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Monday, October 31, 2011

No Ceasefire: Rockets Land in Be'er Sheva, Ashkelon and West Negev

By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 10/31/2011

Another night, another barrage of mortars and missiles fired at Israel by PA terrorists from Gaza -- this time at Be'er Sheva and surrounds.

At least two Grad Katyusha missiles exploded Monday evening in the area around the southern city of Be'er Sheva as Palestinian Authority terrorists resumed their rocket fire on Israeli men, women and children. 

The Iron Dome anti-missile defense system intercepted both of the missiles as short-range Kassam rockets also landed in the Sdot Negev region, a few kilometers to the south, and near the town of Sderot, less than a mile from Gaza.

Mortar shells exploded in the Sha'ar HaNegev region, and a short-range Kassam rocket exploded in an open field in the same area. No physical injuries were reported and there was no damage in any of the attacks.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the Likud Knesset faction Monday afternoon, “There is no ceasefire, there are no negotiations and the IDF continues its operations. Anytime someone disrupts the peace in the south," he said, "our response will be severe."

He continued that theme at the opening meeting of the Knesset's winter session, warning, "Our security strategy cannot only rely on defense, but must have an offensive element that maintains Israel's deterrence."

Earlier in the day, a Grad Katyusha missile was fired at the coastal city of Ashkelon. The rocket exploded in an area south of the city. No one was physically injured, and no damage was reported.

Over the weekend, 39 rockets and mortars were fired at southern Israeli cities by Palestinian Authority terrorists in Gaza. Ashdod, Ashkelon, Be'er Sheva, Gan Yavne and numerous other communities all came under attack repeatedly.

A 56-year-old Ashkelon man was killed by flying shrapnel on Saturday when a Grad Katyusha missile struck his car. Sixteen people were wounded in other attacks, including a baby and a young girl, and 14 people were sent to the hospital suffering from trauma and severe anxiety. 

Gaza Militants Fire Rockets, Testing Truce

(Reuters) - Gaza militants fired rockets at southern Israel on Monday, in violence that tested a shaky truce brokered by Egypt after a border flare-up that has claimed the lives of a dozen Palestinian gunmen and an Israeli civilian since the weekend.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said four rockets slammed into the Ashkelon and Beersheba regions as darkness fell on Monday, while a fifth was intercepted by a missile defense shield which witnesses said set off a loud explosion.

There were no reported injuries.

Israel, saying it had targeted a rocket-firing squad, killed two militants with an air strike in southern Gaza just after midnight on Monday.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, addressing parliament at the opening of its winter session, said Israel would use its "force and determination" against militants and follow a policy that "if someone rises us to kill you, you kill him first."

There were no immediate claims of responsibility issued for Monday's rocket fire. More than three dozen other rockets fired at Israel since the weekend were claimed by the Iranian-allied Islamic Jihad group, a rival of Gaza's Hamas Islamist rulers.

The latest round of violence began when Israel, responding to rocket fire at the city of Ashdod on Wednesday which set off sirens as far as the southern reaches of Tel Aviv, attacked Islamic Jihad bases in the Gaza Strip with aerial strikes on Saturday, killing nine gunmen.

Islamic Jihad fired more than 30 rockets at Israel on Saturday and Sunday, killing an Israeli man in the city of Ashkelon and injuring at least two other people.

Egyptian officials who are often involved in efforts to mediate between Israel and the gunmen who have no direct contact with the Jewish state, said Sunday they were able to get both sides to agree to a ceasefire.

There had earlier been a relatively long lull in border violence in the run-up to a prisoner swap on October 18 in which Israel released 477 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier held by Hamas since 2006.

Israel to Mull Sanctions on PA Following UNESCO Vote

By Barak Ravid and Natasha Mozgovaya

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will convene a meeting with his eight senior ministers on Tuesday to discuss the possibility of imposing sanctions on the Palestinian Authority after it was granted full membership from UNESCO.
According to a senior Israeli official, it is still unclear whether a decision will be reached on Tuesday, but various proposals aimed at taking punitive measures against the Palestinians are expected.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will convene a meeting with his eight senior ministers on Tuesday to discuss the possibility of imposing sanctions on the Palestinian Authority after it was granted full membership from UNESCO.

According to a senior Israeli official, it is still unclear whether a decision will be reached on Tuesday, but various proposals aimed at taking punitive measures against the Palestinians are expected.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, right.

Among the ideas are cancelling the VIP status of senior Palestinian officials which enables them to cross through Israeli checkpoints, increasing settlement construction, and stopping the transfer of tax money to Palestinian Authority.

Earlier Monday, UNESCO accepted the Palestinian Authority as a full member of the organization.

In response, the U.S. decided to cut off funding for the UN cultural body since the vote triggered a long-standing congressional restriction on funding to UN bodies that recognize Palestine as a state before an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal is reached.

