Sunday, April 30, 2017

From Ian:

Memorial Day 2017 Israel to honor another 97 fallen
Over the past year, another 97 soldiers and officers serving in Israel’s security forces, including 37 wounded veterans who succumbed to their wounds, have joined the ranks of Israel’s fallen, according to numbers released by the Defense Ministry ahead of Memorial Day for the Fallen Soldiers of Israel and Victims of Terrorism, which begins Sunday at 8 p.m. with a siren that will be heard throughout the country.
Since the beginning of the modern Jewish movement in the Land of Israel in 1860, a total of 23,544 have died defending the State of Israel, including those fighting with pre-state defense forces, IDF soldiers, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), the Mossad, police officers, and officers of Israel’s Prisons Services.
According to the National Insurance Institute, there are a total of 9,157 bereaved parents in Israel, thousands of bereaved siblings, 4,881 widows and 1,843 orphans under the age of 30. In addition, 3,117 civilians have been killed in hostile acts such as terror attacks since the birth of the the State of Israel, including 122 foreign nationals and 100 Israelis killed in attacks abroad.
In a letter to IDF soldiers and commanders, IDF chief of staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot wrote that "in their death, the fallen have left us with a legacy and a will to be the defenders of the people and to hold the sword for its freedom in its land."
"With the legacy of the fallen, we are charged to preserve the values that they adopted in their lives—courage and mental fortitude, responsibility and dedication, a sense of mission and belief in the righteousness of the way. The values that beat in the hearts of the fallen are the secret to the strength of the Israel Defense Force to this very day. The IDF spirit is the common language shared by those who serve."
'Thanks to the fallen, we rose; thanks to them, we are alive'
Ahead of the official start of Memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism on Sunday evening, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin, and other state officials took part in a ceremony dedicating a new national memorial edifice on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem.
The new memorial hall, which was unveiled last Thursday, features the name of each one of the 23,544 fallen soldiers and victims of terrorism in Israel's history. Each name is inscribed on a separate brick, and the bricks are arranged by the dates of death.
Throughout the year, the names of those whose anniversaries are approaching will be illuminated by electronic candles. In the coming days, the site will be open to bereaved families only. It is later scheduled to open to the general public.
Speaking at the dedication ceremony Sunday, Rivlin said: "'The world is full of remembering and forgetting, like sea and land. Sometimes the memory is the solid, existing land, and sometimes the memory is like the sea that covers everything.' So said my teacher, the poet Yehuda Amichai. Today, as the eve of Memorial Day approaches, here at the memorial hall, memory becomes tangible. It is like the sea that covers everything.
"Memory is not just remembering the past. The secret of the power of the Israeli memory is its continuity. It's a memory that goes from the past to the present to the future."
IDF chief: Remember the fallen, embrace their families
Israel Defense Forces commanders, soldiers, and employees: In these moments, we stand together, bow our heads in respect, and remember our common, unifying purpose -- the shared fate for which our brothers and sisters, the IDF fallen throughout the generations -- gave their lives.
When they were alive, the fallen worked for the same goal: to ensure the security of the state and its residents. From the moment they enlisted in the IDF, they devoted all their energy to fulfilling their obligation to their people. In their deaths, the fallen left us a legacy and a directive: to serve as a shield and wield a sword to ensure the people's freedom in their own nation.
The legacy of the fallen requires us to examine the values they held when they were alive: a path of heroism and courage of spirit; a path of responsibility and devotion; a path of belief in the righteousness of their mission, the justness of their path. The values that beat in the hearts of the fallen are the secret of the Israel Defense Forces' success through today. The spirit of the IDF is that of a common language among those who serve in it.
The legacy of the fallen requires us to work in constant cooperation and be friends to one another, like the Prophet Isaiah said: "They help each other and say to their companions, 'Be strong!'" And also that we join forces, acknowledging that we have a single destiny: we all wear a uniform, we all hold a weapon, and we all work together for the security of the state.

JPost Editorial: The cost of freedom on Israel's 69th birthday
Abraham Lincoln spoke of the purpose of remembering such sacrifice after the Battle of Gettysburg, when the Civil War threatened to destroy the Union.
He called on the country to commit itself to honoring the slain by acknowledging the meaning of their deaths: “We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain – that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom.”
This line has meaning for all Israelis who know that we will always have to pay the cost of our freedom.
