A7 Israel National News Kislev 23, 5773 / Friday, Dec. 07 ’12

 

Kislev 23, 5773 / Friday, Dec. 07 ’12

 

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Headlines

  1. 1.      Rabbanit Rachel Neria Eulogized: ‘End of an Era’
  2. 2.      Political Left Down to 34 Seats
  3. 3.      9 Illegal Entrants Crammed into Truck Wall
  4. 4.      Panetta: Assad May be Considering Using Chemical Weapons
  5. 5.      University of Toulouse Nixes Support Mtg for PFLP Terror Group
  6. 6.      Breakdown of Left ‘Embarrassing to Watch’
  7. 7.      Report: Israel Threatened to Kill Islamic Jihad Leader
  8. 8.      34 Parties to Run for Knesset

 

1. Rabbanit Rachel Neria Eulogized: ‘End of an Era’

by Maayana Miskin & Y. Kempinski

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Rabbanit Rachel Neria, the widow of Rabbi Moshe Tzvi Neria, was buried Friday in Kfar Haroeh. She was laid to rest alongside her husband.

The rabbanit passed away Thursday, exactly 17 years after her husband’s death.

Her death marks “the end of an era,” said MK Michael Ben-Ari, who was one of the many who came Friday to pay their final respects. He recalled his youth in Kfar Haroeh, where he learned from Rabbi Neria and sometimes ate in the Neria family home.

“They were figures whose modesty was meaningful, who made love of the people of Israel, the land of Israel and the Torah of Israel a way of life,” he said. Their work in the field of education “is growing new sprouts everywhere,” he added.

Rabbanit Neria’s grandson, Rabbi Yitzchak Neria, recalled his grandmother Thursday. Speaking to Arutz Sheva, he said that Rabbanit Rachel Neria’s work had been focused on “a matter close to her heart – the education of the next generation.”

“Grandmother followed grandfather, Rabbi Neria of blessed memory, with unbelievable dedication,” he continued. “She went with him to Kfar Haroeh when the conditions of living were very uncertain. Together they sacrificed to raise the next generation and invest in education.”

Rabbanit Neria was born in 1921 and came to Israel in 1935. She and her husband worked with other influential figures of the time to establish the first Bnei Akiva yeshivas as well as schools for youth at risk.

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2. Political Left Down to 34 Seats

by Maayana Miskin

A poll released Friday shows the political left falling to a mere 34 seats. The Mishal Ham survey, published by Maariv, showed Labor as the second-largest party with 19 seats.

The center-left Movement party founded by Tzipi Livni was projected to win 10 seats, while Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party dropped to 5. Kadima and Meretz both remain on track to fail to pass the minimum voting threshold to enter Knesset, leaving the left and center-left with just 34 seats out of 120.

The joint Likud-Yisrael Beytenu list led by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu remained clearly in the lead with 38 seats.

Religious-Zionist and hareidi-religious parties appear to be doing well. The survey showed Shas as the third-largest party with 13 seats and Habayit Hayehudi – Tekuma (Jewish Home) right after it with 12.

The hareidi-religious Yahadut Hatorah (UTJ) party is predicted to get its usual 6 seats. MK Chaim Amsallem’s breakaway party Am Shalem was shown for the first time crossing the vote threshold and entering Knesset with 3 seats.

The majority-Arab parties were predicted to get 3 seats each. The three majority-Arab parties are the Arab-Jewish socialist Hadash party, Balad, and the Islamic Ra’am Ta’al party. All three support a full Israeli withdrawal from territory east of the 1949 armistice line and the creation of a new Arab state in those areas; the latter two also support the acceptance as Israeli citizens of millions of Arabs who claim descent from Arabs who fled pre-state Israel during the War of Independence.

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3. 9 Illegal Entrants Crammed into Truck Wall

by Maayana Miskin

Guards at a Samaria (Shomron) checkpoint found nine Palestinian Authority residents hidden in one truck on Friday morning. The men were attempting to enter Israel illegally in order to look for work.

Guards became suspicious when they noticed a wall behind seats in the truck that seemed out of place. They found an opening in the wall and saw the nine would-be entrants hiding behind it.

An initial investigation revealed that the driver, an Israeli Arab man from Baqa al-Gharbiya, had charged each of the PA men 200 shekels in exchange for sneaking them into Israel.

The men were arrested and taken in for questioning.

Residents of PA areas continue to face high unemployment and an uncertain financial future. Israel has increased the number of work permits issued to PA Arabs, and the PA appears to have neglected a planned boycott of Israeli workplaces, but demand for employment in Israel among PA residents remains high.