Following the vote, Israel also warned it will now reconsider its cooperation with UNESCO. 

The motion to admit the Palestinians was passed by UNESCO members meeting in Paris, with 107 votes in favor, 14 against and 52 abstentions.

UNESCO is the first UN agency the Palestinians have sought to join as a full member since Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas applied for full membership of the United Nations on Sept. 23.

The United States, Canada and Germany voted against Palestinian membership. Brazil, Russia, China, India, South Africa and France voted in favor. Britain abstained.

When a Professor Shouts 'Death to Israel'


October 31, 2011 - 3:00am
By Scott Jaschik

A professor at Kent State University last week set off a debate over appropriate and inappropriate ways to express views when he shouted "death to Israel" during the question period of a lecture by an Israeli diplomat.
The professor's remarks are being condemned by some -- including Kent State's president -- as inappropriate. But others say that he engaged in a legitimate expression of his political views.

Ishmael Khaldi
The shout came from Julio Pino (seen above), an associate professor of history. The speaker at whom Pino shouted was Ishmael Khaldi, formerly the deputy consul general at the Israeli consulate in San Francisco. Khaldi, as a Bedouin and Muslim, lectures on his experiences as an advocate for Israel.

According to multiple press accounts, Pino posed a question to Khaldi after his talk, and then shouted "death to Israel" and left the auditorium. It is the latter statement that has set off the controversy.

There is a wide consensus in higher education that it is appropriate for people who oppose the views of various campus speakers to ask them tough questions, to boycott, to picket outside, to invite speakers with alternative views, and so forth. In fact, such activities are routine on most campuses. There is less consensus on activities that seek in some way to interrupt a presentation or that involve shouting at a speaker.

In September, 10 Muslim students were found guilty of misdemeanors for heckling the Israeli ambassador to the United States when he spoke at the University of California at Irvine. The students, one by one, stood and interrupted his talk until they were escorted from the event. The students and their supporters have said that they were engaged in political speech -- while many others have said that this sort of tactic is antithetical to free speech as it prevents someone (in this case the ambassador) from giving an invited talk.

The Kent State incident -- while also involving an Israeli speaker defending his country -- was notably different from what happened at Irvine in that Pino did not interrupt the talk and make repeated exclamations. But critics have noted that his shout was not an attempt to engage in discussion, and have also questioned the appropriateness of shouting "death to" anyone.

Via e-mail to Inside Higher Ed, Pino gave his rationale as follows: "What I spoke was for the sake of the children of Palestine, and no other reason. The only politics I have are 'There is no God but God, and Mohammed is His Messenger.' " Asked about the controversy over his comments, he quoted the Koran: "They try to put out the light of Allah with their mouths, but Allah will allow nothing but the perfection of that light, though the disbelievers dislike it."

Lester A. Lefton, president of Kent State, issued a statement in which he said that the way Pino had treated Khaldi was "reprehensible, and an embarrassment to our university." Lefton said that while it "may have been" Pino's right to speak out, "it is my obligation, as the president of this university, to say that I find his words deplorable, and his behavior deeply troubling."

Lefton added, "We value critical thinking at this university, and encourage students to engage with ideas that they find difficult or make them uncomfortable. We hope that our faculty will always model how best to combine passion for one’s position with respect for those with whom we disagree. Calling for the destruction of the state from which our guest comes (as do some of our students, faculty and community members) is a grotesque failure to model these values."

The Kent State president's condemnation of Pino was praised by the Anti-Defamation League. Nina Sundell, the ADL's Ohio director, said that "statements such as 'Death to Israel' extend beyond legitimate political discourse.  When the statement is shouted by a university professor at a university student organization event on campus, it is even more harmful."

But Cary Nelson, national president of the American Association of University Professors, criticized the president's statement, and said that professors can shout out statements as a form of expressing their views.

"Calling out a political slogan during a question period falls well within the speech rights of any member of a university community," he said. "Expressive outbursts do not substitute for rational analysis, but they have long played a role in our national political life. More surprising, to be sure, is President Lefton's invention of an absurd form of hospitality: you must not question the moral legitimacy or the right to exist of a guest's home country. Awareness of history would suggest such challenges are routine elements of international life."

The Truth About Gaza

Op-ed: NGO calling to end Gaza blockade distorting reality, ignoring Hamas terrorism

alum office truth revealed: "At some point you have to admit the truth, that Gaza is not exactly hell on earth (other than being under the thumb of Hamas)"
By Anne Herzberg and Jason Edelstein

With the end of Gilad Shalit's five years in captivity, political advocacy NGOs are grossly misrepresenting the facts in order to advance their own fringe agendas. This tactic was no more clear and egregious than in Sari Bashi's "Time to lift the Gaza siege."

Bashi employs selective memory to advance the specious argument that the sole reason for Israel's imposition of sanctions on Hamas was retaliation for the capture of Shalit. Now that he is free, Bashi claims, Israel should allow for the unfettered movement of all goods in and out of Gaza.

