Al Jazeera popped on to the American news scene at the 2004 RNC Convention held at Madison Square Gardens in NYC. They were that skybox high to the right of the stage. Mediates whispered, took photos puzzled that the Arab network was now going prime time. Soon, job offers began appearing on the work place board at the National Press Club in Washington DC seeking journalists to cover Sports and other odd placements for the Middle East entity. Job placement ramped up until the proverbial camel got its nose in the tent. Al Jazeera was mainstream. Suspicions had vanished. Al Jazeera had arrived. Al Jazeera was everywhere. Al Jazeera is financed by the ruling family in Qatar. The competing broadcaster Al Arabiya is financed by Saudi investors. The approach differs somewhat on this point. The Saudis are more in favor of the Salafists, whom they finance and arm, while the…

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West Bank Mama

Political satire done well is a work of art. In Israel noone does it better than Latma.

Now that it is not popular to be left wing (a recent Israeli poll shows that over 50% of Israelis consider themselves right wing, and only about a quarter consider themselves left wing) many Israeli political parties are trying to pass themselves off as mercaz – “central” – even though they have not changed their views.

To point out this absurdity Latma has done a number of sketches about other places where the left has disappeared….


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BBC Watch

As we have mentioned here before, the BBC’s profile of Hizballah is not only a wooly, anodyne portrait, but it has also not been updated in two and  a half years and therefore does not include any information on Hizballah’s role in the Assad regime’s brutal violence against the Syrian people or its involvement in the murder of Rafik Hariri. 

A recent article in the Ynet magazine serves as a reminder that Hizballah’s extensive involvement in drug trafficking also remains unmentioned in its BBC profile, as well as in the BBC’s Q&A section on Mexican drug cartels, despite the fact that somearticles on the BBC News website have touched on the subject. 

In the name of accuracy, perhaps the BBC News website editors could add the updating of that profile of Hizballah to their list of New Year’s resolutions. 

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A7News: ‘Little Chance of War in 2013,’ Says Former IDF Intel Chief

Arutz Sheva Daily Israel Report


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Wednesday, Dec. 26 ’12, Tevet 13, 5773










Israel”s enemies probably will not wage war in  2013, and the Palestinian Authority will not make concessions,” former IDF intelligence chief Amos Yadlin told a seminar at the University of Haifa.



“If I had to stand before the Cabinet today and estimate the probability of war in 2013, I would say there probably will be none,” he stated. Yadlin explained that Hizbullah is well aware that Israel”s deterrence is very high.



He also noted that Israel is threatened just as much by the campaign to make it appear illegitimate as it is by missiles and rockets.



Concerning Iran, Yadlin estimated that although the nuclear threat recently has been taken off the daily agenda as am “immediate” problem, it will return in 2013. “The moment that Iran has a nuclear weapon, it will become a direct threat to Israel,” he declared.



“The moment that Iranians decide to take the last start towards dropping a bomb, it will take them 4-6 months to achieve this.”



He said that the United States remains the “strongest and greatest” power in the world and that Israel should work to make sure the American administration does not distant itself from Israel. “President Obama has publicly stated he will not agree to allow a nuclear-armed  Iran, and Israel and the United States see eye-to-eye on this,” he added.



Yadlin explained that there is a problem of trust. He said, “Sometimes, many politicians do not carry out after elections the promises they made before elections. There is a problem to accept a declaration on such a critical subject as the Iranian threat.”



He added there also is a problem connected to “relations between two specific individuals,” meaning President Obama and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.



Yadlin also expressed serous doubts that the Palestinian Authority will agree to any concessions, including giving up the  demand to flood Israel with several million foreign Arabs claiming Israel as home.



He said that he thinks Israel should give up parts of eastern Jerusalem but recognized that it is irrelevant because of Abbas” refusal to compromise.



“The Palestinian Authority cannot out…concessions and therefore has chosen a very well-crafter strategy to get the world make Israel accept concessions while the PA makes none at all,” he observed.



Yadlin said that in the event of a stalemate, Israel must take the initiative and withdraw from most of Judea and Samaria, but only after implementing lessons learned from mistakes it made in the way it pulled forces out of Lebanon and Gaza,.



He said that Israel made a costly mistake in giving up security over the Philadelphi smuggling route along the Gazan-Egyptian border, and that the country must retain the Jordan Valley during any withdrawal from Judea and Samaria.



The second mistake, he said, was Israel”s total withdrawal from Gaza, “up until the last inch.” “We though by doing so, would gain legitimacy in the eyes of the world, but we got absolutely nothing out of it,” according to Yadlin.





