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Latest News in Israel – 18th November

IDF soldiers kill one attacker, arrest two more in West Bank

IDF soldiers shot and killed one attacker and arrested two others after they opened fire on the troops in the northern West Bank, the IDF Spokesman’s Office said on Tuesday.

The soldiers – from the Netzah Yehuda battalion – were on patrol on Route 60 at the entrance to the village of Turmus Aiya when the attackers opened fire from a car that was parked on the side of the road.

The IDF Spokesman’s Office said the soldiers shot and killed one terrorist and arrested two others at the scene. No soldiers were wounded, it added.

Inside the vehicle they found a pistol used in the attack, the IDF said.     (the Jerusalem Post)

Fatah cartoons: Israel behind Paris terror attacks 

Today, Fatah posted two cartoons that reiterate the Palestinian libel that Israel is behind the Paris terror attacks that killed at least 129 people. One cartoon  shows Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with an ISIS terrorist near the Eiffel Tower. Netanyahu is pictured helping the ISIS terrorist aim his machine gun. The other cartoon shows two matches in a matchbox labelled “Terrorism.” The head of one match is shaped as an ISIS terrorist and the head of the second match is an orthodox Jew [Official Facebook page of the Fatah Movement, Nov. 16, 2015]

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The PA and Fatah repeatedly compare Israel to ISIS, inventing a parallel between “the Jewish State” and “the Islamic State.” The accusations that Israel and the US are behind ISIS terror attacks and benefit from them has also been voiced before.                        (PMW)

Dozens of French Jews immigrate to Israel after Paris attacks

Some forty French Jews landed at Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion Airport Monday, joining six more individuals who made aliyah on Sunday following Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris that killed at least 129 people and wounded hundreds more, a Jewish Agency spokesman said.

According to Avi Mayer, the Jewish Agency’s Spokesman to the International Media, dozens more immigrants are expected to arrive in Israel with the assistance of the Agency over the course of the week.

“After the attacks, people tried not to leave their homes – it was scary,” said Daniel Ventura, who arrived in Israel with his wife and two young girls, according to a press release by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, which also assisted in bringing some of the Jewish immigrants. “For two years we’ve lived with insecurity and wanted to make aliyah. I would not want my children to live, learn and get married in France.”

More than 6,000 Jews have made aliyah to Israel since the beginning of the year, Mayer said.

On Sunday, some 200 people gathered under heavy guard at a Paris synagogue to remember the victims of the terrorist attacks claimed by the Islamic State group.

Led by the chief rabbi of France, Haim Korsia, leaders of French Jewry and Israel’s ambassador to France were among those who assembled at the Synagogue de la Victoire on Sunday evening.

“Our people, which has been tested more than others, knows the healing power of solidarity and unity in the face of the pain of torn families, broken couples and orphaned children,” said Michel Gugenheim, the chief rabbi of Paris.

The event included a prayer for the souls of the dead and a separate prayer, led by Rabbi Moche Lewin, director of the Conference of European Rabbis, for the speedy recovery of the wounded.

Korsia said that French Jews “feel with all intensity the pain of the families touched by the tragedy and the pain of the nation in general.” He added that “the act of gathering here is perhaps more significant than the speeches.” French society, he said, “will rise up from its grief like American society rose up from the tragedy of 9/11 and like Israeli society, which never lay down for attacks.”

The ceremony was held as many other activities of Jewish institutions in France were suspended for security reasons and out of respect for the victims of the attacks that rocked Paris in what French President Francois Hollande said was an “act of war” by the Islamic State terror group.       (The Times of Israel)

Netanyahu: The Islamic Movement seeks to replace Israel with a caliphate

Democracies have a responsibility to defend themselves, and are obligated to protect themselves from those who seek to undermine them, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday following the announcement that the security cabinet decided to outlaw the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement.

The Northern Branch seeks to undermine Israel, he said, adding that it incites to violence against innocent civilians, cooperates closely with Hamas, and seeks to replace Israel with a caliphate.

“We have nothing against Islam,” Netanyahu said in a statement. “We have nothing against the Muslim citizens of Israel, who enjoy full equal rights, and the vast majority of whom are law abiding citizens. But we will continue to act against inciters, and those who encourage terrorism.”

