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Today's News

October 2, 2014


Did Netanyahu Cave in to White House Demand?



Arutz Sheva has learned that the White House demanded that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu declare, before his meeting Wednesday with President Barack Obama, that he is still committed to the two-state solution.


The White House was reportedly dissatisfied with the contents of Netanyahu’s speech at the UN earlier this week as the speech did not specifically mention the two-state solution, but rather only a statement by Netanyahu that he is prepared for an historic compromise if it results in true peace between Israel and the Palestinians.


Arutz Sheva learned that the White House demanded that Netanyahu declare his commitment to the two-state solution before the meeting or risk another crisis in the relations between Israel and the U.S.. According to another unconfirmed report, Obama’s associates officially conditioned the meeting between the two leaders on such a statement from Netanyahu.


It is likely due to this reason that Netanyahu had to clarify before the meeting that he is still committed to the two-state solution in exchange for recognition of Israel as a Jewish state by the Palestinian Authority.


It should be noted that Obama and Netanyahu’s meeting came as PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas continues his unilateral steps and has announced his intention to lobby the United Nations to set a deadline for Israel to withdraw from Judea and Samaria. Abbas said earlier Wednesday that if the United States vetoes the resolution that he will bring before the Security Council, he will “re-examine” the PA's security cooperation with Israel.



Secret Israel-PA Communication Channel Revealed



A senior Palestinian Authority source revealed to Yedioth Ahronoth that a secret channel of communication exists between Israel and the PA in parallel to the Cairo truce talks, through which Israel is negotiating with the PA, Hamas and Islamic Jihad representatives.


The source exposed that an unidentified senior Israeli diplomat met on Tuesday with PA unity government Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah in Ramallah to speak about a number of steps by Israel to provide relief for residents of Gaza.


A senior Israeli source speaking to the Hebrew-language news source described the meeting as "coordination with a goal of changing the reality on the ground. These talks are not meant to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but rather they parallel the ceasefire talks," said the source. "The goal is to ensure supervision over what's happening in Gaza, and that can be done with the UN or with the (Palestinian) Authority."


The source continued "for the Authority to do that, we need to coordinate processes with them and also to change the reality on the ground for the Gaza residents. It's meant to establish a basis for the cease-fire."


Other Israeli diplomatic sources claimed the Ramallah meeting was a routine affair before Muslim holidays, as this Saturday marks Eid al-Adha which celebrates Abraham's "binding of Ishmael," in a Muslim appropriation of the original Torah story. The sources insisted there is no change in the policy of no direct talks with the PA since its unity deal with Hamas, but wouldn't reveal details of the talk's contents.


The meeting with Hamdallah is important because last week in Cairo, Hamas and the PA reportedly agreed to let the unity government take responsibility for Gaza by supervising crossings, making Hamdallah as head of that government the source to talk to for coordinating happenings in Gaza.


As part of that process, Hamas official Izzat Al-Rishq last week said 3,000 PA Security Forces troops would be deployed to Gaza, and that the wage war to have the unity government pay Hamas employees would be resolved via a third-party country acting in coordination with the PA.


Reportedly, dramatic relief steps are being discussed by Israel in the various talks that come following the terror war that Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists launched on Israel from Gaza. According to Yedioth Ahronoth, Gaza has strongly demanded that male residents over the age of 60 be allowed to enter Jerusalem and pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount for Muslim holidays. In a PA unity government meeting on Tuesday, it was announced that Israel had agreed to let Gaza residents travel to Jerusalem to pray at the mosque built on the holiest site in Judaism.


Another strong demand has been that Israel allow Gaza-produced goods to be marketed in Judea and Samaria, and let students from Gaza study in Judea and Samaria or abroad. Israel has already agreed to raise the number of Gaza merchants travelling to Judea and Samaria to 200 per day, raised the maximum age of children allowed to accompany family visits to the area to 16, and given humanitarian visit permits to grandfathers and grandmothers.


When Cairo truce talks resume in the last week of October, other major topics will be raised such as control of Gaza border crossings, their supervision, and letting Gaza goods be exported abroad. Hamas has also leveled the extravagant demands of a sea and airport in Gaza, and according to reports Tuesday is close to achieving a terrorist swap deal for the bodies of fallen soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul.


For its part, Israel's lone demand for the disarmament of Gaza has been completely rejected by Hamas, leading many to question why Israel is negotiating numerous concessions with the terrorist group.



Iranian Official: “Resistance” to Israel is a Religious Duty



“Islamic resistance,” a byword for attacks on Israel if not the country’s destruction, is a “religious and human duty,” according to Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Shamkhani.


Slamming the Tel Aviv regime as the major threat to the world, Shamkhani called on the whole Muslim nation to close ranks against the menace of Israel. Shamkhani made the comments during a visit to Damascus where he met leaders of Palestinian organizations.


The Iranian not only met Sunni opponents of Israel but also traveled to Lebanon where he held talks with Shia Hizbullah’s secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah. He reportedly praised the role Hizbullah plays in Lebanon’s “political developments.” Lebanon’s political machine has ground to a halt because of Hizbullah’s refusal to accept any compromise on presidential candidates.


