Hamas continues to smuggle weapons

Israel intercepts 40 diving suits en route to Gaza

By YAAKOV LAPPIN
05/18/2015, Jerusalem Post

Customs, Shin Bet: Package was part of Hamas attempt to build up naval attack force.

Customs officers and the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) intercepted an attempt to smuggle diving suits into the Gaza Strip, authorities announced on Monday, some nine months after a Hamas naval commando unit attempted to infiltrate Kibbutz Zikim during last summer’s conflict.
The shipment was intercepted at the Nitzana customs terminal, on the border with Gaza, at the start of May, authorities said, adding that it was the latest in a “series of attempts to smuggle weapons and equipment to the Gaza Strip.”
Import documents claimed that the suspicious package contained sports suits, “but a thorough check by Nitzana customs employees found 40 diving suits inside, which require a special license for import to the Strip.”
Security sources assess that the package was part of Hamas’s attempts to build up its offensive military capabilities in Gaza, and particularly a drive to build up its naval strike force, which includes commando units tasked with attacking Israeli targets.
Four divers reached Zikim Beach, north of Gaza, during Operation Protective Edge last July to try and attack Israeli targets.
They were eventually identified by IDF lookouts and killed in a strike by the Israel Navy.
“Customs employees at the Nitzana border crossing have witnessed a rise in the number of attempts to smuggle weapons and means to manufacture weapons to Gaza,” the Customs Directorate said. “In the last four months alone… employees prevented the smuggling of 1,200 polyurethane tubes used to manufacture thrust material for rockets, hidden in a silicon shipment… and in paint tins.
“They also found 200 kilograms of raw sulfur rods, which can be used to produce weapons, hardening material used as fuel for furnaces for casting metals, and 18 tons of metallurgical coke-type carbon, hidden in a dry food package.”
Authorities vowed to use all of the tools at their disposal to prosecute those involved to the full.
In April, Defense Ministry inspectors intercepted a shipment of thousands of welding electrodes from the West Bank that were on the way to terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip. The discovery was made at the Kerem Shalom border crossing with Gaza, and was the third capture of goods destined for Gazan terrorists in the space of two weeks. Inspectors found the electrodes concealed between marble slabs.
Electrodes can be used by terrorist organizations to weld rocket fins and other projectile parts, and to create a range of explosive devices.
“This is one of the biggest captures at Kerem Shalom crossing since Operation Protective Edge,” the Defense Ministry said.

Posted in Middle East Report, News Articles, Recent Posts | Comments Off

Abbas has no tears for Palestinian refugees in Syria

Abbas to Syria’s Palestinian Refugees: Go to Israel or ‘Die in Syria’

by Alexander H. Joffe and Asaf Romirowsky
The American Interest
May 17, 2015

http://www.meforum.org/5245/abbas-refugees-syria

 

Originally published under the title, “Return or Die?”

PA President Mahmoud Abbas won’t allow imperiled Palestinian refugees in Syria to take refuge in the West Bank, saying “it’s better they die in Syria than give up their right of return” to Israel.

Faced with the suffering of their own people, the Palestinians’ leadership recently decided not to help. Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas rejected a deal with Israel brokered by the United Nations that would allow Palestinian refugees living in Syria to resettle in the West Bank and Gaza. Abbas stated unequivocally that “we rejected that and said it’s better they die in Syria than give up their right of return.” The Palestine Liberation Organization has also ruled out any military action to help the 18,000 or more refugees who are trapped in the Yarmouk camp near Damascus.

Abbas’s cold-blooded response reveals something fundamental about Palestinian society and identity. Far more than territory, the key Israeli-Palestinian issue is the idea of a Palestinian “right of return”—the belief in a legal and moral right of Palestinian refugees, and more importantly their descendants from around the world, to return to ancestral homes in [Israel's part of] what was once Mandatory Palestine. This belief is so vital to Palestinian national identity that their leaders would rather they die than give it up and have a chance to live.

United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194 (III) of December 1948 supposedly codifies this “right.” However, a closer look reveals it to be conditional: “refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and … compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return.” The resolution also calls for the United Nations “to facilitate the repatriation, resettlement and economic and social rehabilitation of the refugees and the payment of compensation.”

Abbas has effectively said Palestinians are obliged to die before undermining their ‘right’ to settle in Israel.

Interestingly, all the Arab States in the UN at the time (Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen) voted against the resolution, since it implicitly accepted the partition of Mandatory Palestine that recognized the Jewish right to a state. But the actual text of the resolution has been irrelevant since the beginning; Palestinian identity has crystallized around the dream of an unconditional “right of return,” as has Palestinian propaganda to the world.