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4. Panetta: Assad May be Considering Using Chemical Weapons

by Elad Benari

The Obama administration expressed fears on Thursday that the beleaguered Syrian regime may unleash chemical weapons on rebels who are pressing their campaign closer to the capital of Damascus.

“I think there is no question that we remain very concerned, very concerned that as the opposition advances, in particular on Damascus, that the regime might very well consider the use of chemical weapons,” Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said, according to ABC News.

“The intelligence that we have causes serious concerns that this is being considered,” he said.

Panetta repeated warnings to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad that there will be consequences if the embattled Syrian leader decides to use chemical weapons against his own people.

“I am not going to speculate or comment what those potential consequences would be, but I think it is fair enough to say that their use of those weapons will cross the red line,” he said. “The intelligence that we have raises serious concerns that this is being considered.”

Reports on Monday indicated that engineers working for Assad’s regime have begun combining the two chemical precursors needed to weaponize sarin gas.

U.S. officials said on Wednesday that the Syrian military is prepared to use chemical weapons against its own people and is awaiting final orders from Assad.

The officials stressed that as of now, the sarin bombs hadn’t been loaded onto planes and that Assad hadn’t issued a final order to use them. But if he does, one of the officials said, “There’s little the outside world can do to stop it.”

The heightened concern comes as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met Thursday with the UN Special Envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to discuss the options to end the conflict in Syria.

Before the meeting began Clinton said, according to ABC News, “Events on the ground in Syria are accelerating, and we see that in many different ways. The pressure against the regime in and around Damascus seems to be increasing. We’ve made it very clear what our position is with respect to chemical weapons.”

The meeting last for 40 minutes and a senior State Department official said, “It was a constructive discussion focused on how to support a political transition in practical terms. The U.S. and Russia committed to support Special Envoy Brahimi’s efforts in that regard. The next step will be a meeting in the next few days between Special Envoy Brahimi and senior officials from the United States and Russia to discuss the specifics of taking this work forward.”

U.S. President Barack Obama told Assad on Monday not to turn chemical weapons on his own people, saying, “Today, I want to make it absolutely clear to Assad and those under his command, the world is watching, the use of chemical weapons is and would be totally unacceptable.

“If you make the tragic mistake of using these weapons, there will be consequences and you will be held accountable,” he added.

Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad told Sky News on Wednesday that international intervention in Syria would be “dangerous for the whole region.”

Mekdad also said that Assad will “never, ever” leave Syria and said that “even if” Syria has chemical weapons it would not use them against its own people.

“We are saying if we have them we shall not use them against our people,” Mekdad said.

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5. University of Toulouse Nixes Support Mtg for PFLP Terror Group

by Chana Ya’ar

A meeting at the University of Toulouse intended to express support for the PFLP terrorist organization has been cancelled by administrators, according to a report Friday morning by the AFP news agency.

It is not clear where the meeting was to take place, nor at which of the university’s 22 institutions of higher learning. Established in 1229, the University of Toulouse is a consortium in Midi-Pyrenees and comprises  the fifth largest university area in the country. The featured speaker at the gathering in the southern French city was to be a representative from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

The university was the scene of an attack on an Israeli delegation in late April by a group of chanting, shouting protesters calling for the extermination of Jews. The incident took place about a month after the murder of a rabbi and three young children at a Jewish day school in Toulouse. The attackers ripped down the Israeli flag from the delegation’s stall at the Le Mirail campus, in the area where Toulouse terrorist Mohamed Merah grew up.

PFLP members broke a PLO agreement to end terrorism outside Israeli-held territory in 1976 and hijacked an Air France flight bound for Tel Aviv, together with West German radical leftists from the Baader-Meinhof Gang. The terrorists landed the plane in Entebbe, Uganda and were subsequently eliminated in the famous raid by Israeli commandos who stormed the airport on the Entebbe tarmac and freed the hostages. Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s older brother Yoni Netanyahu, an IDF officer, was the sole casualty in Operation Entebbe.

The terrorist organization is the second-largest member of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the entity which two weeks ago received upgraded  nonmember observer state status on behalf of the Palestinian Authority at the United Nations. The Fatah faction, led by PA Chairman and PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas, is the largest member in the umbrella organization.

Formed in 1967 following the Six Day War, the PFLP has sought to topple conservative Arab states, destroy Israel and apply Marxist doctrine to the “Palestinian struggle,” with support from the Soviet Union and China. On its English-language website, the PFLP quotes a statement from “Comrade Ahmad Sa’adat, imprisoned General Secretary of the PFLP,” sent from Hadarim Prison, explaining the organization’s current views.

