Shevat 4, 5770 / Tuesday, Jan. 19 ’10
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- Jerusalem Vice Mayor: One Law for All – Raze EU Building
- Fatah Official Skips Mother’s Funeral in Gaza
- Joys R Us!
- Hizbullah may be Behind Murder of Tehran Physics Professor
- Hesder Protestors Thrown out of Army, Hesder
- Security Fears Behind Joint German-Israeli Cabinet Meeting
- Hundreds Mark the Death of the ‘Baba Sali’
- Planning a New Strategy for Judea and Samaria
1. Jerusalem Vice Mayor: One Law for All – Raze EU Building
by Hillel Fendel
Jerusalem Deputy Mayor David Hadari says that if the authorities are so bent on razing the Jewish-populated Beit Yehonatan in the eastern Jerusalem "Yemenite Village" neighborhood, they must also demolish another illegal building: The European Union’s Beit Europa.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat appeared at a Knesset Law Committee session last week, and presented his housing plans for eastern Jerusalem. In the knowledge that there are dozens, and possibly hundreds, of illegally-built Arab buildings there, and that destroying all of them is not feasible, Barkat wishes to retroactively permit buildings there to reach four stories high, instead of the currently mandated two.
Most of the buildings in question are Arab-populated, but one of them is none other than Beit Europa, used by the European Union for various activities.
This raises a red flag for people like Hadari, who is concerned about the ongoing legal proceedings against the Jewish-owned Beit Yehonatan. The building stands six stories high, and because the authorities are unable to find the owner, they are seeking to evict the families.
Named for Jonathan Pollard, Beit Yehonatan stands in the area of the Yemenite Village, below and just to the southeast of the Temple Mount. The area was owned by and home to many Jewish families, mostly from Yemen, from the 1880’s until 1938. On Aug. 11, 1938, following a long period of Arab riots, pogroms and looting, the British evacuated the last 30 families from the neighborhood. "The British gave assurances that the ‘Jewish refugees’ would shortly return," according to Daniel Lurie, Executive Director of the Ateret Cohanim Jerusalem Settlement Foundation, "but of course, this never happened"- until April 2004, when several Jewish families moved back in.
They enjoyed about two years of peaceful residence, until legal proceedings against them began – on “charges” of living in a house with building irregularities. Hadari says that thousands of other Arabs are living in a similar status, and if the buildings are to be “kosherized,” then Beit Yehonatan must be as well.
“Illegal buildings must be destroyed, period,” Hadari says, “and we can’t overlook the illegality of Beit Europa just because we’re afraid of what the nations will say. The law must be fulfilled – though I am willing to make one exception: If Beit Yehonatan is legalized, then I am willing to accept the legalization of other buildings as well. One law for all. If all the buildings are deemed OK, then fine, but if not, then just as the others will have to be razed, then with great sorrow I would have to accept that Beit Yehonatan must be among them.”
The King’s Garden
Another pressing matter for Mayor Barkat is the “clean-up” of the King’s Garden area, south of the Old City-Temple Mount area and just east of the City of David. Empty of homes up until 1970, it now houses some 90 buildings, all illegally built and most of them constructed over the past 20 years. Nearly 40 of them have been served with demolition orders, though only one or two have actually been razed.
Barkat, Hadari and others feel that the area is critical for Israel – both in terms of its past, with archaeological treasures of King David’s period waiting to be uncovered, and in terms of its zoning plans as a municipal park – and there is thus no need to allow law-breaking construction to impede its plans.
2. Fatah Official Skips Mother’s Funeral in Gaza
by Hana Levi Julian
One of the highest officials of the Palestinian Authority’s Fatah faction, Muhammad Dahlan, skipped his mother’s funeral in Gaza this out of fears that his life would be endangered. PA sources claimed that Israel and the U.S. both advised him not to go.
Suriya Dahlan, 80, died Sunday of renal failure in the family’s hometown of Khan Yunis, according to the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency. Her son, still considered the leader of Fatah in Gaza, fled the region during the 2007 militia war that ended in the takeover by Hamas, and now lives in Ramallah.
Dahlan, who today is the deputy chairman of the Palestine Legislative Council, explained that he will not enter Gaza while it remains under the control of the rival PA terrorist faction.
Formerly dubbed the faction’s “strongman” due to his performance as head of security, Dahlan was reportedly invited by Hamas to participate in his mother’s funeral, but only under specific restrictions, according to Ma’an. He rejected the conditions, which included a requirement to file a formal request with the de facto Hamas government for permission to enter Gaza, and to remain in the terrorist group’s custody for the duration of his stay.
Other media reports alleged that a number of Dahlan’s enemies in Gaza had called for his arrest, and some had vowed to physically attack him if he returned to the region, even to attend his mother’s funeral.
In a statement issued to the media, Dahlan explained that he did not want to “provoke events or confrontations, or injury to members of Fatah who may be abused, as was the case during the commemoration ceremony for Yasser Arafat when more than 10 Palestinians were killed and 100 injured.” He expressed his thanks to Gaza residents who sent condolences and who were present at his mother’s funeral.
