Jewishupdates's Blog

December 17, 2009

A7News: Boycott Britain, Suggests Kadima MK

Filed under: Uncategorized — jewishupdates @ 1:53 pm

logo.jpgKislev 30, 5770 / Thursday, Dec. 17 ’09

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  1. ‘Boycott Britain,’ Suggests Kadima MK
  2. Terrorists Fired on Sderot with Russian-Made Rockets
  3. Border Police to Recruit: Will You Expel Your Friends?
  4. Temple-Era DNA Reveals Oldest Case of Leprosy
  5. PA Confiscates, Destroys $50,000 Worth of Israeli Goods
  6. Ashkenazi: Police Better than IDF for Evictions
  7. R. Eliezer Melamed to Let Colleagues Decide on Eviction Politics
  8. How to Fight Anti-Semitism: Conference Opens in Jerusalem

1. ‘Boycott Britain,’ Suggests Kadima MK

by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

Kadima Knesset Member Ronit Tirosh has called on government officials to stop flying British Airways and has suggested an Israeli boycott of British goods. Knesset Speaker Ruby Rivlin of the Likud backed her idea.

MK Tirosh’s initiative is in retaliation for the British government’s recommendation that its Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs label Jewish products made in Judea and Samaria as "Israeli settlement produce." It also suggested that non-Jewish goods be accompanied by the description "Palestinian produce."

The British department stated that traders would be committing an offense if they declared produce from the area as "produce of Israel.” Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor noted, "It looks like it is catering to the demands of those whose ultimate goal is the boycott of Israeli products."

MK Tirosh called on the Israeli public “to reconsider” buying British merchandise if its government does not cancel its recommendation. Dozens of MKs have signed MK Tirosh’s petition. She forwarded to the accountant general an appeal that he not authorize expenditures for officials traveling on British Airways.

Speaker Rivlin called her initiative “correct and important” and suggested it be translated into English and sent to his counterpart in the British Parliament.

“Lately we have been witness to problematic decisions by the British government that create a climate for anti-Israeli steps, such as an academic boycott. I suggest that Israeli officials stop using British Airways so long as Britain considers Israel to be two different countries.

“It certainly would not do any harm if we encourage the public to buy ‘blue and white’ [Israeli] goods,” she declared.

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2. Terrorists Fired on Sderot with Russian-Made Rockets

by Hana Levi Julian

Two rockets exploded in the Gaza Belt city of Sderot Wednesday night but both landed in open areas. No one was injured and no damage was reported in the attack. One of the rockets fired Sunday was identified by IDF personnel as a type never before launched from Gaza, a Russian S5K that was used in the war between Iran and Afghanistan.

Palestinian Authority terrorists also fired a rocket attack from northern Gaza earlier in the week, launching two short-range rockets aimed at the southwestern Negev. Only one cleared the security barrier and reached its target, and the second fell short and exploded within Gaza.

Old Pattern, New Trend?
The attacks contradict the announcement November 21 by the Hamas terrorist organization controlling Gaza, saying it had reached a deal with other terror groups in the region to halt all rocket and mortar attacks on Israel. The announcement was seen at the time as a sign that an agreement on a prisoner swap for the release of kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit was nearing completion.

The day after the announcement, however, the Islamic Jihad terror group released a statement denying it had agreed to a ceasefire. In addition, a previously unknown PA jihadist group called the Revenge Battalion issued a new threat following the announcement, saying it would not be bound by the Hamas decision.

Despite its own vow to refrain from attacks, three days after the announcement Hamas terrorists fired rockets at the western Negev, striking the Sha’ar HaNegev region where Sderot is located. Sporadic attacks on IDF personnel and skirmishes between terrorists and Israeli soldiers, most of them carried out with light arms and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), have continued along the Gaza security barrier since that time.

Nevertheless, according to the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, Hamas has also carried out a limited policy of restraint, at least with regard to rogue terrorist bands. Hamas security forces reportedly detained a PFLP terrorist cell after Sunday’s rocket attack on Sderot. Hamas also evacuated its headquarters in anticipation of IDF retaliatory raids.

In addition, Qudsnews reported that on December 12, Hamas operatives arrested and detained a rocket-launching squad in the central Gaza Al-Bureij region as they were preparing to launch an attack on southern Israel.

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3. Border Police to Recruit: Will You Expel Your Friends?

by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

Border police officials have admitted that a security office acted improperly for throwing out a recruit after asking him if he would expel friends and family from his own community in the southern Hevron Hills. Senior Border Police officials, after hearing the report about the youth, identified as “E” was, invited him for another interview and accepted him for basic training.

