Sunday, December 20, 2015

From Ian:

Smadar Haran, whose family Kuntar killed, hails ‘justice’
A Lebanese Druze, Kuntar became infamous for a brutal 1979 raid from Lebanon in which he and several accomplices kidnapped an Israeli family from Nahariya, then smashed the head of a four-year-old Israeli girl, Einat Haran, with his rifle butt and stones, killing her.
Three other Israelis, including her father, Danny Haran, were killed in the attack. Kuntar was 16 at the time, and a member of the Palestine Liberation Front.
“They called me at 4 a.m, I woke up and thought about the years that passed, how historic justice had been made,” Smadar Haran told Army Radio.
During the attack, Smadar Haran hid from Kuntar with her two-year-old daughter Yael, but accidentally smothered her to death in an effort to silence her cries.
Roni Haran, the brother of Danny Haran, told the Ynet news website he “waited for this moment for seven years, since Kuntar was released from prison.”
“Samir Kuntar never regretted his actions, and there is a small consolation in this [his assassination], although it doesn’t take away the pain,” he said.
“I hope that this gets the message across that whoever murders Jews in Israel and in the world will end up like Samir Kuntar and the Munich murderers [of Israeli athletes],” Haran added. “As it stands, in the Middle East, this seems like the only language they understand.”
Reports said that Kuntar, who was targeted in a residential building in a suburb of Damascus late Saturday night, was assassinated not as revenge for his past actions, but rather because he was planning fresh attacks against Israel. Syrian media said that among the dead was also Farhan Shaalan, a commander in the Syrian anti-Israel resistance group founded by Kuntar and others. Those reports said that senior Hezbollah members were also present in the building at the time of the attack.
Smadar Haran Kaiser (2003): The World Should Know What He Did to My Family
Abu Abbas, the former head of a Palestinian terrorist group who was captured in Iraq on April 15, is infamous for masterminding the 1985 hijacking of the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro. But there are probably few who remember why Abbas's terrorists held the ship and its 400-plus passengers hostage for two days. It was to gain the release of a Lebanese terrorist named Samir Kuntar, who is locked up in an Israeli prison for life. Kuntar's name is all but unknown to the world. But I know it well. Because almost a quarter of a century ago, Kuntar murdered my family.
It was a murder of unimaginable cruelty, crueler even than the murder of Leon Klinghoffer, the American tourist who was shot on the Achille Lauro and dumped overboard in his wheelchair. Kuntar's mission against my family, which never made world headlines, was also masterminded by Abu Abbas. And my wish now is that this terrorist leader should be prosecuted in the United States, so that the world may know of all his terrorist acts, not the least of which is what he did to my family on April 22, 1979.
JCPA: Hizbullah’s Golan Heights Front Loses its Leader
Samir Kuntar, a Lebanese Druze, was killed on December 20, 2015 in an air raid on a building in Jaramana, outside of Damascus. Kuntar was a senior Hizbullah terrorist who was establishing a new front against Israel on the Syrian Golan Heights with Iranian, Syrian and Hizbullah assistance. In 1979, Kuntar led a brutal Palestinian Liberation Front terrorist attack in northern Israel in which he pummeled a four-year-old to death before shooting her father. He sat in Israeli prison until he was exchanged in 2008 for the bodies of two Israeli soldiers held by Hizbullah in Lebanon.
The following article, written in May 2015, puts Kuntar’s activities into context.
Following Israel’s airstrike against an Iranian general and Hizbullah commanders who were surveying the Golan front near Kuneitra on January 18, 2015, there was an assessment that the military infrastructure built by Iran and Hizbullah had been exposed and dismantled.
The failed attempt by four terrorists to infiltrate the northern Golan Heights on April 25, 2015 to plant explosive devices proves that the assessment was mistaken. Moreover, the attempt revealed Hizbullah’s efforts to recruit fighters from Druze villages in the areas controlled by the Syrian army. Hizbullah activities among the Druze are led by Samir Kuntar, who succeeded in recruiting and uniting Druze activists, some residents of Majdal Shams (in the Israeli-controlled Golan), to carry out military acts against Israel.

