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Israeli Navy's Newest Submarine 'Rahav' Sets Sail from Germany

By DEBKAfile

The Israeli Navy's newest submarine, the "Rahav," set sail for Haifa from the German port of Kiel on Thursday following a short military ceremony in which the Israeli national and naval flags were raised on its deck.

During the voyage, the Rahav will drop anchor and hold a brief ceremony near the spot where the Israeli submarine "Dakar" sank in 1968. The Rahav, staffed by 50 officers and enlisted men, is the fifth of Israel's Dolphin-class submarines. It is capable or firing cruise missiles and missiles with nuclear warheads.

Each submarine is estimated to cost 500 million Euros but a significant part of the cost is provided by the German government. The Rahav was manufactured by German shipyard Howaldtswerke-Deutche Werft.

The American aircraft carrier USS Harry Truman and its strike group reached the Persian Gulf on Thursday after crossing the Suez Canal, and thus shifted from the US Sixth Fleet's area of operations to that of the Fifth Fleet, which includes the Indian Ocean.

By sailing north, the aircraft carrier will be able to launch cruise missiles at ISIS targets in Iraq and act in concert with France's Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier that is also anchored in the gulf.

14 Jews Lightly Poisoned Near Paris


Fourteen Jewish women from the community of Bonneuil-sur-Marne, southeast of Paris, fell ill as a result of an anti-Semitic poison attack earlier this week. The electronic lock to the community's synagogue had been coated with a chemical substance, and the 14 women who touched the lock fell ill, according to the Jewish Press.

The women had come to the closed synagogue at around 9 p.m. to take part in a meeting. Ralph Botbol, president of the synagogue, said that just after their arrival, two women began experiencing itching in their hands, and one woman's face "swelled significantly." Several more congregants began experiencing intense burning sensations in their eyes and itchy rashes on their skin.

Emergency services were alerted. About 25 firemen rushed to the synagogue, where they treated the congregants and traced their condition to the digital lock, which had been sprayed or daubed with a "nonlethal irritant" that was sent to a police forensic lab for analysis. Every woman who had touched the lock experienced the burning sensations. Initial analyses disclosed that the poison used was "tear gas, very diluted with water," the Jewish Press added.

And alert commuters caught startling footage of a French citizen spewing anti-Semitic epithets on a Paris train earlier this month, a French-language news site reported Tuesday.

In the footage, a man in his fifties of self-described Algerian descent verbally assaulted Jews on the RED D line near Melun on December 7. The man approached eight Jews on the train and threatened them. "You band of motherf***er bastard Jews," the man said, before threatening them with a "fragmentation grenade."

He then claimed Israel killed 5,000 Palestinian babies. Bystanders noted the suspect may have been inebriated during the tirade. Anti-Semitism has skyrocketed in France over the past five years, prompting a wave of French Aliyah aided in part by the Israeli government. The latest documented incident follows even higher tensions in the capital following an ISIS attack in Paris in November - and the stabbing of a Jewish teacher in Marseilles days later.

Fatah Students Celebrate Christmas - and Murder


After Al Quds University in eastern Jerusalem unveiled its "martyrs tree" earlier this month, the Fatah student movement Shabiba on Thursday decided to get in the holiday spirit of Christmas and terror as well.

Shabiba, part of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah faction, inaugurated its own "martyrs tree" at Birzeit University near Ramallah, Samaria. The Christmas tree was decorated by the student movement with the pictures of leading terrorists from over the decades, as revealed by Palestinian Media Watch on Thursday.

Joining the ranks of terror "heroes" was Muhannad Halabi, who stabbed and murdered Rabbi Nehemiah Lavi and Aharon Bennett in Jerusalem's Old City on October 3. The murderer also wounded Bennett's wife Adele and their two-year-old infant son.

Halabi's likeness joined more senior "martyrs" on the Fatah tree, including arch-terrorist Ahmed Yassin who founded Hamas, Islamic Jihad founder Fathi Shaqaqi who was behind over 1,000 terror attacks that murdered around 150 people, and Abu Ali Mustafa who was secretary-general of the Communist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) that rejected the 1994 Oslo Accords.

At the top of the tree was a picture of PLO founder and arch-terrorist Yasir Arafat, who served as PA and Fatah chairman. The tree was decorated with a PLO flag at the top, with Arafat's traditional kaffiyeh wrapped around it in the shape of a laurel.

Fatah went about spreading the "holiday cheer," posting pictures of its student movement members from the tree ceremony on its official Facebook page Thursday, together with the text: "Birzeit Shabiba hung pictures of martyrs and faction symbols on Christmas tree."

A sign pictured with the students reads: "the way to freedom is a bullet and a martyr, a pen and a prisoner, an olive tree and a wounded, a crescent and a cross. Merry Christmas (Fatah) Shabiba student movement Birzeit University."

