Israel Celebrates Jerusalem Day

Sent: May 20, 2012 09:38
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Iyar 28, 5772 / Sunday, May. 20 ’12

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Headlines

  1. 1.      Israel Celebrates Jerusalem Day
  2. 2.      Green Light to Strengthen Jerusalem Tourism
  3. 3.      Jewish Birthrate Up, Arab Rate Down in Jerusalem
  4. 4.      Activists Arrested for Bowing on Temple Mount
  5. 5.      Terrorist Kidnapping Cell Arrested
  6. 6.      Terrorist Wounded in Failed Attack on Bicyclists
  7. 7.      Nationalists’ Knesset Strength Soars in New Poll
  8. 8.      Boycott Boomerang: Arab Jobless Rate to Rise

1. Israel Celebrates Jerusalem Day

by Arutz Sheva Staff

On Saturday night and Sunday Israelis will celebrate Jerusalem Day, which marks the reunification of Jerusalem in the 1967 Six Day War after 19 years of Jordanian occupation of the eastern part of the city.

The outnumbered Jewish defenders of the Old City and its Jewish residents, who had lived there continuously for hundreds of years, were forced to evacuate during Israel’s War of Independence. The Jordanians destroyed 48 of the 49 synagogues they overran, used gravestones from the ancient Mount of Olives Cemetery for latrines and closed the Old City to Jews.

Synagogues were full Saturday night as many Israelis held special, festive prayer sessions in honor of the 45th anniversary of the capital’s reunification, declared a minor Jewish holiday by Israel’s Chief Rabbinate. Some synagogues recite the Hallel prayer in the morning and recite some of the holiday prayers. Memorial services are also held for IDF soldiers who fell freeing the city.

The government will hold a special session Sunday at Ammunition Hill in Jerusalem, which was the site of some of the Six Day War’s fiercest battles and where 36 paratroopers died. During the session the government will vote on a series of motions aimed to develop Jerusalem in terms of tourism, economy and more.

One of the motions is the development of Ammunition Hill at a cost of 20 million shekels.

At 3 p.m. the annual Jerusalem Day Rikudglaim (march and dancing with Israeli flags), led by religious Zionist high school students and youth organizations will take place in and around the Old City.

Later in the evening, the flagship religious Zionist yeshiva, Merkaz Harav Kook in Jerusalem will host the main Jerusalem Day celebrations. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, rabbis from all over the country, ministers, and members of Knesset are expected to be in attendance.

In the early hours of the morning, continuing a 45 year old tradition, Merkaz HaRav students will dance their way from the yeshiva, located near the entrance to the city, to the Western Wall.

The Merkaz Harav event will be broadcast live on Arutz Sheva.

It was at Merkaz Harav yeshiva at the Independence Day celebration of 1967, that the venerable Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Tzvi Yehuda Kook zts”l, son of Chief Rabbi HaRav Avraham Yitzchak Hacohen Kook who had also been head of the yeshiva, rose to speak and broke into the anguished cry –

“Where is our Hevron? Where is our Jericho? Where is our Shechem? Where is every bit of Eretz Yisrael? How can we accept that the verse that says ‘and they divided my land’ has come to pass?”

He told the awestruck students “I could not be truly happy [seeing the lack of these holy sites in the partition borders] on the first Independence Day [in 1948]”.

The very next day, Nasser closed the Straits of Tiran and threated the Jewish state with extinction. The Six Day War began three weeks later, with the whole world expecting Israel’s annihilation. Graves were dug in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv by high schoolers in preparation for catastrophe.

However, the students had reason to recall his prophetic words with awe, when his prayers were answered and Jerusalem, Hevron, Shechem and Jericho returned to Jewish hands in a miraculous victory.

28 Iyar 1967: Mota Gur, the legendary commander of the forces that entered the Old City, announced on Israel radio: “The Temple Mount is in our hands,” IDF Chief Rabbi Shlomo Goren blew the shofar at the Western Wall, and tens of thousands of Israelis rushed to Jerusalem and made their way on foot to the Wall after 19 years in which Jordan had denied them access to Judaism’s holiest site.

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2. Green Light to Strengthen Jerusalem Tourism

by Chana Ya’ar

The government has approved a new plan to develop tourism in Jerusalem and the economy of the capital city.

Meeting on Ammunition Hill to honor the reunification of the city on Jerusalem Day, the Cabinet gave its approval to the NIS 350 million blueprint. The six-year plan calls for expansion of current public spaces, infrastructure and tourist sites.

“These investments will help give expression to Jerusalem’s vast potential as a focus for global tourism and will greatly contribute to the development and strength of Israel’s capital,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said at the start of the Cabinet meeting.

Among sites to be developed and upgraded is the Mount of Olives cemetery. The site has been repeatedly vandalized by Arabs who live in the eastern neighborhoods of Jerusalem, and who also attack Jews who come to visit the graves. A new police station recently opened near the site, but local Arabs are determined to drive out Jews who have moved back in areas that were once populated by their ancestors.

