Google Search

Newsletter : 15fx1224.txt

Directory | Previous file | Next file

Two Israelis Killed, One Wounded in Palestinian Knife Attack in Jerusalem

By DEBKAfile &

Three Israelis were repeatedly stabbed Wednesday by two Palestinian terrorists outside Jaffa Gate, a popular spot for tourists visiting Jerusalem's Old City. The third victim was taken to a hospital in serious and critical condition.

Two of the three died of their wounds – Ofer Ben Ari, 40, father of two from Jerusalem and Reuven Birmacher, 45, father of seven from Kiryat Ye'arim. The third victim is still in grave condition.

Two female border guards on duty halted the attack by rushing to the scene and shooting the two terrorists, killing them both. One of their bullets may have accidentally caused the second Israeli fatality. This is under investigation.

Police are investigating emerging reports that the critically injured victim was in fact accidentally shot by security forces in the process of neutralizing the terrorists. Doctors at Hadassah Ein Kerem say he is in life-threatening condition and they are fighting for his life.

ZAKA volunteer paramedic Shimi Grossman, who was at the scene, described it as particularly serious attack, describing how the two terrorists pounced upon their first two Jewish victims at the entrance to Jaffa gate, before being neutralized by security forces.

Israeli security authorities are redoubling precautions following information that Palestinian terror attacks are being planned to mar the Christmas and New Year season, especially in Jerusalem, which is the focus of Christian pilgrimage and tourism.

A campaign of stabbings, shootings and car-rammings by Palestinians in recent months has killed 19 Israelis and a U.S. citizen. Israeli forces or armed civilians have killed at least 118 Palestinians, most of whom authorities have described as assailants. Others died in clashes with Israeli security forces.

Also Wednesday, Israel's Shin Bet intelligence agency said it arrested 25 Palestinians linked to the terrorist group Hamas for planning bombings and suicide attacks against Israelis. The agency said it uncovered a "wide terrorist infrastructure" of Hamas in the West Bank directed from the Gaza Strip.

Officials said the terrorists operated an explosives laboratory in Abu Dis in the West Bank and planned to carry out attacks in Israel. Most of the members were students at Abu Dis University in East Jerusalem, including some residents of the West Bank, several residents of East Jerusalem and one Israeli Bedouin.

The latest stabbing attack breaks a slight lull in Arab terrorism in the Israeli capital. On Tuesday, violence continued elsewhere, with an Arab terrorist apprehended in Hebron as she attempted to stab soldiers stationed at the Cave of the Patriarchs.

The IDF Northern Command Wednesday advised farmers to postpone work in fields near the border in case of Hizbullah attempts to abduct Israelis or target them for sniper fire. Soldiers on duty in the border region were ordered to wear helmets and body armor. The advisory came after three rockets were fired from Lebanon into Western Galilee shortly after an Israeli airborne missile strike was reported to have killed the Hizbullah terrorist Samir Quntar Sunday in Damascus.

PA Accuses Palestinian Media Watch of 'Incitement'


The Palestinian Authority has accused watchdog group Palestinian Media Watch of "incitement against the Palestinians and the Palestinian curriculum," the group revealed Wednesday - for PMW's work exposing the statements against Israelis and Jews in official PA media.

Last week, the head of the press office of the PA Ministry of Information, Nida Younis, attacked PMW, telling official PA TV that PMW facilitates incitement by Israeli officials. "The Undersecretary of the [PA] Ministry of Information, [Mahmoud Khalifa], who found it necessary to produce a film about the Israeli incitement, especially now, when Dore Gold (Dir.-Gen. of Israel's Foreign Ministry) has intensified, for instance, through the PMW organization, the incitement against the Palestinians and the Palestinian curriculum," Younis stated.

One day earlier, PA news agency WAFA accused PMW of being the source of incitement against the PA, claiming that Israeli newspapers use the organization's exposure of PA media to base reports against "against Palestinian children."

