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Iran's `Moderate' Rouhani Calls for United Muslim Front to Destroy Israel

By United with Israel, World Israel News & Reuters

Muslim countries around the world must focus on defeating Israel, their common enemy, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani stated at a global Islamic unity conference.

At the 29th International Islamic Unity Conference in Tehran, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, viewed by many as a moderate politician, called on Muslims around the world to focus together on fighting Israel. Addressing more than 300 Muslim scholars and government officials from 70 countries at the three-day conference on Sunday morning, he also accused Israel of hoping to see the destruction of Syria and of delighting in the Syrian civil war.

Iran backs Syrian President Hafez Assad and his supporters against the Islamic State terrorists and other rebel groups. Rouhani condemned ISIS at the conference for painting a negative impression of Islam through its barbaric violence. "Does the weakening of Syria benefit its Muslim neighbors? Does the destruction of Syria lead to the strengthening of Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates or other countries? Who is pleased by Syria's destruction other than Israel," Rouhani declared.

Rouhani claimed to be concerned for the disadvantaged while taking the opportunity to denounce Saudi Arabia, a longtime foe of Iran. "If you had distributed the same money among poor Muslims, none of them would have gone to bed hungry," he stated. In fact, for nations such as Saudi Arabia that has Sunni Muslim-majority populations, Iran—which is Shi'a Muslim—has long been viewed as a regional foe.

Rouhani said that Muslims must improve the image of their religion, which has been tarnished by the violence of hard-line groups such as Islamic State. "It is our greatest duty today to correct the image of Islam in world public opinion. Did we ever think that, instead of enemies, an albeit small group from within the Islamic world using the language of Islam, would present it as the religion of killing, violence, whips, extortion and injustice?"

ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has directly threatened Israel in a new audio message, saying the attacks was planning to attack the Jewish State. In the 24-minute audio released by ISIS on Saturday, al-Baghdadi lashes out at his enemies threatening action against them, and says that his self-styled "caliphate" is doing well despite an unprecedented alliance against it, and criticizing the recently announced Saudi-led Islamic military coalition against terrorism.

He threatened Israel by saying, "we haven't forgotten you" and "we are getting closer to you" every day. "God caused the Jews of the world to gather in Israel, and the war against them has become easy. It is the obligation of every Muslim to carry out Jihad," he declared. "Jews, you will not enjoy in Palestine. God has gathered you in Palestine so that the Mujahadeen [holy warriors] can reach you soon and you will hide by the rock and the tree. Palestine will be your graveyard," he said.

Al-Baghdadi said airstrikes by the international coalition only increase his group's determination and resolve. The message was al-Baghdadi's first since May, and comes amid battlefield setbacks that ISIS has recently faced in Syria and Iraq. "It is unprecedented in the history of our Ummah (Islamic nation) that all the world came against it in one battle, as it is happening today. It is the battle of all the disbelievers against all the Muslims," al-Baghdadi said.

He said the US-led alliance does "not scare us… or do they scatter our resolve because we are the victors in any event." Al-Baghdadi also taunted the United States for not putting boots on the ground.

"They do not dare to come, because their hearts are full of fear from the mujahedeen," he said. America and its allies dream of destroying the caliphate through their proxies and henchmen, and whenever an alliance of theirs fails or a tail is cut, they hasten to establish another, until they recently declared the Salouli (Saudi) alliance that was falsely called Islamic." If the Saudi-led alliance was truly Islamic, then it would fight the Syrian army and its Russian "masters," as well as Shiites and Jews, al-Baghdadi said.

In mid-December, Saudi Arabia announced its new 34-member alliance against terrorism will be based in the kingdom's capital, Riyadh. But Shiite powerhouse Iran is not part of the new coalition; neither are Iraq and Syria, whose forces are battling to regain ground from the Islamic State group and whose governments are allied with Tehran.

In the audio, al-Baghdadi also warned nations taking part in the war against ISIS by saying: "We promise you, God permitting, that whoever participates in the war against the Islamic State will pay the price dearly." He also urged Muslims world over to join the ISIS fight, saying it is their Islamic duty to rise up everywhere.

The authenticity of the audio could not be independently confirmed, but it was posted on ISIS-affiliated websites and Twitter as past ISIS messages. Also, it was produced by the al-Furqan Media Foundation, ISIS' media arm.erri Nir, United with Israel

EU Critical of Proposed Israeli Law on NGOs

By VOA News

The European Union is strongly protesting a newly-proposed Israeli law that would require nonprofit groups to disclose foreign sources of funding. Most of those NGOs are highly critical of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's treatment of the Palestinians and of Jewish settlement activities in Palestinian areas.

An Israeli Army radio report Sunday cited a leaked EU document. The memo said EU ambassador Lars Faaborg-Andersen warned that the law would "have a negative impact on Israel's image and on Europe's relating to it as an open and democratic society." The leaked document quotes the ambassador as saying that what Israel is planning could bring "shame " on some human rights groups and is something mainly seen in "tyrannical regimes."

Israeli Cabinet ministers approved the bill Sunday. It now goes to the full parliament later this week. The law would require NGOs that get most of their money from foreign governments or foreign-funded entities to publicly disclose the sources of their funds.

