A7News: Ahmadinejad Threatens – or Bluffs – To Halt Oil Exports

 

Av 12, 5772 / Tuesday, Jul. 31 ’12

 

 

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Headlines

  1. 1.      Ahmadinejad Threatens – or Bluffs – To Halt Oil Exports
  2. 2.      85% of Hesder Recruits – in Combat Units
  3. 3.      ‘Gaza Hackers’ Breach MK Yuli Edelstein’s Website
  4. 4.      School District Calls Teacher’s Nazi Comments ‘Free Speech’
  5. 5.      Netanyahu’s Men No-Shows at Pollard Session
  6. 6.      IDF’s New Cellphones: Smarter and Safer
  7. 7.      Clinton Denies Aide’s Links to Muslim Brotherhood
  8. 8.      Jewish Gymnast Makes Olympic Finals Performing ‘Hava Nagila’

 

1. Ahmadinejad Threatens – or Bluffs – To Halt Oil Exports

by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

Whether bluff or bluster, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called for a total halt to cure oil exports, a move that could be economic suicide but also could cause a worldwide depression. Iran relies on oil for approximately 80 percent of its foreign income, which Ahmadinejad needs to continue his race for nuclear capability.

Iranian media, controlled by the government, reported Tuesday that he accused world powers of manipulating the oil industry and that halting exports of crude oil would put pressure on oil producers. ”The real price of oil should have been very much higher in the market than what it is presently,” he said.

Ahmadinejad made his remarks at a dedication of two large projects at Tehran’s Shahid Tondgoyan oil refinery. He added that the Shahid Tondgoyan oil refinery was the first refinery being fully completed by Iranian experts and is an “indication of the complete nationalization of Iran’s oil industry.”

“Enemies of Iran could not tolerate the country has found access to the knowledge of producing and meeting all its demand,” he added.

For all of his threats, Ahmadinejad’s comments may reflect both a growing concern that the sanctions are working and the need to win over doubters at home, where the economy is suffering from sanctions despite his mocking the United States and its allies.

Iranian crude exports have fallen sharply because of U.S. and European Union sanctions aimed at starving Tehran of vital oil revenues for its disputed nuclear program by banning imports of both Iranian crude and refined products, Reuters reported.

Washington has prohibited U.S. companies from trading in all Iranian oil products for years, while the EU banned its companies from importing crude and refined products from July 1.

Until 2007, Iran’s inadequate refinery infrastructure and rising demand made it increasingly dependent on imported gasoline – a vulnerability Western powers have targeted by banning fuel sales to the country, the news agency added.

Ahmadinejad said at the refinery that the Western sanctions are “ridiculous,” bragging that Western countries “use oil as a political weapon against a country that is an oil producer itself.”

The U.S. Congress last week approved a new set of sanctions on Iran’s energy and shipping industry.

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2. 85% of Hesder Recruits – in Combat Units

by Gil Ronen

The IDF’s August recruitment cycle – the year’s largest – has begun. About 450 of the recruits are Hesder yeshiva students, who serve in the military in several stints, intermeshed with periods of Torah study.

Eighty five percent of the Hesder students are destined for combat units – a percentage much larger than in the general population. In addition, a disproportionate number of them reach command positions and become officers.

The Hesder students joined infantry brigades Golani, Givati, Kfir, Nahal, Paratroopers and Combat Intelligence, as well as the Armored Corps and Navy.

As their enlistment date approached, they attended study days in which they received explanations about religious soldiers’ special needs in the army, and how to deal with matters of kashrut, fast days, Shabbat eruv and other matters.

The August Hesder cycle is mostly made up of Hesder students who have completed two years of study and are over 20 years old. This year’s cycle has an unusually large number of married men.

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3. ‘Gaza Hackers’ Breach MK Yuli Edelstein’s Website

by Rachel Hirshfeld

The website of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein (Likud) was hacked today by a group dubbed “the hacker group of Gaza.”

MK Edelstein, who has come under fire from Arab extremists as the result of his steadfast and unwavering work on behalf of the State of Israel, responded by calling the hacking attack “an act of terrorism like any other.”

The hackers, wrote “Death to Israel” and “Free Al Aksa Mosque” on the site, as well as a number of other similar messages, and demanded that Israel stop building in Judea and Samaria, stop the “aggression in Gaza” and release all ‘Palestinian’ prisoners.

There were a number of Hebrew errors on the hacked site, which may indicate that the perpetrators are not native Hebrew speakers and that translation software may have been used.

“No one will succeed in stopping my work for Israeli public diplomacy and on behalf of the settlers of Judea and Samaria,” Edelstein said following the attack. “We defeat our enemies everyday on every front and we will continue to do so on the Internet and in the media as well.”

 

 

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4. School District Calls Teacher’s Nazi Comments ‘Free Speech’

by Rachel Hirshfeld

A Pennsylvania school district says a teacher was exercising his First Amendment rights during a speech in which he drew parallels between Nazi Germany and the United States under President Barack Obama.

