Tag Archives: Israel

Israel’s embassies worldwide were closed.

Foreign Ministry shut as striking workers block entrances

Unclear what will happen at Washington embassy, base of dozens of employees who don’t work for the foreign ministry.

By

The Foreign Ministry headquarters in Jerusalem were shut on Monday, as striking ministry workers blocked all entrances and prevented entry.

The workers declared a general strike on Sunday, closing all foreign ministry offices and missions around the world. The workers are protesting the employment conditions of Israeli diplomats and the Finance Ministry’s decision to cut their salaries over the renewed sanctions.

As a result of the strike, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon cancelled a planned working visit to Rome next week.

The striking workers erected a protest tent at the entrance to the ministry early on Monday morning and blocked all access points with truckloads of garbage, assisted by members of the Histadrut’s Jerusalem district.

Continue reading Israel’s embassies worldwide were closed.

UN Calls on Israel to Open Nuclear Facilities

Resolution urges Israel to sign non-proliferation treaty ‘without further delay’

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The UN General Assembly overwhelmingly approved a resolution Monday calling on Israel to quickly open its nuclear program for inspection and backing a high-level conference to ban nuclear weapons from the Middle East which was just canceled.

Read more » http://www.twf.org/News/Y2012/1204-Israel.html

For Full Text » THE TIMES OF ISRAEL
http://www.timesofisrael.com/un-calls-on-israel-to-open-nuclear-facilities/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

Bill Clinton: Violence in Myanmar sickens world

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Former U.S. President Bill Clinton said sectarian violence in newly opened Myanmar, also known as Burma, sickens the world as he met with political and civic leaders Thursday to discuss challenges facing the emerging democracy following a half-century of military rule.

The attacks on Muslims are a topic many in this predominantly Buddhist nation of 60 million try to avoid. Soon after President Thein Sein formed a quasi-civilian government in early 2011 and began making sweeping political and economic changes, deep-seated prejudices against the Muslim minority started to surface.

In the past year, more than 240 people have been killed and 240,000 others forced to flee their homes, most of them Muslims hunted down by stick- and machete-wielding Buddhist mobs. Members of the security forces have been accused of standing by, at times even abetting rioters, in some cases, but none has been punished.

And the government — together with much of the population — has been largely silent.

Clinton said the world has been pulling for Myanmar. “The whole world cheers every piece of good news and is sick every time they read about sectarian violence,” he said. “Because everywhere on earth, people are tired of people killing each other and fighting each other because of their differences.”

Continue reading Bill Clinton: Violence in Myanmar sickens world

Save Rain Water for the Use

Israel’s ‘Rain Man’ conserves school water

Science teacher Amir Yechieli has a side business showing schools how to capture and reuse the rainwater that collects on their roofs.

By Karin Kloosterman

It was a nightmare: Half of the school’s outlying wall was ripped off in a storm as rainwater runoff caused more than $150,000 in damage.

But science teacher Amir Yechieli, 61 and father of two, saw the disaster as a chance to save the day. Yechieli had studied storm water runoff in the Sinai Desert for a master’s degree. He knows how it flows.

Yechieli figured that the same vast amount of winter rain that ripped the school apart could bring it back together. It could be used to flush the toilets and help better the students’ future ecologically.

“When I saw this, I calculated how much rain there could have been and figured out that the school roof could supply six months of water to the school. I turned to the principal and she said, ‘Good idea,’ and referred me to some funds. I got the funding and the next year I built the first system in the country,” he tells ISRAEL21c.

That was 15 years ago. Now, more than 120 schools later and heading a new company called Yevul Mayim, Yechieli is helping the nation of Israel collect rain.

By day, he teaches science at several schools near Jerusalem. By afternoon, and whenever else he can, Yechieli works with students and teachers to set up rainwater collection systems on the roof. He often does this on his own dime.

Read more » Israel21c.org
http://israel21c.org/environment/israels-rain-man-conserves-school-water/?utm_source=Newsletter+11%2F6%2F2013&utm_campaign=November+6%2C+2013&utm_medium=email

Israel poverty figures up, 40% of children at risk

Nearly twice as many youngsters facing financial difficulties compared to average for European countries

By Stuart Winer

he number of Israelis at risk of poverty has gone up in the last decade and is nearly twice the average in the European Union, figures released Wednesday show. Details from the “Society in Israel Report No. 6,” published by the National Central Bureau of Statistics, showed that an increasing number of Israelis are failing to make ends meet.According to the report, 31 percent of the population in 2011 was in danger of poverty, compared to 17% in the European Union. For the purposes of the report, risk of poverty was defined as when each member of a household is supported on less than 60% of the average financial resources available to the rest of the population. Among Israeli single-parent households with dependent children, 44% were facing poverty compared to 41% in 2001. In Europe, the numbers stood at 35% in 2011 and 32% in 2001. Luxembourg was found to be worst of all with 46%. The number of children at risk of poverty in Israel was twice that in Europe in 2011

Read more » Times of Israel
http://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-poverty-figures-up-40-of-children-at-risk/

Israel to Assad: air strikes did not aim to help Syria rebels

By Dan Williams

JERUSALEM : (Reuters) – Israel sought to persuade Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Monday that recent air strikes around Damascus did not aim to weaken him in the face of a two-year rebellion, and played down the prospects of an escalation.

“There are no winds of war,” Yair Golan, the general commanding Israeli forces on the Syrian and Lebanese fronts, told reporters while out jogging with troops.

“Do you see tension? There is no tension. Do I look tense to you?” he said, according to the Maariv NRG news website.

Intelligence sources said Israel attacked Iranian-supplied missiles stored near the Syrian capital on Friday and Sunday as they awaited transport to Assad’s Lebanese guerrilla ally Hezbollah.