There was a time not too long ago when we knew what it meant to be helpless as the world watched as millions of Jews were being murdered. Our memorial day is about the true meaning of Zionism: Jewish self-determination and national liberation. After only seven decades of independence so far, Israelis have come to understand and to mark the integral link between destruction and rebirth, sorrow and gladness.
This is the meaning of our emancipation: that we are able to express our freedom through the miracle of the sovereign state of Israel, now home to nearly half the world’s Jewish population. The Jewish people persevered and created a modern state in its ancient homeland after the first hundred years of Zionism, despite the Holocaust and in defiance of succeeding attempts to destroy it.
We honor the memories of those who died protecting it, which are the blessings we share every day of our national existence.
Israel at 69 Poll: Israelis proud of their country - including Israeli Arabs
The overwhelming majority of Israeli Jews take pride in their country and identify with the State of Israel, a new survey released ahead of Independence Day shows.
According to the Peace Index survey conducted jointly by the Israel Democracy Institute’s Guttman Center and Tel Aviv University, while Israelis are critical of certain perceived failings of state policy, the vast majority of Jewish citizens identify with the state and its problems and are optimistic about the future.
In addition, a majority of Arab Israelis also take pride in being part of the State of Israel, identify with the state and its problems, and in many areas are more likely to approve of the state’s policies than their Jewish peers.
While 43.9% of Jewish Israelis rated Israel’s overall situation as good, compared to 39.2% who rated it as okay, and 15.8% who said its bad, nearly two-thirds (66.0%) of Israeli Arabs rated Israel’s situation as good, 19.% said it was okay, and just 12.4% rated it as bad.
Seventy-four percent of Jews and 56.7% of Arabs also said they rated their own personal situation as good, compared to 23.8% of Jews and 31.3% of Arabs who said their own prospects were so-so, and 1.3% of Jews and 7.9% of Arabs who said their situations were not good.
Jews, were more likely to say they were proud of being Israeli, though a majority of Arabs also expressed this sentiment. Among Israeli Jews, 86.1% said they were proud of being a part of Israel, compared to 51.1% of Israeli Arabs. Just 13% of Israeli Jews said they were not proud, compared to 39.9% of Israeli Arabs.
David Collier: The day Israeli Ambassador Mark Regev went to SOAS campus
On 27/4/2017, Mark Regev, the current Israeli Ambassador to London, came to speak at SOAS. Ever since the news of this event became public knowledge, several groups of students on SOAS have been actively trying to have the talk cancelled. SOAS academics also issued a public plea, the student union issued a statement, and eventually, when it became clear it would go ahead, student groups organised a public protest to coincide with the meeting. This event was promoted off campus as well, with external anti-Israel organisations such as the the Palestine Solidarity Campaign calling for support.
A large turn out was expected. Hundreds of people who wanted to silence opposing voices on campus would turn up. People who do not believe in a world where their ideologies and their political positions can be examined. Instead, they seek to close down the argument and silence opposition voices. Working to a drumbeat demanding that all critical thinking on central themes surrounding their own political preferences must be expelled from the university campus. This includes Mark Regev. What kind of university behaviour is that?
But the story of the visit by Mark Regev to SOAS, is far bigger than a few bigoted student activists. The day itself started with a sickening attempt at balance by the BBC.
The BBC gets it all wrong
The main pre-event news story came from the BBC when BBC2’s Victoria Derbyshire show ran a report about BDS on campus. As someone who understands the subject matter well, I would argue the report was deeply uncomfortable to watch. An attempt at balance that went horribly wrong. The report simply failed to identify any of the real problems with BDS. Instead it implied that BDS is a ‘just cause’, and the only real objection is that Jewish student are ‘hurt’ by it (a kind of unwanted side effect). It operates on the assumption that the fight against BDS is a ‘welfare dispute’
Stephen Pollard (2016): The Left's hatred of Jews chills me to the bone
And because Israel is part of the Western imperium, as well as a key target for Islamists, it is also enemy number one for progressives. So an obsessive preoccupation with the Jewish state becomes the default position of the Left. China, Zimbabwe, Saudi Arabia – pah! The focus must be on Israel and Israel alone. From that springs an entire worldview that encompasses "Zionist" control of the media, of business, of everything. And we can’t be accused of targeting Jews because we don’t use the word. We say Zionist, not Jew.
So deep does this warping of what it means to be Left and progressive now run that it is almost prosaic to assert Zionist control. But now, to cap it, we have a Labour leader whose entire political career has been in this milieu – feeding it, growing it and pushing it.