A Diaspora campaign, promoted by the NY Times, is pressuring Netanyahu to consider a radical change in traditional Jewish customs held for generations at the Western Wall, known as the Kotel in Hebrew,  and and allow women to pray with men”s religious prayer shawls there.






Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has stepped in to ask Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky “to study the issue and suggest ways to make the site more accommodating to all Jews,” New York Times new Jerusalem bureau chief Judi Rudoren wrote Wednesday.






“The Prime Minister thinks the Western Wall has to be a site that expresses the unity of the Jewish people, both inside Israel and outside the state of Israel,” Netanyahu”s senior adviser Ron Dermer told her. “He wants to preserve the unity of world Jewry. This is an important component of Israel”s strength.”






A woman who prays regularly at the site responded to Arutz Sheva,  saying that the Prime Minister did not define what “accommodating to all Jews” might entail, but that it is clear that offending the traditionally Orthodox and hareidi-religious  women who are present at the holy site from dawn to dusk for prayers would not preserve unity at all – unless they are not intended to be part of that unity.






The so-called “Women of the Wall” movement, headed by Reform and some Conservative American immigrants, succeeded this past week in winning liberal media support for their cause from Rudoren.






After promoting their cause earlier this week, she followed up Tuesday with a report of  “outrage” in the Diaspora over the deeply-rooted Jewish tradition to maintain modesty and protect the sexes from dropping barriers between sexes, a modern liberal trend that has encouraged a loss of family and moral values in Western countries.






The issue of women wearing a prayer shawl and reading from the Torah at the Western Wall appears on the surface to be harmless, so it has been adopted as a cause célèbre as part of the Reform and Conservative movements’ decades-old attempt to destroy the Orthodox Jewish authority that dates back to the time of Moses.






The issue of confronting halakhic authority is not new in the Jewish world. The Bible describes attempts by Korach to usurp Moses” authority because “all of the Jewish people are holy.”






Similarly, the catchy, fashionable slogan of “equality,” with a push from Rudoren, has kept the Women of the Wall”s demands on the front pages in the United States.






Previous high-profile protests by the Women of the Wall failed to convince the High Court to rule against Orthodox Jewish authority at the holy site, and the justices refused their demand to carry Torah scrolls at the Wall.






However, the court later allowed them to do so at a more isolated area, known as Robinson”s Arch, south of the Western Wall Plaza.






The effort by Reform and Conservative leaders to be accepted as equals to Orthodox rabbis is the opening shot in what is bound to be a power struggle on issues far beyond that of women”s wearing a prayer shawl.






Rudoren unintentionally revealed their goals by writing  that the issue “has deepened a divide between the Jewish state and the Jewish Diaspora at a time when Israel is battling international isolation over its settlement policy.” The reform movement, as well as The New York Times, oppose Jewish rights to live in all of Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria .






Tuesday”s report included openly biased writing, stating that “particularly leaders of the reform and conservative movements in the United States, complain that the government”s recent aggressive enforcement of restrictions at the wall has turned a national monument into an ultra-Orthodox synagogue.”






There was no explanation of the term “aggressive,”  and the restrictions are those that have been in force for ages and are in the rules laid down by the Kotel Rabbinate. There also is no evidence that the Western Wall is an “ultra-orthodox” synagogue. The report also ignores the existence of large Orthodox congregations of religious Zionist, Hassidic and Lithuanian yeshiva sectors in the Diaspora who are against any changes in the customs at the Kotel.






Sharansky confirmed to Rudoren that the Prime Minister asked him to study the issue, a political and religious hot potato, and that he hopes to hand in recommendations in  “a few months.”






The Liberal Diaspora recently has pressured the Jewish Agency into passing a resolution calling for a “satisfactory approach to the issue of prayer at the Western Wall.”






Sharansky did not directly answer Radoren”s question if women one day will be able to read the Torah and wear prayer shawls at the Western Wall.






“I imagine very easily a situation where everybody will have their opportunity to express their solidarity with Judaism and the Jewish people and the state of Israel in a way he or she wants, without undermining the other,” he said.






Mixed men and women”s prayer  service is totally unacceptable in the Orthodox community and not only among “ultra-orthodox” Jews, as mainstream media implies.






Using a prayer shawl is halakhically permitted, but is rare. It is the custom of some women in women’s prayer groups or on the women’s side of the synagogue in recent times, as is holding the Torah in a women’s service. However,  women’s reading the Torah  is even less prevalent in women’s prayer groups and allowed only without reciting the blessings.