Israel has repeatedly warned it will not let high-tech weaponry get to Iranian-backed Hezbollah, with which it fought an inconclusive war in 2006.

Damascus accused Israel of belligerence meant to support outgunned anti-Assad rebels. The air strikes were tantamount to a “declaration of war”, it said, and threatened unspecified retaliation.

Veteran Israeli lawmaker Tzachi Hanegbi, a confidant of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said on Monday that Israel did not want to clash with Assad.

Interviewed on Israel Radio, Hanegbi said the Netanyahu government aimed to avoid “an increase in tension with Syria by making clear that if there is activity, it is only against Hezbollah, not against the Syrian regime”.

Israel is reluctant to take sides in Syria’s civil war for fear its actions would boost Islamists who are even more hostile to it than the Assad family, which has maintained a stable stand off with the Jewish state for decades.

Hanegbi said Israel had not formally acknowledged carrying out the raids in an effort to allow Assad to save face, adding that Netanyahu began a scheduled week-long trip to China on Sunday to signal the sense of business as usual.

The Israel prime minister did not comment about Syria during a visit to Shanghai on Monday.

“DIPLOMATIC CHANNELS”

Yedioth Ahronoth, Israel’s biggest-selling newspaper, said the Netanyahu government had informed Assad through diplomatic channels that it did not intend to meddle in Syria’s civil war.

Continue reading Israel to Assad: air strikes did not aim to help Syria rebels

Russia accuses Syrian rebels of using chemical weapons in Aleppo attack

U.S. looking into allegations of chemical weapons use in Syria

Syrian state TV blames rebel ‘terrorists’ for the attack near Aleppo, in which around 25 people were killed, but rebels blame Assad regime; Russia says rebels to blame for attack.

By Reuters, The Associated Press and Amos Harel

Israeli security sources said on Tuesday that the reported use of chemical weapons in an attack near Syria’s Aleppo looks reliable, but stopped short of confirming the incident.

The Syrian government and rebels accused each other of launching a deadly chemical attack near the northern city of Aleppo, in which at least 25 people were killed early on Tuesday.

The United States said on it was evaluating allegations of chemical weapons use in the attack but dismissed charges that the opposition had used such weapons in the two-year-old conflict.

“We are looking carefully at allegations of … chemical weapons use, we are evaluating them,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters.

“We have no evidence to substantiate the charge that the opposition has used chemical weapons,” he said.

“We are deeply skeptical of a regime that has lost all credibility and we would also warn the regime against making these kinds of charges as any kind of pretext or cover for its use of chemical weapons.”

The State Department echoed those comments and the Pentagon said it was monitoring the situation.

“I have no information at this time to corroborate any claims that chemical weapons have been used in Syria,” Pentagon spokesman George Little said. “The use of chemical weapons in Syria would be deplorable.”

Carney reiterated that President Barack Obama has said there would be consequences and the government of President Bashar al-Assad would be held accountable if chemical weapons were used. Carney would not say what those consequences would entail.The United States has been concerned that the Assad government would consider using chemical weapons as it becomes “increasingly beleaguered and finds its escalation of violence through conventional means inadequate,” Carney said. “This is a serious concern.”

He said the U.S. position is still that it is supplying only non-lethal aid to the Syrian opposition. “Our position is and remains that we are not supplying lethal assistance to the opposition,” Carney said.

Earlier Tuesday, Russia accused Syrian rebels of using chemical weapons in the morning attack, and said it was an extremely alarming and dangerous development.

“A case of the use of chemical weapons by the armed opposition was recorded early in the morning of March 19 in Aleppo province,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said after President Bashar Assad’s government and rebels accused each other of launching a deadly chemical attack.

“We are very seriously concerned by the fact that weapons of mass destruction are falling into the hands of the rebels, which further worsens the situation in Syria and elevates the confrontation in the country to a new level,” the ministry said in a statement.

Russia has been the main ally of President Bashar Assad’s regime since the start of the uprising, in which more than 70,000 have died.

Moscow has warned Assad’s government not to use chemical weapons and said in December that Damascus had taken steps to ensure that chemical agents were secure by concentrating them at a smaller number of sites.

Syria’s state news agency accused rebels earlier Tuesday of using chemical weapons in the attack.

“Terrorists fired a rocket containing chemical substances in the Khan al-Assal area of rural Aleppo and initial reports indicate that around 15 people were killed, most of them civilians,” SANA news agency said in an initial report.

A Syrian rebel commander denied reports that the opposition forces were behind the chemical weapon attack in Aleppo, saying the government had fired a rocket with chemical agents on the town of Khan al-Assal.

Continue reading Russia accuses Syrian rebels of using chemical weapons in Aleppo attack

Pressure mounts on Israel over Palestinian prisoner fast

By Noah Browning

RAMALLAH, West Bank – (Reuters) – Hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails declared a one-day fast on Tuesday in solidarity with four inmates whose hunger strike has fuelled anti-Israel protests in the occupied West Bank.

Samer al-Issawi, one of the four Palestinians who have been on hunger strike, has been refusing food, intermittently, for more than 200 days. His lawyer says his health has deteriorated.

Gaunt and wheelchair-bound, Issawi appeared on Tuesday before a Jerusalem civil court, which deferred releasing him for at least another month.

The prisoners’ campaign for better conditions and against detention without trial has touched off violent protests over the past several weeks outside an Israeli military prison and in West Bank towns.

In the Gaza Strip, the Islamic Jihad group said a truce with Israel that ended eight days of fighting in November could unravel if any hunger striker died. ….