For months now, week by week, examples have been emerging of cut and dried anti-Semitism – most dressed up, oh so cleverly, as anti-Zionism, but much not even bothering to hide it. And the Labour leader’s response to the criticism that he is soft on anti-Semitism and that it’s his political mindset that has fuelled its rise is not to get hard on anti-Semitism. It’s to get irritated.
This is not some academic exercise or interesting political theory. This is reality – the reality that the Labour Party is now run by a cadre for whom anti-Semitism really is ok, so long as it is dressed up as anti-Zionism. Because Zionism is the enemy of all good people.
Should I admit that I am afraid? Because I am. I don’t go about my life in fear. I wouldn’t be writing this or doing my job if I did. But how, quite rationally, can I not be afraid when Jews are being murdered on the streets of Europe simply for being Jews; when anti-Semitic tropes and discourse is becoming part of the mainstream of political debate; and when one of our main political parties is led by a man who does not merely let this fester, but actually describes representatives of terrorist groups as "friends"?
If this is the level we have reached today, I fear not just for myself but far more for my children. History shows that when anti-Semitism takes hold it does not wither; it grows. Yes, Britain is a wonderful home to Jews, as it is to all minorities. Yes, we have the full backing of the law and the authorities. But yes, I do look over my shoulder. Wouldn’t you?
Buying drones from Israel will damage Army role, say critic
Declan Power, a security analyst, who has served oversees in the Irish Army, says the type of drone currently used by the Defence Forces is primarily for intelligence and reconnaissance.
"It provides the ability to know what's happening in a much wider area. It also improves force protection and diminishes the level of threat.
"It means you can observe a hostile force, without that hostile force being aware of your presence.
"It provides a commander on the ground, in the likes of Chad or Liberia, greater choice as to how they utilise their forces."
He also described as "facetious nonsense" suggestions that the purchase of arms from Israeli companies undermines our peacekeeping role in the Middle East.
"The people who make those kind of statements demonstrate their lack of knowledge about such matters. They are hugely politicised and know nothing about operational reality.
"All international democratically accountable militaries purchase their equipment from a variety of different countries, in trying to get the best deal for the best quality equipment.
"Israel is not North Korea; it is a democratically accountable state, that is seen as a responsible vendor of these goods. We purchase equipment from the US. Are we supposed to down tools because some group of political extremists and malcontents have an issue with that? Where do you draw the line?"
Among those who have criticised the purchase of military equipment from Israeli companies, by the Irish Defence Forces, have been members of Sinn Fein. (h/t Zvi)
Hamas thanks N. Korea for its support against ‘Israeli occupation’
Hamas on Sunday thanked North Korea for its support of the Palestinian cause, saying that Israel was “the leader of evil and terrorism in the world.”
Hamas and North Korea came together after Pyongyang launched a scathing attack on Israel and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, after Liberman had insulted North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
“Hamas appreciates North Korea statement in which it supported the Palestinian’s struggle and rejected the continuation of occupation,” the terror group’s spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri wrote on his Twitter page.
“Hamas (rejects) Israeli abuse of North Korea and confirms that Israel is the leader of evil and terrorism in the world.”
UN official who resigned amid Israel ‘apartheid’ furor has no regrets
Labeling Israel’s treatment of Palestinians as “apartheid” is like flinging a burning match into spilled gasoline — so combustible are the passions on both sides.
Rima Khalaf did just that when a report commissioned by her UN agency at the request of 18 Arab member states accused Israel of having established an apartheid regime designed to dominate the Palestinian people as a whole.
In a swift outcry, Israel slammed the 65-page document as anti-Semitic. The US demanded its removal and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres ordered it taken off the agency’s website, saying it did not reflect his views. Rather than comply, Khalaf resigned as head of ESCWA, a Beirut-based agency, one of several UN regional bodies dealing with economic and social issues.
More than a month later, Khalaf has no regrets. The report’s charge of apartheid — a “crime against humanity” in the eyes of the International Criminal Court — deserves serious examination, she said in an interview.
Israeli-German Spat Highlights Europe’s Funding of BDS and Terror
A diplomatic spat between Israel and Germany has provided a prominent platform for research that documents the European Union’s funding of the BDS movement and Palestinian terrorism.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu canceled a meeting with German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel in Jerusalem that was scheduled for April 25, due to Gabriel’s insistence on meeting with nonprofit organizations that campaign against the IDF and falsely accuse Israel of human rights violations.
