Arutz Sheva Daily Israel Report
Tevet 3, 5773 / Sunday, Dec. 16 ’12
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- 1. Posner Family’s Rabbi: Hug Your Children
- 2. Lieberman Vows ‘I Will be Back – Soon’
- 3. Iran Warns Turkey Against Deploying Patriots
- 4. Netanyahu to Take over Post of Foreign Minister
- 5. US Woman Immigrant-Soldier Helps Get the Goods to Gaza
- 6. Poll: US Support for PA Near All-Time Low
- 7. Video: US Shooting Sprees Continue, Shoppers Escape 50 Bullets
- 8. Noah Posner, 6-Year-Old Jewish Boy, among Victims
1. Posner Family’s Rabbi: Hug Your Children
by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
“Hug your children. Don’t think life is somewhere over the rainbow,” said the rabbi of the parents of Noah Posner, one of 26 gunned down in Connecticut.
Rabbi Shaul Praver of Congregation Adath Israel, told MSNBC that six-year-old Noah “was at the wrong place at the wrong time, and his little body could not endure so many bullets like that.”
Noah’s mother Veronique, a nurse, fell apart emotionally after hearing the bitter news.
The rabbi told worshippers at Sabbath prayer services the following day, “Don’t think that life is somewhere over the rainbow. What you’ve got right now, with your family, your friends, your house: This might be as good as life is ever going to be.
“So hug your children, love your children… Life is not happening on the other side of the rainbow. We are on the other side of the rainbow.”
One friend of the Posner family told the Boston Herald that Noah’s mother “saw things she should never, ever have seen… Her son Noah should never have left the Earth.”
One area resident, who attended the Sandy Hook elementary school where Adam Lanza massacred his victims, told the newspaper, “I kept having memories of running around the playground and the soccer field. Going to class with our teachers, being little kids… and then watching on TV yesterday, seeing the FBI running through that soccer field.”
Rabbi Praver advised his congregation not to back away from facing reality. “We need to walk back into that school and as soon as the doors open up and go right back to school and continue on with our lives,” he said.
The Herald said that after prayer services, the rabbi told reporters, “I don’t buy the notion that only violence sells. Violence sells because someone chose to sell that product,” meaning violent video games and movies. “We can sell the product of peace.”
2. Lieberman Vows ‘I Will be Back – Soon’
by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman handed in his resignation at the weekly Cabinet meeting Sunday morning and vowed. “I am leaving temporarily.”
He rejected plea bargaining in the case of his alleged misconduct concerning a diplomatic appointment and said he wants a quick trial before the January 22 elections.
Law professor Suzie Navot, writing in Maariv, warned that holding a trial by January 22 would be “complex,” deeming it “doubtful” that a court would agree to clear its schedule to help speed up the proceedings.
She pointed out that Lieberman’s plan to seek a speedy resolution of the case was something of a gamble, noting that he could find himself out in the cold if the legal process drags on, or the final conviction has a moral turpitude finding attached to it, which would bar him from a ministerial position for seven years.
After being hounded for 16 years by government prosecutors and the police, a decision finally was delivered last week to close two major allegations against Lieberman but to prosecute him for allegedly trying to win the appointment of Ze’ev Ben Aryeh with an appointment as ambassador to Belarus after Ben Aryeh sent Lieberman classified documents concerning a criminal probe against the Foreign Minister. Ben Aryeh eventually was not appointed ambassador.
“Five minutes ago, I handed in my resignation to the Prime Minister, and it will take effect at 10 a.m. Tuesday,” Lieberman said after he left the Cabinet meeting.
“I am leaving temporarily…. I am not worried. Personally, I have no concern. My concern is for the voting public.”
He noted that 400,000 people voted for his Israel Beytenu party in the last election. The party now has merged with the Likud, and Lieberman said he is looking at his resignation as “a half-full glass” because it will give him more time to be active in the election campaign.
“The resignation will give me more time to increase my involvement in the election campaign. and I have no doubt of the results,” he said. All polls show that the Likud-Israel Beyteinu party will win a solid plurality of Knesset seats, enabling Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to head a government for the third time.
