Newsletter : 13fx1230.txt
| Previous file
| Next file
USA's Newest Ally? Joins with Iran's in a Joint Military Venture Against al Qaeda in
By DEBKAfile & AFP
With the Geneva Nuclear Accord still far from implementation a month after it was signed in Geneva, the United States and Iran are moving into stage two of their rapprochement: They are now fighting together to crush Al Qaeda terror in Iraq, DEBKAfile's exclusive military sources report. (See http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=53yHqyxA4Qg#t=128)
Iraq is two weeks into a major offensive for cutting al Qaeda down - the first major
military challenge the jihadists have faced in the past six years. Three armies are
fighting alongside Iraq: the United States, Iran's Al Qods Brigades officers and
Their mission is to foil Al Qaeda's drive to spread its first independent state in the
Middle East across the Iraqi-Syrian frontier. Its Iraqi and Syrian branches - ISIS and the
Nusra Front - have declared a holy war to this end under their commanders Abu Bakr
Al-Baghdadi and Abu Mohammed al-Golani. The Anbar province of Western Iraq is the scene of
he fiercest combat close to Iraq's borders with Syria and Jordan.
To counter Al Qaeda's superiority in speed and surprise, the US has sent the Iraqi army
Hellfire surface-to-air missiles. They are already in use against al Qaeda camps on the
Syrian border. Next, Washington is sending out small, long-endurance unmanned aerial
ScanEagles. These drones are best suited to combat in Anbar's deep wadis and the halophyte
thickets lining the Euphrates River.
In this topsy-turvy scenario, Washington and Tehran share another surprising motive: to
save the Assad regime in Damascus from Al Qaeda's long arms.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov noted approvingly on December 26: "Attitudes are
changing in Western countries; they are becoming more realistic in their approach towards
the Syrian crisis. The threat of terrorism in Syria, of jihadists coming to power, of
creating a caliphate with extremist laws, these are the main problems."
Since the Syrian chemical issue was addressed in September, Russian-Iranian-American
collaboration is going strong. The joint US-Iranian war on al Qaeda is strengthening
Tehran's grip on Iraq as well Syria. It gives Russian President Vladimir Putin hope for
keeping al Qaeda away from the Winter Olympics at Sochi an ever-present menace as a
female suicide bomber, a Dagestan national, demonstrated Sunday by blowing up the railway
station at the southern Russian city of Volgograd, killing up to a score of people.
The other incentive for US President Barack Obama is the hope of transposing his
collaboration with Tehran and Moscow to improve US chances of a reasonable accommodation
in the Afghanistan arena.
In a related story, Iranian Parliament, the Majlis would direct Iran's nuclear agency
to enrich uranium to 60%, if the US Congress adopts new sanctions legislation. More than
two-thirds of Iran's parliament has signed on to a bill that would accelerate Iran's
nuclear program if the US Congress adopts new sanctions legislation, official news
The bill would direct Iran's nuclear agency to enrich uranium to 60%, close to the 90%
needed for the material to be used as nuclear bomb fuel, writes the Los Angeles Times. It
is currently enriched to a maximum of 20%. The legislation also calls for the start-up of
Iran's partially built Arak heavy-water nuclear reactor.
Iranian lawmakers have described the bill as retaliation for legislation introduced in
the Senate this month that would impose tough new sanctions on Iran in six months if it
fails to cooperate with upcoming international negotiations aimed at setting limits for
its nuclear program. The Iranian bill was previously described as retaliation for the
Obama administration's recent blacklisting of a group of Iranian organizations and
Also Sunday, senior Iranian nuclear negotiator Abbas Araqchi stated that Iran would
stop cooperating with the preliminary nuclear deal if any sanctions legislation is adopted
by Congress. "Implementation of the Geneva deal will be stopped, no doubt," Araqchi said,
according to the Iranian Student News Agency.
An advisor to Iran's "Supreme Leader," Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said Sunday that the US
has no option but to honor its obligations under the recent Geneva nuclear deal. In a
Sunday meeting with an Egyptian media delegation in Tehran, Ali Akbar Velayati said some
US officials have admitted "they cannot turn a blind eye to Iran's nuclear capabilities
and they are unable to stop Tehran's activities." Velayati said Iran would not accept any
deal which would entail giving up the use of nuclear energy.