Netanyahu’s action came after he gave Gabriel an ultimatum — terminate the meetings with representatives from B’Tselem and Breaking the Silence, or lose the meeting with the Israeli prime minister.
“My policy is clear — not to meet with diplomats who visit Israel and engage with organizations that slander Israeli soldiers and seek to have them put on trial as war criminals,” Netanyahu said.
Gerald Steinberg, a professor of political science at Bar-Ilan University and the president of the Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor, told that European funding and — German state funds in particular — enable “fringe groups like Breaking the Silence to travel the world attacking the IDF.”
“In his actions, Prime Minister Netanyahu is seeking to put this irresponsible NGO funding by Europe on the agenda, and to trigger long-overdue changes,” Steinberg said.
Israel blames Germany for EU support of UNESCO anti-Israel resolution
Israel is angry at Germany for the anticipated European support for the resolution attacking Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem, which UNESCO’s Executive Board in Paris is scheduled to approve this Tuesday, diplomatic sources told The Jerusalem Post.
The behind-the-scenes conflict preceded the public argument between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel over his meeting with the left-wing group Breaking the Silence during his visit to Israel last week.
Netanyahu canceled his meeting with Gabriel and attacked the foreign minister in an interview with the German newspaper Bild.
Israel believes that Berlin led the charge for an amended resolution — submitted by Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar and Sudan — which European Union states are likely to vote “yes” on, or abstain.
Analysis: German FM fishes for antisemitic vote in row with Israel
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel’s ongoing assaults on the legitimacy of the Israeli government may actually be about winning the federal election in September.
In the latest iteration of stoking antisemitic sentiments for electoral results, German journalists and experts have diagnosed a method to Gabriel’s escalating fights with Israel.
“The current government is not Israel, also when it is so often presented,” Gabriel told the Hamburger Abendblatt paper on Saturday. When asked about Gabriel’s comment, a spokesman for the German Foreign Ministry on Saturday told The Jerusalem Post: “We will not comment.”
Gabriel’s latest attack on Israel’s democracy follows his refusal to pull the plug on meetings with two hard-left Israeli NGOs that allegedly undercut Israel’s security and armed forces, according to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Gabriel rejected Netanyahu’s offer to meet on Tuesday in exchange for canceling his appointments with the NGOs Breaking the Silence and B’Tselem.
A new attitude survey shows Gabriel may very well be amplifying his hostility toward Israel’s government for his personal electoral gain. There is a huge pool of Germans who can be whipped up to vote for his Social Democratic Party because of hatred of Israel.

Mexican diplomat to be honored for challenging UNESCO on anti-Israel vote
The Mexican diplomat who was fired from his ambassador position for walking out an anti-Israel vote by a United Nations agency will be honored by the American Sephardic Federation.
Andres Roemer, who is Jewish, will be awarded the International Sephardic Leadership Award at a ceremony on May 21 at the Center for Jewish History in New York. The event will honor the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Jerusalem during the Six Day War.
“When confronted by the recent UNESCO resolution that sought to erase Jerusalem, Israel’s Jewish and Christian history, Ambassador Roemer knowingly risked his position to voice and vote his conscience,” read the federation’s announcement.
In October, the Latin American diplomat risked his position by walking out of a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization vote at its headquarters in Paris — leaving his deputy to cast the country’s vote — in a personal protest against the UNESCO resolution denying Jewish ties to Jerusalem.
“While the resolution still passed, Ambassador Roemer did not forget Jerusalem and his moral courage convinced several countries, including his own, to seek to reverse the resolution’s ill-considered position against historical truth and the possibility of peace,” according to the announcement.
For not following the instructions he had received from the Mexican government, he was fired a few days later.
Ben Cohen: What’s at Stake in the Sebastian Gorka Dispute
For much of this year, a bitter debate has raged over the character and opinions of Sebastian Gorka, who was appointed as a deputy adviser to President Donald Trump shortly after the inauguration in January.
I have — until now — resisted the temptation to dip a toe into this dispute. Many of Gorka’s detractors call him an antisemite, citing his documented links with far-right organizations in his native Hungary. His defenders have angrily described the accusation as a smear. And so, inevitably, a cycle of barbs has begun — with the usual ad hominems embedded into political exchanges. It’s undignified, and it reminds me of similarly frustrating arguments about whether certain individuals on the left are trading in antisemitic tropes.
