Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Clinton Hopes Cairo Committed to Israel Treaty

Clinton Hopes Cairo Committed to Israel Treaty

JERUSALEM, Israel -- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she hopes that Cairo will be committed to the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty. Clinton wrapped up a nine-nation tour in Israel early Tuesday.

Many analysts here saw her stopover in Israel as a political move coming just two weeks ahead of a visit by presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

Clinton told reporters in Jerusalem about her time in Cairo, where she met with the newly elected Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi and Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi.

"The United States and the international community look to the new leaders of Egypt to play a constructive role in advancing regional peace and security in particular by upholding their international agreements, including the peace treaty with Israel," Clinton said.

"It's obvious that both Israel and Egypt, along with the region and indeed the world, all share a strong interest and commitment to this treaty, which has served as a backbone for regional stability for more than three decades," she said.

The Muslim Brotherhood has sent mixed messages about the treaty with Israel -- the first treaty that Israel had ever signed with an Arab nation.

There have been increased attacks from the Sinai Desert along Israel's southern border with Egypt during the last year. Israel has stepped up construction of a border fence there to help prevent infiltrations of both terrorists and migrant workers.

While in Egypt, Clinton's motorcade was pelted with tomatoes and shoes. The secretary of state said she was sorry for the wasted tomatoes but not particularly bothered by the protests.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Obama team creating traffic jam in Israel

Obama team creating traffic jam in Israel

By Richard Wolf, USA TODAY

By Lior Mizrahi, Getty Images
During the last months of George W. Bush's administration, the State Department and the president himself tried valiantly to help make peace in the Middle East.
President Obama's team might not think they have only months left in office, but their attention toward Israel is definitely on an uptick.

Witness the traffic jam the administration is creating in Jerusalem: Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is there today, on the last leg of an exhausting trip that has taken her to France, Afghanistan, Japan, Mongolia, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Egypt.

She's not alone. National security adviser Tom Donilon was there over the weekend, meeting with many of the same Israeli officials on Clinton's itinerary. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is due there soon.

And not to be outdone, presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney is scheduled to be heading there later this month.

Whether all this activity adds up to progress on the peace agenda remains very much in doubt. There has been little of that during the Obama administration. In fact, Clinton's trip was her first to Israel in 22 months. Her predecessor, Condoleezza Rice, took nearly two dozen trips there in pursuit of peace.

Clinton's agenda is broader. In meetings today with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and others, she is discussing the civil war in Syria, the nuclear program in Iran and the recent political changes in Egypt, her last stop.

"It is a time of uncertainty but also of opportunity," Clinton said today. "It is a chance to advance our shared goal of security, stability, peace, and democracy, along with prosperity for the millions of people in this region who have yet to see a better future."


Friday, July 13, 2012

The Truth About the Peace Process - with Danny Ayalon

Clinton moves to bear-hug Egyptian leader

Clinton moves to bear-hug Egyptian leader


Secretary hopes to garner pre-US-presidential election support by sweep through Israel

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Brazil
Photo: REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton heads to Cairo this weekend for a two-day visit that aims to give a hearty handshake to the new Islamist president and move to temper any radical moves by his government.

Clinton will be the highest American official to visit Egypt since President Mohamed Mursi was sworn in as president last month, ending six decades of rule by former military strongmen. She will then fly to Israel for a two-day visit, her first in two years.
Clinton has dispatched her deputy William Burns to Cairo and Jerusalem ahead of her visits. State Department officials stressed on Thursday that Burns had set the scene for Clinton’s meeting with Mursi by confirming the American commitment to a partnership with the “new, democratic Egypt,” a statement said.

In Israel on Thursday, Burns was leading a high-level security delegation to the US-Israel Strategic Dialogue. The dichotomy of the topics revealed just how different Washington’s relationship is between Egypt and Israel.

“Clinton’s visit to Egypt is going to be a significant one because it represents a major, maybe desperate effort, to salvage American efforts in Egypt,” Prof. Eytan Gilboa, who teaches political science at Bar-Ilan University near Tel Aviv, told The Media Line.

“Clinton wants to make sure that Egyptian foreign policy will be compatible with American interests and I think she will press on the new Islamist president of Egypt to provide assurances that he would not temper with the peace agreement with Israel,” Gilboa added.

In contrast, the US Secretary of State’s visit to Israel, coming just weeks before a tour by presumed Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, will be more of a political visit rather than a diplomatic one. “This close to the election in this part of the world there is always a little bit of both,” Ari Fleischer, a former spokesman for President George W. Bush and today senior strategist for the Republican Party, told The Media Line.

“When she’s over here, she’ll of course talk about what she’ll describe as President Obama’s unshakable commitment to Israel, so I think you’ll hear the usual platitudes,” Fleischer said. “President Obama has a real weakness in the Jewish community… He has been weak in his support for Israel and he’s suffering from it,” Fleischer said.

