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Today's News

May 3, 2016



Ramallah Islamist Conference Calls for Egypt,  Jordan to Invade Israel



The radical Islamist organization Hizb ut-Tahrir, which has pursued an Islamic Caliphate since 1953, held a massive conference in Ramallah on Saturday, calling upon the armies of Jordan and Egypt to intervene directly and “free Palestine."


Thousands participated in the event, which was billed as “Tent of Believers: the Caliphate Through the Path of the Prophet, and the Tent of Hypocrites, Heretics, and Imperialists." Black-and-white flags bearing the pledge of allegiance to Allah and Mohammed were waved while participants chanted slogans calling for the “liberation” of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. “Officers and soldiers, break down the borders [of Israel]," chanted attendees. “With the Caliphate, we’ll liberate the captured Al-Aqsa Mosque."


Baher Salah, a senior Hizb ut-Tahrir official, spoke at the event, saying that the organization was revealing American conspiracies aimed at Islam in general and "Palestine" in particular, including a supposed plan to eliminate the “Palestine problem."


Other speakers at the conference called on the armies of Jordan, Egypt, and Pakistan to attack Israel and "free" the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and to unify the Muslim world under a global Caliphate. Denying that Islam supports terrorism, the speakers claimed that Islam would eventually rule the entire world and liberate it from the tyranny of capitalism, establishing true peace in the world.



After F-35 Makes Aliyah, It Will Get New Israeli Identity

By Israel Hayom


The development of the F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter has been the subject of widespread criticism over performance issues, but the Israeli Air Force has already made extensive preparations to welcome the next-generation aircraft, which will be known as the Adir.


On June 22, the first Israel-bound F-35 will be christened at the Lockheed Martin plant at Fort Worth, Texas. Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon will lead the Israeli delegation at that ceremony, which will include senior Israeli officers and Defense Ministry officials.


After the first two F-35 aircraft arrive in Israel on Dec. 12, they will get new made-in-Israel C4 systems (C4 stands for Command, Control, Communications, Computers). This step is designed to meet the Defense Ministry requirement that all Israeli aircraft have unique electronic systems. The Israeli systems are tailor-made for the IAF's requirements, giving it a technological edge and the element of surprise.


Aside from the two that will arrive in December, six Adirs are expected to arrive through 2017. The Nevatim Airbase in the Negev Desert will serve as the home for the first Adir squadron. The Defense Ministry ordered 33 Adirs from Lockheed Martin, their manufacturer, at a total cost of about $5.5 billion. The funding comes from the American military aid to Israel.


Several Israeli companies have taken part in the development of the plane, and the parts they manufacture will go to other aircraft recipients as well. Elbit Systems is in charge of developing the pilot helmet for the entire F-35 fleet. It is considered to be the most advanced helmet of its kind. The Israel Aerospace Industries will manufacture more than 800 pairs of F-35 wings.


Last month, the Israel Defense magazine and the Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies hosted a conference called "IAF Challenges and the Arrival of the F-35 Fighter." IAF Chief of Staff Brig. Gen. Tal Kelman told conference participants: "The F-35 Adir is not merely an aircraft, but represents a new operational concept, and strengthens the qualitative advantage of the IAF compared to other air forces in the area. With the Adir, the air force is stronger than ever.


 "In the past, the IAF absorbed platforms and adapted them to the air force. Today, we must adjust ourselves to the new platform, the Adir. Therefore, changes have been made in the air force staff, in the equipment group [the air force body that manages weapon systems] and, of course, in the Adir squadron at the Nevatim air force base, which is built differently than other squadrons."


The F-35 is the most expensive weapon system in U.S. history. The project has been plagued by delays and glitches, leading to widespread criticism, with costs reaching an estimated $400 billion. In a Pentagon report two months ago, Operational Test and Evaluation Director J. Michael Gilmore said the aircraft had at least 928 shortcomings, some critical. According to the report, the Autonomic Logistics Information System -- the software that serves as the plane's highly sophisticated "brain" -- was unstable, the plane's radar failed mid-flight, and its gun is not operational yet.


There were other glitches as well, but the Israeli Air Force is not overly concerned. Kelman said the "various problems are a result of the aircraft still being developed, but they are being addressed." At the conference last month, former Israeli Air Force chief Maj. Gen. (res.) Eitan Ben Eliyahu said, "If one day we will have to operate thousands of kilometers from home, this will be our only means to do so."




FBI Thwarts Plot to Bomb Miami Synagogue

 By DEBKAfile & Israel Hayom


A man who was planning to carry out a terrorist attack against a synagogue in Miami has been arrested by the FBI in a sting operation, reports said on Monday. The suspect intended to throw a bomb into the Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center on Friday evening while it was packed with worshipers on the second-to-last day of Passover, but undercover agents thwarted the attack, according to the reports. The man's identity and the details of the operation have yet to be released. 


WSVN, a Florida news outlet, quoted law enforcement sources as saying that FBI agents posing as terrorists were able to prevent the attack and apprehend the suspect, who had converted to Islam, they said.  According to the report, the "suspect wanted to take some kind of explosive device and chuck it over the wall. Friday was the next-to-last day of Passover, and the center was crowded with people observing the holiday."


The FBI stressed that the congregants were not in any danger at any point during the sting operation or the arrest because the suspect was apprehended before having a chance to harm anyone. Congregants and neighborhood residents, however, were still agitated by the news of the potential attack.


Resident Kim Tepper was quoted as saying, "It's a very scary world, and you know what? I don't think that anybody is safe anywhere. We always thought, living in this area, that we could be targeted."