The youth wants to serve in a commando unit that searches for and arrests terrorists in Judea and Samaria, an entirely different and more superior unit than the ”Yassam” police who expel Jews from their homes and break up protests, often violently.

Acquaintances said the recruit was in shock after a security officer asked, “You live in Susiya? Would you carry out expulsion orders there?"

After “E” replied, “I never thought about that. It is very complicated. I have to think about that,” the officer abruptly said, "You are finished. You cannot be in the Border Police.” The youth returned home insulted and shocked at the questioning, friends related.

The youth lives in the community of Susiya, located approximately three miles north of the pre-1967 border, north of Arad and Be’er Sheva. His father, Chaim, told Israel National News the decision was his son’s. "I was hoping he would take an easier route, but he asked me for advice, and I said, ‘It’s your decision,’" he explained.

After his son was thrown out of the recruiting office, his father called the military correspondent for Voice of Israel govenrment radio, whose report caused Border Police officials to reconsider the case. Border Police spokesman Moshe Finsi explained to Israel National News that the question was proper but that the security official did not have authority to decide to reject "E."

The youth’s family praised the Border Polcie for personally calling them and correcting the mistake. Finsi said, "I met the youth and I wish we had many more like him who want to contribute to the country."

Asking national religious soldiers if they would expel friends in their own communities was common immediately preceding and after the expulsions of nearly 10,000 Jews in Gaza and northern Samaria four years ago but later was deemed improper by military officers.

Finsi explained that the Border Police have no choice but to ask recruits about their capability to accept orders because that is one of their functions. "We do not choose what orders to accept, and we cannot accept officers who refuse orders," according to Finsi.

Finsi explained that the Border Police have no choice but to ask recruits about their capability to accept orders because that is one of their functions. "We do not choose what orders to accept, and we cannot accept officers who refuse orders," according to Finsi.

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4. Temple-Era DNA Reveals Oldest Case of Leprosy

by Nissan Ratzlav-Katz

The DNA of a man buried near Jerusalem’s Old City in the first century Common Era reveals the earliest identifiable case of leprosy, according to researchers from Israel and North America. The burial shroud may also disprove the claim that the Shroud of Turin is from first-century Jerusalem.

The burial cave in which the remains were found, which is known as the Tomb of the Shroud, is located in the lower Hinnom Valley and is part of a first-century C.E. cemetery. The shrouded man, whose bones were dated by radiocarbon methods to 1-50 C.E., did not receive the customary secondary burial in an ossuary (small stone container for bones) common at the time. The entrance to the part of the tomb where this individual was buried was completely sealed with plaster.

The Hebrew University’s Prof. Mark Spigelman, one of the leading researchers who studied the molecular evidence from the tomb, believes the isolation was due to the fact that the shrouded man suffered from leprosy and died of tuberculosis. The DNA of both diseases was found in his bones.

The excavation also found a clump of the shrouded man’s hair, which had been ritually cut prior to his burial. These are both unique discoveries, as explained by Hebrew University spokespeople, because organic remains are hardly ever preserved in the Jerusalem area owing to high humidity levels in the ground.

The evidence revealed by the remains indicate that tuberculosis and leprosy may have crossed social boundaries in the first-century C.E. Jerusalem. A number of clues – the size of the tomb, its location alongside a High Priest, the type of textiles used as shroud wrappings, and the clean state of the man’s hair – suggest that the shrouded individual was a fairly affluent member of society in Jerusalem or a priest himself. Furthermore, according to Prof. Shimon Gibson of Hebrew University, the tomb would have faced directly toward the Jewish Temple of the time.

Disproves Turin Shroud?
This is also the first time fragments of a burial shroud have been found from the time Jesus was alleged to have been active in Jerusalem. The shroud is very different from that of the Shroud of Turin, hitherto claimed to be the one used to wrap the body of Jesus. Unlike the complex weave of the Turin Shroud, the recently discovered shroud is made up of a simple two-way weave, as the textiles historian Dr. Orit Shamir was able to show.

Based on the assumption that this is representative of a typical burial shroud widely used at the time of Jesus, researchers concluded that the Turin Shroud did not originate from Second Temple-era Jerusalem.

Further details of the discovery are published in the December 16, 2009, issue of PloS ONE Journal for peer-reviewed scientific and medical research.

