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>JN June 30, 2015, Vol. 23, No. 128

Israel Seizes Activist Flotilla Headed to Gaza

By YnetNews.com

The Swedish boat "Marianne," a part of a four-boat flotilla which tried to break Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip, was towed into the Ashdod port on Monday night by the Israeli Navy after being taken over by commandos from the Shayetet 13 special forces unit in the very early hours of the day.

The IDF said that the seizure was in accordance with the decision of the political echelon, and after exhausting all diplomatic channels. "When it became clear that the passengers had no intention to cooperate and proceed to the port of Ashdod, it was decided to seize the vessel and to transport it to the Ashdod port," an IDF official said.

Besides the "Marianne", the commandos saw two other ships, which refrained from nearing Gaza and turned back. A fourth ship is believed to have turned back beforehand. The activists additionally released pre-recorded videos of themselves aboard the ship, explaining their views.

The activists aboard the "Marianne" will be questioned upon their arrival in Israel and then expelled abroad through Ben Gurion International Airport. The Israeli citizens among them - including Joint Arab List MK Basel Ghattas - will be handed off to the care of the Israel Police.

Following the seizure, videos by the participants were published online. "The Israelis acted like pirates again, took us as hostages, and prevented us from reaching Gaza," said former Israeli and left-wing activist Dror Feiler.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu commended "the determined and effective detention of the passengers who tried to enter Gaza's shores illegally. This flotilla is nothing but a display of hypocrisy and lies, which only helps the terrorist organization Hamas and ignores all the atrocities in our region."

The navy carefully tracked the vessels' movements and prepared its plan for stopping the flotilla. On Sunday night, the flotilla's organizers said on Twitter that three ships had approached the flotilla and were recognized as belonging to the IDF. They said the closest ship was 500 meters away.

The Prime Minister's Office on Sunday published a missive to be given to the activists upon their arrival. "It looks like you took a wrong turn," read the letter. "Perhaps you meant to sail to a place not far from here - Syria. Where Assad's regime is slaughtering its people on a daily basis, and this is done with the support of Iran's murderous regime."

As a lesson learned from the capture of the "Mavi Marmara flotilla" in 2010, the commandos were told to document the takeover so the IDF Spokesman's Office can quickly distribute the footage to world media before the activists could post their own image of victory.


4 Wounded in Shooting Attack in the Binyamin Region

By IsraelNationalNews.com

Terrorists opened fire on Monday evening on an Israeli vehicle near the community of Shvut Rachel in the Binyamin region. Four people were wounded in the attack, including one seriously. Two of the victims were evacuated to the Shaarei Tzedek Hospital in Jerusalem, among them the seriously wounded victim and one more in light-to-moderate condition. Two other victims were evacuated to the Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital.

The terrorist attack in Shvut Rachel is the second attack in several hours. Earlier on Monday, an IDF soldier was wounded in a stabbing attack at Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem.

According to security sources, a female Arab terrorist arrived on Monday morning at the checkpoint adjacent to Rachel's Tomb, located south of Jerusalem and adjacent to Bethlehem in Judea, where she stabbed a 25-year-old female IDF soldier who was manning the checkpoint several times in the neck.

After paramedics carried out emergency first aid at the scene, the soldier was evacuated in serious condition for further medical treatment at the Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem. Shortly after being evacuated to the hospital the soldier's condition stabilized, but continued to be classified as moderate to serious.

And on Saturday night, terrorists opened fire on a civilian ambulance as it was driving along a road adjacent to Beit El in the Binyamin region. At least three direct hits from the bullets were located on the ambulance, but fortunately no one was wounded in the incident.

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely responded to the latest terrorist attacks, saying, "The Palestinians continue playing a double game of hypocrisy. They are enflaming the area and inciting terrorism, while turning to international bodies under the guise of morality and justice. We must restore security to the citizens of Israel at all costs," she added.


Netanyahu Secretly Driven to Hospital in a Pita Truck?

By IsraelNationalNews.com

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu secretly received medical treatment at Mayanei Hayeshua Medical Center in Bnei Brak, Channel 2 asserted on Monday.

According to the report, Netanyahu visited the hospital twice; the first time he was driven to Bnei Brak in a truck delivering pita bread, while the second time he was transported in a pest control vehicle as his security guards posed as exterminators.

The first visit, the report claims, took place before general elections in March, while the second occurred nearly six weeks later, on the eve of Netanyahu forming his fourth government. The treatment was performed, the report alleged, while the Prime Minister was deeply under anesthesia. However the doctors who supposedly treated Netanyahu - Dr. Yigal Gat and Dr. Menachem Goren - denied this and said the Prime Minister was fully conscious.

Channel 2's article contrasts sharply with Netanyahu's own annual medical report, which was published a month ago and composed by the Prime Minister's personal physician Dr. Zvika Berkowitz. According to the medical report, the routine tests Berkowitz performed on Netanyahu came back completely normal.

With the help of medication, Netanyahu's blood pressure has normalized, and he is said to be exercising several times a week at the gym, maintaining good physical shape. Summing up the conclusions of his tests,. Berkowitz described the 65-year-old Prime Minister's health as very good.


The Vatican Wants the Temple Mount Taken From the Jews

By Giulio Meotti (Commentary)

In 2000, speaking in a mosque in Palestinian-held Ramallah, Yasir Arafat declared, "No one will succeed in removing us from our land, including Jerusalem, and the Palestinian flag will fly from the Temple Mount and from the churches in Jerusalem."

