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'Israeli Blood is Cheap' in UN Security Council


The UN Security Council released on Wednesday night a statement condemning the death of a Spanish peacekeeper for UNIFIL who had been killed in last week's antitank attack by Hizbullah - but did not mention, once, the deaths of two IDF soldiers.

"The members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest terms the killing of a United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) Spanish peacekeeper, which occurred in the context of fire exchanges along the Blue Line on 28 January 2015," UNIFIL said in a press release. "The members of the Security Council expressed their deepest sympathy to the family of the fallen peacekeeper and to the Government of Spain."

"The members of the Security Council looked forward to the immediate completion of UNIFIL's full and comprehensive investigation to determine the facts and circumstances of the incident," it added.

Hizbullah fired no fewer than six antitank missiles, unprovoked, onto Israeli soil during the attack - which also killed Major Yochai Kalangel and Sgt. Dor Nini.

The absence of a direct condemnation of Hizbullah condemnation is due to the concerns of some Security Council members, including Western countries such as France, of creating a political crisis in Lebanon due to criticism of the Shi'ite organization, according to Walla! News.

Israel reacted strongly to the Council's refusal to address attacks on Israeli soldiers and said that doing so is 'surrendering to terror.' Israel had appealed to the Council immediately after the incident, demanding to condemn the conduct of Hizbullah, but the considerations and political interests of the Council led them to ignore the request.

Israel's UN Ambassador Ron Prosor, commented late Wednesday night that "Hizbullah has representatives in the Security Council" and that "Israeli blood is cheap."

Jordan's King Vows 'Relentless' War Against IS Militants

By VOA News

Jordan's King Abdullah has vowed to take tough action against Islamic State murderers following the group's gruesome killing of a Jordanian pilot captured after his plane went down during a mission targeting the terrorists in Syria.

The murder of pilot Muath al-Kaseasbeh triggered international condemnation and prompted Jordanian authorities to execute two Iraqi prisoners, failed suicide bomber Sajida al-Rishawi and al-Qaida operative Ziad al-Karbouly.

King Abdullah stressed that Jordan would be "relentless" in the war against Islamic State. "We are waging this war to protect our faith, our values and human principles. And our war for their sake will be relentless and will hit them in their own ground," he said.

Jordan hanged al-Rishawi, an Iraqi woman sentenced to death for her role in a 2005 suicide bombing in Amman, and l-Karbouly, another Iraqi with ties to al-Qaida. The Islamic State group had demanded al-Rishawi's release as part of a prisoner exchange, but Jordan refused to move forward without proof that pilot al-Kaseasbeh was still alive.

A video emerged online Tuesday purporting to show the pilot locked inside a cage, then a militant lighting a trail of gasoline that traveled to the cage and burned him to death. "The U.S. intelligence community has no reason to doubt the authenticity of the video," said Brian P. Hale, director of public relations for the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Jordan said the pilot was apparently killed a month ago. He was captured in Syria after his plane went down while flying as part of the U.S.-led coalition conducting airstrikes against Islamic State targets. "This is cowardly terror by a criminal group that has no relation to Islam," a grim-looking King Abdullah told the Jordanian people from Washington on Tuesday. "The brave pilot gave his life defending his faith, country and nation, and joined other Jordanian martyrs."

President Barack Hussein Obama, who met briefly with King Abdullah, said the video is just one more indication of the Islamic State's "viciousness and barbarity." "And it, I think, will redouble the vigilance and determination on the part of a global coalition to make sure that they are degraded and ultimately defeated," the president told reporters.

Jordan's participation in the airstrikes against fellow Muslims has been unpopular within the country. But General Lloyd Austin, the head of U.S. Central Command, which oversees the coalition fighting the terrorists, said Tuesday Kaseasbeh "served his country courageously and honorably," and was an important member of the team fighting the Islamic State group.

Hamas Calls on Palestinians in Syria, Lebanon to Attack Israel

By & AFP

A senior Hamas leader called Wednesday for the formation of Palestinian terrorist groups loyal to his Gaza-based Islamist movement in Lebanon and Syria for attacks on Israel. Mahmud Zahar told reporters in the Gaza Strip that Lebanese and Syrian branches of the Al Qassam Brigades, Hamas' armed wing, should launch attacks on Israel "to help us liberate Palestine".

He also denied "any interference" by Hamas in Egypt, which last month declared the Brigades a terrorist group and accused it of aiding a spate of militant attacks on security personnel in the restive Sinai Peninsula. "Our guns are always trained on the enemy," Zahar said, referring to Israel. Zahar's call to action surfaces amid a series of border clashes and an already-tense security situation in Israel.

Northern residents and the IDF have been on high alert for weeks, after an IAF airstrike in the Syrian Golan Heights killed a senior Hizbullah commander and an Iranian Revolutionary Guards general, along with several other Hizbullah and Iranian fighters.

Hizbullah responded by vowing an attack on Israel, but made clear it does not want another full-scale war. But the IDF has nonetheless remained on high alert, and covertly moved Iron Dome batteries close to its northern borders shortly after the incident.

Ahead of possible retaliatory strikes, the IDF also closed several roads in the north; hours earlier, a convoy of civilian vehicles with Hizbullah flags fired shots in the air close to the border with Israel, raising concerns further.