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5. PA Confiscates, Destroys $50,000 Worth of Israeli Goods

by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

The Palestinian Authority, encouraged by European Union boycotts of products in Judea and Samaria, dumped $50,000 worth of Dead Sea cosmetics in trash containers on Wednesday. The Dead Sea beauty products, including shampoo, face cream and hand lotion, are manufactured under the widely known Ahava brand.

The company’s headquarters on a kibbutz located less than a mile from the Dead Sea and part of the land restored to Israel in the Six-Day War in 1967.

PA authorities also confiscated candies from the Barkan industrial area in Samaria, according to the French news agency AFP.

A PA statement alleged that the confiscated goods exceeded their expiration date, but Munthar Erakat, described by the Jordan Times as a ”local official,” said, "This destruction … is in keeping with the decision of the Palestinian leadership to prevent the import and sale of products produced in the settlements.”

The Ahava products have grown from a small stand 20 years ago to an internationally-known company that sells more than $150 million worth of products in 35 countries. The American investment firm Shamrock Holdings owns 20 percent of the company.

The company was not available for comment on the PA’s confiscation.

It has been the target of several boycotts. Pro-Arabs lobbied the London department store Harrods in 2002 to take Ahava products off its shelves along with other Israeli products, ranging from pretzels to wine.

Earlier this week, Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen asked the Dutch Finance Ministry to investigate the status of Ahava products at the behest of Dutch Socialist Party parliamentarian Harry van Bommel, an avid pro-Palestinian activist.

Ahava products are exported to Holland with a "Made in Israel" stamp, but Dutch socialists say the beneficial minerals infused in Ahava products belong to Arabs.

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6. Ashkenazi: Police Better than IDF for Evictions

by Gil Ronen

IDF Chief of Staff Lt-Gen Gabi Ashkenazi hinted Wednesday that in the future, expulsion of citizens from their homes should be carried out by the police and not the IDF.

"It is proper to use policemen vis-a-vis civilians, and to try and prevent a situation in which soldiers are involved in a situation of evacuating communities,” he said in an interview on IDF Radio’s Shirutrom telethon which raises money for the benefit of soldiers.

"The policemen are more experienced, and soldiers are better fitted for carrying out perimeter security assignments,” he explained.

Ashkenazi also weighed in on the Defense Ministry’s decision to take Har Bracha Yeshiva out of the Hesder program. “We gave rabbis an opportunity to denounce the phenomenon of refusal, but regrettably not all of them did so,” he said, referring to the soldiers who protested against the use of the IDF for expulsion of Jews from Judea and Samaria.

"At the end of the road, you cannot split up the army. There is a chain of command in the army and soldiers swear to carry out the orders of their superiors in the army,” he said.

"We need to beware of generalizations and not besmirch an entire public,” the military’s top commander said. “I have known the Hesder yeshivas for many years and they are extraordinary soldiers. I think that in the army, it does not matter where the soldiers come from, and it is even a good thing that they have an opinion and a political outlook.”

However, he added, a soldier must not have two commanders. “We cannot accept that and that is why the soldiers who held up signs were taken care of. Almost everyone in the Federation of Hesder Yeshivas Rabbis denounced the phenomenon [of refusal]. We cannot accept this kind of behavior from anyone.”

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7. R. Eliezer Melamed to Let Colleagues Decide on Eviction Politics

by Gil Ronen

The Head of Har Bracha Yeshiva, Rabbi Eliezer Melamed, says that other rabbis in the Hesder program are pressing him to sign a declaration against soldiers who refuse orders. He says he will transfer the decision on the matter to the forum of Hesder yeshiva heads that will convene on Sunday.

The rabbi has been at the center of heated debate for weeks, after Defense Minister Ehud Barak and top IDF commanders lashed out against him, claiming he encouraged soldiers to refuse orders to evict Jews from their homes. They blamed him for several recent instances in which soldiers in uniform held up protest signs against the evictions, even though only one of these soldiers was a student of Har Bracha Yeshiva. Rabbi Melamed subsequently accused Barak of libel.

The Hesder program is an arrangement by which yeshiva students combine stints of military training with Torah study.

Rabbi Melamed will devote his popular column in BeSheva Magazine to the controversy Thursday. In Thursday’s column, the rabbi writes that the apparent conflict between Torah and the military is the result of orders that do not stem from security considerations. “The one who is eroding the army’s cohesion is the Defense Minister, who uses the soldiers against their own countrymen and against Halacha (Jewish law),” he says.

