Monday, December 28, 2015

From Ian:

Honest Reporting: The 2015 Dishonest Reporter of the Year: Why the BBC Won
The BBC’s entire future is up for debate thanks to a UK government review of its charter, which is up for renewal at the end of 2016. It would be an exaggeration to claim that the BBC’s biased coverage of Israel will play a prominent role in any rethinking or restructuring of the BBC’s gargantuan news operations.
Nonetheless, the BBC’s treatment of Israel is part of a wider institutional problem afflicting the news department, which is widely perceived to be biased when it comes to any number of issues that don’t conform to a liberal or left-wing perspective that dominates the BBC’s thinking.
At least the BBC can bask in the glory of the Dishonest Reporter Award thanks to a stellar year of anti-Israel bias even by the BBC’s own high standards.
Haters Caught Manipulating Video to Cast IDF as Child Abusers
Of course CJ Werleman, as he calls himself, is au currant and therefore rabidly anti-Israel. He is also an outed plagiarizer and so somewhat of an embarrassment to the radical left who otherwise tended to view his anti-religious mantle as a halo.
But never mind all that, Werleman still has those tens of thousands of Twitter followers who enjoy retweeting his witticisms, whether or not there is substance or truth to his bon mots.
And so when, on Dec. 26, Werleman tweeted a video clip of soldiers beating up on some young boys and labeled those soldiers evil Israelis, hundreds of Werlebots blithely retweeted the calumny.
But some bright folks looked at the video and saw that something did not look right.
In fact, those aren’t members of the Israeli Defense Forces beating up on the young kids in the video at all. The video, which appears to have been intentionally stripped of its banner identifying the source, is actually a video of Guatemalan army soldiers beating up young boys.
One of Werleman’s Twitter followers and apparently a big admirer of Werleman’s is Max Blumenthal, overgrown enfant terrible son of former Clinton White House hanger-on and Hillary’s unofficial and inappropriate “adviser,” Sidney Blumenthal. Blumenthal the son encouraged other like-minded always-ready-to-put-a-hate-on-for-Israel followers to retweet the video falsely accusing Israel of the Guatemalan strong-arm (and leg) police tactics.
Blumenthal simply removed the tweet from his Twitter feed and later merely chided Werleman for not hitting Israel hard enough. (h/t Vandoren)
For many, salvation is not of the Jews but of the Palestinians
For Christians, Muslims, atheists and even Jews, Palestinianism offers a new kind of replacement theology in which Palestine is the True Israel and Israelis are cast out of the family of nations because of their stubborn loyalty to the land.
Replacement theology or supersessionism is the teaching that the Christian Church has replaced Israel regarding the plan, purpose and promises of God. It has been a core tenet of Christianity for much of its existence and holds that the Church replaced the Israelites as the Chosen People and that the New Covenant replaced the Mosaic Covenant.
From very early on, the Church Fathers taught that the Mosaic Covenant had been fulfilled and replaced by Christ. Tertullian, for example, taught that the “old law” and “carnal circumcision” had been “obliterated” by the “new law.” One of the implications of this theological standpoint was that the Jews were seen as an accursed people stubbornly clinging to an outmoded set of rituals that served no divine purpose.
Just by continuing to exist, the Jews were recalcitrant sinners. Worse, their refusal to embrace Christ was an obstacle to God’s salvational plan for the world.
Australian church retracts claim Jesus was a Palestinian
Jesus was not Palestinian, a major church denomination in Australia said after the Executive Council of Australian Jewry challenged an article in a political publication in which the birthplace of Jesus Christ was named as Palestine.
The article was written by two Palestinian members of the Australia Palestine Advocacy Network, which has links with the Uniting Church of Australia, and appeared in the online publication New Matilda.
The Australia Palestine Advocacy Network has a relationship with the Uniting Church of Australia, the country’s third-largest Christian denomination, through the Palestine Israel Ecumenical Network.
In the article, Samah Sabawi and Bassam Dally wrote: “An official delegation representing our country in Israel has added fuel to the flames of extremism abroad by applauding proven human rights violators and insulting the living descendants of Christ in his home of birth in Palestine.”
