Monday, April 29, 2019

From Ian:

Khaled Abu Toameh: The Palestinians' Own Goals
"We reject normalization and adopt the approach of resistance until the liberation of the entire Palestinian territory." — Statement rejecting job offers, issued by Progressive Democratic Student Pole, affiliated with the radical PLO group Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

"Resistance" is a term used by Palestinians to describe the "armed struggle" against Israel, which includes carrying out various forms of armed attacks against Israelis. When the students talk about the "liberation of the entire Palestinian territory," they are actually saying that they want to destroy Israel because they do not believe in its right to exist.

A video of the protest at Bir Zeit University posted on social media shows dozens of angry students surrounding the companies' representatives, and chanting: "Normalization [with Israel] is Treason."

This is just another example of how the movement for boycotting Israel is causing damage to Palestinians. Perhaps the real motive of the people promoting these boycotts of Israel is not to help the Palestinians at all, but, like terrorist groups, such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad, to destroy Israel.

PMW: The PA is begging Europe for money – but it doesn’t need a penny more in aid
Will Abbas lie to the EU as he lied to the Arab League blaming Israel for the self-imposed financial crisis?

The annual meeting in Europe of the “International donor group for Palestine” comes tomorrow as the Palestinian Authority is experiencing a major financial crisis. The PA has announced that it will be turning to the international community and asking for significant funding.

However, before assisting the PA, the international community must recognize that the entire financial crisis is self-inflicted by the PA, in two different ways.

1. The PA returned 630 million shekels ($186 million) that Israel transferred to its account

Under Israeli law, Israel must deduct the amount that the PA pays to terrorist prisoners and their families every month from the tax money that it collects and transfers to the PA. Based on what the PA expended last year rewarding terrorists, as exposed by Palestinian Media Watch in January this year, Israel is now deducting $11.6 million (42 million shekels) per month from $186 million (670 million shekels) tax money that it collects and transfers to the PA. Losing this $11.6 million would not have caused a financial crisis. However, the PA made a decision that if Israel withheld the $11.6 million the PA spends rewarding terrorists - it would refuse to accept the entire $175 million transfer from Israel.

Meeting with both French and other EU representatives, PLO Executive Committee Secretary and Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat reiterated “the Palestinian leadership’s decision not to receive the [$175 million] tax money if the [$11.6 million] deduction is carried out.” [Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 22, 2019]
Hamas’s Leaders May Genuinely Want a Cease-Fire with Israel
Despite numerous efforts, backed by Egypt and other regional powers, the Palestinian Authority (PA), which governs parts of the West Bank, and Hamas, which governs Gaza, have been unable to come to any sort of mutual understanding. Meanwhile, writes Ehud Yaari, Jerusalem seems close to arriving at a long-term cease-fire with Hamas, even as the PA president Mahmoud Abbas is making ever-more-persistent threats to end relations with Israel. Yaari explains Hamas’s motivations:

Since becoming the top Hamas leader in Gaza two years ago, Yahya al-Sinwar has concluded that the group cannot afford an all-out military escalation with Israel, let alone achieve its demands for a free sea- and air-port in the Strip by that route. He spent 22 years in Israeli jails, speaks fluent Hebrew, and follows the Israeli media religiously, so he understands that Netanyahu’s response to another major confrontation would be far more devastating than Operation Protective Edge in 2014. Meanwhile, Hamas has lost most of its cross-border attack tunnels into Israel and is struggling to maintain its rocket arsenal after Egypt cut its smuggling routes through the Sinai Peninsula.

Given these military disadvantages and the PA’s refusal to shoulder responsibility for Gaza’s economic crisis, Sinwar has decided to build his strategy upon the Israeli leadership’s clear preference for containment over war. Backed by the Israel Defense Forces general staff, Netanyahu has repeatedly signaled his readiness to help ease Gaza’s humanitarian crisis once calm is restored. . . .

