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Category: Israel News (page 1 of 103)

News in Israel, current events, Israeli politics, daily life and commentary on life in Israel and the Middle East.

Wrecking Ball the Israeli Version (Neomi Kapit – Haborer)

This is a parody on the Miley Cyrus’s Wrecking Ball. The singer, Lirit Bilvan is a comedian actress, acting in an Israeli crime drama “HaBorer” as Neomi Kapit, the misfit daughter of a crime boss who has “turned” religious.

Ahead of Obama’s Visit, Israel Installs New Government

Israel prepares for US President Barack Obama’s first visit, as well as introducing the 33rd government coalition – PBSNewsHour

Palestinians Demand Answers After Detainee Dies in Israeli Custody

Palestinians Demand Answers After Detainee Dies in Israeli Custody

Palestinians are in uproar and demanding answers after a 30-year-old prisoner died while in Israeli detention. According to some, the detainee died as a result of being tortured during interrogation. This incident occurred as Palestinian prisoners went on a hunger strike.

The prisoner, identified as Arafat Jaradat, died from an apparent heart attack. An autopsy is now scheduled with a relative of Jaradat and a Palestinian forensic specialist expected to be present.

Demonstrations are heating up in the West Bank, and some Israeli officials and analysts fear that a Palestinian intifada, or uprising, may be in place. Protesters are demanding for the release of 123 prisoners who have been behind bars since the signing of the Oslo Accords back in 1993.

The demonstrations have resulted in protestors clashing with Israeli soldiers and settlers. Demonstrators demanded justice for the death of Jaradat, who was employed at a gas station and the father to two children ages 4 and 2.

Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, has released a statement that its members will resort to any means necessary to liberate the prisoners. Hamas has also called for the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers and criticized Palestinian leaders for relying on negotiations that have resulted in zero progress.

Jaradat was taken into custody for hurling stones at cars in a West Bank settlement. He was also accused of throwing Molotov cocktails, a claim which he denied. During his trial, he complained to his lawyer of severe neck and back pain as a result of harsh interrogation methods. According to Jaradat’s uncle, interrogators also threatened Jaradat by bringing his children into the discussion and warning that he will never see them again if he does not cooperate.

There is speculation that Jaradat’s death could be the premise for a third intifada. The uprising, should it take place, is expected to be in the form of mass, nonviolent civil disobedience.

Petition Seeks to Remove Anti-Israel Page on Facebook

F*ck Israel Facebook Page

Facebook is a social network where anyone can share their views and have it heard by millions in an instant. While free speech is a freedom that everyone enjoys, some people exploit that right to serve their own prejudices.

A Facebook page called “F*ck Israel” has been stirring a lot of controversy. A petition is now swirling around the site and garnering support in an effort to pressure Facebook to close the page.

The petition was started by Michael Mendelson with the support of several Pro-Israel groups and has already collected more than 75,000 likes. According to Mendelson, he has not been in contact with any Facebook officials though he speculates that the petition will need roughly 10 times the number of likes as the “F*ck Israel” page in order for Facebook to act.

The Anti-Defamation League has also stepped in and urged Facebook to step up and remove all offensive comments and remarks on the page.

The “F*ck Israel” page has 36,000 likes so far and has statements that praise Adolf Hitler and also refers to Jews as pigs, apes and baby killers. The page, however, also contains a number of comments that stand behind Israel and boldly denounce the hateful sentiments.

According to Abraham Cooper, a Los Angeles rabbi, there are about two dozen other similar groups on Facebook as well as others on Twitter and Youtube. Most of them are believed to be started by Muslim groups. Most of these pages contain a logo of the Palestinian flag or the Israel flag with a censor mark over it.

Facebook is also home to several pages dedicated to the defamation of Mormons, Muslims, Christians and Hindus. While Facebook has been responsive and have removed pages containing offensive material, the creators of such groups are often allowed to create another page under a different name.

