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Latest News in Israel – 29th March

Two Palestinian terrorists stab, wound IDF soldier in attack near Hebron

Two Palestinian assailants stabbed and wounded an IDF soldier at a checkpoint by the Tel Reumeida neighborhood of Hebron on Thursday morning.

Other soldiers at the scene shot and killed the two terrorists.

The soldier was in light-to-moderate condition with stab wounds in the shoulder and hand. Magen David Adom transported him from the scene to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem.

The stabbing occurred before the Jewish community in the West Bank city of Hebron was set to start its annual Purim parade in that location    (Jerusalem Post)

New video corroborates Hebron soldier’s testimony, supporters say

Supporters of an IDF soldier being investigated for shooting an apparently disarmed Palestinian assailant in the West Bank city of Hebron on Thursday posted a video online of the moments before the shooting, which they say shows as reasonable the soldier’s claim that he feared the attacker may have had an explosive device.

The soldier was arrested Thursday after he was filmed shooting the Palestinian shortly after the latter had stabbed a different soldier. When the suspect shot him, the Palestinian was already lying on the ground wounded, as a result of troops’ gunfire during his attack.

The soldier was brought to the Jaffa Military Court Friday for an extension of his remand. He is now being treated as a murder suspect.

The Palestinian was one of two stabbers who attacked soldiers near the Tel Rumeida neighborhood in Hebron.

The soldier’s shooting drew widespread condemnation, including from Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who called it a violation of the army’s ethical code. The army’s Military Police have launched a criminal investigation into the incident.

An investigation was also launched Thursday by the Central Command into the apparent failure of two officers on the scene to prevent the shooting.

But in the latest video, seen below, rescue crews are shown moments before the shooting, with the conversation clearly focused on the possibility that the stabber continued to constitute a threat to those around him.

“That terrorist is still alive, the dog! Don’t let him attack us!” one medic is heard saying after apparently seeing the Palestinian moving.

“It looks like he has a bomb on him,” shouts another voice. “Until a sapper comes, nobody touches him!”

The video appears to corroborate the suspect’s own testimony to investigators according to which the Palestinian was still “moving underneath his jacket, where he could have been hiding explosives or weapons,” as the soldier’s attorney Benjamin Malka explained Thursday.

This warning, however, was not unique to this incident. It is standard IDF operating procedure to assume that an assailant has an explosive device to carry out a secondary attack on first responders.

Other soldiers can also be seen in the two videos from the scene standing next to the two Palestinian assailants, making it unclear how serious the threat of an explosive device was considered by the people on the scene.

The graphic video of the Thursday morning incident went viral on Israeli social media, sparking controversy.

But lawyer Malka told Ynet shortly after the incident that his client should not be judged before an army investigation is completed.

In the video, the soldier is partially blocked from view by other members of his unit when the shot is fired. However, the impact of the bullet can be seen. The Palestinian man can then be seen bleeding from the head.

(Video in Hebrew contains graphic images)


In an earlier interview with Army Radio, Malka called his client an “outstanding soldier, salt of the earth,” adding that “he has yet to be allowed to defend his innocence.”

The video prompted the IDF to launch an investigation into what it said was “a very grave” incident.

IDF spokesman Brig. Gen. Moti Almoz said the soldier had been arrested and pledged that there would be a thorough investigation into the shooting. “This is not the IDF, these are not the values of the IDF and these are not the values of the Jewish people,” Almoz said.

Ya’alon said the case would be handled “with all due severity,” saying the soldier’s apparent actions were “in utter breach of IDF values and our code of ethics in combat.”

As news of the shooting spread, Israeli lawmakers from the center-left reacted harshly, warning of the dangers of moral decline and of loose rules of engagement in the military.

The Palestinian Authority, meanwhile, accused Israel of committing “a war crime,” with PA Health Minister Jawad Awwad saying the Palestinian assailant had been “executed” by soldiers, and claimed the footage was “irrefutable evidence that Israeli soldiers commit field executions.”

Israel has come under criticism from Europe and the United States for allegedly using excessive force in stopping Palestinian terrorists. The PA and some countries, notably Sweden, have accused Israel of extra-judicial executions — something Israel has vigorously denied.

The incident in Hebron marked the first attack since Saturday, breaking a rare calm spell amid a wave of violence in the West Bank and Israel that has raged for nearly half a year.

In the nearly six months of Palestinian terrorism and violence since October, 29 Israelis and four foreign nationals have been killed. About 190 Palestinians have also been killed, some two-thirds of them while attacking Israelis, and the rest during clashes with troops, according to the Israeli army.              (The Times of Israel)

Alleged words of soldier before Hebron shooting: A terrorist who stabs our friend must die

A fellow soldier, serving in the same unit as the soldier who was filmed on Thursday killing an apparently incapacitated terrorist , has revealed to army investigators what the soldier told him before the incident.

“A terrorist who stabs our friend must die,” the shooting soldier who is now being held in prison allegedly said to his comrade.

The soldier who heard this statement told investigators that he tried to calm his friend down, explaining to him that the IDF soldier wounded in the knife attack in Hebron was only lightly wounded. His efforts did not succeed, as the soldier subsequently opened fire and killed the Palestinian.

The soldier’s testimony is consistent with the military court’s rejection of his claim that he opened fire because he feared that the terrorist would detonate an explosive devise. A military source said that the soldier, a fighter in the Kfir Brigade, arrived six minutes after the attack and was not part of the “organic forces” on the scene. The source said that an army commander, before the soldier opened fire, checked the neutralized terrorist to see if he was wearing an explosives belt.

“Even in the video clip of the incident this commander can be seen standing next to the terrorist,” the source said.

“The guidelines for explosive belts are clear. Soldiers know them well. First, the area must be cleared to avoid loss of life if the explosives detonate. In this case there were officers, commanders and there were many things that needed to be done on the ground before opening fire. Even if a terrorist moves a little, you don’t shoot him in the head. There are clear guidelines on this,” the source said.

The investigation also revealed that after the incident the commander of the unit asked the soldier why he shot the Palestinian. The commander told investigators that the suspect answered that the Palestinian “deserved to die.”

