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Hava Nagila! What is it?

 

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Today's News

April 21, 2014

 

 

Two Jerusalem Policemen Injured in More Palestinian Disturbances

By DEBKAfile, VOA News & Reuters

 

When the Temple Mount was opened to Jewish and tourist visitors Sunday morning, Palestinian rioters began hurling large rocks and firebombs at security officers guarding the shrines holy to three faiths at the site and Lions Gate. Two police officers were injured. Twenty-four rioters were taken into custody and Temple Mount was again closed to the public.

 

The area is one of the most sensitive religious sites in the region and is a key issue at the center of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Jews call it the Temple Mount as it is the location of two biblical Jewish Temples, and is the holiest place in Judaism. Muslims call it the Noble Sanctuary. It is Islam's third holiest site.

 

However, the most senior Islamic cleric in Jerusalem said on Sunday Israeli police hurled stun grenades into al-Aqsa mosque, Islam's third holiest site, to quell the latest in a string of Palestinian protests at the politically sensitive holy site. Israeli police denied the allegation, saying officers threw the non-lethal devices, which emit a loud noise, on a plaza outside the mosque after protesters threw rocks and firecrackers at them.

 

The demonstrators, who have confronted police for the past four days in a bid to stop Israeli and foreign visitors from entering the holy compound, then retreated into al-Aqsa, a police spokesman said. Tensions at the site run high during Jewish holidays - Jews are now celebrating Passover - when Palestinians are on alert against any attempt by Jews to pray on the compound in defiance of a de facto Israeli government ban on such worship.

 

Israeli security forces, while operating on the holy compound, shy away from entering al-Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock shrine at the complex situated in the walled Old City of Jerusalem. Israel re-captured East Jerusalem, along with the West Bank, in the 1967 Middle East war.

 

Grand Mufti Mohammed Hussein said he was present at Sunday's protests and said police “threw the sound bombs into the [al-Aqsa] mosque itself.” Hussein did not say how many grenades landed inside the mosque. He condemned the incident as “an unacceptable and very dangerous escalation.” Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld denied grenades were thrown inside the mosque saying Arab protesters had “retreated into the mosque where they knew we would not enter.”

 

Hussein said Israeli police also fired tear gas and rubber bullets at the protesters, but only outside the mosque, injuring five people. Rosenfeld denied any weapons were discharged other than the stun grenades.

 

Palestinian concerns have been heightened because allies of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu are among the most vocal advocates of Jewish prayer at the 25-acre complex, which also houses the Dome of the Rock, where Muslims believe the Prophet Mohammad ascended to heaven. A visit in 2000 to the holy site by then-Israeli opposition leader Ariel Sharon after peace talks broke down was followed by a five-year-long Palestinian uprising.

 

Tensions at the holy site coincided with a crisis in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, at risk of collapse unless negotiators can agree to extend their talks beyond an April 29 deadline set by Secretary of State John Kerry.

 

Sovereignty over the compound is at the heart of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Palestinians want to make East Jerusalem the capital of the state they aim to establish in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Israel, citing historical and biblical links, regards all of Jerusalem as its capital, a claim that is not recognized internationally.

 

U.S. Implies Israeli Tourists May be Spies as Espionage Concerns are Raised in Visa Debate

 By Israel Hayom & IsraelNationalNews.com

 

The U.S. intelligence community is worried that allowing Israelis to enter the U.S. without visas would allow more Israeli spies in, according to a Roll Call report published last week.

 

Until now, the report said, Israel's ineligibility for the U.S. visa waiver program was largely because it did not meet "specific requirements for inclusion, including a rate of refusal for Israelis seeking U.S. visas no higher than 3% and reciprocal courtesies for U.S. citizens visiting Israel." A State Department spokeswoman recently cited alleged discrimination against Arab Americans entering Israel.

 

Now, U.S. officials have a raised a new issue with adding Israel to the list of 38 nations who can enter the U.S. for up to 90 days without a visa. "The U.S. intelligence community is concerned that adding Israel to the Visa Waiver program would make it easier for Israeli spies to enter the country," a senior House of Representatives aide said in the report.

