Google Search

Newsletter : 15fx1208.txt

Directory | Previous file | Next file

California Shooter's Father: Son was 'Obsessed with Israel'


New details have emerged about Syed Farook, the man who along with his wife carried out last week's shooting attack in San Bernardino, California, killing 14 people.

According to Fox News, Farook's father told an Italian newspaper that his son shared Islamic State (ISIS) ideology, wanted to see the establishment of an Islamic caliphate and was "obsessed" with Israel. "My son said that he shared [ISIS leader Abu Bakr] Al-Baghdadi's ideology and supported the creation of the Islamic State," Farook's dad, also named Syed Farook, told the Italian newspaper La Stampa.

"He was also obsessed with Israel," added the father, before making some bizarre claims of his own against Israel. "I told him he had to stay calm and be patient because in two years Israel will not exist anymore," the elder Farook added, according to Fox News.

"Geopolitics is changing: Russia, China and America don't want Jews there anymore. They are going to bring the Jews back to Ukraine. What is the point of fighting? We have already done it and we lost. Israel is not to be fought with weapons, but with politics. But he did not listen to me, he was obsessed," he continued.

Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, were both eliminated by police officers hours after carrying last Wednesday's attack at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino. It is believed Farook had contact with people from at least two terrorist organizations overseas, including the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Nusra Front in Syria. On Friday, it was reported that Malik had pledged allegiance to ISIS in a Facebook posting.

ISIS Attacks in Israel are 'Just a Matter of Time'

By &

Senior Israeli security sources have estimated that an Islamic State attack inside Israel is merely a matter of time, as the number of Arab citizens of the Jewish state who support the terrorist group grows. Just last week a surprise IDF general staff drill was held, in which the forces trained to deal with a mock large scale ISIS attack in the south, and a paratrooper brigade was scrambled.

The senior sources were cited by Yedioth Aharonoth on Monday estimating that as pressure builds on ISIS in Syria from Russian and US-coalition airstrikes, the group will increase its attacks outside of the war-torn state. Backing up the estimation the sources pointed to recent international attacks, including the Russian airliner downed in Sinai, the Paris attacks, and the California shooting last week.

Illustrating the threat, ISIS recently has started publishing its first videos in Hebrew threatening Israel with attacks, in which it vowed that "not a single Jew will be left in the country," while ISIS' Sinai branch directly threatened an attack on Eilat.

According to the sources, while the IDF knows where to hit other terror groups like Hizbullah and Hamas in response to attacks, there are no real targets to respond to against potential ISIS attacks, whether from Sinai or Syria on the Golan Heights. "Who will we strike in Syria that the international coalition or the Russians aren't striking now?" posed the source.

Arab citizens of Israel have been growing more and more supportive of the brutal jihadist group as well; in 2014 there were eight cases of Arab Israelis involved in ISIS, but in 2015 that figure jumped to 14 cases, with a total of 34 suspects arrested. That number is still relatively low however compared to the numbers of Muslim ISIS recruits from European and other western states.

But the extent of support for ISIS is still worrying. A recent poll last month found that no less than 18.2% of Arab Muslim citizens of Israel, said they do not consider ISIS to be a radical terrorist organization, and that they are not ashamed of the brutal jihadist group. That number rose to 28.1% among supporters of the extremist Islamic Movement in Israel group specifically.

Israel Security Agency assessments posit that there are several hundred Arab Israelis who actively support ISIS, although the poll would indicate that figure is somewhat underestimated. The Shin Bet says 32 Arab citizens have gone to Syria or Iraq to fight for ISIS, and seven of them were killed in Syria.

Just last weekend ISIS' Sinai commander Shadi al-Menei held a secret visit in Gaza for covert talks with Hamas. The two groups have kept their ties under wraps, as ISIS smuggles weapons into Gaza while Hamas provides it with advanced weaponry. The number of Israeli Arabs involved in Islamic State's activities has risen the past year; IDF General Staff carried out a massive drill dealing with the challenge posed by ISIS.