At this point the commander said he removed the soldier from the area of the attack and reported the incident to his superiors. The investigation revealed that ten minutes after the shooting the commander of the battalion referred the matter to the military police investigation unit.     (Jerusalem Post)

Repeat stabbing foiled in Hevron

A female Arab terrorist carrying a knife in her bag was arrested on Friday morning at an IDF post in Hevron, where a stabbing attack took place on Thursday morning in which a soldier was lightly wounded.

It would appear that the knife-wielding Arab woman was planning to conduct a stabbing of her own; the incident is currently being investigated.

In Thursday’s attack, two Arab terrorists approached and pounced on a soldier at the same guard post adjacent to the Tel Rumeida neighborhood, stabbing and moderately wounding him before being shot dead.

The soldier was evacuated to Shaare Tzedek Hospital in Jerusalem where his condition stabilized and improved, and he was reclassified as being lightly wounded.

The stabbing gained widespread attention given that a camerawoman of the radical leftist NGO B’Tselem filmed a soldier medic shooting one of the terrorists in the head as he lay on the ground neutralized. The soldier was arrested and investigated based on the footage.

Countering the widespread accusations against him leveled by nearly all politicians and top levels of the military brass, the soldier explained that he saw the terrorist move and feared he was about to detonate a suicide bomb belt, given suspicions that the terrorist was hiding explosives under his coat which he wore despite the warm weather.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu joined widespread condemnation of the soldier on Wednesday night, saying, “what happened in Hevron does not represent the values of the IDF. The IDF expects its soldiers to act with self-control and in accordance with the open-fire regulations.”

In the soldier’s defense, Yisrael Beytenu chairperson MK Avigdor Liberman said, “this onslaught against the soldier is hypocritical and unjustified, and it is better to have a soldier who makes a mistake and stays alive than a soldier who hesitates and the terrorist kills him.”          (Arutz Sheva)

Turkey Says It Will Cooperate with Israel in War on Terror

In another apparent step toward reconciliation, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke on the phone and expressed mutual interest in establishing an international front against global Islamic terrorism.

In a rare occurrence, President Reuven Rivlin spoke by telephone on Wednesday with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to thank him for his letter of condolence sent on Sunday following the terrorist attack in Istanbul on Saturday by an Islamic State (SIS) bomber which killed three Israelis and an Iranian, and wounded many others.

Both leaders expressed their opinion that the world must come together and establish a unified front against global Islamic terror, an issue Israeli leaders have repeatedly raised in the past months.

After Rivlin thanked Erdogan for the letter of condolence, Erdogan responded by sharing the “deep sadness” he felt after the attack.

He recounted how all relevant Turkish authorities were immediately mobilized to help in the recovery and treatment of the victims. “I also felt that our own Jewish community, which is an integral part of our society, also provided any necessary help. I also spoke with the Chief Rabbi Ishak Haleva and also the head of the Jewish community İshak İbrahimzadeh,” Erdogan said, according to a statement released by Rivlin’s office.

Rivlin thanked Erdogan for the care and expressed condolences to him and to the people of Turkey.

“Terror is terror, life is life, and blood is blood, whether it is in Istanbul, Brussels, Paris or Jerusalem. We must all stand together in the fight against this terrible evil,” Rivlin declared.

Erdogan expressed his belief that “against this terrorism we have to stand together with the international community and take a very very firm stance, and increase our cooperation against all terrorist acts. In this regard we are ready to cooperate with Israel against terrorism.”

Erdogan added that “the terrorist attack yesterday in Brussels is what we feared from the very beginning. There cannot be good terrorists or bad terrorists, they are all evil, we have to fight against evil.”

Erdogan concluded by thanking Rivlin for the call. “We all pray that things like this will not happen again.”

Israel has been contending with over six months of Palestinian terrorist attacks, while Turkey has been struck by six suicide bombings in the past few months which have killed over 200.

Saturday’s terrorist attack brought Israel and Turkey closer after five years of almost completely suspended diplomatic relations, with Israel’s Foreign Ministry Director General Dore Gold flying to Istanbul on Sunday to meet with top Turkish officials.

Israel and Turkey have been engaged in the past months in talks to re-establish full diplomatic relations following their suspension in 2010 following the Mavi Marmara incident, and the latest developments in Europe may serve as a catalyst in bringing both sides to finalize a deal.                    (United with Israel)

Outrage in Israel: The UN is an anti-Israel circus

Israel on Thursday assailed the United Nations Human Rights Council for adopting a measure that calls for the establishment of a database of businesses “involved in activities” in Judea and Samaria.

Israel’s U.N. ambassador, Danny Danon, called the database a “blacklist” and said the UNHRC was behaving “obsessively” against Israel.

The Geneva-based council, a 47-member state forum established 10 years ago which Israel and its major U.S. ally accuse of bias against the Jewish state, adopted the motion with 32 votes in favor, none against and 15, mostly European nations, abstaining.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement calling the body an “anti-Israel circus,” adding the council “attacks the only democracy in the Middle East and ignores the gross violations of Iran, Syria and North Korea.”

The council asked for the list of enterprises to be updated annually and to be appraised of the “human rights and international law violations involved in the production of settlement goods.”

Netanyahu said it was absurd to condemn Israel rather than deal with attacks by Palestinians against Israel and by Islamic State in Europe. “Israel calls on responsible governments not to honor the decisions of the Council that discriminate against Israel,” Netanyahu said.

Danon said the council’s decision was reminiscent of “a dark period in Europe when Jewish businesses were singled out. Whoever supported today’s decision, should be ashamed.”

The council also named Canadian Stanley Michael Lynk as its new investigator on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories following the resignation in January of special rapporteur Makarim Wibisono, citing Israel’s failure to cooperate with him.

The Foreign Ministry said in a statement that “the results of the vote in the ‘Human Rights Council’ represent further proof of this body’s sick obsessiveness, which dedicates itself mostly to Israel. The Council has again proven that it is cynical and hypocritical, disconnected from reality and irresponsible.”

MK Michael Oren (Kulanu), the chairman of the Knesset’s Subcommittee for Foreign Policy, called on the United States on Thursday to cease taking part in the Council’s activities.

“In 2009 the U.S. renewed its membership in the UNHRC supposedly in order to defend the state of Israel. In light of this resolution I call on the U.S. to sever all ties with the Council,” Oren said.

