Sunday, October 31, 2010

South Africa is already here.

The government is trying to build a protected autonomy for the Jewish majority and a stunted autonomy for the Arab minority. 

How could the Israeli public allow a few dozen racists go down into the lion's den of Umm al-Fahm on their own? Do Michael Ben-Ari, Baruch Marzel and Itamar Ben Gvir represent only themselves or just the fringes of the extreme right? After all, thousands of Israeli citizens agreed when they heard the thugs' explanations of the reasons for their march.
Hundreds of thousands in Israel are pleased with the Citizenship Law, glad that the bill will, when it passes - and it will pass - allow discrimination against Arabs who will want to buy a home in a Jewish community, and the majority of the public considers MK Hanin Zuabi a traitor.
Where were all these people while the fascists marched through Umm al-Fahm? Suddenly they are not comfortable being seen with those who reflect precisely the zeitgeist?

Participating in this march should have been Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, MKs Anastassia Michaeli and David Rotem, the settler leadership, the followers of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the heads and residents of Jewish communities in the Galilee, as well as the owners of homes in Tel Aviv and Ra'anana who refuse to rent apartments to Arabs. This march should have carried the banner "[National] Pride Parade." Alas, only 1,300 participants showed up, along with the police force that protected them.
But they are certainly not alone. They simply do not need yet another demonstration. Israel's apartheid movement is coming out of the woodwork and is taking on a formal, legal shape. It is moving from voluntary apartheid, which hides its ugliness through justifications of "cultural differences" and "historic neglect" which only requires a little funding and a couple of more sewage pipes to make everything right - to a purposeful, open, obligatory apartheid, which no longer requires any justification.
In South Africa of the 1950s, the whites were afraid even of the white immigrants, lest they bring with them liberal ideas that would affect the local volk.
But mostly they feared the blacks. In a short period of time the insular white community adopted a series of laws that were meant to preserve their purity. In 1949, the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act was passed; in 1950 and 1957 the Immorality Act and amendment made interracial sexual relations a criminal offense carrying a seven year prison sentence. In 1950, in the Population Registration Act, each citizen was categorized racially. In 1953 the Bantu Education Act was passed which established that the blacks will receive a different and lesser education than the whites, and in 1950 the Group Areas Act was passed which determined "group regions," establishing where each racial group could live and which led to the expulsion of 3.5 million blacks from their homes.
This listing is presented here as a service to the racists in the Knesset, in case they did not know what kind of legislation to propose in order to complete their plan. This is also a public service for those who did not participate in the Umm al-Fahm march, so that they will know what they should require of their representatives.
With considerable delay, the South African Group Areas Act is now being copied into Israel's book of laws. An individual can no longer purchase land, build a home or even rent an apartment in small communities in which the absorption committee opposes their presence. According to Adalah - the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, the law will "protect" 68.3 percent of all communities in Israel from being "stained."
The remainder of communities, and especially the large cities, will have to continue, for the mean time, to make do with voluntary apartheid. But the days will also come, as they did in South Africa, when an appropriate solution was found for its cities. It will be possible, for example, to grant homeowners committees the authority to determine who can buy or rent an apartment in a building. After all, what is good about a small community should also be good in an even smaller building. And of course a law which encourages snitching will also be passed.
So, while the government of Israel is trying to gain Palestinian recognition for its Jewish identity, it is building within it the double identity of the state. A protected autonomy for the Jewish majority and a stunted autonomy for the Arab minority.
Israel is quickly defining the borders of the Arab autonomy and through apartheid legislation it is granting the Arab minority a legal standing of enclaves with lesser rights; of a cultural-ethnic region which, because it is being expelled from the broader who, can also demand international recognition for its unique standing.

Source of artyicle:

Saturday, October 30, 2010

A group of extremist Jewish settlers set a one hundred year old Christian church on fire in Jerusalem on Friday causing substantial damage to its first floor.


J'lem church officials suspect extremist Jews behind arson.

A church in central Jerusalem was set afire before dawn Wednesday and suffered extensive damage, police said.
Arsonists, suspected to be extremist Jews, forced their way into the church and set it afire, church officials said Wednesday.
The sanctuary used by four separate congregations, including Baptists, had been burned down in 1982 by an ultranationalist Jewish group and later rebuilt, said a pastor at the church, Charles Kopp.
"We all still need to learn the lessons of tolerance and to accept the different among us," said Kopp, an American who grew up in Los Angeles. "We don't suspect anyone specific but they were extremists for sure."
Police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby said no arrests had been made and it was not immediately clear what motive was behind the attack.
The arsonists broke into the building late Tuesday, setting it afire in three different places. The floor was severely charred, windows were broken and several chairs were burned. No holy books were damaged in the fire, said Joseph Broom, the church's business services manager and a native of Charleston, South Carolina. Ben-Ruby had earlier said bibles were damaged.
Jewish neighbors called the fire department and their quick response was what saved the structure, said Kopp, who has been at the church since 1966.
Congregants at the church include international workers, students and Sudanese refugees who recently entered the country from Egypt, Kopp said. One of the congregations is made up of Messianic Jews, who consider themselves Jewish but believe in Jesus.
In response to the attack, the Israeli office of the Anti-Defamation League, which monitors hate crimes, condemned the attack and called for tolerance.
"The ADL strongly condemned this arson and apparent hate crime," the New-York based organization said. "We urged authorities to do everything in their power to protect all religious sites and see that the perpetrators of the crime are brought to justice.
The church is located in the leafy, middle-class neighborhood of Rehavia. Ultra-Orthodox Jewish residents of a nearby area have in recent years begun moving into Rehavia and trying to impose their way of life on the neighborhood.
Relations between religions are generally good in largely Jewish west Jerusalem, and violent incidents are rare.

Source of article:


Republicans urge Obama to prevent Palestinian state recognition

As Congressional midterm elections approach, Republican representatives call on US president not to reward 'Palestinian behavior,' warn UN resolution on Palestinian state would hurt peace efforts

Republican members of the House of Representatives have written a letter to US President Barack Obama in which they urge him to veto any attempt to pass a Security Council resolution recognizing a Palestinian state, which they said would predetermine the results of peace negotiations.

A UN resolution would cause serious damage to peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, they said.

The Republican representatives are blaming the president of causing the Palestinians to threaten to turn to the UN by publicly demanding Israel to halt settlement construction.
The letter was sent following recent reports on a Palestinian plan to turn to the UN for a vote on the establishment of a Palestinian state should direct talks reach a dead end.

