Sunday, February 12, 2017

From Ian:

Dispelling the Myth that Israel Is the Largest Beneficiary of US Military Aid
Many American detractors of Israel begin by citing that Israel receives the lion’s share of US military aid. The very suggestion conjures the demon of an all-powerful Israel lobby that has turned the US Congress into its pawn. But these figures, while reflecting official direct US military aid, are almost meaningless in comparison to the real costs and benefits of US military aid – above all, American boots on the ground. In reality, Israel receives only a small fraction of American military aid, and most of that was spent in the US to the benefit of the American economy.
Countless articles discrediting Israel (as well as many other better-intentioned articles) ask how it is that a country as small as Israel receives the bulk of US military aid. Israel receives 55%, or $US3.1 billion per year, followed by Egypt, which receives 23%. This largesse comes at the expense, so it is claimed, of other equal or more important allies, such as Germany, Japan, and South Korea. The complaint conjures the specter of an all-powerful Israel lobby that has turned the US Congress into its pawn.
The response to the charge is simple: Israel is not even a major beneficiary of American military aid. The numerical figure reflects official direct US military aid, but is almost meaningless compared to the real costs and benefits of US military aid – which include, above all, American boots on the ground in the host states.
There are 150,500 American troops stationed in seventy countries around the globe. This costs the American taxpayer an annual $US85-100 billion, according to David Vine, a professor at American University and author of a book on the subject. In other words, 800-1,000 American soldiers stationed abroad represent US$565-665 million of aid to the country in which they are located.
Once the real costs are calculated, the largest aid recipient is revealed to be Japan, where 48,828 US military personnel are stationed. This translates into a US military aid package of over US$27 billion (calculated according to Vine’s lower estimation). Germany, with 37,704 US troops on its soil, receives aid equivalent to around US$21 billion; South Korea, with 27,553 US troops, receives over US$15 billion; and Italy receives at least US$6 billion.
How a “Pro-Peace” Organization is Deceiving Social Justice Advocates
The Telos Group is an American nonprofit organization that claims to help advance a “pro-Israeli, pro-Palestinian, and pro-peace” agenda. While its “pro/pro/pro” slogan is appealing, Telos’s past and current work reveals a different agenda altogether.
In 2014, an exposé by the watchdog organization CAMERA showed that Telos was using its “pro/pro/pro” slogan to disguise its anti-Israel agenda. Telos rebranded the following year with a new logo, a new website, and the announcement of “a slightly new direction.” Unfortunately, the rebrand was simply a facade for its real goal—solely promoting the narrative favored by Palestinian leadership. The only notable change was Telos’s new reluctance to post about meetings with some controversial Palestinian figures. For instance, in 2011, Telos uploaded a picture of the PLO’s Hanan Ashrawi to its “Conservative Leaders Trip” Facebook photo album. In 2016, following its rebrand, Telos met with Ashrawi twice, but did not publicize the meetings.
The silence on the Telos Group’s “pro/pro/pro” social media accounts is understandable, since Ashrawi recently reiterated the PLO’s refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state and rebuked Theophilos III, the Patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem, for referring to Israeli “democracy” and “freedom of worship.” Unhappily for Telos, Palestinian media covered the meetings, and the PLO published two press releases about the meetings and posted them on Facebook, complete with pictures.
Telos also facilitated a meeting between Sam Bahour, chairman of Americans for a Vibrant Palestinian Economy, and the Women Donors Network’s Middle East Peace and Democracy Circle, which claims to “fund progressive peace initiatives for a just, sustainable, and non-violent resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” While Bahour posted about the meeting on social media and thanked Telos staff for organizing it, Telos’s social media outlets remained silent.

NYT's: For Kushner, Israel Policy May Be Shaped by the Personal
Now Mr. Kushner has given up his life in New York for a government ID card and a groaning portfolio. Many foreign policy experts wait their entire careers for a White House job, but Mr. Kushner is fielding inquiries from foreign leaders even as he is still learning to navigate the subject. He is far from the first American Jew with strong ties to Israel to wade into Middle Eastern diplomacy — Rahm Emanuel, the former White House chief of staff, is the son of a former Jewish paramilitary fighter — but the others were Washington professionals or seasoned negotiators.