Read more » Reuters
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/19/us-israel-palestinians-prisoners-idUSBRE91I0MK20130219

Jewish Women Detained At Judaism’s Holiest Site

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Police in Jerusalem on Monday detained 10 women for wearing the tallit, a Jewish prayer shawl traditionally worn by men, while praying at the Western Wall.

The Women of the Wall have been fighting for years for permission to worship in the manner that men do at the Western Wall, the holiest site in Judaism for prayer. The stone structure is part of the retaining wall that surrounded the Second Jewish Temple, which was destroyed by the Romans in A.D. 70.

Men and women both pray at the wall, but in separate sections and under rules set by the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, a body appointed and funded by the government. It is headed by an ultra-Orthodox rabbi, Shmuel Rabinowitz.

Continue reading Jewish Women Detained At Judaism’s Holiest Site

Iran by Merlin Miller

As The Israeli War Drums Beat

by Merlin Miller

I contemplate my recent trip to the Islamic Republic of Iran and ask myself who wants war between America and Iran. I quickly surmise that it is not the American people, nor the Iranian people, but globalists (international bankers and their multinational beneficiaries). They control Israel, the American media and most of our politicians…and by extension our foreign policy.

My journey to this exotic and little understood land began with an invitation to “New Horizon – The First International Independent Filmmakers Festival”. It was a conference and festival held in Tehran from September 2nd through September 7th. Filmmakers and intellectuals from around the world attended. It was one of the most stimulating experiences that I have ever had and an effective bridge between diverse cultures and perspectives – with the purpose of promoting truth, justice, liberty, and peace.

This initiative was undertaken, not by America or other world leaders, but by a country unfairly besieged with sanctions and threats of war. My observations were in stark contrast to the perceptions of most Americans. What I experienced was a devout country with a love of God, family, and nation – and an uncompromising respect for the noblest of human endeavors.

As I write this, a giant, beautiful book, Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, lies next to me. Khayyam’s wonderful poems have survived the test of time and are a testament to the normally peaceful spirit of the Persian people. This treasure was given to me by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Inside its back cover, he inscribed the following for me (transcribed from Farsi) …

Read more » Merlin Miller
http://merlinmiller2012.com/?p=996

CNN – Six Israeli security chiefs stun the world

By Samuel Burke, CNN

Six former heads of the Shin Bet, Israel’s secretive internal security service, have spoken out as a group for the first time and are making stunning revelations.

The men who were responsible for keeping Israel safe from terrorists now say they are afraid for Israel’s future as a democratic and Jewish state.

Israeli film director Dror Moreh managed to get them all to sit down for his new documentary: “The Gatekeepers.” It is the story of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian Territories, as told by the people at the crossroads of some of the most crucial moments in the security history of the country.

“If there is someone who understands the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it’s those guys,” the director told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.

Against the backdrop of the currently frozen peace process, all six argue – to varying degrees – that the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land is bad for the state of Israel.

The oldest amongst the former chiefs, Avraham Shalom, says Israel lost touch with how to coexist with the Palestinians as far back as the aftermath of the Six Day War of 1967, with the occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, when the country started doubling down on terrorism.

“We forgot about the Palestinian issue,” Shalom says in the film.

Continue reading CNN – Six Israeli security chiefs stun the world

Corruption in Israel

Jerusalem of Gold

Does Israel Have a Corruption Problem?

By Ido Baum

The slew of recent high-profile graft cases in Israel makes it seem that Israeli politicians are more corrupt than others. Part of this can be chalked up to aggressive state prosecutors and an open media. But the problem is not simply one of public perception. …

Read more » Foreign Affairs
http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/138741/ido-baum/jerusalem-of-gold?cid=soc-twitter-in-snapshots-Jerusalem_of_gold-010413

Why Arab States align themselves with Israel against Shias?

By Shabana Syed

On tenth day of Ashura Muslims and in particular Shias commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Hussein, the Prophet Mohammed’s grandson about whom he said “Hussein is from me and I am from Hussein”.

Pictures of Shias beating themselves with hands and chains will be beamed around the world by western media, happy to perpetuate the myth that Muslims are violent.

And this year Americans in particular will be paying a closer attention, after the Oscar winning Jewish Director Oliver Stone’s son Sean Stone astonished America by articulating his conversion to being a Shia and accused Piers Morgan who tried to portray him as some nutter, ‘a warmonger’ while defending Iran.

Continue reading Why Arab States align themselves with Israel against Shias?

Israel and Pakistan

By IQBAL JAFAR

No two countries in the world are so close in their experience as a young nation and yet so far apart in their political compulsions as Israel and Pakistan.

To a lesser degree of uniqueness, these two countries have much to do with the questions of war and peace in the vast landmass from the Nile Valley to the Indus Valley, that once was a cradle of civilization, and could next be its graveyard. What happens in these two countries and between them and their neighbors should be of great interest for the international community.

Born only a few months apart, both on a Friday, Israel and Pakistan share an incredibly long list of other remarkable, even uncanny, commonalities.

Consider: both were carved out of a British colony; both were created in the name of religion by leaders who were secularists at heart; both were born as geographical oddities, Israel in three blocs and Pakistan in two; both saw large-scale exodus and immigration in the first year of their existence; both got involved in territorial disputes with their neighbors immediately after birth; both have borders that have yet to stabilize after more than six decades of existence.

Continue reading Israel and Pakistan

Former Pakistani ambassador: Pakistan behaves ‘like Syria while wanting to be treated like Israel’

By Jamie Weinstein, Senior Editor

Recently removed Pakistan Ambassador to the United States Husain Haqqani urged the American government to take a tougher line on his home country in a remarkably candid speech Wednesday afternoon.