It is estimated that the republicans will win a majority in the House of Representatives Tuesday at the Congressional midterm elections.

The letter noted that Israel's decision to halt West Bank settlement construction for 10 months was not only a gesture of goodwill meant to encourage the Palestinians to resume negotiations, but was extremely unpopular with many in Israel.
It was stated that the Palestinians never conditioned direct talks with a freeze of settlement construction.

The republicans said that a UN resolution regarding a Palestinian state would have a devastating effect on peace prospects. By turning to the UN the Palestinians are trying to avoid meeting their commitments and advancing negotiations with Israel, they said. "The US must not reward such behavior," the letter noted.
They also called Obama to support Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's demand from the Palestinians to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

Source of article:,7340,L-3976883,00.html

Friday, October 29, 2010

We need more Jews.

Op-ed: Both Israel, US Jewish community must implement population growth methods.

We need more Jews.
The two major centers of the world’s Jewish population, Israel and the United States, both have demographic challenges, though for different reasons and of different kinds. Both need to implement methods for demographic growth. 

Israel’s demographic problem comes from two sources. Zionist theorists didn’t grasp that the Arab world around Israel viewed itself, even if more in theory than practice, as a nation of Arab and Muslim nations and Israel as a foreign and unwelcome minority nation in that nation of nations.
That is, the Jewish population in Israel is demographically comparable to earlier Jewish minority groups. Their regional minority status currently prevents them from assuming the attributes of a normal sovereign nation. No one questions whether Argentina should exist or whether Austria will still be around in 50 years.
The second source of the problem emerges from a demographic competition between Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs. Demography is destiny in a democracy. As a democracy, Israel will have its political, economic, religious, and cultural soul determined by who votes in elections and therefore control the nation’s institutions.

For Israelis, more Jews also means more personnel for the various organizations devoted to communal self-defense and more workers to contribute to Israel’s already impressive economic growth. A larger Jewish population would be of immense symbolic value by illustrating to the world Israel’s determination to defend its land. A larger Jewish population would help create a larger Israel through such efforts as expanding artificial islands into the Mediterranean Sea. The excitement of growth will itself spur solutions to problems such as an adequate water supply.

Declining political clout

American Jewish declining numbers will have serious political and social effects. To some extent, this reality has been blunted for American Jews primarily because the majority of American gentiles support Israel and Jewish rights. Additionally, Jews are perceived by some to be influential beyond their numbers. American Jews continue to reside in large states with significant electoral votes and can be a swing vote, have had no genuine opposition politically for more than half a century, and, perhaps most importantly, donate extensively to political candidates, parties, and efforts.

But as their numbers decline, their political clout will decrease, especially if younger Jews don’t donate for specifically Jewish reasons, or if anti-Israel Muslim Americans rise to challenge pro-Israel American Jews in number and economic impact, or if there is public financing of elections, rendering the Jewish economic clout much weaker. 

With declining numbers, American Jews will have trouble meeting basic communal needs. There will be too few young people taking care of too many adults. Demographic decline means fewer Jewish students from day schools to graduate schools, synagogue members, Jewish organizational supporters and members, potential marriage partners, consumers of kosher food, subscribers and readers of Jewish media, and supporters of Jewish institutions.
There will also be fewer patrons of Jewish cultural events, political activists, for example, on behalf of Israel and against prejudice as well as a wide range of social actions, people producing Jewish books, films, music, and other artistic works. Even if, as demographic optimists claim, American Jewry is not declining in absolute numbers, it is declining as a proportion of the population, a phenomenon sure to be aggravated by the fact that American Jews are statistically seven years older than the general population.
There is a limited number of ways to increase the Jewish population. In Israel those have been primarily through Jewish births and immigration. But pronatalism, that is, birth encouragement, has its limits. There is, for example, the famous case of David Ben-Gurion proposing that the Israeli government provide a cash bonus to every Israeli woman who gave birth to a 10th child. The plan was discontinued when too many Arab women collected the bonus; as a democracy, the government was obligated to give equal treatment to Jews and Arabs.

Israel has made heroic efforts to attract and keep Jewish immigrants, but it has failed to attract American Jews in large numbers and available populations elsewhere remain both limited and uncertain in their desire to make Aliyah.
Meanwhile, American Jews have a negative population growth and high assimilation rates. And American Jews don’t control and so can’t when necessary or at will increase Jewish immigration to the US
But if encouraging births and immigration both in Israel and the US are insufficient efforts, what will work? Efforts most likely to succeed include welcoming back to Judaism those with Jewish ancestors and warmly embracing all those who wish to join the Jewish people on its historic spiritual journey by converting to Judaism. It is time to organize, staff, and fund large and practical efforts to increase our numbers.

Source of article:,7340,L-3975720,00.html

Thursday, October 28, 2010

US and Israel: Blinded by the Right .

Similarities exist in the political landscapes' of both the US and Israel, which left unaltered, could be of grave harm.

"I'm not a witch... I'm you."
With these words, Delaware Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell attempted to convince voters that despite admitting to have dabbled in witchcraft and holding many extreme views, her values and views are closer to those of her state's voters than those of the "Washington elite," represented by her opponent, Chris Coons.
We can pass this comment off as just political sloganeering, but in fact it well summarises the sad state of affairs in the "Thelma and Louise" of global politics, the United States and Israel.
Like the angry, self-loathing drunk unable to recognise himself in the The Who's seminal anthem "Who Are You," Americans and Israelis are reaching such depths of distrust and despair that the coarsest appeals to right wing identity politics - represented by the rise of the Tea Party and the current Netanyahu government - will ensure the perpetuation of policies that will doom both countries to an even darker future.
In so doing they are moving so far from their founding ideals that it's becoming impossible to recognise them anymore.