Spring Cove School District officials say no disciplinary action will be taken against teacher Philip Waite for comments he made at a July 1 Tea Party rally in Blair County, The Huffington Post reported.

Democrats criticized Waite for the speech, in which he likened federal governmental power to Nazism.

Waite said Adolf Hitler was a “slick, quick talker” who told citizens, “You don’t need to worry about responsibility.”

Speaking after Waite, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Tom Smith said he spoke “eloquently” but later called his comments “divisive and beyond the bounds of acceptable discourse.”

Waite’s 45-minute speech on executive power, given at a July 1 Blair County Tea Party rally, led to criticism from state Democrats, attention from a national news website and a handful of “hate emails.”

However, despite allegations that Waite compared President Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler, Spring Cove School District officials have said it’s not a classroom concern.

“People do have freedom of speech in the public arena,” Superintendent Robert Vadella said. “That’s what we teach the kids.”

Waite maintained that the article oversimplified his words.

“I’m not saying President Obama agrees with what Adolf Hitler stood for,” Waite said. “It really makes it sound extremely hateful.”

Vadella said accusations of teaching bias are not taken lightly, but as long as Waite’s opinions do not cross the line into offensiveness and remain outside the classroom, there won’t be repercussions, a local paper reported.

“The public arena is a free arena,” he said. “At this point, what happened this summer is not an issue here.”

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5. Netanyahu’s Men No-Shows at Pollard Session

by Gil Ronen

MK Uri Ariel (National Union), who chairs the Knesset’s State Control Committee, accused two of the officials closest to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s of deliberately stalling regarding a debate on the situation of Jonathan Pollard.

Ariel said at a session of the committee devoted to the subject of Pollard that he has been trying for months to get the two men – Cabinet Secretary Tzvi Hauser and Diplomatic Adviser Ron Dermer – to reach agreements on Pollard and set a date for a discussion. The two have refused these advances, he said.

The Control Committee finally convened its session without the presence of the two men, on Tuesday.

MK Ariel said that he would consider issuing a legally binding order that would force the two to show up for the discussion.

“It is not true that the state has done everything within its powers [to free Pollard],” he said. “It is a very grave matter that the Prime Minister’s advisers, who coordinate all of the official actions on the matter, avoid giving the public an account of their efforts.”

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6. IDF’s New Cellphones: Smarter and Safer

by Gil Ronen

The IDF will begin to implement a mammoth technological project Wednesday, as its entire cellphone network is migrated from the current provider, Mirs/Motorola, to Cellcom.

The process will take several months.

The IDF Website reports that IDF officers and other eligible soldiers will begin receiving their new phones at eight allocation centers located throughout Israel, from the Shimshon Base near Golani Junction in the north, to Natan Base in Be’er Sheva.

A security system will be embedded in the phones in order to protect the data stored upon them. In addition, it will not be possible to transfer the SIM card from one phone to another.

The IDF’s phones will all be smartphones with advanced technological abilities. Higher ranked officers will be eligible for more advanced models and further upgrades will require additional payment.

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7. Clinton Denies Aide’s Links to Muslim Brotherhood

by Rachel Hirshfeld

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday denied allegations that one of her top aides has links to the radical Islamist Muslim Brotherhood movement, saying there is “no place in our politics” for such “assaults.”

Clinton was marking the release of the State Department’s annual report on religious freedom around the world when she was asked to comment regarding the allegations against her deputy chief of staff, Huma Abedin.

Clinton responded by linking the Abedin controversy into the struggle of developing nations to respect minority religions.

“Leaders have to be active in stepping in and sending messages about protecting the diversity within their countries,” Clinton said at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “We did see some of that in our own country. We saw Republicans stepping up and standing up against the kind of assaults that really have no place in our politics.”

Clinton has mostly kept silent about the allegations, although State Department spokesman Philippe Reines has previously denounced them as “nothing but vicious and disgusting lies,” adding that, “anyone who traffics in them should be ashamed of themselves.”

The House members who raised the issue, including Reps. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), Tom Rooney (R-Fla.), Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.) and Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) have doubled down, accusing the media of focusing solely on Abedin rather than the broader risk of Islamist infiltration of government.

In her comments, Clinton called religious freedom a “bedrock priority” of the Obama administration’s foreign policy.

Clinton said the United States was ready to work with Egypt’s democratically elected leaders, but reaffirmed that “our engagement with those leaders will be based on their commitment to universal human rights and universal democratic principles.”

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8. Jewish Gymnast Makes Olympic Finals Performing ‘Hava Nagila’

by Rachel Hirshfeld

American Jewish gymnast Aly Raisman, known by her nickname Aly, reached the Olympics women’s artistic gymnastics finals, beating teammate and world champion Jordyn Wieber.

She not only stunned spectators by grabbing one of the two spots in the all-around individual finals for the U.S., but she did it while performing a floor exercise routine to the tune of “Hava Nagila.”

Raisman, 18, of Needham, Massachusetts, finished second overall in the qualifying round with a total of 60.391, including a 15.325 on the floor exercise that was the best among all the competitors at the London Games.