US President Barack Obama has formally invited president Mursi to visit Washington in the fall. This move reportedly came in contrast to promises Obama gave to American Jewish leaders who met with him recently. Some present claim they said Obama assured them that an invitation to Mursi was contingent on the Egyptian leader’s public affirmation of his country’s commitment to the peace treaty with Israel.

So far, Mursi has not specifically mentioned the peace treaty with Israel but has moved to gain credibility as he sets a statesman-like tone, assuring his “commitment to international treaties and agreements.” He will be meeting Clinton after making his first trip as president abroad, to Saudi Arabia on Wednesday. The former Muslim Brotherhood leader sought to assure Saudi leaders that Egypt’s new government was interested in stability and not exporting revolution.

So far, Clinton has been cautious in taking sides in public in the current dispute between Morsi and the Egyptian military, the latest over whether the country's legislature should reconvene after a court ruling last month dissolved it.

“We strongly urge dialogue and concerted effort on the part of all to try to deal with the problems that are understandable but have to be resolved in order to avoid any kind of difficulties that could derail the transition,” Clinton said during a visit to Vietnam on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the Israeli-Palestinian issue remains on the back burner. This was obvious following the meeting last week in Paris between Clinton and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Even though Clinton said at a press conference afterwards that resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict was of “critical importance,” no one in the media asked any questions relating to it and all the focus was on other issues, like Syria.

“The Israeli-Palestinian issue has been put in the right place in the last year because other issues are more significant, including Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons and the so-called Arab Spring,” said Gilboa, an expert on US-Israeli relations.

“(Clinton) will repeat standard American requests from Israel and from the Palestinian side simply because this is needed to show the Palestinians that the United States is doing something at least verbally to promote negotiations. But everybody knows nothing will happen on the negotiations until after the (US) elections,” said Gilboa. Still, some analysts foresee a collision course between Egypt and Israel, particularly due to the Palestinian issue.

“Israel is interested in maintaining the status quo with Egypt, which would help it to carry on with its colonial military schemes in Palestine and its aggressive policies in Lebanon and throughout the region. Egypt is unlikely to allow that reality to continue for much longer, particularly once the power struggle within Egypt is settled and a new political discourse is fully articulated,” Ramzy Baroud, editor of PalestineChronicle.com, wrote in Foreign Policy Journal.

Still, after more than three-decades of close cooperation with Egypt’s authoritarian leadership, Washington’s close ties with Egypt’s military have been tested somewhat by its persistent demands for seeing through the much championed democratic changes, while trying to safeguard American interests.

“The United States is making many mistakes, because the only body in Egypt that would be interested in maintaining close relations between Egypt and the United States is the military and yet we hear time and again how the United States is condemning the military council and military leaders for doing one step or another. Somehow, there is this naive American belief in elections and parliamentarian politics and they equate elections with democracy and of course this is false,” Gilboa said.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Israel’s greatest asset and best friend

Israel’s greatest asset and best friend

By EARL COX, Jerusalem Post

Evangelicals use their political, financial and spiritual leverage to help Israel withstand whatever attack might come next.

Photo: Courtest Danny Danon

Since its reemergence as a nation in 1948, Israel has suffered opposition on nearly every level possible. It has been attacked repeatedly in the military arena by its Arab neighbors, in the public relations arena by the world media, in the political and diplomatic arenas by the United Nations and the European Union, and in the religious arena by mainstream Christians and their Replacement Theologians.

In recent years, however, a groundswell of support for Israel has arisen, creating a new and powerful friend for Israel in the form of Evangelical Christians. From all over the world these Evangelical Christian believers, including many Americans, are proud to be labeled as “Christian Zionists.”

They use their political, financial and spiritual leverage to help Israel withstand whatever attack might come next.

Without the Evangelical Christian community standing in the breach with both prayer and action, the United States may have entered a free-fall in its foreign policy that would have ended in a far more hostile environment for Israel.

The current White House has encouraged, aided and facilitated the destabilization of the Middle East, as evidenced by its use of either diplomatic or military assets (or both) in Libya, Yemen, Tunisia, Egypt and now Syria. Amidst all this political and social upheaval in the name of democracy, the underlying result has been the elevation of Islam, Islamic-centered constitutions, and Islamists being “elected.”

The longstanding tradition of the US being Israel’s closest ally is arguably being dismantled by policies detrimental to Israel. But there is one ally that is steadfast... the Evangelical Christian.

In America, members of Congress, various pro-Israel Christian organizations, conservative Christian media and Evangelical Christians in positions of influence have at least put a check on the policies of this administration.

Imagine, for example, if there had not been a public outcry in response to the remarks of then-White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, who sought to tie the US pressure against Iran’s nuclear program to an Israeli unilateral land-for-peace giveaway? This “blackmail foreign policy” may have been far more severe if those remarks, said behind closed doors, had not been widely reported.