The last major incident involving the group occurred on October 25, when an Israeli Arab from Jaljuliya paraglided over the border in the Golan Heights to Syria, where ISIS fighters were waiting for him and picked him up. A network of six Islamic State supporters was uncovered in Jaljuliya.

Also in October, seven Arabs from Nazareth were accused of having purchased illegal weapons, and contacted two Israeli-Arabs who had joined the terrorist organization in Syria and were planning to carry out a shooting attack at an IDF base near the northern city of Migdal Haemek. One of the defendants killed the taxi driver Yafim Weinstein in 2009. Another defendant filmed a video in which he demonstrated how to slit throats.

Security Breach?: Palestinian App Warns Drivers of Heavy Traffic at Israeli Checkpoints


A new app for mobile phones can warn Palestinian drivers of traffic jams at Israeli checkpoints in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. "The occupation affects the Palestinian people in all aspects and denies them of many rights. One of them is the right to move freely," said app developer Basel Sader, 20, a student from East Jerusalem. "This app may not be able to provide them with the freedom of movement, but it can make their lives easier."

The free app, called "Azmeh" (traffic jam in Arabic), was launched recently and is available on both Apple and Android-based devices. It can be found in app stores alongside other navigational apps, like the Israeli app Waze.

The app is based, much like Waze, on crowd sourcing. It allows drivers to post updates on the state of traffic at a checkpoint or a roadblock based on several simple options.

For example, when a Palestinian driver coming from Ramallah wants to cross the Qalandiya checkpoint into Jerusalem, he will see one of three options on the app: A green car indicating free-flowing traffic, a yellow car for a moderate traffic jam, and a red car that would tell the driver of very heavy traffic. A driver already at the checkpoint could choose one of the three options, leading the app to update other drivers so they could take alternative routes.

Unlike Waze, the app doesn't time the traffic jams, or offer alternative routes. It is also based on 2G, on which the Palestinian mobile network operates. An upgrade of the Palestinian network to 3G is expected soon, which would allow the app to improve its performance and capabilities.

Milna Ansari, a student from East Jerusalem who goes to the Birzeit University in Ramallah, drives through the Qalandiya checkpoint every day. "I check the status (on the app) every morning when I wake up and based on that I decide which way to take, and if there is heavy traffic, I try to go through another checkpoint," she said, adding that she updates the app herself whenever she drives through one of the checkpoints.

`Jewish World's Population May Actually be 5-10 Million Larger Than Previously Believed


One of the more tantalizing mysteries of Jewish history is the possibility of the discovery of lost Jews. Since the time of Sennacherib in the 7th century BCE, the question of lost Jews has been one that has received a lot of attention. Today, with the return of Jews from all over the world to the State of Israel, the subject has never been more relevant.

According to various genetic/DNA studies conducted over the past decade, 20% of men in the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal) have Jewish genetic ancestry. In Brazil, estimates are that 5-10 million people are descendants of so-called Bnei Anousim - descendants of Jews who were forcibly converted to Christianity. This phenomenon spans the world, potentially reaching millions more.

Two organizations have dedicated themselves to the discovery of lost Jews from the Iberian Peninsula, Shavei Israel and Reconectar. Arutz Sheva spoke to both organizations about the work that they are doing to reconnect Jews of Spanish and Portuguese descent to their Jewish roots.

Shavei Israel, a Jerusalem-based nonprofit, has launched a new initiative to help Spanish and Portuguese descendants of Bnei Anousim reconnect with their Jewish Heritage, while Reconectar, which has an Israeli base but is mainly located in South and Central America, has an ongoing outreach liaison program with whom members of the community can contact in order to learn more about their heritage.

Michael Freund, Founder and Director of Shavei Israel, told Arutz Sheva about the challenges of discovering who is a descendant of the Bnei Anousim. "More than five centuries after Portuguese Jewry was compelled to convert to Catholicism, there are of course many challenges to identifying people with a Bnei Anousim background. There are some who have family trees stretching back over the centuries which prove that their ancestors only married among themselves down through the generations, but in most cases it involves more detective work."