The U.S. government, meanwhile, also decried the resolution.

U.S. Ambassador Keith Harper denounced the “especially disturbing” resolution that “only serves to reinforce the council’s one-sided actions against Israel” and said it exceeded the council’s authority.

Yesh Atid Chairman MK Yair Lapid added: “In Geneva they attack those who are murdered instead of the murderers. This is the Terrorist Rights Council.”

Eviatar Manor, Israel’s envoy to the U.N. in Geneva, said, “This Council needs psychological treatment.”                  (Israel Hayom)

Obama admits defeat, but Kerry says Mideast peace is still on the agenda

US President Barack Obama acknowledged that peace between Israel and the Palestinians is an accomplishment that has eluded his presidency, and will remain elusive until he leaves office.

“This is not something I was able to get done,” Obama said on Wednesday during a visit to Argentina. “I am not that hopeful that it’s going to happen in the next nine months. It’s been 60 years; it’s not going to happen in the next nine months.”

In November, the president’s top national security advisers admitted that peace was “not in the cards for the time that’s remaining” in Obama’s second term, and said the administration’s new priority was to ensure that a two-state solution remains viable under his successor.

“There’s been talk about a one-state solution or sort of a divided government. It’s hard for me to envision that being stable, there’s such deep distrust between the two peoples right now,” Obama continued on Wednesday. “And the neighborhood is in such a mess that I continue to believe that a two-state solution is the best way. Now, over time that could evolve.”

But within hours of the president’s comments, US Secretary of State John Kerry, speaking from Moscow alongside Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, said the prospects for peace would be a topic of conversation between the two diplomats.

The goal of their meeting, Kerry told reporters, was to “further define and chart the road ahead so that we can bring this conflict in Syria to a close as fast as possible, and also so that we can find a way to cooperate on the other challenges of the region – Yemen, Libya, Middle East peace” – all challenges marked with “urgency,” he said.

US officials said there is a general gap in interest between Obama and Kerry on whether to proceed with any process at all related to Israeli-Palestinian peace, with Kerry hoping to solidify gains and marginalize the costs of a continuing status quo, while Obama sees only counterproductive or controversial options before him.

While administration officials have sent out a trial balloon to test public reaction to US support for a non-binding UN Security Council resolution endorsing the two-state solution, the proposal has been widely rejected by both Democrats and Republicans – including explicitly by Hillary Clinton, front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination and the president’s former secretary of state.

“Number one, I don’t think it works,” Clinton told CNN on Monday night.

Meanwhile, the UN’s Mideast envoy Nickolay Mladenov, in his monthly briefing to the Security Council, said “the time has come to ring the alarm bells that the two-state solution is slipping from our fingers, that it is disappearing as the realities on the ground – driven by the ongoing settlement activities and confiscation of Palestinian land, as well as the continued lack of genuine Palestinian unity – make the prospect of a viable and independent Palestinian state less possible and less likely.”

Six months into the latest round of Palestinian violence, Mladenov said it was time for the international community to send a clear message to both sides.

“To the Palestinian people we need say very clearly – stabbing someone in the street will not bring about a Palestinian state. Nor will praising and glorifying violence in the media.

Those radicals determined to poison the minds of Palestinian youth must recognize their central role in the slow evisceration of the dream of Palestinian statehood,” he said.

And Israel, he said, “should understand that building more walls, administrative detentions, punitive demolitions and movement restrictions, all breed anger among people who feel they are being collectively humiliated, punished and discriminated against.

Heavy-handed responses play into the hands of extremists, undermine moderate voices, and further deepen the gulf between the two sides.”

Mladenov said that the Middle East Quartet envoys – representatives from the US, Russia, the EU and the UN – have begun work on a report that will review the situation on the ground, identify dangers to a two-state solution, and provide recommendations on the way to move forward.

“We remain seriously concerned that current trends – including continued acts of violence against civilians, incitement, ongoing settlement activity, and the high rate of demolitions of Palestinian structures – are dangerously imperiling the viability of a two-state solution,” he said.

He also criticized the Palestinians for failing to achieve a Fatah-Hamas unity government.

“I strongly encourage the factions not to squander this important opportunity to reach a consensus that can enable the advancement of the long-term Palestinian national goals as well as near-term fiscal and development goals for the Palestinian people,” the envoy said.              (Jerusalem Post)

Islamic Jihad cyber terrorist indicted for hacking IDF drones over Gaza

Islamic Jihad master hacker Maagad Ben Juwad Oydeh was indicted in the Beersheba District Court on Wednesday for compromising IDF drones hovering over Gaza, enabling commanders in the Strip to view their video feeds.

The indictment filed by the Southern District Attorney’s Office also charged Oydeh with hacking into video cameras of the IDF, the police and the Road Safety Authority, enabling the terrorist group to study the location of civilians and IDF personnel in real-time as it was firing rockets into Israel from the Gaza Strip. He was also charged with spying, conspiracy, contact with enemy agents and membership in an illegal organization.

Oydeh’s hacking also allowed Islamic Jihad to keep track of the movement of airplanes at Ben-Gurion Airport, to view the passenger lists on incoming and outgoing flights, the type of airplane and its weight and landing and departure times, the indictment said.

Known as a computer and electronics engineer and master hacker, he joined the terrorist group in 2011 and first successfully hacked into the IDF’s drones as early as 2012.

Oydeh’s first contact with Islamic Jihad came in his father’s electronics store where he met Ismail Dahduah, known as Abu Jihad, in his capacity as an agent of the group.

Initially, Oydeh’s responsibilities were limited to working as an engineer and a presenter for the group’s radio station, which included incitement against Jews.

Even at this point, Oydeh received a monthly salary from Islamic Jihad.

Later, Dahduah asked Oydeh to help him hack into Israel’s Road Safety Authority cameras. Oydeh hacked in so that Dahduah could view their video feed on his laptop and even record it.

Next, Dahduah asked that Oydeh hack into IDF drones flying over the Gaza Strip. Oydeh bought from the US all of the required machinery and technology, and worked on the project for weeks.

He failed to hack into the drones twice, before succeeding on the third try. Oydeh could then also pinpoint the GPS coordinates of all IDF drones.