The Kotel, however, has special status and the overwhelming number or worshipers there are traditionally or hareidi Orthodox, groups that vehemently oppose those changes and who represent continuity in custom and observance..





The High Court may be the last resort for archaeologists to order Netanyahu to stop allowing the Waqf to destroy history at the holy site.






Following the latest disclosures of massive removal and dumping of dirt containing artifacts from the area of the Holy Temples, attorney Aviad Vesuli told Arutz Sheva he would appeal to the High Court.






He noted that Muslim authorities on the Temple Mount are “brazenly” ignoring previous rulings prohibiting them from removing debris without giving advance notice of 30 days – so that the Israel Antiquities Authority can inspect the material and decide whether it can be removed. Instead, Arab workers are continuing to haul out debris from the holy site and dump it in piles of garbage.






Archaeologist Tzachi Zweig-Devira told Arutz Sheva earlier this week that previous examinations of debris hauled out of the Temple Mount site revealed signatures of Kohanim (Temple priests) mentioned in the Book of Jeremiah and remains of the Holy Temple plaza.






Activists will hold a protest on Wednesday opposite the northern Gate of the Tribes at the Temple Mount and said if Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu does not act, they will appeal to the court.






“We are most surprised and shocked by your failures to stop this grave robbery of artifacts and brazen abandonment of the High Court ruling, to which you have in effect given your agreement,” Vesuli wrote the Prime Minister and Interior Minister Eli Yishai.






He also wrote to the Israel Antiquities Authority, the Justice and Tourism ministers, the Jerusalem police commander and the government prosecutor.






The removal of debris containing proof of the Holy Temples under Jewish sovereignty is part of a Palestinian Authority campaign to claim spuriously that the holy site belongs exclusively to Muslims and that the Temples never existed.






At the entrance to the Temple Mount, a Waqf sign says, “The Al-Aqsa Mosque courtyard and everything in it is Islamic property.”






Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein has said that since the Temple Mount is part of Israeli territory, Israeli law applies there, including antiquities laws and laws regarding building and planning.






According to Zweig-Devira, the Waqf is also failing to protect beams from the period of the First Temple, leaving them exposed to the rains and not placing plastic on them to protect them from bad weather.






He noted that Waqf officials removed a pile of artifacts on Sunday, when there were no visitors to the Temple Mount, and there was no monitoring by IAA officials.





The US and Russia are hoping to accomplish a change in Syria’s regime by the end of February, according to a Kuwaiti newspaper report.






The daily Al-Rai newspaper quoted diplomatic sources this week as saying the two world superpowers were hoping to formulate a plan for a transition of power in Damascus within the next 10 weeks.






The plan will include an agreement for the United Nations Security Council to sponsor a Syrian transitional government as part of the effort to stop the savagery that has so far led to nearly 50,000 deaths in less than two years.






Despite assurances that its regime would never turn its chemical weaponry on its own people, it has become clear that Syrian Army troops have indeed done the unthinkable.






The London-based A-Sharq al-Awsat Arabic language newspaper on Wednesday quoted a Syrian defector who said that chemical weapons were used by Syrian troops who bombed civilians and rebels in the Homs province.






Abd al-Salam Abd al-Razaq, who had once served as a staff member in the Syrian Army chemical warfare division, said the bombing used sarin-type nerve gas. He added that he believed it was ordered by President Bashar al-Assad as a means of measuring the reactions of the international community.






“Using the gas in Homs was Assad’s way of feeling the international community’s pulse on the matter,” Razaq explained.






Assad has been warned repeatedly by the United States, the European Union, NATO and the United Nations that any use of his chemical weapons arsenal would be considered a crossing of “the red line.”








The discovery, like may others, was made during road excavation, this time at a new section of the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem Highway, known as Highway 1. The archaeological site is known as Tel Motza, at the Motza turnoff less than five miles west of Jerusalem.



A ritual building and a cache of sacred vessels date back approximately  2,750 years.






“The ritual building at Tel Motza is an unusual and striking find, in light of the fact that there are hardly any remains of ritual buildings of the period in Judae at the time of the First Temple,” according to Anna Eirikh, Dr. Hamoudi Khalaily and Shua Kisilevitz, directors of the excavation on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority.



“The uniqueness of the structure is even more remarkable because of the vicinity of the site’s proximity to the capital city of Jerusalem, which acted as the Kingdom’s main sacred center at the time,” they added. According to the archaeologists, “Among other finds, the site has yielded pottery figurines of men, one of them bearded, whose significance is still unknown.”