Samir Kuntar died as Iran’s mercenary, not Hezbollah’s
As has been the case following previous alleged Israeli airstrikes, Hezbollah and its chief Hassan Nasrallah are now faced with a thorny dilemma: to retaliate or not to retaliate, or perhaps more accurately, how to retaliate, since the response is sure to come.
The assassination of Samir Kuntar, who became a member of Hezbollah after his release from Israeli prison in 2008, is another in a series of blows to the Shiite Lebanese militia, on both an operational and a symbolic level.
On the operational level, the assassination is further evidence — after the assassination of Jihad Mughniyeh in January and the killing of Hassan al-Laqis in December 2013 — of the ease with which intelligence services can infiltrate the organization.
Symbolically, the raid was a blow to the terror organization’s morale, as it underlines its weakness and compromises its image amid its ongoing involvement in the war in Syria.
Shaked welcomes death of 'arch-terrorist who killed young girl'
Israel's justice minister welcomed on Sunday the elimination of Lebanese terrorist Samir Kuntar but did not claim credit for the airstrike in Syria that killed him, which Hezbollah said was an Israeli raid.
The Israeli family of his victims, meanwhile, also said Sunday that "justice has been done."
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home) told Army Radio that Israel "has not claimed" the strike but "was happy to learn the news."
"He was an arch-terrorist who killed a young girl by fracturing her skull and had continued his terrorist activities after being freed," she said. "It's a good thing he met his maker."
Kantar is notorious for the 1979 murder of three Israelis, including 31-year-old Danny Haran, and his four-year-old daughter.
He was freed by Israel as part of a prisoner swap in 2008, three decades after the murders, and he became a high-profile figure in the Lebanese Shiite terror group Hezbollah.
How close surveillance helped eliminate Samir Kuntar
Although the Israeli defense establishment has refused to address reports about the assassination of arch-terrorist Samir Kuntar and 10 other Hezbollah operatives overnight Sunday, it is evident that only with accurate information in real time could the hit have been done.
Security officials have explained in the past that intelligence forces' ability to locate a meeting of several senior terrorists in one place is the result of praiseworthy and consistent intelligence work, including quality teamwork.
In the past, when Major General Aviv Kochavi served as the Military Intelligence Director he taught his subordinates the need for close and methodical surveillance, emphasizing the importance of human efforts along with technological equipment.
Even today, when Maj. Gen. Kochavi serves as IDF Northern Command Head, he has maintained close ties with intelligence men and especially his replacement, Maj. Gen. Herzi Halevi, regarding the close surveillance of terrorist chiefs in the Syrian Golan area.
Hamas condemns ‘heinous’ killing of Hezbollah terrorist
The Palestinian Hamas group on Sunday issued a condemnation of an alleged Israeli airstrike that killed Lebanese terrorist Samir Kuntar, who had been previously jailed in Israel for his part in the 1979 murders of a family.
“We condemn the Israeli assassination of Samir Kuntar,” the Gaza Strip-based terror group posted on its Twitter account. “This is a heinous crime.”
At least eight others were said killed in the reported targeted assassination, including a senior National Defense Forces commander who Israeli media said was involved in planning attacks against Israel.
Israel Radio reported that Hamas also called on the international community to “take responsibility for Israeli bullying.”
Rockets hit northern Israel, hours after Hezbollah terrorist killed
At least three rockets landed early Sunday evening in open areas near the northern city of Nahariya in the Western Galilee, only hours after an alleged IDF airstrike killed Lebanese terrorist Samir Kuntar, who had been previously jailed in Israel for his part in the 1979 murders of a family.
There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.
Air raid sirens warning of incoming projectiles sounded in towns and cities throughout the Western Galilee ahead of the rockets’ fall. Local residents later reported hearing several explosions.
Security forces were searching the area adjacent to Nahariya and along the border with Lebanon for other rockets that may have landed within Israeli territory. The IDF launched an investigation into the incident, and was attempting to determine who fired the rockets.
