Haredi newspaper sparks outrage by asking Arabs, ‘Don’t stab us, we don’t go to Temple Mount’
The haredi Mishpacha newspaper created a social media firestorm on Thursday after it published an opinion article, in Arabic and in Hebrew, asking that since members of the haredi public do not go up to the Temple Mount “could you please stop murdering us.”
The article, written by Mishpacha magazine deputy editor Aryeh Ehrlich, explained how the haredi community refrains from going up to the Temple Mount since the haredi rabbinic leadership prohibits visiting the site.
Almost all leading haredi rabbis and arbiters of Jewish law rule that Jews may not visit the Temple Mount since they may enter areas that are forbidden to enter without undergoing purification rituals which cannot be conducted today.
“Us, the haredi community, we have no interest in going up to the Temple Mount in our time,” Ehrlich writes. “We oppose this vehemently. Moreover, Jewish law see this as a severe prohibition – punished by spiritual excommunication. ”
“So even if you have solid information on Israeli desires to change the status quo at the Dome of the Rock – something which is incorrect to the best of our knowledge – the haredi community has no connection to it. So, please, stop murdering us.”
Ehrlich was subjected to fierce condemnation on social media once awareness of the article spread.
“How wretched and ghetto like can you be? Is this your version of ‘loving your neighbor as yourself’? Of loving your fellow Jew,?” asked one person on Twitter. “Are you are calling on Arabs not to murder haredim because they don’t go up to the Temple Mount but insinuating ‘go and murder those who do? Disgusting. What about just calling on them not to murder. It would be more humane and more Jewish.”
One talkbacker on haredi website B’hadrei Haredim exclaimed “What about other Jews who aren’t haredi, them you should kill?????” (Jerusalem Post)
Israel sends blunt message to New Zealand: Don’t try to renew peace talks
Israeli officials summoned New Zealand’s ambassador to Tel Aviv on Wednesday to express their displeasure with the government in Wellington for attempting to re-start Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations by using its position as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council.
According to Channel 2, the ambassador, Jonathan Curr, was called in for a meeting with National Security Adviser Yossi Cohen, who made clear in no uncertain terms that the Israeli government will countenance any diplomatic effort to re-ignite peace negotiations with Ramallah.
According to a report in Wednesday’s editions of the liberal daily Haaretz, New Zealand is preparing a draft resolution aimed at calming the recent violence and kick-starting negotiations.
The draft resolution calls for Israel to freeze settlement expansion and home demolitions, and for the Palestinians to cease lodging complaints against Israel at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. It also says that a durable peace “based on a two-state solution can only be achieved if the two sides engage in serious negotiations.”
Initially, the Foreign Ministry declined to comment on the proposal, and one government official said it is too early for Israel to take a position on the matter, because it is not clear “how serious it is.”
According to Channel 2, however, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has already decided that Jerusalem would reject such a resolution. The Foreign Ministry has instructed its ambassador in New Zealand to relay a message to the government in Wellington, according to which Israel has no intention to even entertain a discussion on the matter.
In the meantime, however, the New Zealand proposal has eclipsed an idea bandied about informally by the French – and then apparently buried following opposition by Israel, the US and Jordan – to bring a resolution to the Security Council calling for the placement of international observers on the Temple Mount.
New Zealand is one of the 10 temporary members of the 15-member Security Council and its foreign minister, Murray McCully, was in Israel earlier this year.
During his visit, one Israeli official said, Israel made the case that the job of the international community should be to encourage resumption of the negotiations, and “not to give the Palestinians an excuse not to negotiate.”
In response to a query about the New Zealand proposal, Israel’s envoy to the UN, Danny Danon, said, “the only way to achieve peace is through direct talks between the parties. The best way to reduce tensions in the region is to urge [Palestinian Authority] President [Mahmoud] Abbas to accept Prime Minister Netanyahu’s call to meet with him.” (Jerusalem Post)
Beit Hagai mother of eight slashed by terrorist near Gush Etzion junction
A Palestinian terrorist stabbed a mother of eight in the back at the Gush Etzion junction late Wednesday afternoon.
Nirit Zimora, of the Beit Hagai settlement in the South Hebron Hills, was rushed to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem with the knife still in her back.
She underwent surgery and was listed in satisfactory condition.