Tuesday’s announcement of the Security Cabinet’s decision to outlaw the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement comes after weeks of intensive deliberations on the matter that began soon after the current wave of terrorism began last month.

Government spokesmen, including Netanyahu, have been charging for weeks that the organization is largely responsible for the incitement surrounding the Temple Mount that is fueling the current round of terror

Netanyahu, who has been urging the move as one way to bring down the level of terrorism, issued a statement saying that the ban means that anyone belonging to the organization or providing it any service will be committing a criminal offense and subject to imprisonment.

The declaration will also make it possible to seize the organization’s property, he said.

Netanyahu said that the Northern Branch is a “a separatist-racist organization that does not recognize the institutions of the State of Israel, denies its right to exist and calls for the establishment of an Islamic caliphate in its place. The northern branch of the Islamic Movement belongs to radical Islam and is part of the global ‘Muslim Brotherhood’ movement. The two movements share an extremist ideology and a common goal – the destruction of the State of Israel.”

Netanyahu, as far back as June 2014, directed the relevant authorizes to weigh outlawing the group, following a protest it held in Umm el-Fahm that included calls to kidnap IDF soldiers.

The Government Press Office released background information on the decision, saying the measure “is not directed in any way at Islam or at the general Arab-Israeli population, which overwhelmingly abides by the law and rejects incitement to violence and terrorist activities. It also will not affect the Southern Faction of the Islamic Movement organization in Israel.”

According to this statement, the decision “is based on the threat that the organization poses to public order and its continuous incitement to violence and racism, resulting in a severe threat to life and limb. According to the statement, the Northern Movement, in collusion with Hamas, established two groups of activists – the Murabitun (for men) and the Murabitat (for women) – who are are paid to create provocations and to harass Jews and other non-Muslims peacefully visiting the Temple Mount. The violent activities carried out by members of these groups have led to an increase in tensions on the Temple Mount.”

In September, the Murabitun/Murabitat were banned.

The leader of the Northern Branch, Raed Salah, has been convicted and served prison sentences several times in the past for inciting to violence and racism. He is to begin in a number of days serving an 11-month sentence for incitement stemming from a speech he delivered in 2007                                     (the Jerusalem Post)

450 liters of chemicals used in rocket production uncovered on way to Gaza

A Palestinian truck was discovered smuggling hundreds of liters of the banned substance TDI, with the intention of transporting the goods to the Gaza Strip, the Defense Ministry revealed on Monday.

The truck, which was crossing from Judea into Green Line Israel through the Tarkumiya crossing, was registered as carrying a delivery of “soybean oil.” The vehicle aroused the suspicion of inspectors from the Defense Ministry’s Crossings Authority, and a preliminary chemical test on the oil containers discovered an unidentified substance.

The material was confiscated and sent to a lab for detailed testing, where it became clear that the liquid inside the containers was the dual-use material TDI, prohibited from entering the Gaza Strip.

Soybean oil (left) next to banned substance TDI (right)

TDI serves as a central component of rocket fuel, and is used in an array of Hamas’s and Islamic Jihad’s rocket arsenals.

The 450 liters of TDI would have been sufficient for the production of a “large quantity” of rocket fuel for various projectiles, according to the Defense Ministry. The findings of the lab tests were transferred to security authorities, which have opened an investigation into those involved.

Since the beginning of the year, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), the Defense Ministry’s coordinator of government activities in the territories and Crossings Authority units and the Israeli Police have thwarted more than 500 attempts to smuggle illicit goods from Israel into the Gaza Strip. Since 2014, more than 280 trucks have been confiscated as a result of illegal activity.                                     (Jerusalem Post)

IDF soldiers launch mutiny on Facebook – ‘We won’t raze illegal West Bank synagogue’

Nearly 2,000 Israeli soldiers and Border Police personnel have clicked “like” to show their support for a Facebook page designed to encourage security forces to refuse possible orders to demolish a synagogue that the High Court has declared illegal.

The High Court of Justice had ordered the Ayelet Hashachar synagogue built in the West Bank settlement of Givat Ze’ev to be demolished by November 18th, after it was discovered that documents with regard to the purchase of the property from its Palestinian owners had been forged.

