Jewishupdates's Blog

December 29, 2009

A7News: Public Security Minister Won’t Restrain Freeze Inspectors

Filed under: Uncategorized — jewishupdates @ 1:33 pm

logo.jpgTevet 12, 5770 / Tuesday, Dec. 29 ’09

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  1. Public Security Minister Won’t Restrain Freeze Inspectors
  2. ‘Viva Palestina’ Blocked at Red Sea, Will Try for Gaza Via Syria
  3. Barak Forces Rabbi Ronsky Out of Army
  4. Kadima Turns Down Netanyahu’s Unity Offer
  5. Disney to Talk Hebrew on TV
  6. Video: YU High School Exchange Students Study in Hebrew
  7. Muslim Sheikh Pays Solidarity Visit to the Jews of Hevron
  8. Video: French Jewry Eye Policy Towards Israel

1. Public Security Minister Won’t Restrain Freeze Inspectors

by Gil Ronen

The heads of local government authorities in Judea and Samaria will launch a sit-down strike Tuesday in a tent opposite the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem, to protest against the continued enforcement of the decree freezing construction by Jews in their jurisdictions.

A series of protests and information-dissemination activities against the freeze will take place at the tent in the coming days. They will include protest vigils and rallies, meetings and public reception of citizens, for conversations about the damage of the freeze. There will be an information stand for passersby, and visits by Knesset Members and elected officials from all over Israel.

Minister of Public Security Yitzchak Aharonovich met the heads of the Yesha Council, the council of local governments in Judea and Samaria, Monday morning. The Yesha leadership asked Aharonovich to restrain the activities of the police throughout Judea and Samaria in view of recent events.

411 Inspections So Far
Aharonovich showed his guests statistics regarding the freeze order’s enforcement to date. Inspectors have paid 411 visits to communities and handed out 174 stop-work orders in places where they found non-compliance with the government decree. Twenty-two heavy vehicles were impounded. About 100 orders are being reconsidered, with the option of pardons or cancellation of the orders a possibility.

Most of the events went by quietly, Aharonovich said, but in 31 cases there was “friction.” Five law enforcement officers were hurt. Six Civil Administration inspectors, a police prosecutor and a police investigator were threatened.

The Yesha leaders put forth their complaints regarding the decisions by the nation’s political leadership and their implementation on the ground. The minister, for his part, told them that the freeze order is a legal government decision and that the situation is not an easy one for anyone involved. Regarding the enforcement of law in Judea and Samaria, the minister said he would not allow anyone to take the law into his own hands. Law enforcement authorities have his full backing, he added.

Aharonovich said that the criticism and protest should be brought before the political leadership in legitimate ways and not through violence against the enforcement arm of the state. He said that the IDF is sovereign in the territory and any enforcement activity there is carried out under its responsibility and command.

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2. ‘Viva Palestina’ Blocked at Red Sea, Will Try for Gaza Via Syria

by Hana Levi Julian

The Gaza-bound ‘Viva Palestina’ convoy led by a British MP is heading for Syria after being blocked by Egyptian officials at Nuweiba on the Red Sea. An attempt by pro-Arab British parliamentarian George Galloway to lead a convoy of some 450 European and Arab volunteers in 250 aid-packed vehicles into Gaza is heading to Syria after it ran into trouble when the British lawmaker defied Egyptian directives.

Galloway tried to take a shortcut into Gaza by entering through the port of Nuweiba, despite being told by the Egyptians that he must enter through El-Arish, on the Mediterranean coast.

The convoy left Aqaba, Jordan on Monday after being stuck there since Thursday, when it became clear that days of attempts by Galloway to manipulate international leaders and the media were unsuccessful.

A spokesman for the 450 European and Arab members of the convoy, Zaher Birawi, told the AFP news agency, “After talks between the Turkish government’s envoy and the Egyptian consulate in Aqaba, we agreed to go to Syria.”

Jordanian trade union spokesman Maysara Malas, who has been helping Galloway, added, “We hope that Egypt does not put up more obstacles. It is unfortunate that Israel has interfered in Egypt’s decision, which serves the Zionist entity.”

The convoy will head for Latakia, a Syrian port on the Mediterranean, before proceeding to El-Arish, as they were originally instructed to do by Egypt.

“Egyptian authorities have given a very hostile reception to the convoy,” complained Viva Palestina participant Anton Abagama. “They are not willing to negotiate; they are not willing to even think of any alternative… Egypt is being pressured from two sides, by Israel and by the U.S., to take the stand they are taking.”

This is the third such convoy to make the trip to Gaza from Europe within the past 12 months. Among the 250 vehicles are ambulances that were donated as well as buses and trucks filled with medical and school supplies, equipment and food, which humanitarian aide workers continue to claim is badly needed, despite visual evidence to the contrary. Hamas previously has confiscated several ambulances to use them for their own terrorist forces.

