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US Supreme Court Backs Obama on 'Jerusalem Passport'

By, & VOA News

The US Supreme Court on Monday sided with President Barack Obama and criticized Congress for "overstepping its bounds" when it tried to press Obama to have Menachem Binyamin Zivotofsky's passport list "Jerusalem, Israel" as his place of birth, in a key case regarding the city's status as Israel's capital.

By a 6-3 majority, the Supreme Court struck down a law from 2002 which requires the US State Department to recognize Jerusalem as part of Israel, reports National Journal. Both the administrations of Obama and George W. Bush refused to implement the law; the eastern part of the 3,000-year-old capital of the Jewish state was liberated in the 1967 Six Day War.

As it stands currently, a child born in Jerusalem has "Jerusalem" listed on their US passport without a country. Official US policy has been not to recognize any sovereignty on either side over Jerusalem ever since the Truman administration.

In the ruling, Chief Justice John Roberts objected and opposed the six judges - who incidentally included all three Jewish members of the Supreme Court - who passed the decision. "Today's decision is a first: never before has this court accepted a president's direct defiance of an act of Congress in the field of foreign affairs," said Roberts.

The US government claimed in a brief to the Supreme Court that recognizing that Jerusalem is part of Israel "would critically compromise the ability of the United States to work with Israelis, Palestinians and others in the region to further the peace process," clearly indicating a desire to leave open the option to divide Jerusalem and create an Arab capital as the US has indeed pressed for.

Congress had tried to urge the State Department to recognize the Israeli capital by passing a law in 2002, requiring the state to comply with the request of those born in Jerusalem who ask to have Israel listed on their passports. But both Bush and Obama ignored the law, claiming it interfered with foreign policy.

The case of Menachem Zivotofsky v. Hillary Clinton, now Menachem Zivotofsky v. John Kerry after John Kerry took over from Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, has been sent from court to court in the US for years. When Clinton was still in office the courts determined that the issue with its ramifications regarding the limits of authority vis-à-vis the legislative and executive branches of the government fell under their jurisdiction.

Immigration Absorption Minister Ze'ev Elkin (Likud) reacted to the decision, noting that Jerusalem is the capital of the Jewish state and "will remain that for eternity." Elkin, whose portfolio includes Jerusalem, called on the US administration to accept "the simple fact that is a fundament of the Jewish heritage, and incidentally of Christian heritage as well - Jerusalem is the heart of the Land of Israel, and the eternal capital of the State of Israel!"

Also responding to the decision was Deputy Defense Minister Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan (Jewish Home), who lives in the southeastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Homa. "United Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish people and the center of the world," asserted Ben-Dahan. "This is how it was and how it will be. The Obama administration should express a clear position that Jerusalem is the capital of the state of Israel, especially in a period in which movements that negate the existence of the state are raising their heads."

Justice Anthony Kennedy said in his majority opinion that the president has the exclusive power to recognize foreign nations, and that the power to determine what a passport says is part of this power. "Recognition is a topic on which the nation must speak with one voice," Kennedy said. "That voice must be the president's."

Chief Justice John Roberts dissented from the majority ruling, saying, "Today's decision is a first: never before has this court accepted a president's direct defiance of an act of Congress in the field of foreign affairs."

IDF Posts Iron Dome in Be'er Sheva

By DEBKAfile

An Iron Dome anti-rocket battery was posted Monday at Be'er Sheva, capital of the Negev, to ward off launchings from the Gaza Strip. A number of batteries have been strewn across southern Israel in the last three days following rocket attacks from Gaza.

Islamic State operatives in the Gaza Strip have been helping themselves to Hamas rockets in recent weeks after furtively penetrating the factory teams operating the group's production and assembly lines, DEBKAfile's military and intelligence sources revealed. The jihadis then secretly passed the stolen rockets to their squads for launching against Israel.