Evangelical Christians have been quick to expose this administration’s ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, even as close as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s closest aide, Huma Abedin. And it has been Evangelical Christians who shout the loudest about lack of foreign policy balance toward Israel at the United Nations.

While America continues in a recession, and the economy may well be the center stage issue of the upcoming election, Evangelical Christians will also be moved to the polls by each candidate’s stance regarding Israel.

Obama’s policies and dealings are well known. And Republican challenger Mitt Romney has already vowed that his policies toward Israel would be the opposite of Obama’s. Speaking before the Faith and Freedom Coalition last month, Romney said of Obama, “He almost sounded like he’s more frightened that Israel might take military action than he’s concerned that Iran might become nuclear.”

Given both candidates’ blemishes, Israel is the one issue that may coalesce and energize the Evangelical Christian vote more than any other. If events continue to spiral out of control in the Middle East, and this administration continues to add fuel to the flames of discontent rather than lending its undeniable support to Israel, Evangelical Christians could play the key role in the November election.

In the event of an Obama reelection, Evangelical Christians arguably would again be the most valuable asset Israel could have in America. It is this courageous and vocal group that makes up the hedge and stands in the gap for the nation of Israel.

Many people will remember back when Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu himself acknowledged that Evangelical Christians are “Israel’s greatest friends.” Following a meeting he had in Washington with a large group of Evangelical Christian leaders, he told then-US president Bill Clinton, “Mr. President, you know that Israel has very few friends, and these Evangelical Christian leaders are the best friends that Israel has in all the world.”

Many Evangelical Christian organizations in Israel, with support from Evangelical Christians around the world, are providing food and other assistance to thousands of Israeli immigrants and poor families.

Others have provided portable concrete bomb shelters to protect Israeli residents living along the Gaza border and elsewhere in Israel.

A good number of Evangelical leaders in America have been hosting events and rallies across the United States to promote support for Israel. These rallies are attracting crowds as large as 12,000 strong. Tens of thousands of Evangelical Christians visit Israel each year helping boost the economy. Soon some 2,000 bulletproof backpacks will be distributed to children living in southern Israel.

Christian radio and television networks in America are broadcasting Israel’s message around the world. Millions of Evangelical Christians are proud to be considered Israel’s best friends and supporters.

They are not ashamed to speak out against the pro-Muslim and pro-Arab actions of Barack Obama and they are bold enough to encourage the US Congress to stand strongly with Israel.

The God of Israel does not need anyone to support Israel, but He tends to work through the hands, hearts and voices of men. One voice Israel can count on is the heart-felt cry of the Evangelical Christian, who stands with God with Israel, whose voice is loud in the politician’s ear.

Earl Cox writes for numerous Christian publications and hosts a popular radio show.

The Sabbath Walk to the Western Wall --

The Sabbath Walk to the Western Wall --
An Ancient Custom Interrupted for 19 Years

Jews at Western Wall (circa 1917). Note presence of women,
Ashkenazi Jews with the fur hats, and Sephardi Jews with the fez.
From the earliest days of photography, the Western Wall has been a favorite subject for photographers. The Wall or Kotel was always a magnet for Jews who came to pray at the remnant of the Temple retaining wall. On the other side of that Wall once stood the Holy of Holies.

During Arab riots in the 1920s and during the Arab revolt (1936- 1939) Jews were often attacked in the Old City. 
Orthodox Jews on the way to
the Western Wall (1934-39) and here

That's why this set of the American Colony's photographs of the Old City is so unusual. It shows Jews walking to the Western Wall between 1934 and 1939 "on their usual Sabbath* walk to the Wailing Wall," according to the caption.

The subjects hide their faces because of their desire to avoid being photographed on the Sabbath.
Little girl at "Jews wailing place" (1934-39)

Possibly because of the dangers there are few women or non-Orthodox worshipers in this set of pictures. Yet, one little blond girl appears in two of the pictures.
Little Jewish girl walking in the Old City
(in circle)

Click on picture to enlarge. 

To maintain order in the Old City, the British police established gun positions and built walls to separate Arabs from the Jews. In 1929 and again in 1939 the British evacuated Jews from the Old City.
"Sand bags used by police in Jewish
Street" in the Old City

Sealed passageway in the Old City and here

But the American Colony photographers still found pious Jews who continued to flock to the Western Wall, and their pictures are presented here.
Jews in the Old City, walking back from prayers at the
Western Wall (1934-1939) and here

Sabbath walk in the Old City and here

The Western Wall deserted during visit
of British General, 1936 "Palestine

In 1948, the Jordanian Legion captured the Old City of Jerusalem, imprisoned or expelled all of the Jews, and destroyed the Jewish Quarter. Jews were not permitted to visit the Western Wall until 1967 when the Israel Defense Forces reunited the city.