Tel Motza and the surrounding region are renowned for their prime archaeological importance. Many finds have previously been uncovered at the site, from a variety of different periods. From the 1990s to the beginning of the present millennium, the site was excavated in preparation for the new route taken by Highway 1.



At the time, the site’s archaeologists proposed once more identifying the site with the Biblical settlement “Mozah” mentioned in the Book of Joshua – a town in the tribal lands of Benjamin bordering on Judaea (Joshua 18: 26). The proposal was based, among other things, on the discovery at the site of a public building, a large structure with storehouses, and a considerable number of silos.



Archaeologists identified the site as a storehouse, run by high-ranking officials, for Jerusalem’s grain supplies.



The current excavations have revealed evidence that provides another aspect to our understanding of the site. “The current excavation has revealed part of a large structure, from the early days of the monarchic period (Iron Age IIA),” the archaeologists said. “The walls of the structure are massive, and it includes a wide, east-facing entrance, conforming to the tradition of temple construction in the ancient Near East: the rays of the sun rising in the east would have illuminated the object placed inside the temple first, symbolizing the divine presence within.



“A square structure which was probably an altar was exposed in the temple courtyard, and the cache of sacred vessels was found near the structure. The assemblage includes ritual pottery vessels, with fragments of chalices (bowls on a high base which were used in sacred rituals), decorated ritual pedestals, and a number of pottery figurines of two kinds: the first, small heads in human form (anthropomorphic) with a flat headdress and curling hair; the second, figurines of animals (zoomorphic) – mainly of harnessed animals.”



The archeologists stress that “The find of the sacred structure together with the accompanying cache of sacred vessels, and especially the significant coastal influence evident in the anthropomorphic figurines, still require extensive research.”






Ritual elements in the Kingdom of Judah are recorded in archaeological research, especially from the numerous finds of pottery figurines and other sacred objects found at many sites in Israel, and these are usually attributed to domestic rituals.



However, the remains of ritual platforms and temples used for ritual ceremonies have only been found at a few sites of this period.



According to the site’s directors, “The finds recently discovered at Tel Motza provide rare archaeological evidence for the existence of temples and ritual enclosures in the Kingdom of Judah in general, and in the Jerusalem region in particular, prior to the religious reforms throughout the kingdom at the end of the monarchic period (at the time of Hezekiah and Isaiah), which abolished all ritual sites, concentrating ritual practices solely at the Temple in Jerusalem.”








Soldiers recently stood by and watched as Arabs attacked Jewish motorists in the Hevron region, a resident has reported.



Nehama Fishelvitch of Kiryat ARba was driving from her workplace in Tekoa toward her home on Monday when suddenly she encountered an Arab mob. Dozens of men hurled heavy stoned at her car, causing serious damage.



Nehama and her two female passengers managed to escape the ambush. Then, she told Arutz Sheva, “I saw two soldiers who saw what had happened but did nothing.”



“I opened the window, and they told me there was nothing they could do,” she recalled.



Several other drivers were attacked as well, and their cars damaged, she said. It was a miracle that nobody was hurt, she added.



“When we got to the police station to file a complaint we saw all of the cars and also a bus that had been damaged. Unfortunately, the soldiers did nothing,” she said. “They could have at least blocked the road, or fired in the air, but no, nothing.”



The situation must change, she declared. “We have to give the army the tools to deal with situations like these. I drive there every day, we have to prevent similar cases in the future.”



Additional sources told Arutz Sheva that, following the attacks Fischelvitz reported, additional troops were sent to the scene to disperse the attackers.



Military sources said that the IDF takes attacks on motorists seriously and has the tools to deal with them.



A similar incident occurred one month ago, when Arabs attacked motorists north of Jerusalem and police did nothing.








Iran on Tuesday launched naval maneuvers in the Gulf, and announced plans for another exercise in the strategic Strait of Hormuz later this week, AFP reported.



Revolutionary Guards naval units began a four-day exercise inside Iranian waters at South Pars, a joint gas field between Iran and Qatar, a Guards spokesman was quoted as saying by the Fars news agency.



The drill, dubbed “Fajr 91,” is aimed at honing “capabilities in executing defensive and security scenarios,” Admiral Alireza Nasseri said without elaborating.



The Guards are tasked with defending Iran’s territorial waters in the Gulf.