Her argument is based on the faulty premise that Israeli policies are the only obstacle to "a chance for normal life in the Gaza Strip, and an opportunity for its million and a half residents to build a healthy, prosperous society that would be able to peacefully co-exist with its neighbors."

Bashi seems to live in a world of her own invention, devoid of 10,000 rockets since 2005, suicide bombs, shooting attacks, kidnappings, and other terrorist attacks. Rather, this fictional world is apparently filled with a peaceful Hamas. While we, too, wish this to be true, it simply is not. To paraphrase the late US Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan: Individuals are entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts.

In 2005, Israel uprooted 8,000 citizens from Gaza in a bold, courageous and significant policy change intended to give the Palestinians there a chance to begin real state-building efforts, and to build a prosperous Gazan society that could live side-by-side in peace with Israel.

Instead of reciprocating with peace overtures, within days of the withdrawal, Gazans destroyed the now infamous greenhouse buildings that Israel left for them, and rocket and mortar fire on Israeli civilians substantially increased.

Hamas attacked many of the border crossings between Israel and Gaza that were used to transfer goods to the territory, forcing them to close in many instances. At other times, Hamas fighters commandeered these goods altogether for their own use. Hamas also attacked European Union officials who had agreed to oversee the border between Egypt and Gaza.These officials ran away at the first sign of intimidation.

Finally, in June 2006, Hamas crossed into Israeli territory, killing soldiers and abducting Shalit. In 2007, Hamas took complete control over Gaza in a vicious coup where its political Fatah opponents were thrown off 17-story buildings. Again, rocket attacks on Israel increased. It was only at this point when Israel hardened its economic policy towards Gaza.

Pointedly, Bashi fails to inform her readers of any of these events. Nor does she explain why her organization failed to regularly and outspokenly campaign against these blatant violations.

Condemn terrorism

If Bashi really thought that Shalit's abduction was the reason for economic sanctions on Gaza, then why didn't her organization, Gisha, tirelessly campaign for his release? Why did she not repeatedly and loudly condemn Hamas rocket attacks on Israeli civilians or its murderous suppression of political opposition?

Moreover, why doesn't Bashi acknowledge the funneling of arms and other materiel to Hamas by Iran and Syria? Why doesn't she note that Israel is obligated under Security Council Resolution 1373 to prevent any direct and indirect support for Hamas, a recognized terrorist organization? And why don't Bashi and Gisha condemn the core nature and principles of Hamas - a genocidal, anti-Semitic, radical terror organization that targets civilians with impunity and brutally exploits its own citizens as human shields to achieve its goals?

If Bashi really wants Gazans to have "a chance for a normal life", why doesn't she campaign to free them from Hamas?

One wonders if Bashi saw footage from Gaza and read the news reports in the days after Gilad Shalit returned home. Along with celebrations and speeches welcoming home murderers and calling for the "next Gilad Shalit," she would have read the speech by Wafa al-Biss. Al-Biss, it should be noted, was caught at the Erez border crossing in 2005 with 22 pounds of explosives she was planning on using to kill Israelis.

Upon her release to Gaza she told a crowd of cheering schoolchildren, "I hope you will walk the same path we took and God willing, we will see some of you as martyrs." The children responded, "We will give souls and blood to redeem the prisoners. We will give souls and blood for you, Palestine."

Rather, it would be more productive if Bashi and Gisha stopped using hundreds of thousands of Euros provided by the EU and European governments to cherry pick human rights issues solely based on biased political and ideological agendas. They should strongly and consistently condemn terrorism. And Israel's policy in Gaza should be presented and understood in a manner that reflects history's realities and all the accompanying complexities, not in a distorted and oversimplified version that so blatantly seeks to achieve narrow policy goals.

Anne Herzberg is legal advisor of NGO Monitor, a Jerusalem-based research institution dedicated to promoting universal human rights and to encouraging civil discussion on the reports and activities of nongovernmental organizations, particularly in the Middle East. 

Jason Edelstein is communications director of NGO Monitor.

Freeze on Jewish Construction - A Double Standard

Arabs claim that Jewish settlements “change the status” of the Territories and represent a distortion of the Oslo Accords. The phrase applies to acts that change the political status of the disputed territory – such as outright Israeli annexation, or a Palestinian declaration of statehood. Since Jewish settlements are legal, any halt in construction should be reciprocated.
The Oslo Accords do not forbid Israeli or Arab settlement activity. Charging that further Jewish settlement activity preempts final negotiations by establishing realities, requires reciprocity.
If Jews were forcibly expelled from the West Bank in 1948 during a war of aggression aimed at them, then these Territories must be considered disputed Territories, at the least.
The Israeli-Palestinian border dispute is like every other major and minor boundary dispute around the globe. Since the West Bank was redeemed in 1967 in a war of self defense and is not “Occupied Territory” gained illegally by a bellicose power, and since this fact is recognized in the wording of UN Resolutions 242 and 338 that call for a settlement to institute “secure and recognized boundaries.”
According to David Bar-Ilan, a former policy planning official, the tempo of Arab construction is “more than 10 times the number of buildings under construction [in the Territory] than those approved [by the Israeli government] for the [Jewish] settlers.”