Weaving a Powerful Spell

O'Donnell, or at least the Tea Party from which she sprang, is involved in a base kind of witchcraft, using superstition and the lure of identity with some mythical past to manipulate people into acting against their core interests and forgetting their own history.
There is surprising resonance between O'Donnell's message and what is being put out to Israeli society by its leadership in the current "loyalty oath" controversy, in which the cabinet of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has drafted a law that would force new non-Jewish citizens of the state to swear an oath to be loyal to Israel as a Jewish state.
In both countries, the confusion about and opposition to extremist policies reveal a startling lack of comprehension of just how similar the "mainstream" has long been to the Right of centre (for example, Democratic Administrations brought us both Vietnam and the disastrous first dalliances with the Afghan resistance).
In Israel, Labour Party Minister Avishay Braverman declared that "Ben-Gurion would be turning in his grave" over the new law. Indeed, a large demonstration was held in front of his Tel Aviv home, where the countries Declaration of Independence was read over sixty years before.
But Ben-Gurion was a primary architect of the very policies of Conquest of Land that made the zero-sum conflict with Palestinian Arabs inevitable. Even as he read the Declaration of Independence, which described Israel as a "peace-seeking country based on the principles of equality and civil liberties" he knew full well that the only way the new state could survive and prosper would be if the country's indigenous Palestinian Arab population - those that were left inside Israel - were denied basic rights and equality well into the future.
A report from the Israeli peace group Gush Shalom described how "beneath the statue of Meir Dizengoff, first mayor of Tel Aviv, actress Hanna Meron read out from that Declaration of Independence," but she should have known that Tel Aviv - long the symbol of the rational, modern Israel - was itself built upon on the conquest of Palestinian land, the forced incorporation of surrounding Palestinian villages, and ultimately of Jaffa (minus most of its residents). When lamenting that the "reality of Israel is very different than what the country's Declaration of Independence envisaged," she missed the fact that while its different from the rhetoric of six decades past, the reality actually bears striking continuities to that bygone era.
Indeed, when activists decry the supposed arrival of "fascism" in Israel, they forget that while the "forcible invasion of the hallowed realm" of individual conscience might now be hitting close to home for Jewish citizens, its long been at the heart of the Palestinian experience of living in the country - either as citizens, or obviously worse, as occupied inhabitants of the West Bank and Gaza.
Even as the Israeli peaceniks made their stand, untold numbers of Palestinians languish in Israeli jails, and scores have been injured and killed, precisely for refusing to accept the expansion of Israeli ideology on the ground, for peacefully imagining another solution and then trying to actualise it on the ground. And so Palestinian activists such as Ameer Makhoul or Abdallah Abu Rahmah, remain imprisoned merely for asserting the core ideals of the Declaration of Independence: that they deserve and are owed the same full rights as their Jewish co-citizens.
The sad reality is that the line towards what protesters describe as fascism was not crossed last week; not 20 or 30 or 40 years ago, but at the beginnings of the Zionist project, which was built on a conquest of land and exclusively Jewish identity; this is historical reality. And when Palestinians met that discourse with an equally exclusivist nationalism on their part, the mold was set for the zero-sum, irreconcilable conflict that continues to this day.

Of Tea and Potions
Say what you will, at least Israelis don't bother sugar-coating their occupation anymore except to the most gullible foreign visitors.
With the horrors of Vietnam still fresh in America's historical memory, military leaders feel compelled to present their presence in Iraq or Afghanistan in the softest manner possible, at least for the natives' benefit. And so the Iraqi invasion was labeled, in all seriousness, "Operation Iraqi Freedom." In Afghanistan, thanks in part to the huge success of Greg Mortenson's Three Cups of Tea, the US military created a program in which female soldiers, who are increasingly part of the kill chain, are being sent into Afghan homes to drink tea with women in order to help smooth relations between the occupier and occupied.
Perhaps the soldiers are slipping some sort of potion in the tea when the women aren't looking to convince them of America's benign intentions (this is a military, after all, that has actually spent money training soldiers to knock over goats with their minds). Or maybe the military is just drinking its own Kool-Aid. But the Afpak brass claims that this program is a "success" that will help pacify the often recalcitrant population.
Of course, the fact that the tea parties have been dubbed by commanders "tea as a weapon" suggests that, whatever the PR spin, the military has not lost sight of the program's function and purpose.
Back in the United States, however, the witchcraft seems to be working perfectly. If Israelis lounging in Tel Aviv's famed cafés rarely need bother about the troubles caused by their settler compatriots and stubborn Palestinians, a just released poll reveals that only 4% of Americans rank the almost decade long war to be a major issue as in advance of the mid-term elections. It's not that most support what General Petreaus and other commanders openly describe as an "endless" conflict (although a shocking number still do).
Like Israelis who complain that Palestinians don't want peace while the bulldozers clear away ever more Palestinian soil, most Americans are so focused on the lousy economy that they apparently feel they don't have the luxury to worry about the war. That the hundreds of billions of dollars spent annually on the war could be spent productively to stimulate the economy, retrain workers, rebuild infrastructure and educational institutions, and otherwise improve the employment prospects and economic situation of most Americans doesn't even cross their minds, so successful has the voodoo first practiced by President Bush and now by his successor been.
Even the dean of American newscasters, Tom Brokaw, has been bewitched, complaining in a New York Times Oped recently that "we all would benefit from a campaign that engaged the vexing question of what happens next in the long and so far unresolved effort to deal with Islamic rage,"  as if America - its politics, its economic interests, and its toxic consumerist culture - hasn't played a significant role in fomenting and sustaining "Islamic" anger.
And so now we have the prospect of politicians like Christine O'Donnell and Avigdor Lieberman holding some part of the fate of their countries, and everyone else's with it, in their hands. Smiling giddily, they drive their countries ever closer to a precipice over which neither will be able to avoid careening, never mind returning in a form that resembles the ideals upon which they were founded - however flawed they may have been in practise.
At least in the movie, the audience could take comfort in the idea that Thelma and Louise would achieve a measure of peace as they sped off that desert cliff. There will be no witchraft powerful enough to make put a positive spin on where the United States and Israel are heading if they don't turn around before it's too late.

Mark LeVine is a professor of history at UC Irvine and senior visiting researcher at the Centre for Middle Eastern Studies at Lund University in Sweden. He has authored several books including Overthrowing Geography: Jaffa, Tel Aviv and the Struggle for Palestine (University of California Press, 2005) and An Impossible Peace: Israel/Palestine Since 1989 (Zed Books, 2009). 

Source of article:

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Police clash with Arab protesters as rightists rally in Umm al-Fahm

Police fire stun grenades, tear gas to scatter crowd; extreme rightists protest in Arab town and call for the Islamic Movement to be outlawed in Israel.

Dozens of extreme rightists held a protest against the Islamic Movement in the Arab town of Umm al-Fahm on Wednesday, which resulted in clashes between Arab residents of the town and police forces stationed at the scene.
Several Arab protesters hurled rocks at the rightists, and police forces fired tear gas and stun grenades at them in order to scatter the crowd. Several people have been arrested, though no serious injuries have been reported.