Nasrallah's Test: Will Hezbollah retaliate for the assassination of Samir Kuntar?
The big question disturbing Israel after the assassination of Samir Kuntar is whether Hezbollah will respond, and if so, how and on which front. The answer to this question does not solely depend on the Lebanese Shi'ite group, but depends mainly on what Hezbollah's masters in Tehran decide.
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has already said in the past that the group will retaliate to any attempted strike by Israel, and indeed, following the assassination of Jihad Mughniyeh in a Golan Heights attack attributed to Israel several months ago, Hezbollah ambushed the IDF in the Har Dov area and hit an army vehicle, killing two soldiers. Hezbollah also has tended to retaliate when attacked in strikes on Lebanese territory attributed to the Israel Air Force against weapons shipments intended for the organization. However, the organization has also been known to let alleged Israeli strikes slide without retaliation on more than one occasion.
This time as well, Hezbollah announced that Israel is responsible for the assassination of Kuntar. Israel is continuing its thunderous silence as it has since the beginning of the Syrian civil war some five years ago, even when the media attributes to it airstrikes and military activities in Syrian or Lebanese territory.
The belief is that even if Nasrallah and the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force, General Qassem Suleimani (who is responsible for operating Hezbollah) decide that they cannot let the attack go unanswered, it is not in their interest to do so on the Israel-Lebanon border, because Israel would respond with great force to such an action.
Hezbollah MP: Vengeance for Kuntar is matter of time
Hezbollah is planning a response to the assassination late Saturday night of Lebanese terrorist Samir Kuntar in a suburb of Damascus, a Lebanese MP from the terror group’s faction told local media Sunday. The strike, which is attributed to Israel, also killed eight associates of Kuntar.
“Hezbollah will in no way let the death of the martyr Kuntar pass without a price,” said Ali Amar, according to Israel’s Channel 10 television. “The subject of retaliation is in the hands of the relevant commanders, and will determine the way, place and time that we will punish the killers — the Israeli enemy.”
Syrian Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi also condemned the reported Israeli airstrike that killed Kuntar, calling it “a cowardly act of terror,” according to Syrian state-run SANA news agency.
SANA also quoted a statement from the Syrian parliament condemning the “terrorist crime,” and said that Syria is fighting “takfiri [apostate] Zionist terrorism, led by several countries [and] topped by the Israeli occupation entity.”
PreOccupiedTerritory: Meretz Was Kind Of Hoping To Recruit Samir Kuntar (satire)
Party chairwoman Zehava Gal-On voiced her regret to several aides upon hearing the news, saying she had dreamed about an alliance with Kuntar for years. “One of the legitimate criticisms of the Left’s vision is that we’ve become somewhat detached from the realities on the ground in our many years out of power,” she explained, referring to her party’s relegation to the Opposition since 2001. “What Mr. Kuntar could bring to the table is hands-on experience with the ‘dirty’ work on the ground.”
MK Ilan Gilon added that Kuntar would have brought a valuable perspective born of spending so many years behind bars in the company of people who generally have no real voice in Israel’s parliamentary politics. “With no disrespect intended to the Arab parties, their activities and interests are not especially focused on people who have been tried and imprisoned for terrorist activities,” he noted. “For valid political reasons, they tend to represent people who have not been apprehended by Israeli security forces. If Sami had agreed, he could have added his voice and experience to the discourse.”
Meretz officials declined to say how close, if at all, they were to an arrangement with Kuntar when he was dispatched, and with good reason. “Technically, such contacts are illegal, considering Kuntar’s status as a member of a hostile terrorist organization, working to strengthen the hold of a hostile power, Iran, on Israel’s northern border,” said Moshe Negbi, a legal analyst for Reshet Bet radio. “But if Kuntar’s position in Meretz could be presented as a fait accompli, the party would be in a more defensible position. They could simply point to successive Israeli governments’ ongoing official contacts with arch terrorists such as Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas.”