So let me say at the outset: I have never met Gorka, have never spoken with him and can’t say that I’m hugely familiar with his work. That said, there is very little evidence out there justifying the accusation of antisemitism. Gorka does not, so far as I can tell, believe that there is a Jewish conspiracy propelling the world to a global conflict. Nor does he believe that Jews are literally or figuratively “bloodsuckers,” that Jews are congenital liars, that Jews are more loyal to Israel than their own countries, or that the state of Israel is a colonial interloper with no right to a sovereign existence.
These are some of the basic elements of an antisemitic worldview. If Gorka does not buy into any of these, he is not an antisemite. I find it suspicious that a good number of those driving the antisemitism accusations in his direction are, if not outright supporters of the BDS hate campaign (today’s most potent expression of antisemitism), willing to accept its self-image as an anti-racist movement championing civil rights, when what BDS really does is reinvent reactionary tropes about Jews for the social media generation.
Names revealed of Jewish targets of South African twin terror suspects
The names of several alleged Jewish targets were revealed as part of legal proceedings for South African twin terror suspects Brandon-Lee and Tony-Lee Thulsie's, local media reported last week.
The allegedly ISIS-linked identical twins were due to be indicted on 12 counts, according to a 13-page provisional indictment. The brothers appeared on Tuesday in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court‚ where their case was reportedly postponed to May.
According to the state indictment, South African cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro, who works under the pseudonym Zapiro, was one target of the alleged terrorists.
“The said terrorist activities would have been perpetrated using firearms‚ explosives and possibly poisons and would have been directed against: the High Commission of the United Kingdom in Pretoria‚ the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Pretoria‚ the Embassy of the United States of America in Pretoria‚ the First Secretary to the French Mission in South Africa (Pretoria)‚ Mr J-B MP Prouhet [and] Jonathan Shapiro‚ a South African Jewish cartoonist," The Herald Live reported.
The Jewish King David High School in Linksfield, Johannesburg, as well as Roy Topol, a Jewish investment manager, were also mentioned in the indictment as other planned targets.
'Sarah Halimi's murderer is not insane'
Jewish leaders in France demanded that police relate to the murder of Jewish woman Sarah Halimi at the hands of her Arab neighbor as murder - and not as the act of an insane and unstable person.
Halimi, 66, was cruelly murdered at the beginning of April after she was attacked by a terrorist while she was sleeping in her apartment. He stabbed her and then threw her from the third story to her death.
Yoel Margi, who heads “Consistoire,” which provides religious services to Jews in France, emphasized the fact that the suspect had shouted “Allahu Akbar” before pushing Halimi out of the window. “I refuse to accept the easy excuse of insanity for a murderer who tried to make the incident look like a suicide, before eyewitnesses powerless to act,” he said.
Halimi was found lifeless outside her apartment in Paris. Neighbors told police that, at a late hour of the night, the terrorist ascended to the third floor of the apartment complex, yelled “Allahu Akbar” and acted wildly before pushing Halimi to her death.
During the police investigation, the terrorist asserted that the Koran had commanded him to murder her. He was sent for psychiatric evaluations.
Swiss court tells Egyptian energy companies to compensate Israel
A Swiss court has rejected an appeal by Egyptian energy companies against a French court's ruling last year ordering them to pay $2 billion in compensation to the state-owned Israel Electric Corporation, the Israeli utility said.
The IEC issued a statement Friday saying that Egyptian Natural Gas and the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation were liable because they were unable to fulfill their commitment to provide Israel with natural gas for its power stations.
The Egyptian petroleum ministry was not immediately available for comment.
Egypt sold gas to Israel under a 20-year agreement that collapsed in 2012 after months of repeated attacks by insurgents on the pipeline serving Israel in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula.
In 2015, an international arbitrator said Egypt should pay nearly $2 billion in compensation because of the halt in the gas supply, leading to tensions between the two neighbors.
Israel announces West Bank, Gaza closure ahead of Independence Day
Israel announced a closure of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip Saturday night ahead of Memorial Day and Independence Day.
The closure, a routine procedure ahead of Israeli and Jewish holidays, will come into effect at midnight between Saturday and Sunday, and will end on Tuesday night.
The closure is intended to prevent attempts at terror attacks in Israel during the holiday period. Exceptions will be made for humanitarian and other outstanding cases.
