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Today's News

October 24, 2014



Israel Blames Abbas, Hamas for Jerusalem Terror Attack

 By AFP & Reuters


Israeli officials said that terrorist organization Hamas was responsible for a Jerusalem terror attack that killed a 3-month-old baby, but also blamed Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his "partner in government." The State Department confirmed that Haya Zissel Braun, the baby  was a US citizen.


"The baby was an American citizen," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters in a briefing on Thursday. She gave no other details on the infant or the family, citing privacy concerns. US officials in Jerusalem are assisting the family, she added.


A Palestinian resident of east Jerusalem rammed his car into a crowd of pedestrians at a Jerusalem light rail stop on Wednesday evening, killing the child baby and injuring eight others.


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's spokesperson, Mark Regev, blamed Hamas and Abbas for the incident. "Today's terror attack in Jerusalem, the attack on a mother and baby, is typical of Hamas, President Abbas' partner in the Palestinian government. President Abbas himself unfortunately continues to use inflammatory rhetoric inciting against Israelis. This is instead of being a force for peace and reconciliation," Regev said.


The prime minister convened an emergency security consultation, where he said that "this is how Abbas' partners in government operate -- the same Abbas who only days ago incited to violence against Jews in Jerusalem." In a statement, Netanyahu announced that he had beefed up the security presence in Jerusalem.


The Palestinians were quick to praise the terrorist and the outcome of the attack. Top Hamas official Mushir al-Masri lauded the attack as an "act of heroism and a natural response to the crimes of the occupation against our people and our holy sites."


Speaking on al-Quds radio, an Islamic Jihad spokesman said that "it is the right of the Palestinian people to defend themselves and their holy places in light of Israel's ongoing assault." The leaders of the movement urged the Palestinian leadership to "take action in the West Bank by way of resistance and end the security cooperation with Israel."


The Palestinian Authority, meanwhile, rejected Israel's accusations of incitement. "The Israeli escalation and the ongoing occupation are the real reason for all this violence, be it in Palestine or in the region," said Abbas' spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina. "Israel has become a pariah in the world while other countries are calling for recognition of a Palestinian State."


On Wednesday, the U.S. State Department issued a statement saying that "The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms today’s terrorist attack in Jerusalem. We express our deepest condolences to the family of the baby... who was killed in this despicable attack, and extend our prayers for a full recovery to those injured. We urge all sides to maintain calm and avoid escalating tensions in the wake of this incident."


The grandfather of the baby, who was visiting Israel from the U.S., spoke to media outside the emergency room. "My wife Sarah left several hours ago, she is now in the airplane with my daughter, she will arrive in New York in a few hours. And the first message that she will receive will be that the beloved granddaughter, for whom we waited so long, has passed away. She hasn't landed in new York yet and as she will arrive there she will get this horrible message," said Shimshon Halperin.


President Reuven Rivlin condemned the attack, saying, "The terrible murder of a tender infant, who fell victim to indiscriminate terrorism, would horrify anyone with a heart. The growing incitement on the Arab street and across Jerusalem, which unfortunately enjoys the support of the Arab world leadership, could spell disaster for the delicate fabric of life in Jerusalem and drag us all into a vortex of destruction and pain."


Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett also responded to the attack. "The devil has not yet invented appropriate revenge for the murder of a three-month-old baby," he said. "The Israel Police and the Public Security Ministry must treat every incident of stone-throwing as a terrorist act."


Shaludi, 21, from Silwan in east Jerusalem, was shot as he fled on foot and later died. Israel said he was a Hamas activist, but while relatives confirmed he was the nephew of a top-Hamas bomb-maker killed in 1998, it was not clear whether he belonged to the Islamist movement.


The incident triggered clashes between police and stone-throwing Palestinians across east Jerusalem. By Thursday morning, on Netanyahu's orders, police surged into flashpoint neighborhoods in a bid to stamp out persistent unrest. "Jerusalem is coming under attack by terror... and this attack is supported by the chairman of the Palestinian Authority," he said.


But chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat accused Netanyahu of turning a blind eye to Israel's provocative actions in the city's strife-hit east. "The man, once he looks at the mirror... should know who's responsible for the miserable situation of Palestinians and Israelis, the escalation of violence and so on," he said.


Relatives said Shaludi had been recently released from prison where he served 14 months for disturbing the peace, a euphemism for participating in unrest. Palestinian community officials say the wave of unrest is fuelled by a sense of hopelessness resulting from Israel's policies in east Jerusalem, which have left many youths with a sense they have nothing to lose.