White House Furious with Netanyahu over Jordan Valley Vote
By DEBKAfile & The Times of Israel
An Israeli ministerial panel Sunday voted for a bill to extend Israeli sovereignty over
the Jordan Valley. DEBKAfile reports that the White House and State Department claim
angrily that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu could had he wished easily blocked the
decision. They are furthermore put out by his issue of tenders for 1,400 new apartments in
Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria, the day after a ministerial decision to release 26
Palestinian terrorist murderers.
Four ministers voted in favor of the draft law, which was proposed Likud MK Miri Regev.
Three opposed it. Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who is in charge of "peace negotiations"
with the Palestinian Authority attacked the ministers who voted for the bill, and called
it "an irresponsible proposal that will harm Israel and isolate it. Some of those who
supported the bill would have opposed it, if they had known it would pass," she added.
"They are taking advantage of the fact that I will file an appeal and do the work for
The Jordan Valley, situated in eastern Samaria (Shomron), has been the topic of
contention in recent months. Secretary of State John Kerry is reportedly attempting to
force a deal on Israel and the Palestinian Authority which would see an Israeli
"withdrawal" from all of Judea and Samaria, but allow for a temporary arrangement whereby
IDF and/or foreign forces would maintain a presence in the Jordan Valley.
The Israeli government argues the Valley is strategically important, and Netanyahu has
insisted in the past that, in the event of a withdrawal from Judea and Samaria, Israel
would still keep troops in the area. Calls by some nationalist MKs to annex the area are
an attempt to forestall any withdrawal from the area whatsoever.
Some analysts have criticized the idea that an Israeli withdrawal from Judea and
Samaria would be "safe" as long as forces remained in the Jordan Valley, saying that the
mountainous regions to the west and south are in fact even more strategically crucial for
The measure would place the region under Israeli law, whereas the area currently has
status of a captured territory administered by the IDF. The bill is similar to the 1981
Bill, which applied Israeli civil law and effectively annexed the Syrian border region to
Israel. The Jordan Valley has become a key sticking point in peace negotiations with the
Jerusalem insists on maintaining a militarized buffer in the region, while Ramallah is
opposed to any Israeli troops on its land.
Anti-Semitic Graffiti Found in Be'er Sheva
By The Times of Israel
Vandals scrawled anti-Jewish graffiti and swastikas in the southern city of Be'er Sheva
Sunday. Police were searching for the perpetrators late Sunday, and no suspects had been
apprehended. The graffiti, which read "Death to the Jews," was found on a wall along a
sidewalk in the city's Heh neighborhood. There were also swastikas painted on the wall.
In April, Nazi slogans and swastikas were spray-painted in Bat Yam, on the wall of a
synagogue and at a nearby school. The previous month, a similar incident took place in
Jaffa, where anti-Semitic slogans and symbols were spray-painted on a number of houses and
Neo-Nazi Symbol Spreads in Europe
The right hand and its fingers are stretched downwards along the body, while the left
hand performs a "salute" movement on the opposite arm. Sound like an aerobic exercise for
beginners? According to anti-Semitism researchers, it is actually a clear anti-Semitic
symbol, a modern Nazi salute, spreading among Jew haters across Europe.
In recent months, the researchers warn, anti-Semites have been taking advantage of the
lack of public awareness of the new "salute" and taking pictures of themselves performing
the salute in particularly symbolic and sensitive places around the world like the
Treblinka extermination camp, the Western Wall plaza and next to IDF soldiers, as well as
alongside Jews who are unaware of the "trick." They then post the photos on the Internet.
The new salute, based on a reverse Nazi symbol, was created by a French comedian called
Dieudonné, who is known for his anti-Semitic acts and statements and has even been
convicted by courts in France several times in the past. The physical gesture, which he
dubbed "quenelle," has spread in the country, but the government has yet to define it as
Different sources have been arguing whether it is seen as anti-Semitic gesture in all
cases. There are those who say that some of those photographed doing the "quenelle"
gesture are doing it for "anti-establishment" motives which are not necessarily
anti-Semitic. Among anti-Semites, however, as the WZO indicates, it is a common
anti-Semitic gesture, and media outlets have even been apologizing for mistakenly exposing
Yaakov Haguel, head of the WZO's Department for Countering Anti-Semitism, told Ynet
that the department's Red Email received initial pictures of the new salute several months
ago, but "we didn't understand what it was about." They later realized the meaning of the
gesture and were then exposed to cases in which neo-Nazis performed it in Jewish holy
sites in Israel and around the world. "It's gaining more and more momentum, spreading on
the Internet and social networks and turning into a clear Nazi symbol, and it doesn't
appear to be a passing phenomenon," says Haguel. "It's spreading to Israel too these days,
and we must acknowledge that and stop it."