Ashley Perry, the Director of Reconectar, likewise described the detective work needed. "There are a lot of clues that we need to uncover. People may not have a heritage stating that they were Jewish, but their name may signify it, and some of the customs they keep may point to it. We do not have a 100% answer yes or no, which is why if people want to fully return to Judaism, they have to undergo a conversion, but according to a response published by Rabbi Soloveitchik, they do not need to say a blessing on the conversion."

In an effort to help those who may think that they are descended from Jewish ancestry, Shavei Israel has published an online book that will help people who think they are descendants, identify some of the tell-tale signs. The unprecedented 109-page guide is aimed at assisting the millions of people in Brazil, Portugal and elsewhere who may have a long-lost Jewish lineage reconnect to their roots.

According to a news release by Shavei Israel "the book covers all the major questions someone at the beginning of their process of Jewish discovery might have."

One of the primary aims of the book Freund said "is to provide people with the tools they need to begin assessing their roots by looking at family customs and family names." These as well as DNA advances can help provide clues to one's Jewish ancestry. "I want to get people to start asking questions and digging into their past in the hopes that this will encourage them to uncover their possible Jewish connection."

"We are at the beginning of an historic turning point, one that will see millions of people throughout the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking world reconnecting with their Jewish roots," Freund declared.

When asked why it is so important for the about the return of the Bnei Anousim to return to Judaism Freund responded by saying: "The Bnei Anousim are our brothers and sisters. Their ancestors were taken from us, they were essentially kidnapped from the Jewish people. And yet with remarkable courage and determination, many continued to practice Judaism in secret down through the generations, despite the persecution of the Inquisition. We owe it to them and their ancestors – and to ourselves! – to bring back as many of their descendants as possible."

"The Bnei Anousim are unique because of the breadth and scope of the phenomenon, which can be found in just about every Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking country around the world. In addition, the story of the Bnei Anousim is one of heroism in the face of tragedy, and determination in the face of disaster, which is what makes it so inspiring and compelling."

Both organizations are dedicated to helping the Bnei Anousim, and neither is interested in coercing anyone to learn more about their heritage. "Our goal is first and foremost to help the Bnei Anousim to reconnect with the Jewish people and Israel," said Freund.

"I don't believe in coercion of any sort. If there are Bnei Anousim who want to formally return to the Jewish people and make Aliya, then of course we help them. We leave it up to each individual to decide if and how they want to interact with their Jewish ancestry. The important thing is to ensure that the Jewish spark within them continues to burn brightly," Freund explained.

Perry said that his organization is kind of a "matchmaking" organization, making the connection between the individual and their Jewish roots. "We don't want to push someone who isn't interested. We will simply help those who are. That is what we are about, helping people discover their Jewish roots and heritage if they are interested in doing so."

Freund pointed out that the return of the Bnei Anousim to the Jewish people was foretold. "Don Isaac Abarbanel, the great rabbi and financier who was himself expelled from Spain in 1492, writes in his commentary to the Books of Deuteronomy and Isaiah that a time will come when the Anousim will one day return to the Jewish people. We are witnessing the beginning of the fulfillment of his vision, and it behooves us to roll up our sleeves and do everything we can to help the Bnei Anousim to return to the Jewish people. Doing so will strengthen us qualitatively and quantitatively, spiritually and demographically."

"The numbers of descendants of Bnei Anousim is vast. We believe that the total number exceeds tens of millions of people; their self-discovery as Jews can greatly impact and enrich the international Jewish community," says Freund. "Our mission is to support anyone who is in search of their Jewish ancestry and we are thrilled with the outpouring of interest, especially at a time when we are witnessing a resurgence in European anti-Semitism."

New York's 'Great Hanukkah Blackout'

By Aish HaTorah

It may be known as Judaism's 'festival of lights,' but Hanukkah's message stands in sharp contrast to the glitz and glamour of Christmas.

Please watch this video:

Home Search

(All material on these web pages is © 2001-2012
by Electronic World Communications, Inc.)

Read today's issue
Who is Don Canaan?
IsraelNewsFaxx's Zionism and the Middle East Resource Directory