They continued compromising the drones from 2012 until 2014, when the hacking was blocked.

In 2013, Dahduah asked Oydeh to hack into Israeli Cellcom and Orange cellphones and Palestinian Jawwal firm cellphones to help locate Israeli moles within Islamic Jihad.

Oydeh succeeded in penetrating Jawwal, but failed to break through Cellcom’s and Orange’s firewalls.

Also, in 2013, Dahduah asked Oydeh to hack into various Ben-Gurion Airport information centers and video feeds to assist in striking airplanes there with rockets.

To do so, Oydeh stole an entrance code from American Jon Metrick who had access to all of the desired data. He then changed the username and password in order to control the account going forward.

In April 2013, Dahduah called Oydeh to his house for a meeting in which he and other agents in the group said they wanted to send him to Iran for further training in technologies to help fight Israel.

Oydeh was accepted by Iran for training, but at the last moment a disagreement within Islamic Jihad ended the initiative.

Moving into other areas for the group, from 2014 until September 2015, Oydeh administered loans to Islamic Jihad members using money provided by Tehran.

In 2015, Dahduah turned his gaze to Hamas, hacking into its Interior Ministry’s records to help Islamic Jihad learn details about potential recruits and to better check the commitment of Islamic Jihad agents to the organization.            (Jerusalem Post)

Report: Jordan’s king met Mossad chief to coordinate stances on Russian strikes in Syria

The head of Israel’s Mossad met with Jordan’s King Abdullah in Amman in part to discuss Russian military intervention in embattled Syria, according to a report released Friday by the news site Middle East Eye.

The site claims that the report is based on an account seen of a January 11 conversation between American Congress members and the Jordanian king during his visit to Washington.

The report did not specify the date of the meeting between Abdullah and the head of Israel’s intelligence agency.

According to the report, Abdullah briefed the US members of Congress on a joint confrontation by Israeli and Jordanian F-16s against Russian jets that took place over Syria’s southern border.

The Russian warplanes were reportedly in the vicinity on a mission to scope out Israeli defenses on the border with neighboring Syria.

“We saw the Russians fly down, but they were met with Israeli and Jordanian F-16s, both together in Israeli and Jordanian airspace,” Middle East Eye quoted Abdullah as saying.

According to the report, the incident spurred trilateral de-escalation manoeuvers between Jordan, Israel and Russia. Prior to extending communication to Moscow – on the behest of the IDF’s chief of staff – and later meeting with a Russian delegation in Amman, Abdullah allegedly met with the Mossad chief in the Jordanian capital.

“We discussed an idea on how to keep the Russians in their place,” the king reportedly told the US politicians.

As a result of the talks, Abdullah reportedly said that Amman and Moscow agreed on a natural border over which the Russians could not conduct military operations.

On March 14, Russian President Vladimir Putin made a surprise announcement that he was partially withdrawing his forces from Syria.

According to Reuters, Russia has since been pulling out its attack aircraft from Syria, where its air campaign in support of President Bashar Assad has turned fighting in his favor.

It is noted that the new Mossad chief Yossi Cohen took office in early January, therefore it was not clear whether he was the Israeli intelligence head present in the reported meeting with the Jordanian king or his predecessor Tamir Pardo.

Israel and Jordan maintain close security ties, and a few months ago aircraft from the air forces of both countries flew together in a joint maneuver held in the United States.    (Jerusalem Post)

Druze general dies in plane crash

Brigadier General Munir Amar, Head of the IDF Civil Administration passed away in a plane crash in the Lower Galilee Friday afternoon

Amar, a resident of Julis in northern Israel, had just celebrated his 47th birthday with close friends and family on Thursday

A husband and father of three children, he served in the army after being drafted for his compulsory service. He was just appointed as head of the Civil Administration in the West Bank.

Azzal Amar, Munir’s family member, described him as “a humble individual with a good heart. He usually did not enter the village in uniform because he did not want the residents to see his high ranks. Moreover, his house was open to everyone.”

Munir’s cousin, Afif Amar, remarked, “Munir did wonders for the advancement of Israel’s security. This tragedy will always weigh heavily on (our) family, but we know how to get through this.”

Nadim Maadi, Munir’s friend, said that he last spoke to his Munir before he was promoted to the rank of brigadier general. “I felt that he was happy about the rank advancement, especially since he did so on his own merit. He was a kind soul. We are deeply saddened by his passing.”

Amar took off in a plane from an airport in Haifa and crashed around 1:30PM near Mount Kamon Friday afternoon. Rescue teams were deployed immediately to search for BG Amar after contact with his plane was lost. Firefighters found the plane shortly thereafter, and a team from air force search and rescue unit 669 withdrew Amar from his plane, but he had already passed away.

He had just started his first position as brigadier general a month ago when he replaced David Menachem as head of the Civil Administration.

He began his military service in the Herev Brigade, which he eventually commanded from 2004-2006. He later served as deputy commander of the Shomron Brigade, an officer in the Galilee Division’s Operations Branch, and an operations officer in the Northern Command. In 2009, he was appointed as commander of the Hermon Brigade, where, in light of the Syrian civil war, he took the lead in re-enforcing and demarcating the Israeli border with Syria, and in improving IDF readiness to defend against threats emanating from the tri-border region in the southern Golan Heights.

In August 2013, he was appointed commander of the Homefront Command’s Haifa District where he worked to prepare authorities and the Arab sector for emergency situations. He frequently visited factories to make sure that they implement military orders.

Amar also earned great praise when he served as a commanding operations officer in the Northern Command. In February 2015, Amar was promoted to brigadier general and assumed the responsibilities of head of the Civil Administration.

Ammar held a bachelor’s degree in Israel Studies and master’s in political science, both from the University of Haifa, in addition to another advanced degree from the National Defense College.

Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot expressed his deep sadness for Amar’s death.

“Munir was an exceptional officer, who served in a number of senior IDF positions with success.” He added, “We share the pain of (his) family and we are embracing it during these difficult hours.”

Minister of Defense Moshe Ya’alon said that his death is an enormous loss for the IDF and the State of Israel. The Yesha Council also issued a statement, mourning Amar’s passing.

(Ynet News)

Shabbat recipe causes a stew on Facebook

The Israeli Foreign Ministry’s Arabic language Facebook page has become the scene of a heated debate over the recipe for a Shabbat stew.

