Tevet 8, 5770 / Friday, Dec. 25 ’09
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- ‘We will Continue in Father’s Path of Faith’
- Rabbi’s Murderers Trained by Barack and Barak?
- Key Checkpoint Near Shavei Shomron Removed Weeks Before Attack
- Wiesenthal Center: Cancel eBay ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’ Auction
- MK Levin: Kadima Split is ‘Historic Justice’
- Netanyahu Offers Unity Gov’t to Kadima
- Call for Stricter Controls on State-Owned Intellectual Property
- 2009 Dishonest Reporter Award Goes to Organ Libel’s Bostrom
1. ‘We will Continue in Father’s Path of Faith’
by Gil Ronen
Thousands of people took part in the funeral of Rabbi Meir Avshalom Chai who was murdered Thursday by a Fatah terror squad. The funeral procession started out at 10:00 AM from the Shamgar Funeral Home and went to the cemetery at the Mount of Olives.
Chai (40) lived in Shavei Shomron for 14 years. He was married with seven children, the youngest of whom is two months old.
Minister Yaakov Neeman eulogized Rabbi Chai tearfully and paid tribute to his great virtue as a teacher of young children.
Samaria Regional Council Head Gershon Mesika said that “Rabbi Meir is a victim of the folly of the government of Israel. His murder is the result of the removal of checkpoints. Two weeks ago the main checkpoint between Shechem and Tulkarm was opened. The government of Israel preferred the Arab’s fabric of life to the Jew’s life.” Mentioning Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Mesika said: “I demand that you face the widow and orphans and ask forgiveness because you cannot say ‘our hands did not spill this blood.’”
To the Arabs he said: “You have hit the lion in our ranks but you will not break our spirit. We vow to you, Rabbi Meir, that we will continue in your path, to settle in the lands of our forefathers, in spite of them.”
A father to hundreds
MK Nissim Ze’ev (Shas) said that Rabbi Meir was “a father to all of us and to… hundreds of children whom he taught Torah.”
MK Yaakov Katz (NU) said: “Rabbi Meir, you are all of Israel; you are a hero of Israel in the instruction of Torah and in fear of the Heavens.”
Turning to the residents of Judea and Samaria, he said: “We are the few who hold the many. Rabbi Meir, you represent the courage of the settlers. You represent the courage of those who drive at night without guards or security details, you are the hero who shines his countenance to the children at night and in the day. With our devoutness and the willingness to sacrifice we will raise up those who are distant. We need to teach the Prime Minister and the Defense Minister some Torah.”
Study, not revenge
Eliyahu, the Rabbi’s son, said: “I want to say to the youth – continue in my father’s path. Father wanted faith, he wanted Torah study, he wanted prayers. He could not stand to see that there are no tefillin. He had to see all of the mitzvot (commandments). If you want to memorialize my father these are the things you should do. Not to beat up Arabs with sticks. We are human beings and we will not shoot them in the head for no reason. We are human beings, we are the youth of Samaria… Father would be happiest if he saw us studying.” He asked Defense Minister Barak to respect the dedication of the youth of Judea and Samaria.
Rabbi Meir Avshalom Chai left the community of Einav at 4:30 PM Thursday and drove toward his home in Shavei Shomron. Terrorists in a car that overtook him opened heavy fire at him. Ten bullets hit Meir in the head. He was mortally wounded and died a few minutes later.
2. Rabbi’s Murderers Trained by Barack and Barak?
by Gil Ronen
The announcement by the Al Aksa Martyrs organization that its men are the ones who killed Rabbi Meir Avshalom Chai raises some difficult questions, when one bears in mind that the United States assists the Fatah organization through military training under the supervision of Gen. Keith Dayton.[audio:124388]
Interviewed by Ben Bresky Thursday night, journalist David Bedein reminded Arutz Sheva’s audience that the Al Aksa Martyrs formally joined Fatah’s security forces at the Fatah convention in August. Fatah receives military training from US military forces with the full approval of Israel Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
Bedein noted that as a journalist, he recently submitted a query to the Minister of Defense and directed a similar question to the US authorities. In his queries he noted that despite their claims otherwise, the Al Aksa Martyrs are a terror group whose men receive financial aid which the US gives the group.
He has not received an answer to the query.