The regular navy, meanwhile, on December 28 begins an exercise dubbed “Velayat 91,” covering an area that includes the Strait of Hormuz, the Sea of Oman and parts of the Indian Ocean, navy chief Admiral Habibollah Sayari said in remarks reported by the ISNA news agency.



Warships, submarines and missile defense systems will be used and tested during the exercise, Sayari said.



“We will definitely respect the maritime border of our neighbors, and conduct the maneuvers based on international law,” Sayari said.



“Iran aims to demonstrate its defensive naval capabilities by conducting this exercise, and send a message of peace and friendship to regional countries,” he was quoted by AFP as having said.



Iran frequently conducts missile tests and maneuvers to underline its military muscle and has repeatedly threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz to oil tanker traffic should it be attacked.



The strait is a narrow channel at the entrance of the Gulf through which a third of the world’s traded oil passes.



The United States has warned Iran that any attempt to close the strait would be viewed as a “red line” — grounds for U.S. military action.



Iran’s navy, with 17,000 servicemen, is tasked with defending Iranian interests in the Indian Ocean and beyond. Its offshore forces are limited to half a dozen small frigates and destroyers, and three Russian Kilo class submarines.



Iran regularly denounces the regional presence of foreign forces, including the U.S., particularly those stationed in the Gulf. It says the security of the region must be ensured “by regional countries.”



Arab monarchies on the opposite side of the Gulf from Iran are worried by what they see as territorial ambitions by the Islamic republic, which frequently stresses Persia’s historic dominance over the waterway.











The memory of Prisoner Number 77 still brings hope to the heart of Auschwitz survivor Tadeusz Sobolewicz as he remembers how his friend boxed for bread in the notorious Nazi German camp.



The story of fellow inmate and boxer Tadeusz Pietrzykowski has been all but forgotten nearly seven decades after the end of World War II, AFP reported.



The very idea of sport at Auschwitz seems preposterous.



The camp was set up by the Nazis in southern Poland after their 1939 invasion to hold and kill Polish political prisoners, and was to become a hub of the Holocaust, during which the Nazis murdered six million Jews.



Polish author Marta Bogacka, in a new book “The Auschwitz Boxer”, has brought the story of Pietrzykowski, little known outside Poland, back into the spotlight.



To Sobolewicz, 89, it still seems like yesterday.



“The first bout took place on a Sunday in March 1941 next to the Auschwitz kitchens, between Tadeusz Pietrzykowski and the German ‘kapo’ Walter Dunning,” he told AFP, using the term for the common criminals deployed by the Nazis as overseers.



A rumor went around that Dunning, a former middleweight professional who had fallen foul of the law, was looking for an opponent in exchange for a loaf of bread and some margarine.



Pietrzykowski, a pre-war bantam weight at the boxing club Legia Warsaw, rose to the challenge. “Teddy, as the Polish media nicknamed him before the war, must have weighed about 45 kilos (99 pounds), and Walter around 70 (154 pounds),” Sobolewicz said.



In peacetime, the maximum fighting weight in Pietrzykowski’s category was 54 kilos, and 75 kilos in Dunning’s.



In June 1940 Pietrzykowski had been on the first train convoy of 700 Polish political prisoners deported to Auschwitz — a former army barracks in the city of Oswiecim. “So he was already very thin after eight months of backbreaking work and malnutrition,” Sobolewicz said.



“He was the smaller of the two, but he was agile and fast. He had an incredible punch, aimed right for the stomach, and knew how to duck his opponent’s blows. He won the fight and got his bread and margarine. You have to admit that the Germans kept their promise.”



More fights were to follow.



Pietrzykowski threw himself into them, knowing full well that he risked death by starvation.



For his fellow inmates, every blow he struck was a source of pride and hope. “We were elated. We said to ourselves, ‘As long as there’s a Pole punching a German in the face, Poland’s not finished’,” Sobolewicz said.



After Germany’s defeat by the Soviets at the Battle of Stalingrad in early 1943, the camp guards from the Nazis’ notorious SS sought ways to forget that the tide of the war was turning, Sobolewicz said. They watched the matches — pitting prisoners between themselves as well as against the kapos – and placed bets.



After the first scratch bouts, the camp authorities let the boxers build a proper ring and allowed them to make gloves, according to Bogacka’s research.



Pietrzykowski notched up some 40 fights, and around 20 more after he was transferred to the Neuengamme camp in northern Germany in 1943. He survived the war, passing away in 1991 in Bielsko-Biala in southern Poland.



