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$20 Million Coca-Cola Factory to be Built in Terrorist Hamas-Governed Gaza

By Reuters and Israel Hayom

With Israel's approval, Palestinians began importing machinery on Monday to equip the Gaza Strip's first Coca-Cola plant for an anticipated 2015 launch of operations. Emad al-Hindi, director-general of the Palestinian National Beverage Company, which produces the soft drink in the West Bank, said 10 truckloads of machinery had arrived in Gaza via a crossing with Israel. Israel confirmed it had allowed nine truckloads from Jordan to reach Gaza for an enterprise it hoped would provide jobs for hundreds of people in the coastal territory.

Hindi said he expected more equipment to be shipped from Germany and Turkey and hoped the machines would be installed at a location in central Gaza by March "so that we can launch operations before the end of 2015. The factory building is ready, lines of produce are ready," Hindi said, adding "we hope to be able to conclude all the stages without any obstacles."

Hindi estimated total investment would come to $20 million and hoped the factory would employ 360 Palestinians by 2016 and more at a later stage, a small but critical economic opportunity in a territory plagued by poverty and where war has destroyed or damaged tens of thousands of buildings. The plant would be the first to produce Coca-Cola in Gaza, which already has a Pepsi plant. Israel's approval of the plant, a plan for which was developed over the past two years, preceded this past summer's Operation Protective Edge.

Post-war reconstruction in Gaza has been slow, with donations from abroad trickling in slowly and Israel tightly monitoring Gaza's imports of construction equipment to prevent Hamas terrorists from rebuilding tunnels used to launch attacks.

Anger in Israel After 'Homeland' Compares Begin to Terrorist


The final episode of the fourth season of "Homeland" received a heated response in Israel after the character of a terrorist in the show was compared to former Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin.

The scene that sparked the anger depicted a conversation between CIA agent Dar Adal and former CIA director Saul Berenson, a Jewish character played by Mandy Patinkin, discussing the possibility of protecting Haissam Haqqani, an Afghan Taliban leader, in order to ensure that he will not give political asylum to terrorists.

Berenson responds and says that Haqqani is a terrorist who "recently killed 36 Americans" to which Adal responds, "Menachem Begin killed 91 British soldiers at the King David hotel before he became prime minister." The fictional CIA agent referred to an explosion at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem in 1946 that was carried out by the Irgun (known as Etzel in Israel) which was headed by Menachem Begin.

The head of the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem, Herzl Makov, sharply criticized the comparison made in the fictional drama series and said, "We will ask for explanations for this comparison," adding that the statement consisted of "slander against Menachem Begin and Israel.

"To say that Menachem Begin killed? He wasn't there. The underground organization was under his command and he took responsibility. Additionally, during the incident, three warnings were given to the British to evacuate the place. The British commander refused. Therefore, there is a dramatic difference between the two incidents that were compared. As far as I'm concerned, it is just like saying that they are both terrorists because they wore brown shirts. This is especially irritating because of the fact that Homeland is based on the Israeli show Prisoners of War," said Makov.

The Irgun was a Jewish armed force established by Ze'ev Jabotinsky, which held the ideology that only active retaliation would deter the Arabs and ensure a Jewish state.

In the show, Haqqani himself leads an attack at the American Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, and is personally responsible for the killings of some of the embassy workers. A particularly jarring scene shows him slitting the throat of a recurring character.

Ynet did not receive a response from Gideon Raff, the creator of the award winning Israeli TV drama series "Prisoners of War" from which "Homeland" was adapted. Raff was also involved in the creation and production of "Homeland" and received two Emmy awards for his work on the American drama series.

The attack on the Kind David Hotel in 1946 targeted the British military and administrative headquarters which was housed in the southern wing of the hotel. The attack led to the death of 91 individuals of various nationalities and 46 people were wounded. The Kind David Hotel bombing was the deadliest attack carried out during the time of the British Mandate. The Irgun had said it gave three warnings and called the hotel, but nobody from within the hotel was evacuated prior to the detonation of the bomb.

BBC TV Chief 'Deeply Troubled' by UK Anti-Semitism


Danny Cohen, the BBC's director of television, said this week that he was deeply troubled by the anti-Semitism in Europe in general, and in Britain in particular. Speaking at a conference in Jerusalem, where he was interviewed by Channel 2 News anchor Yonit Levi, Cohen said, "I've never felt so uncomfortable being a Jew in the UK as I've felt in the last 12 months. And it's made me think about, you know, is it our long-term home, actually.

