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Israel Troops Shot Two Lebanese Soldiers After IDF Soldier Killed

By DEBKAfile

The IDF spokeswoman Lt. Libby Weiss said Monday that Israeli forces had identified suspicious movement along the border and shot two members of Lebanon's armed forces in the small hours of Monday. The shooting took place near the spot where a Lebanese army sniper killed Navy Master Sgt. Shlomi Cohen Sunder night. Weiss had no details on the condition of the Lebanese soldiers.

Israeli and Lebanese liaison officers met with UNIFIL Monday, Dec. 16, to clarify the circumstances in which a Lebanese soldier Cohen, 31, from Afula, while he was driving past the northern Israeli town of Rosh Hanikra.

At the end of the meeting, the Israel Defense Forces officers appeared ready to accept the Lebanese explanation that a member of its armed forces acted on his own initiative and "did not consult his station before carrying out the attack," claiming it was a one-time incident. The soldier, they said, had been taken to the Defense Ministry offices in Beirut for interrogation.

The Lebanese account of the incident did not clear up the questions surrounding the attack, although Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon insisted earlier Monday that Israel would demand explanations of how it happened, whether it was a "rogue" attack and how the soldier was being disciplined. The minister wanted to hear what the Lebanese army was doing to prevent this sort of incident recurring.

DEBKAfile's military sources stress that Israel's willingness to be fobbed off with lame Lebanese explanations is bound to have a negative effect on its posture of deterrence, broadcasting weakness in the face of its avowed enemies Iran, Hizbullah, and Syria – especially since this was the second shooting attack from Lebanon in three days.

Last Thursday, cross-border gunfire at Israeli soldiers by another Lebanese soldier who apparently "forgot to consult" his superiors, was allowed to go without response, with the IDF spokesman speaking vaguely of "errant fire from Lebanese huntsmen" - although a fierce rainstorm was raging at the time. Our sources report that the US, the UN and France, turned the heat on Jerusalem during the day to prevent the military encounter across the Israeli-Lebanese border from escalating into a major clash.

DEBKAfile's military and counterterrorism sources say that if the two events turn out to be connected, it would constitute a coordinated attack by the same terrorist group on the IDF across the Israeli border and the Lebanese army in southern Lebanon.


282 Illegal Infiltrators Escape Detention Center

By IsraelNationalNews.com

Population and Immigration Authority inspectors are conducting searches in Negev kibbutzim and Be'er Sheva to apprehend the more than 200 illegal infiltrators who escaped their Negev detention center, Army Radio reported on Monday.

Israel media reported that approximately 150 of the escaped detainees have marched to Jerusalem to protest outside the Knesset. More than half the illegal infiltrators detained at the Holot detention facility in the Negev Desert escaped Sunday night.

According to Israel Prison Services, 282 out of the 483 illegal migrants assigned to the facility did not return for their 10 p.m. curfew Sunday. The Holot detention center was opened only last week and is an open facility, meaning that detainees can leave the facility during the day but must return by a certain hour at night.

Some 200 of the escapees rallied outside the Be'er Sheva central bus station and announced they were beginning a hunger strike. Police patrolled the scene to prevent any public disturbances.

The detainees were moved to newly opened Holot facility on Thursday from nearby Saharonim prison. Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch stated last week that "whoever violates the terms of his stay [at Holot] will be sent back to the Saharonim detention center."


US Military Chiefs Advised Against Judea-Samaria Pullout in '67

By IsraelNationalNews.com

A declassified document obtained exclusively by Mark Langfan for Arutz Sheva reveals that the military opinion of the US military leadership after the 1967 war is in line with that of present-day nationalist Israelis who say that Israel must not, under any circumstances, relinquish control of the Jordan Valley. In fact, the map drawn by the Joint Chiefs shows Israel keeping a swath of land that stretches from the Jordan River in the east, all the way up to the center of the mountainous ridge in Judea and Samaria in the west.

Arutz Sheva analyst Langfan pointed out Monday that current IDF generals have become more "leftist" than the US generals were in 1967 regarding Israel's safety. The military reportedly is willing to cede most of Judea and Samaria to the Palestinian Authority and maintain only an IDF "presence" along the Jordan River. Secretary of State John Kerry is pressuring Israel to accept this deal.

Under the subheading "requirement," the document, which is dated June 26 and June 29, 1967, states that "A boundary along the commanding terrain overlooking the Jordan River from the west could provide a shorter defense line" for Israel. However, "as a minimum, Israel would need a defense line generally along the axis Bardala-Tubas-Nablus-Bira-Jerusalem and then to the northern part of the Dead Sea."

This describes an Israeli presence along present-day Route 60 that connects Shechem and Jerusalem. The line is considerably westward of the Jordan Valley and is far more generous to Israel than the maps being currently considered in "peace talks.".

"From a strictly military point of view...the views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff...(see as necessary Israeli) control of the prominent high ground running north-south" through Judea and Samaria, reads the report. Langfan notes that this region, deemed crucial for defensible Israeli borders, is the very area that is slated to be given to the PA under Kerry's plan.

He says: "In 1967, before shoulder-fired anti-air missiles, before laser-designators, before radar and radio-jammers, before Katyushas from Lebanon and Gaza, before rampant Muslim-on-Muslim use of Sarin-tipped-chemical-Katyushas in Syria, the greatest collection of military professionals in the world concluded Israel's retention of Western Samaria was a military necessity for Israel."