Continue reading

Posted in Islam, Middle East Report, Monotheistic Religions, News Articles, Recent Posts | Comments Off

Jerusalem is dear to the Jewish people

Jerusalem: Beyond Time and Space

Never did God love a people more and never were a people more loyal than our ancestors who endured 20 centuries of exile and persecution so that their children or grandchildren or great-grandchildren could come home to Jerusalem, Ir hakodesh (the holy city), the home of the Jewish heart.

 

Published: Sunday, May 17, Arutz Sheva

Former Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks

Rabbi Dr. Sacks was Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the…

► More from this writer

There are moments that make Jerusalem feel like no other place on earth; when you feel yourself lifted beyond time and space and embraced, as it were, by zraot olam, the arms of eternity.

There is no other place in the world where this happens. I want to share with you three such moments that changed my life.

The first took place in 1969. I had come to study in Israel following the completion of my first degree, and was standing on the newly rebuilt Hebrew University campus on Mount Scopus as the sun began to set, bathing the whole landscape in a divine radiance.

As I found myself looking down on the Temple Mount, I recalled the famous story at the end of Masechet Makot, where Rabbi Akiva and his colleagues are looking down at the ruins of the Temple and see a fox walking through the place that was once the Holy of Holies. As the rabbis wept, Rabbi Akiva smiled and laughed, and when asked how he could, Rabbi Akiva retold the two interlinked prophecies of Uriah – who foresaw the day when Jerusalem would be ruined – and Zachariah – who saw the day it would be rebuilt.

Said Rabbi Akiva, until he saw the first prophecy fulfilled, he was not sure the second would be. Now he had seen the first prophecy fulfilled, he knew the second would one day also come true.

I remember standing at almost that exact spot and being overwhelmed with emotion.

For almost 2,000 years, Jews had waited for that moment, and ours was the generation that lived to see Jerusalem reunited and rebuilt. We saw the realization of Zachariah’s prophecy 24 centuries ago.

We had lived to see in person what our greatest prophets could only see in a vision.

And I was struck by a question.

If only Rabbi Akiva had known how long it would take, would he still have believed? Rabbi Akiva, a supporter of Bar Kokhba, thought the rebellion would succeed and believed that the Temple would be rebuilt in his lifetime. If Rabbi Akiva had seen the devastation, persecution and hatred that occurred as a result of the rebellion and after, would he have still believed? The answer is of course he would, because that is what Jews did all through the generations.

No people ever loved a city more. We saw Jerusalem destroyed twice, besieged 23 times, captured and recaptured 44 times, and yet in all those years, wherever Jews lived they never ceased to pray about Jerusalem, face Jerusalem, speak the language of Jerusalem, remember it at every wedding, in every home they built, and at the high points of the Jewish year.

I ask myself how could Jews believe so much in a city they had been exiled from for so long? The answer, of course, is very powerful and is contained in two words in the story of Jacob. Recall, the brothers return home and show Jacob the blood-stained coat of Joseph. Realizing Joseph has gone, Jacob weeps, and when the brothers move to comfort him we are told, Veyimaein lehitnachen, Jacob “refused to be comforted.” Why? There are, after all, laws in Judaism about the limits of grief; there is no such thing as a bereavement for which grief is endless. The answer is that Jacob had not yet given up hope that Joseph was still alive. To refuse to be comforted is to refuse to give up hope.

That is what Jews did with Jerusalem. They remembered the promise that Am Yisrael had made by the waters of Babylon, Im eshkachech Yerushalayim tishkach yemini, “If I forget Jerusalem, may my right had lose it’s cunning.” We never forgot Jerusalem. We were never comforted. We never gave up hope that one day we would return and because of that Jews never felt separated from Jerusalem.

And when it happened, in 1967, my Jewish identity was transformed when the world heard, “Har habayit beyadeinu,” “The Temple Mount is in our hands.” Those three words changed a generation. That was my first moment: That no love was ever as strong as between the Jews and Jerusalem.

Continue reading

Posted in Education, Judaism, Middle East Report, Monotheistic Religions, Opinion, Recent Posts | Comments Off

Israel turns trash to biofuel

Home unit can turn trash into biofuel

UN’s Ban Ki-moon to Israeli company: ‘Millions of women and children die each year due to indoor smoke from open fires. This is just the thing they need.’

By Abigail Klein Leichman May 14, 2015,  Israel 21C

 

Israel’s Environmental Protection Ministry is donating TevaGas biodigesters to Negev Bedouin villages

This TevaGas unit is installed in an educational model off-grid village owned and managed by the Eilat-Eilot Renewable Energy Initiative.

When UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon visited the sukkah of Israeli President Reuven Rivlin during the Jewish harvest holiday last October, he was treated to a demo of a machine the government has given to Bedouin families to convert organic waste into clean biogas for cooking, heating and lighting, as well as organic liquid crop fertilizer.

“He got very excited and told us, ‘Millions of women and children die each year due to indoor smoke from open fires. This is just the thing they need. The UN should be purchasing these units!recalls Ami Amir of HomeBioGas, which develops and manufactures a new class of anaerobic biodigesters to convert organic waste to clean renewable energy.

He asked us to be in touch with the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization to see where and when our systems could be deployed,” the marketing director tells ISRAEL21c.

The family-size TevaGas (TG) backyard units, available as an easy-to-assemble kit, generate safe energy and fertilizer through bacterial anaerobic digestion of organic waste such as food scraps and animal manure. They provide a sustainable solution for off-grid urban and rural families, as well as environmentally conscious homeowners and small farm owners, in warmer climates.

Last summer, Israel’s Ministry of Environmental Protection purchased and installed TG units at Umm Batin, a Bedouin village near Beersheva without access to clean energy and garbage removal.

Continue reading

Posted in Alternative Energy, Biomass fuels, Climate Change, Middle East Report, Recent Posts, Science and Technology | Comments Off

Israel Integrates Ethiopians

No Racism Against Ethiopians

Ron Jager, May 10, 2015

www.ronjager.com

The author is a 25-year veteran of the Israel Defense Forces, serving as a field mental health officer. Prior to retiring in 2005, served as the Commander of the Central Psychiatric Military Clinic for Reserve Soldiers at Tel-Hashomer. Since retiring from active duty, he has been providing consultancy services to NGO’s implementing Psycho trauma and Psycho education programs to communities throughout Israel. Today, Ron serves as the Strategic Advisor at the Office of the Chief Foreign Envoy of Judea and Samaria To contact: medconf@netvision.net.il

Never in human history has there been a similar act of benevolence by a developed nation. Since the 1980s, despite the immense dangers, the religious obstacles, and the logistical complexities, Israel has brought tens of thousands of Ethiopian Jews from one of the most underdeveloped countries on the globe to the shores of the Promised Land. Seemingly distant strangers in every way, even in the color of their skin, they were brought to Israel over the past 30 years to be integrated into society, not forced into indentured servitude such as in other periods of human history when blacks were shipped to faraway lands to become slaves.

However, over the past two weeks, much of the world’s attention on Israel has focused on the demonstrations held by a relatively small group of Ethiopian Jews living in Israel. The reporting by the international media, abetted by local left-wing activists, has resulted in the following narrative being portrayed as a factual backdrop to these events: Longstanding Israeli policy, they say, is notoriously racist—worse than South African apartheid. Palestinians face ruthless persecution in a nation affording rights to privileged Jews alone. Ethiopian Jews fare no better—unwanted because they’re black. Citizenship doesn’t matter. Persecuting them is standard Israeli practice.

This unholy alliance of Ethiopian community leaders and left-wing radicals threatens to undermine the progress that the Ethiopian community has made over the past 30 years integrating into Israeli society. During that time, Israeli governments, the Jewish Agency, the Federation system, and many tens of NGOs have funded hundreds of programs for every age group within the Ethiopian Jewish community with only one goal: making their integration into Israeli society possible. Despite the gaps in education, technology, culture, and vocational skills only a generation ago, their integration into Israeli society is a real success story.

The messages conveyed by many of these self-appointed Ethiopian community leaders are nothing more than a conglomeration of anti-white racism and anti-Zionist ideology of left-wing organizations that promote the delegitimization of the State of Israel. The defamation of the state and of Israeli society cannot be based on random examples of discrimination and prejudice against Ethiopian Israelis. There is no institutionalized discrimination and racism in Israel, and claiming so is not only a moral disgrace but intellectually dishonest.

Continue reading

Posted in Education, Judaism, Middle East, Opinion, Recent Posts | Comments Off

Palestinian corruption continues

PA fails at curbing ‘rampant’ corruption

Reprinted from Al-Monitor, May 5, 2015


Palestinian protesters hold signs that read, in Arabic, “Corruption is the reason for high cost of living” and “High prices and low wages are the policies of the government” during a protest against the high cost of living in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Sept. 11, 2012. (photo by ABBAS MOMANI/AFP/GettyImages)

 

RAMALLAH, West Bank — Since its inception under the Oslo Accord, fighting corruption has been one of the greatest challenges the Palestinian Authority (PA) has had to face. This is especially true in light of the dire economic conditions in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, the absence of legislative power and its monitoring role and the absence of the presidential and parliamentary elections. As per electoral law, the elections were supposed to happen in 2010.