Today, both sides want a ceasefire. Netanyahu has received growing domestic criticism for his restraint, while Sinwar was excoriated for sending teenagers and unarmed demonstrators to be killed or injured. Both would like to silence their detractors by ending the [fighting].

Hundreds gather for vigil near California synagogue targeted in murderous attack
Hundreds of people gathered Sunday night at a park for a vigil to honor the victims of an attack on a nearby synagogue the day before.

People at the community park near Chabad synagogue in Poway held candles and listened to prayers in Hebrew.

Leaders asked community members to do acts of kindness to remember Lori Gilbert-Kaye, 60, a longtime member of the synagogue who was killed in Saturday’s attack.

Mayor Steve Vaus said he would stand with the community, and Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, who was shot in the attack, said seeing the crowd come together provided consolation.
Lori Gilbert-Kaye, who was killed in a shooting at a San Diego County synagogue on April 27, 2019 (Facebook)

“What happened to us, happened to all of us,” Goldstein said.

Goldstein, 8-year-old Noya Dahan and her 34-year-old uncle, Almog Peretz were injured when a gunman burst into the synagogue and opening fire as about 100 people were worshiping inside.
Police believe shooter acted alone; rabbi says gun ‘miraculously jammed’
San Diego police said Sunday that the gunman who opened fire on a crowded synagogue on Passover, killing one person and wounding three others, was apparently acting alone and not part of an organized group.

The suspect, 19-year-old John Earnest, has been booked into custody on one count of murder in the first degree and three counts of attempted murder in the first degree, said San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore, according to the Reuters news agency.

Congregation rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, speaking at a news conference Sunday outside the synagogue north of San Diego, said only the fact that the shooter’s gun had jammed prevented a much greater tragedy.

In the minutes after the gunman fled the scene, Goldstein wrapped his bloodied hand in a prayer shawl and addressed the panicked congregation, vowing to stay strong in the face of yet another deadly attack in a house of worship.

“We are a Jewish nation that will stand tall. We will not let anyone take us down. Terrorism like this will not take us down,” Goldstein recalled telling his congregants after the gunfire erupted Saturday at Chabad of Poway.
Poway Chabad rabbi had asked border patrol agent to pray armed – just in case
Jonathan Morales, an armed off-duty US Customs and Border Patrol agent who recently discovered his Jewish roots, was among the worshipers at Chabad of Poway on Saturday when John Earnest entered the synagogue near San Diego during Passover services and began shooting.

The 19-year-old gunman killed Lori Gilbert-Kaye, 60, and wounded three people: Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, 8-year-old Noya Dahan and her uncle, Almog Peretz.

“Morales recently discovered his Jewish roots. He would travel three and a half hours from [the California town of] El Centro to pray with us at our shul,” Goldstein told media at a Sunday press conference outside the synagogue. “He felt this was his house of worship. And many times I said, ‘Jonathan, you work for the border patrol. Please arm yourself when you are here; we never know when we will need it.’”

US President Donald Trump spoke with Goldstein on Sunday and took to Twitter to praise the rabbi and Morales, writing: “He may have been off duty but his talents for Law Enforcement weren’t!”

As for why there weren’t any active duty guards at the synagogue, in an earlier interview with CNN Goldstein said, “Unfortunately, we couldn’t afford to have an armed security officer at every service, so whenever we had extra help, we were grateful for it.”

Combat Vet Who Stopped The Synagogue Shooter: ‘I Scared The Hell Out Of Him’
The man who fired a semi-automatic weapon inside the Chabad of Poway synagogue in San Diego on Saturday froze, dropped his gun and sprinted to his car when he saw Oscar Stewart come barreling toward him, yelling so loud the priest at a neighboring church could hear.

“Get down!” Stewart yelled, according to his wife and others who were at the scene. “You motherfucker! I’m going to kill you!”

Others who were there later told him it sounded like four or five people were shouting. He thinks maybe an angel was standing behind him and speaking through his voice. When the shooter ran, he immediately gave chase.

