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Today's News

Nov 26, 2015


There will not be a 11/27 issue.

Happy Thanksgiving



Report: IAF Hit Advanced Russian Missiles Outside Damascus



One day after Syrian media reported that the Israeli Air Force (IAF) struck a base belonging to the Iranian terror proxy Hizbullah, a Saudi news site gave new details on Wednesday.


The site Elaph, as cited by Yedioth Aharonoth, quoted a security source in Tel Aviv revealing that the IAF struck Hizbullah sites on Monday night at the feet of Mount Qasioun, which overlooks Damascus in Syria. That version of events contradicts earlier reports, according to which the target was a base or group of military posts in the mountainous Qalamoun border region with Lebanon.


The Saudi site quoted the source as saying that Israel estimates Hizbullah is storing advanced Russian anti-tank missiles that are capable of piercing the defense of the Merkava Mark IV, Israel's most advanced tank. According to the report, the Israeli airstrike consisted of seven missiles which hit a site adjacent to the elite Fourth Armored Division of the Syrian army. That brigade includes special forces loyal to Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, is lead by his brother Maher al-Assad, and is said to consist mostly of members of Assad's Alawite sect, which is a branch of Shia Islam.


Reports in Syria on Tuesday had indicated that as many as 13 pro-regime fighters were killed in four strikes, including many Hizbullah terrorists who are fighting to prop up Assad. The new report indicating Israel struck outside Damascus comes following Arab media reports two weeks ago, which stated that the IAF struck near Damascus International Airport, in a bombing apparently targeting a weapons transfer to Hizbullah.


Earlier in the month it was reported that the IAF struck an advanced missile transfer including long-range Scud missiles as they made their way through Qalamoun en route to Hizbullah. If true, the report would mark the second time Israel blocked a Scud missile shipment to Hizbullah, after having reportedly done so last April as a shipment was leaving Damascus.



IDF: Arm PA Forces, Release Prisoners; Netanyahu Says No Plans to Arm PA Forces

 By YnetNews &


A senior IDF officer said Thursday that he believes the ongoing terror wave will continue for two more months, and described those committing attacks as "desperate, frustrated young people."


The IDF recently provided the political echelon with a number of recommendations on easing conditions for Palestinians amid ongoing terror attacks on Israelis, including supplying official security forces with weapons and ammunition and altering how work permits are issued. The officer defined the current situation as "a limited uprising, in which the Palestinians are aiming to change the existing situation."


He added: "In my estimation, a month of quiet could bring about a decline of the other option, which is a renewed outburst that would lead us to a widespread uprising. We are currently seeing an average of 15 points of rioting every weekday and 40 on weekends, each of them involving from dozens to hundreds of demonstrators. But this could become 20,000 or 200,000 demonstrators."


The officer acknowledged that the IDF's policy is to minimize Palestinian deaths as much as possible. "We learned a lesson from both intifadas – Palestinian deaths cause outbursts of violence," he said. "Our rules of engagement are more permissive than restrictive, but when you have a trembling girl with scissors in her hands, you don't need to riddle her with ten bullets. You could kick her or shoot her in the leg."


IDF sources said that 95% of recent terror attacks were the type of lone-wolf attack that draws inspiration from other terrorists but is not directed by an organization. "These terrorists are desperate and frustrated young people, some of them unemployed," said the officer.


Among the IDF's recommendations to the political echelon for easing conditions for Palestinians include changes in the system for granting permits to work in Israel, in order to increase the number of young Palestinians who can go out to work. The idea is to create a pool of workers instead of the existing method, in which Israeli contractors request specific workers and receive permission according to their backgrounds.


Further recommendations by the IDF include the release of dozens of prisoners, including those in administrative detention, and a decision to allow goods from the PA en route to Israeli customers to go through a direct security check and not through checkpoints.


Sources in the Prime Minister's Office said a few hours later that the political establishment will not approve the provision of additional weapons to the PA or agree to release prisoners. The PMO also said construction permits for Palestinians are to be conditional on international recognition of building in Israeli settlement blocs. It added that work permits will continue according to the security establishment's recommendations and that this was why a no curfew has been established in the West Bank.


Israel is not planning to approve arms for the Palestinian Authority’s security forces or any other “gesture” to the PA, including the release of terrorists, sources close to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told Arutz Sheva on Wednesday evening.


The clarification came following reports that the IDF had issued a recommendation to the political echelon that the PA security forces be given armored vehicles, weapons and ammunition so as to let them enter terror hotbeds that they are more familiar with than the IDF.