In his letter to the president of the Uniting Church of Australia Stuart McMillan, the executive director of the ECAJ, Peter Wertheim, wrote: “The proposition that Jesus was a Palestinian and that the Palestinian Arab population of today are his ‘living descendants’ is so absurd and offensive that it deserves an immediate and substantive rebuttal.“

The Yellow Star is the account by S B Unsdorfer of his experiences in Auschwitz and Buchenwald, originally published in 1961. Richard Kemp wrote this foreword to the recently re-published book at the request of the author’s son, Zalmi Unsdorfer.
I am writing these words in a dark and malignant wooden hut at Auschwitz-Birkenau, seated on what the author of this book describes as “a hollow brick ledge running down the centre of the block from one end to the other”. A ledge like the one upon which Doctor Josef Mengele stood unmoved amidst scenes of heartless brutality, blood, screaming and despair as he made his ruthless selection on the day Simche Unsdorfer and his family were brought into this place.
Simche Unsdorfer, pale, skinny and with glasses that seemed bigger than his face, was 19 years old when he was transported by cattle car to this vast death camp. He has been an inspiration to me for forty years and during many military campaigns since the day I first opened his heart-rending account of extraordinary courage in the face of unexampled savagery.
Released from enslavement at Buchenwald as the war in Europe drew to its close, Simche lamented: “We had not the heroic glamour of soldiers who had died on the battlefield, or sailors drowned in the ocean; we were prisoners who had been humiliated and scorned”.
Paris rejects Jewish call to block exhibit that ‘glorifies Palestinian terrorism’
French Jews accused the medical group Doctors without Borders of glorifying Palestinian terrorism in a photo exhibition on militants, which opened with municipal assistance.
Roger Cukierman, president of the CRIF umbrella group of French Jewish communities, last week asked the municipality of Paris to deny its facilities for the group’s exhibition titled “In Between Wars.” It nonetheless opened on Dec. 23 at the Maison des Métallos, a cultural space that belongs to the municipality and is funded by the local government.
The exposition “can only augment anti-Semitic violence and the terrorist threat,” CRIF wrote in a statement. On Twitter, Cukierman wrote: “
On Nov. 13, Islamists killed 130 people in at least eight simultaneous attacks in Paris.
The exhibition features pictures and informational text on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. A text attached to the exhibit says the dispute began with Zionism’s “goal of creating a Jewish state in Palestine.” The word is a reference to the British Mandate of Palestine, but in France today is mostly used to designate the West Bank and Gaza.
Doctors without Borders, first do no more harm
Doctors Without Borders has a new exhibit in Paris – and one of the photos shows a Hamas terrorist who died in an attack on Israelis . And beneath this image is the word “Martyr.”
Martyr. The same language terror-leaders use to encourage their own children to take up arms and die killing innocent people.
Martyr. A holy word.
There is nothing holy about terror.
Let’s be very clear:
Hamas are not martyrs. They are murderers. They are a terror organization that targets mothers and fathers and grandparents and babies. They target lovers and friends and sisters and brothers and aunts and uncles and cousins. They target weddings, and funerals. They target quiet park benches and loud commuter trains.
Hamas are not martyrs – they are cowardly terrorists who hide their weaponry and their leaders in their own hospitals and schools.
Hamas are not martyrs – They are of the same mettle of men and women who came into your streets and murdered the children of Paris.
Please – Doctors without Borders: learn the facts. Talk to the orphans and the grieving parents in Israel. Talk to the pretty young widow, and the heartbroken grandfather who buried his baby grandson. Realize that when a terrorist a “martyr,” you give terrorists a free pass to come into our homes, and into our streets and kill innocent people. In Israel. In America. In Kenya. In Tokyo, and in London, and in Bulgaria and in Switzerland and in Argentina and in Mexico and in Canada and in Egypt and in China. And in Paris, too.
Please, Doctors without Borders. Do not glorify Hamas. Draw a red line on terror. And do no more harm.
Saudi Grand Mufti says ISIS are 'Israeli soldiers'
Sheikh Abdulaziz Al-Asheikh, the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, issued a whopper of a conspiracy theory on Monday, claiming that Islamic State (ISIS) jihadists are actually "Israeli soldiers."