Eitan Behar, director of the Center for Diaspora Communications and Countering
Anti-Semitism at the WZO, told Ynet that the phenomenon he defined as "extremely troubling
was gaining momentum in recent weeks. "Saluting with raised hands is banned in the
European Union, and people even get arrested for it, so the neo-Nazi activists perform the
same gesture in a different angle," he noted.
A special Facebook page is updated very frequently, particularly with photos from
around the world documenting the new salute in places with religious and national
significance to Jews. It has accumulated tens of thousands of regular followers, and
almost 100% of them are active through "likes," shares and comments. A special
website has also been launched for the same purpose.
The "saluters" take advantage of many people's innocence and ask them to perform the
gesture as they take a picture of them including IDF soldiers and Holocaust
survivors. The sites where they choose to do so leave no room for doubt: The Anne Frank
House, synagogues and Jewish cemeteries, the Western Wall plaza, against the backdrop of
German and Israeli flags, on streets with "Jewish" names. They have also posted processed
photos of famous characters, like Superman and Santa Claus, performing the salute.
`Who is the Most Popular Biblical Figure?
Ninety-three percent of households in Israel own a Bible, a recent poll has found. The
survey, conducted by the Smith Institute in honor of international exhibition "The Book
Books," which is currently on display at the Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem. Apart from
the Bible's presence in Israeli homes, the survey also looked into the People of the
Book's connection to the Book of Books, revealing a not-so-strong link.
Nearly one-third of Israelis (28%) can't remember the last time they opened a Bible.
The situation appears to be better among religious and ultra-Orthodox Jews, 10% of whom
have not opened a Bible in the past year.
The study's 500 participants were asked when man was created. Thirty-three percent of
secular Jews did not know the right answer on the sixth day of Creation
compared to only 9% of religious and haredi Jews. The poll further reveals that Jewish
people, both religious and secular, don't want to lose their connection to the Book of
Books 96% are in favor of Bible studies in schools.
Moses was chosen as the most popular biblical figure by 24% of the survey's
respondents, followed by King David (9%), Abraham (6%), King Solomon (5%) and Joseph (3%).
Rachel made it to the sixth place with 2% of respondents mentioning her as their favorite
"The survey's results present a gap between the great importance we attribute to the
Bible as a nation and as private people, and our knowledge of its content and our access
to it," said Bible Lands Museum Director Amanda Weiss. Beyond Bible studies in school,
over which there is a wide consensus, it's important to create real interest and curiosity
towards the Book of Books from an early age and deepen our understanding of our history,
as it is not just another item on the shelf," she added.
God Created Me Gay: Religious Teenager's Op-Ed
Dear Habayit Hayehudi ministers,
In a different, perhaps "better" reality I could have disclosed my identity to you. I
could have presented myself without hiding, describe my life and who I am. But
unfortunately, I can't. If I muster the courage and do it, it will have a huge effect on
my life. Possibly for the better, but most chances are against that, and I am not the type
to take risks.
Hello. I am a religious youth, the son of a completely normal national-religious
family, an 11th grader in a completely normal yeshiva high school, and among other things,
I am also what many in the sector refer to as "having inverted tendencies" and what
I prefer to call "gay." This word is not a simple one in our reality, in a situation in
which many are not afraid to use it as a curse, in a negative connotation, with the
intention of hurting and destroying. Even to me it sounds like a swearword.
