Adar 23, 5773 / Tuesday, Mar. 05 ’13
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- 1. AIPAC-Sponsored Bill could Save Israel Aid
- 2. Charge: ‘Protection of Nature’ Group Focused on Jewish ‘Threat’
- 3. Labor: Cabel Offers to Replace Yachimovich
- 4. Home Front Soldiers Devote ‘Good Deeds Day’ to Seniors
- 5. MK: Wave of Hate Crimes against Hareidi Jews
- 6. Baby of Killed Hareidi Couple Dies Despite Doctor’s Efforts
- 7. Iran Must Allow Immediate Access to Parchin, Says IAEA Chief
- 8. Former Labor MK Shocked to Discover Temple Mount Discrimination
1. AIPAC-Sponsored Bill could Save Israel Aid
by Gil Ronen
A Republican and a Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives introduced legislation that would make Israel a “major strategic ally,” a one of a kind designation, JTA has reported.
The bill, introduced Monday by Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) and Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), is timed for the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference (AIPAC), and 13,000 activists are expected to lobby for it and for Iran-related bills on Tuesday.
The “major strategic ally” bill codifies a number of existing facets of the relationship between the U.S. and Israel, including annual defense assistance and cooperation on missile defense, energy research and cyber security.
It also calls for Israel to join the program that waives pre-arranged visas for select nationals entering the United States.
The Iran-related bills AIPAC activists will champion would tighten sanctions aimed at forcing Tehran to suspend its nuclear weapons program and would call for the president to support Israel should it feel “compelled” to strike Iran.
Political analyst Robert Naiman told Russian channel RT that the AIPAC annual conference is focused on the congressional designation of Israel as a “major strategic ally” of the U.S.
According to lobbyists associated with AIPAC, said Naiman, “it has to do with the coming threat of budget cuts. Under this sequester… there’re supposed to be across-the-board cuts to the US budget. So that should mean that the US aid to Israel, which is substantial, billions of dollars a year, should also be cut – but the Israel lobby doesn’t want the aid to Israel to be cut. So their long game is that with this designation of ‘major strategic ally’ they would move things that are currently paid out of the US aid to Israel into the base Pentagon budget.”
2. Charge: ‘Protection of Nature’ Group Focused on Jewish ‘Threat’
by Maayana Miskin
The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI), a well-known environmentalist group, regularly publishes a report on the threats currently facing the natural environment in Israel. A man who researched the group’s latest report says it shows a clear ethnic bias, with a disproportionate focus on Jewish “threats.”
Of the 119 situations that SPNI lists as current threats in its latest report, just three involve Arab construction and two Druze construction, Petach Tikva resident Shmuel Fischer told Arutz Sheva. Massive illegal Bedouin construction in the Negev, in dozens of communities, was reduced to a single threat, he noted.
On the rare occasions that SPNI did note construction in the Arab sector as a threat, the group recommended a compromise in which some illegal construction would be recognized, or communities would be allowed to expand, he said. In contrast, when it came to Jewish communities the group often took an uncompromising stance.
As an example, Fischer pointed out SPNI’s recommendations regarding Jewish homesteads in the Negev, which the group condemned as a “wasteful” use of land. The group called to uproot the Jewish homesteads, which were built with government encouragement, he said – while in the same report it called to recognize dozens of Bedouin communities that were built illegally in the same region.
Another example is the disparate treatment of a Jewish town, Kiryat Yaarim, and an Arab town, Jasser a-Zarka, both of which are hoping to expand, Fischer said. Regarding Kiryat Yaarim, SPNI argued that “even the smallest” version of the proposed expansion “threatens the open pastoral view and the continuous stretch of open, natural land north and west of the town.” However, when it came to Jasser a-Zarka, which hopes to expand in several directions, SPNI gave its approval to an expansion eastward.
“Even though the expansion of the Arab town of Jasser a-Zarka is initially portrayed as a ‘threat’, SPNI ultimately, surprisingly manages to find a way to allow expansion, even at the expense of open areas near the town,” Fischer said.
Fischer has compiled his own report with critique of SPNI’s approach.
Arutz Sheva sent Fischer’s report on to SPNI, which vehemently denied his charges. “In contrast to what was written, the Society for the Protection of Nature not only does not ignore the illegal construction in the Bedouin sector, but discusses it in depth, in threat number 96,” a spokesperson for the group said.