Egypt, Israel Rebuff Bid to Trim Sinai Peacekeeping Force

By Reuters


The U.S.-led peacekeeper force in the insurgency-wracked Sinai will remain unchanged after Egypt and Israel rebuffed proposals to trim it by about a fifth, an Egyptian official said.


Installed to monitor the demilitarization of the Sinai under the 1979 Egyptian-Israeli peace accord, the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) and some of its 12 contributor countries have been considering changes to its deployment and mandate. They worry about the safety of the almost 1,900 peacekeepers after six were wounded in September by a roadside bomb.


At a time of heightened security concerns in the region, they have argued that dismantling more remote and vulnerable posts would not significantly set back the mission - especially at a time when Egypt and Israel say their counter-insurgency ties are closer than ever.


But both countries favor the MFO status quo and, at a review meeting held in Rome last week and attended by a U.S. delegation, they stood firm, according to one Egyptian official. "The MFO said they want to reduce the force now, but we and Israel refused," the official told Reuters on condition of anonymity, adding that the MFO had proposed withdrawing some 400 troops over six to nine months and replacing them with remote surveillance equipment.


"We said this is not the proper time, during a war on terrorism. It would give jihadists the wrong message," the official told Reuters on condition of anonymity. "That was the main outcome: No talks about any reduction now."


Cairo sees the MFO as part of a relationship with Israel that, while unpopular with many Egyptians, brings them $1.3 billion in annual U.S. defense aid, sweetening the foreign-enforced demilitarization of their sovereign Sinai territory.


For the Israelis, the MFO offers strategic reassurance, recalling that two years ago Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi toppled an elected Islamist regime hostile to the Jewish-majority state next door.


MFO and U.S. officials had no immediate comment. An Israeli official declined to discuss the Rome meeting but appeared to confirm common cause over maintaining the MFO. "Israel and Egypt are interested in the force remaining with its current disposition," the official told Reuters.


Egyptian security efforts in the Sinai have suffered major setbacks, including the Oct 31 downing of a Russian airliner and Tuesday's deadly bombing of a hotel where judges were staying. Islamic State insurgents claimed responsibility for both incidents. But Egypt and Israel argue against any precautionary MFO drawdown, saying the insurgents do not seem interested in attacking the foreign troops, who employ some 400 Sinai locals.



Italian Pundit: Ban Hebrew Sermons in Synagogues



An Italian media pundit has sparked controversy after suggesting that Hebrew, Arabic and other foreign languages should be banned from synagogues, mosques and other houses of worship. Alessandro Sallusti, editor-in-chief of the conservative daily il Giornale, is an ally of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and the ex-leader's choice candidate for Milan's mayoral elections next year.


He made the questionable comments Tuesday during a talk show broadcast on Italy's RAI state TV. "Unfortunately Italy doesn't have a law demanding that sermons be held only in Italian. But I hope we will get one," Sallusti was quoted as saying.


A representative of the Muslim community in Milan, Davide Piccardo, challenged the pundit on the talk show, asking, "Would you also ban Hebrew from services in synagogues?"


Sallusti responded that he would support a law forbidding rabbis from giving sermons in Hebrew, though he noted he had no problem with prayers continuing to be recited in their original language.


Emanuele Fiano, a Jewish lawmaker for the center-left Democratic Party, blasted Sallusti's "ignorant" remarks, telling Ha'aretz that through them the pundit had "tried to erase millennia of integration of Jews in Italy."


The Union of Italian Jewish Communities did not officially comment on the controversy, but mocked Sallusti's statement in its daily newsletter, calling them "bizarre" in light of the fact most local rabbis already give sermons in Italian.


11-Year-Old: 'I Bought Scissors and Looked for Jews to Stab'



Two Arab terrorist cousins, aged 11 and 14, repeatedly stabbed a security guard lightly to moderately wounding him on the Jerusalem light rail two weeks ago. On Wednesday segments of their investigation were published for the first time by Channel 2.


The 11-year-old terrorist, Ali Alkam, is the youngest terrorist in the current terror wave - the sixth grader would-be murderer is to go free after receiving medical treatment, and be sent to a special school instead or prison due to his age. His older cousin Muawiyyeh Alkam is in seventh grade; the two hail from the eastern Shuafat neighborhood.


"I met my cousin at the entrance to the school," Ali said in investigation. "The (school) director refused to let us in because our parents didn't pay tuition. My cousin then told me that on his way to the school he wanted to conduct a stabbing attack on the light rail he rode on, but he didn't succeed in doing it because all the passengers were elderly people."