In his first weeks in the White House, Mr. Kushner has had exchanges with officials from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Mexico and elsewhere, and greeted King Abdullah II of Jordan, whom he met several years ago on a trip to that country that included the actors Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman.
It is unclear what shape Mr. Kushner’s role will take, especially as figures like Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson and others in the foreign policy apparatus become engaged in Middle Eastern diplomacy. Some observers see Mr. Kushner as a welcome counter to an unpredictable president and to firebrands like Stephen K. Bannon, the White House strategist, and David M. Friedman, the ambassador designate to Israel.
Mr. Kushner “could be a moderate voice,” said Dan Gillerman, Israel’s former ambassador to the United Nations, who got to know Mr. Kushner in New York. “The strange thing is, that 36-year-old kid may end up being the grown-up in the room.”
Many years after his teenage encounters with Mr. Netanyahu, he may also be in a position to help the Israeli leader, who is facing multiple corruption investigations and ever-stronger challenges from the right.
But Mr. Kushner’s task is formidable. Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Trump want to set in motion a chain of events that could block Iran, redefine Israel’s relationship with the Arab world and create Israeli-Palestinian peace — “the deal that can’t be made,” as Mr. Trump has said.
“The prime minister is coming into the meeting with the hope to forge a common policy with the president, and Jared’s role is critical in that,” said Ron Dermer, the ambassador of Israel, with whom Mr. Kushner has been in close contact. “He’s someone who, in my interactions with him, has really been able to deliver.” (h/t Elder of Lobby)
J Street seeks to block Friedman's appointment as ambassador
J Street has begun a campaign to have the US Senate reject the nomination of David Friedman as the next U.S. Ambassador to Israel.
The Senate is scheduled to hold a hearing on Friedman's appointment by U.S. President Donald Trump this coming Thursday. As J Street says in its anti-Friedman campaign, "Friedman is a friend of the settlement movement who backs unlimited settlement expansion" in Judea and Samaria.
J Street, which states that it is a pro-Israel organization, has circulated a sample letter among its members that it recommends be sent to their Senators. The members are asked to "strongly urge" their Senators to "reject Donald Trump's choice to be the next US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman."
J Street states that Mr. Friedman is "hostile" to the two-state solution, which it terms the "only way to ensure Israel’s future as the democratic homeland of the Jewish people."
In fact, however, many politicians and thinkers on both sides of the Israeli spectrum have declared the two-state plan unworkable. Author A. B. Yehoshua, considered an "intellectual giant" of Israel's left-wing, recently said, "I have believed in dividing the land for 50 years, and now I see that it cannot happen. 450,000 Jews in Area A [Judea and Samaria] can simply not be uprooted. Can Jerusalem ever be divided, realistically? We have to start thinking differently."
J Street further accused Friedman of being a "friend of the settlement movement," and even of having "made the case for Israel's annexation of the West Bank." Being a "friend of the settlement movement" is apparently a crime in J Street's book.
'The Palestinians must also make concessions for peace'
In exclusive interview with Israel Hayom, U.S. President Donald Trump says he would "like to see a world of far greater peace than we have right now" • Trump labels Iran's belligerent conduct "ungrateful" • "I have great respect for Israel," Trump says.
Q: On multiple occasions we spoke of your views on Israel and your determination to be Israel's friend. Can you share your general plan for improving Israeli-American relations after the past eight years?
"Well, I think we are going to have a better relationship. The deal with Iran was a disaster for Israel. Inconceivable that it was made. It was poorly negotiated and executed. Everything about that deal was something. ... You know, as a deal person, I understand all sides of deals. I understand good deals and bad deals, but this deal is not even comprehensible. Beyond comprehension. And you see the way Iran has reacted; unlike reacting as they should, which is being thankful for President [Barack] Obama for making such a deal, which was so much to their advantage. They felt emboldened even before he left office. It is too bad a deal like that was made."
Q: What is your biggest takeaway from your meeting with PM Netanyahu in September? People say you have good chemistry. Is that true?
"We do. We've always had good chemistry, and he is a good man. He wants to do the right thing for Israel. He would like peace; I believe that he wants peace and wants to have it badly. I have always liked him."
