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Today's News

Dec. 19, 2014



 US Finally Says it Opposes Unilateral PA UN Bid

 By & Israel Hayom


The United States finally stated on Thursday that it will not support the Palestinian Authority (PA) resolution submitted to the UN Security Council on Wednesday, which demands that Israel withdraw from Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem by 2017.


Washington has seen the text of the draft resolution and "it is not something that we would support," US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said, reported AFP. "We think others feel the same and we are calling for further consultations. The Palestinians understand that."


Aside from the 2017 deadline, the resolution, which was presented by Jordan, sets a 12-month deadline for "peace" negotiations. "We wouldn't support any action that would prejudge the outcome of the negotiations or would set a specific deadline for withdrawal of security forces," Psaki said. While the US has often supported UN resolutions on Israel in the past, Psaki said "obviously the content is important. We've been clear about what our principles are, and the fact that we could support certain forms of resolution, but those discussions are private."


While the US has historically opposed such unilateral moves, its response has been less than clear up till now. Secretary of State John Kerry reportedly on Tuesday finally promised to use the veto. However, on Wednesday, he said "we don't have any problem with them filing some resolution, providing it's done in the spirit of working with people to see how we could proceed forward in a thoughtful way that solves the problem, doesn't make it worse."


A UN Security Council diplomat on Thursday said the US opposes unilateral moves, but left open the possibility that the US would get behind it if it was redrafted. "There is not the basis for consensus on the text as drafted and that is why we need to do some work," the diplomat told AFP. "The issue now is how do we get something that really does command consensus. The objective that we have is to achieve consensus, which means we want to have a text that everybody can agree."


Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu responded on Thursday, saying Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas "thinks he can threaten us with unilateral steps. He does not understand that they will result in a Hamas takeover in Judea and Samaria, just as previously occurred in Gaza. We will not allow this to happen. We will never agree to unilateral diktat. We will always safeguard our security. This is our lesson both from the days of the Maccabees and in our day."


As mentioned by Netanyahu, Hamas expelled the PA in 2007 when it rose to power; Hamas already tried to stage a coup against the PA in Judea and Samaria earlier this year which was foiled by the IDF.


"It seems that too many in Europe, on whose soil six million Jews were slaughtered, have learned nothing," Netanyahu said on Wednesday, in response to a wave of anti-Israel moves made by the European Union. "But we in Israel, we've learned. We'll continue to defend our people and our state against the forces of terror and tyranny and hypocrisy."



'Mossad Spy' Headed Hizbullah's Foreign Operations



The purported Mossad agent recently caught by Hizbullah was named Thursday as Mohammed Shurba from the Natbiyeh area in south Lebanon by an al-Jazeera reporter. Sources told the network he was arrested last month and had acted as the chief of the unit in charge of foreign operations. He was promoted to the position in 2008, after the assassination of Imad Mughniyah, then head of Hizbullah's operations unit, in Damascus, which Hizbullah blamed on Israel.


According to the report, which has not been substantiated by additional sources, the investigation of Shurba revealed that he initiated contact with Mossad and offered his cooperation. Shurba allegedly provided valuable information on all of Hizbullah's foreign activities to Israeli intelligence over a period of years. The report repeated assertions that his information helped capture a large number of the group's operatives in several countries, most recently in Peru.


Hizbullah announced the discovery of the alleged spy on Tuesday, although the arrest apparently came weeks ago. Shurba was purportedly entrusted with a wide range of responsibilities, Kuwaiti newspaper Al Rai said Wednesday Ė at one point even overseeing Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah's security detail. Hizbullah ousted senior members following the discovery, said the newspaper, and boasted that they were "rid of the bacteria" after the arrest.



Jews Afraid to Bury Kin at Mount of Olives



Mount of Olives Cemetery in Jerusalem is one of the most ancient Jewish burial grounds in the world, not far from the Temple Mount, but recently some Jews have not wanted to bury relatives there.


The security situation, Palestinian vandalism, and stone throwing along the routes leading to the mountain have contributed to the decline. Leaders from the "Chevra Kadisha" organization in Jerusalem met with President Reuven Rivlin, whose parents are both buried at the Mount of Olives, and requested his help to encourage the public to return to the mountain.


The cemetery has been estimated to contain between 70,000-100,000 graves from various eras, including luminaries such as Nahmanides, Yoel Moshe Salomon, Menachem Begin, Eliezer Ben Yehuda and his son Itamar Ben-Avi, "Olei Hagardom" Meir Feinstein and Moshe Barazani, Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, Rabbi Shlomo Goren, the poet Zelda, and others.


"The absurd thing is that if a Jerusalem resident dies, he'll be buried somewhere else," said Rabbi Yitzhak Gelbstein, head of the Kadisha organization. "If he wants a proper funeral, the only place he can be buried Ė and for free Ė is the Mount of Olives. But because of the security situation, people are afraid, because families don't want to get close to the Mount of Olives."


Kadisha officials said the president promised that "the Mount of Olives will never be abandoned. The place embodies the history of the Jewish people in Jerusalem over generations." Rivlin promised he would continue visiting the mountain regularly for his parents' memorials.


"We took it upon ourselves to return the people of Israel to the mountain," said Rabbi Hillel Horowitz, Director of Cemeteries in Jerusalem. "I'm happy to say that the mayor and police commissioner realized there is a problem and now we can see improvement. We asked the president to continue this trend of improvement."



 The Zohar's Secrets of Sexuality



When his marriage fell apart, Ricardo (Ezra) Adler, a secular Jew from Venezuela, suffered a serious crisis that led him on a journey. He sought out many religions and sects in his quest to discover the secret of a stable relationship, but it led nowhere. Some friends who saw how distressed he was dragged him to an Orthodox rabbi, where he was first exposed to what he calls "the secret of Jewish sexuality."