Stewart, 51, told The Daily Caller on Sunday he doesn’t remember any conscious thought from the moment he heard the gun shots until it was all over — he just acted on instinct to stop the shooter and prevent him from leaving so he couldn’t hurt more people somewhere else. The Iraq combat veteran said his military training kicked in.

“I knew I had to be within five feet of this guy so his rifle couldn’t get to me,” Stewart said. “So I ran immediately toward him, and I yelled as loud as I could. And he was scared. I scared the hell out of him.”

Stewart served in the Navy in explosive ordnance disposal from 1990 to 1994, then enlisted in the Army in 2001 because of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

“Looking back, it was kind of a crazy idea to do, but I did it.” He was deployed to Iraq in 2003 and left the military in 2004, as a staff sergeant. He’s now in construction work.
Surgeon began CPR on synagogue shooting victim – then discovered it was his wife
A doctor who began CPR on the woman killed in Saturday's shooting at a Southern California synagogue fainted when he realized that the person he was trying to save was his wife.

Lori Gilbert-Kaye, 60, died of injuries she sustained in the shooting at Chabad of Poway near San Diego. Three others were hurt.

Gilbert-Kaye is believed to have thrown herself in front of Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, possibly saving his life. Goldstein was injured after suffering a gunshot wound to his hand.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that Gilbert-Kaye’s husband, a physician, was in the synagogue when the gunshots started.

Lori Gilbert-Kaye, 60, who was shot and killed in Saturday's Southern California synagogue shooting, is believed to have thrown herself in front a rabbi, possibly saving his life.

Worshippers called to him to help victims and he began to do CPR on one until he realized it was his wife, Dr. Roneet Lev told the paper.

The husband then fainted.

Lev said Gilbert-Kaye had gone to the synagogue near San Diego to offer the Jewish prayer for the dead -- known as the "Kaddish" for her mother, who recently passed away, the paper reported.

Poway mayor says post-Pittsburgh precautions saved lives
Poway’s mayor said Sunday that preparations made in the aftermath of the massacre at a Pittsburgh synagogue “contributed to saving lives” in his hometown.

On Saturday, a gunman entered Chabad of Poway, killing Lori Gilbert-Kaye, a 60-year-old congregant, and injuring three others, including Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, the congregation’s spiritual leader.

Following the October attack at the Tree of Life synagogue complex in Pittsburgh, Mayor Steve Vaus and the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department met with Jewish leaders at Chabad of Poway to discuss best practices for an active shooter situation, the mayor said Sunday.

“We memorialized the victims of the Tree of Life massacre, and then we gave them tips about what to do if hate comes knocking at the door,” Vaus said in an interview with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “Tips like, if you can run away, run away; if you can hide, hide; if you can’t hide, challenge the shooter.’”

During Saturday’s shooting in Poway, “all of that happened,” the mayor said, “and I have no doubt that that meeting contributed to saving lives.”
Seth Frantzman: Hiding California killer’s manifesto doesn’t prevent next attack - analysis
What is the agenda behind urging people not to look at the manifesto of these perpetrators and to pretend it is full of jokes so dense and confusing that we won’t understand it? What is the agenda in claiming that only experts should see the cesspool of online hatred? Is it really because the theory is that if people read it they will all become extremists? Why are we told that even journalists in the media shouldn’t look at it because it’s too confusing. This would imply that the perpetrator’s are so complex that they have crafted documents that educated people can’t understand, and only a small number of gatekeeper experts can explore it? But at the same time we are presented with an image of them as sort of crazy morons with “dumb jokes.” Well, which is it? Are they dumb, which would mean we could understand them,or are they so complex that they are unique within the far-right extremist cesspool of online hate? Or maybe they are something in the middle. Neither the Unabomber or Timothy McVeigh.