“I was really, really emotional, way more than I thought I would be,” said Raisman after being named to the Olympic squad. “I thought I would maybe tear up a little bit but I didn’t think I’d hyperventilate like that. I couldn’t even breathe. It was such a special moment and I’m so honored and so excited.”

Raisman’s parents have been getting a great deal of media attention, as they were caught on camera cheering on their daughter as their faces contorted in fear, anticipation and overwhelming excitement.

The young Olympian gymnast is the recipient of the Pearl D. Mazor Outstanding Female Jewish High School Scholar- Athlete of the Year Award, presented by the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in New York, and has been under the guidance of former Israel Olympic team trainers, Mihai and Sylvia Brestyan.

Raisman also finished fourth in the vault, fifth on the balance beam and 23rd on the uneven bars in the qualifying, which ended Sunday.

She will compete in the all-around finals starting Tuesday along with fellow American Gabby Douglas.

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National Post | News

Being friends with Israel is one thing, delegating the decision to go to war is something else

Romney pledged that, as president, he’d agree to pretty much any action Israel decided to adopt towards Iran, military or otherwise, while suggesting it was not Washington’s place to take the lead in seeking peace.

Being friends with Israel is one thing, but delegating the decision on whether to go to war is something else. Most European countries stopped making that sort of promise after stumbling into the First World War based on mutual aggression agreements.

His remarks on Russia have similarly elicited questions. Assessing America’s international challenges, Mr. Romney declared Russia is “without question our number one geopolitical foe.” The remark seemed to ignore China’s overwhelming growth in influence and stature, and the ongoing crises of the Middle East, not least Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Though, having ceded decision-making authority on that front…

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A7News: In Response to BBC’s Map: Olympic Team Salutes Jerusalem

Av 7, 5772 / Thursday, Jul. 26 ’12

 

 

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Headlines

  1. 1.      In Response to BBC’s Map: Olympic Team Salutes Jerusalem
  2. 2.      Dayan’s NYT Op-Ed: Settlements Are the Solution, Not Problem
  3. 3.      Egypt’s President Insulted Over Video: ‘The Children are Ready’
  4. 4.      Im Tirtzu’s Haredi Campaign Flops
  5. 5.      Former Supreme Court Judge Miriam Ben-Porat Dies, 94
  6. 6.      Smugglers Move 10 Million Eggs from PA to Israel
  7. 7.      Colorado Jewish Federation Launches Fund for Shooting Victims
  8. 8.      World’s Largest Tanach Study Event in Gush Etzion

 

1. In Response to BBC’s Map: Olympic Team Salutes Jerusalem

by Elad Benari

Israel’s Olympic team has decided to respond to the BBC’s assertion that Jerusalem is not Israel’s capital, by preparing a video in which Israeli athletes are seen saying they are proud to represent Israel “and its capital Jerusalem.”

The British broadcast authority, which has often been charged with bias against Israel, has come under fire for listing “East Jerusalem” as the capital for the “Palestinian Olympic team” while leaving Israel listed without a capital.

After Israel and Jews around the world complained, the BBC partly corrected its mistake and stated that Israel’s “seat of government is Jerusalem” while still omitting Jerusalem as the capital. Just to get its point across, it added, “Most foreign embassies reside in Tel Aviv.”

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Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai has also come to the rescue in a YouTube video, in which he says that although his city is “one of the coolest cities in the world and Israel’s financial and cultural center, we are not Israel’s capital. Jerusalem is Israel’s capital.”

Huldai invited Britain’s Jews to visit Tel Aviv and enjoy its beaches and tourist sites. Putting aside the longtime contest  between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv residents over which is the better city, he stated categorically that after  tourists finish visiting all of the city’s attractions, “you are welcome to visit the historical and religious sites of the capital of Israel – Jerusalem.”

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2. Dayan’s NYT Op-Ed: Settlements Are the Solution, Not Problem

by Arutz Sheva Staff

 

Judea and Samaria Communities Council (Yesha Council) head Danny Dayan writes this week in a op-ed for the New York Times that a two-state “solution” is no solution at all.

Dayan, who has argued vehemently against the idea of an independent Palestinian Authority state from its very inception, said in the piece, which appeared Thursday, “The U.S. government and its allies in Europe should now abandon this failed formula once and for all, and accept that the Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria is a fait accompli. Instead of moaning that the status quo is unsustainable, the international community should work with the parties to improve it if possible.”

The article was published simultaneously in the European edition of the New York Times, the Herald Tribune and on the home page of the online edition of the New York Times.

In his piece, Dayan reminded readers that the region, where Jews had once lived, was captured by Israel in a defensive war against Arab nations who had attempted to annihilate the Jewish State entirely.

“A Palestinian state between Israel and Jordan is a recipe for disaster,” he warned. “The influx of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees from Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and other places may make a new country a hotbed of extremism. Any peace agreement will collapse as soon as Hamas assumes power, either through the force of elections, or by force of arms. Israel will have to regain control of the area, and you’ll find an Arab population larger than that which lives there today,” he warned.