Security forces surrounded and arrested the terrorist. This is the third attack in the Gush Etzion region since Sunday and the second at that junction.
On Tuesday, soldiers killed two Palestinian terrorists who stabbed a 19-year-old soldier in the face at a bus stop.
Wednesday’s attack occurred just outside the parking lot of the Rami Levi supermarket, in an area that is often considered an oasis of coexistence. Palestinian and Israelis shop and work in its stores, particularly Rami Levi.
The head of the parking lot’s security, Daniel Twizer, said the Palestinian man arrived at the junction in a cab and approached the parking lot beside the Rami Levi supermarket.
He apparently intended to enter the lot, but was scared off by its guard in front of the lot, Twizer speculated.
Instead, he attacked the first woman he saw. The knife’s handle broke from the force of the blow and the knife remained in her back, Twizer said.
The Rami Levi security guard saw the stabbing and ran in their direction, shouting “terrorist.”
Soldiers and other bystanders joined him in confronting the attacker.
The terrorist grabbed the woman and held her in front of him, trying to prevent the guard from shooting him. He then let her go and ran in the direction of the road, where he was caught.
Bystanders placed the wounded Zimora into a nearby car and Twizer went to help her. “I looked to see if there were any other wounds,” he said, adding that there were none.
He and security guards searched the area to make sure the suspect had no accomplices.
Following the attack, the staff of the junction’s Rosa restaurant published a short video on WhatsApp in which they urged customers not to be afraid and to continue to come to the shopping center.
Gush Etzion Regional Council head Davidi Perl said the terrorist had taken advantage of the lifestyle of coexistence at the shopping center to attack an innocent woman.
He called on the Israeli government to move from a defensive stance into an offensive one, to prevent such attacks from becoming a new and dangerous norm.
Earlier in Hebron, soldiers killed a Palestinian wouldbe stabber who drew a knife on them just outside the Tel Rumeida neighborhood, close to where soldiers killed another knife-wielding terrorist the day before. (Jerusalem Post)
Hebron: Two knife-wielding Palestinians shot in separate incidents
A Palestinian assailant stabbed and lightly wounded an IDF soldier in the head near a checkpoint in the West Bank city of Hebron on Thursday morning.
The West Bank town of Hebron was the scene of two separate knife attacks on Thursday morning, resulting in the shooting death of at least one of the Palestinian assailants.
A Palestinian assailant stabbed and lightly wounded an IDF soldier in the head near a checkpoint in the West Bank city of Hebron on Thursday morning.
The officer quickly recovered from the attack and chased the assailant who tried to stab a border policeman at the scene.
Another Border Police officer standing nearby shot and killed the knife-wielding assailant, according to a police statement.
The soldier was treated at the scene and transported by Magen David Adom ambulance to the Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem.
The attack occurred on the sidelines of a violent clash between Palestinians and security forces near a checkpoint on the road in between the Kiryat Arba settlement and the Cave of the Patriarchs.
“At approximately 8:08 a.m., Magen David Adom rescue services in Jerusalem received an urgent report about a young man wounded in a stabbing attack on the road connecting Hebron and Kiryat Arba,” the Magen David Adam first response organization said in a statement.
“From initial reports, the young man was immediately treated at the scene by IDF medics and was later examined by MDA paramedics,” the MDA said.
The stabbing victim was due to be evacuated to hospital by military vehicle. He is listed in light condition with injuries to his head and upper body.”
It was the fifth such incident in Hebron this week, in which a Palestinian stabbed or attempted to stab soldiers and Border Police.
Just hours later, a Palestinian man armed with a knife was shot by security forces after attempting to stab an Israeli in the Beit Hadassah complex in Hebron. The assailant was shot, and his condition is unknown. There were no injuries in the attack. (Jerusalem Post)
Israel welcomes French proposal for Netanyahu-Abbas meeting
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is ready to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas “anyplace and anytime,” an official in the Prime Minister’s Office said Tuesday in response to a French effort to set up such an encounter.
The trouble, the official said, “is that the Palestinians have refused such a meeting.”
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius raised the idea of such a meeting last week during a meeting he had in Paris with Interior Minister Silvan Shalom, who is also the head of negotiations with the Palestinians. While the PMO has responded positively to the idea, the Palestinians – according to the official – continue to refuse to meet.
The feeling inside the PMO is that such a meeting could help “change the atmosphere and calm things down,” the official said.