The journey eventually turned into a bold and intriguing documentary film, "The Lost Key," which describes the process many couples experience on the way to "ideal sexuality," according to the Kabbalah. This revolutionary film which openly discusses sex was examined and endorsed by rabbis, including Chief Sephardic Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, who gave it the "hechsher" (rabbinical product certification).


"Do you think a rabbi can teach you anything about sex?" Adler asked his interviewees in a series of street polls conducted in the United States. They all reply with an emphatic "no," until Rabbi Friedman steps into the frame. "With sex you donít need any advice," he says. "The birds figured it out, you can figure it out. But if you want to achieve intimacy, now that's a really ambitious plan. One of the most significant reasons people choose to divorce is problems in the bedroom and lack of intimacy," said Adler. "There was a moment when I said to myself that I should make a film in order to share this hidden knowledge with the rest of the world."


The diverse spectrum of couples who appear in the film is surprising: Religious, secular and ultra-Orthodox. Director Ricardo Adler inserted himself among the interviewees. "It took me seven years to make this documentary," he said. "In addition to Rabbi Manis Freidman who appears in the film, the process was escorted by two other rabbis, a Sephardic one and an Ashkenazi one.


"I wanted to make a film about sex that would be totally kosher. The permits I received do not apply to haredim who do not watch women at all or yeshiva students. But there were certainly Orthodox rabbis who watched the film and enjoyed it very much. And yes, the Chief Sephardic Rabbi gave his approval."


The kosher certificate does not reduce the direct and candid conversations about sex that appear throughout the documentary. "We had to delete things that were 'too much' here and there, but it did not diminish the intensity of the exposure. At the end of the day, this is a film about intimacy and its significance in Judaism, but it is crafted in an elegant way."


Adler was asked whether he was worried about such an intimate exposure "My character is not the only one exposed in its most private moments. Most of the participants took this daunting step, but we felt that this was a mission. There are a lot of couples who are suffering in the world because their relationship has become unstable, and we have something to give them. Secular couples who stayed secular reconstructed the sexual aspect of their lives around these principles. Three out of four couples we turned to refused to participate in the film. Those who did are the heroes, my heroes or heroes in their own eyes."


Adler, a graduate of Stanford, was born in England to a secular family. He grew up in Venezuela, studied in the US and did not take any real interest in his Jewish-ethnic roots. "The meeting with the rabbi, which I was literally dragged to by a couple who were friends of mine, was an amazing experience," he recalled. "I was hypnotized. I started to study more about the roots of Judaism, and in the end I also became religious. But I felt that regarding sexuality, something was lacking. This surprised me, because it is one of the most fundamental things, and in this case I needed to dig deeper, which I did."


"Through the exposure of deeply concealed sources about Jewish sexuality, I understood that the whole way we perceived our relationships is fundamentally wrong. Sex in the Western society has become something physical and technical. Hollywood has turned sex into a bestial act, something that is only there for sexual satisfaction. The purpose of this documentary is to reinstate sex as an act of intimacy, sex as a spiritual experience of union of two that become one."


Adler was surprised to discover that religious Jews are not necessarily familiar with the ideas that the film presents. "I have a lot of religious friends who live according to the halachic laws, but they didnít understand at all what they were doing, or what the result was supposed to be. If you do things in a mechanical way you donít get to see the beauty and the places that this can lead you to.


"There are different levels of sex and intimacy that a person can create, and the film seeks to bring the viewer as close as possible to what the mystics call "the union," that point sex in which souls transcend the natural physical boundaries of the body and unite as one physical and spiritual creation. My message to the viewer is that you can dramatically change your marriage. You can be happier in the bedroom after implementing the relationship principles of the Zohar. And the result is that if you are more connected to your spouse, and you can have a long lasting and happy relationship.


"It has already happened to me and my wife, and we want other couples to experience a different level of connection in their relationship. The sexual revolution of the 1960s created a world of problems. We are trying to fix that by starting a different sexual-spiritual revolution. If we can create a larger movement of people that understand what living in real intimacy means, everyone will benefit."


How did people react to the movie in other film festivals? "Absolutely amazing reactions that I did not expect. People are thirsty, they feel that something is missing in their relationship, and in their lives and this film fills in the blanks for them. What is interesting is that most people feel the connection to these ideas at one level or another. At the end of one screening one guy came up to me and told me frankly "I donít believe in God but I got some good ideas from the film."


 'Harry Potter had Jewish Classmates,, Says Author JK Rowling



J.K. Rowling has confirmed  that the student body of Hogwarts, the school for wizards in her immensely popular "Harry Potter" book series, included Jewish youngsters. Responding to a Jewish fan on Twitter, who asked if there were any Jews at Hogwarts, Rowling wrote: "Anthony Goldstein, Ravenclaw, Jewish wizard."  


She added: "To everyone asking whether their religion/belief/non-belief system is represented at Hogwarts: the only people I never imagined there are Wiccans." Rowling said the Wiccan religion did not seem compatible with the type of magic portrayed in the novels.


Anthony Goldstein first appeared as a character in the fifth Potter book, "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix." According to Harry Potter wiki, Goldstein, who was brought up as a Jew, was Harry Potter's classmate at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He was sorted into the Ravenclaw house and later joined Dumbledore's Army, a student organization founded by Harry Potter.


The "Harry Potter" author also responded to one fan on Twitter who asked: "Do you think there are a lot of LGBT students in modern age Hogwarts?". She replied: "It's safe to assume that Hogwarts had a variety of people and I like to think it's a safe place for LGBT students. Rowling has said in the past that "The Potter books in general are a prolonged argument for tolerance, a prolonged plea for an end to bigotry."






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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.

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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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