Over the weekend, the ministry’s “Israel speaks Arabic” page posted a recipe for tibit, the traditional Iraqi Jewish chicken and rice dish slow-cooked and eaten on the Sabbath. The post said tibit is part of the heritage Iraqi Jews brought with them to Israel, and that many families still cook it according to recipes passed down from generation to generation.

The post has gained thousands of likes and shares and been viewed more than 200,000 times. Some commenters called on the Foreign Ministry to open a separate page for posts about Jewish and Israeli foods to help bring the peoples of the region together. A number of Iraqi commenters praised their former fellow countrymen and their rich culinary heritage. Some said they missed the Jews who were uprooted from Iraq and expressed hope they would return someday.

But Palestinian commenters took a more negative approach. They criticized Iraqis who expressed support for Israel, and some even claimed Israelis used the blood of Palestinian children as an ingredient.

The Foreign Ministry said that for some time now, it has noticed positive comments about Israel from Iraqi commenters. Nearly 1 million people from the Arab world follow the ministry’s Arabic language Facebook page. A majority are from Egypt, but there are also many from Iraq.               (Israel Hayom)

A Tour and Census of Palestine Year 1695: No sign of Arabian names or “Palestinians”

by Avi Goldreich,                        Think-Israel


The time machine is a sensation that nests in me when I am visiting Mr. Hobber old books store in Budapest, Hungary. Hobber learned to know my quirks and after the initial greeting and the glass of mineral water (Mr. Hobber is a vegan) he leads me down the stairs to the huge basement, to the Jewish “section.”

The Jewish section is a room full of antiquity books on subjects that Mr. Hobber sees to be Jewish. Among the books there are some that are not even worthy their leather binding. However, sometime, one can find there real culture treasure. Many of the books are Holy Books that may have been stolen from synagogues’ archives: Talmud, Bible, Mishnah, old Ashkenazi style Siddur, and others. Customarily, I open them to see who the proprietor is; who was the Bar Mitzvah boy who received the book two hundred years ago and to whom did he pass the book at the end of his days. It is simply curiosity.

Many of the books are written in the German language. They are books of Jewish rumination written by Christians or assimilating Jews. Sometime one can find a hand written Talmud volume that is very expensive; thousands of Euros, set in the specially aired cabinet. Hobber knows their value. Sometime one can find a bargain such as the book Palestina by Hadriani Relandi — its original professional name Palaestina, ex monumentis veteribus illustrata, published by Trajecti Batavorum: Ex Libraria G. Brodelet, 1714. One can find such original books in only few places in the world, also in Haifa University.

The author Relandi, a real scholar, geographer, cartographer and well known philologist, spoke perfect Hebrew, Arabic and ancient Greek, as well as the European languages. The book was written in Latin. In 1695 he was sent on a sightseeing tour to Israel, at that time known as Palestina. In his travels he surveyed approximately 2500 places where people lived that were mentioned in the bible or Mishnah. His research method was interesting.

He first mapped the Land of Israel.

Secondly, Relandi identifies each of the places mentioned in the Mishnah or Talmud along with their original source. If the source was Jewish, he listed it together with the appropriate sentence in the Holy Scriptures. If the source was Roman or Greek he presented the connection in Greek or Latin.

Thirdly, he also arranged a population survey and census of each community.

His most prominent conclusions

  1. Not one settlement in the Land of Israel has a name that is of Arabic origin.

Most of the settlement names originate in the Hebrew, Greek, Latin or Roman languages. In fact, till today, except to Ramlah, not one Arabic settlement has an original Arabic name. Till today, most of the settlements names are of Hebrew or Greek origin, the names distorted to senseless Arabic names. There is no meaning in Arabic to names such as Acco (Acre), Haifa, Jaffa, Nablus, Gaza, or Jenin and towns named Ramallah, El Halil and El-Kuds (Jerusalem) lack historical roots or Arabic philology. In 1696, the year Relandi toured the land, Ramallah, for instance, was called Bet’allah (From the Hebrew name Beit El) and Hebron was called Hebron (Hevron) and the Arabs called Mearat HaMachpelah El Chalil, their name for the Forefather Abraham.

  1. Most of the land was empty, desolate.

Most of the land was empty, desolate, and the inhabitants few in number and mostly concentrate in the towns Jerusalem, Acco, Tzfat, Jaffa, Tiberius and Gaza. Most of the inhabitants were Jews and the rest Christians. There were few Muslims, mostly nomad Bedouins. Nablus, known as Shchem, was exceptional, where approximately 120 people, members of the Muslim Natsha family and approximately 70 Shomronites, lived.

In the Galilee capital, Nazareth, lived approximately 700 Christians and in Jerusalem approximately 5000 people, mostly Jews and some Christians.

The interesting part was that Relandi mentioned the Muslims as nomad Bedouins who arrived in the area as construction and agriculture labor reinforcement, seasonal workers.

In Gaza for example, lived approximately 550 people, fifty percent Jews and the rest mostly Christians. The Jews grew and worked in their flourishing vineyards, olive tree orchards and wheat fields (remember Gush Katif?) and the Christians worked in commerce and transportation of produce and goods. Tiberius and Tzfat were mostly Jewish and except of mentioning fishermen fishing in Lake Kinneret — the Lake of Galilee — a traditional Tiberius occupation, there is no mention of their occupations. A town like Um el-Phahem was a village where ten families, approximately fifty people in total, all Christian, lived and there was also a small Maronite church in the village (The Shehadah family).

  1. No Palestinian heritage or Palestinian nation.

The book totally contradicts any post-modern theory claiming a “Palestinian heritage,” or Palestinian nation. The book strengthens the connection, relevance, pertinence, kinship of the Land of Israel to the Jews and the absolute lack of belonging to the Arabs, who robbed the Latin name Palestina and took it as their own.

In Granada, Spain, for example, one can see Arabic heritage and architecture. In large cities such as Granada and the land of Andalucía, mountains and rivers like Guadalajara, one can see genuine Arabic cultural heritage: literature, monumental creations, engineering, medicine, etc. Seven hundred years of Arabic reign left in Spain an Arabic heritage that one cannot ignore, hide or camouflage. But here, in Israel there is nothing like that! Nada, as the Spanish say! No names of towns, no culture, no art, no history, and no evidence of Arabic rule; only huge robbery, pillaging and looting; stealing the Jews’ holiest place, robbing the Jews of their Promised Land. Lately, under the auspices of all kind of post-modern Israelis — also hijacking and robbing us of our Jewish history.