 

The concerns were raised by members of the U.S. intelligence community, including officials in the Homeland Security department, during a classified briefing at the House Judiciary Committee, Roll Call reported.

 

Secretary of State John Kerry recently instructed his department to look into adding Israel to the visa waiver program "quickly and comprehensively," after Representative Nita Lowey and other congressmen inquired about the rising number of refusals for young Israelis seeking visas.

 

In response to the inquiry, Kerry's assistant secretary for legislative affairs Julia Frifield sent Lowey a letter stating that Kerry "has directed the Department to take a range of immediate actions to ensure that, consistent with U.S. immigration law, we make every effort to maximize the number of young Israelis able to travel to the United States."

 

The letter, first published on Al-Monitor, largely focused on the significant rise in rates of refusal for young Israelis seeking U.S. visas. In the letter, it is cited that where as in 2009 16% of Israelis ages 21-26 were denied entry, that number jumped to 32% in 2013. The State Department stated that in its initial review "there have been increased rates of overstays and illegal employment, particularly for young Israeli visa holders, and that these trends have been observed for a number of years.

 

"We know that despite a two-thirds approval rate, this increase has led to a perception by some that young Israelis are unwelcome to travel to the United States," Frifield wrote. "Clearly that is not the case. Israel is one of our closest friends and allies, and we welcome interchange between Israelis and Americans in every manner, including travel by Israelis to the United States. The department can and will do more to encourage and assist qualified Israelis to visit the United States."

 

Frifield stated in the letter that the U.S. and Israel are forming a working group, including members of the Homeland Security Department, to help Israel progress towards being eligible for the visa waiver program.

 

"This is a goal of both the United States and Israel, and it would make travel easier for citizens of both countries," Frifield wrote. “I am pleased Embassy Tel Aviv and the State Department will undertake this full review of visa policies and have committed to making it easier -- not more difficult -- for young Israelis to travel to the United States,” Lowey said in response to Frifield's letter.

 

US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro addressed the US visa crisis for the first time late Saturday night, stressing that the White House is working diligently to increase the number of visa applications accepted for young Israeli tourists.

 

"In a letter to members of Congress this week, the State Department announced the decision of the Secretary of State, John Kerry, to ensure that the department will take immediate steps to increase the number of young Israelis that can travel to the US according to our immigration laws," Shapiro wrote, in a Facebook post.

 

Shapiro first summarized the issue. "The law dictates that applicants must prove that they intend to return to Israel in making the request, and that the visa does not allow recipients to stay beyond the designated time period or to work legally in the US," he said. "But we are aware of the fact that although two-thirds of young applicants receive visas, some people harbor a misconception that young Israelis are not welcome in the USA."

 

"Surely that's not true," he continued. "Israel is one of the US's closest allies, and we welcome all networking between Israelis and Americans, including visits to the United States." As such, he said, the US "will do as much as possible to encourage Israelis are eligible to visit the US for travel," including opening an internal investigation of the visa process and educating Israelis more about the visa application process.

 

 

Alarm over Reported Deal with Vatican for King David's Tomb

 By IsraelNationalNews.com

 

Is there a secret deal between the Vatican and Israel to transfer control over King David's Tomb to the Catholic church? An investigative report in Makor Rishon cites La Stampa Vatican Insider journalist Andrea Tornielli as saying that the deal has been nearly completed, and that Deputy Foreign Minister Ze'ev Elkin is in charge of the negotiations with the Vatican, but Israel denies any such deal.

 

The agreement allegedly contains two elements. The first is Israel's forgoing the levying of property tax and other taxes for all “churches, holy sites, prayer houses and cemeteries.” The second is the transfer of the “Last Supper room” on the floor above David's tomb to the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land (Custodia Terræ Sanctæ).

 

Rabbi Yaakov Sevilia, an activist for King David's Tomb, told Arutz Sheva Sunday that there is also a deal between Christians and Muslims, according to which the Muslims will retain control over the Temple Mount whereas Mount Zion will become Christian property. He cited journalist Gulio Meotti, who contributes regularly to Arutz Sheva, as the source for this knowledge.

