Israel gets ninth World Heritage site

Beit She’arim declared World Heritage Site

UNESCO announces the Mishnaic period village with its 30 burial caves is to be the ninth Israeli World Heritage Site; Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi, the Mishnah’s chief redactor resided and is buried there.

Itamar Eichner, Ahiya Raved, Roi Kais, YNet Ndws, July 5, 2015

UNESCO’s World Heritage Conference on Sunday declared the national park at Beit She’arim in the lower Galilee a World Heritage Site.

Beit She’arim was a prosperous settlement during the period of the Mishnah’s redaction (1st to 3rd centuries ACE) and the site includes 30 burial caves where rich people and scholars of the period, including the chief redactor of the Mishnah, Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi, were buried.

Beit She’arim is the ninth site in Israel to be recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Of the 21 members, 17 countries voted in favor – India, Turkey and Senegal – and four countries actively opposed – Lebanon, Qatar, Algeria and Malaysia. 

Entrance of the Cave of Coffins, Beit She'arim National Park (Photo: Israel Nature and Parks Authority)
Entrance of the Cave of Coffins, Beit She’arim National Park (Photo: Israel Nature and Parks Authority)

Beit She’arim was considered to be the regional grain storehouse during the Mishnaic period. According to the historian Josephus Flavius, these were the barns of Queen Berenice, the sister of Agrippa II, who ruled the country under the Romans in the first century AD.

Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi lived most of his life in Beit She’arim, only spending the last 17 years of his life in the not-far village of Tzipori. In his last will and testament, he asked to be buried in Beit She’arim, which turned the village during the 3rd century ACE into the Jewish necropolis (city of the dead) of its time.

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Palestinians miss opportunities


Palestinians reject opportunities for peace

Submitted by Dave Alpern, July 3, 2015

A great article by Palestinian Bassam Tawil clearly points out the weakness of the Palestinians in a Middle East in turmoil. He says, “We Palestinians continue to miss one opportunity after the other. Now, we are about to miss yet another opportunity for peace.

The geographic and political reality of the Middle East does not smile on the Palestinians. The countries that, until the Arab Spring, exerted the most pressure on Israel to negotiate with us have become weak. Some of them are disintegrating and others, in this world of strange bedfellows, consider the Israelis partners in the struggle against their common enemy, Iran.

Our Arab brothers now consider us a nuisance, marginal to their struggle to survive in the face of the threats from the Ayatollahs’ increasing nuclear power in Iran and radical Islamists such as ISIS.”

Simply put, Israel’s “neighbors” simply continue refusing to take “yes” for an answer!! [Dave] Steaming mad

Palestinians: More Missed Opportunities

by Bassam Tawil July 2, 2015 at 5:00 am

  • It was Palestinian who hurt themselves: When Israelis were not able to hire Palestinian workers, they simply turned to foreign workers, prefabricated construction and other industrial innovations.

  • If the boycott of goods made in the settlements is successful, thousands, if not tens of thousands of Palestinians will find themselves unemployed, hungry and ripe for radicalization.

  • The world will never give up its computing, medical, agricultural and start-up products for us. The Israelis will continue to prosper. They have already found other markets.

  • Mahmoud Abbas is afraid of Hamas and afraid to enter the Gaza Strip. As a result of rumors that Hamas was working privately to reach a cease-fire agreement with Israel, Abbas is threatening to dissolve the national unity government.

We Palestinians continue to miss one opportunity after the other. Now, we are about to miss yet another opportunity for peace.

The geographic and political reality of the Middle East does not smile on the Palestinians. The countries that, until the Arab Spring, exerted the most pressure on Israel to negotiate with us have become weak. Some of them are disintegrating and others, in this world of strange bedfellows, consider the Israelis partners in the struggle against their common enemy, Iran.

Our Arab brothers now consider us a nuisance, marginal to their struggle to survive in the face of the threats from the Ayatollahs’ increasing nuclear power in Iran and radical Islamists such as ISIS.