The community of worshipers who have used the synagogue for the last two decades were not involved in the purchase of the property and have spent the last year fighting to save the synagogue.

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The justices have already accepted a number of delays since the initial High Court ruling to raze the synagogue last summer. First the demolition deadline was delayed because of the High Holiday season. Then it was put off again so as not to divert the attention of security forces who were combating a wave of Palestinian terror that began on October 1.

The High Court granted an addition extension after police said they feared right-wing extremists would respond to the demolition by executing “price-tag” attacks of revenge against innocent Palestinians, thereby further inflaming the already existing violence.

In anticipation of the possible demolition, a group of soldiers and police officers took to Facebook, launching a page entitled “I, too, do not demolish synagogues.”

Thus far, it has garnered nearly 1,900 likes, with scores of security personnel from a wide range of military units posting their photographs while concealing their identities. (Jerusalem Post)

Local Islamic leaders arrested for inciting violence in Jaffa

A leader of the council of the Islamic Movement in Jaffa and the imam of a Jaffa mosque are among four suspects arrested by police Monday on suspicion of inciting violence during protests held in the city in recent months in solidarity with the Palestinians.

One of the protests in early October descended into violence as rioters shut down the main thoroughfare in Jaffa and masked men threw rocks at police and torched dumpsters.

In a statement on Monday, police said the suspects “incited the atmosphere at recent protests in Jaffa, leading to the throwing of rocks at motorists while endangering bystanders and damaging the public order.”

Police also arrested two minors, aged 16, who they say took part in the demonstrations.

All four suspects will be brought for remand extensions in Tel Aviv on Tuesday.

The October 6 violence in Jaffa, in which a handful of police officers were lightly hurt and six protesters arrested for allegedly clashing with police, was some of the worst rioting seen in the city in years. Also in October, violent rioting took place intermittently in cities in the Shfela region, including Ramle and Lod.

Shfela subdistrict police said on Monday they had arrested two minors suspected of throwing rocks at motorists on Route 431 on a number of occasions last month.  (Jerusalem Post)

Poll: 75% of British Jews think settlements block peace

A poll released by City University London and funded by the British pro-Israel, propeace group Yachad has revealed that 73 percent of British Jews view Israel’s approach to the peace process with Palestine as being damaging “to its standing in the world.”

The poll, conducted by British polling company Ipsos Mori, was based on a sample of 1,131 British Jews, presents what Yachad director Hannah Weisfeld described as a community that is “shifting” with regard to its attitudes toward Israel.

While its findings make clear that for the majority of British Jews (93%), Israel plays a “central” or “important” part in their Jewish identity, it makes clear that the peace process is seen as the foremost issue. Fully 62% of respondents put “pursuing peace negotiations with the Palestinians” as what they feel should be the top priority of Israel’s government.

Highlighted in particular in the poll was the negative view taken by the majority of those surveyed with regard to Israel’s settlement policy, with 75% seeing it as a “major obstacle to peace.” On top of this, 68% stated that they feel a “sense of despair” every time further settlement expansion is approved.

Also notable was the changing attitudes of Jewish youth in Britain with regard to their perception of Israel. With regard to the labeling of food products from settlements, only 37% felt of those surveyed under the age of 30 feel there is ‘no justification for requiring Israel to label products produced in the West Bank’ in contrast to 68% of people over the age of 70.

Speaking on the poll’s findings, lead author Prof. Steve Miller of City University expressed his surprise at the reality that “two things coexist [in the report] – these negative views of Israel, and the staunch defense and pride in its right to exist.”

Commenting on the poll, Weisfeld added that, “Feelings of despair, conflict between loyalty to Israel and concern over policies of the government are mainstream not marginal positions. The research shows we are more willing to speak out on these issues than ever before. Members of Anglo-Jewry who have previously been afraid to give voice to their concerns over Israeli government policy, should realize that they are in fact part of the majority.”

The sample was recruited using a combination of sampling techniques designed to maximize representativeness – the data were weighted to reflect the profile of the adult Jewish population of the UK with respect to age, patterns of synagogue affiliation, level of education and political affiliation.                      (Jerusalem Post)

FM official: South African arrest warrants against IDF officers ‘ugly and provocative’

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Emmanuel Nachshon on Tuesday condemned as “ugly and provocative” arrest warrants issued against four top former IDF officials involved in decisions regarding the 2010 Mavi Marmara flotilla by an element of South African law enforcement, which he said acted without the sanction of the country’s government.

