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Category: Israel News (page 7 of 103)

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

The Palestinian Authority: How It Looks From Here

Perhaps it is time for the Palestinian Authority to call off suicide picketing and get to work on life in their own borders. They will find this is the root to independence!

Swift economic growth in the West Bank is not enough to keep up with population growth, says a new UNRWA report. The jobless rate rose in the second half of 2010 to 25% of the region’s workforce from 21.7% in the first of the year and 23.6% in the second half of 2009. Unemployment increased even as the gross domestic product rose 7.6% last year.

Salem Ajluni, a UNRWA economic consultant said:

“There is fairly robust population growth and fairly robust labor force growth, so you need a pretty rapid rate of job creation to absorb it…You need tens of thousands new jobs each year sustainably just to maintain unemployment rates at existing levels.”

UNWRA figures however show that the number of jobs in the West Bank increased over 14,000 in 2010, or 2.6%, while, the number of people in the labor force, which the agency defines broadly to include people employed, actively looking for work as well as those who have given up, rose 4.6%.

However, the Palestinian Authority’s calculations are different.

They put the rate at 17% and say the jobless rate has been falling.

In the Gaza strip, an easing of Israel’s and Egypt’s blockade has had positive fiscal affects and foreign assistance to the West Bank, threatened by the Hamas-Fatah merger, has actually spurred a consumer and building spike.

After the threat to the PA’s foreign aid, which does make up the majority of its cash assets, it is vital to realize how the building of Jewish settlements will only increase Palestinian employment in the West Bank.

As it stands, employment in the public sector, which has been the direct beneficiary of foreign financial aid, grew by 3.6% in the second half of 2010. And in the private sector, the number of jobs declined by 1.7% while employment in Israel and in Israeli communities located in the West Bank it fell 3.6%.

Also, to further put life into the economy, all boycotts on Israeli trade must be called off.

Hey, a little self-reliance never hurt!

Is It Us Against the World?

Three weeks after he staged the first mass border sortie on the Jewish State, Syria’s Assad paid each Molotov cocktail hurling demonstrator, Syrian and Palestinian, $1,000 for cutting a piece of razor wire on Israel’s border fence, as well as $10,000 for the families of volunteers shot by Israeli troops. Assad wished to detract attention from the more than 1200 Syrian rebels that have been killed in the crackdowns.

The U.S. State department issued the following statement:

“We are deeply troubled by events that took place earlier today in the Golan Heights resulting in injuries and the loss of life…We call for all sides to exercise restraint. Provocative actions like this should be avoided. Israel, like any sovereign nation, has a right to defend itself…”

While Syrian police prevented another protest on Monday, Assad’s purpose for staging these bloody media spectacles.

In other news, a Dahaf Institute poll commissioned by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, of 500 Israelis representing a sample of the population was taken last week.

According to the poll, 77% of Israelis oppose returning to pre-1967 lines.

The large majority 85% respectively recognized the importance of maintaining a united Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty within the framework of any kind of finalized peace deal and opposed transferring the Temple Mount to Palestinian control even if the Western Wall remains in Israeli hands…as for the the Jordan Valley, 84% believe Israel must maintain control of the strategic border with Jordan even in the framework of a finalpeace agreement.

Mazal Tov Israel

On Thursday, the Bank of Israel increased its 2011 GDP growth forecast to 5.2 percent from 4.5 percent and lowered its unemployment rate forecast to 5.8 percent – lowest ever

The Bank of Israel’s growth forecast is in fact lower than the OECD forecast – 5.4 percent – announced earlier in the week. They are also predicting 4.2 percent GDP growth in the coming year and no change in the impressive unemployment rate.

The bank issued a statement saying:

“The rapid growth of GDP and use of resources in the first quarter, and in particular the surge in exports and fixed investment, resulted in an upward revision of most items. Despite the rapid increase in exports, the surplus in the current account of the balance of payments is expected to be significantly smaller than in the previous forecast, because of a faster increase in imports and a more severe deterioration in the terms of trade. The quarterly rates of growth are expected to slow a little in the course of the year as the economy converges to a full employment situation.”