 

Rabbi Sevilia emphasized that the tomb is, without a doubt, the burial place of King David, and mentioned a recent book – “The Secret of David's Tomb” – as containing proof of this claim.

 

"The Christians believe that the Tomb of David is indeed located here, but they do everything possible to confuse us, the Jewish people, so that we lose our connection to this place,” he accused. He added that while there has been a Jewish awakening with regard to the site, the Christian presence at the tomb is still much greater than the Jewish presence, with about 200 tour buses bringing Christians to the site daily.

 

There have been reports in the past about a deal to transfer the second floor of the Tomb to the Vatican. Tornielli says that this is the core issue in talks between the Vatican and Israel. Rabbi Sevilia claims that the Last Supper Room is just a toehold that the Vatican intends to expand in the future, in a ploy to take over the entire Tomb site.

 

An Israeli diplomatic source told Arutz Sheva Sunday that the Israeli government has no intention of transferring control over the site to the Church.

 

 

Israeli Scientists Make Genetic Code Breakthrough

 By Israel Hayom & Reuters

 

Breakthrough Israeli research published in the online edition of the prestigious journal "Science" may explain what separates modern man, or Homo sapiens, from Neanderthals.

 

How can creatures as different in body and mind as present-day humans and their extinct Neanderthal cousins be 99.84% identical genetically? Four years after scientists discovered that the two species' genomes differ by a fraction of a percent, geneticists said on Thursday they have an explanation: the cellular equivalent of "on/off" switches that determine whether DNA is activated or not.

 

The discovery also underlines the power of those on/off patterns. Together, they add up to what is called the human epigenome, to distinguish it from the human genome. The genome is the sequence of 3 billion molecules that constitute all of a person's DNA while the epigenome is which bits of DNA are turned on or off even as the molecular sequence remains unchanged.

 

In the last few years, research on the epigenome has shed light on how gene silencing leads to cancer, for instance, and how identical twins with identical DNA sequences can be very different. The epigenome exerts such powerful effects that it is often called the "second genetic code."

 

Now it has offered clues to what makes modern humans distinct. For the new study, geneticists led by Liram Carmel of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem started with DNA from limb bones: those of a living person, a Neanderthal and a Denisovan, an extinct human that lived in Eurasia during the Stone Age and whose remains -- a pinkie bone and a tooth, from a cave in Siberia -- were not discovered until 2010.

 

Geneticist David Gokhman and others on the Israeli team then examined the DNA's on/off patterns, identifying about 2,200 regions that were activated in today's humans, but silenced in either or both extinct species, or vice versa. When a gene is silenced, it does not produce the trait it otherwise would.

 

Chief among the epigenetic differences: a cluster of five genes called HOXD, which influences the shape and size of limbs, including arms and hands. It was largely silenced in both ancient species, the scientists found. That may explain anatomical differences between archaic and present-day humans, including Neanderthals' shorter legs and arms, bowleggedness, large hands and fingers, and curved arm bones.

 

Calling the work "pioneering," and "a remarkable breakthrough," paleoanthropologist Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum in London said in an interview that the HOXD gene finding "may help to explain how these ancient humans were able to build stronger bodies, better adapted to the physical rigors of Stone Age life."

 

One caveat about the research is that one person's epigenome can vary markedly from another's due to diet, environment and other factors. It is therefore impossible to know whether the on/off patterns found in Neanderthal genes are typical of the species overall or peculiar to the individual studied.

 

Other DNA with big differences in on/off patterns between the extinct and present-day humans is associated with neurological and psychiatric disorders including autism, schizophrenia and Alzheimer's disease. More of the Neanderthal versions were silenced.

 

In an interview, Carmel speculated that any given gene might "do many things in the brain." When dozens of brain-related genes became more active in today's humans, that somehow produces the harmful side effect of neurological illness. But the main effect might have been the astonishing leap in brain development that most distinguishes modern Homo sapiens from our extinct ancestors.

 

 

 

 

 

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 Children of Abraham: An Introduction to Judaism for Muslims

Go to: http://tinyurl.com/Judaism-for-Muslims

 

 

 

 

 

 


4,000 Years of Jerusalem

 




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Why Jews don't believe that Jesus is the Messiah

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 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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