*(Actually, the pictures were probably taken on a Jewish festival. Many of the worshippers are carrying prayer books and bags which some wouldn't normally do on the Sabbath.)


Israeli History Photo of the Week

Israeli History Photo of the Week: The Valero Family Property in Damascus Gate

By LENNY BEN-DAVID, Jerusalem Post

JPost special feature: A Library of Congress collection of photographs that document Israel before the creation of the state.

The domes of the Hurva and Tifferet Yisrael
synagogues are on the horizon on the left of the picture. (circa 1900).

Damascus Gate and the Valero property
Photo: American Colony-Jerusalem-Photo Dept.

The Library of Congress has recently digitalized a collection of over 10,000 photographs, taken by the "American Colony" in Jerusalem, a group of Christian utopians who lived in Jerusalem between 1881 and the 1940s. The photographers returned to the US, and bequeathed their massive collection to the Library of Congress in 1978. The collection includes Winston Churchill's visit to Jerusalem, Jewish expulsions from the Old City during riots, and the building of Tel Aviv.

By some accounts, the Valero family arrived in Jerusalem in the 18th or 19th centuries from Turkey. Researchers have even suggested that the family were once Conversos - secret Jews who were forced to convert to Christianity in Spain. They later traveled to Turkey and returned to their Jewish faith.

In Jerusalem, the family took up residence in the Old City of Jerusalem. According to a monograph by Hebrew University's Prof. Ruth Kark and Joseph Glass, Ya'akov Valero arrived in Jerusalem in 1835 from Istanbul. Originally a ritual slaughterer, Valero opened a private bank - the first in Palestine - in 1848, located inside Jaffa Gate in the Old City. When Ya'akov died in 1874, the banking and real estate enterprise was eventually taken over by his son Chaim Aharon.

Among the Valeros' land holdings were tracts outside of the Old City on Jaffa Road, the area that eventually became the Mahane Yehuda market, the grounds of the Bikur Holim hospital, and several acres around Damascus Gate, a hub of commerce in the 18th and early 19th centuries.

Prior to World War I Chaim Aharon built and leased stores at the entrance of Damascus Gate, seen in the pictures above.

In the 1930s, the British authorities ruled that the area should be zoned for use as "open spaces" and they demolished the shops in 1937. The Valeros were not compensated.

More photos can be viewed at http://www.israeldailypicture.com


Israel to Annex Judea and Samaria?

Israel to Annex Judea and Samaria?

Ministers, MKs to call for applying Israeli law on Judea and Samaria at a conference in Hevron.
By Gideon Yisrael, Israel National News
First Publish: 7/12/2012

Ramat Gilad in Shomron
Ramat Gilad in Shomron
Israel news photo

It was the late Yitzchak Shamir who declared from the Knesset podium that the Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people, "and why? Because!"

Thursday afternoon, the second annual conference calling for the application of Israeli law on Judea and Samaria (Yehuda and Shomron) began at the Visitors Center in Hebron. The conference is attended by government ministers, Members of Knesset and other public figures, who will discuss a variety of issues concerning Judea and Samaria, including the legal, economic, demographic, security and ideological aspects of application of sovereignty.

One of the sponsors of the conference is Women in Green,a group that has been constantly working for advancing Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria. Nadia Matar, head of the organization, said, “Women in Green has come to the conclusion that working on solving local problems is not enough. In the past, the organization has protested in reaction to different initiatives from the left or the Arabs trying to expel Jews from a hilltop or a house bought in Arab village, and vandalizing or stealing Jewish property, but now the time has come to deal with the root of the problem, which is applying Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria. Enough with the local problems!”

A problem that faces anyone attempting to apply Israeli law over Judea and Samaria is how to deal with the local Arab population. This initiative would, at the very least, add more than a million Arabs to the State of Israel. To address this problem there will be a range of ideas suggested ranging from giving them full citizenship immediately, waiting a few years and letting them prove loyalty before gaining citizenship, and others.

“However, applying Israeli law over Judea and Samaria needs to be complemented by a wave of aliyah,” declared Matar.

The conference will be held in Hevron because that was the capital of the Jewish state before Jerusalem, according to Matar. She said, however, that there are plans in the future to hold the conference at other venues across the country.

“Geula Cohen once said that when we annex Judea and Samaria, we will be connecting Tel Aviv to Hevron, and not the opposite. This conference which is being attended by MKs and public figures will be part of continued efforts by the Knesset lobby for the Land of Israel and other organizations in promoting the goal of applying sovereignty on Judea and Samaria, which should have been done 45 years ago. We will all pledge at the conference to keep working toward this goal because we know there is a lot of work ahead. Maybe it is mishamiym (from heaven) that the Levy report came out only a few days before the conference.”