And as for 2012:

“Exports are expected to continue increasing, at a rate slightly below that of world trade, due to both external forces – the deterioration in the terms of trade – and the level of the real exchange rate. The steep increase in capital stock, the result of the expansion of investment in 2011; and the continued rise in the rate of participation in the labor force to 58%, are expected to contribute to a growth rate in 2012 in excess of the potential rate, despite the fact that the economy is in a full employment environment.”

The prediction is 4 percent growth in private consumption for both this year and next; export growth (excluding diamonds) of 6.3 percent this year and 6.2 percent in 2012, import growth (not including defense and diamonds) of 11.5 percent and 6.7 percent respectively, and investment in fixed assets growth of 15.4 percent and 6.8 percent.

The forecast is evidence of stability in Israel’s geopolitical situation and continued smooth riding – knock on wood – in the global economy with no serious fiscal crises developing.

Meanwhile, in IMD’s World Competitiveness Yearbook (WCY) in 2011, Israel is number one in the world in total expenditures of R&D as percentage of GDP, central bank policy, entrepreneurship and scientific research. Also, in 2011 Israel was ranked by IMD, the second in the world in access to venture capital and public expenditure for education.

Naksa Day, the United Nations and Why Obama Hasn’t Taken Us Up On That Standing Mud Bath Offer?

Sunday marks ‘Naksa Day’ – the 44th anniversary of the Six Day War – and in anticipation of violent protests and terrorist activity similar to what went down ‘Nakba day‘, the alert level is raised.

United Nations Security CouncilUnder duress to strip the Jews naked of their geographical armor, the Jewish State issued a caveat that any attack on its sovereignty will not be tolerated. The message was directed as much at the United Nations as at Syria and Lebanon. The former country up to its neck in blood, engaged in genocide vicious enough to blemish its humanitarian record forever in the future annals of history. The latter, run by Mikati and Nasrallah of the Hezbollah militant gang.

Meanwhile, when the General Assembly is called upon to recognize Palestine as a new sovereign nation state, in September, the resolution is expected to receive the required two-thirds majority among the 192 members in the world body. However a single veto in the 15-member Security Council could derail the move. Well, the Obama administration has not only hinted about a possible veto but is lobbying European countries not to vote for the resolution.

President Obama.

What is your point?

What’s your problem with us?

You are absolutely ridiculous. If the Palestinians get a state it needs to come through a UN partition, like the one that permitted the Jews a state in 1947. Islamic fundamental terrorism will always be Islamic fundamental terrorism. Had the Palestinians a state, then declared war on Israel, you could not blame Israel for defending itself. Yet, without a sovereign state like Lebanon or Syria, when the Palestinian Occupied Territories (POT) declare war on Israel, which they do on an almost weekly basis, well, then the Jews are a grizzly pariah state where 500,000 settlers control millions of ex-Jordanians out in the desert.

Give the Jews a break; give the people a break!

Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton, because of what she claimed was a tight-schedule, denied a meeting with Israeli Foreign Minister, Avigdor Liebeman, during the 50 year anniversary of the OECD, last week in Paris.

Lieberman traveled to Paris on Wednesday accompanied by Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, to take part in a conference of economic organization which Israel was invited to. Lieberman has not met with Clinton since May 2009, when he first entered office.

President Obama, busy chasing around Qaddafi like a mad man has not been to either Israel or the POT, since he took office!

Obama, there is a mud bath waiting for you!

Rumors of pending release deal for Gilad Shalit

NRG reported a little while ago that a statement released shortly will outline a deal for the release of Gilad Shalit. Former Egyptian Ambassador to Israel, Mohamed Bassiouni, in a newspaper interview, said that the time for the deal was now. Earlier Amos Gilad, head of the political security cabinet, returned from Cairo where he delivered an answer from the government to the latest list of prisoners Hamas is demanding. The news sparked a flurry of stories on an imminent deal and now the Prime Minister’s Office twitted: “Negotiations on Gilad Schalit are continuous and intensive, but there is no breakthrough in the matter”…

So maybe it’s nothing… Maybe just a way to put some pressure on the negotiation. Either way he has been there for 1803 days

Is anti-Semitism on the Rise or Decrease in Venezuela?