The Arabic-language web site PalToday, based in Gaza, recently posted photos showing a world of plenty for its residents, despite more than two years of reports crying to the world over their desperate plight.

The very same web site showed a completely different scene on its English-language page geared to foreign readers — a picture of misery featuring a story that focused on a girl who wanted her terrorist father to be freed by Israel. To read more about the site and the "Tale of Two Gazas," click here.

Viva Palestine is one of two major convoys that is scheduled to arrive in Gaza this week – the other being the “Gaza Freedom March,” expected to cross into the region on Friday through the Rafiah terminal.

The Gaza Freedom March dwarfs the Viva Palestina effort in human terms, with about three times as many volunteers – more than 1,400 participants from more than 42 countries are expected to flood into Gaza through the border crossing.

It is not clear what the marchers plan to do once they get there, or when they plan to leave. It is also not clear when the Viva Palestina convoy is expected to arrive.

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3. Barak Forces Rabbi Ronsky Out of Army

by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

Defense Minister Ehud Barak has taken the unprecedented step of not renewing the appointment of Rabbi Avi Ronsky as the IDF’s Chief Rabbi. IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi accepted the Defense Minster’s decision despite his known respect for Rabbi Ronsky, military sources told Arutz 7.

The refusal to renew the appointment of a Chief Rabbi or Chief of Staff follows by four years the equally unprecedented move by former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to refuse to renew the term of IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Ya’alon because of his doubts over the policy of destroying Jewish communities in the Gaza area and withdrawing the military.

Rabbi Ronksy will have served in his position for four years when he leaves office in the summer. Previous chief rabbis of the IDF served for more than four years, and their terms were renewed until they stepped down voluntarily. Chief Rabbi Ronsky succeeded Chief Rabbi Yisrael Weiss, who served for six years. Former IDF Chief Rabbi Mordechai Piron served for more than a decade.

Defense Minister Barak, who also heads the Labor party, has been at odds with Rabbi Ronsky several times and recently prevented him from speaking at several forums, including at a meeting of Knesset Members and rabbis on the first anniversary of Operation Cast Lead counterterrorist campaign in Gaza.

Rabbi Ronsky also was prohibited from being interviewed by media during the recent controversy concerning Barak’s ouster of the Har Brachah yeshiva from the Hesder program that combines service in the army with Torah study.

Former Chief of Staff Dan Halutz, an avowed secular Jew, appointed Rabbi Ronsky as chief rabbi because of his trust that he would re-instill soldiers’ faith in the IDF after the expulsions of Jews in 2005. One IDF officer told Arutz 7, "Rabbi Ronsky brought about a revolution in the military rabbinate, involved Torah students with their brigades and went into the field with combat soldiers."

Rabbi Ronsky fought in the Yom Kippur War, an experience that brought him closer to Torah. He was responsible for encouraging the IDF to build separate swimming pools for the increasing number of religious officers, a move that irritated many secular elements in the military as well as in the political world.

Two probable candidates to succeed him are Rabbi Duki Ben-Artzi, a combat pilot, and Rabbi Rafi Peretz, who heads the pre-army Torah academy (mechina) in Yated, which was part of the destroyed Atzmona community in Gush Katif.

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4. Kadima Turns Down Netanyahu’s Unity Offer

by Hillel Fendel

Surprising no one, the Kadima Knesset faction has rejected the offer by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to join his national unity government.

The vote on the issue at the party’s weekly faction meeting was reported to be unanimous, though earlier reports said it was supported by a majority, implying that there had been some dissent.

MKs such as Ronit Tirosh and Otniel Schneller had earlier strongly backed Kadima’s entry into the government. Schneller is even quoted in Monday’s edition of Yediot Acharonot as saying, “If Livni says no to Netanyahu, it won’t only be myself who will leave Kadima, and not only a few others; there could be a group of something like ten MKs who will leave.”

Most Kadima speakers called Netanyahu’s offer to Kadima – two or three Cabinet ministerial positions without-portfolio, and no changes in the coalition guidelines –“insulting” and a “mockery.”

MK Sha’ul Mofaz, considered the #2 man in Kadima after party leader Tzipi Livni, said that Netanyahu’s offer is “arrogant and not genuine.” Mofaz added, “As I told Livni a few days ago, arrogance is not a substitute for leadership.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu responded with disappointment. His office issued a response stating, "The Prime Minister was sorry to hear of the refusal by Kadima, headed by Livni, to respond positively to his offer to broaden the national unity government. In light of the importance of the hour and the challenges that face the State of Israel, the Prime Minister hoped for a different position."