“It is clear to all of us that the country needs a strong Prime Minister and a stable government with a solid majority that is not dependent on splinter parties,” Lieberman said.
Polls show that the second largest party will be Labor, headed by Knesset Member Shelly Yechimovich, followed by the merged slate of candidates for the Habayit Hayehudi (Jewish Home) and Ichud Leumi (National Union) parties, which now is projected to win anywhere from 12 to 16 Knesset seats, nearly as many as Labor.
A strong Jewish Home-National Unity showing would make the next government more solidly nationalist. particularly with the first-time election of Jewish Leadership faction leader Moshe Feiglin as a Likud Knesset Member.
3. Iran Warns Turkey Against Deploying Patriots
by Elad Benari
The chief of staff of Iran’s armed forces warned Turkey on Saturday over its plans to deploy U.S.-made Patriot missiles, saying the move was part of a Western plot to “create a world war”.
“The Patriot (missiles) are threatening. Each one of them is a black dot on the map, (setting the stage) to create a world war,” General Hassan Firouzabadi was quoted by the ISNA news agency as having said.
“The Western countries seeking to deploy the missile batteries on the Turkey-Syria border are devising plans for a world war,” he claimed.
“This is very dangerous for everyone, and even for the future of Europe,” said Firouzabadi. “A veteran military man and analyst can easily see this and predict the future.”
Earlier this month, NATO agreed to deploy Patriot missiles along the border of Turkey as requested by Ankara to help it defend its territory against threats from Syria.
AFP reported that Germany, the Netherlands and the United States have agreed to provide the missile batteries, which would come under NATO command.
But both Russia and Iran, the most powerful allies of the Assad regime, are opposed to the move.
In August, General Firouzabadi drew the ire of Ankara after he predicted the turmoil in Syria would spill into Turkey whose government he accused of aiding the U.S. in achieving “belligerent objectives.”
Turkey formally asked its NATO partners to deploy the U.S.-made anti-missile system after a series of cross-border shellings, including one that left five civilians dead on October 3.
Syria has said that Turkey’s plans to deploy Patriot missiles along its border are “a new act of provocation.”
4. Netanyahu to Take over Post of Foreign Minister
by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu also will be the Foreign Minister after Avigdor Lieberman’s resignation takes effect in two days, and Deputy Minister Danny Ayalon will be re-appointed.
Lieberman decided to resign after he was was indicted last week on one charge of breach of trust.
By law, a deputy minister also must leave his post when a minister resigns, but the Prime Minister will re-appoint Ayalon, according to government sources.
Netanyahu’s dual role likely will end after the January 22 elections, after which he will almost certainly appoint a new Foreign Minister. Lieberman conceivably, but not likely, could return to office if there is a quick trial and he is acquitted or if he reaches a plea-bargain deal that would allow him to serve as minister.
Ayalon has been dropped from the Israel Beytenu list and will not be in the next Knesset.
Until then, Lieberman’s resignation comes at a fortunate time for the Prime Minister. Lieberman’s undiplomatic style of “telling it like it is” has on the one hand made it clear to other countries where Israel stands but on the other hands has rankled foreign leaders to the point that Israel faces a threat of European isolation.
The government reacted to the United Nations’ recognition of the Palestinian Authority as a non-member observer state by announcing that 3,000 more homes will be built for Jews in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria.
Lieberman’s resignation also means he will be dropped from the important non-member “Inner Cabinet,” which discusses and decides security matters.
Prime Minister Netanyahu is likely to win some votes from would-be Likud supporters who are wary of Lieberman’s hard-line nationalist policies. Lieberman’s Israel Beyteinu party, which has merged with the Likud, may lose votes to a newly-formed party of Russian immigrants, which has a fair chance of winning enough votes to enter the next Knesset.
5. US Woman Immigrant-Soldier Helps Get the Goods to Gaza
by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
An IDF officer who is the assistant foreign liaison officer to international organizations in Gaza is none other than a young native of Arizona named Nira Lee, who moved to Israel in 2010 after she earned a degree at American University in Washington, D.C.