Netanyahu himself reiterated his readiness to meet, at a press conference with the foreign press he held two weeks ago. He said he has called for such a meeting “repeatedly,” and was open to it now.
“I’ve been talking to [US Secretary of State] John Kerry and other leaders about such a meeting. I think it’s potentially useful, because it might stop the wave of incitement and the false allegations against Israel,” he said. “So, I’d be open to meeting with Arab leaders and the Palestinian leadership in order to stop this incitement and set the record straight.
“I’m willing to meet him, he’s not willing to meet me,” Netanyahu said at the time.
In a related development, a government official said Jerusalem was open to the idea of live-streaming onto the Internet the feed from surveillance cameras to be positioned on the Temple Mount. In addition, the feed is also expected to be monitored by the Jerusalem police and the Wakf, the Islamic religious trust that administers the site. Jordanian officials have reportedly expressed interest in the livestream as a way of increasing transparency.
“We are open to the idea, and will be working with the Jordanians to move forward,” one government official said. “We think transparency serves our interests.”
According to a plan announced Saturday night by Kerry, Israeli and Jordanian teams will work out the details of the cameras’ operation, which he said could provide “comprehensive visibility and transparency and that could really be a game-changer in discouraging anybody or disturbing the sanctity of this holy site.”
Senior Jordanian figures criticized the PA on Tuesday for rejecting the idea of installing security cameras on the Temple Mount.
The Jordanians explained that the cameras would be aimed at “protecting the Aksa Mosque by documenting what’s happening at the site.”
PA officials have over the past few days dismissed the proposal, arguing that Israel would use the surveillance to arrest Palestinians “under the pretext of incitement.”
PA Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki said earlier this week that the Israeli-Jordanian agreement to install the cameras was a “trap.”
The Amman-based Al-Ghad newspaper quoted Jordanian politicians denouncing Maliki’s remarks as “inappropriate and unfair.” They said the PA leadership should have relayed its position on the cameras directly to the Jordanian government instead of making such “inflammatory” public remarks.
Adnan Abu Odeh, a veteran Jordanian politician and former adviser to both King Abdullah and King Hussein, said he did not believe the cameras would serve Israel’s interests, as the PA claims. “The cameras will document everything, including those who want to assault Palestinians or Israelis,” he said. “The cameras will document anyone who carries out an assault or Jews who want to pray there.”
Abu Odeh dismissed Maliki’s remarks as “provocative, tasteless and inappropriate.” It is in the interest of the Palestinians to have cameras at the Temple Mount, he said.
Former Jordanian parliament member Bassam Haddadin said he did not know whether the PA leadership shared Maliki’s opposition to the installation of the cameras. Noting that Jordan had requested the installation of the cameras, Haddadin demanded that the PA leadership clarify its position on the issue.
Jordanian columnist Musa al-Ma’ayta also criticized Maliki’s remarks, saying it was “inappropriate” for a PA minister to make such allegations against Jordan, “after all that we did for the sake of the Aksa Mosque.”
Jordanian journalist Awwad al-Khalayla said Maliki’s opposition to the cameras sends a message to the international community that the Palestinians have something to hide. “Maliki should have welcomed the decision to install the cameras, because they would document Israeli violations against Muslim worshipers,” he said.
Khalayla condemned Maliki’s stance as “clumsy,” saying it reflected “clear and deliberate ignorance” on his part.
Meanwhile, Jordanian minister of wakf affairs, Hayel al-Daoud, defended the decision to install cameras on the Temple Mount. He said the cameras were meant to protect the site, and added that Jordan alone was responsible for installing the cameras, and Israel has no right to intervene in the decision.
The Jordanian-controlled Wakf in Jerusalem held an emergency meeting on Tuesday to discuss the latest tensions on the Temple Mount. At the end of the meeting, the department issued a statement in which it emphasized that the Aksa Mosque and its entire compound, including the “Al-Buraq Wall” (Western Wall), belong only to Muslims.
This would not be the first time that cameras have been placed on the Temple Mount and footage broadcast live.