Nachshon stated that “there is a coalition committed to an anti-Israel agenda” in South Africa that was trying to “cynically abuse its justice system in order to advance a hostile agenda against Israel,” but that “we know that the highest authorities in South Africa will not lend their backing to this ugly attempt.”

Earlier Tuesday, NGO Boycott Divestment and Sanctions Against Israel in Africa said that “South Africa’s Directorate of the Priority Crimes Investigation Unit (DPCIU) has issued warrants of arrest against four Israeli commanders from the Israeli Navy and Israeli Defense Forces.”

According to the NGO, the warrants of arrest were issued against former IDF chief of staff Lt.-Gen. (res.) Gabi Ashkenazi, former Navy commander Maj.-Gen. (res.) Eliezer Marom, former head of IDF Military Intelligence Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin and former head of IDF Air Force Intelligence Brig.-Gen. (res.) Avishay Levy.

“This decision follows a four-year-long case involving a South African journalist, Ms. Gadija Davids, who was on board the Mavi Marmara when it was attacked in 2010,” it said. “Davids laid her first complaint with the South African Police Services and South Africa’s National Prosecutions Authority (NPA) in January 2011.”

“In November 2012, South Africa’s Priority Crimes Litigation Unit (of the National Prosecuting Agency), found that the case met the necessary jurisdictional requirements and that reasonable grounds exist to investigate the alleged crimes that were committed during the Israeli attack on the Mavi Marmara (which had one South African citizen, Gadija Davids, as a passenger),” it concluded.

While the NGO implied that the South African government was supportive of the arrest warrants, Nachshon said that Foreign Ministry officials were in touch with their South African counterparts and hoped to have the decision reversed and nipped in the bud in the near future.

South Africa and Israel have butted heads over a number of issues in recent years, including relating to war crimes allegations, but until now there has been no formal move against top IDF officials.

Throughout Tuesday, there were mixed reports about whether the NGO’s statement was fully accurate, partially accurate or a hoax.                (the Jerusalem Post)

Israel economy bounces back in third-quarter, grows 2.5 percent

Israel’s economy bounced back in the third quarter after a weak first half, growing by an annualized 2.5 percent on the heels of a rebound in exports and investment, initial data showed on Monday.

Gross domestic product had been weaker than expected in the first six months of the year, particularly in the April-June period when growth was just 0.2 percent, a figure the Central Bureau of Statistics revised from a previous 0.1 percent.

The third quarter growth rate matched the consensus economists’ forecast in a Reuters poll.

The Bank of Israel is likely to be encouraged by the latest data, since policymakers have been reluctant to lower rates further or use unconventional policy measures. Since cutting its benchmark interest rate to 0.1 percent in February, it has stood pat for eight straight months despite weak growth and a deflation trend.

On Sunday, the statistics bureau said Israel’s annual inflation fell to -0.9 percent in October from -0.5 percent in September – its 14th straight month in negative territory.

The central bank has downplayed both, saying weak growth has been due to largely temporary factors, while the negative inflation stems from falling commodity prices and lower costs in the economy, rather than a drop in consumer demand.

Private spending – which had been Israel’s main growth driver of late, posting gains of about 6-7 percent a quarter between the second quarter of 2014 and the first quarter of 2015 – took a breather in the second quarter, rising just 1.5 percent. But spending rebounded 2.4 percent in the third quarter.

Exports – 35 to 40 percent of economic activity – grew 4.4 percent in the July-September quarter, while investment in fixed assets rose 0.7 percent, led by residential building, and government spending rose 1.6 percent. All three components had fallen in the prior two quarters.

The statistics bureau has previously estimated a 2.5 percent growth pace for all of 2015, near a 2.6 percent rate in 2014.

The Bank of Israel and finance ministry in September lowered their growth estimates to 2.6 percent from 2.9-3 percent. They both see growth above 3 percent in 2016.

Excluding the public sector, the economy grew an annualized 2.7 percent in the third quarter.                   (Ynet News)

An emotional reunion

When Roi Pakach opened his eyes for the first time after the car ramming attack that left him critically wounded last week, he was lucky enough to meet Cpt. Jonathan, who saved his life in the attack.