About ten percent of all Israeli citizens today live in Judea, Samaria and those parts of Jerusalem that were wrested from Jordanian occupation and restored to the capital in the Six Day War, Dayan noted.

Settlements in Judea and Samaria are not part of the problem, he concluded – they are part of the solution.

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3. Egypt’s President Insulted Over Video: ‘The Children are Ready’

by Hana Levi Julian

 

Arab media are expressing the view that an innocent video prepared to mark a holy Jewish fast day was actually secretly intended as an insult to newly-elected Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi.

The video produced by the Temple Institute in Jerusalem, was featured by Arutz Sheva in an article about the somber day of Tisha B’Av, the ninth day in the Hebrew month of Av, when both the First and Second Holy Temples in Jerusalem were destroyed. Although the day this year falls on Saturday, because it is the Sabbath, the fast is delayed and does not begin until sundown. It continues through the next day, Sunday.

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The dramatic video has gone viral in just a few days. It depicts children on the beach building a beautiful model of the still-to-come and hoped-for Third Holy Temple out of sand, and calling their father to come look. It concludes with a message to adults, “The children are ready.”

Morsi has allegedly complained over a brief segment in which the father, seeing the edifice his children have built, drops his newspaper in surprise. The paper falls and folds to show a blurred image of Morsi’s face, which the Egyptians obviously felt was intended to symbolize Jewish attempts to curb Islamist aspirations for complete dominance of the Temple Mount – a central theme of Morsi’s campaign. Morsi was backed by his Muslim Brotherhood party, which dominated both houses of the Egyptian parliament before it was dissolved by a constitutional order of the High Court.

The Temple Institute denies that the picture was intentional, saying that Morsi figured in many articles during the time the video was filmed and that the picture of his face on that page of the newspaper was entirely coincidental. The Institute added that neither Morsi nor Egypt is part of the story line of the video. The appearance of an article about him on the page that day was not by intent.

The video, released six days ago, has drawn almost 200,000 views, as well as the attention of several Arabic language news outlets.

The Islamic Waqf Authority, the Muslim organization to which authority over the Temple Mount was given by then-Defense Minister Moshe Dayan after the 1967 Six Day War, has been systematically attempting to destroy all vestiges of Jewish presence on the holy site.

Radical Islamists — and particularly those preaching from the Temple Mount in recent years — have claimed that a Jewish Holy Temple never existed on the Mount, the site of the Holy of Holies where by Torah Law Jewish High Priests are the only ones allowed to enter.

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4. Im Tirtzu’s Haredi Campaign Flops

by Arutz Sheva

 

In Tirtzu, a grassroots Zionist organization, attempted to put up pro-enlistment posters in the hard-line hareidi Me’ah She’arim neighborhood of Jerusalem Wednesday night but were thwarted.

The posters are designed in the style of the pashkvilim – posters that are commonly seen on the walls of Me’ah She’arim and other hard-line hareidi neighborhoods, and serve as a means of communicating announcements to the local populace.

Im Tirtzu’s posters feature Moses’ admonition to the sons of Reuven and Gad, who asked to be exempted from liberating the Land of Canaan: “Shall your brothers go to war while you yourselves sit here?” (Numbers 32).

However, the operation went sour. A few minutes after Im Tirtzu activists arrived in the neighborhood and began to put up posters, they discovered that someone had broken into their car and stole most of the posters they had printed. They left, mission unaccomplished.

A resident of the neighborhood later explained to Arutz Sheva why he saw the operation as misguided. “It is unacceptable that Im Tirtzu activists who wish to influence the enlistment of hareidim would deliberately come to the most extremist place, Me’ah She’arim – a location whose residents traditionally do not take funds from the state, and are considered much more extreme than the rest of the city’s neighborhoods.”

“If they want to have influence, let them go to Har Nof, to Bayit Vagan and the other mixed neighborhoods. Why here, of all places? It must be a wish to create a provocation.”

The project did not receive much coverage in the news media either, possibly because Im Tirtzu is perceived as being a nationalist group, whereas Israel’s journalists are usually liberal-leftist.

Im Tirtzu Chairman Ronen Shoval said: “We approach the hareidi sector in a positive manner and out of a sincere wish to create a dialogue that will lead to cooperation. We implore the hareidi populace to show responsibility toward the general population and to be a full partner in the physical existence of the Nation of Israel, besides its spiritual existence.”

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5. Former Supreme Court Judge Miriam Ben-Porat Dies, 94

by Chana Ya’ar

 

Former Supreme Court Judge and State Comptroller, Professor Miriam Ben-Porat, passed away Thursday at age 94. She is survived by a daughter and three grandchildren.

Born in Vitebsk, Russia, Ben-Porat grew up in Lithuania and made aliyah to then-British Mandate Palestine in 1936.

Her life was one of “firsts” – she was among the first women to study law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and to be admitted to Israel’s Bar Association.