“Pakistan ends up behaving like Syria while wanting to be treated like Israel,” Haqqani told several dozens journalists, think tankers, opinion makers and government officials at a luncheon in Washington held by the Center for the National Interest.

“And the behavior change is not going to come unless and until there is behavior change on your part. So you should stop the meddling. … You have to stop going in and seeing all our politicians and thinking they are all your friends and trying to influence. Make Pakistanis realize that America has an interest in Pakistan, but you know what, America respects Pakistani opinion. Show respect for Pakistani public opinion. And if Pakistanis don’t want to be your friends, you don’t want to be their friends, thank you very much.”

Haqqani, who recently returned to the United States to become director of the Center of International Relations at Boston University, was removed as Pakistani ambassador late last year after facing charges that he sought U.S. help to prevent a military coup in Pakistan in the wake of the American raid that killed Osama bin Laden. Haqqani, who returned to Pakistan to face the charges against him at some personal risk, maintains the charges are baseless.

But Haqqani’s essential argument at the luncheon was that America and Pakistan should no longer put up the pretense that they are allies. Haqqani said that it is unrealistic to believe that “endless discussions and chats and what I call the class of narratives will somehow, some day produce a change of thinking either in Washington” or Islamabad.

The U.S. isn’t going to be convinced to treat India as an enemy for Pakistan’s sake and Pakistan won’t be convinced to give up its nuclear weapons or end its support for jihadi groups it sees as strategically beneficial for “regional influence” because America wants it to, he said.

Continue reading Former Pakistani ambassador: Pakistan behaves ‘like Syria while wanting to be treated like Israel’

The Rise of Settler Terrorism

The West Bank’s Other Violent Extremists

By: Daniel Byman and Natan Sachs

Late this past June, a group of Israeli settlers in the West Bank defaced and burned a mosque in the small West Bank village of Jabaa. Graffiti sprayed by the vandals warned of a “war” over the planned evacuation, ordered by the Israeli Supreme Court, of a handful of houses illegally built on private Palestinian land near the Israeli settlement of Beit El. The torching of the mosque was the fourth such attack in 18 months and part of a wider trend of routine violence committed by radical settlers against innocent Palestinians, Israeli security personnel, and mainstream settler leaders — all aimed at intimidating perceived enemies of the settlement project.

This violence has not always plagued the settler community. Although many paint all Israeli settlers as extremists, conflating them with the often-justified criticism of Israeli government policy in the West Bank, the vast majority of them oppose attacks against Palestinian civilians or the Israeli state. In the past, Israeli authorities and the settler leadership often worked together to prevent such assaults and keep radicalism at bay. Yet in recent years, the settler movement has experienced a profound breakdown in discipline, with extremists now beyond the reach of either Israeli law enforcement or the discipline of settler leaders.

Nothing justifies violence by extremists of any variety. But to be stopped, it must be understood.

Continue reading The Rise of Settler Terrorism

Looks like Pakistan isn’t the only country that likes to kill its minorities.

In suspected Jerusalem lynch, dozens of Jewish youths attack 3 Palestinians

One of the Palestinians was seriously wounded and hospitalized in intensive care; eyewitness: Today I saw a lynch with my own eyes.

By Nir Hasson

Dozens of Jewish youths attacked three young Palestinians in Jerusalem’s Zion Square early on Friday morning, in what one witness described as “a lynch” on Facebook.

One of the Palestinians was seriously wounded and hospitalized in intensive care in Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Karem …..

Read more » Haaretz

http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/in-suspected-jerusalem-lynch-dozens-of-jewish-youths-attack-3-palestinians-1.459002#.UC401c7aXCQ.facebook

Via – Twitter

Ultra-Orthodox Men Now Wearing Special Blinders to Avoid Seeing Sexy Things

By: Hugo Schwyzer

Feeling tempted by scantily-dressed women on the bus, or sexy billboards by the side of the road? If you’re an ultra-Orthodox man in Israel, you’re in luck: you can now buy special blinders to prevent sin-enticing images from sneaking into your peripheral vision. As the Times of Israel reported yesterday, an organization called The Committee for Purity in the Camp is selling special stickers that the observant-but-easily-vulnerable-to-lady-business can wear on their eyeglasses. The stickers “blur vision of anything beyond the range of a few meters and so diffuse immodestly dressed women to a harmless blot.” (If you don’t wear glasses, the Purity Committee sells a non-prescription pair with stickers for the soul-saving bargain price of around $32.)

On the one hand, this is good news. As the Times notes, these eyeglasses mark a “change in tactics” in the Israeli ultra-Orthodox campaign against immodesty. Rather than forcing women to cover up (and spitting on eight year-olds with exposed forearms), these blinders place the onus for avoiding temptation where it belongs: on men. If the choice is between harassing women for displaying bare skin and turning men into carriage horses, the latter seems like the preferable option.

Continue reading Ultra-Orthodox Men Now Wearing Special Blinders to Avoid Seeing Sexy Things

As Netanyahu pushes Israel closer to war with Iran, Israelis cannot keep silent

Why aren’t ministers and defense officials standing up right now, when it is still possible, and saying: We will not be a party to this megalomaniacal vision, to this messianic-catastrophic worldview?

By David Grossman

Here’s a possible scenario: Israel attacks Iran despite the strenuous opposition of President Barack Obama, who is practically pleading that Israel leave the work to the United States. Why? Because Benjamin Netanyahu has a historical mind-set and a historical outlook under which, basically, Israel is “the eternal nation” and the United States, with all due respect, is just the Assyria or the Babylonia, the Greece or the Rome, of our age. Meaning: We are everlasting, we are an eternal people, and they, despite all their strength and power, are merely temporary and ephemeral.