Hundreds of police officers were sent to Umm al-Fahm to try to prevent clashes between the two sides after an Israeli court allowed the right-wing activists to march in the city.
About 30 right-wing demonstrators traveled in buses from Jerusalem to Umm al-Fahm on Wednesday morning, led by far-right activists Baruch Marzel and Itamar Ben-Gvir, in order to hold a protest march calling for the Islamic Movement to be outlawed in Israel.
The rightists also protested the participation of a prominent leader of the Islamic Movement, Sheikh Raed Salah, in last May's Gaza-bound flotilla.
"I don't understand why, when Peace Now comes to demonstrate at my house in Hebron, it's for the glory of freedom of expression, but when we want to fulfill our legitimate right, suddenly it's a provocation," said Ben-Gvir on Tuesday. "We will teach the left what democracy is and we will demand: Outlaw the Islamic Movement."
On Tuesday, hundreds of people participated in a ceremony in Jerusalem marking the 20th anniversary of the assassination of Rabbi Meir Kahane, whose Kach party was banned from the Knesset for inciting racism.
Arab leaders decided this week not to declare a general strike, as they did when a similar march took place in the city last year. Instead, the leaders called on residents to go about their daily routines, urging students to attend school and store owners to open shop.
Umm al-Fahm Deputy Mayor Mustafa Ghalin said Tuesday that the plan was for city representatives and political activists, but not regular citizens, to face the marchers.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Kahane supporters: We'll destroy 'Ishmael state'.

During memorial service on 20th anniversary of Kach leader's death, Rabbi Yisrael Ariel says, 'If Ishmael state is established - we will destroy it. Suspected 'Jewish terrorist' Haim Pearlman also participates. His wife declares: 'Kahane' is not a dirty word.

Hundreds of Land of Israel Movement activists and supporters of the radical movement Kach held a memorial service on Tuesday to mark 20 years since Rabbi Meir Kahane's assassination.  

Kach activist Haim Pearlman, currently under house arrest after his suspected killing of four Arabs in the 1990s, was also among the participants. The wife of the 'Jewish terrorist,' Keren Pearlman, told Ynet: "Today everybody knows that 'Kahane' is not a dirty word."

The assembly was held at the Ramada Renaissance Hotel in Jerusalem, where shirts, books and other items were sold to the crowd. Speeches of the late Kahane were screened as well, while protestors went wild, clapping every time he said "Arabs out."

The founder of the Temple Institute, Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, said during the assembly: "Leaders who have ruined our country always tell us that no one can teach them how to love Israel. But this love they are referring to makes them establish an Ishmael state in Israel. If, G-d forbid, an Ishmael state will be built, we will destroy it." The crowd kept cheering him on enthusiastically.

Knesset Memeber Michael Ben Ari (National Union) also spoke out during the event, saying, "I too look at Rabbi Kahane's picture, a picture that stands on my office desk and on my desk at the Knesset plenum, next to his book. It is not a simple task to represent you; you stand up to countless attacks and I must say that your truth isn't a popular one. But Rabbi Kahane taught us not to speak the truth in the morning according to last night's poll results, as the prime minister does."

'Part of God's plan'

MK Ben Ari went on to say that the radical right-wing groups have been going through two tough decades since Kahane's murder. "We have suffered persecution, administrative detentions, everything we had was confiscated. They tried to wipe us out, but we are soldiers. I was lucky to be part of such a group that created a fist of loyalty. I was given twice the amount of time for my speech honoring Rabbi Kahane at the Knesset today, the same speech I wasn't allowed to give a year ago."

Radical right-wing activist Baruch Marzel mentioned implicitly the assemblies held for late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in his speech. "Fifteen years ago memorials began for this one man. The state wasted millions on his legacy's immortalization. There are almost no cities without a street or a hospital named after him. But after all of this, less and less people participate in his memorial services, because the truth gets clearer and clearer as years go by," he said. The head of Yeshiva of the Jewish Idea, Rabbi Yehuda Kroizer, said, "Rabbi Kahane became a symbol and as time passes, instead of his Torah disappearing we see how vital it really is. Israeli pride is not important today, and if it's not important then the Land of Israel is not important and neither are the people living in it.

"In his book, Rabbi Kahane wrote that we are living in times of redemption, which is why he viewed Israel as part of God's plan. This is why we must participate in the plan and integrate our own character into it. We must proudly carry on this mission assigned to us, and not grovel before the world's nations or the enemies of Israel, but only to stand firm and strong."

Source of article:,7340,L-3975518,00.html

UN envoy demands Israel act against settler attacks

"A senior U.N. official condemned attacks by Jewish "settler extremists" on Palestinians' olive trees in the occupied West Bank and called on Israel to "combat violence and terror by Israelis." Robert Serry, U.N. special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, also said he was alarmed that work had started on hundreds of new homes for settlers in the occupied territory since the end of Israel's settlement freeze last month.

Serry was speaking to journalists on Tuesday while olive-picking with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in the village of Tormos Ayya north of Ramallah. He said settlers had destroyed hundreds of trees in the village in recent weeks.
Palestinians began harvesting olives across the West Bank this month.
"I am appalled at acts of destruction of olive trees and farmlands, desecration of mosques and violence against civilians," Serry said.
"Israel states its condemnation of attacks, which I welcome, but its record in imposing the rule of law on settlers is lamentable," he said.
"Israel must combat violence and terror by Israelis, as is expected of the Palestinian Authority in the case of violence and terror by Palestinians," he said.
An Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman rejected Serry's use of the term "terror" in reference to Israelis and said he should have chosen his words more carefully.
"We understand that he decries acts of violence by certain settlers, but the Israeli government has been the first to condemn them and to instruct law enforcement agencies to crack down on the perpetrators -- but when he speaks of terror by Israelis, does he mean Israeli suicide bombers on Palestinian buses?" spokesman Yigal Palmor said.
Palestinian militants launched waves of suicide attacks against Israelis during the Second Intifada, or uprising, against Israeli occupation earlier this decade.
Israel has occupied the West Bank since 1967. The Palestinians want the territory to become part of a Palestinian state, together with the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. Today, close to 500,000 Jewish settlers live in the lands where Palestinians want to found their state next to Israel.
The Palestinians have said they will not resume peace negotiations, which began at the start of September with U.S. backing, until Israel agrees to halt building on the occupied territory.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has resisted pressure from the United States and the European Union to extend a freeze he had imposed on new home building in settlements in the West Bank. His government is dominated by parties which support the settlers, including his own Likud.
Serry said new building was illegal under international law "and will only serve to undermine our efforts for a negotiated solution."
The Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem has recorded almost one incident a day and in some cases more against Palestinians and their olive trees since the start of the harvest, spokeswoman Sarit Michaeli said. The Israeli army had provided better access to groves near settlements, she added.
"But this is their obligation ... the Israeli authorities have failed miserably in enforcing law on settlers attacking Palestinians and their property," she said."