After decades of rising extremism, on the Islamist far-right and the white nationalist or European identitarian far-right, why are we still being told to ignore what the perpetrator’s say? We were also told in 2013 to ignore the rise of ISIS, who were called “insurgents” and “extremists.” But ISIS didn’t go away the more we ignored them online. Instead they started a genocide in Iraq, systematically destroying religious minority community, selling slaves, destroying ancient culture. We ignored them at our peril and then more than 70 countries had to fight them. Hundreds of thousands of ISIS social media accounts had to be removed, and in the third quarter of 2018 three million different items of ISIS and Al-Qaeda propaganda were removed by Facebook. What if we had not ignored the ISIS “in-jokes” and “memes” in 2013 and early 2014?

We cannot rely on just a few experts to go into chat rooms and online forums and look at extremist ideas and tell us that it’s too complicated for us to understand. We need to be aware of all the ideologies of hate that drove the Pittsburgh, New Zealand and California attacks, among others. We need to be more educated in our societies about extremist hate, including those groups like ISIS that radicalize people. If you don’t tell young people about the evils of hate and you tell them not to learn about it, then you leave them susceptible to these ideologies. It is through education against the KKK ideology, the ISIS ideology and other hate concepts that people will be inoculated against it. Education is a vaccine against extremism. Describing hate ideology as just jokes and “stuff” and “confusion” and “dumb” isn’t helping.We were told for too long “see no evil, hear no evil.” If we want to stop evil we need to open our eyes.
2020 Dems Condemn "Gun Violence" Instead of Anti-Semitism After Synagogue Attack
A gun did not walk on its own into a California synagogue and begin shooting the Jews praying there. But some 2020 Democrat candidates seemed obsessed with highlighting gun violence, while not discussing the anti-Semitism that is at the root of anti-Semitic violence.

Guns don't kill Jews. Anti-Semites do.

Would the attack have been any less horrifying if one Jewish woman had been murdered with a knife instead of a gun?

In between thanking his donors, Joe Biden tweeted out a condemnation of gun violence, with no mention of anti-Semitism.

"Jill and I are devastated to hear about today’s shooting at the Chabad Poway synagogue. No one should have to worship in fear. As a country, we must speak out against bigotry and gun violence. We’re in the battle for the soul of this nation—and it’s on all of us to act," he tweeted.

Biden mentions bigotry, a general problem, rather than anti-Semitism, the specific problem. That's in line with the Dem refusal to condemn Rep. Omar's anti-Semitism remarks by instead condemning all bigotry.

He also fails to mention Jews, specifically by name, who were the targets of the attack.

He does however zero in on gun violence. (h/t Failexa)

Ocasio-Cortez Slammed For Instantly Politicizing Synagogue Shooting
Poway’s mayor said Sunday that preparations made in the aftermath of the massacre at a Pittsburgh synagogue “contributed to saving lives” in his hometown.

On Saturday, a gunman entered Chabad of Poway, killing Lori Gilbert-Kaye, a 60-year-old congregant, and injuring three others, including Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, the congregation’s spiritual leader.

Following the October attack at the Tree of Life synagogue complex in Pittsburgh, Mayor Steve Vaus and the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department met with Jewish leaders at Chabad of Poway to discuss best practices for an active shooter situation, the mayor said Sunday.

“We memorialized the victims of the Tree of Life massacre, and then we gave them tips about what to do if hate comes knocking at the door,” Vaus said in an interview with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “Tips like, if you can run away, run away; if you can hide, hide; if you can’t hide, challenge the shooter.’”

During Saturday’s shooting in Poway, “all of that happened,” the mayor said, “and I have no doubt that that meeting contributed to saving lives.”
Israel defends right to West Bank settlements at UNSC - watch live
Israel's Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon plans to defend Israel's right to the Land of Israel, including the West Bank settlements when he addresses the United Nations Security Council this afternoon.

He will speak after a briefing to the UNSC by the Israeli Palestinian co-directors of the non-governmental group EcoPeace Middle East about environmental issues shared by Israelis, Jordanians and the Palestinians.