Speaking to the Saudi Gazette, Asheikh said ISIS members are "harming" Islam and Muslims.
"They cannot be considered as followers of Islam. Rather, they are an extension of Kharijites, who rose in revolt against the Islamic caliphate for the first time by labeling Muslims as infidels and permitting their bloodletting," said Asheikh.
The Grand Mufti then spoke about ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's threat against Israel made in an audio recording on Saturday, in which al-Baghdadi said, "Palestine will not be your land or your home, but it will be a graveyard for you."
"This threat against Israel is simply a lie. Actually, Daesh (ISIS) is part of the Israeli soldiers," claimed Asheikh.
Ironically Jürgen Todenhöfer, the only Western journalist allowed into ISIS territory, reported this week that the jihadists revealed to him during his 10-day stay among them that the IDF is the only army they fear.
Destroy all churches in Gulf, says Saudi Grand Mufti
The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia has said it is “necessary to destroy all the churches of the region,” following Kuwait’s moves to ban their construction.
Speaking to a delegation in Kuwait, Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah, stressed that since the tiny Gulf state was a part of the Arabian Peninsula, it was necessary to destroy all of the churches in the country, Arabic media have reported.
Saudi Arabia’s top cleric made the comment in view of an age-old rule that only Islam can be practiced in the region.
The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia is the highest official of religious law in the Sunni Muslim kingdom. He is also the head of the Supreme Council of Ulema (Islamic scholars) and of the Standing Committee for Scientific Research and Issuing of Fatwas.
Iran Dictator's Christmas Message: Jesus Would Fight America and Israel
On Christmas day, Iranian dictator Ali Khamenei took to social media and reiterated comments he made previously about Jesus, the founder of Christianity.
His account posted on Twitter:
If Jesus Christ (Peace Be Upon Him) were among us today, he would not spare a second to fight the heads of oppression and global arrogance and he would not tolerate the hunger and puzzlement of billions of people who are being exploited and pushed towards war, corruption and warmongering by the big powers.
In discussing the “arrogant powers” and “heads of oppression” in the past, Khamenei has used this terminology to refer to the United States and the “Zionist regime,” also known as Israel.
Brazilian official: Israel will have to find another ambassador
Brazil is not planning to cave in to pressure from Israel and approve the appointment of Dani Dayan as Israel’s Ambassdor to Brasilia, Reuters reported Sunday.
Brazilian government officials declined to comment on whether Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff will accept the nomination of the Argentine-born Dayan, but one senior Foreign Ministry official told the news agency, "I do not see that happening."
The official, who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak on the matter, said Israel would have to choose a different envoy because the choice of Dayan has further worsened relations that turned sour in 2010 when Brazil decided to recognize Palestinian statehood in the Judea, Samaria, eastern Jerusalem, and Gaza.
Dayan’s appointment as Ambassador in Brazil was approved in Israel more than two months ago, but has been continuously ignored by Brasilia.
Hotovely to Brazil: Approve Dayan, or face 'crisis in relations' with Israel
Brazil’s continued failure to approve the appointment of ex-settlement leader Dani Dayan as Israel’s ambassador will lead to a diplomatic crisis between the two countries, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely warned on Sunday.
Hotovely, in a an interview on Channel 10, said the current ambassador to Brazil, Raed Mansour, returned to Israel last week, and that Jerusalem has no intention of naming anyone to replace him other than Dayan.
If Dayan is not approved, Israel will be represented in Brasilia by its No. 2 diplomat there.
Hotovely and Foreign Ministry director-general Dore Gold met in the Prime Minister’s Office on Sunday with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s foreign policy adviser Jonathan Schachter to discuss what steps to take in light of Brazil’s’ continued failure to approve Dayan’s appointment.
Brazilian Chutzpah, More of The Same...
Considering that as of today there isn't a single solitary foreign embassy in Jerusalem which is the Capital of the State of Israel, and Israel hasn't taken proper steps against all those countries, I am not surprised that Brazil is being so rude and chutzpadik about the appointment of Dani Dayan as Israel's Ambassador.