Summary: Surveys show that Palestinians believe that corruption is increasing under the Palestinian Authority (PA), which has not even held required presidential and parliamentary elections.

Author Ahmad Melhem Posted May 5, 2015

Translator Sahar Ghoussoub


The PA claims to be making strenuous efforts to fight against corruption by taking several initiatives such as forming the Anti-Corruption Commission (PAAC), joining the United Nations Convention against corruption in May 2014 and approving the national strategy to combat terrorism for the years 2015 to 2017. Yet, reports and Palestinian public opinion suggest that corruption remains rampant at all the PA institutions’ levels.

During the Coalition for Accountability and Integrity (AMAN) gala, organized to launch its annual report on April 27, which Al-Monitor attended, Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah delivered a speech.

The Coalition for Accountability and Integrity (AMAN) was established in 2000 upon an initiative by a number of Palestinian civil society organizations working in the fields of democracy, human rights and good governance as a movement aiming to combat corruption and enhance the values of integrity and principles of transparency and systems of accountability in Palestinian society.

Continue reading

Posted in Middle East Report, News Articles, Recent Posts | Comments Off

Academic cooperation yields benefits

‘Big question’ in neuroscience may be answered after GPS-like brain mapping

Published time: April 28, 2015 09:40

Reprinted from RT.com

Hebrew University and Harvard researchers have developed a method to map the circuitry of the brain with a "Neuronal Positioning System" (NPS) similar to how a Global Positioning System (GPS) triangulates our location on the planet.<br />
(Photo credit: Dr. Shlomo Tsuriel and Dr. Alex Binshtok, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Hebrew University and Harvard researchers have developed a method to map the circuitry of the brain with a “Neuronal Positioning System” (NPS) similar to how a Global Positioning System (GPS) triangulates our location on the planet. (Photo credit: Dr. Shlomo Tsuriel and Dr. Alex Binshtok, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

 

It sounds surreal but scientists have mapped the circuitry of the brain. It’s similar to how the Global Positioning System (GPS) tracks your location on the planet. The breakthrough could help understand how data is processed in the nervous system.

Neuroscientists from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Harvard University have announced their “Neuronal Positioning System” (NPS) in new research published by Nature Methods.

“The new method that we developed allows us to answer a ‘big question’ in neuroscience about the organizational principles of neuronal circuits,” Hebrew University’s Dr. Alex Binshtok said in a statement.

Continue reading

Posted in Education, Evolutionary Biology, Recent Posts, Science | Comments Off

IDF soldiers are Tzaddikim

23,320: The Number that Should Change Your LIfe

Numbers that ring a bell, a bell that tolls. For Tzaddikim.

Published: Tuesday, April 21, 2015 , Arutz Sheva


Shmuel Sackett

Shmuel Sackett is co-founder of Manhigut Yehudit (The Jewish Leadership…

► More from this writer


Does the number 23,320 mean anything to you?

How about 4,958 or 553 or 116 or 52?

Do these numbers even ring a bell? They should… they definitely should. These numbers should send shivers down your spine because they are all connected to holy IDF soldiers who were killed in battle while fighting to defend the Land that G-d gave to Abraham and that was then inherited by… YOU!

23,320 is the total number of G-d’s messengers killed while protecting the Jewish nation.

553 is the number of soldiers who tragically have no burial place in this world.

4,958 is the number of IDF widows who cry themselves to sleep each night, all alone.

52 are how many military cemeteries there are in the small State of Israel.

And finally, 116 is the number of soldiers killed in battle since last year’s Yom Ha’Zikaron (Israel Memorial Day) – an average of one every three days.

These are real numbers that stand for real people. When asked what they gave their life for, many people would answer – as I wrote above – “to defend the Land” when, in reality, it is much more than that. Yes, the Land of Israel is important and we defend it with every ounce of strength we have. Jewish law permits us to violate Shabbat to defend the land and although we choose to live, we are ready and willing to give our lives in its defense.

However, when you sit down and think about it, we are defending much more than rocks and mountains. Our holy IDF soldiers are defending our status as a nation (Am Yisrael) and are bringing honor to our Father in heaven. To a Jew, nothing is more important than this and every IDF soldier is a walking, talking and breathing “Tzaddik” (righteous person) who is sanctifying G-d’s Name each and every day.

Continue reading

Posted in Judaism, Middle East Report, Opinion, Recent Posts | Comments Off