Source of article:

Netanyahu 'salutes' commandos who raided Gaza flotilla.

PM tours top-security Shayetet 13 base in show of defiance against international censure of raid on Mavi Marmara.

Saying "I salute you," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the headquarters on Tuesday of Israeli naval commandos who killed nine pro-Palestinian Turks aboard a Gaza-bound aid ship in May.
Netanyahu's tour of the top-security Shayetet 13 base on the coast near Haifa was a show of defiance against international censure of the raid on the converted cruise liner Mavi Marmara.

It followed testimony on Sunday from Israel's military chief, who told a state-appointed inquest into the operation that the commandos had come under pistol, knife and cudgel
attacks while boarding and fired 308 live bullets in response.
Activists from the Mavi Marmara have confirmed they resisted the Israeli boarding party but denied provoking lethal violence.
Netanyahu said the May 31 raid on the Turkish-flagged vessel, one of six ships trying to run Israel's naval blockade of the Gaza Strip, had been "crucial, essential, important and legal".
"Gaza has turned into an Iranian terror base," he said, referring to the Palestinian territory controlled by Hamas Islamists, in a speech to around 200 members of the unit.
He heaped praise on the commandos, saying they had acted "courageously, morally and with restraint".
The night-time interception on Mediterranean high seas and the ensuing bloodshed strained Israel's once-close ties with Turkey, which has demanded an apology and compensation.
A United Nations probe last month condemned the attack as unlawful and said it resulted in violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. UN jurists also said the Gaza blockade had caused a humanitarian crisis and was unlawful.
'I salute you'
Flotilla 13 commandos had been equipped with riot-dispersal gear but quickly switched to live fire during deck brawls with dozens of activists. The ship had ignored Israeli calls to stop.
Two commandos were shot and wounded and another five suffered other injuries, the navy said. In addition to the nine Turkish dead, 24 activists were hurt, many of them by gunfire.
"You acted against those who came to kill you and tried to kill you," said Netanyahu. "There is no one better than you. I salute you."
He then met some of the commandos who took part in the raid, shaking their hands on a prow-shaped veranda overlooking the craggy bay at their Atlit base. They were shadowed by bodyguards and, out to sea, a squad of commandos in a speed boat.
Bristling at Turkish and other foreign fury over the Mavi Marmara raid yet wary of international war crimes suits, Israel set up its own inquiry to help prepare its submission for a separate probe under U.N. Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon.
Interim findings from that inquest, under retired Supreme Court justice Jacob Turkel, are due out in mid-November and the final report by early 2011, a spokesman said. Another internal investigation by an Israeli ex-general is already complete.
Turkey withdrew its ambassador from Israel and cancelled joint military exercises in protest at the Mavi Marmara raid and has dismissed the Israeli inquiries as insufficient.

Source of article:

Israel releases papers detailing formula of Gaza blockade.

Since Hamas took control of Gaza, officials have employed mathematical formulas to monitor goods from aid groups entering the Strip to ensure amount was in line with what Israel permitted.


In the three years since Hamas took control of Gaza, Israeli officials have employed mathematical formulas to monitor foodstuffs and other basic goods entering the Strip to ensure that the amount of supplies entering was neither less nor more than the amount Israel permitted, according to documents released last week.
The documents - released Thursday in response to a Freedom of Information Act petition by the non-profit group Gisha - were drafted while Amos Gilad served as interim coordinator of government activities in the territories, heading the body that checked the goods.

The formulas used coefficients and a formulation for "breathing space," a term used by COGAT authorities to refer to the number of days remaining until a certain supply runs out in Gaza, to determine allowed quantities.
In September 2007, the Israeli government ordered a tightening of the blockade on Gaza, a closure first put in place in 1991. COGAT, in conjunction with other authorities, drafted "Rules for permitting the entry of goods" and "Regulation, supervision and evaluation of supply inventories in Gaza."
Both documents were classified as drafts, but in effect served as instructions for Israeli authorities and were considered valid until a government-implemented policy change following the May raid of a Gaza-bound flotilla that left nine people dead.
Officials from COGAT, a Defense Ministry unit that coordinates activity between the government, military, international groups and the Palestinian Authority, told Haaretz that it had actually been responsible for releasing the documents, given that in the wake of the government decision the directives for keeping the files classified were no longer in force.
A high-ranking COGAT officer told Haaretz that "Regulation, supervision and evaluation of supply of inventories in Gaza" is a method of quickly identifying a shortage of any basic item in Gaza, and that despite the mathematical equations contained in the document, he had never intentionally limited the amount of goods allowed to enter, but on the contrary, verified whether inventories of certain basic supplies in Gaza were full.
The COGAT spokesman said that the regulations were formulated "based on well-known basic foodstuffs, in consultation with the Israeli Health Ministry and in consideration of family consumption habits in Gaza, as published by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics in 2006."
The document contained "warning lines," which were defined as "the days of [remaining] inventory beyond which the relevant official must pay attention to the deviation from reasonable norms and examine the correctness of the model."
There were two types of warning lines. The "upper warning line," which identified surpluses, was defined as an inventory exceeding 21 days for products with short shelf lives or 80 days for those with long shelf lives.
The "lower warning line," which identified shortages, was defined as an inventory of less than four days for products with short shelf lives and of less than 20 days for those with long shelf lives.
The senior COGAT official said the upper warning line was never actually used and the lower line was an important tool for identifying and averting impending shortages.
The "rules for permitting the import of goods" was drafted pursuant to a cabinet decision to restrict "the quantity and type of merchandise" entering Gaza. Its stated purpose was to define the "procedure, rules and method under which permission will be granted" for goods to enter Gaza.
These rules, the draft continued, were meant to allow in goods that would "supply the basic humanitarian needs of the Palestinian population." It then listed seven considerations to weigh when determining which goods should be permitted.
Security was one. The others were as follows:
* "The necessity of the product for meeting humanitarian needs (including its implications for public health in both the Strip and Israel )."
* "The product's image (whether it is considered a luxury )."
* "Legal obligations."
* "The impact of the product's use (whether it is used for preservation, reconstruction or development ), with an emphasis on the impact of its entry on the Hamas government's status."
* "The sensitivities of the international community."
* "The existence of alternatives."
These rules explain why, for example, imports of cloth and thread, which were considered "development" products, were barred, thereby destroying Gaza's textile industry.
The document states that many outside parties affected Israel's decisions: The Strip's needs will be determined not only by the relevant government agencies, it read, but by the Palestinian Authority, international agencies, the media and petitions to the courts by nongovernmental organizations, among others.
The third document that COGAT gave Gisha was the official list of products allowed into Gaza prior to May's botched raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla.
Following that raid, the list was significantly expanded. But the senior COGAT official said that even before then, the list of products actually allowed into Gaza was always longer than the written list.