Likewise a recent video has apparently captured the sounds of underground digging, raising serious doubts about Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon's claims that northern residents were not hearing Hizbullah digging terror tunnels but rather "horse hooves."

Most recently, an antitank missile attack from Hizbullah in the Golan Heights' Har Dov area killed two IDF soldiers and several others.

Ancient Tablets on Display in Jerusalem Reveal Jewish Life During Babylon Exile

By Reuters &

A new exhibition in Jerusalem of ancient clay tablets discovered in modern-day Iraq is shedding light for the first time on the daily life of Jews exiled to Babylon some 2,500 years ago. The exhibition is based on more than 100 cuneiform tablets, each no bigger than an adult's palm, that detail transactions and contracts between Judeans driven from, or convinced to move from, Jerusalem by King Nebuchadnezzar around 600 BCE.

As many as 200,000 Jewish manuscripts, some more than 1,000 years old, comprise the most important Jewish treasure of the century. Prof. Stefan Reif of the University of Cambridge, who exposed Cairo Genizah and its discoveries to the world, told Ynet about the revolution it created in the perception of Judaism.

Archaeologists got their first chance to see the tablets -- acquired by a wealthy London-based Israeli collector -- barely two years ago. They were blown away. "It was like hitting the jackpot," said Filip Vukosavovic, an expert in ancient Babylonia, Sumeria and Assyria who curated the exhibition at the Bible Lands Museum. "We started reading the tablets and within minutes we were absolutely stunned. It fills in a critical gap in understanding of what was going on in the life of Judeans in Babylonia more than 2,500 years ago."

Nebuchadnezzar, a powerful ruler famed for the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, came to Jerusalem several times as he sought to spread the reach of his kingdom. Each time he came -- and one visit coincided with the destruction of Jerusalem's first temple in 586 BC -- he either forced or encouraged the exile of thousands of Judeans.

One exile in 587 BC saw around 1,500 people make the perilous journey via modern-day Lebanon and Syria to the fertile crescent of southern Iraq, where the Judeans traded, ran businesses and helped the administration of the kingdom. "They were free to go about their lives, they weren't slaves," Vukosavovic said. "Nebuchadnezzar wasn't a brutal ruler in that respect. He knew he needed the Judeans to help revive the struggling Babylonian economy."

The tablets, each inscribed in minute Akkadian script, detail trade in fruits and other commodities, taxes paid, debts owed and credits accumulated. The exhibition details one Judean family over four generations, starting with the father, Samak-Yama, his son, grandson and his grandson's five children, all with Biblical Hebrew names, many of them still in use today.

"We even know the details of the inheritance made to the five great-grandchildren," said Vukosavovic. "On the one hand it's boring details, but on the other you learn so much about who these exiled people were and how they lived."

Vukosavovic described the tablets as completing a 2,500-year puzzle. While many Judeans returned to Jerusalem when the Babylonians allowed it after 539 BC, many others stayed and built up a vibrant Jewish community that lasted two millennia. "The descendants of those Jews only returned to Israel in the 1950s," he said, a time when many in the Diaspora moved from Iraq, Persia, Yemen and North Africa to the newly created state.

Israeli Arrested in Turkey for 'Stealing Soup on Flight'


An Israeli businessman spent three days in a Turkish jail after a Pegasus Airlines flight attendant claimed he stole a bag of dry soup mix on a flight to Istanbul.

"Never in my life was I as afraid as when I was in the prison cell," Ben Gal (57), a co-owner of the perfume wholesaler distributor "Benron perfume", told Ynet. Only after his release did the airline company admit that the bag of soup had been found under Gal's seat, and claimed he had been arrested due to his behavior on the flight.

On Friday, Gal boarded a flight from Israel to Turkey for an exhibition, with a stopover in Istanbul. "During the flight, I brought myself breakfast and paid the flight attendant with dollars," Gal recalled. "After a few minutes, she came back and mumbled the word 'soup'. I told her that I didn't understand what she wanted from me."

The flight attendant then returned with another stewardess, and the two ordered him to empty his pockets. However, Gal in turn asked them not to bother him during his meal and requested that they don't approach him again. According to him, after landing in Turkey, he found three detectives waiting for him. They took him for questioning in a side room at the international airport, and after a few hours transferred him to the police station for further investigation.

On Saturday, the next morning, Gal was taken to a detention facility where he was held with 25 detainees, most of them from hostile Arab countries. "It was insulting, degrading and mostly scary," Gal said. "Ninety percent of the detainees were Muslims, and one of them said he had been deported from the United States for his ties with the Islamic State. I actually did get along with the Iraqis and the Iranians, but the Palestinians frightened me and threatened me. I kept hearing the words 'Israel' and 'Jew' thrown into the air."

Sharing more details of his ordeal, Gal said that it was a group of detainees from Turkmenistan who had protected him, enabling him to sleep in a corner of the room, far away from the rest. "At night I wanted to cry, I was so insulted," he continued. "I went to the bathroom in the middle of the night so that no one would hurt me."

Only on Monday was Gal deported back to Israel. Pegasus Airlines representatives in Israel said that after a search, the bag of soup powder was found under his seat, but that the arrest was made due to the passenger's behavior: "The passenger behaved in a manner that violated rules of conduct during the flight and the staff is obligated to report such incidents to the authorities. The passenger was warned to stop acting in a way that endangered the safety of the flight and its passengers."

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