We Palestinians do not understand the enormous changes in the region. We do not know how to turn them to our own advantage. Until now, every time the Israelis offered us an attractive proposition, the leaders of the Arab League vetoed it. That happened at Camp David, when Ehud Barak offered Yasser Arafat unprecedented concessions, including some in Jerusalem. The Arab leaders opposed the deal, mired us in our current misery, and we gained nothing. While the current regional chaos has weakened both the Arab states and the Palestinians, there might also be opportunities for compromise with Israel.

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Palestinians should do more to promote peace

A bigger threat than BDS: anti-normalization

By seeking to police all interactions between Israeli Jews and Palestinians, the movement prevents any progress in advancing coexistence and achieving peace.

By Joel Braunold and Huda Abuarquob | Jul. 2, 2015 | Haaretz

Israeli and Palestinian children participate in a Parents Circle camp

Israeli and Palestinian children who have lost family members in the conflict participate in a Parents Circle camp, August 25 2007. Photo by Tomer Neuberg / JINI

The boycott, divestment and sanctions movement has dominated headlines of late, with anti-BDS legislation being passed in Congress and in the Knesset; pro-Palestinian students in America being "exposed;" an Israeli government minister being appointed especially to combat this threat; Britain’s national student union joining the BDS movement; the list goes on. Perhaps the BDS movement’s greatest achievement is the seriousness with which it is taken.

Yet, for those who are interested in advancing the cause of peace by building the necessary trust between Jewish Israelis and Palestinians, the BDS movement is not the greatest threat; the anti-normalization movement is.

The anti-normalization movement has called for an end to all interactions between Israelis and Palestinians that do not subscribe to three key tenets: ending the occupation; equal rights for Israelis and Palestinians; and a full right of return for Palestinian refugees. These three tenets are shared with the BDS movement, and, as such, the two movements are joined at the hip. Yet the effects on the ground of the anti-normalization movement are far more serious.

It seeks to police all interactions between Israelis and Palestinians, and, as such, disrupts programs that it perceives as being unaligned with its agenda. This makes life particularly hard for those of us in the "people-to-people" community – who bring Jews and Arabs, Israelis and Palestinians together in school, agricultural, high-tech and advocacy programs or camps.

The movement does this because it believes that normalized relations between Palestinians and Israelis draws a false equivalence between the parties, and does nothing to address the power imbalance created by the occupation. Normalization, it contends, would remove the urgency for ending the occupation and granting Palestinians independence and sovereignty.

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Gaza flotilla is not humanitarian


Why Flotillas Sail to Gaza, Not Syria

Jonathan S. Tobin 06.29.2015 – Commentary

Today, the latest publicity stunt by pro-Palestinian activists ended harmlessly as the Israel Navy intercepted a ship off the coast of Gaza that was attempting to break the blockade of the strip in order to draw attention to what is passengers claim is a humanitarian crisis. But, like previous Gaza flotillas, the effort has little to do with the plight of the people of Gaza and everything to do with the long war being waged to end Israel’s existence. More to the point, the continued focus on Gaza by those calling themselves advocates for human rights at the very moment that a genuine human catastrophe is occurring inside Syria without much of response from the international community tells us all we need to know about the hypocrisy of Israel-bashers.

The fact that it was Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu who today pointed out the fact that flotillas aren’t sailing to Syria doesn’t make it any less valid. Hundreds of Syrians have been slaughtered by the Assad regime that is backed by Iran and Hezbollah terrorists with more being killed by its tacit ISIS allies. The carnage has created millions of refugees who are living in squalor inside the country or in camps in neighboring Jordan.

But as Netanyahu knows, there will be no peace activist flotilla to Syria to bring aid to people who really need it. Nor had those on the Swedish-registered Marianne that was diverted by the Israelis gotten lost on their way to help those truly in need. Instead, they were on the way to try and help the Hamas government of Gaza that has been rightly isolated by the international community since the bloody 2007 coup when the Islamist group seized power.

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IDF criticized for warning terrorists

Int’l Legal Experts Slam IDF – For Over-Warning Gazans

Experts from US, Germany warn IDF ‘legal zeal’ sets dangerous precedent tying hands of democracies fighting terror.

