Newsletter : 13fx1213.txt
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Jerusalem Palestinian Thugs Throw Snow-packed Rocks at Israelis
By DEBKAfile & IsraelNationalNews.com
In different parts of Jerusalem, Palestinians are using winter weather to disguise rocks as snowballs and pelt passers-by on the streets and passing vehicles causing injuries. The city is blanketed in snow which fell heavily for several hours from early Thursday. See http://youtu.be/HmnHkDX_IVQ
The snow that fell in Jerusalem Thursday morning presented dangers to motorists in
areas, with the icy conditions making for treacherous driving for Jews and Arabs alike.
But Muslim extremists found a way to make use of the snow to threaten Jewish drivers
specifically - by coating the rocks they threw at vehicles driven by Jews. Throwing rocks
at Jews has become a daily pastime for Muslim youths in certain neighborhoods in the
capital in recent years.
Two hareidim who drove through the Beit Hanina neighborhood in northern Jerusalem
thought that the white projectiles being hurled at their car were snowballs, and were
surprised when they came crashing through their window.
When they subsequently inspected the car they realized that the "snowballs" were rocks
packed in snow. As they looked at the damage, they were again attacked by Muslims in what
apparently was a planned ambush. They managed to escape without injury and filed a police
complaint. Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich (Likud-Beytenu) promised
Wednesday to put an end to the harassment of Jews in Jerusalem.
"We have to stop the phenomenon - and it will stop," Aharonovich said, adding that he
was coordinating with the Jerusalem District police to ensure a crackdown on the violence,
which has included potentially-fatal mob-attacks and rock-throwing at cars and buses.
"Both incidents in which Jews attack Arabs and those in which Arabs attack Jews must be
investigated," he declared.
A year ago, a group of Arabs harassed two young hareidi men with snowballs, chasing and
kicking them. The scene was videotaped by a participant and reminded many of anti-Semitic
Jew-baiting in Nazi Germany because of the brazen nature of the attack and the
helpless response of the Jews.
Roads were closed, school was canceled, and public transportation all but shut down in
Jerusalem Thursday morning amid snow and stormy weather. One hundred snow removers, fitted
with salt dispersers equipped with 90 tons of salt, were sent in to clear the streets of
The Central Bus Station was closed and intercity travel was interrupted, with the
police recommending that motorists not travel on Route 1, the main Jerusalem-Tel Aviv
highway. Volunteers from the traffic police have been deployed all along the highway. The
Foreign Ministry was closed due to the inclement weather. About 25,000 households lost
their electricity Thursday morning.
Meanwhile, a driver who was swept 300 meters by a flash flood in the Negev Desert was
rescued by soldiers using ropes. In Be'er Sheva, about 100 trees fell due to the strong
winds and municipality workers had to remove the trees from the streets and sidewalks. One
family was rescued when their house was flooded by rainwater.
The snow began falling in Jerusalem shortly after sunrise Thursday and thin layers of
snow began to form on cars. In elevated neighborhoods such as Gilo, the snow piled up, and
residents huddled in bus stops, waiting for buses that had temporarily stopped running. By
Thursday night, flurries were reported as low as the settlement of Beit Horon, which at
630 meters above sea level, rarely sees snow fall.
Other parts of the country saw heavy rainfall as the early storm swept through the
region, flooding a number of roads. School in Kfar Kara, Um el-Fahm and Rahat were
canceled Thursday due to flooding. The IDF's elite 669 search and rescue unit retrieved 10
trapped passengers from a commercial vehicle that was swept away by flood waters in Nahal
Gerar, north of Be'er Sheva. The passengers, nine of whom were children, were airlifted to
Be'er Sheva's Soroka Medical Center in fair condition.
The stormy weather was expected to persist into the weekend, with snow reaching
elevated areas as far south as the Negev Desert on Friday.
"Snow in Jerusalem is a cause for celebration for Jerusalemites and the many visitors
who come to see the world's most beautiful city painted white," said Mayor Nir Barkat, who
dropped in on the city's public works department to check on preparations for the storm
Wednesday. "We hope the snow won't disappoint, especially for Jerusalem's excited
children, who are looking forward to it."
Hamas: Israel Engineering an Earthquake Attack on Al-Aqsa
Ismail Radwan, Minister of Religious Affairs in Gaza's Hamas government, claims that
Israel is trying to cause an artificial earthquake to totally collapse the Al-Aqsa Mosque
on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. According to Radwan, Israel is attempting to do so to
establish the Third Temple.
The comments came at an event organized by female students of the College for
Professional Applied Sciences. In response to the supposed "earthquake attack," Radwan
called for a general national enlistment to the military, and to support the mosque by
having fixed presence at the site.
Radwan said through repeated Jewish access to the Temple Mount, as well as "excavations
and criminal acts," the Israeli "occupation" has "arrived at the stage of accustoming
Palestinians, Arabs and Muslim to accept the existing reality so as to implement their
goals to destroy the mosque and build the supposed Temple."
The minister blamed peace talks and security arrangements between Israel and the
Palestinian Authority (PA) as providing cover for the "criminal acts" on the Temple
Regardless of Hamas's fantastic scenarios, Israel is facing a real earthquake danger.
In October, the Home Front Minister MK Gilad Erdan (Likud) warned that a major earthquake
is looming that could potentially kill 7,000 Israelis.
Muslim Countries Top List of State-Persecution of Atheists
Islamic countries top the list of states which routinely discriminate against and
persecute atheists and agnostics as well as members of other religions, according to a
newly-released report. The 2013 Freethought Report was published by the International
Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) - an organization of religious skeptics, agnostics, and
atheists. The study was released ahead of International Human Rights Day Tuesday, The
Huffington Post reported.