And yet, that's how I define myself. When people hear about teenagers like me, they say
it's because "he wants to be different," "because it's trendy to be different" and "will
help the image of the depressed adolescent who is angry at the world." Others think that
teenagers like me are actually making it all up, and are not really attracted to boys. And
there are those who believe it's a psychological problem which will be solved through
To them I would like to say: I don't enjoy living a lie, hiding the truth about myself
from the people I love, wondering whether my friends would like me if they knew. I didn't
enjoy the time when I couldn't accept myself, when I hated myself and renounced myself. I
told myself it would pass, that it's just fantasies, that I'm better than that. I spent
half of my adolescence alone, depressed, with suicidal tendencies and other experiences I
would rather forget. Your objection symbolizes something bigger
So you've probably already understood why I'm appealing to you, but you may not
understand what I want from you, after the bill banning discrimination based on sexual
orientation and gender identity has already passed in the Knesset in spite of your
objection. But that's exactly the point: You are a party which aspires to represent the
religious sector, which I am part of, and therefore your objection actually symbolizes
You didn't oppose the law on same-sex marriage, same-sex parenting, or economic
equality for same-sex couples, but only the ban on discrimination, no less. In my humble
opinion, the Torah isn't fond of discrimination either, and so I am trying to understand
exactly what your motive was to vote against it.
Is it because you're a religious party, and religious and LGBT don't go together? I'm
sure I'm not telling you something new about not being the only religious gay person in
the world, and in our sector there are many, some who really endure the challenge imposed
on them by God, and want to continue observing the mitzvot of Judaism; others choose to
become secular, flee the religious sector, and as always there are those who try to
combine, to live as a religious-gay couple.
But even those who meet every religious ideal are still treated disgracefully. They
can't come out of the closet, even though it eases the coping. Why is that? Why do they
deserve this attitude? Why don't they deserve to come out of the closet and be confident
that discriminating against them will be forbidden, because there is a law against it? And
the rest how do they differ from Shabbat desecraters under Orthodox religious laws?
Will you propose a bill allowing discrimination against Shabbat desecraters in the
And there may be another reason for the objection: The common claim that "every show of
acceptance of LGBT will negatively affect our children." The fear of what certain rabbis
refer to as "fashionable homosexuality." Well, tell me, why would anyone want to be a
religious gay person? It's not an enjoyable, trendy and attractive experience. It's
difficult daily coping, which many would rather give up on. Why would someone choose a
life without the ability to love, without the ability to tell people who he is and not
And even if this claim were true (and it's not, but let's assume it is for the sake of
the fixated ones amongst you): Would you rather destroy the religious gays living in the
religious sector today and in the future, and sentence them to a life of suffering
in order to "save" your children from the horrors of defamed homosexuality? It seems to me
like abandoning the poor during a drought year, out of concern that only your family will
Your child will be a good person, even if he is gay. It all depends on the attitude of
our sector, and on the education you give him. If a gay receives the same support received
by a person who finds it difficult to obey the Halacha (as every person has the evil
inclination), our sector will look different. The lives of people like me will be easier.
Your child won't have to go through the denial, hatred, depression and difficulties
involved in being a religious gay adolescent in the closet.
Your vote in favor of continuing the discrimination symbolizes several things: For
religious (and secular) gays it symbolizes the perpetuation of the negative attitude of
the religious sector as a sector. For seculars it distorts Judaism, which does not support
injustices for gay people just because of their tendencies. And for me, it symbolizes lack
of hope and ongoing suffering.
The LGBT discourse exists in the religious sector but it's not sufficiently
specified, not sufficiently determined and simple, inadequate. This situation makes
people's lives miserable, and may lead a religious youth who understands that he is
different to become secular, to hate religion, and in extreme cases to commit
Why must I lie, be afraid and hide? Why must I keep my mouth shut when the issue is
raised and homophobia blossoms, because there are few religious people my age to come out
against it? Why don't I deserve to be me, to talk about my challenges, and to ask other
people for help? Why must I consider giving up on my true faith, because I won't be able
to go on like this much longer? Because, for some reason, God created me (or caused me) to
be attracted to boys and not to girls, and gave me an unusual challenge in the sector.
Why don't we stop this unfounded hatred, stop insulting, swearing and distancing? Why
don't we start sticking to the values of Judaism: Support, love and bring closer? It could
be through proper education, providing information and making the issue accessible to
Judaism. As long as there is an effort, and that eventually there will be.
I don't see a reason for directing hatred towards me when I haven't done anything wrong
to anyone. I don't see a reason for the need to hide all this, to hoard and hoard and
hoard and wait till I explode.
Sincerely and with a hope for real change,
A distressed religious youth who has had enough of being distressed for an unjustified
(All material on these web pages is © 2001-2012
by Electronic World Communications, Inc.)