Continue reading As Netanyahu pushes Israel closer to war with Iran, Israelis cannot keep silent

India, US learning from Israel’s border security

By YAAKOV KATZ

Growing number of countries flock to Israel to study construction of Egypt border fence;

A growing number of countries are flocking to Israel to study border security as the Defense Ministry works to complete the construction of a physical and technological barrier along the Egyptian border.

In August, a delegation from India will arrive to study the various technologies used by the IDF to secure the borders with the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and Egypt, and which could be implemented as part of India’s own fence with Pakistan and Bangladesh.

The interest in Israeli border security has spiked since Israel began constructing a barrier along its border with Egypt to stem terrorism and infiltrations by illegal migrants. The Defense Ministry and IDF have so far completed about 150 km, of the fence; plans are to complete the remainder by the end of the year.

The fence is 5 meters in height and layered with barbed wire. It is supported by dozens of radars that are deployed along the border to issue alerts about possible crossings while the potential infiltrators are still kilometers away.

Israel’s primary concern is with the growing number of terror attacks along the border. Last week, shots were fired at a bus carrying IDF soldiers. While there was damage to the bus, no one was wounded. On June 18, terrorists crossed into Israel from Sinai and killed an Israeli contractor working on the border fence, while last August eight Israelis were killed in a cross-border attack.

India is interested in beefing up its border security to prevent future incidents like the Mumbai attacks in 2008.

The Indian press reported Sunday on a tunnel that had been discovered under the border with Pakistan in the contested Kashmir region.

Another country closely following Israel’s decisions on border security is the US, which is building a barrier along its border with Mexico.

The Department of Homeland Security is, for example, testing the ELM-2112 family of persistent ground surveillance radars, developed by Elta Systems, a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries, and used by the IDF to detect intruders before they reach the border.

Five different versions detect individuals at ranges from 300 m. up to 20 km., and vehicles at up to 40 km.

The radars feature four stationary antennas, each covering a 90-degree sector enabling persistent surveillance and tracking over a wide area.

Several radars can be integrated into a single network to provide an integrated picture of a border area. In addition, the command-and- control interface features icons resembling an animal, vehicle or person based on the target detected by the radar.

Courtesy: The Jerusalem Post

http://www.jpost.com/Defense/Article.aspx?id=279366&R=R9

Israel and its black immigrants

Israel and its black immigrants

Keep out – Racial tension is rising as black asylum-seekers pour in

TEL AVIV – ON MAY 28th it was the turn of Yorusalem Mestun, a 22-year-old Eritrean asylum-seeker in hot-pants. Five young Israelis smashed the glass door of her internet café and pulled a knife on her, while her Jewish neighbours looked on. The police came, checked her visa and left without, she said, offering help or sympathy.

Attacks on Israel’s fast-growing population of African asylum-seekers, mainly from South Sudan and Eritrea, are rising. Hundreds of Jews led by settlers from the West Bank, where Palestinians hope to create their state, recently marched through districts of south Tel Aviv, Israel’s commercial capital, where black immigrants proliferate, chanting “Africans Out!” Pumped up with angry excitement, the middle-aged chef of a fast-food shop, in HaTikva, a working-class district where migrants are also settling in large numbers, offers passers-by “grilled kushi”, provocatively meaning “grilled blacks”, and suggests getting rid of the immigrants by throwing grenades at their tenements. In recent weeks, several homes and a kindergarten for Africans have been firebombed.

Liberal Israelis have staged anti-racist rallies. A generation after their arrival, over 120,000 Ethiopian Jews have been integrated. The country has received an estimated 60,000 black asylum-seekers. It is not the first to struggle when large numbers of people suddenly arrive.

On May 29th the prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, said he was adding African “infiltrators” to his list of threats to the Jewish homeland. He said he shared the rioters’ pain and promised to solve the problem by completing a wall along the border with Egypt. He said he would also build the world’s largest detention centre—and deport all those within, starting with the South Sudanese.

Until 2009 the 15,000 or so asylum-seekers entering via Sinai every year were banned from coming within a radius of 30km (19 miles) of Tel Aviv. Since the government revoked that order, the security forces, after catching immigrants crossing, verify their identity and then pack them off to Tel Aviv. Scores of destitute new arrivals bed down every night in a park near the main bus station.

Continue reading Israel and its black immigrants

Israel Has Sharia Law?

Here’s something that came as a surprise to me, but in retrospect I suppose it shouldn’t. Israel actually has official, publicly funded Sharia courts for Muslims, just as they have rabbinical courts for Jews. That makes sense, in a way, because if you’re going to allow religious courts to adjudicate certain issues, you have to allow them for all religious groups.

Not only is sharia law officially recognised by the justice system in Israel in everything regarding the personal status of Muslims, but the judges of the sharia courts are officially appointed by a joint ministerial-parliamentary committee and their salaries paid for by the state. ….

Read more » Free Thought Blogs

The bloody civilians and the almighty generals

Baaghi: Caviar to the general – By Marvi Sirmed

Even if the agencies in other countries play this ‘august’ role of interrupting the democratic process in their countries, does it justify ISI’s doling out money to keep a certain political party of the people’s choice out of government?

“Tacitly registering his concern over the debate in the media on the role of the army and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Kayani on Wednesday said, ‘The national institutions should not be undermined’”, said a news item in an English language daily newspaper on March 15. What merited this royal annoyance was open to discussion in the media about the re-eruption of a long simmering ‘Mehrangate’ that should be best described as ISI-gate. According to this case, some Rs 140 million had been doled out to politicians to rig the elections in 1990. The rest of the money out of Rs 350 million, as claimed by one Younas Habib, Zonal Manager of Habib Bank at that time, who was allegedly asked by the ISI to generate these funds, eventually went to the coffers of ISI and its officials and General Aslam Beg, the then army chief.