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The Terrorists Funded by the West

by Bassam Tawil                The Gatestone Institute

http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/6889/terrorists-funded-by-west

The French and other Westerners need to wake up to the reality that the Palestinians who are condemning the terror attacks in Paris are the same ones who are praising terrorists who murder Jews, and naming streets and squares after them.

Once again, Abbas’s Western-funded loyalists are hoping to convince the world that there are “good” and “bad” terrorists. The good terrorists are those who murder Jews, while the bad terrorists are those who target French citizens. In fact, Abbas is doing his utmost to support the terrorists and their families.

For the war on terrorism to succeed, France and the rest of the Western countries also need to fight those who are harboring terrorists, glorifying murderers, and to stop financing the practitioners of terrorism who now regard it as a big, juicy cherished business.

Only a few hours before the terrorist attacks in Paris last week, Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas appeared at a joint press conference in Ramallah together with the president of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades.

The press conference was held shortly after a Palestinian terrorist murdered two Israelis near the West Bank city of Hebron: Rabbi Yaakov Litman, 40, and his son, Netanel, 18. Five other family members — Litman’s wife, three daughters aged 5, 9, 11, and a 16-year-old son — suffered minor wounds. The Jewish family was driving to a pre-celebration of a fourth daughter’s wedding when the Palestinian terrorist opened fire at their vehicle.

At the press conference in Ramallah, however, President Abbas again chose to ignore the terrorist attack that was carried out by a Palestinian. Although Abbas knew that a Jewish man and his son had just been murdered, he refused to condemn the attack.

Since the current wave of Palestinian terrorism against Israelis began in early October, Abbas and the PA leadership have refused to condemn the murder of Israeli civilians and soldiers. Instead, President Abbas has repeatedly condemned Israel for killing the terrorists who carried out the attacks.

As President Abbas was speaking at the press conference in Ramallah, hundreds of Palestinians attended a rally in the city to commemorate Muhannad Halabi, the Palestinian terrorist who murdered two Jews in the Old City of Jerusalem on October 3: Aharon Banita, 21, and Nehemia Lavi, 41.

The rally in Ramallah could not have been held without permission from President Abbas’s security forces, who are armed and funded by the U.S., Europe and other Western countries. At the rally, Palestinians praised the terrorist as a “hero” and “martyr” and promised to follow in his path.

In yet another gesture to honor the terrorist, the Palestinian Authority decided to name a street after him in his village of Surda-Abu Kash, near Ramallah. By authorizing the move to name a street after the terrorist, President Abbas and the PA leadership are sending a message to other Palestinians that those who murder Jews will be honored and glorified by their people. The Palestinian Authority has also set up a monument for the “martyr” Halabi on the main road between Ramallah and the town of Bir Zeit.

Less than three hours after Abbas appeared at the press conference in Ramallah with his Cypriot guest, he and his spokesmen issued statements condemning the terrorist attacks in Paris.

Abbas’s condemnation of the Paris attacks shows that the Palestinian Authority believes that there are good and bad terrorists. In the eyes of Abbas and the PA, the terrorists are “heroes” and “martyrs” when they murder Jews. But the terrorists who murder French nationals are bad and deserve to be strongly condemned.

This is the same Palestinian Authority that has refused over the past five weeks to denounce the terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians, including an 80-year-old woman, a father and his son, and a couple who were murdered in front of their four children.

This position again exposes the hypocrisy and double talk of President Abbas and his Western-funded Palestinian Authority. By refusing to condemn the anti-Israeli terrorist attacks, President Abbas is giving his tacit approval for the murder of Jews. In fact, he is doing his utmost to support the terrorists and their families.

Earlier this week, the Palestinian Authority announced that it would rebuild the homes of Hamas terrorists who murdered Eitam Henkin and his wife, Naama, in front of their children last month. The Israel Defense Forces demolished the homes as part of a policy to deter potential terrorists. The decision to rebuild the destroyed houses will only encourage terrorists to carry out more attacks against Jews because they know that President Abbas will take care of their families and even build them new homes.

