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US Condemns Erdogan's Comments on Israel, Egypt Bt YnetNews & The Times of Israel

The United States condemned comments by Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan accusing Israel of having a hand in the Egyptian military's overthrow of president Mohamed Morsi, a White House spokesman said on Tuesday.

"We strongly condemn the statements that were made by Prime Minister Erdogan today. Suggesting that Israel is somehow responsible for recent events in Egypt is offensive, unsubstantiated, and wrong," White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters in a briefing. In Israel, an official in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office told AFP: "These comments by the Turkish prime minister are nonsense."

Asserting Zionist conspiracies in the nefarious tradition of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a former Muslim Brotherhood official accused Egyptian Defense Minister Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi of having Jewish origins and being part of a Zionist plot against Egypt. "I was surprised to learn, from the Algerian Al-Watan newspaper, that el-Sissi is of Jewish origin," Gamal Nasser said Saturday in an Arabic-language broadcast on Al-Jazeera, where he is a commentator.

"His mother is called Mulaika Titani, and her brother was a member of the Jewish Haganah organization," Nasser added. "Thus, we see that this man, by any standard, is implementing a Zionist plan to divide Egypt." (The Haganah was the pre-state precursor of the Israel Defense Forces.)

The program was translated and transcribed by the Washington-based Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), a nonprofit group that says it seeks to "bridge the language gap between the Middle East and the West by monitoring, translating, and studying Arab, Iranian and Turkish media, schoolbooks, and religious sermons."

El-Sissi, a devout Muslim who was appointed by president Mohammed Morsi last year to head Egypt's armed forces, was behind the July 3 ouster of the president, who comes from the Muslim Brotherhood's political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party. El-Sissi said earlier this week he is acting in accordance with the will of the Egyptian people. In recent days, hundreds of Morsi supporters were killed in a military crackdown on protests against the ouster.

In the past week, Israel has been at the center of conspiracy theories in the Arab media surrounding the turmoil in Egypt and elsewhere.

In Egyptian social media, a number of anti-American and anti-Israel cartoons have spread through Facebook and Twitter, including one showing a recognizable Uncle Sam figure wearing a US flag hat along with a man wearing an Israeli flag hat, immersing the Egyptian country in a boiling cauldron filled with blood. Alongside the two men are an additional couple of steaming cauldrons, with the countries of Iraq and Syria drenched in blood boiling inside them.


Polio Spreads to Northern Israel

By The Times of Israel

Strains of the polio virus were detected for the first time at a sewage treatment plant in northern Israel on Tuesday, as the Health Ministry continued to push for the country-wide vaccination of children — a measure that has met with fear and objections from many parents.

The viral strains were found at a treatment plant in the predominantly Arab town of Baka El-Garbiya, near Netanya, the furthest north that the virus has been spotted, since it first appeared in a southern Bedouin community in May.

Tuesday's discovery prompted the Health Ministry to renew its calls to vaccinate all of the country's children, up to the age of nine. The third day of the massive initiative saw some 48,000 children given an oral polio vaccine that contains a weakened strain of the virus. Over 180,000 Israeli children have been vaccinated to date.

Authorities decided on using a live virus in the vaccine, in order to guarantee that the degraded, vaccinating strain spread quickly from the children to their surroundings, including family members and friends, thus vaccinating the general population.

The use of a live virus, a method discontinued in 2005, has been controversial, despite Health Ministry warnings that the measure is necessary to stem what they call a "wild" virus spreading across the country. Health authorities believe the polio virus first arrived in Israel in February, crossing the border from Egypt to the southern Bedouin city of Rahat. It was first detected in Rahat's sewage in late May. The vaccination process in the south began in early August.


Salt of the (Lowest Place on) Earth

By The Times of Israel

A New York-born, Israel-based entrepreneur is hoping to save the Dead Sea by marketing its salt, in 15 gourmet flavors

On Sept. 17, 2011, as the sun crept above the shores of the Dead Sea, more than 1,000 Israelis stripped naked and posed together for a now-iconic photo shoot with American photographer Spencer Tunick.

The event, which helped propel the Dead Sea into the campaign for the New Seven Wonders of the World, was executed by Ari Fruchter, a high-tech executive hoping to draw international attention to the fact that the Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth and the source of some its most potent minerals, is shrinking.



After those hundreds of people put their clothes back on and the buzz from the photo shoot died down, Fruchter, a New York native and Israeli resident, felt adrift. A few months later he had left his job at SanDisk, a flash memory card maker, and was itching for a new purpose. Convinced that the Dead Sea could become his pet project, he decided to launch a new enterprise, this one focusing not on the sea's shores, but its salt.

And so, Naked Sea Salt, a line of gourmet, flavored sea salts harvested straight from the Dead Sea, was born. It's an entirely green enterprise, Fruchter says, and one with both social and environmental benefits.

"I wanted to launch a company that's set up to make money but also to do good," Fruchter says. "And of course naturally I thought of the Dead Sea. There's tons of companies that have all kinds of beauty products from the Dead Sea but no one has anything that you ingest. And I thought, well, why can't I do something ingestible from the Dead Sea?"

When consumers think of Dead Sea products, Fruchter says, they think of what they can put on their bodies, but never what they can put into them. "Every time I see the salt it's bathing, it's beauty, but nobody's eating it. It doesn't make any sense," he said.