Opponents say the bill targets only so-called pro-peace groups and that pro-nationalistic nonprofits are exempt. They say the measure is a blatant attempt to stifle government critics. Supporters say foreign governments and the European Union are meddling in Israel's internal affairs and trying to change Israeli policies from within. They are also angry at a new EU rule that requires Israeli exports produced on occupied territories to be labeled as coming from there.

Security Boosted Around Shin Bet Chief


Security has been boosted around Israel Security Agency (ISA or Shin Bet) chief Yoram Cohen, Channel 10 reported Sunday, following concerns over potential threats from right-wing extremists over the Duma arson case. No concrete threats have been issued, the news agency reported, but recent protests over the case have led the government to take extra precautions.

The Duma arson case has seen a series of harsh condemnations levied against the ISA. Outrage has snowballed after the suspects had reportedly been refused basic religious rights, been banned from seeing their lawyers or family, denied medical treatment after being beaten during arrest, and may even have been sexually abused.

Civil rights groups have called for the ISA to be investigated over the torture, which - if proven - may run contrary to Israeli law. In one case, the ISA was found to have illegally detained one of the suspects, a minor, for longer than the 20 days mandated by law.

Protests have broken out across the country this week over the allegations, and the security boost for Cohen is not the first following the strong reactions to the case. On Saturday, security was also boosted for Education Minister Naftali Bennett after the minister condemned the suspects.

Deputy Attorney General Raz Nizri arrived at the ISA holding facility to meet the suspects being held on charges of being involved in the Duma arson case Sunday, to inspect their physical conditions and examine allegations of torture.

The meeting took place against the backdrop of an unprecedented campaign against the ISA, claiming serious violence in the investigations against the suspects involved in the assassination.

Attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir, who is representing one of the detainees called the move "too little, too late. I would expect Mr. Nizri to have visited the ISA as soon as allegations of torture were raised," he said. "The impression is that Nizri only arrived to check off a box on a checklist [...] anyone who wishes to ensure human rights should have gone to visit in real time to see if the Duma suspects were under physical torture."

NYC: Yeshivas, Other Schools, to Get $20 Million for Security


Religious Jewish schools in New York City are prime beneficiaries of a special $20 million budget for "school security." This is the result of a City Council vote earlier this month – sparking the latest wave of a decades-long controversy over public funding for private and parochial school.

City schools with at least 300 students – such as Talmudei Torah, as well as Islamic and Catholic schools - will be guarded by taxpayer-funded security guards, as of some 10 weeks from now. One-third of the approximately 300 schools covered by the plan are Jewish.

The campaign for the new law, led by Brooklyn councilman David Greenfield , initially proposed a budget of over $50 million. When Mayor Bill de Blasio said that was too much, the budget was reduced by just over 60%.

Greenfield said that he introduced the legislation when he saw that security in non-public schools was significantly less than in public schools. The attack in San Bernardino was "another reminder how the world has changed in the last few years that terrorism is on the rise."

Parochial schools in New York City already have their textbooks, computer supplies, certain special education programs, and school buses paid for by the city. Some voices have been raised against the addition of "security" to this list – although others feel that security should actually replace other items on the list.

Yiddish Speakers Say 'Gevalt' Over Trump's Comment


Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump's use of a Yiddish cuss word against Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton has gotten him in trouble not just with Clinton's camp, but also with Yiddish speakers in the United States.

Trump said during a campaign rally that in the 2008 Democratic primaries, Clinton "got schlonged" by Barack Obama, using a Yiddish term for a man's genitals. He later defended his comments, taking to Twitter and writing, "Once again, #MSM (mainstream media - ed.) is dishonest. 'Schlonged' is not vulgar. When I said Hillary got 'schlonged' that meant beaten badly."

But the controversy did not end there, as Trump was the talk of the Yiddish festival in New York City last week, where many participants were stunned by his "chutzpah" - another Yiddish word, meaning "audacity" and not always in the positive connotation.

According to CNN, attendees at the Yiddish New York cultural event had choice words for the Republican presidential candidate. "It's really perverse. It's a filthy word in this context," said Bob Blacksberg, a clarinetist who plays Klezmer music along with two of his sons.

"Everything he says is disgusting and he intends it to be disgusting," said Miriam Isaacs, a Yiddish professor and linguist who is teaching a workshop at the festival. "So often Yiddish is the butt of jokes or silly words. I have little patience for that anymore," she added, noting she hopes to bring greater awareness to the rich traditions attached to the language during the festival, particularly after the Trump controversy.

Joanne Borts, a singer and actor who is a faculty member at Yiddish New York, told CNN that Trump doesn't seem to understand the meaning of "schlong." Nevertheless, "if he was trying to be offensive and pejorative, then he sort of did a good job," Borts said.

Meanwhile, Aaron Blacksberg, an accordionist who is performing Klezmer music with his father at the festival, had a response for Trump with a Yiddish phrase of his own - the one meaning "go defecate in the ocean or the sea." "Go defecate in the ocean or the sea."

We'll let you look up the Yiddish for that one on your own, but Blacksberg did stress to CNN, "It's not a nice thing to say, just to be clear about that."

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