From Samaria to Paris, opponents meet: Two Israeli businessmen operating in the West Bank travelled to France with a local politician, seeking to confront BDS activists and build business connections.

Elisha Ben Kimon          Ynet News


Two businessmen from Samaria and the head of their regional council are on their way to Paris’s 16th arrondissement, along with two assistants and two journalists.

The businessmen are Ami Guy, the CEO and owner of Shamir Salads, which exports 40 percent of its goods to Europe, and Zvi Meir, the owner of three textile factories, which export about 90 percent of their merchandise to Europe. They were recruited for this mission and are joined by Samaria Regional Council Head Yossi Dagan.

The goal: to meet the activists who are part of the boycott movement against Israel. The boycotted versus the boycotters.

It isn’t easy. Initially, we sent an email to the offices of the EuroPalestine organization, and we asked to meet with them. We didn’t receive a reply. Then we approached Frenchmen in contact with them and asked for their help in coordinating a meeting, but we were told that it was “not such a good idea.” In the end, we decided to go physically and without advance warning to the addresses of the organizations in France that call for a boycott of Israel.

“It is important for me to present the whole picture,” explains Guy on the way there. Meir isn’t optimistic: “If they talk to us more than a few minutes, it’ll be an accomplishment.” In the car, a debate beings on how best to make initial contact. They suggest to Dagan that he remove his kipa, but he refuses.

“I’m not taking my kipa off, and I’m not hiding my identity or our right to the land.”

We enter the 16th arrondissement, which is considered prestigious, and go into a little grey shopping complex. According to the organization’s website, it’s one of the strongholds of BDS in France. At the entrance is a small Lebanese restaurant, and the owner tries to help us find the place, but without success. The Parisian cold causes us to search the offices in the compound quickly.

Downstairs, we find the EuroPalestine officers, which are disappointingly closed. The tin gate is locked. Spray-painted on it is a Star of David and “Fuck you.” The local version of a “price tag.”

The fatigue is taking its toll, but the desire for a confrontation is increasing, and we decide to again squeeze into the rental car and move to the next destination, whose address we received from Israelis fighting a boycott in France: Résistances bookstore in Paris’s 17th arrondissement. There, we will meet Olivier.

On the glass door at the store’s entrance are flyers for human rights rallies and conferences on freedom of expression. Inside, the decor changes. Photos and posters against the “Israeli apartheid regime” hang on the walls. A stack of leaflets, which also address Israel’s “war crimes,” is on the counter.

On one of the shelves is a display. It showcases books based on the documentaries “Five Broken Cameras,” which describes the conflict over the separation barrier in Bil’in from the Palestinian angle, and “Avenge But One Of My Two Eyes” that tells the story of a Palestinian who fortifies himself in his home during Operation Defensive Shield. Alongside these are books by scholars affiliated with the extreme left, like Professor Shlomo Sand, and the Jewish American linguist Noam Chomsky, who is considered to be a pointed critic of Israel.

Guy whispers, “It’s just a whole industry of vilifying the State of Israel.” Dagan wanders around the store and reaches a pile of invitations to Israeli Apartheid Week events. “I guess we’re at the right place,” he says.

The inner hallway leads to another room. On the corridor wall are high-quality photographs of the Israeli Border Police and IDF soldiers facing Palestinian children: pictures of occupation. One of them depicts soldiers beating a Palestinian child and forcefully dragging him. The inner room is locked, but beyond the glass door is a meeting room decorated with Palestinian flags and dozens of posters calling to join the struggle against Israel.

Behind the counter stands a bespectacled, unshaven man in his fifties, wearing a faded sweater and typing on the computer.

“Bonjour, monsieur, hello,” says Dagan and approaches the counter. “We come from Samaria in Israel. What is your name?”

“Olivier,” he answers with a frightened face.

“We came to try to talk with people who want to boycott us, the BDS activists, ” Dagan says in English.

Olivier winces, “First of all, I would ask you not to photograph here.” Our photographer takes pictures anyway, and Olivier takes his phone and threatens to call the police

I ask the photographer to wait and go to calm Olivier. “I am a journalist from Israel. We are here to try to explain our position on a boycott.”

Olivier calms down a bit. “You pounce on me, and I’m one man in front of you on my own. It’s not fair.”

“We just want to talk,” I say. “Do you know the BDS movement?”

“I am very active in the boycott against Israel,” he answers me and says that he participated in the flytilla to Gaza in April 2012, was arrested at Ben Gurion Airport along with about 50 other activists and has since been refused entry to Israel.

I introduce myself and ask him his full name.

“I prefer to keep it that way, just with my first name,” replies Olivier, and he begins to share his teachings:

“What is shared by all Jews is a hatred of Arabs. You severely injure Palestinians. There are even Israelis that admit it. We are waging a struggle against your government, and the boycott is a key part of the fight.”

“Have you ever visited the West Bank?” asks Guy, who runs a factory in the Barkan Industrial Park and employs approximately 100 Palestinians. “Did you know that I am employ Palestinians under the best conditions that exist, better than anywhere in the Arab world?”

“That’s completely not correct,” insists Olivier. “Your data is wrong. Palestinians are impoverished and live under very difficult conditions. What you do to them is a crime.”

Dagan turns to Olivier: “Boycotts damage coexistence and can also harm the Palestinians who work for us.”

Olivier: “Employing Palestinians is not the solution to the occupation. As long as Israel occupies and settlements exist, the Palestinian people suffers.”

Meir interjects, “How do you manage a boycott? It’s actually forbidden in France by law.”

“We try to do things,” says Olivier. “The law damaged our freedom of expression, and we’re a little wary. I do not understand why boycotting is forbidden. It is part of the right to protest. If I want to boycott, I need to have to have the ability to do so. We will not rest, and we will act against Israel everywhere. Boycotting Israel is the most efficient tool, and we therefore want to use it.”