Bedein’s description of the matter means that the United States (headed by President Barack Obama), with the Israeli government’s passive agreement, has indirect responsibility for training and funding the terror force which murdered Rabbi Meir Chai.
3. Key Checkpoint Near Shavei Shomron Removed Weeks Before Attack
by Gil Ronen
Samaria Regional Council Head Gershon Mesika said following the terrorist murder of Rabbi Meir Chai from Samaria Thursday: “After a long period of security quiet, the main roadblock between Shavei Shomron and Tulkarm was recently opened, despite our warnings. The government of Israel preferred ‘the Palestinian fabric of life’ to its citizens’ rights.”
An unnamed IDF officer told Haaretz that the terrorists who murdered Rabbi Chai most likely escaped through the abandoned checkpoint, which was removed shortly before the murder.
The IDF’s removal of roadblocks is widely perceived as a gesture toward US President Barack Obama, who has pressured Israel to make Arabs’ "fabric of life" as comfortable as possible.
Soldiers recently removed the concrete cubes and metal gate that made up the roadblock north of Shechem, near Shavei Shomron, despite pleas by Samaria residents to the IDF not to remove it. The removal means that traffic between Shechem and Tulkarm now flows without any security monitoring. Another IDF checkpoint on the road, at Beit Iba at the northern exit from Shechem, was removed several months ago.
Upon receiving news of the attack, MK Yaakov Katz (Ketzaleh) of the National Union said that “this is the first payment of the the ‘at any price’ of the Shalit deal, even before the deal has been carried out. The tracks lead to Netanyahu who is willing to release arch-murderers but freezes the lives of Jews and opens roadblocks, thus encouraging the terror he is surrendering to.”
The Kommemiyut movement reacted to the murder by saying: “The blood of the murdered man is on the hands of the Defense Secretary and the Prime Minister, who have carried out a morally corrupt policy of turning the beloved into an enemy, and the enemy into a loved one. It is time to wake up from illusions and from diplomatic adventures for which Jews and their families pay with their lives.”
‘Blame Shalit deal’
MK Dr. Michael Ben-Ari (NU) said after the attack that “Netanyahu’s path of surrender, the opening of roadblocks, the construction freeze and the freeing of terrorists signal to the terror that Jewish blood is free for the taking. The terrorist who committed the murder probably thought that he would make it to jail in time to be freed in the Shalit terrorist freedom deal. Bibi surrenders to terror.”
Efrat Mayor, Lt-Col (res) Oded Revivi said after the attack that “the Arabs in their twisted way have adopted the slogan ‘they will get as much as they give’ [coined by Netanyahu in his first term as prime minister – ed.]. The more concessions we give them, the more murder we get.”
MK Danny Danon said: “There should be an inquiry into whether or not today’s terror attack was the result of Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s policy of redirecting security forces to act against construction and residents, and not against terror.”
The Yesha Council said that the terror murder was “a direct result of the policy of easing [the pressure] on Palestinians, removal of essential roadblocks in Samaria and the transfer of security authority to those from whose ranks many terrorists have emerged and murdered Jews. As in similar cases in the past, the gestures to Abu Mazen again cost Jewish blood.”
4. Wiesenthal Center: Cancel eBay ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’ Auction
by Gil Ronen
The Simon Wiesenthal Center, which fights anti-Semitism, wants online auction house eBay to cancel the auction of an "Arbeit Macht Frei" sign, touted as "similar to the one in Auschwitz." The sign was put on sale by a Pennsylvania resident using the moniker "SS panzergrenadier."
The description on eBay reads: "For sale is a sign in German meaning ‘Work for freedom’ that dates back to the 1700’s and was used in many Nazi concentration camps. It was designed specifically from the sign over the main gate at Auschwitz. It measures about 7 feet long and is made from 1/4 round bar steel with 1/8 x 3/4 steel lettering…Note: Gate is not included."
"The denigration of the victims of Nazi Holocaust continues unabated – from Iran’s Holocaust-denying president, to thieves who stole the actual sign from the Auschwitz death camp,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in a statement from Jerusalem. "People of goodwill the world over expressed their shock and indignation after the real sign was stolen – including the son of an ex-American GI who fought the Nazis, who contacted the Wiesenthal Center to volunteer to make a new sign for the Auschwitz Museum."
