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US Christian Man Arrested in Israel for Plot to Blow Up Muslim Holy Sites

By VOA News

Israeli police have arrested an American man for an alleged plot to blow up Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem. Police identity the suspect as Adam Everett Livvix, a Christian from the state of Texas. He has been charged with illegal weapons possession, planning a terrorist attack, and staying in Israel after his visa expired. Police say he has fully cooperated with them.

Police say Livvix entered Israel last year from the Palestinian Territories, where an unknown Palestinian approached him and asked him to assassinate President Barack Obama during the president's visit to the region. The say Livvix refused to join the plot, but allegedly planned to use weapons his soldier roommate stole from the Israeli army to blow up unspecified Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem.

Israeli police say Livvix was wanted in the United States on a drug charge and that the FBI helped with their investigation.


Israeli Man Stabbed at Chabad Headquarters in New York

By Israel Hayom & IsraelNationalNews.com

A 22-year-old Israeli Jewish yeshiva student was wounded early Tuesday morning in a stabbing at Chabad headquarters in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. The wounded man was identified as Levi Yitzchak Rosenblat, from Beitar Illit. He was initially reported to be seriously wounded. It was later reported that he was conscious and in stable condition.

Police shot and apprehended the perpetrator of the stabbing, who, according to media reports, was a black male. The attacker was transported to a hospital, where he later died of his wounds. The motive for the stabbing is being investigated. Video from the scene of the stabbing revealed how rabbis bravely attempted to coax the attacker into surrendering, and even tried to persuade police not to shoot him.

The apparently deranged man walked into the building and confronted rabbinical students at around 1:40 a.m. After conversing with them for a few minutes, and at one point asking for a Bible, he then stabbed a 22-year-old Israeli student in the head.

The victim, Rosenblat,, then ran out the building to get help while bleeding profusely from his wounds. Meanwhile, NYPD officers rushed to the scene and confronted the man as he waved his knife and repeatedly asked students: "Do you want me to kill you?" According to he New York Post, at one point the man was heard muttering "I want to kill the Jew!"

When a police officer approached the suspect one of the rabbis - who appears to have an Israeli accent -appealed to him "don't shoot!" and urged the assailant to drop the knife. Eventually, the attacker - now named as 49 year-old Calvin Peters - did indeed put the knife down. But hopes for a peaceful resolution were dashed when he suddenly grabbed it again as police approached and began waiving it aggressively. Police say he attempted to stab arresting officers, one of whom then shot him in the torso. Peters eventually died from his wounds at Kings County Hospital.

A spokesman for Chabad-Lubavitch said they were "98% sure" the attack was not a premeditated hate-crime, but more likely the actions of a mentally-unstable man.

Another spokesman, Rabbi Motti Seligson, praised the quick actions of police and bystanders. "While we are very pained by everything that has unfolded, we are very grateful to the police for their quick response and are working closely with the authorities in their ongoing investigation," he said. "We commend the heroic efforts of the individuals who were present and took immediate action, if not for their intervention the outcome could have been, God forbid far worse. We continue to pray for the young man who is in stable condition."

Peters had a documented history of mental illness and had been arrested 19 times since 1982, most recently in 2006 for drugs, police said. He had also been to the Chabad-Lubavitch before, which is open to the public at all hours.

Attorney Jeffrey A. St. Clair opened the Peters family's front door in a New York suburb and said the man had a history of bi-polar disorder. "Calvin Peters was a loving and devoted father," he said. "And the family is quite frankly shocked and disappointed at what happened. Our prayers go out to the person that was injured. But we really ask that you respect our privacy and allow them to grieve."

Assemblyman Dov Hikind, whose Brooklyn constituents are largely Orthodox Jewish, condemned the attack. "I'm told that the attacker came earlier that evening, too. He was stalking the scene. Thank God he didn't inflict more harm nor do more damage to more people," Hikind said in an email statement.

"The Jews are easy prey for the hatred and incitement that is spreading around the world every moment," said Yaakov Hagoel, head of the Department for Activities in Israel and Countering Anti-Semitism at the World Zionist Organization. "The stabbing of a Jew in the Chabad house is part of the significant uptick in violent anti-Semitism in France, Belgium, Europe as a whole, and of course, the United States. US authorities must wake up and begin to take a harder stance against anti-Semitism."


Israeli Inmate Beaten by New Jersey Police Before Death

By YnetNews.com

A surveillance video recently made public, following the ruling of a court in Monmouth County, New Jersey, shows that Amit Bornstein, a 22-year-old Israeli American who died while in custody hours after being brought to jail – had been brutally beaten by prison guards.

The incident took place on July 29, 2010. Bornstein, a professional poker player, was arrested by Marlboro County Sheriff's deputies after failing to show up in court for traffic violations. According to a report by Asbury Park Press, he turned violent upon being brought to jail, and was declared dead several hours later.

His death caused an uproar in the Jewish community in New Jersey, which accused the guards of brutality and demanded an investigation into the incident – however, authorities insisted that the guards were not responsible for his death.

The video, published by the APP news website, shows Bornstein struggling with the guards as they attempt to restrain him, during which his face appears bloody. The guards also placed Bornstein in a wheelchair and took him to a room where four guards surrounded him, stripped him and put a mask on his face. The video shows him fighting them until he stops moving.

APP quoted a statement issued by the Monmouth County Sheriff's Office, which runs the jail: "A complete and thorough investigation conducted by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies cleared the Monmouth County Sheriff's Office Correctional Division of any inappropriate actions in regards to the Amit Bornstein case.

