Sunday, August 23, 2015

From Ian:

Faced With Sea of Palestinian Flags at Spanish Reggae Festival, Matisyahu Belts Out ‘Jerusalem’
After failing in an attempt to have Jewish-American singer Matisyahu banned from a Spanish music festival, the BDS bigots had yet another trick to unveil as the star ascended to the stage on Saturday night.
Not to be cowed however, it was the spirited Matisyahu who had the last laugh.
Far from boycotting the reggae artist’s gig, the “hate Israel” crowd showed up en masse. And they came bearing flags, immense Palestinian flags, which they waved with gusto from every corner of the 20,000-strong crowd.
As Matisyahu took the mike and looked out to the audience, he was presented with an unmistakably hostile message. It was clear that those who sought to have him banished stood before him in protest. Then the catcalls started, with some chanting, “out, out.” It might easily have been unnerving, disorienting.
But then he began to sing about Jerusalem.
“Jerusalem, if I forget you, fire not gonna come from me tongue. Jerusalem, if I forget you, let my right hand forget what it’s supposed to do.”
And then, as he bounced and twirled around the stage, the most defiant lyrics of all: “3, 000 years with no place to be, and they want me to give up my milk and honey.”
“Tonight was difficult but special,” he later posted on Facebook, along with a clip of the performance.
What courage. Not to be intimidated when the concert organizers demanded he pacify the BDSers, and then to return to the festival’s schedule in defiance of the opposition, and chant Jerusalem on stage with such gusto.
What courage.
Matisyahu Sings Jerusalem At Sunsplash Festival

'BDS seen in the Spanish press as a violent organization' after Matisyahu uproar
Rogel said that in the Spanish media Matisyahu's performance was seen as a “victory of pluralism and music against pressure.” She explained that much of the Spanish media was looking at the affair from a particular Spanish context, and likened the BDS tactics to those used by Basque separatists, which are very unpopular in Spain.
She said opposition to the threatening tactics used against the festival spawned criticism on both the left and the right of the Spanish political spectrum.
Rogel, summing up the entire affair, said there were two primary points to keep in mind: the first, she said, was that “there is no doubt that this was a huge victory over BDS.
“BDS tried to present itself up until now as a human rights organization, but over the last week was seen in the Spanish press as a violent organization,” she said, noting that this was a significant public opinion victory.
On the negative side of the ledger, however, she said that if very few people in Spain knew about BDS until last week, this has changed because of the front page headlines this story created. Rogel also expressed concern that the attention paid this story may scare off organizers of other music and film festivals who may not have anything against Israel, or want to boycott it, but will simply weigh whether or not it is worth the headache of inviting Israeli artists or films.
“This is the quiet BDS which it is difficult to measure,” she said. “What goes on behind the scenes before the invitations are sent out.”
El Pais reported that one act, the local band La Gossa Sorda (The Deaf Dogs) pulled out of the festival because Matisyahu performed. In the days before Matisyahu was re-invited, there were no reports of any of the 250 performers at the festival who stood with him in solidarity and said they would not perform if he was not allowed to play.
The Game is Up: How BDS is the Face of Modern Anti-Semitism
Whereas other nations are free, even encouraged and supported, to struggle for their national rights, Jews are actively discouraged and maligned for doing so. Whereas in any other context, an indigenous people seeking to both physically liberate its ancestral homeland while reclaiming place-names changed by conquering imperialist powers - no matter how long after it was taken from them and colonized - would garner sympathy, Jews who do so are ridiculed and condemned, accused of "harping on about ancient history."
Astonishingly enough, we Jews are simultaneously accused of oppressing the "ancient" Palestinian nation - whose supposedly "ancient" history is inexplicably more relevant and less absurd to evoke than our own - via our modern nation-state. This bare-faced logical inconsistency serves as a graphic illustration of the slipperiness of anti-Semitism, and its ability to change its stripes even within a contemporary context - sometimes even the same breath.