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Monday, October 25, 2010

'IDF didn't offer medical treatment during flotilla raid'

Israeli-Arab who was aboard the 'Mavi Marmara' when it was boarded by Israeli Navy says passengers were left bleeding, Zoabi's pleas for treatment rejected by soldiers who stood, talked.

Two Israeli-Arabs who were aboard the Turkish Mavi Marmara testified before Turkel Commission on Monday, and recounted their experiences during the May 31 Navy interception of the Gaza-bound vessel.
An Israeli-Arab, Muhammad Zaidan, who was aboard the Mavi Marmara when it was overtaken by the Israeli Navy, told the Turkel Commission on Monday that Israeli soldiers refused to offer treatment to wounded passengers on the boat for at least one hour. 

Zaidan said that he and about 250 other passengers remained below deck, in a large room where they slept during the seizure of the boat. He said he did not see the takeover of the boat by the soldiers, however, during the takeover, about 20 wounded passengers entered the room. Many of them were bleeding, he added. Zaidan said Israeli soldiers stood outside the door talking to each other but did not enter the room and did not extend help.

At one point he maintained, MK Haneen Zoabi went up to the soldiers with a sign asking them to look after the wounded. The soldiers, he continued, ordered her to return to her place and did nothing.

Commission member Miguel Deutsh asked Zaidan about reports that had been broadcast and videotaped, according to which Zoabi had refused to allow Israeli soldiers to treat the wounded passengers. Zaidan said he had seen the clips but knew nothing about them and insisted that the soldiers had rejected Zoabi's request for help.

The members of the commission tried to pin Zaidan down regarding who were the organizers of the flotilla and particularly the Mavi Marmara, which was by far the largest and the most violent of the six ships in the flotilla.

Zaidan said he had been invited to join the voyage by a non-political human rights group in Gaza which was connected to the Free Gaza Movement. He continually referred to the organizers of the ship, but refused to say who they were or who they were affiliated with. The ship in fact flew the flag of the Turkish Islamic IHH movement.

Zaidan insisted that he was a participant in the flotilla but not an organizer. He said the aim of the flotilla was to show the Gazan population that the world was concerned with their plight and charged that Gazans were dieing of hunger and cold. 

The testimonies came hours after opposition leader Tzipi Livni testified before the commission, voicing strong support for the legitimacy of Israel's blockade on the Gaza Strip.

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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Saudi prince: Israel is America's sewer in Mideast.

Riyadh's former ambassador to Washington accuses Obama Administration of 'failing to curb brutal Israeli policy of collective punishment, arbitrary arrests and killings'

Prince Turki al- Faisal, the former Saudi ambassador to the US, criticism the Obama Administration's "favoritism" towards Israel, which he dubbed America's "sewer" in the Middle East.

Speaking to the annual conference of the National Council for US-Arab Relations on Friday, al-Faisal Washington "has failed to curb the brutal Israeli policy of collective punishment, arbitrary arrests and killings" and criticized American officials "who rationalize, excuse, and condone Israeli intransigence while seeking to put more pressure on the Palestinians to concede even more."

"It is these officials who propose that (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu's government should be rewarded, rather than sanctioned, for its intransigence,” he said.
Al-Faisal, ex-director of Saudi intelligence, also addressed the incentives package Obama reportedly offered Netanyahu in exchange for renewing the settlement construction moratorium in the West Bank. 
"The US failed to stick to its assurances, and to add insult to injury, offered the Netanyahu government more money, arms, protection from UN sanctions and, shamefully, the stationing of Israeli troops on Palestinian territory as if the territory were part of American sovereign lands,” al-Faisal.
The Saudi prince also slammed the pro-Israel lobby, saying, “There has grown over the years a web of very tight and strong strings that bind the US to her client state, Israel.” 

Source of article:,7340,L-3974268,00.html

IDF Chief to Gaza flotilla probe: Israeli commandos fired 308 bullets aboard Mavi Marmara.

Ashkenazi testifies before Turkel Commission, defends IDF decision to rappel commandos onto deck of Gaza-bound Turkish aid ship where 9 activists were killed.


Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi once again on Sunday defended Israel's decision to rappel Israeli commandos onto the deck of a Gaza-bound aid ship on May 31, where ensuing clashes resulted in the deaths of nine Turkish activists.


