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April 27, 2015
Netanyahu Commends IDF for Foiling Terror Attack in North
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday night praised the IDF for eliminating a squad of terrorists as they tried to place an explosive device near the border fence with Syria. "Any attempt to harm our soldiers or our citizens will be countered with a determined response, such as the IDF operation tonight which prevented a terrorist attack. I commend the vigilance of the IDF soldiers which brought a quick and precise operation," Netanyahu wrote on Twitter.
IDF forces eliminated the terrorist cell as it was trying to place an explosive on the Israeli-Syrian border on the Golan Heights. Four terrorists were killed in the incident; no IDF soldiers were wounded in the exchange.
A senior IDF source said that an army surveillance patrol located the terrorists who had arrived at the border from Syria, and tracked them as they advanced. When they reached the border and placed an explosive on it, IAF aircraft fired missiles at them, taking out every single terrorist member of the cell.
The incident came just hours after Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon warned that Israel will strike Iranian attempts to smuggle advanced weapons to the Hizbullah terrorist organization in Lebanon, following Arab reports that an IAF airstrike the day before took out a Scud missile depot in Syria transferring weapons to Hizbullah.
"Iran continues to try and arm Hizbullah, even in these very days, and it hopes to equip the Lebanese terrorist organization with advanced and precise weapons," said Ya'alon. "We won't allow Iran and Hizbullah to establish a terrorist infrastructure on our border with Syria, and we will know to put our hands on all those who threaten citizens of Israel, along all our borders and even far from them."
Report: Hizbullah Builds Airstrip for Drones in Lebanon
By Israel Hayom
The Lebanese terrorist group Hizbullah has built an airstrip in the Beqaa Valley for its fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles, an analysis of satellite images conducted by IHS Jane's Defense Weekly revealed last week.
The airstrip, built sometime between February 2013 and June 2014, is located in a sparsely populated area 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) south of the town of Hermel and 18 kilometers (11.2 miles) west of the border with Syria. It is 670 meters long and 20 meters wide.
"The short length of the runway suggests the facility is not intended to smuggle in weapons shipments from Syria or Iran as it is too short for nearly all the transport aircraft used by the air forces of those countries," the report said.
The report noted it was possible that the airstrip was built for Iranian-made UAVs, including the Ababil-3 and the Shahed-129. The report quoted Hizbullah sources as confirming that the terrorist group is using UAVs to support operations against rebel forces in Syria. Hizbullah and Iran are allied with the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Israeli Rescue Teams Make Way to Nepal After Devastating Quake
By Israel Hayom, IsraelNationalNews.com, YnetNews & Chabad.org
A day after an earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale rocked Nepal killing more than 2,500 people according to the latest estimates, an Israeli rescue delegation made its way to the disaster struck area to help local authorities. The team also brought medical supplies, medicine, blankets, sleeping bags and baby food.
The Israeli team comprised six rescue experts from the medical field, including senior Israel Defense Forces officers, and one representative of the Foreign Ministry. The team will assess the extent of the assistance Israel can provide and formulate a recommendation. The IDF planned to also send another delegation, numbering 250 soldiers and commanders, which will include a trained rescue team, security team, and a medical team capable of performing complex medical procedures in the field. However, that departure was delayed on Sunday.
The Magen David Adom emergency medical unit also sent a rescue team, numbering about 15 doctors and paramedics. Private insurance companies Harel and Phoenix also sent rescue teams.
According to Israeli authorities, some 200 Israelis had not yet made contact. No Israelis have been confirmed dead, and Foreign Ministry assessments suggest that all the Israelis in the country survived.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu sent a letter to Nepalese Prime Minister Sushil Koirala saying Israel was "pained by the disaster that has befallen Nepal." The prime minister added that Israel was prepared to aid in rescue efforts and provide medical assistance.
The prime minister conveyed his condolences to the families of the victims and wished a full recovery to the injured. He declared that the State of Israel and its citizens stood alongside Nepal in this difficult hour. Netanyahu also spoke with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon and the three assessed the situation.