‘With inexplicable strength,’ Ra’anana woman saves family from terrorist
A friend of the woman who fought off a knife-wielding terrorist who entered her Ra’anana home on Saturday recounted how Dikla Dvir confronted the Palestinian man and shoved him out of her living-room into the clutches of police officers.
Mahmoud Faisal Bisharat, a 20-year-old Palestinian man, allegedly stabbed three Israelis outside a synagogue in the central Israeli town Saturday afternoon after being prevented from entering the Jewish house of worship. A 40-year-old man was seriously injured and two women lightly injured by the stabber. The man was later said to be in stable condition, and his condition was defined as moderate, after surgery.
Bisharat fled the scene, and a gun-wielding citizen fired a warning shot in the air as he raced through a nearby park. He then tried to enter the Dvir home, two blocks away.
“He got in through the glass-paned doors and suddenly [Dikla Dvir] noticed someone inside her house, wielding a large knife. She was shocked, he raised the knife and came to stab her,” Dorit Avisar, the friend, said.
“He managed to touch her with the blade but she screamed. She said she couldn’t believe the screams coming out of her mouth, and with both hands she grabbed him, pushed him out and immediately locked the glass doors,” Avisar told the Hebrew-language website Ynet.
Palestinian woman attempts to stab cop in Hebron, is shot
A Palestinian woman attempted to stab a policeman in Hebron on Sunday morning, before security forces shot her.
According to Israel Radio, the attacker was hit with a rubber bullet.
There were no Israeli casualties reported in the incident. The would-be stabber was seriously wounded.
Earlier, a tourist was stabbed and lightly injured in in the West Bank town of Beit Sahour, east of Bethlehem. The man sustained injuries to his upper body, and was conscious. The motive in that attack was not immediately clear, but police said it wasn’t a terror attack. Police later said that the incident was likely a dispute over money.
The victim was evacuated to Jerusalem’s Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital for medical treatment, according to the Magen David Adom emergency service.
Bullring 'bomb plot': New image found on Paris jihadi's phone points to plan by terror cell to target Birmingham shopping centre
The evil mastermind behind the Paris terror attacks had a photograph of one of Britain's busiest shopping centres on his mobile phone, The Mail on Sunday has been told.
Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who orchestrated the attacks in the French capital that killed 130 people, had a picture of Birmingham's Bullring on his smartphone, police have warned community leaders in the city.
West Midlands Police investigators revealed that Abaaoud's photograph was among others of 'key and sensitive sites' in the city, said well-placed sources.
The photos have led police to the 'frightening conclusion' that the terrorist ringleader was planning to bring carnage to England's second city similar to the events he unleashed in Paris on November 13.
The Bullring is the most visited site in Birmingham, and receives almost 40 million shoppers a year.
The claim that the shopping centre – with its futuristic-looking Selfridges store – may have been a key target for the cell behind the Paris attacks comes as hundreds of thousands of shoppers this week flock to its 160 shops to do their last-minute Christmas shopping.
Air France: Suspicious device on flight was a hoax
The suspicious device discovered in the bathroom of an Air France flight was a hoax, the CEO of Air France said Sunday.
The Boeing 777 was heading to Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris from Mauritius when its pilots requested an emergency landing early Sunday at Kenya’s coastal city of Mombasa.
The device was made of cardboard, paper and a household timer, said Frederic Gagey, the head of Air France. “This object did not contain explosives,” said Gagey at a news conference in Paris.
Gagey congratulated the crew for their cool-headed reaction to divert the plane. A safety check was carried out in the bathroom before the flight, he said. He denied any security failure in the flight, saying that passengers are checked and sometimes double-checked on flights.
Argentina's former FM: Iran was behind Jewish center bombing
Argentina was in a fury this weekend following the exposure of information that confirms what many already suspected: that the former government, headed by President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, suspected that Iran was behind the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires that killed 85 and left 330 wounded.
