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Today's News

Feb. 27, 2015



Jordan, Israel to Link Dead Sea with Red Sea



Jordan and Israel signed a deal on Thursday to build a pipeline to link the Red Sea with the shrinking Dead Sea and combat regional water shortages, according to AFP.


The official Petra news agency said that the agreement signed in the Jordanian capital, Amman, would set in motion the implementation of the first phase of a long-awaited project. It follows a letter of intent signed in Washington in December 2013 by representatives from Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority that capped more than a decade of negotiations.


The agreement, signed in the presence of representatives from the United States and the World Bank, stipulates the construction of a canal to channel water from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea.


Jordanian Water Minister Hazem Nasser said that 300 million cubic meters of water would be pumped annually from the Red Sea during the first phase of the project. In all four pipelines would be built, with the ambition of eventually pumping two billion cubic meters of water when the project is completed.


The Dead Sea, the lowest and saltiest body of water in the world, is on course to dry out by 2050. The degradation of the Dead Sea started in the 1960s when Israel, Jordan and Syria began to divert water from the Jordan River, the Dead Sea's main supplier.


As part of the project, some of the water pumped from the Red Sea would enter the Dead Sea while the rest would be desalinated and shared with Israel and the Palestinian Authority.


Nasser said Jordan will start drawing up documents in the next few weeks calling for international tenders. He said the deal, signed for Israel by Energy and Water Resources Minister Silvan Shalom, safeguards Jordan's national interests.


Shalom, who is also minister of regional cooperation, hailed the agreement as a landmark deal between Israel and Jordan, which signed a peace treaty in 1994. He said the deal will help rehabilitate the Dead Sea and provide solutions to Jordan's chronic water problems, a statement said.


Two years ago, Jordan's water ministry said that the tiny kingdom, where 92% of the land is desert, would need 1.6 billion cubic meters of water a year to meet its requirements by 2015.


Water is an essential and rare resource for Jordan which has a population of around seven million and growing, as the country takes in refugees from the Syria war. However, several environmental groups have warned that the project could undermine the fragile ecosystem of the Dead Sea, which they fear could be contaminated by water from the Red Sea.



Yad Vashem: Stop Using Holocaust for Political Ends



"The use of the Holocaust for the purpose of advancing political goals is wrong," says Yad Vashem Council Chairman Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, adding, "The memory of the Holocaust should unite Israelis, not divide them."


Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, council chairman of the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial museum, called on all political bodies not to use the Holocaust or references to it in election propaganda.


His plea came after two incidents of such use in the last two weeks. In the first, Habayit Hayehudi Chairman Naftali Bennett was depicted on a poster with a swastika on his face, and in the second, a video made by the Samaria Residents' Council compared Europeans to Nazis and equated leftist organizations with Nazi collaborators.


At Yad Vashem's annual conference last week, the cynical use of Holocaust imagery and references was broadly condemned. "We must not cheapen the memory of the Holocaust or transpose it onto political party discourse," Lau said. "The use of the Holocaust for the purpose of advancing political goals is wrong. The memory of the Holocaust should unite Israelis, not divide them."


A Yad Vashem official further stated that using Holocaust imagery in politics "hurts Holocaust survivors."



Obama Sending 'Anti-Israel' Power, Rice to AIPAC



President Barack Obama is sending National Security Advisor Susan Rice and UN Ambassador Samantha Power to address the AIPAC convention next week. The two are “widely seen as among the most anti-Israel members” of Obama's administration, according to, which says the decision to send them is “a further slap in the face” by Obama.


Rice caused a stir earlier this week when she told interviewer Charlie Rose that the decision by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to address a special joint session of Congress – after being invited by Republican House Speaker John Boehner – was “destructive” to the fabric of US-Israel relations. Power said, in 2002, that the US should send troops to impose peace between Israelis and Palestinians – although she later took back this statement.


Obama addressed the AIPAC in 2012, but no high level administration officials addressed the 2013 conference. Breitbart notes that in 2010, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addressed the AIPAC conference in the midst of a heated dispute with Israel over housing in Ramat Shlomo, in northern Jerusalem. Some conference attendees chose not to attend her speech.


AIPAC supports bipartisan legislation sponsored by Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) to expand sanctions against Iran if that nuclear talks fail. Obama has promised to veto this bill – but it may prove to have a veto-proof majority. Netanyahu will also be speaking to the AIPAC conference, and his address to Congress is likely intended to create this veto-proof majority.


The White House on Wednesday backed comments by Rice, who said in an interview that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's March 3 speech in Congress is "destructive" to the relationship between the two countries.


Speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One, White House spokesman Josh Earnest was asked about Rice’s comments and responded, “I believe what Susan was referring to is how reducing the U.S.-Israeli relationship to just a relationship between two political parties is destructive to a relationship between our two countries that for generations had been strengthened through bipartisan cooperation, not just in this country but in Israel.”


“The President himself has raised this concern. The President has said that the relationship between the U.S. and Israel can't just be reduced to a relationship between the Republican Party and the Likud Party,” added Earnest.