His most celebrated Auschwitz match was against Schally Hottenach, a 96-kilo German. He won with a second-round knockout. That bout inspired the 1963 film “The Boxer and Death” by Slovak director Peter Solan.



Auschwitz’s twin death camp of Birkenau was purpose-built nearby in 1942.



Jews from across Europe — often told by the Nazis that they were being resettled” in the East — were sent there directly by train to be murdered in its gas chambers. The new arrivals had a meager chance of surviving thanks to the “selection”, where the SS picked out individuals deemed suitable for forced labor because of their peacetime professions.



Boxers were on the list.



Jewish middleweight Salamo Barouch, from Greece, was one who survived as a result, though he is not known to have faced Pietrzykowski in the ring.



The camp also saw football matches.



“The kapos wanted to amuse themselves. They played football amongst themselves, but taking on players of a different nationality brought an extra edge,” said Kazimierz Albin, who escaped in February 1943 and joined the Polish resistance. “And for us, being on the team meant getting extra food rations and being given lighter forced labor, so it was a chance to survive,” recalled Albin, 90.



Adam Cyra, a historian at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum, said a football pitch was set up to the right of the Birkenau train ramp. “For people who were about to die, the vision of prisoners playing football against the kapos was meant to be reassuring,” he said.



A million Jews perished at Auschwitz-Birkenau, along with tens of thousands of others including Poles, Roma and Soviet prisoners of war, between 1940 and its liberation by the Red Army in January 1945.






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Anne's Opinions

A couple of items in today’s news caught my attention today which I would classify in the category of post-Hannukah miracles (or Christmas miracles for those who are celebrating).

The first and more important item is that Human Rights Watch, the NGO generally more interested in accusing Israel of war crimes than in prosecuting the genuine and most egregious human rights abuses that are endemic in the Middle East, has finally seen fit to accuse Hamas of violating the laws of war with their indiscriminate rocket-fire into Israel:

Armed Palestinian groups firing rockets at Israeli cities violated the laws of war during Operation Pillar of Defense, Human Rights Watch said in a report released on Monday.

“Palestinian armed groups made clear in their statements that harming civilians was their aim,” said HRW’s Middle East director Sarah Leah Whitson. “There is simply no legal justification for launching rockets at populated areas.”

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Arutz Sheva Daily Israel Report Tuesday, Dec. 25, ’12, Tevet 12, 5773


Arutz Sheva Daily Israel Report


Delivered Daily via Email, Sunday thru Friday Subscribe to this Daily Israel Report:





Tuesday, Dec. 25 ’12, Tevet 12, 5773










“Hamateh Haleumi Balikud (The Nationalist Likud Faction),” an internal group made up largely of party members from Judea and Samaria, criticized Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Tuesday for his attacks on Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett.


The criticism follows two polls that show Bennett and his party gaining strength in the wake of Likud’s attacks upon them.


In a letter addressed to Netanyahu, the group wrote, “At a time at which the Left is crumbling suicidally, we would have expected Likud to learn from the Left’s mistakes and avoid unnecessary wars.”


“Instead of saying that the question of refusing orders is not on the agenda, and that Likud is committed to construction and not to uprooting, the movement decided to attack Bennett personally and hurtfully,” the letter added. It asked, “Does the avoidance of the question of uprooting communities indicate something about your future intentions?”


Hamateh Haleumi is led by Shevah Stern, Natan Englesman and David Tzviel. It was the most publicly prominent voice for Likud activists from Judea and Samaria before the arrival of Moshe Feiglin’s Jewish Leadership faction.




by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu


Supermarket chain owner Rami Levy says he rejected several political party offers to run as MK. He says a stronger Prime Minister Netanyahu  will be better for everyone.


Speaking to business management students in Herzliya, Globes reported that Levy said, “We have to give Netanyahu more strength in order to prevent political blackmail. I think the moment the government can take care of the economy the way it should, both the consumer and the workers will be better off.”


Levy, who pioneered in cutting prices to the minimum for the benefit of lower income families, operates at least three supermarkets in Judea and Samaria, one in Beitar Illit and the others in the Binyamin region of Samaria and in Gush Etzion, south of Jerusalem and near Efrat, as well as stores in the Jerusalem area. The Givat Shaul neighborhood Rami Levi is “mehadrin” with all the products there having the most stringent halakhic approval. 


The three stores in Judea and Samaria attract a mixed Arab and Jewish crowd, both as customers and workers.


Levy previously has come under criticism from Labor party leader Shelly Yechimovich for paying minimum wages, and he criticized her during his talk with the students.