Brazil's reluctance to accept an Israeli ambassador who is a West Bank settler has set off a diplomatic crisis and led to concerns in the Israeli government that the clash could encourage pro-Palestinian activism against it.
The appointment four months ago of Dani Dayan, a former head of the Jewish settlement movement, did not go down well with Brazil's left-leaning government, which has supported Palestinian statehood in recent years. (reuters)

For years I've been suggesting that from day one, that's close to sixty-eight 68 years ago, the State of Israel should have taken strong measures against every single country that refused to recognize Jerusalem as its Capital City. Tel Aviv is not the Capital; Jerusalem is!
A very simple policy to implement, and it would probably save Israel a lot of money, would be to do the same. Retaliate by having all Israeli embassies in cities other than what the country claims as its capital. Tit for tat, why not?
Gov't approves NGO transparency bill; Shaked blasts EU hypocrisy
The so-called "Transparency Bill" has been approved by the government's Ministerial Committee on Legislation, clearing the way for a Knesset vote to make it law.
The bill, sponsored by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home), would require NGOs who receive over 50% of their funding from foreign states to reveal the precise sources of their funds. The aim, its supporters say, is to curb the current practice of primarily European states who seek to undermine Israeli government policy by pouring millions into extreme-left and radical Arab Israeli NGOs.
Shaked hailed the bill's passage, insisting it will go a great way towards preserving Israeli democracy and sovereignty, and hitting out against the hypocrisy of the European Union for opposing the bill.
"The European Union Ambassador (Lars Faaborg-Andersen) expressed his opposition to the (proposed) law today, and said that in his view the law will harm democracy, and requested that Israel 'prevents acts which harm freedom of expression and assembly,'" Shaked said. "I want to calm the Ambassador and assure him that the proposed law does not harm freedom of expression at all."
In Europe, manipulating Israeli democracy is basic policy
The practice among many European Union European states to fund extremist anti-Zionist groups inside Israel is so entrenched that it has become an integral part of those countries' foreign policies, a leading expert has said.
Professor Gerald Steinberg, who heads the NGO Monitor watchdog which tracks extremist anti-Israel NGOs, explained to Arutz Sheva that that troubling fact was the reason behind his group's surprise withdrawal of its previous firm opposition to the so-called Transparency Bill, which was officially approved by the Israeli government yesterday.
The bill, sponsored by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home), is the latest incarnation of a string of similar, failed legislative proposals to expose the degree to which foreign - primarily European - states are attempting to impose their policies on the State of Israel by funneling tens of millions of euros annually to extremist left and Arab NGOs inside Israel. It would mandate NGOs which receive more than 50% of their funding from foreign states to reveal their sources of income, and with approval from the Ministerial Committee on Legislation it now seems highly likely that the bill will become law once it comes up for a vote in the Knesset.
Prior to yesterday's vote, NGO Monitor had opposed the bill, opting instead to engage directly with European politicians and diplomats to explain to them the harm that their countries' funding of "anti-peace" NGOs was causing to the cause of peace they claimed to be interested in.
Hebrew University lecturer: Ayelet Shaked is 'Neo-Nazi scum'
Two lecturers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, known for their extreme left wing views, have come out against Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked on Facebook accusing her of having a part in genocide with one calling her “neo-Nazi scum,” “filth” and accusing her of having a part in genocide.
His colleague, Dr. Ofer Cassif, shared the post to his Facebook page adding a post calling Shaked “neo-Nazi scum.”
“In Israel my shame screams out for Shaked. This neo-Nazi scum is not only a partner responsible for the fascism of Israel but also an indirect partner to African genocide and crimes against humanity. There are no words in the dictionary which may be used to define this filth,” he wrote. 
Shaked, who is expected to file an official complaint against the two lecturers with the police, issued a brief statement on Monday in response.
Ambassador to Switzerland compares Israel to Nazis
The Foreign Ministry has launched disciplinary procedures against Yigal Caspi, the Israeli Ambassador to Switzerland, after he posted a quote from a Nazi leader on Facebook in an attempt to compare the Israeli government with the genocidal Nazi regime.