A local journalist published an expose on Friday, from recordings made in 2012 in which then-Foreign Minister Hector Timerman, speaking with president of the Jewish community Guillermo Burger, claimed that he was convinced that Iran had "planted the bomb."
Timerman noted that the contact between the two nations on the issue were a sensitive subject in themselves because "we [Argentina] don't negotiate with terrorists."
After the Jewish community leaders attacked him, saying that Iran would pull the wool over Argentina's eyes and not hand over the suspects, Timerman replied angrily: "Who do you think we're negotiating with, Switzerland?"
Erekat: 'Settlers' are behaving like ISIS
Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), on Saturday compared Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria to jihadists from the Islamic State (ISIS) group.
"Defeating ISIS requires ending the occupation and establishing a Palestinian state. Yes, there is no difference between what ISIS is doing in Syria and Iraq and the killing and burning of children by settlers in the West Bank," he charged.
"So far 99 percent of the victims of ISIS are Muslims, and not French or Americans, but with the continuing Israeli crimes and their refusal of each opportunity to resolve [the conflict], the reality may change in a strange way, and in a scenario in which ISIS will start to attack Israelis, a decisive majority of Arabs who fight ISIS will start to support it," threatened Erekat.
The PLO official, who previously served as the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) official envoy to peace talks with Israel, also declared that the Palestinian leadership is considering taking some diplomatic steps in the coming year, the most important of them defining the relations with Israel which, as he said, "cannot continue in the current situation."
Erekat noted that no decision has been made yet, but stressed his remarks were not a threat but a serious consideration being made by the PA, in light of the need to take bold steps after the Israeli prime minister, as he claimed, began working towards the collapse of the two-state solution.
Brazilian MP compared prospective Israeli envoy to Nazi camp guard
A Brazilian lawmaker compared Dani Dayan, Israel’s candidate for ambassador to his country, to a guard at a Nazi concentration camp because of his past role as a leader of the West Bank settler community.
Parliamentarian Carlos Marun made the comments, which were caught on video, in August, the Hebrew-language Ynet website reported on Sunday. Marun initiated ongoing Brazilian opposition to Dayan’s appointment, the report said.
A Brazilian official said recently that his country would not accept Dayan as ambassador.
“To send a settler leader to represent Israel in Brazil is an insult to our country,” Marun said. “We can’t accept such provocation. It would be like Germany sending to Brazil as an ambassador a former concentration camp guard, like Chile sending as an ambassador to Brazil a prison guard from the dictatorship, or South Africa sending a prison torturer from the apartheid period.
Lapid bids to stop BDS-backers from funding groups like Breaking the Silence
Appearing at a press conference alongside a group of reserve IDF officers and combat soldiers, Lapid singled out the controversial Breaking the Silence NGO, which gathers testimonies from IDF troops about alleged human rights abuses by soldiers.
“We will lead legislation to prevent BDS [boycott, divestment and sanctions organizations] from funding NGOs in Israel that help to vilify Israel,” Lapid said.
“I am standing here today surrounded by the representatives of over 600 of our finest IDF officers and fighters, among them company commanders and battalion commanders, who represent what the IDF represents — values and leadership,” he said.
“They are standing here to defend those values; the IDF defends those values. Criticism builds us as a society, but there is a fundamental difference between criticism and vilifying officers and IDF soldiers abroad. That is not criticism, but undermining the foundations of the state. Organizations like Breaking the Silence have crossed the red line from criticism into subversion.”
Netanyahu and Erdogan's shared interests
The normalization of relations between Israel and Turkey is a welcome occurrence in nearly everyone's minds. The Turkish willingness to import gas from Israel is also a positive development. That's why the breakthrough in the negotiations which have been going on for five years now, which was announced by an "Israeli source" and confirmed later by Turkish sources, is good news. But it seems celebrations are premature, and definitely exaggerated – and that the announcement of this progress was publicized mainly because of the interests shared by Netanyahu and Erdogan.