“Yechimovich is unprecedented in her ability to speak eloquently,” he said of the former television and radio journalist.


However, he added that she “plays on the weakness of the weaker sectors of society, but has never proven herself and does not really know how to help them.”


Turning to the cell phone price war, Levy, whose supermarket is one of the new companies offering mobile phone service, predicted that firms offering service for 50 shekels a month will either raise their fees very quickly or will be forced to fold.


He also said that his chain will operate 50 supermarkets by 2015, but he did not reveal if he will open more branches in Judea and Samaria.


Maaleh Adumin could be one potential location due to its large population. Another possibility could be Ariel, which is a small city, but is near several Jewish communities in western Samaria.





MK Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) hinted broadly Tuesday that despite the recent confrontations between her party and the Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) under Naftali Bennett, Bennett will likely be a part of the next coalition.


In an interview with Arutz Sheva, Hotovely stressed that Likud is the party with the most experience and the most “ideological steadfastness,” but added that “any person who sees the Jewish people’s natural right to its land as sacrosanct” is a natural ally in the next coalition. She also noted that Bennett has withdrawn comments that were interpreted as supporting refusal of orders in the military.


Hotovely conceded that “the real rival” in this election is the left-liberal camp, but that it is difficult to attack Labor’s Shelly Yechimovich because she is “disguising herself” as a right winger.


She insisted that the real way for the religious-Zionist public to make inroads into the government is through Likud and not through a “sectoral” or “niche” (party that appeals to a specific population, ed.) party. However, she conceded toward the end of the interview that “religious Zionism” would likely be represented in the next government – a clear hint at Bayit Yehudi.


Likud’s religious Zionist MKs, including Hotovely, tread a fine line when talking about Bennett because, on the one hand, they want religious Zionists to vote Likud and not for Bayit Yehudi; but on the other hand, they stand to alienate religious Zionists if they attack Bayit Yehudi too strongly or hint that the next coalition could be based on a deal struck with the center-left.





Major General Nitzan Alon, the Head of the IDF’s Central Command, has signed a document Tuesday that grants formal approval to Ariel University – formerly known as Ariel University Center – as a full-fledged university.


Defense Minister Ehud Barak instructed Nitzan Monday to approve the recommendation of the Council for Higher Education / Judea and Samaria, making Ariel the first university in Judea and Samaria – the territory liberated by Israel in the-Six Day War.


The announcement by Barak’s bureau said that the approval was granted “following government decisions in this matter and after the Government Legal Advisor’s opinion on the matter was received.”


A deputy to the Government Legal Advisor (who is also the Attorney General) earlier published a statement that said “there is no reason preventing the military commander from using his judgment to reach a decision regarding approval of the institute as a university.”




by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu


Doctors say that Syrian President Bashar Assad”s forces probably are using “Agent 15,” which causes paralysis, but the even worse news is that he has more deadly chemical weapons.


The Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) interviewed witnesses and victims of the recent gas bomb attack, Business Insider reported.




The doctors said that Agent 15 was most likely used, but they could not confirm their conclusion without laboratory tests.


The effects of the gas bombs were felt immediately, with victims complaining they saw white gas, which they also smelled. They suffered shortness of breath, loss of vision, inability to speak, dizziness, nausea and paralysis.


Complicating their condition is the problem of using atropine needles, a common antidote to nerve gas, which actually is a toxic combination that can lead to death, according to Business Insider.


The use of chemical weapons, banned by international law, is seen as a sign of desperation by Assad. Continued attacks with chemical weapons will force President Barack Obama to decide whether to carry out his threat of military intervention in the event that chemical weapons were used.


Assad’s stockpile of chemical weapons includes lethal Mustard gas, as well as Sarin and VX, all of which can cause death following an even mild exposure to the agents.


Evidence of Assad”s concern about foreign intervention is a report in Iranian media, controlled by the government, that Assad”s” regime has stated it is “genuinely worried” that “Syria”s enemies” could provide chemical weapons to rebels “and then claim they had been used by the Syrian government.”


Iran is Syria”s last remaining ally, with Russia beginning to distance itself from Assad. Moscow said last week there are other countries that could give the Syrian leader safe haven, but that it would not do so.





The Head of the IDF’s Southern Command, Tal Russo, will award a citation on Tuesday to a female fighter in the IDF’s mixed sex Caracal unit, who shot and killed a terrorist who carried out a terror attack near Israel’s border with Egypt in September.