She was the first woman ever to be appointed as a justice on the Supreme Court bench, and the first woman in Israeli history to become the nation’s State Comptroller.

In 1991, Ben-Porat was awarded the country’s highest honor – the Israel Prize – for her contribution to society and the state.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu issued a statement Thursday on the passing of the former justice.

“Judge Porat was a trailblazer, an esteemed Supreme Court judge, a State Comptroller who sanctified the values of integrity and transparency, and an Israel Prize laureate,”  Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said in a statement Thursday morning. “Her modesty, her upholding of principles and her dedication to the State are a model for equal opportunity and the supremacy of the rule of law in Israel. May her memory be blessed.”

Defense Minister Ehud Barak likewise praised the justice as “an esteemed judge, and an important State Comptroller. She stuck to her principles in all of her positions,” he noted.

The funeral for Prof. Ben-Porat will be held Thursday in Jerusalem, at 7:00 p.m. in the Givat Shaul cemetery.

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6. Smugglers Move 10 Million Eggs from PA to Israel

by David Lev

Fourteen Israelis were indicted Thursday for mass illegal importation of agricultural products from the Palestinian Authority. The two had a specific penchant for eggs, apparently – because they transported some 10 million eggs from farms in the PA to Israeli stores. Importing eggs from the PA to Israel is llegal becasue the eggs are not inspected, and are generally considered unsafe and unsanitary.

Those indicted were part of a large network of agricultural product smugglers, seeking to take advantage of the far lower prices on fruits, vegetables, and especially eggs in the PA. In addition, a PA resident was named in one of the indictments as the agent for PA farmers, who made the arrangements with the Israeli smugglers.

According to two indictments handed down in the case, the smugglers would line up dozens of trucks at checkpoints in Samaria, where farmers would drop off their merchandise. The indictments charge the group with a series of felonies, including giving bribes, intimidation, forging documents, money laundering, tax fraud, and endangering the public health. The indictment says that the group owed as much as NIS 7 million to the tax authorities.

The group was able to get away with their activities for so long because they apparently had an agent who worked at one of the Samaria crossings from the PA into Israel. During the time it was active, the group managed to transfer 72 truckloads of goods into Israel – including the aforementioned 10 million eggs.

One of those charged is a top official in the Israel Egg Production Council. He has been charged with fraud and suppressing evidence. He is accused of receiving bribes from the smugglers and allowing the eggs to be sold in several markets, including the Carmel Market in Tel Aviv, where he intimidated merchants not to reveal that illegal eggs were being sold. The official is also accused of demanding bribes from merchants who were selling the eggs, which they were permitted to do; once they stopped paying, however, he sent public safety officers to seize and destroy the eggs as “PA contraband.”

Three of those charged are wives of the leaders of the group, and are accused of conspiring to prevent an investigation and destroying evidence.

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7. Colorado Jewish Federation Launches Fund for Shooting Victims

by Rachel Hirshfeld

 

The Allied Jewish Federation of Colorado set up a fund to aid the victims and families affected by the recent shooting that killed 12 people and injured 58 at a movie theater in the city of Aurora.

“No other community in this country understands terrorism more than the Jewish community,” the federation’s CEO, Doug Seserman, said in a statement.

“While the gunman in Aurora is a terrorist of a different kind than we’ve experience in Israel, don’t be mistaken. This guy is a heinous terrorist who gunned down innocent Coloradans to make some kind of psychotic point,” said Seserman. “As Jews, we are guided by the principle of Tikkun Olam, repairing the world. And that’s not just the Jewish world. We are obligated to help in every way we can.”

Suspect James Holmes, who allegedly shot innocent moviegoers at the premiere of “The Dark Knight Rises” on July 20, was reported to be a former counselor at Camp Max Strus, which is run by Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters in Los Angeles County.

As the community umbrella organization, the Federation mobilizes resources to respond quickly to crisis situations. In response to the tragedy, Mayor Shmulik Rifman of Ramat HaNegev, Federation’s Partnership region, issued a statement saying, “We are all stunned by the news of the brutal attack and the terrible tragedy of killing innocent people in Aurora. Needless to say we share the grief of all Coloradans.”

“We mourn the lives of those who were killed and pray that those who were wounded will be healed speedily,” the statement added.

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8. World’s Largest Tanach Study Event in Gush Etzion

by David Lev

The world’s largest Tanach (Hebrew Bible) study program is taking place in Gush Etzion this week. The event, which runs from Monday through Thursday this week, will see over 100 speakers and lecturers lead over 175 lectures on everything and anything Tanach-related.

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The event, called “Days of the Tanach,” is taking place at Herzog College-Gush Etzion. Rami Yanai, director of the event, told Arutz Sheva that “this is the only event in Israel that deals with the Tanach to such a deep extent. We discuss many topics on the different books of the Tanach, from wide-ranging points of view, all accompanied by a Torah-oriented perspective. We also take into account the results of research on Biblical topics, dealing with them and the challenges they present from a faith point of view,” he said.