 Vatican-Backed Sports Group Honors Terrorist Mass-Murderer

 By & Reuters


An organization funded by the Vatican recently held a tournament glorifying one of the most prolific terrorist murderers in Israeli history. The Jerusalem Clubs Association sponsored the 28th Khalil Al-Wazir “Abu Jihad” Tournament for local Arab football teams, Palestinian Media Watch  reported on Monday.


Named for the notorious PLO terrorist mastermind, Abu Jihad, the tournament brought together 14 football squads at the Burj Luq Luq Society. A news brief in Sunday’s edition of the Al-Hayat Al-Jadida newspaper reported that the tournament was funded by the Vatican, via its support of the Jerusalem Clubs Association. “[T]he tournament…was held under the auspices of the Jerusalem Clubs Association, in the framework of its program that is funded by the Pontifical Mission."


Abu Jihad, who was eliminated in an IDF operation in 1988, was responsible for the deaths of at least 125 Israelis during his decades-long affiliation with the PLO. Born Khalil Al-Wazir, Abu Jihad planned the horrific 1978 Coastal Road Massacre, which left 39 Israelis murdered. Abu Jihad is regularly honored by the Palestinian Authority.


Zombies in Jerusalem! Israeli Horror Films Add a Local Twist

 By & JTA


On an army base in northern Israel, a scrawny nerd with glasses shakily patrols in the dead of night. Suddenly he’s ambushed by a group of militants in kaffiyehs, and he's forced to fight for his life, using everything from a gun to a knife to a desk lamp, until he's left with blood dripping down his face.


This isn’t the most recent flare-up in the Israeli terror wave. It’s a scene from the recent horror film “Freak Out,” starring Itay Zvolon — who is famous in Israel for a self-produced comic viral video — as an inexperienced soldier fighting a gory caricature of Israelis' worst nightmare: faceless terrorists out for blood.


The horror-comedy is the latest in a string of such movies from Israel, many of which add a local twist to the genre. Since 2010, Israeli filmmakers have pumped out at least nine fright films ranging from zombie flicks to psychological thrillers that typically feature over-the-top, campy takes on the real-life violence facing Israelis.


“These are fears from Israeli culture and Israeli society,” said Boaz Armoni, director of “Freak Out,” which was released in October. “Being scared of Arabs, for example. It’s not a movie about a strong, heroic army. It’s about a small, cowardly soldier in a dangerous place.”


During its first six decades, Israel’s film industry produced only a few horror films, focusing instead on comedic satires of Israeli society and art-house dramas. The turn toward horror, filmmakers say, reflects a shift away from the prestigious indie films that have characterized recent Israeli cinema — like "Waltz with Bashir" and "Ajami," both of which were nominated for Academy Awards — and toward movies with more mass appeal.


“Our first movie was a heavy art-house film, got all the best reviews, the biggest festivals, all the olive branches -- but no one came to see this movie,” said Doron Paz, who with his brother Yoav co-directed 2010's "Phobidilia," about a recluse soon to be forced out of his apartment.


The Paz brothers then directed the 2015 zombie movie “JeruZalem." (View trailer at  The film follows three American tourists out to see Jerusalem, only to find themselves fleeing a zombie uprising as the Old City's gates close on them. “Now what we’re beginning to understand is that we need to think commercially," Paz said. "We’re not making movies for critics. We’re making movies for viewers.”


The first in this wave of Israeli horror movies, 2010’s “Rabies,” saw four friends lost in a forest on a hike encountering unsavory characters, including a psychopathic killer and corrupt policeman. The movie received an 88 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the review aggregating website. It succeeded, said producer Chilik Michaeli, because in typical Israeli fashion, directors Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado didn’t feel bound by horror’s accepted rules.


“They took the genre and took it apart,” Michaeli said. “In horror films, common knowledge is that the coward dies first. In ‘Rabies,’ the coward is left alive. They’re playing with the rules. They’re building something new.”


The films also don’t shy away from uniquely Israeli topics. In 2013’s “Big Bad Wolves,” also from Keshales and Papushado, dueling Israeli security veterans set out to find the head of a murdered girl. “Cannon Fodder,” from the same year, features Israeli soldiers fighting zombies in Lebanon. The zombie uprising in “JeruZalem” takes place on Yom Kippur.


“You’ve seen [movies about] resurrection of the dead in every city, but the most logical city for it to begin in is Jerusalem,” Paz said, referring to the city's religious cachet. “It has to be through the Israeli, Middle Eastern prism.”


Current events have also given Israelis a taste for horror, Armoni said. Surrounded by blood and gore in the news and in their lives, he said, Israelis can find an escape in movies that caricature violence. “There’s something very violent in the day to day, in the street,” he said. “[But] violence in entertainment is liberating. It’s not real. It can free up tensions.”


Another reason for the rising popularity of horror films in Israel? They're typically made on tight budgets. Israeli star Lior Ashkenazi has acted in Keshales and Papushado’s films, but many of the other Israeli horror actors have been relative unknowns. “JeruZalem” was filmed in a shaky “point-of-view” style on a budget of $250,000. “Freak Out” cost less than $150,000 to make. “It allows you to work with the same tools as filmmakers in the rest of the world,” said Yoav Paz, Doron’s brother and co-director. “You’re not competing in Hollywood with the most expensive lenses and cameras.”


But Israeli horror directors will be heading to Hollywood soon. The renowned filmmaker Quentin Tarantino said “Big Bad Wolves” was his favorite film of 2013. In March, it was reported that MGM and Paramount have tapped Keshales and Papushado to direct a remake of “Death Wish,” the 1974 film about a vigilante killer, starring Bruce Willis.


“Everyone talks about Israeli talent and Israeli stories,” Michaeli said. “Why should it stop with drama? Why can’t it go to other genres? It’s not embarrassing anymore to say you want to do a horror movie. It’s kosher.”





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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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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 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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