"Testifying before an investigations committee probing the deadly events, Ashkenazi said that Israeli commandos had fired 308 live bullets aboard the ship to repel passengers who attacked them with lethal weapons, including a snatched Uzi machine pistol.
In a sometimes testy second round of testimony before the state-appointed inquest, the Lieutenant-General insisted the navy's killing of nine Turks on the converted cruise ship Mavi Marmara had been unavoidable.
The Mavi Marmara was one of several boats, laden with supplies, aiming to violate Israel's blockade on the Gaza Strip. Israel informed the organizers of the flotilla that the ships would not be allowed to reach the Gaza shores, and soldiers boarded all the ships to compel them to change course.
Ashkenazi told the six-member Turkel Commission on Sunday that navy commandos who boarded the Mavi Marmara were equipped with riot-dispersal gear, but quickly switched to live fire to confront armed passengers because "if they had not done this, there would have been more casualties."
Ankara, which wants compensation and an apology from Israel, has dismissed the Turkel panel as too lacking in scope.
The probe commission has solicited testimony from Mavi Marmara passengers - many of whom insist the commandos' onslaught was unprovoked - and signaled it may probe Israel's navy deeper.
Ashkenazi said 308 live rounds were fired by the troops. A top aide to the general told Reuters 70 of these were aimed to cause injury, while the rest were warning shots.
That appeared consistent with Turkish forensic findings that the nine dead activists were shot a total of 30 times, and there were gunshot wounds among another 24 passengers who were hurt.
"Those who are asking questions [about tactics] should propose an alternative solution," Ashkenazi said.
Ashkenazi said passengers grabbed three Glock handguns and an Uzi machine pistol from commandos whom they overpowered. The troops had been dropped from helicopters onto the crowded ship as it ploughed through Mediterranean high seas at night.
"We have testimony of one activist running at them [commandos] and firing with a mini-Uzi, and them shooting him," he said. "They hit those who were clearly involved in the attack on them, and not those who were not."
Mavi Marmara activists have said any guns taken from the troops were disposed of, rather than used.
Ashkenazi said commandos had fired some 350 beanbag rounds and non-lethal paintballs, all according to "protocol." The navy opted against rubber bullets - a mainstay of Israel's tactics against Palestinian demonstrations on land - because of a lethal risk within the Mavi Marmara's confines, Ahkenazi added.
Ashkenazi, who is scheduled to retire early next year, made clear that he had returned to testify in order to spare scrutiny from subordinates, including the admiral in charge of the navy.
Bristling at Turkish and other foreign fury over the Mavi Marmara raid yet wary of international war crimes suits, Israel set up the Turkel Commission to help prepare its submission for a separate probe under United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
Ashkenazi, a career infantryman, said the commission had received "word for word" accounts from marines, including two who were shot and wounded upon boarding.
Commission members asked Ashkenazi if lowering soldiers into a crowd on the ship's deck was wise. He said there was no better way to stop the ship. "If we had a special trick to stop the flotilla, we would have used it. We maintain intimate cooperation with other armies, and we haven't heard of another solution."
Endorsing the commandos' recollection, Ashkenazi said they were combat veterans who "know when they are being shot at."
But he also seemed to make allowances for the haze of melee.
"I won't take issue with a soldier who might confuse a slingshot, and the whizz its missile makes as it flies past, with a pistol, during night-time," he said."


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Friday, October 22, 2010

Palestinian graveyard vandalized in settler 'price tag' operation

Witnesses report seeing three suspects at the graveyard in West Bank village of Kfar Kadum.

"Extremist Jewish settlers spray-painted slogans on graves at a northern West Bank cemetery, Israeli media reported Friday.

The vandals also sprayed the name of the extremist late Rabbi Meir Kahane on one of the graves.

Palestinian security forces alerted the Israeli military and said witnesses reported seeing three suspects at the graveyard in the village of Kfar Kadum, near the West Bank city of Qalqiliya.

One of the slogans had the words "price tag," which radical settlers use to describe their revenge campaign against restrictions on Israeli construction in the occupied territory.

A 10-month partial freeze of Israeli construction at West Bank settlements expired last month, and new building starts have picked up."

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Safed rabbis urge Jews to refrain from renting apartments to Arabs

Rabbis' letter says renting properties to Arabs would deflate value of homes as well as those in neighborhood.

"A group of 18 prominent rabbis, including the chief rabbi of Safed, signed a call urging Jews to refrain from renting or selling apartments to non-Jews.
According to a report which first appeared on Channel 1 television, most of the signatories are from Safed, a city that has seen an increase in its Arab student population that is enrolled at the town's local college.
Safed chief rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, who has been criticized in the past for incendiary remarks against Arabs, is the most prominent figure to sign the letter.
Last week, Safed played host to an "emergency conference" which was held under the banner "Quiet War: Combating Assimilation in the Holy City of Safed". The event, which attracted 400 participants, was held at the Yigal Allon House, the municipal cultural center.
Haaretz has learned that the venue was reserved thanks to funding from the city's religious council. Far-right activist Baruch Marzel spoke at the event, as did a representative of the "Lahaba" organization, whose Hebrew acronym stands for "Prevention of Assimilation in the Holy Land."
Speakers at the conference expressed concern over plans to build a medical school in the city which they said would exacerbate the problem of "the Arab takeover of Safed."
The rabbis' letter, which was originally published months ago, urges Jewish owners of apartments to reconsider renting their properties to Arabs since it would deflate the value of their homes as well as those in the neighborhood.
"Their way of life is different than that of Jews," the letter stated. "Among [the gentiles] are those who are bitter and hateful toward us and who meddle into our lives to the point where they are a danger."
The rabbis also urge neighbors of anyone renting or selling property to Arabs to caution that person. After delivering the warning, the neighbor is then encouraged to issue notices to the general public and inform the community.
"The neighbors and acquaintances [of a Jew who sells or rents to an Arab] must distance themselves from the Jew, refrain from doing business with him, deny him the right to read from the Torah, and similarly [ostracize] him until he goes back on this harmful deed," the letter reads.
Letter prompted by rise in demand
There are currently 1,350 Arab students (out of a total student body of 2,200 ) matriculating at the Academic College in Safed. The increased demand for rented apartments prompted the rabbis to issue their call.
Mahmoud Abu Salah, the Arab representative of the Academic College Student Union, told Haaretz that his primary task is to aid Arab students in finding apartments to rent.
"The entire population in Safed listens to Rabbi Eliyahu, not just the religious public," he said. "Sometimes I present myself as 'Tomer.' That is the only way people will agree to rent out their apartments. In one instance, we managed to find an apartment for rent in the nearby moshav of Biriya. When the neighbors understood that Arabs were moving in, they threatened to set the apartment on fire. The situation has become intolerable. There are students who come here from the Negev, the Triangle, Haifa and Wadi Ara. They have nowhere to live. We will combat this ugly phenomenon."
Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu is the son of the late Mordechai Eliyahu, who once served as the chief Sephardic rabbi of Israel. Shmuel Eliyahu has been indicted in the past for incitement stemming from controversial remarks about Arabs. After a Palestinian suicide bomber killed nine people and wounded 50 on a bus at the Meron junction in northern Israel in August 2002, Eliyahu called on the Academic College to expel its Arab students.
"You can say the word 'racist' 20 times," Eliyahu once told an interviewer. "It doesn't have an effect on me. By the way, Jewish religious law prohibits the selling of apartments to Arabs and the renting of apartments to Arabs."
Officials in the State Prosecutor's Office told Haaretz: "We have yet to receive any complaint on the issue. If and when a complaint is received, the matter will be investigated."