In 2007, the Antiquities Authority placed three cameras at the Mugrabi Gate that leads to the Mount, to show excavations at the site to repair the damaged wooden bridge there, and to use the live-stream to try to dispel Muslim fears being fanned at the time that the excavations were an attempt to undermine the al-Aksa compound. (Jerusalem Post)
Abbas calls on UN Security Council to ‘protect’ Palestinians from Israel
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas urged the United Nations Security Council to establish a “special regime of protection,” begging for the international community to impose a two-state solution and warning that time may be running out.
Speaking to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Abbas also said Ramallah would continue its state-building efforts, including joining the International Criminal Court, and rejected any bid to reach an interim peace deal with Israel.
Abbas called on the UN, “more urgently than any time before, to set up a special regime for international protection for the Palestinian people, immediately and urgently.”
“The Security Council is requested to shoulder its responsibilities and to establish a special regime of protection for the Palestinian people,” Abbas told the body, adding that his people “can longer bear all these attacks” by Israel.
“Protect us, protect us, we need you,” he added.
He accused Israel of carrying out “extrajudicial killings against unarmed civilians and detaining their corpses,” a reference to a recent government decision to not release bodies of terrorists killed during attacks to their families for burial. He did not condemn the stabbings or mention that many of those killed were shot while carrying out stabbing attacks.
Abbas took heat earlier this month for claiming that Israel had “executed in cold blood” a 13-year-old East Jerusalem boy. The teen, who Israel says stabbed two people, including a Jewish 13-year-old in a terror attack, was hit by a car and injured, but not killed, while fleeing the scene.
The Palestinian leaer also called again upon the Security Council to set a timeline for an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank, following a failed attempt nearly a year earlier.
“Is that too much to ask? Is it too much? Isn’t it high time for the international community to move from merely talking about the justice of the Palestinian cause to taking practical measures and procedures which would serve justice to my Palestinian people,” he said.
Abbas’s speech to the council came as Israel and the Palestinians are engaged in a fresh round of violence, which has seen near-daily stabbings and other attacks by Palestinians on Israelis and widespread clashes in the West Bank.
Abbas said he called for a “peaceful popular resistance,” but blamed the fighting on the Israeli occupation and the lack of action from the international community.
“Our people’a angry upheaval and the recent successive events are the inevitable outcome of what we had previously warned of … as well as the failure of the international community to address this injustice,” he said.
Speaking before Abbas, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein warned that the wave of deadly violence was “dangerous in the extreme” and could lead to a “catastrophe”.
“The violence between Palestinians and the Israelis will draw us ever closer to a catastrophe if not stopped immediately,” he said.
Much of the violence was touched off by Palestinian claims that Israel is not keeping to its commitments on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, home to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, a claim Abbas repeated, saying Israel was desecrating it “every second,” and performing illegal excavations beneath the holy site.
Abbas also reiterated a threat made at the United Nations a month earlier to cancel the 1993 Oslo accords if Israel did not abide by its commitments, as he claimed it was not. He also rejected any non-final status negotiations.
“We reject any interim or partial solution,” he said.
He called on Israel to release a fourth group of Arab prisoners agreed to as part of US-brokered peace negotiations that fell apart in 2014, as well as a settlement freeze, warning that time was running out to reach a peace deal.
“This might be the last chance for this solution. It may be the last chance. After that, who knows what winds of change will bring,” he said. “Do not push my people into further despair.”
Abbas also criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for comments suggesting that a World War II-era Palestinian religious leader, Haj Amin al-Husseini, a former grand mufti of Jerusalem, persuaded the Nazis to carry out a policy that exterminated 6 million Jews.
He called the allegations “false, untrue and baseless” and said they manipulate the sentiments of Jews about “the most horrendous crime known in modern history committed by the Nazis.
Netanyahu has accused Abbas of inciting violence by making false claims about the Temple Mount and denying Jewish historical ties to the site, and for lying about Palestinian terror attacks on Israelis. (The Times of Israel)
Israel: Abbas’s UNHRC speech is ‘the banalization of the spilling of Jewish blood’
Israel charged that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas “glorified” violence against Israelis and further “fanned the flames of the conflict” during his speech before a special session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on Wednesday.
“What we have witnessed today is the glorification of terror and violence,” Israel’s Ambassador to the UNHRC Eviatar Manor told diplomatic corp in Geneva hours after Abbas’s speech.
“What the Council allowed today is the banalization of the spilling of Jewish blood,” Manor said.