The White House spokesperson said that Washington hopes “that we'll continue to see leadership in this country and in Israel that will not allow the relationship between our two countries to be dragged down by party politics.”


Earnest was then asked whether Obama agrees with Rice that by accepting the invitation to speak to Congress, Prime Minister Netanyahu has done something “destructive to the fabric of the U.S.-Israeli relationship”.


“Again, I think it is entirely consistent with what the President has already said, that the U.S.-Israel relationship has been strengthened because you have seen leaders in both parties in both countries signal their strong support for that relationship.  And allowing this relationship to be subjected to party politics does weaken the relationship.  It's not good for that relationship,” Earnest replied.


Asked why Obama is not asking Netanyahu to call of his speech if he believes it is “destructive”, Earnest responded, “Prime Minister Netanyahu needs to make these decisions for himself.  He’s the Prime Minister of Israel. He’s the person who should be setting his own schedule.  And he’s the one that has to make the decisions about what will be in his country’s best interest -- in the same way that the President of the United States has to make those kinds of decisions for his country.”


In her interview with journalist Charlie Rose on Tuesday, Rice said, "What has happened over the last several weeks by virtue of the invitation that was issued by the speaker and the acceptance of it by Prime Minister Netanyahu two weeks in advance of his elections is that on both sides there have been injected some degree of partisanship, which is not only unfortunate, I think it's destructive of the fabric of the relationship. It's always been bipartisan. We need to keep it that way. When it becomes injected with politics that's a problem," she added.


Netanyahu’s speech has raised the tensions between Israel and the United States, with Democrats and Republicans quarreling about it as well. The invitation to Netanyahu to address Congress was extended by House Speaker John Boehner, who did so without  consulting the White House or the Democrats, and later explained he felt it was important to do an end-run around White House "interference."


Democrats were outraged, with Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy saying he would not attend the speech and accusing Republican leaders in the House of Representatives of "unilaterally" arranging and politicizing Netanyahu's planned address.


Other lawmakers threatened to boycott the speech as well. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said there would be no organized "boycott" of Netanyahu's speech, but she suggested some lawmakers might “be too busy to attend.”


Senior Democratic Senators Richard Durbin and Dianne Feinstein invited Netanyahu to a closed-door meeting with Senate Democrats - separate from his Congress speech - during his trip to Washington. Netanyahu declined the invitation, explaining that accepting it would “compound the misperception of partisanship regarding my upcoming visit.”


Meanwhile, the White House has made clear that neither Obama nor Secretary of State John Kerry would meet with Netanyahu while he is in Washington, citing the proximity of his visit to the elections in Israel.


State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki has indicated that Kerry will “probably be out of town” during Netanyahu’s speech, and Vice President Joe Biden has also announced that he will be traveling abroad and would not be attending the speech.



Under the Sea: The Video Obama Has Censored

 Israel Faxx News Services


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EU Rabbi Slams Call to Hide Kippahs in Germany



Rabbi Menachem Margolin, head of the European Jewish Association and the Rabbinical Center of Europe, slammed a call made by head of Germany's Jewish council Josef Schuster, who suggested that Jews shouldn't wear the traditional skullcap (kippah) in areas with large Muslim populations.


"This is a dangerous statement that was better left unsaid," Margolin said, adding that "the call for Jews to hide their identity instead of calling upon European governments to provide all the necessary resources in order to battle anti-Semitism is irresponsible. If this statement was made by a non Jew, he would be considered an anti-Semite."


Schuster, the head of the Central Council of Jews, told rbb Inforadio Thursday that Jews in Germany generally feel safe, though security measures need to be evaluated frequently. Schuster says that "hiding is not the right way" of dealing with worries about anti-Semitism.


But he says it's right to ask whether, in areas with high Muslim populations in Berlin and elsewhere, "it really makes sense to identify oneself as a Jew by wearing a kippah, for example, or whether it's better to wear different headgear there."


Security worries among European Jews have been stoked by recent attacks in Paris and Copenhagen, in which Jewish institutions were targeted by Islamic fundamentalists, as well as other deadly attacks in Belgium, France and in the past few years.


Earlier this week, monthly German Jewish magazine Judisches Berlin announced that it would henceforth deliver copies in unmarked envelopes to subscribers. "The Israelis in Berlin are attacked just for being Israeli Jews," Berlin Jewish leader Gideon Joffe wrote in the newspaper. "We are not yet at the stage – and I stress that it's not yet – where Jews are murders in Germany only because they are Jews. But steps are being taken to protect the rule of law in German democracy."


Meanwhile, leading European Jewish groups earlier this month slammed the German government for creating a new commission on anti-Semitism without including a single Jewish representative.


Julius Schoeps from the Moses Mendelssohn Center for European-Jewish Studies called it "a unique scandal" that the Interior Ministry did not include any Jewish scientists or community leaders on the commission it created to fight anti-Semitism and support Jewish life in Germany.













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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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 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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