By this device, ISIS newly arrived in Gaza has overcome its immediate deficiencies: 1. They are tapping a local manufacturing source to steal rockets, instead of having to smuggle them in from afar through Egyptian Sinai. As the ISIS presence in the Hamas-ruled Palestinian enclave expands, so too will the intensity of its rocket fire against Israel. 2. The Islamists count on acquiring more advanced longer-range missiles by the same means as soon as they are developed by Hamas' manufacturing plants.

It is hard to determine how this ominous reality relates to the comments the IDF OC Southern Command, Maj. Gen. Sammy Turjman, made to the heads of the local communities around the Gaza Strip Sunday night, to calm their fears over the resumption of rocket fire in the last two weeks. "In the Southern Command we have noticed that Hamas is making an effort to stop the rocket fire, although we don't absolve the organization of responsibility and will respond accordingly," the general said.

He added: "Because of a few rockets exploding on empty ground, the IDF won't embark on an operation in the Gaza Strip and jeopardize the gains we achieved [last summer]." The problem with these platitudes, say DEBKAfile's military analysts, is that they represent a repeat of the mistake Israel made on its northern front, by letting the Hizbullah terrorists pile up a huge arsenal of up to 100,000 rockets and missiles, all pointing one way – south.

Hamas may indeed be trying very hard to prevent rockets being fired against Israel from the Gaza Strip, but it has not been able to keep ISIS undercover agents out of its manufacturing plants or from stealing the rockets. Turjman does not say how the Islamists managed to creep into the Hamas factories or whether they have been able to invade other parts of the Palestinian military organization.

The point is not how many rockets should be fired before the IDF goes to war in the Gaza Strip, but for how long Israel's leaders can afford to pretend to make naught of the dangerous situation building up there. ISIS uses such make-believe to fuel its policy of expansion.

Israel, Egypt and Hamas are in fact working together, out of their respective interests, to put a stop to the rocket fire from the Gaza Strip. Egypt has been blowing up smuggling tunnels; Hamas contingents are out there trying to nab the rocket teams; Israel and its armed forces, acting on orders from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, without informing the public, are marking out a broad anti-rocket sterile zone, stretching from the Gaza border to encompass the communities and towns in the south and up to the international airport to the north.

This area embraces a population of 1.6 million and ten cities – Ashkelon, Ashdod, Netivot and Be'er Sheva, long sufferers of Gaza rockets, and further north: Modi'in, Ramle, Lod, Rehovot, Ness Ziona and Gedera. Another Iron Dome battery was positioned in Rehovot, in addition to those defending the south.

Most Israelis are not aware of the size and destructiveness of the long-range Grad missiles, at least three of which exploded in the last fortnight. Since Hamas and Islamic Jihad alone possess rockets capable of reaching Rehovot, some 30 km southeast of Tel Aviv and the same distance from the Ben Gurion international airport, it is now obvious that the Islamists have got hold of them, notwithstanding the efforts made by Israel, Egypt and Hamas.

Report: Israel Recently Tested 'Dirty Bombs'


Israel recently carried out a series of test detonations to measure the damage that would be caused by a so-called "dirty" radiological bomb, if it were set off by hostile forces, according to the left-wing Ha'aretz newspaper.

A "dirty bomb" does not require mastery of nuclear bomb production, but uses conventional explosives together with radioactive material. It can therefore more easily be acquired and deployed by non-state actors like terror groups.

According to Ha'aretz, most the of the detonations were carried out in the desert, with participation of a team from the Dimona nuclear facility, and one was performed at a closed facility.

"The research concluded that high-level radiation was measured at the center of the explosions, with a low level of dispersal of radiation by particles carried by the wind," the newspaper wrote Monday. "Sources at the reactor said this doesn't pose a substantial danger beyond the psychological effect."

The paper adds that the staff of the Dimona nuclear reactor began a series of tests in 2010 that were dubbed the "Green Field" project, and were designed to assess the consequences of the detonation of a dirty bomb in Israel. The project was concluded in 2014, and its research findings have been presented at scientific gatherings and on nuclear science databases.

