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Carter Calls on EU to Label Products from 'Illegal Settlements'

By IsraelNationalNews.com

Former President Jimmy Carter has once again expressed his blatantly anti-Israel allegiances by calling on the European Union to "introduce proper labeling of goods produced on illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank."

Carter was in Dublin together with former Irish president Mary Robinson and former Brazilian president Fernando Henrique Cardoso for talks with Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Eamon Gilmore and diplomats from some 20 European countries on revitalizing the peace process in the Middle East.

"With the Middle East peace process making no significant progress, we call on Europe to play a stronger and more independent role in revitalizing peace efforts, with a fresh approach," Carter said, according to the European Jewish Press. The EU has repeatedly condemned settlement expansion in the West Bank. It could therefore introduce a clear labeling of products made in Israeli settlements, which are illegal under international law."

Ireland currently holds the rotating EU presidency until end of June. Robinson claimed the move was not "anti- Israel," but rather "a concrete step, supported by many of our Israeli friends, to revive the hope of a future state of Palestine and safeguard the two-state solution before it is too late," EJP reported.

She noted that several European countries have already introduced such labeling systems. "People throughout Europe, in their capacity as consumers, have the power to reignite hope in the Middle East," she said. "As Israel's largest trading partner, the EU could send a strong signal by introducing clear, EU-wide labeling guidelines."

Irish Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore said Ireland would strongly support a European initiative to label Israeli settlements products "to give consumers the choice of whether they want to buy them."

Carter said he was "very encouraged" by the response of the European diplomats at the meeting. "They all said they were very eager to demonstrate to the world that the 1967 borders were intact, and were almost sacred, and that any intrusion by Israel into Palestine to build settlements was illegal," he said, according to EJP.


Poll: Half of Israeli Jews back Women of the Wall

By Israel Hayom

A recent poll held by the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University has found that the 48% of Israeli Jews support the Women of the Wall's right to hold traditional Jewish prayer services at the Western Wall.

The Women of the Wall have been holding a monthly prayer service at the Western Wall for 24 years. They perform religious rituals typically reserved for men under Orthodox Judaism, and some don tallitot -- traditional Jewish prayer shawls. The practice has often resulted in altercations with ultra-Orthodox men and women praying at site and the women's arrest.

The poll was released on Sunday as part of April's Peace Index and included 600 respondents who constitute a representative sample of the adult population of Israel, found nearly half of the public, 48%, supports Women of the Wall's right to worship at the Western Wall as they see fit, compared to 38% of the public which said that the more traditional customs should remain in place.

The survey found 64% of the secular public, 53% of the traditional-non-religious public and 26% of the traditional-religious supported the group's quest, which was adamantly rejected by ultra-Orthodox poll participants.

A gender segmentation of the results showed that 52% of Jewish men and 46% of Jewish women supported the Women of the Wall.

The data also indicated that support for the Women of the Wall differed dramatically based on background: Some 77% of Israelis born in the United States or Europe said they supported the group's demand to freely pray at the Western Wall, followed by 61% of Israelis whose parents were born in U.S. or Europe, 46% of Israelis whose parents were born in Israel, 43% of Israelis whose parents were born in Asia or Africa, 38% of Israelis from the former Soviet Union and 33% of Israelis who were born in Asia or Africa.

Tensions at the Western Wall plaza were at an all-time high on Friday, as thousands of haredim faced off with a group of a few dozen women, who arrived at the holy site to hold their monthly Rosh Chodesh (the beginning of a Jewish month) prayer.

Hundreds of police officers were summoned to ensure public order was maintained, but to no avail. As soon as the women's prayer began, the haredi worshippers clashed with security forces in an attempt to disrupt the service. Two police officers were lightly wounded and three haredi men were arrested.

Ultra-Orthodox leaders, including Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, have repeatedly claimed that the Women of the Wall were "disrupting the custom of the place," but in late April, the Jerusalem District Court ruled that the group's prayer services were not illegal.


IDF: Joseph's Tomb a Danger Zone

By IsraelNationalNews.com

Several days after a stabbing attack was foiled at the last minute at Joseph's Tomb (Kever Yosef), the IDF has issued a reminder to Jews not to visit the tomb without prior coordination with the military.

Four terrorists from Shechem were arrested by the IDF's Lavi battalion Wednesday, after specific real-time intelligence on a possible stabbing attempt came in during the monthly prayer service at Joseph's Tomb. The prayer was attended by some 3,000 worshipers.

One of the Arabs arrested was carrying a knife. Local Arabs were also rioting with rocks and burning tires throughout the event, and the IDF held them back while the prayers continued unhindered.

A senior source in the Judea and Samaria Division told Arutz Sheva that the IDF provides security for large scale visits to the Tomb on a regular basis, but that some groups attempt to defy instructions and enter the compound on their own. "This is a security danger that could end very badly," the source said. "The area is particularly hostile and entering it without coordination is dangerous." The latest stabbing plot proves that terrorists attempt to kill Jews even when there is a large scale military presence at the Tomb.

Two years ago, Palestinian Authority police gunned down a Jewish man, Ben Yosef Livnat, who had come to pray at the Tomb.


Warsaw Synagogue Replica Would Make Nazis 'Turn in Their Graves'

By IsraelNationalNews.com

A miniature replica of the Great Synagogue of Warsaw will be installed on the site of the original, almost 70 years to the day after it was leveled by the Nazis, an architect for the project said Sunday.