In his speech to the UNHRC Abbas said that the violence in the last few weeks was fueled by built up frustration over Israel’s “occupation of Palestine” and changes it had made to the status quo in the Al-Aksa mosque compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount.
Abbas made no mention of the 11 Israelis killed by Palestinian assailants in some 30 attacks against Israelis since the start of October. Instead he accused Israel instead of “extra-judicial killings” and “war crimes” against his people.
Israeli security forces have killed 60 Palestinians in October, of which half were assailants and half were involved in violent clashes with the IDF and Border Police.
Israel has insisted that it has not changed the status quo on the Temple Mount and charged that such accusations are at the heart of the surge in Palestinian violence over the last month.
Wednesday’s speech marks the first time that Abbas had addressed the UNHRC. Heads of state, including those of non-member UN states, can ask for a special UHRC to address member states.
Abbas, who is the head of a “fictitious state” used a “flimsy” precedent to hold a “scandalous” special meeting to deliver a speech of incitement that only served to increase violence and further politicized the UNHRC, Manor said.
The UNHRC should have refused to the meeting, even though it is legally permissible, Manor said.
“The role of the Council in fanning the flames of conflict and assisting in the dissemination of lies is now well established,” he said.
“President Abbas did not speak about the situation of human rights in the areas under his responsibility. He is perfectly aware of the abject conditions of these. No, he chose to name and shame my country,” Manor said.
“All I can wish the Council is that this new courtesy procedure will as of now be taken on board by many countries and the total politicization of the Council will become evident,” Manor said.
“Let me be very clear: the days of spilling Jewish blood without Jews allowed to defend themselves are long gone. The Human Rights Council has forgotten that the right to life is a basic human right and that it is universal. Jews in Israel have it, too. And we shall exercise our right to life,” Manor stated.
In Washington, US State Department spokesman John Kirby did not respond directly to Abbas’s comments, but only gave a general comment about the overall situation.
“What we want to see is words and deeds that do not do anything to escalate the tensions and contribute to calm,” he added. (Jerusalem Post)
PA seeks to name West Bank street after terrorist who killed 2 Jews in Jerusalem
The Palestinian Authority decided this week to name a street after Muhannad Halabi, the 19-year-old who murdered two Jews in the Old City of Jerusalem at the beginning of this month.
Palestinian Media Watch reported that the municipality where the terrorist lived on the outskirts of Ramallah took the decision “in order to honor Halabi, who carried out a stabbing and shooting operation against settlers in the Old City of occupied Jerusalem.”
Halabi murdered Rabbi Nehemia Lavi and Aharon Benita, and wounded Benita’s wife, Adele, and their two-year-old son in the October 3 attack. He was shot dead by policemen who rushed to the scene.
“This is the least we can do for Martyr Halabi,” Muhammed Hussein, mayor of Surda-Abu Qash, said of the glorification of the terrorist.
He said the naming of the street after Halabi was “intended to emphasize the national role played by Palestinian municipalities.” (Jerusalem Post)
3,000 Moroccans Sign Petition Condemning Incitement to Murder Jews
At least 3,000 Moroccans signed a petition condemning what they said was incitement to murder Jews on full display during a Palestinian solidarity demonstration in Casablanca this week, Egyptian newspaper Youm7 reported on Wednesday.
The petition urged Moroccan authorities to hold rally organizers accountable for the mock executions of Jews and other inciting displays, which it called illegal. Also identified by the petition, which was titled “Moroccan Citizens Gathered Against Incitement to Kill Jews in Morocco,” were demonstrators dressed as Palestinians, with assault rifles pointed at others dressed as Orthodox Jews, and children trampling on the Star of David.
Video footage from the demonstration, , showed children marching and shouting “Death to Israel!” and “We will sacrifice our soul and our blood to you, Al-Aqsa,” in reference to the holy site also known as the Temple Mount.
Signatories expressed concern about the reaction of Morocco’s Jewish community, which today numbers under 3,000, and said the demonstration had offended many Muslims as well. They said antisemitism threatened the pluralism and tolerance enshrined in Moroccan law.
Sunday’s demonstration came in response to the spike in Palestinian violence against Israelis, which many in the Arab world claim is a reaction to Israeli crimes against Palestinians.
Clashes have been sustained since last month between Palestinian demonstrators and Israeli security forces in and around Jerusalem, also amid rumors that Israel was trying to change the status quo on the Temple Mount. Compounding this has been a terrorizing phenomenon of successful and attempted stabbing attacks across Israel, targeting Israeli civilians and security forces.