The celebrations are exaggerated because there is yet no agreement between Turkey and Israel regarding the normalization of relations. Turkey is still demanding that Israel remove its naval blockade of Gaza, a blockade which Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan calls a "siege". Israel is claiming that there is no siege of Gaza, and rightfully so, and for the time being it doesn't seem like the PM or Defense Minister are even considering removing the naval blockade. Such a move would allow Hamas' military wing to import weapons not only from Iran, but from Libya and other places as well.
In any case, Erdogan said in public this week that he will not agree to normalize relations with Israel until Israel removes the blockade from Gaza and no one heard him, and he hasn't sent anyone to compromise on this in his name either. The only Turkish capitulation so far is an agreement in principle to the Israeli demand of preventing Hamas leader Salah al-Arouri from operating within Turkey. That agreement in principle was conveyed by an Israeli source who is conducting negotiations with the director general of the Turkish Foreign Ministry, but the Turks haven't announced it officially – on the contrary, they've said there's no agreement yet.
Khaled Abu Toameh: Hamas leader meets Turkish president amid talk of Jerusalem-Ankara detente
Hamas is closely following reports about rapprochement between Turkey and Israel and is waiting for official word from Ankara on the issue.
On Saturday, Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal met in Istanbul with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the first meeting between the two since reports surfaced about an agreement between Turkey and Israel to restore diplomatic ties.
The Turkish news agency Anadolu said Mashaal briefed Erdogan on the latest political developments in the region during the 60-minute meeting.
The agency did not say whether the two also discussed the reconciliation between Turkey and Israel.
In an interview over the weekend, Mahmoud Zahar, a member of the Hamas leadership, refused to comment on the reports, including the possibility that Turkey was planning to impose restrictions on Hamas activities in the country.
Israel to ease its blockade of Gaza, reports Turkish newspaper
Israel will ease its blockade on the Gaza Strip as part of a reconciliation with Turkey, the Turkish newspaper Sabah Daily, which is affiliated with the ruling party of Turkey, reported on Saturday.
According to it, Israel will also compensate the victims of the Mavi Marmara flotilla, totaling a sum of $20 million, and diplomatic relations will be restored between the two countries.
The front page story in the paper reported that Turkey had already received Israel's vow to ease the blockade. The paper reported that Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will close the deal by the end of 2015, and immediately return diplomatic relations between both countries.
Egyptian law student, 22, jailed for three years after posting image of President Sisi wearing Mickey Mouse ears on Facebook
A 22-year-old Egyptian has been jailed for three years after posting a photo-shopped image of the country’s president wearing Mickey Mouse ears on Facebook.
Amr Nohan, a law graduate, was just five days away from finishing his compulsory military service when he was tried by a military court for sharing satirical posts on social media sites.
A military prosecutor issued an indictment against Nohan on August 22 for sharing the image, which showed President Abdel Fattah El Sisi with a photo-shopped pair of Mickey Mouse ears.
Less than four months after the indictment, he was sentenced to three years behind bars for posting pictures considered inappropriate for a member of the armed forces.
Bombast At Tiffany's
My previous post shows Israel-haters in Portugal disrupting a performance by the Jerusalem Quartet, which played stoically on.
This video shows the voluble Sandra and her little band of retainers staging a stunt outside Tiffany's in London's Bond Street on Saturday.
Happily, most pedestrians give the BDS fanatics a wide berth and just walk on by.
Anti-Semitic Labour Bully Finally Expelled After Year Long Campaign of Abuse Directed at Disabled Ukip Member
A senior Labour Party activist who levelled a tirade of abuse at a disabled Ukip member has been expelled from the Party – more than a year after complaints were first made about him, and thanks only to anti-Semitic tweets he also made.
Last night the Labour Press office confirmed that Scott Nelson, a Thurrock Labour activist had been expelled from the party after a number of people raised concerns on Twitter regarding his blatant anti-Semitism.