With the rank of Second Lieutenant, Nira serves with COGAT, initials for the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories and the IDF unit responsible for implementing the Israeli government’s policy in Judea and Samaria as well as facilitating the movement of goods and people to and from Gaza.
“Gaza is ruled by Hamas, a terrorist group that wants to destroy Israel and has fired thousands of rockets at Israeli civilians in recent years,” Nira told an IDF interviewer for its website. “The IDF, therefore, does not coordinate with Hamas, which is why it’s important that we maintain strong relationships with the international organizations that work with uninvolved civilians in Gaza.”
Besides working with international organizations and delegations in Gaza to coordinate the flow of goods, she also coordinates the movement of international organizations inside the security buffer zone in Gaza — including ambulances and fire trucks in case of emergency — as well as visits to the Kerem Shalom crossing for commercial goods.
Approximately 250-350 trucks go through the crossing every day. Other crossings have been closed because of rocket and mortar shell attacks.
The IDF kept Kerem Shalom open even during most of the Pillar of Defense counterterrorist operation last month.
During the Hamas missile attack, Nira says she came in contact with a Gaza woman who works for a major international organization, which she did not name,
“Last month, we were together for a meeting in Israel when a rocket siren went of,” says Nira. “Not knowing quite what to do, she froze and just looked at me as everyone around us began to run. There was no time to explain, so I just grabbed her hand and we ran — a woman from Gaza and IDF officer — to a shelter together.
“When we spoke that evening, her voice shook as she told me that the bond she felt with me that day challenged all she had been taught about IDF soldiers.”
Nira said the crossing had to be closed one night, in the middle of transferring goods, because of a missile attack. “That night, we stayed up trying to figure different ways to get the medical supplies into Gaza,” Nira relates. “Eventually we settled on a plan to use forklifts at Erez,” the pedestrian crossing where 300 diplomatist, international organization workers and journalists cross every day.
Despite mainstream media reporting of a “siege” on Gaza and a lack of medical goods, Nira reveals that during Pillar of Defense, she called all of the major organizations in Gaza that import medical supplies and drugs and asked them if there was anything they needed urgently. “Every organization except one declined the offer. In fact, one of the items that was requested in Gaza during the operation was Bamba — a popular Israeli snack for children,” she adds.
6. Poll: US Support for PA Near All-Time Low
by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
Only 10 percent of Americans sympathize with the Palestinian Authority, according to a new Pew Center poll, which shows that the United States public is also going isolationist.
In answer to the question, “In the dispute between Israel and the Palestinians, which side do you sympathize with more, Israel or the Palestinians?” 50 percent identified with Israeli and only 10 percent with the Arabs.
The figures were the most extreme since 1978, when a Chicago Council on Foreign Relations survey conducted by the Gallup Organization asked respondents if they had ever “heard or read about the situation in the Middle East.” They approached results in 2006, when 52 percent said they were favorable to Israel concerning US military aid and arms sales to the Jewish state. In the same year, 12 percent were favorable to Palestinian Authority Arabs.
Answers to other questions indicate that the United States continues to go isolationist, as was indicated in last month’s presidential elections when economic and social issues far outweighed foreign policy as factors for voting preferences.
More respondents said they have heard or read only a “little” about the recent political violence in Syria than those who were exposed to “a lot” of the news. One quarter of the respondents said they knew nothing at all about Syrian violence.
The overwhelming support for Israel in the poll was more prominent among Republicans and evangelical Christians,
“Conservative Republicans maintain strong support for Israel with fully 75% saying they sympathize with Israel compared with just 2% who sympathize with the Palestinians,” Pew reported.
“By contrast, liberal Democrats are much more divided: 33% sympathize more with Israel, 22% with the Palestinians. Independents sympathize more with Israel by a 47% to 13% margin.
“Among religious groups, white evangelical Protestants remain strongly supportive of Israel. Two-thirds (67%) say they sympathize more with Israel; only 5% say they sympathize more with the Palestinians.
“Opinion among other religious groups is more mixed. Catholics, for example, offer more sympathy for Israel than the Palestinians by a 44% to 11% margin.”