Q: How soon will you decide on the issue of relocating the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and are you expecting something in return from Israel. Does Israel need to do anything in order for such a move to take place?
"Well, I want Israel to be reasonable with respect to peace. I want to see peace happen. It should happen. After all these years. ... Maybe there is even a chance for a bigger peace than just Israel and the Palestinians. I would like to see a level of reasonableness of both parties, and I think we have a good chance of doing that."

Q: And the embassy?
"I am thinking about the embassy, I am studying the embassy [issue], and we will see what happens. The embassy is not an easy decision. It has obviously been out there for many, many years, and nobody has wanted to make that decision. I'm thinking about it very seriously, and we will see what happens."
Netanyahu: Trump won’t give Israel carte blanche to do what it wants
US President Donald Trump will not give Israel free rein to do what it wants, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Israeli ministers who have called on him to rescind his support for a Palestinian state when the two men meet in Washington on Wednesday.
“Even after eight years of complex navigation in the tenure of [former US President Barack] Obama, we still need to continue to act wisely with the Trump administration. While it is a more comfortable administration [to work with], there will still be restrictions,” Netanyahu told the ministers in his party, prior to the weekly government meeting.
Netanyahu has publicly accepted the principle of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since his public address on the matter at Bar-Ilan University upon entering office in 2009.
But his coalition’s right flank, the Bayit Yehudi party, as well as members of his own Likud party, have pressured him to back away from that position, particularly given that support for a Palestinian state is not part of the Republican party’s platform.
In a meeting of Likud ministers with Netanyahu Sunday, Ze'ev Elkin and Yariv Levin also called upon the premier to disavow his endorsement of a Palestinian state.
Yuval Steinitz also commented on the matter, saying that if Netanyahu were to take back his commitment from the Bar-Ilan speech it would harm Israel internationally.
UN chief considering MK Tzipi Livni for under secretary-general post
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres' office called Zionist Union MK Tzipi Livni over the weekend and told her she was being considered for under secretary-general. Livni's associates stressed that no offer had been made, calling it a "preliminary check."
Livni met with Guterres two weeks ago at his office in New York. At the time, diplomatic sources said she checked whether he might offer her the under secretary-general post.
Livni, a former justice minister, firmly denied at the time that she and Guterres spoke about a post for her during their meeting. Her associates continued to deny on Sunday that there were any personal issues regarding the employment for Livni discussed or hinted at in their talk two weeks ago.
Linvi's associates joined Guterres' spokesman in denying any connection between the possible job for Livni and the question of whether former Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad would be appointed the UN's envoy to Libya. "Reports of Tzipi and Fayyad being part of a deal are nonsense," a source close to Livni said.
Tzipi Livni Offered Senior UN Role in Exchange for US Reversing Position on PA’s Salam Fayyad
UN Secretary-General António Guterres has offered former Israeli Justice Minister, MK Tzipi Livni (Zionist Camp) to serve as one of his deputies, Yediot Aharonot reported Sunday morning. Should she accept the offer, Livni would be the first Israeli to serve in this capacity. According to the Yediot report, the Livni offer was made as part of a bargain with the US, which would reverse its objection to the appointment of former PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to be the UN envoy to Libya.
US envoy at the UN, Nikki Haley, said in a statement on Friday that “for too long the UN has been unfairly biased in favor of the Palestinian Authority to the detriment of our allies in Israel,” adding that “the United States does not currently recognize a Palestinian state or support the signal this appointment would send within the United Nations.” Therefore, “Going forward, the United States will act, not just talk, in support of our allies.”
Livni’s office denied the connection between the MK’s appointment and Fayyad’s, suggesting the offer to Livni had been made close to two weeks ago. A few days ago the Secretary General said that Israel is under-represented at the UN. Livni’s circle pointed out that while the Fayyad nomination requires the consent of the UN Security Council, Livni’s offered post requires no one’s consent, including Prime Minister Netanyahu’s.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Israelis Hoping Livni Accepts UN Post So She Can Bring That Organization Down Too (satire)
Reports of the new UN Secretary-General offering MK Tzipi Livni a position as one of his Deputy Secretaries have Israelis across the political spectrum excited over the new level of legitimacy the position would afford the country, with some also noting that given her track record, within several years the UN will be a shell of its former self and no longer capable of posing a serious international threat.
