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Today's News

April 18, 2014



Abbas’ Office Scrambles to Deny Reports He Condemned Passover Terror Attack



The office of Palestinian Authority  President Mahmoud Abbas has rushed to deny reports – given to media outlets by a delegation of opposition Israeli lawmakers who had just returned from Ramallah – that the Palestinian leader had condemned a deadly Monday terrorist attack on an Israeli family, a day after Abbas’ silence on the matter had been blasted by Jerusalem as deeply complicating efforts to sustain flagging peace talks. Terrorists had riddled the family’s car with bullets, killing the male driver and wounding his wife and child.


Abbas and other figures from his Fatah faction had through the week remained conspicuously silent on the matter, amid celebrations of the murder by other groups, triggering a harsh condemnation from Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.


Multiple members of Israel’s Knesset parliament visited Abbas Wednesday and came back telling journalists that “it didn’t take much convincing” for him to specifically condemn the Passover eve attack: Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz), who was part of the delegation, told The Jerusalem Post that Abbas denounced all terror including the killing of Baruch Mizrachi in Monday evening’s terror attack.


“Abu Mazen [Abbas] said this specifically, he emphasized his disgust from bloodshed and terrorism. He said he’s willing to participate in the investigation of the attack and to bring those accountable to justice,” Horowitz said.


Abbas’ office remembered the conversation differently: Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Ruaineh said the PA president opposed violence but did not speak out against the attack. “We are against violence and a return to violence,” Abu Ruaineh quoted him as saying, adding the Abbas “is committed to a total condemnation of violence from any party.”


Israeli and American lawmakers have long expressed concerns that Palestinian leaders, up to and including Abbas, stoke violence both by failing to dampen it and at times by explicitly glorifying it.



Hamas’ Role in Temple Mount Unrest Suggests Greater West Bank Influence



Police officers closed Jerusalem’s Temple Mount to Jewish and other visitors on April 13, after Arabs atop the compound began rioting, seemingly in part at the behest of Hamas.


Hamas Movement has called for defending al-Aqsa Mosque in light of Israeli settlers’ intention to break into the mosque next Monday…Al-Aqsa Mosque is wholly owned by Muslims and it will never be temporally or spatially divided, the statement stressed. Hamas called on the PA to stop negotiations with the occupation in response to Israeli continued attacks and Judaization policy. The Islamic movement also called for intensifying Palestinian presence in al-Aqsa Mosque in face of all Israeli attempts to storm it.


Hamas was among those talking up a supposed Israeli plan to storm the mount on the eve of the Passover holiday. As a result on April 13, supposed worshipers in the Muslim mosque launched an attack on Israeli police officers. Muslim worshipers threw stones, firecrackers and Molotov cocktails at police forces on Temple Mount on Sunday morning. A police force that entered the holy site stopped the rioters and dispersed the crowd. Two policemen were lightly injured and one woman was arrested for disruption of public order.


The Arab world in general uses the Temple Mount as a prop in its attempts to condemn Israel. Hamas in particular takes advantage of the sensitivities surrounding the mount to try to control the masses in the West Bank from its main power base in Gaza. The organization uses all of the media at its disposal to perpetuate myths about Israeli intentions on the holy site urging action to defend “al-Aqsa.”


Jordanian Air Strike Destroyed Al Qaeda Raider Force Heading for US Military Base

 By DEBKAfile


The Royal Jordanian Air force strike Wednesday against a combat vehicle convoy from Syria destroyed an Al Qaeda raider force on its way to attack US military targets in the kingdom,  DEBKAfile's military sources reveal. Jordan’s first assault on a target outside the country took place on the Syrian side of the border opposite the eastern town of Ruwaished.


This episode brought to the fore how dramatically the threat al Qaeda-Iraq poses to Jordan, the US forces based their and Israel has escalated. Amman has not disclosed where the air strike took place, who rode in the destroyed armored vehicles and where they came from.