"The different fragments, like the walls, the domes, the court, have already been assembled for a first time. All of it will then be dismantled and transported next to the original place for final assembly scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday," architect Jan Strumillo said, according to the AFP news agency.

The project is a 1:10 scale plywood rendition of the 19th century Tlomackie square synagogue, which used to be one of the world's largest, he said, according to the news agency. A ceremony will take place on Friday, 70 years and a day after SS general Juergen Stroop, who was in charge of razing Warsaw's Jewish ghetto, ordered the synagogue be blown up. "Looking at the replica, Jurgen Stroop must be turning in his grave," replica builder Krzysztof Czaplinski said.

Eleonora Bergman, an official at Warsaw's Jewish Historical Institute, said the original had seating for 2,000 and was "the center of the reformed Jewish community in Warsaw." She said that all that remains of the original building is a small piece of a column and a cloakroom number. "You can't bring back to life what isn't there anymore. Those who came here, who walked in this place, we wanted to restore the memories of those people," she said, according to AFP.

The replica is one of several projects to mark the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw ghetto uprising that saw young Jews take up arms against Nazi forces in April and May 1943. Around 7,000 Jews died in Europe's first urban anti-Nazi revolt, most of them burned alive, and nearly all the rest were then sent to the Treblinka extermination camp.

(Editor's Note: A dramatization by The Eternal Light radio program of the Battle of the Warsaw Ghetto can be heard by going to http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thechosen)


McDonald's Raises Prices of Most Israeli Meals

By YnetNews.com

In a particularly bad timing, just after the Finance Ministry revealed its plan for tax hikes and austerity measures, McDonald's Israel raised the prices of most items on its menu.

A customer named Roee, who visited one of the fast food chain's restaurants several days ago, discovered that the price of an enlarged McRoyal meal increased by NIS 2 (about $0.56). "I didn't pay attention at first, only when I was about to pay. When the cashier saw me checking the price, he told me it had gone up. It doesn't really look good that I used to pay 40 something shekels and now I have to pay 50 something shekels…"

The chain has apparently raised the prices of most meals by NIS 1 ($0.28) – from NIS 41.90 ($11.74) to NIS 42.90 ($12.02) – a 2.3% increase. The price of the children's meal went up by NIS 0.40 ($0.11), from NIS 27.50 ($7.71) to NIS 27.90 ($7.82) – a 1.4% increase. French fries now cost NIS 12.90 ($3.61), up from NIS 12.50 ($3.5), a 3.2% rise. The prices of the chain's salads and ice cream went up by NIS 0.30 ($0.08).

The bright side is that the prices of some items on the menu have been reduced: For example, a Big America meal (125 grams of meat) now costs NIS 42.90 ($12.20) instead of NIS 44.90 ($12.58) – down 4.4%.

In September 2012, McDonald's Israel raised the prices of most items on its menu, apart from Big Mac and Easy Mac, by 3-11%. The price of the chain's most popular meal, McRoyal, went up from NIS 39.90 ($11.18) to NIS 41.90 ($11.74) – a 5% increase. Other items subject to the price hike were French fries and the sundae dessert.

McDonald's Israel offered the following statement in response: "This is a periodical price hike in light of the rise in input prices. The chain has not raised prices since September 2012. Nonetheless, the chain will not change its new prices once the VAT is increased."


Matchmaker, Matchmaker, Make Me a Match: High-Tech Romance

By YnetNews.com

In the Jewish tradition, matchmaking was a common practice, using an intermediary person who would bring two people together. Now, in this technologically advanced day and age, smartphones and social media managed to replace the traditional matchmaker in Israel and are assisting Israeli men and women to find love or simply temporary companionship.

Several new social media applications were recently developed by Israelis for these purposes. For instance, "4Singles", an application which has quickly conquered the local dating scene, allows users to sign up through their Facebook accounts, and using GPS, it enables them to see which other single person registered is physically close by at any given time who is open to the idea of a spontaneous potential date. The users can share information via their Twitter and Facebook accounts and send flirtatious messages to one another.

Similar applications and sites were also developed in order to cater to the gay community as well. Founded by an American Jew with Israeli background, "Grindr" is a popular app designed for homosexuals to connect online whether for the purpose of a long lasting affair, or for a simple rendezvous with no strings attached.

There are currently over four million users from more than 100 countries, and in the name of a fast-tracked experience and anonymity, the application does not require signing up or creating an account. The same founder went on to establish "Blendr", a similar cellular application – for heterosexuals. This app has over 150 million users, with an Israeli community which has joined the network as well, despite the fact that it does not operate in Hebrew.

Once relationships were formed, applications for couples were created as well. Take the "Weesh" application for example, which was created by three Israelis living in New York. This app is designed solely for couples so that they can enjoy romantic exchanges, with no other "friends" involved.

A special timeline is used by the couple where they post pictures of their experiences, reminisce with status updates, and make future plans together. But the app doesn't only document, it allows the pair to look into new venues for outings and consult about ideas with other registered couples as well.

All these applications are free of charge, can easily be downloaded to a mobile smartphone, and be used within minutes. Because when it comes to matters of the heart, Jewish tradition implies that no time should be wasted. `

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