"Rabbis are obligated to say the Torah truth as they see it, even when they need to pay a price for it,” he continues. “I never called for demonstrations within the army, but I will not consent to sign an emphatic denouncement of these protests just because of pressure and threats.”

"Instead of the Defense Minister distancing the military from all public controversy, or at the very least refraining from giving orders that contradict Jewish law – he incites the greater public against rabbis who supposedly endanger military discipline.”

Rabbis must be free
The rabbi goes on:

"It is forbidden to express opinion on Torah matters under pressure from the government, and a rabbi must say his inner truth; in that he represents the sacred legacy of our nation. And these things are true of the Hesder yeshivas rabbis as well; they do not need to be under the discipline of of the military commanders, but to voice their opinion freely.” "Some rabbis are applying great pressure on me to sign [a declaration against refusal of orders] in order to end the painful confrontation with the Ministry of Defense. On the other hand, the spokesmen for the Ministry of Defense can be expected to present this in the media as the defeat of Torah opinion by the Barak government. On the face of it, there is a great temptation here. A tiny signature on a sentence whose contents I identify with and that does not contain any denouncement of the protesters, and it will be possible to go on as usual in the yeshiva, without wasting hours on writing articles and without losing an annual budget of NIS 800 thousand (based on the number of students).”

"Since I am, for the time being, part of the larger group of Hesder yeshivas, I have agreed upon the advice of my father and teacher [Rabbi Zalman Melamed of Beit El – ed.], and other rabbis, to transfer this decision to the forum of yeshiva heads which will convene on Sunday to discuss the affair.”

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8. How to Fight Anti-Semitism: Conference Opens in Jerusalem

by Hillel Fendel

The two-day 2009 Global Forum for Combating Anti-semitism (GFCA) opened in Jerusalem on Wednesday, with 500 participants from over 50 countries.

Among those taking part is Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Vygaudas Usackas, Canadian Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney, and the Czech Republic’s Minister of Human Rights Michal Kocáb. In addition, legislators, jurists, academics, and Jewish and non-Jewish organization heads from around the world are also among the participants.

Conference co-chairman Minister of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Yuli Edelstein, of the Likud party, addressed the conference’s opening session, and quoted Martin Luther King’s writings equating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism.

Specifically, in Saturday Review XLVII (August 1967), pg. 76, and reprinted in "This I Believe: Selections from the Writings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr." (New York, 1971), King writes:

"…You declare, my friend, that you do not hate the Jews, you are merely ‘anti-Zionist.’ And I say… When people criticize Zionism, they mean Jews – this is G-d’s own truth… And what is anti-Zionist? It is the denial to the Jewish people of a fundamental right that we justly claim for the people of Africa and freely accord all other nations of the Globe. It is discrimination against Jews, my friend, because they are Jews. In short, it is anti-Semitism… Let my words echo in the depths of your soul: When people criticize Zionism, they mean Jews – make no mistake about it."

(Though some have said that this passage was never penned by King, Dr. Seymour Martin Lipset of George Mason University and Stanford University wrote in 1969 that he heard King respond to an anti-Zionist remark by saying, "Don’t talk like that! When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You’re talking anti-Semitism!")

Edelstein said that traditional anti-Semitism has morphed into political anti-Semitism that is manifest in the international activities against Israel. In keeping with this line of thought, a major topic of discussion at Wednesday’s sessions will be contemporary instances of anti-Semitism around the world, concentrating on the links between them and the delegitimization of the State of Israel.

The conference will be marked this evening by a Chanukah candle lighting ceremony with Knesset Speaker Ruby Rivlin. Certificates of honor will be awarded to five parliamentarians from various countries.

Among Wednesday’s speakers will be conference co-chairman Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, ADL Executive Director Abraham H. Foxman, Prof. Yehuda Bauer, Malcolm Hoenlein, Prof. Robert Wistrich, Hannah Rosenthal of the U.S. State Department, Canadian MP Mario Silva, Sergio Widder of the Latin American branch of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Dr. Andre Oboler, and others.

On Thursday, the speakers will include Prof. Gerald Steinberg, Social Services Minister Yitzchak Herzog, Canadian MP Irwin Cotler, Italian MP Fiamma Nirenstein, UK MP John Mann, Anne Bayefsky, Dr. Charles Small, Dr. Daniel Pipes, Prof. Penda Mbow of the Cheikh Anta Diop University in Senegal, Avner Shalev, Rabbi Michael Melchior, and Jewish Agency for Israel Chairman Natan Sharansky.

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