That is why boycotting Matisyahu was entirely in-line with BDS's positions. It doesn't matter that he isn't Israeli, the point is he is a Jewish "troublemaker," because - while never making political statements on stage - he is clearly pro-Israel, and not ashamed of it.
JPost Apologizes for NIF Op-ed
Friday’s JPost included a shocking and insulting op-ed penned by the New Israel Fund's vice president in charge of public relations. It was written in response to an article in that paper by Mr. Ronn Torossian, public relations CEO and a frequent Arutz Sheva op-ed writer.
In his article, Torossian had publicized the fact that the New Israel Fund supports boycotts of Israel and that prominent American Jews continue to donate significant sums to it - information that is available to the public and that Arutz Sheva has given prominent exposure.
In the NIF response, incredibly called "Scraping the Bottom of the Barrel," Torossian was termed "disreputable", and Jeffrey Goldberg's description of what he considers "the lunatic fringe" was applied to him, among other insults and inaccuracies.
Naturally, Torossian's lawyers contacted the JPost immediately.(h/t Bob Knot)

IsraellyCool: Confessions Of A Pro-Palestinian Activist In Hebron 2007
Daniel Borg is a Swede who was actively engaged in Swedish politics, passionately pro-Palestinian and went to join the International Solidarity Movement (ISM). His observations from within the ISM are explosive.
My Palestinian training, non-violence or violence?
Before joining ISM group in Hebron I had my training in Ramallah during two days. How to obstruct IDF ops? How to freely walk in a neighbourhood and alert the coordinators the movements of incoming IDF patrols? When to go out and show your presence to the military, so that they dont dare shoot at your direction? Shield a house that IDF want to demolish? Shield stone-molotov-throwing militants? Yes. Our job. PLO (now Fatah, but it is the same) uses well meaning idealistic western youngsters to aid, shield and make-possible their terrorist agenda. The Fatah-coordinators made it clear to us that ISM uses only non-violent means of resistence, but in the meantime stressed that if the Palestinians chooses to use violence our job is to shield them. It is the Palestinians that live under occupation and humiliation, not us western activists, so we should let them make the operational decisions and we internationals are there to act like human shields and protect them from the IDF.
We even spent a good amount of time practicing how to pitch-up extreme screams with the intent of scaring off settler kids. Our instructions were that if settler kids approach us and act violently we need to surprise them by screaming with the loudest of our abilities so that they get panic and run away. We did a lot of exercise in these high-pitch screams. If someone from downtown Ramallah reads this, I want to express my sincere apologies for your lost sleep during these days.
Israeli woman suffers gunshot to head by errant bullet from Jordan
Ruth Maman, 57, was enjoying a relaxing Saturday afternoon with her family at the Huga natural springs park in the Beit Shean Valley, when suddenly things took a surreal turn for the worst as an errant bullet fired from neighboring Jordan struck her in the head.
Maman was lightly wounded and taken to Haemek Medical Center in Afula for treatment.
A CT scan at the hospital showed that a bullet was lodged in her head, apparently fired from a Kalashnikov AK-47 rifle.
"During our picnic, Mom felt a strong blow to the head," Maman's daughter, Liron, said. "The first thought was that it was a rock. We were amazed when the doctors told us it was a bullet, and they called the police. It's insane that a family goes to a park on Saturday to have fun, and the day ends with someone getting a bullet to her head. Thank God, Mom is feeling well."
Doctors removed the bullet from Maman's head, and she was kept overnight under supervision. The Beit Shean Police was investigating the incident.
Huga Park is situated only 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) from the Jordanian border.
Study: Holocaust survivors trauma passed on to children's genes
The trauma suffered by Holocaust survivors can be genetically transmitted to their children, a new study conducted in the U.S. has found. According to a research team at New York's Mount Sinai Hospital, led by Professor Rachel Yehuda, Holocaust exposure can induce intergenerational effects, which increases the incidence of stress disorders among children of Holocaust survivors.