No dirty bomb has ever been deployed by terrorists, but officials in Israel have prepared for such a possibility. In 2006, the Health Ministry issued procedures on how to deal with such an event and the website of the Israel Defense Force's Home Front Command features an explanation on how to proceed if such an event were to occur.

Two-State Solution 'Necessary' For Peace?


The US and Israel must defend their shared values to defeat anti-Semitism and terrorism, Attorney Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, daughter of slain US attorney general Robert Kennedy, declared at a conference at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya on Sunday, including "democracy, liberty, and justice."

Fighting both phenomena requires "collective commitment and determination," she began. "We cannot be passive." Townsend proposed a double line of defense: a strong military and commitment to forming a Palestinian state through peace talks, the concessions for which she deemed "moral courage.

"The first line of defense is a smart and strong military," she noted, adding that the US's commitment to Israel and its support financially for the IDF has never been stronger, in her words, than under the administration of President Barack Obama.

"The second front in the struggle against terrorism is the battle of ideas," she continued. She cited how various terror groups "are seducing the young to choose death, not life," and that the idea of martyrdom is more dangerous than the physical war being waged.

She then drew parallels between terrorism and anti-Semitism. "Both terrorism and anti-Semitism weaken the rule of law, breed fear of the other, and degrade the dignity of every human being," she said. Townsend then drew on the idea of friendship being a recognition of each other's pain, using a story from the Maggid of Metzritch, a traditional Jewish Chassidic figure, to justify the means by which the US opines on Israeli-Palestinian relations.

She noted the double standard by which Israel is held, the fact that every war ends with Israel withdrawing from a front (i.e. Lebanon, Gaza) due to international pressure, only to strengthen the enemy. She then pushed for the same in Judea-Samaria, explaining that, in her view, "a negotiated settlement is necessary to end the generations-long battle and to end the bloodshed" over the Jewish state. "As a friend," she said, she called on Israel "not to give up on peace" and for "building settlements" to end. The concessions to the Palestinian Authority , including yet another withdrawal, she deemed "moral courage."

Kennedy Townsend's father, Robert F. Kennedy, was assassinated by Palestinian terrorist Sirhan Sirhan on June 6, 1968. She has served as Maryland's first woman Lieutenant Governor, is a professor of politics and public policy, and is active on a number of non-profit boards.

'Holocaust' cocktail in Belarus, 'Hitler' ice cream in India cause uproar Owner of popular bar fires bartender after inappropriately-named drink leads to widespread criticism; German activists urging India government to ban ice cream cones named after the Fuhrer.

Itamar Eichner
Published:      06.07.15, 15:27 / Israel Jewish Scene

A popular bar in the city of Gomel in Belarus added an alcoholic cocktail with an unusual name to its menu - "Holocaust." In India, ice cream cones bearing the name and image of Adolf Hitler went on sale.

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The Red Pub's new cocktail consisted of several liquors and watermelon syrup and cost $8.

The inappropriate choice of name caused uproar in the European country, leading the owner of the bar to fire the bartender responsible for the new cocktail, and removing the drink from the menu.

Hitler ice cream on sale in India
Hitler ice cream on sale in India

"I was shocked, how can someone think of a name like this?" one of the patrons at the bar said.

"Most of the Jews of Belarus were murdered in the Holocaust and those who make jokes about it, their pub need to be closed," said Alex Tenzer, an expert on Russia media whose family members survived the Holocaust.

There are currently some 2,000 Jews living in Gomel. Before World War II, there were some 41,000 Jews, who made up 30 percent of the local population. During the war, the Nazis built four ghettos in the area and tens of thousands of Jews were murdered there.

Meanwhile in India, ice cream cones named Hitler went on sale. The packaging includes an image of Hitler.

Activists in Germany who were outraged by the "Hitler" ice cream cones called on the government of India to ban their sale.

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