Calls for a freeze on Jewish construction in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem while Arab construction, which far exceeds Jewish development, continues unfettered – are clearly biased.

Why Are We Afraid to Win?

A Voice For Hebron
By Gary M. Cooperberg

Pondering on the recent past in this country, the miracles are clearly evident. No other country in the world has worked so hard to destroy itself, and failed so miserably. Only with supernatural interference is it possible that this country still exists, not to mention grows and thrives.

The Oslo tragedy saw Israel recognize the biggest terrorist of our generation as a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. We recognized the existence of a people whose only reason for existence is to destroy the Jewish State. We unilaterally drove Jewish civilians from their homes in southern Israel, dug up the bones of our dead to be reburied elsewhere, in order to give our enemies a Jew free part of our homeland to call their own. Today we are being bombarded with missiles from this gift we gave them. Were we a normal country we would simply take back what we gave away and drive our enemies out. Instead we appeal to foreign nations to get them to stop shooting at us. Why should any foreign nation intervene in a war that we refuse to win?

While everyone is overjoyed that Gilad Shalit was reunited with his family, the manner in which this was accomplished was not only shameful, it was criminal. Our army is more powerful than our enemies. We always had the ability to force Gilad’s safe return. Instead we chose to succumb to blackmail and signal to all of our enemies that we are weak and unable to defend ourselves. Worse than this we have annulled the authority of our courts and shown the world that in Israel it is very possible to get away with murder. Saudi Arabia is offering a million dollar reward to anyone who can capture another Jewish soldier and free yet more murderers from Israeli prisons. Why not? And why should the freed murderers not continue their bloody profession? Indeed, when it was demanded of the prisoners to sign a pledge that they would not return to terror, they brazenly refused and even stated that they would prefer to remain in prison rather than sign such a statement. Can one imagine that such people will not return to drenching their hands in Jewish blood? Can any threat made by this government deter them?

And now, to add insult to injury, our “right wing” Prime Minister has announced that he will prepare a suggested outline of the future borders of the Jewish State and the new PLO one he hopes to help establish. With leaders like this who needs enemies? We are consistently demonstrating to the world that we do not believe in our own sovereignty! How is it possible for such a country to maintain its sovereignty?

Rashi’s first commentary in the book of B’reishit asks the question, “Why did the Torah begin with describing the creation? Since its primary purpose is to teach us the commandments why did it not begin with commandments?” And he prophetically explains, “The day will come when the nations of the world will challenge our right to the Land of Israel. They will call us thieves who stole the land of others. When this happens we must explain to the world that all of the world was created by G-d and it all belongs to Him. He decides which lands will go to which people. He will give to some and take away and give to others.” 

G-d has chosen to give the Land of Israel to the Jewish People. That is the only reason we are here. From the very beginning of our return home our enemies sought our destruction and tried to take our homeland from us. Although we were outnumbered and surrounded on all sides by enemies who sought to wipe us off the map, our enemies not only failed, but lost more land to us. This proves that Rashi was right. Never, in any war from 1948 onward, did we ever lose land to our enemies. Rather we voluntarily chose to give away pieces of our homeland as a gesture to end the war peacefully. This in spite of the fact that, not only were we spitting in the face of our Creator, but we were defying an historical axiom that peace is only achieved after winning a war. No country ever achieved peace by negotiating before the war was finished and there was a definitive winner and loser. Israel has intentionally refused to win the war of Independence. We have thus caused the state of war to continue unto this very day. We have learned nothing from our mistakes. PLO spokesman, Naabil Shaat, actually recently stated that we are in a state of war.Yet we continue to deny this reality and choose to relate to each attack against our population as an individual criminal or “terrorist” attack, rather than the act of war it really is. Rather than destroy our enemies and drive them out of our homeland, we “punish” their “soldiers” and hope to “rehabilitate” them in our prisons. Yet, by turning these murderers, who were sentenced to multiple life terms in prison, free what we are really doing is surrendering to our enemies and encouraging them to continue the war by murdering our citizens!!

Were we to heed the lesson of Rashi, we would never negotiate that which G-d chose to give us. We would declare to the world that while we certainly want peace, we have no right to give away that which we are obligated by G-d to possess. If any nation thinks it has prior rights to this land let it try and take it from us. We will never give away any part of it voluntarily. 