Much of Palestinian anger over Jewish settlements in east Jerusalem has focused on Silwan -- a densely populated Arab neighborhood on a steep hillside just south of the Old City.


Silwan hit the headlines in the past month when settlers acquired another 35 apartments there, triggering outrage from the Palestinians and US condemnation. Jewish groups buying up property in the heart of Arab neighborhoods is an explosive political issue because it touches on the future of east Jerusalem, which the Palestinians want as capital of a future state.


The groups are looking to establish a contiguous Jewish presence in the area, thereby preventing any future division of the Holy City under a peace deal. Israeli commentators said settlement expansion in Silwan had enflamed anger ignited in early July after the grisly murder of a teenager by Jewish extremists. "Since the murder, the area... has been on the brink of anarchy," wrote Alex Fishman in Yediot Aharonot newspaper.


"The Israeli establishment did its part in fanning the flames of the growing anarchy -- Jews going to live in Silwan (and) forbidding Muslims from entering the Temple Mount during Jewish holidays," he wrote of the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, a site holy to both faiths.


"The government must stop permitting private (Jewish settlement) organizations from invading neighborhoods in east Jerusalem," Shimon Shiffer wrote in the same paper. "If they continue to do this, it is reasonable to assume that the Palestinian reaction will escalate."



Israel, Australia Sign New Work Visa Deal



Israel and Australia signed an agreement on Wednesday that will allow young adults from both countries to get work visas from the other. The deal was part of a recent effort to secure work arrangements for young Israelis abroad, to prevent them from getting in legal trouble when looking for work.


The deal stipulates that citizens ages 18-30 with no children will be able to request a one-year work visa. 500 such visas will be allotted for Israelis seeking to work in Australia and 500 for Australians seeking to come to Israel. Prior to Wednesday's agreement, Israelis who got travel visas were only able to stay in Australia for six months.


Israel decided that draft dodgers will not be eligible for the visas, with exceptions, including Israeli Arabs and people who did national service instead. The visa is both a travel visa and a work permit for year, provided that a job is no more than six months at any employer. A similar deal was signed with Germany recently.


"The agreement is another important means of strengthening the good bilateral relationship between Israel and Australia and will also enable the strengthening of ties between the two nations and for us to get to know each other's culture," Ambassador Ben Shmuel said.


The Israeli and Australian governments are set to work on implementing the legal and administrative measures required to put the agreement into effect; the process is expected to take a few weeks.



Japan is Coming to Israel – With Its Best Kosher Food



As America and Europe become ever more critical in foisting political agendas on their relations with Israel, the Jewish state is turning its eyes to the east – where it has found a natural ally in Japan, holder of the world’s third-largest GDP.


That alliance is advancing rapidly under the guidance of the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), a government-related group whose representatives at the Japanese Culture Week in Jerusalem told Israel National News they are witnessing something of a renaissance in Japanese-Israeli trade.


Kei Takagi, manager of JETRO’s branch in Tel Aviv, explained how his organization aids Japanese export to Israel, and likewise aids Israeli companies who want to enter the Japanese market. “There’s a lot of talk of business,” Takagi said. “We are seeing a very large rise among Japanese businesspeople that have started arriving here (in Israel) in the last year.”


The food industry is a natural and easy first step in trade as the two countries grow closer. Kosher certification to ensure food products meet Jewish dietary laws are “a relatively new thing in Japan, although more and more food manufacturers are getting interested,” relates Takagi.


 “On the one hand there aren’t many Jews in Japan; on the other hand the demand for kosher certification is not only in Israel, it’s also in the United States, in the West and Europe,” adds the JETRO manager, explaining how his organization has recently led a campaign to explain to Japanese companies the benefits of “going kosher.” Their efforts have been rewarded, with a major Japanese sake label recently taking the plunge into the kosher – and the Israeli – market.


They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. If that idiom is true, Born sake brewery and the Japanese and Israeli companies it has partnered with seem to have the recipe to sealing an alliance between Israel and Japan with their kosher traditional Japanese culinary delights.


The sake brewery was founded in 1860, eight years before the Meiji period began, and its Born brand has won a staggering number of gold medals at sake and wine competitions both in Japan and worldwide.