Continue reading The bloody civilians and the almighty generals

American Marxism as a guide to action:

Marxist political advice and its discontents

By Omar Ali

Professor Vijay Prashad  is the George and Martha Kellner professor of history at Trinity college. He is also a prominent left wing activist. The two roles have different requirements. Here he tries to bridge the gap. 

Someone had commented on 3quarksdaily.com that this is “Another bucketload of gormless Marxist verbiage around a central anti-semitic core: forget the mountains of corpses and the decades of torture and oppression – Assad’s main crime is defined as “neoliberalism … and a practice of accommodation with both the US and Israel.”

That triggered the following comment (i have edited the original slightly for clarity)  from me: The real problem with neomarxist verbiage is not double standards or selective outrage, its the unbridgeable gap between being a professor and being an actor on the ground in a civil war in a faraway country.
Vijay Prashad as a professor in a first world University may eventually contribute to changing the way X or Y issue is framed in the mind of the elite, and that in turn will eventually have some impact somewhere in actual daily politics and political struggles but those are big “eventually-s”. Some professors are OK with that and focus on doing their research and writing their books and teaching their students in the hope that their analysis will eventually “trickle down”. But that (for obvious reasons) is not very satisfying for most of us. Hence the need to suggest practical courses of action in today’s clash, to pick sides, to “organize a relief column”. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your estimate of said professor’s wisdom and insight) this aspect of a professor’s work has near-zero real world relevance.
I don’t know how to fix this problem, but it does seem to be a real problem. Most right wingers are almost by definition closer to the ruling elites so maybe they dont feel the pain as much, but left wing professors are in a painful bind here..to have no opinion on proximate politics and wars seems silly, but to have an opinion that arises logically from their theoretical framework is frequently sillier, and any honest and good man may end up in Professor Prashad’s position. Its a real dilemma.

In an attempt to pre-empt misunderstandings, let me add:

1. My question is not about the details of his analysis.

2. Its about this scenario. Lets say Vijay is Vladimir Lenin. Well, in that case he is not only a theoretician (though he would like to believe that his superior understanding of theory informs his practice), he is an organizer, a rebel, a leader, a politician with day to day decision to make. Very fine nuances and very involved calculations will come into play. Many of those calculations will be very cynical. All of them will be locally bound by existing circumstances. Theory will have to give way again and again. But Vijay (probably not even in his own mind, but I don’t know him personally, so I cannot say for sure) is not Lenin. He is a professor. He does research, he writes books. He has theories. And he is part of a broader left wing academic current that has its own internal dynamics very far from the ground in Syria. I am saying I don’t expect him to say things that are too useful as guides to action.
3. What do you think?

Courtesy: Brown Pundits

A case of double standards

By Murtaza Razvi

It’s not only the West, but also Muslims who have double standards, Pakistanis and Arabs more so than others. While the West keeps mum over Israel’s excesses against Palestinians, its Nato ally Turkey’s suppression of Kurds, India’s policy towards Kashmiris, Bahrain’s and Saudi Arabia’s oppression of their Shia citizens, Western leaders cry from the rooftops for the rights of Syrian, Chinese, Iranian and North Korean people living under a tyranny.

The Yemeni president too comes across as an OK guy to Washington regardless of how much blood of his own people he has on his hands, but the Pakistan Army is singled out for assaulting the Baloch. The same army was a special, close ally outside Nato under Gen Musharraf, who had ordered the killing of the octogenarian Baloch leader, Nawab Akbar Bugti, and which in the first place sent Baloch nationalists into an open revolt against Islamabad. The US Congress back then did not give two hoots about the large number of Baloch youth who went ‘missing’— a euphemism for extra-judicial confinement or killing, which goes on in Balochistan. Ditto for the Guantanamo Bay inmates, who still languish in Camp X-Ray without trial.

And now about us and our double standards. We want our madressahs and hijabs and missionaries preaching in the UK, which readily obliges because it respects your right to practise your faith (France and even Turkey will not allow half as much freedom to their Muslim populations), but here in Pakistan we won’t have the Ahmadis call themselves Muslim even though they recite the same kalema and pray the same prayer; we won’t allow Christian missionaries either.

According to a thin but a loud minority in Pakistan, anyone who does not believe in the Taliban or the Saudi-like reading of Islam is a heretic, who must be converted or ‘banished to hell’, as the expression in Urdu goes. Farhat Hashmis of the world also go around preaching that even greeting a non-Muslim is akin to heresy.

The Gulf is another story altogether. Most our of brotherly oil-rich people — read very honourable men, for women hardly count — have their rules of engagement listed according to your nationalities, rather the race. A white man from the US, say a doctor, draws a much higher salary than his plebian Bangladeshi counterpart even if both are graduates of the same American medical school! But neither can go to church in the holy kingdom, for no such place exists there.

A friend narrates that whilst he was in Riyadha, a Hindu chap was picked by the religious police along with him because they were found loitering in the marketplace while a muezzin had already called the faithful to the prayer. The Muslim friend says that he went down on his knees and begged forgiveness for his felony from the officer who hit him on the head and let him go with a warning that next time Allah will not forgive him, while the Hindu fellow found himself in a bigger mess. When he, too, was tauntingly asked if he was Muslim, he replied in the negative and prompt came the next question in all its fury: ‘Why are you not Muslim?’ To which the poor chap had no answer. He too was eventually let go with a long and hard kick in the back, but with the warning that next time if he dared say he was a non-Muslim, he’d have to face a bit more than the wrath of Allah. This, my friend says, is not Islam but is definitely quite the Muslim conduct, for which many will, perhaps very wrongly, cite the backing of their religion.