Cpl. Netanel Yahalomi of the national religious community of Nof Ayalon in central Israel was killed in the attack.


During Tuesday’s ceremony a citation will also be awarded to the platoon sergeant from the battalion who commanded over the troops during the attack.


“She deserves it, congratulations – she acted decisively in this event and this is the result – everyone appreciates her for that,” another female fighter in the Caracal unit told Channel 2 News on Monday.


“People shouldn’t think that we only operated during this incident. We operate all the time,” added the fighter.


The IDF has also decided to give a citation to first lieutenant Tomer Omri, a platoon commander who worked to eliminate the terrorists who attempted to infiltrate Israel from Egypt through the Kerem Shalom crossing on August 5.


The terrorists killed 16 Egyptian soldiers and stole their APC before trying to enter Israel. Following the attack, Egyptian security forces launched a campaign to crush terrorists in the restive Sinai.





Three more people have been wounded in a fresh round of road terror attacks near the Palestinian Authority Arab village of Beit Ummar. An Israeli bus came under a hail of rocks Monday night as it was driving past the village on Highway 60 in Judea.


Paramedic teams from Magen David Adom ‘s emergency medical service treated three passengers at the scene who were slightly injured from the attack. All three were evacuated to Soroka Medical Center in Be’er Sheva for further treatment.


Travel along that particular stretch of road is becoming increasingly dangerous, despite the presence of an IDF “pillbox” – an IDF guard house unit – at a strategic spot directly overlooking the spot from which many attacks take place.


Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu paid a visit Sunday to the IDF Central Command post, where he was briefed on the recent escalation in local road terror and other attacks by Defense Minister Ehud Barak, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz and GOC central Command Maj.-Gen. Nitzan Alon.


“We are aware that there is an upsurge in activity,” Netanyahu said during the visit. “We are committed to acting in this area, as well as in other areas, in order to ensure the security of the State of Israel, and this is what we will do.”


During the meeting, Netanyahu and the rest of the security establishment discussed what appears to be a growing trend towards the fulfillment of a recent pledge by PA terrorists to begin a “third intifada.”


Earlier tonight (Monday) PA Arabs attacked Israeli motorists as they drove along Highway 60 past Beit Ummar. Five vehicles were damaged and one person was injured by the rocks hurled by the Arabs at the cars.


On Saturday, there were clashes in Beit Ummar between IDF soldiers and PA Arabs who hurled rocks at the troops. One soldier sustained a head wound, and an Arab was shot in the leg when he tried to block medics from reaching the soldier to treat him.


The soldier was treated at the scene, and the rioter was taken to Jerusalem’s Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center.







American media has just discovered its government is helping Israel build a “secret” underground bunker. “Site 911” will be equipped with aluminum-encased mezuzot.


The tender for the construction project – a “Request for Proposals” in U.S. parlance – is worth about $100 million, according to the article written by venerated, Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post journalist Walter Pincus.


Only workers from approved countries can participate in building the complex, which is estimated to take about two years to complete. The project is apparently to be funded with U.S. foreign aid.


But as with every other building in the Jewish State, even this “deep secret” underground bunker and the complex above will bear a proper mezuzah on every door in the facility, in accordance with Jewish law, as seen in the plans detailed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.



The small scrolls “shall be written in inerasable ink, on… uncoated leather parchment’ according to the USACE description. They must be handwritten by a scribe “holding a written authorization according to Jewish law.” The writing, the Corps continues, may be “Ashkenazik or Sephardik” but “not a mixture” and “must be uniform.” In addition, the well-informed Corps continues, “The Mezuzahs shall be proofread by a computer at an authorized institution for Mezuzah inspection, as well as manually proofread for the form of the letters by a proofreader authorized by the Chief Rabbinate.” The mezuzah shall be supplied with an aluminum housing with holes so it can be connected to the doorpost, and “All Mezuzahs for the facility shall be affixed by the Base’s Rabbi or his appointed representative and not by the contractor staff.”


For obvious reasons, tight controls are being exercised over who is accepted to work at the site.


Upon its completion, the 127,000-square-foot bunker, equipped with shock-resistant doors and fortified against radiation, is planned to contain five underground levels.


The compound will also include six buildings on the surface and comes complete with three outdoor picnic tables and various landscaping rocks, designed by Ada Karmi Melamede Architects.


In the underground facility, classrooms, a laboratory and an auditorium will be placed on the first three floors, under which will be two other, smaller floors.


A second, higher-security site is also being planned, at a similar cost but with greater technical complexities, to be called 911 Phase 2.