Tones are rising, and the hope of reaching an understanding vanishes. “There is nothing for us here. The man does not want to listen,” says Guy.

Olivier asks us to leave. He accompanies us and mutters, “Fuck you” in English. But the debate continues at the door.

“You are ignoring the facts. Have you ever been to Judea and Samaria?” Dagan asks. Olivier evades answering.

“Did you know that for the past half year, Palestinian terrorists stab and shoot Israelis almost every day?” Guy insists, but Olivier doesn’t back down.

Outside the store is a police car. Olivier walks in its direction, and we rush to our car and get away from there.

The pilot that sells salads

Ami Guy, 68, is a former fighter pilot in the Air Force who fell into Syrian captivity during the Yom Kippur War. A missile hit his plane during the bombing sortie, and he managed to eject himself from the burning aircraft.

“In captivity, we endured hard investigations and torture:” he recounts, “electric shocks, beatings all over the body with pipes. They did everything to make us talk.” After eight months, he was released and returned to Israel in a prisoner exchange. He continued to train pilots until retiring in 1995.

In 2006, Guy acquired Shamir Salads when it found itself in financial difficulties. With some brilliant business maneuvers, he managed to mark the brand as one of the best in salads, expanded cooperation with the large distribution companies, and increased the volume of exports to Europe of salads of all kinds (hummus, tahini, eggplant salad etc).

Today, the business’s annual revenue is about NIS 130 million. The salads can be found on shelves in France, England, Germany, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands and Russia.

“Today I have to pay the EU a 17 percent tariff on every shipment to Europe because I’m producing in the territories,” says Guy, who lives in Ramat Hasharon. “This is a problem that only will grow if the marking of exported products is implemented. This is a serious step that the state has to fight.”

Zvi Meir, 69, a resident of Elkana, employs more than 250 Palestinian workers in its factories in the Barkan Industrial Park. “The Palestinians who work in factories in Barkan have the best wages and conditions in the Arab world. People just do not understand it, and boycotts will primarily harm the Palestinians themselves.”

Meir owns a large textile factory in another country whose name he declines to state. “In my overseas factory, I employ workers at a pittance compared to what I pay them in Samaria.”

We are sitting in the lobby of the Opéra Cadet Hotel, and the Israeli businessmen express their concern about the day the EU’s decision label products that come from the settlements will be implemented. According to the decision, each country determines for itself the date on which it will begin marking products.

A source in the Israeli public-relations establishment says, “The French government is shaping the formula to implement the decision and to date there is some light foot dragging, but that does not mean that we won’t get up one morning and see products labeled.”

Meir and Guy fear that labeling will cause them serious harm. “If our buyer will be required to mark products, it will only give him a headache, and he’ll prefer to buy goods from other suppliers.” says Guy.

“I think we should fight the labeling all the way, since it is likely to cause significant economic damage to factories in the Judea and Samaria. But I fear that the government would prefer to ignore it, since exports from the Judea and Samaria are only a thousandth of Israeli exports, the country can economically let it go. But we have to understand that marking products from the settlements in Europe is only part of the BDS movement’s overall plan, which aims to bring a full economic boycott on the State of Israel, not just Judea and Samaria.

Meir: “We already employ certain methods to circumvent the economic boycott. If marking products will come into effect, it will be a very hard hit.”

On the trip from Charles de Gaulle Airport to a hotel in the center of Paris, we encounter hundreds of refugees. Syrian women with a child in one hand and a bottle of soap in the other that offer to clean windshields for a few cents. The suburbs are full of garbage that has not been cleared for several days. Dozens of Arabic-speaking young people are sitting on the railings.

The sights change when we get to the city center. The boulevards are clean and the display windows of the prestigious squares illuminate the intersections brightly. The Middle East and classic Europe are within a 20-minute drive of each other.

Paris tells the story of all of Western Europe. BDS activists and pro-Palestinian organizations come to the squares almost every weekend to demonstrate. Last January, a few dozen pro-Palestinian protesters gathered outside the Palais Garnier—Paris’s famed opera house—and called for a boycott of the Israeli Batsheva Dance Company’s performance. The demonstration was coordinated with the police, and other than an isolated incident wherein a demonstrator managed to sneak into the hall, there were no unusual events. The main struggle is being conducted on social media.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said recently at a conference of French Jews that the boycott is prohibited by law in France and constitutes discrimination. Beyond that, it is illegitimate and, fundamentally is illogical.

But speeches are thing and reality another. French parliamentarians understand the growing power of Muslims in their country—which is already about eight million people, according to one estimate—and it’s doubtful that they would ignore such a large sector of the electorate.

Our man in the parliament

As part of his public relations activities, Yossi Dagan often meets with members of the European Parliament. During our visit to Paris, we are invited to a meeting with Claude Goasguen, mayor of the 16th arrondissement, a member of the National Assembly of France and President of the Friends of Israel in France.

We meet in a conference room in one of the corridors of the huge parliament building. Goasguen says that the biggest problem of France today, and Europe in general, is the influx of refugees from the Middle East.


Guy and Dagan inspecting products from Samaria in French supermarket

“We in France deal with this problem and try to minimize it, but it is not at all simple. Muslims are a large electoral power and they are beginning to understand this, which is causing leaders to align themselves according to their interests.”

Goasguen is a strong opponent of a boycott of Israel and marking settlement products. “Despite the decision of the EU regarding labeling, the French government is trying to test things and still is not in the implementation state.

“We do not know what will happen, but I think marking products in particular, and the activities of the BDS movement in general, are very problematic. There are other members of parliament trying to fight it.”

During the meeting, told Meir and Guy tell Goasguen that they employ nearly 400 Palestinians in very good condition. Goasguen is enthusiastic: “I think that your activities in the territories are important. We are trying to introduce here in to the EU another picture than what the BDS organizations are trying to show.”

We are on the map

Guy and Meir are careful to stay away from politics, but like any shrewd businessman, they know how to identify a business opportunity. During our short visit to the City of Lights, they try to establish new business connections.

Dagan made contact with a Jewish businessman named Jacques Kattan, who owns a chain of supermarkets called G20. Facilitated by Kattan, we are going to meet two French businessmen. Kattan is waiting for us outside a typical old Parisian building. He politely shakes hands with the Israeli industrialists and exchanges business cards with them. On the cards there are only the company name and contact information. “You don’t need any more than that,” Meir says to me. “You give your business card, and a deal starts from there.”