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, installed this year, took the unprecedented step of inviting Ms. Livni to the position, according to media reports. If approved by the Security Council, hers would be the first of an Israeli to such a senior United Nations post. Beyond the prestige associated with their compatriot attaining such a status, Israelis of various political stripes look forward to Livni’s eventual impact on the UN, which, if Livni’s record serves as an indicator, will descend into irrelevance and impotence. The body will thus be rendered unable to channel the Arab and Muslim worlds’ hostility toward the Jewish State to distract from their own abuses.
Security Council approval remains far from certain, but few Israelis would begrudge Livni the role. “It’s the perfect time for her to take her special magic to the UN,” gushed Opposition head and Labor Chairman Issac Herzog. “She’s performed well here as our partner in the Zionist Union faction, helping ensure we remain in the Opposition for years to come. That special touch she has for taking an organization with enormous potential and squandering that potential through a thorough misreading of public sentiment, coupled with an innate arrogance, fits beautifully with the UN. Others have both of those attributes, but only Tzipi has brought them together more than once to collapse a once-formidable entity from within.”
Posters call on Netanyahu: Return from U.S. with sovereignty
The Women in the Green movement has hung posters throughout Judea and Samaria, calling on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to promote the sovereignty plan during his upcoming meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump.
On the posters, hung on billboards and at the side of traffic arteries, it is written: “Prime minister, go in peace and return with – sovereignty”.
The heads of the Women in Green movement, Yehudit Katsover and Nadia Matar, noted that the signs are intended to sharpen the awareness of the political opportunity inherent in the change of administration at the White House.
“Donald Trump, the American president, planted the hope, during the campaign for election, for a dramatic change in American policy toward events in the Middle East in general and the Israeli-Arab conflict in particular. These things were expressed both in his promise to transfer the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and in the party’s decision to erase the clause that views the idea of two states as the necessary outline for a political solution,” said Katsover and Matar.
'Those who doubt Israel is ours can leave'
Moshe Zar, one of the founding fathers of the movement to settle Judea and Samaria, called on leftist activists and those who file anti-settler suits in the courts because they do not believe in the Biblical promise that Israel belongs to the Jewish people, to leave the country.
"We have Jews here who only pretend to be Jews. Their fathers' fathers arrived in Israel because they believed this is their homeland, but today, their grandchildren have reached the conclusion that this is the land of the Palestinian Arabs," Zar said. "They do not believe what the Bible says, they do not believe that G-d gave us this land. So please, let them pack their things and return to Germany."
"The Bible is not just the birthplace of our culture. It's the birthplace of our faith, it's our certificate of ownership, it's G-d's eternal promise to the Jewish people that He will watch over Israel's borders. It's not something primitive. The leftists who talk about human rights have no roots, no founding principles.
"If they feel that this is not their homeland, let them leave.
"The Arabs need to know that even if they were here for a few hundred years, they only kept watch over the land. These lands are ours because that is what is written in the Bible. Today, they want compensation: we should give them compensation only for the fact that they kept watch over the land."
Liberman: All the ‘Palestinians’ in Israel should go live under Abbas
Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said he would like to see all of Israel’s “Palestinian” citizens relocate to the Palestinian territories and become citizens there, and that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, at his meeting on Wednesday with Donald Trump, should coordinate with the new US president on expanding Israeli sovereignty to parts of the West Bank.
In an interview with Israel’s Channel 2 news, Liberman, asked about the two-state solution and his political program, said that his prime concern, when seeking to solve the conflict with the Palestinians, is to ensure the maintenance of Israel as a Jewish state.
“I want a Jewish state. Just as the Palestinians want a homogeneous Palestinian state, without a single Jew in it, judenrein, so I first and foremost want as Jewish a state [of Israel] as possible.”
Liberman reiterated his long-held conviction that the “land for peace” equation “has failed, and is a giant mistake” and that what is needed for an Israeli-Palestinian accommodation is “exchanges of territory and populations.” (A little over a fifth of Israel’s 8.6 million citizens are Arabs.)