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

MEDIA ALERT! - Israel Boycott Rejected



Laurie Cardoza-Moore

July 11, 2012 - (Nashville, TN) Laurie Cardoza-Moore, founder and President of Proclaiming Justice To the Nations (PJTN) issued a statement today commending the Presbyterian Church USA General Assembly for rejecting an effort to boycott a slate of US companies doing business in Israel.  She went on to voice a note of condemnation for their vote to boycott Israeli products.

Last Thursday, the Presbyterian Church USA's Committee on Mission Responsibility Through Investment (MRTI) was hoping to complete a process, which began at the 2004 General Assembly to recommend the PCUSA divest itself of stock in Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard and Motorola Solutions, suggesting that they are "profiting from non-peaceful pursuits in Israel-Palestine." On Friday the General Assembly voted in favor of a boycott of "all Israeli products coming from 'occupied' Palestinian Territories."

"As a Christian leader, I am extremely disturbed by the blatant lies and misrepresentation of the facts on the ground coming from leaders of the Presbyterian Church USA," noted Ms.  Cardoza-Moore in a press statement. "The Bible is very clear, Israel is living in the land that God gave to her ancestors dating back to the time of Joshua."

Ms. Cardoza-Moore, who serves an appointment as a Special Envoy to the UN for the World Council of Independent Christian Churches (WCICC) last week encouraged the over 44 million members and congregants of PJTN and the WCICC to contact the Presbyterian Church leaders to voice their opposition to this issue.  "Clearly, our efforts to mobilize our base and add our voices to other pro-Israel organizations who lobbied against this effort is what tipped the scales in our favor, but we still have more work to do," she noted.

Further commenting on the action, she added:

"It further illustrates how vitally important our work is at PJTN.  The growing lack of Biblical understanding is threatening our Jewish and Christian brethren in the region and is an affront to Almighty God.  We cannot pursue efforts that are antithetical to God's Word and His Covenant.  In doing so, we are not just condemning our Jewish brethren, we are standing in direct opposition to God's Covenant."

Cardoza-Moore gave a further word of caution on a growing global trend. "We are once again witnessing a rise of a "new" form of anti-Semitism against our Jewish brethren and Israel by Christian churches," she observed.

Noting the Presbyterian vote in particular, she commented: "Ironically, what wasn't on the MRTI agenda is the persecution of Christians who are being slaughtered in places like Iran, Egypt, Iraq, Tunisia, Syria and Nigeria.   Neither are they addressing Moslem women who are being raped and stoned to death by their Moslem husbands, brothers and fathers. And this is the Committee that addresses Middle East peace for the Presbyterian Church?  It seems obvious that this agenda is not to defend Human Rights, but a blatant attack on our Jewish brethren."

Resource PJTN online:  www.pjtn.org

Media Contact for PJTN:

Jackie Monaghan

Morningstar PR-Nashville

(615) 646-5990-Direct


Romney to host fundraiser in Jerusalem

Exclusive: Romney to host fundraiser in Jerusalem
By LAHAV HARKOV - Jerusalem Post

Republican candidate to arrive in Israel July 29, present Mideast policy at conference in J'lem.

Mitt Romney steps off his campaign plane [file]
Photo: Brian Snyder / Reuters

Presumed Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney will host a fundraising event in Jerusalem at $60,000 or more per plate on July 29, The Jerusalem Post learned on Wednesday.

Delegates are set to fly in from the US for the event, which a Republican source said would be “a small meeting, but a big fundraiser.”

Immediately after the fundraising meeting, Romney will host a conference in Jerusalem, where he will lay out his Middle East policy. Romney plans to visit the UK for two days, attending the opening ceremony of the London Olympics on July 27, before flying to Israel.

The Republican candidate will stay in Jerusalem for two days, Israeli Republican political consultant Jonny Daniels told The Jerusalem Post, during which Romney will meet with President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, opposition leader Shelly Yechimovich (Labor) and senior Palestinian officials.

Jonny Daniels with Glenn Beck

“It’s going to be a statesmanlike visit, because [Romney] needs to be careful about how everything is perceived,” Daniels explained. “It’s exciting to have the president of Israel meet with the next president of the United States four months before he is elected.”

Daniels has been in touch with the Prime Minister's Office, which he says is debating how to hold a Netanyahu-Romney photo-op without showing the cast on the prime minister's leg, from a soccer injury.

The Romney camp’s biggest concern on his trip to Israel is Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard, according to Daniels, who said both Netanyahu and Peres are expected to raise the issue. Romney will have to tread carefully, because many Republican voters are unfamiliar with Pollard’s “disproportionate sentence,” Daniels explained, and as such, may not be sympathetic to releasing someone convicted of espionage. The consultant pointed out that former CIA director James Woolsey, a Republican, has spoken out in favor of Pollard’s release.

