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Child Refuses to Return to Israel

By Israel Faxx News Services

A 12-year-old Israeli girl who arrived alone at London's Heathrow Airport refused to board an El Al plane to return home.

The unidentified girl was detained by immigration officials when no one met her at the airport. The girl had the address of a family friend that turned out to be incorrect. Israeli police located the girl's mother, who said she did not want her daughter to return to Israel.

The mother also told police she already had sent her 9-year-old son to a friend in London. A younger child was removed from his mother's home and is now staying with his father. The mother was arrested in Israel, and in court she claimed that she could not care for her children and wanted them to live in Britain permanently. Israeli police suspect the mother sold her children, but still have no proof.


Olmert to Quit as Israeli PM in September

By VOANews, Israel NationalNews.com & WorldNetDaily.com

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Wednesday that he plans to step down as prime minister in September. The surprise announcement saids he would step down as prime minister immediately after his Kadima Party selects a new leader at a party convention on September 17.

Olmert said he would not run in the Kadima Party primary and hopes a new party leader would be able to put together an effective government once he leaves office. His decision follows months of mounting political pressure, and an official police inquiry into whether or not he accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars of illegal payments from a U.S. citizen long involved in political fundraising for Israel's right-wing Likud Party.

"I have never tried to boast of my achievements for political purposes," Olmert said. "I have always had to defend myself from attacks... I am the Prime Minister, and am therefore an address for political attacks, but everyone knows that it has gone out of control. Have I made mistakes? Certainly I have, and I regret them. But I deserve to be treated as innocent until proven guilty - yet this has not happened. I am proud to live in a state where even a Prime Minister can be investigated; the police must investigate, and the Prosecution must do its job as well. The Prime Minister is not above the law - but he is in no way below it. It cannot be that minor clerks determine whether a Prime Minister continues in office. Unfortunately, this is not what is happening...

"We have a wonderful state," Olmert concluded, "which I love with all my being. I thank you for the opportunity you have given me to act on your behalf."

The allegations concern Olmert when he was a member of the Likud Party serving as mayor of Jerusalem, and as a cabinet member in the government of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.. Olmert has strenuously denied the allegations and has survived several other probes into his conduct since he became prime minister in 2006.

The race to succeed Olmert began even before his made his announcement to step down. Two of his cabinet colleagues, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Transport Minister Shaul Mofaz have said they would run for the post. Whoever wins the contest will be faced with forming a coalition government. Most analysts believe any such government would not last long and new national elections would likely take place early next year.

But if the Kadima party cannot establish a ruling coalition, new elections will be held in which the leader of the party with the most seats becomes prime minister. Currently, opposition leader and former Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is the favorite to win. If a new Kadima head cannot form a government, Netanyahu looks likely to become Israel's next leader, although Labor chairman Ehud Barak, another former prime minister, also eyes the top position.


Olmert Ready to Give Away Golan in Exchange for Direct Talks

By IsraelNationalNews.com

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has told Damascus that he is prepared to cede the Golan to Syria in exchange for Syria's agreement to enter into direct talks with Israel, according to sources in the Knesset.

The sources from the opposition parties told Army Radio Wednesday that Olmert is wiling to make "painful concessions" in order to promote negotiations between the two countries. The sources did not specify what, if anything, Olmert asked the Syrians to sacrifice on their part.

According to the report, Olmert promised Damascus that Israel would withdraw from the Golan Heights on the sole condition that the Syrians would agree to direct talks between the two governments, including a discussion on cutting ties with Iran, Hizbullah and Hamas. The Prime Minister's Office denied the claims. Officials said that Olmert has not made any promises to Damascus.

Meanwhile, according to Knesset member Yisrael Katz (Likud), the Syrians have agreed to direct talks with Israel on the condition that Israel gives them the Golan Heights in advance.