Abbas’s Fatah faction, which has been praising and endorsing as heroes the Palestinian terrorists involved in attacks on Jews during the past weeks, is now trying to tell the French people that it is opposed to the terrorist attacks in Paris. Once again, Abbas’s Western-funded loyalists are hoping to convince the world that there are good and bad terrorists. The good terrorists are those who murder Jews, while the bad terrorists are those who target French citizens.

The funniest episode in this show of Palestinian hypocrisy, however, can be found in the responses of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. The two Islamist groups, whose ideology and aspirations are not particularly different from those of the Islamic State, were quick to publish statements “condemning” the terrorist attacks in Paris, claiming they are opposed to the killing of “innocent civilians.”

Both Hamas and Islamic Jihad have long been involved in the business of targeting Israeli civilians. The two groups are responsible for the murders of hundreds of civilians during the past three decades. They have used all forms of terrorism against civilians, including the launching of rockets, shooting attacks and suicide bombings. Still, the two Palestinian groups have had the cheek to “condemn” the brutal killings of civilians in Paris.

Less than 24 hours before condemning the Paris attacks, Hamas and Islamic Jihad issued separate statements applauding the “heroic” shooting attacks that killed the Jewish father and his son near Hebron. Like President Abbas, the two terror groups draw a distinction between “good” terrorists who murder Jews and “bad” ones who target French civilians.

The story of Palestinian hypocrisy and double standards is not new. In fact, it is as old as the 67-year-old Israeli-Arab conflict. Unfortunately, countries such as France avoid confronting Palestinian leaders about their lies and hypocritical policies.

The French and other Westerners need to wake up to the reality that the Palestinians who are condemning the terror attacks in Paris are the same ones who are praising terrorists who murder Jews and naming streets and squares after them.

The French government should have the courage to dismiss the Palestinian “condemnations” publicly, and send a warning to President Abbas, Hamas and Islamic Jihad to stop supporting and glorifying Muslim terrorists not only in Paris, but also those who live amongst them in Ramallah and the Gaza Strip.

For the war on terrorism to succeed, France and the rest of the Western countries also need to fight those who are harboring terrorists, glorifying murderers, and to stop financing the practitioners of terrorism who now regard it as a big, cherished business.

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Spot the difference…

Left: Emergency workers carry the dead body of a victim who was murdered by Islamist terrorists, who shot and stabbed civilians on a Jerusalem bus last month. Right: Medics carry a victim who was wounded by Islamist terrorists, who shot civilians at a Paris theater last week.

What to know about Jonathan Pollard’s upcoming release

by Ron Kampeas, JTA

http://www.jewishjournal.com/nation/article/what_to_know_about_jonathan_pollards_upcoming_release

Jonathan Pollard, the American spy for Israel sentenced to life in prison in 1987, is due to be released on parole on Saturday, 30 years after his arrest.

The former U.S. Navy analyst’s exit from a federal prison in Butner, North Carolina (where he reportedly befriended Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff), follows three decades of intrigue that have included charges of anti-Semitism against top U.S. officials, allegations that Pollard offered his services to other countries and his becoming a card in Middle East peace talks.

While those close to Pollard, 61, say security considerations keep them from revealing details of his release — and U.S. government officials are not returning calls about it — an examination of recent interviews with Pollard’s lawyers reveals some tangible details about the life Pollard will lead outside of the prison walls.

Pollard could be out by Shabbat.

According to the website of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Pollard is slated to be released on Nov. 21. But that falls on a Saturday – Shabbat – and Pollard is now a Sabbath observer. Pollard’s lawyers have suggested in interviews that they have secured the parole commission’s agreement to allow Pollard to leave the day before.

His dream is to make aliyah.

Eliot Lauer, a Pollard lawyer, told the Israeli daily Yedioth Acharonot last month that Pollard’s dream is to immigrate to Israel. But he’ll need President Barack Obama’s say-so, and that’s not happening in the near term.

“The president has the authority, as a goodwill gesture, to limit the sentence to 30 years and thereby end it completely, allowing Pollard to become a free man and to fulfill the dream he has told me about many times — to make aliyah to Israel,” Lauer said.