“I want to separate from all the Palestinians who live here inside pre-1967 [Israel],” he declared in the (Hebrew) interview. “With my blessing: You are Palestinians, you should go to [live under the rule of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas] Abu Mazen. You’ll be citizens of the Palestinian Authority. He’ll pay you unemployment benefits, health benefits, maternity benefits, hanging around benefits.”
American immigrant denied citizenship over Temple Mount visit
A resident of Jerusalem who applied for citizenship under the Law of Return, was stunned to find his citizenship application opposed by the Interior Ministry because he was previously arrested on the Temple Mount, an arrest for which he is currently suing the police, the Honenu legal organization reported.
A., a haredi Torah scholar from the US who has worked and and studied in Jerusalem for the past few years,and who married an Israeli woman and has Israeli children, was arrested two years ago, when he ascended the Temple Mount, on suspicion of interfering with a police officer and disturbing the peace on the Temple Mount. A. was represented in court by a lawyer from the legal aid group, Honenu, which argued that he had been arrested without cause and demanded that he be released unconditionally.
Attorney Menashe Yaddo of Honenu also filed a lawsuit on behalf of A. for 'unlawful arrest and search.' The suit is currently being heard by the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court.
However, when A. submitted his application for citizenship, he was told that because of the arrest and the case he is not eligible to receive Israeli citizenship. He said that in addition to preventing him from being able to settle in Israel permanently, the Interior Ministry also stopped granting him visas, which caused the termination of the social benefits he received from the National Insurance Institute, tax reductions, the ability to obtain scholarships, and more.
Over 33,000 Israelis have taken German citizenship since 2000
More than 33,000 Israelis have received German citizenship since 2000, the Bundestag revealed in response to a query submitted by the Green Party.
Between 2000 and 2015, 33,321 Israelis were granted German passports. Of them, 31,722 have kept their citizenship and 1,599 have renounced it.
The number of Israelis in Germany far exceeds the number of Israelis who have a German passport, according to recent data revealed by the Berlin government.
The data is based on the central registry of foreign citizens, AZR, and were also reproduced in a telegram the Israeli Embassy in Berlin sent to the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem, according to the news website Ynet.
According to the report, 2006 was a peak year in requests for citizenship, when 4,313 Israelis were given passports. In 2015, 1,481 Israelis were given citizenship and 97 of them needed to renounce their Israeli passports. As of the end of November 2016, there were 13,289 Israeli citizens living in Germany.
The query at the Bundestag was submitted by chairman of the parliamentary Israel-Germany friendship association, Volker Beck.
French MP: Israel is a life insurance policy for Jews everywhere
French MP Meir Habib responded on Sunday to National Front Leader Marine Le Pen's promise to ban dual French-Israeli citizenship.
If implemented, the decision would affect 150,000 French citizens who live in Israel.
"Besides for the illegal aspects of this initiative, I would like to remind Mrs. Le Pen of the enormous debt Europe owes the Jewish nation," Habib said. "I would like to remind her that Israel is a kind of 'life insurance' policy for Jews everywhere in the world.
"If this country had existed 70 years ago - there would not have been a Holocaust.
"I would like to remind Le Pen that her father praised the Gestapo and the German occupation, and was indicted for several provocative statements which were said about a Jewish singer. In these statements, her father used a play on words to mention the Nazi ovens.
Jean-Marie Le Pen charged over apparent anti-Semitic pun
The founder of France’s far-right National Front party, Jean-Marie Le Pen, has been charged with inciting hatred for alleged anti-Semitic remarks in 2014, his lawyer said Saturday.
Frederic Joachim said the remarks by his client had been misinterpreted and his comments cut short.
The situation goes back to June 2014 when Le Pen in a video clip posted on the FN website railed against a number of critics including pop star Madonna and Yannick Noah, the French singer and former tennis champion.
When asked about another critic — French Jewish singer Patrick Bruel — Le Pen said then that he would be part of “a batch we will get next time,” using the word “fournee” for “batch”, evoking the word “four,” which means “oven.”
SOS Racisme called it “the most anti-Semitic filth,” a pledge by the FN founder to put his critics in their place using a pun suggesting Nazi gas chambers.