Al-Quds U Head: Swap 'Right of Return' for Jerusalem

By IsraelNationalNews.com

The head of Al-Quds University in Jerusalem advocated Wednesday for Palestinian Authority negotiators to consider abandoning the so-called "right of return" for millions of descendants of Arabs who fled the state in 1948 in exchange for Israel handing over half of Jerusalem for a new PA capital in a future final status agreement.

Sari Nusseibeh said in an interview published in the London-based Arabic-language al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper that such a deal would be "a sacrifice any Muslim would be willing to make for the al-Aqsa mosque."


Chabad Temple Course 'Scares' Muslim Groups

By IsraelNationalNews.com

A brief Chabad-sponsored course on the Temple, to be held in Israel this week and the next, has angered Islamic organizations, who call it a threat to the Al-Aksa Mosque compound. "We view this as a serious and drastic move toward the fruition of extremist organizations to establish a temple in place of al-Aksa Mosque," said Zahi Nujidat of the Islamic Movement. "This represents a real danger to al-Aksa." The Aksa Foundation issued a similar statement.

The course, offered at roughly 200 locations throughout Israel, comes during the two weeks leading up to Tisha B'Av, the fast day that commemorates the destruction of both the First and the Second Temple.

According to Chabad Lubavitch spokesman Rabbi Menachem Brod, the Muslim groups are cynically pointing to the short courses as proof that the Israeli establishment wants to destroy the mosque. "This is a pure provocation by an organization that is exploiting any opportunity to incite the Arab public to violence against Israel," said Brod. "Every time they are looking for some other excuse to incite, and now they found it in the course."


Gaza Summer Camps Teach Kids to Fire Rockets

By YnetNews.com

In the Gaza Strip, as in Israel, children are currently in the midst of summer vacation, and the Hamas and Islamic Jihad's "summer camps" are in full gear. In the past few weeks, the Palestinian groups have been holding camps throughout the strip, some of them proudly displaying rockets and other weaponry.

Hamas alone is currently conducting no less than 300 summer camps for tens of thousands of children, and the focus is on familiarizing kids with the Palestinian towns and cities destroyed in 1948, as well as instilling religious fervor in them. The camps also feature sports and military-type trainings such as crawling under barbed-wire.

Islamic Jihad has also launched its own summer camps, offering some 10,000 children activities similar to those of Hamas. The children study passages from the Koran and participate in quizzes on religious matters, with emphasis on the required commitment to political prisoners and Palestinian land. They also learn how to hold a Kassam rocket-launcher.

An Islamic Jihad operative told Ynet that the students were not exposed to real rockets but to ones made of plastic. "In the camps we emphasize the need to unite and put an end to the internal struggles. We called them `unity and principle maintaining camps.'"


Inside The Jewish Internet Defense Force

By Brian Cuban ©2008 (Commentary)

On July 27, a Facebook group called "Israel" Is Not A Country!. Delist It From Facebook As A Country!" was hacked. The Jewish Internet Defense Force.(JIDF) claimed responsibility and posted the following on the group's web site:

"This group was one of the most vile, anti-Semitic, pro-terrorist sites on the internet. Moreover, it was the most active hate group of all, heartily promoting hatred, murder, and genocide while proliferating abominable propaganda paralleled only by the fables of Goebbels.

"While such content clearly violates Facebook's own 'Terms of Use and Code of Conduct, provisions that users agree to abide when they register on the site, Facebook refused to take action. Despite thousands of user complaints over the course of eighteen months, Facebook allowed this group and its ubiquitous anti-Semitic lies to flourish. Facebook's own negligence and abdication of responsibility gave us no option but to take matters in our own hands.

"We wish to be clear – we have no issues with legitimate political discourse so long as it is contextual, comparative and truthful. However, when it comes to encouraging the murder of Jews and purposefully disseminating misinformation to demonize Jews and to delegitimize Israel, there is a moral obligation to remove the platform of such repugnant hate-mongers. Unfortunately, we do not need to search too far back into history to realize that such evils have a real cost in terms of human lives."