On Monday, two Jewish congressmen from New York — Reps. Eliot Engel and Jerrold Nadler, both Democrats — wrote to Loretta Lynch, the U.S. attorney general, saying Pollard was ready to give up his U.S. citizenship in order to be allowed to travel immediately to Israel.

In a separate interview this month, Lauer told the Times of Israel that Pollard “wants to make a contribution” to Israel. “He has a lot of significant ideas.”

In any case, Pollard’s Israel plans will likely have to wait, given the parole commission’s restrictions on his movements and requirements that he report to a probation officer for at least a year.

Pollard has a job.

Pollard’s lawyers said in July that they had “secured employment and housing for Mr. Pollard in the New York area.” Lauer, in an email to JTA, declined to be more specific. The New York Observer reported last week, quoting “sources,” that Pollard would live in Manhattan.

More recently, Lauer told the Times of Israel that the “Orthodox or semi-Orthodox community” has been most helpful in securing employment and residence for Pollard while he is in New York.

Whatever Pollard does, it will not be too strenuous. He has endured multiple hospital visits in recent years, at times to address kidney and liver ailments, according to his supporters. (A Knesset bill under consideration would have Israel paying for his medical and residential expenses, as well as providing him with a monthly stipend, The Jerusalem Post reported earlier this month.)

He is remarried.

Pollard and his second wife, Esther, will enjoy freedom together for the first time. Pollard divorced his first wife, Anne, who served three years on the espionage charges, in part so she could forge a new and separate life. He married Esther, a Canadian who had been advocating for his release, in 1994, his ninth year in prison.

There’s no love lost between Pollard and Jewish communal leaders.

Though he’s looking forward to being active in the “Jewish community,” he’ll likely steer clear of mainstream Jewish communal officials.

“During the course of this initiative, we got to know an awful lot of Jewish leaders here in the United States,” Pollard told journalist Edwin Black in an extensive 2002 interview. “And they seem to fall into one of several groups in their response to me. Some ran away from it … others promised to do things but basically didn’t … and others did harm.”

The feeling is mutual. Pollard has alleged that his interrogators asked him to implicate a list of American Jewish leaders in his espionage; he refused to do so. The Jewish leaders told Black they believed the list was Pollard’s invention, a ploy to stir sympathy for his cause.

Competing narratives will endure …

Don’t expect the competing narratives between Pollard’s defenders and accusers to be reconciled. Was Pollard a reluctant recruit driven to divulge to Israel a narrow set of data that would save Jewish lives but that the Americans, despite pledges to share such information, were keeping secret? Or was he, as his accusers have charged, greedy, delivering mountains of documents to Israel in exchange for a lavish lifestyle, and peddling his services to other nations, including apartheid South Africa? But the terms of Pollard’s parole will likely keep him quiet.

… And so, too, will the rancor.

When it comes to “with us or against us,” Pollard and his defenders make George W. Bush look like a pushover. For a time, the Washington Post reported in 1998, Pollard cut off his family, despite their years of dedication to his release. He has alienated some of his most ardent supporters. And pity the journalists who stray even slightly from their narrative that Pollard is a heroic victim of a massive injustice – the recriminations come fast and furious.

Pity also David Luchins, the much-lauded long time Orthodox Jewish activist who in 1993 organized an appeal to President Bill Clinton to commute Pollard’s sentence. The appeal included a letter of remorse from Pollard, in which Pollard admitted that his crimes had violated not just U.S. but Jewish law. Pollard, according to Black, later had regrets about the admission, and Pollard’s followers blamed Luchins. Black reported that Luchins suffered death threats and required federal protection for a period.

Pollard’s accusers at times, too, seem susceptible to a delusional apoplexy.

Seymour Hersh, writing for the New Yorker on the case in 1999, probed intelligence officials to explain how they knew information Pollard handed Israel reached the Soviets. The officials acknowledged that they had no hard evidence, and the accusation — key to perceiving Pollard as someone who posed a threat to national security — seems more an article of faith than of fact.

Sweden’s Foreign Minister’s calumny

The Swedish foreign minister placed the blame of the ISIS attack in Paris on Israel for their “treatment” of the Palestinians. How long will this anti semitic incitement be allowed to leave the shores of Europe before a brave leader says enough is enough?

This information is compiled by Dr Ron Wiseman, Board Member of the Zionist Council of NSW