7. Video: US Shooting Sprees Continue, Shoppers Escape 50 Bullets
by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
Friday’s horrendous massacre of little children in Connecticut was followed the next day by a shooting spree in California, where a man took more than 50 potshots at mall shoppers. This time, no one was hurt.[youtube:127356]
Police arrested 42-year-old Marcos Gurrola in the mall parking lot late Saturday afternoon after he allegedly shot wildly. Police found more than 50 shells and a handgun.
The day after a lone gunman killed 20 children and six adults in a Connecticut school, America is traumatized.
“With what happened in Connecticut, we were freaking out. It was like crazy, people leaving stores,” shopper Dena Nassef told The Los Angeles Times.
The shots were recorded on video by someone who was at the parking lot at the time. The shooter can faintly be seen next to the red triangle to the left of two palm trees.
The person who took the video posted on YouTube, “I saw the him on the ground and surrounded by police, but my daughter was very upset so I left to pick them up and get out of the area.
“My wife and daughter were at an ice cream shop in the mall when the shooting happened. They ended up running and screaming with everyone toward the opposite side of the mall.”
Sven Maric told the Silicon Valley Mercury News, “It’s a miracle nobody got injured. The bullets had to land somewhere, and he shot so many.”
8. Noah Posner, 6-Year-Old Jewish Boy, among Victims
by Gil Ronen
One of the children murdered in the Connecticut school massacre was Noah Posner, a six-year-old Jewish boy. His twin sister was also a pupil in the school, but escaped with her life.
The rabbi of Newtown, Rabbi Shaul Praver, spoke with the congregation at Edath Israel synagogue at a deeply emotional Sabbath service following the tragedy.
In condolence letter to U.S. President Barack Obama following the massacre, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu drew a parallel to the acts of barbaric Arab terrorism Israel has to deal with.
“I was shocked and horrified by today’s savage massacre of innocent children and adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut,” Netanyahu wrote.
“We in Israel have experienced such cruel acts of slaughter and we know the shock and agony they bring.
“I want to express my profound grief, and that of all the people in Israel, to the families that lost their loved ones.
“May you and the American people find the strength to overcome this unspeakable tragedy.
The horrific massacre took place Friday at a Connecticut elementary school, where a lone gunman murdered 20 children and six adults before killing himself. He had earlier shot and killed his own mother.
The murderer has been identified as Adam Lanza, 20.
Lanza shot his mother in the head at their Newtown, Connecticut, home, then went to an elementary school in the town and killed 20 children and six adults before taking his own life.
Friday morning he appears to have started his day by shooting his mother Nancy in the face. He then drove her car to nearby Sandy Hook Elementary School, armed with two automatic handguns and a semi-automatic rifle.
He then shot and killed 20 children, between five and 10 years of age. Six adults were also killed at the school. Nancy Lanza was found dead in her home.
A relative told ABC News that Adam was “obviously not well.” Family friends in Newtown also described the young man as troubled and described Nancy as rigid. “[Adam] was not connected with the other kids,” said Barbara Frey, who also said he was “a little bit different … Kind of repressed.”
Nancy and her husband Peter, Adam’s father, divorced in 2009. Peter Lanza, who drove to northern New Jersey to talk to police and the FBI, is a vice president at GE Capital and had been a partner at global accounting giant Ernst & Young.
Israeli President Shimon Peres on Saturday called the massacre “atrocious” and “incomprehensible” and said that Israelis’ hearts were with the bereaved families.
In a letter of condolence to President Barack Obama, made available to media, Peres said there was no experience that could be likened to that of parents’ loss of a child.
“We stand with you today in contemplation and grief over the atrocious, incomprehensible massacre of 20 children and six adults — educators – at Sandy Hook Elementary School,” he wrote.
“No crime is more heinous than the killing of a child,” he added. “Our thoughts and prayers are with you.”
Earlier, Tzipi Livni, head of the newly formed centrist party Hatnuah and a former foreign minister, sent a message to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
“On this sad day, all Israelis share the deep sorrow of the Americans over the loss of so many lives of women, men and innocent children,” she said.