Also Saturday Israeli security forces arrested four West Bank residents suspected of firing and hurling a small bomb at a military post near Tulkarem. The four were taken in for questioning, and one was found to be in possession of a homemade weapon.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Mini Iron Dome To Be Installed On All Cars To Intercept Rocks, Firebombs (satire)
Continued targeting of Israeli cars by Palestinians on the roads of Judea and Samaria and in parts of Jerusalem with rocks and Molotov cocktails has prompted the Ministries of Defense and Internal Security to mandate the installation of an automated countermeasure system on all Israeli vehicles to shoot down incoming projectiles.
Multiple daily incidents along the arteries connecting Jewish communities in the heartland of the country involving Palestinian youths lobbing firebombs and stones at cars have led Israeli officials to require that all civilian passenger vehicles be equipped with the Trophy system, an anti-projectile device that until now has been reserved for military combat vehicles.
Minister of Defense Avigdor Liberman and Minister of Internal Security Gilad Erdan signed the order this morning, under which all new passenger cars in Israel must come equipped with Trophy, and all cars already on the road will have the system installed. Under the new measure, all civilian passenger vehicles in Israel will have Trophy operational by 2022.
The measure calls for the establishment of installation centers across the country, with technical staff trained by Refael, the weapons development authority. In addition to the dedicated facilities, certified mechanics at existing garages and dealerships will undergo training to conduct installation and repairs at their sites. Priority will be given to residents of communities where rock-throwing and firebombs often threaten travelers.
Abbas meets with King Abdullah ahead of White House visit
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas met with Jordan’s King Abdullah II on Sunday in Amman in order to coordinate positions ahead of Abbas’s meeting with US President Donald Trump at the White House this week.
According to the Hebrew-language Ynet news site, Abbas and Abdullah agreed during the meeting that a two-state outcome is the “only solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
They were also said to have discussed ways to reboot peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
The meeting of the two leaders came less than 24 hours after Abbas held similar talks with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi in Cairo.
Sissi issued a similar statement after that meeting, affirming his country’s commitment to the two-state solution and urging the US to “play an active role in efforts to resume negotiations.”
'We will soon force Israel to release prisoners'
Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal sent messages to Arab security prisoners, promising the prisoners are at the top of the priority list and that the Hamas leadership will do everything to ensure their release.
"It will not be long before the fighting forces will force Israel to pay the price and to release the Palestinian prisoners," Mashaal said, hinting there may be a new swap similar to the 2011 Shalit deal.
In an interview with Al-Quds, Mashaal called for complete unity between the Arab terrorist organizations, both in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza and in other places as well. He also called on the various organizations to work together with liberals around the world in order to support prisoners and "expose" Israel's "acts against them."
In fact, Arab terrorists have said they enjoyed a life of ease in Israeli prisons, with officials admitting that various perks are given to the terrorists in an attempt to prevent rioting.
In 2014, then-Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich was given a freer hand to impose "harsh" conditions on jailed Hamas terrorists in a Security Cabinet decision. Later, it was divulged that those "harsh" conditions meant no more watching the World Cup on TV or shopping at the jail's canteen.
Guardian cries for Barghouti, ignores his terror victims: Bias by the numbers.
Today, Guardian Jerusalem correspondent Peter Beaumont published an article (appearing in The Observer, sister publication of the Guardian) titled “Wife of jailed Fatah leader tells of her fears of the hunger strikers”. The piece focused on the ongoing hunger strike by Palestinian prisoners, including Marwan Barghouti.
Barghouti is a convicted terrorist who was one of the Palestinian leaders of the 2nd Intifada’s campaign of suicide bombings and shootings in the early 2000s. He was convicted in 2002 on five counts of murder of innocent civilians, but was likely responsible for many more killings. Crimes orchestrated by Barghouti include: The murder of Greek monk Tsibouktsakis Germanus in Jerusalem on June 12, 2001; the murder of Yoela Hen in Jerusalem on January 15, 2002; and the murder of Eli Dahan, Yosef Habi, and Salim Barakat in Tel Aviv on March 5, 2002.
Bereaved families at the opening of the trial of Marwan Barghouti at a Tel Aviv court, 2002. (Photo, GPO)
The bulk of Beaumont’s article, however, focuses on the fears of Barghouti’s wife, Fadwa Barghouti, and the hardship faced by all of the hunger striking prisoners and their families. To garner some insight into the 1300 word article, here’s a brief analysis of the text (a word count) to demonstrate the skewed priorities. (The numbers below represent total number of words used in sentences devoted to the particular topic indicated.)
The number represents total number of words used in sentences devoted to the particular topic indicated.