Last year, Romney told the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations he would be "open to examining" the Pollard case if elected president.

The Republican candidate plans to leave Israel on July 31, and is considering a stop in Germany en route to the US. In May, The Jerusalem Post reported Romney was planning a trip to Israel this summer, which the candidate’s campaign confirmed earlier this month.


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Judea and Samaria Not 'Occupied'

Download Historic Document: Judea and Samaria Not 'Occupied'

Conclusions of Levy Committee report made available by government. "Israelis have the legal right to settle in Judea and Samaria."

By Gil Ronen, Israel National News
First Publish: 7/10/2012

Construction in Judea and Samaria
Construction in Judea and Samaria
Israel news photo: Flash 90
"After having considered the terms of reference set out in the Commission's mandate, and in light of what we have heard, as well as the considerable body of material presented to us by a wide range of bodies, our conclusions and recommendations are as follows: "Our basic conclusion is that from the point of view of international law, the classical laws of 'occupation' as set out in the relevant international conventions cannot be considered applicable to the unique and sui generis historic and legal circumstances of Israel's presence in Judea and Samaria, over the course of decades.

"Therefore, according to international law, Israelis have the legal right to settle in Judea and Samaria and the establishment of settlements cannot, in and of itself, be considered to be illegal."

So begin the conclusions of the report of the Commission to Examine the Status of Building in Judea and Samaria, a legal panel headed by Supreme Court Justice (ret.) Edmund Levy.

The committee goes on to say that, "With regard to settlements established in Judea and Samaria on state lands or on land purchased by Israelis with the assistance of official authorities such as the World Zionist Organization Settlements Division and the Ministry of Housing, and which have been defined as 'unauthorized' or 'illegal'" – administrative blockages imposed on the planning and zoning authorities "must be removed immediately."

Pending completion of procedures granting valid building permits, the state "is advised to avoid carrying out demolition orders, since it brought about the present situation by itself."

An English translation of the historic document has been made available to the public for download in .pdf format by the government, at this url.


Rock music vs. prayer calls

Rock music vs. prayer calls
Rock music vs. prayer calls

The muezzin calls to prayer five times a day. During the daytime, no one is annoyed by it, but during the night and early morning the Islamic prayer is particularly bothering the non-Muslims eager to get some sleep.

For many years now, the Jewish residential quarter of French Hill, Jerusalem, has been afflicted with the noisy prayer calls of their Arabian neighbors from Isawiya. Now, however, things seem to be changing as the Jewish residents are determined to teach their neighbors a lesson. “We are going to play some rock music one hour before the muezzin's call to prayer, at 4:00 a.m. sharp,“ a disturbed Jewish activist told the news website Maariv. “By taking this measure we would like to show the other side how difficult it has been for us for all these years. We cannot bear this any longer,“ he continued.

The mayor of Isawiya promised to tackle the situation by talking to the muezzin and convincing him to reduce the megaphone’s volume but that didn't help. Now, however, residents believe the four huge loudspeakers in the direction of the village will make their Muslim neighbors change their mind.

Initially considering the option of Hasidic or Oriental music, the dwellers of French Hill have finally opted for the loud rock, aimed at showing the level of their annoyance. Hailed as the fight between the Muslim and Jewish muezzins in the Israeli media, some people believe that should the experiment prove successful, there will be other neighborhoods eager to follow suit by implementing the same technique.


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Discovery of 'God particle'

Israelis rejoice over discovery of 'God particle'

Scientists revel with colleagues around world over discovery in Geneva of new sub-atomic particle.

Scientists explain search for Higgs boson particle

Theoretical and experimental physicists see the groundbreaking discovery of a new subatomic particle – announced Wednesday in Geneva – as even more of a technological and scientific achievement than America’s first landing on the moon. But unlike the astronauts’ romp over the dusty lunar rocks in 1969, the new breakthrough is so intangible that it leaves the general public clueless.

Scientists at Geneva’s European Laboratory for Particle Physics (CERN) – where scores of Israelis have worked for decades to bring the discovery nearer – confirmed that they had discovered a particle fitting the description of the Higgs boson, the so-called “God particle” seen as key to understanding how the universe is built. It was suggested in 1964 by six physicists – including University of Edinburgh physicist Peter Higgs, the particle’s namesake – as a way to explain mass.

At a morning press conference in Geneva, CERN Director-General Rolf-Dieter Heuer said, to the cheers of scientists and reporters, “We have a discovery. We should state it. We have a discovery! We have observed a new particle consistent with a Higgs boson.”

The Higgs particle, although crucial for understanding how the universe was formed, remains theoretical.

It explains how particles clumped together to form stars, planets and even life. According to the theory, without the Higgs particle, the particles that make up the universe would have remained a primordial soup.

