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January 22, 2010

A7News: Mitchell Pitches a New 5-Point Plan for Middle East Negotiations

Filed under: Uncategorized — jewishupdates @ 2:33 pm

logo.jpgShevat 7, 5770 / Friday, Jan. 22 ’10

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Headlines

  1. Mitchell Pitches a New 5-Point Plan for Middle East Negotiations
  2. Obama Administration Lifts US Ban on Muslim Brotherhood Leader
  3. Portrait of a Jewish Patriot
  4. Anti-Semitic Blood Libel Aimed at IDF in Haiti
  5. Tefillin Misunderstanding Causes Philly Emergency Landing
  6. Israel’s ‘Green Machine’ Gears Up for 2010
  7. A Woman’s Life in Muslim Sudan: 40 Lashes for Wearing Trousers
  8. ‘They Freeze, We Plant’

1. Mitchell Pitches a New 5-Point Plan for Middle East Negotiations

by Avi Yellin

United States envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell arrived in the region this week in efforts to further press the Jewish state into relinquishing territory to the American-backed Palestinian Authority. According to PA sources quoted by the London-based Arabic newspaper al-Hayat, Mitchell is unveiling a five-point plan that will force local parties back to the negotiating table and press Israel to retreat back to the Armistice Line that existed between the Jewish state and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan between the years 1949 and 1967.

Reflected in Mitchell’s new plan is an acceptance of the 2002 Arab Initiative, which calls for a complete Israeli surrender from all lands won in the 1967 Six-Day War and the establishment of a new Arab state in these lands. Mitchell announced last March that the Arab Initiative will be incorporated into the Barack Obama administration’s Middle East policy.

Mitchell, who served as a United States Senator and until recently as director of the influential Council on Foreign Relations in New York, has reportedly been coordinating efforts with Arab governments in the region to push Israel into surrendering Judea, Samaria and most of Jerusalem. Such concessions, according to most diplomats, would carry expectations from the international community that Israel forcibly expel hundreds of thousands of Jewish residents from their homes in Israel’s heartland after forty years of renewed residence there.

One important feature of the new Mitchell plan is that the status of Jerusalem would be negotiated separately from Judea and Samaria. Israel’s capital has become a contentious issue in recent months. Although Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu complied with Washington’s demands that he ban all Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria, the premier has thus far refused to extend the discriminatory freeze to Jewish building in Jerusalem. The Fatah-controlled PA has used this refusal as a pretext to avoid negotiations and Mitchell’s decision to separate Jerusalem in his new plan is seen by many as an attempt to temporarily side-step major points of contention in order to advance Washington’s regional agenda, which the new plan shows will include Jerusalem’s eventual division.
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2. Obama Administration Lifts US Ban on Muslim Brotherhood Leader

by Avi Yellin

The Barack Obama administration has decided to lift a ban preventing Muslim Scholar Professor Tariq Ramadan from entering the United States. Ramadan, an Egyptian currently living in Switzerland, is a leading member of Europe’s Muslim Brotherhood branch and the grandson of the movement’s founder Hassan al-Banna. The Muslim Brotherhood is the parent organization for Hamas and some of the groups that recently merged into al-Qaeda, including Ayman al Zawahiri’s Egyptian Islamic Jihad.

Ramadan was invited to teach at the University of Notre Dame in 2004 but the George W. Bush administration revoked his visa, citing a statute that applies to those who have “endorsed or espoused” terrorism. The administration later dropped the terror endorsement claim and linked the ban to $1,336 in donations Ramadan made between 1998 and 2002 to a Swiss charity that was later blacklisted by the US.

Although the White House asked the court last March to uphold the Bush-era entry ban on Ramadan, the administration has now decided to lift the ban and possibly allow both Ramadan and South African Muslim activist Professor Adam Habib onto American soil. State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters that the government no longer views Ramadan or Habib as representing threats to the United States. “The next time Professor Ramadan or Professor Habib apply for a visa, they will not be found inadmissible on the basis of the facts that led to denial when they last applied.”
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3. Portrait of a Jewish Patriot

by Avi Yellin

Each Sunday morning, Private Yinon Klein leaves his wife and two children to return to his IDF unit for basic training. At the age of 23, Klein has begun to live a double life in service to his country. On weekends he is a husband and father to two but during the week he is a fighter in Israel’s Givati brigade.