“The Society for the Protection of Nature works to protect nature throughout the country, from the Hermon in the north to Eilat in the south, with no distinction based on religion, race or nationality and without taking into account whether a town is Jewish or Bedouin,” he added. “Any talk of discrimination or preferential treatment for one sector or another is itself racist, and has no place in Israeli discourse.”
Fischer rejected SPNI’s rejection of his report. He noted that he had not charged SPNI with ignoring illegal Bedouin construction completely, but rather, with downplaying it and taking a compromising approach that stands in contrast to its approach regarding Jewish construction.
3. Labor: Cabel Offers to Replace Yachimovich
by Gil Ronen
A leadership fight is brewing in the Labor party as the party’s Knesset members realize that Chairperson MK Shelly Yachimovich will not lead them into the next Coalition. Yachimovich has stated that in order for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to accept her into his coalition, he would have to make policy changes that would be tantamount to “renouncing his religion.”
MK Eitan Cabel stated openly in a Channel 2 interview Tuesday that he is considering running against Yachimovich for the post of party chairperson.
MK Cabel opposes Yachimovich’s decision to rule out joining the coalition under any circumstances. He said Tuesday that if Netanyahu makes a far-reaching offer for the establishment of a “center left secular” government that includes Yesh Atid, Labor, Kadima and Tzipi Livni’s party, it will be difficult for Labor to refuse.
Former Labor MK Daniel Ben Simon told Arutz Sheva that he expects an internal rebellion within Labor to occur “within the next few days.”
4. Home Front Soldiers Devote ‘Good Deeds Day’ to Seniors
by Gil Ronen
Every Wednesday, about 20 soldiers from the Haifa District of the Home Front Command show up at the Sephardic Old Age Home in Haifa, to volunteer with the senior citizens there, the IDF Website reported.
Last week, they showed up in much larger numbers – 130, to be exact – in honor of the fact that the Command is celebrating the 21st anniversary of its establishment, and also because of Good Deeds Day, declared by a nonprofit group founded by the Arison Group, which is being marked Tuesday.
The soldiers, male and female, could be seen at every corner of the home, sitting with the tenants, listening to their stories, and playing board games with them. A few female soldiers even set up a “manicure stand” for the tenants.
“This place serves between 340 and 370 tenants,” Haifa District Commander, Col. Eitan Yitzchak, told IDF Website‘s Dana Petrov. “These are elderly people who, on one end of the spectrum, are mentally frail people who cannot function independently and need constant assistance, and on the other, elderly folks who come here from their private homes for several hours a day.”
The Haifa District of the Home Front Command sees the ongoing connection with the community as an integral part of its service, in times of peace as well as war. The connection with the Sephardic Old Age Home was established as a product of this way of thinking. Besides the regular visits to the Old Age Home, the elderly residents will also visit the soldiers’ base for one day, later in the year.
Col. Yitzchak said that the volunteering work enables the soldiers get to know the generation that established the state of Israel, and that the soldiers tend to see it as a positive challenge. Some of the soldiers volunteered to work with the mentally frail, he added.
While some of the soldiers were busy at the manicure stand, others brought hi-tech to the Home. “I taught one of the tenants how to open a Facebook account,” smiled Cpl. Noam Gigi. “I opened a user account for him for the first time and he got very excited, We made an appointment for me to visit him at home, too, and help him enter Facebook from his home computer. He wanted to communicate with his grandchildren and he had no way of doing so. Now he can talk to them and see their photos.”
5. MK: Wave of Hate Crimes against Hareidi Jews
by Maayana Miskin
Media incitement against hareidi-religious Jews has led to a wave of hate crimes targeting the community, MK Yisrael Eichler of the hareidi-religious Yahadut Hatorah (UTJ) party charged Monday from the Knesset podium.
The wave of attacks has been ignored by the mainstream media, he charged.
Eichler began by addressing Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom. “How do you, as a former journalist and the current Vice Prime Minister, see the burning of a girls’ school affiliated with the Bobov Chassidic movement as a ‘price tag’ operation against hareidi Jews?” he questioned.
“You probably have not heard of it, for the simple reason that the media is keeping it quiet,” he added.
Shalom responded that he indeed had not heard about the incident in question.
The arson attack was the tip of the iceberg, Eichler said. “Every day people spit at and curse hareidi Jews, particularly recently, and nobody is horrified by this.”
“But when somebody in Beit Shemesh spits on one girl, a party was built on that spit that got nineteen mandates, and another twelve religious mandates joined them to boycott hareidi Jews and starve their children,” he said, referring to the Yesh Atid party and its pact with the Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) party. MKs in the Yahadut Hatorah party say the two parties’ insistence on hareidi-religious army recruitment is a serious threat to the hareidi world.