PA official media has attacked PMW three times since the terror wave began in late September - a wave which PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas' ushered in with his own incitement against Jews and rallying cries for violence over the Temple Mount.

Various U.S. Synagogues are Funding Anti-Israel Organization

By Ronn Torossian (Commentary)

Recently, the Jewish Home party issued a statement about the extremist American Jewish organization The New Israel Fund, noting that it had "reached a new peak of Israel-hatred with yet another one of its organizations, which filed the motion to the High Court" against the demolitions of terrorist homes.

The statement referred to NIF's legal work in defense of Hamas terrorists' family members, where they successfully argued in the Supreme Court that the State of Israel should not be able to destroy the homes of terrorists who killed Jews – a deterrent move that has proven effective in showing to potential terrorists that they should think twice before going out in search of victims.

And while Jews worldwide largely care about their brethren in Israel, a review of the Annual Report of the New Israel Fund reveals that nine congregations have given financial support to the NIF. Congregants of Temple Beth El of Santa Cruz, Calif.; Tzedakah Hevra at Congregation Beth El in Sudbury, Mass.; Congregation Emanu-El B'ne Jeshurun in Wisconsin; Kehila Chadasha of Bethesda, Md.; Rodeph Shalom in Philadelphia; Temple Beth Avodah of Newton Center, Mass.; Temple Shalom of Newton, Mass.; Congregation Emanu-El in San Francisco; and Temple Israel in White Plains, N.Y..

At Temple Israel Center of White Plains, one of the largest conservative synagogues in America, Phil Jacobs, a long-term member and donor to the synagogue took offense to learning that his shul had donated money to NIF – which openly supports a boycott of the State of Israel.

Jacobs shared facts about NIF in a letter to the rabbi and the board and then asked: "..knowing what you now know about NIF does the Board judge it to be a worthy recipient? Worthy, in spite of supporting Israel boycott, in spite of having been called a threat to IDF by deputy Knesset speaker, in spite of supporting teaching founding of Israel to be a "catastrophe", in spite of 20 instances of bad behavior? Several members to whom I mentioned the allegations have said that if true, they warrant firing Tucker."

He continued, "This giving of temple money to NIF should never have happened without the explicit permission of all temple members, because so many members would find this so offensive, if they knew the truth about the NIF. I am sure you and the Trustees will be appalled by their behavior, after reading this letter. In part because there was no Jewish state, 70 years ago 6 million of our brothers and sisters were murdered because they were Jews. 1 million precious beautiful Jewish children were murdered."

"Now that we have a Jewish state, isn't our job to do everything possible to support it, rather than supporting NGOs the behavior of which so many consider to be so inimical to the security of Israel? Do we really want to give our money to a group that supports teaching that the founding of our beloved Jewish homeland was a 'nakba', a catastrophe?"

In its reply, Temple Israel has made it clear. One must not question Rabbi Tucker's "unwavering support of the State of Israel", although it seems to mean that not dividing Jerusalem is occupying Palestinian land, the IDF must stop oppressing Palestinian Arabs, and there must be a boycott of Israel for the sake of "tikkun olam."

And I wish to give a clear response right here. There is no justification for the pulpit Rabbi of a synagogue to support an organization that openly boycotts Israel, and stands with the family members of Hamas terrorists. Shame on Temple Israel of White Plains.

Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR, 1 of the 25 largest PR Agencies in the US.

Bezeq Launches Digital Book Initiative


In a first for Israel, Bezeq telephone customers will, starting Sunday, be able to enter the company's Bcloud cross-platform cloud service, register for the digital library, and download thousands of digital books from the Evrit application's archive. The service will be available for a year free of charge for anyone who registers by January 17.

Evrit was the first and largest digital book venture in Israel. Its catalog contains thousands of Israeli and translated works, including bestsellers and new releases, as well as many other genres.

Ahead of the service's launch, Bezeq and research institute TNS conducted a study of reading habits in Israel. The study showed that despite the population being highly aware of digital books' existence, they still lag behind print book sales. Thirty-five percent said they read or would like to read digital books, and a majority of 80% acknowledged that purchasing a digital book is less expensive than a print book.