Kadima Splitting?
Though Kadima faces the dangers of a split-off by several of its members, Mofaz hopes to meet this challenge by demanding – and winning – party primaries and taking over the reins of leadership from Livni. In a meeting with Livni last week in light of reports that several MKs would jump to the Likud, Mofaz told her of his demand for party primaries. She did not turn him down, saying only, “Not at the present time.”

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5. Disney to Talk Hebrew on TV

by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

The Disney Corporation, which began dubbing in Hebrew for its programs on its own channel for children in September, soon will produce original shows in Hebrew and with Israeli actors, the company’s Herzliya headquarters said.

Shows such as "The Island," "The Octets" and "The Titans" have received high ratings since they were first aired, according to Globes. They are broadcast on the Disney Channel via cable and satellite, which so far has provided viewers with Hannah Montana" and "Wizards of Waverly Place" and other productions, all with Hebrew sub-titles.

The announcement is bitter irony for Hamas, which was forced to stop its anti-Israel children’s programs, featuring Disney characters, after the company threatened to sue it for copyright infringement. Hamas used characters similar to Mickey Mouse, among others, to air material that often incited Arab children to become martyrs when they grow up.

Anti-Israel groups previously have tried to boycott Disney, which 10 years ago set up its Millennium exhibition in Florida and referred to Jerusalem as "the capital of the millennium" and the "heart of the Israeli people."

The Arab League had tried to boycott Disney until Saudi Prince Walid ibn Talal, who was a large shareholder of Euro Disney said, “If we boycott Disney, Israel will win because it will impact our image negatively in the United States.

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6. Video: YU High School Exchange Students Study in Hebrew

by Yoni Kempinski

Arutz Sheva TV visited the participants of the Yeshiva University Student Exchange Program at the Tzvia School for Girls in Ma’aleh Adumim. In the following video the students speak with Yoni Kempinski about their experiences, and the feeling that in the land of Israel they are actually walking in the footsteps of their forefathers.

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Email readers: click here to view video

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7. Muslim Sheikh Pays Solidarity Visit to the Jews of Hevron

by Nissan Ratzlav-Katz

Noam Arnon, a spokesperson for the Jewish community of Hevron, told Arutz Sheva about a very unusual guest who came to show his support on Monday.

Making the trip from Italy to Hevron for the second time in recent years, the head of the Italian Muslim Assembly, Sheikh Abdul Hadi Palazzi, met with local Jewish leaders in a show of solidarity. The sheikh, an Italian national who received his Islamic education from leading mainstream Saudi and Egyptian Sunni institutions, believes that his religion obligates its followers to support Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel. In support of his position, Sheikh Palazzi quotes Koranic passages and traditions that affirm God’s assignment of this land for the Jews.

As Palazzi has written of himself, he is "a Zionist Muslim clergyman and a friend of the Jewish people."

"We are talking about a unique personality," Arnon told Arutz Sheva. "A man who connects warmly with everyone he meets. A very brave individual."

During Sheikh Palazzi’s visit to Hevron, community leaders discussed with him ways in which Islamist fundamentalism might be curbed. "He emphasized Saudi Arabia as responsible for extremism," Arnon said. "It funds mosques in Europe and the United States and then determines who will be allowed to speak in them. In this way, Islam becomes more and more extreme, which is a dangerous trend."

In his activities in Italy, Arnon explained, Palazzi teaches what he calls "the real Islam", which he believes includes tolerance, Jewish-Muslim fellowship and Zionism. "He even organized a protest outside the Iranian embassy in Rome when Ahmadinejad talked about destroying Israel," Arnon added.

Sheikh Palazzi, who is also the Muslim co-founder of the Islam-Israel Fellowship of the Root & Branch Association, told his Hevron hosts that Italian Jews are now shifting their political positions further to the Right. In the past, according to Palazzi, Jews in Italy were primarily supporters of the Left, but a slow change in underway. Arnon said that Sheikh Palazzi believes his efforts, as a non-Jew supporting Israel, have contributed to that shift.

Asked about threats against the Zionist sheikh Arnon was adamant that he was perfectly safe in Hevron. "He walked around [here] without bodyguards," he said. However, Arnon said that he would probably be unable to openly enter Gaza or Ramallah under current circumstances.

Palazzi’s visit in Israel continues for another few days, during which he will be making his way to other communities in Judea and Samaria to express his support for continued Jewish development and sovereignty in those regions.

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8. Video: French Jewry Eye Policy Towards Israel

by Yoni Kempinski

Prof. Ilan Greilsammer, of the Department of Political Studies at Bar-Ilan University, spoke with Arutz Sheva TV at a conference commemorating 40 years of French aliyah (immigration) to Israel.

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In the following video, Greilsammer explains that French Jews keep notice of the policy of their

government towards Israel and act accordingly, and states that France is "in the middle" in comparison with other European countries.

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