While scouting locations for Tunick's photo shoot in 2011, Fruchter had noticed a small salt field run by a Palestinian family. He went back to learn more, and discovered West Bank Salt Works, a tiny Palestinian-run factory in Area C of the West Bank that has been harvesting and locally marketing Dead Sea salt for nearly half a century. It's run by the Hallak family, who mine salt from a strip of earth that was once Jordan and have teamed up with a Haifa factory to add herbs, spices and flavor.

Fruchter smelled a real business opportunity, and partnered with the Hallaks. He christened the venture Naked Sea Salt, a nod to the Tunick installation, and unveiled a Kickstarter campaign to drum up enough funds to start manufacturing.

The initial Kickstarter goal of $10,000 was reached in two days. Everyone who donates can also submit a pre-order for one of the 15 flavors of salt available, which include sweet orange and chili, velvet plum merlot, and garlic and ginger. The new goal, which will be used for a first production run to fill pre-orders, is $50,000. With 12 days to go, donations are currently creeping to the $35,000 mark.

Gourmet salt has been a staple in chef's kitchens for years, but Fruchter insists his product will bring something new, something to literally spice up the market. "Salt, once upon a time, was the most precious commodity that you could imagine. Wars were fought over it," he ways. "Today it's probably the least expensive thing you can buy in a supermarket. And most of the salt that we have is really crap. It's processed, stripped out of all the minerals and just add to it all kind of chemicals … The whole premium salt market is something that just came out in the past few years."

The Hallak family, Fruchter says, was for years the only West Bank business that was keeping things small and local. Subsidized by USAID, they were simply harvesting the salt and selling it to the local Arabs. "They were working in bulk, going into salt packets, in a very low-key operation," Fruchter says. "Everyone else from the Dead Sea is big and corporate, stripping out the more precious minerals and literally destroying the Dead Sea."

To make sure they were keeping their harvesting methods sustainable, Naked Salt teamed up with the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, which has offered its stamp of approval to affirm that the water levels and surrounding environment of the region aren't affected.

The salt is also packed with nutrients, Fruchter says, as mineral-rich as the mud that tourists routinely slather on their bodies at the site. Comparing his product to the foodie favorite Himalyan Pink Salt, he says that a few sprinkles of the salt will add magnesium, calcium, iron and other feel-good deposits to your food.

"People go berserk over it, they love it," he says of the product. "But there's a big difference between creating something on our own and then getting into consumers' hands. And what I decided is that because we're not just looking to sell sell sell — there's a strong message behind it — we set our company up as a social enterprise."

On their Kickstarter page, Fruchter touts his partnership with the Hallak family and lays out his vision for the product. "Naked Sea Salt represents a joint venture between Israelis and Palestinians, working together to share this product with the rest of the world," it reads. "We believe that economic cooperation can be a powerful tool for peace, and we want to do our part."

`Rabbi Ariel: 'Banks are the Last Place to Borrow Money From'

By IsraelNationalNews.com

If you need a loan, the place to get it is at a gemach, a free loan society, that charges no interest, but may include a "usage fee," according to Ramat Gan Chief Rabbi Yaakov Ariel. Rabbi Ariel was on the "short list" for Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi, and is considered a scholar of note by religious Jews from both the Religious Zionist and hareidi communities.

In an interview with Arutz Sheva, Rabbi Ariel discussed the mechanics of taking loans under Jewish law. According to the Torah, taking interest on loans is forbidden, and there is a good reason for that.

"The Jewish people in the Land of Israel are united, living in a single united society," he said. "You wouldn't charge interest if you loaned money to your son, daughter, or brother, and that must be our attitude to all Jews. We are one family and we must help each other, not take advantage of the other's financial distress to gain wealth."

However, the Torah realized that there were two sides to the coin – that when a lender gave a loan to a borrower, they did not have use of their own money. While the borrower could use the money to make investments and pursue opportunities, the lender that supplied the money lost out on that chance – and when the Torah forbade "interest," in the sense that the lender gained from the deal, that is not what it had in mind.

While it was forbidden for lenders to take advantage of the distress of those in need with predatory practices, the lender did not have to lose out as well. To resolve this, he said, the Sages came up with a formula called a heter iska, essentially a contract where a Jewish court of law becomes the administrator of a loan and charges a fee for its use. The fee is then transferred to the lender.

The heter iska has for generations been accepted as a halachically valid formula for loan administration, but a recent article in the Jewish law journal Techumin questioned its validity – and in response, Rabbi Ariel affirmed the validity of the heter iska.

"It's not interest," he said. "In the same way that the lender cannot take advantage of the borrower, the borrower cannot have more rights to the money – and the opportunities to profit with it – than the lender. Would that not be an injustice?

"The Torah differentiated between the concept of getting rich off someone else's back, and earning money using borrowed money. When the borrower takes money from a lender for the purpose of earning money with it, Jewish law recognizes that both sides must profit."

To ensure that money is being lent in the proper spirit and in a halachically valid manner, as a means to provide help to truly provide help, it would be preferable to borrow money from free loan funds whenever possible. Such funds, which collect donations and lend them to those seeking cash, charge a fee for the use of the money using a heter iska – but more importantly, they were lending money in the proper spirit.

The last place to get money, on the other hand, is the bank, said Rabbi Ariel. The bank exists strictly to make money for its stockholders, and even if Israeli institutions all have a heter iska, their activities are not within the proper spirit that is needed for lending money. "Banks are fine for commercial activities, but if a household needs to borrow money for a specific purpose they should not be going to the bank. Banks are the economic oxygen for businesses, but others may end up in a chokehold because of them," he added.






































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