In particle physics, bosons are one of the two fundamental classes of subatomic particles, the other being fermions. The Higgs boson is the final building block that has been missing from the “Standard Model,” which describes the structure of matter in the universe. The model is for physicists what the theory of evolution is for biologists.What scientists don’t yet know from the latest findings is whether the particle they have discovered is the Higgs boson as described by the Standard Model, a variant of the Higgs or an entirely new subatomic particle that could force a rethink on the fundamental structure of matter.

Knesset Science and Technology Committee chairman Ronit Tirosh said Wednesday that she was “very proud of the contribution of Israeli scientists [to] the discovery.”

Astrophysicists from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Tel Aviv University, the Technion-Institute of Technology in Haifa and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have been active in the massive effort, which involved CERN’s particle accelerator – the largest machine in the world, costing over $10 billion.

Prof. Yaron Oz, dean of TAU’s faculty for exact sciences, who worked on CERN’s multinational team at Geneva for four years and has made numerous visits since, told The Jerusalem Post in an interview that the huge facility “is like the UN should be. Everybody is devoted to making the discovery as a team, without any politics or vested interests. I worked even with Iranians there, and there was never a harsh word between us. We all just wanted to understand. It has already proven that the nations of the world can function harmoniously for joint targets.”

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) particle accelerator is based on superconducting electromagnets working at very low temperatures: less than two degrees above absolute zero (-271° Celsius). This experimental system includes the world’s largest superconducting electromagnets, built in conjunction with Israeli companies. The entire structure includes 10,000 radiation detectors spaced just one millimeter apart, has a volume of 25,000 cubic meters and features half a million electronic channels. Most of the muon radiation detectors were built from components produced in Israel.

While the foremost concern is a better understanding of the origins and development of the universe, Oz had no doubt that in the future, various new technologies would result that would benefit mankind.

In the first stage after the announcement, “people won’t feel a change unless they are interested in the universe. Later, the public will feel an improvement in computerization and other technology. Even health benefits could result. The aim was not to create a product. No layman knew what quantum mechanics and lasers were, but today, these are in all electronic household appliances.

Nuclear physics is used on a daily basis to treat cancer patients.”

Oz said he thought Albert Einstein “would have been very happy today. He had even larger targets – the United Field Theory. We are not there yet, but we hope the Large Hadron Collider will lead to this.”

Asked about the term “God particle,” Oz said that “one has to separate science from religion. This phrase does not refer to divinity.”

His TAU colleague Prof. Aharon Levy, who is modern Orthodox and has headed a research group in Hamburg, agreed. “The term originates with Max Lederman, an American experimental physicist who won the Nobel Prize in physics for his work with neutrinos. He wrote a book using this term, by which he meant the mysterious particle being part of everything. First, everything was created without mass. Particle physics aims at understanding what conditions created the Big Bang that created the Universe, to look backwards as much as possible to that event.”

As a religious person, Levy said the discovery “does help us understand how much we don’t understand about the universe. A religious Jew might say the discovery shows the orderliness of nature that is evidence that the universe was created by a Divine power, but we don’t get involved in this.”

There was much excitement at the Weizmann Institute as well. Prof.

Giora Mikenberg was the ATLAS Muon Project leader for many years and now heads the Israeli LHC team. He, Prof. Ehud Duchovni and Prof. Eilam Gross of the Rehovot institute’s particle physics and astrophysics department, have been part of the effort to find the Higgs boson since 1987.

“I have been searching for the Higgs since I was a student in the 1980s,” Gross enthused. “Even after 25 years, it still came as a surprise.

No matter what you call it – we are no longer searching for the Higgs but measuring its properties.

Though I believed it would be found, I never dreamed it would happen while I was holding a senior position in the global research team.”

The LHC particle accelerator enables collisions of particle beams that create conditions similar to those that existed in the first fraction of a second after the Big Bang. The likelihood of creating the Higgs boson in a single collision is similar to that of randomly extracting a specific living cell from the leaf of a plant, out of all the plants growing on Earth. To cope with this task, Mikenberg developed specific particle detectors manufactured at Weizmann, and in Japan and China.

The calculations that scientists, including Gross, carried out in recent months played a central role in finding the particle, as they revealed, with a high degree of statistical significance, a new particle with a mass similar to the expected mass of the Higgs. The wording is purposely cautious, leaving room for the possibility that a new particle other than the Higgs could be found within this mass range. The probability that this is, indeed, a new particle is quite low, the Weizmann scientists concluded.

Ari Sorko-Ram Shares his heart at Messiah 2012

Ari Sorko-Ram Shares his heart at Messiah 2012

The second night of Messiah 2012, was a night of connection between the Messianic movement in America and the Messianic movement in Israel. The service began with worship being led by a group of Israeli's, as they brought real excitement to the service with their songs, each word which felt as if they came from deep within each individual singer. One highlight was the video accompanied by Shani Ferguson, daughter of the nights guest speaker Ari Sorko-Ram.

