illegal aliens.
Halevy told Israel Radio “Infiltrators hurt the ability of local leaders to improve the quality of life for residents” and have a negative impact on public safety.
On Tuesday, MK Danny Danon (Likud) led a 1,000 strong rally to pressure the government into deporting illegal aliens to their countries of origin saying, “The terrible situation that has formed here has only one solution and we need to talk about it and we must not be ashamed: expel them now!”
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has described the growing number of illegal aliens in Israel, mostly from Africa, as a “national catastrophy” and “demographic threat.” Israel, a small nation with a population of some 8 million – 75% of its citizens being Jewish – does not have the capacity to absorb large numbers of illegal aliens and refugees while maintaining the Jewish character of the state.
Late last year he promised to personally travel to Africa to meet with leaders and arrange the safe return of their citizens.
Israel previously offered an assistance basket to any illegal immigrant who identified themselves and agreed to return home voluntarily.
The deadline to receive the assistance basket passed on April 30, and Immigration officials are now supposed to arrest and detain illegal aliens pending deportation. However, with no detention facility to place illegal aliens in – meaningful enforcement is effectively impossible.
Israel’s left has denounced moves to deport illegal aliens as “racist,” and also argue it is not safe for those illegal immigrants from war-torn Sudan and South Sudan – some of whom are refugees – to return to their homeland.
However, discussions between the Foreign Ministry and the Attorney General earlier this week, concluded that in most cases refugees from Sudan and South Sudan can be safety returned hom.
Israel’s state prosecutor has been tasked with investigating the circusmstances of illegal aliens who do claim to be legitimate refugees on a case by case basis. However, most illegal aliens come to Israel seeking work and are expected to be returned home.
5. Rachel Atias Released from Hospital
by Gabe Kahn
Rachel Atias, 7, the sole survivor of a tragic accident on Thursday that killed her parents and six siblings was released this morning from Haifa’s Rambam Hospital.
She went to live with her aunt Esther Cohen in Tzfat.
Rambam Medical Center chief of pediatrics Prof. Amos Etzioni told Arutz Sheva that Rachel is in overall good physical condition, but “left in a wheelchair due to mild pain she still feels making it difficult to walk.”
“She suffered a slight hip injury and some slight bleeding around the eye,” Etzioni said, adding “She doesn’t require further medical treatment.”
However, he noted, that hospital social workers will continue to work with the family due to the psychological trauma of losing her family and adjusting to a new home.
The Atias family late Monday night was returning to their home in the national religious community of Bar Yochai, located near Meron and Tzfat.
The driver, Rafael Atias, 42, realized his brakes were not working and phoned the emergency hotline.
As the car sped down a hill out of control, Atias’ wife Yehudit, 42, abruptly stopped a conversation with the hotline and screamed. “G-d. Save us. HaShem, save us.”
The victims, besides the parents, are Avia, 17, twins Eliyashiv and Neria Shimon, 16, Shira, 11, Tair, 8 and Noa, 4.
They were laid to rest in Tzfat on Monday morning.
6. IDF Official: 20 Kidnap Attempts So Far This Year
by David Lev
A top IDF officer said Thursday that the army has had to deal with ever more aggressive and frequent attempts by Arab terrorists to kidnap IDF soldiers and Israeli civilians. So far this year some 20 kidnap attempts have been recorded in Judea and Samaria, the officer said.
The “hot threat” warnings are no longer limited to a specific time and place, as they had been in the past, but are ongoing, meaning that there is an imminent danger of a kidnapping taking place anywhere at any time of the day. “Terror groups are constantly on patrol looking for situations they can take advantage of,” the officer said. “Their preference is for soldiers, because they feel that can extract the highest ‘price’ for them.”
The motivation of terrorist groups to kidnap Israelis in order to use them as bargaining chips to release terrorists has shot up since Israel released over 1,000 terrorists in exchange for Gilad Shalit. There are currently over 8,000 terrorists and security prisoners in Israeli prisons today.
As a result, the IDF has revamped its instructions to soldiers traveling in Judea and Samaria. “Do not stand alone at an intersection, do not stand at a bus or transport station alone, make sure you are in constant touch with touch with your commanders, and report any unusual activity.” While those instructions were issued to soldiers, the officer said, civilians would do well to adopt them as well. In order to reduce the opportunities for kidnappings, the IDF has instituted regular patrols on popular routes. The patrols will increase the presence of the IDF on the roads, and will also be on the lookout for soldiers who violate the instructions.
The dangers of kidnapping are not limited to Judea and Samaria, nor to the rest of Israel. Jews around the world are vulnerable, the officer said. “Hizbullah, Islamic Jihad, and other Iranian-backed groups are still looking to take revenge for Israel’s elimination of some top terrorists. We have been receiving information from security sources all over the world indicating the dangers, which are still strong. Even though the warning against civilians to travel to Turkey, for example, has been lifted, anyone who goes there needs to be very careful. IDF soldiers are forbidden to go there under any circumstances,” the officer added.
7. Israel Day Concert Theme: Let Your Voice be Heard for Jerusalem
by Dr. Paul Brody
The 19th Annual Israel Day Concert in Central Park is expected to draw 20,000 people this year.
The Carl Freyer Tribute and Dr. Manfred Lehmann Memorial event, which will be held at Central Park’s Summer Stage on Sunday, June 3rd , takes place after the Salute to Israel parade and is in honor of the 45th anniversary of the Six-Day War and the re-unification of Jerusalem.