According to DEBKAfile’s counterterrorism sources, they were driven by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) fighters, coming from the western Iraqi province of Anbar. To avoid running into Jordanian military formations around Ruwaished, the group moved through Syria in the Abu Kemal region and, after refueling and collecting extra fighters and arms, turned south and aimed for the Jordanian border, where their expedition was abruptly brought to a close.


Our intelligence sources report that their target was a secret US-Jordanian training facility situated west of Ruwaished, where Iraqi army troops are being instructed in advanced counter terror combat tactics. At the end of these courses, the graduates return to their units, better able to put up a fight against the al Qaeda forces continuing to overrun large swathes of their country, and posing a real danger to Baghdad.


This episode broke new ground in more than one area. It was the first ISIS operation directed against the American military presence in Jordan, and also the first time the jihadists used stealth to creep through a crack between the Jordanian, Iraqi and Syrian borders.


ISIS planners were well aware of the two full divisions the Jordanian army had strung out along its borders with Syria and Iraq, to seal the kingdom off from Islamist terrorist incursions. Those planners were crafty enough to find away around this barrier. However, many Jordanians have joined up with the Al Qaeda branches of Iraq and Syria. It is thought to be only a matter of time before they return to home ground fired up with the jihadist doctrine of terror.


The Jordanians don’t say how they knew the ISIS vehicle convoy was heading their way. It stands to reason that US or Jordanian surveillance aircraft detected the vehicles on the move. Since there was no time to drop Jordanian commandos to apprehend the terrorists in Syria before they crossed the border, it was decided in a hurried conference between Amman and Washington to send the Jordanian air force into action. The commanders likely used the US Command and Control Headquarters established near Amman a year ago to maintain close US-Jordanian military coordination.



Kerry Slams 'Grotesque' Ukrainian Anti-Semitism



Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday condemned notices which were sent to Jews in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, asking them to identify themselves as Jews. Kerry called the move "grotesque."


"In the year 2014, after all of the miles traveled and all of the journey of history, this is not just intolerable, it's grotesque. It is beyond unacceptable," Kerry told AFP in Geneva, where he was taking part in crisis talks on Ukraine.


The notices were sent by the "People's Republic of Donetsk," part of a pro-Russian separatist movement that has held violent protests and seized government buildings in the city. In response, the Ukrainian government on Sunday launched an "anti-terrorism" operation in the city, leaving one Ukrainian official killed and five injured, as well as untold casualties on the protesters' side.


The notice, handed out late Tuesday in front of the local synagogue by three men in camouflage uniforms and ski masks who left before police arrived, ordered Jewish residents to register with the pro-Russians or be deported. Novosti Donbassa displayed a copy of the notice, which claimed to target Jews for allegedly supporting Ukraine against the pro-Russians.


The notice orders all Jews over 16 years of age to register in front of the government building that has been occupied by pro-Russian forces. It further orders Jews to pay a registration fee of $50 before May 3 and list all real estate and vehicles owned. "In case of failure to register, the perpetrators will be stripped of their citizenship and deported forcibly outside the country with confiscation of property," read the notice.


It remains unclear whether the notice constitutes a new policy being implemented by the local pro-Russian forces, or a "provocation" to stir up violence and change facts on the ground. The US Ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, told CNN that "everything that we're hearing is that this is the real deal, and that it is apparently coming from somebody on the ground there among these radical groups, either to stir fear or to create provocation justifying further violence."


Those estimations of "provocation" were echoed by Rabbi Pinkhas Vyshedski of the Donetsk Jewish community, who said "what happened of course smells of a provocation. As to who is behind it -- that is an open question."


Anti-Defamation League's national director Abraham Foxman similarly raised questions about the notices, saying "we have seen a series of cynical and politically manipulative uses and accusations of anti-Semitism in Ukraine over the past year." However, Foxman added "we strongly condemn the anti-Semitic content, but also all attempts to use anti-Semitism for political purposes."


The unrest in Ukraine has brought with it a sharp rise in anti-Semitic attacks on the region's Jewish population, highlighted by such events as the stabbing of the Deputy Commander of ZAKA Kiev and Hatzalah Kiev Chairman Rabbi Hillel Cohen. The latest clashes in Donetsk have raised even further fears of a civil war breaking out in Ukraine, between Ukrainian and pro-Russian forces.