Caspi posted a picture of Hermann Goering, founder of the Gestapo secret police and head of the Luftwaffe Nazi air force, together with a quote of his from the Nuremberg trials, reports Yedioth Aharonoth on Monday.
"Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger. That works in any country to the same degree," Caspi wrote in a Hebrew translation of Goering's words.
The ambassador capped off the quote with the words: "we're on the right path."
Caspi's use of the quote, indicating that the government can control the public through fear mongering, together with his post-script would seem to be a clear statement comparing the Israeli government and the Nazis
PreOccupiedTerritory: NGO Funding?! Only WE’RE Allowed To Label Where Things Are From! By the European Union (satire)
Essentially, we have never truly relinquished the ethnocentric notion that our political and societal sensibilities are superior to all others. The trauma of two world wars fought on our soil put a dent in our desire to fight militarily, but no one ever convinced us that we’re not better than everyone else, because we’re so goddamn moral. More moral than you, anyway, because we say so. And we’ll adduce moral principles to prove it, conveniently devised post-hoc to justify all of our discriminatory policies. We’re so moral, in fact, that we sacrifice our citizens to predatory, rapacious gangs of immigrant men. Protecting our women and prosecuting immigrant rapists would be immoral. Because only we are allowed to decide what is moral.
Israel cannot do that – you are tainted by Occupation. We, on the other hand, are pure, and may freely lecture you on what to do and what not to do, because of our unique moral position, as defined by our convenience and political expediencies. All that stuff that happened before 1946? Ancient history! It does not define us now, or reflect on our moral standing. As opposed to what happened to the Palestinians in 1948 – that’s relevant in the here and now. It’s practically yesterday!
So the Knesset better not pass that law. Such legislation would undermine the democratic nature of Israel’s system, which of course is its most important feature. You Jews think it’s the “Jewish state” part, but you’re wrong. Because we say so.
And we decide who says what around here. Because we said so.
New York Considering Strongest Anti-BDS Law in the U.S.
Proponents of the Boycott, Divest & Sanction (“BDS”) campaign are faced with growing legislative opposition. In the US, New York is poised to become the third state to enact binding anti-BDS legislation. In Britain, new rules will essentially prohibit BDS in local government altogether.
Proposed New York Law
The New York Senate and General Assembly are considering legislation that would prevent the state from contracting with or investing in companies that boycott Israel. The stated purpose of Senate Bill S6086 is “To prohibit New York State from contracting with or investing taxpayer money in corporations who have a stated policy of boycotting Israel.” The Senate’s justification is:
The Boycott, Divest, Sanctions movement (BDS) is a harmful discriminatory policy effectuated by a growing number of companies. The BDS movement is nothing more than thinly veiled anti-semitism. This bill would ensure that New York continues its long history of standing up to discrimination by condemning this movement and not doing business with these companies.
A growing number of states have passed bills dealing with both state contracting and state retirement funds; this bill ensures that money from neither will go to companies with this discriminatory policy in New York State.
Who Is Actually Boycotting Israel? The Answer Might Surprise You
So in fact, all the huffing and puffing of the anti-Israel “BDS” crowd is nothing more than hot air. The BDS movement has not had, and will never have, any significant economic effect on Israel’s overall economy, because Israel’s economy is grounded in products and services that effectively cannot be boycotted. In fact, financial analysts are predicting that Israel’s economy will grow more than any other developed country in 2016. Even these academic association resolutions are hypocritical and phony. If you read the texts of them, they specifically allow for “individual members” to continue working with “individual Israeli scholars” — in other words, these hypocritical professors don’t actually have to give up anything, or stop any research projects with Israelis. They make their nasty, defamatory statement, and continue business with their Israeli colleagues as usual.
So what does all this mean? It means we have been fighting the BDS movement all wrong. BDS cannot really hurt Israel economically. They probably spend more money promoting their “boycott” than it actually costs Israel in lost export sales. The real goal and purpose of BDS is to defame Israel, and attempt to discredit it in the eyes of foreign observers, in order to exert political pressure. BDS demonstrations are an opportunity for them to spew antisemitic vitriol and express their vicious hatred of the Jewish state. BDS’ only real power is in propagating its hateful ideology.