Israeli Ambassador to Nepal Yaron Meir recounted that the embassy building was damaged and that the embassy staff was working from the lawn. Some 120 Israeli survivors gathered outside the embassy building and set up tents. "We plan to spend the night at the embassy," said one of them. "The embassy gave us rice and pots and we made dinner together. We are in constant fear of aftershocks, and there is no way to know how this will end, but in the meantime it is quite an experience being all together."
Embassy spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said that "there are still 13 Israeli hikers stuck at 3,500 meters near the frozen lakes. Two of them are lightly hurt."
The earthquake, which was centered outside the Nepalese capital of Kathmandu, was the worst to hit the South Asian nation in more than 80 years. It destroyed swaths of the oldest neighborhoods of Kathmandu, and was strong enough to be felt all across parts of India, Bangladesh, China's region of Tibet and Pakistan.
Tens of thousands of Nepalese who spent the night under a chilly sky were jolted awake by strong aftershocks Sunday. "There were at least three big quakes at night and early morning. How can we feel safe? This is never-ending and everyone is scared and worried," said Kathmandu resident Sundar Sah. "I hardly got much sleep. I was waking up every few hours and glad that I was alive."
On Sunday, a powerful aftershock shook Nepal, making buildings sway and sending panicked Kathmandu residents running into the streets. Terrified screaming could be heard as the aftershock pummeled the capital city early Sunday afternoon. At magnitude 6.7, it was strong enough to feel like an another earthquake, and came as planeloads of supplies, doctors and relief workers from neighboring countries began arriving in this poor Himalayan nation.
The quake will likely put a huge strain on the resources of this impoverished country best known for Everest, the highest mountain in the world. The economy of Nepal, a nation of 27.8 million people, relies heavily on tourism, principally trekking and Himalayan mountain climbing.
With Kathmandu airport reopened, the first aid flights began delivering aid supplies. The first to respond were Nepal's neighbors -- India, China and Pakistan, all of which have been jockeying for influence over the landlocked nation. Still, Nepal, a Hindu majority nation, remains closest to India with which it shares deep political, cultural and religious ties.
Indian air force planes landed Sunday with 43 tons of relief material, including tents and food, and nearly 200 rescuers, India's External Affairs Ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup said. The planes were returning to New Delhi with Indian nationals stranded in Kathmandu. More aid flights were planned for Sunday.
A 62-member Chinese search and rescue team also arrived Sunday. Pakistan prepared to send four C-130 aircraft, carrying a 30-bed temporary hospital comprising army doctors, surgeons and specialists. An urban search and rescue team was also sent with ground penetrating radars, concrete cutters and sniffing dogs. Pakistan was also sending 2,000 ready-to-eat meal packs, water bottles, medicine, 200 tents, 600 blankets and other necessary items.
Among the Israelis still missing in Nepal is Maayan Etzion, whose father, Ze'ev Etzion, a military security officer from Kibbutz Nirim, was killed during Operation Protective Edge this summer when a mortar shell fired from Gaza exploded in the kibbutz an hour before the cease-fire went into effect. "We are worried because the girls have not yet made contact," said the Etzion family and the family of Oren Goshtat, also from Nirim, who was traveling with Maayan in Nepal. "We are hoping for the best and believe that it is just a matter of time until they reach a place where they can make contact."
The earthquake posed a unique challenge for dozens of Israeli couples, and more importantly for their newborn babies birthed by Nepalese surrogates. The infants, who require optimal conditions in order to survive, are now faced with conditions that adults would have trouble overcoming.
Among the couples in this impossible situation were musician Ohad Hitman, his partner Ran Harush and their twin babies Eva and Barry. The four of them were at a hotel in Kathmandu when the earthquake struck.
"We are feeling helpless. We keep having to make decisions and I don't know if they are the right ones," Hitman said Saturday. "We went back to our hotel in Kathmandu because here we can heat up the rooms for the children and heat up food for them, even though there are cracks in the walls and the floor above us has collapsed. We will sleep with the door open. There are aftershocks all the time, and their carriers are ready for leaving in a hurry.