This year’s event presents Tanach topics in the light of the research done in recent years in a number of disciplines, including art, cinema, poetry, literature, prose, history, philosophy, geography, fashion, archaeology, and education.

Among the speakers at the event is Rabbi Ya’akov Ariel, Rabbi of Ramat Gan, Rabbi Chaim Druckman, Rabbi of the Bnei Akiva organization, and Rabbi Hananel Etrog, head of the Shavei Hevron Yeshiva. A wide range of rabbis and Tanach experts are participating. “There has been a lot of excitement surrounding this event,” Yanai said. “We hope to keep expanding the event in the coming years.”

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National Post | Full Comment

Say what you will about Mordecai Richler – and much has been said, with love, hate and everything in between – he was a gifted writer of international status and renown. One critic called him “the great shining star of his Canadian literary generation.”

Cartographers locate cities on geographical maps. Writers locate cities in our hearts and minds. And Richler immortalized in hearts and minds around the world a part of Montreal that produced many of the  greatest contributors to its economic and cultural vitality.

The problem is, while immortalizing us, he drew a lot of metaphorical blood. Ironically, because he was an equal-opportunity pit bull, both Jews and Quebec nationalists got mauled by his sharp literary teeth and unrelenting drive to expose the cultural and political hypocrisies of his era. Unflattering portraits of crassly materialist Jews and ethnic purists abound in his fiction and journalism.

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Anne's Opinions

The Israel lobby for journalistsA nasty, very mean-spirited opinion article by Rupert Cornwell in today’s (Sunday’s) Independent managed to hit all the “correct” antisemitic tropes while not even making an attempt to hide its snide attitude towards US-Israel relations.

Cornwell starts off with a disingenuously innocent paragraph about the “old friendship” between Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu from their early working days, with the unwritten words between the lines that this innocuous relationship is somehow a Bad Thing.

Life offers few greater pleasures than catching up with old friends. Take Mitt Romney and Benjamin Netanyahu. The pair were in their late twenties, rising stars at the pioneering management company, the Boston Consulting Group when their paths first crossed in the mid-1970s.

I wonder if Cornwell would write such an innuendo-laden passage about the relationship between, oh, I don’t know; let’s say between President Obama and the antisemitic preacher Jeremiah…

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A7News: Terrorists Fire on IDF Bus from Egypt; No Injuries

Sunday, Jul. 22 ’12, Av 3, 5772

 

 

 

HEADLINES:

1. TERRORISTS FIRE ON IDF BUS FROM EGYPT; NO INJURIES 2. COURT PERMITS ‘SUPPORT ISRAEL/DEFEAT JIHAD’ NY BUS ADS 3. BULGARIA: IRAN-FINANCED HIZBULLAH BEHIND TERROR ATTACK 4. HAMAS OFFICIAL DENIES GAZA ‘DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE’

5.  SYRIAN CAPITAL, ALEPPO TEETERING BETWEEN LOYALISTS, REBELS 6. KNESSET SPEAKER URGES HIRING HAREIDI ACCOUNTANTS AND LAWYERS 7. US F-16 FIGHTER JET CRASHES OFF JAPANESE COAST 8. 2ND MAN SELF-IMMOLATES NEAR TEL AVIV

 

 

1. TERRORISTS FIRE ON IDF BUS FROM EGYPT; NO INJURIES by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

 

Terrorists hiding behind sand dunes fired on a bus filled with soldiers at the border near Eilat Sunday afternoon. The bus was damaged.

 

The attack occurred several hours after another explosion on the Egyptian-Israeli gas pipeline. The two incidents are not necessarily connected but underscore the ability of Muslim terrorists to operate freely in the Sinai Peninsula.

 

The shooting attack occurred in the area of Ein Netafim, adjacent to the Egyptian-Israeli border.

 

A high alert was raised by the IDF, which immediately deployed other soldiers to comb the area for other terrorists.

 

 

 

It was the third security incident in five weeks at the increasingly volatile border.

 

Israeli security forces less than two weeks ago shot and killed one suspected terrorist and wounded another who had crossed the border fence from Sinai into Israel.

 

Last month, terrorists attacked an Israeli construction team working on the fence, killing one man. Last year, nine Israelis died in a multi-pronged terrorist attack on a bus traveling on the highway 10, between Eilat and the Ovdat air base and terminal in the western Negev. The IDF has alternately closed and opened the road.

 

 

2. COURT PERMITS ‘SUPPORT ISRAEL/DEFEAT JIHAD’ NY BUS ADS by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

 

“Support Israel/Defeat Jihad” ads that label jihadists “savages” can remain on New York City buses, despite Muslim objections, a U.S. judge ruled Friday.

 

U.S. District Judge Paul Engelmayer in Manhattan said a 1997 rule by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority that barred demeaning language in advertisements was a violation of free speech, Reuters reported.

 

Judge Engelmayer said the MTA rule was well intentioned but discriminates against certain advertisers based on the content of their proposed message.

 

The advocacy group American Freedom Defense Initiative, one of the most vocal opponents to the planned construction of a mosque and Islamic center near Ground Zero, sued the MTA in September 2011 after the transit agency denied its proposed ad.