Our leaders can change course and turn Israel into the light unto the nations it was always meant to be. Let us not be afraid to state those Truths which all the nations can easily see and accept. Let us be a proud nation which helps others, but maintains our pride and dignity. It is the Will of G-d that we return to all of our borders and thus this will certainly happen. If our leaders would learn to work with the process rather than against it we will see peace much sooner than we can imagine. Until then it is we who are the source of continued strife and tragedy.

Project Shofar seeks to bring this message to those who choose not to see. It is incredible that the majority, both in the Exile and even in Israel, fail to see the obvious. They prefer to believe in the nonsense that we can make peace with those who seek our destruction rather than to accept the reality that with us is the greatest power in the world Who wants us to make real peace simply by accepting and demonstrating the fact that He and only He is in charge. 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Jihad Used Grad Multiple Rocket Launchers Against South Israel

Ashdod, Ashkelon, Sderot, Kiryat Malachi, Ofakim, Gan Yavne and the Eshkol farm district were subjected to Jihad Islami volleys of more than 35 missiles Saturday, Oct. 29, in retaliation for the loss of a senior five-man missile team in an Israeli air force strike a few hours earlier. An Israeli was killed when his home took a direct hit. Eight more were injured and in Ashdod a fire was started between high-rise buildings. Some 45 shock victims were treated. The damage was extensive.

Jihad Islami was shown firing 20 rounds in rapid succession from a Grad multiple rocket launcher mounted on a small truck which then drove off at speed. The same Russian-made multiple launchers were in common use with the Libyan rebels in the last weeks of the battle for Sirte.

Israel's Homeland Defense commander in the South warned that the escalation is just beginning. The police have raised national security preparedness to one below the highest level.

DEBKAfile's military sources report that it took the IDF five hours from the first launch of Jihad Islami's massive missile offensive Saturday to place the Iron Dome anti-missile system in position and deploy the air force against the terrorists  firing from Gaza.

IDF Explains Terror Cells' Rocket Attack Success

Defense officials argue accurate rocket hits resulted from weather, entrenched launcher posts, training and advanced technology - including multi-barrel rockets. But what about the Iron Dome?

When faced with the question of why the Islamic Jihad terror cells were so successful at firing rockets on Israel on Saturday, with such ease, defense officials offer a few explanations – including the optimal weather conditions in the south.

These officials predicted that similarly to previous periods of escalation in the south, the terror cells firing rockets at Israel on Saturday took advantage of the massive cloudiness accumulating near the Gaza Strip, enabling the terrorists to launch rockets more effectively – particularly because the IDF's aerial forecast systems were unable to detect the rockets in an efficient manner.

IDF officials explained that the relatively accurate rocket hits resulted from entrenched launcher posts covered in concrete, trained terror cells, and advanced launcher technology, including multi-barrel rockets.

Rockets fires towards Ashdod
In the midst of the rocket attacks, the Air Force reinforced its MRPV (mini remote-piloted vehicles) activity in order to locate the rocket firing sources. With the help of these small and light aircrafts, the IDF is able to photograph enemy territory from only a few hundred meters away, flying quietly and below the clouds.

As for the Islamic Jihad's advanced technology, the method of firing multi-barrel rockets was used by the terror group to target southern communities on Saturday, as well as on Wednesday night.

In contrast to short-range Qassam rockets, the Grad rockets launched with these new technologies enable the terrorists to fire several rockets at once and therefore cause greater damage.

This method of action makes it easier for terrorists to hit their target, since right after one rocket is launched - another one follows a short while later, directed towards the same location.

 IDF officials also explained the high success rates of the Islamic Jihad terrorists due to the Iron Dome's system inactivity. The advanced mobile air defense system only intercepted one rocket headed towards Beersheba, leaving both Ashdod and Ashkelon completely exposed.

"The system was located in a rush," an IDF official offered a clarification.

Former IDF COS Dan Halutz: Smash Hamas

Former IDF Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. (res.) Dan Halutz, thinks Israel should mount a crushing offensive against Gaza. He called for a "mortal blow" to be dealt to Hamas's civilian and "military" leadership. In an interview with IDF Radio, Halutz said, "We must bring back our deterrence vis-à-vis Gaza. It has not existed for even one moment since Operation Cast Lead and to this day."

Halutz said that in the end, Israel will have to conduct an extensive operation of this kind, and there is no reason to wait. "A rocket struck an empty school on the Sabbath," he said. "Why wait until a rocket strikes a full school in the middle of the day?"
"This must be dealt with through a strong blow, beyond the expectations of the other side," he explained. "The other side creates equations based on its own preferences and we have to create different equations based on what is good for us."

Halutz was COS during the Second Lebanon War and prior to that, served as head of the IAF. He was considered an innovative and successful IAF chief. However, as COS, he hesitated to involve ground troops heavily in the war, preferring to rely on air strikes. He was blamed for the war's not achieving its goals and resigned in 2007.

Transfer of Goods into Terrorist Gaza Continues - Arab Neighborhood Planned for Central Jerusalem

The government continues to enable humanitarian measures and general transfers of goods and services to Gaza, even as Gaza terrorists fire at Israeli civilians.