Eichler stated that many hate crimes have gone unreported. While Jews are regularly arrested if they are accused of harming Arabs, nobody is arrested for attacks on hareidi Jews, he said, creating a situation in which many hareidi people do not file complaints over attacks because they feel that there is no benefit in doing so.
He asked what the government plans to do to avoid hate crimes in light of expected continuing anti-hareidi sentiment.
6. Baby of Killed Hareidi Couple Dies Despite Doctor’s Efforts
by Arutz Sheva Staff
A day after a car crash claimed the lives of a young hassidic couple in Brooklyn and their son was born prematurely in an emergency procedure, the baby died on Monday. Doctors at the hospital to which he was rushed had fought valiantly to save his life.
The death of the baby, delivered about three months early, elevated the sadness in the couple’s tight-knit hassidic community in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, which had sought solace in the newborn’s survival serving as a vestige of the young family.
His death also served to reinvigorate calls to bring serious criminal charges against the driver of the BMW sedan that struck the car service vehicle in which his parents, Raizy and Nathan Glauber, both 21, were riding.
Police officials on Monday identified the driver as Julio Acevedo, 44, of Brooklyn, who fled the scene of the crash. He was still being sought on Monday afternoon, reported the NY Times.
The owner of the BMW, Takia Walker, 29, of the Bronx, was arrested on Sunday on charges of insurance fraud, accused of buying and registering the car under false pretenses.
The crash occurred Sunday just after midnight. The Glaubers, feeling something may have been wrong with the pregnancy, called a car service to take them to a hospital. Their cab was struck on the driver’s side by the BMW with such force that Raizy was ejected onto the pavement and both cars were mangled.
Nathan Glauber was taken to Beth Israel Medical Center in Manhattan, and his wife was taken to Bellevue Hospital Center, where the baby was delivered prematurely and intubated. The parents were pronounced dead early Sunday.
The police told the Times that Acevedo would, at minimum, face charges for fleeing the scene of an accident. Investigators may seek to establish whether he was drunk at the time of the accident, a task made more difficult by his flight from the scene.
Police and witness accounts had indicated that there was a female passenger in the BMW, but police officials said Monday that Acevedo had been driving alone.
A witness told the police that the BMW had been traveling at a high rate of speed on Kent Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, when it struck the cab as it turned onto the avenue from Wilson Street.
“The driver of the BMW was doing at least 60 miles an hour when it hit the other vehicle,” said Paul J. Browne, the Police Department’s chief spokesman, according to the New York Times.
The Satmar Rebbe was among the many thousands who attended the funeral of the young kollel student and his wife.
7. Iran Must Allow Immediate Access to Parchin, Says IAEA Chief
by Elad Benari
The head of the UN atomic agency called Monday on Iran to allow immediate access to the Parchin military base where it suspects nuclear weapons research took place, AFP reported.
The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Yukiya Amano said that this should be granted “without further delay” and without waiting for stalled talks to reach an agreement on investigating other alleged “westernization” activities.
“I request Iran once again to provide access to the Parchin site without further delay, whether or not agreement has been reached on the structured approach,” Amano told the IAEA board of governors meeting.
“Providing access to the Parchin site would be a positive step which would help to demonstrate Iran’s willingness to engage with the Agency on the substance of our concerns,” he said, according to AFP.
Iran has refused to give the IAEA access to sites, documents and scientists involved in what the agency suspects were efforts, mostly in the past but possibly ongoing, to develop nuclear weapons.
More than a year of meetings, the latest on February 13 in Tehran, have failed to agree on a so-called “structured approach” deal to address all the allegations.
Amano said Monday that “negotiations must proceed with a sense of urgency” and that he “would like to report real progress by the next meeting of the next (IAEA) board meeting in June.”
Tehran says that the IAEA’s conclusions about the “possible military dimensions” of its program are based on flawed information from Western and Israeli spy agencies, information that it says it has not been allowed to see.
Iran denies working or ever having worked on nuclear weapons and says that no nuclear activities have taken place at the Parchin military base near Tehran and that therefore the IAEA has no right to conduct inspections there.
The IAEA visited the site twice in 2005 but says that since then it has obtained additional indications of activity there that make it want to go back.
An IAEA report released on February 21 indicated that Iran has begun installing next-generation equipment at one of its main nuclear plants in Natanz.