Yehuda's study compared the families of 32 Jewish men and women who had been imprisoned in Nazi concentration camps, underwent torture, witnessed it or were forced to hide during the Holocaust, to control groups of Jewish families who were living outside of Europe during World War II.
The idea driving the study is still controversial as the common scientific assumption is that the DNA does not change. However, The chemical byproducts of an individual's lifestyle and habits can cause small changes in the individual's DNA. If these changes recur in the individual's offspring, it could mean that factors like smoking, diet and psychological stress can influence future generations.
Yehuda and her colleagues focused on what is referred to as "epigenetic inheritance" -- the idea that environmental factors can affect the genetics of future offspring. Yehuda's team specifically examined one region of a gene linked to the regulation of stress hormones, which are known to be affected by traumatic experiences.
The team measured cytosine methylation in the gene FKBP5, learning that "the gene changes in the children could only be attributed to Holocaust exposure in the parents," as Yehuda said to British newspaper the Guardian.
Natalie Portman: Holocaust is no more tragic than other genocides
Holocaust survivor advocates were quick to condemn Portman’s comments.
“While I agree with Natalie Portman that hatred exists in every part of the world, our area included, her understanding of the Holocaust seems limited,” said Colette Avital, the chairwoman of the Center of Organizations of Holocaust Survivors in Israel.
“Natalie should understand that the Holocaust which befell us cannot be compared to other tragedies – our empathy notwithstanding. It was not merely hatred, it was a policy whose aim was to systematically wipe out a whole people from the face of the world,” she explained.
“I agree that the education we give our children should not encourage a continuous sense of being the eternal victims. The lessons to be drawn from the Holocaust are that life should be sanctified, and that we should be more humane. What should be taught is also the incredible resilience of our people who have risen from the ashes , rebuilt their lives and built a country of their own.”
Dr. Efraim Zuroff, a professional Nazi hunter who heads the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Jerusalem office, agreed, telling the Post that “with all due respect for Ms. Portman's great acting and directing talents, her success in the movie world does not turn her into an expert in history or on genocide. If she wants to express her sympathy with all victims of such tragedies, this is definitely not a smart way to do so.”
Polish Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich voiced similar concerns.
“As human beings and especially as Jews, we need to be sensitive to all tragedies, to all genocides. As human beings and especially as Jews, we must ensure that all remember the uniqueness of the Holocaust, in it's scope and in it's scale,” he said.
Secret IAEA deal inked with reported ex-head of Iran nuclear bomb effort
The Iranian official who could be in charge of inspecting suspect nuclear sites as part of a side agreement with the international nuclear watchdog IAEA may be the same man who oversaw Tehran’s nuclear program a decade ago when it is suspected atomic weapons were being developed.
Dr. Ali Hosseini-Tash, currently the deputy secretary of Supreme National Security Council for Strategic Affairs, is the signatory on behalf of Iran to the agreement between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency IAEA, revealed last week by the Associated Press.
According to Paris-based dissident group National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), Hosseini-Tash is a military commander who was tasked with militarizing Tehran’s nuclear program.
Hosseini-Tash is a senior IRGC commander, who has been in charge of advancing Tehran’s bomb-making projects for many years,” Shahin Gobadi, a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the NCRI told the Daily Mail.
“In this position, he has been intimately involved in every detail of the bomb-making program and is fully aware of the program’s vulnerabilities and concealment tactics,” he said
Barak's revelation of secret details of Iran-related deliberations marked a true undermining of Israel's national security.
Over the weekend, the citizens of Israel were witness to frustrating and disappointing displays of national irresponsibility. In the spirit of Louis XIV, both former Defense Minister Ehud Barak and former Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman declared, "I am the state -- don't forget."
Barak revealed secret details of discussions that had taken place regarding a potential Israeli military strike against Iran. Everyone knows that the Iran nuclear program is the top security challenge facing Israel. The publication of the content of top-level Iran-related deliberations marked a true undermining of national security.