The young terrorist said, "we rode from Shuafat to Damascus Gate in order to stab a soldier, but we didn't do that because the soldiers were in groups and there was no lone soldier. And then he (Muawiyyeh) said let's conduct an attack together as revenge for the death of Muhammed Ali," he said, referencing their cousin who stabbed three people at Damascus Gate on October 12 before being shot to death by security forces. The two repeatedly claimed in investigation that their attack was revenge for their terrorist cousin.


Ali said his cousin "opened his bag and showed me the knife. At Damascus Gate I bought scissors and then we got on the light rail and looked for Jews to stab." During the ride two security guards got on, but the two terrorists decided not to attack them "because they were two. Later one of them got off and immediately we attacked the one that remained."


"I stabbed him in the head, my cousin stabbed him in the chest and the stomach until the security guard pushed me and shot three bullets in my stomach," he recalled. Muawiyyeh was detained by the heroic guard and other passengers.


The 11-year-old then tried to change his tune in investigation, claiming, "I wanted to die as a martyr but now I understood that I made a mistake and I'm sorry for it. ...I made a mistake. I want to be in school like any normal person. I don't want to oppose the occupation any more."


Because Ali is under the age of 14 he cannot be sentenced to jail time. His father told Walla last week that Jerusalem municipality welfare workers are working with him to send the young terrorist to a special school under their supervision.


Muawiyyeh was also quoted in the investigation as saying, "the Israelis are occupying us and I'm angry about what's happening in Gaza, I wanted to take revenge against the Jews who are torturing us." When asked why he didn't try to stab passengers but instead targeted a security guard, the 14-year-old said, "the Jews who were on the train were older people and women, and it's an embarrassment to stab them."


Anne Frank and Family Were Also Denied Entry as Refugees to the U.S.

By The Washington Post


Many have noted the historical parallels between the current debate over Syrians seeking refuge in the United States and the plight of European Jews fleeing German-occupied territories on the eve of World War II.


Among the many who tried — and failed — to escape Nazi persecution: Otto Frank and his family, which included wife, Edith, and his daughters, Margot and Anne. And while the story of the family's desperate attempts ending in futility may seem remarkable today, it's emblematic of what a number of other Jews fleeing German-occupied territories experienced, American University history professor Richard Breitman wrote in 2007 upon the discovery of documents chronicling the Franks' struggle to get U.S. visas.


"Otto Frank’s efforts to get his family to the United States ran afoul of restrictive American immigration policies designed to protect national security and guard against an influx of foreigners during time of war," Breitman wrote. The historian told NPR in 2007 that the documents suggest "Anne Frank could be a 77-year-old woman living in Boston today – a writer." Instead, she died at the age of 15 at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany.


Otto Frank tried relatively late to obtain visas to the United States, a convoluted and ultimately doomed process laid bare in the nearly 80 pages of documents unearthed by the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. Even Frank's high-level connections within American business and political circles weren't enough to secure safe passage for his family.


"The story seems to unfold in slow motion as the painstaking exchange of letters journey across continents and from state to state, their information often outdated by the time they arrive," the New York Times wrote after reviewing the YIVO documents. "Each page adds a layer of sorrow as the tortuous process for gaining entry to the United States — involving sponsors, large sums of money, affidavits and proof of how their entry would benefit America — is laid out. The moment the Franks and their American supporters overcame one administrative or logistical obstacle, another arose."


By 1941, the Frank family had already relocated from Germany to the Netherlands where, just a few years earlier, Otto Frank applied for visas to the United States — applications that were eventually destroyed, Frank wrote in a letter to his old college friend in the United States, Nathan Straus Jr.


"I am forced to look out for emigration and as far as I can see U.S.A. is the only country we could go to," Frank wrote on April 30, 1941. "Perhaps you remember that we have two girls. It is for the sake of the children mainly that we have to care for. Our own fate is of less importance."


Frank asked his friend to potentially put up $5,000 to cover a deposit for the visas. "You are the only person I know that I can ask," Frank writes. Straus was a connected man — the son of a Macy's co-owner, the head of the U.S. Housing Authority and, according to the Times, a friend of Eleanor Roosevelt's. The YIVO documents show that Straus and his wife, Helen, became involved in the saga, appealing to the State Department and the Migration Department at the National Refugee Service.


Edith Frank's brothers stepped in to help; they had already come to the United States and were willing to supply affidavits of support. Otto Frank was worried that his wife's brothers, "as ordinary workmen around Boston," wouldn't have sufficient money to convince American immigration officials that they could support the Franks. Eventually, the brothers' employer submitted affidavits in support of the family.