"We are living a very bad movie. We hope to get back to Israel as soon as possible and who expect the leadership of Israel to protect our children. They were born to be Israeli citizens, and that is how they should be treated, even though the bureaucratic process has not yet been completed."
Ohad's mother Dalia asked the Foreign Ministry to fly her newborn grandchildren to Israel along with all the other Israeli babies born via surrogates in Nepal. "Eva weighs 1.7 kilograms [3 pounds, 12 ounces] and Barry weighs 2 kilograms [4 pounds, 6 ounces]. If they were in Israel, they would still be inside incubators. I know that there are also preemies there who weigh far less. They need to eat well and be in a warm, protected environment all the time. That is not what is happening there. There is perfect chaos there."
The head of Tammuz International Surrogacy, Doron Mamet, said that "the babies were evacuated from the hospital because of the height of the building. A makeshift neonatal intensive care unit was set up outside with all the necessary equipment. According to Mamet, more than 100 people were in Nepal for reasons surrounding surrogacy, including surrogates still pregnant with Israeli babies who had to be evacuated from their homes.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said that "we are making every effort to get the children out. As of now, we are talking about 26 infants and preemies and they are our top priority."
Hundreds of Israeli backpackers and tourists took refuge at the Chabad center in Kathmandu. Some were given emergency medical treatment there as emissaries and volunteers worked frantically to help locate the missing, and to provide food and shelter to the stranded.
Chani Lifshitz, who co-directs Chabad of Nepal with her husband, Rabbi Chezki Lifshitz, said in a video posted to their Facebook page that a few hundred people had taken refuge at the center, which was slightly damaged by the quake. She tried to reassure loved ones in Israel and abroad.
Thousands of Israeli backpackers and foreign tourists - many of them in their 20s - pass through Nepal and the Chabad House each year. “We’re trying to calm everyone,” she said, noting that they were experiencing aftershocks even as she was recording the video.
“We’re still gathering the names of the missing, and we’re trying to get in touch with everyone as urgently as possible,” she said. “Until now, we’ve taken care of a number of injured on the couches of the Chabad House. The main work now is to gather all the names of the people - the people who are in Katmandu, the people who are in the mountains. We hope to report only good news.”
Working closely with the Israeli Foreign Ministry in Nepal, emergency medical treatment to the injured was given at the Chabad House by backpackers who served as medics in the Israel Defense Forces and from local volunteers. The injured were later moved to the Israeli embassy, which is working to provide Israelis in Nepal with a means to return home. From Israel, planes were flying medics and others to the embattled area to help with search and rescue.
Anti-Semitism on Campus
By Ed Ziegler (Commentary)
A college education is meant to expand ones freedom of thought and stimulate curiosity in a safe environment. Unfortunately most parents and grandparents are not aware that, this is not the case.
College campuses across the country have become a hotbed for anti-Israel activism. Like never before anti-Semitism is on the rise , in the form of hate speech, harassment and intimidation by the student body as well as by the instructors.
According to a nationwide survey conducted by Trinity College and the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, It found that Jewish students are being targeted on the basis of their religion, The survey interviewed 1,157 self-identified Jewish students at 55 U.S. colleges, found that 54% experienced or witnessed “anti-Semitism on campus during the first six months of the 2013-2014 academic year.”
The report found evidence of anti-Semitism across the country strongly suggesting anti-Semitism is a nationwide problem. The David Horowitz Freedom Center, compiled a list of the top 10 universities with the worst anti-Semitic activity. Columbia University is at the top of the list .Cornell University is in second place followed by George Mason University, Loyola University Chicago, Portland State University, San Diego State University and San Francisco State University. Rounding off the list was Temple University, University of California Los Angeles and Vassar College. The list was created to “expose” anti-Semitic student groups such as the Muslim Student Association who support or are associated with terrorist organizations such as Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.
Children of Abraham: An Introduction to Judaism for Muslims
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YOU SAY YOU WANT CHANGE?
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 .
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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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