Also noteworthy in the article is this egregious example of the ubiquitous ‘Some say he’s a terrorist, while others say…’ media narrative on Barghouti:

BBC News parrots inaccurate claim from a politicised UN agency
And yet again, the BBC could not resist promoting the false notion that the chronic shortage of electricity in the Gaza Strip is in part attributable to Israeli counter-terrorism measures.
“Gaza’s electricity supply has been also affected by restrictions on the import of goods imposed by Israel as part of a land, sea and air blockade that is now in its 10th year. Egypt is meanwhile blockading Gaza’s southern border.
Israel and Egypt maintain the blockades as a measure against attacks by Islamist militants based in Gaza.”

Interestingly, an almost identical statement is to be found in a document produced by UN OCHA to which a link is provided in this article’s fifth paragraph:
“Gaza’s longstanding electricity deficit has been also affected by the restrictions on the import of goods imposed by Israel as part of a land, air and sea blockade, now in its 10th year.”
Obviously if BBC journalists conducted their own research rather than blindly parroting claims made by a highly partial and politicised UN body, their reporting would be more likely to meet the BBC’s professed standards of accuracy.
Australia probing video of 8-year-old jihadi making threats
Police in Australia said Sunday they were investigating a report that the 8-year-old son of a notorious Islamic State fighter was filmed wearing a suicide vest and threatening to kill its nationals.
The footage was allegedly of the youngest son of Khaled Sharrouf, who in February became the first Australian to be stripped of his citizenship under anti-terrorism laws.
The young boy was recently filmed holding two guns and a knife and making threats as a voice off-camera asked him, “How do you kill an Australian?” Sydney’s Sunday Telegraph reported.
Sharrouf, who left Australia for Syria in 2013 with his family, made international headlines in 2014 when he posted an image on Twitter of another son holding a severed head.
The real collusion story
In the last few weeks, there has been a counterpunch of sorts from Trump ‎supporters, alleging that former President Barack Obama's officials in the Justice Department and intelligence ‎services launched a surveillance operation during the campaign to potentially ‎derail the Trump campaign, and after the election, to keep the Russian story alive ‎through leaks to eager journalists, to delegitimize his presidential victory and his ‎ability to govern. ‎
At this point, based on what is known as opposed to what is ‎believed or hoped for by partisans, it is highly likely that both themes are probably exaggerated, ‎and maybe even totally false, though the leaks from Obama loyalists still in ‎government seem to provide some support for the charge that there has been an ‎organized campaign to damage his successor.‎
In the meantime, a blockbuster story in Politico provides much new information on how far the Obama ‎team was willing to go to get a nuclear deal with Iran done, and then to please the ‎mullahs in any number of ways after the agreement was reached, to demonstrate ‎U.S. allegiance to their needs and demands. In any case, no journalist sympathetic ‎to the Obama narrative on the Iran deal would dare call it collusion. ‎
The Politico article revealed for the first time the extent of the trade the Obama ‎administration was willing to make with Iran to obtain the release of five American ‎prisoners. The U.S. announced the release of seven Iranians, ‎described by the administration as civilians, none involved with terrorism. In fact, ‎several were regarded by Obama's Justice Department as clear national security ‎threats, involved in weapons procurement. The administration also dropped ‎charges and arrest warrants against 14 other Iranians, all of them fugitives, ‎several of them also involved in weapons procurement for Iran's nuclear program, ‎‎. ‎

Battling anti-Semitic image, Le Pen quietly visits Holocaust memorial
French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen placed a wreath on a Marseille monument to French victims of the Holocaust Sunday morning, weeks after she drew sharp criticism by claiming that France had no responsibility for the fate of its Jewish citizens deported to Nazi Germany.
The low-key wreath-laying took place without the media present at a memorial to 30 Jewish women and children who were rounded up by the Gestapo in 1943, to mark France’s Memorial Day for Victims of Deportation.
She was accompanied by a local politician. A picture of the wreath-laying was tweeted by a campaign worker.
Her rival, centrist Emmanuel Macron of the En Marche movement, is due to visit a Holocaust memorial near Paris later Sunday.
Algerian Jewish leader is Russian Christian
Meet Amir Hamoui, the new president of the phantom Jewish community of Algeria. (There is a precedent: the president of the non-existent Kurdish Jewish community is a Muslim). On his blog Hamoui declares himself to be the son of a Russian-Jewish woman, then claims to be also a Christian serving the Pope and appointed by the Vatican (Praise be to Jesus). His Facebook page proclaims that he is not from Algiers, but St Petersburg. Curiouser and curiouser! (With thanks: Boruch)
Amir Hamoui succeeds Roger Said as the President of the Jewish community of Algeria. Said died in 2012.