Barak's action cannot be excused just because a number of years have passed since the classified discussions in question. As long as the Iranian nuclear program is alive and kicking, any public talk about the matter by ex-officials is dangerous and unnecessary. Before Barak, this red line was also crossed by former Mossad chief Meir Dagan and former Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin.
The ability of the Diplomatic-Security Cabinet to function properly depends on its members being able to express their opinions freely, without fear of their words being publicized. Barak's conduct has harmed the Diplomatic-Security Cabinet, which is the body most responsible for protecting Israel's national security. In a normal country, I am sure law enforcement officials would consider initiating legal proceedings against someone who revealed state secrets.
Chris Christie: Iran deal is worst thing Obama has done in 7 years
U.S. presidential hopefuls Chris Christie and Bobby Jindal promised to transform American foreign policy during a campaign stop in Des Moines, Iowa on Saturday.
Christie, the governor of New Jersey, said he sees no need for diplomatic niceties in response to the Iran nuclear deal that U.S. President Barack Obama announced last month with Tehran.
"The Iran deal is the single worst thing that the president has done in seven years as a president, and that's a high bar. We cannot permit Israel to be threatened by Iranian nuclear weapons; we cannot permit the United States to be threatened by Iranian nuclear weapons. If I were the president of the United States, I would have walked away from that table and told the Iranians when they were serious, come back and talk to me," Christie said.
Purported Abbas resignation from PLO Executive Committee ridiculed as 'silly show'
Palestinian officials on Sunday issued contradictory statements regarding reports that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas had resigned as Chairman of the PLO Executive Committee.
The reports also claimed that nine other members of the committee submitted their resignations during a meeting in Ramallah late Saturday.
An official statement released by the Executive Committee made no reference to the reported resignations.
Some Palestinian factions and officials ridiculed the reported resignations as a “silly show.”
Abbas told visiting Polish journalists on Sunday that he and other members of the PLO Executive Committee had indeed resigned. Abbas described the committee as the “government of the State of Palestine,” adding that it represents all Palestinians.
However, Saeb Erekat, who was elected by the committee as PLO Secretary-General, denied that Abbas and other members had resigned. He said that such resignations could only be submitted to the PLO’s parliament-in-exile, the Palestinian National Council (PNC), which is expected to hold a meeting next month.
The last time the PNC held a meeting was in 1996.
Abbas's new Presidential Guest Palace
Writing at Gatestone, Khaled Abu Toameh asks the question, "What are Palestinians Doing with U.S. Money?", concluding "One does not have to be an expert on Palestinian affairs to see that the billions of dollars have neither created democracy for the Palestinians nor boosted the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. "
One of the "projects" financed by US donations may very well be Abbas's new Presidential Guest Place. Now serving the 11th year of his 4 year term, Abbas is building himself a facility fit for a king.
$13 million dollars is budgeted for the project, which includes 2 helipads

Meet Iran's Islamic Jihad Cell that Attacked Israel
The identities of the five-man Islamic Jihad terror cell directed by Iran that fired four rockets at northern Israel last Thursday was released on Sunday, showing they were Palestinian Arabs living outside Damascus in a stronghold of the terror group, and a key hub for Iran.
The cell fired two rockets at the Golan Heights and two at the Upper Galilee, where the explosions set off two fires.
Israel responded by striking several Syrian army targets, before eliminating the five-man cell as it drove in a vehicle ten to 15 kilometers from the border; Islamic Jihad threatened more rocket attacks in response.
Channel 10 published the identities of the terrorists, naming them as Mohammed Taysir Shahada, Yussuf Fathi al-Hatib, Abdo Hishan, Mohammed Hishan and Giyat Abu Aesha.
Two of the five were members of the same family, and all five were taken out in an airstrike near the town of Al-Qom in the Syrian Golan Heights.