Tzvi Magen, the former Israeli ambassador to Russia, told Arutz Sheva on Wednesday night that Russia is orchestrating the confrontations in an attempt to seize greater control over Ukraine. Earlier this month the Crimean Peninsula, which had been part of Ukraine, held a controversial referendum vote and was annexed by Moscow after a de facto military invasion of the region.


Just last week a New York Times editorial board opinion piece argued that Kerry should leave the peace talks, and instead devote his "attention to other major international challenges like Ukraine."


Anti-Semitism Labeled Apartheid

 By  Ed Ziegler (Commentary)


There are many reasons why it is utterly ridiculous  for any slightly reasonable person to  consider Israel an apartheid state. If, for  no other reason, Webster's Dictionary defines apartheid  as "segregation by race." Israel does not segregate against anyone in any way.


Israel's enemies point to the defending border wall Israel built as a reason to label Israel an apartheid state. If that is a valid  reason then the United States is also an apartheid state because of their wall on the Mexican border.


Everyone must agree it is the duty of a  government, in this case Israel,  to protect its citizens from  Islamic fanatic suicide bombers. There are so many of these bombers who have, and are willing to, forfeit their lives in order to kill Jews and whoever (Christian ,Hindu, Muslim, etc.) happen to be in the area.


An apartheid state does not allow the segregated people citizenship nor equal rights such as voting or freedom of speech. One and a half million Arabs live in Israel; they constitute about 20% of the  population.   Every single one of them has the same exact rights as any other Israeli citizen -- and always have. They can vote, and they do. They can own property, businesses, and work alongside other Israelis, and they do.  They can serve in the Israeli parliament, and they do. There are Arabs  in the Israel government such as Masud Ghnaim,  an Israeli Muslim politician, who  is a member of the Knesset.  Then you have Abdel Rahman Zuabi who took his seat in 1999 as the first Arab to sit on the Israeli Supreme Court. No way does this sound like an apartheid state.


So why are Palestinians who live in what they commonly refer to as the "occupied territories" treated differently? Because they're not citizens of Israel. They are governed by either the Palestinian Authority or Hamas. It is not Israel, but the Muslim dominated nations, that have confined Palestinian-Arab refugees to UN welfare in camps in Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan for generations. The only control Israel has over these people takes place when they want to enter Israel, because Israel has to weed out potential terrorists.


The 1973 International Apartheid Convention developed a list of what a system of apartheid looks like. This includes subjecting the segregated people to the following: murder, arbitrary arrest, bodily or mental harm, restriction of movement, restriction of peaceful assembly and division along lines of race. This sound more like Islamic dominated countries such as  of Saudi Arabia, Syria, Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan  where dissent is a capital crime and where gender and religious apartheid are practiced


Islam's hatred of the Jews dates back to the formation of Islam as exhibited by verses in the Quran such as Verse 5:82 "Strongest among men in enmity to the believers will you find the Jews and pagans "and Verse 5:51" Oh you who believe! Take not the Jew or a Christian as a friend."


Groups such as the Muslim Student Association and  Students for Justice in Palestine, at many universities,  host "Apartheid Week" to criminalize Israel  by comparing the most, if not only,  democratic country in the Middle East to the former apartheid state of South Africa. Those who hate Israel hope to persuade ill-informed people that Israel doesn't deserve to exist just as apartheid South Africa didn't deserve to exist.


As for the rights to the  land of Israel, the Jews have been inhabitants for more than 3500 years. That is about 1500 years before Islam started. In short, Israel and the Jewish people  are being singled out for unfair, discriminatory treatment  by Islam, the UN and well meaning misguided groups. Sadly the anti-Jew and anti-Israel factions are succeeding in pulling the wool over the eyes of  well meaning ill-informed. Pathetically Israel and the Jews have not  launched a publicity campaign to counteract the lies and distortions propagated by the so much of the Islamic world.


If you are a believer in truth and justice then speak out and be heard. Discuss this issue with others and circulate this article.