The study covers all 192 United Nations member states and its authors consulted with
lawyers and human rights experts from those countries to evaluate the state of religious
freedom for the irreligious around the world.
The organization claims that the world systemically discriminates against atheists more
than it does against any religion, and that the results show a need for more progressive
thinking worldwide about extending religious freedom to the "non-spiritual. "
"This report shows that the overwhelming majority of countries fail to respect the
rights of atheists and freethinkers although they have signed U.N agreements to treat all
citizens equally," said IHEU President Sonja Eggerickx. Rev. Paul Raushenbush, Huffington
Post's Senior Religion Editor, claims that explorations of atheism as part of wider
discussions about religious freedom will "be one of the big stories of the 21st
The study particularly noted the death sentences for atheism in 13 Muslim or
Muslim-majority countries: Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Malaysia, Afghanistan, Nigeria,
Pakistan, Qatar, Mauritania, Maldives, Somalia, Sudan, and United Arab Emirates. According
to Raushenbush, "the countries that have the most egregious fines against atheists are
also the ones who are very harsh on people converting away from Islam and to Christianity,
or against the Bahai people," and that "this is a big problem."
Riots, murders, and other crimes against non-Muslims are common in Islamic countries -
particularly against Christians. Last summer, Egyptian Islamists beheaded and shot two
Coptic Christians in the same week, one of them a priest. Syrian rebels also are openly
waging war against Christians there, and they reportedly captured a Christian town and
murdered resident nuns earlier this month. On the large scale, British think tank Civitas
warned in 2012 that Christianity in the Middle East is close to extinction.
Closer to home, Muslim authorities continue to threaten a "religious war" over efforts
to equalize prayer rights at the Temple Mount, which is Judaism's holy site.
Sectarian fighting between rival Muslim sects is also on the rise, such as in the
Sunni-Shi'ite conflict in Syria and in Iraq. Over the past few years, numerous bombings
and executions in Iraq have been linked to Sunni-Shi'ite tensions; the Syrian Civil War
has mushroomed from local conflicts to an all-out Islamic holy war, with several Syrian
rebel factions of Sunni origin hailing from neighboring countries "in the name of Islam."
The study covers all types and sources of discrimination - not just in Islamic
countries. For example, African countries were cited as having particularly severe
violations against religious freedom. Muslim countries Libya, Egypt, and Morocco topped
the list - as did the Christian nations of Zimbabwe and Eritrea, according to the
Even the European Union is suspect; the report names Austria, Denmark, Germany, Greece,
Hungary, Malta and Poland as countries with jail sentences for blasphemy, some for as long
as three years. The findings are important for Jewish groups, as they coincide with data
indicating a significant upswing in anti-Semitism in general and anti-Semitic violence in
Other countries, like India and the US, have "sociocultural issues" with atheism -
though not necessarily with freedom of other religions. India is named as problematic for
its reluctance to investigate hate crimes against atheists and agnostics, whereas the US
is accused of equating "being religious with being American."
The report also lists the "most" and "least" religious countries in the world.
According to the study the ten "most religious" are: Ghana, Nigeria, Armenia, Fiji,
Macedonia, Romania, Iraq, Kenya, Peru, and Brazil. The "least religious" are: Ireland,
Australia, Iceland, Austria, the Netherlands, Germany, South Korea, France, Japan, the
Czech Republic, and China.
Haredim Find Love on Reality TV Show
"Match Made in Heaven" is not your average reality show. It is the first ever series in
the world which got a revealing look into the very closed and hidden world of matchmaking
among ultra-religious Jews, who still use the traditional way of getting to know your
Israeli Academy Award winner Esti Zakheim, who herself is a reality show graduate after
she participated in the last season of "Dancing with the Stars," felt she just had to come
to see the show when she heard about its concept. "I thought it's intriguing," she says.
"I couldn't believe that there would be a reality series about religious Jews, very
ultra-religious, and about matchmaking there.
'Shtisel,' starring Hollywood actress Ayelet Zurer, provides glimpses into the mostly
unknown inner world of ultra-Orthodox Jews of Jerusalem's Mea Shearim neighborhood. "I
think in Israel something about the population and being Jews and Arabs and religious and
non-religious, and everything is such an intriguing and interesting mix that in reality
can go on forever because all the time you find something different."
Matchmaking is a precious subject in the Orthodox community, according to the producer of
the show, Shay Verter, who feels very fortune to have been able to capture it all on
camera. "This is a very, very precious subject and they keep it very, very closed and they
guard it with much care," he says. "One of the amazing things that people found out
through the production was that they are like us, they are normal people that live by very
hard and strict codes, but they have feelings, they want to connect, they want to find
their soul mate, they want to find 'the one.' I was amazed; those young people, so
serious, so mature, so honest and focused on their mission."
Ronnie Kay adds that "the matchmaking has a lot of benefits because it lets you
understand who is the compatible person for you, at least on paper, and then if you fall
in love that's like an extra bonus. "So like our grandmothers used to tell us, you have to
pick and choose someone who will be compatible and not only use your heart, so that's what
they're trying to do."
Jaffa Parnes, the matchmaker on the show, admits she wasn't afraid to expose the hidden
world of Orthodox Jewish matchmaking on reality TV. "I'm not afraid that everybody will
see it because I know that everything is from God, and he makes me to be in this show. So
it's a 'shlihut' (mission) and I will do this mitzvah for everybody who wants me to
Like with every reality TV project, we wanted to know what happened after the filming
ended and how many of the couples eventually got married. "Three of the couples on the
show got married," says Kay. "The rest of them are still single, and so am I."
The project, which was financed by Israeli satcaster YES, was filmed over two years and
has gotten a lot of international buzz. Several television networks around the globe are
now looking into making a localized version about their Jewish communities.
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