A Jewish advocacy group in Venezuela is protesting a state-run radio broadcast referencing the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion.”

The Venezuelan Confederation of Israelite Associations filed a formal complaint with the Public Ministry denouncing the broadcast in which journalist Cristina Gonzalez read the anti-Semitic text and suggested listeners should read it:

“Venezuelan Jews know that promoting this anti-Semitic document only sows hate and discrimination, violating the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela…I do not have an anti-Semitic stance, I’m not anti-anything, I read everything that falls my way…”

Salomon Cohen, the confederation president requested a formal investigation into the matter and a meeting with government officials.

Last year, President Hugo Chavez met with Jewish community representatives to discuss what they described as an “incessant barrage of anti-Semitic commentaries” on state-run media. As a positive result, there was a detectable decrease in anti-Semitic rhetoric. Increasing diplomatic signals from the Chavez government explained that relations between the Jewish community and the revolutionary state of Venezuela were improving.

However, Venezuelan anti-Semitism seems to be brewing again among the most radical elements of government supporters as Chavez gets ready for a reelection campaign next year.

Heart of a Lion!

Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority, Salam Fayyad, suffered a heart attack while visiting the United States for his son’s college graduation. An independent, Fatah recently joined forced with Hamas, who on April 28th had insisted on Fayyad’s departure.

Palestinian Prime MinisterThe Palestinians are demanding an end to Israeli occupation. The creation of a state recognized by the UN and the EU. The Palestinians are inspired by the Arab Spring. The Arab Spring is inspired by the need and desire of a middle class in Arab countries. Fayyad wants this for his own people, who live under occupation, whose economy is in shambles, yet he sends his son to university in the United States instead of one of the many Palestinian places of higher education.

The choices for a Palestinian with such opportunities to study in their own country are as follows:

In the Gaza Strip there is Al-Aqsa University, University College of Applied Sciences, Al-Azhar University, Al-Quds Open University, Islamic University of Gaza, Universal Studies Academy, Palestine Technical College, University of Palestine, Gaza University.

In the West Bank there is, Arab American University, Al-Quds Open University, Al-Quds University, An-Najah National University, Bethlehem Bible College, Bethlehem University, Birzeit University, Edward Said National Conservatory of Music, Hebron University, Ibrahimieh College, Khodori Institute and Tulkarm Palestine Polytechnic University.

Meanwhile, Fayyad is recovering and is expected to leave the Seton Medical Center in Austin, Texas, later this week.

His spokesman says:

“Fayyad felt strong chest pain on Sunday and went to the hospital to be tested. He says Fayyad suffered a heart attack while in the hospital. Zakout says tests showed a blockage in a coronary artery. Doctors performed a catheterization to open the artery.”

Fayyad, a heavy smoker, has been prime minister since 2007. The political independent could lose his job as a result of a recent reconciliation agreement between political rivals Hamas and Fatah.

Fayyad studied at the American University in Beirut, Saint Edward’s University, and the University of Texas in Austin, where his son goes.

Boy Brings Life of Neo-Nazi Dad to an End

How about this one? On Sunday, May 1, a fourth-grader from Riverside, California, took a Rossi .357 revolver out of his dad’s closet and fired it at the sleeping man laying on the living room couch.

The 10-year-old child was arrested for the murder. Tried in juvenile court, the next hearing date is scheduled for July 22. If found guilty the boy will remain in juvenile hall until he is age 18, then he will be placed in another youth detention facility, until the age of 25.

So who was the dad? And why did the boy do it?

According to the court documents, Jeff Hall, who died of a gunshot wound to the head, was a well-known Neo-Nazi leader. The boy also claimed Hall beat he and his mother regularly, and he feared they were going to divorce.

Juvenile court Judge Charles Koosed agreed last Wednesday to delay taking the plea from the 10-year-old. The judge said he and the boy’s attorney agree the child should first have a psych evaluation. Among possible pleas are not guilty by reason of insanity.