An Award for Jewish Educators

In 1994 the Milken Family Foundation (MFF) established the Jewish Educators Award as a way of acknowledging the work of outstanding educators who work in the field of Jewish education. The Award is presented annually to honor these individuals for the high quality of their work, their professional leadership, their community involvement and support of their schools’ families.

MFF, led by co-founder Lowell Milken believes that a Jewish Day School education will nourish a child’s Jewish identity as it guides the student to develop strong Jewish values and remain faithful to his Jewish heritage. To strengthen the Jewish Day School movement, MFF embarked on a project that would publicly honor some of the talented and dedicated educators who work tirelessly to make Jewish education an exciting and engaging experience for the students. The Award is intended to recognize the contributions that superior Jewish educators make to the Jewish community.

Award recipients include teachers, specialists and administers who work in Jewish Day School network. The Milken Foundation’s Jewish Educator’s Award has been presented to professionals representing almost 40 schools nationwide as a way of recognizing the recipients’ scholarship, creativity and compassion in their work.

In naming Award recipients the Milken Foundation considers the educator’s practices in the classroom as well the individual’s relationship with the school’s families and with the community. Educators are expected to demonstrate originality in their educational methods and leadership skills which influence policies that affect the school’s children, their families and the community.

Four educators are named to receive the Milken Educators Award each year. Nominees must teach in a Board of Jewish Education-affiliated school at the K-12 level. A committee of professional educators and lay community members select each year’s recipients who receive $15,000 each, together with the acknowledgement of the Milken Family Foundation and their own communities.

Yair Lapid’s Centrist Party Seizes Parliament Control

Yair Lapid’s Centrist Party Seizes Parliament Control

Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu may still be in office, but there is no question his right-wing bloc took a hammering in the parliamentary elections. Netanyahu and his conservative Likud Party just barely pulled away with a victory despite news media analysis that his party would win by a landslide.

The Likud Party just barely snagged 31 seats in the 120-member Knesset. Yesh Atid made away with 19 seats, far more than what was predicted. Labor, the dominant party of the left, came in third with 15 seats.

The results clearly demonstrate the polarization among Israeli voters and present an opportunity for the centrist Yesh Atid party to break into the political landscape that has been dominated by Netanyahu’s right-wing faction.

Yesh Atid is led by Yair Lapid, a man who is no stranger to the camera. He is an ex-journalist, published author of seven books, talk show host and even had a brief stint as an amateur boxer. Unlike Netanyahu who emphasized on national security and the threat of Iran, Lapid’s priority was on issues that had a more direct effect on the people. This included issues regarding the rising cost of living, education reform and ending military service exemptions for ultra-Orthodox Jews.

The election campaign focused primarily on the economy and social issues with very little discussion about Iran and foreign affairs. There have also been discussions regarding the occupation of the West Bank, which Netanyahu has been criticized for after ordering the construction of an additional 4,500 settler homes. The election results also mean that Netanyahu may have to compromise when it comes to Palestinian’s demand for statehood. The Yesh Atid party is in favor of a return to negotiations with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas over the West Bank.

The new parliament is now virtually evenly split, which means there will certainly be heated discussions over issues like Iran and Israeli annexation of the West Bank.

Netanyahu Announces Plan to Erect a Barrier along Israel-Syria Border

Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu pledged that authorities will erect a fence along the Israel-Syria border amid concerns that radical Islamist members have infested the area.

So far, Israel has stayed out of the Syrian conflict that has claimed more than 60,000 lives, most of them civilian. However, there is rising concern that the continued violence and fighting could soon spill over to Israel.

Among the worries, Netanyahu expressed concerns that Syrian President Bashir Assad may try to lure Israel into the battle as a final act of desperation. Even more troubling is a possible scenario in which Assad is overthrown with Syria being overtaken by Islamist extremists who will ultimately locate and gain access to the county’s cache of chemical arsenal.

Netanyahu’s address came just as Assad made an international plea for reconciliation and condemned the Western nations for providing aid to the rebels, adding that most of them had direct ties to al-Qaida.