Shamkhani said that Iran will soon supply the Lebanese army with military equipment and weapons to help Lebanon deal with the threats it is facing. This assistance will be delivered to Lebanon during an upcoming visit by the Lebanese Defense Minister to Tehran.



Intelligence Sources: Assad Has Secret Stash of Chemical Weapons

By Israel Hayom


The Syrian regime is hiding a secret cache of chemical weapons, estimated at hundreds of kilograms, according to Western intelligence sources. The U.S. has called on the Syrian government to reveal and destroy the hidden stockpile, but has not succeeded.


Over the past year, Syrian President Bashar Assad's stockpile of more than 1,000 tons of chemical weapons -- including VX nerve gas, sarin, and mustard gas -- was transferred to United Nations specialists, who disposed of the material. The West believed Syria had surrendered all of its chemical weapons, but Assad apparently kept a small amount of the material, most likely if he felt his regime or his life to be in immediate danger.


Experts in Israel believe the likelihood of Assad using the chemical weapons is slim to none, and that extremists are also unlikely to get their hands on the weapons, as the cache is guarded by Assad's most loyal forces.


The regime has used chemical weapons a number of times in the current civil war, which began with popular protests in 2011 and spiraled into armed conflict and the effective break-up of the country. The most notable use of chemical weapons by the Syrian military was in east Damascus in August 2013, where more than 1,500 people were killed.


After the U.S. threatened to attack Syria for using the banned weapons, Assad agreed to transfer his stockpile and have it destroyed, and refrain from any further use of chemical weapons. Despite Syria's stated compliance with the destruction of its chemical weapons, recent reports have surfaced of its military using chlorine gas against rebels. Chlorine, which has mostly civilian applications, was not one of the chemicals banned as part of the treaty. The reports of its usage as a weapon were met with a largely muffled global response, with only the U.S. vocally condemning the action.


El Al Petitioned to End Discrimination Against Women on Flights



A new petition is calling on El Al to fight discrimination against women on it flights by ultra-Orthodox passengers. The petition came in wake of a widely quoted Ynet report that an El Al flight from New York to Israel during Rosh Hashana turned into an '11-hour-nightmare' after ultra-Orthodox passengers demanded secular travelers trade places with them before takeoff, claiming they cannot sit next to women.


A new petition posted to asked "why El Al Airlines allow gender discrimination against women… (and) permit female passengers to be bullied, harassed, and intimidated into switching seats which they rightfully paid for and were assigned to by El Al Airlines? One person's religious rights do not trump another person's civil rights."


Responding to the initial report, El Al said it tries to accommodate all of its passengers, but the petition cried foul on the claim, saying the haredim were receiving preferential treatment. They urged the company to offer such costumers special seating arrangement to prevent them from "bullying" other passengers.


The petitioned continued: "If a passenger was flouting the rules for take-off, thereby causing flight delay, they would immediately be removed from the plane. If a passenger was openly engaging in racial or religious discrimination against another passenger or flight attendant, they would immediately be removed from the plane."


According to the passengers who were on the plane which sparked the petition, claimed that their fellow ultra-Orthodox travelers refused to sit next to women prior to the takeoff, which not only delayed the flight, but caused actual chaos to ensue on the plane.


Passengers claimed that though the El Al flight crew informed them they do not have to agree to a switch, the flight's captain said over the PA system that the flight would not take off as long as people were standing.


In response, at the time El Al promised to look into the issue, saying "El Al does everything it can to give its passengers the best possible service year-round. The company will examine the complaints and if some passengers are found to have acted out of line the company will examine its future steps."



Kashrut Sees A Resurgence Among Milennial Jews



Many Jewish leaders expressed concern about the results of the 2013 Pew Research Center Survey, which found high rates of intermarriage and assimilation among American Jews. But amid the doom and gloom some more positive trends went largely unnoticed. For instance, nearly a quarter of Jews from the millennial generation (born after 1980) are keeping kosher - a rate of almost double to that of the their parents from the baby boomer generation, noted NPR.


For Lisa Faulds, the change came only a few months ago. She says she grew up eating "bacon, ham, all that fun stuff. Seafood, shellfish." But now, in her early twenties, she has began to keep kosher.


Margo Smith, another milennial, says that keeping kosher is about values, "taking the root idea of keeping kosher as an idea of being respectful and knowledgeable about the way in which your food is prepared and where it comes from and kind of combining it with the farm-to-table philosophy."


For others it's about identity and roots. Jeffrey Yoskowitz, co-owner of The Gefilteria, a New York company offering  high-end versions of gefilte fish, believes that Jewish food should not just be seen as hummus and falafel. As the descendant of Eastern European immigrants, he is concerned with preserving the food culture of Ashkenazi Jews.


The combination of young people with kashrut has been very influential on high-end kosher cuisine. In addition to the Gefilteria, there is Mason and Mug, a hip, Kosher restaurant in Brooklyn which serves the traditional Vietnamese sandwich bahn-mi, as well as craft beer in mason jars. Kosher grass-fed beef and kosher free-range chicken are both now available, as well.












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I can't speak for you, but my grandparents came to the United States to find a refuge from "change." They came to The United States where their basic freedoms were guaranteed by the Constitution; where they could build a future on this solid ground.

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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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