UN Under-Secretary General for Political and Peace Building Affairs RoseMary DiCarlo will also give an update on the situation in Gaza and the Palestinian territories.
Netanyahu, Kahlon discuss crumbling Palestinian economy
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened an urgent meeting with Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon on Sunday to discuss the crumbling Palestinian economy in the West Bank, Channel 12 TV news reported.

According to the report, Israeli leaders are concerned that the Palestinian Authority is close to collapse in the wake of PA President Mahmoud Abbas’ refusal to accept tax revenues collected by Israel, which the government has reduced over the PA’s insistence on paying monthly stipends to terrorists and their families.

The tax cut amounts to approximately 500 million shekels ($140 million), which constitutes more than half of the PA’s monthly budget.

Abbas, meanwhile, has reiterated that the PA would continue to pay prisoners in Israeli jails.

On April 21, the Arab League pledged $100 million per month to the PA to make up for the funds withheld by Israel.
Yisrael Medad: Did the Mandate for Palestine Devolve on the UN?
There is an opinion which suggests that Article 80 of the UN Charter, that is
...nothing in this Chapter shall be construed in or of itself to alter in any manner the rights whatsoever of any states or any peoples or the terms of existing international instruments to which Members of the United Nations may respectively be parties.

does not apply to the League of Nations decision to award that to Great Britain for the express purposes which are contained in its 1922 decision.

Well, in February 1947, UK Foreign Minister Ernest Bevin thought so:
When the League of Nations was wound up, there was a guarantee by the Mandatory Powers that they would carry on their Mandates and treat the United Nations as if they were the League of Nations. Therefore, I have to have regard to that.
Yisrael Medad: MP BS
The number of actual Arabs who enlisted to fight alongside England in World War II was infitisemal.

On the other hand, we know of the Mufti's role in support of Hitler while in Berlin and the Rashid Ali pro-Nazi revolt in Iraq and other instances of not being helpful, including Anwar Sadat's efforts as a willing co-operator in Nazi Germany's espionage according to his own memoirs as well as ideological and political identification of Arabs leaders and Hitlerism.

According to Gilbert Achcar's "The Arabs and the Holocaust: The Arab-Israeli War of Narratives" (NY: Henry Holt and Co.; 2009), pp. 125—126, this

exchange occurred when Hitler received Saudi Arabian ruler Ibn Saud's special envoy, Khalid al-Hud al-Gargani. Earlier in this meeting Hitler noted that one of the three reasons why Nazi Germany had warm sympathies for the Arabs was:
[...] because we were jointly fighting the Jews. This led him to discuss Palestine and the conditions there, and he then stated that he himself would not rest until the last Jew had left Germany. Kalid al Hud observed that the Prophet Mohammed [...] had acted the same way. He had driven the Jews out of Arabia [...]
Without fanfare, Australia opens trade and defense office in Jerusalem
Australia last month quietly opened a trade and defense office in Jerusalem.

The move was not announced on government websites, and no senior Australian or Israeli officials attended the opening ceremony of the new office, which Canberra insists does not have formal diplomatic status.

By contrast, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last year attended the opening of a Czech office in the capital — which does not have diplomatic status either — and took part in the dedication of a Hungarian trade office, which is also located in Jerusalem but is considered an extension of the country’s Tel Aviv embassy.

Australia’s “Trade and Defence Office,” located in the Migdal Ha’ir office tower in western Jerusalem, was opened in March without fanfare, fulfilling a promise the country’s prime minister made four months ago.

“It is a commercially focused office, established and managed by the Australian Trade and Investment Commission,” a spokesperson for the Australian embassy in Tel Aviv told The Times of Israel. It “will not have diplomatic status and is not an extension of the Australian embassy in Tel Aviv,” the spokesperson stressed.
Do Labor intend to ‘recognise’ a terrorist state?
The designation of the Palestinian Authority (PA) as a terrorist organisation would have major implications for Australia’s foreign policy and foreign aid applicable to the Middle East. It would throw into disarray a recently adopted Labor policy to unilaterally recognise a ‘State of Palestine’ as that policy legitimises an entity which meets the criteria under Australian law as a terrorist organisation.