Some Arab media outlets have begun consistently claiming that Israeli security forces are executing unarmed Palestinians, or planting weapons by their dead bodies to fabricate attacks. (The Algemeiner)
Danon on UNHRC election: UN absurdity knows no limits
Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon criticized the election of Venezuela as a member of the UN Human Rights Council on Wednesday.
“The absurdity at the UN knows no limits – Venezuela is the biggest ally of Iran and North Korea,” he said.
The UN General Assembly voted to elect 18 new members to the council. A hundred and thirty-one states voted in favor of electing Venezuela as a member.
“We must remember this day the next time the UN condemns Israel,” Danon said. “When a country like Venezuela, which suppresses its own people, forbids freedom of the press and detains members of the opposition, becomes a member of the Human Rights Council, it comes as no surprise that this council condemns Israel more than any other country in the world.”
The ambassador also said that “the only connection between these countries and human rights is how much they excel at violating them.”
“We will continue to raise our voice, refute every lie, and expose the real face of those who have the audacity to lecture us at every opportunity at the UN,” Danon said. (Jerusalem Post)
Pope Francis: Attacks on Jews are anti-Semitism, as are attacks on Israel
Jewish leaders met with Pope Francis in Rome on the 50th anniversary of the Nostra Aetate, the declaration promulgated by Pope Paul VI that led to improved relations between Jews and Catholics.
“Yes to the rediscovery of the Jewish roots of Christianity. No to anti-Semitism,” the pope said Wednesday morning during the public audience on St. Peter’s Square.
Later, Francis said, “Since Nostra Aetate, indifference and opposition have turned into cooperation and goodwill. Enemies and strangers became friends and brothers.”
The landmark document inaugurated historic changes in the Catholic Church’s relations with other faiths. Its 600-word section on Judaism — approximately one-third of the document — rejects the charge, long leveled against the collective Jewish people, that Jews are guilty of killing Christ.
“True, the Jewish authorities and those who followed their lead pressed for the death of Christ; still, what happened in His passion cannot be charged against all the Jews, without distinction, then alive, nor against the Jews of today… Although the Church is the new people of God, the Jews should not be presented as rejected or accursed by God, as if this followed from the Holy Scriptures,” that document read.
The Jewish leaders were part of a delegation of representatives of the World Jewish Congress in Rome for a meeting of its governing board. The meeting focused on the situation of Jews around the world, as well as the current tensions in the Middle East, the refugee crisis in Europe and the Iranian threat.
In St. Peter’s Square, Francis effusively greeted a Jewish leader from his native Argentina.
“You’re still alive?” the pope greeted Julio Schlosser, head of the Jewish political umbrella DAIA , giving him a hug.
Prior to the public audience, the pope received WJC President Ronald Lauder in a private audience and met with representatives of the American Jewish Committee.
“To attack Jews is anti-Semitism, but an outright attack on the State of Israel is also anti-Semitism. There may be political disagreements between governments and on political issues, but the State of Israel has every right to exist in safety and prosperity,” Pope Francis told Lauder and his delegation.
The AJC issued a statement on Wednesday praising the document as having “transformed Catholic-Jewish relations.”
“AJC is proud of the singular role it played in advisement, research and creation of an environment facilitating the Nostra Aetate achievement,” said David Inlander, chair of AJC’s Interreligious Affairs Commission.
Speaking to a mixed audience of Christians and Jews in June, Pope Francis said that over the past fifty years “we are able to see the rich fruits which it has brought about and to gratefully appraise Jewish-Catholic dialogue.”
“Our fragmented humanity, mistrust and pride have been overcome thanks to the Spirit of Almighty God, in such a way that trust and fraternity between us have continued to grow. We are strangers no more, but friends, and brothers and sisters. Even with our different perspectives, we confess one God, Creator of the Universe and Lord of history. And he, in his infinite goodness and wisdom, always blesses our commitment to dialogue.”
“Christians, all Christians, have Jewish roots,” the Pope asserted. “The Christian confessions find their unity in Christ; Judaism finds its unity in the Torah. Christians believe that Jesus Christ is the Word of God made flesh in the world; for Jews the Word of God is present above all in the Torah.”