“Despite this great sadness that arises from not participating in the funeral, I will not enter Gaza until Palestinian legitimacy is restored,” Dahlan wrote, and charged Hamas with exploiting his mother’s death for political purposes.
3. Joys R Us!
by INN Staff
Happiness is a state of mind — and the state of a person’s happiness can be determined by a person’s actions, according to researchers who have studied the issue. A combination of unknown factors, including deliberate activities geared towards increasing that “feel good” feeling, have all been credited with increasing happiness.
One newly-revealed happiness-growing technique can be found right here at Israel National News on a new page called Joys R Us.
Is there going to be a Bar or Bat Mitzvah in the family? A wedding coming up? Did someone get engaged last night? How about a special “mazel tov” for a graduation, or that special someone’s birthday… or a birth announcement for the newest member of the family? New arrivals on aliyah are especially moving, and merit an exciting message of welcome.
Best bet: share it! Go to the new Joys R Us site and let the world know about that special bit of happiness in your life.
Joys R Us is the page where our illustrious readers can share their joyous events with others, and even add a special icon to characterize the message. The new service can be accessed in one simple step by clicking the button at the top of our Israel National News home page. There is even an option to amplify the joy by letting those whose joy you are marking know about it – via the special "send email" service.
Try it out now, and bring a little more light to the world. Let your friends know how happy you are!
4. Hizbullah may be Behind Murder of Tehran Physics Professor
by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
Evidence is mounting that Hizbullah may have been behind last week’s assassination of Professor Ali Mohammadi, a physics professor who was murdered in a booby-trapped motorcycle explosion near his home.
Contrary to initial reports, Mohammadi apparently was not a nuclear physicist and had no connection with the development of Iran’s nuclear program, thus ruling out a motive that opposition groups were responsible for killing him.
He also supported Mir Hossein Mousavi in the election against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He reportedly signed a petition on behalf of those who protested what they called the rigged re-election of Ahmadinejad last June.
Within a day of the assassination, Iran accused “Zionists’ and the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of being responsible for the murder. The government on Monday warned it will take revenge against the two countries.
An opposition group has claimed that a Hizbullah assassin was photographed at the scene of the bomb explosion and that Iran hired its ally Hizbullah to carry out the murder in order to scare opposition forces.
A blogger associated with the opposition named the possible assassin as Abu Nasser Hossein, identifying him as a prominent Lebanese Hizbullah member who has been in Tehran and who has been involved in suppressing demonstrations. However, the Islamic Republic regime took pains to praise Mohammedi as a supporter and sent hundreds of Revolutionary Guards to his funeral in what appears to be a mask for its having ordered his murder.
The bomb blast, a rarity in Tehran although not uncommon in outlying areas of Iran, was similar to the modus operandi of Hizbullah explosions in Lebanon. Murdering Mohammadi gave the Iranian regime the double-edged excuse of putting fear into the hearts of the opposition while claiming that it needs to control protests in order to prevent further violence by opponents to the regime.
The professor may have been targeted because of his association with SESAME, a Jordanian-based program in which Israeli scientists also participate.
Laura Rozen recently reported on the Politico.com website, “An academic contact speculates: I know for a fact …. that SESAME is a fertile recruiting ground for all sorts of scientific espionage. If Mohammadi was too cozy with his Israeli colleagues, he may have been taken out by the Iranians themselves (through their Hizbullah allies in Tehran) as an example to other pro-reform academics."
5. Hesder Protestors Thrown out of Army, Hesder
by Hillel Fendel
More punishment to the Hesder army students who protested against orders to demolish Jewish homes: One has been thrown out of Hesder, and one out of the army altogether.
Two soldiers from the Shimshon Brigade who unfurled a sign in protest of using soldiers to destroy Jewish homes in Negohot have now received their latest punishment. After having sat in army prison for 18 days, being demoted to the rank of private, and removed from combat service, one has now been thrown out of the army altogether – and the other has been removed from the Hesder program. Instead of being permitted to continue his five-year army service combining Torah study (2/3) and regular army (1/3), he must now serve another 18 months in the army without any yeshiva time.
The soldiers are Aryeh Arvos, who refused to express regret and was thrown out of the army, and Achiya Ovadiah. They were part of a group who unfurled a banner at an IDF swearing-in ceremony at the Western Wall reading, “Shimshon Brigade Won’t Evacuate Homesh.” Shortly afterwards, six Nachshon Brigade soldiers held a banner atop a building in their army base in Adorayim reading, “Nachshon Brigade, Too, Won’t Expel Jews.” The two Hesder students involved were similarly jailed, demoted and thrown out of Hesder; the non-Hesder soldiers, some of them not religious, were jailed and demoted.