"eBay, one of the world’s most powerful marketing tools, has a moral obligation to remove this callous ‘auction’ item by someone using the call letters of the SS seeking to cash in on last week’s criminal act at Auschwitz," Cooper added.
5. MK Levin: Kadima Split is ‘Historic Justice’
by Gil Ronen
MK Yariv Levin (Likud) dismissed Friday the criticism of Likud by senior members of Kadima a day earlier. “At best this criticism is ridiculous and at worst it is hypocritical,” Levin told Arutz Sheva‘s Hebrew service. “The Kadima party split off from the Likud and was born in the Likud. They are the ones splitting off from Kadima because of dissatisfaction with Tzipi Livni’s leadership,” he added.
Kadima is a party with no content, Levin charged. “Kadima is a party with no ideological backbone. There are people there who came only in search of government jobs. It is not impossible that we will soon witness a split from Kadima not by seven people, but by 12, and then we may even see Shaul Mofaz join the move,” he predicted.
Do the just thing
The split in Kadima is “historical justice,” Levin opined. “These are the same people who got up and took Knesset seats from the Likud and established a party with the aim of finishing off the Likud. Ariel Sharon held a referendum among the members [of the party], we invested a lot of time in the referendum and in the end he took action contrary to the referendum. He left Kadima and left us with debts, doing everything he could to cause Likud to crumble. That is why we say to the Kadima people – you have no right to cry or complain. As Sharon always said, whoever splits from Kadima does the just thing.”
Levin dismissed the idea that the split in Kadima was ideologically motivated. “That is ridiculous,” he said. “Kadima has no ideology. Those who left it did so because they had no chance to get reelected and that is the only reason.”
Levin said that he hoped that Likud would not be swept leftward when the Kadima rebels join it. “I think that the Kadima members’ joining will widen the base of support for the government and reduce the dependency on the Left,” he explained. On the other hand, he added, it could also diminish the relative share of the nationalist MKs in the party and lead to moves that stray from the path of the Likud. Despite this, said Levin, “in the overall balance, Kadima’s fragmentation is a positive thing.”
6. Netanyahu Offers Unity Gov’t to Kadima
by Hillel Fendel
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu threw a political bombshell into the national arena, offering Kadima membership in a national unity government. He made the offer in a Thursday afternoon meeting with Opposition Leader Tzipi Livni.
The move would apparently save Kadima from an internal split; one MK has already announced his leaving Kadima, and six more – unnamed – have initialed an agreement to do so. Livni has come under great criticism for her leadership of the party in the opposition, and the party’s #2, Sha’ul Mofaz, earlier in the day demanded new elections for party leader.
Livni’s first response: “I have always said that if it’s genuine, it is worth discussing.” She has staunchly opposed joining the Netanyahu-led government from the day it was formed, demanding nothing less than a rotating premiership with Netanyahu.
If Kadima joins the government, this would give Israel one of its largest government coalitions ever, with 102 Knesset Members, while the Opposition would comprise only 18 MKs (including 10 Arabs): four each from the National Union, Raam-Taal (Arab), and Hadash (Arab-Jewish) parties, and three each from Meretz and Balad (Arab).
The official Knesset position of Head of the Opposition would be assigned to the candidate who wins a majority of opposition MK votes – and would therefore likely be an Arab Knesset Member.
Netanyahu said he would give Kadima four ministerial positions in the Cabinet, without portfolios. This would bring the number of government members to 34.
The Kadima Knesset faction convened on Thursday afternoon for a previously-scheduled meeting. The original objective was to discuss ways to prevent the party from splitting, but this will apparently be replaced by a discussion of Netanyahu’s offer.
7. Call for Stricter Controls on State-Owned Intellectual Property
by Nissan Ratzlav-Katz
In the wake of an unprecedented suit brought by the state against a private corporation for intellectual property theft, the Movement for Quality Government (MQG) calls for greater oversight on state employees working as researchers. The MQG believes such a crackdown would bring a very significant amount of money to the public coffers.
This week, the State of Israel sued Omrix Biopharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson Inc., and its founder Robert Taub, for allegedly violating the state’s intellectual property rights. According to the claim, filed in the Tel Aviv District Court, Omrix illegally made use of innovations originally developed by researchers at the Sheba Medical Center, a state research hospital. The state is seeking compensation of half a billion shekels.