All of the members of the cell were Palestinian Arabs, and members of the Islamic Jihad branch in Syria. They were also all residents of Al-Wadafin, a "refugee camp" to the northeast of Damascus that was inhabited by Palestinian Arabs who left Israel during the 1948 War of Independence, and later by those coming from the Golan Heights after it was liberated in the 1967 Six Day War.
Was anti-Semitism behind the mass food poisoning of Israeli youth soccer team in Bulgaria?
Israeli soccer officials hinted that anti-Semitism may have been the reason that the entire Maccabi Petah Tikva youth soccer team fell victim to food poisoning so severe that each of the players ended up in a hospital in Bulgaria over the weekend.
According to Sport 5 television, members of the team who were staying at their hotel in Sofia began complaining of stomach aches and diarrhea, while some began vomiting and even fainting.
A number of players were released from hospital, while others are still in need of treatment.
Maccabi Petah Tikva's youth club is in Bulgaria to take part in training camp. Their players are staying at a hotel in Sofia. After the illnesses, the team's coaches bought food for the team from eateries outside of the hotel just to make sure that they don't fall victim to additional cases of food poisoning.
"We have the sense that somebody [at the hotel] was bothered by the fact that the players sang in Hebrew on Friday," Avi Luzon, a Maccabi Petah Tikva official, told Sport 5.
"We asked the Bulgarian soccer federation to investigate this matter urgently," Luzon said. "One after the other, the players fell victim and were rushed to the emergency room. From what I gathered, this was really scary. I hope that tomorrow morning they will be able to get on a plane back to Israel so that they can be tested further." (h/t Alexi)
Hevron Arab Indicted for Trying to Murder Officer in Jerusalem
An indictment was submitted on Sunday morning to the Jerusalem District Court against Yasser Tarwa, a 20-year-old Arab resident of Hevron in Judea, who stabbed a police officer in Jerusalem two months ago and nearly murdered him.
The indictment charges Tarwa with attempted murder, as well as illegal entry into sovereign Israeli territory.
According to the indictment, two months ago Tarwa reached the Damascus Gate on the northeastern edge of Jerusalem's Old City, where he stabbed a Border Patrol officer repeatedly with a knife in an attempt to murder him.
From the indictment it becomes clear that Tarwa's attack was indeed "nationalistically motivated," terminology commonly employed to describe Arab terrorist attacks.
His plan was to murder an officer or IDF soldiers and afterwards be killed himself, reveals the indictment.
The officer was seriously wounded in the attack, and was evacuated from the scene while unconscious. He required surgery and an extended hospital stay, but fortunately survived the attempt on his life.
'Arabs are Burning State Land, Where is the State?'
Arab rioters from the town of Kusra in Samaria arrived on Shabbat morning as is their custom to the agricultural lands of nearby Esh Kodesh in the Shiloh Bloc region, where they set on fire vineyards and fields located on state land, setting off clashes with the Jewish residents.
IDF forces arrived and broke up the clashes, using tear gas and stun grenades to disperse the Arab rioters.
Hila Mann, a resident of Esh Kodesh, told Arutz Sheva on Sunday about the incident the day before, saying, "as they do many times on Shabbat, Arabs from the village of Kusra came here to our vineyards and fields on state land."
"They try to spark a provocation, they arrived with a tractor and lots of people from the village," she described. "We called up the army and the police. We ran there in the meantime, men from the town (ran) to defend the vineyards and the land. Also residents from the towns around us arrived."
In a call for action, Mann said, "the Arabs also started to set fire there. I turn to the Defense Minister (Moshe Ya'alon), in these days when he is busy with arrests against Jews, let him come here and see what is happening on state land and see what the situation is."
Yisrael, another resident of the town, told Arutz Sheva that "this was like every Shabbat in recent weeks."
Leftist NGO Demands Municipal Halls for Nakba Film Festival
The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) has petitioned the Attorney General to order Haifa's mayor to rent out municipal halls for the Zochrot organization's film festival.