French Entrepreneurs Launch Test to Detect Pork in Food

 By Reuters


Two French entrepreneurs have launched a portable device to test for the presence of pork in food for use by Jews who abide by kosher laws or Muslims who abide by dietary laws. The test, similar in size to a pregnancy test, aims to help consumers detect traces of pork not just in food, but also in cosmetics or medicines.


The kit comes with a small test tube in which a food sample is mixed with warm water. A test strip is then inserted into the water which delivers its verdict after a few minutes: one line means no trace of pork; two lines means pork is present.


Frenchmen Jean-Francois Julien and Algerian-born Abderrahmane Chaoui came up with the idea at university two years ago in the midst of a Europe-wide scandal over mislabeled frozen meals containing horsemeat instead of beef. Julien was already developing tests for people suffering from food intolerance or more serious allergies.


"Abderrahmane tells me 'you know, food allergies and food intolerance are very interesting of course but you should really diversify yourself in animal proteins'," Julien said. "That's when we got the idea to develop a specific anti-body for porcine DNA."


Their company, Capital Biotech, argues no other existing test allows the end user to analyze the content of a food product as easily and cheaply as theirs. The tests cost €6.90 per unit and are 99% accurate. Called "HalalTest," it will be mainly marketed to the large Muslim population in France, but can also meet the needs of kosher-keeping Jews. The new device will be available for purchase online very soon, the founders said.


Despite its name, Capital Biotech says no test can tell whether a meat dish is fully kosher or fully halal. As well as shunning pork, both Judaism and Islam dictate that animals be slaughtered according to a strict method. Even so, Capital Biotech said it had received pre-orders for 10,000 testing kits within 24 hours of the launch on Wednesday.


Julien and Abderrahmane, who have also launched an alcohol test, have developed several other tests which could, they believe, interest millions of food intolerance sufferers. The first will detect cow's milk proteins, while another will detect traces of gluten in food for people who have an intolerance to gluten or those who have developed celiac disease, said Capital Biotech co-founder Thomas Nenninger.




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 Paradise Regained, Paradise Lost

By Don Canaan (Commentary)

This year marked the 29th anniversary of the return of the Sinai by Israel to Egypt--a day of mourning by many of the 2,000 settlers who settled and later were forcibly evacuated by Israeli authorities under the command of Ariel Sharon, from the seaside city of Yamit on the Mediterranean.

Yamit was former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan's dream--a projected seaport and city of 250,000 founded on the Sinai sand dunes overlooking date palm trees and the blue Mediterranean--a populated buffer between the Gaza Strip and Egypt on the other side of the Suez Canal.

Some alternate historians say Moses and the children of Israel passed near the site of Yamit 3,500 years ago as they wandered for 40 years through the Sinai Desert on their way to the proverbial land of milk and honey.

Since April 25, 1982 only the whine of the desert wind weaves its currents through the crevices of destroyed homes, businesses and monument--a memorial to the young men who died during the 1967 Six Day war.

Christians, Jews and Muslims died during three Arab-Israeli wars and battles that took place in the Sinai in 1956, 1967 and 1973--Egyptian and Israeli--young people who fought and died in that desolate, forsaken desert wasteland.

The modern-day chariot carrying Egyptian President Mohammed Anwar al-Sadat hugged the intermittently green coastline of Sinai on its historic mission to Jerusalem. Israelis glancing upward into the clear night sky saw merely a jet banking gently to the northwest.

Official Israeli government policy was that the settlers had to be removed and the army came and forcibly removed the remaining diehard residents. The Jerusalem Post described the scene: Apocalypse had arrived in Yamit and in the dust and noise and destruction one could wander freely. Dozens of bulldozers and giant mobile air hammers were loose in the city like a pack of predatory beasts."

April 25, 20011 marked the 29th anniversary of Israel's withdrawal from Yamit and Sinai and a cold peace between long-term enemies.

That gift of peace silently glided overhead as the Sabbath disappeared and the stars appeared. At 8:01 p.m. Sadat's jetliner landed at Ben-Gurion Airport and the first minutes of a then potential peace came to the Middle East.

Old enemies became new friends. The crowds roared its approval when Sadat shook hands with Moshe Dayan. A person standing nearby, according to the Jerusalem Post, said Sadat told Dayan, "Don't worry Moshe, it will be all right."

The peace treaty between the two nations was signed on March 26, 1979 and on April 25, 1982; the events that had started on a November day at Camp David came to fruition. Sinai was returned to Egypt. Yamit was bulldozed to the ground. But Anwar Sadat did not live to see that day. He had been assassinated seven months before.



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