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Israeli Authorities Detain Dozens of African Migrants

By VOA News

Israeli immigration authorities have detained dozens of African migrants as part of a new operation to deport illegal immigrants. Officials said the immigration police arrested at least 55 migrants, mostly South Sudanese, during raids in the southern city of Eilat and parts of central Israel. Rights activists criticized the raids, saying they create fear among migrant families who worry about returning to dangerous living conditions in their African homelands.

Israeli immigration authorities began the crackdown on Sunday, detaining eight Africans days after a Jerusalem court approved the government's plan to deport an estimated 1,500 South Sudanese who entered Israel illegally. Rights groups had petitioned the court to bar the expulsion.The Israeli government has called the migrants a threat to the country's Jewish identity and has been building a fence along the border with Egypt to stop the influx.

Around 60,000 Africans have sneaked into Israel across its porous desert border with Egypt since 2005. Many of them have looked for work. Some have requested political asylum.

Israel's parliament passed a law earlier this month designating all people who sneak into the country as "infiltrators" who can be detained prior to deportation. Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai said he would begin enforcing the law against South Sudanese migrants before seeking approval to detain and deport Eritreans and Sudanese.

U.S.-based rights group Human Rights Watch called for the Israeli parliament to repeal the law, saying it punishes asylum seekers and their children in violation of international refugee standards. In a statement issued Sunday, the group also accused Israeli officials of inciting recent attacks by extremist Jews on African migrant communities. Many Israelis blame the migrants for a series of rapes and other crimes in Tel Aviv and other cities.

Peres Will Ask Obama for Humanitarian Pardon for Pollard


President Shimon Peres will ask President Barack Obama to grant a pardon for Jonathan Pollard on humanitarian grounds. Pollard, incarcerated for some 27 years on a single charge of passing classified information to an ally (Israel), has been in increasingly poor health. He was hospitalized several times over the past year, including for emergency surgery.

Peres has said he will discuss the issue of a pardon for Pollard with Obama during a private meeting. Since he is himself a president who has the ability to grant pardons, Peres said, he understands the many concerns involved. The Israeli president spoke with reporters at a briefing he held at Blair House, the official White House guest residence at which he is staying while in Washington D.C.

A petition for Pollard's release bearing some 70,000 signatures of prominent Israelis, backed by media support from the entire political spectrum, will be underlying the discussions.

Netanyahu, Peres Condemn Yad Vashem Anti-Zionist Graffiti


Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu condemned on Monday evening the anti-Zionist hate slogans and graffiti praising Hitler that were sprayed on the Yad VaShem Holocaust Museum. "I saw the outrageous graffiti today at Yad Vashem," Netanyahu said in a statement. "It is hard to believe that a human being could be capable of writing such things. I hope that the police will apprehend the perpetrators and bring them to the justice they deserve."

President Shimon Peres, who landed in Washington, DC, on Monday, also condemned the incident, saying, "This is one of the most horrible things. What, are we trying to imitate those who tried to kill us? All the people must stand united, as one man, against this phenomenon."

Yad VaShem Holocaust Museum officials were shocked Monday morning to discover the graffiti, which said "Hitler, thanks for the Holocaust" and "If Hitler didn't exist the Zionists would have had to invent him." Another hate message stated, "Jews wake up – the Zionist regime is dangerous," and the vandalism was signed by "The global Zionist mafia."

Yad VaShem director Avner Shalev said, "I am shocked and horrified by this blatant act of burning hatred against the country and against Zionism. It has crossed the red line and is very worrisome."

Holocaust survivor and former Israeli Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau said that the graffiti is a "defamation of the name of God of the worst level." Lau called the graffiti an "idiotic act" and said that the nature of the slogans is not the style of anti-Zionist hareidi religious Jewish groups. He added that only a "deranged Jews" would write such hate slogans praising Hitler.

"Where is the honor to those who sacrificed their lives in the name of HaShem?" he asked rhetorically. "Whoever wrote these idiotic messages calls on the Polish government not to memorialize victims of Auschwitz. It is ugly and sad."

Police said that an initial investigation points to extremist hareidi religious Jews but they added they have not yet reached a conclusion. Yad VaShem was closed in the morning while workers tried to erase the damage.

With New Cameras, IAF Could Peek into the Ground


The Israel Air Force is currently examining hyper-spectral camera technology, which could allow unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to collect a wide variety of information, some invisible to the human eye, the IAF Website writes. Among other things, the camera could identify hidden weapons and underground bunkers camouflaged with vegetation.

"The camera will alert its operator regarding the location of suspicious targets and even of spots that are saturated with chemicals and other substances," Lt. Col. Yoav, chief of the Intelligence Department of the IAF's Equipment Squadron, told the website. "Its mode of operation is based on sensing the wavelengths invisible to the human eye that are emitted by different substances in nature. Every natural substance emits waves at lengths that are unique to it, and the camera can tell the difference between them because of its high sensitivity."

If, for instance, a bush appears to emit abnormal wavelengths – it could be a sign that something is hidden beneath it.irborne hyper-spectral cameras already have civilian uses, and serve to identify pests in fields, environmental damage and air pollution.

Experiments are currently underway in order to examine if the system is suitable for use by the IAF. If approved, the cameras will be integrated into the UAV squadrons, following an extensive training process that will be conducted by professional engineers.

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