At a Cabinet meeting, Netanyahu emphasized a need for a fence along the borders that it shared with Syria. Such a barrier already exists along the border that the country shares with Egypt, which is in place to curb the flow of migrants. The new fence, still in its planning phase, will provide a barrier to prevent access from jihad forces, which have overtook areas once occupied by the Syrian army.

Since the uprising in Syria began in March of 2011, mortar rounds have occasionally landed on Israel’s side of the territory. While the stray fire is believed to be accidental, Israel nevertheless fired retaliatory shots as a stern warning.

So far, no estimates have been given about how long such a project would take to complete. Even the barrier built along the Israel-Egypt border is not yet complete as the border stretches for 125 miles.

U.S. Schools may Soon Adopt Similar Security Measures Taken by Schools in Israel

The U.S. is still in mourning over the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, following a horrific school shooting that left 26 children and faculty members dead. The shooting sparked a debate over gun control. Some feel that gun restrictions need to be tightened and enforced while others believe that more guns can actually prevent such shootings from taking place.

Some gun advocates believe that the U.S. can benefit by adopting the same security measures taken by schools in Israel. The Jewish state is used to continuous threats and the possibility of a terrorist strike at crowded locations, which includes schools. Schools in Israel are nothing like the ones in the U.S. While the latter may have a few unarmed security guards, Israel schools are fortified with metal detectors, fences and armed private guards. To add to the security, some teachers even have a loaded weapon on them during classroom hours.

Israel’s Academy of Security and Investigation CEO, Oren Shemtov, say that shootings occur in a matter of minutes, and that teachers who are armed may be able to fight back and buy enough time for students to escape and while awaiting the arrival of police.

Shemtov commented on the shooting in Newtown and praised the adult victims as heroes for their actions but also added that their efforts were in vein as they had no means to defend themselves and their students.

Israeli police veteran Dov Zwerling echoed similar sentiments and said that the presence of armed guards may be able to prevent mass shootings. He added that in nearly all mass shooting incidents in the U.S., the shooter takes his own life the moment police arrive. This means that shooters will be deterred if challenged.

Teachers in Israeli schools are permitted to carry a firearm though the number that actually do has decreased over the years mainly due to philosophical objections.

Israeli Aggression – Caricature 1956

Palestinians Condemn Israel for Settlement Expansion Plans

Not long after gaining recognition of statehood by the United Nations, the Palestinians are now condemning Israel and saying that the nation must be held accountable for what they deem to be war crimes for trying to expand the settlement into East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

The Palestinians sent a letter to the UN Security Council and UN Secretary General accusing Israel of violating international law. The complaint came after Israel announced plans to expand the land for an additional 3,000 homes for settlers; these are the same areas that Palestinians planned for a future state.

The news came just after the UN General Assembly raised the status of the Palestinians from “observer entity” to “non-member state.” With the upgrade in status, the Palestinians now have open access to the International Criminal Court, which oversees cases regarding violations of human rights, war crimes and genocide.

The Palestinians are now threatening to use the court to seek legal action against Israel should it proceed with its plans to build the settlements. Before the UN vote, a few Western nations made an unsuccessful attempt to get the Palestinians to agree to a pledge that they would not use the court against Israel.

The Palestinians, however, are not without support. Both Britain and France have threatened to recall their ambassadors and have also arranged for plans to meet with Israeli officials to persuade them to withdraw their settlement plans. William Hague, the British Foreign Secretary, has said that while economic sanctions are unlikely, it will consider all options on the table if Israel does not rescind its decision. Additional nations including Spain, Sweden, Denmark, Ireland and Australia have also echoed the same sentiment in getting Israel to halt any settlement expansion plans.

The West Bank and East Jerusalem are currently home to about 2.5 million Palestinians as well as half a million Israelis.

Efforts Continue for an Israel-Hamas Cease-Fire Agreement

Israel and Hamas appear to be one step closer to a cease-fire agreement though the fighting continues to rage on from both sides. Israeli tanks and gunboats fired into Gaza while as many as 200 rockets were launched at Israel.

In the meantime, officials from both sides work to propose a deal to put the fighting to a halt. The U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton along with the U.N Chief and Egypt’s president has also got involved.

Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu has publicly announced that the country hopes for a diplomatic solution to resolve the conflict though it will continue to take whatever steps are necessary to defend itself.

Clinton has expressed her desire for an outcome that involves comprehensive peace talks and expressed her sorrows for the casualties on both sides but also stated that the U.S. remains committed to Israel’s security.

According to a spokesperson, Clinton met with the Prime Minister to discuss efforts on de-escalating the situation. The Secretary of State also has plans to make stops in Cairo and Ramallah to meet with Egyptian officials.

The fighting began on Nov 14th when Israel launched a retaliatory attack in response to months of rocket launches directed at its border. The attack began with an airstrike that killed a Hamas military chief. This was followed by a series of additional strikes that targeted militants and weapons storage sites.

So far, 130 Palestinians have reportedly been killed by the strikes with dozens of civilians injured. The rockets launched by Hamas have so far killed five Israelis, which included a soldier and civilian.

U.N. Chief Ban Ki-Moon criticized the rocket attacks by the Palestinians but also urged Israel to restrain itself from exercising too much military force.

Israel is demanding that Hamas puts an end to the rocket fires from Gaza and to put an end to weapons smuggling that is taking place through underground tunnels between Egypt and Gaza. It is also calling for Hamas to pledge that it will not use Egypt’s Sinai region as a staging point for launching attacks at Israel.

We Love Death as Much as the Jews Like Life – Hamas

Again we are going for another round with Hamas. This time its “Pillar of Cloud”. It all started with the Hamas firing rockets for the last few weeks. Israel waited for the right time and started the operation with the killing of Ahmed Ja’abari, Hamas’s most senior military commander.

Since then 3 Israelis were killed when the top floor of a building in Qiryat Malachi was blown away. On the palestinian side, 39 Palestinians are dead. Hamas fired over 650 rockets into Israel, hitting cities in the south like Ashkelon, Sderot, Beear Sheva, Ashdod, Rishon LeZion, and the 40 KM strip around the southern border with Gaza. What is different this time is the rockets fired at Tel Aviv. There were two sirens so far followed by rockets that landed in open spaces (no damage).

The government received approval for a military reserve recruitment of 75,000 soldiers. The picture you see was published in facebook – it shows a 9 month pregnant woman saying goodbye to her husband who was just called up in this latest recruitment.

I said it before and I’ll say it again. This will never end. We will always have to keep them at bay. Every so often we will need to initiate a retaliation, or some sort of deterring move to stop them from thinking we are getting too soft. They don’t want us here. They will never make peace with us. They want us dead.

Someone told me about this video clip, and its worth a look. It explains the Middle East crisis in a very plain nutshell.

The Switcharoo – New Party in the Making Threatens Biberman Union

Photo: Eyal Yitzhar Reuters

Yep, there is no rest for the wicked in Israeli politics. A little while ago Bibi was on top of the world. He annexed Kadima into a unity government lead by Shaul Mofaz by giving him the Vice Prime Minister “position”, a step that created the largest coalition in government in Israeli politics history (April 2012).

October 12, 2012 Moshe Kahlon a widely supported member of the Likud party and rising star, (as well as Minister of Communications and Minister of Welfare & Social Services), suddenly announced his retirement from politics. He was walked out with much fanfare, hugs kisses and warm wishes from Bibi who was actually, for his own agenda, sorry to see him go. What Bibi was worried about was the ever lurking, Moshe Feiglin. The pesky Manhigut Yehudit leading hardliner, ran against Bibi for the 2012 Likud leadership election in January 31 and received 23% of the vote.

October 25, 2012 Bibi, the Wiley Coyote that he is, announced the now infamous Biberman union (Bibi+Lieberman) of the Likud party and Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu – merging to a single party Halikud Beiteinu that will premier in the coming elections Jan. 22, 2013.

“A joining of forces will give us the strength to defend Israel from military threats, and the strength to spearhead social and economic changes in the country,” he said.

The polls showed that the union would form a strong base of at least 30 electoral votes with the other parties, Kadima, Labour, Shas (religious), Yesh Atid (Lapid’s new gig) holding smaller less threatening portions.