In a letter to the Attorney General’s Office, the MQG calls for a clarification of regulations regarding intellectual property rights in innovations developed in state facilities or by state employees. As part of this process of clarification, the MQG suggests, the state should offer incentives for employees to report their innovations, such as exist in other developed nations.
In the Omrix case, the MQG points out, the state claimed that it was unable to trace the intellectual property theft until now because it is "unable and is not meant to carry out detective or police investigations and surveillance of its employees…. The only practical way the state can discover if a particular researcher developed a patent, and the intellectual property rights therein, is through enforcing obligatory reporting to a state authority set up for that purpose." Current law does mandate such reports, but there is no built-in incentive to obey the regulation.
Recent reports indicate a widespread phenomenon of intellectual property developed by state employees being used without limitation by private companies, which translates into a serious economic cost to the state, the MQG believes. Therefore, the organization requested that the Attorney General order an urgent investigation to track down state employees violating the relevant laws, to initiate civil suits against the firms using intellectual property pilfered from state institutions and to file criminal charges against the lawbreakers.
8. 2009 Dishonest Reporter Award Goes to Organ Libel’s Bostrom
by Hana Levi Julian
The media watchdog organization Honest Reporting has awarded a Swedish journalist its 2009 Dishonest Reporter Award for the most skewed and biased coverage of the Middle East conflict.
Donald Bostrom “touched a nerve in readers in ways that few journalists ever do,” declared the organization. Writing in the Aftonbladet, the largest daily newspaper in Sweden, Bostrom headlined his two-page spread in the cultural section, “They Plunder the Organs of Our Sons.” The article quoted Palestinian Authority Arabs who claimed that IDF soldiers kidnapped young men from Judea, Samaria and Gaza and later returned their bodies, minus their organs.
Bostrom admitted to having failed to independently verify the claims of his sources, specifically of the family of Bilal Ahmed Ghanem, who died in 1992. “I was [present] during the interview that night, I was a witness. It concerns me to the extent that I want it to be investigated… But whether it’s true or not – I have no idea, I have no clue,” he said.
Arabic-speaking Jerusalem Post reporter Khaled Abu Toameh tracked down the family himself, said Honest Reporting – and the family denied ever having told Bostrom their son was missing organs. “The mother denied that she had told any foreign journalist that her son’s organs had been stolen. However, she said that now she does not rule out the possibility that Israel was harvesting organs of Palestinians…” Toameh wrote.
The editor of the Aftonbladet, Jan Helin, backed his reporter and accused Israel of a cover-up, even though it is medically impossible to harvest organs from a body that sustained gunshot wounds in the abdomen and chest, as Bostrom reported that Ghanem did.
The Swedish government refused to condemn the article, insisting that journalists had the right to “free speech.”
Poison Pen Award: Pat Oliphant
Syndicated cartoonist Pat Oliphant won the group’s ire with a cartoon of a “headless, Jackbooted, goose-stepping figure holding an outstretched sword pushing a Star of David – baring its fangs at a Gaza mother and baby.”
Honest Reporting contended that the cartoon appealed to the “worst Nazi stereotypes” – and Oliphant, in his own words, agreed, telling the Australian Cartoonists Association during a presentation ceremony:
“My complaint was that Israel, the Israeli state, was behaving very much like their former tormentors were behaving back in the 30s and 40s, and insinuating that they were, they had a somewhat Nazi side to the way they were behaving. And I feel somebody should say it. And I did.”
Other Points of Interest
“This year, a four-letter word dominated coverage of Israel on a near-daily basis,” wrote the organization in its release on the award decision. “Gaza.” Describing the three-week counterterrorist Operation Cast Lead that began on December 27, 2008, Honest Reporting commented, “The media war was dizzying.” A long list of skewed coverage and spin games followed – and “that was just January.”
There was more to Israel than Gaza, of course, as the organization pointed out. An Israeli university professor called for a boycott of his own country. An Arab news network tried to bury Israel’s success in soccer.
Honest Reporting started a controversy when it organized a Facebook group calling on the social networking web site to allow residents of the Golan Heights to identify themselves as Israelis. When Facebook agreed and changed its settings, Syrians organized a boycott.
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