Otto Frank may have been successful had he tried to leave sooner, but, as New York University professor of Holocaust studies David Engel wrote, "understanding the situation of Jews in the Netherlands under Nazi occupation, like understanding any aspect of the Holocaust, requires suspension of hindsight."


Prior to April 1941, Otto Frank's work was going well; his family was comfortable and some of the most restrictive moves made against Jews in the Netherlands hadn't yet been enacted. "Hence he preferred what seemed to him like the nuisances that encumbered an otherwise comfortable life under Nazi occupation in the Netherlands to the insecurity of life as a double refugee in a new country, even if a new country could be found," Engel wrote.


It appears that a Nazi sympathizer's attempt to blackmail Otto Frank triggered his efforts anew to secure visas for his family. But as the Frank family filed paperwork, immigration rules were changing — and attitudes in the United States toward immigrants from Europe were becoming increasingly suspicious, Breitman wrote. The American government was making it harder for foreigners to get into the country — and the Nazis were making it difficult to leave.


By early 1939, more than 300,000 names were on the waiting list to receive an immigration visa to the United States, Breitman wrote. American consulates changed their protocol and weren't granting visas unless transportation to the United States had been booked. By June 1941, most U.S. consulates in German-occupied territories had shuttered or were closing — meaning Otto Frank would have to have gone to Spain or Portugal, legally, to apply at consulates there. In July 1941, a new division within the U.S. State Department took over visa pre-screening, meaning those in the United States would need to fill out new affidavits on behalf of potential immigrants.


Also, new U.S. immigration regulations meant the Franks couldn't get visas if they had any remaining close relatives in Germany, a restriction meant to counter the belief at the time that German authorities would use remaining relatives to pressure refugees into spying in the United States. By this time, Breitman wrote, American anxieties over foreigners from German-invaded countries had increased, particularly the belief in a "Fifth Column" — disloyal elements in European territories that made German takeover easier.


"It is a fact that some of the Germans and Italians who left their countries in recent years because of persecution by their governments have, nevertheless, become in our country strong defendants of their native governments and the practices of their present governments," U.S. Ambassador to Cuba George S. Messersmith wrote in May 1940. "Among the so-called refugees in our country is a fair number who can be depended upon to act as agents of their government and who will violate in any way the hospitality which they are enjoying among us."


Such restrictions meant the "entire Frank family would have to get U.S. visas simultaneously, or none could qualify," Breitman wrote. "By the time Nathan Straus accumulated some of this information, Otto Frank had already concluded that the prospect of getting into the U.S. directly was dim. So he turned to Cuba as a possible refuge."


While some European Jews managed to get into Cuba, where they awaited American visas, the United States tightened its visa procedures — and by July 1941, the American ambassador told Cuba that refugees on tourist visas may not be eligible for American visas. That triggered Cuban anxiety that European refugees could be stuck on the island nation, and officials signaled the need to tighten Cuban immigration policies, Breitman wrote.


Both Straus and one of Edith Frank's brothers had explored Cuba as an option for the family, the documents show. “The only way to get to a neutral country are visas of others States such as Cuba … and many of my acquaintances got visas for Cuba," Frank wrote to Straus on Sept. 8, 1941.


Despite the considerable hardships and expense — it usually cost about $2,500 per person to obtain a visa — Otto Frank managed to get a Cuban visa for himself on Dec. 1, 1941. Ten days later, Germany and Italy declared war on the United States, and Frank's visa was canceled.


The Frank family went into hiding in 1942, a day after Margot Frank received a Nazi order to go east to a labor camp and a month after Anne Frank received a diary for her 13th birthday. They were eventually discovered and sent to concentration camps, where Anne Frank and her sister, Margot, died of typhus and their mother died of starvation.


On Jan. 31, 1946, the YIVO documents show, the National Refugee Service responded to an inquiry from Edith Frank's brother as to the whereabouts of his family: Otto Frank was alive in Amsterdam, five years after he began his desperate attempt to get his family to the United States.


"It’s difficult in times like these: ideals, dreams and cherished hopes rise within us, only to be crushed by grim reality," Anne Frank wrote in 1944 in her diary, which helped personalize the tragedies experienced by millions of Jews. "It's a wonder I haven’t abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart."







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By Frances Bernay-Cohen

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.

Whether our forefathers and forI'm sure you will find some truth in this song.






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Air France flew from the U.S. to Israel during the early 1950s. They flew Lockheed Constellations and the flying time was 20 hours.

This promotional film - in English for an American audience - shows Israel as it was three years after the War of Independence .

Please click photo





 Paradise Regained, Paradise Lost

By Don Canaan (Commentary)

This year marked the 34th 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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