The boy’s stepmother, Krista McCary, has been charged with child endangerment and failure to properly store a firearm. Police officers said not only did Hall and McCary keep numerous weapons in the home, but that three of their children knew how to access the .357 revolver that was used in the shooting.

In 2010, Jeff Hall gained media attention during his campaign for a seat on the Western Municipal Water District in Riverside. During his campaign for the seat he was open about his Neo-Nazi convictions. During his tenure at the National Socialist Movement, Hall piloted demonstrations in Los Angeles and Riverside in which supporters yelled “white power” and waved swastika flags while giving the ‘heil Hitler’ Nazi hand salute.

Beck to the Rescue

Glenn Beck will be holding a major rally in Israel in August.

He said recently:

“Things in Israel are going to get bad…it’s only a matter of time…They are going to attack the center of our faith, our common faith, and that is Jerusalem. And it won’t be with bullets or bombs. It will be with a two-state solution that cuts off Jerusalem, the old city, to the rest of the world…It is time to return inside the walls that surround Jerusalem and stand with people of all faiths all around the world.”

The event will be called “Restoring Courage,” a spinoff of last summer’s “Restoring Honor” rally held on 8/28 in Washington, D.C.

Meanwhile, last Sunday, Pastor John Hagee of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, TX devoted an entire service to honoring the Jewish State. Pro-Palestinian protesters got the scoop and showed up at the service, planting themselves in the audience, and standing to shout anti-Israel messages.

Abbas Does New York

I appreciate the spirit of freedom and independence but many modernist Islamist politicians are unrealistic when it comes to the situation with Israel; and the New York Times is an outlet for such figures to preach their hatred and prejudice. Ironically, the Palestinian territories are famous for their media censorship and abuse of journalists.

On April 20th, Abdullah Gul, President of Turkey, wrote an op-ed in the New York Times in which he cited the “Arab Spring” as a tangible socio-political trend toward democracy and modernity in which Israel is both the cause of all Middle East turmoil as well as the feet-dragger in the great Middle East Revolution:

“The plight of the Palestinians has been a root cause of unrest and conflict in the region and is being used as a pretext for extremism in other corners of the world. Israel, more than any other country, will need to adapt to the new political climate in the region. But it need not fear; the emergence of a democratic neighborhood around Israel is the ultimate assurance of the country’s security.”

Mr. Gul’s country is one where blood libel accusations are aimed at Israel and prime-time television airs television shows in which IDF soldiers are fictionally portrayed murdering children.

While many Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, unified under the Palestinian Liberation Organization, curse the United States and stomp on the red, white and blue flag of the leaders of the free world, Mahmoud Abbas, Chairman of the Palestinian Authority, has taken a more diplomatic approach. He too has written an op-ed in The New York Times – a publication that is among the most syndicated print media outlets in the world.

“This month… as we commemorate another year of our expulsion — which we call the nakba, or catastrophe — the Palestinian people have cause for hope: this September, at the United Nations General Assembly, we will request international recognition of the State of Palestine on the 1967 border and that our state be admitted as a full member of the United Nations.”

Wrote Abu Mazen:

“Our quest for recognition as a state should not be seen as a stunt; too many of our men and women have been lost for us to engage in such political theater.”

The fact remains, and Abbas later in his article admits that the Palestinians could have had a state in 1947 but refused one. Why? So they could create war without a state in the name of freedom from oppression. This is more affective. This is the stunt. Had they now a “state,” recognized by the UN, though, on the borders they now have, it would be a pariah state. One that makes war with Israel – and is still, despite the strange Fatah/Hamas merger government, at war amongst themselves.

Abbas wrote:

“We have the capacity to enter into relations with other states and have embassies and missions in more than 100 countries. The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the European Union have indicated that our institutions are developed to the level where we are now prepared for statehood. Only the occupation of our land hinders us from reaching our full national potential; it does not impede United Nations recognition.”

However, in a pluralized Israel, where Arab Muslims thrive and hold seats in Knesset, it seems strange that an “occupation,” which he cannot define, but surely refers to the settlements, is some kind of hindrance to a state that would be an ethno-cracy.