Those of us that support Israel have been out there trying to convince people why they should not boycott Israel, defensively arguing that Israel is a nice place and please don’t be mean to us. And in the process, we’ve been making the BDS movement seem far more powerful and effective than it really is. Our protestations make it seem like BDS is actually hurting Israel. Responding rationally to their arguments makes them seem legitimate. Does Israel need to vastly improve their public relations? Yes. But we cannot do that by giving the BDS movement more credibility than it deserves.
 Meet the Israeli who is driving BDS and Roger Waters mad
Israeli Internet troll Dafni Gafni, uses her spare time to drive the world crazy.
Dafni likes to keep her true identity a secret. All she agrees to reveal is that she is from Tel Aviv, and that her real name is not Dafni, and the picture on the profile is not really hers. “This idea has shaped itself in the last three years”, she tells The Jerusalem Post. “My aim is to ask questions and point to things that are absurd or annoying in a humorous way. This is what trolling is all about, to confront people and see how they react, and of course it’s fun. If it wasn’t fun to do, I wouldn’t be doing it."
Dafni knows that by being an Israeli that trolls (among others) BDS and Roger Waters, she is kind of crossing over into the political arena, but she doesn’t see it as a political act: “I feel BDS and Waters really demand being trolled. I think many people find them quite disturbing."
How Anti-Israel Professors Indoctrinate Their Students
Earlier in the semester, when the professor began her tirade of anti-Israel rhetoric, she allowed a student to falsely claim that the Palestinians are victims of asymmetric aggression because they don’t have rockets and the Israelis do. Had the student never heard of Iron Dome? Perhaps she had not, but the professor certainly had. Regardless, the professor allowed the student to blatantly lie to the class, and chastised me when I spoke up saying that the information was incorrect.
When asked about presenting an Israeli perspective of history, she quipped that the man who wrote our textbook was Israeli. In fact, he is. Ilan Pappe was a professor at Haifa University until he called for a boycott of his own university and other Israeli academics and academic institutions. When I mentioned this, the professor told me to “look deeper” into the readings.
The problem here is cyclical: because the students do not seem to care about accuracy, they do not try to understand that the professor is spewing inaccurate information at them, or only presenting one side of the story. Professors are then able to capitalize on this apathy and say whatever they deem appropriate. One is dependent on the other, and until students are willing to care more, and to doubt their professors, the problem will persist.
I can hope that the other students in the class found validity in my arguments against the professor’s highly biased teaching. Maybe some day, apathy will be a thing of the past, and educated opinions will be the new norm. Until that day comes, I’ll use my voice, my knowledge, and the courage of my convictions to bring truth to a classroom that seems to lack it, and I will hope that others will follow my example.
Daphne Anson: Heavy Breather Spews Antisemitism on BBC London Radio Broadcast
They're from Khazaria, don't you know. "They control the money." "The Rothschilds control us." But our anti-"Zionist" heavy breather seems to like "those guys in the big hats and the curly hair". The ones who are "pure Judaists," you see. (Ah, yes, the Neturei Karta nuts who are so screwed up that they join in anti-Israel demos on Shabbat.)
I wonder whether the Heavy Breather turns up at anti-Israel demos or just curses da Joos from his garret.
The presenter, Simon Lederman, pluckily debates him, but, as Lederman freely admits, gives him more airtime than he's given anyone. Overall, many people would say "Foolish Lederman, and shame on the BBC for giving this obvious antisemite 13 minutes of airtime". After all, as one appalled listener comments, "You can't reason with prejudice."
France opens access to Nazi collaboration-era archives
France will throw open access to police and legal archives drawn from one of the country’s darkest hours, when the Vichy regime collaborated with Nazi occupiers during World War II, authorities said Sunday.
Starting Monday the archives can be “freely consulted” by the civil service, citizens and researchers “subject to the declassification of documents covered by national defense secrecy rules,” according to a decree.
The Vichy regime, led by World War I hero Philippe Petain, collaborated with the invading German army from 1940-1944.
France has a painful relationship with this portion of its past, when the government helped the Nazis deport 76,000 Jews from its territory during the war.