Iran’s envoy to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, said that the report from the Vienna-based watchdog shows Iran’s nuclear activities are peaceful.
“The most important point of the report is that after a decade of continuous inspections by the agency, there is no evidence on divergence toward military purposes in Iran’s nuclear material and activities,” Soltanieh said the day after the report was released.
On Sunday, Iran confirmed the information in the report, with its state-run media saying the Islamic Republic is adding thousands of advanced centrifuges to further enrich uranium into nuclear fuel.
Sunday was the first time officials have announced details about the number of machines being installed at the plant, although plans for the equipment had been made public earlier in the year.
8. Former Labor MK Shocked to Discover Temple Mount Discrimination
by Elad Benari
Former Labor MK Daniel Ben-Simon cut short a visit to the Temple Mount on Sunday, after he personally witnessed the discrimination by Israeli police towards Jewish visitors to the holy site.
Speaking to Arutz Sheva about the experience on Monday, Ben-Simon said he was surprised, already at the start of his visit, to see that Jews are forced to wait in long, crowded lines to enter one of the holiest sites in the world.
Ben-Simon said that when he finally reached the end of the line-up after a long and unpleasant wait, he was told that the Temple Mount is closed due to what was described as “tension”. He later discovered that the source of this tension is a Quran that fell from the hands of a Muslim worshiper who came to the Temple Mount.
The Arab worshiper claimed that an Israeli police officer had deliberately dropped the book from her hand, but Ben-Simon expressed doubt at the truthfulness of the story and said it was unacceptable that the area was closed off to Jews because of such a minor event.
“Because of a fallen book they close the Temple Mount to hundreds of people who are waiting to get in?” he said. “The Minister of Internal Security must be summoned and asked about the reality in which the police are on high alert because of a fallen book. Who’s in charge here? All this is done without explanation.”
Later in the afternoon Ben-Simon, who was visiting the compound as part of research he is conducting for a book he’s planning to write, returned to the Temple Mount, getting in this time, and was shocked by what he discovered.
“I was surprised by the intensity of the tension. People looking at you from all sides, examining the movements of your lips, and heaven forbid if they move in what seems like a prayer,” he said. “When I saw this I asked my companions to leave. This is not a visit. I do not feel comfortable when Waqf and police accompany each step I make. I cut the visit short and left within ten minutes.”
Ben-Simon admitted that despite having served as an MK, he was previously unaware that this reality is what Jews are always facing on the Temple Mount, and said that most Israeli MKs do not visit the site and are unaware of this absurd reality.
“The vast majority of those present were tourists. Israelis do not visit,” he said, adding, “This is an unpleasant experience that I would not like to go through again. I expect to get a little respect in a place of prayer.”
The former parliamentarian said he finds it difficult to understand how Israel got to the current situation. He likened the corridor leading to the Temple Mount to a military facility where one cannot look left and right, fearing his looks may be interpreted incorrectly and cause rage.
Ben-Simon said the Israeli system should examine the situation at the Temple Mount, though he admitted it would be hard to change things in the current political reality.
At the same time, Ben-Simon said, it is “an impossible situation that anyone who comes to the Temple Mount is suspected of wanting to blow up the compound.” He added that delegations of Knesset members should be taken on a tour of the Temple Mount so they can see the situation firsthand and then closely examine appropriate ways to solve it.
“I did not know the problem existed when I was a Knesset member,” he admitted.
Israel liberated the Temple Mount during the 1967 Six Day War, leaving the Waqf in charge of the compound.
The Waqf, in return, has removed every sign of ancient Jewish presence at the Jewish holy site. At the entrance to the Temple Mount, a Waqf sign says, “The Al-Aqsa Mosque courtyard and everything in it is Islamic property.”
Israeli Police, in an attempt to appease the Waqf, discriminate against Jews. They limit the number of Jewish worshippers allowed on the Temple Mount at one time in order to prevent conflict with Muslim worshippers. They often close the Mount to Jews in response to Muslim riots, as Ben-Simon saw for himself on Sunday, despite evidence that Muslim riots have been planned in advance for the specific purpose of forcing Jews out.
Arabs continuously accuse Israel of “Judaizing” the Temple Mount, sometimes resorting to ridiculous propaganda such as accusing Israel of using chemicals to erode the foundations of the mosque in order to cause it to collapse.
At the same time the Waqf consistently destroys Jewish antiquities on the Temple Mount in a direct violation of a ruling by the Supreme Court.
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