Newsletter : 15fx0604.txt
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Palestinians Launch Rocket Attacks Against Israel
By AFP, DEBKAfile, YnetNews.com & IsraelNationalNews.com
Shortly before 11 p.m., Wednesday night, explosions resounded in the Israeli towns of
Netivot and Ashkelon and red code alerts sounded in Shear Hanegev, Lachish and close to
Be'er Sheva for rocket or mortar fire. Long-range Grad missile fire is suspected.
Palestinians in the Gaza Strip fired three rockets, raising the likelihood of an
Israeli military response. A police statement said there were no immediate reports of
casualties. Last Tuesday night a single rocket fell east of the port city of Ashdod and
was followed a few hours later by four Israeli air strikes on Islamic Jihad targets in the
Gaza Strip. Nobody was hurt on either side.
Israeli public radio said the latest volley could be related to internal Gaza
infighting between the strip's Hamas rulers and its extremist opponents. There was no
immediate claim of responsibility.
The incident came as Hamas stepped up measures against militants belonging to Islamic
extremist groups, some of whom are known as Salafists. Since last summer, when Israel and
Hamas fought a deadly 50-day war in and around Gaza, there have been growing signs of
internal unrest between Hamas security forces and extremist splinter groups.
Salafists are Sunni Muslims who promote a strict lifestyle based on that of early
"pious ancestors". In Gaza they have made no secret of their disdain for Hamas over its
observance of a tacit ceasefire with Israel and its failure to implement Islamic law.
Wednesday's rockets were fired from Al-Shati in the northern Gaza Strip and from the
area where the Jewish settlement of Netzarim used to be, near Gaza City. Gaza media
outlets reported drones and airplanes above the Strip not long after the launches.
Sdot Negev Regional Council head Tamir Idan, said he was in contact with the IDF, "in
order to see whether we should prepare for an escalation, or this was an isolated
incident. Each escalation must be met with force," he said "I hope this time the IDF
strikes in a way the other side understands this front cannot be opened. The residents
hope for vacation time this summer, and not like last year."
MK Haim Yellin (Yesh Atid), the former head of the Eshkol Regional Council, agreed with
Idan. "The rocket fire cannot continue," he said. "Terror must be struck forcefully and we
should not settle for bombing some sand dunes, otherwise we will face pointless wars every
summer," he continued.
"Operation Protective Edge ended without a diplomatic agreement - this is a strategic
error which must be rectified. We must create a diplomatic mechanism including the US, the
European Union and moderate Arab countries, which would set the condition that the Gaza
reconstruction would not happen without the Strip first being demilitarized."
Responding to Wednesday evening's attack, MK Nissan Slomiansky (Jewish Home) called on
the Israeli government to respond. "Hamas is responsible for firing rockets into Israel,
no other excuse will not be accepted. I expect the Israeli government to respond with
force to the fire so that we are not dragged into Operation Protective Edge 2 this
summer," he said.
Obama Invokes Waiver Postponing US Embassy Relocation to Jerusalem
By Israel Faxx News Services
President Barack Obama invoked a waiver on Wednesday postponing the relocation of the
American embassy to Jerusalem for at least another six months.
Despite Congressional legislation mandating that the US move its mission to the Israeli
capital, successive administrations dating back to the Clinton regime have used
presidential authority to postpone implementation of the law by citing "national security
Jerusalem is not recognized as Israel's capital, and the international community's
position is that its status is to be negotiated in talks between Israel and the
Palestinians. Israel's annexation of the eastern half of the capital is also not
recognized internationally. The Palestinians seek a state with east Jerusalem as its
capital, while Israel's official position is to keep the city united under its
US candidates often express their intention to move the embassy to Jerusalem from its
current location in Tel Aviv, only to invoke the presidential waiver upon entering
Jeb Bush, a likely candidate for the Republican nomination for president in 2016,
expressed support on Saturday for Jerusalem remaining undivided as Israel's capital and
for moving Washington's embassy to the historic city. Asked in Nashville whether Jerusalem
should remain Israel's capital "forever" as is the policy of the Netanyahu
government Bush said, "I support that, absolutely."
Kibbutzim Get New Lease on Life as Israelis Flee Urban Rat Race
By Reuters and Israel Hayom
This year's harvest was especially merry in many kibbutzim across Israel, where the
agricultural holiday of Shavuot, or the Feast of Weeks, is celebrated by presenting both
the first fruits of the harvest and the newborn babies.
At Kibbutz Nir am near Sderot, the community celebrated the birth of 14 children, a
relatively large crop of babies. One after another the newborns were presented by their
mothers to the kibbutz members and their guests during the annual harvest festival.
Tractor-carts carried children and fresh crops past stacks of hay. At Kibbutz Ruhama in
the southern Negev, kibbutz members donned white cloths and flocked to the fields where
the tractors and plows paraded and fellow kibbutz members danced on stage.
Twenty-five years ago, kibbutzim seemed all but doomed. The pioneering socialist and
Zionist spirit that drove the movement in the 1950s, '60s and '70s ran head-on into the
consumerist, free-market 1980s and came off worse.
The kibbutzim were hit hard by financial crisis that gripped Israel in the mid-1980s,
and youngsters abandoned the communal dream and headed to cities. Kibbutzim found
themselves graying and failing. But the last few years have seen a surprising turnaround,
with young families seeking to escape the high cost of living and alienation they find in
cities for a cheaper, rural lifestyle in a closely knit community.