By Ari Yashar , Arutz Sheva

First Publish: 6/9/2015, 10:30 PM

IDF (illustration)

IDF (illustration)

IDF Spokesperson Unit

The IDF went to extraordinary lengths last summer to prevent civilian casualties while fighting Hamas terrorists in Gaza, achieving a remarkable 1:1 civilian to combatant ratio, but according to international legal experts it went too far in avoiding casualties among the enemy population.

Willy Stern of Vanderbilt Law School, in an article to be published next Monday in the Weekly Standard, details what he found while spending two weeks with attorneys in the IDF’s international law department dubbed “Dabla” as well as front-line commanders, and documents the IDF’s “legal zeal” which as he notes has not stemmed the deluge of international criticism against it.

Stern listed how the IDF bombarded Gaza residents with thousands of telephone calls, leaflet drops, TV and radio messages, as well as calls to influential citizens urging them to evacuate residents, and in doing so gave the terrorist enemy detailed information about its troop movements.

“It was abundantly clear that IDF commanders had gone beyond any mandates that international law requires to avoid civilian casualties,” writes Stern. He reported how Dabla attorneys have to sign off on a “target card” for each airstrike on terror targets, with the cards enumerating all of the relevant data about the planned strike.

In contrast, the Hamas “doctrine manual” captured by the IDF in the Shejaiya neighborhood early last August documents how the terror group urges its fighters to embed themselves among civilians in hopes that the IDF will kill civilians.

“Hamas’s playbook calls for helping to kill its own civilians, while the IDF’s playbook goes to extreme​ – ​some say inappropriate​ – ​lengths to protect innocent life in war,” reads the article.

“IDF harming fight against terror”

Indeed, international legal experts quoted in the article argued that the IDF’s actions do go to inappropriate measures, and may end up harming the ability to fight terrorist organizations.

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Simple response to BDS

Israel means never having to say you’re sorry

Ron Jager, June 7, 2015

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:

In the recent weeks since the national elections in Israel and the emergence of a right-wing political coalition lead by the Likud, one can notice a distinct change in the international atmosphere whenever Israel is concerned. The past weeks have brought a tsunami of anti-Israel, anti-Zionist, and anti-Semitic actions that have clearly shaken the Jewish world to the core.

Many in positions of leadership in the Jewish world have taken the route that blames President Obama and the notorious Arabist State Department in taking the lead in threatening to isolate the Jewish State. There is no doubt that Obama’s contemptuous treatment of Israel’s Prime Minister, his words, and actions have given license to others to negatively single out the Jewish state from among all other states. Others in the Jewish world have blamed the Islamic world for funding and supporting the BDS movement in all of its global activities, especially among the 300 leading Universities and colleges in the United States and among European industries and corporations.

Sadly, before we take the route of blaming others, we in the Jewish world should really wake up to the fact that many Jewish organizations and many Jews in general are at the forefront of these movements and are largely responsible for creating an atmosphere reminiscent of a joke that circulated after World War II; the Mayor of a town tells his deputy to round up all the Jews and the bicyclists, the deputy replies; “Why the bicyclists ?”.

The organization J Street comes to mind, having been accused by many of having been created to explicitly to foil political action on Israel’s behalf. Meeting with President Barack Obama, Jewish members of J Street asked him to lift the longstanding American veto protection of Israel at the United Nations, promising publicly to defend this proposed American sellout should the Security Council, now with Washington’s consent, call for the creation of a Palestinian state. Concerning the emerging American nuclear deal with Iran, a country whose leaders ceaselessly proclaim that “the Zionist cancer” must be eliminated, J Street has boasted of having joined the Arab American Institute and the National Iranian American Council in congratulating the president and his team for their “historic agreement that . . . averts a disastrous war.” On American campuses, we have our share of Jewish Professors and faculty members producing defamatory works based on biased and falsified scholarly research, organizing along with Jewish students anti-Israeli demonstrations, disseminating anti-Israel propaganda, chastising pro-Israel students and making their support for Israel a reason to be ostracized and singled out. The list of Jews who hold other Jews exclusively responsible for the plight of Palestinian Arabs goes on and on.