Double standards abound. In the UAE Muslims can drink alcohol in a bar, but taking liquor is a punishable offence for them; in Qatar, it is your nationality, and not your faith, that decides whether you can legally consume alcohol: a Muslim from UAE, Turkey, Indonesia or India can, but a Muslim from Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia or Iran cannot.

Yes, Islam emphasises on equality in social justice, as was enshrined in the de facto constitution which the Prophet of Islam hammered out in consultation with all concerned, and which became the basis of running the first Islamic state at Madina. He declared the neighbouring Jews and Christian tribes with whom he entered into a truce as part of the Ummah, in which each individual was bound by the same set of rules, obligations and privileges regardless of his/her faith. This was a true pluralistic aspect of Islam which its Prophet implemented and enforced by consensus in his own lifetime in the 7th century CE.

Today the word Ummah has been robbed of its original meaning and popularly connotes Muslims only. Muslims who feel free to discriminate against non-Muslims in Muslim-majority countries, whilst demanding and enjoying equal rights in Muslim-minority countries. Thus, the modern pluralistic, secular state is more Islamic in its social justice regime than the few Islamic republics which have their minorities on tenterhooks.

Courtesy: DAWN.COM

Bound by hatred of the US, Pakistan extremists and politicians join hands to shake government – Chicago Tribune

By: ASHRAF KHAN

Associated Press – KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) — Bound together by hatred of the United States and support for insurgents fighting in Afghanistan, a revived coalition of supposedly banned Islamist extremists and rightwing political parties is drawing large crowds across Pakistan.

The emergence of the “Defend Pakistan Council” movement has raised suspicions that the group has approval from elements in the powerful military and security establishment, aiming to bolster public support for a hardline position. The group’s rise comes as the military is trying to assert its position in renegotiating its troubled relationship with the United States and as Pakistan prepares for elections likely to take place later this year.

Some of the leading lights in the Defend Pakistan Council have traditionally been seen as close to the security establishment, which has a long history of propping up radicals to defend its domestic interests or fight in India and Afghanistan.

On Sunday, the group’s bandwagon rolled into Karachi, the country’s commercial heart.

Between 20,000 and 30,000 men gathered close to a monument to Pakistan’s founder, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, whose vision of a liberal, secular Pakistan is often contrasted to the rise of hardline, often violent groups in the country.

The star of the gathering was Hafiz Saeed, the head of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, a front group for Lashkar-e-Taiba, the militant group accused by India and the West of sending Pakistani militants by boat to Mumbai in 2008 where they killed 166 people in attacks on a hotel and other sites.

“We demand Pakistani rulers quit the alliance with America,” said Saeed, who was placed under house arrest after the Mumbai attacks but has slowly re-emerged in public, without a response from authorities. “There can be no compromise on the freedom and sovereignty of the country.”

Members of Dawa patrolled the rally, some armed with automatic weapons, others on horseback.

Also represented on stage and in the crowd were Sipah-e-Sahaba, a feared Sunni extremist group that has carried out scores of attacks on minority Shiites in recent years. Its members have reportedly formed alliances with al-Qaida operatives in Pakistan.

A large banner that hung over the stage read “Wake up, countrymen, break the shackles of American slavery.”

That anti-American message has been amplified by the Pakistani army since U.S. airstrikes along the Afghan border in late November killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. The Pakistani army accused the U.S. of deliberately targeting the outposts, rejecting American assertions it was mistake.

Pakistan retaliated by closing its western border to NATO and U.S military supplies into Afghanistan, a key supply line for the war. Saeed and other speakers threatened civil disobedience if Pakistan reopens it. Their stance could hamper American hopes that Islamabad will quietly reopen the route in the coming weeks.

“We vow that the NATO supply will never be restored,” he said.

The alliance groups many of the same parties and clerics that banded together after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, capitalizing on anti-American sentiment. It formed a political alliance that won 50 seats in elections that took place in 2002.

The current government, which is broadly pro-American and doesn’t espouse political Islam, is under pressure from the courts and opposition parties. Elections are now seen as likely later this year, and the revival of the “Defend Pakistan” group appears to be a push by politicians grouped within it to win votes among the legions of Pakistanis who subscribe to Islamist views.

It could also be attempt by the army to put pressure on the ruling Pakistan People’s Party, which has repeatedly clashed with the generals since taking power in 2008 and has tried to get closer ties with India. The group has organized large rallies in several Pakistan cities; next week it plans a gathering in the capital, Islamabad.

Many of the speakers in Karachi rallied the crowds with warnings that Pakistan was under threat, and Islam its only defense.

Do you swear to fight back with Islamic spirit, honor and dignity if anyone, whether American, NATO, Israel or India attack Pakistan?” asked Maulana Sami-ul-Haq, head of a hardline school that has sent thousands of people to fight in Afghanistan over the last 10 years.

Jihad! Jihad!” the crowd roared.

Speaker after speaker also touted the army line on India, saying the neighboring country represents an existential threat to Pakistan. This stance justifies the security state that has been established since the two nations broke apart from the British-ruled subcontinent in 1947.

Liberals, democrats and peace activists have been trying for years to bring India and Pakistan closer together. But in the past, the army has funded and trained Islamic militant groups and their umbrella organizations to battle Indian forces in Kashmir, the disputed territory at the heart of the rivalry between the two countries.

The security establishment of this country desires that ultra-radical parties should be brought into politics so that their doctrine against India, America or Israel could be infused to the masses,” said Tauseef Ahmed, the head of the Mass Communication department at the Federal Urdu University.