PA Arabs, according to Sa’adat, have “no choice but the choice of resistance.” He accuses Israel of “aggression” in an “ongoing series of systematic attacks” which include “the expansion of settlements, division of the West Bank into ghettos and cantons… isolation and Judaization of Jerusalem, confiscation of land, demolition of homes and displacement of our people through assassinations, mass arrests and daily settler assaults on our people.” He also claims these actions are being taken under “international cover which is provided by the major imperialist powers,” in particular the United States.

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6. Breakdown of Left ‘Embarrassing to Watch’

by Maayana Miskin

On Thursday Labor party MK Amir Peretz caused an uproar in the political world when he left his party at the last minute to join Tzipi Livni’s new party, The Movement. Peretz had been in the third place on the Labor party list.

Labor newcomer Stav Shapir, who made a name for herself in the “tent protests” of 2011, said she is not concerned by Peretz’s move.

“The Labor party has a clear set of beliefs,” she told Arutz Sheva. The party’s platform remains what it was when Israel first became a state, she said. “We’ll stay on the path we’re on. Whoever joins us, joins us, whoever leaves – good luck to them.”

Peretz’s decision to leave meant Shapir was bumped up from the ninth slot on the party list to the eighth.

MK Carmel Shama-Hacohen of Likud saw things differently. The political games on the political left do not affect Likud, he said, “but the truth is, it’s embarrassing to watch.”

“I thought there would be a unified bloc, so that there would be a clear choice – left or right,” he added. However, he said, ultimately the lack of a clear, single alternative to Likud Beytenu “is the left’s problem.”

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7. Report: Israel Threatened to Kill Islamic Jihad Leader

by Elad Benari

Israel threatened to assassinate the leader of Islamic Jihad if he enters Gaza, causing the party to reconsider his upcoming visit, sources said Thursday, according to the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency.

Egyptian authorities told Islamic Jihad that Israel rejected the visit and would target leader Ramadan Shalah and his deputy Ziad Nakhla if they went into Gaza, sources close to the discussions told Ma’an.

Islamic Jihad leaders are considering whether to cancel the visit, set to take place on Friday, ahead of Hamas’ 25th anniversary celebrations which start the following day, the report said.

Jihad’s leadership is in talks with the Egyptian authorities over the matter.

Meanwhile, AFP reported, the Hamas government confirmed on Thursday that its exiled politburo chief Khaled Mashaal was due in Gaza on Friday to celebrate the group’s 25th anniversary. News of the planned visit was made public last week.

He had been due to visit Gaza at the start of the year, but the trip never took place.

Hamas “announces the visit of Khaled Mashaal, head of the political bureau, tomorrow December 7, to participate in the celebration of the movement’s 25th anniversary,” Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in a statement quoted by AFP.

Mashaal is to meet members of different movements and residents of Gaza, “as well as representatives of the families of martyrs, prisoners and those injured in the last Israeli aggression against Gaza,” the statement added.

The visit, Abu Zuhri added, was “a fruit of the victory of the resistance over the occupation.”

Mashaal’s trip comes just two weeks after Hamas and Israel agreed to an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire deal which ended Operation Pillar of Defense, an IDF operation which targeted Hamas’s terror infrastructure in Gaza.

The operation began with the targeted killing by Israel of Ahmed Jaabari, who served as the commander of Hamas’s “military” terror wing.

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8. 34 Parties to Run for Knesset

by David Lev

After weeks of wrangling and infighting, all the parties that plan to run for seats in the19thKnesset have filed the names of their candidates. As of the Thursday night 10 PM deadline for filing, 34 parties had submitted lists, and received authorization from the National Election Commission to run for office.

One party that will not be running for office at all is the Atzama’ut party, formerly headed by outgoing Defense Minister Ehud Barak. The party’s new number one, Shalom Simhon, said Thursday night that he was dropping out of the party, and out of politics. After he announced he was dropping out, he informed the Commission that the party would not run. Simhon said that he was quitting out of national responsibility, because it was unfair to spend public money on a campaign that would at most yield only 2 or 3 seats.

Among the last parties to file its list was the joint Likud-Yisrael Beyteinu list. Part of the delay in filing was due to a petition by five MKs from the Likud, who had asked the court to strike down the joint list, because they had been pushed to “unrealistic spots” on the list by the interspersing of Yisrael Beyteinu MKs. The petition was rejected by the court, which said that the agreement was legal.

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