In addition to posting the statement, the JIDF began deleting the names of all 48.000 members of the group. As of last check, there were just over 20,000 names still left on the list. The JIDF would not elaborate on how they have been able to accomplish this on an on-going basis. To date there apparently has been no response from Facebook.

In order to get some insight into the activities and motives of the JIDF with regard to anti-Semitic and other types of hate speech in the social networking arena, I contacted the group responsible for the hack. A representative of the group agreed to be interviewed on the condition of anonymity. He related that he has received multiple death threats arising out of his activities in the JIDF.

What is the origin of of the JIDF? "The JIDF started as a grassroots effort at the beginning in 2000. Many of us were in NYC during 9/11, so that had a major impact as well. It began as a mass email campaign. It eventually morphed onto MySpace during the war with Hizbullah in 2006 and protesting the disengagement from Gush Katif/Gaza. Shortly thereafter, we evolved with the technology onto Facebook. Originally it started as just to share news and information about Israel and Jewish issues with a bit of commentary here and there. As we used Facebook, we noticed many of the issues began literally to stare us in the face. anti-Semitic and pro-Jihadist groups were springing up everywhere."

What are the JIDF's short and long term goals? "One of our short term objectives is to expose Barack Obama and prevent him from winning the presidential election. In the long term we hope to expose and fight anti-Semitism and pro-Jihadist trends on the web."

What do you hope to expose about Barack Obama? "We hope to continue to highlight the issues surrounding his terrorist connections as well as his racist and anti-Semitic church which has supported Hamas and Minister Louis Farrakhan."

What is the position of the JIDF on the "Palestinian Question" regarding disputes over occupied lands? "Palestinians should be transferred out of Israeli territories. They can live in any of the other many Arab states. We are against all land concessions to our enemies. We are against the release of terrorist prisoners from Israeli prisons. We are against the arming and funding of our enemies and the negotiation with them. We are for morals, ethics and common sense and feel Israel must truly act as a "light unto the nations" in order for the world to be safe as we feel Israel is truly on the front lines in the war in which Islam has declared upon us."

Do you feel social networking groups have the right to question Israel's right to exist as legitimate social discourse? "Absolutely. Where they cross the line is when they spew hatred and promote violence, murder and genocide. This is happening on Facebook despite tens of thousands of complaints and reports."

Do you feel Facebook and other social networking sites are doing enough to monitor groups promoting hate speech? "Facebook has been negligent in this regard. As an organization it has completely abdicated its responsibility to its users. YouTube also needs to do more. They all have rules in place. They should draw the line when people are blatantly promoting hatred, violence, murder, and genocide. (as most of their own rules state) They need to be more efficient with their systems to monitor and remove this type of user-generated content."

There seems little doubt that social media is the new battle ground for social activism. As social networking groups such a Facebook have sprung up and attracted substantial membership more and more groups taking extreme positions on one subject or another have become popular. Proving this point is the fact that the "Israel Is Not a Country" Facebook group had over 40,000 members at the time it was hacked.

Are social networking groups such as Facebook and YouTube doing enough to monitor groups and content advocating extreme political and religious positions that attempt to encourage or incite violence and hatred towards other groups? Are they simply encouraging legitimate social discourse?

Contrary to popular belief there is no right of free speech on social networking sites. They are for the most part private entities not covered by the First Amendment. The sites have to the right to censor and remove material they deem objectionable. Where do we draw the line between incitement of hate and legitimate debate on religious, ethnic and political issues? Should there even be a line? Many would argue that the JIDF encourages the same hateful rhetoric that it claims it fights against. Social Media is not only the new face of social activism, it is a the new face of ethnic and religious hatred and intolerance. No one is safe. Let the discourse begin.

Brian Cuban is a Dallas attorney working for Mark Cuban Companies. He is an avid writer and part-time actor. His web site can be found at http://www.BrianCuban.com.


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