Abbas wrote:

“The State of Palestine intends to be a peace-loving nation, committed to human rights, democracy, the rule of law and the principles of the United Nations Charter. Once admitted to the United Nations, our state stands ready to negotiate all core issues of the conflict with Israel. A key focus of negotiations will be reaching a just solution for Palestinian refugees based on Resolution 194, which the General Assembly passed in 1948.”

However, Nakba day, was not peaceful. Several Israeli policemen were wounded by Palestinian stone throwers.

Meanwhile, Israel has agreed to release tax transfers to the Palestinians despite the Hamas-Fatah unity pact; after finance minister, Yuval Steinitz, said they would be withheld.

A Flash of Barak

Known by some as a war criminal, known to most of Israel as former Prime Minister and known to Bibi as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, Ehud Barak, elected new Independence chairman speaks:

“I’m thrilled to be here…We seek to form a democratic, Zionist party inspired by the spirit of Ben Gurion and the principles stated in the Declaration of Independence… We’re also choosing our song today – Frank Sinatra’s ‘That’s Life’…With Israeli politics, government and political discourse in need of profound mending, there are many fine people who want to see the country march forward. And they are right. That is what we’re here to do…”

He also dismissed comparisons drawn between the new party and “Polishuk“; a satire of Israeli politics inspired by the BBC’s “The thick of it” – saying:

“Today’s politics is full of shticks and tricks and spins. We are not Polishuk…We are still small, but we intend on growing. Eight members, each bringing 80 members, who in turn bring 80 members is 20 mandates. We want to be the first party to have 50 women in key positions.”

Shalom Simhon, minister of Industry, Trade, and Labor rejected claims that Independence would be a dictatorship led by Barak, who will not have to face a central committee or primaries. The bylaws for the party also permit the chairman to sign joint government and coalition agreements sans any authorization.

On Bibi, Bieber and Buber

We are now living in the month of springtime and this brings to mind three B’s, along with the brisket I will be eating at the family Passover seder. They are: Bieber, Bibi and Buber. That is, Justin Bieber, Binyamin Netanyahu and Martin Buber. All influential figures will go down in the hall of fame, though, one is not Jewish. Can you guess which?

Justin BieberThe former B – Justin Bieber is not a Jew. Actually, rumor has it his family is not that keen on God’s chosen. Record exec, Scooter Braun, found an amateur Bieber’s 2007 YouTube videos by accident while surfing the web. Braun contacted the boy’s mother, Pattie Mallette was reluctant to give permission for Justin to do a demo with Braun because of Braun’s Jewish religion.

She recalled praying:

“God, I gave him to you. You could send me a Christian man, a Christian label! … you don’t want this Jewish kid to be Justin’s man, do you?”

Apparently, God wanted just that – Bieber went on to become an international pop sensation. This week, on the heels of the Passover holiday, 700 children from southern Israeli communities hit by recent rocket fire from Gaza were given free tickets to see 17-year-old Justin Bieber’s conert.

The tickets for the show in Tel Aviv, as well as transportation, are a gift of The Schusterman Foundation-Israel, The Morningstar Foundation and ROI Community of Young Jewish Innovators.

According to the Jewish Telegraph Agency, ROI approached The Schusterman Foundation to help cover the costs of the tickets. Bieber arrived in Israel on Monday and is scheduled to tour the country. He will visit Christian sites in the Galilee, Masada, the Dead Sea, Acre and Caesaria. He will also meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Though an official date has not been set for the meeting of Bibi and Bieber.

This meeting between Bibi and Bieber may be due in metaphysical part to Buber. That is, Martin Buber, the Jewish philosopher.

Martin Buber (1878 –1965) was an Austrian-born Jewish philosopher known for his philosophy of dialogue, a form of religious existentialism centered on the distinction between the I-Thou relationship and the I-It relationship. Buber observes the God-Man relationship as I-It, or I-Thou, perhaps, more I-Thou in Bieber’s Catholic religion and more I-It in terms of Bibi’s Jewish religion.

However, all religions see the God concept as an It. Moreover, Bieber and Bibi must build bridges based on Buber’s I and Thou philosophy of dialogues to appreciate the respective culture of each.

God Bless.