Zochrot, an ultra leftist NGO which has previously accused Israel of ethnic cleansing, hosts "48 mm - The International Film Festival on Nakba and Return" annually.
ACRI, which represents Zochrot, claims that all of the NGO's attempts to rent municipal halls for screening the festival were either turned down or completely ignored.
"We highly doubt that the decision to cancel the event to be held in conjunction with the Haifa Cinematheque was lawful...there is no doubt that municipal institutions' refusal to rent their halls to Zochrot is in stark contrast to justice," ACRI argued.
According to ACRI, the "censorship" of so-called "controversial" works of art is a growing phenomenon.
Palestinian youths seeking revenge for Duma attack charged with Jerusalem firebombings
The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) arrested nine members of an east Jerusalem terror cell allegedly responsible for a string of fire bombings in the capital’s Beit Hanina neighborhood that wounded three Israelis.
The Jerusalem District Attorney’s Office on Sunday filed two indictments against the nine defendants with the Jerusalem District Court on a range of crimes, including charging them with fire bombings, attempted murder, causing serious bodily harm, conspiracy and manufacturing and igniting a weapon.
Following an intensive investigation in coordination with Jerusalem Police, the suspects were arrested two weeks ago, although the arrests were not made public until Sunday due to a gag order and several of the defendants names are still under gag order because they are minors.
Hunger Strike Terrorist Gives Hamas Interview from Hospital
Islamic Jihad terrorist Mohammed Allan, who got his administrative arrest canceled last week through a hunger strike, gave an interview to the Hamas journal saying he will hunger strike again if Israel rearrests him in the future.
Allan, who is suspected of recruiting and directing suicide bombers and aiding fugitive terrorists during the Second Intifada, spoke to the Hamas paper from his hospital bed in Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon.
"Currently I am classified as released. If the Israeli occupation arrests me again I will hunger strike again until they put an end to the tragedy I am going through, (as are) hundreds of other administrative detainees like me sitting in their jails," he said.
"Administrative detention robs the life from hundreds of prisoners and causes them to pay a heavy price, without any guilt or indictment against them," he claimed. "This policy needs to stop immediately."
Watch: Arab Workers Fly Hamas Flags on Tel Aviv-J'lem Highway
A shocking video said to be filmed Sunday near the town of Shoresh on the outskirts of Jerusalem on busy Highway 1, which connects the capital and Tel Aviv, is making the rounds on Facebook.
In the video the site of Arab construction workers laboring on the new train and highway projects connecting Israel's two largest cities is seen - and unbelievably, two large green Hamas flags are visible flying openly from the mirrors of their construction truck. 
The terrorist organization Hamas is outlawed in Israel; the group, which has the genocide of all Jews written into its charter, last summer launched its third terror war from Gaza seeking to destroy Israel.
Comments on Facebook to the video post pointed out the irony of the incident, given that an Ashkelon resident last Sunday was given a warning by police for riding into a hospital where protests had taken place with an Israeli flag on his motorbike.
That warning came despite the fact that Arab protesters supporting the Islamic Jihad terrorist Mohammed Allan who was receiving treatment at the hospital freely waved flags of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) terrorist group at the site.
PMW: Hamas apologizes for Jew-rapes-West Bank cartoon
Hamas publicized on its twitter account this cartoon depicting a long nosed Jew raping a woman in yellow, the color of Fatah, who is named "West Bank." At the same time, the Jew is shooting her two children. A policeman next to a sign "West Bank [Palestinian] Authority" is standing by idly, smoking a cigar and ignoring the rape and murder. A man across the border, next to a sign "Gaza," stands on a helmet dripping with blood from a killed Israeli soldier, and calls to her:
Man from Gaza: "West Bank, get up and defend your honor and your children!"
Woman in Yellow ("West Bank"): "Yes, I would like to, but I have no permit."
[Twitter account of Al-Risala (Hamas news source), Jul. 31, 2015]
The cartoon outraged the PA and generated anger in the Palestinian street. Hamas was forced to remove the cartoon from its twitter account and apologize, while the cartoonist, Baha Yassin removed the cartoon from his Facebook page and replaced it with a modified version that is actually a continuation of the first one.