Nevertheless, a local museum on the Mount of Olives is also expected to receive some NIS 20 million in funding as the government proceeds with its plans to strengthen and rehabilitate the ancient Jewish site.

In addition, the Cabinet discussed plans to approve NIS 1 million to develop plans for a museum on the life and works of scientist and mathematician Albert Einstein.

Construction of a residence compound for security forces in the city was also approved.

“The Israel Land Administration will allocate tender-exempt land in Jerusalem neighborhoods for career IDF and Israel Police personnel,” explained the Prime Minister’s media adviser. “The decision will ease the construction of residential developments and assist in attracting a strong population to the city.”

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3. Jewish Birthrate Up, Arab Rate Down in Jerusalem

by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

The Jewish birthrate in Jerusalem is higher than the Arab birthrate, putting an end to reports of an Arab demographic threat in the united capital.

The birthrate in the expected life of mothers is 4.2 children for Jewish mothers compared with 3.9 children for Arab mothers, according to the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies (JIIS).

Reflecting the trend in the rest of Israel, the birthrate for Jews represents a dramatic reversal and is on the increase while the Arab birthrate is declining.

In 1999, the birthrate was only 3.8 for Jewish mothers and 4.4 for Arabs, the JIIS reported.

Jews are a solid majority in the city, where the Arab population is only 36 percent, almost all of them in the areas that were restored to the capital 45 years ago in the Six-Day War in 1967.

The total population of Jerusalem as of last year is 801,000.

The largest Jewish neighborhoods are Ramot and Pisgat Ze’ev, each one with slightly more than 40,000 people, followed by Gilo with 29,600. All three neighborhoods are located in areas restored to Israel n 1967 and which are claimed by the Palestinian Authority.

Har Homa is the youngest non-hareidi religious neighborhood with a median age of only 22 years, while Kiryat Wolfson’s median age is 66.

In hareidi religious neighborhoods, the youngest median age is 16 in Ramat Shlomo and in the Kiryat Kaminetz neighborhood of Neve Yaakov, both areas also restored to the capital in 1967.

The youngest Arab neighborhoods are Shuafat, where the median age is 16, and Sheikh Jarreh, with a mean age of 17.

The city lost 7,500 residents last year, with 10,500 people moving to Jerusalem and 18,000 leaving. The largest movements were to and from Tel Aviv.

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4. Activists Arrested for Bowing on Temple Mount

by Chana Ya’ar

Knesset Member Michael Ben Ari (National Union) and a few dozen activists celebrated Jerusalem Day by going up to the Temple Mount Sunday morning and asked to pray on the site.

Unlike the activists who kept their prayers short, Ben Ari threw himself down full length on to the ground of the Temple Mount as part of the prayer.

According to those who were with the lawmaker, the Arab bystanders did not respond to Ben Ari’s action. “We scare ourselves for nothing,” said the MK. “Arabs understand what leftists do not understand. We have a right to pray on the Mount.”

Although the Arab security force on the site tried to arrest the MK and two other activists, Ben Ari refused to cooperate, insisted on his diplomatic immunity and claimed his right to pray on the site.

Earlier, those who went up to the Temple Mount explained the decision to do so especially on this day as a desire “to bring loyalty to the holiest site in Jerusalem” as they defined it.

At 3:00 p.m. Sunday, thousands of people are expected to march around and through the Old City of Jerusalem in the traditional flag march marking the reunification of the ancient capital.

The route of the march will once again pass through the Muslim Quarter, despite last year’s disturbances, after having been confirmed by the Commissioner of Police.

On Sunday evening, celebrants will gather at the Yeshiva Merkaz HaRav Kook for an assembly with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, government ministers, Knesset members, honored rabbis and various other public figures.

Arutz Sheva’s Israel National News will broadcast live video from the celebration.

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5. Terrorist Kidnapping Cell Arrested

by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

Security agents have cracked a terrorist cell that roamed Judea and Samaria and failed several times to kidnap residents, especially women.

The Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) broke a gag order Sunday, two months after the arrest of nine terrorists, whose commander is from the area of Ramallah, headquarters of the Palestinian Authority.

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) cell planned to post a video on the Internet after a kidnapping in order to negotiate for the release of jailed terrorists. The cell planned to stage the attacks with stun guns and tear gas.

They used the method of faking a disabled vehicle or of simply blocking two-lane highways in Judea and Samaria. Most of the attempted kidnaps were reported by Arutz Sheva but they were mostly overlooked by mainstream media.

On March 11, the terrorists tried to pull an Israeli driver from his car near Kiryat Sefer, located next to Modiin between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, but the motorist was able to escape.

The following day, the terrorists blocked a road and tied to smash the windshield of a vehicle that was forced to stop. The motorist, realizing she was falling into a trap, stepped on the gas pedal and barely found a way to get past the roadblock.