"Mr. Bornstein's undisclosed medical condition, combined with his aggressive conduct, was the direct cause of his untimely and unfortunate death. To comment any further on specifics involving this matter would compromise the security of restricted areas inside the correctional facility and the ongoing civil lawsuit," the statement said, adding that "our thoughts remain with the Bornstein family over their loss".


Egypt's Largest Military Maneuver 'Meant for Israel'

By IsraelNationalNews.com

Egypt held its "Badr 2014" military maneuver between October 11 and November 6, its largest exercise since 1996 which was only half the size - according to a senior security expert the Nile state has its sights on Israel, despite the peace treaty.

Col. (res.) Dr. Shaul Shay, former deputy head of the Israel National Security Council, detailed the maneuver in Israel Defense recently, analyzing the massive military preparations. According to Shay, Egypt wants not only to improve security domestically, but also "it hopes to reassert its historic leadership role and become the regional hegemony. ...With the rise of (President) Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, a new generation of military leadership in Egypt has taken control of the country's armed forces."

The security expert continued "Exercise 'Badr 2014' and the creation of the RDF (Rapid Deployment Force) signals a move toward enhancing Egypt's more offensive, conventional, asymmetric and counterinsurgency capabilities both within and beyond the country's borders." Speaking directly about what that means for Israel, Shay noted that the exercise is meant to prepare for "a potential conflict with Israel."

"Israel is quietly stepping up its military co-operation with Egypt as both countries confront security threats from jihadist groups in the Sinai region and Hamas in Gaza strip. However, Egypt continues to see Israel as its primary military potential threat despite a decades-old peace treaty," analyzed Shay.

Shay quoted Egyptian Military Spokesman Brig. Gen. Mohammed Samir as calling the recent maneuver "the largest and most sophisticated strategic exercise in terms of planning, training, and size of forces involved." He noted that the Egyptian army is the largest in Africa and the Middle East, with most of the country's $1.5 billion in US yearly aid being military aid.

Egypt likewise in February sealed a $2 billion arms deal with Russia, after Russia in November said Egypt offered to buy advanced defense systems, military helicopters, MiG-29 aircraft and anti-tank missiles.

In one part of the maneuver, a simulation of a Suez Canal crossing was held on October 27 by the Third Army. The drill included establishing movable bridges to allow vehicles and tanks to cross, with APCs (Armored Personnel Carriers) crossing accompanied by air force units and boats.

The maneuver is significant in that the peace agreement with Israel forbids large-scale Egyptian military mobilization in the Sinai, although Egypt's military has been recently more active in the region while trying to put down rampant violence by salafist terrorists, with some warning that the increase in Egyptian military presence could potentially signify a threat to Israel.

In another drill on November 3, Sisi attended the main phase of air force exercises in Wadi Nartun. Over 250 combat fighters and helicopters took part in over 60 air sorties, in cooperation with paratrooper units, Egyptian commandos and the Central Military Region regiments.

On the naval front, Shay noted "the Egyptian Navy is the largest navy in Middle East and Africa, and is the seventh largest in the world measured by the number of vessels. "He added the annual exercise of the navy is held on Navy Day, October 21, a date established after an incident on that day in 1967 in which the Israeli destroyer "Eilat" was sunk by Egyptian missile boats about 12 miles from Port Said around four months after Egypt's defeat in the 1967 Six Day War.

Sisi released a statement likening the success of the recent ousters of former presidents Hosni Mubarak and Mohammed Morsi with the October 21 sinking of the Eilat. "Sisi noted that these events changed the reality of Egypt politically, economically and socially, and he praised the navy as one of the main branches of the Egyptian military," reported Shay.


Court Rules Against Gender Segregation at Funerals

By YnetNews.com

The Chevra Kadisha burial society will not be able to place signs separating between men and women in cemeteries, unless the deceased's family specifically asks for it, the Jerusalem District Court has ruled.

The outline suggested by the court has been accepted by both Chevra Kadisha and groups opposing gender segregation. The parties are now waiting for Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein to confirm that the proposal does not fall under the category of forbidden exclusion of women in the public domain.

The court intervened in the matter following a claim submitted by the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC) and the Human Rights Clinic at Tel Aviv University's Faculty of Law against Chevra Kadisha in Jerusalem and Rehovot for ignoring the Religious Services Ministry's ban on gender segregation in cemeteries.

Chevra Kadisha's representative said in response that the burial society was acting in accordance with rabbis' instructions and under Jewish Law. The court suggested that the sides reach a compromise, under which the cemeteries will get electronic signposts which will indicate a separation between men and women only according to a specific request made by the deceased's family, and only during the funeral. This will also be made clear in the funeral order form.


Amnesty: Israel Committed War Crimes in Gaza Bombings

By VOA News

Amnesty International says Israel committed war crimes in Gaza with what the human rights group called the "deliberate and direct" destruction of four civilian high-rise buildings in August.

In a report released Monday, Amnesty said the Israeli military did not take sufficient precautions to minimize harm to civilians or their property during a 50-day war with Hamas, in violation of international law. It alleged that scores of Gazans were injured and hundreds more lost homes, businesses and personal items in the bombing.

Amnesty said Tel Aviv did not respond to a request for comment on the report's allegations. Israel has previously maintained that Hamas used civilian facilities to direct military operations and house weapons.

The rights group has accused Israel of using excessive force before. A November report said Israel launched an "unprecedented number of attacks on inhabited homes" in the Gaza Strip this summer, causing an "appalling" amount of death and destruction.

Fighting that began in retaliation for Hamas firing rockets into Israel killed more than 2,100 Palestinians in Gaza, most of them civilians, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians. A cease-fire was reached in August.


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