"You've seen the number of attacks rise. You've seen murders in France. You've seen murders in Belgium. It's been pretty grim actually. And having lived all my life in the UK, I've never felt as I do now about anti-Semitism in Europe," he continued.

Cohen said that anti-Semitism was at its worst during last summer's Operation Protective Edge in Gaza, and added that it has calmed down recently but said, "I do think there have been times where being a Jew in the UK in the last year has been an uncomfortable thing."

Indeed, anti-Semitism has been on a steep rise in the UK, with thousands taking part in anti-Israel protests during Operation Protective Edge. Those demonstrations have included pro-Palestinian Arab rioters vandalizing a Birmingham Tesco store out of rage over a refusal to boycott Israeli products. In a similar incident, hundreds of demonstrators rioted outside the Kedem store in Manchester, in a series of clashes which culminated in dozens of death threats being hurled at the store's owners.

Recent statistics show that hate crimes against Jews have risen 383% worldwide since 2013, including a 436% hate crime hike in Europe.

Responding to Cohen's remarks, Jonathan Sacerdoti, spokesman for the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, told Arutz Sheva that Cohen "is echoing the views of many Jews, who have felt increasingly uncomfortable in the UK over recent months. Of course, many suggest that the BBC has contributed to the rise in anti-Semitism in the UK and beyond, through its slanted news coverage. We will have to see if Mr. Cohen is able to contribute towards turning that tide, despite his putative separation from BBC News," he added.

In a related story, British Prime Minister David Cameron held a special event in honor of Chanukah together with leaders and members of the UK's Jewish community.

Speaking at the event, Cameron hailed the Jewish community as "the model of how to integrate successfully into a country," and vowed to fight to preserve Jewish religion and culture in the UK. "The pledge I make as prime minister is those aspects of religion such as shekhita that matter a lot to your religion are always safe while I am your prime minister," he said told those gathered at Number 10 Downing Street.

Cameron also emphasized the relationship between the UK and Israel, choosing to dedicate his speech in part to that relationship, which he said he was committed to preserving. "Britain is a friend of Israel. A good, a candid, a trusted friend of Israel - and that is how as long as I am prime minister it will always stay," he declared.

Cameron recounted his recent visit to the site of the former Nazi death camp Auschwitz, promising to do all he could to preserve Holocaust education and to fight resurgent anti-Semitism in the UK.

"It doesn't matter how many books you've read or movies you've seen or documentaries you've watched, there's just nothing that prepares you for the site of those rooms," recounted. "When you walk into what was a gas chamber, with next door a set of ovens, it shocks you beyond words. It only redoubles the dedication I have that we must make sure as country that we do everything we can that we can to properly commemorate and educate for the future about what happened in the Holocaust."

Hundreds Witness 'Chanukah Miracle' in Jerusalem


On Monday, the seventh day of Hanukkah, a truly unique and historic event took place for the first time in nearly 2,000 years. In the Old City of Jerusalem, hundreds gathered to witness the lighting of a chanukiah, or menorah, using pure olive oil made to the precise specifications as the oil used to light the menorah in the ancient Jewish Temples. The event was jointly organized by the Temple Institute and the Association of Temple Movements.

In accordance with Jewish law (Halakha), fully organic olives had to be sourced from Israel's northern Golan Heights, and were picked by volunteers. The oil was then extracted in a state of ritual purity, under the supervision of the Temple Institute's Rabbi Azaryah Ariel.

"Jewish people universally acknowledge the twin themes of the beloved holiday of Chanukah: Light and Freedom. The historic and inspiring event hosted on the seventh night of Chanukah by the Temple Institute was actually a celebration of both," said Temple Institute International Director Rabbi Chaim Richman.

"The light of the Temple Menorah, the kindling of which was 'practiced' at this event, represents the light of the Shechina, the Divine Presence that shines forth from the Holy Temple, illuminating the entire world. After years of research and preparation, for the first time since the destruction of the Holy Temple, pure olive oil was produced for the Temple Menorah, as an initial step in restoring the concept of Biblical purity to the people of Israel," Richman said.

The lighting ceremony was carried out by Kohanim - members of the Jewish priestly tribe who served in the Temple - who donned the priestly garbs recreated by the Temple Institute for use in the Third Jewish Temple.

The Temple Institute's objective is not only to educate about the importance of the two Temples of Jerusalem - the latter of which was destroyed in 70 CE - but also to prepare for the eventual rebuilding of the Temple, according to Jewish tradition.

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