Jerusalem Court Acquits Man After Determining He is a Kohen


The Jerusalem Magistrates Court has acquitted a local businessman accused of attacking his ex-friend at the cemetery in Beit Nekofa in 2012, Walla! News reported Thursday. The reason: the contradiction between the defendant's last name - Cohen - and witness testimony he had emerged from "the direction of gravestones" before allegedly attacking the complainant.

According to Jewish law, kohanim (Jewish priests) are forbidden from entering the burial grounds of cemeteries except in cases of the deaths of close family members. Playing on this rule, the defense team argued their client couldn't have been responsible for the assault.

The prosecution claimed the businessman and the complainant got into a verbal fight at the cemetery. Later, they claimed the defendant snuck into a memorial service for the complaint's deceased brother, head butting him and causing him serious injury. The complainant's girlfriend testified the defendant had "emerged from the gravestones" and launched the attack.

The defense team, meanwhile, maintained that as an observant Jew, the defendant couldn't have been inside the cemetery, and that the injuries to his ex-friend were caused by other family members at the service.

The court rejected the prosecution's version of the events, noting the religious prohibition on kohanim entering places with dead bodies as well as the physical height difference between the two, among other evidence. "As it is known, kohanim are forbidden from entering cemeteries because of the impurity of the dead there," Judge Shmuel Herbst explained. "The accused is a kohen and therefore the version of the events presented by the witness not only contradicts the complainant himself, but also the Torah prohibition directed at priests."

Immigrants Make Up One-Third of Suicides in Israel


One-third of the people who committed suicide in Israel between the years 2000 and 2013 were immigrants, a report presented to the Knesset Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs on Wednesday revealed. The data was presented as part of a discussion on mental health care reforms for immigrants and their offspring.

There were 4,806 reported suicides in Israel in those 13 years, 1,658 of them immigrants - comprising a total of 34.5% of all suicides between 2000 and 2013. In 2013 alone, there were 117 suicides by immigrants, 32% of the total suicides that year.

According to the statistics, a quarter of those olim who committed suicide between 2000 and 2013 were immigrants from the Soviet Union who made aliyah from 1990 on, while between 3 to 8% were Ethiopians who immigrated from 1980 and on.

"Many immigrants experience a crisis, but fear being labeled as having mental health problems," committee chairman MK Avraham Nagosa (Likud) said. "So they avoid seeking treatment, especially because they can't afford private mental health care. According to the statistics, there are no translators at medical clinics and many immigrants experience great difficulty in receiving treatment. The Health Ministry and these clinics must immediately enlist help" in treating immigrants.

Rabbinate Child Support Ruling is 'A Revolution in Divorce Law'

By Attorney Yossi Hershkowitz (Commentary)

The Chief Rabbinate's recent decision that Rabbinical Courts must take women's earnings into account in divorce cases heralds a quiet revolution, and a change in the basic conceptions on the Rabbinical Courts.

In Israel, rulings on child support for Jewish couples are made in accordance with Halakha, or Jewish law. This is true of cases that come before the civil Family Courts, and doubly so in cases that come before the Rabbinical Courts.

In classic Halakha, sole responsibility for child support – in accordance with their age – fell on the father. Therefore, the Rabbinical Courts – and as a result, the Family Courts, too – looked only at the father's income and financial abilities. The mother's income and financial abilities were completely disregarded at first, and this often caused a feeling of injustice, or even discrimination.

In recent years, the Family Courts began to steer away from this strict Halakhic principle, and gradually, in several rulings, began to look at the mother's income and financial ability as well. The courts tried in every which way to insert principles of equality into the matter of child support, although as noted, they could not properly do so, because they too were bound by Jewish Halakha which did not make the mother responsible for child support.

Thus, the courts led a revolution in the basic principles, a revolution that can be said to have led to the revolution in the Chief Rabbinate's instructions as well.

And now, following the Chief Rabbinate's latest decision, the courts' revolution can be said to have filtered into Halakha itself, and is on its way to being completed. We believe that equality in principle between the sexes is turning into equality in reality. It is certainly proper and just that in the age we live in, which is one of gender equality, the equality will manifest itself in both rights and obligations. We believe that the principle of equality between father and mother in child support payment is a just one.

It needs to be stressed that even now, after the Chief Rabbinate's decision, the guiding principle in both the Family Courts and the Rabbinical Courts is still that the obligation for the basic child support falls upon the father alone. However, the revolution that has begun its March will, without a doubt, lead to equality de facto, and we believe that the day is not far off in which child support will be meted out based upon a completely egalitarian and just principle.

We do not see this as a change in favor of one of the sexes but as a positive change that will lead to gender equality and to just solutions in child support disputes.

Attorney Yossi Hershkowitz is a prominent expert on divorce law

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