Yinon Klein grew up the seventh of eight children. As a youth he became active in the EZRA Religious Zionist youth movement where he met his future wife Mor and, at 15 began to study at the prestigious Mercaz HaRav Kook yeshiva in Jerusalem. At 20, Yinon and Mor were married and at 23 – already a father to two children – Yinon enlisted into the IDF as a combat soldier.

From an early age, Yinon always wanted to give of himself to his nation. Although already a husband and father at 23, he decided to join an IDF combat unit in order to participate in the struggle to defend the homeland of the Jewish people. Despite being advised by many close friends that volunteering on a Magen David Adom ambulance would be just as important as serving in the IDF while allowing him more time to spend with his family, Yinon maintained that the highest level of service to the Jewish nation is to be a combat soldier in Israel’s army. He knew that due to his age, his window of opportunity to serve in a combat unit was shrinking each day and if he did not enlist now it would become too late. After receiving permission and support from his wife, he kissed her and their children goodbye and entered basic training.

When Klein was drafted into the Givati brigade last summer, his commanders – all a few years younger than he – were initially shocked to hear that instead of parents waiting for him to come home each Sabbath, Yinon returns to his wife and two children. The commanders help accommodate the Klein family as much as possible, allowing Yinon to call his wife whenever the soldiers have free time, despite the strict regulations against phone calls from basic training.

When asked about his children, Yinon beams with pride as he shares stories of his daughter Bracha’s bright smile and mischievous adventures. He says that his son Yosef – now13 months old and growing his first tooth – resembles the cartoon baby on the Bamba (popular Israeli children’s snack) package due to his chubbiness and the single curl atop his head.

Yet despite his high motivation to serve and the support Yinon receives from his commanders on base, adjusting to the double life has been difficult for Klein and his family. The children do not have a father during the week. The first time Yinon spoke to his wife while touring the base, he says she broke down crying from the stress of being apart. Although Yinon admits that it is difficult for him to not be there for his wife to support her emotionally, he maintains the importance of serving the Jewish people as a soldier in Israel’s army. Upon receiving an award for excellence from his commanders, Yinon passed the award on to his wife, who he says deserves it for carrying the burden in the home and sharing her husband with the nation of Israel.

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4. Anti-Semitic Blood Libel Aimed at IDF in Haiti

by Hana Levi Julian

With Israelis working round-the-clock to save the lives of earthquake victims in Port-au-Prince, newspapers and TV stations around the world, including a much-publicized clip by CNN, have been praising the massive, state-of-the-art medical aid that the small, beleagured country of Israel sent to another located half a world away from it.

However, this world recognition served as an anti-Semitism catalyst for one Jew hater. The video he uploaded to the You Tube Internet website parallels the ancient blood libels against the Jews, and anti-Semitism has reared its ugly face in a sordid attempt to taint the praise for the work of the highly professional, altruistic Israeli medical team.

The video is narrated by “T. West,” a Black American with wire-rimmed glasses, clad in a café-au-lait sport jacket, mild-shaded tie and mauve shirt. It begins with the Seattle, Washington anti-Semite somberly informing the viewer that fundraising for Haiti by text messaging is bringing in “a great deal of money.” As he begins his narrative, a green banner appears at the top of the screen with the words “Feasting Upon Human Organs ("Proof" of Israeli Trafficking in Human Organs) printed in stark white lettering.

One minute into the video, T. West shows the viewer a clip of a CNN report on “the Israeli Defense Force, which is in Haiti right now.”

The clip he refers to is the following much lauded report on the IDF Field Hospital – the only high-tech facility available to earthquake victims in the entire area — and the life-saving treatment it has tirelessly offered.

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“One of the things they are doing is they are really, really showboating their technology, their presence on the ground there in Haiti. It is good that they are there,” T. West is forced to admit.