The average Israeli reads 12.2 books a year, the study found, with 49.6% of Israelis preferring to read in bed and 59.3% reading on the weekend. The vast majority of respondents – 78.9% – said they prefer print books, while 2.5% read only digital books and 18.6% read both. Of those who prefer digital books, 34% cited the portability and convenience, 28% said it was more comfortable, 11.5% to digital devices' compact size, and 10.7% noted the lower prices of digital books.

Despite the clear preference for print, respondents also showed an interest in digital books. Asked how likely they were to use an application offering a very wide range of books for free and without a limit on the number of books, 52.2% of respondents said they were certain or thought they would use it.

The survey also showed that those who read digital books do so on various devices – 42.2%t use a tablet/iPad, 35.8% use their desktop computer, 26.5% use a laptop, 24.5% use a smartphone, and 10.9% use Amazon's Kindle device. (The total is higher than 100% because respondents could choose more than one answer.)

Have You Met My New College Roommate? She's 83

By Ha'aretz

For every student out there struggling with the high cost of apartment rentals, there's an elderly person eager for some company. A new Israeli program is trying to kill two birds with one stone by matching up cash-strapped students with lonely pensioners.

Here's how it works: In exchange for spending a minimum number of hours a week engaging with a senior citizen, student participants in the program benefit from virtually rent-free housing at the home of their assigned host and a scholarship that covers a hefty chunk of their tuition costs.

The program, a pilot of which was launched last year, is a joint venture between the government and the National Union of Israeli Students. Building on its success in the first trial year, "Kan Garim" ("Here We Live" in Hebrew), as it is known, has more than doubled participation rates in the recently kicked-off academic year.

"It makes financial sense, and at the same time gives me an opportunity to do something to better society," says 23-year-old Maayan Pinto, who last month moved in with 83-year-old Victoria Motai in the northern town of Safed.

Like other elderly participants in the program, Motai had a spare room in her home that wasn't being used and was feeling lonely. Pinto, for her part, was trying to save money on housing after living in the dorms during her first year as a nursing student in town. "I much prefer this arrangement," she said. "We prepare meals and watch TV together, and it's much nicer for me than being alone in a room."

Under the rules of the program, students must commit to spending a minimum of four hours a week with their hosts, and in return, pay just a minimal fee of 250 shekels ($65) a month toward rent and expenses – a bare fraction of what a shared apartment in the city would cost. In addition, they receive 8,000 shekels ($2,000) a year toward tuition. (Tuition at most Israeli universities is about 12,000 shekels, or $3,000, a year). Only pensioners who have a spare room in their home and are able to care for themselves independently are eligible for the program.

Last year, 200 students and pensioners participated in "Kan Garim," and this year, more than 400 have signed up – the majority at colleges and universities located in the center of the country. Funding is provided by the Ministry of Housing and the newly created Ministry of Social Equality, while the student union vets participants and matches up eligible students with seniors.

Students decide on their own how they want to spend their time with their hosts. Last year, Vahab relays, one student helped transcribe the recollections of the Holocaust survivor who was hosting her. Another student made a point of accompanying his host every week to Shabbat services at the local synagogue. Yet another student took on the task of navigating the infamous Israeli bureaucracy for her host, helping her save significant sums on telephone and other utility bills in the process.

Maya Li, a 23-year-old student who lived with Motai last year recounts that she and her host spent many memorable hours together sharing meals and chatting. "We would often watch television together as well, and because she's a bit hard of hearing, it was an opportunity for me to explain things to her that she couldn't understand otherwise."

According to Gil Naveh, spokesman of the student union, about one-third of the participants from last year are continuing with the program this year. "Thus far, the feedback has been very positive. Many senior citizens have resumed activities they had given up on for whatever reason, and the students report not only a sense of emotional gratification but also a great sense of relief from not having so much financial strain on them."

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