The cell continued to prowl Judea and Samaria, and three days later, around midnight on March 15, they again blocked a car driven by a woman, whose baby was riding with her. The terrorists smashed her windshield, but she was saved when another Israeli vehicle arrived on the scene.

Two people narrowly escaped the would-be kidnappers’ clutches when they were hitchhiking. One of the hitchhikers started to accept the ride when the terrorist stopped but changed his mind at the behest of his friend, who realized the danger.

Security officials said that the repeated attempts to kidnap Israelis represent the high motivation of terrorists to abduct civilians, a tactic that Hamas and other terrorist groups have intensively promoted since Israel freed more than 1,000 terrorists and security prisoners in return for kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit last year.

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6. Terrorist Wounded in Failed Attack on Bicyclists

by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

An Arab terrorist was seriously wounded by his own knife Sunday at 12 noon when he tried to stab a soldier accompanying hundreds of bicyclists near Gush Etzion, all of whom escaped injury.

The cyclists were on the traditional ride from Kiryat Arba-Hevron to Jerusalem to celebrate the 45th Jerusalem Unification Day.

A contingent of soldiers and police escorted the bicycle event, and when the riders reached the Gush Etzion intersection, located a few miles south of Jerusalem, a terrorist appeared with a knife, and lunged at the soldiers.

The soldier nearest the terrorist reacted quickly, preventing him from approaching the cyclists, and during the clash, the terrorist’s knife entered his own stomach, wounding him seriously.

Israeli medics rushed him to Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem.

The heavily populated area includes Efrat (which has its own municipality), Alon Shvut, Elazar, Neve Daniel, the Har Etzion hesder yeshiva, Ohr Torah institutions and more.

The head of the Gush Etzion Regional Authority, Davidi Perl, responded to the terrorist attempt: “The attempted terrorist attack was planned for the day on which we celebrate the reunification of Jerusalem and the return of Judea and Samaria to Jewish rule – an attack on hundreds of young cyclists and their families. There is no doubt that this attempt, as with all the others that we have witnessed in the past few months, is intended to break the spirit of our nation, but the song of building and the blossoming of Gush Etzion and all of Judea, will go on.”

“I am filled with admiration and gratitude to the brave soldier whose alertness prevented a possible tragedy. Our thanks to all the security forces who dealt so efficiently with the incident”, he added.

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7. Nationalists’ Knesset Strength Soars in New Poll

by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

The National Union and Jewish Home parties would win 12 Knesset seats if elections were held today, according to a new independent poll.

The combined total of 12 seats is almost twice the current number and reflects a movement of nationalists from the Likud party after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu averted new elections by coaxing the center-left Kadima party to join a national unity coalition.

The Geocartography results project a coalition that would give the National Union, which is not in the current coalition government, and Jewish Home more clout. The projected national religious coalition would include 74 Knesset members, without the presence of Yair Lapid’s new Future party and without Labor or Kadima.

Geocartography, one of Israel’s largest polling companies and headed by Prof. Avi Dagni, carried out the survey which shows a loss of strength for both the Likud and Kadima.

Prof. Dagni explained that that the two parties lost approximately seven seats, mostly to the benefit of  National Union, headed by Knesset member Yaakov (Ketzaleh) Katz, Jewish Home and Yisrael Beytenu.

The poll gives Kadima, under the leadership of Shaul Mofaz, only seven seats, which still is four more than a different survey reported last week.

The lineup according to Geocartography is:

Likud – 31
Labor – 16
Yisrael Beiteinu – 15
Shas – 9
Yair Lapid’s Future party – 8
Kadima – 7
United Torah Judaism – 7
National Union – 7
Jewish Home – 5
Meretz – 4
Arab parties – 11.

The most significant result other than the increase in the strength of national parties is the zero representation for Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who broke off from Labor last year to from the Independence party.

The elections are scheduled for next year when the present Knesset’s term expires, unless the coalition falls apart.

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8. Boycott Boomerang: Arab Jobless Rate to Rise

by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

South Africa’s decision to label products from Judea and Samaria (Shomron) as “Palestinian” will boomerang and cause a rise in the Arab jobless rate, a Jewish factory owner says.

South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industry  Minister Rob Davies warned merchants last week “not to incorrectly label products that originate from the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) as products of Israel,” bowing to pressure from the international Boycott Israel movement.

Approximately 15,000 Arabs work for Jewish manufacturers and exporters in Judea and Samaria, and they will be the first to feel the effects of any drop in sales. “They won’t find better jobs in Ramallah or Shechem,” notes one Jewish factory owner.

He also said that if he has no choice other than to relocate in an area of Israel that is not part of Judea and Samaria, all of his Palestinian Authority employees will be without work.

Denmark may duplicate the policy announced by South Africa, and pro-Palestinian Authority groups are pressuring other countries to join the movement to mark Judea and Samaria as “Palestinian.”

The government is not taking the South African decision quietly, and Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor Saturday night called the decision “racist.”

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