His expulsion was confirmed by Polly Billington, Labour’s failed Parliamentary Candidate in Thurrock for the last election, after Nelson initially denied it:
Examples of his anti-Semitism include posting an image of the Israeli flag part ripped away to reveal the Nazi swastika, and declaring the supermarket Tesco, and department store Marks and Spencer’s “have Jewish blood” (both were founded by Jews). He has repeatedly defended the latter tweet, insisting that he was referring to “human rights abuses” by the companies, and that the Jewish heritage of the founders is relevant in that context.
Making the case for Israel

Before establishing his firm in 2005, Asserson had a flourishing career in the U.K. as a leading sports attorney, working with some of Britain's top litigation firms. He eventually became bored with sports, finding the BBC, and especially its coverage of Israel, more fascinating. Over the past decade, with Israel moving from one military campaign to the next, its international image taking one hit after the other and reaching new lows, Asserson found himself one of the few pro-Israel advocates on the media frontline in the U.K.
"Recent events certainly fall under the category of an escalation. Attitudes toward Israel have become more radical, and you can feel it everywhere," he says. "If you're Jewish-Israeli and you have a job interview with a British media outlet, you have a problem -- your chances of getting the job are smaller. No one will spell out why, but I think it's rather clear."
In 2012, Asserson took on The Guardian, after the British daily began referring to Tel Aviv as Israel’s capital. The decision caused an uproar, and the paper eventually printed a correction saying that, while it was "justified to make clear Israel’s designation of Jerusalem as its capital is not recognized by the international community, we accept that it is wrong to state that Tel Aviv -- the country’s financial and diplomatic center -- is the capital. The style guide has been amended accordingly."
Not only did the firm's efforts ensure The Guardian mend its style guide, it led to a ruling by the U.K.'s Press Complaints Commission, a nongovernmental regulatory body that has the authority to force publications to run corrections, effectively barring British media from referring to Tel Aviv as Israel's capital. "The unequivocal statement that Tel Aviv is the capital of Israel had the potential to mislead readers and raised a breach of ... the Editors' Code of Practice," the commission ruled.
BBC takes action over offensive Twitter account
Earlier this month we noted the existence of a Twitter account held by someone claiming to be a BBC employee which included offensive Israel-related posts.Grintz profile
“If the BBC really does employ the holder of this Twitter account, then obviously the corporation needs to address the matter urgently. If not, the issue of someone posing as a BBC employee on social media and thereby bringing the corporation into disrepute also clearly warrants action.”
Shortly afterwards the account was discontinued and in response to a complaint submitted by Mr Stephen Franklin, the BBC has clarified that the holder is not a member of its staff.
At Tel Aviv Port, once the gateway into the Land of Israel
Although a variety of plans were drawn up for a port in Tel Aviv after the city was founded in 1909, it was only after rioting Arabs shut down Jaffa Port in 1936 that a new one became a vital necessity. Despite their concern at losing control of everyone and everything going in and out of Tel Aviv, the British had no choice but to authorize construction of a new gateway into the Land of Israel. Worried that the British might change their minds, Jewish laborers immediately began work on a Jewish-run port near the estuary of the Yarkon River.
Construction had just begun when a Yugoslavian cargo ship carrying a thousand tons of cement dropped anchor in Tel Aviv waters. Thrilled to the bone, Tel Avivians forgot their daily worries and came out in droves to welcome the astounded captain. People danced and sang, and when a desperately ill Mayor Meir Dizengoff arrived in the afternoon the crowds went crazy with joy. In a shaky voice, he declared “Here there will be a great port.” Many a listener wept at his words.
Inaugurated on February 23, 1938, the Tel Aviv Port was functioning at full blast when World War II broke out a year later and the British turned it into a military base. Two minesweepers kept the coast clear of the enemy, while a special undersea unit carried out dangerous operations in the water.
As the only one of its kind wholly under Jewish control before and during the War of Independence, Tel Aviv Port was crucial to the budding State of Israel: Through this port it was possible to bring in supplies, weapons and the iron plaques used for armed convoys trying to get through to besieged Jerusalem.