A second woman with the words "West Bank" written in green, the color of Hamas, stabs the Jew in the back in the center of the "Star of David" and kills him. The new "West Bank" woman holds the knife dripping with the Jew's blood, then rebukes the first yellow (Fatah) woman, who is now renamed "[Palestinian] Authority".
Gaza man attempts suicide due to Hamas city officials harassment
A Palestinian resident of Gaza attempted suicide on Saturday night in order to protest his alleged repeated harassment by the Hamas-ruled Strip's municipal authorities.
According to Palestinian news agency Ma'an, Muhammed Abu Asi, a vendor whose sea-side stand provides food and refreshment to Gaza's beach-goers, was rushed to an emergency room after purposefully swallowing poison.
Asi's sister, speaking for the ill businessman, explained that her brother tried to take his own life because Gaza municipality inspectors, who had previously torn down his kiosk, recently began harassing her brother after a charity had helped him re-build the stand.
Gaza's municipality fervently denied the accusations made by Asi's sister, saying that his business was never a target. They also added that they "can't be held responsible for what happened with Muhammad" and that they "strongly sympathize with him and wish him a quick recovery."
ISIS Destroys Ancient Syrian Monastery of Mar Elian
Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL/IS) jihadists have released a video showing bulldozers plowing through the ruins of the historic Christian Syrian monastery of Mar Elian, located in al-Qaryatain in the Syrian province of Homs. They also desecrated the monastery’s cemetery, unearthing graves with their machinery.
Before razing the fifth-century building, ISIS militiamen transferred dozens of captured Christians to their strongholds in the northeast of the country. The monastery of Mar Elian was dedicated to Saint Elian, the son of a Roman officer killed by his father in 284 AD for refusing to renounce his Christian faith.
Qaryatain is located at a strategic point near the road linking the ancient city of Palmyra with the Qalamoun mountains, along the border with Lebanon, in an area rich in deposits. After seizing the town in early August, the jihadists kidnapped 230 civilians, including at least 60 Christians and a number of women and children. Of these, 48 were released, while 110 were transferred to the province of Raqqa, the heart of the Islamic State. The fate of the other 70 hostages is still unknown.
More than a third of BBC report on ISIS destruction of Christian site is about Israel
BBC audiences might reasonably expect an article carrying the headline “Islamic State in Syria demolishes ancient Mar Elian monastery” to inform them about the wanton destruction of a 1,500 year-old historic religious building. However, a significant proportion of the report appearing under that title on the BBC News website’s Middle East page on August 21st actually dealt with another topic altogether; curiously described as “a separate development”.Mar Elian art
The article has undergone numerous changes since its initial appearance which can be viewed here. All four versions, however, devote over a third of their word count to the topic of an Israeli strike on the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists responsible for the missile attacks on the Upper Galilee region on August 20th.
The original article devoted 36.8% of its word count to that “separate development”, the second version 48.4%, the third version 47.3% and in the version currently available, 34% of the article is not about the destruction of the Mar Elian monastery.
Middle East conflict drastically 'improves air quality'
Political disturbance and armed conflict in the Middle East since 2010 have had the unintended consequence of making the air cleaner.
Researchers say that in countries like Syria and Iraq, levels of air pollutants have fallen dramatically.
The amount of nitrogen dioxide in the air over Damascus has fallen by up to 50% since start of the civil war.
The authors believe their work has important lessons for projections of global emissions.
Since 2004, scientists have been able to monitor atmospheric pollutants with high levels of precision thanks to the deployment of the Ozone Monitoring Instrument onboard the Nasa Aura satellite.
This new study used data from the spacecraft to see how economic, political and military activity has impacted levels of pollutants in and around the Middle East over the past decade.