The youth worship team was followed by a concert by Barry and Batya Segal from Jerusalem. The Segals are known for there TV program Roots and Reflections and their humanitarian work through their ministry Vision for Israel and The Joseph Storehouse. The concert by the Segals was the perfect way to prepare the conference attendees for the evenings message brought by Ari Sorko-Ram. Just before Ari spoke his wife Shira introduce a group of forty Israeli youth who we brought to the conference through the efforts of the MJAA and Jewish Voice Ministries International.

Ari's message encouraged the crowd to identify the difference between a vision and an assignment. The difference being an assignment is something we are called to personally perform and a vision is something that should live on after we finish our assignment. A primary example given was king David and King Solomon. King David was given the vision for building the Temple but King Solomon actually completed the vision establish through his father.

His message purpose seemed to be to encourage those who have been leaders in the Messianic movement to not look at their vision as something that ends with them, but instead to pass the vision on to the next generation to follow through until in is completed or passed on to the following generation. He also encourage younger believers to step up and help bring these visions to fullness. Ari and Shira have for over thirty years spearheaded Maoz Israel a ministry of encouragement in Israel providing for the physical and spiritual needs in the Land. For more information about visit www.maozisrael.org.

Each nights services are being live streamed and can be viewed by visiting www.mjaa.org and clicking on the link.


'Pretend Pollard is a Greek-American, and free him'

'Pretend Pollard is a Greek-American, and free him'

Former CIA director James Woolsey reverses Clinton-era stance, recommends clemency, in 'Wall Street Journal' letter.

Ex-CIA chief James Woolsey

Former CIA director James Woolsey called for the release of Jonathan Pollard in a letter to the editor, printed in the Wall Street Journal Thursday, hinting that his being Jewish may be a reason he is still behind bars. "For those hung up for some reason on the fact that he's an American Jew, pretend he's a Greek- or Korean- or Filipino-American and free him," Woolsey wrote.
As CIA director in the early 1990s, Woolsey recommended against clemency for the spy, but now says that the nearly-two decades that Pollard served since then are enough.

"Of the more than 50 recently convicted Soviet bloc and Chinese spies, only two—Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen—also received life sentences, and two-thirds of these some-50 enemy spies served or have been sentenced to less time than Pollard has already served," Woolsey explained.

Pollard, he added, expressed remorse for his actions, cooperated with the US government, and pledged not to use the crime for profit after his release.

Earlier this week, President Shimon Peres promised to continue to work for the release of Pollard in a meeting with his wife, Esther, in Jerusalem.

Peres met with Esther Pollard for the first time since his trip to Washington last month, where he asked US President Barack Obama to commute Pollard’s sentence to the over 26 years that he has served.

Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

'US quietly bolstering presence in Persian Gulf' - Jerusalem Post

'US quietly bolstering presence in Persian Gulf'

According to 'New York Times' report, US sending planes, ships to Gulf in bid to protect Hormuz, reassure Israel over Iranian threat.

US warships stationed in Persian Gulf
Photo: REUTERS/Handout

The United States has quietly increased its military presence in the Persian Gulf to deter Tehran from attempting to shut the Strait of Hormuz, according to a New York Times report published Tuesday.
Linking the Persian Gulf with the Indian Ocean, the Strait is used to transport about a fifth of the world’s oil on a daily basis, and the popular assessment within the IDF is that Iran – which borders the channel to the north and east – has the ability to shut it down if it so chooses.

The report identified a number of visible elements of the US buildup in the Gulf, including sending increasing numbers of aircraft, including the F-22 Raptor, which boasts stealth capabilities, into two separate bases in the Persian Gulf. The planes join jets and carrier strike groups already in the area.
According to the report, the the US navy has also been sending advanced ships capable of enhancing the country's ability to patrol the Strait and reopening the waterway should Iran try to block shipping. In addition, the navy sent a converted amphibious transport and docking ship and doubled the number of minesweepers assigned to the region.

“The message to Iran is, ‘Don’t even think about it,’ the Times quoted a senior US Defense

Department official as saying on condition of anonymity. “Don’t even think about closing the Strait. We’ll clear the mines. Don’t even think about sending your fast boats out to harass our vessels or commercial shipping. We’ll put them on the bottom of the gulf.”

Iran's National Security and Foreign Policy Committee drafted a bill on Sunday calling for Iran to try to stop oil tankers from shipping crude through the Strait of Hormuz to countries that support sanctions against it.

More than a third of the world's seaborne oil exports pass through the narrow Strait of Hormuz from the oilfields of Saudi Arabia, Iran, Kuwait, Iraq, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. Qatar's liquefied natural gas exports are all shipped through Hormuz.