 

The ad said: “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel/Defeat Jihad.” The ad would have been posted on 318 city buses for four weeks, at a cost of about $25,000, the opinion said.

 

“Disallowing a pro-Israel ad was clearly a politically correct, politically motivated denial of free speech,” said Pamela Geller, the group’s executive director.

 

The judge said the advertising space on public buses should be considered a public forum. The judge also ruled that because the ad in question was political speech, it was entitled to the “highest level of protection under the First Amendment.”

 

“By differentiating between which people or groups can and cannot be demeaned on the exterior of a city bus, MTA’s no-demeaning standard … discriminates based on content,” the opinion said.

 

The judge said his preliminary injunction would take effect in 30 days, at which time the MTA would be prevented from enforcing the standard.

 

The standard bars any ads that “contain … information that demean(s) an individual or group of individuals on account of race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, gender, age, disability or sexual orientation.”

 

While MTA officials had been correct to regard the ad as “demeaning a group of people based on religion (Islam),” the standard itself does allow for demeaning statements on a host of other topics, such as where they live, their job or their political affiliation, the judge said.

 

Some Muslims were furious over the ruling. Pakistani-American CUNY student Omar Makram Radwan told Bikyamasr.com, “If we decided to put ask for ads saying Israel and Jews were savages, we would be protested and the court would agree with them that they are hate speech so I don”t see the difference here.

 

“This sort of hate speech is now being tolerated by judges and as Ramadan hits it is very unfortunate. People are angry.” The Muslim holy month of Ramadan began last Friday.

 

 

3. BULGARIA: IRAN-FINANCED HIZBULLAH BEHIND TERROR ATTACK by Chana Ya’ar

 

Bulgaria has denied claims of responsibility for the suicide attack on an Israeli tour bus parked outside Bulgaria’s international airport in Burgas last week by a small Muslim terrorist group. The group, which calls itself Qa’adat el-Jihad, claims to be linked to the international Al-Qaeda terrorist organization.

 

But investigators from the Bulgarian government have reached the same conclusion as Israel and the United States: On Saturday, the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry told reporters that government officials believe the lethal bombing was carried out by the Iranian-financed Hizbullah terrorist organization, despite the group’s denial of involvement in the attack.

 

Officials are now seeking a second suspected terrorist as well, believed to be the bomber’s accomplice.

 

Bulgarian media reported on Sunday that it is believed the suicide bomber received assistance from a man who was seen in the resort city of Varna in the country.

 

Many Israeli tourists regularly visit Varna, which is about 150 kilometers from Burgas.

 

Five Israelis, including a pregnant woman, and one Bulgarian national, the driver of the tour bus in which the tourists were to depart from the airport, were killed in the conflagration. In addition, 35 others were wounded, including three who were critically injured.

 

On Friday, Israel laid its victims to rest after their bodies were recovered through the efforts of the ZAKA organization, which accompanied them home on an IAF Hercules military aircraft.

 

Most of the wounded had arrived earlier in the day, also via military transport, accompanied by IDF and Magen David Adom paramedics. The three critically wounded victims, hospitalized in Sofia, were to arrive later on a separate transport.

 

 

4. HAMAS OFFICIAL DENIES GAZA ‘DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE’

by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

 

Senior Hamas official Mahmoud Zahar vehemently denied a report in the London-based Al Hayat newspaper that the terrorist organization plans to declare itself an independent state.

 

“Such news is being disseminated by the enemies of Hamas seeking to maintain the siege on Gaza,” Zahar told the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency. “This issue hasn”t been addressed officially within Hamas, but some people posed it privately on their own,” he added.

 

Zahar explained that the planned meetings this week are to explore developing trade with Egypt and connected Gaza to Egypt”s power grid and natural gas pipeline.

 

Al Hayat reported that de facto Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh will talk with Egypt”s Muslim Brotherhood president Mohammed Morsi this Thursday to promote the idea. Hamas officials allegedly said that Egypt”s support of establishing Gaza as an independent state would allow Hamas to close the crossings with Israel and to develop the trade route with Egypt through Rafiah. In return, Hamas supposedly would help secure the border with Egypt.

 

The idea of declaring Gaza as an independent country has been tossed within Hamas around for at least two year, but Egypt previously has blocked the move.

 

Al Hayat quoted unnamed Hamas officials as saying the new Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt has paved the way for putting the option back on the table. However, doing so would likely cause difficulties in relations between Egypt and the United States, which has declared Hamas to be an illegal terrorist organization.

 

In addition, independence for Gaza would throw the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority into turmoil. PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, head of Hamas”s rival Fatah faction, has failed to win unilateral recognition by the international community as a new Arab country within Israel”s current borders.

 

 

5.  SYRIAN CAPITAL, ALEPPO TEETERING BETWEEN LOYALISTS, REBELS by Chana Ya’ar

 

Fighting is raging in Damascus and Aleppo as Syrian opposition forces battle troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.