Jewish leaders around the world came out in praise of the changes wrought over the past half century.
“During these 50 years there have been many different gestures made by Popes John XXIII mainly by John Paul II and Francis for the Jewish world but the road is long and we must all continue to work on education of mutual respect and appreciation,” the Federation of Jewish Communities of Spain said in a statement Wednesday.
“This auspicious anniversary should inspire us to address the next challenge among the Abrahamic religions-to find the path to narrow the chasm and divide between Judaism and Islam. Then we can realize the full potential of Nostra Aetate, common faith and common fate,” said Rabbi Marc Schneier, the president of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding.
Calling the document and its disavowal of anti-Semitism “deeply significant,” Rabbi Avi Shafran of the ultra-orthodox Agudath Israel of America said that it “contributed much to the good relations shared by Catholics and Jews today.”
“It should serve as an example to follow, fifty years later, for some other Christian groups, and some other religions, to likewise disown the perennial scourge of mindless Jew-hatred,” Shafran added.
Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt of the Conference of European Rabbis likewise praised the document, calling it an “act of teshuva” or repentance by the Catholic church.
Several days ago the Polish Episcopate declared anti-Semitism a sin, winning strong praise from the country’s chief rabbi.
According to Radio Poland, the local branch of the Church issued a pastoral letter asserting that “anti-Semitism and anti-Judaism are sins against the love of thy neighbor” and that “Christian-Jewish dialogue must never be treated as ‘the religious hobby,’” but rather “should increasingly become part of the mainstream of pastoral work.”
The letter admitted that the Nazi genocide of Jews on Polish soil was “sometimes met with indifference among certain Christians” and that “if Christians and Jews had practiced religious brotherhood in the past, more Jews would have found help and support from Christians.”
The newest Catholic overture, made only days before the Nostra Aetate anniversary, was met warmly by chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich.
“The statement of the Polish Episcopate condemning anti-Semitism as a sin is a clear and important declaration of moral and historic value not only for Poland but for Europe and beyond,” Rabbi Michael Schudrich said. (The Jerusalem Post).
Ya’alon: US-Israeli dispute over Iran deal is over
Disputes between Israel and the US over the Iran nuclear deal are over, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said Wednesday.
“The Iran deal is a given,” Ya’alon said at a news conference in Washington with his US counterpart Ash Carter. “Our disputes are over. And now we have to look to the future.”
Carter said the deal completed in July between Iran and six world powers removes Iran’s nuclear threat, calling it “just one source of uncertainty and risk.” He added that Iran must comply with the deal or face a military threat from the United States, the Defense Department’s Defense News reported.
“I’m under instructions from President Obama to make sure the military option remains intact,” Carter said.
Ya’alon conducted two days of meetings with Carter at the Pentagon this week.
The Israeli defense chief said the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, could keep Iran’s nuclear program at bay for as much as 15 years. After that, he said, “we will again be dealing with a potential military nuclear Iran. And we must be ready.”
Carter and Ya’alon told reporters that they discussed ways that Washington will support Israel’s enhanced security requirements due to unrest in the region.
Carter reaffirmed the US commitment to Israel’s security and Ya’alon said Israel has “no greater friend than the United States of America.”
In a joint appearance on Tuesday at Fort McNair, Carter reiterated Washington’s “iron clad” commitment to Israel’s qualitative military edge, and said it would continue to make advance capabilities available to Israel, such as the F-35 stealth fighter.
This week former Iranian president Hashemi Rafsanjani admitted that the the country’s nuclear program was started with the intent of building a nuclear weapon, Iranian dissidents said.
The reported comments by Rafsanjani to the state-run IRNA news agency would appear to mark the first time a top Iranian official — current or former — has said the country sought a nuclear weapon, in
contravention of repeated assurances by the regime that its enrichment program is and always has been peaceful.
Rafsanjani said the program was begun while the country was at war with Iraq in the 1980s with the express consent and participation of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, according to NCRI.
“Our basic doctrine was peaceful usage of the nuclear technology although we never abandoned the idea that if one day we are threatened and it is imperative, we would have the capability for going the other path [to nuclear weapon] as well,” Rafsanjani reportedly said.
Rafsanjani, 80, served as Iran’s president from 1989 to 1997 and remains influential in Iranian politics despite suffering setbacks in recent years. He is now considered a moderate close to the reformist camp.