During the seven day period from October 21 to 27, a total of 1,285 truckloads crossed over from Israel, carrying 34,657 tons of goods, medicine and development assistance for Gaza’s civilian population. 365 truckloads of construction aggregates were transferred into Gaza during this period.

In addition, 831 tons of cooking gas were transferred into Gaza while 276 patients and accompanying individuals exited Gaza for medical treatment in Israel and 126 international organization staff members entered the Strip.

34 truckloads of hygiene products were transferred into Gaza last week as well as 64 truckloads of electrical products.


The city of Jerusalem has approved the construction of new Arab housing in one of the rare open spaces in the capital’s historic center. In addition, the city has given retroactive authorization to hundreds of illegally built homes.

The area in question is located in the “King's Garden,” adjacent to Shiloach (Silwan) at the southern entrance to the Kidron Valley. It is mentioned by name in Jeremiah and the Book of Kings.

Plans originally called for turning the area into a green park and preserving it as an historic treasure.

The project faces objections from several sides. Local Arabs are not pleased with plans to add housing, but instead have furiously rioted over plans to demolish 22 of the hundreds of illegally built homes in the area.

Environmentalist groups are protesting and calling to leave the area open in order to preserve green space. The unauthorized building in the area causes particular damage, the groups say, in the form of illegal garbage disposal and unauthorized dumping of sewage.

“The city of Jerusalem is ignoring the natural world,” accused Yael Yisrael of Yarok Achshav (Green Now). “Instead of declaring the creation of a national preserve in the Nachal Kidron area… the city is approving illegal construction that destroying the environment.”

“This shows disrespect for the Arab residents of eastern Jerusalem,” argued Yisrael. “They, too, deserve open public spaces, as required by law and as appear in the city plan.”

Europe: Promoting Hate For Israel

 European educators brainwash young minds with blatant anti-Israel views

Earlier this month it became known that the German EVZ Foundation had financed two high school student programs which promoted hatred of Israel. This state foundation was created to compensate Holocaust slave workers and fight contemporary anti-Semitism. In one program, Dutch Jewish anti-Israeli extremist Hayo Meyer came to the Anne Frank High School in Gutersloh. He equated Palestinian suffering with the mass murder of Jews in the Holocaust and termed Israel a "criminal state."

Since then, in the Nesbru High School in Asker, Norway, an exhibition sponsored by Norwegian Church Aid, was held on “Palestine.” It included a picture of an Israeli flag crossed out and “Murder” written in reverse underneath it. After protest by an Israeli student and some bad publicity, the school finally decided to remove the exhibition.

It is crucially important to know much more about hatred spread against Israel and Jews in schools in the Western world. This contributes to the formation of a new generation of Israel haters and anti-Semites.

Very few studies give information on these topics. In the 1990s, Mitchell Bard studied the most widely used history textbooks in American high schools. Regarding Israel, he found them “full of factual errors, oversimplification, omission, and distortion.” Bard concluded that American “high schools are, as far as anti-Israeli teaching is concerned, even worse than universities.”

In 2008, another analysis by Gary Tobin and Dennis Ybarra confirmed this. They also found that Arab and Muslim interest groups try to whitewash and glorify all things Islamic and thus promote Islam. In this way, a whole series of lies has permeated American textbooks.

A study conducted on textbooks in France exposed that facts on the Middle East are presented in a way suggesting that Palestinian terrorism is different from general terrorism. One researcher summarized the description of Jews as a caricature: “In antiquity, these were the Hebrews whose religion, Judaism, was significantly improved by Jesus, founder of Christianity. At the end of the 19th century, a Jew and French officer (Dreyfus) was accused of treason. This divided the country until the beginning of the 20th century. Jews were exterminated and others who created Israel since then carry on an unjust war against the innocent Palestinians."

A "Panorama" television program aired by the BBC in 2010 exposed what is taught in Saudi-run Muslim schools in Britain. They use textbooks from Saudi Arabia that teach children from age six and up that Jews are descendents of monkeys and pigs. According to one textbook, “Jews are cursed by God.” This book asked children to list the negative qualities of Jews. Teenagers who follow the Saudi national curriculum are being taught that Zionists aim to take over the world for Jews and that the fabricated text of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion is true.

Sometimes, one can incite children with just a single sentence. In a Dutch language teaching book for the sixth grade in Belgium, students are asked to read sentences with the correct intonation. One was: “When a Palestinian child in Jerusalem saw a Jewish soldier arriving, he shrank in fear.”

One can only imagine the reactions in Belgium if the text had read instead: “After a Palestinian suicide bomber killed many Jewish children and adults, the Belgian press mainly stressed the Israeli reaction to it.”