Arafat could say that because he had won the Vatican's support for his terroristic strategy. On June 26th, 2015, the Vatican signed its first treaty with the "State of Palestine". It is the logical conclusion of a long path.

When the pontiff John Paul II ascended to the Temple Mount in 2000, Judaism's most holy site, he wasn't welcomed by Israeli officials, but by representatives of the Palestinian Authority, and the holy complex was bedecked in Arab flags. It was the Pope's implicit recognition of Islamic hegemony. It was taken to mean that Islam and Christianity superseded Judaism and have the right to "inherit" its holy places.

Since then, the Holy See's taking a stance as the ally of the heads of the Palestinian Authority in the place most holy to the Jewish people, became almost a fait accompli.

The Catholic de-legitimization of Israel passes through the war on Jerusalem and the war on Jerusalem passes through the Temple Mount. The site where the Jewish people worshipped for hundreds of years and the focal point of every practicing Jew's prayers is under assault from the Vatican.

The Vatican-PLO agreements have been signed to enable the eviction of the Jews from Jerusalem. This follows a memorandum signed by Palestinian and Vatican officials in 2000 which repeated the Vatican call for an international mandate to preserve "the proper identity and sacred character" of Jerusalem. It means a return to a time when half of Israel's capital was under Islamic control, the Old City was closed to Jews, the synagogues were desecrated, and walls, barbed wire, and snipers divided the city by force.

The Vatican is consistent. In 1964, when Pope Paul VI made the first papal visit to Jerusalem, Jews and Christians with Israeli passports were barred from entering the Old City. And no Vatican official complained about that.

(The writer, an Italian journalist with Il Foglio)


From Lone Soldier to Military Prison

By YnetNews.com

He made aliyah from United States as a lone soldier, served as a fighter in the Givati Reconnaissance Battalion, was wounded in Operation Protective Edge, and was a short time away from being released and returning to his family in Los Angeles. But that was when he began his troubled path.

After an investigation by the criminal investigation division, the police and the Shin Bet, David (not his real name) was arrested on suspicion of aiding an American extremist who planned to blow up the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, and sentenced to half a year in military prison. After his release from the army and his return to Los Angeles, David told Ynet about the difficult period he went through after being convicted of stealing explosive materials from the IDF.

The 21-year-old recently finished serving a six months prison term, one of the heaviest penalties imposed on a conscript soldier in the last decade, for removing weapons from the army and selling some of them to Adam Livix, an American Christian who infiltrated Israel and allegedly planned to bomb the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. While David had to serve time in military prison, Livix managed to escape prosecution due to health reasons.

During his military service, David took explosives from the bases he served in, including a frag grenade, 29 meters of fuse wire, four stun grenades, a tear-gas grenade, a smoke grenade, five explosive charges, four explosive boosters, and two detonators.

"I took equipment because everybody did it, and sometimes friends asked, 'Why aren't you doing it?'" explained David. "I thought that if everybody did it then it was all right, even though it isn't all right. I told myself they wouldn't punish everybody. I took the equipment because I wanted to show it to my friends who came from the United States."

He kept his weapons arsenal at home for over a year. Eventually, Livix asked to buy the explosives. "He asked me to sell the explosives to him and I refused, and then he stole them from me," said David. "Because he and his friends were attacked in the Intifada, he begged me to also sell him gas or stun grenades. Eventually I agreed because I told myself that I'd rather see them alive in real life rather than dead on TV, and this way I could save them if they were attacked again.

"I did it to help him. People can be angry about what I did and say it was a terrible deed, but they don't know that I did it to prevent the deaths of my friends. That's the main reason I joined the army: To protect my friends, my family, and my country."

Livix, a young Christian from Texas who was wanted by American authorities, entered Israel as a tourist and acted alone, without any help from a radical organization, to carry out his nightmarish scheme, with the help of a Givati soldier, who claims to have unwittingly gotten involved.

Shortly after the end of Operation Protective Edge, during which three soldiers from his battalion were killed, David was arrested by military police. David claimed in his trial that he acted out of naïveté in order to help Livix, that he had no knowledge of his roommate's intentions, and that he did not support hurting Palestinians. "I was a soldier who stopped other soldiers from hitting Palestinians and allowed Palestinian children to pass checkpoints in the West Bank," he said.

According to his lawyers, Livix succeeded in winning David's trust and exploiting his gullibility. David's commanders supported him throughout his time in jail with visits and words of encouragement, and praised his caring nature.

"The time in military prison was the worst experience I've had in my life," said David. "I couldn't see my family, and the soldiers in jail are the worst you could ever meet. I would rather stay in Gaza for another six months than be in jail. The situation with my shoulder got worse and it was difficult for me to get medical help.

"The conditions were bad. I returned to the US with the feeling that I was a little betrayed by the military police. I was happy to serve in the military, but I did not understand why the police preferred to believe someone who was wanted by the authorities over a soldier. That drove me crazy."

David plans to begin his college education soon, but said that he wants to return to Israel and start a family. "My friends from Givati were amazing, I went through experiences and challenges that made me grow up and that I never thought I would have," he said.

"I was never troubled by the thoughts about dying, because those are thoughts that eat away at you while you're there. If you're not anxious about dying for an important goal, then nothing can stop you from succeeding in the missions you receive. My friends and officers encouraged and supported me, and so I still have faith in the IDF."


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