He was barred from running in the 2013 presidential election but threw his support behind moderate cleric Hassan Rouhani, who eventually won. (The Times of Israel)
Flash floods wreak havoc in central Israel
Residents of Herzliya, Ra’anana and Kfar Saba faced heavy floods Wednesday as a brief but intense winter storm swept the area, closing major roads and flooding whole neighborhoods.
Three days after a storm knocked out power for tens of thousands of Israeli homes, Wednesday’s downpour left some 15,000 households in the dark for the second time in less than a week.
Ahead of the storm, police and fire crews raised their alert level and beefed up deployment, while the Israel Electric Company called on the public to report any fallen electrical wires and readied crews in case of electricity outages.
Despite preparations, severe disruptions were reported across the area.
Herzliya mayor Moshe Fadlon declared a state of emergency, calling in additional emergency services to rescue people caught in the floods. The city’s small airport was closed after the control tower was hit by lightning.
Israel Radio reported that police evacuated hundreds of people stranded in their homes and cars in Kfar Saba and Ra’anana.
Dozens of people were trapped in elevators in city centers due to the blackouts, and emergency crews worked to extract them.
The renewed power outages came hours after the electric company announced that almost all of the 200,000 homes that had lost power during the height of Sunday’s storm had been reconnected to the power grid.
The IEC said in a statement on Wednesday that its crews were working to repair the damaged high voltage power lines in the area, but did not give an estimate as to how long the repairs would take.
On Sunday, one person was killed and 20 more injured as high winds and heavy rain battered the country, knocking down trees and a crane in central Israel, and flooding roads in the south.
While the IEC said its crews were working in full emergency capacity to restore electricity to the 200,000 homes without power, a number of reports indicated that disgruntled employees were taking their time repairing broken power lines to signal their discontent with the management’s moves to streamline the state-owned corporation. (The Times of Israel)
Surviving a terrorist stabbing
This young boy is 13-year-old Naor Ben Ezra, who was stabbed a few weeks ago in Pisgat Ze’ev while riding his bike. (You may recall that his attacker was also a 13-year-old boy who PA Chairman accused Israel of “executing” only for Israel to release photos of him alive and well in hospital.)
As Naor recovered in hospital, he requested to meet his favourite singer – Maor Edri, who presented him with this disc plaque.
Yesterday Naor was finally released from hospital and he h…as been invited to see Edri play live in concert.
We are so glad that Naor has recovered and that he got the chance to meet his idol!
If You Love Israel, Don’t Boycott It – Elliott Abrams (Washington Post)
We love Israel. That’s why we must do all we can to destroy its economy. That is the message of the bizarre Oct. 25 column in the Washington Post by professors Steven Levitsky and Glen Weyl.
History reveals two recent attempts by Israeli leaders to negotiate a comprehensive peace with the Palestinians – by prime ministers Ehud Barak in 2000 and Ehud Olmert in 2008 – which were rejected by Palestine Liberation Organization leaders Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas. Of this, Levitsky and Weyl say nothing. They also do not mention Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza, seeming to regard it as “occupied” even though not a single Israeli soldier or civilian lives there.
The professors note that the “peace movement” in Israel has been weakened. But the reason is the conduct of Palestinians. The Palestinian refusal of negotiations is not mentioned. The waves of terror – from Arafat’s intifadas to today’s stabbings – are barely mentioned.
Sadly, Palestinian “violence,” which the professors scrupulously avoid calling terrorism, long predated the “occupation.” Decades of Palestinian terrorism was meant to stop Jews from coming to Israel and from establishing their state, and then continued from 1948 to 1967. The fundamental problem is the widespread Palestinian rejection not of Israeli settlements but of the existence of the State of Israel.
Particularly striking is what the professors demand of Palestinians: nothing. They do not demand that the Palestinians negotiate. They do not even demand an end to terrorism, not even during a month of terror by stabbing. To them, Palestinians are apparently like small children, unable to reason or control their actions.
While some people boycott Israel out of hatred, the professors will do it out of “love for Israel and the desire to save it.” In taking this position, they reject the views of the vast majority of “progressive” Israelis they claim to support and align themselves with every enemy of the Jewish state.
The writer is a senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.
This information is compiled by Dr Ron Wiseman, Board Member of the Zionist Council of NSW