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Wearable fetal monitor developed in Israel

Israelis develop wearable device for non-stop fetal monitoring

Tel Aviv’s Nuvo Group has developed the mobile monitor PregSense, 
which gives both mom and the doctor lots of continuous information.

By Reuters | Jun. 7, 2015 |

Reprinted from 

Israeli medical experts have developed a wearable mobile monitor to keep a close watch on pregnant women and their fetuses as they go about their everyday lives.

The PregSense monitor has sensors woven into an elastic harness to provide data around the clock on the status of the fetus and the mother’s health in the later stages of pregnancy.

A Bluetooth-enabled device attached to the monitor collects and transmits data such as the mother and baby’s heart rates to a smartphone and stores it on a secure cloud-based database accessible only to expectant mothers and their physicians.

The device is the work of the Nuvo Group, led by Oren Oz. He says a smartphone app will eventually provide a visual representation of the data gathered by the wearable monitor.

“Now you can see both you and the baby, the heart and all the data. What you are going to get in the app eventually is visualization that can tell you where the hand is, you’re going to see if the baby is awake, you can hear your baby’s heartbeat anytime you want. And, obviously, everything about you as the mom, if you are relaxed, how you sleep, your activity, your heart activity, everything about your pregnancy will be put into data,” he explained as he demonstrated the device for a mother-to-be, Michal.

Oz founded the Nuvo Group with another pregnancy technological innovation, Ritmo, a strap allowing mothers to stream soothing music from a smartphone to gently stimulate the fetus.

Reducing dependency

The Israeli high-tech firm hopes the device will reassure anxious mothers like Michal, in week 32 of her pregnancy, who require monitoring without having to see her doctor.

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UN attacks Israel

UN Secretary-General weighs lumping Israel in with ISIS and Al Qaeda

Today, the United Nations is concocting another set of Nuremberg-like laws – rules for Israel only – which smug international lawyers and judges will elucidate and administer. Flying under the banner of “accountability,” the travesty has the appearance of propriety. 

By Anne Bayefsky

Published June 05, 2015, FOX News


FILE -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks to reporters in Hanoi, Vietnam. (AP)

FILE — UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks to reporters in Hanoi, Vietnam. (AP) (AP)

This week Senators Lindsey Graham and Ted Cruz have posed a challenge for would-be presidents and all Americans:  if the United Nations criminalizes Israel’s exercise of the right of self-defense it will pay a heavy price.  The organization has no right to expect billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars to be doled out every year when they are spent undercutting our deepest values and our national security.

Graham and Cruz’s comments come after learning that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is now weighing whether to sign off on a report emanating from an Algerian U.N. “human rights expert” that analogizes Israel to ISIS, Boko Haram and Al Qaeda.  Leila Zerrougui’s rights expertise includes eight years (2000-2008) as legal advisor to Algeria’s President-for-life Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

Moreover, in the coming weeks, the U.N. will issue another report on Israel’s “criminal” response to Hamas genocidaires in Gaza, commissioned by UN Human Rights Council authorities like Russia, China and Saudi Arabia.

These attacks on Israel are part of a concerted effort by the vast U.N. machinery to rewrite international law to the advantage of terrorists who use civilians as human shields – thereby encouraging the use of more civilians as human shields. What begins as the demonization of Israel, affects every democratic society forced to defend itself against Hamas or Hezbollah or ISIS or Boko Haram or al-Qaeda.

In the summer of 2014, Israelis were under fire from Palestinian terrorists in Gaza who are openly committed to genocide against the Jewish people and the destruction of the Jewish state.  More than 70% of Israelis were within target range of Hamas’ Gaza rockets.  Once fired, half a million people had less than 60 seconds to find shelter. Underground tunnels were discovered that opened into Israeli territory, with terrorists emerging on their way to cause mass casualties among Israeli civilians.

In response, the United Nations launched a full scale assault on…Israel.

This year marks the 80th anniversary of the Third Reich’s adoption of the Nuremberg laws.  Now is the time to remember that the Holocaust was preceded by the subversion of law, the corruption of the judiciary, and the perfidy of lawyers. The Nuremberg laws – rules for Jews only – were interpreted, applied and enforced by masses of seemingly upstanding lawyers and judges.

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