The remarks were also denounced by the FN and his daughter, Marine Le Pen, who took over the party leadership and is now the FN presidential candidate in this year’s election.
In Haaretz in English, Petah Tikvah Attack Is Only 'Suspected'
On Thursday, an assailant opened fire on shoppers in the central Israeli town of Petah Tivkah, and stabbed one, injuring a total of five people. The suspected attacker is an 18-year-old from Nablus. That this attack happened is not in dispute.
Yet, Haaretz's English edition, both online and print, referred to a "suspected" attack, as if was not yet verified that a shooting attack had taken place. The first sentence of the print article refers to the attack as "suspected":
Five people were hospitalized following a suspected shooting attack in the central city of Petah Tikvah yesterday.
The front-page headline of Haaretz's English edition Friday was "Five people wounded in suspected Petah Tikva terror attack."
The digital edition in English also qualifies the attack as "suspected." Its headline is: "Five Wounded in Suspected Shooting Attack in Central Israeli City."
With Sympathy: AP Photos Invert Terrorist And Victims
At least six Israelis were injured in a Palestinian terror attack in the town of Petah Tikva on Thursday. The terrorist opened fire on a bus, with two women and a man sustaining gunshot wounds, and then stabbed at least one other person in the neck using a screwdriver.
Civilians managed to stop the terrorist before police arrested him. Miraculously, no one was killed in the attack.
Why, then, did the Associated Press choose to illustrate its report on the attack with photos of the mourning relatives of a Palestinian who was killed in a totally unrelated incident?

Qatar’s Gaza envoy hails his ties to Israel, says PA is stalling on solution to Gaza power shortage
Qatar’s special envoy to Gaza, Muhammad al-Amadi, said that he maintains “excellent” ties with various Israeli officials, and that in some case it is Palestinian officials who are holding up efforts to better the lives of residents of the Strip.
“I am in contact with senior Israeli officials and agencies and the relationship is great,” al-Amadi told The Times of Israel in an interview last week, the first time an official Qatari representative has spoken with Israeli press.
“The head of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, [Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai], is of course one of them, but there are others,” he said.
Al-Amadi, who heads the National Committee for the Reconstruction of Gaza, has long been shuttling between Doha, Israel, and the Gaza Strip. He is the Qatar royal family’s official appointment in charge of the Strip’s reconstruction, and has the title of ambassador.
Qatari-funded neighborhood inaugurated in south Gaza
The deputy head of Hamas’s political bureau Ismail Haniyeh took part in a ceremony Saturday to dedicate a new Qatari-funded housing project in the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis.
Haniyeh announced at the ceremony that the emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, will deliver an additional $100 million for the rehabilitation of the Gaza Strip, the Ynet news site reported. Of those funds, Haniyeh added, $25 million will be allocated for a hospital in Rafah, and another $10 million will be designated for a center to treat people with special needs in Gaza City.
The Hamas official further stated that Qatar had vowed to transfer $30 million to erect new electricity lines, and another $12 million for fuel to be used in Gaza’s power plants.
Gaza recently experienced the worst electricity shortage in years, with power supplied to households only three to four hours a day.
In recent months, Gaza residents have staged spontaneous demonstrations against the power cuts, including one in January that saw thousands of Palestinians taking to the streets of Jabaliya, in the northern Strip. Hamas cracked down the protesters, arresting several and targeting journalists covering the demonstrations.
Hamas releases video tribute to killed rocket engineer
Hamas's military wing released a video on Friday in tribute to its rocket engineer who died on Sunday from wounds he is believed to have sustained whilst manufacturing a missile in the Gaza Strip.
The video claims that the engineer, Mohammad Walid Al-Koka, worked before his death to develop missiles for the terrorist organization that controls Gaza.
Hamas had announced that the 44-year-old Al-Koka and another operative were injured in a structure in the coastal Sudania region, which is in northern Gaza. However, a Palestinian source claimed that Al-Koka was a rocket engineer for the organization and that they presumed he was killed by an explosion during the manufacturing of a missile.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Palestinians To Celebrate Valentine’s Day With Special Honor Killings (satire)
Residents of this Jordan Valley community are planning a special observance of St. Valentine’s Day this week, in which they will pay tribute to the saint’s legacy of love by murdering female family members accused of romantic liaisons that did not receive approval from the household males.