 

There were clashes near the main intelligence base in the northern city of Aleppo on Sunday. Battles also raged in other parts of Syrian’s main commercial and industrial hub as well.

 

Syrian Intelligence Chief Hisham Bekhtyar died Friday from wounds suffered Wednesday in an attack on Damascus by rebel forces, according to Al-Manar TV, associated with Hizbullah terrorists in Lebanon. Three high-ranking Syrian officials were killed on the spot.

 

Helicopter gunships bombarded a number of districts Sunday in Damascus, meanwhile, trying to drive out opposition forces from the capital. Assad’s forces appeared to regain some ground as they drove rebel fighters from the Mezze district, residents and opposition activists reported.

 

Elite Fourth Division troops besieged the northern Damascus neighborhood of Barzeh in an effort to overcome opposition fighters.

 

Elsewhere in the country, government forces hammered the major eastern city of Deir al-Zor with artillery and mortar fire. Helicopters fired rockets in the residential districts in an attempt to prevent opposition forces from taking over the city, witnesses said.

 

A former artillery officer told the Reuters news agency by telephone that he counted around 200 shells hitting the Ordi and Old Airport districts of the city, located some 270 miles (430 kilometers) northeast of Damascus.

 

It was the heaviest reported bombardment since the army stormed Deir al-Zor one year ago, to crush street protests against President Bashar al-Assad, who disappeared last week and whose whereabouts are currently unknown.

 

 

6. KNESSET SPEAKER URGES HIRING HAREIDI ACCOUNTANTS AND LAWYERS by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

 

Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin has urged major accounting and legal firms to hire hareidi-religious men and maximize their skills, Globes reported Sunday.

 

The business newspaper quoted sources as saying that Rivlin sent a letter to leading companies and to several government officials, including the Office of the State Prosecutor.

 

His letter reportedly was in answer to the chairman of the student union of a metropolitan Tel Aviv college, who complained that hareidi religious graduates with outstanding grades are not able to find employment.

 

“We are all familiar with slogan that the integration of hareidim in the jobs market is a national mission, but I approach you with this request because we must all contribute to give real content to the words,” the Knesset Speaker wrote.

 

He noted that the hareidi religious community comprises approximately 10 percent of Israel”s population, and that it is important o integrate them into the economy.

 

“I am sure that from among the hundreds of hareidi students who have not yet found an internship, a way to maximize the use of their skills and intellectual talents can be found,” Rivlin added.

 

 

7. US F-16 FIGHTER JET CRASHES OFF JAPANESE COAST by Chana Ya’ar and Reuters

 

After nearly five hours, rescuers have not yet located a U.S. Air Force fighter pilot whose F-16 jet crashed into the Pacific Ocean at around 11:30 Japan time Sunday morning.

 

The jet went down approximately 200 miles northeast of Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island, according to a spokeswoman at the Misawa Air Base in Aomori Prefecture, Reuters reported. The jet, produced by Lockheed Martin Corp., had taken off from the Misawa base.

 

“One person, the pilot, was on board. Efforts are currently underway to retrieve the pilot,” she said, reading from a statement. “The aircraft was enroute to North America when the incident occurred. The cause of the incident is unknown at this time.”

 

There were conflicting reports about the whereabouts and condition of the pilot, with some news agencies reporting his location unknown.

 

By 4:00 p.m. local time, the unidentified pilot had still not been located, said Misawa spokesman Tech. Sig. Phillip Butterfield. “All efforts are focused toward that right now,” Butterfield said. Details about the pilot’s condition and circumstances of the crash were unavailable, he added.

 

However, a spokesman at the Japan Coast Guard allegedly told reporters the pilot ejected from the aircraft and was known to be awaiting rescue at sea.

 

 

8. 2ND MAN SELF-IMMOLATES NEAR TEL AVIV

by Chana Ya’ar

 

A second man has set himself on fire in central Israel.

 

Passersby tried to extinguish the flames with water and other materials, until first responders arrived on the scene and finally managed to put the fire out. Medics from the Magen David Adom emergency medical service treated him on the scene and then rushed him to a nearby hospital in serious condition. The man’s motives were not immediately made clear.

 

Less than 24 hours earlier, approximately 1,000 social justice protesters marched in Tel Aviv to Kaplan Street, where 57-year-old social justice protester Moshe Silman self-immolated last week, and then to the National Insurance Institute (NII, Bituach Leumi).

 

One demonstrator was arrested. Several hundred protesters broke through police lines and tried to block a police van from driving away with the protester in custody. The demonstrators marched towards the Ayalon Highway, which police closed to traffic.

 

Prior to igniting himself, Silman had distributed a letter explaining that he felt he had no choice, as he was left with no more options and refused to live homeless.

 

Beginning with a small debt to the NII, his difficulties grew until he lost everything he had, and then suffered a stroke that left him completely disabled. The modest monthly disability stipend he received from NII left him unable to pay for little more than medication.

 

Silman’s life ended Friday with burns over 90 percent of his body at Sheba Medical Center in Tel HaShomer Hospital.