Rabbi Elyakim Levanon, head of the Elon Moreh yeshiva in which Arvos and Ovadiah study/studied, was infuriated by the latest punishments: “Why don’t they just hang them in the city square as well?! Is [Defense Minister] Ehud Barak not yet satisfied? They have already paid the price many times over. If he thinks they are not fit for the army, they must all be thrown out altogether; what connection is their between waving signs and the Hesder program? Taking combat commanders and making them stockroom clerks is quite a punishment in and of itself…"
“Barak is doing this only for himself, he doesn’t take into account the interests of the State of Israel – for in the end, this will harm the State. Hesder has given a lot to the country, but at this rate, motivation to serve in Hesder is dropping. If they don’t want us, we will find other ways; our students can learn in full-time yeshivot, like the hareidi-religious. This is not our ideal solution, because we want to serve the State, even with its present government and Defense Minister…”
MK Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) said, “Throwing Aryeh Arvos out of the army is just another step in the split between the IDF and the Jews of Judea and Samaria. It is Netanyahu and Barak who are responsible for this split, and they are pushing an entire population sector outside the fence. It is too bad they are forgetting who is standing at the forefront of the front lines.”
Hold the Law Suit!
Barak is punishing the Hesder yeshivot on yet another front, by removing Yeshivat Har Brachah from the program, because of statements by Dean Rabbi Eliezer Melamed. Sixty-three students who are affected by the decision have filed a suit with the Supreme Court against the decision. Efforts are being made within the Hesder Yeshivot Association to withdraw the suit, however, as the chances of winning in the Supreme Court are deemed to be infitesimal – paving the way for Barak to continue his heavy-handed treatment of the Hesder program, but with the added backing of the Supreme Court.
6. Security Fears Behind Joint German-Israeli Cabinet Meeting
by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
The threat of a nuclear Iran to regional security is at the top of the agenda in a historic meeting Monday between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and German Chancellor Angela Merkel and their respective cabinets in Berlin.
Merkel said at a joint press conference that time is running out to impose severe sanctions on Iran in an effort to prevent it from becoming a nuclear power.
It is the first time the two governments have met together on German soil and follows by several months last year’s first-ever joint meeting in Israel. Germany officials noted that the country rarely holds joint cabinet sessions except with countries with which it has very close relations. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman (Yisrael Beiteinu) and Defense Minister Ehud Barak were among the leading Israeli ministers to attend.
Prime Minister Netanyahu’s spokesman Mark Regev said that talks would focus on “threats to regional security,” mainly Iran: "We are focused on how to strengthen the relationship in order for there to be tangible cooperation today and in the future."
The probable purchase by Israel of a sixth Dolphin-class diesel submarine from Germany is also expected to be discussed. Israel already has purchased five of the vessels, three of them in operation and two of them on order. The submarines are believed to have the capacity of launching missiles.
Monday’s meeting was postponed from last November, when Prime Minister Netanyahu suffered a minor viral infection.
7. Hundreds Mark the Death of the ‘Baba Sali’
by Hana Levi Julian
Hundreds of Jews streamed into the southern Israeli town of Netivot on Monday night to mark the 26th anniversary of the death of Rabbi Yisrael Abuhatzeira, known to thousands as the “Baba Sali” ["praying father"].
Stormy weather conditions succeeded in preventing some people from reaching the area, but nonetheless hundreds more were still expected to arrive throughout the day on Tuesday.
Shas party chairman and Interior Minister Eli Yishai and President Shimon Peres are expected to arrive later Tuesday evening for a special “hilula” ceremony celebrating the rise of the Moroccan Kabbalist’s soul into the highest reaches of the heavens.
One of the traditions carried out at the tomb in past years involved the casting of candles by hundreds of men and women in unison, as a special blessing and talisman. This year, however, organizers made special arrangements to ensure that men and women were separated when the ritual was conducted.
Some 400 police officers and 220 ushers staffed the event area and helped maintain public order. A special force was assigned to control traffic and coordinate vehicle parking.
Born in 1890, the Baba Sali was renowned throughout the Jewish world for his mystical abilities. He was also one of the main leaders of the immigration to Israel, and helped bring nearly the entire Jewish community from Morocco to live in the Holy Land. More than 100,000 people attended his funeral in 1984; since that time, his tomb has become a shrine for pilgrims and petitioners who come often to pray for assistance and intervention in their daily troubles.
8. Planning a New Strategy for Judea and Samaria
by Yoni Kempinski and Hillel Fendel
Public figures, residents of Judea and Samaria (Yesha), politicians and academic figures gathered in the Judean region of Gush Etzion on Sunday for a conference entitled, "Judea, Samaria, and What’s Around It."
The goal of the gathering was to exchange opinions for the formulation of a new strategy to better promote the ideals of living in the entire Land of Israel. It was sponsored by the Yesha Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria and the Gush Etzion Local Council. Arutz Sheva TV spoke with some of the participants.
Among the speakers were Itamar Marcus of Palestinian Media Watch, Yesha Council chairman Danny Dayan, demographer and former Israeli liaision to the U.S. Yoram Ettinger with an important message to Prime Minister Netanyahu about how previous Prime Ministers faced American pressure, Gush Etzion resident and Cabinet Minister Yuli Edelstein, and more.
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