Dr. Joseph Frager and Dr. Paul and Drora Brody, organizers and chairpersons for the past 7 years, have announced the concert’s themes:
1.Jerusalem United Forever–Never to be divided again
2. No further concessions of ANY part of the Land of Israel and
3. Stopping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons NOW, before it is too late!
The concert, which effectively is the largest Zionist rally in North America, possibly in the world, is sponsored by the Israel Concert-In-The-Park Committee, associated with Young Israel Chovevei Zion and the National Council of Young Israel. It pays special tribute again this year to the late Carl Freyer, who together with his wife Sylvia, founded the annual event in response to a call by Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, Chief Rabbi of Efrat, to mount some form of protest to the disastrous 1993 Oslo accords.
Mr. Freyer was a leader of the Nationalist camp and a supporter of numerous causes for many years, impacting every aspect of Jewish life in America and Israel. He and his wife were founders of Arutz Sheva and the National Jewish Outreach Program (NJOP). The Concert/Rally also salutes noted Jewish activists and philanthropists Dr. Manfred R. Lehmann z’l, who was the event’s first Chairman, and Rose and Reuben Mattus z’l, of Haagen-Dazs fame.
The keynote speaker will be MK Danny Danon, Deputy Speaker of the Knesset and Chairman of World Likud. Rabbi David Algaze, President of the World Committee for the Land of Israel; Israel Prize winner and head of the hesder yeshivas, former MK Rabbi Chaim Druckman; Soviet refusenik and “Prisoner of Zion” Yosef Mendelevitch; Mark Langfan, creator of strategic maps of Yehuda and Shomron; and Scott Feltman, Executive Vice President of the One Israel Fund, are among the many exciting speakers.
A burst of musical and singing talent will entertain the crowd: Yehuda Green, protege of Reb Shlomo Carlebach; Sephardic stalwarts Avi Peretz and the Ouri Bitan Band, and Avner Levy; Tal Vaknin and Shlomi Aharoni, directly from Israel, both alumni of the Rabbinical IDF Orchestra & Choir; Chaim Kiss; Izzy Kieffer, also an alumnus of the Rabbinical IDF Orchestra & Choir, with Heshy R.; and Yitzy Bald’s dazzling New York Boys Choir. Mendel Piekarski and Shlomo Skolnick, “Jewish Star” Junior Finalists, will make their debut on the SummerStage.
Musical accompaniment will be provided by the Shloime Dachs Orchestra & Singers.
The Israel Guide Dog Center for the Blind will poignantly remind us just what Israel is capable of when they exhibit their inestimable value to visually impaired clients.
There will also be cantorial performances. Hatikva and the Star Spangled Banner will be sung by Chazzan Joel Kaplan of Cong. Beth Sholom of Lawence. Aveinu Shebashamayim and the theme from Exodus (“This Land is MINE, G-d GAVE This Land to ME”) will be rendered by Jerry Markovitz.
Nachum Segal will again Emcee. Zev Brenner will be producing a show of the Concert/Rally for television.
Delicious, strictly kosher food and drinks will be available, supplied by Mendys.
Message from the organizers: Bring your spirit, determination and Jewish pride, together with your family and your friends, to this massive Concert/Rally, so our voices will be heard around the world.
Concert information: June 3, from 2:30-7:30 PM, rain or shine. Early arrival is advised (enter at 5th Ave. & 72nd St.),as there will be added security checks. Admissiojn is free. Anyone interested in joining the SPONSOR/VIP LIST, contact 917-650-5623 immediately.
8. Republicans Now Believe That The White House Is Winnable In 2012
by Amiel Ungar
Politico ran a story essentially summing up what has been obvious for the past couple of weeks: Republicans now believe that their candidate Mitt Romney has a genuine shot at winning the presidency.
It is worth recalling that Republicans had despaired of their chances back in March when the primaries were still in full swing; some had even suggested a form of triage, where Republicans would concentrate on winning both houses of Congress while resigning themselves to a second term for Barack Obama at the White House.
The Republicans feared that Romney’s reputation had been irretrievably damaged by the primaries and even if this political invalid could manage to stand up, he would be merely smacked down again by the legendary Obama campaign organization and fundraising juggernaut.
A billion-dollar Obama reelection campaign would be channeled into the mother of all negative campaigns, totally obliterating Romney. The Democrats and their allies in the media constantly projected the November elections as a done deal – and this was no mere bravado.
Now the tone among liberal commentators has become more circumspect and one can even spy columns such as “Why Obama is Losing”, or another on the need for Obama to move to the middle etc. There is no panic yet but the triumphalism is gone.
The first thing that the Republicans have learned is that the Obama campaign is not as invincible and overwhelmingly funded as they feared.
The Obama evolution on same-sex marriage showed that the Obama strategists can miscalculate. Barack Obama’s support for same-sex marriage has hurt him politically, while failing to establish him as a courageous statesman.
Obama effectively united the Republican base and insured that Romney will not have to constantly soothe that base, but he is free to pursue the political center and the undecided.
The conservative base may not turn out en masse due to enthusiasm for Romney, but due to animus towards Obama.
If the Obama campaign is not 10 feet tall, the Romney campaign is not a midget either. Even during the troubled primary season, it was well organized and exuded an aura of competence. A campaign organization reflects on the nominee’s competence and therefore if the campaign looks good, the candidate also wins approval. In the reverse case, the public wonders how a person who cannot run a decent campaign can run the country.
In the fundraising derby, the Republicans have done much better than they expected, while the Democrats are doing less well.
Romney has not wilted under the first negative barrages, while the Obama campaign appears to be tailored for a challenger rather than an incumbent.
The economy remains the major issue and the polls are consistent in establishing that this is Romney’s strong point – as opposed to the 2008 campaign, where the economy was an albatross around the Republican neck.
All this is showing up in the polls, revealing Obama and Romney running neck and neck in the race. It is likely to remain competitive till the finish.
In this race, Romney may not be the preferred bread of Republican hopes, but neither is he the dead horse of their fears.
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