A related subject is biased teaching. Information on this is sporadic and anecdotal. Dutch Holocaust scholar Johannes Houwink ten Cate remarked that in 2006, he watched the TV news with an 11-year-old-child. “It showed that the Israeli army had inadvertently caused civilian casualties. The child didn’t believe that it was a mistake. I said: ‘Listen, you know that in general, the Israeli army tries to avoid civilian casualties.’ The child did not want to accept Ten Cate’s viewpoint and replied, “My teachers told me otherwise in school.”
In the US the youth group of the Orthodox Union, the National Conference of Synagogue Youth (NCSY), has culture clubs in more than 150 public schools. These reach approximately 30,000 Jewish youngsters. Former OU Executive Vice-President Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb said, “We find that many of these children are very anti-Israeli. They have been very much brainwashed by an extremely anti-Israeli educational establishment.”

The results of such distortions in teaching may lead many high school students - including Jewish ones - to arrive on campus with an ingrained anti-Israel bias. This will be caused partly by educators charged with forming young minds and values. Much more effort needs to be invested by parents, Jewish communities and the Israeli Government in order to expose and counteract this problem.

The Historic Launch of a Medical School in Safed

BIU medical students will be trained to relate to patients, to empathize with them and to interact with them and their families in a respectful manner.

The opening today of Bar-Ilan University’s new medical school in Safed is a milestone event in the history of the State of Israel and the Jewish people. Tomorrow, 124 students will begin their studies at this groundbreaking institution, including 54 Israelis returning to their homeland – and to the Galilee – from foreign universities where they have already completed three years of pre-clinical study.

Israel’s highest-ranking government, educational and medical leadership will be present at the school’s dedication, the realization of a national and Zionist project of the highest magnitude.

How will this medical school differ from Israel’s others? First, in its location.The new school reflects, more than anything else, a state commitment to developing Israel’s periphery – in this case, its northern periphery – and to enhancing the health and welfare of those who reside there. It is no secret that disparities exist between northern and central Israel regarding the level, availability and accessibility of healthcare. The new medical school, whose establishment will provide a framework for upgrading local hospitals and for attracting outstanding physicians to them, will aid greatly in closing these gaps.

Second, in its innovative character.

The school’s academic leadership, under the leadership of its dean, Prof.

Ran Tur-Kaspa, has succeeded in developing a unique and innovative curriculum based on careful study of the curricula currently in place at Israeli and top-echelon foreign medical schools. This was done in cooperation with leading American institutions such as Harvard Medical School, the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, the Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami, and others.

The groundbreaking new curriculum will feature an integrative teaching approach, one that links core science and clinical studies while imparting to students an orientation toward health promotion and disease prevention.

In accordance with this innovative approach, the medical school will house research centers devoted to the study of disease processes; the activity at these centers will be informed by a translational-research approach and will address population health and morbidity from a unique perspective.

The Council for Higher Education’s expert panel had good reason to characterize the Bar-Ilan University Faculty of Medicine in the Galilee as pioneering and inventive.

Third, in its degree of social involvement.The medical school will place special emphasis on ambulatory medicine as a crucial means of upgrading the healthcare available to Galilee residents, and making it more accessible. Thirty percent of students’ time during the clinical study years will be devoted to hands-on activity in community-based ambulatory clinics, which in turn will foster the development of academic medicine in the community, and promote the development of research suited to this approach. The school will also engage in activity aimed at encouraging science education for youth, and the university will assist disadvantaged populations through its social involvement departments and units.

Fourth, in its people-oriented approach.Alongside knowledge acquisition, a grounding in medicine’s scientific underpinnings, and the development of clinical skills, the Bar-Ilan University Faculty of Medicine in the Galilee regards the personal character of its future graduates as a key component of the medical school experience.

BIU medical students will be trained to relate to patients, to empathize with them and to interact with them and their families in a respectful manner.

Coursework in medical ethics and in halachic approaches to medicine will play an important role in this regard. Physicians trained at the Bar-Ilan University medical school will adhere loyally to the Oath of the Hebrew Physician, which admonishes young physicians to “have the wisdom to understand the soul of the sick, to lift their spirits with perspicacity and love of man.”

The first-rate scientific caliber of Bar Ilan University and of its research cadre has been eminently reflected over recent years in the development of leading centers for the study of neuroscience, nanotechnology and nanomedicine, engineering, and the life sciences.

This, in turn, has enabled Bar Ilan to meet the formidable challenge of launching a pioneering medical school where, within a few years’ time, some 1,000 students will be studying in three-year, four-year and six-year study tracks. The school will absorb outstanding students and scientists returning from abroad, which will change the face of the Galilee, and serve as a magnet for doctors, researchers and businesspeople; it will be a driving force behind the establishment of a pharmaceutical industry, high-tech enterprises, and a business development center.