Village elders have planned the special observance for weeks. While firmly Muslim, ‘Uja residents have adopted some elements of Western or Israeli culture, following prolonged exposure to mores other than their traditional Islam via the media and entertainment. Over the years, the interface between the traditional and the newly discovered has produced an integration of sorts, in which once-foreign practices have found their way into the local way of life in such a way that the traditional order is preserved.
Already, six teenage and young adult women in the community have been named as suspects for purposes of the observance, but their identities will not be divulged until the observance itself. The secrecy is key, explained one elder, to maintain the element of surprise necessary to carry out the murders.
“It won’t do to have these sluts escaping justice by fleeing,” observed Aiwil Qillem, 75. “We do not even speak of the dishonor that will occur if they are allowed to escape. The disgrace that would then fall upon their families could not be expiated. Well, unless they went and slaughtered some Jews. That’s always a sure bet to restore family honor.”
Michael Bennett’s foul choice
NFL player Michael Bennett has made headlines by cancelling his planned trip to Israel with several other professional football players. Bennett made his announcement in a showy public display by tweeting a picture of Martin Luther King Jr., with the caption “I’m not going to Israel.”
It was a strange choice of images given that Dr. King was an ardent supporter of Israel who famously said, “Israel is one of the great outposts of democracy in the world, and a marvelous example of what can be done, how desert land can be transformed into an oasis of brotherhood and democracy. Peace for Israel means security, and that security must be a reality.”
Perhaps Bennett realized his error, because he subsequently tweeted a letter, in which he explained his decision not to travel to Israel. In it, he writes that one of his heroes was Muhammad Ali who always stood strongly with the Palestinian people.
At least Muhammed Ali bothered to visit the region.
IsraellyCool: The Mystery Of Missing Israel On Google Maps
If you have an iPhone try to find Israel on Google Maps.
It does seem that Android devices show Israel. The browser on my Mac (as seen in the video) shows Israel. It appears that only on iPhones does the name Israel never appear, no matter what scale the map is set to.
I don’t understand this glitch. It would seem odd for iPhones to be different from all other devices for Google Maps but we’d like to know what’s going on.
Let us know if you find something different on your device!
Where is Israel on Google Maps

Columbia University Forces Organizers of Upcoming Event With Jewish State’s UN Ambassador to Slash Number of Pro-Israel Attendees
Organizers of an upcoming program at Columbia University featuring Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon have been forced to slash the number of non-university attendees after school officials threatened to shut the event down, citing security concerns, The Algemeiner has learned.
The move will effectively reduce the number of supporters of the Jewish state who will be able to attend the Monday lecture.
“We were originally asked to limit non-Columbia people to around 70, and to hand in a list of names for pre-approval,” Rudy Rochman, president of the Columbia chapter of grassroots activist group Students Supporting Israel (SSI), said. “Now we are left with maybe 10 non-university individuals, outside of the ambassador’s team, who we can invite.”
Event co-sponsor Victor Muslin co-sponsor of Columbia Alums for Campus Fairness (ACF) — part of a national network engaged in combating antisemitism and anti-Israel bias on campuses — told The Algemeiner he was “disappointed” by the school’s decision to issue the strict cap of 20 non-university individuals permitted to attend the event. This number includes the ambassador’s security detail.
“This decision will affect a number of alumni who are entitled to attend,” Muslin said.
TV’s ‘Homeland’: Alternative Facts About Settlements
In the latest episode of Showtime’s program “Homeland,” veteran senior CIA operative Saul Berenson visits his religious sister in a West Bank settlement. The two clash over his opposition to her living there, with Saul fuming, “Haven’t you driven enough people from their homes already? Bulldoze their villages, seized their property under laws they had no part in making?”
Saul’s sister responds as a stereotypical religious zealot would, offering no substantive response to his charges.
Like Mandy Patinkin – the actor who plays him who has expressed support for actors and artists who refused to perform in the settlement of Ariel – the character of Saul Berenson can certainly express his criticism of settlements. But as the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan quipped, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.”