Also at the Karachi rally was Hamid Gul, a former general who headed the country’s spy agency in the late 1980s when Pakistan and the U.S. were supporting militants in their fight against the Soviets in Afghanistan. He has since become a leading voice in the media against America and in support of the Taliban. Documents released by the whistleblower site Wikileaks alleged he retained ties to the insurgency there, a charge he has denied.

Ejaz Haider, a security analyst, said the security establishment should be “checked for serious dementia if it was using the council for its own purposes, given that many of its members have been linked to terrorism that is taking a deadly toll inside Pakistan.

Continue reading Bound by hatred of the US, Pakistan extremists and politicians join hands to shake government – Chicago Tribune

Israel teams with terror group to kill Iran’s nuclear scientists, U.S. officials tell NBC News

By Richard Engel and Robert Windrem

NBC News

Updated: 11:14 a.m. ET — Deadly attacks on Iranian nuclear scientists are being carried out by an Iranian dissident group that is financed, trained and armed by Israel’s secret service, U.S. officials tell NBC News, confirming charges leveled by Iran’s leaders.

The group, the People’s Mujahedin of Iran, has long been designated as a terrorist group by the United States, accused of killing American servicemen and contractors in the 1970s and supporting the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran before breaking with the Iranian mullahs in 1980.

The attacks, which have killed five Iranian nuclear scientists since 2007 and may have destroyed a missile research and development site, have been carried out in dramatic fashion, with motorcycle-borne assailants often attaching small magnetic bombs to the exterior of the victims’ cars.

U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Obama administration is aware of the assassination campaign but has no direct involvement.

The Iranians have no doubt who is responsible – Israel and the People’s Mujahedin of Iran, known by various acronyms, including MEK, MKO and PMI. ….

Read more » http://rockcenter.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/02/09/10354553-israel-teams-with-terror-group-to-kill-irans-nuclear-scientists-us-officials-tell-nbc-news

via – Twitter

Jewish-Taliban fundamentalists

Unorthodox:” A Woman’s Journey from Repression to Freedom

By Sarah B. Weir

Growing up, Deborah Feldman had to wear skirts that covered her ankles and high-necked blouses made of woven fabric so they wouldn’t cling to her body. She wasn’t allowed to read books in English because her grandfather, with whom she lived, said they were written in an “impure language.” When she was twelve, she suffered a sexual assault, which she kept hidden because she had been taught that men’s lust was ungovernable. This was supposedly the reason her world was segregated by gender.

Related: Top Jewish Rabbi: Segregated Buses Not Jewish Law

At 17, Feldman’s grandparents pushed her into an arranged marriage with a virtual stranger, but she had never even heard the word “sex” spoken or learned about the very basics of human reproduction. Once married, she was expected to shave her head and wear a wig—something she rebelled against after a year because she found it so depressing. Seven years later, despite the fact she knew she would be hated as a pariah, she abandoned her community and started life over.

You might be surprised that Feldman didn’t grow up in a far away country with repressive laws against women, but in an ultra-conservative Jewish enclave in New York City. “They’ve passed more laws from out of nowhere, limiting women—there’s a rule that women can’t be on the street after a certain hour,” Feldman told the New York Post describing the Hasidic Satmar community in which she was raised. “We all hear these stories about Muslim extremists; how is this any better? This is just another example of extreme fundamentalism.”

Continue reading Jewish-Taliban fundamentalists

The Dönmeh heritage, Mustapha Kemal Ataturk & Modern Turkey

The Dönmeh: The Middle East’s Most Whispered Secret (Part I)

By Wayne MADSEN

There is a historical “eight hundred pound gorilla” lurking in the background of almost every serious military and diplomatic incident involving Israel, Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Greece, Armenia, the Kurds, the Assyrians, and some other players in the Middle East and southeastern Europe. It is a factor that is generally only whispered about at diplomatic receptions, news conferences, and think tank sessions due to the explosiveness and controversial nature of the subject. And it is the secretiveness attached to the subject that has been the reason for so much misunderstanding about the current breakdown in relations between Israel and Turkey, a growing warming of relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia, and increasing enmity between Saudi Arabia and Iran…

Although known to historians and religious experts, the centuries-old political and economic influence of a group known in Turkish as the “Dönmeh” is only beginning to cross the lips of Turks, Arabs, and Israelis who have been reluctant to discuss the presence in Turkey and elsewhere of a sect of Turks descended from a group of Sephardic Jews who were expelled from Spain during the Spanish Inquisition in the 16th and 17th centuries. These Jewish refugees from Spain were welcomed to settle in the Ottoman Empire and over the years they converted to a mystical sect of Islam that eventually mixed Jewish Kabbala and Islamic Sufi semi-mystical beliefs into a sect that eventually championed secularism in post-Ottoman Turkey. It is interesting that “Dönmeh” not only refers to the Jewish “untrustworthy converts” to Islam in Turkey but it is also a derogatory Turkish word for a transvestite, or someone who is claiming to be someone they are not.

The Donmeh sect of Judaism was founded in the 17th century by Rabbi Sabbatai Zevi, a Kabbalist who believed he was the Messiah but was forced to convert to Islam by Sultan Mehmet IV, the Ottoman ruler. Many of the rabbi’s followers, known as Sabbateans, but also “crypto-Jews,” publicly proclaimed their Islamic faith but secretly practiced their hybrid form of Judaism, which was unrecognized by mainstream Jewish rabbinical authorities. Because it was against their beliefs to marry outside their sect, the Dönmeh created a rather secretive sub-societal clan.

The Dönmeh rise to power in Turkey
Continue reading The Dönmeh heritage, Mustapha Kemal Ataturk & Modern Turkey