Could anything more exciting be happening in the Galilee today? We of Bar-Ilan University, who planted the first seeds of academic education in the Galilee by establishing regional colleges in Israel’s peripheries as far back as the early 1960s, are proud and elated to see our Zionist, social and national mission come to fruition in the founding of a medical school, one that will bring honor to the Galilee and to the State of Israel.

Montel Williams: Israel Leads in Medical Marijuana

JERUSALEM (AP) -- Emmy Award-winning television personality and patient activist Montel Williams said Sunday he was impressed with Israel's liberal attitude toward medical marijuana, and he believes the U.S. could learn a thing or two from the Jewish state.

Williams was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1999 and he has since been an outspoken advocate of medical marijuana to relieve pain caused by the disease.

The former host of the popular long-running talk show "The Montel Williams Show" is in Israel on a fact-finding mission to learn about its medicinal cannabis practices. He is meeting with legislators, scientists and physicians.

At the height of his TV career, Williams was one of the most recognizable faces in America alongside fellow daytime TV hosts Oprah Winfrey, Phil Donahue and Geraldo Rivera.

"We need to get out of the dark ages and into the new ages," he told The Associated Press. "Not every patient can use cannabis, but for those who can - why deny it?"

In Israel, certain doctors can approve cannabis prescriptions and disperse them to patients, said Itay Goor-Aryeh, the head of the pain management unit at the Sheba Medical Center in central Israel.

He said that while marijuana use is strictly regulated, many doctors prefer prescribing it to patients who qualify because it is "the lesser of evils."

"Those patients, if they do not get cannabis, they will get morphine-like drugs and other harmful drugs," said Goor-Aryeh. "I think that in many ways, cannabis is tolerated and is less addictive that morphine-based drugs."

Sixteen U.S. states have decriminalized the use of medical marijuana to some extent. Critics claim dispensaries are often no more than drug trafficking fronts.

Williams said that those merely seeking to smoke pot won't go through the lengthy bureaucratic process when they could just "go down the street."

Williams, 55, said he takes cannabis on a daily basis.

"For me, there is nothing else that can do what it does," he said. "It helps me suppress my pain ... When I am not using cannabis I am thinking about my pain every 45 seconds."

He said the drug has been "vilified to substantiate the false reason why it was banned in the first place," and that he hoped it would one day become a regular prescription drug.

"There are chemicals within that plant," he said, "and some of the leading science on where and how those chemicals work is being done right here in this country," referring to Israel.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Ashdod Building Set On Fire By Fifth Jihad Islami Missile From Gaza After Chief Slain

The fifth Grad missile to explode in Ashdod port town Saturday night, Oct. 29, set a nine-floor building on fire, after an empty school yard was hit. Three more landed in the Western Negev, another in Gan Yavneh causing minor injuries to one person and several shock cases, and two hits on empty ground in Ofakim. As Beersheba went on missile alert, three mortar rounds hit the Eshkol farm district.

More than 10 Grad missiles, several Qassam and mortar shells were fired from the Gaza Strip between 17:00 and 20:00 hours.

Nine people were injured. The damage to property and vehicles is extensive.

Inhabitants of southern Israel within 40-kilometer radius from the Gaza Strip were ordered to stay close to fortified areas.

During the day, Israeli air force hit a Jihad Islami facility in Gaza killing its missile operations chief.

DEBKAfile reported earlier Saturday:

An Israeli air strike against a Palestinian Jihad Islami camp near Rafah, southern Gaza, Saturday Oct. 29, killed Ahmad Sheikh Halil, head of its missile engineering and production arm and foiled another planned attack. "Abu Khader ranked high in the Jihad's Al Qods unit. The Israel raid also killed five of his team members who Wednesday fired three Grad missiles from Hamas-ruled Gaza at Beer Tuvia and Gan Yavne.

Although only one Grad attack was reported, our sources report that at least three missiles were actually aimed at undisclosed towns and at least one strategic site in southern Israel. DEBKAfile's military sources calculate that this barrage was a range-finding run in preparation for a major offensive from a launching pad west of Rafah - probably against targets near Beersheba.

Those sources report that Saturday's air strike foiled this attack. The Jihad Islami's immediate response was a threat to hit back "deep inside Israel," prompting a high missile alert in central and southern Israel.
According to DEBKAfile's sources, Jihad Islami is acting on orders from Tehran and Damascus to make trouble and provoke a fresh Hamas-Israel confrontation for the purpose of derailing the deal behind the Shalit prisoner swap which provides for the transfer of Hamas' political headquarters out of the Syrian capital to Cairo and Amman.

The top-level Hamas desertion would seriously undermine Bashar Assad at a time when he needs all the help he can get against the popular uprising against him. It would also deprive Iran of a strong Palestinian asset under its control.

The Israeli-Egyptian border north of Eilat is also on terror alert against the large Jihad Islami cell standing by in Sinai for some weeks waiting for the chance for a multiple-casualty-cum-abduction attack.

IAF Targets Terrorist Responsible for Long-Range Rocket Launch