 Historic Seder Held in Kaifeng



Nearly 100 members of the ancient Jewish community of Kaifeng, China, attended a first-of-its-kind traditional Passover Seder Monday. The Seder, was sponsored by the Jerusalem-based Shavei Israel organization, which sent Kaifeng all of the traditional Passover items including: Kosher Matzah packages from Israel, Kosher for Passover wine, Passover Haggadahs (traditional book used on Passover that explains the order of the Seder), which were prepared especially in Hebrew and Chinese, Kosher for Passover cakes, traditional red horseradish, and traditional Charoset (a sweet, dark-colored paste made of fruits and nuts eaten at the Passover Seder).


"We are proud and excited to organize this historic event," said Shavei Israel Chairman and Founder Michael Freund. "Kaifeng's Jewish descendants are a living link between China and the Jewish people, and it is very moving to see the remnants of this community returning to their Jewish roots as they prepare for Passover," he added.


Scholars believe the first Jews settled in Kaifeng, which was one of China's imperial capitals, during the 8th or 9th Century. They are said to have been Sephardic Jewish merchants from Persia or Iraq who made their way eastward along the Silk Route and established themselves in the city with the blessing of the Chinese emperor.


In 1163, Kaifeng's Jews built a large and beautiful synagogue, which was subsequently renovated and rebuilt on numerous occasions throughout the centuries. At its peak, during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), the Kaifeng Jewish community may have numbered as many as 5,000 people. But widespread intermarriage and assimilation, as well as the death of the community's last rabbi, brought about its demise by the middle of the 19th century.


Nevertheless, many of the families sought to preserve their Jewish identity and pass it down to their descendants, who continued to observe various Jewish customs. Currently, there are estimated to be approximately 1,000 Jewish descendants in Kaifeng.


“In recent years, many members of the community have begun to explore their heritage – thanks in part to the Internet, which opened up new worlds for them and provided access to information about Judaism and Israel that was previously inaccessible to them,” Freund noted.


(Editor's Note: You can listen to a short radio dramatization of Jews in ancient China. Just go to



Obama's Seder Spiced Up by Israeli Chef



President Barack Obama's Passover Seder received an injection of Israeli cuisine this year when First Lady Michelle Obama decided to invite chef Vered Guttman to prepare the traditional holiday meal.


The Israeli chef prepared a quinoa salad for the guests that delighted Mrs. Obama, who cracked a genuine smile when the waiter told her it was the healthiest item on the menu. The course was exceedingly successful, as at the end of the meal one of the waiters approached Guttman and informed her that President Obama had asked what made the salad so delicious.


"A few weeks ago we were contacted by the White House and we were told that Michelle Obama wanted to diversify the menu," Guttman told Yedioth Ahronoth. "I immediately thought of quinoa salad, which is part coconut with sweet potatoes and Tuscan kale. Michelle approved, and they invited me to the White House to get acquainted with the kitchen and prepare the delicacies."


 Vered Guttman is the owner of the catering company "Cardamom and Mint" and usually prepares delicacies for multi-family meals at the embassy in Washington and for bar mitzvah celebrations in the city.


"The First Chef at the White House who is of Filipino origin, Cristeta Pasia Comerford, told me that she visited Israel and really liked the food. She was very nice and let me share in preparing other dishes as well: Though the knaidlach mixture was already prepared, I suggested that we cook the matzo balls in soup broth instead of boiling water. She accepted my suggestion and the dish turned out much tastier."


There were 23 diners at Obama's Seder, and the menu included gefilte fish and chicken soup with knaidlach. At the end of the meal Guttman waited behind the curtain between the dining room and the kitchen. "People from the staff asked me to stay, they said that at the end of the meal the President and his wife might come to thank us. In the end they were in a rush to get to another event, but we were told that we would be invited again to thank us."


Behind the curtain Guttman managed to listen to the Seder and said, "The most exciting was when the President and all the guests sang Dayenu and Chad Gadya, and they sang in loud voices – it sounded like they were singing with all their heart."



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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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