This subject in appropriate context involves two related considerations:

Firstly, an opinion obtained by the Australian Jewish Association (AJA) from one of Australia’s most experienced senior criminal barristers that the PA is a ‘terrorist organisation’ as defined in Division 102 of the Commonwealth Criminal Code Act 1995 (Code). The legal assessment has been undertaken by Jeremy Rapke QC, former Director of Public Prosecutions for Victoria. In that role he has had substantial direct experience in prosecuting terrorism cases.

Secondly, the Australian Labor Party at its National Conference held in December 2018, passed a resolution which inter alia ‘Calls on the next Labor government to recognise Palestine as a state…’ and identifies this as an important priority. While such a resolution is technically not binding on a future Labor government, it is significant that it was moved not by some obscure union hack but by Senator Penny Wong, Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, who would likely have the responsible portfolio in a Shorten Labor government.

Australia’s Labour Party Dumps Candidate over ‘Shape-Shifting Jewish Lizards’ Post Ahead of May Elections
Australia’s Labour party’s leader Bill Shorten on Monday confirmed that Wayne Kurnoth, running on Labour’s Senate ticket in the Northern Territory, was “dis-endorsed” over his Facebook post sharing a video that claims the world is controlled by a “secret society of Jewish shape-shifting lizards,” Australian media reported.

The shape-shifting lizard video was made in 2015 by British Holocaust denier and altogether really, really mad person David Icke. In his video, Icke pitches his theory that an inter-dimensional race of giant Jewish lizards has hijacked the Earth and is enslaving humanity. He believes American presidents, the British royal family and the Rothschilds are descendants of the invading reptiles.

In October 2016, Kurnoth shared a meme spouting Icke’s conspiracy theory that “Rothschild Zionists” run the world by controlling the media, Hollywood, world governments and global finance.

It should be noted that Australia’s Labour party marshaled a successful campaigned to ban Icke from setting foot in Australia in early 2019.

“I don’t think he should be our candidate any more and I understand that it is in train for him to step down as our candidate,” Shorten said.
Israeli hikers come under fire in West Bank; soldiers shoot suspected gunman
Israeli troops opened fire at a pair of Palestinian men suspected of shooting at a group of hikers in the northern West Bank on Monday, the military said.

One of the suspects was wounded. No Israelis were injured in the exchange.

The second suspect fled the scene, and Israeli troops launched a manhunt to find him, according to a statement sent to residents of a nearby settlement.

The man later turned himself, the army said.

According to the message sent to residents of the Mevo Dotan settlement, the shots were fired at a group of hikers near the Tel Dotan archaeological site, west of the Palestinian village of Qabatiya.

The Israel Defense Forces said the troops, who were guarding the tour group, “saw two suspects shoot at them. They returned fire at the suspects. One of them was injured and taken to the hospital for medial treatment.”

The extent of the Palestinian’s injuries was not immediately known.
Driver in Jerusalem hit-and-run turns himself in after week-long hunt
The driver in a hit-and-run in Jerusalem last week that left an 11-year-old boy in critical condition has turned himself in to authorities, police said Sunday.

Police had been searching for the suspect since last Sunday’s collision in the Ramot neighborhood, and had identified the driver as Netanel Sandrusi during the week-long manhunt.

The child, who has not been named, was rushed to the city’s Shaare Zedek hospital. He remains in critical condition.

The car was located shortly after the hit-and-run near the settlement of Givat Ze’ev, adjacent to the capital.

Police said the day after the crash that they knew the identity of the suspected driver, a man in his 20s, who had borrowed the car.
Human Rights NGO calls for Omar Barghouti’s Israeli Residency to be revoked
Israeli Human Rights NGO, Betzalmo has appealed to Israel’s Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit and Interior Minister Arye Deri to cancel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement Omar Barghouti’s residency permit.