Doctors on Strike

Magen David Adom Tel AvivTalks between the Israel Medical Association and the Treasury fell short of yielding results last Wednesday, causing fears the doctors’ strike that began last week could continue into the new week. Doctors began a warning strike last Tuesday, treating only emergency cases.

They are demanding higher wages and better working conditions, including an end to back-to-back shifts which leave hospital doctors on duty for more than 20 hours straight.

The ministry said it will publish “guidelines for hospitals and health funds, and set the limits of the strike to help the public.”
The Israel Medical Association responded, “It should be remembered that all instructions about the strike will be issued by the union’s strike committee.”

Globes reported:

“The gaps between the sides are still wide. The Ministry of Finance is prepared to grant doctors a 1% pay hike per year as part of a 5-8 year labor contract. It is also offering a special supplement of NIS 600-1,200 for specialists, doctors in the periphery, and doctors in professions where there is a shortage. The Israel Medical Association is demanding a 50% increase in doctors’ hourly wage, plus changes in employment terms which will amount to an estimated additional 50% pay hike.”

OneJerusalem.com Jew of the Year: Richard Goldstone

South African corporate and intellectual property barrister and judge, head of United Nations Human Rights Council fact finding crusade for Operation Cast Lead and 21st century bard, Richard Goldstone, has much of Israel singing a familiar tune. The “See I Told To You So Blues.”

Richard Goldstone as fruhmHis Op-Ed in the Washington Post last week was sent to the wrong newspaper. Why wouldn’t Goldstone have sent it to Yediut Achronot or Haaretz? Does the South African Jew not know Hebrew? Does he need ulpan? Nefesh bNefesh perhaps?

Goldstone wrote:

“To be clear: Our mission was in no way a judicial or even quasi-judicial proceeding. We did not investigate criminal conduct on the part of any individual in Israel, Gaza or the West Bank. We made our recommendations based on the record before us, which unfortunately did not include any evidence provided by the Israeli government.”

So Goldstone said, “whoops, I forgot to let the Judenräte explain itself.”

He also wrote:

“I regret that our fact-finding mission did not have such evidence explaining the circumstances in which we said civilians in Gaza were targeted, because it probably would have influenced our findings about intentionality and war crimes…”

Justice Goldstone gave the impression that Israel is an acerbic cum sadistic child-killing pariah state, that carpet bombs refugee camps stuffed with innocent Arabs (the punching bag of Hitler’s victims as it where). Hitler’s victims that sell the organs of Palestinian children.

However the United Nations is resolute in its artful, underhanded anti-Semitism. The very same UNHRC which:

“Commissioned an investigation of Israel’s 2009 incursion into Gaza will continue to treat it as a legitimate working document, even though the lead author has backtracked from some of the report’s most damning allegations against Israel.”

In other words, they will continue to damn Israel.

“U.N. reports are not canceled on the basis of an op-ed in a newspaper,” said one representative.

Bibi told his cabinet that Goldstone’s article in The Washington Post was a rare instance “in which those who disseminate libels retract their libel.”

He said:

“This leads us to call for the immediate cancellation of the Goldstone report…”

Ironic timing though. Operation Cast Lead was in response to hundreds of rockets fired from the Gaza Strip at Israeli civilians. Israel is still, two years later, under an almost-constant rain of rockets fired from Gaza.

Click here to see how Israel responds to post-Operation Cast Lead bullying.

Austria to Renovate Mauthausen

The Jewish Telegraph Agency reported that in a $2.4 million restoration project, Austria is to renovate the site of the Mauthausen concentration camp.

Mauthausen  LiberationThe two-year project includes building a hall of names in memory of the camp’s victims, similar to the one at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, and a new display about the Shoah and upgradings of the permanent exhibition.

A statement on the website of the Austrian Interior Ministry said:

“We are sending a signal that the republic is assuming its national and international responsibility to commemorate the victims of the Nazi regime,” Interior Minister Maria Fekter said in a statement. “We are also standing against intolerance, racism and anti-Semitism.”

At least 95,000 prisoners died in Mauthausen; more than 14,000 of whom were Jewish. About 200,000 people visit Mauthausen each year.

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