The 'secret Jews' of Ethiopia emerge from the shadows
Earlier this year, the Israeli government announced it plans airlift 500 family members of Ethiopian-Jewish soldiers to Israel, as part of Interior Minister Silvan Shalom's vow to "complete" the aliyah of Ethiopian Jewry back Israel.
Israel brought most of the community to Israel during the 1980s and 90s in what was dubbed Operation Solomon, with others following them in subsequent years.
There are currently around 135,500 Jews of Ethiopian descent living in Israel, including more than 50,000 native-born Israelis. The ancient community was exiled from Israel in pre-Talmudic times, and spent much of its long exile largely cut off from other Jewish communities, resulting in a unique set of customs and practices. Some - known as the Beta Israel - preserved their Jewish identity despite harsh persecution, while others - often known as Falash Mura - were forcibly converted to Christianity, in some cases practicing Judaism secretly.
But just as Israel poises to "wrap up" the return of Ethiopian Jewry to their homeland, an upcoming documentary by Jewish filmmaker Irene Orleansky reveals another reemerging community in the heart of the Horn of Africa state.
Known as Bal Ej, like many other Beta Israel they too were forced to keep their Judaism a secret due to persecution - in some cases far worse than their brethren elsewhere in the country.
Jerry Seinfeld leaps the language barrier to score in Israeli basketball arena
For the first time in his spectacularly successful career, Jerry Seinfeld on Saturday night brought his musings on the ridiculousness of the human condition to Israel. It’s no easy task performing highly nuanced, cultural-reference-filled comedy on foreign soil, even for a presumably English-adept crowd, and not knowing exactly what they’ll get and what will baffle them. But if Seinfeld didn’t absolutely “kill it,” he had the sold-out crowd laughing almost throughout, nodding ruefully at some of the pinpoint observations, and baying for more at the end.
Undauntedly delivering intimate stand-up material in a high-ceilinged, 11,000-seat basketball stadium, he was good from the first line — a raucous, faux-disbelieving, isn’t it wonderful, “Oh my god, I’m in Israel!” And though the hour-long set involved such endlessly mined comedy seams as marriage, parenting, eating, mobile phones and death, Jerry Seinfeld is one funny man and found gold in them all. He took questions at the end, and someone called out to ask what he’d be doing if he wasn’t a comedian. “If I wasn’t a funny person, I would be a serious person, like yourself,” Seinfeld shot back. “And nobody,” he told her, after the requisite comedic pause, “nobody comes to see a serious person in a room of this size.”
His first riff, like many that followed it, went to the heart of how absurd we really are — all of us humans, that is, though at this stage he was referring specifically to us in the audience. “How proud you are” to be here, he told us, correctly — so pleased with yourselves, he noted, simply for having gotten tickets. (Laughter.) Not too bothered about whether the show would be any good. (Laughter.) After all, he self-deprecated, “are the other three going to be there? No. So what’s the big deal?” (Laughter and applause.)
IDF Blog: Do You Have What it Takes to Train Like the IDF?
How do you imagine combat soldiers staying in shape in the IDF? Is the first image that comes to mind muscular soldiers wearing army fatigues lifting heavy weights in the gym? This is the furthest thing from the truth. Combat fitness is entirely different. Combat soldiers don’t train for looks, they train for survival.
Imagine this: You’re fighting your way through enemy territory. Shots are being fired from every direction. Someone is yelling but it is almost impossible to hear what they are saying over the sounds of nearby explosions. Your mind is racing and your heart is beating at a furious pace. Your lungs are burning and your legs are about to give out. The race is on to complete the mission as fast as possible.
Hundreds of hours spent in the gym lifting weights will not make a difference in combat scenarios like the one described above. Unlike regular fitness which focuses on running, lifting, and packing on muscle, combat fitness trains the body to function while under extreme stress and fatigue. In one word, combat fitness can be defined as “endurance.” It is the ability to push your mind and body to accomplish the impossible.
Do You Have What It Takes to Train Like the IDF?

No Fear: The Soldiers of the Lions of the Jordan Valley Battalion

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 11 years and over 22,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.

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This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 18 years and 38,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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