'My story : Amir Hamoui was born (August 22 / August 1988) is a Russian of Algerian origin, was born in Algiers (Algeria) from a Christian family of a Jewish mother Jacqueline Rebecca Hamoui, professor of Russian, Ukrainian, Hebrew. Hewas born in Algeria (Tlemcen province) where he was appointed by the Russian president in 2015 adviser to the Russian Foreign Ministry. I worked a translator of foreign languages ​​in the federal Moscow embassy in Algeria for HE Ambassador of Russia in Algeria Alexander Zulotov between 2007 and 2014. Then I went to Italy to support the missionary movement through education. Pope Francis himself appointed Amir Hamoui, the spokesman for the Holy See and his interpreter, and I am proud of myself, my family and friends for the support I get from them both at work and outside. I am proud to serve the Pope, the Vatican and the Pope in particular. I was called back to Algeria to be the representative of the Jewish religion in Algeria.'
‘World’s largest’ facility for disabled kids opens in Jerusalem
One of Israel’s largest disability groups inaugurated a new $54 million headquarters on Thursday in Jerusalem meant to serve as a community and sports center for the disabled.
The Shalva National Center “is the largest and most advanced facility for children with disabilities in the world,” Shalva said in a statement ahead of the Thursday morning launch ceremony.
While located in western Jerusalem, “it serves people with disabilities of all ages, religions and ethnicities free of charge.”
The facility includes an accessible semi-Olympic hydrotherapy pool, a fitness room with specialized equipment and a 400-seat auditorium, the group said. It will also be home to “Jerusalem’s first public inclusive playground with disability accessible installations” and municipal preschools geared to serving disabled children.
Shalva, founded in 1990, provides services to people with a wide range of disabilities and advocates for greater inclusion of the disabled in Israeli society.
Sharansky to talk about Russia, faith and freedom at live interview in Jerusalem
When he crossed the Glienicke Bridge in East Berlin in February 1986, Natan Sharansky might have hoped that his long campaign for Jewish freedom was over. Instead, the day that he woke up in a Soviet prison and went to sleep in Jerusalem was just the start of a much longer journey.
After nine years in Soviet labor camps and months of hunger strikes, Sharansky had hardly a moment’s rest to rekindle his fairytale love affair with his wife Avital and celebrate the birth of their two daughters before he was thrust into the whirlpool of public life.
Conscious that his worldwide celebrity would quickly fade, he embarked on a punishing round of global lobbying. Few believed his prophetic insistence that the Soviet Union was destined to collapse, heralding the arrival in Israel of a million new immigrants for which the Jewish state needed to immediately prepare.
But he was right. The Soviet Jewish immigration of the early 1990s transformed Israel’s demography and economy and helped thrust him into politics, where he spearheaded efforts to create housing and jobs to absorb the influx of new citizens.
But Sharansky’s experience — and the lessons learned by Avital in her long campaign — convinced him of the need to secure Israel’s future within the context of the entire Jewish world. That vision led him to the leadership of the Jewish Agency, an aging, sprawling organization of dubious value, which he has spent the past eight years reshaping for the 21st century.
IsraellyCool: Israeli F-35I To Fly For First Time In 2017 Yom Ha’atzmaut Independence Day IAF Flypast
Every year on Yom Ha’atzmaut (Israeli Independence Day) the Israeli Air Force puts on a flypast of a few different types of aircraft and in certain locations, an aerobatics display. And every year I struggle to find out the exact time.
The IAF have put the schedule out in two graphics rendering them impervious to Google Translate. I’ll provide the best key I can for the flypast (in order):
King Air B-200 “Tzofit” (Sunbird) – צופית
C-130 “Karnaf” (Rhino) – קרנף
C-130J “Samson” – שמשון
Gulfstream G550 AEW&C “Eitam” (Eagle) – עיטם
Gulfstream G550 SigInt “Shavit” (Comet) – שביט
F-15I “Ra’am” (Thunder) – ראם
F-16C/D “Barak” (Lightning) – ברק
F-15C/D “Baz” (Falcon) – בז
F-35I “Adir” (Mighty) – אדיר
This is the first public exhibition of our brand new F-35I “Adir” stealth fighters.
The West Wing's Leo McGarry on Israel's Memorial Day

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