The building’s narrow tall doors open, and we go up to the third floor, where we meet the two French businessmen. Again, the almost official ritual exchange of business cards. They lead us into a small meeting room that is a little messy, and it seems that they are not really prepared for our arrival.

We sit on the rickety plastic chairs around tables arranged in the shape of a horseshoe. A secretary comes and offers us coffee and water from paper cups. One of them, named Alain, starts to explain his company, “We are considered one of the largest food companies in France, and we would be glad to work with goods from Israel, since we understand that it is a quality product.”

Dagan insists on talking first about politics. He presents to the hosts a relief map he brought with him and explains through it how important Samaria is to Israel’s security. The French listened attentively, even though they are not really interested in politics. Only then did he turn to business.

“Commercial ties are very important to Samaria in particular and the State of Israel in general,” Dagan says. “Once an Israeli businessman with makes business contacts with his French counterpart, it is a leap forward in commercial connections between the two countries.” Politics are swept aside, and the businessmen grasp the reins.

Michel and Alain do not speak English and Dina, a member of the Samaria Regional Council who joined along for the ride, serves as interpreter. “Tell him I’m selling salads to the Carrefour chain (another food chain that operates in France —EBK) and I want to start selling to them also,” says Meir. Dina translates things and within minutes they set a meeting for the next day.

“I hope that something will come of it. They want to understand how good my salads are. I’ll give them a taste and see what happens. It’s important for us to enter their chain because they are very strong here.” Towards the end of the meeting, Michel refers to the marking of the products.

“In the meantime, because the marking is not happening, we do not feel any change. I don’t think that every customer reads the fine print on the product. If the product is tasty and is affordable, they will buy it, especially when it comes to food. But you never know what will happen with the marking and how the French government will implement the decision. In the business world, the equation is simple: if they buy, we sell. If not, we move on.”

After the meeting, we continue to tour central Paris. On the way, we run into the Carrefour supermarket chain, where Guy sells Shamir Salads. We enter the store and go straight to the salads refrigerator. Guy takes a box of Shamir Salads, puts on his glasses and makes sure that it was not marked.

“Ask the supermarket manager if people buy this hummus,” he asks Dina, and she translates the question.”He said they really like it, and he did not know where the hummus is produced,” she says.

Guy calls his agent in France and instructs him to increase the volume of shipping: “Why is there an empty shelf? Make sure that they bring more salads!” The manager tells of isolated cases when they were visited by BDS activists. “From time to time they come here and remove from the shelves some Israeli products, but we call the police immediately and they disappear.” Regarding the labeling he says, “If the government tells us to mark, we will do so, but it’s hard to know how if that will affect sales.”

Pizza at a Tunisian restaurant

Towards the end of the journey, we meet for dinner at a Jewish-Tunisian restaurant adjacent to the hotel. Guy and Meir order a large pizza drink beers. Guy addresses Dagan, “You know, Yossi, I really wasn’t of a mind to come with you to Paris. I didn’t really think that there was anyone to talk to.

“It was really lucky that we met with French businessmen so that we can have a business relationship with them in the near future. In my opinion, it could help in the war against the boycott.” He even extended his stay in Paris for a series of meetings with local retailers with an eye to increasing his exports to France.

Meir, however, says he did not anticipate such hostility toward Israel. “I knew that there are people with extremist views who talk about the occupation, but such hatred and such an intense desire to harm Israel, I had not met. We have to work very hard in public relations to deal with it. There is a very large gap between consciousness and reality. BDS supporters present incorrect facts, and people believe them. That’s why it was important to me to talk about the Palestinian workers that I employ. Even if Olivier did not really address it, I believe that it will sit in his head.”

Meir: “I think the concept of businessmen from Judea and Samaria meeting with French businessmen, and Europeans in general, is very successful and has to be repeated wherever there is a boycott. The only meeting in which they listened to us and words did not remain on the table was the meeting with Michel and Alain.”

Dagan, for his part, stressed that “even dialogue with diplomatic sources may block decisions against Israel. We are trying to stop the boycott in any way possible, but it’s not easy.”

A few days after our return to Israel, I speak again with Meir and Guy and hear about their progress on contacts with French businessmen.

“They really liked the product, and the meeting with them was very positive,” says Guy. “I hope that in the near future we reach agreements on business relations.”

Meir also sounds optimistic: “The conversation with them was useful. We did not talk politics, just business. They liked my products and want to open their market to Israel. They even discussed the possibility of opening a chain of supermarkets in Israel. All that we ask is to do business peacefully. Israeli products are good quality products. Just don’t mix business and politics.”

The Link Between BDS and Jew-Hatred on Campus – Barbara Kay (National Post-Canada)

In a Feb. 25 Facebook post, McGill student Molly Harris recounted her experience in a mandatory, three-hour workshop on “oppression, privilege, consent and race” designed to create a “safe space” for fellow dorm students. Molly described an incident when, singled out negatively for being Jewish, she felt unsafe. The facilitator responded that Molly could feel victimized for being female, but “being Jewish didn’t constitute grounds for systematic oppression.”

On campuses with an active anti-Zionist presence, like McGill, hatred of Israel has a trickledown effect into the general “social justice” agenda – feminism, Black Lives Matter, LGBT and others – which has hardened many progressives’ hearts against all Jewish pain, and shamed Jewish students into suppressing or denying it.

And so it has become commonplace even for Jewish students well-versed in their people’s history to accept the mantle of “privilege” rather than insist that 60 years of success in North America isn’t a patch on 3,000 years of exclusion, religious persecution, second-class status and wholesale massacre, not to mention ethnic cleansing from 94 countries (with the alleged sins of the only one from which they cannot be expelled the hysterical, single-focus obsession of “human rights” activism).

Today’s BDS campaigns are inherently Judeophobic, and denial of “safe spaces” to Jews when they are exposed to identity-based hostility is an inherently anti-Semitic impulse. Let’s finally acknowledge that and deal with it as we would any other offensive manifestation of intolerance.

Happy Purim from the IDF

Purim – Costumes and Parties in Tel Aviv