In the report, Dr. Jennifer Furin of the Harvard Medical School tells the interviewer, “No one but the Israeli hospital has taken any of our patients.” CNN’s senior medical correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen, strides around the hospital grounds with the camera crew, adding, “I’m just amazed, just amazed at what’s here. This is like another world compared to the other hospital.” The report goes on to show all the high-tech equipment brought in by Israel’s medical corps.

However, West uses this heartwarming clip as backdrop to his sinister motive: raising an insidious fabrication that Israelis steal organs, echoing the lie published just a few months earlier by author Donald Bostrom in Sweden’s newspaper, the Aftonbladet tabloid. That false accusation, reminiscent of the anti-Semitic libels of the Middle Ages, has been condemned by Israel and denied by the Arabs who were said by Bolstrom to have started it.

He warns the people of Haiti to guard their bodies, deftly connecting the truth–i.e. lifesaving aid and the big lie. “There is little monitoring in such a tragedy as this. So the Haitian people must watch out for their citizens as these international groups come in to assist medically and in other ways in Haiti.”

It seems as though the United Nations feels otherwise. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon asked Israel’s Foreign Ministry to send a police contingent to the island to fight the growing anarchy on the streets. The plea comes amid reports that the city is being transformed into a battle zone between various gangs, and looting is escalating.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Public Security Minister Yitzchak Aharonovich and Police Chief Major-General Dudi Cohen decided together to send 100 police officers to Haiti in response to the U.N. request.

Fresh medical teams arrived at the beginning of the week to relieve the IDF Aid Delegation in Haiti, which had worked around the clock since the first plane touched down on Friday.

The delegation brought with it medicine and additional equipment, including a medical lab, pharmacy and an x-ray center.

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5. Tefillin Misunderstanding Causes Philly Emergency Landing

by Gil Ronen

An airplane headed from LaGuardia Airport to Louisville made an emergency landing at Philadelphia International Airport Thursday morning because a 17 year old male on the plane was praying with "tefillin", or phylacteries. According to Fox News, the man was questioned by airline personnel, who “didn’t get answers that satisfied them” and diverted the plane to Philadelphia.

The "tefillin" are two small boxes containing small prayer scrolls which are placed on the arm and forehead during prayer. They have black leather straps which are wrapped around the arm and which dangle past the shoulders. A passenger who was not familiar with the Jewish prayer custom became suspicious and alerted the flight crew.

The crew quickly took emergency procedures and diverted the flight to Philadelphia airport due to the proximity of the city. Homeland Security and Philadelphia Police were alerted and were on the scene along with fire crews and a bomb squad. The 17 year old was taken off the plane and reportedly fully cooperated with authorities. The airplane was taken to a remote part of the tarmac at Philadelphia International, and other flights were not being affected by the incident.

“One person was taken away from the plane in custody and the rest of the passengers were released,” the Fox report said. USAirways spokesman Jim Olson said the passengers are being rebooked on other flights.

USAir Flight 3079 was a small commuter plane that holds 50 passengers.

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6. Israel’s ‘Green Machine’ Gears Up for 2010

by Hana Levi Julian

By the end of this year, Israel will become the first nation on the planet to host a national electric car network. Better Place, the firm that came up with the technology for the vehicles, was founded by Israeli businessman Shai Agassi; the cars are built by Renault-Nissan.

The electric car to be used has no exhaust pipe and no gas cap, but rather a simple electric socket instead. It runs on a 450-lb. lithium-ion battery and can go as far as 140 miles before the battery needs to be swapped or recharged.

Designated free car parks in a network of 200 “swap stations” around the country will take care of that, Agassi says, with the power for the batteries to come from solar technology now under development in the Negev.

"Green is clean," assert the high-tech moguls who lead the more than 1,000 clean-technology start-ups in Israel, and foreign investors clearly agree. Israel boasts more companies on the high-tech NASDAQ stock exchange than any other nation outside the United States. Although Israelis have also suffered from the financial crash that sent the world into a tailspin in 2009, the Jewish State appears to be recovering more quickly than other economies, including the U.S.

Innovation ranks high on the “What-do-you-want-do-when-you-grow-up?” list in Israel; in the 20 years between 1980 and 2000, 7,652 new patents were registered in the U.S. by Israelis. In the same period, only 171 patents in the U.S. were registered by residents of Saudi Arabia, and fewer than half of that, 77, were registered by Egyptians.