Greek Patriarch praises Rivlin for defending minorities and condemning violence
While President Reuven Rivlin has been the subject of controversy and criticism in both the traditional and social media for exceeding what many believe should be a strictly ceremonial role, he came in for high praise on Monday from Greek Orthodox Patriarch Theophilos III.
Speaking at the traditional New Year reception which the president hosts for religious and lay leaders of the various Christian denominations, Theophilos lauded Rivlin saying: “You have often said that you are the president for all the peoples who call Israel their home, and that the whole human family are children of one God. You have defended the rights of minorities in this country, and you have condemned the use of violence from whatever side it comes, especially in the current situation.
“We who represent the Christian communities of the Holy Land join you in these affirmations and condemnations. We understand the integrity of this region to lie in a healthy diversity of ethnic and religious traditions in which there is true co-existence and mutual respect and security for all; and we reject all forms of violence and terrorism no matter what the circumstances. It is absolutely unacceptable to use religion in this way.”
Head of British Muslim faith schools calls for teaching of Judaism
The head of Muslim faith schools in Britain has called for the teaching of Judaism in the schools, echoing a call by Britain’s chief rabbi to teach Islam in Jewish schools.
Ashfaque Chowdhury, the chairman of Britain’s Association of Muslim Schools, said he will encourage member schools to teach their students about Judaism, the website reported last week.
“We were hoping to recommend Catholicism and Judaism as we can complement the teaching by visits to each other’s schools and joint activities between students,” Chowdhury told the Jewish News. “We feel it will contribute to community cohesion, British values and interfaith relations. I also feel that amongst Abrahamic religions, Islam and Judaism are most similar.”
The top 5 most-watched ISRAEL21c videos of 2015
It was an outstanding year for ISRAEL21c’s video section as we chalked up 3.7 million views of our video clips on our Facebook page and another 72,000 views of our 2015 videos on our YouTube channel, bringing the total views since we began posting online videos to some 9 million.
Our viewers come from around the globe to see a slice of Israel not usually presented in the mainstream media.
Videos in our Postcard From Israel series, which are two-minute travel vlogs of a city or destination, continue to be the most popular among our viewers.

Jews in Roman Turkey
Located on the coast of southwestern Turkey, Limyra has a long, rich history—although the site now lies in ruins. Occupied for more than a millennium, it served as the home for many different religious groups. A recent archaeological discovery at Limyra suggests that a Jewish community also lived there.
Martin Seyer of the Austrian Archaeological Institute explains the history of the site and shares an update about recent excavations at Limyra, Turkey, in his article “Mysterious Jewish Building in Roman Turkey” in the January/February 2016 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.
Limyra, Turkey, was first settled in the sixth century B.C.E. During the fourth century B.C.E., it was the largest city in Lycia (a region on the southern coast of Anatolia). Limyra and its surrounding region have roughly 400 tombs divided among five necropoleis. This is the largest number of tombs of any Lycian city. The site also has temples from the Hellenistic and Roman periods.
Several centuries later, in the Byzantine period, Limyra served as the seat of a bishop. Three basilical churches, including the Episcopal (Bishop’s) Church from the late fifth or sixth century C.E., stood in the city at that time.
Israel to Mark Day Celebrating Immigrants
A bill enacting an annual day celebrating immigration to Israel passed the Ministerial Committee on Legislation on Sunday, paving the way for a preliminary vote in the Knesset plenum on Wednesday.
The legislation, sponsored by Likud MKs Miki Zohar and Abraham Naguise, the latter chairman of the Knesset Absorption and Diaspora Affairs Committee, would recognize and celebrate the central place that aliya holds in the Zionist ethos and allow for expanded recognition of its role in the country’s history and culture.
The bill would require the Knesset, state institutions and educational system to devote one day every year to immigrants, Naguise and Zohar said on Sunday.
“This year, the State of Israel marked a record high for Jewish immigration and took a historic decision to allow the immigration of Ethiopian Jewry. We must not be satisfied with that and must increase the rate of immigration to Israel from the four corners of the earth on the one hand and, on the other, improve the absorption of immigrants. For this, the country was founded, and that is what will ensure its future as a Jewish and democratic state,” said Naguise.

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