The call comes just two weeks after Omar Barghouti was refused entry into the United States because of his role as founder and chairman of the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

In a letter dated April 24, 2019, Betzalmo inquired with the Deri about how it was possible that the US prevents a boycott leader from entering its territory, while the Israeli government continues to grant him a residency permit, which allow him to receive benefits from the State of Israel.

"A recent law authorizes the Interior Minister, with the approval of the attorney-general, to revoke residency for anyone who harms state security or violates allegiance to the state, or endangers public peace," the NGO said in a statement. "Undoubtedly Barghouti’s leadership of the boycott movement against all citizens of the State of Israel severely harms the State of Israel and is a blatant breach of allegiance, as well as a threat to Israel’s security and defense by pushing for an arms embargo against Israel."

"In addition, the BDS movement collaborates with terrorist organizations, so there is undoubtedly an indirect link between Mr. Barghouti and terrorist organizations," Betzalmo highlighted.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Public Figures Call For Tel Aviv Jews To Move to Israel (satire)
Prominent members of Israel’s cultural and political scenes urged their brethren living in one of the Mediterranean’s most thriving, luxurious cities to embrace a higher calling than their current abode encourages, by making Aliyah.

Celebrities and other figures in Israeli society came together yesterday to issue a joint call to the Jews of Tel Aviv to demonstrate a commitment to historical and national awareness, and come home.

“We acknowledge, appreciate, and celebrate the achievements of our Tel Aviv brothers and sisters,” the statement read, “and at the same time must express our conviction that the only true home for Jews is Israel. Especially in this fraught time when each new week brings news of another attack on Jews abroad, we feel compelled to invite our fellow Jews to make their shared future with us in our ancestral homeland, where, even if we struggle to do so, we protect ourselves from the dangers that too many of our Jewish family face beyond our borders.”

Signatories of the call include President of Israel Reuven Rivlin, Chief Rabbis Yitzhak Yosef and David Lau, musicians, television personalities, and more than a dozen entrepreneurs. Commercial real estate magnate David Azrieli added a personal message to Tel Aviv Jews, assuring them that in Israel they could enjoy much of the same high-quality cuisine, culture, and trappings of their Tel Aviv environment, but with the added bonus of living among their own nation and remaining steeped in cultural traditions that denizens of Tel Aviv must labor to assert and preserve.
Columnist’s Bizarre Accusation Against Google Maps
Clearing up the ignorance and the false assumptions

In three paragraphs, Turner has exposed both her lack of background knowledge and some false assumptions. Here are some vital points that she clearly never considered:
  1. It’s not “technically forbidden” for Israelis to enter the West Bank. After all, some Israelis happen to live there. It is, however, illegal for Israelis to enter Area A of the West Bank, which is under the full administrative and security control of the Palestinian Authority. This would include major Palestinian cities such as Jericho.
  2. Google Maps relies on location settings in mobile devices. It does not and cannot identify whether the user is an Israeli citizen or a tourist. Therefore, Google is acting responsibly by not sending drivers or navigators via routes that are potentially unsafe.
  3. It’s safe to assume that Janice Turner was traveling in a vehicle with Israeli number plates. Palestinians, some of whom have been known to throw rocks or shoot at Israeli vehicles, cannot tell from a distance if the vehicle’s occupants are tourists even if they may appreciate foreign visitors.
  4. GPS devices have, on a number of occasions, led Israelis into Palestinian areas where they or their vehicles have been physically attacked. For example, in February 2018, Israeli soldiers using Waze in a similar way to Google Maps, were attacked by Palestinians after accidentally driving through a Palestinian city.
So Google Maps may very well be making it overly difficult for drivers to navigate their way into Palestinian cities, towns and villages. However, it’s certainly not “to keep the area ever more isolated from the outside world” but to ensure that both Israelis and foreigners do not find themselves in dangerous situations.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.

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