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Moves to free convicted spy Pollard pick up in U.S. and Israel

Several recent appeals have come from those who consider Pollard's life sentence unjustified.

Lawrence Korb, an assistant secretary of Defense at the time of Pollard's arrest in November 1985, wrote in a public letter to President Obama in late September that the sentence was too harsh and the result of an "almost visceral dislike of Israel" by former Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger.

Korb says the average sentence for Pollard's offence is two to four years and under current guidelines the maximum sentence is 10 years.

Rafi Eitan, the former chief of the Israeli intelligence unit that recruited Pollard, last week claimed that the U.S. had reneged on its verbal pledge to release Pollard after 10 years. Eitan said Pollard remained imprisoned despite the fact that some of the U.S. charges against him — specifically, spying for the former Soviet Union — had been refuted.

Eitan said some espionage activities originally attributed to Pollard were later discovered to have been the work of Russian mole Aldrich Ames, who was arrested in 1994.

Pollard's New York-based attorneys last week filed a new petition for clemency, asking Obama to commute the sentence to time served.

Their request was supported by a letter recently circulated by four Democrats in Congress urging Obama to release Pollard as a way of encouraging Israel to take risks for peace.

The issue was even reportedly broached during recent talks aimed at crafting a list of American incentives to persuade Israel to extend its partial freeze on West Bank settlement construction and get peace talks back on track. But officials on both sides later distanced themselves from the proposal.

"Right now, I hope there is some change in the atmosphere," Yuli Edelstein, Israel's diaspora affairs minister and one of several Israeli politicians who have visited Pollard in his prison cell in Butner, North Carolina, said in an interview. "I would dare say that in the last few weeks there is more attention on this issue. But we've already suffered several disappointments in the past."

Edelstein added that there have been high-level discussions among Israeli government officials on ways to obtain Pollard's release.

Nevertheless, obstacles stand in the way of Pollard's freedom. Some analysts say that with the midterm elections near, Obama may be reluctant to enter discussions on the issue with the defense and intelligence establishments, which may fear that a release would suggest U.S. leniency toward convicted spies.

Furthermore, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may not wish to push an issue that could stir diplomatic tensions.

Pollard's supporters insist that he acted out of loyalty to Israel. But that argument has been undermined by allegations that Israel provided him with cash, jewelry and expensive travel in return for the documents, and later funded some of his legal fees.

Pollard's wife, Esther, wrote in the Jerusalem Post newspaper on Monday that the statements by Korb and Eitan "provide Israel with the golden key to open Jonathan's jail cell." She also lambasted the behavior of successive Israeli governments toward her husband as "morally bereft" and condemned the Netanyahu government for failing to act to free Pollard.

It was in 1998, during Netanyahu's first premiership, that Israel officially acknowledged that Pollard was one of its spies. Until then, he had been described as part of an operation not sanctioned by the government. When Pollard was on the run from U.S. authorities in 1985 and sought refuge at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, he was denied entry.

Through the years, the Pollard case has come up during diplomatic negotiations and election campaigns.

"Pollard is not different from any other one of our soldiers," said Uri Ariel, a right-wing legislator who leads the parliamentary group lobbying for Pollard's release. "We don't neglect soldiers anywhere, not in this field either.""

Source of article,0,7640236.story

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef , Gentiles exist only to serve Jews

Sephardi leader Yosef: Non-Jews exist to serve Jews

"Israeli Sephardic leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef in his weekly Saturday night sermon said that non-Jews exist to serve Jews.
“Goyim were born only to serve us. Without that, they have no place in the world; only to serve the People of Israel,” he said during a public discussion of what kind of work non-Jews are allowed to perform on Shabbat.
"Why are gentiles needed? They will work, they will plow, they will reap. We will sit like an effendi and eat," he said to some laughter.
Yosef, the spiritual leader of the Shas Party and the former chief Sephardi rabbi of Israel, also said that the lives of non-Jews are protected in order to prevent financial loss to Jews.
"With gentiles, it will be like any person: They need to die, but God will give them longevity. Why? Imagine that one’s donkey would die, they’d lose their money. This is his servant. That’s why he gets a long life, to work well for this Jew,” said the rabbi, who recently turned 90.
An audio recording of some of the rabbi's remarks was broadcast on Israel's Channel 10.
The American Jewish Committee condemned the rabbi's remarks in a statement issued Monday.
"Rabbi Yosef’s remarks -- suggesting outrageously that Jewish scripture asserts non-Jews exist to serve Jews -- are abhorrent and an offense to human dignity and human equality,” said AJC Executive Director David Harris. "Judaism first taught the world that all individuals are created in the divine image, which helped form the basis of our moral code. A rabbi should be the first, not the last, to reflect that bedrock teaching of our tradition."

Israeli rabbi: Honey-pot sex is kosher for female Mossad agents

"An Israeli rabbi has given his blessing to female agents of Israel's foreign secret service, Mossad, who may be required to have sex with the enemy in so-called "honey-pot" missions against terrorists.
Rabbi Ari Shvat's ruling appeared in a study, "Illicit sex for the sake of national security," published by the Tzomet Institute, which studies the interface between religion and modernity.
But Schvat wrote that honey-pot missions are not just a thing of modern-day espionage - such as the late 1980s capture of Mordechai Vanunu, the Israeli nuclear technician who revealed details of Israel's nuclear program, or the January 2010 assassination of terrorist Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai. Both cases reportedly involved a Mossad female lure.
In fact, honey-pot missions are rooted in Biblical lore.
Queen Esther, who was Jewish, slept with the Persian king Xerxes around 500 BC to save her people, Schvat noted. Yael, wife of Hever, slept with the enemy chief of staff Sisra to tire him and cut off his head, according to tradition.
There is a catch, however, for married honey-pots. "If it is necessary to use a married woman, it would be best [for] her husband to divorce her. ... After the [sex] act, he would be entitled to bring her back," Schvat wrote.
"Naturally, a job of that sort could be given to a woman who in any event is licentious in her ways."
Male agents in Mossad apparently have no limitations on sleeping with the female enemy, as they were not mentioned in the writings.
Schvat's study was praised by Tzomet's director, Rabbi Yisrael Rosen, who added that "women employees of the Mossad are probably not going to come consult with a rabbi" before their missions."

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