The process begins early in life, with much of the productive flow starting with training gained during mandatory post-high school military service. The IDF is famous for spotting teens with high intelligence, and then developing that potential to its fullest.

Some recruiting takes place even earlier, during the junior high school years. Not everyone can get into the elite Israel Air Force high school program, for instance; a student must apply in eighth grade, and pass a rigorous set of exams. The exams include an IQ test, and a minimum score must be achieved in order to be accepted. Even then, permission to remain rests on academic performance as well as other criteria.

IDF military intelligence programs are similarly selective, putting its teens through electronics, engineering or physics degrees and then placing them in cutting-edge laboratories to work on defense issues.

Making the most of whatever is available with as little waste possible is a hallmark of Israeli ingenuity, one that has come to symbolize the nation’s research style in medical technology as well.

While most of the world was still using invasive techniques to identify and locate ulcers in the stomach lining, a simple breath test was already being employed years ago in the HMO clinics across Israel.

But the bottom line is survival, notes Shraga Brosh, chairman of the Israeli Manufacturers Association: “We know that we have to be flexible and smart in order to survive.”

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7. A Woman’s Life in Muslim Sudan: 40 Lashes for Wearing Trousers

by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

Sudanese Muslim officials arrest tens of thousands of women a year for wearing "indecent clothing,” including trousers, and many have been fined and subjected to 40 whip lashes. One woman tells related the story after being spared the punishment, apparently because she attracted too much bad publicity.

Lubna al-Hussein told her story on Egyptian television last month, and the interview was translated by Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

Hussein is a journalist and has diplomatic immunity because she works for the United Nations, and her fight for women’s rights left her with a sentence that was not carried out although she waived her immunity. However, dozens of other women arrested along with her for wearing "indecent clothing” suffered a worse fate.

Her crime was wearing trousers.

She said that the court system in such cases does not allow a defendant to defend himself. "In my case, because of the publicity and the public support I received, I took a lawyer who defended me, but the judge refused to give the defense witnesses a chance to be heard. This is what happened. It was all decided in advance,” she said in the interview.

”Indecent clothing" is defined according to the policeman’s mood,” al-Hussein added. “[The law says], ‘clothing that offends public sentiment.’ Let me tell you, I was at a place with 400 people, and I didn’t offend anybody. The same law that requires giving a woman forty lashes for wearing trousers requires giving a man who rapes a boy, a girl, or a woman one month in prison. All the women [except for me} were punished with floggings and with a fine. The entire group… We were 13 women, and 12 were sentenced to a flogging and a fine. I was fined, but when I wanted to pay, they refused to accept the money.

“There are tens of thousands like me. In a single year, 43,000 women were arrested because of their clothing – not in all of Sudan, but in Khartoum alone, as declared by the police general commissioner. This is the law, I’m sad to say.”

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8. ‘They Freeze, We Plant’

by Gil Ronen

Chasdei Meir, a non-profit organization named after the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, has embarked on an initiative for planting fruit tree saplings in the hills of Judea and Samaria. The planting is being carried out before Tu BiShvat, the Jewish holiday on the 15th day of Shvat which marks “the new year of the trees”. Schoolchildren traditionally plant trees all over Israel on this day.

The group said that the planting campaign is intended to encourage “the people of the hilltops” (the term for those who make their homes on isolated hills in Judea and Samaria) and to strengthen Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria.

Chasdei Meir will distribute about 15,000 saplings in the outposts and hilltops, at a total coast of about NIS 100,000. The funding is from public donations, and is intended as a rebuttal of the construction freeze policy which the government has initiated in response to US presssure.

Bentzi Gofshtein, one of the heads of the organization, said that “every hill that will have saplings and trees on it is ours. Thank G-d, the government of Israel has not declared a freeze on saplings, and therefore we will go out to the field and tell Netanyahu, Barak and their friends – we are here and we will never leave! They freeze and we plant.”

Gofshtein praised the public response to the campaign and said that contributions are still coming in and that the organizers hope to enlarge and possibly even double the number of trees being planted.”

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