UK Islamist Hamza Tzortzis 'Found' on Ashley Madison Hack List
A well known British Islamist preacher, Hamza Tzortzis, has turned up on the Ashley Madison user list that was leaked by hackers earlier this week, according to his own Facebook page.
Tzortzis, who is a prominent member of the Islamic Education and Research Academy which tours British universities posted yesterday that he had been tipped off that his details were included in the leak, but denied ever using the extra-marital dating service.
He is best known for his debates with atheist Richard Dawkins, but Tzortzis has also made statements flagged up in the British media in recent years. He has claimed that those who leave Islam “should be killed” as well as arguing that beheading is painless. He has also argued in favour of setting up an Islamic caliphate.
IsraellyCool: Great News! Israeli Mangoes On Sale In UK
Just had a tip off that the amazing mangoes we have here in Israel are now available in Asda in the UK! I’ve had a few here since the season began and they’re delicious as always. And because they were grown here in Israel you can be sure that resource usage (mostly water) was amongst the most efficient in the world.
I’d like to thank Mohammed Ansar for the tip off and I’m happy to pass on this buying recommendation to all Israellycool readers! Please comment if you went out to buy a pack of mangoes after my post.
Somehow I don’t think Mo meant this to be an advert. Oh well. More #BDSFail
Ethnicity less important than ideology in debate over new Muslim leader at J Street U
The Zionist Organization of America came out strongly against Farooqi, citing posts on social media that it believed represented an unacceptable bias.
In one tweet from last November, Farooqi asked why Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was “a d***bag,” while in another she wrote that she “wonder[ed] what Bibi would say if Palestinians applied his logic to their situation,” quoting him saying that Iranian “aggression” must be stopped at “all costs.”
“Bibi prefers war to diplomacy,” she posted.
ZOA President Morton Klein accused Farooqi of supporting BDS, referencing a tweet in which she wrote, “I don’t oppose any form of nonviolent Palestinian protest, including BDS,” although since she placed the statement in quotation marks it is unclear if she was speaking for herself.
“If she is quoting someone else's belief it means she is endorsing that belief or she wouldn't quote it without condemning it,” said Klein. By appointing someone who uses such language, “J Street has relinquished any tenuous claim they had to call themselves pro israel [and] pro peace.”
“I don't think it means anything that a Muslim has been elected President of J Street U,” agreed Elliot Mathias, Executive Director of Hasbara Fellowships.
“There are Zionist Jews, Christians and Muslims, and there are anti-Semitic Jews, Christians and Muslims. I don't know Amna so I have no comment on her. On the other hand, any student that continues J Street U's one-sided blaming of Israel for the Middle Eastern conflict will only make peace harder to attain, as well as fuel those who demonize Israel on campuses.”
Israeli reinvents unicycle for futuristic delivery scheme
Robots designed by an Israeli student may take over the world in the near future, or at least the world of package deliveries.
The robotic delivery service, dubbed the Transwheel concept, was envisioned by Kobi Shikar, an engineering and design student at Shenkar School of Engineering and Design in Ramat Gan.
The one-wheeled drones, which would operate using a similar balancing system to the Segway, use GPS to navigate their way around, as well as facial recognition software to identify recipients, according to the Daily Mail.
“The Transwheel concept reimagines package distribution as a round-the-clock autonomous service carried out by robotic single-wheel drones that work independently and together to ensure timely, efficient delivery,” Shikar told the British tabloid.
“Each wheel features a self-balancing gyroscopic system, electric arms, and GPS-driven communication capability.”
WATCH: Israel strikes black gold
Sixty years ago, Israel found oil in the Heletz area south of Ashkelon. It was an exciting discovery for the brand-new state, and one that came after years of searching, according to this newsreel’s narrator.
“Israel’s first gusher has produced oil from a depth of about 4,000 feet,” the narrator declares.
On screen, workers bustle about the oil derrick as others fill bottles with souvenir oil.
“Let’s have a couple of pints,” the narrator quips, as one worker raises a bottle of oil in each hand.

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