U.S. Scholars Endorse Boycott of Israel

By The Times of Israel

The membership of the American Studies Association endorsed its national council's call for a boycott of Israeli universities. Two-thirds of the 1,252 members who voted approved the boycott, according to an ASA announcement Monday, a day after the deadline for voting. At the time of the vote, there were 3,853 eligible voters, meaning one-third of the membership participated.

The membership-wide canvas was unprecedented and was undertaken in part at the behest of boycott opponents, who said at a session during the ASA annual conference in Washington last month that the matter was too sensitive to leave up to the 20-member national council, which unanimously endorsed the boycott.

"The National Council engaged and addressed questions and concerns of the membership throughout the process," the ASA statement said. "During the open discussion at the recent convention, members asked us to draft a resolution that was relevant to the ASA in particular and so the Council's final resolution acknowledged that the US plays a significant role in enabling the Israeli occupation of Palestine."

In its announcement, the ASA said it would invite Israeli and Palestinian academics to its 2014 national meeting in Los Angeles. The ASA describes itself as "devoted to the interdisciplinary study of American culture and history."

The Anti-Defamation League called the vote to endorse the boycott "manifestly unjust." "This shameful, morally bankrupt and intellectually dishonest attack on academic freedom by the American Studies Association should be soundly condemned by all who are committed to the ideal that open exchange of ideas is the most effective way to achieve change," said National Director Abraham Foxman in a statement.

In the resolution passed unanimously by the ASA national council on December 4, the group asserted that Palestinian students and scholars enjoy "no effective or substantive academic freedom" under Israeli rule and that "Israeli institutions of higher learning are a party to Israeli state policies that violate human rights and negatively impact the working conditions of Palestinian scholars and students."

The resolution, which applies to the ASA as an organization, is not binding on members and targets institutions, not individuals. National council president of the American Studies Association Curtis Marez admitted that the ASA has never before called for a boycott of any other nation's universities and did not dispute that many other countries, including some of those in Israel's region, are considered to have a comparable — if not worse — human-rights record than Israel.

"One has to start somewhere," he said according to a New York Times report, adding that the US has "a particular responsibility to answer the call for boycott because it is the largest supplier of military aid to the state of Israel." In addition, Marez noted, Palestinian civil groups had asked the ASA for the boycott, whereas no similar requests had been made by similar groups in other countries.

Following the national council decision resolution this month, Marez, who is an associate professor of ethnic studies at the University of California, San Diego, justified a boycott against Israel in the name of freedom. The boycott "is the best way to protect and expand academic freedom and access to education," he said at the time.

The ASA resolution calls on American universities to end collaboration with their Israeli counterparts. However, the organization clarified that the resolution "does not apply to individual Israeli scholars engaged in ordinary forms of academic exchange, including conference presentations, public lectures at campuses, or collaboration on research and publication." The ASA's leadership recognized that individual members will "act according to their convictions" regarding interactions with Israeli academia, the group stated.

Suggestions of an academic boycott on Israel have ignited a heated debate among American scholars, with many opposing academic boycotts in principle and some suggesting that singling out Israel hints of anti-Semitism.

The American Association of University Professors, which boasts a membership of some 48,000, has repeatedly stated that it opposes academic boycotts because they stifle the exchange of ideas rather than targeting those who are responsible for oppression, The New York Times reported.

Earlier this year, the Association for Asian American Studies became the first US academic institution to boycott Israeli academic institutions. At its annual conference in Seattle in April, the group's general membership unanimously voted in favor of a resolution that accuses Israeli universities of supporting systematic discrimination against Palestinian students, among other charges.

The US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel was founded in early 2009, in the wake of Israel's Operation Cast Lead in Gaza. Since then, it has been endorsed by 963 faculty members across the country.


Mohel Asks Dads to Help with Circumcision

By YnetNews.com & Shalom Life

At a brit milah in California, mohel and cantor Philip Sherman asked new father Natan Zaidenweber if he would like to help perform the circumcision on his son. Where most families typically delegate the entire procedure to the mohel, Sherman stated, according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA), that anywhere from 5% to 10% of fathers agree to take part.

"It is the father's mitzvah to actually perform the brit as Abraham did for his son, Isaac," Sherman said. "Many fathers have told me what an incredible moment it was for them to do the actual brit and enter their sons into the covenant of Abraham."

Sherman commenced with a naming ceremony for Jay Hilay and sister Sivan Rose, before offering Natan the option to help with the process. The couple first thought that Sherman was joking, with Natan's wife, Linda Raab, screaming, "Are you crazy?" as Natan stepped forward to take part, friends reassuring her that the process would be easy.

"I then took a deep breath, surrendered to the faith I had in Phil and motioned that they had my blessing to proceed," Raab said. Sherman, who has performed over 20,000 circumcisions set everything up and gave the baby some sugar water before placing a clamp and letting Zaidenweber take it from there.

Zaidenweber found it to be a strong bonding experience, saying that "I'm glad I did it. I'm glad I have that connection with my son. Your love is equal for both (twins), but it's special that we have that bond." Raab also found the experience positive, with Sherman telling those gathered that a baby's cry during a brit is like the sound of a shofar opening the gates of heaven.

"I closed my eyes, heard Jay's cry and actually was able to experience it as deeply spiritual and beautiful," Raab said. "He stepped up, fearlessly, with a faith in himself that I wouldn't have had in myself. I have since been aware of how much his modeling has helped me to muster more courage as I face the tasks of mothering."

When asked if, in the event of their having another son, Zaidenweber would again be the one making the snip, he answered: "Without hesitation."


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