BUT THEN, the switcharoo. Moshe Kahlon who earlier announced his political hiatus for the sake of making some of the mighty green (he got a job from one of the local tycoons) had a change of heart. Why? Maybe the Biberman move was too much for him, maybe he realized that leaving the political scene would mean that when he got back he would need to contend with Lieberman. But in any case, today the news is that he is running some polls. The Polls are good. They show that if he runs with Tzipi Livni’s Kadima (what’s left of it) they would get 27 electorals opposed with the 30 electorals the Biberman union would get (Halikud Beiteinu). Or alternatively, if he ran with Shelly Yachimovich and her Labour Party the total would be the same as Bibi and that is an interesting place to be.

People are concerned with the Biberman union. It smells bad, here is a little parody just on that (Hebrew)

Video Campaign for Kabbalah Bracelet Line Goes Live

MIZZE has also recently launched a funny (some say corky) online video campaign for their line of bracelets. The Israeli company has been making their own brand of Kabbalah inspired jewelry for 3 years.

The campaign was prompted by the just released line of new Kabbalah bracelets. MIZZE is a small jewelry studio in Israel that has its own line of unique Kabbalah jewelry. Their line includes necklaces, bracelets, rings and earrings. Their newest addition includes what they call “Red String Inside” bracelets – Kabbalah bracelets with an authentic Rachel’s tomb red string inter-woven into the bracelets. Rachel was a matriarch in biblical times and is revered in Christianity and Judaism.

The bracelet is intricately woven into a cotton thread with a seal of King Solomon amulet included as a charm. In ancient legend, the seal was said to give King Solomon mystic powers. Every bracelet includes a different seal that has special divine properties (Love, Positive Changes, Health and so on..) and holds some spiritual or emotional significance for the bearer.

Even though the jewelry is inspired by Kabbalah, it is also perfectly suitable for fashion wear. Those who are not drawn by its spiritual origins will at least find its design appealing enough for regular wear and use. For Jews, Christians and some new agers, the item has a deeper meaning and reflects an esoteric belief and practice that is such an integral part of the person’s life.

All jewelry available at MIZZE is crafted from quality organic materials and 925 Sterling Silver, so they make great gift options for those looking for a present with some sentimental value. The new Kabbalah bracelets at MIZZE come in up to 10 different colors for the band and a different Solomon Seal made from sterling silver for each one.

Christian Holy Sites in Jerusalem Desecrated by Vandals

Israel’s Holy See ambassador, Zion Evrony, announced that a recent string of graffiti on Christian holy areas in Jerusalem must be publicly addressed or else it can harm Israel’s image as a nation that enjoys freedom of religion.

Evrony and Pope Benedict XVI met in Rome for a meeting to discuss the current relationship shared between Israel and the Vatican. The vandalism has been termed as “price tag” assaults and has been widely condemned by the Catholic Church in Italy. Despite the recent wave of vandalism, the pope and ambassador met under positive circumstances as the former was presented a gold figurine of a dove that symbolized peace. The meeting concluded with the pope sending a prayer of blessing to the Israeli people.

Price tag vandalism began recently when unknown vandals spray painted defamatory comments on the walls of a monastery on Mount Zion. The graffiti contained inscriptions that read “Jesus, son of a whore, price tag.”

The assailants remain on the loose though authorities suspect that the culprits may be tied to an extreme pro-settler Jewish organization that have already claimed responsibility for similar attacks on mosques, churches and even equipment belonging to the Israeli military. The vandalism is believed to be in retaliation for what is perceived by the group as Israel’s pro-Palestinian policies set by the government.

Christians make up less than two percent of the country’s population but have already faced repeated instances of defacing of their sacred sites. President Shimon Peres has publicly denounced the attacks and said that the actions are not values shared by the Jewish community.

Just a month prior, when a settlement outpost in the West Bank that was illegally built was torn down, vandals responded by spray painting a door on a monastery with the inscription “Jesus is a Monkey.”

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