"The kibbutz has been changing during the last 20 or 30 years. It is now more
individualistic, less socialistic in a way, closer to the capitalist way of life but still
retains its high level of communality and of mutual responsibility between members. And
the young generation is attracted to that way of life that on one hand gives them more
freedom as individuals, and on the other hand gives them a sense of communality that they
lack in the cities," said sociologist, Shlomo Getz, of Haifa University's Institute for
Research on the Kibbutz.
In some cases, the new "kibbutzniks" are those who left to try something different only
to return later in life. Others include career city folk who want a complete change of
lifestyle. Sagi Gavri, a 47-year-old physician who was born in Nir Am, said he returned to
the kibbutz with his family from Jerusalem due to the high cost of living in Israeli
"It is economical and the houses are cheaper. It is cheaper to buy here, in the
periphery of Israel, a house and a land than to buy in the center, which is impossible,"
Gavri, who still works in Jerusalem's Hadassah hospital, told Reuters.
At Degania Alef, Israel's first kibbutz, founded in 1910 on the shores of the Sea of
Galilee, 11 children were born this year, its largest crop of babies in a quarter-century.
The kibbutz's absorption director, Tamar Gal-Sarai, said that a vast majority of
kibbutz-born people who leave for school, travel, or to taste a different way of living,
eventually return home. "I can't say that only teachers come back or only these come, or
only those come, no. Cross-ages, cross-occupations, cross-ages of children, they come
back," she said.
Bosmat Viner-Shwarzbard, 38, a pastry chef, left Degania for the Tel Aviv suburbs when
she was 16. She returned with her husband 17 years later and became one of the kibbutz's
350 members in May, along with 16 others, another record high.
In the courtyard where the kibbutz founders built Degania's first barn,
Viner-Shwarzbad's spouse, Oded, runs a restaurant that looks like any high-class dining
spot in the city of Tel Aviv. "There's no stress, there's no fear when your child is going
outside to the yard, or roaming around in the kibbutz. Everything is very safe, very
protective, the neighbor knows your children, and the other neighbor also knows your
children, so everyone takes responsibility. It is sort of a commune, one big family, a
community," he said.
"If there were times when the only thing on wheels was old people's mobility scooters,
now there are suddenly so many baby's pushchairs rolling along," added Bosmat, as she
nursed her baby daughter. "It has brought a spirit of renewal to the kibbutz and I can say
that... I am very happy that what my grandparents began here will go on."
There are 274 kibbutzim in Israel, and their population is growing rapidly, at 3% last
year versus 1.1% a decade ago. The national population growth average is 1.9%.
"The impact of coming back of young people, mainly kibbutz-born children, to the
kibbutz is tremendous," said Getz. "They are taking roles that their parents are not doing
anymore because they are starting to get older and older. They are reviving, they are
bringing with them many children, their own children, and the children's houses are full
again. They are contributing to the culture of the kibbutz and in all they are reviving
Kibbutz residents make up less than 2% of Israel's 8.3 million population. But the
communities have spawned much of the country's political, military and cultural elite, and
account for more than 40% of national agricultural output.
Addressing their economic problems a decade ago, kibbutzim began a process of
"privatization," incorporating free market structures while retaining a strong social
safety net, including attractive health, welfare and education benefits.
In 2007, after years of demographic stagnation, the trend turned with more people
moving into kibbutzim than leaving. Some became members while others rented or bought
homes in new neighborhoods built on kibbutz land to generate income.
The number of kibbutz newcomers has been growing since, spiking in 2011 when a social
protest swept the country and hundreds of thousands of middle-class Israelis took to the
streets to demonstrate against soaring living and housing costs.
Though some kibbutzim are still struggling financially, most are stable, if not
thriving. Their main income now comes from industry, including from leading companies in
Israel. Some communities have grown rich selling off land.
The privatization changes in kibbutzim and housing prices that can, in certain areas,
be half those in the center of Israel, have made moving there more attractive. In most of
the communities, members no longer have to work largely in kibbutz-assigned jobs for
modest monthly allowances. Instead, they can pursue their own professional paths and earn
their own wages, a portion of which may go back to the kibbutz.
About a third of kibbutzim are still mainly collectives. Kibbutz Ortal on the Golan
Heights, which has fruit plantations, advanced dairy technology and a small winery, is one
of them. Salaries go to the kibbutz and members either get half the sum back or an
allowance based on family size and seniority.
Jews Attacked for Drinking Water on Temple Mount
Jewish men were once against mobbed and attacked on the Temple Mount on Wednesday -
this time, by Arab women loitering at Judaism's holy site who pounced on them for daring
to drink from the water fountain. The Mourabitoun, Muslim women who serve as guards over
the Mount, harass and occasionally assault Jews who visit.
Gilad Hadari, the Temple Mount activist who was present, said he was attacked by one of
the activists and filed a complaint with the police about it. He noted that in recent
months the situation has worsened on the Temple Mount.
"The situation is deteriorating every day," he stated to Arutz Sheva Wednesday
afternoon. "There is no law and no judge on the Temple Mount and they are allowed by
police to yell, threaten, attack police and break privacy." Hadari called on Internal
Security Minister Glad Erdan (Likud) to act immediately to stop the attacks.
Attorney Itamar Ben Gvir, who is representing Hadari, said that his client intends to
initiate proceedings both against lawbreakers and against the police - and that the video
reveals "incredible incompetence."
Arutz Sheva already revealed last week that Jews have been banned from drinking water
on the Temple Mount, whether from bottles or from the public water fountain - despite the
fact that Muslims not only host elaborate meals there, but even hold soccer matches at the
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