The oft repeated charge Saul repeats – that settlements in Judea and Samaria are built on the ruins of bulldozed villages from which Arabs were driven from their homes – is completely false. Yet “Homeland” presented it to tens of millions of viewers as an uncontroverted fact.
Pop singer Natalie Imbruglia nixes Israel concert
Pop singer Natalie Imbruglia on Sunday cancelled her upcoming Tel Aviv concert due what event organizers said were "logistic constraints."
The singer, who was at the peak of her fame and a leading pop musician in the 1990s, has removed tour listing of the concert in Israel which was scheduled to take place on March 1.
Imbruglia apologized for disappointing her fans in Israel and vowed to schedule a show in country at a future date. Concert producers said refunds would be given to all ticket holders.
Meanwhile, Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement activists claimed the cancellation as a success, citing a campaign to pressure Imbruglia by an anti-Israeli organization named "Don't Play Apartheid Israel." The organization's campaign went as far as creating a Facebook page dedicated to convincing the Australian-British singer-songwriter not to give a show in the country.
Nazi-era national anthem shocks Fed Cup players
German Fed Cup players and fans were shocked when the Nazi-era German national anthem was sung before their match against the USA team.
A US soloist sang the first stanza of 'Deutschlandlied' which ceased to be part of the national anthem after the fall of Nazi Germany.
The first stanza, which begins "Germany, Germany above all else, Above all else in the world," is closely associated with Adolf Hitler's Third Reich and Nazi ideology.
During the performance, players and fans began singing the modern anthem words loudly.
German tennis player Andrea Petkovic, who went on to lose her singles match, told the German Federation website that “It was the worst experience that has ever happened to me – horrifying and shocking,” and also said in a press conference after the match that she had considered walking off the court during the anthem.
Defense Ministry: Israeli firms earned over $1b from F-35 program
Israeli defense firms have raked in nearly NIS 4 billion ($1.07 billion) from projects related to the F-35 fighter jet since 2010, the Defense Ministry said Sunday.
The past year also saw a 33 percent jump in the value of orders over previous years. In 2016, approximately NIS 1 billion ($258 million) in new deals were signed between Lockheed-Martin — the manufacturer of the F-35 — and Israeli defense contractors, the ministry said.
In total, Israeli companies have made approximately NIS 3.9 billion ($1.033 billion) in deals connected to the F-35 project, the ministry said.
“The breadth of the manufacturing partnership between the Adir’s producers and Israeli industry, in just the last year, shows the immense potential inherent in this arrangement for the Israeli economy,” said Col. (res.) Avi Dadon, deputy director-general of the Defense Ministry, using the F-35’s Hebrew name.
A large chunk of the expected NIS 1 billion — NIS 772 million ($206 million) — will go to Elbit Systems and the American Rockwell Collins, which are manufacturing a state-of-the-art helmet for the F-35 fighter jet in a joint project.
Try not to cry during this Oscar-nominated film about a survivor and his violin
Filmmaker Kahane Cooperman hasn’t written an Oscars acceptance speech yet, but she likely will before the Academy Awards ceremony on February 28.
Not to jinx things or appear overconfident, Cooperman told JTA in a telephone interview, but “on the chance it happens, for fear of leaving someone out.”
Her film, “Joe’s Violin,” is up for an award for short documentary — a category typically ignored by viewers more interested in what Emma Stone is wearing. It’s a 24-minute, five-handkerchief weeper; a joyous paean to the human spirit and a testimony of how simple acts of kindness can have important and far-reaching implications.
The (appropriately) short version of the film’s story: The eponymous Joe is Joe Feingold, a 93-year-old Holocaust survivor from Poland. About three years ago, the lifelong violinist realized he no longer had the dexterity to play up to his standards.
“I had some good ideas of how a violin should be played,” he said in a separate telephone interview from his home in New York. “And I couldn’t [do it anymore]. The violin was here, in its case in my apartment, and I thought I should make some use out of it.”
He considered selling the instrument, but then heard an announcement on WQXR, the New York classical music station. Working in conjunction with the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation — an outgrowth of the film that won Richard Dreyfus an Oscar — the station was looking for used instruments to be donated to needy New York City schoolchildren.
Joe's Violin | 2017 Oscar Nominee | The Screening Room

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